Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Honey Ginger Pork Tenderloin



I know I keep mentioning the weather in my posts lately, but I am feeling a bit disappointed so far this Spring. I’m not sure you can even call this Spring weather yet, but I am hopeful we will be seeing some 60 and 70 degree weather soon. We have had a couple of windows of opportunity to grill and of course I have taken full advantage. This pork tenderloin was delicious. The marinade provided hints of our favorite Asian flavors. I decided that instead of discarding the marinade I would reduce it down and serve along side the pork, which provided even more flavor.

Honey Ginger Pork Tenderloin

(2) 3/4-pound pork tenderloins

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup oyster sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon ketchup

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Parsley, for garnish, if desired

Source: The Way the Cookie Crumbles, originally from Epicurious

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ham and Gruyere Party Sandwiches



When planning a food menu to serve for a party or to feed a crowd, I always look for a few items that can be made ahead of time so that I’m not too stressed the day of the event. Most everyone enjoys a ham and cheese sandwich, especially when the cheese is gruyere! The sliders can be made the day before, stored in foil, and placed in the oven 20 minutes before serving. The butter, mayo, mustard, chives, and thyme all work well together and make a great condiment to the sandwich. Another plus is that the sandwiches can also be frozen for later use.

Ham and Gruyere Party Sandwiches

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons minced chives

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

4 (15 oz) packages slider buns

2 1/2 pounds very thinly sliced deli ham

1 1/2 pounds Gruyere cheese, shredded

In a medium bowl, combine butter, mayonnaise, mustard, chives, and thyme, stirring until smooth.

Using a serrated knife, cut buns in half crosswise, keeping edges of buns attached to each other.

Spread butter mixture evenly over bottom halves of buns. Top evenly with ham and cheese; cover with bun tops. Wrap each set of six sandwiches in heavy-duty aluminum foil, and refrigerate up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake wrapped sandwiches, directly on oven rack, for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.

To freeze ahead, place wrapped sandwiches in freezer, and freeze up to one month.

Remove from freezer, and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake as directed.

Source: Cooking with Paula Deen, November/December 2010

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites



For those reader’s that haven’t given up on me, thanks for being so patient. We spent a week on a cruise vacation and returned back to winter and snow in New York. I keep thinking now that I’m no longer in school, things will calm down some, but I haven’t been able to nail down a routine and get back to blogging. While I still can’t promise a ton of posts, I am doing my best to test out new recipes in the kitchen and hope to be able to share some with you soon.

After trying homemade pretzel bites back in October, I’ve been wanting more! This time I tried another variation… pretzels filled with ham and cheese. The pretzels were just as addicting. Soft dough filled with gooey cheese and ham. I opted to serve the pretzels plain, but if I had a good recipe for a cheese sauce, it would have been even better.

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

For the Dough:

1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/4 cup warm water

1 cup warm milk

2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling:

1'/2 cup small diced ham

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

To Finish:

6 cups water

4 teaspoons baking soda

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Kosher salt (or pretzel salt), for topping

To Make the Dough:

Combine yeast, brown sugar, water, milk, and 2 1/2 cups of flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until a dough has formed into a ball. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until soft, elastic dough forms. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough is tacky but not sticky.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, until the dough has doubled in size and bubbles on the surface, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

To Finish:

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Stretch or roll one piece of the dough into a 12 x 4 inch rectangle. Sprinkle some of the diced ham and the shredded cheese over one third of the dough closest to an edge, lengthwise. Roll up tightly, filling edge first, so that the filling is tightly sealed inside. Slice the log into 12 pieces and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Repeat with the remaining three portions of dough, and the remaining filling.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring the six cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the baking soda and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Boil the pretzels in batches, cooking for about 20 seconds and turning once. They should be slightly puffed. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to transfer them back to the baking sheet.

Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Brush the warm pretzel bites with the melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from Gourmet, October 2009

One Year Ago Today: Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

Friday, March 11, 2011

Samoa Bars



I’m sure many have noticed the girl scout troops out at local grocery stores and elsewhere selling their famous cookies. I have so many favorite girl scout cookies, its so hard to just purchase one box. The Samoa cookie is among my favorites. The amount of cookies per box seems to have shrunk, making each cookie a sacred treat. This year I decided that I would forego actually purchasing the cookies and try making them myself. Do to the many steps involved in this process, I decided that bars would be the easiest and fastest ways to duplicate the cookie. The cookie itself is a shortbread cookie, topped with caramel and coconut, drizzled with chocolate on top, and coated with chocolate on the bottom. The bars tasted just like the famous girl scout cookies and the best part is you can now enjoy them anytime of year!

Samoa Bars

For the Cookie Base:

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Topping:

3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

12 oz chewy caramels

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons milk

10 oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate (such as chocolate chips)

To Make the Cookie Base:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan or line with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepared pan and press into an even layer.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

To Make the Topping:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Spread coconut evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on the baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with spatula.

Place dollops of the topping on the shortbread base. Using a spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.

When cooled, cut into bars. The batch should make approximately 30 bars.

Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate into a piping bag or Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.

Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Source: Baking Bites

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Dip Roll-ups



Sometimes I feel that wraps/roll-ups are a bit underrated. I always seem to over look them when browsing for things to make. They may not carry the “wow” factor, but they always turn out really good and have the added bonus of being quick to make and usually something that can be made ahead of time. This appetizer is served cold and packs all the flavor of a chicken enchilada.  The original recipe calls for a southwest flavored rotisserie chicken, which I’m sure would add even more flavor, but I decided to use regular chicken breast since I already had some at home. I was also a little disappointed I couldn’t find the jalapeno cheddar tortillas because that would have also added an extra punch of flavor, but overall the rollups turned out great and would definitely make a great appetizer for a crowd.

Chicken Enchilada Roll-ups

2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened

1 1/3 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 teaspoon garlic, finely minced

1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

cayenne pepper to taste

salt to taste

2 chicken breast, cooked and shredded

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

4 green onions, chopped

1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained

1 package jalapeno cheddar tortillas (I couldn’t find these, so I just used regular tortillas)

Mix cheeses together until well blended. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, salt, chicken, cilantro, green onions, and rotel tomatoes. Mix well.

Divide filling out between eight or nine tortillas. Place one heaping spoonful on each tortilla. Spread to edges using a metal spatula. Tightly roll tortillas and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Remove rollups and cut off ends with no filling. Slice each rollup into six pieces each. Serve immediately or refrigerate until needed.

Source: Cooking This and That

Monday, March 7, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Pizza



Living in New York, it is always so tempting to order take-out from a local pizza joint. The pizza here is so good and there is always an endless supply of different pizza’s to try. If I lived anywhere else, our family would probably have a “homemade pizza night” each week. That being said, I always forget how good the homemade version can be and honestly it is super easy to make. Buffalo chicken pizza happens to be one of our favorites so I was happy to find a recipe to make at home. I was already planning on making a chicken bacon ranch pizza for dinner last week, so I decided to also try this recipe. Eating both side-by-side, I must say I think I have a new favorite! The amount of hot sauce was perfect for my taste buds, but if you like things really spicy, you can always add more. Bleu cheese can also be added for even more flavor.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

1/2 batch of pizza dough

1 medium sized boneless, skinless chicken breast

3 tablespoons hot sauce (such as Frank’s)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup ranch dressing

6 to 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, for garnish if desired

Place pizza stone in a clean oven and heat for 20 to 25 minutes at 500 degrees.

Meanwhile, cook chicken in a grill pan or in a sauté pan over medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until cooked through. (If the chicken hasn’t fully cooked, it will finish cooking in the oven.) Add hot sauce and butter to sauté pan, heat through, and toss in the sliced/chopped chicken to coat. Remove from the heat and set aside.

On a well floured surface, roll out dough to desired thickness. Place dough on pizza stone. Spread ranch dressing out evenly on the dough, leaving a one inch border around the outside edge of dough. Add chicken and any leftover sauce from the pan. Sprinkle on the mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 500 degrees for ten to twelve minutes. Remove the stone from the oven and sprinkle with parsley, if desired. Allow pizza to sit for a couple of minutes before cutting. Serve hot.

Source adapted from: Smells Like Home

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spicy Sausage Dip



Can you believe it is March already? I am ready for Spring weather, so I am looking forward to some changing temperatures! Thank you for sticking with me through my break. I am happy to say that I have successfully completed my thesis and will be graduating with my MBA in May of this year! I really did take the time off and tried to stay out of the kitchen as much as possible, so I don’t have many new recipes to share, but I did have a few saved up. This recipe is one that actually made an appearance on New Year’s Eve and happened to be the favorite appetizer of the evening. This was a nice change to the normal queso dip usually served. Loaded with cream cheese, chorizo sausage, and rotel tomatoes the dip has a creamy and spicy kick. The heat can be controlled by using a milder sausage and/or less hot sauce. The dip can be served with crackers, bread, or tortilla chips. This makes the perfect appetizer for game day and is sure to please the men in your life!

Spicy Sausage Dip

16 oz package pork sausage

1 can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, undrained (I used Rotel)

2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, room temperature

hot sauce to taste (such as Sriracha or tobasco)

Cook the sausage in a skillet over medium heat until evenly browned and no longer pink. Drain. Reduce heat to low, and stir in the tomatoes and cream cheese until evenly blended. Cook just until heated through. Serve warm.

Source: My Baking Addiction

Monday, January 24, 2011

Taking a break…


For those that might be wondering where I was last week, I apologize. I have been trying to avoid anything that is a distraction from my thesis. Trust me when I say, the kitchen is my biggest distraction. I am determined to get my thesis done so that I can completely finish my MBA program. With that being said, I am going to continue to take time off from blogging. I’m not sure for how long and I might post a few recipes here and there, but I want to try to give myself the best environment possible to finish the last stage of my master’s program. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Governor Bars



Sometimes my sweet tooth cravings come when there is not really enough time to spend in the kitchen baking. That is when I start searching for a no bake recipe that will satisfy the cravings in less than half the time. I have been in a rice krispy mood lately and wanted to also incorporate rice krispies into the no bake recipe requirement. This was the perfect recipe to satisfy both cravings. The chocolate layer on top is quite rich, but is balanced by the rice cereal bottom. I’m not sure why the bars are named “governor”, but they are pretty addicting and hard to resist!

Governor Bars

6 cups Kellogg’s Rice Krispies

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup honey

1 cup sugar

12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

12 oz bag butterscotch chips

Place rice krispies and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl. Do not mix together yet; set aside.

Heat the honey and sugar in a medium saucepan until it is just boiling. Immediately remove from heat and pour into the bowl with the Rice Krispies and peanut butter. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Lightly press the mixture into a greased 9 X 13 inch pan.

Melt the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips in a microwave safe bowl for about one minute, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir until melted and smooth. Spread evenly on top of the rice krispies. Let cool until hardened before slicing into bars.

Source: Pennies on a Platter

One Year Ago Today: Yummy Potatoes

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Slow Cooker Chili



Yesterday was another snow day here in New York. There is so much snow in our driveway and yard, it is overwhelming! Having the day off from work means that I can snuggle under the covers for most of the day. When it comes to eating, a big pot of chili comforts the soul. This version happens to be a favorite of mine due to the ease of cooking. All the work is done in the Crockpot, allowing it to simmer away with little effort from the cook! Growing up, I never ate chili without some corn chips, making an average bowl of chili into Frito chili pie. However you choose to serve the dish, the results will be a hearty and satisfying bowl of chili that everyone can look forward to on a cold winter day.

Slow Cooker Chili

1 pound ground chuck

2 (15 oz.) cans red kidney beans, drained

1 (26.5 oz) can garlic-herb spaghetti sauce

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

Garnishes: Sour cream, Cheddar cheese, corn chips, and/or minced green onion

In a medium skillet, cook ground chuck over medium-high heat until beef is browned and crumbles. Spoon beef into a 6-quart slow cooker; add beans, spaghetti sauce, tomatoes, chili powder, pepper, and salt. Cover, and cook on low for 6 hours. Garnish with desired toppings.

Source: Cooking with Paula Deen, January/February 2008

One Year Ago Today: Island Pork Tenderloin

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thai Honey Peanut Chicken



One thing that hasn’t changed with my taste buds is I still love peanut butter with anything. Before I started branching out and trying new things, I only stuck to things I knew. When my husband wanted Thai food, the only thing I would order was some variation of peanut chicken. Thankfully, I have broadened my horizons, but every now and then I still love peanut chicken. This is a fast dinner that satisfies my Thai cravings without getting take-out. Many of the ingredients are already located in your pantry. The chicken has lots of peanut butter flavor with a generous portion of sauce that soaks in to the rice, giving the dish lots of flavor with every bite.

Thai Honey Peanut Chicken

1 pound chicken, cut into chunks

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon sriracha (optional)

Sesame seeds, for topping

Mix ingredients and marinate chicken for two to three hours.

Cook chicken in the sauce over medium-high heat for seven to eight minutes or until chicken is done. Sevre topped with sesame seeds.

If sauce is too thin, mix together 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the cornstarch mixture.

Serve with rice.

Source: Tasty Kitchen

Monday, January 10, 2011

Starred Recipes Recap


Well 2011 is moving along! So far January in New York has been quite cold and snowy. Over the weekend I celebrated a milestone. I have finished all course work for my MBA program. I started in September 09 and have finally reached the home stretch. The only thing left is to finish my thesis, so while I’m not out of the woods yet, I’m so much closer!

Here are some of the recipes that caught my eye last week:

  • Pink Parsley posted a Spiced Chipotle Honey Chicken with Sweet Potatoes that sounds like a great one-pot, week night dinner.
  • Although I have never tried the “original”, Buttercream Barbie posted a copy cat recipe of Starbucks Classic Coffee Cake that looks like a great breakfast treat with a cup of coffee.
  • It seems I can’t break away from the peanut butter chocolate combination. Handle the heat posted Rich Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares that look irresistible.
  • Smells like Home posted homemade Pizza Bites, which I have seen before and finally have the itch to try it myself. The homemade version looks ten times better than the pizza rolls from the store.

Friday, January 7, 2011

German Chocolate Cake



Since meeting my husband’s family I have always heard good things about his Granny’s German Chocolate Cake. She would make it during the holidays and every just raves about how good it was. I was never able to meet his Granny and I don’t know that we were able to find her secret recipe, but I thought I would surprise my Father-in-law over the Holidays by having this dessert on our menu. He was pleasantly surprised to see it on the dessert table and we all were pleased with the results. The cake has a simple rum glaze that coats each layer of the cake, helping the cake say nice and moist. The chocolate around the outside gives the cake a decadent and rich addition, while the traditional coconut and pecan filling coats each layer completing the flavor components you expect in a German Chocolate cake. Overall, the cake was delicious and perfect for a special occasion.

German Chocolate Cake

For the Cake:

2 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

6 tablespoons water

4 large eggs, separated

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Rum Syrup:

1 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons dark rum

For the Filling:

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup sugar

3 large egg yolks

6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped

1 1/3 cups toasted coconut, packed

For the Icing:

8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

3 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup heavy cream

To Make the Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two nine inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour the sides of the pans; set aside.

Using a double boiler, melt the bittersweet or semisweet and unsweetened chocolate with the water, stirring until smooth. Set aside until the mixture cools to room temperature.

In the clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until they form soft droopy peaks. Slowly add 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Transfer the egg whites to a separate bowl and return the mixer bowl to the mixer base.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with 1 1/4 cups of the sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate. Mix in the egg yolks one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture on low speed just until incorporated. Mix in the buttermilk and vanilla extract until combined. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients just until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold about a third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining egg whites just until incorporated.

Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the cake pans for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To Make the Rum Syrup:

Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the rum.

To Make the Filling:

Combine the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the butter, pecans, and coconut in a mixing bowl; set aside. Heat the cream mixture and cook. stirring constantly and scraping the bottom until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon (170 to 175 degrees). Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. The mixture will thicken as it cools.

To Make the Icing:

Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and butter. Heat the cream just until it begins to boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand for one minute, then stir until smooth. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator or freezer until firm enough for decorating.

To Assemble the Cake:

Cur the two cake layers in half horizontally to yield four layers. Set the first layer on a cake circle, cut side up. Brush well with rum syrup. Spread 3/4 cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach the edges. Set another cake layer on top of the filling. Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading 3/4 cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top. Ice the sides of the cake with the chilled chocolate icing. Pipe a decorative border around the top, encircling the coconut topping.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally adapted from David Lebovitz

One Year Ago Today: Penne a la Betsy

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pasta e Fagioli



Someone once told me you could eat all the soup you wanted and it doesn’t count. I’m not sure how accurate of a statement that is, but soup does seem like a lighter dinner after all the holiday eating. I’m always looking to expand on soup recipes and I knew this soup would be different from others I normally make. The soup is loaded with beans, veggies, Italian sausage, and pasta. The ingredients can be adapted based on preference. Beef can be substituted for sausage and other vegetables, like celery, can be added in. If you are serving a crowd, this is the perfect soup. I used my cast iron Dutch oven and it was filled to the brim! Leftovers can be used for lunches during the week or frozen for a quick meal later.

Pasta e Fagioli

2 tablespoons butter, divided

1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings remove

1/2 large (or 1 medium) onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

4 carrots, thinly sliced

28 oz can diced tomatoes

1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

64 oz. beef broth

28 oz can tomato sauce

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

4 oz small dry pasta (such as ditalini)

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large stockpot over medium high heat, and brown the sausage, crumbling it as it cooks. Once brown, remove sauce from pot with a slotted spoon and discard any grease that remains in the pot.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the same pot. Add the onion, garlic, and carrot. Sauté over medium heat until vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Add sausage back to the pot, add the can of diced tomatoes (do not drain), stir briefly, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the beans, beef broth, and tomato sauce. Add in all the seasonings and stir well. Turn the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Once it boils, turn down to low heat, cover, and simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Add pasta to soup right before serving.

Source adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker

One Year Ago Today: Banana’s Foster

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Spinach Artichoke Dip



Growing up there was a certain restaurant that my family loved to eat at. We would always have a somewhat “heated” discussion about whether to order their queso appetizer (my favorite) or their spinach artichoke appetizer (my brother’s favorite). At any other resultant I would have been happy to have spinach artichoke dip, after all, it is probably the only way to get me to eat spinach or artichokes! This recipe is super quick and easy. I served several appetizers on New Years Eve and I was happy to have an appetizer that required no baking and virtually no cooking time. The dip can be served with chips, or my personal preference, with breadsticks. It is creamy with a hint of spice with the red pepper flakes. For those that prefer a more baked dip, you can sprinkle more parmesan cheese on top and place under the broiler until brown and bubbly.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach

1 1/2 cups thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts

6 oz cream cheese

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 cup of water tender and drain. Discard liquid. Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft. Stir in rest of ingredients and serve hot.

Source: Food Network/Alton-Brown

One Year Ago Today: Chicken and Mushroom Pockets

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Garlic and Herb Prime Rib Roast



Happy 2011! This year we decided to go a little non-traditional and celebrated New Year’s day with prime rib. My husband’s family loves a good steak, so prime rib is a definite special occasion dinner. For me, I’m not as big on steaks or red meat, so it’s hard for me to get excited about seeing such a large portion of meat on the table! That being said, even I can appreciate such a good cut of meat occasionally for dinner. The rub placed on the roast gave the meat a nice crust and provided the aromatics during the cooking process. The meat was tender and juicy, perfect for our New Year’s celebration!

Garlic and Herb Prime Rib Roast

10 pound prime rib roast (bone-in), room temperature

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced

2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced

2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced

2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

While the oven is preheating, prep the prime rib by trimming any extra fat off.

Combine the minced herbs, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Rub this mixture all over the rib roast. Drizzle the herb rubbed roast with the olive oil and place on a v-rack set in a roasting pan. Place a meat thermometer into the center of the roast.

Bake the roast uncovered in the preheated oven for approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until a meat thermometer reaches 110 degrees.

Remove roast from oven and rest at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before carving.

Source adapted from: Joelen’s Culinary Adventures

Monday, January 3, 2011

Starred Recipes Recap


Last week I enjoyed having the whole week off from work to relax. Today I am a bit sad to have to return to work after such a relaxing time off. This is one of my favorite times of the year for reading some of my favorite blogs. All the recaps on the favorite foods of 2010 have reminded me of foods I want to try and also a few new recipes that I missed. Here a few that caught my eye last week:

  • Simply Recipes posted African Chicken Peanut Stew that has many of my favorite ingredients: ginger, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, cilantro, making it a hearty stew perfect for this time of year.
  • One of our favorite pizza restaurants in town makes a delicious and spicy Buffalo Chicken Pizza. Smells Like Home posted a homemade version that looks to be just as good.
  • One thing Santa brought me for Christmas was a pasta machine. I am really excited to start making fresh pasta. First on my list to try is ravioli. Shutterbean posted Homemade Cheese Ravioli that looks delicious and can easily be frozen for later.
  • Ever since watching a Throwdown with Bobby Flay, I have been wanting to make Chicken Tikka Masala. Sweet Pea’s Kitchen posted a recipe for it this week that reminded me of how much I wanted to try it.