Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Slow Cooked 15 Bean Soup

Dried beans are delicious, high in fiber, and very budget friendly. I wanted to try cooking a bean soup in my crock pot, which I thought would be the perfect recipe for a work day. I found a 15 Bean Soup mix and decided to try that.

There are a couple of things I will do differently next time, and I addressed them both in the recipe. One is that I would add celery. The other is that I would wait to add the onion and sausage until a couple of hours before the soup was ready. The sausage was a little too soft for my taste, which was the result of cooking all day long.

Slow Cooked 15 Bean Soup

1 package Cajun 15 Bean Soup Mix
1 lb sausage, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
8 cups water
1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste ( I thought it needed a lot of salt)
4 bay leaves
1 can petite diced tomatoes

The night before:
1. Place beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight.
2. Sauté onion, celery, and sausage in a skillet with a small amount of oil until onion is tender and sausage is browned. Store in refrigerator until needed.

The next morning:
1. Drain and rinse beans. Place in crock pot.
2. Add tomatoes, thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and the seasoning packet included with the beans.
3. Cook on low for 10-12 hours.
4. About 2 hours before the soup is finished, add the onion and sausage.

The night before, sauté sausage and onion, (and celery, if desired) and store in the refrigerator.

Place the beans in a bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight.

The next morning (5:30 am for me!) drain and rinse the beans:

Place the ingredients in the crock pot and cook for 10 -12 hours on low:

The result is a rich, hearty, and fabulous soup. It will be particularly tasty this fall.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Oatmeal Parmesan Oven Fried Chicken

Oatmeal Parmesan Oven Fried Chicken
3-4 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup flour
1 cup regular oats
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper

1. Place flour in a gallon size ziplock bag and place chicken, one at a time in the flour and shake to coat.
2. Pour buttermilk into a small bowl. Dip chicken into buttermilk.
3. Combine oatmeal, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, oregano, and thyme in a shallow pan. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and place each chicken breast in the oatmeal mixture. Coat thoroughly.
4. Cover a baking pan with foil and lay a greased cooling rack on top. Place chicken breasts on the rack.
5. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes.\

Place flour in a ziplock bag and dredge chicken on piece at a time. Coat thoroughly.

Pour buttermilk in a small bowl:

Dip chicken into buttermilk:

Combine breading ingredients:

Place chicken on top and coat thoroughly again.

Place a cooling rack on top of a baking pan which is lined with aluminum foil. Make sure to spray the rack with cooking spray. This keeps the bottom of the chicken nice and crisp!

Bake at 350º for about 45 minutes. Smaller chicken breasts will require less baking time. It comes out crunchy and delicious.

I served it with a green salad and polenta rounds.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Double Chocolate M&M Cookies

I have loved M & M's since I was a very little girl. One night, when I was 5 years old, my parents left my brother and me with a sweet older lady named Mrs. Otts as our babysitter. She was a kind and gentle lady, but a little clueless. After we ate supper, I wanted some M & M's and I asked her for some. She said that we didn't have any. So, unbeknownst to her, I went to the phone and called the pharmacy down the street (for some reason I had the number memorized). I asked for the pharmacist, Ira West, who was a personal friend of my parents. When he answered, I told him who I was and that I would like a pack of M & M's. A few minutes later, the doorbell rang and it startled poor Mrs. Otts. I explained to her that it was just my M & M's. I opened the door, and there was a delivery man from the drug store with a white bag. Inside was a pack of M & M's. On the outside was a charge slip for 5¢. The pharmacist had a great sense of humor, and, fortunately for me, so did my mom and dad. They laughed so much about it when they got home that they couldn't get mad at me.

I also have always loved M & M cookies. I decided to make them even better with a double chocolate cookie dough base. They turned out to be amazingly good.

Double Chocolate M & M Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cocoa
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels, melted
1 cup plain M & M's
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 375°.
Stir together flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa, and melted chocolate.
Beat sugars and butter until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Mix well and add dry ingredients.
Stir in M&M’S and pecans. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Press several additional M & M’S into each cookie. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown

Beat sugars, butter, eggs, and vanilla together:

Combine flour soda, salt, and cocoa and add to the butter mixture:

Add melted chocolate and stir in M & M's and pecans:

Drop by rounded teasponfulls onto a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet:

Bake for 9-11 minutes at 375°.

The cigar box post is featured here.

Don't you wish that 5¢ would still buy you a pack of M & M's ?