Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Beer Can Chicken!

I've heard great things about beer can chicken, and have been wanting to try it for a while. However, our grill does not have a removable top rack, so there is no way that a chicken could fit standing upright inside our grill. I had just resigned myself to the fact that I would never be able to see for myself how a can of beer could transform a plain old chicken into a culinary delight, when in swooped Guy Fieri to rescue me from this tragedy. I was lazy on Sunday, and clearing out a bunch of things on my DVR (I record WAY too many Food Network shows), when I came across an episode of Guy's Big Bite featuring "Big Bud's Beer Can Chicken". A beer can chicken in the oven! Finally, a way for me to conduct this curious culinary experiment!

Let me tell you, this was THE best chicken I have EVER had. The spice rub from this recipe is amazing, just the right amount of kick (I was doubtful when I looked at all the spiced mixed together, but I can't say enough about how perfect it was). The meat was tender and juicy. This will definitely be a regular item in our house, my husband said he could eat it everyday. Rotisserie chickens no longer have a place in our home.

Try this, you will NOT be disappointed!

Big Bud's Beer Can Chicken
Source: Food Network


  • 1 (2 to 3-pound) whole chicken
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 (12-ounce) can beer
  • 1/2 pound bacon


  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Wash chicken with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Mix dry ingredients in small bowl. Rub 1/2 of the ingredients on inside cavity of chicken. Gently lift the skin up from chicken and rub mixture into meat of chicken, under the skin.
  • Open beer can and pour out about 1/2 cup. Drop the garlic cloves into the beer can. Place chicken, open end down, over the beer can to insert the beer into the cavity.
  • Place chicken, standing up, in large saute pan. Place 1/3 of the bacon in the top cavity of the chicken and drape the remaining 2/3 of the bacon down the outside of the chicken. Pierce the bacon to the chicken with toothpicks.
  • Place chicken in the oven for 10 minutes and then lower temperature to 325 degrees F and cook for another 1 hour, or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer (my chicken was almost 5 pounds and cooked for about an hour and forty minutes).

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cake Batter Ice Cream

One of my favorite indulgences is Coldstone Creamery cake batter ice cream. Thankfully, the store near us closed, ending the era in which we had ice cream for dinner on a semi-regular basis. When I found this recipe, I had to try it. I was not disappointed, it was pretty spot-on. I added some crushed graham cracker crust and slivered almonds to it at the end, just the way I like my Coldstone!

Also, this was the first time I used the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchenaid, and it was awesome! Two thumbs up from this girl.

This picture is not appetizing at all. Believe me, it tastes much better than it looks.

Cake Batter Ice Cream



  • 1 cup whole milk, well chilled
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup yellow cake mix


  • In a medium bowl, whisk the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.
  • Stir in cake mix, making sure there are no lumps. (I sifted the cake mix)
  • Pour mixture into the freezer bowl of your ice cream maker and let mix until it has thickened (about 25-30 minutes).
  • Remove ice cream from freezer bowl and place into a separate container.
  • Place freezer bowl and the ice cream into the freezer to further harden.

Chicken Riggies

This is one of my favorite meals. The sauce is creamy and a little on the spicy side. Chicken Riggies are native to Central New York, and there is a riggie competition every year. This recipe was actually pretty hard to track down; I'm not sure where my mom ended up finding it, but I stole it from her. I've heard that mushrooms are really good in this, if you're into that kind of thing. ::shudder:: I usually half this recipe if I'm making it for just my husband and I, and there are still leftovers. This makes A LOT. But it's great leftover.

Chicken Riggies


  • 4 to 6 tablespoons butter
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Fresh mushrooms (if you must), sliced
  • 1 green pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pound rigatoni, cooked and drained (I like the mini rigatoni)


  • Melt butter in pan. Add chicken pieces and cook until chicken is almost done. Add mushrooms, peppers and onion and cook until vegetables start to soften.
  • Add the chicken stock and stir.
  • Stir together tomato sauce and heavy cream, then add to chicken & vegetable mixture.
  • Add parsley, paprika and red pepper flakes.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Whisk cornstarch with some water until smooth. Gradually add to sauce, until the sauce reaches desired thickness.
  • Pour over cooked pasta and mix together.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dogs need treats too!

This is my dog, Bailey (with a cameo appearance by his little kitty friend, Steve). Bailey loves treats. And with a face like that, how could I not spoil him rotten with some delicious home made treats? I found this recipe on ivillage, and knew that he would love them, because he loves peanut butter almost as much as I do.

These treats are a big hit with Bailey, who will fake having to go outside just so he can get more treats (we're on to you, sucka), and are really easy to make with healthy ingredients.

Peanut Butter Dog Treats


  • 1 ¼ cup milk
  • 1 ¼ peanut butter (I used natural peanut butter)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ tablespoons baking powder


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine flours and baking powder in a large bowl.
  • Mix milk and peanut butter in a large bowl, until smooth.
  • Gradually stir flour mixture into wet ingredients.
  • Knead dough by hand, adding small amounts of milk to the mixture if the consistency is too dry. (I mixed it in my kitchenaid mixer and did not need to knead the dough. I've used both the dough hook and the paddle attachment, and both worked fine).
  • Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface to desired thickness and cut out treats with cookie cutter of choice. (I roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper for easier clean up).
  • Bake on cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, modifying timing to adjust for dough thickness and treat size. (I rolled the dough about 1/8 inch thick, and 12 minutes was the perfect baking time). They rise considerably when baked.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Zucchini Bread

So, last weekend at the local farmer's market, I fell in love with a little old man that was selling gigantic zucchini (see my zucchini & turkey lasagna post for just how gigantic these 45 cent zucchini are). I would say he is in his early 80's, drives an old rusty red ford pick up truck, and is the nicest little guy ever. I'm happy to support vendors like him instead of the local megamart when I can. So when I saw him there again this weekend, I knew I had to buy another giant zucchini. This week, I decided to make zucchini bread. It was perfectly moist and delicious. I made four loaves, so I hope my coworkers are in the mood for some tomorrow!

Zucchini Bread
Yields 2 loaves

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sift together flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, baking powder.
  • Beat eggs. Add and mix well sugar, vanilla, and oil. Add zucchini to egg mixture. Add dry ingredients, mixing well. Stir in nuts if desired. Pour into 2 ungreased loaf pans.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Blueberry Almond Cake

I've had this recipe on my "to try" list for months. I bought way too many blueberries at the local farmer's market last weekend and finally decided it was time to try it. This cake was amazing, very rich and moist with the almonds providing a nice crunch. Don't be dumb like me, don't hold on to this recipe for months before trying it!

Blueberry Almond Cake

Source: Deborah's Culinary Confections

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 can Duncan Hines whipped cream cheese frosting (or home made, if you are not as lazy as I am)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8x8 baking pan.
  • In a large bowl combine the butter and granulated sugar, beat until smooth. Beat in egg, sour cream, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix until combined. Fold in almonds and blueberries then pour into baking pan - spread evenly.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in middle of cake comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting with cream cheese frosting and cutting into squares.

Zucchini and Turkey Lasagna

So, we all know that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But what do you do when life hands you an 18 inch zucchini??

Easy. You make zucchini and turkey lasagna, and you love it. Even your picky husband loves it.

Zucchini and Turkey Lasagna


  • One enormous zucchini (or I suppose several small zucchini would do)

  • 1 pound ground turkey

  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce

  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese (You could use less, but I like cheese. A lot.)

  • Fat free ricotta cheese, to taste

  • Parmesean cheese, to taste

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  • Slice zucchini into strips 1/8 inch thick (I cut my enormous zucchini into 3 sections, then sliced).

  • Place zucchini into a microwave safe dish, cover, and cook on high for 6 minutes.

  • Heat olive oil in pan. Crumble turkey into pan, add minced garlic, onion and Italian seasoning. Break turkey into bite sized pieces while cooking. Cook until turkey is completely cooked. Drain any fat.

  • Spray baking dish with cooking spray and spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the dish.

  • Place a layer of cooked zucchini strips in baking dish.

  • Spread a layer of ricotta on top of zucchini. Sprinkle on a little mozzarella and parmesean.

  • Add a layer of cooked turkey.

  • Spread some sauce on top of meat.

  • Repeat layers.

  • On top of 2nd meat layer, add a final layer of zucchini, cover with a layer of sauce and top with mozzarella cheese.

  • Bake for 25 minutes.

  • Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Almond Poppy Seed Angel Food Cake

I'm such a bad blogger that I'm just now posting a dessert that I made for Fourth of July. I feel guilty for keeping this one from you for so long, because it is super healthy (127 calories per slice and NO fat) and delicious.

I was terrified to try an angel food cake. I've never had to beat egg whites into any sort of peaks before, and know that it can turn into a disaster if beaten too long. So before I attempted to make this, I read up on "the egg foam method" in Alton Brown's baking book, "I'm Just Here For More Food" (an EXCELLENT read, by the way). I knew that Alton would explain everything I needed to know in order to make the cake great, and I was not disappointed. Me + Alton + BFFs.

I topped it with cool whip light and some strawberries that I sliced and refrigerated with a little splenda overnight. The original recipe was lemon-poppy seed, but since I'm not a big fan of lemon desserts, I substituted almond extract for the 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon zest and 1 teaspoon of lemon extract that the original recipe called for (now you can turn it back into lemon if you really want to, but the almond was awesome).

Almond Poppy Seed Angel Food Cake

Source: The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts


  • 1 cup cake flour
  • ¾ cup Splenda
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 12 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sift together flour, Splenda, and cornstarch. Stir in poppy seeds and set aside.
  • Combine egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed until foamy. Beat in almond extract.
  • Beat in sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating at high speed until stiff peaks form.
  • Spoon flour mixture over the egg white mixture in four additions, gently folding in after each addition. Pour batter into an ungreased 10 inch tube pan.
  • Bake 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
  • Invert cake pan and cool cake completely.
  • Loosen cake from sides of pan with a thin metal spatula. Invert cake onto a serving platter.

Mmmmm Chicken Wing Dip

This is one of my favorite snacks to make for parties. In the food blog community, it's also referred to as "crack dip" because it's just that addicting. One of the things I like about making this is that it can be put together the night before and just popped in the oven before the party. I think everyone has their own verison of this dip, but if you haven't tried it yet, I definitely recommend it.

Chicken Wing Dip


  • 2 packages of cream cheese (8 ounce each)
  • ¾ cup Frank’s Red Hot
  • 1 cup creamy blue cheese dressing
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • With a mixer, mix together cream cheese and Red Hot, until smooth
  • Mix in blue cheese
  • Stir in chicken and cheddar cheese
  • Pour into 9x13 pan
  • Bake for 30 minutes