Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats with Vanilla Coconut Frosting

Summer is flying by and here we are again, the third Thursday of the month and it's Improv Cooking Challenge time again. Like last month I'm still out of sorts as I'm still without a computer, thus still taking pictures with my iPhone and blogging on my iPad.

This month for the Improv Cooking Challenge our hostess Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker challenged the participating bloggers to make any recipe of their choosing using the specified ingredients of vanilla & chocolate. Now those ingredients sound easy enough, I mean who doesn't love vanilla and chocolate? My problem in choosing a recipe though is that I'm not eating either ingredient right now and Eammon doesn't need to eat either ingredient so I limited myself to recipes that would appeal to my Maisie. In the end it was Maisie who led me to make Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats with Vanilla Coconut Frosting.

In the end neither Eammon nor I tried even a morsel of the treats but by the way Maisie and her friends devoured them, I can say that they were a huge success.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats with Vanilla Coconut Frosting

Grease an 8-inch square pan and set aside.

Add 3 TBS. buttery spread and the marshmallows to a microwave safe bowl and heat for two minutes on high. Stir to combine and stir in the peanut butter. Heat for an additional 30-40 seconds and then working quickly, add the Rice Krispies and stir to combine well. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and chill until set.

Once the bars are set, cut into squares but keep them close and together. To make the frosting, combine the remaining 1/2 cup buttery spread, powdered sugar, coconut milk and vanilla bean paste and whisk together until creamy. Drizzle onto the chilled bars.

 

Enjoy!

My previous Improv Cooking Challenge entries:

July 2013 Peaches & Herbs: Peachy Cola Ribs
June 2013 Fish & Chips: Salt &Vinegar Crab Cakes
May 2013 Cinnamon & Sugar: Cinnamon Bun Cookie Bars
April 2013 Bacon & Eggs: Mini Bacon & Swiss Quiche Cups
March 2013 Carrots & Peas: Mom’s Beef Vegetable Soup
February 2013 Hearts & Flours: Three Ingredient Fudgy Nutella Brownie Bites
January 2013 Bananas & Nutmeg: Baked Bananas
December 2012 Chocolate & Marshmallows: White Chocolate Marshmallow Cranberry Cashew Bark
November 2012 Sweet Potatoes & honey: Sweet Potato Glass Noodles with Honey Garlic Lime Shrimp
October 2012 Oatmeal & Raisins: S’mores Granola Bars
September 2012 Zucchini & Brown Sugar: Zucchini with Onion & Brown Sugar
August 2012 Tomatoes & Peppers: French Fries Hash Browns
July 2012 Corn & Butter: Fritos Crusted Pollock
June 2012 Cherries & Almonds: Dried Cherry Almond Tart
May 2012 Strawberries & Cream: Strawberry Soup
April 2012 Peanut butter & Jelly: Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars
March 2012 Potato & Cheese: Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole
February 2012 Ginger & Carrots: Shrimp & Avocado Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing
January 2012 Lemon & Sour Cream: Ponderosa Lemon & Sour Cream Tart
December 2011 Eggnog & Cranberries: Eggnog Popovers with Cranberry Butter
November 2011 Pumpkin & Cream Cheese: Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake
October 2011 Caramel & Apples: Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

 

 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tandoori Chicken Wings

I adore tandoori chicken but as I don't have a tandoor to authentically recreate the dish at home, I try to come as close as possible by using a delicious marinade and high heat cooking in my oven or on my grill.

This recipe is a bit different in that I've made it dairy free by using coconut milk in place of the yogurt that is traditionally used and I chose to use chicken wings, which though I'm sure has been done, I've never had them tandoori style. Eammon was in the mood for wings and I was craving tandoori...so there you have it, Tandoori Chicken Wings.

I realize that the recipe appears a bit overwhelming with the long list of ingredients but it really is simple in that everything is dumped into one big bowl and left to marinate for a few hours and then the chicken is baked or grilled so the hands on time is really minimal and the reward is huge. The wings were crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and flavorful throughout. These Tandoori Wings were a perfect way to satisfy everyone's craving.

 

Tandoori Chicken Wings

Combine the coconut milk, lemon juice and all the spices in a large bowl and mix well. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Preheat oven to 500F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease with coconut oil or oil of your choice. Lay the chicken pieces skin side up. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through and the skin is crispy.

Enjoy!

 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chicken Burgers with Spinach & Mushrooms

It’s that time again, Secret Recipe Club time and this month I was assigned Ginny's wonderful blog, Cooking with Chopin, Living with Elmo. Ginny blogs about life with her husband and two cutie-patootie boys and she shares wonderful real food recipes with her readers. While most of her recipes are based on real unprocessed foods, she does sometimes venture off and use ingredients that aren't quite as healthy, but oh-so delicious, like when she was assigned my blog for Secret Recipe Club back in October 2011 and using my Rolo Brownie Bites with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting she made Ferraro Rocher Brownie Bites with Caramel-Cream Cheese Icing.

Whether whole food and healthy or one of her delicious sinful treats Ginny has something for everyone on her blog. So many of her recipes called to me including her Braised chicken with orange and pistachios, Australian chicken strudel and the recipe I chose, Turkey burgers with spinach and shallots. Can you tell that I was in the mood for some poultry?
 
Ginny does a wonderful job walking you through the steps of a recipe showing lots of pictures and giving plenty of instruction so cooking from her blog is easy-peasy, just like the recipe I chose.

 

I made a few changes to Ginny's recipe, most noticeably, I used chicken instead of turkey and that's just because I had chicken breast in the house which I easily ground up to use in the recipe.

 

As I didn't have shallots, I used some extra onion and garlic. I pretty much followed Ginny's directions and they were perfect...just like the burgers.

 

The burgers were perfectly seared on the outside and deliciously moist and tender inside. The addition of the mushrooms added so much moisture and umami. The burgers were a huge success with all of us here in the Cook Lisa Cook house and even my spinach and mushroom hating Maisie thought they were wonderful and put dibs in for the leftover burger and she enjoyed it for lunch the following day.

So how did I get my spinach and mushroom hating girl to even try the burgers? The mushrooms I minced finely and they weren't overly noticeable mixed in with the chicken and other ingredients. Spinach of course is more difficult to hide but thankfully Maisie loves salad so I just told her it was salad cooked right into the burger...I just didn't tell her that it was spinach salad ;)

Check out Ginny's blog and all her wonderful recipes and give this one a try, you won't be disappointed.

 

Chicken Burgers with Spinach & Mushrooms

Makes 4 large burgers

  • 1 10-ounce box chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 pound ground lean chicken breast (or ground turkey breast)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
  • 5 TBS. minced onion, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 10 basil leaves, shredded or chopped
  • Handful of fresh parsley, chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried parsley)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 TBS. coconut oil, divided
  • 14 oz. mushrooms, minced finely
  • 1/2 cup Cheaters Chicken Soup or chicken stock
  • Desired toppings & condiments (sautéed onions, peppers or mushrooms, mustard, mayo, ketchup, etc.)

Begin by preparing the sautéed mushroom mixture. In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Sauté 3 TBS. onion and 3 garlic cloves until fragrant & tender and then add the mushrooms. Stir occasionally and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and cook until it has mostly evaporated from the pan (about 2-3 minutes).

Squeeze the water out of the thawed spinach and add to a large mixing bowl. to the same bowl add the ground chicken, mushroom mixture, spinach, remaining onion and garlic, dry mustard, basil, parsley, and salt & pepper. Mix together well and divide and then section the mixture into four equal parts. Form each part into an inch-thick patty.

Preheat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil around the pan to coat. Cook the patties 5-6 minutes on each side, the pan loosely covered with a pan lid (resist the urge to flip unless you think they're burning), until the chicken is cooked through. Turn the heat off under the pan.

Serve burgers with desired toppings and/or condiments.

Enjoy!

My previous Secret Recipe Club Recipe Posts:

Paradise Mango Curried Shrimp Laura Goodenough’s Apple Coffee Cake Loaded Potato Soup Lemon Almond Biscotti Creamy Mints Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings Fried Green Tomatoes Chicken Satay Noodle Salad Double Chocolate Mousse Cake Candied Popcorn Fruit, Nut & Poppy Seed Chicken Salad Broiled Sushi Health(ier) Peanut Brittle Crunchy Fudgy Heart Bites Texas Chicken with Lime Butter Pork Belly Soup with Collard Greens Thin Mint Irish Coffee Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies Welsh Cakes Nutella Crêpes Cilantro Lime Chicken Holy Guacamole and Home Style Chicken Curry

 

Secret Recipe Club

 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Slow Cooker Whole Roasted Chicken with Gravy

Though I have a slow cooker, I've never been a huge fan of using it. I often found that food came out dry...which always perplexed me considering the food was being braised in liquid, or the food was mushy or stringy with an unappealing texture. I have a few recipes here and there where I do use my slow cooker with excellent results, like my Sweet & Spicy Apple Pork, Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala, Slow Cooker Ranch Mushrooms, Lamb Curry, Slow Cooker Chicken Curry, and my Crockpot Baked Stuffed Apples but for the most part, my slow cooker is used when I have guests and want to keep a food item hot on the buffet table.

The idea of cooking a whole chicken in a slow cooker had me envisioning stringy, tasteless, potted meat...totally unappealing. But then I saw Michelle's recipe for Slow cooker roast chicken and gravy and the pictures were mouthwatering delicious. I read her post where she spoke about having the same experiences of stringy, dry slow cooker chicken but that the method she used for the whole chicken had it coming out delicious, moist and wonderful, so I decided to give it a try. I followed Michelle's cooking directions and part of her recipe but I used seasonings closer to what I use when making my Rotisserie Chicken.

The chicken smelled amazing as it cooked and I was happy to see that when time was finished and I opened the lid, the chicken looked delicious and appealing instead of pale and anemic. I carefully lifted the chicken from the cooker to the cutting board but trust me, that was difficult as the meat was fall off the bone tender. I pulled off a small piece and tentatively put it in my mouth, hoping for moist, delicious chicken with a gorgeous texture and I was one happy gal when that's exactly what I got. The chicken was really close in mouth feel and taste to my Rotisserie Chicken. Then I made the easy-peasy gravy following Michelle's directions and WOW, was that off the charts good, even for this gravy eschewing gal. I pulled all the chicken from the bones and then placed the bones and skin back into the empty, un-rinsed slow cooker, added an onion, some carrots, garlic, bay leaves and water, set the slow cooker to high and a few hours later I had a nice crock of Cheaters Chicken Soup.

Eammon, Maisie and I all loved both the chicken and the gravy. I'm telling you, what an easy way to have a healthy and delicious dinner ready and on the table especially on Maisie's late gymnastics nights. This recipe is a keeper and I'll be making it time and time again.

 

Slow Cooker Whole Roasted Chicken with Gravy

Melt the ghee in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add the garlic and allow it to soften. Add the tomato paste and cook stirring constantly for a minute or two. Add the chicken stock to the pan and deglaze. Season with salt and pepper. Add the onion mixture to the bottom of the crockpot.

While the onions are cooking, in a small bowl mix together all the spices from the paprika to the cayenne pepper.

Remove anything that may be in the cavity of the bird and rinse the bird well. Dry the bird with paper towels and then sprinkle the spice mix inside the cavity and all over the skin, covering all surfaces.

Place the bird breast side down on the onion mixture, cover the slow cooker and set to cook on low for 4-6 hours. My chicken was 5.5 pounds and it cooked for 5.25 hours.

When the chicken is finished cooking, remove it from the cooker. Defat the cooking liquids and then using an immersion blender, blend to make gravy.

Slice or pull apart the chicken and serve with the gravy.

Michelle notes to always cook the chicken on low and never for more than 6 hours if you want a moist and tender chicken.

Enjoy!

 

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