Monday, February 24, 2014

Chipotle BBQ Sauce

After a long winter and a major snowfall last weekend, my husband and I were excited to enjoy the beautiful sunshine and use our new smoker to make a delicious feast for our Saturday dinner. With ribs and roasts slow cooking, we began to think about making a savory sauce to enjoy along side our meal. If you haven't noticed, we like things a little spicy around here and this sauce definitely fits the bill. This sauce combines our love of a slightly vinegary barbecue sauce with the back-of-the-throat tingle only chipotle peppers can provide. If you like things a less spicy, all you have to do it cut back on the amount of peppers you use (I would recommend 2 peppers for a mild flavor). Any extra sauce can be stored in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid in the refrigerator for at least a month. Use this spicy condiment for pork, beef, chicken wings and even venison.
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Medium Yellow Onion, Diced
1/2 teaspoon Salt
6 Cloves Garlic, Minced
5 Chipotle in Adobo Peppers, Chopped
1/2 Cup Ketchup
3/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Molasses
1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Ground Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1. Sweat the onions in garlic in the butter and salt over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
2. Add the remaining ingredients.
3. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to LOW.
4. Simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Using an emersion blender or up-right blender, carefully puree the sauce until smooth.
6. Return to the heat for an additional 5 minutes before using.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Olive Oil Roasted Chicken

I am always experimenting with different ways to seasoning a fresh chicken. I have several recipes that use this wonderfully versatile main dish, each with a slightly different taste. It honestly amazing me at how many varied tastes you can get from one small chicken.
So for today's variation, I decided to go with a more Italian flavor for the skin coating. The olive oil will serve two purposes; it will adhere the seasoning to the skin and it will replace my typical butter coating for the browning of the meat. I served this with some roasted vegetables and a light pan gravy. The leftovers are great for a simple reheating or for morphing into an entirely different dish, think casserole or salad. So the next time you are looking for that special Sunday night chicken recipe or entertaining friends, give this easy yet delicious Olive Oil Roasted Chicken a try.
5 1/2 Pound Fresh Young Chicken
4 1/2 teaspoons Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Dried Parsley
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1. Remove the giblets from the inside of the chicken. Set aside for use in making stock.
2. Pat the chicken dry and place in a roasting pan with a wire rack.
3. In a small bowl, combine the oil and seasonings. This will form into a paste-like consistency.
4. Using a pastry brush, coat the entire surface of the skin with the oil/seasoning paste.
5. Turn the chicken so that the breast is facing up. I like to tuck the wingtips behind the back of the chicken. (Imagine someone laying in the sun with their hands behind their head and you will know what I mean.)
6. Place into a preheated 375 degree oven.
7. Bake for 90 minutes until golden brown and juices run clear.
8. Remove from the oven and tent with foil for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Grape and Pecan Chicken Salad

In the South, we make chicken salad for any special occasion. Whether we are celebrating a birthday, hosting a bridal shower, or just getting together to talk with friends, chicken salad tea sandwiches are a staple. The great thing about this recipe is that it is quick, simple, and can help use up leftover roasted chicken to create a delicious meal. Keep this recipe on hand for the upcoming spring and summer months. This salad is perfect for a romantic picnic with your special someone. Just remember to pack ice packs to keep the mayonnaise cool during the travel and hiking periods prior to spreading out the blanket and enjoying the special moment.
2 Cooked Chicken Breasts
1 Stalk Celery, Finely Chopped
1/4 Cup Red Seedless Grapes, Halved
1/4 Cup Pecans, Chopped
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
1 pinch Salt
1 pinch Pepper
1 pinch Dried Parsley Flakes
1. Remove the bones and skin from the cooked chicken breasts, if applicable. Dice the meat into small, bite-size cubes. Place the diced chicken into a large bowl.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Stir until all is combined and lightly coated in mayonnaise. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
4. Serve as a sandwich, wrap or with crackers.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Blueberry-Pecan Muffins

Okay, I am going to say that these are 100%, without-a-doubt the very best, most tender, delicious muffins I have ever made! When I woke up this morning, all I could think about was making something different. What could I make that would turn the typical Saturday morning breakfast into something to remember? As I sat, enjoying my coffee while the house still remained quiet, thoughts of pancakes and waffles, bacon and eggs, biscuits, and quiche flowed through my mind. However, none of them seemed special enough. Then, it hit me. Muffins! I knew there were blueberries and pecans in the freezer that I could use and everything else was in the pantry. I immediately sprung to my feet and began developing this recipe. Admittedly, I could not be more pleased with this recipe. I will be making these muffins a lot!
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 pinch Salt
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Frozen Blueberries
3 Tablespoons Chopped Pecans
2 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
Yield: 6 Jumbo Muffins
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.
3. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a large measuring cup.
4. Slowly stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. The batter will be lumpy and thick. Stir the blueberries into the batter.
5. Evenly distribute the batter into the prepared muffin pan.
6. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the top of the batter.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and the spring back to the touch. You can test with a toothpick for doneness if you are not sure.
8. Remove from the oven and carefully run a knife around the edges of the muffins. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before inverting from the pan.