Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Roasted Asparagus and Sausage Quiche


I wanted a light meal on a Friday night and had some leftover ingredients to use up. The nice thing about Quiche is you can put just about anything in it! I served with a green salad and a sourdough baguette. This recipe makes 2 quiches which freeze beautifully.

Ingredients:
2 pre-made pie shells (thawed)
1 dozen eggs
3/4 cup whipping cream or milk
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
sliced green onions
8 spears of asparagus roasted (sheet pan, salt & pepper, 400 degrees for 8-10minutes), let them cool and chop them into manageable pieces
1 tsp dried chives
1/2 tsp garlic powder and onion powder
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1.5 cups shredded cheese (use any kind you like, I had a mixture of various cheeses)
Sour cream for garnish
*Meat product of some kind (I used leftover Italian sausage, but you could use anything you like such as bacon, ham, etc.)* Optional of course*

Method:
Place your meat into the bottom of the pie shells, follow with your mushrooms, green onions and asparagus. Top with cheese, splitting all the ingredients between the 2 pie shells.
In the meantime, crack 12 eggs into a bowl, add the milk, salt and pepper to taste, Cayenne, dried mustard, garlic and onion powder and whip until well incorporated. Pour the egg mixture on each pie, spreading evenly.

Bake at 375 for 35 to 45 minutes on a baking sheet until the eggs are set. Let cool slightly and slice. Add sour cream if desired.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pizza




My husband is a pizza fiend, he worked at one of our local Pizzerias (Giovanni's) while in high school. We have always enjoyed making home made pizza's. I purchased the dough, so much easier than making it. Trust Me! Most pizza places will sell you the dough or you can get it at some upscale markets which I did. Super easy to make and you choose the ingredients!

Ingredients:
1 ball of pizza dough (the kind in the can is horrible)
1 jar of pizza sauce (whatever brand you like)
1 small can of sliced olives (thanks Pam!)
1 lb of Italian Style Sausage
5 mushrooms sliced
1 small package of salami
diced yellow onion (as much as you wish)
chopped green onions (as much as you wish)
Mozzarella Cheese grated (70/30 mixture)
Cheddar Cheese grated

Method:
Stretch the dough out into any shape you like, flip it into the air if you can!
Start out with your sauce
Then add cheese of your choice (The order in which you layer is important)
Add your meats
Add your veggies last
Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, if you have a pizza stone use it, we were too lazy so we used a non-stick pan. Keep a close eye on the pizza!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Shrimp and Goat Cheese Wontons



I was shopping at our new Whole Foods market and got inspired by all the artisan cheeses. I had some leftover wonton wrappers to use up, and this is what I came up with, and only 4 ingredients!

Ingredients:
1 package square wonton wrappers, thawed
1/8 lb small pink cocktail shrimp
good quality herbed goat cheese at room temp
1/4 brick of cream cheese at room temp

Method:
Mix together as much cream cheese and goat cheese as you wish to make wontons. On each wonton, you will need to wet your finger with water and go all around the edges, this will help it seal properly. Add a teaspoon or so of the cheese mixture and a few shrimp to each wonton. Fold over and seal, trying to get all the air out.

Cook on a non-stick pan in the oven at 350 for 10 to 13 minutes. I also sprayed the wontons on both sides before baking with pan spray to help them crisp up (these are normally fried and I wanted to make them a bit more healthful)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Taco Soup



This is a Paula Deen recipe I made last weekend. I normally don't follow any recipe to the letter but this one I did. The only change that I made was using ground turkey instead of ground beef. It is really quite easy, tasty and my husband loved it! It makes a large amount of soup and filled my crock pot to the brim.

Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef (I used turkey)
2 cups diced onions
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles (I used Rotel)
2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional 1/2 cup green olives, sliced
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 package ranch salad dressing mix
Corn chips, for serving
Sour cream, for garnish
Grated cheese, for garnish
Chopped green onions, for garnish
Pickled jalapenos, for garnish

Method:
Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove.

To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Chicken Pot Pie


This is based off an Inga Garten recipe, in which I have added and deleted ingredients to make it extra delicious! It takes some time and a large mess to create this, but it was well worth it! She did not include potatoes, celery or mushrooms in hers, I did and thought it well worth the extra effort.

Ingredients:
3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on (I used 4 skinless/boneless breasts)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 chicken bouillon cubes
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (I used 1 stick)
2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 package diced frozen carrots
1 package frozen peas (2 cups)
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes (I microwaved the potatoes first for 3 minutes, let cool and then cubed)
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1 to 2 packages of Puff Pastry (much easier to use this)

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
*Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. *Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.
*In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. *Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. *Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick.
*Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, potatoes, mushrooms, celery and parsley. Mix well and set aside
*Thaw your puff pastry, and using one of the bowls you will use for the filling as a template, trim the pastry to the size of the bowl, bake the puff pastry tops separately.
*Divide the filling equally among 4 to 6 ovenproof bowls.
*Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until bubbling hot
*Place your Puff Pastry top on and serve

Goat Cheese Cannelloni with Chicken


This recipe was a high risk operation for me, but it turned out really well. I was flying by the seat of my pants! The Cannelloni is topped with a white sauce which includes chicken (a last minute decision) on my part.

Ingredients
5 ounces goat cheese
1/2 cup low fat Ricotta cheese
4 sage leaves chopped fine
4 scallions sliced thinly
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
small pinch of nutmeg (use fresh if you can)
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 sheets of fresh pasta (or you can use the pre-made tubes, cook and drain)
1 package Knorr Fettuchine Sauce
1/2 lb fresh ground chicken

Method
Mix together the goat cheese, ricotta, egg, sage, scallions, nutmeg, salt and pepper and set aside.
Start with 1 pasta sheet, cut into 4ths, place your filling more towards one end and roll up into tubes, you should end up with 4 tubes per sheet so 8 total. Place into a square greased pan, fit them tightly together. Set aside.
Cook your chicken in a non-stick skillet, adding salt and pepper to taste and the garlic, remove chicken from the pan after cooking and set aside.

Prepare the Fettuchini sauce according to the package directions, I added some Parmesan to the sauce, a pinch more of nutmeg, and red pepper flakes. When sauce is ready, add the chicken back in and pour over your pasta.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Let rest for 5 minutes and garnish with sage leaves if you wish.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Buttermilk Pancakes and Chicken Sausage



This is a combo post, my husband makes the best pancakes, thin, tender and full of buttermilk flavor, and they are exceptionally easy to make. I had some leftover ground chicken so I made sausage patties to go with the yummy pancakes!

Pancakes
Mix Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake mix with low fat buttermilk until you have the consistency you want, we like thin pancakes so the batter is a bit on the runny side. If you like larger, fluffier pancakes ensure the mixture is thicker, cook as normal. On occasion we put sliced banana's onto the pancake batter while cooking.

Sausage
1/2 lb ground white meat chicken
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp fresh sage leaves chopped finely
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
salt and pepper
2 tbl maple syrup (this counters the savory flavors nicely)
1 tsp olive oil
bread crumbs (if needed, my chicken mixture was really wet so I added some bread crumbs)
Make into patties and fry in a non-stick skillet

Friday, April 18, 2008

Whipped Savory Yams




Until about 15 years ago I thought the only way to eat yams was covered in butter, brown sugar and marshmallows. We went to a friends house for dinner and she served them savory, I was hooked. It is a refreshing way to serve Yams!

Ingredients
2 yams, peeled, cubed, cooked until fork tender and drained
1/2 cube butter or margarine
salt and pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste, I use 1/2 tsp but I like heat
crumbled bacon (optional)
1/2 tsp fresh sage chopped finely

Add the above ingredients to your Yams, whip them with your hand held mixer and serve. They are amazing!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Steak for Everyone!


My lap puppy, a 95 pound Doberman Pinscher turned 6 on Sunday. On her birthday we treat her to a steak. We all ate steak in fact, however, hers was not as beautifully plated as ours!


My steak treatment is fairly simple, first start out with a really good steak, you dont need a huge one, we normally split a steak between the two of us

Poke the steak all over with a small, sharp pairing knife
I then rub on A1 steak sauce and Worsteshire sauce
I crack on plenty of fresh cracked black pepper
Flip it and do the other side
I let that marinate for several hours

One key thing many forget, is to take your steak out of the fridge an hour before you plan to grill, so it can come to room temp. It makes a huge difference.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Potato Salad



This is my first attempt at making Potato Salad, I checked out a few recipes online and went for it. I love Deviled Eggs, so I tried to emulate that taste. It is very hard to balance the piquant and sweet. It worked out quite well after some tinkering. I served it with my Husband's incredible Barbecue chicken.

Ingredients
2 lbs red skinned potatoes (they hold together better than regular), cubed and cooked till fork tender
1/2 cup mayonnaise, I used low fat
1/4 cup regular yellow mustard
6 eggs, hard boiled, and diced
1 packet Equal, or you could use sugar
2 tsp Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp Hot Sauce (whatever brand you like), I use Franks Red Hot
1/4 red onion sliced
1 cup chopped celery
1 can medium olives, drained (I split each into 2 pieces)
Salt and pepper to taste
Dried Mustard (to taste)
2 tsp sweet pickle relish (next time I will omit this)

Method
Mix the mayonnaise, mustard, Equal, cider vinegar, dried mustard, hot sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. I had to keep adding more hot sauce and vinegar until I got the taste I was looking for. (this is the tinkering part).

After you have the sauce you enjoy the taste of, add in the remaining ingredients, mix well, and refrigerate for an hour.

Sprinkle sweet paprika over the salad before serving.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese and Chives


We are breakfast fiends and on the weekends we like a big, yummy breakfast. I finally perfected the scrambled egg. The key is to whip them well, add a tablespoon of water, and cook them slowly on low heat. Remove them from the pan when they are still a bit moist, the carry over cooking will finish them to perfection!

This serves 2
3 large eggs, or 4 if you are really hungry
1 tsp water
4 tbl good quality goat cheese crumbled
fresh chives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
*Add the water to the eggs and whip well. In the meantime heat a non-stick pan to medium, and butter the pan (you can use cooking spray)

*Pour in the eggs and the chopped chives (save a few for garnish)

*Keep the eggs moving, tilting the pan to spread them out

*When they are starting to congeal, add almost all of the goat cheese (saving a bit back for garnish)

*When the eggs are still moist, transfer them to your serving plate and the remaining chives and goat cheese

Friday, April 11, 2008

Chicken, White Bean & Rosemary Soup


I purchased some soup at our local Safeway store, it was somewhat similar to this. I wanted to try to re-create it, but make it better and I think I did! My husbands co-worker, whom I love to feed, said it was the best homemade soup he had ever eaten!

Ingredients
3 slices bacon
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 16 oz bag dried white beans
1 cup diced onion
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup sliced carrot
3 garlic cloves, 1 smashed, 2 finely chopped
large fresh Rosemary sprig
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
3 cups chicken broth (I use homemade but canned would do)
Method
Soak your beans overnight in a bowl with water 4 inches over the top of beans
The next day drain and rinse beans, set aside
Slice your bacon into small chunks and cook in a dutch oven or high sided pan, cook until crisp. Remove, set aside but keep the bacon fat in the pan
Cook your onions, carrot, chopped garlic and celery for about 10 minutes, sprinkle on your dried Rosemary towards the end.
Remove vegetables to a plate and set aside, crank the heat to high
Sear the chicken chunks, you may need to do in 2 batches, remove and set aside (I piled everything on one plate and refrigerated)

Add 8 cups of water to the pan, add beans, rosemary sprig and crushed garlic clove, and cook with the lid cracked for about 1.5 hours, until the beans are tender. Salt and pepper to taste.

When beans are done cooking you will have very little water left, add 3 to 4 cups of chicken broth, reserved vegetables and chicken. Remove your rosemary sprig.
Cook for an additional 30 minutes. You can puree the mixture, but I chose not to. You could also add in some whipping cream if desired.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Beef Stroganoff


This is another favorite comfort food I love to make, the weather has been cold and it sounded good. It is easy and filling.


Ingredients

1 lb beef, top round or whatever cut you like
1 can beef broth
1.5 tbl Dijon mustard
1/3 cup fat free sour cream
1 family size can Cream of Mushroom Soup, I use the low fat one
1 cup sliced mushrooms (any kind you like)
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced
2 tbl butter
1 package noodles, I use the "No Yolks" brand

Method

*Put your meat in the freezer for about 20 minutes, remove and cut into strips on the bias (freezing will make it easier to slice)
*Heat a Dutch Oven or any high sided pan on medium heat, add olive oil and cook the onions until slightly browned, remove to a bowl
*Now get your pan smoking hot and add oil (I used peanut)
*Quickly sear the meat on both sides, you may need to do it in two batches
*Put the seared meat and onions back into the pan
*Add 1 can of beef broth and gently simmer for an hour

Start the water for your noodles

Add the mushrooms, sour cream, Dijon, cream of mushroom soup and salt and pepper to your pan. Simmer together until your noodles are done, drain and return to the pan, add a pat or two of butter or margarine to your noodles and you are ready to serve.

Place your buttered noodles on a place or in a bowl, and scoop as much of the sauce mixture on as you would like.

Garnish with green onions and more mushrooms if you wish.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Black Bottom Cupcakes



This is another wonderful recipe I recieved from a fellow pre-school teacher back in the day. The cupcakes are so moist they don't need frosting.

Ingredients
1 box chocolate cake mix
8 oz cream cheese - at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

I normally make the filling first, combine the cream cheese, sugar, egg, salt and chips until they are well incorporated.

Follow package instructions to make batter for the cake mix, fill muffin tins 3/4 full. (for an interesting taste, I use coffee instead of water in the cake mix, very yummy)
Add about 1 fat tablespoon of filling to each muffin, push it down as far as you can. I often use a piping bag with no tip or the circular tip, makes it clean and easy

Bake in pre-heated oven at the time and temperature the cake mix suggests. Let cool. You can dust with powdered sugar if you like.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Fried Grits


We saw this on a cooking show about 5 years ago, tried it and loved them! They are simple to make with a little prep the night before, and fairly unusual.


The night before - make your grits
6 cups water
1 cup quick cooking grits
1 tsp salt
Bring water and salt to a boil, slowly stir in grits. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour into a 9x9 pan, let cool and pop into the fridge

The morning you want to make them.
Slice the congealed grits into 12 pieces
Cook them in a frying pan with about 1/3 inch of oil (we use peanut oil) until golden brown
Drain on paper towels
**Salt and pepper them as soon as you remove them from the oil**
**Enjoy, they make great leftovers as well**

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Stuffed Strawberries



I was watching Paula Deen several days ago, and she did something similar with cream cheese and a bunch of sugar. I thought I could make it both prettier and tastier than hers, I think it worked! This is delicious and easy to make, my husband is in Costa Rica so I am not much into cooking for one.

1 pint ripe red strawberries, make as many as you wish
1/2 a block of cream cheese, room temperature
Nutella spread (hazelnut and chocolate spread)
chopped pecans (1/4 cup at most)

Method

*clean and cut the stem off the berry straight across to make a flat surface
*cut an X in the top of the berry and spread it a bit
*mix your cream cheese and about 4 big tablespoons of Nutella (you may need to microwave for about 20 seconds to warm it up)
*spoon into a piping bag, I used the star tip
*pipe into the opening in the strawberries
*put a small amount of chopped pecans on top

*Decorate the serving plate if you wish with chocolate syrup, powdered sugar and more nuts*

Moist Turkey Meatloaf

In our continued effort to eat a little better and keep it "clean", I decided to make Turkey Meatloaf.  In my previous attempt...