Thursday, October 27, 2011

Browned Mozzarella Sticks

I have my son Matt to thank for this creation (Thanks, Matt!). He calls it poor man's Halloumi. He discovered that you could brown this certain brand of string cheese (Kroger's CowPals Light), and I experimented and found two more brands that work as well (Weight Watchers and Cheeseheads Light). Other brands I tried melted and did not brown. This is the quickest and easiest appetizer that you could ever make. It is so good, and I know you will not be able to eat just one. I could hardly wait until I was done taking the pics so that I could eat it. Here we go for a party or a football game, you name it. Be the first one to show your friends and family this amazing treasure. It's like fried mozzarella sticks without the breading and oil. It's simply good. Enjoy!

Browned Mozzarella Sticks

  • 1 pkg. light Mozzarella string cheese sticks individuallly wrapped*
  • Spaghetti sauce for dipping
You will need to heat up a nonstick skillet over medium heat, do not coat with oil. Unwrap cheese sticks and place in skillet, as cheese begins to brown in about 2-3 minutes start to turn with tongs to brown all sides. CowPals holds its shape better than Weight Watchers, but Weight Watcher cheese browns well too. Serve immediately with some spaghetti sauce for dipping. Eat before cheese cools down and becomes a little tough.

*The best brands to use are Frigo Cheese Heads light string cheese, Kroger CowPals or Weight Watchers. The Frigo and Kroger brand work the best. I tried this with a lot of different brands and so far these are the only three that brown and do not melt.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hot and Crunchy Chicken

I used to eat this chicken dish at a restaurant in Frederick called Jennifer's, they have since closed. My hubby and I were fairly regular diners there. We had many date nights there through the years. The Hot & Crunchy chicken was one of our favorites. Jennifer did not give me the recipe for it, but this is my version. I added more spice and crunch to it, by using Cayenne pepper and Panko bread crumbs. It is not over the top spicy because the sweetness of the honey mellows out the cayenne. I don't know what it is, but I love the combo of spicy and sweet together. So take the time to make this awesome chicken dish. I always get great feedback on this one.

Hot & Crunchy Chicken

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, 4 to 6 oz. each
  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. plus ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ⅛ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • cooking spray
Trim all fat and cartilage from chicken and place inside a Ziploc bag. Place on top of cutting board and with a meat mallet, hammer breasts to about ¼ inch thickness. Set aside.

Place bread crumbs on a large flat plate. Then beat egg and milk in a small bowl. Rub ⅛ tsp. of cayenne pepper evenly on one side of chicken breast then flip over and do the same on the other side until all chicken breasts are coated with cayenne. Dredge chicken into egg, then press into bread crumbs.

Heat up a large 14 inch and a small 8 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to large skillet and spray small skillet with cooking spray. Add pecans to small skillet stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes to toast pecans. Add honey and ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper to toasted pecans, mix well. Turn off heat to pecans and set aside.

As soon as oil is hot in large skillet add chicken breasts one at a time. Cover with a splatter screen and cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side, or until no longer pink in center.

When chicken is ready, remove from skillet and drain on paper towels. Then place chicken on plate and evenly divide honey pecan mixture over top of breasts. This sounds like a lot of cayenne but it really is not too spicy. Try serving this with Baby Red Mashed Potatoes withPearl Onions and a green vegetable. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Friday, October 14, 2011

White Chocolate Spiced Wafers & Spiced Ice Cream Sandwiches

It's fall and the leaves are changing here in Maryland. It is just beautiful to take a ride and see all of the pretty colors. It hasn't peaked yet, so if you have time take a ride to Maryland it will be well worth your time. With fall I always think of spicy sweets, savory soups, and the the wonderful aroma that fills your house as you make them. It's funny how the season's affect your food cravings. Fall inspired me to try these really quick and easy sweet treats. They are only half way homemade, trick or treat. Sweets for the goblins, enjoy!

White Chocolate Spiced Wafers

  • 1 16 oz. box Sweetzel's spiced wafers
  • 1 cup Ghirardelli classic white baking chips, 11 oz. bag
  • 2 Tbsp. Crisco
  • candy corn, optional
Place cookies in freezer while preparing chocolate. In a double boiler over medium low heat melt chocolate and Crisco. Wisk together well and make sure that there is not any unmelted chocolate pieces. Place melted chocolate in a small ziploc sandwich or snack size bag. Then push out as much air as possible and seal it closed. With kitchen scissors snip a small piece off of one corner of the bag. Line up cookies on top of a cookie sheet, then squeeze on top of each cookie a circle of melted chocolate and immediately place a piece of candy corn on top. When all are decorated place in refigerator for about 15 minutes or until chocolate has hardened.

Spiced Ice Cream Sandwiches

  • 1 container of vanilla ice cream
  • 1 box of Sweetzel's spiced wafers.
Remove ice cream from freezer and let set on counter for about 5 minutes or until ice cream is soft enough to spread. With a flat sandwich spreader knife evenly coat one cookie with ice cream about ½ inch thick, then top with another cookie and press together. Spread knife around edges to smooth ice cream. Wrap them individually with plastic wrap and freeze immediately. Freeze overnight or for several hours.

Thanks to Lucky IraqDog, for helping to promote my cookbook, by giving a copy away to his 4,000th facebook fan. Happy Barkday, Lucky!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

I tell you that nothing tastes better on a crisp fall day than warm pumpkin muffins. Oh, and the aroma that fills your house while they bake will make your mouth water. This is a quick and easy recipe that is sure to please. And when you tell your family or guests that they are homemade they will be impressed. Muffins for my Stud Muffin!

Pumpkin Muffins

Muffin topping:
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 7 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, diced into tiny cubes
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
In a food processor place above ingredients and whirl until crumbles just start to form. Cover and place in refrigerator.

Pumpkin batter:
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, water, and sugar. Sift the rest of the ingredients together and slowly add to pumpkin mixture. You may mix this by hand or use an electric mixer. Mix well.

Line muffin tins with cupcake paper cups and add 1/3 cup batter to each cup. Remove butter mixture from refrigerator and add a heaping 1 Tbsp. on top of batter. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick into center comes out clean. This makes 32 muffins.