Thursday, December 22, 2011
As of January 1st this blog will be changing. I'll be bringing you a new recipe, review, technique or featured ingredient 5 times a week. I'm really excited about the new cooking goals I've set for myself and I'm even more excited to be able to share the results of those with you!
For now I'll leave you in anticipation, but be sure to stay tuned because exciting things are ahead of all of us.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie
3 c. chicken stock
1 4-5 lb chicken (you can sub this out for a store bought roasted chicken)
4 carrots, cut into 1/4" coins
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 c. frozen peas
2 cloves minced garlic
2 c. diced Yukon gold or red skinned, potatoes
5 TBSP butter
5 TBSP flour
1 TBSP chopped thyme
salt and pepper
1 batch of your favorite biscuit dough or 1 tube store bought biscuit dough
Bring a large stock pot 3/4 full of water to a full boil. Gently add your chicken (with innards removed). Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until done, usually about 1 hour. Remove the chicken to a large cookie sheet and allow to cool about 1 hour. When the chicken is cool to the touch pull all the meat off the bones, discarding any fat.
While your chicken is cooling boil your diced potatoes until fork tender, but not falling apart...usually about 15-20 minutes once the water boils. Drain the potatoes and set aside.
If you have time, you can use the remaining chicken carcass and your poaching water to make white stock. If you don't have time when your making the pot pie the carcass will freeze well and you can always do it another day.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Once your chicken is pulled into bite sized pieces your ready to assembly your pot pie. In a 5 qt. pot saute the carrot, onion and celery in the butter over medium heat until onions are translucent. Once they are tender add the garlic and thyme and cook another 2 minutes. Add in the 5 TBSP flour and work it into the butter. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and stir well (you don't want any flour clumps in your gravy!). Bring this mixture to a simmer and add in the peas and potatoes, cooking until hot through.
Pour the mixture into a 9x13 glass baking dish. Top the pot pie with rounds or squares of your raw biscuit dough. Bake uncovered for 12-15 minutes (it will depend on how thick your biscuits are), until your biscuits are golden brown and the pot pie is bubbling. Allow to cool 10 minutes before enjoying your delicious fall pot pie!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Today's recipe is Lentils and Carrots. I have found this is an incredibly low cost recipe that provides lots of protein and iron. This will make about 3 cups of food.
4 oz dried lentils
4 peeled and chopped carrots
4 cups homemade, salt free chicken stock** or 4 cups water
This couldn't be simpler. Put the lentils, carrots and 3 cups of the liquid into a sauce pot. Bring to a boil and put a lid on the pot, leaving it slightly ajar. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes; until the lentils are soft. Allow the mixture to cool slightly and then put it into a blender. Puree to your desired consistency*** (this will depend on how old your child is) using as little or as much of the reserved 1 cup of liquid as needed.
**Sophie is used to eating foods that are cooked in my homemade stock that contains carrots, celery, pepper, thyme, onions, chicken bones etc...It's always best to slowly introduce new things into your child's diet, so keep this in mind when making any of my recipes calling for stocks.
***When your son or daughter has advanced to stage 3 or 4 foods you can dice the carrots and skip the pureeing. The lentils and carrots will be very soft and will be a great transition food.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
So this is how those 6 chicken breasts have panned out.
Night one: Grilled chicken salad.
Night two: Black bean and chicken burritos.
Night three: Chicken and broccoli macaroni and cheese.
I also poached 2 breasts and used them to make chicken cannelloni.
That makes 4 meals from 2 packs of boneless, skinless chicken breast, and of course there were plenty of leftovers for lunch!
Black Bean and Chicken Burritos
1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can tomato sauce
2 grilled chicken breasts, diced
1/2 yellow onion
1 diced red bell pepper
1 minced jalapeno
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dry oregano
1/2 c. mild taco sauce
6 burrito sized tortilla shells
8 oz grated queso fresco
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Saute' the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic until soft. Once translucent add in the black beans--crush some of the beans once added. Add in the chicken, chili powder and 3/4 of the can of tomato sauce; stir to combine.
Once the filling is heated through spoon about 1/2 cup of filling into each burrito. Roll them up and lay them side by side in a 9x13 glass baking dish.
Stir together the taco sauce and the remaining tomato sauce; spread this over the burritos. Top the burritos with the cheese and pop it into the oven for 10-15 minutes--or until the cheese is melted. Enjoy the spicy cheesy goodness!
Monday, August 8, 2011
- 2 bone in, skin on breasts**
- 2 TBSP honey
- 4 TBSP soy sauce
- 1/2 TSP chili flake
- 1/4 TSP garlic granules OR 1 clove of minced garlic
Stir the soy, honey, chili flake and garlic together. I recommend using a fork for this, it makes it easier to combine the thick, sticky honey, into the soy sauce. Put your chicken into a gallon sized zip-top bag and pour on the marinade. I usually do this first thing in the morning to give the chicken 8 hours to soak up the flavor, but even just 1/2 hour bathing in the marinade will impart wonderful flavor into your meat.
When you're ready to cook your chicken heat your grill up to 350 degrees (low medium on most gas grills). Shake the excess marinade off your chicken and place skin side down on the grill. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the skin has started to brown. Flip the chicken over and cook until done through, about 10-15 more minutes depending on the size of the breast and the heat of your grill.
Allow the chicken to rest before slicing off the bone. Serve this with jasmine rice and grilled veggies--enjoy!
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Once a week I'll be publishing a 10 Minute Dinner idea. This is 10 minutes of active time. I don't guarantee you'll be eating in 10 minutes every time (though with some of them you may), but I do guarantee that you'll have dinner in the fridge, oven, crock pot, stove or grill after just 10 minutes.
- 2 bone in, skin on chicken breasts
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
- 1 small white or yellow onion, quartered with tails on
- 2 handfuls of small potatoes (about 8-10), quartered
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- roasted garlic butter (optional)
- lemon juice (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large glass casserole dish toss the vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the chicken breasts, skin side up, on top of the vegetables. If you're using the roasted garlic butter rub the breasts liberally with it, if not, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and rub it in. Drizzle approx. 1 TBSP of lemon juice over everything.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. Bake the heat down to 350 after the first 20 minutes. Bake approx another 25 minutes. Cooking time will vary. The chicken should read 160 degrees.
Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and then slice the breasts off the bone and serve over the veggies. I like the ladle some of the chicken broth over my meal....free bonus sauce!
If you're so inclined you can save the bones in the freezer, when you've filled a gallon sized zip top bag it's time to make stock!
Enjoy your 10 Minute Dinner!
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
So, what did I do with them? I make fajitas! Might I add that they are fast and faaanntastic!
- 1 soft taco kit (I have El Paso, but they are all pretty much the same)
- 1 lb chicken breast
- 1 bell pepper (I prefer red or yellow)
- 1 large white onion
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 2 TBSP lime juice (lemon will work if it's what you have)
- dash of cayenne or chili powder
- fajita garnish ie: sour cream, cheese, tomatoes, rice, refried beans
In a jar mix your citrus juice, oil, pepper and the seasoning packet from your taco kit; shake until well combined. Slice the chicken into strips about 3" long and about as thick as your thumb. Put the marinade and chicken into a gallon sized zip top bag. I recommend doing this in the morning...this is especially great after it has had 4-6 hours to marinade. I sometimes do this the night before.
When you're ready to cook slice the bell pepper and onion into 1/4-1/2" strips. Toss them in a little bit of oil.
I use a vegetable grate on the grill to cook both meat and veggies but you could do this inside on a grill pan, cast iron skillet or any heavy bottomed frying pan.
Over medium heat cook the veggies until yielding and slightly charred, but not overly done. Remove your veggies and cook your chicken. This won't take more than a few minutes because they are small pieces, so don't go anywhere.
Once everything is cooked toss it together and serve up with your favorite condiments. Personally I think these are tasty as is and I usually just spoon it onto a plate and devour.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
During the summer we typically put our pizza on the grill because I hate heating up the house, but it can just as well be done in an oven.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Is the best burger thick or thin? Dressed to the max or to the minimum? American or cheddar? Medium rare or well done? Pan seared or grill?
Too many questions--I have answers.
The Best Burger is 1/4 lb; weigh it out. Handle the patty as little as possible. Weight it, roll it into a ball and then smush the patty down so that is approx. 1/4" larger than your bun all the way around. This allows for shrinkage and makes for a juicy, well done burger.
Season your patties with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. If you add things to it you are creating meatloaf or meatball patties--not hamburgers. If you are using anything lower than a 90-10 blend I suggest adding a tsp of butter during the last few seconds on the grill. This gives it a rich mouth feel that you might be missing out on.
Grill your burgers. Do yourself a favor, don't do this inside. Go out, light up your grill and become one with your inner cave woman (or man). You just won't get that beautifully flame kissed, seared outside in a pan.
Don't overcook them. If you follow my advice and go with 1/4lb patties they will only need to cook 2-3 minutes per side on high heat.
I like cheese. I don't really think you can go wrong with any kind of cheese, but my preference is American. Put your cheese on during the last minute. You want melted gooey cheese, not a cold slice that will never melt once removed from the grill.
Dress your burger with the basics. What does this mean? A great roll; cibatta or a white sesame seed bun are great options. I like my bun warm. This means ketcup, yellow mustard, sliced onion, dill pickle chips, lettuce and tomato. Don't get fancy.
If you do decide to go fancy keep it simple. Don't overwhelm the meat with too much stuff. I add bacon for a salty, crunchy addition.
Well there you have it. That's how I'd do it if I were you. I can tell you this works because I just polished off a mouthwatering speciman of the cheeseburger variety. Enjoy.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
- 3lbs of drummettes
- 1/2 c. flour
- cooking spray
- 1 c. hot sauce (I prefer Frank's Original)
- 4 tbsp butter
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Place the flour in a gallon sized ziptop bag and, 1 lb at a time, shake the wings in the flour to lightly coat. Place the wings onto a cookie cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet. This will probably take two trays. The wings can be close together; they will shrink as they cook.
Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Using tongs turn the wings and drop the oven to 400 and bake for another 20 minutes. Turn your wings one more time and set your timer for 15 more minutes. Your wings should be golden brown with a crispy exterior.
While your wings are baking melt the butter in a deep bowl then stir in the hot sauce.
If you like your wings spicier add 1/2 tsp of Cayenne or a few shakes of Tabasco.
When your wings come out of the oven dunk them in the sauce. Make sure they get a good dunking and are completely covered.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
I favor a double handled pan for blanching vegetables. I usually use a 2 1/2" deep braise pan or my short soup pot. Any pot that you can boil a few inches of water in will do for this. I use the double handled pot because they are easier to move than their single handled counterpart.
As far as hardware goes the rest is very basic. You'll need a slotted spoon, chef's knife, cutting board and a strainer.
You will obviously need...drumroll please...yes! Broccoli! I buy mine, in season, at the farmer's market. The only other ingredient necessary for fantastic blanched broccoli is kosher salt! Broccoli has such a wonderful sweet, green flavor that it needs no butter, no olive oil, no nothing, to enhance its flavor.
Bring 2-3" of water to a boil on the stove top. While you're waiting on this address your broccoli. I remove all but approximately 1 1/2-2" of stem. Some people prefer to eat only the florets, leaving almost no stem. I find that the stem is very tastey though. Why waste perfectly good vegetation? Slice the broccoli into bite sized spears...no larger than 1/2" on top.
When the water comes to a boil salt the water. I use about two tbsp of kosher salt for four cups of broccoli. Add in your broccoli and stir. Drop the heat to medium high and allow the broccoli to cook for 5-8 minutes. You want the broccoli to retain its vibrant green color and be yielding to the touch without being mushy. Al dente is the best term to describe what you're looking for.
When your broccoli is done strain it and you're ready to enjoy!
Some people like to "shock" the broccoli by submerging it into an ice-bath, but I try to do this last minute so it's warm and ready to go.
Makes 2 generous portions.
- 1 c. crushed ice
- 2 c. frozen chopped strawberries
- 1/2 c. cold vodka
- 1/4 c. lemon juice
- 1/2 c. simple syrup
Blend all the ingredients on high together (likely smoothie or puree on your blender). If they are too thick add water until the mixture reaches smoothie consistency. Be sure to taste this because every strawberry is different. You may need to add some extra simple syrup or a little extra lemon juice to balance out the flavor.
You can garnish this with an umbrella and a brightly colored straw...enjoy!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
(For those of you who have never had it...tomato+cucumber+bottled vinaigrette=tomato cucumber salad.)
Right now I have a plethora of farmer's market vegetables, so I raided the produce drawer and the fruit bowl and created, what I think, is a more interesting version.
While I usually take the time to make a vinaigrette I typically turn to bottled dressing for this just because it comes together so quickly.
- 1 vine ripe tomato or 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- 1 handful of basil leaves
- 3 sweet or banana peppers
- 1 small yellow, red or white onion
- 1/4 c. bottled or homemade vinaigrette
Cut all your vegetables into like sized 1/2 moon shapes. When you do this seed the peppers and, if the skin is thick, peel the cucumber. I choose to squeeze some of the seeds out of the tomato as well (it helps prevent your salad from becoming watery). Chiffonade the basil.
Mix all the vegetables together and then pour on the dressing! Voila--in approximately five minutes you've created a healthy, beautiful and filling side dish.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
This isn't fancy, but it hits the spot and is sure to please anyone from one to 100.
- 1 pre-baked or graham cracker crust
- 1 package of instant chocolate pudding, prepared to the pie specifications*
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1/2 c. whipping cream or 1 1/2 c. prepared whipped topping
Cut the bananas into 1/4" slices, toss them with a squeeze or lemon juice or some fresh fruit preserver. Layer the pie crust with all but a few of the sliced banana pieces. Pour the prepared chocolate pudding mix into the crust.
Whip the cream until it is fluffy and holds a stiff peak. Top the pie with the whipped cream and garnish with the remaining banana pieces. If you are left with a spare moment you can garnish the pie with a few shavings of chocolate.
Refrigerate the pie until firm. If you used the instant pudding it will take less than ten minutes for this to set!
**I use the jello instant pudding.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Serves 2--can be doubled etc...
- 2 boneless pork chops
- 1/4 c grated Parmesan
- 1/2 c bread crumbs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 egg
- 1/2 c. flour
- 1/4 c. olive or canola oil (I prefer olive oil)
Pound the pork chops to about 1/2" thickness. I do this between two layers of plastic wrap on a cutting board. If you don't have a mallet use a heavy pot or pan instead. In three plates prep your dredging.
Flour on one plate, beaten egg on another. In the last plate combine the bread crumbs, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Dip the pork chops first in the flour, then in the egg and lastly, into the bread crumb mixture. Make sure the chops get coated well in each step.
Heat a large frying pan over high-medium or low-high, heat. Fry the pork chops until they are golden brown on each side. It should not take more than about 3-4 minutes per side.
Serve these with pasta, sauteed veggies or Parmesan Garlic Potatoes.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 8 green tea bags
Bring 2 cups of the water to a simmer, add the cup of sugar and stir until dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved take the water off the heat and steep the tea bags according to the boxes directions (typically 3-5 minutes). Remove the tea bags, be sure to wring them out!
Pour the tea and sugar mixture into a gallon sized jug and add the sugar and the remaining 14 cups of water. If you want to enjoy this sooner add about 10 cups of water and then add ice to 1 gallon...the tea may be a little stronger, but will dilute as the cubs melt.
Stir well and refrigerate.
Last step? Enjoy!
Friday, June 10, 2011
- 2 c. cauliflower cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 4-8 tbsp grated Parmesan
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil (for oven preperation)
Thursday, June 9, 2011
This is my classic Sloppy Joe recipe...look for the more upscale version next week.
- 1 lb ground beef, turkey or chicken (chicken is my personal choice)
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 chopped green bell pepper
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 c. tomato sauce
- 1/2 c. ketchup
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne
- 1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
Cook the ground meat until done but not overly brown. Remove the meat. Saute the vegetables until translucent; add the meat back in. Add all other ingredients and stir well to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then back the heat to a simmer. Simmer for at least 10 minutes. If you plan to simmer it for longer than this (it will only get better I assure you) add some water so your Joes don't get too thick. They should be the consistency of a thick chili.
Enjoy your Joes on traditional white hamburger rolls and remember--they're supposed to be sloppy!
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
I use this roasted garlic butter on pasta, bread, pork tenderloin, steaks, chicken, potatoes, fish, shrimp, green beans, asparagus....well come to think of it what wouldn't I put it on?!
It's a wonderfully easy recipe that keeps in the refrigerator and freezes beautifully. I typically make a double batch and freeze the leftovers.
To freeze this put a dollop into each compartment of an ice cube tray and freeze. Once the garlic 'ice cubes' are solid pop them out and put them into a zip top bag. With those puppies in the freezer you have delicious base for sauces, a topping for breads or veggies and the start of a flavorful marinade for meats.
Now for the recipe...
- 1 head of garlic
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 stick of softened butter
Pull your butter from the fridge to soften and then preheat your oven to at least 350. I usually make this while roasting something else...it can be done anywhere from 350-450, the temperature of your oven will determine how long the garlic takes to roast, but won't change the flavor one bit (though I wouldn't reccomend roasting this with your cake or cookies).
Shell your garlic cloves and then combine them with all of the other ingredients except the butter. Place the mixture into a tin foil pouch and close it up.
Roast at 350 for 20-30 minutes (until the garlic is soft, but not too brown) or 15-20 at 450.
Allow the garlic to cool to room tempurature and then, using a fork, mash the garlic into the butter. Voila...in an active time of about ohhh about 2 minutes you've made yourself something fabulous!
Sunday, June 5, 2011
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup lemon juice, if you are juicing the lemon fresh include the zest for extra punch
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced or grated
- 1/4 of a white onion, minced or grated
- 1 tsp Cajun seasoning (I use Tony's low sodium)
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt (1 tsp if using a 'salt free' Cajun blend)
- 1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a mason jar, close the lid tightly and shake! Store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. This can be used as dressing on salads, pastas, vegetables and as a marinade on meats and seafood. It is incredibly versatile and can be altered by adding fresh or dried herbs.
- 1 zucchini, sliced into 1/2" rounds
- 1/2 lb asparagus, snap off the end woody portion
- 1 green onion, diced
- 1 tomato, seeded and diced (use whatever you can get at your local market)
- 1 bone-in, split chicken breast (or bone out if it's what you have)*
- 1/2 lb short cut pasta, I recommend rotini
- 1-2 tbsp. butter, olive oil or roasted garlic butter, recipe follows
- 1/2 c. 3 minute lemon vinaigrette, recipe follows
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Marinade your chicken (preferably overnight, but an hour will do the trick) with 1/4 c of the vinaigrette in a zip top bag. I typically marinade and grill at least 2 chicken breasts at a time so I can use the leftover chicken on sandwiches, in soup, on other pastas or just as a snack.
Boil pasta and drain. Toss the cooked pasta with the butter or olive oil. If you want you pasta dish served warm boil it while your vegetables are grilling. This pasta is delicious hot, warm, room temperature or cold.
Get your grill hot and start your chicken. If you are using the skin on spilt breasts start them skin side down, turn them after about 5-7 minutes, once the skin has begun to crisp. Cook the chicken until done through and allow to cool. Once it is cool pull or cut into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
While your chicken is grilling get your vegetables ready. Toss the zucchini and asparagus with the remaining vinaigrette and grill. Cook the veggies 2-3 minutes on each side, until tender crisp. Once they are done allow them to cool for 5 minutes and then cut them into bite sized pieces.
Take your pasta and toss with the Parmesan, chicken and grilled and raw vegetables. Season it to taste and serve.