Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Baby Girl Has Arrived

I know it doesn't look like anything has changed around here since blog posts have been published daily, but Baby Girl arrived on Oct. 10, 3 weeks early. Since then I've been living in the fog of new parenthood, trying to figure out this little person who hates to eat, loves to sleep (except at night) and has just generally turned our lives completely upside down.

Obviously this means I won't be publishing any new updates for awhile. I do have a few photos on my camera from before I went into labor, but turning those into posts will have to wait until I have a better handle on things around here. These days it's sleep when the baby sleeps, eat when you have a spare second and let everything else fall by the wayside.

Speaking of sleeping when the baby sleeps, I'm going to finish my apple cider donut and glass of cold milk and join my husband in some much needed sleep. I hope my regular readers will stick with me through this tough time. I promise to return when I can. In the meantime, please wish us luck. Parenthood is the hardest thing I've ever done. No one can prepare you for it.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

SP asked for Buffalo Chicken Pizza one recent Friday and I was happy to oblige.

This time I didn't have any Marie's dressing but I did have some leftover blue cheese. I shredded mozzarella and Swiss cheeses and layered half of both down on the rolled out dough, then topped it with poached chicken (my new favorite way of cooking chicken since it stays super juicy and tender), chopped scallions, the crumbled blue cheese, a few splashes of Frank's hot sauce and the rest of the cheese.
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Monday, October 19, 2009

Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole

As I recently said, I love casseroles for their ease and because they can be so darn good. This recipe for Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole was not only easy, it was really tasty.

Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole
Erica's Kitchen Adventures

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 lb diced ham
2 cups poached, shredded chicken breast (1 lb chicken breasts)
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 14 oz can chicken broth
3 cups cooked rice (1 cup uncooked rice)
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded mozzarella and/or Swiss

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes, until tender. Add the garlic, chicken and ham and cook for another 5 minutes until heated through. Add the butter and cook until melted, then stir in the flour, salt and pepper until combined. Slowly stir in the chicken broth, then mix in the rice.

Transfer mixture to a 9x13 baking dish and sprinkle the top with cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is browned and the dish is bubbling hot. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chile Cheese Chowder and Sandwiches

Even though spicy food gives me serious heartburn these days I couldn't pass up the chance to make this chowder recipe from Elizabeth's Edible Experience.

It was easy to make and very spicy, but delicious. I opted to puree the soup with my immersion blender because I didn't want us chomping down on bits of poblano pepper. To go with the soup I wanted to make panini using some ciabatta I had in the freezer. I layered the bread with mayo, cheddar cheese, arugula, turkey and monterey Jack cheese, then pressed the sandwich down on a griddle with a baking sheet weighed down by two cans of tomatoes.

The bread got a little too crispy but the sandwiches were still good.
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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Casserole

I love casseroles. Not only are they easy but they're also very comforting as the weather gets colder.

This one was really good. Just look at this crispy breadcrumb topping:

Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Casserole
Adapted from Savory Safari

1/2 pound egg noodles
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 large onion, diced
10 oz. mushrooms
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 box frozen spinach, defrosted and wrung dry
4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
2 cups poached chicken (1 lb chicken breasts), shredded
4 slices fresh bread
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup grated Pecorino cheese

Cook egg noodles until just tender, leaving some bite. Drain and toss with olive oil to keep them from sticking together. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add in thyme and white wine and cook until nearly evaporated. Add chicken broth, bring to a simmer, and reduce slightly.

Turn heat to low and whisk in cream. Slowly return sauce to a low simmer and reduce again slightly. Add spinach to the sauce and warm through. Remove from heat and stir in bacon, chicken and noodles. Turn the mixture into a greased 2 1/2-qt casserole dish.

Tear bread into pieces and pulse in food processor until coarsely chopped. Add in melted butter and pulse to combine. Toss with cheese in a small bowl, and top the casserole with the mixture. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until heated through and breadcrumbs are brown.
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Loaded Baked Potatoes

I wanted an easy dinner one night and had two broccoli crowns to use up so I thought loaded baked potatoes would be perfect.

I microwaved the potatoes, although baking in the oven would be better. I also steamed the broccoli in chicken broth and cooked the bacon in the toaster oven until it was crispy. Shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream rounded out the potatoes. These were amazingly good for being so simple.
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gorgonzola Filled Meatballs with Creamy Tomato and Onion Gravy, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

I had tried to make this dish awhile ago and finally got around to it recently. It was amazing!

I find Rachael Ray recipes to be hit or miss bu this was definitely a winner. The meatballs were delicious, with a slight bite from the blue cheese. But the gravy is what really made this dish fantastic. It makes a ton of sauce so next time I'll cut the recipe in half (reflected in the recipe below). The mashed potatoes were great for sopping up the sauce and you can't go wrong with crispy steamed green beans.

Gorgonzola Filled Meatballs with Creamy Tomato and Onion Gravy
Modified Slightly from Rachael Ray

2 - 2 1/2 pounds meatloaf mix
Salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
2 handfuls grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 handfuls plain bread crumbs
3 tablespoons finely chopped sage leaves (can also use dried)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces Gorgonzola
1 tablespoon butter
2 bay leaves
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place meat in a mixing bowl and season with salt, pepper, add in garlic, eggs, cheese, bread crumbs and sage. Mix meat, roll into 8 large balls and arrange in a baking dish. Make an indentation half way into each ball and fill the cavity with some Gorgonzola. Seal completely and bake until golden and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and butter in a sauce pot over medium heat, add bay and onions and season with salt and pepper. Add chicken stock and tomatoes and heat through, stir in cream, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer to thicken slightly 8 to 10 minutes.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Beef Enchiladas and Sour Cream Rice

One Friday SP thought he had to work late so I decided to make myself a special dinner. Turns out he didn't have to work as late as he thought so we both got to enjoy this meal of Tex-Mex Beef Enchiladas and Mexican Sour Cream Rice:

I love this recipe for enchiladas and always use the sauce recipe no matter what kind of enchiladas I'm making. They're simple to make and always delicious. And the rice never fails. I served the enchiladas with sour cream and guacamole. It was a wonderful end to a long week.

Tex-Mex Beef Enchiladas
Everyday Food

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 small canned chipotle chile in adobo, minced, plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from can
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground beef
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 flour tortillas (6-inch)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Make sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil over medium. Add flour and cook, whisking occasionally, 1 minute. Add broth, chili powder, chipotle and adobo sauce, and 3/4 cup water; bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat, and simmer until lightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Make filling: In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add onion, garlic, and beef; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450°. (If freezing, don’t place any sauce in baking dish; see To Freeze, below left.) Spoon 1/4 cup sauce in bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish. Set aside.

Make enchiladas: Stack tortillas and wrap in paper towel. Warm in microwave, 10 seconds or until pliable. Fill each with a heaping 1/4 cup beef mixture and 2 tablespoons cheese; tightly roll up. Arrange enchiladas, seam side down, in baking dish. Top with remaining sauce; sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, until hot and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Note: To freeze: Make sauce and enchiladas; arrange enchiladas in baking dish without sauce (so tortillas dont become soggy). Place sauce in an airtight container. Cover dish with plastic wrap and foil. Label, date, and freeze enchiladas and sauce. Use within 2 months; bake without thawing (see opposite page).

To bake from frozen: Thaw sauce in refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 450°. Remove foil and plastic wrap from baking dish. Pour sauce over top, and sprinkle with cheese; cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until lightly browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes; serve.
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pan Pizza

SP had to work late one night so I decided to make myself pan pizza.

I opted for plain since I love plain pizza and because we didn't have any toppings. It was crispy and delicious.
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Monday, October 12, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Wraps and Blue Cheese Potato Salad

We love buffalo chicken sandwiches and since I had some leftover tortillas I thought I'd make wraps.

I coated the chicken in cornstarch and egg before shallow frying so they'd be nice and crispy before tossing them in Frank's hot sauce and butter. I spread the tortillas with homemade blue cheese dressing (mayo, sour cream and crumbled blue cheese), and layered in chopped iceburg lettuce and chicken pieces. They were delicious but the wraps were difficult to eat - sandwiches would have been better.

For the potato salad I followed a recipe I found on, but made a few changes (see below):

It was creamy and delicious, with great blue cheese flavor. It isn't a recipe I'd make all the time but I'll definitely make it again soon.

Blue Cheese Potato Salad
Modified from

1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 oz blue cheese, crumbled
3 green onions, minced
2 ribs celery, chopped

Combine white wine, Dijon mustard and cider vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.

Place potatoes in large pot. Cover with cold water. Boil until tender. Drain. Place on a baking sheet and toss with the white wine mixture. Put in fridge for at least 30 minutes. Transfer to large bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Add remaining ingredients, mix with potatoes and adjust seasoning. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.)
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cheesy Chicken Tomato Skillet

I don't usually cook with "cream of" soups but I made an exception this time for Cheesy Chicken Tomato Skillet:

The recipe comes from my friend Brooke's blog, although I made a few modifications, mainly doubling using a half pound of pasta for leftovers. It was creamy, cheesy and delicious.
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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Titanic Dinner

A few weeks ago our friend C & T invited us over for a Titanic Dinner. They had been to a museum in NYC and bought a book about the final meals on the Titanic. T opted to do the third class menu, which included a delicious vegetable soup:

... pork roast with mushrooms, boiled potato, peas and biscuits:

Dessert was actually plum pudding, but since none of the recipes sounded good T subbed one of our favorites, sticky toffee pudding:

Everything was delicious, although the biscuits weren't so good. Luckily T bought some rolls as well. I took these pictures using her light box and I think they came out pretty good.

Here's the recipe for the vegetable soup:

Titanic Veggie Soup

2 tbsp butter
1 chopped onion
1 cup celery
1 cup carrot
1 potato, peeled and cubed
5 cloves of garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
6 cups of chicken or veg stock
2 cups white kidney beans drained
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup asparagus tips
2 cups shredded Swiss chard or spinach

Melt butter, stir in onion, celery, potato, carrot, garlic, oregano, thyme and bay leaf for 10 minutes or until onion is translucent. Stir in stock, boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until veggies are tender

Meanwhile: drain and rinse beans. Stir beans, corn and asparagus into veg mixture. Cook for 5 minutes or until asparagus is bright green and tender. Stir in Swiss chard or spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
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Friday, October 09, 2009

Breakfast Bagel Sandwich

I had half a bagel leftover from the week so I decided to make an open-face breakfast sandwich:

I scrambled one egg and cooked a slice of bacon, then topped the toasted bagel with both and covered them with a slice of American cheese. A quick bake in the toaster oven and breakfast was served.
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Pizza Friday

Once again I'm insanely far behind in posting. I've got a ton of photos to go through and posts to write. Here's a recent pizza from Pizza Friday:

This one has pepperoni, sausage and black olives. It was absolutely delicious. SP was running late and I ended up preheating the pizza stone in the oven for about an hour, which resulted in a perfectly crispy crust.

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