Monday, December 19, 2011

Slow Cooked Chicken

I don't love housework, but I do love all the "mod cons" - as our friends across the pond call modern conveniences. There's something supremely satisfying about knowing the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer are all working away in the background while I'm busy with other things. I feel the same way about my slow cooker. Knowing that dinner is ready to go with little to no further effort on my part is comforting in a way. It's one less thing to concern myself with as we finish up other chores and work on school for the day. Other than for a meal, I also like to use my slow cooker for large batches of chicken. I buy it as it's on sale, then when I get a few packages I pull them out of the freezer and cook them all at one time. I wrote about that process in this post. I'll be doing that today! I'm cooking down about $5.00 worth of chicken which will translate to about 4 meals for our family. When I have it all packaged up, the shredded chicken will go in the freezer to await its fate in one of these recipes:

Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Thai Chicken Pasta

Chicken Ranch Casserole

Chicken Parmesan Calzones

Chicken Salad

Chicken Pot Pie

... Or any number of other fabulous options!

A special thanks goes out to our "college people", who blessed me with a new slow cooker last night! It's non-stick and stainless steel and programmable ... and I'm so excited! Thank you so much! We love y'all.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pecan Pancake Cookies

I love Snickerdoodles - they're soft, chewy, cinnamon-y ... perfection!  When I found this recipe for them, I fell in love immediately. For your traditional flavor, I don't think those can be beat! But I wanted to jazz up the basic flavor a bit, and so adapted that one into this recipe for what I call Pecan Pancake Cookies.

Pecan Pancake Cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup pecans, finely chopped (measure, then chop)

1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars with an electric mixer on high speed. Add the eggs, maple and vanilla; beat until smooth.

In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in pecans.

Let the dough rest for 30 to 60 minutes in the refrigerator. (Much longer and the dough will be too stiff to work with.)

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the sugar with the cinnamon, and preheat the oven to 300°.

Roll the dough by heaping tablespoonfuls into balls and coat in the cinnamon-sugar. Press gently onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Repeat for the remaining cookies.

Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes and no more. The cookies may seem undercooked, but will continue to develop after they are removed from the oven. When the cookies have cooled they should be soft and chewy in the middle. Cool on the pan for a couple of minutes, then remove to a wire rack. Yield: about 3 dozen cookies