New Favorite for the Dining Table

Hey everyone! We’re already entering into the last week of January! Raise your hand if you feel this month’s just flown by. (We were always told that time moves faster as you get older, but who knew those old people could be right? The wisdom of our Elders knows no bounds). All the more reason to savour each day as it comes and to live in the moment, to be present. Which is hard for me because I often go off daydreaming and fantasizing.

On the other hand, fantasizing is what a writer does, no? Daydreaming, imagining, wondering . . . it’s all part of the job and it’s wonderful.

But writing isn’t the only thing I do (although there are times that I wish it were!) The kitchen and its culinary magic, the artful-science of cooking and baking, holds another almost-if-not-equal place in my heart. So today I’m going to share with you a new recipe that I’ve just tried: Crock Pot Honey-Glazed Chicken. You can find the original recipe here (Chef Savvy is an awesome website filled with simple and easy recipes. There’s no excuse not to cook with stuff like this). The following recipe is how I made it.

Crock Pot Honey-Glazed Chicken

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • chicken, cut into bite sized pieces (I had a combination of white and dark meat. White meat is ‘lighter’, but dark meat is the jucier of the two)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey (raw and local, right from the farm! I never liked honey until I tried this stuff. So good.)
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar (the original recipe calls for rice wine vinegar, but alas, the regular rice vinegar was all I had on hand. In the end, it doesn’t really matter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (a little is all you need because baby is that stuff STRONG)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 4+ cloves of garlic (as a rule, I always add more garlic. I made half of the original recipe, because it was only two people for dinner, but did not cut the garlic in half. If this is supposed to be honey-garlic, by Jove will there be garlic. And why not? It’s awesome in so many ways)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Sesame seeds, for serving

Instructions:

  • Place chicken in the crock of a slow cooker.
  • Mix together the soy sauce, honey, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, and garlic. Pour over chicken and mix to coat. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through (I cooked it on high for approximately 1 1/2 hours, because I was pressed for time, but the original recipe says to cook on low for 2-3 hours, depending on the size of your chicken).
  • Whisk together cornstarch and about 3 tablespoons of sauce from the cooker until smooth, then return to the crock and cook until thickened. Garnish with sesame seeds (I have black seeds but white ones will work just as well) and serve.

I served mine with fried rice (another recipe I got off the site, although tweaked to fit the ingredients I had on hand). This chicken was super delicious, a little sweet, a little savoury, and a whole lot of YES. This was a double score and will most certainly be making it onto the table again.

Why don’t you give it a try and tell me what you think? Or why not share one of your own new favorites? I’d love to hear about it! New recipes are so much fun to try.

Warm up with a Skillet – and Meat and Potatoes and . . .

Hello everyone! Can you believe December’s halfway over already? Christmas is almost here! Please tell me I’m not the only one running the USPS ragged with packages coming in almost every day. It’s so exciting! I can hardly wait to give these gifts to my loved ones.

Now, I know that usually people cook up some special recipes for Christmas, but believe it or not ─ we don’t! Outside of gingerbread men, chex mix, and haystacks, my family doesn’t make fancy food for the holidays (Christmas Eve we’ve eaten pizza and wings at my grandparents’ for as long as I can remember, and our traditional Christmas dinner is your basic lasagna. Nevertheless, they’re both family favorites).

So today I’m going to share with you another of my favorite dinners: Cajun Kielbasa Skillet. It’s a simple dish with a handful of ingredients that packs some great flavors and a bit of bite (yes, I’m in favor of spicy food. The only one in the family, too, it seems). I hope you’ll give it a try sometime ─ and don’t forget to tell me what you think of it!

Ingredients:

4 medium potatoes

1 large onion

2 medium sweet peppers (any color, or try a mix! I like to use red and orange ones)

1 lb. beef kielbasa

1-2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (depending on your taste)

Instructions:

Gather all your ingredients. (This is an important step that I don’t practice as often as I should when both cooking and baking. It’s worth the extra step, believe me).

Cube the potatoes and chop the onion. Slice the sweet peppers into strips and then cut the strips in half. Cut the kielbasa into 1/2 inch or so pieces.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add the vegetables and kielbasa. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are soft. Add the seasoning and stir to coat, then it’s ready to serve!

I made this last night and served it with a batch of baking powder biscuits ─ super delicious!

Citrusly Delicious

Hello, my lovelies! How has everyone’s November been so far? Can you believe it’s halfway over already? I have been so busy with NaNoWriMo that I keep losing track of the time! Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week??? Pretty soon people all over the country will be gathering around the dinner table with friends and family to enjoy a good time and gorge themselves on many, many, many delicious dishes.

Do any of you have a favorite Thanksgiving food, one that you wonder why you don’t get more often? My mother makes a wicked cranberry salad, and my grandma makes the lightest and fluffiest rolls I’ve ever had. One of my personal favorites, though, is a squash apple bake. Just an handful of simple ingredients thrown together to make something positively gobstopping. Perhaps I’ll share it with you sometime here in the Reynwood’s Recipies blog tab.

Last month I posted a recipe for Pumpkin Rice Krispies, but today I want to share with you another combination of two of my favorite things: bundt cakes and gingerbread. I can hardly get enough of either of these two, bundt cakes are so much fun with all the different shapes you can make with the pans, and gingerbread is a warm fussy for me, full of mildly sweet molasses and spicy ginger. This cake has an extra zing added with lemon zest, giving it a citrusy kick.

Maybe instead of (or in addition to!) the traditional pumpkin and apple pies for dessert, you’ll want to surprise your family with this baby.

Are you ready for this?

Lemon Gingerbread Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 2/3 cup all-purpose or cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel*
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
Lemon Glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice*

Instructions:

Turn oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 10 or 12 cup fluted tube pan (I used the  Heritage Bundt Pan from Nordic Ware, made in the USA!) and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy (this will take about 2 or 3 minutes). Add the molasses and water, beat well. Add the egg and beat well. Sift together the remaining cake ingredients and add to the batter; mix well, then spoon into the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

For the glaze, in a bowl combine confectioner’s sugar and butter. Gradually add juice until it reaches the desired consistency, then drizzle over the cake.

*For those of you who aren’t big lemon fans, you can easily substitute the lemon for any other citrus fruit. Try an orange (which I might next time), or even a lime or grapefruit, if you’re feeling particularly wild.

Autumn-ly Awesome and Fall-ishly Fantasticical Treats

Greetings, everyone, and happy middle-of-October! ‘Tis the season for apples, squash . . . and pumpkins! Today I want to share with you a glorious combination of two of my favorite things: pumpkins and Rice Krispie treats. Rice Krispie treats are probably one of my top favorite snackey-dessert things, and I have to say, I don’t make them enough. For years I’ve made them the traditional way ─ in a pan and cut into squares. But then, while scrolling through Pintrest with my mom one day, we came across something that made fireworks go off in my brain: Rice Krispie treats in the shape of pumpkins. My mind was blown. I could hardly believe such an ingenious revelation.

I had to try it.

I looked through a couple of different recipes (because when I look for a recipe for a dish, I rarely, hardly ever just go with the first one that crosses my path). You wouldn’t think there were so many different ways to make pumpkin Rice Krispie treats, but there are, so I took the elements I liked from this one and combined it with that one and came up with my own. I think I might do some minor tweaking in the future, but for a first shot, I don’t think they turned out half bad.

Spiced Rice Krispie Treat Pumpkins

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 bag regular-sized marshmallows (approximately 40 marshmallows)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies (or any off-brand, they’re all the same)
  • Red & yellow liquid food coloring
  • Pretzel rods
  • Green M&M’s
  • Cooking spray

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, melt the butter over low heat.
  2. Add the marshmallows and stir until completely melted and combined with the butter. Add about 12 drops of yellow food coloring and mix it together, then add about 3 drops of red food coloring and mix until color is uniform. Add red/yellow drops until you reach your desired color. Add spices and mix well.
  3. Add the Rice Krispies and stir to combine. Lower heat on the stove to lowest setting (this keeps the treats from cooling and hardening while you work).
  4. Coat the palm and fingers of one hand rather generously with cooking spray and roll the Rice Krispie mixture into small balls. (I’ve read where one person coated both sides of both hands liberally with oil after each ball, but I found I only had to spray the one side of one hand at the onset and that served to keep my hands sticky-free for the entire batch. I got thirteen pumpkins.) Reoil your hands as needed.
  5. Set each ball on parchment or waxed paper, and while still warm, press a pretzel stick into the top of each wee pumpkin for the stem and add a green M&M beside it to serve as a leaf.
  6. Enjoy immediately (because why wouldn’t you want to?) or cool until firm.

Give it a shot and don’t be shy to let me know what you think! I’m contemplating on posting a recipe once every month, since cooking and baking are my second biggest passions next to writing. And who knows? We may see some book-inspired recipes show up. Would you like that? Let me know in the comments!