Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Risotto with Bacon and Kale

Yesterday I felt like Paula Deen, today I feel like Sandra Lee and her Round 2 Recipes. This recipe is also from Giada and coincides with yesterdays dish. From the roast chicken and vegetables I reserved one chicken breast and 2 of each carrots and parsnips. This was a good way to use all of your leftovers. I thought though that this recipe was just alright. Phil really liked it, so maybe I am just not a risotto fan. I do think I may have over cooked the rice just a tad. So maybe that was it. It wasn't bad, just not my favorite. One nice thing about this risotto though, and I think a lot of people will like this, is that you can put it in the oven. No stirring over the stove for a half an hour. It is a really simple risotto to make.

Risotto with Bacon and Kale
Adapted from Giada de Laurentis

 4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
Olive oil
1 cup arborio rice
3 cups chicken broth, plus 1/2 cup
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup cooked chicken
1 and a half curly kale leaves, steamed and chopped fine
2 roasted carrots, diced
2 roasted parsnips, diced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Preheat a large dutch with olive oil over medium high . Add rice and stir to 2 minutes. Add 3 cups broth and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover with a lid and bake in oven 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and return to stove over medium low heat. Remove lid and stir in chicken, kale, roasted vegetables and 1/4 cup broth. Stir until kale is wilted about 5 minutes. Add extra broth as needed. Stir in cooked, bacon and cheese.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Garlic Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetables

I feel like Paula Deen recently as I have been using a lot of butter in my recipes. But sometimes it is worth it! In this case it is. You get such a moist and golden chicken with butter. The skin isn't as crispy, but I do not think you miss it with this. The drippings from the chicken moisten and flavor the vegetables underneath. Some of the vegetables got a little charred but sometimes that makes the best flavor. I have gotten fond of my husbands roast chicken with injected Cajun butter, but sometimes it is nice for a change up and this was a really good recipe. As long as all goes well, tomorrow I will be posting a recipe that goes with the leftovers of this dish.

Garlic Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables
Adapted from Giada de Laurentis

6 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 whole chicken


3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced into wedges
6 medium carrots, peeled and halved
6 parsnips, peeled and halved
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Season chicken cavity with salt and pepper and squeeze in lemon juice. Spoon 2 tablespoons of butter inside of cavity. Loosen skin and smear butter and herbs under and on top of skin.

For the vegetables, toss in olive oil, herbs, salt, pepper, and garlic. Place in roasting pan.

Place chicken on top of vegetables.

Pour chicken broth in pan.

Roast for 1 and 1/2 hours. Or until chicken is no longer pink.

Lest rest 20 minutes before serving.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

S'more Layer Cake

Cookbook Recipe # 34

Phil got me this cookbook for Christmas this year. I would highly recommend it if you are a cookbook lover like me. Deb Perelman is the author and she has a lot of unique recipes in this book. This S'more Layer cake being one of them. I saw this recipe when I was flipping through it and knew I had to make it. I was trying to figure out what excuse I would have to make it and then I thought, oh Phil's mom's birthday! So that is exactly what I did. Her birthday was today so Phil smoked ribs, which are her favorite and I made this cake.  Oh my gosh the cake was soooo good! The best part was the frosting. I got done making it and had a taste and it tasted like marshmallow fluff but way better. I was supposed to use a kitchen torch to brulee the frosting but I didn't realize that I did not have any butane. So I put it on broil in the oven instead. It still came out really good. Like a marshmallow over a fire. This was a pretty easy cake to make and very impressive!

S'more Layer Cake
Recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

16 tablespoons butter, softened
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups honey graham cracker crumbs
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk


225 grams milk chocolate
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 pinches of salt


4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter two 9 inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then coat with butter.

In a medium bowl mix together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside,

In a stand mixer mix butter, sugar and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add a third of the dry mixture, then half of the buttermilk, a third of dry mixture, then rest of buttermilk, ending with dry mixture. Mix completely.

Divide batter between prepared cake pans.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean in the center.

Cool in pan on wire rack. Then invert onto rack, flip upright, and remove parchment paper. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Combine the heavy cream and salt in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer. Pour mixture over chocolate and let set for one minute. Stir to combine. Cool in refrigerator  stirring every once in a while until it is a spreadable consistency.

Once chocolate is ready, spread on one of the cakes. Then top with the other cake.

Fill a medium saucepan, part way with water and bring to a simmer

For the frosting, place egg whites, sugar and cream of tarter in a heat proof bowl. Place bowl over simmering water and whisk mixture until sugar is dissolved and egg whites are warm to the touch, about 3 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk until glossy peaks form about 5 minutes.  Add vanilla and mix to combine.

Spread a thin layer of frosting on cake and then refrigerate cake for 10 minutes to set. Then generously finish frosting cake reserving some for the top. In a disposable piping bag, fill the rest of the frosting. Pipe dollops onto top of cake.

Set broiler to high.

Broil for about 5 minutes or so or until tops of frosting start to brown.

Serve and enjoy!

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chicken with Mushrooms

Cookbook Recipe #33

As I have mentioned before I love Ina Garten. A lot of people I know do not like her show very well, but I am not one of those people. I think her recipes are very classic and are always delicious. I was watching her show a couple weekends ago and she was in Napa Valley and made this recipe. I know I have made a couple versions of this before, but I just love chicken and mushrooms so I like to try different ways of making it. They usually all come out a little bit different, so maybe one of them can be your go to favorite.

This is Ina Garten's new cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Foolproof. I think this is going to be my favorite book of hers. I marked a ton of recipes to make in this one. Along with the chicken and mushrooms I made her Green Beans Gremolata recipe, and that came out really good. I will be making it another night for sure and post that on its own. The chicken and mushrooms came out really good. This makes a lot of sauce as the original recipe calls to use 2 whole chickens and I only used one chicken. So you could easily halve the recipe. The only thing I would change next time is that I should have browned the chicken a little longer, because the color was not the prettiest. It is a nice recipe for a special occasion because it does seem like a fancier dish.

Chicken with Mushrooms
 Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof

1 whole chicken, cut up
Kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
8 whole cloves garlic
1 1/2 pounds assorted mushrooms
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/4 cup sherry
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups white wine
2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

In a shallow dish put about 1/2 cup flour and coat the chicken pieces.

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large dutch oven. Brown chicken on all sides about 5 minutes.
Remove chicken and set aside.

Add while garlic cloves, mushrooms and thyme. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add sherry and cook for 1 minute. Add minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine, chicken broth, 1 tablespoon salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Add chicken back in. Cover and move to oven. Cook for 30-35 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken from pot and set aside.

In a small bowl combine butter and 1/4 cup flour. Add to the sauce and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Add chicken back in and serve.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Oxtail Soup

For some reason thinking about this soup brings me back to grade school and playing the Oregon Trail on the computer. You always wanted more oxen so that you could fill up the covered wagon with more food and supplies. Well I did anyway. That game was the best! Oxtail, I found, is a great way to flavor soup. I didn't realize that is was made more for flavoring than eating. There was not too much meat to take off the bones to put back into the soup.

 I did really like the deep rich flavor that the oxtails gave the soup. Not a flavor that can be mirrored by using beef broth anyway. This is a great soup for the weekend because it takes some time to build the flavors.

Oxtail Soup

2 pounds oxtails, trimmed of excess fat
8 cups water
4 beef bouillon cubes
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
16 ounces frozen vegetables
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 package Reames Frozen Noodles

In a large pot add water and oxtails. Bring to a boil. Simmer 3 hours.

Take out the oxtails and cut off any meat. Shred meat and put back into soup.

Then add the remaining ingredients besides noodles and simmer another hour.

Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions.

Add noodles to the soup just before serving.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Banana Split Oatmeal

Cookbook Recipe #32

Lisa Lillien is one smart lady. Especially this day in age when everyone is trying to eat healthier. She has found a way to make everyday dishes that are usually full of calories, much healthier. Now you know me, I am not a health nut by any stretch of the imagination. But Phil is usually trying to eat better so I do try to make things that are not way over the top bad for you and try to do stuff that is more middle of the road. What I like about Lisa's recipes is that you do not really feel like you are eating something healthy. She does use a few ingredients that scare me a little bit, like egg substitute and tofu noodles. But for the most part everything is just using low fat and sugar free ingredients, and flavor is not compromised.

This is the first recipe I have made from Lisa's cookbook of over 650 recipes and it did not dissapoint. It tasted very similar to a banana split! The original recipe called to use sugar free preserves but I did not have preserves but a sugar free strawberry spread. I think next time I will make sure that I have preserves because I think the strawberry pieces would have been a nice addition to the oatmeal but it was still very good. This dish was also extremely satisfying, which is another thing that you do not expect with a healthier dish.

Banana Split Oatmeal
Adapted from Lisa Lillien's Hungry Girl to the Max

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
Dash salt
1 cup water
1 cup Vanilla Almond Breeze
2 tablespoons sugar-free strawberry jam or preserves
1/2 banana sliced thin
2 tablespoons fat free whipped cream
1 teaspoon mini semi sweet chocolate chips

Combine oats and salt in a medium saucepan. Add Almond Breeze and water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 12-15 minutes.

Transfer oatmeal to a medium bowl to let cool slightly. Add jam. Top with bananas, whipped cream and chocolate chips.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Creamy Mushroom Marsala Pasta with Garlicky Bread Crumb Topping

I have gone back and looked at this recipe so many times because I thought it sounded and looked sooo good. But then I always found something else to try instead. I finally decided to try it though tonight. Chicken marsala is one of my favorite dishes. I just love the flavors of the marsala wine with the mushrooms and garlic. A lot of my favorite flavors in one dish. I think I just added a new favorite flavor though......garlicky bread crumb topping. Ohhh my! What a great flavor enhancer for pasta. Not the healthiest addition but if you are going for pasta in the first place who cares!

This pasta came out really good but I was bummed I did not have more sauce. It was my fault though because the recipe called to save a cup of pasta water ( a Rachael Ray signature) and I forgot. I have made several pastas of hers and she always says to save the pasta water and I always forget to get it out before I drain it. So I am sure if I saved the water like I was supposed to it would have been saucier. I included the water addition below and bolded it. Maybe you will not forget like me!

Creamy Mushroom Marsala Pasta with Garlicky Bread Crumb Topping
Adapted from Rachael Ray

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1 pound sliced bella mushrooms
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup marsala wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pound linguine
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon minced garlic

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Meanwhile in a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil to medium high. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add mushrooms and cook until golden about 10 minutes.

Season mushrooms with salt and pepper. Sprinkle mushrooms with flour then add marsala. Reduce for 1 minute. Add broth and cream and simmer to thicken.

Once water is boiling add pasta and cook according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat and melt the remaining tablespoons of butter. Add the panko and garlic and cook until fragrant. Remove from heat and cool.

Before draining pasta reserve 1 cup of pasta water and set aside. 

Toss pasta with water and sauce. Top with breadcrumbs and parsley.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Greek Tacos

There have been several recipes now that I have seen on Jeff Mauro's the Sandwich King that I have made not too long after they aired on the Food Network. This is one of those recipes. I made this once before and Phil said that they tasted pretty spot on to a Gyro that you get in a fast food place. Phil really likes Gyros so I thought this would be a fun recipe to try. I am indifferent about Gyros because I am not a fan of the Tzatziki sauce or the relish, so as you could probably guess the picture is Phil's plate not mine. Oh well, at least he likes most everything, so I can get a decent picture from somewhere and not just meat and cheese that is on my taco. If you are a Gyro fan and you do not have a Gyro spit in your kitchen, then this is a perfect recipe for you.

Greek Tacos
Adapted from Jeff Mauro


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground lamb
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons dry red wine


1 cucumber
1 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Cucumber Tomato Relish:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 diced tomatoes
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, diced
Ground black pepper

Non pocket pitas

For the Tzatziki: Grate the cucumber  on the large holes of a box grater and place in a fine meshed strainer fitted over a bowl. Salt the cucumber and let sit 10 minutes. Then squeeze out any excess moisture. Add the strained cucumber into a bowl with the yogurt, feta, and garlic. Refrigerate, until ready to use.

For the cucumber tomato relish: Toss the olive oil, vinegar, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions in a bowl and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Cover and let set at least one hour for the flavors to blend together.

For the lamb: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the lamb, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until the meat gets nice and golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add the oregano and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add tomato paste and red wine and scrape any bits up that have adhered to the pan. Stir to combine.

Assembles tacos and enjoy.

This recipe is linked on: Mix it Up MondaysMelt in your Mouth MondaysOn the Menu Monday,  Makin You Crave MondayYour Creative Time Out Wednesday ExtravaganzaWhat's Cooking WednesdayCast Party WednesdayWhimsy Wednesday

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sweet and Spicy Pork Chops

Cookbook Recipe # 31

Taste of Home recipes are some of my favorite recipes because they never have a lot of ingredients involved.  They are a lot of times ingredients that you have in your everyday pantry. I do not think I have ever had to go  out in search of a "one time" ingredient for a Taste of Home recipe. I love that about their recipes. I found this recipe for Sweet and Spicy Pork Chops in this Simple and Delicious  Taste of Home cookbook I got for Christmas this year from my Dad's girlfriend Lori. The title describes these pork chops perfectly....simple and delicious. The sauce was a really nice flavor for the pork chops. The original recipe was a small amount of sauce when I made it so I increased the ingredients quite a bit to get more yield out of it. I like a lot of sauce! I also used bone in pork chops instead of boneless because I love the juiciness of a bone in pork chop. And yes you are reading the ingredients right, I did add the onion. I did only because I would be able to move them to the side. I know I am weird!  Phil and I both really liked this recipe. When it comes to pork I usually make breaded pork chops, so this was a nice change from that.

Sweet and Spicy Pork Chops
Taste of Home Simple and Delicious

2 bone in pork chops
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 tablsepoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Season pork chops with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a oven proof skillet over medium high heat. Brown pork chops for 5 minutes a side.

Cook in oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes brush sauce on the pork chops. Finish cooking another 5-10 minutes until done.

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Broccoli Slaw with Cranberries and Almonds

 I am always looking for new side dishes. I feel like I fall into the same old trap of sweet potatoes, corn, broccoli, green beans, know the drill. I recently made an oriental coleslaw that came out really good, so when I saw the broccoli slaw at the store I thought I would try to do something similar.

Neither Phil or I are big mayonnaise fans so I wanted to find a recipe that was more vinegar based. I found this recipe on The Perfect Pantry. I really liked the idea of using cranberries and almonds in the slaw. The original recipe called to use Greek yogurt, but I did not have any on hand, so I figured sour cream would be a good substitute. I also decided to add toasted sesame oil because I absolutely love the flavor of it. The slaw came out really really good. It was a great side dish to chicken and I think I will file that away for a party someday as I think it would be easy to make for a lot of people.

Broccoli Slaw with Cranberries and Almonds
Adapted from The Perfect Pantry

1/4 cup raw slivered almonds
1 12oz package broccoli slaw
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

In a small frying pan toast up the almonds over medium heat. About 4 minutes.

In a large bowl add broccoli slaw and cranberries. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey, sour cream, mustard, sesame oil, salt and pepper.

Combine dressing with broccoli slaw. Top with almonds and mix well.

Let sit at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. (Does not have to be refrigerated).

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pretzel M&M Hugs

I know Christmas already has passed and these look like Christmas treats, but lets pretend I like the colors red and green. Truth is, I have a ton of red and green M&M's left over from the candy bar that I did for our holiday party. I have seen these pretzel M&M hugs all over Pinterest utilizing the appropriate color M&M's for different holidays. Phil and I went over to a New Year's party at our neighbors house and I wanted to bring a little snack so I thought these would be a nice little treat. Let me tell you it takes time to unwrap all those hugs. I kinda felt like I was searching for a golden ticket or something. I do however think that these treats look super cute and festive. I will definitely be making them again.

Pretzel M&M Hugs
Recipe from Cooking Classy

70 squares pretzels
70 Hershey's Hugs
70 M&M's

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Place pretzels on cookie sheet. Top each pretzel with a Hershey Hug.

Bake for 4-5 minutes until chocolate is shiny and soft but not melted.

Remove from oven and place one M&M on each pretzel and press down to spread chocolate.

Place in refrigerator for about 20 minutes to set.

Store in an airtight container.