Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25, 2012

Last week was very exciting - we had both sides of the family in from out of town to help us celebrate a special day for our middle son.  But, as a result, the weekend just ran away from me!  To make up for the missed week I have quite a few keepers for you!!!  Two dinner ideas, and two cookie recipes for school lunches, picnics, or just because.  :)

Two of the recipes have lemon in the title; you know my love for this yellow citrus.  My book club enjoyed both of the cookies, though they are the opposite ends of the taste spectrum.  The lemon ones are light and refreshing, the chocolate ones are very chocolatey!

Do you use panko?  I love to use it- it just creates such a great crunch in the dish.  So when I heard about lemon pepper panko I had to try it.  And when I say I had to try it, I am being serious! I did a product search on the Progresso website, found a grocery store that carried it (closest to me was about 20 minutes away), and I went to get it!  I bet that we were going to love it, so I bought 2 boxes.  Good news - we did love it, and I will definitely be making this salmon again.  I also think this recipe could be used with tilapia, sole, even thinly pounded chicken.

Stay tuned next week...yeast breads should be back!

New Recipes
Lemon Pepper Panko Salmon
Monter-Ray Chicken
Salted Caramel Chocolate Cookies
Lemon Cookies

Lemon Pepper Panko Salmon

* 1 -1 1/4 lb of salmon, either as one filet or individual pieces of salmon
* 3 tbsp melted butter, divided
* 1/2 cup Progresso Lemon Pepper Panko
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 2 tbsp thinly sliced green onions

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F, and spray a baking dish with cooking spray
2. Melt 1 tbsp butter and put in the bottom of the pan
3. In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs, cheese, onions and remaining 2 tbsp melted butter; press evenly over the salmon
4. Bake 15-25 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork

My mom told me about this lemon pepper panko, and about the recipe right on the back of the box.  We love lemon pepper seasoned food, so I had to try it.  And thank goodness I did; it was not only ridiculously easy, but also fantastically delicious as well!

I used individual pieces of salmon instead of one large piece, and it turned out great!  I cooked ours for about 20 minutes at 400.  I served our dinner with sauteed green beans and egg noodles, and I have to admit that I mixed the extra crumbs into my noodles, and it was yummy!

Monter-RAY chicken

* 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
* 1-2 tbsp olive oil
* 1-2 tbsp butter
* 3 strips bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled
* 1 cup shredded cheese, cheddar or colby jack
* 1 can Rotel tomatoes, (canned with green chilies added, they are either 12 or 14 oz, I can't recall)
* sliced green onions
* pepper

1. Pound chicken to uniform thickness
2. Heat one tbsp of butter and oil together in a saute pan over medium to medium high heat
3. Cook the chicken on both sides until almost done, and then place in a Pyrex glass pan previously sprayed with cooking spray
4. Pour tomatoes over the chicken, and then sprinkle with green onions, shredded cheese and bacon.
5. Cook for about 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until cheese is melted and chicken is completely cooked
6. If desired, serve barbecue sauce on the side

 The original recipe I saw that inspired this called for the chicken to be brushed with barbecue sauce and then grilled, but I was looking for a recipe to cook inside.  All of us like various types of barbecue sauce, so I left it off, and just had it on the table. Everyone enjoyed this a lot, but as Ryan said, what's not to like about a chicken dinner that calls for bacon?  You may need the additional butter and oil if you have a lot of chicken, or if your pan is getting too hot.

Lemon Cookies

* ½ cups butter, softened
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 egg
* 1 tsp lemon zest
* 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
* ¼ tsp salt
* ¼ tsp baking powder
* ⅛ tsp baking soda
* 1-½ cup all-purpose flour
* ¼ cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside, or use parchment paper
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Scrape sides and mix again.
3. Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly.
4. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.
5. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte.
6. Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

9 minutes was the perfect amount of time in my oven. These were lightly lemon tasting, but not overwhelming. Very tasty!



Salted Caramel Chocoate Cookies

* 1 cup butter
* 1 1/2 cups white sugar
* 2 eggs
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup Kraft caramel bits, or cut caramels
* 1/2 cup chocolate chips
* coarse sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
3. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir into the butter mixture until well blended.
4. Mix in the caramel bits and chocolate chips.
5. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Press each cookie down slightly to flatten, then sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.
6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or just until set. Cool slightly on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.'

8 minutes  was perfect in my oven.  These can be a little tough to remove if the caramel has melted onto the parchment and gets onto your spatula.  Keep cleaning it off so as to aid your taking the cookies off the baking sheets.  I could not find the caramel bits, to I used kitchen shears to cut up some normal Kraft caramels to use in the recipe.  Also, the sea salt seemed to have dissolved into the cookies during the baking time, so when they came out of the oven, I added one last pinch!  Be warned...these are very chocolatey!  I used Special Dark cocoa powder, and really enjoyed the flavor.