Monday, March 26, 2012

Tortilla Chicken

Since Harris Teeter runs some pretty good deals on chicken (like buy 1 get 2 packs free) I normally have quite the stash of chicken in my freezer. I'm always looking to find new recipes that will allow me to put a different spin on chicken. After searching through Foodgawker, I came across a recipe for a Cheesy Tortilla Chicken. The only problem was, the recipe contained my arch nemesis of ingredients: Velveeta Cheese. Just typing the word is making me cringe with disgust. I knew if I was going to make this, I needed to substitute the Velveeta with something that I can actually consume. I decided to melt some shredded Mexican Blend cheese into the broth. It didn't completely melt into the broth like I thought it would, but it gave the broth an extra cheesiness, and then I just sprinkled a little extra over the whole dish at the end.



Ingredients
-2 boneless chicken breasts
-1-2 cups crushed tortilla chips
-1 egg + splash of milk
-1 tablespoon oregano
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon paprika
-Salt & Pepper to taste
-1 tablespoon minced garlic
-1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-1 cup diced red pepper
-1 cup diced green pepper
-1/2 cup shredded Mexican Blend cheese
-1 cup chicken broth

1. Preheat oven to 425.  Beat together the egg and milk in a shallow bowl. On a plate, add your crushed tortilla chips. Dip the chicken into the egg wash and then coat in the crushed tortilla chips and place in baking dish. Season each with the oregano, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.

2. Bake at 425 for about 30 minutes.

3. Dice up the peppers and heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the peppers and garlic and saute until tender. Add the chicken broth and cheese and cook on low until combined. The cheese will not melt completely.

4. When plating, first put your rice on the plate and surround with the cheesy broth. Add the chicken on top of the rice.

Source: Busy Mommy

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Asian Lettuce Wraps

I don't use Pinterest too often, but I have used it to pin a bunch of recipes that I've put on my "must make" list. One recipe that immediately jumped out at me was for a copycat PF Changs lettuce wraps. I went to a PF Changs for the first time in the fall and finally got a chance to try their famous lettuce wraps. Oh my gosh, they were so good! I know it's difficult to ever replicate a restaurant recipe exactly, but these are pretty darn close. I think its the addition of the sesame oil that has that unique flavor.  Just make sure you shredded the chicken very small. I didn't get mine as small as I would have liked, but it will be easier to soak up the sauce and way easier to bit into the wrap.


Ingredients
-4 tablespoons soy sauce
-2 tablespoons rice vinegar
-2 tablespoons brown sugar
-1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
-2 teaspoons sesame oil

-2 chicken breasts, diced
-3 tablespoons canola oil
 -2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 teaspoon soy sauce
-1/3 cup cashews, chopped
-Salt and pepper to taste
-8 leaves  iceberg lettuce

1. Heat the oil in pan over medium heat. Add diced chicken and brown about 4 minutes, flip and cook another 4 minutes.

2. To make the sauce, in a sauce pan combine the 4 tablespoons soy sauce, the rice vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, and sesame oil. Simmer until chicken is cooked.

3. When chicken is cooked, remove from oil. Add garlic and 1 teaspoon soy sauce to pan; brown. When garlic is brown and tender, add stir fry sauce, browned chicken, and cashews. Saute mixture for a few minutes and remove from heat. Spoon onto plate with iceberg lettuce leaves on the side.


Source: She Wears Many Hats

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie Bars

When I was having a killer craving for chocolate a few weeks ago, I came across a mouth-watering photo for a chocolate chip cookie pie. I wanted to but just a slightly different spin on it and cook it in a 9x9 dish and cut them into bars. These are so so good. Sinful, but good. Try serving these with a little vanilla ice cream.

Last week was super busy for me, which is why I hadn't gotten around to posting these. There was a symposium at work so we had a lot of speeches and events we needed to make arrangements for, not to mention two events on Saturday. Needless to say, I'm exhausted today! But on the plus side, we don't get busy again until the very end of April/beginning of May. Another plus is it really is starting to feel like summer. It was in the 80's all weekend and will be around 83 today! The feeling that beach season is knocking on the door reminds me I should probably lay off making desserts like this for a little while.


Ingredients
-1 unbaked 9-inch frozen pie crust (thawed)
-2 large eggs
-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
-1 1/2 cups  semi-sweet chocolate morsels


1. Preheat oven 325 degrees F. Line a 9x9 baking dish with the thawed pie crust.

2. Beat eggs in large mixer bowl on high until foamy. Beat in flour, white sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter. Stir in morsels and spoon over pie crust in the baking dish. Bake 50 minutes.

Source: Bakerella

Monday, March 12, 2012

Red Pepper Dip

I mentioned in a previous post a few weeks ago how I went up to York, Maine for a little family weekend getaway. We always visit our favorite Inn while we are up there, York Harbor Inn. This is where I get that seafood chowder that us absolutely to die for, but unfortunately the executive chef won't spill the beans on the recipe! As an appetizer that night, my mom ordered a red pepper and artichoke dip and it was amazing!! I told her I'd try to recreate it when I returned to Charleston and would post it on the blog for her. So to get the item description, I went to York Harbor's dining section of their website and to my surprise, there was a "Recipes" tab on there, and the red pepper dip was one of the recipes listed! I was thrilled that I'd be able to get the exact ingredients and ratios so that it could turn out almost exactly as it did when we had dinner there.

I really love the flavor of the red peppers in here. I did add some Italian blend cheese to this to make it a little thicker. I also think next time I'm going to cut the amount of artichokes in half. I'm not a huge fan of them, plus I find them incredibly hard to chew. Am I weird, or do other people think that too?



Ingredients
-1 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and diced small
-1/2 cup diced red peppers
-1 block cream cheese
-1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
-2 tablespoons chopped shallots
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-2 tablespoons Chardonnay
-1/2 tablespoon French's Dijon mustard
-3/4 teaspoon paprika
-3/4 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1 tablespoon lemon juice
-Unseasoned bread crumbs (optional)
-1 loaf French bread

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a blender or food processor, combine the red peppers, cream cheese, shallots, minced garlic, chardonnay, mustard, paprika, salt, garlic powder, and lemon juice. Blend until smooth.

3. Empty mixture into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the artichokes and Italian blend cheese. Smooth dip into a baking dish and top with unseasoned bread crumbs if desired and bake 20 minutes. Place under broiler for 5-6 minutes to brown top. Serve with warmed slices of French bread.

Friday, March 9, 2012

1 Year of Blogging!

Well today marks my one year anniversary of blogging. Boy did that go fast! I'm so glad I made the decision to start this blog. It's been a really fun hobby and has helped me discover how much I really like cooking and exploring new recipes and cuisines. When I started this blog, I started it with the intention of cooking moderately easy meals that didn't call for an exhaustive list on ingredients to complete the dish. I'd like to think I stayed true to that initial intent, only modifying it slightly. I still like to cook moderately easy meals, but I also like to switch it up a bit on weekends by trying meals that are little more complex. Despite that, I still think most of the meals I cook appeal to a wide variety of people. Since my husband has a picky palate, I can't get to wild with the ingredients!

I have a few goals for this next year of blogging. First, I want to try and improv my photopgraphy. My husband got me a new camera for Christmas that takes really good photos, but its still hard to get good ones when I can't use natural light. Since Spring and Summer are right around the corner, I'm hoping I'll be able to get some better photos. I might explore the idea of a lightbox, but thats definitely on the back burner right now. My second goal is to remain true to my cooking style. Like I said when I started out, my blog is about cooking moderately easy meals great for someone that works 9-5 and has to come home and cook, but with the occasional complex recipe perfect for entertaining or a weekend dinner. My third and final goal for this year is to bake more desserts. If you notice, I barely have any desserts on here after a whole year of blogging! I really need to address that. I have to admit though, I'm not a huge fan of cookies. Except for chocolate chip cookies, I have a hard time finding a cookie thats "worth the calories" as I like to say. So don't expect to see too many cookie recipes on here.

On that note, since I don't have a recipe to post today, I'm just going to highlight one of my top favorite recipes from this past year. I give you, my Loaded Baked Potato Bites. Even though these are pretty simple, I think they are such a perfect little bite-sized appetizer for entertaining. I really want to do more recipes with phyllo cups, they are such a versatile ingredients and a blank canvas to really get creative with.

Here's to another year of blogging and enjoying meals with family and friends! I'll leave you with a picture of my precious cat, Bailey. I'm suprised after a whole year I don't think I've ever posted a photo of him!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Baked Teriyaki Meatballs


This weekend was a welcomed break from the hecticness that had been the last few weeks. Saturday was a complete rain-out so it was kind of nice to have the excuse to sit inside and watch TV and pretty much do nothing. I was in the mood for a delicious little snack so I started browsing Foodgawker to get some inspiration. I had some ground turkey leftover from my BBQ Turkey Burgers and I really wanted to use that up. I came across a recipe for a teriyaki meatball that looked amazing! These little guys were so delicious with a ton of flavor from the homemade teriyaki sauce. I also love that their baked. I can never cook a meatball right if I'm trying to cook them in a frying pan. I'll end up with a crispy seared meatball with a raw middle...not appetizing. You could make these even a little smaller and serve them as an appetizer meatball with toothpicks for easy dipping!

Depending on how this weekend goes, I may be treating myself to a much deserved massage. My wonderful hubby got me a gift certificate to a salon/spa here in town so I can pamper myself. Such a perfect gift! He knows I rarely ever want to spend the money on such a self-luxury item so I can indulge guilt free!


Ingredients-Meatballs
-3/4-1 pound  ground turkey or beef
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-2 teaspoons grated ginger
-1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
-1/8 teaspoon cloves
-1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
-1 egg, lightly beaten
-1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients-Sauce
-1/3 cup rice vinegar
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-1/3 cup water
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-1/4 cup oil
-1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
-dash ginger
-2 cloves garlic, minced

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. 

2. Add all of the ingredients for the meatballs to a large bowl and use your hands or wood spoon to combine until evenly distributed.  Form desired size meatballs and arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.

3. To make the sauce: Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients in a small pan and place over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.  

4. Brush cooked meatballs generously with the sauce then return to the oven for 5 minutes.  Serve remaining sauce in bowl for dipping.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Double Crunch Savory Pork Chops

Pork chops always seem to be confusing to me. Aside from an apple and brown sugar recipe I have and an Italian style chop I made (but didn't post because the picture was horrendous), I really have no idea what to do with chops. Why are they so confusing?! Why can't they be as easy to me as chicken is? I bought a pack of thick cut pork chops at Harris Teeter last week since they were on sale and I went to Foodgawker to browse through some drool-worthy photos of pork chops and hoped something would jump out at me. I came across a delicious photo for a "double crunch" pork chop and decided to read the recipe. It was a seasoned chop, dipped in the flour seasoning twice, pan sauteed and then drizzled with a savory honey soy sauce glaze.

Wow! I knew I had to try this, and I am so glad I did. I loved the combinations of the sage, ginger, thyme, paprika, and nutmeg in the flour seasoning...what a punch of flavor! The sauce is an incredible combination of sauteed garlic, olive oil, soy sauce, and honey. I definitely recommend giving this one a try. I'm not tagging this as "Quick and Easy" since it involves dredging and breading, but aside from that this is pretty quick to throw together while still being impressive with the depth of flavor.



Ingredients
-2 thick cut pork chops
-EVOO for sauteing
-1 cup flour
-2 eggs, whisked with splash milk for dredging
-salt & pepper to taste
-1/8 teaspoon ginger
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
-1 teaspoon thyme
-1 teaspoon sage
-1 teaspoon paprika
-2 tablespoons EVOO
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-3/4 cup honey
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1. Preheat frying pan over medium heat with a few tablespoons of EVOO.

2. Season the chops with salt and pepper to taste on both sides. In a bowl, combine the flour, ginger, nutmeg, thyme, sage, and paprika. Dredge chops in the seasoned flour, then the egg wash, then back again into the seasoned flour. Press firmly to make sure chop is well coated. Cook chops 9 minutes, flip and cook 7-8 minutes more until fully cooked.

3. In a saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons EVOO and add the minced garlic. Do not brown the garlic. Add the soy sauce, honey, and pepper. Simmer 5-10 minutes. Mixture can foam up if not watched. Drizzle generously over chops and serve immediately.

Source: Rock Recipes

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sweet Potato Brulee

The sweet potato is a food I'm still new to. I don't think I ever had a sweet potato growing up so they were lumped into that unfortunate grouping of "I've never had one, therefore I must hate them".  This recipe is a nice deviation from a traditional mashed sweet potato or a sweet potato casserole. If you happen to have a mini brulee torch, the tops of your will be much more browned than mine are. I needed to place mine under the broiler and it did have the nice crisp texture on top, but from the photo you can see the color didn't get as browned as one would expect from a brulee. The flavors were amazing. I ate this with a simple sauteed chicken breast and loved the combination of the chicken and some of the brulee in one bite.

For a quick health update, I think I've finally turned the corner on this cold and am starting to slowly recover. I noticed this morning I feel a little better than I did yesterday, and so far don't need any cold medicine to make it through the day. Hopefully after this weekend I'll be back to 100% and and FINALLY get back to the workout plan I started back in January before I got sick the first time. I swear, every time I start working out I get sick. Ugh!


Ingredients
-3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
-1/4 stick unsalted butter
-1/3 cup fat free half&half
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-pinch nutmeg
-pinch cinnamon
-Salt and pepper to taste
-2-3 tablespoons sugar in the raw

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set aside 4 ramekins.

2. Boil potatoes until tender, drain and return to pot. Add butter and half & half and mix with a handheld electric mixer. Add the brown sugar, salt & pepper, and dash of nutmeg and a pinch of cinnamon and mix 1-2 minutes until blended and not lumpy.

3. Spoon into ramekins and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle the tops with sugar in the saw until tops are covered. Place under broiler to caramelize the top. Watch carefully to avoid burning. If you have creme brulee torch, use instead of broiler. Serve immediately.


Source: Chef Mommy