Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Plain Chicken

This is an angel made of stained glass with a little votive candle (spruce scent) burning behind her.  She is one of my favorite Christmas decorations.  I love candles.  I just like nice smells.  I am kind of weird about the way things smell, too, though.  Son #2 is the same way.  He used to come home from sleep overs and wash his clothes so that they would smell "right."  Same thing when he took his own personal pillow with him to visit his grandparents.  Not that his grandparents or friends smell bad.  He just wanted his stuff to smell like his house.  Enough of that.  Not what I planned to blog about this morning!
School is out for two weeks (yippee!!), my cute bag is still full of ungraded exams (stashed in my bedroom so I don't have to look at it except when I am hopping into bed) along with the orange pen I will use to grade them (yes, I am definitely learning to love that color), and Mildred the Mixer and the oven have been getting quite a workout.  Son #2, College Boy, is home for a month of sleeping late and hanging out with his friends, so I have one more to cook for.  That is a good thing for me.  Not a chore.  And, thanks to Son #2, I have found a new blog and virtual cooking friend (she probably isn't aware of our friendship yet, but that's okay)--  Plain Chicken.

Son's girlfriend sent him a link for a recipe that she knew he would love.  It involves, pasta, chicken, and Alfredo sauce.  The 9 x 13-inch pan of this deliciousness didn't last long (the Ex-Ex is fond of the above ingredients, also).
My photos are no where near as appetizing as Plain Chicken's are.  I want a serious camera, but I am not sure I am deserving of one.  I would then expect myself to take photos like Pioneer Woman takes for her blog and cookbooks.  (But, hey, Santa, you can put one under the tree anyway... okay, okay, maybe next year.)
I "cheated" when I made this recipe.  Well, it isn't exactly cheating, but I didn't roast the chicken (Harris Teeter did- they are on sale on Sundays), nor did I make my own Alfredo sauce this time...
So this dish was ready for the oven in no time.  A little Caesar salad or broccoli on the side and voilà! Bon appétit!
I also found a recipe for Red Velvet brownies at Plain Chicken.  Southern girls cannot resist the thought of making chocolate turn red.  Do they think this way up north?  I've always figured it was in our South-of-the-Mason-Dixon-line blood, but what do I know?  I've never lived up there.  And I very rarely go north of Washington, DC except to an airport to connect for a flight to France occasionally.
Ready for the oven.
Once again, not the best of photos.  It looks as if I cut it with a machete.  (Instead of the really sharp knife that I have now used to slice both thumbs during these cooking adventures.  Band-Aid should love me.)  Red Velvet is kind of messy.  But the BFF didn't care.  I took her a little sample when we went for our morning walk yesterday.

Three Cheese Chicken Alfredo Bake

1 (16 oz) package penne or elbow pasta
2 (10 oz) containers refrigerated Alfredo sauce
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
1 (15 0z) container ricotta or cottage cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 c. chopped chicken
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
2 c. mozzarella cheese, grated

Prepare pasta according to package directions (al dente is best); drain and return to pot.  Stir together all ingredients but mozzarella.  Spread into lightly greased 13 x 9- inch baking pan.  Sprinkle with mozzarella.  Bake at 350˚F for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Frosting

4 (1 oz each) squares of bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped
3/4 c. butter
2 c. sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 (1 oz) bottle red liquid food coloring
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Line bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2-3 inches over hang.  Lightly grease foil.
Melt chocolate and butter in microwave or on stove top.  Whisk in sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time, whisking just until blended.  Gently stir in flour and next 4 ingredients.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake 44-48 minutes or until toothpick stuck in middle comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.  Cool 2 hours before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
(small batch)

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed until creamy.  Gradually add sugar and salt, beating until blended.  Stir in vanilla.  Add more sugar or half and half until desired spreading consistency.

Bon appétit, Plain Chicken!

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