Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The “What’s For Dinner This Week?” Chicken Recipe for Roasted Chicken

Ladies and Gentlemen, the dinner dilemma has been solved.  I’ve recently begun roasting a whole chicken on a Sunday or Monday night and then having plenty leftover for lunches and dinner for a few more meals.  This usually becomes chicken tacos, chicken salad and sometimes just plain reheated roast chicken leftovers.  It’s a simple recipe and it’s really inexpensive to buy chickens whole and cook them yourself then to buy all the cut-up parts separately.  It's also so much less work to just roast a chicken once and have chicken for the week then to do it all every night.  That’s why I like to do this roast towards the beginning of the week, when my motivation is high, my fridge is full and my mind isn’t yet overwhelmed by the Tuesday, Wednesday etc. weekday worries.   

Roasting a chicken also makes a home smell delicious so it’s a warm and comforting activity for a late weekend evening.   This recipe calls for one fresh herb and one lemon, but you will be just fine leaving these out or substituting the thyme for rosemary or tarragon and the lemon for an orange.  (You may be hesitant about this orange suggestion but it only goes in the cavity of the bird and brings a very very mild flavor so don’t get too worked up about it).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Quick and Delicious Little Love Cakes and Buttercream Frosting, Happy Valentine's Day!

This is a simple little cake recipe by the South African baking goddess Myrna Rosen.  It takes a hot second to make and has never failed me.  No worries about rising, flopping or any other typical cake baking hang ups.  I don't want to say it's fool-proof less some fool come along and botch it up...(if so please share so we can all avoid your mistakes!) but this is my go-to vanilla cake recipe.  Whenever there's a birthday or any occasion deserving of celebration I whip this little pup right up.  The original Myrna Rosen recipe is actually for a marble cake, a very old-fashioned European concoction that never really swayed me so I took out all the coco bits and voila and easy peasy vanilla cake recipe.

I decided this year to make mini cakes for Valentine's Day.  Cupcakes are too small and fashion conscious, and a whole cake is much too much for me and the BF, so I used these mini pie tins that my sister gave me for my bday this year and decided to try out cake batter in them.  Sweet success.  In the recipe you can find adjusted baking times depending on what size pan you decide to whip up this recipe in, but it is very malleable and i haven't yet found a pan it won't work in.  The icing recipe is also home-made, delicious and easy.  Feel free to drop food coloring in it to make all different colors or keep it white like I did and use M&Ms and sprinkles to decorate.  Mini-cakes also give a bit more of an artistic canvas to try out some Valentine's Day decorations whilst not affording the same be-all end-all "one shot its all yours take it or leave it" like a full cake would.

Surprisingly, I don't have too much to say about Valentine's Day.  I like sweet things and I hope that you have someone to share something sweet with this year.  And if you're feeling lonely, it helps to bake something and give it to someone you love, your family, your friends or even yourself.  

for the cake
1/4 lb. unsalted butter or margarine
1/2 cup milk (or water is fine)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs

for the icing
1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups confectioner's sugar (icing sugar, powdered sugar...it's all the same)
2 tblsp. milk or water

Cream together the butter and sugar (and by this i mean use a beater or a spoon until the two ingredients are well combined into a nice smooth batter).  Add the eggs to mixture.  In a separate bowl mix the flour and baking powder together and then spoon these dry ingredients into the butter mixture.  Finally add the milk and vanilla and beat until smooth.

*For a single layer cake use a 9in. greased round pan and bake @ 350 for 35-40 minutes. (Feel free to double the recipe if you want a double layer cake!)
*For cupcakes, spoon into paper lined tins and bake @ 350 for 25 minutes.
*For these mini cakes, spray the pie tins with non-stick cooking spray and bake @ 350 for about 30-35 minutes.

For the icing, use beaters on medium speed to soften the butter.  Then add the icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time until completely combined.  Finally add the milk to smooth out the icing and then the vanilla for flavor and any food coloring you like for style.

Make sure cakes are cool when you ice them. i used a heart shaped cookie cutter  and sprinkled sprinkles to decorate.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday Football Steak and Cheese Potato Skins and Potato Pop-Ems

I saw this fantastic idea on Sprinkles of Parsley (an amazing, fabulous ~insert every positive adjective you can think of~ blog) for Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins and just had to post a follow up recipe idea. This is a variation of "steak and fries" in such an easy "pop-em in your mouth while you cheer for FOOTBALL" game-day food.  They're so simple to make and so delicious eat.  Basically you bake the potatoes, spoon out the inside, cook up some meat anyway you like to go inside and enjoy!  I took the extra potato filling, rolled it into little balls, and baked them as well.  It was delish and all kept in the theme of melt in your mouth sock'em with flavor game-day finger food.  Touch. Down.

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