Thursday, April 17, 2014

Muffin Tin Drop Biscuits

Okay, folks... we are going extremely easy on these breakfast favorites... as in - four ingredients!  And if you think you are going to have to get all "artsy" here with kneading, and rolling, and cutting out biscuits, you can think again.  Who has time for THAT in the mornings?!  Certainly not me.  All you do for these biscuits is dump, mix, and drop them into the wells of a muffin tin.  I have complete faith that you can do that.  Besides, the batter is so ooey, gooey that I doubt you could roll it out if you wanted to.  

I remembered the other day that a high school friend's mom used to make biscuits using Sprite.  So I started digging, and it seems that this recipe is all over the place!  I have no idea who came up with it.  My kids thought I was crazy when I told them what was in them.

The texture seemed to me to be sort of a cross between a biscuit and a muffin.  Not as dry and crumbly as a traditional biscuit.  More moist and tender.  Then, for the ones we had left over from breakfast, we split them and made old fashioned strawberry shortcakes for dessert after dinner that night.  I'd say that was a home run!  There was not one left!  The kids no longer think it's that crazy.  HaHa!

Print this recipe!

Ingredients:  (10 biscuits)
  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup cold Sprite (or other lemon lime soda)
Step-by-Step:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Dump all the ingredients together. 
2 cups Bisquick
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup melted but not too hot butter (the regular, salted kind)
1 cup cold Sprite
So what you see here appears to be a wet, gooey mess.  Yep.  Me, too.  There's no way I would attempt to roll this mess out.  Plus, I've got four kids to get off to school.  These are going to be dropped by the spoonful.  End of discussion.
I inherited a set of these silicone muffin cups.  They are the size of standard muffin tin wells.  I'm going to try them out on this recipe.  If you are using a traditional, aluminum muffin pan, I'd spray them first.  For the silicone ones, I'm not going to prepare them with anything.  I'm confident they will pop out. 

I popped them into the oven at 425 degrees F for about 15 minutes.  Uncovered, of course.  This was the result.  Tender.  Light.  Moist, and delicious!  
You see how rough and uneven and lumpy they looked as batter?  Well somehow, magically, they pretty much evened out in the oven and turn into beautiful swans!  Don't ask me how.  I'm just the messenger.  
Optional - When they come out of the oven, try brushing the tops with melted butter,  or melted butter and honey.  Or for a savory biscuit, try melted butter and garlic!

I hope you enjoyed this simple and delicious recipe!

There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.

Connect with me.    
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.

Here are some bonus recipes for you!
Breakfast Casserole 

Ham Cups 

Funky Monkey Morning Smoothies 

Black Iron Skillet Deep Dish Pizza 

Spicy Fried Cauliflower Bites 

Cajun Chicken Salad 

Written Method:  
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Dump all the ingredients together and mix to combine.  Drop by the spoonful into prepared muffin tins.  If using standard aluminum muffin tins, prepare with cooking spray.  Bake at 425 degrees F for about 15 minutes uncovered or until golden brown.  Optional - brush the tops with melted butter when they come out of the oven.  Or melted butter and honey.  Or for a savory biscuit, try melted butter and garlic!

Oh.. and to turn them into strawberry shortcakes, that's super easy too.  Slice your strawberries and add a couple spoons of sugar to taste (to start drawing out the juices).  Get a pint of heavy whipping cream really cold, and whip it with a hand mixer in a metal bowl with a bit of really good vanilla and a few spoons of powdered sugar until you have a glorious whipped topping.  Whip until you have a good peak, but don't go too long, or you will have butter.. ha!  Layer the biscuit, whipped cream, strawberries... biscuit, cream, berries again.  Voila!  :)  Messy and wonderful!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Easy Cajun Chicken Pasta Bake

As many of you know, we just moved into a new house.  And it seems that we now have a continual swarm of random teenagers over on any given evening.  Am I complaining?  NOPE!  I love knowing where my kids are, and with whom.  I love knowing that they are choosing to be here, and that they are bringing their friends over.  But goodness gracious, they eat... a LOT. 

Well if you are feeding a small swarm of your own, this easy recipe may do the trick.  It's super easy, goes a long ways, and we all know that pasta is a pretty economical way to stretch your budget.  The list of ingredients is most likely things you probably already have, so that's a big bonus!  This recipe does have a bit of a kick to it, so feel free to adjust the heat to your preference.  I was not in the mood for anything bland when I made it.  The verdict?  Two thumbs up from the teens!  :)

Print this Recipe!

Ingredients:  (6 - 8 servings)
  • 4 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup mixed color bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can "mild" Ro-tel tomatoes, with juice
    • control heat here.  There are hotter varieties.
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 - 3 tsp Creole seasoning
    • control heat here.  
    • Use 2 tsp for less heat,  3 tsp for more heat.
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions, plus more for garnish
  • 3 - 4 cups cooked chicken, white and dark meat, in bite-sized pieces
  • 16 oz pkg egg noodles, boiled and drained according to package directions
  • 2 cups shredded Colby-Monterrey Jack cheese blend
  • optional crunchy topping ideas
    • tortilla strips
    • seasoned bread crumbs or Panko bread crumbs
    • crushed Ritz crackers
Step-by-Step:  
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  We'll start by heating up some 1 Tbsp canola oil and 2 Tbsp butter.  You'll need a large pan for this.  I chose a 12" pan with rather deep sides.  I didn't want the strong flavor of olive oil for this one.   
Once the oil and butter are sizzling, add in the chopped peppers and onions.   You can save yourself quite a bit of time here by using peppers and onions that you have already chopped and frozen.  Not only do you not have to chop them, but they will cook down a lot faster.
Now add in your crimini (baby bella) mushrooms.  Once the liquid in the bottom is all "used up," I added the other 2 Tbsp butter.  Give these all a few minutes to saute so the flavors can marry together.

While your veggies are cooking down, you need to have your water going for your pasta.  Cook them according to package directions for al dente (about 7 minutes).  They will cook more in the oven. 


Here's where you just start dumping things together.  Cream of celery soup.  Cream of chicken soup.
A can of Ro-Tel tomatoes.  I used the "mild" version.  There are hotter ones.  You could really super charge this recipe with heat, but I wasn't really looking for THAT much heat, just a nice kick.  Notice, I'm not draining the tomatoes first.  We are going to need all this liquid.
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder, then 2 - 3 tsp Creole seasoning.  Here's another opportunity to control your heat.   
*If you don't want heat in your dish, or are cooking for small children, consider using more garlic powder and substituting plain salt and pepper rather than Creole seasoning.  Or even try 1 tsp and try a "taste as your go" method of seasoning.
 
Here we go with our main liquids:  1 cup of milk, 1 can of chicken broth.  
Add in your chopped green onions, bring to a boil, then add in your 3 - 4 cups cooked chicken.   At the point where you add the chicken, turn off the heat.  You don't want the chicken to cook more than it has to, as it's already done.  We don't want it all dried out.
Let me take this opportunity to say you could add your protein of choice here.  One of my kids suggested that crawfish would great in this dish.  Someone else suggested shrimp.  Cooked roast pork would be great.  I'm a huge advocate of making a recipe your own, so go for it!  :)

Add the cooked, drained pasta to the sauce.  If you would prefer a different type of pasta, go for it!  I felt the egg noodles would hold the sauce well without soaking it up too much, making it dry.  If it looks too soupy right now, don't worry.... pasta is thirsty.  It will indeed soak in some sauce.  Now you can see why I started with such a large pan.
Add the contents of your pan to a greased casserole dish.  Garnish with more green onions if you'd like.  Or if you are in a big hurry, you could even leave it in the first pan if it's oven safe, making it a one-pot meal!  
Alright, I'm going out on a limb here, but that's what I do.  I love a bit of crunch on my food.  We seem to be a family divided on this issue.   We are the crunchy lovers, and the "nots."  So I am going to add some crunch to half of the casserole dish.  I got to thinking of some ways folks usually top their casseroles..... bread crumbs, Panko, cracker crumbs... but there staring at me from the shelf were these brightly colored tortilla strips.  Oh yes - this was going to happen.  Color, crunch, and that salty, corny flavor!   I always tell you, play with your food!   Feel free to leave it naked if you are crunchy aversive.  It's your meal.
Now I'm going to smother this thing in cheese.  Yep yep yep!
A bit more green onions, and we are ready to bake this baby.  It almost did not fit in the casserole dish.  This is a seriously large amount of food, folks!  This would be great for bringing to a pot luck, for having a group of people over from your church group, block party, or family.. or a swarm of hungry teenagers!  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes.  I did not cover it. 
For serving to the NON-teens, this sure goes nicely with a glass of wine!
Here's the inside.  Like I said, this is a LOT of food!  Chicken, veggies, mushrooms, pasta....
Serve this with a nice salad and some garlic bread and you are all set for the troops!!!  

If you do not need to cook for a swarm of people, you might consider portioning this out into two separate meals.  Casseroles such as this freeze beautifully.  For freezing one, cool first and freeze unbaked.  Thaw overnight in the fridge.  Remove about 30 - 45 minutes before baking it.  You will probably need to bake it 55 - 60 minutes or until the center reaches about 165 degrees. 


I hope you enjoyed this simple and delicious recipe!
There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.

Connect with me.    
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.

Here are some bonus recipes for you!
Oven Baked Fajitas 

Coconut Lime Chicken 

Crock Pot Beef and Broccoli 

Parmesan Zucchini Gratin 

Stuffed Pork Chops 

French Onion Soup 

Strawberry Cream Cheese Cobbler 

Written Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  We'll start by heating up some 1 Tbsp canola oil and 2 Tbsp butter.  You'll need a large pan for this.  I chose a 12" pan with rather deep sides.   Once the oil and butter are sizzling, add in the chopped peppers and onions.   Now add in your crimini (baby bella) mushrooms.  Once the liquid in the bottom is all "used up," I added the other 2 Tbsp butter.  Give these all a few minutes to saute so the flavors can marry together.  While your veggies are cooking down, you need to have your water going for your pasta.  Cook them according to package directions for al dente (about 7 minutes).  They will cook more in the oven. 
 
Here's where you just start dumping things together.  Cream of celery soup.  Cream of chicken soup.  A can of Ro-Tel tomatoes.  Notice, I'm not draining the tomatoes first.  We are going to need all this liquid.  1 1/2 tsp garlic powder, then 2 - 3 tsp Creole seasoning.  1 cup of milk, 1 can of chicken broth.  

Add in chopped green onions, bring to a boil, then add 3 - 4 cups cooked chicken.   At the point where you add the chicken, turn off the heat.  You don't want the chicken to cook more than it has to.  Add the cooked, drained pasta to the sauce, then add the contents of your pan to a greased casserole dish.  Garnish with more green onions if you'd like. 

I love a bit of crunch on my food.  So I am going to add some crunch to half of the casserole dish.  I got to thinking of some ways folks usually top their casseroles..... bread crumbs, Panko, cracker crumbs... but staring at me from the shelf were these brightly colored tortilla strips.  Feel free to leave it naked if you are crunchy aversive.  Add your cheese and a bit more green onions to the top, and we are ready to bake.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes. 

If you do not need to cook for a swarm of people, you might consider portioning this out into two separate meals.  Casseroles such as this freeze beautifully.  For freezing one, cool first and freeze unbaked.  Thaw overnight in the fridge.  Remove about 30 - 45 minutes before baking it.  You will probably need to bake it 55 - 60 minutes or until the center reaches about 165 degrees. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Honey Soy Baked Sticky Chicken

My friend Mona is always talking about making sticky thighs.  Each time she does, it makes me giggle.  Down here in the south, sticky thighs is what happens to us when the the weather turns warm, right?  Well regardless, this morning, her recipe for sticky thighs inspired me to make some sticky chicken of my own.  I love Asian influenced flavors, so I was fairly certain this would work for my family.

My family prefers chicken breasts to thighs, but I'm completely certain that this would work for your favorite chicken pieces - white or dark, bone in/skin on, or boneless.   You would just obviously need to adjust your cooking times to accommodate.   This glaze comes together in only a few minutes and the chicken can marinate in it while you are at work in a zip top bag.  Then just bake, baste, and garnish!


Ingredients:   
  • 1/2 c mild flavored honey
  • 1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
  • juice of 2 small limes (or 1 large juicy lime)
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp black sesame seeds
  • nice pinch of kosher salt
  • up to 6 pieces of chicken
  • garnishes
    • crispy fried wontons
    • green onions, sliced thin 


Step-by-Step:   Prepare the marinade by mixing together the first 9 ingredients.  Adjust the flavors as you like.  I'm starting with 1/2 cup of a mild flavored honey. 

 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce.  Fee free to use regular if you feel you need more salt.
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced + 1/2 tsp black pepper.  In a pinch, I suppose dried ginger powder would work alright, too.  I would cut back to perhaps half the amount and taste it first.
The juice of 2 limes.  My limes were small and a not very juicy, that's why I used two.   Plus 1/8 tsp of red pepper flakes. Obviously you can control or amp up the heat here.
1/4 tsp each of white and black sesame seeds.  Feel free to use more if you'd like.  They look beautiful in the glaze.
 

Place the chicken pieces in a gallon sized zip top bag.  If you are using boneless, skinless chicken, trim the chicken of any extra fat.  Pour the marinade over the chicken and close up the bag removing any extra air.  This will allow the marinade to come into contact completely with the chicken.   You can throw it in the refrigerator and allow it to marinate for a good long while, or for just 30 minutes or so if you are needing them, like... pronto!


When you are ready to bake the chicken, spray your baking dish with cooking spray and add the chicken and the marinade.  Bake on about 350 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 160 - 162 in the thickest part of the meat without touching a bone.  Use a digital thermometer.  The USDA recommends 165, but remember, the temp will continue to rise several degrees even after you pull it out.  If you are cooking chicken with the skin on, I recommend cooking skin side down first, then turning up about halfway through.  Baste the chicken about every 10 minutes with the marinade.  
 


 

While the chicken is baking, cut some wontons into thin strips and fry in a shallow pan of oil until light golden.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain; and lightly sprinkle with salt.    *You can find these most likely in your grocer's produce section.
I'm using canola oil.

When I pulled out the chicken, I covered the chicken with aluminum foil, but combined the extra marinade from the bottom of the baking dish with a slurry of cold water and cornstarch.  I brought it to a boil for about 4 - 5 minutes and reduced it to a nice silky syrup.  This was the glaze I used when I served the chicken.  
Plate by adding some more glaze, some thin slices of green onions (or cilantro), and some of the crispy fried wontons.  The crunch of the wontons is great with the chicken!!!   You could also serve with a wedge of fresh lime, but I ran out.  If you are wondering what is in the bowl, it is an Asian chopped salad/slaw with ginger sesame dressing.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe for Sticky Chicken!
There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.

Connect with me.    
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.

Here are some bonus recipes for you!
Sparkle Peach Martinis 


Roast Chicken and Mushroom Cannelloni 


Prosciutto and Gruyere Stuffed Chicken Breasts 


Tiramisu 


Oriental Cole Slaw 


One Pot Skillet Lasagna 


Caprese Stuffed Burgers 


Written Method:   
Prepare the marinade by mixing together the first 8 ingredients.  Adjust the flavors as you like.  

Place the chicken pieces in a gallon sized zip top bag.  If you are using boneless, skinless chicken, trim the chicken of any extra fat.  Pour the marinade over the chicken and close up the bag removing any extra air.  This will allow the marinade to come into contact completely with the chicken.   You can throw it in the refrigerator and allow it to marinate for a good long while.

When you are ready to bake the chicken, spray your baking dish with cooking spray and add the chicken and the marinade.  Bake on about 350 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 160 - 162 in the thickest part of the meat without touching a bone.  Use a digital thermometer.  The USDA recommends 165, but remember, the temp will continue to rise several degrees even after you pull it out.  If you are cooking chicken with the skin on, I recommend cooking skin side down first, then turning up about halfway through.  Baste the chicken about every 10 minutes with the marinade.  

While the chicken is baking, cut some wontons into thin strips and fry in a shallow pan of oil until light golden.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain; and lightly sprinkle with salt.  

When I pulled out the chicken, I covered the chicken with aluminum foil, but combined the extra marinade from the bottom of the baking dish with a slurry of cold water and cornstarch.  I brought it to a boil for about 4 - 5 minutes and reduced it to a nice silky syrup.  This was the glaze I used when I served the chicken.  
Plate by adding some more glaze, some thin slices of green onions (or cilantro), and some of the crispy fried wontons.  The crunch of the wontons is great with the chicken!!!   You could also serve with a wedge of fresh lime, but I ran out.  If you are wondering what is in the bowl, it is an Asian chopped salad/slaw with ginger sesame dressing.

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