Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Crispy Chicken Thighs

The other night we had some chicken thighs and legs to use up. I know lots of people say thighs are the best becauase they are so flavorful but I just haven't gotten on that ban wagon yet. I still prefer boneless skinless breasts. It's just neater and more appealing to me. But we had this chicken on hand - thanks to Adam's winnings at the gun club - so we wanted to prepare it for dinner.

I was looking around for a basic recipe and came across a method for baking bone-in, skin-on thighs and getting a really crispy skin so that's what we tried. I had some legs to bake too but they didn't turn out as crispy - don't know why.

But those thighs were so crispy!! The skin turned out so well and so delicious!!!

I found the recipe from this website - The Kitchenista.

Chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on (you can use other chicken pieces too)
Olive oil
Sea salt or kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Pour a tiny bit of olive oil on the baking sheet and spread it all over the pan.

Remove the chicken from the fridge and let it sit for awhile to get the chill off. You can place the chicken on a plate in single layers between paper towels. Then use the towels to dry off the chicken the best you can. Next, drizzle the pieces with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher or sea salt. Place on the baking tray skin side up.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cranberry Raspberry Smoothie

1 banana, frozen and peeled
1/2 cup frozen raspberries

a handful of fresh cranberries

1/2 cup vanilla or plain yogurt

1/2 cup orange juice

2 Tablespoons honey

Combine all ingredients in a blend. Blend until smooth. Taste. Add more honey if not sweet enough.

Recipe from nutritionist Kim Hahn

Monday, November 14, 2011

Caramel Apple Sundaes

One of my favorite candies are caramels! I just love the super sweet taste and creamy texture. So when I saw a recipe for caramel sauce with apples I knew I had to try to make it to eat on vanilla ice. I was a bit nervous because I do not have much practice with candy making and I think it really takes skill. But I tried this anyway. And I've made it 4 times until it turned out semi-correct. But it was still so delicious! I don't think I let it cook long enough to get the deep caramel color, but it still tasted good! Maybe you can try the recipe and see how it works for you and then let me. I just love caramel apples too much to give up on this!

I am rather ashamed to write about this, especially if a certain Caramal Maker reads the post. It just makes me appreciate her candies more and what talent and precision it takes to make a good caramel.

I got the recipe from the Cookin' Canuck.

2 1/2 medium gala apples

1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 quart vanilla ice cream

Core apples and thinly slice, cutting each slice in half (I peeled my apples too but that's up to you).

Spread sugar evenly in a large skillet set over medium heat. Let the sugar sit, untouched, until it begins to melt.

Using a fork stire the sugar until it has completely melted and turned a medium caramel brown.

Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream. Stand back a little because it will foam and may splatter. Return to the heat and whisk until the sauce is smooth - this is where I always have trouble because the sugar solidifies onto my whisk but I found if you keep cooking the sauce. It will all incorporate nicely.

Set over low heat, whisking occasionally, until ready to serve.

In the meantime, melt butter in a medium skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the apples and cook until the apples are beginning to turn brown.

Add the apples to the caramel sauce and stir until they are coated.

Using four bowls or short glasses. layer the ice cream with the caramel apples, drizzling the extra sauce over top. Serve immediately.

If you're not an experienced caramel maker like me, don't worry if you need to try this recipe a couple times - even if you don't get a traditional caramel consistency and color, it will still be tasty with your ice cream. I know from experience.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Apple Pie Martini

Last Friday I was on the hunt for a new drink recipe. Something for fall. Through my googling, I found a recipe for an Apple Pie Martini. I thought, that will hit the spot!

I found this recipe from the cocktails section of but changed it a bit to my liking.

1 shot vodka

1 shot Navan Vanilla Liquor (or any vanilla liquor)

2 or 3 shots apple cider

juice from a lime wedge

pinch of ground cinnamon

Put all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into a martini glass.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Last night we had a wonderful dinner. Relatively unhealthy, yes, but we didn't mind especially since my roasted chicken sausage went awry the night before and we were hungry.

We had grilled cheddar, apple and bacon sandwiches and roasted butternut squash and apple soup - the perfect fall meal. It filled us up and made us happy.

Even though I was nervous Adam wasn't going to love the soup he did! And so did I. It turned out very well and I highly recommend making it. It's really quite easy after you gather all the ingredients, chopping them up is the most time consuming part. I am a huge fan of cream soups and I have been waiting for weeks to try this.

The recipe is from Ciao Florentina but I altered it a bit.

1 butternut squash (3lbs), peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces

2 granny smith apples, cored and cut into 1 inch pieces (Florentina did not peel them but I did)

2 carrots, sliced

4 Tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 cup white wine

3 cups vegetable or chicken stock (I used chicken)

1/2 cup heavy cream (I used a splash more because I love cream!)

1 teaspoon salt

black pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 bay leaves

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

In a 9x13 glass baking dish, toss the squash, apples, carrot slices, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, salt and pepper with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Roast uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until tender. Stir a few times during cooking.

Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat in a cast iron pot. Add and saute the diced onion with a pinch of salt until transslucent. Add the wine and let it reduce by half. Add the roasted vegetables to the pot together with the stock. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and using a hand held blender, puree the soup until smooth. Stir in the cream and cook an additional 3 minutes.

Adjust salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Florentina also suggests serving the soup with a drizzle of cream, snipped chives and a pinch of ground nutmeg.

You can also add fresh thyme leaves to your vegetables as they roast.

To make the grilled cheese, spread Dijion mustard on 2 pices of bread. Top one slice with cheddar cheese, 3 pieces cooked bacon, a few granny smith apple slices and more cheese. Place other piece of bread on top with mustard side down. Spread butter on the top of the sandwich and place on a hot grill. Butter the other piece of bread before you flip it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Very Delicious Fall Salad

Fall Salad with pear, Parmesan, candied pecans and maple-balsamic dressing!

This is the most delicious salad I've made in a long time! And the dressing turned out so well - there are so many balsamic vinaigrette recipes out there that I've tried and they're usually flat and blah. Well this dressing is so great and slightly sweet from the maple syrup which I love. I had two servings last night!

And this was especially great because the only things I need to buy was lettuce and a pear.

I got this recipe from the Food Network, created by Tyler Florence.

Candied pecans:

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1/2 cup raw pecans (you can do halves or chopped)

Maple-balsamic dressing:

1 small shallot, finely diced (I omitted)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons maple syrup

salt and pepper


Mixed greens and baby spinach

1 pear, sliced

1/4 cup shaved Parmesan

To make the candied pecans, set a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the butter and sugar an d once it has melted toss in the pecans and continue to toss to coat and cook evenly, about 1 minute. Transfer to a sheet tray lined with waxed paper (use 2 forks to seperate pecans) while you prepare the salad.

Make the dressing by combining the chopped shallot, Dijon and balsamic vinegar in a medium mixing bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while you whisk to emulsify. Add the maple syrup and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Assemble salad by tossing greens and pear slices in a large mixing bowl with dressing. Top with Parmesan and pecans. Or you can arrange the salad ingredients in individual bowls and top with dressing - whatever works for you!