Friday, October 26, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken Parmesan

Luke is on duty tonight, so I wanted to surprise him with his favorite dinner. Delivering dinner to the Marine barracks felt very reminiscent of Bancroft Hall duty nights. That time really seems like it was so long ago even though it was less than 2 years ago.

I don't normally make this in the crock pot, but I thought I'd give it a try to see how it turned out. Unfortunately, it's one of those annoying recipes that cooks for either 6 hours on low (not a full workday...) or 3 hours on high. But it turned out great, so I think I will make it this way again.

2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup white wine or white cooking wine
1/2 large zucchini, diced
1 lb fresh mushrooms, diced

2 lbs chicken breast
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 egg, beaten
t tbsp olive oil
sliced mozzarella cheese

Also some spaghetti

For the sauce, blend all ingredients except for the zucchini and mushrooms. I used a blender because I didn't bring my food processor for hotel living life, and it worked fine, but a food processor would probably be better. Stir in the zucchini and mushrooms and set aside.

Coat the bottom of the crock pot with olive oil. In one shallow dish, beat the egg. In another shallow dish, combine the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Coat the chicken in egg first, and then coat it in the bread crumbs. Put the chicken in the crock pot. Top the chicken with sliced mozzarella. Pour the sauce over the chicken and cook it on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours. Serve it on top of spaghetti.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hello, Fiber! Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I spent Sunday-Friday of last week in Lynchburg, Virginia for a week-long "intensive" class, and it definitely lived up to the name. I spent about 14 hours per day either in class or doing work for the class, so needless to say, I am exhausted. I also got a great reminder of how amazing Fall is on the east coast. I got to see some beautiful mountains with awesome colors and so much foliage! I have almost forgotten about foliage here in Fort Sill where trees are sparse, and it's so windy and dry that even if the trees had dead leaves, they would have blown away long ago. I am a true lover of all Fall things, and pumpkin tops the list for sure. When we were living in Quantico, I made about 6 batches of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, so I figured the only way to make these better would be to add pumpkin. Also, I am an old lady who loves meeting my daily fiber intake, and the pumpkin and oatmeal in these definitely contribute to that goal : )

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup (yikes, I know) butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup pureed pumpkin
2 cups oats
1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a large bowl, whisk together butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add vanilla and egg to wet ingredients. Whisk pumpkin into wet ingredients. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Add the oats 1/2 cup at a time. Lastly, mix in the chocolate chips. Bake these at 350 for 14-15 minutes.

I made one large pan (about 15 cookies) and had enough dough left over to probably make about 30 more cookies. I should also mention this tastes great as cookie dough...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pumpkin Monkey Bread

For a couple of weeks, I have been really jealous of my friends who were posting on Facebook and tweeting about wearing boots and scarves and sipping pumpkin spice lattes because Fall continued to escape us here in Fort Sill. Last week, the temperatures were still in the 80s. That is not Fall. Then suddenly, it was 50 degrees for no explainable reason, and though I know it's going to be back in the 80s next week, I am embracing these 5 days of 40-50 degree weather and diving in head first to a new pumpkin recipe.

I made this pumpkin monkey bread for Sunday school this week. It's amazing how some lessons and sermons seem like they're so specifically meant for me. We've been in 1 Peter for a few weeks now, and today were talking about how husbands and wives should relate to one another. If I'm being completely honest, Fort Sill has not been great for me. We are fine, but I've just really felt like I was in a funk since we got here. I am frustrated with the licensing process (5-6 weeks for application review?? try 9 weeks and still going...) and feeling like I'm just not contributing a lot. This week at Sunday school, I was really struck with some ways I could be focusing my attention rather than desperately trying to get where I think I should be in my career. We talked about the ways that husbands and wives can pray for each other in order to encourage growth, and I'll definitely be spending some extra time in prayer to do this.

So this is what I made. It was pretty time consuming. I made it last night because I didn't want to get up at 5 am to make this before heading to church.

For the dough:
3 1/4 cup flour, plus some extra for kneading
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup warm milk
1/4 cup warm water
1 can pumpkin
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

For the coating:
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
3/4 stick butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, milk, water, pumpkin, and yeast. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the pumpkin mixture into it, combining it with a wooden spoon.

After it's well combined, knead it on a floured surface for about 8 minutes. Spray a clean bowl with non-stick spray, put the dough in, and cover it to rise for an hour.

After the dough has risen for an hour, tear it into bite-size pieces. Melt the butter for the coating in a small bowl, and in another small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. When I tore the dough into pieces, it was still really sticky, so floured hands are helpful. Roll the dough in the butter and then roll it in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Place it in a baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Typically, I'd make this in a bundt pan, but since I didn't bring one of those to Oklahoma, I made it in a cake pan. Tastes the same.  I had some extra cinnamon/sugar, so I sprinkled it on top. You can never  have too much cinnamon and sugar. After all the pieces have been coated and placed in the pan, cover it and let it rise for another hour. About 30 minutes into this hour, turn the oven on to 350 degrees, and let the pan sit on top of the oven to finish rising another half hour. This will help with the tenderness of the dough.

After it has risen for an hour, bake it at 350 for about 30 minutes. Let it sit for about 30 minutes before turning it onto a serving dish. So delicious!