Wednesday, November 24, 2010

All-American Chili

I made a big old pot of chili over the weekend and have been having it for lunch this week. Love it! I love it with cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, crescent rolls, etc. I love chili! Any-who, no pic for this one, I mean chili is chili, but I wanted to share the recipe anyway. I changed a few minor things, so below is my version of the recipe from Cooking Light. This didn't have quite enough heat for us, so another jalapeño or some other sort of heat will be added the next time I make this.

6 oz. pork sausage
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped red/orange/yellow bell pepper
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. ground cumin
3 tbsp. tomato paste (or 1.5 tbsp of the double concentrated stuff in a tube)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves
1-1/4 cups beer
2 (28-oz.) cans whole tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped
1 (15-oz.) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, onion and the next 4 ingredients (onion through jalapeño) to pan; cook 8 minutes or until sausage and beef are browned, stirring to crumble.

Add chili powder and the next 7 ingredients (chili powder through bay leaves), and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in beer, tomatoes and beans; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Uncover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard the bay leaves. Sprinkle each serving with cheese (and your other favorite toppings) and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hummingbird Cake

I made a most delicious cake this weekend. I had 3 bananas sitting in my freezer waiting to be used in some sort of baked treat, so I decided this cake would be the one. Oh...I left out the nuts...not a fan.

Unsalted butter, for greasing
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3 ripe bananas, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil

For the frosting:
2 pkgs. cream cheese (8 oz. each), at room temperature
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans (I used 9-inch) and line with parchment paper. Butter the parchment and dust with flour.

Toss together the bananas, pineapple and 1/2 cup flour in a small bowl.

Whisk the remaining 2-1/4 cups flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Beat the eggs and granulated sugar in a separate bowl with a mixer on high speed until thick and light, 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the vegetable oil.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the egg mixture, then gently fold to make a thick batter. Fold in the fruit mixture, then transfer the batter to the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are firm and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 50-55 minutes (45 minutes for my 9-inch pans). Cool in the pans on a rack, 25 minutes, then invert the cakes onto the rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with a mixer until fluffy, then gradually beat in the butter until combined. Sift the confectioners' sugar over the cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Add the lemon zest and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.

Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread about half of the frosting on top, then cover with the other cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Spiced Shrimp with Green Beans and Lime

I haven't been making dinner much lately, simply because I'm just not home in time. So Jim's been doing a lot of the cooking. Well Friday he said it was my turn to make dinner and to figure out something to do with the shrimp and green beans we had. OK, easy enough. And it was. I found this recipe and had all the ingredients but the jalapeno. I just added some crushed red pepper flakes instead to give it a bit of a kick. I also added parsley to the rice as well as the called for cilantro. I did this because I accidentally grabbed the wrong bunch of herbs out of the fridge lol. Anyway, I think I'll be adding this dish to the "quick and easy" category.

1 cup long-grain white rice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves (I added parsley as well)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 lb. green beans, halved crosswise
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 red jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced (I used crushed red pepper flakes instead)
kosher salt and black pepper
1-1/2 lbs. peeled and deveined large shrimp
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Cook the rice according to the package directions. Fluff with a fork and fold in the cilantro and parsley.

Place the shrimp in a bowl and mix with the chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green beans and garlic and cook, tossing frequently, for 3 minutes. Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook, tossing occasionally, until opaque throughout, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and serve over the rice. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cafe Manna's Root Vegetable Stir-Fry

Yet another recipe that Jim found in the local paper. This one was interesting. I think it would have been better had some shrimp or chicken been added to it, but the sauce was quite tasty!

1 tbsp. diced ginger
1 green onion
1/4 bunch cilantro
juice of 1/2 orange
1-2 tbsp. parsley
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1-1/2 tbsp. sesame oil
1/4 cup mirin wine
1 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup julienned carrots
3/4 cup julienned parsnips
3.4 cup julienned Daikon radish
3/4 cup julienned yellow beet (couldn't find this so left it out)
3/4 cup julienned celery root
3/4 cup julienned turnip
hot cooked jasmine or basmati rice (we just used regular old white rice)

To prepare the sauce, in a blender (food processor), place the ginger, green onion, cilantro, orange juice, parsley, garlic, sesame oil and mirin and puree until smooth.

In a saute pan, heat the oil over high heat. Add the carrots, parsnips, Daikon radish, yellow beet, celery root and turnip and quickly saute a minute or two, keeping vegetables moving so they don't burn. Add sauce, toss and cook another 2 minutes, keepeing vegetables moving, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Serve with rice.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chicken Corn Chowder

Jim's been on this kick lately of making a soup every week. It's quite nice since he puts it into a bunch of little bowls and then we can have soup for lunch during the week. So far he's made broccoli cheese, potato, butternut squash soup and now this Chicken Corn Chowder. He added some carrots and celery to the soup too. It was quite tasty!

1 tbsp. butter
6 green onions
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 (10-oz) packages frozen corn kernels, thawed and divided
1 (14 oz.) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (Jim used chicken stock)
2 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove green tops from green onions. Chop green onion tops; set aside. Thinly slice white portion of each onion. Add sliced onions to pan; saute 2 minutes. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in chicken, salt, pepper, 1 package of corn and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

While mixture simmers, combine the remaining corn and milk in a blender; process until smooth. Add milk mixture to pan; simmer 2 minutes or until heated through. Ladle into bowls and top with green onions and cheese. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Easy Pumpkin Spice Muffins

I saw this somewhere and can't remember where, but I thought I'd give these muffins a try. They aren't the prettiest muffins I've ever seen, but they sure were tasty!

1 box spice cake mix
1-15 oz. can pumpkin
1 cup cinnamon chips

Preheat the oven to whatever it says on the cake mix box. I think mine was for 350 degrees F. Mix together the cake mix, pumpkin and cinnamon chips. Drop the mix into cupcake liners and bake for time stated on box for cupcakes. I think mine took about 21 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Shepherd's Pie Stuffed Potatoes

Jim found this recipe in the local paper, but apparently it's a Rachael Ray recipe. Her recipe calls for 4 potatoes and the one in the paper called for 6. Jim bought the biggest potatoes I've ever seen and there was so much stuffing that we had to put some in an overflow bowl. was EXCELLENT! Jim can make this again any day!

6 large russet potatoes
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling potatoes
1/2 red bell pepper, cored and chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped, divided
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
1 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese, divided
ground black pepper
1 lb. ground sirloin
1/2 lb. button or cremini mushrooms, quartered
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups beef stock
2 tbsp. spicy brown or Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Oil the potatoes with a hearty dollop of olive oil and some salt. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, about 1 hour., then let cool. Turn off the oven and switch on the broiler.

While the potatoes cool, in a medium skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the bell pepper and half of the onions and saute to soften for 5 minutes, then set aside to cool.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut a thin top slice off each potato. In a bowl, combine the bell pepper and onion mixture, the sour cream, smoked paprika, half of the Gouda, salt and pepper. Scoop the flesh from each potato into the bowl. Mash to combine. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the ground sirloin and brown for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the lumps. Add the mushrooms and cook until they start to turn golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes more.

Add the remaining onions and the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Push all of the ingredients to the edge of the pan and add the butter to the middle of the skillet. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and cook for about 1 minute. In a saucepan, whisk together the beef stock, mustard, soy sauce and Worcestershire. Bring to a bubble then combine with the meat mixture. Adjust the salt and pepper, and simmer until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Fill the potato shells with the beef and veggie mixture, then top each of them with the reserved mashed potatoes. Transfer to a baking sheet and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Pop the potatoes under the broiler until the cheese is melted and the tops are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Beer Braised Chicken

So for some reason I totally love Claire Robinson from 5 Ingredient Fix. Plus, 5 ingredients for a tasty dish? Yes please! I watched her make this beer braised chicken and knew I had to make it! Plus I've never cooked with fennel before, so this was perfect. It was so good!

3 slices thick cut applewood bacon
1 whole chicken, quartered (I just used breasts and thighs)
salt and pepper
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
1 bottle dark beer
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a Dutch oven, cook the bacon until nice and crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and crumble when cooled.

Pat the chicken dry and season on all sides with salt and pepper. Sear the chicken on all sides in the pan with the rendered bacon fat, until the outside is brown and crispy. Remove the chicken to a plate and add the fennel to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and saute until caramelized and tender, about 10 minutes. Add a little water if the fennel starts to burn. Pour in the beer and bring it to a simmer. Nestle the chicken and all the resting juices, breast side down, in the fennel and beer. Cover and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, flipping the chicken over after 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and put over low heat. Remove the chicken pieces to a warmed serving platter. Add the vinegar to the sauce and simmer to reduce to a thicker consistency, about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken pieces, top with the crumbled bacon and serve immediately. If you want a smoother sauce, just strain the sauce after it has reduced.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sprinkles' Strawberry Cupcakes

I've been in the mood to make cupcakes lately and decided to try this delicious strawberry cupcake recipe. It certainly did not disappoint and I could totally eat the frosting with a spoon! They were a hit at work!

2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature

1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
pinch of coarse salt
3-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.

Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

For the frosting:

Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Roasted Salmon Nicoise Platter (sort of)

While on vacation at our cottage a few weeks ago, I saw Ina Garten whip up this tasty salmon platter on her show. It looked simple enough and oh so delicious. I didn't quite have all the fixings on hand so I made do with what I had. I didn't have the haricots verts, tomatoes, watercress or olives. Lol, so why even bother calling this salmon nicoise? Because I can and it was delicious. I also cut the recipes in half. I added some radishes to the plate and used spinach in place of the watercress. I guess I could have thrown some capers on the plate to add the saltiness that was missing from the olives/anchovies, but obviously I didn't. The salmon marinade was excellent as was the dressing. Maybe one day I'll try making this again the correct way. But for now, below is what I did.

2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 lbs. skin-on fresh salmon fillets
1.5 lbs. small Yukon gold potatoes
3-4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut in half
1 bunch spinach
6-7 radishes

1/8 cup champagne vinegar (I used rice wine vinegar)
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

For the marinade, whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, mustard, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon of pepper in a small bowl and set aside. Place the salmon on a sheet pan that has been covered in aluminum foil, and drizzle the marinade over the salmon. Allow the salmon to sit for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot off the heat and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Leave the potatoes to steam for 15-20 minutes, until tender but firm. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice them in thick slices and set aside.

Place the salmon in the oven and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until it is almost cooked through. Remove to a plate and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the skin and break into large pieces.

For the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Set aside.

Arrange the salmon, potatoes, radishes, spinach and eggs on a large platter. Drizzle some vinaigrette over the fish and vegetables and serve the rest in a pitcher on the side.