Friday, October 26, 2012

BBQ Chicken Quinoa

photo found here

The different textures in this yummy salad-esque lunch enhanced the flavors and made the dish more interesting.  We all enjoyed it!  I used the crock pot for my chicken, making it that much easier to throw together when it was time to eat. 

1-2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup corn
1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups shredded BBQ chicken*
1 avocado, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
cheddar cheese, shredded
2-4 Tbsp BBQ sauce 

In a large bowl, toss together the quinoa, corn, black beans, chicken and avocado. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer mixture into a bowl and top with shredded cheese, BBQ sauce, scallions and cilantro.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

*I put 6 chicken tenders in the bottom of my crock pot and then added one onion, sliced.  On top, I added a few squirts of BBQ sauce - enough to make a nice layer over everything.  The meat was ready to be shredded after five hours on low.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fudgy Brownies with Cookie Butter Frosting

We celebrated Jessie's birthday while she was visiting and she let me pick what to make for the special dessert!  I chose chocolate, for obvious reasons.  And was excited to try out this frosting, which ended up being delicious.  But next time I would double the amount for one square pan of fudgy, gooey brownies.  Seriously.  We needed way more frosting.  For obvious reasons.

Update: Jessie made these again and said that doubling the frosting recipe was perfect.

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
for the cookie butter frosting-
3 tablespoons softened butter
3 tablespoons cookie butter, also known as Specaloos
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a glass 9×9 square pan with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
In a small pot, melt butter, chocolate chips and cocoa together over medium low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Stir in eggs, 1 at a time and vanilla. Gently stir in all dry ingredients until just incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and bake 20-30 minutes or until just set. Mine was done right at 20 minutes, but my oven is also hotter than the sun. Set aside to cool.
For the frosting, stir butter, cookie butter, vanilla and powdered sugar together until a thick paste forms. Stir in milk carefully and then mix vigorously to smooth out any lumps. Spread over brownies, cut into bars and serve.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cheesy Jalapeno Pull Bread

This was just as amazing as I hoped it would be when I pinned the recipe!  Three of us ate the entire thing for lunch.  Granted, that's all we ate.  But we polished off every bite while playing Cribbage! 

1 rustic loaf of bread, unsliced, either Italian or French
12 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup (less or more to taste) pickled jalapeƱos, chopped
1/4 cup green onions, including greens, chopped
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice the bread almost all the way through (not all the way) in a cross hatch pattern, spacing an inch between the slices.
Place the shredded cheese in a large bowl. Toss with the green onions and jalapeƱos. Pour over with melted butter and use your clean hands to toss, to distribute the butter evenly through the cheese.
Place the bread on a large sheet of aluminum foil (large enough to wrap the bread) on a baking sheet. Stuff every crevasse with the cheese mixture. Wrap up with the aluminum foil. At this point you can make ahead and refrigerate until ready to bake.
Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Then uncover the foil from the bread and cook for 10 minutes more, until all of the cheese has melted.  It took ours longer to cook.  Maybe it depends on how large your bread loaf is??  I'd say leave it covered for 20 minutes, then uncover for another 10-15 minutes.  
Place on a serving board or plate to serve.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Spicy Pork Stew with Chickpeas and Sausage

Get ready for some seriously yummy recipes!  My dear friend, Jessie, from Bites was here for a visit and we made it a priority to cook delicious things together!  This stew was perfect for a fall day; hearty,  flavorful and, between the two of us, seemed fairly easy to put together.

adapted from this recipe

1 Tbsp olive oil
1.5 to 2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-2 inch chunks
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 links hot Italian sausage links (not loose) or Spanish chorizo 
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp dried parsley
2 Tbsp sweet paprika (I used 2 Tbsp paprika total - it was smoked, not sweet)
1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches to ensure that you do not crowd the pan, brown the pieces of pork shoulder. If there is a fatty side to a chunk of pork, put that side down on the pan to help render out the fat. Sprinkle a little salt over the pork as it cooks. Once browned, set aside to a bowl.
Once the pork pieces have browned and have been removed from the pan, drain off all but a couple tablespoons of fat from the pan. Add the chopped onions and carrots to the pan. Stir well and scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook over medium-high heat until the onions start to brown. Add the chopped garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the pork, the sausage links, diced tomatoes, water, and parsley then stir to combine. Stir in the various paprikas. Add salt to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook for at least 2 hours, or until the pork shoulder is melt-in-your mouth tender.
Remove the sausages from the pot and cut them into chunks, then return them to the pot. Add the chickpeas and stir well; adjust salt to taste. Cook for 5 minutes further until chickpeas are tender.
Excellent served with crusty bread and red wine.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Zucchini Garden Chowder

This is another yummy way to use up your remaining zucchini from Simply in Season.  I roughly chopped my zucchini, so there was more texture to my chowder, but it was tasty, thick and rich.

2 Tbsp butter
2 medium zucchini, chopped (I used one humongous zucchini and one yellow squash)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
1/3 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cups water
3 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes
1 tsp lemon juice
2 cups tomatoes, chopped (I didn't have any on hand to add in)
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
2 cups corn
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Melt butter in soup pot over medium heat.  Add zucchini, onion, parsley, and basil and saute until tender.

Stir flour, salt, and pepper into vegetables.  Gradually stir in water to make a smooth stock.  Add bouillon cubes and lemon juice and mix well.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes.

Add tomatoes, evaporated milk, and corn and return to boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes until corn is tender.  Just before serving, add cheeses and stir until melted.  Add a pinch of sugar to taste and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Simply in Season - Zucchini Brownies

A couple weeks ago, I received this very thoughtful surprise from a friend - complete with bookmark tabs of her favorite recipes.  Thank you, Katie!  I've had so much fun thumbing through the pages and have already tried out a few new things.

I had a huge zucchini from my neighbor ready to be used and this recipe peaked my curiosity.  Yum!  You could tell there was zucchini in the brownies if you were paying attention, but otherwise it just tasted like a dense, moist, chocolaty cake.  My gingersnaps thought it was fun making a cake with zucchini and had the idea to put chocolate chips and butterscotch chips on top.  Why not?!

1 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 cups zucchini, shredded
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2-1 cup semisweet or mint chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts, optional

Combine flours, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  Stir in zucchini.

In separate bowl, combine egg, sugars, yogurt, oil, and vanilla.  Beat with a fork.  Stir into zucchini mixture.  Spread evenly into greased 9x13-inch pan.  Sprinkle chips and nuts (if using) on top of batter.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.
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