Baked Chicken Thighs

Here is how I season and cook chicken thighs in the oven. I don’t measure the ingredients because all of this can be done simply according to your taste. I do tend to use a lot of seasoning, though.

What you need:

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Garlic (I use a grinder)

Paprika

Dried Oregano

Dried Parsley

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (The chicken will cook for ONE HOUR)

Rinse chicken and pat dry

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Rub each piece with olive oil (use your hand or a brush if you have one) – enough to coat all sides, you don’t need it be soaking in oil.

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And now for the seasoning. This is my favorite part. I start with salt, pepper, and garlic.

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Season the bottom side:

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Turn over and season the top:

Still use salt, pepper, and garlic to season the top…but add paprika, oregano, and parsley. There is really no “right amount” here…season as much or as little as you like! I use “hot paprika” I got in Budapest. I don’t sprinkle on a whole lot…in my opinion 🙂 I’m guessing I use about two teaspoons of paprika on each chicken thigh. After the paprika, sprinkle on the oregano and parsley.

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I use a foil-lined pan to cook them on:

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Put them in the 400 degree pre-heated oven for one hour.

And there you have it – seasoned chicken thighs. The skin crisps up really well and the seasoning makes them very flavorful. Bon appétit!

 

 

 

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Spinach Artichoke Beef Wellington

My husband requested that I make Spinach Artichoke Beef Wellington for his birthday. My first thought was something along the lines of “yikes!” But, I knew I had to do it. I must have looked at the recipe and watched the accompanying video 7 or 8 times before I made it. I think that helped! I started at about 1 pm so I would have plenty of time to get it together.

Here are the fillets I used:

Sprinkled with course salt and pepper

Sprinkled with course salt and pepper

I just followed the recipe. I started out by seasoning the fillets with salt and pepper and then seared them on all sides.

After that, I let them cool and then they went into the refrigerator to become cold.

Okay, then onto the filling. Part One: The filling consisted of frozen spinach, artichoke heart quarters (the recipe called for frozen, but I couldn’t find frozen artichokes at either store I went to, so I had to buy ones in a jar…and they worked), and chopped garlic…saute all of that and then let it cool to room temperature.

Part Two: Once all that cooled to room temperature, I added the garlic-and-herb-cheese-spread and grated Parmesan cheese. Then processed it into a paste.

Here is a pic of the cheese spread label in case you are wondering what exactly I used:

So, while the fillets and spread were in the refrigerator, I made the egg wash. I used one egg and two tablespoons of heavy whipping cream. If I ever do this again, I am going to try milk instead. I think it was a bit too thick for my liking.

The recipe called for brushing a puff pastry with the egg wash leaving a one-inch border on all sides.

After everything had cooled in the fridge, it was time to assemble everything. Slices of ham first went onto the puff pastry and then the spread.

It was actually kind of hard to spread the mixture onto the ham…but I got it over most of it.

Then wrap the fillets with puff pastry on all sides:

Brush all over with the egg wash:

The recipe called for using a fluted wheel cutter for strips of puff pastry to put over the wrapped fillets. Well, I don’t have one, so my husband came up with the idea of using a fork to make a design in the dough.

Put the strips of puff pastry over the wrapped fillets:

We paired it with a 2007 Peju Cabernet Franc.

I wanted mine cooked longer than his so mine turned a bit darker.

Here is the link to the recipe again…if you try to make it, I suggest studying it several days in advance. It’s DELICIOUS! Good luck!

Firecrackers Recipe

These crackers are always a hit. Here is what you need to make them:

One box saltine crackers (yes, you will use all 4 sleeves)

1 packet dry Ranch dressing mix

1 cup Canola Oil

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 or 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes (depending on your preference)

These are the basic ingredients, but you can always add other spices to see how it works out!

Use a large Ziplock bag to put the crackers in.

Make these the day or night before you want to serve them. You don’t want to eat them until all the oil and spices have absorbed into the crackers. They will keep for several days, but it’s doubtful they will last very long, so you probably won’t have to worry about that.

Mix the canola oil and ranch mix together. Add the garlic and stir. Then add the red pepper flakes.

The red pepper flakes are kind of hard to keep from settling on the bottom of the dish. I try to keep stirring, but they usually end up there.

In any case, when you have mixed the ingredients together, pour it over the crackers. I pour in doses. I’ll pour some and then try to shake or shift the crackers around a bit to try to cover as many as I can.

Once you have the mixture all poured in, close the bag tight and give it a few turns and lightly shake it (not too hard or you might break some of the crackers!). Every 10 minutes or so, I turn the bag to another side, right side up, upside down, etc. This way, the mixture can flow around to coat all the crackers. Do this for about an hour or so (I guesstimate the time to be honest. I just do this until I think everything is coated, but I do turn it several times to make sure). Let them sit overnight so all of the oil is absorbed and the spices have been absorbed, as well. No baking or anything else required!

Once everything is absorbed, you can put them on a dish or whatever you want to serve them on and that’s it! They are easy to make and very very tasty!

Lemon Cupcake with Blackberry Buttercream

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I want to share a recipe of some cupcakes I made yesterday. They are DELISH. The following (with link to the original) is the recipe for 24 cupcakes. I halved it because I really didn’t need that many!

Recipe for 24 Lemon Cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream:

Recipe By:Megan C. A.
“A simple from-scratch lemon cupcake has blackberry buttercream frosting. This cupcake is a refreshing hit! Garnish each cupcake with a blackberry or a pinch of lemon zest.”

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup seedless blackberry jam

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
  3. Cream sugar and 1/2 cup butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and mix 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract into mixture with the second egg.
  4. Beat in flour and baking powder until thoroughly combined; beat in milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest to make a smooth batter.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until cupcake edges are slightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cupcakes completely.
  7. Beat 1 cup butter with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and salt until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, to make a creamy frosting. Beat in blackberry jam. Spread frosting on cooled cupcakes.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/220884/lemon-cupcake-with-blackberry-buttercream/

I added a little more lemon juice to mine and they tasted GREAT. I put a blackberry on each one and a little bit of lemon zest. I also added a tiny bit of confectioners sugar on top. They were a hit!

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Waffles…

Okay, so this isn’t the most exciting post in the world, BUT, I decided to jazz up a simple breakfast and thought I would share. This is a pretty quickly-made breakfast, so it’s good when you don’t have time or you just don’t want to spend a lot of time on it, but it has a little extra something to start your day!

All I did was take some frozen waffles and follow the directions (about 5 minutes in the oven at 375 degrees F), poured on a little maple syrup, added some raspberries and blackberries, and then sprinkled on some confectioners sugar. And, voila! A simple, yet delicious, breakfast!

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Add as much or as little syrup or confectioners sugar as you like! And any fruit you like, too!