Friday, January 30, 2015

Chipotle Chicken Skewers with Creamy Dipping Sauce

Chipotle Chicken Skewers with Creamy Dipping Sauce
When I saw these skewers on the amazing Tide and Thyme, I knew I had to make them. I always keep chipotles in our freezer, I love the smoky heat that they add to dishes. We ate these as a main dish, but they would make a great appetizer as well.  Miss F is fascinated by any food on a stick, so she was excited to eat them.  The dipping sauce is perfect, it has a great tang, but cools off the heat from the chipotles sufficiently.  I might try these next time with bell peppers and onions, they would be a fantastic addition to the chicken, I might even wrap the whole thing up in a tortilla.
Chipotle Chicken Skewers with Creamy Dipping Sauce

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
1 teaspoon adobo sauce
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
12 bamboo or metal skewers

¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
juice from one lime
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Slice the chicken breasts into long, thin strips, about 1/2-inch thick. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, garlic, chipotle chile, adobo sauce, salt, and pepper. Toss the chicken with the brown sugar mixture coating all the pieces evenly. Cover the chicken and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

For the dipping sauce, in a bowl, stir all the ingredients together. Cover the mixture and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes until the flavors combine. Cover the bamboo skewers with water and soak for 15 minutes. Skip this step if using metal skewers.

Preheat an oven broiler or gas/charcoal grill. Weave two strips of chicken onto each skewer. Broil or grill the chicken for 5-8 minutes until cooked through, using nonstick cooking spray on a foil-lined pan if you are broiling. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Crockpot Balsamic Pot Roast

Crockpot Balsamic Pot Roast
We have had a cold winter this year, it was 75 degrees yesterday, but overall, it has been cool for Houston. On Mondays, I don't get home until after 5pm because of Miss F's dance class. Crockpot meals are such an easy way to have a home cooked meal even when we get home late in the evening. I thought for sure C would call out the vinegar usage, but he didn't recognize it at all, thank goodness. He even took leftovers for lunch the next day.  This makes a large amount of food, so we both got to enjoy leftovers. I adapted this recipe from Julie's Eats and Treats.
Crockpot Balsamic Pot Roast

1 cup beef broth
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, pressed
3 pound beef roast
1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
1 pound red potatoes, quartered
1 small onion, chopped

In a small bowl, whisk together the beef broth, brown sugar, balsamic, flour, soy sauce, red pepper and garlic. Set aside. Spray the bowl of the crockpot with cooking spray, place the roast in the bowl. Top with the carrots, potatoes and onion. Pour the broth mixture over top, cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
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Monday, January 26, 2015

Sesame Chicken and Green Beans

Sesame Chicken and Green Beans
Sesame chicken and green beans may overtake Sriracha Chicken Stir Fry as my most favorite quick and easy stir fry dish, especially since it doesn't involve peeling any carrots, which I despise.  I had never made a stir fry using boneless chicken thighs before and I totally regret not trying it sooner.  It made for such a flavorful dish that wasn't dried out at all, it really was amazing.  This meal was a huge hit at our house, which meant the leftovers all got sent out for lunch.  Which made me a little bit sad that I didn't get any.  Next time, I will be sure to make more!  This dish was inspired by Tastes Lovely, but very little of the recipe stayed the same.  I really changed up most of it to better suit my tastes.
Sesame Chicken and Green Beans

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
½ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon Sriracha
½ teaspoon sesame seed oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 garlic clove, minced

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 pound green beans, chopped
½ yellow onion, sliced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 cups cooked white rice

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, broth, corn starch, Sriracha, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger and garlic. Set aside.

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat the vegetable oil. Add the green beans, onion and chicken; saute for 3 to 5 minutes, until the beans are crisp tender and chicken is cooked through. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables, toss well to coat. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve over rice.
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Pork, Pineapple and Peppers

Pork, Pineapple and Peppers
This recipe is an adaptation of a dish my old roommate used to make. It is a comforting dish for me, I have been eating it for nearly 15 years, man am I old!  I changed up the original recipe from chicken to pork, because I had thick cut pork chops that needed to be used, but boneless skinless chicken breasts work great as well.  I had several cans of pineapple on hand from the cupcake towers for Miss F's birthday party, so this was a great way to use one of those up.  Miss F refused to eat the pineapple, the kid can eat her weight in Dole Whip, but if you get the fruit in front of her, she flat out refuses.  Drink pineapple juice?  Sure.  Try the fruit?  No way.  Silly girl. 
Pork, Pineapple and Peppers

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped into bite size pieces
1 pound pork loin, cut into bite size pieces
1 bell pepper (any color), chopped into bite size pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 can (8 ounces) pineapple chunks in juice
1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons corn starch
3 tablespoons water
2 cups cooked brown rice

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, pork, bell pepper, garlic and ginger and saute until the pork is cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, Worcestershire, pineapple, tomatoes and chicken broth. In a small bowl, whisk together the corn starch and water, whisk the slurry into the pan and bring to a simmer for 2 minutes more. Serve over brown rice.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Giant Meatballs and Spaghetti

Giant Meatballs and Spaghetti
One of Miss F's most favorite foods is meatballs. She loves them, I don't. The nice part of meatballs is that unlike a meat sauce (which I also don't love,) I can easily leave them off my plate. These were C and Miss F approved, both battling over the leftovers for their lunches. I used ground sirloin because it was on special at the grocer, but any ground meat combination you like would work just fine in these meatballs.  These meatballs are huge and Miss F could easily have taken down five in one sitting, that is how much she loves them.  On our last visit to Chicago, the hotel served meatballs as one of the dishes for the complimentary appetizers.  My kid ate an embarrassing amount of meatballs, but still had plenty of room for daddy pasta after.
Giant Meatballs and Spaghetti

1 pound ground sirloin
¼ cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

½ onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup red wine
1 six-ounce can of tomato paste
2 14.5-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

¾ pound spaghetti

In a bowl combing the sirloin, bread crumbs, egg, garlic and Italian seasoning. Mix well to combine and form meat into meatballs, about 2-inch around. Refrigerate for a half hour.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook meatballs until well browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet.

Add the onion to the skillet and sauté until soft, about three minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits in the pan. Add the tomato paste and cook for two minutes more. Add tomatoes, sugar. basil, oregano, red pepper, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Return the meatballs to the pan and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes more.

Meanwhile, prepare the spaghetti per package directions. Drain and toss the spaghetti with the meatballs and sauce. Serve.
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Monday, January 19, 2015

Sweet Meyer Lemon Bread

Sweet Meyer Lemon Bread
Miss F made this dish entirely herself, I only assisted with the removal from the oven. We were meeting my parents for lunch on her last day of winter break and she requested to make two loaves, so we could take one to Grammy. My mom loves lemons as much as Miss F, so it was quite a sweet gesture.  Miss F really enjoyed this bread, we ended up making a third loaf once this one ran out.  Thanks goodness we have a huge Meyer lemon supply.  I love calling this bread instead of cake, makes me feel better about having a slice for breakfast. 
Sweet Meyer Lemon Bread

2 extra large eggs
¼ cup Meyer lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
1 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 Meyer lemon, juiced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9 by 5 inch, 3-inch deep loaf pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon juice and sugar. Fold in the sour cream, flour, baking powder and baking soda. Gently fold in the butter, just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 8 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 25 to 30 minutes more, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

In a bowl, stir together the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice. Adjust the sugar as needed. Drizzle the frosting over the warm bread, it will set before serving.
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Friday, January 16, 2015

Pizza Chips Pizza

Pizza Chips Pizza Crust
C and Miss F both love pizza chips, they are quite a favorite around here. I decided to make pizza with the same dough recipe and it worked fabulously.  I made two pizzas, doubling the recipe, one for C and Miss F (pepperoni) and one from me and my parents (veggie.)  I really love making homemade pizza so much more than ordering out, I just wish that I had two ovens so that we could all enjoy pizza at the same time. I  usually make the pepperoni first, then I am stuck waiting for my pizza pie.
Pizza Chips Pizza

½ cup warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ cups bread flour

½ cup crushed tomatoes
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
pepperoni, artichoke, bell pepper, tomatoes, spinach, etc...

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the water, yeast and sugar. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, until the mixture begins to get bubbly. Add the salt, oil and half of the flour. Turn on the mixer on low and add remaining flour ¼ cup at a time, until it is all incorporated. Swap out the mixer for the dough hook and knead for 6 minutes. Form into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees with a pizza stone inside. Form the dough into a 12 inch circle and place on parchment paper. Spread the crushed tomatoes over the prepared crust, then sprinkle the mozzarella over top. Spread whatever toppings you prefer on top. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Let cool for 2 minutes, then cut with a pizza slicer.
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Chicken Saltimbocca Pasta

Chicken Saltimbocca Pasta
I had never tried the one pot pastas I have been seeing all over Pinterest.  I admit, I was really wary that the results would work out or not.  After having this pasta, I regret not having made it sooner.  Only one dirty pot and we had a complete pasta dinner.  I adored this pasta.  Miss F firmly rejected the prosciutto, she had tried some in the grocery store after the deli counter clerk offered her a slice, I don't think she was a fan.  I know if she tried it, she would like it, but there was no convincing her.  I added artichokes because I had some on hand, I think they really enhanced this dish.  I can't wait to try other one pot pastas!  Which ones are your favorites?  I adapted this from Taste of Home Cooking.
Chicken Saltimbocca Pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, sliced crosswise into 1/3-inch strips
8 large fresh sage leaves, plus 2 tablespoons minced
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat and cut into bite sized pieces
¼ cup chopped onion
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
12 ounces dried linguine, broken in half
3 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook for five minutes, until crispy. Add the sage leaves and cook for 30 seconds more. Use a slotted spoon and remove the prosciutto and sage to a paper towel lined plate. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chicken to the pan, sautéing until cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm on a plate. Add the remaining oil and stir in the onion. Cook until softened, about five minutes. Stir in the artichokes, garlic, minced sage and red pepper flakes, cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the flour, then whisk in the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about two minutes. Stir in the broth and water, then add the pasta. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer, stirring often, until the pasta is tender and the sauce has thickened, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the chicken, capers, butter and lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste, serve topped with the crispy prosciutto and sage leaves.
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Monday, January 12, 2015

Chipotle Chicken Chowder

Chipotle Chicken Chowder
I love chowder in the winter, especially with a cheddar sour cream biscuit on the side.  Clam chowder is my absolute favorite, but I knew that wouldn't go over very well with C.  When I saw this recipe from Our Best Bites, I was intrigued.  I always keep chipotles in the freezer, they add great spice and flavor.  This soup was amazing, easily the best chowder I have ever made.  Miss F loved it, C loved it and I loved it.  It doesn't get much better than that.  I always know I have a winner when both C and Miss F ask for leftovers in their lunch.
Chipotle Chicken Chowder

4 tablespoons butter
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
½ onion, minced
1 large bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle chili, chopped
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
5 cups milk
1 russet potato, peeled and chopped
2 cups frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Adobo sauce from chipotle chilies to taste (2-3 teaspoons)
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Melt butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Saute the chicken, onion, garlic, and bell peppers, for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chili, saute a minute more. Add the flour and cook 2 to 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Whisk in the broth and cook until the flour is smooth and the broth is starting to thicken. Add the milk and bring to a simmer. Add the potato, corn and beans, bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the milk isn’t burning. Add the salt and adobo sauce to taste. Serve topped with sharp cheddar cheese.
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Friday, January 9, 2015

Southwest Buttermilk Chicken Thighs

Southwest Buttermilk Chicken Thighs
I have had this recipe bookmarked for the longest time. The original recipe called for boneless thighs, but I prefer to cook thighs bone-in.  I loved this chicken!  It was so full of flavor and the buttermilk made the meat so incredibly tender.  Miss F was equally a fan, she ditched her fork and knife and ate it straight off the bone.  She still refused the mashed potatoes, but was happy to eat all her broccoli, so I figured it wasn't a battle worth fighting.  I hated mashed potatoes when I was a kid, what was I thinking?!?!
Southwest Buttermilk Chicken Thighs

½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 chicken thighs
½ cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x9 glass baking dish. In a small bowl, stir together the cumin, paprika, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Coat the chicken with the spice mixture and place in the prepared baking dish. Pour the buttermilk over the chicken, cover the dish loosely with foil and bake for 1 hour. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Pan Roasted Lemon Herb Chicken

Pan Roasted Lemon Herb Chicken
The citrus madness continues around these parts, I love this time of year.  When we used to have a boat, we would always take fried chicken to eat on the water, Miss F calls it "boat chicken."  She was quite disappointed when C cut up her chicken thigh and tried her best to eat what was remaining off the bone, "boat chicken style."  I loved this dish, there is just a subtle hint of lemon, it isn't overly powerful at all.  I liked searing the skin in the pan to get it crisp, then finishing off the chicken in the oven. This recipe is inspired from A Pumpkin and A Princess.
Pan Roasted Lemon Herb Chicken

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon lemon zest
6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
1 lemon, sliced

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large oven safe skillet, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir together the salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, lemon zest and remaining tablespoon of olive oil; rub onto the chicken thighs. Saute the chicken, skin side down, for five minutes. Flip the chicken over, add the lemon slices and put the pan in the preheated oven. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, serve.
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Monday, January 5, 2015

Frosted Lemon Cookies

Frosted Lemon Cookies
Every year my friend Brandi hosts an amazing cookie exchange and every year I come home with six dozen amazing cookies. Miss F picked out a nut-free variety for her lunch box every day and these lemon cookies were picked for three days straight. She was obsessed! Brandi had made them for the exchange and shared the recipe she used for them with me. Miss F requested that we make a whole batch for Christmas and I happily obliged. I used Meyer lemons for this recipe, but they are just as delicious with regular lemons. I dipped the cookies in the powdered sugar and lemon juice mixture, it's more of a glaze than a frosting, which makes it easy for six year olds to "frost."
Frosted Lemon Cookies

2 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter softened
¾ cups sugar
1 egg
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 cups powdered sugar
3-5 tablespoons lemon juice

Mix the flour, salt and baking powder; set aside. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg, zest, and juice, mix until combined. Slowly stir in the dry ingredients. Put bowl of mixer in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes. Roll into tablespoon balls and press (used the floured bottom of a glass). Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not allow to brown, just until centers set. Cool on wire racks.

Whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice, frost the cooled cookies.
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Friday, January 2, 2015

Citrus Steak Fajitas

Citrus Steak Fajitas
I love using citrus in fajitas, especially when we get fresh citrus from my parents' trees. This year their trees haven't been as prolific as the last couple of years, so hopefully that means that next year will be bountiful! We have had a very plentiful bell pepper and tomato supply from the garden all year long, which is perfect for fajitas. The sweet little yellow tomatoes were perfect on this dish. I used skirt steak in this recipe because it was on sale the week I made the fajitas, but it would be equally delicious with sirloin or flank steak. Just select whichever you can get the best price on. I adapted this recipe from Sweet Beginnings.
Citrus Steak Fajitas

1 pound Sirloin, Flank or Skirt Steak
Juice 1 orange
Juice of 1 lime
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
3 minced garlic cloves
1 bell pepper, any color, sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil
8 tortillas
½ cup diced tomatoes
½ cup shredded colby jack cheese

In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, oil, sugar, cumin, chili powder and garlic. Place the steak in a large Ziploc bag, pour the marinade overtop. Seal and toss to coat, allow to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour. Preheat the grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove the steak from the marinade and grill for 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Toss the bell pepper with the olive oil and grill for 3 to 5 minutes. Slice the steak against the grain, serve on warm tortillas topped with tomatoes and cheese.
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