Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Taco Shell Pasta

I cooked the pasta shells and the hamburger and then let my 6 year old daughter and her friend fill the shells. They had a lot of fun, and helped me make dinner.

Presto Pasta Nights 229 is being hosted by Ruth, at Once Upon a Feast

1 (12 oz) box. Jumbo pasta shells (about 35) 
1 can refried beans
1 lb hamburger
2 Tbsp Taco seasoning
12 oz. cheddar cheese
1 can enchilada sauce

Cook Pasta shells in lightly salted water until al dente. Drain and toss with a little butter or olive oil.
Heat hamburger with 1 Tbsp of the taco seasoning. Cook, crumbling, until no longer pink and cooked throughout. Add 1/2 cup of water and remaining taco seasoning and simmer over medium heat until most of the liquid is gone. 

Divide between the shells a scoop of beans, filling each shells about halfway, then a sprinkling of cheese and top with hamburger. Place in a 9x13. Pour the can of enchilada sauce over the shells. Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, uncover and bake just until cheese is starting to melt. 

Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. 

Serve over a bed of lettuce, top with fresh tomatoes and ranch.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tandoori Chicken






This is great served with riata, a yogurt cucumber sauce similar to tzatziki sauce, and actually what I use.  This is fun to serve as an appetizer, after the chicken is cooked, just cut it into thin 1 inch squares and top with a dollop of sauce, stick a toothpick in the middle and serve on a tray.

4 large chicken breasts
Lemon Juice, About 2 Tablespoons
1 c. plain yogurt (all I had around was sour cream so I used that)
Red food Dye (optional)

6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. cumin
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground ginger (fresh would be better, I didn't have any)
2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. paprika (make sure it's a nice vibrant red color)
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Pinch Cayenne (I like about 1/4 tsp. to make it spicy)
Pinch Cloves

I removed the fat from the chicken breasts so that only meat was remaining. Then I just the chicken in half lenght-wise and then in half again through the middle.

Rub the chicken with lemon juice. Mix the spices and rub the meat with the mix. Combine the yogurt (or sour cream) with red food dye until it is bright pink. Add to the meat and spices and make sure each piece of chicken is completely coated.

Marinate for 2 - 12 hours.

Turn oven on to broil and move a rack to the highest spot in the oven. Place the chicken on a wire rack or a roasting pan.  Broil from 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.

I served mine over a qunioa pilaf but rice or couscous would also be good.







Friday, August 26, 2011

Kielbasa & Chicken




As a member of HH6 Cooking Club, our challenge this month was to cook an original crock pot recipe, using 5 ingredients or less.

Surprisingly enough, these few ingredients made plenty to feed our family of 5. 

I cut the pieces up pretty small so they would cook fast, about 1/2 inch each, since I didn't get them in the crock-pot until a few hours before dinner time. The kielbasa lends great flavor to and is primarily what seasons this dish, but it does so without overpowering the other ingredients and being the only thing that you taste. The ingredients are similar to another recipe I posted a while ago, the way it is cooked and the few small changes make it so that they taste quite different.

2 large boneless skinless chicken breast
1/2 of a kielbasa
3 - 4 c. potatoes
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

Cut the chicken into small pieces and drop in the crock pot. 
Cut the kielbasa in quarters lengthwise and then at 1/2 inch intervals and drop in the crock pot. 
Chop the potatoes the same size as the chicken and drop in the crock pot. 
Pour in the mushroom soup and stir all together to combine and coat everything. 
Cover and cook on for high 3 hours. 


I served with steamed brussel sprouts, but anything green goes great. So would fried cabbage.





Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Silk Cups



Today is my 8th anniversary. While we were on our date last weekend I picked up come chocolate cups without any real thought as to what I was going to fill them with yet, just that I though they would be fun yet simple. And while with peanut butter I can take it or leave it, my hubby on the other hand LOVES the stuff. So that's what I settled on

1 batch swiss buttercream
I used 2 egg whites and 1/2 c. sugar, basically the smallest recipe, doubled.

Once you have made the Swiss buttercream, beat in

1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla
generous pinch salt

Taste the stuff before you add the salt. I found it cloying, thats why I added a little, if you like it like that leave it out.

Then using a large star tip I piped it into chocolate cups. Or you could use it to fill cakes or crepes or frost cupcakes. My kids are currently eating it with a spoon.





And I'm gonna send them over to Cast Party Wednesday, cause linking parties are fun

And to Double takes Peanut Butter Challenge

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Southern Brunswick Stew

The first time I ever had Brunswick stew was when I lived in Virginia. The scouts there used to sell it. Once we moved from there I pretty much forgot about it. Until I moved to Georgia, about an hour from Brunswick, and despite Virginia making the same claim, they maintain that they are where the stew originated.

It's also a great way to use up the extra squirrel and possum you might have laying around your fridge.

Again, sorry about the cell phone pictures not being all that inviting, it really has a nice reddish orange color and tastes great

3 c. chicken broth

3 c. beef broth

1 c. frozen lima beans

1 c. catchup
2 Tbsp. yellow mustard

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1 c. frozen corn

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
dash tabasco
2 Tbsp dehydrated onions
1 carrot, diced
2 tsp brown sugar
1 potato, diced small

1 bottle beef OR 2 - 3 c. cooked shredded beef

1 c. cooked shredded chicken

Bring the chicken and beef broths to a boil.

Add the lima beans and boil for 10 minutes.

Add the corn, catchup, mustard, vinegar, garlic, Worcestershire, liquid smoke, tabasco, onions, carrot, brown sugar, potato, beef and chicken . Simmer together until the potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Watch carefully and make sure it doesn't boil dry, if it starts to add more broth.

OR dump everything in a crock-pot and cook on low for 5 hours or on high for 3




Saturday, August 20, 2011

Creme Brulee



When you heat a liquid, usually a dairy, and then mix it into eggs it is called tempering. At that point in this recipe you pour it into the ramekins and bake it, but you can return it to the pan and continue cooking until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon to create custard.

If you go the custard route stir in some chocolate and whipped cream to make silk.

For such a great dessert this was not only super easy to make, but would be great for entertaining. You can make it the day before and just take them out of the fridge before dinner. Then when you are done eating just sprinkle with sugar and torch the top.

1 1/2 c. heavy cream
2 c. half-an-half
6 egg yolks

3/4 c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

12 Tbsp Turbinado sugar


Heat the cream, half-an-half, and vanilla until the liquid is really hot, but don't let it boil or it will curdle.

Meanwhile beat the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture looks light and fluffy and is pale in color.

When the cream is hot and the yolks are pale slowly whisk the hot cream into the egg yolks, a little at a time, until completely incorporated.

Pour into ramekins and place on a tray, pour water halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 30 minutes.

Chill overnight. Remove from the fridge and top each with 1 Tbsp sugar, using a kitchen blow torch, run the flame across the top until the sugar is melted. Let sit for 30 minutes before serving.

I use the lowest setting on my torch. I found that the highest setting burns the top of the sugar before it melts the bottom, the lowest setting melted it throughout and the browned the top nicely.








Poppy Seed Salad Dressing

I like making my own dressings because then I know what is in them. I got this recipe from my little sister, it's quite tasty, great on summer salads

The onion says grated, which is pretty unusual but exactly what it sounds like. Chopping wont give it the same affect, grating releases the juices better.

3/4 tbsp. poppy seeds
1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
3/4 c. good quality olive oil
1 tbsp. grated onion
1/4 c. white sugar
2 Tbsp. Honey
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. prepared mustard

Whisk all together until sugar is dissolved.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hungarian Goulash


When I was a Girl Scout in Virginia we had an international event once a year. One year my troop chose Hungary, and we had a Hungarian women come and teach us how to make goulash. She said there were three things important to make authentic goulash. Never add flour, tomatoes, or peppers.

But then some people swear by those hings, so If I had to guess I would say it's like stew, there is no right or wrong way. Just make sure it has paprika, and lots of it.

Paprika should be bright red, and not brownish. To preserve both the color and the flavor of paprika store it in the fridge. She also said it had to be Hungarian paprika, I get mine in the huge Tones containers at Sams club, I think it's Spanish. So, um,...don't tell on me please?

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, greek yogurt, or creme fraiche

Check out the meatless version here

Saute
3/4 lb. beef strips
in
bacon drippings, butter, or oil

When cooked add
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic

2 bay leaves

2 c. water

2 beef boulion cubes

(I used 1 regular and 1 sodium free)
2 Tbsp. paprika

Simmer over medium heat, covered, until most of the water is absorbed, but dont let is go dry. About 1 hour. You dont want it to cook faster than that either. Discard the bay leaves and add

3 - 4 potatoes, chopped
(about 1 baker sized per person)
1 qt. water
4 bouillon cubes

2 additional bay leaves
1 heaping T. paprika

1/4 t. black pepper

Simmer, covered until sauce is thick and potatoes can be crushed easily with a spoon. Crush a half dozen or so of them to mix in with the sauce a bit. This is really important since you will notice I don't add any thickener, just let the potatoes do the job. In the end the meat and potatoes aren't in a traditional sauce, its more like a thick paste that clings to the meat (in a good way!)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Facebook

So I now have a Facebook fan page.

I can't figure out the side bar thing works

though so I am just providing you the link

here

Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Chicken


So I got a fun opportunity yesterday to do an impromptu test for the Secret Recipe Club. And as I was looking through the blog, Connors Cooking, I ran across a recipe that was chicken, stuffed with cheese and bacon. Which to me is nothing short of genius. Because I think anything with bacon is genius.

Except these, those are an abomination.

So here is the original Bacon and Cheese stuffed goodness

And then my variation

2 oz. cream cheese
5 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
16 oz. bacon (yes, use the whole package!!)
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp Dried Paprika
1 tsp. parsley

(I didn't do, yet, this but I think some crumbled blue cheese might be great in the filling too)

Cook the bacon and crumble, make sure it's really crisp, even if you like your bacon softer, cause when you mix it with the cheeses and bake you don't want it to get soggy. Combine bacon and remaining ingredients.

3 large or 6 small chicken breasts

Seasoned Bread Crumbs

My chicken breast were large enough to cut in half and then half again, but most aren't.

"With a sharp knife, cut a pocket into the thickest side of each chicken breast. Stuff each with 1/4 of the bacon and cheese mixture. Seal with a toothpick (or as many as you need to hold it all together. Coat in bread crumbs (I also brushed the outside with bacon grease to make the breadcrumbs stick). Bake, covered in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until done."


This recipe was so easy to make, used ingredients I usually always have around, and was fast to assemble. From there I just let it bake. I will defiantly be making this quite a bit in the future.


UPDATE: 8/18/11 - I think this would be really cool if you made them mini using small pieces of chicken and served them as appetizers.



I also got invited to send this to Cast Party Wednesday

Peach Kuchen


This has a crumbly shortbread crust, a warm peach filling, and is topped with a baked custard. Well worth the annoyance of working with cold butter.

After I made this I was thinking it would be great with a tropical twist. I would add some lime zest to the crust, replace the mangoes with peaches, and use come coconut milk in place of some of the sour cream, maybe even a little coconut extract in there too.

Crust
3 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

3 sticks of butter


Combine all the dry ingredients and cut in the cold butter until the dough becomes crumbly. I actually freeze my butter and grate it in. I then stir it a little to coat the butter with the flour mix and the then squish it a bit with my hands.

Top that layer with either
1 dozen ripe peaches, skins removed and sliced thin
OR 2 (29 oz) cans of sliced peaches
1/2 c. sugar

1 Tbsp cinnamon


Bake at 400 for 20 minutes

For the custard combine
3 c. sour cream
2 eggs

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract


Pour on top of the peach layer, sprinkle with another
1/4 c. sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon


And bake at 400 for another 30 minutes or until the top looks puffed and set.

Let cool for 20 minutes before cutting and enjoy warm or cold.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

German Fried Potatoes


My mom always made this with leftover cooked potatoes and leftover ham. She fried them up with butter and onions and some Nature seasons for good measure.

Leftover cooked potatoes, sliced OR really thinly sliced potatoes
Butter
Chopped onion
Leftover ham chopped, or a can crumbled

Saute the onions in the butter until translucent. Add the ham and potatoes and saute until heated through and browning, if using raw cook over a lower heat for a longer time to cook the potatoes and then turn the heat up to brown the potatoes.

Season with salt and pepper or Nature Seasons, and I like to top mine with a little cheese, while it's still hot to melt it.

German Lentil Soup


I know this looks like a long list of ingredients but you probably already have most of them in your pantry and you just throw the lentils, broth, and seasonings in the pot. While that is cooking I chop the remaining vegetables and throw them in when the lentils are tender. It's that simple, but the results are a very hearty, very thick, very flavorful soup that makes great "pockets" the next day. I'll explain that last part in a minute.

I like to eat with a dollop of sour cream



2 c. dried brown lentils
7 c. vegetable stock

(you can use chicken too, I prefer vegetable though, it doesn't interfere with the flavors of the spices as much. If you use bouillon skip the salt, you wont need it)

1 bay leaf 1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 - 1 tsp. salt, or to taste

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

5 drops hot pepper sauce
1/2 - 1 tsp. caraway seed
(I like lots)
1/2 tsp. celery seed

1 Tbsp. dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 c. chopped carrots

1/2 c. chopped celery

3 c. potatoes, cut into small cubes

1 can ham, crumbled, or 1 c. leftover ham or chicken chopped fine
(optional)

Combine the lentils, chicken stock and the next 11 ingredients. Simmer 45 minutes or until lentils are tender. Do not let the soup boil dry, if it starts to add more liquid, either water or more stock. If you just simmer the pot you should be just fine. The only time it went dry on me was when it was at a full boil. When the lentils are soft enough to eat add the carrots, celery, and potatoes and continue to cook until tender. When the vegetables are done stir in crumbled ham. This goes great served with a dark crusty bread.

Or you can throw all the ingredients at once in the crock pot and cook on high for 4 - 6 hours

And now for the pocket part. The next day I like to strain the liquid and use as a filling in stuffed bread. I throw a batch of dough in the bread maker and when its done pull off 2 inch balls of dough. I roll them flat and top with a heaping tablespoon of the lentil mixture. Then wet the sides on half of the dough and pull the other side over the top to create a half circle. Press the sides with a fork to seal and place on a lightly floured bake sheet. I bake them at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the are golden brown and it looks like the bread is done.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken


I joined the "Secret Recipe Club", you can see the link on my sidebar. It's a really cool idea. Basically a bunch of food bloggers get together and everyone is given a blog. Then from that blog you pick any one of the recipes that looks good to you and you make the dish and then post on your assigned reveal date.

I was given the blog "Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts", while looking through her archives there were two that really stood out to me. I have been looking for some good, simple Asian inspired dishes as of late and been having fun working with rise noodles so thats what I ended up going with. You can see her post here. She links back to Cooking light, and I think if I had seen it in the magazine I would have ignored it completely, but because another blogger made it, ie. a real person, I couldn't wait to try it. I'm like that with food.

I have to say I was very impressed with how simple it was to make and yet how great it tasted. The other recipe that stood out to me, and I still plan on trying eventually is her "Lemon Turkey Cutlets"

I did make a few changes. I added the egg, zucchini, and carrot cause I love eggs in Asian noddle and wanted to add some color and variety with the vegetables. I also didnt have any precooked chicken so I decided to just make that one of the step and lastly I think I might have changed a few of the amounts on things.

Any leftover meat would work here though, just heat up in the sesame oil and continue with the recipe. Leftover beeg, chicken or pork would all fit, and my 6 year old said shrimp would be perfect in here too.

This is also going to be my entry for Presto Pasta Nights 228 hosted at "The life & Loves of Grumpys Honeybunch"

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (6.75 oz) pkg. rice stick noodles
2 Tbsp sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large chunk fresh ginger, minced (about 1 Tbsp)
7 or 8 green onions, rends removed and sliced all the way up the green part
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 c. low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
3 Tbsp hoisen sauce
1 Tbsp. sambal oelek
(chili paste, use more or less depending on the heat level you want,
but make sure you at least add some)

1 egg
1 carrot, grated
1 small zucchini, quartered lenghtwise and sliced
Sunflower seeds or chopped peanuts

Prepare the rice noodles according to the package directions. Mine said soak in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain then when they are still just a tiny bit firm, they finish cooking in the liquid from the pan.

Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces. Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet and add the chicken, stirring until the chicken is cooked through and starting to brown. Add the zucchini and saute 2 minutes more.

Add the garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant, between 30 seconds to a minute. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisen, and sambal oelek and stir very well to combine.

Stir in the carrot, and onions and stir fry for another minute. Tilt the pan a little and push everything, including the sauce to the bottom. Crack the egg in the pan and let it cook, breaking the yolk after a few minutes, until the egg is completely cooked.

Add the soaked noodles and stir to combine all. Stir in the cilantro and enjoy.

Top with sunflower seeds or peanuts if you so desire

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Key Lime Pie


It seems like every time I turn around a see Key Lime Pie on another blog. It's becoming and epidemic, and I think I caught whatever it is. Or it could just be that Key Lime pie is really tasty. Or a tradition in my family. It's one of those things

We have it every Easter, and there has been some debate as to whether we had it at Thanksgiving too, some people remember it along side the turkey and others seem to think thats outrageous. Either way the pie still tastes good.

Crust options on this are pretty much whatever you want. I like a pastry crust, others swear by a graham cracker crust. I recently saw a recipe for key lime pie that used rice chex cereal to make a gluten free crust.

1 pie crust, baked

12 oz. Key Lime Juice

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/4 c. sugar

3 eggs
Green food coloring (optional)

Bake the pie crust until cooked.

Whisk together the milk, lime juice, and sugar. Whisk in the eggs. I added 3 drops of food coloring to mine but thats totally optional.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Let sit on the counter for half and hour and then chill for 4 hours before cutting.

Some people like chantilly (whipped) cream on theirs.
I think it ruins the pie.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Orange Chicken and Lo Mein


Orange Chicken
3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

3/4 c. cornstarch

1/2 c. flour

1 tsp (scant) salt


Chop the chicken into small pieces. Combine the cornstarch, flour and salt. Toss with the chicken to coat. Fry in hot oil until the chicken is cooked, the breading only gets a slight golden color, it doesn't really brown. Drain on a paper towel

Sauce
3/4 c. water

3/4 c. orange juice

1/2 c. packed brown sugar

1/3 c. rice vinegar

3 Tbsp. soy sauce

1/4 c. lemon juice

2 finely diced water chestnuts

1 small piece fresh ginger, grated, about 1/2 tsp

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 green onions, sliced thin, only the white part

(save the green part for the chow mein)
1/2 tsp sambal oelek

(Or red pepper flakes)
3 Tbsp Cornstarch


Simmer all, except the cornstarch, together for 10 minutes. Combine the cornstarch and enough water to make a paste. Stir into simmering sauce and heat until thick. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Toss with chicken.

Lo Mein
1 (6 oz) pkg chucka soba noodles
2 Tbsp Sesame oil
2 Tbsp Vegetable oil
1 carrot, julienned
1/2 onion, sliced
the greens from the green onions, sliced
sliced celery
1 c. chopped cabbage
1/2 c. bean sprouts
3 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

The back of the noodle package told me to boil them, I have never been able to make this work, they always turn to much on me. So this time I soaked them for 5 minutes in hot water instead and that worked great. So soak the noodles for 5 - 10 minutes in hot water until they are soft.

Meanwhile heat the oils in a wok or large skillet. Add the vegetables and stir fry over medium high heat until they are starting to cook. Add the soy sauce.

Drain the noodles and add them, even if they dont feel totally done to the skillet. Continue to cook, while stirring, until you can hear them crackling a little in the pan. I found the chopping the noodles up a bit, I just ran my knife through the skillet helped to mix the vegetables and the noodles better.




This is being sent over to Presto Pasta Night 227, being hosted this week at "For such a time as this"

Seven Links

I love blogging games! This one looks like fun so I thought I would play. Essentially there are seven questions and you answer them by linking previous posts.



1. Most Beautiful Post
The Strawboreo, hands down.




2. Most Popular Post
This was by far my French Onion Pasta, I was looking at my stats and it gets the most views.



3. Most Controversial Post
Chickenless Chicken Stew. Chicken stew without the chicken?!?!?!?




4. The Most Helpful Post
Tostadas. A tasty interesting dinner that takes 5 minutes to prepare and is full of vegetables and is a possible way to use up leftovers.




5. Post that was surprisingly successful
Rosie Chicken, I wasn't sure that topping chicken with spinach and cheese and then expecting a thin slice of prosciutto to hold it together would work. Or that the chicken would cook all the way through before the breading burned.





6. Post that did not get the attention it deserved
My Gumbo, I love gumbo a ton, it was one of the first posts I wrote that I really plated the food and made it look nice, and it tasted great.





7. Post you are most proud of
Pumpkin Cream Pasta, One of my favorite dishes ever and the first thing I submitted to Presto Pasta Nights. I'm actually really proud of quite a few of mine, I just wanted to highlight this one :)


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Triple Apple Muffins

2 1/4 c. flour
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt (scant)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. apple sauce
1/4 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. oil
1/4 c. apple juice concentrate
1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 c. old-fashioned oats
1/2 c. wheat germ

Mix the dry ingredients, stir in the the wet ones. Pour into muffins pans and bake at 30 for 25 minutes or until done.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Persian Pomegranate Chicken


Quite a few years ago I went with my dad to the Philippines. Somewhere on that trip, I can't remember exactly which stop on the way, we ate at a Persian restaurant in a mall. A little small place, but that is one of my favorite memories of that trip and with my dad in general.

Fast forward several years, my husband was showing me around the Old Market near where he grew up and we planned on having lunch at the Persian restaurant. We had been looking forward to it for weeks, checking the menu online beforehand and such and I had decided on the pomegranate chicken.

The restaurant was closed.

It wasn't a total loss though, we found a very nice Indian place a few doors down. But still, I was curious about pomegranate chicken. Since Savannah seems to be limited to seafood and Thai places (not entirely a bad thing) and I like to cook I decided to make my own.

And last but not least I happened to have a bottle of fake grape juice sitting on the counter from something else so at the end when I decided it needed a little sweetener thats what I added. I think a tiny drizzle, probably a scant teaspoon of honey would do as well.


1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 c. cornstarch

1 tsp salt

Oil


1/8 tsp. chili powder

1/8 tsp. yellow mustard

1/8 tsp. cumin

1/8 tsp. turmeric

1/8 tsp. paprika

Dash cloves

Dash freshly cracked black pepper


16 oz. bottle 100% pomegranate juice

1 large onion

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp brown sugar

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp grape juice cocktail

Cut the onion in half and slice, not too thin, and then cut in half again. Saute in olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add the brown sugar and continue to cook until the onion is starting to turn golden. Add the garlic and saute just until fragrant.

Add the pomegranate juice and simmer on low. Add the chili, mustard, cumin, turmeric, paprika, cloves, and pepper. Keep simmering until the liquid is reduced by about half.

Meanwhile, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Combine the cornstarch and salt and toss with the chicken. Cook in oil until starting to brown and the chicken is cooked though.

Add the chicken and grape juice to the pan and mix in really well. Simmer an addition 10 minutes and serve over rice or quinoa.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

I wish I could say I thought of this on my own, but sadly, that is not the case. I first saw the idea at Yeastfree-Painfree, and then after googling it, I decided to stick with her recipe, making a few small changes based on what I had around. The number one reason for this was I couldn't find a single other recipe that still used swiss cheese in the sauce and well, it didn't look like it actually needed to be changed.

I can cook, photography is obviously not my strong-suit. Click on the Yeastfree-painfree link for a better picture


8 oz. shell pasta
1/2 c. heavy cream

1/4 c. milk
6 (1 oz) wedges laughing cow swiss cheese triangles

1 chicken bouillon cube

4 oz. good quality emmental cheese, grated or shredded

1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 - 2 c. leftover ham, cut into strips

(a can might work or deli ham)
1/2 c. flour

2 tsp. fried chicken seasoning

(I use McCormick)
oil

Cook the pasta in lightly salted water until tender.

Meanwhile, mix the flour and chicken seasoning. Cut the chicken into thin strips and toss with the flour. Cook in hot oil on both sides until browned and cooked though. Drain on a paper towel and slice into bit size chunks.

Combine the cream, cheese triangles, emmental, and chicken bouillon cube. Cook over medium heat until the cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. Stir in the milk.

Toss the drained pasta, ham, chicken, and cheese sauce.


This is being sent over to Presto Pasta Night 227, being hosted this week at "For such a time as this"





Eggplant Pasta


This can be so many things. I first tried it as soup. Then I used it as a pizza sauce. Next it was a casserole and lastly it was just tossed with some pasta for lunch. All were loved. Don't let the really basic looking appearance of the pasta in the picture fool you. It's amazing stuff.

And since it's amazing, I'm sending it to the amazing Presto Pasta Nights being hosted over at Briciole

1 egg plant, quartered lengthwise
2 roma tomatoes, quartered

2 cloves garlic

1 small onion, quartered

olive oil
Salt


Brush vegetables with oil and lightly sprinkle with salt.
Roast at 400 for 40 minutes.

In a pot combine and simmer 10 minutes
2 c. chicken broth
1/2 tsp. marjoram

1 tsp. lemon juice


Scrape eggplant from purple skin. Add eggplant, onion, tomatoes, and garlic to broth.
Simmer 30 minutes until vegetables really are tender. Puree until smooth and add
1/4 c. cream
let sit for 15 minutes.

Roasting the vegetables, I used more than the onion shown, I had just already started throwing it in the pot before I remembered to take a picture. They will be a dark brown on the bottom, you want that.

Thats what it looked like in the pot simmering, not so very tasty looking, admittedly

Ok, so thats the basics of it. Here are the Variations:

Soup:
Use 6 cups of chicken broth and a half a cup of cream

Pizza Sauce:
Use as is instead of your regular tomato sauce on pizza, top with cheese, bake and enjoy

Casserole:
Toss cooked pasta, the sauce, chunks of cooked chicken and/or Italian sausage, and some small cubes of mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake at 350 until the cheese starts to melt

Pasta Dish:
Much like the casserole, just toss the sauce with cooked pasta and enjoy. You can add sliced chicken and top with Parmesan cheese is you want.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Zuppa Toscanna


So when I post a recipe I have to try really hard and remember what I threw in the pot. So this is how I usually cook, I'll demonstrate with Zuppa Toscanna

Italian sausage, about one link per person you are feeding
Red potatoes, sliced thin, about as much as there is sausage
1 bunch kale for a small pot, 2 for a large one
Enough chicken broth to cover the other things in the pot
A big splash of half-an-half or cream, enough to make it the right color
You can add a can of drained white beans too for fiber and protein

Remove the sausage from the casings and cook until no longer pink, add the potatoes and cook a few seconds more. Add the broth and simmer until the potatoes are crisp tender and then add the kale, which you should have removed from the rib s and chopped a bit. When both the potatoes and kale are very tender add the cream and heat through, but don't boil or it will curdle.

So thats about it. If you like that I have a great pancake recipe you will love, it starts with 2 scoops of flour and a handful of sugar....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Crepes


(I filled mine with key lime curd, fresh sliced strawberries, and Chantilly cream)
(Also the seam is supposed to be on the bottom so it looks prettier, it doesn't change the flavor though so don't worry if you forget)


The first time I ever had a crepe was at my friend Susans house. Since then I have had a lot of fun experimenting with different fillings. By far my favorite is still a little lemon juice and powdered sugar on top. But other ideas include

Fresh Strawberries
Whipped Cream
Lemon Curd
Nutella
Strawberry mousse
Pumpkin Chiffon
Caramel, chocolate, whipped cream and pecans
Really anything you think sounds good

Then there are all the savory fillings you can use
Eggs and bacon
Asparagus
Chicken and ham in an herb cream sauce
Also a fun way to revamp leftovers

But anyway, here is the basic recipe

1/2 c. water
1/2 c. milk

2 eggs

pinch salt

2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 c. flour


I blend all the ingredients but the flour together until smooth and then blend in the the flour.

Heat a no stick pan until hot. Add about 1/4 - 1/2 c. batter to the pan and swirl to thin the batter. Cook just until it doesn't stick to the pan, flip and cook another 10 seconds or so.

Remove from pan and keep warm

The pan is really important here, it has to be a no stick pan.





Sunflowers


My best friend likes sunflowers, so here's for you, you know who you are.


Monday, August 1, 2011

New Blog Cooking Group

I just started yet ANOTHER blog.

What can I say? I love food.

So the basic concept is on the 1st and 15th I will put up a post with two ingredients and you make something using the two, blog about it, and then send it to me to put them together in a post.

Double Take

I have a button designed for it too but I haven't actually made it into a button yet, so that is also coming.