Monday, February 23, 2009

Oven Pancakes

Growing up, we often had guests over on Sunday evening after church. This was a quick, easy and tasty dish that we often served our guests. I LOVE oven pancakes. I know there are other names for these as well but I'm not sure what they are. Enjoy this fast and tasty meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you have leftovers, they do heat up well.

Place ½ (or maybe ¼) stick butter in 2 round cake pans* in preheating oven. 425-450 degrees.

In a blender mix together:
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
4 eggs

Once butter in pans is melted, pour half of the mixture in each pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Fruit Topping
½-1 bag of berries/fruit (my favorite is blueberries!)
Cornstarch (1 T/cup of liquid)

Mix about 1 T cornstarch with some water and a little sugar. Slowly add to fruit mixture…don’t add too much or it will become too thick. Cook until fruit is cooked through and you should end up with a nice semi-thick fruity sauce.

*If possible, it's better to use the shiny cake pans (not the non-stick ones). The edges of the pancakes can "grab" the sides better if it's NOT non-stick. They'll grow taller and turn out better overall. If you only have non-stick, it's okay to use them, they just won't have the really lovely, tall crust that they may have otherwise.

Mozzarella Chicken

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup butter
salt and pepper to taste
4 slices mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour for coating
1 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup dry white wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of wax paper. Pound each to 1/4 inch thickness. Spread butter/margarine over the inside, then add salt and pepper to taste.
Place slice of cheese on breast, roll and close with toothpicks. Repeat with each breast. Dip rolled breasts in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Place coated breasts in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish.

To Make Sauce: In a saucepan, melt 1/4 cup butter and add garlic. Add wine and simmer all together. Pour sauce over chicken and bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes.

This is a yummy dinner! I haven't made it very often but I have enjoyed it each time I did make it.

Serving suggestions: mashed potatoes, broccoli, french bread

Monkey Bread

Every Christmas morning our family enjoys a breakfast of Monkey Bread and Eggs Benedict. This is a tradition that stems from my husband's childhood. It's pretty quick to make and sure tastes great.

From the Kitchen of Grandma Joyce Zachary

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

½ cup margarine
½ cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. water
2 (10 oz) cans Hungry Jack Biscuits

In small saucepan melt margarine. Coat bottom and sides of ungreased 12-cup fluted tube pan (or bundt pan) with 2 Tbsp of melted margarine. Sprinkle 3 Tbsp. of the nuts over bottom of pan.

Add remaining nuts, brown sugar and water to remaining margarine; heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Separate dough into 20 biscuits; tear or cut each biscuit into quarters and shape into a ball. Place ½ of the balls into the bottom of the pan. Drizzle half of the caramel sauce over balls. Repeat layers.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. (I’ve found it may even need 30-35 minutes but you may need to put some tinfoil on top to prevent the top from burning if you cook it this long). Invert immediately on a plate and remove from pan.

Optional Variation 1: sprinkle dough generously with cinnamon and add to each layer of dough.
Optional Variation 2: add 1 tsp or so of vanilla to the caramel mixture at the end of cooking. It really enhances the flavor and makes the monkey bread smell delicious.

The last time I made this recipe, I opted to make my own biscuit dough rather than buying store-bought. It turned out great and I actually liked the flavor of the dough better than the store-bought because sometimes I find their dough a little too salty. It also costs a lot less than spending nearly $6 on two tubes of refrigerated dough. If you’d like a good and easy biscuit recipe, I posted my recipe here.

Lemon Pecan Pork Chops

Serves 6-8

4 each 1" boneless pork loin chops
3T margarine
zest of 1 lemon
2-3 T lemon pepper
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 T finely chopped pecans
1 T garlic salt


Slice each pork chop into 2 cutlets. Dry on paper towels and sprinkle both sides with lemon pepper and garlic salt. Melt margarine in heavy bottomed skillet. Brown pork chops in hot skillet on each side till cooked. Remove from skillet and transfer to a serving platter and keep warm in 200F oven. Save pan with drippings. Meanwhile, zest lemon. Juice 3-4 lemons, then take lemon juice and de-glaze pan where pork chops were browned. Add zest. Stir till mixed. Pour de-glazed juice over pork chops in oven. (1/4 teaspoon on each) Be careful, the glaze is strong so just use a little. Sprinkle chopped pecans over pork chops. Serve warm with rice. The sauce tastes very yummy on the rice!

De-glaze: when you pour the lemon juice into the pan, the acid will easily peel up all the little brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Flavor, flavor, flavor!

Lemon-Dill Chicken

From the kitchen of: Kristin Jonas
Found in Betty Crocker’s Good & Easy Cookbook

¼ cup (1/2 stick) margarine or butter
6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1\2 lbs)
½ cup dry white wine or chicken broth (or one chicken bullion square with 1 cup hot water)
1 tbs chopped fresh or ½ tsp. dried dill weed
1 tbs. lemon juice
¼ tsp. salt
1 medium green onion, sliced (1-2 stalks)

(I usually double the ingredients for the sauce so I have enough—except for the salt—leave at ¼ tsp)

Melt margarine in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in margarine about 6 minutes, turning once, until light brown.

Mix wine, dill weed, lemon juice and salt; pour over chicken. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut. Remove chicken from skillet; keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat wine mixture to boiling. Boil about 3 minutes or until reduced to about half; pour over chicken. (I don’t usually do this part).

Sprinkle with green onion. Serve with rice.

Notes above are from Kristin. I'm not usually big on dill but I actually liked this recipe. It's super easy and quick to make as well.

Chipotle's Flavorful Basmati Rice

I am a fan of Chipotle and Q'doba restaurants. I love their burritos filled with so much flavor. This is just one aspect of what goes into the burritos but it really will liven your rice up. Make it for a side dish or as an ingredient in your own burritos.

1 teaspoon vegetable oil or butter
2 tsp. fresh cilantro
2/3 cup white basmati rice
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Lime

In a 2-quart heavy saucepan, heat oil or butter over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted. Add rice and lime juice, stir for 1 minute. Add water and salt, bring to a full rolling boil. At boiling, cover, turn down to simmer over low heat until rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork.

[bahs-MAH-tee]Basmati is a long-grained rice, with a fine texture. It can be found in Middle Eastern and India markets, as well as some supermarkets.The source of this recipe is attributed to Chipolte's Executive Chef (and CEO), Steve Ellis.

My Notes:
I found this recipe on the internet somewhere. Sorry, it was awhile ago so I don't have the exact link. I use the ingredients listed above (except I buy Jasmine rice instead of Basmati because I can't buy Basmati around here) however, I make it in my rice cooker rather than in a saucepan.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Easy Garam Masala

1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Mix cumin, coriander, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a bowl. Place mix in an airtight container, and store in a cool, dry place.

Originally found here on

Crockpot Chicken Makhani

If you know me personally, you may know of my love of Indian food. I LOVE Indian curries, breads, veggies and especially eating at Indian restaurants. Unfortunately, where I live, there are no Indian restaurants within at least 50 miles. I have a pretty good Bengali cookbook that I cook out of pretty frequently but I just stumbled upon THIS recipe two days ago and made it for dinner last night. It was amazing! My house literally took on the smell of an Indian restaurant as this was simmering in the crock pot. I started with chicken leg quarters frozen solid at almost 2:00 and four hours later, dinner was ready! This recipe came from Her notes are a little different than mine so feel free to get a different take on the same dish at her blog.

Crock pot Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (mine were frozen solid)
1 onion sliced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
4 T butter
15 cardamom pods (sewn together!)
2 tsp curry
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 can coconut milk (I used light)
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
2 T lemon juice
1 cup plain yogurt (to add at the end, I used fat free)

The Directions
Use a 5 quart or larger crockpot. Carefully sew together the cardamom pods using a needle and thread. You can put them in a little cheese cloth bundle, instead, if you have that in the house. Put chicken in crockpot, and add onion, garlic, and all of the dry spices. Plop in the butter and tomato paste. Add lemon juice and coconut milk. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4. The chicken should shred easily with 2 forks when fully cooked.Stir in plain yogurt 15 minutes before serving. Discard cardamom pods. Salt to taste, serve with white or brown basmati or jasmine rice.

My Changes
I used 1/2 an onion instead of a whole one. I don't think it makes a huge differences, I just needed my other half an onion for something else.
I used the full amount of butter but think I might leave it out next time or just use 1 T instead. At the end it's just floating on top anyways and it adds unnecessary fat.
My cardamom is crushed into a powder. I used a scant Tablespoon. I've never found whole cardamom pods and always just have to guess how much to use in a recipe. The scant Tablespoon tasted great.
I used the full amount of Cayenne pepper but will probably only use 1/4 tsp next time to make it a little less spicy for my husband.
As I haven't found garam masala in the store, I made my own using a recipe I found on I've included it at the bottom of the post as well.
I used about 3/4 of a can of coconut milk. If you don't have it, I don't think it'll ruin the dish. Just add more yogurt in it's place. I didn't have my coconut milk until right before I served it (Phil picked it up from the store on his way home). The recipe tasted great without it and cooked fine without it as well.

The Verdict
This is so flavorful and delicious. My husband thought the cayenne pepper was a little too strong. If you want flavor from the spices but not spicy, maybe only use a 1/4 tsp or none at all. If you like your food spicy, you might want to double the cayenne. I thought it gave it a little kick but it was not overpowering at all. If you make this, let me know what you think.

If there are any vegetarians out there, I would assume this would be great made with tofu, lentils or veggies. The flavors are so good.

Easy Garam Masala
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Mix cumin, coriander, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a bowl. Place mix in an airtight container, and store in a cool, dry place.