Thursday, May 26, 2005

Chicken with Sourdough Mushroom Stuffing

*Crockpot recipe courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens

2Tbsp finely shredded lemon peel
1Tbsp ground sage
1Tbsp seasoned salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 small chicken legs, thighs, or 4 combination leg-thigh pieces
1/4 c. butter
4 c. quartered or sliced mushrooms (any kind)
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
sourdough baguette cut into cubes (approximately 8 cups)
1 c. shredded carrots
1 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. chopped and toasted walnuts (optional garnish)
3 Tbsp chopped flat leaf Italian parsley (optional garnish)

Lightly coat the inside of a 5 1/2 - 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Reserve 1 tsp of the lemon peel. In a small bowl combine the remaining lemon peel, sage, seasoned salt, and pepper. Remove 3/4 of the mixture and rub on the chicken pieces. Place the chicken into the slow cooker.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet and add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook and stir for 3 - 5 minutes or until just tender. Stire in the remaining sage mixture. Transfer the mushrooms into a large bowl. Add the bread cubes and shredded carrot. Drizzle with the chicken broth and toss gently. Lightly pack the stuffing on top of the chicken. Cover and cook on high setting for 4 - 5 hours.
When cooked, transfer to a platter. Garnish with remaining lemon peel, walnuts, and parsley. Makes 8 servings.

Chicken au Gratin

from Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Get Real Meals

4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 pound button mushrooms, stems discarded, cleaned
2 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 6- to 8-ounce chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper
1 1/2 c. frozen pearl onions, defrosted
3 c. chicken stock
3/4 c. heavy cream
1 c. frozen peas
fresh parsley, chopped
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 c. plain bread crumbs
1/2 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 Tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces

Heat a large skillet over med. heat with 2 Tbsp. EVOO. Add the mushrooms and brown, about 4 minutes. Add the thyme, garlic, chicken, salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes. Add teh onions and cook 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and cream, cook for 5 minutes. Add the peas, parsley and lemon zest. Toss to combine and cook for 1 minute while you make the topping.
In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs and cheese. Transfer the chicken mixture to an oven save baking dish and evenly sprinkle the top with the bread crumb mixture. Dot with cold butter. Place under broiler and brown 1-3 minutes.

*Alright, this is from her new lower-carb book, but I'm not a low carb type person, so we ate this over brown rice. I would think if you didn't like mushrooms, you could substitute broccoli in it's place (or potatoes, if you aren't watching carbs). And we left out the pearl onions, although next time I'll probably just chop a regular onion and add it.

Cherry Mountain Pie

I'm not sure why they call it pie when it looks like cake, or actually, like cobbler. All I know is that it's quick, easy and good.

1/2 c. butter (you can use 1/4 c. if you're cutting down on fat)
1 c. sugar
1 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. milk
1 can fruit (peaches, pineapple, cherries, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter (in oven) in 9x13 pan. In bowl, mix sugar, flour, baking powder. Add milk, pour over melted butter. DO NOT MIX. Drop fruit by spoonfuls into batter.
Bake 30-40 minutes.

I also add cinnamon or nutmeg to the top, after I drop the fruit. And I sometimes drizzle some of the fruit juice on the top, too.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Leeks Au Gratin

Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens magazine

8 hard boiled eggs, peeled
10 medium leeks
6Tbsp. butter
2Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2c. milk
1/2c. shredded white cheddar
1/4c. grated Parmesan
1/4tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Quarter the eggs lengthwise. Arrange in a single layer in a broiler safe 1 1/2 - 2 quart round dish, or 10 inch round quiche dish. Set aside.

Remove green portion and roots from the leeks. Half the leeks lengthwise. Cut into strips lengthwise, or chop into half circles 1/4 inch thick. Place leeks in a colander that is set inside of a larger bowl of water. Agitate the leeks in the colander to insure that all sand and grit is removed. Take colander out of water bowl. Hold the colander under the faucet for a final rinse. Lay leeks on paper towels to dry. Heat 4 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet. Add leeks and cook until tender, approximately 4 - 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Once cooked, spread evenly over the eggs.

Using the same skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of butter. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Add milk, whisk throughly to remove lumps, and cook until thickened and bubbly. Whisk in half of the cheddar cheese, all of the parmesan, and the cayenne pepper. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over the leeks. Sprinkle remaining cheddar over the top. Bake, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until edges are bubbly and top begins to brown. Makes 8 - 10 servings.

*I made this without the eggs. I also cut the recipe in half, which still made plenty for my family of three. We all loved it by the way. It went great with meatloaf!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Salmon with Dill Sauce

(from Food Network)

This is a really easy recipe. The sauce is really tasty, and the horseradish gives it a nice kick.

2 T extra-virgin olive oil
4 salmon fillets, pin bones removed
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pint sour cream
2 bunches dill, chopped
juice of 2 lemons
1 shallot, minced
pinch red pepper flakes
3 T horseradish

Coat a large skillet with olive oil and place over medium heat. When hot, add the fillets to the pan, skin side down, then season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, until the skin is nice and brown. Turn the fish over and cook for 3 minutes on the other side.

While the salmon cooks, make the sauce...In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, dill, lemon juice, shallot, red pepper flakes, and horseradish. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the sauce over the salmon.

Tips and Notes:
- I forgot the shallot when I made this last night. It still turned out great.

- You can probably cook the salmon any way you'd like, rather than pan-searing it like this recipe calls for. This recipe is all about the sauce, really.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Tortellini Salad

One of my esteemed coworkers had this for lunch the other day, and it looked so good that I demanded the recipe. (It would be a good summer potluck recipe too, for whoever was looking for those earlier.)

1 lb. cheese tortellini
1/3 c. olive oil
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can marinated artichoke hearts
1 med. red onion, chopped
1 can black olives, sliced
4-6 oz. feta cheese
2 t. Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta; dran and cool. Combine oil, lemon juice, mustard and garlic. Mix with pasta and remaining incredients. Chill and serve.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Quick Chicken Cacciatore

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (3 pieces) or, 1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs, if you prefer dark meat
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 portobello mushroom caps, halved crosswise and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/2 cup beef broth or stock
1 (28-ounces) can crushed tomatoes
A handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 pound egg ribbons or egg fettuccini, cooked to al dente
Crusty bread and grated Parmigiano or Romano, for passing

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add half of the extra-virgin olive oil and brown chicken breasts or thighs for 3 or 4 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from pan and season with salt and pepper.
Return pan to stove, reduce heat to medium and add the remaining. Add crushed pepper, sliced mushrooms, and garlic. Season with salt (salt is a magnet for drawing out liquid). Cover and cook mushrooms 5 minutes or until mushrooms are dark, tender and have given off their juices. Add about 1/2 cup of beef broth to intensify the wild mushroom flavor, then stir in the tomatoes and parsley. Cut the chicken into bite-size chunks or slices and add to sauce. Simmer sauce 5 minutes to finish cooking chicken pieces and to allow the flavors to combine. Toss pasta with cacciatore and serve with crusty bread and grated cheese.

Tidbits: Beef broth and stock is now available in resealable paper containers, which can be found on the soup aisle of your market. These paper containers make storage of remaining broth easier; keep some on hand in your refrigerator. Beef broth is used instead of chicken broth in this recipe because it pairs better with the beefy taste of portobello mushrooms. The broth will make your cacciatore taste as if it simmered all day because it accents the mushroom taste well.
Depending on your brand, 1 large can of tomatoes can vary in weight from 28 to 32 ounces. Use your favorite, but check to make sure the product is sugar free.

*Also a very good, quick recipe. If you're worried about carbs, eat whole-wheat pasta.*

Mediterranean Pasta in Minutes

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, sliced diagonally
1 (8 1/2-ounc) jar sun-dried tomatoes, julienned (1 cup)
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 pound fresh angel hair pasta
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 (8 1/2-ounce) can artichoke hearts in water, quartered and drained (1 cup)
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted (1/4 pound)
6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste

Boil water for pasta in a pasta pot, fitted with a strainer. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken strips until no longer pink -- about 3 minutes each side. Add sun-dried tomatoes and garlic to skillet. Saute for 2 minutes. In the meantime, add the fresh pasta to boiling water, cook until al dente, about 5 minutes.
Now add the basil, artichoke hearts, olives and feta cheese to the skillet. Saute 1 minute then stir in the cream. Strain the pasta and transfer to a large pasta bowl. Add the chicken saute to the pasta and toss. Season with oregano, salt and pepper before serving.

*My notes*
This recipe is fantastic. My dad made it for us when we visited one time, and it is super easy to make. Not great for you, with the heavy cream, but not really that bad for you, either. I suppose you could use light cream as a substitute, if you were worried about fat.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Pacific Rim chicken noodle soup

from The Best American Recipes 2004-2005

4 oz cellophane or thin rice noodles
8 c. water
1 chicken (about 3 pounds), cut into pieces
2 c. chopped celery
1 large onion
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp fresh minced lemongrass
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 chile pepper, seeded and minced
4 scallions, chopped
1 c. shredded bok choy or kale or Chinese cabbage
1/4 c. Asian fish sauce
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro

Put the noodles in hot water to soften, about 3 minutes, then drain. Cut the noodles into 2-inch sections. Set aside.
Combine the water, chicken, celery and onion in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and strain the stock. Discard the vegetables.
After the chicken cools, remove the meat from the bones. Discard the skin and bones and add the meat to the stock. In the stockpot, add oil, lemongrass, garlic, ginger and chile pepper. Saute over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Return the chicken and stock to the pot. Add the bok choy scallions, fish sauce, and lime juice. Bring the soup to a simmer and simmer until greens are tender. Add the softened noodles and cilantro and simmer, stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 minutes.

*Okay, here are my notes*
First, if you've got time, simmer the chicken for longer. It'll make better stock. Or, use half chicken broth, half water when you start simmering. For those of you (Gwen) who don't like to handle meat on the bones, I think you could probably get away with using all chicken broth, and boneless chicken. I'd think you'd want 1.5 to 2 lbs of chicken.
Also, we didn't use the chile, because we make Gaby friendly recipes, but I bet it's really good with it. Use whatever kind you like, the authors suggest serrano or jalepeno. We also added more lime (or lemon) juice to ours, and Ernie added more fish sauce. If you don't want fish sauce, use soy sauce instead. Just not the full amount, you'd better do it to taste.
And lastly...the next time, I'll be using more garlic, lemongrass and ginger. Maybe what the recipe calls for, and then half that much again. A note about have to peel away the fibrous leaves to get to the good stuff. And you just use the bottom, not the whole thing.
This was a good soup, though...I can always tell when Ernie and I both immediately want it for lunch the next day, as we're cleaning the kitchen and making lunches.

Fill your pantry: Asian style

I'm thinking maybe it'd be helpful to all of us with very busy lives to sort of create some shopping primers to help keep your fridge/pantries stocked with things that will make cooking easy. I'll start, but feel free to create a "Fill your pantry" list of your own with must-haves.

Alright, if you can't tell, we live for Asian-inspired food. I love Mexican and Italian food, but not the way I love Asian food. So, I thought I'd put together a little list of things it's helpful to have in your fridge/pantry for cooking Asian foods. Get thee to an Asian food store, my friends, and explore some new foods (if you haven't already). If you live near me (or want to come and visit), I'd be happy to take you myself and help you figure it out.
When you're at the Asian store, buy:

Sesame oil
Dark soy sauce (buy the Kikkoman's, it's fine. But also get some good dark soy sauce, like Silver Swan. They taste different, and it's worth having two kinds)
Fish sauce (I'm sure Ernie could tell me what's in fish sauce, but I'm not sure I want to know. It's salty like soy sauce. And tasty. Get the kind that is very liquidy, like soy sauce)
Fresh ginger
Fresh garlic cloves
Fresh lemongrass
Rice vinegar
Mirin (cooking rice wine. sweet. it makes a good base for marinades)
Soba noodles (usually buckwheat)
Rice noodles (both fat and thin)
Rice Vermicelli noodles (good for soups)
Good jasmine rice (throw away that Uncle Ben's and buy some real rice, my friends)
Extra firm tofu
Hoisin sauce
Duck sauce
Toasted sesame seeds

There are other things you can buy — wasabi, miso paste, annato, etc. — but if you had all this in your pantry, you'd be prepared to make almost anything. I'll post some recipes over the next couple of days. We're trying a soup tonight that smelled so good when I made it last night.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Bacon and Black Bean Smash

Courtesy of Rachael Ray

extra virgin olive oil
3 slices of bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 cans of black beans, drained
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 - 2 tsp. hot sauce
*optional 2 - 3 Tbsps. chopped cilantro leaves or scallions
**see below

Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add extra virgin olive oil and bacon. Allow fat to render for 2 minutes, then add onions, jalapeno, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Add 1 can of beans to the pan and use a potato masher to mash the beans. Add the second can of beans and season mixture with salt, pepper, cumin and hot sauce. Enjoy!

**I added 1 can of diced tomatoes (drained) and 1 can of green chiles. It was awesome!

Beef and Chicken Fajita Burgers

Courtesy of Rachael Ray

Ingredients for Beef Fajita Burgers:
1 1/3 lbs. ground sirloin
2 Tbsps. Worchestershire sauce
1Tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 - 3 Tbsp. thyme
1 Tbsp. grill seasoning (McCormick Montreal Steak seasoning recommended)
several drops of hot sauce
grated onion

Combine all ingredients. Divide into 4 portions and shape into patties.

Ingredients for Chicken Fajita Burgers:
1 1/3 lbs. ground chicken
1 Tbsp. ground chili powder
2 - 3 Tbsps. thyme
1 Tbsp. grill seasoning (McCormick Montreal Steak seasoning recommended)
several drops of hot sauce
grated onion

Combine all ingredients. Divide into 4 portions and shape into patties.

Heat a grill pan or larger skillet on medium high heat. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil in the pan. Cook beef burgers approximately 4 minutes on each side for medium doneness. Cook chicken burgers approximately 6 minutes on each side for doneness. Serve on a crusty bun with Seared Peppers and Onions.

Seared Peppers and Onions
extra virgin olive oil
2 red, green, or combination bell peppers seeded and sliced thinly lengthwise
1 medium onion sliced thinly *reserve 1/4 for grating into burgers
1 jalapeno pepper seeded and sliced
2 cups of salsa (any kind)

Heat a skillet over high heat. Add extra virgin olive oil, peppers, and onions. Add the jalapeno peppers and toss mixture using tongs to ensure the edges are seared. After peppers and onions have been cooking for 3 minutes, add salsa and cook 1 minute more.

I made just the beef fajita burgers. I did not have the steak seasoning, so I improvised with garlic powder and ground black pepper. It still turned out terrific!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Crispy falafel chicken with yogurt salad

This is for dinner tomorrow (the chicken, I don't have the stuff for the salad) and it looks good. Appears to be another one of those "looks harder than it actually is" recipes.

From Food Network Kitchens Making it Easy
1/2 c. prepared falafel mix
Vegetable oil for frying
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I'll be using thighs)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

3 kirby cucumbers, diced
1/4 c. mint leaves, roughly torn
1/4 c. fresh dill fronds, coarsly chopped
1/4 red onion, diced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 lemon
1/2 c. plain yogurt

For the chicken: Preheat the oven to 400. Place a small rack on a backing sheet. Put the falafel mix in a pie plate or shallow bowl. Heat about 1/2 inch oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and coat in the falafel mix, shaking off any excess. Carefully place the chicken smooth side down, taking care not to crowd the pan. Cook until nicely browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to race. Bake until firm but slightly springy, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the yogurt salad: Toss the mint, cucumbers, dill, onion, garlic and salt in a small bow. Finely grate zest from the lemon into the salad and squeeze in the lemon's juice. Stir the yogurt into the salad.

Crockpot: No Hurry Vegetable Curry

Yum. This smelled good, and it tasted good, too. I'll write the recipe as is, but I think I'll probably add more curry the next time, and maybe some ginger.

From Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker
1 Tbsp. peanut oil
2 large carrots, sliced on a diagonal
1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
8 oz green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
2 c. vegetable stock
1/2 c. frozen peas, thawed
1/2 c. canned unsweetened coconut milk

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and the onion, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, curry powder, coriander and cayenne and stir to coat.
Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker. Add the potatoes, green beans, chickpeas, tomatoes and stock, cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Just before serving, stir in peas and coconut milk and season with salt.

We ate this over jasmine rice (we had no basmati rice) but I think it'd be good over brown rice (better for you), too.