Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
fettucine alfredo with Quattro pasta, broccoli
crockpot cheddar beer chicken tacos, black beans
pepper pork, rice
ribeyes with chimichurri and maduros
margherita pizza
out to Cochon
out to Jacques-Imos

Friday, December 30, 2011

Latin Style Chicken and Rice

Latin Style Chicken and RiceThere were so many recipes I wanted to try from the One Pot Meal Recipe Swap. I love only dirtying one dish and having an entire meal in one. the Latin Style Chicken and Rice one pot meal spoke to me, I adore saffron and peas, so I knew it would be a hit. Miss F was not a fan, she only like the peas. C ate his, which shocked me considering he has not been a big fan of saffron in the past. I really loved this dish, it comes together quickly and I usually have all the ingredients on hand, which is perfect for a weeknight meal.
Latin Style Chicken and Rice

2 chicken breasts, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup medium or long-grain rice
2 cups chicken broth
¼ tsp crumbled saffron threads
1 bay leaf
1 cup frozen peas,

Heat butter and oil in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until foam subsides. Add chicken, cook approximately 4-5 min per side. Transfer chicken to a plate. Cook onion and garlic with ¼ tsp each salt and pepper over medium heat until golden, about 6 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add broth, bay leaf, and saffron; bring to a full boil. Return chicken to the pot, nestling it in the rice, keeping as much rice around, not under, the chicken. Also add any juices from the plate. Cover tightly and simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, the rice is tender, and most of the liquid has absorbed; about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in peas. Cover pot with a kitchen towel, and then the lid, and let stand until all of the liquid has absorbed, about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sweet Potato Gratin with Gruyere

sweet potato gratinI made Gruyere popovers for Thanksgiving and I had some Gruyere leftover. When I saw this recipe on A Taste of Home Cooking, I knew I wanted to try it.  This recipe is very simple, but it does take some time to cook.  I really enjoyed the gratin, but C was not a fan.  He said he would like it better with normal potatoes.  I may try a mix of russets and sweet potatoes next time, similar to Potatoes Dauphinois.  This recipe would be perfect for Thanksgiving since I much prefer a savory dish of sweet potatoes to the usual marshmallow mess.
Sweet Potato Gratin with Gruyere

2 ½ cups heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoons salt
4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled
¾ cup shredded gruyere

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place baking dish on baking sheet.

Stir together heavy cream and salt in large bowl. Thinly slice sweet potatoes using either a mandoline or a sharp knife. Add to bowl with the heavy cream and salt.

Layer 1/3 of yams in baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat with another 1/3 of yams and the remainder of cheese. Top with remaining yams. Pour any remaining yam-cream mixture over top.

Bake uncovered on center rack of oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and press a spatula, carefully, against the top layer to allow liquid to flow over the "crust." Replace pan in oven and bake an additional 30 minutes. Remove pan, press top layer and replace pan in oven. Bake for another 40-45 minutes or until yams are tender. Remove from oven, let rest 15 minutes, then serve.
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Monday, December 26, 2011

Chipotle Pork Tacos

chipotle pork tacosTacos made in the crockpot are about my favorite thing to eat out of a crockpot.  Smoky Pork Tinga Tacos were on one of my most favorite blogs, Prevention RD, last week.  I made some changes, mainly omitting the chorizo because I am not a huge fan of it.  The fire roasted tomatoes and chipotles gave the tacos an intense smoky flavor.  The meat was so tender at the end of cooking, I went ahead and shredded it before it totally fell apart on its own.  These tacos were delicious.  They make me want to try Chipotle Short Rib Tacos in the crockpot, it makes for such an easy weeknight dinner.  I served these on corn tortillas, which was perfect. 
Chipotle Pork Tacos

½ pound red skin potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 ½ pounds boneless pork loin, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 14 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
3 chipotles in adobo, diced
1 tablespoon adobo sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ medium white onion, sliced ¼ -inch thick
½ teaspoon salt

Spread the potatoes over the bottom of a slow cooker and top with the pork.

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes with the chipotles, adobo sauce, Worcestershire, oregano, garlic, onion, and salt. Pour the mixture evenly over the meat and potatoes.

Cover and slow cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8-10 hours.

Serve with warm corn tortillas, cheese, avocados, and salsa for making soft tacos.
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Friday, December 23, 2011

Crockpot Beef Stew with Cognac

crockpot beef stew with cognacWhenever Ina Garten says "cognac" it always makes me chuckle. She is so dramatic with her pronunciation.  Just one ingredient turns an ordinary crockpot beef stew into something much much better.  And with a much fancier name.  The cognac adds a richness to the stew and I really enjoy the flavor.  That being said, I still like to trash up the leftover stew with a hit or two of ketchup, which is my mom's secret ingredient to beef stew.  I grew up with it and it is very comforting to me, as beef stew should be.
Crockpot Beef Stew with Cognac

1 ½ to 2 pounds stew beef, cut into 1” cubes
3 tablespoons flour
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic , minced
5 carrots, cut into 1” pieces
2 russet potatoes, cut into 1” pieces
½ cup cognac
2 cups beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf

Toss the beef with the flour, salt and pepper generously. Layer the onion, garlic, carrots and potatoes in the crockpot. Top with the flour coated beef. Pour the cognac, wine, broth and tomatoes over top of the beef and vegetables. Add the thyme and bay leaf. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ginger Pork with Oyster Sauce

ginger pork with oyster sauceThis stir fry was originally supposed to be Ginger Lime Shrimp.  But C got sick with a nasty stomach bug and had to cancel his dinner out.  Which meant no cooking of "stinky shrimp" (his words) at home.  I love stir fry, especially one with a rich brown sauce.  There was a debate at the dinner table of whether it was pork or beef...for the record Miss F was right and C was wrong.  This stir fry would also be great with beef or even chicken.  I hope to make a lighter ginger lime shrimp stir fry someday soon when C is out for F and I.  Thank goodness she loves shrimp as much as I do.
Ginger Pork with Oyster Sauce

2 thick cut pork chops, cut into bite sized pieces

Marinade for pork:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon water

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

1 cup snow peas
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
¼ onion, chopped
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 slices ginger, shredded
1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Transfer pork 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, 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 pork 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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Monday, December 19, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

peanut butter chocolate chip cookiesMy friend hosted another fantastic cookie exchange this year, complete with an amazing Proseco punch. Last year I made Cayenne Chocolate Cookies for the exchange, but this year I needed something quick and easy, there was no time for ribbons and labels. We came home from a week in Disney World the day before the exchange, so I wanted to make something with ingredients I had on hand. I thumbed through my BHG cookbook and came across a recipe for a traditional peanut butter cookie, you know the one with the fork marks on it. I decided to add chocolate chips and hope for the best. The result was awesome. They weren't overwhelmingly peanut-y and the chocolate chips really added to the cookie.  And the highest compliment was that Confections of a Foodie Bride enjoyed them with her daughter.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from BHG

½ cup peanut butter
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl beat peanut butter and butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Shape dough in 1-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to wire racks. Cool. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Recipe Swap: Spoon Cookies

Spoon CookiesIt's time for another recipe swap! The theme of this week's swap is holiday desserts and cookies. I submitted my mom's Blackbottoms for the swap since they are my favorite treat during the holidays. I received Spoon Cookies from Does Not Cook Well With Others.  I filled the spoon cookies with apricot preserves and I didn't bother straining them, which worked fine.  These cookies are a totally new way to prepare cookies and they don't contain eggs, which is great for people who are allergic.   The teaspoon method resulted in adorable bite sized cookies. Thanks to A Taste of Home Cooking for hosting the swap.
Spoon Cookies

2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt, slightly rounded
1/3 cup fruit preserves (your choice)

Fill kitchen sink with about 2 inches of cold water. Melt butter in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until butter turns golden with a nutlike fragrance and flecks on bottom of pan turn a rich caramel brown, 10 to 12 minutes. (Butter will initially foam, then dissipate. A thicker foam will appear and cover the surface just before butter begins to brown; stir more frequently toward end of cooking.) Place pan in sink to stop cooking, then cool, stirring frequently, until butter starts to look opaque, about 4 minutes. Remove pan from sink and stir in sugar and vanilla.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and stir into butter mixture until a dough forms. Shape into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and let stand at cool room temperature 1 to 2 hours (to allow flavors to develop).

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.

Press a piece of dough into bowl of teaspoon, flattening top, then slide out and place, flat side down, on an ungreased baking sheet. (Dough will feel crumbly, but will become cohesive when pressed.) Continue forming cookies and arranging on sheet. Bake cookies until just pale golden, 8 to 15 minutes. Cool cookies on sheet on a rack 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

While cookies cool, heat preserves in a small saucepan over low heat until just runny, then pour through a sieve into a small bowl, pressing hard on solids, and cool completely.

Spread the flat side of a cookie with a thin layer of preserves. Sandwich with flat side of another cookie. Continue with remaining cookies and preserves, then let stand until set, about 45 minutes. Transfer cookies to an airtight container and wait 2 days before eating.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cranberry Barbecue Sauce

barbecue cranberry turkeyThis sauce is the perfect thing for turkey leftovers. I personally don't like cranberry sauce, but I love it in this barbecue sauce. It has a nice vinegary kick that works perfectly with the sweetness and tartness of the cranberries. I served these sandwiches on brioche buns, which are by far my most favorite sandwich roll ever.  I also added sliced pickles on my sandwich, which worked great.  I had intended to try and make sweet potato tots instead of spicy sweet potato wedges with it, but processing the sweet potatoes was a bit challenging....so I gave up.  I think I need to attempt them with regular potatoes first.
Cranberry Barbecue Sauce

1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup cranberry sauce
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon hot sauce
½ teaspoon salt

Whisk together all ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes to thicken. Serve with leftover turkey on brioche buns.
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Skillet Corn

skillet cornI love corn, especially fresh corn on the cob in the summertime. I saw a recipe for Skillet Scalloped Corn on Gourmet Day to Day.  While I wasn't very interested in adding Ritz crackers or cheese to corn, I was into the idea of having corn as a side dish other than corn on the cob.  So I changed up the recipe to better suit my tastes, which worked great.  The flavor profile really reminded me of Summer Sweet Corn Pasta, which is a favorite pasta around here.  Since we are in the middle of winter, I used frozen corn, but this side would be exceptional with fresh when it is in season.
Skillet Corn

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ red bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 package frozen corn, 12 ounces
½ cup half and half
3 green onions, sliced

In a sauté pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the bell pepper and sauté until crisp tender, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 second more. Add the corn, reduce the heat to medium and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the half and half, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes more. Serve with green onions on top.
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Friday, December 9, 2011

Apple Cider Pancakes

apple cider pancakeEvery Thanksgiving, I serve warm apple cider. I keep it in the crockpot, simmering all day long with cinnamon sticks and apple slices. Whether it is cold outside or not, I always have a cup or two. The morning after Thanksgiving I was faced with a lot of leftover cider and a hungry crew. I did some googling and came across this recipe for Apple Cider Pancakes. I changed it up a bit, omitting the apples and substituting applesauce for oil. The batter is runnier that what I am used to cooking with, so my first batch looked less than perfect. Once I got the hang of it, they turned out beautifully. The apple flavor is not overwhelming, but it adds a nice sweetness.
Apple Cider Pancakes

1 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup milk
1 cup apple cider
Shortening for greasing the pan

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, applesauce and milk. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and then add in cider. Stir until just incorporated and a few lumps remain. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brush with shortening. Pour batter onto skillet by 1/4 cupfuls into circles. Cook pancakes until large bubbles begin to appear on the surface, 2 to 3 minutes, then flip carefully and cook until bottom side is golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing pan with shortening as needed.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Balsamic and Brown Sugar Pork Chops

balsamic and brown sugar pork chopsI saw this recipe on Pinterest from the C+C Marriage Factory.  I was very interested in the flavors, but I wasn't set on making a pork roast in the crockpot.  I am not a big fan of pork roast in the crockpot, unless it is for pulled pork, Dr. Pepper pulled pork to be specific.  I adapted their recipe to work with oven baked pork chops for an easy weeknight meal.  I used thick cut boneless pork chops, but it could easily be made on the stovetop with thinner cuts, bone in or not.
Balsamic and Brown Sugar Pork Chops

4 thick cut pork chops
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
¼ cup water
2 teaspoons corn starch

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Rub the pork chops with the oil and salt and pepper liberally, place in a baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes. While the pork chops are baking, bring the sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, water and soy sauce to a boil in a small sauce pan. Glaze the pork chops with the vinegar mixture and return to the oven for 20 minutes more, or until cooked through.
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Sesame Peas and Carrots

sesame peas and carrotsI love anything with Panko bread crumbs. I have been making Pork Tonkatsu often because it reminds me so much of my beloved Pork Things.  I have made this recipe with green beans in the past, but it was nothing special, I wanted something new.  C is a huge fan of snow peas, Miss F likes them too, but she always tries to squeeze the 'peas' from them.  I had carrots leftover from C's birthday carrot cake, so this recipe was born.  It would work with any vegetable that can be stir fried quickly.  I also like to add Sriracha at the end to ensure Miss F will eat her veggies.
Sesame Peas and Carrots

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 cup snow peas
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil (I used spicy sesame oil)
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

In a wok or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the snow peas and carrots, saute, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes, until vegetables become crisp tender.  Pour the soy sauce over top and saute for a minute more.  Toss the peas and carrots with the sesame oil and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.  Serve alone or over rice.
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Friday, December 2, 2011

Apricot Baked Brie

apricot baked brieI got this recipe from one of my mom's neighbors years ago. She also makes the same thing with honeycup mustard instead of apricot preserves for something more savory than sweet. This is one of my easy go to appetizers for a party. It has just a few ingredients and has very little to prep. I could eat the whole thing myself, easily.  I adore brie, how can you not?  And since you are eating it with fruit, it is a little healthy, right?  At least that is what I tell myself.
Apricot Baked Brie

1 wheel of Brie
¼ cup apricot preserves
1 sheet of puff pastry
Apple and pear slices, grapes, crackers

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a glass baking dish with no-stick cooking spray. Top the wheel of brie with apricot preserves and wrap with the puff pastry. Place the brie with the puff pastry seam down in the baking dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until pastry is browned. Serve with apples, pears, grapes and crackers.
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