Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
cajun pork and peppers fajitas
crockpot TexMex chicken stew, rice
red snapper with bell pepper and tomato
corn and red pepper bisque, cheddar jalapeno biscuits
hoisin pork with rice noodles
green chili chicken tacos, black beans
apricot glazed chicken skewers, brown rice, broccoli

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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