Friday, February 25, 2011

Evil Chicken Dinner (A Sweet Heat Chicken)

How do you feel about bacon? OK - dumb question, I know. But what about bacon grease? You good to cook with it? I'll be honest - it skeeves me out a little bit (Paula Deen would be so disappointed in me!) I'm not really sure why - it just does. But this recipe sounded so delicious that I had to get over it & give it a try! The honesty? It was really good. Had great flavor! However, I didn't love the slippery feel the bacon grease left in my mouth so I think next time we try this I'll drain off nearly all of the bacon grease - maybe leave 1 tablespoon in the pan. I might even just drain it all & compensate with a little water or something. We'll see! You can play with it & see what you like. Hubby & the kids didn't seem to mind it at all so if you're not weird like me you might just be fine to serve this as-is!

Here's what we're working with:

Super basic stuff - bacon, chicken, brown sugar & chili powder.

Cut your bacon & chicken up into bite-sized pieces.

Throw the bacon into a skillet & cook it until just about done.

Do not drain off the fat; add the chicken & chili powder.

Cook that, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through.
Add the brown sugar (& a little water, if necessary). Stir it around & cook until it is all incorporated & the sauce begins to thicken. Keep an eye on it, though - you don't want your sugar to burn or turn to toffee! Call it done after maybe 4-5 minutes.

Serve it up over some rice & enjoy!

Evil Chicken Dinner (A Sweet Heat Chicken):

1 pound bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 TBsp chili powder
1 cup brown sugar
up to 1/2 c. water as needed
cooked rice

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until nearly done. Don't drain. Stir in chicken & chili powder. Cook until cooked through. Add sugar & cook until dissolved & sauce begins to thicken, about 4-5 minutes. Be careful once the sugar is added not to let it turn to toffee. Add water to thin the sauce, but keep in mind the sauce is more of a coating. Serve over hot rice.

Source: Mandy's Recipe Box

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Snow Day

(We got a lot of snow this past week - this photo was taken a little farther up the mountain near the Kirkwood ski area. They got almost 10 feet in 1 week - we only got about 2!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cream Cheese Brownies

Someone made a request! Can I just tell you that I LOVED getting a request! She was hoping I could come up with some really great cream cheese brownies. She didn't give me a lot of detail about what she liked in a cream cheese brownie - so I kind of just guessed & came up with what I thought would be yummy. Brownies fall into 2 categories for me - fudgy or cakey. And then the richness of the chocolate is another scale you can slide around on. These fall into the cakey texture with a good mild chocolate flavor that won't leave you with a toothache! LOL I still may play around with another recipe to see if I can get a fudgier brownie - but until then these are definitely worth some attention!

Here are the ingredients:

Oil, Sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder, salt, baking cocoa, cream cheese, butter, milk.

First up we'll make the cream cheese filling (because if you make the brownie batter first it'll stiffen up quite a bit as it rests for you to make the filling!)

Take 1 of the eggs, softened cream cheese (just at room temperature), butter, sugar, flour, vanilla & milk - all in the quantities listed for the filling.

Blend it up!

Now just set that aside for a minute while we make our brownies.

Mix the first 4 brownie ingredients in a mixer.

In a separate bowl whisk together the next 4 ingredients.

Carefully pour that into the mixing bowl. Remember that cocoa takes a little effort to incorporate so you might want to drape a kitchen towel around the mixer bowl to avoid a dust cloud of cocoa!

So now your batter & filling are both ready to dance a little dance & make a little magic! Pour half the brownie batter into a greased 9x13 pan. Top with all of the cream cheese filling.

Plop the rest of the brownie batter over the top of the cream cheese. Don't worry too much about getting it perfect - just try to be mostly even.

Grab a butter knife & drag it slowly back & forth to create swirls - but don't go too deep - you don't want to get into the bottom batter - jut the top 2 layers.

Bake at 325 for 50-55 minutes or until a 'done-checker' comes out clean. As you can tell by this picture I used a butter knife today (rather than a tooth pick that would have avoided making a big crack in the top! Oh well...)

Ta da!! Now just let them cool for a bit then cut in to squares!

Yummm.... Ah. Good stuff! Cakey, decadent looking brownies that aren't super rich. Just the perfect amount of sweet to satisfy a craving - and not too much sweet so that you can only eat an inch before needing to be done!! LOL You can eat a big one of these!


Cream Cheese Brownies:


1 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa

Cream cheese filing:

1 8-oz package cream cheese, at room temperature
5 TBsp butter or margarine
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar, heaped
2 TBsp flour, heaped
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBsp milk

Blend all ingredients for the filling in a mixing bowl until smooth. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, blend first 4 ingredients for the brownies. in a separate bowl whisk together remaining 4 brownie ingredients. Add dry ingredients to the wet batter & blend thoroughly.

Pour half the brownie batter into a greased 9x13 pan. Top with all the cream cheese filling. Top with remaining brownie batter. Using a butter knife, slowly drag left to right to create swirls.

Bake at 325 for 50-55 minutes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sweet Corn Tomalito

Tom-a-WHAT!!?? Tomalito. It's a sweet corn bread pudding type thing. Have you ever been to dinner at Chevy's Fresh Mex? Chances are your meal came with a little yellow scoop of corn *stuff* on the edge of your plate. THAT, my dear, is tomalito! And it's awesome. And it's quite easy to recreate at home. Wanna try!!??

This is what you'll need:

Corn (either a drained can or thawed from the freezer), corn meal, corn flour (masa harina), margarine, milk, sugar, salt, baking powder & water.

First up - you're gonna mix your softened margarine, corn flour & sugar in an 8x8 dish.

Once that looks like a fluffy paste set it aside. Now grab a blender & mix 1 cup of the corn, the water & the corn meal. Don't worry about getting this totally smooth - just blend it together until it's all mixed in.

Pour this into your 8x8 pan with the sugar/flour paste & mix it up.

Once it's blended together add in the rest of the stuff - the other cup of corn, the milk, baking powder & salt.

Here it is all mixed up & ready to cook. Eww. I know - looks pretty gross, doesn't it!!?

From here, I think the traditional way to cook it would be to tightly cover it in plastic wrap & set it on top of a boiling pot of water to steam it ... for FIFTY minutes. Do you have an hour to worry about a side dish!!? Not usually.

Pop it into the microwave on defrost/30% power for about 7 minutes. Then, without opening the microwave, give it another 4 minutes on full power. Hello!!?? 11 minutes instead of 50!? Yes, please & thank you!

When it's done there will still be a wet spot in the middle - but if it's bigger than about a silver dollar give it another minute on full power.

Fluff it with a fork.

Scoop it up & enjoy! It's sweet & light & SO wonderful! This is just about the best thing you can do with a can of corn!

Sweet Corn Tomalito:

5 TBsp margarine, softened
1/4 cup masa harina (corn flour)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cups whole kernal corn
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp milk

In an 8x8 pan combine softened margarine, corn flour & sugar. Set aside.

In a blender mix 1 cup of corn, cornmeal & water until combined - but it doesn't need to be smooth. Add this to the sugar/flour mixture and stir well. Add all remaining ingredients (don't forget the remaining cup of corn!) and give another good stir.

Microwave at 30% power (defrost) for 7 minutes. go another 4-5 minutes at full power. When it's done a wet spot no larger than a silver dollar will be in the middle.

Stir/fluff with a fork & serve!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

We Take a Break from Our Regularly Scheduled Programming...

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Boudreaux's Butt Paste. All opinions are 100% mine.

So I know this is a food blog & all, but it's a food blog with an emphasis on kid-friendly food that fits easily into a busy mom's life. And we all know that making great food to feed our families is only a fraction of the many hats we wear every day. Another less glamorous assignment us moms get to tackle is diaper duty. I was just at the store Monday, standing in the baby section, trying to decide what to grab for my friends surprise baby shower that was starting no less than 15 minutes later! (LOL - I know, I know.... I'm always busy, OK!!?) when I saw it... Boudreaux's Butt Paste! I know it's silly, but it always makes me smile! LOL I don't know if it's the name, the cute little baby on the label or all of the ... fond? .... memories I have of it! No, seriously, though - it makes me think of my kids because it's the kind we always use - and my kids make me smile, so it makes sense, right!!? Why do I like it so much?

1.) It smells fantastic. Not gross like the other brands.

2.) It goes on SO smooth! It doesn't stay caked on your fingers when you're done. It's wipes off easily.

3.) 2 words... FLIP TOP! Because seriously - who has the third hand to unscrew a lid while you're wrestling with a baby that seems to have more arms than an octopus!!?

4.) Unlike the other brands that come in a tube as long as a tube of toothpaste, Butt Paste comes in a very manageable size that won't hog all the valuable real estate in your diaper bag.

So - have you ever used this stuff? Are you feeling the love, too!? Tell me about it. And if you have yet to know the greatness that is Boudreaux's Butt Paste run over to their website & find the yellow box down in the left corner for info on how you can get a sample! Boudreaux's Butt Paste

Visit Sponsor's Site

Monday, February 14, 2011

Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

How's that for a long name!!? But let me tell you, these little gems are worth every letter up there! They are so, so, so great! The banana cupcake part of it has the light & fluffy quality you love from cake but the amazing flavor you'd expect from a loaf of banana bread. As if that wasn't enough to make you love them, there is this AH-mazing cinnamon cream cheese frosting loaded up on top. Ahhhhhhh. I seriously had to exercize some hardcore restraint to keep myself from going into the kitchen for fingerful after fingerful of the frosting! (Learn from my temptation snag & wait until your cakes are cooled & ready to frost so you don't have a giant bowl of fluffy, rich Heaven on the counter taunting you!) Make 'em & love 'em, folks! You'll be glad you did! (And sorry if you have a slow connection - this is a picture-heavy post!)

Cupcake Ingredients:

Ripe bananas, flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, eggs, unsalted butter.

First mix all your whites - flour, sugar, salt, soda & powder.

Now add in your eggs, vanilla, melted butter & mashed bananas and then give it a whirl!

Line a muffin pan with baking cups and put about 1/4 cup of batter in each cup.

Put them in a 350 oven. The original recipe says 25-30 minutes - mine were done in 18. so just watch them, I guess!

All right!!! Now let them cool on a wire rack while you move on to the glorious frosting!

Frosting Ingredients:

Cream cheese, butter (regular old salted this time), powdered sugar, vanilla & cinnamon.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter & cream cheese until smooth & creamy.

..... from this - to this!

Add in the powdered sugar & whip it a little longer.

Then mix in your vanilla & cinnamon! (This is the magic part!)

LOOK AT THIS!!! Isn't it puuuuuurty!!? And delicious, too. This bowl alone could make for a content evening of over-indulgence!

Anyway - back to business - load up a zip lock bag with this stuff & snip off a corner. Then get busy frosting the cooled cupcakes.

(Yes, that is a pajama sleeve you see - I'm not Martha Stewart - I'm just Mom!)

And away we go! Start your swirl on the outside edge & work toward the center.

You should get about 18 cupcakes out of this recipe - and frosting to spare!

I hope you enjoy!

Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:

Banana cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas)
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cinnamon cream cheese frosting:
2 sticks (1 cup) butter (set out about an hour before mixing)
12 oz cream cheese (set out about an hour before mixing)
6 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a muffin pan with paper liners. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add in the butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate flour mixture, being sure not to over mix. Spoon batter into muffin cups - about 1/4 cup per cupcake.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (remember I only did 18, though!), or until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.

THE ICING: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix until everything is combined. Add the vanilla and the cinnamon. Ice the cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

Makes 18 cupcakes

Source: Leigh Anne @ Your Homebased Mom

Friday, February 11, 2011

Onion Roasted Potatoes

I think we're pretty overdue for a good, easy side dish, don't you!? I won't even bore you with a bunch of chit-chat... let's just get down to business! Onion roasted potatoes - with no tears from chopping raw onion! High-5's for that!!

What you'll need:

Red potatoes, olive oil, onion soup mix.
That's it! Don't you just love easy!?

Scrub your potatoes clean & then cube them up into chunks - no smaller than 1" cubes.

Toss them into an 9x13 pan & drizzle with olive oil. Then sprinkle the soup packet over them.

Give it all a good stir & then pop it into a 450 oven for 35 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

Ta da!! You're done! yum, yum, yum!

Here they are all plated up & ready to go!

Mmmmm.... Onion roasted potatoes!

Onion Roasted Potatoes:

2 pounds red potatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 pkt onion soup mix

Wash & dry potatoes. Cut into chunks. Place in 9x13 baking dish & drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with soup mix & thoroughly stir to coat evenly.

Bake at 450 for about 35-40 minutes, stirring once.