Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beer Can Chicken and Corn on the Cob

Our little chicken fresh out of the grill. Adorable

I have scene/heard of beer can chicken and everything that I have heard about it was how good it was. I was a little sceptical, but thought it was worth a try. Let me tell you one thing about the chicken, besides how cute it looked sitting up, it was not hard and very good. The meat was juicy and it had nice flavor to it. The recipe that I used was from Guy Fieri (Food Network), but I made a few changes to the recipe. First, I cooked it on the grill instead of the oven. I had the grill on medium heat (375ish) and cooked it until it was 165 (about 1.5 hours). The other thing that I did not do was the bacon and the chicken was pretty good without it.
The girls loved it! We had a friend over, so a total of 7 people for dinner, and out of a 4.5 lb chicken, there is only a small handful left. Sarah kept on shoveling it in. All of the pictures have the girls eating corn on the cob, but trust me, the chicken was a hit too.

Grade: A+ (And for those of you that notice the grades, I am a tough grader!)

1 (2 to 3-pound) whole chicken
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 (12-ounce) can beer
1/2 pound bacon
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Wash chicken with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Mix dry ingredients in small bowl. Rub 1/2 of the ingredients on inside cavity of chicken. Gently peel skin away from chicken and rub mixture into meat of chicken. Open beer can pour out about 1/2 cup. Drop the garlic cloves into the beer can. Place chicken, open end down, over the beer can to insert the beer into the cavity. Place chicken, standing up, in large saute pan. Place 1/3 of the bacon in the top cavity of the chicken and drape the remaining 2/3 of the bacon down the outside of the chicken. Pierce the bacon to the chicken with toothpicks.

Place chicken in the oven for 10 minutes and then lower temperature to 325 degrees F and cook for another 1 hour, or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

My "School-Wife" was over for dinner.

Anna looks like she drank the other half of the beer!

Emily clapping for herself between bites.

Lucy digging into the corn like a harmonica.

Sarah before she discovered the chicken.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Creamy Pork Sauté

This dinner was so good. It was great the first night and just as good the second night. This dish did not dry the pork out at all and had some great flavor. Other than the pork recipe (which is below) we had mashed sweet potatoes. For the sweet potatoes I just boiled them, mashed them with my potato masher, and mixed in pumpkin pie spice. I have found that using pumpkin pie spice makes it so good.
All of the girls ate, and liked, at least two of the items. Anna ate the pork if that tells you how good it was.


Grade: B+

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 boneless pork loin (about 1 pound), cut into thin strips
2 stalks celery, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Celery Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
1/4 cup water
Hot cooked regular long-grain white rice

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook until well browned, stirring often. Remove the pork from the skillet.

2. Heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the celery, onion and thyme and cook until the vegetables are tender, stirring often.

3. Stir the soup and water in the skillet and heat to a boil. Return the pork to the skillet and cook until the pork is cooked through. Serve the pork mixture over the rice.

Anna had to make sure she was taking a bite for the camera.

Sarah loves not using her utensils.

Emily giving you the stink eye.

Lucy loved the rice!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

English Muffin Bread

This summer I am trying to make it all the way through the “Bread” section of the Better Homes and Garden cookbook and I have enjoyed baking the different kinds of breads. We have not bought a loaf of bread in the store since the beginning of the summer because we are using the bread that I make to make sandwiches. Jen and the girls are out of town so I could paint the downstairs and I decided to make this easy bread. It is a no-knead bread so you do not have to knead the dough at all. When I was typing out the recipe I noticed that I only used one package of active dry yeast. I cannot say exactly how it changed the final product. It did taste a lot like an English Muffin.

Grade: B

6 c all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast
¼ tsp baking soda
2 c milk
½ c water
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt

1. Grease two 8x4x2 inch loaf pans. Lightly sprinkle pans with enough cornmeal to coat bottom and sides; set pans aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine 3 c of the flour, the yeast, and baking soda; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, water, sugar, and salt just until warm (120 to 130 degrees). Using a wooden spoon, stir milk mixture into flour mixture. Stir in remaining flour.
3. Divide dough in half. Place dough in prepared pans. Sprinkle tops with cornmeal. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 45 minutes)
4. Bake in a 400 degree oven about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove bread from pans. Cool on wire racks.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mock Chipotle Rice and Beans

This meal came together on accident (kind of). The recipe for the rice was from one of my friends that loved the cilantro lime rice at Chipotle. I mentioned this to my wife and she also loves the cilantro lime rice at Chipotle so she wanted to try it. I went to the store and bought everything for this along with all of the other meals for the week. When I got home I started cooking and forgot that Jen talked about doing the rice with a Mexican dish she was going to make later on in the week. Well, she was out with the girls in the backyard and I was cooking and she came in and wondered what was smelling so good because French Fries usually don't smell like that. Well, we looked at what we could cook with that would go with the rice and she remembered that Chipotle has a burrito bowl and we designed the dinner around that. So along with the rice, we put pinto beans and chopped onion into a frying pan and sauteed them to heat them up and put a little more flavor into the onions. Also we chopped tomatoes and placed all of the above items on the girls' plate. All of the girls loved everything. Once we convinced Anna to try the rice, she ate it all up. Below is the recipe that was taken off of my friends blog. The pictures are not that good because I left my camera out of town and had to take it with my phone. Also, I used fresh spinach for the sauce. Enjoy.

Grade: A

Alicia's Green Rice
(serves 4)
1 cup basmati rice
2 Tbsp butter
juice of 1 lime
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
For Sauce:
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/8 cup green chile enchilada sauce (or enough to make your desired consistency)
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add rice and the juice of half a lime, and stir over the heat for 1-2 minutes. Add chicken stock, and bring to a boil stirring often. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes (or until the rice has absorbed all of the chicken stock). Add the rest of the lime juice and the chopped cilantro, then stir in the green sauce (directions below).
Green sauce: Process spinach, cilantro, and enchilada sauce in a food processor until smooth. (Note: I always use Pict Sweet frozen chopped spinach. It's very handy because you can keep it in the freezer and measure out as much as you need to thaw since it's not in a big block like boxed sauteed spinach.)

Emily was the first to try the rice

Lucy did not like it at first, but ended up

loving it as a dip for her chips.

Sarah scooping it up.

Anna being stubborn