Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sonoma Chicken Salad

I made this for a girls sewing day get together last week.  It is supposed to be a copycat recipe of Costco Chicken Salad.  This was an excellent chicken salad!
Sonoma Chicken Salad

For the dressing:

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the salad:

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked, cooled, and diced*
1 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped

In a large bowl, stir together all dressing ingredients until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, for up to two days.

Preheat oven to 350°. Spread out pecan pieces on a baking sheet and bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown, watching carefully. Allow to cool.

To the bowl of dressing, add diced chicken, toasted pecans, and cranberries. Refrigerate for at least an hour to chill and to allow the flavors to meld.

Tips, Tricks, & Variations
*Chicken may be rotisserie, poached, oven baked, or cooked in a crockpot. For the latter option, place 4 chicken breasts (I use frozen) and half a cup of water in a crockpot set on low for 4 to 5 hours or until cooked through. Remove from water and allow to cool before dicing.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Double Glazed Pumpkin Scones

I made these after tasting them at church.  Do NOT overbake these.  I think 14 minutes may be a bit too long.  They had great flavor, just were a bit dry.

Double Glazed Pumpkin Scones

Scone Ingredients

2 Cups - All Purpose Flour
7 Tablespoons  Sugar
1 Tablespoon  Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon  Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
6 Tablespoons  Cold Unsalted Butter
1/2 Cup Pumpkin, Canned
3 Tablespoons  Half and Half
1  Egg, Large

Powdered Sugar Glaze

1 Cup Plus 1 Tablespoon  Powdered Sugar
2 Tablespoons  Whole Milk

Spiced Glaze Ingredients

1 Cup Plus 3 Tablespoons  Powdered Sugar
2 Tablespoons Whole Milk
1/4 Teaspoon  Ground Cinnamon
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Pinch  Ground Ginger
1 Pinch -Ground Cloves

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, fork, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.

Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide). Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 14-16 minutes. Scones should begin to turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

Mix the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk together until smooth.
When scones are cool, use a brush to paint plain glaze over the top of each scone.

Combine the ingredient for the spiced icing together. Drizzle this thicker icing over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (at least 1 hour). A squirt bottle works great for this, or you can drizzle with a whisk.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Double Chocolate Bakery Cookies

The original recipe is for GIANT cookies using a 4 inch scoop.  I used my normal sized cookie scoop and got about 4 dozen YUMMY cookies.
Double Chocolate Bakery Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bag (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liner.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars until creamy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Blend until combined, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Use a  cookie scoop (leveling off the dough in the scoop to ensure equal portions) and drop dough balls onto cookie sheets Bake for 10-11 minutes, rotating pans halfway through the baking time. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Roasted Jalapeno Soup

I put this together during the 2nd quarter of the Packers/Eagles game last Sunday.  I am SO glad I doubled this recipe since we all liked it.  It wasn't too spicy.  We didn't add the mushrooms.
Roasted Jalapeno Soup

Serves: 2 cups

4 green jalapeno peppers
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped (roughly 2 carrots)
1/2 cup onion, peeled and chopped (roughly 1 small onion)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream or milk
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped and peeled
1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Cut each jalapeno in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and membrane. Place them face down onto the cookie sheet. Roast for 10-15 minutes or until slightly darkened. When cool enough to handle, chop.

2. In a medium sauce pot, heat the olive oil. When hot, saute the carrots, onion, and garlic for about 5 minutes or until the carrots and onions start to soften.

3. Add in the butter. Once the butter has melted, stir in the flour until everything is coated. Stir in the chopped jalapenos. Slowly stir in the broth and bring to a boil. Then stir in the heavy cream and bring back to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer and cook until the soup has thickened, about 5-7 minutes. If you feel that your soup isn't thick enough, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

4. When the soup has thickened, turn off the heat. If using an immersion blender, blend the soup directly in the pan. If using a regular blender, add about half the mixture then puree until smooth.* Add the rest of the soup then puree until smooth. Pour back into the sauce pan. Stir in the tomatoes and mushrooms. Simmer for a few minutes or until hot then serve.


*Hot soups expand much greater in a blender than cold soups. Use extra caution and do not overfill the blender. Pulse a few times before turning the setting on low.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Grilled Cheese Animal Style

 I made these for a quick dinner one night after Don had been out working until dark.  I got 3 sandwiches out of this with plenty of special sauce left over.  All this needed was a burger and it would have been a copy cat IN and OUT burger!  We liked this.
Grilled Cheese Animal Style

Special Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
2 teaspoons minced onion

Grilled Onion
1/2 large chopped onion
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon butter

4 slices white bread
6 slices of American cheese singles Beth used Velveeta
2 tablespoons butter

Special Sauce
Stir all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl until they are well combined.

Grilled onions
Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat
Add in the onion and soy sauce. Cook over medium heat until the onions are soft.

Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Place two slices of the bread onto a heated griddle butter side down. Immediately place the cheese onto two slices of bread.  Scoop half the grilled onions on top of the bread with the melted cheese. Top with the special sauce. Then place the other slices of bread, buttered side up, on top to create the sandwich.   Flip and toast on this side. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Apple Pecan Cake with Caramel Glaze

Jenna made this for our last Financial Peace class.  I cannot begin to tell you how yummy this was.  Everyone who tried it liked it. 

Apple Pecan Cake with Caramel Glaze

1 1/2 Cups of cooking oil
2 Cups sugar
4 Eggs
3 Cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 tsps vanilla
3 1/2 Cups diced apples (approximately 3-4 apples)
1 Cup of chopped pecans

Caramel Glaze

3/4 Cups butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 Cup light brown sugar
1/4 Cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325°
In a large mixing bowl, add oil, sugar and eggs and mix until nice and creamy.
Next, add together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, then add to mixing bowl and mix well.  Once mixture is well blended, add in vanilla and mix well.  Add in the apples and pecans and stir until well blended.
Pour into generously greased and floured tube pan (you can use two loaf pans in place of a tube pan).
Bake at 325° for approximately 1 hour. Check using a tooth pick at about 50 minutes, and if it comes out clean, then your cake is done. If using the loaf pans, make sure to check it at about 50 minutes as well.
Making the glaze
In a small pan, melt butter over low heat.  Stir in the brown sugar and milk.  Bring to a boil, and let boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and add in the vanilla. Let cool.
Once caramel glaze is cooled, pour over the top of cake.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Crockpot Baked Apple Slices

I made these to go over ice cream for the Sunday night Packer/ Bears game.  I doubled the recipe.  Excellent.

Crockpot Baked Apple Slices

5 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar Beth used Splenda
1/2 cup apple juice Beth used cider
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp butter, cubed

Peel, core, and slice the apples.

Add apples, sugars, apple juice, cornstarch, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla to crockpot, stirring to incorporate.

Place butter on top of apples

Cook on high for 1 1/2 hours or on low for 4-5 hours. Stir mixture halfway through cooking.


Water can be substituted for apple juice.

These apples are delicious as a side dish (on their own), but you can also try them mixed into oatmeal, over pancakes or waffles, or served over vanilla ice cream as dessert. The possibilities are endless!