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French bread pizzas
crockpot garlic rosemary beef stew, steakhouse honey wheat bread
chipotle chicken skewers, sour cream rice, salad
out to El Real
skillet chicken souvlaki, naan, cucumber tomato salad
chicken sriracha stir fry, rice
roast pork tenderloin with acorn squash

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Shrimp Bisque

I made this bisque for my retirement dinner party. Twelve of my girlfriends joined me to celebrate the start of my stay at home mom journey. Two of my guests had my Tomato Basil Soup, I have a friend with a shellfish allergy, so I try to be accommodating for her. This soup is very rich, but isn't that what bisque is all about?
Shrimp Bisque
printable recipe

2 pounds unpeeled large shrimp
1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
10 cups water
2 bay leaf
2 fresh thyme sprig
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup dry sherry
6 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups cream

Peel and devein shrimp, reserving shells. Coarsely chop shrimp. Cover shrimp and chill.

Heat a stockpot coated with oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp shells and onion to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until shells turn pink. Add water, bay leaf, and thyme; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Drain the shrimp stock into a sieve over a bowl; discard solids.

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tomato paste; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Combine sherry and flour, stirring with a whisk to form a slurry. Add slurry to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add shrimp stock, salt, and pepper; bring to a simmer. Cook 4 minutes or until bisque starts to thicken, stirring frequently. Add shrimp; cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are done. Stir in cream; serve immediately.
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Baguettes

I am hosting a dinner party tomorrow night to celebrate my "retirement" from being a civil engineer. I am going to have the privelege of being a stay at home mom to my precious daughter and I couldn't be more thrilled. Two weeks ago, after finally realizing that homemade breadmaking was beyond my skillset, I decided to get a bread machine. I found one for $50 on Amazon.com that had reasonable reviews, so I went for it. It arrived two days later (thanks to Amazon Prime) and it has been working hard in our home ever since. Much to C chagrin, apparently, he hates the smell of fresh baked bread. Yes, he is insane. I needed a baguette for the goat cheese marinara dip and artichoke parmesan dip, so why not make it with the bread machine?
French Bread
printable recipe

3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water

Place ingredients in bread machine according to manufacturers directions. Start machine on dough setting. When dough cycle is complete, remove dough with floured hands and cut in half on floured surface. Take each half of dough and roll to make a loaf about 12 inches long in the shape of French bread. Place on greased baking sheet and cover with a towel. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450°. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown, turning pan around once halfway during baking. Remove baked loaves to wire racks to cool.
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Monday, January 25, 2010

Chicken, Pineapple and Peppers

My old roommate and friend, Lori first made this recipe and I have been making it ever since. It is a really quick and easy meal to throw together, the longest component is cooking the brown rice, but you can always use white rice if you are short on time. Miss F adored the pineapple!
Chicken, Pineapple and Peppers
printable recipe

1 onion, chopped into bite size pieces
1 lb chicken, cut into bite size pieces
1 bell pepper (any color), chopped into bite size pieces
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp ginger, minced
1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 can pineapples (in juice, not syrup)
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can fat free chicken broth
2 tbsp corn starch/ 3 tbsp water

brown rice

Sauté onion, chicken, bell pepper, garlic and ginger in EVOO over med-high heat until chicken is cooked through. Add soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pineapples, tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch slurry and bring back up to a boil, the sauce will thicken up. Serve over brown rice.
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pie of the month: Batali Family Blackberry Pie

C's fourth anniversary gift continues with a fruit pie for the new year: blackberry pie. When I found that Mario Batali had a blackberry pie recipe, I knew that was the winner. C loves Babbo in NYC, so how could he not love a Batali fruit pie? This pie was exceedingly easy and I will be making it again. As an added bonus, it is National Pie Day, what a way to celebrate!

I used Martha Stewart's pate brise recipe, increased by 50% to get a nice two crust pie crust.
Batali Family Blackberry Pie
printable recipe

4 cups fresh blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Put the blackberries in a bowl and toss gently with the sugar and flour. Drizzle with the lemon juice and toss gently again.

Transfer the berries to the pie shell and dot with the butter. Cover the filling with the dough, trim the excess dough, and crimp the edges with a fork to seal. Cut a few steam vents in the center of the crust. Bake in a 350°F oven for 1 hour, or until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling. Let cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes, and devour.

Courtesy of Mario Batali

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Chicken Piccata

I adapted this recipe from Ina Garten's. Hers was way too intense in lemon flavor and I wanted to use the sauce over pasta, which didn't work. It is very similar to my artichoke chicken pasta recipe, which is still one of my favorites. C ate his entire plate, which was quite massive. I ate half of mine, saving the rest for leftovers. Around 9:30 pm, I was craving the leftovers...and I ate the rest of it right up. Success!
Chicken Piccata
printable recipe

2 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 extra-large egg
1/2 tablespoon water
3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
Good olive oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon capers

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, saute the mushrooms in the oil until tender. Deglaze the pan with the wine, then add the lemon juice, capers, chicken broth, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon.
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Country French Stew

My friend Kristina gave me this recipe from her mom. She raved that it was the best stew she had ever tasted, too bad I chose a 65 degree plus day to make it! I would agree that it is delcious stew and it has a big bonus that it can be made in the crockpot. When I brought it to the table, C asked for some Ritz Crackers. I was puzzled, why do you need crackers with stew? His logic was that the stew was much like some of the Chunky Soup he enjoys from a can (gross) and he has crackers with that, so why not with stew. At the end of the day, he decided that the stew had a "weird" flavor in it. Miss F devoured a ton of carrots and potatoes, so she obviously didn't agree. I wonder what he considered weird, considering all the flavors in the sauce are things he enjoys. Who knows...I am guessing he will be downstairs for cereal in no time.

Country French Stew
printable recipe

6 slices bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 boneless beef chuck roast, 2 pounds, trimmed of fat cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion cut into ½ inch wedges
2 cups carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
6 to 8 new potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups red Zinfandel
1 cup beef both
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 can, 14.5 ounce diced tomatoes
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. In a nonstick skillet, cook bacon over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Place bacon in slow cooker. Discard all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat in skillet. Cook beef in bacon fat in batches 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown. Stir onion into beef. Cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Sppon into cooker.

Stir carrots, potatoes, wine, broth, flour, basil, thyme, salt, pepper and tomatoes into cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Stir in mushrooms and paprika and cook on low for 20 to 30 minutes more.
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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Fat Bread

I first had this amazing bread at my friend Courtney's birthday party. Her family had made some amazing gumbo, but I couldn't stop stuffing my face with this tasty bread. It is so good. The 'secret' ingredient is the McCormick Salad Supreme. It took me three grocery stores to locate it, but I was on a mission. Our little family of three devoured nearly the entire plate full of the fat bread. It is super yummy. C was excited for it because it calls for garlic powder instead of real garlic...

I can eat a ton of this bread, I see why it's called Fat Bread.
Fat Bread
printable recipe

1 loaf French bread
1/2 stick softened butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 green onions, sliced finely, green and white parts
3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
3 ounces grated Mozzarella
2 teaspoons McCormick's Salad Supreme

Slice the bread lengthwise.

Mix the butter and the garlic powder, sliced onions and spread over each cut side of the bread. Sprinkle the Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese over the butter. Sprinkle the Salad Supreme over the cheese. Place under the broiler until slightly brown and heated through.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pasta Pie

When I first saw this recipe on Noble Pig, I knew I had to try it. The key should have been not to try it on a weeknight when I got home a little late from work with a whining C and Miss F hovering around the kitchen like two starving vultures. I am not sure whether this was a resounding success or not. Next time I will double the sauce recipe (which I included in this recipe here), because a lot of my pasta was sauceless and I would have like some extra. C said next time to just bake the pasta "normally", I am guessing like baked ziti. He has no appreciation for "pretty" food and at this point was irritated that the food had to be photographed at all, since he had been ready to eat for hours.
Pasta Pie
printable recipe

1 pound rigatoni
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound ground turkey
½ onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cans (28 ounces) good quality crushed tomatoes
Butter, for pan
Salt
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces coarsely grated mozzarella

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until slightly underdone. One pound of pasta should be cooked in 6 quarts of water, make sure you are using a big enough pot so the pasta doesn't stick together. When done, rinse in cold water and drain again. Toss pasta with 1 tablespoon olive oil to coat. Set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned. Add garlic, basil and pepper. Cook 2 minutes more.

Add crushed tomatoes; simmer until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Toss pasta with Parmesan cheese. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Tightly pack pasta into pan, standing each piece on end. Spread meat sauce on top of pasta.

Push the meat sauce into the pasta holes filling each one up. Stuffing the meat into the holes is a weirdly satisfying task. Enough said.

Place in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and bake another 10-15 minutes until cheese is golden. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen and then unmold.

Cut into wedges and serve with any remaining meat sauce you might have.
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Pepperoni, Sausage and Mozzarella Stuffing

One of C's favorite meals we ever ate was at Butter in New York City. Imagine my surprise when I caught The Cooking Loft on the Food Network, hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli, executive chef at Butter. If anyone from the Food Network is reading this, bring it back, I like it so much better than her current show, but I am still thrilled she is on television. She did a Thanksgiving show featuring roast turkey with a pepperoni, sausage and mozzarella stuffing that looked unbelievable decadent and C had to have it. Every time I make a turkey, he requests it. He finally got his wish yesterday. I adpated her recipe a lot, so it was really an inspiration, not a go-by. I didn't stuff the turkey with it, because I selfishly wanted traditional stuffing, not a meaty-cheesey one.

Pepperoni, Sauasge and Mozzarella Stuffing
printable recipe

6 slices of white bread
1 tablespoon butter

½ pound breakfast sausage
30 pepperoni slices
2 ribs celery, sliced
½ onion, diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
¼ cup white wine
½ pound mozzarella, cubed
½ to ¾ cup chicken broth

Toast the bread, butter each piece on both sides. Cut into ¼ to ½ inch squares and place in a large bowl.

In a large sauté pan (I prefer stainless to non-stick for this recipe), cook the breakfast sausage over medium heat, breaking it up as you cook through. Add the sausage to the bowl with the bread, keeping the fat in the pan. If the sausage didn’t produce a lot of fat, add a tablespoon of butter to the hot pan. Sauté the pepperoni, celery and onions until tender, for approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, making sure to scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan left by the sausage. Add the thyme and sage, simmer for a minute. Add the pepperoni, celery and onion mixture to the bowl with the bread an sausage, stir. Add the mozzarella and the chicken broth so that all the bread is moistened.

Add this mixture to a large covered casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes to warm through or stuff a turkey with it.
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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Egg Nog French Toast

C had requested this last weekend, but I ahd already bought the apples for the Cranberry and Apple French Toast bake, so he was out of luck. I bought another loaf of French bread yesterday to make this for him. I hate egg nog. I think it is one of the most vile drinks you could in get. Surprisingly, this weren't too bad. C had conceded that they weren't too egg noggy at all, that must have been why I thought they were alright.

Egg Nog French Toast
printable recipe

1 egg, beaten slightly
3/4 cup egg nog
ground cinnamon
ground nutmeg
6 slices French bread

Combine the egg and egg nog in a shallow bowl. Dip each bread slice into the mixture, sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg in between each dip. In a greased skillet over medium heat, fry up the dipped slices. Serve warm with powdered sugar and syrup.
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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Chicken Cheesesteaks

I got this recipe from the amazing Confections of a Foodie Bride. This is such an easy, quick fix weeknight meal. I absolutely loved it and I will work it into our usual rotation for sure. Even Miss F enjoyed her cheesey chicken. I adapted her recipe a bit to suit what I had on hand and to get the cheese melted more, I broiled the complete sandwiches. I won't eat cheese that isn't warm and melty, unless it is a soft cheese. It's my thing...

Chicken Cheesesteaks
printable recipe

2 chicken breasts
½ onion, sliced
½ green bell pepper, sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 slices provolone cheese (I used shredded pizza cheese blend of mozzerella and provolone)
2 sub rolls

Slice the chicken breasts thin, this is easier after freezing for ~15 minutes.

Split the rolls and place under the broiler for one minute to toast.

Saute the onion and bell pepper in olive oil over high heat. Add salt, pepper and soy sauce to the pan. Add the chicken to the onions and bell peppers and stir-fry until the chicken and onions brown just a bit. Scoop the hot chicken mixture into a sub roll with provolone and return to the broiler for 30 seconds to get the cheese all warm and bubbly.
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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Apple and Cranberry Baked French Toast

I first made this for my breakfast club at work. I made two 9x13 pans of it and every single piece was gone. Some people came back for thirds, it was a definite hit. C had asked for egg nog French toast, but I think egg nog is grosser than gross, so there was no way I was making it. He was disappointed, but still managed to eat three giant pieces. Even Miss F ate an entire slice. And the bonus is we have leftover dried cranberries for her to snack on.

Apple and Cranberry Baked French Toast

Ingredients:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 loaf French bread or any other sweet bread, such as brioche or Hawaiian.
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

Combine brown sugar, butter and 1/3 cinnamon in a 13 X 9 baking pan. Add apples and cranberries; toss until you coat the fruit well. Spread apple mixture evenly over baking dish. Arrange slices of bread on top of fruit/sugar mixture.

Mix the eggs, milk, vanilla and remaining cinnamon and pour over the bread; make sure the bread is completely soaked.

Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 24 hours.

Bake covered in a 375 degree oven for approx 40-50 minutes. Uncover and bake another 5 minutes to lightly brown. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes; serve warm.
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