Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chicken & Sausage in your Crock Pot!

Well, friendly friends, this recipe is nothing special. It was a hot meal on a cold, wet night, and that's about all I can say for it. It was moist and tasty, but not especially flavorful or delicious. Anyway, I don't think I'll make it again, but it was simple and hearty, so it might suit your purposes quite well.

You will need:
Two bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts.
Two large carrots.
One pound kielbasa
One large onion
Two cups of chicken broth
Three cloves of garlic, minced
Salt, pepper, thyme, red pepper, and olive oil.

First thing, chop up your onion. Stick it on a plate and get it out of the way.

Next, dry your breasts with a paper towel so that they'll brown properly. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

In a medium-large skillet, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil (or vegetable oil, or canola oil, or whatever oil) over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Place your breasts in the pan and brown them on both sides, about two minutes per side. Remove, and set aside.

Throw your onion in the skillet and cook it over medium-low heat for about ten minutes, until soft.

Toss in two cups of chicken broth and stir to remove any yummy brown bits from the bottom of the skillet.

Add in the garlic, half a teaspoon of red pepper, and two teaspoons dried thyme, and stir. Bring to a simmer.

Put your breasts in your crock pot. P.S. Do you know about crock pot liners? Reynolds Wrap makes them, and they're amazing. I'll never go back to an unlined crock pot again. It's no mess, I don't have to clean and scrub and scrub and clean the ceramic part, and they create a better seal with the lid for keeping the heat in. Awesome.

So, put your breasts in the pot.

Chop up your kielbasa.

And chop your carrot, too.

Pour the onions and broth over the top of the breasts.

Toss in the kielbasa and carrots. Cook on low heat for three hours.

Sorry this picture is so dark. The flash overexposed it, but it was dark in the kitchen and there wasn't much I could do. Anyway, enjoy it!

Takes about 30 minutes of prep plus three hours of cook time.
Serves four.
Difficulty: 2.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Gorgeous, Delicious Bread

So, I planned to make a new crock pot recipe this week (look for it on Wednesday or Thursday), and the cookbook recommended I serve it with a crusty bread. And just a couple weeks ago, the King Arthur Flour blog (my baking blog/flour brand of choice) posted a recipe for a crusty loaf that looked ridiculously easy. And guess what?

It was.

I didn't plan to post the recipe here, so I didn't take any pictures of the process, but you can find step-by-step instructions and the recipe at But after I baked the bread this morning and sliced into it this afternoon, and then subsequently devoured the entire loaf and didn't leave any for dinner, I figured I should probably post it, because it's AMAZING.

So, thanks, KAF, for this delicious, simple, amazing bread. Now go forth, and make it immediately.

You will need:
A big freaking bowl.
A wooden spoon.

I don't know what the difference is between instant yeast and active dry yeast, but active dry is what I keep in my fridge and what I will always use. KAF noted that they used instant yeast for this recipe, but I went with my standard Red Star active dry, and I had excellent results.

So anyway, in your big freaking bowl, combine 32 ounces of flour (two pounds, or six and a half to seven and a half cups), one and a half tablespoons of yeast, one tablespoon of salt, and three cups of lukewarm water.

Stir, stir, stir until it all comes together. I got in there with my hands for a couple minutes. And then cover it with a towel and walk away. Let it rise for a couple hours at room temp, and then stick it in the fridge for at least two hours, and up to a week or so.

When you're ready to make the bread, reach in and pull out a big handful of dough. Shape it into a ball or a loaf and slap it on a lightly greased baking sheet and let it rise for an hour. It won't rise upwards very much, but it'll come to room temperature and settle nicely.

Preheat your oven to 450F and slice the bread with a sharp knife. Put a shallow pan on the lowest rack of your oven, and get one cup of hot water ready to go.

When it's time, put the bread in the oven and pour the hot water into the shallow pan on the bottom. Shut the oven door quickly! The water will steam, and the steam will settle on the bread, and it'll make for a nice, crunchy, chewy crust. Mmmmm....

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the bread is a deep golden brown. Then let it cool on a rack and slice into it. And enjoy it!

I baked mine for 34 minutes, which was probably a touch too long, and my crust got just a tiny bit burned on the top. But friends, I can't even tell you how delicious this bread is. It's dense, chewy, moist, flavorful, and excellent in every way. Oh, and when I put it on the cooling rack, it started making adorable little crackling noises! Precious.

P.S. If you're not planning to bake all the dough at once, you should probably cover your dough with plastic wrap or something to keep it from totally drying out.

Now...ready for pictures? Look how pretty my bread is!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Simple Baked Chicken

This recipe is so simple that I'm not even sure it qualifies as a recipe, but my boss told me she'd fire me and then punch me in the face if I didn't put a new recipe up soon. So anyway, the deal is that I just haven't cooked a single new thing this month because we wanted to start the year off with comfort and familiarity.

So anyway, here's the easiest way to make chicken ever.

Preheat your oven to 450F.

Take a couple chicken breasts and stick them on a cookie sheet.

Brush them with a little melted butter...

...and then some salt and pepper. Bake them for about 30 minutes. The end.

Like I said, a little too simple to even be called a recipe. But yummy!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

This is the house that Jess built!

Hi folks!

I've got a new recipe on the way (although it's so simple that I'm not even sure I can call it a recipe), but for now, here are some pictures of my house!

So I took this picture a couple weeks ago, but it hasn't changed much since then. They've done a lot of work on the inside, but not much on the outside.

This is near the 10th-ish of January, before they put the shingles on.
Building the roof...
Annnnd, before there was any roof at all! It's been a very quick process, much quicker than we anticipated. We think we'll probably move in around the middle of March, and then you can all come over and play!

Lots of love,