Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chutney & Cilantro Chicken Salad

This is a yummy twist on traditional chicken salad.  I leave the walnuts out.  I like it that way.  Serve with baguette slices or crackers or by itself. 

 
CHUTNEY & CILANTRO CHICKEN SALAD
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup mango chutney, large pieces chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 6 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper


Mix chicken, walnuts, cilantro, celery and red bell pepper in a bowl.


Whisk mayo, chutney, and lime juice and pour over chicken mixture.  Mix well. 


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Scotcheroos

These are a good old classic.  I only make them when I have someplace or someone to take them to because they can be deadly.  I can fly through a row in no time.  They are THAT good.  Consider yourself warned.


 
SCOTCHEROOS

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Cook sugar and corn syrup until sugar dissolves.


Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter.


Stir in Rice Krispies.  Mix until cereal is well coated.


Press mixture into a 9 x 13 pan.  I like to really pack it down.   


Melt the butterscotch and chocolate chips and spread over the top. 


Let chocolate set and cut into bars. 


Mmmmm.  Mmmmmm.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie and Oreo Brownies

This is another fave of mine from A Bountiful Kitchen.  You really can't go wrong with a chocolate chip cookie, Oreo, and brownie all in one!  The recipe calls to make these in a 9 x 13 pan and then cut into squares.  This last time I made them I baked them in regular-sized cupcake pans.




CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE and OREO BROWNIES
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips (this last time I used mini chocolate chips)
  • Oreo cookies (or Double Stuff Oreos if you so desire)
  • 1 package brownie mix, prepared as directed on the box 
  • caramel topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper.


Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.


Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.


Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix just until combined.


Fold in chocolate chips.


Press the cookie dough evenly into the pan.


Place the Oreos on top of the cookie dough.


Spread or drizzle the caramel topping on top of the Oreos.


Prepare brownie batter as directed.


Pour brownie batter on top.


Bake for about 50 minutes.


Bars are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out with a bit of a moist crumb attached.


Remove from oven and let cool completely, about 2 hours.


Cut into squares and serve.



TIPS for the CUPCAKE VERSION:
  • Place a small (if you use too much the cup will overflow) amount of the chocolate chip cookie dough in the bottom of each cup. 
  • Use a tart tamper to flatten out the dough.
  • Place an Oreo on top of the dough
  • Top with brownie mix.  Again, do not overfill the cup.  I did and it made a mess!!
  • I wouldn't recommend using the caramel for this version.  It made the brownie/cookie too sticky and difficult to remove from the cupcake liner.  They were really good without it. 
  •  Bake for about 20 minutes. 

Green Enchiladas

I came across this recipe a few years back when I was looking for something that I could make using all of the tomatillos that my sister-in-law Britney gave me from her garden.  She had a particularly good harvest that year! 

This is, hands down, my favorite enchilada ever!  I love the green enchiladas at Cactus and Pesos, and these come pretty darn close.  Also, they taste even better the next day. Most things do. 

The roasted tomatillo salsa is so good that I always make more than the recipe calls for to have extra and sometimes make it on its own to have with tortilla chips or quesadillas.  It is pretty easy and so flavorful. 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GREEN ENCHILADAS

ROASTED TOMATILLO SALSA

  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked
  • 1 white onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 lime, juiced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.


On a baking tray, roast tomatillos, onion, garlic, and jalapenos for 12 to 15 minutes.


Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor.


Add the cumin, salt, cilantro, and lime juice and pulse mixture until well combined but still chunky.



ENCHILADAS

  • olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • cilantro
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, meat shredded (If you want your enchilada meatier, use the meat from 2 rotisserie chickens or add a couple of cooked chicken breasts.)
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 flour tortillas
  • 1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

GARNISH
  • sour cream
  • chopped tomatoes
  • cilantro

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.


Add the onion and cook until soft and caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes.


Add the garlic and cumin then cook for a further minute.


Sprinkle on the flour and stir to ensure the flour doesn't burn then gradually add the chicken stock to make a veloute.


Continue stirring over a low simmer until the flour cooks and the liquid thickens.


Turn off the heat, add half of the roasted tomatillo salsa, some additional fresh chopped cilantro and fold in the shredded chicken meat.


Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.


Change the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees and begin assembling the dish.


Take a large baking dish and smear the bottom with some of the reserved tomatillo salsa.


Put a scoop of the shredded chicken-enchilada mix followed by a sprinkle of the shredded cheese in each tortilla.


Roll the tortillas and place seam down in the baking dish. 


Pour some salsa over the top of the enchiladas and top with the remaining shredded cheese.


Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes until bubbly and cracked on top.


Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, chopped tomatoes, and cilantro. 


Sourc: Tyler Florence 

Tom Douglas' Bread Salad

My friend Sandi is more passionate about salad than anyone I know.  She loves salad and orders it often when we're out together.  I feel like I struggle with finding and/or making salads that I actually want to eat.  A salad needs a little something special for me to talk myself into it.  In this case, the special ingredient is the grilled bread.  Does that defeat the purpose of a salad?  Maybe, but oh well! 

SIDE NOTE:  The greens I used in this salad were in a produce box that I got as a favor at a wedding I went to this last weekend.  My friend Brittany got married on a farm out in Monroe and each guest left with a small box of veggies grown on the farm.  Best and most useful wedding favor EVER!!  Thanks Britt and Ben!  Oh, and congrats!

This recipe is from Tom Douglas' cookbook Seattle Kitchen.

And here's my signed message from Tom himself:




TOM DOUGLAS' TUSCAN BREAD SALAD with FRESH MOZZARELLA and BASIL




MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Combine vinegar, mustard, shallots, thyme, and garlic in a bowl.


Slowly whisk in the oil in a steady stream until the dressing emulsifies. 


Season to taste with salt and pepper. 


** Dressing can be made and stored up to a week ahead.  Whisk well before using. 


BREAD SALAD

  • 4 slices rustic bread, 1 inch thick
  • olive oil
  • 24 good black olives, preferably oil-cured
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 4 cups loosely packed salad greens (arugula, spinach, watercress, kale, or a mix), washed, dried, stems trimmed, and torn into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon pesto OR 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 4 lemon wedges
  • freshly ground black pepper

Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil.


Grill bread on both sides until golden and nicely marked by the grill or toast both sides under the broiler. 


Cut the bread into bite-size cubes using a serrated knife. 


Put the bread in a serving bowl with the olives, tomatoes, mozzarella, and greens. 


Whisk the pesto or basil leaves into the vinaigrette. 


Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well.  There should be enough dressing to soak into the bread, but the salad greens should  not be drenched. 


Divide salad among 4 plates.


Top with Parmesan and pine nuts and garnish with a lemon wedge. 



NOTE:  The version below is a little heavy on the greens.  Normally there would be more bread.  I was making this for a bigger group so the ratio got a little off. 



Corn & Bean Salsa

This is another recipe from one of my co-workers.  It makes for a great recess snack!  I've tried lots of versions of this salsa/salad and I like this one the best.  It's a little unusual that it has Italian dressing in it, but trust me, it's tasty.  It's great with tortilla chips, on top of enchiladas, or as a little side salad.




CORN & BEAN SALSA
  • 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 4-5 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 3-4 avocados, diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 packet Good Seasons Italian dressing, prepared according to package directions
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Combine beans, corn, green onions, and tomatoes. 

Right before serving add avocados, lime juice, and cilantro. 

Add dressing (however much you'd like) and mix.

Add salt to taste. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dutch Babies & Maple Syrup

I really love breakfast food, but I am not a morning person.  When school is in, my breakfasts tend to be super lame (String cheese and orange juice, anyone?)  because I'm just not super hungry and don't have time for anything else. 

But, I love a good breakfast during the summer or on the weekends.  Dutch babies are one of my faves.  They are a little salty and sweet at the same time (Love that!) and the ingredients are things you tend to have on hand. 


DUTCH BABIES
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup flour

Place the butter in a Pyrex pie pan and set in a 425 degree oven. 

While the butter melts, mix the batter in a blender.

Puts eggs in blender and whirl for 1 minute. 

With motor running, add milk, then flour. 

Remove pan from oven and pour in batter. 

Bake until puffy and golden (20 to 25 minutes).

Serve with syrup, powdered sugar, fruit, or whatever tickles your fancy!

When you take the Dutch baby out of the oven it will be puffy and beautiful.  It will deflate as it cools, but don't worry, it'll still be de-lish!


Henry and Sophie, my niece and nephew, came for a sleepover so we made Dutch babies for breakfast.  Check out their piles of powdered sugar and pools of syrup.  : ) 



Here's another variation for Dutch babies that I like.

CINNAMON APPLE DUTCH BABIES
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
In 12 inch frying pan melt butter and stir in cinnamon and sugar on medium heat. 

Add apples and cook until apples are translucent. 

Place pan in 425 degree oven while you mix the batter. 

In a blender, whirl eggs and flour until smooth. 

Add milk.

Pour batter over apples. 

Bake about 15 minutes or until puffy and golden. 


MAPLE SYRUP

I really don't like store bought syrup.  I don't care for how thick it tends to be because it doesn't seem to sink in the way I like it to.  Homemade syrup is SOOOOOOO easy and you can make it the consistency you like depending on how much corn syrup you include. 

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon mapeline
  • 1/4-1/2 cup corn syrup

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fish Tacos

There are lots of variations of fish tacos, but I like this one the best because it's pretty easy.  This recipe if from a food blog that I often read called A Bountiful Kitchen

My favorite part of these fish tacos is the pineapple/mango salsa.  I love the fish combined with the fruitiness of the salsa.

PINEAPPLE & MANGO SALSA


  • pineapple
  • mango
  • cilantro
  • red onion
  • fresh lime juice
  • salt and pepper

Sorry to be annoying and not include specified amounts, but this one is really just according to taste.  I just tend to work with what I have.  If you only have pineapple, that's fine or vice versa with the mango.  I really like using both though.  Trader Joe's sells a tropical fruit medley with both pineapple and mango.  I usually buy that because I don't need to make a ton of the salsa.



FISH TACO WHITE SAUCE
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayo
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • cilantro, chopped
  • milk  
Place the sour cream, mayo, taco seasoning and chopped cilantro in a bowl.

Mix together until blended.

Thin with milk until it is a good consistency to drizzle over your fish tacos. 



FISH
  • 1-2 pounds of fish (I like tilapia)
  • fresh lime juice
  • salt and pepper

Squeeze the juice of one lime over the fish fillets.

Generously season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Grill over low heat about 5 minutes on each side on a barbecue grill that has been generously greased.

OR:

Broil in the oven for about 7 minutes.

Check to see if the fish is done by flaking with a fork. If the fish flakes apart easily, it is done.


OTHER THINGS YOU'LL NEED
  • corn tortillas
  • cabbage, thinly shredded


VARIATION:

I get frustrated with corn tortillas.  I've tried all the tricks to get them to not fall apart and have tried a bunch of different brands.  If this sounds familiar, try making a fish taco tostada instead.  Prepare a crispy, cheesy, corn tostada found here and then build your fish taco on top of it:  fish, shredded cabbage, white sauce, and pineapple & mango salsa. 

And ta-da!






Friday, August 3, 2012

Homemade Oreos

This post is for my friend Joyce, who loves treats as much as I do. When I told her I was starting a blog, she asked if I was going to put this recipe on it. Of course, Joyce, of course. In fact, she was telling me about a time when she made these with her sisters and tested out different fillings. They made cream cheese, chocolate, and mint frostings for between the layers. Mint was the winner!  I'll have to get her mint frosting recipe someday, but for now I'll be sharing the recipes for the original cream cheese frosting and a fluffy peanut butter frosting, my personal favorite. 

These cookies are as easy as they get.  The trick is to keep the cookies soft (I am pretty opposed to crunchy cookies) and to have a good frosting-to-cookie ratio.  Ratios involving frosting are always important and, in my opinion, should be close to 1:1. 

Here are some with blue cream cheese frosting that I made for a boy baby shower.
















HOMEMADE OREOS
  • 2 packages Devil's food cake mix (I use Betty Crocker cakes mixes.  For some reason, other brands don't turn out as well.)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs

Mix cake mix, oil, and eggs using a mixer; it will be a thick mixture. 

Roll batter into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet with Silpat (silicone baking sheet).

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. 

NOTE:  When you pull the cookies out of the oven, they will be a little puffy.  I like to use the bottom of a drinking glass to flatten the cookies out while they are still hot.  This makes them nice and flat and lump-free.

Let cookies cool completely on a cooling rack. 

Spread filling between two cookies.

NOTE:  I like to use a pastry bag to spread the frosting.  It's way faster, looks better, and provides enough frosting so it's not all cookie. 

ANOTHER NOTE:  If you like a good portion of frosting on each cookie, you'll need more than the cream cheese frosting below.  I would double it to make sure you have enough.  If you prefer a thin layer, the amounts below are plenty. 


CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Cream cream cheese and butter together in mixer.

Add vanilla.

Add powdered sugar, a little at a time and beat well after each addition. 



Here's the peanut butter frosting version: 















PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING
* from allrecipes.com
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Mix butter and peanut butter in mixer. 

Gradually mix in the powdered sugar, a small amount at a time, beating well after each addition.

When the frosting thickens, add needed milk, a little at a time. 

Beat for at least 3 minutes or until it is a little fluffy.

NOTE:  I would suggest using something other than natural peanut butter for this recipe.  The separate oil in natural peanut butter makes it difficult to get the right texture for the frosting.  Stick with hydrogenated oils on this one.