Sunday, August 26, 2012

Beer Marinated Chicken with Aged Cheddar

A few weeks ago Tim and I went to a series of classes on wine and cheese at our local Hy Vee store.  Not only were these classes informative, they were FREE!  It was fun, informative and great to taste different wines and cheeses together.  We purchased several varieties of cheese, most to enjoy with wine and crackers.  We did purchase an 8 year aged cheddar with the intention of cooking with it  Of course we know it works beautifully stuffed inside a burger.  Curious what else aged cheddar might pair well with, I searched the internet and found this recipe for grilled chicken breasts.

The recipe calls for splitting the breasts in half and stuffing them with the cheese.  I left ours whole and towards the end of the grilling time, made slits in the side of them and added the cheese.  The beer and and the aged cheddar pair together nicely making this a delicious dish for a summer barbeque. 

Beer Marinated Chicken with Aged Cheddar
Recipe Courtesy of Dairy Goodness

4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup (125 ml) light beer
1/4 cup (60 ml) unsweetened apple juice
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh rosemary or
1 tsp (5 ml) dried rosemary
Freshly ground pepper
4 oz (120 g) Canadian Aged Cheddar, thinly sliced


Cut the chicken breasts in half to make them less thick.
Place chicken in a bowl and add beer, apple juice, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper to taste. Marinate at least 30 minutes or several hours if time allows.
Preheat grill to medium.
Remove chicken from marinade and drain, then cook on grill with lid closed 5–7 minutes each side, depending on thickness of chicken.
Re-form chicken breasts by pairing up both halves after placing a quarter of the cheese between the halves. Close grill lid and allow cheese to melt for 2–3 minutes before removing from grill.

I am linking this to On The Menu Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Watermelon Mint Quick Pops

For my birthday this year I received a gift certificate to a local kitchen store. I decided to use it on something I wouldn't normally buy or didn't need. I'd read about these Zoku pop makers and heading into summer thought one would be perfect for a quick refreshing treat. If you're not familiar with Zoku pop makers, the pops freeze in 10 minutes or less. Just keep the unit in your freezer, pour the base into the pop maker and in just a few minutes you'll have popsicles.  Be careful not to overfill the pop maker or you will have trouble releasing them from the mold.  Also, don't make your base too sugary or it won't freeze solid.

If you have kids, a Zoku pop maker would be perfect for those times when you need treats in a hurry.  I bought the one that makes two pops at a time, you can make four pops before the unit needs to be refrozen. 

Watermelon Mint Quick Pops
Recipe Courtesy of the Zoku blog
12 oz (about 3½ cups) seeded, cubed fresh watermelon
¼ cup cold water
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
6-8 mint leaves
*sugar or agave nectar (optional)
In a blender, combine all ingredients and puree until smooth.
Insert sticks and pour the watermelon base until you reach the fill line. Let freeze completely, then remove the pops with the Super Tool and enjoy. Repeat with remaining pops.
*We recommend tasting the watermelon base before filling the Zoku Quick Pop Maker. If your watermelon is nice and sweet you won’t need to add sugar. If you find your base needs to be sweeter, simply add a little sugar or agave until you reach your preferred level of sweetness.

I am linking this to Kitchen Bouquet's Ice Cream Social, On The Menu Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Strawberry Jello Salad - Club Baked

 Who isn't reminded of their childhood when you hear jello salad?  At every holiday meal or special occasion when I was growing up, there was at least one jello salad.  Usually including pineapple or fruit cocktail and if we were lucky some whipped cream.  As an adult, I only think of jello as food we eat when we are sick or recovering from dental surgery.  I can't remember the last time I made a jello salad.  When I saw this week's Club Baked recipe was Strawberry Jello Salad, I was intrigued.  Really, the Baked Explorations authors are including a jello recipe in their cookbook? Baked Explorations features classic American dessert recipes the authors chose from their journeys across the United States. 

The recipe calls for making this is a 9 x 13 pan.  Since it's just the two of us, I didn't really want a big pan of jello.  I decide to make this in individual servings.  I made 1/4 of the recipe, with a little extra on the cream cheese layer and ended up with 4 servings.  I baked the pretzel mixture in the oven till crispy and the sprinkled it in the bottom of the glass.  It worked out perfectly and is much easier than cutting individual servings.

If you're looking for a salad for a family gathering, give this one a try.  It's a wonderful mixture of sweet, salty and creamy.  I would like to make this with pudding instead of jello, maybe chocolate?  For sure a chocolate version could be served at a holiday dinner for my husband's family, they love to call anything with whipping cream and pudding a salad. 

You'll find the recipe at Gloria, The Ginger Snap Girl's blog.  If you'd like to see what the other members of Club Baked did with this salad, you can find those links here!  Next up for Club Baked, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake.

I am linking this to On The Menu Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday and Sweet Tooth Friday

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hotel Cookies - Secret Recipe Club

 It's Secret Recipe Club reveal day, one of my favorite days of the month.  I look forward to seeing who had my blog and sharing the recipe of my assigned blogger.  Hard to believe I've been participating in SRC since June of 2011.  Since I also participate in Club Baked, I try to make a savory recipe for SRC.  This month, not so much.  When your assigned  blogger is Secrets from the Cookie Princess,  how can you choose a savory recipe from a blog with that title.  Collen began her blog during the holiday season of 2010 when she baked 163 dozen holiday cookies.  Wow, that's a lot of cookies!!!

The most difficult thing was deciding which recipe to bake.  As much as I love sweets, I hardly ever bake cookies.  Although the recipes themselves don't take any longer to prepare, I think it's the amount of time it takes to bake each individual sheet that stops me.   After reading at least a dozen of Colleen's recipes, the title for this recipe caught my eye.   Hotel Cookies sounded interesting and as it turns out, I've eaten Hotel Cookies many times.  The original name for this recipe is Lindsay's Chocolate Cafe Chocolate Chip Cookies but Colleen changed the name of these cookies because they reminded her husband of the cookies at the Doubletree hotels.   In my last job, we did a lot of business with the Doubletree and we all loved their cookies.  I agree, these are a close facsimile.

As I gathered everything to bake these cookies, I realized I didn't have semi sweet chocolate chocolate chips.  I used 12 ounces of milk chocolate and 5 ounces of peanut butter/chocolate chips.
Also, we're not big fans of walnuts, so I used all pecans.  These cookies are the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever made.  If you like crispy cookies, these aren't for you.  However, if you like a soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie, this is the recipe for you!  I will be making these cookies again soon!

Hotel Cookies
Recipe Courtesy of Secrets of the Cookie Princess
(Adapted from Lindsay's Chocolate Cafe Chocolate Chip Cookies)
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
4 ounces milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a medium bowl, mix oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer for about 30 seconds.  Add sugar and cream mixture, beating until combined and scraping sides of bowl as necessary.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.  Beat in as much of the flour as you can using the mixer, then stir in remain flour with a wooden spoon until incorporated.   Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

 On a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet, drop by spoonfuls about 2 inches apart.  Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Turn baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through. If using more than one sheet at a time, rotate positions in the oven for more even baking.  Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes, then move to complete cooling on rack.

I am linking this to On the Menu MondayTasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday and Sweet Tooth Friday.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tortellini with Squash and Sweet Corn

If you're like me and have lots of summer squash and corn on hand, give this recipe a try. It's a light and refreshing pasta dish, perfect for a warm summer night. The recipe calls for gnocchi but I used tortellini and it worked out perfectly.


Gnocchi with Squash & Sweet Corn

Recipe Courtesy of The Kitchen

Serves 2 to 4
 1 (16 ounce) package vacuum-sealed gnocchi (from the dried pasta aisle) (I used Tortellini)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 small zucchini, very thinly sliced
1 small yellow squash, very thinly sliced
1 cup sweet yellow corn kernels (from about two ears)
2 small cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Squeeze of lemon
2 ounces soft goat cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add gnocchi and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Toss warm gnocchi with 1 tablespoon butter and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a large, flat-sided sauté pan over medium heat. Cook the butter until it begins to bubble and turn light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Be careful not to let it burn. Add the zucchini, squash, corn, and garlic and sauté until warmed through, another 2 - 3 minutes.
Turn off heat and stir the cooked gnocchi into the vegetables. Add a generous squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with small hunks of goat cheese and a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

I am linking this to On The Menu Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Rosemary Shortbread Apricot Bars - Club Baked

It's been a few months since I baked along with the Club Baked bakers.   When I saw the recipe included shortbread and rosemary, you bet!  Although this  isn't a quick dessert to make, it is well worth the time it takes.  First you prepare, chill and bake the shortbread crust.  The next step is to make the apricot filling.  Mine took every bit of the 50 minutes called for in the recipe before the filling thickened.  Lastly you put together the crumb topping, assemble and bake again.

My shortbread layer was quite a bit thicker and my filling thinner than the photograph shown in the book.  Regardless, these are delicious.  I especially liked the shortbread,  it's soft tender crumb and wonderful rosemary flavor.  This is a recipe I will make again in the future, even if it's only the shortbread layer!

You'll find the recipe on Linda's site Sassy is Baking and links to the other Club Baked baker's bars here!  Next up for Club Baked, Strawberry Jello Salad.

I am linking this to Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday and Sweet Tooth Friday.