Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!! We'll be feasting with both sets of grandparents so I expect to come home a few pounds heavier :) The first week of 2010 I'm going to do a crockpot recipe every day so get those slow cookers ready! Love, Jessie

Cajun Chicken Chowder

After having some cajun chicken chowder at Duke's I decided to make my own.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 boneless chicken breasts, diced
2-15 oz. cans chicken broth
1 cup water
1-15 oz. can whole kernel corn
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon dried parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon seasoned salt (or to taste)
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more if you like it really spicy)
2-15 oz. cans creamed-style corn
½ cup half & half

Coat bottom of a heavy stockpot with olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken, seasoned salt, garlic and onions. Stir over medium heat until onions are clear and chicken is no longer pink and tender. Slowly add the water, chicken broth and whole corn (with liquid) and then bring to a boil.
Add the remaining seasonings, potatoes and carrot; cover and reduce to a simmer until the carrots are tender (about 20 to 25 minutes).

When the carrots are tender, add creamed-style corn and simmer about 10 minutes. Just before serving, remove from heat and slowly add the half and half while you stir. Serve this chowder in hearty sized bowls with a fresh loaf of French bread.

Yield: 8 to 10 Servings.

Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Jesse Boyd introduced me to portabella mushrooms in college and I love them. Mark is not a big fan, so it is a treat for me to get them. One of my favorite ways to cook them is baked in the oven with mozzarella cheese. I thought I'd switch things up a little bit with this recipe. I found it in the free Costco cookbook they handed out around Thanksgiving. In prior years it had ghetto recipes like "Dip bagel bites into prego marinara sauce" but this year there are some great recipes!

2 T olive oil
2 tomatoes, diced
1 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 c veggie or chicken broth
a couple slices of bread, cubed (it called for focaccia but I used sourdough)
handful of baby spinach
4 oz mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
4 portobello mushrooms, stems removed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add tomatoes, onion/garlic powder and broth. Cook until heated through. In a bowl, combine bread cubes, spinach, mozzarella, egg and the tomato mixture. Mix until well blended.

Place mushrooms on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Form the stuffing mixture into themushroom caps. Bake for about 20min. Serve immediately.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Mexican Cobb Salad with Lime Yogurt

My mother-in-law recently gave me a signed copy of the cookbook Thyme in a Bottle. This is the first recipe I've made from it and it was so delicious. I especially loved the lime yogurt dressing and the seasoning blend. I'm glad the seasoning blend was more than I needed because I saved it and will definitely use it again soon!

1 head romaine lettuce
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 ripe avocado, diced
1 medium tomatoes, diced
Lime Yogurt Dressing (see directions below)
1/2 t Fire Fry Seasoning (see directions below)
1/2 c. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
2 T corn kernels
One 8 oz. chicken breast, grilled, marinated and cut into julienne strips
1/2 c. cheddar cheese, grated
12 red tortilla chips
12 blue tortilla chips
4 T cilantro leaves
8 T pumpkin seeds

Arrange the greens in a mound in a large glass salad bowl. Toss with the Lime Yogurt Dressing and sprinkle with the Fire Fry Seasoning. From left to right, top the salad as follows: Jack cheese, corn, grilled chicken breast placed on an angle down the center, avocado, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese. Arrange the chips close together. Toward the back of the salad, garnish with the cilantro and pumpkin seeds.

Lime Yogurt Dressing

2T lime juice
1/4 c. rice vinegar
3/4 t soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 t black pepper
salt, to taste
1/2 c. peanut oil
1/4 c. + 2T yogurt

Process in food processor. Keep refrigerated for up to one week.

Fire Fry Seasoning

2 t Lawry's seasoning salt
1 t granulated garlic
1 t black pepper
1 t cayenne
1 t rosemary
1 t cumin

Mix above ingredients and this mixture will keep for a long time; simply use to season anything hot.

Oreo Truffles

Faith Carpenter is guilty of getting me addicted to oreo truffles. They are heaven in a ball. The basic recipe is:

1 package mint oreos
1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, room temperature
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 T shortening

Crush the oreos in a food processor or chopper and mix in cream cheese. Form into balls and refrigerate on wax paper for at least two hours. Melt chocolate and shortening in microwave or double boiler, coat balls and return to wax paper and refrigerate.

My first attempt at recreating Faith's truffles was last night and although they still tasted amazing, they didn't look near at pretty as hers (hence me using someone else's picture above).

Pioneer Woman has step by step instructions on making truffles (not oreo balls but the technique is still the same) that I wish I would have seen before attempting mine last night.

Tomato Bacon Cups

These cups are a great appetizer to bring to a party. They are always a hit!

8 slices bacon
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
3 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (16 ounce) can refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a mini muffin pan.
In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until evenly brown. Drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon into a medium mixing bowl, and mix with tomato, onion, Swiss cheese, mayonnaise and basil.
Separate biscuits into halves horizontally. Place each half into cups of the prepared mini muffin pan. Fill each biscuit half with the bacon mixture.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven , or until golden brown.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Beef Noodle Bowls

For my 30th birthday, Mark secretly put together a cookbook of recipes from all my friends. Jenny Secrest put this recipe in the book and we finally got to try it out. It was super duper fast and had great flavor.

1/2 lb. linguine, uncooked
3 cups broccoli florets
3 carrots, peeled, sliced
2 tsp. oil
1 lb. beef sirloin steak, cut into strips
1/4 cup KRAFT Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
1 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce

COOK pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, adding vegetables to the boiling water for the last 2 min.

MEANWHILE, heat oil in large nonstick skillet. Add meat; cook until browned on all sides, stirring occasionally. Stir in dressing and teriyaki sauce; cook 2 min. or until sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.

DRAIN pasta mixture; place in large serving bowl. Add meat mixture; toss to coat.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mulligatawny Soup

I'd never heard of this soup until my friend Jackie told me it was one of her favorites. At first the ingredients sounded like a strange combination to me (apples and onions??) but they blended really well together. There are many different variations and many people make it with lamb, but I was really happy with this recipe.

1/2 cup chopped onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 apple, cored and chopped
1/4 cup white rice
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half - cut into cubes
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 pinch dried thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream, heated

Saute onions, celery, carrot, and butter in a large soup pot. Add flour and curry, and cook 5 more minutes. Add chicken stock, mix well, and bring to a boil. Simmer about 1/2 hour.
Add apple, rice, chicken, salt, pepper, and thyme. Simmer 15-20 minutes, or until rice is done.
When serving, add hot cream.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Taco Ring

This is one of my favorite pampered chef recipes because it not only tastes good but it looks so fun! Really, how can you go wrong with crescent rolls??

3/4 lb lean ground beef
1 (1 1/4 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
2 tablespoons water
2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 medium bell pepper
1 cup salsa
3 cups lettuce, shredded
1 medium tomato
1/4 cup onion, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup pitted ripe black olives (optional)
sour cream (optional)

1Cook ground beef in large skillet over medium heat 7-9 minutes or until beef is no longer pink; drain.
2Remove pan from heat.
3Stir in taco seasoning mix, cheese and water.
4Preheat oven to 375°F.
5Unroll crescent dough; separate into triangles.
6Arrange triangles in a circle on Classic Round Pizza Stone with wide ends overlapping in center and points toward outside. (There should be a 5 inch diameter opening in center.) I use my Pampered Chef pizza stone, but any flat round pan should work--perhaps even a pizza sheet, but I'd spray it with Pam before adding the crescent rolls.
7Scoop meat mixture evenly onto widest end of each triangles up over filling and tuck under wide ends of dough at center of ring. (Filling will not be completely covered).
8Bake at 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
9Shred lettuce and chop tomato, onion, olives, and bell pepper (if desired).
10If you want to do something fancy, scoop out a bell pepper and fill with salsa and put into center of ring.
11Add your toppings to top of ring and finish with more shredded cheese and sour cream.

Pumpkin Seed Sauce

My dear friend Angela (who's baby is due in just 3 weeks!) has got me hooked on pumpkin seeds lately. She first gave me a sample of these fun snacks: Spiced Pumpkin Seeds and then gave me the recipe below which was awesome! I know it seems weird to simmer lettuce into a sauce but the flavor and texture were awesome. We just put the sauce over grilled chicken breasts but it would be great over meatballs, pasta, etc.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno chile, chopped (seeds and ribs removed for less heat if desired)
1/4 cup raw green pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 cups packed chopped romaine lettuce
1 Tbsp white-wine vinegar (I used red)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeno; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add pumpkin seeds; cook, stirring often, until puffed, about 5 minutes. Add lettuce, vinegar, and 1 cup water; season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (it was a tad on the salty side, so I would start with just 1/2 or 1 teaspoon and add to taste). Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until lettuce is tender, about 10 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a blender; add cilantro. Blend on high speed until sauce is very smooth, about 3 minutes. Thin sauce with 2 to 4 Tablespoons more water if needed (it should be pourable).

Serve with your choice of meat or veggies or - whatever! This can be made up to 2 days in advance; let cool completely, then refrigerate in an airtight container. Reheat over low heat.

Chile Relleno Casserole

This is a really quick recipe for a tasty mid-week meal. I use 2 (7 oz) cans as shown in the recipe below which is almost twice what the original recipe called for. I wasn't able to snag a great picture so I used this one from google images.

1 pound lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 (7 ounce) cans whole green chile peppers, drained
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
4 eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large skillet over medium high heat, combine the ground beef and onions and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, or until browned; drain excess fat.
Arrange 1 can of the chile peppers on the bottom of a 7x11 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with half the cheese and top with the meat mixture. Sprinkle the meat mixture with the remaining cheese, followed by the next can of chile peppers.
In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, flour and milk, whisking until smooth. Pour this into the baking dish over the chile peppers. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes before cutting.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The South Beach Diet

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. Mark and I have been on the south beach diet- trying to lose the poundage we both gained from baby. Not all of the recipes have turned out great (don't get me started on the Almond Energy Blast or I might gag) But there have been a few recipes that were tasty and we'll make again. We're hoping to be down to our goal weights by Thanksgiving and then we'll be back to cooking (with moderation) with carbs, butter and bacon :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Peanut-Curry Chicken

The only downside of this recipe is our house smelling like curry for days. Otherwise it was delicious!

1 cup jasmine, basmati or Texmati rice
1 small bunch scallions, coarsely chopped
1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped and mashed into paste
1 small red chili pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves (a couple of handfuls)
2 rounded tablespoons curry powder (a couple of palmfuls)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth, plus an additional splash, divided
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup Greek-style yogurt

Prepare the rice according to the package directions.
While the rice cooks, combine the scallions, ginger, garlic, chili pepper, cilantro, curry powder and a splash of the chicken broth in a food processor and process into a paste.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat with the oil. Add the chicken to the pan and brown, 2-3 minutes. Add the spice paste and stir for 1 minute to combine. Add the peanut butter to the pan and whisk in the broth. Bring to a bubble and whisk in the yogurt; lower the heat and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Serve over rice.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

I love all things pumpkin and this breakfast dish was no exception.

1 cup old fashioned oats, not quick cook
1 Tbs whole flax seeds, optional
2 1/2 Tbs brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp butter, softened
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup pecans, chopped
2 tsp butter, softened
1 Tbs brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 4 individual sized ramekins. Set aside.

Combine the oats through salt in a medium sized bowl. Stir well. In a separate bowl, combine the vanilla, butter, pumpkin, and milk. Whisk thoroughly. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the oats. Stir until combined.

Divide mixture evenly between 4 individual sized ramekins. Place ramekins on a baking sheet (this makes it easier to move in and out of the oven.). Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the topping: chopped pecans, butter, and brown sugar. After the oatmeal has baked for 10 minutes, remove and divide topping mixture evenly between the ramekins. Bake and additional 7 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving. Top with a splash of milk and raisins, if desired.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


This Brazilian pork and black bean stew was really tasty. It takes a lot of time to cook but not much time to prepare.

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 pound dried black beans, rinsed
1 pound smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, cut into 1-inch pieces
One 8-ounce smoked ham hock
1 large onion, chopped
2 dried bay leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 cups long-grain white rice
Salt and pepper
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Pickled jalapeño chile slices, for serving

In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook, turning, until browned, about 8 minutes. Add 8 cups water, the beans, sausage, ham hock, 1/2 cup onion, the bay leaves and garlic and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the beans are tender, about 2 hours; add water as needed to keep the beans and meat submerged.

During the last 30 minutes of cooking, in a large pot, bring 4 cups water and the rice to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer, undisturbed, until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

During the last 20 minutes of cooking, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the remaining onion and cook, stirring, until browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the cooked beans to the onions and mash; stir into the stew and cook for 30 minutes longer. Discard the bay leaves and garlic cloves, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parsley. Serve over the rice and top with the pickled jalapeños.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

James cried when he ate one and couldn't have another. They are that good.

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix sugar, oil, and eggs. Add pumpkin and water and mix well. In another bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add in the pumpkin mixture and stir until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Fill greased or lined muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Spanish-Style Chicken Noodle Soup

I love that I was able to make this delicious soup from items I already had in the house. I didn't have celery, so I added a bell pepper instead.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
3 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium-size carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons (about a palmful) chili powder
1 bay leaf, use fresh if available
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) chicken stock
1/2 pound orzo pasta
1 pound chicken tenders or chicken cutlets, cut into bite-size pieces
2 28-ounce cans stewed tomatoes
1 cup corn, frozen or fresh
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
For garnish:
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
A couple of handfuls of blue or red corn tortilla chips
1 lime, cut into wedges

Heat EVOO in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add celery, carrots, onions, chili powder and bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 2-3 minutes and add chicken stock. Bring to a boil, add the orzo pasta and cook according to the package instructions adding the chicken pieces during the last 4-5 minutes of cooking along with the tomatoes, corn and beans to heat through.

Ladle a portion of soup in a bowl and garnish with sliced scallions and tortilla chips. Serve with lime wedges to add a zip.

Chipotle Tamale Pie

Since almost every recipe calling for chipotle chilis only requires one or two chilis, I grind the rest up in my food processor and freeze them in individual servings in an ice cube tray. Then when a recipe like this comes along, I just pop a couple out and we're ready to go!

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound, lean ground turkey
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 (8-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 chipotle chiles, plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce, from can chipotle in adobo
1 cup grated Cheddar
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 (8.5-ounce) package cornbread mix
1 egg
1/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease an 8-inch baking dish with the butter and set it aside.

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the ground turkey, the onions, green peppers, and garlic and cook until the turkey is no longer pink and is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Drain off any excess fat and sprinkle the meat mixture with the cumin.

Add the beans, tomatoes, chiles and adobo sauce to the skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until heated through and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the cheese and cilantro.

Spread the turkey mixture in the prepared baking dish, pressing down on it with the back of a spoon to make an even, compact layer.

Combine the cornbread mix with milk and egg. Spread the cornbread batter over the turkey mixture and bake until the cornbread is golden-brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the tamale pie stand for 5 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nutella Milkshake

Spread a generous handful of mini-marshmallows onto a piece of foil that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Toast under the broiler until lightly brown. Remove from heat.

In a blender, add three scoops of chocolate ice-cream, 3/4 c of milk, and a large gob (maybe 5 Tbs) of nutella. Blend until smooth.

Pour the shake into a tall glass. Top with marshmallows.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ginger-teriyaki cheeseburgers

Thank you Darren and Kryssa for giving us this fantastic recipe. Have I mentioned lately that I love goat cheese on anything??

1 1/4 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large red onion, cut crosswise into 4 thick slices
1 tablespoon Asian-style mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 cups broccoli slaw
4 hamburger buns
1 4-ounce log goat cheese

Heat a grill to high.

In a large bowl, combine the beef, ginger, garlic, teriyaki sauce, vinegar, salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix together the ingredients, then divide into 4 pieces and shape into patties.

When the grill is hot, lightly oil the grates. Grill the burgers for 6 to 7 minutes per side, or until desired doneness. Grill the onion slices for about 4 minutes per side, or until soft.

Meanwhile, mix together the mustard and mayonnaise. Add the broccoli slaw and toss well. Divide the slaw mixture between the bottom halves of the buns.

When the burgers are done, place each on top of a coleslaw-covered bun, then use a butter knife to spread a quarter of the goat cheese over the top of the burger. Top with an onion slice.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Roasted Corn Pudding in Acorn Squash

I loved the idea of this recipe but it just didn't work out for me. For some reason the chowder turned out more like cooked eggs. My friend Angela didn't have problems with her eggs cooking too much so I'm not sure what I did wrong. I gave it 3 stars because the flavor was still good but Mark said it should be 2 stars because it took SO LONG to cook.

1 small (2 lb.) acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1 tablespoon clarified butter or olive oil
1 cup milk
1 egg plus 2 egg whites
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (or more if you like)
1/4 teaspoon anise seed, chopped
1/2 cup chopped scallions
a tiny pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup grated white cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees with a rack in the middle.

Rub the orange flesh of the squash with the butter/oil. Place cut side up on a baking sheet. You will want it to sit flat (and not tip), if you are having trouble just level out the bottom using a knife. If the squash is tilting on the pan, the filling will run out - bad news. Cover the squash with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until the squash starts to get tender.

In a bowl combine the milk, eggs, corn, anise seed, half of the scallions, nutmeg, and salt. Fill each of the squash bowls 3/4 full (see head notes about using leftovers). Carefully transfer the squash back to the oven without spilling (tricky!). Continue baking uncovered for another 30 - 50 minutes, or until the squash is fully cooked through, and the pudding has set. The amount of time it takes can vary wildly depending on the squash and oven. At the last minute sprinkle with cheese and finish with a flash under the broiler to brown the cheese. Keep and eye on things, you can go from melted cheese to burnt and inedible in a flash. Serve hot sprinkled with the remaining scallions.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies, Three Ways

Chocolate chip cookies are one of my all time favorite desserts which is why I'm always willing to try a new recipe. In the last month, we've tried three. :) Picking a favorite is like picking a favorite family member- impossible. But if you forced me pick one recipe, I think I'd have to go with the one pictured above because they are so thick. They are the America's Test Kitchen Cookies. However, Nestle's Island Cookies and Angela's Chocolate Chip Cookies are also worth trying out. Try all three and let me know in the comments which one YOU like best!

America's Test Kitchen Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled until warm
1 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Adjust oven racks to upper & lower -middle positions & heat oven to 325. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk dry ingredients together; set aside.
With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter & sugars until thoroughly combined.
Beat in egg, yolk and vanilla until combined.
Add dry ingredients & beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in chips.
Roll scant 1/2 cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball.
Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft & puffy (about 17 minutes in my oven).
Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking and place on wire rack to cool.

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups (11.5-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Milk Chocolate Morsels
1 cup flaked coconut toasted, if desired
1 cup chopped walnuts

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels, coconut and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 8 to 11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla in a large mixer until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheet.

Important: Bake at 375 for 9 minutes (maybe 10), just until they are barely golden. Cool on baking sheet at least 3 minutes before removing them.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Real Deal Rellenos

The poblanos I got from the farmers market were small so I halved the filling of this recipe. It was a departure from traditional chile rellenos but I liked the different flavor combinations.

8 large poblano peppers
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 pounds ground pork or beef
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 cup (about a handful) raisins
1 cup beef stock
Salt and ground black pepper
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons orange zest (I left this out)

Over a gas burner, char the poblanos until the skin is black all over. If you don’t have a gas stove, preheat your broiler, place the poblanos on a baking sheet and char under the broiler, flipping them halfway through (about 3 minutes per side). Place the peppers in a bowl and seal the top with plastic wrap. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. On a baking sheet, toast the walnuts until golden brown, about 5 minutes. When they are toasted, put them in a food processor and pulse until ground. Set aside.

While the nuts are toasting, place a large skillet over medium high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO. Add the pork and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic to the pan, and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the tomato paste, cinnamon, cumin, smoked paprika, raisins, beef stock, salt and ground black pepper. Cook for about a minute to reduce a little and combine.

In a small pot over medium heat, combine the ground toasted walnuts, heavy cream, orange zest, salt and ground black pepper. Let that come to a bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes. Keep your eye on it to make sure it doesn’t overflow. You may need to turn the heat down a little once it heats up.

While the cream is thickening, peel the peppers and remove the seeds by cutting a lengthwise slit in each pepper. Fill the poblanos with the meat filling and lay them in a baking dish or platter. Top with thickened walnut cream and serve with Rachael's Brown Rice.

Broccoli and Cheddar Studel

Gotta use up the phyllo dough from the chocolate burritos somehow! This recipe was really tasty- how can it not be with layers and layers of buttery phyllo? I made three of the strudels and still had about 4 cups of filling left. I froze the leftover filling for a quiche later but if I made this again I would half the filling.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 leeks (white and light green parts only), thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Two 10-ounce packages frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
Salt and pepper
2 large eggs
16 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (4 cups)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
10 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed

Preheat the oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic and cook until the leeks begin to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the broccoli, season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Transfer the broccoli mixture to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes. Wipe out the skillet and set aside.

In a small bowl, lightly beat 1 egg and stir into the broccoli mixture along with the cheddar cheese and mustard. Set aside.

In the skillet, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. In a small bowl, lightly beat the remaining egg and set aside. Place 1 sheet phyllo dough on a work surface with the short side closest to you; cover the remaining phyllo sheets with a damp kitchen towel. Brush the phyllo sheet lightly with the melted butter, beginning with the edges. Stack 4 more phyllo sheets on top, brushing all but the last sheet with butter. Place half of the reserved broccoli mixture on the short end of the phyllo, leaving a 3-inch border of dough along the sides and bottom. Fold the bottom edge over the filling, then fold in the two sides and gently roll up into a log, brushing the inside flap with the egg to seal the strudel. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make another strudel.

Place the strudels seam side down and 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops and sides with the remaining egg. Bake until golden-brown, 30 to 35 minutes.

Honey Beer-glazed Chicken and Tex-mex Corn Succotash

This chicken recipe is made in only 15 minutes. My honey-beer glaze didn't come out as sticky as Rachael's did- I don't think I had the heat on high enough.

2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and ground black pepper
1 cup light beer, such as lager
3 to 4 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves
Yields: 4 servings

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons.
Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and sear until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side.
When the second side has seared, add the beer, honey and thyme to the skillet and bring up to a bubble. Let the liquid reduce and thicken, turning the chicken occasionally, until the meat is glazed and cooked through, 3-4 more minutes.

Tex-Mex Succotash

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 10-ounce box frozen corn, defrosted
1 small red onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1/4 cup (about a handful) cilantro, chopped
2 to 3 small tomatoes, seeded and diced
A few dashes hot sauce (more if you like it spicy!)
Salt and ground black pepper


Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of oil, about 2 tablespoons.
Add the corn to the pan and cook until golden brown, 4-5 minutes. Add the onion, jalapeño and garlic to the pan, and cook until the veggies are golden brown and tender, 5-6 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cilantro, tomatoes and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper, and serve warm alongside Honey-Beer Glazed Chicken.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Scalloped potatoes and ham

I've managed to make 2 meals in the last month. :) Thank you to all the friends and family who have brought meals to keep our bellies full- we've been eating like royalty! Emilie sent me the website which has a bunch of fantastic recipes. I found this one through her site and made it for my mom's first night in town (she's visiting from Phoenix). We used to have scalloped potatoes growing up so it was a fun throwback. I cubed the potatoes instead of slicing to make sure they were cooked evenly. I also increased the temperature to 400 (from 350).

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (or cubed)
12 ounces 1/4 inch sliced baked ham
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a baking dish. In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in milk. Return pan to heat and bring to a simmer while stirring. When sauce has thickened remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and set aside. In a skillet, cook onions in melted butter until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Spread 1/3 of the white sauce in bottom of baking dish and top with half of the potatoes. Spread out half of the onions, ham, cheese And another third of the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Continue layering ingredients, ending with the remaining cheese on top. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

7 Layer Casserole

On one of my 3am shifts with Saisha I was watching reruns of Rachael Ray and saw her make this recipe. Perhaps it was the lack of sleep that convinced me to make a recipe with 31 ingredients but it just looked that good. Basically, it's a taco salad with homemade mac and cheese mixed in. Amazing! I halved the recipe below and did not add the olives and scallions on top. I also use crunched up corn chips instead of frying up corn tortillas. Thank you Becky for making most of the recipe for me!

1 package corn tortillas or any color corn chips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or cooking spray
1 box elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, grated, divided
4 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped, divided
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon cumin
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bottle of beer
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 14.5-ounce can chopped tomatoes with chilies, drained
3 cups shredded yellow cheddar cheese, divided
2 cans vegetarian spicy refried beans
5 to 6 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 limes, zest of 1 and juice of 2
2 avocados
1 cup sour cream
Juice of 1 lemon
Hot sauce to taste
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1/2 cup chopped olives with pimientos
1 bunch scallions, chopped

Yields: 12 servings


Preheat oven to 400˚F.

If using corn tortillas, cut them into thin strips about 1/2 inch thick, and place them onto a baking sheet. Toss them with some vegetable oil or spray with cooking spray and season them with salt and ground pepper. Pop them into the oven and cook until crispy and golden, about 15 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water up to a boil over high heat. Salt the water then add the noodles and cook to package instructions.
Place a large skillet over medium high heat with a tablespoon EVOO. Brown the meat, then add in the onion, 4 cloves grated garlic and 2 jalapeños, and cook until tender.
Season the meat and veggies with chili powder, coriander, cumin and tomato paste. Let the meat mixture cook for a minute or two with the spices, then add the beer and let that cook down for about 4-5 minutes. Reserve.
While the meat is cooking, make the cheese sauce: In a saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and give it a stir to combine with the butter. Cook for a minute or so then whisk in the milk. Cook until thickened.
Drain the can of tomatoes with chilies and add them to the thickened milk mixture. Fold in 2 1/2 cups cheese and the reserved noodles. Season with salt and pepper, and reserve.
In another saucepot, heat up the can of refried beans with a little bit of water.
To build the casserole, spread the beef mixture out in the bottom of a casserole dish. Top with the refried beans and finish it off with the mac and cheeses and the remaining cheese. Pop the casserole into the oven and bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
While the casserole is baking, make the salsa: Mix the plum tomatoes, remaining jalapeño peppers, red onion and cilantro in a small bowl. Season with salt, lime zest and juice, and reserve.
For the guacamole sour cream, scoop the flesh of the avocados into the bowl of a food processor and add the sour cream, lemon juice, remaining 2 cloves grated garlic and hot sauce. Process until creamy.
Once the casserole comes out of the oven, top it with the crispy corn strips and shredded iceberg lettuce. Top with the salsa, then the guacamole sour cream and finally the chopped olives with pimientos and scallions.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Italian Pot Pie

This isn't too fancy, but simple and very tasty! -Angela

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound ground beef sirloin, thawed if frozen
2 cups homemade or best-quality store-bought tomato sauce
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with rack in lowest position. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion and carrots; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add beef, and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce; bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat mixture has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, Parmesan, baking powder, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; make a well in center, and add butter and milk. Stir just until dough comes together.

Spoon meat mixture into four 8-ounce ramekins (I don't own ramekins, so I put it all in a square baking dish); mound dough on top. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet; bake until topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in topping comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Peanut Butter Pie

YUM, YUM, YUM!!!! I can't wait to make this again!~Jaime

Ingredients (makes 2 pies):
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup natural, reduced fat creamy peanut butter
1 (8 oz) block 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1 (14oz) can fat free sweetened condensed milk
12 oz frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
2 (6oz) chocolate graham cracker crusts
chocolate syrup

1. Combined powdered sugar, peanut butter, and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add milk; beat until combined. Fold in whipped topping.
Divide mixture evenly between crusts. Freeze for at least 8 hours. Cut into wedges and drizzle with chocolate (the recipe says to just refrigerate it but we liked it frozen better).

White Chicken Chili

This is one of our favorite soups in our house. I serve it with garlic bagel chips and salsa jack cheese.~Jaime

2-3 skinless chicken breasts
½ large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5oz can chicken broth
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp red pepper sauce
2 cans (15oz) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15oz) white hominy corn, drained
3 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Mix onion, garlic, broth, cumin, oregano, and peppers sauce in a slow cooker, add chicken-cover and cook on low heat 4-5 hours or until chicken is tender
Stir in beans, corn, lime juice and cilantro, cover and cook on low heat 45 minutes
Serve with bagel chips and salsa cheese

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Grilled Tuna Rolls

Jessie found this food blog and sent it to me, so I wanted to try out a new recipe from it. I made Grilled Tuna Rolls and they were delicious!- Becky

1 pound very fresh tuna steak, 1-inch thick (I bought fresh tuna steaks from Costco and used 2 filtes- they were probably closer to 2 inches thick)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lime, zest grated
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder (I didn't use this)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
5 dashes hot sauce (I used Frank's red hot)
1 firm, ripe Hass avocado, medium-diced (I used 2 avos b/c I think I had a little more than 1 lb of fish)
1/4 red onion, chopped (I used closer to 1/2 c)
1 tablespoon minced scallion, white and green parts
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
9 hot dog rolls, grilled or toasted
1 bunch baby arugula, washed and spun dry

Heat a charcoal grill with hot coals. Brush the grill with oil.

Brush both sides of the tuna with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Cook the tuna over the medium hot on the grill for 5-7 minutes on each side. This will cook it all the way through. The original recipe called for 2 1/2 min. on each side. Allow to cool and cut into cubes.

(If you don’t want to heat a grill, you can sear the tuna in a dry saute pan over high heat. Heat the pan for 2 minutes, add the tuna steaks and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side until seared on the outside and still raw inside).

For the dressing, whisk together 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the lime zest, lime juice, wasabi powder, soy sauce, hot sauce, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Toss the avocado in the dressing and then add the tuna, red onion, scallion, and sesame seeds. Line the rolls with arugula leaves, fill with the tuna mixture, and serve.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Steak Chili with fajita seasoning

I found this in an issue of Cuisine at Home that Jessie passed on. You can make this in the crock pot or on the stove and it is so tasty! I'll add at least one more can of beans next time, but there will definitely be a next time! - Angela

For the Fajita Seasoning:
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Chili:
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 lbs flat iron steaks, trimmed, cubed, and seasoned with salt and pepper
1/4 cup tequila or 1 water
6 cups diced tomatoes, or 2 cans diced tomatoes (28 oz. each)
2 green bell peppers (2 cups)
1 white onion, diced (2 cups)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons flour
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (I will use 2-3 cans next time)
2 tablespoons lime juice

Stir together the ingredients for the fajita seasoning and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a soup pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown half of the meat in the oil and transfer to a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker. Brown the remaining meat in the remaining oil and transfer to the slow cooker. Deglaze pot with tequila or water, scraping up the flavor bits stuck to the pan and add to the slow cooker.

Add tomatoes, bell peppers, diced onion, minced garlic, and the fajita seasoning to the slow cooker. Stir in beef stock and flour. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.

Stir in beans and lime juice just before serving. Garnish with sour cream, cilantro, avocado, and jalapenos.


These blondies from The New Best Recipe (can you tell I like that cookbook?) are delicious. How could they not be with that much butter? -Emilie

A note from Cooks Illustrated: Be very careful not to overbake the blondies; they dry out easily and will turn hard. Start checking the oven a couple of minutes before they will be done.

1 cup pecans or walnuts (4 ounces)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder1/2 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts on large rimmed baking sheet and bake until deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer nuts to cutting board to cool; chop coarsely and set aside.

While nuts toast, cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet (if using extra-wide foil, fold second sheet lengthwise to 12-inch width). Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk melted butter and brown sugar together in medium bowl until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Using rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in chocolate and nuts and turn batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula.

Bake until top is shiny, cracked, and light golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes; do not overbake. Cool on wire rack to room temperature. Remove bars from pan by lifting foil overhang and transfer to cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lemon Pound Cake with Candied Lemon Slices

If you are like me and love anything with lemons it in you will LOVE this recipe! ~Jaime

Pound Cake (makes 2 cakes):
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8 by 4 inch loaf pans and set aside. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and lemon zest; set aside.
2. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until lightly fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; mix in vanilla. With mixer on low, alternate adding flour mixture in three parts and sour cream in two; beginning and ending with the flour.
3. Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth tops. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. Meanwhile make Candied Lemon Slices.
4. When cakes are done remove; while they're still in the pans use a wooden skewer or large toothpick to poke holes in top. Setting aside 1/4 cup of the lemon syrup, pour remaining syrup over cakes. Let cool in pans 2 hours. Remove from pans and place, right side up, on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Brush cakes all over with remaining reserved syrup.
5. Prepare lemon glaze; pour over cakes (still on cooling rack), letting it drip down the sides. Garnish with Candied Lemon Slices.

Candied Lemon Slices:
1 cup sugar
2 lemons, sliced 1/8 in thick or thinner, seeds removed
1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)

1. In a medium saucepan, combined sugar and 1 cup of water; bring to a boil, stiffing to dissolve sugar. Add lemons slices and simmer very gently over low heat, swirling pan occasionally until slices are opaque throughout 20-30 minutes (I would do 30-40 minutes). With a slotted spoon, transfer slices to a sheet of wax paper; set aside. Add juice to pan, stir and set aside. This makes the lemon syrup.

Lemon Glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1. In a small bowl whisk together powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice. If glaze is too thick add up to 2 more Tbsp of juice. Glaze should be pourable but thick.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Couscous Poppyseed Salad

This recipe is so easy and delicious it has moved to the top of my list of salad recipes. My sister-in-law who introduced it to me throws in romaine lettuce, but I think I prefer it without. It literally takes minutes to throw together. -Emilie

1 orange pepper chopped
1 cup cashew pieces
1 cup Craisins
10 oz. couscous
1 mango, chopped
1/2 bottle Poppyseed dressing (such as Brianna's)

Prepare couscous as directed on package then bring to room temperature. Combine all ingredients and toss with dressing. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chicken Tagine

The unexpected combination of flavors in this dish are delicious! It's one of our favorites. -Angela

Makes 4 servings

2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each cut into three pieces (I cut the pieces smaller)
1/4 cup all-purpose
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp grated fresh ginger (I used powder)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 - 1/2 cup green olives
2 tsp grated lemon zest (I used lemon juice)
3- inch cinnamon stick

Marinate the chicken in the lemon juice for at least 30 minutes. Remove chicken and discard marinade. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.

In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt, black and red peppers, and turmeric. Dredge the chicken through the flour mixture, lightly coating both sides, and set aside.

In a large, deep nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the onion, ginger and garlic to pan. Saute 5 minutes, or until tender. Return the chicken to pan. Add the broth, olives, lemon zest and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour, or until chicken is tender. (I've never gone past 45 minutes). Discard cinnamon sticks and serve with rice.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Herbed Tomato Soup

Oh wow! Are your tomatoes ripe? This Martha Stewart recipe given to me by Beth (who also has yummy recipes on her blog) is incredible. If it was quicker to make I would eat it for lunch every day of my life. My picture didn't turn out, so sorry to Martha for stealing her beautifully presented soup picture. We served it with homemade croutons instead of crostini. Also, rather than discard the solids we added some tomato paste and a dash of sugar and pureed it into a yummy sauce for our spaghetti squash. -Emilie

Ingredients - Makes about 8 cups
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
12 large garlic cloves
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh lovage, or celery leaves
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coarse salt 6 pounds tomatoes, chopped
1 to 1 1/2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, celery, parsley, lovage, and salt. Cook, stirring, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until tomatoes are soft and mixture is slightly reduced, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in basil; cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Pass soup through the medium plate of a food mill set over a large bowl; discard solids. Reheat; serve with croutons.

Homemade Croutons
Toss torn up bread with olive oil, herbs de provence, and garlic salt and bake at 350 degrees, stirring occasionally for 20-25 minutes until brown.

I save all the heels of my bread and any other extra bread in a ziplock in the freezer and when the bag is full we make a delicious batch of croutons. It is a great money saver and delicious way to use up every single piece of bread!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Beef and Broccoli

A yummy alternative to going out to Thai food!-Jaime

8 oz. thin spaghetti
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups chopped broccoli
1 1/2 cups sliced onion
1 Tbsp ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
12 oz sirloin steak, sliced
3 Tbsp beef broth
3 tsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp toy sauce
3 Tbsp oyster sauce

1. Cook spaghetti-drain and toss with sesame oil
2. Heat olive oil in skillet on medium heat, add broccoli and onion and cook 3 minutes-add ginger and garlic and cook 30 seconds-add steak and cook until done
3. Mix broth, sugar, soy sauce, and oyster sauce in small bowl
4. Combine noodles and meat mixture-add sauce and cook 1 to 2 minutes until heated through

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sesame Noodle Salad

This recipe is from The New Best Recipe Cookbook I received from Jessie for my birthday this year. It is an amazing cookbook and I tried this recipe from it on the night Saisha was born. Since Jessie loves a good noodle salad I figured she would approve of this recipe on such an important day! - Emilie

1/4 c sesame seeds
1/4 c chunky peanut butter
2 garlic cloves, pressed/minced
1 T ginger, minced
5 T soy sauce
2 T rice vinegar
1 t hot pepper sauce
2 T lightly packed brown sugar
hot water
12 oz dried spaghetti (I used buckwheat soba noodles)
1 t sesame chili oil
olive oil
1 1/4 lb chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
4 scallions
1 medium carrot (peeled, grated)
1 medium bell pepper (seeded, chopped)
1 cucumber (seeded, chopped)

Toast the sesame seeds in a skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until light brown (10 min.). Puree seeds with peanut butter,garlic, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, hot pepper sauce, and brown sugar.Add enough hot water until the sauce is the consistency of heavy cream, 4 T.

Cook spaghetti until tender (substitute 1 lb fresh Chinese egg noodles, if available), drain and rinse with cold water until cool. Toss noodles with sesame chili oil and enough olive oil until noodles are evenly coated.

Broil chicken breasts for 5 minutes on each side. Rest breasts for 5 minutes, then shred (with fingers or two forks) until they are in bite-sized pieces. Add chicken, scallions, carrot, bell pepper, cucumber and sauce to noodles, toss to coat. Sprinkle with extra sesame seeds.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bites Hiatus

Saisha Jane is arriving on Friday!!! Lovely friends have signed up to bring meals for about a month so I won't be in the kitchen for awhile. I've asked a couple friends to do some "guest posts" while I'm down for the count so look for their recipes soon!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Carmel Apple Layer Cake

I don't know what I was thinking, making a cake from scratch 2 days before giving birth but all the work was worth it! The cake was really moist (probably from the applesauce) and the frosting was delish! My pictures didn't turn out so I use the one from the Rachael Ray recipe.

2-1/4 cups flour
1-1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 sticks (1 pound) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 crisp apples (about 1 pound), such as gala, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup store-bought caramel sauce

Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Using an electric mixer, combine the flour, 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar, the baking powder and salt. Mix in 2 sticks butter at low speed until the mixture is crumbly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, 1/2 cup cream, applesauce and vanilla. Mix into the flour-butter mixture at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cake to release the layers, invert onto the rack and let cool completely.

In a medium skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Add the apple slices and remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar and cook, stirring often, until the apples are tender and the juice is syrupy, about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons cream and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 2 sticks butter and the confectioners' sugar until light and creamy. With the mixer on low, slowly mix in the caramel sauce.

Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate; spread the apple filling evenly on top, then cover with the remaining cake layer. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, cover the top and sides of the cake with the caramel frosting, swirling the top to make a decorative pattern.

Louisiana Barbecued Shrimp

These shrimp really surprised us. I chose the recipe because it was fast but totally didn't expect it to be so fantastic. Besides coconut shrimp, this is my new favorite way to make shrimp!

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons), rinds reserved and sliced
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
11/2 teaspoons hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1 pound (about 30) medium to large shrimp, peeled, heads (optional) and tails on
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
Baguette, for serving


Heat a 12-inch skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Add butter, and cook until melted and foamy. Add garlic, rosemary, and lemon juice and rinds. Stir in Worcestershire and hot sauces, and bring to a simmer.
Season shrimp with salt and pepper; add to skillet. Cook until pink and firm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with pepper. Serve with baguette.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Cook's Illustrated Meat Lasagna

I was able to find the meatloaf mixture at my local butcher shop but if you can't, substitute 1/2 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed, for the meatloaf mixture.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
6 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press
1 lb. meatloaf mixture (1/3 pound ground beef chuck, 1/3 pound ground veal, 1/3 pound ground pork)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
15 ounces ricotta cheese (whole milk or part skim)
2 1/2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
16 ounces whole milk mozzarella, shredded

Cooking Directions
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat oil in large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes; add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add ground meats, salt, and pepper; cook, breaking meat into small pieces with wooden spoon, until meat loses its raw color but has not browned, about 4 minutes. Add cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and only fat remains, about 4 minutes. Add pureed and drained diced tomatoes and bring to simmer; reduce heat to low and simmer slowly until flavors are blended, about 3 minutes; set sauce aside. (Sauce can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days; reheat before assembling lasagna.)
Mix ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, basil, egg, salt, and pepper in medium bowl with fork until well-combined and creamy; set aside.
Smear entire bottom of 9- by 13-inch baking dish with 1/4 cup meat sauce. Place 3 noodles on top of sauce. Drop 3 tablespoons ricotta mixture down center of each noodle. Level by pressing flat with back of measuring spoon. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup shredded mozzarella. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce evenly over cheese.
Repeat layering of noodles, ricotta, mozzarella, and sauce two more times. Place 3 remaining noodles on top of sauce, spread remaining sauce over noodles, sprinkle with remaining cup mozzarella, then with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Lightly spray a large sheet of foil with nonstick cooking spray and cover lasagna. Bake 15 minutes, then remove foil. Return lasagna to oven and continue to bake until cheese is spotty brown and sauce is bubbling, about 25 minutes longer. Cool lasagna about 10 minutes; cut into pieces and serve.

Dorito Casserole

I don't know why I'm embarrassed to post this seems slightly ghetto, but the fact was pretty tasty. Next time I will half the recipe because the leftovers are too soggy to be good. I couldn't find "fiesta nacho" cheese soup so I just used Campbell's cheddar cheese soup.

1 lb. Ground Beef
1 package Taco seasoning
1 small onion, chopped
1 can Rotel
1 can Campbell’s Fiesta Nacho Cheese Soup
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 bag of Doritos, crushed (I used a larger one)
1 8 0z bag of shredded cheese (any kind will do)
Sour cream and salsa for topping, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Brown ground beef and onion, drain
Add taco seasoning and cook as directed on package
In a 9 X 13 casserole dish, layer bottom of dish with 1/2 bag of Doritos. Set other half aside.
In large bowl, combine taco seasoning beef and onion mixture, Rotel, Nacho Cheese Soup and Cream of Mushroom Soup. Mix well. Top layer of Doritos with beef mixture
Layer beef mixture with remaining half of Doritos Top with whole bag of shredded cheese
Bake until cheese is melted (approx. 20 minutes)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tortellini with Bacon, Greens and Brown Butter

My friend Michele says butter and bacon make everything better. This recipe is no exception.

1 pound cheese or meat tortellini (I used sausage tortellini)
4 ounces sliced bacon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups arugula (about 1 bunch)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cook the tortellini according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Reserve the bacon and discard the drippings.

Wipe out skillet and return to medium heat. Add the butter and melt, swirling or stirring with a wooden spoon as it starts to foam and sputter. Remove the butter from the heat as soon as it begins to turn golden brown and smells nutty, about 1 minute.

Break the bacon into small pieces and add to skillet with the arugula, salt, pepper, and cooked tortellini. Toss well and divide among individual bowls.

Tip: If you can't find arugula, try this dish with spinach, basil, or watercress.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Slush Punch

Emilie made this punch for Saisha's baby shower and I've been looking for an excuse to make it since. It is like a Slurpee but fruity and delicious! Sign up for punch for the next shower you attend and you'll be a big hit!

1-1/4 cups white sugar
3 cups water
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin mix
1/2 (46 fluid ounce) can pineapple juice
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 cups orange juice
1 (2 liter) bottle lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage (ex. Sprite)

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, water, and strawberry flavored gelatin. Boil for 3 minutes. Stir in pineapple juice, lemon juice, and orange juice. Freeze in a ziplock. (I froze mine in two ziplocks so I could add a frozen chunk halfway through the party and keep it slushy)
When ready to serve, place the frozen contents of one container in a punch bowl, and stir in 1 bottle of lemon-lime soda until slushy.


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