Monday, April 25, 2011

Fresh Pear and Ginger Cake

I bought a large sack of Bosc Pears from Costco and needed to use them up. I decided to make a Pear and Ginger cake. I found the original recipe here, and changed it up to add in lots of fresh Ginger and reduce the sugar.

I actually let the pears, ginger and sugar macerate overnight and it made for a really moist cake (lots of lovely liquid). I also learned from a Jewish Baker to bake your cake low and slow for the best results which this recipe does.

4 cups peeled, cored and chopped pears
1 cups white sugar
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, you will need a bit more if you let the mixture sit overnight
1-2 inch knob of ginger peeled and grated on a micro plane grater about 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
3 whole eggs
2/3 cup canola oil
1 cup chopped pecans


1. Combine the pears, sugar and fresh ginger and let stand for one hour or overnight

2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Spray a 10 inch bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.

3. Slightly beat the eggs and combine them with the oil, chopped pecans and pear mixture.

4. Stir the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and Pumpkin Pie Spice. Stir in the pear mixture. Pour batter into the prepared bundt pan. (I let my pear mixture macerate overnight and had to add about an extra 1/2 cup of flour to the mix or it would have been very runny)

5 .Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Remove from oven ant let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tomato Mac and Cheese

The minute I saw this recipe in my Cooks Country Magazine I knew I would have to make it. What a great combination cheese and tomato. I have to say it i s the most delicious, flavorful Macaroni and Cheese I have ever eaten.

The other thing that struck me (other than the fact it is full of fat), was that it was pretty expensive to make. I had to purchase all the ingredients, and the final cost to make the dish was $11.93 and that was me buying sale and store brand items. This versus the less than a dollar for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

It is cheaper to eat boxed, canned or pre-made meals than it is to purchase the ingredients fresh and make them yourself. That just seems wrong to me. As I was shopping I was comparing various items pre-made versus freshly made and it seemed to be a trend that pre-made is cheaper, thus the folks who are trying to make ends meet end up with those rather than freshly made and hopefully more healthful food.

Things I think about...

Here is the recipe......

Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 28 oz can Petite diced tomatoes
6 tbl unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
4 cups half and half
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
4 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Adjust oven rack to middle position an heat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring 4 quarts of water and 1 tbl salt to boil, cook noodles until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain pasta and return to pot.

Pour diced tomatoes with their juices over pasta and stir to coat. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Stir in flour and cayenne and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in half and half and broth until smooth.

Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally until mixture is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Off heat, whisk in cheeses, 1 tsp salt and 1 teaspoon pepper until cheeses melt.

Pour over macaroni and stir to combine. Scrape mixture into a large baking dish (I sprinkled additional Cayenne pepper over the mixture) and bake until top begins to brown 15 to 20 minutes.

Let sit for 5 minutes or so before serving.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Creamy Lemon Chicken

I spotted the original recipe on Agirlinthekitchen's blog. I loved the idea but changed it up a little for my tastes. It is a quick and very tasty chicken dish, wonderful for those busy weeknights. Serve with a salad or steamed veggies and you have a wonderful meal.

My picky husband even liked it which makes it that much better.

4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, (Dice Them Into Cubes)
¼ teaspoons Ground Pepper
Salt To Taste
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 can (10 3/4 Oz.) Cream Of Chicken Soup
1 whole Lemon, (juice And Grated Peel)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, Chopped (or 1 Tablespoon Of Dried)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of chicken stock
Cooked white rice

Preparation Instructions

Season both sides of your chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and melt butter. Add your chicken to the skillet and cook until nice and brown and cooked thoroughly, (about 3 minutes each side.)

Add soup, lemon peel and juice, and stir well to incorporate with the drippings from the chicken. Turn heat to medium-low, cover the skillet and let simmer for about 5 minutes, stir every couple of minutes to keep sauce from sticking. You probably will need to add some chicken stock to thin the sauce out a bit.

Add the parsley, cover and simmer a couple of minutes longer until entire dish is completely heated. Serve with rice of your choice

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chicken and Coconut Curry

I have to admit I have not cooked Curry anything before, other than Curried Carrots. I saw a recipe from Tyler Florence, however it was way too complicated for me, so I used it as a guide and made it a whole lot easier and made it a bit more healthful by adding more vegetables.

It turned out quite good, I got a thumbs up from my husband and it is Gluten Free as well! One note, I would not use both red pepper flakes and a jalapeno again, it was quite spicy.

2 to 3 small chicken breasts cut into strips or chunks your choice (I did large chunks) 1/2 onion diced 1 red bell pepper cut into chunks 2 carrots peeled and cut into coins (microwave them for 3 minutes to help them cook faster)
4 tbl butter
1/2 cup green peas
1 Jalapeno seeds removed and diced
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 inch piece of fresh Ginger peeled and finely chopped
2 tbl t0mato paste (I used Catsup)
2 to 3 tbl Curry Powder of your choice (I used a yellow curry, next time I will use a red curry)
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp red onion flakes (or none if you don't like it spicy)
2 cans of Lite Coconut Milk
1 cup of cleaned and sliced mushrooms
Cilantro for garnish
Jasmine Rice cooked

Place your butter in a large sauce pan on medium heat, add the onion, garlic and ginger, let cook for a few minutes then add the peas, carrots, jalapeno, mushroom and red bell pepper, sprinkle on your curry powder and cook for an additional 5 minutes, remove to a plate.

Heat your pan to high and sear off the chicken pieces, add the ingredients on the plate back into the pan and add your coconut milk, red pepper flakes, cinnamon stick and tomato paste.

Let cook until it has reduced, tasting along the way and adding more Curry Powder if needed. Remove Cinnamon Stick.

Serve over Jasmine rice with Cilantro garnish.

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