Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chicken with Chile Cheese Rice

This recipe for chicken with chile cheese rice is a favorite of ours. I wanted something creamy, cheesy and slightly spicy so it seemed like the perfect dish.

It's a one-pot meal that's easy to make and always tastes delicious.
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Texas BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

We really enjoy these Texas BBQ Chicken Quesadillas. They're so delicious and easy to make:

I served them with sour cream for dipping:

The last time I made these I made the Mexican Sour Cream Rice, but I didn't this time and SP was very upset. They go so well together I can't make one without the other. Next time I'll definitely make the rice as well.
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Risotto with Tomato and Spinach

SP had to work late last week so I decided to make some dishes he doesn't really like since he wouldn't be home for dinner. One thing I love that he refuses to eat is risotto. I made a batch with tomato and spinach:

It was delicious. I used a can of tomatoes my mom and I canned last summer, separating the tomato juice from the chunks of tomato. I added the juice to the stock and it imparted a rich tomato flavor. I finished the risotto with a few pats of butter and grated Pecorino cheese.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Baked Fish and Salad

Baked fish and salad seemed like a simple dinner. I seasoned the fish with salt, pepper and lemon juice and then baked it at 350 for about 15 minutes.

The salad came from Everyday Food - it was a Mediterranean Salad with green beans, oranges and red onion. I left out the feta and white beans.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Chicken Sandwiches

We love chicken sandwiches because they're so easy to make. I seasoned these simply with salt and pepper and cooked the chicken in a pan because it was too cold to grill.

I topped the chicken sandwiches with bacon and cheddar cheese and served them on a roll with mayo. I also baked some fries.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Creamy Chicken Benchiladas

I first saw the recipe for these enchiladas on Lauren's blog. The recipe came from Annie's Eats and was named for her husband, Ben.

I was worried when I saw the recipe didn't include any kind of sauce or cheese on top of the enchiladas, so I spread the rest of the sour cream and Ranch dressing mix on top of each enchilada and topped with the remaining cheese, which got nice and brown:

I was worried about the flavors (especially the Ranch dressing) but it was excellent. And I made the recipe even easier by buying a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket and using the meat to make the filling. Simple, delicious and so moist. SP loved these.

These will definitely be making their way into the rotation.
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Roast Chicken Dinner

Last weekend I finally remembered to take the chicken out of the freezer to make for Sunday dinner. We had the chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans:

I roasted it with salt, pepper and an herb butter made with thyme and parsley:

... and made a gravy out of the pan drippings. Everything was absolutely delicious.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pizza Friday

We had one pizza dough left in the freezer but not much mozzarella cheese, so I had to improvise for Pizza Friday last week. I knew we had some frozen spinach in the freezer so I thought I'd make a white pizza:

I defrosted the spinach, rung it dry in a kitchen towel and then sauteed it with some chopped shallot, garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg. I mixed the spinach with some leftover ricotta cheese and spread it over the rolled-out dough, then topped the pizza with mozzarella cheese.

If you notice the last few pizzas have had a ton of bubbles in them. I'm not overworking the dough - I barely roll it out - so I think we just got an airy batch of dough. This one was the worst though...it looked like an alien pizza and the pieces with the bubbles were separating. In theory this pie should have been great, but it just didn't hit the spot. We're definitely a tomato sauce on pizza family.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ginger, Scallion and Garlic Shrimp

I'm not a big fan of Rachael Ray's recipes, especially when she tries too hard to take a traditional dish and reinvent it, but there are a few of her recipes that I go back to again and again. This recipe for Ginger, Scallion and Garlic Shrimp is one of them.

It has everything going for it - simple to make, takes barely any time to prepare, uses ingredients I always have on hand and tastes absolutely fantastic every single time.

Ginger, Scallion and Garlic Shrimp
Slightly Modified Rachael Ray Magazine August/September 2006

1 large egg white
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1-1/2 pounds large (26 to 30 count) shrimp, shelled and deveined
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
One 1-1/2-inch piece of ginger, scraped and finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 bunches scallions, halved lengthwise, cut into 1-inch-pieces
Steamed rice

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white with the cornstarch, sugar, salt and pepper until a paste forms. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Set the shrimp aside to marinate for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes; set aside.

Heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat for 3 minutes. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the skillet.

Drain the shrimp in a colander to remove the excess marinade, patting dry with paper towels. Add half the shrimp to the hot skillet. Cook, turning once, until the shrimp are almost cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and add the other half of the shrimp. Remove right before they are cooked through, then add the scallion pieces and stir to coat with the oil. Add the garlic mixture and cook, stirring, until the garlic becomes fragrant. Scrape up brown bits from the bottom of the skillet as the scallions cook. Add the shrimp back to the skillet and cook through, about 1 minute more. Serve over steamed rice.
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks with Herbed Dipping Sauce and Fries

I wanted to do something different with fish this week when I remembered my friend Colleen had posted a recipe for panko-crusted fish sticks that seemed simple and tasty.

I had to modify the recipe slightly because I didn't have enough panko and we didn't have horseradish for the dipping sauce. I added seasoned bread crumbs to the panko, which resulted in a less crispy crust but the fish was still very good. And the sauce makes quite a lot, way more then you need for two servings, so next time I'll halve the recipe. I served the fish sticks with frozen fries.
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spaghetti and Sauce with Cheesy Garlic Bread

Last Sunday we wanted a traditional Sunday dinner so SP made his delicious sauce for spaghetti:

I also made cheesy garlic bread:

... with toasted ciabatta topped with garlic butter (made with grated garlic, softened butter and chopped parsley) and three cheeses - mozzarella, cheddar and Pecorino.
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Pizza Friday

Last Friday I wanted a simple pizza for Pizza Friday so I just did plain pizza:

It was absolutely delicious. The flavors of the sauce could really shine through.
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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mac & Cheese with Salad

Another quick weeknight meal:

... one of the mac & cheeses I have in the freezer. I served it with a quick salad of chopped romaine, celery and scallions with blue cheese dressing:

Last weekend I made an inventory of all the things in the freezer since we're trying to use up everything we have before buying more stuff. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner.

Best Potluck Macaroni and Cheese
Slightly Modified from Cook's Country

3-4 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into large pieces
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, 4 tablespoons melted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni (I like to use cavatappi)
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 dried bay leaves
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cups shredded American cheese, (use block American cheese from the deli counter. Prewrapped slices of American cheese will result in a drier sauce)
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse bread, melted butter, and Parmesan in food processor until ground to coarse crumb. Transfer to bowl.

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in now-empty pot over medium-high heat until foaming. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture turns light brown, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk, onion, bay leaves, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook until mixture begins to simmer and is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Off heat whisk in cheeses and stir until cheese melts. Stir in macaroni until completely coated.

Transfer mixture to 9 by 13-inch lightly greased baking dish and top with bread crumb mixture. Bake until cheese is bubbling around edges and top is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chicken Sausage, Pepper and Onion Pasta Fake-Bake

We had some leftover chicken sausage from the chicken sausage subs so I thought I'd make the other recipe from the show, Chicken Sausage, Pepper and Onion Pasta Fake-Bake for dinner on Tuesday.

We only had two links of the chicken sausage but we had some hot Italian sausage in the freezer so I combined the two. I have to say, I prefer the chicken sausage. I loved the flavor and I'm sure it's better for you then the pork sausage. I followed the recipe but at the end I topped the dish with some grated mozzarella:

It baked for about 15 minutes, just long enough to melt the cheese. Absolutely delicious.
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Monday, March 09, 2009

Chicken Tikka

I love this recipe for chicken tikka. It's simple and the flavors are complex and delicious. I marinated the chicken all day Saturday and we had it for dinner later that night.

One of these days I'm going to make this over the summer when I can grill the chicken. I'm sure the flavors will be even better with the smokiness from the grill.

Chicken Tikka
From Gina at What's For Dinner?

1 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into strips or large cubes

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño chili, minced
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Combine everything on the marinade list, including the chicken. Marinate in a plastic Ziploc gallon bag in the fridge for at least 2 hours (overnight is better.)

If you have a gas grill or grill pan, grill the chicken until slightly undercooked. If you have a charcoal grill, thread the chicken onto skewers first.

Set the lightly grilled chicken aside on a plate. Melt the butter and flour in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and jalapeño, and stir for a minute. Stir in the seasonings, and salt. Add the tomato sauce, and stir for one minute. Add the half-and-half, and simmer until the sauce thickens.

Add the chicken to the sauce (remove it from the skewers if you did this) and let simmer for a couple of minutes. Serve with basmati rice.
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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Breaded Chicken, Rice and Creamed Spinach

SP liked the breaded chicken dinner I made a few weeks ago so much he asked that I make it again.

We didn't have any potatoes and SP felt like couscous (which I don't like) so I made myself some rice instead. I love the creamed spinach so much I always keep a bag of frozen spinach on hand in case I decide to make it. Delicious.
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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Texas BBQ Chicken Quesadillas and Sour Cream Rice

We loved the quesadillas and sour cream rice I made a few weeks ago so much that I put it back on the menu last week.

Unfortunately I was rushing and didn't put cheese on both sides of the quesadilla so these fell apart. They still tasted great but were annoying to eat. I really enjoyed the rice, though. I left out the corn because I'd used all of my frozen corn in the chowder I made earlier in the week, but it still tasted fantastic. I used regular Monterey Jack instead of pepper Jack and missed the spice, but it was still creamy and cheesy.
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Friday, March 06, 2009

Chicken Sausage, Pepper and Onion Subs with Fries

SP bought some chicken sausages at the wholesale club a few weeks ago, along with mini sub rolls. That same day I saw Rachael Ray make Chicken Sausage, Pepper and Onion Subs so I thought that would make an excellent dinner.

I served the subs with crispy baked fries.
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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Pizza Friday

Pizza from a few weeks ago:

... pepperoni and mushroom. It got nice and crispy, just the way we like it.
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Corn Chowder

I've been really into soup lately so when I saw this recipe for Corn Chowder on my buddy Melissa's blog I knew I had to make it.

This was an utterly delicious soup. SP absolutely loved it. I can't wait to try this when corn is in season...I bet it's even better.

Gwen's Original Corn Chowder
Slightly modified from Gwen's recipe

1 lb. bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large package frozen corn, thawed
4-1/2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sour cream

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy and brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. To the remaining bacon fat, add onion and garlic; sauté onion until it is clear. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth. While stirring, gradually add milk and chicken broth. Add in potatoes, bacon and corn. Continue to heat over medium to low heat, stirring frequently until chowder has thickened and potatoes are cooked through about 40 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in grated cheese, sour cream, parsley and scallions. Stir until cheese has melted.

To reheat – you might need to add chicken broth to thin it out as you reheat it. Heat in a pot over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
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