Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
easy penne alla vodka, broccoli
crockpot chicken enchilada soup
garlic sizzling shrimp, snap peas herbed cheese buttermilk biscuits
flat iron steak with red wine sauce, baked potatoes, green beans
bbq chicken thighs, skillet corn
pulled pork tacos with sweet chili slaw, black beans
Jap Chae

Monday, February 29, 2016

Sweet Blueberry Muffins


Have the blueberries been amazing lately or what? I am used to having delicious berries in the summer, so it has been quite a pleasant surprise to have them in February.  Even though it feels more like summer around here.  We spent the day picking strawberries in nearly 80 degree weather.  These muffins were a huge hit in our house.  C came home from a ski weekend and devoured three in one sitting.  Miss F had one for breakfast and then again for snack every day.  The recipe is from King Arthur Flour.  And I will be adapting it to make strawberry muffins since I have two huge bucket fulls in our refrigerator.
Sweet Blueberry Muffins

½ cup (8 tablespoons) butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
½ cup milk
2 ½ cups blueberries, fresh preferred
¼ cup sugar, for topping

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the baking powder, salt and vanilla. Add the flour and milk, beating gently until just combined. Mash ½ cup of the blueberries. Gently stir in the mashed blueberries and whole blueberries. Scoop the batter by ¼ cup full into the prepared liners. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with 1 teaspoon of sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, until the muffins are golden brown. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then remove to a rack to cool completely.
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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hearty Beef Stew


I find Tide and Thyme to be my cooking kindred spirit. She lives in Maryland, which is where I am from originally, and even better, lives on the wonderful Eastern Shore.  I have several beef stew recipes, two years of Colorado living will do that, but as soon as she posted this recipe, I knew I needed to try it.  Even though "winter" now means a cold snap in the 60s (brrrr...) is rolling through town.  Miss F picked out all the potatoes, naturally, but C and I really enjoyed this aptly titled hearty beef stew.
Hearty Beef Stew

1 ½ pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
Salt and ground pepper
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup dry red wine
1 cup beef broth
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
3 red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
½ pound carrots, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
1 cup frozen peas

Season beef generously with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add the meat so that pieces are not touching and cook not moving until brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Use tongs and rotate pieces until all sides are browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer beef to medium bowl.

Reduce heat to medium and the remaining oil to now empty pan and swirl to coat bottom. Add onions and ¼ tsp salt and cook, scraping bottom of pan for brown bits until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for 30 seconds more. Stir in the flour and cook until lightly colored, about 1 minute more. Add wine, scraping the bottom and stirring until thick and flour is dissolved. Slowly add the beef broth, stirring constantly, scraping up the remaining browned bits on bottom of pan. Add bay leaves and thyme and return to simmer. Add beef, return to simmer, reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer for 1 hour. Add potatoes and carrots, leave uncovered, increase heat to medium and cook for additional hour. Add the peas, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 min. Discard bay leaves, and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.
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Monday, February 22, 2016

Buttermilk Brined Roast Chicken


I love roasting a whole chicken, especially since you always have leftovers that are great to use in things like chicken pot pie.  This recipe is from Bon Appetit and couldn't be any easier.  The chicken came out perfectly tender and full of bright lemon flavor.  I devoured a leg and a thigh, Miss F still hasn't decided that chicken skin is good to eat (it is!)  I added quartered red potatoes to the bottom of the roasting pan, onions and carrots would make great additions as well for a one pan meal.
Buttermilk Brined Roast Chicken

2 lemons
3 cups buttermilk
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 3 ½ to 4 pound chicken
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Thinly slice one of the lemons. Whisk the buttermilk, garlic and salt together in a 4 cup measure. Place the chicken in a large re-sealable plastic bag with the lemon slices. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the chicken and seal the bag. Refrigerate at least 8 hours and up to a day.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove the chicken from the plastic bag, rinse with cold water and pat dry. Place the chicken on a wire rack in a roasting pan and stuff the cavity with the other halved lemon. Rub the chicken with the butter, salt and pepper to taste. Tuck the wings under the chicken. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and roast until a thermometer inserted into the thigh reaches 165 degrees, about 20 to 25 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a platter, tent with foil and let the chicken rest 10 minutes before carving.
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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Creamy Dill Vegetable Dip


This dip is so easy, I may never use a dip packet ever again. I usually just mix together a ranch dressing packet with a couple cups of sour cream and call it a day. Instead, fresh dill is the star of this incredibly simple dip. It was a huge hit, not a drop of dip was left by the end of the evening. At one point, the whole platter was on my couch between two friends and they polished off all the veggies and scooped out every last bit of dip. I always serve cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and celery with my dips. Always. So I decided to change it up this time. I served broccoli, radishes and snap peas, along with my standard carrots and celery. I will say, I missed having the cucumber, which would pair nicely with this dip.
Creamy Dill Vegetable Dip

1 cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise, dill, parsley and garlic salt. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve with fresh chopped vegetables of your choice.
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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Poblano Chicken Chowder


I have had this recipe pinned forever. I love poblano peppers, they add a nice spice without being too overpowering.  Miss F was thrilled that there was no potatoes in this chowder recipe, she despises potatoes, especially in soup.  This soup was full of flavor, I didn't even need to add any hot sauce to my bowl.  Miss F still did, she loves Tabasco.  We haven't had much of a winter here in Houston this year, so I have been enjoying soup in 80 degree weather.  At least I got to spend last weekend in Aspen and get some exposure to real winter.
Poblano Chicken Chowder

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½ -inch dice
3 large carrots, cut into ½ -inch dice
2 cups frozen corn kernels
½ onion, cut into ½ -inch dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Poblano pepper, seeded and cut into ½ -inch dice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste
¼ teaspoon dried thyme, or more to taste
6 cups chicken broth
¼ cup butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste
½ cup heavy cream

Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the chicken, carrots, corn, onion, garlic, poblano, salt, pepper, cumin and thyme. Saute for 8 minutes, until the vegetables soften. Add the chicken broth and cook for 12 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 4 minutes. Ladle one cup of the broth from the stockpot into the flour, whisk until smooth. Pour the skillet mixture into the stockpot and stir well to combine. Cook for 5 minutes more, stir in the hot sauce and cream. Serve.
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Monday, February 8, 2016

Mini Pizzas


These adorable little pizzas were a fun way for Miss F and I to have dinner without a major battle over pizza toppings. We have totally different tastes, but we would never be able to finish two whole pizzas.  I don't like making pizzas with half toppings, it never seems to cook properly.  These were fun to assemble and even more fun to eat.  She and I took down the entire plate.  When C is home for dinner, I would probably have to double the recipe.  These would be fantastic as a party app as well.  The recipe is from The Comfort of Cooking
Mini Pizzas

1 teaspoon yeast
½ cup warm water
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Desired toppings

Stir together the yeast and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer, let stand for 5 minutes. Add the flour, salt, sugar and oil to the bowl. Knead with the dough hook for 5 minutes, then shape into a ball. Place the dough, covered with a towel, in a warm place for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Roll out the dough on a well floured surface, stretching into a 12”x8” rectangle. Use a round cookie cutter to cut the dough into circles. Place the rounds onto a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Top each with the crushed tomatoes, cheese and any desired toppings. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Serve.
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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Baked Chipotle Ranch Chicken Taquitos


Miss F loves pretty much anything when it is rolled up in a tortilla with cheese. She likes quesadillas, but she adores it so much more when I make the same ingredients into taquitos. She can usually devour three or four of these in one sitting. If only there were an easy way to pack them in her lunch box. Anyone know of any long and skinny containers that keep things warm?  I got the usual whining from C about my use of chipotles, he abstained from the dip because it was "too smoky."  His loss.  This is an incredibly easy meal and would also be a great addition to your Super Bowl Party menu.  As for me, I will be enjoying the Super Bowl while on the ski slopes of Aspen.  No party planning this year!  Thanks to The Brewer and the Baker for the recipe.
Baked Chipotle Ranch Chicken Taquitos

¾ cup mayo
¾ cup sour cream
2-3 canned chipotle peppers with 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 small bunch of chives
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup buttermilk

6 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup Chipotle Ranch Dressing
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teapsoon cumin
½ medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
2 cups shredded Colby jack cheese
2 dozen 6-inch corn or flour tortillas (or ~4 dozen 5-inch tortillas)

Make the chipotle ranch by adding the mayonnaise, sour cream, chipotles, lime juice, chives, garlic, salt and pepper to a blender. Puree until smooth, then stir in the buttermilk. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment or a Silpat. Stir together the cream cheese, dressing, chili powder, cumin, onion and garlic, then stir in the chicken and cheese. Spoon a couple tablespoons of the chicken mixture on the lower third of each tortilla. Roll the tortillas up tightly and place seam side down on the prepared baking sheets. Spray with cooking spray and bake for 15 minutes until starting to brown. Serve with remaining chipotle ranch.
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Monday, February 1, 2016

Southern Cheddar Biscuits


This recipe from A Southern Soul has been lurking in my Pinterest for quite awhile.  I love a good biscuit and even more than a good biscuit, I love a good cheesy biscuit.  They don't even need butter!  I have been using my pastry cutter more and more lately, it's just easier sometimes to work things by hand.  These biscuits are worth the extra effort, they came out just perfectly and were enjoyed by all.  Miss F slathered hers in butter, but I was completely okay with eating them plain.
Southern Cheddar Biscuits

1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
¼ cup butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
¾ cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using two forks or a pastry cutter until it forms into pea size balls. Stir in the cheddar cheese and buttermilk. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, kneading for a minute or so. Roll out the dough to a ½ inch thickness. Cut the biscuits with a round biscuit cutter and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes and cool on a wire rack.
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