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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pizza Monkey Bread

Pull-apart bread, which we call Monkey Bread, is perfect for parties, showers or just a great supper. They can be sweet or savory. This one is made with pepperoni and cheeses, but you can add anything you want to it. There are no limits to the combinations that you can make. I made this one very simply using Krusteaz Garlic and Onion Flatbread mix. I highly recommend it. It was delicious in this recipe!

Pizza dough or canned biscuit dough
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 tbsp. basil leaves
1/2 tsp. fresh minced garlic
1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 (8 oz.) package of mini pepperoni
1 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray pan well.

Cut pizza dough or biscuits into small pieces.

Add all the ingredients in a bowl, except the dough and toss. Add the dough pieces a few at the time and toss so that the oil is spread evenly on each piece of dough. If you add them all at once, they stick together and just make a huge ball... I found that out the hard way! LOL

Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the center is cooked. If the middle is still not cooked thoroughly, leave it in the oven for another 5 minutes at a time until it’s done. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with marinara, pizza or spaghetti sauce for dipping.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Chicken Parmesan

This recipe is as old as the hills. Some people will scoff at using mayonnaise, but it really helps to keep the chicken moist and tender. This is also a recipe that I think you have to be willing to get a little messy in the kitchen. I've never been able to do the "wet hand, dry hand" method of breading chicken, and believe me, when you've worked in a kitchen frying chicken by the 5 gallon bucket loads... you'll try every method available... So get in there and get your hands dirty! I like to prepare the chicken for the Chicken Parmesan this way, so it stays nice and juicy. 

4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking pan or large casserole dish with oil. In a flat dish, combine bread crumbs, cheese and seasonings. Place mayo on a plate. Coat the breasts with mayonnaise (I actually used my fingers), and then roll in the bread crumb mixture. Bake chicken for 25 minutes or until no longer pink inside.

To assemble and prepare the Parmesan you'll need:

Spaghetti Noodles
32 oz Spaghetti Sauce, make your own or use your favorite store brand
½ t Basil, dried
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 cups Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded

Cook spaghetti noodles in boiling salted water until done and put in a greased casserole dish. Combined sauce and spices and pour over noodles. Remove chicken from oven and place on top of the noodles and sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of chicken then top with the Parmesan Cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. Serve with a Caesar or Garden Salad and Garlic Bread.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Braised Shanks in the oven

I received some pork shanks a few weeks back from my friend Russell at Sunny Cedars Farm. I cooked two in the crock pot. That way is easy and effortless. Just throw them in and put whatever spices, herbs and stock/wine/water that you want in with it. This time, I tried a braising method in the oven. I put them in the pot and sprinkled them liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder. I poured in some stock and let them cook away at 350 degrees for several hours. When you can pull the bones out clean, they are good to go!

I drained off the liquid and put it in the refrigerator to chill. I pulled out all the meat from the skin and bones. When the fat and broth separated and chilled, I spooned off 2 tablespoons of fat and put it in my cast iron pan along with 2 tablespoons of flour. I browned the flour in the fat until golden brown, then added the stock. Add more water if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

It literally fell off the bone! Yummy, juicy and tender!