Looking for something new? Investigate one of these new cookbooks for inspiration:
The best purchase I ever made for my kitchen was my rice cooker. By combining rice with staples I have laying around the house I can make delicious, healthy meals and still have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes with no effort whatsoever.
I like to buy and pre-grill chicken breasts in bulk and then freeze them. When I know that I’m going to have rice for dinner I’ll pull one or two out the night before so it can defrost in the fridge. When I get home from work I’ll throw rice in the cooker with some of these delicious add-ins and then pop the chicken breast into the cooker (on top of the rice) in the last 5 minutes so that it reheats in the steam.
For Italian rice and chicken try adding:
1 can petite diced tomatoes
½ cup parmesan grated
¼ cup chopped basil
Add cheese and tomatoes to rice before removing from heat, let sit 5 minutes, fold in basil before serving.
For Asian rice and chicken try adding:
2 cups finely chopped broccoli
2 thinly sliced scallions
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sesame oil
After rice cooks 12 minutes sprinkle with broccoli, cook 5 more minutes, fold in other ingredients before serving.
For Laura’s favorite rice and chicken try adding:
½ cup sliced dried apricots
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
½ cup toasted almonds
Remove rice from heat, sprinkle with apricots and lemon zest before letting stand, fold in almonds before serving.
Once you master using these simple recipes with your rice cooker try checking out this amazing book. You’ll never use your stove again:
The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cook Book: 250 no-fail recipes for pilafs, risottos, polentas, chilis, soups, porridges, puddings, and more, from start to finish in your rice cooker by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann.
There isn’t much I love in this world than the smell of a roasting chicken. Other than potatoes roasted in the same pan as said chicken that is. If you can use a mandolin slicer to cut your potatoes and onions nice and thin the prep time on this dish is about 5 minutes. I first time I made it in my new apartment my roommates were beyond impressed. By drying the chicken extra well you ensure a crisp and impressively colored skin.
Prep Time: 30 minutes, Cooking time: 50-60 minutes
- 2-3 tablespoons butter
- 5-6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8-rounds
- 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
- One 4-5 pound farm-raised chicken
- Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons minced thyme (optional)
- Unsalted butter
You will need:
- Ovenproof frying pan or roasting pan
- Kitchen knife
- Cutting Board
- Paper towels
- Kitchen twine and scissors
1 Preheat the oven to 450°F. Thinly slice potatoes and onion.
2 Melt the butter in a large oven-proof frying pan or small roasting pan. Layer the potatoes all around the bottom of the pan, completely covering it. Scatter the onions over the potatoes. Set aside and prepare the chicken.
3 Rinse the chicken and then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird.
4 Next, salt the chicken very well. Season to taste with pepper and garlic powder.
5 Place the chicken on top of the potatoes and onions in the pan and put it in the oven. Don’t open oven. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are golden and a little crispy, about 50 to 60 minutes.
6 Remove it from the oven and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with any juices from the pan and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.
Like making chicken? Try these titles:
150 Things to Make with a Roast Chicken and 5o Ways to Roast it by Tony Rosenfeld
The Best Chicken Recipes by Cook’s Illustrated
The New York Times Chicken Cookbook edited by Linda Amster
Recipe adapted from Thomas Keller via Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy
In sauce pan, melt 2 sticks of butter, add ¼ cup cocoa
2 Cups sugar
1 ½ cup self rising flour
1 Cup nuts-chopped
1 Tablespoon vanilla
Mix well: pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan bake
Bake: for 25-30 minutes at 350 or until done,
Add 1 bag of mini marshmallows to the top of cake, as soon as it comes out of the oven. ( 7 ounce jar of cream marshmallow in place of mini marshmallows).
Melt 1stick of butter
1 box confectioners’ sugar
½ cup evaporated milk
1/3 cup Cocoa
Pour over marshmallow topping
Everything is better when dipped in caramel, right?
For the CCPl Staff Development Day lunch I made my new favorite treat; marshmallows dipped in caramel and dark chocolate on a stick (because everything is better on a stick right? I already had the marshmallows and dark chocolate chips, but I thought homemade caramel would be a great choice.
My family has a secret recipe that almost always results in a great caramel and can be tweaked to provide soft and chewy or hard and lollipop like candies. Here’s how it works:
In a deep, thick pot with attached candy thermometer combine the following:
- 1/2 lb butter (2 sticks)
- 1 lb light brown sugar
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup Karo pancake syrup
Cook, stirring but not scraping the sides until candy is 225° F. When temperature is reached stir in:
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Pour from pan (being sure to not scrap sides) into desired dish.
Remember this recipe is super easy to change so that you get any sort of caramel you like. Try using dark brown sugar instead of light for a darker caramel. Cook to 228°F for caramels you can cut with a cookie cutter. Cook to 230°F for a darker, peanut brittle consistency.
To make our Staff Day treat lightly grease a cookie sheet, place marshmallows on it so they are not touching. Using thin pretzel sticks in place of sucker sticks impale marshmallows and dip them in caramel once you have removed it from the pot (into a bowl works best). Place in freezer to harden for 5 minutes and then dip into melted chocolate chips and then immediately dip just the bottom of your pop into sprinkles or jimmies (they help keep the chocolate from sticking to your serving dish).
If you enjoy this recipe try one of the following books:
Candy Making for Dummies by David Jones
Candy Making for Beginners by Evelyn Howe Fryatt