Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chicken Pot Pie

I have been meaning to make chicken pot pies for quite some time. I love pot pies, but store-bought/frozen ones are LOADED with sodium. I think it was the September issue of Cooking Light that had it on the front, it inspired me. But I always forget to look at my magazines when meal planning. Well my Tyler Florence Real Kitchen cookbook also had a pot pie recipe in it. Since I had the book out for the dim sum, I actually remembered to buy the stuff for it!

Tyler's recipe is pretty detailed and calls for roasting a whole chicken, making your own chicken stock, cooking for 12 people etc... Well, sometimes I like to simplify things. So here is my recipe for Chicken Pot Pies
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
Frozen mixed veggies
Sliced mushrooms
3 cups of chicken broth
1/4 cup of butter
2/3 cup of flour
Other seasonings: Thyme & Rosemary, fresh or dried
1 sheet Puff Pastry

Spray skillet with Misto Olive Oil. Add chicken & cook until no longer pink.
Remove chicken, add mushrooms until slightly softened.
Cook vegetables ( I use the steamfresh frozen veggies).
In a pot, melt the butter. Whisk in flour to form the "roux". Gradually add chicken broth. Bring to simmer for 10-15 minutes until sauce thickens. I also added the S&P & spices at this time.
(I used 4 cups of chicken broth & it was kind of runny, so I ended up making more roux in a separate pan & adding it to my mixture) Tyler says it should look like cream of chicken soup.
Mix everything together, minus the puff pastry.
Lay out the puff pastry & place your ramekins on top, cut out the "top". With my recipe I was able to make 2 medium sized ramekins & 3 small ramekins.
Spray the inside of the ramekins & place on a baking sheet.
Fill with the mixture & top with the puff pastry.
Brush the pastry with egg whites & sprinkle with cheese. I had Parmesan on hand so I used that.
Bake for about 20 mins on 350F or until the pastry is browned. Let cool, these suckers are HOT!

These were awesome!! I love that you can really do whatever you'd like with this recipe. Make it vegetarian by using veggie stock & loads of vegetables. Make a turkey pot pie & add sweet potatoes or red potatoes. Or beef pot pie with just carrots & peas. I hadn't intended for there to be leftovers (my fridge is full) But I was so thankful that I had 3 small containers left because it was very good!

Help Me!!!

Holy green tomatoes!!!
We harvested our garden over the weekend, as the first frost hit KC. So now I have like 3lbs of green tomatoes.
Any recipes? Any ideas of what to do with these??


Apple Pumpkin Bread

I picked up a Weight Watchers cookbook at the library the last time I was there. I have a few friends who are on WW & send me recipes. They all look good-but do they taste good?
Not so the case with the pumpkin apple bread. I don't have the recipe with me, but i don't even think I will post it. The bread was pretty bland to say the least. You would think, pumpkin bread would be bursting with flavor. Nope not really.

We even tried to top it with homemade whipped butter, flavored with McCormick pumpkin spice and whipped cream cheese, flavored with pumpkin spice. Nada. Nothing did the trick. It tasted like flour.

But it took some good pics!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dim Sum Part Two

Next up was the Pork Dumpling Soup with Chinese Greens

Pork Filling
3/4 pund ground pork
1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, stems removed (again, couldnt find, so I used portobello)
1/2 med turnip (I was scared & omitted this. I dont think I like turnips)
1 green onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1 egg white
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp sherry
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper

3 qts Chicken Stock (I used 1 1/2 quarts of low sodium chicken broth)
1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce (I meant to use less but forgot)
2 inch piece of ginger, cut in half (I just grated a 1 inch piece)
4 garlic cloves, smashed (I used 2)
2 green onions
1 dried red chile (I didnt have this so I omitted it)

Wonton Wrappers
1 egg white
4 head bok choy (I used 2 heads)
1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms (I used portobello)

Pulse the filling ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.
In a large pot, simmer all broth ingredients together for 10 mins. Turn to low & cover.
Lay wonton wrappers on the counter. Brush with egg whit & drop 2 tsp of prok filling in the center. Fold in half to form a triangle. Press the sides together to get rid of air bubbles, then seal tightly. You can continue to fold this into more of a "Pope's Hat" if you desire, I was hungry.

Once all wrappers are full, strain the soup broth to remove the solids. Bring the soup to a simmer over meidum high heat. Add dumplings and boil for 12 minutes. Add the bok choy & mushrooms, continue to simmer for 3 minutes.

My Notes: This makes like 50 dumplings, no lie. For 2 people, I dont think so. So, with the extra filling, I made pot stickers.

Along with the above, I had some dipping sauces for the pot stickers & the buddha delights.
Sorry no pictures of these but here is what I used:
Hot N Sweet
1/8 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/8 cup of rice vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tsp Sriracha Sauce

Chinese Mustard Sauce
1/8 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/8 cup of rice vinegar
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp Sriracha Sauce

Basic Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/8 cup of rice vinegar
Fresh Squeezed lemon juice
Sriracha Sauce to taste

So like I said, and as you can see, this is quite time consuming, but not hard. I like the Buddha Delights a lot and think they would make a great appetizer for cocktail party, especially great for vegetarians.

Dim Sum Any One?

Awhile back I made pot stickers one night. Pot stickers happens to be one of my husband's favorite foods, so being able to make them at home (and taste good) was quite an accomplishment for me. As many of you fellow foodies know, wonton wrappers come in quite a large package. Well the best part is you can freeze them so they dont go bad!!
While I was menu planning last week, I was looking through my new fave cookbook, Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen, he has a whole section on Dim Sum. I read through it and thought, well this doesn't seem too hard. Time consuming, yes, but not difficult. Originally, the Hubs & I had planned to go to a wine tasting on Saturday, but we were so exhausted from staining our fence & other household chores, we decided to stay home.
So what better to do with a Saturday night & a little extra time? Try out the dim sum.

From the cookbook, I chose the "Buddha's Delight" & the "Pork Dumpling Soup with Chinese Greens". I'll denote my changes in green.

Buddha's Delight

Vegetable Filling
Sesame Oil
2 garlic cloves minced
1" piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 leek, well washed & chopped
1 head baby bok chok, chopped (I used bok choy)
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms (I couldnt find these at the store, so I used portobello)
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 bunch of cilantro
2 egg whites
1 Tbsp cornstarch

For the dumplings
Wonton Wrappers
1 egg white beaten
Canola Oil, for brushing steamer (used olive oil mist spray)
Savoy Cabbge for lining the steamer (opps I forgot this)

Heat a large skillet with sesame oil. Add garlic & ginger to pan and stir for 1 minute. Add leek, bok choy, mushrooms, carrot & cilantro. Seasonw ith S&P. Cook for about 5 mins or until the veggies soften. (took at least 10 mins for me)Remove from heat & cool to room temperature. Scrape the veggie mixture into a food processor, add the egg whites & the conrstarch. Pulse until the filling it it holds together.
(Mine never did, I ended up using my seieve strainer to get rid of the extra liquid. I would use 1 egg white next time)

Lay wonton wrappers on the counter. Brush with egg white. Drop 1 Tbsp of filling into center. Fold wrapper over & seal. Repeat with wonton wrappers until you run out of filling.

Tyler recommends you use a bamboo steamer. I do not have a bamboo steamer so I used my metal one. Spray the steamer with olive oil so the dumplings don't stick. Here you should line the steamer with the cabbage. (I didnt do this) Place dumplings in steamer, so they do not touch (I fit about 7) Bring about 1-2 inches of water to a boil in your pot. Place steamer on top & cover. Steam for about 10-12 minutes.
Repeat with remainder of the dumplings.
Next time notes: line the steamer with the cabbage. My dumplings stuck regardless of what I did.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Potato Soup

One of our favorite fall soups is Potato Soup. However, potato soup can be so bad for you-the cream, the butter, etc... Just all around high fat, high carb meal.

I checked around the Internet in search of a better-for-you potato soup. I sort of combined one I found on Weight Watchers & one from Cooking Light. The Weight Watchers recipe had you use chicken broth as opposed to milk. I didn't think that sounded quite right. But it also had you roast garlic & mash the pulp with the potatoes. So I went with that idea. Cooking light had me using 2% milk & low fat/no fat sour cream. Anyway, this tasted just like the real thing.

Here is my recipe, formed by combining WW & CL:
About 8 potatoes, peeled & diced
1 head of garlic
2/3 cup flour
about 6 cups 2% milk
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
green onions
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
6 slices of bacon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wrap the garlic in foil & place in oven for about 45 minutes or until the pulp is mushy.
Boil potatoes in water until soft. (You can also bake the potatoes in the oven with the garlic if desired)
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a separate skillet until crunchy & crumbly.
Drain potatoes & mash them with some of the roasted garlic pulp. (We like our soup with chunks, so I only mashed half of them) .
In a dutch oven, add flour, gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Cook over medium heat until it thickens. DO NOT BOIL!
Add potatoes, 3/4 cup of cheese, S&P, sour cream, half of the bacon & half of the onions. Cook until cheese melts, over low heat.
Sprinkle with cheese, onions & bacon before serving.
This made SOOOO much soup. I think we ended up having close to 8-9 1 cup servings.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pork Chops with Golden Apple Sauce

I have had this recipe forever and finally found time to make it! When I was little, we always had applesauce with our pork. The Hubs said he had never heard of this. So I think my mom just put applesauce on the pork so that we would eat it.
This is a more grown-up/gourmet take on that.

Pork Chops with Golden Apple Sauce

4 golden delicious apples* I only used 2 apples & had at least 4 cups worth of sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
2 ounces raisins*I probably added 1 full cup
1-inch piece of ginger root
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 cups cider or apple juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp olive oil
4 pork chops
Salt & Pepper
2 Tbsp butter

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a medium sized pot & bring to boil, reduce to low heat & let simmer so the sauce thickens.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat-add oil. Season one side of the pork chops with S&P. Place seasoned side down in the pan. While that side is browning, season the other side. Flip pork chop over so the other side browns. After about 4 mins, reduce heat & cook until juices run clear or no pink shows.
Remove pork chops from pan to let rest. Increase temperature to medium high. Add apple juice/cider & butter to the pan & deglaze. Pour sauce over the chops. Remove ginger from the sauce & top chops with the sauce.

I served this with Parmesan couscous & broccoli. I really enjoyed this meal. It was all around pretty healthy & had all the elements I like in a meal (starch, veggie, protein)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pumpkin Carving

On Saturday, the hubs & I went out to a local pumpkin patch with my nephews, my mom & my brother & sister-in-law. We do this every year & its such a blast. The pumpkin patch has a petting zoo, rides, kettle korn, you even take a hayride out to the patch to pick out your pumpkin. It was quite breezy on Saturday, kicking up dust the whole time we were there, so we didn't stay as long as we usually do. The poor kids had dirt in their eyes most of the time.

Well last night, we carved our pumpkins at home. We didn't get a chance to do it with the boys, but this was probably a good thing b/c it was quite a struggle. Anyway, they turned out pretty good, for how much work we did, they had better!

Note to self--> Next year paint the pumpkins, much easier than carving. I think my finger has carpel tunnel.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Chicken Tortilla Soup

The weekends for me mean making soup or stew and baking. I like making a large crockpot full of soup so we have some for the week.
Well, with the leftover beer can chicken, what better to make than chicken tortilla soup. I searched around for some recipes but pretty much came up with my own.
Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 cans of Rotel
2 large tomatoes, diced
about 1 cup tomato juice
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups of corn
about 2 cups of chicken
Fresh cilantro
Make sure the chicken is in bite size pieces.
Add everything to the crockpot, put on low for about 8 hours.
To serve, top with avocado slices, shredded cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips.

I served this with some homemade turkey and provolone paninis. I learned the trick to a good grilled sandwich is to use mayo on the outside. It makes the bread nice & crispy.

This was a great dinner for our first bout of cold weather.

Hash House A Go-Go

Sunday morning my mother-in-law come in town for a visit. I had remembered this place had opened at the Legends & recalled that they had a brunch menu they served on Sundays.

Here is a little review of Hash House a Go-Go from The Pitch:

The term “Go Go” comes from the French à gogo, meaning abundance or galore. This third restaurant in the Las Vegas-based Hash House A Go Go chain is all about abundance. The portions are so big, it’s almost embarrassing when servers start hauling out hubcap-sized plates heaped with home-style fare such as sage fried chicken, stuffed meat loaf, chicken and biscuits, and hand-hammered pork tenderloins. The food isn’t expensive, and (for a $2.50 split fee) one dinner can easily feed two – or more. A few breakfast dishes, including corned-beef hash, are offered on the dinner menu, but it’s worth coming back for the big ol’ breakfasts, including thick French toast, waffles, enormous pancakes and a wide array of hashes, scrambles and “Farm Benedicts.”

Hash House is a chain restuarant, which we were totally unaware ofm having places in Vegas & San Diego. (Note to self, find the one in Vegas, this would be great hangover food)

The atmosphere was great, however, it was FREZZING in the restaurant area. Now I am normally cold in restaurants, but this was straight up chilly. So we all ordered hot tea. They dont use pre-packaged tea bags, they make it fresh while you wait & let me tell you, it was some awesome tea!

The menu was very interesting, where else can you find meatloaf & ahi tuna on the same menu? Even though we were there for brunch I wanted to check out the full menu as well. It was very interesting & totally unique.

So we ordered our breakfast & started looking around at neighbors plates-these plates were huge! I am talking the size of a platter.
The hubs had Sausage and Gravy Pot Pie:

We were trying to put something next to this thing so you could get an idea of how large it was. (see Splenda packet) Honestly, the plate was the size of my serving pasta bowl I have at home.

My mother-in-law ordered a scramble, I believe it was ground turkey, mushrooms & broccoli.

Her's was served with potatoes, fresh fruit & a biscuit.

I had one of the "hashes", not totally knowing what a hash was, but hey it had artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes & mushrooms in it.

This came with eggs, fresh fruit & a biscuit

Insanely large food portions to say the least. Its kind of embarassing when it comes to your table. Prices are very reasonable for the amount of food you get. We definetly had to get some to-go boxes.

Cookie Salad

This past weekend, a good friend came into town from ATL for a visit. We have missed her dearly so we decided to have a little get together in her honor.
I didn't have much time to whip something up, but I was going through old emails & ran across this one.

Cookie Salad

Courtesy of Liza

2 cups buttermilk
2 small packages of instant vanilla pudding
Mix those two together
16 oz. of cool whip- mix in
1 package of fudge striped-cookies. Crush them good. Save 1/3 of the crushed cookies, and add the remaining into mixture
3 large cans (soup can size) mandarin oranges. Drain from juice and mix in.
Mix well
Top with the remainder of the cookie crumbles.
Chill for 2-3 hours before serving.

Needless to say, the cookie salad was a huge hit. We were only sad that our friend Amanda couldn't be there, b/c she loves the cool whip!!

Sorry for the dark picture, I am pretty sure it was about 12am by the time i actually took a picture of it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Braised Chicken & Mushrooms

In my attempt to use up items in the pantry, I decided to make this Braised Chicken & Mushroom recipe. It was on the back of the Viansa Simmer Sauce we received quite some time ago. You will be seeing the Viansa name in a few posts as I try to use up some of the items we have from their monthly food delivery.

You will need
4 chicken breasts
1 -2 packages of whole mushrooms, cut in half
Viansa Wine Country Caberbet Simmer Sauce

Heat a skillet to medium high & pan sear the chicken. Remove chicken from the pan, add mushrooms & enough olive oil to coat. Once mushrooms have browned, reduce heat to low & add chicken back to pan. Then add simmer sauce. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink, about 15 minutes.

I decided to serve this with some cheesy Orzo. I had 1/2 a package left in the pantry so I thought I would use it up. Yes I know I have made this before, but its a great standby & went wonderfully with this recipe.

You will need:
1/2 package of Orzo
about 2 Tbsp butter
2 cups chicken broth
some cheese: I used a mixture of romano, parmesan & something else...

In a sauce pan, melt butter. add orzo & cook until browned. Add chicken broth & bring to a low simmer. Cover & cook for 15 minutes or until orzo is soft. Remove from heat & stir in desired amount of cheese.

This was great but I would have added a second package of mushrooms, there just wasn't enough for 4 chicken breasts. Also, the actual recipe said to use carrots & shallots. I have had some of Viansa's pasta sauce in the past & it has a very robust flavor so I bypassed adding anything else.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Brownies

So this recipe has been floating around the cooking blogworld lately. And I have to agree with everyone else, it is awesome!

I think it originated on Cara's Cravings. I then saw it on Delectables & Other Adventures in Food. But whoever created this recipe is a genius. Pumpkin, cheesecake & chocolate all in one???

Pumpkin-Spice Cheesecake Brownies
Brownie Batter
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

Cheesecake Batter
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp each ground ginger and ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8" square metal baking pan.Beat together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla, then beat in eggs one at a time. Combine dry ingredients and then gradually stir into butter mixture with a wooden spoon. In separate bowl, beat together cheesecake batter ingredients.

Spread about 2/3 of chocolate batter into prepared pan, and spoon cheesecake batter over. Dollop remaining brownie batter over cheesecake batter. Swirl the batters together by running a butter knife back and forth through the pan.Bake for 40 minutes, or until center is set. Cool completely on wire rack and chill before cutting and serving.

Comfort Food: Country Skillet Supper

As fall weather appears, I am able to pull out the handy dandy "Fall Recipes" document. Within this document I keep links to fall food recipes I want to try or even just a reminder of something I have made in the past, but haven't had in ages.

One of the tried but true recipes is for Country Skillet Supper, courtesy of Campbell's Kitchen. I made this, probably last year sometime, because I had Golden Mushroom soup in the pantry & I was looking for recipes that required ground beef.

My husband loves "one pot wonders" & this is one of his favorites. I like it because it has vegetables in it also & is pretty easy to make. I make a few adjustments so I will type the recipe on how I make it.

Country Skillet Supper
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1 package fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can Golden Mushroom Soup
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 zucchini, sliced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups corkscrew pasta, uncooked

In a large skillet, brown ground beef, onions & garlic. Drain excess fat & add mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms brown up.

Add zucchini, mushroom soup, beef broth, & tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Add pasta. Cover & cook for about 15 minutes or until pasta is cooked.

We top ours with cheese. You can omit this & the additional mushrooms if you'd like.
We are just mushroom lovers.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My New Obession: Tyler Florence

I picked up a Tyler Florence "Real Kitchen" Cookbook at the library the other day & I am in LOVE! His recipes are phenominal & he makes it sound so easy!

So tonight I tried a slow-cooked salmon recipe from his cookbook. The idea of slow cooking salmon is very weird to me. I am used to the normal, cook at 400F for 5 minutes. So when I read this recipe I was intrigued.

I'll have to wing it b/c I left the book at home, but his original recipe was for Slow Cooked Salmon & Asparagus. While I love aspargus, the hubs does not. So I omitted that & made steamed cauliflower with cheese sauce. We had this with the remainder of the caprese salad.

For the salmon, preheat oven to 250F. Place salmon in a baking pan & drizzle with canola oil. Seaons with Salt & Pepper. According to his directions this should only take 20 minutes. Well at 20 minutes my Salmon was still raw, so I up'd the temp to 300F for another 10 minutes. Still not so cooked, so up to 350F for about 5 minutes & it was done.

For the sauce, you take a 1/4 bunch of fresh chives, 1/4 bunch of fresh parsley, 1/4 bunch of fresh tarragon & a 1/4 bunch of fresh cilantro. I was out of cilantro & i have never found fresh tarragon. So I used fresh sweet marjarom & some dried tarragon. Place herbs, about 1/3 cup of Canola oil, one Tbsp of dijon mustard & the juice of one lemon in a food processor & blend. Set aside while the salmon cooks for the seasons to blend together.

For the cauliflower, I just steamed some fresh cauliflower, when it was done, I transferred to a pyrex dish & sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Cover & let it melt.

This was a great low-carb dinner & took about 1 hour to make.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Beer Can Chicken

We dont have a recipe for this, but seriously, beer can chicken is the funniest looking thing ever.
What better way to spend a Sunday watching football than making a nice chicken. This is the hubs cooking again. (Well sort of) He made up his own rub from various seasonings in the spice cabinet. Put the can of beer in the bottom & topped it off with an onion.
We cooked it at 350 for about 2 hours I think, I am not sure on the time as we had the meat thermometer in it so when it reached 180 the alarm went off.

I made some Onion Potatoes which went great with the chicken. Its just a few red potatoes washed & cut into bite size pieces. Toss with olive oil & a packet of Lipton Onion Soup Mix. Roast in the oven for about 30-40 mins at 425F.

This made for a great Sunday Meal & I have leftover chicken to make into other things!

A successful Bread!

So the last two times I have attempted to make some form of homemade bread I have failed. I failed to rise to the occasion. The recipes were actually for rolls & bread bowls, so maybe I should stay away from the small-type breads, because this one turned out PERFECTLY!

I saw this on, it was adapted from Williams Sonoma. She found it from a recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Bread, but made Apple Cinnamon Bread. So I combined the two & you have:
Cinnamon Apple Raisin Swirl Bread

1 Tbs. active dry yeast
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (105° to 115°F)
1 cup warm milk (105° to 115°F)
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbs. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 to 6 1/4 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
3/4 cup golden raisins i used 3 cups of peeled, cored, diced apples instead of raisins
3/4 cup dark raisins
For the filling:
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar mixed with 4 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of the granulated sugar over 1⁄2 cup of the water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the remaining 3/4 cup water, the milk, butter, the remaining granulated sugar, salt, egg and 2 cups of the flour. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture and 1⁄2 cup of the flour and beat for 1 minute. Add the raisins, then beat in the remaining flour, 1⁄2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Switch to the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed, adding flour 1 Tbs. at a time if the dough sticks, until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a greased deep bowl and turn to coat it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours.
Lightly grease two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide the dough in half and roll or pat each half into an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. TIP: using flour for my first loaf didn't really work - this is a very sticky dough. For my 2nd loaf, I sprayed the wax paper with non-stick butter spray and my hands a little on my hands and it worked like a charm. Lightly sprinkle each rectangle with half of the filling, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Beginning at a narrow end, tightly roll up each rectangle into a compact log. Pinch the ends and the long seam to seal in the filling. Place each log, seam side down, in a prepared pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough is about 1 inch above the rim of each pan, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours.
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Bake until the loaves are golden brown and pull away from the sides of the pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Turn the loaves out onto wire racks and let cool completely. Makes two 9-by-5-inch loaves

I put it in the toaster this morning & had wonderfully fresh cinnamon apple raisin toast for breakfast.

Tuscan Bean Soup

Ok so yes I have had this package for Tuscan Bean soup for at least 6 months, maybe more. I know, it has been sitting in the pantry screaming for me to make it & I have been slacking.

In the attempt to clean out the pantry, this was one of the first things on my list of recipes. This soup mix came in one of our Viansa deliveries.

Yes it is a soup mix, but i had to add quite a few things to it.
Italian Sausage, carrots, celery, onions, garlic. Canned tomatoes & tomato paste, chicken broth & red wine.

It took a good 3 hours to make this soup mix.
But it was well worth it in the end.
Its a very hearty soup, definetly a meal in & of itself.
Plus its great for these gloomy days. I topped it off with a little pecorino cheese.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

So its the fall & pumpkin seems to be the ingrediant of choice on the blogging network. I have seen a lot of the pumpkin rolls, pumpkin muffins, etc..

I saw this in my "Food & Family" from Kraft & decided to give it a whirl.

Layered Pumpkin Loaf
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 egg whites, divided
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 cups flour
2-1/2 tsp. CALUMET Baking Powder
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. salt
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, 1/3 Less Fat than Cream Cheese, softened

PREHEAT oven to 350ºF. Grease a nonstick 9x5-inch loaf pan; set aside. Mix pumpkin, 1 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 3 of the egg whites, milk and oil in large bowl. Add flour, baking powder, pie spice and salt; stir just until moistened. Set aside. Beat Neufchatel cheese, remaining 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar and the remaining egg white with wire whisk until well blended.
SPOON half of the pumpkin batter into prepared pan; spoon Neufchatel cheese mixture evenly over the batter. Cover with remaining pumpkin batter.
BAKE 1 hour to 1 hour 5 min. or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Run knife or thin spatula around edges of pan to loosen bread; cool in pan on wire rack 10 min. Remove bread from pan to wire rack; cool completely.

The hubs LOVES this. Its really moist & delicious!

Caprese Salad

At the grocery store, I noticed they had fresh mozzarella on sale. YUM!!! So I picked up some tomatoes, I knew had I enough basil at home & wallah! A nice yummy salad to serve with the crab ravioli.

This is so simple & yet tastes so great. I use a mixture of EVOO & Red Wine Vinegar. I also add a seasoning called Aromat. Its hard to find, so my MIL brought us 5 containers of it the last time we ran out!
Just slice the tomatoes & mozzarella, tear the basil & layer on a plate. Cover with the Aromat & the oil & vinegar mix. Place in fridge for about 20 mins to let the flavors absorb.

Crab Ravioli & Creamy Tomato Sauce

Ever since my wonton experience with Pot Stickers, I have been wonting (ha-ha) to use them again.
I found this recipe on FoodNetwork & though, this should be good. However, it wasn't really good. It wasn't bad, it was just bland & really, wonton wrappers are not good for ravioli. I think maybe we would have liked this better if I had made my own ravioli.

Crab Ravioli
1 (6-ounce) can lump crabmeat (recommended: Bumble Bee)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 (12-ounce) package wonton wrappers
1 egg, beaten
Mix crabmeat, ricotta cheese & Italian Seasoning together.
Lay out wonton wrappers.
Brush each wrapper with egg wash & fill with crab mixture.
Fold over to make a triangle & seal well.
In a large pot bring water to a boil. Add ravioli, make sure they do not touch.
They are done when the float to the top.

Creamy Tomato Sauce
I found this on FoodNetwork as well. Its a Giada recipe. I already have a few containers of homemade marinara so I used that in place of store bought marinara.

1 cup purchased marinara sauce
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring the marinara sauce to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking often. Whisk in the ricotta and enough reserved cooking water to thin the sauce to desired consistency. For a thicker sauce, use less pasta water; for a thinner sauce, add more water. Return the sauce to a simmer. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

I can't entirely place what was "wrong" with this dish. I was expecting more flavor from the ravioli, so I don't know if my sauce overpowered it or what. I do think I can build on this recipe though, use the same filling, more spices, homemade ravioli & probably use a Vodka Sauce as opposed to a creamy tomato sauce.

Bad Blogger

I have been cooking, just nothing really exciting. I am attempting to clean out the pantry & have some "boxed" meals that needed to be used up. Like Zataran's Smothered Chicken & things of that nature.
However, I did have time this weekend to do some cooking & baking so I should have quite a few updates now!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Why Eat Out?

When you have a great wife like me to cook you delicious dinner?? Hubs & I have had a busy few weeks. I haven’t been able to cook in awhile & decided to go all out on Friday night. We really just wanted to catch up on a few things at home and watch Season 3 of House.

On the menu:
Fresh French Bread with Sun-dried Tomato & Parmesan dipping oil
Ceasar Salad
Chicken Marsala with parmesan pecorino mashed potatoes
Double Chocolate Turtle Cake

I have not mastered the fresh bread making yet. So I made some dinner rolls that failed to rise & had to run to the grocery store & pick up some Pillsbury Crusty Bread. We had a bottle of Sun-Dried Tomato & Parmesan Dipping oil from Viansa so we thought we would try that out as well.

Next on the list Ceasar Salad. Also not something very difficult to make when you buy a kit made by Dole. (I am so very much Semi-Homemade right now). I have been wanting to make my own chicken marsala so I got a recipe from a friend & tried it out.
Chicken Marsala- Audrey, Mothchick
1/4 cup all-purpose flour for coating
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded 1/4 inch thick
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1/4 cup cooking sherry
In a shallow dish or bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper and oregano. Coat chicken pieces in flour mixture.
In a large skillet, melt butter in oil over medium heat. Place chicken in the pan, and lightly brown.
Turn over chicken pieces, and add mushrooms. Pour in wine and sherry. Cover skillet; simmer chicken 10 minutes, turning once, until no longer pink and juices run clear.

Parmesan Pecorino Mashed Potatoes: I used my basic mashed potato recipe, milk, butter, potatoes(boiled & drained) I mashed these up, added some garlic Powder & pecorino cheese, then put them in an oven safe bowl & baked them for about 10 mins on 350. I snagged this idea from Elly.

And for dessert I made Double Chocolate Turtle Cake. Yep still trying to use up the caramels from our wedding.

Double Chocolate Turtle Cake
Cooking Light
I'll have to post the recipe later, doesn't seem to want to find it.

Great dinner at home & wonderful spending time with the Hubs. Plus he was happy because he could drink his port with his chocolate cake.