Chicken Nuggets for my ‘lil Nuggets

Hello! It’s been far too long (again) since my last post. But I figured I’d share this recipe-since a lot of you may have little ones who have a very limited amount of food they will actually eat. I’m lucky both of my boys will try anything-but getting them to consume enough to keep their bellies full is another story. Enter Chicken Nuggets. Any time of the day Aiden will eat them. Guaranteed.

Have you seen what is in pre-made chicken nuggets? Lucky for you, we moved from upstate NY to Detroit, Michigan a little over a month ago and (don’t judge) I have a few Aldi Chicken nuggets left in my freezer. And guess what I discovered? They aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be. At least I can figure out what the ingredients are.

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But I digress. Mine are better for you (can you say ground flaxseed?) and tastier. I made a double batch (to freeze) so if you prefer to half it you may!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs Ground Chicken
  • 1/4 cup ground old fashioned oats (I use my coffee grinder for this)
  • 1/2 C parmesan cheese (divided)
  • 1 TBSP of Ground Flaxseed
  • 2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (divided) sub paprika if you don’t have Old Bay
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder (divided)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1- 1 1/2 C Breadcrumbs

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix together chicken, oatmeal, half the parmesan (1/4 C), half the Old Bay Seasoning (1 tsp), garlic powder, Flaxseed, and pepper. Knead ingredients together.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine remaining parmesan cheese, Old Bay Seasoning, Garlic Powder,and bread crumbs.
  4. Form chicken mixture into “nugget” shaped pieces, and coat with the breadcrumb mixture and place on a cookie sheet. Lightly coat with cooking spray if  desired (I did not).
  5. Bake 15 min on each side, let cool, and enjoy!

 

 

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Coconut, Rice, & Mushroom Thai Curry Soup

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Do you ever commit to something and then realize, “Oh CRAP! I don’t have time to make soup and bread for my lunch date today”? Enter this amazing soup. I’m not normally one to “create” my own recipes because honestly, I just don’t have the guts to whip something up out of thin air and hope it turns out, but a few weeks ago I had a lunch date at a friends and couldn’t get to the store, and didn’t want to show up with something store bought. So I took a chance and gathered up some random ingredients and just decided to make this gem of a soup.

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of vegetable broth (I used Edward & Songs Garden Veggie- My father in law gave it to me, but I think you can find something similar at your local health food store)
  • 1/2 sweet onion chopped
  • 1/2 C chopped baby carrots
  • 1-1 1/2 C Mushrooms-Chopped
  • 1 cup of uncooked brown rice
  • 2 tsp taste of thai red curry paste (more to taste)
  • 4 ounces of Coconut Cream or 8 ounces of Coconut Milk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a rice cooker or on your stovetop cook your brown rice. (1 cup brown rice to 2 cups water)
  2. Prepare your vegetable stock if you aren’t using homemade.
  3. Saute’ your onions until translucent and add to chicken stock.
  4. Chop carrots and add to chicken stock.
  5. Add coconut milk/cream and add red curry paste. Salt and Pepper to taste. Also feel free to add more curry paste if you want it spicier.
  6. Add mushrooms and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  7. When rice is done add to pot and simmer for about 5 more minutes. At this point I do some sampling to make sure I’ve added enough salt and pepper.
  8. Serve and Enjoy or store in Fridge until ready to eat.
  9. I sometimes add a little drizzle of red chile oil to the soup when serving.

 

 

Now I just needed to make some bread. This recipe is a pretty hearty recipe found, I believe from Cooks Illustrated. Although I just received it from a friend on a piece of paper.

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Whole Wheat, Rye, and Wheat Germ Sandwich Bread:

Makes two 9 inch loaves.

  • 2 1/3 C Warm Water (110 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 TBSP Instant Yeast
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 4 TBSP (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 C Toasted Wheat Germ
  • 1/4 C (7/8 of an ounce) Rye Flour
  • 3 C (16.5 ounces) Whole-Wheat Flour
  • 2 3/4 C (13.75 ounces) Unbleached All Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting.

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  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix water, yeast, honey, butter, and salt with a silicone spatula. Mix in the Rye flour, wheat germ, and 1 cup each of the whole wheat and all-purpose flours.
  2. Add the remaining whole wheat and all purpose flours, attach the dough hook, and knead at low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic-about 8 minutes. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Knead just long enough to make sure the dough is soft and smooth, about 30 seconds.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free area until the dough has doubled in volume, about one hour. I use my microwave to do this proofing. Leaving the door open a little so the light is on.
  4. Heat the oven to 375 degree. Gently Press down the dough and divide into two equal parts. Gently press each into a rectangle about one inch thick and no longer than 9 inches. With the long side of the dough facing you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing down to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Turn the dough seam-side up and pinch it closed. Place each loaf seam-side down in a lightly oiled 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. pressing the dough gently so it touches all 4 sides of the pan. Cover the shaped dough; let it rise until almost doubled in size. About 20-30 minutes.
  5. Bake until and instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim reads 205 degrees, about 35-45 minutes.
  6. Transfer to cooling racks immediately, cool to room temp before eating.

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There you have it. Soup and Bread!

 

Bread Bowls with Coconut Curried Lentil Soup

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I need to remember to start taking photos with my camera, INSTEAD of my iPhone. The quality is not quite the same as my RebelXL. Sigh. I guess after I get the delicious dinner on the table, I just get so excited to eat it I can hardly even get ONE photo before their are bites out of it.

The amazing thing about this soup, even my two-year-old eats it. As you can see from the blurry Melissa & Doug Fire Truck place mat and almost empty bowl of soup on top of it 🙂

I first discovered this recipe at a friends house. But she found it here. My soup isn’t quite as vibrant as Mel’s, but I can imagine its just as scrumptious. I’m not going to re-invent the wheel here, so you can use the recipe with the link above, the only thing I did differently was I used Coconut cream instead of the milk. It’s what I had on hand. Since then, I have made it with the coconut milk and it tasted just as yummy.

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I also made some bread bowls I found here. These are quite possibly one of the yummiest bread bowls I have EVER had. Enjoy!

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Cinnamon Raisin Walnut Bread

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for awhile. One of my favorite bread to make (and eat)! Enjoy!

*Makes two 1 1/2 pound loaves

  • 3 1/2 C        (16 ounces)     Unbleached Bread Flour
  • 4 tsp            (.66 ounce)      Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp      (.31 ounce)      Salt
  • 2 tsps           (.22 ounce)     Instant Yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp      (.16 ounce)      Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Large        (1.65 ounces)  Egg, Slightly Beaten
  • 2 TBSP        (1 ounce)         Shortening, melted or at Room Temperature
  • 1/2 C           (4 ounces)       Buttermilk or whole milk ( @ Room Temperature)
  • 3/4 C           (6 ounces)       Water (@ Room Temperature)
  • 1 1/2 C        (9 ounces)       Raisins, rinsed and drained ( I don’t think I did this step)
  • 1 C              (4 ounces)       Chopped Walnuts
  1. Stir together the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer).
  2. Add Eggs, shortening, buttermilk, and water. Stir together with a large spoon or mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until the ingredients come together and form a ball. Adjust with flour or water if the dough seems too sticky or too dry and stiff.
  3. Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading ( or mix on medium speed switching to a dough hook). The dough should be soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. Add flour as you kneed (or mix) if necessary, to acheive this texture ( it took some extra flour for me on this step & I use a Kitchen Aide Mixer).
  4. Kneed by hand approx. 10 min, or by machine for 6 or 8 min.  Sprinkle in raisins and walnuts during the final two minutes of kneeding. I’ve found if you are using the Kitchen Aide you will have to take the dough out and manually kneed the raisins and walnuts in with your hands (it seems like a TON of raisins and walnuts for the amount of dough). The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77-81 degrees F. Lightly Oil a Large Bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  5. Ferment at Room Temperature for about 2 hours, or until the dough is doubled.
  6. Divide the dough into two equal pieces (I’d use a scale) and form into loaves. Place each loaf in a lightly oiled 8.5 by 4.5 inch pan, mist the tops with spray oil, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. (at this point I flatten the dough and add a cinnamon sugar mixer and roll the dough into loaves).
  7. Proof at room temp for 60-90 minutes, or until the dough crests above the lips of the pans and has doubled in size.Image
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with the oven rack in the middle of the shelf. Place loaf pans on a sheet pan making sure they are not touching each other.
  9. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 Degrees for even baking, and continue to bake for another 20-30 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is. Mine is SOOOO hot it doesn’t ever take that long. Take the inside of the breads temp and make sure it registers 190 Degrees F.
  10. IMMEDIATELY take out of pans and move to cooling rack (at this point I coat with melted butter and add more cinnamon sugar to the top of the loaves.)
  11. EAT and ENJOY!

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A train carrot cake.

I have to find the photos of Aiden’s Actual birthday party. But I figured since these were all uploaded I would get this blog out of the way-since I’ve committed to catching up on blogs I might as well get as many done today as I can 🙂

I first decided I needed to use the best Carrot Cake recipe I know-enter Elise’s amazing Carrot Cake recipe.

For the Cake:

  • 1 1/4 pounds of shredded Carrots
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 C Vegetable Oil
  • 2 C All Purpose Flour
  • 2 C Sugar ( I used Bakers sugar)
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 C Chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 C Powered Sugar
  • 1 8oz. package of Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 C Margarine ( I used butter)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Directions:

  1. Shred Carrots ( I use a food processor)
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Grease a 9 x 13 pan (I used round cake pans for this particular cake) then lightly coat with Flour
  4. Beat Eggs and Oil in a small bowl
  5. Combine dry ingredients in another bowl- slowly add egg mixture to dry ingredients
  6. Stir in the Carrots and then add to prepared pan.
  7. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes clean.
  8. Make icing (beat wet ingredients, then slowly add sugar until smooth)
  9. Ice Cake once cooled.
  10. ENJOY!

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I didn’t grate my carrots small enough so they sunk to the bottom. Still yummy though!

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Then I cut them all into individual cakes so I could spread the frosting in-between and on the outside of the cake.

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Now it was time to put the white fondant on it. Oh man, was this the hard part.

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Then I added sticks to hold the second layer.

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Then I put a piece of cardboard under the smaller topper and voila…

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Next I added grass all around both cakes.

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Then I started on the train.

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And here is the final product. A labor of love from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Nov 15th, 2013.

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Here’s a cake for the grown-ups.

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And this was my inspiration. Not too bad for my first Fondant adventure!

my newest love. homemade pizza crust.

Henry and I have been searching for a go to recipe for home-made pizza crust. Every recipe has turned up short. The crust is too thick, the gluten doesn’t have a chance to rest and therefore can’t be rolled out without “bouncing” back, and pretty much any other bad crust experience you can think of would happen to our crust. I was beginning to think I was just destined to never make home-made pizza crust. Until I stumbled upon this.

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I actually can’t take credit for this stumble. My gracious neighbor, Zion, who also gets all the credit for my newfound love of baking, let me borrow her book and from there it was love at first sight.

Back to the pizza crust. The secret is to let the dough rest overnight in the fridge. If you find recipe that doesn’t need 24 hours to rest, DO NOT use it.

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Another secret, which they mention in the book, don’t overload toppings on the pizza. We have tried a few with “fancy” toppings and have found that the very classic tomato and basil pizza turns out the best.

Last night I made another batch of dough and can’t wait to eat pizza tonight as our new Friday night tradition!

Here is the recipe:

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Directions:

1. Mix dry ingredients in your kitchenAid mixer bowl.

2.Combine water and oil and add to dry ingredients. Stir together with a metal spoon (or you can use your paddle attachment on your KAM) until all dry and wet ingredients are incorporated together.

3. Once all liquid is absorbed switch to your dough hook attachment and mix on medium speed for 5-7 minutes or as long as it takes to create a smooth sticky dough. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl (I will tell you if you add the optional oil, which I have done every time, I always end up adding a little more flour so the dough doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl. I also don’t like it to be SUPER sticky to the bottom of the bowl, so I keep my flour out until it reaches the appropriate consistency). The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, just not tacky, and should be between 50 to 55 degrees.

2. Sprinkle flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper and spray with oil (I just use canola spray). Using a dough scraper (I don’t have one so I just use a bread knife) cut into 6 even pieces. If you feel comfortable shaping a larger pizza (they recommend the toss method) you can cut your smaller. I did 5 the first time (from the photos on this post) and then last night I only cut 4.

3. Lightly flour hands and dough pieces. Create balls with each piece of dough.

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4. Place on lined baking sheet and spray with oil. Cover with a plastic food grade bag(I end of using two and place one on each side).

5. Stick in fridge and wait for 24 hour to up to 3 days.

6. Two hours before you are ready to bake your pizza take dough out of the fridge. Dust counter with flour and flatten to disks 1/2 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter (thanks mom for the kitchen measuring tape-I’ve used it a TON since you gave it to me). Spray with oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rest for 2 hours.

7. 45 minutes before you plan to bake your pizza preheat your oven to as hot as it goes up to 800 degrees(if you have an awesome oven-mine only goes to 550, but it does the trick) and place your baking stones in it.

8. After the two hours have passed you are ready to getting pizza making! The cookbook tells you to top your pizza then transfer it to the pizza stone, that is WAY to complicated for me (maybe I don’t have some magical tool) but I get all my ingredients ready to go, get my pizza crust ready…

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Good luck with the pizza toss. I’ve found that my crust turns out just as well just shaping it by very gently  laying the dough across my fists and carefully stretching it by bouncing or rotating the dough in circular motion on my hands and giving it a little stretch with each turn or bounce. (At this point you can do the pizza toss-Maybe I’ll try it tonight and have Henry photograph it). If you dough isn’t relaxing for you, let it rest 15-20 minutes and try again. If you are making your pizza alone take out the stone from the oven before you toss your dough and sprinkle with cornmeal, if not, toss your dough and have someone else take it out and sprinkle with cornmeal while you are doing the great pizza toss (this keeps the stone as hot as possible).

9. The dough for the 6 ounce portion should be 9-12 inches in diameter. Once you have done this, place your dough on the stone, top with sauce, cheese and toppings. I have  seen a lot of great ideas for pizzas at Williams-Sonoma.

10. Stick in the oven for 5-8 minutes (maybe a little longer if your oven only gets to 550) and take out once the bottom and top both look done. Transfer to a cutting board and ENJOY!

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Oh! And buy this book, every recipe I have made has been awesome!

cherry chocolate chip biscotti.

There is nothing better than homemade cherry chocolate biscotti with a warm cup of coffee to start the day off.

I had never made biscotti, but found myself staring at the delicious recipes posted all over Pintrest. Then, as if some sort of sign from the coffee gods, a friend offered me some at our recent coffee/finger-painting playdate. And so that began my quest to find an amazing recipe for a first time biscotti connoisseur.

My oven is slightly special-pretty sure its prehistoric and dates back to the early 1980s (not meant to offend anyone born earlier than the early 80s, but just merely to point out that I have a 30+ year old oven) and its small. It holds two very small cookie sheets at a time, but due the size of the oven its only advantageous to bake one sheet at a time or the bottom rack is burnt to a crisp and the top rack is gooey. So it took two twenty-minute baking sessions in my little oven to get these done, plus 8 minutes for each loaf once I sliced them into the well-known biscotti shape.

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I digress from the amazingness of my biscotti.  If you’re interested in making some for yourself you can find the recipe here. Enjoy.

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