Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Honey of a Meal

So yesterday was not a great work day. It was stressful and I came home grumpy and irritated and wanting wine, lots and lots of wine. To top it off, I got home and realized I forgot to put the damn trash can up and the dogs had a field day with it. GAH! Thankfully it was practically empty so the mess wasn't too horrible but it was still the last thing I wanted to deal with when I got home. I decided I wanted something quick and easy and that I could make while roasting up all the lovely veggies I bought last week. That's when I remembered that I hadn't made honey mustard chicken in a while and that would be super easy to make once the veggies were all prepped and in the oven. The larger roasting venture included 6 peppers, 5 zucchini and 2 onions. That's for sandwiches and salads and where ever else I can use them for the next few days. For dinner, I roasted broccoli and zucchini. I simply tossed the chopped veggies in salt garlic powder, parmesan cheese and olive oil and threw them in a 400 F oven. I also did a pan of new potatoes. Those were cut in half and tossed with salt, onion powder, and olive oil before getting tossed into a second pan and topped with chopped onion and strips of bacon. On to the chicken. I cut 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves into large strips and tossed them into a mixture of raw honey, yellow mustard, garlic powder and salt.  I let them sit and stew for a few before tossing into a hot pan with a little olive oil. You can leave the breasts whole if you want but I would suggest getting them prepped well ahead of time so they have more time to stew in the sauce before you cook them.I cut them because I knew they would only have a few minutes before hitting the pan. Once the chicken was cooked through I gave the sauce a little tastes and added more mustard and garlic. It was a tad too sweet. Once everything was the way I like it, the veggies were done and it was time to eat! YUM!

Erika's Honey Mustard Chicken

 (all measurements are approximate)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 C honey
2 Tbs yellow mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 Tbs garlic powder
2 Tbs oil

Combine honey, mustard, salt and garlic powder in a bowl and toss with chicken breasts. Allow to marinade for 20 minutes if breasts are whole. For shorter marinading cut chicken into strips.

Heat oil in a large saute pan. When hot, add chicken and marinade. Cook until chicken is cooked through. Serve Hot.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Do You Know the Muffin Man?

Ok, so here's the thing. I really, really, REALLY dig blueberry muffins. When I was a kid we used to love to make the boxed ones that came with the little can of wild Maine blueberries. So delicious with the sweet, purple stained muffin matrix surrounding those tart berries. I have always wanted to be able to re-create them at home. Admittedly, those Maine blueberries are key and are only available at the end of July, early August IF you are lucky enough to find them. I am not a big fan of the muffins at the grocery store or any of the coffee shops. Sure they are tasty, but am I the only one who finds them grossly oversized? Even the nutrition information on them says that 1 muffin is 2 servings - sometimes even 2.5 servings. Who the hell shares a muffin? Left over muffin sucks. So, you either waste half or eat way too much (I am guilty of the latter. Every. Time.). My attempts to bake muffins at home, where I can control the size and sweetness have never been really successful. They always seemed too dense and heavy. This weekend, since I had a lazy Sunday, a pint of blueberries in my freezer from the summer, and a new oven to break in, I decided to give muffin baking another shot. I had stumbled across a recipe claiming to be the BEST! Yeah, we will see about that. I had been made that promise before with a peach cobbler that was FAR from being even remotely good. Anyway, the ingredient list looked promising so I gave it a shot. This time I will concede, the muffins came out pretty damn good. They certainly were the best I had ever made. The recipe did not make a huge batch either, which was kind of nice since there was less chance for waste. I absolutely abhor wasting food. It turned out 6 large (not Jumbo) muffins with enough batter leftover to fill a custard ramekin. The muffins were light and moist with just the right sweetness for me. A sprinkle of turbinado sugar on the top added a nice crunch too. So, I highly recommend giving these babies a try.

Blueberry Muffins
(recipe Courtesy of: Yammie's Noshery
2/3 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon vanilla butter emulsion (optional)
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup blueberries
Turbinado sugar for the top (optional)

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Place muffin liners in a muffin/cupcake pan.

Combine the sugar, egg, oil, milk, vanilla emulsion, and vanilla in a bowl and stir until well combined.

In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt.  Once combined, stir dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Don't over-mix.

Stir in the sour cream just until well distributed. Fold in the blueberries.

Evenly distribute the batter in the muffin tin. Sprinkle the tops with the turbinado sugar.

Bake muffins for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you're using frozen berries it will take about 5 minutes longer.