Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hearty Chicken Cacciatora

picture provided by KitchenDaily
What is your go to meal that you want to have on a cold wintery day? What recipe can you throw into a crock pot before work in the morning in 10 minutes or have prepared the night before?
This chicken recipe is hearty, healthy and very satisfying. Make it yourself for your family and they will feel comforted like never before.
Chicken Cacciatora (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook)


1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 teas kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes coarsely chopped
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
10 bone-in chicken thighs
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley



1.  Cook onion in olive oil over medium high heat, stirring, until softened, 3 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, celery seed and bay leaf and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add wine, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. Add whole tomatoes and tomato sauce and stir well.

2. Place chicken thighs in a 4-quart pot or slow cooker. Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken. Cover and cook until the chicken is very tender, about 3 hours on High or 6 hours on Low. Remove the bay leaf.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve onto noodles or rice.

Nutrition Facts

Provided by: EatingWell/Kitchen Daily
Per Single Serving / Serves 10 Total

·         Calories 260
·         Calories from fat 117
·         Total Fat 13gm 20%
·         Sodium 492mg 21%
·         Total Carbohydrates 6gm 2%
·         Fiber 1gm 4%
·         Protein 25gm
·         Cholesterol 88mg 29%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.



Friday, January 18, 2013

Carmel plus Chocolate plus pecans = Turtleeeyy Goodness!

What is the perfect snack that provides the satisfaction one needs to fill a chocolate craving?
Turtles of course! These yummy treats are easy to make, kids love them and love to help make them, and you only need to eat one or two to satisfy your sweet tooth.

I'm a huge fan of candy making. I have loved making chocolate chocolate truffles over the years for friends, family and my favorite people. Everyone enjoys a special treat especially when it is home-made. It takes a little effort to make the time, but it is all worth it in the end when you can spoil the people you love.

My older sister Sue originally shared this turtle recipe with me years ago during Christmas time. I think it reminded her of the Saint Agnes Catholic School days when we had to go door to door selling these delectable boxed goodies. Our family couldn't really afford to buy them for us, a family of six, but we were expected to raise money anyway. How hard it was to not just open a package and eat the whole box ourselves.

 My sister and I also took over the tradition of making English toffee like my grandmother Leone made every year. It is my son Curtis' favorite dessert besides ice cream.
He is turning 28 this weekend. Yikes! Where did my little boy go? I think I will have to make a batch of toffee too!

Here is the easy peasy turtle recipe. You won't go back to buying store bought ones ever again.

Candy making day today.
TURTLES!Candy making day today.


1 bag of pecans (Roast them first in a preheated 325 degree oven on a sheet pan for @ 9 min or until you smell them. Take off sheet pan and cool) Not necessary, but a worthwhile step.

1 bag of Kraft Caramels (unwrap each one and put in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave them with the milk for 30 seconds at a time until melted)

1-2 T of milk (add to bowl of caramels)

1/2 Pound Dark or Milk Chocolate chopped into chunks and melted over a ban marie or melted carefully in a microwave safe bowl using same method as caramels 30 seconds at a time, stirring until melted.
Either way add a little more chopped chocolate to melted mixture and stir until melted to temper chocolate. By tempering chocolate, you won't end up with the white splotchy stuff on your finished product.

2 sheet pans lined with silpat or aluminum foil. Use butter or non-stick spray on foil lined pan so candy doesn't stick


Place 3 or 4 pecans together in bunches leaving a space between each.
Using a Tablespoon, scoop melted caramel over each bundle of pecans.
Using a Tablespoon, scoop melted chocolate and drop onto each bundle covering caramel.
Cool candy by putting sheet pan in fridge or freezer for a bit.
Remove from pan and place in a sealed tupperware container using layers of wax paper to keep candies from sticking.
I suppose you can freeze these too, but they never last that long in my house.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Berries. Wonderful Berries

Time to make a berry pie! Yum!

Blackberry pie is one of my all time favorite things to make and eat. You can't have a bad day after treating yourself to a piece of pie. Especially a homemade one.
The crust is crispy, crunchy and fall apart melt in your mouth delicious. Blackberries aren't really in season anymore, but Costco seems to have palates of them.

This recipe is fairly easy to make and worthwhile for sure. I hope you will try it too!
You can make the berry mixture ahead of time and keep refrigerated and do the same with the dough as well.

1 bag of frozen blackberries
2 containers of fresh blackberries
3/4 C. granulated sugar (more or less depending on the sweetness of the berry)
1 T dried tapioca pearls
1 T of cornstarch
2 T water
2 T lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teas grated nutmeg
1/2 teas kosher salt

Dump frozen blackberries into medium sized sauce pan with sugar, tapioca, salt, nutmeg, lemon zest and lemon juice. Cook over med high heat until sauce is boiling. Mix water and cornstarch and pour into boiling berry mixture and cook until thickened. Cool. Fold fresh blackberries into cooled mixture.

I  find that by using a mixture of frozen berries and fresh berries, it brings out the best flavor and texture to your pie.

Pie Crust

3 C. Flour
2 T Sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
8 Tbsp cold unsalted butter (1 stick)
¼ C. Shortening
3 Tbsp  H2O
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp white distilled vinegar

1.       In a  large bowl combine flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry blended and working quickly to prevent butter from melting into flour, cut in butter and shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (or put mixture in food processor and pulse until combined)

2.       In a small bowl combine water, egg, and vinegar. Stir to mix. With a fork, mix egg mixture into flour just until dough clumps together and moist enough to pat together. If dough is dry and crumbly, add more water 1 Tbsp at a time. Dough should not be wet or sticky. (I use the food processor and pulse until combined.)

3.    Wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

4.       Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll with pin to flatten

This makes enough for two single-crust pies.
Once you have your dough rested and your filling cooled you can fill and top your pie.Here I have cut out maple leaves, but you can use any cookie cutter you have, or go with the traditional lattice topping as well.
Pastry likes to stay cold before baked. So put the pie in the freezer for an hour or so before baking to get that great pie crust, if you can wait that long...
Brush with a whole beaten egg. Sprinkle with additional sugar and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for one hour or until golden and bubbly. Serve with vanilla icecream