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Friday, December 31, 2010

Simple Marinated Chicken

 
We are back in the valley of the sun...and lucky for us we were getting used to the cold weather, because believe it or not, when we landed it was only 47 degrees!!!  BRRRRR!!  Now, come on...for people who are more used to it being 110 than below 50, that's freezing!!  It's only supposed to get up to a high of 49 today... 49..that's it.  Yes, I know, most of you are under inches, even feet, of snow...but this is the desert.  The WARM desert.... it's just cold and that's that!

What better way to warm myself than with a recipe that calls for grilling! LOL   Seriously, though, this was something I threw together right before we left....when it was still in the high 70's!!  But I figured if I close my eyes and pretend, I believe it's truly summer grilling weather and all will be fine!!

I know the recipe states it, but this dish was simple.  Simple marinade.  Simple flavor.  Seriously, and I can say this because, once again, it's something I decided to throw together at the last minute.  This was nothing that would knock your socks off, but for the simplicity that it lends to a busy week night makes up for the lack of "wow".

***And don't forget to check out my 1 year blogiversary post where you can enter for a chance to win a $30 gift card from my favorite spice store, Penzey's.  You have until Thursday, January 6th***

Simple Marinated Chicken
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:
Combine all the ingredients except the chicken, in a resealable plastic bag.  Add the chicken, seal the bag, and let marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

Preheat grill to 400 degrees.  Place the chicken directly on the grates over the fire.  Cook for 5-8 minutes on each side or until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle and the juices run clear.  You can also bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Enjoy!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lemon Parmesan Sauce

Before I get started on my post for this simple yet delicious sauce, I want to give a big Happy Birthday wish to my Dad.  Today is his birthday and I could not let the day go by without wishing him a happy happy birthday and to remind him of how much I love him!  Although I wish I could have spent time with him on his actual birthday, I did get to be with him over Christmas and we did get to celebrate his birthday with him a little early.  My dad was the first man I ever loved and he will always hold that place in my heart.  So, Dad..hope you have a fantastic day...Love and miss you more than you know!

Now, the sauce:  This is a simple and tasty sauce that can be used on fish or chicken.  You know me, I love my sauce and simple sauces are my favorite.  Most of my sauces are not healthy, as this is just mayo and parmesan cheese, but sometimes tasty is so much better then healthy!  The fish I served along side this was baked at 400 degrees for 14 minutes and seasoned with garlic salt, pepper, and some paprika.  As for the sauce... it was simple...it was yummy....that is all.

***Don't forget to check out my 1 year blogiversary giveaway where you can enter to win a $30 gift card to my favorite spice store, Penzey's.  You have until Thursday, January 6th to enter***

Lemon Parmesan Sauce
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
pepper (to taste)

Directions:
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth.  Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to use.  Can be made 5 days in advance.  Serve with fish or chicken.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

And what a year it's been...

A year ago today, after receiving much encouragement and much help from Chris, I started this blog.  My first post was a simple post.  An introduction to what was to come.  There were no recipes, there were no pictures...just me welcoming you to come with me on this crazy culinary journey.

At that time, I never imagined that I would have over 100 followers or, better yet, that I would form some lasting friendships.

As I look back through the past year of posts, I giggle a little.  There were times where I thought, why am I doing this?  No one cares.  I didn't even have any followers other than family and friends who I'm sure felt more obligated to follow than anything else (bless their hearts that they did it anyway, though...love you all!!).  But than slowly, ever so slowly, people started taking interest in what I was posting.  And even though I have always said I started this blog for myself..not for the followers, not for the comments, but me and only me..I must confess that it felt good that people were finally noticing my site!!!


A year later and my pictures and content are better and I reached the one goal I set for myself:  Create more of my own recipes.....which I have!! YAY!

So to all of you who have watched me grow...thank you!  Thank you for your kind words, your encouragement, your friendship.  And because of you, I am going to be giving away a $30 gift card to my favorite spice store, Penzeys Spices.  Although you may not have a Penzeys near you, they have a wonderful online store where you can browse their entire selection of herbs, spices, and seasonings.  So, go ahead, stock up on many needed items to fill up your spice rack...it's on me :)

So what do you have to do to enter this giveaway?  Well, it's easy...all you have to do is leave a comment here telling me what spice you cannot live without.  That's it.  Well, you also need to leave me your email address in the comment.  Please spell everything out...for example:  jennsfoodjourney(at)gmail(dot)com   
....And that's really it.  You have until Thursday, January 6th to enter this contest.  The winner will be announced on Friday, January 7th.

Good luck!   And thank you...thank you for being a part of my journey!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

With the holiday now upon us, I have decided to give myself a little gift.  I think I have been pretty good this year and that I deserve it, so why not.  My gift to myself will be allowing myself to take a much needed break over the next few days.  I am going to go enjoy my holiday and relax and spend time with my family and not cook a damn thing!  And if I do, I'm at least not going to take a picture of it or blog about it.  I'm going to gorge myself on candy and cookies and pizza and ham and probably a little turkey and mac and cheese....mmmmmmmmmm!!!!

But...I will be back, have no fear about that.  And when I return... I will be celebrating my 1 year blogiversary!  YAY!!  I'm excited about that because I believe I've come quite a long way in a year!  I have grown quite a lot in my culinary journey and some of you have witnessed that growth.  I'm so glad you were here to share the past year with me and I hope you continue on this crazy journey with me.  And who knows, maybe there will even be a small little giveaway when I return??!!??!!!!

So, go....enjoy your holiday...may you eat until your hearts content!  I hope you will all be surrounded by your loved ones and remember that they are what's really important in life.

Merry Christmas!  
Happy Holidays!
Seasons Greetings!
Ciao!
Jenn

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Pasta

Chris and I decided to celebrate our Christmas together this past weekend.  It was just easier since we will be spending Christmas with my family.  We tossed around a few ideas on what I would make for dinner and in the end, pasta won out.  Now I know this isn't a traditional Christmas meal, but Chris and I are making our own traditions, so how can that be bad, right?

The basic idea for this recipe came from:
1. The movie The Holiday staring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black
2. From my true arch nemesis Rachel Ray

The Holiday is one of my all time favorite movies...and it's the perfect time of the year for it because it happens to take place around Christmas and New Years.  It's a wonderful little romantic comedy and I'm not going to get too much into it otherwise this post will last until next year :)  Long story short, there are at least two references to "Christmas Fettuccine" throughout this movie.  They never really give you a description of it, but from what I can make out, it's just fettuccine alfredo.  Simple enough.

My arch nemesis has a recipe for Christmas pasta which I have stumbled upon a few times in the last year or so.  I took her recipe out and saw all the ingredients that went with it and though... hhhhmmmmm... I could make this just as tasty but not have to break the bank on all the ingredients.

So the idea was born and the recipe was created....take the simple idea of fettuccine alfredo and mix it with an ingredient slimming version of arch nemesis' Christmas pasta... and Viola!  Christmas Pasta alla Jenn!!!  This was the perfect meal for us.  The alfredo sauce was decadent and flavorful.  The red peppers, zucchini, and parsley added the "Christmas" color affect....it was amazing!

Christmas Pasta
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 pint heavy cream
1-2 cups freshly shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 large or 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced or sliced
2 small red bell peppers (or 1 large one will do), thinly sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 lb angel hair pasta

Directions:
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat.  Add the flour and stir to combine.  Let cook for 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in the heavy cream.  Sprinkle in cheese a little at a time (the more cheese you add the more parmesan flavor you will get) until melted and smooth.  Season with garlic salt and pepper.  Let simmer on very low heat until thickened. (Do not let this boil or you will get a grainy sauce)

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain.  Add the oil into a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the peppers and saute for 2 minutes.  Add the zucchini and saute another minute or two or until the veggies are to your liking.

When the sauce is ready, add the chicken and vegetables to it.  Toss in the parsley and pour sauce over pasta; toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Butterhorns

These little tasty bites are my mom's favorite Christmas goody.  Let me tell you, though, I have to give her huge... er....I mean.. HUGE props for going through the process of making these every year.  This is the first year I actually made these...and my mom had said a few times: "Good luck" ... Hhhmmmmm...good luck huh?  How hard can they be?  Geez, it's like crescent rolls with strawberry preserves and walnuts inside!  And really, these were not the hardest thing I've made lately, it was just a bit time consuming and, well...seriously frustrating more than anything else.  You spend the time rolling out the dough, cutting the dough, filling the dough, rolling the dough...only to see the filling ooze out of the dough as it bakes!  So if you can get past that part, I highly recommend trying these out.  They are like little strawberry hand pies.

One bit of a suggestion, if you have a Silpat - USE IT.  The filling does not stick to it at all.  My mom also suggests quick release foil.  I actually used my Silpat on one batch and aluminum foil sprayed with non-stick spray on another, just to see how it worked and they both worked very well, but the Silpat is my recommendation - simple clean up if you want to do another batch on it, unlike the aluminum foil.  If you put these straight on the cookie sheet, you will not only have a mess, but you will have a hard time getting them up off!

Butterhorns
Recipe courtesy my Mom, Sharon
Printable Recipe
Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter, sliced
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup strawberry preserves
1/4 - 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, cut butter into the flour with a pastry blender.  Add the egg yolk and sour cream and mix well.  Cover and chill for a few hours.  (My mom divides the dough into 5 pieces, flattens them, than covers them in plastic.  You can than take out and roll out one at a time.)

When dough is chilled, roll out, using cinnamon and sugar mixture in place of flour. (I forgot to measure how much sugar and cinnamon I used, but it was about 1/2 cup sugar and 2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon...mixed that together and then sprinkled it down on the counter and on the dough, instead of using flour so that it will not stick.)  Cut into pie wedges (you should get 12 wedges with each round.)

Mix together the preserves and the walnuts.  Place a small amount on each wedge. Roll from widest side, like a crescent roll.  Place on cookie sheet with Silpat or quick release Reynolds aluminum foil.  Bake about 20 minutes or until just golden brown.  Allow to cool.  Store in air tight container or freeze.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Homemade Cherry Mash

I know that with all the recipes I have posted highlighting my Christmas favorites, I have stated that they have been one of my, well, favorites, but this one... this Cherry Mash...this was what I waited all year for!  Cherry Mash IS Christmas to me.  I know for sure that my cousin Cortney felt the same way!  There was something about the cherry fudge bottom and the fudgy-peanuty top that was better than anything else on that Christmas goody tray.

The original Cherry Mash is a candy bar consisting of a soft cherry flavored center covered in a mixture of peanuts and chocolate.  This homemade version is a recipe that can be found on the back of cherry chip packages.
The biggest problem with these little goodies?  It's hard to find cherry chips.  Surprisingly, I can't seem to find them in the big metropolis that I live in, but every now and than my mom can find them.  So she will usually buy a few bags and send them to me and I just keep them stored in the freezer until I'm ready to use them.  So if you want to make these and you can find the cherry chips...stock up on them, just in case!

Now if you are allergic to peanuts or don't like cherry, this will definitely not be the candy for you.  But if you can dig on cherry flavor and peanuts make you jive (not give you hives), than you need to make this...heck, so what if you have everything planned for Christmas.  Make it for New Year's, or better yet, just make it to make it.  I promise you will not be sorry! 

Homemade Cherry Mash
Recipe courtesy my Grandma Phyllis
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
16 large marshmallows (I used about 30-35 mini marshmallows)
2/3 cups (1 small can) evaporated milk
2 cups sugar
1 10oz bag cherry chips
1 12oz bag chocolate chips
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup chopped no skin peanuts (my grandma used salted, I used unsalted)

Directions:
In a saucepan, bring marshmallows, evaporated milk, and sugar to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the cherry chips and stir until melted.  Pour into greased 9 x 13-inch pan. (you will need to work fast, this should start setting quickly.)

Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter over low heat or in a double broiler.  Stir in chopped peanuts.  Pour over cherry mixture and refrigerate until set.  Cut into small squares.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Grandma's Fudge

 
I have so many great memories of growing up right next door to both of my grandmas.  I don't think I realized how fortunate I was to have both of them living so close to me until I was older.  I feel very fortunate for that now!  Around Christmas time, my grandma Phyllis (my mom's mom), would make loads and loads of goodies for her Christmas goody tray.  She would make most of the stuff at least a month in advance (I'm sure even longer but you know how time doesn't matter when you are a kid!) and then keep it in the freezer.  Well, all but this goody...this fudge.  YUM!  Fudge was never something I could sneak.  Believe me, we would sneak a lot of the candy she had in the basement freezer, but the fudge, that was under lock and key.  Well, ok, not really, but the way she made it, she left it in blocks until she was ready to serve it, so sneaking a piece here and there was never really an option...at least not an easy one :)

Now I'm older and I don't have to sneak anything anymore, I can just make it myself!  I couldn't wait to make my grandma's fudge this year for Christmas.  I know I can make it any time of the year, but it always seems to fit so well this time of the year, so it's a must make!  This is a very simple recipe that I'm sure was found on the back of some package, but today, I'm only giving props to the woman who I got it from... my grandma!  This is a wonderful fudge for the holidays....simple and absolutely delicious!

My Grandma's Fudge
From the kitchen of my grandma Phyllis
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, sliced
1 12oz bag chocolate chips (the better the quality chocolate the better the fudge, but I'm sure my grandma used Nestle's or something along those lines and her fudge was still amazing!!)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
10 large marshmallows, quartered (or 40 mini marshmallows)

Directions:
Line a loaf pan with parchment or wax paper; set aside.

Place the butter, chocolate chips, vanilla, and walnuts if you are using them, into a bowl.

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar, evaporated milk and marshmallows to a boil.  Boil for exactly 6 minutes, stirring constantly. (You may need to adjust your heat so you do not burn the mixture)  Pour boiling mixture into bowl with chocolate chips.  Mix until the chips and butter have melted.  Pour into prepared pan.  Refrigerate overnight or until set.  Enjoy!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Eggnog Bread

Eggnog...one of my favorite "Christmas holiday" beverages.  I love the flavor.  I love the creamy thickness.  I just love it.  When my mom gave me this recipe a few years back, I knew it would become a favorite of mine.  I mean, I just told you I love eggnog, and if you don't already know, I'm a bread fiend....so hence, I LOVE this!!

This bread needs to be stored in the refrigerator...and I, personally, think the bread just tastes better cold....but you can decide that for yourself.  This is WAY simple to throw together and it will be a hit at any holiday dessert table.


Eggnog Bread
Recipe courtesy my mom (Sharon)
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
1 cup eggnog
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon rum flavoring

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease the bottom and 1/2'" up the sides of a 9x5x3" loaf pan.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the first 4 ingredients.  Make a well in the center; set the bowl aside.  In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.  Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture.  Stir just until moistened (batter should be slightly lumpy).  Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan.  Cool completely on wire rack.  Wrap bread and store overnight in refrigerator before slicing.  Enjoy!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pecan Tassies

Tassies....growing up, tassies were always present on the plate of Christmas goodies that my mom or grandma would make.  I loved them so.  The silly thing about me... I love these little tassies...these little pecan pies...but that's just it, I don't really like pecan pie.  Hmmmm...very interesting, I like pecan tassies, which are basically just bite size pies...but I don't like pecan pie.  I'll have to do some research into that phenomenon!!

These tasty little treats are sure to please this holiday season.  So, add them to your goody tray this year and see if they don't quickly become a favorite treat of everyone's.

One note before I get to the recipe:  I cut this recipe in half... the recipe I'm posting here will make about 100+ tassies.  I did not want, nor need, nor have the patience to make that many, so I just cut the quantities of each ingredient in half.  Nice thing about these, though, they freeze well, so if you make the full batch, you can always freeze half and save them for another time.


 

Pecan Tassies
Recipe courtesy of my mom (Sharon)
Ingredients:
Dough -
1 lb. cream cheese
1 lb. butter (I used unsalted), room temperature
4 cups flour
Filling -
6 eggs, slightly beaten
1 lb. light brown sugar
3 Tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 - 2 1/2 cups chopped pecans (or walnuts)

Directions:
In a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the flour.  Mix well; if dough should be easy to handle.  Set aside.

In another bowl, mix together all the filling ingredients until well combined.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Using miniature cupcake pans (spray with a bit of nonstick spray) , firm dough into balls the size of walnuts.  Press into pans to form shells.  Fill 3/4 full with filling mixture.  Bake 25 minutes or until the dough is slightly brown.  Remove from pan carefully.  Yield: Approximately 100-125 tassies


 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Guest Post: Crab Delights

***From now until Christmas (ok, maybe only until Christmas Eve), I am going to post recipes to get you ready for the holiday!  I'm going to share with you some of my favorite holiday snacks and goodies.  To help me kick off this week of tasty treats, my mom graciously agreed to guest post for me.  I'm really excited to have her share a recipe with you all.  Though my mom has many really good recipes up her sleeve, this was a simple introduction for her into the blogging world.  So, without further ado...please welcome my mom (Sharon)...*** 

There are no words to express how flattered I am that my daughter, Jenn, has asked me to be a guest on her yummy blog!  Not only does she post the best recipes ever, she has paid tributes to my father, husband, & daughter with a way with words that brings me to tears.  Who thought a food blog would do that...except when working with onions!  I am so proud to be her Mom and love her more than she'll ever begin to imagine.

Ok...on to the important stuff...food!!

This recipe is just in time for Christmas and/or Super Bowl parties.  I have been making these Crab Delights for many years, having gotten the recipe from my cousin, Karen.  They are one of the first things to disappear at a party and I'm asked to bring them for every occasion.  Even those that say they don't care for crab find that they like them.  I've been known to make them just for my husband & I, too!


Crab Delights
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
1.5 oz jar Old English Cheese Spread
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine, softened
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
garlic powder to taste
1 6oz can crabmeat
1 pkg English muffins, halved

Directions:
Mix all ingredients except for the English muffins.  Place English muffin halves onto a cookie sheet.  Spread the crab mixture evenly on all halves.  Place under broiler until golden and bubbly.  Cut into quarters.

If you think you have more than you'll eat, before broiling them, you can throw them onto another cookie sheet and freeze.  Once frozen, you can put into a freezer bag and store in freezer for up to 3 months.  When ready to use, place on cookie sheet and under the broiler as instructed.  You can thaw them at room temperature or just throw them directly into the oven frozen.  Enjoy!

**I made these for our football party at Jenn and Chris' for the Nebraska vs. Colorado game the day after Thanksgiving.  Jenn had a suggestion that would possibly make these even better.  Before spreading the crab mixture on the English muffins, broil very lightly, both sides of the muffins, this would make it a little crispier!**


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fish Sandwiches with Jalapeno Slaw

As many fish recipes that you see on my blog, you will take note that none of them have been fried like this.  Oh, my word, guess this is why I don't fry fish all the time...it was to die for!  Oh yea, baby, there really is nothing like a piece of well fried fish.  Put it on a toasted roll and top it with some jalapeno slaw and you have one of the best meals we've had in a while!  Ok, I know that the fish being fried is what makes it...but damn, sometimes you just gotta break through those worries of fried goodness and partake.....and partake we did!!!  YUM!  Although our house carried a slight lingering fried food smell for days after I made this, it was well worth it.  And let's not forget the jalapeno slaw.... what needs to be said for such a spicy little side dish? It was wonderful!  Spicy, creamy, perfect!  Now, I put my slaw on top of my fish, but Chris had his on the side.  Either way, it was the perfect compliment to this delicious fish sandwich.


Fish Sandwiches with Jalapeno Slaw
Adapted from Food Network Magazine, November 2010
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
1 cup milk
salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tilapia fillets
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons pickled jalapenos, diced
1 Tablespoon juice from pickled jalapenos
1 package coleslaw mix (you can chop your own cabbage, but I was lazy)
oil for frying (vegetable or peanut)
4 soft hoagie rolls

Directions:
Place milk in shallow dish big enough to hold the fish and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne.  Add the fish and let soak until you are ready to fry them.  Put the cornmeal and flour in another shallow dish; season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the mayo, Dijon, jalapenos, and juice.  If you want some of that "mayo" to slap on your sandwich like we did, reserve about 2 tablespoons of the mixture.  Now, pour the coleslaw mix into the large bowl and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Heat about 2 inches (you might want to go just a little less) of vegetable oil in a large pot or dutch oven.  When oil has reached 350 degrees, remove the fish from the milk, dredge in cornmeal mixture to coat.  Carefully lower the fish into the oil and allow to fry until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side.  Remove from oil and allow to drain on a paper towel lined plate or wire rack (I recommend the wire rack so that the breading doesn't stick to the paper towel).  Toast hoagie rolls if desired.  Serve jalapeno slaw on the sandwich or on the side.  Either way... Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lemon, Rosemary, and Balsamic Grilled Chicken

There really is not much to say about this chicken that it doesn't already say for itself.  I mean rosemary....balsamic....lemon... yea, you know it's gonna be good.  And I, or course, grilled it, so it tasted even more yummy with that nice outdoor cooked flavor!  MMMMMMM.. it was almost like it was summer time all over again.......

The original recipe for this came from Emeril, but I snagged it off of Tracey's Culinary Adventures.  Tracey posts a lot more yummy dessert type posts, but when she does post something savory, I always know I want to try it!  Like I said, this is a simple and yet very flavorful marinade for the chicken.  And of course, if you aren't in the mood to grill, you can bake this at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle.  If you can get out there and grill, though, DO IT!!

Lemon, Rosemary, and Balsamic Grilled Chicken
Adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2-3 Tablespoons freshly chopped rosemary
1 garlic clove, crushed and chopped
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper

Directions:  
In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients except for the chicken and salt and pepper.  Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken in a resealable bag and pour the marinade over it.  Seal the bag and place in refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours.

Preheat the grill to 400 degrees.  Brush the grill grates with olive oil.  Place the chicken directly over the fire (discard the marinade) and cook for 5-8 minutes on each side or until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle.  Remove and allow to rest for 4-5 minutes.  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cheddar Horseradish Soup - And more questions answered...

I subscribe to the Food Network Magazine.  In each months new addition, they have a small little booklet on the inside that has 50 recipes of some kind.  Sometimes it's 50 easy snacks, sometimes it's burgers, and even soups.  I do love soups.  I will admit I'm more partial to the creamy soups, so you'll see a lot more of those on here than anything else. When I was looking through, circling the ones I wanted to make, I came across this one:  Cheddar Horseradish Soup.  Now, I know what you're thinking - horseradish soup?  I know it sounds a bit odd, but it was good, I mean really good... Well, for a little while at least, than, unfortunately, it became rather bitter.  I chalk it up to the amount of horseradish this recipe called for, though.  So, to make sure you don't have the same problem I had, I have adapted this recipe to what I believe would work the best to cut that bitterness out ...or at least back considerably!  It's definitely worth a try...and honestly, I believe it would have been good enough without the addition of the horseradish anyway!

Cheddar Horseradish Soup
Adapted from the Food Network Magazine, October 2009
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 carrot, diced
1 leek, diced (white part and light green part only)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons dried mustard
1 bottle of beer
1-2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
3 cups water
dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 cup half and half
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
In a large pot or dutch oven, melt the butter and add the carrots and leek and cook for 5 minutes or until carrots start to become tender.  Add the cayenne, salt, flour, and mustard.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add one bottle of beer, the horseradish (I would start with one tablespoon, taste and than add any additional horseradish 1 tablespoon at a time), the water, and a dash of Worcestershire; simmer until thickened.  Slowly whisk in the half and half and cheese.  Once the cheese is completely melted let simmer at a very low temp for 5 minutes (do not let it boil).  Pour into individual bowls, top with fried onions or croutons and enjoy!

There is one more thing before I let you go - Michael from Me, My Food and I not only awarded me the lovely blogger award (thank you so much Michael!!) but he also tagged me on a few questions.  You know I'm always willing to answer questions about myself, so I thought I would include these on today's post.  By the way, if you have not been to Michael's site, I highly recommend you heading over there.  He has everything from savory to sweet.   I found his site thanks to his guest post with Chef Dennis...and I"m glad I did... I've already found a ton of tasty recipes that I can't wait to try!  So thank you, Michael, I appreciate you noticing my blog!

Now, on to the questions:
1.  When did you learn to cook?    I learned the small little things about cooking from watching/helping my mom and grandma when I was a little girl.  I didn't enjoy it like I do now, so I really didn't actually "learn" how to really cook until I was in my 20's.  Most of what I know I have learned from making mistakes, watching cooking shows, and listening to others talk.

2.  Name 3 things that are always in your fridge.    Sriracha, parmesan cheese, and real butter.

3.  Do you have any food guilty pleasures?    Uhm...food guilty pleasures?  No, not at all..... well, maybe there is that one thing.... like McDonald's french fries, or Twinkies, or even deep fried cheesecakes.  But there's nothing to feel guilty about when I eat those, right?  Why are you all looking at me like that???  :)

4.  Tell us about your most memorable meal.    As much as I want to say my most memorable meal I've had was when I had sushi at this restaurant on Fisherman's Wharf in San Fransisco...cause that was really really really good....I would really have to admit that it was a meal I made myself.  Oh, I'm not being conceited or anything, it's just the truth....hear me out.  I worked for this guy who went on a fishing trip in Alaska.  He came back with pounds and pounds of freshly caught...and then immediately frozen....salmon.  He gave us all a piece or two.  I took it home... sprinkled it with salt and pepper...placed it under the broiler and BAM....it was THE BEST piece of salmon I had ever eaten.  It needed no other seasoning, no sauce, no anything.  It was perfect!!! mmmmmmmm!!!!

5.  What is your drink of choice?   If we are talking alcoholic, red wine (Chianti or Merlot).  If we are talking nonalcoholic, iced tea.

So, that's it.....Now you know more about the woman behind the blog!!  Ciao!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Every Chip Cookie

Have you ever opened your fridge or pantry and found half to a quarter full bags of chocolate chips?  I sometimes will not use the full bag, so I'll throw it in the fridge and forget about them.  Well, I noticed those bags were starting to take over, so I decided to put them to use.

There really is not much to say about these cookies....I think the pictures speak quite well for themselves.  I poured the entire lot of chips that I had in the dough.  I'm pretty sure it was over 2 cups....but only by just a little :)


Every Chip Cookie
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 (maybe 2 1/2) cups any chips you have on hand, I used chocolate(milk & semi-sweet) , butterscotch, white chocolate, and peanut butter

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  In another larger bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter, both sugars, and vanilla together until light and creamy.  Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next.  Slowly beat in the flour mixture.  Carefully fold in chips/morsels (if you are using a standing mixer, remove the bowl and fold chips in by hand).  Roll dough into balls the size of walnuts and place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, remove to wire rack and allow to cool completely.  Enjoy!!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Grilled Spicy Chicken Masala

Quite a few months ago, I tried my hand at making a chicken tikka masala dish.  It did not turn out so great...I mean it was so bad that I couldn't even think about posting it.  I don't know if it was something I did or just the recipe itself...all I know is it wasn't even worthy of saving any leftovers and I'm a huge fan of tikka masala.  Strange.

Since that incident I have been a bit hesitant to try it again...until now.  I saw this recipe in one of my America's Test Kitchen books.  It was actually for shrimp, but since we don't eat shrimp too often, I thought I would adapt it to chicken.  And I am here to say that I'm glad I did.  This chicken was excellent.  Way better then the tikka masala I made a while back.  I am once again a fan of masala....maybe I should try and make my own version of tikka masala now?????

Grilled Spicy Chicken Masala
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen, 30 Minute Suppers
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable juice
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Directions:
In a bowl (medium or small), combine garam masala, chili powder, paprika, salt, garlic, ginger, and lemon juice to make a paste.  In another small bowl, add 1 teaspoon of the paste and yogurt, stirring into fully incorporated.  Add oil to remaining paste and stir to combine, breaking up any clumps.

Place the chicken in a resealable bag and pour the oil mixture over top of it.  Massage the bag to make sure all sides of the chicken are covered.  Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour (the longer you marinate, the more flavorful the chicken will become).

Preheat grill to 400 degrees F.  Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the marinade.  Place the chicken directly on the grill grate and cook for 6-8 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove from grill and allow to rest for 4-5 minutes.  Serve with yogurt sauce.  Enjoy!

***You can bake this if you want too, place in 400 degree oven and bake until internal temp is 165 degrees. (I like to take the chicken out a little sooner, though, as it will continue to cook when you take it out of the oven)***

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Baked Tilapia with Horseradish Dill Sauce

So, every now and then, even the sauce girl strikes out!  Ok, ok, I didn't actually strike out...I probably hit a double, which is good, but it's not great.  It's not like this sauce was bad...it was pretty good actually...it's just that, well, it was lacking in that WOW factor that I have grown so used to.  I guess I shouldn't expect them all to be amazing, but I've been on such a roll lately.....  No matter, I still had to post this...I mean, like I said, it was a good sauce.  I think it would work even better with steak....actually, prime rib would be the best cut of meat for this for sure!  YUM!  This is a very simple dish to put together - Total time: 15 minutes!! WOOHOO!!

Baked Tilapia with Horseradish Dill Sauce
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
4 tilapia fillets
salt and pepper
paprika
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon dried dill (you can use fresh -1T-, I just did not have it)
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Rinse off fillets and pat dry.  Season with salt, pepper, and paprika; place in prepared dish and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

While the fish bakes, prepared the sauce.  In a small bowl, add the sour cream, the dill, and the horseradish; stir until smooth.  Serve with fish and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Adobo Chicken

If you are looking for something to spice up your week, look no further...this is the dish for you!  Wow... !!  Of course, you all know my love for chipotle and you know that I can handle the heat...but this was spicy, so beware!  You could easily cut back on the amount of chipotles you use, but I'm a risk taker...I love living life on the edge!!

I loved this dish, Chris loved this dish...so it was a huge hit in our house.  The sauce had a deep, complex taste to it, as if it had cooked for a long time.  The bold flavors of the chipotle and espresso powder help bring out that complexity.  It was spicy, it was bold, it was amazingly good!

Adobo Chicken
Adapted from Cook's Country
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
3 Tablespoons minced canned chipotle in adobo sauce (about 3-4 chipotles)
1 Tablespoon adobo sauce
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder or instant coffee
salt and pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons molasses

Directions:
Process tomatoes in food processor until smooth; set aside.  Combine chipotle, garlic, oregano, espresso powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of the mixture.  Pat chicken dry with paper towels and coat all over with the rest of the chipotle mixture.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Cook chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate.  Heat remaining oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add onion and cook until browned, about 6-8 minutes.  Stir in processed tomatoes, reserved chipotle mixture, molasses and chicken, along with any accumulated juices.  Simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve over rice if desired.  Enjoy!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Grilled Pork Chops with Chipotle Honey Sauce

I was actually hoping for a thicker sauce, but what I got was definitely worth posting.  I don't know why I expected this to be thicker, because as I read the recipe I even thought ...hmmmm, that sounds pretty "watered" down.... then I just went ahead and made it anyway!!  And I even adjusted it from the original recipe.  But that's ok, I ended up using it as a marinade AND a sauce.  No matter if it was too thick or too thin, it was a wonderfully sweet and spicy sauce.  It worked extremely well with the pork, but would also work well on beef, chicken, or fish...it's just that good!

Grilled Pork Chops with Chipotle Honey Sauce
Adapted from Cooking.com
Printable Recipe 
Ingredients:
4 boneless center pork chops
3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 Tablespoon adobo sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
In a food process, blend all the ingredients together, except for the pork chops, until blended and smooth.  Reserve half of the sauce.

Place the pork chops in a Ziploc bag and pour the other half of the sauce over the pork.  Seal bag and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Preheat grill to 400 degrees.  Remove pork from bag and discard marinade.  Place the pork directly on the grates and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until cooked through - internal temp 145-150 degrees.  Serve with reserved sauce and enjoy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Sister

"Sisters annoy, interfere, criticize.  Indulge in monumental sulks, in huffs, in snide remarks.  Borrow.  Break.  Monopolize the bathroom.  Are always underfoot.  But if catastrophe should strike, sisters are there.  Defending you against all comers." - Pam Brown

Today is my sister Tracy's 40th birthday!!
 
Happy Birthday Tracy!!!

My sister and I are 3 years apart (Crap, I just let the cat out of the bag there didn't I??). 

 
Though there have been many times in my life where I have wished I was an only child (as I know she did too), I can truly say that I'm glad I am not.  I have great memories of my childhood with my sister.  From "Ms. America" (she knows what that means) to practicing the moonwalk in our basement to the gum tree to summer nights playing ghost in the grave yard.  When we were young, we had a ton of fun together.  We played numerous hours in the "woods" behind our house.  I would sneak into her room late at night so we could giggle and tell each other stories.  We played with barbies together, we played board games together.  We laughed, we fought, we hated each other, we loved each other, we listened to ABBA on her 8-track player, we played Star Wars with my cousin, we climbed trees, we told each other secrets.  Life would have been oh, so boring without her!
My sister and I may not see eye to eye all the time, but as the years have gone by I realized we are not as opposite is I would care to think.  I mean our taste in clothes, shoes, purses, etc. are the complete polar opposites, but we both have a love for reading that has brought us together on many occasions.  We enjoy the same movies (for the most part),  we both think she's the funnies person we know....lol....I guess what I am trying to say is that the older I get, the more I love and appreciate my big sis!!
  
Tracy and I have been through a lot together and although we are not geographically near each other, I believe this is the closest we've been since we were little girls.  I hope she knows that no matter how often we talk, no matter how little we see each other, no matter how many miles separate us...I will always be there for her and will love her more then she will ever realize.


Happy birthday, Tracy!  May this day be the start to another wonderful year and may you find joy and happiness in all that you do.  I can't wait to see you and give you a real birthday hug!!!  Love you always big sis!!