Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Strawberry Freezer Jam

I was determined to try my hand at freezer jam with our loot of strawberries. My friend, Maureen, makes the best homemade freezer jam I've ever tasted: not too sweet, not too thick, naturally GOOD! So I called her (maybe a few times) to get her recipe. I love the way mine turned out and have enjoyed it on toast, yogurt, rice cakes, a spoon . . . basically anything that will get this good stuff into my mouth!

4 pints of strawberries
1 cup sugar (the recipe in the box will say that you MUST use 3 cups of sugar or it won't set right. I loved the texture of mine using just one cup. It was a little runnier than jello, but still could hold it's own on a piece of toast)
1 package SureJell Pectin (for less or no sugar needed recipes)

Prepare plastic containers by washing, rinsing and drying. Use 1-2 cup size containers. I used one container that was too large, filled it too high, and the fruit separated and rose to the top while it was setting. Boo.

Wash, rinse, and hull strawberries. Crush with a potato masher one cup at a time until you have 4 cups of crushed berries. Make sure not to puree. There should be nice chunks of berry left.

Measure one cup of sugar into a large saucepan. Stir in 1 box of pectin (make sure to use the less or no sugar needed kind for this recipe). Stir in 1 cup water. Bring mixture to a boil on medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Stir fruit mixture quickly into hot pectin-sugar mixture. Stir 1 minute or until thoroughly mixed.

Pour into prepared containers, leaving 1/2-inch space at top for expansion during freezing; cover.

Let stand at room temperature 24 hours until set. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks. Otherwise, store in freezer for up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator.

Strawberry Shortcake

My kids and I officially kicked off our summer with a visit to a local farm for some strawberry picking! I had a fantastic time in the kitchen finding multiple ways to use up the delicious berries. This was the first thing I made (more strawberry posts to come!). It's hard to go wrong with eating strawberries on homemade shortcake (sorry, Mom). I halved the recipe to make four small cakes. We ate two that night and enjoyed them again for lunch the next day, but they were just ok on day two. Fresh is definitely best with this one. For step by step pictures, visit Ashley's post.

1 1/2 pounds (about 6 cups) fresh strawberries
1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for dusting
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
whipped cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Make the sweetened strawberries: Hull and quarter strawberries; toss in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup sugar (I only added about 1 Tbsp. The berries were so sweet and fresh, I hated to mess with the natural flavor). Let stand until syrupy, tossing occasionally, at least 20 minutes (and up to 1 day, covered and refrigerated).

In a food processor (or using a pastry cutter), combine flour, butter, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk; pulse/mix just until moistened, 4 or 5 times. Do not overprocess.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; with floured hands, gently pat dough into a 4-by-8-inch rectangle.

Dust a large knife with flour; cut dough into 8 squares. Transfer to a baking sheet; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes; cool on baking sheet. To serve, split biscuits with a serrated knife; layer with berries and whipped cream.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Meatless Monday - Moroccan Tagine

This recipe from Vegetarian Times was very simple, but had a complex taste that was both delicious and satisfying. We enjoyed it over quinoa, but brown rice or bulgar would have worked just as well.

2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. sweet or smoked paprika
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large leek, cut into 1-inch-thick rounds
1 medium red bel pepper, cut into 1-inch triangles
4 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or a 15-oz. can, rinsed and drained)
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 dried apricots, quartered
1/2 cup dry-cured black olives, optional
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

To make Spice Blend: combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

To make Tagine: Heat oil in pot over medium-high heat. Add leek and bell pepper; saute 3 minutes. Add potatoes, chickpeas, garlic, and Spice Blend; cook 30 seconds. Stir in apricots, olives, and 2 cups water; season with salt and pepper. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Serve sprinkled with cilantro.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kuku Wa Nazi

You should make this if for no other reason than to be able to tell your friends that you know how to make "Kuku Wa Nazi". The recipe was submitted to Saveur by a Kenyan home cook. I tweaked it just a bit, but we thoroughly enjoyed the tangy, creamy sauce and tender chicken. It will taste fairly bitter or sour until you add salt, but add a bit at a time, giving the flavors a chance to settle with each addition.

1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 green or red Thai chilies, stemmed, seeded, and minced
4 plum tomatoes, cored and minced
1 medium red onion, minced
4 skinless chicken thighs (bone-in is fine)
1/4 cup lime juice
2 14-oz. cans coconut milk
1 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups cooked rice, for serving

Heat the oil in a 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add the turmeric, garlic, chilies, tomatoes, and onions and cook, stirring often, until the onions are caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes.

Add chicken to pot along with lime juice and coconut milk. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve over rice and garnish with more black pepper.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

What's not to love about this combination?!

1 cup flour (I use half wheat, half white)
3/4 cup oats
1/3 cup packed br. sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup mashed banana
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease muffin pans or use paper cups.

Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together milk, peanut butter, bananas, egg, oil and vanilla until smooth. Add dry ingredients to the bowl and mix just until everything is moist.

Fill muffin pans. Bake 18-20 minutes.

Pineapple Lassi

After enjoying Indian food for dinner one evening, I suggested that we make mango lassis for dessert. "I have a big bag of mango in the freezer," I told my husband. So I went to work throwing things in the blender, grabbed the bag of mango, and cut it open . . . only to discover it was pineapple. Oops. I could have sworn that I bought mango! We went with it and were extremely pleased with my mistake. This recipe will make enough for two large glasses.

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
3/4 cup milk
7 tsp. sugar
2 cups pineapple (or mango!)

Put everything in a blender and mix for about 1 minute or until smooth.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Meatless Monday - Coconut Red Beans and Rice

Welcome to "Meatless Monday". I'm not sure how long this is going to last, but until further notice, Monday's have been dubbed a meatless day in our home, so I'll be sharing a meatless recipe with you each Monday. We started off with this simple crock pot recipe. It was in desperate need of salt, but after a few dashes, we gobbled it up.

1 cup dried small red beans (soaked overnight, then boiled for 10 minutes)

1 large onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 (14.5-ounce) can coconut milk (full fat is best. if you prefer to not use full-fat, add a drop or two of coconut extract to intensify the flavor)

3 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups long grain basmati white rice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 limes, cut in wedges

Sort beans, and soak overnight in a bunch of water. In the morning, drain the water and dump the beans into a large pot of fresh water. Boil rapidly on the stovetop for at least 10 minutes before draining and putting into your crockpot. Red beans MUST be boiled on the stove before added to the slow cooker to kill a possible toxin that occurs naturally.

Add onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Pour in the whole can of coconut milk (the creamy stuff, too), and chicken broth. Stir in raw rice and kosher salt. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until beans are bite tender. Before eating, squeeze on a bit of lime juice for a fun tropical twist.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ginger Cardamom Shortbread

I have yet to find something that included cardamom that I didn't love. These lovelies are no exception. The little spicy morsels have a bit of a kick on them, and are the perfect match for a hot cup of tea. Next time I'll probably experiment by leaving out the ginger and cardamom from the shortbread. The glaze has enough flavor on its own.

2 cups unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
1 cup sugar
3 cups flour, sifted
11 tsp. ground ginger
3 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 Tbsp. golden syrup or corn syrup (light will work, but dark is preferred)

Heat oven to 375. Grease a 9x13 baking dish' set aside. Put 18 Tbsp. butter and sugar in a large bowl; beat on medium until fluffy. Add flour, 3 tsp. ginger, 1 tsp. cardamom, baking powder, and 1 tsp. salt; mix until incorporated but still crumbly. Transfer mixture to reserved dish; press flat with your hands. Bake until shortbread is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

In a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat, combine remaining butter, ginger, cardamom, and salt and the confectioners' sugar and syrup. Bring to a boil and pour over shortbread; cool. Cut into 2" rectangles.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Quiche Cups

This was super easy and fun to make! I basically used what I had on hand, which yielded 6 ham cups, 3 turkey cups, and one cupless cup. We liked the ham best, but the cupless cup was pretty good and popped right out. Make sure to spray your muffin tin. These would make a fun addition to a brunch if you used a mini muffin pan. Also, I've never tried it, but I've heard that quiche freezes well . . . perfect single serving breakfasts on the go!

8 eggs
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 C shredded Parmesan cheese
5 oz frozen spinach, defrosted, water squeezed out and roughly chopped
(that's half a standard frozen box of spinach)
1/2 red pepper, diced
6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 C sliced green onions
1/4 t salt
1/8 t black pepper
1/2 t hot sauce or several drops of chili oil
thinly sliced ham

Preheat oven to 350

In a bowl, combine all ingredients (except ham slices) and stir well.

Spray muffin tin with non cook spray and place one piece of ham in each well to form a bowl.

Evenly divide egg mixture between the 12 muffin wells (about 1/4 C each), being careful to keep ingredients well dispersed. You want them to fill right up to the top.
Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. The tops should be puffed and just barely set on top. Eggs will sink after cooling.

Serve immediately because who likes cold eggs?! (we enjoyed ours with toast and fruit smoothies) You can also store them in an airtight container in the fridge, or freeze them. If you're reheating from frozen, try to take them out the night before so they can thaw in the fridge. Then when you microwave them, set them on a folded paper towel to drain excess moisture.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Broccoli, Chicken and Rice Casserole

You will almost never see anything that resembles this in my cupboard:

But I love my husband dearly, so every now and then I will bring one of these lovely cans home to make this recipe, which is one of his absolute favorites. I didn't take a picture of the dish because after looking at it, you would never have given the recipe a try. So you'll just have to trust me that this a serious comfort food for my man and, odds are, you will probably like it too!

1 cup long-grain rice, uncooked
1 cup water
2 cups chicken broth
one 10 3/4oz. can cream of chicken soup
4 cups chopped broccoli
2 cups chicken, chopped into bite-sized chunks
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp onion salt
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.
Cook on high 4 hours.
If the casserole is too runny after 4 hours, remove the lid and continue to cook on high for 15 minutes.

I've adapted this recipe from the original found in Fix-It and Forget-It.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chickpea and Feta Salad

I originally marked a page in my Vegetarian Times magazine for a different recipe, but when I turned to that page recently, it was this recipe that caught my eye! I literally ate this entire salad by myself over the course of four days (with the addition of some homemade croutons). It was light, delicious, and a perfect match for the sunny weather we are finally getting.

2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup minced leek (just the white part) or red onion
2 cups baby spinach leaves
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or a 15-oz. can, rinsed and drained)
2 medium carrots, grated (about 1 cup)
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
romaine lettuce
balsamic vinegar
feta cheese

Whisk together lemon juice and oil in bowl. Stir in leek, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Slice the spinach into thin strips. Combine spinach, chickpeas, carrots, bell pepper, and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Stir in leek mixture, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Shred lettuce and divide among 6-8 plates, top with chickpea salad. Garnish each serving with 1 Tbsp feta and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Friday, June 11, 2010

French Dip Sandwiches

It just doesn't get much easier than this. I served these sandwiches for dinner when family were visiting and we all loved them. I'll make them again and won't change a thing. Some of us ate our sandwiches open-faced with forks, but we all ate every last bite. The next day, I cooked rice in the leftover juices and added the little meat that was left to make, what we like to call, Hash.

1 2.5-3 lb. beef roast (you can use a frozen roast if you want)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
2 1-ounce packages dry onion soup mix
2 c. water
2 cans beef broth
6-8 large buns (or more...6 would be VERY generous servings!)
Swiss, provolone, or mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and rub roast with salt and pepper.

When very hot, carefully place roast in pan and sear on all sides. You're not cooking the meat, you're just browning it quickly on all sides to add flavor and seal in the juices.

Place in crockpot and sprinkle with onion soup mixes. Pour water and beef broth over roast.

Cook 8-10 hours on low or cook 4-5 hours on high and another 3-4 hours on low. It's hard to screw this part up; basically, the longer it cooks, the more tender it will be. But you know it's done when you pop a fork in it and the meat just falls apart. When meat is ready, shred with two forks.

Place meat in crusty rolls. Top with cheese and broil open-faced in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes, until bread is golden and cheese is melty.

Ladle juices from crock pot into small cups for dipping and enjoy!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rice Noodle Salad with Chicken and Shrimp

This recipe has several different steps, but they aren't difficult and it was a tasty turn-out.

Marinade for the chicken and/or shrimp:
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. coarsely grated ginger
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped fine
Juice of 2 limes
2 T. tamari (or soy sauce)
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. hot red pepper flakes
1/2 c. olive oil or sunflower oil

1. Mix all of the ingredients together. Marinate a half pound of shrimp (shelled) and 4 boneless chicken thighs or 2 boneless chicken breasts. Leave to marinate for at least half an hour. While you are waiting, start the barbecue and work on the rest of the salad.

For the salad:
1/2 lb. thin rice noodles, cooked according to directions on the package
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. fish sauce (aka: Nam Pla)
1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, sliced into 1/2-inch lengths
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 t. hot red pepper flakes
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
1 c. snow peas, sliced thin
1/2 c. salted peanuts

In a large bowl, pour boiling water over the noodles. Let sit from 5 to 10 minutes, or until the noodles are soft enough to eat. Drain well and drizzle with sesame oil to keep them from sticking together. Scramble the eggs in a small skillet, just until cooked. Chop and set aside.

Mix the sugar, fish sauce and rice wine vinegar together. Set aside. At this time, you may want to start barbecuing the chicken and shrimp. For the shrimp, cook them on each side for a minute or two and then take them off the grill right away. Cook the chicken, skin side down, and let it get nice and crispy. Continue cooking the chicken until it is cooked through, then remove it to a cutting board and slice thin, skin and all.

In a large pot, heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium heat and saute the garlic and half of the green onions for a few minutes. Add the rice noodles and the fish sauce mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Add the scrambled eggs, shrimp, chicken, the rest of the green onions, 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, snow peas and lime juice. Mix well.

Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and cilantro. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 3 or 4, depending on how hungry you are.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Salmon Panzanella

Aside from chopping everything, there wasn't much to preparing this light and tasty salad.

1 (approx 1 lb) pkg salmon, cut into 1-inch chunks
5 cups cubed baguette or ciabatta bread (day-old is fine)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Half a red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups chopped tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes
2 cups sliced cucumbers (preferably Persian or hothouse)
1 bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp capers, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

For vinaigrette (or use 1/3 cup bottled dressing):
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp crushed garlic, or 1/2 cube frozen Crushed Garlic
2 Tbsp Orange Muscat vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Season salmon with salt and pepper. Toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil until pieces are evenly coated.

Toss bread cubes with 1 Tbsp olive oil until evenly coated. Place salmon, bread, and onion on a baking sheet in a single layer (or if you prefer the bite of raw onion, reserve uncooked). Bake for 6-7 minutes or until salmon is just cooked through, stirring halfway to roast evenly.

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, capers, and basil. Add salmon, bread, and onions.

Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients(or use bottled dressing), add to bowl, and toss until evenly coated. For optimum flavor, allow salad to sit for 30 minutes for flavors to meld.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Honey Chicken Salad

These flavors worked perfectly to create a delicious salad! The chicken could easily stand alone and would be perfect for fajitas. The original recipe calls it spicy honey chicken, but I decided to drop "spicy" from the title since it was full of flavorful spices, but not spicy hot. Next time I will at least double the chicken rub and get creative with other ways to devour that delicious meat!

1-2 heads Romaine or Red Leaf Lettuce
2 ripe but firm mangoes, chilled
2-3 ripe but firm avocados
sliced red onion (optional)

Spicy Honey Chicken (see recipe below)
Honey-Citrus Vinaigrette (see recipe below)

This serves 4 large salads or 6 smaller sized ones.

While chicken is grilling, wash lettuce and divide among serving plates. Slice avocados, onions, and mangoes and place them on top of the lettuce. When chicken is finished, let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing to preserve the juices. Then slice it up and divide among the salads. Drench it all in the Honey-Citrus Vinaigrette and pretend you're at a fancy restaurant!

Honey-Citrus Vinaigrette

1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 T grated onion
1/3 C fresh orange juice
3T fresh lime juice
2T honey
3/4 t cumin
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground black pepper
1/2 C vegetable oil

Place all ingredients in a tightly sealed jar and shake your bootie (and the jar) vigorously. Store in the fridge, and shake before dressing salad.

Spicy Honey Chicken

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, about 2lbs
2 t vegetable oil

2 t granulated garlic
2 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t coriander
1 t kosher salt
1 t cumin
1/2 t chipotle chili powder

1/2 C Honey
1T Cider Vinegar

Combine the rub spices in bowl and mix well.
Use kitchen shears (or a pair of clean scissors) to trim off any excess fat from the chicken pieces. Pat dry. Drizzle oil over chicken and rub in with your hands to lightly coat all the pieces. Then toss chicken with the spice rub to coat all sides well. Use your hands and get in there! Grill chicken for 3-5 minutes on each side, until cooked through.

While chicken is cooking, warm honey in the microwave so it's not so thick. Add the vinegar and combine well. Take the rest and brush on chicken (both sides) in the final moments of grilling.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...