Thursday, January 29, 2009

Parmesan Chicken and Mozzarella Garlic Bread

Spaghetti is such an easy go-to meal in a hurry, but I sometimes get tired of the ground beef and red sauce variety. I like chicken parmesan at restaurants (especially the Maggiano's Chicken Parmesan), so I thought it'd be a good accompaniment along a smaller portion of spaghetti. Here's the recipe! (by the way, just to manage expectations, this is nothing like the Maggiano's Chicken Parmesan Recipe...)

2 small boneless chicken breasts (or 1 large chicken breast cut in half)
1 egg
Breadcrumbs (Italian seasoned, garlic seasoned or plain)
Favorite marinara sauce

Heat oven to 400 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil
Pound chicken flat, to about 1/4-1/2 inch thick
In a shallow dish, lightly whisk the egg
In another shallow dish, pour in bread crumbs. If using unseasoned bread crumbs, season with garlic salt, pepper, and/or Italian seasoning - your choice!
Dredge chicken in the egg, then in bread crumbs on both sides
Place on the foil-lined baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 15-25 minutes, until cooked through
In the meantime, heat the marinara sauce and set aside
Remove the chicken from oven, and turn on the broiler
Spoon on the marinara sauce on the chicken, top with mozzarella, and place under broiler until cheese is melted

Mozzarella Garlic Bread Recipe
Small french bread loaf
Butter or margarine
Garlic salt or fresh garlic cloves
Italian seasoning

Slice garlic bread lengthwise, and bake in the 400 degree oven until crusty
Remove bread, and immediately spread butter/margarine on the bread
Sprinkle on garlic salt, or take whole clove of garlic and rub across the top of the hot bread (the heat will sort of melt the garlic)
Pile on the mozzarella, and sprinkle on italian seasoning
Heat broiler, and place under the broiler until cheese is melty and bubbly

Similarly you can leave the mozzarella off and just use the butter, garlic (salt), and seasonings
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English Muffin Bread Loaf Recipe

This recipe intrigued me...I found it on Amber's Delectable Delights and it just seemed so simple I had to try it. The whole making bread from scratch thing makes me nervous (but I do it for the heavenly smell it creates in my kitchen), so I thought that this simple recipe would be a good recipe to try after having only done the No-Knead Bread recipe a few times...It also has a short rise time, which is great for my impatient stomach.

Source: Better Homes & Gardens, New Cook Book, Limited Breast Cancer Edition, pages 143-143, by way of Amber's Delectable Delights Blog

Prep: 20 minutesRise: 45 minutes
Bake: 25 minutes
Makes: 2 loaves

6 cups all purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups milk
1/2 cup water1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1. Grease two 8x4x2-inch loaf pans. Lightly sprinkle pans with enough cornmeal to coat bottom and sides; set pans aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine 3 cups of the flour, the yeast, and baking soda; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, water, sugar and, salt just until warm (120 to 130 degrees F). Using a wooden spoon, stir milk mixture into flour mixture. Stir in remaining flour.
3. Divide dough in half. Place dough in prepared pans. Sprinkle tops with cornmeal. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 45 minutes).4. Bake in a 400 degree oven about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove bread from pans. Cool on wire racks.

I found that this bread was VERY dense. Next time I think I would not add all of the flour all at once...instead I'd add it in gradually, and not necessarily use all 6 cups of flour. Secondly, I'd probably cut the whole recipe in half - my husband and I would never get through a full loaf before it started to go stale. And last this tasted pretty yummy toasted, buttered, and with a good amount of blackberry preserves!

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Banana Crumb Muffins

These muffins are SO good and SO easy. I've been making them for the last couple of years, ever since I found them on I think they're one of the highest rated recipes on the site. The recipe is really pretty simple, but I make just a couple of modifications to it.

Ingredients for muffins:
  • 1.5 C. flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp cinnamon (my addition)
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 3/4 C. white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 C. melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (my addition)

Ingredients for crumb topping:
  • 1/3 C. packed brown sugar
  • 2 TBS flour
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 TBS butter

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper cupcake cups.
  2. In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, except white sugar.
  3. In another bowl, starting from the bananas down, combine all the wet ingredients (including the white sugar).
  4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Don't overmix.
  5. Pour into the muffin cups.
  6. For the crumb topping, put all the ingredients in a bowl.
  7. Using a fork, break the butter into the mixture, so that it becomes a coarse meal texture.
  8. Sprinkle on top of the muffins.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes!

These don't last long in my house! How do you like my kissing frogs muffin cups?? Enjoy!