15 January 2009

Chicken Paprikas

It's time for a change. I've been posting sweet recipe after sweet recipe and I guess I now feel the need to showcase my cooking chops.

Chicken Paprikas is so much more than a meal to me. It is full of memories and makes me feel at home. My gram makes the best chicken paprikas I have ever tasted and, one day, I will get the recipe. I have so many memories of the entire family getting together at Gram's to eat heaping plates of this chicken, served over her homemade spaetzel, and visit with one another. Unfortunately, we've all gotten busier and this tradition has fallen to the wayside but it is one that I have never forgotten.

One day I was hit with an undeniable craving for this comforting, hearty meal and was quickly on a mission to make some for dinner. Bryce gladly offered up his kitchen, knowing he'd benefit from my kitchen excursion. I turned to allrecipes.com and sifted through each recipe until I found one that I felt would be a keeper. Boy, was I right. While it wasn't quite Gram's [maybe my memory is a bit biased...], it was exactly what I wanted - rich, creamy, flavorful, and comforting. I served our meal over noodles but I would definitely recommend using spaetzel if possible.

Chicken Paprikas
adapted from allrecipes.com - Chicken Paprikas II

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3 heaping tablespoons paprika
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons flour

1 8 ounce container sour cream

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, hot sauce, and paprika. Stir together and saute until the onions are translucent. Add the chicken and cover with the broth [add some water if chicken is not completely covered]. Stir together and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes [if desired - I left them out], reserving the liquid. Stir about half of the liquid from the tomatoes with flour and sour cream in a medium bowl and mix until well blended. Slowly add mixture to the chicken, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened. Serve over noodles, rice, or spaetzel.

The dish is simple and delicious, and I highly recommend it!

07 January 2009

Paula Deen's Cookie Dough Truffles

When my mom told me about this recipe, I thought it would be love at first bite. I'm a cookie dough fanatic and dipping cookie dough in chocolate? Divine! Weeellll...they're okay. They're soft and sweet, but, believe it or not, a little too sweet for me. Now don't get me wrong - I've eaten my fair share of the truffles but I'd rather spend my calories on other cookies. Also, these require a lot of work. I'll stick with kifli if I want a labor intensive cookie.
Cookie Dough Truffles
from the kitchen of Paula Deen

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 pounds chocolate bark candy coating, melted

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar with an electic mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add vanilla and mix. Gradually beat in flour, then add in the milk. Add in the chocolate morsels, mixing well. At this point, I put the dough in the freezer for a few hours because the dough is INCREDIBLY sticky.

Remove the dough from the freezer and shape into 1-inch balls. I coated my hands in flour before doing so and re-coated between cookie dough balls. Place the balls on waxed paper and freeze for at least 2 hours.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or in a glass bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water. Using two forks, dip the cookie balls into the chocolate to cover. Place on waxed paper and chill, at least one hour, to set.

Like I said, these were pretty labor intensive and while I liked trying a new recipe I don't think I would make these again. I also saw another blogger's take on the truffles and she recommened using salted butter, which I think may help cut back on the sweetness.

Again, no pictures of the finished product. Mine didn't look that great and I'm sure I was up to my elbows in other baking at the moment. Just imagine those, but dipped in dark chocolate [which I think provided a nice, bitter contrast to the sweet dough] and kind of lumpy.

04 January 2009

M&M Cookies

These cookies are a Christmas cookie staple in my family's house. Growing up, I always preferred the Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies but these have recently won my heart. They are buttery and soft, and the M&Ms provide a nice, chocolatey crunch. Bryce and I often argue over whose mom makes the best M&M cookies and I will stand by these time and time again. There's something special and different about these cookies which may come from the use of all brown sugar rather than granulated sugar.

Chocolate Chipper Champs [I have no idea why they are called by that name...]
from the kitchen of my Aunt Colleen
3/4 cup softened butter or margarine
1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup M&M plain candies, plus some to place on top

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl until well-blended. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then stir into the butter and sugar mixture. Stir in the M&M candies by hand, then drop by rounded tablespoonfuls about 3 inches apart onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Press 3 to 5 more M&Ms onto each cookie if desired [do it - this makes the cookies look nicer and gives a little extra chocolate]. Bake until light brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

One suggestion - use an ice cream scoop/cookie dough scoop if you have one. This makes things so much easier.

I don't have any pictures of the finished product, but I think the cookie dough pictures look good enough.