Stephanie’s Chicken Riggi’s

One of my best friend’s here is from upstate New York. I’ve known her for about three years now and throughout our friendship she has mentioned countless delicious sounding dinners that are common in New York. She’s always mentioned “Riggi’s” and how scrumptious they were, so when she offered me her recipe I did a little happy dance inside! I cannot wait to try my hand at these, or maybe I can get her to make them for me for the first time 😉 Thanks for the yummy recipe, Steph!

Ingredients:
* 2 lbs. cooked rigatoni pasta
* 2 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
* 1 large onion
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 can chicken broth (14 oz)
* 3 cloves minced garlic
* 6 to 8 hot red cherry peppers
* 1 c. grated parmesan cheese
* 1 1/2 stick butter
* 2 red and/or green bell peppers
* 1/2 cup good white wine
* 3/4 cup plain tomato sauce

Directions:
Dice chicken into 3/4 inch pieces, place in a bag with the flour and coat well. In a large pan melt butter and saute onions until translucent. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute more, add all other ingredients (except the pasta) and simmer about 1 hour. Pour over the cooked rigatoni and toss.

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The cast of characters

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Preparing the chicken

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Butter. Need I say more?

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Pour over cooked rigatoni and mix all together!

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One happy husband!

Oreo cupcakes with cookies and cream frosting

Good morning!
I’m getting together with one of my girlfriends today, and I thought what a perfect occasion it would be for to bake something fun. I immediately thought of something with chocolate, because what woman doesn’t love chocolate? Me included! I found this recipe and decided to give it a try! I am very happy to report that the cupcakes turned out awesome and the Oreo frosting is to die for!!!!

Cupcake Ingredients:
* 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
* 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 3/4 cup hot water
* 3/4 cup bread flour (all-purpose would also work, but it may yield a more dense cupcake)
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1/2 tsp. baking soda
* 6 tbsp. vegetable oil
* 2 large eggs
* 2 tsp. vanilla extract
* 2 tsp. white vinegar (trust me its the secret ingredient)!
* 1 package Oreo cookies (I always buy the double stuff ones)

Frosting Ingredients:
* 5 tbsp. all-purpose flour
* 1 cup milk
* 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
* 1 cup butter, softened
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup crushed Oreos (you can pulverize them in your food processor or blender or just crush them yourself with a mallet)

Directions:
Pre-heat your oven to 350F and line two cupcake pans with paper liners. I had enough batter for about 22 cupcakes, just line all the cups and then you can see where you’re at at the end with the batter.
In a large bowl, combine the semi-sweet chocolate, cocoa powder, and the 3/4 cup hot water. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and all of the chocolate has melted. Place this mixture in the fridge to chill for about 20 minutes.
In another large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.
When the chocolate mixture has cooled, whisk in the 6 tbsp. of oil, 2 eggs, 2 tsp. vinegar, and 2 tsp. vanilla into the cooled chocolate mixture.
Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and whisk until all the ingredients are incorporated.

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Place an Oreo on the bottom of each cupcake liner.

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Pour batter over each cookie and fill liner about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cupcake passes the toothpick test. Once done remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

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While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the frosting. In a small pan over medium low heat, combine the 5 tbsp. of flour and the cup of cold milk.

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Keep whisking your milk/flour mixture until it becomes VERY thick. I promise it will get there, you just have to whisk constantly for about 5 minutes.

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Place this mixture in the fridge and cool for about 20 minutes. You want to make sure that is cools completely.

When your flour/milk mixture has cooled completely, cream together the butter and sugar in your mixer. Once it’s well incorporated, add in the vanilla and mix for 30 more seconds. Now, you will add in the flour/milk mixture and mix on low for another 30 seconds. Next, turn your mixer on high and mix for about 3-5 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy. You want the mixture to resemble whipped cream, if it doesn’t then just keep mixing. Lastly, add in the crushed Oreos.

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Finally, you are ready to frost your cupcakes! Frost cupcakes generously and top with another Oreo or you can do what I did and top them big baby Oreos. I just thought the baby ones were cuter 🙂

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Bourbon Chicken

My mother in law shared this recipe with me, and it is tasty! My husband, who I have revealed in previous posts as not being a huge chicken fan, even loves it. Definitely a must try and is a staple in my recipe rotation.

Ingredients:
* 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts; cut into bite size pieces
* 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
* 1 garlic clove crushed or 1 tbsp. garlic powder
* 1/4 tsp. ginger
* 3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like things)
* 1/4 cup apple juice
* 1/3 cup light brown sugar
* 2 tbsp. ketchup
* 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
* 1/2 cup water
* 1/3 cup soy sauce
* 1 tbsp. corn starch

Directions:
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned. Remove chicken and set aside.

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Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium heat until well blended and dissolved. Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.

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Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.

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The sauce will continue to develop and get thicker as it simmers.

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Serve over hot brown rice and vegetables. This is also good mixed all together and stir fried the next day, delicious!

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Baked Penne and Smoked Sausage

Here’s another recipe from my trip to CO! We all loved this and gobbled it right up, Paisley ate 3 servings! Thanks Cousin Kent for a new staple recipe in our house!

Ingredients:
* (1) 16 oz. package smoked sausage (the one that’s oval looking and is usually found near the bacon)
* (1) can of cream of celery soup ( 10 3/4 oz).
* 1 1/2 cups milk
* 8 oz. penne pasta cooked to al dente
* 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
* 1 1/2 cups French’s French fried onions
* 1 cup frozen peas

Directions:
Heat oven to 375F. Cut sausage into 1/4 inch pieces and fry in a skillet until brown. Remove from skillet and place on paper towels to drain.

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Combine soup and milk in a casserole dish (I used an 8 x 11- inch dish). Stir in sausage, pasta, 1/2 cup cheese, 1/2 cup French fried onions, and all the peas.

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Bake in your preheated oven 30 minutes, or until heated through; stir. Top with remaining cheese and onions, bake 3 more minutes until golden brown and cheese is melted.

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Serve with crusty French bread, and a nice side salad.

The best peach cobbler!

When I was in Colorado we went to a a Farmer’s market and got some awesome fresh peaches! My cousin made the most delicious peach cobbler I’ve ever had and I just have to share it with you!

Ingredients:

Filling-
* 8 fresh medium peaches, peeled and sliced
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1 tsp. cinnamon
* 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
* 1 tsp. vanilla extract
* 1 tbsp. flour

Crust-
* 1 1/2 cups flour
* 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
* 1 tsp. baking soda
* 6 tbsp. granulated sugar
* 6 tbsp. butter (cut into cubes)
* 1 cup milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Start by making the filling for the cobbler, by combining 1 tbsp. flour, 1 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla in a large bowl. Gently toss peaches in mixture until well coated. Transfer to a well greased baking dish (she used a 9 x 13-inch pan).
Next, mix dry ingredients for the crust in a medium bowl. Cut in butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add milk. Stir until mixture looks like a soft dough. Spread dough evenly on top of peaches.
Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes; until peaches are bubbly and crust is golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

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The cobbler before baking.

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Hot out of the oven.

Homemade soft white bread

A Happy Friday morning to you! This week to go along with the rain I decided to make a big meal of spaghetti and meatballs, salad, and homemade bread! I will post the spaghetti and meatballs a bit later, but this post is for the bread 🙂 I am still a bit new to making my own bread, I have a fabulous recipe in my collection, however it takes about 6 hours from start to finish. I don’t really have that kind of time on my hands and usually take on my cooking/baking projects during the two hour nap time window when Paisley goes down. So, I have been on a bit of a bread hunt, I’ve tried a few bread recipes, some have been pretty good and others have ended in disaster! I won’t get into it, but lets just say my 9 x 13-inch pan was a causality in one of my bread flops…
Anyways, I found this bread recipe and its very good, straight forward and simple as far as bread recipes go. This is a softer bread, more like a sandwich bread, than a crusty French bread. Like I previously mentioned, I served it with pasta and it was perfect for the occasion. I only buy wheat bread from the store, so when I make bread it’s a treat since my family doesn’t get white bread very often. I am curious about trying out some wheat bread versions, I just honestly haven’t had the time. Hopefully this winter I’ll be able to try some different ones. For now though, here is a good white bread recipe 🙂

Ingredients:
* 3 cups luke-warm water
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 1/2 tbsp. active dry yeast
* 1/3 cup oil
* 1 tbsp. salt
* 7-8 cups all-purpose/ bread flour. (The original recipe calls for ground white wheat flour but I just used bread flour. Next time I’m going to give the wheat flour a try! Also you may need more flour, I used probably closer to 8-9 cups, it just depends on the flour used).

* Makes two loaves*

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the sugar into the luke-warm water, and then add in the yeast. At first the yeast will fall into the bottom of your bowl, but after a few minutes it will begin to rise to the surface and activate. Let this sit for 10 minutes. Add the oil. Then, add the dry ingredients, starting with the flour. Start off slow at first with the flour, maybe 6 cups to begin and then see how it is once you begin to mix it up. Remember you can always add more, but you can’t take it away once it’s in there. Knead the dough, you will need to knead it for about 7 or so minutes. You want your dough to be smooth, elastic, just a little sticky, and pull easily away from the side of the bowl. Like I mentioned earlier, add more flour until the dough is the desired consistency.
Oil a large bowl and place your dough into it, turning up once (so that the oiled side is on the top). This will preven the dough from sticking to the bowl. Cover the bowl of dough with a slightly damp cloth and place it in a warm spot. The dough will take an hour (more or less, depending how warm your kitchen is) to double in bulk.
Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans and set aside. After an hour punch the dough down and divide the dough into your two loaf pans. Cover once more and let rise until the dough is just an inch or two above the top of your pans. This will take about 40 minutes or so.
When your dough has almost risen fully, preheat your oven to 375F. Bake your loaves for 25 minutes, the tops should be golden brown and have risen above your pans. Remove the baked loaves from their pans immediately, and set on a cooling rack to cool. Serve warm with butter and honey, mmm!
* I have yet to try it, but apparently bread dough, and the bread itself freeze well when placed in a ziploc bag * 🙂

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The dough after being kneaded.

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The dough in the greased bowl getting ready to be covered up!

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The dough after rising the first time, divided and placed into the two loaf pans.

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Risen dough, ready for the oven!

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The bread fresh out of the oven.

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Ta-da! The bread all ready to be gobbled up by hungry husband’s and children!

Baked “Fried” Chicken

So, my husband is not a chicken guy. He’s a real red meat and potatoes kind of man and its taken him quite awhile to come around to liking chicken. He’s also very picky on the kind he will eat, it has to be 100% trimmed and no bones in sight. We tried a few months back, KFC’s boneless fried chicken and he really enjoyed it! So, when I came across this chicken recipe claiming to be “KFC’s secret recipe” I knew I had to give it a shot!
It actually turned out really well, especially for being baked in the oven and not tossed into a deep fryer. The smell of oil permeating through the house really makes my stomach churn and I try and stay away from cooking fried foods at home as much as possible. So this recipe really appealed to me, and it was a hit with our little one too!

Ingredients:
* 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips or you can just buy chicken tenderloin strips
* milk
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1 tbsp. season salt
* 3/4 tsp. pepper
* 1 cup flour
* 2 tsp. paprika
* 1/2 stick of butter (for melting in the bottom of the pan)

Directions:
Place thawed chicken breasts/strips into a bowl and cover with milk. I know it sounds gross but just trust me! Let the chicken soak for 20-30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Mix the dry ingredients in a large ziploc bag and coat each strip with the mixture. Put your butter in an 8×11 inch baking dish and pop in the oven for a few minutes, until the butter is completely melted and is coating the bottom of the dish. Remove your dish and place your coated chicken strips into the dish, side by side.
Cook for 20 minutes and then flip your strips and cook for another 20 minutes. Check for done ness, the chicken should be a beautiful golden brown color! Serve with BBQ sauce, ranch, or any other favorite dipping sauces.

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I’ve made this dish twice now, this last time I just did whole breasts but Josh preferred the strips, so I’ll make those next time.