Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Garlic Bread #47

I made this awhile ago.  For those of you who don't know, about three weeks ago I broke my 6 month old computer and had to get a new one.  So that is why I didn't get on here for awhile.  Plus, I was trying to diet.  I haven't exactly kept up my goal of watching weight watchers recipes.... Anyways, here is a yummy looking bread recipe.

The case:
-3-½ cups Grated Cheddar Cheese
-¾ cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
-½ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
-½ cups (real) Mayonnaise
-4 whole Green Onions, White And Light Green Parts Minced
-1 dash Salt
-1 loaf Crusty French Bread
-1 stick Butter
-4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced

Preparation Instructions
1. Mix cheeses with the mayonnaise and the green onions. Add dash of salt to taste and set aside or keep in fridge until you need it.
2. Cut loaf of bread in half, then each half into half again.
3. Working 1/4 loaf at a time, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet and add 1/4 of the minced garlic.
4. Place 1 of the 1/4 loaves face down in the skillet, swirling it to soak up the butter and garlic. Allow bread to toast in the skillet, removing garlic if it starts to get too brown.
5. Repeat with remaining butter, garlic, and bread.
6. Spread cheese mixture on warm loaves and bake in a 425 degree oven until cheese is hot and bubbly, about 10 minutes.
7. Slice and serve.

The ruling:
I never thought I would say this, but this is a little to creamy and cheesy for me.  That's bad.  All I tasted was cheese and mayo.  I have a wonderful bread recipe.  I'll try to share soon!

Cilantro Marinated Salmon #46

For some reason I can't get enough salmon here lately.  I crave it!  Which is really weird since I wouldn't touch the stuff a year ago!  It's been a gorgeous day, and I'm so happy to be grilling out!

The case:
4 salmon fillets
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1.  Season fillets with salt and pepper, onion powder, and red pepper flakes. Set aside in a baking dish.
2.  In a medium bowl, mix together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, balsamic vinegar, sugar, green onions, and cilantro. Pour marinade over salmon; cover, and refrigerate overnight, or at least 6 hours.
3.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).  Arrange salmon on a broiling sheet. Place in a preheated oven, and bake for 5 minutes. Increase heat to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C), turn fillets, and broil 5 minutes more.
The ruling:
I left out the green onions, used regular (dark) balsamic vinegar.  and only put red pepper flakes on half of the salmon.  It was so beautiful we grilled the salmon instead of cooking in the oven.  Michael and I are still learning about grilling, and when I say that I mean Michael is.  We had the temperature too low on the fire, so the salmon took longer to cook and this ended up drying out the fish a bit.  It was still really good though.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits #45

I love, love, LOVE cheese biscuits.  And I love Ina Garten.  I'm not very talented when it comes to baked goods, but what can I say, I keep trying.

The case:

- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
- 1/2 cup cold buttermilk, shaken
- 1 cold extra-large egg
- 1 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water or milk
-Maldon sea salt, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Place 2 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, add the butter and mix until the butter is the size of peas.
3. Combine the buttermilk and egg in a small measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork. With the mixer still on low, quickly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix only until moistened.
4. In a small bowl, mix the Cheddar with small handful of flour and, with the mixer still on low, add the cheese to the dough. Mix only until roughly combined.
5. Dump out onto a well-floured board and knead lightly about 6 times. Roll the dough out to a rectangle 10 by 5 inches.
6. With a sharp, floured knife, cut the dough lengthwise in half and then across in quarters, making 8 rough rectangles.
7. Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with the egg wash, sprinkle with salt, if using, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the biscuits are cooked through. Serve hot or warm.

The ruling:
These are really good.  I think I mixed them up too much- that's what I feel like I always do.  I think I would like something cheesier and softer.  I have a hunch these would be really good with a little heavy added.  Still I will probably make these again.  I have this idea in my head that these would be really good with country ham!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pepperjack Potato Soup

This is one of my favorite comfort soups!  Perfect for a cold and rainy day- or a bright, warm, sunny spring day like today!

- 3 cups diced potatoes
- 2/3 lb Velveeta
- 1/2 lb Pepperjack
- 1 quart half and half
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup
- 1/2 stick butter
- salt and pepper to taste

1.  Cut up the potatoes into 1 inch cubes.
2.  Boil potatoes for 10 minutes.  Drain when finished.
3.  Chop up both cheeses and add to another greased pot.
4.  Melt cheeses over low heat until completely melted, stirring often.
6.  Pour and stir in half and half.
7.  Mix in cans of cream of chicken soup.
8.  Drop in butter.
9.  Stir over medium heat until all ingredients are almost incorporated. Mixture will be chunky at first.

10.  When ingredients are almost combined stir in potatoes.
11.  Gently, stir into warm or until everything is combined.  Season with salt and pepper.
12.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cheese and Sausage Muffins #44

Sausage, cheese, and baking mix? This looks like a winner to me!

The case:
1 lb sausage
1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1/2 cup milk (I used half and half)
2-3 teaspoons sage
3 cups biscuit/baking mix

1. Cook and drain sausage.
2. In a bowl, combine soup, milk, sage, and sausage.
3. Stir in biscuit mix just until moistened.
4. Fill greased miniature or regular muffin cups two-thirds full.
5. Bake at 400 for 15-20 min.

Yield 4 dozen mini-muffins or 2 dozen regular muffins.

These were really, really good- so moist and flavorful! These would be perfect for a brunch. Absolutely delicious!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cheese Grits #43

This is another one of Pioneer Woman's recipes.  It's from her cookbook.

The case:
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups uncooked quick or regular grits
4 eggs
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
2-4 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to 9 cups of water in a large saucepan, bring water to a boil over medium heat, and pour in the grits.  Stir to combine.
2.  Cover and finish cooking according to directions.  Quick grits take less than 5 minutes, while regular grits take about 15 minutes.
3.  Turn off the heat when the grits are done.
4.  In a small bowl whisk the eggs.
5.  To temper the eggs before adding them to the hot grits, throw a couple of spoonfuls of hot grits into the eggs.  Begin stirring immediately and continue stirring until the mixture is well combined.
6.  Pour the eggs into the grits.
7.  Stir constantly to incorporate the eggs into the grits.
8.  Add the butter and stir until melted.
9.  Add the cheese.  Stir until melted.
10.Add the garlic and cayenne.
11. Stir well to combine.  Taste and adjust seasonings.
12.  Bake 30-35 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
This needed more salt but besides that it was good, but not near as good as my dad's mom's.  I'll post next time I make them!

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese #42

Anything with buffalo chicken I have to try immediately.  This was in my new Food Network Magazine that I just got a couple of days ago.

The case:

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
Kosher salt
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 cups
Shredded rotisserie chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank's)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 pound yellow sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.
2.  Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.
3.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.
4.  Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. 
 5.  Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.
6.  Put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni.
7.  Bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
The ruling:
I added some ranch seasoning to the half and half mixture.  Then of course served in with more ranch on top.  This was very, very good!  I will definitely make it again. Not often, because it is extremely heavy, but for a special treat this is a wonderful treat!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chocolate Sheet Cake #41

Wow I can't believe I'm in the 40s.

I just had to squeeze in one more recipe before I started dieting again tomorrow.  Even though I am trying new low-fat recipes, it isn't quite the same as finding a really great recipe that just hits the spot. I'm cooked creamy/savory comfort foods already today, so I thought I would finish with something sweet and savory.  This is another one of Pioneer Woman's recipes- I know- obsessed- I admit it!

The case:

2 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
¼ teaspoons Salt
4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
2 sticks Butter
1 cup Boiling Water
½ cups Buttermilk
2 whole Beaten Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla

½ cups Finely Chopped Pecans
1-¾ stick Butter
4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
6 Tablespoons Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 pound (minus 1/2 Cup) Powdered Sugar
Preparation Instructions

1.  In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
2. In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
3. Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat.
 4. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.
5. In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla.
 6. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.

7.  While cake is baking, make the icing. Chop pecans finely. Melt butter in a saucepan.
8.  Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat. Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir together.
 9.  Add the pecans, stir together, and pour over warm cake.

The ruling:
I was worried because this was so thin.  After my thin biscuits this morning I thought oh no, tough cake isn't going to be any good, but once again Pioneer Woman doesn't disappoint.  This is very similar to the Coca-Cola cake my aunt makes, but a lot thinner.  I'm not sure how such a thin cake can be so fluffy, but it is sooo good.  This is a lifetime recipe for me!

Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup #40

I love soups- especially creamy soups.  I found this is my new $5 Taste of Homes chicken cookbook and couldn't wait to try it.  I've always seen the fiesta nacho cheese soup in the store and thought to myself how good it would be in either some sort of dip or soup.  I've been meaning to go to Campbell's and find some recipes, but now one has found me.

The case:

- 1 can condensed fiesta nacho cheese soup
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 2 2/3 cups milk
- 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
- 1 can enchilada sauce
- 1 can (4 oz) green chilies

Optional toppings:
- sour cream
- shredded Mexican cheese
- tortilla chips

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients.  Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and chips if desired. (Don't you just love directions like this?)

The ruling:
I doubled the recipe since I knew Michael would want to try this when he gets back from Gatlinburg this weekend.  I ended up adding a can of chicken broth because even though I like my soup creamy, it was very creamy.  Its very spicy but at the same time plain.  You could easily add peppers, onion, beans, etc.  The nacho soup has a definite "nachoy"  flavor.  I will make this again, but next time I will try one can fiesta soup and one can regular cheddar soup.  I honestly like my Aunt Laureen's creamy chicken tortilla soup better.  I will try and post it soon!



Buttermilk Biscuits and Sausage Gravy #38 & #39

Biscuits and gravy is one of my all time favorite meals.  I know I've said before I love breakfast foods, and this is probably my favorite. I have tried to make gravy a couple of times before without a definite recipe.  They both yielded disasters- completely inedible.  Hopefully Pioneer Woman can help this out, but to be honest not much confidence on this one. 

First the biscuits.

The case:

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (3/4 tsp table salt)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup chilled shortening
1/3 cup cold butter (5 1/3 tablespoons) cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter

1. Preheat your oven to 450F.

2. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Stir together. Then add the chilled shortening and cold butter pieces.

3. With a pastry blender, cut in the shortening and butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

4. Pour in the buttermilk and mix gently with a fork until just combined. The dough will be a little sticky, not overly dry or crumbly.

5. Lightly flour a clean surface. Lightly dust your rolling pin with flour. Turn the dough out of the bowl and roll to a 1/2 to 3/4-inch thickness, depending on how thick you'd like your biscuits to be.

6. Cut rounds with a biscuit cutter and place them on a baking sheet.

7. Bake for 11-14 minutes, until golden brown. Do not underbake or the biscuits will be doughy. Brush the tops with melted butter.

The ruling:
To be honest I almost didn't post this at all, but since the point of my blog isn't to share great recipes but to share both the successes and frustrations of trying new things I decided to share.

The failure of the biscuits is completely my fault.  These were actually my second group of biscuits.  I rolled out the biscuits WAY to much.  The first few looked like pancakes and baked hard and burnt.  These were still to thin, but they were edible.  Maybe even decent, but by no means good.  I took a picture looking down on them mainly so you can't see how flat they are. 

Now the gravy.

The case:

- 1 pound sausage
- Flour
- Salt
- Pepper
- Whole Milk (all I had was FF)

1.  Slice and fry sausage according to directions., Remove them to a paper towel to drain.

2.  Pour grease out of the skillet/pan you used for the sausage, adding back in only what you want to use to make the gravy. For one to two people, use about 2 to 3 tbsp. of grease.

3.  Over low to medium-low heat, add about 2 tbsp of flour to the grease and whisk immediately. If you add in a little more grease so it’s smooth and stirrable. You want to find a good balance between the flour and the grease.

4.  Once you find it, just keep stirring with the whisk and allow the mixture to brown for a few minutes. As you whisk, scrape in the anything from the bottom of the pan as you go.  Add sausage bits if desired.

5.  After 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly, pour in about a cup of milk. IF the mixture is dry, lumpy or pasty, add in more milk – again, drawing a balanced mixture. Add salt to taste. Let the gravy warm up over low heat, stirring occasionally. Cut prepared biscuits in half pour gravy atop them

The ruling:

This gravy was pretty good.  I'm not saying its the best I've ever had, but it was good.  I will definitely continue trying to make it and see if practice makes perfect.  Plus, I need to try it with better biscuits.