Sunday, June 30, 2013

Peanut Butter Chicken Legs

If you are looking for something new for your 4th of July cookout, I have a wonderful chicken dish that is a fun twist on traditional barbecue and a great addition to your festivities.  This dish is great served hot or cold.  And, it has to marinate for a few hours, which means you will be free to relax and enjoy the fun rather than scrambling around in the kitchen.

Chicken Satay or peanut butter chicken as my kids call it, is a  family favorite any time of year and while we usually enjoy chicken satay using chicken breast, it is just as yummy with drumsticks.   It can be messy, but that is part of what makes it a great addition to your 4th of July festivities, you will still have the opportunity to go through handfuls of napkins, just as you would with traditional barbecue.

  • Chicken Leg Satay (ziplist)


    • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
    • 1/2 cup soy sauce
    • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
    • 4 Tablespoons chicken broth or water
    • 2 clove garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 thumb piece size ginger, peeled and finely chopped
    • 10-12 Chicken drumsticks
  • Instructions 

    1. Combine all ingredients, except chicken, in a large zip lock bag or bowl. Mix until combined. Add chicken and toss until coated. Let marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
    2. Heat grill and lightly oil grates. Place chicken on grill and reduce temperature to low/medium-low. Flipping chicken occasionally, cook for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Eggplant Lasagna

My kids will tolerate eggplant.  They don't love it and you certainly won't hear them begging for it, but they will eat a piece or two if properly presented.  The is problem I love eggplant and am always looking for ways to have it without having a lot of "whine" with it.  And while I don't like hiding food and tricking them it is necessary to be creative at times.

I was watching Food Network one Saturday morning and Rachel Ray was making an eggplant lasagna, but she wasn't making it using thinly sliced eggplant.  She was making it with baked and pureed eggplant.  It was one of those moments duh moments for me, how had this never occurred to me.  Pureed eggplant and ricotta cheese have a very similar consistency.  Mix them together and you can easily fool even those with the biggest aversion to this yummy, yet under appreciated veggie.

Eggplant Lasagna (ziplist)

  • Ingredients 

    • 1 large eggplant
    • 5-6 large tomatoes, sliced
    • 1/2 cup basil
    • 2 cloves roasted garlic
    • 2 pints ricotta
    • 1 cup Parmigiana-Reggiano
    • 1 egg
    • 24 oz fresh or jarred marinara sauce
    • 1 box lasagna noodles (prepared to boxed instructions)
    • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
    • Olive oil
    • Salt and pepper
  • Instructions 

    1. Preheat oven to 400
    2. Slice eggplant in half lengthwise. Brush each side with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes or until soft.
    3. Place tomato slice on baking sheet lightly drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven to cool, set aside.
    4. Once eggplant has cooled slightly scoop out fleshy inside. Place in bowl of food processor with basil and garlic. Pulse 3-4 times to puree. Add egg, ricotta and 1/2 cup Parmigiana cheeses, salt and pepper to taste. Pulse an additional 3-4 times.
    5. In a 13x9 baking pan, pour in a 1/4 of the sauce. Add a layer of noodles, a layer of the ricotta cheese eggplant mixture, and a layer of tomatoes. Top the four layers with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layering process 2 times. Finish with a layer of sauce topped with generous topping of mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmigiana.
    6. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until cheese has melted. Let cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.


Thursday, June 20, 2013


I love Baklava.  It is a dessert I always get when I see it on a menu, but have never tried making.  Phyllo and I don't get along very well and all those buttery layers scare me.  But, I finally faced my fears and attempted a batch and am now wondering why I waited so long.

This is a dish that definitely requires patience, but once I got into the groove of it I actually found it rather therapeutic and calming to make.  How can you not relax and just enjoy life when painting with butter.  I also made sure I didn't rush when working with the Phyllo dough.  I allowed the dough to completely defrost before working with it and kept it covered with a damp cloth while working with it.  This helped ensure it didn't rip into tiny pieces while working with it, which has been the source of much frustration in the past.

While there aren't a lot of ingredients in Baklava - phyllo, nuts and simple syrup - the flavor can vary greatly depending on what nuts you choose to put in the filling and what type of honey you use in the syrup.

In order to love Baklava you have to be a nut lover.  There are some recipes that add chocolate pieces or dried fruit, but most of the recipes I came across contained just nuts.  Most recipes used a combination of different types, but some recipes use just one type.  I used a combination of walnuts, pecans and almonds with a few pistachios thrown in, but you can use any combination and it will be delicious.

The syrup which binds everything together is very simple - honey, sugar, water - but the flavor can vary greatly based on the type of honey used.  I get my honey from a small health food store that sells local honey.  It is a wonderfully delicious honey, but for me the real joy of this honey is watching the golden honey come out of a huge vat as they refill your container.  If you don't have access to local honey a lavender honey is a good option or you can use a regular honey and add some orange zest to the syrup.  Again you really can't make a bad choice when making the syrup.  And if you have to make numerous batches to decide on you favorite combination of nuts and syrup flavoring, that is a sacrifice worth making.

  • Baklava


    • 1 package Phyllo, thawed and at room temperature
    • 4 cups chopped nuts, lightly toasted (any combination - walnuts, pecans, pistachios, almonds)
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 2 sticks butter, melted
    • 2 cups honey
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 stick of butter
    • 2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • Instructions 

    1. Preheat oven to 350. Toss nuts and cinnamon together, set aside.
    2. Butter a 13x9 baking pan. Make sure the sheets of phyllo are about the same size as the pan, trim to size if needed. While working with phyllo only remove the sheet you immediately need, keep the rest covered in plastic with a damp cloth over it.
    3. Remove two sheets of phyllo, brush one sheet with melted butter and place in buttered dish butter side up. Grab two more sheets, brush one side with butter and place in pan butter side up. Repeat process one more time, for a total of six sheets of phyllo, three of which have been buttered. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top layer, add enough nuts to just barely cover the phyllo. Top with four more sheets of phyllo, using the same method of grabbing two sheets, brushing one side with butter and place in pan butter side up. Add another layer of nuts. Repeat process of stacking four layers of phyllo and one layer of nuts until all the nuts are used up, end with a buttered top.
    4. With a sharp knife cut a diagonal pattern in the baklava. Place in preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
    5. While the baklava is baking combine, honey, water, sugar, butter and vanilla in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to low.
    6. When baklava is done baking remove from oven then evenly drizzle the syrup over the top. Allow the baklava to rest at room temperature, uncovered for several hours to absorb the syrup and cool.
    7. While it is very hard to wait, it is very important to let the baklava rest. If you try and cut it too soon it will fall apart - trust me I speak from experience!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Pink Cake

The winning cake for this month's Cake Slice Baker's is Julie Richards Pink Cake.  How can you not want to make something called "The Pink Cake."  For me it brings up contrasting images sometimes I think of ladies in the 60's wearing flowery dresses and enjoying this cake at a ladies luncheon with a glass of spiked punch.  Then other times I think of a little girls birthday party with this light pink cake as the center piece - although there is a pretty good chance the mom's might be enjoying some spiked punch at this event as regardless of the decade.

I served my pink cake as part of a teacher appreciation lunch, where no spiked punch was served, although the teachers might have wanted some.  While I was very happy to contribute this cake I was a little bummed that I didn't get to try a slice.  I was hoping some would be left when I went in for clean-up, but no such luck.  I guess it's a good sign when a cake quickly disappears, but I wasn't happy having only cake scraps with a little bit of the icing.

From what I did have it was a rich moist cake with great chocolate flavor.  The icing was buttery and sweet with a nice hint of raspberry.  A perfect combination and a cake I will make again, but when I know I will be able to have a slice.

I have chosen not to include the recipes from Vintage Cakes, other members of the Cake Slice Bakers have modified and provided the recipe, so be sure to check out the rest of the group.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

I'm not sure where the past month went.  The end of school craziness have made the days fly by in a blur.  Resulting in complete neglect of many things, including things here at Everyday Mom.  I have a pile of yummy recipes I want to share, but haven't found the time to sit down and get them written up.  I would like to think that I will get caught up once school is out, but based on past experience I am guessing having the three monkeys home all day will make getting caught even more difficult.

One thing I couldn't let slide was this month's Secret Recipe Club reveal.  This month I got to check out Dancing Veggies.  Amanda focuses on cooking healthy vegetarian food on a budget.  Amanda participates in numerous food blog challenges and as a result has a lot of great recipes to choose from.

I had decided at the beginning of the month to make something from Secret Recipe to bring to my book club group.  It is one of those book clubs that is more focused on food and drink than actual book discussion.  I knew this audience would appreciate the idea behind the Secret Recipe Club and the wonderful dishes that come from it.  I had found a lot of great recipes I wanted to try, yet when it came time to actually making something I was short on time.  I needed a dish that would be quick to fix,  serve as a main dish, it had to be served at room temperature and it needed to be portable.  So despite the numerous choices, I went for a classic recipe Sun Dried Tomato Pesto over pasta.

This pesto gives a wonderful burst of flavor and can be served in many ways.  I served it over pasta, but it would be great with chicken, veggies or just smeared on bread.  I altered Amanda's recipe slightly by adding some pine nuts and a fire roasted pepper.  I like the texture the pine nuts provided and the pepper provided a little heat.  Either way you make it, this is a great recipe. It is super easy to make, which is perfect for those nights when time is at a premium.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

1 jar Sun Dried tomatoes in oil
1 fire roasted pepper
2 Tbsp. Pine nuts
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (about 6-10 leaves)
3 cloves garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Place all ingredients in food processor.  Blend until mixture forms a thick paste.  With processor running slowly pour in olive oil until paste thins out to desired consistency.