Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cheesy Mexican Chicken

I can't remember where I got this recipe from. I think I had found several like it on the web and sort of adapted them. It's a lovely, easy, warming meal that can be thrown together in no time. I've put the approximate amounts I use for just the two of us - for 3 people, you could probably get away with just bulking up the sauce with more chicken and veg, but definitely double everything for four.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 packet of taco seasoning*
2 cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 pepper (I use red or green, depending on what I have), chopped
1/2 cup frozen corn
roughly broken taco shells or tortilla chips

*Admittedly, with the cream of chicken soup and taco seasoning and cheese and tortilla chips, it can get a bit salty, so if you're watching your sodium levels, you can get the same effect by making your own seasoning with paprika, cumin, ground coriander and crushed chillies.

Preheat the oven to 325F / 170C.

Heat a bit of oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the chicken and pepper. When the chicken is sealed, stir in the cream of chicken soup and taco seasoning. Allow it to warm to almost a simmer and then add half the cheese. Once the cheese is melted in, add the frozen corn and bring it to a simmer.

Transfer the chicken and sauce to a casserole dish and cover with the broken taco shells. Bake it in the oven for 20 minutes and then add the remaining cheese to the top. Put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling around the sides.

Serve with rice and a salad.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Berry and Cherry Flapjacks

In Scotland flapjacks are like chewy granola bars. I made these for my brother's visit expecting them to last most of the week, but they had disappeared within about 24 hours. They're so simple and reasonably healthy - good for kids' lunch boxes, midmorning snacks, or even for breakfast on the go. The recipe comes from, and I have put the original recipe and the conversions, so hopefully this will make sense.

150g / 5.5oz unsalted butter, cut into cubes
75g / 2.75oz light brown sugar
3 tbsp / 5-6tbsp clear honey**
250g / 9oz rolled oats (I think Quaker oats are rolled - not the instant ones)
170g / 6oz dried berries (I used cranberries and blueberries, but any kind of berry/raisin is nice)
50g / 1.75oz chopped nuts (I used almonds, but again, anything works)

**I think the tablespoons here are much bigger - I used 4 US tablespoons, and it wasn't quite enough and bits were too crumbly - the honey helps it stick together, so it's worth using a fair amount

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F. Place the butter, sugar and honey in a medium pan and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.

Remove from the heat and stir in the oats, dried fruit and nuts. Press the mixture into a lightly greased 30cm x 20 cm x 4cm / roughly 12in x 8in x 1.5in rectangular non-stick tin and bake in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then score lightly with a knife into 12 bars. Leave to cool completely in the tin before removing. The flapjacks can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Zucchini & Chickpea Filo Pie

From Nigella Lawson.

*be sure that your filo is thawed (if frozen) and has been sitting at room temp for 2 hrs before using (this was the mistake I made--it still tasted good but it's a total pain to try and work with frozen filo)

1 t cumin seeds
1 small onion, small dice
2 T olive oil
1/2 t ground tumeric
1 t ground coriander
3 plump zucchini, unpeeled and diced
generous 1/2 C basmati rice (I used jasmine rice)
2 1/4 C vegetable stock (or chix stock if you prefer)
2 15 oz. cans of chickpeas, drained
scant 1/2 C melted butter
7 oz. filo dough

Preheat oven to 400 and dig out an 8" springform pan

Gently fry the cumin seeds and onion in the olive oil until the onions are soft. Add the tumeric and coriander and diced zucchini. When zucch. is soft but still holding its shape, add rice and stir, letting the rice become well coated with oil. Add the stock 1/2 C at a time stirring until liquid is absorbed. Once all stock is absorbed, rice should be done. Stir in chickpeas and check seasoning (I found that it needed a little S&P). Remove from heat.

Brush the inside of the springform pan with butter. Line bottom and sides with 3/4 of the filo, buttering each piece as you layer. Leave a little filo overlapping the sides and keep 3-4 layers for the top. Carefully put in the fillings and then fold in overlaps. Butter the last layers of filo and scrunch on top of pie as a covering. Brush with a final coat of butter and put in the oven for 20 min. (or until top is browned and middle is hot).

I served this with a green salad and can't wait to eat it again tomorrow for lunch. Love that Nigella!

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

From Paula Deen

Y'all, this is so good. Seriously. It's not low in fat but it doesn't matter--it's delicious. And it's holiday time. Yum!

1 18 1/4 oz. box of yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg

1 15 oz. can pumpkin
1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 stick butter, melted
1 16 oz. box of 10x sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350. Combine ingredients for cake and pat into a lightly greased 13 x 9" pan. For filling: in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey.*

Serve with fresh whipped cream.

* I think I over-baked mine but it's easy to do b/c it's so wobbly when you check it at 40 and 50 minutes. I think an hour should do it and know that it will firm up a bit when it cools.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Beef Daube Provencal

From Cooking Light, September 2007

This dish was awesome. It was in the 20th anniversary edition of Cooking Light as their best beef dish over the years. We like beef stew in our house, but I usually make it with a brown gravy. This stew had a really different flavor- bright and tangy from the wine and tomatoes. I will definitely make it again. I used stew beef that was already cubed in the grocery store, rather than the chuck roast, and it came out really tender and flavorful. I also used dried herbs, because that's what I had.

2 tsp olive oil
12 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (2 lb) boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-in cubes *
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 cup red wine
2 cups chopped carrots
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup less-sodium beef broth
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
dash of ground cloves
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 bay leaf
3 cups hot cooked medium egg noodles

1) Preheat oven to 300.
2) Heat oil in a small dutch oven over low heat. Add garlic to pan; cook for 5 minutes or until garlic is fragrant, stirring occassionally. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon; set aside. Increase heat to medium-high. Add beef to pan. Sprinkle beef with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef from pan. Add wine to pan and bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add garlic, beef, remaining 1 tsp salt, remaining 1/4 black pepper, carrots, and next 8 ingredients (through bay leaf) to pan; bring to a boil.
3) Cover and bake at 300 for 2 1/2 hours or until beef is tender. Discard bay leaf. Serve over noodles.

Yield: 6 servings (3/4 cup stew and 1/2 cup noodles).

Notes: to make in a slow cooker, prepare through step 2. Place mixture in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Waldorf chicken salad

First an introduction, then a recipe. My friend from college, Kate, is going to be joining the food blog. She's living in Scotland with her husband, so I'm betting recipes come across in metrics. I'll link to a handy converter on the side where we keep our food blog links.
So yay! Welcome Kate.
Also, I believe we may be getting a few more food bloggers shortly.

And now, for the recipe. I made this Monday night when Gwen came to the house, and it was really good. It was a pretty tangy dressing -- at first, I thought I might leave out the lemon next time, but when I ate the leftovers yesterday, it had melded pretty well. Maybe this is a recipe to make one day, eat the next.
We ate this with mini croissants and roasted brussel sprouts (some olive oil, salt, garlic, roasted for 20 minutes at 400), but it'd also be good in a wrap for lunch.

Waldorf Chicken Salad

Originally found here

3/4 cups Greek-style yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced thyme
1 pound boneless/skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded (I used the breast from a rotisserie chicken from the new grocery store near my house)
1/2 cup seedless grapes, halved
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
3/4 cup diced Granny Smith Apple (I used a sweet apple, because that's what I had in the house. It was a good contrast in tastes)
fresh ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, salt and thyme until smooth. Add chicken, grapes, walnuts and apples - toss to combine. Season to taste with pepper.
Serve however you like. It was good with croissants, probably better in a wrap.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

From Simply Recipes (totally my favorite recipe blog lately)

Ta da! I finally made a cookie that turned out well! Yay! I took a bunch to work, and everyone loved them. If you follow the instructions and use 2 Tbsp scoops, these cookies are huge and chewy. I made some a bit smaller, and they didn't lose the chewiness like the recipe threatens. Next time I think I'll use dried cranberries instead of raisins, and maybe a bit of cinnamon in addition to the nutmeg. These were really good as is, though.

Makes about 18 large chewy oatmeal raisin cookies.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups rolled oats (Quick or Old Fashioned)
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or waxed paper.

2 Either by hand or with electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.

3 Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg together in medium bowl. Stir dry ingredients into butter-sugar mixture. Stir in oats, raisins and optional walnuts.

4 Working with generous 2 tablespoons of dough each time, roll dough into 2-inch balls. Place balls on parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between each ball.

5 Bake until cookie edges turn golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool on cooling at least 30 minutes before peeling cookie from parchment.

Notes from Simply Recipes: If you prefer a less sweet cookie, you can reduce the white sugar by one-quarter cup, but you will lose some crispness. Do not overbake these cookies. The edges should be brown, but the rest of the cookie should be very light in color. The trick to making the cookies chewy is to make them large. Smaller cookies tend to get more dried out and crisp, and therefore not as chewy.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

sundry's insanely good pumpkin-chocolate muffins

This is from one of my favorite bloggers, who originally posted the recipe here. These muffins live up to their name, too -- although I can only imagine how insanely good they'd actually be if you, say, used all the ingredients. I managed to forget the oil and they still were great, albeit oddly sticky and spongy. Next time, I'm going to try to substitute applesauce or something for the oil; the fact that the muffins held up well without it suggests they might adapt easily to (deliberate) messing with them to make them a bit healthier.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (I, Gwen, used 1 c whole wheat and 3/4 c white)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tbls baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 can pumpkin [edited to clarify that this should be the ‘regular’ size can of pumpkin, not the large variety — the original recipe calls for 1 CUP of pumpkin so if that’s easier use that measurement]
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbls molasses
Some amount of chocolate chips

• Preheat oven to 400˚ and lightly grease a 12 muffin tin (I would use paper holders next time, just because it makes them easier to remove).
• Sift (or stir well) flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices together in large bowl.
• In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, milk, oil, and molasses.
• Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix.
• Stir in your desired amount of chocolate chips (I recommend a “shitload”).
• Fill the muffin cups 2/3s full.
• Bake 18-20 minutes, until toothpick or knife inserted in center comes out clean.

*Another tip: Someone mentioned in the comments that sugar should be considered a "wet" ingredient and should be mixed with the actual wet ingredients. No idea if that's true (or, if so, why) but I did it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Maryland Crab Soup

This a recipe I copied from Isaac's soup recipe book before I quit working there many years ago and it has always been a favorite. Truly, the best soups I ever had were made there and I have yet to find a restaurant that makes such a great variety of tasty homemade soups.

This recipe has been adapted from the original 10 gallon version (that's right: 10 gallons)

1 large red pepper, medium chop
1 large green pepper, medium chop
2 medium onions, small chop
1 T olive oil
2 lbs. red fingerling potatoes
3 6 oz. cans of lump crab meat (if you can get it fresh, all the better, but if not, this works well)
3 large cloves garlic
1/2 C Old Bay seasoning
scant 1/4 C. crab base (if you can't find crab base and are using canned crab meat, reserve the juice from the crab and add to soup)
2 cans tomato sauce

Scrub potatoes and cut into 1 inch pieces. Cover with water and cook until almost done. Drain into a colander and reserve for later. In a large pot, add olive oil, onions and peppers. Once soft, add tomato sauce, garlic, crab base (or juice) and Old Bay and about 4 C of water (I don't measure this exactly, I just add water until it looks good). Add potatoes and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to a simmer and add crab meat. Stir carefully to prevent breaking up the crab too much. Simmer until potatoes are done. I like to serve this with a loaf of cheddar garlic bread from Big Sky Bread (or homemade if you have time). It makes enough for dinner plus a fe lunches and I even gave some to my in-laws and neighbors.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pea Salad with Smoked Almonds

another tasty recipe from Simply Recipes

I wasn't sure I would like this, because I am not a huge fan of peas, but this was pretty tasty. I would bring this as a side dish to pot-lucks, BBQ's, etc. It tasted good and only took 5 minutes to prepare. Can't get much better than that. I did rinse the almonds, even though that seemed weird, and they still tasted good (and a little spicy). Blue Diamond makes a 6oz can of jalepeno smokehouse almonds, which is what I think this recipes is calling for.

16-ounces frozen petite peas (do not thaw)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
6 ounces smokehouse almonds, rinsed to take off the excess salt, chopped (preferably by hand)
8 ounces chopped water chestnuts
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp yellow curry powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine the frozen peas, green onions, smokehouse almonds, and water chestnuts. In a separate small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and curry powder. Gently stir the mayonnaise mixture into peas. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Serves 6.

Notes from Beth: Can make the morning of, but add the almonds when you serve. Still good the next day but should be made the day you serve. Wonderful served with sliced tomato and avocado and chicken for lunch.