Monday, February 27, 2012

Slow Cooked BBQ Chicken

Barbecued chicken and I go way back. There was an easy recipe that made the rounds when I was taking home economics in high school. The barbecue sauce was made from just ketchup and cola mixed, poured over chicken pieces, and baked in the oven. Pretty tasty and just right for a novice cook.

When I worked as a 4H professional years ago, one of my 4Hers won the state BBQ Chicken Cook-Off. He's been a state senator for years now. Every time I see him on the news, he's talking politics and I'm thinking about BBQ chicken.

Daughter Jessica made a new version of BBQ chicken a couple of weeks ago and posted the recipe on her blog. It's like a grown-up version of that first one I made in high school. It's quick to put together and then supper is ready when the day is done. It's a good basic recipe. Still not fancy but one worth trying. The crockpot is much easier than bothering with the grill when you're busy. (But, Granddaddy, when you have time to grill, yours is the best!)

Slow-Cooker Barbecue Chicken

2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cut-up whole chicken, about 3-3-1/2 lb.  [I used about 3 lbs. of bone-in chicken breasts]

1/2 cup cola soft drink
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon bourbon
1 lemon, sliced & seeded

1. Stir together first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle over chicken. Place chicken in a single layer in a lightly greased 6-qt. slow cooker.
2. Whisk together cola soft drink and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Slowly pour mixture between chicken pieces (to avoid removing spices from chicken). Place lemon slices in a single layer on top of chicken.
3. Cover and cook on HIGH 5 hours (or on LOW 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 hours) or until done.
4. Transfer chicken pieces to a serving platter; discard lemon slices. Skim fat from pan juices in slow cooker. Pour pan juices over chicken; serve immediately.

Slow-cooked Barbecued Chicken Sandwiches: Prepare recipe as directed through Step 3. Remove chicken from slow cooker, and let cool slightly (about 10 to 15 minutes). Discard lemons. Skin, bone, and shred chicken. Skim fat from pan juices, and pour over chicken. 
Note: To make ahead, cool shredded chicken completely. Freeze in an airtight container up to 3 months.

**In a sad note, my old faithful hunter green ivy crockpot bit the dust today--with a little help from me. (Melted cord. Blown fuse. Long story.) This is the last time you'll see this crockpot here.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

And The Winner Is...

We were invited to an Oscars party tonight. Big Sister decorated the table with a red carpet and awards. Supper was delicious. We got to watch the stars in their beautiful gowns. And we saw the first few awards announced. Then it was bedtime for both sisters and it was time for us to head home.

Thank you, Mommy, for a good supper. And thank you, Big Sister, for making it a party!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Little Helper

When Granddaddy went this week to do a fix-it job for Mommy, Baby Sister came over and planted herself in his lap for a ringside seat. Could be that she was closely observing how the child-proof locks were installed so that she can undo them even faster than she typically figures it out. Padlocks might be next.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shrove Tuesday Pancakes

I got home tonight without a supper plan and found my refrigerator nearly empty. (Crazy day...probably like yours.) We talked about going out somewhere but it's quite a drive to anywhere from our house. Then I remembered today is Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday. The Episcopal church in town is having a pancake supper tonight. So I thought that would be the obvious supper for us, too. It was quick and easy.

I didn't want to make my usual Bisquick version. Seemed like Shrove Tuesday called for more. And even with my groceries running low, I had milk (only the canned kind), eggs, butter and flour. Here is how I made our homemade pancakes. Not much more effort than a pancake mix. And SO much better. Goodbye, Bisquick! Goodbye, Aunt Jemima!

These are a little thinner than the restaurant kind. But they are tender and flavorful. Granddaddy was very happy with his supper.

Homemade Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup evaporated milk*
1/2 cup water*
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

vegetable oil for the griddle (about 1 tablespoon)

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, butter, egg, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to milk mixture; whisk until just moistened. (Do not overmix; a few small lumps are okay.)

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium to low. Lightly oil griddle, using a paper towel to spread the oil. Pour about 1/4 cup batter (for each pancake) onto griddle. Cook until surface of pancakes have some bubbles and a few have burst. Flip carefully with a spatula, and cook until browned on the underside. Remove to plate. Serve warm, with butter and maple syrup.

Serves 4 (or 2 hungry people.) Makes about 12 pancakes.

*Or use 1 cup milk in place of evaporated milk and water

You can put the cooked pancakes on a baking sheet or heatproof platter and keep them in a barely warm oven (200 degrees) and keep them warm until you've cooked all of them

Monday, February 20, 2012

Home At Last

Last week was one for putting away the computer and pulling out the suitcases. Granddaddy and I had a quick trip to the mountains for a Valentine Day get-away. Then I unpacked and repacked for several days at the beach for an annual trip with friends--six grandmothers (25 grandchildren between us, and two more due in a few weeks.) Every grandmother should have a little time to be "one of the girls" again.

We shopped a little, ate a lot of seafood, knitted, read, watched a few movies and talked until the wee hours of the morning. Kind of reminded me of college days. But it was good to get home last night. Back home where I belong.

But I'm looking forward to next year, when "the beach girls" head to the shore again!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Soup Sunday

When the Mission Committee at church planned a soup lunch fundraiser after this morning's worship, they had no idea that today would be freezing. Perfect weather for a bowl of hot soup. Other church members made the soup. I volunteered to bring cornbread.

I set the clock to get up extra early so I could make a double batch of our favorite cornbread. I thought I'd bring the leftovers home--but there wasn't a single piece left. Thank goodness it's really easy to stir up. Big Sister calls it Cheesy Cornbread. Pick either name you wish. Just make some.

Corny Cornbread

1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus extra to grease the pan
1-3/4 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
1 cup cream-style corn (frozen or canned)
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease a cast iron skillet or a 7x11-inch baking pan. Preheat pan in the oven.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until combined. Pour batter into the preheated pan. Place pan in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

To make this extra easy to mix up, I buy an 8-ounce container of sour cream (which equals 1 cup) and a 10-ounce package of frozen cream-style corn (this brand measures to 1 cup.) No need to measure those ingredients--just use the whole containers. I also buy a bag of grated cheese to use. Works just fine in this recipe. This cornbread also freezes well. Eat half and freeze half, if you will. You'll be glad to have it ready one of those very busy nights.

Before suppertime tonight, I want to make potato soup. We had vegetable soup at church today, so we need something different. This is so quick and easy. And fresh tasting. Nothing canned or frozen in it. If you can peel a potato, and chop an onion and a stalk of celery, you'll have this ready in no time. It's kid approved, too. Big Sister and Baby Sister both love it.

Old-Fashioned Potato Soup

4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1-1/4 cups water*
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine potatoes, onion, celery and water. Cover and simmer about 45 minutes, or until done. (Really soft.) Mash vegetables with a potato masher, leaving it a little chunky. Add milk, salt and pepper. Reheat, without bringing to a boil.

*Add a little more water if you need to as this cooks. Most cooking isn't exactly precise but I'm learning that newer cooks think it is.

This is one time when I like to use whole milk for at least part of the recipe--maybe 2 of the three cups. I've done it plenty of times with all fat-free milk and it tastes just fine but it is a little richer with some whole milk. Or try 2% milk. It will be good anyway you do it. I do think it tastes even better when made ahead of time and reheat just before serving.

Make some quick before our winter weather disappears! Who was in the 70s last week. We may be wearing shorts by next week. Crazy, isn't it?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sit And Knit

Yarn:  Jojoland Melody
Needle size:  7

The only purchase I made at the Knit Inn last weekend was this fun red yarn bowl made by a local potter. It certainly kept this yarn from rolling all over the place as I finished this small shawl (or shoulder scarf, if you will.) Yarn can have a bad habit of jumping off the table or out of your lap. Now it should stay put. Plus, this cheery red color just makes me happy.

Not much happening in my kitchen at the moment. I've been happy to just sit still and knit. Sinus troubles have slowed me down this week. I keep thinking about cooking. I just haven't gotten any further than the thinking part. I was happy to have a few things in the freezer to pull out so I didn't have to cook.

I have tried the big batch/once a month cooking for the freezer but it was too much for me. In all imaginable ways. But what I DO like to do is to maybe double a recipe and freeze half. Or, since there are only two of us here, I'll just divide a regular recipe---half now and freeze half for later. That is easier for me than the huge cooking project that others do. Be sure to label and date everything. Seems like everything looks alike once it's frozen.

Looking back...
We went to Mommy's house on Sunday to watch the Super Bowl with their family. Baby Sister was ready for the game in her football outfit. So what if her team wasn't playing?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Playing With String

Let's's not quite 3:00 PM. Wonder how many more things I can cram into this weekend? It has been a very full weekend--but filled with all good things. It was a string-filled weekend--some on knitting needles and some on the ukulele.

I had the good fortune to spend the weekend at the SC Knitting Guild Knit Inn with friends, learning new techniques such as knitting lace, knitting with beads, etc. There was ample opportunity to meet knitters from all over the South and check out what was in their knitting bags.

And in the middle of all of this yarn-y goodness, I left the Knit Inn last night for a couple of hours to go play with the Yesterukes. We played for a surprise 50th birthday party for a local ukulele builder. Yes, he was really surprised. That was great fun, too. And to be perfectly honest, it was a nice break from many hours of uninterrupted knitting information.

This morning I left the Knitting with Beads class early to get back home in time to hear Mommy sing a solo for morning worship. I wish I had her voice. Now, it's time to rest. At least until we leave to go watch the Super Bowl!

Next weekend I may not leave the house.