Katy's Kitchen

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Delightful Chicken

Posted on | January 4, 2013 | No Comments

This is a really easy and really delicious dish. My family enjoyed it and asked that it be put into the regular dinner rotation. It took only a few minutes to put together, and I love an easy meal. Serve it with steamed vegetables and some au gratin potatoes or rice.

4 boneless chicken breasts
2  ( .7 ounce) packets of dried Italian dressing mix (such as Good Seasonings)
1 cup brown sugar, packed

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 inch x 9 inch casserole dish. Rinse chicken, pat dry with paper towels and beat with a meat mallet until they are a uniform thickness. (I butterflied my chicken also.) Combine and the dried Italian seasoning mix and the brown sugar, mixing together well. Dip and press the chicken pieces into the mixture, coating front and back and place into your prepared pan, topside of the chicken facing up. Any extra coating that remains can just be sprinkled over the chicken. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until chicken is done. Turn the chicken and spoon the sauce over the top a couple of times during the baking time. Spoon some of the sauce over the chicken when serving as well.

Source: Adapted from Food for a Hungry Soul

Caramel Toffee Crunch Cheesecake

Posted on | January 3, 2013 | No Comments

I wanted to make a special dessert for New Years this year. We had plans to go to a party, but it fell through because the host got sick with the crud that’s been going around everywhere lately. We decided to make the most of it though, and pig out before we started our new years diets. I made homemade chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and cream gravy. For dessert, I made this cheesecake. My husband is a sucker for anything with Heath bar in it, so I figured he would like this cake. How can you go wrong with cheesecake, homemade caramel, and chocolate? It turned out super rich and delicious and we really liked it a lot. The recipe has a lot of steps, but is really easy to put together. I’d never made homemade caramel sauce before, but it was really easy too. I saved the leftovers for the kids to eat with apple slices. If you don’t want to make your own caramel sauce, you can just use store-bought caramel ice cream topping. You can use either semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips for this recipe, depending on your preference. I used a mixture of both (about half of each).

Carmel Toffee Crunch Cheesecake

For the crust:
3 c. graham cracker crumbs  (about 2 packages crushed graham crackers)
1/2 c. toffee bits
pinch salt
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. butter (2 sticks), melted
1 1/4 c. chocolate chips

For the cheesecake:
3 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 T. vanilla
1/4 c. caramel sauce
4 eggs, slightly beaten

For the caramel
1 c. granulated sugar
6 T. butter
1/2 c. whipping cream
pinch of salt

For the topping:
1 c. whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. toffee bits, plus more for garnish

For the caramel sauce, stir the sugar over medium high heat with a spatula until it melts. While it is melting, it will clump up, but keep stirring and it will all eventually melt. Once sugar is melted, attach a candy thermometer and cook the sugar, swirling the pan occasionally, until it reaches 350 degrees. When it reaches 350 degrees, immediately remove from heat and add the butter. The caramel will boil and sputter violently. Continue to stir until butter is incorporated. Stir in the cream. The caramel will bubble up again. Once the cream is incorporated and the caramel is smooth, stir in the salt and set aside or refrigerate to cool while you prepare the cheesecake.

For the crust, preheat the oven to 325º. Combine everything except the chocolate chips in a large bowl. Press crumbs into a 9-inch springform pan. Push all the way up the sides and press in firmly using the bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Set the springform pan on a baking sheet. Bake for about five minutes or until the chocolate chips begin to melt. Smooth them out with an offset spatula. Put pan in the freezer to chill while you prepare filling.

For the filling; in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and caramel sauce, and mix on medium speed for another minute. Reduce speed to low and add the eggs, and mix until combined. Pour into chilled crust. Wrap the springform pan with a couple of wet dishtowels (this helps the cheesecake to cook more slowly and evenly). Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. The center will still be jiggly. Turn the oven off and prop the door open and let the cake cool in the oven for 30 minutes. This will allow the cake to cool gradually and prevent the top from cracking. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack on the counter for an additional 30 minutes before placing in refrigerator. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

To top the cheesecake; in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar, and continue whipping on high until stiff peaks form.

Place the chocolate chips in a zip-top bag and microwave in 15 second increments until they are completely melted. Cut off a small corner of the bag and drizzle chocolate over the top of the cheesecake. Sprinkle with toffee bits. Pipe some whipped cream along the edge and garnish with more toffee bits or caramel drizzle.

Source: adapted from Tide and Thyme

Prayers for Those in Newtown, Connecticut

Posted on | December 17, 2012 | No Comments

Today, I just wanted to say a few words about the horrible tragedy that took place last Friday. I can’t imagine what the people affected are going through. Every time I see a post on Facebook about the children or the teachers that lost their lives, I can’t help but cry. I am so thankful that I was able to pick my kids up from school on Friday and hug them tight. Every time I look at them, I am reminded of how blessed I am to have beautiful, thoughtful, funny children that give me a reason to keep going every day in this crazy, violent time that we are living in. Words cannot express what I am feeling for those that lost their loved ones. I am sending all of my prayers their way and asking God to wrap his loving arms around them in this time of sorrow and despair. If you are reading this, please say a prayer for them as well and ask God to give them hope and healing, and if you have children, hug them tight and savor every moment you have with them. The little everyday moments are fleeting and precious, and should not be taken for granted.

I know we all feel helpless in times right now, but if we all make an effort to show love and kindness to others, it might allow us to feel like we can “do something” at a time like this. A friend of mine said something that really struck a chord with me. She said, “After reading that the shooter was a loner, didn’t have many friends…was “different”. I recall what I told my daughter after the Columbine shooting. She was in the 6th grade.  I told her to be nice to everyone. Even the kids that were “different” from you.  The kids that may seem “weird” are kids that might need a friend the most.  I think we need all parents to remind our children that you never know how far a kind word, a smile, a “how are you”,  or “do you want to sit with us at lunch” will go.” I think this is so true. I’m sending love and prayers to Connecticut, and also to you, my dear readers and friends. I hope you all have a blessed and merry Christmas.

Ham and Cheese Sliders

Posted on | December 2, 2012 | 2 Comments

I have made these little sandwiches twice now, and my family goes nuts over them every time. They are so simple to throw together on a busy weeknight, but they would also make a great appetizer for a holiday party or get-together. The ingredients are super simple, and chances are, you have most of them in your fridge and pantry already. You can make these on any type of bread, but my husband is a sucker for sweet Hawaiian rolls, so that’s what I use. I am adding these into the regular dinner rotation because they are kid-friendly and super simple to make. They are small, but also surprisingly filling. I just serve them with potato chips and they are always a crowd-pleaser.

Ham and Cheese Sliders

1 package Hawaiian sweet rolls (12 rolls)
24 thin slices deli ham
12 slices swiss cheese
8 Tbsp. melted butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. worchestershire sauce
1 heaping tsp. dried onion or 1 Tbsp. finely minced onion
Poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Split the rolls in half lengthwise. Fold 2 slices of ham in half twice and place on the rolls. Break cheese slices into fourths and top ham with 2 pieces of cheese. Repeat with remaining rolls and place rolls in a 9×13 lightly greased casserole dish. Whisk together the melted butter, mustard, worchestershire and onion and pour over the rolls. Sprinkle the tops of sandwiches with poppy seeds. Cover casserole dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Posted on | November 14, 2012 | 2 Comments

We’re getting ready to go out of town for the holidays and I don’t want to make a trip to the store to buy groceries that will go bad while we’re gone, so tonight was a raid the pantry kind of night for dinner at our house. I was able to make this delicious dish with things that I already had in my fridge and pantry, and that doesn’t happen often. Matthew called it a “base run” (lol), and Jason insisted that it go into the regular dinner rotation. I loved this chicken, but what I loved most was how easy it was to throw together! It took less than 10 minutes of hands-on time to prepare. I put a dish of au gratin potatoes in the oven with the chicken and added a bag of  microwave steamed vegetables and we had a beautiful and easy meal.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
12 thin slices ham
8 slices Swiss cheese
1 sleeve Ritz or Club crackers
1 Tbsp. dry Ranch dressing mix
1/2 c. Panko bread crumbs
4 Tbsp. melted butter

1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1/2 c. milk
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butterfly chicken breasts and pound them with a meat mallet to get them to a uniform thickness. On one side of the chicken, layer ham and Swiss cheese. Fold other side of chicken back over the ham and cheese. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse crackers and Ranch dressing mix until you have fine crumbs. Add the Panko bread crumbs and melted butter and pulse a couple more times to combine. Pour crumb mixture into a shallow dish. Dip each side of the chicken into the crumb mixture, pressing down to coat. Place chicken in a greased baking dish and sprinkle remaining crumb mixture on top of the chicken. Bake at for 45 minutes or until chicken tests done and the juices run clear.

While the chicken is baking, prepare the sauce. In a saucepan, combine soup, sour cream, milk, butter, dried parsley flakes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until chicken is done. Spoon sauce over chicken before serving.

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