Sunday, June 7, 2009

Arroz Con Pollo

I have been searching for a good "Arroz con pollo" recipe for quite some time. I found this one on the "For the Love of Cooking" blog. (see link on the right). It looked sooooooo good, so I decided to try it. It didn't disappoint.... I could barely wait to eat it! While it was simmering on the stove, I kept sneaking tastes. TRY THIS RECIPE, if you have any love of food at all, TRY THIS RECIPE!!! It is a new family favorite that we will be making again and again.

4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 chicken thighs with skin and bones
Paprika, to taste
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
Cumin, to taste
2 tsp olive oil
1 small sweet yellow onion, diced
4 bell peppers, diced ( I used red and green)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 c. chicken broth
1 pinch of saffron
1 cup rice
3 T cilantro chopped
1 c frozen peas, thawed.

Cook the bacon in a large dutch oven/saute pan. Once the bacon is cooked, drain on a paper towel and then crumble; set aside. Season the chicken thighs with a bit of each kind of seasoning, to taste. Cook the chicken thighs, skin side down first for 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate.

Add the olive oil to the Dutch oven over medium heat, once hot, add the onion, bell peppers and a bit of each seasonings to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the garlic then cook, stirring constantly, for 60 seconds. Add the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, saffron, rice, crumbled bacon and half of the cilantro. Stir until mixed thoroughly, taste the broth and re-season if needed. Add the chicken in an even layer and simmer over medium low heat, partially covered for 25 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally so the rice doesn't' stick to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the finished dish with the thawed peas and the remaining cilantro. Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mac and Cheese topped with Breaded Chicken Parmesan

A couple of months ago, I asked for anyone who wanted to share some recipes for me and my family to try to email them to me. My friend Stacey immediately sent a couple over my way and I am finally getting around to posting about them!! Thanks for sharing Stace! Keep em coming!
"Martha Stewarts homemade Mac and Cheese". I don't know if my kids will ever enjoy mac and cheese out of the box again! I also added some breaded parmesan chicken strips for some protein.

Martha Stewarts Mac and Cheese

(from Stacey T.)

Her notes: "I am going to write out the recipe as Martha has it, BUT we found it to be too thick done that way. We prefer to cut the recipe in HALF and still put it in a 9x13 pan. Try it both ways and see what works for you".

4 T. butter, plus more for the baking dish

Salt and Pepper

3 c. Elbow Macaroni

Two 12 oz cans evaporated milk

1/3 c. skim milk

2 large eggs

1/2 t. seasoned salt

1/4 t. garlic powder

Two 8 oz packages extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

One 8 oz package Monterey Jack cheese, grated

Paprika for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter a 9x13 glass baking dish; set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil; add salt and macaroni. Cook until Al Dente according to package instructions. Drain, and return to pot. Add butter, and toss until pasta is coated and butter has melted; Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whick together evaporated milk, skim milk, and eggs. Add seasonings; set aside. In another medium bowl, combine cheeses; set aside.

3. Place 1/3 macaroni in an even layer in the bottom of prepared baking dish; cover evenly with 1/3 of cheese mixture. Repeat with remaining macaroni then cheese mixture. Pour milk mixture evenly over contents of baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake until the top layer is lightly browned, 35-45 minutes. Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

**I had to use penne pasta because I didn't have macaroni at the time and it worked fine.**

Breaded Parmesan Chicken

boneless, skinless chicken strips

1-2 c. bread crumbs (depending on how much chicken you are making)

1/2 c grated parmesan cheese

1 T lemon zest

1 T lemon juice

3 egg whites

1 T. corn starch

Mix egg whites and lemon juice. and corn starch and wisk to combine; set aside. Mix bread crumbs, parm cheese, lemon zest. Season with salt, pepper, garlic salt to taste; set aside.

Dip chicken first in egg mixture and then into crumb mixture to coat. Saute in a medium high saute pan in about 1 T olive oil until browned and chicken is cooked through. Serve over macaroni if you wish. (Or to make a different meal, serve over spaghetti with tomato sauce and cover with melted mozzarella cheese).

Blueberry Cobbler

Gage had his plate clean and was licking the rest of it in about 30 seconds. Do I need to say more? This is the time of year for blueberries... I love them. I hope you do too. Enjoy.
4 cups fresh blueberries
4 tablespoons white sugar

1/3 cup lemon juice
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
In a 9x13 baking dish, mix blueberries, 4 tablespoons sugar, and lemon juice. Set aside. In a small bowl, thoroughly mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually add flour mixture, stirring just until ingredients are combined. Drop batter by rounded tablespoons over blueberry mixture. Try to cover as much of filling as possible.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Chicken Dumpling Casserole

A while ago, I asked for people to email some family favorites to me so that I could try them. I am finally getting around to posting about a few of them. This casserole is from my friend Stacey T. Another comfort food casserole for ya. Kid and tummy pleasers for sure!! Thanks, Stace!!!

Chicken Dumpling Casserole

2 cans cream of chicken soup

2 c. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into bite size pieces

1/2 c. water

2 packages crescent rolls

2-3 c cheddar cheese, grated

Mix together soup and water. Pour enough to cover the bottom of a 9x13 pan ( save the rest ). Roll out rolls and fill each one with cooked chicken and some cheese. Roll up starting with the pointed end and place in pan right next to each other. Pour rest of soup on top and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

**Some changes to try, if you want:

I added 2 chopped green onions and an 8 oz package of cream cheese to the chicken before I rolled up the rolls. I also used milk instead of water to keep the soup creamy for the gravy.**

Creamy Peas, Potatoes, and Carrots. Can you say "Summertime"???

This is a summer favorite for soon as the peas, new potatoe's and carrots start coming out of the garden, this is on the table almost every night!! Creamy, fresh, comfort food at it's finest!

8-10 new potatoes, cubed

2 cups fresh (can use frozen) peas

2 cups carrots, chopped

Add potatoes and carrots to a large sauce pan and just cover with water. Cover and bring to a boil, cook for about 15-20 minutes, until tender. Add the peas during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain.

6 T. butter

6 T. flour

3 c. milk

1 T. dill

1 chicken boullion cube

salt, pepper, garlic salt to taste

In a small saucepan, stir butter and flour together on low heat until combined and creamy. Add milk, dill, and chicken boullion cube and cook until thickened. Season to taste. Add to potatoes, peas, and carrots and gently combine. Serve immediately.

*Can use fresh dill if available*.

Ravioli with Checca Sauce

I love italian food!! I crave it all the time! One of my favorite italian chefs is Giada De Laurentiis. I have all of her books and love to try the different combinations of pasta's and sauce. This is her recipe for "Checca sauce". It is fresh and delicious! It is a fresh tomato sauce that you don't cook (perfect for summer when it is too hot to be turning on the oven...). Best when tomatoes are fresh and in season... I paired it with ravioli's this time, but have also done it with angel hair pasta as well. Try it for a fun twist on tomato sauce! Add a green salad and you have a fresh, summer meal!

1 (12 oz) bag of cherry tomatoes, halved
3 scallions, white and green parts, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 (1 oz) piece of Parmesan cheese, coarsely chopped
8 fresh basil leaves
3 T. olive oil
4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the cherry tomatoes, scallions, garlic, Parmesan, basil, and oil ust until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped (DON'T PUREE!). Transfer the sauce to a large bowl. Stir in the mozzarella cheese and 1/2 tsp each of the salt and pepper. Season the sacue with more salt and pepper to taste. Toss the sauce immediately with your choice of freshly cooked pasta.

Chicken Florentine Salad

This is supposed to be a close second to the original Macaroni grill salad. I couldn't get enough of it!! I got the recipe from one of my new favorite cookbooks called: "Salads, dressings, and vinaigrettes." by Angela Hextell. This has the most amazing dressings and salads that you can even imagine!!! This one is my close favorite. I think number one will have to got to the salad with the olive garden dressing. IT IS AMAZING. I 'll have to share that another time.
Chicken florentine salad

Orzo pasta, cooked and cooled
Sund dried tomatoes
Pine nuts (toasted)
shredded parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh spinach
Lemon juice ( about 1/2 T).
salt and pepper
Marinated chicken breasts thinly sliced (marinate in bernstiens dressing before grilling)
Marinated artichoke hearts

Toss above ingredients with the "favorite mustard champagne vinaigrette. (recipe follows). Splash with balsalmic if desired and sliced parmesan cheese.

Cover salad with thinly sliced grillled chicked breasts and enjoy!

The favorite Mustard Champagne vinaigrette:

3 T champagne vinegar
1/2 t. dijon mustard
1/2 t fresh garlic, crushed
1 extra large egg yolk at room temp
3/4 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1/2 c olive oil

Wisk all together until everything is playing nice and then poor over salad.

Steak Diane with Garlic Carrots and Green Beans.

This was a fun, kind of fancy meal that we all enjoyed the other night. We had eaten Steak Diane at Cheesecake Factory and loved it, so I searched the web and found the following recipe. The carrots and green beans are my creation. We love green beans and have them A LOT for a sidedish, so I experiment with them to come up with new ways to serve them. This is a keeper for sure! (and really fast and easy!)

2 (6 oz) Filet Mignons
salt and pepper
2 T butter
3 t Dijon mustard
2 T Shallots, minced
2 T Butter
2 T Lemon juice
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T Fresh chives, minced
3-4 t Cognac
1 T Fresh parsley, minced

Season both sides of steak with salt and pepper. Melt 2 TB butter in a heavy skillet; add steaks and cook approximately 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare; about 2 minutes longer per side for medium. Remove steaks to serving plate and keep warm. Add into pan drippings, mustard and shallots. Sauté over medium heat 1 minute. Then 2 TB butter, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and chives. Cook for 2 minutes. Add brandy; pour sauce over steaks. Sprinkle parsley over the top.

**I doubled the recipe because I was serving 5, not 2, and I used red wine instead of Cognac because that's what I had on hand. It was very melt in your mouth good!!!

Garlic Carrots and Green Beans

A couple of cups of baby carrots
A couple handfuls of fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
(I just use however much I think my family will eat, exact measurements not needed!)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, then add green beans. Boil for about 3-4 more minutes and drain. Add butter and olive oil to saute pan at medium high heat. When butter is melted, add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add carrots and green beans back to the pan and saute for a couple more minutes until they are tendercrisp. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. (I also added some parsley this time because I had some extra already chopped from making the steaks).

Cowboy Pancakes

We call this a cowboy pancake because that's what Matt told us his mom called them. I have also heard them called Hootenanny pancakes, german pancakes, etc, etc, Call them what you like, they are fluffy, fun, and delicious. The kids love to watch the batter "grow" while its cooking in the oven. You can top them with whatever floats your boat at the time: The picture is giving the idea of a nice stawberry jam with powdered sugar sprinkled on top. (My personal fave). My kids like, maple syrup, berries and whipped cream, just to name a few.
Cowboy pancakes

6 eggs

1 c flour

1 c. milk

1/2 t salt

1/2 c. butter

powdered sugar

fresh berries sliced

Any other toppings you may find amusing.

Beat together eggs, flour, milk, and salt for 5 minutes. We do this in a blender and let it get nice and frothy.Meanwhile heat oven to 425 degrees. Place 1/2 c. of butter in a 9x13 baking dish. Put in hot oven just long enough to melt butter ( but not brown it). remove from oven and pour egg mixture in to hot butter. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Pancake with "grow" up the sides of the pan. Cut into slices and cover with the toppings of your choice.

Chicken and Broccoli Divan

This is another comfort food thing for me. My mom used to make this a lot growing up and it just brings me back. (It's also a good way to get the kids to eat broccoli....).

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces. ( I usually season the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic salt )
3 c. broccoli
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 c. sour cream or mayo (taste preference)
curry powder to taste
grated colbyjack cheese
1 sleeve ritz crackers, crushed into crumbs
2 T butter, melted

Mix both cans cream of chicken soup with sour cream or mayo, and curry powder to taste. Add chicken and stir to coat. Place broccoli in a 9x13 casserole dish. Layer chicken mixture on top. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Mix melted butter with crushed Ritz crackers and sprinkle on top of cheese. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted. (You can cook the chicken before mixing it with the cream of chicken soup and then just cook until everything is warmed through and cheese is melted.) Serve over rice. YUM. YUM.

Chicken PIccata

I love this dish! Its one of my favorite things to do with chicken. Lemons just make me happy. This particular recipe came from my "cuisine at home" magazine. Like they say, If you like fresh lemon, tender chicken, and a quick recipe, then this classis italian dish will fit perfectly on your dinner plate..... Chicken Piccata
2 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets ( or breasts cut into cutlets).
Salt and Pepper
All-purpose flour
Nonstick spray
2 T. vegetable oil
1/4 c. dry white wine
1 t. minced garlic
1/2 c. chicken broth
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T. capers, drained
2 T unsalted butter
Fresh lemon slices
Chopped fresh parsley

Season cutlets with salt and pepper, the dust with flour. Coat a saute pan with nonsticck spray, add vegetable oil, and heat over medium high heat. Saute cutlets 2-3 minutes on one side. Flip the cutlets over and saute on the other side 1-2 minutes with the pan covered.Transfer cutlets to a warm platter and pour fat off from the pan. Deglaze pan with the wine and add minced garlic. Cook until garlic is slightly brown and most of the liquid is evaporated. Add broth, lemon juice, and caper's. Return the cutlets to the pan can cook on each side for about one minute. Remove cutlets and let sit on a plate. Finish sauce with butter and lemons. Once butter is melted, pour sauce over cutlets and garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve.


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