Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bacon Chicken Alfredo

I thought this was good!  It made a ton though, so next time, I would probably half the recipe.

Bacon Chicken Alfredo
Slightly adapted from Healthy Cooking

1 package (16 oz.) fettuccine
8 strips of turkey bacon, cooked and chopped
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp cornstarch
3 cups 2% milk
1 cup half-and-half cream
1 pkg (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

Cook fettuccine according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove to paper towels to drain.  Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper.  Cook chicken and garlic in butter over medium heat for 4-6 minutes or until meat is no longer pink; remove and keep warm.  Combine cornstarch and milk until smooth; stir into skillet.  Add cream and remaining salt.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Add the spinach, chicken, 3/4 cup cheese, Italian seasoning and half of bacon; cook and stir until cheese is melted.  Drain the fettuccine; add to chicken mixture.  Cook and stir until heated through.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bacon.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fancy Potatoes

There was no doubt that we'd like these... come on creamy, cheesy potatoes.  :-)  Oh yea!

Fancy Potatoes
adapted from All Recipes

5 large potatoes
1 cup fat free sour cream
1 package cream cheese
sprinkle of garlic powder
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Peel and cut up potatoes.  Boil about 10 minutes or until tender.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Drain potatoes and with a hand mixer, whip the potatoes with sour cream, cream cheese, garlic powder, and shredded cheese.  Place in a caserole dish.  Bake for 20 minutes and serve hot.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wine Review - Chateau La Rose Saint Bonnet, Medoc 2009

The third bottle of wine that I tried from my WSJ Wine shipment was a red from Bordeaux, France -- Chateau La Rose Saint Bonnet, Medoc 2009.

The description of the bottle included in my case as described on WSJ Wine's website:
Deep red-purple in the glass.  Attractive aromas of dark berry fruit and ripe plum, with subtle spicy oak notes.  Lovely layers of blackberry, cassis and tobacco on a palate.  Smooth and full bodied.  Decant an hour before serving.  14% vol.

WSJwine Item #0248509 $20.99/bottle

My opinion - This is definitely a wine for a red meat kind of dish, preferably steak or something equally as hearty.  It's a rich wine.

Suggested food pairings:

Bacon Wrapped Teriyaki Beef Bites
Grilled Marinated London Broil

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ham and Swiss Cheese Spaghetti Casserole

This was excellent!  It was just as good reheated the next day.  Kid approved. 

Ham and Swiss Cheese Spaghetti Casserole
Adapted from Healthy Cooking

8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup fat free sour cream
2 cups diced cooked ham
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

Boil pasta until al dente.  In a bowl, combine the other ingredients, except 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.  Drain the pasta and add to the bowl and mix well.  Pour mixture into a greased casserole dish.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.  Cover with foil and bake on 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.  Uncover and broil for 5 minutes until slightly brown on top. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Chinese Tilapia

Things have been crazy recently.  I have been extremely busy at work and just recently completed my first round of test in my two college classes, making an A on both.  These days I really appreciate easy recipes and this one certainly fit the bill.  I thought this was delicious.  It's something I would have never thought to do to tilapia.  Excellent! 

Chinese Tilapia

1 pound tilapia fillets
3 Tbsp rice cooking wine
2-3 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
1-1/2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp Sriracha chili sauce
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1/4 tsp dried ginger powder
1 tsp olive oil

In a medium sized skillet, heat olive oil over low-medium heat.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine rice cooking wine, soy sauce, Sriracha chili sauce, garlic, and ginger powder.  Add fish to skillet, allowing to cook for a minute.  Flip fish and add soy sauce mixture to the skillet.  Add green onion.  Allow fish to simmer over low heat until cooked thoroughly, and most of the sauce has cooked off.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Shredded Beef

I've added three pictures to this post.  What none of these pictures show is just how tender and juicy this meat was.  OMG, this was excellent!!!  I served this two different ways (in tacos and on nachos) but I could think of other ways to serve it...along side some cilantro rice, rolled up in a burrito, in a quesadilla.  You get the point -- This is very versatile.

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Shredded Beef
slightly adapted from Group Recipes

3 pound tip or chuck roast, some fat trimmed off (leave some for flavor).
1/2 a yellow onion quartered
2 large garlic cloves, cut in quarters
2 jalapeno, chopped
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
salt to taste
2 cups of water

Place all ingredients in slow cooker.  Set on low and let cook for 7-8 hours until very moist and it shreds easily.  There should be enough liquid to keep it moist.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spicy Steamed Cabbage

I make this cabbage a lot!  I serve it with anything from pork, chicken, to steak.  I love the heat from the pepper flakes.  Once it was determined that Serena didn't like cabbage, spicy or not, I brought the heat on.  Now it's a regular side item on the menu. 

Spicy Steamed Cabbage

small head of cabbage, diced up
olive oil
garlic powder
ground pepper
red pepper flakes

In your steamer pot, add a layer of cabbage.  Sprinkle olive oil over the cabbage.  Sprinkle with garlic powder, ground pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Spread the remainder cabbage.  Sprinkle with a little more garlic powder, ground pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Steam for about 6 minutes and stir.  Steam until it is tender to your liking (about 5 more minutes in my case) and remove from heat.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wine Review - Dualista Tinto Roble 2008

The second bottle of wine that I tried from my WSJ Wine shipment was a Tempranillo from Spain -- Dualista Tinto Roble 2008.  Tempranillo is Spain's best known grape variety, although it is widely grown all over the world. 

The description of the bottle included in my case as described on WSJ Wine's website:
Bright purple-red in the glass.  Aromas of rich cherry and bright fruit with a hint of licorice.  Juicy red currant on the palate with hints of subtle nutmeg and toasty vanilla oak.  Silky tannins and a long finish.   13.5% vol.

WSJwine Item #0343508 $14.99/bottle

My opinion - Very good wine.  Smooth with a medium finish.  Very drinkable.

Suggested food pairings:

Baked Chicken with Dijon and Lime
Prosciutto and Fontina Stuffed Chicken Breast
Veal Saltimbocca

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup

I'm ready for Spring/Summer.  I'm ready to throw meat on the grill, eat lots of fresh veggies, and put salads back into the weekly menu rotation.  I'm ready to shed the coats and pull out shorts. 

Ah, but we're still at least a couple of months away from that.  So, I have another soup to share.  This was pretty tasty.  Me and Serena both enjoyed the meatballs. 

Italian Wedding Soup

For the meatballs:
1 lb hot sausage
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and black pepper to taste

For the soup:
2 to 3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, shredded
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 bay leaves
8 cups chicken stock
2 cups milk
1/2 cup ditalini pasta
4 to 5 ounces baby spinach

Mix meatball ingredients.  Heat olive oil in large stockpot and saute onion and garlic until soft.  Add carrots and celery and saute a few minutes.  Meanwhile, with wet hands, start forming small meatballs -- about 3/4 inches across.  Add chicken stock and milk to vegetables and bring to a boil.  Drop meatballs into boiling soup, add pasta, and let it boil about 8 minutes; reduce heat.  Let simmer 10 to 15 minutes.  Add spinach, and when the spinach is wilted the soup is done.  Garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Buttermilk Roast Chicken

This was delicious roasted chicken!!  It was tender and moist on the inside and the outside was charred in spots, giving it a great flavor.

Buttermilk Roast Chicken
Slightly adapted from angelsgirls2002 from Babycenter

whole chicken, in pieces
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, skins removed and cut in halves
1 Tablespoon crushed peppercorns
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cumin

Please the chicken pieces in a large freezer bag.

Add all of the remainder of the ingredients, except for the 2 extra Tablespoons of oil, liquids first, close the bag, removing as much air as you can, and then squish everything in the freezer bag to mix the marinade and coat the chicken.  Leave the buttermilk-marinating chicken in the fridge, ideally overnight but for several hours at a minimum.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Take the chicken pieces out of the bag, shaking off the excess marinade, and then arrange them in a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil.  Drizzle over the 2 remaining tablespoons of oil, and then roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until brown (larger pieces may take a bit longer), even scorched in parts, and juicily cooked through.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wine Review - Alambrado Malbec 2009

A very dear friend of mine sent me a case of wine for Valentine's Day.  I was absolutely thrilled.  I love wine!  And I love to try new wines!  I particularly like reds, though in the hotter months of the summer, I do drink whites on occasion. 

I thought it would be a great addition to the blog if I reviewed some of the new wines that I'm trying.  I could give my opinion and suggest food pairings.

The first wine that I tried was a Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina.  I was just introduced to Malbec wine within the past year and now drink it farely often.  Malbec is a variety of grape that is thin-skinned and needs more sun and heat than either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to mature.  The grapes tend to have an inky dark color and robust tannins.  Malbec grapes originated in the Bordeaux region of France but has become Argentina's signature grape and is quickly making a name for itself.  Malbec is typically a medium to full-bodied red wine.  It pairs nicely with a red meat dish or Italian dish (a hearty tomato sauced dish).

The description of the bottle included in my case from WSJ Wine, the Alambrado Malbec 2009 was:
Deep purple-red.  Enticing spice nose with notes of dark berry and fig.  Juicy blackberry, tobacco leaf and dark chocolate.  Smooth and rich, with a long finish.  13.5% vol.

WSJwine Item# 0217109 $14.99/bottle

My opinion - A very nice wine!!!  A smooth, soft blend that is not overpowering.

Suggested food pairings:

Steak with Onion Blue Cheese Sauce
Beef Wellington with Bordelaise Sauce
Pasta Bake
Classic Lasagna

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Scalloped Potato and Ground Beef Casserole

This was awesome!!!  It may just be one of our favorite casseroles.  It reheats great for leftovers, an added bonus.  This is definitely kid approved. 

Scalloped Potato and Ground Beef Casserole
Slightly adapted from Food

1-1/2 lb ground chuck
medium onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 Tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
5-6 russet potatoes
2 cans cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a skillet cook the ground beef with onion, bell pepper, and chili flakes until no longer pink; drain fat over a colander.  Return to pan and add in garlic, season salt, and black pepper; cook until meat is lightly browned.  In a medium bowl, mix together the soup with milk, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, seasoned salt and black pepper and add the potatoes.  Mix well to combine.  In a greased 9x13 baking dish, late the potato/soup mixture.  Top with half of the cheddar cheese.  Then spread the ground beef mixture.  Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour on 350 degrees.  Uncover and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese on the top and return to the oven for 4-5 minutes or until cheese has melted.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ham, Potato, and Roasted Red Pepper Fritatta

I thought this was very yummy!!!  I loved that it only used one skillet and it was a complete meal in itself.  It's a recipe that was copied and pasted in a word document so I'm not certain of the source.

Ham, Potato, and Roasted Red Pepper Fritatta

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 small red potatoes, thinly sliced
4 green onions, trimmed and sliced
1 cup diced ham
1/2 cup diced roasted red pepper
8 eggs
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar/Monterrey Jack cheese blend
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large oven safe skillet, heat 2 tablespoon olive oil.  Add the sliced potatoes to the skillet and saute for 8-10 minutes, until tender but firm.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the cheese along with some slat and pepper.  Add the onion, ham, and red pepper to the skillet with the potatoes and stir to combine.  Over medium-low heat, add the egg mixture to the skillet and stir for 1 minute (you want to see a little curd of egg to develop).  Then allow to cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes without stirring until the eggs start to set around the edges.  Finish cooking in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the eggs have completely set in the center.  Serve straight out of the skillet or flip on a serving plate.  Makes 6 servings.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Teriyaki Shrimp

Wednesday nights are usually reserved for leftovers.  Serena has dance class and it's too much of a push to try to cook before or after.  We either reheat something or make a sandwich or something else equally as easy.  This past week, however, since Serena had been sick, she asked to skip dance class.  I obliged of course, after all, it was her first day back to school after several days being home and wanting to do nothing besides lay around.  However, there wasn't much "leftover" in the fridge since both Monday and Tuesday night I had made things in small quantity.  So, I pulled out something that I knew could be quickly defrosted and whipped up something with stuff I had on hand...

Teriyaki Shrimp

1/3 bag large shrimp, defrosted and peeled and deveined
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
3 green onions, sliced thin
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 cloves of garlic, minced

white rice, cooked according to package instructions 

Mix first five ingredients in a bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.  Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add contents from bowl. Cook until shrimp are cooked (have turned pink).  Serve shrimp over rice with sauce from pan.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

I made Eggplant Parmesan Stacks the other night.  These were very tasty but I quickly learned why this is usually done in casserole form; they tend to shift when they're baking and the cheese starts to melt.  I still give myself an "A" for creativity... Afterall, it's the effort that counts!

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

1 small eggplant, sliced into (9) thin slices
2 eggs, beaten
Italian breadcrumbs
olive oil
Arrabbiata sauce
think sliced provolone cheese
shredded mozzarella cheese
grated Parmesan cheese
dried basil

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Dip eggplants in eggs, then into breadcrumbs to coat.  Cook eggplant, in batches, for 2-3 minutes each side.  Remove and set to the side until all eggplant has been cooked.  In a separate, small saucepan, heat Arrabbiata sauce until warm.  On a baking sheet or shallow baking dish, lay the larger eggplant rounds on the bottom.  Top with some Arrabbiata sauce, a thin slice of provolone cheese, and some mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.  Repeat layers 2 more times, using the larger rounds on the bottom and the smaller rounds on top.  Bake on 375 degrees until cheese is melted.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Quick and Easy Chicken and Dumplings

In a time crunch, and trying to use ingredients I had on hand, I made this quick and easy chicken and dumplings...  You simply can't get much easier than this and produce a hearty homecooked meal.

Quick and Easy Chicken and Dumplings

3 cups of shredded, cooked chicken
4 cups chicken broth
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 small carrots, sliced thin
2 celery stalks, sliced thin
1 package refrigerated bisquits, cut into bite size pieces
salt and pepper

In a large pot, bring chicken stock to a boil and add sliced carrots and celery.  Reduce heat to medium high and let it simmer for about 10 minutes until vegetables are tender.  Add theshredded chicken and two cans of cream of chicken soup until warm.  Add the bite size bisquit pieces and continue cooking until biscuits are fluffy and no longer doughy, about 8-10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Creamy Cilantro Ranch Dressing

My menu is getting flip flopped around this week.  Serena ended up getting the flu even though we both got vaccinated, and while she's been under the weather, she's cared nothing about eating.  I am making quick stuff for myself and will cook more towards the end of the week, and we'll have leftovers over the weekend. 

Monday I decided to make myself a salad so I could use up some stuff from the fridge (shredded chicken, eggs, tomato, bacon bits, cilantro).  I decided to make a cilantro ranch dressing since the only thing I didn't have was buttermilk.

I loved this dressing and can see myself making it a bunch in the summer when salads are incorporated with almost every meal as a side.

Creamy Cilantro Ranch Dressing

1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
1 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 cloves of garlic
2 Tablespoons lime juice

Put everything in a blender and puree.  Pour into dressing bottle and refrigerate.