Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An Attempt at Sicilian Pizza

I had a feeling this was doomed from the beginning, but I thought I'd see if I could make Sicilian pizza at home. Unfortunately the answer is no, at least with the dough I buy.

The pizza was good, but it didn't have that spongey Sicilian texture. In fact it was more like a pan pizza. I'm sure I need to make a special kind of dough to get that perfect consistency, but I don't work with yeast so yeah...guess I'll be buying my Sicilian pizzas from my local pizza parlor.
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chicken in Coconut Milk

I'm sure this recipe for Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk, Tomatoes and Cilantro would have been better with shrimp but we haven't been splurging on shrimp lately so I subbed in chicken:

I love the smell of coconut milk...mmmmm. This was a good recipe but it felt like it needed something. Maybe the shrimp would have been the right pairing, or maybe it needed some curry flavor (as was suggested by someone before I made it).
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Chicken Spaghetti - Updated

The last time I made this recipe for Chicken Spaghetti SP wasn't a fan. I made a few modifications and I think we're almost there.

This recipe made a ton of food so I froze half of it for a night when we need a quick dinner. Here's the recipe below with the modifications I've made and what I'll do differently next time (mainly add a 1/2 cup of wine for some kick).

Chicken Spaghetti
Modified from Pioneer Woman

4 chicken breasts, poached and shredded
1 lb spaghetti
2 cans Cream Of Mushroom soup
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 small green pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
12 ounces mushrooms, cut into chunks
1/2 cup white wine
1 jar pimentos, drained and diced
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt And Pepper, to taste
1 cup additional grated cheddar cheese
4-5 pieces of white bread, torn

Cook chicken breasts and pick out the meat to make two cups. Cook spaghetti in same chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook. While spaghetti cooks, saute green pepper, onion and mushrooms in a little butter or oil until soft. Deglaze pan with white wine, then add chicken to heat through. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar.

Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Pulse torn bread and butter in a food processor until you have coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly and the breadcrumbs are toasted.
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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Burger and Blue Cheese Potato Salad

We love the combination of buffalo wings and blue cheese so I'm always looking for ways to serve them. I thought this one was pretty much the best ever, although SP didn't agree (his favorite is still the buffalo chicken pizza).

I was going to make buffalo chicken sandwiches my usual way, but on the drive home I had a brainstorm and decided to grind the chicken instead and make burger patties. I mixed the chicken meat with breadcrumbs, Frank's hot sauce and finely chopped red onion and celery. I topped the patties with crispy iceburg lettuce and lots of Marie's blue cheese dressing:

What are buffalo wings without the blue cheese, in this meal in the form of potato salad:

SP thought the burgers were a little dry and he wished for more Frank's flavor, but I thought everything was perfect. Hopefully he'll let me try again.
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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Linguine with Sausage, Onions and Peas

I go through phases where sometimes I enjoy eating sausage and sometimes I don't. When I do, one of my favorite ways to have it is in this rich but delicious pasta dish:

The last time I made it I called it Fettuccine Alfredo with Sausage, Onions and Peas because of the heavy cream. This time I used a mix of half and half and chicken stock so the sauce was a little lighter.
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Friday, March 26, 2010

Swedish Meatballs

I really enjoy making Swedish Meatballs because it's easy and always tasty.

I served the meatballs with egg noodles and mixed veggies for a quick weeknight dinner.
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Breakfast Sandwich

We had some leftover baguette from a recent dinner and I had a hankering for a breakfast sandwich.

I cooked bacon and some fried eggs while toasting the baguette, which I'd cut in half both length and width-wise. After the eggs were cooked I topped them with shredded Mexican cheese blend and then layered them with the bacon on the toasted bread. This was one messy but delicious sandwich.
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Roast Pork from DiNic's (and other Reading Terminal Market goodies)

My mom and I went to the Philadelphia Flower Show at the beginning of the month. While we enjoy the gorgeous flower arrangements as we celebrate the unofficial start of spring, our real reason for loving the flower show is going across the street to Reading Terminal Market for lunch. This year I decided I wanted a sandwich from DiNic's. I ordered the roast pork with provolone and greens (choice of spinach or broccoli rabe - I chose the rabe):

It was amazing. Simply amazing. The pork was incredibly flavorful, the rabe wasn't bitter and the juices that soaked into the bread made this addictive. My mom wasn't even hungry and she ate a few bites. After eating the sandwich we were in the mood for something sweet but we were both stuffed so we picked up some cupcakes from Flying Monkey to take home.

Top row: peanut butter plaid, bottom row: boozy butter pecan and pumpkin spice:

I tried half the peanut butter and half the butter pecan and while both were good, they weren't something I'd have again, not when there's utterly amazing bread pudding with whiskey sauce to be had at Beck's Cajun Cafe. They'll give you free samples of anything they make - score!
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Beef Stroganoff and Warm Spinach Salad

I really love this recipe for Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing:

It has such gorgeous colors, is simple to make and always tastes amazing. I served the salad with a Hamburger Helper Beef Stroganoff:

... to which I added fresh mushrooms and diced onion.

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
Alton Brown

1 bag baby spinach
2 large eggs
8 pieces thick-sliced bacon, chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large white mushrooms, sliced
3 ounces red onion (1 small), very thinly sliced

Hard boil the eggs - place eggs in a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil. Cover and remove from the heat. Let sit for 10 minutes then put eggs in a bowl filled with cold water and ice. Allow to cool, then peel and cut into 4 wedges.

While the eggs are cooking, fry the bacon and remove to a paper towel to drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of the rendered fat. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

Transfer the fat to a small saucepan set over low heat and whisk in the red wine vinegar, sugar and Dijon mustard. Season with a small pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper.

Add the mushrooms and the sliced onion to the spinach and toss. Add the dressing and bacon and toss to combine. Divide the spinach between 4 plates or bowls and evenly divide the egg among them. Season with pepper, as desired. Serve immediately.
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Three-Cheese Meatball Sandwiches

SP made sauce on a recent Sunday, but we didn't feel like making homemade meatballs. Our storebrand frozen meatballs actually have ingredients you can pronounce, so I bought a few bags. We ate the leftover sauce and meatballs as sandwiches:

I toasted the hoagie rolls before laying down some shredded Mexican cheese (we had a little to use up), sauce and meatballs. On top of the meatballs I put provolone, American and mozzarella cheeses:

... before baking them to melt the cheese. These tasted exactly like the sandwich I order from our favorite pizza place.
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Friday, March 12, 2010

Ham and Egg Sandwich

I've drooled over photos of breakfast sandwiches on The Food Pornographer's website for a long time, but I hadn't thought of making one at home since cooking bacon is usually too time-consuming for me. But then I realized I could use deli ham and my new favorite breakfast was created:

I toast two slices of white bread and then butter them. While the bread is toasting I fry two eggs overeasy and layer deli ham (I prefer Virginia ham for the sweetness) on the toasted, buttered bread. When the eggs are done they're placed on top of the ham, sprinkled with fresh ground pepper and the sandwich is assembled. The pressure of the first bite breaks the yolks and most of the gooey, yolk-y goodness dribbles onto the plate, but I just use the sandwich edges to sop it all up. I think TFP would be proud of this shot:

Messy but so, so good.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pizza with "The Works"

Our favorite place for takeout pizza does a great version of pizza with "the works," but I've always wanted to try recreating it at home.

On a recent Friday I realized I had all the necessary ingredients on hand (half a green pepper, onions, pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms). SP was a little wary since he gets nervous when I put too many ingredients on a pizza, but it was delicious. Just like the takeout version, only better because I made it at home.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Caramelized Onion Quesadillas

There's something comforting about a cheesy quesadilla. I rarely make them, but every once in awhile I remember how good they are and put them on the menu. This version included lots of slow-cooked caramelized onions and shredded cheese.

I made guacamole and served the quesadillas with sour cream and salsa.
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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Creamy Tomato Chicken

I printed Mary Ellen's recipe for Creamy Tomato Chicken awhile ago, but finally got around to making it recently.

I made a few modifications (see recipe below) because I wanted to serve this as a sauce for spaghetti. It was absolutely delicious. I couldn't believe how flavorful it was based on the ingredient list. There's nothing in there that struck me as packing a powerful flavor punch, but everything came together perfectly. I can't wait to make this again.

Creamy Tomato Chicken
Modified from Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

2 tablespoons butter
4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic
2 oz cream cheese
1 cup light or heavy cream
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes in juice
1 teaspoon oregano
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons capers
1 lb spaghetti, cooked according to package directions and drained

Melt butter in a pan; add chicken and cook until just done; move chicken to a plate (keep drippings in the pan). Add flour to the pan and stir until pasty. Add chicken broth, red pepper flakes, and minced garlic, simmer 1 minunte. Add cream cheese, cream, tomatoes with juice and oregano. Cook over medium-high heat until thick and bubbly, stirring almost constantly. Add the chicken back to the pan, then add the capers and parmesan cheese. Toss spaghetti with the pasta and more cheese, if desired.
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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Roast Chicken Dinner

SP asked me to roast a chicken for dinner one recent Sunday. I do love a roast chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy.

I didn't think to buy green beans at the store and we didn't have any frozen so I had to sub broccoli. It was fine, but green beans are my favorite veggie with roast chicken.

The skin was crispy and delicious. I never used to eat chicken skin but when I can get it very crispy I love it. I made the gravy by cooking 2 tablespoons butter with 2 heaping tablespoons flour to make a roux, then adding chicken stock and allowing it to thicken. I seasoned the gravy with salt and pepper - simple and tasty.
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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Zesty Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

I loved the Zesty Broccoli Casserole the last time I made it, but I wanted to find a way to turn it into a main dish instead of a side dish. Adding chicken was just the trick:

One of the things I love most about this meal is the crispy panko coating on top:

Zesty Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

3-4 broccoli crowns, cut into bite-size pieces
3/4 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium)
2 tablespoons oil
3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise (or sour cream)
1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

Preheat oven to 375°.

Cook broccoli and onion in a pan with 1 tablespoon oil until broccoli is just tender. Arrange in an even layer in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with butter; set aside. Add second tablespoon oil to pan and cook chicken until golden-brown. Arrange on top of broccoli mixture.

Melt two tablespoons butter in empty pan over medium-high heat then add flour. Cook for 1 minute, then add milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until thick, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Add cheddar and cream cheeses; stir until smooth. Stir in mayonnaise and water chestnuts. Spoon cheese mixture evenly over broccoli.

Place panko in a small bowl. Drizzle with remaining two tablespoons melted butter, and toss. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture evenly over broccoli mixture. Bake for 25 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble and breadcrumbs brown.
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Monday, March 01, 2010

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

I really love this recipe for Loaded Baked Potato Soup:

I halved the recipe since I didn't want too many leftovers and it was perfect for two dinners and one lunch. I didn't mash the potatoes this time since I like chunks of potato in this soup, and I cut the prep time way down by microwaving the potatoes. I actually got this meal done in less than an hour so all we had to do we reheat it when SP got home.
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