Friday, August 31, 2007

Caramelized Chicken

This chicken recipe is very flavorful and always popular. Keep a lot of wetnaps handy, because the sauce is pretty sticky.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

3-4 pounds of chicken (boneless breasts or whatever your preference)
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of soy sauce
2 Tablespoons of ketchup
1 cup of honey
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the olive oil, soy sauce, ketchup, honey and garlic in a medium size bowl. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and place in a 9 x 13 pan. Pour the olive oil mixture over the chicken. Bake for 2 hours in the preheated 325 degree oven. Cover with foil for the first hour of baking. Remove foil and continue baking until the chicken is caramelized. After the chicken is baked, the residual sauce in the pan may be poured over the chicken on the serving platter.

Potato & Sour Cream Casserole

This is my Mom's recipe. It always tastes best when she fixes it, but it doesn't keep me from trying my hand at it. There are many variations of this potato dish (sometimes called 'funeral potatoes' for their prevalence at church suppers!), but this one is my favorite.

1 two pound package of frozen hash browns, thawed
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tablespoons of butter, cut up (optional)
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup (average size; I use Campbell's)
1/3 cup of milk
1 pint of dairy sour cream
1/2 cup of chopped onions
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1 cup of crushed potato chips or corn flakes
3 Tablespoons of melted butter

In a large mixing bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Spread in a lightly sprayed 9" x 13" pan, or an oven-friendly large frying pan (like Calphalon brand). Sprinkle the crushed potato chips over the top and drizzle the melted butter over all. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour in a 350 degree oven. I cover it for the first 35 minutes of baking. This recipe goes well with the caramelized chicken recipe that will be posted next.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Easy Shortbread Dessert

This recipe makes a delicious dessert when you don't have much time or many ingredients in the house. Essentially, you only need butter, sugar, flour and a medium size jar of jam/preserves to complete this one. The result is a rich crumbly dessert bar that is fine by itself, or can be served with a scoop of ice cream or sorbet. I like to make these with apricot or peach jam and then serve with peach ice cream, or use raspberry jam and serve with a scoop of raspberry sorbet. Whatever combination you choose, here's the recipe.

1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks) of butter, softened
4 cups of flour
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 eighteen ounce jar of apricot jam or preserves (or the fruit flavor of your choice)

With an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour and continue mixing until well-combined, but crumbly. Place 2/3 of this mixture, evenly, into a 9x13 ungreased baking dish. Press it down firmly with your hands to form a kind of crust. Spoon the jam all over the top of this layer, spreading gently (to about 1/4" of the edge), so as not to pull up the bottom layer. Sprinkle the remaining third of the crumbly dough over the jam layer. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until set. The top should not get brown. Allow to cool before cutting into bars/squares. Before serving, dust with powdered sugar.