Jamaican Jerk Chicken

It’s my SIL’s 18th birthday today so I asked her what she’d like me to make for her birthday dinner. This was one of her requests, and to be honest I wasn’t crazy about it. I have never eaten this let alone tried to make it before. I have heard of this style of preparing chicken but I had no idea how many seasonings were required. I’m just glad that I have a well stocked spice cabinet! It’s weird because I had all but two ingredients on hand for this marinade – it’s like she knew I have all the stuff this dinner. Well, whether she did or not, I’m glad she chose it. It’s always a good thing to try new types of cuisine with interesting flavor combinations. The scotch bonnet is a mean pepper! I was grating it over the marinating chicken and the fumes made me choke, so I thought it best to use about one third of it.

This dinner was a success! We all enjoyed the unique flavor of the chicken, and it wasn’t too spicy. Next time I will use the whole pepper instead and maybe use dark meat next time. Oh, and I tried this sauce (I made half a batch) that was recommended to me. She said it helped to cool down the chicken, which was something I worried about once I added the scotch bonnet. I had everything for this recipe too, except the cucumber but I don’t think it would have made a huge difference. The sauce had good flavor and paired well with the flavors of the chicken. If I make this again, I will be sure to update this post with the changes I plan on making. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken – adapted from Carribean Choice

  • 1 tbs. Ground allspice
  • 1 tbs. Dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Ground sage
  • 3/4 tsp. Ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp. Ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbs. Salt
  • 2 tbs. Garlic powder
  • 1 tbs. Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup White vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Orange juice
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 cup Chopped white onion
  • 3 Green onions, finely chopped
  • 4 Chicken breasts (6 to 8 oz)trimmed of fat
Directions –
In a large bowl, combine the allspice, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, garlic powder and sugar. With a wire whisk, slowly add the olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, orange juice, and lime juice. Add the Scotch bonnet pepper, onion, and green onions and mix well. Add the chicken breasts, cover and marinate for at least 1 hour, longer if possible. Preheat an outdoor grill. Remove the breasts from the marinade and grill for 6 minutes on each side or until fully cooked. While grilling, baste with the marinade.


Cinnamon Swirl Bread

A few days ago, I decided that I would make French toast; and today I thought: “why not make that cinnamon swirl bread I bookmarked so long ago?” Sure, it takes a little more effort but my family is worth it! This recipe is actually a raisin/cinnamon swirl bread – but M doesn’t like raisins so, I left them out.

The recipe was simple enough to follow, but not as straight forward as my favorite sandwich bread recipe. The dough is super soft and kind of sticky once it’s all finished kneading – but don’t worry! After its first rise and quick chill in the freezer, it was much easier to work with. Rolling it out was simple enough because it didn’t snap back like other doughs. Next time I will roll the dough out slightly smaller so I don’t have so much to tuck underneath. That explains the wonky look of my loaf. It’s not going to win any perfect loaf contest, but I’m sure the family won’t mind.

For the custard, I used this recipe but with slightly less sugar. The sweetness in the dough should be plenty to make up for that.

Verdict: this was worth the effort. Everyone enjoyed the French toast this morning! It did take longer to cook than I anticipated, because I dried out the bread in the oven at 350 for about 8 minutes so the bread would absorb the custard well and not fall apart. Once one batch was finished, I placed the slices on a rack which I place on top of a half sheet pan into a 200 degree oven to keep warm. Serve with lots of warm maple syrup! Thanks for reading, enjoy:)

Cinnamon Swirl Bread – adapted from Dorie Greenspan via food.baby

For the bread:

  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus a pinch
  • 1 1/4 cups just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
  • Grated zest of 1/2 orange (optional)
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • 3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose (plain) flour

For the swirl:

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
  • 1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to a spreadable consistency

To make the bread:

Put the yeast in a small bowl, toss in the pinch of sugar and stir in 1/4 cup of the warm milk. Let rest for 3 minutes, then stir – the yeast may not have dissolved completely and it may not have bubbled, but it should be soft.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the remaining 1 cup of milk, the butter and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and mix for a minute or two. Add the salt, egg and vanilla, if you are using it, as well as the zest and nutmeg, if you’re using them, and mix for a minute. In all likelihood, the mixture will look unpleasantly curdly (it will look even worse when you add the yeast). Add the yeast mixture and beat on low-medium speed for 1 minute more.

Turn the mixer off and add 2 3/4 cups of the flour. Mix on low speed just until you work the flour into the liquids – you’ll have a sticky mix. If you’ve got a dough hook, switch to it now. Add another 1 cup of flour, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the dough for a couple of minutes. If the dough does not come together and almost clean the sides of the bowl, add up to 1/4 cup more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Keep the mixer speed at medium and knead the dough for about 3 minutes, or until it is smooth and has a lovely buttery sheen. The dough will be very soft, much too soft to knead by hand.

Butter a large bowl, turn the dough into a bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Put the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Scrape the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, wrap it and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm enough to be rolled easily. (At this point, you can instead refrigerate the dough overnight if that is more convenient).

To make the swirl and shape the loaf:

Butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and cocoa, if you’re using it. Check that the raisins are nice and moist; if they’re not, steam them for a minute, then dry them well.

Put the dough on a large work surface lightly dusted with flour, lightly dust the top of the dough and roll the dough into a rectangle about 12 x 18 inches.

Gently smear 2 tablespoons of the butter over the surface of the dough – this is most easily done with your fingers. Sprinkle over the sugar mixture and scatter over the raisins. Starting from a short side of the dough, roll the dough up jelly-roll fashion, making sure to roll the dough snugly. Fit the dough into the buttered pan, seam side down, and tuck the ends under the loaf.

Cover the pan loosely with wax paper and set in a warm place; let the dough rise until it comes just a little above the edges of the pan, about 45 minutes.

Getting ready to bake:

When the dough has almost fully risen, centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees Celsius). Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter, and brush the top of the loaf with the butter. Put the pan on the baking sheet and bake the bread for about 20 minutes. Cover loosely with a foil tent and bake for another 25 minutes or so, until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when the bottom of the pan is tapped. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes, then unmold. Invert the bread and cool to room temperature right side up on the rack.

Apple Crisp

This apple crisp is probably the best one I have ever eaten. The addition of lemon juice (I also added some lemon zest) makes a huge difference. The flavors meld well and it doesn’t taste “lemony” at all. This will be my go-to recipe for now – I could have eaten the whole pan! This recipe is for individual ramekins, but I used my 11×7 inch baking dish and it worked perfectly. I substituted Fuji apples because they are my favorite, but I’m sure the Granny Smith apples would be equally tasty. And what takes any apple dessert to the next level?Vanilla ice cream! Don’t forget it:o) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Apple Crisp – adapted from The Neely’s

Filling –

  • 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped small (*I used Fuji apples)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans (*I omitted)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Crumb topping –

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans (*I left these out, too)

Directions –

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.Mix all the ingredients together. Place into 7 to 8-ounce ramekins.

Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Blend the butter into the mixture until it forms pea size lumps. Stir in pecans and sprinkle over filling.

Bake crisps for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Big ‘ol Breakfast

What started off as an idea to make buttermilk pancakes became so much more. Once I decided to have the SIL over for breakfast, I thought fried apples would be a good addition to the pancakes, but that still might not be enough food for us all. Then I thought “what else goes well with pancakes?” That question led me to think of my favorite side dish at Cracker Barrel, (which costs a ridiculous $2.59 for a dinky serving – seriously, the plate is the size of a saucer) the super yummy-not-so-good-for-you hash brown casserole! I did a naughty thing by adding some leftover bacon to the mix of ingredients, but I did leave out lots of the butter that the recipe called for. Also instead of cheddar cheese, I added a full 8 ounces of Colby Monterey Jack cheese. I did M a favor by sautéing the onions until they were soft and translucent – he really doesn’t like the strong flavor. In addition to these tasty vittles, M requested biscuits and sausage gravy! Who does he think I am?;o) The night before I browned the breakfast sausage, made the buttermilk biscuits and readied the casserole for the oven. In the AM, all I have to do is cook the apples, make the gravy, put the casserole in the oven and cook some scrambled eggs! Whew!

Wow – this breakfast was delish! The casserole was the bomb – sorry to use such a stupid word to describe it but I couldn’t think of a better one!;o) I will make this again and everyone will love me for it! The biscuits and sausage gravy came out really well – so much better than Cracker Barrel’s salty mess they call gravy…and the baked scrambled eggs weren’t bad either. Baking them created a light and fluffy finished product and it was so much easier than cooking 10 eggs on the stove. This is the largest breakfast I have ever taken on, but it was so much easier because I planned ahead and didn’t have to make all these in the morning. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

*Cracker Barrel’s Hashbrown Casserole – adapted from Tablespoon

  • 2 pounds frozen hash browns, thawed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (*I used around a TBSP total, maybe two)
  • 1 can (10.75 ounces) cream of chicken soup
  • 1 pint sour cream (I used about 1/3 cup less)
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped (I softened these in a couple tsp of butter)
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (*I used Colby Monterey Jack)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions –

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then grease one 13×9 inch baking dish.

2. Combine all the ingredients together and pour into prepared pan. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

*Sausage Gravy – adapted from Taste and Tell

  • 1 – 16 oz. tube of pork sausage
  • Additional fat if needed: bacon grease or butter
  • 4 TBSP flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste – don’t skimp!


Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to a cast iron skillet or large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the sausage and break it up into bite size chunks, but don’t break it up too much, you want nice cocoa puff sized chunks. Brown the sausage and get some fond on your pan.

Turn the heat down to medium. Remove the sausage and drain, reserving the fat. Return about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the rendered sausage fat into the pan. If you don’t have enough fat, add a little bacon grease or butter to bring it up. Add the flour and cook while whisking until the roux is golden brown. Keep stirring and slowly pour in your milk, making sure to whisk out all the lumps. If it looks too thin, don’t worry, it’ll thicken once it simmers. If you like your gravy super thick, use less milk (2 or 2 1/2 cups). Once you added all the milk, return the sausage back to the skillet, add herbs if you want to get fancy, and season with salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Simmer the gravy until it’s thickened and serve it over your split biscuits.

*Oven Baked Scrambled Eggs – adapted from One Perfect Bite

Ingredients for 6 or 12:

  • 3 to 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 12 to 24 large eggs
  • 1 to 2-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 to 2 cups milk

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 11-inch glass pan with cooking spray if using 12 eggs. Spray a 9 x 13-inch glass pan if using 24 eggs. Pour butter into baking dish.
2) Beat eggs, salt sour cream and milk in a large bowl. When completely blended, pour egg mixture into pan.
3) Bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Stir well, folding sides and bottom toward center and top of pan. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until eggs are set but still soft. Fluff with fork to form curds. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 to 12 servings.

*Fried Apples – adapted from La Fuji Mama

  • 2 medium apples ( I used three small Fuji apples)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (I used a little less)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (I used about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt

1. Peel and core the apples and then slice them into 1/4-inch wedges.

2. Melt the butter in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat.  When the butter has fully melted, sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter and then quickly place the apple slices in a single layer on top of the brown sugar.  With a wooden spoon, stir the apples to coat them in the butter and brown sugar.  Continue to stir the apples.  When the butter and brown sugar have formed a syrup, sprinkle the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt over the ingredients in the pan and stir to incorporate.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to stir the apples until they are fork tender and the syrup has reduced and thickened slightly.  Remove the skillet from the heat and let the apples cool for several minutes.  Serve alone, or as a topping for ice cream.


Overnight Apple Pie Steel Oats

I bought a container of steel cut oats last week at Publix after seeing a Good Eats episode that featured oats. I have never eaten steel cut oats, so I hope these turn out to be worth the $4.99 I paid for them! I forget how I found this recipe at goodLife eats, maybe via blogger’s Facebook page. I love the warm flavor of cinnamon, brown sugar and apples and I needed to find a recipe that sounded tasty to use these new steel cut oats, so this recipe certainly sound perfect to me! Thankfully I had all the ingredients on hand, except for the cardamom – but I don’t even know what that tastes like, so I don’t think I’ll miss it. Also, I omitted the pecans, because I don’t have any of those either – I’m not much of an “add- nuts-to-my-breakfast” kinda gal! Also, these require an overnight soak or up to 24 hours, so plan accordingly.

This turned out really good – it’s definitely a keeper. I love the crunch of the fresh apple and the spices are just right. I did add a little more brown sugar to mine and then a touch more of cinnamon before I scarfed it down. If you have never tried steel cut oats, this is an excellent recipe to try! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Overnight Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats – adapted from goodLife Eats

 

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar (I used two TBSP)
  • 6 ounces all-natural applesauce (my little cup only had 4 ounces)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom (I didn’t have any)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large apple, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped (I didn’t have any)

Directions –

In a nonmetal bowl combine oats, brown sugar, applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt. Stir in milk; cover and chill for 8 to 24 hours.

To serve, transfer oatmeal mixture to a medium saucepan. Stir in 1 cup of apples, reserving the remaining 1/2 cup for garnish. Heat just to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until oatmeal is done, adding additional milk if desired and stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Spoon into 4 bowls; sprinkle with apples and pecans. Serve with additional milk, if desired.