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Prosciutto Chicken

August 28, 2009

This entry is written by my husband because sometimes I like to give him credit for the delicious meals he creates!

As the chef in the family I felt it was my turn to weight in at Kimmy’s Kitchen.

Honestly, I’m loving the blog, I get to try all of the new recipes and, in my opinion, they have all turned out totally awesome and delicious (even the thin mints).  Baking is definitely not my foray, but I love trying new grill and Italian recipe, so I’m going to try to guest blog from time to time.

My first guest post is a play on a recipe I learned from the caterer I used to work for. It’s pretty basic but always turns out pretty good. In the end, it’s mozzarella wrapped in a pounded out chicken breast and wrapped in prosciutto.

The recipe:
4 small chicken breasts
1/3 pound of prosciutto (thinly sliced)
2-3 slices of mozzarella per breast (more or less depending on preference)
4 cloves of garlic
4 sprigs of rosemary
1 dash of cracked black pepper (per breast)
(serves 4)

Pound out each chicken breast and roll up 2-3 slices of mozzarella in each breast. Wrap each breast with 2 slices of prosciutto. Insert the sprig of rosemary, and garnish each breast with a clove of minced garlic and a dash of cracked black pepper.

 

Prosciutto Chicken

Throw on the grill (low heat), rotating each breast 1/3 of a turn and cooking for 6 min. on each side. Generally when the mozzarella starts to melt out the ends it should be close to done.

Enjoy!

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Homemade Thin Mints

August 25, 2009

Growing up, I loved Girl Scout thin mints.  They were always my favorite Girl Scout cookie.  So when I found a homemade thin mint recipe, I was super excited to try it.  The recipe was very easy and straight forward, so I figured it would turn out great.  Needless to say I was disappointed by my new baking endeavor.  The cookie itself was good, although in my opinion it could use a little more mint flavoring.  But after I dipped it into the dark chocolate coating, it just lost all appeal to me.  My husband thought they were good and proclaimed he would eat all of them.  I’m glad at least one of us liked them.

 Cookies Before Chocolate Coating

I am pretty sure it was my choice it dark chocolate that ruined it for me.  I think it was a little too bitter for the cookie.  It needed a sweeter chocolate.  So if I decide to make them again, I would opt for a milk chocolate or a combination of dark and milk chocolate.

Thin Mints

 Recipe:

Taken from Bakingbites.com

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup milk (any kind)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp peppermint extract

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. With the mixer on low speed, add in the milk and the extracts. Mixture will look curdled. Gradually, add in the flour mixture until fully incorporated.
Shape dough into two logs, about 1 1/2 inches (or about 4 cm) in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 1-2 hours, until dough is very firm.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Slice dough into rounds not more than 1/4 inch thick – if they are too thick, they will not be as crisp – and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cookies will not spread very much, so you can put them quite close together.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, until cookies are firm at the edges. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack before dipping in chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Coating
10-oz dark or semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter, room temperature

In a microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate and butter. Melt on high power in the microwave, stirring every 45-60 seconds, until chocolate is smooth. Chocolate should have a consistency somewhere between chocolate syrup and fudge for a thin coating.
Dip each cookie in melted chocolate, turn with a fork to coat, then transfer to a piece of parchment paper or wax paper to set up for at least 30 minutes, or until chocolate is cool and firm.
Reheat chocolate as needed to keep it smooth and easy to dip into.

Makes 3 1/2-4 dozen cookies.

Coconut Cupcakes

August 19, 2009

Coconut Cupcakes

I have never made cupcakes from scratch and I have always wanted to. But for my first time, I really didn’t want to make chocolate or vanilla cupcakes. So I searched around and found a recipe for Coconut cupcakes from a Los Angeles Times article that sounded like something a little different, yet good. The recipe seemed fairly easy at first glimpse so I went for it.

Now I have never had to sift flour when I’ve made baked goods, so I went out and bought a pretty cheap one. Well I wish I would have spent a little more money because the thing took forever to sift over 2 cups of flour. In the end, I cheated and just dumped the rest in because my hand was cramping up! Even though I did not sift all my flour (so guilty), the cupcakes turned out very light and almost, dare I say, fluffy. I tried them before I frosted them too because they smelled so good and boy were they.

The next step was frosting. As I’ve already said, I’m a virgin when it comes to making cupcakes from scratch, frosting included. I found a great butter cream recipe from Recipe Girl. I added a little extra butter in it because I didn’t want to save 2 teaspoons of butter. It was seriously the best frosting I have ever had. Maybe I say that because I’m impartial, but why would you ever bother buying packaged frosting, when you can make your own that is ten times better and not nearly as expensive. It was so light and very easy to spread. I put a little bit of blue food coloring in it too because the cupcakes were going to our pregnant friend who just found out they are having a boy. Congrats!

All in all, I am very happy with my first cupcake baking experience. As I try baking more things on my own, I have decided that store bought stuff just is not the same. Our friends reported back that the cupcakes were delicious and that they finished one plate in just one night! I’d have to say these were a success!

Coconut Cupcakes:

Ingredients:

2 1/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk

3 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons almond extract

1 1/3 cup sugar

1 3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut, plus extra for decorating frosted cupcakes

1) Heat the oven to 325 degrees.  In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.  Separately, in a large bowl, combine the oil, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract and sugar.  Using a had mixer, on low speed, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until smooth, careful not to over mix.  Gently fold in the coconut.

2) Place muffin cups into muffin tins.  Fill each cup with a generous 1/4 cup of batter, so that is comes 3/4 up the side of each cup.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely before adding frosting.

Sunday Morning Scones

August 18, 2009

Scones

Not too long ago I tackled one of my baking fears: scones.  I do not know why I was always so afraid of baking them.  Maybe I always felt like I could not compete with local bakeries.  That said, I put my fear aside and made fresh blueberry scones.  The recipe was so easy and they turned out great!

So last Sunday, I was feeling a little braver and decided to try a different recipe for chocolate chip scones.  I got the recipe from the Joys of Baking and it seemed just as easy as the other one I tried.  But in the long run, I was disappointed.  I felt like these turned out to be very crunchy and super sweet.  I like a nice soft scone with just a hint of sweetness.  My husband agreed with me and even said they tasted a little too rich.

Here is the recipe:

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated white sugar

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

1/2 cup milk or semi sweet chocolate chips or chunks

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup buttermilk (You will probably need more than this)

Egg mixture for brushing tops of scones:

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon milk

Cinnamon Sugar:

2 tablespoons granulated white sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place rack in middle of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  In a small measuring cup whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla extract and then add to the flour mixture. Stir just until the dough comes together (add more buttermilk if necessary). Do not over mix the dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches round and about 1 ½ inches thick. Cut this circle in half, then cut each half into 4 pie-shaped wedges (triangles). Place the scones on the baking sheet. Make an egg wash of one well-beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk and brush the tops of the scones with this mixture. To make the Cinnamon Sugar, mix together the sugar and ground cinnamon. Sprinkle the tops of the scones with a little of the cinnamon sugar.

Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Baked Ziti

August 12, 2009

When I was growing up, “Italian food” was simply a jar of marinara sauce and noodles.  No one ever thought about much else except for the Christmas dinner lasagna.  My husband is Italian and if it weren’t for him, I’d probably still be eating the same boring pasta.  This said, I’ve been looking for more ways to impress the Italian in him and try something new.  I stumbled across this recipe for Baked Ziti on Annie’s Eats.  The recipe sounded easy enough and looked delicious in pictures.

I headed to the kitchen armed with all the delicious ingredients with hopes of creating something we would all love.  The recipe was easy to follow, but a little time consuming for an after work meal. My husband was happy to help especially when the aroma from the kitchen made its way to him.  When it was all said and done, the finished product looked pretty good and smelled great! After first bite, I knew my husband was hooked.  The dish turned out great and I feel fairly confident that this will be come a family favorite for years to come.

Baked Ziti
Ingredients:
1 lb. whole milk or 1% cottage cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 cups), divided
Table salt
1 lb. ziti
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
20 oz. turkey Italian sausage
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
5 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves, divided
1 tsp. sugar
Ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream (or whole milk)
8 oz. low-moisture mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Directions:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F.  Whisk cottage cheese, eggs, and 1 cup Parmesan together in a medium bowl; set aside.  Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta; cook until pasta begins to soften but is not yet cooked through, 5-7 minutes.  Drain the pasta and leave in colander.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Crumble in the turkey sausage and cook until nearly browned.  Add in the onion and garlic and continue to cook until the onion is softened and the sausage is completely browned.  Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and oregano; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in 1/2 cup basil and the sugar, and season with salt and pepper.  

In a small bowl stir together the cornstarch and heavy cream.  Transfer the mixture to the now-empty stockpot over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat and add the cottage cheese mixture, 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce and 3/4 cup mozzarella.  Stir to combine.  Add the pasta and toss to coat thoroughly with the sauce.

Transfer the pasta to a 9×13″ baking dish and spread the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the top.  Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over the top.  Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the foil from the pan and continue to cook until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes longer.  Cool for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons basil and serve.