Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

This is my own recipe. I usually look at a bunch of different recipes trying to decide which one I will make, and in the end I just wing it.

  • 1/4 cup bulghur wheat
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (or more as needed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3-2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/8 cup flax seed
  • 1/8 cup vegetable protein
  • 1/8 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2-3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water

Mix all this together. It should resemble bread dough. Add more flour if it is too sticky. Roll out onto floured area and cut the dough into desired sizes and shapes. I had bone shaped cookie cutters, but your dog really isn't going to care what they look like. You could just cut them into strips.

They should be baked in a 325 degree oven for about 40-60 minutes. They will be dry and hard when done. Cool and store in a non-airtight container.

My dogs highly approved!! Four paws!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Apple and Herb Chicken

I created this recipe for my clay pot cooker, but you can use it for how you normally roast a chicken.

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • a few potatoes
  • a few stalks of celery
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 1 TBS ground rosemary
  • 2 TBS thyme
  • 1 packet apple cider mix
  • sea salt

While the clay pot was soaking in water (you need to soak it in water for 10-15 minutes before putting the ingredients so it will keep your food moist while it cooks) chop up the sweet onion, potatoes, and celery. Grind the rosemary and thyme in a mortar. Once the pot has soaked up enough water, dump the apple cider drink mix in the bottom, pile in a cut whole chicken, sprinkle it with sea salt and the ground spice, then dump in the chopped veggies with the baby carrots. On goes the lid and into a cold oven. Turned on the oven for 450 degrees (100 degrees hotter than you would usually cook the food). Bake for about an hour.

When I made this I ran some errands and came home a little late. Doesn't it look delicious even if it is a little, er, toasty?

IT WAS! The apple cider mix was a great inspired touch, too! And even though it cooked long, it was still moist.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Easy Veggie Lasagna

Lasagna was always one of the three dishes that my mother made that were not only edible, but were the best I ever tasted. I hardly ever make it because it seems so difficult. As I was thinking of possible zucchini recipes though, I thought that lasagna would be a perfect try.
  • 10 lasagna noodles
  • 12 oz cottage cheese
  • 7 oz ricotta
  • handful Parmesan cheese
  • handfull Romano cheese
  • 3-5 oz spinach, fresh or frozen
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 3-4 TBS Italian seasoning
  • 2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 8-10 oz shredded mozzarella
  • 1 med zucchini
  • Salt - garlic or sea salt
As I boiled 10 lasagna noodles in oiled and salted water, I mixed 12 ounces of cottage cheese, 7 ounces ricotta, a handful of Parmesan, and a handful of Romano in a large bowl. Add 3-5 ounces of spinach. I used frozen (squeeze it dry) but I think that I would use fresh next time since I wasn't impressed with the flavor of the frozen spinach. Mix in two eggs and set this aside. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.

Heat a pan with some olive oil, one or two tablespoons. Chop up a couple cloves of garlic. Add to the hot pan- you do not want the pan so hot that the garlic turns brown, just enough to cook it. Dice six or so tomatoes. Add those to the pan. Add three or four tablespoons of Italian seasoning and a good sprinkling of garlic salt (or other salt. Sea salt? You know how much I like sea salt, mmmm...).

As the sauce cooks down, slice up a medium size zucchini into 1/8-1/4 inch slices. If you like mushrooms you can slice some (I used portabella since I had some leftover). Remove the noodles from the heat even if they are not cooked all the way (in fact you probably only want them cooked halfway). Rinse them under cold water and separate.

When the sauce is thick, spread some of it in an oiled cake or lasagna pan. Put in a layer of noodles, then a layer of cheese mix, then noodles, then a layer of the raw zucchini slices and the mushrooms (if you are using them) topped with tomato sauce, another layer of noodles, the rest of the cheese mix, a layer of noodles, and top with the remainder of the tomato sauce. Top the whole thing with grated mozarella.

Bake in the oven for about an hour. My husband is not a big vegetable fan, but he liked this. He even ate leftovers- that's rare. I made mine half with mushrooms and half without (my husband doesn't like mushrooms). My son ate until the mushroom side was completely gone.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Rosemary Basil Chicken with Spaghetti

This is one of my very own recipes that I made when I needed something quick for dinner. Fast and yummy chicken pasta.
  • 1lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 lb pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3-5 medium tomatoes
  • rosemary, fresh or dried
  • feta (optional)
  • basil, fresh or dried
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
The best way to chop chicken is while it is partially frozen. It's more like chopping celery than like chopping over-ripe tomatoes. If your chicken isn't frozen, make sure you have a sharp knife.

While I was defrosting my frozen chicken(about two minutes on defrost in the microwave), I started a pan of water for the pasta. I chose spaghetti because we had just bought some. You could use any plain pasta. I always put salt and oil in the water. They help heat the water faster, season the pasta, and they help keep the noodles from sticking to each other.

I heated up another pan, my cast iron fry pan, of course. Once it was hot, I put in about two tablesoons of extra virgin olive oil (cause you only live once) . While that was heating up I chopped up the still mostly frozen chicken into one inch cubes. You can chop them up however you like. I made sure that the pan was good and hot before throwing in the chicken. This sears the outside to keep the juices inside, plus it makes it taste better. Start stirring right away to make sure that no side gets over-cooked and all sides get seared fairly evenly.

Once the chicken cubes are fully seared, turn down the heat to about medium. Make sure that there is still moisture in the pan to keep the chicken from getting dry. Add a little water if you have to. Mince two cloves of garlic and add to the chicken. Grind up half a tablespoon of rosemary and throw that in. Add about a tablespoon of basil- or more if you like. Add a couple of big pinches of sea salt (or regular salt, or garlic salt, whatever). I like sea salt because regular table salt is too harsh for my tastes, and sea salt gives the food a nice flavor.

The pasta water should be ready by now. Add the pasta, stir, reduce the heat slightly, and cover.

Dice up the tomatoes into thick chunks. Throw them into the chicken pan. I never peel tomatoes. Peeled tomatoes are for wusses. The tomato peels add a nice bright red garnish to the dish. Cook the mix down until the tomatoes make a pseudo sauce. Add a little black pepper if you like. I did.

The pasta should be done, or at least when it is done, drain and add to chicken mix. OR you can do it the lazy Sylvana way- just tong the pasta out of the pan you cooked it in right into the chicken mix pan. What's a little pasta water among friends, eh? Stir the whole thing together. For added zip, add a couple handfuls of feta cheese (good stuff, that feta). And serve.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Zucchini Pancakes

This is a good recipe for those zucchini that have gotten a little too big to just slice up and throw into a sauce, fry up or grill. I get those all the time. I either forget to check if there are any that need to be harvested, or they hide and I don't see them until they are taking over the yard.
  • 1 monster zucchini, grated
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar, brown or white
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 3-4 TBS oil or melted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
Get one of those monsters, cut the ends off. Slice it in half and then slice the halves long way. Scoop the seeds out. Grate the zucchini.

In a large bowl mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. For the buttermilk, you can either use fresh or reconstituted powdered buttermilk (which is what I use).

Mix in the grated zucchini. The mix should be just thick enough that you could ladle. If it is too thick you can add a little more water or buttermilk. If it is too runny, you can add a little more flour.

Chop some pecans or walnuts and mix in. Sprinkle a couple teaspoons of cinnamon on the batter and mix in.

Heat a griddle or frying pan to medium high. I use a cast iron pan. Pancakes just come out better on cast iron. You will want to make sure that you keep any pan you use oiled. You will probably have to oil between cakes. I just spray with Pam after every other cake.

Ladle the batter onto the griddle/pan. When the edges are dried and it is possible to flip the cake, do it. This is the fun and frustrating part. You can check if the cake is able to be turned by trying to get a spatula under it. If the cake seems too loose to lift in full, leave it a little longer. If your cakes are starting to burn before you can turn them, reduce the heat a little. You will only have to cook the second side about half the time as the first.

Serve these with butter. They are like zucchini bread so syrup probably isn't necessary, but my husband and son like them with maple syrup, so maybe you will too.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Thyme and Zucchini Fritters

There's more to zucchini cuisine than bread. I have quite a few recipes for zucchini that I simply LOVE! And of course, I am always looking out for new ones to try. So when I bought the most amazing recipe book EVER!!! I decided I just had to try this easy Thyme and Zucchini Fritter recipe.

Of course, I almost always just use a recipe as a guideline, so the following is how I made them and will not exactly correspond with the recipe in the book.
  • 2 eggs
  • cup flour
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • baking soda
  • milk
  • thyme, fresh or dried
  • salt and pepper
In a medium sized bowl beat together two eggs into a scant cup of flour. When this is mixed thoroughly, sprinkle baking powder over the top of the batter, just enough to dust it. Mix this in as well. Mix in enough milk so that the batter will just barely run from your mixing utensil. This is about 1/4-1/3 cup. Mix in about 2-3 teaspoons of dried thyme. You can also use fresh if you were lucky enough to remember to grow it this year. Salt and pepper to your taste.

Cut the ends off the zucchini, and start grating.Wrap the grated zucchini in paper towel and squeeze out the moisture. Mix the grated zucchini into the batter.

You need a frying pan and some oil. I use a cast iron skillet. I love the way that cast iron cooks food. It just adds something extra to the food that I can't explain. It makes pancakes and hashbrowns perfectly.

Heat the pan first on medium heat. I learned years ago that the key to non-stick (save for those cancer causing teflon thingies) is cold oil on a hot pan. I don't really know if this is true, but what the hell. Do it anyway. I splurge on extra virgin olive oil. You only live once! Use a couple of tablespoons.

Once the oil is heated enough, scoop some of the batter into the pan and spread out slightly. You can put a couple of these in the pan at a time. I got three in at a time. Fry each side until they are golden brown and there is no more raw batter coming out the sides.

I served these warm with real mayonnaise. I did try them with Miracle Whip too, and that was good as well. I would have made my own garlic mayonnaise, but I was way too eager to try these while they were still warm and I hadn't thought to make it ahead of time.

The verdict? Nummy! I would definitely make these again.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Beer Butt Chicken

This was a recipe from my dad. He loves recipes that sound like jokes. Butt this chicken is so good, it's not even funny!
  • a whole chicken
  • a whole sweet onion
  • a can of great beer
Quarter the onion and stuff it into the neck of the chicken. Pour half the beer into a glass for drinking while you grill; you should never cook with alcohol you wouldn't drink - and I LOVE Leinenkugel's!! Mmmm...

Put the 1/2 can of beer into the cavity of the chicken. I used this handy chicken-footed stand, but it is not necessary. I rubbed the chicken in ground rosemary and sea salt. You can use what ever spices you like. Put the chicken on the hot grill and cover. It takes about an hour to fully cook.

It is a tender, flavorful chicken - a gourmet chicken with a funny name.