Monday, November 24, 2008

The Best Cornbread (yes, it's mostly from a box...sigh)

It is always a bit sad when people's favorite part of your meal is the part that basically came from a box. Such is always the case when I make this cornbread so I figure I'll just go ahead and post the recipe so others can at least enjoy the ease and tastiness :-)

Best cornbread
1 box Trader Joe's cornbread mix, made according to directions
1 can creamed corn

Mix creamed corn into prepared mix just until blended.
Bake according to directions, except you may want to keep it in a bit longer, until just turning golden brown on edges and set in the middle.
Yes, it is that easy :-P

Bacon and Thyme Sweet Potatoes

This side dish is from "How stuff works" and it turned out so well...I more or less halved the potatoes and onions and kept the other ingredients the same, so I think going heavy on the bacon and spices is advisable :-)
Oh and I also drizzled a bit of melted butter over this before serving...for a healthier twist, you can omit the butter, don't use the bacon grease, and use butternut squash. I did this this next night and it also turned out great...

3 thick slices applewood-smoked or peppered bacon, diced
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 medium onions, cut into 8 wedges
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook bacon in large, deep skillet until crisp. Remove from heat. Transfer bacon to paper towels; set aside. Add potatoes and onions to drippings in skillet; toss until coated. Stir in salt, thyme and pepper.
2. Spread mixture in single layer in ungreased 15X10-inch jelly-roll pan or shallow roasting pan. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown and tender. Transfer to serving bowl; sprinkle with bacon.

"Red Chicken"

To help with our friends' Caroline and Stephen's new-baby transition, we brought them some dinner this weekend and I want to post the recipes here because all are easy and all turned out pretty tasty!
First up, my mom's "red chicken" recipe:

Skinless, boneless chicken breasts (~4-5 medium sized)

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup sherry wine
1/2 cup water
1 medium onion, minced
1 Tbsp worcester sauce
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp brown sugar

Brown chicken and transfer to a roasting pan (corningware casserole, 8x8 pan, etc)
Combine sauce ingredients in saucepan and heat to a simmer.
Pour over chicken and bake ~45min at 325.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Maple Pecan Pie

Next Baking Bites installment:

Maple Pecan Pie
pastry for 9-inch pie crust
1 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 tbsp all purpose flour1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups coarsely chopped roasted and salted pecans

Preheat oven to 350F.
Roll out pie dough to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Transfer dough to pie plate and press lightly into place, crimping edges to fit. (If using a frozen pie crust, thaw first)
In a large bowl, whisk together maple syrup, sugars, eggs, melted butter, flour, vanilla and salt until smooth.
Spread the pecans into the bottom of the pie shell and pour maple syrup mixture over the top. Carefully transfer pie to oven.
Bake for 60 minutes, until puffed and set. (DO NOT OVERBAKE THOUGH! Very quick way to ruin the pie...)
Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
Serves 8-10

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Bars

I am on a fall-dessert kick from Baking Bites...
First up: Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Bars

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Bars

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Filling:
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 - 15-oz. can pumpkin puree (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk (low fat is fine)

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan (or used the Baker’s Edge).
Begin by making the crust.
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into prepared pan and bake for 15-17 minutes.

While the crust bakes, make the filling.
In a large bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until slightly foamy, about 1 minute. Whisk in all the remaining ingredients, except the milk, and beat until smooth. Then whisk in the milk, trying to keep the bubbles in the mixture to a minimum.

When the crust is done, pull it out of the oven and carefully pour the pumpkin pie filling over the still-hot crust. Return the pan to the oven. Bake for an additional 24-28 minutes, until pumpkin filling is set.Cool completely in the pan before slicing and serving.Bars should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for several days.
Makes 20 bars.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Black and White Chocolate Blondies

Tonight I made a tasty variation on the Snickerdoodle Blondies: I omitted the cinnamon in the sugar mixture and instead mixed in 1cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1cup white chocolate chips. I still sprinkled the top with 2Tbsp sugar and after 20min of baking, I pressed in some additional chips to up the pretty-factor. Note: in the Baker's Edge pan these definitely need 35min to bake so the middle doesn't cave in already.
So they're basically cookie bars but I like them more -- less dense, and a deeper vanilla taste.