Sunday, July 5, 2020

Chicken with Peanut Barbecue Sauce


  • 1/4 C spicy barbecue sauce
  • 3 Tbsp apple juice 
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter 
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1.  In small saucepan, combine barbecue sauce, apple juice, and peanut butter; blend well. 
2.  Place chicken on broiler pan. Broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat for 10 to 14 minutes or until chicken is fork tender and juices run clear, turning once and brushing with sauce mixture during the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
3.  Bring remaining sauce mixture to a boil; serve with chicken.

Robyn's notes: this is so simple and tasty, great for a busy evening. I sometimes add just the tiniest dash of crushed red pepper, if the barbecue sauce I have on hand isn't spicy. I know I made this for the first time in 2001, because my mom was doing Weight Watchers then, and when I cooked for her I'd note the points value of the recipe. This one had "ww6" written on it (old points system).

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Marshmallows

I had long intended to make homemade marshmallows, without ever getting around to it.  I actually keep the necessary ingredients in the pantry all the time, so this made a good choice for Scratch-Made Sunday!  Personally, I'll now find it difficult to enjoy store-bought marshmallows, these are so creamy dreamy and easy to personalize with different flavours.
  • 3 3/4 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 C ice cold water, divided
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 C light corn syrup
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
1.  Combine gelatin and 1/4 cup of the cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.  Do not mix, allow to sit while continuing with next steps.
2. In a medium saucepan, stir together remaining 1/4 cup water, sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Cover and cook at medium high heat for 2-3 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer to side of pan, and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240°F. Remove from heat immediately upon reaching that temperature.
3. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once all syrup has been added, increase speed to high. Continue to whisk until mixture is lukewarm and very thick, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of mixing (if you'd like to make peppermint marshmallows, replace vanilla with peppermint extract).
4.  While mixture is whisking, prepare pan. Combine powdered sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray an 8x6" pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add sugar-cornstarch mixture and shake to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.
5. When marshmallow fluff is ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar-cornstarch to lightly cover. Reserve the rest of the sugar-cornstarch mix. Let marshmallows sit uncovered for at least 4 hours or overnight.
6. Turn pan out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel or knife dusted with the sugar-cornstarch mix. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture. Can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks.

Robyn's notes: this really isn't at all difficult, it's just time-consuming and there is a lot of dish-washing that can't be put off (get those sugar syrup- and marshmallow fluff-covered items soaking in hot water right away or you'll be chipping away at them for ages!).  I find it actually fairly soothing to make candy, but don't get complacent!  Sugar syrup at 240°F is a burn waiting to happen if you're not paying attention!  If you can get unflavored gelatin in a large canister, it's easy to measure out.  Otherwise, this is 1 1/2 packets from the box.  Watch me demonstrate this recipe on youtube!

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently
 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Brown Sugar Mustard Chicken


  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Dash crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken
1.  In a medium bowl, mix mustard, brown sugar, allspice and pepper flakes. Reserve about 1 Tbsp mixture for serving. Add chicken to remaining mixture; toss to coat.
2.  Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from heat 6-8 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 170°. Serve with reserved mustard mixture.

Robyn's notes: this was so very simple and straightforward, and it was another recent recipe which I thought would be too mustardy but wasn't.  I broiled the chicken, instead of grilling, I leave grilling to my sweetheart because he's better at it than I am.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Molasses-Glazed Pork Tenderloin


  • half of a 12oz pork tenderloin
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped prosciutto or bacon
  • 1 1/2 C frozen lima beans or green beans
  • 1/4 C chopped onion
  • 1/3 C water
  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 C orange juice
  • 4 1/2 tsp molasses
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
1.  Trim fat from meat.  Cut meat into 1/2 inch slices, set aside.  In a large skillet cook prosciutto over medium heat until crisp.  Drain, discarding drippings.  In the same skillet, add frozen lima beans and onion; cook in water according to bean package directions.  Drain bean mixture, set aside.
2.  In the same skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add meat to skillet.  Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until meat is just barely pink in the center, turning once.
3.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together orange juice, molasses, cornstarch, salt, and pepper.  Add to the meat in skillet  Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.  Stir the bean mixture into the orange juice mixture; heat through.
4.  Serve the sauce over the meat.

Robyn's notes: I can't eat lima beans or green beans (or onions, for that matter), so I just skipped that part.  This is good when you have already used half of a pork tenderloin and have the other half to use, check the "beef pork or lamb" label in the sidebar for pork tenderloin recipes. I used bacon, because I had it in the house for another recipe and it's better for the budget than prosciutto, as much as I like prosciutto.  I was surprised that the sauce didn't get thicker, I assumed that with both molasses and cornstarch it would set up fast, which it didn't.  But the end result was tasty.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Satay-Style Beef with Couscous


  • 1/3 C chicken broth
  • 1/4 C creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dry sherry (see note, below)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 6 oz beef flank steak or boneless beef top sirloin steak
  • nonstick cooking spray
1.  In a small bowl, gradually whisk or stir the broth into peanut butter until smooth (mixture may stiffen at first, but will become thinner as more liquid is added).  Stir in soy sauce, ginger, and crushed red pepper, set aside.
2.  In a medium bowl, combine the sherry, garlic, and curry powder.  Trim fat from meat.  Cut meat into thin bite-size strips.  Add the meat to sherry mixture, toss to coat.
3.  Lightly coat a medium skillet with cooking spray.  Heat skillet over medium-high heat.  Stir-fry meat in hot skillet for 2 to 3 minutes or until meat is slightly pink in center.
4.  Add sauce.  Cook and stir about 1 minute more or until heated through.  Serve the meat mixture over couscous.

Robyn's notes: I don't keep sherry in the house, because everything I've ever read says not to use cooking sherry due to the sodium, and I won't use it up quickly enough to justify the expense of regular sherry.  So I used balsamic vinegar.  There are several ways to substitute for sherry in a recipe, depending on what else is in the recipe, in this case the balsamic worked out just fine.  This was tasty, though I found the meat a bit tough.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Friday, June 19, 2020

Citrus Chicken


  • two 4oz skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 1 medium orange
  • 1 Tbsp orange marmalade (see note, below)
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • dash crushed red pepper (optional)
1.  Sprinkle chicken with salt.  In a medium skillet cook chicken in hot oil over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until chicken is done, turning once.
2.  Meanwhile, finely shred enough of the orange peel to measure 1/4 tsp; set aside.  Peel orange. Cut orange in half lengthwise; cut crosswise into slices.  In a small bowl, combine shredded peel and orange slices. Add orange marmalade, ginger, and if desired, crushed red pepper; toss gently to coat.
3.  Remove cooked chicken from skillet, cover and keep warm.  Reduce heat to low.  Add orange mixture to the skillet.  Cook and stir for 30 to 60 seconds, or until marmalade is melted and mixture is heated through.  Serve the orange mixture over chicken.

Robyn's notes: When I was making my shopping list, I noted that Mustard-Orange Pork Tenderloin called for either orange marmalade or apricot preserves.  I don't really enjoy orange marmalade, but I do like apricot preserves, so I decided to use that.  I also used apricot preserves for this recipe.  It came out just fine with that change.  This was quite good.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Mustard-Orange Pork Tenderloin


  • half of a 12oz pork tenderloin
  • 1 Tbsp apricot preserves (or orange marmalade)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 C sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 C sliced green onions
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice
1.  Trim fat from meat.  Place meat in a shallow roasting pan.  Insert an oven-safe thermometer into center of meat.  Roast in a 425°F oven for 10 minutes.
2.  In a small bowl, stir together apricot preserves and mustard.  Spoon 2 teaspoons of the mustard mixture over the meat; set remaining mustard mixture aside.  Roast for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until the thermometer registers 160°F.
3.  Meanwhile, lightly coat a medium saucepan with cooking spray.  Heat over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and green onions to saucepan.  Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.  Stir in the orange juice and remaining mustard mixture.  Cook and stir until heated through.
4.  To serve, thinly slice meat.  Spoon the mustard mixture over meat.

Robyn's notes: this was quite easy, and actually tastier than I expected.  The sauce mixture smelled so strongly of mustard that I expected that flavour to be overwhelming, but it turned out to have a nice balance.  That said, the meat was way too dry.  My thermometer is accurate, so I think if making this again I would pull it a couple degrees early and let carry-over get it the rest of the way. 

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Sourdough Discard Biscuits

  • 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 rounded teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter discard
1.  Preheat the oven to 425°F, with a rack in the upper third. Grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.
2.  Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Work the butter into the flour until the mixture is unevenly crumbly.  Add the starter, mixing gently until the dough is cohesive.
3.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and gently pat it into a round about 1"-thick.  Use a sharp biscuit cutter to cut four rounds, cutting them as close to one another as possible. Or slice with dough cutter into four irregularly shaped biscuits.
4.  Place the biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2" between them; they'll spread as they bake. Bake the biscuits in the upper third of your oven for 20 to 23 minutes, until they're golden brown.
5. Remove the biscuits from the oven, and serve warm. Or cool completely, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature for several days. Freeze, well-wrapped, for longer storage.

Robyn's notes: even though I use the tiny starter method, I still get a lot of discard, so I was making these biscuits often for awhile.  Sourdough starters can vary in how liquid they are. If the dough seems very dry, dribble in a bit of milk or buttermilk until it comes together.  These come together easily and are quite good, especially with butter and honey.

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Butter Crackers

When you have a little extra time to spend, it's absolutely worthwhile to spend it "puttin' on the Ritz" and making these crackers at home, instead of purchasing them.  They're actually quite straightforward to make, tasty, and homemade means you know exactly what's in them.
  • 1 C flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp cold butter
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/3 C water (or as needed)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt for topping
1.  Preheat oven to 400F.  In a mini food processor, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  Add cold butter a few small pats at a time, pulsing to combine.  Pour in oil and pulse to combine.  Add water about a half Tablespoon at a time, pulsing with each addition, until dough comes together forming a ball, scraping down sides if necessary.
2.  Roll dough very thinly and cut out with cookie cutter.  Poke 5-6 holes in each cracker with a skewer or the back of a toothpick.  Bake on a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet for 10 minutes, or until crackers are just beginning to brown.
3.  In the last minute of baking, combine melted butter and salt for topping.  When crackers are fully baked, brush each with melted salty butter and allow to cool.

Robyn's notes: I have never used all of the water, I generally use about half of what's called for, but I'm also baking at high altitude and often when it's pretty low humidity.  If the dough has come together, stop adding water. These make very tasty crackers, which I keep going back to. As I do with the bought version, I enjoy them plain, with cheese, and with peanut butter.  For the price of ingredients in my area, this is an item it's financially reasonable to make instead of buying.  It's also a good option for recipes that call for a crushed Ritz crust, avoiding buying a full box of crackers and having leftovers (since avoiding leftovers is one of my missions in life).  Watch me demonstrate this recipe on youtube!

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often

Friday, March 13, 2020

Mint Chocolate Cookie Butter Truffles


With just enough mint but not too much, the creamy chocolate centers nearly melt in your mouth!
1. Line a large baking dish with cling film or parchment paper. Pour prepared cookie butter into dish, spreading out as thin as possible. Refrigerate at least one hour.
2. Line another dish with cling film. Using a spoon or scoop and rolling quickly in your hands, form the chilled cookie butter into balls about one inch in diameter, placing each ball onto the cling film where they will not touch. Refrigerate at least one hour.
3. Fill the bottom of a double boiler with a couple inches of water, bring to a simmer. In the top section, melt 1 Cup of chocolate chips until the chocolate is 105°F. Remove top section from heat and stir in remaining 1/2 Cup of chocolate, a bit at a time, letting it melt before adding more. Allow chocolate to cool to 82°F. Return to the double boiler until it warms to 86°F. Remove from heat.
4. One at a time, drop chilled balls of cookie butter into melted chocolate, using a spatula or fork to completely cover each ball and to gently remove from chocolate. Place each ball on parchment paper to set. If temperature of chocolate drops below 82°F while coating the balls, return it to the double boiler briefly to heat to about 87°F. Allow truffles to rest while they set.

Robyn's notes: prepare cookie butter as instructed in that recipe, but using mint Oreos instead of plain. The cookie butter is really sticky, when it's chilling you want as much of it exposed to the air as possible, or you won't be able to form it into balls. If you don't want to temper the chocolate you can just melt it, but you won't get the same snap, and since the inside of the truffles will be soft, that firm coating helps.

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

InstantPot Applesauce


Usually, I make a good-sized batch of applesauce and can it, so I have plenty on hand for just a little bit of work. However, if I don't have time to do those extra canning steps, I can make a smaller batch in the InstantPot Mini.

1 1/2 lbs apples (about four medium)
1 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened apple juice
1/4 C sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1. Peel, core, and slice apples into eighths. Cut each segment in half crosswise.
2. Place apples in the inner pot of Instant Pot Mini. Add apple juice.
3. Lock the lid in place. Select Pressure Cook or Manual, and adjust the pressure to High and the time to 4 minutes. After cooking, release the pressure naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.
4. Unlock the lid. Add sugar and cinnamon. Smash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Carefully taste and adjust seasoning, adding more sugar if needed. Be aware that the apples will taste sweeter when hot.

Robyn's notes: if you're not sure which varieties are sauce apples (as opposed to eating or pie apples), feel free to ask the produce manager. Some options are Fuji, Golden Delicious, Braeburn, Cortland, Crispin, McIntosh, Liberty, and Rome. The best sauce is made with a combination of two varieties. It's good to keep a few juice boxes on hand in the pantry for this use, since the recipe calls for such a small amount of juice. Don't think you can skip the juice, the IP won't come up to pressure without the juice inside.

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently.