Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tomato & Cucumber Salad

Since Memorial Day weekend was also Baby Girl's baptism, we decided to keep things very, very low-key on Monday so we could rest and relax after a weekend of go, go, go. I knew I wanted to make my all-time favorite potato salad but I was also in the mood for something new. Jaida made this recipe for Tomato & Cucumber Salad for the recent BBQ swap so I decided to give it a shot.

I cut the recipe in half because SP isn't really a fan of cucumbers and because I had a feeling it wouldn't keep well. I should have scaled it back even further because I was the only one who ate it and there was just too much of it. I really liked the flavor and acidity from the vinegar so I'd make it again to bring to a cookout with more people.

Tomato & Cucumber Salad
Sweet Beginnings

1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced
1/6 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 container of plum or cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
1/3 cup coarsely chopped red onion
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, vinegar, sugar and salt. Let stand at room temperature for an hour, stirring occasionally.

Add tomatoes, onion, and oil to cucumbers and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Penne with Chicken and Vegetables in Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce

You all know how much I love pasta and cream sauces. But those two things don't always fit into my plan to eat healthier and lose weight. Thankfully Jessica's recipe for Penne with Chicken and Vegetables in Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce combines healthy vegetables with a cream sauce made with milk instead of heavy cream. And it's delicious to boot.

I roasted the chicken and garlic in the morning and the house smelled fantastic. I couldn't wait for dinner. If you're able to prep all the vegetables in advance, as well as roast the chicken and garlic, this takes next to no time to cook. I made the sauce while the pasta cooked and then tossed it all together when SP got home. Baby Girl did eat one piece of chicken but the kid is such a carbaholic that the pasta was her main focus.

Penne with Chicken and Vegetables in a Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce
Very Slightly Modified from Sunny Side Up in San Diego

1 head of garlic - roasted with salt, pepper, and olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small-medium zucchini, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
4-5 button mushrooms, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for topping
1-2 chicken breasts (depending on how much chicken per serving you want), roasted and sliced
12 oz. penne pasta
Fresh chopped basil for garnishing

Preheat oven to 375. Cut the top off of a head of garlic to expose the tops of cloves. Place on a sheet of aluminum foil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Loosely wrap the aluminum foil around the garlic, pinching the seams to seal. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the cloves are tender and start to turn golden brown. Allow to cool, then squeeze the roasted garlic out of the cloves and mash with a fork.

While the garlic is roasting, drizzle the chicken breast with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and add to the oven with the garlic. Roast for about 30 minutes until cooked through. Allow the chicken to rest, covered with aluminum foil, until you're ready to serve, then cut into slices.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook penne until al dente then drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the milk and corn starch in a glass measuring cup, set aside. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and butter. Add the onion, zucchini, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring often, or until the vegetables soften and the onions are translucent. Season with a little salt and pepper. Add the roasted garlic to the skillet and mix into the vegetables.

Create a well in the skillet by pushing the vegetables to the edges, slowly stream in the milk/cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly. Work the vegetables into the sauce with the whisk then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan, then cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the sauce begins to thicken and coat the back of the spoon. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and stir to coat. If the sauce seems too thick, add the reserved cooking liquid a tablespoon at time until you get the desired consistency.

Top each portion with the sliced chicken, extra Parmesan, and fresh chopped basil.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Weekly Menu - Week of May 27, 2012

Here we are, the end of May. I feel like just yesterday I was talking about Thanksgiving and Christmas and now summer is right around the corner. This weekend is the unofficial start of summer and I can't wait. This is going to be a wonderful summer filled with lots of time spent outside enjoying the gorgeous weather. I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day!

Sunday - Baby Girl is getting baptized so we're having a luncheon after the service.

Monday - We're getting wings from a local place. I'll also make my favorite potato salad and this Cucumber & Tomato Salad Jaida made for a recent recipe swap

Tuesday - Hoagies

Wednesday - my recipe swap for the Noodle Swap

Thursday - SP's birthday. He requested steak on the grill, baked potatoes and corn

Friday - Bacon Broccoli Mac and Cheese
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Friday, May 25, 2012

Foodbuzz Tastemaker: Cheese Quesadillas

When I was pregnant with Baby Girl we went to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants for dinner. As you may know, pregnant woman aren't supposed to eat unpasteurized cheese. Not knowing much about Mexican cheeses, I asked our server what kind of cheese they used in their quesadillas. Imagine my surprise when he said American cheese. Obviously that's not very authentic, but I can see why they do it. American cheese has a nice mild flavor and melts beautifully.

When I was selected for the Kraft Singles Foodbuzz Tastemaker program I knew exactly what I wanted to make - quesadillas. I've been meaning to try American cheese ever since that night at the Mexican restaurant (almost 3 years ago - how is that possible!?) Baby Girl absolutely loves American cheese. She asks for a slice every day when we get home from daycare. And she's never met a carb she doesn't like. Quesadillas are a big hit in our house and something I should make more often, given their versatility and ease.

One of the things I loved about making these quesadillas was how easy they were. No cheese to shred saves time. I was able to make 4 quesadillas in a matter of minutes. They were cheesy and delicious, with a nice, mild flavor. Baby Girl likes hers plain but I had mine with diced tomato, diced avocado and sour cream.

I will absolutely make quesadillas with American cheese again. I love a good plain cheese quesadilla but the possibilities are endless in terms of fillings. A big thanks to Foodbuzz and Kraft for this opportunity. Baby Girl sends her thanks as well because she gets to eat the remaining cheese as an afternoon snack.

Simple Cheese Quesadilla

Cooking spray
4 flour tortillas
4 slices American cheese, such as Kraft Singles

Spray a griddle or large, non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Toast one tortilla on both sides, then lay one slice of cheese, torn into pieces to fit, on half the tortilla. Fold the over half of the tortilla over to cover the cheese. Turn the heat down to low and flip the tortilla as needed to melt the cheese without burning the tortilla. Cut each quesadilla into three wedges. Serve with whatever toppings you like - sour cream, pico de gallo, avocado, lime wedges, etc.

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a coupon for free Kraft Singles and a stipend.
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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Proscuitto-Wrapped Asparagus

Now that summer weather is here to stay SP has asked that we do something simple, preferably on the grill, for dinner on Sundays. The first of these meals involved chicken seasoned with a spice mix with lots of heat and grilled asparagus wrapped with proscuitto.

I seasoned the asparagus spears with olive oil, salt and pepper before grilling it then wrapped each spear in a slice of proscuitto. I spritzed some lemon juice on before serving. It was a delicious pairing. At the same meal we had cantaloupe wrapped in more of the proscuitto, which is my absolute favorite way to eat proscuitto.

These would make a great appetizer for a cocktail party, especially if the asparagus was thinner. Mine was thick so the spears were chunky and small as opposed to thin and long.

Proscuitto-Wrapped Asparagus

1 bunch of asparagus
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Thin slices of proscuitto, one per asparagus spear
Lemon juice

Trim the woody ends off the bottom of the asparagus spears by holding each spear and snapping off the bottom where it naturally breaks. Toss the spears with oil, salt and pepper.

Preheat your grill. When hot, grill the asparagus to your desired doneness.

Wrap each spear in a slice of proscuitto. Arrange on a plate and spritz with lemon juice. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Quick Chicken Vesuvio

When Lishie posted this recipe for Quick Chicken Vesuvio as part of the last Blogger's Choice recipe swap I knew it would end up on a weekly menu sooner rather than later. I love the convenience of one-pot meals and I'm always looking for new ways to cook chicken.

I decided to combine the original recipe and Lishie's adaptation with the artichoke hearts. Despite SP's aversion, I absolutely love artichokes and I figure incorporating them into meals every 6 months or so won't kill him (love you, honey!) Cooking the potatoes in the same pan as the chicken forced me to sacrifice the crispiness I would have gotten had I cooked them separately, but that was fine by me. This was delicious and incredibly easy since everything cooked in one pan. I'm not sure if the end product should have been more soupy since the recipe calls for crusty bread for dipping. Mine was pretty dry so there was no dipping being done, but we love crusty bread so I served it anyway. I ended up having to use 1 cup of chicken stock instead of 1/2 cup of stock and 1/2 cup of white wine because someone (ahem!) dumped the last of the bottle of white wine we had on Mother's Day instead of saving it. I also realized in writing this post that I forgot to squeeze lemon juice over the top before serving. I think the acidity would have guilded the lily so don't forget that step.

Baby Girl helped me with the parsley (she's good at picking off the leaves and stacking them on the cutting board). She ate one piece of chicken and some of the broccoli I had steamed on the side, but chowed down on the potatoes. I call that a win.

Quick Chicken Vesuvio
Rachael Ray via DeLish and Tales From a Mad Men Kitchen

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 baking potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano, lightly crushed
2 teaspoons salt and pepper
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into large chunks
1/2 cup flour, for coating
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 15-oz can artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 lemon
Crusty bread, for serving

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

In a large skillet, heat about 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and garlic; season with the oregano and lots of salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 15 minutes. Move the potatoes to the side of the pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper and coat in flour. Brown the chicken on each side until golden, 3-4 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine and stock. Stir in the artichoke hearts.

Transfer the skillet into the oven. Roast to cook chicken through, 10-12 minutes. Top with the parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve with bread for dipping.
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Recipe Swap Roundup - BBQ Swap

Summer is almost here and that means many of us will either be hosting or attending BBQs. As much as I like bringing or preparing some of my favorite recipes for cookouts, sometimes I like to make something new. Check out the delicious offerings below and I'm sure one or more will become a favorite at your next BBQ/cookout.

Mary Ellen and her husband worked together to get her recipe for Grilled Proscuitto Wrapped Chicken on the table:

The recipe swaps are giving Kim, a baker, a chance to step out of her comfort zone, which she did by making homemade Peach Barbecue Sauce:

Lishie had my recipe for All- American Potato Salad, which she was excited to make because her father-in-law always makes the potato salad for family gatherings:

Nicole loved the flavor of these BBQ Chicken Burgers:

Heather's Antipasto Pasta Salad will be a welcome change to her BBQ repertoire this summer:

Jaida has a vinegar obsession so she was in love with her recipe for Tomato and Cucumber Salad, a refreshingly light dish:

I fell in love with my Caprese Burgers, a recipe that combines two of my favorite things - burgers and caprese salad:

Ashley loved the simplicity and memories her Caprese Pasta Salad brought back:

Melissa's Lemonade Sugar Cookies evoke summer:

Jey enjoyed this rich and thick Cookies and Cream Ice Cream:

Christina's whole family enjoyed her Grilled Chicken Drumettes with Pineapple Pomegranate BBQ Sauce as a light summery dinner:

Jenna loves dips of all kinds and her Mexican Layer Dip was no exception:

Nichole isn't a big peanut butter fan but she liked these Chicken Satay Skewers:

Coleen is not a fan of beans but she forged ahead and ended up really liking her recipe for Black Bean Burgers:

Kate's had her eye on this recipe for Grilled Chicken Bruschetta so she was thrilled to finally get a chance to make it:

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins

I've seen these Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins on various food blogs recently and kept thinking that I needed to make them ASAP. Then the stars aligned and I had leftover cream cheese from Mother's Day and strawberries in the fridge.

I feel like a broken record but I love, love, love working from home. It's rainy and cold this morning and baking seemed like a great idea, so I made these before work. After they cooled I was able to enjoy two of them for breakfast. I cut the recipe in half because I barely had 4oz of cream cheese and definitely didn't have a full cup of strawberries. I figured 12 muffins was better than 24 because I don't trust myself with these in the house. They're so good. Like Melissa said, they aren't overly sweet, which I like. I think they're closer to a cupcake than a muffin, but the strawberries mixed in make me feel slightly less guilty eating them.

Try these now that strawberries are in season. They take hardly any time to put together and the flavor is outstanding. You won't be disappointed!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins
From So Tasty, So Yummy via I Was Born to Cook

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together cream cheese, butter and sugar (I used my hand mixer and it worked fine). Add eggs, milk and vanilla and mix until just combined.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl and mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Fold in strawberries.

Spoon batter into paper lined muffin pans. Fill each cup about 3/4 high. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until tops are golden. Cool on rack for at least 15 minutes.

Makes 24 muffins.
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Weekly Menu - Week of May 20, 2012

I've been really bad about posting my weekly menu recently. When I went back to look for the image code I saw that it was a full month ago that I last posted my menu. Oops! This week is full of dishes I'm excited to make. Some are new and some are repeats, but I'm equally excited for both. And can you believe it's almost the end of May? It'll be summer before we know it!

Sunday - chicken on the grill with a spicy seasoning rub, boiled potatoes with butter and herbs and asparagus rolled with proscuitto

Monday - Chipotle Honey Lime Pork Tenderloin and Corn with Mushrooms and Cilantro

Tuesday - Hoagies

Wednesday - Penne with Chicken and Vegetables in Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce

Thursday - Swedish Meatballs over Egg Noodles

Friday - homemade pizza with artichokes on one half and mushrooms on the other
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Friday, May 18, 2012

Recipe Swap: Caprese Burgers

Want to see what other BBQ recipes were made during the swap? Here is the link to the BBQ Recipe Swap Roundup

I love burgers. I love caprese (tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil). But I had never combined the two until I got my recipe for the BBQ recipe swap. The theme was something made on the grill or taken to a BBQ and I lucked out with Coleen's Basil Burgers. As soon as I saw the ingredients I knew this would be an excellent recipe to turn into a Caprese Burger.

The original recipe called for dried basil, but since SP got me a gorgeous basil plant I subbed fresh. I also cut the recipe in half because it was just the two of us eating the burgers. I got 3 good-size burgers from the 1lb of ground beef, which I subbed for the meatloaf mix (ground beef, pork and veal) since we had a lot of ground beef in the freezer. In addition to the fresh mozzarella, which was optional in the original recipe, I added a smear of mayo, a thick slice of fresh tomato and some basil leaves.

This was one crazy delicious burger. I'm kicking myself for not realizing sooner how well caprese and burgers go together. Since we eat a lot of caprese salad during the summer months I plan to make these burgers frequently. SP had been a little nervous about the addition of Worcestershire, basil and garlic powder (he's a burger purist and likes salt and pepper only), but he cleaned his plate in no time flat and deemed this a great variation. Thanks for an amazing recipe, Coleen!

Caprese Burgers
Adapted from Does Not Cook Well With Others
Makes 3 burgers

1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper
Hamburger rolls, toasted
Sliced mozzarella cheese
Mayo, for serving
Sliced tomato, for serving
Leaves of fresh basil

Gently combine ground beef, Worcestershire, basil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Divide into 4 portions. Grill over high heat about 6 minutes, turning once, or until desired doneness. Place a slice of cheese on each burger and allow to melt. Serve on rolls with mayo, sliced tomato and fresh basil.
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Goat Cheese and Strawberry Grilled Cheese

I'll admit, I wouldn't have thought to pair strawberries and goat cheese. I think of strawberries as a sweet ingredient and goat cheese as a savory. I'd seen this recipe for Goat Cheese and Strawberry Grilled Cheese floating around some of my favorite blogs about a year ago, but couldn't imagine how it would come together. Then Branny posted this recipe for Strawberry Bacon Pizza with Goat Cheese, which came through my Google Reader and Facebook page bright and early Monday morning, and it got me thinking about the grilled cheese again. See, Baby Girl loves strawberries and once they're in season I buy them weekly to send with her to daycare. SP had bought a log of goat cheese to make a beet salad for Mother's Day and picked me up a basil plant for my herb garden as well, so I had everything I needed to make this sandwich for lunch.

Ah, the benefit of working from home. I made this for lunch on Monday and holy cannoli was this an excellent sandwich. SP happened to be working from home as well and as soon as I told him what I was making he grabbed the leftover steak from Mother's Day. He did admit the sandwich smelled great while it was cooking, but this is definitely going to be a sandwich I make for weekday lunches throughout the summer instead of for dinner.

I modified Josie's recipe to leave out the pepper jelly since I didn't have any on hand (plus it's spicy and we all know how I feel about spice these days). I loved the combination of the tangy goat cheese, the sweet strawberries and the freshness of the basil. I hope Baby Girl doesn't mind me stealing a few of her strawberries to make this sandwich again (and again, and again and again).

Goat Cheese and Strawberry Grilled Cheese
Modified from Pink Parsley
Makes 2 sandwiches

2 oz. goat cheese, softened
4 slices bread
1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries
4 large basil leaves, sliced thin
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat.

Spread one side of each slice of bread lightly with butter. Flip the bread over and top with half the goat cheese. Lay the strawberry slices in a single layer, sprinke with basil, salt, and pepper, then spread goat cheese on the remaining slices of bread. Top the strawberry side with the reamining bread.

Cook sandwiches 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden-brown. Cut in half and serve warm.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Restaurant Knockoff - Cheese and Garlic Biscuits

I have fond memories of Red Lobster. There, I said it.

When I was growing up my grandmother loved Red Lobster. It was one of the special meals we'd have when I'd visit her after she moved down South. At that time we had to drive about an hour to the closest store whereas now there's a Red Lobster less than 5 minutes from her apartment. I would always get a Caesar salad with my lunch so I could dip the Cheddar Bay Biscuits, hot from the oven, into the leftover dressing. Delicious.

I've see a lot of knockoff recipes floating around but this one for Cheese and Garlic Biscuits claims to be straight from the Red Lobster kitchens so I thought I'd give it a try.

Every time I've made a version of these I kick myself for not getting the yellow cheddar because the color is always wrong with the white cheddar. I must make a mental note to buy yellow cheddar soon. Unfortunately my biscuits weren't as crispy as Red Lobsters. I'm not sure why. Maybe they needed to bake longer? SP got me a huge box of buttermilk baking mix so I'll definitely try these again, upping the cooking time to 12 minutes. I only made half a batch since we were going out of town (to visit my grandmother, actually) and we ate all 6 in one sitting. Oops!

Cheese Garlic Biscuits
Red Lobster, Myrtle Beach via The Way to His Heart

2 cups buttermilk baking mix
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup butter or margarine melted
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Combine buttermilk baking mix, milk and cheese with a wooden spoon until soft dough forms. Beat vigorously for 30 seconds.

Drop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, approximately two tablespoons per biscuit.

Bake 10-12 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.

Combine melted butter and garlic powder: brush over warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet.

Serve warm.

Makes 10 to 12 biscuits.
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Monday, May 14, 2012

Homemade Refried Beans

One of my favorite sides at a Mexican restaurant is the refried beans. When made well, they are so good. Creamy and velvety, with a hint of smokiness and great bean flavor. Whenever I would make Mexican food I'd pine away for refried beans, convinced that they took hours to make properly and therefore wouldn't be something I could easily replicate at home. And don't even talk to me about the canned variety. We tried them once and that was enough.

Then Annie's post on Refried Beans popped up on my Google Reader shortly before Cinco de Mayo. Homemade refried beans that take less than 20 minutes to make and taste great? Sold!

I prepared these ahead of time and reheated them for dinner. All I can say is wow. They tasted just like my favorite restaurant version only I knew exactly what was in them and how much fat I'd used. I opted not to add the salsa or scallions because my favorite refried beans are just beans and seasoning, but I did melt some cheese on top. While I added in the cooked bacon to this batch, next time I'll leave it out. I prefer smooth refried beans and the little pieces of bacon were a distraction. SP said I should just save it for BLTs. Smart man!

This is an easy recipe to double or triple for a party. One 15-oz can made enough for four servings, along with Mexican Sour Cream Rice and chicken tacos.

Photo update April 2014: My friend T took a great pic of these beans so I wanted to update the post.

Refried beans
Photo credit: T Casey

Refried Beans
Slightly Modified from Elly Says Opa, as seen on Annie’s Eats

2 strips bacon (or 2 tablespoons bacon grease)
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (or 1½ cups cooked pinto beans)
Salt and pepper
1 cup chicken or veggie broth, divided

If you don't have any bacon grease handy - heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon until crisp, being careful not to burn it. Remove the bacon pieces to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon, leaving the grease in the pan. (Save the bacon for another use, like BLTs)

If you have bacon grease handy, add it to a medium skillet. Melt it over medium-high heat, then add the onion to the pan. Cook until just tender, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin and cayenne, and cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add the beans to the pan. Season with a bit of salt and pepper (you can add more later, don't oversalt). Pour in 2/3 cup of the broth, bring to a boil, and reduce to a light simmer. Let simmer for about 10 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Mash the bean mixture as desired. For a chunkier texture, use a fork or potato masher. For a smoother texture, pulse the mixture in a food processor (this is what I do). Add up to 1/3 cup more broth for a lighter texture and adjust seasonings to taste.

Reheating - These reheated wonderfully in the microwave. No need to take up space on the stove or dirty another pan.
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Friday, May 11, 2012

Recipe Swap Roundup - Blogger's Choice Part 3

By far the most popular theme for the recipe swaps isn't really a theme at all. It's the Blogger's Choice, where folks are assigned an entire blog to peruse and then pick one recipe to make and blog about. There's more freedom to these swaps, a chance to make what fits your personal tastes and preferences.

Cathy isn't normally a fan of shortbread cookies but she thought she'd give these Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread Cookies a try since they have fruit and chocolate mixed in:

Melissa's Baked Chipotle Chicken Chimichangas were perfect for Cinco de Mayo:

Nichole's husband loves the flavors of Chicken Cordon Bleu so when she saw it as Chicken Cordon Bleu Pizza, she couldn't wait to make it, despite some minor kitchen mishaps:

Eva had pinned this recipe for Cannoli Cheesecake, so she was thrilled to get a chance to make it:

Jenna had been craving French Dip sandwiches, so she was thrilled to find this recipe for French Onion Roast Beef with Au Jus on her assigned blog:

Dawn was in the mood to bake and this Banana Bread with Streusel Topping did not disappoint:

Jaida loved these Bean and Cheese Taquitos so much she ate the entire batch herself:

Melissa loves English muffins and she really enjoyed the ease and simplicity, not to mention the addictive quality, of this English Muffin Bread with Strawberry Butter:

Katie's daughter love pancakes and these Maple Oatmeal Pancakes were no exception:

Carrie's family gobbled up these Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins before their second daughter was born:

Melissa has been wanting to make macarons at home and this version for French Macarons with Nutella Buttercream didn't disappoint:

Elisha loves Chicken Vesuvio but thought this Quick Chicken Vesuvio was a great weeknight alternative:

I've had my eye on this Chicken in a Tomato Basil Broth over Couscous for a long time and was thrilled to finally be able to make it:

Christina has a tough time cooking for her picky eater husband, but since he loves chicken parm she enticed him with these Chicken Parm Burgers:

Kate is a sucker for chocolate and peanut butter so these Chewy Reese's Cookies won out over the veggie dishes she also had her eye on:

Chrystal loved these Brownie-Ish Cookies, which were gone in an hour when she brought them to work:

Mary Ellen and her husband love spicy food and stuffed chicken so this Jalapeno Popper Chicken was perfect:

Jey paired these Crispy Smashed Potatoes with corned beef for a belated St. Patrick's Day celebration:

Jillian's Arugula, Olive and Tomato Tapenade was a great snack after moving:

Amy made Brie and Scallion Burgers from my blog and already has plans for other uses for the scallion paste:

Nicole's recipe for Baked Apple Cinnamon Doughnuts was what had initially inspired her to buy a donut pan:

Nicole loves s'mores and was excited to find a recipe on her assigned blog for S'mores Brownies:

Brianna loves breakfast for dinner and these Baked Eggs in Puff Pastry with Goat Cheese & Bacon were a winner:

Angie rarely make pork tenderloin but this recipe Cumin and Lime Roasted Pork Tenderloin was great:

Coleen's Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes combined two of her favorite things - chocolate and peanut butter:

Lindsay was happy to have an easy weekend breakfast with her Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake:

Ashley picked Tres Leches Cake for the swap in honor of Cinco de Mayo:

Heather has been wanting to make these Momofuku Milk Bar's Compost Cookies for awhile:

Lauren loves French onion dip so even though she had planned to make a different recipe this Caramelized Onion Dip won out:

Kim couldn't pick a recipe so she finally settled on Parmesan Quinoa since she had all the ingredients on hand:

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