Arroz con Pollo (Rice with Chicken)

Arroz con Pollo

No pasta this month, it’s rice instead. I saw this recipe on Food Network’s, Farmhouse Rules with Nancy Fuller. An upstate girl myself, I enjoy Nancy’s show and this one was shown around Cinco de Mayo, of course! Anyway, I haven’t made a chicken and rice casserole in I can’t remember when. So while I missed doing it on May 5th, it was shortly thereafter and on a rainy, cold day. I was grateful to have that lovely smell of rice, chicken and saffron filling the house and the heat of the oven making things all warm and cozy.

Serves 4 – 6.

Hardware

Cutting board

Knife

Cast Iron Dutch Oven

 

Ingredients

Ingredients

1/4 c olive oil

12 bone-in, skin on, chicken pieces (I used 6 pieces, thighs and legs)

1 large onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

3 bay leaves

1/2 cup diced tomato

4 cups chicken stock

One 12-ounce bottle lager beer

2 cups arborio rice

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 pimento, chopped (jarred pimento is fine, about 1/4 cup)

Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Brown the chicken

Heat the olive oil in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Add the pieces. My Dutch oven held 3 pieces without crowding. So I browned 3 at a time, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, holding the browned pieces until they were all done.

Onion, Pepper, and Garlic

Add the onions and peppers to the pot and cook until the onions are translucent, 2 – 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for about a minute.

Add Spices

Add the paprika, cumin, saffron and bay leaves, stirring until incorporated.

Liquids and Chicken

Next, add the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, beer, rice and another teaspoon of salt. Mix well. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Return the chicken pieces to the pot, cover and transfer to the oven for 20 minutes. Notice how the saffron is already giving the dish that lovely, golden hue.

Add peas and pimento

Remove the pot from the oven, add the peas and pimentos, then cover and return to the oven until the rice is completely tender, another 5 to 10 minutes.

The chicken was falling off the bone tender and hubby really enjoyed the meal.

Enjoy.

Notes: I used brown rice which has a longer cooking time than arborio rice. Adjust your cooking times to fit the rice you use.

I used the exact amounts of herbs and spices as recommended since this was the first time I’d used this recipe. In the future, I’ll increase the cumin and paprika and perhaps add a spicy pepper to bring up the heat a little. As it is, it’s not as savory as I would have liked, but very tasty never-the-less.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite rice or chicken supper? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Advertisements

Shrimp Scampi: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

ShrimpScampi010

I seem to be on roll with the pasta recipes but I don’t care. I love pasta. I was thinking about what to do differently this week for our Saturday pasta night and it occurred to me that I could do a shrimp scampi. Was I watching an Olive Garden commercial at the time? Maybe. Anyway, I looked on the internet and for a fancy dish, shrimp scampi is surprisingly easy to make.

Serves 2 – 4.

Hardware

Large frying pan

Cutting board

Knife

Serving Bowl

Pot for Spaghetti

 ShrimpScampi001

Ingredients

2 Tblsp butter

1 cup shredded parmesan

1 lb shrimp, rinsed and patted dry

2 Tblsp minced garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste

3 Tblsp Lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup Pinot Grigio

In a large pot, cook 12oz spaghetti according to package directions.

ShrimpScampi002

While the water comes to a boil and you cook the spaghetti, melt the butter in the frying pan.

ShrimpScampi004

When it begins to foam up, add the shrimp, garlic, salt and pepper.

ShrimpScampi005

If you’re using raw shrimp, cook about 2 minutes per side. If you’re using already cooked shrimp, just a minute per side to warm it through.

ShrimpScampi006

Remove from pan to serving bowl, then toss in the lemon juice, zest and wine. Bring to a boil and let reduce a little.

ShrimpScampi008

Add the parsley.

ShrimpScampi009

Return the shrimp to the pan.

Drain the cooked pasta, put in serving bowl, add the shrimp scampi and toss to coat.

Enjoy.

 

Notes: I didn’t think the scampi had enough sauce to coat the spaghetti so I added 2 Tblsp each of butter and extra virgin olive oil and tossed again.

I also added shredded parmesan cheese to my bowl. I know the rule is no cheese in seafood dishes but I really like parmesan cheese.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite pasta supper? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Hassleback Potatoes – A Chicklets in the Kitchen Blog Post

hassleback006

This is the time of year for entertaining and while I’m a mashed potatoes kind of girl, once in a while it’s nice to change things up. Hassleback potatoes are named for the Austrian restaurant that developed them. Deceptively simple to make and very elegant on the plate, these are delicious.

Hardware

Cutting Board

Knife

Baking pan (I was cooking for two so I only needed an 8-inch square pan)

Large metal or wooden spoon

Small saucepan for melting butter

 

 hassleback001

Ingredients

4 whole, peeled Yukon gold potatoes (Other recipes I saw called for baking potatoes (russets) or even sweet potatoes.) The potatoes I used were small so we had two each. Judge your needs accordingly.

1 stick butter

Salt and Pepper

hassleback002

Melt the butter over low heat.

hassleback003

Place the potato in the bowl of the spoon and make horizontal (1/4 inch’ish apart) cuts in the potato down to the spoon being careful not to cut all the way through.

Repeat with all of the potatoes.

hassleback004

Place in the baking pan and using a spoon, drizzle half of the butter into the cuts on each potato. I ended up using my fingers to get the butter into each cut. Salt and pepper to taste.

hassleback005

Bake at 425F for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle the remaining butter over the potatoes and cook another 20 minutes.

Remove from oven, test for doneness, then plate.

Optional: Mix together 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and 1/2 cup of grated parmesan and romano cheese, top the potatoes with this mixture, doing your best to get it into the leaves of potato, at the 40-minute point then drizzle with the remaining butter. Finish baking for 20 minutes.

Serves 2 – 4 based on potato size.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What is your favorite kind of potatoes? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Chile Spice Mix: Chicklets in the Kitchen Blog Post

Finished Jar of Chili Spice Mix

Finished Jar of Chili Spice Mix

I know. I missed May and June. I can only plead that I was super busy but I haven’t forgotten you. Today I’m talking about chili spice. What’s that? It’s a spice mix that I use to flavor my chili! I know a lot of people just by those little packets at the store. That would work except I’m Celiac and most of those packets have additives in them that I can’t eat. Well, what’s a girl to do who likes chili? Make it myself. There are tons of recipes out there for the spices for chili. I started with a recipe that is courtesy of Tyler Florence from Food Network. I added my own twists.

This spice mix can also be used as a dry rub. I love it on spare and country ribs, especially.

I’m still trying to perfect my dish but here’s the recipe.

Hardware

Food Processor

Meauring Spoons

Wax Paper

Canning Jar (to store it, especially if you double the batch)

 

The Chili Spice Mix Ingredients

The Chili Spice Mix Ingredients

Ingredients

3 dried ancho peppers, stemmed and seeded

2 T dried oregano (I used dried oregano from my garden)

2 T smoked paprika (my twist to Tyler’s recipe which called for sweet paprika)

2 T whole coriander

1 T cumin seed

1 T chili powder

1 T dried cilantro (my twist)

1 tsp cocoa powder (My twist. Every heard of mole?)

½ tsp cinnamon (my twist)

Breaking up the Chilies

Breaking up the Chilies

Get the food processor set up and ready to use. Spread the wax paper on the counter in front of you and by hand, open up the dried anchos, seed them and break the chilies up into small pieces. I’ve tried using big pieces but they just don’t grind up as well. No one wants to bite into a big chunk of a chili. If you’re smarter than I am, wear food prep gloves. Otherwise your fingers will be burning for hours. You could use the seed to flavor a cup of olive oil for hot chili oil and lemon spaghetti another day.

Chop the chilies

Chop the chilies

Add the whole coriander and cumin seed to the food processor.

Chilies, Corriander, and Cumin seed, chopped fine

Chilies, Corriander, and Cumin seed, chopped fine

Spin those together until the peppers, the coriander and the cumin seed and fine. My husband does NOT like biting into a coriander seed. So while I think it’s a big flavor punch, I try to get them crushed well

Heaping tablespoon of whole dried Oregano

Heaping tablespoon of whole dried Oregano

Add the dried oregano and cilantro. Pulse again to make those fine.

Adding powdered spices: Paprika, chili powder, cocoa and cinnamon

Adding powdered spices: Paprika, chili powder, cocoa and cinnamon

Add the powdered spices: paprika, chili powder, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Pulse again.

Spin again, covering the hole so you don't get spice mix all over the kitchen

Spin again, covering the hole so you don’t get spice mix all over the kitchen

Be careful as you take the lid of the processor on and off. The volatile oils from the dried chili will fry your nasal passages.

Final Mix

Final Mix

Storage

Storage

Pour the mix into a bowl and then into a storage jar. Glass is best, it won’t stain the way a plastic container might. Also note, the chilies did stain the bowl of my food processor. If you know of a way to get rid of the stain, I’d like to hear it.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you make your own herb or spice mix? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Chicken Cordon Bleu: Chicklets in the Kitchen

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Finished Cordon Bleu

Once in awhile, I like to get fancy and in February, I did just that. I happened to have ham and swiss cheese on hand and boneless chicken breast in the freezer so I decided to make chicken cordon bleu.

The first time I ever had this dish was when my husband and I were stationed in West Germany in the late 70’s. We went to a local Gast Haus (pub) in the small town where we lived and I spotted it on the menu. I’d heard of it in movies and books. Here was my chance to try it. It arrived on a plate by itself and covered the entire plate. Crispy and golden brown on the outside, the inside was a delight of tender white chicken wrapped around a ham and cheese center that just oozed out onto the plate when I cut into it.

I’m still trying to perfect my dish but here’s the recipe.

Hardware

3 pie plates for the egg, flour, and bread crumb

Large frying pan

Cookie sheet lined with wax paper

Cookie sheet lined with foil and cooling racks

Long sharp knife

Cutting board

Wooden toothpicks

Wax Paper

Mallet or rolling pin to pound out the chicken breast

 

Ingredients

1 chicken breast per person, I used three as I was expecting a guest

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Cup flour (I used gluten free flour) seasoned with salt, pepper and herbs. I used dried thyme.

1 Cup bread Crumbs (I used gluten free crumbs I made myself)

2 eggs slightly whisked

2 slices ham per chicken breast

2 slices Swiss Cheese per chicken Breast

Vegetable Oil for frying

Heat oven to 350 degrees F

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Boneless Whole Chicken Breast

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Butterfly the Chicken

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Butterflied

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pound Thin

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

All Butterflied

Butterfly each chicken breast lengthwise. Place between sheets of wax paper and pound uniformly thin. Place on the cookie sheet, lined with wax paper to hold until all breasts are prepared.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Black Forest Ham and Swiss Cheese

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Line Half the breast with the Ham

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Top with the Swiss Cheese

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Secure all edges with toothpicks

Line one-half of each breast with the ham slices and cheese. Do your best to avoid the ham and cheese hanging outside of the breast. Fold over and secure edges with the toothpicks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Preheat Frying Pan

Add oil to the frying pan and heat to medium.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1st egg wash

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Coat with flour

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2nd egg wash

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Coat with Crumbs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brown the bundles

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Holding until ready to fry

Dip the filled chicken bundles in the egg, the flour to coat, then the egg, then the crumbs. Put the breaded chicken in the frying pan. Brown on both sides and move to the foil lined cookie sheet and place on the wire racks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brown on Both Sides

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ready for the Oven

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Baking

Bake for 30 minutes to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes. Serve. I had grilled asparagus and mashed potatoes as my sides.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Have you ever had chicken cordon bleu? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

AuGratin Potatoes: Chicklets in the Kitchen

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Tools: Potatoes, Cheese Sauce, Mandolin and Oiled Casserole Dish.

I’ve done scalloped potatoes on this blog before and AuGratin Potatoes are a close relation to them. I won’t go into the making of a white sauce again but all you have to do for AuGratin sauce is add in a cup or two of shredded cheese and your sauce is done. I used left-over sauce that I’d made a few days earlier for macaroni and cheese.

I don’t usually get this fancy but I had friends coming over for dinner and thought this would be a great side dish. The rest of the meal was grilled chicken thighs and grilled asparagus. Yummy!

Hardware

One 2 quart casserole dish oiled or buttered

Mandolin (or sharp knife)

 

Ingredients

3 pounds of white or yellow potatoes. I love Yukon Golds.

Salt and pepper to taste

Cheese sauce, about 3 cups

Milk or half and half to thin out the cheese sauce

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees F

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Potatoes and Mandolin

If you have a mandolin, it makes the job faster and easier but using a knife is just as effective. Slice the potatoes.

AuGratin Potatos 006.JPG

Put the slices into the casserole.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Warming up the cheese sauce so the casserole doesn’t take so long to come up to temperature.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Adding milk, salt and pepper to the cheese sauce

Salt and pepper the sauce. It makes seasoning the potatoes a lot easier.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Saucing the potatoes

Pour the cheese sauce over the potatoes, doing a little stir to make sure the sauce gets to the bottom. Add the milk or half and half and stir again if there isn’t enough sauce to cover.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Casserole covered and ready to go into a 350 degree oven.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes for the boiling to subside. Serve

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The finished AuGratin casserole

Feeds 6.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your favorite potato recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

 

Basic Water Fondant: Chicklets in the Kitchen

Finished Peppermint patties and Truffles by Connie Cockrell

Mid-November, I start thinking about Christmas. A bit of thought is required because I like to make candy and ship packages of it back to my family in New York. The problem is timing. Mail slows down, a lot!, in December. So I want to get it in the mail as soon as possible after Thanksgiving so it can reach its destination in time to be enjoyed for the holiday. That means candy-making is competing for time with National Novel Writing Month, garden clean-up, conferences and Thanksgiving.

One thing I can do to help myself is to make some of the candy in advance. A family favorite is homemade peppermint patties. Fondant is the key to that creamy filling. Since I don’t live near a baking/candy store where I can buy packages of it, I make it myself.

This recipe is taken from the book, Homemade Candy by the food editors of Farm Journal and edited by Nell B. Nichols. Copyright 1970.

So, here’s how you do it.

Hardware and Ingredients for Fondant by Connie Cockrell

Hardware

Liquid and glass measuring cups

1 cookie sheet

2-quart stainless steel pot

Silicone spatula

Bench Scraper

Food Ingredients

2 cups white sugar

2 T light corn syrup

3/4 cup boiling water

1/8 tsp salt

3/4 tsp almond extract

 

Directions

Almond extract is the traditional flavoring for fondant. Since I’m using the fondant for peppermint patties, I use peppermint extract. You can use any flavor you like: strawberry, maple, lemon, it’s all up to you.

All Ingredients combined and stirred

Combine all ingredients, except the extract and chocolate, in the 2-quart heavy saucepan and stir gently over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. I say stir gently because like all candy, you want to keep as much sugar crystallization off of the sides of the pot as possible.

 

 

Bring sugar mixture to a boil.

Bring the mixture to a boil.

Cover and Boil 1 Minute

Cover and boil for 1 minute. (This gives the steam inside a chance to wash any sugar crystals off of the sides of the pan.)

No picture of the next step. Sorry.

Remove the lid and cook to the soft ball stage, 238 to 240 degrees F. If you live in a high altitude area as I do, you’ll have to modify the temperature range to fit your altitude. See note below about my mistake. That step goes here!

Pour Mixture onto a cool, moist baking sheet

Pour at once onto a cool, moist baking sheet, platter or marble slab. Let cool until lukewarm.

Work with Spatula until smooth and creamy

Work with a broad spatula or wooden paddle until fondant is white and creamy. Add your extract of choice. Knead until smooth.

Place in plastic bag to mellow

Put in a plastic bag and close tightly. Place in refrigerator to mellow at least 24 hours or for several weeks!

 

 

 

 

Now, here’s a note. I tried three times to make this fondant.

Fondant is not turning creamy and white

You can see pictures here of the fondant not becoming creamy and white. It wasn’t until I was typing up this post that I see where I made my mistake. So if the fondant doesn’t come out, one fix is to add confectioner’s sugar.

Confectioner's Sugar to Fix

Poured mix into a bowl for easier mixing

Close to correct consistency

I added half a pound of sugar before it became the correct, well, close to correct consistency. I tried again a couple of days later and made the same mistake. That time I let the fondant sit on the cookie sheet, working it every half hour until it was close to the correct consistency.

Working the Fondant

What was my mistake? I skipped the cooking to soft ball stage step. Color me red! I wanted to share that fail with all of you. Not everything done in the kitchen comes out right. Laugh, and keep on going.

When you’re ready to make your patties, pull the fondant out of the fridge, and divide into 4 equal portions. Knead the fondant until soft then press into shape. For me, this would be one inch balls that I then press into a disk shape. I put the disks on a cookie sheet and let the fondant develop a skin. This will allow the discs to hold their shape when I dip them into warm, dark chocolate. Place the dipped candy on a wax or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet to harden in a cool place.

Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your favorite candy recipe or biggest kitchen disaster in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books atwww.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Chicklets in the Kitchen: Mint Water and Homemade Butter

I thought it’d be fun to share something different this month. Two things, as a matter of fact.

Mint Flavored Water

Mint Flavored Water

In the summer months I make flavored water. As a Celiac, I’m limited by my disease to drinks that have no additional, artificial ingredients. That limits me, usually, to water, iced tea, lemonade and the like. But I live in Arizona where it’s hot so I drink a lot of water. Don’t get me wrong, I like water but sometimes it’s nice to have something a little extra special. So I drop an herb like mint, thyme, sage, or rosemary into my filtered water and let it set until the herbs flavor the water. Sometimes I add fruit, like apple, strawberry, blueberry, or peach to the mix for something extra special.

So, here’s how you do it.

Ingredients

Fresh Sprig of Mint (Preferably from your garden!)

Garden Mint

Garden Mint

1 Qt Filtered Water

Mint Sprig in Water

Mint Sprig in Water

Drop the mint in the container

Pour the water over the mint. The water pressure is enough pounding to release the mint but you can bruise the leaves first if you want.

Filtered Water

Filtered Water

Done. Refrigerate at least 1/2 hour before drinking. The longer it soaks, the more flavor you’ll get.

Also for fun, I sometimes make my own butter. Since most kitchens haven’t stocked a butter churn in decades, I use a mason jar to shake the cream. It’s the mechanical action that disturbs the cream and makes the butter molecules stick together.

So here’s how you do it.

Ingredients

Heavy Cream and Mason Jar with lid

Heavy Cream and Mason Jar with lid

1 Quart Mason jar

1 pint whipping cream (I use organic, gluten-free heavy cream)

Bring the cream to room temperature. You can do this when it’s cold, but it will take longer.

Pour the cream into the jar and put the lid on tight.

Pour the cream into the jar.

Pour the cream into the jar.

Shake. Shake it until you see the cream turn to whipped cream. Very handy trick if your beaters conk out on you.

Shake the jar

Shake the jar

Keep shaking. It doesn’t seem that anything is happening but trust me, it is.

It's at the whipped cream stage

It’s at the whipped cream stage

Shake some more. You miss it when the butter starts to form but it’s happening. Keep on shaking and soon you’ll realize that there’s a big blob of butter in the jar and the remaining milk.

It's Butter!

It’s Butter!

Pour off the milk which is now official butter milk. You can see from the picture I got nearly a whole cup of buttermilk from the process. Don’t toss that out! You can drink it straight or use it to make buttermilk pancakes.

Pour off the buttermilk

Pour off the buttermilk

Put the butter in a wide, shallow bowl.

Butter and remaining buttermilk

Butter and remaining buttermilk

Drain off any excess milk into your cup.

Press the butter with a spoon or a rubber spatula. You’ll notice the butter is very soft and when you press it, more milk comes off. Drain that excess into the cup. Repeat the process until no more or very little milk drains out.

Getting excess milk out of the butter.

Getting excess milk out of the butter.

Add a little salt. I used about 1/16th of a teaspoon. This is optional, you don’t have to add salt at all.

Add a little salt

Add a little salt

Mix it in and again, drain off any drops of milk. This time discard it if you’ve added salt.

Put into a dish and spread on your toast or those pancakes we talked about earlier.

Butter and Buttermilk

Butter and Buttermilk

Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite fun recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Company Cheesecake

Cheesecake, Connie Cockrell, Strawberry Glaze, Strawberries, Blueberries

Company Cheesecake by Connie Cockrell

In the theory that it’s better late than never, I’m presenting today’s blog post two days late. Hey, it’s a cheesecake recipe ya know! Anyway, this recipe is from my Betty Crocker cookbook, the one I bought just after I got married 40 years ago. The pages are yellowed and splattered, the tabs I used the most have torn off and I hold the cover on with duct tape but I still return to this book over and over again.

Cheesecake, yum. This is a nice fluffy style cheesecake, not dense like say, a New York style cake. But it’s a perfect dessert for company. I made this one for my bunko group. I hosted the game in April and while a lot of ideas floated through my brain since January, this is the one I picked. Make it the day ahead of your event and keep it in the fridge once completely cooled.

The Crust

Cheesecake crust, Lemon Shortbread Cookies, Butter

Crust Ingredients by Connie Cockrell

I made the crust gluten free by using gluten free lemon shortbread cookies. I used the whole box, broke them up into a food processor and whirled them till they were crumbs. I added 3 tablespoons of melted butter and stirred until the crumbs were coated.

Crumbs and melted butter

Crumbs and melted butter

Put in the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan, place on a cookie sheet and back at 350 degrees F until lightly brown. It could be 10 minutes, it could be 20. Mine took closer to 20. Also, add just 2 tablespoons of the melted butter to the crumbs and see if that’s enough to coat. At 3 tablespoons mine seemed kind of wet.

Crumbs in Springform Pan

Crumbs in Springform Pan

After the crust is pulled out of the oven to cool, reduce temp to 300 degrees.

 

Cheese Mixture

 

Cream Cheese, Sugar, Eggs, Lemon Flavoring

Cheesecake Ingredients by Connie Cockrell

2 8oz packages of cream cheese plus another 3 oz., room temperature

1 c sugar

2 tsp grated lemon peel

1/4 tsp vanilla (or substitute lemon juice or lemon flavoring)

3 eggs, room temperature

1 cup sour cream, Cherry Glaze or Strawberry Glaze

I use a stand mixer for this as I have in the past burnt out a hand mixer but both will work.

Cream cheese, sugar

Add sugar to beaten cream cheese by Connie Cockrell

Beat the cream cheese in the stand mixer bowl on medium speed. Gradually add the sugar, beating until fluffy. Add the lemon peel and flavoring.

Eggs

Add Eggs by Connie Cockrell

Mix until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time.

Cheesecake ready to bake

Cheesecake ready to bake by Connie Cockrell

Pour the mixture over the crust.

Baked Cheesecake

Baked Cheesecake by Connie Cockrell

Bake for an hour and check for doneness. The center should be firm. Turn off the oven and cool to room temperature right in the oven. Loosen edge of cheesecake with knife before removing the side of the pan. Spread with the sour cream or glaze.

 

Strawberry Glaze

1 – 1 1/2 cups cut up strawberries

1 cup sugar

3 T cornstarch (I used 1 tsp of Arrowroot. I find cornstarch makes the sauce cloudy.)

1 cup water (I used a couple of tablespoons)

Cook in a small pan over low heat to a low boil until you can mash the berries. I left some fairly large pieces but you can thoroughly mash them. Cook until the sauce is thickened. Refrigerate until ready to top the cake.

After I made the glaze and put it on the cheese cake, I sliced strawberries and used them and blueberries to decorate the top. This is optional, the glaze is certainly pretty enough on its own.

 

Cherry Glaze

1 1lb can pitted red tart cherries, reserving the liquid

1/2 c sugar

2 T corn starch

Water to add to the cherry liquid

Red Food Color

Add enough water to cherry liquid to measure 1 cup. Mix sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Stir in the liquid. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in cherries and 4 drops of red food color. Cool thoroughly.

 

Other Notes:

I have also cooked this cheesecake in a water bath.

Wrap the springform pan in aluminum foil, a couple of layers so no water can get in. Bake the crust per directions. Then, when you’ve filled the pan with the cheese mixture, put the springform pan in a large baking dish and fill halfway up the side of the springform pan with boiling water. It’s easiest to do this when the baking dish is sitting on the oven rack. Carefully slide the rack into the oven and cook until done. Cool according to the directions above. This helps prevent the cracks you get in the cheesecake top when it cools. It’s an extra step and takes longer to cook and cool. Your choice.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite dessert recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com.

Rainy Day Lasagna

February, Rain, Birdbath, Arizona, Connie Cockrell

Rain in the Birdbath by Connie Cockrell

We had a long stretch of cold, rainy days at the end of February and early March here in central Arizona. Very unusual weather for us but the rain was very welcome. What better for a cold rainy day than to substitute my usual spaghetti Saturday night supper with lasagna?

Mozzarella, Parmesan, Ricotta, Sauce, Parsley, GF Lasagna Noodles

Lasagna Misen Plas by Connie Cockrell

Notice the pan of sauce? You can make your own spaghetti sauce, see the September 2014 pasta sauce recipe on this blog at http://chickletsinthekitchen.com/category/pasta-sauce/ or you can cheat a little. This time I used 1/2 jar of left over marinara and 2 full jars of marinara and about a cup of leftover sauce from last week’s spaghetti night. I poured all of that over cut up, browned, hot Italian sausage and added 2 bay leaves, dried basil and oregano and fresh chopped parsley, onion and garlic powder, and cooked that until thick.

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit by Connie Cockrell

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit by Connie Cockrell

About an hour and a half before dinner time I began my assembly. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lasagna, Cheese, Connie Cockrell

Lasagna Cheese Mixture by Connie Cockrell

First, the cheese mixture.

Cheese Mixture

3/4 lb shredded mozzarella

8 oz ricotta

8 oz shredded parmesan cheese

1/2 c chopped parsley

Mix it all together in a medium mixing bowl

 

Ready to Assemble the lasagna by Connie Cockrell

Ready to Assemble the lasagna by Connie Cockrell

Then we’re ready to assemble the lasagna. Note here that I’m using gluten-free no-cook lasagna noodles. If you’re making a regular lasagna or using GF noodles that need to be cooked, only cook them for half the time given on the package. That way they’ll finish cooking in the lasagna while it bakes and make the lasagna less sloppy.

 

Sauce the pan by Connie Cockrell

Sauce the pan by Connie Cockrell

Notice I don’t spray the pan. I use a layer of sauce across the bottom of the 9X13 inch baking pan to prevent the noodles from sticking.

 

Gluten-Free, No-Cook Lasagna Noodles by Connie Cockrell

Gluten-Free, No-Cook Lasagna Noodles by Connie Cockrell

Then put in a layer of noodles. I’ll have to admit, using these no-cook noodles makes handling them much easier than half-cooked noodles.

Add a layer of Cheese Mixture by Connie Cockrell

Add a layer of Cheese Mixture by Connie Cockrell

Then add a layer of the cheese mixture. This layer doesn’t have to cover every square inch.

 

Next layer of sauce by Connie Cockrell

Next layer of sauce by Connie Cockrell

Add another layer of sauce, noodles, cheese mixture and keep doing that until you run out of ingredients or space in the pan.

 

Spray your foil by Connie Cockrell

Spray your foil by Connie Cockrell

Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with non-stick spray and cover the lasagna.

 

Covered Lasagna on Cookie Sheet Placed in Oven by Connie Cockrell

Covered Lasagna on Cookie Sheet Placed in Oven by Connie Cockrell

Put the pan on a cookie sheet to catch any boil overs. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

 

Uncover pan by Connie Cockrell

Uncover pan by Connie Cockrell

Uncover the pan and cook another 15 minutes.

 

Cook 15 more minutes by Connie Cockrell

Cook 15 more minutes by Connie Cockrell

Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes for the boiling to subside. Cut into squares to serve.

 

Finished Lasagna by Connie Cockrell

Finished Lasagna by Connie Cockrell

Feeds 4 with leftovers for later meals.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite lasagna recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com.