Saturday, April 25, 2009

Chicken and Vegetable Chowder

This is another one of my favorite soups from The Big Book of Soups and Stews.

1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 medium potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cubed
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 turnip, peeled and chopped (I've never added this)
1 clove garlic, sliced
1/4 cup uncooked long-grain white rice (I use brown)
4 cups chicken stock or broth
1 cup buttermilk or milk
2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

In a large soup pot over high heat, bring vegetables, garlic, rice, and 3 cups of the stock to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until vegetables and rice are tender, about 20 minutes.

Transfer in batches to a food processor or blender, and blend the soup until slightly chunky. Return to pot. Stir in remaining 1 cup stock, buttermilk, chicken, cheese, salt, thyme, and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, until cheese melts and flavors are blended, about 10 minutes.

Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

This was very tasty and fairly easy to throw together. I was expecting more of a kick with all the spices and flavors that are combined, but it was still good.

Serves 4

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs (you can use breasts, but the thighs are more flavorful)

1 large red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
2 Tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 14-oz can coconut milk
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger

In a small bowl, mix together the salt, ground coriander, cumin, ground cloves, cinnamon, ground cardamom, black pepper, chili powder, and turmeric. Set aside.

Rinse chicken, pat dry. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Put into a bowl and sprinkle the spice mix over all the pieces. Coat well and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

In a large skillet heat 1 Tbsp oil on medium high heat. Add the onions and jalapeños and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Remove the onions, peppers and garlic from the pan and put into a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Use the same pan for the next step.

Add 1 Tbsp oil to the skillet and heat on medium high heat. Add one half of the chicken pieces, spreading them out on the pan so they are not crowded. Brown for a few minutes on each side. When the chicken pieces are cooked through, and no pink remains, remove from pan, add to the bowl with the onions. Cook the second batch of chicken pieces the same way. Remove from pan, add to bowl with onions.

Add the coconut milk, minus a couple tablespoons, to the skillet. In a small bowl, mix the remaining coconut with the corn starch to dissolve the corn starch. Add the corn startch mixture back to the skillet with the coconut milk. Cook on medium heat and stir till thick and bubbly. Mix in the worcestershire sauce. Add chicken mixture, basil, and ginger. Cook 2 minutes more to cook through.

Serve over rice.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mexican Bean Salad

I love making this! It's easy. It tastes great. It looks nice (better than my picture). And it's a lot, so we inevitably have leftovers, which makes for an easy lunch with chips and a side of plain yogurt.

Whisk together:
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup vinegar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 Tbsp. cumin
1/2 Tbsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. chili powder

Combine in a large bowl:
10oz. corn
one red pepper, chopped
one green pepper, chopped
one small red onion, chopped
45 oz. (three cans) beans - any combination. I usually use two cans black and one can kidney

Stir in the dressing and serve. It's great cold or at room temperature.

Power Muffins

These were delicious! More like cake in texture, but very moist and yummy. I switched things up a bit from the original, so this is my version.

1/2 cup brown sugar
½ cup peanut butter
1 banana, mashed
½ cup of apple sauce
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients well and set aside. Blend everything else and then sift in dry ingredients. Spray muffin tray. Bake for 15-18 min. Makes 12.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chicken Curry

Fix It and Forget It is the source for this simple crock-pot recipe that we love.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (I usually use whatever is cheapest - bone-in breasts in this case)
1 small onion, chopped
2 sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds) cubed
2/3 cup orange juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 tsp. curry powder
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. cold water

sliced green onions
shredded coconut

Place chicken in slow cooker. Cover with onions and sweet potatoes.

Combine orange juice, garlic, chicken bouillon grandules, salt, pepper, and curry powder. Pour over vegetables.

Cover. Cook on Low 5-6 hours.

(I don't do the rest of the steps . . . the juices are a little runny, but still good)

Remove chicken and vegetables and keep warm.

Turn slow cooker to High. Dissolve cornstarch in cold water. Stir into sauce in slow cooker. Cover. Cook on High 15-20 minutes. Serve chicken over rice and pour sauce on top along with desired toppings.

Roast Chicken Thighs with Tomatoes and Herbs

This is what I served for Easter lunch. Not your traditional ham, but one of our favorites and always a crowd pleaser.

About 3/4 of a large onion, cut in 1/4-inch slices
6 to 8 cloves garlic, crushed but not chopped
1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes or other small tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 Tablespoons roughly chopped fresh marjoram or thyme (divided) (I use dried)
Kosher salt
3 pounds bone-in chicken thigh (about 12 medium)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the onion, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, pepper flakes, 2 Tbsp. herbs and 1 tsp. salt; toss until everything's nicely mixed. Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt to taste.

Arrange the chicken thighs on two heavy rimmed baking sheets, with space between the chicken pieces. Distribute the tomato mixture and any juices around the chicken so it's in an even layer but not covering the chicken.

Roast until the chicken is totally tender when pierced with a knife, 35 to 45 minutes. During roasting, check that the tomato mixture isn't burning. You want the vegetables to release juices, collapse and brown slightly but not to burn onto the pan. If they're getting too dark, pour in a few spoonfuls of water or chicken broth.

When the chicken is done, transfer to a serving platter. Put a large sieve or colander over a bowl and carefully scrape the tomato mixture into the sieve. Arrange the vegetable mixture on the chicken platter and sprinkle everything with the remaining 1 Tbsp. herbs and serve.

I save the juices and freeze to use later as broth.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Nutella Mousse

I got this idea from Jessie's blog. So easy. So yummy.

2 cups whipping cream
2 round tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup hazelnut chocolate spread, such as Nutella
1/2 pint raspberries or strawberries

Beat the whipping cream and sugar until it forms soft peaks.
Place the hazelnut chocolate spread in a medium bowl. Warm the spread in the microwave until loosened and smooth – test after 40 seconds on high. Stir and repeat, if necessary, until loose.
Divide the berries evenly among the dessert cups. Fold a small amount of whipped cream into the hazelnut chocolate spread mixture until well combined. Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Divide the completed mixture among the cups.

Mexican Lasagna with Enchilada Sauce

Yummy! I made my own enchilada sauce and have included that recipe below. This was really, really good and Ryan didn't even mind that it was vegetarian!

2 tsp olive oil
11⁄2 cups chopped onion
1 lb zucchini, diced (about 3 cups)
21⁄2 tsp ground cumin
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with chiles
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed
1 can (11 oz) corn niblets, drained
1 can (10 oz) mild enchilada sauce (or make your own!)
1⁄2 cup chopped cilantro
5 (8-in.) whole-wheat flour tortillas
11⁄4 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar
Garnish: reduced-fat sour cream

Heat oven to 400ºF. Coat a 3-qt round baking dish with nonstick spray.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté 5 minutes. Add zucchini and cumin, and sauté 5 minutes or until zucchini is crisp-tender. Stir in tomatoes, beans, corn and enchilada sauce; bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

Put 1 tortilla in baking dish. Top with 11⁄2 cups zucchini mixture; sprinkle with 1⁄4 cup cheese. Repeat layers 4 times.

Cover with foil and bake 20 to 25 minutes until bubbly around edges and cheese is melted. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream, if desired.

Ten-Minute Enchilada Sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons self-rising flour
1/4 cup New Mexico or California chili powder
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
salt to taste

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in flour and chili powder, reduce heat to medium, and cook until lightly brown, stirring constantly to prevent burning flour.

Gradually stir in tomato sauce, water, cumin, garlic powder, and onion salt into the flour and chili powder until smooth, and continue cooking over medium heat approximately 10 minutes, or until thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt.

Cilantro Cream Sauce

When I saw this on my friend's blog, I knew it was something Ryan and I would love. And, oh, how we do.

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon sour cream (I used plain yogurt)
1 (7 ounce) can tomatillo salsa (I used regular salsa)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt (I used regular salt)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (about one cup)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Combine everything in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Place in a serving bowl.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mediterranean Chicken Packets

This was SO easy and tasted great. I just made enough for two and saved the rest of the ingredients to do it again in a couple of weeks.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
4 artichoke hearts (from a 14-ounce can), quartered
12 Kalamata olives, halved and pitted
4 teaspoons capers
1/2 cup crumbled feta (2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place four 12-inch squares of parchment paper or heavy-duty foil on a work surface. (I did one in parchment paper and one in foil and couldn't tell a difference between the two except that the parchment paper ripped when I transferred the chicken and the foil didn't) Place a chicken breast on one half of each square, leaving a 2-inch border; season with salt and pepper.

Dividing evenly, top chicken with tomatoes, artichokes, olives, capers, and feta. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and oil. Fold parchment over ingredients, and crimp edges to seal.

Place packets on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until chicken is opaque throughout, 20 to 22 minutes.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pizza Pockets (or balls)

Apparently, I can't make pockets. I tried. I failed. So I made balls. Pizza balls. I imagine they were just as tasty had I been able to actually make a pocket. Jaime gave me this recipe and didn't mention anything about difficulty with pocket-making, so I've decided it's just me. I've never really liked pockets anyway.

1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces Italian turkey sausage
1 cup tightly-packed arugula (about 1 ounce)
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (13.5-ounce) package of store-bought pizza crust (recommended: Pillsbury)
All-purpose flour, for rolling out pizza dough
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce, store-bought or homemade
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium-sized, heavy skillet. Add the sausage and cook until crumbled and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the arugula and cook until wilted. Turn off the heat and let cool about 10 minutes. Add the cream cheese, 1/3 cup Parmesan, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface to a thin 20 by 12-inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise. The cut each half into 8 equal rectangles.
Spoon topping onto 1 side of each of the rectangles. Using a pastry brush, brush the edges of the rectangle with egg wash. Close the rectangle of pizza dough over the topping. Use a fork to seal and crimp the edges. Place the pizza pockets onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Brush the top of each pizza pocket with egg wash. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the marinara sauce over low heat in a medium saucepan. Serve the hot pizza pockets with the marinara sauce alongside for dipping.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Holla' Beef & Barley Stew

This was so yummy. Jessie posted this recipe at a perfect time - the SNOW put me in the mood for soup and the spicy flavor in this stew warmed us up quick!

2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (I only used 1/2 tsp. and it was still really spicy!)
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 cloves diced garlic
½ cup red wine
1lb. cubed sirloin
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
½ onion, chopped
1 leek, sliced down the center and then sliced thinly
6 cups beef stock
½ tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
½ cup barley (rinsed)
1 stalk of parsley
1 bunch of fresh spinach leaves
Salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, melt the butter on low heat
Mix together the flour, cayenne and black pepper in a bowl, then add it to the butter, whisking until smooth
Turn heat up to Med/high and add the sirloin and garlic. Brown the sirloin, then remove it
Brown the carrot and onion
Add celery and leeks and cook for another 3 minutes
Add sirloin back in with vegetables and add red wine. Cook for another 5 minutes
Add the beef stock, thyme, bay leaves and bring to a boil
Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for at least 3 hours
About 45 minutes before you serve the soup, add in the barley
About 10 minutes before serving, add the spinach and parsley
Salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste
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