Oven baked 2 Bite S’Mores

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Desserts, July 2012

 

I think I have mentioned before….I am a Pinterest addict. I can’t help it. Its an obsession reminiscent of sticker collecting when I was in elementary school. I love adding pretty pins to my boards of – crafts I want to do someday (currently at 170 pins), household tips (very useful information…102 pins), decorating ideas for my house (165 pins) and obviously my favorite board, Recipes (275 pins!) To think I also have 11 other boards of great stuff! This recipe apparently originated from Pampered Chef.

To get to my point…I have tried a dozen recipes off Pinterest and this is one of my favorites. Very simple, very quick and very yummy. Itty bitty lil S’mores.

What you’ll need:

 

 

 

7  whole graham crackers (or 1 cup finely crushed crumbs)
1/4 cup icing sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
bars of milk chocolate candy (eg. Jersey milk or PC brand 100g bar), divided
12 large marshmallows
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl combine graham crumbs, icing sugar and melted butter
Place approximately 1 Tbsp of crumb mixture into a mini muffin tin and press into mold to form small cups.
Bake for 4-5 minutes. I found the crumbs would “puff up” after baking so I took the backside of my Tablespoon and pushed it down and it reformed the cup perfectly.
Place a square of chocolate in each cup and top with a half of a large marshmallow.
Bake again for 2 minutes.
Remove cups from pan and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Meanwhile melt some of the chocolate in the microwave on high for 1-1 1/2 minutes or until smooth when stirred.
I used the back of a spoon to dip some chocolate onto the S’more but you could also turn the S’more upside down once cooled if you use a shallow bowl for melting your chocolate. The dip method would probably make the finished product prettier but I didn’t care…I just wanted to eat one! (or 6) They are just little!
These are super simple and went over GREAT at the Canada Day BBQ at my parents house. Somehow the marshmallow stays soft even after refrigeration. I had 4 left after the party and had them in the fridge for a week (totally forgot about them) and after 10 seconds in the microwave they were absolutely perfect again. Trust me!
Enjoy!
love, peace and chicken grease,
-A Cooped Up Chick

 

The best SteakHouse Steak (at home!)

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Beef Dishes, July 2012, Main Course

 

I have a new addiction. Already addicted to coke (Diet that is), addicted to cleaning (OCD anyone?) and now I am addicted to Pinterest. Damn you Jen and Chantal!

I had decided initially to do a 30 Day Pinterest challenge and had the intentions of doing something found on Pinterest every day for the month of July. Then I remembered I am going to Vegas for a week. There will be lots of things I will be doing in Vegas…but they probably won’t be found on Pinterest and they will never be spoken of aloud to anyone….ever. So the challenge has been rescheduled for August.

However, since I had started my self imposed challenge I had done a few things from the site already….crafted some stuff, made homemade cleaners, created a table top S’More-er and tried some recipes. There are A LOT of great looking recipes on Pinterest. I currently have 166 recipes “pinned”. Since I am the epitome of a carnivore (I guess we humans are actually omnivores since I do eat a few veggies but LOVE my charred mammal flesh) this picture automatically stood out to me.

 

pinterest steak

 

This is a recipe that can be found on this blog:

http://whitsamusebouche.com/restaurant-style/ (i’m not smart enough to figure out how to add in a link…just copy and paste the address into your address field. If I have to explain copy & paste to you then you have more computer issues then me.)

What a funny and amusing blog! Not to mention this FABULOUS recipe for the best steak ever…with OR without a BBQ. I always said my last meal if I were on death row….or the zombies were coming….or Jesus….or whoever….would be BBQ steak as it was my favorite. Notice I said WAS. This will replace BBQ as my pre-zombie last supper.

There is not much that I changed in this recipe….but you know me….I had to change something.

For the steak you will need:

Um…steak. Now I could not find an 8oz filet mignon. Maybe i’m blind….maybe i’m stoopid…but there was just none to be had at The Great Atlantic SuperStore. I am sure if I had have gone to a real live butcher or to the City Market I could have but dammit I am lazy and just wanted to eat. So I bought the thickest steak I could find. They were aptly named “Beefeater” steaks. Would have confused the hell out of me had they been called “Chickeneater” steaks but then again I did snap THIS picture at the Superstore awhile ago….

 

 

So nothing would surprise me anymore.

The only other things you need is a GOOD salt, fresh cracked black pepper and oil. Now on Whits blog she uses olive oil. I used Grapeseed oil and i’ll explain why. Any time I have EVER made anything in the cast iron pan in the oven and used olive oil the entire house gets filled with smoke. Olive oil has a low smoke point (just before FLASH point) so as it heats and goes beyond 325-375 degrees (the normal “frying” temperature for oils) it will smoke and cause your oil to blacken and smoke to billow from your oven. Not to mention assault your ears when your smoke alarm blares. What you want is a SCREAMING hot cast iron pan. You are heating it on high and searing the beef on either side on the stove top (which most oils can handle) but then you are placing in a 500 degree oven (as per Chef Alton Brown) so you need an oil with a smoke point of 400 + degrees.  This gives you the choice of Grapeseed oil (no flavor), Canola, Corn, Safflower, Sunflower or Vegetable oil. I had Grapeseed so I USED grapeseed.

Give your steaks a generous rub of salt and pepper.

 

 

On the stove top heat your cast iron on high and add the oil (1Tbsp or you can simply brush your steak on both sides with oil and place into dry pan…this will also help to avoid smoke). Sear your meat 30 seconds on each side and place into the oven on the center rack.

 

 

Leave the steak in the oven for 4-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your steak and your preference for doneness (is that a word?) I like my steak Medium Rare so I leave a 1″ steak in for 4 minutes… a 2″ steak for 5-6 minutes…a 3″ steak for 6-7 minutes….you get the drift, right?

Be careful taking the cast iron pan out of the oven….that baby is going to be HOT.

 

 

This process is quick so have the rest of your meal ready or almost ready before starting the steak.

Let your steak rest for 1-2 minutes after removing from the oven and before slicing into that juicy nugget of goodness. Otherwise you are going to lose all that juice and the cutting board gets all the goodness.

 

 

For the compound butter you will need:

Butter NOT margarine…go ahead, splurge, you are worth it. Leave the butter on the counter for a few hours to soften.

Roasted garlic (very simple. Lop off the top of the whole bulb. Peel off the thin skin. Place in the center of a square of tin foil. Rub with olive oil. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes. Once cool, squeeze out the roasted cloves.)

Fresh chopped parsley and thyme

Lemon zest

 

 

Mix together your preferred ratios (I used 1/2 block of butter, A LOT of garlic…the whole bulb, 1Tbsp Lemon zest, 1 tsp each chopped herb). Place on the center of saran wrap or tin foil and roll into a log. Refrigerate.

 

 

Once your steak is plated. top with a thick slice of butter. Oh. Em. Gee. This is the kicker. It is soooooooo amazing. Trust me. My son even said that this was the best steak he has ever had and we both made little mewling noises as we ate. Sad huh?

 

 

A few nights later I had BBQ steak (no sauce) and added a coin of this butter (which by the way will keep in the fridge for a very long time!) and it was also delicious….although not as good as the pan fried one.

 

 

 

You try it and let me know your preference!

Enjoy!

love, peace and chicken grease,

– A Cooped Up Chick

 

 

I made a pie!!!!

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Desserts, July 2012

 

I have never, EVER, baked a pie before. I always thought of pie crust as a daunting and terrifying undertaking but while watching MasterChef the other day and seeing these ‘At Home’ cooks making pie crust WITHOUT A RECIPE I figured I sure could give ‘er a go WITH one. Right? I was still scared. So I reached out to all my FB friends and asked for recipes and/or tips. Pretty much requests to help me to get a decent pie into my pie hole.

These are some of the responses I got:

“You of all people have never made a pie? ridiculous! I don’t have one on me (a recipe) but I highly suggest looking for an apple crumble pie…you won’t have to roll out 2 pie crusts and it tastes amazing! Nothing is worse than a pie with too much crust…well maybe there is…hahaha.” BGS

“I make an awesome pie crust (it’s mom’s recipe). I’ll get for you when I get home. Most important thing is to keep it cold at all times and to handle it as little as possible.” JH

“Use a stainless steel bowl, put it in the freezer before you start, water and butter should ALL be as cold as possible, try to touch the dough as little as possible and it is delicious if you mix in crumbled extra old cheddar cheese, which crumbles perfectly if it has been in the freezer.” AB

“My mom makes killer apple pie. I couldn’t tell you the recipe, but she does slice the apples very thinly. What I can tell you is the rockin’ idea she came up with – butterscotch Chipits sprinkled in with the apples before the top crust goes on. Frig. Damn good.” SC

and from my dear sister:

“Well I wish you the best of luck with the pie, if you have questions call, it’s pretty easy, DO NOT OVER WORK THE DOUGH. oh and you have to make sure the bottom crust gets cooked because apples are so wet…. so cook it until the top browns and then put tin foil over the top so it won’t burn.”

I thank everyone for the tips because I used a bit from most of them and I think that is why the pie turned out SOOOO fabulous. I was very proud of my first attempt at pie baking. Next time I think i’ll add those butterscotch Chipits!

I used JH’s moms pie crust recipe.

What you will need:

 

 

 

2 Cups Flour
3/4 tsp Salt
1 Cup Cold Shortening
1 Egg
2 Tbsp Cold Water
1 Tbsp Vinegar

 

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. I know…that’s high. Just do it.

In a bowl add the first 2 ingredients. Cut in the cold shortening (Tip: put your shortening in the freezer for an hour and take a cheese grater and grate shortening into bowl.)

 

 

In a separate bowl (or mixing cup) add egg, water and vinegar. Pour into flour/shortening mixture. Blend with hands until JUST mixed. DO NOT OVERWORK.

 

 

 

 

Form into 2 balls, 1 for the bottom crust and one for the top.

 

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

 

 

 

In another bowl (Holy lot-of-dishes Batman!) place your sliced apples. I used 3 McIntosh and 2 Granny Smith.

 

 

In a small dish combine:

3/4 cup sugar

2 Tbsps cornstarch

1 tsp cinnamon

a pinch of ground nutmeg

a pinch of salt

 

 

Combine this with the sliced apples and set aside.

 

 

Remove one ball of dough from the fridge and roll to fit your pie plate. Some more advice given….roll out the dough on parchment paper, wax paper or plastic wrap. It makes it much easier to transfer to the pie plate. Next time i’ll try the Saran wrap. This time I used the parchment paper and it slid all over the countertop while I was attempting to roll it out. I had to use my spare tire (read: fat belly) to hold the edge of the paper against the corner of the counter to stop it from sliding. My son came out of his room, saw me and said “I’m not going to ask.” and turned around and left. I can only imagine what it looked like.

 

 

 

It kinda looks like the map of New Brunswick.

I had to do some patch work to the bottom crust…but it turned out fine.

 

 

 

 

Take the second ball of dough out of the fridge and roll out your top crust the same way. Place over the bottom crust that has been filled with the apples (place apples in crust by the handful. Do not add the water/juice that has accumulated at the bottom of the bowl. This will make your filling too wet and saturate your crust. BAD BAD BAD.) Poke air holes in your crust so it won’t explode all over your oven. I don’t really know if that’s why the holes are necessary but it sounded exciting so I went for it. I took an egg yolk and beat it with 1tsp water and brushed it over the top crust and then sprinkled it with a bit of granulated sugar. Not sure why but a website suggested it so I did it. If you ask me to touch my tongue to a flag pole in the dead of winter i’d probably do that too.

 

 

Now this is where things get tricky/scary/daunting.

Place your pie in the oven on the low rack . Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and move pie to middle rack. Bake for an additional 50-60 minutes. Check at around 30-40 minutes. If your crust is browned place tinfoil over the top of the pie because your bottom crust is not quite cooked yet and you do not want to burn your top crust.

 

 

Once done remove pie from oven. Now this is what my sister did NOT tell me until a few days later. LET THE PIE COOL before slicing. I let it rest for about 30 minutes…until we were done eating supper….and then I cut into the pie. It was rater mushy. Still tasty…but hadn’t “firmed” up yet.

 

 

A day later and it was absolutely perfect. As you can see I really really really like half frozen Cool Whip.

 

 

I hope this will help you improve your pie skills or to take the leap and attempt your first pie too!

Enjoy!

love, peace and chicken grease,

– A Cooped Up Chick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE Perfect Boiled Egg

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: July 2012

 

Sometimes a post is required, not for any fancy schmancy recipe, but just to let you know of a cooking tip.

I have struggled for years with boiled eggs. I LOVE them but they would always turn out with a bit of a green tinge to them and there is nothing more unappetizing then green eggs. Unless you have ham to go with them and then you have a story. Thank you Dr. Seuss.

 

So I was flipping through my copy of ‘What’s Cooking’ one day and they had an article on how to make the perfect hard boiled egg. That got me thinking…what about a soft boiled egg? Or a medium boiled egg? So I turned to trusty old Google and found this site

http://www.finecooking.com/articles/how-to/boil-eggs-perfectly.aspx

Let me tell you I will NEVER have green eggs again. These instructions are EASY and CLEAR.

The key is timing. First you add your eggs to a saucepan and add enough water to cover them by approximately 1 inch. Turn your element on to med-high and as soon as the water comes to a rolling boil start to time. Adjust the heat to retain a brisk simmer. I have read on other sites and in magazines to remove the pan from the heat once the boil starts but I find this is the perfect method to get them right every single time so I leave the pan on the heat.

For a soft boiled egg (whites are cooked but yolk is runny) cook for 2  minutes.

For a medium boiled egg (whites are cooked but yolk is moist and dense) cook for 4 1/2 minutes.

 

medium boiled egg

 

isn’t that GORGEOUS!

 

For a hard boiled egg (whites and yolks are solid) cook for 8 minutes.

 

Don’t you now want some eggs and toast? I know I do….so i’m going to make some!

 

medium boiled eggs with toast

 

Enjoy!

love, peace and chicken grease,

– A Cooped Up Chick

 

 

 

Asparagus Beef Stir Fry

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Beef Dishes, July 2012, Main Course

 

Oh my little blog babies…I am so sorry. I have been a neglectful blog Mama and have completely deserted you.

I have had a few wonderful and loyal readers approach me and ask what the hell happened, where did I go. I am embarrassed to say that life got in the way.  I went on vacation in May and lost the ooomph to cook and blog. Since the beginning of summer my dear son has decided to do a week at home and a week at his Dads and honestly when its just me I tend to eat a lot of toast. I am not as motivated to cook for just myself. I have to get out of that.

 

So here is a super duper easy but extra yummy recipe from Kraft. One of the things I like about most Kraft recipes is there are minimal ingredients. You will never see a Kraft recipe with 19 ingredients or asking for strange things that you can’t find at your local grocery store like dried shittake mushrooms. Simple=good (most of the time).

This one is really tasty.

What you will need:

stir fry, beef, asparagus, peppers, Kraft

1/3 cup Kraft Catalina Dressing
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 lb. beef sirloin steak, cut into thin strips (I used 2 decent sized steaks)
1 lb. fresh asparagus spears, cut diagonally into 2-inch lengths
1 red pepper, cut into strips
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2-2/3 cups hot cooked long-grain white rice
peppers, green onion, asparagus
beef
Heat the salad dressing and soy sauce on med-high heat in a large skillet or wok.
sauce
Add the beef and stir fry for 3 minutes.
beef, sauce
Add the peppers and asparagus. Stir fry another 5 minutes or until beef is done.
asparagus, peppers
Add the green onions (and I added a dash of chili flakes to incorporate a little heat with the sweet).
asparagus, peppers, sauce, beef, green onion, chili flakes
Serve on hot rice.
Asparagus Beef Stir Fry
SO simple. SO quick.
There is no question I will be making this again. It reminds me a little of a frozen dinner I used to buy a lot. It may or may not have been a version of a Michelena dinner but it has not been for sale around here for a few years and I really REALLY liked it. Its not so pretty once stirred up but I really enjoyed it.
I hope you do too.
Enjoy!
love, peace and chicken grease,
– A Cooped Up Chick

Edit: I now make this ALL the time but add a sprinkle of crushed red chili flakes to spice it up a little. It is one of my most favorite things to take to work for lunch/supper.