Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Coffee-Cup Spice

I love how a little spice makes a cup of coffee that much sweeter and mellower, but without the "fake" flavor of artifically-flavored coffee blends or creamers. Those always have a strange chemical taste, I think. So I mix up my own "coffee-cup spice." Cinnamon by itself is delicious in coffee. Just sprinkle some on top of the coffee grounds before brewing (about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp for a 10-cup pot of coffee). I put together a spice blend, cinnamon-based, that is great in coffee or as a spice for coffee cake or muffins. To use it in baking, add up the amounts of spice you'd usually use in the recipe and use the same measurement of this spice blend.

I store it in an old jar from any one of the spices used in the blend. If you do this, don't even wash the jar first; whatever's left in the jar will just mix in.

Depending on the size of your jar, you can adjust the quantity of each, as long as you keep in mind that some are measured in TBL and some in tsp.

TBL:  cinnamon
tsp:  nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, ginger

Place in the jar, cover tightly and shake until well blended.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Iron-Skillet Chicken Caroline

I tweaked my Chicken Caroline recipe so I could cook it in my cast-iron skillet. I thought it was even better this way--but if you want to cook more than 4 pieces you'll need more than one skillet. This would be delicious on a sandwich; I served it with oven-roasted Yukon Gold potatoes.


olive oil for the pan
1 onion, sliced very thin
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 TBL minced garlic
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Italian seasoning
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded (I used a combination of mozzarella and provolone)

In cast-iron skillet, slowly saute onion in olive oil until it begins to caramelize. Push onion to sides of the pan. Add mushrooms and cook until soft. Stir in minced garlic and cook 2 minutes. Remove all vegetables to a dish and add chicken to pan. Drizzle top of chicken with a little more olive oil, then season with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.

Bake at 400 about 20 minutes. Top chicken with the cooked onion, mushrooms and garlic, then sprinkle cheese over it all. Return to oven for 5 more minutes until cheese melts.


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