Sunday, August 31, 2008

Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

It is a common tradition at our house to have Brinner on Sunday nights. Standard fare includes pancakes, or french toast, sausage, bacon, juice, whatever else we happen to have on hand. See, I just never have the energy in the mornings to make an actual hot breakfast, and frankly, we LOVE hot breakfast. So, Sunday nights are the perfect time for us. It's easy, comes together quickly, and makes EVERYONE super happy.

This week we (whenever I say "we", I mean me) decided to go fancy on the pancakes. I saw this recipe this past week over at The Sister's Cafe. I have to tell you that it was fabulously delicious. The lemon zest in the batter had me sniffing and drooling. And the pancakes themselves were amazing, despite my stove's inability to heat to anything but scorching. So, my picture is the LEAST burned of the bunch. The burned ones were still good. My girls each ate THREE. I had (gulp!) five.

Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

1.5 c flour
3 T sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp salt
1/2 c sour cream
3/4 c plus 2T milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon zest
2-3 ripe bananas, diced

Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder & salt in a medium bowl. In another larger bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla and lemon zest. Add the dry ingredients to wet and mix only until combined.

Once you've poured your pancake (3-4 inch) into your heated, buttered skillet, add about 1 T of diced banana to each pancake. When the bubbles have mostly popped, flip your pancake. Serve with warm maple syrup, and extra bananas.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mushroom, Pepper & Sausage Frittata

A couple of notes about the recipe below. We used pre-cooked chicken sausages. Also, I doubled this recipe and cooked it all at once in my favorite pan.
I'm still at a loss with what to do with unused yolks. I just toss them, but I'm sure there's something I can do, right?

Mushroom, Pepper and Sausage Frittata
adapted from Baking Bites

1/2 tbsp butter or veg. oil
1/2 cup diced red peppers
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 cup sliced [cremini] mushrooms
1 medium-large sausage, sliced
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
salt and pepper
Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese

Heat an 8-in oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Melt butter or oil, then add in red peppers, green onions and mushrooms. Saute for 2-3 minutes, then add in sliced sausage and cook until sausage is browned. Drain excess grease, if you are using a fatty sausage.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, salt and pepper (estimate - you know your tastes better than I do!). Pour into skillet over filling. Add parmesan cheese on top.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.

Cook frittata on the stove until the top edges have begun to set, about 5 minutes. Transfer skillet to broiler and cook for 3-5 minutes, until set and lightly browned.
Slide onto a plate for serving and slicing.

Serves 2

I'm sure I'll be adding other frittata recipes as this blog goes on, because I like the versatility of the frittata, and there are so many enticing recipes out there. Stay tuned.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Zucchini Farfalle

All I can say about this one is that it looks like total chick food, but with every bite my husband was mumbling "mmmmm ... wow ... mmmmm". I was a little concerned about his mental state for a while.
Zucchini Farfalle

Zucchini Farfalle

From: The Pioneer Woman

1 med. onion
4-5 small zucchini, quartered longways and chopped
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup white wine or chicken broth (I used wine)
1/2-3/4 cup heavy cream (I used 1/2 and wished I used 3/4)
1+ Tbs. Arrowroot/Cornstarch
1 lb. Farfalle, cooked
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh Basil, Thyme, chives- chopped
Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Heat a couple tablespoons of oil over med-high heat. When hot, throw in 1/2 of the zucchini and sprinkle some salt over top. I probably used 1/2 tsp. Stir the zucchini around until it is browned. Don't overcook it. You want it to be crisp tender. Remove from pan and repeat with other half of the zucchini. Add more oil and throw in the onions and garlic. Reduce heat to med/med-low. Throw the tomatoes on top. Toss. Add 1/3 cup white wine. Whist up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Place 1/3 cup white wine in a small bowl and add in 1-1 1/2 Tbs. cornstarch or arrowroot. Stir to combine. Add to pan and gently stir. Immediately add cream. Now add in zucchini and gently stir to combine, turning off the heat. (Add water from your pasta is the sauce is too thick). Season with salt and pepper. Place pasta in a bowl and top with fresh herbs. Pour zucchini mixture over top. Toss. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Insalata Caprese

I've had this salad several times, but never before made it. As we had Jenny's Cornbread Chicken last night for dinner, I needed a side to go with it. And I'll admit that this was strictly for Matt & I. The kids weren't big fans of the tomatoes, though they loved the cheese. My favorite part was the fact that I got to pull the basil off the lovely plant sitting in the windowsill of my kitchen. I just wish I had homegrown tomatoes. Good thing Florida has two growing seasons, I'll be planting some stuff come October. You're jealous, I know.

At any rate, this salad was super simple and thrown together VERY quickly (5 minutes.)

Insalata Caprese

2 large tomatoes
8 oz fresh mozzarella
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Basil

Slice tomatoes and mozzarella thinly. Layer alternately around your plate. Roughly tear your basil leaves and sprinkle on top of the tomatoes/mozzarella. Sprinkle salt and pepper over all, to taste. Drizzle a Tablespoon or 2 of olive oil over everything. Eat.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Oven "Fried" Parm Chicken Fingers w/ Honey Mustard Sauce

Oven Fried Parm Chicken

Oven "Fried Parm Chicken Finger w/ Honey Mustard Sauce

For Chicken
1 clove crushed garlic
1/4 lb. butter, melted
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
3 chicken breasts, cut into strips

For Honey Mustard Sauce
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1 cup water, divided
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup prepared mustard (I think it works out best with spicy brown)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine crushed garlic with melted butter. In another small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Dip chicken strips into garlic butter, then into crumb mixture to coat. Place coated chicken pieces into a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Drizzle with remaining garlic butter and bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.

While chicken is in the oven, dissolve the cornstarch in 1 tablespoon of water in a saucepan over low heat. Add honey and mustard, mix well. Add remaining water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Serve with chicken for dipping.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tamale Pie

When I lived in Provo, ages and ages ago, there was an Hispanic Grandma lady that would go around selling her homemade tamales at all the apartment complexes. I was never adventurous enough to try them, but my good friend, Jen, was. And she shared with me. And my love of tamales was born. Give me a shout out if you lived in Provo, and know the Tamale lady!

This is actually one of Jenny's recipes that my mom made for me when she was visiting after I has Lucas. However, I couldn't remember if it was good. So, I threw caution to the wind and made it anyway. I have to admit that dishes like this, well... it's difficult to make them look incredibly appetizing. But this is! It's very filling, too!

Tamale Pie

1 lb ground beef
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1- 10oz can Red Enchilada Sauce
1/2 can corn
1/4 c sliced black olives
1 tsp salt

1.5 c corn meal
1 c water
3/4 c evaporated milk (I used one 5oz can)
1 tsp salt
1- 4oz can diced green chilis
1/2 c colby jack cheese

Brown the ground beef with the onion and garlic. Drain off the fat. Add enchilada sauce, corn, olives and salt until heated through.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 9" pie plate (could also use a 8x8 glass pan). In a saucepan, combine the corn meal, water, evaporated milk, and salt. Cook over medium heat until thickened (about 5-7 minutes). Add green chilis. Set aside 1 cup of the corn meal mixture. Spread the rest as a crust in the bottom & sides of your pan. Bake for 10 min. Cool slightly. Spoon beef mixture onto the crust. Top with the set aside corn meal mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. Add the colby jack cheese and cook an additional 5 minutes. Yum.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Buttermilk Banana "Muffin Mans"

My boys love zucchini and banana bread. So a while back I found a new banana bread recipe using buttermilk, so I decided to try it and loved it. Well, fast forward to this week and I couldn't find it. So I did a google search and found a new recipe and it is exorbitantly better than the first one I found. These are amazing.

I call them muffin mans because that is what Tab, my 3 year old calls them. If I were to call it banana bread he would whine that he doesn't want banana bread, but that he wants muffin mans. Ever since he first heard the "Do you know the muffin man?" song, he has called them this. So I obligingly make them into muffins and a loaf, which to get him to eat we call muffin man bread. My kid is weird.
Buttermilk Banana Bread

Buttermilk Banana "Muffin Mans"

From: Seattle Bon Vivant

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2)
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 Tbs. canola oil
1 Tbs. vanilla
1 3.4 flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. butter
1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter loaf pan and lightly dust with flour.

In mixer bowl beat eggs with sugar on med-high until thick and light, about 5 minutes. Add mashed bananas, buttermilk, honey, oil, remaining butter and vanilla.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the wet ingredients and beat just until combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake about 1 hour.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

How I get my kids to eat this stuff.

I've gotten quite a few questions about how I get my kids to eat the wide range of foods I cook. Let's see. What can I say?

1. They weren't always this great. Not entirely true. Anna and Miles have always been fabulous about eating whatever they happen to get. Abbie, on the other hand, was a horribly picky eater as a child. And it was awful. But one day, I just decided that I wasn't going to be her short-order cook anymore.

2. My kids don't get a lot of snacks (don't I sound mean!?). I mean, they get snacks, but I don't fill them till they're full at snacktime. Snacktime is usually some string cheese and a handful of crackers or the like. I don't keep feeding them till they burst. If they complain that they're still hungry, I remind them that dinner is in a couple hours (usually 2-3 hours) and if they're thirsty they can have some water. So, basically, I make sure they're good and hungry for dinner.

3. Again, I'm not a short-order cook. My oldest daughter picked up this saying from preschool and we have LOVED it here, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit" (said in a sing-songy voice, of course). Basically, this is what's for dinner. I worked hard on it and (generally speaking) it tastes good! Eat up!

4. If you finish your dinner, there MAY be dessert. Not every night. Even if the kids finish their dinner, we don't do dessert every night. And my kids are either weird or deprived. Sometimes dessert is something as simple as 5 Skittles, or a plum, or even some honey-roasted peanuts once. But dessert isn't guaranteed if you finish your dinner, but if you don't... well, the chances of me giving dessert to the other kids who did eat it, are infinitely more likely. Yeah, I told you I was mean.

I have to admit that I have 3 wonderful eaters. I like to think it's my fault, but I'm guessing it's more a product of my husband. That man will eat anything. And somehow, he convinces them to try it. They eat sushi, shrimp, oysters, octopus, curry. All things I can't stand.

Sidenote -- Something you probably didn't know about me: I hate seafood. I like fish, but detest shrimp. So, this blog will NEVER contain seafood recipes (Jenny hates seafood AND fish). If you were looking for some seafood recipes, you'll have to try another food blog. Good luck.

The moral of the story for me is that my kids aren't picky eaters because it's not an option.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cornbread Chicken

So some days you would really rather not think about dinner, let alone make it. That is when this recipe is great. I make this when I'm tired or just not feeling it. This is truly a quick fix meal, and not in the Rachael Ray 3o minute meals that really take an hour if you don't have staff to prep thing for you. The best part about this meal is that my husband thinks he must have done something great that day for me to make this. Little does he know it was just because I was feeling lazy. Shh... don't tell on me okay?

Cornbread Chicken

boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
1 Pkg. ranch dressing mix

Slice chicken breasts into strips. Combine cornbread mix and ranch dressing mix. Dip chicken in water and coat in in cornbread mixture. Place on foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Voila.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Little Italy Chicken Wraps

The original recipe came to me from Sugar & Spice (I think she got it elsewhere), but while I enjoyed using the Pitas, I just found that it's cheaper to make them a wrap. And we enjoy them just the same.

Little Italy Chicken Wraps
1 pound (about 2) cooked* chicken breasts, diced
2 T balsamic vinegar
1.5 T extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 medium tomato, diced
1/4 c fresh basil, thinly sliced
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
2 c mixed baby greens
Flour tortillas

Combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and black pepper in a medium bowl. Add the chicken, tomatoes, basil and parmesan cheese. Toss till combined. Line a tortilla with a handful of baby greens, spoon the chicken mixture on top and roll it on up. You can thank me later.

And sorry Sheri, still no nutritional information.

*My favorite way to cook my chicken breasts is this. Preheat your oven to 350. Place your thawed chicken breasts in a glass pan (8x8, 9x9, 9x13, pie pan, whatever) and put foil over it. Put it in the oven for 25 minutes. Voila. It's the easiest way ever and your chicken comes out super moist!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tomato Pesto Pizza

This was seriously the quickest dinner I've made in approximately forever. Of course, I used almost all prepackaged stuff to throw it together, but it was uber-licious. (Note: I'm always allowed to make up words.) But I think it speaks volumes that 1. My kids each had seconds and begged for thirds and 2. There were no leftovers. Yes, next time I'll be making two pizzas.

Tomato Basil Pizza (adapted from Pioneer Woman)
1 tube refrigerated pizza dough
1/2 c of prepared pesto (I used about half of a 10z jar, and it was a little too much)
2-3 medium tomatoes, sliced thin
8 oz fresh mozzarella

Spray cookie sheet lightly with non-stick spray. Spread pizza dough out on cookie sheet. Spread pesto thinly over crust, layer with mozzarella, and finally with tomato slices. Cook according to dough directions.

I have a basil plant in my kitchen that is thriving beyond what I could have thought possible, so next time I'm gonna make my own pesto. I make no promises about the pizza dough, however.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Butternut Squash, Corn and Cilantro Phyllo Rolls

Butternut Squash, Corn, and Cilantro Phyllo Rolls

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Cups finely chopped onion
1/2 Cup finely chopped celery
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 1/4 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into
1/4 inch cubes
1 Cup julienned peeled carrots
1 Cup very thinly sliced green cabbage
1 Cup yellow corn kernels (about 2 ears)
1/4 Cup finely chopped fesh cilantro
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup tofu cheese (I couldn't find this and just decided that some ricotta I had in the fridge
sounded good, so I went for it. It was great.)
8 frozen whole weat phyllo pastry sheets, thawed (I already had some plain ones in the freezer)
1/2 Cup canola oil
Heat olive oil in a large heavy frying pan over med heat. add the onions, celery and garlic and saute for about 5 min. or until the onions are tanslucent. Add the squash and carrots and saute 25 more minutes, or until the squash and carrots are crisp-tender. Add the cabbage and corn and saute for 4 more minutes, or until the cabbage wilts and the liquid evaporates. Stir in the cilantro and salt. Cool to room temperature (VERY IMPORTANT) and stir in the cheese.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large, havey baking sheet with parchment paper.

Unroll the phyllo on a dry surface. Work with one sheet at a time, keeping the remaining phyllo covered with a damp kitchen towel. Brush the phyllo with some of the canola oil. Cut the sheet crosswise into 3-4 inch sheets. Place a generous 2 Tbs. of the squash mixture on the short end of the phyllo. Roll each strip to enclose the squash mixture, folding in the sides like a burrito. Brush the edges with more oil to seal. Transfer the rolls to the baking sheet, seem side down. Brush the tops with more oil. Repeat until all of squash mixture is gone, about 24 rolls.

Bake for 25 mintues, or until golden brown. (I was in a hurry to go someplace some mine aren't as browned as I would have liked. Serve warm. We seasoned ours with salt and pepper because we like the whole sweet and salty combo.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Crockpot Southwestern Chicken

This was unbelievably good and very filling! We're having the leftovers for dinner tonight and I'm so stoked.

Crockpot Southwestern Chicken from The Sisters' Cafe
1 small bag frozen corn
1 can rinsed, drained black beans
2-3 large chicken breasts
1- 16 oz jar of medium salsa
shredded cheddar
sour cream
tortilla chips

Pour corn in the bottom of the crockpot. Place chicken on top. Cover with black beans and then pour the salsa on. Cook on high for 1 hour and low for 4 hours*. Shred chicken. Serve with toppings**.

*I forgot to throw this in the crockpot before church, so instead after we got home at 2p, I put it all in on HIGH for 4 hours. Turned out great.

** I had the stuff, so I made up a guacamole/pico de gallo mix using avocado, red onion, tomato, garlic, salt, lime juice and some cilantro. My husband LOVED it and I will definitely be making it again.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Coconut Ice Cream

All I have to say it Sweet, Sweet, Love.Coconut Ice Cream
1 Cup milk
1 can cream of cocunut
1 1/2 Cups heavy cream
1 1/2 Cups sweetened flaked coconut (optional, I didn't use, I hate the texture)

Add the milk and cream of coconut in a food processor or blender and mix thoroughly. Stir in cream and flaked cocunut. Pour into the container of an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Big Crumb Coffeecake with Rhubarb

I know that rhubarb is nearly out of season, but I was able to get some at our Farmer's Market last week. I was quite thrilled with how this turned out.

Big Crumb Coffeecake with Rhubarb

From: New York Times

For Filling:
1/2 lb. rhubarb, trimmed
1/4 Cup sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground ginger

For the Crumbs:
1/3 Cup dark brown sugar
1/3 Cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 Cup melted butter
1 3/4 Cup cake flour (I used all-purpose)

For the Cake:
1/3 Cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Cup cake flour (I used all-purpose)
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. softened butter, cut into 8 pieces

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8 inch baking dish. For filling, slice rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.

To make crumbs, in a lg. bowl, whisk together sugars, spices, salt and butter until smooth. Stir in flour with a spatula. It will look like a solid dough.

To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of the sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, scraping down the side of the bowl with a spatula. Scoop out 1/2 cup batter and set aside.

Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon rhubarb over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over rhubarb, it does not have to be even.

Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs. They don't have to be uniform, but try to keep them about the same size (1/2- 3/4"). Sprinkle over the cake. Bake cake until toothpick inserted comes out clean of batter (it will be moist from the rhubarb), about 45-55 minutes. It says to cool completely before serving but I don't believe in that. I think it is best hot. And this would be great served with a side of homemade vanilla ice cream. YUMMY!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pork & Green Bean Stir-Fry

This wasn't my absolute favorite meal ever, but the pork was super yummy. I added broccoli to the original recipe because I had some in my crisper that needed to be used. Plus, we LOVE broccoli. I also cut down on the ginger from 2 Tbsp to just one. And even then, then predominate flavor was ginger. That's not a bad thing, necessarily, but I think 2 Tbsp would have made it nearly inedible.

Pork & Green Bean Stir-Fry

* 1 (about 3/4 pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat
* Coarse salt
* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 3 teaspoons vegetable oil
* 1 tablespoon minced, peeled fresh ginger
* 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
* 1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
* 1 cup fresh broccoli florets
* 1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, cut into thin strips
* 1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
* Cooked white rice, for serving (optional)

Cut pork diagonally into 1/4-inch thick slices. In order to cut the pork thin enough, I stuck it in the freezer for about 20 minutes before slicing it up. Cut each slice lengthwise in half. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar; set sauce aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add half the ginger, pepper flakes, and pork; cook, stirring, until pork is no longer pink, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat, cooking remaining ginger, pepper flakes, and pork in another teaspoon oil; transfer to plate. (I did all the pork, etc at once... worked for me!)

Meanwhile, cook green beans in a medium pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain; dry with paper towels.

Add remaining teaspoon oil to the skillet. Add beans, bell pepper, broccoli and 2 tablespoons water;(oops! unintentionally missed the water) cook over high heat, stirring often, until peppers are tender, about 2 minutes.

Add peanuts, pork mixture, and reserved sauce. Cook, stirring, until pork is coated, about 1 minute. Serve immediately, over rice, if desired.

We did serve it over rice. My kids LOVE rice.

Coming up later. Expect a post from me on how on earth I get my kids to eat all this food.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lemon Rosemary Chicken with Herbed Couscous

My mom made this dish while I was visiting last month and it was fabulous. I brought the recipe home with me but found that I can't get the Herbed Chicken Couscous at my store. So my mom read what spices the box said were in the couscous and I tried to replicate it. It was not quite as good, but it was definitely still worthy of making again. If you can't get the couscous in your store either see my notes!
Lemon Rosemary Chicken with Herbed Couscous

From: Back of the Near East Couscous box

1 Cup italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Cup thin asparagus, tips only
1/4 cup + 1 Tbs. Lemon juice, divided
3 Tbs. white cooking wine
2 tsp. dried rosemary, divided
1-1/2 cups water
1 pkg. Near East Couscous Herbed Chicken

Toss chicken breasts in seasoned bread crumbs and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add breaded chicken, asparagus, 1/4 cup lemon juice, cooking wine and 1 tsp. rosemary. Cook for about 5-8 minutes or until inside of chicken is no longer pink.

Prepare couscous accoding to package directions, except add 1 tsp. rosemary and 1 Tbs. lemon juice when adding contents of spice sack. Serve chicken mixture over a bed of couscous.

Notes: If you can't get the herbed couscous, just buy the regular kind. Cook the couscous in a can of chicken broth rather than water. I added about 1/2-1 tsp. of each of the following spices (and could probably have added more): garlic salt, onion powder, turmeric, and parsley. I also chopped up some fresh basil and threw it in. The basil was divine. Next time I might throw it a bit of fresh grated parmesan also.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Orecchiette with Salsa Cruda and Ricotta

This is so delightfully light and fresh. Enjoy!

Orecciette with Salsa Cruda and Ricotta

From Epicurious

1 medium shallot, minced
2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. tomatoes, chopped
1/4 tsp. hot red pepper flakes (I left this out and I think it was likely better for it. I think it
would have ruined the fresh taste)
1/3 Cup coarsely chopped basil
1 lb. dried orecchiette (I couldn't find this so I used shells)
3/4 cup ricotta

Stir together all ingredients expect for the pasta and ricotta in a large bowl with 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Let stand, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain pasta and toss with tomato salsa. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. (I didn't. It was salty enough). Place dollops of ricotta on top.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte

Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte

From Smitten Kitchen

1 Bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 Cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. flour
1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
12 oz. yellow crookneck squash or regular yellow summer squash, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
6 tsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter two 8-inch-diameter cake pans. Set aside 1/4 cup sliced green onions. Toss remaining green onions, cheese, flour, thyme, salt and pepper in medium bowl to blend.

Place a layer of potatoes in concentric circles in bottom of each prepared pan, overlapping slightly. Place a layer of squash in concentric circles atop potatoes. Drizzle with 1 tsp. oil. Sprinkle with some of the cheese mixture. Repeat layer of potatoes, then squash and 1 tsp. oil. Sprinkle with some of the cheese mixture. Continue layers until pan is full or you run out of veggies. Press gently to flatten.

Cover pans with foil. Bake until potatoes are almost tender, about 40 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered until tortes begin to brown and potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes longer.

Cut each torte into wedges. Sprinkle wedges with 1/4 cup green onions; serve.

This can be made 6 hours ahead. Cool. Cover with foil and chill. Rewarm, covered with foil, in 350°F oven until heated through, about 30 minutes.

Pineapple Chicken Salad Pitas

I'm a really big fan of pineapple and also sweet meat dishes. Let that be a warning to you. I really liked this recipe. It had fabulous texture with the almonds and the celery and the carrots. And I loved the replacement of some of the mayo with plain yogurt. So much better for you!

Pineapple Chicken Salad Pitas
from Cooking Light

2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup matchstick-cut carrots
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
6 (6-inch) whole wheat pitas, each cut in half
Romaine lettuce leaves

Combine first 11 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well. Line each pita half with lettuce leaves; fill each half with 1/3 cup chicken mixture.

Yield: 4ish servings (serving size: 2 stuffed pita halves)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Nectarine and Mascarpone Tart in a Gingersnap Crust

My husband doesn't eat chocolate; a crime I know. So, I always find myself looking for dessert recipes sans chocolate. This one was a definite winner. After finally finding the mascarpone in this tiny town, I was able to make it and it was well worth the effort.
Nectarine and Mascarpone Tart in a Gingersnap Crust

From Smitten Kitchen

3 1/4 cups gingersnap cookies, coarsely broken
6 Tbs. unsalted butter melted (I needed 8 Tbs.)

1 8-oz. container mascarpone cheese
6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 Cup sour cream
1/4 Cup sugar
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. finely chopped crystallized ginger (the recipe says it is optional, but I don't think so)

4 to 5 small nectarines, cut into thin slices
1/4 Cup peach jam, warmed
2 Tbs. finely chopped crystallized ginger (the recipe says it is optional, I didn't put it in here)

For Crust
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Finely grind gingersnaps in processor. Add butter and blend until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press mixture over bottom and up sides of a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake crust until color darkens, pressing sides with the back of a spoon if it begins to creep down in the pan, about 8 minutes. Cool completely.

For Filling
Beat first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. Beat in crystallized ginger. Spread filling into crust. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

For Topping
Overlap nectarine slices on top of the filling in concentric circles. Brush with warm jam. Sprinkle with crystallized ginger. Serve or refrigerate up to 6 hours.

Huevos Rancheros

Mmm... These were SO good. And the best part about them is that they could work for any meal. Breakfast? check. Lunch? You betcha. Dinner? Definitely.

Huevos Rancheros
4 eggs
4 corn tortillas
1/3 c shredded cheddar cheese

sour cream
salsa fresca
Goya's Black Bean Soup

Brown one side of tortilla in a oiled pan (think grilled cheese temperature). Flip. Add cheese, melt. Crack egg on top of the cheese. Season with salt & pepper. When the white of the egg is just barely starting to set up, flip it again. Cook until done. Top with Black Bean Soup, Salsa and Sour Cream.

My Salsa Fresca (aka Fresh Salsa):
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 jalapeno, deseeded, diced
1/4 c finely diced red onion
1 T lime juice
1/4 c chopped cilantro
dash of salt, pepper

Friday, August 8, 2008

Lime is your friend. Or at least, it's mine.

That's one thing you'll see rather quickly. I love limes. In all their various incarnations. Including the color.

So tonight, I was finally able to make these cookies that I'd been drooling over for a couple of weeks.

Lime, White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies
2/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp lime zest (1 large lime)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped, toasted macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by lime zest.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir flour mixture into the butter mixture, mixing only until no streaks of flour remain. Stir in white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet, making approximately 1-inch balls and leaving some room for the cookies to spread.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies begin to brown slightly around the edges.
Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet and remove to a wire rack to cool completely before storing.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Notes: I only wish the recipe was larger so I could use ALL of my bags of white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. Instead, I have to put back half bags of stuff and HOPE I remember to make these again before my nuts go rancid. I guess I could have made a double batch, but let's be honest about who is going to eat all of these cookies...

Also, I wish the lime was a tad bit stronger. I contemplated adding some straight up lime juice in a very small amount, and if/when I do get around to making them again, I think I will.

Papas con Chorizo

This is a dish that I've been making for a while. It is one of the first recipes I found when I started to "cook", so it is really simple but oh so yummy. The original recipe came from one of those random recipe cards they have in the produce aisle at Walmart.

Papas Con Chorizo

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Cup minced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 Oz. chorizo, thinly sliced (I use 3 mild italian sausages)
2 Cups peeled and diced potatoes (I use a lot more than this because it stretches the meal and
potatoes are cheap)
Dash chili powder
1/4 cup tomato sauce (I use the whole can as I use extra potatoes.
4 thin slices french bread
Additional olive oil
Chopped fresh parsley

Heat 1 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion; saute until soft. Add garlic and chorizo slices. Cook, stirring constntly, until chorizo begins to render some fat.

Add potatoes, salt and pepper to taste, and chili powder. Stir to coat. Saute for about 5 min. Add tomato sauce and 2 Tbs. water. Cover slightly; reduce heat to med-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 min. or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, brush bread with additional olive oil; toast in oven until crispy, sprinkle with parsley. Serve with potatoes.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hazelnut Crusted Chicken with Raspberry Sauce

I tried this recipe for the first time a few days ago and at first I thought it was just good. Jason loved it, but I'm not a huge fan of dijon mustard, so it just got an ok. Then I ate the leftovers for lunch the next day. I was in HEAVEN. It was to die for. I guess this is one of those that the flavors meld better after a day. This recipe now gets two thumbs up from me.
The sauce really adds just the right kick. It is just perfect to blend the flavors of the chicken with the baby greens.Hazelnut Crusted Chicken with Raspberry Sauce

From: Epicurious

Raspberry Sauce:
3/4 Cup lightly packed fresh raspberries
3 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 cup safflower oil
3 to 6 tsp. water


1 Cup chopped hazelnuts (if you are me you substitute macademia nuts because you can't find these until the day after you make this..grr)
3/4 cup pank0 (Japanese breadcrumbs) or plain breadcrumbs work too
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt
3 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1/3 cup honey mustard
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves ( I thought it needed more because the flavor was too
1/4 cup mayo
1 Tbs. dijon Mustard
4 lg. boneless skinless chicken breast halved, butterflied (I just cut mine into strips)
4 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. peanut oil
4 cups baby salad greens (this is crutial)
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

For Sauce:
Puree raspberries, vinegar, and sugar in blender until smooth. With blender still running, gradually add in the safflower oil. And water by the teaspoonful as needed to thin to desired consistency. Season raspberry sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

For Chicken:
Preheat over to 375 degrees. Mix hazelnuts, bread crumbs, 1 Tbs. kosher salt, and 2 tsp. pepper into a shallow bowl.

Mix honey mustard, mint, mayo, dijon mustard, 1 tsp. kosher salt, and 1 tsp. pepper in a bowl. Add chicken and coat.

Dip chicken pieces, 1 at a time in the crumb/nut mixture. Make sure to coat both sides pressing so that the nuts adhere. Transfer coated chicken to baking sheet. Divide equal amounts of butter and peanut oil between 2 large nonstick skillets, heat over med-high heat. Add chicken to skillet, reduce heat to med. and cook until light brown, about 4 minutes per side. Place chicken on baking sheet and transfer to overn. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Divide salad greens among 4 plates and top with chicken. Garnish with fresh raspberries and serve raspberry sauce alongside.

Just Testing!

Jenny and I had the idea to start a blog where we could post recipes for each other, but also for others to enjoy. Then we realized that we wanted some of Mika's recipes, and Mom's always telling us to try this or that...

So, we started this blog.