Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Cookies

Every year, I give my coworkers homemade goodies for Christmas. This year I found these cute little bins that were the perfect size for Christmas cookies.

The Caramel Swirl Blondies are amazing. They have a great combination of flavors. It doesn't make very much batter, but the blondies puff up a lot as they cook. These are a new favorite.

The Pineapple Coconut Cookies turned out differently than I expected, but they are really good. They spread out a lot. I made them smaller than the recipes calls for, but I still ended up cooking them for 8 minutes.

The Snickerdoodle recipe is one that I have had for years. I just don't know where I got the recipe from.

1 c. shortening
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 c. flour
2 t. cream of tartar
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt

2 T. sugar
2 T. cinnamon

Cream together shortening, sugar and eggs. Sift flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well. Roll dough into balls the size of walnuts. Mix cinnamon and remaining sugar together. Roll the dough balls in the cinnamon sugar. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 11 minutes.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Herb Crusted Pork Loin

Pork loin is just not something that I have made or even eaten much before. So I didn't want to experiment too much by making up a recipe. This recipe from Paula Deen was great. My boyfriend, Stephen, always talks about wanting a sauce to go with his food. So, even though its not in this picture, I came up with a spicy tomato sauce that is similar to a sauce that his mom makes.

Spicy Tomato Sauce
1-8 oz. tomato sauce
1 c. chicken broth
¼ onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
½ t. dried thyme
2 t. cumin
1 T. paprika
1 t. chili powder
½ t. ground red pepper
Salt and pepper

In small pot, mix all ingredients together. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove garlic.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stewed Beef

The thing I do like about the weather getting colder outside is that I start to make more hardy, warm foods. This meal was made completely with my boyfriend, Stephen, in mind. In fact, I don't know that I would have ever thought to make something like this if wasn't for him. It involves 3 of his favorites: beef, a thick spicy sauce, and coconut rice.

Stewed Beef
2 1/2 lbs. stew meat
1/4 c. flour
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 c. red wine
1 can beef broth
Salt and pepper
2 T. paprika
1 T. chili powder
2 t. cumin
1 t. garlic powder
2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. ground red pepper
In large pot, saute onions over medium heat for 4 minutes. Toss stew meat with flour to coat beef. Add garlic to pot. Add meat and increase heat to medium high. Cook meat for 3 minutes on each side. Mix in paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and ground red pepper. Add red wine, using a wooden spoon, scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Let wine reduce and add beef broth plus 1/2 cup of water. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cover and let simmer for 1 hour.

Coconut Rice
1 can coconut milk
2 c. uncooked instant rice
1/2 bunch scallions, chopped

In medium pot, bring coconut milk and 1/4 cup water to boil. Stir in rice, salt and scallions. Cover and let sit for 7 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hunter's Stew

I grew up in Illinois, and now I live in North Texas. One of the reasons that I moved to Texas is because I wanted to live somewhere warmer. So imagine my dismay when it snows this morning in Dallas, and I realize that it snowed here before it snowed at my parents'. My mom found this quite humorous.

So with our cold weather, I decided to make one of my favorite comfort foods my mom makes. I wanted to make this the way my mom makes this stew. I just added the corn, because well, I love corn.

Hunter's Stew
2 lbs. ground beef
3 cans Campbell's Old-Fashioned Vegetable Soup
1 large potato, diced
1 c. frozen corn
Salt and pepper

In large pot, brown ground beef and drain off grease. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in potatoes. Add soup and 1 1/2 cup of water. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Add corn and let cook for 5 minutes.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce

The strawberries for the sauce were fresh frozen from a family friend. And they were just perfect for this cheesecake. Which was amazing. It was light and creamy and so yummy! I didn't have a particular reason for making the cheesecake, but it became part of dessert on Tuesday. And didn't last much longer than that.

Strawberry Sauce
2 c. frozen strawberries, thawed
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1 t. lemon juice
Place strawberries, sugar and water in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Egg Rolls

I'm not sure why, but we could only find 12 pound plus turkeys this year for Thanksgiving. And since it was only my parents and I for Thanksgiving this year, we have lots of leftover turkey. So I was looking for a way to use all the extra turkey. I decided to make baked turkey egg rolls.

Baked Egg Rolls
3 c. leftover turkey, shredded
1 pkg. egg roll wrappers.
1 small head cabbage, shredded
1/2 c. shredded carrots
1 bunch scallions, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 t. soy sauce
1/2 t. fish sauce
1 egg

In large skillet, cook cabbage and carrots for 5 minutes. Add scallions, turkey, salt, pepper, fish sauce and soy sauce. Mix well and cook for 3 -4 more minutes. Beat egg with 1 teaspoon of water. Wrap egg rolls. Lay egg rolls on greased baking sheets. Coat tops with egg wash. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until wraps are browned and crispy.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner, Part 2

We always keep Thanksgiving very traditional at my house. Though I made all the same things this year, I did try something new. I brined the turkey. And Wow, was it good. I have been wanting to try brining, but was hesitant because I didn't know what container to use to brine it. But I was at Bed, Bath and Beyond the other day and saw a brining bag. It was huge, but it worked perfectly. It was definitely a Happy Thanksgiving.

Brined Turkey
12 lb. turkey, thawed
4 c. chicken broth + 8 c. water
1 c. kosher salt
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. molasses
3 bay leaves
1 T. whole peppercorns
1 gallon cold water
5 lbs. ice
Butter or canola oil

In large pot, bring chicken broth, water, salt, sugar, molasses, bay leaves and peppercorns to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Put turkey in brining bag, breast side down. Pour brining liquid, water and ice on top of turkey. Refrigerate for 12-16 hours, making sure that the turkey is completely covered. The next morning, remove turkey from brine, rinse well and pat dry. Put turkey in roasting pan, rub with softened butter or oil. Roast in oven for about 3 hours in a 325 degree oven, or until cooked through.

Cornbread Dressing
3 pkg. Jiffy cornbread mix
3 eggs
1 c. milk
1 onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
Salt and pepper
2 T. dried ground thyme
2 T. dried ground sage
2 T. poultry seasoning
2 c. chicken broth

Mix cornbread mix with eggs and milk. Follow package directions to bake cornbread. Let cool and crumble into large bowl. Let cornbread sit out for at least 12 hours to let it dry out. In skillet, cook onion and celery for 6-7 minutes. Add onion and celery to cornbread. Add salt, pepper, thyme, sage, poultry seasoning and chicken broth. Mix well. Dressing can be to roasting pan around the turkey or in separate casserole dish. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until top is browned and crisp.

Orange Cranberry Sauce
1 bag fresh cranberries
1 c. sugar
1 large orange
1 t. ground ginger

Zest and juice orange. Add enough water to orange juice to equal 1 cup of liquid. Put all of the ingredients in a sauce pan. Simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, until all of the cranberries burst. Cool slightly before serving, as it thickens as it cools.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ravioli Lasagna

Last night we had some friends over at my parents' house. I've come to realize that I love to have dinner parties. I like planning the meal and figuring out when I need to start different parts of the meal so it all finishes when everybody arrives. I love having people over and enjoying a meal together. And in my excitement (or as my boyfriend, Stephen calls it, my WooHoo Moment) of everyone arriving and us starting dinner, I did not get very many pictures taken. But it was all very good, and we had a great time.

* I used all ground beef and only 2 packages of frozen ravioli, and it still made a LOT of lasagna.

4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 T. dried Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar

Combine all ingredients. Make a day ahead and keep in refrigerator for flavors to blend.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Curry Yogurt Chicken

In making this dish, I used the curry powder that was in my parents' spice cabinet. The dish turned out very good, but it didn't quite have as much curry flavor as what I was expecting. So I asked my mom if the curry powder was pretty old. She said she thinks that they may have had it since my dad was in law school... Yep, it's older than me. Note to self: clean out Mom and Dad's spice cabinet.

Curry Yogurt Chicken
3 chicken breast, cut in 1 in pieces
1 carrot stick, cut on bias
1/2 onion, sliced thick
1 1/2 c. plain yogurt
3 t. curry powder
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. ground ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
Naan bread

Mix together yogurt, curry powder, cumin, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss with chicken separate from carrots and onion. Let marinade in refrigerator for at least an hour. Spread carrots and onion out on baking sheet. Cook in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Add chicken to baking sheet and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with warm Naan bread.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Tale Of Two Soups

I am in Illinois visiting my parents for Thanksgiving. So, of course I'm doing lots of cooking. I always come with meal ideas and then figure out when I will make them. It just so happens that I ended up making both of my soup recipes today. I made the cauliflower soup for lunch and the black bean soup for dinner. They were both a big hit. Though I think that my parents are so happy to have dinner made for them, I could make soup out of an old shoe, and they would love it... Ok, maybe not.

Cauliflower Soup
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 small onion, diced
4 c. chicken broth, divided
2 c. half and half
1 t. cornstarch
Salt and pepper
4 strips turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
Green onions, optional topping

In large pot, bring 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, potatoes and cauliflower to boil. Let cook for 15 minutes. In skillet, cook onions, then add to soup. Season with salt and pepper. With potato masher, lightly mash potatoes and cauliflower, leaving the soup chunky. Mix cornstarch together with remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth. Stir in cornstarch mixture, and half and half. Stir in bacon. Top with green onions.

Black Bean Soup
1/2 small onion, diced
3 cans black beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
2 c. chicken broth
2 t. cumin
Ground red pepper, to taste
Salt and pepper
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded

In large pot, cook onions for 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and black beans. Lightly mash some of black beans with potato masher. Season with cumin, ground red pepper, salt and pepper. Cook soup for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, cook for 10 minutes. Top with shredded chicken. * If soup is too thick for your liking, add more chicken broth or water.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Salmon Croquettes, hold the mayo

Growing up, my grandma used to make crab cakes. As I've been cooking and experimenting more, I have tried using different fish. I have also found a way to leave out the mayo that my mom so passionately hates.

Salmon Croquettes
2 lbs. salmon, cooked and flaked
1 1/2 c. leftover mashed potatoes
1 egg
1 t. mustard
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 t. Italian seasoning
1/2 c. bread crumbs, plus more for coating
Salt and pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mix all ingredients well. Form into patties and coat with bread crumbs. Saute in large skillet with thin layer of oil.

Fall Apple Salad
Romaine lettuce, torn into bite site pieces
Apple, sliced thinly
Sunflower seeds
Parmesan cheese, shaved
Red wine vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Toss lettuce with vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Top with apple slices, Parmesan and sunflower seeds.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

An Early Thanksgiving

Today I made a Thanksgiving dinner for my boyfriend, Stephen's family. His family doesn't usually have a traditional Thanksgiving meal, so I made the staples for them. I didn't get a picture of the dressing, but it was a big hit, along with the turkey, mashed potatoes and balsamic green beans.

Thanksgiving Turkey
Fresh thyme
1 lemon, zested and halved
1 onion, quartered
1 large head garlic, sliced in half
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 t. poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper

Be sure to clear out cavity of turkey. Stuff cavity with 5-6 springs of thyme, lemon, onion and garlic. Mix poultry seasoning, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, salt and pepper with melted butter. Baste turkey with half of butter mixture. Cook turkey, covered in 325 degree oven. During last 45 minutes of cooking, uncover turkey and baste with the rest of butter mixture.

Sourdough Bread Dressing
1 lb. loaf sourdough bread, cubed
1 stick butter, divided
1 onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 lb. sausage, cooked and drained of fat
1 1/2 t. dried thyme
1 1/2 t. dried sage
1 1/2 t. poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper
3 1/2 c. chicken broth

Melt 1/2 stick of butter and mix in 1/2 teaspoon of each; thyme, sage, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Toss butter mixture with bread to coat. Bake bread in 325 degree oven until bread is crusty and slightly browned, about 20-25 minutes. Set aside and let sit uncovered for 1-2 hours. In large skillet, add 1/2 stick butter and saute onions and celery for 4-5 minutes. Add mushrooms, remaining 1 teaspoon of thyme, sage and poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Stir in sausage and bread. Add chicken broth and mix well. Transfer dressing to casserole dish and cook in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Greek Nachos

I'm not sure what I was thinking when I took this picture. It looks crazy. I mean really, why does the pita bread look like bat ears? The only reason I have is that my excitement for eating this turned into a hastily taken picture. But no matter how odd the picture looks, the nachos were so yummy.

Greek Nachos
1 package pita bread
2 lbs. ground beef
1 medium sized eggplant, peeled and finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch cinnamon
1 1/2 t. dried oregano
1 t. marjoram
1 t. paprika
Salt and pepper
1 c. beef broth
Optional toppings:
Tomato, diced
Kalamata olives, chopped
Pepperoncini peppers, sliced
Onion, chopped
Tear pita bread in large pieces and arrange on sheet tray. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt. Toast in 350 degree oven to desired crispness. In large skillet, brown ground beef. Add onion, eggplant, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, marjoram, paprika, salt and pepper, and let saute for 4-5 minutes. Add beef broth, and let simmer for 15 minutes or until most of broth is absorbed. Spoon meat mixture into bowl or on top of pita bread. Top as desired.

Monday, November 9, 2009

White and Chocolate Cake???

Today is Lillian's birthday. Who is Lillian? Well, she is my boyfriend, Stephen's little sister. And Lillian is 13 years old. So what kind of cake does a 13 year old want? A white AND chocolate cake, of course.

I took a marbled cake recipe, but instead of marbling the two batters, I kept them seperate in two 8-in round pans.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Blackened Catfish

I think that blackening is such an easy way to add lots of great flavor to meats. I used to make blackened catfish on a regular basis. But as I have tried to become more inventive with my cooking, I left a lot of old favorites behind. Last week I was in the grocery store looking at the seafood section, trying to come up with something quick and easy. And I'm glad I went back to my basics. It was so yummy.

Blackened Catfish
Catfish fillets
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. dried oregano
3/4 t. chili powder
1 t. ground red pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. onion powder
1 t. paprika
1 t. salt
1/2 t. fresh ground black pepper
In small bowl, mix all the herbs and spices together. Sprinkle seasoning liberally on both sides of the catfish. Saute catfish for 3-4 minutes per side.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Orange Roasted Garlic Shrimp Skewers

My parents were here for my birthday this last weekend. We had a great, but a very busy weekend. I think that I have finally caught up on sleep. There were 3 birthdays celebrated, trick or treating, a good amount of cooking, but not enough pictures taken. So here is my one designated for this last weekend. It was great for a Sunday family lunch.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Marinated Steak Panini

I love sandwiches. I mean what's not to love... meat, cheese and bread all rolled into one. Then you can add all your favorite toppings and condiments. It's great. For some reason, my boyfriend, Stephen, thinks it is funny that I eat sandwiches so much. But he wasn't laughing about this steak sandwich, because he was too busy chowing down.

Steak Marinade
2 lbs. steak
4 chipotle peppers
2 T. A1 steak sauce
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 t. paprika
1 t. onion powder
Salt and pepper

In food processor, add all ingredients except steak. Grind until ingredients form a paste. Marinade steak for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Broil steak to desired doneness. Let rest for 10 minutes and slice thinly.
*Build your panini with your favorite cheese and toppings.
*I don't have a panini press, so I use a brick wrapped in foil to flatten out and crisp up my sandwich.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Potato Soup

I have been messing around with the settings on my camera and I'm not sure what I did, but the coloring of this picture is off. I don't know why but I need to figure it out before I take anymore pictures.

Ok Ms. Tori, here is the potato soup for you. Enjoy.

Potato Soup
3 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 onion, diced
1 bay leaf
2 cans chicken broth
2 c. half and half
Salt and pepper
Scallions, chopped

In large pot, use 2 tablespoons of bacon grease, add onions, salt, pepper and bay leaf, cook for 5 minutes. Par cook potatoes in boiling water for about 7 minutes. Drain potatoes and add to pot. Add broth and half and half. Bring to a boil and let potatoes cook the rest of the way through, stirring occasionally. When potatoes are tender, using potato masher, lightly mash some of the potatoes to thicken up liquid. Stir bacon into soup. Top with scallions.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Meat Pie

There is something about the name Meat Pie that just seems odd to me. But there is a story behind why I am calling this Meat Pie. Just before Thanksgiving last year, I asked my boyfriend, Stephen, if his parents would like a pecan pie. He told me no, so I then started asking if his parents would like other pies like pumpkin, apple, etc. Finally he told me that they really don't eat sweets and if I wanted to make them a pie, I should make a meat pie... WHAT?!? This was a conversation where we were definitely not on the same page.

Meat Pie
adapted from Rachael Ray Mag
1 1/2 lbs. steak, cubed
1 medium potato, skinned and cubed
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carton mushrooms, sliced
2 T. flour
1 t. fresh thyme
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 c. dark beer
1 t. ground red pepper
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
1 egg
Grill Seasoning

In large skillet, add potatoes and cook for 4 minutes. Add carrots and onion, cook for 2 minutes. Toss steak with flour, add to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce and ground red pepper, cook for 1 minute. Add beer and let simmer for 10 minutes, or until liquid had reduced and thickened. Roll one puff pastry sheet out and put in the bottom of a pie pan. Add meat mixture. Roll out other sheet, top meat mixture and crimp the edges. Mix egg with 1 teaspoon of water and brush on pie. Sprinkle pie with grill seasoning and cut slits in puff pastry. Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Cover with foil during last 10 minutes so the crust doesn't burn.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Shrimp with Vegetables and Rice Pilaf

I'm not a big fan of the name of this meal. It's a description but not a great name. But I don't have a better name, so it will just have to do. I wanted to hold on to some of my favorite summer vegetables before they are completely out of season. And it was quite yummy.

Shrimp with Vegetables
2lb. frozen, raw shrimp
1 green pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
2 ears of corn
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
Salt and pepper
1 avocado, diced
Fresh lime juice

Defrost shrimp. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. In large skillet, cook shrimp and set aside. in skillet, saute pepper and onion for 3 minutes. While pepper and onion are cooking, cook corn in the microwave and cut off cob. Add corn to pepper and onion and cook for 3 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir shrimp back in, turn off heat and add tomato and juice of one lime. Stir well. Top with avocado.

Rice Pilaf
1/2 c. angel hair pasta, broken
1 c. arborio rice
2 c. chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

In pot, add enough oil to coat bottom. Add pasta and rice. Stir well with oil and let toast for 4-5 minutes. Stir occasionally to insure that it doesn't burn. Mix in chicken stock, salt and pepper. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer for about 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Roasted Vegetables

I have no good reason for not posting anything for a week. I have recipes and pictures, I just haven't been taking to the time to post. This post is more about a method than a recipe. My favorite way to have cooked vegetables is to roast them. This method works for a variety of vegetables. The only thing that changes is the amount of time you roast them.

Roasted Vegetables
Broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, onions, carrots, green beans, (insert favorite veggie here)
Extra virgin olive oil
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper

Cut vegetables up in bite size pieces. Toss vegetables with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Put vegetables in single layer on sheet pan and roast in 400 degree oven to desired doneness.

*You only need about a tablespoon of oil for 1 1/2 cups of raw vegetables
*Carrots takes the longest to cook, then onions, zucchini yellow squash. Broccoli and green beans take the shortest amount of time.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup

It has been overcast and chilly in Dallas for the last 3 days. Now granted, my definition of chilly has changed since I moved to Dallas from Illinois. But we have been chilly down here. So soup was a perfect meal for a Sunday afternoon, watching the Cowboys. Though the Cowboys did when the game, their performance was disappointing. This soup on the other hand, not disappointing at all.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
3 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, sliced
2 ears corn on the cob
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 t. chili powder
1 t. cumin
1/2 c. tomato paste
6 c. chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Tortilla chips
Optional toppings: avocado, lime, shredded cheese, sour cream

In large pot, saute onions for 4-5 minutes. Cook corn and cut from the cob. Add peppers, corn and garlic, let cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cumin, tomato paste, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips and other desired toppings.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Baked Buffalo Chicken Tenders

When my boyfriend, Stephen, works a long shift at work, I try to make him something to eat. I just don't like the idea of him having to eat from the hospital cafeteria twice in one day. These chicken tenders are a bit deceiving at first because they don't look like your typical buffalo chicken. In fact, Stephen was confused when he saw his meal, but once he tried it, he was a big fan.

Buffalo Chicken Tenders
2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
3/4 c. hot sauce
1 1/2 c. bread crumbs
Cooking Spray

Coat chicken with hot sauce and let marinate for about 5 minutes. Then coat the chicken with the bread crumbs. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray, place chicken on baking sheet, then spray chicken with a thin layer of cooking spray. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Herb-Stuffed Chicken

Yesterday was my best friend, Kelly's birthday. For her birthday, I made her meals for the day. I made her a yogurt parfait with homemade granola for breakfast. For lunch I made her a chicken panini with grapes and celery sticks, carrot sticks and peanut butter. Dinner included roasted potato wedges, a spinach salad with strawberries and red onions, and this yummy herbacious chicken.

Herb-Stuffed Chicken
Printer-Friendly Version
adapted from Rachael Ray

Whole chicken, backbone removed and butterflied
1 c. fresh parsley
1 c. fresh chives
2 T. fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves
Zest of 1 lemon
2 T. olive oil
Salt and pepper

In food processor, chop parsley, chives, thyme, garlic, lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. Wiggle your fingers in between chicken skin and meat. Stuff herb mixture underneath the skin. Season top of chicken with salt and pepper. Roast in 400 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until cooked through.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Balsamic Glazed Salmon

Today is Kris and Mark's anniversary. So on Sunday, I made them dinner and took my nephew and niece, Luke and Siena out to dinner. I'm not sure what Kris and Mark enjoyed more, the salmon or a dinner without chaos. Either way, they were a very happy mom and dad.

Balsamic Glazed Salmon
1 c. balsamic vinegar
2 T. honey
Salt and pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped
Cedar plank

Soak cedar plank in water for at least 30 minutes. In small pot, simmer balsamic vinegar and honey until it is thickened and reduced by half. Place cedar plank on long baking sheet and put in 400 degree oven on the top rack for 5 minutes. Remove cedar plank, put salmon on plank, season with salt and pepper and baste with balsamic glaze. Return to oven for 10-12 minutes. Top with chopped parsley.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Omaha Steaks

When I was younger, my grandpa would order Omaha Steaks. He thought they were the best quality steaks. So when I saw an Omaha Steak store recently, I had to check it out. Everything about the store and the steaks remind me of my grandpa. Granted, my grandpa's pockets were deeper than mine are. He would buy filet mignon. My wallet preferred the sirloin steaks.

Stuffed Omaha Steaks
Sirloin steaks
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
Provolone cheese slices
Grill seasoning

In skillet, carmelize onion. Using small knife, cut a pocket in the each steak. Stuff steaks with onion and provolone cheese. Season steaks with grill seasoning. In skillet, cook steak on 8-10 minutes per side.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spanakopita Burger

By the looks of my nephew, Luke, you would think that he is a picky eater who barely eats anything. But that could not be farther from the truth. He especially loves anything involving any kind of meat. Salads on the other hand, he's not too big a fan of. So I was quite impressed with how much he liked a burger with tons of spinach. And I have to say, even though he likes tomatoes, I was surprised at how much he loved these roasted tomatoes.

Spanakopita Burger
2 lb. ground beef
1 c. frozen spinach, thawed
1 T. dried oregano
1 t. dried marjoram
1 T. fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
Feta cheese, optional

Squeeze all the liquid from the spinach. Mix all the ingredients together and form into burger patties. Cook to desired doneness.

Roasted Tomatoes
Roma tomatoes
Fresh parsley, chopped
Balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Feta cheese

Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the inside of the tomato halves. Mix together balsamic vinegar and parsley. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper. Top with vinegar mixture, olive oil and cheese. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 5-7 minutes, until tomatoes are tender.

Tzatziki Sauce
Plain yogurt
Grated cucumber
Fresh lemon juice
Minced garlic
Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together and let flavors meld.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chicken Taco Soup

Yesterday was a rainy Sunday. It was also the Cowboy's first regular season game. And what goes more perfectly with a rainy football Sunday than a hearty bowl of soup? Nothing, I say. It also just so happens to be one of my nephew, Luke's favorite meals. With a Cowboy's win, it was all around great.

I know that there are a million versions of taco soup, and I've made it several different ways. So far, this is my favorite version.

Chicken Taco Soup
2 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 80z. can tomato sauce
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 c. frozen corn
1 can chicken stock
2 pkg. taco seasoning

Combine all ingredients in a large pot over medium heat. Let soup simmer for 30 minutes. Top with any combination of shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions, tortilla chips, etc.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Buckeye Cookies

My best friend's husband went to college at Ohio State. So they threw a party yesterday for the Ohio State vs. USC game. This is the second time that they have had a party for an Ohio State game, and the second time that I have made these cookies. They were a big hit. The outcome of the game is another story.

Buckeye Cookies
adapted from
1 1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature
18 oz. smooth peanut butter
1 bx powdered sugar
1 T. vanilla
1 t. water, optional
1 pkg chocolate almond bark

Using electric mixer to cream butter and peanut butter. Slowly mix in powdered sugar and vanilla. If the filling seems dry, add water. In bowl, melt almond bark over a pot of simmering water. Roll peanut filling into balls, dip in chocolate so a small amount of filling is left exposed to resemble a buckeye. Let almond bark set up.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Beer Marinated Chicken

I have now made this recipe twice. It was great both times, I just haven't been keeping up on posting my recipes. Now even my boyfriend, Stephen, has been neglected this week. I typically cook for him at least once during the week. But that just didn't happen this week. I'm hoping next week won't be quite as busy so I can get back to cooking and blogging.

Beer Marinated Chicken
2 lbs. chicken pieces, skin on and bone in
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 in fresh ginger, smashed
1/2 onion, chopped
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/3 c. Dijon mustard
14 c. oil
1 bottle Shiner black lager beer
1 T. sweet paprika
1 t. ground red pepper
Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients except chicken in large Ziploc bag. Add chicken and let marinate for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator. Grill chicken until cooked through.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

BBQ Beef Potato Skins

My boyfriend, Stephen, and I were at a sports bar a couple months ago and decided to split a couple of appetizers. I suggested potato skins and Stephen says, I've never had those, will I like them? I was shocked and confused at how my meat-and-potatoes boy had never experienced the goodness of potato skins. So we had to order them, and of course, he loved them.

For this version of potato skins, I used thinly sliced steak to fill the skins. After I hollowed out the potato skins, I put them back in the oven to get crispy, and I used the leftover potato for mashed potatoes later in the week. Top with your favorite potato skin toppings.

Chipotle BBQ Sauce
2 c. ketchup
1/4 c. corn syrup
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
2 t. chili powder
2 t. paprika
2 t. onion powder
2 t. garlic powder
3 T. worcestershire sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
1 t. dijon mustard
3 chipotles, minced
1 t. adobo sauce

In medium sized pot, bring all ingredients to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jerk Marinated Mahi Mahi

Can I just tell you, my abs are so sore from working out with my boyfriend, Stephen, yesterday. But it was all worth it. You see, I made a deal with my boy. I told him that I would workout with him on Tuesday if he went to my hip hop class with me today... And being the good sport that he is, he agreed. He stuck it out for about half of the class before he went back to his comfort of the weights. If it's at all possible, him coming to class made me love him even more! He definitely deserved dinner after that.

Jerk Marinated Mahi Mahi
Mahi Mahi fillets
Bottled Jerk seasoning
1/4 c. white vinegar
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. vegetable oil
2 habanero peppers, minced

Mix together Jerk seasoning, vinegar, soy sauce, oil and peppers. Marinade fish for at least an hour. Saute in skillet.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Baby's Birthday

Today is my boyfriend, Stephen's birthday. He had the day off, so I took the afternoon off too. First, I surprised him by taking him to get a massage, which he LOVED. Then we went to the gym together and I worked out with him. My abs are already sore, and we only worked out 6 hours ago... so I might be struggling tomorrow. Then we went to dinner and went back to my house for cake. I would say he had a pretty good birthday!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rustic Apple Tarts

When I was in college, I brought a couple of my city friends to my small town for the weekend. They were amazed by the stars, by seeing a cow in person, the quiet and all the space and trees, including the apple trees in my parent's side yard. So we picked apples and made a homemade apple pie. Though I don't have apples from my parent's house, these tarts reminded me of the first time I made homemade pie crust.

Once I made the dough recipe, I split it into 8 equal balls to make mini tarts. Also, I only used 5 apples, 3 that I sauteed up and 2 that I sliced for the top.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pesto Pork Chops

Though these pork chops are no where close to Asian food, the inspiration came from the Asian grocery store that I recently went to. I think that I was channeling by blogger buddy over at Budget Cooking Chef, because I just couldn't pass up the fresh basil. I got about 20+ basil leaves for 59 cents. Do you hear me? Fresh basil, for 59 cents!!! Usually about 5 leaves cost me 3 dollars! I was so excited, I just couldn't resist. By the way, I'm really not a fan of this picture, but 'it is what it is'...

Pesto Pork Chops
Thin cut pork chops
Fresh basil
1 garlic clove
1/4 c. walnuts
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
1/2 c. Extra virgin olive oil
Ground red pepper

In food processor, blend basil, garlic, walnuts, lemon juice, salt, pepper, oil and red pepper. Marinade pork chops for at least 30 minutes. Broil pork chops for 5-6 minutes per side. ** I topped the pork chops with sauteed mushrooms.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chicken Satay Noodles

As a child, every Saturday morning I would go grocery shopping with my grandma. I loved going to the grocery store with my grandma, helping her get all the things on her list. It was my time with just grandma. And I still love grocery shopping today. My current fav grocery store is an Asian supermarket about 15 minutes away from me. Now if only Grandma still paid for the groceries...

Chicken Satay Noodles
adapted from Bited-Sized Thai
1/2 pkg rice noodles
3 chicken breasts, butterflied
Matchstick carrots
5 scallions
bean sprouts

1 t. cinnamon
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. black pepper
1 T. brown sugar
1/4 c. oil
2 T. soy sauce
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 Thai chili, sliced

Satay Sauce:
1 T. oil
2 t. red curry paste
1/3 c. coconut milk
1/4 c. water
2 T. soy sauce
3 T. brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Thai chili
1/4 c. peanuts, finely chopped

Soak noodles in cold water for 30 minutes. Mix marinade ingredients together in gallon ziploc bag, add chicken and let marinade for 30 minutes. In small saucepan, heat oil, add curry paste and mix together for about 30 seconds. Add the rest of ingredients, mix well and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove chili from sauce. In large skillet, cook chicken 4 minutes per side, or until just done. Remove chicken, let cool then slice thinly. In same skillet, cook carrots and scallions for 5 minutes, until tender. At the same time, put noodles in salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Add satay sauce, sliced chicken and noodles. Mix well and top with bean sprouts.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Shrimp with Mango

This is another 'I don't want to go to the grocery store' meal. And it also sparked my boyfriend, Stephen's coworker to say in her adorable southern accent, "He is so spoiled." I didn't have to work on Friday, so Stephen asked me to make him lunch for work. So I looked through the fridge and cabinets to make something for my spoiled boy.

Shrimp with Mango
1 lb. shrimp
1 c. diced mango
1/2 onion, diced
2 T. oil
1 T. honey
2 t. soy sauce
2 t. red curry paste
1 t. fish sauce
1/2 c. cashews

Marinade shrimp with oil, honey, soy sauce, red curry paste and fish sauce for 10 minutes. Saute diced onion for 5 - 6 minutes. Add shrimp to the skillet, reserving marinade. Once shrimp is cooked through, add mango and cook for 3 minutes. Remove shrimp, mango and onion. Add marinade and let it simmer for 7-8 minutes, until is reduced and thickened. Add shrimp, mango and onion back to skillet, mix together and let shrimp warm back up. Serve with coconut rice.

Coconut rice
1 can coconut milk
1 2/3 c. instant rice
4 scallions, chopped
Bring coconut milk to boil. Season with salt and stir in rice and scallions. Cover and let sit until liquid is absorbed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lasagna Rolls

Six years ago, I moved to Dallas. My brother and his family moved here and convinced me to come with them. My first summer here, I lived with them and hung out with my 3 1/2 year old nephew, Luke, everyday. One night when I was putting him to bed, he looked at me and said, "Aunt Leah, you are my best buddy forever." So yes, 6 years later, I will still do anything for my best buddy. These lasagna rolls were specifically made for Luke.

Lasagna Rolls
Lasagna noodles, cooked
1 lb. sausage
1 sm. container ricotta
1 egg
2 T. dried Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
2 c. shredded mozzarella

28 oz. tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 . Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
2 t. dried basil
2 t. dried parsley
2 t. onion powder
2 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried marjoram

In pot, bring all sauce ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Cook sausage and drain off fat. Mix together sausage, ricotta, egg, seasonings and 1 cup of cheese. Lay out lasagna noodles and spread cheese mixture over 3/4 of noodle. Starting with the end of the noodle with cheese all the way to the end, roll each noodle up. In a casserole dish, spread a thin layer of sauce. Lay the lasagna rolls in dish, seam side down. Top each roll with sauce and remaining cheese. Cover with foil, bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Chicken Enchilada Lasagna

So, I had to go back to work today. Yes, I know if you are not a teacher like me, you have no sympathy for me at all. But let me just say, I was not a fan of my alarm clock this morning. I knew that going back to work this week would be rough, so I planned ahead. I made something with lots of leftovers so I wouldn't be tempted to eat out for dinner this week.

I used flour tortillas, because that's what I had at home. For the meat layer, I used shredded chicken, diced onion, black beans, corn, chili powder and cumin.

Enchilada Sauce
3 T. oil
1 T. flour
8 oz. tomato sauce
14.5 oz. chicken stock
1/4 c. chili powder
1 t. cumin
1 t. ground red pepper
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. dried oregano
Salt and pepper

In medium pot, heat oil. Add flour and mix until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Bring sauce to boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 25 minutes or until it has reduced to desired thickness.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Chocolate Bread

It’s been awhile since I have talked about how precious my boyfriend, Stephen is, so I figured we were due for a Stephen Story. At work the other day, we trained some teachers on how to use bread makers to incorporate literacy, math, science, etc. into their classrooms. So from the training, we had leftover chocolate bread, and I took some to Stephen with cream cheese frosting. Later, I received a text that said, “Um, can I order some of that bread with the thing in it…? It was the bomb…!” (The 'thing' was cream cheese frosting sandwiched between the bread) Ok, you may not think that was adorable, but I do.

Chocolate Bread
1 1/2 c. water
4 c. white bread flour
1/4 c. sugar
2 t. salt
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1 t. vanilla
1 egg
1/2 c. cocoa powder
3 t. active dry yeast

Put ingredients, in order from top to bottom in bread machine. Use white bread course.

Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz. cream cheese, at room temp
1 stick butter, at room temp
1 box powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

Cream together cream cheese and butter. With mixer on low speed, slowly add powdered sugar, and mix until incorporated. Add vanilla and mix well.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Soda

When I was little, my grandpa made the best iced water. I know that sounds crazy, but I'm serious! My cousin, Annie and I have discussed this. I don't know what it was, but Grandpa's water was always better than any iced water we tried to make. I'm sure that it had something to do with a little girl thinking that everything her grandpa did was always the best. One of my favorite things that my grandpa made was a chocolate soda. Making this took me back to sitting at the kitchen table with my grandpa, one of my favorite memories from childhood.

Chocolate Soda
Chocolate syrup
Vanilla ice cream
Club soda, chilled

Pour chocolate syrup in a glass, the bottom rib of a soda glass or about 1/2 c in regular glass. Fill glass up with ice cream, then top with club soda. Use a long straw to stir up the chocolate, club soda and ice cream.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Creamy Rice

I have gotten to the point where I really like spicy food. Yes, it's probably because of my spicy boy. So, when I was making this creamy rice, I left the ribs in the jalapeño to add extra heat. Unfortunately, the jalapeño I bought delivered about as much heat as an ice cream truck in January. But even without the heat, my boyfriend Stephen and I both enjoyed the rice.

Creamy Rice
1 1/2 c. uncooked rice
1 1/4 c. water
1 c. sour cream, at room temp
3/4 c. half and half, at room temp
2 ears of sweet corn
4 scallions, chopped
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook 1 1/2 cups rice in 1 1/4 cups water so the rice is fluffy and can absorb more liquid. While rice cooks, cook corn and cut it from the cob. As soon as the water is absorbed, mix in sour cream and half and half. Mix in corn, scallions and jalapeño.