Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
beef fajitas with corn salsa, black beans
sesame chicken, rice, broccoli
crab ravioli with peas
lasagna Bolognese, salad
Hula chicken sandwiches, salad
pizza pizzas
out to Sweet Basil

Friday, March 29, 2013

Recipe Swap: Strrawberry Shortcakes

Strawberry Shortcake with Fresh Whipped CreamWe went strawberry picking at Froberg Farms and I had a ton of strawberries on hand.  This recipe was just perfect for the fresh berries.  For this week's recipe swap, it was blogger's choice, so I could choose any recipe from Simple Gourmet Cooking.  I had to go with a strawberry recipe and Miss F was thrilled to be able to help me prepare them.  She was a huge fan of these shortcakes.  I omitted the Grand Marnier to make them kid friendly.  I was torn between her recipe for strawberry yogurt or strawberry shortcakes, but I went ahead and opted for the shortcakes because I know how much Miss F loves whipped cream.  Be sure to check out all the other great recipes below.
Strawberry Shortcakes with Fresh Whipped Cream

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) cold butter, diced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon cream
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thickly sliced
3 tablespoons sugar
Sweetened whipped cream, see recipe below

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar, the baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the egg and ¼ cup cream in a small bowl or measuring cup. With the mixer running on low, add to the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. The dough should be sticky.

Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place onto a well-floured surface. Lightly coat a rolling pin with flour and roll the dough ½ inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Dip a 2-inch plain round cutter or top of a drinking glass in flour and cut 8 biscuits. Place on the prepared sheet pan, brush the tops of the biscuits with the remaining tablespoon cream, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. Cool on the pan.

While the biscuits are baking, toss the strawberries with 3 tablespoons of sugar in a medium bowl. If time permits, allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator for at least half an hour to let the flavors really come together.

To serve, spoon some strawberry mixture onto one or two shortcake biscuits and top with sweetened whipped cream.

Sweetened Whipped Cream

½ cup cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer), whip the cream. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm and stiff peaks form. Don't overbeat! If you do overbeat, add more cream.


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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Jalapeno Corn Chowder

Jalapeno Corn ChowderI adore soup. I had this on my menu plan, which I had made while we were in Colorado from Books n Cooks. It was perfect soup weather while we were skiing in Colorado. Too bad the weather at home was not. It was 90 degrees the day I made this soup. 90 degrees. In March. I know I prefer the warm weather, but 90 degrees is insane for March. No matter the weather, this soup was satisfying and delicious. It was pure perfection. I may not make it again until November, but at least I have another wonderful soup to add to my recipe collection.
Jalapeno Corn Chowder

6 slices bacon
½ onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 potatoes, cubed (with skin left on)
2 carrots, peeled and diced
½ jalapeno, chopped
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 cups frozen corn
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

Cut bacon into lardons (small strips). Place the bacon lardons in a Dutch oven and cook until crisp over medium heat. Once the bacon is cooked through, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate.

Add the diced onion to the Dutch oven and allow onions to cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Once the onions are translucent, add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds longer. Add the flour, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Allow the mixture to cook for about 3 minutes.

Stirring continuously, slowly pour in the chicken broth to avoid clumps from forming. Add the potatoes, carrots and jalapenos and bring to a boil. Once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender. Add the corn, heavy cream and cheese; stir to combine. Allow the mixture to cook about 5 minutes, until the cheese has melted.

Spoon soup in bowls, top with more cheese and bacon.
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Monday, March 25, 2013

SRC: Crockpot Texas Chicken Sandwiches

Texas Chicken SandwichesThere were three things I hadn't eaten before moving to Texas: queso, guacamole and ranch dressing. My waistline would be better if I had never indulged in any of them, but you cannot live in Texas without those three staples. When I saw there was a recipe for Texas Chicken on Mom's Test Kitchen for this month's Secret Recipe Club, I knew it was the choice for me. I wouldn't be a true Texan if I didn't gravitate to it. And it couldn't have been easier. I decided to use the recipe in sandwiches, which made for a great weeknight meal, especially when served on my favorite brioche buns.  Next time, I will use the meat as a filling for tacos.  I may have gone back for another half sandwich hours after dinner...I really liked it!
Crockpot Texas Chicken Sandwiches

½ onion, sliced
2 chicken breasts
¼ cup chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
1 can Dr. Pepper (12 ounces)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt

Brioche buns
Dill pickle slices
Ranch dressing
American cheese

Lay the onion slices in the bottom of the crockpot. Place the chicken breasts on top of the onions. Add the remaining ingredients to the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Remove the chicken from the sauce and shred any large pieces that might still remain. Serve the chicken on toasted brioche buns with pickles, ranch dressing and cheese.



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Friday, March 22, 2013

Blackberry Glazed Pork Chops

Blackberry Glazed Pork ChopsAfter making the amazing blackberry cupcakes, I had a half a jar of blackberry jam leftover. Miss F's school is nut free, so PB&J sandwiches aren't allowed in her lunchbox, so I decided to try and make something savory with it. I always have an abundance of pork chops from the Costco pack and I am always looking for a new way to prepare them. C was a big fan of the chops, which was a pleasant surprise. Miss F was not as big of fan. She kept insisting they tasted smoky, which I have no clue where she came up with that one...
Blackberry Glazed Pork Chops

½ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons blackberry jam
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon soy sauce
Dash hot sauce
4 1-inch thick pork chops

Whisk together the broth, jam, vinegar, Worcestershire, soy sauce and hot sauce. Pour over the pork chops and marinade for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a glass baking dish with cooking spray. Place the marinated pork chops in the prepared dish and bake for 30 minutes. Transfer the marinade to a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Pour over chops during the last five minutes of cooking. Serve.
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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo

Roasted Red Pepper AlfredoI saw Taste of Home Cooking post this recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo last week and I knew I wanted to try it, but I wasn't completely sold on the recipe. I despise goat cheese, so that had to be cut. I also wasn't feeling the addition of artichokes to the pasta, it just didn't seem to go with the sweet sauce. So I ended up changing a lot of the recipe. There was still parmesan, bell peppers and pasta, but most everything else was different. This dish comes together quickly once you have the bell peppers roasted. C complained about the burn smell, but he and Miss F gobbled the pasta right up. I served a big salad with it with homemade croutons. I lied and told C I bought them since I knew that would be the only way he would try them.
Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo

¾ pound pasta (I used linguine)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, grated
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 roasted red bell peppers , coarsely chopped
¼ cup white wine
¾ cup half and half
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to tasted

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and reserve.

Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the bell peppers and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the wine and simmer for 2 minutes more. Add the half and half and parmesan; simmer until the cheese is melted. Remove from heat, season with salt and peppe. Use and immersion blender to roughly puree the sauce. Toss the pasta with the sauce and serve immediately.
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped Potatoes"YUM!" C really liked these potatoes. As I expected him to...he just liked them more than I even thought he might. Which is great because it made a big pan full. Miss F wasn't as much as a fan, which works out since she and I are off to Vail and Aspen in the morning, so he had a pan full of potatoes to eat as leftovers. I am a bit concerned how he is going to go about cleaning the dish. I fear that may be left for me upon our return. These potatoes are rich and full of cheese. They were inspired by the recipe at food.com.
Scalloped Potatoes

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 ½ cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
4 cups thinly sliced potatoes (I used a mandoline at 1/8" setting)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Whisk constantly for until the flour is incorporated. Whisk in the milk. Keep whisking until the sauce is smooth. Stir in the salt and cayenne. Reduce heat to low and stir in one cup of the cheese.

Place a half of the sliced potatoes in a lightly greased one quart casserole dish. Pour half of the cheese sauce over potatoes. Repeat with second layer of potatoes and pour the remaining cheese sauce overtop. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup cheese on top.

Bake uncovered for about one hour. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Recipe Swap: Ultimate Chocolate Cookie

Ultimate Chocolate CookieIt's one of my most favorite themes this week for the recipe swap: dessert! I received Dough See Dough's Ulimate Chocolate Cookies in the swap.  Miss F was most excited to help make these cookies and was even more excited to take them in her lunchbox to school.  I was thrilled to get cookies because they are one of my most favorite desserts.  These cookies are completely amazing, full of rich chocolate flavor.  They are quite decadent, which makes for a perfect dessert.  Thanks to Taste of Home Cooking for hosting the dessert swap.
Ultimate Chocolate Cookie

1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup dutch-process cocoa powder
¼ cup dark cocoa powder (like Hershey’s Special Dark)
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 ½ cups bittersweet chocolate chips, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Whisk together flour, cocoa powders, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat, stirring frequently. Stir in ½ cup of bittersweet chocolate chips until melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs and sugar at medium speed until light yellow in color, about 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add in chocolate mixture slowly, beating until well combined. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Fold in 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips and 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips by hand.

Scoop batter using a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop, placing 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake for 12 – 13 minutes, until outsides are set but center is still soft. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.



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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sriracha Spaghetti and Meatballs

Sriracha Spaghetti and MeatballsWe were in Hong Kong for a week. I am a huge fan of Asian breakfast: dim sum, fish, steamed rice, miso soup, etc... I love it all! Miss F was equally happy with our breakfast, but her favorite thing she had was meatballs. So I promised to make her some once we returned from our trip. I got the inspiration from a slideshow on BonAppetit.com, but the recipe is completely my own. This was a huge success for my family. Miss F ate three meatballs and a ton of spaghetti. Even C had leftovers, which is a rarity in this house. He did complain that there were no croutons in the Caesar salad, because you can't be happy with everything.
Sriracha Spaghetti and Meatballs

½ pound ground beef
½ pound ground pork
¼ cup bread crumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon Sriracha

½ onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup red wine
1 six-ounce can of tomato paste
2 14.5-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons Sriracha, depending on how hot you like it
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

¾ pound spaghetti

In a bowl combing the beef, pork, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, seasoning and 1 teaspoon Sriracha. Mix well to combine and form meat into meatballs, about 1-inch around. Refrigerate for a half hour.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook meatballs until well browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet.

Add the onion to the skillet and sauté until soft, about three minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits in the pan. Add the tomato paste and cook for two minutes more. Add tomatoes, sugar. Sriracha, basil, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Return the meatballs to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes more.

Meanwhile, prepare the spaghetti per package directions. Drain and toss the spaghetti with the meatballs and sauce. Serve.
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Monday, March 11, 2013

Meyer Lemon Creme Brulee

Meyer Lemon Creme BruleeThe Meyer Lemon madness continues around here, which means lots of tasty treats. I knew my mom had a creme brulee set and I was always curious to try and make creme brulee, as it is one of my most favorite desserts. I worked off this recipe since it used lemon juice in the custard. I am not a huge fan of lemon zest, especially in a creamy creme brulee, so I wanted the lemon flavor via the juice. The fun started when I opened the box and three of the brulee dishes crashed to the floor, shattering into a million pieces. Luckily my mom has a huge variety of dishes and we were able to piece together enough mis-matched pieces to make the recipe. The torch took some getting used to, but once I got the hang of it, it was fun to use.
Meyer Lemon Crème Brulee

I egg
3 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar, divided
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 300 degree. Boil a tea kettle or pot full of water. Whisk the egg, egg yolks and ½ cup sugar; beat until light yellow and firm. Add heavy cream and lemon juice, and mix with a spatula gently, in folding motion, until mixed well. Line a deep baking dish with a paper towel, place four ramekins inside on top of paper and ladle the mixture evenly between ramekins. Pour the boiling water into baking dish as a warm water bath for the custard to cook in, halfway up the ramekins and place in the middle rack of the oven for 40-50 min. Edges should be firm when done, but middle should be wobbly. Take out and let cool outside in water bath. Refrigerate. 2 hours prior to serving, place ramekins in ice bath, sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar on top of each custard, swirl sugar to coat custard completely, and caramelize in broiler mode until sugar bubbles. Can caramelize with a torch as well for a deep golden sheen. Refrigerate prior to serving.
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Friday, March 8, 2013

Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes

Mini Chocolate CheesecakesThanks to my friend Courtney, I now add cream cheese whenever I make mashed potatoes. That leaves a lot of excess cream cheese around the house just calling out to be used in some sort of dessert. If I had my way, I would make chocolate cheesecake weekly. These mini indulgences are much easier and you can eat one with a lot less guilt than an entire cheesecake. And if chocolate cheesecake is at our house, I am making my best efforts to eat the entire thing.  I blame the sour cream topping.  Thanks to Betty Crocker for the easy recipe!
Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes

6 Oreo cookies
12 ounces of cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 medium muffin cups with paper baking cups. Split Oreos in half. Place 1 cookie half, middle side up, in each cup. In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in the sugar and the cocoa until fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Divide evenly among cups (cups will be almost full). Bake cheesecakes 20 to 25 minutes or until centers are firm. Cool 15 minutes (cheesecake centers will sink while cooling). Refrigerate in muffin cups at least 1 hour; cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour longer before serving.
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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Soy Roasted Potatoes

Soy Roasted PotatoesGrowing up we had shishkabobs quite often, especially in the summer. My ideal shishkabob as a kid was mushrooms, chicken and potatoes, I really wasn't that into vegetables. Potatoes on a shishkabob you may wonder...they were the new potatoes in a can that had been soaking in the soy sauce-pineapple juice marinade and they were amazing. Like no other potato you have tasted.  So I knew for certain that I would love this recipe from Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations via the Cookaholic Wife.  I swapped the cilantro for parsley to better suit my tastes.  This dish was amazing.  Almost as good as marinated potatoes from a can...
Soy Roasted Potatoes

5 red potatoes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
salt and pepper
cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Rinse off the potatoes and cut into small wedges. Transfer the potatoes into a large bowl. Add the soy sauce, oil, parsley, salt and pepper . Toss well to coat. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Put the potatoes into the baking dish. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
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Monday, March 4, 2013

Easier than a Bread Machine Bread

Easier than a Bread Machine BreadThis recipe was originally published in the New York Times several years back. I had pinned it on Pinterest and was very curious to try it. My mom and I were making Corn and Crab Chowder for dinner one night and she asked me to bring bread. I figured this was the perfect time to try out the recipe since it looked so easy. It was unbelievably easy and more importantly, the bread was amazing. My bread machine may be spending some additional time in the pantry since it just got downgraded. I still cannot believe that such a simple process provided such a gorgeous and tasty loaf of bread.
Easier Than a Bread Machine Bread

3 cups bread flour
¼ teaspoon yeast
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 ½ cups warm water
Covered oven safe pot (I used my Dutch oven)

Mix together the flour, yeast, salt and water in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and sit in a wrap place for 12 to 18 hours.

After the dough has set for 12 to 18 hours, wet your hands and shape the dough into a ball. Place the ball on a sheet of parchment paper. Transfer the dough by holding the parchment paper back into the bowl. Cover the bowl again with plastic wrap and allow to sit for two hours more.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with the pot inside. Add the dough to the pot, cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for 20 minutes more.
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Friday, March 1, 2013

Chipotle Chicken Pasta

Chipotle Chicken PastaI have been having a minor pasta obsession of late. Pasta was on sale for less than 50 cents a package, so I stocked up. And the pile of pasta in my pantry calls to me every night...cook me...cook me...add cream... And I do! I think we have random versions of creamy pastas weekly.  C ate every last bit, but Miss F wasn't as big of fan.  She complained that it was too spicy, but she usually enjoys spice, so I am not sure what her deal was.  This recipe was adapted from Homemade by Holman.  Feel free to add cilantro if you like it (we don't!)  I will probably add fresh tomatoes at the last minute next time I make it.
Chipotle Chicken Pasta

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
juice of one lime
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound pasta (I used linguine)
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
1 cup corn kernels
1 red onion, sliced
1 chipotle pepper + 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce, minced
¼ cup white wine
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Trim fat from chicken breasts and cut into bite-size pieces. Combine lime juice, ½ of minced garlic, chili powder, and salt and mix together. Pour over chicken to coat and marinate chicken about 30 minutes.

Heat a large pot of water to boiling. Add generous amount of salt and add pasta. Cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, add olive oil to large sauté pan and heat over medium heat. Add chicken, bell peppers, corn, onions and remaining garlic and cook about 6-8 minutes until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are softened. Add wine, chicken stock and chipotle pepper and adobo sauce and cook until stock is reduced by about 1/3. Reduce heat to low and add cream and cheese. Stir to combine and return pasta to sauce pan and toss to evenly coat with sauce. Cook about 5 minutes and serve.
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