1.17.2014

Thai Coconut Peanut Chicken - Crockpot Style

Original Inspiration via RachelSchultz.com
Skinny Thai Peanut Chicken
I was puttering around the house one morning, fretting over what I could possibly make for dinner.   I was not smart and did not pull anything out of the freezer to thaw.  In addition, heading out to the store just was not on my list of to-dos for the dinner.   I vacillated over just having sandwiches or not even caring.  I feel guilty about those choices and thought what could I put in the crockpot that would thaw and not turn out weird.   I remembered a recipe I had come across that might work and pulled it out.  It was for a Skinny Thai Peanut Chicken in the crockpot.   I noticed while looking it over that there were a few things I did not have, but possible substitutes just might work, so I set about really creating my own, but using the recipe as a guide for amounts and combinations.

Worried about whether this was going to work, about half-way through the process, I went upstairs to check on it, stir it up and then take a taste.  Oh my goodness.....it worked and worked so well, I didn't want to wait for dinner.  But I did wait.   This is really great.  Try it.   Tom put it on the regular rotation list!  Cant wait to make it for the kids the next time they are home.

A shout out to RachelSchultz.com for the inspiration!

Here it goes....

Thai Coconut Peanut Chicken – Crockpot Style


2-3 cups cooked chicken (or 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
1 red or green bell pepper, diced
1 sweet onion, diced
¾ c chunky peanut butter
1-2 T lime juice (one whole fresh lime, squeezed) – can use key lime juice as a substitute
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
3 T soy sauce
1 -2 t cumin (depending on your taste)
1 T cilantro
1-2 T crushed red pepper flakes (depending on your taste)

Rice
Chopped Green Onion
Chopped lightly salted peanuts
Chopped fresh cilantro


Layer into the crockpot the following:
Chicken
Onion
Green/Red Pepper

In a small bowl add peanut butter, lime juice, coconut milk, soy sauce, cumin, cilantro (tube) and red pepper flakes.  Whisk together until well combined.  Taste and adjust your seasonings accordingly.    Pour over the chicken and vegetables in the crockpot. 

Place the lid on and cook on low setting for 3-4 hours.   Make sure to stir your mixture at least once during the cooking process,  to incorporate the flavors and distribute for even cooking.   You should have a nice “gravy” that will work well served over rice.

Serve over rice with the green onions, peanuts and fresh cilantro as garnish. 



Printable Thai Coconut Peanut Chicken - Crockpot Style

1.15.2014

'Smore's Dip - Does it Work or Is it a Fail?

Original Pinterest Pin
Courtesy of Dessert For Two
Another Pinterest Try - Will this fail,  how good is it really?  

I can tell you it looked awfully good and it was a cold weekend afternoon and we were craving something sweet.    I thought, what the heck, why not?

It worked, I mean it really worked.  It was fabulous.  Maybe too fabulous!   Tom had to cut himself off; I could only eat about three graham crackers worth.  The blessing in this recipe, the longer it sits, then the chocolate firms up and you have to reheat it, which really helps you not over do it.  BUT keep in mind, there were just two of us eating this.  If you have a family or friends over of 4 or more. There won't be any left to reheat and it will be gone long before it cools down enough to firm up!

This is definitely a keeper recipe!

Smore’s Dip

Approximate 1-2 c of chocolate chips – your choice. 
Approximately 10-16 full-size marshmallows, cut in half.
            Or you can use 1-2 c of mini-marshmallows.
Graham Crackers for dipping.


Using an 8 inch cast iron pan, prepared and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, pour your chocolate chips into the bottom of the pan, spreading evenly around.   

Top with the marshmallows.

Bake in a 450 degree oven for approximately 8 minutes, until tops of the marshmallows are golden brown and the chocolate is melted.

Tips – if you want a greater amount of marshmallow (as you would in a ‘Smore – don’t halve the full-size marshmallows.  If you want less ‘mallow, than use the mini-marshmallows or the halved, full-sized ones. 

The thicker the layer of chips, the longer it will take to melt and you might burn your marshmallow.


Leftover and need to reheat – just place a piece of tinfoil over the top of the pan and heat through for 8-10 minutes.   Your ‘mallows wont burn and the chocolate will melt!



1.13.2014

Buttermilk White Bread


I am a bread maker.   I gained this skill from my mother.  I will forever be grateful and so will my husband and children!   I have a recipe I regularly use for bread, that has been passed on from my grandmother, made by her mother, and her mother and so it goes.    Every now and then, however, I come across a recipe that is just a little different that I need to try!  And so it is with this one.  

What captivated me by this recipe was the use of buttermilk.   Now, its not that I thought, wow, buttermilk in a yeast bread recipe, let's try that....honestly?  I had an entire 1/2 quart of buttermilk left over from holiday baking that if I didn't use up, it was going to turn quick and thought, what can I do with 4 cups of buttermilk?   I saw this recipe and thought, now that sounds good and voila.   It was shear necessity that perked my interest.  

I made it, I/we (especially the husband) loved it and had bread for the entire week!   I will make this recipe purposefully next time.  Wont give up grandma's but this will be a good variation on the theme!

Yields 4 loaves. 

Buttermilk White Bread

2 pkgs yeast (4-1/2 t )
2 t sugar
1/2 c warm water
4 c warm buttermilk
2/3 c honey
1/2 c butter, melted and cooled as to not be too hot to kill years
2 t salt
12 c white flour (approximately)

Mix sugar, yeast and warm water.  Set aside for a few minutes to let yeast activate.  You can use quick rising yeast as well.  

In a large mixing bowl, mix room buttermilk (I warm up the buttermilk in the microwave, just to take the chill off), honey, salt together.  Add the yeast mixture and stir together.   

Add 3-5 cups of flour and mix until smooth.  Continue adding flour until a sticky dough begins to form.  (You can use an electric stand mixer with a kneading paddle.  If using this method, when the dough pulls from the sides of the bowl) Remove the dough to a floured surface.  

Knead until elastic and smooth, about 10 minutes.  Continue to add flour, as needed.  The dough will feel elastic, still slightly wet, but smooth.  

Place the dough into a prepared bowl (buttered) and butter the top of the dough.  Cover with a warm wet flour sack towel and allow to rise until double.   I preheat my oven to 200 degrees, then turn off as I place the bowel into the oven to rise.  This aids in keeping the yeast activated and moving and cuts the rising time down.  This process will take approximately 1 - 1-1/2 hours.  For quick acting yeast, about 30 minutes.  

Punch down.  Cut dough in half, then half again, having four pieces to form into loaves.   Form your loaves and place into greased bread pans.  Let rise for an additional hour in the pans.  

Meanwhile, heat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake for approximately 25-35 minutes.  This will depend on your oven!  Keep an eye after 25 minutes.  I recommend aluminum pans versus dark pans.  They brown more evenly and there is better heat conduction and control.  

When tops are lightly brown and bread sounds "hollow" when knocked, remove from oven onto rack.  Brush tops with butter.  Allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes.  Turn out of pan onto rack and cool completely.   Covering loaves will give you a soft crust.  Leaving loaves uncovered during the cooling process will produce a crispier crust.