Saturday, November 29, 2008

Autumn Apple Cake

So I was browsing through my first issue of Cooking Light and came across this recipe. I was so glad I had everything I needed to make this. I realize the ingredients aren't that much to ask to have on hand, but I actually had a Pink Lady apple AND golden raisins. Awesome. The best thing was that I actually wanted to bake something today, but wasn't sure what...this fit the bill. It's yummy!

Cooking spray
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
6.75 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup finely chopped peeled Pink Lady apple (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts - I didn't use them since we're not really fans of nuts in our desserts
1 teaspoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray, and dust with 1 tablespoon flour. Weigh or lightly spoon 6.75 ounces flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 6.75 ounces flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer until well blended. Beat in vanilla and egg. Beat in flour mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in apple and raisins. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack. Sift powdered sugar over cake. Cut into wedges.

Chicken Piccata

Pretty much the only reason I decided to make this is because I took chicken out of the freezer and we've had capers sitting in our cupboard forever! I found this over on the Food Network website. It turned out good. I just served it over some brown rice.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 6 ounces each
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp. drained bottled capers, rinsed and chopped
Additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sprinkle a small amount of water on a large plastic sheet of plastic wrap. Place 2 of the breast halves on top of the plastic and sprinkle again with water. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap and pound with a rolling pin or meat pounder until about 1/4-inch thick. Repeat with the remaining 2 breast halves.

Mix the flour with the salt and pepper in a shallow pie plate. Heat half of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Working in 2 batches, place the chicken in the flour mixture and turn to coat on all sides. Shake off the excess flour and add to the skillet. Cook until lightly browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate or platter and cover loosely with foil. Repeat with the remaining oil and chicken.

Pour off the fat from the skillet and return the skillet to the heat. Add the chicken stock and lemon juice. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring to pick up and browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 3 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet and simmer, turning often, until warmed through and the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the butter and the capers. Season with salt and pepper and heat just until the butter has melted.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Creamy Skillet Turkey

So I took some turkey breasts out of the freezer with really no idea what to do with them. I was apparently too preoccupied with my new Nintendo DS game I bought earlier in the day, so Jim ended up taking over cooking duties. He found a Lipton Vegetable Soup packet in the cupboard with a recipe for creamy skillet chicken, so we figured it work fine for turkey as well. It was really good!

1 tbsp. Olive Oil
4 boneless, skinless turkey breast halves (about 1-1/4 lbs.)
1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Vegetable Soup Mix
1 cup milk*
1 cup water
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed

In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat Olive Oil over medium-high heat and brown turkey, turning once. Remove turkey; keep warm. In same skillet, bring Lipton Recipe Secrets Vegetable Soup Mix blended with milk/half-and-half and water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 4 minutes. Stir in cream cheese until melted and simmer 3 minutes. Add turkey and cook 5 minutes or until turkey is thoroughly cooked. Serve with warm buttermilk biscuits, hot cooked rice or noodles.

*Jim actually used 1/2 cup half-and-half and a 1/2 cup of milk. We had some half-and-half to get rid of

Friday, November 21, 2008

Chic Greek Salad

I know some people absolutely despise Rachael Ray, but she does have some pretty tasty recipes...this being one of them. And it's so easy! I did have to stop by the store on the way home to pick up some of the ingredients, but I was dead set on making this! Especially since I pretty much ate like crap this week and this is all veggies, so it made me feel better. I did have a few Costco mini spinach pie things on the side, but they were so yummy!!

1/2 seedless cucumber, chopped
2 vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 can quartered artichoke hearts in water, drained
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
Coarse salt and black pepper
1/2 lemon,
1 small shallot, minced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, eyeball it
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball the amount
2 cans imported tuna in oil, drained
12 pepperoncini hot peppers
1 cup pitted kalamata olives

Arrange the cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and peppers, artichoke hearts and parsley on a platter. Squeeze the lemon juice over the platter, juicing the fruit cut-side-up to keep the seeds from falling into salad. Season with salt and pepper. Place shallots, vinegar and oregano in a bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Whisk in extra-virgin olive oil in a slow stream. Pour dressing over salad. Garnish salad with chunks of tuna, hot peppers and olives. We added some feta to the top too.

This makes a TON of salad, but now we have lunch for tomorrow. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Salmon

Another fab find from All Recipes. We actually planned dinner this time, so there was no "workin' with what ya got" for this meal. It was really good!

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4 cloves garlic, pressed
4 (3 ounce) fillets salmon
1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 tsp. garlic salt

Mix together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Arrange the salmon fillets in a shallow baking dish. Rub garlic onto the fillets, then pour the vinegar and oil over them, turning once to coat. Season with cilantro, basil, and garlic salt. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes. Preheat your oven's broiler. Place the salmon about 6 inches from the heat source, and broil for 15 minutes, turning once, or until browned on both sides and easily flaked with a fork. Brush occasionally with the sauce from the pan.

We served it with some Mediterranean couscous and it was delicious!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

One Pan Chili Chicken

It was basically another night where it was, okay, what do we have on hand? Chicken? Check. Rice? Check. Potatoes? Check. So what can we make? I came across this recipe on the Food Network and decided to give it a shot. The only thing we didn't have was carrots, but I added a can of kidney beans instead. Not exactly the same, but beans just seemed like a good fit.

2 tsp. olive oil
3/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken cut into cubes
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound small red potatoes
cut into quarters, about 8 potatoes
Coarse salt
Cracked pepper
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 (15 ounce) can whole plum tomatoes
3/4 cups
long grain rice
1 1/2 cups low sodium, fat free chicken broth - we used beef broth

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen peas

Heat the oil in a non-stick paella pan, wok pan or 12-inch skillet. Add the chicken, and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the onions and potatoes and cook, stirring often, until onions have softened and are lightly golden, about 10 to 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, paprika, cumin, oregano, tomatoes, rice, broth, beans and the cooked chicken. If it appears too dry, add more liquid. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove cover, add the peas to the top without stirring in. Cover and cook 5 minutes more or until rice is cooked through and soft.

We added some hot sauce for a little kick and sour cream on top. Enjoy!

Polish stir-fry and Pierogis

This is a Rachael Ray recipe that included many of the things I love. Sauerkraut. Kielbasa. Pierogies. Yum. Kale was an ingredient in this recipe that was new to me and I must was okay. It seemed pretty tough to me, so maybe next time I would just try using spinach or something. We skipped the herbed sour cream that she made and just had plain sour cream with our pierogies - which were kraut instead of potato. Besides that, this was delish!

3 tbsp. softened butter
1 package fresh/frozen
pierogies, potato filled dumplings -- any brand or variety
1 1/2 pounds kielbasa, cut in large slices on an angle - we used Johnsonville Brats
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
, 1 turn of the pan
1 tbsp. butter
1 large red onion, quartered and sliced
1 1/2 pounds kale, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 pound sauerkraut, drained
1 tsp. ground mustard or 2 tbsp. prepared spicy brown mustard
1 tsp. sweet paprika, 1/3 palm full
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cover the bottom of a skillet with softened butter. Arrange pierogies in the pan in a single layer. Add 1 cup water to the pan. Cover pan and place over medium high heat. Cook covered 8 minutes, remove lid and cook out any liquid in the pot.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Brown kielbasa and remove from pan. Cover kielbasa with foil to keep warm. Drain fat and add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Raise heat to high. Add onion to the pan and saute for a few minutes to soften. Add chopped kale in batches as it wilts into the pan. When kale is wilted, add sauerkraut. Season stir-fry with mustard, paprika, salt and pepper. Return kielbasa to pan. Toss to combine and transfer to a serving platter.

Let the pierogies "stick" and brown in the butter as the liquid evaporates. Remove crisp pierogies from heat to a plate.

Cool Southwestern Salad with Corn and Avocado

I found this recipe in my Real Simple magazine. I made a few slight variations, but for the most part, left it the same. All I had were northern beans which probably weren't the best choice to use since they tend to mush up more easily than pinto beans, but oh's all I had on hand. My picture doesn't look as tasty as the picture from the magazine, but I'm sure the taste was the same :o)

2 small heads romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces (about 12 cups)
1 15-ounce can northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 ears corn, kernels cut off the cob (about 1 cup)
2 avocados, chopped
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 9-ounce bag tortilla chips

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, beans, corn, avocados, onion, and parsley. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, cumin, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle over the salad and toss. Serve with the tortilla chips.

Here's what mine looked like...

...and the picture from the magazine