Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Years!

Today I don't have a recipe for you, (I'm sorry!) but I want to say a big Happy New Year to each and everyone of you. This last year has been so amazing for my and my family and I hope you don't mind as I share some of our reflections of how our last year was.

At the very beginning of this year we bought a new house. Now this was both an exciting and extremely trying time for us. We lost 2 houses we really liked along the way by being outbid, one is actually in the same neighborhood we live in now. But in the end God really blessed us with an AMAZING Realtor, none of this would have happened without her, she's become a good friend and I feel so blessed to know her. And though our house is not our dream home, it is home. We love it here, and our neighborhood, and we have room for our family to grow which is the most important part. We also sold our former residence really quickly, which was such a blessing to us to not have to pay 2 mortgages!

Our son, The Farming Tot has grown SO much in this last year! Some days I look at him and wonder where my little baby went, because he is such a big boy now! This last year he said "I love you" for the first time, and it's something he now says everyday and it warms my heart so much! I've gotten to watch him grow from being a very dependent baby to this independent toddler that he is now, with SO much life and personality (much of which has really come forth in the last year), he adds such a brightness to both mine and the Farming Hubby's day. Now he's not perfect, the terrible twos really have been terrible, but to watch as he overcomes even those temper tantrums has been... well interesting. haha! But recently I got to watch him with one of his "cousins" (not really a cousin but may as well be), and saw how gentle he was with his young cousin. It really warmed my heart to see that side of him. He will be a great big brother!

We found out that we are going to be blessed with a Niece or Nephew next year around the Farming Tot's 3rd birthday, and couldn't be more thrilled! The Farming Tot thinks it's so awesome, and prays for his new cousin every day. I can't wait to meet this little person, I know my Sister-In-Law and her Hubby will be amazing parents and I can't wait to spoil my little Niece or Nephew!

I also want to say thank you to all of you who read this blog, and have helped it get to where it is today! I never thought almost 2 years ago when I first got the idea to do this that I would have a marketing contract on my blog, and be a featured publisher anywhere! What started as my way to keep track of my favorite recipes has turned into something beyond my imagination and is honestly a dream come true! I love to cook and invent recipes, and I love being able to share them with all of you. I really look forward to another year with you all, and can't wait to see what the future holds for this Farmers Wife!

Now I have a feeling some of you may be hoping for some big announcement at the end of this, and while I know a lot of my fellow bloggers have made a lot of announcements in the last week or so, I do not have one for you. This last year has had it's fair share of ups and downs, some of which are too personal to share over a blog post. But through it all this has been a place for me to escape and come to my own little food world and forget for a little while the struggles and fears of life. I hope that this next year will bring some wonderful changes not only to this blog, but also to our Farming Family in general. I hope that you all will bear with me through these changes, and I can't wait to start the journey of another year with all of you, my faithful readers! I look forward to some of the new challenges I'm planning for myself (one of which is Royal Icing!!), and to sharing more recipes with you all!

I also want to say a big Thank You to my Farming Hubby! He has been an unending source of support for me as I've moved forward with this blog. He's helped me with fixing layouts when the HTML is just way to confusing for me. And he's even become a faithful reader himself, which I appreciate so much! Not only is he my guinea pig with each and every new recipe I create, (and I appreciate your honesty honey, it helps me so much!) but he's also great at helping me figure out what little tweaks can make a recipe even better! I wouldn't be The Farmers Wife without you babe, I love you so much!

Also a big thank you to the Farming Tot (though he can't read this himself... haha!), he is also my guinea pig, and a lot of the times how I measure if a recipe really is good or not. If a toddler will eat it, and want more, you know you've got a winner! (I honestly don't understand why they're not our food critics, they're the most picky palate to please!) I love when you come help me in the kitchen, and decorating cookies with you was the most fun ever! I love you, my silly boy!

I also want to thank all my friends and family who've supported me through this journey, and also give me their honest opinions on food and are my other guinea pigs! (Have you noticed that all the people in my life are "pigs"?!?! hehe!) I love that you all actually read this blog, and give me your honest opinions and support. It means so much more to me than you'll ever know!

I wish I had a reward to anyone who actually read this whole post... haha! Maybe in this next year I'll get up the courage to actually do my own giveaways, and take this to an even bigger level! I pray that you all have a blessed New Year, and that 2011 will bring a new adventure to each and everyone of you! God Bless!

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Peppermint Brownies

 Adapted from Annie's Eats.

Happy *almost* New Year everyone! I hope your Christmas was wonderful, and full of great food! I know ours was, and I'm still in shock that I somehow still fit into my skinny jeans. ;-) I have to say this year was wonderful, watching the Farming Tot really get into his presents for the first time... I almost wish you all could've seen his enthusiasm on Christmas Morning, it really gives you a wonderful sense of Christmas spirit to watch a little child enjoy this holiday in a way he never has before. I assure you for him it was pure TORTURE that we made him eat his breakfast first, now I did make cinnamon rolls which he does love, but that didn't matter in the least bit. All he wanted was those presents!

Farming tot itching to open his gifts!

 For the first time ever I got the privilege of making our own Christmas dinner, and let me tell you, I was a little nervous but extremely excited! It's been years since both the Farming Hubby and I could smell a turkey cooking while we opened our presents, it was wonderful! Now I am really itching to share this new Turkey recipe with you and I invented *the juiciest turkey ever coming soon!*, but for today I'm starting with the desserts, because let's face it, they really are the highlight of the holiday meals, and if you're anything like our family you have plans for New Years too and I highly suggest this delicious brownie as a wonderful addition to your New Years Feast! It was a huge hit at our family Christmas party on Sunday, and there were hardly any left. Now I will be the first to say that this is like a fudge/brownie/holiday treat, not quite your normal brownie in the least bit, but better if you ask me! I love Annie's recipes, she is quite an amazing chef. Unfortunately for me, where we live a lot of the time I have to improvise to make her recipes work just because the selection in the stores is horrible! But I hope that you'll enjoy my adaptation of this wonderful recipe!

Ingredients:
8 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1½ cups unsalted butter
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1½ tsp. peppermint extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 bag Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark, wrappers removed and coarsely chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13 inch pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the unsweetened chocolate and butter, and heat 1 minute at a time in the microwave, stirring after each minute til smooth and melted together, about 3 minutes. In another large mixing bowl whisk the eggs and sugar together until combined and add in the chocolate mixture until well blended. Whisk in the peppermint, vanilla and salt. Then add in the flour until just incorporated. Pour half the batter into your lined baking dish, sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the batter, and then pour remaining batter on top. Bake about 30-35 minutes. While baking remove the peppermint bark from their wrappers and do a rough chop. Once the brownies are cooked, evenly sprinkle the bark on top of the brownies and return to the oven for about 2 minutes until slightly melted into the brownies. Let the brownies cool on a wire rack, chill until hard and then cut into squares. *Tip* to cut them smoothly, take a large knife and run it through some warm water before cutting into the brownies, repeat after each row so that you always start cutting with a clean knife.* These can be made a couple days ahead of time and kept in the fridge.

Review:
These were a huge hit! The peppermint is not overwhelming, more of a slight accent flavor, which was a wonderful addition to our meal. The original recipe calls for the Hershey's Peppermint Kisses, but I could not find these ANYWHERE in our town, so if you can find them they would be wonderful on top instead of the bark, but both ways I'm sure would be wonderful and I know the kisses would be cheaper! 5 stars.


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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cranberry Sauce

This is a Farmers Wife Original.

I've made this recipe before, granted it's been a couple of years. In fact I believe I was pregnant with the Farming Tot when I made this recipe last, ah the memories! There is something very special to me about eating a delicious bite of turkey with a little dollop of cranberry sauce on top... Yum! Now I have absolutely nothing against canned sauce, but it's SO easy to make homemade sauce that I just don't even see the point in not making it anymore. What's absolutely wonderful about this sauce is that you can make it days ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until your holiday meal, which for me is a lifesaver when you have a lot to cook and bake (and if you find yourself forgetting to buy ingredients so you are running behind... Yes I am guilty of that this year!!). Oh and did I mention it also freezes well so you can keep the leftovers to use for other recipes throughout the year! Happy cooking and Baking this Christmas Season!

Ingredients:
3/4 cup Water
2/3 cup Sugar (more if needed)
The zest and juice of one Orange
Dash of Nutmeg
Pinch of Cloves
12 oz. Bag or Fresh or Frozen Cranberries

Directions:
In a medium sauce pan, combine all the ingredients minus the cranberries. Heat over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Once dissolved add in the bag of cranberries. Stir and heat until boiling. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, til the berries have popped and the mixture is thick. Take off the heat and let cool, the sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. At this point you can either can it, put it in an airtight container in the fridge or serve.

Review:
This is a family favorite, not only do we love cranberry sauce but the added hint of spice just gives it a wonderful festive flavor. It wonderful on my favorite holiday leftover sandwich, a roll, with a little sauce, turkey and stuffing... Yum! 4 stars.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What to look forward to!

Hello all my blog friends! I know I've been absent the last few days, we've been busy getting ready for Christmas and I haven't been feeling all that great either so I've been taking it easy. I had another cookie recipe I wanted to share with you all, but somehow in transferring the pictures to my computer they got deleted and I can't find them :-(... Oh well, instead I will entice you all with the baking I've got coming up the next few days and what you can look forward too! I am really excited to get to plan my own Christmas Day menu for us this year. I felt incredibly special yesterday at the store,  I got the VERY last Turkey Breast for the 3 of us, the last box of Gingersnap cookies for my Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes, the last bag of Peppermint Bark to make my Chocolate Peppermint Brownies (was going to use the Peppermint Hershey's Kisses but they were out of that). It was insane how many things were sold out already. It's times like this that I really miss living in a very large city. Where we are is pretty good size, but the variety is not what I'm used to and I do miss it. Luckily for me, my Mother is able to occasionally ship certain things to me (such as the Cinnamon Chips used in my latest cookie recipe!). Anyway, hopefully as a little inspiration to some of you here's my list of goodies for this Christmas!

Christmas Day:
Roasted Turkey Breast, with a Garlic Herb Butter
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Stuffing
Cranberry Sauce
Cinnamon Apples (a new recipe for these than my original!)
Rolls

Family Party day after Christmas:
Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Chips
Chocolate Peppermint Brownies
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

I am really looking forward foodwise to this holiday this year. The Farming Tot is SO excited about Christmas for the first time, which has made this holiday season so much more special for The Farming Hubby and I. I can't wait to watch him open his gifts Christmas Morning, and my hubby for that matter to open his too. Well to close this I just want to say a huge thanks to each and every one of you for helping The Farmers Wife to get to where it is today, without my loyal readers I wouldn't be this far along and even though I never imagined it, I am so thankful for all of your input and comments. God Bless you all and from the Farming Family to yours I wish you a Very Merry Christmas!

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

The complete frosted yumminess
This is a Farmers Wife Original.

Here it is, not only recipe number 3 of cookie palooza week, but the winner of the Cookie poll, Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies.... Can I just say oh my goodness these were heavenly!!!! So fluffy, and delicious, almost like a cake in a cookie form, but the perfect (yes I used the word perfect haha!) texture for this cookie. I made these as a dessert for a ladies lunch today, and they were a huge hit. Both with and without frosting these are seriously amazing. Can you tell I liked them yet?!? The Farming Tot has given his approval, and I caught the Farming Hubby eating one for breakfast this morning on his way out the door, so they must be pretty delicious! And if you have extra frosting, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate, you can then use this for other cookies or Christmas desserts, such as Pumpkin Roll. I sincerely hope you will give these a try for Christmas this year, they are definitely something different, but they won't disappoint!

Ingredients: makes 24 cookies

2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 large Eggs, room temperature
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Softened Butter
1 cup Pumpkin Puree
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup Cinnamon Baking Chips

Frosting:
6 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons Butter, softened
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup Powdered Sugar

Direction:
Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar. Then add in one egg at a time.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and light in color, about 1 minute. Add in the pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract until well combined.  With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients, 1/2 cup at a time,  just until incorporated.  Gently fold in the cinnamon chips with a spatula, or use the paddle attachment. Using an ice cream scoop, drop mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them a few inches apart.  Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through baking, until the tops feel set, about 14-16 minutes.  Allow to cool on the baking sheets 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, combine the frosting ingredients in your mixer, and mix on low until the sugar is all incorporated and then whip on medium-high speed until light and smooth. Using a knife or spatula spread desired amount of frosting on each cookie. Keep the frosted cookies refrigerated.

Review:
Make these cookies, unless you hate pumpkin you will love these cookies. Seriously, I like them that much that my review is everyone should try them! 5 stars.

Un-frosted cookie, still incredibly delish!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

 Source, Allrecipes.com

Recipe 2 of Cookie Palooza week!! Now I have to admit so far these are my favorite of the cookies I've made. Actually change that, they're my new favorite cookie! These were SO soft, and had just the perfect blend of peanut butter and chocolate... Needless to say these were the first cookies to be completely devoured in my house, and for good reason! Now I know peanut butter and chocolate combined in a cookie form is nothing new, we've all had the peanut butter cookies with the Hershey's Kiss in the middle, and I do love those cookies. But there's something so delightful about these cookies, I can't say that I'll ever make the others again. I wish I'd had the time (and energy) to do a chocolate drizzle on top of these for decoration, and maybe next time I will. But I sincerely hope that you will enjoy these this holiday season as a great addition to your Christmas baking, and a new treat for you all! Oh and did I mention these are fabulous with a hot cup of coffee?!?! *sigh*

Ingredients: makes 24-28 cookies
1/2 cup Butter, softened
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1 cup packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup White Sugar
2 Eggs
2 tablespoons Light Corn Syrup
2 tablespoons Water, room temperature
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add in the corn syrup, water, and vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; add into the peanut butter mixture, 1/2 cup at a time til incorporated. Fold in chocolate chunks. Using an ice cream scoop, drop cookies a could inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are golden. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely. 

Review:
Delicious, fabulous, amazing, light, creamy, soft, pillowy, peanut buttery, chocolatey.... Just  few words to describe these cookies! Make you hungry yet? Well get off the computer and go make these, they're that amazing! Trust me! 5 stars!!

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Sugar Cookies

 This is my Grandmothers Recipe.

It's Cookie Palooza Week here on the Farmers Wife, and I'm SO excited to share my favorite Sugar Cookie recipe with you all. This is the recipe I grew up with every Christmas, and had so much fun decorating them every year. I will be the first to admit these aren't fancy cookies, I didn't use Royal Icing as most do these days to get that perfect finish, and I let my 2 year old help decorate the cookies too (Scroll to the bottom to see a picture of his creations!). But to me perfect cookies may look nice, and be great gifts, but you just can't beat the old fashioned cookies and frosting. For me that's Christmas cookies, where you can be as messy as you want (and it's encouraged), and the "ugliest" cookies by most standards these days are so very special to our hearts. My son may not be the best artist in the world yet at 2, but the memories I have from that day of decorating will last me a lifetime! I hope that you will enjoy these Old Fashioned cookies, and that they too will bring you back to your childhood, and the wonderful family memories you may have!

Ingredients: This is for a full recipe which makes 4 dozen cookies, I halved this as there is only 3 of us
2/3 cup Softened Butter
1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Milk
2 Eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
4 cups All Purpose Flour

Directions:
Cream butter and sugar together in your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat in the eggs. Dissolve baking soda in milk and add to the egg mixture along with the vanilla and salt. Add in the flour slowly. Once the dough forms a ball, form into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 1/2 and hour to 1 hour. Once chilled roll out to about 1/8 inch thick. Dip cookie cutters in flour before cutting. Once cut place on a lined baking sheet (I line mine with wax paper), and bake at 350 degrees for about 6-8 minutes. Cookies should still be soft as they will firm up as they cool.

Decorator Frosting:
2 cups Powdered Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1 tablespoon Butter
Milk to moisten (eyeball it, but no more than 1/2 cup should be perfect consistency.)

With a whisk attachment on your mixer, mix together the ingredients until desired consistency is made. If it's too runny, add more powdered sugar, and vice versa if it's too thick add more milk. Icing may be colored, (I recommend the gel colors as they don't add more liquid to the frosting, and you get a brighter color) or used white and sprinkled with colored sugars or other decorations.

Review:
We had SO much fun making and decorating these cookies, not only were they delicious and just the perfect Sugar Cookie, but they warmed all of us heart and soul! Be sure and let the little ones help you decorate, and if they're old enough cut out the cookies. We had a blast with these, and I hope you will enjoy them too! 5 stars.

Unfrosted Sugar Cookies
The Farming Tot's Creations!!!

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cranberry Muffins

 This is a Farmers Wife Original.

Ok, so I lied... haha! I came up with another Leftover recipe at the last minute that was SO yummy I had to share them with you right away! Now I don't know about you, but when I see fresh cranberries for sale, I buy them by the bushel (ok not really but it's funny!), and then stick them in the freezer so I have cranberries all year long, or for last minute holiday cooking. Well I happened to have some leftover cranberries in the fridge from the Pineapple Mango Punch I made for Thanksgiving that I decided needed to be used up. Now I love breakfast foods, it's the ultimate comfort food to me, a nice yummy muffin, some cheesy eggs and a big cup of coffee... *sigh* what could be better?!? I wish I'd had some orange zest to add to this, but even without it, they were delicious and best of all Farming Tot approved!! I certainly hope you will make these soon, for breakfast, a snack or even dinner (my preference)!

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 beaten Egg
3/4 cup Milk
1/4 cup Oil
1 cup Coarsely Chopped Cranberries

Streusal Topping:
3 Tablespoons Flour
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Butter

Directions:
Grease 12 muffin cups, or line with a paper bake cup, set aside. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine egg, milk and oil. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Chop the cranberries and fold into the mixture. Using an ice cream scoop with a release butter, scoop one scoop full into each muffin cup, should fill it about 2/3 full. To make the streusal topping, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter in a bowl with a pastry blender, or a fork until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the muffins with the streusal mixture and bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until golden, and firm. Cool in the muffin cups for 5 minutes, remove and serve warm.

Review:
These were seriously delicious. A nice combo of sweet and tart, and a wonderful way to use up those leftover cranberries we all have from the holidays. The streusal topping adds a little crunch and an extra sweetness that is delightful. I was surprised the the Farming Tot gobbled up a whole muffin himself, but he loved it! 4.5 Stars.

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Orange Chicken with Fried Rice

 This is a Farmers Wife Original.

The last recipe of Leftover week! I can't believe it, I actually had more I wanted to share with you all, but unfortunately this week hasn't gone quite as I'd hoped and we had some internet troubles again as well. A couple of days after Thanksgiving, we had some leftover fried rice from some chinese takeout. That was all that was left, and I really didn't want to waste it, and by now was seriously tired of Turkey, so I decided to come up with a quick(ish) idea for a dinner to use up this rice. I threw some Chicken Thigh Strips in the crock pot, poured some store bought sauce (I mentioned that I felt incredibly lazy this particular day right?), cooked it up and served it on the heated rice. And honestly, it was so yummy I was so glad there was another servings worth of this left for lunch the next day. You could make this with just plain rice no problem, but if you're like me and when you get take out you eat the noodles, and whatever main meat dish you order as fast as possible, and the fried rice they give you just pales in comparison to the other options. I have had so much fun this week sharing some of my favorite Leftover meals, and who knows, maybe we'll do this again! I can't wait for next week though, to share my cookie recipes with you, I hope you'll enjoy them, and come check out Cookie Palooza week on Monday!

Ingredients:
1 Container Fried Rice (about 2-3 cups worth of rice)
1 - 1 1/2 lbs. Skinless Boneless Chicken Thigh Tenders (I would not recommend using chicken breasts for this as they will likely be dry, you can use any type of thigh meat you like)
1/2 bottle of Panda Express Orange Sauce (I found this at Walmart)

Directions:
Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Pour in the chicken, and the sauce (can add more sauce if you want) and stir til mixed. Cook on High for 1 hour, and on Low for 2-3 hours, until chicken is cooked through. Pour the leftover rice into a bowl, and add 1 Tablespoon of the sauce from the chicken and mix. Microwave for 1 minute intervals, stirring after each minute til warm through, and moist (can add more liquid if you want, this is a great tip for re-heating any rice, add a small amount of liquid to it and it will bring it back to life). Serve with Chicken on top.

Review:
This dish is slightly spicy, definitely has the kick to it that Panda Express's Orange Chicken has, but it really was a delight and so easy. The Farming Tot did not eat this, as it was too spicy for him, but the Farming Hubby and I really enjoyed this. Next time I have leftover rice around, I will totally be making this again! 3.5 Stars.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

BBQ Chicken Pizza

 This is a Farmers Wife Original.

Recipe number 3 from Leftover Re-Purpose Week! Can you believe it?!?! Well let me start off by saying, I love pizza, there I said it. I admit to loving a very fatty food. But honestly, who secretly doesn't love pizza?!? Now I'm not even just a plain ole pepperoni lover, I love pizza in all shapes, sizes, flavors, crusts, except Canadian bacon and pineapple.... Sorry but that's not real pizza. Now typically at least every other week we have some form of pizza in my house, be it homemade, Little Caesars, boring pepperoni, etc. Every once in awhile I will get this strong craving for Barbecue Chicken Pizza. Now mind you this is not something either The Farming Hubby or I grew up with, but when we were first married and we had been given a bread machine as a wedding gift I decided we'd eaten enough boring pizza while planning our wedding and I wanted something new. So I experimented with a BBQ Chicken Pizza. I still remember The Farming Hubby coming home from work, looking at that pizza and saying "What in the world did you do to a perfectly good pizza crust?!?!" haha! I don't really remember how that specific pizza tasted anymore, but I know I've never made that same recipe again. But I liked this concept of cooking outside the box, so I didn't give up, and decided to go in search of my perfect BBQ Chicken Pizza and for me this is it! I use the same shredded BBQ Chicken that is in my BBQ Chicken Calzones. And don't get me wrong I still love those calzones, but they're a little hard for the Farming Tot to eat, and quite frankly on pizza night I just want easy peazy. I love the flavor and texture of this pizza. And it's simplicity is wonderful. It's a great way to use up the leftover BBQ Chicken from the sandwich's I originally make it for, but it is once again a TOTALLY different food experience.

Shredded BBQ Chicken:
4-6 Chicken Breasts (I put them in frozen)
1 16 oz. Bottle of KC Masterpiece Original BBQ Sauce

Place Chicken in the Crockpot, pour the bottle of sauce on top, should be enough to coat and have a little extra. Cook on Low for 5-6 hours. Once done shred the chicken with two forks and place it back in the crockpot for another hour or so to soak up more sauce. Serve on rolls, or use to make Calzones, or Pizza. This also freezes beautifully!

Pizza Dough: (I made homemade but you can easily use a store bought dough)
This is for a bread machine - Makes a "medium" pizza
1 Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Sugar
3 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
2 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast

Place dough ingredients in bread pan starting with wet ingredients. Select Dough setting, and press start.

Once the dough is finished, using your hand form a round pizza crust either on your pizza pan or a pizza stone.

Topping:
2/3 - 3/4 cups BBQ Chicken mixture (it depends on how big your crust is, and how much you want on it)
2 chopped, Green onions or a few tablespoons chopped Red Onion (My personal fav.)
Shredded Cheddar

Spread Chicken it evenly on the crust. Sprinkle Onions, and then Cheese on top of that (you can add anything else you want, but we like it simple). Bake at 350 degrees for about 16 minutes, or until crust is slightly golden and the cheese is melted. Bake longer for a harder crust, we like a softer crust.

Review:
We really love this easy pizza. For us it is a treat from our normal pizza night, and for me I love it because not only does it come together pretty quickly, but it's really cheap and easy to make. And I love that I can re-use my BBQ chicken and make 2 completely different meals from it. The BBQ Chicken does freeze beautifully, so if you still have leftovers of it, freeze it and next time you want this pizza just pull it out and let it defrost! 4.5 stars.

*Pizza Dough adapted from Bread Machine Magic

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chicken Terriyaki Stir Fry


This is a Farmers Wife Original.

It's day 2 of Leftover Re-Purpose week! This recipe was made from the leftovers of my Grilled Terriyaki Sandwich. You see I made this wonderful sandwich, but I had leftover grilled chicken, pineapple and terriyaki sauce, but no more buns to serve it on. So I got to thinking one night that I needed to use that up, but how could I do it differently and I ended up with this. We really enjoyed it, and you'd never know it was made from leftovers! The Farming Tot gobbled up his entire plate and then tried to steal some from ours (so you know it's yummy lol!) and there were no leftovers of this dinner let me tell you! I wish I'd had some stir fry veggies to throw in the mix too, as that would've been wonderful, but it was one of those "I need to go to the store but, you couldn't make me move if you wanted to" kind of days. But one of the beauties of leftover re-purposing is you get 2 meals essentially for the price of one, and for someone on a budget (and with a toddler), it's a lifesaver! Next time you make those sandwich's I hope you'll use any leftovers and give this a try!

Ingredients:
1-2 Grilled Chicken breasts, diced. (I used the leftover strips from the sandwich)
2-3 Pineapple spears, diced
1/2 Bottle of Kikkoman Terriyaki Marinade and Glaze
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
1 Tablespoon Water
2 Cups cooked Rice
*Stir Fry Vegetables can be added if desired*

Directions:
Dice the chicken into small bites, (if you're not using leftover chicken, cut the chicken into strips, marinade the chicken in a little of the sauce and grill, or pan fry and then dice.) Place in a medium saucepan. Add the diced pineapple, stir fry veggie's (optional), the terriyaki sauce, lime juice and water. Heat on low heat until bubbling, and thick. Serve over rice.

Review:
I was a little surprised by how much we enjoyed this recipe, especially the Farming Tot, but it was a huge hit, and such a great way to use up those leftovers that otherwise may have gone bad. I really think it'd be wonderful with the Vegetable added in, and wish I'd had some on hand but unfortunately I did not. Next time I will be sure and add them in. 4 stars.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Find us on Facebook!

I have an exciting announcement to make, and yes more exciting than reusing leftovers! ;-) The Farmers Wife is now on Facebook! I hope that you will Like our Facebook page so you can receive more updates from the Farmers Wife's kitchen, spoilers about upcoming events on The Farmers Wife, and to join in any discussions and feel free to ask any cooking questions you might have! I am very excited about this, and there is a like box that will stay on the left column of the blog, but I wanted to personally invite you all to join me over there too.
Merry Christmas!

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Pineapple Mango Punch, with Juice and fruit Ice Cubes

 This is a Farmers Wife Original.

The wonderful Farming Husband volunteered us to bring the ingredients for punch to Thanksgiving this year. Knowing what a picky drinker he is, being able to take something that I know at least he will enjoy means the world to me. And luckily everyone else seemed to enjoy it too! Within minutes the punch bowl was completely empty and I had to leave my hot plate of food to go make more (which I also didn't mind because my own cup of punch was empty hehe!) Now I know most traditional punches for the holidays are Cranberry or Apple flavored, and while that's wonderful and I like those too, I wanted something a little different (And quite frankly cheaper) and this was a delightful treat! Now I'm kinda kicking myself for not using pineapple sorbet to keep this cold as that would have been wonderful, but since my store was sold out and I was too lazy to go to another one I bought an extra can of juice, and some canned pineapple and fresh cranberries and made my own ice cubes! It was so delicious, and with the extra that we didn't use The Farming Hubby and I have been thoroughly enjoying a glass or two here and there!

Ingredients: for one bowl of punch
1 46 Oz. can of Dole's Pineapple Mango Juice
1 2 liter bottle of Lemon Lime Soda (I used store brand and haven't noticed a difference from name brand)

Ice Cubes: make 112 ice cubes
1 46 oz. Can of Dole Pineapple Mango Juice
1 20 oz. Can of Pineapple tidbits in juice
1 Bag of fresh Cranberries, rinsed
2 cups of water

Directions:
For the ice cubes, make a few days in advance. Pour the can of juice into a large pitcher, along with the juice from the can of pineapple and the water. Mix well. In 4 ice cube tray place a piece of pineapple and a cranberry in the bottom and fill with the juice mixture. In another 4 trays, just pour juice with no fruit added. Freeze until hard, and then place the cubes in ziploc bags, and keep in the freezer til ready to use. For the punch, pour a can of juice and a bottle of soda in a large punch bowl. Mix with a ladle and then add in 14 juice cubes, and 14 juice with fruit cubes. Stir, and serve.

Review:
This really was a delightful and light punch. Not overpowering, and complimented our Thanksgiving dinner quite nicely. It was so refreshing compared to a lot of punches I've had in the past. Didn't leave a sticky taste or feeling in my mouth, even the Farming Tot enjoyed a little bit of it. I hope you will enjoy this punch for any special occasions you may have! 4.5 Stars.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Leftover Re-Purpose and Cookie Palooza!!

I am really looking forward to what we've got planned for the next 2 weeks. Finishing up this week with recipes from Thanksgiving. And next week is Leftover Re-purpose week, to be followed by Cookie Palooza week! I hope you'll tune in the next couple of weeks and enjoy some delicious new goodies! Here's a sneak of what you've got to look forward to:

Leftover Re-Purpose:
Turkey Tetrizinni
Orange Chicken with Fried Rice
BBQ Chicken Pizza
Chicken Terriyaki Stir Fry

Cookie Palooza:
Sugar Cookies with Homemade Frosting
Spice Cookies
And a couple TBD.
Go to my Poll on Facebook to vote for my newest recipe idea to be featured during Cookie Palooza Week!
The options are:
Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip cookies with a Cream Cheese Frosting
Pumpkin Cookies with Cranberries
Pumpkin Cookies with Cranberries and a Powdered Sugar Glaze

Happy voting, and be sure and tune in the next couple of weeks!

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Turkey Gravy

 This is a Farmers Wife original.

You can't have Thanksgiving (or Christmas for that matter) without turkey gravy for your Mashed Potatoes, Turkey and Stuffing! That would make for a very sad holiday if you want my opinion. I've made gravy in the past for special dinners, but it has been a couple of years. Then this year since I made the Mashed Potatoes (I did not make the Turkey, so I can't take credit for the delicious turkey fat and juice used to make this gravy), and since The Farming Hubby's Aunt who did make the turkey didn't know how to make the gravy I did a quick tutorial at our dinner. Not only was the gravy a huge hit, but it was absolutely delicious. Reminded me so much of the gravy I had growing up at my Grandma's house, and let's face it, that's the way we all want our holidays to taste. Just the way Grandma made it! Normally I would add some Turkey or Chicken stock to this to make more gravy, but we didn't have any on hand and we were short on time. If you do this then you will likely need to adjust the fat-flour ratio listed in the ingredients here.

Ingredients: makes about 3-4 cups of gravy
4 Tablespoons of Turkey Fat (skim the fat off the top of the drippings and use that)
5-6 Tablespoons of Flour (more if it's not as thick as you'd like it)
4 Cups Turkey Juice (this is the dark broth that cooks off the turkey), or Turkey or Chicken stock
Pepper to taste

Directions:
In a large pot (or use your roasting pan on the stove and you can leave all the yummy little bits in the pan for more flavor. I however didn't have the roasting pan to use), heat the fat until it's hot. Add in the flour, start with about 5 Tablespoons and whisk til it forms a roux. A roux is when the fat and flour makes a smooth paste like substance. If it's too thin add more flour. Let that brown on medium heat for a few minutes. Once browned slightly add in your stock, or turkey juice (be sure to skim the rest of the fat off, so you're only adding the dark brown juice) or both. Whisk continuously until it's all smooth and incorporated. At this point it will still be thin, you will need to let it simmer stirring occasionally for it to thicken up. After about 10-15 minutes, if it still seems thin combine equal parts water and flour in a small container til it's a smooth paste (1 Tablespoon of each). Add that into the pot with the gravy and whisk it in. This will help thicken up your gravy, without forming lumps. *Never just plop flour or cornstarch into a sauce or gravy without doing this trick.* Continue cooking until thick and brown, adding in your desired amount of pepper or other seasonings you like in your gravy. *Do not add salt to your gravy without tasting it first, turkey stock tends to be salty all on it's own and adding salt can make it too salty*. Once thick and brown pour into your gravy boat (or a carafe to keep it warm), and serve.

Review:
For a family that doesn't generally devour gravy, this was gone before the end of the line! Next time I will definitely be adding more stock to this to make a larger batch of gravy, but this should feed about 15-20 people pretty well. For me I think it was the highlight of my meal. I've so missed my Grandma's holiday cooking since moving to Arizona, and this is the closest I've gotten in several years! It tasted wonderfully, and everyone seemed to really like it. I know Gravy is intimidating to a lot of people, which surprised me when I was making it, but it's really not that difficult, just takes a little time and patience. 5 stars.

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