Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chicken Cordon Bleu

4 skinless, boneless Chicken Breast
1 slice of Deli Mozzarella cheese (processed cheese melts to quick) ¼” thick, cut into 4 strips. Block cheese works well just have to cut it to fit pocket in chicken.
1 package Budding type Ham
Flour for Dredging
Beaten Egg for Drenching
Italian seasoned Bread Crumbs for Dredging

Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees

Cut pocket in thick side of chicken breast. Roll 1 strip of cheese in ¼ of the ham slices.
Place ham and cheese into pocket of chicken, close pocket and secure with toothpicks
Dredge breast in flour then drench in egg and finally dredge in breadcrumbs, coating completely
Place in a casserole dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
Bake chicken for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Pour 2 Tablespoon lemon juice into ½ stick melted butter.
Spoon a little of lemon butter on plated chicken.

I serve this with Pasta Alfredo

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Slow Cooked Carnitas

I had a 9.5 lbs pork shoulder in my freezer and felt the need to break it down into a couple of meals. I started with the BBQ Pork, which was tasty! Then I still had a lare chunk of meat left but was looking for a way to use the avocados on my counter. So this is what I came up with:

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 - 4 pound pork shoulder roast (mine was bone in & I trimmed all the excess fat off which was a LOT)
3 bay leaves
2 cups chicken broth

1. Mix together salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, and cinnamon in a bowl. Coat pork with the spice mixture. Place the bay leaves in the bottom of a slow cooker and place the pork on top. Pour the chicken broth around the sides of the pork, being careful not to rinse off the spice mixture.
2. Cover and cook on Low until the pork shreds easily with a fork, about 10 hours. Turn the meat after it has cooked for 5 hours. When the pork is tender, remove from slow cooker, and shred with two forks. Use cooking liquid as needed to moisten the meat.

We used this on tortillas with rice, sour cream, shredded cheese and avocado. It was really good! We ate the left overs just as meat, not added to anything and the flavor was really nice.

I goofed and added 1/2 tsp cinnamon instead of 1/4 tsp, which is why I put the amount in bold text. I did not mind the extra cinnamon...however, next time I make this, I will add much more corriander and half again as much cumin than in the original recipe. I also added smoked paprika.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Tonight was cultural cooking group and our theme was Mediterranean Cuisine so I grabbed my favorite Sicilian recipe and hit the store...well, my husband went to the store for me as he was already out and he'd much rather be out shopping than taking care of our 4 rambunctious kiddos at dinner time :)

The recipe calls for a zucchini so my husband calls me to say there is no zucchini at the store. So I asked for yellow/crookneck/summer squash instead and the light bulb went off and he says, "Oh, is zucchini green squash?"

"YES! get the green squash," I request.

When he arrived home, he actually had a cucumber so this was made without squash which is no big deal, this recipe is one of those refrigerator specials...clean out your need-to-use produce for this dish.

2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Medium Eggplant, diced (peeling is optional)
1 Zucchini, diced
1 14oz can artichoke hearts, rinsed & drained
1 3.8oz can sliced black olives, rinsed & drained
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 15oz can tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (place in palm of one hand and use thumb of other hand to rub flakes together. Releases oils and flavor! Just be sure to scrub hands immediately afterward.)
2-3 sprigs of fresh Thyme

Heat a deep 12" skillet to medium setting add olive oil and saute garlic and onion for about 2 minutes. Add red pepper and saute for about 5 minutes more. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Turn up the heat a little and cover. Stir often to combine flavors. After about 20 minutes, bring heat back down to medium or a little lower. Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes or until veggies are tender.

Serve over toasted baguette slices, pasta or by itself. Top with grated Parmesan and enjoy!

I'll try to get a picture tomorrow...I had to rush out the door to get to cultural cooking on time :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Raw Applesauce

My friend Wendy had this recipe listed on her blog and I had to try it!

5 small apples, cored and sliced - peeled or not (your choice - I peel some and leave the skins on some)
1/3 c pineapple juice - or you could use lemon juice...just use less
2 T honey
1 t cinnamon

Blend it all together on a really low setting. I use "2" on my blender, you could pulse it on a food processor. You want there to be really tiny chunks, not liquefied.

My Version
I used 3 medium golden delicious apples, 1 of which I left the skin
1/3 cup pineapple juice
no honey
2 shakes of cinnamon, maybe 1/2 tsp

I added this to my blender and used the ice crusher setting and left the apples just a little chunky. This is super delicious and you don't lose ANY nutrients through the cooking process.

The apples were really sweet naturally so I wanted to taste this before adding honey and there was no need for it!

Friday, March 20, 2009

BBQ Pork Sandwiches

Today was a hectic day and I did not have time to fuss with an hour or so in the kitchen preparing and serving dinner. So I opted for something that could sit in the pot for a couple of hours (or slow cooker for even longer) and serve quick on sliced rolls. I was born and raised in North Carolina where they know BBQ pork. Please note, this is NOT Carolina BBQ Pork. This is quick and easy pork that beats the heck out of store bought BBQ pork, but I don't think I'll ever be able to match Carter Brothers in High Point, NC.

3 lbs pork shoulder
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tsp prepared mustard
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients except pork in large pot, dutch oven or crock pot. Add pork shoulder and coat with sauce.

If using stove top, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 2-3 hours until pork is falling apart and sauce it to desired thickness. Stir occasionally.

If using crock pot set on low temperature and cook for 6-8 hours stirring occasionally.

Pull the pork apart with a fork, stir into the sauce and pile on top of a sliced roll or hamburger bun. May top with coleslaw as I like it or chedder cheese as my husband likes it. The kids like the meat itself served with rice.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Corned beef & cabbage

I was a day late making this St Patrick's Day favorite however it's star power was not diminished by my delay.

3lbs corned beef brisket (brined with seasoning packet)
4 medium sized red potatoes, diced in large chunks (about 2 inch X 1 inch)
1/2 lbs baby carrots
1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
1/2 medium head cabbage, cut into small wedges

Remove corned beef from package, discard brine and rinse meat under cool water. Place meat in large pot, cover with water and add seasoning packet. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 50 minutes per lbs of meat (per package directions).

15 minutes before meat is done add carrots, potatoes and onion, bring back to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until veggies are fork tender. Remove beef, cover with foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Add cabbage to pot with veggies, bring to a boil and cook over medium low heat for 15 minutes.

Remove veggies from pot, straining liquid. Thinly slice beef against the grain and serve over veggies.

DELICIOUS!!! The 3 kids loved the meat and kept asking for more :) I had to eat quick so I could feed the baby. Before I finished feeding the baby anything that resembled corned beef was gone so no pictures this time...will have to make again, soon.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cajun Shrimp Alfredo

2 tblsp Olive oil, divided
2 tblsp of Cajun seasoning
½ lb Shrimp, Peeled and Deveined
½ Onion, chopped
1 Garlic Clove, minced
½ small Red Bell Pepper, diced
8 oz Pasta
8oz Heavy Whipping Cream
5 Tblsp Butter, divided
¾ cup Parmesan Cheese

In a bowl lightly coat shrimp with 1 tblsp of oil then coat wth Cajun seasoning, let set in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Cook Pasta according to package directions.
In skillet heat olive oil and 1 tblsp butter over med. High heat, add onion, garlic and pepper.
Sauté until onion has become translucent, add Shrimp and cook until color changes (pinkish)
In saucepan melt remaining butter over med heat and add cream, when mixture just starts coming to a boil add cheese a little at a time, stirring until incorporated.
Top pasta with cheese mixture, then with Shrimp.
Top with extra Parmesan cheese if desired.
Serves 2

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chicken Stock

One of our followers asked, "What is chicken stock?" and I felt this was the perfect opportunity to discuss the difference between chicken stock and chicken broth as well as link you to my method for creating a delicious stock. In my previous post for homemade chicken noodle soup, I begin with how I make stock for the soup so if you choose to make your own stock please reference the above link.

What is chicken stock?
Chicken stock is a heavily concentrated reduction of bones and bony parts along with a lesser (if any) amount of breasts, thighs, and legs. Fresh vegetables and seasonings can be added for richer flavoring. After straining, stock will turn gelatinous when cooled (as opposed to broth, which remains in a mostly liquid state).

To create a true stock, the liquid and chicken carcass – plus added ingredients – must simmer for a minimum of six hours. This results in a darker concentrate that is then added to recipes. Many cooks refer to a stock as the “foundation of the kitchen,” which translates into the French “fond de cuisine.”

Buying Tips
• Good quality chicken stock can be purchased at gourmet and health food stores as well as through on-line retailers. Always read the label if purchasing in a standard grocery; be sure that it is true stock and not broth.
• Some specialty markets will save chicken carcasses upon request.
• Bony wing tips, necks, and backbones are excellent for a thick stock. Any type of chicken will work (i.e., roasters, fryers, stewing hens).

Storage Tips
• Refrigerate stock as soon as it cools. It should remain good for about three days. To “freshen,” re-simmer for about fifteen minutes, cool, and return to the fridge.
• Since stock is concentrated, it can be frozen in ice cube trays, then popped into freezer bags. Remove a cube or two as needed for soups and stews. It will be good for several months in the freezer.

Usage Tips
• Remember: stock can be used to create a broth, but not the reverse.
• When boiling a chicken for salads or cooked dishes, remove the meat and return the bones to the liquid. Continue simmering for the perfect stock.
• The most common vegetables used to make stock are onions, celery, and carrots (mirepoix).
• Use stock for deglazing; broth will not work.
• Mixed with flour to create a veloute, one of the “mother sauces.”

Substitution Tips
• Chicken broth can be used in many recipes, but the flavor will not be as full.

Thank you Big Oven for the informative article on chicken stock.

What is chicken broth?
Chicken broth is technically a reduction of liquid from the various meaty parts of a chicken that are simmered in water. Vegetables are often added to increase flavor. The breasts and/or legs and thighs are removed after approximately three hours of cooking and used in other dishes.
Broth tends to be more liquid and lower in fat, especially when allowed to cool and the top layer is skimmed. At this stage, a thin broth can be strained, seasoned, and consumed as soup.

• Homemade broth has better flavor than commercially canned products.
• Canned and carton broths are convenient and will keep for a very long time unopened. Reduced sodium and organic versions are available.
• Bouillon cubes and granules (also available in reduced sodium) are handy and have an even longer shelf life.

Buying Tips
• Look for “stewing” hens for making broth (as opposed to roasters).

Storage Tips
• Fresh broth can be kept in the refrigerator for about three days. It is easily frozen and will keep for several months.
• Freeze in small quantities that can be thawed – as needed - slowly in the microwave.

Usage Tips
• To keep fresh broth clear, bring the chicken parts and water to a boil and reduce the heat. For about twenty minutes, continuously skim the surface to remove proteins.
• If it does cloud, simmer for a few minutes with an egg white and strain to turn it into a clear consommé.
• Broth – fresh or canned – can be substituted for water when cooking rice.
• When making broth, do not include the heart or liver, which will darken the liquid. Also, use seasonings and other additives sparingly; these can be included when the broth is used in a recipe.
• Because broth is lighter than stock, it can be used as a partial water substitute in many milder recipes.
• To tenderize and add flavor to a tough onion, chop and simmer for two hours in a saucepan filled with broth. Strain and reuse the broth at a later time.

Substitution Tips
• Chicken stock with water added.

Thank you Big Oven for the informative article on chicken broth.

Parmesan Risotto

(2 large servings)

1 Cup uncooked rice (I use regular long grain)
½ small onion
3 cups chicken stock
3 tbsps grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsps olive oil
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)

Peel and finely chop onion, place onion in sauté pan with the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté until onions become transparent.
Without washing the rice add it to the saucepan with the onion. Sauté the rice for 30 seconds.
Add ¼ cup of the stock, simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Pour half the remaining stock into the saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat so the surface bubbles gently and continues to simmer. When the stock has mostly simmered off, add three-fifths of the remaining stock and simmer over medium heat. Turn the heat down slightly when it comes to a boil stirring the rice gently to prevent it from becoming too sticky. When most of the liquid has evaporated add the remaining stock. If the rice seems to have already absorbed a lot of water you can reduce the amount of stock you add. Continue to simmer over medium heat until the rice is cooked but still slightly firm in the center. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove. Add the butter and the parmesan and stir until they are completely mixed in with the rice.

Risotto is now ready (Enjoy)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Top Foods People Love or Hate

Someone showed me this article on yahoo: http://food.yahoo.com/blog/edlevineeats/22683/the-top-foods-people-love-or-hate/

The links to the recipes didn't come through when I cut-and-paste so go to the original link to get those

The Top Foods People Love or Hate
Posted Mon, Mar 02, 2009, 3:55 pm PST

Certain foods are as polarizing as hometown sports teams and politics. Here at Serious Eats, we've put together a list of eleven love-or-hate foods. If you love them, be proud. We've included a recipe highlighting each controversial flavor.

1. White Chocolate: The "chocolate" part trips people up. It's really just a sweet confection (no cocoa involved). Moving on from terminology, when good, it's creamy and vanilla-y, but like "normal" chocolate, when bad, it's just waxy calories.
Recipe for white chocolate bark with fresh mint, almonds, and dried berries

2. Cilantro: Soapy, rotten, or just plain vile are popular complaints from cilantro haters. Did you know Julia Child hated the leafy herb? But behavioral neuroscientists would argue that America's food darling had no control. It's all about genetics. Studies have linked liking cilantro to being able to detect the "pleasing" chemicals in the leaf.
Recipe for white beans and cilantro

3. Eggplant: For some, it's an old purple sponge and others, the soft-firm texture is what makes a veggie sandwich or an Italian pasta dish. Raw is never good, but fried, grilled, or roasted (always doused with gobs of olive oil), eggplant deserves another chance. Or, the vegetarian sponge will always make you nauseous -- and the roof of your mouth mysteriously itch.
Recipe for eggplant lamb lavash wrap

4. Coconut: The smell in shampoo and sunblock is one thing. But the sawdust-like shreds of real coconut can mean chewing and chewing forever until you eventually swallow the darn lump. Sprinkled on pies, cakes, and chicken, coconut either adds a mild tropical zing or a vile, never-ending chewing party. That's when it comes out that a lot of coconut haters don't even know about young fresh coconut which is as soft as a Hawaiian baby's bottom.
Recipe for coconut domes

5. Tomato: This one really comes down to texture. Slimy and gritty is never good for the tomato world. The cooked, soft version brings in a few fans. Others are only in it for the vine-picked version during their peak season in August (cut to romantic images of Italian countrysides). Others can only bear them on pizza or completely masked inside ketchup.
Recipe for marinated tomatoes with linguine

6. Anchovies: Cat food or human food? A small whiff can make you seasick or have you loading them on pizza and Caesar salads. Whether fresh or in flat metal cans, the salty little fish has some so obsessed, they'll eat the bones.
Recipe for roasted sardines with bread crumbs, garlic, and mint

7. Black licorice: Even the red licorice-tolerant may draw the line here. Black licorice gum, jelly beans, tea, Good n' Plentys, and Jägermeister—get it out. Along with any herb, like anise or fennel, that resembles the flavor. Out. Lovers say it's an acquired taste, but I think the little kids have it straight here. Not a real candy.
Recipe for baked fennel with prosciutto

8. Stinky cheeses: If this smell came from something else (a shoe or dog), I might take issue, but knowing it's from a dairy gob, growing moldy in a controlled environment, I'm fine with the pungent aroma. When others sniff Gorgonzola or Roquefort, they're convinced that feet or laundry were actually involved.
Recipe for tortellini with Gorgonzola cream sauce

9. Mayo: Whether Hellmann's or even Miracle Whip, does the creamy off-white slime strip the taste off food or magically make anything better? Haters have been told to try it homemade, but for many, this won't make a tuna or egg salad look any less scary.
Recipe for avocado mayonnaise

10. Bell Pepper: To some, all those colorful strips are a mouthful of crisp freshness. To others, they're the backseat driver of vegetables. On a pizza or in pasta, they're supposed to be one of many veggie passengers, but no. The bell pepper's always got to be the loud guy telling your taste buds where to go -- and green, he's the loudest. Green is actually unripened, picked from the vine before its more sweet (and edible) brethren.
Recipe for angel hair pasta with red pepper pesto and basil

11. Beets: Despite all my white T-shirts you have stained purple, I still love you, beets. People fear you from an early age, but roasted or pickled, you take on a whole new form. The other camp thinks that the beet smell is such a toss-up between ick and gross and that the beet taste is so much like a metallic vitamin that it's just not meant to be.
Recipe for roasted beet salad

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sauteed Pork with Mustard

4 7-oz pork loin (I have used regular bonless pork chops)
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)

Mustard Sauce:

2 1/2 tbsps butter
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsps whole-grain mustard
2 tsps lemon juice

Pound the pork to uniform thickness, then score the fat around the pork slicing partway into the meat.
Sprinkle salt and pepper on the pork.
Pour 2 tbsp of oil into panover medium heat.
Saute' pork until golden brown on both sides, once browned turn heat to low and cook until done.
When pork is finished remove from pan and reserve.
Wipe pan with paper towels.

Put the 2 1/2 tbsps butter in pan over medium heat, Once the butter has melted add the 2/3 cup of cream. Mix the Mustard and the Lemon Juice with the cream.
Bring the sauce to a boil and cook until it slightly thickens, then place the sauteed pork back in the pan and coat it with sauce.

Serve with veg. of your choice.

Over-used Recipes Swap