Archive for the category ‘Recipes’

Chicken Marsala

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Forget that frozen excuse for chicken Marsala to be found made by Healthy Choice or Lean Cuisine or whoever is trying to fool you this time. No, the only chicken Marsala worth its salt is an authentic, Italian preparation, meaning no microwave!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 (3 oz) thin-sliced skinless chicken breast halves (1/4 inch thick)
2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
1 cup dry Marsala wine
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 garlic clove, bruised and peeled

Directions

1. Use a large, nonstick skillet to heat the olive oil.

2. In a plastic bag with a zipper top, mix together the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken and shake well to coat.

3. Remove the chicken from the plastic bag and place it in the skillet after shaking off any excess flour. Saute for about 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through, and transfer to a warm platter.

4. Combine the mushrooms, wine, parsley, basil, and garlic in the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced to 1/3 cup, then discard the garlic.

5. Reduce the heat and add the chicken (as well as any juices there may be) to the skillet. Warm to serving temperature, then serve the chicken topped with the sauce.

Try this tasty Italian dish as a romantic entree, paired with some light pasta or risotto and a great glass of wine. Use the best mushrooms you can, only the freshest and most flavorful will do for a good chicken Marsala. Finish off the night with a great tiramisu and you will have the perfect Italian dinner on your plate!

Christmas pancake ideas

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Pancakes are an integral part of holiday breakfast in many families. This may be the one day a year where dad heads to the kitchen to whip up his special pancakes. Whatever your family tradition, or even if you don’t have a tradition, these Christmas-themed pancakes will get you thinking about what you can come up with this year.

Pancake batter can be made quite easily from scratch but if you prefer, a mix like Bisquick or even Aunt Jemima’s works well. There are even frozen pancakes that can be used. This is all about having a Christmas-themed pancake whether you are a from scratch cook, or one who prefers the convenience of pre-packaged.

Basic pancake recipe: (courtesy of Betty Crocker)

1 large egg

1 cup all purpose or whole wheat flour

3/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon granulated or packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

or

2 cups Original Bisquick® mix

1 cup milk

2 eggs

Both of these recipes will make between 10 and 12 medium pancakes, if you want more just double or triple the recipe.

Now that you know how to make the basic pancakes, how do you make them Christmas-themed?

Red and green are the traditional Christmas colors. One way to make your pancakes Christmas-themed is to make them red and/or green. Red is easy to accomplish with either some berry juice in place of some of the milk or with red food coloring. Green coloring can also be accomplished with green food coloring. You can use either liquid or paste.

Once the pancakes are cooked, you can either served them stacked one red and one green in their normal round shape ,or you can use a large cookie cutter to cut them into Christmas-themed shaped. The green works well for Christmas tree shapes or for holly. The red can be cut into bell shapes, candy canes or of course good old “Santa Claus.”

If you are not much of a cook and want to use the frozen pancakes, these can be cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. You won’t get the red or green color unless you buy some squeeze tubes of cake decorating frosting and decorate the pancakes with these. Or why not let the kids do their own decorating before they add the syrup.

Another way to make a Christmas-themed pancake is with the flavor. Candy canes are a Christmas favorite and adding a few drops of peppermint flavoring to the batter will make it reminiscent of a candy cane. You can go a step further and make whipped cream with crushed candy cane to place on top.

Peppermint also goes very well with chocolate, so adding chocolate chips to your batter with a little peppermint flavoring will make for a delicious Christmas tradition.

Dried fruits are also very traditional at Christmas time. Adding some finely chopped dried cherries or cranberries to the pancake batter will give them a Christmas theme. Nuts also go well with dried fruit and of course, chocolate goes well with just about anything.

Another Christmas favorite is eggnog. The main flavor besides for eggs in eggnog is nutmeg. You could easily replace the milk in your pancakes with eggnog and give the family some pancakes that they will be talking about for the rest of the day.

There are many ways to create a Christmas-themed pancake. Whatever your family tradition or tastes, you can easily find a way to translate it into this universally loved breakfast food.

Chicken, apple and pineapple salad

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This delicious chicken, apple and pineapple salad is quite easy to make and takes about 10 minutes to prepare if you have all the ingredients at hand. It is a great favorite with children who love the apple-pineapple combination. It can be served with homemade pizza, burgers or tacos.

Ingredients:

3-4 chicken breasts, boiled and diced.

200 ml packaged cream.

1 can pineapple tidbits. Drain them completely.

2-3 medium apples

A few chopped walnuts.

Iceberg lettuce or salad leaves.

3-4 cheese slices. Cut them in thin strips.

A little sugar (optional)

A red cherry for decoration

Method:

Boil the chicken with a little salt and pepper till done. Cut into cubes when cool.

Peel the apples and cut them in cubes or finger length portions. Soak them in a little pineapple juice to prevent them from turning brown. It is better to cut the apples in finger length sizes as they look great in the salad.

Add a teaspoon of fine sugar to the chilled cream and whip till very fluffy.

Add chicken pieces to the cream.

Add apple chunks, walnuts and pineapple chunks and mix well.

Finally take the cheese slices that are cut in thin stripes and lay them crisscross over the salad. Add a few pineapple pieces for decoration.

Line the salad bowl with iceberg lettuce or green salad leaves.

Place a red cherry in the centre to complete your mouth watering chicken, apple and pineapple salad.

Tastes best when served chilled.

Tips:

Always use crunchy and juicy apples for this salad.

The quantity of cream and amount of pineapple tidbits can be increased or decreased according to your taste.

Add very little sugar to the cream as the pineapple tidbits and apples soaked in pineapple juice are enough to sweeten the cream.

Black Forest Cheater Cake Recipe

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Black Forest Cheater Cake

Deep in the woods of the Black Forest of Southwestern Germany, a local pastry chef might pour many ingredients and family secrets into a traditional Black Forest Cake. This dark, rich baked dessert treat is a favorite for family gatherings, holidays and special occasions.

Make a Black Forest Cheater Cake at home in short order, using a basic devil’s food chocolate cake mix, canned cherry pie filling, instant vanilla pudding mix and low-fat chilled whipped cream. If you don’t tell anyone, we won’t!

Black Forest Cheater Cake Ingredients

1 devil’s food chocolate cake mix

1 cups water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 can (20 ounces) cherry pie filling

1 box (3.5 ounces) instant vanilla pudding

1 tub (8 ounces) chilled low-fat whipped cream topping

Black Forest Cheater Cake Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Grease and lightly flour two round cake baking pans.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, water, vegetable oil and eggs. Beat well until batter is smooth and fluffy. Pour the mixture evenly into both pans. Tap the pans lightly on a counter or table to release excess batter bubbles.

Bake the Black Forest Cheater Cake for approximately 35 minutes at 350 degrees (F). Test the doneness of the cake with a wooden toothpick.

Cool the Black Forest Cheater Cake layers for 10 minutes before removing them to baking racks to finish cooling on a counter or table.

Place the bottom cake layer on a large round platter. Gently unfold the cherry pie filling to cover this base layer. Place the second cake layer on top.

In a medium bowl, mix the instant vanilla pudding and low-fat whipped cream topping gently. Spoon this carefully over the top layer of the Black Forest Cheater Cake.

Add a few extra cherries as garnish, if desired, before serving the Black Forest Cheater Cake.

Canned crab and cream of mushroom enchiladas

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This is a super fast recipe that just involves mixing a bunch of things in a bowl, plopping the mix onto a tortilla (or flatbread or pita) and cooking for 15 minutes. It doesn’t get much simpler than this! This is also a very interesting recipe because it is not something one would naturally think to make. Mixing cream of mushroom and crab meat is not common. In fact, most people do not even associate seafood with the “Mexican food.” However, this recipe isn’t really Mexican and it is really good.

Another upside, canned crab meat is cheaper than the real thing and, in this recipe, tastes just as good. So save your self some money and never be afraid to cut corners.

Canned crab and cream of mushroom enchiladas

Serves 5

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

5 thick flour tortillas
1 6oz. can of white crabmeat drained
1 c. cream of mushroom soup
½ c. fresh cilantro, chopped
½ c. shredded cheese, Mexican or a blend work best
½ to 1 c. of same cheese set aside for sprinkling on top
¼ c. ready made salsa from a jar (if fresh and less liquid, use ½ cup)
Sprinkle of fresh parsley and ground black pepper
½ t. roasted red pepper oil

Directions

Mix the above ingredients together. In a sprayed or very lightly greased casserole dish, spoon about 3 T. of the mix onto a tortilla. It’s easiest to have ½ the tortilla touching the pan and the other ½ in your hand. Then, quickly roll the tortilla with the overlapping side on the pan. Pour any leftover mix over the enchiladas and sprinkle evenly the extra cheese over the top. A little salsa sprinkled on the top sparingly looks good to, but that is optional.

Bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 15 minutes or until the cheese is well melted. Let cool and serve.

Chocolate Peanut Butter no Bake Cookies

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Looking for a quick and easy cookie recipe to keep the kids happy? Are they bored with your normal chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, or your brownies? Is the kitchen to hot for you to even think about turning on the oven? Tired of taking normal plain sugar cookies, or even worse – gasp – store bought cookies, to your family functions and gatherings? Then try these Chocolate peanut butter no bake cookies. They are always a favorite at any party of gathering this writer makes them for, and they are great to make with your kids.

You’ll need:

2 cups of sugar

6 tablespoons of cocoa powder

1 stick of butter

½ cup milk

1 ½ cup peanut butter (smooth works best as the chunky will make your cookies crumbly)

2 to 2 ½ cups of instant oatmeal, or the 1 minute cooking oatmeal.

And some wax paper for putting your cookies on.

In a saucepan combine the sugar, cocoa powder, butter and milk. Cook over medium heat until butter is melted and everything is blended smoothly. Let the mixture boil for one minute, then remove from heat. Add the peanut butter to the mix and blend until smooth again. Add the oatmeal and stir until well blended.

Laying out the wax paper on a cookie sheet, take a teaspoon full of the cookie mix and place it on the wax paper. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes, or until completely cooled. Enjoy.

This recipe makes about 24 cookies, depending on how large you make the cookies.

For some added variations you can…

Add some chopped walnut for and extra crunch.

Use more Oatmeal for more texture to your cookies.

This writer makes smaller batches, so butterscotch, vanilla, nuts, and some raisins can be added into the cookies so everyone has a flavor they like.

Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies

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This particular recipe came about on a day when I had a terrific craving for something both sweet and chocolatey but was also low on a few supplies. It is based on a recipe I found on the back of a bag of Gold Medal flour. As I don’t like my cookies overly sweet, I reduced the sugar as well as the butter.

This recipe makes a somewhat cakey cookie that can also be made in a pie plate or brownie pan, depending on your preference.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose or unbleached white flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar (increase this to 1/2 cup if you want a much sweeter cookie)

1/2 cup butter, softened (if increasing the sugar, you should also increase the butter to 3/4 cup)

1 egg

1/4 cup milk or apple juice (plant-based milk works well)

6 oz semisweet chocolate chips

3 oz peanut butter chips (optional)

1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1.) Preheat oven to 375 F.

2.) In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

3.) In a large bowl, cream together the sugars and butter. This can be done with either a fork or an electric mixer. Beat in the egg and liquid.

4.) Beat in one-third of the flour mixture just until combined; repeat twice until all the ingredients are mixed together.

5.) Fold in the chips and nuts until they are evenly distributed.

6.) Drop dough by teaspoonsful or tablespoonsful onto a lightly greased or foil- or parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving an inch of space between the cookies. Flatten slightly with the back of the spoon to smooth out the tops of the cookies.

7.) Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned at the edges and are nearly set in the centre. Allow to cool slightly on the pan before removing to a serving plate. If making these in a brownie or pie pan, allow to cool before cutting.

Serve alongside a tall glass of cold milk or a mug of hot chocolate.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

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This recipe is new spin on an old favorite. Many people enjoy warm peanut butter cookies and this recipe takes it one step further by adding chocolate. Peanut butter and chocolate just seem to go together so wonderfully that it only made sense. There are several new peanut butter products on the market today that make this recipe even easier with which to have fun.

Ingredients

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup Peanut butter with dark chocolate (any brand you like, such as Skippy)

1/4 cup light vegetable oil

1/4 cup margarine

1 egg

1 1/4 cup flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Directions

Mix sugars, peanut butter with dark chocolate, oil and egg in a large bowl. 

Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well.

Cover dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. This makes the dough much easier to work with and it helps to keep dough refrigerated in between baking batches.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork dipped in sugar, making a criss-cross pattern on each cookie.

Bake 9-11 minutes or until light brown. Let cookies rest on cookie sheet for 3 minutes and then move to wire racks or wax paper to finish cooling. 

Yields about 2 1/2 dozen cookies (30)

These cookies make great snacks in lunches and a nice treat after school. Of course, these cookies are not just for the kids; adults can also indulge in the yummy goodness. Chocolate peanut butter cookies are great with milk and even coffee. This recipe is fun to include in cookie swaps and homemade food gift baskets.

A fair warning must be issued: you may end have to put chocolate peanut butter on your grocery list more often after making these soft cookies for your family!

Chocolate Coffee Brownies

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Brownies are a delicious and very special treat when made from scratch. The nice thing about these brownies is the use of coffee as a wonderful flavor enhancer. The coffee also helps keep the brownies moist and adds a certain richness to the overall brownie. 

Coffee is one of those ingredients that just adds something special to just about anything you put it in and these brownies are no exception. Even if you are not a coffee drinker, you might just be surprised at how good these dessert bars are.

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups of sifted flour

1/4 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of cold margarine

14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa

1 egg

2 tsp. prepared coffee

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Heat oven to 350 degrees

Directions

In a bowl, combine 1 cup of flour and sugar. 

Cut butter until crumbly and mix with flour and sugar. Press mixture firmly into the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan and bake for 15 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Spread over prepared crust and bake for 20 minutes or until center is set.

When cooled, cut into bars and store lightly covered. Yields about 20 bars.

This recipe came about simply because of two truly delicious things: fresh coffee and chocolate…anything. This is a great recipe to try with flavored coffees as well. This basic recipe can be altered in a few different ways like using almond extract instead of vanilla. You can also experiment with the amount of coffee you add to this recipe; more coffee adds flavor, but can also thin down the recipe.

These brownies are great for a weekend treat, lunch time surprise or at any social gathering. Please exercise caution when serving these delights to your friends and family: put the plate down, grab yourself a brownie and then run! They really are that good. 

Buticha Ethiopian Garbanzo Bean Spread

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Buticha is a chickpea or fava bean spread or dip made in Ethiopia. It is similar in many ways to the the Middle Eastern hummus that many vegetarians and foodies alike are familiar with, just a little thinner. Unlike it’s Middle Eastern counterparts, buticha is traditionally made with chickpea (garbanzo) or fava bean flour instead of with canned or rehydrated beans. The recipes below will cover how to make it traditionally, and quickly, with a can of beans from your pantry.

Quick Pantry Buticha

1 12 ounce can of chickpeas, drained
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
2 tablespoons prepared lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pulse until a smooth paste is formed.

Transfer to a container, and cover. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Traditional Buticha

3 1/4 cups water
3/4 cups chickpea or fava bean flour
1 small red onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground yellow mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 jalepeno, seeded and minced
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium -sized sauce pan, bring water to boil over high heat. Using a whisk combine the bean flour and water in the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, constantly stirring. There will be lumps. Reduce heat to medium heat and cook another 3 minutes, continuing to stir constantly. Set mixture aside and allow to cool.

In a blender or food processor mix together the remaining ingredients. Add the chickpea flour mixture, and blend until smooth and thoroughly combined. Transfer to a container, and cover.

Allow to sit about an hour before serving to allow the flavors to properly meld. Serve at room temperature.

Buticha can be used as a substitute for mayonaise, as a dip for fresh vegetables, or as a side along with a traditional Ethiopian dinner, and dip injera in it. Buticha is usually served along side other cold salads, such as timita salata, azifa, and key sir.