Saturday, July 31, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina
1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta) Made a bit more than this and increased the other ingredients that I felt were necessary to increase.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes) - I added more chicken. 1/2 cup just isn't very much!
1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Over all, it was quite yummy. Next time I may be more generous with the mozzerella, per Chad's request.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Pasta Shells with Spicy Tomato Sauce
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped fine
8 plum tomatoes, each cut into sixths
3 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 pound shells or other short pasta
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
In a medium skillet, saute garlic over low heat in the olive oil until it begins to turn golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the jalapeno pepper and saute for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper and cook, partially covered, until the tomatoes soften and begin to fall apart, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir every few minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt and the pasta. Cover until the water returns to a boil. Cook until the pasta is tender but firm, 7 to 9 minutes.
Drain the pasta and add it to the simmering sauce. Toss to combine. Add the coriander and toss lightly again. Serve hot.
Will I make it again? Signs point to no. Chad and Erik did not like it and I was indifferent. The "spicy" sauce was not spicy and Chad did not like the chunks of tomato in the sauce. I'll have to try again!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
After consulting my taste testers (coworkers), I have decided on bread. I decided to use a tried and true family banana bread recipe, leave out the walnuts and try adding blueberries instead, and then use 1/2 the struessel topping from my rhubarb bread recipe on the banana bread. 'Will it turn out?' I ask myself.
Blueberry Struessel Banana Bread
Preheat oven to 250
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup ripe smashed bananas
1/2 cup buttermilk (I get out the liquid measuring cup, put in 1/2 tbsp lemon juice, and fill to 1/2 cup with skim milk and let sit for 5 minutes, this is quite a good substitute, since I NEVER have buttermilk on hand when I want nana bread)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt (I add a little less, since I use salted butter)
1 cup (heaping) blueberries
Pour into two greased, 8 inch bread pans. Top with a breadcrumb consistency made of:
1/4 cup flour
1/2 Tbsp butter
Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center is clean.
This bread turned out SOOO moist! I don't know what I did, but I will have to try to repeat for my next batch of banana bread! It is different, having blueberries in banana bread instead of in a 'white cake' type background, but I think I like it. The struessel topping pretty much baked right into the top of the bread forming a crust, so I think I would do a bit more of that next time so you have some crumbles on top. Overall, I like it, but will have to find a second opinion.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Chicken Stir Fry
2 T canola oil
2 heaping tsp chopped garlic
2 large chicken breasts, patted dry & cut into bite-sized chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into same size as chicken
3 carrots, ditto as celery
1 large onion, again chunked
1 lb pea pods, picked over, washed & drained
2 T Chinese Five Spice powder (Lunds brand? I can't read the label)
2 tsp powdered ginger, Penzey's brand
1 T powdered mustard, Penzey's brand
1 tsp red pepper flakes, Penzey's Medium Hot
2-3 T stir fry sauce
1 T fish sauce
Get everything ready before starting to cook, and have at the ready next to the stove.
Heat a heavy-bottom pan until almost smoking - I recommend non-stick if you're like me and make things stick. Add the oil and swirl around until pan is coated. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the chicken and sear until cooked most of the way through. Remove chicken to a plate.
Add in all veggies, and a bit more oil if needed. Cook for about 5 minutes until veggies are starting to wilt a bit. Add in all spices and stir thoroughly. Add partially cooked chicken, and saute for another 5-7 minutes until veggies and chicken are done. Serve over rice.
This sounds good, but true to previous attempts, two pans were needed, as I burnt the garlic most spectacularly in the first. Once Nate got the garlic going and the chicken in, I could take over. This was tasty, but we both agreed that it turned out a bit spicier than we wanted, and really all you could taste was the Chinese Five Spice powder. The veggies were nice and crisp though. Would I make this again? Probably not in this form. I think I'd change up the spices and try something completely different. Maybe next time I'll look in my Chinese cookbook, rather than JoC.
Monday, July 19, 2010
I love melted cheese dip for chips, and I have finally hit upon a winning dip that I will be making for a long time to come. A warning to those of Minnesota Taste Buds....this is not for you!
Spicy Queso Salsa Dip
4 &1/2 inches of the larger Velveta cheese block (I have no idea what this translates too, sorry!)
1/2 jar Tostitos Hot salsa
1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes
1-2 teaspoons Penzy's Northwoods Fire seasoning
I put this into a mini crock pot ot keep it hot for the entire time I want to eat it. I plug my mini in as I start prep so it's a bit warm by the time I'm ready to put the dip into it. Cut the cheese into little 1/2 inch cubes and place in a largish microwave bowl. Pour salsa over the top. Add spices to top of salsa Shake a bit to integrate and microwave in 1 minute intervals , stirring after each minute until fully melted. I cover my bowl w/ a plate to help the melting process.
I will definitely be making this again! The Northwoods Fire spice added a smokey flavor that I've not experienced in a cheese dip before. As mentioned in the intro, this is NOT for those who don't like spicy foods. I'm sure you could use mild or medium salsa, if you needed to take it down a notch, but the other seasonings will still give a kick. I think this would be a great way to make nachos, too. As I also like a good cheese dip w/ meat in it, i may try this again and add ground hamburger to it....As it was, I had chips and this dip for dinner (twice!).
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
It was tasty, and on the way home, there was a discussion in our car concerning the smoker that has resided in our garage since who knows when. It had never been used by Nate in its smoker capacity, only as a grill, and he's had it since college. We decided that the smoked brisket was tasty enough that we could try and smoke a whole chicken in ours.
1 whole chicken, about 3lb, with all innards removed
3 T Penzey's Tuscan Sunset seasoning
1 T kosher salt
3 twists of pepper grinder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 hunk of wood, soaked overnight - we used a piece of maple
1. Prepare smoker by lighting coals, or preheating if gas, and drip-drying wood.
2. Mix all seasonings together in small bowl. Loosen the skin on the chicken breast, thighs and legs. Rub spice mixture on chicken meat under skin. If you have leftover spices, rub inside chicken cavity.
3. Place wet wood piece into smoker, and then place chicken on rack just above.
4. Smoke chicken for about 2-2.5 hours until done, adding coals as needed to maintain even temp.
5. Serve either hot or cold.
This was a big hit, and made enough for dinner and several lunches. The chicken flavor tasted good both right out of the smoker, and straight from the fridge as leftovers. I think we'll be trying this again, and possibly with other meats now that we know how easy it is.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Fruit Salsa (this is the recipe I doubled)
3 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 pound strawberries, hulled and diced
1/2 pint blueberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons fruit preserves (I used strawberry because that's what we had on hand)
Throw all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix them together. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve with cinnamon sugar chips. (The recipe from allrecipes.com came with a recipe for these chips, however I ran out of time and just bought some cinnamon sugar pita chips which worked out just fine.)
Would I make this again? Yes! Very tasty, although I discovered that I don't have a lot of patience for chopping many, many things into tiny, tiny pieces. Considering that I made so much of it, I have leftovers that will go on waffles or pancakes (per Erin's suggestion) and ice cream.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Quesadilla filling, Mix together in a bowl the following:
1 chicken breast spiced w/ Northwoods Fire and garlic and cumin (about 1/2 teaspoon each) (mine was .67 lbs) pounded flat, cooked in oil (chili) or grilled, and cubed.
1/2 to 1 cup corn, cooked and drained
1/4 to 1/2 cup black beans
1/4 cup salsa (we used hot)
1 cup (ish) cooked rice
1 solid handful of shredded mozzarella cheese
Place above mixture between two tortillas (we used taco sized ones that are about 8 inches in diameter), and top with one small handful of cheddar cheese. I heat a frying pan to medium heat, spray with pam and place tortilla on to brown, then I use a plate to flip it off on to, and slide back into regreased frying pan to minimize mess of flipping w/ spatula. Heat til browned, cut, and top w/ sour cream and enjoy!
I would definately make this again! In fact, the chicken breast above was delicious by itself and could make an excellent blackened chicken breast for a salad or sandwich! All spices measurements are approximate because when I'm making up recipes, I never measure (bad self!) Mixture above made two very hearty quesadillas with a bit left over for lunch for me (and we couldn't finish said quesadillas so I'll make the less hearty next time). It would probably make two burrito sized or greater shelled quesadillas or three of this size quite nicely. next time I make it, i may leave out the rice, or I would increase the beans and corn and lower the rice content a bit - all up to the person making them! I think I will also try a casserole version of this with those flat tater tot things on top!
Two chicken breasts - pounded flat (this part was fun!)
One package each (or a combo pack) spinich and regular cheese tortellinis (any brand will do)
One bottle marinara sauce (because I was lazy and didn't want to make my own) - I used bertolli
Penzey's Spices: Northwoods Fire, Granulated Garlic, Red Chili Flakes (as you would put on pizza), Italian Seasoning, Pasta Sprinkle
Franks Hot Sauce
Pound chicken breasts flat, and place in pan with olive oil to cook through (I used Chili Olive Oil). Coat one side with Northwoods Fire, and when you flip, the other with Garlic. Use as much or as little seasoning as suits your spiceyness needs.
Place marinara sauce in a saucepan and add about 1 tablespoon hot sauce, a few shakes chili flakes, and about 2 tsp italian seasoning and one teaspoon pasta sprinkle. Let simmer while chicken and noodles are cooking.
Cook tortellini according to directions, drain.
Place in a bowl or plate w/ edges your tortellini, top with a chicken breast, top this with marinara and finally add Parmesan cheese.
I would definitely make this again! I would even try it with spaghetti or fettuccine noodles. I made more tortellini than I needed, and more marinara, so I had lovely leftovers for lunch for two more. days!
1&1/3 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp grated or ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
In another bowl, whisk together
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 lg eggs
Combine eggs mixture into above, and add 1 &1/2 cup shredded carrots, 1 cup chopped walnuts. Pour batter into greased 13x9 in pan, bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Frost with favorite frosting, I made a basic cream cheese frosting w 1 stick butter, 8 oz cream cheese, 1 tsp vanilla, and as much powdered sugar as it took to make it taste right :)
Makes one 9x9 cake. I had no 9x9 cake pan, so I used a 10 in springform pan. It worked.
2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
Mix together in a small bowl
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup light molasses (I only had dark, and it worked)
In a large bowl, combine 1 stick butter, melted; 1 large egg; and 1/2 cup sugar. Then add alternating dry and wet mixtures above until batter is thoroughly mixed and iff desired add 3 tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger (I had none). Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done. Frost, if desired, with basic milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar icing.
I decided I needed to use my new kitchen scale and found the follwoing recipe from cooking with chocolate (www.cacaoweb.net)
170 grams butter, melted
330 grams sugar
2 tsp vanilla
85 grams flour
50 grams cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt (I didn't use b/c I had salted butter)
100 gram chopped walnuts
Beat together eggs with sugar, add vanilla, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and melted butter. If you would like to make this vegan, sub 3/4 cup med firm drained tofu. Place in greased 13 x 9 in pan and bake at 350 for 200-30 min, until toothpick in center comes out clean. Top with sifted powdered sugar. Devour.
All three were great fun to make, but I really loved making the brownies because I could use a scale and be all geeky and nerdy in my kitchen. I will enjoy making more dessert recipes from all my cookbooks, and bringing in the spoils to work. Like right now, I'm going to go get on that! PS - all three were delicious!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
And, yes, I know that some people think white chocolate is "unnatural"!
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 2/3 cups white chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Fold in the white chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are set. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
These cookies are very tasty. Dangerously tasty. And Cheyenne mentioned a way to make them even tastier! Macadamia nuts. I think next time I will reduce the amount of white chocolate chips and add some of those tasty Hawaiian nuts.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Karin's Plum Tart
Crust for 9in pie
3 T raspberry jam
4 very ripe plums
5 oz cream cheese, softened
6-7 T sugar, divided
Preheat oven to 400 deg. Place crust into 9 or 10 in tart pan (the one with the very short sides). Melt raspberry jam in microwave until consistency of syrup. Using a spoon, cover the bottom of the crust with the raspberry jam, making sure to cover evenly. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese and 3 T of the sugar until cheese is of a spreadable consistency, rather like frosting. Spread cream cheese mixture into tart pan - this will take a bit of doing, as it does not like to stick to the jam. Slice plums into thin slices, and arrange over the cream cheese in a fan-like pattern, making sure to cover all of the cream cheese with the slices of plum. Sprinkle the tart with the remaining sugar, using enough so that it looks good, I think about 3-4 T was what was used..
Bake at 400 deg until crust is lightly browned, about 35 minutes. Let tart stand for about 4-5 minutes before serving.
This was something that I wasn't sure was going to turn out as well as it sounded in my head. However, I was pleasantly surprised. It smelled good, looked gorgeous (we even took a picture), and tasted so good, that my dinner guests wanted to know if we could just eat it all right then. I said why not, we're all grown ups, and so we did. A tart that lasted all of 20 minutes from the time I took it out of the oven to the time it was completely eaten is a good thing to have in my cooking repertoire. I may have to try this out with other fruits as I come across them. If you do, let me know how it tastes.
Chicken (& Grape Skewers)
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon zest (I used more lemon juice, rather than the zest)
1 T lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb chicken (whichever parts you like), cut into cubes if you want skewers
8 - 10in skewers, soaked in water
1 1/2 c seedless grapes of any variety
2 T chopped fresh mint leaves
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Combine all ingredients for marinated chicken, except the chicken, in a bowl, and whisk until combined. Add the chicken and marinate for about 20 min. If making skewers, soak in water while marinating chicken.
If making skewers: Thread 4 pieces of chicken and 4 grapes onto each skewer, alternating them. Spray a grill pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-heat, or heat an outdoor grill. Grill the chicken until cooked through. Sprinkle with mint and serve with lemon wedges.
We only used the marinade part, as grapes and chicken just sounded off to us. I also ended up pan-frying the chicken due to time limitations. I used some rather largish chicken breasts, and left them whole. The overall verdict was this marinade was really good, and 20 minutes of marinating time fit our schedules just about perfectly. I think I'll make this again, as it was a bit different than some of the other marinades I used, and with the Penzey's spices had a great flavor.
One thing I have been trying to do thanks to this blog is make dinner when I get home from work. Too often we take the easy route of just picking something up for dinner. If I can find quick recipes, why not make them? Would an extra 20-30 minutes on my feet really kill me? No. This recipe comes from foodnetwork.com and Giada de Laurentiis.
Pasta with Tomato and Peas
- 1 pound linguine
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 shallots, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/4 cup grated Romano
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, carrots, salt, and pepper. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water. Stir to melt the tomato paste and create a sauce, adding more pasta water if necessary. Stir in the oregano, thyme, and parsley. Gently fold in the cooked pasta, peas, and the cheeses, adding more reserved pasta water if necessary. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.
Would I make this again? Yep. The carnivores ate it! And liked it! Erik made a sandwich out of it. Whatever gets him to eat it. Chad did gripe a little about the peas, but he doesn't like them. I just told him to deal with them. He liked the sauce, but I think next time I will be a little more generous with the tomato paste. Overall a success!