lattice chicken pot pie
Mexican street corn pasta
chicken Ghiveci
creamy chicken tortilla soup, jalapeno jack popovers
butter basted ribeyes, twice baked potatoes, broccoli
brisket tacos, pinto beans
pork souvlaki, naan

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pork Chops and Peppers

pork chops and peppersOne of my most favorite bloggers, Tide and Thyme, has been back to blogging lately. Joy!  I didn't change her recipe at all.  And it was absolute perfection.  C's vinegar aversion had completely vanished when I plated this meal.  He ate the entire thing and thought the peppers were amazing.  Well, maybe he didn't use the word amazing, but he definitely loved them.  There wasn't a bite left on his plate.  Even curiouser, he didn't complain about the garlic smell.  Can you believe he asked me to stop cooking with garlic because he hated the smell so much?  Obviously, that isn't going to happen.  I used red and yellow bell peppers since they are sweeter than green.
Pork Chops with Vinegar Peppers

6 pork chops (bone-in or boneless, 1 inch thick)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bell peppers, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
olive oil
fresh ground pepper

Season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a large, heavy bottomed skillet. Heat over high heat until shimmering. Add half of the pork chops. Cook for 3 minutes, or until nice and golden on both sides. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Add remaining chops, and repeat process, remove to the plate when cooked.

To the now empty pan, add the sliced pepper. Reduce heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are beginning to soften. Add garlic, and sauté for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the balsamic vinegar, and scape the bottom of the pan vigorously with a wooden spoon to loosen up fond. Let vinegar reduce until it coats the peppers and is almost syrupy in consistency.

Plate pork chops, and top with the vinegar peppers.
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Crispy Potato Roast

crispy potato roastThis post is going to start like so many others...I saw these potatoes on Pinterest. And they looked amazing.  I broke out my mandoline and heavily adapted the recipe.  It was the presentation I was after.  I have a things for fancy looking potatoes (Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C.)  These potatoes didn't disappoint, in either the fanciness or the deliciousness.  The original recipe calls for the potatoes to be peeled, which would make them easier to cut and eat.  That being said, the crispy potato skin was my most favorite part of the dish.  My madoline decided that my potato slices were going to be oblong, so I just had one layer of potatoes running along the dish.
Crispy Potato Roast

2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium to large russet potatoes
Coarse salt
1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine butter and oil. Brush bottom of an oval 9-inch baking dish with some butter mixture. With a sharp knife or mandoline, slice potatoes into 1/8" slices crosswise. Arrange potato slices vertically in dish. Sprinkle with salt; brush with remaining butter mixture. Bake for one hour. Add rosemary and bake until potatoes are cooked through with a crisp top, about 30 minutes more.
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Monday, September 26, 2011

Best Bread Machine Bread

best bread machine bread 1When I read this recipe on AllRecipes, I was curious. It went against everything my bread machine's manual said to do. And I wanted to try it anyway, what did I have to lose except three cups of bread flour and a little time. Not even that much time, more like ten minutes of active time and three hours of dealing with the house smelling wonderful. Of course C was at the Aggie game, which is a 2 hour drive each way, so the smell wouldn't torture him.  After I tasted this bread, I am unsure that I will ever go back to my bread machine's instructions.  It was perfectly baked. And Miss F has homemade sandwich bread for her lunch all week.
Best Bread Machine Bread

1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
¼ cup vegetable oil
3 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt

Place the water, sugar and yeast in the pan of the bread machine. Let the yeast dissolve and foam for 10 minutes. Add the oil, flour and salt to the yeast. Select the white bread setting and press start.
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Friday, September 23, 2011

Recipe Swap: Ham and Swiss Double Pinwheels

ham and swiss double pinwheelsA Taste of Home Cooking hosted a gameday and tailgating recipe swap this week.  This recipe comes from Life and Kitchen, but I didn't make it for gameday.  Instead, I figured this would be fantastic toddler food.  And I was right.  I omitted the green onion since I was making it for a two year old.  Finley was excited to help make her "hammy cheesy rollups" and was even more excited to eat them.  She ate three for lunch.  I will send some of the leftovers in her lunchbox today.  So whether you are making these for the watching football set or watching Sesame Street set, I recommend them highly.  They remind me of my friend Shelley's Sausage Swirls.  I submitted Lance's Hot Crab Dip to the recipe swap, I hope whoever made it enjoyed it as much as I do.
Ham and Swiss Double Pinwheels

¼ pound cooked ham, cut into pieces
1 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 can (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup shredded Swiss cheese

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. In food processor bowl with metal blade, process ham and cream cheese until smooth and well blended. Unroll dough into 1 large rectangle; press into 13×8-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal. Spread ham mixture over rectangle. Sprinkle with Parmesan and Swiss cheeses. Starting with both short sides of rectangle, roll up both toward center. With serrated knife, cut into 16 slices; place cut side down on cookie sheet. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

double chocolate banana breadThis recipe is an adaptation of my mom's banana bread recipe.  We had a long morning at the pool and Miss F was in no mood for napping.  So we baked banana bread...Miss F style.  She is happy to help me bake, especially if she gets to snack on chocolate chips while doing so.  And with this recipe, not only did she get chocolate chips, she also got a bowl of applesauce to eat as well.  A toddler's dream!  This recipe is especially nice because you don't have to drag out the mixer.  I just measure the wet ingredients in a 4 cup measure and give it a whir with my immersion blender.  That is the only thing that Miss F didn't do in making this bread, it really is that easy.
Chocolate Banana Bread

1 ½ cups flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 eggs
¼ cup natural applesauce
¼ cup canola oil
2 over ripe bananas
¾ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, sift the first six ingredients together. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, applesauce, oil and bananas on medium speed until well combined. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Grease a 9”x5” loaf pan and fill with the batter. Bake for 45 minutes, let cool before slicing.
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Monday, September 19, 2011

Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges

spicy sweet potato wedgesI have been trying to perfect sweet potato fries in the oven for the longest time, I have never been successful. They are either super soggy or over cooked. It is really hard to get a French fry texture from the oven. And I really don't enjoy deep frying, the whole house smells like McDonalds for days after. This recipe is a good solution for my sweet potato fix. The wedges don't get overcooked and they get nice and crispy from the hot baking pan. The cayenne pepper adds a nice kick to complement the sweetness of the potatoes.  You can adjust the pepper to your liking, I add more than half a teaspoon because I like things spicy, the spicier, the better.
Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges

3 sweet potatoes
¼ cup olive oil
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the sweet potatoes into wedges, eight wedges per potato. In a small bowl, combine the oil and cayenne pepper. Brush the wedges with the oil and lay flat on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking.
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

baked penne with chicken and sundried tomatoesThis recipe is perfect for taking a meal to a friend. It makes two pans, one for dinner and one to give away. My friend from Miss F's playgroup had her baby girl Sloane a few weeks back and I knew I wanted to bring this meal. I brought a salad and a batch of chocolate chip cookies to go along with it. We had it the night before, of course C picked out all the tomatoes, which then made Miss F pick out all her tomatoes...fantastic. Nonetheless, he went back for seconds and so did I. I made some changes to the sauce from the original recipe on Martha Stewart, after tasting the sauce I felt it needed Parmesan and I prefer a melted cheese crust on top of baked pasta. The sauce is dangerously rich and totally delicious. C said he would prefer his with carrots and broccoli next time. I am not so sure about the carrots, but maybe I will add some broccoli and red bell pepper next time I make it.
Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes

6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound penne pasta
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, halved horizontally
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups whole milk
10 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
1 cup finely grated Parmesan
½ cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta, and return to pot.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise.

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Off heat, gradually stir in the Parmesan. Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes; sprinkle each with ¼ cup mozzarella. Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011


naanI am not a fan of Indian food, the flavors just don't pop for me. I love Thai curries, but Indian curries just don't appeal to me at all. One thing I do love whenever I eat Indian food is Naan. Maybe my problem is that I fill up on Naan and there is no room left for my tummy to enjoy the rest of the Indian cuisine. I got this recipe from Budget Bytes and it did not disappoint. Miss F kept calling them "tortillas" and she wanted to make "tacos" with them. The cutest part was she wanted me to take a picture of her eating her food after I was done taking a snapshot of my food.  I adored this bread.

2 teaspoon dry active yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup water
2 ½ to 3 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 egg

In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the yeast, sugar and water. Stir to dissolve then let sit for a few minutes or until it is frothy on top. At that point, stir in the oil, yogurt and egg until evenly combined.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine 1 cup of the flour with the salt. Next, add the wet ingredients to the flour/salt mixture and mix until well combined. Continue adding flour a half cup at a time until the dough comes together. Swap out the mixing paddle for the dough hook and knead for 3 minutes.

Loosely cover the dough and let it rise until double in size (about 45 minutes). After it rises, gently flatten the dough and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a small ball by stretching the dough back under itself until the top is smooth and round.

Heat a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat and spray lightly with non-stick spray. Working with one ball at a time, roll it out until it is about ¼ inch thick or approximately 6 inches in diameter. Place the rolled out dough onto the hot skillet and cook until the under side is golden brown and large bubbles have formed on the surface. Flip the dough and cook the other side until golden brown as well.

This recipe is Miss F recommended
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Monday, September 12, 2011

Pumpkin Powdered Doughnuts

pumpkin doughnutsAs soon as i saw these on Pinterest (via Multiply Delicious), I knew I had to make them. I had one bag of pumpkin left in our freezer and it was time to be put to use.  I must confess that one of my favorite doughnuts come from the grocery store, the cake doughnuts with the cinnamon  powdered sugar on them.  So I had to adapt the recipe to make them like my grocery store fav.  After making these, I am clueless how that cinnamon powdered sugar stays put.  These doughnuts absorbed it, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing.  These are the perfect fall breakfast treat and they are totally worth making a powdered sugar disaster in the kitchen.  I swear there was powdered sugar all in Miss F's hair by the time we were done. 
Pumpkin Powdered Doughnuts
makes 6 doughnuts

1 ¾ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon, divided
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons maple syrup
¼ cup buttermilk
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease your doughnut pan.

In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice, 1 ½ teaspoons of the cinnamon, and both sugars. Whisk together ingredients until combined. In a small bowl, whisk together butter, egg, vanilla, maple syrup, buttermilk, and pumpkin puree. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Carefully spoon the batter into the prepared doughnut pan. I put the batter in a large Ziploc bag and cut off one of the bottom corners to pipe it into the doughnut pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until doughnuts are slightly golden. Remove doughnuts to a cooling rack.

In a large Ziploc bag, combine the powdered sugar and remaining teaspoon of cinnamon. Add the cooled doughnuts to the bag and toss to coat in the powdered sugar mixture. Serve.
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Friday, September 9, 2011

Lemony Potato Rounds

Lemony Potato RoundsAs soon as I saw the word "Lemony" appear on Branny Boils Over, I knew I needed to make this recipe. I love anything with lemon. I hosted a lemon themed dinner party once and learned that not everyone shared my passion for the tartness of lemon, especially when it involves lemon mousse. These potatoes were not nearly as tart as the lemon mousse, but the zest really added a nice flavor to the potatoes. And I got to break out my mandoline, which is always a thrill.  These potatoes provide a great blank canvas, they would be fantastic with Parmesan+pepper, or fresh dill or dried basil+sun dried tomatoes.
Lemony Potato Rounds

1 pound potatoes, scrubbed
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons dried oregano
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
lemon zest grated from 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a large baking sheet with foil. Using a mandoline, slice the potatoes into ¼” thin rounds. Place potato rounds in a single layer and drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Sprinkle with oregano and pepper. Toss to coat and rearrange in single layer. Baker on a center rack of oven for 22 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Remove cooked potatoes from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon oil, salt, and lemon zest. Mix thoroughly and serve.
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Crab Rangoon

crab rangoonWhen I was in college, one of the places in the dining hall was Kim Son. It was average Chinese food at best, but you always got a crab Rangoon with your entree. The lady working the counter liked me and always said "more crab puff?" To which I always replied, "yes, please!" I always had at least three. And I would have been totally happy just eating those for dinner. C was out of town on a fishing trip, so I knew I could bake all the bread I wanted and cook lots of seafood. I imagine he would freak out just a teeny bit if he smelled crabmeat frying up in our kitchen. This recipe is amazingly simple. I dipped the crab Rangoon in Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, which was the perfect complement of spice and sweet to the rich crab.
Crab Rangoon

1 brick of cream cheese, softened
1 pound of crab meat, picked free of shells
32 wonton wrappers
Oil for frying

Gently fold the crab meat into the softened cream cheese, making sure to distribute the crab meat evenly. In a small saucepan, heat 2” of oil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, prepare a small bowl with water in it. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of the crab mixture into the center of the wonton wrapper. Dip your finger in the water bowl and brush it around the edge of the wonton wrapper. Pinch the wonton wrapper to for a cross at the top, sealing with your wet fingertips. Fry the wontons in the oil until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a wire rack over a cookie sheet. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving or else the filling will be too hot. Serve with Sweet Thai Chili Sauce.
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Monday, September 5, 2011

Beer Braised Chicken Thighs

Beer Braised Chicken ThighsOne of my most favorite meals in the crockpot is Barbecue Beer Chicken Thighs. It has a nice vinegary kick that I adore. This recipe uses beer and chicken thighs, but it tastes entirely different. The sauce is deliciously thick and the chicken is so tender from being simmered with the beer. I used a bottle of Fat Tire, which provided a great flavor to the sauce. This recipe is very loosely based on the one here created for Terrapin Beer. You cannot go wrong with anything involving a turtle. Much love to the University of Maryland Terrapins, my dad's alma mater. I didn't find that this needed any seasoning at the end of the cooking, mainly because the Tony Cacheres provides a very salty flavor. I am going to make this again with Old Bay in place of the Tony Cacheres.
Beer Braised Chicken Thighs
1 tablespoon Tony Cacheres
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
½ onion, chopped
1 tablespoon of chopped green onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup flour
1 bottle beer
1 handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh Thyme, roughly chopped
¼ cup half and half

Clean chicken thighs and remove unnecessary fat. Pat them dry and coat with Creole seasoning. Heat oil over medium-high heat in heavy braising pot or Dutch oven. Once the oil is hot, add chicken thighs and brown on each side for 2-4 minutes. Once the thighs are browned, add chopped onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Mix onions, and garlic together while scraping up browned bits from pan. Add flour and mix. Once mixture has thickened, add the beer. Once pot begins to boil lower heat, cover and lightly simmer chicken for 45-50 minutes until chicken pulls apart easily. After the chicken is done, remove each thigh and turn heat back to medium-high. Add parsley, thyme, and half and half. Cook until sauce reduces and is thick. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to your taste. Serve chicken and sauce topped with chopped green onion.
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Friday, September 2, 2011

Chocolate Iced Doughnuts

Chocolate Iced DoughnutsAs soon as these popped up on my blog links, I knew I had to have them. My most favorite of all doughnuts is an iced chocolate doughnut. Specifically an iced chocolate doughnut from Krispy Kreme. Krispy Kreme left the city of Houston years ago and Shipley's doughnuts just cannot compare. So, I ordered a doughnut pan from Amazon and two days later, it was here. And Miss F and I made doughnuts. She stirred and tasted, I tried to ice them as best I could. My doughnuts are not nearly as healthy per doughnut as Prevention RD's, mainly because my pan seemed to be bigger than hers, so I only got one dozen doughnuts from the recipe.
Iced Chocolate Cake Doughnuts
makes 12 doughnuts

1 tablespoon butter, melted
¾ cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups cake flour, sifted
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons corn syrup
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon water

Preheat the oven to 425. Spray your doughnut pan with non-stick spray.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, and beaten eggs. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined.

Carefully spoon the batter into the prepared doughnut pan about 2/3 full. Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until the tops of the doughnuts spring back when lightly touched.

Allow to cool in the pan for a couple minutes. Remove the doughnuts onto a rack to finish cooling before you glaze them.

For the glaze, microwave all the ingredients together in a microwave safe bowl on 50% power for about 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted. Add additional water (by the half teaspoon), if needed to thin. Dip one half of each doughnut into the chocolate and allow to dry on a cooling rack.
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