Friday, July 30, 2010

Zucchini Cobbler I had lots of zucchini left over after making all the bread I could and had to come up with another way to use it.  Here is the creation;  Zucchini Cobbler  It's similar to a peach cobbler crumble my mother has made in the past where you make a cake like batter and spread over the filling.

3-4c. thinly sliced zucchini, 1 1/2 Tbsp. honey, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, 2 dashes salt, 1 dash black pepper

Grease a 9x13" casserole and spread zucchini across the bottom.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then drizzle honey and lemon juice over the top.

2 1/2c. all purpose flour, 1 1/2c. sugar, 1 Tbsp. honey, 2 tsp. vanilla,  1-2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2c. milk

Mix all ingredients until well combined.  Use your hands to spread in lumps over the zucchini filling.  Do this until you use all the dough to cover the filling, it's okay if not all is covered.  Bake @ 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour. 

I know it sounds strange, but just wait until you taste it. 

Zucchini Bread With a Twist

4 eggs, 1c. vegetable oil, 1 3/4c. sugar, 2 tsp. vanilla, 3 1/2-4c. shredded zucchini, 3 1/2c. all purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 3/4 tsp. baking powder, 1 1/2. tsp. salt, 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon,  2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. honey

Combine all ingredients.  Pour into 2 greased loaf pans.  Bake @ 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour.  The added honey and lemon create a wonderful crust over the top.

In place of Brownies; Chocolate Fudge Cake with Buttercream Frosting and Chocolate Ganache

So, after further review the new brownie recipe just will not do, so I am giving you a replacement.  Don't worry, I'll come up with a brownie recipe soon, until then try this or go back to the Spicy Brownie Cookie recipe from a previous post.  This replacement is rather involved, but the end product is WELL worth the work!

Chocolate Fudge Cake with Buttercream Frosting and Chocolate Ganache
Ingredients; 3c. packed brown sugar, 3c. canola oil, 3 eggs, 2 2/3c self rising flour, 1Tbsp. vanilla extract, 1 1/2c. milk, 1 1/2c. water, 1 1/8c. cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Butter three 10" cake pans, line with parchment, butter and flour the parchment.   In mixing bowl combine brown sugar and oil.  Turn mixer to a slow speed and mix in eggs.  Let this mix while in a separate small bowl you mix vanilla and milk.  Set aside.  Bring water to a boil and pour over cocoa, whisk until smooth.  To the egg mixture, alternately add the flour and milk mixtures.  When these are combined add the cocoa mixture.  Scrape down sides and pour into prepared cake pans.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until teaser comes out clean.  When layers have cooled completely remove from pansand refrigerate until very cold, approximately 2 hours.    

Remember, it IS worth the trouble!

Ingredients; 1 1/2 lbs. softened sweet butter, 3c. sifted powdered sugar, 2 Tbsp. vanilla extract, 1 pinch salt

Put soft better in mixing bowl, beat on low and add powdered sugar.  Add vanilla and salt, let mix 5-7 minutes on medium speed.  Fill and frost cake, stacking as you go.  Do this in a cool kitchen to keep the frosting from melting or running. Refrigerate a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour to set the frosting.  

Again, it IS worth the extra me!

Ingredients; 1 1/4c. semisweet chocolate chips, 3/4 Tbsp light corn syrup, 3/4 c. heavy cream

Place chocolate chips and corn syrup in heat-safe bowl.  Bring cream to full boil and pour over chocolate.  Whisk until smooth.  Let rest for 2 minutes.  Pour ganache over stacked cake and refrigerate 20 minutes or longer. 

Tortilla Soup

4 cans (14.5oz.) low fat chicken broth, 1 can tomato sauce, 1 can chopped tomatoes, 1/2 c. chopped onion, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 1lb. chicken (cut into bite sized pieces), 2 dashes each; basil, thyme, celery salt, paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, taco seasoning, cumin.

Put all ingredients in crock pot, cook on high 2-3 hours, or until chicken is cooked through. The longer it cooks the better, and it's great the second day, but it should be fully cooked after 1.5 hrs.  Serve with chopped garden onion, sour cream, chopped avocados, grated cheese (Mexican blend) and *tortilla chips.  We let everyone add toppings to their individual bowls.

*If you are feeling especially domestic or industrious you can slice flour tortillas into thin strips and fry quickly in a small bit of vegetable oil.  Disclaimer:  If you choose this route, please be careful cutting the tortillas into thin strips, and keep your fingers OUT OF THE WAY!

Zesty Chicken

1lb. boneless skinless chicken(cut into bite size pieces), 1 pkg. thin spaghetti noodles, 3/4c. chopped onion, 1 clove garlic chopped, 2-3c. broccoli, 1 lemon-juiced and zested, 1-3c. mozarella cheese, 1/8 tsp. basil, 1/8 tsp. celery seed, 3 Tbsp. olive oil. 

In large skillet, cook chicken with onion in 1 Tbsp. olive oil until almost done.  Add garlic, basil, celery, and zest of 1 lemon.  Add broccoli, cover and let simmer until cooked through (About 8 minutes).  Cook noodles as directed, drain.  Add remaining olive oil and lemon juice.  Mix with chicken and serve with cheese over the top. 

Baked Ziti

1 lb. lean ground beef, 1 lb. italian sausage, 1 box regatoni noodles, 1 jar spaghetti sauce, 1/2c. chopped onion, 1/2-1c. chopped carrots, 1/2-1c. chopped bell pepper, 1 clove garlic chopped, 2c. grated cheese

Cook noodles until tender.  Brown meats together, then add all vegetables and cook until tender.  Mix together with noodles and sauce in 9x13" casserole.  Cover with grated cheese.  Bake @ 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.  Serves 8-12. (May require additional small casserole dish.) Freezes well, is great leftover.

Spinach Lasagna

No picture today.  Sorry.
Spinach Lasagna
1 package frozen chopped spinach, 1 bunch garden onions chopped (stems and all), 3 cloves garlic chopped, 8oz.  low fat ricotta cheese, 8oz. low fat cottage cheese, 12 oz. shredded Mozzarella cheese, 4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, 12 lasagna noodles* (one package), Oregano, basil, salt, pepper to taste, 1 jar Ragu Garden Combination Spaghetti sauce, 8-10c. water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Start water boiling in large pot.  While the waiting for the water to boil go to the next step.  In the microwave, use your defrost setting and defrost the spinach.  Do not let it cook.  It only needs to defrost 6-10 minutes on this lower setting.  Once your water starts boiling add the noodles.  Let cook 7-9 minutes and drain.  In a large bowl mix onions, garlic, ricotta, cottage cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, spinach, and spices.  Mix this together very well, and don't be afraid to get your hands into it if necessary to break up spinach that didn't get fully defrosted.  Spray a 9x13" casserole with non-stick spray.  Layer your noodles and filling until you run out of noodles.  Usually about 3 layers, ending with noodles on top.  Pour spaghetti sauce over the top.  Cook @ 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.  Serves 8.  Total prep/cook time; 45 minutes.

*Lasagna noodles;  I prefer the noodles you have to pre-cook.  I've been told no-cook noodles are tons easier.  I admit they will save you from having a large pot of boiling water on the stove, but I still prefer the other because I think the texture is better.  However, if you prefer no-cook noodles, simply layer spaghetti sauce over noodles, then filling, noodles, sauce, filling and so on still ending with noodles and sauce on top. 
**Sometimes I will make this into a vegetable lasagna with chopped carrots, zucchini, bell peppers, squash, purple onions, and crushed tomatoes.  You can also add ground turkey, chicken, or beef if you want to sneak in some protein.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fitted Sheet Tutorial

Before you do anything WASH ALL FABRIC, then trim all the frayed edges! This is very important because if you don't the fabrics may shrink differently when you wash them afterward and skew the end product. Next, measure the mattress you are making the sheet for. Measure the length, width, and depth. Make sure you are truly measuring from edge to edge. It is always better to err on the side of too big than too small. My twin mattress is 76"x 38"x 10", and you'll add two inches to the depth for the under-gather. So that would mean I need one piece of fabric 76" x 38", 2 pieces 76"x 12", 2 pieces 38" x 12". Make sure you measure VERY carefully, otherwise you'll have to piece things together and take twice as long and it's more frustration than it's worth. Trust me. If you have to piece bits together like I usually do, whether I cut wrong or didn't have enough fabric-this is what to do; I piece at 1/8" to save fabric, otherwise I use 1/4" seaming. Use a medium speed (even though mine is at it's fastest speed in this picture) since you are working on such a small seam. And keep your fingers out of the way...Sewing through them is VERY painful, and quite dangerous, not to mention messy. Now, once your side strips are cut (or pieced), take one of the short pieces and put it right side together with the short side of your large piece. Before you start sewing, make sure they are the same length. If not it is okay. If they don't match perfectly measure then match them up from the center so that you have the same difference on either side. Sew these pieces together with a 1/4" seam. Do the same on the other end. You should end up with something like this. ( I scooched the center piece together to fit it all in the picture.) Next match the long side to the large piece, right sides together and sew with 1/4" seam. You will end up with something like the picture below once you've attached both sides. Next you will sew together the closest corners. ( I don't have a good picture) Fold the top right short side of the short piece down to match up with the top right short side of the long piece, right sides together. This will create a diagonal triangle across the top of your sheet. Sew these together with a 1/4" seam.
Overhang will be trimmed. Sew your seam following the shortest piece. When you get to the corner piece, sew right over it. Make sure you back-stitch, or lock your seams.
You should end up with a boxy corner like this. Repeat on remaining corners.
  • Now you are going to start a hem 8-10 inches from the end of a short edge. This is a double roll hem which should end up about 1/4-1/2" wide, but you will be sewing on your slowest speed and staying as close to the rolled edge as possible. Stop the hem about 8-10" past the other edge (to match what you did on the first side). Do not close the hem. We are creating a sleeve for the elastic.
  • This can also be done with bias tape which is a little easier, but I like the cleaner look of this technique.
  • Once you have finished the hem, trim your elastic to just over half the width of the short edge hem. Place a large safety pin through one end of the elastic and start feeding it through your hem sleeve. Once the unpinned end gets close to the edge of your starting hem, stop and sew it down into the hem on the end.
Continue feeding the safety pin through the sleeve until it peeks out the end and sew the elastic to the edge of the hem. Take your safety pin out and you should have something like this;
Repeat on the opposite end, finish hemming the sides without elastic, and voila!

Recipes, as promised

Garlic Rolls
3 cups flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, 2 1/4 tsp. yeast, 2 tsp. salt, 1c. water, 1 egg, 2 Tbsp. butter, 2 cloves chopped garlic, 1-2 cups grated cheese, 3 whole garden onions finely chopped. Combine all dry ingredients. Heat water and butter in saucepan until 130 degrees F. Pour into dry mix and beat until blended. Add egg, beat on low 30 seconds. Add garlic, onions, and cheese, beat on high 3 min. Cover and let rise in warm place 30 min. Fill muffin cups and bake @ 350* F. 15-20 min. Best right out of oven or heated for 10 seconds in microwave after cooled. Do not bake more than once or they get very hard. Makes 2 dozen minis.
Chicken Curry and Jasmine Rice
1 lb. chicken tenders or breast cut into small pieces, 2 cans chicken broth, 2 cans coconut milk, 2 Tbsp. red curry paste, 2-3 Tbsp. Lime juice, 1 clove garlic chopped, 1/4 c. chopped onion, 1 can bamboo shoots, 1 sm. can mushroom pieces, 3-4 c. jasmine rice. Combine all ingredients *EXCEPT RICE* into large pot. Let cook covered over medium heat until chicken is done. About 30-45 min. Stir occasionally, and do not let boil over. Add jasmine rice and stir to keep from sticking. Let simmer about 15-20 min. or until rice is done. Rice will soak up majority of juice, but not all. If you let sit over night it will soak up all juice. You may cook rice separately according to package instructions and add to soup afterward. Serves 8-10.
Spinach and Mushroom Pasta
1/2 box penne pasta, 1/2 purple onion cut into long strips, 3-4 cloves garlic finely chopped, 1 bag fresh spinach leaves, 3/4 can mushroom pieces, 1/2 lb. chicken tenders cut into bite size pieces, 1 tsp. celery salt, 1/4 tsp. lime or lemon juice, 1/2 c. olive oil (divided), 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan Cheese. Salt, Pepper, to taste. Cook pasta 7-10 min. in boiling water. While that cooks throw chicken into large skillet with 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Add salt, pepper, celery salt, and lime juice. When chicken is 3/4 way done, add strips of onion. Let this continue to cook until onions are translucent. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil, garlic and mushrooms, continue to stir. Drain noodles and add to chicken. Add remaining olive oil. Add spinach and continue stirring until all spinach is just wilted. Serve with grated Parmesan over top. Serves 4. Time: 30 minutes Total.

In the last month

I haven't posted much in a while so here come the updates. What have I been doing in the last month? Well, lots of things actually. Lots of sewing, cooking, and cleaning. Here are some of the latest sewing endeavors.
What could this be you ask?
Why, it's a fitted sheet for the twin bed in our office! It sounds crazy. I know. But, some nights when I can't get to sleep, or am tossing and turning uncontrollably I will go to the office to spare my husband from my flailing. This has happened quite often in the last month, and I realized the sheets we've been using are terrible. They are so scratchy! My husband and I are spoiled to a very high thread count Egyptian cotton, and "regular" or "bargain" sheets from yesteryear (or 10 years ago) just don't cut it any longer. So, I decided rather than driving to the store and spending $$$ on the super soft sheets I really want, I could make some out of the wonderfully soft cottons in my sewing room. I didn't have one piece large enough, so I pieced some bits together for the super deep sides (12" deep, plus added inches to fit under), added some elastic and voila! This is the next project in the works. It's a semi-quilt-as-you-go, but I'll be quilting by hand. So this won't be done for some time.
This is a double sided summer baby quilt (no batting, so it's super light).
Close up of the other side. SO cute! Next is an apron...that REALLY covers!
It's double sided too. I love the 1950's vibe with the sweetheart neckline and the ruffled bottom, not to mention the sweet cherry print. I didn't have a pattern, so I measured it against myself for extra coverage. All the aprons I own are made for women who wear a size 2...I'm convinced of this as there is only a very small patch of material to cover the body and each time I wear them I realize I'd be better off wearing the table cloth tied around my neck. In light of this I gave this puppy some extra umph. It was a gift for a dear friend, but I do believe I'll be making one for myself in the near future and discarding the others.

playing catch up again

Here are some projects I forgot to add;
New drapes in the master bedroom.
Reverse side of the green stripes quilt. Detail of the above quilt.
A before and after shot of the office chairs I reupholstered.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas that say I love you!

Ingredients; 1-2lbs. chicken tenders, 1 can crushed pineapple in it's own juice, 1-2c. orange juice (or 2 large oranges), 1/4-1/2c. lemon juice, 10-20 flour tortillas, 4-8 oz. sour cream, 1-2c. shredded cheese, 1/2c. chopped green chilis (use chopped jalapenos for more heat), 1 can Hatch green enchilada sauce
  • Make sure you start at least the day before. Put your chicken, pineapple with juice, orange juice, and lemon juice into 1 gallon freezer zip close bag.
  • Let this marinate in the refrigerator for no less than 24 hrs, preferably 30 hrs.
  • Pour entire mixture into glass casserole. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes until you can handle chicken. Or just use tongs.
  • Put chicken pieces into food processor (if some pineapple bits get in the mix it's fine, but don't pour in the pineapple.) Try to get as little pineapple as possible into the food processor. Chop until you have a fine shred (looks kind of like half mashed potatoes.)
  • Once all chicken is processed, mix in cheese, peppers, and sour cream.
  • Spoon mixture into tortillas and roll. Place in greased casserole dish until full. (Usually a large casserole holds 10-12 enchiladas. (1 lb. chicken will make 10-12 enchiladas)
  • Finish rolling all enchiladas. Spoon enchilada sauce over the top of all enchiladas and bake again at 350 for 20-30 minutes.
Ingredient Measurements are for 1-2lbs. of meat. If you have 1 lb. use the first numbers, 2 lbs, use the second numbers. Don't be alarmed if your chicken is partially cooked (looks white on the edges and pink in the middle) in the marinade, this is normal, it means the marinade is working.