Saturday, December 29, 2012

DIY Peanut Butter - Roast, Grind, and Eat!

One of the Christmas presents I received was the America’s Test Kitchen DIY cookbook. It’s filled with over 100 food related projects that you can make at home (including goat cheese, nutella, and bacon!). I’ve decided to start at the beginning and make everything that appeals to me.  Starting with the first recipe, here’s homemade peanut butter. (The recipe from the book uses unsalted peanuts and 1 teaspoon of salt. I used salted peanuts and some honey)
   

Ingredients

4 c. roasted, salted peanuts
2 Tbsp. honey

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. 
  2. Roast the peanuts on a baking sheet for 5 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes..
  3. Add the peanuts to a food processor. Process for 90 seconds.
  4. Stop the food processor and scrape down the sides. At this point, you should have dry, crumbly mixture..
  5. Continue processing for another 2 to 4 minutes until the mixture changes to a creamy paste. 
  6. Scrape down the sides again, add the honey, and pulse for a few times to distribute it.
  7. Transfer to a container and store refrigerated. I had enough to fill two 8-ounce jars. 
Roasted Peanuts
After 90 seconds, the mixture will be dry and crumbly.
The final product - a creamy (delicious) paste




    Sunday, December 23, 2012

    Slow Cooker Turkey Chili - Perfect on a Cold Winter Night

    Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution

    I love weekends because I get to use the slow cooker. Everything is prepped and ready for the slow cooker in the early afternoon, and dinner's ready in the evening.

    Some tips for this recipe:

    The combination of bread and milk mixed with the turkey forms a panade - a gel which coats the proteins in the turkey and prevents the meat from becoming touch.

    I used the food processor to quickly mince the onions and garlic.

    Since most recipes rarely call for using a can of tomato paste, do what I do - buy the paste that's in a tube. Squeeze out what you need, screw on the top, then pop it back in your refrigerator.

    While soy sauce may seem like an out of place ingredient in this recipe, it's rich in glutamates, which give the dish a meaty flavor.

    Once served, I topped the chili with cheddar cheese, plain Greek yogurt and chopped scallions.

    Use a slow cooker liner to make cleanup easy.

    Ingredients

    2 slices white sandwich bread, turn into quarters
    1/4 c. whole milk
    2 lbs. ground turkey (not ground turkey breast - this will be too dry)
    2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
    3 yellow onions, minced
    6 garlic cloves, minced
    1/4 cup chili powder
    1/4 cup tomato paste
    1 Tbsp. ground cumin
    1/4 tsp. ground chipotle powder
    1 tsp. dried oregano
    1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
    1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
    1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
    1 1/2c . low-sodium chicken broth
    3 Tbsp. soy sauce
    1 Tbsp. brown sugar
    2 tsp. minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

    Directions

    1. Mash the bread and milk into a paste in a large bowl using a fork. Mix in the ground turkey, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/t tsp. pepper using your hands (time to get messy!)
    2. Wash your hands.  :)  
    3. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions, garlic chili powder, tomato paste, cumin, chipotle chili powder, oregano and red pepper flakes. Saute, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned - about 8 to 10 minutes.
    4. Stir in the turkey mixture, breaking it up into small pieces. Cook until the turkey is no longer pink - about 5-7 minutes. Add the mixture to the slow cooker.
    5. Stir in the diced tomatoes (undrained), chicken broth, soy sauce, sugar, and minced chipotles. Cover and cook on low until the turkey is tender - about 4 to 6. 
    6. Skim the top of the chili to remove any excess fat and serve.

    Saturday, December 8, 2012

    Vanilla Kipfels - My Favorite Christmas Cookie!

    This recipe came from my Grandmother who grew up in Austria. 

    My mother, sister, and I would make them every December, about a week before Christmas.  I couldn't wait when we pulled the ingredients out, and it seemed to take forever for the butter to soften. We worked from the same handwritten recipe each year, and my mother would use a different color marker each time we baked them to check off the ingredients as we added them. I still have that old marked up page, and it makes me smile whenever I use it to bake during the holiday season. This makes about 80 -100 cookies (and they go fast!)

    Ingredients:


    For cookies:
    3/4 lb butter, softened
    1 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
    1/2 c. sugar
    1 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    1 egg
    1 egg yolk
    4 c. all-purpose flour
    6 oz. slivered almonds

    For rolling:
    1 c. sugar
    2 Tbsp. Vanilla sugar

    Directions:

    1.  In a food processor or blender, process almonds until they are finely ground.
    2.  With an electric mixer, cream the butter, shortening, and sugars together until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. 
    3.  Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla extract. Mix for 1 minute. 
    4.  Gradually add the flour and almonds.  Mix well blended and no flour is visible. 
    5.  Preheat the oven to 375F. 
    6.  Using your hands, pinch off small balls of dough (about 1 in in diameter).  Roll the ball between your hands until you form a 3-inch log, then form a "U" shape with the log.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet about 1/4 inch apart. 
    7.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.
    8.  Let cool, then roll the cookies in the sugar/vanilla sugar mixture.

    Saturday, November 3, 2012

    Golden Breeze - Saturday Afternoon Cocktail

    I juice a bag of tangerines and threw this cocktail together. 

    4 oz. orange or tangerine juice
    1 can (12 oz.) cranberry/raspberry flavored seltzer
    2 shots peach schnapps

    Mix ingredients thoroughly. Serve over ice.

    Sunday, October 14, 2012

    Don't Throw Those Scallion Roots Away!

    When I read in the November/December 2012 issue of Cook's Illustrated that you could regrow scallion greens by just placing the roots in water and giving them sunlight, I had to give it a try. I made shepherd's pie (from the same issue of Cook's Illustrated) and had some scallion ends left over. I placed them in a glass, added about an inch of water, and put them on my kitchen windowsill, which gets a lot of morning sun.

    Sure enough, the scallions grew - and quick! You can see the progress in the timeline below. After 6 days, I had almost full grown scallions. They new growth tasted great - incredibly fresh and full of flavor!


    If you use scallions a lot, give this technique a try! Leave a comment describing how it worked for you.

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    Balsamic Tortellini with Bacon and Roasted Asparagus

     Ingredients:

     3/4 lb. asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
    1 Tbsp. olive oil
    1 lb. package of frozen tortellini
    1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
    1 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
    4 strips of bacon
    1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
    1 large shallot, diced

    3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
    1 tsp. chopped fresh sage

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 400F. 
    2. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix well and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
    3. While asparagus roasts, cook the tortellini according to package directions. Drain well.
    4. In a large skillet or dutch oven, cook the bacon until crisp, turning occasionally. Remove bacon from skillet and place on paper towels and crumble when cooled. Drain the bacon fat and return 1 Tbsp of it too the skillet.
    5. Cook the shallot in the bacon fat for 3-5 minutes, until slightly golden. Add the asparagus and saute for 2 minutes, then add the tortellini. Reduce heat to low and cook until heated through, stirring occasionally for 2-4 minutes.
    6. Mix the vinegar, mustard, and thyme in a small bowl. Add to the skillet and scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits. Stir to combine, then top with the Parmesan and sage.

    Sunday, September 9, 2012

    Banana Mango Smoothie

    Ingredients

    1 very ripe banana, peeled
    1  mango, peeled and sliced
    1/2 c. skim milk
    2 c. ice
    1/4 tsp. nutmeg (freshly grated, if possible)


    Directions

    Place all ingredients in blender and blend on high speed until thoroughly combined. Divide into 2 glasses and sprinkle with nutmeg.

    Saturday, September 8, 2012

    Blender = Supercharged Cheese Grater

    video
    I recently purchased a new blender, as my old one broke in the middle of pureeing a soup. It was messy. I needed to grate a cup of Parmesan for tonight's dinner (roasted cauliflower fettuccine) so decided to try it in the blender.

    Ten seconds after I started the blender, the cheese was completely broken down, even faster than in the food processor, and the blender is easier to clean. If I don't feel like grating by hand, this is going to be my go-to grating method for hard cheeses.

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Caramelized Onion and Sun-Dried Tomato Tart

    The sweetness from the onions and sun-dried tomatoes goes great with the salty, tangy feta cheese.

     Ingredients:

    1 sheet of refrigerated pie dough
    2 tsp. olive oil
    2 large onions, sliced
    1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
    6 sun-dried tomatoes, halved
    1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
    1/4 c.grated Parmesan cheese

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
    2. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and thyme, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring often. If the bottom of the pan (where the fond is) starts getting too dark, add a small amount of water and scrape up the brown bits. (Check out this post to learn more about fond!)
    3. Place the cooked onions onto the pie dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Add the halved tomatoes and feta on top of the onions. Fold the edges of the dough towards the center, leaving an open 6-incharea in the middle.
    4. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. After removing from onion, sprinkle with the Parmesan. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

    Sunday, August 19, 2012

    Panko Crusted Salmon with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

    Oil and vinegar aren't friends. Oil is fat based while vinegar is water based. Whisking them together with an emulsifier, such as Dijon mustard, allows the ingredients to blend into a creamy vinaigrette.

     Ingredients:

    1 tsp. honey
    2 tsp. Dion mustard
    2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
    1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
    1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
    3/4 c. panko bread crumbs
    12 oz.salmon filet, skin removed

    Directions:

    1.Preheat oven to 450F.

    2. Whisk together the honey, mustard, vinegar, thyme, and olive oil until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    3. Mix together the panko and 2 Tbsp. of the vinaigrette until moistened.

    4. Place the salmon on a baking sheet. Brush 2 Tbsp. of the vinaigrette on the salmon. Pat the moistened panko crumbs on the top of the salmon.

    5. Bake for 7-9 minutes until the fish is cooked through.

    Tip: Toss the remaining vinaigrette with a vegetable side or over a salad!

    Sunday, August 12, 2012

    Leftover Spinach Dip = Chicken, Spinach, & Orzo Casserole

    You had a great party last night. Fun was had by all, the food and drink were great, and today you're blearily (possibly hungover) looking into your refrigerator trying to determine what to make for dinner. Sitting in front of you is a bowl of leftover spinach dip. Sure, you could park yourself on the couch, grab a spoon, and catch up on your DVR, or you could take 20 minutes to throw this chicken, spinach and orzo casserole together.

     Ingredients:

    1.5 c. spinach dip
    1/2 c. cottage cheese
    1/2 c. plain yogurt
    1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
    1 tsp. dry mustard
    1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
    1/4 tsp. nutmeg
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
    1 c. uncooked orzo
    2 tsp. olive oil
    1 lb. chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
    1 c. shredded Swiss cheese

     Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400F  

    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the first nine ingredients (spinach dip through black pepper).

    3. Cook the pasta according to package directions, reducing the suggested cooking time by two minutes. (It will continue to cook in the oven.)  Drain and add to the dip mixture.

    4. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a medium skillet. Add the chicken and cook until no longer pink (like the orzo, it will finish cooking in the oven.) Remove from skillet and add to dip-orzo mixture.

    5. Mix thoroughly and place in 8x8 pan. Top with the shredded Swiss and bake at 400F for 20-30 minutes, or until slightly golden.  Let rest for 10 minutes, and serve.

    Don't Pan Fry Your Pork...Bake Your Bacon!



    Bacon - lots of people love this smoky, salty meat. However, different cooking methods can have some drawbacks. Pan frying bacon in a skillet requires somewhat constant attention and turning, and the bacon sits in its own fat. Microwaving bacon produces uneven results.  The solution - bake your bacon!

    1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then place a wire rack inside it.The rack elevates the bacon, so the grease drips away, and the foil allows for quick cleanup.
    2. Lay the bacon strips on the rack. Try to keep space between the strips.
    3. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes, until crisp, but not too dark.
    4. Move strips to a paper towel lined plate, add another paper towel on top of the bacon, let rest for five minutes, and enjoy! I'm using this batch in a Swiss and Bacon Dip, which is an easy, tasty appetizer.

    Sunday, July 29, 2012

    Explore Your Asian Pantry: Beef and Noodle Soup


    This soup uses ingredients that everyone should have as part of their Asian pantry. It also has the common Asian flavor combination of savory, sweet, sour and spicy.

    Tip:  Before slicing the steak, place it in the freezer for 20 minutes. The semi-frozen steak will be easier to cut.

    Serves 4
    Ingredients:
    1 lb. skirt steak sliced in 1/4 inch strips
    2 Tbsp. soy sauce
    1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
    1 Tbsp. mirin
    1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
    1 tsp. Chinese five spice powder
    1Tbsp vegetable oil
    2 shallots, sliced
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
    1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed
    4 c. beef broth
    2 c. water
    2 c.green cabbage, chopped
    3 oz. dried rice noodles
    2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
    Lime wedges

    Directions:
    1.       In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, mirin, and five spice powder. Add the chopped steak, stirring well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove beef from marinade (save the marinade) and pat dry with paper towels. 
    2.       Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add beef and stir constantly for 3 minutes, or until well browned. Remove beef from pot.
    3.       Add shallots, garlic, ginger and jalapeño, stirring for 4 minutes.
    4.       Stir in remaining marinade, beef broth and water. When simmering, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes.
    5.       Stir in the chopped cabbage, browned beef, and rice noodles. Cook for 10 minutes.
    6.       Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro and a lime wedge..

    Wednesday, July 4, 2012

    Turkey Sausage and Spinach Frittata

    Yield: 5 servings

    Ingredients:

    8 eggs
    1/4 cup milk
    2 Tbsp. cottage cheese
    1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes 
    3 links Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
    1 Tbsp olive oil
    1 medium onion, chopped fine
    3 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
    2 Tbsp. chopped chives

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400F.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, cottage cheese, red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper until well blended .  
    3. In an oven safe skillet, brown sausage over medium heat. Remove sausage and drain on paper towels.
    4. Return skillet to heat and add the olive oil. Sauté the onion for five minutes, or until translucent.
    5. Add spinach and cook until slightly wilted, about two minutes.
    6. Stir the egg mixture and browned sausage in with the onion and spinach . Cook until eggs begin to set, about five minutes
    7. Place skillet in the oven and bake for fifteen minutes, or until frittata is puffed and golden brown.
    8. Cool for five minutes, sprinkle with chives, slice into wedges, and serve.

    Wednesday, June 27, 2012

    Open Faced Egg Ricotta Sandwiches with Spinach Salad and Crispy Shallots

    This sandwich needs a snazzy name!  Add a comment below if you have any suggestions.

    I adapted this recipe from Cooking Light.  I love it because it's fast, easy, pretty healthy, and delicious.  You can get it on the table in under twenty minutes if you have all your ingredients out and prepped.

    It's definitely a knife and fork meal.  Don't expect everything to lay perfectly on top of the bread.  

    Yield:  3 sandwiches

    Ingredients:
    1/4 c. and 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided (you could use your Chile-Garlic infused oil if you made it!)
    1 large shallot sliced thin, rings separated
    1 c. ricotta cheese
    1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
    Zest and juice of one lemon, separated
    3 slices hearty white/country bread, 3/4-1" thick, toasted
    3 c. baby spinach
    2 Tbsp. olive oil (or Chile-Garlic infused oil mentioned above.)
    3 eggs
    salt
    pepper

    Directions:
    1.  Heat the 1/4  c.oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallots and fry, stirring occasionally until golden-brown.  Remove using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  Sprinkle with salt.
     
    2.  In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, parmesan, lemon zest, and 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper. 

    3.  Heat the 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Fry the eggs until the yolks are just set, but slightly runny. 

    4.  3.  In a medium bowl, toss the spinach with the lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. 

    5.  Spread the ricotta mixture on the toasted bread.  Mound it on there, like the cheese is shaving cream, and the bread is your face (or legs, depending on gender.)

    6.  Place 1/3 of the spinach on top of the ricotta.

    7.  Top with an egg and  sprinkle of shallots.  


    Sunday, June 24, 2012

    5 Steps to Chile-Garlic Infused Olive Oil

    It's really easy to create infused oils; so easy that you can do it in five steps.  This chile-garlic infused olive oil is great for sautees, salads, and anytime you use olive oil in a savory dish. 

    Ingredients:
    1 c. olive oil
    5 garlic cloves peeled,
    1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

    Directions:

    1.  Heat the olive oil on medium heat for 5-7 minutes.  You should start to see an occasional bubble rise to the surface.


    2.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes.



    3.  Simmer (small bubbles around the edge of the pan) for 15 minutes, until the garlic cloves turn light golden brown.

    4.  Strain the oil through a fine mesh strainer.  Those browned garlic cloves taste great spread on some toast!

    5.  Store the oil in the refrigerator for up to a month. 

    Sunday, June 17, 2012

    Grape Tomatoes - Cook 'em Until They Pop!

    I have a confession....I hate raw tomatoes.  I've tried them over and over again and just don't like the flavor or texture.  It could be because I was traumatized once when  my sister shoved a tomato wedge in my mouth as a kid....

    However, if tomatoes are cooked, roasted, or sauteed, I absolutely love them.  One of my favorite ways to cook grape tomatoes is to saute them until they burst.  They start to break down, and the flavor intensifies.

    In the recipe below, adapted from Cooking Light, pork chops are browned, then shallots, garlic, and tomatoes are cooked with some balsamic vinegar, just until the tomatoes begin to burst.  The combination of flavors is incredible.



    Ingredients:
    4 teaspoons olive oil, divided 
    4 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut loin pork chops, (about 1/2 inch thick) 
    1/2 tsp. salt, divided
    1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
    1/2 c. thinly sliced shallots
    2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
    2 tsp. minced garlic
    2 c. grape tomatoes
    2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
    1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

    Directions:
    1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil.
    2.  Sprinkle chops evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add pork to pan and cook 5 minutes on each side. Remove pork from pan. 
    3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, shallots, vinegar (don't stand directly over the pan when you add the vinegar!), and garlic to pan; saute 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. 
    4. Combine tomatoes, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl; toss gently to coat. 
    5. Add tomato mixture to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tomatoes start to burst. Sprinkle with basil. Serve tomato mixture with pork.

    Friday, June 15, 2012

    Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    Skillet Shrimp with Orzo - Fast, Easy, and Delicious

    This recipe is from Everyday Food Magazine, and it was AMAZING!  It's pretty quick; only about 25 minutes, and extremely flavorful.  You start off browning garlic (always a good beginning!), saute tomatoes, then add orzo and chicken broth and place in the oven.  While baking, the orzo soaks up all of the flavor from the garlic, tomatoes, and broth.  Next, you add shrimp on top add place the skillet under the broiler for a few minutes, then top with basil.  A great one pot meal!


    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Chicken Alfredo with Roasted Broccoli

    There are two things I love about this recipe.  One is the roasted broccoli.   Roasting completely changes its flavor, and makes the broccoli sweet and nutty.  The other thing I love is that it's quick.  I'd love to make a meal from scratch every night, but that's just not practical.  Taking an occasional short cut, like using jarred sauce, helps to make a tasty and quick dinner that is perfect for a weeknight.



     Ingredients:
    1 bunch of broccoli
    2 garlic cloves
    3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
    3 thin sliced chicken cutlets
    1/4 c. chicken broth
    1 1/2 c. alfredo sauce
    3/4 lb. short tubular pasta (rigatoni, cavatappi, ziti, etc.)
    Zest of one lemon

    Directions:
    1.  Preheat the oven to 450F.  Cut the florets off the broccoli.  Peel the stem (yes, it's edible!) and cut it in 1/4 inch slices.  Slice the garlic cloves into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Place broccoli and garlic on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, until the broccoli and garlic begin to brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

    2.  While the broccoli is roasting, bring a pot of large water to a boil.  Add a handful of salt, then cook the past according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

    3.  Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add to skillet.  Cook the chicken, stirring frequently, until browned on both sides, and cooked through.  Place the chicken in a large bowl, return the pan to the heat, and add the chicken broth.  Scrape up any brown bits (fond=flavor!) then add to the bowl with the chicken.

    4.  Add the roasted broccoli and garlic to the bowl, then the pasta.  Stir in the alfredo sauce and lemon zest.

    5.  Savor your dinner with a glass of wine and enjoy the rest of your evening!



    Sunday, June 3, 2012

    Fruit Smoothie with Ricotta

    I know that it sounds weird, but I put ricotta cheese in my smoothie this morning.  I was out of milk and wanted to add something to make it more substantial.  I figured I'd give the ricotta a try.  It gets very smooth in the blender, and adds a little sweetness.


    Ingredients:
    1 medium, very ripe, banana
    1 c. chopped pineapple
    1/2 c. blueberries
    1/4 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
    2 c. ice
    1/2 c. cold water


    Place all ingredients in blender.  Blend on medium speed for 2-4 minutes until smooth.  Enjoy!

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012

    Clean Out Your Spice Rack with Moroccan Chicken

     When doing your spring cleaning, don't forget about your spice rack!  Open each bottle and give it a sniff.  If the herb/spice doesn't smell like anything, it probably won't taste like anything either, and should be tossed. This recipe uses several spices to make an extremely flavorful dish.

    Ingredients:

    2 tsp. olive oil
    1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    1 yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
    2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
    1/2 tsp. ground cumin
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. pepper
    1/4 tsp. cinnamon
    1/4 tsp. ground coriander
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 1/4 c. chicken broth
    3/4 c. dried cranberries
    1/2 c. flat-leaf parsley, chopped

    Directions:

    1.  In a dutch oven or other large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and cook until browned on both sides, about 6 minutes (3 for each side.)
    2.  Remove the chicken from the pan.  TIP:  Turn the pot's lid upside down and place the chicken in there.  You're going to use the lid later on, so you'll have to wash it anyway.
    3.  Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    4.  Add the  ginger, cumin, salt, pepper, cinnamon, coriander, and garlic.  Stir for 30 seconds then add the browned chicken and chicken broth.
    5.  Bring the pot to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
    6.  Remove the chicken from the pot, cool slightly, and chop into bite-sized pieces.  Stir in the chopped chicken, cranberries, and parsley.  Cook for 5-10 minutes until heated through.  Serve over couscous.

    *Recipe adapted from Cooking Light




    Sunday, April 15, 2012

    Quick Herbed Cheddar Biscuits

    I have an overabundance of chives growing outside, so decided to make some herbed biscuits. These are quick to throw together, and use common ingredients that you probably have already.  Most biscuit recipes call for buttermilk, something I never have, so I used "clabbered" milk, which is milk combined with lemon juice.  This acidic mixture reacts with the alkaline baking powder and generates bubbles, which causes the biscuits to rise as they are baking.

    Makes approx. 12 biscuits

    2 c. flour
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. sugar
    1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
    3/4 tsp. spice blend, such as Old Bay or Penzey's Forward seasoning
    1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
    1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
    1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh dill
    1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
    1 c. milk
    1 Tbsp. lemon juice
    Cooking spray

    1. Combine the milk and lemon juice in a small bowl.  Let stand for ten minutes.  Note:  the milk will start to look curdled.  This is a good thing.
    2.  Preheat the oven to 350F.
    3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cayenne, and spice blend.
    4. Stir the chopped herbs, cheese, and milk mixture into the dry ingredients until well blended.
    5. Drop heaping tablespoons onto a parchment lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Spray tops with cooking spray.
    6. Bake 15-18 minutes, until lightly browned.   Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    Shrimp Stir Fry!

     
    Posted by Picasa

    Sriracha Dipping Sauce

    Roasting some green beans and sweet potato fries. Looking forward to dipping them. The sauce is a mixture of Greek yogurt, sriracha, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and Penzey's Forward seasoning


    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Cranberry Oat Honey Bread

    This was an easy way to use up some cranberries I had in the freezer.  I followed the recipe from Eat Yourself Skinny as written, except I added 1/2 c. of toasted, chopped pecans. 

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Prosciutto and Parmesan Palmiers - An Appetizer You Won't Forget

    Palmiers (elephant ears) are relatively easy to make, taste delicious, and make an impressive display.  The recipe below uses prosciutto and parmesan, but there are many other variations you can try - basil and sun-dried tomatoes, turkey with swiss and baby spinach.  Anything that goes well together in a sandwich would work here. 

    Ingredients:
    1 sheet thawed puff pastry
    2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
    6 slices of prosciutto
    1 c. grated parmesan cheese
    Flour, for dusting
    1. Lightly flour your work surface.  Unfold the puff pastry.
    2. Roll the puff pastry out into an approximate 12" square.  To help keep it even, roll from the middle towards the edges.  If the pastry feels like it's starting to stick, gently lift it, place more flour on the work surface and the rolling pin, and turn the pastry. 
    3. Dollop the mustard is several places on the pastry.  Using a silicone spatula or the back of a spoon, spreadh the mustard evenly over the pastry. 
    4. Lay the prosciutto over the mustard, tearing it into pieces if necessary to create an even layer.
    5. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the prosciutto. 
    6. Staring with the edge closest to you, being rolling away from you, towards the middle, into a tight log.  If you need help getting it started, use a bench/dough scraper (as mentioned in the post My Favorite Cooking Tools) to lift the dough.  Repeat the rolling with the far edge, rolling towards you. When you're done rolling, you can wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for one to two days, or continue to the next step.
    7. Preheat the oven to 375F.
    8. Using a sharp knife (serrated would be best), cut the log into 1/2 inch slices.  Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
    9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the palmiers are golden brown. 

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    Leafy, Green, Crunchy...Chips?

    The supermarket had giant bags of pre-washed, chopped kale for $1.00 so I got a bag.  I was looking online for a way to use some of it up and found some recipes for kale chips.  I was skeptical, but after making them, I'm hooked.  For those people who have made resolutions to eat better, kale chips are a great alternative to potato chips.  They have the right amount of crunch, a deep earthy flavor, and loads of vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting.

    Ingredients:
    4 cups chopped, chopped kale
    2 tsp. olive oil
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. pepper

    Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
    2. Thoroughly dry the kale, then spread on a parchment lined baking sheet.  It's important that the kale is dry, or it won't crisp and you'll end up steaming it instead.  
    3. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper.  
    4. Optional - Sprinkle with other spices/toppings.  Here are some suggestions:  chili powder, chinese five spice powder, bbq seasoning blend, garam masala (indian spice blend), finely grated Parmesan cheese.
    5. Mix well and bake for 10-15 or until crispy.