Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
beef fajitas with corn salsa, black beans
sesame chicken, rice, broccoli
crab ravioli with peas
lasagna Bolognese, salad
Hula chicken sandwiches, salad
pizza pizzas
out to Sweet Basil

Monday, September 28, 2015

Chipotle Honey Chicken Tacos


I don't know why it took me so long to make this recipe from The Brewer and the Baker.  It has been on my list for nearly a year now.  Now that school is in full swing, things have been a lot busier around here, so crockpot meals are a staple.  Miss F doesn't get home from art class and dance until past 5 pm, which usually involves me picking her up.  This leaves very little time for dinner prep, you know with trying to work in a bath and homework each evening.  Miss F and I were huge fans of this chicken, C was not as impressed.  He said they were "too sweet" and didn't touch the leftovers.  I think I may reduce the honey to a tablespoon or two next time I make them.
Chipotle Honey Chicken Tacos

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
¼ cup honey
¼ small onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
Dash Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup water

Tortillas
Guacamole
Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
Tomatoes

Place chicken breasts in a crockpot. Add the chipotles, honey, onion, garlic, oil, Worcestershire sauce and water in a blender or mini food processor. Puree until smooth. Pour the sauce over the chicken, cook on low for 4 hours. Remove the chicken and shred using two forks, return to the cooking liquid and stir well to combine. Serve on warm tortillas with guacamole, cheese and tomatoes.
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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Asian Flat Iron Steak


I picked up a super sale flat iron steak at the grocer and I wanted to make something besides fajitas.  The broiled flat iron steak was perfectly cooked, it may be my new go to way to prepare it.  The sauce was rich and perfect over rice with sesame green beans.  C thought the sauce was too much, he had seconds of the steak, but was fine with no additional sauce.  Miss F ate all her steak willingly, but she was upset with the sesame green beans.  She loves to pick the beans from inside steamed green beans, this would be far too messy with sauteed beans. This recipe was inspired from Once Upon a Chef.
Asian Flat Iron Steak

For the Sauce
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup dry Sherry
¼ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/3 cup water
½ teaspoon Asian sesame oil
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
For the Steak
1 one pound Flat Iron Steak
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat the broiler and set an oven rack in the top position.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and cook until softened and fragrant, a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Do not brown. Add the dry Sherry, soy sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar and water; bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer gently until just slightly thickened 4 to 5 minutes. Add the sesame oil and butter and stir until the butter is melted. Set aside.

Season the steak on both sides with salt and pepper and place on a broiler pan (or rack on top of a baking sheet). Broil the steak to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Using tongs, transfer the steak to a cutting board; cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes to let the juices settle (don't rush this step or the juices will gush out of the steak when you cut it). Cut the steak into thin slices across the grain and serve with the sauce.
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Monday, September 21, 2015

Crab Pizza


Some things I just instantly want to make. Enter Crab Pizza. It was destiny. My parents had one last container of crabmeat from a crab feast and I had an afternoon free to head down to their house to swim.  This pizza was perfection.  All the wonderfulness that is crab dip on top of pizza crust.  My parents and I devoured the entire pizza for lunch, but it would be fantastic cut into squares as an appetizer.  Thankfully we are having crabs next week, so we can replenish our crabmeat supply.
Crab Pizza

For the white sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
¾ cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the pizza:
half recipe of pizza dough
Olive oil, for brushing
½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
½ pound fresh crab meat
Old Bay, for topping

To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until bubbling and light golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in the heavy cream and garlic, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To make the pizza, preheat the oven and a pizza stone to 500 F for at least 20 minutes. Shape the dough into a 12-14 inch round. Lightly brush the perimeter of the dough with olive oil. Spread a thin layer of white sauce over the crust, leaving a border clear around the edge for the crust and reserving ¼ cup of the sauce. Sprinkle on the shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.

Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, and top with fresh crab and reserved sauce. Return to oven for a minute or two, just to warm the crab. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving. Sprinkle with Old Bay to taste.
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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Crockpot Sweet and Spicy Pulled Pork


I entered a Fantasy Football game for the first time ever this year. Shawnda hosted the draft party and served her amazing margaritas. We had so many delicious snacks, but the standout was this pulled pork. I wanted to make it straight away, the recipe is adapted from America's Test Kitchen.  This is quite possibly the best pulled pork recipe I have ever made and I am going to use the fat separator method from here on out for all pulled pork recipes.  I had delicious margaritas, amazing pulled pork and drafted Tom Brady in the late rounds.  Total win.  And so far, I am #1-0 in fantasy football (shout out to Tom Herman!)
Crockpot Sweet and Spicy Pulled Pork

2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon chile powder
¾ cup pineapple juice
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (3-pound) boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and halved
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus extra as needed
Tortillas for serving

Purée chipotle chiles, chile powder, pineapple juice, garlic, sugar, cumin and cloves in blender until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to slow-cooker. Season pork with salt and pepper, add to slow-cooker and coat evenly with sauce mixture. Cover and cook until pork is tender, 9 to 11 hours on Low, or 5 to 7 hours on High.

Transfer pork to large bowl, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces, discarding excess fat; cover to keep warm. Let braising liquid settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using a large spoon.

Toss shredded pork with 1 cup braising liquid; add more liquid as needed to keep meat moist and flavorful. Stir in lime juice and season with salt, pepper and additional lime juice to taste. Serve in warm tortillas.
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Monday, September 14, 2015

Tomatillo Chicken


Miss F is obsessed with the creamy green sauce at Pappasitos. And when I say obsessed, I mean it. She insists on having her own bowl of sauce to eat with her chips and she eats it prison style, with her arm crooked around the dish. She devours the whole bowl and usually asks for a second. I decided to try and make a similar sauce to serve over baked chicken.  She loved it.  She kept stealing bites of the sauce as I was preparing it.  I may have become a little obsessed with it too.  The sauce was also delicious over Mexican sour cream rice.  I adapted the recipe from Le Crème de la Crumb.
Tomatillo Chicken

½ cup mayo
½ cup sour cream
½ cup buttermilk
1 package buttermilk ranch dressing mix
2½ teaspoons garlic
3 tomatillos, husked and chopped
½ teaspoon lime juice
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
chopped tomatoes

Whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, ranch dressing mix, garlic, tomatillos and lime juice. Pour half of the dressing in a large Ziploc bag, add the chicken, tossing well to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a shallow baking dish and place the chicken inside. Discard the marinade. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Top with the reserved dressing, tomatoes and serve.
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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sachertorte


To continue our Austrian theme, Miss F's favorite desserts on our trip were Bienenstich and Sachertorte. She was obsessed with both.  She wanted to make a Sachertorte for Grandad's birthday.  It is a rich chocolate cake glazed with apricot jam and covered in more chocolate.  I heavily adapted the recipe and swapped the chocolate glaze for a ganache, just because it seemed so much easier (and it was!)  Miss F was so sad when the cake was gone, she was already asking to make it again.
Sachertorte

¾ cup chocolate chips
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
Apricot glaze
Chocolate glaze

To make the torte: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment or wax paper. Dust the sides of the pan with flour and tap out the excess.

In the top part of a double boiler over very hot, but not simmering, water, or in a microwave at medium power, melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat or the oven, and let stand, stirring often, until cool. Beat the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty standing mixer fitted with the paddle blade on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. On low speed, beat in the confectioners' sugar. Return the speed to medium-high and beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the chocolate and vanilla.

Beat the egg whites and granulated sugar in a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer on high speed just until they form soft, shiny peaks. Do not overbeat. Stir about one fourth of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites, leaving a few visible wisps of whites. Sift half of the flour over the chocolate mixture, and fold in with a large balloon whisk or rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining flour.

Spread evenly in the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. (The cake will dome in the center.) Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan, and invert the cake onto the rack. Remove the paper and reinvert on another rack to turn right side up. Cool completely.

To assemble: Using a long serrated knife, trim the top of the cake to make it level. Cut the cake horizontally into two equal layers. Place one cake layer on an 8-inch cardboard round. Brush the top of the cake layer with the apricot glaze. Place the second cake layer on top and brush again. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the remaining glaze. Transfer the cake to a wire rack placed over a jelly-roll pan lined with waxed paper. Let cool until the glaze is set.

Make the chocolate glaze (it must be freshly made and warm). Pour all of the warm chocolate glaze on top of the cake. Using a metal offset spatula, gently smooth the glaze over the cake, allowing it to run down the sides, being sure that the glaze completely coats the cake (patch any bare spots with the spatula and the icing that has dripped). Cool until the glaze is barely set, then transfer the cake to a serving plate. Refrigerate until the glaze is completely set, at least 1 hour. Remove the cake from the refrigerator about 1 hour before serving.

To serve, slice with a sharp knife dipped into hot water. Serve with a large dollop of whipped cream on the side.

Apricot Glaze

1 ¼ cups apricot preserves
2 tablespoons water

Bring the preserves and water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Cook, stirring often, until the last drops that cling to the spoon are very sticky and reluctant to leave the spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain through a wire sieve into a small bowl, pressing hard on the solids. Use warm.

Chocolate Glaze

½ cup cream
2/3 cup chocolate chips

Stir together the cream and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring in between each, until all the chips are melted.
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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Austrian Potato Salad


I have never eaten one bite of traditional potato salad. My mayo aversion combined with cold potatoes just never made it an appetizing entrée.  I tried Austrian potato salad first in Berlin...and I was hooked.  Warm, vinegary potatoes, it's like a dream.  Growing up, we always had a cruet of apple cider vinegar on the table.  My favorite was to pour it over broccoli or on a baked potato...so good.  This potato salad recipe is from Wolfgang Puck, who I think is probably the most famous Austrian chef out there.  For some reason, my fingerling potato bag had a couple purple potatoes inside, which has never happened before.  The pink color couldn't get Miss F to try them, she is steadfast in her potato hatred.  And of course C wouldn't try them either because of the vinegar smell.  Thankfully, my parents were over for dinner to help me polish them off!
Austrian Potato Salad

1 ½ pounds small fingerling potatoes, washed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
½ small yellow onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup canola, safflower, or peanut oil
½ cup chicken broth or vegetable broth

In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, thyme sprigs, and 2 tablespoons of the salt. Add enough cold water to cover completely. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the potatoes are just tender enough to be pierced easily with a skewer or the tip of a sharp knife, about 10 minutes.

Drain the potatoes. While they are still hot, peel them with a small, sharp knife, protecting your hand from the heat with a folded kitchen towel. As each potato is peeled, cut it crosswise into 1/4-inch slices, letting the slices fall into a mixing bowl. Add to the hot potato slices the onion, remaining salt, sugar, pepper, vinegar, and oil. Stir gently but thoroughly with a large spoon to combine the ingredients.

Before serving, heat the broth in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the potato salad and stir it gently just until the potatoes are thoroughly heated, serve.
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