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

Friday, June 29, 2012

Recipe Swap: Pork Sandwiches

dr pepper pulled porkThe theme of this week's swap was sandwiches, which is perfect for the summer. Even more perfect that the recipe I received in the swap can be made in the crockpot, as my car was reporting 116 degrees today after I left the grocery store. I did omit the slaw from the original recipe, pork sandwiches with cilantro-jalapeno slaw from Christine's Kitchen Chronicles.  I am not a huge fan of slaws and these sandwiches were so good, it didn't even need it.  I served them on my favorite rolls, brioche buns.  Be sure to check out Christine's blog for the slaw recipe.
Pulled Pork Sandwiches

½ onion, peeled and quartered
1 pork butt or shoulder roast (2 to 3 pounds)
1 can (7 Ounce) Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce
1 can Dr. Pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
8 brioche buns

Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the crockpot. Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork, including the sauce, and the can of Dr. Pepper. Sprinkle the brown sugar overtop. Cook on low for 8 hours, shred the pork with two forks and return to the cooking liquid. Serve the meat on brioche buns with sliced pickles.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blueberry Banana Bread

blueberry banana breadMiss F was an excellent helper when making this bread. For the first time she didn't get flour everywhere when she stirred, so I see that as a major success.  She insisted on having a slice straight from the oven.  And then she ate it in the strangest way, she picked out all the bread portions first, ate them and then ate all the blueberries.  Silly girl.  It's blueberry season around here, so if you have some to use, I recommend adding it to this recipe or your own banana bread recipe.  I adapted this recipe from Straight from the Farm.
Blueberry Banana Bread

1 ¾ cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease one loaf pan. Set aside. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture. Stir in half of the bananas, then add half of the flour mixture. Stir in the remaining bananas and then the remaining flour mixture. Fold in the blueberries. Pour batter into the greased loaf pan and bake for an hour or until golden brown and springy to the touch.
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Monday, June 25, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Poulet au Riesling

Poulet au RieslingIt's time for another edition of the Secret Recipe Club. I received the amazing K&K Test Kitchen to blog from and I couldn't have been happier. There were so many amazing recipes to select from. I decided to choose Poulet au Riesling, having just returned from a week in Paris, I still was craving French food. The recipe reminded me of one of my favorites, Roti de Porc au Lait, the sauce was decadently rich and creamy.  I am not very familiar with Rieslings, other than they are sweet, so I went with a reasonably priced bottle called Bloom.  It made an amazing sauce and I cannot wait to use it on other meats.
Poulet au Riesling

3 slices of bacon
4 chicken thighs
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
½ pound forest mushrooms, sliced fairly thin
6 medium carrots, sliced
2 cups Riesling wine
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Cut bacon into ½ inch pieces and cook them over medium-high heat until they are crisp in a Dutch oven. Lift bacon out of pan and set aside.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Arrange skin down in the bacon fat in the pan and brown. Remove the chicken and set aside with the bacon. Discard all but 3-4 tablespoons of the fat. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté the onions and garlic, cook and stir until soft but not colored. Add the mushrooms and carrots and continue cooking until heated through, about 3 minutes. Bring the heat to high, pour in the wine. When it comes to a full, rolling boil put the chicken and bacon back in the pot. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer gently, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan. Add cream and boil until sauce is reduced somewhat and starting to thicken. Return chicken to the sauce. Add parsley and serve.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes

chocolate covered strawberry pancakesOne of my most favorite flavor combinations is chocolate and strawberry. A local chocolate shop, The Chocolate Bar, has the best ice cream. And my favorite flavor is Sno-Berry, which is vanilla ice cream with chocolate covered strawberries mixed in.  My two most favorite pancakes are chocolate chip or strawberry.  So I thought, why not combine the two?  These pancakes are so good they don't even need syrup.  Miss F just eats them straight up.  This recipe makes about 8 to 10 pancakes if you use a standard size ice cream disher to scoop them on the griddle.
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes

1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup sliced strawberries
shortening (for cooking)

Whisk the egg in a large bowl, add the buttermilk and mix well. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. Fold in chocolate chips and strawberries. Heat the griddle over medium heat. Using a paper towel, spread shortening over the griddle. Pour ¼ cup of batter onto the griddle (an ice cream disher works great for this). Cook on the first side until bubbles that form start to pop. Flip the pancake over with a spatula and cook until golden brown. Repeat until all the batter is gone.
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pork Florentine

pork florentineWhen I saw this recipe pop up from Joelen's blog, What's Cooking Chicago, I knew I wanted to try it. But I had bigger plans for the pork chops, Pork Things plans. Pork Things are one of my favorite childhood foods and I knew this sauce would go fantastically with them. Too bad my family members didn't agree. C ate his with ketchup, refusing the sauce completely and Miss F had hers plain (which I sort of expected.) Sigh. The sauce was rich and delicious, I think it would be equally amazing over pasta.  Maybe if I served it that way, C would actually eat it. 
Pork Florentine

1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
4 to 6 thinly sliced boneless pork chops
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ onion, minced
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups baby spinach

In a shallow bowl, whisk the egg with the milk. In a separate shallow bowl, add the breadcrumbs. Dip each pork chop in the egg and then breadcrumb mixture. In a 12 inch skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Fry the pork chops for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove the pork chops to a baking sheet and keep warm in a 200 degree oven.

Spoon out all but 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onions and cook until softened. Add the flour and garlic and cook until fragrant. Slowly add the broth and heavy cream, stirring constantly. Add the salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan and spinach to create the sauce. Serve the pork chops with the sauce over top and sprinkle with additional parmesan.
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Monday, June 18, 2012

Sausage and Peppers Baked Penne

Sausage and Peppers Baked Penne PastaOne of the first dishes I ever made without following a recipe was baked ziti. I despise ricotta cheese, so generally I avoid most recipes for lasagna and baked ziti. Mozzarella is delicious and binds the pasta together well enough together that you don't even miss the binding properties of the ricotta. Miss F gobbled up this pasta and ate most of the meat from my plate. C really enjoyed the dish as well, so it is definitely a keeper in our house. The sweet bell peppers and spicy sausage are perfect together. I bought a new basil plant, let's see how long I can keep it alive this year.
Sausage and Peppers Baked Penne

1 pound Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomato paste (6 ounces)
2 cans diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces each)
1 teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon salt

1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound penne pasta
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

In a Dutch oven, sauté and break up the Italian sausage until cooked through. Remove to a plate and drain all but 1 tablespoon of grease from the pot. Sauté the onions until soft, adding the garlic for the last 30 seconds of cooking. Add the tomato paste and cook for one minute. Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, red pepper and salt; return the sausage to the pan. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the bell peppers with the olive oil and place the peppers on a baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes. When the peppers are done, reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Prepare the pasta per package directions, under cooking by two minutes. Drain.

Add the bell peppers, pasta and 1 ½ cups of the cheese to the sauce. Stir to combine. Grease a 9x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Add the pasta mixture to the pan and top with the remaining 1 ½ cups cheese. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
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Friday, June 15, 2012

Recipe Swap: Wheat English Muffins (in the Bread Machine!)

bread machine whole wheat english muffinsI had taken a month off from the Recipe Swap because we were travelling to Paris. I was so excited that Blogger's Choice was set for this swap, it is always my most favorite 'theme.' It is so much fun to read through the blogs I receive and discover the blogger's recipes. I have been wanting to attempt English muffins for a long while. One of my favorite breakfast breads is the English muffin, but it is intimidating to make. I dumbed down Adventures in My Kitchen's recipe to work in the bread machine, which basically makes maaking English muffins as easy as cutting biscuits.
Wheat English Muffins in the Bread Machine

1 ¼ cups milk
¾ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shortening, melted
¼ cup warm water
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
corn meal for dusting

Scald milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Add salt and shortening, stir to dissolve. Remove from heat and pour into the bread machine with the water. Add the flour on top of the milk, then sprinkle the yeast over top of that. Set your bread machine to the dough cycle and run.

Remove dough from the machine and place on lightly floured surface. Knead a few times to form a dough ball. Roll dough to ½ inch thickness. Use a biscuit cutter or glass about 3-4 inches in diameter to cut out English muffin rounds.

Sprinkle corn meal on a baking sheet. Place English muffin rounds on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise 45 minutes.

Lightly grease and preheat griddle to 300 degrees. Place the English muffin rounds on griddle (corn meal side down) and cook for 10 minutes. Flip and cook second side 10 minutes. Move to wire rack to cool completely.  After they are completely cooled, they can be frozen in Ziplock bags. Makes 15+ (depending on diameter).
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Shrimp Gyros

Shrimp GyrosNow that my parents live nearby, I head down there at least once a week for some time in their pool and for a visit to the seafood market. I was craving Greek food after we returned home from Paris and I figured shrimp would work well in gyros.  It did!  The shrimp were fresh caught and just needed lemon juice, vinegar and oregano to flavor them for the gyros.  I dragged my bread machine to my parents to make the pita bread, because I have become too lazy to make any type of yeast product without it.  Shrimp gyros are a perfect summertime meal.
Shrimp Gyros

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Juice of two small or one large lemon
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

Pita bread
Tzatiki sauce(recipe follows)
1 tomato, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped

In a medium bowl, whisk together one tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Toss the shrimp in the marinade and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium high heat. Sauté the shrimp for 5 to 6 minutes, until pink and cooked through. Serve the shrimp on pita bread topped with tzatiki sauce, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Tzatiki Sauce

1 English hothouse cucumber, peeled and chopped into chunks
2 large garlic cloves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
24 ounce container plain Greek yogurt

Meanwhile, add the cucumber to the bowl of a food processor and pulse 5 to 8 times until it reaches a coarse grated consistency. Drain liquid from the cucumber. Mince garlic with salt until it forms a smooth paste. Stir the cucumber and garlic into the yogurt.
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Monday, June 11, 2012

Michelob ULTRA Light Cider Pork Tacos with Jicama Apple Slaw

Michelob Ultra Light Cider Pork Tacos with Jicama Apple Slaw
When Michelob ULTRA Light Cider contacted me about their new product, I decided to incorporate it into a recipe for pork tacos. Since it is sweetened naturally, it provides the perfect braising liquid for pork tacos. These pork tacos are light, a touch sweet and make an incredibly easy summer dinner. You don’t even have to heat up your oven since they are braised all day in a slow cooker. The pork roast falls apart easily after simmering all day in the slow cooker; you really can shred the meat with just one fork. The jicama and apple slaw provides a tangy crunch to complement the pork. I first had jicama in a cooking class years back, we made a jicama apple slaw and I adored it. Jicama is a cross between a potato and pear, with the same crunch as an apple. Jicama is usually found near the potatoes, turnips and other root vegetables in most grocery stores. If you aren’t usually a fan of corn tortillas, try them with these tacos. When I first moved to Texas, I was a flour tortilla girl all the way. After being her for over 15 years, I have realized that corn tortillas have their place and are really delicious. I doused my tacos with hot sauce, but they would be equally tasty without if you are wary of heat. The recipe only requires one bottle of Michelob ULTRA Light Cider, so feel free to enjoy the rest of the six-pack with dinner, we sure did.

If you are looking for the perfect summer beverage, look no further. Most hard ciders are heavy and rather sweet. Michelob ULTRA Light Cider is light and refreshing, with only 120 calories per bottle. That is one third less calories than traditional hard ciders, which makes it even more perfect for sipping poolside. With a bikini friendly calorie count and a light apple flavor that isn’t overly sweet, I know I will be enjoying these all summer long. Which favorite summer meal or activity do you think would go best with Michelob ULTRA Cider?

Please be sure to visit the Michelob ULTRA Light Cider page on BlogHer.com and the Sponsor’s site.

Michelob ULTRA Light Cider Pork Tacos with Jicama Apple Slaw

2 to 3 pound pork roast
¼ onion, chopped
1 bottle Michelob ULTRA Light Cider (12 ounces)
2 tablespoons Canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ to ½ jalapeno, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Cayenne pepper, to taste

1 jicama, peeled and sliced into sticks
1 granny smith apple, sliced into sticks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Corn tortillas
Hot sauce
Cilantro

Place pork roast fat side up in a slow cooker, layer the onions over top. Combine the Michelob ULTRA Light Cider, oil, garlic, cayenne, salt, pepper and cayenne in a small bowl. Pour over top of the pork. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Shred with two forks.

Toss together the jicama and granny smith apple. In a small bowl whisk together the oil and vinegar; pour it over the jicama apple mixture.

Warm the tortillas, fill with pork and top with the jicama apple slaw, cilantro and drizzle with your favorite hot sauce.
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Friday, June 8, 2012

Summer Shrimp Salad

summer shrimp saladOne of the best things about my parents moving to town is the fact that I can regularly indulge in seafood. C doesn't touch any type of seafood, so I am always ordering it when we are out. We get the fresh shrimp from Kemah, which is awesome. This salad has all of my favorite summery salad vegetables: corn, avocado, tomato and cucumber. The dressing is light, bright and perfect.  The shrimp take on a decadent flavor by cooking in the bacon grease.  I went back for seconds, I really enjoyed this salad. It will be a favorite this summer, but only when visiting my parents. I heavily adapted this recipe from Cooking Light's recipe for Shrimp Cobb Salad.
Summer Shrimp Salad
makes 4 salads

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar
¼ cup olive oil

6 slices bacon
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ teaspoon paprika

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1 avocado, chopped
½ cucumber, chopped
1 cup kernel corn

Whisk together the lemon juice, lime juice and sugar. Whisk in the olive oil in a steady stream. Add more sugar if needed, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan, cook the bacon. Drain the bacon over paper towels and crumble. Toss the shrimp with the paprika. Spoon all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat from the sauté pan. Sauté the shrimp until cooked through, approximately 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, corn and bacon. Toss the lemon dressing with the salad. Plate and top each salad with one quarter of the shrimp. Serve.
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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Chicken and Bell Pepper Alfredo

chicken and bell pepper alfredoThis dish is a play off a dish I have been making for years.  One of the first ever dinner parties I had, I cooked a version of this dish.  The main difference was that the pasta was prepared, then topped with more cheese and baked.  I remember being so proud of myself for making my own sauce, I was 21 and still in college, but I finally had an apartment of my own (with a working oven!) I believe the recipe came from a magazine of some sort.  And I believe it also originally included some broccoli, which I think would also be fantastic in this version.  You can use whatever Italian cheese you have on hand: Mozzarella, Monterrey Jack, something that melts and is white.
Chicken and Bell Pepper Alfredo Pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into ½ inch-wide strips
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
6 mushrooms, thinly sliced
½ onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup white wine
1 ½ cups whipping cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup grated Italian blend cheese
1 pound pasta, cooked

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high. Sauté chicken strips until just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer chicken strips to bowl. Add sliced red bell pepper, mushrooms and onions to Dutch oven and sauté until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add whipping cream, grated Parmesan cheese and Italian blend cheese. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Add chicken strips and any juices in bowl to sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Add pasta, toss and serve.
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Monday, June 4, 2012

Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

cherry oatmeal cookies I am always looking for new cookie recipes. You can never have enough cookie recipes in your recipe box.   I love oatmeal cookies, but I am not particularly fond of oatmeal raisin cookies.  I am not a huge fan of raisins, but I enjoy other dried fruits, especially cherries.  I always prefer a chewy cookie, well maybe not always...Florentine cookies come to mind as a crispier favorite.  These cookies are perfectly chewy with just the right amount of sweetness.  You could use any dried fruit you wish, cranberries, blueberries or even raisins. I used quick cooking oats because it is what I had on hand, it worked quite well. 
Martha Stewart's Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
¼ cup honey
2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups oats
1 cup dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt; set aside. Place butter, sugar, and honey in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat to combine. With the mixer on low, gradually add reserved flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Stir in oats and cherries.

Drop 1 tablespoon of dough at a time about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until lightly golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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Friday, June 1, 2012

Shrimp and Oyster Po-Boys

shrimp and oyster poboyMy parents have moved to town, which means I can cook seafood at their house whenever I visit.  They live near the coast and there are several great seafood markets nearby.  We got Texas shrimp and oysters for these amazing sandwiches.  I adapted the Bang Bang Shrimp recipe.  I made the remoulade on the fly and it totally worked.  I was light on the hot sauce because my mom isn't a fan of spice, but I doused my sandwich with Tabasco before I ate it.  The oysters were simply dusted in cornmeal and flour to really let the sweetness come through.  Of course you can make an all oyster or all shrimp po-boy, but what is the fun in that?
Shrimp and Oyster Po-Boys

For remoulade:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped dill pickles or relish
2 teaspoons capers, chopped
Hot sauce

Shrimp:
1 egg
½ cup milk
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
½ cup flour
1 pound shrimp, peeled and de-veined

Oysters:
5 tablespoons cornmeal
2 tablespoons flour
1 pint oysters

Vegetable oil for frying
1 loaf French bread
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tomato, sliced
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce

In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, pickles, capers and hot sauce to taste. Set the remoulade aside.

In a shallow dish, whisk together the egg and milk. In another shallow dish, combine the Panko and bread crumbs. Toss the shrimp in the egg and milk mixture and then dredge in the Panko mixture. Refrigerate the shrimp for 15 minutes to set the coating. Heat two inches of oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Fry the shrimp for 3 to 4 minutes, remove and drain on paper towels.

In a shallow dish, combine the cornmeal and flour. Toss the oysters in the cornmeal mixture. Heat two inches of oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Fry the oysters for 8 to 10 minutes, until cooked through. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Slice the bread lengthwise and then cut into four equal pieces. Brush the inside of the bread with the melted butter and broil for a minute to toast. Assemble the shrimp, oysters, tomatoes, lettuce and remoulade on the bread. Serve.
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