Italian Chicken Marinade

Italian Chicken Marinade | marissabaker.wordpress.comI ran out of the Italian dressing that I use as a marinade, so I decided to try making my own. I’d been thinking about it since reading the ingredients label on the dressing, which I think had more corn syrup in it than vinegar. Bleh.

I’ve tried this recipe out on chicken twice so far — once smothering the marinated pieces in tomato sauce and cheese and once baked on it’s own to accompany a potato side dish. It tasted good both ways. Let me know what you think if you try it in another dish or on a salad!

Italian Chicken Marinade

Italian Chicken Marinade | marissabaker.wordpress.com

spice mix

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon parsley

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon lemon juice

3 Tablespoons olive oil

3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

Italian Chicken Marinade | marissabaker.wordpress.com

whisk, whisk, whisk!

Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk in lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar. Pour over chicken and marinade for at least 20 minutes.

Italian Chicken Marinade | marissabaker.wordpress.com

makes plenty of marinade for 10 to 15 chicken tenders.

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The Easiest No-Knead Bread

Easy No-Knead Bread | marissabaker.wordpress.comMy new favorite bread recipe comes from alexandracooks.com. Be sure to click over there and visit her recipe, since she has lots of tips for making this turn out just-right, as well as several variations that I haven’t tried working with yet. What I’m posting today focuses on making one peasant loaf and one faux focaccia loaf.

This bread is incredible easy to make, but you do have to plan ahead. I need about three hours between the time you start the bread to the time when you can eat it.

Announcement: I’m planning some changes to this blog to focus on providing more useful resources for my readers. My posts on type psychology have been the ones people consistently comment on as being the most helpful, so I want to focus on that while continuing to write my Christian articles and introducing homeschooling resources for teaching high-school English. With all these changes, I’m most likely going to be phasing-out these weekly recipe posts or moving them to a different blogging platform (unless you all REALLY want me to keep them, in which case they’ll probably be less frequent).

Easy No-Knead Bread

2 cups lukewarm water (110–120° F)

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons active-dry yeast

4 cups flour (3 cups all-purpose, 1 cup whole wheat)

2 teaspoons salt

room temperature butter, about 1 tablespoon

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/8 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon parsley

1 clove garlic, diced

coarse sea salt

Dissolve the sugar into the water in a small mixing bowl or glass measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over top, then let it stand for about 10 to 15 minutes until the mixture is foamy.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Once the yeast mixture is foamy, stir it up. Mix the yeast mixture into the flour until it forms a soft dough.

Easy No-Knead Bread | marissabaker.wordpress.com

before rising

Cover the bowl with a tea towel run under hot water and rung out so it is slightly damp. Set it aside in a warm spot to rise for about one-and-a-half hours.

Easy No-Knead Bread | marissabaker.wordpress.com

after rising

Grease one oven-safe bowl or a medium casserole dish and one 9-inch by 9-inch baking dish. Use 1/2 tablespoon of butter for each. Using two forks, punch down the dough and scrape it from the sides of the bowl, turning the dough over on itself. Using the two forks, pull the dough apart into the equal portions and then scoop one into each baking dish.

Easy No-Knead Bread | marissabaker.wordpress.com

dividing the dough

The peasant loaf, the one in the bowl or casserole dish, is now done. For the faux focaccia, mix 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon parsley, and 1 clove diced garlic. Spread the dough out with your fingers to fit the shape of the pan, then dip your fingers in the olive oil mixture and press the top of the dough to make dimples in the surface. Spread the remainder of the olive oil mixture on top of the bread, and then sprinkle the top with coarse sea salt.

Easy No-Knead Bread | marissabaker.wordpress.com

right before the second rising

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Let the dough rise for about 20 to 30 minutes, then bake for 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375ºF and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the loaves onto cooling racks.

Easy No-Knead Bread | marissabaker.wordpress.com

cooling

Brush the top of the peasant loaf with butter. Let the loaves cool for about 10 minutes before cutting.

Easy No-Knead Bread | marissabaker.wordpress.com

aren’t they lovely?

 

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Snickerdoodle Blondies | marissabaker.wordpress.comI tried a couple recipes for snickerdoodle bars or blondies before finding this one from Six Sisters Stuff. It’s so good! I still prefer the actual snickerdoodle cookies, but this is a very tasty bar form that takes much less time to make since the dough doesn’t need chilled and you bake the whole thing at once.

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Snickerdoodle Blondies | marissabaker.wordpress.com1 cup butter, room temperature

2 cups packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 Tablespoon vanilla

2 2/3 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

Topping

2 Tablespoon white sugar

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl by hand or with an electric mixer. Stir in dry ingredients.

Snickerdoodle Blondies | marissabaker.wordpress.comSpread batter in a greased 13×9-inch baking pan. In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon topping ingredients, then sprinkle over the top of the batter.

Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until top springs back when pressed.

Snickerdoodle Blondies | marissabaker.wordpress.com

Crunchy No-Bake Cookies

Crunchy No-Bake Cookies | marissabaker.wordpress.com

I have perfected the no-bake cookie!

Okay, perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration, but these are seriously good. My previous no-bake recipe (a rather standard one using cocoa powder) typically resulted in a sticky, fudge-like mess that tasted good but wasn’t much like a cookie. These are more substantial, and hold their cookie shape once they’ve set.

You could make it with creamy peanut butter, but I prefer having the crunchy peanut pieces. That’s also the reason I use full-size chocolate chips — they’re large enough not to melt completely, so there are chunks of chocolate in the finished cookie. If you’d rather have the chocolate all melted in, just stir it longer or use mini chocolate chips.

Crunchy No-Bake Cookies

Crunchy No-Bake Cookies | marissabaker.wordpress.com2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup butter

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

3 cups rolled oats

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine sugar, milk, butter, and crunchy peanut butter in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as the mixture boils, remove from heat.

Crunchy No-Bake Cookies | marissabaker.wordpress.com

Stir in vanilla and oats. Add chocolate chips and stir just long enough to mix them in, but not long enough to completely melt the chips. Drop from a spoon onto cookie sheets covered with wax paper. Chill and serve.

Crunchy No-Bake Cookies | marissabaker.wordpress.com

What to do with Zucchini?

It’s the Great Garden question — what do I do with all that zucchini taking over my garden? It seems to grow overnight. One moment it’s shorter than the length of my hand and the next moment it’s the size of a baseball bat. I usually stir-fry zucchini or turn it into bread (see recipe here), but I needed more options. So I turned to the ever-trusty Google for answers and found several recipes to try.

Do you have any favorite zucchini recipes to share? Link them in the comments below 🙂

Zucchini Recipes

Zucchini Muffins from Simply Recipe  is the first of these zucchini recipes that I tried. They have a really good flavor  — love the cinnamon and nutmeg. They’re neither too dry nor too moist. We had a Lord of the Rings-like conversation here when my mother, sister, and I were talking about how filling these muffins were and my brother got this guilty Hobbit-ish look on his face and said, “I’ve had three.”

Verdict: This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Roast Carrots and Zucchini “Fries” from Voracious Veggie. This is the very best way to cook carrots. They’re healthy and taste like candy. Since we like them so well, we thought we’d follow this blogger’s suggestion and cook zucchini the same way. Maybe I did something wrong, but they were gross. Soft, squishy, slimey — the texture was so bad I couldn’t even tell you if the taste was any good.

Verdict: keep the carrots, toss the zucchini

Zucchini Pistou from Baked Bree uses as it’s base a French version of pesto made with zucchini  as well as basil. It caught my attention because Bree’s pictures are so gorgeous. Mine didn’t look much like this (for one thing I ran out of basil and used walnuts instead of pine nuts in the pistou), but it had a pretty good flavor.

Verdict: I cooked too much pasta, which spread the sauce around too much, so I plan to try this one again and see if I can get it right.

Julia Child’s Zucchini Tian. This one is still on my to-do list. It’s doesn’t look hard, just a bit time consuming. I’m sure anything baked in that much cheese has to taste good, though 🙂

 

Chicken and Broccoli Shells

Chicken and Broccoli Shells | marissabaker.wordpress.comThis recipe is one of the answers to the question, “What do you do with broccoli heads the size of bowling balls?” Seriously, that’s how big these things are. I’ve never seen broccoli grow this large. We weren’t able to use it all before they started to bloom, but the plants we cut are already producing side-shoot broccoli heads. If you’ve grown broccoli, you know the second heads are significantly smaller than the first ones. For these plants, that means they are size of broccoli you see in the grocery store.

Chicken and Broccoli Shells

2 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut in 1″ cubes

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 1⁄2 cups chopped broccoli, fresh or frozen

2 cups chicken broth

1 can (10.5 ounces) cream of chicken soup

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups small shell pasta, uncooked

1 cup (4 ounces) cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add broccoli, broth, soup, pepper, garlic and pasta. Bring to a boil.

Chicken and Broccoli Shells | marissabaker.wordpress.com

Reduce heat to lowest setting, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Check near the end of cooking and add a small amount of water, if needed. Stir in cheese during last two minutes of cooking.

Chicken and Broccoli Shells | marissabaker.wordpress.com