Come along with me as I journal about my latest cooking and gardening adventures. Discover what grows in my zone five garden, and see what new recipes I try from my cookbook collection each week.

As I share recipes and information from my kitchen, I invite readers to comment and share ideas along with me in this blog. I am looking to increase followers to my blog, so that I may learn more about cooking and gardening.

Since moving to Midland, Michigan, I have been reading and researching many cooking journals, cookbooks and collected recipes from the past thirty years. Organizing pictures of gardens I enjoy has also been a joy for me, as I continue to learn about garden design and horticulture.

angel food cakes

angel food cakes
this kitchen is seasoned with love

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

easy grilled pineapple chicken

my family loves grilled chicken.  over the years i have created a whole library of ways to make tender chicken breasts in a variety of dishes.  one of my quick favorites is easy pineapple chicken.  using as many chicken breasts as desired to feed your guests, find a prepared marinade that has a depth of flavor.  i particularly like this brand as the pineapple sake gives the chicken a wonderful taste.

i allow the chicken breasts to soak up the flavor in a bowl, covered with plastic in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.  the longer the chicken is able to soak up the flavor, the better the dish will taste.
when ready to grill on the stovetop, heat the grill pan, and then, use a quick spray of canola oil to discourage sticky juices from adhering to the pan.

grill the chicken and then add the pineapple pieces, either fresh or drained from the can.  allow them to grill after the chicken has a head start on cooking.  i usually decrease the temperature of the grill pan and place a cover over the pan to allow the chicken to cook through, but not to over cook the sauce.

certainly, sliced onions or green peppers could be added to the chicken, but this recipe is quick and easy.  serve the grilled pineapple chicken over rice along with some greens for a garnish. i topped this dish with some toasted sesame seeds.  delicious !

baked camembert appetizer

an old standby appetizer has to be a small wheel of baked Camembert or baked brie.  i prefer the Camembert cheese, as it melts so beautifully and is able to be spread on a cracker very nicely.

purchase a small wheel of Camembert or brie cheese and place on a baking dish, after removing the paper covering.  the cheese is coated with a thick white covering, which i often score lightly with a knife on the top of the wheel.  i place about one tablespoon of margarine on the cheese, about 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and then some sliced almonds or chopped pecans. 

the cheese is baked in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes.  based on individual oven temperatures, the cheese will soften and begin to ooze from the sides.  it may even begin to puff up on the top of the wheel.  this signals that the cheese is ready to be served hot from the oven.

serve with a selection of crackers for spreading.  i have found that this appetizer is always a party favorite, but it will begin to solidify soon, so it is not one to be made ahead of time.  baked Camembert must be served hot from the oven.
with a selection of crackers either placed around the baked Camembert or on a separate plate, the appetizer will be a party favorite.

seed shopping for the garden

one of the best things about the month of january is the terrific mail for gardeners.  in fact, this year, the seed catalogs started to arrive in december.

i have so many favorite seed catalogs which provide such a great variety of plant options.  since i have been a master gardener for five years, i have been learning a great deal about seeds and plants.

the photo in this blog story was taken last year with seeds that i purchased for the garden. some of these seeds were used for winter sowing, some were used to get an early start on plantings under grow lights, and others were directly sown into pots or the garden itself after memorial day. 

a wonderful friend already gave me some seeds for this year's garden, and i have been looking at the packages for several weeks just anticipating when it will be time to plant them.  one of the best things about shopping for seeds is that the variety is spectacular compared to what is mostly available in the local garden center.  the cost of seeds is so minimal that one package usually lasts a couple of years, making the investment very small.

here are some of my very favorite seed catalogs: http://www.reneesgarden.com/about/index.htm ,
http://www.seedsavers.org/ , http://www.territorialseed.com/ , and http://www.burpee.com/ .

any of these catalogs will provide an afternoon of reading and learning about growing seeds. i hope you plant a garden of your own this year.  it is a great reward.