Friday, December 31, 2010

Creamy Chicken

Chicken With Creamy Herb Sauce

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 T soft butter (divided)
1 1/2 T flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 cup butternut squash puree (I used baby food)
Macaroni noodles or rice (I used macaroni)
Cook macaroni noodles/rice according to package directions.
Dice chicken into 1-inch pieces.
Heat 1 T butter in large skillet. Add the chicken and sprinkle salt and garlic powder on chicken. Cook until lightly browned then remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add the remaining butter to the skillet, then add the flour. Whisk in the chicken broth and stir for about 2 minutes making sure there are no lumps. When smooth, slowly add milk.
Let mixture cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally as it thickens. Add the chicken back to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the puree, stir, take the skillet off the heat, allowing the sauce to thicken.
Serve chicken and sauce over macaroni noodles.

Chicken Curry and Peanut Sauce

1 1/2 c. canned unsweetened coconut milk, stirred well
1 T soy cauce
1 1/2 tspn. curry powder
3/4 tspn. ground coriander
2 tspn. corn starch
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1 tspn. fresh lime juice
1/4 tspn. red pepper flakes
1 tspn. fresh cilantro, minced
1 package skewers
Whisk together the coconut milk, soy sauce, curry powder and coriander in a small bowl until mixed well. Transfer 1/2 cup of the mixture to another bowl and add cornstarch to the new bowl. Stir well.
Cut the chicken into 1/2 in. thick strips. Add them to the cornstarch mixture, stirring to coat. Marinate covered and refrigerated for at least one hour. Cover the other bowl of sauce and place in the frig as well.
Making the dipping sauce…Stir together the peanut butter, lime juice, red pepper flakes, and reserved coconut mixture in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Let simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally.
Thread the chicken on the skewers and cook on a grill for about six minutes on each side.
Serve with dipping sauce sprinkled with cilantro.
Did I change anything? I served this with pasta. Instead of using the dipping sauce for dipping, we used the dipping sauce as a pasta sauce.

Mexican Stroganoff

1 lb. ground beef, turkey or chicken
1 package taco seasoning
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 carrot, chopped
8 oz. egg noodles
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tomato, chopped
In a Dutch oven, cook and crumble the meat until cooked through; drain excess fat. Add taco seasoning, water and salsa and simmer on medium for about 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a separate pot, cook pasta per directions on the packaging. Drain.
Add green peppers, onion and carrots to the meat mixture, stir and continue to simmer for about five minutes.
Stir in noodles and cream cheese. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese, remove pan from heat and cover until cheese melts.
Sprinkle with tomatoes and serve.

Zucchini Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil OR 1 cup applesauce (for lower fat content)
2 1/4 cups white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans.
Mix flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Beat eggs, oil/applesauce, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well.
Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Taco Quiche

3 large soft flour tortillas
1 lb ground beef or 1 lb ground turkey
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese or 2 cups monterey jack pepper cheese
8 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups sour cream
Garnish: chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sliced black olive, salsa
Line a greased 13x9x2 baking dish with the tortillas, tearing to fit if necessary.
Cook the meat and onion in a skillet. Drain off excess fat.
Add garlic, chilies, and seasonings.
Spoon the mixture onto the tortillas. Sprinkle with the cheese.
Beat eggs well and then blend in the sour cream. Pour this mixture on top of the meat and cheese.
Bake in a preheated oven set at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.
Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Garnish and enjoy.


One brown paper bag

cup popcorn

2 tsp. olive oil

Put the popcorn and olive oil in the bag, seal with a piece of tape, microwave on high for three minutes.

The Super Sweet Version

1 batch of popcorn

stick of unsalted butter with

cup brown sugar

Slowly pour the butter mixture over the popcorn, tossing as you go. Add a dash of salt to take the edge off the cloying sweetness.

The Slightly Spicy, or Should We Say "Soulful" Version (even though after tonight there won't be any spicy or soulful singers left standing -- or sitting)

1 batch of popcorn

stick of unsalted butter with a few shakes each of:

garlic powder
onion powder
mustard powder
and lots of salt

And in case neither of them is your pick, how about

The Cheesy Version

1 batch of popcorn

stick of unsalted butter

1/4 to  cup cheese (Parmesan, Cheddar, American, etc.)

Coat all the popcorn with the melted butter then bit by bit, toss in the cheese. Add salt as needed.

Or if you're not in a do-it-yourself mood, my friend Ethan says
this is amazing.

Stove Top Chicken Casserole

Stove Top Chicken Casserole

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
8 ounces sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup (Click here for a substitute.)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (or more)
1 box Stove Top Stuffing (I used whole wheat chicken flavored)
salt and pepper to taste
4 TBSP butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread chicken on bottom of baking dish, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle cheese on top of chicken. In separate bowl, mix sour cream and cream of chicken soup. Spread sour cream mixture on top of cheese. Sprinkle entire box of Stove Top on top of sour cream and soup mixture. Finally, drizzle melted butter on top of entire casserole. Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes covered, until bubbly. Serve with vegetable of choice. I serve it with green beans.

Pina Coladas

Click to show "Piña Colada" result 4

Piña Coladas
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Serves 3-4
6 oz. light rum
½ cup coconut cream
2 tbsp. milk
1 cup fresh chopped pineapple
1½ cups frozen chopped pineapple
2 cups crushed ice
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree on high speed until smooth and well combined.   Pour into tall glasses and garnish as desired with fresh pineapple.
Source: slightly adapted from Culinary Musings

Spinoccoli Pizza

Spinoccoli Pizza
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For the white sauce:
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
¾ cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1 clove garlic, smashed
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
For the pizza:
Pizza dough
Olive oil, for brushing
½ cup packed baby spinach leaves, torn
1 cup very small broccoli florets
2 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Grated Parmesan
To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until bubbling and light golden, about 1 minute.  Whisk in the heavy cream and garlic, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and bubbles.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated Parmesan until completely melted and smooth.  Discard the garlic clove.  (Note: This will make a bit more sauce than you need for the pizza, but with a little extra cheese it makes a great dipping sauce for crust.)
To make the pizza, preheat the oven and a pizza stone at 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes.  Roll out the pizza dough into a 12-14 inch round.  Lightly brush the perimeter of the dough with olive oil.  Spread a thin layer of the white sauce over the crust, leaving a border clear around the edge for the crust.  Sprinkle the torn spinach leaves over the white sauce.  Evenly distribute the broccoli florets over the dough.  Layer evenly with the shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.  Finish with additional grated Parmesan, if desired.  Transfer the pizza to the preheated pizza stone and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.
Source: Annie original, inspired by Mother Bear’s Pizza

Fontina Mac and Cheese

Fontina Mac and Cheese
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1 lb. small or medium pasta shells
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz. Fontina cheese, shredded
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to the package directions just until 1-2 minutes shy of al dente.
Meanwhile, dice 4 tablespoons of the butter and place in a large mixing bowl.  Warm the cream in a small saucepan or the microwave.  Cover to keep warm.
Once the pasta is cooked, add to the bowl with the butter and toss to coat well.  Stir in the warm cream and the Fontina until the cheese starts to melt.  Mix in salt to taste, and add the nutmeg.
Pour the mixture into a buttered 2-quart casserole dish.  In a small bowl, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.  Mix in the panko breadcrumbs and shredded Parmesan.  Toss with a fork to coat evenly with the butter.  Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the pasta in the baking dish.
Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the topping turns golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Serve immediately.
Source: adapted from Ezra Pound Cake, originally from The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook by Jack Bishop
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Shrimp Po boys

Spicy Shrimp Po’ Boys
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Yield: 4 sandwiches
For the remoulade sauce:
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. light mayonnaise
2 tbsp. stone ground mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1½ tbsp. pickle juice
½ tsp. prepared horseradish
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. hot paprika
Dash of hot sauce
For the sandwiches:
1 lb. medium-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. Cajun seasoning blend
1 baguette (or 4 sandwich rolls)
Shredded lettuce
Sliced tomato
To make the remoulade sauce, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  (If you don’t have a blender or food processor, you can just mix it in a small bowl with a spoon.)  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Chill until ready to use.
To prepare the sandwiches, combine the shrimp with the olive oil and cajun seasoning in a medium bowl.  Toss well to coat the shrimp.  Heat a grill pan to medium-high and grill the shrimp just until opaque, about 2 minutes per side.  Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
Slice the baguette into 4 servings, and cut horizontally to open the bread.  Spread some of the remoulade sauce onto both pieces of the bread.   Layer the bottom slice of bread with shrimp, then top with lettuce and tomato as desired.  Top with the remaining piece of bread and serve immediately.
Source: adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rosemary Boule Bread

1 T. Dry Yeast
1 T. Sugar
1 Cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees)
2 1/2 Cup white flour
1 t. salt
1 T. canola oil, peanut oil or olive oil
nonstick cooking spray
2 T. butter

Place yeast, sugar and water in large bowl or food processor and allow mixture to become bubbly. Mix in 2 cups of flour and the salt. Add one tablespoon of the fresh chopped rosemary. Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or in food processor about 30 seconds until smooth and elastic. Add flour if necessary.

Oil a bowl, put dough in it and cover with a towel. Let dough rise in a warm place for one hour until doubled.

Punch down dough and divide in half. Let dough rest about 5 – 10 minutes.
Spray baking pan or cookie sheet with cooking spray. Shape the dough into 2 small rounded oval loaves. Melt margarine or butter. Brush over the top of the loaves. Sprinkle remaining 1 Tablespoon of rosemary over the loaves and press lightly into the surface. Let loaves rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly sprinkle course salt over the loaves.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until lightly browned.

Makes 2 loaves.

Dip in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or don't, it's good either way

Chicken Cakes with Aioli Sauce


2 slices whole wheat bread
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast (aprox. 2 large chicken breasts)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites

To prepare cakes, place bread in a food processor to make coarse crumbs. Measure 1 cup and add to a medium bowl. Place chicken in food processor and grind. Add chicken to bowl and remaining ingredients. Mix well. Divide mixture into 8 equal portions, shaping each into 1/2-inch-thick patty. Heat two teaspoons canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add patties; cook 7 minutes on each side or until done.

2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon salt

To prepare aioli, combine ingredients in a small bowl.

Spinach and Potato Fritata

Ingredients:2 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 small potatoes, sliced
1 cup fresh spinach, torn
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Place potatoes in the skillet, cover, and cook about 10 minutes. Potatoes should be tender but firm. Mix in spinach, onions, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking 1-2 minutes, until spinach is wilted.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs and milk. Pour into the skillet over the vegetables. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 5-7 minutes. Heat oven to broil. Remove skillet from stove top and place in oven to broil for 7 minutes, or until eggs are firm.

Cinnamon Bun Ebelskivers

Cinnamon Bun Ebelskivers
Makes 35 to 40
Originally published by Williams-Sonoma
For the cinnamon filling:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, at room temperature
For the cream cheese frosting:
3 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 to 4 Tbs. milk
For the pancakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
4 eggs, separated
2 cups milk
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for cooking
To make the cinnamon filling, in a bowl, still together the granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and, using the back of a spoon, mash the butter into the flour mixture until all of it is absorbed into the butter, forming a paste. Set the cinnamon filling aside.
To make the cream cheese frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, reduce the speed to low and beat until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add 3 Tbs. of the milk and beat until combined, about 1 minute. The frosting should be thick but still pourable; add more milk if needed to thin it. Transfer the frosting to a small bowl; set aside.
To make the pancakes, in a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and granulated sugar. In another bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks, then whisk in the milk and the 4 Tbs. melted butter. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the flour mixture until well combined; the batter will be lumpy. Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff but not dry peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter in two additions.
Put 1/8 tsp. melted butter in each well of a filled-pancake pan. Set over medium heat and heat until the butter begins to bubble. Pour 1 Tbs. batter into each well. Spoon 1/2 tsp. of the cinnamon filling into the center of each pancake and top with 1 Tbs. batter. Cook until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes. Using 2 skewers, flip the pancakes over and cook until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the pancakes to a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter and filling.
Drizzle the pancakes with the frosting and serve immediately.

Beer Bread

1 loaf, prep 5 min, cook 50 min
  • 3 cups self rising flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 12 oz beer
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a loaf pan.
  2. Combine all three ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well.
  3. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until loaf is golden brown.
  4. Rub hot loaf all over with butter to soften the crust and cool on a rack.
If you don’t buy self-rising flour you can use the following as a substitute:
  • 3 scant cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Whole Wheat Pita Bread
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2¼ tsp. instant yeast
1 tbsp. honey
1¼ cups warm water (105˚-115˚ F), divided
1½ cups bread flour, divided
1½ cups whole wheat flour, divided
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. salt
Cornmeal, for sprinkling
In the bowl of a stand mixer*, combine the yeast, honey and ½ cup of the water.  Stir gently to blend.  Whisk ¼ cup of the bread flour and ¼ cup of the whole wheat flour into the yeast mixture until smooth.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap and return the bowl to the mixer stand, fitted with the dough hook.  Add in the remaining ¾ cup of warm water, 1¼ cups bread flour, 1¼ cups whole wheat flour, olive oil and salt.  Knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and let rise in a warm draft-free place, about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.
Place an oven rack in the middle position.  Place a baking stone in the oven (if using) and preheat to 500˚ F.
Once the dough has risen, transfer to a lightly floured work surface, punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces.  Form each piece into a ball.  Flatten one ball at a time into a disk, then stretch out into a 6½-7 inch circle.  Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet or other work surface lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  Once all the rounds have been shaped, loosely cover with clean kitchen towels.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, until slightly puffy.
Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, onto the baking surface.  (Note: These can be baked on a baking stone or directly on the oven racks.  I use a pizza stone, but either method is fine.) Bake 2 minutes, until puffed and pale golden.  Gently flip the pitas over using tongs and bake 1 minute more.  Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.  Repeat with the remaining pitas.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
*As always, anything mixed in a stand mixer can be mixed by hand.
Source: adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride, originally from Gourmet, May 2003

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Ingredients:For the cupcakes:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or bittersweet)

For the filling:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
For the frosting:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
3½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. milk
2½ tsp. vanilla extract
For decoration:
Tiny chocolate chip cookies
Mini chocolate chips
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total).  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar.  Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir together to blend.  Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated.  Blend in the vanilla.  Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners.   Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the cookie dough filling, combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up a bit, about an hour.
To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone-shaped portion out of the center of each cupcake.  Fill each hole with a chunk of the chilled cookie dough mixture.
To make the frosting, beat together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy.  Mix in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.  Beat in the flour and salt.  Mix in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth and well blended.
Frost the filled cupcakes as desired, sprinkling with mini chocolate chips and topping with mini chocolate chip cookies for decoration.
Source: inspired by Hello, Baker!, cake adapted from Cupcake Bakeshop, frosting adapted from The Cupcake Review and How to Eat a Cupcake

Spring Green Risotto

Spring Green Risotto
Printer-Friendly Version
5 cups chicken broth or stock
1½ tbsp. olive oil
1½ tbsp. unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
3 cups chopped leeks, white and green parts (about 2 leeks)
1½ cups Arborio rice (medium grain rice)
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 lb. asparagus (thin spears preferable), cut into 1-inch pieces and tough ends discarded
10 oz. frozen peas, thawed (or 1½ cups shelled fresh peas)
1 tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese (cream cheese is a fine substitute)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
3 tbsp. minced fresh chives
In a medium saucepan, heat the chicken broth or stock over medium heat until simmering.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, keeping the stock warm.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat until the butter is melted.  Add the shallots and leeks to the pan and sauté for 5-7 minutes, until tender.  Add the rice to the pan and stir to coat well with the oil and butter, cooking for about 1 minute.  Add the white wine and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed.  Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more.
Meanwhile, blanch the asparagus in boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes, until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse immediately with cold water to stop cooking.  (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes as well.)
When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, add the asparagus and peas to the risotto.  Stir in the lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.  The entire process should take about 25-30 minutes.
When the risotto is done, remove the pan from the heat.  Mix in the lemon juice, mascarpone, Parmesan and chives.  Stir until the cheeses are melted in and the risotto is creamy.  Serve immediately with additional Parmesan, if desired.
Source: adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten

Pizza Bites

Pizza Bites
Printer-Friendly Version
½ batch pizza dough (enough for 1 pizza)
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed (about 20-24 pieces)
Sliced pepperoni
For topping:
Olive oil
Italian seasoning
Grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate or cake pan.  Divide the pizza dough into 20-24 roughly equal sized pieces.  Take one of the dough pieces, top with a cube of cheese and a slice or two of pepperoni.  Pull the edges of the dough around the fillings and pinch closed.  Place seam-side down in the baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.
Lightly brush the tops of the dough balls with olive oil.  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and grated Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.  Serve warm, with dipping sauce as desired.
Source: inspired by Chaos in the Kitchen

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas
Printer-Friendly Version

1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped fine
1 tsp. canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. sugar
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
Salt and pepper
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese, divided
½ cup minced fresh cilantro
12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
Cooking spray
Combine the onion, jalapeno and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 8-10 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar, and cook just until fragrant, less than 30 seconds.  Mix in the tomato sauce, water, and chopped tomato.  Bring the sauce to a simmer, lower the heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Nestle the chicken into the sauce.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is completely cooked through (160˚ F on an instant-read thermometer), about 12-20 minutes.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside to cool.
Strain the sauce through a large mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing down on the onions and tomatoes to extract as much liquid as possible.  Transfer the reserved solids to a large bowl and set aside.  Season the sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Shred the chicken into bite size pieces and add to the bowl with the onion mixture.  Add in ¼ cup of the enchilada sauce, ½ cup of each of the shredded cheeses, and the cilantro.  Stir to combine.
Preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  Oil a 9 x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray.  Stack the tortillas on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for 40-60 seconds, until warm and pliable.  Spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of a tortilla.  Roll up the tortilla around the filling tightly, and place in the prepared baking dish, seam-side down.  Repeat with the remaining filling and tortillas.
Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray.  Place in the oven, uncovered, for 7 minutes or until the tortillas start to brown slightly.
Reduce the oven temperature to 400˚ F.  Remove the enchiladas from the oven and pour the sauce oven the top.  Sprinkle with the remaining shredded cheese.  Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is browned.  Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Source: Pink Parsley Catering, originally from America’s Test Kitchen

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Black Bottoms


Black Bottomsmakes 48

1 ½ cups flour
1 cup sugar
¼ cup cocoa
1 tablespoon white vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup oil
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

8 ounces cream cheese
1 egg
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix first eight ingredients together and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese, egg, salt and sugar together. Stir the chocolate chips into the cream cheese mixture. Line a miniature muffin pan with paper liners. Add 1 tablespoon of the chocolate batter and top with 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until set.

Tortilla and Black Bean Pie


Tortilla and Black Bean Pie
adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from Liz's Cooking Blog 
  •  4 (10-inch) whole-wheat flour tortillas
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
  • kosher salt and freshly ground peppe
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen corn
  • 1 12-ounce beer, or 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 8 ounces cheese, shredded (I used a combo of cheddar and pepperjack)
  • salsa and sour cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400.
Using the bottom of the pan as a guide, use a paring knife to trim the edges of the tortillas so that they fit in a 9-inch springform pan.  

Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium heat.  Saute the onion and jalapeno until soft, 5-10 minutes.  Add the garlic, chipotle, cumin, chile powder, salt and pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  

Add the beans and beer to the skillet, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, 8-10 minutes.  Mix in the corn, scallions, and cilantro, and remove from heat.

Lay one of the tortillas across the bottom of the springform pan.  Layer with 1/4 of the beans, and sprinkle with cheese.  Repeat 3 times, finishing with beans and cheese.  Bake until cheese is melted and the mixture is heated through, about 20-25 minutes.

Remove from oven and unmold the pie.  Garnish with remaining scallions and cilantro, and serve with sour cream.

Garlic Chicken & Spinach Gnocchi

Garlic Chicken & Spinach Gnocchi
1 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 (17.5-ounce) package shelf-stable gnocchi
2 large cloves garlic, minced (~1 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 – 3/4 cup chopped spinach
Cook the gnocchi according to directions. Meanwhile, heat ~1 teaspoon of olive oil and add diced chicken in a large skillet over medium heat, until lightly browned. Add minced garlic and cook until softened & fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add remaining olive oil (~2 teaspoons), butter, drained gnocchi, salt & pepper. Cook until gnocchi are golden brown on the bottoms. Use a spatula to flip the gnocchi. Add the spinach, tossing frequently, until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Serve hot.

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
3 cups grated carrots (~ 9 carrots)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries (I omit)
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
For the frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound (3 ¾ cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
½ cup shredded coconut (optional)
Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut, for topping (optional)
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.
To make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, & coconut. Working with a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is smooth. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.
To make the frosting: Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice/extract.
If you’d like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this position.
To assemble the cake:
Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer (or generously cover with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake stop side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top- and the sides- of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft.
Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.
Serving/Storing: This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while it’s good plain, it’s even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd. The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. It can also be frozen. Freeze it uncovered, then when it’s firm, wrap airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.
Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Baked Beans In Crockpot

Baked Beans (Serves 4-6)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Small Onion, chopped
1 16 oz. Pkg White Beans
1 6 oz Can Tomato Paste
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
1/4 Cup Molasses
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 32 fl. oz. Box Vegetable Broth
2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions for 3-4 minutes.
2. Transfer the onions to a crock pot, pour in remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or until beans are tender.
4. Serve.

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate
16 oz milk
4 Tbsp Hot Chocolate Mix (recipe follows)
2 Tbsp of Bailey’s Mint Chocolate (optional)
Dulce de Leche (optional)
Whipped cream (optional)
Heat milk in small saucepan over medium heat until scalded. Whisk in mix and Bailey’s (if using) until smooth. Serve with whipped cream and a drizzle of dulce de leche.
Yields: 2 servings
Hot Chocolate Mix
2 vanilla beans
4 cups granulated sugar
24 oz high-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
9 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups Dutch process cocoa
Split and scrape vanilla beans and place in a large bowl or jar with the sugar. Work seeds into the sugar with your fingers. Bury the pods under the sugar. Cover tightly and let stand overnight (or up to months–vanilla sugar keeps forever) at room temperature.
In a food processor fitted with metal blade, process semisweet chocolate and dark chocolate until finely ground, using 4-second pulses. Process in batches, if necessary (I started out with large bars so I first processed the chocolate using the grater attachment and then switched to the blade.)
Remove pod from sugar. Add ground chocolate and cocoa powder to sugar and whisk to blend, making sure to combine well. Store mix airtight at room temperature for up to six months.
Yields: 76 2-Tbsp servings, or 12 3/4-cup servings (pictured)
Adapted from: Gourmet, 2005

The Best Cheeseball

The Best Cheeseball
Printable Version
Printable Version with Picture

*Makes 4 cheeseballs
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried parsley
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
1 cup pecans, finely chopped for rolling

Place finely chopped pecans in a shallow dish and set aside. In a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), mix the cream cheese until smooth. Add the cheddar cheese and mix until just combined. Lightly sprinkle all the seasonings and sauces over the cheese mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.
With lightly greased hands, portion the cheese mixture into four pieces and roll each section into a round ball. Coat in pecans. The easiest way to do this is to hold the cheeseball in one hand and scoop up the pecans and press them onto the cheeseball with the other, turning the cheeseball as you go and letting the excess pecans fall back into the dish (this also helps the pecans to go a little further). Cover each cheeseball in saran wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Recipe Source: My Kitchen Cafe

Monday, December 27, 2010

Toffee Apple Dip

Toffee Apple Dip
Printable Version with Picture
Printable Version

*Makes about 2 cups of dip
1 package cream cheese
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup English toffee bits
6-7 cored and sliced apples for dipping (tossed with a little lemon or pineapple juice to prevent browning)
In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese and brown sugar until well combined. Stir in the toffee bits. Serve with sliced apples. Store the dip covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Recipe Source: from My Kitchen Cafe

Lemon Cheesecake Ball

Lemon Cheesecake Cheese Ball
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10 oz. cream cheese
2½ tbsp. sugar
Zest of 1 large lemon
4 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 graham crackers
Combine the cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl.  Stir together with a spoon or spatula until well combined and smooth.  Mix in the lemon zest and lemon juice until smooth.  Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a ball, wrapped tightly.  Refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.  Reshape if necessary once firm.
Coarsely crush the graham crackers and transfer the crumbs to a plate or bowl.  Roll the cheese ball in the crumbs until evenly coated.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Source: adapted from Kirstin Jackson for NPR