Monday, June 27, 2011

Cajun-Butter Baked Chicken Tutorial

Baked Chicken- a classic recipe to have in your collection and a beautiful presentation for company.


Ingredients

One whole chicken (5-6lbs)
1 large onion, quartered
Cajun injectable marinade (you can omit if it isn't sold in your region)
Cajun seasoning
1/2 stick of butter
2 cups Chicken stock
Reynolds Oven Bags


Step 1


Add 1 tablespoon of flour to oven bag to prevent it from popping in the oven. Set the bag in a 9X13 baking dish. Rinse the chicken under the faucet and discard the neck and gizzards, pat dry. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Step 2


Salt the entire chicken, inside and out, and then stuff it with half of the quartered onion.

Step 3


Pour 1 cup of marinade into a bowl and inject the chicken. Concentrate mainly in the breasts but spread the love throughout the entire chicken.


Step 4


Once injected, heavily season with the cajun seasoning. Put in the oven bag, breast-side up.

Step 5


Loosen the skin on the breast side of the chicken with your hand and stuff it with 1/2 stick of butter, cut up into cubes.


For those who didn't have the marinade available to you, I recommend flipping the bird breast-side down at this point, to keep the breasts from drying out

Step 6


Pour 2 cups of chicken stock in the bag (don't pour it over the bird, as the seasoning will run off) and the leftover onion. Seal the bag and poke 3 holes in the top of the bag with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. After one hour, cut the bag open and carefully slide the chicken and the onion and chicken stock out into the baking dish. Up the temp to 400 degrees and continue baking for 30-40 more minutes until done.

Step 7


Mmm...chicken is done. Move chicken to a serving dish and let rest for 5-10 minutes.


Step 8


Meanwhile, pour the liquid from the baking dish into a pan and add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and whisk over high heat until it thickens. And you have chicken gravy.

Step 9


Serve with roasted potatoes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Lasagna Tutorial (FREEZER MEAL)

Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Lasagna: A recipe I created after I pulled all my favorite ingredients from other lasagna recipes and merged them into one. Plus a great way to get some vegetables in your diet.

This also makes a great freezer meal. Just line your pan with tinfoil and then saran wrap. Assemble the lasagna like normal but instead of baking it, freeze it. To reheat, just put the unwrapped frozen lasagna back into the pan you froze it in, and let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Once thawed, cover with tin foil and bake as normal.


Ingredients


1 box No-Boil (or "oven ready") lasagna noodles
2 eggs
1 container 15oz ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1lb ground turkey
1 jar (24-26oz) favorite spaghetti sauce
1/2 container of sliced mushrooms
9oz bag baby spinach
2 roasted red peppers, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large tomato, sliced

Step 1


On medium heat, saute the onions, garlic, roasted red pepper, and mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, for 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt (1/4 teaspoon).

Step 2 


Add the raw turkey and cook until no longer pink.

Step 3


Add spaghetti sauce. Simmer the sauce on medium/low heat for 10 minutes.

Step 4 


Meanwhile, mix the ricotta cheese, eggs, and Parmesan cheese until smooth, set aside.

Step 5


Spray a 9X13 inch pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with the tomato slices, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Step 6 


Layer 1 1/2 cups of the spaghetti sauce mixture on the tomato slices.

Step 7 


Layer 5 of the dry "no boil" noodles on the sauce.

Step 8


 Layer half of the ricotta cheese mixture on the noodles.

Step 9


Layer 1/3 of the bag of spinach over the ricotta cheese.

Step 10



Layer 1 cup of the spaghetti sauce mixture on the spinach.

Step 11


Then 5 more noodles over the sauce.

Step 12


Then the remaining ricotta cheese over the noodles.

Step 13

Then half of the remaining spinach over the ricotta cheese (the last bit of spinach left in the bag can be used as a salad for serving). 

Step 14




Then half of the remaining spaghetti sauce mixture over the spinach.

Step 15


The 5 more noodles over the spaghetti mixture.

Step 16


Then the remaining spaghetti sauce mixture over the noodles.

Step 17


Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top of the sauce. Cover with tinfoil and bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour. (Spray the tinfoil with non-stick spray before putting over lasagna to prevent the cheese from coming with it when you uncover it).

Step 18


Time to eat!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sewing...the next logical step.

I have this fantasy of living a simple 1950's housewife-type of existence. I want to be June Cleaver. I want to be a domestic goddess! I want a closet full of homemade aprons and stilettos to match every one of them. So far, I've mastered the cooking and baking. I coupon to save money. I garden to bring in fresh produce. I home-school my girls. I cater and decorate cakes for more income. The next logical step in my plan was learning to sew. I mentioned this to my mother-in-law (who quilts) that I wanted to learn to sew and she gave me her old sewing machine. The one SHE learned to sew on! Oh my goodness!

I gave this simple little sewing machine a cozy spot in my dining room. She looks happy there, don't you think?


My mother-in-law showed me how to thread the machine and the bobbin. Sew easy! Bwahaha, see what I did there?! SEW easy!! Okay, I practiced cutting up an old button-down shirt and sewing it back together into a dress for my 2 year old. I broke the needle when I hit a button and had to go out and buy a replacement. But while I was at Hancock Fabrics, I picked up a cute pattern for a toddler dress. One day...I will learn to make a dress from a pattern.


Meanwhile, the button-down dress came out alright. Not a total train wreck as I expected my first ever sewing attempt to be. My 2 year old told me she hated it and made me take it off. Well, thanks a lot! Sheesh! It wasn't THAT bad!

Later that day, I tackled the curtains in my guest bathroom. And by "curtains" I mean that piece of un-hemmed fabric folded over the curtain rod that I keep forgetting to give my mother-in-law to sew. It's been, ohh, I don't know...3 years?? I hemmed bottom and top (leaving room for the rod) and VOILA....curtains!!


So, I have two sewing projects under my belt. Naturally, that means I have enough experience with my machine that I think I'm capable of sewing an actual dress from a pattern. Bwahahaha haha ha ha.

Here goes (thanks Mommy for teaching me what that sewing jargon meant...I know how to baste a turkey but didn't know you could baste a stitch)! The pattern and fabrics I have collected for this project:


I am cutting out the pattern for a size 4 even though my daughter is only 2...she's gigantic for her age, or seems to be, at least.



 Next was pinning the pattern to my fabric and cutting it out.

 



My machine is threaded and ready to go!


First was sewing the seam on the bodice and then the shoulder straps.






Then the apron.


Once that was done, I did the band and skirt. Then all the components were complete and just needed to be sewn together!


And PRESTO! A dress! From a pattern!! I sewed it!!


Woohoo!! It was pretty easy actually! I just followed the instructions, made a few calls to my mom when I was totally confused...she helped me figure out I was missing a part of the pattern...and June LOVES the dress. She told me it was beautiful so THAT boosted my confidence a lot! 

I'm LOVING this sewing stuff. It's right up my alley. I love lists and organization and step-by-step directions. And I love instant gratification! It's amazing that in one afternoon, I went from having 3 yards of scrap fabric on my table, to having a dress for my daughter! I'll definitely be doing more projects and I'll be sure to post them for those interested in learning to sew!