Friday, August 04, 2006 

Couple of recipes

We had a going-away party on Monday for one of my bridesmaids and her husband (also an usher). Since I worked all day on Monday and didn't have a lot of time to prepare food, I searched for recipes that I could easily make in advance on Sunday night, and let marinate or pop into the oven when I got home from work.

Artichoke Dip
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheeese or 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (mozzarella, parmesan, and asiago)
  • 2 jars artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the mayonnaise, parmesan, artichokes, mozzarella and garlic powder. Transfer to an 8x8 baking dish. (Variation: Hollow out a bread bowl, and put the mixture straight into there - this is what I did).
  3. Bake 20-30 minutes, or until the surface is lightly browned.
  4. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.

Notes: Like I mentioned, I hollowed out a loaf of rye bread and used it for my baking dish. you MUST watch this recipe very carefully while baking... as soon as the top turns brown and bubbly, take it out of the oven. If you leave it in too long, it will separate and become a greasy mess. I served this with veggies, bread cubes, and crackers- BIG HIT!

Old-Fashioned Pink Lemonade
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 9 cups water
  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup cranberry juice, chilled
In large pitcher combine sugar, water, lemon juice and cranberry juice. Stir to dissolve sugar. Serve over ice.

Antipasto Pasta Salad
  • 1 pound seashell pasta
  • 1/4 pound Genoa salami, chopped
  • 1/4 pound pepperoni sausage, chopped
  • 1/2 pound Asiago cheese, diced
  • 1 (6 ounce) can black olives, drained and chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herbs
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, and cool under cold water.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, salami, pepperoni, Asiago cheese, black olives, and tomatoes. Stir in the envelope of dressing mix. Cover, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  3. To prepare the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Italian herbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Just before serving, pour dressing over the salad, and mix well.

Thursday, July 20, 2006 

Mmm! Parm Chicken

I yoinked this recipe from Simply Recipes, one of my favorite recipe review sites. Thanks, Elise!

Parmesan Chicken Recipe

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup or 1/4 pound), melted
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • A large pinch of Italian seasoning (herb mix)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs of skinless, boneless, chicken meat, cut into pieces no larger than 2x2 inches

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

2. In a bowl, combine the minced garlic with the melted butter. In another bowl mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, salt, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Dip chicken pieces into garlic butter, then into crumb mixture to coat.

3. Place coated chicken pieces on to a 9x13 baking dish. Try to leave a little room between each piece. Drizzle with remaining garlic butter and bake uncovered 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Note that the chicken will get much more browned on the bottom side than on the top.


Serves 4-6.

Sunday, June 25, 2006 

Soul Smothered Chicken

After remodeling a bathroom all day, cooking a complicated meal doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun. I ran across this recipe on allrecipes.com, and it's relatively simple, quick, and tasty!

I've scaled the recipe size down to two, but the recipe can be easily adjusted for more servings.

Soul Smothered Chicken
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Dredge in 3/4 cup flour, place in the skillet, and brown on all sides. Set chicken aside, and drain skillet, reserving about 1 tablespoon butter.
  2. Reduce skillet heat to medium-low, and stir in onions, celery, garlic, and carrots. Cook 5 minutes, until tender. Gradually mix in chicken broth and flour. Season with cayenne pepper and remaining salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low.
  3. Return chicken to the skillet, cover, and continue cooking 30 minutes, until chicken juices run clear and gravy has thickened.

I served this with herbed brown rice and sauteed zucchini. Not bad for a summer meal!

Thursday, May 25, 2006 

Cooking for Two: Orange Glazed Chicken

This recipe is from my beloved Betty Crocker Bridal Edition cookbook. Fantastic!


Orange Glazed Chicken

1 1/2 teaspoons butter or margarine, melted
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1/2 pound)
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 tablespoon soy sauce

1. Melt butter in 8-inch skillet or 3-quart saucepan over medium
heat. Cook chicken in butter about 15 minutes, turning once, until juice of
chicken is no longer pink when center of thickest piece is cut.

2. While chicken is cooking, mix cornstarch and mustard in small
bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients.

3. Place chicken on serving plate; cover to keep warm. Discard
any juices left in the skillet.

4. To make the glaze, pour orange mixture into skillet. Heat to
boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil about 1 minute, stirring
constantly, until glaze is thickened. Pour over chicken.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 

Cooking for Two: Beanless Burritos

If you're a newlywed, cooking for two can be a difficult science to figure out. When I started cooking for both my fiance and I, I often ended up making tons of leftovers, which we never ate. My problem was that I never scaled down the recipes, or thought to look at how many servings the recipe made. Later on, I would start to underestimate and end up not having enough food for a hungry fiance.

The next few posts will focus on Cooking for Two meals that won't leave you with gobs of leftovers or left wishing for more. Enjoy!

Original beanless burritos

1 lb. ground beef, cooked
1 can of Rotel tomatoes
2 cups shredded mexican cheese blend
1 cup shredded lettuce
2 12-inch flour tortillas
2 cups cooked brown rice

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Brown beef in skillet on medium-high. Drain fat when finished, and return to skillet.

3. Meanwhile, cook brown rice according to package directions. For a little extra flavor, substitute beef broth for water.

4. Add can of Rotel tomatoes to ground beef and let simmer until juice from tomatoes has reduced.

5. Lay one flour tortilla flat on a work surface. Add beef, rice, shredded lettuce and shredded cheese.

6. Roll the burrito:
  • Gently fold the "top" of the torilla over the beef, rice and cheese mixture.
  • Fold an inch or two of the left side of the tortilla toward the center.
  • Roll the burrito towards you once.
  • Fold an inch or two of the right side of the tortilla toward the center.
  • Finish rolling the burrito.

7. Place the burrito in a 8x8 or 9x9 pan. Repeat steps 5 & 6 for the second burrito.

8. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes, depending if you like your burritos crispy, or just warm. My fiance doesn't like crispy burritos, so his usually only stay in the oven until warmed through. Me? I heart the crispy tortillas, so I leave mine in until slightly browned on top.

Serve with salsa, sour cream and/or guacamole. Yum!

Added bonus: pour this quick and easy green chile over the top of the burritos immediately before serving:

1. Process two cans of diced green chiles in a food processor or blender; blend until smooth.

2. Add blended chiles to 1 cup of chicken broth in small saucepan and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

3. In the meantime, add 1 Tbls cornstarch or flour to 1/2 cup milk and mix thoroughly until all lumps are gone and mixture is smooth. Add flour and milk mixture to saucepan, and bring to a boil.

4. mixture should thicken; pour over burritos and serve.

Saturday, May 06, 2006 

Banana Banana Bread

I pulled this recipe from allrecipes.com, as we had a bunch o' bananas that were going bad pretty fast, and I didn't want them to go to waste. It's a pretty easy recipe and doesn' take much to prepare and get going.

Banana Banana Bread
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas (I used 5 good-sized bananas, and probably could have used 6)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for ~40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
The original recipe called for one bread pan and to bake for 60 minutes. I divided the batter into two pans and reduced baking time to approximately 40 minutes. When you use just one pan, you'll end up with crispy edges and a mushy center. If divided into two, then it comes out just right.

I also added about a cup of chocolate chips to my batter, but you can add your own variations-nuts, dried cranberries, even cinnamon and vanilla.

I'd give this recipe a 4 out of 5 bananas, because of the modifications I had to make. Other than that, it makes for a wonderful Saturday morning breakfast!

Friday, May 05, 2006 

Cheap dates for cheapies like me

Getting married has caused us to seriously cut back on spending money, not to mention preparing for the future as we merge our two sources of income! Here are a few cheap dates that involve food... what could be better?

Pick Your Own (http://www.pickyourown.org)
Ever wished you could live the life of farmers without having to birth calves or get up at the butt crack of dawn? You can visit several sites in your home state with your honey and pick your own food, like apples, watermelons, pears...anything? Check out pickyourown.org to find local farms, and make a romantic date out of picking food and having a picnic!

Farmers Markets
Treat your senses to a stroll through an outdoor market. Not only are they fun places to people-watch, you and your date can fill up on free samples of farm-fresh produce, locally made cheese, and fresh baked goods. Log on to
www.ams.usda.gov and click on “Farmers Markets.”

Food festivals
There’s no better way to show your civic pride than stuffing yourself with weird and wonderful regional specialties. If you’re new to your area, it’s a great way to get familiar with local culture; if you’re both natives, you’ll have a great time daring each other to try garlic ice cream or fried pickles. Search for a food festival near you at www.foodreference.com.


 

Jumping on the bandwagon

I love reading food blogs, so I thought I'd start my own. Mostly, it's a place for me to publish my own recipes, write reviews of other recipes, and link to other wonderful food blogs!

Why not start off with a bang?


Homemade Green Chile


I made this recipe last night and poured it over chicken, rice and bean burritos, but you can use it for nearly any topping, or even to dip a nice crusty bread in. Very tasty! If you're not into spicy, cut down the jalapenos by one or so.

Makes about 3 cups.

5-6 good sized tomatillos
1 small can diced green chiles
2 jalapenos, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

1. Remove husks from tomatillos and wash well. Cut tomatillos into quarters and put into a food processor, and process until tomatillos are finely chopped (about the consistency of salsa). Add tomatillos to large skillet or 3-qrt pot, and set stove temperature to medium-high.

2. Add can of chopped green chiles to tomatillos.

3. Finely mince jalapenos and garlic, and add to tomatillo mixture, along with 1 cup of chicken broth.

As the mixture comes to a boil, the tomatillos will change to an army green color and become soft. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20-25 minutes until liquid is reduced and chile is thickened. The starches from the tomatillos will naturally thicken the sauce so there's no need to add a rue.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Like I mentioned, this goes great over burritos. We love to add diced chicken or pork to it and get a good crusty french bread and use it for a dip. You could even refrigerate leftovers and use it for salsa the next day.