Finger Paint: A Chicklets in the Kitc

It’s the winter doldrums. The kids no longer want to go play in the snow. You are tired of them either being underfoot or want them off of their electronics. What to do?

I downloaded this graphic years ago and though it says Easie Peasie on the bottom, a website search did not reveal an actual link to give you. So, with my apologies to the actual author, enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite craft? 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.

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A New Year’s Breakfast: Chicklets In the Kitchen Post

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It’s the new year and to be honest, I’ve kind of let my weight get the better of me. That has to stop. It doesn’t feel good at all. So, the first day of the year I decided to change my eating and get some more exercise. I know. Everybody does that. But it’s true. Time for me to make a change. Since I have been suffering from plantar fasciitis and from tendonitis in both feet, doing my usual hiking and aerobic exercise can’t be done. So I went to the local community college where they have a gym and as a senior, I get free membership. I signed up for a trainer to help me develop a training program that allows me to exercise without pounding on my feet, allowing me time for them to heal. Yay! I’ve even scheduled the workouts on the calendar, like appointments. No being wishy-washy. It’s important.

So what’s that got to do with breakfast? It’s the other side of the coin, of course. Good fuel, good workout, happy author. Actually this breakfast hash is so simple I’m almost embarrassed to post it but a lot of people box breakfast up into a tiny space when it could be so much more.

Today’s breakfast is customizable. If you don’t like one thing in the ingredient list, substitute another. You don’t have a particular ingredient on hand, not a problem, put something else in. You’ll notice the breakfast is heavy on the veggies and has only moderate protein. That can be adjusted as well.

And paleo? A recent diet that eliminates grains, dairy and most sugar. Heavy on the vegetables and lean protein, it is said to resemble a cave-man diet. I’m not sure about that but I do know this combo works for me, just as for my grandma. Eliminate the carbs and the weight comes off, especially with a moderate amount of exercise.

Besides that, it’s good!

Hardware

Cutting Board

Knife

Medium frying pan

 

Ingredients

2 oz (1/3 cup) diced raw sweet potato

1 – 2 oz diced sweet pepper

6 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 green onion, sliced

1 oz fresh baby spinach leaves

1 – 2 oz ground breakfast sausage

1 T butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Other options: 2 oz sliced mushrooms, washed and patted dry, ham, eggs, celery, carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, dried Thyme, oregano, sage, your favorite veggie.

 

In the frying pan, add the butter, melt. Add the sweet potato and sweet pepper. Sauté until nearly tender.

Add the onion, tomato, spinach and sausage. Cook till hot through and the spinach is wilted.

Plate and enjoy.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite breakfast? 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 Scallopini with Mushrooms and Brandy Sauce: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

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Here’s the thing. Aren’t we overwhelmed with food right now? I know, but chicken scallopini is an easy to make, impressive dinner that can be used for any holiday meal and wow your guests. Turkey could most certainly be substituted if you want to use a more traditional holiday protein.

Hardware

2 bowls or pie tins for breading process

Cutting Board

Knife

Cookie sheet with cooling rack

Large frying pan

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

 

Ingredients

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms, washed and patted dry

¼ cup diced onion

2 med garlic cloves, minced

Two full chicken breasts, butterflied and cut in half

2 T Olive oil and 2 T butter

2 eggs, whisked and put in one pie plate.

Cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper.

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup half and half or heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

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In the large frying pan, add the olive oil and butter, melt. Add the mushrooms. Saute until browned, remove from heat.

Dice the onion and garlic.

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Dredge the now 4 chicken breast pieces in the flour. Dip in the egg, dredge in the flour.

Add more butter and or oil to the pan.

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Drop in the onion, garlic, and chicken pieces.

Saute until the chicken is browned but not done. Put the pieces on the cookie sheet and place in the oven.

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Raise heat to high on the frying pan. Pour the broth in the pan and scrape to deglaze. Turn down the heat. Add the half and half, stir to combine. Add the mushrooms.

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Let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes, then add the brandy and the chicken breast.

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Cook on a simmer another 10 minutes.

Plate and drizzle the sauce over the scallopini.

NOTE: I have served this with rice and asparagus, mashed potatoes and broccoli, whatever your family likes.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite holiday meal? 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

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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

 

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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

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Melt the butter over low heat.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Cranberry Orange Relish: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

Cranberry Orange Relish

Cranberry Orange Relish

I’m jumping the holiday gun just a little. Since my posts appear on the 25th, I wanted to share this before your Thanksgiving holiday meal. This is the cranberry sauce I grew up with. It used to be right on the back of the 12 oz Ocean Spray fresh cranberry bag but this year when I looked, it wasn’t. I had to go to http://www.OceanSpray.com where it, and a good many other holiday recipes, are located and download it. This is also great because there’s no cooking, freeing up a burner on your stove for other things, like gravy!

Hardware

Food Processor

Cutting Board

Knife

Bowl

Rubber Spatula

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Ingredients

1 12oz bag fresh cranberries

1 navel orange, unpeeled, cut into eighths and seeded

3/4 to 1 cup sugar

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Place half the cranberries and half the orange slices in food processor container. Process until mixture is evenly chopped. Transfer to a bowl.

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Repeat with remaining cranberries and orange slices. Stir in sugar. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

Makes about 3 cups.

NOTE: May also be prepared in a food grinder.

Per Serving: (1/4 cup) Cal. 67 (3% DV), Fat Cal. 0, Pro. 0g (0% DV), Carb. 17g (5% DV), Fat 0g (0% DV), Chol. 0mg (0% DV), Sod. 0mg (0% DV), Vit. A 4RE (0% DV), Vit. C 10mg (16% DV), Vit. E 0mg (0% DV), Calcium 6mg (0% DV), Folate 4Ug (0% DV), Zinc 0mg (0% DV), Pot. 40mg (1% DV), Dietary Exchange: Fruit 1

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What is your favorite holiday recipe? 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.

Tomato Soup: Chicklets in the Kitchen

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It’s the end of summer and I have a glut of tomatoes, especially cherry tomatoes. Fortunately, the variety I chose for this year has that cherry tomato sweetness but isn’t too sweet. What to do with a giant bowl full of cherry tomatoes? Why tomato soup, of course! A few random Amish Paste and Early Girls found their way into the soup as well but it’s all good. The batch ended up making 3 pints of soup. Half a pint made it into my lunch but the rest I froze for future meals. Happy cooking and eating.

Hardware

4 Quart Pot

Cutting Board

Knife

1 or ½ pint freezer containers

Immersion Blender

 

Ingredients

Bowl full of cherry tomatoes, washed

¼ cup sliced onion

2 med garlic cloves, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Slice the onion and garlic. Cut the tomatoes in half.

Add ½ cup of water to the pot.

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Drop in the onion, garlic, and tomatoes, and salt and pepper.

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Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about an hour.

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Right in the pot, use the immersion blender to blend the mixture until smooth. Serve up bowls full for lunch or supper. Freeze the rest.

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NOTE: I did not strain the blended soup to remove the seeds. I kind of like the seedy chew but if you don’t, go ahead and strain the seeds out.

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Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What do you do with your tomato abundance? 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.

Peach Shortcake

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Mid-Summer in my neck of the woods means peaches. My peach tree tends to ripen late July, depending on the weather. It held off to the 1st week in August when all the peaches ripened just about at once. Nothing like an avalanche of peaches to make you put on your thinking cap. After giving away a LOT! I decided peach shortcake would be just the thing. Now it’s not complicated, but after all those peaches, I didn’t have too much brain power left. And it’s hot! So why not peach shortcake for supper. Or breakfast!

Hardware

Medium Bowl

Cutting Board

Knife

Individual serving bowls

 

Ingredients

Bowl full of peaches, washed

½ to 1 cup sugar (your choice)

Can of Whipped Cream

Shortcake

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Cut the peaches in half, remove the pit, chop up and put in the bowl. Continue until all of the peaches are chopped up. I didn’t peel them, just chopped them into bite-sized chunks.

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Pour sugar over the fruit. I know. Peaches are already sweet, especially ones ripened on the tree. But the sugar makes a syrup that you really need to have to pour over the short cake. Let stand in the refrigerator all day or all night to develop the syrup.

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In an individual bowl. Place your short cake/pound cake/muffin (I used a gluten free muffin, hubby used a generous slice of Sara Lee Pound Cake).

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Scoop generous portions of fruit over the cake.

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Spray your whipped cream over all. I’m pretty generous as you can see from the photo. If I hadn’t been lazy that day I’d have made home-made whipped cream. It’s just better, but, you know. Summer, lazy, heat. It was delicious.

Left over fruit can be used in yogurt, cereal, crepes, the sky is the limit.

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What do you do with your peachy abundance? 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.

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

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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

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Boneless Whole Chicken Breast

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Butterfly the Chicken

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Butterflied

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Pound Thin

 

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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.

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Black Forest Ham and Swiss Cheese

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Line Half the breast with the Ham

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Top with the Swiss Cheese

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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.

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Preheat Frying Pan

Add oil to the frying pan and heat to medium.

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1st egg wash

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Coat with flour

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2nd egg wash

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Coat with Crumbs

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Brown the bundles

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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.

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Brown on Both Sides

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Ready for the Oven

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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

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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

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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.

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Put the slices into the casserole.

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

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Adding milk, salt and pepper to the cheese sauce

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

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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.

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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

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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.