Sunday, January 31, 2010

#36 :: Green Vegetable Omelet

This is something we came up with on our own, just trying to use up the produce before it spoils! I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but when we were finished and took the first bite, I looked at Jamie and said "It's official....we can COOK!" It turned out delicious! I'm really surprising myself!


Jamie cooked our eggs on the griddle -- he loves using that instead of a pan!

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup bacon, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (we used an Italian blend of Parmesan, Asiago, Provolone and Romano)
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Reserved shredded cheese (for topping)

Directions

In a medium pan saute the zucchini, green bell pepper, green onions and garlic in the olive oil & butter. Season with thyme, salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Fold in the sour cream. Add the bacon and shredded cheese, then season with salt & pepper. Add in the sauteed vegetables. Cook the egg mixture in a large skillet {or, if you're like Jamie, a griddle} on medium/high heat until eggs are scrambled. Serve immediately with a little extra shredded cheese sprinkled on top.



Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Amy & Jamie.

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

#35 :: Garlic Hasselback Potatoes w/ Herbed Sour Cream

If you like garlic, you'll love these potatoes. They were perfectly cooked...crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. It was the perfect side dish to compliment the chicken!



Ingredients

  • 16 ounces red new potatoes
  • 3 to 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Herbed Sour Cream, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Using a wooden spoon as a cradle, place each potato in the spoon and make several parallel slits into each potato top making sure not to slice completely through. Place 3 garlic slices between slits at the crown of each potato. Toss in a medium bowl with butter and olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Bake until tops are crispy and potatoes are cooked through, about 1 hour. Transfer to a platter and top with Herbed Sour Cream.

Herbed Sour Cream:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Season, to taste, and refrigerate until use.


Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Cooking for Real on Food Network.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

#34 :: Wilted Greens w/ Bacon Vinaigrette

Jamie had the honors of setting off our smoke alarm for the first time this evening. He was cooking bacon for the salad, and I asked him to cook it until it was really crunchy. Well, he cooked it until it really got to smokin'! But the best part was.....just as he was explaining to me that he wasn't burning it, and it's normal for bacon grease to smoke....the smoke alarm started blaring. It couldn't have been better timing.

Anyway, the dressing and the bacon turned out great, nothing was burned. I was surprised at how much I liked it, because I'm not usually a vinegar person. I even bottled the extra dressing to keep for another meal.



Ingredients

  • 4 hearts romaine, chopped
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (we used balsamic)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Place romaine in a serving bowl. In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon and crumble over greens. To the pan, add sugar and vinegar, and simmer until sugar is dissolved, scraping up bacon bits that cling to the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour hot dressing over greens and toss. Serve immediately.

*We also added some cheese to our individual salad bowls. I had shredded Asiago and Jamie had chunks of blue cheese.



Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Cooking for Real on Food Network.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

#33 :: Chicken w/ White Wine Mushroom Sauce

This entire meal was FABULOUS! AMAZING! One of my favorites so far! Do I say that a lot? Even though this meal took us quite a while to prepare, it was worth it. Definitely worth it!


Directions

For Brine:

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 lemon, quartered and juiced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 4 (6-ounce) boneless chicken breasts with skin
  • 4 drops liquid smoke
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 sage leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For White Wine Mushroom Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup semidry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Special equipment: grill pan

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl mix together water, lemon juice, sugar and salt until dissolved. Add lemon quarters and chicken. Marinate for 30 minutes. Remove from marinade and pat dry. Preheat a grill pan over medium heat. Massage 1 drop of liquid smoke into each chicken breast. Salt and pepper generously then rub 1 tablespoon butter over and under skin of each chicken breast, placing 2 sage leaves underneath the skin. Place on hot grill, skin side down, until skin is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile for the white wine mushroom sauce: In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter with olive oil. Add onions, mushrooms and cayenne pepper. Saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes. Add wine and reduce until it's almost evaporated. Add chicken stock and simmer until reduced by one third. In a small bowl press together remaining butter and flour with fingertips until well blended, then slowly add to the sauce while stirring with a wooden spoon. Simmer until sauce resembles loose gravy, about 5 minutes. Serve warm with the chicken.


Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Cooking for Real on Food Network.

Star Rating: 5+ out of 5 stars

Bistro Night In!

As soon as I saw this dinner on Food Network yesterday, I knew I'd be cooking it today! Not only did it look delicious, but we already had almost everything in the house already. I sent Jaime out for liquid smoke, white wine, and garlic...everything else was here. So as soon as he gets home we're having Bistro Night In! Chicken with White Wine Mushroom Sauce, Garlic Hasselback Potatoes with Herbed Sour Cream and Wilted Greens with Bacon Vinaigrette.

That's the door, Jamie's home with my last ingredients. Here we go!


**UPDATE: Here's our bistro dinner!

Next Week :: Asian Inspired Menu

I've been seeing a lot of great Asian inspired recipes I'd like to try lately. I also noticed that they require an entirely different set of ingredients that my normal recipes -- I bought soy sauce, ginger root, sesame oil -- so we're going to make a whole week of it starting on Monday Feb. 1st! Why buy all this stuff and not use it up, right?

Look forward to Pad Thai, Thai Chicken Salad and a few other Asian inspired dishes next week. Jamie wants to try and make eggrolls {of course he would} so we'll be trying some of Guy Fieri's famous eggroll and spring roll recipes as well. It should be fun!

#32 :: Mixed Vegetable Quiche w/ Cheddar & Parmesan

Yesterday was Jamie's day off, so I got up early to find a good quiche recipe for breakfast/brunch. I have so many veggies in my fridge right now that I need to use up, so I was looking for something to incorporate all the veggies I had. I stumbled upon the BEST quiche recipe EVER. This has to be in the top 5 list of the best things I ever ate. Just the two of us ate the entire quiche, and were sad that we didn't have more! (I topped the quiche with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of parsley, which wasn't in the recipe.)



Ingredients

  • 1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust (I made my own - see below for the recipe)
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked stir-fried vegetables (we used a green bell pepper, a yellow squash and half of a medium red onion - all diced)
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Cheddar
  • 1/4 cup low fat milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Press pie crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch, removable-bottom tart pan (or 9-inch pie pan). Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine spinach, stir-fried vegetables and place on top of uncooked crust. In another bowl combine ricotta, cheddar, milk, eggs, Dijon, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Mix well. Spoon cheese mixture on top of vegetable mixture in prepared pie crust and top with Parmesan.

Bake 20 minutes, until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean and crust is golden brown.




Makes 4-6 servings.

Recipe from Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller on Food Network.

Star Rating: 5+ out of 5 stars



Pie Crust:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), cubed and chilled
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 to 10 tablespoons ice water

Put the butter, flour, and salt in the food processor, and pulse lightly just until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing briefly after each spoonful of water. Keep adding water until the dough just begins to gather into larger clumps. Transfer equal amounts of the dough into 2 resealable plastic bags and pat each into a disk. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Remove 1 of the disks from the bag to a flour coated surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 10-inch round. Gently fit the rolled dough into a 9-inch pie pan, and refrigerate while you prepare the torte ingredients. Yield: 2 (9-inch) pie crusts

#31 :: Mango Crisp {Microwave Dessert}

Holy moly, we found a delicious microwave dessert. Yes, I said microwave! We were definitely skeptical, but it turned out to be absolutely delicious! Frozen mangos are going to become a staple in our freezer!



Ingredients:

  • 5 cups ripe mangoes, peeled and thinly sliced, or mixture of sliced mangoes and apples (we used a bag of frozen mango chunks)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup flour

Directions:

Mix sliced mangoes with 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, the nutmeg, and lemon juice. Place in a buttered 10 x 6 x 2 inch glass baking dish. Set aside. Combine butter and brown sugar until well blended. Cut in flour and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Mix until crumbly. Sprinkle the topping evenly over mango slices. Cook in microwave oven 9 to 11 minutes on HIGH power, rotating a half turn after 5 minutes. Serve warm or cold, with whipped topping or ice cream, if desired.


Recipe from About.com: Southern Food

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

#30 :: Acorn Squash Apple Puree

**I'm doing 2 days worth of posts to catch up. We've been spending a lot of time in the kitchen!!**

I've seen everyone on Food Network make a sauce, gravy, puree, dressing or some other topping for their meal, so I thought I'd try my hand at it. I kept the meal simple, pork chops seasoned with salt and pepper and a boxed stuffing mix, and used the puree {with some applesauce on the side} to flavor the meal. It was definitely a different taste, but surprisingly good.



Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 pounds acorn squash (2 medium to large), halved and seeded
  • 3 tablespoons, plus 4 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2 Fuji or Gala apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the squash halves, cut sides up, in a large baking dish. Place 1 teaspoon of the butter in the center of each squash. Sprinkle the insides lightly with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan by about 1/4-inch (about 1/2 cup), cover tightly with aluminum foil, and roast until the squash is tender, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove the squash from the oven, uncover, and let sit until cool enough to handle. Using a spoon, scoop the flesh from the squash into the bowl of a food processor..

Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is foamy, add the shallots and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Add the apples, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the stock and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are very tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the apple mixture to a food processor with the squash. Puree the mixture on high speed until smooth. Adjust the seasoning, to taste, and serve warm.



Makes 6 servings of puree.

Recipe from The Essence of Emeril on Food Network.

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sharpening Knives

Jamie seems to have found something he likes to do in the kitchen. He searched through our kitchen stuff until he found his knife sharpener, and there hasn't been a dull knife in the house since! The sound drives me crazy. Sometimes I think he goes a little overboard with it and I have to say "OK!! I think it's sharp already!!".....but I do love how all my veggies cut like butter now!

#29 :: Chorizo Mushroom Queso Dip

This dip (or Queso Fundido as they call it at the Mexican restaurants here) is one of my favorites!! We've tried twice before to make it at home so we didn't have to go out for it. I made it once without a recipe, and just hoped for the best...and it came out pretty good. Jamie tried it a few days after me and completely burned it. But, since this is one of my favorites, we had to just keep trying until we got it right. I saw Rachael Ray make it one day on her show, so I decided to try her method and see how it turned out. It was definitely good! We'll keep looking for the perfect Queso Fundido recipe, but this one will do for today!


Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, a drizzle
  • 1/2 pound Spanish or Mexican chorizo
  • 1/2 pound mushroom caps, quartered
  • 1 cup diced Mexican melting cheese or Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 bag corn tortillas or blue corn tortillas, any variety

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in small skillet over medium-high heat. Dice the Spanish chorizo and add to the pan to render the fat. If using fresh Mexican chorizo, remove the casing and crumble while it's browning. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook with the sausage until just tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer the sausage mixture to a small casserole or baking dish and top with the cheese. Bake until bubbly. Remove from the oven and top with the scallions. Serve with chips for dipping, or warm corn tortillas.


Makes 4-6 servings.

Recipe from 30 Minute Meals on Food Network.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, January 21, 2010

#28 :: Fried Zucchini

We had finger food night for dinner because we're testing out some recipes for Super Bowl snacks. This was definitely a good one to consider!


Ingredients

  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 1 3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 medium zucchini, cut into 3-inch long by 1/2-inch wide strips

Directions

Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F.

Stir 1 1/2 cups Parmesan, the panko, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Whisk the eggs in another medium bowl to blend. Working in batches, dip the zucchini in flour, then in eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the zucchini in the panko mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Place the zucchini strips on a baking sheet.

When the oil is hot, working in batches, fry the zucchini sticks until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried zucchini to paper towels and drain.

Arrange the fried zucchini on a platter. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and serve.


Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Everyday Italian on Food Network.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

#26 :: Snickerdoodles

These are my favorite cookies!! And this is my favorite recipe to make them from. They've always come out perfect for me from this recipe.



Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the margarine or butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for about 30 seconds or till softened. Add about half the flour to the margarine. Then add the 1 cup sugar, egg, vanilla, baking soda and cream of tartar. Beat till thoroughly combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the remaining flour. Cover and chill about 1 hour or till dough is easy to handle.

In a shallow dish combine the 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll the balls in the sugar-cinnamon mixture to coat. Place balls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 10-11 minutes or till edges are lightly browned. Remove cookies; cool on wire racks.


Makes about 36 cookies.

Recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens "Cookies Cookies Cookies" Cookbook.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

#27 :: Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

I happened to glance on the backside of the mushrooms wrapper and found this recipe printed there. I'm going to check all my carton's now for interesting recipes. :)

Ingredients

  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 8 Crimini mushrooms or White mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 400.

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, dice and set aside.Remove mushroom stems. Set aside caps. Chop the stems.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Slowly cook and stir the chopped stems and onion until the onion is soft. Remove from heat.


In a medium bowl, stir together the mushroom stem mixture, bacon and 1/2 cup Cheddar. Mix well and scoop the mixture into the mushroom caps.
Bake in the preheated oven 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Remove the mushrooms from the oven, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.




Makes 8 mushrooms.

Recipe from AllRecipes.com

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, January 18, 2010

#25 :: Veggie Pasta

**We haven't posted for a few days. Shame on us! But we've still been cooking and have a lot to blog posting to catch up on. So here we go!**

Jamie says this recipe is one of his favorites so far. It was simple to make, but big on flavor. I made a couple adjustments to this recipe, and I noted them. This is something we'll definitely be having again soon!


Ingredients

  • 2 ears roasted corn (*we omitted the corn, we didn't have any)
  • 1 pound rotelle pasta, or any spiral-shaped pasta (*we substituted angel hair)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup roasted garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (*we substituted dried parsley flakes)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (*we substituted shredded mozzarella)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wrap corn in foil and roast in preheated oven for about 1 hour. This can be done in advance on a prep day. Do the same with the garlic cloves.

Cook rotelle according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Transfer pasta to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add corn cut from cob, zucchini and onion and saute for 3 minutes, until golden brown. Add oregano and cook 1 minute. Add broth and roasted garlic and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes. Pour mixture over pasta and toss to combine, adding cooking water, if necessary, to moisten pasta. Fold in parsley and season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Transfer pasta to a serving platter and top with feta cheese.



Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller on Food Network.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Leftovers!

Yesterday was leftover day again! Nothing spectacular to report. Tonight's dinner looks promising though!

Friday, January 15, 2010

#23 :: Blueberry Pancakes

Jamie made breakfast this morning! Every now and then when we're lucky, he makes pancakes. My pancakes just never turn out right. They're always lop-sided and weird-shaped and don't cook through the middle. Jamie's are consistently good. So today, I had perfect blueberry pancakes!



Ingredients

  • Pancake mix (1 cup mix, 3/4 cup water)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen/thawed blueberries
  • Cinnamon butter
  • Maple syrup

Directions

Make the pancake batter as directed on the package. (We use 1 cup of pancake mix and 3/4 cup of water).

To the pancake mix stir in the cinnamon, vanilla and sugar. Then gently fold in the blueberries.

Cook on a 375 degree griddle (or in a pan over med/high heat sprayed with cooking spray) until the edges are firm and you see bubbles in the middle. Flip, cook for another 30 secs. to 1 min.

Top with cinnamon butter, blueberries and maple syrup and serve immediately.



Makes about 8 pancakes.

Recipe from Jamie.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

#24 :: Cinnamon Butter

What could go with blueberry pancakes better than cinnamon butter?? This is another experiment in the kitchen gone right!


Ingredients

  • 2 sticks butter, room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

Directions

Mix the butter, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl until everything is well mixed.



Makes a LOT of servings. (Makes about 2 sticks of butter)

Recipe from Me. :)

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

#22 :: Garlic Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair

We bought some frozen shrimp at the grocery store and have been waiting to try something with it! This was one of our own creations (no recipe followed), and it turned out delicious!


Ingredients

  • Angel Hair pasta (or your favorite kind)
  • About 40-50 small shrimp (we just got a bag from the frozen foods)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. parsley
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Zest the lemon first, and put aside for later use.

Boil the pasta for 8-12 minutes or until al dente. (I always use salt and oil in my pasta water, salt for flavor and oil to keep the noodles from sticking.)

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the olive oil, butter and lemon juice. Stir until mixed. Add in the garlic and saute (be careful not to overcook the garlic.) Add the shrimp and saute for about 5 minutes on each side.

Remove from heat. Toss in the lemon zest, parsley, crushed red pepper and salt & pepper. Cover the saucepan and let sit for 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken. Serve over a bed of angel hair pasta and drizzle remaining oil from the saute pan over the top.


Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Me. :)

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

#21 :: Orange Viniagrette Salad

We needed a side salad and didn't have any dressing...... so I got to mixin'!


Ingredients

For the salad:

  • Romain lettuce
  • Orange slices
  • Shredded Gruyere cheese
For the dressing:
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 medium-large orange
  • 1 tsp. White Wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp. Basil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

Zest the orange first, and reserve the zest for later.

Pour olive oil, orange juice and vinegar in a small bowl and whisk. Add the orange zest, basil and salt & pepper then whisk again until everything is mixed.


Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Me. :)

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, January 14, 2010

#20 :: Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This was the easy part of the dinner last night. No chaos like with the tenderloin. :)



Ingredients

  • 3 medium baking potatoes peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) whole milk, at room temperature or warmed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a medium saucepan, cook the potatoes in salted water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan.

Add the butter, sour cream and garlic. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or the back of a fork until the ingredients are blended. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the potatoes are the desired consistency. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.


Makes 2-3 servings.

Recipe from Paula's Best Dishes on Food Network.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

#19 :: Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

I was a little nervous about this one. I was counting on Jamie's help, and then he called to say he was working 2 hours late. I had to do it on my own! My first problem was that I thought we had a beef tenderloin. Turns out it was pork. Not sure if that made it any better or worse, but the recipe definitely called for beef. Also, about halfway through the recipe I realized that we didn't have any twine to tie the tenderloin with. I had a quick panic attack. Then I saw the toothpicks. They seemed to do the trick, so I was able to finish the meal all by myself after all.



Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots or yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) beef tenderloin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Soy sauce, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium skillet, melt the butter and cook the shallots or onion over low heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook over low heat about 5 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half. Let cool.

Butterfly the beef tenderloin by cutting the beef lengthwise down the center to within 1/2-inch of the other side. Set the beef aside.

To stuff the tenderloin, open the beef and sprinkle in the inside with salt and pepper and rub with soy sauce. Spoon the mushroom mixture down the center of the tenderloin. Bring the 2 sides of the tenderloin up and around the filling to meet. Using butcher string, tie the tenderloin together at 2-inch intervals. Place the tenderloin in a roasting pan.

Roast for 40 minutes for medium rare. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice about 1 1/2 inches thick.


Makes 2-3 servings.

Recipe from Paula's Best Dishes on Food Network.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mexican Food!

Anyone who knows me knows that Mexican food is my absolute favorite. This week I've been seeing previews for a new show on Food Network called Mexican Made Easy. The show starts at the end of January, I believe.....so look forward to some real Mexican recipes to grace the blog soon!

I've definitely had some new and delicious foods since I moved to Ohio....but I have to say, the Mexican food here is sub-par (at least all the places I've been to). Every time I go home to Dallas to visit my family, I eat Mexican food until I pop because I miss it sooo much! My hope is that I can start making Mexican dishes at home, and then I won't feel so deprived! I'm so excited to start making some good Mexican food that I can hardly wait!

#18 :: Chicken & Dumplings

Yesterday I told Jamie we were going to make chicken & dumplings. He said, but I don't really like chicken & dumplings. I said, well we already have the ingredients so we're going to try it. An hour later....he liked the chicken & dumplings. :) This was a great "comfort food" meal.


Ingredients

  • 4 pounds chicken leg quarters
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
  • Water
  • 1 cup baking mix
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/3 cup milk

Directions

Separate the chicken legs from the thighs, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Coat the pieces with the flour, shaking off any excess and reserve the leftover flour. Put the oil into a heavy bottomed skillet and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown it on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate and add the carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms, and corn. Sprinkle with the reserved flour, and give it a good stir. Add chicken broth and stir. Nestle the chicken pieces into the vegetables and add enough water to just cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Just before the cooking time is up combine the baking mix, poultry seasoning, and milk in a small bowl. Drop the batter by tablespoons on top of the simmering chicken leaving some room between the dumplings. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve hot.



Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Sandra's Money Saving Meals on Food Network.

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, January 11, 2010

#16 :: Cornish Hens with Sage Butter

Last night's dinner was delicious! Another home run recipe from Food Network! I thought I was going to have leftovers for my lunch today, but we ate it ALL! For the side dishes I made a bag of frozen baby carrots with honey glaze and I cooked some green beans in the same pan as the leftover sage butter. YUM!



Ingredients

  • 4 (1 3/4-pound) Cornish game hens, butterflied
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 5 to 7 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil, for sauteing
  • 4 strips bacon, chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place hens on a sheet tray fitted with a cooling rack in the refrigerator to dry skin out for 1 hour. Meanwhile, in a small pan over medium heat, melt butter with sage, zest, salt and pepper. Remove hens from refrigerator. Preheat 2 large saute pans over medium heat, lightly coat with oil. Season hens with salt and pepper and sear, skin side down, in the pans. Sear until skin caramelizes and turns golden brown and crispy, about 7 to 10 minutes. Flip birds over, and baste with sage butter. Sprinkle tops with chopped bacon and place in preheated oven to finish cooking, 25 to 30 minutes, basting occasionally. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.


Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Cooking for Real on Food Network.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

#17 :: Blueberry & Pineapple Yogurt Parfait

On top of the huge dinner, we also had a dessert.....to use up some leftover ingredients we've had in the fridge. And this dessert is a healthy one!



Ingredients
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen {thawed})
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks (fresh, canned or frozen {thawed})
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon and granulated sugar

Directions

In a small bowl, mix the yogurt and vanilla. Sift in the confectioners' sugar.

In a serving bowl (or glass, like we used), layer the blueberries in the bottom. Cover the blueberry layer with yogurt. Then make a layer of pineapple, followed by another layer of yogurt. One last sprinkle of blueberries on top, followed by a dollop of yogurt. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top (more or less, to your liking). Serve immediately, or put in the refrigerator to chill until serving.

Makes 2 servings.

Recipe from Amy & Jamie.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sunday, January 10, 2010

*Domino's*

Yesterday we had to use one of our "get out of jail free" cards. I had a wedding, Jamie helped, and by the time we got home we were exhausted.....and starving. We called Domino's and had pizza in 30 minutes. And I have to say, the new pizza......not bad at all. :) So we ate our pizza and watched the Dallas Cowboys roll over the Philadelphia Eagles. *woohoo!*

Today is Sunday though, and even though Jamie is working part of the day, I'm home and looking for a recipe. I'm going all out tonight!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

#15 :: Bacon Cheddar Biscuit Sandwiches

We didn't get to post yesterday. We cooked, but didn't post. Jamie worked from 12-10,and I had errands and other work for my wedding this weekend, so the only time we had together was early morning. So....we cooked breakfast! I'll be back later to post what we make for dinner tonight.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, at room temperature, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 egg
  • Kosher alt
  • 6 eggs
  • Mango preserves, for serving
  • Arugula, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Fry the bacon in a nonstick skillet until cooked but not yet crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined sheet tray. Let cool. Reserve the bacon drippings in the skillet.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the cheese and bacon and toss. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of cream with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Remove the dough to the countertop and knead briefly until it is smooth and uniform in appearance. Pat the dough out to a 1-inch thickness. Using a biscuit cutter dipped in flour, punch out dough rounds. Push together the leftover dough and pat out again to 1-inch thick and cut out rounds. Arrange the biscuits on the parchment lined sheet tray.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon of cream and the egg. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt. Put immediately into the oven and bake for 18 minutes.

When the biscuits come out of the oven, start frying the eggs. Heat the same nonstick skillet used earlier (to cook the bacon) over medium heat. Once heated, crack the eggs into the pan and cook until the white is set and the eggs begin to turn golden brown. Spoon some of the hot grease over the yolks to help it cook. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To assemble the sandwiches, split the biscuits in half and spread some mango preserves on the inside of the biscuit tops. Put a small handful of arugula on each of the bottoms. Top with the fried eggs and cover with the top of the biscuit. Serve immediately.


Makes 6 servings.

Recipe from Down Home With the Neely's on Food Network.

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Update :: Potato Bacon Torte

We ate the leftovers from the Bacon Potato Torte last night. I originally gave it 3.5 stars because there wasn't much flavor to it. Last night, however, it was like a whole different dinner. I would have given it 4.5 last night. Jamie agreed, we both liked it MUCH better as leftovers!

Maybe this side of the pie had more cheese and cream than the other somehow? Maybe the potatoes absorb more of the flavor the longer they sit? Maybe it's because I put a dollop of sour cream on top of it this time. I'm not sure the reason...but I thought it was worth mentioning. If you're making the Potato Bacon Torte, save the leftovers!

#14 :: Mushroom Gruyere Burgers

I got brave tonight and tried something with our left over ingredients from other meals! No recipe required! :) The mushroom sauce was incredible!



Ingredients

1/2 cup olive oil
1 pint baby Portobello mushrooms
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. oregano
A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese
2-4 strips bacon
2 sirloin burgers
2 thick slices of Gruyere cheese
Lettuce, tomato, Dijon mustard for garnish

Directions

First, saute the mushrooms in HALF of the olive oil (1/4 cup). Add the heavy cream and oregano and stir until mixed. Add a few sprinkles of Parmesan cheese to thicken the sauce. Once it starts to thicken, remove it from the heat. It will thicken more as it sits.

In another pan, fry the bacon in the other half of the olive oil (1/4 cup). Once the bacon is cooked, put it on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Then cook the burgers in the same bacon grease/olive oil pan. After cooking both sides of the burger, add the slices of Gruyere cheese to the top at the last few minutes of cooking so it will start to melt. Adding a lid to the pan helps it melt, too. Top it with warm mushroom sauce. Garnish with the rest of "the goods".


Makes 2 burgers.

Recipe from Me!

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5

#13 :: Peanut Butter Blossoms

Yesterday was leftover day. All these great meals we cooked supplied us with more than one meal. Most of it I had eaten this week for lunch, but last night we had to polish off some leftovers before they went to waste. This project isn't just about not eating fast food, it's about spending wisely on groceries and using every bit of what we buy. Nothing goes to waste!

I still baked though....Peanut Butter Blossom cookies. Since we received a ton of Hershey's Kisses in my mom's package, Jamie wanted me to make cookies with them. So, I called my mom for her recipe. These always make me feel closer to home!


Ingredients

1 3/4 cup flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter (room temp.)

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 egg

2 Tbsp. milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

24-36 Hershey's Kisses


Directions

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt. In another mixing bowl, mix the butter and peanut butter until thoroughly mixed and creamy. Add the sugar and brown sugar and mix at medium speed until fluffy. Add the egg,milk and vanilla and mix until well combined.

Add the dry ingredients gradually to the wet ingredients, mixing them in as you go. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place them 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Let them cool for about 5 minutes, then place a Hershey's Kiss in the center of each cookie. {Do this while they're warm, not hot, so the warmth will melt the kiss into place}


Makes about 36 cookies.

Recipe from My Mom.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

#12 :: Mushroom Risotto

Since Jamie has his archery league on Tuesday nights, I decided to do a crock pot meal. That way, I can eat my dinner when I want and he can easily heat it back up when he gets home.

The photos don't do it justice. It was very good! But by the time Jamie got home to eat it, it had gotten a bit mushy, so I think this is something probably best when eaten immediately {and not as leftovers}.


Ingredients

2 cups arborio rice

1 cup white wine

4 cups vegetable broth

1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed golden mushroom soup

1 teaspoon minced garlic

6 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 cup grated Parmesan


Directions

Stir together all ingredients, except Parmesan, in slow cooker.

Cook on high, stirring every 30 minutes for 2 hours.

Check consistency. Continue to cook, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Be careful not to overcook risotto. (Rice should be al dente, not mushy.)

Stir in Parmesan before serving.


Makes 8 servings.

Receipe from Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee from Food Network.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Contributions to our cause!

We got a package from my Mom yesterday {with our Christmas gifts inside} so before we ate our Slamma Jamma Chicken Parmesana, we opened our gifts. I told her that we had been cooking more, and that we needed some gadgets....and she came through! She sent black eyed peas {which I haven't been able to find in Ohio}, a grater/slicer, an ice cream scoop and a receipe book she started for me last year that contains my favorite recipes of hers. Thanks Mom!



We'd also like to thank Sue {Jamie's Mom} for the wonderful Omaha Steaks delivery of burgers & steaks. So far we've used it to make our Bacon Blue Cheese Burgers and our Mini Beef Wellingtons....and tomorrow we'll use more for our Mushroom Gruyere Burgers! Absolutely delicious! Thanks Sue!




I also have to showcase the beauty of a mixer that Jamie got me for Christmas. It was probably my favorite gift of all....and he waited until Christmas Eve to buy it. Just in the nick of time! Thank you, my dear husband!

Monday, January 4, 2010

#11 :: Slamma Jamma Chicken Parmesana

A word of warning - don't leave these chicken breasts brining for longer than 30 minutes! I left my first one quite a bit longer than that, so it came out waaay too salty! Luckily I was doing a practice run with the first chicken breast, just to see how it would came out. I didn't want to ruin the whole bag! Thank goodness the rest turned out much better! Don't skip the brining process, it really does makes all the difference....but as I learned, don't leave it in too long either...brining timing is everything!


Ingredients

  • 4 (5-ounce) boneless, skinless, trimmed chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1/4 pound Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for garnish, grated
  • Olive oil, for frying (about 2 cups)
  • 1 pound penne rigate, cooked al dente
  • Tomato Sauce (Pasta Sauce)
  • 1/4 cup minced Italian parsley, for garnish

Directions

Lightly pound the chicken breasts to 1/2-inch thickness. Combine the kosher salt, sugar, and 1 quart of water in a 1-gallon size resealable plastic bag; shake until dissolved. Add the chicken breasts and soak at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Place the flour in a medium bowl. Remove the chicken from the brine. Shake off excess moisture and, with tongs, lightly dredge the chicken in the flour. Shake off the excess flour and transfer to a large plate.

Mix the eggs and milk in medium bowl and whisk thoroughly. In a separate bowl combine the bread crumbs, oregano, basil, parsley, sea salt, and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the egg and milk mixture with tongs and let excess mixture drain off. Now dredge the chicken into the bread crumb mixture, and lightly pat down in the bread crumbs to adhere.

Preheat the broiler.

Let the breaded chicken sit for 5 minutes before frying. In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, add enough olive oil to come 1/3 up the side of the chicken. Cook the chicken in batches until golden brown on both sides. Remove from the pan when cooked and place on a sheet tray. Repeat with remaining chicken.

When all the chicken is cooked, sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan evenly over the top. Place under the broiler until the cheese melts and is golden brown.

Serve chicken over pasta and ladle tomato sauce on top. Garnish with additional Parmesan and parsley.




Makes 4 servings

Recipe from Guy's Big Bite on Food Network.

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Bad Weather!

We received our Christmas gifts from my family in Texas today, so we're going to have a special dinner and celebrate the last of our Christmas...es...{?}

I braved the snowy weather today to run out to the grocery store and pick up a few ingredients for tonight's dinner. I'm making Slamma Jamma Chicken Parmesana from none other than Guy Fieri. It seems like a big work load, but I am going to cut some corners. He makes his own pasta sauce, and I'm using a jar from the grocery store. My finger is still hurting from it's run-in with the food processor yesterday, so I'm going to try and keep it fairly easy.

Here's to a better day in the kitchen!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Disaster!

I'm really batting a thousand today. I successfully mixed a crust keeping it chilled the whole time, but when taking it out of the food processor I sliced my index finger pretty good. I guess the fact that there were blades in there completely escaped my mind. I literally just reached in and grabbed a handful of blade.

After I got the bleeding stopped {thankfully no stitches are needed}, I decided to try and continue with my cooking. I need a pie pan of some sort to make this dish. I can almost swear we had one before, but an hour of searching the kitchen turned up nothing. Jamie saved the day and went to Wal-Mart for one. It was a long day in the kitchen today. I might choose something super easy tomorrow!

#10 :: Potato Bacon Torte

This was the hardest thing yet to prepare. But I think it was because I had a bad day in the kitchen. First I didn't have a pie pan {Jamie came to the rescue and went to Wal-Mart to grab one for me}. Then I cut my finger in the food processor making the crust. I almost took a picture of my finger for the blog, but decided it against it. Not very appetizing!

When we finally ate it, it was good. But it wasn't the most tasty thing I've ever had. But I didn't fail...with all that happened yesterday, I still finished dinner....and Jamie had seconds.....so I have that to be grateful for! And my home made crust turned out GREAT!



Ingredients

  • 4 strips bacon
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Pie Crusts, recipe follows
  • 3 medium baking potatoes, peeled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 egg yolk, whisked with a splash of water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until just crispy. Drain on paper towel lined plate and set aside. Crumble the bacon when cool to the touch.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the thyme and cream over low heat to a bare simmer. Turn off the heat and let steep for about 5 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs.

Remove the pie pan from the refrigerator. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and then finely slice the potatoes. Working in circles, arrange the potato slices in the pie crust, stopping to season each layer with salt, pepper, and about 1/4 of the crumbled bacon. Continue layering until the pie pan is nearly full. Top with an even layer of the cheese and gently pour cream around and over the entire pie, allowing it to seep down between the potato slices. (You may not use all the cream.)

Roll out the remaining disk of refrigerated dough. Cover the pie with the dough and crimp the edges closed. Brush the top and edges of the crust with egg wash. Make a few slits in the center of the top crust, for the steam to escape, and put the pie pan on a baking sheet. Bake the torte until the crust is browned and crispy and the potatoes are cooked through, about 50 to 60 minutes.

If the crust edges get too brown, cover them with some strips of aluminum foil. Remove the pie from the oven and let rest at least 15 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.

Pie Crust:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), cubed and chilled
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 to 10 tablespoons ice water

Put the butter, flour, and salt in the food processor, and pulse lightly just until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing briefly after each spoonful of water. Keep adding water until the dough just begins to gather into larger clumps. Transfer equal amounts of the dough into 2 resealable plastic bags and pat each into a disk. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Remove 1 of the disks from the bag to a flour coated surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 10-inch round. Gently fit the rolled dough into a 9-inch pie pan, and refrigerate while you prepare the torte ingredients. Yield: 2 (9-inch) pie crusts



Serves 6 (or 4 servings plus leftovers)

Recipe from Ten Dollar Meals with Melissa d'Arabian on Food Network.

Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Contributions to our cause!

{Jamie's Dad} Allen, and his lovely wife Pat, sent over a stack of cookbooks yesterday! Don't get me wrong...Food Network is fabulous and they have a ton of great dishes to try, but I do plan on picking up some cookbooks this year and trying those recipes, too. I can't wait to look through everything they sent over! Thanks Allen and Pat!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

#9 :: Applesauce Granita with Maple Yogurt

Not only is this yummy, but it's a good low fat dessert too (for all those who started diets yesterday!). It's super simple to make, it literally only takes a few seconds! This is an Italian Ice style dessert that makes a great replacement for ice cream!



Ingredients

Granita:

  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup plain regular fat free yogurt (not Greek-style)
  • 1 tablespoon good quality maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

For the Granita: In a shallow 8-inch square pan, stir the applesauce and lemon juice together and spread the mixture evenly in the pan. Place the pan in the freezer for at least 1 hour.

For the Sauce: In a bowl, combine the yogurt, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Chill the sauce until ready to serve.

Remove the granita from the freezer. With a fork, scrape the surface of the granita to gently fluff it up. Serve immediately, in dessert glasses or dishes, drizzled with yogurt sauce.



Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from Ten Dollar Dinners with Melissa d'Arabian on Food Network.

Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5

#7 :: Blue Cheese Burgers

This is my recipe for Blue Cheese Burgers. I read so many different recipes, and with the exception of a few burgers that contained everything but the kitchen sink, they all called for the same basic ingredients. So, I'm not following one certain recipe. I'm going to wing it!



Ingredients
  • (4) 1/3 pound sirloin burgers
  • 1/2 cup of bacon, cooked & chopped
  • (1) 6 oz. tub of blue cheese crumbles
  • (1) Plum Tomato, sliced
  • Romain lettuce
  • Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Press blue cheese crumbles and chopped bacon into one of the sirloin burgers. Season with salt & pepper. Add a bit more blue cheese and chopped bacon to the top of the burger.

Place another burger on top of that, then press and seal the sides to hold in the blue cheese and bacon. Season both sides of the burger with salt & pepper. Cook over medium heat for 5-8 minutes per side, or until done. (They're done when the blue cheese starts to bubble out the sides and/or top).


Makes 2 burgers.

Recipe from Me. :)

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

#8 :: Yukon Gold Potatos : Jacques Pepin Style

One of the first things I learned during this project is that chicken stock only stays good for 7 days in the refrigerator. To make sure it didn't go to waste, I looked for a side dish recipe I could use it on today. Since I had extra Yukon gold's left from the chicken hash, this recipe was perfect.

This recipe took me a LOT longer than Rachael Ray said it would. :) I used medium heat, and now I'm thinking maybe I should have cooked it on high? They just seemed like a lot of work, but it was a much healthier side dish for a burger instead of fries. Anyway, the taste was good, they just weren't done cooking until half an hour after our burgers..... so we had a 2 course lunch.


Ingredients

  • 3 pounds baby Yukon gold potatoes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves

Directions

Place the potatoes in a deep skillet and add salt and pepper, to taste. Cover potatoes halfway with chicken stock, about 3 cups, add the butter and cover skillet with a lid. Cook the potatoes in the stock until almost tender, about 5 to 8 minutes, depending upon the size of the potatoes. Remove the lid and allow the stock to evaporate, about another 5 minutes. Once the stock has evaporated pop each potato using a ladle or large spoon, creating a small crack in each, but do not smash. Allow the potatoes to brown on each side, another 5 minutes, and re-season with salt and pepper, if necessary or desired. Remove the browned potatoes from the skillet and place onto a serving platter, garnished with the parsley.


Makes 6 servings.

Recipe from Rachel Ray's Holiday Feast on Food Network.

Star Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Friday, January 1, 2010

#6 :: Black Eyed Peas {Blackeye Peas}

These are a Texas tradition for New Year's Day. I grew up to my Dad eating them every New Year's Day. Imagine my horror when I moved to Ohio and I couldn't find them at any grocery store. After 4 years of not having them, this year I asked my mom to ship me some cans from Texas, and she did...but it turned out that they weren't going to make it by New Year's Day. So, by some New Year's miracle, I found a bag of dried blackeye peas at the grocery store and did a little happy dance. Then I called my mom for instructions and she gave me some instructions and tips. Now my 2010 will be lucky!


Ingredients

  • 1 bag of dried blackeye peas
  • 1/2 cup of bacon, cooked & chopped
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • Palm full of Mrs. Dash
  • Salt to taste

Directions

Soak the beans in a pot of cold water overnight.

Bring the pot of beans to a boil. Add the bacon, sweet onion and Mrs.Dash and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 2-3 hours, or until the beans are soft.


Makes a large pot full. :)

Recipe from: My Mom

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

#5 :: Savory Chicken Hash

First I saw it on Barefoot Contessa. She was having a black & white dinner party and serving chicken hash just like Capote did at his black & white ball. Then on Big Daddy's House I saw chicken hash again. After seeing it twice and both ways looking very tasty, I chose one of them and added it to the week's menu.

This Chicken Hash was a lot spicer than I ever imagined Chicken Hash could be. But, to my surprise, it wasn't the"mouth-on-fire" hot that I don't like. I really liked this a lot. Very spicy and savory.



Ingredients

  • 4 Yukon potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 (3-pound) store-bought *rotisserie chicken, meat removed and diced
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

* We used a 3 lb. bag of frozen chicken leg quarters instead of a rotisserie chicken. We cooked them at 375 in the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes before shredding it for the hash.

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Bring a large pot or water to a boil over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 12 to 14 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat, add the butter. Add the onions, bell peppers and garlic and saute for a few minutes. Add the cayenne, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and oregano. Stir in the chicken and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until chicken is warmed through. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Stir in the chicken stock to add some moisture, along with the parsley and lemon juice. Allow to simmer for a few minutes. Add the cooked potatoes and put into the oven until the potatoes are crunchy, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving bowl.


Makes 4-6 servings.

Recipe from Big Daddy's House on Food Network.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

New Year's Day

So, our New Year's Eve cooking project turned out extremely well.



So well, in fact, that I was motivated to try yet another new recipe for New Year's Day. I also wanted to make some Black Eyed Peas, a tradition that we celebrated every year wen I lived in Texas and I have to say I've missed it! The Ohio tradition of pork & sauerkraut just doesn't sit well with me! Sorry Jamie! :)

#3 :: Gorgonzola Spinach Artichoke Dip

This dish, also, almost didn't happen. Grocery shopping on New Year's Eve was a nightmare, every store was packed. I should know, I went to three of them. I think I waited 10 minutes at Giant Eagle for a shopping cart, because they were all in use. I told myself if the third store didn't have a box of frozen artichoke hearts that I wasn't going to make this dish. Luckily, Heinen's came through for me and had my last ingredient!


Ingredients

  • 2 (10-ounce) boxes chopped frozen spinach
  • 1 box frozen artichoke hearts
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch ground nutmeg, or to taste
  • 1 cup Gorgonzola crumbles
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded (a little larger than grated, available in tubs) Asiago or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Thick sesame bread sticks, celery hearts, or tortilla chips for dipping

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Defrost spinach 10 minutes on defrost setting in microwave then drain well by wringing out in dish towel. Defrost artichokes as well, 6 minutes on defrost in microwave then wring out and finely chop.

Heat a sauce pot with butter over medium to medium-high heat. Add garlic to melted butter and stir 1 to 2 minutes, then sprinkle in flour and combine 1 minute more. Whisk in stock and milk and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Thicken 2 minutes then remove from heat and melt in Gorgonzola. Stir in spinach and artichokes and half the shredded cheese then transfer to a small casserole and top with remaining cheese. Brown and bubble in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve with bread sticks, celery hearts and pita crisps for dipping.


Makes about 3 1/2 cups.

Recipe from 30 Minute Meals on Food Network.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars