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, February 28, 2014

Braised Short Rib Pasta

Braised Short Rib Pasta
I may have had the greatest compliment from C ever for this dish. He declared it to be restaurant worthy. And he was right. Miss F gobbling it up and she even enjoyed the leftovers. I changed up one of our family favorites, Short Ribs Braised in Tomato Sauce, to have more of a tomato sauce to better suit it for pasta. Miss F chose the pasta I used, Gigli, and it was perfect. Any thicker pasta shape, like rigatoni, would work well. You need something to stand up to the chunks of shredded short rib.  I added a dash of balsamic vinegar to my plate for a bit more acidity, but it was delicious with or without it. 
Braised Short Rib Pasta

1 to 2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
1 ounce bacon, diced
½ onion, diced small
4 carrots, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ teaspoon oregano
¾ cup red wine
2 (14.5 ounce) cans whole tomatoes with their juice
1 pound pasta
½ cup shredded Parmesan

Season the beef ribs with salt. Meanwhile, in a 5-quart Dutch oven, add the bacon and cook over medium heat until crisp, remove the bacon with a slotted spoon. Increase the heat to high and add the beef ribs and cook, for 2-3 minutes per side, until richly browned on all sides. Remove the ribs from the pot. Add the onions and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned on the edges, 6-8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and oregano; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the wine; scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Stir in the tomatoes, beef ribs, bacon, and 1 teaspoon salt; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours.

Transfer the ribs to a plate; shred the meat. Stir the meat back into the sauce. Taste for seasoning, adding salt if necessary. Prepare the pasta per package directions, drain and stir into the meat sauce. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Chocolate Mousse Cake
"Mommy, this is the best cake I have ever had, it is the best you have ever made." ~ Miss F
Ever since our trip to Paris, Miss F has been semi-obsessed with chocolate mousse. And who could blame her? I remember having the same exact feeling when I went to Paris as a kid. To this day, it is one of my most favorite desserts. Frosting my favorite chocolate cake with chocolate mousse? Yes, please! Miss F devoured her whole slice, eating all the rich frosting first.  Be sure to frost your cake after it has cooled completely, I may have rushed the process a bit and there was some leaning the next morning, but it was easily repaired.  This recipe was loosely inspired from Betty Crocker.
Chocolate Mousse Cake

2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 cup hot water

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 ½ cups whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch cake pans and line the bottom with parchment. Butter the parchment.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir on low to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, sour cream, vegetable oil, vinegar and hot water and mix on medium until smooth. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes; remove the cakes from the pan and cool completely before frosting.

In a medium microwavable bowl, microwave the chocolate chips and ½ cup of the whipping cream uncovered on high for 45 to 60 seconds; stirring every 15 seconds. Refrigerate 15 to 30 minutes or until cool. In a large bowl, beat remaining 1 cup whipping cream and the powdered sugar with electric mixer on high speed until mixture starts to thicken. Add melted chocolate. Beat until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat or mixture will begin to look curdled).

Frost the cooled cake with the whipped chocolate cream mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Monday, February 24, 2014

Lobster Linguine with Saffron Cream Sauce

Lobster Linguine with Saffron Cream Sauce
Lobsters were on sale for $3 each the week of Valentine's day, so I knew I had to get a few and figure out something to make with them. I love the flavor and color that saffron gives to sauces and I was curious to try it with lobster. After doing some looking around for a saffron lobster dish, it seemed like a pasta was the way to go.  I didn't want to fuss with lobster ravioli, but still wanted a pasta dish.  Thanks to This Hungry Kitten for the recipe inspiration, it was an amazing meal.  You could easily substitute shrimp for the lobster, just add a couple minutes to the sauté time to get the shrimp cooked through.  My only regret is that I had to send all the leftovers home with my parents, since I knew C would freak out if I tried to re-heat it when he was home.
Lobster Linguine with Saffron Cream Sauce

¼ teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup white wine
4 small lobsters, steamed and cooled
1 pound linguine
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup cream
¼ cup loosely packed chopped parsley

Steep the saffron threads in the white wine for five minutes. Remove the lobster meat from the shell, chop into bite sized pieces. Prepare the pasta per package instructions, drain and set aside. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the lobster meat to the pan, sauté for a minute or so. Add the saffron wine to the pan and reduce for a minute or two. Stir in the cream and parsley, simmer for five minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the linguine into the sauce. Plate and serve.
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Friday, February 21, 2014

Mixed Greens with Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette

Mixed Greens with Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette
My father has a couple food hang ups. He won't eat raw seafood and he won't eat anything with raw egg in it. I have no problem with either practice, especially the raw seafood part. I think he is missing out on so many delicious things, especially sushi, but he stands firm. So when I hosted my parents for dinner, I didn't tell him until afterwards that the salad dressing had raw egg in it. Oops! This dressing comes together quickly and is one of my favorites. I usually make it with my mini food processor to make the emulsification process even easier.  The recipe is loosely based on one from The Barefoot Contessa.  If Ina Garten is okay with raw eggs, then so am I.  And who wants to miss out on eating raw cookie dough?  Certainly not me.
Mixed Greens with Creamy Dijon Vinaigrette

1 egg yolk
¼ cup white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil

6 cups mixed greens
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped

Whisk together the egg yolk, vinegar, Dijon, salt and sugar. Add the olive oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Toss the greens, tomato and cucumber with the prepared vinaigrette. Divide onto 6 plates and serve.
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Meyer Lemon Cheesecake

Meyer Lemon Cheesecake
I made Meyer Lemon Cheesecake with the intention to eat it after feasting on steamed crabs. Sadly, Houston is actually experiencing winter this year and it was too cold to sit outside to eat. So instead we went out to eat and had this at home after. Miss F was shockingly not a fan, but my mom, dad and I really enjoyed it. Mom had made a lemon cheesecake the week prior and said it was terrible, so she was happy to have a version she enjoyed eating. I love a sour cream topping on cheesecake, it reminds me of my mom's chocolate cheesecake recipe, so this recipe from Culicurious was a huge hit.  Using three packages of cream cheese yields a gorgeously tall cheesecake.
Meyer Lemon Cheesecake

1 ¼ cups graham-cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter

3-8 ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1-8 ounce container of sour cream, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
6 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
3 eggs, room temperature

Sour Cream Topping:
1-8 ounce container of sour cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Lemon Glaze Topping:
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
1 teaspoon water
1 drop yellow food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the graham-cracker crumbs and brown sugar. Mix well. Mix in the melted butter until well-moistened. Press mixture into a springform pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese, sour cream and sugar on low speed until smooth. Scrape sides of bowl as needed ensure even mixing. Add the Meyer lemon and mix just until smooth.
Finally, add in the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is well incorporated before adding the next one. Again, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed to get the mixture uniform.

Pour the filling into a springform pan and gently smooth the top of the filling. Place cheesecake in the oven, and reduce the heat to 300 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes. Do not open the oven again until the cheesecake is cooled. Turn off oven and keep the cheesecake in the oven for 2 hours (without opening oven). If the cheesecake doesn't feel 100% cool after 2 hours, allow to continue cooling, up to another hour or so. Once cool, remove the cheesecake from the oven, spread on the sour cream topping, and cover with foil or plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours.

Whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, water and food coloring. Unmold cheesecake, drizzle it with lemon glaze, slice and serve.
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Monday, February 17, 2014

Salmon Club Sandwich

Salmon Club Sandwich
I do not like lunchmeat. I will eat ham, if forced, but I don't enjoy it. Sliced turkey is just a no go. So a club sandwich has never been an attractive sandwich for me. But I adore salmon more than any other fish.  When I saw a recipe for avocado aioli in Food & Wine, I knew the perfect use would be on a salmon club sandwich, where the boring sliced turkey is swapped out for salmon sautéed in bacon grease.  Yum!  Miss F wasn't having any part of this sandwich, she enjoyed a plain bacon sandwich instead, which is what my grandma always served to me.  And equally as good as a salmon club sandwich.
Salmon Club Sandwiches

8 slices bacon
½ pound salmon filets
6 slices sandwich bread
½ avocado
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 roma tomato, sliced
½ cup baby spinach

In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until cooked through. Remove to a paper towel and drain all but two teaspoons of the bacon grease. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Add the salmon and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until cooked through. Remove any skin from the salmon and flake into large chunks.

Toast the sandwich bread.

In a small bowl, mash the avocado with the sour cream, garlic and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon ¼ of the avocado mixture over one slice of toast. Layer ¼ of the flaked salmon over top, then two slices of bacon, then add a couple tomato slices and a layer of spinach leaves. Top with a second slice of toast, spoon ¼ of the avocado mixture, then salmon, bacon, tomato and spinach. Top with a third slice of toast. Secure with two toothpicks and slice in half. Repeat for the second sandwich.
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Friday, February 14, 2014

Lobster Carbonara

Lobster Carbonara
Happy Valentine's Day! While this dish would be completely rejected by C, luckily I can share it with Miss F. She thinks lobster is a large version of her most favorite food, crawfish. I guess she is right, I break down the pre-cooked lobsters from the grocery store just as I would crawfish. The cooked lobsters are usually on sale around Valentine's Day and this is a perfect use for them. I find they are generally too small to eat on their own, but adding them to Carbonara really ups the fanciness factor of an already decadent dish.  This recipe was loosely inspired by My Husband Hates Veggies.  Maybe I should rename this blog, My Husband Hates Seafood.
Lobster Carbonara

1 cooked lobster, meat removed from the shell, both tail and claws, and cut into bite sized pieces
¾ cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk
½ pound thin spaghetti
3 strips bacon, cut into lardons
¼ onion, chopped
½ cup green peas

Whisk together the cream and egg together in a two cup measure and set aside. Prepare the spaghetti per package instructions. In a large sauté pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until cooked through. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon, add the onions and sauté for two minutes. Add the lobster meat and peas, sauté for two minutes more. Add the cooked spaghetti and bacon to the pan and pour the cream mixture over top, tossing to combine. Serve.
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Coq au Riesling

Coq au Riesling
I pinned this recipe for Coq au Riesling from Simply Delicious with the specific purpose of cooking it in Colorado. I knew it would be a warm and comforting meal after a long day of skiing.  I was correct.  Too bad I wasn't correct in my cost saving measure of buying chicken leg quarters instead of thighs and legs.  Butchering a chicken is not my thing.  Breaking down the leg and thigh was accomplished reasonably, but removing the odd bony piece from each of the thighs was totally above my skill set.  Lesson learned, any money I saved was lost in random chicken bones I threw away.  
Coq au Riesling

3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 chicken pieces on the bone (I used 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks)
1 onion, finely chopped
½ pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced
¼ pound bacon, cut into lardons
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups Riesling (or dry white wine of your choice)
1 cup cream
salt & pepper to taste

Melt the butter and oil together in a large pan over medium heat. Brown the chicken pieces all over and remove from the pan. Add the onions, mushrooms and bacon and sauté until the bacon is rendered. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Pour in the wine and allow to come up to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan. Turn down the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Turn up the heat to medium and add the cream, simmer for 10 minutes more.
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Monday, February 10, 2014

Shrimp Fajita Salad

Shrimp Fajita Salad
One of my favorite items to order from Pappasitos is the fajita salad. I wanted to recreate something like it at home, but using shrimp instead of chicken.  This is a fresh salad that really fills you up.  Miss F won't touch the lettuce, but she was fine with the rest of it rolled up in a tortilla and baked with a little shredded Colby Jack cheese.  I don't remember when I started enjoying salad, but it certainly wasn't at five years old, so my expectations of her actually eating this were low.  I cleaned my plate, it was delicious.  You could also add shredded jack cheese, drained black beans or even crushed tortilla chips for some crunch.
Shrimp Fajita Salad

1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 pound shrimp, peeled and de-veined

3 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups lettuce, chopped
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
½ red onion, peeled and diced
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced

Whisk together the lime juice, oil, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir in the shrimp and allow to marinate for 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature.

While the shrimp are marinating, prepare the dressing. Whisk together the lime juice, sugar, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Add the oil in a small stream while whisking constantly.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add the shrimp and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until the shrimp are pink.

Toss the lettuce, corn, bell pepper, onion, avocado and cooked shrimp with the dressing. Divide among four plates and serve.
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Friday, February 7, 2014

Parmesan Chicken Alfredo with Peas

Parmesan Chicken Alfredo with Peas
This dinner was supposed to be Spaghetti Carbonara with Peas, but as I munched on my second slice of bacon at breakfast, I asked C how much of the bacon he had cooked. Turns out, it was all of it. Grocery shopping isn't the easiest in a ski town. I could get some $12 bacon at the closest grocery store, this isn't center cut heritage pork, this is the same bacon you could get for $4 at any grocery chain. We had plans to go to the "big" grocery, which is about a 30 minute drive the next morning, so I needed to improvise. I had some chicken in the freezer and Parmesan Chicken Alfredo with Peas was born. This meal is comforting and easy to prepare, feel free to use any pasta you like, I used thin spaghetti because it was supposed to be Carbonara. It would be lovely with penne or fettuccine as well.
Parmesan Chicken Alfredo with Peas

12 ounces thin spaghetti
2 cups frozen peas
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ cups cream
1 ¼ cups grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup Italian bread crumbs
2 tablespoons canola oil

Prepare the pasta per package instructions, add the peas during the last 5 minutes of cooking. While pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add cream and bring to a low simmer. Add 1 cup parmesan cheese and stir until melted into the sauce. Add cooked pasta and peas to the Alfredo sauce and toss until coated.

While pasta and sauce are cooking, whisk the egg in a shallow bowl. Set aside. In a second shallow bowl, mix bread crumbs and ¼ cup parmesan cheese. Dip each chicken breast into the egg and then the bread crumb mixture. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Pan-fry chicken until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Slice the chicken and serve overtop of the pasta.
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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes

Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes
Miss F has a nifty cupcake holder for her lunchbox, so she often gets a sweet treat that she always helps me bake. She has started to really be a help in the kitchen instead of just a mess maker.  If powdered sugar or sprinkles are involved, there is a guaranteed mess, but it isn't too awful.  These are Miss F's current favorite lunch box treat, the more sprinkles, the better. Many thanks to the amazing Tide and Thyme for truly the perfect chocolate cupcake recipe.
Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup boiling water

For the frosting:
½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
¼ cup cocoa
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to combine well.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, beat butter until fluffy. Carefully add the cocoa, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla; beat until no lumps remain. Beat the milk into the frosting.
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Monday, February 3, 2014

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp in a Lemon Cream Sauce

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp in a Lemon Cream Sauce
Both my mother and mother-in-law gave me lemon from their trees. I love anything with lemon and so does Miss F, so our first meal in Houston after our Aspen trip had to be this lemon pasta with shrimp from Simply Recipes.  Miss F gobbled this right up and I was equally impressed.  Especially since the whole meal took less than 15 minutes to put together.  I think the next time I make it, I will add frozen peas to the pasta water to really get a complete meal in one dish under 15 minutes, you cannot beat that!
Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp in a Lemon Cream Sauce

¾ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¾ pound angel hair pasta
Salt and black pepper
1 pound raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup (loosely packed) chopped parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a smaller pot, heat the cream, chicken stock and lemon juice to a low simmer. Simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Add the angel hair pasta to the boiling water. Add the shrimp to the simmering lemon cream sauce. Stir well and add a pinch of salt and black pepper. The shrimp should cook in about the same time as the angel hair pasta, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir the parmesan cheese and pasta into the sauce. Serve, sprinkling the parsley on top.
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