Monday, December 31, 2007

Minute steak with cherry-mustard glaze

Got this from the Washington Post, including the summary.

Summary:

I'm betting this will find a semi-permanent spot in any omnivore's weeknight rotation. The sauce is sweet and tart, thanks to dried cherries, winy elements and Dijon-style mustard; some of it is used to glaze the onions and the quick-cooking, lean steak, with more served at the finish.

Non-meat-eaters would like this sauce on a baked sweet potato or grilled portobello mushrooms. The meat can be cooked on a gas grill or under the broiler.

Serve on top of baby arugula leaves lightly dressed with olive oil.

4 servings

Ingredients:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup sugar
3 medium red onions*
1 1/2 to 2 pounds thinly sliced top-round minute steak, cut into serving-size pieces**
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
Directions:

Combine the vinegar, water, red wine, dried cherries and sugar over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat and let rest for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the onions into rings about 1/2 inch thick. Season the beef generously on both sides with salt and pepper.

Transfer the cherry mixture to a blender or food processor and puree to form a thick, almost-smooth sauce. Add the mustard and pulse to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the sauce and place the remaining sauce in a large mixing bowl. Add the onions; toss to coat evenly.

When ready to cook, preheat a large grill pan over high heat. Use tongs to transfer the onion rings to the grill pan and cook for 2 minutes, turning them over once.

Meanwhile, add the beef to the sauce in the mixing bowl and turn to coat on both sides. Move the onion rings aside in the grill pan and use tongs to add the beef to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, then turn the meat and onions over and cook for 2 to 4 minutes, moving them around in the pan, until evenly done.

To serve, drizzle the reserved sauce over the beef; divide among individual plates, along with the onions. Serve hot.

*We used 2 large onions
**We couldn't find this beef, so we used stew beef and cut it smaller. I think next time we'd get a steak or filet and slice it up.

Recipe Source:
Adapted from "Rocco's Real Life Recipes: Fast Flavor for Every Day," by Rocco Dispirito (Meredith Books, 2007).

Friday, December 28, 2007

Scalloped Potato Gratin

These were very good, too. We had these Christmas Eve with ham and roasted vegetables.

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Butter
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for broiling
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a saucepan, heat up the cream with a sprig of thyme, chopped garlic and nutmeg.
While cream is heating up, butter a casserole dish. Place a layer of potato in an overlapping pattern and season with salt and pepper. Remove cream from heat, then pour a little over the potatoes. Top with some grated Parmesan.
Make 2 more layers. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Sprinkle some more Parmesan and broil until cheese browns, about 5 minutes.

Watergate salad

Ernie requested this for Christmas Eve, so I had to go looking for a recipe. This one was really simple, and it was all gone that night, so it was good, right?

1 pkg. (4 serving size) Pistachio Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie
Filling
1 (20 ounce) can Crushed Pineapple, in juice, undrained
1 cup Miniature Marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped Pecans
1 1/2 cups thawed Whipped Topping

Mix dry pudding mix, pineapple, marshmallows and pecans in large bowl until well blended.
Add whipped topping; stir gently until well blended. Cover.
Refrigerate 1 hour or until ready to serve.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cranberry-Almond Coffeecake

from King Arthur Flour

According to KAF, this is "a lovely cake for Thanksgiving breakfast; and makes a satisfying autumn dessert, as well." I made it on Christmas Eve, and we had it for and with breakfast on Christmas Day. It was absolutely delicious, and incredibly easy. Geoff took the leftovers into the office this morning. I'm sure he won't be bringing any home.

1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk or yogurt (low-fat is fine)
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (10 3/4 ounces) whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup blanched slivered or sliced almonds, toasted*

Glaze
3/4 cup (3 ounces) confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

*Spread almonds in an ungreased 9" round cake pan, and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-cup (9" to 9 ½") tube pan or bundt-style pan.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar till smooth. Beat in the eggs, then the buttermilk or yogurt and almond extract. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and beat briefly again, to make sure everything is well combined. Add the baking powder, baking soda, flour, and salt, stirring just to blend. Grease and flour a tube pan. Spoon half of batter into pan. Spread half of cranberry sauce evenly atop batter, then spread remaining batter over that. Top with remaining cranberry sauce, and sprinkle toasted almonds evenly over sauce.

Bake the cake for 55 minutes, tenting it with foil for the final 15 minutes. When it’s done, a cake tester inserted into the thickest part will come out clean, and the top will spring back when you press it gently. Remove the cake from the oven, and cool it in pan for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, turn it out of the pan onto a rack set over a piece of parchment, and stir together the glaze ingredients.

Drizzle the thin glaze over the warm cake. Let the cake cool completely before serving (or serve it warm, if you don't mind it crumbling a bit!)
Yield: 1 cake, 14 to 16 servings.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

baked oatmeal

I'm far away from Amish country right now, but the person who posted this on RecipeZaar says this recipe hails from the ol' hometown. Perfect for Jews on Christmas morning. :)

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries (I used golden raisins)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Beat in milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Stir in dried cranberries. Spread into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.

Note: Might be a good idea to let this sit for a while before trying to cut and serve... I'd envisioned it coming out of the baking dish in one solid chunk, like a casserole, but mine definitely fell apart when I cut it basically immediately after pulling it out of the oven, because it smelled too good to wait.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cocoa slices

from Cooking Light Dec. 2007

1 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (about 6 2/3 ounces)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup ice water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and measuring spoons; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine 1/3 cup ice water and vanilla; drizzle over flour mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork until moist. Place dough on plastic wrap; shape dough into a 12-inch log. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap; chill at least 1 hour or until dough is firm.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Unwrap dough log. Cut dough log into 24 (1/2-inch-thick) slices; place slices 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until cookies are set. Cool cookies on pans 5 minutes. Remove cookies from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.


Becky and I thought these needed a little something extra, so we iced them with the leftover icing from making brownies with peppermint icing, and sprinkled crushed candy canes on top.

Potato leek soup

By special request -- I made this for lunch today and Becky, Ernie and I each ate two bowls apiece.

adapted from Soups by Williams and Sonoma

1/4 c. unsalted butter
2 lb leeks, white portions only, trimmed, carefully washed and thinly sliced
6 c. chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
2 lb. baking potatoes, peeled, quartered length-wise and thinly sliced
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives (optional)

In a large saucepan, melt the better over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté just until they begin to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add the stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the ptoatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Blend if desired with immersion blender, or leave chunky. Can also add about 1 c. half and half or light cream, if desired.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with chives.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Toasted Coconut and Dark Chocolate Meringues

Bon Appétit, December 2005

My old roommate Kristen used to make these for holidays and other parties, and I would find myself sneaking into the kitchen to snag a bunch of these before she would put them out for the other guests. They were super fantastic. I haven't attempted them yet, but hope to make them for our holiday party this weekend.

1/2 cup unsweetened medium shredded coconut*
3 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup coarsely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (pieces will vary in size from shavings to the size of small peas; about 2 1/2 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread coconut evenly on baking sheet; bake until toasted and evenly golden, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 275°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl to soft peaks. Gradually add sugar; beat until peaks are thick and fluffy. Fold in coconut and chocolate.

Drop generous rounded teaspoonfuls batter onto prepared sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake until crisp on outside but still soft inside, about 27 minutes. Cool. (Can be made up to 3 days ahead; store in airtight container.)

* Available at some supermarkets and at natural foods stores.

Test-kitchen tip: Make these cookies extra-fabulous by drizzling them with melted chocolate after they have cooled.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Apricot-almond granola

From Cooking Light, December 2007

2 3/4 cups regular oats
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine oats, almonds, and next 4 ingredients (through raisins) in a medium bowl. Combine honey and butter. Drizzle honey mixture over oat mixture; toss to coat. Spread mixture in a single layer onto a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes; stir. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on pan. Break into pieces.

Peppermint bark

This recipe is from Simply Recipes. It's incredibly easy to throw together and it tastes incredible, too.



12 oz. of high-quality white chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips
5 regular sized candy canes, crushed up
1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract

Break up peppermint candy into little pieces. Melt the chocolate according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once melted, add the peppermint extract and stir.
Pour the melted chocolate out onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and spread out with a spatula or wooden spoon. Sprinkle the peppermint candy chunks on to the chocolate and gently press them in with yours hands.
Place in the freezer for 5 minutes or until hardened. Break into pieces and serve or store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Caramel-Filled Chocolate Cookies

From: Culinary in the Country

I first found, and then lost, this recipe a couple of weeks ago. I really wanted to make them for our office party last week, where I have been taste-testing cookies for possible inclusion in our wedding cookie bar next year. After searching all the usual food blogs and not finding it again, I put out an SOS to Shannon, who found the recipe promptly. I think I missed it because I was looking for Rollo cookies, and the title clearly says "caramel-filled." At any rate, they were a big hit at work and at home, and I think will make it onto the cookie bar. The actual chocolate cookie isn't tremendously sweet, which works for me because I don't like super sweet things. This has more of a dark-chocolate flavor. I thought they were best just out of the oven while the caramel was still warm and gooey.

1 cup butter,softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
48 Rollo candies (chocolate-covered caramels)

Beat butter until creamy. Gradually beat in white sugar and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and cocoa. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Work with one part at a time, leaving the remainder in the refrigerator until needed. Divide each part into 12 pieces. Press each piece
of dough around a Rollo. Roll into a ball. Dip the tops gently into the granulated sugar. Place sugar side up, 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.

Bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven, rotating pan halfway at 4 minutes. Let cool for 4 minutes on the baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely. If you try to take them off sooner the caramel might try to come out the bottom

Sunday, December 16, 2007

White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies

These are supposed to be wheat free, but I didn't have any gluten free white flour or gluten free baking powder, so they're just normal. If you wanted them wheat free, though, just substitute those two ingredients. This recipe is from Waitrose's monthly recipe cards.

125g slightly salted butter, softened
150g light brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
150g plain white flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
100g white chocolate, chopped into small chunks
50g fresh or dried cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 200 C /400 F.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla together until light and creamy.

3. Stir in the flour, baking powder, chocolate and cranberries, plus 2 tablespoons of cold water and mix until they are thoroughly combined.

4. Place heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto the baking trays, leaving plenty of space between them for the cooks to expand during cooking.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. (My first batch had burned at 15 minutes, so I would recommend trying 10-12 then checking them. I had been baking for a couple of hours, though, and I think my oven tends to be hotter anyway) Remove from oven and leave on the baking trays for 2-3 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

Snickerdoodles

These are like sugar cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar before baking. They're so easy and absolutely delicious. The recipe is from Betty Crocker's cookbook.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

(You can use self-rising flour, which I did, but be sure to leave out the cream of tartar, baking soda and salt)

1. Heat oven to 400 F

2. In a large bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups sugar, the butter, shortening and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.

3. Shape the dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon sugar mixture then place on an ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.

4. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Black Beans with Sausage (Crockpot)

This is a wonderful slow cooker recipe that fills the house with its delicious aroma and makes me hungry all day. It's from The Slow Cooker Cookbook by Gina Steer.

Serves 4

225g / 8oz dried black beans, soaked overnight (I use kidney beans and pinto beans as well)
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
2-4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 celery sticks, trimmed and chopped
1/2 - 1 tsp dried crushed chillies
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried mustard powder
1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped
8 spicy pork or Toulouse sausages
410g / 14 1/2oz can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp maple syrup
300ml / 1/2 pint beef or chicken stock
2 fresh bay leaves


1. Soak the beans overnight in plenty of cold water. Next day, preheat the cooker on high while preparing the ingredients. Drain the beans, rinse and place in a large pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Boil steadily for 10 minutes, then drain and place in the slow cooker. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan and saute the onion, garlic and celery with the chillies, cumin and mustard powder for 3 minutes. Add the pepper, stir well, spoon into the cooker and stir into the beans.

2. Add the sausages to the pan and cook until browned all over. Remove and place on top of the bean mixture. Blend the tomatoes with the maple syrup and stock, then pour over the sausages and add the bay leaves to the pot. Cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours.

It goes beautifully with cornbread muffins.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Karen’s Carrot Cake Sandwich Cookies

This is from my supervisor at work. She makes great baked goods, and apparently this is a recipe that she made sometime last year, before I started working here, but people still talk about these cookies. (The notes are hers. I haven't had a chance to try them yet, but I didn't want to wait to post them since they sound so good!)

Makes about 25 sandwiches

1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots, (about 3 large carrots)
1 cup chocolate chips (the original recipe calls for raisins)

Cream Cheese Frosting: cream 8 oz butter until fluffy, add 8 oz cream cheese and beat until smooth, add 1 lb confectioner’s sugar and mix till smooth again, finally add 1 tsp vanilla.

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugars and butter; beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until well combined. (** note: parchment paper makes clean up MUCH easier, but if you don’t have it just use greased cookie sheets instead)

2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; stir to combine. Gradually add flour to butter mixture; mix on a low speed until just blended. Mix in oats, carrots, and raisins. Chill dough in refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour.

3. Using a small spoon, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Transfer to oven, and bake until browned and crisped, rotating pan halfway through baking to ensure even color, 12 to 15 minutes (I never rotate them- too much trouble). Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat baking process with remaining dough. Once cooled completely, spread a generous amount of cream-cheese filling onto a cookie. (You’ll likely have extra frosting with this recipe.) Sandwich together with a second cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. (Note: You can also freeze them for storage, and serve cold or let sit at room temperature before serving. I like to freeze them spread out on a cookie sheet so they don’t stick together, and then package in a Ziploc bag so they can be taken out one at a time.)

Pasta Skillet with Beans and Tomatoes

from Cooking Light (June 1998, but I found it on their website)

This was really easy to put together, and we liked the combination of flavors. It helps that I love chickpeas.

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups chopped tomato
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups hot cooked angel hair (about 6 ounces uncooked pasta)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Asiago cheese
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Basil sprigs (optional)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomato and garlic, and sauté 2 minutes. Add pasta, basil, salt, pepper, and chickpeas; cook 2 minutes. Place mixture in a bowl; stir in cheese and vinegar, and garnish with basil, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings (1-1/2 cups)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Chocolate Almond Cherry Crisps

from Cooking Light, Dec. 2007

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups oven-toasted rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies)
3/4 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup slivered almonds

Cover a large baking sheet with wax paper.
Place semisweet and white chocolate chips in a medium glass bowl; microwave at HIGH 45 seconds. Stir, and microwave an additional 45 seconds or until almost melted. Stir until smooth. Add cereal and remaining ingredients; stir quickly to combine. Drop mixture by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet; chill 1 hour or until firm.

Oatmeal, chocolate chip and pecan cookies

from Cooking Light, Dec. 2007

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 5 1/2 ounces)
1 cup regular oats
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate minichips
Preparation
Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring with a whisk; set aside.
Place sugars and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla and egg; beat until blended. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Stir in pecans and minichips. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.

Parmesan-crusted polenta with sausage-mushroom ragout

adapted from Gourmet, Dec. 2007

I've taken the liberty of changing the directions a little, because they made no sense to me the way they were written. This was quick to pull together, and very tasty. You could easily make it vegetarian by omitting the sausage and increasing the mushrooms, or you could substitute turkey Italian sausage. We, however, used good old pork sausage. It made enough for Ernie to have seconds, and for me to have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

2 lb. precooked polenta (we used some that was garlic and sundried tomato flavored), cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
1/3 c. grated parmesan
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casing removed (I used the stuff in the big tube, so I didn't have to remove the casing)
1/2 lb. mixed sliced fresh wild mushrooms
1/2 c. dry red wine
1 1/2 c. bottled marinara sauce

Preheat broiler. Broil polenta rounds on a lightly oiled large heavy baking sheet until lightly browned in spots, about 7 minutes. Turn rounds over and sprinkle with cheese, then broil until polenta is golden in spots and cheese is melted, about 7 more minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over high heat, then cook sausage, breaking up lumps until just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Heat remaning Tbsp. of oil in skillet over medium heat, then cook mushrooms until softened, about 3 minutes. Add wine and boil, scraping up any brown bits, until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
Stir in sausage and tomato sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Season with salt.
Serve ragout spooned over polenta.

slow cooker chicken "pot pie"

I got this recipe from another blog I read. The author had gotten the recipe from Allrecipes.com, where it was called chicken and dumplings. Geoff and I thought it was more like a pot pie, so I'm renaming it here. The crust isn't a traditional pot pie crust, which is why I'm putting that part in quotes.

Maybe if you left out the veggies, it would be more chicken-and-dumplings-ish.

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup (we used the Healthy Request version)
1 can condensed cream of celery soup (we used the Healthy Request version)
1 onion, finely diced
Veggies of your choice (we used a frozen bag of corn, peas, and carrots) -- optional
Enough chicken broth to cover the chicken (we used about a cup, maybe more)
1 (10 ounce) package refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces

Place the chicken, soup, and onion (and veggies if you so choose) in a slow cooker, and fill with enough chicken broth to cover.

Cover, and cook for 8-9 hours on low (we got started late, so we did 5 hours on high). About 1 hour before serving, place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

yogurt muffins with blueberries (or other stuff)

From Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian -- Chanukah present! Yay! These muffins have infinite variations, but I made them with yogurt and blueberries tonight, and they were delicious and v. healthy.

Basic muffin recipe:

3 T melted butter or neutral oil (grapeseed or corn)
2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c sugar, or to taste
1/2 t salt
3 t baking powder
1 egg
1 c milk, plus more if needed

1. Preheat oven to 400. Grease standard 12-c muffin tin or line with muffin cups.

2. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Beat together the egg, milk, and melted butter or oil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, combine the ingredients swiftly, stirring and folding rather than beating and stopping as soon as all the dry ingredients are moistened. The batter should be lumpy but smooth, and thick but quite moist; add a little more milk or other liquid if necessary.

3. Spoon batter into the muffin tins, filling them about 2/3 full and handling the batter as little as possible. Bake 20 or 30 minutes (mine were actually done in a little less than 20), or until the muffins are nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before taking them out of the tin.

Variation for blueberry or cranberry muffins:
Great with cornmeal substituted for up to 1/2 c of the flour: Add 1 t ground cinnamon to the dry ingredients; increase the sugar to 1/2 c. Stir 1 c fresh berries into the batter at the last minute. You can also use frozen berries; do not defrost them first. Blueberry muffins are good with 1/2 t grated or minced lemon zest added to the batter along with the wet ingredients. Cranberry muffins are excellent with 1/2 c chopped nuts and/or 1 T grated or minced orange zest added to the prepared batter.

Variation for sour cream or yogurt muffins:
Rich and tender, with a hint of sourness. (I think that may be what made this batch good and different-tasting than usual muffins.) Reduce baking powder to 1 t and add 1/2 t baking soda to dry ingredients. Substitute 1 1/4 c sour cream or yogurt for th emilk and cut the butter or oil back to 1 T. Proceed with the recipe.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Crockpot mexican chicken

When Becky and I were on our way back from Baldwin on Friday, we were talking (what else?) food.
She shared this recipe with me and since I don't see it on the blog, I'm putting it up here. I didn't believe her completely when she said how good it was, but I trust Becky's taste in food, so I tried it.
She's right, it's that good. And easy.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can corn (I used the no-salt kind)
1 can black beans
1 jar medium (or hot) salsa

Put the chicken breasts on the bottom of the slow cooker. Dump all the other stuff (don't drain) on top. Cook on low for at least 5 hours. I cooked mine for 9 hours, Becky says she sometimes cooks it for 11 hours. Shred the chicken with two forks.
Serve on tortillas with other taco fixings, if you like. Or eat it out of the crockpot, which I'm not ashamed to admit I just did.
We'll be eating it later this week in taco salads (with baked taco shells).

Sunday, December 02, 2007

bourbon bread pudding

Made this for a friend in lieu of a birthday cake -- she loves bourbon and loved this bread pudding, but it is quite bourbon-y and I'd recommend serving the sauce on the side. I thought it was best without the sauce, with just the little taste from the raisins. No leftovers, but I think it would have been good the day after.

from Simply Recipes

Bourbon Sauce:

* 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 cup Kentucky bourbon whiskey (I don't think you necessarily need this much)

Bread Pudding:

* 1 loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch squares (about 6-7 cups)
* 1 qt milk
* 3 eggs, lightly beaten
* 2 cups sugar
* 2 Tbsp vanilla
* 1 cup raisins (soaked overnight in 1/4 cup bourbon)
* 1/4 teaspoon allspice
* 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Bourbon Sauce:

In a saucepan, melt butter; add sugar and egg, whisking to blend well. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Whisk in bourbon to taste. Remove from heat and let cool. Whisk before serving. The sauce should be soft, creamy, and smooth.

Bread Pudding:

1 Preheat oven to 350°F.

2 Soak the bread in milk in a large mixing bowl. Crush with hands until well mixed and all the milk is absorbed. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla, and spices together. Gently stir into the bread mixture. Gently stir the raisins into the mixture.

3 Pour butter into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan. Coat the bottom and the sides of the pan well with the butter. Pour in the bread mix and bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, until set. The pudding is done when the edges start getting a bit brown and pull away from the edge of the pan. Can also make in individual ramekins.

Serve with bourbon whiskey sauce on the side; pour on to taste. Best fresh and eaten the day it is made. Makes 8-10 servings.