Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Crockpot Meyer Lemon Chicken

Crockpot Meyer Lemon Chicken I adore lemons. C's lemon aversion comes and goes. Miss F loves lemons and ate her green beans dipped in the lemony sauce. So this meal was a success for two of the three of us. C ate the chicken, but proclaimed the potatoes to be too lemony. I know I have seen him eat the lemon potatoes at Niko Nikos before, so I am not sure why he didn't like these. If you are using regular lemons, cut the juice to two tablespoons. I never bother searing meats before they go into the crockpot because I think it defeats the purpose of using the crockpot and I swear I read an article saying it was a wasted effort.  I know I read it from a magazine in my dentist's office, but other than that, I cannot narrow it down.  I adapted this recipe for the crockpot from Prevention RD, who had adapted it from Cooking Light.   
Crockpot Meyer Lemon Chicken

4 to 6 small red potatoes, quartered
½ small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 Meyer lemon, cut into ¼ inch-thick slices and seeded
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
2 tablespoons corn starch
½ teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Layer the potatoes, onions and garlic in the bottom of the crockpot. Place the chicken thighs on top, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer the lemon slices overtop of the chicken. In a two cup measure, whisk together the broth, wine, juice, corn starch and thyme. Pour the broth mixture over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Serve sprinkled with parsley.
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Monday, February 25, 2013

Secret Recipe Club: Brazilian Cheese Bread

Brazilian Cheese BreadI make Pao de Queijo quite often. For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I received the blog Burnt Apple and I was instantly drawn to Brazilian Cheese Bread. It was very similar to Pao de Queijo, but without the mini muffin pan. These cheesy bites were amazing! Even better than the recipe from my mom.  Miss F loved the "cheese puffs" and insisted on having butter on hers.  And she made a specific request to have them packed in her lunch box, so I know she really enjoyed them.  Please check out the links below to see what everyone selected this month for the Secret Recipe Club.
Brazilian Cheese Bread

2 cups tapioca starch
½ cup milk
3/8 cup oil
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ cup water
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg

In a mixer bowl mix the tapioca starch together and set aside. In a large saucepan, bring the milk, salt, oil and water to a rolling boil. Remove the boiling mixture immediately from the saucepan and pour into the starch. With a dough hook, mix the wet and dry ingredients together until thoroughly mixed. Add the cheese and egg and continue kneading until smooth. Place a small amount of oil in your hands and form the dough into golf ball sized balls. Place each ball on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Eat warm.



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Friday, February 22, 2013

Crockpot Cuban Pork Tacos

Crockpot Cuban Pork Tacos This is the second amazing taco recipe I have gotten from Elly Says Opa!  The first was actually a recipe for Short Ribs in Chipotle, but I converted it into tacos.  This one is even better.  I swapped out the bell pepper for cucumbers in the slaw, but other than that I kept it pretty much the same.  Of course C and Miss F went with cheese and salsa on their tacos after proclaiming jicama "disgusting."  Their loss, more leftover slaw for me.  I love the crunch it adds to the tacos.  I had to juice clementines because that is what I had on hand, but that was easy to do in my lime squeezer, so it wasn't too bad.
Crockpot Cuban Pork

1 (2-3) pound pork roast
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon oregano
1 large onion, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
zest of 1 orange
2 limes, juiced
¼ cup chicken broth
Warmed corn or flour tacos, for serving
Jicama Slaw (recipe follows)
Chipotle Cream (recipe follows)

Rub the pork roast all over with the Dijon and oil. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Combine the cayenne, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and oregano in a small bowl. Then, rub the mixture all over the pork. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Place the pork in the crockpot. Place the onions and garlic on top of the pork. Combine the brown sugar, orange juice and zest, lime juice, and chicken broth, and then pour into the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Shred with a fork and serve on tacos topped with Jicama Slaw and Chipotle Cream..

Jicama Slaw

½ jicama, peeled and sliced into sticks
½ cucumber, sliced thin
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into strips or ribbons
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Toss together all ingredients in a medium bowl.

Chipotle Cream

½ cup sour cream
1 chipotle in adobo, finely minced
1 teaspoon lime juice
salt to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl or mini food processor until well combined.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Parmesan Pancetta Pasta Bake

Parmesan Pancetta Pasta Bake by So Tasty So Yummy When I saw this recipe on A Seasoned Greeting, I knew it looked familiar. The six cups of milk stood out to me. I have made Martha Stewart's Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-dried Tomatoes several times and I realized this recipe had been adapted from it.  I had adapted it as well, to make Baked Penne with Chicken, Spinach and Peppers.  I made a few changes to the recipe from A Seasoned Greeting in order to cut down the number of pots.  I love baked pasta dishes, but the numerous pots and pans are always a deterrent.  This recipe is rich, creamy and satisfying.  The best part is that it makes two pans worth.  One to eat now and one to freeze for later.
Parmesan Pancetta Pasta Bake

1 pound penne pasta
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
¼ pound pancetta, sliced thick and diced
6 tablespoons butter
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups whole milk
1 ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease two 9’x9” casserole dishes. Cook penne per package instructions

While pasta is cooking, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Saute the chicken and pancetta for three minutes, until cooked through. Remove the chicken and pancetta to a dish, set aside.

Add the butter to the pan over medium heat. Add flour and garlic cloves. Cook and whisk for 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk and bring mixture to a simmer. Thicken sauce for about 2-3 minutes, whisking the entire time. Take the pan off the heat and gradually stir in the Parmesan, salt and pepper.

Add chicken, pancetta, and pasta to pot and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into two casserole dishes. Sprinkle a half cup of mozzarella over each casserole. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Hoisin Pork Chops

Hoisin Pork ChopsI bought a ton of pork chops from Costco while they were on coupon. And I knew for certain I wanted to make Soy Roasted Potatoes and Edamame Succotash. I had this recipe from Emeril on my computer since September 2011. And I had never made it. And it was absolutely perfect with the potatoes and succotash. The pork was tender and I adore hoisin sauce, so this was a certain win for me. The best part of this meal was that the leftovers made for a wonderful salad the next day. I tossed sliced pork, the succotash and a few potatoes with some mixed greens and a sweet chili vinaigrette. I love a meal that provides leftovers that aren't the same old boring thing again. It rivaled my favorite Thai Chopped Chicken salad from Panera.
Hoisin Pork Chops

¼ cup Hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 pork chops

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the Hoisin, soy sauce, oil, rice vinegar, Sriracha, garlic, and ginger. Add the pork chops and turn to coat. Remove the chops from the marinade.

Add chops to a large sauté pan coated with vegetable oil and sear on until golden brown on both sides, about 6 minutes per side. Pour the marinade over the chops and bake for 10 minutes, or until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer registers 145 degrees. Remove the chops from the oven and set aside to rest for a few minutes.
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Friday, February 15, 2013

Recipe Swap: Mini Blackberry and Chocolate Cupcakes

Mini Blackberry Chocolate CupcakesThe theme of this week's recipe swap hosted by A Taste of Home Cooking was a recipe for a special occasion, which was perfect for Valentine's Day.  I received a recipe for Chocolate Cake with Blackberry Jam Buttercream from Cookies on Friday.  A group of my girlfriends get together every couple months for a Foodie Getogether.  This month's theme was chocolate for Valentine's Day, so I knew this recipe would be just perfect.  I did convert the original cake into mini cupcakes so it would be easier to serve to the girls.  I saved a few to send with Miss F in her lunchbox.  I may have found a new chocolate cake recipe, it was fantastic!  Be sure to check out the other recipes below.
Mini Blackberry and Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
½ cup hot water

½ cup butter, softened
¼ cup blackberry jam
2 cups powdered sugar
1 pint blackberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 48 mini muffin pans with paper liners.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir on low to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, sour cream, vegetable oil, vinegar and hot water and mix on medium until smooth. Pour 1 tablespoon batter into prepared pans and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes; remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely before frosting.

Make the blackberry buttercream filling: In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter and the blackberry jam. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add the powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Add additional powdered sugar if required to get to desired consistency. Frost the cooled cupcakes and top with a fresh blackberry. Serve.



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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chicken with Mushrooms in a Balsamic Cream Sauce

Chicken with Mushrooms in a Balsamic Cream SauceI had pinned a recipe for Chicken with Balsamic Cream Sauce weeks ago. I glanced at the recipe and got the ingredients from the grocer. When I went to review the recipe the night before, it was gone.  The blogger was self-publishing a cookbook, so they decided it would be a great idea to take down their recipes, but leave up the original post.  That did not help my plight one bit and I certainly wasn't going to wait and buy their cookbook.  Luckily, that same day a friendlier blogger had made Champagne Chicken, which inspired me to create my own recipe for Chicken in a Balsamic Cream Sauce.  The original recipe came from a low carb blogger, so I added flour and served it over mashed potatoes...seemed like the right thing to do.
Chicken with Mushrooms in a Balsamic Cream Sauce

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
½ white onion, sliced
1 pound baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
½ cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup heavy cream

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, set aside. Add the olive oil to a large sauté pan and heat over medium-high. Brown the chicken on both sides, remove to a plate. Add the butter to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions, mushrooms and flour; sauté until caramelized, about five minutes. Deglaze the pan with the chicken broth and vinegar; add the red pepper flakes. Stir in the cream. Return the chicken back into the pan, cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.
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Monday, February 11, 2013

Edamame Succotash

Edamame SuccotashI saw this recipe from Cooking Light on Pinterest. I knew I would love it. Bacon, corn, bell peppers and edamame...delicious!  I thought Miss F would be a fan as she loves all the components individually.  She was not.  She wasn't even interested in eating the bacon.  C ate every last bite and told Miss F to eat her peas.  He thought the edamame was actually peas.  He also questioned why it was called "succotash" instead of "mixed vegetables."  I learned that edamame can also be called Mukimame while I was shopping for shelled edamame at Kroger.  These recipe comes together so easily and is a bright addition to your plate.
Edamame Succotash

3 slices bacon
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup chopped sweet onion
1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen, shelled edamame, thawed
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sugar

Cook bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan; coarsely chop bacon. Increase the heat to medium-high. Melt butter in drippings in pan. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add corn kernels; sauté for 3 minutes or until lightly charred. Add edamame, and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar. Return the bacon to the pan. Serve.
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Friday, February 8, 2013

Crockpot Corn and Potato Chowder

Crockpot Corn and Potato ChowderI love soup. I may have a mild soup obsession. One of the problems with Houston is that there is rarely a day cold enough to merit soup. So you just have to suck it up and have soup on a 75 degree day in January. We were recently in Florida and it was 80 degrees, so Miss F and I went swimming. C refused because "there is no swimming in the lower 48 in January!" Well, you have to bend the rules sometimes and that is what makes life fun. Miss F and I had a blast swimming and I enjoyed eating this soup while wearing a sundress. Thanks to Mama Loves Food for the great recipe. I used my stick blender to puree part of the soup, it was super easy to just leave it in the crockpot and whirr away.
Crockpot Corn and Potato Chowder

4 red skinned potatoes, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cups corn
½ onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 to 4 cups chicken broth
1 cup half and half

Place the potatoes, carrots, corn, onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper in the slow cooker. Pour 3 cups of the chicken broth over top, adding more to cover. Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours. Ladle half of the soup into the blender, puree until smooth and return to the slow cooker. Stir in the half & half and simmer in the crockpot for about another 15 minutes, until heated through. Serve.
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cornmeal Crusted Pork Chops

Cornmeal Crusted PorkchopsThis dinner was originally supposed to be made with leftover corn bread from New Year's Day. The planning on my part was not so great as there was no cornbread left to coat the pork chops with. So I decided to go with a simple cornmeal breading, similar to what I use for fried oysters. Turns out it was a happy accident that we were out of cornbread because I loved the crunchy pork chops with cornmeal. Miss F preferred the meat without as much crispy coating, but C and I agreed that the coating was the best part.  I also want to try this cornmeal coating on fish, I just need C to go fishing and actually bring something home!
Cornmeal Crusted Pork Chops

4 ½” thick pork chops
½ cup milk
½ cup cornmeal
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ cup vegetable oil

Soak the pork chops in milk for 30 minutes. Stir together the cornmeal, thyme, salt, cayenne and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge the pork chops in the cornmeal mixture to coat. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the pork chops for 3 to 5 minutes per side until cooked through. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Serve.
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Monday, February 4, 2013

Beef Tenderloin and Vegetable Pot Pie

Beef Tenderloin and Vegetable Pot Pie I sort of love pot pie.  Sort of isn't right...I down right love it.  I get beef tenderloin from the Asian grocer Ranch 99 Market.  It is less than $5 a pound and works perfectly for any recipe needing beef.  The original recipe was a lot more complex and involved making broth with short ribs.  That sounds lovely, but my adaptation works without having to get two types of beef.  Everyone at the table went back for seconds and Miss F ate every vegetable on her plate, even though there was some bribery involved with the puff pastry crust.  At what age is bribery not needed?  And let me tell you how puzzled I am that the bribery was not over the peas and carrots, but over the potatoes.  Miss F is just not a potato fan.
Beef Tenderloin and Vegetable Pot Pie

4 cups beef broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped new potatoes
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup quartered mushrooms
1 cup peas
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 pound beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed, cut into ½ inch pieces

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg, beaten (for glaze)

Add beef stock, tomato paste, bay leaf, salt and pepper to a large sauce pan and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add carrots, potatoes and onion to pot. Simmer until carrots and potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add mushrooms and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and parsley. Mix flour and 2 tablespoons butter in small bowl until paste forms. Stir paste into stock mixture; simmer until gravy thickens, about 3 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter four custard cups or soufflé dishes or one large oven safe dish. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Sprinkle beef tenderloin pieces with salt and pepper. Add beef to skillet and cook just until outside of beef is brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer beef to prepared custard cups, dividing equally or into the large dish. Ladle vegetable gravy over beef in cups, dividing equally. Roll out 1 puff pastry sheet on floured surface to 12-inch square. Using small plate as a guide, cut out four rounds from sheet. Brush edges of pastry rounds with egg glaze. Place 1 round, glazed side down, atop each filled custard cup; press overhang firmly to outside of each cup. Cut 3 vents in each pastry round. Brush pastry with remaining egg glaze. Bake beef tenderloin pies until pastry is golden brown and puffed, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.
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Friday, February 1, 2013

Recipe Swap: Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies

Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip CookiesThe theme of this Recipe Swap was Blogger's Choice. That meant that I could choose any recipe I liked from Three Square Chef and I chose Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies.  She has SO many amazing recipes, it was hard to choose.  I splurged when making this recipe, from the chocolate to the vanilla, I went top of the line and it sure paid off.  I may abandon my go to recipe now and again to make these amazing cookies.  They take way more effort than I usually am up to for cookies, but they are completely worth it.  I may have used every measuring cup and spoon I have in the process.  Be sure to check out the links below to see what other bloggers chose to cook. Thanks to A Taste of Home Cooking for hosting the swap!
Jacques Torres' Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 2/3 cups bread flour
1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon coarse salt
1 ¼ cups unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ pound bittersweet chocolate (I used Valahona 85% dark)
sea salt for garnish

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside. Scoop 6 3 ½ -ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.



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