Monday, September 26, 2011

Cranberry Orange Scones

My sons' daycare provides them with lunch, snacks, and if we'd like, they'll give them generic Cheerios for breakfast.  While this is certainly the most convenient solution for their breakfasts, the idea of giving them the same exact thing for breakfast five days a week isn't appealing.  So, I've started baking.  I had grand plans of getting a ton of baking done before school started and getting it into the freezer for stress free mornings.

While this was a fantastic plan, in reality, it fell through.  Hurricane Irene being the biggest wrench in my grand design, we spent the time allotted for baking cleaning the basement and getting everything water would damage up off the floor.

So when this easy looking scone recipe from Brown Eyed Baker turned up, I figured it would be an easy solution to the morning rush dilemma.  I've never made scones before, largely because I'd always heard they were really difficult to do well and very easy to make rock like.  So, I was wary.

This, however, was so darned easy.  And so darned tasty.  And so darned foolproof!  Set aside half an hour and make these lovelies.  Make a double batch; you'll be happy you did!

Cranberry Orange Scones from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield: 8 scones
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 15-20 minutes
¼ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons orange zest
1½ cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
¾ cup dried cranberries
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. Place the granulated sugar in a large bowl. Add the orange zest and, using your fingers, rub the orange zest and the granulated sugar together until the sugar is uniformly moistened with the orange zest.
3. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk together. Stir in the cranberries.
4. Pour in the cream and, using your fingers or a fork, stir together until combined. Dump mixture onto a lightly floured surface and lightly knead to bring dough together. Pat dough into an 8-inch circle. Cut into 8 triangles and place on baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the melted butter and sprinkle with the granulated sugar.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the scones are just turning lightly browned. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store at room temperature.

Chicken Fajitas

The problem with taking too much time off from posting is that I have all these photos of delicious looking food, and have no idea what the recipe is, what the meal is called, or even if we liked it.

This one, however, I do remember.  I made it way back on 8/31, and it was delicious.  I'd had a craving for fajitas after making the Shrimp "Fajitas", and had almost gotten them out at dinner one night when something else caught my fancy.  So I decided to add them to the meal plan. 

I found these over at The Way the Cookie Crumbles.  They were a little more work than I'd have expected for fajitas, but they were worth every minute.  So yummy.  Perfect homemade fajitas.

Chicken Fajitas (from Cooks Illustrated via The Way the Cookie Crumbles)
Serves 4 to 6
CI’s note: The chicken and vegetables in these fajitas are only mildly spicy. For more heat, include the jalapeno seeds and ribs when mincing. When you head outside to grill, bring along a clean kitchen towel or a large piece of foil in which to wrap the tortillas and keep them warm as they come off the grill. Although the chicken and vegetables have enough flavor to stand on their own, accompaniments (guacamole, salsa, sour cream, shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, and lime wedges) can be offered at the table.

⅓ cup juice from 2 to 3 limes
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1½ teaspoons brown sugar
1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced
1½ tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
table salt and ground black pepper
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1½ pounds), trimmed of fat, tenderloins removed, pounded to ½-inch thickness
1 large red onion (about 14 ounces), peeled and cut into ½-inch-thick rounds (do not separate rings)
1 large red bell pepper (about 10 ounces), quartered, stemmed, and seeded
1 large green bell pepper (about 10 ounces), quartered, stemmed, and seeded
8-12 (6-inch) flour tortillas
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, 4 tablespoons oil, garlic, Worcestershire, brown sugar, jalapeno, cilantro, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¾ teaspoon pepper. Reserve ¼ cup marinade in a small bowl; set aside. Add another teaspoon salt to the remaining marinade. Place the chicken in the marinade; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 15 minutes. Brush both sides of the onion rounds and the peppers with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, using a large chimney starter, ignite 6 quarts of charcoal briquettes and burn until the coals are fully ignited, about 20 minutes. Empty the coals into the grill, spreading them in a single layer; place an additional 20 unlit coals over the lit coals on one side of grill to create a two-level fire. Position the grill grate over the coals and heat the grate for 5 minutes; scrape clean with a grill brush. (For a gas grill, light all burners and turn to high, cover, and heat the grill until hot, about 15 minutes; scrape the grill grate clean with a grill brush. Leave one burner on high heat while turning the remaining burner(s) down to medium.)
3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it smooth side down on the hotter side of the grill; discard the remaining marinade. Place the onion rounds and peppers (skin side down) on the cooler side of the grill. Cook the chicken until it’s well browned, 4 to 5 minutes; using tongs, flip the chicken and continue grilling until it’s no longer pink when cut into with a paring knife or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers about 160 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Meanwhile, cook the peppers until spottily charred and crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once or twice as needed; cook the onions until tender and charred on both sides, 10 to 12 minutes, turning every 3 to 4 minutes. When the chicken and vegetables are done, transfer them to a large plate; tent with foil to keep warm.
4. Working in 2 or 3 batches, place the tortillas in a single layer on the cooler side of the now-empty grill and cook until warm and lightly browned, about 20 seconds per side (do not grill too long or the tortillas will become brittle). As the tortillas are done, wrap them in a kitchen towel or a large sheet of foil.
5. Separate the onions into rings and place them in a medium bowl; slice the bell peppers lengthwise into ¼-inch strips and place them in the bowl with the onions. Add 2 tablespoons reserved unused marinade to the vegetables and toss well to combine. Slice the chicken into ¼-inch strips and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons reserved marinade in another bowl; arrange the chicken and vegetables on a large platter and serve with the warmed tortillas.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Meal Plan Wednesday

Meals were planned and shopped on Sunday, but yet here I am, just getting around to it.

Monday--Seared Shrimp with Tomato and Avocado (Cook's Illustrated)
Tuesday--Taco Night
Wednesday--Chicken Stew
Friday--Multigrain Flatbread Pizza with Tomatoes, Eggplant, and Feta (Cook's Illustrated)
Saturday--at my parents'?
Sunday--TRIATHLON DAY!!!  I don't know what I'll be cooking, but Cheesey Chicken Shells is the game plan.

Hope you're having a great week!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

Monday--Pasta Primavera
Tuesday--Crockpot Rustic Chicken
Wednesday--Cheesy Chicken Shells
Thursday--artichoke and sun dried tomato stuffed chicken
Friday-- Pizza
Saturday--Portobello Parmesan

Back to School!  Have a great week.  I, for one, am really gonna hate grocery shopping on Sundays again....
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