Saturday, September 8, 2012

Crock-Pot Teriyaki Chicken

12 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 3 lb)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 1/2 teaspoons cold water

Hot cooked long grain rice

DIRECTION: Place chicken in a 4 qt. slow cooker. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, soy sauce, cider vinegar, ginger, garlic and pepper. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken to a serving platter; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking liquid. Place liquid in a saucepan and bring to boil. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually stir into liquid and stir until sauce is thickened. Serve with chicken and rice. Note: I halved the recipe and it still worked fine in my crock pot. It might not need the full 4 hours time.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting

Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Yield: 12 Cinnamon Rolls 

1 C scalded milk
3/4 C warm water
1 T yeast
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 C sugar
4 T butter
2 eggs
5-6 C flour

4 T butter, softened
2 t cinnamon
1/2 C brown sugar

Maple Frosting:
4 T butter, softened
5 C powdered sugar
3 T maple syrup
1 t vanilla dash of salt
1/4-1/3 C milk
1. Heat the milk in the microwave for 1 minute. Carefully place the butter into the hot milk. Let it sit for a minute or two, or until the butter starts to melt.
2. Into your stand mixer place 2 C flour, salt, sugar and eggs. Let it mix for just a few seconds. Just long enough for the egg to get a bit covered up. Pour in the hot water.
3. Add the milk/butter mixture. Mix for 30 seconds.
4. Add the yeast, mix until combined.
5. With the mixer on low, begin to add the rest of your flour. Add the flour until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Once you have the right amount of flour, mix on medium speed for 5 minutes.
6. Spray your counter with cooking spray, form the dough into a ball and let it rest on your counter for 5 minutes. Don't skip this step, okay? Letting the dough rest at this stage allows it to be rolled out with ease and grace. If it doesn't rest you will be pulling out your hair trying to get it to stretch to the size you'd like it to be. And we don't want your pulled out hair in these Cinnamon Rolls. :)
7. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.
 8. Spread butter over the top of the dough. Sprinkle the dough with brown sugar. Then just spread the sugar out over the dough with your hand. Don't worry about getting too messy. I'm pretty sure you have a kitchen sink, yes?
9. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the sugar. Use your hand to spread it out evenly.
10. Roll the dough up from short side to short side.
11. Spray a sharp knife with cooking spray and cut the roll in half. Cut each half in you four equal quarters. Cut each quarter into three pieces. giving you a total of 12 rolls.
12. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray. Set each roll onto the sheet.
13. Place your rolls into a warm 170 degree oven. Close the door and let them rise until doubled in size. Should take about 30 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your oven.
14. Turn your oven up to 350 degrees. LEAVE THE ROLLS IN THE OVEN. They will continue to rise as the temperature rises.
15. Bake the rolls until golden brown, about 15 minutes once your oven has reached 350, and depending upon how long it takes to heat up.
16. While your rolls are baking, make the maple frosting! Place your softened butter in your stand mixer. Beat for about 1 minute, or until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and dash of salt. Mix for 10 seconds. Keep your mixer running and begin to add the milk, just a little at a time. When you have the desired consistency beat the frosting for about 1 minute.
17. When the cinnamon rolls have cooled just a bit, spread the frosting over the tops.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Taco Soup
Time: 20 minutes prep + 5 hours in the crock or 1 hour on the stove
Yield: 10 servings

1 pound ground beef
1 onion salt and pepper
3 14.5 oz cans Mexican Stewed Tomatoes
2 15 oz cans black beans
2 15 oz cans kidney beans
2 15 oz cans corn
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 fajita, or taco seasoning packet
1 lime, juiced
4 T maple syrup
2 C water

TOPPINGS: Tortilla chips, sour cream and cheddar cheese

1. Grab your ground beef, chop up your onion and put them into a hot skillet. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over the top and let the meat brown up and the onions get nice and soft.
2. Place your canned tomatoes in a blender and blend them up, nice and pretty like.
3. Add all ingredients (but the toppings) to your crock pot, or to a large soup pot if you are planning on letting it simmer on the stove. Stir all ingredients to combine.
4. For the crock pot cook on high for 5 hours, for the stove top let it come to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and let it simmer for 1 hour.

Balsalmic and Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Roast
Time: 10 minutes prep + 4-6 hours cooking
Yield: 6 serving

1 2 pound pork loin
1 t sage
1/2 t salt
1/4/ t pepper
1 t garlic
1/2 C water

1/2 C brown sugar
1 T cornstarch
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1/2 C water
2 T soy sauce

1. Place your pork roast on a pan, or plate.
2. In a small bowl combine the salt, pepper, rubbed sage, and garlic. Press the seasonings into the pork roast. Spray the inside of your crock pot with cooking spray. Place the seasoned pork roast inside and pour the water along the edges of the roast.
3. Cover and cook on low for 4-6, depending on how hot your crock pot cooks things. You are looking for an internal temperature of 180 degrees.
4. In a small sauce pan, combine the glaze ingredients. Bring it to a boil while stirring and let the sauce thicken. (Should only take a couple of minutes.)
5. Drizzle some of the glaze over the top of the roast and let it cook for another 30 minutes.
 6. Remove the roast from the crock pot and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Slice it thinly, drizzle the remaining sauce over the top and your are ready to eat. It's fabulous served with rice and a green veggie...or with roasted vegetables.

Chicken Enchilada Soup
Time: 10 min. hands on + 4-6 hours crock pot cooking
Yield: 8 servings

1 (14.5 ounce) can Mexican Style Stewed Tomatoes
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
2 (15 ounce) cans corn
1/2 C onion, chopped
1/2 C red or green pepper, chopped
2 chicken breasts (I used frozen)
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 (10 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
2 1/2 C milk 4 bullion cubes (or 4 t bullion granules)
1/2 t lime juice (can be bottled)
1/3 C sour cream
2 T butter

Toppings: Tortilla Chips cheddar cheese cilantro avocado

1. Pour the whole can of stewed tomatoes into your crock pot, juice included. Diced tomatoes work best...but if you only have whole stewed tomatoes, like me :)...then stick some kitchen scissors into the pot and cut up your tomatoes.
2. Drain and rinse the black beans and add them to the pot.
3. Drain the corn and add them as well.
4. Roughly chop up 1/2 C onion and 1/2 C of red or green pepper and toss them in.
5. Pour the enchilada sauce into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the cream of chicken soup, 2 1/2 C milk and then crumble the bullion cubes over the top.
6. Whisk it all together until nice and smooth.
7. Place two chicken breasts over the vegetables in your crock pot. (I used frozen)
8. Pour the sauce over the top of the chicken.
9. Cover your crock and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 7-8, depending on how fast your crock pot cooks things.
10. Remove the chicken and place it on a plate. Shred it with a fork.
11. Add the 1/2 t lime juice, 1/3 C sour cream and 2 T butter to the soup. Whisk it in until the butter has melted and the sour cream is well combined.
12. Toss your chicken back into the pot, give it a stir and you are ready to eat. Serve with tortilla chips and cheddar cheese. Cilantro and avocado are also fabulous. Enjoy!

Italian Cream Cheese Chicken
Time: 15 min. prep + 4 1/2 or 7 1/2 hours cooking time
Yield: 6-8 servings

***NOTE: This recipe also works wonderfully served over white rice, instead of pasta.***

1 (.07 ounce) package Good Seasons Zesty Italian Salad Dressing Mix
1/2 C butter, melted
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used frozen with no trouble at all)
 4 ounces cream cheese
2 (10.5 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
1 (12 ounce) package fettuccine noodles

1. Grab your self one package of Zesty Italian Salad Dressing Mix. Melt 1/2 cup butter in the microwave and then add the dressing packet to the butter. Stir it around a bit to combine.
2. Place 4 chicken breasts in your crock pot and pour the butter/seasoning mixture over the top of the chicken. Cover the crock pot of wonder and let the old girl cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 7. Your crock pot may cook a little bit slower or faster than mine...adjust accordingly.
3. When your chicken is no longer pink in the center, remove it to a plate and shred it up with two forks.
4. To the crock pot and it's wonderful juices, add 4 ounces of cream cheese and 2 cans of cream of chicken soup.
5. Pop a fork into the pot and stir it all together until smooth.
6. Place the shredded chicken back into the crock pot, give it a nice stir, cover it and let it cook on high for about 20 minutes, or until the soup and cream cheese are heated through.
7. Boil yourself some nice water and cook the fettuccine according to package directions. Serve the pasta with the yummy chicken mixture on top. Enjoy!

Creamy Ranch Chicken with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Time: 20 min. prep + 4-6 hours crock pot cooking
Yield: 6 servings

Creamy Ranch Chicken:
5-6 chicken breasts (I used frozen)
2 (14 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
 4 T butter, melted 2 (1 ounce) packages Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
4-5 cloves garlic

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes:
7 large russet potatoes
4 T butter milk salt and pepper

1. Find yourself a nice crock pot. Spray the inside with cooking spray and place 5-6 chicken breasts in it. (I used frozen)
2. In a small bowl combine 2 cans cream of chicken soup, 2 packages ranch mix and 4 tablespoons melted butter. Spread it over the top of your chicken.
3. Peel your garlic and place the cloves on top of a sheet of tin foil.
4. Wrap the foil around the cloves and up into a nice little package.
5. Place the garlic package in the crock pot on top of the chicken. Cover the crock and let the old girl cook away on low for 6 hours, or on high for 4 hours.
 6. When your chicken has cooked through carefully take the tin foil package out of the crock pot and set it on a plate.
7. Peel your potatoes and chop them into chunks. Boil them for about 15 minutes, or until fork tender and then drain the water out of the pan.
8. Mash up some of the roasted garlic and add it to the potatoes. Just start with a small amount of garlic, maybe 1-2 teaspoons. You can always add more, if you want it really garlicky...but you don't want to overpower it.
9. Add 4 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper and a bit of milk. Beat the potatoes until light and fluffy, tasting along the way and adding more salt and pepper or butter or milk or garlic to your own very personal liking and desire. Serve the potatoes with the gravy from the crock pot and the heavenly Creamy Ranch Chicken. Enjoy!

Chocolate Toffee Trifle
Time: 30 minutes prep, 40 minutes baking, 1 hour cooling, 3 hours chilling
Yield: 12 servings

1 devils food cake mix + ingredients to make the cake
1 large (6 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding
3 C milk
1 8 ounce bag toffee pieces
1 12 ounce container cool whip Hershey syrup

1. Bake the cake according to package directions. Let it cool completely.
2. While your cake is cooling, beat the pudding with 3 C of milk until thick, should take about 3 minutes.
3. Chop up your cake into crumbs with a spatula.
4. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cake crumbs in the bottom of a trifle dish.
5. Spread 1/3 of the pudding over the top of the cake.
6. Sprinkle 1/3 of the toffee over the pudding.
7. Spread 1/3 of the cool whip over the toffee and drizzle some Hershey's syrup over the top.
 8. Repeat the layers twice more.
 9. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, and up to twelve. Enjoy!!!

Black and White Cupcakes
Time: 90 minutes
Yield: 30 cupcakes

***NOTE: The cupcake portion of these tasty treats can be made in advance. However, they don't freeze well once they are completely assembled with the frosting and ganache. Once the cupcakes have been baked and are completely cool, wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them. On the day you are ready to serve them make the frosting and ganache and apply them to the cupcakes.

1 devils food cake mix
1 small package instant chocolate pudding
1/3 C flour
1/3 C oil
1 1/2 C water
1 t vanilla
1/3 C sour cream
4 eggs
1 C mini chocolate chips

1 (12 ounce) package white chocolate chips
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 C butter, softened
1 t vanilla
4 C powdered sugar

1 C semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 C whipping cream
1/2 t vanilla dash salt

Orange Sesame Chicken
Time: 30 minutes start to finish...gotta love that.
Yield: 6 servings Recipe from Jamie Cooks It Up!

4 chicken breasts
1/2 C flour
1/8 t salt
2 T olive oil

1/2 C fresh orange juice (you'll 2 large oranges)
1/4 C soy sauce
3 T rice vinegar
4 T sugar
1 T orange peel (loosely packed)
1/4 C cold water
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t sesame oil
1/4 t ginger
1 T cornstarch
1 T toasted sesame seeds

1. Pour 1/2 cup flour into a medium sized bowl and sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon of salt into it. Toss it together with a fork to combine.
2. Cut your chicken into large chunks and dip them each into the flour, making sure all sides are coated.
3. Heat a large skillet up over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, pour 2-3 tablespoons olive oil into the pan.
4. Once the oil has gotten hot, place your chicken into the pan. Let the chicken get nice and golden brown. Then turn each piece over and let it get golden brown on the other side.
5. While your chicken is getting lovely and golden, zest one orange.
6. Squeeze the juice from 2-3 oranges. You need 1/2 a cup.
7. Pour your orange juice, and 1 tablespoon (loosely packed) orange zest into a small mixing bowl. Add 1/4 C soy sauce, 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 4 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 cup cold water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Stir it all together until the cornstarch has dissolved and everything is mixed well.
8. Once your chicken is golden on both sides pour the heavenly orange sauce over the chicken. Bring the sauce to a simmer, cover and let it cook for 10-15 minutes over medium low heat stirring occasionally.
9. When the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick and bubbly pour 1 tablespoon sesame seeds over the top of the chicken. Stir it around to combine and you are good to go. Serve over a bed of white or brown rice. Enjoy!

Smore Cookies
Time: about 90 minutes
Yield: 48 cookies

1 package graham crackers (9 full sized graham crackers)
6 T butter, melted
1 T sugar dash salt
1 C butter, softened
2 C brown sugar
2 eggs
2 T milk
2 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
3 1/2 C flour
2 1/2 C milk chocolate chips
24 large marshmallows
4 small 1.55 oz Hershey bars

1. Break the graham cracker crumbs up into pieces. Place them in a small food processor and grind them into crumbs. No food processor? Do not dismay. You can crush your crackers into crumbs by placing them in a gallon sized zip loc bag, sealing the bag securely and then smashing the crumbs with a rolling pin.
2. To your crumbs add 6 T melted butter,1 T sugar and a dash of salt. Let the food processor grind all of the ingredients together nicely. Set the crumbly mixture aside.
3. Place your softened butter and brown sugar into a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until the ingredients are nicely creamed together, about 2 minutes.
4. Add your eggs, milk and vanilla and mix for another 2 minutes.
5. In a separate bowl combine your baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour. Add it to your creamed mixture and mix until combined. Toss in your chocolate chips and mix yet again, just until the chips are evenly distributed.
 6. Grab your graham cracker crumbs and pour them into the cookie dough. Using a wooden spoon, or your hands :) smash them into the cookie dough. You don't want the graham cracker crumb mixture to be totally lost in the dough, just....well....just smashed into it a bit. Boy, you have really come to an eloquently written blog now haven't you. Fancy lingo just dripping from every corner. :)
7. Roll the dough into 2 inch balls, place them on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 6 minutes, or just until the cookies begin to crack.
 8. While your cookies are in the oven, cut the large marshmallows in half.
9. Press a marshmallow piece into the center of each hot cookie. Return the sheet to the oven and bake for about 1 1/2 more minutes allowing the marshmallows to puff up and get all wonderful and delicious.
10. Remove the sheet from the oven. Let the cookies sit for about 2 minutes, then press one Hershey bar piece into the center of the marshmallow.
11. Remove the cookies from the sheet and allow them to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

Who doesn't love Cafe Rio or Costa Vida?

This recipe is a great option for feeding a crowd,  because there's something for everyone. Don't like meat? Have a meatless salad. Don't like meat or salads? Have a tortilla with cheese, rice, dressing, pico  and beans.  Everyone builds their own.

To Build a Cafe Rio style Sweet Pork salad:

Cafe Rio style Sweet Pork- find it here
Cafe Rio style Black Beans-find it here
Mexican Rice with Cilantro Dressing - find it here
Cafe Rio style Cilantro Dressing- find it here
Pico de Gallo - find it here
Our favorite Chunky Guacamole- find it here

Other items you will  need/want to make a Cafe Rio style salad:
Romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
Cheese, Mexican blend and/or Cotija (Mexican cheese) for sprinkling on top, if desired
Flour Tortillas, we like the type found in Costco in the refrigerated section, grill for a few minutes on each side at home, or you may use grilled corn or regular grocery store flour tortillas, warmed
corn tortillas and vegetable oil- cut the corn tortillas into strips, fry over medium high heat, drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt
Sour cream for topping salad
Fresh cilantro to top salad
lime slices, to top each salad
8 or 9" disposable foil tins found in baking section of grocery or the dollar store, or plates work too

Place all items on serving table in this order:
Tins or plates, tortillas, beans, rice, meat, lettuce, cheese, pico, guacamole, dressing, sour cream, tortilla strips, cilantro and lime slices.

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork for a crowd
A Bountiful Kitchen

For roasting meat:
13.5 lb Pork Shoulder* (yield approx 6 1/2 lbs cooked, fat removed, shredded pork)
2 teaspoon onion salt
fresh ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine or crushed
1 can or approx 12 oz Coke or Dr. Pepper, not Diet (see reader comment below by Bonnie)

For sauce after roasting:
3- 4 oz cans diced (mild to medium) green chilies
1-28 oz can red enchilada sauce
2 cups light brown sugar
2 cans or 24 oz Coke or Dr. Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rack in bottom third of oven.

If making a full recipe and using a piece of meat larger than 6 lbs, cut the meat into at least two or more pieces to insure meat will be cooked through.

Season the pork with onion salt and ground pepper on all sides.  Rub the top of the pork with crushed garlic cloves.

Place the pork in a large heavy roasting pan or crock pot.  Pour Coke around the sides of roast.
Cover tightly with foil, so no steam escapes. Roast at 350 for 2 1/2 hours. Do not open oven. Turn oven to 200 roast for 2 more hours. Alternately, Place the pork into two large crock pots. Follow directions, except cook on low for about 10-12 hours.

After roasting, remove meat. Let cool for about 15 minutes, or cool enough to handle. Pull meat apart with hands, removing any visible fat remaining on meat. Discard fat and drain remaining liquid from pan.
Place meat back into roasting pan, shred with forks.

Prepare sauce by placing green chilies, enchilada sauce and brown sugar into a blender.  Blend until smooth. Add the Coke, stir with spoon. Pour the sauce over the meat, and heat the meat again before serving. Do not stir too much, this makes the meat a mushy mess. Visualize the icky barbecued meat in the frozen section at the grocery. I prefer to pour sauce on top and leave the meat alone :) Using tongs helps tremendously.
Yield: about 35 servings.