Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Source: ?? I honestly cannot remember, I've been making this for years and have no idea where the recipe came from! Besides that, I've changed it so many times it doesn't resemble the original anyway. ;-)
2 c. cooked diced chicken
1 c. fresh broccoli
1 large carrot, small dice
2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, rinsed thoroughly and diced
3 T. butter
3 T. flour
2 c. whole milk or half & half
1 large chicken bouillion cube, dissolved in 1/4 c. whole milk
1 c. Parmesan
1/2 c. frozen peas
1 box refrigerated pie crusts
Preheat oven to 425. Remove pie crusts from box and allow to come to room temperature. Place one crust in the bottom of a glass pie plate, and prick all over with a fork. Line pan with pie weights and bake crust for 12 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook broccoli, carrots, and leeks in a pan of boiling salted water until tender, about five minutes. Drain and set aside.
To make a lattice-topped pie, follow the directions on Simply Recipes -- she has an amazing set of instructions and photos that show in gorgeous detail how to make the perfect lattice! Here's the link:
See what I mean? Aren't those awesome instructions?!
Place pie on a cookie sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Allow pie to rest for five minutes before 'slicing' (it won't really slice, it will probably mostly 'ooze') and serving in a shallow bowl.
I'm totally bummed about how these pictures turned out, by the way. I took some better ones in daylight this afternoon, then my husband came home and accidentally put them all on his computer! Shoot!!
Monday, January 28, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Man, it's cold here today. I mean, bone chilling cold -- I know I'm preachin' to the choir for you girls who live up here in the north land, but it's -15. FIFTEEN BELOW ZERO!! The wind is howling, and the day's only saving grace is that the sun is shining brightly. I can handle this weather long in to April as long as the sun continues to show her face on a regular basis!
Today I made two GREAT recipes. I'm showing pictures of both, even though neither of them photographed all that well; you'll just have to take my word for it! This lasagna recipe is simple and delicious, and tastes like it was SO much more work than it was. Usually, I make Giada's basic marinara but today, I have to admit, I punted and used Rao's Marinara. This sauce has had incredible reviews and believe me, it ain't cheap. A 4c. jar was 9.89! Criminy! But, between the tomatoes and fresh basil Giada's calls for, the cost was probably comparable. Anyway, there are two sauces in this recipe -- a bechamel, and the aforementioned marinara, which make it so rich and decadent! I love it!
The biscotti are amazing, especially since I used Valrohna cocoa. Wow. It's worth it to use the best quality cocoa you can afford. I hope you guys try these recipes -- they're perfect for a cold winter day.
Lasagna Rolls with Two Sauces
2 T. butter
4 t. flour
1 1/4 whole milk
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. freshly ground pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1 15-oz. container whole milk ricotta
1 10-oz. box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 c. plus 2 T. grated Parmesan
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 t. salt, plus more for pasta
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
12 dried lasagna noodles
butter, for baking dish
2 c. Giada's Quick Marinara (or good quality purchased sauce)
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
Melt the butter in a medium heavy saucepan over medium low heat. Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the cream sauce.
In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the egg, 3/4 t. salt, and the pepper until blended.
Bring a very large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the lasagna noodles and cook until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Drain. Arrange noodles in a single layer on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
Preheat oven to 450. Butter a 9 x 13" glass baking dish. Spread the bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared pan.
Spread 3 T. of the spinach filling evenly over each lasagna noodle. Roll the noodles up and arrange the rolls, seam side down and not touching one another, atop the bechamel sauce. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 cup of the marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls, then sprinkle with the mozzarella and remaining 2 T. Parmesan cheese. Cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake until the rolls are heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese on top is golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a small, heavy saucepan until hot. Transfer the sauce to a sauce boat and serve alongside.
Double Chocolate Biscotti
Makes 30 Biscotti
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in a large bowl to blend. Beat in eggs one at a time, then vanilla. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in semisweet chips. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheet in two 10 - 11" long strips, spacing 3" apart. Using metal spatula or wet fingertips, shape strips into 11 x 2 1/2 " logs. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350. Bake logs until tops are cracked and dry and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 325. Using parchment as an aid, transfer logs to a clean work surface. Re-line cookie sheet with clean parchment. Using serrated knife, gently cut warm logs crosswise into 3/4" slices. Arrange sliced cookies on prepared baking sheet. Bake biscotti until just dry to the touch, about 8 minutes. Turn biscotti over. Bake until top is dry to the touch, about another 8 minutes. Cool on baking sheets.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Here's what we're munching on while we wait for our chili to finish cooking. I found this recipe on Simplyrecipes.com, I just love that site! I made these a couple of weeks back when I was asked to bring an appetizer to a neighborhood get together, and they were gone in a flash.
One note: the original recipe calls for sliced avocado as a garnish, but our grocery store's avocados were hard as rocks. Today I'm using fresh guac' from the deli instead.
1/2 lb. large shrimp, cooked, peeled, and deveined
the juice of one lime
2 scallions, minced
a hefty pinch of minced cilantro
1 jalapeno, minced (seeded and deveined if you can't take the heat)
1/4 t. chipotle chili powder (I added this, it's not on the original recipe)
Shredded Queso Quesadilla (a semi-soft Mexican melting cheese)
2 or 3 Flour tortillas
Sliced avocado or guacamole
Sour cream & additional cilantro sprigs for garnish
Chop the shrimp into bite sized pieces. In a medium glass mixing bowl, combine the lime juice, scallions, cilantro, jalapeno, and chipotle chili powder. Toss shrimp in lime mixture and season with salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate for 20-30 minutes. Drain off lime juice.
Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium high heat. Spray one side of flour tortilla with cooking spray and set spray side down on a cutting board. Top one half with some shredded cheddar, then some of the shrimp mixture, the a bit more cheddar. Fold over and set aside. Repeat with another tortilla. Place both quesadillas in the grill pan and cover partially with a lid. Toast until golden and cheese is melting, then flip and repeat on the other side. Remove to cutting board and allow to rest for a minute or two. Cut into wedges and place on serving platter. Garnish with sliced avocado, a spoonful of sour cream, and cilantro sprigs.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Garlic Roasted Potatoes
Source: Barefoot Contessa Parties!
3 lbs. small red or white skinned potatoes (or a mixture)
1/4 c. good olive oil
1 1/2 t. sea salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 T. minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
2 T. minced fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 400.
Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Dump the potatoes on a baking sheet and spread them out into one layer; roast in the oven for at least 1 hour, or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking to ensure even browning.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, toss with the minced parsley, season to taste, and serve.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
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Thursday, January 10, 2008
We love this cake at our house....it's sooooo yummy. It's supposed to be a layer cake, but I made the two 8" pans and put one in the freezer for another day. Here's the recipe:
Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Serves: 10-122 c. flour
2 c. flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 c. sour cream (I often substitute 1 c. vanilla yogurt)
1 1/3 mashed ripe bananas
1 c. mini chocolate chips (optional)
2/3 c. powdered sugar
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter two 8" round cake pans. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowluntil blended. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Mix in 3/4 c. sour cream and bananas. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and beat until well blended. Transfer to prepared pans.
Bake cakes until top is golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool cake completely on rack. (Can be prepared 2 weeks ahead. Cover cake and freeze. Thaw before continuing.)
Beat remaining 1/2 c. sour cream, powdered sugar, and cream cheese in a large bowl until well blended. Spread frosting over cooled cake. Garnish with extra mini chocolate chips and banana slices.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Sunday, January 6, 2008
So, here's what we're having tonight. It's one of my favorite wintry comfort dinners; a creamy chicken and rice with a toasty breadcrumb topping. Mind you, I'm NOT a casserole girl (canned soups -- eeeewwwww), but this dinner kicks some serious butt! Another bonus: it freezes beautifully, so I made a pan for tonight and put one in the freezer for another wintry day.
Back to 'clean and healthy' tomorrow. Chicken and Rice and a big green salad tonight!!
CREAMY CHICKEN AND RICE WITH PEAS, CARROTS, & CHEDDAR
Source: The Best Make-Ahead Recipe, From the Editors of Cooks Illustrated
Serves 8 (personally, I think this serves about 10)
4 T. butter
1 medium onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
1/4 t. cayenne
1/4 c. flour
6 c. chicken broth
1 c. heavy cream (I use half & half with no real difference in creaminess)
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 5 breasts)
1 1/2 c. long grain rice
1-1lb. bag of frozen peas and carrot medley (about 3 cups)
2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 T. fresh lemon juice
Ground black pepper
1 recipe Toasted Bread Crumb Topping (see below)
Fresh minced parsley for garnish
Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and 1 t. salt and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about a minute. Slowly whisk in the broth and cream.
Add the chicken breasts, partially cover, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover completely, and cook 10-15 minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked through. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool.
Stir the rice into the pot, cover, and continue to cook over low heat, stirring often, until the rice has absorbed much of the liquid and is just tender, about 25 minutes. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it into bite-sized pieces.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the chicken, peas and carrots, cheddar, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into a 9x13 pan (or, as I do, divide it between two smaller pyrex pans). Sprinkle the pan with the crumb topping.
Bake the pan in the middle of the 400 degree oven until the sauce is bubbling and the crumbs are crisp, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
TO STORE A PAN OF CHICKEN AND RICE: Cover pan tightly with plastic wrap, the cover with foil. Freeze up to one month. (If frozen, the casserole must be thawed completely in the refrigerator, about 24 hours.) Preheat the oven to 400; remove the plastic wrap, and recover with the foil. Bake for about an hour (or until hot throughout), remove the foil, and continue to bake until crumbs are crispy, about another 15 minutes.
TOASTED BREAD CRUMB TOPPING
Makes 2 3/4 Cups, enough for one 9x13 pan.
4 slices good quality white sandwich bread, quartered
2 T. butter, melted
2 T minced fresh parsley leaves
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 325. Pulse the bread and butter in a food processor to coarse crumbs, about 6 pulses. Spread out over a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden and dry, 20-20 minutes. Let the crumbs cool, then toss with the parsley; season with salt and pepper to taste.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Here's an 'original' idea: fresh, clean, and healthy eating for the New Year! I'm sick of the heavy foods from the Holidays (although they were great going down), and my liver is flat out exhausted (the cocktails were good going down too)! So this week it's time for a new leaf. Today I'm making one of my favorite soups: Minestrone with Basil. I pulled this recipe off of Epicurious about a year ago, and I think I've probably made it 10 times. It's fresh, lowfat, filling and healthy all at the same time.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
I wish I had taken pictures of everything we served, but I only managed to snag one of the tartare. Between handing out the party hats, serving up cocktails, and pulling hors deourves out of the oven, things were a little hectic. Here's what was on the menu:
Tenderloin Sandwiches with Rosemary Horseradish Aoili
Pizzettas with Fontina, Tomato, Proscuitto, and Basil
Tuna Tartare with Wasabi on Sesame Crackers (as pictured above)
My neighbors chipped in and brought Artichoke & Crab Dip, Spanakopita, Mini Quiches, and Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce. Everything was so delicious and suffice it to say - no one went hungry!
Soooooo happy we have leftovers and I don't need to cook tonight -- I've spent the better part of the day so far sweeping up "2008" confetti and picking streamers out of my carpet...but that goes with the partythrowing territory.
Back to cooking tomorrow.