Friday, August 31, 2012

Butterbeer

If you read the Harry Potter series, you'd know that his favorite beverage is butterbeer.  While this drink is simply the author's imagination, Potter fans (including me :) have been trying to figure out how it would taste like.  So, based on Rowling's little hints of how it's supposed to taste, here's a recipe that claims to come close to that.  However, be aware that this is not a drink to have with dinner or any other meal.  This is more like a dessert, as it is very sweet and heavy.  You pretty much make a butterscotch like base that you top with cream soda and a heavenly whipped topping.  It is absolutely delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 cup + 2 Tbs brown sugar, divided
-2 Tbs water
-6 Tbs butter
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
-3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
-1/2 tsp rum extract
-4 (12 oz each) bottles cream soda
Directions:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup brown sugar and the water.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  Cook for a few minutes until frothy.  Stir in the butter, salt, vinegar, and 1/4 cup heavy cream.  Mix well, remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the rum.
To make the whipped topping, combine 2 Tbs brown sugar with the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream.  Beat with the electric mixer until thickened, but not completely whipped (about 3 minutes).
To serve, divide the brown sugar mixture between 4 tall glasses.  Add about 1/4 cup cream soda to each glass and mix well.  Fill each glass to the top with additional cream soda.  Spoon a little whipped topping over each glass.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Roasted Alaskan Flounder with Lima Beans

This is such a light, yet filling dish.  The fish is super moist and flavorful, while the lima beans provide a little more tasty texture.  I served ours over some rice, with a nice side of tomato salad.  If you cannot find Alaskan Flounder, you can substitute it with cod, tilapia, or any other white firm fish you might like.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-about 10 oz frozen baby lima beans, divided into 4
-4 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
-4 tsp dried parsley, divided
-salt and pepper, to taste
-4 (4 oz each) fillets Alaskan Flounder
-8 Tbs apple juice, divided
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Place 4 large pieces of aluminum foil on your kitchen counter.  On each piece of foil, place a fourth of the lima beans.  Top with 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp parsley, salt and pepper.  Gently mix.  Place a piece of fish on top.  Add the apple juice, and a little more salt and pepper.  Gently seal the foil packet and place on baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes.  Once cooked, carefully open the packets as there will be a lot of steam trapped in and you might burn yourself.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!
Adapted from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

What a delight this dish is!  It is creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside.  The flavors are absolutely amazing!  I served ours with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.  It was just perfect!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature
-1/3 cup salsa
-1 Tbs lime juice
-1/2 tsp cumin
-1 tsp chili powder
-1/2 tsp onion powder
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-3 cups shredded cooked chicken
-1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
-10-12 small flour tortillas
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Combine cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Mix well.  Stir in the cooked chicken and cheese.
Spoon a little chicken mixture onto the lower third of a tortilla.  Roll tightly and place on prepared baking sheet with the seam side down.  Repeat with the rest of the tortillas.  Spray taquitos with cooking spray on top for a nice crisp.
Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes.  Remove and serve warm with your choice of toppings.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lemon Yogurt Bread

This bread is absolutely amazing!  It's super extra moist and so flavorful!  Enjoy!
** This recipe makes 2 loaves
Ingredients:
For the bread:
-2 cups sugar
-the zest from 3 lemons
-4 large eggs
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1/2 cup applesauce
-1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
-1 tsp salt
-4 tsp baking powder
-3 cups flour
For the glaze:
-the juice from the 3 lemons you zested
-4 Tbs sugar
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Spray two loaf pans with the baking cooking spray (the one with flour in it).
In your mixer's bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest.  Mix well.  Add the eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla, oil, applesauce and yogurt.  Mix well.  Stir in the salt, baking powder and flour, half of cup at a time.  Divide mixture evenly into the two prepared pans.
Bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.
While the bread is baking, mix the glaze ingredients in small sauce pan.  Heat up, stirring occasionally until boiling.  Remove from heat and set aside.
Once the bread is baked, carefully place it on a cooling rack.  Poke it all over with a fork.  Drizzle it with the warm glaze.  Let is sit until completely cooled.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Chicken Georgia

I know the picture doesn't show much, but let me tell you that this chicken dish is a winner!  It's very moist and flavorful.  Both the chicken and the cheese melt in your mouth, while the onions and mushrooms give it that extra boost of flavor that makes you want to go for more.  I served ours with some scalloped potatoes.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 Tbs butter
-6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
-8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
-1 onion, thinly sliced
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-4 oz grated mozzarella
Directions:
Melt butter over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and onions.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side (stir the veggies occasionally).  Sprinkle the chicken with the cheese.  Cook for an  extra 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  To serve, scoop up a piece of chicken with the cheese, and top with the vegetable mixture.  Enjoy!
Adapted from a Paula Deen recipe.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Oven Roasted Chicken (Fripturica de Pui)

This is very easy to make and it is perfect for a nice Sunday dinner.  It is close to what my mom used to make when I grew up, although I put my own twist on it.  Steamed veggies, and a nice side dish of some sort of potatoes or rice would go perfect with this.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 chicken thighs or any chicken pieces, skin-on, bone-in
-4 Tbs butter
-seasoned salt
-ground pepper
-garlic powder
-1/4 cup water
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Score chicken thighs and place them in baking pan.  Rub each thigh with 1 Tbs butter.  Season them with seasoned salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Add the water to the pan.
Place in hot oven and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the skin is nice and crispy, basting with the juices about every 5 minutes.  Cover chicken with foil and continue cooking for 20-25 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Foolproof Popovers

I have never had popovers before, but I'll now have them as often as I can!  Not only are these super easy to make, they melt in your mouth too!  They are so tasty, fluffy, and simply delicious!  This recipe makes 8 popovers, but since my family is quite big, I doubled it.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-butter flavored non-stick cooking spray
-2 Tbs butter, melted
-2 eggs
-1 cup milk, warmed for 30 seconds in the microwave (should be lukewarm to warm)
-1 cup flour
-1 tsp salt
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Coat 8 muffin cups with the butter cooking spray.  Place in hot oven for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the eggs in a blender until light yellow.  Add the warmed milk and blend.  Add the flour, salt, and melted butter.  Blend until smooth.  Pour batter into warm muffin tin and return to the oven to bake until golden, for about 30-35 minutes.  Remove from the oven and serve warm.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a Melissa d'Arabian recipe.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pistachio Nougat

Upon reading Harry Potter (great series, by the way :), I was reminded of a delicious treat I enjoyed as a kid: nougat!  I immediately thought of making some so that my kids can taste this yummy treat.  It's actually quite easy to make and the result is phenomenal.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 cups sugar
-1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 cup water
-2 egg whites
-1/2 tsp almond extract
-4 Tbs butter, softened
-1 cup toasted, shelled pistachios
Directions:
Cover an 8x8 inch pan with aluminum foil.  Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.
In a large sauce pan, combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water.  Stir until sugar dissolves.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes, or until frothy.
Meanwhile, place egg whites in your mixer bowl.  Beat on high until they hold stiff peaks.  Pour about 1/4 of the sugar mixture, with the mixer running.
Return the rest of sugar mixture to the stove and boil for 5 more minutes.
With the mixer running, pour the remaining sugar syrup into the egg mixture.  Continue beating until mixture is thick and stiff.  Add the almond extract and the softened butter.  Beat until very thick and satiny.  Stir in the pistachios.
Spoon mixture into prepared pan.  Cool completely, then place in the fridge for about 1 hour.  Flip candy onto cutting board and cut into little pieces.  Wrap each piece into wax paper.  Store in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Kabobs

I absolutely love this dish.  The chicken comes out nice and juicy, the veggies are so fresh and tasty.  You can serve it as is, or with some mashies or rice.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
For marinade:
-2 Tbs brown sugar
-3 Tbs soy sauce
-2 Tbs red grape juice
-1 Tbs oil
-1/4 tsp ground ginger
-1/8 tsp garlic powder
Kabobs:
-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of any visible fat and cut into chunks
-1 bell pepper, cut into big chunks
-1 onion, cut into big chunks
-button mushrooms, stems removed
-pineapple chunks (fresh or canned)
Directions:
Combine all marinade ingredients.  Add chicken and coat on all sides.  Cover and let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours, turning the chicken once.
Heat the grill.  Remove chicken from marinade, but reserve the marinade.
Thread the chicken and veggies alternately on skewers.  Place on hot grill.  Cook until chicken is no longer pink, brushing frequently with marinade.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Asian Rice Salad with Shrimp

This dish is light and so flavorful.  I also love the mix of textures with the softness of the shrimp and peas, and the crunchiness of the noodles and peanuts on top.  What a delight!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-3 Tbs sesame oil
-1/4 cup rice vinegar
-2 Tbs soy sauce
-a pinch of sugar
-12 oz large shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails removed
-1 large carrot, shredded
-1 (15 oz) can peas, drained
-1 Tbs vegetable oil, divided
-2 cups cooked brown rice
-1 bunch green onions, cleaned and thinly sliced
-chow mein noodles, to top
-chopped roasted peanuts, to top
Directions:
Whisk the garlic, ginger, sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar in a large bowl.  Transfer 2 Tbs of that to a medium bowl, add the shrimp and toss.  Add the carrot and peas to the large bowl with all the dressing and toss.
Heat 2 tsp of the vegetable oil in a large skillet.  Add the shrimp and cook until pink, then transfer to the bowl with the vegetables.
Add about 4 Tbs water to the skillet and  scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon, then add this liquid to the bowl with the shrimp and veggies.
Reheat the skillet and add the remaining 1 tsp of vegetable oil.  Add the cooked rice and stir-fry for 2 minutes, until nice and toasted.  Add to the bowl with the shrimp.  Also, add the green onions.  Toss well.
To serve, scoop up some of the rice mixture into your bowl.  Top with noodles and peanuts.  Enjoy!
Adapted from a Food Network Magazine recipe.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Watermelon-Feta Salad

Although it might sound like an odd combination, the flavors are quite amazing in this dish.  The sweetness of the watermelon goes perfectly with the saltiness and creaminess of the feta, along with the olives and everything else.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 cups fresh spinach, cut into thin strips
-1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
-3 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
-2 oz crumbled feta
-1 can black olives, drained
-1 Tbs red wine vinegar
-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
In your salad bowl, mix spinach, onion, watermelon, feta and olives.  Drizzle with vinegar and oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Give it a good toss and enjoy!
Adapted from a Food Network Magazine recipe

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fried Chicken with Pecan-Honey Glaze

This chicken is absolutely delicious!  The self-rising flour gives the skin an extra crunch,while the glaze is simply divine.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-8 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in
-2 eggs, beaten
-salt
-pepper
-garlic powder
-oil for frying
-2 cups self-rising flour
-1 cup butter
-1/2 cup honey
-1 cup roughly chopped pecans
Directions:
Heat oil on medium-low heat.
Score chicken thighs.  Season on both sides with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Dredge through beaten eggs, then through flour, shaking off any excess.  Place in hot oil (do not increase the temperature).  Cover and cook for about 10 minutes on each side, or until chicken is cooked through and the skin is nice and golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.
While chicken is cooking, make the glaze.  Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Whisk in the honey and mix well.  Bring to a simmer and add the pecans.  Let it simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Pour over hot chicken and enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a Paula Deen recipe.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fresh Peach Cake

Yummy!  This cake is super easy to make and super delicious!  I love the taste of the fresh peaches in it, surrounded by a yummy cake and sprinkled with tasty cinnamon sugar.  Such a delight!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
-3 eggs, at room temperature
-1 cup sour cream
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 cups flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp ground cinnamon
-3 large, ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
-1/2 cup chopped pecans
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a 9 inch square baking dish.
With your mixer, beat the butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time.  Add the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until smooth.  Add the flour, half a cup at a time.  Add the baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Mix well.
In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon and remaining sugar.
Spread half the batter evenly in the pan.  Top with half the peaches.  Sprinkle two-thirds of the sugar mixture.  Spread remaining batter on top, add remaining peaches, and sprinkle with remaining sugar.   Top with the pecans.
Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Enjoy!
Adapted from an Ina Garten recipe.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Peach Crisp

Super easy and super delicious!  Enjoy it warm with some ice cream on top.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-about 8 medium peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
-2 Tbs lemon juice
-1/2 cup flour
-3/4 cup rolled oats
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/3 cup margarine
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Arrange peaches on the bottom of baking dish.  Sprinkle with lemon juice.
Mix flour, oats and brown sugar.  Cut in the margarine with a fork.  Mix very well.  Spread mixture over peaches.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Peach Ice Cream (without an ice cream maker!)

I don't have an ice cream maker, but I sure do love eating some delicious, creamy ice cream.  Of course, with all the peaches we have, I had to make some.  Yes, it takes some time and effort, but I think it's well worth it.  The ice cream is sweet, peachy, creamy and delicious!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-6 eggs
-3 1/2 cups sugar
-6 cups fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
-32 oz heavy cream
-16 oz half-and half
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-3/4 tsp salt
Directions:
Place peach slices in blender and puree until smooth.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs.  Whisk in the sugar and blend well.  Stir in the peach puree and the rest of the ingredients.  Mix very well.
Place in the freezer.  Take it out every 15 minutes for 2 1/2 hours and give it a good stir-this will make it creamy.  After that, cover and let it sit in the freezer for 2-3 more hours.  Scoop up and enjoy!

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