A Chicken in Every Crockpot!

Karen's Kitchen Adventures

Nurse Liz’s Ham and Cheddar Scones April 23, 2010

Filed under: breads,breakfast,Uncategorized — frappqueen @ 9:00 pm
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These scones are AMAZING. Even if you have always feared scones, please please go and make them! Right now!! I’d always wanted to try to make scones, but a lot of the recipes seem a bit daunting and involve rolling out and cutting stuff just right and I never got around to it yet. However, one lovely day last year, Nurse Liz at school brought in these delectable ham and cheddar scones for someone’s birthday and let me sneak one. Holy moly, I was ready to give scone making a try after that! They are really just that good. Savory and a touch of sweet. Oh. yum. The nice thing about this recipe too is that its a cream scone mixture, meaning not much measuring and zero rolling out! You put it in cake pans to freeze and slice out the triangles to bake. Its easy and you can make them ahead of time and keep them in the freezer til you are ready to eat.

Ham and Cheddar Scones

3 c. all purpose flour

1/2 c. sugar

2 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 c. medium diced ham

1/2 c. medium diced cheddar cheese (sometimes I use shredded if I forget to get a block o’ cheese)

1/2 c. sliced scallions (green onions)

2 c. heavy cream (if you want to make it lower fat you can do fat free half and half for one of the cups)

Method:

Line a 10 inch round cake pan or two 8 inch round cake pans with a layer of parchment paper. If you are like me and don’t have that…just use a layer of tin foil followed by a layer of wax paper for good measure. Set aside.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the ham, cheese and scallions and toss together with the dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center of the mixture.  Add the cream to the flour mixture and stir to just until the batter is evenly distributed. Don’t use a mixer, just use a spoon and some elbow grease.

Place the dough in the cake pan(s) and press into an even layer. Cover with more parchment paper or foil or plastic wrap and freeze until very firm, at least 2 hours. I usually make the night before.

When you are ready to cook them, preheat the oven to 350. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Thaw the dough on the counter for about 5 minutes until it is able to move and be cut into while still being stiff and cold. Cut the dough into equal wedges and place them on the baking sheet with room between them, about 2 inches apart.

Bake at 350 until golden brown, about 30 or 40 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Best when eaten the same day they are baked…refrigerate or freeze the leftovers. Really though, you won’t have leftovers as you will eat one to see if it is good, one for a snack, two for brunch, one for an afternoon snack and then one because, well, it looked so LONELY on the plate!

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Deviled Eggs! April 17, 2010

Filed under: appetizers,eggs — frappqueen @ 6:52 pm
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Oh deviled eggs! How do I love thee!? Let me count the ways!! One….you are so easy to make! Two….you are so very tasty! Three….well, its mainly the first two! But anyway, once Easter was over, I had a slew of hardboiled eggs that sure looked pretty, but not much else to do with them. Sure, I could have made egg salad, but who wants that when you can snack on fancy deviled eggs much like a 1950’s housewife?

Deviled Eggs

6 eggs
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon prepared mustard (sometimes I use mustard powder, either works great)
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon paprika

Method:

Hard boil your eggs the way you like to do it. When they are cooled, peel and split eggs in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, pop the yellow parts out into a medium sized bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except for the paprika and combine. You might need more mayo if the mixture is too dry, but it shouldn’t be too mushy either.

Scoop the yolks back into the egg whites, but don’t pack them too much. I like to put mine in using a fancy ziploc method: I take the mixture and put it into a ziploc bag, cut a small bit off the tip of one corner and then use it like a piping bag to pipe the yolk back into the eggs. How fancy!

Top with a sprinkle of the paprika and enjoy with some olives and a martini…or maybe just some juice, depending on how you roll.

 

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese April 16, 2010

Filed under: pasta — frappqueen @ 6:18 pm
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Butternut squash mac and cheese sounds like it might not be too delicious, but trust me, It is AMAZINGLY GOOD! Also, it is super simple to make! I usually have all of the ingredients home aside from the frozen butternut squash, and if I really felt like it, I could stock up so I can make it whenever the whim hits me! It’s a great cozy dinner on a rainy night or a chilly one….although I’d say its probably good on a sunny spring night too!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (from Rachel Ray)

1 pound macaroni with lines, such as tubatini or mini penne rigate
Salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus a few sprigs for garnish
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 (10 ounce) box frozen cooked butter nut squash, defrosted
1 cup cream or half-and-half  (I get the low fat kind or just use skim milk if in a pinch)
2 cups (8 ounces) sharp Cheddar, grated (again, I get the low fat kind)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, eyeball it
Black pepper

Method:

Heat a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water then add the pasta and cook to al dente or, with a bite to it.

While pasta cooks, heat a medium heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the extra-virgin olive oil and butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the thyme and grate the onion directly into the pot with a hand held grater or Microplane. Cook the grated onion in butter and oil 1 to 2 minutes, then add flour and cook together 1 to 2 more minutes. Whisk in stock, then combine with butternut squash until warmed through and smooth. Stir in cream or half-and-half and bring sauce to a bubble. Stir in cheeses in a figure 8 motion and season the completed sauce with salt, nutmeg and pepper. Taste to adjust seasonings.

Drain cooked pasta well and combine with sauce. Top with a little extra parm cheese, YUMMY!

 

coffee encrusted steak with mashed sweet potatoes April 12, 2010

Filed under: eat your vegetables,meat — frappqueen @ 8:28 pm
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Sorry I’ve been missing for so long! I recently spent about four days in the wilderness with my sixth graders as a chaperone and I didn’t do so much cooking when I got home as I was too busy napping! Anyway, I’m back, with lots of great food to share.

Coffee encrusted steak is SO good and super easy! It is basically two ingredients for the steak, and another three or so for the potatoes. The whole recipe takes hardly any prep or time. Perfect for a busy weeknight. I got it from the rachel ray website and its definitely a keeper.

I have made this a few times but this last time, I er, overcooked the steak as I was too busy tending to my farmville farm to realize it was done! That’s truly sad, and the reason why the steak looks a tad grey. Sorry! Mike still liked it but I thought it was way too dry for me. Next time I will not farm while cooking, I promise!

Coffee Encrusted Steak

steak of your choice

equal parts of ground coffee and steak seasoning (about 2 tbsp of each)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the coffee and steak seasoning. Rub all over the top and bottom of the steak. Preheat some olive oil in a nonstick, oven-safe pan. Sear the steak for about 8 minutes on each side.  Pop into the oven and cook, covered with foil for another ten minutes or so. Use a thermometer to be sure it is the correct temperature for your liking. I usually undercook the steak and we have to stick it back in, but not today! Today I overcooked it! Oh well!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into equal sized cubes

1/2 c. buttermilk

2 tbsp chives (fresh is best)

2 tbsp. butter

Boil the sweet potatoes in water for about 20 minutes or until they are easily pierced with a fork. Drain. Add the remaining ingredients and mash with a potato masher. Add more butter and buttermilk if the potatoes are too chunky for your liking. Serve with the steak. It’s so good!