Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: A Year in Review

Another year is in the books!  C has returned home from Aspen for good and our little family is reunited in Houston.  Which means less bread baking and seafood dishes, but a lot more family dinners without having to use Skype.  This year we were lucky enough to visit the Big Island in Hawaii, Colorado Springs, Disneyland/Disney World, New Orleans, and Aspen for several ski trips.  We are headed back to Aspen for a couple visits in 2015 for more skiing adventures, I am looking forward to getting back to Colorado.  Wishing you all a wonderful new year!

These are the top twelve posts from this year based on the number of hits they received. I am very impressed that Carbonara made the list, twice!

Wishing you all an amazing 2015!
#1 Hoisin Pork with
Rice Noodles

#1 2014
#2 Rosemary Sriracha
Chicken Thighs

#2 2014
#3 Chicken Pot Pie with
Cream Cheese Biscuits

#3 2014
#4 Easy Crusty Bread
#4 2014
#5 Crockpot Loaded Baked Potato Soup
#5 2014
#6 Easiest Ever Carbonara
#6 2014
#7 Butternut Squash and
Spinach Carbonara

#7 2014
#8 Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp
in a Lemon Cream Sauce

#8 2014
#9 Hot Pepper
Noodles

#9 2014
#10 Sriracha Lime Chicken Kebabs
#10 2014
#11 Braised Short Rib Pasta
#11 2014
#12 Mongolian Beef
#12 2014
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Monday, December 29, 2014

Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls

Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls
This is a winter adaption for my most favorite easy overnight cinnamon rolls. My mom brought me a ton of meyer lemons, so meyer lemon sweet rolls were born. I am not usually a breakfast fan, unless I am eating dinner for breakfast, but I was happy to indulge in one of these sweet rolls in the morning.  Miss F loves lemons, she takes a lemon wedge in her school water bottle every day.  She wished that these were tarter, so I may make them again with regular lemons next time to appease her.  She said they were too sweet for her taste, what a fancy six year old!
Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls

2/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 ½ teaspoons yeast
1/3 cup white sugar
3 cups flour
¾ teaspoon salt
2 eggs

½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons fresh meyer lemon juice

¾ cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon fresh meyer lemon juice

Heat the milk in a small saucepan just until it begins to bubble, remove from the heat. Swirl in the butter until melted.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the milk mixture. Add the sugar, 2 cups of the flour, salt and eggs; stir well to combine. Add the remaining flour a ½ cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Knead for 5 minutes using the dough hook of the stand mixer.

Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 10x10 inch square. Lightly brush the far edge with water. In a small bowl combine the sugar, butter and lemon juice; sprinkle over the prepared dough. Roll up the dough into a log and seal the seam. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and place into a greased 9 inch cake pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rise overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, while the oven is heating, let the prepared rolls rise on the countertop. Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. While the rolls are baking, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle the glaze over the baked rolls and serve warm.
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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

And happy holidays to all! Wishing you a joyous holiday season, from our family to yours. 
pic
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Lemon Veal Scallopine

Lemon Veal Scallopine
This dish could not get any easier. It came together in less than 10 minutes and it tasted like I had spent hours on it. I had a very hungry C and Miss F, so the speed of the meal was very much appreciated. Too bad my mom's rosemary roasted potatoes take a little longer to prepare than the veal. Miss F still mystifies me sometimes, she refused the potatoes, but gladly ate all her broccoli. And this was after having two helpings of broccoli for her school lunch.  I used lemons that my mom had brought me from her lemon tree, which is so nice to have.  Next time I make this, I will serve it over angel hair, which will truly make it a 20 minute meal from start to finish.  This recipe was inspired by Gourmet magazine.
Lemon Veal Scallopine

¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
four 3-ounce veal scallops, each about 1/8 inch thick
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken stock
three ¼ inch lemon slices, halved
1 teaspoon drained bottled capers
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon flour

In a shallow dish stir together the flour and the salt and in the flour mixture dredge the veal, 1 piece at a time, shaking off the excess. In a large non-stick skillet heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it sauté the veal for 1 minute, or until it is pale golden. Turn the veal and sauté it for 30 seconds more, or until it is pale golden and just springy to the touch. Transfer the veal to a platter and keep it warm, covered. Add to the skillet the wine, stock, lemon, and the capers and simmer the mixture for 1 minute. With a fork, mix together the butter and flour. Swirl the butter flour mixture into the sauce. Serve the veal topped with the sauce.
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Monday, December 22, 2014

Crockpot Garlic Rosemary Beef Stew

Crockpot Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew
Stew is always a great winter dish, especially when I make it in the crockpot. Mondays are usually crazy because Miss F's dance class isn't over until nearly 5 pm, which means there isn't much time to get dinner on the table. This stew is fantastic, I made a few changes from the original, mainly the addition of peas. I love adding peas to stew.  The stew's sauce was so rich and had a great depth of flavor from the soy sauce and brown sugar.  Of course Miss F refused the potatoes, but she gobbled up the rest of the dish.  The original recipe can be found on Budget Bytes.
Crockpot Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew

6 carrots, peeled and sliced
½ onion, diced
1 pound new potatoes, chopped in 1" cubes
1 pound stew beef
¼ cup flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup red wine
2 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups frozen peas

Add the carrots, onions and potatoes into the bowl of the crockpot. Toss the stew beef with flour, season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the garlic for 30 seconds, then add the meat and flour mixture. Saute the meat about a minute a side until all sides are browned. Add the meat to the slow cooker, then deglaze the pan with the wine. Bring to a simmer and stir in the broth, mustard, Worcestershire, soy sauce, brown sugar, rosemary and thyme. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour the broth mixture into the crockpot and stir. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, stir in the peas for the last 20 minutes of cooking.
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Friday, December 19, 2014

Garlic Butter Dinner Rolls

Garlic Butter Dinner Rolls
Mmmmm...warm, soft rolls topped with butter and garlic salt, there really isn't anything better. I adapted this recipe from Carlsbad Cravings. The original called for 28 rolls, which would have been lovely to have, but I am positive I would have eaten every last one. Seeing how I have been indulging more than usual for the holidays, 28 rolls lurking in my house wasn't a good idea for anyone. Miss F and C both loved these rolls, they are sweet and the salty topping is perfect. I may try them again with sea salt on top instead of the garlic salt, I bet that would be amazing. I have some pink sea salt that could be a really fun topping.
Garlic Butter Dinner Rolls

½ cup milk
3 tablespoons salted butter, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons sugar
¾ teaspoon yeast
3 tablespoons warm water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoons salt
2 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 teaspoons garlic salt

Add the milk to a microwave safe two cup measure. Heat the milk in the microwave for one minute, swirl in the butter until melted and add the sugar. Put the two cup measure into the refrigerator. In the bowl of the stand mixer, add the water and yeast, let stand 5 minutes, until foamy. Add the milk mixture, egg and 2 cups of the flour, mix until well combined. With the mixer on low, add the remaining ½ cup of flour a little at a time. Knead on medium-low speed for 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball, coat with olive oil, return to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 1 hour in a warm place. Punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces, shape each into a ball. Place the balls in a greased 8 or 9 inch cake pan. Cover with a towel and let rise one hour more. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the rolls with half of the melted butter. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Brush with the remaining butter and sprinkle with the garlic salt.
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lemon Sour Cream Doughnuts

Lemon Sour Cream Doughnuts
Miss F begged to make doughnuts while C was up skiing in Whistler. I had planned to make chocolate sour cream doughnuts, but she had a different plan. She was dead set on having lemon doughnuts. Thankfully, it is the time of year when lemons (and Meyer lemons) are aplenty. She ate three doughnuts before I could even realize what was going on, then she downed a bowl of raspberries and was wanting another doughnut. I relented and I didn't think she would be hungry for the remainder of the day. I was wrong, so we must be mid growth spurt. Thanks to Divas Can Cook for the recipe.
Lemon Sour Cream Doughnuts
makes 12 doughnuts

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup white granulated sugar
juice from one large lemon
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup milk
few drops yellow food coloring (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a doughnut pan with cooking spray, set aside. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar in a large bowl. In a two cup measure, whisk together the lemon juice, egg, butter, sour cream and milk. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined, then stir in the food coloring. Fill the doughnut pan with the batter and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for two minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Chicken Spaghetti in a Creamy Parmesan and Sundried Tomato Sauce

Chicken Spaghetti in a Creamy Parmesan and Sundried Tomato Sauce
This recipe ended up quite differently than the original from Closet Cooking.  I knew I wanted to add pasta to absorb all the delicious sauce and I had fresh tomatoes from my mom's garden that needed to be used.  Everyone loved this dish!  Miss F was wary of the sun-dried tomatoes, but she was fine eating the other tomatoes.  Her main obsession was the pasta, she kept asking for more.  Her pediatrician said it looks like she is getting ready for a growth spurt, we had her annual check-up and was shocked to realize that we hadn't seen the doctor since our visit last year.  I feel so lucky to have such a healthy kid.
Chicken Spaghetti in a Creamy Parmesan and Sundried Tomato Sauce

12 ounces spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup cream
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
¼ cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
½ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup fresh basil, thinly sliced (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the spaghetti per package instructions, drain and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, cooking until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, saute for 30 seconds. Add the wine to deglaze the pan. Stir in the broth, cream, tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, stir in the parmesan cheese, basil, salt and pepper. Toss the spaghetti with the sauce; serve.
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Soft Yeast Rolls

Soft Yeast Rolls
I love making homemade rolls for the holidays. C much prefers the pop-n-serve rolls that you get at the grocery store and warm in their little cardboard tray. C loved these rolls and I think my mom thought they actually were of the pop-n-serve variety. I like baking them the day before and then just wrapping them in foil to warm in the oven when they are ready to be served. I generally have too much going on during a holiday dinner to keep track of rising times and such. Thanks to Sunny Side Up for the amazing recipe, my whole family loved them. There may have been a minor battle over the leftover rolls at the end of the evening.
Soft Yeast Rolls

¼ cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
2 tablespoons sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
3 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Warm the water and milk in a two cup measure, sprinkle the yeast overtop and let stand for a couple minutes. Add to the bowl of a stand mixer, along with the butter, egg, sugar and salt. Mix on low to combine. Add 1 ½ cups of flour and beat until smooth. Replace the paddle with a dough hook and add 2 more cups of flour. Knead for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise for 1 hour. Grease a 9x13 glass baking dish. Punch down the dough and knead by hand on a well floured surface for a minute or so. Divide the dough into 20 equal pieces and place in the baking dish, 4x5. Brush the rolls with the melted butter. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes more. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies
Every year my friend Brandi hosts an amazing cookie exchange. We are all asked to bring six dozen cookies, packaged in bags of three cookies each and the swapping is coordinated by our host. We just drink, eat, talk, eat and drink some more. It is always a lovely time and each year I always aim to make a new recipe. I knew I wanted a recipe for chocolate chips cookies that produced six dozen cookies. These cookies bake up beautifully. I really loved the way they turned out. This is year number five of the exchange, I have only missed one year. I have made chocolate cayenne cookies, ultimate Reeses Pieces cookies and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies in the past. This recipe was adapted from food.com.
Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 ¼ cups sugar
1 ¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 ¼ cups butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
4 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In the bowl of the stand mixer, beat together the sugar, brown sugar and butter. Add the vanilla and eggs, beat until well combined. Stir in the flour, baking soda and salt until combined. Fold in the three chocolate chips. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto Silpat or parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
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Monday, December 8, 2014

Skillet Chicken Souvlaki

Skillet Chicken Souvlaki
I heavily adapted this recipe from Cooking Light, mainly in that I served it on naan instead of pita. I always prefer naan to pita, as long as it is homemade. My parents' garden has provided lots of bell peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers this fall, which fits perfectly into this meal.  The red bell pepper was from Kroger and the green bell pepper was from the garden.  The size difference between the two was spectacular, the garden bell pepper was about a quarter of the size of the grocery store bell pepper.  I wonder what they are doing to those peppers.  Everyone loved this meal and it also provided great leftovers.  I may have had a couple naan slathered in the cucumber yogurt sauce, it is one of my most favorite foods.
Skillet Chicken Souvlaki

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
½ lemon, juiced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon oregano
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced
1 bell pepper, any color, seeded and sliced

1 tomato, chopped
1 recipe naan or pita

Stir together the cucumber, garlic, yogurt, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and oregano, saute for 30 seconds. Add the chicken and bell pepper, saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Serve the chicken on naan or pita, topped with the tomato and yogurt sauce.
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Friday, December 5, 2014

Chicken Madeira

Chicken Madeira
I love Madeira wine, especially with veal.  Unfortunately, the rest of my family has differing opinions.  Miss F had her chicken plain, no potatoes and lots of broccoli (no stems!)  C had the sauce on the side and made a meager effort to eat a couple of the mushrooms.  I had mine drenched in the delicious sauce, I may have stolen a couple of C's mushrooms, which he was grateful for.  The sauce was also amazing on the mashed potatoes, so I highly recommend serving them with this dish.  Thanks to Life as a Mrs. for the great recipe.
Chicken Madeira

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 4 cutlets
¼ cup flour
4 slices Mozzarella cheese

1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cups Madeira wine
½ cup chicken broth
½ teaspoon salt
Cracked black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet. Dredge the chicken in flour, shake off any excess. Add the chicken to the pan and sauté until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes a side. Remove to the prepared baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Top each chicken cutlet with mozzarella cheese and return to the oven for 1 to 2 minutes more.

While the chicken is in the oven, add another tablespoon of butter to the pan that the chicken was cooked in. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the flour and stir until incorporated, for about 30 seconds more. Deglaze the pan with the wine and chicken broth, stirring well. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture reduces and thickens, add the salt and pepper. Serve the chicken topped with the madeira sauce.
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Chipotle Pork

Chipotle Pork
I always keep a container of chipotles in adobo sauce in our freezer. That way, I can grab one or two as needed instead of wasting an entire can for just a couple peppers. This recipe is amazingly easy and full of smoky chipotle flavor.  I remember the first time I ever cooked with chipotles, I was pleasantly surprised with the level of heat they provided.  I made corn blinis for a dinner party and I failed to warn my guests about the spice level, whoops!  Thanks to The Way To His Heart for the amazing recipe.
Chipotle Pork

½ cup chopped onion
1 ½ tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground cumin
9 large garlic cloves, peeled
3 chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 two pound boneless pork loin
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup chicken broth

Add the onion, honey, cumin, garlic, and lime juice to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add one tablespoon of the oil and process until smooth. Add the pork and the chipotle mixture to a resealable plastic back. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

While the pork is marinating, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Heat the remaining olive oil in a pot with a lid over medium high heat. Remove the pork from the bag, reserving the marinade. Sprinkle the salt over the pork and sear in the oil on all sides, for about 8 minutes. Remove the pork and set aside. Add the broth and the marinade to the pot, bring to a boil and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the pork to the pan, cover and bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours, until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and spoon the sauce over top.
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Monday, December 1, 2014

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Creamy Cajun Pasta
I have way too many recipes for Cajun pasta (chicken, shrimp, shrimp again, chicken again, pork, chicken alfredo and chicken once more) on my blog. Well, I guess that depends on how you look at it. I love this dish in any form and when I saw this version from food.com on Pinterest, I wanted to try it. I love sun-dried tomatoes and I knew they would be a fantastic addition to this dish.  I made a lot of changes from the original, but everyone loved this dish.  The sun-dried tomatoes were just as perfect as I thought they would be, in fact, I know I may try them in carbonara next.  I use the dried tomatoes that you re-hydrate with hot water instead of the ones packed in oil.
Creamy Cajun Pasta

12 ounces linguine
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into thin strips
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chacheres)
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup white wine
¾ cup cream
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Prepare the linguine per package instructions, drain and set aside. Toss the chicken with the cajun seasoning and flour. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, saute the chicken and bell pepper for 5 to 7 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom. Bring to a simmer. Add the cream, tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper, stir and heat through. Stir in the parmesan and linguine, toss to coat and serve.
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