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Monday, November 30, 2009

Meow Monday

Sunday, November 29, 2009

PW Dinner Rolls

I joined a new blogger group - Foodie Fans of the Pioneer Woman. I love all of the Pioneer Woman's recipes and I can't wait to try lots of new recipes every other week! The first challenge was to try one of the PW Thanksgiving recipes. I chose her no-knead dinner rolls. These were SO easy and tasted great. The rolls were light and had a hint of sweetness. I could eat a whole pan of these rolls! I will make these again and again.

Pioneer Woman No-Knead Dinner Rolls

4 cups Milk
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Vegetable Oil
9 cups Flour
2 packages (4 1/2 Tsp.) Active Dry Yeast
1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
2 Tablespoons Salt

Preparation Instructions

Pour 4 cups of milk into a stock pot or Dutch oven. Add one cup of sugar and 1 cup of vegetable oil. Stir to combine. Now, turn the burner on medium to medium-low and “scald” the mixture/lukewarm (between 90 and 110 degrees).

When the mixture is the right temperature add in 4 cups of flour and 2 packages of (4-1/2 teaspoons) of active dry yeast. After the yeast and flour are nicely incorporated, add another 4 cups of flour. Stir together and allow to sit, covered with a tea towel or lid, for an hour. After about an hour it should have almost doubled in size. If it hasn’t changed much, put it in a warm (but turned off ) oven for 45 minutes or so. When it had risen sufficiently add 1 more cup of flour, 1 heaping teaspoon of baking powder, 1 scant teaspoon of baking soda and about 2 tablespoons of salt. Stir (or knead just a bit) until combined.

Butter 1 or 2 muffin pans. Form the rolls by pinching off a walnut sized piece of dough and rolling it into a little ball. Repeat and tuck three balls of dough into each buttered muffin cup. Continue until pan is full. Cover and allow to rise for about 1 to 2 hours.

Bake in a 400-degree oven until golden brown, about 15 to 17 minutes.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Iron Bowl Cupcakes

War Eagle!

Glitterized by flmnetwork.com

It's time for the Iron Bowl! The Iron Bowl, for those of you that don't know, is the annual football game between Auburn and Alabama. In the state of Alabama, the most important thing is not your religion, political views or your race. The most important thing is "Who are you for?" - Auburn or Alabama. Football is king. I am AUBURN!

I have seen all the "cool" food bloggers making rainbow cupcakes, and I thought why not Auburn cupcakes?! I just used a cake mix and made half the batter orange and half blue. They turned out SO cute!

I also make some really cute cupcake wrappers. Judy, over at Judy in her Natural Habitat, was kind enough to share the template she created. (Judy's blog is great - there is a Red Velvet White Chocolate Cheesecake that is next on my list!) I used the offical game shirt from Tiger Rags as the decoration on the wrappers.

I know it is a long shot for Auburn this year, but I still can't wait for the game.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Bourbon-Pecan Pumpkin Butter Pie

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! This is one of the pies we are having today. I saw Pecan Pumpkin Butter at Williams-Sonoma and decided to try it in a pie for Thanksgiving. I embellished the pie crust with leaves - I used my Creative Cutters from Pampered Chef. The pie was very easy to make and smelled wonderful while it was baking. I'll let you know how it was tonight!

Bourbon-Pecan Pumpkin Butter Pie
(Printable Recipe)

4 eggs
2 cups (about 1 1/3 jars) pecan pumpkin butter
1 3/4 cups plus 1 Tbs. evaporated milk
3 Tbs. bourbon
1 prebaked and cooled deep-dish piecrust
Whipped cream for serving

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven. Place a cookie sheet on the rack. Preheat the oven to 325°F. (The pie dish will sit on the cookie sheet, which will help the bottom of the crust to brown.)

In a large bowl, gently whisk the eggs. Add the pecan pumpkin butter, evaporated milk and bourbon and whisk until well combined. Pour the filling into the prebaked piecrust and bake until the center of the pie is just set, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Check the crust after 30 minutes; if the edges begin to brown too quickly, cover them with aluminum foil.

Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 4 hours before serving. If making in advance, cover the cooled pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to overnight.

To serve, cut the pie into slices and serve with whipped cream. Serves 8 to 10.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sausage-Swiss Muffins

This recipe is from my 1998 Christmas with Southern Living book. I made these way back in 1998 and decided that it was time to try them again! These muffins are like sausage balls in muffin form. We really liked these muffins. I might make them with cheddar cheese and garlic powder next time!

Sausage-Swiss Muffins

1/2 lb sausage
1 3/4 cup bisquick
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
3/4 tsp ground sage
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk

Brown sausage in a skillet over medium heat, stirring until it crumbles. Drain well. Combine sausage, bisquick and next three ingredients in a bowl; make a wel in the center of the mixture.

Combine egg and milk; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Spoon batter into greased muffin pans, filling two-thirds full. Bake at 375 for 22 minutes or until golden Serve warm. Reheat leftover muffins in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Three Cheese Artichoke Dip

I saw this recipe over on Paula Deen's website and I knew I had to try it right away. This is like my usual artichoke dip but with cream cheese and mozzarella cheese. We loved this dip. It was so creamy and yummy. I served it with tortilla chips and Wheat Thins. I plan on making this when my in-laws visit for Christmas. This will be our new standard artichoke dip!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Look Who's In The Kitchen!

Welcome "Chicken Legs" to the kitchen!!

That is what Tadd decided his name will be on the blog. He is learning how to cook! After all these years of watching me cook dinner, he decided he would give it a try. I planned three nights of easy meals for him to try out - I didn't want to discourage him!

He did great! He was surprised at how easy it is to make a good meal. He had a lot of fun cooking and wants to keep trying new recipes. I am already planning a few things for him to try next week. I could get use to this!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Almond Toffee

I've had this toffee on my "to make" list for years. I saw it over on Cookie Madness and it looked so good. I finally bought a candy thermometer and decided to take the plunge. This was very easy to make, just takes a little time. The toffee is buttery and crunchy with a nice sweetness from the chocolate. Who knew butter and sugar could taste so good?! The recipe below is a half-batch. I plan on doubling it for my Christmas goodies this year.

Best-Ever Almond Toffee

(Printable Recipe)

1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, divided use
2 sticks unsalted butter — 1/2 pound (salted works too)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces good quality dark or milk chocolate, chopped (I use semi-sweet chocolate chips b/c that is what I had)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread about 1/2 cup of the almonds on a non-stick cookie sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes or until toasted and aromatic. Set aside.

Line a 13×9 or 15×10 inch pan with parchment paper and set next to stove.

Place butter in a heavy bottom, medium sized (3 qt) saucepan and melt over medium heat. When butter is mostly melted, stir in sugar, warm water and salt. Set a deep fry thermometer in pan, being careful that bulb is not touching bottom of pan. Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring once in a while, until mixture reaches 240 degrees F.

At 240 degrees, add the remaining 1 cup sliced almonds to sugar mixture. After adding almonds, stir constantly, keeping heat at medium, until mixture reaches 295 degrees F. If temperature is not rising at a slow and steady rate, raise heat a tiny bit until mercury starts rising. When mixture reaches 290 (make sure it’s no less than 290 and no more than 295 degrees F), immediately remove from heat and stir in baking soda. It will bubble up and lighten a bit and seem almost fluffy. Pour into parchment lined pan. The mixture should be kind of a liquid blob at hit point and if you are on track, the saucepan will be clean when you dump the blob of candy onto the parchment. Mixture will begin to firm, and butter may pool and separate. Do not pour off any excess butter. Do not panic, because if you cooked the toffee to between 290 and 295, your candy should set. Sometimes it just takes longer.

While candy is still very hot and in the process of setting, scatter chopped chocolate across top of hot and let chocolate melt into and over the candy as candy firms. Using back of a spoon, spread melted chocolate evenly over candy. Crush your toasted almonds and sprinkle over melted chocolate. Let candy cool for a 1/2 hour or more at room temperature. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for about 1 hour to firm chocolate.

When chocolate is set is set, lift candy from pan by grasping parchment. Break candy into large chunks.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Southern Cornbread

It is finally feeling like Fall here in The Ham - I hope it stays this way! We decided to cook chili and cornbread for dinner last night. This cornbread recipe is the recipe that my Mom uses. I've eaten this my whole life. It is simple and really good. My Mom uses this cornbread in her dressing (best ever) for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I made the cornbread in a skillet, but you can make muffins if you prefer.

Southern Cornbread

1 cup self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 egg
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (approximately)
1 Tbsp oil

Pour oil into 8-inch iron skillet. Place skillet in oven. Heat oven to 425 with skillet inside.

Combine remaining ingredients. Batter should be the consistency of waffle batter.

Once the oven is preheated, remove skillet and pour in the batter. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Roasted Garlic & Herb Chicken

This is another recipe from Smoky Mountain Cafe. I saw this recipe and I knew I had to make it. We absolutely loved it. You could call this Fire Chicken II - it flames up on the grill because of the oil. I would cut the oil in half next time. We marinated the chicken all day in half of the basting sauce and basted it with the sauce after it was on the grill. This had fantastic flavor and we will be making this again soon!

Roasted Garlic & Herb Chicken
(Printable Recipe)

1 head of roasted garlic
1/4 cup white wine (or chicken stock)
2 Tbps fresh parsley (I used 1 Tbsp dried parsley)
2 Tbsp fresh basil (I used 1 Tbsp dried basil)
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients except the olive oil in the food processor or blender. Pulse until combined. Stream olive oil into the mixture. Pour off your sauce into a container. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place on the grill. Sear each side of the chicken and then baste with Roasted Garlic Herb Sauce. Continue grilling and basting chicken until chicken is thoroughly cooked.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Rosemary Rolls

I saw these rolls over on the Pioneer Woman's blog last week, and they sound like something Tadd & I would LOVE. I was right. These are great. They are so simple; you only need to plan ahead for the dough to rise. We ate the whole pan by ourselves. I know, carb overload, but we loved it!! This is our new standard recipe - if you can even call it a recipe. Go ahead and make a pan (or two) this weekend - you know you want to!

Pioneer Woman's Rosemary Rolls
(Printable Recipe)
7 Frozen, Unbaked Dinner Rolls (I used Rhodes)
3 Tbsp Melted Butter
Rosemary Herb Seasoning or Fresh Rosemary, Coarsely Chopped and Coarse Sea Salt

Spray a small iron skillet with cooking spray (or coat with olive oil). Place 7 frozen rolls in the skillet, leaving plenty of room for rising. Cover and allow to rise for several hours. (Mine took 4 hours to fully rise)
After rising, brush rolls with melted butter.
Sprinkle on chopped rosemary seasoning. Brush with additional butter.
Bake according to roll package directions (usually 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes), until rolls are a deep golden brown on top. Brush with additional butter and serve in skillet.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Honey Lime Taquitos

I was eating lunch with Michele last week and she mentioned that she made her favorite Honey Lime Enchiladas for dinner the night before. I had never heard of Honey Lime Enchilidas and I thought they sounded good. I went back to work and found the recipe on line at The Sister's Cafe. I liked the idea of the honey lime sauce on the chicken but we prefer corn tortillas and I don't like the canned sauces. I didn't have time to make my own sauce (just lazy). If I had made my own sauce, I would have tried this one from LeaAnn over at Mangos, Chili and Z - it looks fabulous. So taquitos it was!

We really liked the sweetness that the chicken had from the honey. They were really good. I served the taquitos with cheese dip and salsa. It was a good way to use up my leftover chicken.

Honey Lime Chicken Taquitos
(Printable Recipe)

1 lb chicken breast, cooked in Lawry's Mesquite Marinade
honey lime sauce
corn tortillas
pepper jack cheese

sour cream

Preheat oven to 425. Shred chicken. Add honey lime sauce to chicken and let soak into the chicken for 30 minutes.

Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 45-60 seconds will do it. If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or come unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.

Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges. Top with pepper jack cheese, then roll it up as tight as you can.

Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.

Place pan in oven and bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Honey Lime Sauce

1/3 c honey
1/4 c lime juice
1 Tb chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Mix together sauce ingredients then add to shredded pork or chicken. Let the sauce soak into the meat for about 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I'm famous, y'all! I am featured on Mangos, Chili and Z today.

LeaAnn has a segment on her blog where she features interviews with her favorite blogs and I was chosen to participate! I am so honored! I thought really hard about my answers; I didn't want to appear boring!

She asked some very thought provoking questions.

Who would you invite to dinner? I chose Michael J. Fox - I've loved him forever! I still have some Back to the Future memorabilia he could sign for me.

What music do you cook to? Michael Buble! He's my man, he even wrote a song that said so! (Tadd says Michalel isn't talking to me when he sings, but I beg to differ.)

The hardest question was "What was the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?" Now, you don't name your blog "Plain Chicken" for nothing. I eat PLAIN CHICKEN - I am not an adventurous eater! I said calamari. David made me try it one time and it was rubbery and I didn't like it. Shocking, I know.

You can check out the entire interview and all the nice things she had to say about my little blog here.

Thanks LeaAnn!!

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

This is the second recipe I've tried from Smoky Mountain Cafe. I have never thought of trying buffalo chicken as a pasta dish. This was a nice change for dinner. It is spicy - I used 3 Tbsp of hot sauce. I cooked my chicken the night before in my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker (only takes 8 minutes). This meal came together in less than 20 minutes. Great weeknight meal!

Buffalo Chicken Pasta
adapted from Smoky Mountain Cafe

1 pound chicken, seasoned with lemon pepper
1/2 pound penne pasta, cooked and drained
2 tsp olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz tomato sauce
3 Tbsp wing sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
Season chicken with lemon pepper, cook and chop (I used my Deep Covered Baker and cooked on High for 8 minutes). In a large skillet add olive oil, shallot and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes. Add worcestershire, tomato sauce, wing sauce and chicken to skillet. Simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Toss in cooked penne pasta. Top with cheese of your choice - I used an Italian cheese blend.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Julia Child's Quiche

On the plane ride to and from Vegas I read My Life in France by Julia Child. We saw the movie Julie and Julia and I was very interested in learning more about Julia Child's life. The book was great. It was different from the movie and had many more details. I was inspired to finally try some of the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I chose the quiche as my first test. The quiche was rich and velvety and extremely flavorful. I added bacon and swiss - a combination of Quiche Lorraine and Quiche au Fromage de Gruyere. I wanted to eat the whole thing by myself.

Bacon & Swiss Quiche
adapted from Julia Child

1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup swiss cheese, shredded
3 eggs
1 1/2 - 2 cups cream or milk or combination of both
pie crust

Press bacon and cheese into bottom of pie crust. Beat the eggs, cream or cream and milk, and seasonings in a mixing bowl until blended. Check seasonings. Pour into pie crust. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour, or until quiche has puffed and browned.
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