Tuesday, August 30, 2016

School Night Suppers - Cajun Rice Skillet

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I'll be working on a series of recipes this fall that are perfect for busy weeknight suppers. Tonight's feature has been child tested and it was a hit with the back-to-school crowd, particularly the high school gang. Lest I get ahead of myself, I've long suspected that teenagers will eat anything, and the seven year old sitting at my table moved every kidney bean to the side of his plate, so my ego has been kept in check. Despite the vagaries of appetite gathered around my table tonight, this is a delicious skillet supper and it's easy enough for the older kids to make for themselves. Save for the sausage, this is a pantry meal and a quick one at that. I've labeled it "Cajun" because that's what the spice mix I had in the pantry was called. I learned a while back that the difference between Cajun and Creole food is based on the location from which the dish comes. Both have French roots, but Creole, or city, dishes are more refined and use more protein than their Cajun country cousins. I used a small amount of Linguica in the skillet I prepared, but Andouille or hot Italian sausage can also be used. I am very fond of casseroles and I really enjoyed this one. I think you will, too. Here is how this simple, filling supper is made.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Roasted Grape Muffins

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Heaven help us all. This weekend, I've been experimenting with roasted grapes and used them in both sweet and savory dishes. My favorite application was their use as an accompaniment to a roast pork, but I also came up with recipes for muffins and scones where the grapes are used in place of berries or nuts. Roasting the grapes heightens their sweetness and changes their texture. I really think you'll like them roasted. The first of my experiments was for the muffins I'm sharing with you tonight. Italians make cakes that use grapes and olive oil as ingredients. Those recipes were the inspiration for these muffins which are child-simple to prepare. They have a moist crumb, but the sprinkling of sugar they receive before going into the oven, gives the crust a crunch that plays nicely against their moist interiors. These muffins are not overly sweet and they are great to serve for breakfast or at a coffee or tea. I do hope you'll give this recipe a try. Here is how the muffins are made.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Frosted Banana Bars

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This recipe produces light, fluffy and moist banana bars that are a perfect way to use those nasty 'nanas that accumulate on top of your refrigerator. The bars, which are mildly flavored, are frosted with a cream cheese icing that adds richness to an otherwise plain dessert. It takes about 20 minutes to make them, and depending on the pan size you use, 25 to 35 minutes to bake. The original recipe calls for a jelly-roll pan for baking. As you can see, my bars, which baked in a standard 13 x 9-inch pan, are higher than those that would be produced in the larger pan. Somewhere in this house a jelly-roll pan is lurking, but it defied my efforts to find it tonight and I settled for what was readily at hand. My bars took 35 minutes to bake. This simple recipe makes a large batch of delicious bars and I urge you to try it.  Here is how the bars are made.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Brown Sugar Banana Bread

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I rarely buy bananas these days. Years ago, they had a constant presence in our fruit bowl, but nowadays the Silver Fox and I seem unable to eat a bunch before it blackens. As it happens, I bought a small bunch of bananas at the farmers' market last Saturday. I did not know that a vacation bound neighbor would make me the recipient of her fruit bowl the following day. I suddenly had a lot of bananas on my hands. Fortunately, I also had some time to search for new ways in which they could be used. Rather than get too wild, I decided to make new versions of old recipes that I knew the Silver Fox would enjoy. If you are looking for new recipes for banana bread and cake, I think you will enjoy the recipes I'll be featuring the next few days. I really like this brown sugar version of banana bread. It produces a moist loaf that has a deeper flavor than other banana breads I've tried, but it is just as easy to make. I do hope you'll keep this recipe in mind the next time your bananas turn nasty. Here is how this simple bread is made.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Chipotle Cheddar Cornbread

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I can't imagine ham without cheese or peanut butter without jelly. Some foods are just made for each other. In our house, chili falls into that category. I can't remember the last time I made a chili without serving cornbread on the side. I know you already have a recipe for cornbread, but I hope you are adventurous enough to give this loaded cornbread from the Culinary Institute a try. The only hard and fast rule for making cornbread is not to overmix it. I have one other to share with you. When you add ingredients to a standard cornbread it will require more time to cook. Make sure your bread is done before you take it from the oven. I have never had great luck keeping cornbread because it stales so quickly. When I have leftovers, I cube and freeze the cornbread and use it as the base for stuffing pork chops or chicken. Do give this recipe a try. I know you will like the cornbread. Here is how it's made.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Cinnamon Spiral Cookies

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I've had this recipe for a while now, but I don't use it as often as I should. It makes cookies that will have  your socks going up and down, but the thought of a multi-step recipe wears me out before I get my apron on and they have become an occasional treat. That's pure foolishness on my part because the steps are not that difficult to execute. Getting started is. To make a long story short, I needed a cookie that would be appropriate for an afternoon tea. I also wanted my contribution to the tea table to be a standout, in flavor if not appearance. This cookie's time had come. These spirals have the added advantage of being good travelers and they generally get to their destination in one piece. While chilling the cookie dough takes some time, the dough can be made in about 30 minutes and once the cookies are made, they will stay fresh for several days if they are stored in an airtight container. I do hope you'll give this recipe a try. It comes from The Culinary Institute and it is foolproof. Here is how the spirals are made.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Vegetarian Chili

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I am surprised every time I make this chili. It's remarkably flavorful for something that cooks so quickly and is very easy to make. I pulled this from the freezer for our supper tonight. I made it two weeks ago for a meat heavy barbecue and wanted something to offer those who did not want hot dogs or hamburgers. Actually, I made it for myself because I'm cutting back on red meat, and I so liked the recipe that I doubled the ingredients in order to have leftovers as a meal later on. As it turned out, I didn't have a lot to freeze because the meat eaters topped their hot dogs with my vegetarian chili. I suspect those of you who are avoiding or cutting back on meat will really enjoy this chili. It is well-flavored and filling and it is as simple as pie to make. The recipe was developed by Bill Telepan, a New York chef and restaurateur, and it has appeared in so many publications that I can't determine who first published it. I do hope you'll give this recipe a try. You will not be disappointed. Here is how this version of vegetarian chili is made.

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