Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pork Medallions with Orange, Fennel and Green Olives

The Days put this recipe in my birthday cookbook. I have to admit, I was scared of the fennel and orange combo. But I'm SO glad I tried it out. It was delicious!!!!

1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound), silver skin removed, cut into 1-inch slices, each pounded to 3/4 inch with flat side of chef's knife blade
2 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium bulb fennel , sliced thin (about 1 cup)
2 medium cloves garlic , minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest from 1 large orange
2/3 cup chicken stock or low-salt canned broth
1/4 cup pitted green olives , sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Table salt and ground black pepper

1. Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of pork slices. Heat oil until shimmering in heavy-bottomed pan, at least 10 inches across bottom, over medium-high heat, swirling pan to distribute oil. Working in batches of no more than six slices to avoid overcrowding, sear medallions without moving them until brown on one side, about 80 seconds (oil should sizzle, but not smoke). Turn medallions with tongs to avoid scraping off the sear; sear until meat is mostly opaque at sides, firm to the touch, and well browned, about 80 seconds. Transfer pork to plate.

2. Heat oil in pan in which pork was cooked over medium heat, swirling to distribute. Add fennel; sauté until softened and starting to color, about 2 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute more. Add juice; boil, scraping pan bottom with wooden spatula to loosen browned bits, until liquid reduces to a glaze, about 2 1/2 minutes. Increase heat to high and add stock or broth and any accumulated pork juices; boil until liquid reaches consistency of maple syrup, about 3 minutes.

3. Reduce heat to medium; return pork to pan with zest, olives, and parsley, turning meat to coat. Simmer to heat pork thoroughly and blend flavors, about 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper to taste. Transfer pork to serving plate and spoon sauce over meat. Serve immediately.

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

This pasta was PERFECT for a summer picnic. Lots of compliments!

1 (12 ounce) package uncooked tri-color rotini pasta
10 slices bacon
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons dry ranch salad dressing mix
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
1/2 cup milk, or as needed
1 large tomato, chopped
1 (4.25 ounce) can sliced black olives
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Stir in rotini pasta and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until al dente; drain.
Place bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook until evenly brown. Drain and chop.
In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, ranch dressing mix, garlic powder, and garlic pepper. Stir in milk until smooth. Place bacon, tomato, black olives and cheese in bowl and toss to coat with dressing. Cover and chill at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Toss with additional milk if the salad seems a little dry.

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

This recipe tasted just like I remember it from my childhood. I think I only had about a pound of round steak and I was wishing there was about double the amount. I think I will double the recipe next time and freeze half (before adding the sour cream in).

1 1/2 pounds top round steak, cut into strips
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 onion, chopped
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (8 ounce) can canned mushrooms (I used about 8 fresh mushrooms, sliced)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon dried chives
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cube beef bouillon
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Place the beef in the bottom of a slow cooker, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place onion on top of beef, and then add mushroom soup, mushrooms, and water. Season with chives, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and bouillon.
In a small bowl, mix together the wine with the flour. Pour over the beef.
Cover, and cook on Low for 6 to 7 hours. Stir in the sour cream and parsley, and continue cooking for 1 hour.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

I had to steal this picture from the internet because these cupcakes were gone before I could snap a pic! Thank you Angela for telling me (correctly) that I would love them!

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar (I used white vinegar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line muffin tins with paper cups or lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, egg, 1/3 cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt until light and fluffy. Stir in the chocolate chips and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, 1 cup sugar, cocoa, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Make a well in the center and add the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Stir together until well blended. Fill muffin tins 1/3 full with the batter and top with a dollop of the cream cheese mixture.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Citrus Basil Chopped Salad

Thank you Becky for this delicious salad recipe!!

6 cups romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
½ avocado, chopped
½ Fuji apple, chopped
4 bacon strips, cooked and chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
¼ cup each dried cranberries and roasted pumpkin seeds (I subbed sunflower seeds for the pumpkin seeds)

juice of 1 orange and ½ lime
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tbsp brown sugar

Combine all salad ingredients into a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until blended.

Toss salad with dressing

Garbage Bread

This is a recipe that a friend's mom made growing up and my mom put in the cookbook she made for my wedding. The three different garbage breads my friend's mom would make were pizza, ham and cheddar or roast beef and provolone. Just make sure the meat is cooked before you put it in the bread. We did pizza filling: pepperoni, pizza sauce and cheese.

1 c. warm water
1 pkg. yeast
1 t. salt
1 T. sugar
2 T. olive oil
3 cups flour
Butter and Parmesean cheese for topping

Dissolve yeast in water. Add salt, sugar and oil. Mix. Add the flour slowly until dough is stiff. Knead in remaining flour. Let rise for at least 1 hour. Roll dough in rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Layer filling with cheese on top. Roll dough like a cinnamon roll. Pinch the ends of the roll and place on a greased cookie sheet. Brush top with butter. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Cook for 30-45min at 375 degrees.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

I love Bakerella's warning about these brownies. WARNING: These brownies cause extreme satisfaction. May complicate weight loss. Oh. My. Goodness. They are SOOOO good!

1 box Betty Crocker® Original Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® chocolate chip cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg

Chocolate Ganache
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate morsels
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
6 Tbsp butter

1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray, or grease with shortening. Make brownie mix as directed on box, using oil, water and 2 eggs. Spread in pan.
2. Make cookie mix as directed on pouch, using butter and 1 egg. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls evenly onto brownie batter; press down lightly.
3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean. Cool on cooling rack 30 minutes.
4. In a small saucepan, heat cream and butter until just before the boiling stage.
Pour over the chocolate morsels. Let stand about 20 seconds and stir until smooth. Pour over brownies and let set before cutting. For brownies, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows.

Chicken Salad with Tarragon Recipe

I wasn't too impressed by this recipe. It needed some umph. Like a dash of paprika, curry or ground ginger. Something to take it up a notch. The tarragon just wasn't cutting it.

2 cups chopped, cooked chicken meat (I used a rotisserie chicken)
1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1-2 teaspoons dried tarragon (or 1-2 Tbsp fresh chopped tarragon)
Salt and pepper to taste

* Poach about 1 1/2 lbs of skinless chicken breasts and thighs, preferably bone-in (for flavor), in a quart of salted (1 teaspoon) water, for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from water, let cool, remove bones, chop the meat into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch cubes.
Mix all of the ingredients together. Adjust seasoning. Serve with lettuce for a simple salad, in a tomato that has been cut open for a stuffed tomato, or with slices of bread for a chicken salad sandwich.
Serves 4.

Albondigas Soup

We all liked this soup! The kids preferred the veggies and meat outside of the broth, on a plate, but what a great way to get kids to eat healthy! Mark also preferred his leftover meatballs in a quesadilla, but what isn't good in a quesadilla??

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 quarts of chicken stock or beef stock OR water OR a mixture of both (we usually use half stock half water)
1/2 cup of tomato sauce
1/2 lb of string beans, strings and ends removed, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1/3 cup of raw white rice
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup of chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup of chopped parsley
1 raw egg
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
A dash of cayenne (optional)
1 1/2 cup of frozen or fresh peas
1 teaspoon of dried oregano, crumbled, or 1 Tbsp fresh chopped oregano
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed pot (5-qt) over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Add broth mixture and tomato sauce. Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer. Add carrots and string beans.
2 Prepare the meatballs. Mix rice into meat, adding mint leaves and parsley, salt and pepper. Mix in raw egg. Form mixture into 1-inch meatballs.
3 Add the meatballs to the simmering soup, one at a time. Cover and let simmer for 1/2 hour. Add the peas towards the end of the 1/2 hour. Add a few pinches of oregano and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and a dash of cayenne, to taste.
Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

Chili-Lime chicken Kabobs

Another great summer grill recipe. This was a week of great food!

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
Veggies for skewers- red onion, mushrooms, pepper, etc

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and lime juice. Season with chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Place the chicken in a shallow baking dish with the sauce, and stir to coat. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 1 hour.
Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade.
Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill skewers for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chicken juices run clear.

Creamy Chicken Taquitos

5 STARS! Yum! I loved, loved, loved these taquitos!

1/3 C (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 C green salsa
1T fresh lime juice
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t granulated garlic, or garlic powder
3 T chopped cilantro
2 T sliced green onions
2 C shredded cooked chicken (for extra yumminess, use grilled taco chicken!)
1 C grated pepperjack cheese

small flour tortillas
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it's soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.

You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.

Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it. If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or are coming unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.

Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges. Then roll it up as tight as you can. Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.

Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown. Dip 'em in salsa, sour cream, guacamole.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise

I searched for a sliders recipe only after finding these ridiculously cute slider buns at Costco. The spicy mayo recipe will definitely be used again!

1 cup mayonnaise
2 chipotles in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1/2 lime, juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck, 80/20
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cheese slices, your choice
Mini burger buns

Burger Bar (if desired):
Chipotle Mayonnaise
Red onion slices

Chipotle Mayonnaise:
Add all the ingredients to a food processor and puree. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Preheat grill over medium-high heat.

Form the meat into 2 to 3-ounce portions, packed tightly. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the sliders on the grill. Wait until they are nice and crusty on the first side, about 4 to 5 minutes and then flip and cook another 4 minutes. When the sliders are about done, top with desired cheese and close the grill, allowing the cheese to melt.

Place the slider on mini burger buns and top with chipotle mayonnaise and any other desired toppings.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Homemade Peach Ice Cream

The peaches in the farmers markets have been amazing so we scooped up a bunch to try our first batch of homemade ice cream. Ours didn't set up in the kitchenaid attachment so we had to put it back in the freezer but the flavor was amazing! It tasted so much like a dreamsicle.

3 eggs, beaten
1-3/4 cups white sugar
5 fresh peaches, pitted and chopped
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

In large bowl, mix together eggs and sugar until smooth; puree peaches in blender or food processor and stir 5 cups of puree into egg mixture. Stir in cream, half-and-half, vanilla and salt and mix well.
Pour mixture into freezer canister of ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

The perfect picnic

I'm going to type up all the recipe's because you can go HERE for the ingredient lists but this was an amazing spread!!! Buttermilk Twice-Dipped Fried Chicken Fingers, , Antipasto Sticks, Frozen fruit sticks and pita chips with Hummus. Yum!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Overnight Orange French Toast

YUM! Thank you Jaime for sending me this recipe. What a great way to kick off our 4th of July! Blueberry French Toast is still my favorite but this recipe is a close second.

4 eggs
½ cup half and half
⅓ cup orange juice
3 Tbsp orange flavored liqueur or orange juice
2 Tbsp sugar
¼ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
16 slices French bread, cut thick (I used Challah)

Orange Syrup
½ cup butter
⅓ cup sugar
⅓ cup frozen (thawed) orange juice concentrate

Beat eggs, half and half, orange juice, liqueur, sugar, vanilla, and salt in small bowl with fork. Dip bread into egg mixture, soaking thoroughly; place in ungreased pan. Pour any remaining sauce over bread. Cover loosely and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours, but no longer than 24.

Make orange syrup; melt butter in saucepan. Add sugar and orange juice concentrate, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Beat with wire whisk until thick and shiny.

Heat griddle to 375 degrees; grease with butter. Cook bread 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Friday, July 2, 2010


This was very very tasty!! Next time I will add chicken because there will be a next time!

Andouille and smoked sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick - 2 cups
Tony Chachere's Creole Jambalaya Dinner Mix - 1 8-oz box (I used Zatarain's)
Water - 2 1/4 cups
Uncle Ben's converted original long grain rice - 1 cup
Chicken broth (homemade is best) 2 1/4 cups
Onion - a mix of yellow, red, and green onions (tops included), all chopped - 2 cups total
Bell peppers - a mix of yellow, red, and green, all chopped - 2 cups total
Celery, chopped - 1 cup
Garlic, minced - 1 heaping Tablespoon
Bay leaves - 2 (Make sure they are fresh and strong, if not, add more)
Whole cooked tomatoes - 1/3 of a 32-oz can, break up the tomatoes with your fingers as they go in, reserve the tomato juice to add if necessary
Diced tomatoes - 1/3 of a 14-oz can
Tomato sauce - 1/3 of an 8-oz can
Sugar - 1 pinch
Dried thyme - 1 teaspoon
Tabasco sauce - several sprinkles
Oregano - 1 teaspoon
Cayenne pepper - 1/2 teaspoon
Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning - to taste
Fresh Shrimp, in shell, but cut to make it easy to remove from shell - 1 1/2 to 2 lbs (Remove shells and store shrimp in ice water while shelling.)
Lemon juice - juice of half a lemon for each lb of shrimp

1 Prepare the vegetables and shrimp. It pays to get as much of the prep work done ahead of time, especially if you are making a large batch. Note that Becca gets her shrimp fresh, not frozen, in the shell, and butterfly cut to make it easy to de-shell. After chopping up all the vegetables, de-shelling the shrimp takes a bunch of time because you want to make sure to get all of the shell pieces out. As you de-shell the shrimp, place the shrimp in a bowl of cold water. When you are done de-shelling, strain the water from the shrimp and put the shrimp in the refrigerator to stay cold. You will not add the shrimp to the jambalaya until the last 2 minutes of making this dish.
2 In a large skillet, fry the sausage slices on medium heat, in batches, until cooked through, about 15 minutes for each batch. As you finish each batch, pour out the sausage and whatever fat has been released into a large stockpot. The size of the stockpot depends on how much jambalaya you are making. For a this batch, I would use an 8-Qt stockpot.
3 Add Tony Chachere's Creole Jambalaya Dinner mix, and 2 1/4 cups of water for every box used. Add Uncle Ben's long grain rice and 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth for every cup of rice used. Add onions, bell peppers, and celery. Slowly bring mixture to a simmer, on MEDIUM heat. This is slow cooking. You want it on medium to prevent the jambalaya from burning. While the jambalaya is cooking, stir it every once in a while to make sure that nothing is sticking to the bottom.
4 Add bay leaves, garlic, whole tomatoes (reserve juice), diced tomatoes, tomato sauce. Add thyme, tabasco, oregano, cayenne pepper. Slow cook on medium heat adding tomato juice and stock as needed, as the rice absorbs the liquid in the pot. You do not want it to get dried out, nor do you want it to be too liquidy. At this point, stir often to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. Have the temperature be just a notch below a simmer. If it begins to boil, lower the heat, or add water. Cook slowly for an hour as the rice absorbs the liquid.

Chinese Chicken Salad

Thank you Jaime and Angela for telling me I would love this salad because I did!!

1/2 lb. white chicken meat, cooked and shredded
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sherry
1 Tablespoon sugar
High smoke point cooking oil, such as grapeseed oil, corn oil, or peanut oil
2 oz. bean threads (one bunch)
4 green onions, shredded lengthwise
1 small head of lettuce (romaine works), shredded
2 Tablespoons chopped toasted almonds
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

2 Tbsp sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
3 Tbsp vinegar

1 Using two forks, shred the cooked chicken (if you don't have any already cooked, poach chicken pieces in simmering water until no longer pink inside). Mix soy sauce, sherry and sugar in a bowl and add the chicken. Let soak for 10 minutes. Remove chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Fry the shredded chicken in a little cooking oil on medium high heat to make it a little crispy and to bake in the seasoning. Set aside.

2 Put 3/4 inch of high smoke point cooking oil (such as grapeseed oil, or peanut oil) into a small saucepan. Heat on high heat until when you flick a drop or two of water into the oil it sizzles. Take one bunch of the dried bean threads and gently break them up a bit. Test the oil by putting one bean thread into the oil. If the oil is hot enough, the bean thread will almost immediately sizzle and puff up. That's when you know the oil is hot enough. Working with a few bean threads at a time, put them in the hot oil. As soon as they puff up, remove them carefully with tongs and place them on a paper towel to cool. The paper towel helps remove any excess oil. Set aside.

3 Cut your green onions, shredding them lengthwise as shown. Toast your chopped almonds, or chop your toasted almonds; toast your sesame seeds. (Heat a thin skillet to medium high heat, add the seeds - or nuts, don't do them both together - stir frequently until they begin to brown, remove from heat, they will continue to cook. Let cool to room temp.)
4 Mix all of the sauce ingredients together, in the order listed. Just before serving the salad, mix all of the salad ingredients together - lettuce, chicken, bean threads, almonds, sesame seeds, and sauce.
Serves 4 to 6.


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