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.


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