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Monday, September 22, 2014

What's Cookin' in the Country?

Food communicates love - at least in our family.   It lets our family or guests know that we cared enough to create the meal or dish that would please their taste buds and appetites.  

My husband had been away on a trip for a few days, and to let him know how glad I was to have him home, I baked up a batch of Ultimate Ginger cookies - one of his favorite cookies he gets at a bakery we frequent.  He was a happy guy!  Actually I was pretty happy, too!  These are an old-fashioned cookie with a soft chewiness that is irresistible.


While my husband was on his trip to Amish Country, he  found HUGE red peppers for 50 cents each!  He brought home a bag full, so I used them to make an old favorite recipe for Chicken Fajitas. The homemade marinade makes the chicken breasts so moist and flavorful!  I've shared a baked fajita recipe that's good if you're short on time, but the recipe I'm sharing today is the BEST FAJITA RECIPE!

For our Sunday dinner of Chicken Fajitas, I added a salad and salad dressing I'd seen on Pioneer woman.  I get weary of a regular Tossed Salad, and this was just the ticket for a great change!  Greens, crisp apple cubes, pecans, Feta (or Blue Cheese) all mix together and are tossed with a delicious homemade vinaigrette dressing.  It's super fresh tasting salad!

We had the Ginger cookies for dessert.   These were chewy, huge, and wonderful!  All you need is a glass of milk or a cup of coffee for dunking, and you have not only the ultimate cookie, but the ultimate dessert!

My Sunday menu:

Chicken Fajitas
Fresh Corn cut off the cob
Apple & Green Salad w/ Dijon vinaigrette
Ultimate Ginger Cookies




Fajita Marinade
1/4 C oil
1/4 C white vinegar
1/4 C water
1/4 C soy sauce
3 T lemon juice
2 T lime juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Mix and pour over chicken breasts.  Let marinate a couple hours or overnight.

You can grill the chicken or do it on the stove top.  Either way, the chicken will have a delicious flavor from the marinade.  I save some of the marinade for the peppers and onions and marinate them in a separate dish.  Cook chicken first, keep warm.  Cook peppers and onions.  Serve warm with tortillas, cheese, and sour cream.





Green Apple Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing - Pioneer Woman
Ingredients
12 ounces, weight Salad Greens (spring Mix)
2 whole Apples, Cored And Sliced Very Thin
1/2 cup Pecan Halves
1/4 cup Dried Cherries
6 ounces, weight Blue Cheese, Cut Into Chunks - I used Feta
1 Tablespoon (heaping) Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup (more To Taste)
1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar (more To Taste)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
 Salt And Pepper, to taste
Preparation Instructions
Add greens, apple slices, pecan halves, dried cherries, and blue cheese chunks into a large salad bowl.
In a small jar, mix Dijon, maple syrup, vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake well to mix.
Pour a little salad dressing over the top of the salad and toss to combine. Taste salad and add more salad dressing to taste.



Ultimate Ginger Cookies, by Ina Garten
Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups chopped crystallized ginger (6 ounces)
Granulated sugar, for rolling the cookies

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt and then combine the mixture with your hands. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, oil, and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the egg, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for 1 more minute. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until combined.

Scoop the dough with 2 spoons or a small ice cream scoop. With your hands, roll each cookie into a 1 3/4-inch ball and then flatten them lightly with your fingers. Press both sides of each cookie in granulated sugar and place them on the sheet pans. Bake for exactly 13 minutes. The cookies will be crackled on the top and soft inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Which of these recipes would tell your family or guests that you care?  I hope you'll put it on your menu for this week!  It's okay to choose a recipe for your taste buds too!  I think I'd have a hard time saying which of these recipes is my favorite!  They're all winners in my cookbook!

With love from my country kitchen,

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