Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chicken Marsala Casserole

Please ignore the "casserole" in the title, unless casserole means to you things like easy to make, tasty, and inexpensive. But if it conjures up thoughts of canned veggies and condensed soup, take my advice and ignore it.

Because this ain't your momma's casserole (no offense to your momma).

This recipe was very tasty; it calls for fresh, easy to find ingredients and had a great flavor. More than that, it took me less than 10 minutes to get it prepped and in the oven! Gotta love a low maintenance meal every once in awhile!

Chicken Marsala Casserole
2 tbsp butter
10 oz sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup marsala wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt and pepper
1 cup long grain rice, uncooked
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
2 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 350.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened.

Add the flour and stir well to coat.

Stir in the marsala wine and cream, allowing to cook and thicken, about 3 minutes. Stir in the broth, parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

In a 9x 13 dish, spread the rice in an even layer over the bottom of the dish. Top with the chicken.

Pour the mushroom gravy over the chicken and rice mix. Cover tightly with foil.

Bake 35 minutes, until bubbling.

Remove foil, sprinkle on parmesan cheese, and bake 5 minutes uncovered.

Source: Stephanie Cooks

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pork Schnitzel with Sauce

I think the first time I had pork schnitzel (and spaetzle) was at this great German restaurant in Fredericksburg, TX. I, of course, loved it! To be honest, for an "ethnic" food I don't think it's unusual at all for an American palate. It's really just a thin cutlet of pork that is breaded and fried. Yum! This recipe also has a great dipping sauce to go with it - though we actually just poured it right over our pork. :)

The pork is tender and flavorful (esp with the delicious dill flavored sauce!) and it cooks super fast. It was a big hit in this house!

Pork Schnitzel with Sauce
4 boneless pork chops
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup sour cream

Place the pork chops between two sheets of wax paper and pound to around 1/8 inch thick. Trim any fat from the edges, and make a few small slits along the edge to prevent the pork from curling during cooking.

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl. Whisk the egg and milk together in another shallow bowl until well blended, then mix the panko bread crumbs and paprika together in a third shallow bowl. Dredge the pork chops in the flour mixture one at a time, then dip them into the egg mixture followed by the panko mixture.               

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange no more than two pork chops in the skillet at a time, cooking until the meat is golden brown no longer pink in the center, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Place the pork chops in a warm oven to keep warm.               

Pour the chicken stock into the skillet used to cook the pork. Reduce the heat to low, and scrape up any brown bits in the bottom of the pan. As the stock simmers, mix the dill and sour cream together in a bowl. Whisk about 1/4 cup of the hot stock into the sour cream mixture, then pour it back into the skillet. Heat until warm and thick, about 5 minutes. Serve with the pork chops.

Source: All Recipes

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Stewed Beef with Creamy Cheese Grits

Don't you agree that brown foods are the tastiest? Anytime I'm at a buffet or potluck, it seems my plate is mostly sporting a brown hue. Of course, typically, brown/beige foods are the worst ones we can eat but oh, so tasty.

They also don't photograph well. As seen above.

This meal was seriously good. Like, we kept snagging bites from the pot good.

It started out as a Pioneer Woman recipe that I kept tweaking due (largely) to laziness but also taste. She calls for a CAN of chipotle peppers in adobo. An 11 ounce can! Um, no thanks ~ I enjoy life with taste buds! So, I cut way back on that. And, it's originally a stovetop only recipe but I'm never home that long before a meal so I went with the crockpot. For the grits, I went back to an old favorite as my base instead of the longer cooking type.

It ended up being a very easy, quick meal that tasted much more complicated than it was. The beef is incredibly tender and flavorful and the grits are the perfect base. This recipe, as written, is not spicy at all. You can easily kick it up a few notches by throwing in a few jalepenos or more chipotle sauce. Or a can of chipotles :)

This recipe as written below makes enough for 8 - I cut it in half for 4 good portions

Stewed Beef with Creamy Cheese Grits
2 Tablespoons canola/vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons butter
3 pounds stew meat or diced chuck roast
2 tablespoons sauce from canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
4 cups low-sodium beef broth
5 cloves minced garlic
1 Tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1.5 cups chopped onions
2 cups quick Grits
2 cups chicken (or beef) broth *I used beef, thus the darker color
2 roasted poblano chiles, chopped
4 teaspoons chopped garlic
1-2 cups heavy cream or half and half
2 cups grated cheese (cheddar would be great!)

Salt and pepper, to taste

To make the meat, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in large pan over high heat. Brown the stew meat about a minute. Add chipotle pepper sauce, 4 cups of beef broth, 1 cup chopped onion, minced garlic, cumin, and chili powder. Stir, then bring to a boil. Transfer to a crockpot, cover, and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until the meat is tender. Once the meat is tender, transfer mixture back to stovetop and simmer until the sauce thickens (10-15 minutes).

*If wanting to make stovetop only: Brown the meat in a large pot, add items, bring to boil then reduce to low, cover and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is fall-apart tender and the liquid is thick. (Watch the meat occasionally and add more beef broth as needed.)

About 20 minutes before dinner, make the grits. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of both oil and butter. Add remaining 1/2 cup chopped onion, chopped garlic, and poblano chiles and cook until soft. Add cream and broth and bring to a simmer. Quickly whisk in grits. Stir constantly until grits thicken, adding more cream and/or broth as needed. Gently fold in cheese, salt, and pepper and let sit a few minutes before serving.

Serve pile of grits with stewed meat over the top.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Maple Glazed Salmon

Since the weather was nice for Valentines Day, we decided to go simple and grill some salmon. This recipe, from All Recipes, is super easy and very tasty to make. I changed it up by cooking it on a cedar plank on the grill but I'm going to include the cooking instructions as written, since many aren't using their grill at this time of year. I also doubled the sauce ingredients, though, because I think the dish is better if you brush more on before serving.

Be aware that cooking times depend greatly on the thickness of your salmon. Just keep an eye on it!

Maple Glazed Salmon
1/2 cup maple syrup
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound salmon

In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, and pepper.

Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with half of the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork.

Brush on additional sauce just before serving.

Nutritional info

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hasselback Potatoes... With a Twist!

Who doesn't love a good potato? Hasselback potatoes are extra delicious because they are crispy and creamy at the same time - and they look pretty fancy. But throw in some bacon, garlic broth, and cheese and you have a winner of a potato dish.

The original recipe alternated tomato and bacon but I skipped the tomato and went all bacon (opting for pepper bacon for even more flavor!). The smoky bacon flavor soaks into the potato along with the broth/garlic flavor. So. Good.

Make these soon!

Hasselback Potatoes... with a twist!
6 medium potatoes
5 bacon strips, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large garlic clove, minced/grated
2 tbsp butter
Chicken broth/stock
Parmesan, grated
Herb of your choice (I used fresh dill), finely chopped
Fresh ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Peel and wash your potatoes. Place a potato on a spoon with the flat side down. Cut the potato across at around 1 cm intervals (or whatever you feel like - I'm sure mine were closer together.) being careful to not cut all the way through the bottom.

Repeat with the rest of the potatoes.

Generously salt and pepper each potato, getting in between the slices if possible. If using pepper bacon, go lightly on the pepper.

Squish the bacon pieces in between the potato slices. I went about every other slice so it wouldn't be overwhelming.

Sprinkle each potato lightly with chopped herb of your choosing and grated parmesan. Whatever looks good.

Heat 1.5 tablespoon of butter in a castiron skillet. Add the garlic while the butter is melting just to flavor it.

Add the potatoes to the skillet and pour in enough broth/stock to cover the potatoes 1/3 to 1/2. Bring to a boil.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Source: Kayotic Kitchen

Monday, February 13, 2012

Indian Cashew Chicken

Ah, Indian food, my love. It'd been awhile since we had it for dinner and I was craving the unique flavors that seem to be a part of most Indian dishes. This recipe came across my blog reader not too long ago and I immediately planned to make it. It's slightly different than Chicken Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken though they all have similar spices.

This particular dish has no heat but lots of flavor. It was easy and quick to make and we both liked it a lot. I personally feel like the texture of the added cashews on top adds a lot to the dish so don't leave them out unless you really hate nuts, like my husband.

I absolutely hate raisins but thought they were necessary in the sauce. (You can probably see from the pic that I didn't use golden raisins.)

I threw in a small pinch of saffron to my basmati rice this time and it really added to the flavor of the whole dish (and gave it a nice yellow glow). I love basmati rice but you could serve it over any type of rice your family likes!

Psst - buy the raisins and cashews in the bulk section to save money!

Indian Cashew Chicken
2 medium onions
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup cashews
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
2 tablespoons oil
1 lb. cubed raw chicken breasts
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 1/4 cup water

Peel and quarter the onions. In a food processor, process the onion pieces for about 1 minute or until a smooth puree forms. Add the next 8 ingredients (through oil) to the onion mixture and process for another 1-2 minutes.

In a heavy pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Pour the spice mixture from the food processor into the pan and fry for 2 minutes. The lightly cooked spices will start to give off a nice aroma.

Add the cubed chicken breast, half of the cilantro, and the golden raisins. Stir-fry for another 1 minute.

Add the water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice and garnish with remaining cilantro or cashew pieces.

Source: Pinch of Yum

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Kale and Bacon Omelet Baked in a Bread Boule

Kale is a trendy ingredient right now; I now see it used everyday on blogs I follow and anything calling for kale is pretty popular on Pinterest. I first tried (okay, heard of...) kale from Aarti on Food Network and we loved her massaged kale salad.

I'm no kale expert but I think some of the popularity stems from how hearty it is. It holds up better than spinach in soups, casseroles, and - in this case - baked egg dishes. It's also super healthy for you and pretty inexpensive to buy. My dogs, however, did not get the memo that kale is trendy - they refuse to eat it. Never thought I'd find something they wouldn't eat!

If you're not sure whether or not you like kale, this is a great recipe to try it in. I honestly think most would assume it's simply spinach once they taste it. Plus, you saute it in bacon grease before baking it - how bad can it taste?

We both really liked this dish. I especially loved the flavor of the sourdough bread alongside the egg mixture! You could easily switch out the ingredients but I stuck with (and enjoyed) the kale, bacon, parmesan combo.

Two notes:
*I normally bake my bacon but you really do want that grease to saute your onion and kale in so cook it stovetop this time.
*Mine took longer than 50 minutes to set so make sure you have extra time on hand just in case.

Kale and Bacon Omelet Baked in a Bread Boule
2-3 thick-cut slices of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
5 cups kale cleaned, stems removed, and chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs water or broth
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 cup ricotta cheese (part-skim is fine)
1 8-inch round sourdough bread boule

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray pan with cooking spray.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisp and brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel to dry. Pour off all but 2 teaspoons of the fat. Alternatively, if you want to make a vegetarian version, skip the bacon and heat 2 teaspoons of canola oil over medium heat until shimmering.

Add the onion and cook until softened and golden, stirring often, about 4 to 6 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low, add half the greens, and toss until they begin to wilt, about 1 minute. Add the remaining greens and season well with salt and pepper. Add the water, decrease the heat to low, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are wilted and tender, about 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the greens to a large bowl, leaving any excess water in the skillet.

Meanwhile, prepare the bread boule. Slice off the very top of the bread and then remove the inside bread in chunks, leaving a shell. Reserve the bread for another use (croutons, bread crumbs, etc). Place the bread boule on the prepared baking sheet.

To the greens, add the eggs, 1/4 cup of the grated cheese, the reserved bacon, the red pepper flakes, and the Dijon mustard. Fold in the ricotta and season with salt and pepper.

Pour the filling into the bread boule and sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until the eggs are set. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes, and sprinkle with reserved cheese. Slice into wedges using a serrated knife, and serve.

Source: Pink Parsley

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sesame Noodles

I last made these noodles almost two years ago. Hard to believe, but we just rarely repeat recipes in our house. Since it's been awhile, I thought I'd share it again in case you missed it previously.

When I decided to make Honey Lemon Chicken, I knew I wanted something with an Asian flare to go with it. My go-to, of course, is always rice but Jason has been complaining about the surplus of rice we seem to have. So I thought more like a noodle based side and remembered this dish.

It's originally from The Pioneer Woman and is ridiculously easy... and delicious! I can happily eat a bowl of noodles as a meal though previously, I roasted shrimp and threw that in and served it that way. This time, it was a simple side dish that was easy to throw together. We really should have it more often!

Sesame Noodles
12 ounces thin noodles (angel hair, spaghetti, etc) cooked and drained
1/4 cups soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons pure sesame oil
1/2 teaspoons hot chili oil
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoon hot water
4 whole green onions, thinly sliced

Whisk all ingredients (except noodles and onions) together in a bowl. Taste and adjust as needed. Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat. Sprinkle with green onions and toss.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Honey Lemon Chicken

This dish is a healthier - and easier! - take on the honey lemon chicken dish you often see on a Chinese restaurant menu. It's fresh, easy to make, and delicious. How can you go wrong with honey, lemon, and ginger? The sauce is also fairly versatile; you could cube the chicken and make it more like a stir fry, with added veggies, or even use shrimp instead. I know many of us are always on the look out for new ways to fix boneless, skinless chicken breasts and this is a great recipe to try out!

In order to cook it even faster, I pounded my chicken down and then cut them in half.

Honey Lemon Chicken
1 pound chicken breasts (pounded thin, if desired)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
1 large lemon, or 2 small lemons (juice and zest)
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a pan.

Add the chicken and saute until golden brown and cooked through and set aside.

Add the ginger and saute until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the lemon juice and zest, honey, stock, salt and pepper and reduce to thicken. Taste and make sure you don't need to adjust anything (I added even more lemon at this point but we love lemon!).

Pour the honey lemon sauce over the chicken.

Source: Closet Cooking

Lobster Etouffee

I have a confession to make.

We have no idea how to say "etouffee"

{I'm slightly embarassed that my NOLA friends may see this... please still be my friend!}

Jason just called the dish "creole" with a full-on Texan accent. I called it "et something or nothing."

It really didn't matter what it was called because it was simply "delicious"! It's hard to tell from the picture but the mixture is creamy and thick thanks to that great roux you create. Add to it delicious veggies and tender bites of lobster and you've got a tasty dinner in a bowl. Feel good comfort food.

The spice can be adjusted to your taste. I'm a big weenie and just added hot sauce at the end to taste - even a good amount seemed to just add depth to the flavor without heat. Have it on hand to add at the end if you don't like spice; I think you'll decide it needs it.

Also, you could sub in shrimp or crawfish if you'd rather. I happened to have some lobster in the freezer I needed to use up.

This makes a large portion - enough for 8 servings!  

Lobster Etouffee
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup butter plus 4 tablespoons butter reserved
1/2 cup flour, plus extra flour as needed to form a paste
1 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning or to taste
3-5 dashes hot sauce or to taste
1 8-ounce jar clam juice
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound or 4 cups lobster meat (can substitute crawfish or shrimp)
1/2 cup minced green onions, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

To make the roux, melt butter with oil in a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Whisk flour into the oil to form a paste and cooking over low heat and whisk continuously, until the mixture turns a caramel color and gives off a nutty aroma, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic and cook over low heat until the vegetables are limp, about 5 minutes.

Add the black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, Cajun seasoning, green onions, parsley, and hot sauce to taste. Add clam juice, chicken broth, tomatoes with their juice and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until mixture thickens.

Add lobster meat and cook for 3-5 minutes careful not to overcook. Remove from heat and add the 4 tablespoons reserved butter and stir to melt. Garnish with the green onions, parsley and serve over steamed rice.

Recipe source: Foodie Crush (via Pinterest)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

While grocery shopping with Jason:

Me: Do you prefer fettuccine or angel hair?

Jason: For what?

Me: This amazing butternut squash pasta sauce I'm making.

Jason: What kind of meat?

Me: Um... none?

Jason: *sigh*

So to avoid whining about the lack of meat, I picked up a package of tortellini with herb chicken which seemed to please him. And though the tortellini was tasty with it, I really think fresh fettuccine would have been divine...

To say I adore butternut squash would be a huge understatement. Cutting a butternut squash, however, is quite tricky/dangerous and I dread doing it. Imagine my glee when I came across 2 pound packages of diced butternut squash at Costco! I plan to get more and stock the freezer while it's still in season.

This pasta sauce comes from Use Real Butter - and you must hop over to see her photo because it's gorgeous and you'll want to lick your computer screen. My poor photo taken after dark? Not so much.

Roasted vegetables are always more delicious and butternut squash roasted is no exception. Add to it some thick tangy greek yogurt and some fresh parmesan (splurge for a good quality piece!) and you've got a winner of a dinner. Fresh, easy, and healthy. Yum!

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
2.5 pound butternut squash, peeled, cored, and cubed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
3 tbsps olive oil
1/3 cup of chopped shallots or onions (I used shallots)
1 cup water, more if needed (I needed more to thin it out)
1/4 cup of packed, freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
1/8 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound pasta
Extra grated parmesan

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a roasting pan, toss the butternut squash cubes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper until the squash is well coated. Roast until fork tender, about 45 minutes for 1.5 inch cubes (turn with a spatula every 15 minutes). Keep an eye on it - mine took less time.
When tender, add the squash to a blender or food processor.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a pan and saute the shallots/onions until just beginning to brown, about 3-4 minutes. Add the onions to the blender or food processor along with a cup of water. Add more water if needed. Puree until smooth.

Empty the squash/onion back into the pan and warm over low heat. Stir in the parmesan cheese, Greek yogurt, nutmeg, and salt to taste. Do not let the sauce boil.

Serve the sauce over your choice of pasta, sprinkled with more fresh Parmesan, and some freshly ground black pepper.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday Food Ideas

I know many of us - even those who couldn't care less about football - attend or host Super Bowl parties. For me, it's a great excuse to veg on the couch and eat appetizers that I rarely indulge in! While our plans for Sunday are still up in the air, I thought I'd recommend a few dishes from the past that would be perfect for your Sunday spread!
Creamy {Baked} Chicken Taquitos
Crockpot Lime Chicken Nachos
Edamole (Edamame+Guacamole) and Fried Wonton Strips
Everything Shrimp with Scallion-Cream Cheese Dip

Mushroom Swiss Sliders

Crockpot Tequila Lime Turkey Chili
Cake Batter Rice Crispy Treats
{Football} Oreo Truffles
Parmesan Straws
Curry Chicken Salad

Crack Dip aka Buffalo Chicken Dip

(awful pic, great dish) Crockpot BBQ Chicken Drumsticks or Wings

Fudge Brownies

See Aimee Cook

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