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

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Secret Recipe Club: English Muffin Bread

English Muffin Bread
It's once again time for the Secret Recipe Club, I skipped last month since we had so much travel in the month. This month we were only on two trips (Aspen and Anaheim) so it was time to get back into the groove. I am always looking for new bread to bake, especially now since C is gone during the week and I can bake without him complaining about the bread smells.  There were so many great choices in my assigned blog, Chocolate and Chillies, but this English Muffin Bread stood out.  I knew it would be great in Miss F's lunchbox with some strawberry jam.  I loved that it took less than two hours to make and it was almost as easy as using my trusty bread machine.
English Muffin Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon yeast
1 cup milk
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil
cornmeal to sprinkle the loaf pan

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and yeast.

In a microwave safe bowl, whisk together milk, water and oil. Heat in microwave until the mixture is 120 F to 130 F. Mix the mixture before taking the temperature.

Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients. Using the paddle attachment, mix for 1 minute on high speed. The dough will be very soft.

Lightly grease a loaf pan and sprinkle with cornmeal (bottom and sides). Transfer the dough to the loaf pan, spreading it to make sure it is level.

Spray a piece of plastic wrap with oil and cover the loaf pan with this. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Allow the dough to rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The dough should just crown the rim of the loaf pan.

Once the dough has risen, remove the plastic wrap and bake for 22-27 minutes or until it is golden brown and has an internal temperature of 190 F.

After 5 minutes remove the bread from the pan and cool on a rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Steamed Salmon Steak With Caper Butter Sauce

Steamed Salmon Steak with Caper Butter Sauce
I am obsessed with the seafood shops in Seabrook.  You can get so much wonderful seafood (live crab!) there for such a bargain.  I get salmon every time I visit and 9 times out of 10 it is filleted.  It is that 10th time that gets me.  I am not a huge salmon steak fan, I find them a challenge to debone and I usually prefer cooking a fillet.  So I ended up with a pound of salmon steaks last visit and I was on the hunt for a recipe.  This recipe comes from the article Cooking For One: A Treat Not a Choice as seen in the NY Times and is phenomenal, salmon steak and all.  I did some googling and the Vietnamese translation for fish fillet is phi lê cá.  Anyone know how to pronounce it?
Steamed Salmon Steak With Caper Butter Sauce

1 salmon steak, about ½ pound
Salt to taste if desired
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons dry white wine
¼ teaspoon white-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cube s
1 tablespoon capers

Bring water to boil in bottom of a steamer. Sprinkle salmon steak with salt and pepper and arrange it on a steamer rack. Place rack over the boiling water and cover closely. Steam salmon until it is cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine shallots, wine and vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the liquid is reduced almost by half. Add cream and stir to blend. Start stirring with a wire whisk while adding butter cubes gradually, adding more as cubes melt. Squeeze capers to extract excess liquid and add the capers to butter sauce

Remove salmon from steamer and serve with the sauce over it.
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Spicy Citrus Shrimp Tacos

Spicy Citrus Shrimp Tacos
I knew when I saw this recipe on Pink Parsley I would like it. We don't have a grill, so I pan sautéed the shrimp instead, which worked just fine.  Down here in Texas, I never see lettuce on tacos.  Back in Maryland it was always a taco condiment.  I always like the nice crunch it adds, especially when paired with shrimp. Miss F opted for no lettuce, just massive quantities of beans and cheese added to her two tacos.  I love how quickly this meal came together, it is perfect for a busy weeknight.
Spicy Citrus Shrimp Tacos

juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lime
2 chipotles in adobo
1 teaspoon adobo liquid
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
¼ cup shredded carrots
8 small (6-inch) flour tortillas

Southwest Cream Sauce:
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon adobo liquid
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lime

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all the ingredients for the marinade, through the salt and pepper, and process until smooth and well combined. Pour over shrimp in a medium bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, but no longer than thirty.

Meanwhile, whisk together all the ingredients for the southwest cream sauce.

Heat one tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the shrimp for 3 to 5 minutes, until cooked through.

Divide shrimp among warmed tortillas. Top with shredded lettuce, carrots and cream sauce.
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Monday, September 23, 2013

Chicken Picasso

Chicken Picasso
Oh my this was delicious. I adapted it quite a bit from Let's Dish.  My main goal was to reduce the number of dirty dishes.  Our condo has a Le Creuset Dutch oven, I love it so much and I try to use it as often as possible.  I figured the sautéing and baking could all be done in one vessel and it worked beautifully.  Miss F was a huge fan of the bell pepper, she gobbled up a ton of it.  C said this was the best pasta ever, excluding the fettucine alfredo at Carmine's of course.  This was after he made fun of the name while I was cooking.  Miss F is equally obsessed with "daddy pasta" at Carmine's so it looks like next on my to do list is to make fettucine alfredo with homemade pasta.
Chicken Picasso

3 bell peppers (1 each of red, yellow or orange)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup chicken broth
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 cup heavy cream
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup grated mozzarella
1 pound linguine, or pasta of your choice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Seed the bell peppers and cut them into rings. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large oven safe Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Lightly brown the chicken on both sides and remove to a plate. Add the onions to the pan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Arrange the onions over the chicken. Add the bell peppers to the pan and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Arrange the peppers over the chicken and onions. Add the garlic to the sauté pan and cook for 30 seconds.

Deglaze the pan with the chicken broth, scraping any browned bits on the bottom. Pour the diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning and cream into the sauté pan with the garlic and broth; season with salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Nestle the chicken into the sauce and put the bell peppers and onions over top. Cover the pan with a lid and bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove the chicken from oven and uncover. Sprinkle with cheese and return chicken to oven, uncovered, for another 10 to 15 minutes, until cheese is golden brown and chicken is cooked through. Serve with pasta.
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Friday, September 20, 2013

Recipe Swap: Churro Pancakes

Churro Pancakes
The theme of this month's recipe swap is blogger's choice, which is always one of my favorites. I was even happier to discover I got The Barbee Housewife for the swap, seeing as she is one of my favorite bloggers. I really enjoyed going through her blog and selecting a recipe, but I was drawn instantly to Churro Pancakes. We go to Disneyland/World often. By last calculation, Miss F and I have spent over 30 days in the parks over the last year. We had the Premier Passports and we really got our money's worth. One of Miss F's favorite shows is the Monsters Inc Laugh Factory. The audience is always included and at some point during the show they pick out a guy to buy Churros for everyone. These pancakes were quite a treat for Miss F. Because they use Bisquick, they come together quickly enough to be a before school breakfast. Miss F was probably telling Churro jokes all day long at school. Be sure to check out the links below for more great recipes.
Churro Pancakes

2 cups Bisquick
1 cup milk
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a medium bowl, whisk together the Bisquick, milk and eggs.

Heat a shortening greased skillet over medium heat.

While the skillet is heating up, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.

Use a ¼ cup measure to pour the batter onto the heated skillet. Flip after a minute or two, until the pancake is golden brown. Remove to a plate after a minute more.

Brush the butter onto the warm pancakes, then dip in the cinnamon sugar. Serve.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Creamy Chicken Stew

Creamy Chicken Stew
It's still hotter than heck in Houston, but in Aspen the fall chill is in the air. I adore this recipe for Crockpot Country Chicken Stew, but in Aspen I don't have a crockpot. So I needed to find a recipe that would work for the stovetop and this recipe from Framed Cooks fit the bill.  I did make some changes, mainly cooking the chicken with the stew instead of adding chicken that had already been cooked.  This stew was fantastic, perfect for fall.  C questioned why it was white instead of brown, since stew should be brown.  I guess he forgot eating the crockpot version, not surprising.  Miss F ate all her carrots and was a big fan of the bacon addition.  And I decided to order a crockpot for Aspen, so we can ski all day and come home to dinner.
Creamy Chicken Stew

6 slices bacon, chopped into ½ inch pieces
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced thin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
6 tablespoons flour
4 cups chicken broth
6 small red potatoes, cut into ½ inch dice
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup cream

Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium high heat until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the bacon drippings in the pot. Add onion, carrots, salt and thyme and cook over medium heat until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add flour, stir and cook another 2 minutes. Add broth, potatoes and chicken; bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Remove the chicken breasts and shred with two forks, return to the pot. Stir in the half and half and simmer for 5 minutes more. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Stir in cooked bacon and serve.
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Monday, September 16, 2013

Crab Carbonara

Crab Carbonara
I know, I know...another day, another Carbonara. Or as Miss F says "pasta with bacon not meatballs!"  I nabbed two containers of lump crabmeat from my parents house after having steamed crabs.  One was eaten as my childhood favorite, crab lumps sautéed in butter (it is exactly as it sounds) and the other went to this crab carbonara.  Miss F gobbled this right up, which is great since the last time we had steamed crabs was the first time she actually tasted it.  I am so glad she loves crabmeat since it is a staple of my diet.
Crab Carbonara

3 egg yolks
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup Parmesan cheese
¼ pound bacon, cut into lardons
½ small onion, chopped
½ pound lump crab
¼ cup white wine
juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon minced basil
½ teaspoon Old Bay
12 ounces spaghetti

Whisk together the eggs, cream and Parmesan together in a bowl. In a large non stick pan, fry the bacon until crisp and set aside. Drain all but on tablespoon of the bacon grease; sauté the onion and the crab for 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and lemon juice; stir in the basil and Old Bay.

Prepare the spaghetti per package instructions. Drain the pasta and while still warm, add to the onions and crab. Pour cream mixture into the spaghetti, and stir over low heat for one to two minutes. Top with bacon and serve with additional Parmesan.
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Friday, September 13, 2013

Pan Seared Salmon with Creamy Sriracha Sauce

Pan Seared Salmon with Creamy Sriracha Sauce
I am a sucker for anything with Sriracha, so this recipe for Salmon with Sriracha Cream looked like it had potential. Until I read it. I realized the Sriracha cream was the only thing I was feeling about it, so I adapted it quite a bit to better suit my taste. Salmon is sweet enough on its own, I don't understand why so many recipes call for a sweet glaze to be added to it. I much prefer my salmon cooked simply so the flavor of the fish can really shine through.  The Sriracha sauce was equally delicious on the broccoli.  I may have added squirt or two more to my plate before I sat down to eat.
Pan Seared Salmon with Creamy Sriracha Sauce

½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Sriracha (more or less to taste)
juice from half a lime
½ teaspoon soy sauce

1 pound salmon, portioned into 4 filets
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Sriracha, lime juice and soy sauce. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Rub the salmon filets with the oil and generously season with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium high heat, add the salmon to the pan skin side down and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the salmon over and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes more, until the salmon is cooked through.

Serve the salmon with the creamy Sriracha sauce drizzled over top.
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Pepperoni Chicken Parmesan

Pepperoni Chicken Parmesan
The first question out of C's mouth was "Did you make any fettucine alfredo?" Um, no. Chicken Parmesan takes too many pans as it is, add in trying to make alfredo sauce and I would never get the kitchen cleaned up. I had leftover pepperoni from making French Bread Pizzas and they needed to be used.  Miss F may have picked all her pepperonis off her piece and may have only eaten a bite or two of chicken.  C cleaned his plate, which is a success in my eyes, even if he didn't get his beloved fettucine alfredo alongside. 
Pepperoni Chicken Parmesan

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 14.5 ounce cans of fire roasted dice tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
1 teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ cup red wine
salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté 3 to 5 minutes, add the garlic and sauté 30 second more. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, brown sugar and wine. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

2 boneless skinless breasts of chicken
1/8 cup flour
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
¼ cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
28 pepperoni slices
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of shredded parmesan cheese

Halve the chicken breasts them, Pound out chicken breasts between two sheets of wax paper. Dip each in flour, then egg whisked with water and then finally in the breadcrumbs. Heat the oil over medium high heat. Sauté the chicken about 3 minutes per side to get a nice crisp crust. Drain on paper towels.

Preheat oven to 450. Place the chicken in a glass baking dish, top each with 7 pepperoni slices and a generous spoonful of the marinara sauce. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of mozzarella and 1 teaspoon of Parmesan on top of each breast. Bake for 15 minutes.

Serve remaining sauce with 1/2 pound pasta of your choice.
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Monday, September 9, 2013


I am always looking for new cookie recipes for Miss F's lunch box.  I had pinned this recipe on Pinterest awhile back, but I had just the right amount of Rice Krispies to make them for the start of Miss F's school.  Miss F loved these cookies and asked to send some to her teachers.  Luckily, I always have treat bags on hand and we made four bag fulls for her new teachers and assistants.  I was so proud of her for being so thoughtful and wanting to share her cookies with her new teachers.  Her teachers loved the cookies too!
from Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

2 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
¾ cup butter, softened
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup Rice Krispies
6 ounces Nestle Crunch, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat brown sugar, sugar, and butter. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat on medium until fully combined. Add flour mixture and stir on low until combined. Gently stir in the Rice Krispies and Nestle Crunch. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until set and light golden brown. Transfer cookies with a spatula to a wire rack to cool completely.
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Friday, September 6, 2013

Vodka Pasta

Vodka Pasta

Before my Carbonara obsession, I had quite a big vodka sauce obsession. My two go tos were Penne a la Vodka and Penne alla Vecchia Bettola.  I could never choose a favorite, I love all vodka sauces equally.  How can you go wrong with tomatoes, cream and vodka?  You cannot.  When I saw this recipe on Cook Like a Champion, I knew I wanted to try it.   And now I have another vodka sauce recipe to love just as much as the others.  Why can't I be obsessed with salads and raw veggies?  Nope...pasta always wins.  I have no clue where it came from.  I didn't grow up eating much pasta.  And now it is one of my most favorite things.  I blame C for introducing me to fettucine alfredo from Carmine's in Chicago.
Vodka Pasta

4 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
medium yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup vodka
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream
Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil, plus additional for serving
1 pound penne pasta
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving

Cook pasta in well salted water until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of cooking water, drain pasta and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, about a minute more. Stir in tomatoes and their juices. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the tomato paste and vodka. Cook until most of the alcohol has evaporated, at least 5 minutes. Stir in cream, red pepper flakes and salt. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook sauce until thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Stir in basil and Parmesan.

Add pasta to skillet and toss to coat, adding pasta water as needed to thin the sauce. Serve topped with additional basil and Parmesan.
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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

French Bread Pizzas

French Bread Pizza
When I was a kid, I loved frozen pizza.  Ellio's was my favorite, I haven't had it since I moved to Texas.  Totino's filled in for Ellio's when I moved here.  And when I wanted a fancier frozen pizza, Stouffers French Bread Pizza (help yourself!) was the winner.  The only issue I had with it is that it took something crazy like 45 minutes to make.  These homemade versions take less time and taste a million times better.  You can get as creative as you like with the toppings, we went with pepperoni and hatch chile combinations.  Of course you have to quarter the pepperonis, just like good old Stouffers does.
French Bread Pizzas

1 cup crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon oregano, plus more for sprinkling on top
1 loaf French bread
1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced in two
2 cups shredded mozzarella
toppings of your choice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the tomatoes, one tablespoon oil and oregano to a small saucepan. Heat over medium high heat to a boil, reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Slice the bread in half lengthwise, then in half again to create four pieces. Brush the bread with the remaining oil and rub the garlic clove over each. Spread ¼ cup of the tomato sauce over each, then top with ½ cup of cheese. Top with your preferred toppings and a sprinkle of oregano. Bake on a baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and just starting to brown. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.
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