Friday, February 24, 2012

J - E - L - L - O !

Watch it wiggle...See it jiggle.....Cool and fruity.....jello, brand gelatin.....This jingle is forever inbedded in by brain for some reason!   Good marketing, for sure.  Everyone has their favorite jello...and some kind of vivid memory of jello.  Whether it is the orange jello with mandarin oranges that your mom used to make for you or the lime jello with shredded carrots (This is just wrong!!) that you used to eat at church potlucks, jello has a place in everyones food diary, wouldn't you agree?  This recipe is certain to become your family's favorite.  My mother in law gave me this recipe and my kids went nuts over it.  I started making it for my own family get togethers, and now MY extended family asks me to bring it to each gathering.  It is 7 Layer Jello! It is easy, pretty and always a conversation piece!  It really only takes about 7 minutes total to make this, but you can space out those 7 minutes over an entire day due to the chilling time.
So, here we go.  You will need 7 different kinds of jello, the small boxes.  Any and all kinds work.  If you have little ones, they enjoy picking out the different flavors to make the rainbow.  Also, you will need boiling water and a large can of evaporated milk.
Get your teakettle going with some boiling water.  Arrange your jello boxes in the way you would like them to layer in your 9 by 13 pan, starting with the bottom layer first.  Add your jello to a medium bowl and add 1/2 cup boiling water.  Stir for a couple minutes until this dissolves.  Then add 1/2 cup COLD water.  Mix and pour into your 9 by 13 pan. 

It will make a very thin layer on the entire bottom of the pan.  Put in the fridge to chill.  It will chill fairly quickly, since it is a thin layer and each of the following layers will chill even quicker.  Rinse our your bowl and spatula, but leave it on the counter as you will be going back to it over and over throughout the day.  Go throw in a load of laundry, read a couple chapters or run an errand.  Whenever you think of it next, start the teakettle again.  Pick your next color of jello and again add 1/2 cup boiling water and stir to dissolve.  This time, instead of adding cold water, add 1/2 cup EVAPORATED MILK. 

Stir to combine and pour over the completely chilled and firm first layer. 

Put it back in the fridge, rinse your bowl and do whatever is next on your to do list.  

The Budster....enjoying a relaxing morning......

Now you just continue repeating this process, dissolve with boiling water and alternating each layer between cold water or the evaporated milk.  You should begin and end with the hot water/cold water layer, making sure to chill completely between each layer.

When all layers are in the pan, it will look like this!
And when you cut into it, like this!
Isn't it lovely?  It tastes so creamy and sweet and it seem to fascinate people of how you would ever make it!  Now you know!  Make this for your family and watch their will become your family favorite too!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chicken Piccata

I have always wanted to try this recipe and tonight was the night!  Chicken, lemon, garlic....yum!  And good for you too!  I've been trying to incorporate some new things into the kids' see if they like it so tonight it was capers.  I could not contain my laughter when all three kids said "are these peas?"  Um, kind of?!?
This recipe is an easy one, few ingredients and lots of flavor.
Here's the ingredients...
OK, the first thing is to pound out the chicken breasts until they are about 1/2 inch thick.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I HATE raw meat of any kind.  Working with it literally makes me fact, my older two kids are my go-to's when meatballs are on the menu!  I made it through this meal prep ok, but I touch the chicken as little as possible.  Put a few pieces into a large plastic bag.  Now is the time that you can take out all your days stress on the poor little pieces of chix!  Pound away with a meat mallet, frying pan or even a rolling pin works.
Then when they are pounded out they look like this:
Nice and flat and they will cook quicker and more evenly. 
Dredge chicken in flour, which means just put some flour in a pie plate and slap the chicken in there, wiggle it around and then flip it over and do the other side.  Shake any extra off.
Add to frying pan.
While that cooks, you can get the rest of your ingredients ready to go.  Garlic, lemon, capers, chicken broth and butter.
I just love lemons.  The smell.  The feel.  The look.  They make me happy.
Isn't it cheerful?
Brown your chicken on both sides, letting it get nice and golden before you flip it.  You may have to cook it in batches, depending on how many pieces you are making.  Keep it warm a low oven while you make the sauce.  Drain off most of the extra oil and add your garlic.  Sautee until flavors release and then add chicken broth.  Get all of those yummy bits of flavor off of the bottom of your pan with your spoon.  Add lemon slices and bring to a boil.  Simmer 5 minutes.

Add your lemon juice and capers..simmer 5 minutes more.  Smellin good now!  Teh sauce will thicken slightly, then you add your butter for the richness you SO deserve.  Voila!  Sauce is done.  Pour over your chicken pieces and serve.

It's what is for dinner tonight at the Erickson's!  So as we were eating, the kids were having a contest to see who could arrange their plate for the neatest picture to put in the blog.  Wyatt took the honors you go:
It got a thumbs up from is flavorful and refreshing with the lemon in there and rich with the butter and garlic.  I may add a bit less lemon juice next time as I found it a little tart. 

Oh, and one more is my cute dog, Buddy.  He sits here in this doorway every night while I make dinner.  Isn't he adorable?  I think he must think if he sits real nice and looks cute I may sneak him some table food.  It will never happen, but he sure makes me smile to see him there!

Chicken Piccata
(adapted from
3 large chicken breast, boneless cut into smaller pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour
2 T. vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 lemon,thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 T. capers, drained and rinsed
3 T. butter

1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Place  a serving platter into the oven to warm.
2.  Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and dredge them in flour.  Shake off excess flour.  Heat the oil in a skillet, pan fry the chicken pieces until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.  Work in batches and do not crowd skilllet, adding oil as needed.  Place the chicken into the warmed platter in oven.  When finished with all of the chicken, drain most of the oil from the skillet, leaving a thin coatin on the surface of the pan.
3.  Cook and stir the minced garlic in the skillet about 20 seconds.  Pour in chicken broth.  Scrape and dissolve any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Stir in the lemon slices and bring the mixture to a boil.  Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces to about 2/3 cup, 5 to 8 minutes.  Add the lemon juice and capers: simmer unitl the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes more.  Drop the butter into the skillet and swirl it into the sacue by tilting the skillet until the butter is melted and incorporated. 
4.  Arrange the chicken on serving plates and spoon sauce over top to serve.

There you have it----a thumbs up option for dinner.  Family approved.  Buddy approved.