Friday, May 11, 2012

Baked Coconut Shrimp with Dipping Sauce

I'll never forget the first time I tasted Coconut Shrimp.  My sisters and I went out to dinner at a Thai Restaurant and ordered some.  I thought it was the best thing I'd ever tasted.  That was probably ten years ago.  Since then, I've been looking for a recipe.  I found this one and adapted it.  It is easy and delicious and healthier than the fried version. 

Coconut Shrimp
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of Crushed pepper flakes (or you can put a little Tabasco sauce in the egg)
About 18-20 jumbo shrimp, uncooked (thawed)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup jam, any flavor
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, foil, or a silicone baking sheet.
Lightly beat the eggs in a medium bowl; set aside.  Mix the coconut, flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a shallow dish.  Dip the shrimp in theegg and then coat with the coconut/ flour mixture.  Place on the baking sheet.  Once all the shrimp are coated and on the baking sheet,  drizzle with the melted butter.   Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the shrimp are pink.   Halfway through the baking time, turn the shrimp over.  
Sauce:  Mix the jam and mustard together and store in fridge for a few minutes (or longer) to marry the flavors.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Browned Butter Blondies

I'm dancing!  I'm singing!  I found it!  I found a really great blondie recipe.  I first tasted blondies when I was a young girl visiting a friend.  I thought they were the best thing in the world.  When I was a young married, I found a recipe on the back of a  flour bag for blondies.  They were delicious and just what I remembered from when I was a child.  I remember they had oil in them instead of butter.  Unfortunately, I lost that recipe and have searched since for the perfect blondie recipe.  This might be it!  It doesn't have oil, but the browned butter is even more yummy!  These bars are gooey and delicious, especially served warm with a scoop of ice cream atop.  The best part is you can make them AND clean the kitchen in a matter of a few minutes.  We may have the perfect treat here, folks! Happy dance!!!!

Browned Butter Blondies
6 T. butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 heaping cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2-3/4 cup chocolate chips

To brown the butter, cut the butter into a 2 quart saucepan.  Melt over medium heat.  Continue cooking until the butter starts to have brown bits coming up from the bottom and turns golden.  It will smell really yummy, too.  Take it from the heat, because it will burn shortly thereafter.
In a bowl, mix the butter and brown sugar.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well until very well blended.  Add all of the dry ingredients and mix well.   Spread in a greased 8x8 square pan (or 9x9 works, too.)  Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top as evenly as possible.  Bake in a preheated 350 oven for about 20 minutes.  The edges and top should be golden and the bars just set.  Do not overbake.  They should be gooey and moist.  Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.

Adapted from A Hint of Honey (see sidebar)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Smothered Chicken Breasts

Yes, this IS as good as it sounds.

Yield: 4 servings

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 Tbsp oil
8 bacon strips
1 medium onion, sliced
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

1.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and lemon-pepper. In a large skillet, cook chicken in oil for 6-7 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 170 degrees; remove and keep warm.
2.  In the same skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels, drain, reserving 2 Tbsp drippings.
3.  In the drippings, saute onion and brown sugar until onion is tender and golden brown.  Place two bacon strips on each chicken breast half; top with caramelized onions and cheese.

Source:  Taste of Home Grand Prize Winners

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Whole Wheat Bagels

Confession: It was not my idea to try this amazing recipe, but I'm sure glad I did.  My sister Shonna did a post in January 2011 about bread machine bagels, and to be honest I ignored it at the time thinking that bagels were entirely too much work to make an attempt.  Boy, was I wrong!  Don't let the length of instructions scare you away. It was a very simple process that required minimal hands-on time, and the result is warm, chewy,  versatile whole-grain goodness.

The smell is incredibly enticing right out of the oven . . . It's hard to wait for them to cool!

Whole Wheat Bagels

1 1/4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp bread machine or instant yeast
1 Tbsp granulated sugar

1.  Measure all ingredients except the sugar into your bread maker baking pan.  Place in oven chamber. Select dough cycle.
2.  Stop bread machine when the kneading portion of the cycle is complete. (Do not allow the dough to rise in the machine).  Remove dough to a lightly floured surface; cover with a large bowl and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Shape the dough into a round cylinder 12 inches long.  Cut into 8 portions 1 1/2 inces wide.  Push thumbs through the center of each piece and pull into a bagel shape, rounding all the surfaces.  *Shonna gave me the tip to put the bagel dough on your finger after pushing the thumb through and twirl it around to help make it more even. It worked like a charm.
3. Place dough on prepared baking sheet; cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 30 to 45 minutes, or until doubled in volume.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
4. Bring a large pot of water and 1 Tbsp sugar to a gentle yet full boil. Immerse bagels in water one at a time, turning upside down.  Hold under the water for 20 seconds with a skimmer or large spoon until the dough becomes a little puffy.
5.  Bake on the prepared baking sheet or preheated baking stone in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until the bagels sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Source:  "300 Best Bread Machine Recipes" by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt. Again, I have to give credit to Shonna for this Christmas gift.  Love this book!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Crazy Whole Wheat Muffins

Moist, sweet, and decidedly delightful, this muffin is more like a cupcake.  Our small family consumed three batches within the past two weeks; that's how good they are.  It whips up in no time with only 6 ingredients to throw in your bowl.  These are the perfect healthy, sweet snack if you ask me.

Crazy Whole Wheat Muffins
1/2 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup applesauce
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Mix ingredients together and pour into muffin tins.  Bake for 20 minutes (8 minutes for mini muffins).

Recipe source:  "The Essential Food Storage Cookbook" by Tami Girsbirger and Carol Peterson, one of the most useful, practical, cookbooks that I own.  I recently told my husband that I really ought to start at the beginning and try every recipe in there, since we have really enjoyed every recipe we've tried from it.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Apple, Bean, and Ham Casserole

I just made this as my "good sport" recipe this week as I've been trying to use beans from my food storage. It was tasty but I've made a few adjustments to make it more moist. I got the original recipe from Grandma's Casseroles: Home Style Favorites. The picture comes from the recipe book as well.
1 pound boneless ham, diced in 1 inch cubes
3 cans (15 oz. each) Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed. Since I was cooking my own beans I just used 4 1/2-5 cups of cooked beans.
2 large onions, diced
2-3 medium Granny Smith apple, diced
3 TBSP dark molasses
3 TBSP packed brown sugar
1 TBSP Dijon mustard (I used a hot sweet mustard)
1 tsp ground allspice
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions OR 1 TBSP fresh, chopped parsley
1/3-1/2 cup water (or use reserved cooking water from beans)
 Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine diced ham, beans, onion, apple, molasses, brown sugar, mustard, allspice and water in 3-qt casserole pan; mix well. Cover w/ foil; bake 30-45 minutes until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle w/ green onions or parsley and serve. We served it w/ homemade bread and hummus. Muffins and steamed carrots would be good w/ it as well. -Makes 6 servings.