Monday, December 31, 2012

Egg Sandwiches with Goat Cheese, Scallions, and Prosciutto

Have you ever looked at a picture of something and been able to imagine the way it would taste before you actually made it? That's how it was for me and these Egg Sandwiches with Goat Cheese, Scallions, and Prosciutto. As soon as Bridget posted the recipe I couldn't stop thinking about them. I even made a bastardized version with cheddar cheese, salami and 10-grain bread in an attempt to satisfy the craving until I could get my hands on the real deal.

Egg sandwich

They were worth the wait. SP had zero interest in these, which meant more for me. I think my rolls were too big - I need to find something a bit smaller so the ingredients seem more substantial. The first time I made this I used two eggs, which was too much for the sandwich, but one egg wasn't enough in the filling to bread ratio.

The funkiness of the prosciutto and goat cheese, the slight onion flavor of the scallion and the creamy egg work so well together. Thanks for an awesome recipe, Bridget!

Egg Sandwiches with Goat Cheese, Scallions, and Prosciutto
As seen on The Way the Cookie Crumbles

4 ounces goat cheese, softened
4 scallions, white and green parts, minced
4 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 medium rustic rolls, halved crosswise, lightly toasted
4 ounces sliced prosciutto

In a medium bowl, combined the goat cheese and scallions; set aside. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the eggs, salt, and milk until a few large bubbles form.

Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the egg mixture and lower the heat to medium-low. After about a minute, gently stir the eggs. After about another minute, they should be starting to set; use a large spatula to flip sections of egg so the other side can set as well. Turn off the heat but don’t move the pan. Residual heat from the pan will finish cooking the eggs without drying the out while you build the sandwiches.

Spread the cut sides of both halves of each roll with the goat cheese mixture. Top the bottom half with a layer of eggs, then sliced prosciutto. Top with the other half of the roll. Serve immediately.
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Friday, December 28, 2012

Recipe Swap: Orange and Cinnamon Stuffed Pancakes

For this installment of Blogger's Choice I was given Catherine's blog, A Seasoned Greeting, a blog I haven't had a chance to really look through properly. Because of when this post was due I had some trouble narrowing down what I wanted to make - did I want to do a pasta dish, seafood or something else since I had time to make whatever I wanted?

In the end I went for breakfast, something a little special since the whole family would be home to enjoy it. These Orange and Cinnamon Stuffed Pancakes sounded delicious and I had all the ingredients on hand.


Like Catherine, I used pancake mix for the pancakes but the cream cheese mixture really elevates them to another level. The subtle orange flavor from the Cointreau and the spice from the cinnamon is perfect. I loved how easy this was to put together and while it was a special breakfast for us on Christmas Eve, this will be something I make on those weekday mornings when I don't want eggs.

Orange and Cinnamon Stuffed Pancakes
As seen on A Seasoned Greeting
Makes enough for one serving

1 tablespoon cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon Cointreau (or other orange flavored liquor)

In a small bowl combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Stir until smooth. Add in cinnamon and Cointreau, mix until well combined and smooth.

Spread cream cheese mixture on warm pancakes or French toast.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chicken Tostadas with Avocado Salsa

I'm on a Mexican kick right now. For some reason I can't get enough of the flavors and spices. I've been wanting to try a tostada for awhile now, so when Nichole's recipe for Chicken Tostadas with Avocado Salsa popped up in my Google Reader I immediately bookmarked it and put it on the weekly menu.

Chicken Tostada 2

These were so simple to make and the flavors and textures were incredible. I'm kicking myself for not trying these sooner. I don't know why I thought they'd be so complicated - it's just a crispy tortilla covered in the things I usually stuff inside.

Chicken Tostada

I prepped everything during the day so all I had to do was assemble and bake to melt the cheese and crisp the tortilla further. I cut mine into 4 sections and ate it like a pizza - yum!

Chicken Tostadas with Avocado Salsa
As seen on The Cookaholic Wife, originally from Cooking Light, August 2012

1 cup tomato, chopped
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
4 fajita-size tortillas
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups shredded chicken
2 cups lettuce, shredded
1/2 cup queso fresco, cheddar or Mexican cheese blend

Combine tomato, avocado, onion and cilantro together in a small bowl. In another small bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, cumin, pepper and salt. Pour over the avocado mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350.

Add a splash of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the skillet for 30-45 seconds, or until puffy and lightly browned. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Divide black beans, chicken and queso fresco among tortillas. Transfer tortillas to a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, or until chicken is warmed through.

Divide the avocado salsa and lettuce among the tortillas and serve immediately.

*This is how I prepare my chicken if I don't have leftover chicken to use: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread a piece of aluminum foil across a baking sheet, and arrange chicken breasts in a single layer in the center. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and season as you wish. Fold the aluminum foil over the chicken breasts, and enclose them to form a "packet." Bake the chicken (on the baking sheet) 35-45 minutes, or until it is cooked through.
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Monday, December 24, 2012

Oyster Sauce Tofu with Bok Choy

Funny story about this recipe.

SP does the grocery shopping. I put baby bok choy on the shopping list, specifying that I needed 4 of them. I checked the crisper drawer a few days later and discovered he'd purchased 4 bunches of baby bok choy, as in almost 2 POUNDS of baby bok choy. Ha! Thankfully it freezes well so we can enjoy it another time.

Oyster tofu

As soon as this recipe for Oyster Sauce Chicken with Bok Choy popped up in my Google Reader I knew I had to make it. I also knew I wanted to sub tofu for the chicken. It was a great sub - this was truly delicious and the tofu actually soaked up the flavors of the sauce. I think I'm going to change my cooking method from now on.

As it turns out, 4 baby bok choy and 4 shiitake mushrooms weren't nearly enough for our tastes. I used 2 bunches, or approximately 8-10 baby bok choy. The mushrooms all but disintegrated into the dish so I'm increasing the amount needed in the recipe below. The sauce was delicious - I'm glad I doubled the original recipe so there was enough of it. Yum!

I served this over rice noodles with some egg rolls on the side.

Oyster Sauce Tofu with Bok Choy
Modified from Blissfully Delicious

1 block tofu, pressed and drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 heaping teaspoon Sriracha
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons Shaohsing rice wine
10 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
10 baby bok choy, white parts cut into 1-inch pieces leaving green parts whole
2 large scallions, thinly sliced

Cut the tofu into bite-size pieces. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt and tofu. Cook 5 minutes. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

In a smaller bowl, combine the stock, cornstarch, oyster sauce, soy sauce, Sriracha and black pepper. Mix well and set aside.

Heat a wok or non-stick skillet over high heat and, when the wok starts to smoke, add the oil. Add the tofu and ginger. Let settle for 1 minute, and then stir occasionally for 3 minutes. As the tofu starts to turn brown and crispy, add the rice wine and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and bok choy stalks and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the reserved sauce and bring to a boil, then stir in the bok choy leaves and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and stir in half the scallions. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with the remaining scallions and serve immediately.
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Copycat Red Robin Banzai Burger

We bought a club pack of ground beef recently. I'm always looking for quick, make-ahead dinners for Tuesday nights when I get home late from my exercise class so I thought I'd make burgers. I love experimenting with different toppings and for some reason I wanted to try making a Copycat Red Robin Banzai Burger even though I've never had that particular burger.

Banzai burger

Since I've never actually tried a Banzai Burger at Red Robin I can't vouch for how this compares but I can say this was delicious. The teriyaki really soaks into the meat and pineapple slices. I marinated my patties for about 4 hours and that was plenty of time. I loved the combination and will definitely make these again (although now I'm on a burger kick and want to try different varieties).

Copycat Red Robin Banzai Burger
As seen on Joy in Cooking

2 lbs ground round
1 bottle Teriyaki sauce (recommend Kikkoman's Teriyaki Takumi Collection - Original )
Sliced fresh pineapple
Sliced cheddar cheese
Shredded Romaine lettuce
1 tomato, thinly sliced
Burger buns

Form the beef into patties. In a shallow baking dish, add some of the teriyaki sauce, place the beef patties on top in a single layer, turning to coat all sides with the sauce. (Be sure to reserve some sauce for the pineapple slices). Cover container and refrigerate 4 hours.

Place pineapple slices in a separate container, add enough teriyaki sauce to coat well, cover and chill.

Preheat grill to medium. Cook hamburgers 3 to 5 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. When you flip the burgers, add the pineapple to the grill and cook until grill marks show, turning once. About 1 minute before the burgers are done, place slices of cheese on top of each patty to melt.

To assemble burgers: Spread mayonnaise on the top and bottom of each bun. Place hamburger patty on bottom bun and top with 1-2 tomato slices, and 1-2 grilled pineapple slices. Cover with about 1/3 cup shredded lettuce and place top bun on sandwich.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Panera Soup

Over the last year I've fallen in love with Panera. It all started when Tara posted the recipe for Panera's Stovetop Mac and Cheese. When I made the recipe I hadn't been to a Panera in quite some time and I'd never tried their mac and cheese. After making the recipe I vowed to visit a Panera ASAP so I could compare the make-at-home version with the real-deal. I quickly became enamored with their Napa Almond Chicken Salad sandwich, with a side of mac and cheese. This past summer we took a family road trip and ended up eating at a different Panera every day for 4 days straight.

Panera bag

When I was selected to try their soup as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program I was intrigued. Admittedly I'm not much of a soup person, but on that same summer road trip my husband sampled quite a few of their soups and always raved about them. I knew he wouldn't steer me wrong.

Certain soups are available every day (French onion, broccoli cheddar, vegetarian creamy tomato and low-fat all-natural chicken noodle), while some are only available certain days (low-fat vegetarian black bean, baked potato, New England clam chowder, cream of chicken and wild rice and low-fat vegetarian garden vegetable with pesto). The day I picked to review the soup my first two choices - baked potato and New England Clam Chowder - were not available. I guess I'll have to go back another day to sample those. I opted for broccoli cheddar, which is one of my all-time favorite soup combos and one my husband had raved about many times.

Panera cup

I selected the You Pick Two with a cup of the broccoli cheddar soup and half a Napa Almond Chicken Salad sandwich.

Panera soup and sandwich

I was really impressed with the soup. There were big pieces of broccoli, slivers of carrot and a great cheddar flavor that complimented rather than overwhelmed the flavors. It was delicious and I practically licked the cup clean.

Panera soup

I'd have a hard time giving up the mac and cheese or the chicken salad sandwich so perhaps Panera can do a Pick Three so I could also enjoy a cup of soup. Just a thought.

Disclaimer: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program I was given a gift card to purchase the soup. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Brie and Bacon

Pork tenderloin is so cheap at our supermarket that buying it is a no-brainer. A woman on my cooking board recently made this Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Smoked Gouda and Bacon and highly recommended it, so I figured I'd give it a try, swapping the Gouda for Brie since I had half a wheel leftover from Thanksgiving.

Pork loin

Unfortunately I didn't secure the tenderloin tightly enough and most of the cheese leaked out as it melted, which was a huge bummer. The few pieces with cheese were delicious and it did mix with some of the bacon, but I'd been hoping for more cheesy goodness inside the rolled-up pork. Next time (and there will be a next time) I'll need to be more careful. This was delicious even with the missing cheese. You can't go wrong with bacon.

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Brie and Bacon
As seen on Elly Says Opa!

1 (about 1 lb.) pork tenderloin
1/4 lb. bacon, chopped
3 oz. Brie, rind removed, cut into cubes
Fresh or dried parsley, to taste
Fresh or dried sage, to taste
Salt and pepper
Olive oil (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375.

Cook the chopped bacon in a skillet and remove with a slotted spoon. Reserve bacon fat.

Butterfly pork tenderloin and pound slightly to thin it out. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, sage and parsley. Top with the Brie and the cooked bacon.

Starting at one end, roll the pork tenderloin up end to end (or tri-fold it, like you would a letter). Secure with kitchen twine or toothpicks.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on the rolled up tenderloin and roast it in the oven for 50-60 minutes until the internal temperature is 140 degrees. OR Rub the tenderloin with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Sear it in a hot pan to brown on all sides, and then put it in the oven to finish cooking, 30-40 minutes. OR Sprinkle salt and pepper on the rolled up tenderloin and sear it in the reserved bacon fat to brown on all sides, and then move the skillet to the oven to finish cooking, 30-40 minutes.

After you remove the tenderloin from the oven, put it under a foil tent to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing it.
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Friday, December 14, 2012

Recipe Swap: Balsamic Parmesan Asparagus

I love asparagus. It's one of my all-time favorite vegetables and I can't get enough of it in early spring when it's in season. The theme for this week's recipe swap was Side Dishes and when I did the swapping and ended up with Katie's Balsamic Parmesan Asparagus I felt like I'd hit the jackpot.

Balsamic Asparagus

The original recipe says this feeds 8-10 people as a side dish but that must not be for true asparagus lovers like us. My two bunches were a little over 2lbs and the two of us polished it off between dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day. Maybe someday Baby Girl will realize how awesome asparagus tastes and like more than just snapping the ends off and tossing the spears with oil and seasoning.

My spears were so thin I skipped the blanching step altogether, opting to let them roast in the oven. The balsamic drizzle was a delicious finishing touch. Definitely take the recipe's advice and open your windows. Even though it was a brisk night I had the kitchen window and the back slider open for a cross breeze, as well as the ceiling fan on in the living room and the exhaust fan on over the stove. There's nothing like inhaling a big ol' whiff of boiling vinegar - it's not pleasant so don't do it!

Thanks for a delicious recipe, Kate!

Balsamic Parmesan Asparagus
As seen on Kate's Recipe Box, originally from Leite’s Culinaria

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar or a few drops top-notch balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
2 lbs. asparagus, tough ends snapped off
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 cup (about 4oz.) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 350.

If using top-notch balsamic vinegar, skip this step. Otherwise, open a window and turn on the exhaust fan. Put the vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, swirling the pan occasionally, until the vinegar is reduced by half, anywhere from 7 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the saucepan. Remove from the heat.

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add 1 tablespoon of the salt and the asparagus and blanch until barely tender, about 1 minute for spears of average thickness, more for thicker spears. Skip this step if you have pencil-thin spears. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Pat the asparagus dry with paper towels. (You can keep the asparagus at room temperature or refrigerate it for up to several hours.)

Place the asparagus in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Add salt to taste, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil, and toss to coat. Sprinkle the asparagus with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Bake until the spears are tender and the cheese is browned and almost bubbling (it won’t actually melt), about 5 minutes.

Transfer asparagus to a platter. Drizzle with the reduced balsamic vinegar or a few drops of the really top notch stuff. Serve immediately.

Click the links below to see side dishes made by my fellow swappers.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Spicy Garlic and Ginger Chicken with Green Beans

I've been trying to perfect Chinese-style dishes at home since we don't have a good Chinese restaurant nearby. Christine raved about this recipe for Spicy Garlic and Ginger Chicken with Green Beans so I knew I had to try it.

Saucy Chicken

I used the leftover green beans from Thanksgiving since they were already steamed and needed to be used up anyway. This came together in no time and was delicious, with a nice, mild heat from the Sriracha thanks to the sugar.

Spicy Garlic and Ginger Chicken with Green Beans
As seen on Christine's Kitchen Chronicles

3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable, divided
2 teaspoon chili sauce (recommend Sriracha!)
2 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 4 tsp cold water
1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3-4 cups green beans, steamed
Sesame oil
Sesame seeds

Combine the soy sauce, vinegar sugar, garlic, ginger, 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil, and chili sauce in a bowl. Whisk to combine and then set aside.

In a large non-stick skillet, add remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable and heat until shimmering. Add the chicken and cook until white and nearly cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the steamed green beans to the skillet. Pour in sauce mixture and allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Add the cornstarch slurry. Return to a simmer and cool until thickened (it should coat a spoon).

Drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve over rice.

Allergy note - I left out the sesame oil and seeds because of Baby Girl's nut allergy (according to the research I've done it isn't safe).
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Pumpkin Pie with Chocolate Ganache

My mom was in charge of Thanksgiving dessert. She always makes pumpkin pie but this year I sent her this recipe for Pumpkin Pie with Chocolate Ganache after seeing it on the Rachael Ray Show. Chocolate makes everything better, right?

Pumpkin Pie

We all enjoyed the ganache even if it was a little thick. My mom wasn't sure how much to use since the recipe didn't specify so she used it all. I think a thinner layer would have been better but hey, chocolate is good so we all suffered through.

Pumpkin Pie 3

The ganache will harden a bit in the fridge so when I ate a leftover slice I reheated it slightly in the microwave to melt it a bit. Yum!

Pumpkin Pie 2

Pumpkin Pie with Chocolate Ganache
Recipe from Carla Hall

1 pumpkin pie
1 10-ounce bag good quality bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
Crushed graham crackers

Place chocolate in a glass bowl. Heat up heavy cream to a boil, do not scald. Pour heavy cream over the chocolate and whisk the mixture very slowly creating a shiny emulsion. If the ganache is too thick, add in hot water to thin out to desired consistency.

Top the pumpkin pie with the ganache (may not use all of it). Sprinkle crushed graham crackers around the edge of the pie.

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Friday, December 07, 2012

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

Just like last year I opted to make a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey. I decided to use Ina's Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast recipe, mainly because I love her perfect roast chicken recipe and because I saw her make this the week before Thanksgiving and loved the sound of marinating the meat the night before.

Herb Turkey Breast

I'm still trying to decide if I prefer roasting a whole turkey or doing a turkey breast. The breast is certainly easier but I kind of like having a whole bird. Something to think about for next year. This year I added in two turkey legs for SP and my stepdad since they prefer dark meat. I upped the amount of the herb marinade so I'd have enough to go around. You could really taste the flavors in the meat so definitely plan to marinate overnight. Delicious!

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast
Ina Garten

1 whole bone-in turkey breast, 6 1/2 to 7 pounds
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the turkey breast, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a paste. Loosen the skin from the meat gently with your fingers and smear half of the paste directly on the meat. Spread the remaining paste evenly on the skin. Marinate overnight in a pan covered with plastic wrap.

When ready to cook, place the turkey breast on a rack in a roasting pan. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Roast the turkey for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest and meatiest areas of the breast. (I test in several places.) If the skin is over-browning, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil. When the turkey is done, cover with foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice and serve with the pan juices spooned over the turkey.

Make Ahead - The meat needs to marinate overnight so plan to mix together the marinade the day before.
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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Baked Brie in Mini Phyllo Cups with Strawberry Jam

I love baked brie. There's a restaurant near my house that serves a slice of baked brie topped with raspberry jam, slivered almonds and a brown sugar glaze. I knew I wanted to try making some sort of baked brie for Thanksgiving but I wanted it to be easier to eat.

Baked Brie

There are hundreds of recipes out there so this is basically a method, not a recipe. I had to leave out the almonds because of Baby Girl's nut allergy and since I already had strawberry jam open I used that instead of raspberry. I added a pinch of brown sugar to each cup for that added sweetness. These were delicious and so simple to make.

Baked Brie in Mini Phyllo Cups with Strawberry Jam
Makes 24 cups

2 boxes mini phyllo cups
6oz Brie, rind removed, cut into 24 cubes
Fruit jam of your choice
Brown sugar
Sliced almonds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Remove phyllo cups from their packaging and place on a baking sheet. Add one piece of Brie into each phyllo cup. Top the cheese with some of the jam and sprinkle with brown sugar. Top with sliced almonds, if using.

Bake for 5-8 minutes until the cheese is melted and the cups start to brown. Serve warm.

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Monday, December 03, 2012

White Bean Dip with Pita Chips

This year I decided we needed some appetizers to nosh on before Thanksgiving dinner. I made a list of a few different recipes and asked SP to pick three. He was most excited about this White Bean Dip with Pita Chips.

White Bean Dip
This was a huge hit and couldn't have been simpler to make. You could save even more time by using store-bought pita chips but, really, making your own takes next to no time. I made the dip the night before and brought it to room temperature before serving. I also used whole wheat pitas for the chips to make this a bit healthier.

White Bean Dip with Pita Chips
Giada De Laurentiis

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons
1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
6 pitas
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil, and parsley in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the bean puree to a small bowl.

Cut each pita in half and then into 8 wedges. Arrange the pita wedges on a large baking sheet. Pour the remaining oil over the pitas. Toss and spread out the wedges evenly. Sprinkle with the oregano, salt, and pepper. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until toasted and golden in color.

Serve the pita toasts warm or at room temperature alongside the bean puree.

Make Ahead: Make the dip up to 2 days before and keep refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.
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Friday, November 30, 2012

Recipe Swap: Citrus Chicken Fajitas

When I got Katie's blog for this installment of Blogger's Choice I knew I was in trouble. I've starred so many things from her blog I had no idea how to choose which recipe to make.

Chicken fajitas

I waited to make my choice until after I'd decided what else to make this week and then clicked on one of her most popular labels - Mexican. I toyed with the idea of making her Beef Tenderloin Quesadillas with the beef leftover from my dad's birthday dinner, but I didn't think we'd have enough left. These Citrus Fajitas called my name, especially since fajitas used to be my go-to dish at Mexican restaurants.

One bite and I was transported back to a little Mexican restaurant my family ate at often when I was growing up. My favorite dish was Pollo Limon, served with tortillas to make into fajitas. The chicken marinade was very similar, with a bright citrus flavor and mild spiciness from the jalapeno. I served these with guacamole and some shredded Mexican cheese, and Homemade Refried Beans on the side. So, so good. Thanks for an amazing recipe, Katie!

Citrus Chicken Fajitas
As seen on So Tasty, So Yummy

Juice of half a lemon
Juice of one lime
Juice of one orange
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons tequila
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Tortillas, shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole for serving

Combine all ingredients except the chicken in a large Ziploc bag. Add the chicken to the bag, seal and shake to combine. Allow the chicken to marinate for 2 to 4 hours.

Toss the bell pepper and onions with the olive oil, set aside.

Grill the chicken breasts over medium high heat until cooked through. Add the peppers and onions for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Slice the chicken. Serve with warm tortillas, cheese, sour cream and guacamole.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

California Club Chicken Burgers

I love a good chicken burger and I've had my eye on Elly's California Club Chicken Burgers for quite awhile now. Anything topped with guacamole is sure to be a winner in my book.

California Chicken

I made these for a Tuesday night dinner after my exercise class. I cooked the burgers, bacon and made the guacamole ahead of time so all we had to do was assemble the sandwiches that night. I had leftover slider rolls from when I made the Ham and Swiss Sliders recently so I made these into 8 mini burgers instead of 4 regular-size burgers.

California Club Chicken Burgers
Elly Says Opa!

1 lb. ground chicken
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Ground pepper
4 thick cut slices of bacon, cooked and cut in half
1/2 cup guacamole or 1 sliced avocado
4 toasted buns

Lightly mix together the chicken, cumin, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. Form the mixture into 4 patties. Grill, pan-fry, or broil the patties until cooked through. Top with 1 slice (2 pieces) of the cooked bacon and guacamole, and serve on toasted buns.
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Monday, November 26, 2012

Radisson Hotels Giveaway: 50 Years, 50 Days, 50 Rooms

This giveaway is now closed. The winner was comment #121 - branny - with "New York City!" Congratulations! Check your email and be sure to respond within 48 hours to claim your FREE night's stay.

This year Radisson is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a 50 Years, 50 Days, 50 Rooms promotion. In honor of the brand’s 50th Anniversary, they’re giving away one free night’s stay at any North American Radisson Hotel once a day for 50 days by inviting their favorite bloggers to host a give away. Today it's my turn. Are you feeling lucky?


Every morning at 10 am (EST) from now until December 3, 2012 a new blogger will be revealed through Radisson's Facebook page. If you don't win my giveaway be sure to check the Radisson Facebook page to enter on as many of those blogs as you’d like.


Radisson Hotel Giveaway Rules

The winner will receive a room voucher valid for one free night, standard room, double occupancy at any North American Radisson Blu or Radisson hotel of the winner’s choice. The vouchers expires one year after issue date. The full terms and conditions are located on the room night voucher.

The Giveaway
One lucky U.S. reader have a chance to win one FREE night at any North American Raddison hotel. Here’s how you can enter:

1. Leave a comment below telling me where you'd like to use your FREE room voucher for 1 entry.

2. Like A Taste of Home Cooking on Facebook for 1 entry. Leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.

3. Follow A Taste of Home Cooking on Twitter for 1 entry. Leave a separate comment letting me know you did so.

4. Share via Twitter using this tweet:
I entered to win a free room through the 50 Years, 50 Days, 50 Rooms giveaway via @radisson & @tasteofhomecook! #Radisson50

RULES: Maximum of four entries per person. The giveaway starts today and ends on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 11:59pm. Open to U.S. residents only. Be sure a valid email address is included with your comment(s). Winner will be chosen randomly and contacted via email. If the winner doesn’t respond in 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!

Disclosure - For hosting this giveaway I received a free stay at a Radisson hotel.
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Friday, November 23, 2012

Crispy Tofu with Garlic and Broccoli

It's been awhile since I made a tofu dish and I wanted something a little different. I printed out a bunch of tofu recipes from my friend Mary Ellen's blog awhile back and this Crispy Tofu with Garlic and Broccoli in a Soy-Hoisin Sauce sounded perfect.

Crispy Tofu and Broccoli

This was another dish that tasted just like something I'd get at a Chinese restaurant. I had to substitute oyster sauce for the hoisin because I forgot to ask SP to get it at the store. SP thought the dish tasted a little fishy because of it but I loved it. The sweetness from the brown sugar and the kick from the red pepper flake was perfect. The sauce thickened nicely with some cornstarch and I was using the tofu to soak up every last drop.

This was my first time using rice noodles and I loved how easy they were to prepare. Boil water, turn off the heat, add the noodles and soak for 10 minutes. Awesome. They were chewy and delicious, a great alternative to rice.

Thanks again, Mary Ellen!

Crispy Tofu with Garlic and Broccoli
As seen on Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations

1 block firm tofu, pressed and drained and cut into cubes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/4 cup cooking sherry or brandy
2 small heads broccoli, chopped into florets
1 teaspoon (or to taste) red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Hoisin or oyster sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 green onions, chopped
1-7oz package Asian noodles, cooked according to directions

Heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a large non-stick pan. Add tofu and cook until browned on all sides, about 12-15 minutes. Once cooked, remove tofu and let drain on a plate covered with a paper towel.

Add the garlic and onions to the pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add cooking sherry, cook 1-2 minutes. Add broccoli and red pepper flakes; saute 3-4 minutes. Add chicken broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, and Hoison. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.

Mix a splash of water with the cornstarch in a small bowl until dissolved. Pour the mixture into the pan and stir. Return the tofu to the pan along with half of the green onions. Let simmer for a few minutes.

Serve over noodles and top with the rest of the green onions.
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Friday, November 16, 2012

Recipe Swap - Mini Monte Cristos

Disclaimer - I'm a slacker. Due to Hurricane Sandy I pushed the Game Day Recipe Swap back a week, giving participants three full weeks to make their assigned recipe and I still couldn't get it together. I don't have a good defense but thankfully I have a good friend named Jaida who writes the blog Sweet Beginnings. She graciously stepped in to make my recipe when I frantically texted her and asked for help. Thanks hon!

Below is her review and photo. I really need to find some time to make these - they sound amazing and SP loves Monte Cristo sandwiches.


It’s no secret to any of my readers that I have a possibly unhealthy love for all things sandwich, so when Sarah asked me if I could step in and make this recipe, from The Jey of Cooking, for the swap, there was no hesitation is saying yes! In fact, I went to the store and got the ingredients that very day, and had them while watching football. Very fitting, since the theme for this round of the swap was Game Day Food!

Monte Cristo

I’m not usually big on frying anything (although I will go all out on the fried foods when I’m at a bar!), but these don’t taste fried or give that heavy, I just ate a ton of fried crap, feeling that sometimes happens. Nope, it was just pure, bite-sized deliciousness, dipped in pancake batter, pan-fried, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and dipped in raspberry jam. That’s right folks...raspberry jam. But, don't let the small size fool you...these little puppies will fill you up. I ate three and I was down for the count. Until later, when I had another. Then later another. You get the picture.

I texted Sarah immediately to tell her how delicious they were, accompanied by a picture. Obviously I was excited...and thankful she asked for my help! Now, football season is in full-force so you need to add these to your menu for the next game. Trust me…you, your friends, your boyfriend/husband/significant other, will be so glad you did!!

Mini Monte Cristos
As seen on The Jey of Cooking

6 slices bread
6 slices ham, thinly sliced
6 slices turkey, thinly sliced
6 sliced Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
1 cup buttermilk pancake mix
2 eggs
1 can evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Vegetable oil, for frying
Raspberry jam, for serving
Powdered sugar, for topping

Trim the crust off each slice of bread and flatten with a rolling pin. Spread the tops with mustard. Top with 1 slice of ham, 1 slice of turkey and 1 slice of Swiss cheese, to fit.

Roll bread tightly into a log shape (you can use plastic wrap to assist in the rolling, if desired). Wrap very tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Mix the pancake mix and eggs together until well combined, then add the evaporated mil, salt and cinnamon. Mix well.

In a deep saucepan, heat 1 1/2 inches of oil over medium heat, to 375 degrees F. Unwrap each roll and secure with 3-4 toothpicks. Slice each roll into 3-4 pieces, leaving the toothpicks intact.

Dip each piece into the prepared batter, then place into the heated oil. (To test the temperature of your oil, drop a small amount of batter into the saucepan. Adjust the temperature as necessary so that your batter drop becomes golden brown within 20-30 seconds.) Fry 3-4 at a time, so you don't overcrowd the pot and drop the temp of the oil, for 1-2 minutes per side, turning once, until golden brown.

Remove the bites to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with raspberry jam, for dipping.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sweet Ham and Swiss Sliders

I love sandwiches but for some reason I rarely make them for dinner. I'm not sure why - they're generally easy to put together and, in the case of these Sweet Ham and Swiss Sliders, can be quite filling and delicious.

Ham and Swiss Sliders

If you belong to Pinterest or read food blogs I'm sure you've seen various iterations of these floating around. I picked this recipe after seeing it on my friend Melissa's blog, I Was Born to Cook. I liked the idea of using regular dinner rolls (mine were actually potato rolls) instead of Hawaiian rolls, which I've never seen in my supermarket. I also liked the addition of the brown sugar for a mild sweetness to offset the tang from the Dijon.

Ham and Swiss Sliders 2

Like Melissa said in her post, these would be perfect to serve while watching any type of sporting event. Their small size are perfect for parties and even Baby Girl gobbled hers up. You could also sub turkey (like Melissa did) for the ham with equally delicious results. I can't wait to make these again. Easy and delicious is a win in my book.

I served these with crispy potato wedges made using this recipe for oven fries. Yum!

Sweet Ham and Swiss Sliders
From Heather Likes Food

12 dinner rolls, cut in half
24 slices Honey Ham
16 slices Swiss cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400°

In a 9x13 glass baking dish, place bottom half of dinner rolls and top with 2 slices of ham and 1 slice of Swiss cheese. Spread about 1 teaspoon of mayonnaise on each top-half of roll and place on top of ham and cheese. You want the rolls to be snug together.

In a small bowl combine the mustard, melted butter, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds, and brown sugar. Mix until combined and evenly pour over the assembled rolls. You will not need all the sauce. Cover with foil and refrigerate for up to 20 minutes.

Bake covered with foil for 10 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the tops are browned, and cheese is melted. Serve hot or warm.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Beef and Broccoli

I've attempted homemade Chinese food many times and while the dishes are generally pretty tasty they always seem to be lacking something. The photo that accompanied Sally's Beef and Broccoli post had me hooked. Beef and Broccoli was my go-to dish at Chinese restaurants when I was a kid. I would go to a local spot with my grandmother once a week and I always ordered it, usually with extra sauce. It was thick and rich and so, so good I can almost taste it as I'm typing this post.

Beef and Broccoli
My sauce wasn't as thick and richly dark as the dish from my childhood, but this was spot-on in terms of flavor. I doubled the sauce recipe below since I love extra sauce and I wish I'd done it when I made the dish - the sauce really made it perfect. I also needed more sauce for the marinade - the original recipe didn't coat all the beef. This is a real winner.

Beef and Broccoli
As seen on Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from Simply Recipes

1 pound flank steak or sirloin, sliced thinly across the grain
1 pound broccoli florets
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded, cut in slices
1 clove garlic, very finely minced
1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water

For the beef marinade
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth (or water)

Start by marinating the beef: mix all ingredients in a bowl, add the pieces of beef and stir to coat the slices. Let it stand for 10 minutes, while you prepare the sauce and blanch the broccoli.

Make the sauce by mixing the oyster sauce, rice wine (or sherry), soy sauce, and chicken stock (or water) in a small bowl. Reserve. Place the broccoli in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain very well and reserve.

Heat a large frying pan or wok over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and instantly evaporates upon contact. Add the cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the yellow bell pepper and cook it for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, until it begins to soften. Remove and reserve. Make sure the pan is again very hot, and add the slices of beef, spreading them out all over the surface of the wok or pan in a single layer (preferably not touching). Let the beef fry undisturbed for 1 minute. Flip the beef slices over, add the garlic and reserved bell pepper to the pan and fry for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute until the beef is cooked through.

Pour in the sauce, add the blanched broccoli and bring to a boil. Pour in the dissolved cornstarch and cook, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens, 30 seconds. Serve over rice.
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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Italian Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup

I'm sorry for the lack of posts lately. We were very fortunate that Hurricane Sandy only caused us to lose power for a few days. As I'm sure you know, many people are still without power, lost their homes or businesses. It was a catastrophic storm for this area, especially my beloved Jersey Shore, a place we've taken Baby Girl many times in her short life.

I've still been cooking, but I've mostly been making meals I've already blogged about. And now there's a new wrinkle in my blogging - the end of daylight savings time. It gets dark around 5pm now and at that point I haven't even started dinner. I'll likely be photographing leftovers the next day until spring returns.

This Italian Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup is from my dear friend Melissa. As I've mentioned before, she only blogs about truly fantastic meals so I knew this soup would be a hit. This was actually my first time buying or cooking kale and I was surprised that we liked it. Kale is incredibly good for you, so that's an added bonus.

Sausage and Kale Soup

My sausage didn't have fennel but Melissa told me to just add dried oregano, which brightened up the flavor immensely. I also added some salt, which she left out of the original ingredient list but which I found necessary to bring out the fullness of the soup.

Italian Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup
As seen on Alosha's Kitchen

4 thick slices applewood smoked bacon, chopped
1 pound bulk Italian sausage (with fennel)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (if sausage doesn't have fennel)
1 large sweet onion, diced
4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup half and half
1 cup water
1 bunch lacinato kale, chopped
Fresh ground black pepper
Kosher salt
Crushed red pepper flakes

Heat large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon and fry until most of the fat is rendered and the pork is somewhat crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels and pour off most of the fat from the pot, leaving the bottom just coated. Add the bacon back to the pot along with the Italian sausage. Cook the sausage for 4 or 5 minutes, breaking it into chunks with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink.

Add the onions and garlic and continue to cook until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and stir to combine. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are soft, about 10 minutes (test one with a fork). Pour in half and half and water and stir to heat through. Toss in the kale and stir until slightly wilted.

Season with fresh ground black pepper and salt, adding crushed red pepper flakes, as desired.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Looking for help - peanut and tree nut allergy

Tomorrow I'll be bringing you a delicious soup recipe but today I have a question for my dear readers. Yesterday Baby Girl was officially diagnosed with an allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. I've suspected she had an allergy since she was around 18 months and I first gave her some peanut butter on a slice of toast. She took one bite and refused to eat anymore and then I noticed a red rash around her mouth. After a call to her pediatrician I tried again in a few weeks with the same results. Since then I've avoided giving her nuts of any kind but we didn't read labels or carry any medication. I finally decided we needed answers after SP inadvertently gave her a bite of his almond croissant when we were out in CA a few weeks ago and she had a similar, albeit milder, reaction to the almonds.

I'll admit, I'm sad for her. I know food allergies are much more common these days. Heck, her daycare is nut-free due to other children with the same allergy. I can't help but feel responsible (is it something I did/didn't do while pregnant with her? should we have fed her differently in her early days?) and I'm also sad that she will never experience the joy of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup or eating peanut butter straight from a jar. Most importantly, while her reactions to date have been very mild, every exposure can be life-threatening, which scares the beejesus out of me. Her allergist has called in a prescription for an epi-pen and we're to carry the pens and Benadryl with us at all times.

Here's where you come in - if any of my readers have any tips or tricks, websites, children's books, books for parents/caregivers or any other advice I would greatly appreciate it. Feel free to leave me a comment here or email me. Thank you!
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Roast Beef & Cheddar Panini

I'm always looking for quick sandwiches to make for dinner on Tuesday nights. I get home late from my exercise class and it's nice to just throw together a quick sandwich that I prepped earlier. These Roast Beef & Cheddar Panini might not sound special but holy yum were they good.

Roast beef panini
Like Kate said in her blog post, the chipotle mayo and caramelized onions elevate this from an ordinary sandwich to something extraordinary. Make sure you use a nice, sharp cheddar so the flavor doesn't get lost in the shuffle. I actually brought out my Griddler to make these and I'm glad I did - the crispy bread really adds the finishing touch to these sandwiches. If you're looking for something a little different give these a try.

Roast Beef & Cheddar Panini
As seen on Kate's Recipe Box, originally from Williams Sonoma
Makes 4 sandwiches

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle sauce
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Cooking spray
8 slices country-style bread
Sliced cheddar cheese, to taste
3/4 lb thin slices roast beef

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are completely limp, 10 to 15 minutes. Uncover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are golden brown and sweet, 35 to 45 minutes; do not allow them to burn. Remove the pan from the heat and let the onions cool to room temperature.

Preheat an electric panini maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Stir chipotle sauce into mayonnaise.

Spray one side of each bread slice with cooking spray. Lay the slices, oiled side down, on a clean work surface. Spread the top of each slice with some of the mayonnaise mixture. Add slices of cheese. Divide the roast beef into four even amounts and place the slices on four pieces of the bread. Evenly divide the caramelized onions and top the roast beef with the onions. Top with the other bread slice, oiled side up.

Place each sandwich on the preheated panini maker and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the sandwich to a cutting board and cut in half. Serve immediately.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Mushroom Stroganoff

As you might know, we've been trying to eat more vegetarian meals lately (well, mostly vegetarian since I still use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth). One of our favorite dishes is beef stroganoff, so when Lishie posted a recipe for Mushroom Stroganoff I had a feeling it would be right up our alley. SP is a huge mushroom fan so this was destined to be a winner.

Mushroom stroganoff plate
Overall I think the concept of this dish is good but the flavors were lacking. I went back to our favorite Skillet Beef Stroganoff recipe and decided to simply omit the beef from that version and reprint it here. Yes, that recipe uses both chicken and beef broth (two essential flavor components, in my opinion) so it isn't actually vegetarian but I think both the cooking method of boiling the noodles in the liquid and the flavor profile will yield better results. I can't wait to make this again using this version.

Mushrooms Stroganoff Skillet

Mushroom Stroganoff
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Easy Skillet Suppers

Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced thin
8 ounces baby bell mushrooms, sliced thin
1 onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/3 cup brandy
1/3 pound wide egg noodles (3 cups)
2/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet until shimmering. Cook mushrooms, onion, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until liquid from mushrooms has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 30 seconds, then add both broths and the brandy.

Stir noodles into mushroom mixture, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Off heat, stir in sour cream and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Traditional Chili

To many people fall means chili. I have a go-to recipe I use whenever SP asks me to make chili, but I saw this Traditional Chili over at Southern Pink Lemonade and figured I'd give it a try.

This was an incredibly easy recipe - brown the beef, onions and garlic, add in the rest of the ingredients and leave it alone for a few hours. My chili was a little thick, so I had to add in some water as it was cooking. I modified the recipe to add in some water and cut the beer in half - a full bottle was a little too overpowering.

Full disclosure - I'm not a big fan of chili. I made this because SP loves it and so I'd have leftovers for the freezer. I've got big plans to make chili cheese fries sometime this fall.

Traditional Chili
Adapted by Peace, Love, and French Fries, as seen on Southern Pink Lemonade

1 1/2 - 2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, finely diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2- 15 ounce cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (you could also use black beans or pinto beans)
24 ounces tomato sauce
6 ounce bottle of beer
8 ounces water
6 ounce can tomato paste
4 1/5 ounce can diced green chilies
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cumin
1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, depending on how spicy you would like your chili
1 teaspoon paprika
1-2 teaspoons hot sauce, depending on how spicy you would like your chili

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, brown ground beef with onion and garlic over medium-high heat. Drain beef of excess grease, if necessary. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Allow chili to simmer for 3 hours or until thickened. Stir occasionally.

Top with shredded cheese, green onions, or sour cream, if you would like. You can also serve chili over rice, fries, or even top your hotdog with it.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Baked Chicken Burritos with Sour Cream-Poblano Sauce

I've had this recipe for Baked Chicken Burritos with Sour Cream-Poblano Sauce bookmarked for ages. I put it on the menu a few times only to swap it out for something else before we even got to the grocery store. I think the ingredient list was holding me back, although when you look at it more closely you see most are spices and things I already have on hand.

Baked Chicken Burrito
The other thing holding me back was time. This is not a weeknight meal. I started cooking the filling for the burritos and an hour later I was just finishing up the sauce. I made these on a Saturday afternoon and when it was time to eat all I had to do was wrap up the burritos and bake them off, then reheat the sauce and the refried beans I'd made to go with them.

We loved these. Absolutely loved them. I can't wait to make them again, which is saying a lot for a burrito (not typically my favorite Mexican dish). The tortilla was crispy, the filling was healthy and flavorful and Baby Girl finally realized she loves beans, inhaled the filling and asked for more.

I only made two minor changes - I increased the amount of chicken broth in the sauce since mine was very thick and I added a diced tomato for color and a little freshness. I also roasted the peppers on our charcoal grill over a small fire. It was so easy - just put them on and leave them alone. I checked on them every 10 minutes or so until they were nicely charred on the outside. No smoky pepper smell in the house and easy cleanup.

Baked Chicken Burritos with Sour Cream-Poblano Sauce
As seen on Smells Like Home, adapted from Elly Says Opa!

For the burritos:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, diced
1 lb ground chicken
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup water or beef broth
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Kosher salt
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
4 burrito-size tortillas
Cooking spray

For the sour cream-poblano sauce:
2 poblano peppers
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups chicken broth at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream (light is fine) or non-fat Greek yogurt
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Diced tomato, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400ºF and spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

To make the burritos: Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and then add the oil. Once hot, add the onions and cook for 3-5 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the ground chicken to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook for 30-60 seconds before adding in the beans. Add the water or broth, cumin, oregano, chili powder, cayenne, brown sugar and salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon). Reduce heat and simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Place 2 tablespoons of the cheese at the end of each tortilla and then spoon some of the chicken and bean mixture over the top. Fold the left and right sides of the tortilla in, and then roll the tortilla up, from the end closest to you, to the top. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet and lightly spray the tops of the burritos with cooking spray. Bake for about 20 minutes, until tortillas are golden brown and crispy.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Place the poblanos directly over a gas burner. Using tongs, turn occasionally until skin is blackened on all sides. Place in a bowl and top with plastic wrap or a clean towel, until cool enough to handle. (Alternatively, you can roast the peppers under the broiler until all sides are well-charred.) Peel the peppers, remove the stems and seeds, and dice them.

Heat a small sauce pan over medium heat and melt the butter; stir in the flour and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and then the diced poblano; continue to simmer, whisking frequently, until thickened. Stir in the sour cream/yogurt and warm through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the sauce over the baked burritos, topped with the chopped tomato.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Soy Cilantro Roasted Potatoes

When Mary Ellen made these Soy Cilantro Roasted Potatoes for a recent recipe swap I immediately saved them to try when the temps dropped. Like Mary Ellen, I was intrigued by the use of soy sauce with potatoes and couldn't wait to see how they'd turn out.

The smell of these roasting was intoxicating. I served these with a roast chicken and they were delicious. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, with a little bit of a glaze from the reduced soy sauce.

Soy-Cilantro Roasted Potatoes
From The Cookaholic Wife, as seen on Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

5 large red potatoes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
Several shakes of garlic powder
Salt and pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 450.

Rinse off the potatoes and cut into small wedges. Transfer the potatoes into a large bowl. Add the soy sauce, oil, cilantro, salt and pepper, and garlic powder. Toss well to coat. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Put the potatoes into the baking dish.

Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
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Friday, October 19, 2012

Recipe Swap Roundup - Blogger's Choice Part 8

In the time I've been hosting the recipe swaps I've never missed a single swap. Until now. But, I have a very good reason. This past week we took Baby Girl to California to visit my dad and stepmom and she got her first taste of the magical world of Disney. We had a blast seeing her experience all the rides, characters and fun that makes up Disneyland. I can't wait to take her back - she's a total fanatic now.

I knew with the week leading up to our trip being hectic at work (isn't that always the way?) and then being out of town I wouldn't have a chance to participate in the swap. Check out what the other ladies made in the links below.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Feta, Tomato & Basil Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Lately I've been obsessed with stuffed portobello mushrooms. They're a great vegetarian option that's hearty enough to serve as a main dish. Plus SP loves mushrooms so it's almost a foregone conclusion that he'll enjoy dinner. These Goat Cheese, Tomato & Basil Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms are another delicious recipe from Brianna over at Oiishi Food.

photo (38)
Just like the last time I made one of her stuffed portobello recipes, I modified the directions for the oven. We use a charcoal grill and it can be hard to control the heat of the fire.

I decided to change the cheese to feta because I needed some for another recipe later in the week. I would love to try these with goat cheese because I love the creaminess, but the feta worked very well. I also realized these were a lot like the Greek Pita Pizzas I made awhile back, which call for shredded mozzarella on top, so I added some to the mushrooms. I also wilted the spinach before adding it to the mushrooms because it tends to give off a lot of liquid and I didn't want to water them down.

These were hearty and delicious, served with crusty bread to sop up all the sauce from the balsamic, oil and tomatoes. Thanks for another winner, Brianna!

Feta, Tomato & Basil Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Modified from Oishii Food

4 portobello mushrooms
Balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Dried oregano
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
1 large tomato, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4oz feta cheese, crumbled
Cooking spray
1/2 bag baby spinach
4oz mozzarella, shredded

Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a knife, scrape the brown gills out of the mushroom caps. Discard gills. Remove and discard stems. Place mushroom caps on a large plate and drizzle both sides with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and season with dried oregano, salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, toss the chopped tomato with the garlic, fresh basil and oregano, crumbled feta and a little splash each of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.

Place the mushrooms, gill side facing down, on the baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Flip so the mushrooms are gill side up and roast for another 5 minutes.

While the mushrooms are cooking, spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat, then add the baby spinach. Toss until wilted. Allow to cool slightly.

Remove the mushrooms from the oven. Place a few pieces of wilted spinach in the caps, then top with a few spoonfuls of the tomato and feta mixture. Sprinkle with some shredded mozzarella cheese.

Return to the oven and cook until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is warmed, about 5-7 minutes.
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Friday, October 12, 2012

Pasta with White Beans

It never occurred to me to combine pasta and beans until college. I was living in England my junior year and we had to make our own meals in a communal kitchen. A friend told me about a pasta dish her dad used to make all the time - spaghetti with red kidney beans, diced peppers, onions and olive oil. I think I might have added a chopped tomato but I can't be sure. It was delicious, which shocked me. I made it often since canned beans and pasta were cheap. I can't believe I've never blogged that one for you guys - I need to get on that ASAP.

photo (35)
This Pasta with White Beans and Prosciutto was not new to me. In fact, I made a similar dish with sausage awhile back. I was intrigued by the changes that were made along the way and I had an already-chopped leek in the freezer, so I put this new version on the weekly menu.

I was not disappointed. I left out the prosciutto because it's so darn expensive (plus we prefer to eat it plain or with melon rather than mix it with other things), and also to make this more of a vegetarian meal. Baby Girl loved the sauce but wasn't a fan of the beans. Me, I could have eaten mostly beans and a little pasta. I love, love, love the creaminess of beans. This is a meal I'll be making often.

Pasta with White Beans
Modified from Good Thymes Good Food

1 lb. pasta, any type
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large leek, white portion only, washed and cut into thin rounds
2 (15-oz.) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
A pinch of ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
Zest of 1 large lemon, plus a squeeze of juice
Large handful of fresh basil leaves, shredded
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta. Cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large deep sided skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil. Add leeks and sauté until soft, 5-6 minutes. Add in the beans, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and sauté 1 minute. Add the stock and simmer about 6 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat, add the cream cheese and lemon zest. Stir until the cheese is melted. Add the cooked pasta to the pan containing bean mixture. Add in prosciutto, basil, and half of the parmesan and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately with remaining parmesan.
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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Greek Chicken Salad Sandwiches

I love chicken salad. It's so easy to make and the flavor combinations are endless. Last summer I made chicken salad at least once a week but this summer it just wasn't on my radar. Then I saw Josie post these Greek Chicken Salad Sandwiches and I was kicking myself for not making chicken salad more often.

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Since SP isn't a fan of most Greek flavors this was all mine to enjoy. And enjoy it I did. Immensely. You can't go wrong in my book when you combine all those ingredients together and stuff them in a pita. I poached two chicken breasts, one for me for this recipe and one for SP (just mixed with salt, pepper and mayo), and when I added all the ingredients to my chopped chicken breast I had enough for 4 sandwiches (a pita cut in half and stuffed full of chicken salad). Keep that in mind when making this.

I absolutely loved the flavors in this chicken salad and can't wait to make it again.

Greek Chicken Salad
From Annie's Eats, as seen on Pink Parsley

1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup chopped cucumber (that has been peeled and seeded)
3/4 cup chopped tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives (optional)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 1/2 cups tzatziki sauce (see below)
Kosher salt and black pepper
Pita, for serving

Combine all the ingredients through tzatziki and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve with pita bread.

Because so many of the components have a lot of water, if you are eating this as leftovers, just pour off whatever liquid has accumulated at the top of the salad.

Modified from I Was Born to Cook

1 cup plain greek nonfat yogurt
1 cup chopped cucumber (peel and seeds removed)
1/4 cup chopped dill leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small garlic clove, chopped
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Taste as you go along and adjust ingredients accordingly. Chill before serving.
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Monday, October 08, 2012

Ham, Egg and Cheese Cups

I had my eye on these Prosciutto Egg Cups from the moment I opened Nichole's email submission for the recent Breakfast Swap. The name alone grabbed me but then I read her post and saw how easy they were to make and I was sold.

I've actually been making these for a few weeks now but I didn't want to post about them until after the swap reveal. Since I don't keep prosciutto on hand I subbed regular deli ham. It worked just fine. I've experimented with various cheese as well, based on what we have easily accessible in the fridge. I always have American cheese for Baby Girl so I used that once. In this version I used a fun cheddar-like cheese we got after sampling it at the supermarket. Use whatever you like and have on hand.

What makes these stand out for me is the Italian seasoning. The first time I made these and took my first bite I was floored by the flavor. Silly me had forgotten about the Italian seasoning I'd just sprinkled on a mere 17 minutes earlier. That surprise flavor elevates these to another level.

I've yet to make these in advance and reheat them, but I'm sure they would do so beautifully. Thanks for submitting this awesome recipe, Nichole!

Ham, Egg and Cheese Cups
Adapted from Arepas to Zwetschgen via The Cookaholic Wife

Non-stick cooking spray
6 slices prosciutto or ham
Shredded cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, American, Swiss, etc.)
Dried Italian seasoning
6 large eggs
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375. Liberally spray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.

Arrange each slice of prosciutto (or ham) in the muffin tin, covering the bottom and coming up the sides. Add a pinch of so of the cheese and a dash of the Italian seasoning. Crack one egg into each muffin cup and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake for 15-18 minutes. 15 minutes will result in a semi-runny egg and 18 minutes will result in a fully cooked egg. Allow to cool in the pan for 2 minutes, then run a butter knife around the edge of each cup and gently remove the eggs from the muffin pan.
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Friday, October 05, 2012

Recipe Swap - Panera Bread's Spinach Artichoke Baked Egg Souffle

The theme for the latest recipe swap was breakfast, which happens to be one of my favorite meals to prepare. I generally prefer savory over sweet breakfast foods and I lucked out when I was assigned Panera Bread's Spinach Artichoke Baked Egg Souffle from Joanna. I love spinach and artichoke together, but add in eggs and a flaky crust and I'm in heaven.

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I stuck pretty close to the original recipe, only subbing American for the Monterery Jack cheese and using Pecorino instead of Asiago since I had both on hand. I didn't realize how long these would take to prepare so instead of eating one hot out of the oven I allowed them all to cool, froze three and ate one for breakfast the next day. It was very easy to reheat (microwaved for a few minutes, then crisped up in the toaster oven).

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Next time I'll leave out the red pepper because I felt it overwhelmed the other flavors. I'm hit or miss with peppers in general, though. I think leaving them out will allow the spinach and artichoke flavors to shine, which is what I wanted. These were still very tasty and I'll definitely make them again, being sure to plan ahead so I can enjoy one fresh from the oven.

Panera Bread's Spinach Artichoke Baked Egg Souffle
From Newlywed and Newly Cooking (as published by Good Morning America, 2008)

3 tablespoons frozen spinach, thawed
3 tablespoons minced artichoke hearts
2 teaspoons minced onion
1 teaspoon minced red bell pepper
5 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 8-ounce tube Pillsbury Crescent butter flake dough
Cooking spray
1/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine spinach, artichoke hearts, onion, and red bell pepper in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of water, cover bowl with plastic wrap and poke a few holes in the plastic. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.

Beat 4 eggs. Mix in milk, cream, cheddar cheese, Jack cheese, Parmesan, and salt. Stir in spinach, artichoke, onion, and bell pepper. Microwave egg mixture for 30 seconds on high, and then stir it. Do this 4 to 5 more times or until you have a very runny scrambled egg mixture. This process will tighten up the eggs enough so that the dough won't sink into the eggs when it's folded over.

Unroll and separate the crescent dough into four rectangles. Don't tear the dough along the perforations that make triangles. Instead, pinch the dough together along those diagonal perforations so that you have four rectangles. Use some flour on the dough and roll across the width of the rectangle with a rolling pin so that each piece of dough stretches out into a square that is approximately 6 inches by 6 inches.

Spray four 4-inch baking dishes or ramekins with cooking spray. Line each ramekin with the dough, then spoon equal amounts of egg mixture into each ramekin. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Asiago cheese on top of the egg mixture in each ramekin, and then gently fold the dough over the mixture. Beat the last egg in a small bowl, then brush beaten egg over the top of the dough in each ramekin.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until dough is brown. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes, then carefully remove the soufflés from each ramekin and serve hot.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Chicken Stroganoff

As much as I love traditional beef stroganoff, we've been trying to cut down on the amount of beef we eat. I saw this recipe for Chicken Stroganoff in the latest issue of Food Network Magazine and thought I'd give it a try.

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I subbed chicken breasts for the thighs because I already had them in the freezer. I also upped the amount of chicken broth to make more sauce. For some reason this was a little salty, but still yummy. I think it was a little too saucy so I left the chicken broth as 1 cup (the original amount) in the ingredient list below.

Chicken Stroganoff
As seen in Food Network Magazine, October 2012

Kosher salt
12 ounces wide egg noodles
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
4 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika, plus more for topping
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup low-sodium chicken or mushroom broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup sour cream, plus more for topping
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook as the label directs, then drain.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, the chicken, flour, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring, until the chicken browns, about 3 minutes.

Add the chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a gentle simmer; cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Continue simmering gently until the chicken is cooked through, about 2 more minutes.

Divide the noodles among plates. Top with the chicken mixture, parsley, some sour cream and paprika.

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