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.


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