Winner, winner, chicken dinners

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Today we are going to look at the beginning and the end, the main dish and the dessert, the bookends to a meal. I have found several recipes for each of these courses and so I thought I would share them with you.

All of the entree and dessert recipes today are from the internet and sites I follow on Facebook. I follow way too many recipe sites on Facebook, but it is a good place to get ideas and material for this recipes column. If you have recipes you would like to share, send them to me and they could be in this column.

Not all of the recipes in this column will be printed, so be sure to go online to view the entire column.

North Alabama Style Pulled Chicken BBQ

* 5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts

* 1 tablespoon salt

* 1 teaspoon pepper

* 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

* 2 tablespoons brown sugar

* 1 tablespoon hot sauce

* 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (does not make it spicy)

Place chicken in slow cooker. Pour cider vinegar over and add salt and pepper. Cook on high, 4-5 hours or low, 8-9 hours. Use tongs to remove chicken from slow cooker, note that chicken will fall apart as you do this.

Take out 2 cups of liquid from the slow cooker and discard rest. To that two cups, add brown sugar, hot sauce, and pepper flakes. Stir. Put chicken back in slow cooker, pour sauce over, stir, and enjoy.

Notes: You do not have to shred this chicken. It will be so tender that it falls apart as you remove it from the slow cooker and the act of removing it and putting it back in with the final sauce is all you need to break it up.

Velvet Chicken

* 4 boneless chicken breast halves

* Salt and Pepper to taste

* 3 tablespoons butter

* 1 cup chicken broth

* 1/2 cup cream

To garnish: fresh basil and grape or cherry tomatoes

Melt butter in large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, salt and pepper. Cook until browned, then flip and salt and pepper again. Continue cooking until opposite side is brown.

Pour in chicken broth, reduce heat to medium, and cook until broth is mostly evaporated, about ten minutes. Once broth has cooked down, remove chicken from pan and turn off heat but leave pan on the stove eye. Have a wooden spoon handy and pour the cream into pan. Immediately start stirring and continue until the pan remnants are fully blended in with the cream and cream is warm and thick, just a few minutes.

Serve chicken with delicious cream sauce spooned over them. Garnish with sliced grape tomatoes and fresh basil.

Chicken-Bacon-Ranch Baked Penne

* 1 pound penne pasta, cooked and drained

* 2 cups shredded cooked chicken

* 1 jar (15 ounces) Alfredo pasta sauce

* 1/2 cup ranch dressing

* 6 slices chopped cooked bacon

* 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)

* Chopped parsley, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray 13x9-inch pan.

In large bowl, place 1 pound cooked and drained penne pasta, 2 cups shredded cooked chicken, 1 jar (15 ounces) Alfredo pasta sauce and 1/2 cup ranch dressing. Stir to combine. Pour mixture in pan; spread evenly. Sprinkle 6 slices chopped cooked bacon evenly over top, then sprinkle with 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 ounces). Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Baked Pork Chop with Parmesan Recipe

* 4 boneless pork chops, 1/2-inch thick

* 1 tablespoons olive oil

* 1 cup parmesan cheese

* 1 cup Italian bread crumbs

* 1 teaspoon black pepper

* 1 teaspoon garlic powder

On a plate combine the last 4 ingredients.

Rub the pork chops with olive oil and then dip (coat) each one in the cheese mixture. Press the mixture over the pork chops to make sure they are well covered in it. Line a pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Place the pork chops on the pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Everything Bagel Chicken

* 1 day-old everything bagel, torn

* 1/2 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs

* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

* 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

* 1/4 cup butter, cubed

* 1 pound chicken tenderloins

* 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pulse torn bagel in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Place 1/2 cup bagel crumbs in a shallow bowl; toss with panko, cheese and pepper flakes. (Save remaining bagel crumbs for another use.)

In a microwave-safe shallow bowl, microwave butter until melted. Sprinkle chicken with salt. Dip in warm butter, then coat with crumb mixture, patting to help adhere. Place on a greased rack in a 15x10x1-inch pan.

Bake until golden brown and chicken is no longer pink, 15-17 minutes. Yield: 4 servings.

Notes: One bagel will yield about 2 cups crumbs. The remaining crumbs would make a tasty topping for casseroles or used to bind meat loaves and meatballs.

For more impact, add dried minced onion and/or garlic powder to the crumb mixture.

Baking breaded foods on a rack allows the bottom to crisp up better. If you don't have a rack that will fit in your pan, you can also use a broiler pan with a rack.

Knock You Naked Bars

* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

* 1 teaspoon baking soda

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 1 cup butter, softened

* 3/4 cup sugar

* 3/4 cup packed brown sugar

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 2 eggs

* 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

* Caramel Sauce

* 5 ounces evaporated milk

* 1 bag (14 ounces) caramels

* 1/2 cup peanut butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread half of cookie dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven.

While the cookie dough is baking melt caramels and evaporated milk in a double boiler.

Add peanut butter after caramels are melted. Melt thoroughly. Spread over baked cookie dough base. With the remaining cookie dough, drop by spoonfuls on top of the caramel mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown.

Ooey Gooey Cherry Bars

For Crust:

* 2 cups all purpose flour

* 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temp

* 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

For Filling:

* 2 cups granulated sugar

* 4 large eggs

* 1/2 cup all purpose flour

* 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 1 teaspoon baking powder

* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

* 6 ounce jar maraschino cherries, drained and cut in half

* 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, optional

* Confectioners' sugar, for finishing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In medium mixing bowl, place crust ingredients. Cut butter into flour and confectioner's sugar with a pastry cutter or long tined fork, until well combined and crumbly. Press into 9x13 pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until just lightly browned on the edges. Remove from oven when done and reduce temperature to 325.

In same bowl (no need to wash it), place sugar, eggs, flour, salt, baking powder, and vanilla from filling ingredients. Stir together with a long spoon until smooth and creamy; batter will be thick. Stir in cherries and pecans until well incorporated. Spoon filling onto crust and spread to the edges. Bake until set, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Dust top with confectioner's sugar and cut into bars.

Lemon Burst Buttermilk Cake

* 3 cup all purpose flour

* 1 teaspoon baking powder

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

* 1 cup butter, softened

* 2 cup granulated sugar

* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

* 4 large eggs

* 4 large lemons, juiced and zested

* 3/4 cup buttermilk

Glaze:

* 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

* 1 tablespoon heavy cream

* 1 tablespoon lemon zest from lemons

* 2 tablespoons lemon juice from lemons

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 8 x 4 1/2 x 5-inch metal loaf pans with cooking spray. Set aside.

Sift together the all purpose flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla. Beat until creamy then add the eggs one at a time. Beating well after each addition.

Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoon of lemon zest for the glaze adding the rest to the creamed butter and eggs.

Mix together 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice with 3/4 cup buttermilk. Add to the mixing bowl alternately with the sifted dry ingredients. Beat until fully combined and all of the dry ingredients are fully moistened.

Divide the batter between the 2 loaf pans. Bounce the pans to release air bubbles. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center shows moist crumbs. Cool in the pan then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, mix together the powdered sugar, heavy cream, lemon zest and lemon juice until drizzling consistency. If needed add additional cream 1 teaspoon at a time to thin.

Drizzle the loaf with glaze, sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon zest, slice and serve.

Healthy Goulash

* 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

* 1 large onion, diced

* 1 tablespoon minced garlic

* 1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce

* 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

* 1 tablespoon paprika

* 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

* 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

* 1 (12 ounce) package frozen Green Giant zucchini noodles or about 2-3 cups fresh zoodles

* 2 cups frozen sliced okra

* Shredded cheddar cheese, toppings

In a large Dutch oven brown the ground beef over medium high heat until it is not longer pink. Drain the grease. Add the onions and garlic to the meat and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the tomato sauce, drained diced tomatoes, zucchini, okra, paprika, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Top with cheese before serving.

Outrageous Lemon Lovers Trifle

* 1 Lemon Burst Buttermilk Cake, recipe above, or use a store bought lemon cake of your choice

* 1/2 cup granulated sugar

* 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

* 1 (2.7 ounce) box Dream Whip

* 3 cup very cold whole milk, divided

* 2 (3.4 ounce) boxes instant lemon pudding mix

* 16 ounces frozen whipped topping or 4 cups fresh sweetened whipped cream

* 2 tablespoons grated white chocolate

Lemon slices and sprigs of fresh mint for garnishing

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat the granulated sugar and lemon juice together. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved then set aside to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer whip together the Dream Whip (The box contains 2 envelopes, use both) and 2 cups of cold whole milk. Whip for 5 minutes or until soft peaks form. Add both packages of lemon pudding and the remaining 1 cup of whole milk. Whip for 2-3 minutes until thickened.

To assemble, divide the cubed cake in half. Begin with a layer of cubed cake on the bottom of the trifle bowl. Brush with 1/2 of the lemon syrup. Add a layer of lemon cream and 1/2 of the whipped topping or cream. Repeat with cake, brush with lemon syrup, lemon cream ending with whipped topping.

Sprinkle the top with grated white chocolate and garnish with lemon slice and fresh mint if desired. Chill thoroughly for at least 4 hours prior to serving.

Notes: A bakery lemon pound cake may be substituted, if desired.

Chocaholic Lover's Cake

* 1 box chocolate cake mix

* 1 (3.4 ounce) package chocolate instant pudding mix

* 1 cup milk

* 1/2 cup sour cream

* 4 large eggs

* 1 cup chopped nuts

* 2 cups (12 ounces) regular or mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Glaze:

* 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate baking bar

* 1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

* 2 to 3 tablespoons milk

* 3 tablespoons butter

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-inch Bundt pan by spraying with cooking spray or smearing with solid shortening.

Combine cake mix, pudding mix, milk, sour cream, and eggs in large mixing bowl.

Beat on low speed until moistened and then on high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes and remove from pan onto cake plate.

For Glaze: Melt baking bar and butter over low heat in a heavy duty saucepan, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar and milk until thin enough to drizzle over cake. Add vanilla extract. Drizzle over top of cake.

Note: As a shortcut for the icing, use a can of store bought dark chocolate icing. Remove lid and seal and heat in microwave for 30-45 seconds, or until pourable. Stir well and then drizzle over finished cake.

Magic Lemon Cherry Cheesecake

* 1 box lemon cake mix, prepared according to directions

* 32 ounces Ricotta cheese

* 4 eggs

* 1 cup sugar

* 1 teaspoon vanilla

* 2 cans good quality double the fruit cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350. Pour prepared cake batter into a greased deep 9x13 baking dish. The pan will be full after the dessert is completely finished, so a deeper dish is better, if you have one.

In a large mixing bowl place ricotta, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until well combined. Drop this by spoonfuls over the top of the cake batter, trying to distribute as evenly as possible.

Place cake in oven for 1 hour, or until center springs back when pressed lightly with your finger. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool completely. Top with cherry pie filling. Then, cover and place in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled. Serve cold.

Have a great week, and until next time, happy cooking.

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