Monday, June 1, 2020

Home Made Muesli

I like, no, I love Muesli.  I would fork over the money for the good one, cringing as I did so, but then the store I bought it at stopped carrying it. sigh.
And a good Muesli is not anything like Granola.
Not even close.
It doesn't have added sugar or fats, just the goodness of rolled oats, with some brands also adding wheat flakes or rye flakes. And of course seeds and nuts.
I was making some muffins for a blogging event recently, and a lightbulb lit up.  The recipe I was playing with resembled a muffin I used to make for myself as a grab and go breakfast before work.  Well, the next thing I knew I was playing with my food again.

Home Made Muesli
And here it is.   My version of Muesli, and best of all, it didn't cost me more than a few extra calories today, cause I had to taste test it.
How can I tell you how good it is, if I don't at least try it.

Home Made Muesli

I'm excited, I can now make and enjoy Muesli, when I want it, and not fork over way too much money for a very simple recipe.

Honestly, I'm going to give you just a few suggestions. I kinda winged it on this, and I think you should as well.

Here's what I put together.

I measured out about 2 cups of old fashioned rolled oats and drizzled 2 tablespoons of Agave Syrup over it. 
I toasted it in the oven for about 5 minutes at 375 degrees, turned the oven off and walked away for awhile. 
When I came back (I had to water the garden, and that took me a few minutes.)  I added a good handful of dried cranberries, a handful of chopped, roasted almonds, a handful of raw pumpkin seeds, and mixed it all up.

Then I put some in a bowl, added a little milk, and a touch more agave syrup and had second breakfast. 

The rest of the mix, is sitting in a jar, ready for future breakfasts.  
Home Made Muesli

The second best part of this recipe, is that it isn't a true recipe.  You can add whatever fruits and nuts you want along with whatever cereal you like. 
It's not sweet, but it is a nutrition powerhouse. 

2 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats - can also use any combo of cereals here
1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 cup Chopped Almonds
1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds
1/4 cup Flax Seeds
2 tablespoons Agave Syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spread the oats evenly over a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with the Agave Syrup.  Place in oven for 5 minutes, turn the oven off and leave to cool.   Place the toasted oats into a bowl, and add the remaining ingredients.   Mix together and place into a sealed container.  This will keep for a few weeks.  I used a glass jar to keep it in.  Measure out 1/2 cup per serving and top with your favorite milk.  It also goes well as a topping on yoghurt.   
You can use any combo of cereal or nuts or fruit in here.  Just make it to your taste.   

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Monday, May 18, 2020

Homemade Chicken Stock - Crock pot easy

It's Multi Cooker Monday.   We post on the third Monday of the month, and there is no theme.   Sue of Palatable Pastime started the group and it's been fun participating. 

We are a bunch of bloggers who celebrate their various different cooking methods using anything from crock pots, instant pots, air fryers, toaster ovens to sous vide. Anything thing goes, almost.  

Cause you don't always need to use that big old stove sitting in the middle of the kitchen to cook on or with, especially in the hot summer months. 

I don't have that many kitchen toys I play with, but one of the workhorses in my kitchen arsenal is my crock pot.
Home made Chicken Stock

I love how you can just dump stuff in there, turn it on and come back several hours later to a finished or almost finished meal.

I've made everything from soup to stew to dessert in mine.
But the one thing, I use it for most, is making homemade stock.  Whether it's chicken, turkey, vegetable, beef or even pork stock, it's almost a 'set it and forget it' appliance.

I keep the bones or carcass from any chickens I cook. It doesn't matter what kinds of bones are left, I'll throw them in the oven, and roast them up again, and then keep a big bag of bones in the freezer until I get enough for stock. I've even used the little wing tips from whole chicken wings, roasted them and used them for stock.  I'm not fussy at all.  And if you're a fan of rotisserie chickens, the carcass from that makes a great addition to the stock pot as well as being good eating.  I have to admit I buy them from time to time, cause I like them. 

The bones then go in the crock pot with some carrots, onions, lots of celery, the odd garlic clove or three, and some water.  I let them slow cook for several hours, then strain the stock.  I like to place it in the fridge overnight at this point, if there's too much fat on top, I can take it off, and then reduce it further on the stove top.  And it's fun to see how gelatinous it can get.  It wiggles and jiggles when you dump it into the pot. 
Home made Chicken Stock
You can freeze it at this point and it's wonderful but I like to reduce it, down to half, before freezing. It saves on valuable freezer space. 

After it has reduced, I'll then taste it and add salt and other spices.  If you add salt before reducing the stock, you also concentrate the salt.  And that can be nasty. 

I then freeze it in ice cube trays, and use those little cubes of deliciousness when I make gravy, or add them to the water when cooking rice.  I'll sometimes add a couple to a pan and slow cook chicken, or add them to a roasting chicken, just stuff a couple into the cavity, as the chicken roasts, they add moisture and flavor.  They can add so much flavor to so many dishes. (and yes, that is a Crown Royal impression on the cube.  I got the tray with a bottle of Crown a few years back, and use it for soup stock)

Home made Chicken Stock


Home made Chicken Stock


I have several sizes of silicone ice cube tray, the smallest holds just 2 tablespoons, the next size, holds 1/4 cup in each compartment,  and the largest is 1/3 cup in each compartment.   I usually just use the two largest sizes, but the smallest also comes in handy.  I've picked these up in various home goods stores, and love them.  It's easy to get the cubes out, they go through the dishwasher like a dream and I love having different amounts pre-measured and frozen. 


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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Almond Chicken

It's time for the Improv Cooking Challenge, hosted by Nichole of Cookaholic Wife.
This month we're tasked to make a dish with the combo of Meat and Nuts.

I don't always participate in the Improv Cooking Challenge, and I should.  I love trying to make up a recipe or find a recipe that fits within the parameters of the challenge, which consists of putting two disparate ingredients together.

 I looked at the ingredients and thought about making a meatloaf with walnuts, but honestly didn't feel the love so decided to shelve that idea.  I will make one in the future though, and tell you all about it, but not this month.

Then I looked at my menu plan for the week, and something clicked.  I'd written down Chicken as the protein but didn't have any notation beside it, and then the light-bulb exploded over my head and I suddenly got a craving for Almond Chicken, just like the Almond Chicken I used to get in Chinese restaurants, back in the dark ages. 
Almond Chicken
 
So I googled, and googled and googled and looked through my cookbooks, and couldn't find that elusive recipe.
Then I pulled an ace out of the hole and asked people on FB from my old home town to see if anyone there had the recipe or could remember that dish.
Almond Chicken
Turns out the restaurant I used to order it from, still makes it.  And some wonderful people gave me their versions of how to make it.
Then I twiddled with it a little more and I GOT THIS!!
Only one thing lacking, not enough chopped almonds on top.
 This is a very light tempura style batter you dip the chicken cutlets in.
Almost enough chopped almonds, almost.  I love using my mezzaluna for stuff like this.  I've had this one for over 40 years, and it's still going strong.
Chopped Almonds
 And the finished dish, with some ham fried rice and home made Sweet and Sour Sauce.  So good.
Almond Chicken



Almond Chicken

Yield: 2 servings
Author:
Prep time: 15 MCook time: 15 MTotal time: 30 M

Ingredients:

Batter and Chicken
  • 2 chicken  breasts cut into thin cutlets- 2-3 per breast
  • 1 Cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch or potato starch
  • 1 ice cold cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • Oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup flour for dredging
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds for topping
  • Lettuce for serving
Marinade
  • 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Sesame Oil

Instructions:

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into cutlets, place in marinade.
  2. Heat the oil in a pot or skillet that is deep enough that it will enable the chicken to be submerged as it fries. 
  3. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, water and baking powder until smooth. This makes a very light tempura batter. 
  4. Dredge the marinated chicken in some flour and then into the batter.  Place the batter dipped chicken into the hot oil and fry.  Turn over halfway through and finish frying,  This will only take a couple of minutes because the chicken has been cut thin.  Place onto either a paper towel or some coffee filters to drain.  Continue to fry the chicken until it's all done. 
  5. You can cut the fried cutlets up into chunks and serve on lettuce if desired or leave the cutlets whole.   Sprinkle with the chopped almonds and serve alongside some fried rice or a stir fry.  
Created using The Recipes Generator
Check out what the other bloggers have made!

Improv Cooking Challenge: May 2020

Ingredients: Meat and Nuts

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Monday, May 11, 2020

Tortilla de Patatas for Baking Bloggers

It's time for this month's reveal for the Baking Bloggers group.   We're a group of bloggers who like to bake, OK, so that's pretty simplistic, but we do like to bake.  Each month we bake something to a theme and then publish it on the second Monday of the month, which is today.
This month our theme was to Bake something from Spain.
Tortilla de Patatas for Baking Bloggers

For some reason lately I've been fixated on potatoes, so when I ran across this recipe from my Betty Crocker International Cookbook, I had to make it.    I made a couple of adjustments to the recipe so this would fit into the theme of baking, and so it might cross the line and become sorta frittata like.
But it is baked.
I gotta tell you this was so good.  Even the leftovers were good.
And I did eat that chive flower, and it was delicious.

Tortilla de Patatas for Baking Bloggers

Tortilla de Patatas for Baking Bloggers

Tortilla de Patatas for Baking Bloggers

 

Without further ado, here it is. 



Tortilla de Patatas - Spanish Potato Omelet

Yield: 1 serving
Author:
Prep time: 10 MCook time: 30 MTotal time: 40 M
This is a great breakfast, lunch or even a light dinner. Not that hard to put together either. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices bacon - cut into lardons or 1/2 inch size
  • 1 medium potato - firm fleshed kind - cut into 1/2 inch cubes and par-cooked
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. dried Marjoram
  • Chives

Instructions:

  1. Saute the bacon til crisp, and remove from pan.  Reserve some of the bacon fat in the pan. Add the cubed par-cooked potatoes and onion and cook until the potato is nicely golden brown and tender, around 15 minutes.
  2. Whisk the eggs with salt and pepper.   Add the bacon to the potato mixture and stir together.  Pour the eggs over the potatoes, cover and place in the oven at 375 deg. for about 15 minutes to finish baking. 
  3. Cut into wedges and serve sprinkled with some chopped chives.  Serve hot or at room temp.
If making this for more than one person, cook at least one potato per person.
This would also make great little appetizer, cut into pieces and served with some Creme Fraiche on top.    
Created using The Recipes Generator


Baking Bloggers

May 2020: Baking of Spain

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Sunday, April 19, 2020

Cauliflower Stuffed Ravioli

I've been part of a group called Soup Saturday Swappers for a couple of years now, and have fun pretty much every month posting about the 'Soup of the Month'.   We have a theme every month, and make and post a soup including that them.

Cauliflower Stuffed Ravioli


This month we did a Noodle soup theme, and I made these stuffed Ravioli and used them in the Spinach Soup.  Ideally I should have included the recipe and how to's in the original post, but when I tried it, the post was so long, I decided I needed to divide it and make this a second, separate post.
Spinach Soup with Cauliflower Ravioli

I've been making home made noodles for years, I think there is nothing better than home made noodles in a home made chicken soup.
The flavor of both, heaven.

I also made a baked noodle dish a couple of years ago for a Baking Bloggers post.  And have since made it a couple of times.  It's sorta like Kugel, but oh so very good.  It's called Rakott Teszta and is a layered noodle dish.

The basic rules apply in this dish as well, but the proportions are a touch different.

And I didn't have a proper Ravioli press, so I used my Pierogi press instead.
It worked like a dream.
Mostly.

I made the filling out of riced Cauliflower, red onions and Gouda cheese.  The onions turned a little purple when they cooked.

Cauliflower Filling for Stuffed Ravioli


I used a dumpling press I'd had hanging around, forever. Originally purchased to make Pierogi's with.  I'll get to them eventually.
Cauliflower Stuffed Ravioli

The finished Ravioli, and this wasn't even the best looking of the bunch, they all turned out pretty darn nice looking. Those little specks on there, are from the semolina.  It kept them from sticking in the press. 
Cauliflower Stuffed Ravioli

The Ravioli, cooking in some lovely chicken stock.  I did crowd the pot a little, but they turned out OK. 

Cauliflower Stuffed Ravioli

Cauliflower and Cheese Stuffed Ravioli

Yield: 4 generous servings in soup
Author:
Prep time: 45 MCook time: 3 MTotal time: 48 M
These hearty, yet delicate Ravioli go so well in a soup.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups AP  flour + 2-3 tablespoons of flour as needed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-3 tablespoons water (if needed for moisture)
  • Semolina flour for sprinkling
Cauliflower Filling
  • 2 cups riced cauliflower, cooked, with the liquid squeezed out.
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/2-3/4 cup shredded Gouda cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:

How to cook Cauliflower and Cheese Stuffed Ravioli

  1. Add the first four ingredients to the bowl of a food processor, and mix until it comes together as a ball.  If it looks a little too moist, add a tablespoon of flour until it comes together, too dry add water, a teaspoon at a time.  You're looking for a dough which resembles pie dough.
  2. Dump out onto a floured surface and knead it together for a couple of minutes.  the dough should be fairly elastic. If it seems too dry, add water, a teaspoon at a time.  If it feels too sticky, add flour, a tablespoon at a time.   You're aiming for a smooth elastic dough. 
  3. Wrap up tightly and let it set and rest up for at least 30 minutes, an hour is better. 
  4. After 30 minutes, divide the dough into quarters and using either a rolling pin or a pasta machine, roll out the dough thinly.
  5. If using a rolling pin, roll out as thin as possible, then fold the dough in thirds, like an envelope and roll out again. Repeat at least 3 times. This makes for silky soft noodles. Roll the dough out as thin as you can. Cut into noodles or leave as a large sheet. Leave to dry for at least an hour before cooking it. As this is fresh dough, it will only take a minute or two in boiling water.
  6. If using a pasta machine, place each piece through the machine on the widest setting, then fold it in thirds, and put through the machine one to two times.
  7. Then go to the next setting, and repeat.
  8. Finish off with the lowest setting. When you get to this step, do not fold the dough over, just feed it through the setting one or two more times. This makes the dough very thin, but it should still be fairly elastic.
  9. You should have several sheets of dough.  Place a piece of plastic wrap over all but one sheet.   Sprinkle a teensy bit of semolina on a dumpling press,Cut rounds out of the sheet and place on a dumpling press. Fill the center with some of the Cauliflower mixture, and close the press up, using firm pressure to seal the edges. Try to avoid any air pockets.  Place the filled Ravioli  onto a plate, sprinkling a little semolina over top to keep them from sticking to each other, and place some plastic wrap over top. Continue to fill the Ravioli's until all cauliflower mixture is used.  I got just over 15 stuffed Ravioli's from this recipe, and froze the excess dough to be used at a later date.  You can freeze the dough, it does freeze well.  Just let it thaw in the fridge overnight. 
  10. Cook the stuffed Ravioli's in either chicken stock, vegetable stock or even salted water. They are done when they float to the top. You'll find that the soft dough firms up nicely when they are cooked. 
Cauliflower filling
  1. Cook the cauliflower, and squeeze out the liquid.  I zap it in the microwave for a couple of minutes, place the cauliflower rice in a clean dishcloth and squeeze out the liquid.  Discard the liquid.
  2. Melt the ghee in a pan, and add the diced onions. Let it saute just until they are translucent.  Add the cauliflower and cook an additional minute or two.  Turn off the heat and stir in the shredded Gouda Cheese.  Set aside to cool.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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