Tag Archives: recipe

Brown(ie) Nosing

16 May

Craving, craving, craving! For three weeks, I’ve been craving brownies. Still warm from the oven brownies. I’ve tried every substitute I could dig up from the kitchen. Thousands of calories later and I still want brownies. Please tell me why we do that? The thoughts are like this:
I want brownies

They’re bad for you

Warm from the oven

They have lots of calories

With nuts

You must learn self-control

I really love that low-fat brownie recipe

You’ll never lose weight eating this way

I know, I know

Try something else

Yeah, something healthier

That will get rid of the craving

Three weeks later, and you’ve eaten chocolate chips, cake, sugar-free chocolate, walnuts, icing, fondant, potato chips, peanut butter, celery and on and on and on.

How did that help? It didn’t. It hurt. That’s way more calories than one brownie would have been and you end up making and eating them anyway, so what’s the point?

I dunno. An exercise in self-control? Nope. I ate tons of stuff and still ate a brownie.

I say, go ahead and eat a brownie or two. Just make sure you can send the rest somewhere out of the house so you don’t eat all of them.

Low-Fat Brownies (from a cookbook that I can’t remember the name of):

(My notes are in parenthesis)

1 c. all purpose flour

1 c. powdered sugar

¼ c. + ½ T. unsweetened cocoa powder

¾ t. baking powder

1 ½ oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely broken or chopped

3 T. tub margarine or butter

½ c. packed brown sugar

2 T. light corn syrup

1 T. water

2 t. vanilla

2 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8”X8” baking pan with foil, making sure the foil overlaps the dish by about 1 ½” at two ends. Coat the foil with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Sift the flour, powdered sugar, cocoa, and baking powder onto a sheet of wax paper or into a bowl.

(I do this before the flour sifting stuff. Actually, I get this going and keep an eye on it while doing the flour sifting stuff. You will need the medium size pan even though it doesn’t look like it at first.) Place the chocolate and margarine in a heavy medium saucepan. Stir over the lowest heat until the chocolate is just melted and smooth. Be careful not to scorch the chocolate. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup, water, and vanilla until well blended. (This will take a few minutes to accomplish. Don’t get discouraged.)

Using a wooden spoon, beat the egg whites in to the chocolate mixture. (I temper the eggs first by adding a spoonful of the chocolate mixture to the eggs, stirring it, and then doing it again a few times. Cooked egg whites at this point will send you ‘round the bend so I strongly suggest tempering them before adding to the pot of chocolately goodness.) Gently stir in the flour mixture just until well blended and smooth. (Don’t overmix this at this point. Remember: it is when you add flour to baked goods that you must not mix too much or you may make the batter too tough and not get the result you want. After it’s mixed, I add about ½ c. chopped walnuts, but that’s not in the list of ingredients so carry on….) Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. (There doesn’t seem like there’s enough to spread, but keep spreading it.)

Bake on the middle oven rack for 24 to 28 minutes, or until the center of the top is almost firm when tapped. (Soft and a bit gooey is okay at this point. Right here is where too many of us go overboard and overbake and end up with cake-like/dense brownies instead of soft ones.) Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand for 15 minutes. Then, using the overhanging foil as handles, carefully lift the brownies from the pan and place the foil on a wire rack to cool.

Let stand until completely cooled. Peel off the foil. Cut, eat, (regret, feel guilty, do nothing about the guilt like go for a walk or not eat that evening snack, repeat, repeat, repeat.)

Yes, these are the only two pictures I have. I wanted brownies, a had not a thought about a blog post, gosh durn it!

At least I waited until the ice cream was gone. For a time, I wanted that brownie smothered in ice cream, fudge syrup, whipped cream, and topped with a few maraschino cherries. There’s some calorie savings there, anyway. Right? right? RIGHT?

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Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

22 Feb

Life can’t always be a piece of cake. You know this, I know this, and the fam definitely knows this. Without their nagging, I wouldn’t occasionally clean up the kitchen and make dinner. Most days, if I had the cash and the metabolism, dinner would be purchased in those convenient big boxes called restaurants.  Since I have neither, every day I have to stop doing other things and fill the screeching beaks that hang out here and call themselves my relations.

We all have the same conundrum. Feed ourselves and the hangers on, don’t spend more than we should/can, make it healthy, and make something with the least likelihood of complaints. You would think that now the kiddos are grownups (in the eyes of the law, anyway) this issue would be simpler for me. Not so. I still have to consider the dietary restrictions of the other half. No tomatoes, onions, peppers, or anything his royalness considers “weird.” That could mean anything from guacamole to peanut butter cookies to filet mignon or sushi. (Okay, I agree with the sushi thing. Org invented fire for a reason.)I live with a guy who, I swear, his restaurant related goal in life is to eat a hamburger and fries in every food establishment he enters. Did I mention he has a tiny cholesterol problem? Yeeaaah.

Over the years, like you, I have amassed a small collection of stand by recipes that go beyond: open the box, read the box, do what the box says. I have found I have the best luck by scanning a recipe for ingredients I know everyone likes, has none of the dislikes, or that looks like I could leave the offending ingredients out of the recipe. Yes, it’s taken awhile to get a good mix of standbys.

I figured if your nest inhabitants are like mine, you might like to know some of the ways I get around all that. Plus, it’s February. Most of us have long broken the lose weight/get healthy resolution but would still like to keep it lest the guilt overwhelm us or swimsuit season arrives. With that in mind, I bring you:

Rosemary Ranch Chicken Kabobs

Original recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Rosemary-Ranch-Chicken-Kabobs/Detail.aspx

Visit the link for the official directions, as what follows is my own personal way to get it on the table.

Ingredients

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup ranch dressing

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste

1 tablespoon white sugar, or to taste (optional)

5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 inch cubes

I would add skewers and an indoor or outdoor grill to this list. They may not be ingredients, but you’re gonna need them. I like to know this kind of stuff ahead of time otherwise I get aggravated/lost/disappointed when I find out I can’t make what I planned for dinner. The others don’t like it either because that means leftovers for dinner. Also, note that the chicken should be cubed.

If you’ve never worked with skewers before, there are a couple of things you need to know. Nah, it’s easy stuff, just a couple of little specialty tidbits to know.

Wooden skewers burn and metal skewers get hella hot and will scratch non-stick grids if you’re not careful.

Yes, this is obvious. Will you remember it? Probably not the first few times, so it’s worth reminding ourselves. I use wooden skewers since they are cheap and I already have them around for cake work. I do remember that they burn, yet I don’t always remember it in time. That’s why I’m going to list the first step as:

Soak the wood skewers in water. 

Soaking them won’t prevent burning (no matter what “the experts” say), but it will slow it down enough to enable you to use them.

The other tidbit you’ll want to know is if you are going to use an outdoor grill, once you have the magic wooden sticks loaded with food, cover the ends of the skewers with foil to keep them from incinerating.

With that very long intro, let’s get dinner going before the masses arrive.

In a small bowl, combine:

Olive Oil

Ranch dressing

Worcestershire Sauce (Bonus Chef Points if you can pronounce this correctly without thinking about it.)

Rosemary, but wait! The peeps at this castle think rosemary is a very strong herb, so I generally use about half of the amount that any recipe calls for. Your call, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Salt

Lemon Juice

Vinegar and Pepper (No pic, but I’m sure you can imagine it at this point.)

 Sugar

(Whew! It’s a lot quicker to do it than to write it!)

Once all that’s in the bowl, whisk it together.

Toss in the chicken, and stir it around until the chicken is coated in the goop.

(I removed that chunk of fat later, lest it stick directly to myrump roast.)

This is supposed to marinate for 30 minutes. That’s the ideal way to do it. However, if you have just schlumped in the door after a long day in the mines, you may not have the time or energy for that. I have marinated it for about 10-15 minutes and it still tastes good. Thirty minutes is best, but if you can’t do that, don’t worry about it. Serve it with a dollop of ranch for dipping and tell the little hungry birdies it was meant to be served that way. If they know better, they should be taking turns in the kitchen, right?

While it’s marinating, you can empty and reload the dishwasher, fold that load of laundry, or round up the chickadees for homework time. You could also rip open that noodle box and crank open the veggie can and get that going if you’re making side dishes. If it’s just you and the man of your dreams, you can make a salad and turn this into a restaurant style chicken salad. Once the time is up, or you can’t wait any longer, come on back here and we’ll finish this almost lickety split.

Before we get messy, heat your grill of choice. Yes, I spray mine with non-stick spray even though the directions say you don’t have to. It’s my thing.

Okay, now let’s get sticky! Thread/skewer the chicken. I put 5-6 pieces of chicken on each skewer. If your pieces are thin, fold them in half to get them on the skewer.

They are top heavy and drippy at this point. Carefully lift and load onto the grill and char to your liking.

DINNNERRRR!!!!

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