Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: A Year in Review

What a wonderful year 2012 has been. We have been lucky enough to travel to Bali, Vail, Anaheim (twice,) Singapore, the big Island of Hawaii, Jackson Hole, San Antonio (three times,) Maryland, Dallas and Paris, France. With all that travelling, there wasn't nearly as much home cooking as I would have liked, but I was also thrilled to eat my way through the world. I have been so lucky to share my love of food and travel with my husband and daughter. These are the top twelve posts from this year based on the number of hits they received. I love that spinach made the list three times and that two of the top three are seafood (take that C!)

Wishing you all an amazing 2013!
#1 Baked Chicken and Spinach Flautas
#1
#2 Crabcakes
#2
#3 Summer Shrimp Salad
#3
#4 Rich Chocolate Brownies
#4
#5 Herbes de Provence Potatoes
#5
#6 Chicken Pot Pie Soup
#6
#7 Reeses Cheesecake Brownie Bars
#7
#8 Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta
#8
#9 Artichoke and Spinach Crusted Chicken
#9
#10 Cheddar Sour Cream Biscuits
#10
#11 Caramelized Onion, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pizza
#11
#12 Mini Corn Dog Muffins
#12
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Friday, December 28, 2012

Recipe Swap: Gingerbread Pancakes

Gingerbread PancakesI knew instantly what recipe I wanted to make for this week's Blogger's Choice Swap. I had already bookmarked The Redhead Baker's Gingerbread Pancakes to make over the holidays. Miss F is semi-obsessed with gingerbread and she was so excited to eat these pancakes. They are perfectly spiced and completely delicious. I did double the milk from the original recipe, which is more on par with the ratios I usually use in pancake recipes. Be sure to check out all the recipes my fello bloggers chose to re-create for this week's swap.
Gingerbread Pancakes

1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 large egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons molasses

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, all spice, cinnamon and cloves. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the egg, milk and molasses. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.

Preheat a griddle over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Drop spoonfuls of the batter onto the griddle and cook until lightly browned. Flip with a spatula and cook until lightly browned. Serve warm with butter and maple syrup.


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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Meyer Lemon Bars

Meyer Lemon BarsI have a go to recipe for Junior League Lemon Squares, but I am always up for something new. And when I was gifted with a batch of Meyer lemons from my mom's tree, I knew this was what I wanted to make. I chose a recipe from Ina Garten because I know she likes thing tart, so that they would be tart enough even using the milder Meyer lemon.  We were planning a crab feast at the house and I brought these for dessert. My parents will learn to love Texas yet. Crab feasts in December? Fresh lemons growing in the backyard? Shorts while planning for Christmas? I love Texas, but it took awhile to get used to it. I hope they learn to love it too. They moved here a few months back from Georgia, but we are all originally from Maryland. It is great not to have to worry about cold and snow!
Meyer Lemon Bars

For the crust:
½ pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature. Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.
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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Slide1
Merry Christmas to all! Wishing you a lovely holiday from C, Miss F and me.
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Caramel Apple Pie

Caramel Apple PiesI usually make a caramel apple tart for Thanksgiving, but when I saw a post for a Caramel Apple Pie on the Nifty Food, I left it for my dad to decide which I would make. He verdict, "whichever has more caramel." Smart man.  I sued my favorite apple pie recipe along with the caramel recipe from the salted caramel frosting I made recently for a dinner party.  The result: an ultimate success.  We may have a new Thanksgiving dessert on the roster. 
Caramel Apple Pie

¾ cup dark brown sugar
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup

3 pounds (about 8) Granny Smith apples
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits

Bring sugar, cream, butter and corn syrup to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until sugar dissolves. Boil until caramel thickens enough to coat spoon thickly, whisking often, about 8 minutes. Caramel sauce can be made 5 days ahead. Cover; chill. Whisk over low heat until warm before using.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Roll out half the dough 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface, fit it into a 9-inch (1-quart) glass pie plate, and trim the edge, leaving a 3/4-inch overhang. Chill the shell and the remaining dough while making the filling. In a large bowl toss together the apples, each peeled, cored, and cut into eighths, 3/4 cup of the sugar, the flour, the cinnamon, the nutmeg, the salt, and the lemon juice until the mixture is combined well, transfer the filling to the shell, and dot it with the butter. Drizzle half of the caramel sauce over the apples. Reserve the remaining sauce to serve with the pie.

Roll out the remaining dough into a 13- by 14-inch round on a lightly floured surface, drape it over the filling, and trim it, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold the overhang under the bottom crust, pressing the edge to seal it, and crimp the edge decoratively. Brush the crust lightly with the milk, cut slits in it with a sharp knife, forming steam vents, and sprinkle the pie evenly with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake the pie on a large baking sheet in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350°F., and bake the pie for 20 to 25 minutes more, or until the crust is golden and the apples are tender.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lime Chicken Tacos

Crockpot Lime Chicken TacosI love all tacos. Fish, pork, shrimp, beef, chicken...doesn't matter, I love them all.  I saw this recipe from Taste of Home on Pinterest and I knew I wanted to try it out.  Corn in tacos?  Sign me up!  I made a few changes, but overall stuck to the idea of the recipe.  Miss F added black beans to her tacos, which would also be an easy add to the crockpot when you add the corn.  Once again, the crockpot serves its purpose to create deliciously shredded meat.  This makes a lot of taco filling, which also freezes wonderfully, so you can have tacos anytime.
Crockpot Lime Chicken Tacos

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup chunky salsa
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup frozen corn
8 flour tortillas (6 inches), warmed

Place the chicken in a crockpot. Combine salsa, lime juice, oil, chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until chicken is tender. Remove the chicken and shred meat with two forks. Return to the slow cooker and stir in corn. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes or until heated through. Serve in tortillas with cheese, guacamole, tomatoes and sour cream, if desired.
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Monday, December 17, 2012

Chili Garlic Chicken and Noodles

Chili Garlic Chicken and NoodlesThis started out as a traditional stir fry over rice, but when I opened up the pantry I realized I had a ton of rice noodles that were calling my name, so Chili Garlic Chicken Stir Fry morphed into Chili Garlic Chicken and Noodles. As a kid, I hated rice, so I always ate my stir fry over ramen noodles, I still prefer noodles to rice, even though I have learned to enjoy rice. Miss F was a huge fan of the noodles, chicken and carrots, this girl likes the spice. I used the Huy Fong brand of chili garlic sauce, but any chili garlic sauce will work. I may have snuck some of the leftovers cold from the fridge, which was equally delicious!
Chili Garlic Chicken and Noodles

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

Marinade for chicken:
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce

½ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce

12 ounces rice noodles

½ cup sliced bell pepper
½ cup chopped broccoli
½ zucchini, halved and sliced
4 asparagus, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and 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 broth, cornstarch, chili garlic, soy sauce and oyster sauce in a small bowl. Soak the rice noodles in hot water for 10 minutes.

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. Add the drained noodles and stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the prepared sauce. Stir until thickened. Return vegetables to the wok. Serve.
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Friday, December 14, 2012

Lemony Chicken Saltimbucca

Lemony Chicken SaltimbuccaMy friend Harmony raved about this recipe from Cooking Light. I believe she made it twice in one week. When my mom brought over three lemons from her tree, I knew I had to use them for this recipe.  I made Miss F's with just prosciutto (should have done the same for C) and she gobbled it right up.  The chicken was really easy to make and it looks so beautiful with the sage and prosciutto.   In fact, the whole dish came together in under 15 minutes.  The sauce was perfectly lemony and the sage flavored the chicken nicely.  Harmony was right to rave!
Lemony Chicken Saltimbucca

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
¼ teaspoon salt
12 fresh sage leaves
2 ounces very thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 8 thin strips
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Slice the chicken breasts in half crosswise. Sprinkle the chicken evenly with salt. Place 3 sage leaves on each cutlet; wrap 2 prosciutto slices around each cutlet, securing sage leaves in place. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; cook for 2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Combine broth, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a small bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Spoon sauce over chicken. Serve.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Crockpot Country Chicken Stew

Crockpot Country Chicken StewI am not a huge fan of the crockpot, but this dish is insanely good. Probably the best thing I have ever made in my crockpot, even my former fav crockpot chicken tacos. This is a perfect one pot meal that can stew all day and be ready when you arrive home. I served it with sour cream cheddar biscuits (no thyme, so C and Miss F were happy!) The original recipe for this was from Lawry's. I don't own any Lawry's seasoning salt, but I loved the idea of a stew with chicken. I decided to omit the seasoning salt and add parsley, thyme, salt and pepper in place of it, which worked wonderfully.
Crockpot Country Chicken Stew

1 pound baby red potatoes, halved
6 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, cut into wedges
4 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
½ cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup milk

Place potatoes, carrots and onion in slow cooker. Place chicken on top of vegetables. Mix broth, , parsley, thyme, salt and pepper in small bowl until well blended. Pour over chicken and vegetables. Add the bay leaf. Cover. Cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Mix cornstarch and milk in small bowl until smooth. Stir into sauce in slow cooker. Cover. Cook 15 minutes longer on high or until sauce is thickened.
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Ultimate Reeses Pieces Cookies

Ultimate Reeses Pieces CookiesOnce again it is time for the third annual cookie exchange. My friend Brandi hosts and we are each asked to bring six dozen cookies packaged in groups of three to swap with everyone. You come home with six dozen amazing cookies perfect for holiday entertaining. The past two years I made Chocolate Cayenne Cookies and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I was feeling something with peanut butter again this year, so I decided to adapt the recipe for Ultimate M&M Cookies peanut butter style.  These cookies are rich and buttery, it is impossible to eat just one!
Ultimate Reeses Pieces Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup Reeses Pieces
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; blend into butter and sugar mixture. Stir in Reeses Pieces, chocolate and peanut butter chips. Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and centers are still soft. Do not overbake. Cool 1 minute and place on wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container.
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Friday, December 7, 2012

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Acorn Squash

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Acorn SquashWow. This meal was amazingly simple. And amazingly delicious. This would be perfect for a dinner party because it cooks with no attention needed and presents beautifully. Though you would have to quintuple the recipe. C and I polished off nearly all of one pork tenderloin, it was so good.  Not surprisingly, this recipe for effortless entertaining comes from Martha Stewart.  Miss F was a fan of the pork, but not so much of the squash.  At least she tried it.  And she did eat a bucket full of peas, so not loving the squash was a-ok with me.
Roast Pork Tenderloin with Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash (2 pounds), quartered, seeded, and sliced ½ inch thick, skin on
4 garlic cloves, peeled
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scatter squash and garlic in a large roasting pan. Mix rosemary, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper; rub into pork. Place in pan with vegetables; drizzle with oil.
Roast 25 minutes. Brush pork with hoisin. Continue roasting, about 15 minutes, until pork reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Let meat stand 5 minutes before slicing.
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Apple Cider Waffles

Apple Cider WafflesI always serve hot apple cider at Thanksgiving, but it always leaves me with a small amount leftover that I usually use in pancakes. This year C and Miss F requested waffles the morning after Thanksgiving, how they were hungry, I have no idea. I googled apple cider waffles and came upon this recipe from Stephanie Cooks, which had been adapted by my cider pancake recipe. Small world! These waffles are fantastic and I was thrilled not to have to use club soda or separate any eggs when I made them.
Apple Cider Waffles

1 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
1 cup apple cider

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Stir well. Beat in the egg, oil, milk, and cider. Set aside and let stand 5 minutes while heating your waffle iron. Spray the waffle iron and cook according to waffle iron directions.
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Monday, December 3, 2012

Nutella Oat Sandwich Cookies

Nutella Oat Sandwich CookiesHalf of these cookies were originally intended to have a peanut butter filling and the other half were supposed to have chocolate. I was sending a dozen of them in the mail for a cookie exchange and I wasn't sold on doing half and half. So I changed it up midway and settled on a Nutella filling, which is sort of chocolate and nut combination. These cookies are the non-flattened version of Florentine cookies, which I think makes for an even better cookie and holds up to a filling very well. I did make a few chocolate filled ones for myself since I cannot eat Nutella (allergic to nuts.) I hope the cookies arrived to Minnesota in good shape!
Nutella Oat Sandwich Cookies
makes two dozen sandwiches

2/3 cup butter, melted
2 cups quick-cooking oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup corn syrup
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup Nutella

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with Silpats. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir together the oats, flour, salt and sugar; mix into the melted butter until well blended. Stir in the corn syrup, milk and vanilla. Drop batter by teaspoonfuls 3 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, until medium brown. Spread the Nutella onto the bottoms of cookies and sandwich them together.
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Friday, November 30, 2012

Recipe Swap: Poached Salmon with Creamy Piccata Sauce

Poached Salmon with Creamy Piccata SauceIt's time for Blogger's Choice for this week's swap. I was given the blog Cheese Curd in Paradise, I have made her amazing recipe for Roti de Porc au Lait in an earlier swap, so I was excited to find another great recipe. When C goes out to dinner, this leaves me at home to cook all the fish I care to eat. Salmon is my most favorite fish and the creamy and tangy sauce appealed to me.  Poached Salmon with Creamy Piccata Sauce is spectacular.  I made a quarter recipe of the sauce since it was just me and I wish I doubled it.  It was that good!  I got to use a lemon from my mom's tree, I just wish I had some of her dill on hand as well. 
Poached Salmon with Creamy Piccata Sauce

1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 4 portions
1 cup dry white wine, divided
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons capers, rinsed
¼ cup sour cream
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

Place salmon in a large skillet. Add ½ cup wine and enough water to just cover the salmon. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, turn the salmon over, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining ½ cup wine; boil until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice and capers; cook 1 minute more. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and salt. To serve, top the salmon with the sauce and garnish with dill.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Herbed Cheese Buttermilk Biscuits

Herbed Cheese Buttermilk Biscuits"What's the green stuff in the biscuits?"

 "Next time, make mine without the green stuff!"

These biscuits were amazing, but apparently neither C or Miss F like thyme in their cheesy biscuits.  The kitchen was a flour mess once i was done with them, though the effort was entirely worth it.  And the best part?  I get to eat every last biscuit due to the thyme aversion of C and Miss F.  At least Miss F made an effort to pick around the thyme.  C ate half of his and was done.  Thanks to Fine Living for the fantastic recipe.
Herbed Cheese Buttermilk Biscuits

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
¾ cup grated cheese, such as Cheddar, Asiago, or Parmesan, or a mix
1 large egg
1 ¼ cups buttermilk; more if needed

Heat the oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut or massage the butter into the flour with a fork, a pastry cutter, or your fingers until the mixture looks like cornmeal and the biggest pieces of butter are the size of large peas. (You can also do this in a food processor; just be sure not to overmix.) Add the thyme and the cheese. Break the egg into the buttermilk and stir briefly with a fork to combine. Make a shallow well in the dry mix and pour in the buttermilk. With as few strokes as possible, stir until the mixture is just combined. It should be loose, but if it doesn’t hold together at all, add more buttermilk 1 tablespoon at a time.

Generously flour a counter and turn the dough out onto it; it will be shaggy and very soft. Scrape any bits in the bowl onto the mound of dough. Flour your hands. Shape the mixture into a very loose rectangle with the short side nearest you. Using a bench knife, a pastry scraper, or a spatula to help lift the ragged dough, fold the bottom third over the center third, and then the top third over the center, as if folding a business letter. Pat down to shape another rectangle, turn it so the short side is nearest you, and repeat the folding. Pat down again into more of a square shape, ¾ inch thick and about 8 ½ inches square. With a pastry brush, brush off any excess flour. Punch out the biscuits with 2 ½ inch round cutter. Gather the scraps, press them together lightly, and punch out more biscuits until all the dough is used. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet (or one lined with parchment) for 20 to 25 minutes.
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Monday, November 26, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Smoky Corn Chowder


Smoky Corn ChowderIt's once again time for another entry for the Secret Recipe Club.  This month I received Adventures of the Yankee Kitchen Ninja.  The first recipe on the blog caught my eye, I ended up going through all her recipes, but I kept being drawn back to her recipe for Smoky Corn Chowder.  I have a soft spot for corn.  And chowder.  And bacon.  And when you add cheese to that party, I am in.  I added carrots, bell peppers and a potato to the recipe to make it a bit heartier.  This soup was rich and totally satisfying.  I used frozed corn, but I will be making this next summer with fresh corn.  Delicious!
Smoky Corn Chowder
adapted a couple of times from Soup Makes the Meal by Ken Haedrich

4 slices bacon, chopped
½ onion, chopped
½ yellow bell pepper
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups corn kernels (about 4-5 ears of corn if using fresh ears)
1 russet potato, peeled and chopped
½ teaspoon salt
4 cups chicken stock
½ cup low-fat half-and-half
3 tablespoons flour
4 ounces shredded Gouda cheese (smoked or not, your choice)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Parsley or sliced scallions or crumbled bacon for garnish

In a large soup pot, cook the bacon until nearly done. Add the onion, bell pepper and carrots; continue to cook until onion is soft (about 4-5 minutes), then add the garlic, and cook for another few minutes. Add the corn, potato, stock and salt bring nearly to a boil; lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk the half-and-half and flour and add it to the soup. Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove pot from the heat, add the cheese and stir until melted into the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish if desired.




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Friday, November 23, 2012

Apricot Dijon Glazed Chicken

Apricot Dijon ChickenI have had this recipe from Martha Stewart pinned for the longest time.  It is very similar to the apricot dijon pork chops that I love to make, so I knew my family would enjoy it.  I was right!  Miss F was all about "more chicken!"  This recipe is really easy and I usually have all the ingredients on hand, so it makes for an easy weeknight meal.  We ate it with mashed potatoes and green beans, bribing Miss F with "more chicken" to eat her mashed potatoes.  To her credit, I hated mashed potatoes as a kid as well.
Apricot-Dijon Glazed Chicken

4 chicken thighs
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup apricot jam
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse chicken thighs; pat dry, and transfer to a baking dish. Season well with salt and pepper; set aside. Bring jam, honey, and mustard to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until thickened and reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Spoon apricot mixture over chicken thighs, spreading with back of spoon to coat evenly. Bake chicken, basting with sauce from bottom of dish every 10 minutes, until juices run clear when chicken is pricked with a fork, about 30 minutes.
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Birthday Cupcakes

Birthday Cupcakes
Miss F has been very into helping in the kitchen, especially when it comes to baking. She wanted chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting for her party at school. I wanted to find an easy recipe that she could really help with. This one-bowl recipe from food.com fit the bill perfectly. I used my go-to back of the Domino sugar box buttercream frosting recipe. I miss those boxes, measuring out powdered sugar is a pain, it was so much easier just to dump the whole box in.  Happy 4th birthday Miss F!

Birthday Party Cupcakes

3 ½ cups flour
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 regular size muffin cups with paper liners.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, sifted baking cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix with a wooden spoon to combine. In a two-cup measuring cup or bowl whisk together the milk, egg, oil and vanilla. Add the milk and egg mixture to the dry ingredients; mix very well with a wooden spoon to combine well.

Use a ice cream disher to scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Frost with buttercream, recipe follows. Top as desired.

½ cup butter, softened
3 ¾ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 drop of red food coloring

In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, milk and vanilla on low for 30 seconds. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and beat for a minute or so more until the frosting reaches the desired consistency. Stir in the food coloring.
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Monday, November 19, 2012

Creamy Lemon Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp

Creamy Lemon Angel Hair Pasta with ShrimpI love cooking seafood, especially shrimp, for dinner. With C around, that doesn't happen too terribly often, especially since he hates the smell of shrimp.  But when my parents come over for dinner and C is out to Tonys, I can have dinner on the table in under 15 minutes.  Now the dinner isn't nearly as fancy as Tony's, but I enjoyed it nearly as much as C did his elk, risotto and souffle.  Thanks to Simply Recipes for the inspiration of this quick and delicious meal.
Creamy Lemon Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp

1 pound angel hair pasta
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup lemon juice
Salt and black pepper
1 pound raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup chopped parsley
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the angel hair pasta to the boiling water. Cook per package instructions.

In a sauté pan, heat the cream, chicken stock and lemon juice to a low simmer. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp to the simmering lemon cream sauce. Stir well and add a pinch of salt and black pepper. The shrimp should cook in about the same time as the angel hair pasta, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the parsley to the simmering lemon cream sauce and let them cook for about 1 minute, add the parmesan and stir until melted. Drain the angel hair and add to the sauce. Divide into servings, and top with the remaining parmesan.
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Friday, November 16, 2012

Baked Chicken Burritos with Sour Cream-Poblano Sauce

Baked Chicken Burritos with Sour Cream Poblano SauceThe original version of this recipe calls for ground beef, which I am none too fond of. The adapted version called for ground chicken, which I am not crazy about either. So I adapted it once again, using shredded chicken prepped in the crockpot. Firstly, I cannot rave enough about the chicken. I will never use a taco seasoning packet again, this was SO much better. Miss F said, "This is so yummy, Mommy!" I served hers sans sauce and she adored these. She ate two! C ws also a fan, even though he picked the Poblanos from his sauce.  I used fajita size tortillas because it is what I had on hand, but these would be great in big burrito sized tortillas.
Baked Chicken Burritos with Sour Cream-Poblano Sauce
As seen on A Taste of Home Cooking, adapted from Elly Says Opa!

For the burritos:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, diced
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ cup chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
12 flour tortillas
Cooking spray

For the sour cream-poblano sauce:
2 poblano peppers
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 ¼ cups chicken broth at room temperature
½ cup sour cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pour the oil in the bottom of the crockpot. Add the onion, then place the chicken breasts overtop. In a 2 cup measure, whisk together the broth, garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, oregano, cayenne and salt. Pour the broth mixture over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, flipping the chicken halfway through if possible. Remove the chicken from the crockpot and shred with two forks. Return to the crockpot and stir with the broth. Stir in the black beans

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

Place 2 tablespoons of the cheese at the end of each tortilla and then spoon some of the chicken and bean mixture over the top. Fold the left and right sides of the tortilla in, and then roll the tortilla up, from the end closest to you, to the top. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet and lightly spray the tops of the burritos with cooking spray. Bake for about 20 minutes, until tortillas are golden brown and crispy.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Place the poblanos directly over a gas burner. Using tongs, turn occasionally until skin is blackened on all sides. Place in a bowl and top with plastic wrap or a clean towel, until cool enough to handle. (Alternatively, you can roast the peppers under the broiler until all sides are well-charred.) Peel the peppers, remove the stems and seeds, and dice them.

Heat a small sauce pan over medium heat and melt the butter; stir in the flour and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and then the diced poblano; continue to simmer, whisking frequently, until thickened. Stir in the sour cream/yogurt and warm through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the sauce over the baked burritos.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rich Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting

Rich Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel FrostingThis cake is sweet. I am not a milk drinker, but this cake merits a tall glass. This is the final post from my autumn dinner party, I am already trying to figure out when I will be able to host another. I love having friends over for dinner (and wine!) and I wish I could do so more often. And now that there is a "secret" board option on Pinterest, my guests won't be spoiled as to what I am preparing for our dinner.  The cake is Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate cake and the frosting is from Sally's Baking Addiction
Rich Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting

2 cups sugar
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Salted Caramel Frosting, recipe follows

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8” cake pans. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Evenly distribute the batter between the two cake pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes.

Salted Caramel Frosting

½ cup (1 stick) salted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
¼ tsp salt
2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Start with the frosting by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Once melted, add brown sugar and heavy cream. Stir constantly over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add salt. Allow to bubble for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, until you reach desired consistency.
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Glazed Pork with Roasted Root Vegetables

Glazed Pork with Roasted Root VegetablesThe inspiration of my autumn dinner part was a recipe for Glazed Pork Shoulder in Bon Appetit.  Instead of greens, I decided to serve it with roasted root vegetables.  This pork is totally worth the time.  It is amazingly tender, as it should be for the 12 hours it takes to make.  There is minimal hands on time, which makes for a perfect dish to serve at a dinner party.  Everything can be prepped in advance and the meats falls off the bone when you are ready to serve.  It serves quite a crowd, I had twelve people and there was some pork leftover.
Glazed Pork Shoulder with Root Vegetables

1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
¼ cup kosher salt plus more
¼ cup sugar
1 7–8-lb. skinless bone-in pork shoulder (Boston butt or picnic)
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¼ cup (packed) light brown sugar
Freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped
1 pound parsnips, peeled and chopped
3 to 4 russet potatoes, chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

Crush fennel seeds and peppercorns with the bottom of a heavy skillet, or use a mortar and pestle. Transfer spices to a small bowl; add ¼ cup salt and sugar. Rub mixture all over shoulder. Place in a large glass baking dish, cover, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush off spice rub from meat and place pork in a deep roasting pan; discard excess spice rub and any liquid in dish. Add 1 cup boiling water to roasting pan; cover pan tightly with foil. (Create a tight seal to lock in the steam and juices.)

Transfer pan to oven and roast until meat is very tender and falling off the bone (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center without touching the bone will read 195°), about 5 ½ hours.
Remove pan from oven; discard foil. Increase heat to 450 degrees.

Toss the carrots, parsnips and potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring twice.

Transfer pork to a rimmed baking sheet; cover with foil and set aside. Pour liquid into a fat separator. Pour the de-fatted liquid into a small saucepan, stir in the vinegar and brown sugar. Bring liquid to a boil and cook, until a thick, syrupy glaze forms, about 15minutes. Season glaze with salt and pepper and pour over the pork shoulder. Serve the pork with the roasted root vegetables.
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Friday, November 9, 2012

Mixed Greens with Candied Creole Bacon

Mixed Greens with Candied Creole BaconIf Miss F would eat salad, this would be the salad for her. Topped with sweet and spicy bacon, it is her dream. Be sure to watch the bacon closely when baking. I had a couple pices get over cooked because I wasn't paying enough attention to them. This was after I drained off the bacon grease in a bowl. The same kind of bowl that I warmed the honey in. Do you see where this is going? I basted the bacon with what I thought was the honey, but it turns out that was still in the microwave. And I had just brushed the bacon in its own grease. Fun times. Thanks to Zatarins for the inspiration (even though I used Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning, I think Old Bay would work as well.)
Mixed Greens with Candied Creole Bacon

8 ounces thick-cut bacon slices
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon Creole Seasoning

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil

6 cups mixed greens

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange bacon slices in single layer on foil-lined baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until the bacon edges begin to curl. Remove pan from oven. Drain drippings. Microwave the honey and Creole Seasoning in small microwavable bowl on high for 30 seconds, stirring after 15 seconds. Brush bacon with honey mixture. Bake 10 minutes longer or until bacon is browned and crisp. Cool bacon on wire rack. Break into bite-size pieces. Set aside

In a small food processor, combine the vinegar, honey and mustard. Stream in the olive oil with the processor running. Run until smooth and emulsified.

Toss the mixed greens with the dressing, sprinkle bacon pieces over top.
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Butternut Squash and Apple SoupI love butternut squash soup, but I have made this version for friends before.  I needed something new and different.  This butternut squash and apple soup from Martha Stewart fit the bill.  I was really wary of the apples in the soup, I was positive it was going to be too sweet.  I was completely wrong.  The cumin brings out all the savory notes of the squash and apple, it is an amazingly smooth and rich soup, with no cream necessary!  This is going to be my new go to butternut squash soup.  It has the texture that I look for, unlike my usual recipe that can get too thick.
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and chopped
4 red or golden apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ½ cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock, plus more if needed

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Add squash, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.
Add apples, salt, cumin, coriander, ginger, cayenne, black pepper, and stock. Add more stock if the vegetables aren’t covered. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes. Puree in batches in a food processor or blender until smooth, and return to saucepan. Heat over low, thinning with more water if necessary. To serve, ladle into shallow bowls
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Monday, November 5, 2012

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Crab Stuffed MushroomsI adore stuffed mushrooms, so much so that we have them for dinner every once and awhile. When I make them for dinner, they have to be stuffed with sausage or else C and Miss F might revolt. When there are 12 girls together for a dinner party, there is no threat of revolution and my favorite stuffing crab gets to make an appearance. I had to make my own mayonnaise because it just isn't something I keep in the house, I am not a fan. Luckily a mini chop, egg and oil make a magnificent mayo, so the day was saved. Thanks to For the Love of Cooking for the most amazing recipe.
Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

12 button mushrooms, stems removed
2 teaspoon olive oil (divided)
2 tablespoon sweet yellow onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
½ cup of lump crab meat
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped (divided)
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice, optional
¼ cup of panko crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a round baking dish with cooking spray.

Remove the mushroom stems and dice them finely. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat then add the onion and diced mushroom stems. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until tender and soft; add the minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Combine the crab meat, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, most of the fresh parsley, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, and a dash of lemon juice in a bowl. Add the cooked mushrooms and onion mixture then gently stir until well combined. Fill each mushroom with the crab filling until overflowing; repeat with the remaining mushrooms. Place the mushrooms into the prepared baking pan.

Combine the panko crumbs with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil and the last bit of parsley then mix until well combined. Sprinkle the panko crumbs evenly on top of each mushroom.

Place into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender and the panko is golden brown. Serve immediately.
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Friday, November 2, 2012

Autumn Dinner Party

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C was headed to Six Flags Fiesta Texas for the weekend with his brother-in-law and two pre-teen nephews, needless to say they rode a lot of rides. So I was home alone for the weekend, which provided the perfect opportunity to host a dinner party for my girlfriends. I had read an article in Bon Appetit about a fall dinner party, the main course was a glazed pork, which looked amazing. I knew it had to go on the menu. We started with crab stuffed mushrooms and brie with grapes & baguette slices. The soup was butternut squash and apple, which was suprisingly savory. The soup was followed by a salad of mixed greens with balsamic dijon vinaigrette and candied Creole bacon. The entree was the glazed pork from the magazine alongside roasted root vegetables. For dessert, we shared rich chocolate cake with salted caramel frosting. I will post all the recipes over the next couple of weeks. I decided to challenge myself and try all new recipes for the party, which worked out amazingly well, I was very pleased with the outcome.

There was lots of wine, food and friendship. It was such a lovely evening with the girls, I am very lucky to have so many amazing women in my life. One of my dearest friends was not able to join us for the evening, her mother had passed away the day prior. All of our thoughts were with her and her family, we know she will join us at the next one.

I kept the decor very simple for the party. I ordered burnt orange napkins from Amazon. I got small grapevine wreaths from Hobby Lobby to act as napkin rings. I added some silk fall foilage to each wreath and the napkins were ready. The centerpiece was an arrangement of gourds on a gold runner with more leaves scattered about. I didn't even bother with fresh flowers, they didn't seem to fit the autumn them at all and the gourds were a lot cheaper. I am planning on re-using most everything for our family Thanksgiving celebration.
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nutella Swirl Muffins

Nutella Swirl MuffinsHappy Halloween everyone! We are taking Miss F out trick-or-treating as Dino.  As soon as I saw these on What's Cookin Chicago, I knew I had to make them. The silliest thing about that is that I am allergic to tree nuts.  It was an adult onset allergy, so no Nutella for me.  I do remember loving Nutella when I first had it in England when I was in grade school.  Since i could not partake, these muffins were perfect for sharing with friends and with C, who loves Nutella.  I cannot give these my personal stamp of approval, but C enjoyed them, so I can go ahead and recommend them highly. 
Nutella Swirl Muffins

¾ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking power
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with baking cups and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and egg until combined. Add in flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg, mixing to incorporate into a batter. Add in vegetable oil, milk and vanilla extract.

Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full with batter. Add a teaspoon of Nutella to each muffin cup and using a knife, swirl it around a few times to stir in. Bake muffins in preheated oven for 15-17 minutes or until center comes out clean when checked with a toothpick. Allow muffins to cool before serving.
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Mango Salsa

Mango SalsaIt's time for the Secret Recipe Club once again. This month I received Enriching Your Kid to make one of her recipes. I was drawn to her recipe for Mango Salsa since I had a ripe and juicy mango on my counter. This salsa is a refreshing alternative to traditional tomato salsas and would be lovely on grilled chicken or fish. The only problem I had was chopping the mango, those things are SO darn slippery.  Be sure to check out all the amazing submissions for this month's Secret Recipe Club below.
Mango Salsa

1 ripe mango
1 large ripe tomato
2 shallots
A handful of fresh cilantro
juice of a lime

Wash and skin and cube the mango. Wash and cube the tomato. Peel the shallots and slice finely. Separate the shallot slices. Chop the cilantro. Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over top and stir to combine. Serve with chips or overtop of grilled chicken or fish.



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Friday, October 26, 2012

Crockpot Coq au Vin

Crockpot Coq au VinIt is still 90 degrees plus in Houston, but after a long weekend in Jackson Hole, I was ready for a warm, comforting fall dish. I have a crazy amount of chicken thighs in my freezer, I think I accidentally bought an extra pack at Costco instead of getting chicken breasts. This recipe is inspired by the Coq au Vin recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I adapted it a lot and changed it to cook in the crockpot. This dish is perfect for fall, even if fall means 90 degree days better suited for a day at the pool. At least I can pretend we are still in Jackson Hole.
Crockpot Coq Au Vin

3 slices of bacon, chopped
4 bone-in chicken thighs
2 tablespoons flour
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup quartered mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup red wine
½ cup chicken broth
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried parsley
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

In a sauté pan, cook the bacon over medium heat. Remove the bacon to a dish with a slotted spoon when crisp. Coat each chicken thigh in flour, salt and pepper. Saute the chicken thighs in the bacon grease for three minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside. Saute the carrots, onions and mushrooms for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds more. Transfer the vegetables to the crockpot and top with the chicken thighs. In a two cup measure, mix together the wine, broth, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken thighs. Sprinkle the bacon over top of the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Serve.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake

Pumpkin GingerbreadI adore big slices of gingerbread cake. I also enjoy pumpkin gingerbread. So I decided to combine the two, at Miss F's request, to make pumpkin gingerbread cake. The whole inspiration to making gingerbread came from Disneyland. We were riding through the Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion and there was a wonderfully good smelling gingerbread house in one of the rooms. Miss F has wanted to make gingerbread for her lunchbox ever since we got home. This gingerbread is a little more Halloween than Christmas, I adore it.
Pumpkin Gingerbread

¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/3 cup water
1 cup pumpkin
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 ¾ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch square pan. In a large bowl mix together the sugars, oil, eggs and water. Beat in the pumpkin and the spices. Slowly add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes.
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Monday, October 22, 2012

Red Snapper Tacos with Cucumber Slaw

red snapper tacos with cucumber slawI love fish tacos, especially ones with snapper. I wanted something lighter for dinner after eating our way through Disneyland for five days. These tacos fit the bill perfectly. The slaw is light and provides a great crunch to contrast the delicate fish. I much prefer corn tortillas with fish tacos, not sure why, I think the flour tortillas can often be too heavy.  Any firm white fish would work perfectly with these tacos, they would also be amazing with grilled snapper. 
Red Snapper Tacos with Cucumber Slaw

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 pound red snapper filets
1 lime
1 cucumber, sliced thin
1 carrot, shredded
½ cup shredded cabbage
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon hot sauce
8 corn tortillas

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. In a small bowl, stir together the salt, cumin, cayenne, pepper and juice from half of the lime. Rub the seasonings over the snapper filets. Saute the fish for 3 to 4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness. Remove and set aside.

Toss together the cucumber, carrot and cabbage with oil, vinegar, hot sauce and the juice from the remaining half of the lime.

Warm the tortillas on the hot skillet.  Slice the fish.  Top the tortillas with a slice of snapper, top with the slaw. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
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Friday, October 19, 2012

Recipe Swap: Cinnamon Roll Muffins

Cinnamon Roll MuffinsIt's another Blogger's Choice Swap, which means I got to troll through Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations to find whatever recipe I wanted to make.  I instantly gravitated to her recipe for cinnamon roll muffins, I loved the idea of making them in muffin form and not needing to use yeast.   These were quite a breakfast treat, Miss F was a huge fan and I was equally impressed.  They had all the components of a good cinnamon roll: warm cinnamon, gooey icing and they were messy to eat.
Cinnamon Roll Muffins

1 cup buttermilk
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 eg
3 cups flour

Filling Ingredients
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Icing Ingredients
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk or cream

Measure the brown sugar, baking soda, salt, vanilla, and egg into a mixing bowl. Add the buttermilk, then the flour; stir until thoroughly combined into a dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Roll the dough into a 12x24 inch rectangle and spread with the butter. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll the dough into a log beginning with the wide side. Stretch slightly. Cut into two-inch pieces and put these pieces into greased muffin tins or cupcake liners. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.


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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thai Sweet Chili Salmon

Thai Sweet Chili SalmonOne of my favorite sushi places for a girls' happy hour has a fried calamari that is amazing. What is most amazing about the dish is the sauce it comes with, it is a spicy version of Sweet Chili Sauce. This recipe brings those same flavors out on my most favorite fish, salmon.  As usual, adjust the Sriracha to your own personal taste level.  I probably added more than a tablespoon of it.  Thanks to Once Upon a Chef for the wonderful recipe.
Thai Sweet Chili Salmon
1-1/2 pounds (or four 6-ounce pieces) salmon, skin on
6 tablespoons Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 to 3 teaspoons Sriracha
1 tablespoon peeled and finely grated fresh ginger

Set oven rack 5-6 inches from the heating element and preheat broiler.

Make marinade by combining sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, Sriracha and ginger in a shallow baking dish. Spoon ¼ cup marinade into a small dish and set aside. Add salmon fillets, skin side up, to remaining marinade and marinate for 1 hour in refrigerator.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer salmon fillets to prepared baking sheet, skin side down, and drizzle a bit of the marinade over top. Go easy — you don’t want it to pool too much on the baking sheet because it will burn in the oven. Broil salmon for 6-10 minutes, or until browned in spots and almost opaque in the center. Transfer salmon to serving platter and pour reserved sauce over top. Serve.
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Monday, October 15, 2012

Crabcake Sauce

Crabcake SauceOn of the spoils of having crabs at my parents' house is the batches of frozen crab meat we pick after everyone is full. My most favorite thing to make with the meat are crabcakes.  I can eat them on a sandwich, between saltine crackers or just plain.  Lately, the most enjoyable way has been with this sauce that is my mom's recipe.  Originally it was a recipe to dip steamed artichoke leaves into, but we decided it shines as a sauce for crabcakes. 
Crabcake Sauce

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

few pinches cayenne pepper, to taste

pinch sugar
pinch salt

lemon zest, to taste

Whisk all ingredients together in a glass or ceramic bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Chill for at least one hour.
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Friday, October 12, 2012

Crockpot Tortilla Soup

Crockpot Tortilla SoupOn Mondays, Miss F has ballet and tap class after school, which means there isn't much time to cook dinner after. I am not a huge fan of most crockpot meals, I like stews, shredded meats and soups, that is about it. I love chicken tortilla soup, so I decided to try and make it in the crockpot. It was a total success! C did complain about the fried tortilla smell, "so much smell for such little strips," but the dinner was delicious. Even Miss F was a huge fan, though she opted not to have avocado on hers. Which I found quite strange because she loves guacamole.
Crockpot Tortilla Soup

4 cups chicken broth
1 roasted Poblano pepper, chopped
1 package frozen corn
1 can Rotel tomatoes and jalapenos
1 to 2 chipotles in adobo, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 corn tortillas
Vegetable oil
1 avocado, chopped
½ cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1 lime

Stir together the broth, Poblano, corn, Rotel, chipotles, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper in the bowl of the crockpot. Add the chicken breasts. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the chicken from the crockpot and shred with two fork, return to the crockpot.

Slice the tortillas in half and then into strips. In a small sauce pan, heat two inches of oil over medium high heat. Fry the tortilla strips in batches until golden brown and remove with a slotted spoon.

Serve the soup garnished with the tortilla strips, avocado and cheese, along with a squeeze of lime juice.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Salmon with Avocado and Tomato Salsa

Salmon with Avocado and Tomato SalsaSalmon is my most favorite fish. I buy it at the fish market near my parents house then break it down into individual filets to make whenever C is out for the evening. This recipe was inspired by Corn Cakes with Pulled Pork and Avocado-Tomato Relish.  This dish is absolute perfection in my eyes.  The tart vinegar pairs perfectly with the rich salmon and avocado.  The relish would also be fantastic on tilapia or red snapper.  I added one teaspoon of the Sriracha to my single serving, so feel free to increase if you like things a touch hot.
Salmon with Avocado and Tomato Salsa

4 6-ounce salmon filets
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 avocado
2 roma tomatoes
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Sriracha

Preheat your broiler. Line a pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Lay each salmon filet skin side down and brush with one tablespoon of the oil. Salt and pepper each filet. Broil for 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your salmon filets.

Chop the avocado and tomato and place in a small bowl. Pour over the remaining tablespoon of oil, vinegar and Sriracha. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve each filet with a large spoonful of the avocado and tomato salsa.
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