Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Grilled Maple Barbecue Chicken

This was a recipe I found at another blog that I really enjoy, The Local Cook.  She's a lot more adventurous in her cooking than I am, so I've only tried a few of her recipes.  This recipe for Grilled Maple Barbecue Chicken appealed to me for several reasons - I could cut it into chicken strip shapes to appease Toddler, I had all the recipe ingredients on hand, and it sounded ridiculously easy.

The recipe has instructions for baking, grilling and pan-frying, and I did a bit of a hybrid between grilling and pan-frying.  I have a Calphalon grill pan that I love, and I used that, which created those beautiful grill marks.  I also did a lot of basting, just as I would have if I had tried to grill outside (which I've never done, my husband does the grilling in our family).  I thought about having my husband grill this outside, but our grilling experiences are really hit or miss.  This could be because I rarely let my husband grill, so he doesn't get much practice...  Anyway, this is quite possibly one of my new favorite chicken recipes.  I will definitely be making it again.  It was easy, cheap and flavorful.  Try it for dinner tonight, you probably have all of the fixings on hand!

 And yes, it was as good as it looks!

Grilled Maple Barbecue Chicken

3/4 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp onion powder or 1 tbsp minced onion
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
6 chicken breasts (I used 3 and it worked out just fine)

1. Combine all the ingredients except the chicken in a tight fitting container.  Shake the container to mix well.  Add chicken.  Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to overnight.
2. Microwave everything together for 5 minutes and remove chicken. 
3. Boil remaining marinade in a small saucepan for 3-5 minutes.  
4. TO GRILL: Grill chicken, turning and brushing with marinade.
    TO BAKE: Pour marinade on top and bake at 350, basting every 15-20 minutes, until done (around 30-40 minutes, depending on thickness of chicken).
    TO PAN FRY: Cook chicken in fry pan.  When it's nearly cooked through, add the marinade, which will carmelize.  Add 3 tbsp of water to the pan, and stir to deglaze.  Serve over the meat.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

World Peace Cookies

When I first saw this recipe making the rounds with the Tuesdays with Dorie folks, I wasn't sure I would really be interested in it.  Sure, it's got chocolate in it and it's a cookie, so it sounds good, but in the photos, it looked like a very sandy, shortbread-y kind of cookie. Not my cup of tea.  One night, though, I was truly craving a chocolate cookie, and I came across this recipe printout again.  I thought to myself, Dorie Greenspan has never let me down, so I thought I'd give it a shot.  I'm darn glad I did.  These cookies were awesome.  I can see why she called them World Peace Cookies - they truly could cause world peace, they make you so happy.  Especially if you eat them when they're fresh and warm from the oven, oh yum.  I got in the habit of just baking up a couple at a time so that I could have them nice and warm.  They are still tasty when they're not fresh out of the oven, and I'm sure I would still be raving about them if I hadn't eaten any of them all warm and gooey.  Really, though, if you bake these, do yourself a favor and eat one hot out of the oven!

World Peace Cookies
by Dorie Greenspan
Printer-friendly recipe

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tbsp (total of 11 tbsp) unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup packed light brown sguar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp fleur de sel of 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chocolate chips (or chopped Valrhona feves)

1. Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking soda and set aside.
2. Cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the salt and vanilla and mix to combine.  Add the flour mixture to the batter and pulse a few times to combine, covering the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel to prevent flyaway.  Stir in chocolate chips.
3. Gather the dough and divide into two.  Roll each half out into a smooth log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days (you can shorten the cooling time by stickign it into the freezer for 20 minutes immediately after wrapping and then moving it to the fridge for 30-40 minutes).
4. Preheat the oven to 325.  Slice the cookies into 1/2 inch slices and bake for 12 minutes.  Dough will still be soft.  Serve warm or at room temperature with milk.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Banana Crumb Muffins

I am still in awe of my SITS day last week.  If you haven't joined SITS yet, please take a few minutes and join these special ladies.  The amount of support I got from my fellow SITSas on my SITS day was just...mind-boggling.  It was truly awesome.  I'm still reading all the comments and trying to say thank you to all of you who were kind enough to visit and comment.  And thank you to all of my new followers, it's great to have you with me!

In the process of having my SITS day, I found a new blog, Irresistible Icing, and I managed to win a giveaway Mimi hosted there, so I've got an awesome new cookbook coming my way.  Make sure to visit Mimi, she's got a beautiful blog full of fashion, trying to watch her weight, and good old fashioned girlie fun!  I was so excited to hear I won her cookbook giveaway!  Talk about a jackpot - a new cookbook and a SITS day?  Wow, it doesn't get much better than this for me!

When I started thinking about what to post next, I was honestly shocked that I hadn't already posted this particular recipe, since it's been around my kitchen for quite a long time - before I even started this blog!  It was actually one of Toddler's very first favorite foods, back when he was not even 1 yet.  I was obsessed with trying to make healthy "treats" for him, and fiddled with my mother's old banana muffin recipe to make it a little more healthy, little being the operative word.  I've never been a huge fan of banana bread of banana muffins, even I like these...especially if you heat them up in the microwave for 10 seconds.  These muffins also freeze beautifully.  To defrost, just stick them in the microwave for about 10 seconds at a time until thawed nicely.  This recipe makes 24 muffins, but you certainly can half the recipe and make just 12 if you like.

He's convinced they're blueberry muffins.  He's also convinced that he can open the clubhouse door on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so much so that he tries to reach through the TV to open it.  Oh well.  At least he loves eating the muffins!

Banana Crumb Muffins
Printer-friendly recipe

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2/3 cup canola oil

Topping (optional):
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter, softened

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place muffin papers into 2 muffin tins, or thoroughly grease all 24 muffin cups.  
2. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients - flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  In another bowl, mash your bananas with a fork, and then use a mixer (hand or stand) to beat the bananas with the sugar, oil, and eggs.  Stir the banana/sugar mixture into the flour mixture until just moistened - do not overbeat!
3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins. 
4. In a smaller bowl, mix together softened butter with brown sugar, then flour and cinnamon.  Mixture will be crumbly, don't worry, this is a good thing.  Sprinkle generously over muffins.
5. Bake muffins at 375 for 18-20 minutes, until tops spring back after a quick tap.  Muffins will still be a bit moist.

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