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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Chicken Enchilada Quinoa Stew


Chicken Enchilada Quinoa Stew

Ingredients

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1 small sweet or yellow onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano (I use Mexican)
2 teaspoons chile powder (I use Ancho and New Mexican)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dry quinoa
1 14.5-oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 7-oz. can diced green chiles, drained
1 10-oz. can mild or medium enchilada sauce
2 cups water
1 cup frozen corn
1 14.5-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

Optional, for serving: chopped cilantro, scallions, tortilla chips, salsa, etc.

Method

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large pot over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until just soft, another 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, chile powder, and salt and stir through for another 30 seconds.

Reduce heat to medium low and add quinoa, tomatoes, diced chiles, enchilada sauce, and water. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure quinoa is not sticking.

Add corn, black beans, and cheese, and stir to combine. Serve with desired accompaniments.

NOTES

This has a similar flavor profile and ingredients as my chicken tortilla soup, but the addition of enchilada sauce and quinoa turns this into something entirely different - and outstanding. Definitely keeping this in rotation for a while!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Chicken and Spinach Tortelloni



Chicken and Spinach Tortelloni

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil
1-1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
8 ounces raw spinach, steamed and minced (yields about 5 ounces cooked; you can substitute frozen)
12 to 16 ounces refrigerated cheese tortelloni** (see note)
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup grated parmesan

Method

Heat oil in large deep skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook for about 7-8 minutes, until cooked through. Add onion to the pan and saute until onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute.

Add water, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and spinach and stir until well combined. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add tortelloni and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off heat, then add half and half and parmesan and stir until well combined. Serve.

NOTES

Another way to use that cheese tortelloni we love. This is basically the same as my Sausage and Spinach Tortelloni, but with chicken instead of sausage and a touch of half and half instead of tomato sauce. So delicious.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hawaiian Pasta


Hawaiian Pasta
inspired by Taste and Tell

Ingredients

4 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
16 oz ham steak (or thick sliced from the deli), cubed
1/2 large red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
12 oz dry penne pasta
16 oz diced pineapple (fresh or canned)
1 cup (4 oz) mozzarella cheese
Chopped cilantro

Method

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease.

Add the cubed ham and onion to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until the ham is browned and the onion is just soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Add the tomato sauce, water, basil, oregano, salt and pepper flakes. Stir to combine, then add the pasta and stir again. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and cook until the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes (stir one or two times during cooking to make sure nothing is sticking).

Stir in the pineapple and reserved bacon, then remove from the heat. Sprinkle the top of the pasta with the mozzarella and cover again. Let the dish sit until the mozzarella is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

NOTES

When our friend Amy shared this link on Facebook, Steve saw it before I did and immediately asked me to make it. He's a fan of the combination of flavors that go into Hawaiian pizza and was quite taken with the idea of turning that into a pasta. I just love anything one-pan/one-pot so I was all over it.

It took me three tries to get the ratios exactly where we wanted them - less bacon, more ham, more pineapple, add red onion, more herbs - but I finally got it exactly right for us and man oh man is it ever good, as delicious as Steve hoped it would be. If you like Hawaiian pizza, this is a must-try. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Pound Cake






Pound Cake
slightly adapted from allrecipes

Ingredients

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
3 cups white sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Method

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) and grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan (see notes).

In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar gradually (by about a quarter cup at a time) and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, each time mixing gently until the yolk just disappears. Add the flour all at once and mix gently until just incorporated. Add vanilla and lemon juice and stir to combine.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Start checking for doneness at 1 hour. A skewer inserted into center of cake will come out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven to a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Turn the cake out on the rack and let cool completely. Store the cake on the rack covered with a thin towel for up to 3 days.

NOTES

This was my first pound cake and it turned out spectacularly. I feel like this is one of those "ignorance is bliss" kind of things that happen to me with cooking and baking sometimes - i.e., I don't know that pound cake is supposed to be touchy or difficult; I used a base recipe, read a few tips (like having everything at room temperature is a MUST) and that was that. Perfection.

And this was seeeeeriously delicious. It will now stand in my archives as a go-to for special occasions. It's easy, only uses one bowl (my FAVORITE kind of baking recipe), and versatile. I served this first one with homemade whipped cream, strawberry compote, and blueberry compote, which were all perfect toppings, but I also want to try ones with a lemon glaze and maybe a berry or chocolate swirl throughout (with the chocolate, I would eliminate the lemon juice from the recipe).

As for the pan size: a 10-inch tube pan is ideal, but other pans can be substituted as long as the capacity is similar. I only had this bundt pan at my disposal and luckily it was very close (a 10-inch tube pan is about 16 cups; my bundt pan holds 15 cups).

Monday, June 8, 2015

Cottage Pie



Cottage Pie

Ingredients

For the mashed potatoes:

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, quartered
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup half and half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pie:

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound lean ground beef (or venison, or turkey)
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup stock (or water)
2/3 cup frozen peas
2/3 cup frozen corn

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

For the mashed potatoes:

Fill a large saucepan with cold water and a tablespoon of salt. Add potatoes and garlic cloves to the water and bring to a boil. Let potatoes cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and garlic and place them back into the saucepan for mashing. Add butter and half and half and mash potatoes and garlic (make sure you get the garlic well mashed!) into a smooth consistency. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

For the pie:

Add butter and oil to large skillet on medium heat. Saute onions, carrots, celery, and garlic until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Once the vegetables have softened and start to brown a little add the tomato paste and mix evenly. Add the ground beef, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce and stock (or water). Simmer for another 5 minutes or until liquid is almost evaporated. Add peas and corn and stir to heat through.

Transfer mixture to an oven-proof baking dish and spread evenly. Place potatoes on top of ground beef mixture and spread out evenly. Before baking, rake through potatoes with a fork so that there are peaks that will brown nicely. Place the dish into the preheated oven and cook until browned, about 20 minutes (if you want more browning, you can also put under the broiler for a few minutes). Serve.


NOTES

Before trying my hand at this at home, I had never even tasted cottage pie (or shepherd's pie). Can you believe it? It just never really appealed to me much. CRAZY. I ended up loving it so much I had to get it down in a post immediately. I even used some of our cherished venison from this year for this one. Absolutely fantastic. 10/10, will make again.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Chicken and Vegetable Cashew Korma




Chicken and Vegetable Cashew Korma

Ingredients

1/2 cup cashews
1 can light coconut milk
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1-1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large sweet onion, finely diced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 medium potatoes (about 1 lb), peeled and cubed
2 medium carrots, sliced into coins
2 teaspoons each coriander, cumin
1 teaspoon each cardamom, curry powder, turmeric, paprika
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup water
6-oz. container plain yogurt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup frozen peas

Method

Put cashews and coconut milk in a blender and blend until very smooth. Set aside.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large saute pan on medium heat. Add chicken and saute until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add onions and saute 3 minutes, until soft. Add ginger and garlic and saute 2 minutes more.

Add potatoes, carrots, spices, salt, and sugar and stir to combine. Stir in tomato sauce and water. Bring to a boil on medium heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender (test one with a fork).

Stir in yogurt and cashew/coconut milk mixture. Turn heat to medium and cook uncovered another 10 minutes, until sauce thickens. Stir in peas and cook for another minute, until heated through.

Sprinkle in cilantro and serve with basmati rice or naan.

NOTES

This was the biggest hit at my birthday dinner party this year and it's my favorite kind of meal: easy to cook, stunningly delicious, and large but healthy portion. You could easily make this vegetarian, too, substituting the chicken with more potatoes, cauliflower, chickpeas, etc.

I am so pleased to be adding to my Indian repertoire!

Tandoori Chicken


Tandoori Chicken

Ingredients

2 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 small red onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon hot paprika
1/2 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Optional for serving: cooked rice, cilantro, crushed chiles

Method

Pulse the lemon juice, yogurt, oil, onion, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, coriander, cumin, paprika, garam masala, cayenne, and salt in a food processor to make a paste. Make shallow cuts in the chicken thighs with a sharp knife and place in a large bowl. Pour the mixture over the chicken, toss to coat, and let marinate at least 1 hour (preferably overnight).

Preheat the broiler. Place the chicken on a foil-lined broiler pan and cook, turning once, until slightly charred and a thermometer inserted into the center registers 165 degrees F, about 8 minutes per side.

Serve over rice and top with cilantro and crushed chiles, if desired.

NOTES

This was the first of many recipes I am attempting to add to my Indian repertoire and it was a huge success first time out. It was so delicious I ended up making it three weeks in a row. And yes, I know this isn't traditional tandoori (I don't have a tandoor, so hey, obviously), but it is a damn tasty recreation!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Kung Pao Chicken



Kung Pao Chicken
slightly adapted from Serious Eats

Ingredients

For the Chicken:
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fine ground black pepper
1 teaspoon black soy sauce
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine (can substitute dry sherry)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

For the Stir-Fry:
1 tablespoon black soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable, peanut, or canola oil, divided
2 large bell peppers, any color, cut into 3/4-inch dice
2 stalks celery, cut into 3/4-inch dice
1 cup (4 ounces) roasted peanuts
3 cloves minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 scallion, finely sliced
8 small dried red Chinese or Arbol chiles (you can also add crushed chiles, see note below)

Method

For chicken: Combine chicken, salt, pepper, black soy sauce, wine, sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a medium bowl and toss to coat. Set aside for 20 minutes.

For stir fry: Combine black soy sauce, wine, vinegar, water, sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a wok or large deep skillet over high heat until smoking. Add chicken, spread into a single layer, and cook without moving until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Continue cooking, tossing and stirring frequently, until the exterior is opaque but chicken is still slightly raw in the center, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a clean bowl and set aside.

Heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil over high heat until smoking. Add bell peppers and celery and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until brightly colored and browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Add peanuts and toss to combine. Push vegetables up side of wok to clear a space in the center. Add garlic, ginger, scallions, and dried chiles and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return chicken to wok and toss to combine. Stir sauce and add to wok. Cook, tossing, until sauce thickens and coats ingredients and chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute longer. Serve immediately.

NOTES

Oh you guys. I've had kung pao chicken on my "to make" list for so long and now I am kicking myself for not getting to it sooner. This is absolutely delicious. This is more like American takeout style kung pao chicken - no szechuan peppercorns here - but unlike American-style takeout, it is huge in flavor, light in grease.

One note: I've never actually ordered kung pao in a restaurant (I KNOW), but I think I always assumed the chiles made the dish spicy. Um, not really. I even tried cutting the heads off the second time I made it, to let some of the flavor and seeds cook into the dish. Still nothing (unless you count actually eating the chiles with the dish, which I know you're not "supposed" to do, but I do anyway). If you want heat cooked in, I suggest adding some crushed chiles (the Asian market kind, not the Italian food kind) during that last cooking step when you add the chiles. Or you can always spice it up at the table.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Chicken Chorizo Patty Melts


Chicken Chorizo Patty Melts
adapted from Sunny Anderson

Ingredients

Patties:
1 pound ground chicken
8 ounces fresh chorizo (I use my homemade version)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Onions:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
2 large sweet onions, sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sandwich:
4 oblong/rectangular flat breads
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Ketchup, for serving

Method

In a large bowl, gently but thoroughly combine the chicken, chorizo, garlic, oregano and salt. Form into four equal patties, roughly the shape and size of the bread you will be using. Cover the patties with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

In a medium saute pan on medium heat melt the butter with the oil. Add the onion and season with a pinch of salt and a couple of grinds of pepper, to taste. Saute until the onions are caramelized, about 35 minutes, and set aside.

Preheat a large skillet (or grill pan) over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook until crispy on the edges and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Add shredded cheese to each patty in the last minute of cooking, to melt. Remove to a plate.

Assemble the sandwiches: place one of the patties on half the flat bread, top with onions. Fold the other half of the bread over and serve.


NOTES

These are seriously awesome sandwiches. I've started making the patties as a freezer staple (warp in plastic wrap, store two per quart-size bag) so that we have them available for a quick weekend lunch.

The original recipe has you grilling the flatbreads, but I skip that step. I also switched the cheese from Swiss to cheddar. I think it goes better with the chorizo.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Venison Tortelloni Bake


Venison Tortelloni Bake
inspired by Nevada Foodies

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb ground venison (or lean beef or turkey)
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz fresh spinach, chopped
1 14.5-oz can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
16 ounces refrigerated cheese tortelloni (see notes)
4 oz shredded mozzarella (see notes)
1 oz finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add venison and saute for 4-5 minutes, breaking into small chunks with a spoon, until nearly cooked through. Add onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Add chopped spinach and cook until wilted.

Stir in tomato sauce, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and salt. Simmer for a few minutes to let the flavors come together, then add tortelloni and gently mix.

Pour mixture into large baking dish (or, if you prefer, leave in skillet if it is oven-safe). Cover loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, top with shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese, then return the pan to the oven for another 5 minutes, or until cheese is thoroughly melted. Serve.

NOTES

This has a similar flavor profile to my pasta bake (which I often make with ragu bolognese, so even closer in texture) AND my sausage and spinach tortelloni... AND YET.

This was different. PHENOMENAL. Everything I dreamed it would be the whole time I was fantasizing about having the venison to try the recipe. I will make this with more of the venison I currently have and then make it with my wild game ragu or wild game Italian sausage. So, so great.

Note on pasta: I buy a 3-pound bag of tortelloni at Costco and split it into 1-pound portions, but I know tortelloni is not always easy to find. Tortellini ("ini" are smaller) will work fine, as will small ravioli.

Note on mozzarella: by all means, add more, up to 8 oz. We like slightly less cheese than most folks, so feel free to adjust to your or your family's taste.