Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
crockpot chicken enchilada soup
easiest ever carbonara with fresh pasta, salad
baked crispy chicken sandwiches, sweet potato fries
chipotle pork, skillet corn, green beans
salmon salad with avocado and cucumber, lemon vinaigrette
out for Halloween
out for a wedding

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cheddar Sour Cream Biscuits

cheddar sour cream biscuitsI love biscuits. Almost as much as I love yeast breads...well, sometimes more. I especially like little biscuits. Ouisies Table is a fantastic resturant in Houston that serves these adorable little biscuits before brunch in all sorts of flavors, but my favorite always involve cheese. The copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits are usually my go to for biscuits at dinner, but when I saw these biscuits on Tastetastic Voyage, I had to try them.  And I wanted to make them small, just like Ousies.  They are so delicious.  C ate three with dinner, I used a 2" cutter, so that doesn't seem that bad.
Cheddar Sour Cream Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 500°F for 15 minutes before baking. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, garlic powder and baking soda. Add grated cheese and sour cream to flour mixture and mix well.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently for 1-2 minutes. Roll the dough out to ¾” thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
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Friday, January 27, 2012

Banana Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

banana oatmeal raisin cookiesI am always looking for healthy treats to pack in Miss F's lunchbox.  I saw these cookies on Pinterest and I knew they would be perfect, even though I was wary that there was no sugar in them at all.  And no eggs.  And no flour.  But yet they were called "cookies."  Thanks to Lick the Bowl Good for this fantastic and kid friendly recipe.  I always have bananas on hand, once they get past the point of being enjoyed on their own, I toss them straight into the freezer to be used in baked goods later.
Banana Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1/3 cup butter, softened
¼ cup milk
2 cups oats
½ cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ripe bananas, mashed

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Let stand for 5-10 minutes allowing the oats to soak up all the milk. Drop by tablespoon full onto a cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow to cool. Makes 2-3 dozen.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Warm Asian Noodle Salad

warm asian noodle saladI love any type of Asian noodles, cold or hot, spicy or sweet, full of meat or packed with veggies. I love it all. This recipe is from Gourmet Day to Day.  I made a lot of changes to suit what I had on hand.  Whatever leftover vegetables are in your refrigerator would work great in this dish.  I happened to have broccoli slaw, carrots and a bell pepper, so I went with that.  Next time I will increase the Sriracha by even more.  I doused my bowl pretty liberally while I was eating it and it still wasn't spicy enough.  Miss F loved the shrimp and the noodles, but wasn't as sold on the vegetables.  Shocker!  I much prefer using rice stick or other Asian noodle rather than using a traditional pasta.  I need to try rice noodles in Peanut Chicken Pasta and see how that works. 
Warm Asian Noodle Salad

¼ cup peanut butter
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
2 teaspoons Sriracha
½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ pound rice sticks
1 tablespoon oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ pound of shrimp
½ cup shredded carrot
½ cup shredded broccoli
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

To prepare sauce, combine first 8 ingredients (peanut butter through Sriracha) in a small bowl; whisk well to combine. Soak the rice sticks in hot water for 5 minutes. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp, carrots, broccoli and bell pepper. Sauté until shrimp are cooked through and vegetables are crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Add the noodles to the pan, pour the sauce over top and toss well to combine. Add ¼ to ½ cup of the soaking water to the pan to thin the sauce to taste.
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Monday, January 23, 2012

Corn Chowder with Avocado and Lime

corn chowder with avocado and limeI saw a recipe for Corn Chowder with Cilantro, Avocado and Lime on Pinterest.  The recipe was interesting, but I used it more as an inspiration instead of following it.  And I am glad I went with my instincts.  This soup was amazing, rich in flavor accented by the bright lime juice and hot sauce. C despises cilantro and I am not a huge fan, but feel free to add it if you enjoy it. I used a blend of frozen yellow and white corn, but I know this would be even more amazing with fresh corn in the summer.

Corn Chowder with Avocado and Lime

1 tablespoon butter
½ yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon dry masa
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons water
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
4 cups chicken broth
½ teaspoon cumin
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 pound frozen corn or the kernels from 5 ears of fresh corn
Lime wedges, avocado slices and hot sauce for garnish

In a Dutch oven, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the masa, flour and water. Add the masa mixture, potatoes, chicken broth, cumin, salt and pepper to the pan. Bring heat to medium high, bringing the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the corn and simmer for 10 minutes more. Stir in the cream and simmer for 2 minutes more. Serve topped with avocado, hot sauce and a squeeze of lime.
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Friday, January 20, 2012

Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta

creamy chicken marsala pastaI love Chicken Marsala, it is one of my most favorite meals. This recipe has been on my "to do" list since Joelen posted the recipe nearly a year ago.  I finally got around to making it and I am kicking myself for waiting so long.  This pasta dish is amazing.  The sweet Marsala wine works well in the creamy sauce.  Miss F was a huge fan of the chicken and pasta, the mushrooms weren't really her thing, but at least she tried them.  C asked why there was cilantro on top of the pasta.  He ate every last bite, "cilantro" and all.  Amazingly enough, he didn't even complain about the smell when I was sauteing the garlic.  A miracle!
Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 pound sliced mushrooms
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup Marsala wine
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
1 pound penne pasta
½ cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Boil water and cook pasta according to the directions.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil in a large skillet until foaming. Cook chicken, mushrooms and onions until lightly browned. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more. Deglaze the pan with the Marsala wine, then add the chicken broth and cream and bring to a boil. Simmer until sauce is slightly thickened.

Drain pasta and reserve ½ cup cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the Parmesan cheese and cook until the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce, about 1 minute, adding the reserved cooking water as needed. Season with salt and pepper and serve with additional Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Herbes de Provence Potatoes

herbes de provence potatoesMiss F is a weird child. She loves meat and fruit, but isn't a big fan of potatoes or most starches. She isn't even a huge French fry fan. How is that possible, is she related to me? I adore potatoes, especially when roasted. Katie's Cucina had a recipe for Herbes de Provence Potatoes.  I didn't have the packaged potatoes she used available at my grocery, but I did have a nice variety of potatoes to add to the recipe.  Purple, red and Yukon golds worked beautifully.  And I was happy to eat Miss F's portion, I couldn't convince her that the purple potato was to her liking.  I also changed up the preparation a bit because I prefer a crisper roast potato.  These potatoes were beyond delicious. 
Herbes de Provence Potatoes

4 Yukon gold potatoes
4 small red potatoes
4 small purple potatoes
2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and dry potatoes. Cut potatoes into eighths. Place potatoes in a large zip lock baggy and toss with Herbes de Provence, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Seal bag and mix until all the flavors are incorporated. Place potatoes on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and turn the potatoes, bake for 20 minutes more.
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Monday, January 16, 2012

Tortilla Soup, Take Two

tortilla soupI have a recipe I love for Tortilla Soup. Any soup I can add avocado to, I am a happy camper.  The recipe for Tortilla Soup on Kokocooks intriqued me.  My usual lime spiked tortilla soup is great for a summer night, this recipe is hearty and rich, perfect for a cool winter night.  We always have corn tortillas on hand.  When I first moved to Texas, you wouldn't catch me eating a corn tortilla when there were soft, pillowy flour tortillas to be had.  But after 15 years, I have learned to appreciate boths tortillas, so we always have a pile in the refrigerator.  This soup is perfect for using leftover tortillas, it works well with stale tortillas.  It makes a huge batch, we had half for dinner and the other half went straight into the freezer.  A neat tip for shredding chicken is to use your KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment.  It is so much faster than shredding chicken with two forks.  Thanks to Stick a Fork in It for the great idea.
Tortilla Soup

½ cup vegetable oil
4 corn tortillas, cut into strips

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
½ white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
4 cups chicken broth
1 can Rotel tomatoes and chiles
1 16 ounce can tomato sauce
2 bone-in, skinless chicken breasts
1 12 ounce package frozen corn kernels
6 corn tortillas, cut into pieces

Chopped avocado
Shredded Monterey jack cheese

In a small sauté pan, heat ½ cup vegetable oil. Add the tortilla strips in small batches, frying until golden brown. Scoop out the strips with a slotted spoon and drain. Repeat with the remaining strips. Set aside.

In a stock pot or large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, white onion and garlic, sauté until onions are softened, about 6 minutes. Add black pepper, taco chili powder and cumin. Stir to combine and sauté another 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, diced Rotel tomatoes and tomato sauce. Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil. Carefully slide chicken breast in, meat side down, making sure it is completely submerged. Turn heat down to low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken from the pot and set on a cutting board. Add corn and tortillas to the soup, and stir to combine. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. The tortillas will break down and thicken the soup. Meanwhile, remove chicken from the bone and shred. Discard bones. Return chicken to the soup. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve with avocado, cheese and tortilla strips.
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Friday, January 13, 2012

Recipe Swap: Shrimp Tacos

shrimp tacosThe theme of this week's swap was a "secret," meaning we were assigned a fellow blogger and we could choose any recipe from their blog. I was given Carrie's Sweet Life, so I thought I should choose a dessert from her extensive collection.  I attempted her Vanilla Fudge Marble Cake, but half of the cake stayed in the bundt pan...whoops.   Miss F loves shrimp, so I searched for a recipe that had shrimp and would make an easy lunch for the two of us....Shrimp Tacos fit the bill. These tacos are originally from the swap's hostess, A Taste of Home Cooking.  The tacos were full of flavor and totally delicious!  I added some avocado to the sauce because I cannot have tacos without avocado.
Shrimp Tacos

1pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons Olive oil
Juice of half a lime
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 jalapeno, roasted, peeled and seeded
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1 cup sour cream
½ avocado
corn tortillas
diced tomatoes
your favorite hot sauce

Combine shrimp, olive oil, lime juice, garlic and cayenne in a bowl. Marinate shrimp for up to 30 minutes. Broil or grill the shrimp until cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine jalapeno with ranch dressing, sour cream and avocado in a food processor and blend until smooth. Warm the tortillas while the shrimp are cooking.

To assemble: smear some sauce on a tortilla, then top with shrimp and tomatoes. Drizzle with extra sauce and a few drops of hot sauce
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Roasted Shellfish Platter

roasted shellfish platterMy parents came into town for Christmas and while C was away at work we feasted on shellfish. He won't touch the stuff, but Miss F loves shrimp. I heavily adapted this recipe from Epicurious.  I thought this huge platter would leave loads of leftovers with only three adults and a kid eating it...I was wrong.  We were left with about 10 shrimp, one set of crab legs and half a lobster.  Roasting seafood is so easy, but your guests need to be ready to get a little messy.  But who minds mess when you are having seafood dunked in butter?  I do need to invest in some crackers for crablegs.  I have had them a couple times now and they really do make things much easier with snow crab legs.
Roasted Shellfish Platter

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
¼ cup minced shallots
2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
2 large cooked lobsters, cut lengthwise in half
1 pound jumbo shrimp
2 pounds cooked snow crab legs, cut lengthwise in half
3 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Brush 2 large roasting pans with 1 tablespoon olive oil each. Mix shallots, minced parsley, and lemon peel in small bowl. Arrange lobster tails, cut side up, in 1 roasting pan; brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then 2 tablespoons shallot mixture.  Meanwhile, combine shrimp, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 tablespoons shallot mixture in medium bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss gently to coat. Arrange in single layer in second prepared roasting pan. Roast alongside lobster until shrimp are just opaque in center, about 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer lobster to large platter; cover with foil. Arrange crab legs in lobster roasting pan; drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with remaining shallot mixture, then drizzle with 3 tablespoons water. Roast just until heated through, about 5 minutes. Arrange shrimp and crab legs on platter with lobster. Pour any pan drippings over shellfish. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs. Serve with lemon butter for dipping.
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Monday, January 9, 2012

Father's Day Pork Chops

fathers day pork chopsThis was another recipe from the October issue of Bon Appetit. It instantly reminded me of my childhood favorite, Pork Things.  One thing I know for sure, next time I make Pork Things, I am going to try the vinegar marinade again.  I think it would be fantastic with balsamic vinegar.  So fantastic, that they might not even need ketchup.  The Panko got nice and crisp.  I used dried herbs instead of fresh because it was what I had on hand.  Only my basil plant is still living out on our front porch.  Fresh lemon zest is key and it adds a nice brightness.  Needless to say, these chops did not need a drop of ketchup, they were juicy and delicious on their own.  Miss F called them "pork nuggets" and wanted more "crispy pieces."
Father’s Day Pork Chops


4 bone-in pork chops (about 2 pounds total), pounded to 1/2" thickness (I used boneless chops)
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, beaten
1 cups Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Zest from half a lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (I used 1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (I used 1 teaspoon dried)
6 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Arrange pork in a single layer in a large baking dish and cover with vinegar. Let sit 1 hour at room temperature. Set up your dredging stations: one small baking dish with flour; one with eggs; and one with Panko, zest, thyme, and oregano. Heat a large cast-iron or heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons olive oil. Season each chop generously with salt and pepper. Dredge each chop first in the flour, then in the egg, then in the Panko mixture; make sure they coat the sides as well as the tops and bottoms, as every inch of crust is crucial. Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Fry the pork chops until crispy and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.
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Friday, January 6, 2012

Potatoes Romanoff

potatoes romanoffOne of C's favorite restaurants is Strip House. When I saw this recipe in the side dish recipe swap on Christine's Kitchen Chronicles, I knew I had to try it.  These would be great for a dinner party or holiday because you bake the potatoes the night before.  I found the shallot flavor to be a bit intense, so I might reduce that next time I make it.  Grating the cooled potatoes was way easier than expected, but most of the skin did not grate along with the potato flesh.  Folding in the sour cream was a bit of a challenge, slow and steady is key.  I had sharp cheddar on hand, so that is what I used and I was very happy with it.  I bet it would be equally delicious with white cheddar as it originally called for.
Potatoes Romanoff

2 large russet potatoes, unpeeled and scrubbed
1/3 cup minced shallots (may reduce to 1/4 cup)
1 ½ cups grated white cheddar cheese (I used regular cheddar)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup sour cream

Wrap each potato in aluminum foil and pierce several times with a fork. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Remove the foil and let the potatoes cool to room temperature. Place the potatoes on a plate, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the potatoes, including the skins. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle the shallots, 1 cup of the cheese, the salt and white pepper on top. Using your hands, gently toss the mixture together to combine, then fold in the sour cream in 2 additions. Transfer the potato mixture to a 1 quart gratin dish; do not compress. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup cheese on top. Bake until the potatoes are hot and the cheese is golden brown, about 30 minutes.
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

red wine braised short ribsI am obsessed with short ribs. I have had this recipe bookmarked on Pinterest since I received October's issue of Bon Appetit magazine. I signed up for three free months of the magazine awhile back and I am still getting issues, so that is a very good thing.  C says I have a problem with free magazines.  And he is right, I have piles of magazines stashed all over the house.  And he keeps finding my hiding spots.  Another plus of Pinterest is that I can trash the magazine once I bookmark any interesting recipes I find  Any recipe that takes an entire bottle of wine must be good. These short ribs were amazingly tender and the sauce was so flavorful. Reducing it before braising the short ribs in the oven really made for a rich, brown sauce.  I used boneless short ribs, increased the amount of carrots and omitted the celery.
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, cut crosswise into 2" pieces (I used ~2.75 pounds boneless short ribs)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
6 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 750-ml bottle dry red wine (preferably Cabernet Sauvignon)
10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
8 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs oregano
2 sprigs rosemary
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
4 cups low-salt beef stock

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, brown short ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons drippings from pot. Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until onions are browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, until well combined and deep red, 2-3 minutes. Stir in wine, then add short ribs with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil; lower heat to medium and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 25 minutes. Add all herbs to pot along with garlic. Stir in stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until short ribs are tender, 2–2 ½ hours. Transfer short ribs to a platter. Strain sauce from pot into a measuring cup. Spoon fat from surface of sauce and discard; season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls over mashed potatoes with sauce spooned over.
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Monday, January 2, 2012

Florentine Cookies

florentine cookiesI cannot believe it is already 2012...time sure does fly. These cookies were C's favorite that i brought home from the annual cookie exchange I attend. I got the recipe from a fellow attendee since C wanted additional made to eat with all the other holiday cookies. These cookies are excellent. The ones from the cookie exchange used milk chocolate chips, but I used semi-sweet and liked them just as well. These cookies come together quickly and adding the chocolate filling is a lot easier than I expected. They have a crunchy chewiness that is really unique. I think they could also be fantastic with a peanut butter filling. I wish everyone a happy and healthy new year!
Florentine Cookies

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
2 cups chocolate chips

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 and flatten each with a spatula. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, until medium brown. Cool completely before removing from the cookie sheets. In the microwave or in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt chocolate chips, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from heat. Spread chocolate onto the bottoms of cookies and sandwich them together.
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