Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chicken Tamale Pie

I know it doesn't look like much from the picture, but trust me, this pie is something you should definitely try!  The flavors are amazing!  The pie simply melts in your mouth!  So, so, so good!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-1 (15.5 oz) jar medium salsa
-1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
-1 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
-1 Tbs chili powder
-2 green onions, sliced
-3/4  cup cornmeal
-1 cup water
-1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar
-1 Tbs unsalted butter
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-sour cream, for serving
Directions:
Boil the chicken breasts until cooked through.  Drain, cool slightly and cut into chunks.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
In an oven-proof skillet, place chicken, salsa, beans, 1/2 cup broth and chili powder.  Mix well and bring to a simmer.  Stir in the green onions and remove from heat.
Meanwhile, combine the cornmeal with the remaining 1 cup broth and 1 cup water in a medium pan.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring, until very thick, 5-7 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and butter.  Season with the salt and pepper.
Spread the cornmeal mixture over the chicken mixture.  Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Let stand for 15 minutes. 
Serve with sour cream.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe found on http://www.foodnetwork.com/.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Bacon-Egg Cups

I have seen this so many times all over the Internet, and I finally decided to give it a try.  Yes, it does make a nice breakfast/brunch.  I really liked how the eggs and bacon blended together.  Very nice and simple dish.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-8 slices smoked bacon
-4 eggs
-1/2 cup milk
-salt
-pepper
-1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-choped chives, to top
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Wrap bacon slices inside muffin cups.
Whip the eggs with milk, salt and pepper (to taste).  Mix the cheese in and give it a good stir.  Fill muffin cups 3/4 up with the eggs mixture.  Sprinkle with chopped chives.
Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until eggs are done.  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chocolate Stuffed Strawberries

This is nothing fancy or time consuming.  It's super simple and a nice indulgence for when that sugar need kicks in.  :)  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-strawberries
-semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions:
Line a serving platter with wax paper.  Hull the strawberries, wash and dry them well.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips.
Dip the bottom of hulled berries in the chocolate.  Place standing on wax paper and hold it up to fill the cavity with melted chocolate.  Hold it up for a few seconds or until the bottom hardens up a little.  Let chocolate cool and enjoy!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Emeril's Beef Stew

I was very sad when we finished this stew.  I wanted it to last forever...  It is so, so, so good!  Every bite is like a piece of heaven.  The beef and all the other goodies simply melt in your mouth.  I can't wait to make this again.  It truly is the best beef stew ever!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-3 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch pieces
-2 tsp salt
-2 tsp Creole seasoning
-1 tsp pepper
-3 Tbs unsalted butter
-8 oz mushrooms, sliced
-2 medium onions, chopped
-2 large carrots, sliced
-4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
-4 Tbs flour
-4 1/2 cups beef stock
-4 Tbs tomato paste
-1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves
-1/4 tsp ground allspice
-3-4 medium russet potatoes, diced
-1 cup frozen peas, thawed
-1 Tbs dried parsley leaves
Directions:
Set a large non stick pan or a Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add 1 Tbs of the olive oil and season the beef with salt, Creole seasoning and pepper.  Toss well to evenly coat all the pieces of meat.  Add 1/3 of the seasoned beef to the hot oil and cook until browned on all sides (it doesn't have to be cooked through).  Remove beef and set aside.  Repeat the process with the remaining oil and beef.  Set aside.
To the same pot, add the butter and mushrooms.  Cook until well browned, for about 3 minutes.  Add the onions and carrots, and cook for about 3 more minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes.  Add the stock, tomato paste, rosemary, allspice and browned beef.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about an hour.  Make sure to give it a stir once in a while.
Add the potatoes, partially cover the pot and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender.  Remove the lid and add the peas and parsley.  Stir well to combine and remove the pot from heat.  Serve hot with some yummy rolls.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Stuffed Eggplant

This is a nice dish with a lot of flavor. The eggplant is roasted perfectly, combining with the meat mixture, sauce and cheese.  Great dish!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 large eggplants
-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-2 medium onions, diced
-2 large tomatoes, diced
-1/2 lb ground pork
-1/2 lb ground extra lean beef
-1 Tbs dried parsley leaves
-3 garlic cloves
-salt and pepper, to taste
-1 cup marinara sauce
-1 cup shredded mozzarella
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
Wash the eggplants and cut off the tops.  Slice them in half and scoop out most of the flesh (leave a little on).
Place the scooped flesh into a food processor and chop it finely.  
Heat the oil in large skillet.  Add the chopped eggplant and onions.  Cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the meat and tomatoes.  Stir in the garlic, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes.  Add the parsley and give it a good stir.
Place the eggplant shells on the prepared sheet.  Fill evenly with the meat mixture.  Top each eggplant half with 1/4 cup sauce and 1/4 cup shredded cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Cover losely with foil and continue baking for 45-50 more minutes.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Smoked Alaskan Salmon Spirals

Oh, what a treat these spirals are!  The flavors are amazing!  This is a great appetizer or snack.  The salmon is perfectly mixed with cream cheese, of course, garlic, lemon juice, green onions, capers and other spices.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1 (6.5) can gourmet smoked Alaskan salmon
-8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-1 cloved garlic, smashed
-1 Tbs lemon juice
-3 green onions, sliced
-1 Tbs fresh dill, minced
-1 tsp paprika
-2 Tbs capers, drained
-flour tortillas
Directions:
Place all ingredients, except for tortillas, into food processor.  Process until smooth.  Spread a thin layer onto each tortilla and wrap carefully and tightly.  Cover and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours.  Slice and serve.  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

My mother in law posted a link on Facebook to this recipe.  Of course it got me intrigued, so I made these cookies.  And they were GOOD!  Even my kids liked them!  Let me add that even my insanely picky 6 year old liked them!  That says something.  :)  I really liked the combination between the smoked bacon and the dark chocolate chips.  Great cookies!  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1/2 cup margarine
-6 Tbs white sugar
-6 Tbs brown sugar
-1 egg
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup flour
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-10 oz dark chocolate chips
-5 strips smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
-a little sea salt
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In your mixer, cream margarine and sugars.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until creamy.  Add the flour, baking soda and salt.  Stir in the chocolate chips and bacon crumbs.
Spoon cookies onto prepared sheets.  Sprinkle a little sea salt on top of each cookie.  Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until lightly golden.  Let cool completely on the baking sheets.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe found here.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Potato "Pudding"

I'm not really sure what to name this dish.  All I know is that it's delicious! :)  It's a wonderful combination of potatoes, hard boiled eggs, feta cheese, heavy cream and other yummy ingredients.   Give this one a try.  I served mine with some yummy fried chicken, but you can choose other things to serve it with or simply enjoy it a la carte.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 1/2 lbs potatoes
-4 eggs
-1 cup heavy cream
-8 oz crumbled feta cheese
-salt and pepper, to taste
-1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-paprika
-chopped chives
Directions:
Boil the potatoes in their skin until fork tender.  Drain and let them cool a little.  Peel them and slice into thin rounds.
Meanwhile, hard boil the eggs.  Drain, cool, peel and slice.
Preheat the oven to 425 F.  Coat 9x13 pan with butter spray (be generous).
Layer half of the sliced potatoes on the bottom.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Top with half of the egg slices.  Sprinkle half of the feta and pour evenly 1/2 cup of the heavy cream.  Repeat another layer of potatoes, seasoning, eggs, feta and cream. 
Place in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Pull the pan out a little and sprinkle the top with shredded mozzarella.  Return to oven and bake for 5 more minutes.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with some paprika and chopped chives.  Scoop onto plates and enjoy!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fluffy Honey Wheat Dinner Rolls

These rolls are truly fluffy and delicious.  I have tried many recipes with whole wheat flour and the rolls kept on being too dense.  However, these rolls did come out nice, fluffy and yummy, and they stay like that for days.  It's also nice to be able to use my wheat from the food storage.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-4 cups whole wheat flour
-4 cups white all purpose flour, divided
-1 1/2 cups milk, warmed up
-1 1/2 cup hot water (from the tap)
-1/2 cup honey
-2 tsp salt
-3/4 cup margarine
-2 Tbs yeast
-melted butter or butter spray for brushing rolls while hot
Directions:Preheat oven to 170 F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.
Place wheat flour, 2 cups of the white flour, and the honey into your mixer bowl.  Combine well.  Add the warm milk and hot water.  Once well combined, add salt and margarine.  Blend for 1 minute.  Add the yeast and mix for about 30 seconds.  Add the rest of the white flour and mix well.  Once the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, turn the mixer to medium speed and  let the dough mix for 5 minutes.
Shape the dough into rolls and place on prepared sheets.  Place in warm oven and let the rolls rise for 15 minutes.
Turn the oven up to 350 F, leaving the rolls in there while the temperature rises.  Allow them to bake until golden brown, for about 15 minutes (this includes the time it took the oven to get to 350 F).
Remove from the oven, brush/spray with butter.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe found here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Szechuan Noodles

Another Asian delicious dish.  This was just wonderful and, to my liking, on the spicy side.  If you want less heat, add fewer pepper flakes, or leave them out altogether.  No matter what you decide, this is a dish worth trying.  It is simply delicious.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 Tbs sesame seed oil
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-1/2 to 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (adjust according to your taste buds)
-1 lb flank steak, cut into strips
-2 Tbs cornstarch
-3/4 cup beef broth
-1/2 cup hoisin sauce
-2 Tbs soy sauce
-8 oz vermicelli pasta
-about 4 green onions, sliced for topping
-Directions:
Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
While pasta is cooking, heat oil in large skillet.  Add pepper flakes, garlic and ginger.  Stir fry for 10 seconds.  Add the steak strips and stir fry for about 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine beef broth and cornstarch until smooth.  Add to the skillet.  Also add hoisin sauce and soy sauce.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly for about 1 minute, or until mixture is thick and bubbly.
Toss the steak and sauce mixture with the cooked hot noodles.  Sprinkle with the green onions.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe found here.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Chocolate Muffins

My six year old asked me to make some chocolate muffins for breakfast one day.  I happily complied. :)  These muffins are amazingly delicious!  Super moist, chocolaty and rich.  You can't stop eating them!  And the best part is that this recipe makes two dozens, which for my large family means that we have enough for one meal! :)  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-2 2/3 cups flour
-1 1/2 cups sugar
-1/2 cup baking cocoa powder
-1 1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-3 eggs
-1 cup sour cream
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 cup milk
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 F.  Line a couple of muffin pans with papers.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  In another bowl, whisk eggs, sour cream, water, milk, oil and vanilla,  Stir into dry ingredients until moistened.  Fold in the chocolate chips. 
Fill prepated muffin cups two-thirds full.  Bake in prehetead oven for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes in the pan.  Remove and enjoy!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Chicken Francese

This chicken is absolutely perfect for those new year resolutions of healthier dining.  It is quick, simple, and light!  It is also delicious.  I never used grapeseed oil before this recipe and I was a bit aprehensive.  However, the oil was easy to find (any grocery store carries it) and it's also inexpensive, which was another worry I had.  I liked it because it doesn't really have a flavor, so you can taste the actual food instead of the oil flavor.  The crunch given to the chicken by the flour and egg contrasts beautifully with the light, yummy sauce.  You can serve it with your favorite side dish and some veggies.  Enjoy!
Ingredients:
-1/4 cup grapeseed oil
-4 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, cut in half
-2 large eggs, beaten
-1/2 cup flour
-salt
-ground white pepper
-1 cup chicken stock
-1 stick butter
-2 lemons, juiced
-1 tsp minced fresh parsley
Directions:
Heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat. 
Meanwhile, pour flour into shallow bowl and season well with salt and white pepper.  Beat eggs in a separate shallow bowl, and season well with salt and white pepper.  Dredge chicken breast halves first through seasoned eggs, then through seasoned flour. 
Place chicken into warm oil and cook until light brown in color, for about 4 minutes per side.  Remove pan from stove and let it sit with the chicken for about 5more minutes-this will allow the chicken to finish cooking inside without browning the breading too much.
After the 5 minutes, remove the chicken onto a plate.  Return pan to the heat, with all the juices left, and add the stock.  Simmer and reduce by 3/4 of the volume.  After reducing, whick in the butter to make a sauce.  Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and parsley.  Pour sauce over chicken and enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe courtesy of Robert Irvine.

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