Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Best Beans and Carrots Medley EVER

This is pretty much the only vegetable medley I make now. We'll probably get tired of it someday, but that day is not yet here.

A bag of baby carrots or sliced large carrots
Cut green beans, fresh or frozen
1 large onion
At least 4 fresh garlic cloves minimum, minced

1. In a pan, cook onion and garlic in @ 3 tablespoons butter until somewhat carmelized (A bit golden-brown)
2. Add seasonings, to taste.
3. Cook carrots.
4. Cook beans.
5. Mix everything together into one delicious bundle.

Marinated Chicken #1

This chicken marinade is a rather unusual one, quite unlike the more typical Italian-dressing type marinades. It can be prepared in a crockpot, too, which is cool. (Crockpots rock, and I don't use ours nearly often enough.)

1 whole chicken, about 2 and 1/2 pounds, cut up, or cuts of your choice

1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 and 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning (or corresponding mixture of sage and thyme)
1 beaten egg
Pinch of garlic powder (or several pinches)
3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup water

1. Mix above ingredients and then bring to a boil.
2. Add cut chicken and boil until well-done.
3. Broil in oven about 5 minutes until browned.

Munch, munch, munch.

Marinated Chicken #2

I love this marinade, but it's a bit different every time I make it, hence the vague ingredient list.

About 1/2 bottle prepared Italian dressing (can omit this if you want)
White vinegar
Water, enough (but not enough to water it down too much, if you know what I mean)
Canola Oil, enough, but not too much
Lemon juice, several tablespoons
1 chopped onion
Lots of minced, fresh garlic
Onion powder
And I usually throw in a bit of thyme and sage, cayenne pepper, and whatever else strikes my fancy of the moment.

Let cut-up chicken of your choice sit in this mixture in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 days, and longer is even better. Then, when you want to eat it, ovenbroil it in a jellyroll pan (or cookie sheet with edges) or grill it...outdoors.

Savor its savoriness until it's all gone.

Mopsy's Sweet Tomato Pie

We have this in the fullness of summer, when our garden spills over with its bounty. Mmmm.

Spaghetti Crust
1 (7 oz.) package spaghetti, cook al dente and drain
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten

1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 clove minced fresh garlic (I use more)
1 small zucchini, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup (4 large) fresh mushrooms
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (or dried parsley, to taste)
5 medium fresh tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped (can skip the peeling)
1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup mozzerella cheese, grated or cubed (Add LAST)

Cook sausage until browned. Add tomatoes and other filling ingredients; add mozzerella and mix well. Spread over spaghetti and bake in 350 degree oven for @ 25 minutes.

Italian Cheese Bread

This is actually the dough I use for homemade pizza, too, but it makes a delicious flatbread with the addition of a few spices.

When we're not feeling the urge to be healthy, I generally use all-purpose flour, but you can substitute whole wheat for some of the flour, and the addition of a little gluten will increase the chewiness of the crust .
-2 and 1/2 cups flour (*More if desired; see below)
-1 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. sugar
-1 tbsp. yeast
-1 cup warm water
-1 tbsp. oil

1. Combine salt, sugar, yeast, then add water and oil. Let sit for proofing ('til frothy on top).

2. Mix yeast mixture with flour. Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. (*At this point, I usually work more flour--at least 1/2 cup-- into the dough as I knead.)

3. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise in warm place until doubled in size. Punch down and pat into a roughly 12" circle on pizza pan or cookie sheet.

4. Add toppings and bake in 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes OR do as I do. At this point, if I've planned ahead of time, I cover the dough with plastic wrap and leave it in the refrigerator for about 6 hours or up to 24 hours. The flavor improves greatly, and I like the texture better, as well. This last step really is the key reason for my liking this dough.

Make this crust and, before baking, top it with 1/4-1/3 cup prepared Italian salad dressing, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 tsp. oregano, 1/4 tsp. thyme, dash pepper, 1 tbsp. parmesan/romano cheese, and enough shredded mozzerella to satisfy the cheese need.