Cinna-mmmmm-mon Muffins

Cinna-mmmmm-mon Muffins

On a trip to Penzey’s Spices, I idly picked up the catalog as I purchased my delicious shallot salt. As Bill drove us back home, I was perusing the listings and recipes when I stumbled across this muffin recipe. Since Bill is a HUGE fan of cinnamon, we both love muffins, and it looked super-simple, I decided to make muffins for dinner that night.

Since then I have not been able to stop making these muffins! Bill took them to school of the first day, I made them this weekend for a lacrosse coaches meeting, and I think we’ve had them for breakfast every other weekend for a few months now.

It’s basically a one-bowl recipe, no mixer required, and I have all the ingredients on hand in my pantry just by default. Try them, and let me know if your family loves them too!


Cinna-mmmmm-mon Muffins

Ingredients
  • 1 cup and 2 Tbsp. flour, separated (all-purpose or whole wheat)
  • ¼ cup and 2 Tbsp. sugar, separated
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup oats (any kind will work)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. butter, melted
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the 1 cup flour, ¼ sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add the oil, egg, vanilla, and milk. Stir only until moistened.
  4. Gently stir in the oats.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the 2 Tbsp. flour, 2 Tbsp. sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. S
  6. Fill greased or lined muffin cups 2/3 full.
  7. Sprinkle each muffin with topping.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until puffy and golden brown.

based on recipe from Penzey’s Spices

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Calamari Fritti

Calamari Fritti

Hello all, it’s time for the first Mancktastic recipe of 2014! Bill and I enjoyed this delicious dish of squid on Christmas Eve, and we’ve decided it’s going to become a family tradition.

Calamari Fritti from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

In this dish, tender calamari tubes and tentacles are covered in flavorful spices and flour, then quickly fried in peanut oil. It’s a delicious treat to enjoy with a simple squeeze of lemon, or tossed with pasta and marinara sauce for a heartier meal.

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Calamari Fritti

  • Peanut Oil
  • 1 pound Calamari, tubes and tentacles
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Pour enough peanut oil to come 2 inches up the side of your dutch oven or other thick-bottomed, high-walled pot. Heat on medium to medium-high, or until flour dropped into the oil immediately sizzles and disperses.
  2. Cut your tubes into 1/2 inch rings, rinse the tubes and tentacles, then set aside.
  3. Combine flour, parsley, salt, peppers, paprika, Greek seasoning and garlic powder in a large bowl, stir well.
  4. Toss the tubes and tentacles in the flour mixture, making sure to coat well.
  5. When the oil is heated, fry the calamari in small batches, stirring to ensure complete cooking, for about 2 minutes, or until golden.
  6. Drain the calamari on paper towels and sprinkle with additional salt.

Calamari Fritti from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

Based on a recipe from Harvest of the Sea

 

 

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread

There’s a huge debate in the South: sweet or savory cornbread? Is it truly cornbread if you include sugar or honey? My family’s always gotten around the argument by calling the sweet stuff Johnnycake instead of cornbread, and enjoying both to boot!

Today’s delicious cornbread definitely falls into the savory category several times over, though. It combines the salty and spicy flavors of green chiles and bacon with melty sharp cheddar cheese to make a dense and flavorful cornbread. The taste is reminiscent of enchiladas and breakfast tacos, with a tang and depth of flavor from the buttermilk that’s all its own.
Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

We start with equal parts cornmeal and flour, then add baking soda, baking powder and salt for lift and rise, plus sugar as a little nod to Johnnycake, then come in the delicious bits. Sharp cheddar and crumbly bits of bacon join the party to add their own tasty notes to the dish. Next come the wet ingredients: melted butter for savory richness, buttermilk for tang, eggs and, finally, lightly spicy green chiles. Everything is stirred together to spread the yummy bits throughout, then topped with extra cheese and bacon to form a crispy crust on top. Into the oven it goes for 35 minutes, then out comes an extra-yummy and savory treat!

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread combines all the great tastes of Tex-Mex into a one-dish, easy-clean-up delight that is delightful solo or as the accompaniment to chili or Chicken Tortilla Soup. With a moist, rich interior and a smoky, crispy cheese and bacon crust on top, it’s a dish that’s worth turning the oven on even in the middle of summer!

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cupcooked, crumbled bacon
  • 4 ounces diced green chilies
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ stick butter, melted
  • additional cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon, to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 400° F.
  2. Whisk cornmeal, flour, cheese, baking powder, baking soda, bacon, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the chiles, buttermilk, eggs and melted butter and stir well until completely combined.
  3. Pour batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square baking dish, top with additional cheese and bacon, and bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

based on a recipe from Eat, Live, Run

Cheddar-Bacon-Chile Cornbread from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

Tang and Crunch: Honey-Mustard Pretzel Chicken

Tang and Crunch: Honey-Mustard Pretzel Chicken

I’ve used a lot of things to crust chicken breasts: flour, corn flakes, Ritz crackers, saltines and more, but it never occurred me to use salty, crunchy pretzels on tender, moist chicken breasts. Now that I’ve tried it, though, I may never go back, especially when you use a tangy honey-mustard sauce to not only sauce but bread the chicken!

Pretzel Honey Mustard Chicken from Mancktastic!

First, we crunch pretzels into smithereens and toast them with that perfectly crunchy texture maker: panko breadcrumbs! The toasting makes the coating extra crunchy with a deeper savory flavor. Then, we whip up a delightfully zesty honey mustard sauce with Dijon mustard, honey and red wine vinegar for a really tangy, sweet, spicy flavor. Then it’s dredging time!

Pretzel Honey Mustard Chicken from Mancktastic!

By dredging the chicken through both flour and honey mustard sauce before adhering the crumb coating, you get a hearty dose of flavor that really sticks to and permeates the chicken throughout. The thin-sliced chicken breasts cook up in a jif while remaining juicy and flavorful inside their delicious crust. Every bite will have a little crunch, a little tang, and succulent chicken within. I recommend serving this with couscous and spinach salad on the side so you can soak up every bit of that delicious sauce!

Pretzel Honey Mustard Chicken from Mancktastic!

Honey-Mustard Pretzel Chicken

  • 1 cup pretzels
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup Dijon or whole-grain mustard
  • ⅙ cup honey
  • ⅛ cup water
  • 1½ Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound thin-sliced, boneless chicken breasts
  • ¼ cup flour, plus more if needed
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Add pretzels to a food processor and pulse into small crumbs. Combine the pretzel crumbs and panko bread crumbs.
  3. Toast the mixed crumbs in a skillet over medium heat until golden, stirring constantly. Pour crumbs onto a plate and allow to cool.
  4. Rinse the food processor bowl, then add the olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, water and vinegar. Combine on low speed until smooth and well-incorporated. Add salt, pepper, honey or mustard to taste. Pour half of this mixture into a bowl and set aside.
  5. Season thin-sliced chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Pour flour on to a plate.
  6. One at a time, coat each piece of chicken in flour, then dunk into the set-aside bowl of dressing, and finally cover with pretzel crumbs on each side, patting well to ensure adhesion. Place in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and continue process until all chicken has been coated.
  7. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through.
  8. Allow chicken to rest for 2 minutes after you remove it from the oven, then top with the remaining honey-mustard dressing.

Pretzel Honey Mustard Chicken from Mancktastic!

based on a recipe from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice

Greek Mac & Cheese (αφρογαλακτώδης & νοστιμότατος! )

Greek Mac & Cheese (αφρογαλακτώδης & νοστιμότατος! )

Greek food holds a special place in my heart. The taste of dill, oregano and garlic send me back to one of my first dates with Bill where we discussed everything under the sun. You can still regularly find us at the site of that date, Niko Niko’s, now often accompanied by family and friends. A few days before our wedding, we took Bill’s parents and brother to Niko’s; we celebrated Mom’s most recent birthday there. At the end of each school year, Bill meets with his Latin classes there for an end-of-year celebration with gyros and baklava. Once we take you to Niko’s, you’re officially part of our little clan. It’s at Niko’s that I discovered my cumin allergy, at Niko’s that we celebrate any occasion, and at Niko’s that we began falling in love. Is it any wonder that Greek food is special to us?

Greek Mac and Cheese from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

One of our other favorites in all the world is, of course, Macaroni and Cheese! Simple box macaroni and cheese was the first dish I made after Bill and I got engaged, and I’ve made several versions of mac n’ cheese here on Mancktastic. From the fancy Brie-based Manckwhite Mac & Cheese to the decadent Gnocchi Mac and Cheese, it’s pretty clear that our family loves pasta and cheese sauce together. Macaroni and cheese is a wonderful base for delicious customizations to enjoy. It can be part of any flavor family by simply changing up the cheeses and mixing up the spices used.  Last week I thought, why not combine one of our favorite foods with our favorite flavors? And thus, we enjoyed Greek Mac and Cheese!

Greek Mac and Cheese from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

This tasty dish combines fragrant dill with creamy graviera cheese and aromatic shallots, creating a rich, filling dish that you won’t be able to stop eating. Baby spinach wrapped in velvety cheese sauce finds every nook and cranny of your pasta, so you get a delicious bite every time. The feta and breadcrumb topping is the perfect mix of savory, salty, crunchy and chewy to cap this dish. I recommend you enjoy Greek Mac & Cheese as a side with yogurt-marinated chicken kabobs or a thick, juicy steak.

And I know you’ve been wondering about the squiggles in the title above; my Greek scholar husband assures me it means creamy and delicious in Greek! 🙂

Greek Mac and Cheese from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

Greek Mac & Cheese

  • ¾ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 8 ounces hollow pasta
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 cups grated graviera or kefalotyri cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 16 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 1¾ cups crumbled feta
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When the water has reached a rolling boil, add pasta and cook until cooked halfway through, about 3 minutes. Drain pasta and rinse pasta, then set aside.
  3. Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When butter is melted, add flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Continue whisking while you slowly drizzle in the milk. Continue to cook until the sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
  4. Stir cheese into the butter and milk mixture, then season with salt and pepper; set aside.
  5. Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add shallots and spinach to the oil, stirring for 1 minute, then cover and let cook for 3 minutes. Add the sauce, dill, and pasta to the pot and stir to combine.
  6. Transfer mixture to a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and top with breadcrumbs and feta. Bake until golden brown and aromatic, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

based on a recipe from More Than Just Dinner

Greek Mac and Cheese from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

Crispy and Flavorful: Cheddar-Crusted Chicken Tenders

Crispy and Flavorful: Cheddar-Crusted Chicken Tenders

I think this blogging thing might be starting to drive my husband crazy. Each week he has to face down a planned menu full of recipes he’s never heard of, rather than his favorites from our years together. He’d eat Sesame Chicken and Inside-Out Potstickers each once a week, interspersed with frozen pizza and commercial honeybuns, if I let him. Instead, his nutty wife wants to try something new every night so she can make it their own.

Recently, I’ve stepped down my new, bloggy recipes to just 3 times a week so we can enjoy simple classics like pasta with red sauce or Chicken Puff Pastry Pot Pie sometimes as well.  Sometimes I stumble across dishes that Bill demands we add to the “list” of Manckwhite classics so he can enjoy it over and over again; one of the winners we recently found were these delicious Cheddar-Crusted Chicken Tenders!

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I made these delicious double-crusted chicken fingers for us to enjoy with our neighbor Keri during the 2013 NLL finals last weekend. While they may not know it, I think that this tasty dinner is what helped push the Rochester Knighthawks into their 2nd consecutive national title!
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We start with a simple buttermilk bath for our boneless, skinless chicken tenders, then move onto to a hearty double dredging in a tasty breadcrumb and cheese mixture. The combination of the crunchy panko breadcrumbs, light seasoned breadcrumbs and the cheddar cheese makes a wonderful coating that’s both flavorful and filling. By doubling up on the crusting, we get an extra crispy crunch that goes really well with the juicy chicken with its buttermilk tang. We cook these bad boys on a wire baking rack to make sure they stay crispy all the way around, no gooey breading here! Pop ’em in the oven for 20-24 minutes and you’ve got a family (and finger) friendly dinner that everyone will love.

Bill, Keri and I enjoyed our delicious tenders with sides of ranch dressing, ketchup and box lacrosse, but we also recommend trying these with barbecue sauce!

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Cheddar-Crusted Chicken Tenders

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 cups Italian seasoned traditional bread crumbs
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  1. Place chicken tenders in a large bowl and cover with buttermilk. Allow this to sit, in the refrigerator, for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 450° F. Lay a wire rack on a baking sheet.
  3. In a large bowl, combine panko and traditional bread crumbs, plus flour, salt, pepper, paprika and thyme and stir with a spoon. Fold in cheese.
  4. Remove each piece of chicken from the buttermilk and dredge through the breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere. Dip breaded tender back in the buttermilk, dredge through breadcrumbs again, then lay on the wire rack and repeat with the rest of the chicken.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes on each side, flipping midway through.

Cheddar-CrustedChickenTenders
Based on a recipe from How Sweet Eats

The Sweet Basic: Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Sweet Basic: Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Apparently I’m on of a bit of a cookie run here on Mancktastic! Today, I’m pleased to bring you my very favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. These little buggers are soft, sweet, and tasty, which makes them a great base for customization or a staple to enjoy.

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I whipped up this batch in their most basic format as a last-day-of-Latin treat for Bill’s seniors. In the past, I’ve turned these into almond joy delights, confetti cookies and even triple chocolate cookies, but who doesn’t love a warm, tasty, plain ‘ol chocolate chip cookie?

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These come together in about 20 minutes total, which makes them a great school night treat. Simply cream together butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla, then beat in flour, salt and baking soda to create the buttery, soft basic dough. Mix in itsy bitsy chocolate chips studded throughout the cookies, roll them into Tablespoon-sized balls, and pop ’em into the oven to bake.

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Since they’re smaller than your average cookie, they bake up quickly which means they can be in your belly extra-quick! I love the little hint of almond extract in these cookies; it really sets them apart from your average bear with a delicious, sweet flavor.

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Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chocolate chip
  1. Preheat the oven to 350◦ F.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars together until creamy and smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla extract.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together. Slowly mix the flour into the butter mixture, until combined.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in both sizes of the chocolate chips.
  5. Roll dough into Tablespoon-sized balls. Place on baking sheet and slightly flatten with the palm of your hand.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes or until cookies are golden brown and set. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for two minutes.

Based on a recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod

chocolatechipcookies

PS The lovely husband got me a new camera! I’m still tweaking the manual settings and my Photoshop workflow, but hopefully you can tell a positive difference in the photography. I think they’re at least better than my iPhone, yeah? 🙂