Monday, March 14, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings

Dear Cracker Barrell,

Papa bear loves you or, more to the point, Papa bear loves your chicken and dumplings recipe. I, on the other hand, cannot find a single thing on your menu below one billion calories (okay, fine, I can find items, I just wouldn't eat such items) and I am writing to express my great excitement over the fact that my wonderful friend, Heidi, has delivered me the easiest, most scrumpdeliosis chicken and dumpling recipe ever. You can take your artery-clogging meal plan and...well, um, serve it to someone there. :P

Scrumpdeliosis Chicken and Dumplings

4 boneless chicken breast cut into chunks
2 cans of Healthy Request cream of chicken soup
1 can of Healthy Request cream of celery soup
2 cups of water
1 chicken bouillon cube (Try Herbox sodium free bouillon)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion

Spray crockpot with Pam. Combine all in crockpot and cook on high for 5 hours or low for...well, um, let's go with 7 hours.

Dumplings: You have options here.
1. Get a tube of buttermilk biscuits and drop in tablespoon-sized plops 15-20 minutes before serving.
2. Mix 2 cups of bisquick and 2/3 cup of milk and drop tablespoon plops in 15-20 minutes before serving.
3. Combine 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, 1 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of milk. Stir well then let dough rest for 5-10 minutes. Drop in tablespoon plops 20 minutes before serving.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Oreo covered chocolate chip cookie

You have found it. I don't care if you came here looking for a recipe for pancakes or a craft about dentists. Whatever reason you came here, this post is the end all, be all of perfection. It is....the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I do not throw that term around lightly. Within the first few months of finding out I was pregnant with K-bear, I became obsessed with finding the perfect recipe. I jumped over an entire generation and imagined myself as a grandmother and I wanted to be the grandmother with the "best cookies in the world."

I have found such a recipe.

And what's more? This is no ordinary cookie. This cookie dough can be wrapped around oreos and snickers; milky ways and kit kats; peanut butter cups and three musketeers. I kid you not. The only thing required after ingesting this massive melding of insaneness is a pint sized glass of milk. Sit back and observe all that is good.

This recipe comes directly from Picky Palate. I cannot even begin to tell you how incredible this website is. This site has the perfect mix of humor, pictures and eye candy in all sorts of food and I highly, highly recommend it to everyone I know. The recipes and above photographs are directly from Jenny Flake at Picky Palate. Please visit her. Your loved ones will thank you. You might even get a spa day out of this one.

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks softened butter
3/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
1 Cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla
3 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 oz bag chocolate chips
1 bag Oreo Cookies (she recommends Double Stuff but I found both to be perfect) or bite size pieces of Snickers, Milky Ways, Three Muskeeters, Reeses Peanut butter cups

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   In a stand or electric mixer cream butter and sugars until well combined.  Add in eggs and vanilla until well combined.

2.  In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt and baking soda.  Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips until just combined.  Using a cookie scoop take one scoop of cookie dough and place on top of an Oreo Cookie.  Take another scoop of dough and place on bottom of Oreo Cookie.  Seal edges together by pressing and cupping in hand until Oreo Cookie is enclosed with dough.  Place onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and bake cookies 9-13 minutes or until cookies are baked to your liking.  Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. 

Picky Palate

Green (bleep) and ham

Rosemary Wells is on my hit list. I shouldn't say that. The woman has saved me from countless, er, I mean developmentally-approved minutes of time with her fabulous Max and Ruby series but today, at 6:06p.m., she has made it to my way too long hit list. And why? Is it because Max rounded out K-bears already....spirited personality? Kind of. Is it because Ruby rounded out K-bears already slightly bossy personality? Well, maybe.  Or is my anger really misguided since my issue is more with Max than Rosemary, herself? It all stems from two simple words that changed my life forever.

"Bad eggs."

Before this video, K-bear ate eggs. She ate them up in the dozens. We considered purchasing a few chickens just to feed her ever-growing appetite. But ever since Max said he didn't like eggs, eggs became the monster in the refrigerator. I was fine with it when I was pregnant since eggs became the monster that triggered nausea but when trying to celebrate one of Dr. Seuss' most wonderful books on his birthday? Something had to give.
But, always up for the challenge, I dodged a bullet and instead made one of my favorite casseroles! I call it "Green (bleep) and ham." This is by far one of the yummiest casseroles I've ever been introduced to and I lovingly stole it from one of my very best friends. I highly recommend it for any meal of the day!

Green (bleep) and Ham

12 eggs
4-5 English muffins
splash of milk
1 Ham steak (or if you're really crazy, you can add cooked sausage, cooked bacon, peppers, whatever works best)
at least 1 cup of cheddar cheese
Green food coloring

*Now before you start hollering that this is the most vague recipe you've ever heard, I wanted to give you the impression that even you (yes, you!) can make this recipe and change up the amounts based on your families preference.*

Spray a 13x9 pan with cooking spray. Cut up the English muffins and place the half's on the bottom of the pan. There will be room left over so if you're a type A personality and would like to fill in the blank spaces, be my guest. If you're lazy like me, 8 halfs will be fine. Next, crack the eggs (you know, just in case you've never made eggs before) and add a splash of milk. Add 2 drops of green food coloring. Beat it. Beat it real good. Ah, let's beat it. (Please sing to the tune "Pump it" from the 80's). Pour the eggs evenly on top of the English muffin halves. Add the ham, sausage, bacon, pepperoni, peppers, broccoli, kitchen sink, whatever you'd like on top. Then put a truck load of cheddar on top. Cover with foil.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Remove foil and peek at the beautiful creation. If the middle is set (not ooey, gooey), add more cheddar cheese and cook until beautifully golden and set.

Other options: There are endless possibilites to this easy dish. Everything can be scaled down calories and health-wise to include whole-wheat English muffins, Egg beaters, veggies, low fat cheese and milk. Scaling down the ingredients also work as you see from the picture. I made an individual serving of it by just using a half of an English muffin, 3 eggs, and cheese.

So, then you might ask, how did it go over with K-bear? Goldilocks- 1; Max- 0! Thank you Dr. Seuss because it is a huge success!!!!! She screamed over at me, "Mommy! I like this! I really like this!"

And, of course, Ava bear didn't need the special casserole dish and just dove right in as she usually does with everything on her tray. Even the dogs got a healthy sampling in their water bowl. Hey, it's protein, right?

Eggs have returned to our refrigerator, our bellies and our lives and the one thing I learned from all of this is that we do like Green Eggs and Ham, we do, we do, Goldilocks, I am.

For more great ideas to celebrate Dr. Seuss' books, I absolutely love the Chalk Talk blog They even offered up the idea of using whipped cream and lime sherbert in place of green eggs and ham. Hey, that's where those food colors would come in handy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

International Pancake day

IPD is today! I don't know that anyone has ever abbreviated it before but I feel like abbreviations make things much more professional. Anyway, whatever, I just had to post my new favorite recipe. It's not really even a recipe so much as a dipping but either way, it's delish.

So, here's what you do. It's really complicated so get your pen and paper handy. You might even want to use a pencil just in case you forget a step and need to erase. You ready? Okay. You unpeel a banana. You cup it up into slices so that you have perfectly rounded disks. You with me so far? You dip them into pancake batter- any batter will do (we use Hungry Jack Buttermilk). And you cook them in a pan of butter/margarine. Viola! Delish and to die for! Go ahead, you can virtually hug me.

*Not an original recipe. I swear I looked through my history to try to find the original "artist"- will let you know.

Blue, polka-dotted, gloved friends

So, I have this friend. She is definitely not a white glove friend, maybe more like a blue, polka-dotted gloved one. The white gloves are the ones that you race around the house dusting every crevice, removing caked-on dirt and febreezing the heck out of your dogs in fear of offending the white gloves precious opinion. I don’t tend to have too many white gloves but there are one or two. I tend to collect the blue, polka-dotted gloves. She’s the type that you sort of, kind of clean the house for but then make sure to warn that if they put their child down on the floor, they might not be able to find him again.
Well today, I woke up and decided to make one of my favorite coffee cakes.
K-bear is still asleep so I try to be extra quiet (which of course means I drop everything). I look at the recipe…crap…it calls for “beating” ingredients. Beating means noise. Well gosh dern it! I decide to instead use my hands since of course, that’s the same thing, right? When that proves to be a big old “not even close,” I decide to use my whisk because that’s definitely the same thing. Um. No. And what happens? The whisk breaks off in two.
So, there I am whisking this cake batter with a whisk without a handle and then I remember the recipe calls for cutting butter. I will stand up and say I hate cutting butter. I’m terrible at it and at any given moment a knife goes flying out of my hands and lands within inches of either a dog lying on my feet or a cub. So, again, I use my hands. Do you think it works? Um, well, no.
Fine, so I get this monstrosity all ready and I notice a smell. A really, bad, burning, yucky smell. Immediately I check a now-awake Ava bear’s diaper but she’s clean as a whistle. My upturned nose starts sniffing through the house until the scent brings me right back to the oven. If my nose didn’t, the smoke would have. I opened it up and oh joy…a pork chop from last night.

Needless to say T minus 60 minutes and my house reeks like burned poop with a side order of something-that-could’ve-smelled-nice.
This is why I only hang out with blue, polka-dotted, gloved people.