Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quick Barbecue Pork Chops

I recently confessed to having a tough time with pork chops. I asked the ladies on my cooking board for recommendations and this Quick Barbecue Pork Chops was one that immediately caught my eye. What could be easier than browning chops and then letting them simmer on the stove with BBQ sauce and a little brown sugar?

I think this recipe hinges on the sauce you use. When it comes to BBQ sauce everyone has their own preference, with tangy vs. sweet being the biggest divider. We are tangy fans and after a lot (and I do mean a lot. I think we tried every brand our store sells) of searching we found that Dinosaur is our favorite. Homemade sauce would obviously be great as well.

I served my chops with Buttermilk Mac and Cheese and green beans, but if you're making these in the summer I suggest potato salad and fresh corn on the cob. We both enjoyed the flavor of the chops and I enjoyed not having to work very hard to make them. I'll definitely be using this method again.

Quick Barbecue Pork Chops
Get Off Your Butt and Bake

2 tablespoons canola oil
4 boneless pork chops
1 1/2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork chops with salt and pepper on both side, then add to skillet. Let brown, about 5 minutes per side, turning only once. Add BBQ sauce, bring to a simmer, then turn heat down to maintain a light simmer. Sprinkle in brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of water. Mix the sauce, water and brown sugar together by moving the pork chops around a bit.

Let simmer slowly for about 20 minutes or until chops are tender.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Buttermilk Mac and Cheese

If you've been reading this blog for a long time you might remember my quest to find the perfect mac and cheese recipe. This was years ago and I was on the hunt for a recipe that reminded me of the mac and cheese they served at my college. It was so creamy and cheesy that I would stalk the online menu to see when it would be making an appearance in the dining hall. After many failed attempts to recreate it I finally found my perfect mac and cheese. I use this recipe 9 out of 10 times I make mac and cheese. But every once in awhile I like to try something new, just for variety. Enter this recipe for Buttermilk Mac and Cheese from Cassie.

I've never made a mac and cheese with eggs before, so right off the bat I was pretty skeptical. The preparation reminded me of making a strata or make-ahead breakfast casserole and the end result had a similar texture, with a consistency like cottage cheese instead of being smooth and creamy. SP was initially skeptical as well but went back for seconds, as did I. While it certainly tasted good and couldn't have been easier to make, I think I'll stick with my tried-and-true version. I just love that smooth, creamy, cheesy sauce.

Buttermilk Macaroni and Cheese
Cassie Craves

6 eggs
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Colby cheese
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions and drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the cheese, buttermilk, butter, salt and pepper. Add macaroni; toss to coat.

Pour into a greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the middle comes out clean.
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Secret Recipe Club: Tuscan Garlic Chicken

For Round Two of the Secret Recipe Club I was assigned Fried Ice and Donut Holes, a blog written by Melissa, who is a teacher by day and cook/baker by night. She is a frequent participant in the recipe swaps I host, so I was very excited to take a closer look at her blog as part of SRC.

It's a huge understatement to say I had a tough time picking a recipe to make. I had written down 20 choices before I got through the last six months of recipes. Melissa and I have similar tastes when it comes to cooking, which made narrowing the choice down even harder. In the end I decided to make a recipe I've been seeing on a few of my favorite blogs lately - Tuscan Garlic Chicken. It has everything I like in a recipe - cream sauce (not healthy, but this one is mostly milk), chicken, spinach and pasta. I couldn't wait to make it.

When I put the plate in front of him, SP said it looked like something you'd get at a restaurant. I really enjoyed this, but we both felt the cream sauce was a little too light. I know we're both spoiled by unhealthy sauces made with heavy cream or even half and half, so next time I'll make this one with a bit more of an even split between milk and half and half for some extra body. I think it needs more garlic because I found myself wanting that flavor to come through a bit more. I think I'd like it more with tomatoes instead of red pepper, just because I'm not a big fan of peppers. Otherwise it was a great dish. I've made my changes in the recipe below.

Tuscan Garlic Chicken
Very Slightly Modified from Fried Ice and Donut Holes

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
5-7 cloves garlic, grated
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
6 oz fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup milk
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
1 lb spaghetti, fettuccine or linguine

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a shallow pie plate or similar dish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Dip each chicken piece in the flour mixture until both sides are well coated.

In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat until the oil is hot and shimmering. Carefully place the chicken breasts in the pan, cooking them for 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are golden and browned but not cooked all the way through. Remove the chicken to a foil-lined, lightly greased baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside and tent with foil until ready to use.

While the chicken is cooking, heat a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles, cooking until al dente. Also, wipe out the skillet with a couple paper towels and return it to medium heat, adding the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and bell pepper, sauteing for 2-3 minutes.

Stir in one tablespoon flour and stir constantly while cooking for another minute. Add the chicken broth to the skillet and bring the mixture to a low simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. In a small liquid measure, whisk together the cornstarch and cream. Add the spinach, milk and cream mixture to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted and sauce is slightly thickened, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

When the pasta has finished cooking, drain and return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with half of the cheese sauce. Place some of the coated pasta on each plate. Top with a breaded chicken breast and spoon some of the sauce over the top of the chicken and pasta. Serve immediately.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Weekly Menu - Week of November 27, 2011

How in the world did we get to the end of November already? Weren't we just talking about Halloween and now Thanksgiving is already come and gone? Speaking of Thanksgiving, I hope everyone had a great holiday. I have a ton of Thanksgiving posts to write and I can't wait to share our delicious meal with you.

This week I'm using up some of the leftovers, revisiting an old favorite and trying a new dish from the recent One Pot recipe swap.

Sunday - Sweet Pork Tacos with Cilantro Ranch Dressing - I'm going to give my crockpot another chance with this recipe from Cassie, who never steers me wrong.

Monday - Southwestern Ranch Open Faced Turkey Sandwiches, chips - Another recipe from Cassie. I was planning to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey but we've eaten it all or used it in other recipes.

Tuesday - FFY. For lunch the next day we'll be having Classic Chicken (Turkey) Noodle Soup I made with the last of the Thanksgiving turkey.

Wednesday - Creamy Baked Fettuccine with Asiago and Thyme, side salads - There were a lot of recipes from the recent One Pot swap I want to make, but this one looked so amazing I had to put it on the menu immediately. I'm a sucker for anything with a cheesy cream sauce and I had leftover buttermilk and heavy cream from recent meals to make my own creme fraiche.

Thursday - Skillet Beef Stroganoff - SP requested this meal, which is one of his favorites.

Friday - Homemade Pizza
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Friday, November 25, 2011

Beef Goulash

These days I love any recipe that involves browning meat and veggies and allowing them to either slowly simmer on the stove or continue cooking in the oven. When I saw this recipe for Beef Goulash on my friend Melissa's blog I knew it would be perfect for a cool fall evening.

I had this on the menu for a recent Sunday, but didn't end up eating it until lunch the next day. We had a crazy busy day with a birthday party and a baptism, plus we ate a ton of great Italian food at the reception following the baptism. When dinnertime rolled around we weren't hungry, although SP did have a quick taste and pronounced it delicious.

It might not sound like a lot of food, but this is a rich dish. I was worried when I saw how much the beef had cooked down, but a little goes a long way. The original recipe called for only 3/4 cup beef broth, but after an hour my pot was looking very dry so I added another cup. I would recommend using a full can of diced tomatoes (15 ounces) and 1 cup beef broth, then checking after an hour and adding another cup of beef broth if necessary. I also found that my large Le Crueset Dutch oven was way too big for this meal. Unfortunately I don't have anything smaller but if you do, I recommend a smaller Dutch oven. Or just double the recipe and freeze half for another time.

Beef Goulash
Slightly Modified from I Was Born to Cook

1 1/4 pounds chuck roast, excess fat trimmed, cut into large cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons flour
2 cups beef broth, divided
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
Sour cream for topping

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat oil in a oven safe casserole dish and add beef, cooking until brown. Add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are transparent. Add paprika and stir.

Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Dissolve flour in 1 cup beef broth and add to pot. Add thyme, then salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, stirring often.

Cover tightly and place in oven. Cook for 1 hour. After an hour, if the mixture looks dry, add another 1 cup beef broth. Cover and cook an additional hour. Serve with egg noodles and a dollop of sour cream.

Serves 3.
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from The Home Cook, SP and Baby Girl. We hope everyone has a happy, healthy and delicious Thanksgiving!
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Double Crunch Honey Garlic Pork Chops

Boneless pork chops are my albatross. I just can't seem to find a good, healthy recipe for them. Since they're boneless I'm always afraid of overcooking them since pork can go from moist to dry in a matter of seconds. This recipe for Double Crunch Honey Garlic Pork Chops caught my eye, and even though it's a far cry from healthy I thought I'd give it a shot.

SP took one look at the crunchy chops draining on the wire rack and immediately said he'd be having two for dinner. Then I dipped them in the sauce and he was even more smitten. Unfortunately there was something off and slightly burnt-tasting once we dug in. I think it might have been the fact that I used grated, fresh ginger instead of dried, ground ginger in the seasoning for the flour since I didn't have any dried on hand. We ended up scraping off the coating and eating the chops plain. A huge disappointment for sure. SP wants me to try these again so I better pick up ground ginger at the store.

Double Crunch Honey Garlic Pork Chops
This Woman Cooks!

4 boneless pork chops
1 cup flour
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 eggs
Canola oil

Sift together flour and spices in a shallow bowl or pie plte. Beat eggs in another pie plate or shallow bowl.

Dip each pork chop in the flour and spice mixture, then into the egg and then back into the flour and spice mix, pressing the mix into the chop to get good contact.

Heat a skillet on the stove with about a half inch of canola oil covering the bottom. You will want to carefully regulate the temperature (medium) here so that the chops do not brown too quickly on the outside before they are fully cooked on the inside. Fry them for about 5-8 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy. Cut into one chop to make sure it is fully cooked.

Drain on a wire rack for a couple of minutes before dipping the cooked chops into the sauce. Serve with noodles or rice.

Honey Garlic Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
3–4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a medium sauce pan add olive oil and garlic. Cook over medium heat to soften the garlic but don't let it brown. Add the honey, soy sauce, and black pepper. Simmer together for 5-10 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Watch this carefully as it simmers because it can foam up over the pot very easily.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Recipe Swap Roundup - One Pot Meals

The theme for this recipe swap was One Pot Meals. Sometimes I love nothing more then spending the day in the kitchen making complicated meals for my family. And sometimes, especially after a busy day at work, all I want is to get a delicious (and hopefully healthy) meal on the table. My hope is that the One Pot Meals below will help you out on one of those days where you don't really feel like cooking but don't want take-out either.

Mary Ellen loved the idea of her Beer Braised Sausages with Warm Potato Salad as a perfect cold-weather meal:

Jenna used to hate stuffed peppers, but her tastes recently changed and she was excited to find a great go-to recipe for them. Her Stuffed Peppers recipe for the swap was perfect, especially since it doesn't call for tomato sauce:

Melissa loves anything buffalo-flavored so she was excited for her Buffalo Chicken Chili:

Ashley felt her recipe for Dutch Oven Beef and Noodle Casserole needed a little something to make the flavors pop:

Rachel had my recipe for Pot Roast, although she had a brain lapse and bought cut-up chuck instead of a roast. She still enjoyed the dish, which ended up being closer to stew:

Melissa was happy for an excuse to eat a meal that contains beans, which her husband doesn't like. Her recipe for Turkey & Black Bean Chili was a big hit with her:

Christen was happy her Crockpot Chicken White Bean Pumpkin Chili was a "skinny" recipe:

Katie loved the smell of the sauce simmering all day for her Crockpot Spaghetti and Meatballs, a meal that her whole family loved:

Nicole's recipe for Crockpot Pork and Butternut Squash Stew was a real winner, not only delicious was a real bang for your buck calorie and money-wise:

My recipe for Scalloped Potatoes and Ham was comfort food at its best:

One Pot meals are not something the Cookaholic Wife often makes, but her recipe for
Pierogi and Kielbasa Bake was easy and delicious:

Elisha had a few hiccups while making her Half-Hour Chicken Gumbo, but the result was still yummy:

Christine had been planning to make Cheesy Chili Mac sometime soon, so she was thrilled when it was her recipe for the swap:

Jaida's recipe for Latin-Style Chicken and Rice combined two of her favorites - chicken and rice - for a quick weeknight meal:

Ellie had to invite family over to finish her Lentil, Kielbasa and Garlic Stew, but it was a hit with everyone who tried it:

Maryanna had been in a cooking rut before falling in love with her recipe for Creamy Baked Fettuccine with Asiago and Thyme:

Jey loved only having to wash one bowl and a saucepan for her Couscous Stuffed Peppers, which were absolutely delicious:

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

I'm always on the lookout for new main course salads, so when my friend Jessy posted this one for Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad I immediately added it to my weekly menu.

I ended up bringing this into work for lunch instead of eating it at home. Now that I'm taking a weekly exercise class we end up doing FFY (Fend For Yourself) one night a week and my plan had been to eat this when I got home, but SP got me a sandwich instead. I chopped everything the night before and kept the veggies and chicken separate from the lettuce and the dressing, combining everything in the bowl at the last minute.

I think I need to admit to myself that I'm just not a chipotle fan. Or maybe I am but in very small doses. I dipped a piece of lettuce into the dressing before putting it on the whole salad and it was overwhelmingly chiptole flavored, which is great if you love the flavor and not so great if you're like me. Combined with the lettuce, chicken and veggies the flavor is more muted but I found myself wishing for good old Ranch dressing instead. Even so, I cleaned my plate. I love a good salad, especially if it includes avocado. Couldn't let that go to waste.

The only real change I made from Jessy's recipe was to omit the black beans and sub Mexicorn for the regular corn. I bought two cans (and only needed one) when I made the BBQ Chicken Ranch Salad and really dug the bits of peppers mixed in with the corn.

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad
Gourmet Day to Day

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups shredded romaine (or spring mix) lettuce
2 cups chopped roasted skinless chicken
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 diced peeled avocado
1/3 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (I omitted but add them in if you like beans)
1 can Mexicorn, rinsed and drained

To prepare dressing, combine first 7 ingredients, stirring well.

To prepare salad, combine lettuce and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekly Menu - Week of November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving week is finally here! I'm so excited for this meal. I've got a good blend of new recipes and old favorites. I wouldn't have expected it, but I'm also incredibly excited for the meal plan I've got for the rest of the week. Lots of comfort food as the perfect lead up to the big event on Thursday.

Sunday - Beef Goulash over egg noodles - We have a very busy day so I wanted something for dinner that I could throw into the pot and forget about. This sounds like the perfect recipe for a Sunday afternoon.

Monday - Quick Barbecue Pork Chops, Buttermilk Mac and Cheese, green beans - I've been on the hunt for a great, easy weeknight pork chop recipe and I'm hoping this is it. Cassie raved about this mac and cheese, which sounded like it would be perfect with the chops.

Tuesday - FFY

Wednesday - Cheese Ravioli with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage - Since we've got a lot of cooking to do for the big day I thought an easy dinner was perfect. I decided to use some Italian sausage we have in the freezer instead of the pancetta.

Thursday - Thanksgiving Dinner!

Salted Herbed Roast Turkey Breasts - We bought two turkey breasts instead of a large turkey so we could focus on making the white meat super moist.

Stuffing - My supermarket was out of cornbread so I'm just doing two loaves of regular bread instead.

Mashed Potatoes - Yukon golds mashed with plenty of butter, milk, salt and pepper.

Yam Gratin with Gruyere - Our supermarket was giving away tons of free samples this weekend and one of them was this gratin. I had planned to just to roast the sweet potatoes but after one bite I changed my plans. I prefer savory sweet potatoes so this recipe is perfect.

Whiskey-Glazed Carrots
- I've turned quite a few people on to this recipe, which is now a must-have on our Thanksgiving table.

Creamed Onions with Thyme and Sage - I made these last year and was shocked by how good they were. I use frozen pearl onions instead of chopping my own.

Green Beans with Sliced Almonds - This is usually how we cook green beans for Christmas, but we all wanted something a little simpler this year.

Cranberry Sauce, Gravy and Rolls will round out the meal, with these Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes for dessert, my draw for the Thanksgiving Desserts recipe swap. I seriously cannot wait to get into the kitchen.

Friday - Leftovers from Thanksgiving. I'm also hoping to have enough turkey left to make this Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

Saturday - Celebrating my stepdad's birthday, menu TBD by my mom.

Sunday - Sweet Pork Tacos with Cilantro Ranch Dressing - I'm going to give my crockpot another chance with this recipe from Cassie, who never steers me wrong.
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Recipe Swap: Scalloped Potatoes and Ham

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

The theme for this recipe swap is One Pot meals. Most people love having meals in their arsenal that involve mixing a few ingredients together and letting the oven or crock pot do most of the work. I've always wanted to make Scalloped Potatoes and Ham so I was excited to get Ashley's recipe.

In the interest of full disclosure, SP was not a fan of this one. At all. He was put off immediately by the red potatoes, claiming scalloped potatoes should only be made with Yukon gold or russets. After baking this I have to agree. Even after an hour and a half of baking the red potatoes were still a bit crunchy. Yukon gold or russet seem to break down better when cooking, which is why they are preferable for a recipe like this. Even so, I absolutely loved this recipe and his dislike meant I got all the leftovers. I actually ate this three days in a row, which is pretty impressive. I'm usually a dinner and lunch the next day-only leftovers eater.

Based on my experience making this I made quite a few changes in the recipe below, swapping the red potatoes for Yukon gold or russets, pre-cooking the potatoes in the milk and cream mixture like I do for my potato gratin, and modifying the seasonings to suit our tastes. I think the changes will elevate this to excellent and hopefully I can convince SP to let me try again.

This is true comfort food and perfect for this time of year. Thanks for a delicious one pot meal, Ashley!

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
Modified from Cheesecurd in Paradise

2 large cloves garlic, 1 halved and 1 minced
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 pounds Yukon gold or russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
12-16 ounces cooked ham steaks

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Rub an 2 1/2-quart baking dish with the cut sides of the garlic halves and discard the halves. Coat the inside of the dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.

In a large pot, combine the milk, cream, minced garlic, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, fresh thyme and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add the potato slices to the milk mixture. Repeat with remaining potatoes. Bring the milk mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Add shredded cheese and stir to melt.

Meanwhile, heat a large, dry skillet over medium heat. Add the ham steaks and cook on both sides until it begins to brown in spots and some of the liquid is released. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before cutting into cubes.

Transfer half of the potatoes to the prepared dish. Add half the ham. Top with the remaining potatoes and ham. Pour all of the milk mixture over the potatoes. Cover the dish with buttered aluminum foil, buttered side down.

Bake for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake until the potatoes are tender, the liquid bubbles thickly and the top is brown and crusty, about 20 minutes longer. Remove from the oven, let stand for 10 minutes, then serve.
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Foodbuzz Tastemaker - Newman's Own

I received quite a nice package of goodies from Newman's Own as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program - 2 jars of pasta sauce (Tomato & Basil and Roasted Garlic), 3 bottles of salad dressing (2 Family Recipe Italian and 1 Lighten Up Raspberry and Walnut), and my favorite item, a Flip Video Camera. SP has been bugging me to do some video how-to posts and now I have no excuse not to. Look for those, probably in the spring when I've got daylight on my side again.

I needed an easy weeknight meal recently so I went into the pantry for a jar of sauce and bottle of salad dressing. I had made garlic and parsley butter over the weekend so all I had to do was cook the pasta, heat up the sauce, toast the bread and cut up some veggies for a quick salad.

First, the salad since we ate those as an appetizer while we waited for the garlic bread to toast. In addition to the spring mix greens I grated some carrot, chopped mushrooms, cucumber and tomatoes and finished with croutons.

I absolutely LOVED this dressing. It was tangy and I could actually taste the oil, vinegar and seasonings. But my favorite part was the cheese. The ingredient list says Romano cheese is included, which was very exciting for me since I love grating cheese over my salads dressed with oil and vinegar.

Next up, the pasta. I topped my bowl with a dollop of ricotta cheese leftover from a lasagna SP and Baby Girl made as a welcome home dinner after my latest work conference.

Notice the basil leaf on the left side of the picture? The sauce was full of real pieces of basil, which was great to see but unfortunately made the sauce overly sweet. I don't put basil in my tomato sauce for this reason. Lots of extra grated pecorino helped tame the sweetness a bit, but this sauce wasn't our thing. Baby Girl, however, loved it. She slurped this one up, literally, and said "yummy" after each bite. I'm hoping the roasted garlic one has a more tangy flavor.
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos

These Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos have been floating around the blogopshere for awhile now. I finally got around to making them this past weekend and like everyone always says, I can't believe I waited this long.

Not only were they easy to make, the flavor is outstanding. SP was a little disappointed that I wasn't deep-frying them but we both thought the tortillas had great crunch just from baking. The only change I made to the original recipe was to use flour tortillas instead of corn because SP isn't a big corn tortilla fan.

I HIGHLY recommend doubling the recipe and freezing half. It takes almost no effort to double all the ingredients and now I have a nice bag full of taquitos to bake up one night when I don't feel like doing anything too involved for dinner. I also recommend making these on a weekend day if you are planning to roast your own chicken for the filling. I bought bone-in, skin-on breasts, seasoned them simply with salt and pepper and roasted them for an hour. The meat was so tender and juicy (recipe below).

I served them with yellow rice and a mix of sour cream and leftover salsa verde to dip. SP did straight sour cream. I think taco sauce or a thinned out guacamole would also be good, but use whatever you like.

Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos
Pink Parsley

3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup salsa verde
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 scallions, chopped
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken*
1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Pepperjack cheese
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the salsa, lime juice, cumin, chile powder, cayenne, onion powder, garlic, cilantro, scallions, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt. Fold in the chicken and cheeses. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

Working 3 tortillas at a time, stack them on a microwave-safe plate and cover with plastic wrap. Cook 30 seconds, or until tortillas are soft and pliable.

Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto the lower third of each tortilla, and roll tightly. Place seam side-down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

Spray the taquitos lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden-brown. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and/or guacamole.

*To roast chicken - Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread a piece of aluminum foil across a baking sheet, and arrange bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts in a single layer in the center. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, or season as you wish. Bake for 1 hour, or until it is cooked through. Allow to cool and then remove meat from the bones, discarding skin.

**To freeze, prepare the taquitos, but before baking, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator until the taquitos are completely cold. Wrap each taquito in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and freeze. To bake, unwrap the taquitos and cook in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes (no need to thaw first).

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Weekly Menu - Week of November 13, 2011

Can you believe Thanksgiving is NEXT week? I am so excited I can hardly stand it. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite eating holiday and this year SP and I are actually cooking the whole meal ourselves. Squee! I'm looking forward to revisiting some old favorites and trying out some new recipes.

This week's menu was easy to put together. I like weeks like that since it makes writing out the shopping list a lot easier. I hope everyone has a good week!

Sunday - Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos, yellow rice

Monday - Foodbuzz Tastemaker meal - Newman's Own pasta sauce over spaghetti, garlic bread and salad dressed with Newman's Own salad dressing

Tuesday - Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad (I'm going to my exercise class so I'll probably have my salad for lunch the next day)

Wednesday - Double Crunch Honey Garlic Pork Chops, buttered egg noodles, green beans

Thursday - Tuscan Garlic Chicken over spaghetti

Friday - Homemade pizza
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Monday, November 14, 2011

Foodbuzz Tastemaker - Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program I received a jar of Classico Light Creamy Alfredo Sauce. I decided to make Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo and asked my cooking board how to season the chicken. Elly from Elly Says Opa! recommended blackening seasoning, which sounded great.

(Photo from Classico since I forgot to take a photo of my own jar)

I was pleasantly surprised by how good the sauce was especially since it's a light sauce. The blackening spice on the chicken was perfect and went well with the broccoli and sauce. I cooked it over lower heat so it didn't burn/blacken. My only issue was the amount of sauce. I should have realized how small the jar was and used maybe half a box of pasta instead of the full pound. There wasn't enough sauce to go around, which was a real shame. If you're using a full pound of pasta buy two jars.

This was a great and easy meal.

Blackened Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo
Chicken recipe from Elly Says Opa!; the rest of it was my own

1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3 broccoli crowns, cut into florets
1/2 lb pasta
1 jar Classico Light Creamy Alfredo Sauce
1/2 cup milk
Freshly cracked black pepper

Mix together the all of the herbs/spices. Rub 1 teaspoon of oil into each piece of chicken, and then press the spice mixture into both sides.

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon of canola oil in a cast iron skillet or other non-stick skillet until it's smoking (this will take a few minutes).

Place the chicken breasts in the hot skillet. Cook about 5 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes, then slice on a diagonal.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and pasta. Cook according to package directions. Add the broccoli florets to the pot during the last 4 minutes of cooking. Drain and return pasta and broccoli to the pot. Add the jarred sauce and stir to coat. Put milk in the jar, replace the lid and shake to loosen any sauce stuck to the side. Add milk and sauce to the pasta. Season with freshly ground black pepper.

Plate pasta and serve sliced chicken over the top.
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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Recipe Swap Roundup - Thanksgiving Side Dishes

November is here and you know what that means - Thanksgiving is right around the corner. This is the first year we are cooking the whole meal at our house and I can't wait. When I was a kid we ate the same side dishes every year, but now that I'm older I can't wait to experiment with some new recipes. A Thanksgiving side dish swap sounded like a great way for the ladies on the cooking board to find some new recipes.

I hope anyone reading this is able to find some new side dishes for their Thanksgiving table. Happy Cooking!

Kate incorporated some of her favorite elements from past sweet potato casseroles to make Sweet Potato Casserole:

Caitlin's recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mushrooms and Cream combined a bunch of her favorites into one dish:

Ashley loved the versatility of her Sweet Potato Coins with Blue Cheese and Bacon:

Heather had never made Stovetop Mac and Cheese before, preferring the baked variety, but found her recipe to be fast and delicious:

Brianna revamped her recipe for Green Bean Casserole:

Nicole went out of her comfort zone with her recipe for Baked Garlic Cheddar Grits and discovered she really liked grits:

Jaida had never had butternut squash before, but she loved her recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto:

Melissa enjoyed the pecans the most in her recipe for Brussels Sprouts with Maple Buttered Pecans:

The Cookaholic Wife had never been a big fan of Thanksgiving but now she enjoys finding new dishes to try, like her recipe for Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Pecan and Marshmallow Streusel:

Melissa's recipe for Burgundy Mushrooms took quite a long time to make:

Christen's recipe for Twice Baked Potato Casserole is certainly not diet food, but she loved it:

Lishie enjoyed her recipe for Green Beans with Bacon & Caramelized Shallots and can't wait to make it again with pancetta:

Dawn had never made stuffed mushrooms before so she was excited to try her recipe for Clam Stuffed Mushrooms:

Jenna had another recipe involving French onion, this time for French Onion Stuffed Baked Potatoes:

Jey had my recipe for Whiskey Glazed Carrots, which were a huge hit with her whiskey-loving husband:

I had another Brussels sprouts recipe, Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts:

Coleen went all out, cooking a mini-Thanksgiving dinner for herself and her husband to go along with her recipe for Cranberry-Apple Chutney:

Christine thought her recipe for Strip House Potatoes Romanoff was DeLish, just like the name of the blog that submitted the recipe:

Lindsay's recipe for a homemade version of the traditional green bean casserole was right up her alley. She put her own spin, ommiting the mushrooms, to make Cheddar Green Bean Casserole:

Mary Ellen thought the bacon flavor was a little overwhelming in her Sauteed Spinach with Bacon, but she loved the crispy bits of bacon mixed with the spinach:

The blogger who received Melissa's recipe for Red Skin Potato Mash had a family emergency that prevented her from completing the assignment, but I didn't want you to miss out on the deliciousness:

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