January 29, 2015

Vinegar-Braised Chicken and Onions

I know I've mentioned in the past that I'm not the biggest chicken lover in the world.  I make myself eat it because I don't want to eat red meat all the time.  The secret for me is a gravy or sauce of some kind.

When I saw this recipe online the other day and it was like it was calling to me.  First off, I love dutch oven cooking. Secondly, I love the flavor of vinegar.

The recipe did not disappoint.  It had me at "pancetta". I love pancetta.

It does take a little bit of time to get this recipe on the table but it is SO worth it.  I am in love with this recipe, and that coming from me is high praise.  If you're not a vinegar fan, don't worry, the chicken doesn't have a really strong vinegar flavor. However, all of the flavors combined are out of this world.  The chicken is extremely moist and falling off the bone. The onions and pancetta are remarkable with the chicken, and the vinegar broth puts it over the top for me.  This is one of my new favorites.

Vinegar-Braised Chicken and Onions
Recipe from Bon Appetit

  • 2 pounds pearl or cipollini onions
  • kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 5 pounds chicken, bone-in, skin-on. Thighs and legs. If using breasts, half them crosswise
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 bay leaves
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat some water in a large saucepan, add the onions and boil for 5-8 minutes. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle. Cut off the root end of the onion and peel off the skin. 
  2. Meanwhile, add the oil to a dutch oven and cook the pancetta until it is golden brown.  Use a slotted spoon to remove and put them into a large bowl. 
  3. Add the onions to the same dutch oven and brown, about 8-10 minutes. 
  4. Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the onions and garlic to the same bowl the pancetta is in. 
  5. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.  Cook in the same dutch oven in batches so that all the pieces are golden brown on all sides. 
  6. Drain the oil.  Add both vinegars and bring to a boil.  Scrape the brown bits off the bottom.  Add the broth, raisins and bay leaves and all the previously cooked items. (onions, pancetta, garlic and chicken). 
  7. Bring back up to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 35-40 minutes with the dutch oven partially covered. 
  8. Season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.  Remove the chicken and them skim the fat off the top of the liquid and serve the chicken with the onions with some liquid poured over the top. 

January 23, 2015

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Happy Friday everyone!

I'm glad to get this week over.  The cold weather has once again arrived and I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend.

During some of my many hours searching the Internet for recipe ideas, I stumbled up these yummy buffalo cauliflower bites.  I usually eat cauliflower raw but I love buffalo sauce so I thought I'd give this one a try.

The cauliflower gets dunked into a batter before you bake it.  Then you roll it around in a sauce as soon as it comes out of the oven.  Pretty much the same procedure as regular chicken wings although you probably don't use a "batter" with chicken.  Anyway, I thought they were delicious. You could pretty much put buffalo sauce on anything and I'd like it.

This would make a great snack for the Super Bowl.  I might even try it without the batter next time, just to cut off a few more calories.

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
Recipe from Skinny Taste

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut up. About 6 1/2 cups
  • 3/4 cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400º
  2. Spray a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with non-stick spray.
  3. Mix the water, flour and garlic powder together to make a batter.
  4. Dip the cauliflower into the batter until coated, you can scrape off the excess. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, mix the melted butter and Franks sauce together.
  6. After the cauliflower comes out of the oven, coat in the sauce mix and serve.

January 19, 2015

Sloppy Joe Cornbread Casserole

One of my favorite childhood foods was Sloppy Joe's.  I still love them to this day although I don't make them that often.  

As some of you know, my daughter falls into that "worlds pickiest eater" category.  I had high hopes for this casserole.  She hasn't liked regular sloppy joe's in the past.

The result? 

She liked it.  Didn't love it but certainly didn't snub her nose at it like she does most things.  

We might be making progress. 

I on the other hand really liked this.  It's easy to make and quick.  I know that most of us are always trying to find something for busy weeknights and this is a great one. It takes less than an hour from start to finish, so not super fast but fast enough for most of us. 

You basically start out by making a cornbread with creamed corn in it.  While it's baking you whip up the meat mixture.  Pour the meat mixture on top of the partially cooked cornbread and then bake it the rest of the way.  Easy peasy.

Soppy Joe Cornbread Casserole
Recipe from BunsInMyOven

  • 1 (8.5 ounce) box cornbread mix (like Jiffy)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 (14 3/4 ounce) can cream style corn
  • 1 (24 ounce) can sloppy joe sauce
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion, diced
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400º
  2. In a bowl mix together the cornbread mix, 1/2 cup of the cheese, milk, egg and canned corn. Stir together and pour into a greased 9x13 inch dish.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes, or until just set.
  4. While the cornbread is baking, work on the sloppy joe portion.
  5. In a large skillet, add the butter and the onion and bell pepper. Cook until just starting to soften.
  6. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, drain.
  7. Pour in all but 1/2 cup of sloppy joe mix. Stir around and let get warm.
  8. When the cornbread comes out of the oven prick it with a fork all over. Pour the 1/2 cup of reserved sloppy joe mix over the cornbread and smooth out.
  9. Pour the meat mixture over the top and top with the remaining cheese.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes. 
  11. Garnish with the green onion if desired. 

January 14, 2015

Natural Detox Drink

Every single ingredient in this drink has intense nutritional value.  I'm sure you've all heard about some of them individually so combining them together is basically just health in a glass.  

I'm not gonna lie.  This tastes exactly like the ingredients that are in it.  I don't taste the lemon juice that much but that's because the apple cider vinegar sort of takes over.  Luckily I like that vinegar tang but if you're not a fan I would opt for the larger glass of water and chug it. 

I also suggest using barely warm water, otherwise the honey sinks to the bottom and doesn't mix in as easily. 

I saw this recipe floating around Facebook (Conscience Life News) but here are a couple links that are very similar. 

I'm obviously not a health expert so try at your own risk!

Here's what I've discovered after using this drink for a week now.  It definitely is an appetite suppressant.  That could be in part because it's a pretty large glass of water that I chug almost all at once but I don't start to feel hungry again for about an hour after I drink it. I have also noticed that when I started to think I might be getting a cold, this drink wiped out my symptoms.

Oh and one more thing, I haven't had any heartburn at all.  I was thinking that with all this acidity that I might, but I've been good to go. No problems.

Natural Detox Drink

  • 12-16 oz water
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (organic is best, I use Braggs)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (organic if you can find it)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey (local)
  • dash cayenne pepper (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and drink 3x's a day, 20 minutes prior to breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  2. Continue for 2 weeks.
  3. After 2 weeks switch to drinking it just 1x a day before breakfast or lunch.

January 12, 2015

Grandma's Goulash

My husband has so many stories about his grandma, he just loved her to pieces.  Every now and then he'll ask me to try to make something that she used to make him, and then it's just a mission of mine to find a recipe that he gives his approval on.

This is just such a recipe.

It's funny because he only recently started talking about his grandmother's Goulash.  I remember having it when I was young but ours had pea's and corn and other stuff in it that he didn't want.  So, Pinterest to the rescue.

I was lucky with this one.  It only took one recipe to find the one he says is most similar to his grandmothers.  Luckily it also just happened to already be named "Grandma's Goulash".  That sure helped the searching process.

I'm definitely a fan. This is a pretty classic version.  I topped mine with a little sour cream and some shredded cheese and it was delicious.  This recipe does make a lot, perfect if you've got a crowd to feed or if you want leftovers.

Grandma's Goulash
Recipe from Spend With Pennies

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 jar tomato based pasta sauce
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chopped tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow shaped pasta
  • black pepper to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large dutch oven or casserole pan, brown the ground beef, onions and garlic until the beef is no longer pink.
  2. Drain any fat. Add the water, pasta sauce, cans of tomatoes and bay leaves. Add pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and then lower to simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the pasta and continue to simmer until the pasta is tender (about 20-25 minutes). 
  4. Serve with some shredded cheese or sour cream on top.

January 8, 2015

Granma Pressley's World Best Cookies (Ranger Cookies)

Worlds best cookie? Well, I haven't eaten nearly enough cookies to decide if this is actually the worlds best or not.  I can tell you that it's pretty darn good.

Believe it or not, cookies can be made (and made well) without chocolate.  I know!  I was shocked too!

I was surfing Facebook one day when one of my friends posted this recipe.  It was her grandmothers recipe and she gave me permission to put it on my blog.  I'm so glad she did because I shared some with my neighbors (because this recipe makes a ton of cookies) and they all raved about them!  I find myself going back and then back again.  They are so buttery, the center is chewy but the edges are crispy.  All the flavors are really subtle but they work so well together.

The cookie itself is very light feeling, which is probably why I think I can just eat them continuously.  Make no mistake, they aren't diet food AT ALL!, but the texture is right on. And it helps if you tell yourself that oatmeal is good for you. ;)

Grandma Pressley's Worlds Best Cookie (Ranger Cookies)
Recipe from grandma Pressley via Cindy C. (Thanks for sharing your family recipe with me)

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup crushed cornflakes
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325º
  2. Cream the butter and both sugar's together in the bowl of your stand mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and incorporate.
  4. Add the oil and mix.
  5. Add the oats, cornflakes, coconut and pecans and mix well.
  6. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and vanilla. Mix well.
  7. Form balls about the size of a walnut and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  8. Flatten the balls using a fork dipped in water.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes.
  10. Makes about 18 dozen cookies.

January 6, 2015

Honeycomb and Prickly Pear

I'm not sure if you know about my fairly recent obsession with Honeycomb.  My neighbor introduced me to it when we had our annual "baking day" and she made it right here in my kitchen!  I've been enamored with it ever since.

Imagine my surprise when I saw it in World Market today.

Can I just take a moment to tell you how much I love World Market.  I really do.  It's a very good thing the one around here isn't all that close to where I live.

But I digress, the Honeycomb I found there looked slightly different because the homemade kind had little air bubble pockets throughout, and this one is more solid.  The texture is sort of hard to describe.  I think the best I can do is, it would sort of like biting into a crumbly piece of chalk (not that I've EVER done that).  Only it tastes more like the brittle portion of peanut brittle.  The chocolate coating on this candy was chocolate bark, not real chocolate.  Still yummy, you just have to try it.  This particular bag was from Australia but England is where my friend gets hers from.  I think they are called Crunchy Bars there. She says they have them at World Market sometimes so I'll keep looking.

Not much of a "find" here but I thought I'd tell you about it anyway.  This drink tastes like cherry.  I picked it because it uses cane sugar and there isn't any caffeine. I don't believe it was actually made in Sioux City at all, New York more like. But, it was fun to try it anyway.

Don't worry, I've been cooking and will post again soon.

January 2, 2015

Nutella Bread Star

I saw this amazing Nutella Bread Star on Facebook on New Years Eve and knew I waned to bring it to the party we were going to. After all, it only has three ingredients so how could I NOT?  I posted some pictures on Facebook and Instagram and it looks like many of you might want to give it a try.  

It looks amazing but it really quite simple.  Just give yourself about 20 minutes to assemble and then about 25-30 minutes to bake it.  

It's easy and it's a show stopper.  Oh and it also tastes amazing.  The video I have linked below suggests that if you're going to make your own dough that you make a Brioche dough.  I'll have to try that someday. 

The video is pretty short so I suggest watching it, but I've also tried to document the steps below. 

You're going to need 4 dough rounds, each cut to the size of a round dinner plate.  Top side down. 

Each layer needs a good smear of Nutella.  Leave about 1/2 and inch around the edges.  Heating the Nutella slightly will make it easier to spread. 

Once you've piled all the layers on top of each other, it's time to cut. First put a small glass in the middle.  This glass is a juice glass.  Now cut the dough into 4 even sections.  Then cut each section into 4 more even sized strips.  You should end up with 16 even sized strips. 

Pull two pieces up and twist them away from each other two times. This is what makes that star pattern.

Now pinch the ends of the sections you just rolled.  The pinched sections will be pinched vertically, not flat onto the cookie sheet.

Brush egg wash over the entire star and bake until golden brown.

The flavor is amazing, the sweet Nutella shines through.  If you're a Nutella lover this is a great recipe!

Nutella Bread Star
Recipe from DIY Cozy Home
The link above is a video that is very helpful

  • 3 packages pizza dough, I used Betty Crocker, made according to the directions on the back
  • 1 13 oz container Nutella (you won't use all of it)
  • 1 large egg and some water for the egg wash
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 350º
  2. Make the dough according to the package instructions, form into a ball and cut into 4 even sized pieces.
  3. Flour your work surface and roll the dough out so it's pretty thin and big enough to fit a dinner plate on.  Cut around the dinner plate and throw the excess away or use it for something else. 
  4. Repeat for the other 3 pieces. 
  5. Lay the first layer out onto a cookie sheet that has been covered with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. 
  6. Spread a layer of Nutella all around the dough circle leaving about 1/2 an inch around the edge. 
  7. Layer the other pieces of dough over the top, repeating the process until you get to the last dough round, do not put Nutella on the last dough round. 
  8. Put a small glass in the middle of the layered dough rounds.  Use a sharp knife to cut four even sections.  Cut each of those four sections in half and then each of those sections in half so you have 16 equal sized pieces.  (See the pictures above). 
  9. Take two cut dough ends and twist them twice away from each other.  So the one in the left hand should twist two times to the left, the one in the right hand should twist two times to the right. After you twist two pieces, pinch the bottom ends together. Do this to all the cut dough ends. 
  10. Use a brush to cover the top with egg wash and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. 
**If the directions above are confusing, click on the link above for DIY Cozy Home.  There is an excellent video you can watch.