Monday, March 31, 2008

Grilled Chicken Salad


This is a great salad and a way to use up your leftover grilled chicken, it is also very easy!


For the chicken

Marinade 4 boneless, skinless breasts in the following for 12 to 24 hours

Italian salad dressing, 2 tbl red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes and tablespoon or so of olive oil. Rotate the sack in your fridge several times during the marinating proces. Grill your chicken on the barbequeu or broil in the oven till just done (don't overcook or it will dry out), let cool and slice on the bias.


The Easy Part

I go to my local yuppy grocery store and go thru their salad bar and put together a great green salad, you could use bagged but I am not a fan

Put your salad in a bowl, top with the grilled chicken and a bit of Feta cheese (I had some on hand, but you could use any cheese)

Top with your favorite salad dressing and enjoy

*nuts are really great on this salad as well*


I serve with a niced toasted baguette

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Feta Cheese and Roasted Garlic Appetizer




My husband and I have been making this since his college days, when we lived in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment, yet still managed to entertain frequently. We had it at a restaurant, loved it, and my husband (who is a super taster) figured out how they made it. We have been enjoying their recipe ever since. It is super easy and so delicious!

Ingredients
1 skinny baguette (I used a rustic baguette)
4 oz of good quality Feta Cheese
1/2 cup Sour Cream (I used fat free)
2 heads of garlic which you will roast (see below)

Roasted Garlic
Cut the top 1/3 to 1/4 of your garlic head off, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and salt, wrap in aluminum foil and roast at 350 for about 45 minutes, let cool.

Mix
*In the meantime, mix your feta and sour cream together, I use a fork, until creamy. This is to taste if you like it milder add more sour cream.
*Cut your baguette into about 3/4 to 1 inch slices and put them on a sheet pan and toast them in the oven until golden brown (I use the broil function and watch them closely)

Assembly
*If you squeeze your garlic head the perfectly smooth and creamy cloves will squish out the top and be easier to use*.
On each perfectly toasted piece of bread, spread some of the garlic, as much or as little as you want, top with the feta/sour cream mixture and enjoy

Recommendations: It goes perfectly with a nice bold red wine. Also, eat it with someone you love, as you will be excreting garlic thru your pores all the next day!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls


On the King Arthur website they are referred to as Cinna-Buns and trust me they completely put Cinnayouknowwho to shame. My family adores these and I have tweaked the recipe just a bit, to make them even more delicious! It is not nearly as hard as it sounds to make.

Dough
1 cup (8 ounces) lukewarm milk
2 large eggs, room temperature (to quickly get them to room temp I put them in my bra while I am assesmbling the ingredients, works like a charm!)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut up
4 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

Filling
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened (I only use about 1/4 cup butter)
1 cup chopped pecans (the recipe does not call for this but it is a great addition)
1 cup brown sugar, packed, (personally I use only 3/4 cup brown sugar, the entire cup just seems like too much when you start spreading it)
3 tablespoons cinnamon
Icing
One 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened, *I use a large brick*
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Manual/Mixer Method: Combine all of the dough ingredients in a large mixing bowl, stirring till the mixture becomes cohesive. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and knead it for 5 to 8 minutes, till it’s smooth. Or knead it in an electric mixer, using the dough hook, for 4 to 7 minutes at medium speed.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to grease all sides, cover the bowl with a proof cover or plastic wrap, and let it rise for 60 minutes, till it’s nearly doubled in bulk. *I turn the oven light on and place in the center rack*, it makes it just warm enough to help it rise.

Assembly: Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and roll it into a 16 x 21-inch rectangle. Spread the dough with the 1/3 cup butter.

Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle it evenly over the dough as well as the pecans.

Starting with a short end, tightly roll the dough into a log, and cut it into 12 slices. I cut in half then half again, etc.

Place the buns in a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan. (I use two cake pans) Cover the pans with a proof cover or plastic wrap, and let the buns rise until they’re nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. (it actually takes about an hour)

Bake the buns in a preheated 400°F oven until they’re golden brown, about 15 minutes. While the buns are baking, make the icing.

Icing: In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla. Spread the icing on the buns while they’re warm.
Yield: 12 big buns.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Meatloaf



My nephew and I made a version of this meatloaf last summer, it rocked. I made a few changes, like adding carmelized onions, and now it is even better!


Ingredients
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground beef lean
1 onion
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 egg, beaten
1.5 cups bread crumbs, I use the ones in the can
1/2 cup milk
3 tbl Worcestershire
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 cup catsup
1/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
Small can fried onions (used for green bean casserole)

Method

The first thing you need to do is peel and cut the onion in half, then make slices and cook the onion slices in olive oil until they are medium brown and caramelized, stirring often, this can take awhile so be patient.

Mix together the 2 lbs of meat, the caramelized onion, mushrooms, garlic, 3 tbl Worcestershire, sage, 1 beaten egg, 1/2 cup milk and salt and pepper. Add bread crumbs and mix until it is a cohesive mixture, you will need anywhere from 1 to 1.5 cups of bread crumbs. You don't want a wet mixture. Try not to overmix or it will become tough.

Using a foil lined sheet pan, mound the meat into a loaf. Mix together the barbecue sauce and catsup and put 1/2 on the meatloaf, save the rest for later

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, remove from oven, put on the remaining sauce and top with the fried onions. Bake an additional 30 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 160 degrees is reached. Let rest for 15 minutes then slice and enjoy.

I served this with Mashed Potatoes Dunkin Style

Friday, March 21, 2008

Vietnamese Spring Rolls


I learned how to make these from a Vietnamese family member, the recipe I wrote down is quite vague, so I have attempted to measure as much as possible when I made them for Easter. My Father In Law adores these!

Ingredients

1 lb ground pork (I also made some using chicken for my Mother In Law)
2 carrots shredded
napa cabbage shredded (I used about half of a small one)
regular cabbage shredded (I used about 2 cups)
1/4 cup dried black fungus mushrooms, rehydrated and chopped (this is optional)
2 sticks of shredded celery
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbl sesame oil
2 tbl sugar
1 tsp black pepper
1 beaten egg
square egg roll skins - you can get these in any Asian market
cellophane or bean thread noodles, one small package

Soak the noodles in really hot but not boiling water for about 10 minutes, drain, and chop into 1/2 inch lengths and set aside for the moment
Mix everything noted above together until well incorporated (except the noodles and wrappers)
beat an additional egg for glue when assembling the rolls

Assembly

Place the spring roll wrapper on a plate with one point towards you. Put about 2 tbls of the filling more towards the bottom of center in a log shape. *keep a wet paper towel on the stack of wrappers so they don't dry out* On top of filling put some of the noodles. Try to roll them tightly at about the halfway point tuck the sides in much like a burrito, finish wrapping and you should have a pointed end which you will dot with beaten egg, I use my finger.

Deep fry in peanut oil until golden brown, or if you wish to freeze some for later, put them on a sheet pan (not touching), freeze then remove to a ziplock bag and they will last in the freezer for months.

Dipping sauce

Soy Sauce
Rice Wine Vinegar
Fish Sauce
Sugar
Water
Chili flakes
Minced garlic

All the above are to taste, I would use only about 1 tbl of fish sauce, it is very strong

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Mandarin Oranges


This is a great summer salad my Step Mom used to make, it is quick, easy and very tasty!

You will need

Spinach (I use bagged, organic)
Small can of Mandarin Oranges, drained
Fresh strawberries sliced
Chopped almonds, or whatever kind of nut you like
Poppy seeds (optional)
Arrange your spinach in a bowl and add the oranges, sliced strawberries, and almonds.
For the dressing

1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil or whatever your favorite oil is
2 tsp champagne vinegar (you could use rice wine)
2 tsp vanilla yogurt (this gives the dressing body)
2 tsp honey
Fat teaspoon of Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp poppy seeds (optional)
*Whisk the dressing until well incorporated and dress your salad

Mashed Potatoes Dunkin Style!


I love mashed potatoes and I don't believe in eating them out of a box, when making them from scratch is so easy. I made these for a group of my husbands co-workers along with crab cakes, and they are still talking about it today. It feeds a crowd.


Ingredients


5 large baking potatoes

1 package of Boursin cheese (you can use the lite version)

1/4 to 1/2 a cup of low fat buttermilk

1/4 cup or so of butter/margarine (I use a lite margarine)

Fresh chives


Method

Peel baking potatoes, cut up and cook till fork tender, drain, and return to pan

Add the package of Boursin and the chives

Start out with 1/4 of cup buttermilk and add more as needed

Salt and pepper to taste

Mash, Mash, Mash *I like to use the manual kind of potato masher but you could whip them with a hand held mixer*

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pineapple Upside Down Cake



This is a family favorite, I also make Bananna Upside Down Cake which my husband loves. I play with the recipe and at times will add a bit of Dark Rum!

I do this is a round cake pan which I heat up on the stove and add the following:
*1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, and 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, stir and let this mixture melt together
Arrange the pineapple rings on top, and insert the cherries into the holes

For the cake part of the recipe, you will need the following
1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup milk, I use Buttermilk
A shot of Dark Rum if you wish, I buy a mini and use the whole thing

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Into a bowl sift together the flour, the baking powder, the salt, and the cinnamon. In another bowl with an electric mixer cream the butter with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each egg, and beat in the vanilla.

Add the flour mixture alternately in batches with the milk, beating well after each addition. Pour the batter carefully into the pan, spreading it evenly, or you can scoop it on with a spoon and then even it out.

Bake the cake in the middle of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes, run a thin knife around the edge, and invert the cake onto a plate.

I serve with ice cream or real whipping cream

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Curried Shrimp and Coconut Rice




Curries are becoming a new favorite of mine, so I decided to try shrimp. We also love coconut rice, so why not combine the two!

Ingredients:
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 tsp curry powder, I used hot curry powder (red)
1/8 stick of butter
Red curry paste (optional)
Lime wedges
Melt the butter and add the curry powder, mix well

Method:

Sautee the shrimp in a bit of olive oil, when the shrimp are about half way done, add a fat tablespoon of curry butter and the same amount of the curry paste. The shrimp are done when they are pink. Squeeze a bit of lime on the shrimp after plating.

Coconut Rice

Prepare your rice as usual except instead of adding water, add coconut milk or juice (which you can get in a Mexican store or Tienda)
2 tbl dried onions, or you could use fresh
dried chives, or fresh

Finish with chopped dried fruit of your choice and toasted almonds for serving
*I served with steamed asparagus sprinkled with a tablespoon of Parmesan

Monday, March 17, 2008

Roasted Cauliflower


My neighbor and fellow foodie turned me onto roasted vegtables, it adds a great taste and is a new and different way to cook veggies! I roast all sorts of vegtables now!


Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower, I used 1/2 a head to serve 2, cleaned and cut into florets
1 tsp of olive oil or whatever oil you like to use
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes


Method:

Toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes

Bake at 450 for 20 minutes, you could toss a bit of shredded Parmesan cheese on top if you wish

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Home Made Dog Food



Who wouldn't want to cook for this sweet face girl!






Not people food my friends although you COULD technically eat it.





I make this for my doggie, I usually freeze portions of it and feed it to her when she has tummy issues. We call it "The Good Stuff".

Ingredients

1 lb hamburger or about 1.5 cups diced chicken
*if you use hamburger, boil it gently for about 10 minutes to remove the grease and drain
1 carton cottage cheese, I use low fat
3 carrots diced or half a yam diced and microwaved for about 3 minutes
2 cups white rice prepared
Chicken broth (I use home made) but canned is fine, get low sodium

Method

Mix the above ingredients together, and moisten with the chicken broth. I put it into freezer ziplocks and freeze for when someone is having a bad tummy day! or just needs to be extra spoiled!

Frito Plate






This is a Dunkin family favorite, everyone seems to have their own spin on the recipe, this is how my husband and myself make ours. This serves 2-4 depending on appetite.




Ingredients



1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 can tomato soup
Grated cheese of any type you wish, I use the low fat Mexican Blend
Diced tomato and onion, reserve some onion for the assembly
Diced red bell pepper
Shredded lettuce
Frito’s
Sour Cream and Salsa of your choice


Directions


Cook the meat, and add seasonings to taste. I use Mexican spices such as chili powder, cayenne and of course salt and pepper.

When the meat is about halfway cooked, add half the diced onions and finish cooking, in the meantime heat up the soup, instead of adding a whole can of water use ¾ a can. Mix well. I also add a shake of cayenne to the soup



Assembly:


On a plate put down a layer of Fritos, then lettuce. Add your cooked meat, add tomatoes, red bell pepper and onions, then cheese.


Pour the hot tomato soup on top, and it will melt the cheese and be so YUMMY. We add sour cream and salsa as a finale

Friday, March 14, 2008

Chicken and Rice


This is a family favorite of my side of the family. We have eaten it all our lives.


* 2.5 cups of rice (whatever kind you like)

* 3 cans of cream of whatever soup (I use low fat cream of mushroom, chicken and celery)

*Diced onion I use about half an onion, diced red pepper or whatever else you might want to add, sometimes I add mushrooms

*Chicken Parts, I use dark meat as it does not dry out

*Chicken stock (I use home made but canned will do)
*Diced green onions - for garnish if you wish

Put rice and all 3 cans of soup into a bowl, add onions and whatever else you like

Add stock probably 1 to 2 cups (told ya I dont measure)

You want the mixture to be pretty wet at this point

Put into a 9X13 greased casserole dish

Insert the chicken parts, push them down into the goo as far as you can

Bake 350 for 60 to 75 minutes
Garnish with sliced green onions if you wish

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Reuben Sandwich


I stole this one from my pal's blog, she made it and it looked sooo dang good. Her blog address is http://fortheloveofcooking-recipes.blogspot.com/ and she rocks!


I took this picture of the said Sandwich. I love my Panini Grill and now will be inspired to use it more. Click to embiggen, for all the lusciousness.

Individual Scalloped Potato's

I bought these super cute Lodge Individual Fry Pans and use them to make Scalloped Potato's.  It is super easy, very tasty and adora...