31 August 2013

Just Beet It.... oh and M is for Mushroom Chicken

 I have been signing Michael Jackson's epic hit "Just Beat It" in the back of my mind ever since I made dinner last Sunday. It has been raining around these parts lately and so while I was feeling the fall season coming on I made this dish and let me tell you it hit all of the right spots; Warm, comforting and rooty (it's a made up word, I know but you'll see it works for these purposes.)

Can I start off with a small disclaimer, The recipe that I am about to share with you is the first one in the history of the Hubbs eating my cooking that he refused to eat, but he is crazy and obviously a root vegetable bigot. Wanna know why he wouldn't eat it? Get ready for the ridiculous... he doesn't like beets. I get it beats are like the Brussel Sprouts of root vegetables but he honestly wouldn't eat anything that had touched the beets and gotten their juice on it. I was literally aghast, it was my first toddler moment with a grown adult. I now feel like plates with separate containers would be a decent investment if our children turn out to be anything like either of us. You best believe that he at least had to try one bite of it, but of course since he is an adult that was all I could con him into doing. That being said, it really is a great side dish, I'll be giving you the main dish recipe too, which on a side note the Hubbs did eat and liked quite a lot.

Maple Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots and Beets

From the Desperately Happy Housewife


4 Fresh beets, washed and peeled
2 C Carrots
(1 C Parsnips, if you want to get crazy)
1/4 C Brown Sugar
1/4 C Pure Maple Syrup
1/4 T Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Pre- heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Wash and cut up all vegetables into 1in pieces.
3. Wrap cooking vessel (I used a 9x13 pan) with tin foil and then spray with a non-stick cooking spray.
4. Place vegetables in pan and sprinkle in some salt and pepper.
5. Pour in Maple Syrup,  add brown sugar and garlic powder.
6. Mix all ingredients together and place in oven for 35-45 minutes, or until fork tender.
7. Remove from pan and add a little salt and pepper if that's your thing, because we all know it's mine.

Mushroom Chicken 

From the Desperately Happy Housewife 


4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 oz package of sliced mushrooms
1 T Butter
2 T Flour
1 c Chicken broth
1 c Milk (or if you like rich things 1/2 c milk and 1/2 c heavy cream)
1 T Fresh Rosemary, chopped (if using dried use 2 t to taste)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Salt and pepper chicken breasts and set aside.
2. Heat 1 T butter in a frying pan, place chicken breasts in pan and start to brown them on both sides.

3. When chicken is brown on both sides and almost done remove from pan and set aside.
4. Remove any excess moisture from pan and heat 1/2 T of butter. Place mushrooms into skillet and begin to saute.
5. Once mushrooms are soft and brown remove from pan and add in the rest of the butter. Once butter is melted sprinkle in the 2 T of flour and mix well. (Don't leave at all during this point or it will burn, believe me I know).
6. This will make a roux, let it cook for about 15-20 seconds and whisk in half of the chicken broth a little at a time. The mixture should tighten up, when it does continue adding in chicken broth.
7. This is basically the beginnings of a chicken gravy so allow it to cook and then add a little salt and pepper.
8. Once the gravy has cooked down a little bit, usually 2-4 minutes, whisk in half of the milk a little at a time.
9. Place chicken and accumulated juices back into sauce and let come to a simmer.
10. Add in rosemary and let the chicken finish cooking.
11. Once chicken is done cooking add in mushrooms and stir to combine.
12. Serve Roasted Veggies and mashed potatoes for a perfect fall meal.
I hope y'all love this as much as I did, If you don't please don't tell my Hubbs because I just don't know if my fragile psyche could handle it. Beets are good for you, eat your beets, and your brussel sprouts, and spinach and liver. Okay okay I crossed the line with that I won't even eat liver. My bad guys, Mom moment over.

29 August 2013

Z is for Devilishly Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Recently we had some family come into town. The Hubbs best friend and little brother, Rhen and his wife Kori, were in town for a few weddings and we were able to spend some time with them and try to convince them to move back to Utah because everyone misses them a whole heck of a lot (can you tell that I am shamelessly advocating for their return?)
Needless to say that they were pretty busy between our constant calls to hang out, wedding's to go to, and other friends and family to see. Their busy schedule provided us with some lag time at my in-laws house. I have a pretty severe opinion about lag time, you see I feel like it has to be filled with something productive, its a weird opinion to have and I am sure I retained it from my, strict as a military bell schedule, upbringing. Sometimes is can be a pain, especially when one is really really unproductive and just reads books all day (of course I am not talking about myself or the fact that I may have done this very exercise last Saturday). But on nights like last Friday it ends up paying great dividends in the form of oozy, gooey, Devilishly Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake.

I was lucky in the fact that when we got to my in-laws house no one was to be found. So I had time to raid their garden surplus and figure out what I wanted for a Friday night treat. I had been perusing some zucchini brownie and cake recipes on Pinterest when I came across two recipes that just said MAKE ME NOW. How can you say no to Pinterest?

Now this recipe is my adaption of the Chocolate Zucchini Cake recipe from Key Ingredient.com If you would like the original recipe click here. It is also the first installment of my series of The Food Alphabet on the blog (there are already a few that have been posted if you follow me on instagram). First things first I hate 9x13in cakes. I don't know why but I have a serious prejudice. Sheet cakes, great, bunt cakes, awesome, rolled cakes, even better... But put a cake in a 9x13in pan in front of me and I just want to scream. I think it reminds me of casseroles, and I am almost completely adverse to casseroles save a select few. I decided to make this recipe in two 9 in circular pans. This is where the oozy, gooey will come in.

The second major adaptation is the addition of some smartly sweet whipped cream. When you are looking for something light to offset something dark. In this case semi- sweet and dark chocolate my favorite inclination is towards either a fruit or whipped cream. I feel like it just helps relieve your palate from the bitter notes that deeper chocolates can have.

And just a note, I don't cook much with Coffee or wine so I tend to use alternatives to give me the same flavor combinations. One of my very best pastry chef friends turned me onto a coffee alternative called Pero. Its a caffeine free product that helps develop the flavor of chocolate just like espresso or coffee does. This recipe only calls for 3 tsp but I really feel like it adds so much depth. So if you want you can definitely omit it but I say go crazy and make a midnight run to Walmart to purchase it (or if your Hubbs owes you a favor like mine did make him go and ask 13 different stock boys where you can find the non- coffee coffee... Then when he calls you and can't find it beg and plead with him to ask just one more person. Its really hilarious)

Devilishly Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake

From the Desperately Happy Housewife, Adapted from Key Ingredient.com


cup (1 stick) butter

cup vegetable oil 

cups granulated sugar

tsp. vanilla

tsp. baking soda

tsp. baking powder

tsp. salt

large eggs

cup  Greek yogurt 

cups Flour

cup cocoa

tsp. Pero

cups shredded zucchini or cucumber

cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Whipped cream Filling

2 cups Heavy whipping cream

1 tsp Vanilla

4 T Sugar

Chocolate Ganache Topping


oz heavy cream
1 1/2

cups Semi-sweet chocolate chips ( or dark chocolate chips) 

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly coat 2 9″round pans with baking spray
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, oil, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until each is incorporated.
3. Stir in the yogurt alternately with the flour. 
4. Stir in the cocoa and Pero powder, mixing until smooth.
5. Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips and add the melted chocolate into the batter. Mix until incorporated. 
6. Finally, fold in the zucchini. 
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake the cake for 35 – 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
8. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a rack.
 9. To prepare the ganache topping heat the heavy cream a glass bowl on top of a bot of boiling water, add in the chocolate chips and whisk until chocolate is melted and the mixture becomes silky and shiney. 
 10. To prepare Whipped Cream. Place heavy whipping cream in the bowl of a mixer with the vanilla and sugar. Mix on high to incorporate air and make it fluffy. Beat until stiff peaks form. Cover and put in the fridge until the cake has cooled. 
11. Once cake has cooled. Place one layer on a cake plate and then add a generous layer of the whipped cream that you made earlier. 
12. Place the second layer of cake on top and pour ganache topping over. Feel free to let the topping drip down the sides of the cake. If you have extra whipped cream you can put it on top of the ganache or you can use it to garnish your cake slices when you serve them. Enjoy!
28 August 2013

Rainy Day Banger's and Mash with a Warm Mustard Cabbage Slaw

Hey All,

Can I just tell you how excited I am that everyday this week is showing a 40-60% chance of rain. I literally don't know if I have been so happy or completely inspired to cook because of weather all summer long. Its probably a sickness and I should get it checked out but why ruin a good thing right?
So I was sitting at home on Sunday night watching The Very Thought of You on Netflix and watching the drizzly rain when I started to develop a hankering for Bratwurst. Now if y'all know me like my husband does, I don't really crave bratwurst. I'll eat one casually at a friend BBQ and I'll fix them for the Hubbs but I haven't every really wanted one, if you know what I mean, so craving a bratwurst is really unheard of.

I tried to put it out of my mind and made an awesome chicken dish for dinner on Sunday (recipe coming soon) but alas Tuesday at work it was all I could think about. I looked up a bunch of recipes for bratwurst (or hot dogs if your kids are picky eaters) and cabbage, a dish that my mother often made when we were growing up. Many looked good but they were just missing something. That warm, hearty, stick in your stomach element. Then I remembered that the movie The Very Thought of You was set in England and what is one of England's most traditional dishes but Banger's and Mash! That is what all of those recipes were missing the warm, and creamy mashed potatoes.

Right after work I went to the store. Which if you, can avoid it. It was an absolute nightmare, but it ended up being worth the agony. I got home and started the whirlwind that is my cooking and tried to remember to write things down. That's my biggest issue when creating a new dish, I cook by feeling and taste so its hard to remember to write down when I add a pinch of this or a dash of that. It's the Hubbs greatest plight since he married me. I'll make something for dinner and he will ask for the same dish a week later and to his dismay I can't remember exactly how I made it so nothing is really the same twice.

As I started cooking I ran out to play with the dogs for a few minutes and when I came back into the house I was completely salivating. That is how good this smells, if you have a neighbor that you are trying to win over or you want a promotion from your boss I highly recommend this dish. That's how much I love it I would feed it to my boss and let him critique it all the way to Timbuktu because I know that its a keeper and its going into the recipe vault to be made whenever the weather is reminiscent of England, Fox Hunting and warm cozy afternoons.

Banger's and Mash with a Warm Mustard Cabbage Slaw

From The Desperately Happy Housewife

1  package German Style Bratwurst
 ½ Cabbage thinly sliced
½ onion thinly sliced
1 ½ t chopped garlic
  Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Small bottle of Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Juice
6 Yukon Gold potatoes
2 C Heavy Whipping cream
2 ½ t Stone Ground Mustard ( Private Selection)
 1 t Whole Grain Mustard
 3-4 C Chicken Broth
  4 t butter
 1 Golden Delicious apple
¼ t garlic powder
 2-3 T all purpose flour

1. Melt 1 t butter in a large oven proof frying pan. Add cabbage and onions and sauté until they begin to turn golden brown. Add in Garlic, 1 t whole grain mustard, and 1¼ t stone ground mustard, stir well and let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add in a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Nestle each Bratwurst into the cabbage mixture and let cook for 2 minutes and flip them over to the other side. Cook for another minute and then, Add in ¾ of the bottle of Martinelli's Sparking Apple Juice and let reduce for 4-5 minutes. Add in a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
3. Once reduced add in 1 cup of chicken broth and let simmer for a few moments while you cover the saute pan with aluminum foil. Place pan in preheated oven and set timer for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, cut up Yukon gold potatoes in 2 inch half moons and place them in a pot of water. Place pot onto boil. Boil until potatoes are fork tender then drain and place potatoes back in hot cooking pot on the stove.

** While bratwurst and potatoes are cooking, go into your living room and watch and episode of Rules of Engagement, then get back to work. Just kidding but really, you don't want this dinner to burn**

5. Melt 2 t of butter into potatoes while you remove aluminum foil from bratwurst pan.
6. Pour in ½ c of chicken broth to melted butter and potatoes along with ¼c of heavy cream. Begin mashing and add more cream if desired. Finally add salt and pepper and garlic powder and stir to combine.

7. Remove Bratwurst pan from the oven *please take note to always use a pot holder on the pan as it will be hot for quite a while after removing the pan, not that I would know…*
8. Place Bratwurst on a plate and cabbage mixture in a bowl reserving the liquid in sauté pan. Add in remaining 1 t of butter and let melt.
9. Once butter is melted add in the rest of the stone ground mustard and stir to combine.
10. Sprinkle in 2 T of flour (3 if needed) to make a rue and whisk to combine with cooking liquid in the pan. Let cook for 30 seconds and slowly stir in 1 cup of chicken broth ( if you need more feel free to add it, you want it to look like a medium to loose liquid).
11. Once mixture is a loose liquid whisk in 1/3 c of heavy whipping cream. Keep burner on medium low heat and reduce the mixture until it meets your desired constancy. ( I wanted it to have the consistency of a loose pan gravy) .
12. Julianne the Golden Delicious apple for garnish and pull out your sauerkraut.  

13. Plate up your bangers, mash and cooked cabbage slaw and you are ready to eat. 

Hey y'all I am Sara otherwise known as the Desperately Happy Housewife. When I am not working I am busy crafting, blogging and re-decorating my house. I channel Lucille Ball and Lauren Graham on a daily basis to get me through the "Oh my gosh I just sewed my finger" moments that often happen. I hope you stay a while and get a chance to see what makes me desperately happy.

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