Friday, October 5, 2007

Step away from the stove

Two reasons to step away from the stove. I can cook, and I can't cook.

I can cook: I've been grazing all night on the juicy Burbon Chicken and rice I made earlier. That, along with some easy Chicken Parmensan, was meant to be taken to my mom's tomorrow and plated up for my grandma. Put down the fork!

I can't cook: I nearly cried as I tossed out two yummy sounding new recipes I tried out. Layered Pumpkin Loaf and Cheesy Beer Soup both bit the dust. Hard. The pumpkin stuff was burnt to a crisp on top, and uncooked mush in the middle. And the soup was curdled and smelled so rancid I almost lost my breakfast. That's what I get for actually following the recipes, unlike what I do for any other thing I cook ("a little of this", "little of that", "stir a little", "maybe that was cooked long enough", "think I'll cook it a little longer").

No more cooking this week. My fridge is stocked to support the Deployment Diet - grapes, string cheese, yogurt, jello, and Eggo waffles.

The winners:

Bourbon Chicken

4 servings
time to make 35 min 15 min prep
2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce

1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
2. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.
3. Remove chicken.
4. Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium Heat until well mixed and dissolved.
5. Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.
6. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
7. Serve over hot rice and ENJOY.

Easy Chicken Parmesan
(5 min. prep)

1 Jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
6 Tbsp Grated parmesan cheese, divided
6 small, boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 lb)
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375*F. Pour sauce into 13x9-in. baking dish. Carefully stir in 4 Tbsp (1/4C) of the parmesan cheese. Add chicken; turn over to evenly coat both sides with sauce. Cover with foil.

Bake 30 min. Uncover.

Top with mozzarella cheese and remaining 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese; continue baking 5 min. or until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted. Serve over hot cooked pasta, if desired.

The losers:

Layered Pumpkin Loaf

1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 egg whites, divided
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 cups flour
2-1/2 tsp. CALUMET Baking Powder
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. salt
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, 1/3 Less Fat than Cream Cheese, softened

PREHEAT oven to 350ºF. Grease a nonstick 9x5-inch loaf pan; set aside. Mix pumpkin, 1 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 3 of the egg whites, milk and oil in large bowl. Add flour, baking powder, pie spice and salt; stir just until moistened. Set aside. Beat Neufchatel cheese, remaining 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar and the remaining egg white with wire whisk until well blended.
SPOON half of the pumpkin batter into prepared pan; spoon Neufchatel cheese mixture evenly over the batter. Cover with remaining pumpkin batter.
BAKE 1 hour to 1 hour 5 min. or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Run knife or thin spatula around edges of pan to loosen bread; cool in pan on wire rack 10 min. Remove bread from pan to wire rack; cool completely.

Beer and Cheese Soup

5 tablespoons butter
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup flour
3 cups milk
One 12-ounce bottle amber beer, such as Dos Equis
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
10 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 3 1/2 cups)
Croutons, for garnish

1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the carrots and leeks, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
2. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the beer and mustard and bring the soup to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking, until creamy and thickened, about 10 minutes.
3. Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the cheese 1 handful at a time until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with the croutons.


Just A Girl said...

Beer soup and Pumpkin Loaf just don't even sound good.

I'm definately going to have to try the Bourbon Chicken though.

Anonymous said...

I had the same disappointing results with the layered pumpkin loaf. I used a recipe with identical ingredients and instructions as yours (except the baking powder and cream cheese were different brands). I was really dismayed, but at least somebody else experienced the same thing.