Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chicken Nuggets with Homemade Honey Mustard

Everybody loves chicken nuggets, but honestly they are one of the most unhealthy things you can eat.  Between the mystery meat, preservatives, and frying, they aren't really worth it.  My chicken nugget recipe is made from all natural ingredients and its also baked.  No calories from oil but no wasting your time standing by a hot stove and frying.  And they are way better than the store bought kind.  I swear you get a crispy crust on the outside which is what always makes me nervous when I bake something instead of fry it.

Chicken Nuggets:
4 chicken breasts
2 eggs
5 rosemary sprigs
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
cooking spray

Honey Mustard:
1 tablespoon mayonaise
1/2 cup mustard
1/4 cup honey

Cut the chicken breasts into chunks or nugget sized pieces.  I usually did about 4 strips and then cut each strip into about 4 cubes.

In one bowl, beat the eggs with 1 teaspoon of water. Mix so everything is homogenous and the yolks are not separate from the wipes.  In another large bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, chopped rosemary sprigs, salt, paprika, garlic powder, lemon zest, and cornstarch until everything is evenly distributed.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray evenly with cooking spray.

Dip each nugget into the egg and shake off the excess.  Then put into the bread crumb to make sure everything is evenly coated.  Put on the baking sheet.  Once all of the nuggets are done, cover the baking sheet with foil and refrigerate for about an hour.

For the honey mustard, mix the mayo, mustard, and honey all together.  Make sure to taste it, some people like sweeter sauce and others like more tangy.  Set aside for later.

One the nuggets are finished chilling, preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Liberally spray the nuggets with cooking spray.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until outside is golden and crunchy.

Serve with honey mustard and enjoy!

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fiesta Cheese Fondue

The Melting Pot is one of my favorite restaurants.  Making their fondues at home is actually way easier than it looks.  For Halloween I decided to make their fiesta cheese fondue, serve it in a roasted pumpkin, and make homemade tortilla chips.  Boy was it good!

1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups colby jack cheese
1/4 cup salsa
2 tablespoons corn starch

8 corn tortillas
vegetable oil

For the roasted pumpkin, you want a medium sized pumpkin.  Cut about an 8 inch circle in diameter off the top of the pumpkin.  Use a sharp knife to cut down at an angle.  Once you do this, you can pull the top off.  Clean out the inside with a metal spoon and get rid of the pumpkin seeds.  Roast them if you'd like.  Clean out as much of the flesh as possible to make a smooth inside.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Roast the pumpkin for a half hour or until it turns golden.  Set aside for later.

Heat the oil in a small sauce pan about 2 inches up the side.  Cut each corn tortilla into 8 triangles.  I use one to test the oil.  Once it floats to the top it is finished.  Toss in about 8 at a time and stir around with a slotted spoon.  Cook until they turn lightly golden.  It should only take about a minute or two.  Drain on paper towels and LIGHTLY season with salt.

Get a fondue pot of a small sauce pan and begin heating the vegetable broth with the salsa.  Grate your cheese by hand.  Do not buy pre-shredded cheese as this makes the fondue clump.  I learned that the hard way.  Once all of your cheese is shredded, mix with the corn starch.  This will also prevent clumping.

One the broth is hot, stir in your cheese one small handful at a time and slowly whisk in.  Allow all of the cheese to melt before adding more cheese.  Once all of the cheese has melted, pour into the pumpkin.  Serve hot with the chips!


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Pumpkin Brownies

So brownies are one of my favorite things ever.  I found a recipe for brownies that are actually faster than box brownies and way better.  And adding pumpkin in the middle made them absolutely unbelievable. Make these for any fall occasion.  They are warm, gooey, with just the right amount of pumpkin.

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3 eggs
1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar
7 oz canned pumpkin (usually half of a normal can, NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING)
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, melt the butter in the microwave for about 1 minute.  Stir in the white sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and eggs.  Once completely stirred, place about 1/3 of the batter in the bottom of a greased 13 x 9 baking dish.  It is very thick so it might take some good spreading, but don't worry if it doesn't completely cover the bottom of the pan.  Bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes.

While the bottom layer is baking, in a separate bowl mix the pumpkin, chocolate chips, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Then put 1/2 cup of the remaining brownie batter and stir together.  

Once the bottom layer comes out of the oven, pour the pumpkin mixture on top and spread.  Then put the remaining brownie batter on top of that and spread.  Again it is very thick and may be difficult to spread.  I would put small spoonfuls all over the top and then try to spread.  

Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

Allow to cool for at least 2 hours.  Cut into squares and enjoy!  Beware, you can't eat just one!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Menu

Halloween is such an awesome time of year!  It is one of the best times to throw a party because all of your food can be Halloween themed!!  Here is a list of recipes from my blog and others to make your Halloween Party great!

Mummy Dogs

Goblin Dip with Bone Crackers

Individual Spooky White Pizzas

Main Courses:
Ghostly Shepherd's Pie

Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Brownies

Candy Apples

Candy Corn Cookies

Spooky Halloween Punch

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake Shooters

Have you ever had the shooter desserts at Applebee's? Well this is a take on those.  I love strawberry shortcake, but I wanted to keep myself from eating the entire cake.  So I thought why don't I make individual ones in a shot glass and then it's automatic portion control.  Well except for when you eat 6 of them...which is what I did.  This dessert is super simple and super delish!  To make it even faster, use yellow cake mix instead of making your own and add a little bit of strawberry extract to it.

2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup milk
3/4 vegetable oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons strawberry extract

1 quart fresh strawberries
1/2 cup strawberry jam

1 pint heavy cream
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons strawberry extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs together until slightly thickened.  Add flour, milk, vegetable oil, baking powder, vanilla and strawberry extracts.  Beat for one minute or until smooth.  Pour into loaf pan.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Remove the stems of the strawberries and slice them.  Put in a large bowl and mix with strawberry jam.  Put in refrigerator until ready to serve.  It will make a strawberry syrup and the strawberries will soften slightly.

In a large, cold bowl, beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer.  After about 5 minutes, sprinkle in the sugar slowly while beating.   Continue to beat until it becomes very thick and forms soft peaks on your beater.  Pour in the strawberry extract and beat for another minute.  If desired, you can pour into a piping bag or into a ziploc bag.  Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

 Once cake is done, allow to cool for an hour.  Remove from pan and make 1 inch slices down the loaf.  Take each slice and using a shot glass, cut out circles of the cake.  To build your dessert, put one piece of cake in the bottom.  Cover with whipped cream.  Then top with a few strawberry slices.  Continue with one piece of cake and top off with whipped cream.

You can also just make a layer cake by making 2 8-inch rounds of cake.  Put all of the strawberries in between the two cakes.  Frost the entire outside with the whipped cream.

Chill for about an hour.  Serve and enjoy!

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Okay so this might actually be the best recipe I have ever created! It has a lot of ingredients, but is super easy and one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted! It makes a pretty big batch, so you will have plenty of leftovers to enjoy!!!

4 large tomatoes
2 poblano chilis (optional, 1 for less spicy)
1 1/2 onions
5 garlic cloves
4 corn tortillas
2 32oz containers chicken broth
2 chicken breasts
1 taco seasoning packet
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup monterey jack cheese
1 6 oz can tomato paste

Crushed Tortilla chips or homemade tortilla strips

In a large skillet, char the tomatoes, onions with the skin, poblano peppers, and garlic with the skin for about 5 minutes on each side or until brown.  Don't worry if it gets very dark.  This is flavor!

Remove all of the vegetables and remove the skin of the onion and garlic.  Cut the vegetables up into smaller pieces.  A few cuts should do the trick.  No need to finely dice!  Put these in a large pot with 2 32 oz containers of chicken broth, half of the taco seasoning packet, and the tomato paste.  Stir and allow to cook on medium high heat for 45-50 minutes or until vegetables become very soft.  After about 30 minutes, chop up the 4 corn tortillas and put them into the soup! I know this sounds weird, but you are thickening the soup this way!

In another pot, put the chicken breasts and fill with water so that the chicken is just covered.  Stir in the second half of the taco seasoning packet.  Cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes, or until chicken becomes tender.  After 30 minutes, shred the chicken and put it back in the pot of seasoned water on medium low heated until needed.

In the same large skillet you charred the vegetables before, char the corn now.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until corn begins to turn brown.  Set aside.

After about 50 minutes of the vegetables cooking in the chicken broth stir to check for tenderness.  If they are tender, in small batches, blend them in the blender.  Once everything is blended, but it back in the pot and allow it to cook for another 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, not you can add your corn, shredded chicken, and one cup of monterey jack cheese.  Allow this to cook for another 20-25 minutes.

While the soup is cooking you can get your toppings ready.  Cheese is always great on the top.  I also like avocado! Don't forget to squeeze some lime on the avocado so it does not turn brown.

You can also crush up tortilla chips, but I made my own tortilla strips.  Slice a couple of corn tortillas into strips while a pot of hot oil is coming up to temperature.  About 375 degrees is a good temperature to fry at. Toss in the corn tortillas and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until golden.  Drain on a paper towel and season with salt as soon as they come out of the fryer.

Once the soup is ready, pour a big ladle full into a bowl and top with cheese, avocado, and those delicious tortilla strips! Enjoy!

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chicken Marsala

4 chicken breasts, thinnly sliced
1/2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
1 1/2 cups dry marsala wine
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup flour

After you clean each chicken breast, slice it into 4 thin slices lengthwise.  Use a very sharp filet knife for the best results.  Season each side with salt and pepper.  Evenly coat in the flour and shake off an excess.  While you are coating, begin getting a large skillet warm with about 2 tablespoons of oil in the bottom.

Once oil is hot, saute each chicken breast piece on each side, about 4 minutes a side or just until slightly browned.  Set aside.  Now toss in the mushrooms and saute until they begin to caramelize.  This should take about 10 minutes.

Remove the mushrooms.  With the heat on medium, deglaze the pan with the wine.  Scrape all of the bits off of the bottom of the pan.  Allow to reduce for about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chicken broth and allow the entire sauce to cook for another 10 minutes.  Put the mushrooms back in and allow to cook for another 5-7 minutes.  Put the chicken back in and with the lid half on and half off cook for 25 minutes, flipping chicken over every 5 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

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