Thursday, October 1, 2009

Oven Fried Chicken Milanese

This chicken was so, so good! Unlike other Oven "fried" chicken recipes that tend to have mushy breading, this kept it's crunch and was just plain delicious.

I got the recipe from FN's "Ask Aida". I am not a fan of the show, but since my tv seems to be on that channel often, it was on and I watched the episode. It looked good, but even better, EASY.
I'm all about easy these days. I deviated from the original recipe a smidge, (noted in red) but it is a great and simple recipe.
I planned on making this the night before, but, with a newborn, you can't really plan things. I was thrilled to be able to finish what I started... (the next day). : )
Oven Fried Chicken Milanese
adapted from FN's Ask Aida
My adaptations in red.

32 oz. buttermilk
4 skinless chicken legs and 4 skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup all-purpose flou
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbs. cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon zest (I omitted)
3 large eggs, beaten thoroughly
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
Marinate chicken at least 5 hours or overnight in buttermilk.
Heat the oven to 425F and arrange rack in the upper third. Set a rack on a foil lined baking sheet; set aside.
Combine flour, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 3/4 teaspoon of the pepper in a shallow bowl, mix until well combined; set aside. Combine Panko, 1/3 cup of the parsley, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and all the lemon zest in a separate shallow bowl, and toss until evenly combined; and set aside. Whisk together eggs and cheese in a shallow bowl until evenly combined; set aside.
To coat chicken, dredge a piece in the flour mixture and shake off excess. Then dip into egg mixture, let excess drip off, and finally roll in the breadcrumbs, pressing to adhere as necessary. Place chicken piece on baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken.
Bake until coating is golden and crispy, juices of chicken run clear when poked, and internal temperature is 160degreesF, about 40 to 45 minutes.
*If you can't find skinless, bone-in chicken, by it with skin on and pull it off ( I recommend this, the skinless is much more expensive!). To get a better grip, grasp skin with a paper towel and pull!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

After a 4 month hiatus, I'm back to blogging. I don't know if it was the pregnancy, or just laziness for my lack of posts, but I've come to the conclusion that it's been long enough.

I can't promise an update everyday, or even every week, because my hands are kind of tied with my new bundle of Joy. His name is Max. : )

I have been blessed with so many gifts of food from family, friends and neighbors, that I thought I would return the favor and bake some pumpkin cream cheese bread for myself, and also for my neighbor who gave birth recently to twin boys.
I wanted to bake this bread last week, but what the heck, a canned pumpkin SHORTAGE kept me from that. I've never heard of such a thing, but apparently it's real. I was so thankful for the 2 cans I found at my local Kroger.

I found this recipe on line from the Joy of Baking, I loved the picture of the cream cheese swirl in the bread pictured so that was what helped me decide to go with this recipe. Not hard at all, this is a very simple quick bread that is a great gift, great with morning coffee, or for a snack. With it being fall it is just perfect.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

Cream Cheese Filling:
8 ounce package (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour

Pumpkin Bread:
1 cup (110 grams) pecans or walnuts
3 1/2 cups (490 grams) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar
1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 - 15 ounce (425 grams) can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup (120 ml) water or milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter and lightly flour two - 9 by 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pans. Set aside.
Cream Cheese Filling: In your food processor, process the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and process just until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, processing just until incorporated. Do not over process. Stir in the flour. Set aside.
Pumpkin Bread: In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In another large bowl, whisk the eggs until lightly beaten. Add the sugar and melted butter and whisk until blended. Whisk or stir in the pumpkin, water, vanilla extract, and nuts.
Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir just until the ingredients are combined. (A few streaks of flour is fine.) Do not over mix as it will make the bread tough.
Divide the batter in half. Take one half and divide it evenly between the two prepared pans. Divide the cream cheese filling in half and place each half of filling on top the two pans of batter, smoothing the tops. Top with the remaining half of batter. Bake the breads for about 50 - 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Place pans on a wire rack and let cool for about 10 minutes before removing breads from pans. Can serve warm, cold, or at room temperature. Store leftovers in the refrigerator or else freeze for later use.

Makes 2 loaves.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Walima Cooking Club- Tajine Ezzitoun

This month is the debut of the Walima Cooking Club. Our Logo, as many will recognize, is taken from one of Lebanese famous Painter, Mustapha Faroukh’s “Still Life Album".

The May 2009, Challenge is brought to us by Khadidja Zehani from Khadidja worked on two recipes to give us two choices; one for a wonderful savoury dish and one for outstanding dessert....

Our club is devoted to Arabic Cooking, and each month a country and dish from that country is chosen by one of the members. This month the county of Algeria was chosen and Khadidja picked the Tanjine Ezzitoun (olive tanjine) for our savory challenge, and Slilet laaroussa which is -translated- "The Bride's Basket" for the sweet part. As a memeber, you get to choose which recipe (or both) you want to make. (both recipes can be found on her blog).

I chose the savory, particularly because it incorporated olives. I have a huge craving for them lately (pregnancy? ; ) ), and don't put them in dishes because my hubby hates them. The recipe turned out to be delicious, even though I had way too much sauce left over. I know it is because I modified the recipe to feed just the two of us. I also added some additional spices, and omitted the lamb. Lamb here is just way too expensive, and I would have probably had to go to a specialty grocery to get some. I served everything over rice, but in retrospect I wish I would've used the cous cous I have. Oh well, I'll remember that for next time.
I'm so happy to be a member of this new club, and can't wait to see what is in store for next month!
Tajine Ezzitoun - Olives Tajine
(my modifications in red)

1 whole chicken cut into pieces (I used 6 chicken thighs/skin on)
2 lbs of lamb (omitted)
1 large onion
1 Tbsp butter or oil
2 cups pitted green olives
2 medium carrots, cut into circles
1tsp salt,
1/2 tsp cinnamon, (I also added 1 tsp. ground coriander, a bay leaf and 1 tsp. cumin)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 chicken cube ( I omitted)
water (I used chicken stock)

Meat balls (optional)
1/2 lb ground beef
1 small onion1 small egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Flour to dredge the meat balls

To thicken the sauce:
1 Tbsp soft butter ( I just used water and flour slurry)
2 tbsp flour


1- In a pot / pressure cooker put the butter /oil, chicken pieces, lamb pieces (if using), the onion, salt, pepper cinnamon. Cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add the chicken cube and enough water to cover the meat. Bring the mixture to a boil then cover and cook until the meat is tender. If using both meats, half way through cooking, remove the chicken pieces and continue to cook until the lamb is tender.

2 - In a sauce pan, put the olives and cover with water. Bring to a boil and let the olives boil for 3 to 5 mn. Drain and repeat the same process 2 to 3 times until the olives are no longer bitter.They should not be too salty neither. Set the olives aside.
3- Prepare the meat balls: mix all the ingredients and make balls. Put about 1/2 in of oil in a frying pan and heat over medium heat. Dredge each meat ball in flour and fry until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.

4- Once the meat pieces are cooked, add the olives, the sliced carrots and the meat balls. Bring the sauce to a boil, cover the pot and cook until the carrots and the olives are tender, and the meat balls are cooked through.

5-To finish the dish, mix the butter and flour to form a smooth paste. Bring the sauce to a boil and gradually add the butter/ flour mixture, stirring continuously. Let the sauce boil for 3 to 5 minutes. The sauce should be slightly thick. Add 2 tbsp chopped parsley. Serve the dish accompanied with lemon wedges.

Check out the other members blogs to see their challenge results:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Strudel

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

Instead of doing the apple strudel, I chose to make a pear, brie, and walnut combo. I saw a strudel recipe in Bon Appetit (Feb. issue) and cut it out just waiting for the right time to make it. The filling called for pears and roquefort cheese, and just reading the recipe made me drool. When the recipe for this challenge was announced, I knew what filling I was going to use. Unfortunately, the grocery store by my me did not have roquefort, so I used brie. The recipe for the dough in Bon Appetit was very similar to the dough recipe here, so I was thrilled that I was finally going to make this wonderful strudel.

This was a fun challenge, and the result was a very yummy strudel. Thanks Linda and Courtney!

Preparation time Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes

15-20 min to make dough
30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling
20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough10 min to fill and roll dough
30 min to bake
30 min to cool

Strudel doughfrom “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).

3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.

4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it's about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time.
Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

Pear, Brie and Walnut Filling
(modified from Bon Appetit February, 2009)
1 1/2 lbs. Bosc pears, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons plus 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
8 oz. brie cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 Tbs. flour
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. breadcrumbs
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add the 1 1/2 tsp. of butter. When melted add chopped pears and let saute for about 4-5 minutes.
Remove and strain juices and put in fridge to chill.
After pears have chilled put into a bowl and add the cheese, walnuts, flour and lemon juice. Stir to combine.
Strudel Assembly:
With hands spread half of the melted butter over dough. Sprinkle rolled dough with sugar and breadcrumbs. Spread pear mixture over the dough leaving about a one inch margin on all sides.
Roll up like a jelly roll and transfer to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 40 minutes, and cool for 30. Serve warm.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Creamy Beef Pasta w/ Asparagus, Sundried Tomatoes, and Mushrooms

Chad and I went out to eat with my parents a couple weeks ago and I ordered a dish just like this. It was delicious, even the next day when we had it for leftovers. Since we both liked it so much I decided that I would make my own variation. Instead of using the prime rib, which the restaurant used, I used a cut of beef that is much more inexpensive, stew meat.

It took a while to get the dish ready (letting the meat slow cook in the oven), but it was worth it. This dish was so hearty and had so many flavors it really hit the spot. It isn't the healthiest of meals, but everything in moderation, right? The recipe made quite a lot, so we had plenty of leftovers. Next time I plan to make it, I may cook the meat ahead of time to make it a convenient week-night meal.
Creamy Beef Pasta with Asparagus, Sundried Tomatoes and Mushrooms


1 lb stew meat
cajun seasoning
flour for dredging (like 1/3 cup or so)
2 Tbs. Canola Oil
1 cup water or beef broth

Heat oven to 350

Season beef with cajun seasoning, dredge in flour and sear on all sides in a large pan with oil over medium heat. ( I used a cast iron skillet so I could just transfer it to the oven. If you don't have one use another oven safe pan and transfer the meat.) Add water/broth cover and cook for 1 hour and a half or until very tender.

Pasta Ingredients:

1 lb pasta (I used penne, but use what you like) cooked according to package directions
8 slices of bacon cooked and chopped
1 cup chopped asparagus (bottoms trimmed) cut into 1/4 inch lengths
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes chopped
1 8oz. pkg. of mushrooms chopped
Handful of fresh parsley chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add mushrooms, and asparagus and cook until crisp tender. Add the sundried tomatoes and cook for another minute or two more. Season with salt and pepper. Toss in the parsley at the end and set aside until ready to assemble pasta.
8 Tbs. unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
3 Tbs. flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
1/3 cup heavy cream (or use half and half)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Heat a sauce pan over medium heat and melt butter. When butter is melted add the onion. Cook until it is translucent, then add the garlic. Cook for 30 seconds or so. Add flour and whisk to make a smooth roux. Add stock, whisking the whole time. Add cream and parmesan and whisk until cheese is melted.
When beef is done cut into smaller pieces if needed. Add all ingredients together in a big bowl and serve.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Daring Bakers: Caramel Banana Cheesecake

Better late than never. I'm a week late posting about this lovely cake. I just can't seem to manage my time around cooking anymore.

I knew I'd be making this cheesecake, but I didn't know I'd be so late. I am happy I did follow through though the recipe is one of the best! Very creamy and perfect in every way a cheesecake should be.

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

We were told to get creative with this recipe so I looked for ways to do that. I had no other fruit in the house except bananas (I think fruit and cheesecake just have to go together) so I decided to incorporate them into the batter.
The caramel I made from scratch using a recipe I got from Simply Recipes. If you'd like the recipe click here >>> Simply Recipes.

This was so easy to make, I'm so glad I stumbled upon this recipe, I'll be making my own caramel sauce from now on.

Now for the DB cheesecake recipe:

Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake:

2 cups / 180 g graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
1 cup mashed bananas ( I used 2 medium)
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake (I omitted)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath. (I used a large roasting pan)

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add mashed bananas and mix about 30 seconds. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.

Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a spring form pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil "casserole" shaped pans from the grocery store. They're 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away. ( I had no problems using my 9" spring form. I just wrapped it in foil)
Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Granola Bark

So I was in Publix the other day (our area grocery store) and in the bakery section they had this granola bark. It looked so good, but it was way to pricey for my liking.

This was something I knew I could make but needed a basic recipe to go by. After doing some research on the interwebs I found a recipe I could use as a starter (and believe me, there wasn't much out there).
I added a few things of my own, but basically left the recipe as is. Next time I think I may add some maple syrup, or maybe some brown sugar in place of some of the honey.

This took a little over an hour to bake, and prep was like 10 minutes (if that). I can see myself eating this as a snack, or even for breakfast. It keeps for 2 weeks stored in an airtight container or ziplock.

Granola Bark
(Modified from Anson Mills Recipes)


3 cups Anson Mills Oats (not instant, I just used regular 'ol oats with the old man on the box)
2 cups raw, sliced almonds
3/4 cups sweetened coconut
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
3/4 cup raw, hulled sesame seeds
3/4 cup dried cranberries (I used cherry flavored Craisins)
1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup honey
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Place an oven rack in the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place the oats, almonds, coconut, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds,dried cranberries,chocolate chips, and spices in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.

3. Heat the butter and honey together in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat until the butter melts. Stir in sea salt and vanilla. Remove from the heat.

4. Pour the hot liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the dry ingredients are evenly moist.
Turn the granola onto the prepared pan and press firmly with an offset spatula to create an even layer, about 1/2 inch thick. Bake until the granola is firm to the touch and a deep golden brown, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. (The granola will become crisper as it cools.)

Cool in the pan, then lift an edge of parchment and break the granola into pieces.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Crunchy Buttermilk-Coconut Chicken Strips

I found this recipe browsing the My Recipes site. I needed something to do with my chicken breasts, but wanted to try something new.

The recipe is originally from a popular "light" cooking magazine, and it got great reviews so I decided to try it out.
I'm so glad I did. The flavors were fantastic, and even Chad was surprised (he's not a fan of coconut) and delighted. The corn flakes added a crispy crunch, and the curry powder gave it just enough heat.
I was skeptical about baking the strips and them coming out crispy, but they did, and what a great way to cut fat and calories.
Here is the recipe with my modifications.

Crunchy Buttermilk-Coconut Chicken Strips

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into strips
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I used whole fat, but you can save calories by using non-fat)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 large egg and 1 egg white beaten
1 1/2 cups crushed corn flakes
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut chopped
1 tsp. salt
butter spray

Preheat oven to 425; line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with butter spray.

Combine chicken and buttermilk in a dish; cover and chill at least 1 hour. Drain chicken, discarding liquid, but do not rinse. Combine chicken and flour in a medium bowl, tossing to coat.

Combine egg and egg white in a small bowl. Combine crushed cornflakes , coconut, salt, curry powder, and garlic powder in a shallow dish. Dip strips into egg mixture, then dredge in cornflake mixture. Lay on foil lined cookie sheet. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken, egg mixture, and cornflake mixture. When all strips are breaded lightly spray with butter spray. Cook on middle rack of oven for 8-12 minutes.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Potato-Zucchini Pancakes

I made these a while ago after seeing something similar in BHG. The BHG version had carrots incorporated as well, but I chose to leave them out. This was simple to do, the trickiest part was squeezing the water out of both the potatoes and zucchini. I just used a dish towel and rang the heck out of them until they were dry enough, then put them in a bowl.

I fried them in a little canola oil, and they were a great side dish. These pancakes are easy to adjust to your taste. I thought about adding some parmesan cheese, but didn't have any on hand, maybe next time.

Potato-Zucchini Pancakes

3 medium red potatoes shredded and squeezed dry
2 medium zucchini shredded and squeezed dry
2 eggs beaten
2 1/2 Tbs. AP flour
1/2 and onion finely chopped or (1/2 a cup)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Canola oil

Put shredded potato and zucchini in a medium sized bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the canola oil (enough to cover the bottom of the skillet).

Scoop out about 1/3 cup (or more if you want them larger) and put in pan. Flatten with a spatula and let cook until crispy on that side (about 4 minutes).
Turn and let cook on the other side until crispy.
Repeat until mixture is gone and serve.