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.