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Texas Maryland Blue Crabs
sun dried tomato shrimp pasta
spicy corn chowder, popovers
crockpot barbecue brisket, corn on the cob, Texas toast
beef with broccoli, rice
garlic and rosemary pork loin, parmesan baked potato halves, green beans
oven baked chicken parmesan, garlic fat bread, broccoli

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bagels


I adore bagels, they are one of the few breakfast foods that I actually enjoy. But I am very particular in how I like to enjoy my bagels. They have to be lightly toasted with just butter. No spreads, no schmears, no toppings. Plain toasted bagels with butter. Since I am so simple in my tastes, the bagels have to be quite spectacular. And this recipe, adapted from Sophisticated Gourmet, does not disappoint.  Miss F had so much fun trying to shape the bagels, she wasn't always successful, but she sure enjoyed trying to make the perfect circles.  Miss F is also a purist like I am, she has been enjoying a plain bagel with butter each morning for breakfast.  But she doesn't like them toasted...or even sliced!
Bagels

1 ¼ cups warm water
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 ½ cups bread flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons cornmeal

Add ½ cup of the water to the bowl of a stand mixer, stir in the sugar and then sprinkle the yeast over top. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the flour and salt, then the remaining ¾ cup of water. Mix until well combined. Using the dough hook, knead the dough for 10 minutes at medium-low speed. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with a towel, place in a warm spot and allow it to rise for 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and let rest for 10 minutes more. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, shape each into a round ball. Gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball and form a ring, stretching each one until there is about a ½ inch hole. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

While the dough is resting, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and lightly dust a baking sheet with the corn meal.

Reduce the boiling water heat to medium, using a slotted spoon, add the bagels to the water. Simmer for 2 minutes and flip over each bagel and simmer for 2 minutes more. Place the boiled bagels onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
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Monday, May 22, 2017

Butter Shrimp


Miss F served crawfish macaroni and cheese at her school Farm to Table presentation. One of her good buddies had chosen to present on shrimp. His mom brought in a crockpot full of shrimp and there wasn't a shrimp left! All the kids loved them, especially Miss F. I got the "recipe" from his mom and there wasn't much to it, but it was a huge hit at our house with Miss F's Grammy and Grandad.  My friend recommended HEB's house rub, but I realize that HEB isn't a national chain.  Any seafood rub will work, whatever best suits your taste.  I bet it would be amazing with Cajun seasoning as well. 
Butter Shrimp

¼ cup butter
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon HEB House seafood rub (or your favorite spice blend)

Heat the butter over medium high heat, once melted, add the shrimp to the pan. Sprinkle the shrimp with the rub and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Serve.
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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Chocolate Mousse


Miss F has a chocolate mousse obsession. Every since she first tasted it in Paris, she has been hooked. And I agree! I also had it for the first time in Paris as a kid and I adored it. It came out in a giant communal bowl and you served yourself from it. Not the most sanitary way to enjoy chocolate mousse at a restaurant, but it was delicious nonetheless.   This is a great dessert to serve at a dinner party because everything is done in advance.  Last dinner party I served this in cute little glasses that I got at the dollar store.  You can top with whipped cream if you are feeling indulgent and whatever fresh berries you have on hand work great. 
Chocolate Mousse

4 cups chilled heavy cream
8 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat 1 ½ cups cream in a 2-quart heavy saucepan until hot over medium-high heat. Whisk together the yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a metal bowl until combined well, then add the hot cream in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it registers 160 degrees on the thermometer. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in vanilla.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a glass bowl in a microwave at 50 percent power 3 to 5 minutes), stirring frequently. Whisk custard into chocolate until smooth, then cool.

Beat remaining 2 ½ cups cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Whisk one fourth of cream into chocolate custard to lighten, then fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly.
Spoon mousse into 16 (6-ounce) stemmed glasses or ramekins and chill, covered, at least 6 hours. Let stand at room temperature about 20 minutes before serving.
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Monday, May 15, 2017

Instant Pot Rotel Chicken

Instant Pot Rotel Chicken

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
1 can Rotel tomatoes with chiles

Place the chicken in the Instant Pot and cover with the Rotel. Set the Instant Pot to “Poultry” for 30 minutes. Once the Instant Pot is done, do a quick release of the pressure. Shred the chicken with two forks or add it to a KitchenAid mixer and shred with the paddle attachment. Serve in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, etc…
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan


Miss F saw oven baked chicken parmesan on an episode of Pioneer Woman, but I didn't love the recipe at all. She really wanted to make it, so I decided to make up my own version. This recipe seems like it has lots of steps, but it is really quite easy. And it makes a ton. I served it with a pound of spaghetti...leftovers for days!  I hate frying in my kitchen and this chicken turned out nearly like the original recipe, which requires even more pans and lots of oil.  This is going into regular rotation for our dinner around here.
Oven Baked Chicken Parmesan

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
¼ cup red wine
1 can tomato paste
2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 egg
¼ cup water
1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 cup shredded Mozzarella

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat. Saute the onion for 2 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds more. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, then add the tomato paste. Stir in the diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the chicken breasts into ½” thick pieces. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the egg and water. In another shallow bowl, stir together the bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Dip each chicken piece in the egg, then into the breadcrumb mixtures, tossing well to coat completely. Place the chicken into the prepared baking dish. Spray each chicken breast with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces from the dish, add the prepared tomato sauce to the dish. Nestle the chicken breasts into the sauce. Top the chicken with the remaining Parmesan cheese and the Mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes more. Serve.
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Monday, May 8, 2017

Crawfish Macaroni and Cheese


Miss F's big school project was "The Back 40 Museum" aka her Farm to Table project. Each kid selected a food and researched the process of farm to table. Of course Miss F selected her most favorite food: crawfish. She mad an incredible 3D model demonstrating the process of catching to table and filmed a crawfish commercial promoting her project. She also prepared a short speech to give when people visited her display at the museum. It was a spectacular project, but we had one issue. We had to make 40 "bites" of food that worked with her theme. She wanted to do boiled crawfish, but I think that wouldn't have gone over too well with the school. I don't think they had any interest in 40 2nd graders peeling crawfish tails. I suggested that we make crawfish mac n cheese, take it in a crockpot and serve it in little cups. I was worried that most of the kids wouldn't even want to try crawfish, but I was shocked to find that I was quite wrong. Many kids came back for second and third helpings...one girl had never had crawfish before and she absolutely loved it. Success!
Crawfish Macaroni and Cheese

4 tablespoons butter, divided
12 ounces crawfish tailmeat
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
¾ pound macaroni, prepared per package instructions.


Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the crawfish tails and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the tails from the pan. Add the remaining butter and reduce the heat to medium-low. Once the butter has melted, whisk in the flour. Cook the roux for 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Whisk in the milk. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the cheese and Cajun seasoning until the cheese is melted. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the crawfish tails and macaroni. Serve.
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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Chipotle Vegetable Dip


My best friend was visiting from Colorado, so I had a few friends over to hang out and enjoy some TexMex. We drank two bottles of tequila worth of margaritas (oy!) and had a fantastic time. Neither the BFF nor I like traditional TexMex sides, we both detest beans, so I decided to make a spicy dip to go with our chicken fajitas, chips, guacamole and queso. Feel free to adjust the chipotles to your taste, I used three and it had quite a nice kick.  I served it with fresh cut bell pepper, cucumber, carrots and broccoli, but any dip worthy vegetable will do.
Chipotle Vegetable Dip

16 ounces sour cream
2 to 3 chipotles in adobo
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
Juice from one lime

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, process until smooth. Serve with fresh cut vegetables.
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