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Dylan’s Favorite Chicken Drumsticks

Crispy-Chicken-LegsYou know a recipe’s a keeper when your seven-year-old double checks at the end of the meal and asks, “Do you have more?”  He had eaten his fill, but before he could leave the table, he had to make sure there would be leftovers for a future snack.

My favorite thing about this recipe is that I just have to put it into the slow-cooker. Oh, and did I mention that my kids will eat it?! Victory!

The Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8-12 chicken drumsticks (with or without skin)
  • aluminum foil
The Instructions:
1. Crumble aluminum foil into balls and place in the slow-cooker. Your chicken will rest on top of the foil so it doesn’t get mushy-gushy.
2. Combine the seasoning in a small bowl.
3. Wash the chicken drumsticks and pat dry with paper towels.
4. Rub the spices into the drumsticks and place in the slow-cooker on top of the foil.
5. Cook on low … I had it set for 8 hours, but after 4 hours the chicken was perfect. I’m not sure if the chicken would have dried out had I left it alone for the full 8 hours, so I’ll forewarn that I can only approve a time frame of 4 hours. If you leave it longer, you are on your own!
Really … the chicken was very good. I recommend it highly!

Did Somebody Say, “Fondue?”

cheese-fondueWho doesn’t like melted cheese? Yeah, that’s what I thought. My mom gave me a very nice electric fondue pot, and I finally put it to good use this weekend. Here’s the recipe:

The Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 7 ounces Gruyere, cubed or shredded
  • 7 ounces sharp cheddar, cubed or shredded
  • 7 ounces Emmentaler, cubed or shredded
  • Assorted dipping items, such as crusty bread, Granny Smith apples, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots
The Instructions:
1. Bring the wine to a boil in a small saucepan.
2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
3. Whisk the flour into the butter and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly so it does not stick and burn.
4. Stir the wine into the flour mixture slowly using a whisk.
5. Slowly add cubes of cheese until they are all melted.
6. Transfer to fondue pot (if electric, use a low setting to keep the fondue warm and gooey)
7. Serve with things that taste good when they are covered in cheese (which is just about anything, but I prefer bread, apples and veggies).
P.S. This makes a LOT of fondue. 🙂

Yes – YOU can make popovers!

popoversI had completely forgotten about this popover recipe until I was at Arizona Theatre Company’s “Curtain Up” fundraising event and popovers were served instead of boring dinner rolls. It was such a treat (everyone at the table was in agreement), and it made me recall this recipe. I love how something so simple can transform a meal!

The Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk (warmed in the microwave for 30 seconds so it is lukewarm)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
The Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Using a pastry brush, apply 1 tablespoon of the melted butter to the insides of 8 muffin cups and put the muffin tin in the oven for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, mix the eggs in a blender until they are light yellow. Add the warmed milk and blend.
4. Add the flour, salt and remaining butter to the blender and blend until smooth.
5. Pour the batter into the warmed muffin cups and return it to the oven.
6. Bake until golden, about 35 minutes and remove.
7. Serve warm.
Beware: do not open the oven while the popovers are cooking. The steam is what makes them “pop,” so you’ll end up with deflated popovers if you keep checking on them. Instead, use your oven light to peer through the window.
I promise that if you follow these directions you will have delicious popovers and your guests will be super-impressed.

Roasted Sweet Carrots

carrotsI made this side dish on Easter, and it was so colorful and delicious that I know I will make it again (and I won’t wait an entire year). It always amazes me that the simplest things can be so yummy.

The Ingredients:

  • 1 pound large carrots, peeled and cut into angles
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  •  2 teaspoons chives, minced
The Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients and spread out on a cookie sheet.
  3. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until tender.
When I made this, I prepped and combined all the ingredients about 6 hours early and kept them in a plastic bag in the fridge until I was ready to cook.

Decadent Creamed Corn

creamed cornThis dish was recently requested by my mom – I had actually forgotten about it. It is sweet, creamy and definitely decadent. Enjoy!

The Ingredients:

  • 2 (10 ounce) packages of frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
The Instructions:
  1. In a deep skillet or saucepan over medium heat, combine the corn, cream, salt, sugar, pepper and butter.
  2. Whisk together the milk and flour, then add to the corn mixture.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture is thickened and the corn is cooked through.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted.
I had doubled the recipe and had quite a bit leftover, and my mom suggested I add it to broth and make a corn chowder. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Dilled White Bean and Grape Tomato Salad

white bean saladI made this salad recently to accompany some grilled steak, and it was a delicious and refreshing side dish. I’m looking forward to making it again for an upcoming potluck because a) I know it will be a hit and b) it was so easy!! This recipe makes 6 to 8 servings.

The Ingredients:

  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) of cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
  • 2.5 cups of halved grape tomatoes (about 12 ounces) or you can use cherry tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed

The Instructions:

This is ridiculously easy …. Toss all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Let marinate at room tempertaure for 1 hour.

You can also make it a day ahead. Cover and chill.

It’s fresh. It’s healthy. It’s different.

A Fried Rice Miracle

fried_riceWhat happens when you have a refrigerator full of random ingredients, which includes a take-out box of cooked white rice? A fried rice miracle!

The Ingredients:

  • Cooked white rice (2-3 cups)
  • 3 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • green onion (not entirely necessary if you don’t have it, but it adds a nice level of flavor)
  • shelled edamame (or some other veggie you have in the freezer or fridge)
  • leftover protein (steak, chicken, shrimp …. or tofu …)
  • oil for stir frying
  • soy sauce (3-4 tablespoons)

The Instructions

1. Put about 2-3 tablespoons of oil into a wok or large frying pan and heat over med-high.
2. Meanwhile, beat 3 eggs and season with salt and pepper.
3. Cook eggs in pan until they are just cooked through/scrambled but do not overcook.
4. Remove the eggs and set aside.
5. Add a bit more oil to the pan and saute small pieces of your leftover protein (I used steak tonight) with the shelled edamame (or other veggie). I had edamame in the freezer, so I defrosted it first in the micro before adding it to the wok. Heat through.
6. Add cooked white rice and stir to combine well, then add soy sauce (go easy on the soy sauce – you can always add more).
7. Once the rice is heated through, return the eggs to the wok and combine. Be sure to break up any big eggy clumps – you want to get pieces of egg into every bite.
8. Finish with finely chopped green onion.

This is so easy, and so delicious. And, it’s a great way to turn random leftovers into a dinner miracle that you’ll actually enjoy eating!

Homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup

I’m trying out a new recipe later this week, and I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes. In the meantime, it gave me the chance to use a recipe I have for homemade condensed cream of chicken soup. I’m really not a fan of the gunk you can buy in a can, and this recipe is simple to amend to suit your needs.

The Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 t onion powder
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1/8 t black pepper
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t parsley
  • dash of paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup flour

The Instructions:

1. In a medium-sized saucepan, boil the chicken broth, 1/2 cup of the milk, and the seasonings. You can use fresh onions and garlic here if you’d like, but you should cook it a bit longer than with the dried/powder stuff.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour and the rest of the milk.
3. Pour the flour mixture into the boiling broth mixture and whisk over heat until it is bubbly and thick and smooth.

That’s it. You now have the equivalent of about 2 cans of condensed cream of chicken soup. If you want to make other varieties, like cream of celery, saute diced celery first, and then continue with the recipe. You can use vegetable broth instead of chicken. Depending on how flavorful your chicken broth already is, you may or may not have to add more seasonings. For example, if you are using homemade chicken broth (which is really rich with layered flavors from your chicken), you will have really flavorful condensed soup. But, if you are using broth from a can or a box or jar, it all depends on how flavorful THAT is. Make sense? For all of my condensed soup purposes, I’m using it as a binding agent, so as long as it’s chicken-y and doesn’t taste like paste, I’m good to go.

Honeycomb Brittle

honeycomb brittleIf you received a box of treats from me at Christmastime, it likely contained some of this honeycomb brittle. And yes, I made it myself (thank you, thank you). It was SO EASY, and so many people raved about how wonderful it was, so here is the magical recipe.

The Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 T baking soda
  • Cooking spray
  • Chocolate bar or chips  – this is optional, and I recommend a very good dark chocolate
  • Parchment paper
  • A candy thermometer. Do not be afraid.

The Instructions

1. Lay parchment paper on a cooking sheet and spray parchment with your cooking spray.
2. Bring the sugar, honey and water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring constantly.
3. Reduce heat to medium-high and insert a candy thermometer. Cook, without stirring, until the thermometer reaches 300 degrees.
4. Remove thermometer and remove the saucepan from the heat.
5. Whisk in the baking soda rapidly until combined and fluffy. Do not over-whisk. It will immediately get fluffy and golden, and that’s when it’s perfect.
6. Pour mixture onto the baking sheet without spreading it.
7. Let cool and then break into pieces.

You can be done now, or you can take it one step further. While the candy is cooling, gently melt your chocolate. Then, when the candy is cooled and you’ve broken it into manageable pieces (with your hands – nothing fancy), dip half of each piece into the dark chocolate and replace on the parchment paper. When you’re done, put the entire baking sheet into the fridge to set the chocolate. Viola! You have AWESOME homemade candy. It’s light, airy, melts in your mouth, and my family thinks it tastes like roasted marshmallows. I think it’s heavenly. I hope you do too!

Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken Legs

chicken legs bakedThese are so easy and so good. The next time you see chicken drumsticks on sale at the grocery store, grab a tray or two!

The Ingredients

  • 12 chicken drumsticks, skin removed (this is my least favorite part of cooking)
  • 2 cups of corn flakes
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 3 eggs

The Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray (set aside).
  2. Crush the corn flakes in a gallon-size freezer bag (I roll them with a rolling pin) and add the cayenne pepper, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Mix well, and pour out into a shallow dish.
  3. Beat the eggs.
  4. Take your skinless drumsticks and dip each one into the egg and then coat with the corn flake mixture.
  5. Place drumsticks onto the sheet pan, making sure each drumstick has enough room to “breathe.”
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour (until meat is no longer pink, and the outside is golden and crispy).

Want to do the work once and dine twice? After the chicken is cooked, cool the drumsticks in the fridge. When they are completely cooled, put them into a freezer bag and pop them in the freezer. When you are ready for them later, take your frozen drumsticks and put them back on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

If I’m going to pull skin off of chicken, I’m going to do it once. So, I tend to double or triple this recipe and then enjoy my efforts time and again.