Thursday, January 22, 2009

And I'm back...

So last time I said I was done hibernating...I guess I wasn't. This time, it's for reals.
I'm back to cooking. And it feels good.
I'm trying out some new stuff.

Tonight I made these recipes from The Pioneer Woman Cooks (HUGE fan of hers):
she has pictures on her blog so I won't post any here- plus we all ate it too fast to take a pic!
Try these ones out. She was right- these two dishes go perfectly together. Yum. Yum.

Fluffy New Potatoes
9 or 10 medium to large new potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup sour cream
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1½ cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 garlic clove, pressed
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Rinse and dry the potatoes, then place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes and massage to coat. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Place the sour cream, cream cheese, Monterey Jack, chives, garlic, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Cut each potato in half lengthwise.
With a spoon scoop out inside of the potatoes, leaving a very thin rim of potato inside the skin. Add the potato pulp to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients. Using a fork, gently mash the ingredients together until fluffy and smooth. Spoon the mixture back into the potato shells.

Bake the potatoes in a 375 degree oven until thoroughly warmed through. The potatoes will soften, “melt”, and fill the potato shells as they bake. It took mine about 20ish minutes- I just watched them.

Ranch Style Chicken

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Thick cut bacon
Bacon grease
HoneyDijon Mustard
Lemon juice
Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Canola oil
To begin, mix together 1/2 cup Dijon or country/grainy mustard with 1/2 cup honey. Add juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle in some crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne if you like things a little spicy.
Whisk it together until smooth.
Next, rinse the chicken breasts under cool water and pat them dry.
Pound the chicken breasts so they have a more uniform thickness, which means they’ll cook more evenly and won’t be dry around the edges.
Place one chicken breast between two sheets of waxed paper…
Lightly pat the waxed paper so it adheres to the chicken. With a mallet or a rolling pin (you can also use a heavy can!) lightly pound the chicken breast so that the thickness is uniform. By the time it all evens up, it’s usually around 1/2 to 3/4″ thick.
Next, just add all the chicken to the bowl with the marinade. You’ll want to cover this with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
While the chicken is marinating, go ahead and fry up some bacon:
any kind of bacon will do; just keep in mind that the bacon will eventually go into the oven, so you don’t want to get it too crisp in the skillet.
Next, and this is important, reserve 1/4 cup of the bacon grease, and go ahead and clean out the skillet. Otherwise, it’ll get too smoky.
When you’re ready to prepare the chicken, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Remove the chicken from the fridge and pour off excess marinade into the sink. Heat half of the reserved bacon grease with an equal quantity of Canola Oil in the clean skillet over medium-high to high heat. (We want to sear the chicken, not cook it completely.) When the grease is sufficiently heated, add a batch of chicken to the skillet. Don’t overcrowd the skillet—just 3 pieces is usually enough.
Watch the chicken, and when it starts to get brown/black on one side…
Flip it to the other side. Cook just until brown/blackish areas appear. Each side should cook for a maximum of 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
Repeat with all the chicken breasts, then set them on a large baking sheet. If you look a little closer, you’ll notice the chicken is definitely not fully cooked.
Go ahead and throw the pan of chicken into the hot oven for about ten minutes to continue cooking. Then remove the pan from the oven…
And lay a couple of bacon slices over each chicken breast.
Next, grab some grated sharp cheddar and sprinkle it over the top as generously as you’d like.
Just return the pan to the oven for an additional five minutes, or until cheese is melted and bacon is sizzling.
Then serve immediately…

Next I plan to make these recipes. I'll let you know how they go.
Oh and I also made these but made them cookies instead of bars. Really good.


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