Monday, November 13, 2017

Slow Cooker Chicken and Mushroom Stroganoff

One of my richest memories of growing up was traveling to my aunt's house for New Years and she would make Beef Stroganoff.  I should build this into the recipe repertoire at the Launchpad. From the Recipe Critic via BuzzFeed.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Mushroom Stroganoff
Prep time 5 mins
Cook time 5 hours
Total time 5 hours 5 mins
Slow Cooker
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 8 ounce sliced mushrooms
  • 1 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (10½) ounce cream of chicken soup
  • 1 envelope (1¼ ounce) dry onion soup mix
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
  • 1 pound large egg noodles for serving

Instructions
  • Place the chicken in the bottom of a lightly greased slow cooker. Add the mushrooms. In a medium sized bowl add cream cheese, cream of chicken soup, and dry onion soup mix. Mix until incorporated and spread on top of chicken and mushrooms.
  • Cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 3-4. Serve over noodles and top with fresh parsley and salt and pepper.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Chowder Soaked Toast

I spotted this article and recipe in the New York Times Magazine a while back and it stirred great memories of summers in Maine at my grandmother's house. I feel like this made an appearance on the dining room table more than once.

Chowder Soaked Toast

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, minced, scraps reserved
  • 2 ribs celery, minced, scraps reserved
  • 2 sprigs tarragon
  • 30 littleneck clams, rinsed and scrubbed
  • 6 ounces dry white wine
  • 6 ounces clam juice
  • ⅓ pound guanciale, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 leeks, dark, woody green parts removed, sliced into coins and washed well
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, medium dice
  • 2 sprigs thyme, picked
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 12 ounces chopped clams
  • 6 pieces of a dense rustic loaf, cut into thick 2-inch-by-2-inch squares
Preparation
  1. Put the olive oil in a Dutch oven, and heat on medium-high for approximately 1 minute, until the oil starts to streak. Add onion scraps and celery scraps, tarragon and littleneck clams. Stir briefly to coat with oil, and barely soften, then add the wine. Reduce the wine by half, then add 3 ounces of clam juice. Cover, and allow clams to steam open, checking often so as to remove the clams as they open, until all are open and removed. Set clams aside. 
  2. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth, and reserve the liquid. Remove all but 6 clams from the shell. Meanwhile, in a cast-iron or heavy-bottomed sauté pan, render the slices of guanciale in the canola oil until they are browned evenly on both sides. Reserve the fat and the guanciale.
  3. In the Dutch oven, heat the guanciale fat, and add onion, celery, leeks, potatoes and thyme, stirring to coat. Season with salt and pepper, and cook over low heat until the vegetables have just started to soften, taking care not to brown, about 5 minutes. Cover the vegetables with remaining clam juice, and simmer until potatoes are al dente.
  4. Stir in the cream, and simmer until vegetables are cooked through, taking care not to boil. Add the chopped clams and the littlenecks, and season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Remove from heat.
  5. Toast the bread until golden, and place each piece in a bowl. Cover the toast with pieces of guanciale, and then add a ladleful of the chowder, about 6 ounces. Garnish with the remaining littleneck clams still in the shell.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Cocktails for Trick or Treating!

Tomorrow is Halloween at the Launchpad.  This year, LBA will venture out on his own (for the second year).  SoBA will still be supervised whilst trick or treating - I think it's Mrs. BA's turn to walk and for me to sit home and pass out candy.  I think that I I will mix up a batch of these and me and the neighbors can sit and wait for the little children to come looking for candy.  And any enterprising adults can put in a request for one too! Recipe from boulderlocavore.

The Grave Digger Cocktail
The Grave Digger cocktail is perfect not only for Halloween but as a celebration of fall. Flavors of apple and ginger make this a great seasonal sipper.
Servings 1 cocktail
Author Toni Dash


Ingredients
  • 2 ounces Hard Cider
  • 1 ounce Whiskey (I used Bourbon - I will too, BA)
  • Ginger ale, to fill
  • Crushed ice

Instructions
In a 12-16 ounce tumbler or high ball glass, combine the hard cider and whiskey. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Fill with ginger ale.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Slow Cooker Lasagne

Much to Mrs. BA's chagrin - it's fall, it's cold, and it's slow cooker season.  This recipe works well with my desire to have lasagne without the need for the all the work that goes into it. From Gimme Some Oven via BuzzFeed.

Slow Cooker Lasagna
Yield: 10-12 servings
Total Time: 4 hours 25 mins
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 4 hours

Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage or ground beef
  • 2 (24-ounce) jars of good-quality Italian pasta sauce
  • 16 uncooked no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 32 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup finely-chopped fresh basil
Directions
  • Add the ground Italian sausage (or ground beef) to a large saute pan, and cook over medium-high heat until browned and cooked through, using a large spoon to stir and break up the meet into small crumbles as it cooks. Remove from heat and drain off any excess grease. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, as the meat is cooking, go ahead and get ready to assemble the lasagna. Begin by spraying the insert of a large 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Then layer the ingredients in the following order:
    1. Spread 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce evenly along the bottom of the slow cooker.
    2. Layer about 4 lasagna noodles — breaking them into smaller pieces as needed to fit — evenly over the sauce to cover the bottom of the slow cooker.
    3. Layer about 1/3 of the ricotta cheese (a little over 1 cup) evenly on top of the noodles.
    4. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the shredded Mozzarella cheese and 2 Tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese in an even layer on top of the ricotta.
    5. Layer about 1/3 of the cooked ground meat in an even layer on top of the cheeses.
    6. Layer about 1/3 of the chopped spinach in an even layer on top of the ground meat.
    7. Layer 1 cup of pasta sauce in an even layer on top of the spinach.
    8. Repeat with another layer of noodles, ricotta, Mozzarella/Parmesan, ground meat, spinach, and sauce. Then repeat with another layer of noodles, ricotta, Mozzarella/Parmesan, ground meat, spinach, and sauce. Then add one more layer of noodles, sauce, and Mozzarella.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours, or until the noodles are tender.
  • Turn off the heat, and sprinkle the top of the lasagna evenly with the remaining Parmesan and fresh basil. Serve immediately. (Or if you let the lasagna sit and rest for 30 minutes, it will cut into pieces much more easily.)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Farewell to the Brave Astronaut's Parents

The Brave Astronaut is away today, my siblings and I have traveled to Bermuda to carry out our parent's final wishes - that is to scatter their ashes across the waters of Bermuda.  My mother died in 2006 and my father just this past April.

We will attend to our parents today and then spend a fair bit of time drinking.  My father left us with the means to have a weekend toasting their memories.  I don't know about my siblings - but I will be drinking these - it's the official drink of Bermuda.

The Dark and Stormy

Ingredients
  • 2 ounces Gosling's or Myers's dark rum
  • 5 ounces ginger beer
  • Lime wedge

Preparation
Pour the rum over ice in highball and fill with ginger beer. Squeeze in the lime wedge.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Banana Bread Cheesecake

Dear Readers, you are aware of SoBA's love of the boomerang shaped fruit.  There are always bananas available at the launchpad.  He prefers them to be a little on the unripe side - so we often have banana bread in the house, too.  You may also be aware of the Brave Astronaut's love of a good cheesecake (as long as it's my mother's recipe).

Here's a recipe that kills two birds with one stone.  Via BuzzFeed.

Banana Bread Bottom Cheesecake
Servings: 10

INGREDIENTS
Banana Bread Layer
  • 4 bananas (as ripe as possible)
  • 4 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Cheesecake Layer
  • 32 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon gelatin powder
  • Caramel, for drizzling
 PREPARATION
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork.
  3. Add in the oil, egg, vanilla, and sugar. Stir until combined.
  4. Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir until just combined. Don’t over mix.
  5. Pour the banana bread batter into a greased springform pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is set.
  6. In a large bowl, add the softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
  7. Microwave the milk until hot for about 2 minutes, and add in the gelatin powder.
  8. Quickly stir until gelatin is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  9. Pour the gelatin mixture over the cream cheese and whisk again until smooth.
  10. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the baked banana bread and cool for 3 hours or overnight.
  11. Drizzle with caramel and enjoy!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Garlic Butter Stuffed Chicken

Did you know that garlic is a natural blood thinner?  I need to eat more garlic. Via BuzzFeed.

Garlic Butter-Stuffed Chicken

INGREDIENTS
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (that doesn't seem like nearly enough garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • Oil, for frying
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

PREPARATION
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a bowl, add the butter, garlic, and parsley and mix until fully combined.
  3. Shape butter into a log and wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze for 15 minutes.
  4. On a cutting board, slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally.
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap and pound until the chicken is ⅛-inch thick.
  6. Divide the butter into fourths.
  7. Place a portion of butter on the flattened chicken breast and roll it up, creating a log. 
  8. Coat the rolled chicken in flour followed, by eggs and bread crumbs. Repeat once more. 
  9. Cover the chicken in plastic wrap and chill while oil is heating.
  10. Fry in oil for 3-4 minutes, until edges are golden brown.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  12. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!