Wednesday, January 22, 2020

King Cake Crack(er) Candy

One thing that makes me really excited about moving back to my home region is getting to celebrate Mardi Gras again.  I am all about it.

I love king cake. Those of you that went to my wedding might recall that we had a king cake wedding cake.

This is a different take on the king cake, but it is utterly delicious.

There is this slight mix of sweet and salty that I love. I am not sure this will last long in our fridge.

Note: I tried to make my own colored sugar. The purple ended up looking more black, but it still tasted just fine. I will mix the colored sugar differently next time.

40-42 saltine crackers
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar packed
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
12 oz. white chocolate chips
green decorative sugar
yellow decorative sugar
purple decorative sugar


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.

2. Place saltine crackers side by side on the cookie sheet. Set aside.

3. Combine butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

4.  Pour the mixture evenly over the crackers. (Be careful that your crackers do not move all around on the sheet.  Rearrange as necessary.)

5.  Bake for 5 minutes.

6. Remove from oven. Top with 12 oz. white chocolate chips. Let rest 5 minutes. Use a spoon to spread the melted white chocolate evenly over the crackers.

7. Decorate the top with green, yellow and purple decorative sugars. 

8. Cool in the freezer for 30 minutes.
9.  Break into pieces, removing from the sheet. (I used a wooden spoon to go under the candy and pull up to break.) Store in the refrigerator in a ziplock bag or airtight container.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Orange Rosemary Chicken

I love the seasoning on this chicken.

When given the chance, I will always use orange marmalade. I try to keep a jar of it in the fridge always.

This was some good chicken.

I know this is the second chicken recipe of the day, but I am trying to catch up on recipe posting. I have been behind since late summer. The chance to catch up is in sight if I post a lot the next few days.

2 bone-in chicken breast halves (about 12 ounces each), skin removed, trimmed
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary, divided
3 tbsp. orange marmalade
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar, malt vinegar or cider vinegar
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 400.  Coat a 9 X 13 inch or similar small roasting pan with cooking spray.

2.  Cut each chicken breast in half on the diagonal to get 4 portions about equal in weight. (Two will be smaller but thicker. The other two larger ones will be thinner.) Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and place, bone-side up, in the prepared pan.  Sprinkle with 1 tsp. rosemary.

3.  Bake the chicken for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/2 tsp. rosemary, marmalade, vinegar, and oil in a small bowl.

4.  Turn the chicken pieces over and top with the marmalade mixture.  Bake until the  chicken is no longer pink in the center, 15 to 20 minutes more.  (Check after 10 minutes.) Serve immediately, spooning the sauce from the pan over the chicken.

4 servings (about 181 calories each)

Salsa Salmon

salsa + salmon = a winning combination

This is a delicious low-calorie recipe (146 calories per serving).

I enjoy any recipe with salsa in it.

And what is really cool about this recipe is that you can make your own salsa. I enjoyed the process. 

If you have a favorite salsa and are not too keen on making your own, you can just dump your favorite salsa on top instead.

2 medium plum tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and quartered
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (Make sure you use gloves when you handle it.)
2 tsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2-4 dashes hot sauce (I used more.)
1 1/2 pounds wild salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 6 pieces

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2.  Place tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, vinegar, chili powder, cumin, salt, and hot sauce to taste in a food processor; process until finely diced and uniform.

3.  Place salmon in a large roasting pan; spoon the salsa on top.  Roast until the salmon is flaky on the outside but still pink inside, about 15 minutes.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Chicken, as I have said before in this blog, is not my favorite protein. However, I keep chicken on hand in the freezer because it is versatile.

Here is a way to make BBQ chicken without a grill or having to work with the meat a long time.

1 c. canned tomato sauce
1/2 c. ketchup
2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. brown sugar (not packed)
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 lb. raw boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved
optional: red pepper flakes (I always add the spice unless I have little children eating with me.)

1.  In a crock pot, mix all ingredients except chicken.  Add chicken and stir to coat.

2.  Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 7 or 8 hours, until chicken is fully cooked.

3.  Transfer chicken to a large bowl.   Shred with two forks - one to hold the chicken in place and the other to scrape across and shred it.  Return shredded chicken to the crock pot and mix well.

makes 7 servings

Fake-Baked Beans

I liked baked beans. Bush's are my favorite from a can. I love to try other people's baked beans at potlucks. My grandfather made a good pan of baked beans.

These are more tangy than I like.

I am a fan of the sweeter variety of baked beans.

These are worth trying if you like to try different varieties of baked beans.

What is your favorite baked bean recipe? Comment below.

one 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/4 cup molasses
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
one 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
one 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
one 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 c. finely chopped onion
2 c. finely chopped red bell pepper
1 c. finely chopped Fuji apple

1.  In a medium bowl, combine tomato paste, molasses, vinegar, mustard, garlic, and salt.  Mix thoroughly.

2.  Place all remaining ingredients in a crock pot.  Add the tomato paste mixture and toss to coat.

3.  Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.

4. Stir well and serve.

makes 10 servings

Cincinnati Chil

This is a healthier attempt at Skyline Chili's chili. I have been to Cincinnati a few times, and this version is not quite as good. However, this is a good alternative.

I would love people that have had Skyline Chili to try this one and let me know what you think. Which one do you think is better?

To make it healthier, I used zoodles instead of noodles.

1 lb. raw extra-lean ground beef
2 c. chopped onion
one 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
one 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes
one 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (not drained)
one 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. chopped garlic
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 dried bay leaf
4 bags House Foods Tofu Shirataki Spaghetti Shaped Noodle Substitute
1 1/2 c. shredded fat-free cheddar cheese

1.  Bring a large pot sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat.  Add beef and onion.  Cook, stir, and crumble until beef is fully cooked and onion has softened, 7 to 8 minutes.

2.  Drain excess liquid.  Add all remaining ingredients except noodles and cheese.  Mix in 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil.

3.  Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes, or until thickened to your desired consistency.

4.  Meanwhile, use a strainer to rinse and drain noodles well. Thoroughly pat dry. Roughly cut noodles.  Place in a large microwave-safe bowl.

5.  Remove chili from heat, and remove and discard bay leaf.  Mix well.

6.  Microwave noodles for 2.5 minutes, or until hot.  Drain excess liquid, and thoroughly pat dry.  Serve noodles topped with chili and cheese.

makes 6 servings

Dill Pickle Soup

You might think this soup will be weird or gross, but it is actually delicious. I thought it might taste a bit like drinking pickle juice, which I have done (pro tip: drinking pickle juice can help your migraine), but it tasted less like pickle juice and more like a potato soup.

It is almost like a potato salad soup.

You can get creative with it - adding celery, onions, bacon, cheese, etc.

If you like pickles, you need to try this soup.

I promise you it is not like any soup you have had before, and you should not judge it until you try it first.

5-1/2 cups chicken broth
1-3/4 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 cups chopped carrots, smaller dice
1 cup chopped dill pickles (smaller dice ~ about 3 large whole dills)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup water
2 cups dill pickle juice
1-1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon table salt **You might want to wait until after you taste it to add this because pickles are already salty.**
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
optional garnishes: sliced dill pickles, fresh dill and black pepper

1. In a large pot, combine broth, potatoes, carrots and butter. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender. Add pickles and continue to boil.

2.  In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sour cream and water, making a paste. Vigorously whisk sour cream mixture (2 tablespoons at a time) into soup. (This will also break up some of your potatoes, which is okay.) You might see some initial little balls of flour form, but between the whisking and boiling, all will disappear. 

3.  Add pickle juice, Old Bay, salt (if needed), pepper and cayenne. Cook 5 more minutes and remove from heat. Serve immediately.

serves 8