Saturday, January 25, 2014

Risotto

This a recipe from the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.  It was my first attempt at Risotto and I was scared to do it.  I've heard horror stories about gummy risotto or undercooked risotto.  I followed her recipe almost exactly.  I reduced the amount of cheese she added, but other than that it is very much the same.
Ingredients:
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. Arborio rice
  • 8 C. chicken stock
  • 1 C. Parmesan, Romano, or Asiago cheese (or a mixture of all three)
  • 1 C. heavy cream
  • 2 T. chives, chopped
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • ½ t. black pepper
Directions:
  1. Add the chicken stock to a medium size pot and place over medium heat until the stock comes to a boil.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the olive oil and butter.
  3. Add the onions and sauté for about 10 minutes or until translucent.
  4. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
  5. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat the rice thoroughly. Adding 1 C. at a time, add the 8 C. of chicken stock, stirring frequently.
  6. As soon as it appears that the rice has absorbed each helping of broth, add in the next helping. This process will take at least 20 minutes. Rice is done when it no longer has a hard bite.
  7. When the rice is done, add in the heavy cream, cheese, chives, salt, and pepper.
  8. Heat through and serve hot.
Tips and Tricks:
  • This is a slow process.  Don’t try to rush it.  Allow each cup of chicken stock to fully absorb before adding the next cup to the skillet.
  • This is the base for risotto, but be creative and add what you like to mix: sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, capers, asparagus, etc.



Saturday, January 18, 2014

Something Special Party Nuts

These party nuts are the perfect combination of spicy, sweet, and salty.  It is a great addition to cocktail hour or even just a special afternoon treat!
Ingredients:
  • 1 C. pecan halves
  • 1 C. whole cashews
  • 1 C. walnut halves
  • 1 C. almonds
  • ¼ t. ground cumin
  • ¼ t. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ t. garlic powder
  • ¼ t. onion powder
  • ¼ t. black pepper
  • ½ t. chili powder
  • ½ t. cayenne pepper
  • ½ C. white sugar
  • ¼ C. water
  • ¼ C. (1/2 stick) butter
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  3. Place all of the nuts in a big bowl and sprinkle all of the spices over the nuts.
  4. In a sauce pan, combine the sugar, water and butter over medium heat.  When the mixture comes to a boil, cook for one minute and the remove from the heat.
  5. Pour the mixture over the nuts and stir well.
  6. Pour the nuts onto the cookie sheet and spread them out into a single layer.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes and then remove and stir the nuts until all are covered with the syrup.
  8. Return to the oven and bake for 6 minutes and then remove and allow to cool before serving.
Tips and Tricks:
  • I use a can of mixed nuts for this recipe with almonds, cashews, and pistachios.  It worked well.




Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thai Coconut Green Curry with Chicken and Zucchini

We are adventurous eaters, nothing too crazy, but we do like to try foods from lots of different ethnic backgrounds.  Thai is a great one, because of the variety of food choices.  I always told people that I didn't like curry, but come to find out, it is not that I don't like curry, I just didn't like the ONE curry dish I tried years ago.  This is a great recipe to try if you are just getting your feet wet on trying NEW things.  It's spicy, but NOT tongue numbing, and you can adjust the amount of curry paste you add.  Give it a try and if you do, send me a comment!
Ingredients:
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 C. onions, finely chopped in semi circles (1 medium onion)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 (4 oz.) can green Thai curry paste (less if you don’t like the heat)
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut into bite size pieces (about 2 breasts or 6 tenderloins)
  • 1 lb. chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, cut into bite size pieces (about 3 thighs)
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans coconut milk
  • 1 T. fish sauce
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • ½ T. sugar
  • 2 zucchini, cut into semi circles about ½ in thick
  • ¼ C. fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • Cooked rice, for serving
Directions:
  1. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, sauté the onions in the vegetable oil until soft about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and the curry paste and cook for two minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and stir fry for two minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk and incorporate the curry paste into the milk.
  5. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer until the chicken is cooked through about 10 minutes.
  7. Add the zucchini and allow to simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  8. Serve in a bowl with cooked rice on the side.  Place sambal (chili paste) on the table for those who like extra heat!
Tips and Tricks:
  • I use Maesri brand curry paste and Chaokoh brand coconut milk, they can be found at most international food stores.
  • This freezes great!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sausage Cornbread Dressing

This is a cornbread dressing recipe that I got out of a school cookbook.  I added a few of my own touches, but it is fairly easy to make and has great flavor.

Ingredients:
  • 2 boxes of Jiffy cornbread, prepared, cooled, and crumbled
  • ½ loaf of French bread, stale, cut into cubes
  • ½ C. (1 stick) butter
  • 1 C. onions, chopped
  • 1 C. celery, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch of green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. pork breakfast sausage
  • 1 T. of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 1 t. sage
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans chicken broth (you won't use it all)
Directions:
  1. In a Dutch oven, sauté onions, and celery over medium heat in the butter until soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add sausage and chop it up while it cooks for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the green onions, Creole seasoning, and sage and cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Add some cornbread, chicken broth, and then some french bread, alternating and scrapping the bottom of the Dutch oven often. (you might not need all the cornbread, I usually only use about 3/4 of the pan of cornbread and about 1 ½ cans of the chicken broth.  Keep adding until it feels like the proper consistency.)
  6. Cook for 10 minutes and continue scrapping.
  7. Remove the dressing from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  8. Place the dressing in a casserole dish or baking pan.
  9. When you are ready to serve, bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Tips and Tricks:
  • Make the cornbread the day before you make the dressing.
  • You need a really sturdy spoon to stir this dressing.  It gets thick as it cooks, but it’s important to keep it moving.
  • I have served this at a pot-luck dinner and skipped the baking step.  I put it in a crockpot and kept it warm for hours.  It still tastes great.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Snickerdoodle Cookies

These are great cookies.  The recipe is from "Two Peas and their Pod".  It is a cross between a shortbread cookie and a sugar cookie, but it has lots of cinnamon flavor, the cinnamon chips are the trick.
Ingredients:
  • 2 ¼ C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 2 t. cream of tartar
  • ½ t. salt
  • 1 C. (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • ¼ C. granulated sugar
  • ¾ C. packed brown sugar
  • 1 (3.4 oz.) box of instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 C. (12 oz. bag) Cinnamon chips
  • ¼ C. sugar/½ t. cinnamon, mixed together for rolling
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sifted flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla with a hand mixer.
  4. Add the vanilla pudding and then add the eggs, one at a time and continue to beat.
  5. Add the flour mixture about ½ C. at a time.
  6. Stir in the cinnamon chips.
  7. Scoop the cookie dough and roll into balls.  Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar and then place on a cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  9. Remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and allow to cool on a baking rack for 2 minutes before serving.
Tips and Tricks:
  • Cinnamon chips are fairly new, but the brand I used is made by Hershey's.  You can find them by the chocolate chips.
  • I use a 1 ½ inch scoop to make a 3 inch cookie.
  • I use parchment paper on my cookie sheets.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Chicken with Fig Preserves and Chili Powder Glaze

This is an easy entree.  It cooks quick and couldn't be easier to make.  It has such great flavor, everyone will think you worked REALLY hard to make such a delicious meal.  {Your secret is safe with me.  ; )  }
Ingredients:
  • 8 chicken thighs or drumsticks, or a mix
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1 t. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • ½ C. fig preserves
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • ½ t. Sriracha hot sauce
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place all of the ingredients, except the chicken, into a gallon sized plastic bag and squeeze all of the ingredients together inside of the bag.
  3. Place the chicken in the bag and squeeze the glaze over the chicken.
  4. Line a cookie sheet or baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray, place the chicken on the foil and spoon the excess glaze over the chicken.
  5. Bake the chicken for 30 – 40 minutes. 
Tips and Tricks:
  • The Sriracha is not necessary but I like a little heat.  If you don’t, then don’t add it.
  • You can use any type of preserves for this recipe.  I really like the fig, but I think apricot would be good as well.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Summer Corn Salad

Can't get easier than this, a quick fix side dish for lunch, dinner, or pot luck.
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. frozen sweet corn, white or yellow or mixed
  • ½ C. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ C. cilantro, finely chopped
  • ¼ C. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ C. olive oil
  • ½ T. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 1/8 t. cayenne pepper
Directions:
  1. Boil the corn in a medium sized pot with ½ C. water for 5 minutes.  Drain and reserve.
  2. Combine the last 6 ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Toss the corn and Parmesan cheese together with the other ingredients.
  4. Refrigerate to serve cold or serve at room temperature. 
Tips and Tricks:
  • I use Green Giant corn.  I think it tastes better.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fried Rice

This is a recipe I found from a blog called "Iowa Girl Eats".  I changed it up a bit after reading some other recipes for fried rice.  This was a quick fix meal that we really enjoyed.
Ingredients:
  • 2 C. leftover prepared rice
  • ¼ lb. of salami or ham, sliced and cut into squares
  • 2/3 C. frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 shallots or ¼ of an onion, chopped
  • ½ C. celery, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 3 t. sesame oil, divided
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 2 T. fish sauce 
Directions:
  1. Whisk egg with 1 t. of sesame oil in a small dish then set aside.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add salami or ham and then stir fry until it starts to brown, about 2 minutes.
  3. Heat remaining teaspoon oil in the wok and then add frozen mixed vegetables, shallots, celery, and green onions. Stir fry until tender, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
  5. Push vegetables to the side of the wok then add egg and sesame oil mixture into the center and scramble.
  6. Add the rice, fish sauce, and soy sauce to wok then toss well to combine.  Cook for 2 minutes until all the ingredients are hot.
Tips and Tricks:
  • I don’t use a frozen vegetable mix for this recipe because I don’t like it.  I use 1/3 C. of frozen lima beans and 1/3 C. of frozen corn.
  • I know the salami sounds crazy, but I found a recipe which called for a Chinese sausage that was described and sounds a lot like salami.  I tried using what I had, salami, and the fried rice had a GREAT flavor.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Broccoli Casserole

This is a traditional southern casserole: cream of mushroom soup, cheese, butter, mayonnaise, etc.  This is a Paula Dean recipe that I tweaked.
Ingredients:
  • 1 (32oz.) bag of broccoli florets, frozen
  • ¼ C. (½ stick) butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ C. mayonnaise
  • ½ C. sour cream
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 eggs, beatened
  • 1 C. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 t. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • ½ t. black pepper
  • 1 sleeve of Club or Ritz crackers, crushed 
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil water in a large pot and add the broccoli florets to the boiling water for 5 minutes.
  3. Strain the broccoli, allow to cool, and then chop.  Reserve.
  4. In a small sauté pan, over medium heat, sauté the onions in 2 T. butter until soft, about 10 minutes.
  5. In a large bowl add all of the ingredients, except the crackers and the remaining 2 T. butter, and mix well.
  6. Spoon the ingredients into a 13”x 9”x 2” baking dish and cover with the cracker crumbs.
  7. Melt the remaining 2 T. butter and pour over the crackers.
  8. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the crackers are browned and the casserole is bubbly.
Tips and Tricks:

  • I don’t like chopped broccoli, but if you do, you could use chopped broccoli for this recipe.  I use fresh broccoli sometimes and I use about 1 lb. of broccoli florets, which is about 4 C.
  • I use Cream of Celery soup instead of Cream of Mushroom for this recipe.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Deviled Ham Spread

I am a Southern lady and I have made deviled eggs many times, but this was my first attempt at making deviled ham and I am SO glad that I did.  I had deviled ham, pimento cheese, and deviled eggs as an appetizer at High Hat Restaurant recently.  I was determined to make my own.  This is combination of recipes.  I hope you enjoy.
Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. ham, cut into slices or cubes
  • 1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ C. mayonnaise
  • ½ C. green onion, finely chopped
  • 2 T. honey
  • 2 T. sweet relish
  • 2 T. Crystal hot sauce
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. Creole mustard
  • 1 T. paprika
  • ½ T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 t. salt
  • ¼ t. cayenne pepper
Directions:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped and well incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, once or twice while processing.
  2. Place the deviled ham in a bowl and cover.
  3. Refrigerate overnight or at least for 4 hours, before serving with assorted crackers or thinly sliced pieces of a baguette.
Tips and Tricks:
  • Leftover ham is great for this recipe, but if not use a ham steak, it works the best.
  • The honey is the secret ingredient for this recipe.  You may be tempted to leave it out, but you will be sorry if you do.