Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Donald and I had some friends over for dinner and games this week. I was really excited for multiple reasons. 1) They're really fun to hang out with. 2) Dinner and games is our kind of evening. 3) Excuse to use fancy china.
One of our friends is allergic to garlic, which while I think it is tragic in a way, it pushed me to find some great recipes that don't use garlic at all. I decided to go with mexican and make a chicken enchilada using a tomato based sauce with gobs and gobs of chili powder, which oddly enough didn't make it all that spicy but full of flavor.
Chicken Enchiladas 2
- 3 tbsp veggie oil
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 10 oz tomato paste
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp oregano (omitted, by accident)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 10 tortillas
- 2-3 large chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
- 1 1/2 cups cheese
Heat the oil just a little bit in a small saucepan, then add the flour. Stir into a paste, then add the chili powder. Mix and heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, chicken stock, spices, and salt and allow to heat for 15 minutes. It ill thicken a little during this time.
Mix 1/2 cup of sauce and 1/2 cup of cheese with the shredded chicken. If you need, you can make the sauce and chicken ahead of time and store for 1-2 days in the fridge.
Take about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture and place into a tortilla, then fold up sealing on both ends. Place into a baking pan. Top all the enchiladas with additional sauce, about 1 cup worth but more if you like them saucy. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of the enchiladas.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until the cheese is really melted and the enchiladas are hot.
Mmm. Homemade ice cream. This was our first chocolate-based attempt and it turned out very well, but due to the peanut butter it is very very soft and creamy. I like my ice cream to be a bit harder, but this is still really good, especially in a sugar cone. The recipe is based on Jerry's (of Ben and Jerry's) chocolate ice cream recipe.
I wanted to take more pictures of the in-process ice cream, but this stuff froze so fast I didn't have the time.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Ingredients (makes 1 quart)
- 2 oz unsweetened chocolate
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitue)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp vainlla
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
In your double boiler, melt the unsweetened chocolate bars. You don't want the water to be boiling, just hot.
Once the chocolate is melted, add the cocoa powder. This will make the chocolate clump up like crazy and you're going to think "oh god, I really screwed this up, didn't I!" You didn't. Turst me.
So add the cocoa powder, then slowly add the milk. As the milk heats, it will slowly dissolve and further melt the clumpy looking chocolate. This will take about 20 minutes or so. Stir the mixture regularly.
Eventually, the chocolate will all be melted and it will look like this:
Set this aside and let it cool. In your mixer, whisk the eggs rapidly until they are fluffy, then add the sugar slowly. Add the whipping cream and vanilla to this mixture. Once the chocolate is cool, mix the 2 together and put it in the fridge for 1-3 hours. Now, here's where I made a mistake. I let this mixture cool almost too much because I did all of this the night before I made the ice cream. Because you're about to add peanut butter, this is going to get super thick, and mine froze too fast, and didn't churn anywhere near enough. Oh well, live and learn.
So, take the mixture out of the fridge and remove 1 cup of the cream mixture. Add the 1/2 cup of peanut butter and mix thoroughly, then add the entire thing back to the ice cream and mix.
Freeze accourding to your ice cream makers instructions.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Donald and I really love stir fry. They are easy, full of veggies, decently healthy, and so flavorful. Chicken ones are the easiest beceause I find chicken to be so much more forgiving than beef or pork. This is a very basic one, sometimes we're more adventerous.
The best things about stir frys is that you can substitute and add whatever veggies you want. A few tips:
- If you add carrots, on the veggie cooking step, but the carrots into the wok before the other veggies by 2-3 minutes. They take much longer to cook than peppers, onions, etc.
- I hate water chesnuts, but I think these go in very late in the process should you want to ruin... I mean, erm, change your dish with them.
- Chinese mushrooms. Yumm.
Classic Stir Fry
1.5 - 2 lbs chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
3/4 c soy sauce
2 tsp fresh minced garlic
2 tsp minced onion
1 heaping spoonful brown sugar
1 medium green pepper, sliced
1/2 onion (or one full small onion) sliced thin
2 c white rice (or lettuce for lettuce wraps, according to my friend Monica, this is very good!)
In a bowl, mix the soy sauce, garlic, dried minced onion, and brown sugar and stir, then add the chicken. Mix well, stir, and cover, then put the bowl into the fridge for 30 minutes or so. Consider stirring the mixture once in the middle.
Slice the green peppers and onions, set aside. In your wok, heat 2 tbsp peanut oil until spitting hot. VERY CAREFULLY add the veggies into the wok. Cook for 3-4 minutes, longer if you like your veggies more well done.
Remove the veggies from the wok and set aside. In the same wok, cook the marinated chicken for about 6-8 minutes or until it is fully cooked. Add back the veggies and allow the sauce to coat everything.
Serve over rice or in lettuce wraps.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Made these things over the weekend, basic peanut butter cookies. I topped them with a bit of chocolate powder for color and to be different. They turned out really well, but be warned.... you could feed an army (of kindergartners) with this recipe. It makes a ton!
Classic Peanut Butter Cookies
1 c butter
1 c peanut butter
1 c sugar
1 c packed brown sugar
2.5 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Cream together the butters and sugars plus the eggs until light and fluffy:
Then add the flour and rest of the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly, then refridgerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Form the chilled dough into 1" balls. Flatten in 2 directions with a fork to create a crisscross pattern.
Bake for 10 minutes or until they begin to brown. Remove from pan and allow to cool for a minute or two.
To add the chocolate powder, take a fork and dip it into the powder, shake off most of it. Then over the cookie, turn the fork over and tap off the excess! You can do this with cinnamon as well.
If you don't want to do the chocolate dust, sprinkle the cookies with white sugar.
d we dicided to make Green Bean Caserole to go along with that. Donald took the time to french cut the green beans, and I made the rest. Since I've never used fresh green beans for this, I'll throw that recipe in here too.
The cheese and garlic bread was a stroke of genius on my part. I've had things like this before, but really just made this recipe up on my own. It is so good! Enjoy.
Garlic Cheese Bread
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c shredded mozzerella
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp minced garlic (that's right! but you can use less if you don't like it)
2 tbsp sour cream
6 pieces of italian bread
In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add the cheeses and garlic and mix thoroughly. Then add the sour cream. The mix should smooth out a bit. Spread onto bread.
Note: I buttered my bread first, but I don't think you need to.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the bread begins to brown on the bottom.
Note 2: I'd add chives to this, for some color.
Green Bean Caserole - Fresh Green Beans!
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups french fried onions
3 cups french cut fresh green beans
Cut the green beans in half, the long way. This takes forever. And ever. Totally worth it.
Boil the beans in a medium saucepan for 10 minutes or until they are soft. Drain completely in a strainer, then mix with 2/3 cup french onions, the soup, and the milk. top with the rest of the french onions. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
The main dish here is the raviolo, gorgonzola ravioli from Trader Joe's.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
I love lasagna, but I really hate making a whole one for the 2 of us. I eventually get tired of the leftovers, and it takes up SO MUCH ROOM in the fridge! I've been seeing these rollups on a few blogs, so I decided to try them. They were really very good and despite being labor intensive, totally and completely worth it. Enjoy!
Spinach Lasagna Rollups
Sauce - This is honestly up to you, but here's my basic sauce recipe:
1/2 lbs ground beef, cooked and drained
1 tbsp italian seasoning
2 tsp garlick
Salt and pepper to taste
1 jar sauce
1 small can tomato paste
Cheese and Spinach Mix - This will make enough for 3 rollups
1 c ricotta
1/2 c shredded mozzerella
1/4 c parmersean/romano (mix, or one of the 2)
1 tbsp parsley - mostly for color
1 c rinsed baby spinach
1 tsp garlic
1 egg (honestly, if you can use 1/8 c egg substitute, its better because you don't need a whole egg)
Lasagna noodles (2 per rollup you want to make), boiled and cooled
Preheat oven to 375.
Make your sauce and mix together all the ingredients in the cheese mix. I honestly recommend sticking this in the microwave for a few minutes, stirring often, so its slightly melted and easier to work with. Plus, you're not actually going to bake this thing through, everything is cooked ahead of time.
In a baking dish, lay a noodle down and put a heaping spoonful of the cheese mix onto it:
Fold the noodle back over the cheese and put another spoonful of cheese mixture. Fold the noodle back over a third time, and then trim off the remainder of the noodle. Place a spoonful of cheese on the top and then spoon sauce over top of this mixture.
Now, take a second noodle and lay it over the sauce, place a layer of cheese, and then double back. Trim off the remainder of the noodle and then cover the noodle and cheese tower in sauce.
Once you've made all your rollups, top with mozzerella cheese and serve! Bake about 20 minutes.
I'm on a cooking baking frenzy this weekend, I have a few friends I need to provide thank you gifts to and what is better than homebaked cookies! My husband requested these, he loves white chocolate (and he gets to be my "are you sure these are good? no really, are they ok?" guy). As a note, these are very chocolate and less sweet. If you want to make them more sweet, experiment with things like agave sweetner and such, but I wouldn't add much more sugar.
Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 c butter
3/4 c sugar
1 egg (used egg substitute)
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c dark chocolate cocoa
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 c white chocolate chips
1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Put the first 4 ingredients (eggs, sugar, vanilla, butter) into mixer and whisk until fluffy, 3-4 min on medium speed. Don't be me, use the whisk.
In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together and then slowly add it to the fluffy moist mixture using a low mixer speed. Allow to mix thoroughly, then add the chips and allow to mix in:
Measure out heaping teaspoon fulls of the batter and put onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, remove from oven and place onto cooling rack allowing to cool.
As a wedding gift, Donald and I got an ice cream maker! We have made raspberry, mocha chip, cookies and cream, and butter pecan. This is my first blog entry about them, I didn't really think to blog them until my friend Molly came over for the season premier of America's Next Top Model, during which we decided to eat ice cream. Why not?
Molly is picky about her ice cream, and I was happy that she approved of mine.
This recipe is from Ben and Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book
This makes 1 quart -
1/2 cupt butter
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
First, freeze your ice cream maker bowl overnight. The next day...
Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over low heat, then add the salt and pecans. Saute, while stirring until the pecans begin to brown. Be careful to not cook the pecans too long or they will get soggy! Drain the butter into a small bowl and transfer the pecans into another bowl, letting it cool.
Whisk the eggs until light and fluffy, then add the sugar a little at a time and continue whisking until completely blended. Pour in the milk and cream. Blend well, then add the butter.
Transfer the mixture to your ice cream maker and follow its instructions. About 2 minutes until the ice cream is "ready" add the pecans and make sure it is mixed well. Freeze and serve!
Sunday, March 1, 2009
I love this dish and it is one of our staple dinners. I don't know how this never made it onto the blog before, but it didn't! This is a modified recipe from cooking light magazine and its really good. Feel free to tweak the sauce, that part is really up to you.
- 1 chicken breast
- 1 egg
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp parmersean cheese
- 1 tbsp italian seasoning
- Pasta sauce, made to your specifications
- Mozzerella cheese
Cut the chicken breast into filets, really as thin as you can get them. 1 chicken breast should make 4 full sized filets, which easily serves 2 people. Scramble the egg in a bowl, and in a second bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, pamersean cheese, and italian seasoning.
Dip the filet into the egg so it is coated, then transfer immediately to the breadcrumbs. Shake in the breadcrumbs and turn over a few times until it is fully coated. In a frying pan, heat up 3 tbsp of olive oil. Once heated, transfer the breaded chicken into the frying pan. Cook for 3 minutes on each side (you may need to add more oil). Pull out of the frying pan and set it on a paper towel. Check to make sure the chicken is cooked completely.
In a 11x7 baking pan, put pasta sauce along the bottom so it is coated thinly. Layer the cooked chicken breasts on top of the sauce. Then scoop additional sauce onto each filet. Sprinkle mozzerella cheese on the top, as much as you'd like!
Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is fully melted and beginning to bubble a little which is about 15-20 minutes. (I forgot to take a picture after taking out my dinner pieces! Oops)
While this bakes, boil the water and cook your pasta. Serve the chicken on top of the pasta with a little excess sauce and a veggie side.
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