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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best of 2009

My New Year's Resolution for 2009 was to try one new recipe a week. Well, I more than accomplished that goal! We have had a lot of fun trying new recipes this year.  So much so, that we have almost quit eating out! 

All the "cool" food bloggers always recap their best dishes at the end of the year.  I don't want anyone to think that Plain Chicken isn't "cool" (because we are!), so here is our new favorites from 2009!  Thanks for checking out our little blog!

Our favorite new recipes from 2009:

Pioneer Woman Ranch Chicken

 Italian Pot Roast

Chicken Piccata

Tavern Chicken

Chicken with Tomato Cream Sauce

Smoky Chicken Pasta

Almond Toffee Oatmeal Cookies

Vanilla Toffee Gelato

My New Year's Resolution for 2010 is to decorate sugar cookies with royal icing.  I am going to give it a try at Valentine's!  I also want to try some more ice cream recipes when it gets warmer and work on the food photography.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blackened Chicken Alfredo

My favorite restaurant is Hamilton's in Auburn.  I love their blackened chicken with roasted garlic alfredo.  Hamilton's closed and then reopened with all the favorites back on the menu, but I haven't had a chance to check it out.  I searched for a good replacement for the chicken alfredo and this is my favorite recipe.  I let the chicken marinate overnight and pan sear the chicken.  I usually just use a jar of ready-made alfredo sauce for a quick weeknight meal.  I might like this better than the original!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chocolate Pudding Pie

This was one of our desserts at Christmas.  I wanted to try a different chocolate pie recipe from the one we had at Thanksgiving.  I found this pie over at Smitten Kitchen.  This pie used bittersweet chocolate.  It was really, really good.  It has a good chocolate flavor without being too rich.  I think I prefer the pie from Thanksgiving, but I wouldn't turn this one down!!  (I can't wait to make this again in my new Emile Henry pie plate!)

Chocolate Pudding Pie
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
(Printable Recipe)

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not more than 60% cacao), finely chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Make pudding filling: Whisk together cornstarch, 1/3 cup sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then gradually whisk [tips alert!] in milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, then boil, whisking, two minutes (mixture will thicken). Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate and vanilla until smooth.

Pour filling into cooled shell and chill, its surface covered with plastic wrap (if you want to prevent a skin from forming), until cold, at least two hours.

Just before serving, beat cream with powdered sugar until it just holds soft peaks. Spoon onto pie.
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Wrap-up

I hope everyone had a good Christmas!  We had a great Christmas!  We had a great visit with my family and Chicken Leg's family.  We ate WAY too much good food.

The Christmas lunch table

Turkey and Dressing

Chocolate Pie

Chicken Legs was stuffed!!

Luckily, Max was kind enough to clean the dishes!

Lea Ann over at Mangos, Chili and Z is having a cookbook giveaway.  I'd love to win the cookbook.  My Mom said I don't need every cookbook that is made, but I completely disagree!  Lea Ann asked her readers to submit a photo of their foodie gifts from Christmas.  Here is what we got:

Emile Henry pie plate
Salter digital kitchen scale
Lodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Silicone Cookie Scoop
2009 Southern Living Annual Recipes (a must)
The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Mastering the art of French Cooking volume 2
Martha Stewart's Cookies
The Dean Bros - Take it Easy
Julie and Julia DVD

Chicken Legs got a Titans apron!  He'll be using it soon!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Orange Marmalade Rolls


Merry Christmas! This weeks Pioneer Woman Challenge was to make something from her Christmas recipes. I chose to make the Sweet Orange Marmalade Rolls. I made the rolls yesterday and took them down to my parents house so we could eat them Christmas morning. Tadd & I tried a pan of rolls before we left for the ride down to Auburn; these are a big pan of ooey gooey goodness!! These rolls are very easy to make and don't require a lot of attention. The marmalade was a nice change from regular cinnamon rolls.

Orange Marmalade Rolls
(Printable Recipe)

½ whole Recipe Of "Cinnamon Roll Dough"
8 Tablespoons Orange Marmalade
½ cups Melted Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
½ teaspoons Kosher Salt

2 pounds Powdered Sugar
6 Tablespoons Melted Butter
½ cups Milk
½ cups Orange Juice
1 dash(es) Salt

Roll out dough into a long rectangle. Spread marmalade over the top. Pour on butter, and then sprinkle on the brown sugar evenly. Sprinkle with salt.

Beginning at the long side farthest from you, roll the dough in a long roll toward you; begin careful to keep it tucked tightly. Pinch edge to seal.

Cut rolls into 1 to 1 1/2 inch rolls and place into buttered pans. Allow to rise for at least 20 minutes.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cheese Ball

This is a "must have" for our Christmas gathering with Tadd's family. His father loves it! He barely sits down before he digs into this cheese ball. It is really simple to make and it tastes great. The flavor combination of the cheese and worcestershire works perfectly. It is one of my favorite foods at the holidays.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Almond Toffee Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are the BOMB! I made these for my Christmas cookie platter this year and it was everyone's new favorite cookie. The toffee and almond flavor is the star of this cookie. I forget that this is an oatmeal cookie when I am eating it. I am glad I gave so many of these away. I could have eaten all these cookies myself. The toffee melted all through the cookie making them irresistible!

Almond Toffee Oatmeal Cookies
(Printable Recipe)

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
3/4 cup toffee bits
3/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine butter and sugar in mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat until combined. Slowly add in the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in the oats, toffee bits, and almonds.

Scoop dough into balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool for three minutes on the cookie sheet. Move to a cooling rack.

Makes 4 dozen cookies

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pecan Tarts

This is one of Tadd's favorite Christmas cookies. He loves to eat these right out of the oven when they are warm. These take a little work but it is worth it. The cinnamon and cream cheese tart shells are the best. It really makes these little pies stand out.

Pecan Tarts
adapted from Southern Living
(Printable Recipe)
6 oz cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add flour and cinnamon, beating at low speed just until ingredients are blended. Wrap dough in wax paper, and chill 2 hours.

Divide dough in half. Divide each half of dough into 24 balls. Place in lightly greased miniature muffin pans, shaping each into a shell.

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup karo syrup
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small mixing bowl; beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until blended. Stir in pecans. Spoon filling evenly into pastry shells.

Bake at 325° for 25 minutes or until set. Cool slightly. Remove from pans, and cool completely on a wire rack.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Herbed Butter

This is such a simple idea that I can't believe I've never done this before! I saw this over on Gourmet Mom on the Go and decided to try it for Tadd's family Christmas. I used pesto, but you can use anything (honey, rosemary, chili powder and lime juice, etc). These looks so fancy, but they are so easy! Try it for your holiday meal this week!

Herbed Butter
adaped from Gourmet Mom-on-theGo
(Printable Recipe)

½ c (one stick) butter, softened
1-2 Tbsp pesto

Mix all ingredients with electric mixer until blended.

Spoon into a pastry bag with a large star tip (I use the Pampered Chef Easy Accent Decorator) or spoon into a ziploc, bagsnip an end off, and you can pipe out small circles or shapes.

Pipe out flowers onto wax paper, return to fridge to harden. Remove just before serving and set on individual plates or a serving platter.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Cakes

It never really feels like Christmas until I start baking. I love to be in the kitchen baking cookies and listening to Christmas music. My favorite thing to bake is pound cakes. I have been using Southern Living's Vanilla Butter Cake for the past few years. It is an amazing cake - the vanilla smells so good when it is baking. I use a Christmas Tree Bundt pan and ice the tops of the trees, so it looks like snow. I also have monogramed boxes (from BakingBoxes.com) and a Happy Holidays embosser (from Williams-Sonoma). It makes a great gift! I made three cakes this week and I am making three more on Sunday.

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