Where to find me today

If you are interested in learning one of my secrets then you will have to visit Mike and Molly’s House  where I have been invited to guest post today.   Thank you Mike and Molly!

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Not only will you hear my silly confession, but you will find a simple recipe for a non-fattening but seriously delicious chocoholic treat

And don’t forget to join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by KitchenAid, Red Star Yeast and Le Creuset today.  Yes, great prizes are involved!

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I’ve entered my Creamy Chicken Asparagus Soup.   If you missed my original post go ahead and take a look, or find the recipe below.

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Ingredients:

1 pound thin fresh asparagus

3 small potatoes, peeled and diced

1 large onion, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 32 oz. container of chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided

2 cups cooked boneless chicken breast, cubed

2 cups half-and-half cream

Instructions:

Cut tips from asparagus spears – approximately 1/4 of the way down the spear; cut tips in half again; set aside. Place stalks in a large stock pot and cover with water (you will need 3 1/2 cups of broth later so be generous with the water). Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for approximately 40 minutes. Remove from heat.

Strain 31/2 cups asparagus broth from the pot and set aside. Discard stalks; rinse pot for late use.

In large sauté pan, add 3 tbsp. of oil, potato, onion, celery, carrot, parsley and garlic. Cook until vegetables are tender; set aside

In a medium sauté pan, add 3 tbsp. oil and cubed chicken breast, cook until lightly browned; set aside.

In stock pot, add chicken, sautéed vegetables, asparagus tips, reserved asparagus broth, chicken broth, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. Cool slightly.

Add cream and remaining 1/4 tsp. of pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Makes about 10 servings (about 2 quarts).

I’m also sharing a bowl of my soup over at Premeditated Leftovers Tuesday Hearth & Soul Blog Hop.  This blog hop features recipes made from wholesome, healthy ingredients that are made from scratch.

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And if all of that isn’t enough – whew! I’m sharing the color yellow at She Wears Many Hats Share the Shot today.  Amy has decided yellow  is the color for this week’s assignment.   Check out all the pretty yellow things everyone has posted over there, including my Elegant Lemon-i-cious Cake

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So go ahead.  Do a little blog hopping yourselves!

 

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Vote For Kickin Habanero Cheese Crackers at Marx Foods Now

The voting has begun at Marx Foods for the Blogger Chile Recipe Contest.  If you liked my recipe for Kickin Habanero Cheese Crackers please show your support by voting

 

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Thanks!

A Marx Foods Recipe Contest – A Recipe You Don’t Want to Miss

When Marx Foods recently contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in creating a recipe using dried chilies for a contest they’re hosting I jumped at the chance.  Seriously, their inquiry couldn’t have come at a better time.  I  love a good cooking challenge and I haven’t had one in what seems like forever.  Suddenly I felt as if I was a contestant on Master Chef, armed with a variety of somewhat unfamiliar ingredients, and being challenged to create an original and winning recipe with them. 

When I opened the package from Marx Foods I found six smaller packages of beautifully colored dried peppers to examine.  Each donning a unique appearance, scent and flavor.  I immediately realized that not all chilies are created equal.

My mind was in a whirl.  The closest thing I’ve ever used in the dried chili department are red pepper flakes.  I know it sounds pathetic, and it is… 

I weighed many choices before I finally settled on a recipe idea. This was no easy feat. Do you realize the possibilities for using dried chilies in recipes is endless? In creating this recipe I decided to stick to what I’m comfortable with – baking.  Not a sweet this time, but a savory and spicy treat. 

And my recipe???  Drum roll please…

                    Kickin Habanero Cheese Crackers

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Once I decided on my recipe I then had to decide on the pepper I was going to use. I had to choose between the Aji Amarillo, Mulato, Cascabel, Japones, Puya, and Habanero chilies that were sent to me. A great resource for deciding on which pepper to use can be found right at Marx Foods.  It’s called the Scoville Scale.  This scale gives you a heat index for each pepper along with a flavor profile. The Scoville Scale has been around since 1912. 

I have to admit I didn’t use the scale though – I just picked the pepper that I was the most attracted to at the time.  

                                           The Habanero 

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The habanero packs a little more heat than some of the other chilies so I proceeded with caution when applying it to my recipe.  I didn’t want the pepper to overpower the rest of the great flavors in the crackers.

The first thing I did to start preparing my dried pepper for my recipe was take a sharp knife and cut one of the chilies in half.  I then removed the seeds and ribs of the chili and chopped it into small flakes.  If you need help learning the techniques for preparing chilies you can find that information at Marx Foods Chili Pepper Recipes and Techniques.

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One small habanero produced about 1/2 teaspoon of pepper flakes.  I decided to use 1/4 of a teaspoon of the pepper flakes in the recipe so I put the left over pepper into a small airtight container for later use.

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Recipe for Kickin Habanero Cheese Crackers

1  1/2 c . grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (room temperature)

1/4 c. grated jalapeno pepper jack cheese (room temperature)

1/2 c. butter (room temperature)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. dried habanero chili flakes

dash of nutmeg

1/4 c. cornmeal

1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 large metal cookie sheets with parchment paper, or use 3 ungreased pizza stones.

In a large bowl, add cheese and butter; beat with electric mixer until the cheese and butter are well blended.  Stir in salt, onion powder, habanero flakes, nutmeg, cornmeal and flour; mix thoroughly by hand. 

On a lightly floured cutting board, divide the dough in half.  Roll each dough into equal rectangular shapes.  Using a crinkle cutter or sharp knife, slice dough into cracker shapes and place on cookie sheets or pizza stones.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes on metal cookie sheets, and 15 minutes on pizza stones. Keep close watch, bottoms of crackers should be light brown.  Transfer to cooling rack.  Once cool, store in airtight container at room temperature.  Makes about 48 crackers.

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Now, I have just one more suggestion for these little gems.  Put a small dollop of (whipped) cream cheese and some pepper jelly on top to really turn things up a notch.

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These crackers make great appetizers and pair well with your favorite bottle of wine, or serve them with a warm bowl of tomato soup. They have a slight kick, but it’s not the kind of kick that you should be intimidated by.  I’m not a fan of hot and super spicy foods and these are neither, but if you are a fan, don’t be afraid to increase the habanero to satisfy your heat index.

Please drop over to Marx Foods and vote for Kickin Habanero Cheese Crackers.  Voting will take place between September 12th and 16th.

In the future I will be creating more recipes using some of the peppers I received from Marx Foods – so please stay tuned…

Enjoy!

Your vote counts! So, what are you waiting for?

Remember awhile back when I reviewed Palm Leaf plates for MarxFood.com?  Well, as luck would have it I was selected as a runner-up in the  Palm Leaf plate  review contest they sponsored.  They have now left it to the public to pick five of the best reviews out of the ten they have chosen.    I’m going to need all the help I can get here, so visit their site and vote for me!  You have until September 19th to cast your vote. 

For your convenience, here is the link.  http://marxfood.com/palm-plate-reviews/

Apple Oatmeal Cupcakes

Apple Oatmeal Cupcakes

Today, I entered Better Homes and Gardens ‘Mad For Plaid’ recipe contest.  I adapted this Apple Oatmeal Cupcake recipe from their Red Plaid cookbook that I received when I was in high school.   I’ve used the book so much the pages are stained, and have actually started falling out of it.

 
I modified their original recipe of Applesauce Spice Cake by using real, fresh grated apple instead of applesauce.  I also altered and eliminated  a few other ingredients as well.  I opted to top them with an oatmeal, brown sugar and cinnamon topping to avoid a sweet sugary frosting. 
 
You can view my recipe at the link below.  If you’re so inclined you can also vote for contestants, or create your own entry.  Go ahead – give it a try!  What do you have to lose?