Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mexican Rice

I had some extra Ranchero Sauce from this recipe:
...and I didn't want it to go to waste.

So, when thinking about a side dish for the Whole Wheat Butternut Squash and Chorizo Quesadillas I was making for Cinco de Mayo, I just thought I would throw that into my Mexican rice recipe. No big deal, no big fuss. Just BIG BIG FLAVOR!!! Oh my word was this yummy. I was even excited for the extra I could have left over! Happy Hubby was happy with the results and said it was better than boxed. Well that's nice.

This is most definitely a keeper! Must write it down before I forget!

Mexican Rice
Ranchero Sauce adapted from A Spicy Perspective

Ranchero Sauce
1 Tb. oil
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1 garlic clove, chopped
1 jar of roasted red peppers, chopped
2 Tb. apple cider vinegar
1 Tb. brown sugar
4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 cup stock, any variety
1/4 cup heavy cream

For the Ranchero Sauce:
1. Add the oil to a sauce pan and place it over medium heat. Saute the onion, jalapeno, and garlic until soft–3-5 minutes.
2. Add the red peppers, vinegar, sugar, cumin, stock and 1/4 tsp salt. Simmer for 10 minutes on low.
3. Remove from heat and carefully pour into a blender. Add the cream and place the lid on the blender–sightly jarred so it can vent. Puree the sauce until smooth, then set aside. You will have about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of this sauce. The rice only calls for one cup. You can either double the rice recipe or save the extra to put on something else. It would be extra yummy added to a Capri sandwich or on a pizza!

Mexican Rice
1 cup long grain white rice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup Ranchero Sauce
1/2 onion
, finely chopped
1 tomato
, seeded and chopped
1 cube chicken bouillon
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced

In a medium sauce pan, cook rice in oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Stir in onion, Ranchero Sauce, and diced tomato. Season with bouillon cube, salt and pepper, cumin, cilantro, and garlic. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes.               

Stove Top Roasted Pork with Sweet Peppers

Still a little occupied with the job search. Sorry for the lack of posts. I do have a very exciting interview this coming Friday but that is a secret until I know if I did or didn't get it. Trust me, you will all know when I do.

I made this dish a couple weeks back and I believe it is my first venture with pork loin! It was very tasty and I very much look forward to making it again. I am also a big fan of anything that includes egg noodles. Very comfort foody.

Stove Top Roasted Pork with Sweet Peppers
from Katie's Cucina, who adapted it from Rachael Ray 

3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 boneless pork loin
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups sweet mini bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
4 leaves fresh sage
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth

1. In a 5 quart pan with lid, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Season the pork with salt and pepper and brown on all sides (about 10 minutes). Transfer the pork loin to a plate, and pour off the fat if needed.

2. Add the bell peppers, onion, garlic, sage and remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened about 8-10 minutes. Add the chopped tomato and broth to the pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
3. Add the pork back to the pan with the sweet pepper mixture, cover and cook over low heat, turning the meat once (cooking time should take about 40 minutes). Using an instant-read thermometer (insert it into the center of the pork it should read at the very minimum 145 degrees although just last year the standard was 165 and that’s what I still go by.).
4. Remove the pan from the stove top. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice into 1/4-inch-think pieces and transfer to a platter. Meanwhile, place the vegetables and juices back on the heat and bring to a simmer reducing the sauce. Top the pork with vegetable mixture.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

White Bean Gratin

Hello Friends!

Sorry it has been a while. Every time I start to think about blogging, I come up with seven more places I can apply to. That's right, no job yet. I still have a job until the end of the month and then another month before I am desperate for work. I am not too worried but I would like that security back. I am more concerned that I haven't even heard from the places I have applied to. I had two interviews with one place but they opted for someone with more experience. Other than that, no call backs.

Well, the weather is warming and I am up to running for 28 minutes without stopping. That is huge! Especially since when Hubby and I started running 8 weeks ago, 30 second runs made me a sad weakling couch potato that I may or may not be. If anyone wants to start running and reeeeeeeeeeeally hates cardio like me, you should try the Couch to 5K (C25K) program. If you are lucky enough to have a smart phone, there are a good number of apps that will tell you when to run and walk in the designated intervals. Happy Hubby and I use the Bluefin Software app called Ease Into 5K which is available for both iOS and Android.

It looks like this:
...seriously, best $4 I have spent. Totally worth it!

My face gets super red when running. Look! I took a picture!

Bahahahaha! It totally looks like me!!

With these warm spring and summer months coming, my favorite season is upon us! BBQ Season!!! This dish would be a great side for a fun gathering of friends and/or family. Definitely a twist on traditional baked beans you would normally find at a BBQ. It is originally from this book...

...which you are more than welcome to buy for me for Christmas or for next Thursday (which celebrates the 17th of May, duh).

Jessica altered it and I went off her adaption but I would like to try it with dry beans that you soak overnight with yummy spices. Either way, it is delicious! I think I will be making this for our family reunion in August!

White Bean Gratin

3 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
3/4 cup freshly grated gruyere cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated fontina cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. In a bowl, combine cheeses with panko bread crumbs, then set aside.

3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot with a sprinkle of salt and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in 2 of the minced garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds, then add in white beans and stir. Let beans heat for 3-4 minutes.

4. Remove 2 cups of beans and place them in a blender. Add in stock, milk, 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, blending until totally smooth. Pour contents back into the skillet and stir to combine.

5. Spray a baking dish [mine was 6x10, but any dish you want is fine - round, square, etc] with nonstick spray. Scoop bean mixture into the dish and spread with a spatula to even out the top. Lay cheese and bread crumb mixture over top. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Bake for 23-25 minutes, until top is golden and bubbly. Serve immediately. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Grilled Chorizo Stuffed Poblano Peppers

No news on the job search but I have made the decision to no longer drop off a resume in person. I look too young and I can tell that managers are passing judgement based on me looking like I am in high school. I wonder if they even read my resume after seeing me. From now on, I will let my resume speak for me until I get an interview. Maybe I should put "Mrs." before my name so they at least know I am older than I look.

In other news: Grilled Chorizo Stuffed Poblano Peppers 

Here is another recipe that I could not grill but I will keep the recipe as is because the minute I get a grill, you know I will be using it! This was so good! I wish I currently worked somewhere that I could heat up leftovers for lunch. I never get leftovers. Happy Hubby gets to enjoy those. Maybe the next job will have a microwave so i can enjoy my leftovers for lunch. Then i can stop using my Container Store cereal to-go containers so much.

Grilled Chorizo Stuffed Poblano Peppers

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, minced
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
2/3 pound raw Mexican chorizo, removed from casings
1 1/2 cups cooked white rice
2 medium roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup Mexican crema, or sour cream
1/4 grated cotija cheese
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 large poblano peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add in onion and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in chorizo, breaking sausage into small pieces with a wooden spoon, and cook until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

2. Add rice, tomatoes, crema, cilantro, and cotija cheese to bowl with meat mixture and mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Spoon mixture into cavities of split poblanos and top with pepper jack cheese.

4. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover gill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place poblanos on cool side of grill, cover, and cook until cheese has melted and poblanos have softened, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from grill and serve.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spicy Thai Chicken Enchiladas

Yeah, these were good.

I am very excited to make these again someday soon. The original recipe called for Sweet Chili Sauce but Happy Hubby has a sick obsession with Sriracha.

I also didn't want to buy a gallon jug of Sweet Chili Sauce (which was the only option my local grocery store had).

They were so good I walked across the street to the Chinese/Japanese restaurant to feed them to our bartender friend (Hi Sandra!). They were inhaled and I walked back home with clean plastic ware (Thanks Sandra!).

Spicy Thai Chicken Enchiladas
adapted from How Sweet It Is

8 flour tortillas
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I usually steam them in my rice cooker)
1 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/3 cup chopped/shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped/shredded cabbage
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup chopped + crushed peanuts + more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro + more for garnish
2 1/2 cups light coconut milk
1/4 cup + 2-4 tablespoons Sriracha (depending on your heat preference)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add canola oil. Throw in onions, cabbage, carrots, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring to mix. Let cool until vegetables are soft, about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add in chicken, green onions, peanuts, cilantro, remaining salt and pepper, tossing to coat, and let cook for 1-2 minutes.

4. Add in 3/4 cup coconut milk and 1/4 cup Sriracha, mixing thoroughly to combine. Turn off heat.

5. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Whisk together remaining coconut milk and Sriracha. Pour about 1/2 a cup or so on the bottom of the dish. Slightly warm tortillas if desired to make them more pliable, then place a few spoonfuls of the chicken mixture in each, rolling up tightly and placing in the dish. Cover with remaining coconut milk and chili sauce mix. I usually take a spoon and cover every inch of the tortilla with the sauce, just to make sure it’s coated.

6. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove and top with additional peanuts and cilantro. Since sauce is not as thick as traditional enchilada sauce, when you remove them from the oven, spoon sauce from the bottom of the dish all over the tortillas. Additionally this can be done halfway through cooking too.

...yeah, those were good...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Shaved Asparagus and Carrot Salad with a Creamy Citrus Dressing

So, it's been a not-so-fantastic week.

The business I work for is closing at the end of May (which I did know as our lease will be over). The owner had mentioned that he wanted to put me in the office when we closed and when I tried to confirm that, he said that he won't be needing me in the office anymore. So the job security I had magically disappeared. Now it's time to find a new job. Nothing on the horizon yet but I still (thankfully) have a month and a half to look. Having a new job is exciting to me but it's the process of finding one, and hoping I find one soon, and then being the new person when I find one that I do not like. I also worry that having a commitment to this job until the end of it may derail companies from wanting to hire me now since I wouldn't be able to work full time until June 1st. On the other hand, it may be reputable that I am honoring my commitment. It's too many questions and it really makes me nervous that I will not find something soon enough.

Other than that, everything is wonderful as always! So, is this salad! (Like my segue into that? I sure did!)

...ummmm...segue is hard to spell...

...and super quick and easy...

Shaved Asparagus and Carrot Salad with a Creamy Citrus Dressing

Citrus dressing
1 Tablespoon orange juice
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste

4 to 5 asparagus spears, washed and dried
1 to 2 large carrots, peeled
lettuce or salad mix

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, honey and Dijon mustard. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

2. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus and carrots into thin ribbons. Arrange a handful of lettuce or salad mix onto two or three small salad plates, then top with the vegetable ribbons. Drizzle each salad with dressing; serve immediately.

Turkey and 10-Year Aged Cheddar with Caramelized Onion and Grape Grilled Cheese

Does anyone else notice that there are no longer names for recipes, just lists of whats in them? Snickerdoodles aren't called "Cinnamon Sugar Cookies". Lasagna isn't "Lasagna Noodles Layered with Meat Sauce and Ricotta". Puppy Chow certainly isn't known as "Chex Mix with Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Powdered Sugar". Even pizza has known names. We all know Hawaiian Pizza. And Meat's Lover's isn't named by the meats in them. It seems every culture has their own name for stuffed cabbage. Reuben, Dump Cake, The Chicago Mix, Gyro, Hoagie, Deep Dish, Funnel Cake, Sloppy Joe, Calzone, Buffalo Wings, Corndog, Taco, Cuban; these are all names we know. I don't refer to a Cheesy Beef ("a Beef") as "Italian Beef on Italian Bread with Peppers and Melted Cheese Dipped in Au Jus". That just sounds way classier than I would like to think about one of my favorite messy sandwiches from my hometown.

As a food blogger, I understand the need to know what you are looking at before you click on a recipe. Unfortunately, the only place we can find names for foods anymore is at a restaurant. They have the luxury of being able name a recipe and then include a description below. Fun places like Kumas Corner in Chicago name their burgers after Metal bands like the Black Sabbath that includes Blackening Spice, Chili, Pepper Jack, and Red Onion.

I also don't feel the need to know the ingredient list of a Hot Dog (ew) but I do know the ingredient list of a Chicago Style Hot Dog. Even if I forget an ingredient or two when listing it, it doesn't matter because when I eat it, I know it will be delicious.

I also know that I can't possibly think of a name for this Turkey and 10-Year Aged Cheddar with Caramelized Onion and Grape Grilled Cheese and I certainly cannot just call it a Grilled Cheese either. So I just need to throw up my hands and continue listing ingredients as recipe titles especially when us food bloggers are getting more experimental with ingredient combinations. I had never had grapes in a grilled cheese before I made this but I am definitely converted.

As you know, Happy Hubby and I have a big crush on cheese. The type of cheddar we like is not in your typical grocery store. Our preferred sharp cheddar (usually aged 5-10 years) is so sharp it bites back and sometimes even has calcium crystals and crunches when you eat it. When we have tried purchasing "extra extra sharp cheddar" at our local grocery store, we have been so disappointed. We officially give up on finding our sharp cheeses and opt for smoked when we can't get to our cheese stores. We normally go to a Wisconsin based grocery store for our favorite 7-year aged cheddar every two weeks or so. This past week, however, Happy Hubby was on his way back from the city and stopped at our favorite cheese market and picked up a 10 year cheddar and my favorite applewood smoked cheddar (1/2 pound of each equaled out to $30). Yes, we spend lotsa money on cheese but we don't care.

This recipe called for white cheddar, but we used half disappointing cheddar and half 10-year cheddar. I also opted for spinach instead arugula leaves since I had them in the fridge. Go ahead and adjust this to your liking like I did. Either way, it is insanely good and I can't wait to make it again. Keep the grapes of course and please use a thick, good quality bread. This isn't a recipe for flat and thin low calorie bread.

Turkey and 10-Year Aged Cheddar with Caramelized Onions and Grape Grilled Cheese
adapted from FoodieCrush

3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, sliced
12-15 red seedless grapes
1 pound turkey deli meat, shaved
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup 5-10 year aged cheddar
1 cup spinach leaves
8 slices potato bread
salt and pepper

1. In a medium skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter and vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until semi-transparent and caramelized. Add grapes and sauté for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.

2. Mix the two cheeses together. Heat a skillet on medium. Butter one side of each piece of bread. On unbuttered side of 4 slices of bread layer 1/4 cup cheese, onion and grapes, 1/4 portion of turkey, 1/4 portion of spinach leaves and 1/4 cup more cheese. Place slice of bread on top, buttered side up, and grill in skillet until bread becomes golden. Flip sandwich once and cook until cheese melts and bread becomes golden. Cut in half and serve hot. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Not-Fried Pickles

You may have been wondering what was sitting on the side of those Pineapple Chorizo Burgers. Well, my friend, they were Not-Fried Pickles!

Happy Hubby and I always have to get Fried Pickles when we see them on a menu. They are always super tasty. I don't like the idea of deep-frying anything at home because if I enjoy doing it, who knows what I may end up frying and how often? Deep-frying is like a gateway drug. How else do you think people started deep-frying Oreos and Twinkies?  

No, I will try to confine my deep-fried foods to restaurants. There, I pay more, which leads to eating less fried foods. Good plan Sarah! I will enjoy my fried Oreos out of the comfort of my own home in front of people where I can feel indulgent and say stuff like "I ran this week" and pretend that it cancels it out.

BTW: a 2 mile run burns about the equivalent of a single serving of Oreos, pre-fried (which is 2 cookies)

Further BTW: WHO THE HECK ONLY EATS 2 OREOS?!?!?!?!'s a conspiracy...

 Not-Fried Pickles

1 jar pickle slices (I used the big burger sized slices)
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

1. Turn oven broiler on high. 

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and flour. Add Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, and pepper. Mix well.

3. Place panko bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Dunk each pickle slice into the egg mixture, than dredge it in the panko bread crumbs.

4. Place coated pickles on a rack set above a baking sheet and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Place pan in the middle rack of the oven. Broil for about 3 minutes on each side.

Pineapple Chorizo Burgers


I could live off of AVOCADO

Who doesn't love PINEAPPLE?

Everything should be covered in PICO DE GALLO

PRETZEL ROLLS?...enough said...

Why hellooooooo Pineapple Chorizo Burger!
...shhhhh, I think it heard me talking about it...

Anyway, I found this recipe before I started blogging and I knew I would have to make it when i got my act together to buy pineapple and Chorizo. Now, I can't stop. Happy Hubs opened the refrigerator door and asked, "Now, what is THAT Chorizo for?" He loves it but gets confused by how it keeps appearing when he knows I just used it in something else.

...magically reappearing Chorizo? It's like someone's been reading my diary...

STAY ON COURSE SARAH! I unfortunately do not have a grill yet...sad face... But someday I will and I plan to grill the burgers, buns, and pineapple when that day comes. Therefore, I am giving you the original recipe that Sommer put on her blog without any alterations.

Pineapple Chorizo Burgers

½ lb. chorizo
1 ¼ lbs. ground pork
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
Prepared fresh pineapple
Store-bought Pico de Gallo (I used Caputo's pico de gallo)
4-6 soft sandwich rolls (I used pretzel rolls)

I like to save time on this recipe by buying pre-made fresh salsa and pre-cut fresh pineapple! If you want to make your own salsa and trim your own pineapple–knock yourself out!

1. Preheat the grill to high heat. In a large bowl, combine the chorizo, pork, garlic, Worcestershire, salt, thyme and oregano. Work the chorizo through pork mixture. Divide the mixture into 4-6 portions, then shape it into patties.

2. Carefully slice the pineapple into ½ inch rounds.

3. Grill the patties 3 minutes per side for six, or 5 minutes per side for four patties. Next, grill the pineapple slices for 2 minutes per side. Toast the buns on the grill for 1 minute.
4. Remove the avocado from the peel, then slice 1/4 inch thick.

To assemble: place the patty on the bottom bun, followed by the pineapple, avocado slices, and the Pico on top. Cover with the bun and enjoy!

...stay tuned for the Not Fried Pickle recipe...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mango Coconut Sherbet

I LOVE my Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker Attachment soooooooo much. Making ice cream, however, can be a pain with the multiple creams and milks, and the scalding, and chilling, and heating, and cooling, and egg separating... It always comes out really yummy but when I find a gem of a recipe that requires just mixing and pouring, I immediately try it!

This Jessica, (not the other one that normally I steal recipes from) had the perfect simple frozen confection recipe for me. Best of all, it is from the "Ass Friendly" (BAHAHAHAHA!!!) section of her blog! I also found the Watermelon Feta Salad in the same place.

Mango Coconut Sherbet

2 cups cubed peeled ripe mango, about 3 medium mangos
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk

1. Combine cubed mango, sugar, 1 tablespoon lime juice, lime zest and coconut milk in food processor. Process until mixture is smooth, scraping sides as necessary.

2. Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions to soft-serve consistency.

3. Spoon sherbet into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 2 hours or until firm.

Buffalo Chicken Soup

You may be asking yourself what I did with my extra watermelon from my Salsa Verde Burgers with Fontina, Watermelon, and Basil and the Watermelon Feta Salad? What else have I been doing with extra fruit other than making fruit pops!
Watermelon Kiwi Pops that is! I HEART YOU!!

I'm not going to go over this recipe because it is exactly the same as all the other Fruit Pops I have been making (give or take some sugar). I'll give you more ideas for fun fruit pops when I have something more interesting to share beyond not being wasteful with extra fruit.

A while back, Happy Hubby picked out a Jim Beam Hot Wing Sauce because we loved the Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce so much. We figured the alcohol based brands might know what they are doing when it comes to Man-Foods. I used the Jim Beam Hot Wing Sauce in my Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese. We really like it because it is not a traditional Buffalo Wing-type sauce. It is less vinegary and more flavorful. Anything buffalo wing related is going to be good but this sauce is especially good for people that do not necessarily like the traditional hot wing sauce taste (Mom, I am talking to you).

I have had this Buffalo Chicken Soup on my mind since Jessica suggested it for Super Bowl and both Happy Hubby and I really loved it. I adjusted it to some of her suggestions (added cream) and added egg noodles because I like a soup that is full of lotsa stuff in every spoonful. Did I mention it is super quick and easy? It only takes 30-45 minutes!

I would have loved to have added Gorgonzola Cheese and Cilantro on top but I didn't have any...sad face...

Buffalo Chicken Soup
adapted from How Sweet It Is

 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8-10 oz), cooked and shredded (I usually steam them in my rice cooker, or use leftovers)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon flour
32 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
1/3-1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce
1/3 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
Half a bag of Egg Noodles
sliced green onions, crumbled Gorgonzola and cilantro for topping

1. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions with a sprinkle of salt to the pot, stirring to coat, then cook for about 5 minutes until soft. Add in garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more.

2. Sprinkle in flour and stir for another 1-2 minutes.

3. Add in stock, buffalo sauce, cream, chicken, and grated cheeses; stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, add noodles, then reduce and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring every so often.

4. Serve soup and top with cilantro, green onions, and Gorgonzola. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Pizza

Last month, I posted Renee's recipe for Garlic Lovers Pizza. My friend Carli wanted to have some so I invited her over on a day that I had already planned to make a Spinach and Artichoke Pizza. I had already bought the spinach and artichoke and didn't want them to go bad. So, this happened:
...we also decided to invite another friend over so we didn't feel like fatties...

They were both amazing, of course! We sent Carli home with some extra and her dad proceeded to eat her leftovers. I can proudly say this Irish (with a Mexican last name) chica made pizza approved by Italians! Heck Yeah!!

Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Pizza

Pizza Crust
1 1/8 cups warm water (100-105 degrees)
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 shallot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 (6 ounce) bag of fresh spinach
1 (14 ounce) can of artichoke hearts (5-7 count)
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
8 ounces freshly grated mozzarella cheese
4 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1. In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.

2. Add in 2 1/2 cups flour, salt, garlic powder and dried basil, stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but it still sticky. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and work the additional 1/2 cup flour (you don’t need to use all if it is not needed) in to the dough, kneading it on a floured surface for a few minutes.

3. Rub the same bowl with olive oil then place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

5. Drain artichokes and press with a paper towel to reduce some of the moisture. Roughly chop, pressing with a towel again, then place in a bowl. Add ricotta cheese.

6. Heat a large skillet over medium low heat and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add in shallots with a pinch of salt and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

7. Add in garlic and spinach, tossing to coat and cooking until spinach is wilted. Transfer spinach mixture to the bowl with artichokes and ricotta, then add salt, pepper, 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Stir to combine.

8. After the dough has risen, punch it down and place it back on the floured surface. Using a roll pin or your hands, form it into your desired shape (sometimes I use baking sheets and do rectangles or free form pizzas). Place the towel back over the dough and let sit in the warm place for 10 minutes.

9. Drizzle pizza dough with 1 teaspoon olive oil and brush to coat. Sprinkle a bit of mozzarella cheese over top of the dough, then spread spinach ricotta mixture evenly over top. Cover with remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
...I use so many of Jessica's recipes, she is going to think I am stalking her...
It's like she knows me! We have twin taste buds!

Salsa Verde Burgers with Fontina, Watermelon, and Basil

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I have been wrapped up in a certain trilogy of novels that may or may not have recently become a hit movie...


Now it's time to talk about this delightful burger:

Yeah, that's watermelon under that burger patty!
...and basil, and fontina, and salsa verde...

The mix of fruit with savory stuff makes me dance with pallet enhancing happiness!  

...enough said...

Salsa Verde Burger with Fontina, Watermelon, and Basil

2 lbs. ground beef chuck
4-6 slices of fontina cheese
4-6 buns
4-6 slices of watermelon
12 large fresh basil leaves
1 cup salsa verde
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the grill to high heat.

2. Portion and form the hamburger patties, making an indention in the centers. Salt and pepper both sides of the patties.

3. Slice the watermelon into 1/3 inch slices. Use a biscuit cutter to cut watermelon circles.

4. Grill the hamburgers for 3-5 minutes per side. Add the fontina slices to the top of each patty 1 minutes before removing from the grill. Tent with foil to keep warm.

5. Toast the buns on the grill for 30-60 seconds, until char marks form.

6. Layer the bun with 2-3 large basil leaves, a watermelon circle, the patty with cheese, and top with a large spoonful of salsa verde.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Scones

I usually try not to complain about things I cannot control but this seems like one of those weeks that makes me say "Darn You!! (shakes fist). I hope this doesn't come off like those silly teens that complained about not getting a smart phone for Christmas even though they got a car.

Darn You (shakes fist) List
  • Went to the doctor today to get a blood test. Got stuck three times by three different nurses because they can never find a vein on me! Darn You (shakes fist) Small Veins!!
  • On Saturday, a customer called for directions, which I happily provided. She got here and was upset because we didn't have what she was looking for. I politely offered to order it for her but she ran off in a huff. On Monday, she proceeded to complain on our facebook page about my "poor customer service" because I didn't tell her on the phone that we didn't have what she was looking for (though she didn't ask). She continued by stating that I "didn't care" and said "oh well" when I never would and never did. Darn You (shakes fist) Lying, Rude, Mean Customer!!!
...ok. It's not a big list but it was obnoxious enough to make me want to write a list...

Back to happy stuff!!! <------ See, PINK = Happy color!

I woke up Hubby the other day to the sweet smell of Strawberry Lemonade Scones. I heart scones... They are like Pop-Tarts for grown ups! Not that it stops me from wanting Pop-Tarts every blue moon. A blue moon happens every week or so right? I made it with a Microwave Lemon Curd recipe I found online because I don't have a double boiler. You can use store-bought or a more traditional recipe if you want.

Strawberry Lemonade Scones

for scones
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
/2 cup unsalted butter (chilled, not softened), cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups diced fresh strawberries
1 generous tablespoon lemon zest
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
Prepared lemon curd (see below)
for lemon curd
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice
3 lemons, zested
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In large bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With pastry blender, cut in butter cubes until mixture has coarse crumbs. Gently add strawberries and the lemon zest. Make a well in the center of the mixture and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together eggs and cream. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Gently stir until moistened.

3. Place dough onto a well floured surface. Gently knead the dough by folding and pressing it about 7 times, turning the dough a quarter turn after each fold. Move dough to a lightly floured parchment-lined baking sheet (or stoneware baking sheet without parchment). Pat dough into a ¾ inch-thick circle. Cut circle into wedges and separate each slightly.

4. Brush wedges with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 16-20 minutes until golden brown.

5. While the scones are baking...
For the Lemon Curd: In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth. Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and butter. Cook in the microwave for one minute intervals, stirring after each minute until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.

6. Drizzle scones with lemon curd and top with sugar. Store extra lemon curd for up to three weeks in the refrigerator.

...stay tuned for what I do with the extra lemon curd...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Garlic Cheddar Chicken

Remember that Watermelon Feta Salad I told you about? 
...that was oh, so scrumptious and refreshing?

Well, it was paired with a yummy, crispy, crunchy, juicy chicken recipe that makes me question what culinary wonder made it. That not-so-culinary-wonder (more really-good-recipe-follower) was me! WHAT?!?! I generally avoid dishes that are just meat and usually gravitate more towards dishes that have meat mixed in. Rice, pasta, salads, etc. I think it has to do with growing up eating well done (dry) meat dishes that I thought I didn't like. Turns out I like my red meat prepared medium, and chicken can actually be made juicy! When I first made this, it was so juicy that I thought it was under-cooked. Hubby happily informed me that I had actually made it perfect!

Super yummy, and super easy! Dipped in garlic butter, coated in our favorite 7-year cheddar, and juicy and crunchy like it came from your favorite fried chicken place. The best part: It's baked, not fried! Oh, happy day!

Garlic Cheddar Chicken

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded thin

  • 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • 2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, and cook the garlic until tender, about 5 minutes.

  • 3. In a shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Cheddar cheese, parsley, oregano, pepper, and salt.

  • 4. Dip each chicken breast in the garlic butter to coat, then press into the bread crumb mixture. Arrange the coated chicken breasts in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with any remaining butter and top with any remaining bread crumb mixture.

  • 5. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

...extra makes good sandwiches the next day.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Container Store!!!

I want to start posting about some of my favorite stores and other kitchen essentials that I love!
For my first "Precious Products" post, I want to talk about my most favoritest place...'s so pretty in there...

They conveniently started doing wedding registries after I was already married. *sigh* I WILL be registering there for a baby registry someday. Some of my most favorite and talked about things I own are from The Container Store and I plan on getting many, many more. I am specifically going to talk about my favorite items that are to-go food containers (it's a food blog, duh) but I could go on and on about other items I love from there. 

The first is my coveted to-go cereal containers. The bottom of them has a freezable gel to keep your milk cold and the top is for the dry cereal. It comes with a detachable spoon that folds up and pops on to the top!
...I have 4 of these...

I eventually want to get this cereal dispenser for all the cereal we keep in the house too:

Other similar items are these:

I also LOVE these items for salads and snacks with dips:

Are you interested in eco-friendly solutions for sandwiches? Look no further!

There is so much more that I can talk about, but that would be an even longer list. This is a good start for to-go products. You can save a lot of money and calories by making your own lunch for work and school. These are all reusable so no more plastic bags! Yay! For a comprehensive list of all their "to-go" products, go to this link. If you have the ability to visit a Container Store location, I highly recommend it. They will have even more options like pasta steamers! What? Do it if your cool. You know you want to!