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Monday, February 28, 2011

Apple Chipotle Pork Chops

I've been looking for ways to use the Country Bob's sauces I won in the Women of the Grill contest (don't forget to enter this years contest here) and decided to do something REALLY simple.  I always think pork and apples go really good together, so when I had a craving for pork the other day, I immediately went to find the Apple Chipotle Sauce that came in my winnings. Cause not only do apples go well with pork, but so do chipotles!  This marinade is way simple and I even made a bit extra so that I could have a little sauce for dipping.  The flavors were sweet and spicy and delicious.  Not over powering on any one flavor....just perfect!

Apple Chipotle Pork Chops
Printable Recipe 
3 bone-in pork loin chops (it came that way, otherwise I would have used 4)
1/4 cup Country Bob's Apple Chipotle All Purpose Sauce
1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, finely minced
ground chipotle pepper (optional - can use cayenne)
kosher salt

In a small bowl, combine the Apple Chipotle sauce, mayo, and garlic; mix until smooth.  Season the pork on both sides with the chipotle pepper and salt.  Place the pork in a resealable bag and pour the sauce over, seal the bag and rub the meat to make sure the sauce covers all sides.  Let marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Preheat grill to 375 degrees.  Oil the grill grates.  Remove the pork chops from the bag and discard the marinade.  Place the pork directly over the heat and grill 5-6 minutes per side or until the pork is full cooked (145 degrees F).  Carefully remove from grill and enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Devil's Food Cake Cookies

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Homemade Mayonnaise

YAY!!! I did it!!  I finally did it!!!  I actually made my own mayonnaise!!! And it actually came together perfectly!!  WOOHOO!!!

Ok, now that that is out of my system...let's talk mayo.  First, I need to apologize for the pictures...they did not turn out as great as I would have liked, but in my defense, it's really hard to take pictures of a bowl of mayonnaise!!  Second, you should know that olive oil does not work .. at least not extra virgin olive oil.  Or I should say, at least not the extra virgin olive oil I used.  Oh, it works.. I mean, you were just looking at a picture of mayo made with olive oil.  BUT, it did not taste right.  It had that distinctive flavor that extra virgin olive oil carries and it wasn't perfect.  But that's ok... I actually got it to emulsify and turn into actual mayonnaise and that was what I was going for.  The taste did leave something to be desired, but that's ok, now I know I can make it.  (YAY)

So my advice to you:  use the recommended oil... do not, I repeat, do not just use whatever you have on this case, that is a big mistake!

I have to tell you this funny story, though, before I get to the recipe.  So, I knew that my friend Andrea (The Kitchen Witch) had just recently made homemade mayonnaise, so I couldn't wait to tell her that I had made my own too.  I email her and tell her how happy I was that I got it to emulsify, but oh lordy did my arm hurt.   Her email back to me was "you did it by hand?"  Well yes, I did it by hand, I followed Alton Brown's recipes and that's what he did.  Andrea, being the true friend she is, laughed and said, wow, you are a better woman than me (or something close to that), I used my stand mixer.  WHAT???  Stand mixer???  You can use that???  LOL  Sure enough, I went back to Andrea's post and what do you know... she did it with her stand mixer.  DAMN that girl is smart!!  So even though I have left the recipe as I did might want to consider using your stand mixer if you have one.  Cause I will tell you... my arm hurt for two days!!!  LOL  Either that, or hire a sous chef to help you out on this one!!  Your arm will thank you!

Homemade Mayonnaise
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, The Food Network
Printable Recipe 
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoons fine salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 pinches of granulated sugar (about a 1/4 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 cup oil, corn or canola

In a glass bowl, whisk together egg yolk and the dry ingredients.  Combine lemon juice and vinegar in a separate bowl then thoroughly whisk half into the egg yolk mixture.  Start whisking briskly, then start adding the oil a few drops at a time until the liquid seems to thicken and lighten a bit (which means you've got an emulsion on your hands..YAY!!!).  Once you've reached that point you can relax your arm a little bit (but just a little bit) and increase the oil flow to a constant, yet thin, stream.  Once half the oil is in, whisk in the remaining lemon/vinegar mixture.  Continue whisking until all the oil is incorporated.  Leave at room temperature for 1 hour.  Refrigerate up to a week.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Stuff!

YAY!!! It's FRIDAY!!!... and you know where to find me right?  
Come check it out or you'll be missing this:


Stop by and say hi!!

But wait!!  Stick around for my other news first!!!  If you pressure :)

The other week I told you that I was contacted by the Wholly Guacamole company and they asked if I would look at their website and give them some feed back.  I did so and then they graciously offered to send me some product for review.  I was excited, yet a little nervous.  What if I got their product and I hated it and then I would have to tell them that... AAAAAAAAA!!!

Anyway... I received their samples... check it out:

Yea, that's what I said.... there is a lot of stuff.... and it all looked good!!  Where to start, where to start???

100 calorie pack - Spicy Guacamole:

Opinion:  I have to say...I'm not one to really like manufactured, store bought products like this.  When it comes to guacamole, I definitely prefer the homemade kind.  I have tried other store bought products and, well, I have not been impressed.  This... this made me stop and go... hhhmmmmmmmm... this is actually pretty good!  I will admit that I was pleasantly surprised.  Even Chris, who really is picky about his guacamole, devoured it.  I would buy this.  I would serve this.  It's gluten free, it's kosher, it's preservative free, it was fantastic!  Ok, I wouldn't choose it over homemade, but in a pinch or in a state of laziness, hell yea, I would purchase it!

Second on the list - Classic Queso Dip:

Opinion:  YUM!  It was really good... like homemade queso.  I was, once again, a bit shocked at how good it was.  What was really cool about this queso... It didn't get hard when it started to cool down.  Ok, it got a bit thicker, but it never got hard, like Velveeta does after it's been cooled down.  So that was a nice little bonus.  A blogging friend of mine said she has tried this queso and thought it was way salty, so beware.  I didn't find that at all, but I think I have a higher tolerance for salty food.

Next up - Salsa:

Opinion:  Salsa perfection. Seriously, I'm not one for really chunky salsas...this salsa had the perfect chunky factor.  The flavors were wonderful too.

100 calorie pack - Classic Guacamole:

Opinion:  Like the spicy guac, it was a pleasant surprise at how good it was.  Chris and I both store bought product we've tried in a long time.

So all in all... the products that the Wholly Guacamole company sent me were really good.  Now, I'm one that would rather make it or have a homemade version of these products, but hey, sometimes you just can't always have it that way...and when you can't, these are great substitutes!

Check back next week when I put some of the products to use in a few fantastic recipes!

***Please note:  The opinions stated here are just that, MY opinion.  I was not reimbursed in anyway for my product review.***

One Year Ago:  Yogurt Marinated Chicken

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thai Peanut Chicken Stir Fry

Ok, so I've been on a bit of a peanut kick lately.  I can't help it.  There is just something about it that I'm hooked on right now!

This is one of the best peanut chicken stir fries I've made.  Though I have not posted any of them, I have tried a ton...none of them really hit the mark.  One was far too peanut buttery...thick and made your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth.  One was not peanut buttery enough...lack of any flavor.  But this one.. this was spot on.  At least for what Chris and I were looking for.  It might not be perfect for everyone, but I do believe it's at least a starting point recipe.  You can add a little of this, add a little less of that... play with it.  Seriously, you have my permission.. play with your food :)

And I have a confession to make before I go:  I did not use the velveting technique again even though I swore I would do it next time I did a stir fry (I was in a hurry...I didn't have time to wait...I'm sorry).  I lucked out this time, though, my chicken was nice and moist and tender, but if you are wanting a truly velvety piece of chicken, please add this velveting step to the directions!

Thai Peanut Chicken Stir Fry
Printable Recipe 
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
6  Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Sriracha
3 Tablespoons water
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 zucchini, cut into moons
1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, thinly sliced
1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts

Mix together the first 9 ingredients (peanut butter through water), until smooth (You can do this in a food processor if you want, it might be easier); set aside.

In a deep skillet, add the olive oil. Heat over medium-high heat and add the chicken.  Quickly stir fry about 3 minutes.  Add the pepper and cook another two minutes.  Add the zucchini and stir fry 1-2 minutes longer or until the veggies are to your liking.  Add the sauce and stir.  Cook until the sauce is thickened and heated through.  Serve over rice. Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Garlic Cheddar Fish

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mac and Cheese Soup

That's right....Mac and Cheese soup.... you did not read that wrong.  Everything you love about mac and cheese but a little bit healthier and much more runnier!!  lol

Seriously, the rave about this in my Food Network Magazine was that it was like half the fat of regular mac and cheese.  That can't be bad and you know it!!!

Now, I would have liked my soup to be a little thicker, but had it been much thicker, it would have truly been just mac and cheese, so I dare not change a thing on this recipe.  The flavors were fantastic, though you do need to get a halfway decent cheddar cheese to get using "no name brand" cheese.  Splurge a little and go for the good stuff.  It will truly make a difference in this.

Now there are a lot of things I thought about adding to this soup... like chipotles or regular jalapenos, or even a little chicken... but I stuck with the recipe that I was going off of, just to make sure that I could make the soup properly.  Next time... and there will be a next time...I will add the more exciting ingredients to it to help kick it up and make it that much better!

If you are a mac and cheese fan...this soup is a must try!!

Mac and Cheese Soup
Slightly adapted from the Food Network Magazine
Printable Recipe 
1 cup (4oz) elbow macaroni
4 half inch thick slices baguette (I actually made 8 so we could have extras for dipping)
freshly ground black pepper
1 shallot
1 clove of garlic
1 carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups 2% milk (if you want a thicker soup, you can use heavy cream)
6 oz (1 1/2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Cherry tomatoes, cut in half (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees (I actually just used my toaster oven for this).  Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil.  Add the macaroni and cook per package instructions; drain and set aside.

Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.  Place in oven and bake until the bread is golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from oven.

In a food processor, add the shallot, garlic, carrot, and celery.  Process until minced.  Mist a large saucepan with cooking spray or oil.  Add the vegetables and cook over medium heat until softened; about 4-5 minutes.  Add the flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.  Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a boil; cook, stirring, until the soup thickens, about 6-7 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

Add the milk and the cheeses, stirring until the cheese is melted and the soup is smooth.  Add the macaroni and season with pepper.  Top with a piece of the toast and two tomato halves.  Enjoy!

(Nutritional info per serving -serves 4-:  476 calories; 20g Fat; 84mg sodium; 636mg carbohydrates; 27g protein)

One Year Ago:  Hamburger Buddy

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dan Dan Noodles

The very first time I went to P.F. Chang's (a long, long time ago) I ordered the Dan Dan Noodles.  I was an instant fan.  I loved the peanuty goodness of it.  I loved the simplicity of it.  Now this is not the best adaptation of that dish, but I'll have to say, it's a pretty good substitute when you can't get the real thing.  Plus it's cheaper...and you just can't beat that!!  I wish I could have gotten the peanuts a little finer...but other than that, I wouldn't change a thing, the flavors were really fantastic together!

Dan Dan Noodles
Adapted from Food and Wine
Printable Recipe 
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup raw peanuts
1 jalapeno, roughly chopped (you can remove the seeds for less heat)
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 1/2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon Sriracha chile sauce
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
kosher salt
1 large chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, thinly sliced
10oz whole grain spaghetti

In a skillet, heat the vegetable oil.  Add the peanuts and fry over moderate heat until golden, about 5-8 minutes; let cool slightly.  Transfer the peanuts and oil to a food processor.  Pulse a few times to get the peanuts broke up a bit.  Add the jalapeno, garlic, and ginger.  Process until minced. Add the soy, olive oil, rice vinegar, Sriracha, sugar, and sesame oil.  Process until smooth.  Season with salt.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain well.  While the pasta is cooking, in the skillet you cooked the peanuts in, add the chicken and saute over medium high heat for about 3-4 minutes.  Add  red pepper and saute for 3-4 minutes or just until the pepper starts to soften.

Toss the noodles with the dressing and the red peppers until everything is well coated.  Serve warm and enjoy!


One Year Ago:  Sweet & Spicy Chicken Stir Fry

Monday, February 21, 2011

Baked Tilapia Scampi

The other day I was craving shrimp scampi.  As most of you who have been following my blog for a while know, I do not cook a lot of shrimp.  Usually it's the fact that if I can't get it really fresh, I don't want it...and to get it really fresh usually cost more than I'm willing to spend at times.  So, you know what this tilapia girl did, don't you?  That's right.. I took all the ingredients for shrimp scampi and threw it on top of my beloved tilapia.  It was delicious!  I think it lacked just a tad bit in the true "scampi" flavor, but it was still good.  Really good!  And if you aren't into tilapia, you can use shrimp or even chicken for that matter!  I tried to keep the use of butter to a minimum in this recipe too.  Usually scampi uses something close to a full stick of I thought cutting back to make it a bit healthier would be a much better way to go.  Could be why it lacked in the true scampi flavor, but whatever, I'll give a little on the taste to not have it end up directly on my butt!!!

Baked Tilapia Scampi
Printable Recipe 
juice of half a lemon
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano (I might add a tad bit more if I made this again???)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 teaspoon Country Bob's Honey Habanero Sauce (optional)
4 tilapia fillets (or any white fish)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Rinse the fish and pat dry; place in prepared baking dish.  Squeeze lemon juice over the fillets.

In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter, garlic cloves, olive oil, and oregano.  In another small bowl, mix together the bread crumbs and the salt and pepper.  Pour 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture over the bread crumb mixture and stir to combine (the bread crumbs will be moist).  Add the honey habanero sauce to the butter mixture if using.  Pour the remaining butter over the fish and then top with the bread crumb mixture.  Place in over and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork and the bread crumbs start to brown.  Carefully remove from oven and enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Snickerdoodles 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Something I MUST share with you...

So you might remember me saying that we really don't celebrate Valentine's day at our house.  Chris is not a big fan of the "Hallmark holiday", which is perfectly fine by me.  I, personally, think you should show/tell the person you care about how much you love and appreciate them everyday.  BUT...despite what he told me, despite what he said to others, despite his better judgment even... he ended up bringing home a dozen pink roses for me:

Awwhhh... are they not just absolutely gorgeous?  Seriously, he could have let the day go by with nothing, it would not have been a big deal to me, but baby thought to himself:  "hmmmmm...maybe it's not about the holiday, maybe it should just be about doing something nice for Jenn."

Well, there you have it... lesson learned:  Even the most cynical man towards Valentine's day can surprise you!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last weekend we celebrated Chris' birthday.  One request that he had was that I make cookies.  Ok, ok.. I wanted to make cookies so I said to him:  "Chris, would you like me to make cookies for you?"  Of course, Chris looks at me and says, "well yea, that would be nice, but you don't have to".  But see, what he didn't understand was that I really HAD to.  You know how it is... the urge to cook or bake hits you and you must go into the kitchen and create or you will never be able to sit still?  Ok, that's what I was feeling, so I did what I had to do to make sure I didn't freak out or anything! That would be so unfair to Chris :)

Once I got him to agree to my cookie plan, I had to figure out what kind he, I mean I had to figure out what ingredients I had so I could decide what kind of cookie to make.  I had chocolate chips...ok, chocolate chip cookies.  Ok, do you want them to be peanuty and crisp or soft and chewy?  And, in his wonderful Chris way he said "Can't you make something peanuty AND soft and chewy?"

(Did he just ask me to do it both ways?  Good gravy, what does he think I am, some kind of baking goddess or something?  Geez...)

Of course my answer to the birthday boy was "well of course I can... you just wait here"  and off I went to the kitchen to try and figure out how I was going to make that work!!  And what do you know... it came to me just as I was grabbing the ingredients for the basic chocolate chip cookie - Why not add peanut butter to them and then he can have his peanuty soft and chewy cookies!!!  GOOD GRAVY I AM A BAKING GODDESS!!!  Oh, wait..... maybe that's going just a tad bit too far, but still... I had an came together, what more can I ask for?  These cookies have just a subtle peanut butter flavor to them, so if you are looking for something more, please feel free to add more peanut butter to the batter.

Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Printable Recipe 
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (I probably actually used about 5 tablespoons)
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt (I used coarse kosher salt)
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups (about 12oz) milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda.  In the bowl of a standing mixer (fitted with paddle attachment) add the peanut butter, butter and both sugars.  Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy; about 2 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and add salt, vanilla, and eggs; mix until well blended (remember to scrape down the sides as you go), about 1 minute.  Slowly add the flour mixture a little at a time until well combined.  Turn mixer off and remove bowl.  Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.

Shape dough into balls about the size of walnuts and place on baking sheets lined with parchment or a Silpat, spacing 2 inches apart.  Bake cookies, rotating the sheets halfway through, until edges turn golden but centers are still soft; about 10-12 minutes.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes.  Move to a wire rack; let cool completely.  Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Lemon Pepper Tilapia with Creamy Dijon Sauce

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pecan Lime Chicken

This chicken is not what it was stared out being.  The original idea for dinner was Grilled Chicken with Garlic Walnut Lime Sauce.  Uhmmm...yea, a tad bit different then Pecan Lime Chicken.  Here's what happened:

When making my grocery list the other day, I just KNEW that I had walnuts in the freezer from something I just made recently.  So I peaked into the freezer and sure enough, there was a small bag of some form of nut.  I immediately "assumed" that they were walnuts and I went on my merry way.  Flash forward a few days - As I start to get the ingredients together for the sauce, I reached into the freezer to pull out the bag of "walnuts" and lo and behold.....they were pecans!! CRAP!!!  Well...walnuts and pecans, they can be intermixed right???  Wrong!  At least not in this sauce.  The sauce had this taste... this odd taste to it.  I can't really explain it.. it was just odd and I don't think it would have had that had I used actual walnuts.  I tasted the sauce again and again and just couldn't convince myself that it was good enough to serve as a sauce....but I didn't want to throw it all away.... so I thought.. Ok, let's improvise, let's just pour it over the chicken...I'm going to grill it anyway, it can't hurt it at least, right???  And what do you know.... it actually turned out much better than expected!! YAY!!

So even though I did not get the sauce I was hoping for, we did get a great piece of chicken that was surprisingly simple to throw together.  You can't beat that!

Pecan Lime Chicken
Strangely adapted from Steven Raichlen's Planet Barbecue!
Printable Recipe 
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts cut off (I actually used honey wheat bread because we had it on hand)
2 Tablespoons pecans, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 Tablespoon lime juice
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place the slices of bread in a bowl and add enough warm water to cover.  Let the bread soak for 5 minutes, then drain it well in a strainer.  Using your hands, squeeze the bread well to wring out any excess liquid. (it's a gross job, I know, but it must be done!!)

Place the bread, pecans, and garlic in a food processor and puree to a smooth paste.  Withe the processor running, gradually work in the lime juice, vegetable oil, and olive oil in a thin stream to obtain a smooth sauce.  Add the salt and pepper and pulse just to combine.  Pour over chicken and allow to marinate for 1-4 hours (the longer the better).

Preheat grill to medium-high.  Oil grill grates.  Remove chicken from marinade and place directly over the fire.  Grill for 8-10 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through.  Remove from grill and allow to sit for 3 minutes before cutting into it.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Baked Asian Style Pork Chops

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Peanut Satay Pork Chops with Spicy Dipping Sauce

I love satay.  The first time I tried it, I was living out here in AZ and went to a restaurant called Malee's Thai Bistro with a friend.  We ordered the chicken satay as the appetizer and I had the crispy basil chicken for the main course.... I was an immediate fan of both!  I have tried numerous versions of satay since then and most of them have been pretty darn good.  This is one that I came up with on my own.  The pictures may not have turned out as well as I would have hoped, but the flavors were fantastic.  Spot on if you ask me.  It was peanuty and scrumptious.  And the Spicy Dipping Sauce... well, that just added to the enjoyment of this dish, let me tell you.  I loved the sauce so much (I know, you're shocked, right?) I had some leftover rice and I poured it over that the next day for lunch.  DELICIOUS!!!

Peanut Satay Pork Chops with Spicy Dipping Sauce
Printable Recipe 
2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 Tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 boneless pork loin chops
For the dipping sauce -
4 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon Hoisin
1 Tablespoon Sriracha

In a food processor, blend together the peanut butter, soy sauce, lemon juice, vegetable oil, garlic, coriander, chili powder, and cumin until smooth.  Rub/pour over the pork, cover, and let marinate for 2-4 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat grill to 400 degrees.  Place pork directly over the fire (rub grates with oil first) and cook for 4-6 minutes per side or until the pork has reached 155-160 degrees.

While pork is cooking, mix together all ingredients for the sauce.  Stir until well combined.  Serve with pork and enjoy!


One Year Ago:  Oven Roasted Potatoes with Peppers 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mustard Roasted Potatoes

As I promised you yesterday, here is the recipe for the fantastic Mustard Roasted Potatoes that accompanied our Surf & Turf for Two on Saturday night.  As you might know by now, we eat a lot of potatoes... it's just the starch of choice in our house.  Not always the best thing, but we love them, so we eat them.... a lot!!  This recipe was fantastic and was a nice change to regular roasted potatoes.  The tangy flavor the Dijon gave them, just put them over the top in my book.  This will definitely be a side dish that shows it's face again on our dinner table!

Mustard Roasted Potatoes
Adapted from
Printable Recipe 
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
1 lbs ruby gold or baby red potatoes (I used 0.90lbs), cut into 1/2-3/4 inch wide wedges

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray a rimmed baking sheet or metal baking dish with nonstick spray.  Whisk together the mustard, olive oil, butter, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to blend.  Add the potatoes and toss to coat.  Pour the potatoes in the baking sheet/dish, leaving any excess mustard mixture behind in the bowl.  Spread the potatoes into a single layer.  Roast potatoes for 20 minutes.  Rotate pan and continue to roast until the potatoes are crusty and browned on the outside and tender on the inside, turning occasionally, about 30-40 minutes longer.  Carefully remove from oven.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Honey Mustard Chicken

Monday, February 14, 2011

Surf & Turf for Two

Chris and I celebrated Valentine's day (I use celebrated loosely, as Chris is not a fan of Valentine's day, which is perfectly fine with me, as I believe everyday should be the day you remind the one you love just how much you love them!!) on Saturday night with a meal of Surf & Turf.  And what a meal it was!  Accompanied with Roasted Mustard Potatoes (check back tomorrow for that yummy recipe) and Grilled Green Beans.  It was the perfect dinner.  Something that was a little different from our norm, yet simple and quiet easy to throw together.

Even though we did not have a romantic setting for this dinner, it was still the perfect Valentine's gift for the two of us.  I got to grill a fine piece of steak and some tasty (and let's not forget fresh) shrimp.  I enjoyed the final product with the love of the my life.  I even cleaned the kitchen after we were done eating!  I mean it was the least I could do to show my love and appreciation to Chris.  Ok, I'll admit, there were like 4 dishes to wash and that had a lot to do with my wanting to "do such a nice thing for Chris", but I did it and that is what counts, right?

I kept the ingredients to this dish very simple.  I wanted the true flavors of the beef to come out so I did not marinate it.  I know, you are surprised, but it was the best decision I made.  The steak was still perfectly seasoned and you almost didn't need a knife to cut it... it was that tender!  My measurements are approximates....go ahead and up them or cut them back depending on your preference....remember, if you are making this for you and your loved ones, you want to make it for your tastes not mine :)

Surf & Turf for Two
Printable Recipe 
2 Ribeye steaks (mine totaled about 3/4 pound)
6 fresh wild shrimp 16/20ct shell and tail removed, deveined if necessary
olive oil
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
bamboo skewers

About an hour before you are ready to start grilling, rub a little olive oil on both sides of the steaks and season each side with 1/4 teaspoon each Herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper.  Let rest in refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Remove from fridge and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before putting on the grill.

30 minutes before you are ready to grill:  In a small bowl, toss together the shrimp, 1 teaspoon olive oil, the lemon juice, oregano, and red pepper flakes.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Allow to sit in fridge until you are ready to grill them.  Have 1 or 2 bamboo skewers soaking in water for about 30 minutes - you'll put the shrimp on them just before you're ready to grill.

Preheat grill to 400 degrees.  Oil the grill grates.  Place the steaks directly over the fire and grill for 4-10 minutes per side depending on your preferred doneness.  Remove from grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  While the steak is resting, place the shrimp skewers over the fire and allow to grill about 3-4 minutes per side.  Serve with steak and enjoy!!

One Year Ago:  Easy Baked Fish Fillets

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Fun!

I think you all know by now that when I don't start off a post with the actual picture of the food that I'm probably not going to be posting a recipe.  Don't you worry might not be able to see a tasty recipe here, but you will be able to find, not one, but TWO, yes that's right, two new recipes on two other blogs.  Yes, yes, that's right.. I'm forcing you to leave my beloved blog and find me at not just one guest blog post, but TWO!!  (Excited is the word I would use!!!)

So, today, as I do every other Friday, I am hosting Fire Day Friday over at Our Krazy Kitchen.  I decided to go with a very simple recipe today:  Grilled Steak Fajitas

As always, stop on by and say know I love your company!

My second guest post is on Date Night Doins BBQ for Two.  Ken and Patti were gracious enough to ask me if I would like to be a "guest chef" (though I'm really just a guest cook, but still.. it's a cool title!!) and I immediately said yes!  Ken and Patti, along with Dave at, hosted the Women of the Grill Contest.  I must say that I was really honored that they not only picked one of my recipes for the contest, but that they looked around on my blog and was impressed by what they saw!  The recipe I'm showcasing there is:  Grilled Sirloin Steaks with Coffee Sauce (another recipe I adapted from One Perfect Bite...I swear, I'm not stalking you Mary!!)

Sorry, I'm making you hop all over the blog world to find my posts today, but I promise it will be well worth it.  As always, while you are on those sites, if you have time, feel free to browse never know what you might find!!

Oh...and before I let you go... if nothing else...check out my one year ago today recipe below, it was the BOMB!!!

One Year Ago:  Mongolian Beef...My Way

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chicken Capellini Capricciosi

I found this extraordinary little gem one day while browsing through the archives of One Perfect Bite.  What I learned: sometimes it's good to spend a little time browsing through past recipes of your favorite'll never know what you might find!

Let's be honest - I could be easily bought with bacon.  Toss it with some pasta and.. well.. I dare not say the things I would do as my boyfriend and my mother read my blog.  Let's just say: Bacon + Pasta = HAP*HAP*HAPPY Jenn!!  And who knew that adding peperoncini to that mix would elevate it even further in my book??

I would fight you for this dish.  Sorry, but if it were you and me and big bowl/plate of this.... you would witness a force more powerful then Zeus himself!

I'm just sayin'   ......   it's THAT good.

Ok, so this is a bit like our favorite Bacon & Tomato Pasta, but honestly, the addition of the peperoncini really gave it that "something" special to set it apart.  I wish I was a little more articulate tonight so that I could explain it better .... but believe me... it's AMAZING!

Chicken Capellini Capricciosi
Adapted from One Perfect Bite
Printable Recipe 
6 slices of bacon, diced
1 large clove or two small cloves of garlic, minced
12 peperoncini, drained, seeded and chopped
1 14.5oz can whole, peeled tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large chicken breast, cooked and cut into small chunks
10oz angel hair pasta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

In a large deep skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until browned and crispy, about 8 minutes.  Add the peperoncini and saute for 1 minute.  Add the garlic and saute 1 more minute.  Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper and cook for 8 minutes.  (I added just a splash of red wine to the sauce too)  Add the chicken in the final 5 minutes.

While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water.  Add the pasta and the olive oil to the sauce and toss to combine.  If the pasta is too dry, add the reserved pasta water (a little at a time).  Add the parmesan cheese, tossing to combine. Top with parsley and.... Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Birthday Weekend Part Three - Spicy Mac & Cheese with Chorizo

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Parmesan Garlic Tilapia

I must say that this is one of my favorite tilapia recipes I've made in a long time!  I think it has worked its way up to a top spot already and this is the first time I made it!  There was just something about the perfect crunchy texture...and the delicious garlic and parmesan flavors.  So much like others before it, yet so very, very different!

You will notice that I have listed 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese...this is not a mistake.  I had the grated Kraft in a container kind of parmesan that I wanted to use up.. so I used both types, you could just stick with the shredded parmesan if you want and leave the grated stuff out all together, it's not going to hurt dish either way.

Parmesan Garlic Tilapia
Printable Recipe 
2 cloves of garlic, skin removed and cut in half
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 tilapia fillets

In a food processor, finely mince the garlic.  Add the panko and process for 3 seconds.  Add the grated parmesan if using and pulse 3 times.  Pour into a small bowl and add the shredded parmesan, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray a backing dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Rinse fillets and pat dry.  Season both sides of each fillet and place in prepared baking dish.  Spread the parmesan/panko mixture evenly over each fillet.  Place in oven and bake for 12-14 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork and the top is golden brown.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Birthday Weekend Part Two - Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Spicy Caramel Chicken

There's a lot of things I would do differently when making this dish - and it's definitely one I will make again - but no tasted really good.  It had a nice spicy and sweet flavor to it.  And it was way simple to throw together.

So what would I have done differently?  First, I would have used the velveting technique I swore I would use from here on out for any stir fry recipe I made.  Second, I would have made more sauce and gotten it thicker just a tad bit thicker.  I think it would have looked so much more appealing had the sauce stuck a little and given the chicken more of a caramel look.

I have adjusted the recipe to reflect the said changes.... because, as I stated in the beginning of the post... the flavors were still really wonderful.

Spicy Caramel Chicken
Printable Recipe 
Velveting marinade -
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon chicken stock
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon oil (I used vegetable oil)
For the sauce -
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
For the stir fry -
2 bell peppers (I used yellow and orange), thinly sliced
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced or cut into bite size pieces

Placed the cut up chicken in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and add chicken stock, stirring to combine.  Add the egg white and gently mix to coat each piece of chicken making sure not to froth the egg.  Sprinkle in the cornstarch and toss to coat.  Add the oil and stir one last time.  Let the meat marinate for 30 minutes.

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the sauce.  You want to have everything ready, once the stuff goes in the skillet/wok, things are going to move fast.  In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.

When chicken is done marinating; bring a pot of water with one tablespoon of oil to a boil.  Once it starts to boil, lower the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer.  Scatter in the marinated chicken, stir to separate and keep stirring gently until the coating turns white.  Remove the chicken pieces quickly with a slotted spoon or strainer.  Set chicken aside.

Heat a skillet or wok over medium high heat.  Once it is hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the red pepper and stir fry 2-3 minutes.  Add the chicken and stir fry 1-2 minutes, or until chicken is heated through.  Add the sauce and let simmer about 1 minute or until the sauce thickens.  Serve over rice and enjoy!


One Year Ago:  Birthday Weekend Part One: Snickers Pie

Monday, February 7, 2011

Almond Chicken with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce

This is a recipe that my mom recommend I try.  She's pretty good at sending me recipes she's tried and liked.  I don't always end up making them...  It has nothing to do with the recipes she chooses, it's just that...well...there are SO many recipes out there and I think I put them away and completely forget about them.  But this one...this one I KNEW I was going to have to try.  I love the flavors of strawberry and balsamic vinegar together!  It's such a wonderful combination.  I changed the sauce just a tiny bit from the original recipe.  I just knew it could be simplified, yet still be amazingly good.  I also baked this instead of pan frying it like the recipe called for.  I figured it couldn't hurt to make it a little more on the healthier side!

I guess what you can take away from this is:  My mother has fantastic taste... at least in food!!

Almond Chicken with Strawberry Balsamic Sauce
Adapted from Taste of Home
Printable Recipe 
1/2 cup panko
1/2 cup unblanched almonds, coarsely ground
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup strawberry preserves
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed rosemary
1 teaspoon adobo sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place a wire rack in a baking sheet with a lip and spray the rack with non-stick spray; set aside.

Add the panko, almonds, salt, and pepper into a resealable bag.  Rinse the chicken, shaking off any excess water, and place in the bag; shaking to coat.  Repeat with additional pieces of chicken.  Place on wire rack and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (165 degrees) and the coating is golden brown.

While the chicken bakes, make the sauce.  In a bowl, mix together the preserves, vinegar, rosemary, and adobo if using. Stir until combined and smooth.  Serve with chicken and enjoy!!

One Year Ago:  Balsamic Chicken Tenders with Caramelized Onion & Pepper

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Birthday Wish! (And a few other things)

I could not let the day go by without wishing the love of my life a happy birthday...

So, Chris, my love......
May your year be filled with lots of love, food, and much happiness!  You mean the world to me!  Thank you for all that you do and for all the love and support you give to me.  You are truly amazing!

To celebrate this wonderful day, I have a few special little things for the two of us to do.  Nothing too fancy or outrageous, just quality time together.  Tonight I'll be taking him out to eat - Chris is my dish washer, so I can't cook because I can't force him to do dishes on his birthday, and I really don't want to do dishes on his birthday... so it just makes sense!!  Don't worry, though, tomorrow I'll be making him his special request birthday dinner:  Chicken Fried Steak.  All in all, I will fill his birthday weekend with love and food....what more could a man ask for???

Now the few other things:
First, I want to send a huge thank you to Desi from Steak N Potatoes Kinda Gurl,  she graciously passed the Stylish Blogger Award on to me the other day.  I actually found Desi thanks to her finding my site :)  I'm glad she did find me, as I really like her blog.  As you are making your way through the blog world today, take a second to stop by and say hello her, I know she'll appreciate it!
Of course, as always, there are rules and of course, as always, you know I'm going to break them...and I'm sorry for that Desi...but that's how I roll sometimes.  The rule was to tell you all 7 things about myself that you might not know.  Well, I'm running out of secrets to share with you all so instead I'm going to share one thing with you and one thing only.  Here it is:  One of my absolute favorite songs to spin fire too:  Faster Kill Pussycat by Brittany Murphy (RIP).  I actually enjoy the version that Paul Oakenfold spins, but whatever, I still love it.  The video isn't the greatest, but the song ROCKS!!

So, there, you know a deep dark dirty secret about ok, ok, it wasn't that deep nor that dark nor that much of a secret, but whatever.....that should hold you over for a while at least!!  I am also supposed to give this to like 14 other bloggers.  I always have such a hard time with that, so here's the deal...if you have a blog ....this award is for you!  Enjoy it, brag about it, whatever you want to do, just accept it and have a fantastic day!

Second on my list - If you are a woman and you like to grill, you MUST enter the 2nd Annual Women of the Grill Contest hosted by Date Night Doins and  You can check out all the info on it here.  Don't get fooled by the heading where it still says 1st annual... just keep reading and you'll see where it talks about the 2011 contest.  Go now...enter something yummy and grilled.... I dare you :)

Third - Earlier this week I was contacted by the Wholly Guacamole company.  They asked that I look at their new site Get Off The  If you are interested, please take time to check it out it.  It's just a fun, informative, interactive site. Here's some really good news for some of you out there too... their products are all natural, gluten-free (Judy I know you are gonna like that!!), kosher, and vegan-friendly.  YAY!!

Well, I think that's it.. hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend. I had planning on putting together a Supper Bowl idea post, but it was quite the crazy week and most of the posts for this week were ready before I even went to bed on Sunday.  :)  If you are still interested though...for those of you that are late are some of my favorite appetizer recipes that will be sure to make a big impression at any party:

Well, we are off to enjoy Chris' birthday weekend....see you on Monday!!  Ciao!