Friday, April 27, 2012

BBQ Chicken Rub Mix

We're still on a roast chicken kick. I figure we might as well enjoy it while there is still time to cook things in the oven without burning them to a crisp.

I prefer home roasted chicken, but whatever they rub on those birds at the grocery store before they cook them tastes better than what I use... until now!

BBQ Chicken Rub Mix

1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

What else you'll need

2 tablespoons butter
1 whole chicken or equivalent number of pieces

Combine mix with softened butter and stir until it becomes an even paste. I melt mine and then chill it in the fridge until it's a spreadable consistency. This works for people who keep their butter in the fridge instead of on the table.

Spread rub evenly over the chicken using a knife. This rub works for whole roasting chickens but also any other type of chicken piece, skinned or skinless, baked or cooked on the BBQ.

Cook chicken in whichever way the type requires.

I served my chicken with steamed carrots and baked potato.

The chicken had that delicious rotisserie take out flavor, but without whatever crap they inject into it at the store or restaurant. As with any roasted chicken dinner, it was a happy night in our house.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chicken Shake and Bake Mix

If you were a child in the 80's you most likely grew up eating Shake N' Bake. Most mothers worked, the low fat craze was at its peak, and people weren't yet eating as many foods from different cultures on a regular basis. I had a request for a Chicken Shake N' Bake recipe this week so I figured it would be a good dinner tonight...

Chicken Shake and Bake Mix (single use)

1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon marjoram
pinch thyme
pinch rosemary

What else you'll need

2 tablespoons oil
4-6 pieces of chicken

Combine mix with oil in a bowl and stir until evenly mixed. Toss chicken with mix in a bag or covered bowl until evenly coated. You can also coat the chicken in beaten egg first, but I never do this. Lay chicken on a baking sheet. After I have shaken the chicken I spooned the remaining crumbs on top to maximize the crunch.

Bake the chicken pieces for 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees F, until tops are slightly browned and crispy.

I served mine with steamed carrots and mashed potatoes. It wasn't exactly like commercial Shake N' Bake, but I think it was better. Judging from how we all gobbled it up I would say it was a success...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie Mix

We're a chicken eating family and I'm always looking for things I can make with leftover cooked chicken. I'm not the biggest fan of handling raw meat so I prefer to roast or cook too much chicken and then make meals using the leftover meat.

Here is another one I've concocted recently...

Chicken Pot Pie Seasoning Mix
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons powdered milk
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon salt

What else you'll need

1 cup cold water
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped vegetables (I used 1 each of carrots and peas)
1 cup cooked chicken

In a saucepan combine mix and water and stir, then add in butter, vegetables and chicken and simmer until sauce thickens.

Pour mixture into an unbaked pie crust or a glass baking pan. Top with crust of your choice. I like to use biscuit dough as my topping. You can find a good recipe of plain biscuit dough at my friend's blog of Southern cooking right here: Amanda's biscuits.

If you're using biscuit dough spread evenly on top of pot pie mixture with a spatula.

I may have spread mine a bit too thick, the dough part came out huge, but it was still good.

Bake the pie in the oven at 350 degrees F until the crust is golden brown.

We all enjoyed this one, even with the giant crust! It's going on the 'list' for sure!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Broccoli Beef Stir Fry Mix

I am always on the look out for new stir fry variations and I knew broccoli beef would be a good one to try because I both love beef stir fry and broccoli so much.

Broccoli Beef Stir Fry Mix (single use)

2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

What else you'll need

1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced
4 cups broccoli florets

Combine mix with water and soy sauce and stir well.

I slice my flank steak while it's still frozen because it makes it easier to get it super thin. The thinner you slice it the more tender it is when you cook it. Slice it across the grain into strips.

The other key to tender stir fry beef is cooking time. Flash fry it on medium high heat in your wok so it cooks for as little time as possible.

Add the sauce, then the broccoli and simmer until broccoli is tender and sauce thickens.

I served my broccoli beef with rice and it was delicious. I think this is my favorite stir fry sauce yet!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Herb and Garlic Cream Cheese Mix

This baby went through a huge growth spurt in the past couple of weeks and made me into an eating machine. I was eating so much for a while there it was almost comical, yet still she kept saying 'more more more! feed me mama!' What she wanted more than anything for some reason was toast with cream cheese... garlic cream cheese!

Garlic cream cheese is the best and I buy it when it goes on sale, but sometimes only the plain kind goes on sale, or the craving starts and nothing is on sale, but the no name brand (which is much cheaper) only makes plain cream cheese. When this happens I mix it up...

Herb and Garlic Cream Cheese Mix (single use)

1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

What else you'll need

1 package or tub of plain cream cheese (250 grams)

Combine mix with cream cheese and stir well. Keep in a covered container in the fridge, the flavors will kick in more once it's been sitting for a few hours, although I usually start digging into it right away.

This mix tastes EXACTLY like the Phillidelphia brand Herb and Garlic cream cheese. I got my husband and daughter to taste test, but they didn't get much at all. Our other daughter in the making did though and from the kicks I got to the ribs I know she was saying 'thanks mom!'

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Curly fries seasoning mix

I really love seasoned curly fries, but I don't like that I have to spend the money to get them from Arby's or buy overpriced McCain super spirals from the grocery store when regular french fries are so much cheaper. At one point I figured that it wasn't really the curly shape of the fries that made them so good, but the seasoning. So why couldn't I just make my own seasoning that would make my cheapo bagged potatoes into delicious fries instead? It turns out I could!

Curly fries seasoning mix (single use)

2 tablespoons corn starch
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

What else you'll need

4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced into fries
2 tablespoons oil

Toss potato pieces in oil in a covered bowl or bag, then add in seasoning mix and shake some more until evenly coated. Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes, flipping once if possible until fries are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.

I did two test runs on this mix, partly to get the ratio of salt and seasonings so it would taste exactly like the commercial versions and partly just because I felt like eating them again. I served my 'not so curly' fries with roast chicken and broccoli and they were well received. My daughter thinks she's won the jackpot every time I serve 'crench fries' for dinner.

The conclusion? It IS the seasoning. Yes, the curly shape is more fun, but with the right seasoning even the cheap bag of potatoes in your pantry can have the same delicious curly fry goodness, which will save you a bundle in the long run.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cajun Crusted Sole Mix

I am amazed that my daughter will so readily eat fish, when I wouldn't even touch the stuff until I was almost 30. I am trying to encourage her adventurous taste buds by keeping it in our regular menu, but that requires me to cook it in many different ways so the ADULTS can stand it!

I haven't been in the mood for fried food lately, but I wanted something crispy. So I concocted...

Cajun Crusted Sole Mix (single use)

1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (double this if you want spicy. This amount is safe for toddlers and pregnant women to consume without trouble)
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon pepper
pinch oregano

Panko are those big lumpy Japanese style bread crumbs that can make any baked food taste breaded and deep fried. They are an amazing invention.

What else you'll need

2 tablespoons oil
1 egg beaten (optional)
4-8 pieces of sole or other white fish

Combine mix with oil and stir well.

Dip fish in egg (I skipped this step) and then dip in the mix, pressing down to make sure enough sticks.

Lay the pieces of a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes at 475 degrees F until fish starts to brown a little.

I served ours with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. It was so good I made it again last night!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spinach Dip Mix

Not only am I pregnant, but it seems like almost all my friends are also pregnant along with me, were pregnant for the first half of my pregnancy or are just announcing their pregnancies right now. I'm just at that age. People are having babies.

But...the problem with so many pregnant friends is that pregnant women like to talk about food. Constantly. And when one pregnant woman mentions a craving it sets off a chain reaction of cravings to any other pregnant women around her. It's contagious, you start off with just your own cravings and catch a bunch more from pregnant friends throughout the day.

Last week another friend who is expecting was craving spinach dip, and even though it's something I only eat at parties I suddenly needed some NOW! So...

Spinach Dip Mix (single use)

1 tablespoon dried vegetable flakes
1 tablespoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon dill
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon celery seed

What else you'll need

1 tub of sour cream (about 500 ml- 2 cups)
1 package frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
1 round loaf pumpernickel bread (optional)

Combine mix with sour cream. Drain the spinach as much as possible. I squeezed it as hard as I could to get the water out to avoid a watery dip. Stir in the spinach once it's no longer dripping.

I like to make 'monkey brains' which is when you hollow out a round loaf of pumpernickel bread and fill it with dip, dipping the hollowed out bits in and eventually ripping apart the whole thing and devouring it.

This dip satisfied my craving and then some. My daughter and I sat at the table fighting over it. I had to cut us off before we got sick, but I snuck back for more when she wasn't looking and made myself so full I couldn't eat lunch or dinner that day. It was SO worth it though.