Moroccan Spiced Chicken with Couscous


Hello everyone– This recipe started with a cookbook from the library shelves and a big bundle of cilantro.  I picked up Half Baked Harvest from the new book shelves at the library.  It’s beautiful.  I started to bookmark things I’d like to make and it’s pretty much every recipe!

And then my dear buddy Janet showed up at my door with a huge bouquet of cilantro from her garden and this recipe from the book came to mind.

It’s spicy and so flavorful.  Easy–since Larry is the one who cooks it on the grill!  And the couscous is moist and crunchy and a little sweet from the apricots.  I think you’d really like it…

MOROCCAN SPICED CHICKEN WITH COUSCOUS

Chicken:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. powdered ginger
2 tab. cilantro, chopped fine
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. red pepper (cayenne)
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 tab. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Couscous:
14 oz. can chicken broth
1 cup couscous
2 tab. olive oil
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped to bits
1/2 cup whole almonds, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Garnish:
cilantro sprigs
lemon slices

In a zip loc bag, combine the garlic, ginger, 2 tab. chopped cilantro, smoked paprika, cumin, red pepper, chili powder, sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon zest and juice.  Squish the bag until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Cut the chicken to skewer size pieces and add to the bag.  Zip it and squish the bag until the chicken is all coated.  Let the chicken marinate in the spices at least an hour up to 10 hours.

Thread the chicken onto 2 or 3 skewers.

Just before you grill the chicken, make the couscous.  Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a sauce pan.  Remove from the heat and add the couscous.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.  Fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in the oil, apricots, almonds and 1/4 cup cilantro.  Cover to keep warm while you grill the chicken.

Grill the chicken 10 to 12 minutes until the outside is charred and the chicken is cooked through.

On a pretty platter spread the couscous and top with the chicken skewers.  Garnish with cilantro pirgs and lemon slices.

Lemon Blueberry Cream Cake

Hi all– Recently we had an Sunday afternoon shower for adorable Lisa, who’s getting married in May.  It was a room full of friends, with “aunts-ish” advice for the new bride and and chances to hear all the details for her story and of the wedding ahead…   And there was cake (of course).  Tart lemon, sweet berries and whip cream to tie it all together.  A dear day together.

LEMON BLUEBERRY CAKE
1 lemon
1 lemon cake mix
canola oil
3 eggs
water
2 cups blueberries (about 12 oz.)
1 small lemon instant pudding (3.9 oz. size)
1 cup milk
1 pint heavy whipping cream (16 oz.)
2 tsp. powdered sugar
2 tsp. instant vanilla pudding
garnish: lemon slice & mint

Grate the lemon peel off and set aside.  Then juice the lemon that is left and set that aside as well.

Mix up the lemon cake mix using the instructions on the box– my mix used 1/3 cup oil, 3 eggs and for the water.  I filled a one cup measuring up with the lemon juice and added water to make the 1 cup asked for.  Then fold in the grated lemon peel and the blueberries.

Pour the batter into a 9″x 13″ baking dish (or a large 10 to 11″ spring form pan) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put it into a 350 oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the cake is golden and firm to the touch.
Take it out of the oven let let the came cool completely.

Then whisk together the lemon pudding mix with just 1 cup of milk for a couple minutes and then spread it over the cake.

With an electric mixer (the whisk attachment works best!), beat together the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla pudding mix (to stabilize the cream, help it hold up) until it is well set.  Spoon the cream over the lemon pudding layer and set the cake in the fridge for an hour or more to set up.

Garnish with little lemon slices and something green (mint) and cut big beautiful slices!  Enjoy!

Citrus Honey Chicken

Hey friends– It’s a little crazy here– working ahead on a stack of blog posts to send off to you before we leave on a 2 week trip tomorrow!  So I’m typing away, doing last minute laundry and stacking piles of things to drop into the suitcase.  So fun!

And for your busy days, here’s an easy dinner, done in about 30 minutes.  It’s full of citrusy flavor with just hint of sweetness.  A little mixed rice, a bright salad and it’s dinner!

CITRUS HONEY CHICKEN
4 chicken thighs
2 tab. olive oil
salt
freshly ground pepper
2 limes, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
2 tab. honey
1 tab. soy sauce
garnish: more lime & lemon slices, green onion

Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides (I like to take the skin off, but skin on is fine too).  Heat the olive oil in a skillet that has a lid.  Cook the chicken meatier side down for 5 minutes in the hot oil until they are golden brown.

While they are cooking stir together the lemon juice, lime juice, honey and soy sauce.

When he chicken is browned turn it browned side up in the skillet and pour over the lemon/lime mixture.  Cover the chicken and let it simmer on low for 15 to 18 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (about 180 degrees with a meat thermometer).  It’s good to spoon the juice over the chicken a couple times while it’s cooking!

When the chicken is ready, put the pieces on a pretty platter and drizzle the pan juices over the top.  Garnish with lime and lemon slices and green onion.  So inviting!

Blueberry Filled Lemon Cake

 

Hello all–  Made this little cake to take along to our Sunday morning group that meets before church.  We’ve been together every week since we were newly weds– 43 years!  And let me tell you, these are my people.

We’ve celebrated babies, and kid’s wedding, then grand-kids together.  We’ve held each other up through cancer and divorce, job loss and problems with our children.  There were camping trips and banana-gram nights, movies and late nights talks over the dinner table together.  When one family lost their family business we chipped in to get their daughter through her last semester of college.  And now we are walking with dear friends through brain cancer and hospice.  There’s more, but I’ll stop– can’t count all the hugs and prayers or the laughter and sorrows shared.

I just wanted to say all this because I’m hoping you have “your people” too.  People who know you deeply and share your faith, who bring meals when you’re down and walk with you in joy and difficult days.  God has them for you– he can help you find them.

 

BLUEBERRY FILLED LEMON CAKE
2 medium lemons, peel grated & juice squeezed
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups fresh blueberries

glaze:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

 

Grate the zest off of the two lemons.  Then cut them in half and squeeze out all the juice.  Set both the zest and juice aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until well blended.  Then stir in the sour cream, oil and vanilla.  Next , mix in the flour, salt and baking powder.  And finally, stir in all the lemon zest, 1/4 cup of the lemon juice and the blueberries.  Just stir enough until it’s all thoroughly combined.

Spoon the mixture into a 9″ springform pan (or cake pan) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Then pop it into a 375 degree oven for 45 to 55 minutes until it’s cooked through and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

While the cake is still hot, mix together 1/4 cup of the remaining lemon juice with 1/4 cup sugar.  Stir until the sugar all dissolves.  Then dribble the sugar over the top of the cake and let it sit for 30 minutes to cool before you serve it up.

 

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Hello there– How’s everything with you??  I’m in the kitchen watching over a pot of pork ragu simmering on the stove and listening to the soundtrack of Godspell (old favorite) –and writing to you!  I call that a good morning.

Wanted to send off this cupcake recipe.  I know there’s a debate about using/absolutely not using cake mixes.  I rather like them– and the tender moist cake they produce.  This recipe adds lemon zest and juice and tops it off with tangy lemony cream cheese frosting.  They’re pretty perfect (even for a cake mix!)

LEMON CUPCAKES WITH LEMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Cupcakes:
1 lemon
1 lemon cake mix
canola oil
water
3 eggs

Frosting:
1 lemon
8 oz. cream cheese, room tempertature
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 box powdered sugar (3  3/4 cups)

To make the cupcakes, grate the peel off of the lemon.  Then cut it in half and juice it.  Set the grated peel and juice aside.

Read the ingredients for the cupcakes on the box of your cake mix– mine used 1 cup water, 3 eggs and 1/3 cup vegetable oil.  In place of the full cup of water, pour the lemon juice into your measuring cup and then fill with with water to measure 1 cup.

With an electric mixer beat together the cake mix, eggs, water-juice, grated lemon peel and oil for 2 minutes until it’s a smooth fluffy batter.

Spoon the batter into muffin pans the have been lined with cupcake wrappers (or sprayed with cooking spray).  Should make about 24 cupcakes.  Bake them at 350 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes, until they are slightly browned and firm to the touch.  Let them cool before you frost them.

To make the frosting, grate the peel of the second lemon and extract the juice.  Then with your mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, lemon peel and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice.

Frost the cooled cupcakes and enjoy!!

Lemon Piccata Chicken & Pasta

Hello all–  New version of an old favorite here.  Had it with our new “housemate,” Kendall, a seminary student from Australia who’s staying with us for his last semester.  Larry enjoys talking theology with him and I just like having such a great guy around the house.

This chicken is salty from the parmesan, tart from the bit of lemon and garlic savory.  And the sauce melds just right with a big plate of pasta.  Real comfort food.

LEMON PICCATA CHICKEN & PASTA
8 to 10 oz. pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced horizontally to filet
2 tab. flour
3 tab. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tab. olive oil
2 tab. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz. can chicken broth
1/2  cup whole milk (or half & half)
1/3 cup parmesan
2 tab. capers (drained)
3 tab. lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1 tab. cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. rosemary, minced and sliced lemon for garnish

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.

In a shallow bowl mix together the flour, 3 tab. parmesan cheese, garlic salt and pepper.  Dredge the chicken filets in the flour mixture and set aside.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet.  Cook the coated chicken 3 to 4 minutes on each side over medium-high heat, until they are nicely browned and cooked through.  Remove from the pan and cover to keep warm.

Drop the garlic into the same skillet and cook for a minute.  Then add in the chicken broth and milk and bring to a strong simmer.  Add in the parmesan and capers and simmer for 3 minutes or so to thicken.  Stir in the lemon juice.

If you want the sauce to be thicker, shake the cornstarch and water together in a container with a right fitting lid until it’s thoroughly blended and stir it into the simmering sauce for 3 or 4 minutes more until it thickens.

Return the chicken to the sauce in the skillet and simmer a couple minutes to warm the chicken.  Then spread the pasta on a platter, top with the chicken and sauce.  Garnish with the minced rosemary and lemon slices.  Serve it up hot!

Lemon Pudding Cheesecake


Hey there Baking Friends– Ran across this cheese cake recipe (on Pinterest, where else??)  and gave it a try last weekend for a game night with a crowd of friends.  Sally and I made Jeopardy game, complete with buzzers and question boards with facts about all the friends–it was a whole lot of chaotic noisy fun!!

And the cheesecake was even better than I’d hoped.  So light (for cheesecake!) and creamy and with just enough lemon flavor.  The secret ingredient is the lemon pudding mix!!  We ate the last leftover piece last night and I was sad to see it go…

LEMON PUDDING CHEESECAKE

Crust:
1 1/2 cup graham crackers crushed (about 8 crackers)
1/2 cup coconut
4 tab. butter, melted

Filling:
32 oz. cream cheese (4 – 8 oz. packages)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tab. flour
2 tab. milk
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
2 small packages instant lemon pudding (3.4 oz. size)

topping:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tab. powdered sugar
1 tab. instant vanilla pudding (for stabilizer)
garnish– lemon slice, mint leaf

Mix the graham cracker crumbs, coconut and melted butter in the bottom of a 9″ or 10″ springform pan.  Press them down to uniformly cover the bottom of the pan and bake at 350 degrees for just 10 minutes.

To make the filling, use an electric mixer to beat together the cream cheese and sugar until it’s creamy.  Then add in the flour milk, sour cream, eggs and lemon pudding.  Beat on high speed until it’s thoroughly blended.

Spoon the thick batter over the graham cracker crust and set into the 300 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes until the cheesecake is puffy in the middle and just a little wobbly when you shake it.  Open the oven door and turn off he heat and let the cheesecake sit in the cooling oven for an hour.  Then run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen it from the pan and set it into the fridge at least 4 hours to firm up.

When you’re about ready to serve the cheesecake, beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar and instant vanilla pudding with an electric mixer (the whisk attachment works best) until it is very firm.  Spoon it over the top of the cake and garnish with lemon and leaves.  So pretty!