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.

Pin It!

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.
Pin It!

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.
Pin It!

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.
Pin It!

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.

Pin It!

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.

Pin It!

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.
Pin It!

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.

Pin It!

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!
Pin It!