Monday, December 29, 2008

Black Bean and Chicken Chilaquiles

Love this recipe!  Every Safeway I've been in carries El Pato tomato sauce (salsa de chile fresco) in the Hispanic aisle.  Look for the small yellow can with a duck on it.  Go ahead and get two cans of El Pato and for another meal try El Pato heated with 2 garlic cloves, 1 T lemon juice and shrimp.  Serve over hot rice- delish!

Cooking Spray
1  cup  thinly sliced onion
5  garlic cloves, minced
2  cups  shredded cooked chicken breast
1  (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1  (7 3/4-ounce) can salsa de chile fresco (such as El Pato)
15  (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips
1  cup  shredded queso blanco (about 4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 450°.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add chicken; cook 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl; stir in beans. Add broth and salsa to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Place half of tortilla strips in bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer half of chicken mixture over tortillas; top with remaining tortillas and chicken mixture. Pour broth mixture evenly over chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until tortillas are lightly browned and cheese is melted

Crockpot Chicken with Black Beans

One of the simplest meals I've ever made and maybe should have been rated 5 stars if it looked prettier :) My toddler ate so much of it I was worried he was going to puke from overconsumption.

4-5 boneless chicken breasts
1 (15 1/2 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can corn
1 (15 ounce) jar salsa, any kind
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

Take 4-5 FROZEN boneless chicken breasts put into crock pot.
add 1 can of black beans, drained, 1 jar of salsa, 1 can of corn drained.
Keep in crock pot on high for about 4-5 hours or until chicken is cooked. (My crockpot is always super hot so I actually just put it on "keep warm" and leave the chicken in there for 6-7 hours)
Add 1 package of cream cheese (just throw it on top!) and let sit for about 1/2 hour.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Deceptively Delicious Mozz Sticks and Chicken Nuggets

My good friend Emilie gave me the Jessica Seinfeld Cookbook "Deceptively Delicious" for my birthday.  I finally got around to trying a couple recipes from it!  Both recipes turned out really good and we couldn't taste the veggie purees in either of them.  We weren't patient enough with the mozz sticks in the freezer so they didn't cook up pretty (think smashed blobs of cheese) but they were very tasty!  Making the purees ahead of time in large batches would cut the prep time on these recipes in half!

Mozz Sticks
1 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs 
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal 
1 tablespoon sesame seeds 
1 cup shredded, part-skim mozzarella 
1/2 cup cauliflower purée 
1 tablespoon cornstarch 
Nonstick cooking spray 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1/4 teaspoon salt 

What to Do
1. On large sheet of waxed paper or aluminum foil, toss breadcrumbs with flaxseed meal and sesame seeds.

2. In large bowl, stir together mozzarella, cauliflower purée and cornstarch until well combined. Shape into eight 2 x 1⁄2 inch logs. Gently roll in breadcrumbs, then wrap in aluminum foil or waxed paper and freeze for 20 minutes. 

3. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add oil. Arrange mozzarella sticks in pan in a single layer, being careful not to crowd them. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, turning occasionally, until crumb coating begins to brown. Sprinkle with salt and serve warm

Chicken Nuggets
1 cup whole wheat, white or panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup flaxseed meal 
1 tbs. grated Parmesan 
1/2 tsp. paprika 
1/2 tsp. garlic powder 
1/2 tsp. onion powder 
1 cup broccoli, spinach, sweet potato or beet purée 
1 large egg, lightly beaten 
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken tenders, rinsed, dried and cut into small chunks 
1/2 tsp. salt 
Nonstick cooking spray 
1 tbs. olive oil

Lay a large sheet of waxed paper or aluminum foil on counter. Combine first six ingredients on paper or foil, and mix well with your fingers. 

2. In shallow bowl, mix purée and egg with a fork and set bowl next to bread crumb mixture. 

3. Sprinkle chicken with salt. Dip chunks into egg mixture and toss in bread crumbs until coated. 

4. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high burner. When skillet is hot, add oil. Place chicken nuggets in skillet in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook until chicken is cooked through, golden brown and crisp all over, 4 to 5 minutes longer. (Cut into a piece to check that it’s cooked through.) Serve warm. 

Garlic Chicken

After rave reviews from numerous friends, I finally got the recipe for garlic chicken out of the San Juan Classics II cookbook.  My only complaint is that it was really salty so next time I will use 1/4 t. of salt rather than the 1 t. it called for.  Maybe I used a salty chicken broth or something...

4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
4 1/2 T Dijon mustard
3 1/2 T butter
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 c. chicken stock
1 16oz. package bow-tie pasta
1 1/2 T butter
2 T finely chopped parsley
1 1/2 t finely chopped basil
1 c. heavy cream
1/4 t. salt (modified from original recipe)
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1. Pound chicken breasts to 1/4" thick.  Lightly salt and pepper chicken.  Coat with dijon mustard and set aside for 10 min.
2. Cook pasta al dente, according to package directions.
3. Preheat oven to 350.  Over medium-high heat, melt 2 1/2 T butter.  Cook chicken until browned on all sides (doesn't have to be cooked through).  Transfer chicken to an oven-proof pan and bake for 10min.
4. In the chicken skillet, melt 1 T. Butter over medium heat.  Saute garlic for 2 min but do not brown.  Add stock and simmer until reduced by half.
5. Drain pasta and add 1 1/2 T butter, 1 1/2 T parsley and basil to the pot.  Cover to keep warm.
6. Add cream, parsley, salt and pepper to chicken stock.  Stirring frequently, simmer to reduce until sauce coats the back of a spoon.
7. Transfer pasta to platter, sprinkle with Parmesan, place chicken on top of pasta and spoon on sauce.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sugar Cookies

On Christmas day, my sister and I made these sugar cookies (she's the beautiful model in the picture) They were AMAZING. Even after they are cooked, they taste like cookie dough- yum!

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

This is the frosting we used:
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup shortening
5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
food coloring

In a large bowl, cream together the confectioners' sugar and shortening until smooth. Gradually mix in the milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about 5 minutes. Color with food coloring if desired.

Jen Bowhey's honey mustard chicken

I met Jen Bowhey in Safeway.  She's just that friendly.  We both had babies in our carts and before you know it, we were talking about colic, breastfeeding, formula, etc.  Our babes are really close in age so it has been fun to get together for play dates and get to know each other better.  Her and her hubbie Steve had Mark and I over for dinner and made this scrumptious chicken.  I was embarrassed by how many tenders I kept eating.  I couldn't get enough!  When I make this again, I am going to finish them off under the broiler to get some extra crisp!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3 Chicken Breasts, cut into tenders
Wet Mix:
4 T Butter
1 T Honey
1 T Honey Mustard
2 teaspoons Stone Ground Mustard
1 Egg White
 Dry Mix:
1 Cup Finely Shredded Parmesan
1 Cup Bread Crumbs
3 T Parsley 
Dipping Sauce:
2 T Butter
3 T Honey
4 Teaspoons Honey Mustard
1 Teaspoon Stone Ground Mustard
Pound out chicken with tenderizing hammer (salt and pepper if you wish)
Melt about 4 tablespoons butter in microwave.  Wisk in 1 T honey, 1 T Honey mustard and 2 teaspoons Stone Ground Mustard.  Add one egg white and wisk.
Mix all dry ingredients in large shallow pan or bowl.  Dip chicken in wet mix, then dry mix and put on baking sheet.  Bake 20-30 minutes until chicken reaches 180 degrees & topping looks golden brown (No need to flip chicken breasts).  While chicken is cooling, melt 2 T butter in mirowave, wisk other dipping ingredients.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hively Stack Up

I have a lovely friend named Jill Wells (Hively) who is my favorite nerts partner and computer recording artist.  :)  Her wonderful family introduced me to the Hively "stack up" salad during one of the many meals I had at her house growing up.  I'm sure we made a music video afterwards or something.  The salad consists of lettuce, white rice, ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning, fritos, kidney beans (I used pinto), avocado, tomatoes, cheese and catalina dressing. Congratulations Jill and Josh on baby Leighton!

Homemade Carrot Cake

We had our community group Christmas party here on Tuesday night and so it was a great excuse to make this cake I've been wanting to try.  It was super moist and was devoured by the end of the night.

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. First mix the dry ingredients:

3 Cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
Mix the wet ingredients together until well blended in one to two minutes.

2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Oil
3 Eggs
1 (15oz) Can Crushed Pineapple, Drained
2 1/2 Cups Grated Carrots
2 Cups Raisins
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Cups chopped walnuts
Quickly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and blend for another minute or two.
I used 3 small cake pans but you could also make it in a 9 x 13 rectangle. Spray your cake pan(s) with cooking spray or butter and flour the pan.
Then pour the cake batter into the cake pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-60min (depends on what kind of pan you are using).  Mine took 40min.  
After the cake comes out of the oven, take a lightweight flexible spatula or frosting knife and cut the edge of the cake loose from the pan around the outside.
Then remove the cake from the pan by gently shaking the cake back and forth until it seems to be detached form the pan. Now put a cooling rack on top of the cake and then flip it over.
Remove the cake pan and let the carrot cake cool at least an hour before attempting to frost.

Note: Prior to placing the raisins into the cake batter, place them in a sandwich baggy with a little flour and shake to coat them with a light coating of flour. This will prevent the raisins from sticking to the baking pan.

This is the frosting I used:
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.


Catherine's Spicy Chicken Soup

I have no idea who Catherine is but I've made this soup many times thanks to her.  I found the recipe here.  I made a few modifications to the original recipe- less chicken breasts and no whole tomatoes.

2 quarts water
5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon onion powder
3 cubes chicken bouillon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (16 ounce) jar chunky salsa
3 (14.5 ounce) cans peeled and diced tomatoes
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
2 (16 ounce) cans chili beans, undrained
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream

In a large pot over medium heat, combine water, chicken, salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, onion powder and bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1 hour, or until chicken juices run clear. Remove chicken, reserve broth. Shred chicken.
In a large pot over medium heat, cook onion and garlic in olive oil until slightly browned. Stir in salsa, diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, tomato soup, chili powder, corn, chili beans, sour cream, shredded chicken and 5 cups broth. Simmer 30 minutes.

Grilled chicken, cashew salad

The dressing is what makes this salad.

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 chicken breasts , boneless and skinless (2 1/2 pounds total)
6 cups baby spinach , cleaned and dried
1/2 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
1/3 cup roasted salted cashews

To make the dressing, combine lemon juice, mustard, cumin, and honey in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil in a steady stream. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Place chicken in a shallow dish and pour in 3 tablespoons dressing. Turn breasts to coat well. Let sit at room temperature 30 minutes. Heat grill or grill pan to medium high. Grill 4 to 6 minutes on each side until done, turning often to prevent burning. (Chicken should be browned and firm.) Remove from grill and allow to cool 10 minutes. Cut into 1/4-inch strips.

In a large bowl, toss spinach, tomatoes, and cashews with remaining dressing and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Transfer to a platter or divide among 4 plates, and top with chicken strips.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Scampi Wraps

We like things spicy in the Heaviland household, so I put in a heaping teaspoon of the red pepper flakes and wowza, these were spicy!

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
30 deveined shrimp, peeled, tails off
1 teaspoon grill seasoning blend or salt and black pepper

2 hearts romaine
3 tablespoons capers
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the bowl
4 (12-inch) spinach or sun-dried tomato flavored flour tortilla wraps


Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil, garlic and crushed pepper flakes. Add shrimp and season with grill seasoning or salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 3 minutes or until shrimp are pink and firm. Transfer garlic and shrimp to a cutting board and cool 2 minutes. Coarsely chop shrimp and garlic. Wipe out pan.

Chop 2 hearts of romaine and place in a large bowl. Add chopped shrimp and garlic, capers, lemon zest and juice. Toss salad, then add oil and re-toss. Season with salt and pepper.

Blister tortillas in very hot nonstick skillet or over open flame on gas burner stove top for 15 seconds on each side to soften. Pile 1/4 of the salad onto a wrap. Tuck in sides, wrap and roll. Repeat.

Hunter Style Chicken

This was a really quick chicken recipe that would be a good company dinner.

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 (3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
6 slices bacon, diced
2 onions, chopped
1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup white wine
1 pound tomatoes, diced
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet; brown chicken; remove. Add bacon and saute over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add onions and mushrooms and continue to saute until onions are translucent. Return chicken to skillet; sprinkle with parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Add wine and tomatoes. Cover and let simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, turning chicken once during cooking. Remove chicken from skillet and pour sauce over chicken.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cobb Salad

Romaine, tomatoes, bacon, hard boiled eggs and cheese.  I had an avocado but it was bad.  Boo.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

No Bakes

Definitely at the top of my favorite holiday cookie list.

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
3 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Heat cocoa, sugar, milk and butter over medium heat. Boil these verrrrry slowly (they will turn out better) when they reach the boiling point boil them for no longer than 90-120 seconds.
Stir together oats, peanut butter and vanilla with a big wooden spoon or Kitchen Aid. Pour the hot mix over the oatmeal mix and drop on wax paper.

Penne Vodka

James and I ventured into the liquor store near our house to buy a small bottle of vodka for this pasta.  I'm guessing they don't have many strollers coming through their doors very often!  I forgot the parsley- oops!

1 lb. penne pasta
3 Tbl. olive oil
9 oz. Pancetta (Italian bacon)
2 minced shallots
1 cup vodka
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup marinara or tomato sauce
1/3 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
1 Tbl. chopped parsley

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Add the Pancetta and cook about 5 minutes until crispy. Drain the excess fat from the pan and add the shallots. Cook about 3 minutes until soft.

Add the vodka. WARNING: the pan can flame (ours didn't). Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid reduces by half. Add the cream and cook 5 more minutes.

Add the marinara or tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low to keep warm.

Boil the penne pasta in hot salted water. Drain, then add to the warm sauce. Once the pasta is well coated in the sauce, pour onto a serving platter or a large pasta bowl. Top with fresh Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Serves 6.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mexican Chopped Salad

Me: "Isn't this an awesome Salad?" Mark: "It isn't my favorite, but it is good."  So apparently this is not a husband-pleasing meal, but I thought it was awesome.  Maybe it would be better appreciated at a women's brunch.

2 1/2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and well drained
3/4 cup chopped seeded tomato
3/4 cup chopped peeled jicama
3/4 cup fresh corn kernels, uncooked
3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
Half a ripe avocado, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese

Honey-Lime Dressing
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 tsp chopped jalapeño pepper (use canned for less heat)

Toss all salad ingredients in a large bowl. In separate bowl, mix dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over mixture and toss again. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Maple Sugar Walnuts

I made these nuts with some of my mommy friends to give as gifts this holiday season.  They are super tasty on oatmeal, pancakes or a green salad with pears and vinegaratte.

4 cups shelled walnuts 
1/3 cup unsalted butter 
1/3 cup maple syrup 
2 tablespoons water 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
3 tablespoons raw sugar

Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine butter, syrup, water, salt and cinnamon in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Mix in walnuts and stir to evenly coat. Spread nuts in a single layer on baking sheet. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on waxed or parchment paper to cool. Store in an airtight container or package for gift giving.

(some people add in a dash of chili powder but I leave it out!)

Playgroup Granola Bars

I made these bars for our mommy Christmas book/cookie exchange.  I'm sure they could be healthier by substituting whole wheat flour and applesauce for the oil, but I like them just the way they are!

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup raisins (optional)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Generously grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, raisins and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well using your hands. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Andouille sausage

Jentry gave me the recipe for this tasty soup.  James and I went on a great walk today to Double D Meats to pick up the andouille sausage.  Mark walked in the door and said, "Wow, it smells good in here!"  Sorry for my inability to take an appetizing picture of it.  You'll have to trust me that is tastes really good!

1 pound green split peas
10 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 pound diced andouille sausage
1 1/2 cups diced carrot
1 cup diced shallot
1 cup diced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. Remove bay leaves and season with salt and black pepper before serving.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Strawberry Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes for Bethany's shower. It was my first time using a frosting decorating tip and you can kinda tell I'm a rookie :)  I was disappointed that you couldn't really tell there were fresh strawberries in them.  I think I could have used a strawberry cake mix and nobody would have noticed.  But they were moist!

1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 oz. frozen strawberries, thawed and pureed

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour three 9 inch round cake pans.
  2. In a large bowl, dissolve the gelatin in cold water; stir in the cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, flour and 1/2 of the strawberries. Beat for 5 minutes on the medium speed of an electric mixer. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the layers spring back when lightly pressed in the center. Cool cakes in the pans on wire racks.
For the frosting I creamed together 4 c. powdered sugar, 1/2 c. softened butter, 1 T vanilla, 1/3 c. milk and 1-3 drops of red food coloring.

Pork Varkenshaas

Pork Varkenshaas is a recipe Emilie gave me. I have to admit I didn't have fresh basil or parsley, but it was just as delicious with dried herbs! The pork was super tender!

2 pork tenderloins (1 1/2 pounds total), trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon minced shallot
1/4 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Garnish: 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 400° F.
Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet heat oil and 4 tablespoons butter over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown pork on all sides. Reduce heat to moderate and cook pork, covered, turning occasionally, 10 minutes. Transfer pork to a shallow baking dish and roast in oven until a meat thermometer registers 155° F. for barely pink meat, 10 to 15 minutes.

While pork is roasting, add remaining tablespoon butter and shallot to skillet and cook over moderate heat until softened. Add wine, broth, and mustard and simmer, scraping up brown bits, until reduced by about half. Add cream and basil and simmer until thickened. Stir in parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
Cut pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Pour sauce over pork and garnish with chives.

Poppy Seed Chicken

This casserole is one of my favorites to bring to friends who are sick or just had a baby. It is super easy and oh, so comforting!

5 cups chopped COOKED chicken
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups crushed buttery round crackers
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/2 cup butter, melted

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Place the chicken into a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, stir together the condensed soup and sour cream. Pour over the chicken. In a separate bowl, stir together the crushed crackers, poppy seeds and melted butter. Sprinkle over the chicken and sauce.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top of the casserole is browned and the sauce is bubbly.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Greasy, fried chicken- gotta love it.  This was almost better the second day- served cold over a salad.  Don't forget it has to soak overnight!

4 boneless, skinless breasts
2 cups buttermilk
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large onion, sliced
1 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, thyme)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
3 cups solid vegetable shortening

Soak chicken in buttermilk with garlic, onions, herbs, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours. Drain in colander, leaving some herbs on chicken. In a large paper grocery bag, mix flour with seasonings. Meanwhile, heat 3 cups shortening in cast iron pan until 350 degrees. Place chicken pieces in bag with flour and shake, let sit 1 minute, then shake again. Add chicken to hot pan and fry on 1 side for 20 minutes, then turn to finish.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Menu

A few people have asked what I'm making for Thanksgiving this year, so I thought I'd post the recipes before I have pictures! My sister and I are doing the sides this year so here's what we're making. They've all been made in years past so they are all 5 stars in my book!

Praline Sweet Potatoes

4 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 pint heavy cream
1 stick of butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
  1. Butter one 2 quart casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs and cream. Blend well, and spread evenly in casserole dish.
  3. Prepare the topping by combining the butter, brown sugar, flour and pecans. Mix until crumbly, and sprinkle over sweet potato mixture.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven.
Creole Cornbread Stuffing

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups stone ground cornmeal
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons white sugar
5 eggs, beaten
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons ground white pepper
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
4 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
4 bay leaves
1 cup minced onion
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup chopped parsley
2 cups chopped red bell pepper
2 green chile peppers, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup butter
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
2 cups evaporated milk
7 eggs, beaten
  1. To Make Cornbread: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Butter a 13x9 inch pan.
  2. Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and sugar, and mix well.
  3. Combine the 5 eggs, 6 tablespoons melted butter, and buttermilk. Add wet to dry while mixing on low with a mixer. Mix just until no dry ingredients remain. Pour into prepared pan.
  4. Bake until top is browned and a toothpick comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
  5. To Make Stuffing: In a small bowl combine the 2 tablespoons salt with the white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, onion powder, oregano, thyme, basil, and bay leaves.
  6. In another bowl combine the minced onions, green onions, parsley, red or green peppers, chili peppers, and garlic.
  7. Melt 1 cup butter in a large fry pan. Add the spices and cook for a few minutes. Add the vegetables and cook about 5 minutes. Do not allow the vegetables to brown. Add the stock and Tabasco. Stir and cook 5 minutes more. Crumble the cornbread into the skillet and mix. Add the evaporated milk and 7 eggs OFF THE HEAT. Make sure to stir well when adding the eggs. Return to low heat and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Place stuffing in a bowl and cover. Cool before stuffing turkey.
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

6 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
7 baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Place garlic cloves in a small baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, cover, and bake 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
  3. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add potatoes, and cook until tender but firm. Drain, and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Place roasted garlic, milk, Parmesan cheese, and butter into the bowl with the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Beat to desired consistency with an electric mixer.
Cranberry Jello Salad

2 (3 ounce) packages raspberry flavored gelatin mix
1 cup white sugar
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 pound cranberries
1 orange
1 1/2 cups crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
1 1/2 cups diced apples
  1. Add the sugar to the gelatin. Stir in the boiling water and stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Stir in the cold water or the pineapples juice. Chill until gelatin is thick.
  2. Finely grind the cranberries and the orange in food processor or run through the meat grinder.
  3. Add the ground cranberry mixture, drained crushed pineapple, grapes and cubed apples to the thickened gelatin. Pour mixture into one 9 x 13 inch pan or a large bowl. Refrigerate overnight before serving.
Smothered Green Beans

6 thick slices bacon, chopped
1/2 cup onions, minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
  1. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until the fat begins to render. Stir in onions and garlic; let cook for 1 minute. Stir in beans and water. Let the beans cook until the water has evaporated and the beans are tender. If the beans are not tender once the water has evaporated, add a small amount more water and let them cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper (to taste) and serve.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Salad Nicoise

A simple salad was a nice light weekday meal.

1/2 pound new potatoes, quartered
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup pitted nicoise olives
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 (6 ounce) can tuna
1/3 pound fresh green beans - rinsed, trimmed and blanched
1/2 pound mixed salad greens
1 cup lemon vinaigrette
3 hard-cooked eggs, quartered
3 roma (plum) tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon capers
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes, and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, parsley, olives, onion, tuna and green beans. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
  3. In large bowl, toss greens with vinaigrette and top with chilled potato mixture. Garnish with eggs, tomatoes, capers and anchovies.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
3/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leave

Gently stir the first five ingredients together, do not emulsify. Just before serving, add the fresh Thyme leaves.


Ribollita is a yummy Tuscan soup with many variations but it always includes leftover bread.

4 thick slices bacon
5 garlic cloves
1 large onion
2 medium carrots
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced into rounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry red wine
One 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes
6 cups beef stock
4 cups chopped or torn stale bread (about 1/2 pound)
Two 15-ounce cans small white beans
4 cups chopped kale
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
10 leaves fresh basil, torn

1. Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the EVOO (3 turns of the pan), then add the bacon and cook for 4 minutes. Add the garlic, three-quarters of the chopped onion, the carrots and zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook the veggies for 7 to 8 minutes, then add the wine to deglaze the pot. Stir in the tomatoes and stock and bring up the heat. When the soup boils, reduce it to a simmer and stir in the bread and beans. Pile the greens into the pot and wilt them into the soup.
2. Simmer the ribollita for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring the soup as it simmers, until it thickens to a dense stewlike consistency. Turn off the heat, adjust the seasonings and ladle into shallow bowls. Top each bowl with some of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, an additional drizzle of EVOO, a spoonful of the reserved raw onion and some basil. Pass around the remaining cheese at the table.

Peppermint Bark Brownies

This is the perfect dessert to bring to a holiday party.  I found the recipe on-line after having something similar at Starbucks.  Just buy a brownie mix from the store and add this topping to it:

2 cups (12 oz.) white chocolate chips
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1/3 cup crushed peppermint candy (about 16 hard, round candies)

Place white chocolate chips and oil in small bowl. Microwave at 50% power for approximately 2-3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Spread melted white chocolate over cooled brownie. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy. Let topping set before cutting. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Italian Mac and Cheese

Emilie has been raving about this recipe so I figured it was about time to try it. It was fantastic!! I have to say that I liked it better right out of the oven than for leftovers the next day because right out of the oven it was SO creamy and bubbly.

1 pound ziti rigate, penne rigate or cavatappi (ribbed, hollow corkscrews)
1 pound Italian bulk sweet sausage
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
12 crimini mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1 (10-ounce) sack, 2 1/2 cups, shredded Italian 4 cheese blend
1 can diced tomatoes, drained well
1 teaspoon hot sauce , optional
1/2 cup Parmesan, a couple of handfuls


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and cook pasta to a chewy al dente, about 8 minutes.

In a nonstick skillet, brown and crumble the sausage. Drain cooked crumbles on paper towel lined plate. Return pan to heat and add extra-virgin olive oil, butter, garlic and mushrooms. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Saute 3 to 5 minutes, until mushrooms are lightly golden.

Preheat broiler to high.

To mushrooms, add flour and stir, cooking 2 minutes. Whisk in stock, then stir in cream. Bring cream to a bubble, then stir in 2 cups of 4 cheese blend. When cheese has melted into sauce, add tomatoes. When sauce comes to a bubble, remove from heat and adjust seasonings, adding hot sauce if desired.

Combine cheese sauce with sausage and pasta, transfer to baking dish, casserole or oven safe serving platter. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of 4 cheese blend and the grated Parmesan over the top and brown under hot broiler.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Banana Butterscotch muffins

These were SO good right out of the oven. Mark said he would prefer chocolate chips but my vote is with the butterscotch.

From Nigella Express

1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1-2/3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1-1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat the oven to 400 and line a 12 cup muffin pan with your liners. Mix into the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl and then add the oil and eggs. Then follow with the mashed bananas. Fold in the chips and divide into the muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Let them cool, if you can control yourself from grabbing one and enjoying, as they are fantastic all warm and gooey.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What is your favorite cookbook?

I'm always looking for fun new cookbooks to check out from the library. Please leave a comment with your favorite cookbook. Nigella Express is the cookbook I'm reading currently. Look for a couple of her recipes this coming week!

Dad's Chili

My dad (a.k.a. Grandpa Willie) is a die-hard Texan and is serious about his chili. There are a few rules you should know about. #1 No hamburger allowed. Ask your butcher to do a coarse grind on some sirloin or round steak for you. #2 No beans can be cooked in the chili. They are added in the bowl once the chili is done. #3 Texans like it hot so this has got a kick! James asked if we could give this 10 stars but I told him 5 was the highest rank that Bites gives out!

4 lbs. meat…use either coarse ground beef or hand-cut sirloin, round, etc.
2 medium onions
1-2 cloves garlic
3-4 Tbsp. Chili powder
2 Tbsp. Ground cumin
2 Tbsp. Paprika
2 tsp. Oregano
2 Tbsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Black pepper
1 12 oz. can tomato paste
1 12 oz. can beef broth
1 cup dark beer

Chop onions. Sauté onions and garlic in a small amount of oil. Remove onions and garlic from oil. Brown meat until cooked through. Add sautéed onions, garlic, spices, broth, tomato paste and beer. Bring chili to a boil, cover and simmer SLOWLY for 2 ½ to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning during final hour of cooking (salt and pepper). You may also want to remove lid to thicken chili. Serve with white rice and beans.

The Gaucho Burger

I seriously almost burnt down the house with this one. I started the jalapeno, tomato red onion until the broiler (500 degrees) and set the timer. I also had soup simmering on the stove top. I went to put James to bed and when Mark heard the timer go off he thought it was for the soup and took it off the burner. When I came back into the kitchen, I sat down with a book, waiting for the timer to go off. I thought I smelt something burning so I went to check the soup but that was ok. I went back to my book (I'm reading Twilight Book 3 and I'm kinda obsessed). So finally I said, "Something is seriously burning" and then realized that the veggies were way past their time and were scorched in the oven. We must have uneven heat distribution in the oven because the ones on the side were fine and were perfect to make the pico de gallo. Rachael Ray is the (self-proclaimed) Queen of the Burger. This one was mighty tasty! I served it with salt and pepper fries I got from PCC. Yum!

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef sirloin
1/2 cup beer
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
2 T chili powder
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
1 T steak seasoning
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 red onion, cut into 6 wedges
2 tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped cilantro (a generous handful)
Juice of 1 lime plus 1 teaspoon grated peel
8 deli-slices pepper Jack cheese
4 Kaiser rolls, preferably cornmeal-crusted, split and toasted
Shredded romaine lettuce


In a large bowl, combine the beef, beer, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, steak seasoning and Worcestershire sauce. Shape into four patties.

Pre-heat the broiler. Halve and seed the tomatoes and jalapeños before broiling. On a rimmed baking sheet, broil the tomatoes, jalapeños and red onion, turning once, until charred, about 15 minutes. Chop the charred veggies; transfer to a bowl. Add the cilantro, lime juice and lime peel; season the pico de gallo with salt.

In the broiler or on the grill, cook the burgers over medium-high heat for 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare doneness, melting the cheese over each burger during the last few minutes of cooking.

To serve, layer each roll bottom with lettuce, a burger, some pico de gallo and a roll top.

Classy Chicken

Classy Chicken is a simple chicken dish that always impresses company.

1 cup all-purpose flour
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 zucchini cut in half lengthwise, then sliced diagonally
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
  1. Place the flour into a shallow dish. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and then dredge in flour. Shake off excess. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken breasts on each side, about 3 minutes per side.
  2. Pour the chicken broth and white wine into the skillet, and scrape any chicken residue from the pan for flavor. Stir in the mustard. Cover, and cook for a few minutes until chicken is 'springy', but not cooked through. Add the zucchini and sun-dried tomatoes, then season with garlic and dill weed. Cover, and cook until the zucchini is tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken to a platter, and remove the pan from the heat. Stir sour cream into the pan liquid. If most of the liquid has evaporated, stir in a bit more wine or broth first. Season with salt to taste, and serve chicken with sauce poured over it.

Caldo de Queso

This Mexican potato cheese soup is so yummy in the tummy. For those of you in Tucson, the best I ever found was at El Minuto.

Caldo De Queso (Cheese Soup)
2 tablespoons oil
3 medium potatoes
6 green chiles, roasted and peeled
½ pound Mexican white cheese
1 onion, minced
¼ cup tomato sauce
½ cup milk
6 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Peel and dice the potatoes. Fry in the oil a few minutes, until glazed. Add the other ingredients, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, return to low, crumble in the cheese and simmer. Cook at least 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Mess

Gooey. Warm. Chocolate. What more do I need to say?

1 package chocolate cake mix

16 oz (2 c.) sour cream
1 small package instant chocolate pudding
1 small bag (6 oz) chocolate chips
3/4 cup veggie oil
4 eggs
1 cup water

Coat inside of crockpot with cooking spray. Mix all ingredients, pour into crockpot, cook on low 6-8 hours. Serve with ice cream!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Garlicky Baked Butternut Squash

Trying out some fall veggies...

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

  1. In a large bowl, combine the parsley, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add squash and toss to coat.
  2. Transfer to an ungreased shallow 2-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 50-55 minutes or until squash is just tender.

Tomato and Basil Quiche

Some people say that quiche is a girly dish. Usually I load them with bacon so Mark will think it is manly enough but I had a bunch of basil to use up so we ended up with this vegetarian one!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons fresh basil
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
1 1/2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Bake pie shell in preheated oven for 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until soft; remove from skillet. Sprinkle tomato slices with basil, then saute 1 minute on each side. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread 1 cup shredded cheese in the bottom of pie crust. Layer onions over cheese, and top with tomatoes. Cover with egg mixture. sprinkle top with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until filling is puffed and golden brown. Serve warm.

Italian Tacos

Who knew pasta sauce in a taco could taste so good?? We don't repeat many recipes in the Heaviland household so the fact that we've made these at least 5 times tells you how much we like this easy recipe!

1/2 pound Italian sausage
1 pound ground beef
1 (16 ounce) jar tomato pasta sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
8 taco shells, heated
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  1. Combine the ground beef and Italian sausage in a large heavy skillet. Cook over medium heat until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease, and season meat with Italian seasoning.
  2. Heat the pasta sauce in a saucepan over medium heat until heated through. When the sauce is warm, stir in the sugar.
  3. Fill taco shells with the meat mixture, spoon pasta sauce over, and top with mozzarella cheese.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Creamy Spicy Corn Chowder with Chicken

This Chowder recipe is from my friend Jaime and it was a great fall meal. I felt like it needed a little more punch so next time I will add in some Frank's hot sauce and cayenne.


2 slices bacon, sliced in 1-inch strips
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 russet potato, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
3 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 cups milk
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups shredded rotisserie cooked chicken
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
1 lime, cut into wedges


In a large saucepot over medium heat cook bacon until crispy and all fat has rendered out. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon fat, add onion, jalapeno, potato, red pepper, corn, salt and pepper and saute for about 5 minutes. Add thyme.
In a blender, puree half the mixture and add back to the pan. Add milk, chicken broth, and chicken and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
Transfer to serving bowls. Garnish each bowl with cooked bacon, fresh cilantro and a lime wedge.

Vietnamese Beef Pho

I had never heard of Pho until I moved up to Seattle. It is a Vietnamese Soup that is perfect on a cold, cloudy day. No wonder it is so popular here! When I pronounced it like "faux" I was quickly corrected and taught that it is actually pronouced "fuh". In traditional Pho you will find unusal items like oxtail but I played it safe with this recipe that calls for sirloin. Also, the meat is supposed to cook in the bowls in the hot broth but I was a chicken so I cooked it a little bit on the stovetop. I didn't have the time to simmer it for an hour so the broth wasn't as flavorful as I'd hoped. I saw a lot of other recipes calling for star anise, so maybe that is what it was missing.

8 cups beef broth
1/2 large onion, sliced into rings
3 slices fresh ginger root
1/2 lemon grass
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 pound sirloin tip, cut into thin slices
1/4 pound bean sprouts
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1-1/2 fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced into rings
1 limes, cut into wedges
1 (8 ounce) package dried rice noodles
3/4 teaspoon hoisin sauce
1/2 dash hot pepper sauce

  1. In a large soup pot, combine broth, onion, ginger, lemon grass, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Arrange bean sprouts, mint, basil, and cilantro on a platter with chilies and lime.
  3. Soak the noodles in hot water to cover for 15 minutes or until soft. Drain. Place equal portions of noodles into 6 large soup bowls, and place raw beef on top. Ladle hot broth over noodles and beef. Pass platter with garnishes and sauces.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Deep Dish Pizza

Mark is a HUGE fan of pizza. For awhile now he's been on the hunt for a Chicago style deep dish pizza recipe. After a few ok results, I realized he needed the right kind of pan. So for his birthday I got him this deep dish pizza pan. On the back of the packaging it had this recipe for a deep dish pizza. It sure was deep! The crust was over 1" thick and had the buttery, crispy bottom like pizza hut. I think the two secrets were the potato in the dough and the 4T of oil in the bottom of the pan. It's the best pizza I've had in two years- man we miss Zachary's in Tucson. We topped ours with red sauce, spicy italian sausage, banana peppers and cheddar cheese.

Deep-Dish Pizza Crust Recipe

1 medium baking potato, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 t rapid-rise yeast
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water
6 T EVOO, plus more for oiling bowl
1 3/4 t salt

1. Bring 1 quart of water and potato to boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. then drain. When cool, grate through large holes on box grater. Measure 1 1/3 cups lightly packed potato and discard the rest.
2.While potato is cooking, add to bread machine- yeast, 1/2 c. flour and 1/2 cup warm water and combine. Let sit until bubbly (about 20 min). Add 2 T olive oil, remaining 1/2 c. warm water, 3 c. flour, salt and potato. Set bread machine to dough cycle and start.
3. Oil bottom of deep dish pan with 4T olive oil. Remove dough from bread machine (when complete), pat into 12" round. Transfer to pan, cover with plastic wrap and let rest about 10min.
4. Uncover dough and pull up into edges and up sides of the pan to form 1" lip. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 30min. Uncover dough and prick generously with a fork. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
5. Bake crust on lower rack of oven until dry and light, about 15min.
6. Add cheese and other topping and bake (still on bottom shelf) until cheese melts- 10 to 15 min. Move pizza to top rack and bake until cheese is spotty brown, about 5 min.
7. Let pizza cool for 5 min, then use a wide spatula to slide pizza from pan to cutting board.

Butter Chicken (Indian Chicken in Tomato Cream Sauce)

Butter Chicken was recommended to me by my friend Nisha. I have to admit I was a little worried about the cinnamon but the spice blend was perfect! Plus, this recipe was a good excuse to buy our favorite Naan from Trader Joes. Yum... We will definitely be making this again!

Spice Blend:

1 tablespoon garam masala seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne


3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 skinless rotisserie chicken, boned out and pulled into 1 1/2 by 1/2-inch chunks
1 (10-ounce) box frozen peas, placed in a colander and run under hot water to thaw
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Hot basmati rice, for serving
Pita or Naan bread, warmed according to package directions, for serving


To make the spice blend: Stir the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the pieces just begin to turn gold, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste and spice blend, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning. The spices will be fragrant. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and stir well. Add the chicken pieces, spoon the sauce over the top and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the chicken is warmed through and the sauce is flavorful, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove the chicken to a serving dish and cover to keep warm.

Shake any excess water from the peas. Add the peas and cream to the sauce in the pan, stir well and heat through. Do not boil. Spoon the sauce over the chicken. Serve with rice and warmed pita bread.


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