Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
beer braised chicken thighs, lemony potato rounds, green beans
Cajun shrimp fettucine alfredo, broccoli
General Tso's Chicken, white rice, broccoli
corn chowder with avocado and lime, short rib empanadas
salsa verde chicken salad
Hawaiian chicken sandwiches, sweet potato fries
veal scallopine with mushrooms and madeira, mashed potatoes, asparagus

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chicken Souvlaki

chicken souvlakiIt's no secret how much I love Greek food, especially from Niko Nikos.  When I saw this recipe in the September 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living, it immediately went into our menu plan.  I used my regular pita bread recipe, which I am still working on getting the pitas to be nice circles.  It was very similar to Chicken Gyros, but with a little brighter flavor thanks to all the fresh lemon juice.  Miss F gobbled up the chicken and kept exclaiming "more pita!"  Considering she rarely likes breads, I take that as a success.  Normally, she is shouting "more meat!"  The skewers would also be great on the grill...if only we had one. 
Chicken Souvlaki

1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon coarse salt
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2” cubes
1 cucumber, chopped
½ cup fat free Greek yogurt
3 plum tomatoes, cut into eighths
½ onion, cut into 2” pieces
Pita bread

Whisk together lemon zest, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, half of the garlic, oregano, oil and salt. Add chicken and toss to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature. Stir together remaining lemon juice, remaining garlic, remaining salt, cucumber, and yogurt. Thread the chicken, tomatoes and onion onto metal skewers and place on a broiling pan. Broil for 5 to 7 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Serve skewers with pita and cucumber yogurt sauce.
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Monday, August 29, 2011

Pork Tonkatsu

Pork TonkatsuI love getting free magazine subscriptions on the internet, esepcially cooking magazines. I had three free issues of Bon Appetit and I liked them so much, I almost paid for a subscription.  This recipe is from the July 2011 issue, Pork Tonkatsu with with watermelon-tomato salad.  I decided to omit the salad and serve the pork with white rice and Sesame green beans.  Sesame green beans are simply steamed green beans tossed with a drizzle of Sesame oil and sesame seeds.  It is a simple side and pairs perfectly with the pork.  C said these were better than my beloved Pork Things.  I am not so sure about that, but I certainly did enjoy this version.  But how could anything dipped in Panko then fried be bad?
Pork Tonkatsu

1 egg
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 boneless center-cut pork chops, pounded to 1/8" thickness
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

Whisk eggs and mustard in a medium bowl. Combine Panko, salt, and pepper on a large plate. Dip in egg mixture, then in Panko, pressing to adhere. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook pork until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side, adding 1 tablespoon vegetable oil after turning. Drain on paper towels.
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Friday, August 26, 2011

Lemon Chicken and Asparagus Pasta

Lemon Chicken and Artichoke PastaThis dish is loosely based on one of my most favorite pasta dishes, Creamy Artichoke Lemon Chicken Pasta.  When C tasted it, he said it was "too bitter."  I was perplexed, he went on to explain, "bitter, like a lemon."   Ah, means too sour, not bitter.  Point taken, but he loves the Creamy Artichoke Lemon Chicken Pasta, must be the bacon that cuts the sourness of the lemon.  So if you aren't a huge fan of tartness, reduce the lemon juice to 1/4 cup.  I am a huge fan of the tartness, so it must mean more of the leftovers for me.  Next time I am going to add fresh peas and I will scale back the lemon for Mr. Bitter.
Lemon Chicken and Asparagus Pasta

1 pound penne pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved and pounded to ¼ inch thickness
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Zest of one lemon
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ onion, chopped
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
½ cup white wine
1 ½ cups chicken broth
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter, chilled
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add pasta, and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. In a bowl, stir together flour, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Lightly coat chicken with flour mixture. Sauté the chicken until cooked through and golden brown on both sides. Remove the chicken and drain on paper towels. Add the onion and asparagus to the pan and sauté for 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth and lemon juice, cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the cream and the butter to the sauce, stirring until completely incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Slice the chicken breasts into strips, and return them to the pan. Stir in the penne to coat with the sauce. Serve.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Recipe Swap: Caprese Pasta

Caprese PastaIt's been awhile since I participated in a recipe swap, but as soon as I saw that this week's theme was Italian, I knew I had to participate. I submitted Penne alla Vecchia Bettola, which is probably my most favorite pasta dish to make. I again was lucky to get the swap's hostess' recipe for Caprese Pasta.  The recipe was daunting, since there were no measurements.  I went ahead and used shredded mozzarella per the original recipe because I had it on hand and I made a huge batch of it. Since my basil plant died a couple months back, I got a Living Basil plant from Kroger. It is hydroponically grown and only cost 50 cents more than a bunch of basil. Let's see how long it lasts...
Caprese Pasta

1 pound pasta of your choice, I used Campanelle
6 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
15 to 20 basil leaves, cut in a chiffonade

Boil pasta per package directions, drain, run under cold water and set aside to cool. In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the cooled pasta, cheese and basil. Serve.
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Monday, August 22, 2011

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup

Chicken Enchilada SoupWhen I saw this on Pinterest, I was instantly interested. I have a weird issue with beans, as in, I don't like them. But I will eat beans in soup. I have no idea what the difference is, but it works for me. This soup is no exception. I made some changes from the original recipe, cream of chicken soup does not get used in my house, so I found an easy swap out to make it homemade. It was really easy and the soup definitely benefitted sodium wise. As soon as I smelled the soup simmering away, I knew I would love it. And I wasn't wrong. It was amazing. Miss F said "I love soup!" I am already planning on making it again with a homemade enchiladas verde sauce and fresh cilantro.
Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
½ cup chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 can (15 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 ounce) Rotel diced tomatoes and jalapenos
1 package (10 ounce) frozen corn
½ cup onion, chopped
½ cup bell pepper, diced
1 can (10 ounce) Enchilada sauce
2 whole chicken breasts
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in flour; keep stirring until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and add the chicken broth and ½ cup milk, a little at a time, stirring to keep smooth. Return to heat. Bring sauce to a gentle boil; cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens.

In a crockpot, combine drained beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, and bell pepper. Place 2 chicken breasts on top of the mixture.

In a large bowl, whisk together the enchilada sauce and chicken broth mixture . Gradually whisk in remaining milk until smooth. Pour sauce mixture over ingredients in cooker. Cover; cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.

Remove chicken and cut or shred into bite-sized pieces. Add chicken back into the soup. Top with cheese and serve. The soup can also be topped with avocado, sour cream, or crushed tortilla chips.
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Lime Tart

Lime TartI found myself with an excess of limes from the Foodarama sale, so I decided to come up with a dessert to snack on for the week. One of my most favorite desserts is lemon mousse, made by making a lemon curd and folding it into whipped cream. I decided to make a lime curd and do the same, except to put it in a graham cracker tart crust a la Key Lime Pie. Key Lime Pie has been a favorite since childhood. I remember going to the restaurant at the top of the Hyatt in Baltimore whenever I made straight A's on my report card. I always got crabcakes and Key Lime Pie. C thought this was "too limey," ut I thought it was perfectly limey. If you aren't a fan of tart desserts, reduce the lime juice to 1/2 cup.
Lime Tart

½ cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup lime juice
Pinch salt
5 egg yolks

¾ cup cream

1 ¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup sugar

Melt the butter over medium heat in a small sauce pan. Whisk in the sugar, lime juice, salt and eggs. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly for 10-15 minutes, until the curd has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Cool for 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350. In a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Press the graham cracker mixture into the tart pan. Bake for 8 minutes, cool.

Whip the cream until soft peaks form, fold the cream into the lime curd. Spoon the lime mixture into the cooled crust. Top with lime slices and refrigerate until ready to eat.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer Sweet Corn Pasta

Summer Sweet Corn PastaWhen I saw this recipe on Taste of Home Cooking, it struck me as the pasta version of chicken corn chowder.  I was able to satisfy C's "where's the meat" questioning with bacon and Miss F was a massive fan.  I made a lot of changes to the recipe, adding some wine for more flavor and omitting the cheese because I didn't think the sauce needed it.  Getting the corn prepped wasn't exactly the easiest of tasks, but it was so worth it.  Miss F snacked on the fresh corn kernels while I swept, re-swept and swept again.  There was corn debris all over the kitchen.  I will have to try fresh corn in the chowder next time I make it because it made such a huge difference in the sweetness.
Summer Sweet Corn Pasta

1 pound pasta of your choice (I used thin spaghetti)
6 slices bacon, chopped
6 ears corn on the cob, shucked
½ onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
5 large mushrooms, quartered
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup half-and-half
1/3 cup white wine
½ cup chicken stock
½ teaspoon thyme
A few dashes of hot sauce
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
½ cup sweet basil leaves, cut in a chiffonade

Bring a large pot of water to boil over medium heat. Salt the water, add the pasta and cook according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet and add the bacon and cook for a few minutes until rendered and crisp.

Put a small bowl inverted into a large bowl, steady the corn cobs on the smaller bowl and scrape the ears. Add three-quarters of the scraped corn and any corn liquid to the pan with the bacon. Add the onion, red pepper and mushrooms; liberally season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.

Add the remaining corn and half-and-half to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Pour the wine over the corn and vegetables to deglaze the pan. Pour the stock into the corn and vegetables and simmer over low heat for a minute to reduce. Stir in the corn-cream mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, to thicken. Add the hot sauce, thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan, toss with the sauce. Top with basil.
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Monday, August 15, 2011

Guess Whoooo's Having a Baby Boy: Owl Baby Shower

One of my dearest friends, Jen, is having a baby boy. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding and hosted a fantastic wedding shower for me.  Since she eloped to Las Vegas, I had to make it up to her with a baby shower.  It was such a fun afternoon.  There were so many guests, people came from Illinois, Montana and Wisconsin to help celebrate this wonderful occasion.  When I sent Jen a link to TinyPrints to get an idea of what kind of invitation she was looking for, she immediately liked this owl invitation.  I was so thrilled that she chose the owl invite, I had wanted to host an owl themed birthday party for Miss F's second birthday, but I got overruled with her circus obsession.

Jen's favorite food is TexMex, specifically Chuys.  So I came up with a menu of casual TexMex fare, with some of Jen's favorites.  She loves the skillet queso from Chili's, so of course we had to include it.  My friend Shannon made an amazing cake to replicate the invitations, she is unbelievably talented.  I attempted fondant sugar cookies for Miss F's first birthday party...they were a disaster.  Shannon is a miracle worker for doing what she does with fondant.  I had such a lovely time planning and hosting this shower with my friend Melissa.  I think the most time consuming part was slicing all the fruit for the skewers.  Other than that, everything came together quite quickly.  Though I did learn a good lesson, do not have something in the oven, four burners going on the cooktop and 40 guests over on a 100 degree day...our air conditioner just couldn't handle it.  Once everyone cooled off with a drink, we were set to open the massive amount of baby gifts, everyone was beyond generous.  We can't wait to meet Jen's baby boy!

Jen's Shower Menu

Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas
Skillet Queso
Strawberry, mango, pineapple and cantaloupe skewers
Vegetables with jalapeno ranch dip
Salsa, Guacamole, and Creamy Jalapeno Sauce
Chocolate cake
White wine peach Sangria

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Apricot Dijon Pork Chops

Apricot Dijon Pork ChopsI recently discovered a really neat blog, Budget Bytes. It's no secret that I love saving money, who doesn't? I spent a good hour pinning items on my Pinterest from the blog, there were so many good recipes to choose from. This is the first one I have cooked from the blog and it happens to be the original recipe that I had the link to. Years ago, I made a fantastic apricot chicken recipe, but I have since lost the recipe on some hard drive somewhere and I have tried recreating a few times, with little success. C started off saying that the kitchen smelled "pungent." Uh oh. Turns out, he really liked the sauce, surprise suprise. He also liked the Hassleback potatoes, even though he didn't want to.
Apricot Dijon Pork Chops

½ cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 thin cut pork chops

Whisk together the preserves, mustard, vinegar, garlic powder and water. Set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Salt and pepper the pork chops. Sauté the pork chops in the skillet until cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the pork chops to a plate and tent with foil. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the apricot sauce to the pan. Stir the sauce for 2 minutes, scraping the pan drippings from the bottom of the pan. Salt and pepper to taste. Return the pork chops to the skillet and coat with sauce. Serve.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer Shrimp Creole

Summer Shrimp CreoleC hates all things seafood. Lucky for me, Miss F loves shrimp. So whenever C is out for the evening, I try to cook something with shrimp for Miss F and I. This is a new recipe of my own invention using fresh summer zucchini and tomatoes. I am not a huge fan of the celery traditionally found in Creoles and the zucchini is so much nicer with the tomato and bell pepper. I am going to try the zucchini for celery swap the next time I make Jambalaya 'Marylaya.'  I am so happy to have a little girl who loves to eat shrimp as much as I do, only problem, she steals them from my plate!
Summer Shrimp Creole

1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and de-veined
½ medium onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon corn starch
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons snipped green onions
2 cups white cooked rice

In a large skillet cook onion, zucchini, tomato, and bell pepper in butter over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more. Stir in canned tomatoes, paprika, salt, cayenne pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Whisk together the corn starch and water in a small bowl, stir the corn starch slurry and shrimp into the tomato mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes or until shrimp turn opaque. Salt and pepper to taste, serve over white rice and sprinkle with green onions.
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Monday, August 8, 2011

General Tso's Chicken

General Tso's ChickenI have been meaning to make this recipe forever, ever since I saw it on Cook Like a Champion. This recipe was a comedy of errors for me. I forgot to get green onion at the grocery store, which I thought would be no big deal. Then, I realized as I was about to cook the dish, we had no eggs and about 1/4 cup of white rice. So off to the store I went as soon as C got home. I decided to modify the recipe because I didn't want to dirty 4 pots and I didn't think it was a huge deal. When I served the chicken, C was curious as to why it wasn't crispy fried. Hmmm...I had never had General Tso's chicken before, but I guess I need to actually fry it instead of stir fry it. Nonetheless, I adored this recipe, fried or not. As did Miss F. She even ate a whole piece of broccoli.
General Tso’s Chicken

1 ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 large egg white
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon soy sauce
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Chinese chile-garlic sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Steamed broccoli and white rice, for serving

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, egg white, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and all but 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch. Add chicken and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together chicken broth, chile-garlic sauce, sugar, remaining soy sauce and cornstarch. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the ginger and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken to the pan and sauté until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Whisk the broth mixture, then add it to the pan. Cook about 3 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and glossy. Stir in green onions. Serve immediately with broccoli and rice.
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Friday, August 5, 2011

Chocolate Chip Blondies

Chocolate Chip BlondiesI have honestly never had any desire to bake blondies. I don't get the idea of eating a brownie with no chocolate. When I saw these on Martha Stewart, it piqued my interest. They were essentially a large, chewy, chocolate chip cookie.  The best part of this recipe is how quickly it is mixed together.  You don't even need a mixer, just a whisk, a spoon and a bowl.  Of course C had his smothered in ice cream...cookies n' cream ice cream.  Nothing like making a rich dessert even more rich.  One square was enough for me, just the perfect bite of dessert.
Chocolate Chip Blondies

½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted, plus more for pan
½ cup packed light-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush an 8-inch square baking pan with butter. In a large bowl, whisk butter and sugars until smooth. Whisk in egg and vanilla. Add flour and salt; mix just until moistened (do not overmix). Fold in the chocolate chips. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Set pan on wire rack, and let cool completely. Cut into 16 squares.
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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Crispy Margarita Tacos

Crispy Margarita Chicken TacosThe inspiration for this recipe was one of the very first things I "pinned" on Pinterest. The recipe was from A Taste of Home Cooking and included a strawberry-avocado salsa that I knew would be a fail in our house. The more I thought about it, as much as I love Panko, they didn't seem right for tacos. But tortilla chips did seem perfect. I have made tortilla crusted chicken before, it is one of my favorite quick meals.  I loved the idea of the original recipe to marinade the chicken in lime juice and tequila, much like the main dish I made for my Foodbuzz 24x24 party.  The marinade added so much flavor to the chicken, when I make the plain chicken again, I will marinade it for sure.
Crispy Margarita Chicken Tacos

2 chicken breasts, sliced

Marinade:
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup tequila
2 tablespoons lime juice
zest of 1 lime
½ teaspoon cumin

1 cup crushed tortilla chips
1 egg
¼ cup milk

Sauce:
¼ cup sour cream
1 small avocado, pitted and peeled
1 tablespoon cilantro, minced
juice of one lime
salt

6 to 8 tortillas
Toppings: shredded cheese, cilantro, lime wedges

At least 2 hours, but no more than 24 hours before making the tacos, combine the marinade ingredients in a plastic food storage bag. Put the chicken in the bag, seal and let marinate in the fridge until ready to cook.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, whisk the egg with the milk. In a food processor, pulse the tortilla chips until they resemble a fine powder. Put the crushed tortilla chips in a separate shallow dish. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture. Dredge the chicken into the crushed tortilla chips and toss gently to coat. Place the chicken in a greased wire rack on top of a cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

While the chicken is baking, make the sauce. In a small food processor or blender, add sour cream, avocado, cilantro, and lime juice. Process until smooth, salt to taste.

Heat tortillas, then serve with crisp chicken, sauce, and toppings.
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Monday, August 1, 2011

Zucchini Fries

Zucchini FriesI first saw a recipe for zucchini fries on Macaroni and Cheesecake, then days later I saw it on Confections of a Foodie Bride. It was a sign. Anything made with Panko is always delicious. I never bought Panko much because of the price. Then my friend Courtney told me that Panko was always a steal at the Foodarama. She has tipped me off to so many good prices there (20 limes for $1). So Panko has become more of a staple around here and I couldn't be happier. C ate every single one of these. Which absolutely floored me considering he pushed all the zucchini off of Chicken Bruschetta. I guess he selectively likes zucchini. Any other ideas of veggies to cover in Panko and bake?
Zucchini Fries

¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 egg
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Salt
Pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
dash cayenne pepper
2 zucchini, cut into 5” strips

Preheat oven to 425 and grease a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Place flour in a large zipper bag. Whisk eggs with 2 tablespoons water and place in a shallow dish. Place Panko, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a shallow dish and mix to combine. Place zucchini in the bag with the flour and shake until well coated. Dip the zucchini into the egg and then into the Panko, turning to coat well. Place breaded zucchini on the greased baking sheet. Bake 18-20 minutes, until golden brown.
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