Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What's In a Name?

Swiss cheese by any other name still tastes gross.
Hello!! Well how have you been? Me, fine, just fine.
My daughter is currently sleeping, and hopefully for the whole night! She just started sleeping through the night, for the past few nights so I hope its a trend!
The following recipe has many adjustments. Some on purpose, one not. You'll see. I found it in a Taste of Home magazine and thought it sounded fun to make.
Chicken Swiss Bundles was the original name but I have renamed it:
Chicken Pockets!
Sounds way more fun, don't ya think? Onward!

1 small chopped onion, 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms, 1 1/2 tsp butter, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 cup cubed cooked chicken, 1,2 cup roasted sweet red peppers, 1 Tbsp honey mustard, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning, 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning, 2 cups shredded swiss cheese, 12 frozen bread dough dinner rolls thawed, 2 Tbsp melted butter

Okay, so for the few adjustments that I made. The first being that I omitted the mushrooms. It was by accident really. I just forgot to write them on my grocery list. But my husband said that was fine with him, they didn't sound appealing. The next being that I used pepper jack cheese. If you recall from my last entry I discovered that my husband doesn't care for Swiss cheese. So, when I proposed this recipe I asked him what cheese he would prefer. Hence the pepper jack. And finally, the rolls. I simply read the recipe to fast and just presumed these were the type of rolls to get. Now, they worked fine but I will get to them later.

Cook chicken. Simple enough.

I chose to pan sear mine. But you can roast them in the oven if you want. Whatevs. Next time I will cut them up before hand. This took too long to cook, I think. 'Specially that one in the middle. Not that its bad, I was just impatient.

In a large skillet, saute onion and mushrooms(or not)in butter until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add chicken, peppers, mustard, and seasonings: heat through.

I wanted to get a really nice chop on the peppers so I threw them in my manual food processor. Or you could just use a knife, if you have fancy knife skills like that....Show off.

Remove from heat, add cheese.

Did I really need a picture of me shredding the cheese? Well, yes. Yes I did.

Flatten each roll into a 5 inch circle.

Place a 1/4 cup chicken mix in the center of the circle. Brush edges with butter, top with another flattened dough circle. Press edges with fork, top with butter.

Place on greased baking sheet, bake at 350 degrees(keyboards need a symbol for degrees, is there one?...Upon inspection I do not find one...) for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Cut bundles in half to serve.

Okay, the finished product. And here is what I have to say about the dough I used. Its basically the knock off of the Pilsbury Grands Biscuits. They worked, in a sense. The flaws were that they didn't seal very well since they have a buttery-ness to them. And they were WAY doughy. Those bad boys puff up quite a bit, even after flattened into submission. My husband said they tasted great, but were a little too doughy, so next time I will make them with the right kind of dough. I leave you with a picture of my kitchen buddy. Since the baby came along he finds any excuse to be with me. Even if I am cooking.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Quiche Sans Crust

Yes, I did have my baby. An adorable little girl! Whom my darling husband is watching at the moment while I type this up.
I don't get much time nowadays to do much, let alone cook. Usually if I have a free moment I sleep. Glorious sleep, how I miss thee. I don't think I will ever get the chance to sleep in again. Oh well, trade off is pretty good. No sleeping in, but I do get a daughter.
So here is my first recipe since motherhood!
Oh yeah, and we moved AGAIN. I do enjoy this new place, its not a basement, in fact its the third floor. No more subterranean dwelling for us.
And please excuse me if my wit and candor are not as rapier as usual. I am a little sleep deprived.
On with the recipe!
Crustless Quiche
I got this recipe from my mother-in-law who is on a low carb diet. She says quiche is better with crust, but this isn't half bad. I wouldn't know. I won't eat it. Blech. But that shouldn't deter anyone else. I won't eat for the eggs or onions. I am sure its just fine otherwise. Also the ingredient list she gave me was from memory and open to much interpretations. This is a great recipe to make with whatever preferences you have.

6 oz frozen spinach(I got a 12 oz bag, so I used half and have more for another recipe)1/2 cup frozen onion(or more or less depending on what you like)2 cups chopped veggies(anything you want really, I used broccoli and zucchini for this one. I like yellow squash too, but that went bad before I could use it)1/2 cup chopped Ham(or more, or less, or even none!)4 eggs, 1 cup heavy cream, 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese(Munster or Swiss) 1/2 tsp nutmeg and a few shakes of Salt and Pepper

For the cheese I have swiss. My husband prefers Muenster but I must have stared down the cheese section of my grocery store for a good ten minutes looking for it. I even looked in the expensive cheeses! My mother-in-law told me that Swiss was good too so I bought that only to discover that my husband doesn't like swiss cheese all that much. So next time if I still can't find Muenster I will just use cheddar or colby.

Saute spinach and onion in oil for about 10 minutes. 

If you were working with fresh spinach and onions you could just skip that and cook them with the rest of the fixins.

Add chopped veggies and meat(if any), and cook for 10 minutes or until veggies are tender.

I just eyed up the veggies. Its prob way more than two cups, but I had one and a half zucchini and I knew I wasn't going to use it for anything else so I just used it all.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, spices, and cheese.

Again, I just eyeballed the cheese. No need to be so precise all the time. 

Add veggies to cream mix and stir well. Pour into greased 9x13 in baking dish(or you can use a pie pan) and cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

I let the veggies cool a bit and only added a little bit at a time so that the eggs wouldn't scramble.

Depending on your veggie to cream mix ratio, cooking times may vary. So start with 30 and add more time at your own discretion. 

Viola, the finished product. My husband enjoys it very much and he thinks a crust isn't necassary. He isn't on a low carb diet, just a eat better diet. Meanwhile I am cooking up Kraft Mac and Cheese for my dinners wondering when I should start trying to loose my baby weight. Meh, I won't worry about that too much right now.
Wonder of all wonders. We have a dishwasher. I lived a year without one and almost went insane. When we first moved into our previous place I was like, "Oh, no big deal, I will just wash things as I use them."
HAH! That did not happen.
So when we moved to our new place and it has a dishwasher I pretty much wanted to kiss it. How I have missed you and your splendifourousness!! Never again will I go without you in my life!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Apple Pie Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Can it be? Can I really be blogging after a near 9 month hiatus? Yes, it is I, back to the grindstone of blogging. Sort of. So what could I have possibly been doing for nearly 9 months? What takes that long? Oh, yes I know.
Growing a human inside my uterus. That generally takes about 9 months.
Why did it stop me from blogging? Well, let me break it down for you.
Back in October I found out I was pregnant, which was awesome! I was feeling great, on top of the world, glowing, all that jazz. Then about a week after I found out I was knocked up, it hit me. Morning sickness. Which is a huge misnomer btw. I had "All Day Sickness". Generally I felt terrible all day and all night. The kind of terrible where if you eat you know its just gonna come right back up, but you have to eat because you are not only trying to sustain yourself, but a new life growing inside of you. Plus I still had a 8 to 5 job that I could barely keep up with. Seriously, I had no idea how I did it. So, when I would come home from that job, I would basically insert my self on the couch or bed and not get up until the next morning. The very last thing I wanted to do was be around food/make food/anything to do with food. So that was the first 4 months of my pregnancy. Once the sickness went away, the tiredness and aches and pains took over. And I was still working all day. So I had no energy to make anything. Thank God I have such an understanding husband. He has been such a wonderful support to me and a trooper keeping up with my mood swings and lack of energy to make a pb and j sandwich let alone dinner on a bigger scale.
So now I am days away from my due date, no longer at my job, and have some energy! I was able to crank out this recipe for a church gathering. Its been so long! Can I still do it? Lets try it out peeps!

Brown Sugar Apple Pie

I got this recipe from this cook book by Ken Haedrich:

Its a pretty awesome cookbook, which literally has only pie recipes in it. I got this as a wedding present from my mom(5 years ago!), and have only made a few pies from it. I thought I was going to be a wonderful pie maker. You've heard of Delusions of Grandeur, right? That was me thinking of all the great pies I was going to make. The reality is that I just like to make pies. Its fun. I am no proficient at it. Pies are like a fun hobby for me. I enjoy making them, and they turn out pretty decent, so I have no cause for complaint. Anyway, about the cook book. The first chapter is just different pie crusts. He has a great selection of basic crusts and a few harder ones. Then the rest of the book is all recipes of pie fillings that he pairs with different crusts. You can totally mix and match at your discretion too. Which I did for this recipe. This book also has tips on picking the right apples/berries for fillings and tons of hints on pie making. So anyway on with the recipe!

Ingredients for the Pie Crust:(Keep in mind you will need more ingredients for the filling, but since you make the crust first I will share the ingredients for it first, then later the filling)
This is for a Double Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup cake flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup(1 stick)cold unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch pieces, 1/2 cup cold water

So I didn't picture the water, my bad. The main reason I chose this crust recipe was for the cake flour. I have a that big box of cake flour that I have been trying to use up. So if you don't cake flour, just make a basic pie crust.


The other cool thing about this cookbook is that he has directions for making the crust by hand, by food processor, and my choice by electric (stand) mixer.

Combine the flours, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and toss with flour.

With the mixer on low speed, blend the butter into the flour until you have what looks like coarse, damp meal, with both large and small clumps. Add the shortening and repeat.

Turning the mixer on and off add half the water and mix briefly on low speed. Add the remaining water, mixing until the dough starts to form large clumps. Do not over mix.

Using your hands, pack the dough into a ball. If making double crust(which I was), divide dough in half, making one half slightly larger, but your bottom crust(which I mixed up, oops!).

Knead each piece 2 or 3 times. Put each in the center of a piece of plastic wrap and flatten it into a disk about 3/4 inch thick(which I skipped, heheh). Wrap up and place in fridge for at least an hour, at most over night.

On a sheet of lightly floured wax paper(yes, I skipped that too. Think of recipes as guidelines more than actual rules), roll the larger(in my case smaller, I just grabbed the wrong one!)portion of the pastry into a 12 inch circle.

So, since I used the smaller portion, it didn't quite make it to 12 inches. But I was able to get it big enough for the 9 inch pie pan that I was using. He says 12 inches to allow for a lot of over hang on the sides so you can blend the top and bottom crust better. 

Invert the pastry over a 9 inch pie pan. Place in fridge for 15 minutes.

This would have been easy if I did the wax paper trick, but meh, it worked.
Filling Ingredients:
6 cups peeled, cored, and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples(or whatever ones you prefer. My husband requested Granny Smith), 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, Big pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
So the recipe doesn't tell you how many apples makes 6 cups, but I figured it was about 6 or 7. So I bought 8, to be safe. Like my "fresh" lemon juice?
This is how I sliced, cored, and peeled my apples. With my Apple Peeler-Corer-Slicer from Pampered Chef. This is a way older model. I don't know how old, like 10 or more years. It was my Gramma's but she never used it, so she gave it to my sister, who also never used it, who in turn gave it to me. I have used it maybe 3 or 4 times, which totally justifies its place in my kitchen I think. It works great! My Papap made the work bench for it, since there are no counters that it would fit on. I think the newer model comes with one.

See how good it works? I love using it. Even if it is a bit messy.
Combine the apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a large bowl. Toss well, then let sit for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir into the apple mix, then scrape into chilled pie dough.

Roll out the other half of pie dough to fit over bottom of pie. This is where you would normally see the whole "use a fork to crimp edges together and cut steam vents into top". I totally didn't do that. I wanted to try something new. I have cool pastry cutters and cookie cutters in the shape of stars. Very American. So I rolled out my dough, and cut 6 big stars and 5 small stars. Then I placed them ontop of my pie. No need for steam vents or crimping. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Place the pie on the center oven rack and bake for 30 minutes, Reduce the oven temp to 375 degrees and rotate the pie 180, so what was in the back is now in front. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 2 hours.

Boom. Amazing. Usually I do like to take a pic of a piece of hte finished product, but since this was for a church function I didn't. And I couldn't take one when we got home because it was all gone! Woot woot! That's one of the best feeling when you make something that took all day and its finished completely. Yes, this did take me all day. First, when I start baking I need a clean slate. So I had to clean the kitchen. Then for some reason I thought every room in our apartment stunk with some phantom stink that would not got away(it was my pregnancy nose getting the best of me, when my husband came home he said he couldn't smell anything). I swept and mopped the floors, took out the garbage, and lit tons of candles, and cleaned the toilet. Then as I was making the filling I started to get false labor contractions and had to sit down for another half hour. Then I had to clean the kitchen again after making a huge mess.
So needless to say it was pretty gratifying when the entire pie was eaten.
Well, I am glad to be back, but this will prob be my last entry for a while again. I will have a baby here pretty soon, and that should occupy my time too. But I am back and I will continue this blog, I promise! Thanks to anyone that reads it! :)