Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
crockpot pepperoncini beef sandwiches, Kaiser rolls, fruit
basil panko chicken tenders, corn on the cob, cucumber salad
out to Capital Grille
chipotle chicken pasta, pao de queijo
French bread pizzas, salad
cooking class at Quattro
creamy tortilla soup, tomatoes with cilantro pesto

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cajun Chicken Pasta

cajun chicken pastaI have made Cajun Chicken Pasta before. And I really enjoyed it and thought it would be fantastic with the addition of bell peppers. When I caught an episode of The Pioneer Woman on The Food Network, this was once of the featured recipes. I knew I had to try it, with some adaptations.  I think the next time I make it, I will include the tomato paste since the Roma tomatoes disentegrated and didn't really add any good tomato flavor, just tomato skins to get stuck in your teeth.  Miss F slurped this recipe up, even sampling the bell peppers.  For the record, she prefers orange to green.  Must be because it is Halloween~ I hope everyone has a spooky Halloween!
Cajun Chicken Pasta

2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
3 teaspoons Tony Chacheres or Cajun spice blend
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced
½ onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 whole Roma tomatoes, diced
2 cups chicken broth
½ cups white wine
1 cup cream
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 pound cooked fettuccine

Sprinkle 1 ½ teaspoons Cajun spice over the chicken pieces. Toss around to coat. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Stir fry the chicken until cooked through, remove with a slotted spoon to a clean plate. When heated, add peppers, onions, and garlic. Sprinkle on remaining Cajun spice, and add salt if needed. Cook over medium high heat until peppers and onions are tender. Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove all vegetables from the pan and add to the plate with the chicken.

With the pan over high heat, pour in the wine and chicken broth. Cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Reduce heat to medium low and pour in cream, whisking constantly. Cook sauce over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until cream starts to thicken the mixture. Add cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Finally, add chicken and vegetables to the sauce, making sure to include all the juices that have drained onto the plate. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and hot. Add drained fettuccine and toss to combine.
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Spicy Apricot Pork Tenderloin

spicy apricot pork tenderloinMy most favorite pork tenderloin recipe is my mom's Soy Lime Pork Tenderloin. This recipe may be my second most favorite. The inspiration for this recipe comes from the fantastic Oishii Food. Miss F devoured it, spicy and meat are her favorite tastes. The pork is full of flavor, with a touch of spicy and sweet.  Pork tenderloin is such a great weeknight meal because it cooks up so quickly.  The best part of this recipe is that it doesn't need to be marinaded in advance.
Spicy Apricot Pork Tenderloin

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 heaping tablespoons apricot preserves
Juice of half of a lemon
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 pork tenderloin

Whisk together the oil, preserves, lemon juice and Sriracha in a large bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the pork, tossing to coat. If grilling, grill 6 minutes per side, basting with the apricot mixture every turn, until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. If using a broiler, broil about 4 inches away from the heat source, turning and basting every 5 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. Tent the pork with foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice and serve.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chipotle Short Rib Tacos

chipotle short rib tacosI had originally intended to make this recipe just as it read in Epicurious, but the more I thought on it, the more I wanted them as tacos. I absolutely adore the recipe for Short Ribs in Tomato Sauce, I never thought shredded meat could taste so delicious. I merged the shredding technique with the original recipe. The result was one of the best tacos I have ever eaten. The spice of the Chipotle, the tang of the lime juice and the sweetness of the tomatoes made for the perfect taco. These are definitely going to be in regular rotation at our house. I ate three of these tacos for dinner, with the justification that corn tortillas are small.
Chipotle Short Rib Tacos

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 boneless short ribs

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups chicken broth
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
Juice of one lime
1 ½ tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chilies

1 avocado
2 tablespoons sour cream
Juice of ½ lime

Mix first 5 ingredients in bowl; sprinkle all over short ribs. Place ribs on plate; cover and chill 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat the oil in large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the short ribs until browned on all sides. Remove the ribs to a plate. Add the onions and sauté for 4 minutes, until the onions are soft. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more. Add broth and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Add tomatoes, lime juice, and chipotle chilies. Return ribs to pot, in a single layer. Bring to boil; cover and cook in oven until ribs are just tender, about 1 ½ hours. Remove pot from oven. Tilt pot; spoon off fat. Remove the ribs from the pot and shred with two forks. Return the shredded meat to the pan and stir, salt and pepper to taste.

In a mini-chop food processor, puree the avocado, sour cream and lime juice. Add salt to taste. Serve the meat on warm corn tortillas with the avocado sauce and lime wedges.
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Crab and Corn Chowder

corn and crab chowderOur Share of the Harvest is lucky enough to live in my home state of Maryland. And I am positive her soup with Maryland corn trumps whatever soup I made with Texas corn. I miss Maryland corn. When I first read her recipe, I knew I wanted to add crabmeat to it and change the jalapeno to Old Bay. To make it "more Maryland" and "less Texas." And it totally worked. And if you are a true Marylander like me, sprinkle more Old Bay on top before serving.  The chowder was so rich and the crabmeat put it over the top.  I wish I could transport myself to Maryland in August and make it there with all local ingredients.  I cannot imagine how good the soup would be then.
Crab and Corn Chowder

6 bacon slices
1 medium-size green bell pepper, diced
½ medium onion, diced
4 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Old Bay
3 cups fresh corn kernels (6 ears)
½ pound lump crabmeat, picked free of shells
1 cup half and half
¼ teaspoon pepper

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in Dutch oven. Crumble bacon and set aside. Sauté bell pepper and onions in hot drippings 5 to 6 minutes or until tender. Whisk together broth, flour and Old Bay until smooth. Add broth mixture to the pot. Stir in corn. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. Stir in next 3 ingredients; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve warm with crumbled bacon.
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Recipe Swap: Broccoli Cheddar Soup

cheddar and potato soupNotice the title of this post? B-R-O-C-C-O-L-I. Apparently, I didn't see it on my shopping list. It was on there, along with cheddar cheese, but I just decided to ignore it. We have ample time to complete our recipes for the recipe swap (thanks to A Taste of Home Cooking), but I only had a few days because we were leaving for our vacation to Nevis. And I didn't have time to run back to the store, nor did I have time to cook it another night. So DeLish's Broccoli Cheddar Soup morphed into Cheddar and Potato Soup. Thank goodness I always have bacon in our fridge, it is for emergencies just like this one. The soup was amazing, it tasted so rich and creamy without any cream at all. I greatly reduced the amount of cheese from the original recipe, but other than that (and omitting the BROCCOLI), I followed it. Miss F kept searching out more pieces of bacon out of her soup.
Cheddar and Potato Soup

3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste
4 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
2 slices of cooked bacon

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in the onion; cook until the onion is soft and translucent. Whisk in the flour and continue whisking until it is golden colored. Add in the broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Add the potato, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the potato is fork tender. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Take the soup off the heat and puree with an immersion blender. Whisk in the shredded cheese, stirring until melted. Top the soup with crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ratatouille

ratatouilleI had never considered making Ratatouille before. It was just never on my radar, other than the kids' movie. One weekend, both Anne Burrell and Melissa d'Arabian both featured it on their shows. I was curious to try it. This recipe is a mix of both of their very different recipes. Apparently, Kroger didn't support my plans, seeing as how they were out of Eggplant. Normally, I convince them to sell me the organic at the regular price, but they didn't have any organic either. I gave the recipe a go without it. C turned up his nose initially, he thought it was all tomatoes. The tomatoes had melted into an amazing sauce. I guess his vinegar aversion wasn't in effect when we ate this, because he ate a ton. He kept sneaking more bites from the serving bowl.
Ratatouille

¼ cup olive oil, plus more as needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small eggplant, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 small tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 or 4 leaves fresh basil, chopped
Splash balsamic vinegar

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan or Dutch oven. Cook the vegetables one at a time (separately) for 5 to 7 minutes, adding a little more oil as needed and seasoning with salt, in the following order: eggplant, zucchini, pepper, onion, and tomatoes. Combine all of the cooked vegetables together in the pan, add the garlic, red pepper, and basil and let simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and then turn off the heat. Serve hot, warm, or cold.
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Crockpot Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches

pepperocini beef sandwichesMaking pulled pork (standard, Dr. Pepper or Asian) is one of my favorite uses of the crockpot. I have been wanting to try a beef sandwich in the crockpot for awhile and when I saw this one on Cooking with Christen, I knew I had to try it. I had never bought Pepperoncini before, you can find them with the pickles, for future reference. I think my only knowledge of them is that they come with Papa Johns pizza (do they still do that?) or served on a salad at The Olive Garden (blech!) The beef was melt in your mouth tender and the flavor was amazing.  Feel free to top the sandwich with cheese, but I didn't think they needed it.  Of course C topped his with cheese.
Crockpot Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches

1 two pound beef chuck roast
1 jar whole pepperoncini peppers (16 ounces)
½ pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ cup red wine

Spray a crockpot bowl with nonstick spray. Place half of the onions on the bottom of the crockpot. Place the chuck roast on top of the onions and empty the jar of pepperoncini peppers on top. Place the sliced mushrooms and the rest of the onions on top. In a small bowl, mix the onion powder with the wine. Cook on low for 8 hours. When cooked, shred with two forks. Serve on buns.
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Roast Chicken with Vegetables

roast chicken and vegetablesI learned all I know about roasting a whole chicken from Ina Garten. She is truly the master of it. I have made her Perfect Roast Chicken time and time again.  I love to roast a whole chicken, I especially like the crunchy skin.  It is the quest for even more crunchy skin which prompted me to create this recipe.  The chicken is flipped over halfway through cooking to double the amount of crispy skin.  I first cooked a turkey breast side down years ago for Thanksgiving, the results were mixed, but it was an interesting way to roast poultry.  I love adding zucchini and mushrooms to the traditional potatoes and carrots that accompany a roast chicken.  This is a great way to clean out the fridge of whatever vegetables you have hand. From the picture, you can tell I really need to learn how to truss a chicken.
Roast Chicken and Vegetables

1 whole chicken, 3 to 5 pounds
1 zucchini, chopped
4 yukon gold potatoes, chopped
6 carrots, peeled and chopped
½ pound baby bella mushrooms, halved
½ onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons thyme, divided
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 bulb of garlic, halved
1 lemon, quartered

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature while the oven is preheating. Toss the zucchini, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and onions with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon thyme, salt and pepper in a roasting pan. Rub the butter all over the skin of the chicken, sprinkle with remaining thyme, salt and pepper. Insert the halved garlic bulb and lemon quarters into the chicken’s cavity. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, breast side down. Roast the chicken at 425 degrees, flipping over halfway through cooking. This should take 1 to 1 ½ hours, until the juices run clear. Remove the chicken and tent with foil, return the vegetables to the oven and roast for 15 minutes more. Carve the chicken after resting for 15 minutes and serve with the vegetables.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

chocolate chip cookie bars 2I love chocolate chip cookies. I especially love this recipe, Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. These bars are based on that recipe and make for one giant, chewy bar of deliciousness.   The only downside is you have to bake all the dough at once, so there is no dough to stash in the refrigerator for snacking.  I think next time I make these, I will use a 9x9 pan and still save myself a bit of dough.  I cut the bars as needed...for an afternoon snack, a treat for Miss F's lunch box or breakfast.  That way, they were really fresh tasting even when they were a couple days past baking.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

2 ¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 pan with no-stick spray. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread out with your hands. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool and slice into squares.
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Drunken Noodles

drunken noodlesI am so lucky to live in such an amazing and diverse city, Houston. I am able to go to my regular grocer and find black soy sauce, Golden Mountain sauce and a wide range of flat rice noodles to choose from. And we have even better Asian grocers where I always overwhelmed with choices. C didn't enjoy this very much, I think he wasn't a fan of the fish sauce.  Miss F and I were obsessed.  She loved it so much, I sent leftovers with her to school the next day.  And all those were gone as well.  And all the rest was saved for me...yum!  Thanks to Elly Says Opa for the awesome recipe, this is a huge winner in my eyes.  Now does anyone have any recipes with black soy sauce?  Cause I have a massive bottle.
Drunken Noodles

8-10 ounces flat rice noodles
2 tablespoons canola oil
¼ onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 bell pepper, cut into strips
½ pound chicken breast, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons black soy sauce
2 tablespoons Golden Mountain sauce or light soy sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons Sriracha
½ tablespoon sugar
1 large plum tomato, cut into 8 wedges
¼ cup Thai basil leaves

Cook noodles in large pot of boiling water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently. Drain. Meanwhile, heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for a minute, add garlic and sauté 30 seconds more. Add bell pepper and chicken and sauté until chicken is about halfway cooked, about 2 minutes. Whisk the fish sauce, black soy sauce, Golden Mountain seasoning, and chili paste together in a small bowl. Add to the chicken mixture and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add noodles, tomatoes, and Thai basil; toss to coat.
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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Celebrity Follower: Susie Jimenez

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One of C's co-workers has a house in Aspen and this weekend star of the Food Network's "The Next Food Network Star" cooked for his family. While there C's co-worker did a little promotion for my blog with Susie Jimenez. I am so honored to count such a talented chef as a reader.  The only sad part is that C and I weren't in Aspen to taste her amazing cooking.
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Friday, October 7, 2011

Recipe Swap: Starbucks Pumpkin Bread

starbucks pumpkin breadConfession: I have never had a drink from Starbucks.  I don't drink coffee.  I have had snacks from Starbucks because they were free at our hotel in San Diego this past June.  The lemon poppyseed bread was delicious.  So I did have an idea of what to expect of this bread.  And I was not disappointed.  I took this bread to my girls' weekend in Galveston to snack on for breakfast (along with Banana Applesauce Oat Muffins.) The Starbucks Pumpkin Bread was part of the apple and pumpkin recipe swap organized by A Taste of Home Cooking.  This recipe was submitted by Mrs. Regueiro's Plate.  I submitted my Caramel Apple Tart in the swap.  I hope whoever got it likes it!
Starbucks Pumpkin Bread

1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground clove
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup canned pumpkin
¾ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup pumpkin seeds, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt and whisk to combine. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugars, and vanilla on high speed for about 30 seconds. Add dry ingredients and mix. Add pumpkin and oil, mix to combine. Pour batter into a 9x5 greased loaf pan.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until the top of the bread begins to brown.

When the bread is cool, slice into approximately 1 inch slices.
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Roasted Garlic Clove Chicken

roasted garlic clove chickenIt is rare when I watch a cooking show that I want to make all the recipes featured, but the recent airing Chic Chicken Dinner of $10 Dinners with Melissa d'Arabian was different. Everything looked amazing.  After the chicken was done, I noticed there was a lot of fat in the pan from the chicken.  So I spooned some of and proceeded with her sauce recipe.  What a bad idea that was, there was still too much fat and it was too fargone to save it.  So I ditched the sauce and decided to serve the chicken plain.  Which wasn't a bad idea at all.  The chicken was so moist and full of flavor, no chicken fat sauce was needed.  C ate two pieces!  He did avoid the roasted garlic, his loss...I smushed mine all over the chicken.
Roasted Garlic Clove Chicken

4 chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 cloves of garlic, skin removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Salt and pepper liberally and allow to temper on a cutting board while you prepare the garlic. In a large ovenproof saute pan over medium heat, cook the whole garlic cloves in olive oil and butter, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Remove the garlic from the pan and set aside. Increase the heat to medium high and brown the chicken skin-side down until the skin is golden and crispy, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over, sprinkle on herbes de Provence. Add the garlic back to the pan and place hot pan in oven. Bake the chicken until cooked through, about 25 minutes. Once the chicken is done, remove chicken thighs and garlic to a platter for serving.
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Monday, October 3, 2011

Brioche Buns

brioche bunsThe most important part of a sandwich for me is the bread. I know this goes against most sandwich lovers, but it is how I feel. I have tried hamburger rolls, Kaiser rolls, honey wheat rolls and I have finally found the winner.  These rolls were amazing.  The perfect roll for any sandwich.  They had just the right hint of sweetness.  These remind me of the buns at Dutchs across the street from TCU.  Friends of ours who went to TCU took us there after a visit to the Fort Worth Zoo.  Both C and I left commenting on how amazing the buns were.  And now I can make them at home thanks to The Jey of Cooking.  No need to drive up north.  I made the recipe for the bread machine because I am lazy.
Brioche Buns

2/3 cup warm milk (~110 degrees F)
1/3 cup warm water
4 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced and softened
2 eggs, at room temperature
3 ¼ cups bread flour
2 ¼ teaspoons (1 Packet) Instant Yeast
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 egg yolk
Sesame seeds

Whisk together the milk, water, honey, butter and eggs. Pour into your bread machine. Spoon the flour over top and sprinkle it with the yeast and salt.  Run your machine on the dough cycle.

Remove the dough from the machine and place on a floured surface. Flour your hands, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and form into balls. Place 2 to 3 inches apart on a Silpat lined baking sheet. Flatten each ball just a bit with the palm of your hand. Allow to rise again another hour.

Preheat oven to 400. Once risen, brush the tops with the egg yolk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 10-15 minutes, turning the pan once halfway through, until buns are golden. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.
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