Sunday, May 31, 2009

Grill Roasted Ham and an Award

First off, Lynette from Netts Nook gave me this award. If you have not been to her blog you really need to go. She has daily themes for her posts and they are great! I love her movie reviews. She has a little of everything over there so head on over and check out her blog. Lynette, congrats on receiving the award and thank you so much for passing it on to me.

I would like to give the award to Sallie and Julia of My Sister's Kitchen. Its a blog run by two sisters who love to cook. I have several of their recipes on my to make list. They have a recipe for chewy cinnamon cookies that are to die for!
Also I am giving the award to Heidi at Tried and True cooking with Heidi. She posts kid friendly meals and includes how much the recipe cost her to make. I've loved everything I've tried from her blog. One of our favorite recipes from her is the Little Cheddar Meat Loaves.
Goodness the smell of this ham cooking was unbelievable. Sorry the picture does not contain much meat as I totally forgot to take a picture until we had eaten almost all of the ham. The meat was very tender, which says a lot since most ham I make is pretty dry and tough, and the charred outside was delightful to eat. The recipe is pretty simple and easy to make with most of the time done in waiting for it to cook. All three boys ate the ham up and asked for seconds. The original recipe called for more paprika and some cayenne pepper but I wanted a little more sweet rub for mine so I changed it.

Grill Roasted Ham
adapted from Cooks Country April/May 2009

1 4-5 lb cured bone-in ham preferably shank end, skin removed and fat trimmed to 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ginger

Score ham at 1 inch intervals in crosshatch pattern. Combine sugar, paprika, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and sugar in a small bowl. Rub spice mixture all over ham. Transfer to a V-rack and let stand at room temperature 1 1/2 hours. Thread ham with two metal skewers on both sides of the bone.

Heat all burners on high for 15 minutes, then leave primary burner on high and turn off the other burner. For charcoal grill, open bottom vent on grill. Light 100 coals; when covered with fine gray ash, spread over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place and heat, covered, with lid vent half open, for 5 minutes. Scrape cooking grate. Arrange v-rack over cooler side of grill. Cook ham covered, until meat registers 100 degrees, about 1 1/2 hours.

Turn all burners to low. For charcoal grill, light about 25 coals. When coals are covered with a fine gray ash, remove grill grate and scatter over top of spent coals. Replace grill grate and position v-rack directly over coals. Grill ham until lightly charred on all sides, about 30 minutes, turning ham every 5 minutes. Transfer to cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 15 minutes. Carve and serve.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

May Crossroads Food Coop

1 pkg. mushrooms
8 bananas
2 cantaloupe
6 apples
1 bunch radishes
3 zucchini
1 bunch asparagus
1 bag of white potatos
4 artichokes
Stone Ground's Artisan Wheat Loaf
16 oz. Rice
4 lbs bacon
2 Stoneground’s 1/2 dozen 6” Hoagie Rolls
Total cost for me: $26.70

To order click here.

Here are a few links to ways to use some of the above items:
Hasselback Potatoes
Augratin Potatoes
Greek Potatoes
Easy Baked Beans
Bacon Apple Cider Biscuits
Banana Cream Pie
Delightful Banana Cake
Burnt Butter with Zucchini Pasta

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Jucy Lucy Burger

These were some mighty tasty burgers. I had trouble getting a picture of the burger with the cheese inside of it as for some reason it was runny and once I cut the burger it ran right out. Worth a try at least once but I really don't see us making these on a regular basis mainly because the kids and Don are mighty picky when it comes to burgers.

Jucy Lucy Burger
From Cooks Country September 2007
Straight from the grill, the cheesy center of the Jucy Lucy will be molten hot. Be sure to let the burgers rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

2 slices hearty white sandwich bread , torn into rough pieces
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
1 slice deli American cheese (1/2-inch-thick), cut into quarters
1. Using potato masher, mash bread, milk, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in large bowl until smooth. Add beef and gently knead until well combined.
2. Divide meat mixture into 4 equal portions. Mold each portion of meat around 1 piece of cheese. Transfer patties to plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
3. Grill burgers over medium fire until well browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer to plate, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Serve.
STOVETOP JUCY LUCY BURGERS Prepare Grilled Jucy Lucy Burgers through step 2. Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Add patties and cook until well browned, about 6 minutes. Flip burgers, cover skillet, and continue cooking until well-done, about 6 minutes. Transfer to plate, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Serve.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chicken Spiedies

This was one of the best chicken sandwiches I've ever made myself. It was so tasty and just plain good. A nice bonus being it takes only minutes to throw together with a small marinade time and then cooking the chicken. One thing I would do different is add some thin sliced red onions, tomato slices, and either some arugula or spinach. Also toast the bun, it really needed to be toasted, and if you like lots of sauce you'll want to double the sauce recipe.

Chicken Spiedies
from Cooks Country June/July 2009 issue

1/2 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons grated zest plus 1 tablespoon juice from one lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts about 1 1/2 pounds
6 6 inch sub rolls, slit partially open lengthwise

Combine oil, garlic, basil, oregano, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes in a large bowl. Transfer 2 tablespoons oil mixture to separate bowl and whisk in mayonnaise, vinegar, and lemon juice; refrigerate. Sauce can be refrigerated, covered for 2 days.

Prick chicken breasts all over with fork, cut into 1 1/4 inch chunks, and transfer to bowl with remaining oil mixture. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

Remove chicken from marinade and thread onto six 12 inch metal skewers. Grill chicken over hot fire, covered and turning frequently, until lightly charred and cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to sub rolls or bread, remove skewers, and drizzle with mayonnaise mixture.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pasta Salad Vinaigrette

This is a little different than other pasta salads I make but it was very tasty. It was quick and easy to make. I found the recipe in the Food Section of the Deseret News paper. The article was about food for a picnic basket and this would make a great addition to a picnic basket. No ingredients that need to be kept cold to keep from spoiling. I recommend using veggies with more color to give it a nice look. I used what I had on hand so not so much color in my salad.

8 ounces rotini or other pasta
1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons McCormick seasoned pepper blend (or freshly ground pepper)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
2 cups bite-size vegetables, such as bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, celery, cucumber, carrots, zucchini or broccoli

Cook pasta as directed on package. Rinse under cold water; drain well.

Mix oil, vinegar and seasonings in small bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Toss pasta and vegetables in large bowl. Add dressing; toss gently. Cover.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Toss lightly before serving.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Quick Pork Chops

I love having simple recipes that can be made in a flash on crazy days. I try to keep thin cut boneless pork chops on hand in the freezer for just those sort of days. Course in the picture above I have thin but bone in pork chops and they work too. I can pull the pork chops out of the freezer in the morning and it takes about 15 minutes at most to cook the thin cut chops. Serving is easy as I usually will pull out some frozen veggies to cook while the pork is cooking. And you can also serve these chops on a roll with a condiment, lettuce, and tomatoes for a sandwich and a salad. The spices you use can totally change the flavor of the chops to fit your mood for the day.

6 thin cut boneless pork chops
McCormick Grill Mates seasoning blend I prefer the Garlic and Onion Medley seasoning
vegetable oil

Pour about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a frying pan and heat until it reaches the shimmering point over medium high heat. Sprinkle, liberally, the seasoning blend over the pork chops. Place pork chops in the frying pan and cook about 5 minutes or until golden brown, flip and cook until cooked through and golden brown about another 5 minutes. Serve.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Hasselback Potatoes

I am in love with these potatoes. I am already plotting ways to make these gems again. They were flavorful, buttery, and garlicky, my type of food. They were very easy to make and most of the time involved in making these potatoes was in the cooking time. The recipe comes from a new blog I discovered called Sweet Basil.

Hasselback Potatoes
recipe from Oh Sweet Basil

6 Medium Size Potatoes
2 - 3 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 TB Butter
Sea Salt, I used French Grey Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 425. Put the potato on a chopping board, flat side down. Start from one end of the potato, cut almost all the way through, making thin slices.

Arrange the potatoes in a baking tray and insert the garlic in between the slits. Scatter some butter on top of each potato. Then drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bake the potatoes for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes turn crispy and the flesh is soft.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Crockpot Salisbury Steak

Here are a few beef suggestions for the upcoming holiday along with a few sides:
Tin Foil Dinners
Beef and Vegetable Kabobs
Grilled London Broil
Cool Cucumber Salad
Cucumber, Tomato, Onion Salad

Now on to today's recipe. I am not a huge fan of using my crock pot these days. I find I can make most dishes taste better on the stove or in the oven but there are days when I find I still use it. We were going to be gone all day and I did not want to spend money on take out or a dinner out I went with a crock pot meal. Overall this recipe was pretty good. Next time though I'd cook the patties a little longer on the stove top because inside the patties the meat was a little pink and I just can't stomach pink meat. I really liked the gravy that was made with the meat. Also for a little tip on the mashed potatoes, I prepped the potatoes for cooking then placed them in a foil packet that I made and stuck it on top of the cooking dish in the crock pot while we were gone. I was then able to make mashed potatoes from the cooked potatoes in my packet in just a matter of minutes.

Crockpot Salisbury Steak
adapated from Mommy's Kitchen

1 lb Lean Ground Beef
1/3 Cup Bread Crumbs or Cracker Crumbs
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Pepper
1 Egg
Small Onion Sliced
1 Can Condensed Beef Broth
1 – 4oz Can Sliced Mushrooms (Drained)
2 T. Cornstarch
2T Water
1 - Packet Brown Gravy Mix

Mix First 5 ingredients together and shape into ovals about ¾ inches thick. Cook patties in a skillet turning once until brown. Add onion mushroom and beef broth heat to boiling. Reduce heat cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove patties to the crockpot. Heat mixture until boiling. Mix water and cornstarch together to make a paste. Add to boiling mixture with a wire whisk and whisk until gravy begins to thicken. Add 1 packet of brown or mushroom gravy prepared according to package directions and add to the beef broth gravy. I added the gravy to the top of my patties in the crockpot, placed my potato packet on the very top and cooked on low for 8 hours.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Texas Sheet Cake

Today I am linking you to a few pork recipes for the upcoming holiday along with a few sides for the pork.
Chicago Style Barbecued Ribs
Lexington Style Pulled Pork
South Carolina Pulled Pork
Barbecued Pasta Salad
Easy Baked Beans

I've never had this cake before, that I know of, but I have to say this was pretty darn good. It almost tasty like a really good brownie. The kids loved helping me make this cake and it was simple enough to let them help. The original recipe calls for chopped pecans but we don't like them so we left them out. This cake did not last long in our house it was too good to let sit in the pan for long. This cake is full of chocolate flavor and the icing forms a gooey layer near the cake. Give this cake a try, you won't be disappointed.

Texas Sheet Cake
adapted slightly from the Cook's Country Cookbook.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 18 by 13 inch rimmed baking sheet. Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla together.
Melt the chocolate, oil, water, cocoa, and butter together in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly whisk in the flour mixture until combined. Whisk in the egg mixture until combined.
Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it is thoroughly combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking sheet, smooth the top, and gently tap the sheet on the work surface to settle the batter. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

During the cake's last few minutes of baking, cook the butter, cream, cocoa, and corn syrup together in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Off heat, whisk in the confectioners' suga and vanilla until combined.
Spread the warm icing evenly over the hot cake. Let the cake cool in the pan to room temperature, about one hour, then refrigerate until the icing is set, about one hour longer, before serving.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Cowboy Beans

Memorial Day is coming this weekend so for the next few days I thought I'd share some of our favorite get together foods. Today I am going to share a few chicken recipes and one or two sides for those chicken recipes.
Cornell Chicken
Huli Huli Chicken
Manti Chicken
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
Spaghetti Salad
Three Bean Salad
French Potato Salad

We love beans in our house. They are a cheap source of protein plus there are numerous ways to make them. I prefer to buy dry beans because I find that canned beans are mushy and very salty. To make dry beans a little more convenient to use I make a big batch of them and then freeze them without seasonings to make them just as easy to use as canned beans. These beans were very tasty and could be made with or without the added meat. They were spicy without being overly spicy, a perfect blend of flavors. I added grated colby jack cheese and freshly chopped onions at serving time.

Cowboy Beans
adapted from the Texas Cowboy Cookbook

1 pound dried pinto beans, sorted and soaked overnight
1 pound ground chorizo (optional), cooked until browned
3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Add everything to crockpot and just barely cover with water. Cook on high 4-6 hours. There are two ways to serve this as a soupy dish or as a drier dish where you drain the cooking liquid. I prefer it without the cooking liquid.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cucumber Salad with Ranch Dressing

I love cucumber salad although I usually make a vinaigrette type of dressing for the cucumber salad. This time, however I tried something different and gave ranch dressing a try. The idea came from a cookbook I checked out of the library called The Texas Cowboy Cookbook. Its an interesting cookbook that goes through the history of cowboy cooking along with lots of recipes. This was a quick and easy salad to make that the whole family enjoyed.

Cucumber Salad
The Texas Cowboy Book

2 cucumbers
1/4 onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup homemade ranch dressing (recipe following at bottom of this recipe)

Peel cucumber and slice very thin. Slice the onion very thinly and combine it with the cucumbers in a bowl. Add salt, cover, and allow to sit in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain off the water and pat dry with a paper towel. Add the dressing and mix well. Serve cold.

Homemade Ranch Dressing
The Texas Cowboy Book

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream (or substitute plain yogurt)
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk in a mixing bowl and stir until smooth. Add the bell pepper, onion, cilantro, garlic, pepper, and salt and mix well. The dressing will keep for a week in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sticky Chicken

This was a really tasty chicken recipe. In fact, we had no leftovers. Not even enough to make chicken noodle soup the next day. We picked every last bit of chicken off this bird to eat. The flavor was quite tasty and it was so tender. While it is not a quick recipe it is short on preparation time. I think there was 10 minutes of actual hands on time to make this dish. A new favorite roasted chicken recipe for our house.

Roasted Sticky Chicken
from allrecipes

2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 onions, quartered
1 (4 pound) whole chicken

In a small bowl, mix together salt, paprika, onion powder, thyme, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Remove and discard giblets from chicken. Rinse chicken cavity, and pat dry with paper towel. Rub chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Place onion into the cavity of chicken. Place chicken in a resealable bag or double wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 to 6 hours.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees .

Place chicken in a roasting pan. Bake uncovered for 5 hours, to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Let the chicken stand for 10 minutes before carving.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Asian Noodles and Vegetables

This is just a recipe I threw together using up veggies I had in the fridge. The flavor was really good. From start to finish this recipe took me about 25 minutes so its a pretty quick dish to make. I did precut all the veggies so they were all ready to go when I started cooking. Everyone, including kids, loved this dish. It will be on our menu often.

1/2 package of fettucine noodles, cooked, drained, and coated with one teaspoon oil
Any of combination of veggies I used the following
1 onion, sliced thin and halved
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 lb sugar snap peas
1 cup sliced mushrooms
about 1 1/2 cups napa cabbage sliced thin
about 1 cup bok choi, chopped thin
3 garlic cloves, minced
about 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

I preheated about 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet. I cooked the onion and bell peppers for about 3 minutes then added the snap peas. I cooked for about another 2 minutes then added them to the noodles in a big bowl.
I then preheated about 2 teaspoons of oil and cooked the mushrooms, cabbage, and bok choi for about 2 minutes. I then added those to the noodles and veggies.
I heated about 1 teaspoon more of oil and then cooked the garlic and ginger until fragrant about 30 seconds.

I tossed everything together and preheated another tablespoon of oil. I put everything back in the skillet, along with 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and cooked for about 5 minutes. I then served up some really tasty noodles.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Best Raspberry Muffins

I adapted this recipe from "Best Blueberry Muffins" from the June 2009 issue of Cook's Illustrated. I had to adapt it because my mother hates blueberries. I don't believe I have ever seen such an old person who has so many picky eating habits. Kids sure, but they grow up and lose most of those. And I feel safe saying that here because I know she doesn't check this blog. Hee. Love ya regardless, I just reserve the right to nitpick your pickiness.

Lemon-Sugar Topping
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon

1. Stir sugar and zest in a small bowl until combined; set aside.

2 cups fresh raspberries
1 1/8 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons(1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tim with nonstick cooking spray. Over medium heat stir 1 cup raspberries and 1 teaspoon sugar together in a small sauce pan, mashing with the back of a spoon. Heat until berries release their juices and has thickened. Cool mixture for 10-15 minutes.

2. Whisk flour, baking pwoder and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs in medium bowl until thick. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining 1 cup raspberries into flour mixture until just moistened.(Batter will be lumpy with a few dry spots of flour, do not overmix.)

3. Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups, batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly. Spoon a teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using a wooden skewer/chopstick gently swirl berry filling into batter using a figure-eight motion. Sprinkle evenly with lemon-sugar topping.

4. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17-19 minutes. Cool muffins in tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I thought these were quite delicious. They have a cake crumb and are perfect for breakfasts. I did not use all the lemon-sugar topping when I sprinkled them, but I reserved it so I could use it after I buttered them up.

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Bountiful Baskets Coop

Saturdays pick up:
6 tomatoes
6 mango's
1 honeydew melon
9 bananas
8 oranges
2 red peppers
7 red potatoes
10 pears
1 bunch of broccoli
1 spaghetti squash
2 cucumbers
1 head romaine lettuce
Asian add on pack:
1 Nappa cabbage
1 Bok Choy
sugar snap peas

I paid $23.25 for everything. Next time to order is May 26th and 27th with pick up on May 30th.
Website to order.

Here are some ideas for using the items we picked up:
Banana Cream Pie
Delightful Banana Cake
Plum Pudding Smoothies
BLT Pasta Salad
Bacon Cheeseburger Salad
Cool Cucumber Salad
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Southwestern Chili Mac Salad
Cucumber Tomato Salad
Greek Potatoes
French Potato Salad

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Banana Cream Pie

This was the best banana cream pie I have ever made. Course I usually just make banana cream pie with instant vanilla pudding, a Nilla Wafer pie crust, and whipped cream. The flavors were perfect with this pie and I will never go back to pudding for banana cream pie. I never would have thought of using cinnamon and nutmeg in a banana cream pie but it helped take the recipe over the top. This really is a simple recipe to make although it sounds like it would be complicated.

Banana Cream Pie
from Baking From my Home to Yours by Dori Greenspan

For the custard
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar, pressed through a sieve
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits

3 ripe but firm bananas

1 9 inch single pie crust, fully baked and cooled

For the Topping
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, shifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sour cream

To Make the Custard: Bring milk to a boil.
Meanwhile in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until well blended and thick. Whisking without stopping, drizzle in /4 cup of the hot milk-this will temper, or warm the yolks so they won't curdle-then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking constantly (make sure to get into the edges of the pan), bring the mixture to a boil. Boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes before removing from the heat.
Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk in bits of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the custard is smooth and silky. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the custard to create an airtight seal and refrigerate until cold.
When you are ready to assemble the pie, peel the bananas and cut them on a shallow diagonal into 1/4 inch thick slices.
Whisk the cold custard vigorously to loosen it, and spread about one quarter of it over the bottom of the pie crust-it will be a thin layer. Top with half of the banana slices. Repeat, adding a thin layer of pastry cream and the remaining bananas, then smooth the rest of the pastry over the last layer of bananas.

To Make the Topping: Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream until it just starts to thicken. Beat in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until the cream holds firm peaks. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently fold in the sour cream.

To Finish: Spoon the whipped cream over the filling and spread it evenly to the edges of the custard. Serve, or refrigerate until needed.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

BLT Pasta Salad

I took notice of this recipe in a magazine because it looked simple, easy, and quick to make for dinner. I think it took be about 20 minutes from start to finish. We love BLT's in our house and so this was a dish I could not turn down trying at least once. The flavors worked very well together. You could use this as a main dish or a side dish. I made quite a few changes to the original recipe and I am listing the recipe with my changes.

BLT Pasta Salad
adapted from the Food Network Magazine June/July 2009

12 ounces corkscrew shaped pasta
1/2 cup buttermilk (original recipe calls for milk)
12 ounces lean bacon
3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 of a red onion sliced thin
kosher salt and pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 sour cream
4 tablespoons chopped chives
5 cups chopped romaine hearts

Cook pasta. Drain and toss with buttermilk in a large bowl, set aside.
Cook bacon. Drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon into bite size pieces. Toss bacon into pasta.
Add tomatoes and onions to pasta/bacon mixture.
Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, and chives together. Season with salt and pepper. Mix into pasta mixture until evenly combined. Add chopped lettuce and toss again.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Greek Rice Salad

We loved this dish. We served it as a vegetarian main dish and it was a hit with the adults and kids. I left the feta cheese out of the actual salad because my kids won't touch it but I did use it in the dressing. This was an easy dish to make and one I've since made three or four times. I do want to give it a try with brown rice as I'd prefer that we eat brown rice in our family.

Greek Rice Salad
from Cook's Country June/July 2009

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cucumber, peeled, halved length wise, seeded, and chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (quartered if large)
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
3 scallions, sliced thin
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
salt and pepper

Make dressing: Process 1/4 cup feta, oil, vinegar, honey, and oregano in food processor until smooth. Transfer to large bowl and stir in cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and scallions.

Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large pot. Add rice and one tablespoon salt to boiling water and cook until just tender, 12 to 14 minutes. Drain rice, spread on rimmed baking sheet, and cool completely, at least 20 minutes.

Add cooled rice and remaining feta to bowl with vegetable mixture and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. (Salad can be refrigerated for 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

7 Up Pound Cake

Oh my goodness this was really good. I never imagined it would taste so good. The flavor was lemon-limey and without knowing it had 7 Up in it I never would have guessed. There was no dryness to the cake and it produced a near perfect crumb. The buttery richness was rich without being over the top. This is definitely a cake to try! It was really quite easy to make and only had eight ingredients for the cake. Give this cake a try, you won't be disappointed.

7 Up Pound Cake
recipe from Cook's Country Magazine June/July 2009

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup 7 Up, room temperature (needs to be fresh and not flat)
1 tablespoon grated zest 2 tablespoons juice from one lemon
1 tablespoon grated zest plus 2 tablespoons juice from 2 limes
1/2 teaspoon salt
20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 1/4 cups cake flour

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lime juice

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Grease and flour 12 cup non-stick tube pan (you can also use bundt pan which is what I did). Process sugar, eggs, 7 Up, lemon zest and juice, lime zest and juice, and salt in food processor until smooth. With machine running, slowly pour in butter and process until incorporated. Transfer to large bowl. Add flour in three additions, whisking until combined.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Gently tap pan on counter. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 75 to 90 minutes. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet to cool completely, about 2 hours.

Glaze: Whisk confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, and lime juice in bowl until smooth. Pour glaze over cooled cake. Let glaze set 10 minutes. Serve. Cake can be wrapped in plastic and held at room temperature for 3 days.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Grilled Ham Steak

Saturday I needed something quick and easy to make since we had a very busy day. Heidi from Tried and True cooking with Heidi posted this recipe that very morning. I figured since I had all the ingredients that I might as well give it a try and I'm glad I did. Talk about easy, it took me 2 minutes to throw the marinade together and then I threw the ham in my marinating dish with the marinade for about 15 minutes. After the grill was heated it took about 5 minutes for each side of the ham to cook and we were eating. From start to finish our meal took about 30 minutes. Here is Heidi's original post. Everyone really liked the ham and my oldest asked the next morning if we were going to have grilled ham again today.

1 ham steak
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP soy sauce

Combine juice, sugar and soy. Marinade ham in liquid at least 15 minutes. Grill until heated through

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Stained Glass Cake

I feel in love with this cake from the picture in Cook's Country June/July 2009 issue. Sadly my cake did not look as picture perfect as theirs. Trust me though this cake tastes much better than my pictures. The kids were loving the looks of the cake. The flavors all came together great and this was actually a really easy cake to make. I used the jello I had on hand so I added a green color, melon fusion flavor, which is not called for in the recipe.

12 graham crackers, crushed to fine crumbs (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cups sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 (3 oz) boxes of Jell-o (2 red , such as cherry or strawberry, and 1 blue, such as berry blue)
4 1/2 cups boiling water
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Stir in cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and butter in bowl until crumbs resemble wet sand. Press into bottom of 9-inch springform pan and bake until edges are golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

For the filling: In 3 separate large bowls, whisk each box Jell-o with 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Pour into 3 loaf pans or pie plates and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. Once Jell-o has solidified, cut into 1/2 inch cubes and keep chilled. Combine 1/4 cup pineapple juice and unflavored gelatin in bowl. Microwave, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved, 1 to 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in remaining pineapple juice. With electric stand mixer set on medium speed, whip cream, vanilla, salt, and remaining sugar until stiff peaks forms, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and slowly add juice mixture until combined. Gently fold Jell-o cubes into cream mixture. Scrape into prepared pan and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

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Corn Chowder

I want to preface this post by telling all of Norah's avid readers that this is Mary, her sister, making a post. I don't post that often, Norah is by far the better cook in the family, but I strive to be more like her. But every once in a while I make something that I just want to share with others.

I was up at her house last weekend and I got to personally look through her latest issue of Cook's Country, the one she has been making everything from. Well I saw a recipe that I wanted to try and she told me she probably wouldn't be making because her husband had no desire to try it. So I thought "yay, a post for me!" Corn chowder was my poision.

I didn't write the recipe down when I was up there, so I called Norah several days later and jotted it down over the phone. Unfortunately, this meant I shorthanded some ingredients and directions so my actual recipe is slightly different than the Cook's Country one. Plus I tried to scaled it down to serve less, there is only 2 of us in my household, but I'll talk more on that later.

Corn Chowder
adapted slightly from Cook's Country
3 cups frozen corn, rinsed of any frozen water particles and patted dry
1 15oz. canned corn, drained
3 cups chicken broth, divided
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
6-8 red potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons chives, thinly sliced

1. Puree the canned corn and 1 cup of the chicken broth until smooth.

2. In a sautee pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add chopped onion and frozen corn. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until the vegetables start to brown. I found, or maybe I was too impatient, that adding about a teaspoon of sugar helped brown the vegetables quicker. Of course I will almost eat sugar on anything, so you probably don't want to listen to me.

3. In a heavy stockpot, combine potatoes, corn puree mixture, the onion/frozen corn mixture and the remaining chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until potatoes are tender.

4. Add cream and chives to the pot. Season with additional salt and pepper. Serve warm.

The Cook's Country orginally called for fresh ears of corn, which I subbed with my frozen corn. It's not in season yet that I can tell. It also called for bacon, which I had none of, so it got omitted. My mother says she missed the bacon but still enjoyed the meatless soup. And scallions are called for but I have chives I am trying to use up.

I simmered my soup with no lid, which reduced the soup and I had to keep adding more chicken broth so the potatoes would get tender. I never thought to put a lid on it. By adding more broth I effectively didn't scale the recipe down. It probably would serve four people heartily. Next time I'll put a lid on it.

Overall it was delicious and I, personally, didn't need bacon. I would and will make this again.

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Chicken Salad

I love chicken salad. But I do not like the chicken salad that the grocer stores make. I serve the salad in different ways. Sometimes I use biscuits or croissants. Or I'll make fresh bread for the sandwiches or even use lettuce or spinach leaves and roll the salad up in the leaves. And I'll even serve chicken salad on top of a pile of greens. This is a off the top of my head recipe so feel free to make subs as needed for what you have on hand or your families likes and dislikes. This is a very quick and easy recipe and one I use when I need a quick meal.

3 chicken breasts, baked, cooled, and cut into small cubes (or you could use a rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken the possibilities are endless)
1 carrot, shredded
2 celery ribs, diced
1/2 onion, I like red, white or sweet but yellow and green onions work too, diced
1/4 cup diced sweet pickles
1/2 cup mayo, may need more or may need less I like it to just be sticky
1 tablespoon buttermilk, to thin the salad just a little
salt and pepper, I like using garlic salt
1 tablespoon dehydrated sliced onions
1/2 teaspoon dill, more or less depending on how much you like dill

Mix chicken and veggies together. Add mayo and stir until blended and sticky. Add buttermilk until the salad is creamy. Add the seasoning, let set for about 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Serve.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

I love chocolate covered strawberries but I refuse to buy them from a store because I think they are way too pricey. This is a simple and easy way to make them at home for much less than the going price at the store. I found the recipe at Allrecipes.

16 ounces milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening
1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves

Insert toothpicks into the tops of the strawberries.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth. Holding them by the toothpicks, dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture.
Turn the strawberries upside down and insert the toothpick into Styrofoam for the chocolate to cool.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Orange Chicken

I needed a simple and easy recipe for dinner the other night and this one did not disappoint. I always have success with recipes from Melanie at My Kitchen Cafe. Everyone, including the kids, ate this dish and cleaned their plates. I will admit telling them Panda Express told me how to make the dish helped with the kids. To make this dish a little faster I used prebreaded chicken pieces, not my favorite thing to do but it really makes the dish a little faster. I also added red pepper flakes to the sauce for a little zing. To see the original recipe click here. Here is my adapted recipe:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Cook 2 lbs breaded chicken tenders in oil over medium high heat until almost fully cooked.

While cooking the chicken, in a medium saucepan combine
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon orange zest
and whisk over medium heat for a few minutes. Then stir in

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons green onion
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
let it come to a boil.

Then combine
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
and let it dissolve and add it to the sauce until thickened.

Place the cooked chicken on a baking sheet and cover with about 1/3 of the sauce. Cook in oven for about 10 minutes to glaze one side of the chicken. Flip chicken over cover with another 1/3 of the sauce and cook an additional 5-10 minutes.

Serve, using the remaining 1/3 sauce if desired.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Icebox Strawberry Pie

This was good. So good in fact, the pie never went back to the fridge after cutting slices for everyone. I'm usually not a fan of strawberry pie because it tastes like gel with a strange after taste but this pie had neither of those traits. You could taste the fresh strawberries and the topping really helped to make this pie good. The topping was a tasty blend of whipping cream and cream cheese which I really liked. I can see myself using the topping for a variety of other desserts. I found the recipe in the Cook's Country June/July 2009 issue.

2 pounds frozen strawberries
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced thin
1 9 inch pie shell, baked and cooled

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream

Cook frozen berries in large saucepan over medium low heat until berries begin to release juice, about 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium high and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and jamlike, about 25 minutes. (Mixture should measure 2 cups. If you have more than 2 cups the pie will not set or slice properly.)

Combine lemon juice, water, and gelatin in small bowl. Let stand until gelatin is softened and mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir gelatin mixture, sugar, and salt into cooked berry mixture and return to a simmer, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Fold fresh berries into filling. Spread evenly in pie shell and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. (Filled pie can be refrigerated for 24 hours.)

With electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth, about 30 seconds. With mixer running, add cream and whip until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Serve pie with whipped cream topping.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Pork Schnitzel

My husband decided he wanted Schnitzel for dinner. I searched the web and found this one that I had all the ingredients for. The dish was simple and easy to make. Another bonus being it cooked quickly. I could not get the gravy to thicken up the way it should have thickened up. I'm guessing I measured incorrectly in a step because of the lovely help my boys were giving me. I served the Schnitzel with Spätzle which I normally would have made on my own but I found a package hiding in the pantry so I used that. Overall it was a tasty dish and one I want to make again. I found the recipe here.

4 boneless pork chops (1 pound total), 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon seasoned salt (Spike or Lawrey's, or just substitute plain salt)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp milk
3/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs or panko
1 teaspoon paprika
3 Tbsp canola oil, grapeseed oil, or olive oil
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon dried dill or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream (full fat)

Use a meat hammer to pound the pork cutlets to 1/4-1/8 inch thickness. Cut small slits around the edges of the cutlets to prevent curling.

Set out 3 shallow bowls. One with a mixture of the flour, seasoned salt, and pepper. The second with the egg and milk whisked together. The third with a mixture of the bread crumbs (or panko) and paprika.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Dredge the cutlets first in the seasoned flour, then dip the cutlets in the egg mixture, and then into the mixture of bread crumbs and paprika.

Working in batches, sauté the cutlets for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the cutlets from the skillet and cover with foil or place in a warm oven to keep warm.

Add the chicken stock into the skillet to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the brown bits. In a small bowl mix the dill and salt into the sour cream. Stir the sour cream mixture into the chicken stock. Heat and stir until mixture thickens (do not let boil).

Serve the cutlets with the sauce. Serves 4.

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Raspberry Lime Rickey

Did I mention in previous posts about how much I liked most of the recipes in this month's issue of Cooks Country magazine? In the June/July 2009 issue there are several recipes I am planning on trying. Right now I am in love with this drink. Its simple and it feels so summery drinking it. The flavors are just right and its just refreshing. The actual recipe called for seltzer or club soda but I've been using 7Up.

3 cups frozen raspberries (you can use fresh if you have them), 12 oz frozen package
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons grated lime zest
1/2 cup juice from 4 limes
7Up, chilled

Make syrup: Heat raspberries, sugar, and water in saucepan over medium heat until raspberries begin to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Mash with potato masher until berries break down, then stir in lime zest and juice. Simmer until mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Strain and serve: Pour raspberry mixture through fine mesh strainer set over bowl, pressing on solids to extract liquid (you should have about 2 1/2 cups). Discard berry solids. Refrigerate syrup until completely cool, at least 30 minutes or up to one week. To serve, combine 3/4 cup 7Up and 2 tablespoons syrup in tall, ice filled glass.

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

The other day I made Huli Huli chicken and I served this salad. Its another recipe from the June/July 2009 issue of Cook's Country magazine. Everyone liked the salad and it will be made again. The recipe says not to use low-fat milk or mayo or it will make the dressing too runny. I expected it to be sweeter than it was and in all the Hawaiian pasta salads I've had before the salad has been sweeter. I think next time I'd add an extra tablesppon of sugar to try to get the taste I remember. I also think I'd add some fresh peas to the salad.

2 cups whole milk
2 cups mayo
1 tablespoon brown sugar
salt and pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
1/2 cup cider vinegar
4 scallions, sliced thin
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 celery rib, chopped fine

Make dressing: Whisk 1 1/2 cups milk, 1 cup mayo, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper in bowl.

Cook pasta: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta and cook until very soft, about 15 minutes. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add vinegar and toss until absorbed. Transfer to bowl. Cool pasta 10 minutes, then stir in dressing until pasta is well coated. Cool completely.

Make salad: Add scallions, carrot, celery, remaining milk, and remaining mayo to pot with pasta mixture and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to large serving bowl and refrigerate, covered, for at least one hour or up to two days. Serve.

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Bountiful Baskets Coop

Just back from picking up the coop this week and this is what was in the basket this time:
one head of green lettuce
one mini watermelon
about one pound of green grapes
one head of broccoflower
seven carrots
one package blackberries
one cantaloupe
ten tomatoes
three red onions
eight red plums
bunch of spinach
six pink lady apples
I paid $16.50 for all of the above items.
The next order is on May 16 and they start taking orders on May 12. Link to the ordering page.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Huli Huli Chicken

We loved this chicken. You know when people are fighting for the last piece of chicken that you've made a pretty tasty dish and its an added bonus when its your picky kids fighting with everyone. The sweet yet spicy flavor was very appealing. There was just enough spice for those who like spice and just enough sweet for those who liked sweet without either flavor being overwhelming. The recipe called for bone-in chicken parts with skin but I went with boneless skinless chicken breasts. I figured I saved some on calories and fat by going without the bones and skin. This recipe came from the newest issue of Cook's Country, the June/July 2009 issue.

2 quarts water
2 cups soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
4 split chicken halves, (about 8 pounds total)

3 (6 ounce) cans pineapple juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup rice vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons Asian chili garlic sauce
2 cups Mesquite wood chips (soaked 15 minutes)

Brine chicken: Combine water and soy sauce in large bowl. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium high heat until shimmering. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in soy sauce mixture. Add chicken and refrigerate, covered, for at least one hour or up to eight hours.

Make glaze: Combine pineapple juice, sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and chili garlic sauce in empty saucepan and bring boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until thick and syrupy (you should have about one cup), 20 to 25 minutes.

Prep grill: Seal wood chips in foil packet and cut vent holes in top. Open bottom vents on grill. Light about 75 coals. When coals are covered with fine gray ash, spread evenly over bottom of grill. Arrange foil packet directly on coals. Set cooking grate in place and heat, covered with lid vent open halfway, until wood chips begin to smoke heavily, about 5 minutes. (For gas grills, place foil packet directly on primary burner. Heat all burners on high, covered, until wood chips begin to smoke heavily, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium low.) Scrape and oil cooking grate.

Grill chicken: Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange chicken skin side up on grill (do not place chicken directly above foil packet). Grill, covered until chicken is well browned on bottom and meat registers 120 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Flip chicken skin-side down and continue to grill, covered, until skin is well browned and crisp and thigh meat registers 170 to 175 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to platter, brush with half of glaze, and let rest 5 minutes. Serve, passing remaining glaze at table.

Make ahead: Both the brine and the glaze can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Do not brine the chicken for longer than 8 hours or it will become too salty.

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