Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
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cajun pork and peppers fajitas
crockpot TexMex chicken stew, rice
red snapper with bell pepper and tomato
corn and red pepper bisque, cheddar jalapeno biscuits
hoisin pork with rice noodles
green chili chicken tacos, black beans
apricot glazed chicken skewers, brown rice, broccoli

Monday, May 30, 2011

Rosemary Bread for the Bread Machine

Rosemary BreadMy rosemary plant is thriving, so I was ready to use up another stalk or two. This bread is very similar to the bread you get at Macaroni Grill. It has been years since I have had their bread, but as soon as I took my first bite, it is what instantly came to mind. Miss F was excited to eat the crust, but was most excited about the butter on top of the bread. This bread would also be delicious dipped in olive oil mixed with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. I made this during the day, so C didn't have to endure the smell of fresh herbs and fresh bread baking.
Rosemary Bread for the Bread Machine

1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons white sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
pinch of each: basil, oregano and marjoram
2 ½ cups bread flour
1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select white bread cycle; press start.

Adapted from allrecipes.com
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Friday, May 27, 2011

Chicken Sriracha Stir Fry

Chicken Sriracha Stir FryI love stir fry, it comes together in minutes and it is usually reasonably healthy. I have been making stir fries since college, but back then I used a trusty bottle of premade stir fry sauce. This recipe is hands down the best stir fry I have ever made. There isn't considerable heat from the Sriracha, but there is just enough spice to make it really pleasant. I came up with this one on my own, which I am pretty proud of. Miss F and C both cleaned their plates...success!  You could do this with any vegetable combination, whatever is in your pantry.  I am going to try it with pork next time I make it.
Chicken Sriracha Stir Fry

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

Marinade for chicken:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon Sriracha

1 tablespoon cornstarch
6 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce

½ cup green beans, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
¼ onion, chopped
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 slices ginger, shredded
1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Transfer chicken to a mixing bowl. Add marinade ingredients and toss to coat thoroughly. Let stand for 30 minutes or longer. In a separate bowl, mix cornstarch, water, Sriracha, soy sauce and oyster sauce in a small bowl.
In a wok heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat, add vegetables. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a plate. Wipe wok with paper towels. Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in the wok. When hot, add ginger and garlic; after a few seconds, add chicken mixture. Stir-fry for 2 to 4 minutes. Pour in the sauce. Stir until thickened. Return vegetables to the wok. Serve over rice.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bang Bang Shrimp

Bang Bang ShrimpWhen I saw this recipe on Chef Mommy, I was intrigued. I had had Bonefish's Bang Bang Shrimp once while visiting my parents in Atlanta. I loved the shrimp, sweet and spicy. I never thought about trying to make it at home, but with my parents visiting, this recipe had to be made.  The result was perfectly delicious.  I don't fry things very often, but these were worth having my house smell like fried shrimp for a day or so.  C would wholeheartedly disagree with me.
Bang Bang Shrimp

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk

¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon dried basil

8 to 12 cups vegetable oil

Bang Bang Shrimp sauce, recipe follows

3 to 4 leaves of romaine

Combine beaten egg with milk in shallow bowl; set aside.

Combine flour, panko, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and basil in another shallow bowl; set aside.

Bread the shrimp by first coating each with the breading mixture. Dip breaded shrimp into the egg and milk mixture, and then back into the breading. Arrange the coated shrimp on a plate and pop them into the fridge for at least 20 minutes. This step will help the breading to stick on the shrimp when they are frying.

Heat oil in in a deep fryer or large Dutch oven to 350 degrees. Use amount of oil required by your fryer or enough to fill your Dutch oven with 2 inches of oil.

When oil is hot, fry shrimp 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on a rack.

When all shrimp has been fried, drop the shrimp into a large bowl. Spoon the sauce over shrimp and stir gently to coat.

Stack shrimp on bed of chopped romaine.

Bang Bang Shrimp Sauce

1/3 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sweet chili sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons Sriracha

Combine all ingredients. Toss fried shrimp with sauce.

Adapted from Chef Mommy
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread

Strawberry Cream Cheese BreadWe went picking strawberries at Froberg Farm and I was looking to make something different from my go to Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins. My parents had been in town and used just enough cream cheese on bread machine bagels to leave me with just enough for this recipe. Since I only use butter on my bagels, I usually don't have just half a block sitting around. This bread was amazing, nearly as good as the muffins.  I adapted the recipe from My Baking Addiciton.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ cup buttermilk
2 cups strawberries, rinse, dried and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Cream butter, sugar and cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla. In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend flour mixture with butter mixture just until blended. Add buttermilk and only stir until just combined; do not over mix. Carefully fold in strawberries. Dough mixture will be thick. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, cool before slicing.

Adapted from My Baking Addiction
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Sun Dried Tomato Dip

Sun Dried Tomato DipThis recipe is based off Ina Garten's recipe for Caramelized Onion Dip. I had a bunch of sun-dried tomatoes from Costco from making two recipes for the recipe swap:  Spicy Artichoke and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta and Chicken with Artichokes and Feta.  I was having my girl friends over for wine and appetizers, this was just perfect.  And as an added bonus, I got to use the fresh basil from my plant on my stoop.  It has really taken to the Houston heat and I cannot keep up with the amount of leaves it has been producing. 
Sun Dried Tomato Dip

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Stir in the basil. Add salt and pepper; taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sticky Chicken Noodle Salad

Sticky Chicken Noodle SaladOne of my most favorite dishes is Bun, Vietnamese vermicelli. I love the lettuce, cucumber and herbs tossed with the vermicelli. I drown mine in peanut sauce instead of the traditional fish sauce. When I saw this recipe on JBean Cuisine, I was intrigued. It was part of the chicken recipe swap I did a few weeks back and I put it on my list to make for the following week. This dish did not disappoint. I did make a couple of changes, adding soy sauce to enhance the flavor of the delicious sauce.
Sticky Chicken Noodle Salad

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon cooking oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup chicken stock
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/3 pack of Thai rice noodles, cooked and cooled
½ cucumber, diced
½ head of romaine lettuce, sliced
1 tablespoon cilantro, minced
2 tablespoons mint, minced

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add oil and heat for a minute.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to sauté pan and cook, flipping half way through. Cook for approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove cooked chicken from pan and set aside.

Add the minced garlic to the pan and cook for one minute. Stir in tomato paste and chicken stock. With a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to pick up all the yummy bits. Add the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and honey to the pan and bring to a boil for 3 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half.

Return the cooked chicken to pan. Continue to cook over medium heat, for an additional 10 minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked and covered in the balsamic sauce. Season to taste. Toss the noodles with the chicken and sauce. Divide between two bowls and top with cucumber, lettuce, cilantro and mint.

Adapted from JBean Cuisine
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Monday, May 16, 2011

Five Spice Pork Wraps

Five Spice Pork WrapsI thought these were delicious. I saw them on Blissfully Delicious.  C was not as impressed.  He kept cracking PF Changs jokes.  Funny thing is, he likes the chicken lettuce wraps at PF Changs a lot.  He said he didn't like them with pork.  I really did, but I think I might try the chicken version soon.  They make for a really nice and light summer meal.  And since it is already hitting the 90s in Houston, any recipe where I don't use the oven is good for me.
Five Spice Pork Wraps

1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound pork
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ yellow onion, diced
½ teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce, plus more for serving
2 teaspoons Sriracha chili sauce, plus more for serving
¾ cup chicken broth
Butter lettuce leaves, bean sprouts, thinly sliced green onions and cilantro leaves for serving

In a small bowl, combine the Chinese five spice, salt and pepper. Rub the mixture evenly on the pork. Combine the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour into the bottom of a crock pot. Add the pork and cook on low for 10-12 hrs or high for 5-6 hrs. When the crock pot is done cooking, using tongs and a fork, pull the pork apart into large chunks. Serve with lettuce leaves, steamed rice, bean sprouts, green onions, cilantro, Hoisin sauce and chili sauce.
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Friday, May 13, 2011

Chicken Ghiveci

Chicken GhiveciI honestly had never heard of Moldovian food before reading Innochka's Kitchen.  This recipe looked very interesting and full of vegetables that I love.  Sadly, C did not agree.  He picked out all the chicken, took two bites of zucchini and deemed the bell pepper to be overcooked.  Oh well, more leftovers for me.  He asked that I make "chicken seasoned with salt and pepper" and possibly "some plain vegetables."  No way is that ever going to happen.  I did use fresh thyme and rosemary from my happy herb bushes on our front stoop.  They are holding up well so far, but I do need to get to re-planting them. 
Chicken Ghiveci

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ mild onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bell pepper, seeded and sliced
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1” cubes
6 tablespoons tomato paste
2 potatoes, diced
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
½ teaspoon dried thyme
3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
½ small celeriac, cut into chunks
¾ cup dry white wine
1 zucchini, sliced
salt and black pepper

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion and red peppers and cook for 1-2 minutes, until soft. Add the chicken, and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more. Add the tomato paste, potatoes, herbs, carrots, celeriac and white wine; season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, covered for another 40-50 min. Add zucchini slices 5 min before end of cooking. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chicken and Avocado Enchiladas

Chicken and Avocado EnchiladasI am not a huge fan of enchiladas, they are okay, but I would probably prefer anything else on a TexMex menu.  Except for tamales...hate tamales.  Anyhow, if I were to have a dream enchilada, these would be it.  Once I made the deluxe tomatillo sauce, I knew I needed to try it on enchiladas.  And I needed them to be enchiladas that I would actually enjoy.  I came up with this on my own and I was really pleased with the result.  C wasn't as thrilled, his plate was cleaned, but he thought the tortillas were too soggy.  This could easily be corrected by using corn tortillas, but I much prefer flour. 
Chicken and Avocado Enchiladas

½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ jalapeno, minced
juice from ½ lime
1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
½ cup shredded Colby jack cheese
1 avocado, pitted and diced

1 cup deluxe tomatillo sauce, recipe follows
6 flour tortillas
¼ cup shredded Colby jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an oven proof dish with 2 tablespoons of the deluxe tomatillo sauce. In a medium bowl, combine the garlic powder, cumin, jalapeno, lime juice, chicken and ½ cup of the cheese. Stir well to combine. Add the avocado and toss gently to combine. Microwave the tortillas for ~30 seconds to soften. Fill each tortilla with the chicken mixture, roll each up and place seam side down in the prepared dish. After all the tortillas have been rolled, pour the remaining tomatillo sauce over top. Top with ¼ cup cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes more. Serve.

Deluxe Tomatillo Sauce

1 can (28 ounces) tomatillos, drained
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ jalapeno, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
1 cup sour cream

In a saucepan, combine tomatillos, broth, cumin, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Puree until smooth with an immersion blender. Return to heat, stir in the sour cream and cook 3 minutes more until heated through.
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Monday, May 9, 2011

Bread Machine Bagels

Whole Wheat Bread Machine BagelsI grew up loving Chesapeake Bagel Bakery. Imagine my surprise when I moved to Houston, they had a Chesapeake Bagel Bakery here in town. It changed into an Einsteins years ago, so it has been awhile since I have had a good bagel.  Baking a bagel seemed really intimidating, but this recipe looked like something I could handle.  It was incredibly easy to put together and the results were phenomonal.  The only issue is that the bagel holes weren't as large I would have liked them to be.  These will go into regular rotation around here, so much better than my normal breakfast English muffin.  I also made a batch of whole wheat bagels, swapping out one cup of the flour for whole wheat flour. They were equally delicious.
Bread Machine Bagels

1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water (110 degrees)
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
3 cups bread flour (swap out one cup of flour for whole wheat flour as pictured)
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
3 quarts boiling water
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 egg white

Place water, salt, sugar, flour and yeast in the bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough cycle. When cycle is complete, let dough rest on a lightly floured surface. Meanwhile, in a large pot bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar. Cut dough into 8 equal pieces, and roll each piece into a small ball. Flatten balls. Poke a hole in the middle of each with your thumb. Twirl the dough on your finger or thumb to enlarge the hole, and to even out the dough around the hole. Cover bagels with a clean cloth, and let rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle an ungreased baking sheet with cornmeal. Carefully transfer bagels to boiling water. Boil for 1 minute, turning half way through. Drain briefly on clean towel. Arrange boiled bagels on baking sheet. Glaze tops with egg white, and sprinkle with your choice of toppings. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until well browned.

Adapted from AllRecipes
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Friday, May 6, 2011

Egg Drop Soup

Egg Drop SoupMiss F was sick, so we were trapped at the house. And I was craving soup. I figured she would like this soup, plus the egg would give her some protein to go with her ice cream, juice and popsicle sick diet. I love thick egg drop soup, if you don't, reduce the corn starch. This soup is delicious, but I wonder how the Chinese restaurants get it to be such a vibrant yellow.  Miss F loved it!

Egg Drop Soup

4 cups chicken broth, preferably organic
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons corn starch
¼ cup water
2 eggs

In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Simmer for a minute or two and drizzle in the sesame oil and soy sauce. In a small bowl, whisk the corn starch and water together to form a slurry. Slowly pour the slurry in the broth, stirring as you pour. Return to a simmer and stir until thickened. In another small bowl, whisk the eggs. Slowly pour the eggs into the broth, stirring as you pour. Pepper to taste.
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

Cinnamon French Toast CasseroleWhen I saw this on Confections of a Foodie Bride, I knew it would be perfect for my Thursday morning playgroup. All the girls in it always make the most delicious breakfast treats. I made mini banana muffins for the kids, but I know Miss F enjoyed the French Toast casserole almost as much as the muffins. Making the casserole in a springform pan is truly genius, it looks so much nicer than the traditional casserole dish I use for my Apple and Cranberry French Toast Bake.  I don't own a kitchen torch, so I sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top instead.  I let it sit overnight, though I found the top dried out a bit.
Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

1 loaf challah bread
4 egg yolks
½ cup heavy cream
1 ½ cups milk
¼ cup sugar, divided
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

Grease a 10-inch spring-form pan with butter and set aside.

Cut Challah into 1-inch cubes (If you can do this part ahead of time, leave the bread cubes on a baking sheet to dry for a while). Place cubes in a large bowl. Whisk egg yolks, half and half, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt, vanilla, and ½ teaspoon cinnamon until well combined and pour over bread. Toss until all liquid is absorbed. Pour into the prepared pan and lightly press down on the bread to spread evenly. Let sit while oven preheats. (Alternately, you can cover and refrigerate overnight, if desired.)

Preheat oven to 325. Bake the French toast casserole for 25-30 minutes, until browned. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and remove the rim. Evenly sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon over the top. Cut into 6-8 wedges and serve warm, with fresh fruit and maple syrup.

Adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride
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Monday, May 2, 2011

Recipe Swap: Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken

Spicy Asian Noodles with ChickenMy recipe swap submission comes a bit late, but we had such a busy week last week that I didn't get a chance to make this until Sunday night. The original recipe can be found here. I made a couple of changes to the recipe and I added snow peas so we could have a one pot dish. Miss F loved the noodles, she kept asking for me to twirl them. Be sure to check out the last Recipe Swap Roundup for Side Dishes at A Taste of Home Cooking.
Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken

2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)
1 (6.75-ounce) package thin rice sticks (rice-flour noodles)

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic to pan; cook 45 seconds, stirring constantly. Add chicken and cook until cooked through, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in sesame oil and next 6 ingredients (through sambal). Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain. Cut noodles into smaller pieces. Add noodles to pan; toss well to coat.
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