Friday, January 20, 2012

Slow Cooking: Chicken Dishes

Everyone has their favorite kitchen tools, and mine is the crock pot. I received my first slow cooker almost 23 years ago as a wedding gift, and I've went through four of them in that time. Today I thought I would share my favorite chicken dishes made in the slow cooker.

Whole Slow Cooked Chicken

1 whole chicken
ground black pepper
Italian seasoning
garlic powder

Rinse the chicken and place in the crock pot. sprinkle with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Add one cup of water to the bottom of the crock pot. Cover with the lid and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5.

Notes: Serve this with noodles, mashed potatoes or microwaved "baked" potatoes, and a salad.

This is one of the easiest recipe for crock pots, and it's delicious. Some people are put off that it doesn't brown like when it's roasted, but it's so moist that it really isn't a concern of mine. You can change the spices to give it a different flavor if you wish. It's a very flexible recipe, and will always give you nice broth to use for gravy, noodles or soup.

Boneless Chicken Breast
I have quite a few recipes that use boneless chicken breast. I use frozen or fresh, whichever is the better price at the time. It's much better to thaw the chicken before using in the recipes so they don't water down the dish.

Lemon Garlic Chicken

2 lb. chicken breast halves, bone in or boneless
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. water or chicken broth
3 tbsp. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced

Place chicken in crock pot. Combine the other ingredients and pour over the chicken, coating all the pieces. Cover and cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or on low for 5 to 6 hours or until chicken is done. Serve with pasta.

Easy BBQ Chicken

2.5-3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 bottle of BBQ Sauce

Drain the thawed chicken and add to the crock pot. Do not add water or liquid. Pour in about 2 cups sauce, and stir so the chicken is coated. Cook 3-5 hours on low. If you cook on high it only takes about 2 hours.

Notes: I serve this with French Fries, fried potatoes or potato wedges.

-Spaghetti sauce instead of BBQ sauce, then top the chicken with Parmesan cheese and serve on top of pasta.

-Soups instead of BBQ sauce- cream of chicken, cheese, broccoli, etc.

-Italian dressing instead of BBQ sauce.

On OFL we have an article on choosing a slow cooker:


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Old Fashioned Baking Tips and Recipes

I'm in a baking mood today, since the snow is covering the ground, the trees and the bushes for the first time this year with no melting in sight. It was 16 degrees F. this morning, but then we've been having warmer than usual temperatures this winter, and I knew the cold days were coming. Last night I made homemade pizza for my family, plus three extra teenagers. The house was toasty warm since the oven was on 450 F. for quite awhile as I rolled out crust and made five pizzas. I've shared my recipe for the crust on a past blog: . I tripled this recipe last night and topped the pizzas with pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, sausage, bacon, cheese and ham. I did one pizza meatless since one of our teen visitors is vegetarian. That pizza I topped with the sauce, sauteed green pepper, onions, mushrooms and then I sprinkled it with oregano, basil and Parmesan cheese on top of the mozzarella.

Today's tips are from All About Home Baking, which was published in 1933. I love this cookbook, and actually ended up with two copies, one of which belonged to Grandma Dorothy, my husband's grandma who passed away this fall. Thumbing through it always reminds me of her:) The baking tips are almost better than the recipes.

Measuring Baking Powder
Don't heap the teaspoon, for a heaping teaspoon may be 3 or 4 level teaspoons. Don't level off the spoon against the side of the can (I'm guilty of this one! -B.) ; the rounded edge gives you a rounding, and not a level teaspoon. Don't fill the spoon "about right" and shake off the excess; use your spatula to level off. Don't guess at fractions; use the small sizes of your measuring spoons to measure 1/4 or 1/2 amounts.

Penalties of Improper Baking Soda Amounts

Too much: batter running over edge of the pan; cake falling in the center; crackle, gummy, tough crust; coarse, crumbly texture.

Too little: undersized products; peaked, dull crust; heaviness; leathery streaks

Measuring Other Ingredients

Melted shortening or margarine: Melt shortening over hot water (Microwave can be used -B.). Then measure by level tablespoons.

Granulated Sugar: fill the cup and level off with a spatula or straight edge of knife. Never heap the cup or "scant" even a little bit.

Brown Sugar: pack into the cups firmly so it will keep the shape of the cup when turned out.

Thick, Sticky Liquids: pour into spoon from the container or another spoon. Don't dip the spoon into sticky liquids to measure. Too much will end up clinging to the underside of the spoon.

Cheese Roulettes

2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
4 tbsp. butter or shortening
2/3 cup milk
melted butter
1 cup grated American cheese

Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, sift again. Cut in shortening; add milk all at once and stir carefully until all flour is dampened. Then stir vigorously until mixture forms a soft dough and follows spoon around bowl. Turn out on slightly floured board and knead for 30 seconds. Roll into oblong sheet, 1/8 inch thick. Brush with melted butter. Spread cheese evenly over dough. Sprinkle with salt and paprika. Cut into strips, 6x1/2 inches, roll each strip, and place in greased muffin tins. Bake at 425 F. 15 minutes. Makes 24.

Aladdin Chocolate Cake

1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp. softened butter or shortening
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted

Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder, salt and sugar, and sift together three times. Add butter. Combine eggs, milk, and vanilla and add to flour mixture, stirring until all flour is dampened. Add chocolate and blend. Then beat vigorously 1 minute. Bake in a greased pan, 8x8x2 inches, in moderate oven (325 F.) for 1 hour. Spread with frosting when cool, over the top and sides.

On OFL we have recipes for old fashioned tea breads: