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 28, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Doughnuts

Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin DoughnutsMy absolute favorite grocery store doughnuts are the cake doughnuts coated with cinnamon powdered sugar. They can sometimes be tough to find, often the package will have plain, powdered and chocolate covered. Since it is technically fall, there always seems to be a half empty can of pumpkin lurking in my fridge. These doughnuts are perfect for using up the remaining pumpkin from your last pumpkin creation. Miss F loved these so much she didn't even miss her usual sprinkles. I think shaking the doughnuts in the Ziploc was nearly as exciting as sprinkling. These doughnuts are loosely based on the vegan version from Oh She Glows, de-veganized of course.
Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Doughnuts

½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
6 tablespoons milk
½ cup fresh or canned pureed pumpkin
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups flour

½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two mini doughnut pans or two regular sized doughnut pans with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, milk, pumpkin, sugar, applesauce, brown sugar (sift if clumpy), and melted butter. Sift in the dry ingredients (baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt, and flours). Mix until just combined. Spoon the batter into the greased doughnut pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees or until they gently spring back when touched. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before carefully using a butter knife to remove.

Combine the powdered sugar and cinnamon in a Ziploc bag, seal and toss to coat. Transfer the dipped doughnut into a bag with the cinnamon sugar and shake until coated thoroughly.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Perfect Pizza Crust

Perfect Pizza CrustMiss F has a game called "Pizza Mania!" At the start of the game, the chef says "Let's all make some delicious pizza." I love to make delicious pizza, who doesn't, but I often resort to buying pizza dough from our local pizza shop because it is just so easy and always foolproof. Confections of a Foodie Bride is a fellow Houstonian and absolutely amazing cook, so I figured her pizza crust recipe would be fantastic. And I was certainly right! And it was nearly as easy as driving over to my local pizza shop and buying the dough.  As the chef says at the end, "You win!"
Perfect Pizza Crust

1 ½ cups warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing crust
½ teaspoons salt
3 ½ cups flour, plus more for dusting
Cornmeal, for dusting surface

Place water and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and sprinkle the yeast over top. Let stand for 10 minutes - if your yeast doesn't swell or get frothy, buy new yeast.
Add the olive oil, salt, and flour.

With the mixer on low, mix until the dough comes together and mostly off the sides of the bowl (it will not come all the way off of the bottom). You can add flour by the tablespoon if necessary. Let the mixer run for 5 minutes to knead the dough. It should be smooth and slightly sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into thirds and shape into a ball. This makes the perfect pizza stone sized pizza. Lightly dust a plate with flour and place the balls of dough on top, seam-down. Sprinkle the top with flour, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge. Allow to rise in the refrigerator for 8 hours.

Pull the dough out of the fridge and let it sit, covered, on the counter for 60 minutes while your oven is preheating. If the plan is to only make one pizza that day, dust the extra ball of dough with flour, loosely wrap with plastic wrap, place in a gallon zip-top bag and refrigerate to it within 2 days, freeze if you need to store it for longer.

Place your pizza stone in the top 1/3 of the oven and preheat to 550, letting it hold at temperature for 30 minutes. Prepare your toppings: grate cheese, chop veggies, cook sausage, etc. Cut a piece of parchment paper to the size of your pizza stone. Dust the parchment paper with cornmeal.

Gently stretch the dough into a round - I hold one edge of the dough ball a couple of inches above my work surface and let gravity do most of the work, while I move my hands around the edge of the dough (like turning a steering wheel). Place the dough onto the parchment paper.

Switch your oven from "bake" mode to "broil." (If you get the option, select the "high" broil setting or 550 degrees. If you don't get the option, don't worry about it.). Top the pizza as desired. Transfer the pizza, parchment included, to the baking stone and broil for 5-7 minutes.

Remove the pizza from the oven, leaving the stone in place. Slice and serve.
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Monday, September 24, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip BarsEven though it is still quite warm here in Houston, it is still time to break out the pumpkin no matter what the thermometer says. I instantly gravitated to this recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars from Loving Life for the Secret Recipe Club this month. The bars were perfect for packing in Miss F's lunch and for snacking on around the house while we pretended that the leaves were turning. At least the fall has brought the return of football, so Go Coogs! Go Texans! and Hail to the Redskins!  Be sure to check out all the great recipes shared in this month's exchange. 
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter softened
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Line bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Spray with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar till smooth. Add egg and vanilla and beat till combined. Add pumpkin puree. Mixture will appear curdled. Reduce speed to low and add in dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake until edges pull away from the sides of pan and toothpick inserted comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35-40 minutes. Cool completely in pan. When cool, lift bars out with foil. Fold foil down and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 bars.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Recipe Swap: Busy Day Pork Chops

Busy Day Pork ChopsIt's time for my favorite Recipe Swap, Blogger's Choice. I received Melissa's amazing blog, I Was Born to Cook. There were so many amazing recipes to look through, but the name of this recipe, Busy Day Pork Chops, caught my eye. I am always looking for easy pork chop recipes and this one couldn't get any easier. And the best part is that the chops are baked, not fried. They reminded me of my beloved Pork Things. Of course C doused his in ketchup.  Be sure to check out all the swap recipes below.
Busy Day Pork Chops

¼ cup milk
¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
¼ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 boneless pork loin chops
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour the milk in a shallow bowl. In a separate shallow bowl, combine cheese, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper.

Dip pork chops in milk first, then bread crumb mixture, then place on a foil lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes on each side.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Garlic Potato Wedges

Garlic Oven FriesThis was inspired in part by Tide and Thyme as well as a looong visit to Dulles Airport. Tide and Thyme had a recipe for Garlic Parsley Fries that she likened to the ones that you get at Gordon Biersch. Up until a few months back, I had never heard of the place. We ended up eating there during a near 24 hour delay at Dulles on our way to Paris. Let's just say United has ruined my once favorite airline, Continental. The only thing that made up for it was that I got to enjoy a crabcake sandwich (twice) and garlic fries at Gordon Biersch in the airport. I hope I never have to endure a layover that long with a three year old again, but I do hope I get those fries again sometime soon. The oven wedges are almost as good. Almost.
Garlic Potato Wedges

2 potatoes
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Slice the potatoes lengthwise into eighths. Cut the garlic clove in half. Rub each side of each potato wedge with the cut garlic. Brush the potato wedges with the olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the wedges after 15 minutes. Serve.
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Monday, September 17, 2012

Pasta with Six Cheeses

Pasta with Six CheesesThis is another recipe that I discovered on Pinterest. The original recipe only has five cheeses, but whoever developed the recipe must have different Italian cheese blends at their grocer than I do. I omitted the gorgonzola and used the Italian cheese blend stocked here, so Pasta with Five Cheeses transformed into Pasta with Six Cheeses. Or "Pink Pasta" if your name is Miss F.  She adored it and loved it even more when I told her it was Minnie Mouse's recipe since it is from a Disney website.  This pasta can easily be prepped in advance, either frozen or refrigerated and then baked right when you are ready to serve.
Pasta with Six Cheeses

1 pound Rigatoni
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon basil, dried
1 ½ cups crushed tomatoes in heavy puree
2 cups Italian blend cheese, (mozzarella, provolone, romano, parmesan, fontina and asiago), divided
½ cup parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 3 quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Prepare the rigatoni per package instructions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the cream, crushed tomatoes, basil, 1 ½ cups of Italian cheese blend, parmesan, salt and pepper. Add the cooked pasta to the cream, tomato and cheese mixture. Stir to combine. Pour into prepared casserole dish and top with remaining ½ cup of Italian cheese blend. Bake for 30 minutes, or until top is browned slightly and pasta is bubbling hot. Serve immediately.
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Friday, September 14, 2012

Jalapeno Jack Popovers

Jalapeno Jack PopoversI adore popovers, they are so easy to whip together for a weeknight meal and you can add all sorts of yummy things to them. I like them plain, but they are even better whenever you add cheese to the mix.  I received a popover pan as a hostess gift and I use it all the time.  One cup flour, one cup milk, two eggs and any sort of cheese you want...and you have popovers!  Miss F likes to split the popovers in half and scoop out all the insides of them, she is such a silly girl.
Jalapeno Jack Popovers

1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
¼ jalapeno, minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together the milk, eggs, flour and salt in a bowl, until smooth. Stir in the cheese and jalapeno. Spray popover pans with nonstick cooking spray. Fill each of the tins about ¾ full with the batter. Bake until puffed and deep brown, about 35 minutes.
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chicken Empanadas with Avocado Sauce

Chicken Empanadas with Avocado Sauce One of my favorite things I ate in Rio de Janeiro was empanadas. There was a store on nearly every corner with windows full of all sorts of tasty empanadas. These empanadas are a great way to use up leftover shredded chicken from tacos.  I used tomatillo chicken tacos from the freezer, but any shredded chicken taco meat would do.  Miss F liked the chicken the most, she at a bit of the flaky pastry, but not much.  C proclaimed the sauce to be "too lime-y!"  I thought it was delicious, even though the empanadas are great on their own, no sauce is needed. 
Chicken Empanadas with Avocado Sauce

2 cups of shredded tomatillo chicken
½ cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed

1 small avocado
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray. In a bowl, stir together the cooled chicken and cheese. Roll out each puff pastry sheet on a floured surface. Cut 10 six inch circles on each sheet of pastry, you will have 20 circles in total. Spoon ¼ cup of the chicken mixture onto 10 of the circles. Top each with the remaining 10 pastry circles, crimping at the sides to form a seal. Place the empanadas on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes until the pastry is golden.

Cut the avocado in half, peel and remove the pit. Cut the avocado into eighths and add it to the bowl of a small food processor. Add the lime juice, vinegar, water and salt to the avocado. Puree until smooth. Stream the olive oil through the top of the processor while it is running. Serve avocado sauce with the empanadas.
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Monday, September 10, 2012

Prosciutto, Asparagus and Parmesan Pasta

Prosciutto Asparagus and Parmesan PastaI saw this recipe via Pinterest and I knew right away I wanted to try it. Once I told Miss F that prosciutto was bacon, she wanted to try it as well (that kid could live on bacon!)  The recipe comes from Val So Cal, but I made a ton of changes.  Mainly, I sauteed the asparagus first and removed it from the pan to toss with the pasta at the end.  I find if I leave the asparagus to cook with sauces, they lose the gorgeous bright green color.  Another tip is to get prosciutto from your deli counter and not pre-packaged.  It is usually cheaper and you can get the exact amount you need for your recipe.  This dish is perfection.  I want to try it next with peas in place of the asparagus.
Prosciutto, Asparagus and Parmesan Pasta

12 ounces angel hair pasta
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, diced
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
2 garlic cloves
4 ounces of prosciutto, cut into strips
½ cup white wine
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon corn starch
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Prepare the pasta per package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, heat the one teaspoon of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Saute the asparagus for 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan. Sauté onion, garlic, mushrooms until fragrant and tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and prosciutto, sauté 1 minute more. Add the white wine and chicken broth, bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes more. Whisk together the cream, corn starch and red pepper flakes. Add the cream mixture, return to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 4 minutes. Add the asparagus and pasta to the pan; toss with the sauce. Serve, topped with additional parmesan.
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Friday, September 7, 2012

Recipe Swap: Red's Ultimate M&M Cookie

Reds Ultimate M&M CookiesThe theme of this week's recipe swap is dessert. I was so excited to get a cookie recipe in the swap because Miss F was starting back to school and needed a portable treat for her lunch box. She is obsessed with M&Ms, which made this her dream cookie. I had a ton of M&Ms on hand from a friend's candy buffet at her birthday party. I usually use M&Ms in Monster Cookies, but they are not safe to send to Miss F's school because they have peanut butter in them. These will be made quite often over the school year. Thanks to Tastetastic Voyage for the fantastic recipe and to A Taste of Home Cooking for hosting the swap.  I submitted Strawberry Tres Leches for the swap, I am sure C is jealous of whoever got to eat it!
Red’s Ultimate M&M Cookie

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 12-ounce package M&Ms

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 M&Ms. 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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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

California Chicken Sandwiches

California Chicken SandwichI am not a big burger fan. When I was a kid, I refused to eat them. I usually got a chicken sandwich instead and I still prefer it. This is my ultimate sandwich. Nordstrom Cafe used to serve a very similar sandwich on foccacia bread years ago. I have tried my best to replicate their sandwich replacing the foccacia with my favorite brioche buns. This sandwich has all my favorites: bacon, cheese and avocado. If you aren't a huge sprout fan, lettuce and tomato work just as well.  One day I will try and figure out how Nordstrom got their foccacia tall enough to slice in half for a sandwich.
California Chicken Sandwiches

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lime
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of hot sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 slices bacon

4 slices provolone cheese
4 brioche buns
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup alfalfa sprouts

Cut each chicken breast in half. In a shallow dish, combine the oil, lime, garlic, Worcestershire, hot sauce and salt. Add the chicken breasts to the dish, turning to coat evenly. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until cooked through. Drain the bacon on a plate lined with paper towels and set aside. Remove all but on tablespoon of the bacon grease from the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook 5 to 7 minutes on each side, until chicken is cooked through. During the last minute of cooking, top each chicken piece with 3 half slices of bacon and a slice of cheese. Assemble the sandwiches on the brioche buns each with a piece of chicken, avocado, and sprouts. Serve.
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Monday, September 3, 2012

Double Chocolate Doughnuts

double chocolate doughnutsMiss F returned to school last week without her best friend Max. He moved over the summer and we have been preparing her for weeks. Luckily, she still loves school. Miss F is a big breakfast eater and on school mornings I like something that is quick to prepare. The doughnut pan gets used often during the school year because making doughnuts doesn't take long at all. And Miss F gets to use sprinkles. And everyone knows that sprinkles before school make for a very happy kid, even if Max isn't there.  This recipe is based on the ones that come with the Wilton doughnut pan.
Double Chocolate 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
¼ cup cocoa 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, cocoa 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.

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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