Monday, October 26, 2009
I had my husband’s family over for my Mother-in-law’s birthday last Sunday night and, because of the “cold” down here in Florida, I made chili and cornbread for dinner. I have made a lot of chili recipes but I have to say that this one was definitely my favorite. It was simple to make and the smell as it was simmering on the stove was wonderful. I usually make turkey chili so next time I will try this with Turkey meat and see if it comes out as good. I made Jalapeno-chili cornbread from Barefoot Contessa to go with the chili. This cornbread was very moist and tasty and complemented the chili really well.
Blue Ribbon Chili
Originally from Debdoozie at allrecipes.com
•2 pounds ground beef
•1/2 onion, chopped
•1 teaspoon ground black pepper
•1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
•2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
•1 (8 ounce) jar salsa
•4 tablespoons chili seasoning mix
•1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans
•1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the ground beef and the onion and saute for 10 minutes, or until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain grease, if desired.
2. Add the ground black pepper, garlic salt, tomato sauce, salsa, chili seasoning mix and kidney beans. Mix well, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least an hour.
Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa and Food Alla Puttanesca
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups milk
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
8 ounces aged extra-sharp White Cheddar, grated, divided
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish, 3 scallions
2 seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers
1.Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
2.In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. **Do not add the eggs to hot butter or it will cook the egg**.
3.With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don't overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
4.Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan.
5.Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Mike and I went to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival last weekend and had a really good time. I liked a lot of the foods we sampled so I decided to buy the festival cookbook. I am gradually trying the recipes in the book and I will be posting them as I try them out.
The Canada booth is always our favorite stop during the festival so I decided to start with the cheddar cheese soup, which is probably the most popular item at the festival. This is definitely not a healthy soup, but it would be great for a holiday or dinner party. This soup is extremely rich, we could barely finish what was in our bowls so I will cut this in half if I ever make it for just our little family again.
I especially loved how wonderful the preparation of this soup made the house smell. I rarely cook with bacon and butter is used sparingly, so this almost felt like making a dessert. The best thing to go with this would be something light, like a salad or small Panini.
½ Pound applewood smoked Bacon (cut into ½” pieces)
4 Tablespoons butter
1 Diced red onion (about 1 cup)
3 Diced celery stalks (about 1 cup)
1 Cup all purpose flour
3 Cups chicken stock
4 Cups whole milk
1 Pound aged white Cheddar cheese (shaved or grated)
1 Tablespoon salt (to taste)
1 Tablespoon pepper
1 Tablespoon worchester sauce
1 Tablespoon tobasco sauce
1 cup warm beer
(Tips from allearsnet.com)
*****The number one rule in Cheddar cheese soup is “Low and slow”. This recipe takes about an hour to make, and if you try to turn the heat up and rush it, you will only ruin your work *****
*****The number two rule is “Keep stirring”. This is a soup that can burn, and takes a lot of tender loving care. When in doubt, “Keep stirring" *****
1. In a large Soup pot or dutch oven, render down the bacon.
2. Add the Butter and melt it.
3. Add the Onion and Celery and sauté until onions to start to get translucent.
4. Dust this with flour and mix to form a roux. Keep stirring until all of the flour has been incorporated.
5. Add chicken stock, slowly, while constantly stirring. You are looking for something resembling a gravy at this point. It's going to be very thick. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
6. Next add milk, again slowly, while constantly stirring. This should significantly lighten up your soup at this point. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
7. Turn heat up slightly, it's time to melt the cheese. Add cheese very slowly in small amounts, while stirring constantly. Allow each portion of cheese to melt away before adding the next. Keep stirring.
8. Now add salt and pepper. Be very careful with your salt. There is a lot of salt in your bacon, and possibly even in your chicken stock.
9. Next add worchester, tobasco, and beer. Keep stirring.
10. Turn down the heat slightly and let simmer or serve. You can garnish each bowl with some finely chopped bacon and chives.
****When you are reheating this soup (especially in a microwave) you need to remember the 2 rules. “Low and slow” and “Keep stirring” you want to be constantly stirring this to ensure it blends evenly. ****
I have heard a lot about how good this recipe was so I thought I’d give it a try. It was very easy to put together in the morning before I left for work. I let the chicken sit out overnight and just poured on the other ingredients in the crockpot before I left. When I got home, the house smelled great!
Pulling the chicken with a fork was very easy and I let it sit and warm while I made some black beans to go with the meal. We just spooned this chicken into some whole wheat tortillas with some toppings and we were good to go. The only change I would make is to use frozen chicken instead of thawed, the chicken was a bit burnt after 10 hours in the slow cooker.
I will definitely be making this again.
3 boneless, skinless frozen chicken breasts
1 cup Medium Salsa
1 package taco seasoning
1 can reduced fat condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1. Add chicken to the bottom of the slow cooker.
2. Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken.
3. Mix salsa, sour cream, and cream of chicken soup; pour over chicken.
4. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
5. Shred Chicken with two forks and mix back in with all the sauce.
I can remember eating this as a kid when it was my Dad’s night to cook for my sister and myself. It was usually in the form of a TV dinner and it would be accompanied by either white rice or mashed potatoes. I saw this on Skinny Food by Amy and I tried this out because I thought it sounded like a comfort food type of meal. It turned out good, we all enjoyed it. It was also very quick to make (3 steps!!) and that’s perfect on days that I have to whip up something after a day of work. Give it a try, it’s so vintage…
Skinny food by Amy
•1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed French onion soup
•1 1/2 pounds ground beef
•1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
•1/4 teaspoon salt
•1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
•1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
•1/4 cup ketchup
•1/4 cup water
•1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
•1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1. In a large bowl, mix together 1/3 cup condensed French onion soup with ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, salt and black pepper. Shape into 6 oval patties.
2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown both sides of patties. Pour off excess fat.
2. In a small bowl, blend flour and remaining soup until smooth. Mix in ketchup, water, Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder. Pour over meat in skillet. Cover, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
I have been wanting to make paella for a long time but the usual recipes call for a lot of work and expensive ingredients. I saw this recipe for weeknight paella and thought I’d give it a try. I am so glad I did! This was a huge hit with my husband and my toddler gobbled it up too. I altered the recipe by using chicken instead of shrimp since my husband is allergic them. I also added some white wine to the preparation (optional) and I cooked the meats before I added the rice.
2/3 cups yellow rice (Goya)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 breasts chicken, cut in chunks
1/2 pound chorizo, sliced
½ cup white wine
1 ½ cups chicken broth
1 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup frozen peas
1. Cook the chorizo and brown the chicken on medium heat in a large skillet. Remove meats to a separate plate and slice chorizo.
2. Heat olive oil in the large saute pan over medium-low heat. Add shallot and garlic and continue to saute until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Add rice and cook until it begins to toast, about 1-2 minutes.
5. Add broth. Cover pan tightly and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 18 minutes.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Here’s another guest blog from one of my other cubemates, Katie
My name is Katie. I am a busy working mom of a very busy toddler and pregnant with #2 currently, so cooking needs to be something I can make for my family that is quick and healthy and still tastes great! Most of my dishes I substitute to make a “lighter” version…shhh…don’t tell my husband! I have been able to make great meals and still keep the flavor with not as much of the fat. Enjoy!!!
1 ½ cup cubed chicken breast
1 2/3 cup frozen mixed veggies thawed (carrots, corn, green beans, peas)
1 ½ cans (10 ¾ oz) Fat Free Cream of Chicken Soup
1 ¼ cup Healthy Heart Bisquick
½ cup milk (skim or 1% to lower fat) **give or take a splash for consistency**
Nature’s Seasons Seasoning Salt, to taste
1. PreHeat Oven to 400°F
2. Cut raw chicken breast into small cubes- enough to fill a measuring cup to 1 ½ cups of chicken
3. In a frying pan on medium heat, use a tsp of olive oil and sauté the chicken with season salt until cooked thoroughly. Then set aside.
4. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together Bisquick, milk, and egg to create the crust.
Once oven is ready, take a small amount of the Bisquick and line the bottom of the pie pan with batter.
5. Bake for 5 minutes and then remove from the oven.
6. Meanwhile, in a larger mixing bowl, combine thawed veggies, cooked chicken cubes, and cream of chicken soup. Mix until all ingredients are well coated in the soup.
7. Pour contents of the large mixing bowl into the pie pan on top of the base you already created.
8. Take remaining Bisquick batter and pour over the top of the chicken and veggie mixture.
9. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
I bookmarked this recipe several weeks ago from Mrs. Sac’s Purple Kitchen. It looked like a recipe that could be modified easily to add different ingredients that I had on hand. I love enchiladas, but I don’t always like the assembly and the work it takes to make them. I also like poaching chicken and shredding it for recipes, so I gave this a try. This casserole came out really good, I added corn and black beans to the mix and used mostly stuff that I had in the fridge and pantry. This is a great, low cost meal that can be heated up the next day for lunch. I will definitely be making this again.
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 (4.5-ounce) cans chopped green chiles, divided (do not include seeds/membranes or it will be HOT!)
1 3/4 pounds skinned, boned chicken breasts
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup evaporated skim milk (I used heavy cream from my fridge, it worked fine but isn’t as light that way)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup (2 ounces) light cream cheese (I used light sour cream that I had on-hand, turned out great)
1 (10-ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 can black beans
1 ½ cups frozen corn
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 ounce tortilla chips, crushed (about 6 chips) ( I didn’t use any chips, the casserole still came out great)
1.Preheat oven to 350°.
2.Combine broth and 1 can of chiles in a large skillet; bring to a boil. Add chicken; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until chicken is done, turning chicken once.
3.Remove chicken from cooking liquid, reserving cooking liquid; cool chicken. Shred meat with two forks, and set aside.
4.Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 can of chiles and onion; sauté 3 minutes or until soft. Add reserved cooking liquid, milk, Monterey Jack, cream cheese, and enchilada sauce; stir well. Stir in shredded chicken, beans, and corn; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
5.Place 4 tortillas in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Spoon 2 1/2 cups chicken mixture over tortillas. Repeat layers twice, ending with chicken mixture.
6.Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and chips. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
I made this with fresh marinara sauce made from crushed tomatoes and I think that really added to the flavor. I served dinner with Blackstone Cabernet Sauvignon, it complemented the meal perfectly, I will definitely be getting that wine again.
1 package Archer Farms whole wheat oven-ready lasagna noodles
3 cups Marinara Sauce
1 lb Ground beef or Italian Sausage
2 cups ricotta cheese
½ cup Parmesan Cheese
2 cups Mozzarella Cheese
Salt and Pepper
1.Preheat Oven to 375 Degrees F
2.Brown meat in a skillet on medium heat, drain and return to skillet on low heat.
3.While meat is browning, mix ricotta, egg, and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle in salt, pepper, and Italian Seasoning.
4.Add Marinara Sauce to meat in skillet and combine thoroughly on low heat.
5.To assemble lasagna, spread ½ cup of the sauce mixture on the bottom of a casserole pan, cover mixture with lasagna noodles. Next, spoon ½ of the ricotta mixture onto the noodles and cover with 1/3 of the remaining sauce mixture, cover with another layer of lasagna noodles. Repeat this with one more layer.
6.Cover the final layer of lasagna noodles with the last 1/3 of the sauce mixture and sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese.
7.Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
8.Let the lasagna rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese (optional for layering)
1 C. chopped nuts (optional)
1 C. granulated sugar
1 C. mashed bananas
1 stick butter
2 ¼ C. flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp vanilla extract
1.Butter and flour a 9x5” baking pan
2.Mix together softened cream cheese, butter and sugar. (Note: I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese)
3.Add the eggs and vanilla extract.
4.Mash bananas in a small bowl with a fork.
Note: 3 small or 2 large bananas equals approx 1 Cup.
5.Stir in mashed bananas into mixture. At this step, you may add chopped walnuts.
6.Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
7.Gradually add dry mixture to the wet mixture.
8.Scoop mixture into bread pan.I added extra chunks of cream cheese for some yummy goodness.
9.Finish scooping remaining batter into pan and smooth out.
10.Bake for 1 hour and 10 mins. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
Note: If you added the extra cream cheese, the consistency will be more dense and the bread will require refrigeration.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I love when I try a new recipe, not expecting too much, and it comes out really really good. This turned out to be really tasty! I was a little wary of using instant mashed potatoes as a breading, but the garlic potato mix I used was really tangy and the cayenne pepper adds a little spice without being overly hot. I made the fish with hot buttered noodles and steamed edamame, but I will probably make a sauce or a fruit salsa to go with the fish next time. I will most definitely be making this dish again.
4 firm whitefish fillets (Cod, Mahi, Bass)
1 Cup Instant Mashed Potato Mix (I used garlic mashed potato mix)
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
½ cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1.Dredge fish fillets in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.
2.Coat fish with beaten egg
3.Combine mashed potato mix with cayenne pepper and some additional salt and pepper. Dredge fish in potato mixture.
4.Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat.
5.Cook fish in olive oil for 3-4 minutes per side until the outside is browned and the fish flakes easily with a fork.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Beef stew has always been one of my favorite foods. It’s wonderful on a cold night after a long day out shopping or running errands on the weekends. I have tried a lot of different recipes but I have stuck with this one for several years just because the whole family loves it so much. My Mother-in-law made this for us years ago, it can be found on Williams-Sonoma.com, I have been making it ever since.
I unfortunately did not have any chestnuts this time, they are not available in the stores yet, but I wanted to include them because when you can get them, they really add so much to this recipe. They have a slightly meaty, salty taste and they give the stew a great texture. The stew by itself is very good if you cannot find chestnuts. Browning the beef and then stewing it all day in wine gives the broth a very velvety texture.
I live in Florida, so I don’t get to experience a lot of cozy winter nights, but this stew makes me think of cold winter nights and holidays with my family, it’s one of my favorites.
3 lb. boneless stewing beef, cut into small
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp Salt and freshly ground pepper (or seasoning salt)
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
8 oz. new potatoes, cut into small pieces
1 cup steamed chestnuts
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 1/2 – 2 cups beef stock
1 1/2 – 2 cups red wine
1. In a Ziploc bag, toss the beef with the flour, salt and pepper to coat evenly.
2.In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm half the olive oil until just smoking. Add half the beef and brown on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining oil and beef.
3.Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, potatoes, chestnuts, tomato paste to the slow cooker.
4.Pour the wine into the sauté pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Add the wine to the slow cooker.
5.Add stock to the slow cooker, enough so that the liquid can be seen just beneath the vegetables and meat.
6.Stir all ingredients to combine
7.Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.
I make batches of this marinara sauce every couple of weeks and I freeze most of it to use in weeknight dinners. I use this for chicken parm and lasagna, it’s good plain over ravioli, and I have also used it on homemade pizza. It’s a very easy recipe that uses ingredients that I usually have on hand, all I need is a few cans of crushed tomatoes. This recipe is easily tweaked to add other veggies and spices, it always comes out good.
This recipe is usually enough for 2-3 uses.
2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp Olive Oil
½ sweet or yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¾ cups red wine
2 tbsp Italian Seasoning
1.Heat Olive Oil over medium-low heat
2.Add onions and cook 5 minutes or until translucent
3.Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes, be careful not to burn garlic
4.Increase heat to medium and add red wine, cook down to about half.
5.Add crushed tomatoes and spices and bring to a boil.
6.Decrease heat and simmer sauce 20 minutes – several hours (sometimes I will make this early on a weekend and let it cook all day)
Monday, September 28, 2009
I became a fan of cous cous in college, before then I hadn’t had anything more exotic than white rice. Now, I love to experiment with different types of grains. I found these Israeli Cous Cous at Whole Foods and I am trying to figure out good ways to use them. This time, I used a rice pilaf recipe I had and adapted it to the cous cous.
It turned out good, I served it with grilled salmon and veggies. The texture was different, almost like a risotto or orzo. I will be trying out some different recipes with them in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.
1 1/3 cups Cous Cous
1 ¾ cups chicken stock
¼ cup slivered almonds
1 tbsp olive oil
1.Toast almonds in a saucepan on medium-low heat until slightly browned and fragrant. Remove from pan.
2.Add olive oil to the saucepan on medium heat
3.Add cous cous and toast for 5-7 minutes until slightly browned.
4.Add seasoned salt and black pepper and quickly combine.
5.Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
6.Reduce heat to low and simmer 12-15 minutes.
I am from Philadelphia, but please don’t expect these to taste anything like the authentic Philly cheesesteaks they make up there, we just don’t have the right ingredients down here in Florida. That being said, I do sometimes like to make a steak sandwich on “easy” nights and Mike is a big fan (he hasn’t tried the real thing yet). I usually just buy rare deli roast beef and heat it up with some provolone cheese. I serve it on a crusty sub roll and call it a cheesesteak, it works for us.
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
1 tbsp butter or butter spray
¾ lb Rare Deli Roast Beef, sliced thin
4 slices provolone cheese
2-3 Hoagie Rolls
1.Coat skillet or flat griddle pan with butter on medium heat
2.When butter is melted, create 2-3 “piles” of roast beef, one for each sandwich you are making.
3.Brown beef in skillet.
4.In the meantime, slice hoagie rolls in half down the middle and brown under the oven broiler.
5.Rip cheese slices in half and add the slices onto the pile of beef, add cheese throughout the beef so there are no dry spots of the sandwich.
6.Cover each sandwich pile with a saucepan lid, adding one icecube under the lid before covering the beef and cheese, this will steam the cheese.
7.When cheese is melted, scoop each pile into a hoagie roll. Serve hot with chips, fries, or a salad.
I have had this Olive Garden Copycat recipe forever, it’s definitely one of my favorites. I decided to make it Sunday night because the whole family is recovering from and cold and because, well, I had a massive hangover after attending my class reunion. This soup hit the spot, it has a spicy zing to it which helps clear congested sinuses and keeps it from being a bland meal, but the broth is very good when recovering from sickness (of all kinds).
You can make this more of a stew by adding more pasta and less broth, I do this so the baby can eat it too (he’s not so good with the spoon yet). If you want more broth, just add more beef stock and go easy on the pasta. If sinuses are your problem, don’t be afraid to add more Tabasco sauce, it really does the trick.
3 tsp Olive Oil
1 lb ground beef
1 chopped onion
2 cups slivered carrots
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans
1 can cannellini beans
1 box beef stock
1 ½ tsp Tabasco sauce
1 42 oz can spaghetti sauce
1 cup ditalini pasta
1.On medium heat in a large stock pot, saute ground beef in oil until brown.
2.Add carrots, onion, and tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes or until soft.
3.Add rinsed beans to pot
4.Add beef stock, spices, Tabasco, and spaghetti sauce
5.Simmer until veggies are tender, about 45 minutes, adding pasta into the pot in the last 15 minutes of cooking.
I also like to make some crusty bread to go with the soup. I just take French bread and put it under the broiler for a few minutes until it’s lightly browned.
Nate loves his soup!
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I don’t remember why I first tried to make risotto. I hadn’t heard of it before but it sounded like it could be good. I compared a bunch of recipes and came up with this one after a few questionable attempts. I make this a lot, usually on weeknights. It’s one of my son’s favorite foods, so it’s fun to make it for him. I made this for my parents last night and it turned out wonderful!
This amount will serve about 4 people as a side dish.
1 cup Arborio rice
2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup white wine
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 box chicken stock (4-5 cups)
1 handful grated parmesan cheese
In a medium-sized skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat and add chopped onion, cook onion for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until garlic is slightly brown.
Add rice to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add wine to pan and stir until wine is completely absorbed by the rice. Add 1 cup of chicken stock and reduce heat to medium. Stir rice frequently until stock is completely absorbed. Continue adding chicken stock in ½ to 1 cup increments and stir until absorbed by rice. Continue doing this until rice is soft but slightly al-dente (taste to check), this usually takes about 4 cups of chicken stock, more if you like a softer risotto.
Tip: Sometimes if I am late getting dinner started, I will cheat by covering the pan for a few minutes at a time to cook the rice faster. The risotto still tastes fine if you do this, it’s just not traditionally how you make risotto.
Turn off heat and sprinkle parmesan cheese over risotto. Serve warm.
If you have leftovers, risotto is really good the next day if you coat it with a little flour and fry it in olive oil to make a fried rice cake.