Friday, October 22, 2010

Caramelized French Toast

Thank you to my friend Andrea for sharing this delectable French toast casserole with me. It's almost like a bread pudding--warm, caramelly, YUM! It's very rich. We served this at a Young Women's breakfast with fresh fruit and orange juice. It was so easy to make the night before and refrigerate until baking the next morning. If you're looking for a decadent breakfast casserole, this is it!

Caramelized French Toast

1 1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 c butter
1/4 c + 2 Tbsp corn syrup
1- 1 3/4 inch slices french bread
4 eggs slightly beaten
2 1/2 c milk, half and half or cream
1 Tbsp vanilla
3/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c melted butter

Cook first three ingredients over medium heat 5 min. or until bubbly. Pour into bottom of 9X13 baking dish. Arrange bread slices over mixture in pan (cover bottom of pan with one layer of bread and squeeze in the slices so there are no spaces). Mix together eggs and next 3 ingredients and pour over break slices. Cover and chill at least 8 hours (overnight works well for the next morning!). Before baking, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and then pour melted butter over top. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. (Syrup on bottom of pan will thicken as it cools slightly. Eat right away for thinner syrup; allow to cool for thicker syrup.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spinach & Corn Enchiladas

This recipe was created on a "What am I going to make?" night when I needed to use a bag of spinach and half a bunch of cilantro before they spoiled and I was in the mood for Mexican food. After we all devoured these, I proclaimed this a recipe success. I love that the filling is so creamy without any cream (although I was generous with the cheese).

Spinach & Corn Enchiladas
1/8 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 t cumin
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
1 can no salt added whole-kernel corn, drained
1/4 c cilantro
1 6-oz bag baby spinach
2 cups shredded cheese
6-8 medium (soft-taco size) flour tortillas
1 10-oz can red enchilada sauce

Preheat oven to 350. In a skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly at a boil for one minute (it should be nice and thick). Reduce heat to low and stir in cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder. Incorporate corn and cilantro. Fold spinach into mixture, remove from heat, and continue folding for about one minute. Coat the bottom of a greased baking dish with a small amount (1/8-1/4 cup enchilada sauce). Generously fill each tortilla with spinach mixture, top with 1/8-1/4 cup cheese, roll and place seam-side down into baking dish. Fill remaining tortillas. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tortilla Pie

My friend Kathryn shared this recipe with me and it is a hit at our house. Think Mexican lasagna. The original recipe comes from Parents magazine. It calls for a package of fajita chicken but I usually just use two cups of shredded chicken. I've also used ground turkey and it would be an easy vegetarian meal if you just use the beans and corn. I love that the top tortilla gets crispy around the edges! I like serving this with sliced avocados or guacamole.

Mile-high Tortilla Pie (Parents Magazine)
1 can (19 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (11 ounces) whole-kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained
1 jar (16 ounces) chunky mild salsa
1 pack (10 oz) fajita-style cooked chicken (or, use cooked shredded chicken or ground turkey or beef, or omit to make this a vegetarian meal)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves (this adds something but it's great without it, too)
5 (10 inch) flour tortillas
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I use a Mexican blend)
Sour cream, optional

Heat oven to 425. In a medium bowl, combine black beans, corn, salsa, chicken and cilantro. Coat the bottom of a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place 1 tortilla in coated pan. Top with 1 1/2 cups of the bean mixture and 1/4 of the cheese. Layer three more times, finishing with the last tortilla. (I sprinkle some cheese on top). Bake in oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese melts and filling is hot. Serve with sour cream if desired.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nanaimo Bars

Recently, I attended a dessert club. This is like a book club, but instead of reading and then discussing books, everyone makes a dessert and then shares it. Awesome, right!? The theme for the first dessert club was "new recipes." I've been wanting to try this recipe for Nanaimo Bars for quite sometime so this was a perfect chance. And, there is no baking required! Some stove top work but other than that, just spreading and cooling. I was thrilled that they turned out looking as good (or almost) as the picture online. They are named after a city in British Columbia where a woman invented the recipe. They are very sweet and rich but so delicious. I liked them best cold out of the refrigerator and in some way the taste reminds me of an oreo cookie. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pasta with Peas, Chives, and Cream Sauce

I could eat pasta with alfredo sauce every night for dinner, so when I come across a recipe that looks like an "easy alfredo" I always try it. Another reason I was enticed by this Real Simple recipe was that I was able to use the chives from our garden. Also, both my kids will always eat noodles and peas. They love them! I used two cups half and half in place of the heavy cream and milk and it worked well. A nice, comforting pasta dish.

Monday, October 11, 2010

International Dateline Chicken

This is another recipe from the Cook's Country Best Lost Suppers cookbook. It's sweet and savory and I love the dates in the dish! I used 4 boneless, skinless, whole chicken breasts and cut my browning time to about 7 minutes and simmer time to about 15 minutes. You can save even more time if you're using chicken breast halves.

International Dateline Chicken
4 (12-ounce) bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts, trimmed
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine
1/2 cup minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup pitted dates, finely chopped
1 (11-ounce) can Mandarin oranges, drained
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 1/2 tsps of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook the chicken until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and remove the skin.

2. Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tsp oil in the pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the bell pepper, onion, and 1/2 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and curry powder and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth, scraping up any browned bits.

3. Return the chicken breasts, along with any accumulated juices, to the pot. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the thickest part of the breasts registers 160 to 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and tent loosely with foil.

4. Mix the orange juice and cornstarch together in a bowl. Add the juice mixture and the dates to the pot and cook, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the oranges and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

Though blueberry season is over, these muffins (thank you for posting this recipe, Kari!) can be made with frozen blueberries (that's what I used) and will still be the most delicious blueberry muffins. They do take a little more work than a standard blueberry muffin but they are worth it. Just that sugary coating on top, yum! The batch lasted about 18 hours at our house.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Latin Baked Chicken

Easy, easy, easy! Only five ingredients (lime, honey, soy sauce, chipotle, chicken) for this delicious dish! The flavors are great. A friend told me to freeze the extra chipotles in adobo. After mincing all the chiles (in the can using kitchen scissors), I separated them into two-tablespoon-sized portions and popped them in the freezer. Perfect!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Summer Barley Salad

This Summer Barley Salad was easy, quick, and healthy. The dressing with the lemon is light and bright, and I recommend doubling the dressing so you can add more. The feta adds a nice richness to the salad. I used a whole cucumber instead of olives. You could really change up the vegetables in this dish to what you may have on hand.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Taco Seasoning

One evening, as I was almost done browning ground turkey for tacos, I realized I didn't have a packet of taco seasoning. I love those little packets. They make ground turkey taste great and really are easy. So, I hurried to the computer and checked allrecipes to find a recipe for taco seasoning. I won't be buying taco seasoning packets again. This combination is so much better (and cheaper and healthier). I may be making this in bulk and giving it out as a holiday gift, it really is that good and handy!

Taco Seasoning
1 T chili powder
1/4 t garlic
1/4 t onion
1/4 t red pepper
1/4 t dried oregano
1/2 t paprika
1 1/2 t cumin
1 t salt
1 t pepper

Combine all ingredients and add to one pound of browned and drained ground meat. Add 1/4-1/2 cup water, stir and simmer over low heat about 5 minutes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Coconut Lime Granita

This summer I was on a lime kick. Any recipe, sweet or savory, with lime on the ingredient list made it onto my to-try list. I was squeezing lime in my water. And, my favorite flavor combination was coconut-lime. I mentioned this flavor craving to my friend Kari, who has the most amazing baking blog, and the coconut-lime craze got her too. After I saw her post on Coconut Lime Granita, I had to make it. It was so easy and so delicious! No time for a photo of this tasty dessert at our house, I was too interested in eating it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Asian Chicken Salad

This salad makes it into my recipe rotation at least once every two weeks. The dressing is amazing and the salad is totally customizable.

Asian Chicken Salad
Dressing (recipe adapted from Allrecipes):
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 Tablesoon sesame oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons rice vinegar

Two hearts romaine, chopped
Two whole chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
One can mandarin oranges
One cucumber, sliced
One carrot, sliced or shredded
Chow Mein Noodles (Safeway has these for 99 cents for a 6 oz bag-I usually use half a bag)
Sliced almonds (optional)

Combine dressing ingredients and refrigerate while assembling all salad ingredients except noodles. Toss salad with dressing, divide among plates, and top with noodles and almonds.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Screaming Noodles

Did you hear about my huge recipe accomplishment? Well, I decided to try some of the other recipes in the cookbook. Screaming Noodles, is now in my regular rotation because it is quick, cheap, and a nice vegetarian option. It's named "Screaming Noodles" because the first time the kids saw it they screamed until they tried it, then, they liked it. I normally use a pound of rotini, or whatever short pasta I have on hand. I always omit the fresh parsley. I've added the spinach earlier, to the sauce and let it wilt before I pour the sauce on the noodles. The spinach clumps quite a bit that way, but if you like spinach cooked more, you should add it earlier than the recipe calls for. I like the dish both ways. Here is the recipe from the Cook's Country Best Lost Suppers cookbook:

Screaming Noodles
1 pound wide egg noodles (or other pasta)
2 Tbsps olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/8-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 (5-ounce) bags baby spinach
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Bring 4 quarts water ot a boil in a large pot. Add the noodles and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the noodles and return them to the pot.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon slat in a medium saucepan over medium heat until sizzling, about 1 minute. Add the cottabe cheese, Parmesan, and broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, 2 to 4 minutes.

3. Stir the sauce into the noodles, adjusing the consistency with the reserved past cooking water as needed. Stir in the spinach, one handful at a time, and cook until wilted, about 30 seconds. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Black Bean Burgers

Different and delicious! These black bean burgers were fun to make and good to eat. I omitted the jalapeno. After reading some reviews, I used a potato masher to mash the beans. It was helpful. I also used a whole egg instead of two egg whites and that seemed to help hold the burgers together. The salsa is great. I kept the avocado sliced and added it for Jack, who loves to eat avocado slices. Sweet potato fries were a great side with this.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

The smell of these cinnamon rolls baking on Christmas morning while we opened presents was wonderful. The recipe is aptly named "Clone of a Cinnabon". These cinnamon rolls, and the to die for frosting, are amazing! I don't have a bread machine and used my stand mixer instead. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in the bowl of the mixer. Mix in the sugar, butter (I think butter is better), salt, and eggs. Add flour and mix. With the dough hook, knead the dough into a large ball. Put in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Continue with #2 in the directions. I also followed the advice of one of the reviewers of the recipe who suggested flipping the pan over after it comes out of the oven. This is essential! I turned the pan upside down onto a cookie sheet. The sugary filling coated the entire roll. Yum, yum, yum. And the frosting is so good! These are irresistible--I think I might have eaten half of them in two days. Enjoy!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Buche de Noel

For a challenge and treat, I decided to challenge myself and make a Buche de Noel for Christmas. We had Christmas dinner with some friends and I only had to make a salad and dessert so I had the time to try this decadent dessert. A few years in a row my parents bought a Buche de Noel from a little French Bakery and we'd have that with our Christmas dinner. It was always so delicious and beautiful! With meringue mushrooms and leaves it truly looked like a log in the forest. I was really worried about making the actual cake, or genoise, which needed to be rolled and stored in the fridge, then unrolled, filled, rerolled, then frosted. I found this Martha Stewart recipe and tried that. Well, the cake did not turn out. It was almost paper thin and rolling it was a major task. I may have overbaked it but something else was really wrong, I wasn't sure. But, determined to make the Buche de Noel, I tried this recipe. I was thrilled when the genoise turned out. An electric mixer with a whisk is a must. I beat those eggs like crazy! After it was rolled in the towel, I wrapped the entire thing in plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight. The filling in the Allrecipes recipe is basically just chocolate whipped cream, which is fine with me. Delicious and easy. However, the cake is already very rich so I recommend cutting the cocoa powder in the filling to 1/3 or 1/4 cup. The Allrecipes recipe doesn't include a frosting so I took a shot at Martha Stewart's. Well, once again I was met with failure (I nearly shed some tears over all that wasted butter). So, I tried a simple chocolate buttercream using this vanilla buttercream recipe, just adding cocoa powder. It's difficult not to eat the frosting with a spoon. It was easy to spread on the cake. I cut of the end of the cake for the top "branch" on the log. I shaved some milk and dark chocolate over the top and dusted the entire thing with powdered sugar for a snowy effect. For my first Buche de Noel, I think the overall result was pretty good. The dessert was very rich. I'm going do research over the next year and try another Buche de Noel next year. Send me any tips you may have!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Roasted Chicken with Lemon Curd

Chicken with lemon curd? I know it sounds unusual but it is so delicious. My friend Kari (see previous post to find her baking blog) brought us this chicken with a "new baby meal" just after Myla was born. We gobbled it up and as soon as I was really cooking again, it was the first new recipe I tried. The original recipe is for a whole chicken but it works just as well (even better & easier) using leg quarters or drumsticks and thighs. The original recipe included a recipe for lemon curd but I'm not even including it. Make your day easier and just go buy it! You can usually find it next to the jams and jellies or in the baking aisle. This chicken is fantastic!!!

Roasted Chicken with Lemon Curd
1 (3-lb) roasting chicken (or 3 lbs of chicken pieces with skin on)
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup lemon curd
2 large lemons, halved
1. Preheat oven to 450. Remove chicken giblets and stuff, rinse with cold water and pat dry. Trim excess fat. Loosen skin with fingers (do this with the chicken pieces, too).
2. Combine rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub under loose skin, all over meat. (This gives the chicken such fabulous flavor).
3. Place chicken, breast side up, on broiler pan coated with cooking spray (or put chicken pieces in a greased or foil-lined 9x13 pan.) Pierce skin with fork. Brush chicken all over generously with lemon curd (I just spooned it on and spread it around, flipped the chicken pieces over and spread the rest). Arrange lemons around chicken (I skipped this step).
4. Bake at 450 for 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 and bake an additional 1 hour until thermometer registers 165. (For legs reduce both times - about 20 minutes at 450 and about 40-45 at 350, until juices ran clear and thermometer was about 165.) Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil, let stand 10 minutes.

Banana Muffins

If you're looking for a new way to use those overripe bananas, here it is! This muffin recipe that I found on my friend Kari's awesome baking blog, is easy and delicious and even a little bit healthy, too (whole wheat flour and oats and bananas!). We love them for a mid-morning snack and they freeze really well, too! Enjoy!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Barbecue Chicken with Mustard Glaze

This recipe from Cooking Light is tasty, quick, and easy. You probably have all the ingredients on hand! My mom made this for us when she was here helping after Myla was born. We used chicken breasts and instead of grilling, we baked them for 20 minutes, brushed on the sauce, and then baked for 10 additional minutes. The spice rub and sauce makes the chicken so flavorful. Give this one a try!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Peach Raspberry Crisp

I've wanted to post this recipe before peach season was over and I think I'm a little late. But, keep it in mind for next year! This peach crisp is amazing and the addition of raspberries . . . delicious! The topping is very rich but wow, is it good! Obviously the above picture is before the topping and baking but I just love the color combination. I halved this recipe. As apple season approaches, try Ina's apple version of this dessert. Don't you just love Fall?! For another great peach dessert, try this peach blueberry crostata.