What's Baking: Beer Bread



This month's What's Baking is hosted by Jenna of Jenna's Cooking Journey. Jenna asked us to bake our favorite quick bread. If you've been following me for while, you know that I've made quite a few quick breads. This is mostly due to my fear of yeast. I love how easy quick breads are to throw together and I find they are very difficult to mess up, unlike plenty of yeast experiments that have ended up in the garbage.

I wasn't in the mood for a sweet bread which I generally gravitate toward. A quick Google search taught me that Beer Bread is in fact considered a quick bread. I've made Beer Bread before, however, it was from a box mix. I didn't realize how easy it was to make from scratch. I served the Beer Bread as a side to homemade vegetable soup which was a perfect meal for the early autumn chill in the air. I think this would be great with some fresh herbs mixed into the batter, I'll probably add chives next time I make this.

Be sure to check out Jenna's Cooking Journey to see the roundup of quick breads. I'm sure there will be some great ideas to make for gifts for the upcoming holidays!

Here is what you'll need:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add beer and mix until just combined, being careful not to over mix (the batter will be lumpy).

Pour batter into greased loaf pan. You will need to use a spoon to evenly distribute the batter in the pan.. Spread butter over top of batter.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on iron rack. Makes 1 loaf.

Source: Epicurious

Fried Green Tomatoes


Category: , ,

A few green tomatoes fell of the vine as I was harvesting in the garden a while ago. I've been saying for years that I want to try fried green tomatoes, so after canning all the ripe tomatoes I got to work on dinner. I thought they'd pair nicely with the grilled steak we were planning.

I couldn't resist taking a bite while the first batch was cooling and I was immediately hooked! It's hard for me to really pinpoint the flavor, however, I expected something sour and that was not the case at all! While these are a little time consuming, I already have them on the menu again later this week. This new discovery may work against my plan to can enough tomatoes to take through to next year's harvest. With any luck, my neighbor will share some of his crop so I can continue to feed my new addiction!

I want to point out that while I found this recipe in one of my newer cookbooks, I didn't measure anything so this recipe below is really loosely written.

Here is what you'll need:
Slice tomatoes into about 1/4 inch rounds. Sprinkle both sides of sliced tomatoes with seasoned salt. 

In a shallow bowl, beat eggs. Place bread crumbs in another shallow bowl.

Coat bottom of frying pan with vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat.

Dip both sides of tomato slices in egg, allow excess egg to drip off. Dip both sides of egged tomato slices in breadcrumbs making sure they are well coated (no tomato showing through). Place coated tomato slice in preheated frying pan. Lower heat of pan to medium. Repeat with remaining tomato slices, working in batches and being careful not to overcrowd the pan.

Cook about minutes or until golden brown, turn over and cook another minutes or until second side is golden brown. Remove from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess oil.

Source: Adapted from Old-Fashioned Tomato Recipes

Barbecue Potato Chip Chicken



When we were in Portland, ME this summer we stopped at a little gourmet food shop after we left Portland Head Light and Fort Williams Park. If you're ever in that area, make sure you check out The Buttered Biscuit which is about 2 miles outside the park on the main road. Not only do they have a cute name, they have amazing homemade food! If I had known better, we would have picked up lunch first and taken it to the park for a picnic. Now you know!

This particular day they had a chicken salad wrap which include pecans and cranberries, and a unique fennel based coleslaw which I chose for lunch. JR (pictured above) tried the barbecue potato chip chicken and a cumin based yellow rice. We both enjoyed everything, especially the dessert bars (date and peanut butter) we brought back to the hotel for a late night snack!

Not too long ago I was stumped on ideas for dinner when I remembered we had a half a bag of leftover barbecue potato chips. The Buttered Biscuit became my inspiration for dinner. This wasn't an exact replica, I have no idea how they make their chicken, but it was good and a unique way to prepare chicken. I served the chicken with zucchini sauteed with onions and peppers.

If you can't make it to Portland anytime soon, give this dinner a try instead!

Here is what you'll need:
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise into 2 thinner pieces (4 pieces total)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed barbecue potato chips
  • 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp vegetable oil for frying
Preheat frying pan over medium-high heat. Add butter and oil, and turn down to medium if it begins smoking.

Place the flour in a shallow bowl. Mix egg and barbecue sauce in another shallow bowl. Place crushed potato chips in their own separate shallow bowl.

Take 1 piece of chicken dip in flour, turning until the entire piece is coated with the flour. Dip the floured chicken into the egg mixture, turning until the entire piece is coated well. Dip the egged chicken into the potato chips, turning until well coated (you don't want any of the egg or chicken showing through).

Place chicken into preheated frying pan and cook until browned about 5-7 minutes. Turn the chicken over and brown the second side, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate until remaining chicken pieces are cooked. Serves 4.

Source: Inspired by The Buttered Biscuit in S. Portland, ME

Italian Pasta Salad


Category: ,

In my last post I declared I was back in a rhythm. I unintentionally lied to you! You see, as of September 1, I began a new chapter in my life and there is no rhythm at all this point. I've been off the last few weeks after resigning from our company in order to make a major career change. Exactly what I want to be when I grow up is still unclear at this point, however, I know it will involve working with children in some way. In the meantime, I'll be gaining experience working with children by substitute teaching starting today. I'm really excited about what the future holds!

You know what else makes me excited? Pasta. I could eat it several nights a week if JR was on board with me. However, he is a rice guy (nothing wrong with that!), so while pasta makes its appearance, it's only once a week if that.


When we are invited to gatherings, especially last minute ones, I use that as an opportunity to sneak in a pasta dish. This Italian Pasta Salad has made it's appearance at many family gatherings, which included a recent picnic. One of the things I like most about this dish is that I often have all the ingredients on hand and I can mix up what I use for vegetables, cheeses, meats and dressings that you This salad is so forgiving, and while I never have a duplicate final product it's always delicious. If you have time, make this the night before so the pasta has time to soak in the dressing.

Here is what you'll need if you're feeding a crowd (otherwise, cut back ingredients for a smaller portion):
  • 2 pounds medium shaped pasta (i.e. shells, rotini, wagon wheels, bowties, etc.)
  • 4-6 oz. pepperoni, diced (or diced ham, salami or other meat)
  • 4-6 oz. cheddar cheese, diced (or any cheese of your choice)
  • handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 can of small black olives
  • 6 oz. jar marinated mushrooms, halved (or artichokes)
  • 6 oz. jar roasted peppers, chopped (or fresh peppers)
  • 16 oz. bottle balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing (or other dressing of your choice)
Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain and cool.

Once pasta is cooled, mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Before serving, stir. Serves 12+.