Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What am I chopped liver? No... Chicken.

We have a lot of chicken.  Like 40 pounds of chicken in our freezer.  We buy it in large quantities and it's awesome to have in the freezer.  I really like having a freezer full of meat to be able to meal plan and just pull what we need let it thaw.  Since we have so much chicken - we try to use one package every week.  This week we were planning some chicken noodle soup that needed chopped cooked chicken.  My usual method is spray with vegetable oil and bake until it's done.  I ran across this recipe and it seemed like it would add some flavor to what could possibly be boring soup.  One recipe of seasoning was perfect for the two giant chicken breasts I used.  I also used my stoneware baking dish since the recipe suggested it - the result?  Awesome soup!  Oh… the chicken was good too!  Want the recipe for the soup?  Guess you'll have to come back next week to get that.

Chopped Chicken

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon paprika

Preheat oven to 375.
In a small bowl, mix together the salt and next 5 ingredients. Place raw chicken breasts on a greased jelly roll pan, and rub both sides of each piece with the spice mixture. Place pan in preheated oven and cook for 30-35 minutes, flipping the chicken over after the first 15 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and chill, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until cool and firm.
Place chilled chicken on a cutting board and cut into cubes, first cutting each piece into 4-5 slices from top to bottom and then cutting into 4-5 slices from side to side.
Use chicken immediately, or divide into portions and freeze for up to 3 months in zip-top plastic freezer bags.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Have Cans of Biscuits - Will Bake!

Having an infant around again reminds me of how I need to cook or bake, in very short segments, making sure to do things quickly one step at a time in case you need to go re-pacify or change a diaper, or who knows what.
Usually when I'm looking at a bread recipe - I want something that has a from scratch dough recipe.  This time?  I had tubes of buttermilk biscuits in the fridge I wanted to use, so I hunted.  I was amazed how many from scratch recipes I found!  I never can find those when I want them and I don't have those magic tubes in the fridge.
Found a cousin of this recipe and tweaked it and it worked.  Andy really liked them.  I made them to go with Chicken Parmesan.  I was going to blog that too - guess taking pictures of more than just part of the process would have been ideal… oops. Maybe next time.

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

What you need!
2 Cans small buttermilk biscuits
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp parsley flakes

Spray glass baking dish with vegetable spray.  Roll each biscuit into a ball and place in pan.  Spray more vegetable spray onto rolls.  Sprinkle garlic powder, cheddar cheese and parsley on top.
Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Vertically Challenged Cake

Twinkies, Strawberries, Cool Whip and Cream Cheese - how can that be bad right?  Well…. It wasn't bad, but I wouldn't make it again either.  In the blogging world some people take such great photos and have such amazing words that it might be silly NOT to try something.  (My photos are not that great - especially these... eek!)
Well, with this cake, it very much sounded awesome.  All but the condensed milk.  Oh… and the extracts.  Next time?  Make it easy, Twinkies, cool Whip and strawberries.  I'll go on a ledge and say none of those are bad things and combined can only be the best strawberry shortcake.
Want to try the original recipe?  I won't stop you…

Twinkie Strawberry Cheesecake Shortcake

About 15 Twinkies
8 oz block of cream cheese, slightly softened
7 oz (half of a 14 oz can) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp lemon extract
16 oz Cool Whip (thawed), divided
roughly 2 lbs fresh strawberries, sliced

1.Line a 9 inch springform pan with plastic wrap.
2.In the bowl of your mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add sweetened condensed milk and extracts, beating on medium speed until smooth and combined, scraping against the side of the bowl as needed. Fold in HALF of the Cool Whip and all the sliced strawberries.
3.Line perimeter of pan with Twinkies that have been cut in half vertically and horizontally. Line up against the side of the pan standing up with the cream center facing in. Spread half of your strawberry mixture in the bottom of the pan.
4.Layer more Twinkies, split VERTICALLY (they should be full length, with the cream exposed) on top of the strawberry filling. You may have to cut a few horizontally to fill spots, but it's okay if there are empty spaces here and there.
5.Repeat with the rest of the strawberry filling, and top with one more layer of split Twinkies. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, preferably overnight, but at least a few hours.
6.Turn onto a plate and remove pan and wrap. Cover with remaining Cool Whip and serve!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Salty Soft Nuggets of Amazingness

Last Christmas I had saga o' the burning ham and cheese rolls, this year, no saga, just delicious Pretzel Bites.  I guess if there was any drama it would be how dramatically lumpy and gross the cheese sauce I made was - yuck!  We won't talk about that...
We worked quickly before church on Christmas Eve to get the bites boiled and baked.  Off to church we went, then Andy's folks came to church with us and came back to our house for appetizers.  Bronwyn loved the bites, kept asking for more and more.  Her grandma also thoroughly enjoyed them.  I think we should make them again - many many more to just sit and eat ourselves silly with them.  This time I think I will buy some cheese sauce, it'll be way less lumpy.

Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites
Soft Pretzels:
 1 1/2 cups warm water
 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
 Vegetable oil
 3 quarts water
 1/2 cup baking soda
 1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
 Coarse sea salt

For the cheese sauce: (good luck!)
 ½ Tablespoon unsalted butter
 ½ Tablespoon all-purpose flour
 ½ cup milk
 8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated

For the Pretzels: Combine the 1 1/2 cups water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.

Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Bring the 3 quarts of water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and add the baking soda.

Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring 22 inches and shape. Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make the pretzel bites. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches. We did about 15 bites at a time. Boil for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon. Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.

Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating. Serve with cheese sauce.

To make the cheese sauce:
 Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the Cheddar cheese until smooth and all of the cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

*If you want to make cinnamon and sugar pretzel bites-instead of adding salt, sprinkle the bites with cinnamon and sugar. For the frosting mix-soft cream cheese-about 3 T, powdered sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a little bit of milk. Whisk together. Add more milk if it is too thick, if it is too thin, add more powdered sugar. I don't measure. I just guess until the consistency is right.*

Friday, March 20, 2015

Meet and Greet!


Today at The Misadventures of Myrtle Grace we are doing something a touch different, we thought we were participating in a blog hop... But somehow we didn't get included in it... but we'll tell you about our favorites anyway...

I may have fooled many of our regular followers into thinking that I cross stitch, well, I don’t.  My craft passion?  Punch Needle.   I design my own patterns and love doing it.  After they are punched is when they turn into cross stitch and then I ask others to stitch them for models that I then sell patterns for.  But when it comes to the chicken/egg question for Myrtle Grace Motifs?  It’s punch needle.  Myrtle Grace Motifs is my business name,  we design and sell cross stitch and punch needle patterns wholesale to shops across the country (even the world).

Today I am picking favorites!  I’m showing off which of my patterns are my favorites.
#1 – Home Sweet Home – This pattern turned out better than I could have hoped.  There are so many fine lines and wording isn’t always easy with punch needle, but this one?  The words were the focal point and it worked out well.
#2 – Love in Bloom – this time I got to use texture to create flowers and how fun it turned out.  With punch needle you can vary the length of the stitches (the loops) and create fun texture with it.
#3 – Rusty Bucket – this is my pup.  No, it’s not a goat; many times I have been asked this question.  This is my lab mix dog Rusty.  We call him Rusty Bucket, and it really does look like him!  Pink nose and all.  Again, the flowers in this one, I used a longer stitch length for dimension.
#4 – Bronwyn’s Baby Blocks – my daughter’s name is Bronwyn and I wanted to create a pattern for her.  These blocks were so fun – it looks like 2 blocks – but the photo is actually of both sides of the block.  Just Another Button Company came to the rescue with amazingly cute buttons for this one.  My mom came to an even bigger rescue and stitched it together for me.
#5 – Ollie the Owl – This was one of my first attempts at a double sided project and it was so fun.  With those big eyes, he just comes alive.

Well those are my five favorites.  I feel a little bad for the rest of my patterns, maybe they will get extra love another day.

If you’d like to know more about Myrtle Grace Motifs there are a few links below.

http://myrtlegrace.blogspot.com/ (hey that’s where you are already!)

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