Archive for December, 2010

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Blueberry Crumb Muffins

December 27, 2010

While shopping at HEB the other day, I saw some pretty blueberries and thought of David.  He likes almost any dessert or food that highlights blueberries.  I was going to make this blueberry crumble I’ve made in the past, but couldn’t locate rolled oats in my newly renovated HEB.  Saturday I decided homemade blueberry muffins would do, but I’ve never made them from scratch before.  I dug through my cookbooks and baking books and found a recipe that I had all the ingredients for.  I made the dough Saturday night and then added the blueberries and crumble topping Sunday morning.


Ingredients
CRUMB TOPPING
1 cup all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar

MUFFIN BATTER
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 pint blueberries, rinsed, drained, and picked over

One 12-cavity muffin pan with paper liners

Preparation
1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees
2. For the crumb topping, combine the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a medium mixing bowl and stir well to mix.  Melt the butter in a small pan.  Remove from heat, then add the brown sugar to the pan of melted butter and use a small heatproof rubber spatula to stir them together.  Scrape the butter and sugar mixture into the flour mixture, stirring it in until the flour is evenly moistened.  Set aside while preparing the muffin batter.
3. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a mixing bowl and sir well to mix.
4. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on a medium speed for about 1 minute, or until well mixed and a little lightened in color.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating smooth after each.
5. Decrease the mixer speed to low and beat in 1/2 the flour mixture.  Stop the mixer and use a large rubber spatula to scrap down the bowl and beater.
6. On a low speed, beat in the milk.  After the batter has absorbed the milk, beat in the remaining flower mixture.  Stop and scrape down the bowl and beater again.  (This is where I stopped and refrigerated overnight.)
7. (If refrigerated, let come to room temperature before continuing.) Add the blueberries to the bowl and beat them into the batter on the lowest speed for no more than 2 to 3 seconds, to crush some of the berries slightly.
8. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a large rubber spatula to give a final mixing to the batter.
9. Divide the batter equally among the cavities in the muffin pan.  Break the crumb topping into small crumbs with your fingertips and scatter over the top of each muffin. Bake the muffins until they are well risen, feel firm to the touch, and the topping is golden, about 30 minutes.  Cool the muffins in the pan on a rack.


“Note: The best way to handle the blueberries is to rinse them well in a colander and pour them onto a jelly-roll pan lined with paper towels.  The toweling will absorb the water clinging to the berries and it will be easy to spot any green or shriveled berries or stems, which should be removed.”  Roll the berries in a very light coating of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the muffin.

Happy Eats,

Amanda

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Black Bean and Chicken Chilaquiles

December 20, 2010

I once again found something in my Cooking Light: Essential Dinners cookbook I was excited about cooking.  Now I don’t often get excited about cooking with chicken, so I thought this casserole like dish would camouflage the chicken and I think it did a great job of it.  According to my cookbook, this is a traditional Mexican breakfast favorite.  I don’t know that I could imagine it in the morning, but I am sure it’s good at all times of day.  The pronunciation is: chee-lah-KEE-lays.  Yea, I can’t say it either.  🙂

Here’s how it’s made:

Ingredients
Cooking Spray
1 cup thinly sliced onion
5 garlic cloves minced
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (7 3/4 ounce) can salsa de chile fresco (such as El Pato)  (I used any salsa.)
15 (6 inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1 inch strips
1 cup shredded queso blanco (about 4 ounces)  (I used about triple this amount)

Preparation
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray (I actually used a Chili-Garlic Oil, mmm).  Add onion; saute 5 minutes or until lightly browned.  Add garlic; saute 1 minute.  Add chicken; cook 30 seconds.  Transfer mixture to a medium bowl; stir in black beans.  Add broth and salsa to pan; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Set aside.

Place half of tortilla strips in bottom of an 11 x 7 inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.  Layer half of chicken mixture over tortillas.  (I added a layer of cheese after this.)  Top with remaining tortillas and chicken mixture.  Pour broth mixture evenly over chicken mixture.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or until tortillas are lightly browned and cheese is melted.

Yield: 6 servings (more or less depending on what you consider a serving size)
Recipe on Cooking Light’s website

My comments on the turn out of the recipe are that it’s delicious when it’s served right out of the oven.  Really good.  I think it looses its flavor after sitting in the fridge and being reheated.  I’d either suggest to put the salsa mixture in between both layers or adding a can of rotel or just diced tomatoes to the first layer.  My other suggestion would be to serve it with salsa and let people add what they’d like.  Either way, it was really delicious and will probably be gone by the end of the day!  Yummy!

Happy Eating,

Amanda

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Sweet Corn Chowder with Hot-Smoked Salmon Soup

December 13, 2010

I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of this next soup I made, but I thought I’d try it.  It never hurts to try.  The recipe came from my favorite cookbook: Cooking Light: Essential Dinners like most of the recipes I’ve made these days.  Since it’s a Cooking Light recipe it becomes healthier with their changes.  This recipe is traditionally made with smoked bacon in place of the salmon, which sounds amazing.  The salmon is clearly healthier for you and it’s really delicious.  The one downfall of the salmon is it costs a lot of money, but I think it was worth it . Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups cubed peeled baking potato (I used two unpeeled baking potatoes)
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (I used 4 cups)
1 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (I used frozen corn and canned corn)
1 can no-salt-added cream-style corn (I used two)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 (4.5 ounce) packages hot-smoked salmon, flaked
4 teaspoons chopped fresh chives, for garnish (I mixed them in)

Directions:
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion; saute 4 minutes.  Add potato and broth; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until potato is tender.  Add corn kernels and cream-style corn; cook 5 minutes.  Stir in peppers.  Ladle chowder into  into each soup bowl and divide salmon among bowls.

If you want to know the nutritional value / calories of this dish go here: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=10000001591037

Happy Eating!

-Amanda

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Cookie Dough Balls

December 6, 2010

Everyone is so in love with cake balls that I had to find something else to bake.  One day I stumbled across a baking blog and fell in love.  www.BakedPerfection.com  She bakes yummy things and isn’t over the top!  As I browsed her site, I saw the tag “cookie dough” and without even thinking clicked!  She has a delicious recipe for cookie dough pops (which I now make into balls).  I couldn’t wait to try them.  I have since made hundreds of them.  I made a double batch this week for David to bring to school with him.  I took some pictures through out the process.  My last batch was by far the best I’ve ever made, but these weren’t bad!

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
dash of cinnamon
1 stick of butter, softened (it is even okay if it’s melting a little)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Assorted candy melts: chocolate, white chocolate, colors

Directions:
In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt, and dash of cinnamon.  In a second larger bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until creamy.  Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Roll the mixture into quarter size balls and lay on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper (should make approx. 20).  If making into pops, insert a stick now.  Chill for several hours or freeze until firm.

Melt candy melts in the microwave per directions on the package.  Gently dip the cookie dough ball into the candy coating by holding the lollipop stick and rotating until covered.  I found the lollipop stick fell out a lot which is why I switched to balls without the sticks.  Once covered tap off excess chocolate and place on wax paper. If on a stick, stand up on a styrofoam block to dry.

To decorate drizzle with chocolate, colored candy melts, or sprinkles.  I melt my chocolates in a ziploc bag and then cut a very small whole in a corner to drizzle on top.  This time I used sprinkles.  Make sure to apply them when the chocolate is still wet.

There are tons of variations of cookie dough balls, cake balls, etc.  I’m sure I’ll post more adventures here later!

Enjoy!

-Amanda

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The Green Dress

December 1, 2010

In college I started sewing clothing after quilting for a while.  But I haven’t made a dress in a while… I have a meeting in Houston in a couple of days so I decided I’m going to make a fabulous green dress.

As usual, I wandered around Hancock Fabric and I found this fun Project Runway pattern and some great solid green fabric.

I took a few hours to cut out all the pieces and started sewing.  I picked a simple pattern since I only have a few days.  It does have some simple details – buttons and pockets – to make it a little more fun.

As expected – It was a hit at my meeting.  I did decide that either the dress was too tight or the fabric wasn’t just right as its started to pull at the hips a bit from sitting and standing all day… I’ll have to fix that!

Enjoy.

Sarah