Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Week 10: Marcie's Indonesian Chicken in the Crockpot

This recipe is from A Year of Slow Cooking with hardly any modifications.  We all liked this dish.  I rinsed the sauce off of the chicken for Amelia, and she ate it with no issues.  Ben and I both liked it but decided it needed a little something more; I tried adding some salt but that didn't help, so then Ben had the idea of crushing up some peanuts and sprinkling them on top, and that was delicious!  I still think maybe a little coconut milk would round out the flavor, or maybe a little bit more sugar?

Oh, and I'm loving the crockpot for making dinner this week.  It is so easy!  I put this in the crockpot while the girls were eating lunch yesterday, and today I put our lunchtime meal in the crockpot while they were eating breakfast.  I think I need to do a crockpot meal once a week.

Indonesian Peanut Chicken
(serves 4)

1/3 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce 
1 tbsp honey
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger (try grated fresh ginger)

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut up into large pieces (next time try thighs)
1 lime, cut into wedges
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp peanuts, crushed

Put the peanut butter in the crockpot and turn to high, so that peanut butter begins to melt.  Add remaining sauce ingredients and stir to combine.  Add chicken, toss to coat.  Turn crockpot on LOW and cook for 4 - 5 hours.  It will be very thick at first, but after 3 hours or so, the sauce will become thinner.

Before serving, squeeze half of a lime over the chicken mixture and stir.  Top with sesame seeds and crushed peanuts.  Serve over rice.
Next time maybe add some coconut milk to make more sauce, and serve over noodles.

Friday, September 16, 2011

week 10

Week 10 is crock pot recipes!

Week 9: Becky~Bacon Risotto

I have never made risotto and this recipe had great ratings.  Can I just say yummy?  Recipe from Allrecipes.

Bacon Risotto

1/2 pound bacon
5 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp butter
1/2 onion
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Bring chicken stock to a boil.  Once it boils, reduce to low and keep the chicken stock warm. 

Meanwhile dice the bacon and cook until brown.

Dice onions and garlic.  Melt 2 tbsp butter in a chef's pan or other similar big pot and cook the onions and garlic until slightly browned.  Add the rice and stir until the rice is coated with butter and begins to toast. Reduce beat and stir in 1/3 of the chicken stock.  Stir frequently until the liquid is absorbed and turns creamy.  Add another third of the chicken stock.  Stir frequently until the liquid is absorbed and turns creamy.  Repeat.  When the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, it's done.

Remove from heat and add 2 tbsp butter, parmesan cheese and bacon.

Week 8: Becky~Rosemary 2 ways

I found so many recipes for rosemary that I wanted to try.  I really wanted to try a rosemary bread-wither one like Maccaroni Grill or a foccacia.  But I haven't had the chance to make that yet.  Maybe soon!  What I did make was a rosemary garlic rub for a pork tenderloin and rosemary mashed sweet and white potatoes.  I found recipes at allrecipes.  I don't think the rosemary came through but maybe that's just because I had a cold.  Who knows?

Rosemary Garlic Rub

Black pepper
4 tbsp fresh rosemary
8 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil

Mince garlic and dice the rosemary.  Mix all the ingredients together and rub over a protein.

Rosemary Mashed Potatoes
mix of white and sweet potatoes
6 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp fresh rosemary
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Boil potatoes and garlic.  Mash them in the mixer with butter and milk.  Mix in the rosemary and half the parmesan cheese.  Put potatoes in a oven safe dish.  Top with remaining parmesan cheese.  Bake in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Week 9: Marcie's Rosemary Risotto

I decided to combine weeks 7 and 8 and make a risotto dish using rosemary - isn't that a practical idea?  The idea for this recipe was taken from Jamie Oliver, but seeing as how no quantities were listed in his recipe, I am claiming this as completely my own.  I still am not sure risotto is worth the time and effort (not to mention cleanup) that it takes to make it, but this was delicious!  Ben really liked it; surprisingly, he agreed that it was even more delicious with the tomatoes (too bad I didn't make any tomatoes for him!)  I liked it, and Megan ate a few spoonfuls.  I tried to tell Amelia that it was just rice mixed with peas; she tried a few bites and then told me that she doesn't like peas in her rice.

Rosemary Chorizo Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes
(serves 4)

Roasted Tomatoes:
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed from stems
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
black pepper and salt

Place the tomatoes in a roasting dish.  Sprinkle with rosemary, olive oil, balsamic, pepper and salt.  Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.  (Start the tomatoes in the oven at the same time you start adding liquid to the risotto.)

2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp)
1 1/2 sprigs fresh rosemary, stripped from leaves and chopped finely (about 1 tbsp)
1/3 large onion (about 1 cup)

1 (2.6oz) chorizo sausage, sliced thinly
1 1/2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
about 4 2/3 cups chicken stock

1 1/2 cup frozen petite peas
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Saute the garlic, onion and rosemary in olive oil in a large skillet for about 5 minutes.  Add chorizo and chicken.  Cook for about 5 minutes, or until chicken starts to look a little dry on the outside.

Add the rice, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes to toast the rice.  In small amounts, add the chicken stock, maintaining a level such that the rice is always covered in liquid.  Cook for about 20 minutes in this manner, stirring frequently and adding stock as needed.  During the last few minutes of cooking, add peas.

Once rice is done, add butter and cheese, stir to mix and remove from heat.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Top with roasted tomatoes, making sure to spoon the balsamic reduction on top of the tomatoes.

Week 8: Rosemary Bread

This is not a new recipe for me, but I haven't made it in years.  I was excited to try it again during rosemary week, and it was just as good as I had remembered.  It's not quite as good as the bread at Macaroni Grill, but it's close, and it's certainly a lot easier than driving to the closest Macaroni Grill in Hoffman Estates.  I make this bread in my bread machine, but you could easily make it by hand, too.  It's especially good dipped in olive oil; you can season the olive oil with pepper (yum) or grated parmesan cheese (extra yum).  Amelia ate one and a half slices - I think it's the only thing she ate for dinner last night.  And even Megan, who seems to be turning into a picky eater, ate a half a slice.

Macaroni Grill's Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Place water and olive oil in the pan of the bread machine. Add sugar, salt, seasoning, black pepper, rosemary and flour. Make a well in the flour, and add the yeast into the well.

Select white bread cycle; select medium crust color; press Start.  Once done, rub the top crust with a little olive oil and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Weeks 8 and 9

I just thought I would post our next 2 week challenges so that I don't forget them!

Week 8-Rosemary
Week 9- Risotto

Week 6: Beets-High brow and low brow

Brian took over this week with beets, as Becky wasn't moved by the concept of cooking with beets.  I treated beets two ways-a warm arugula salad and deep fried beet chips.  The beet arugula salad worked pretty well, though I would add a lightly breaded chicken sliced to it if I did it again.  The beet chips have two recipes: the one we did and the one I should have done.

Beet Arugula Salad

1 beet (with stems), sliced and coarsely chopped
2 radishes, sliced and coarsely chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 c red pepper, chopped
1/4 c carrot, chopped
1 oz olive oil
1 oz vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
3 oz arugula

Sautee beet, radish, 1 green onion, and red pepper in olive oil over medium heat until beet is tender.
Add vinegar and sugar.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Add remaining ingredients over low heat.  Heat until arugula is warm, but not wilted.

Serve warm, with breaded chicken or other protein of choice.

Beet Chips (aka, everything's better deep fried)

2 beets
Powdered sugar

Slice beets thin with a mandolin slicer
Dredge lightly in powdered sugar.
Deep fry for 5-6 minutes in 350 degree oil.
Dust with cinnamon

While the flavor was right, the crispness never happened on the beets, primarily because the sugar carmelized around it in the oil.  If they were allowed to cool, this basically created a beet brittle, which was near impossible to eat due to the stickiness.

Beet Chips (aka, what I should have done)
2 beets
Powdered sugar

Slice beets thin with a mandolin slicer
Mix 1 part cinnamon to 4 parts flour
Dredge beets in cinnamon mixture
Deep fry for 5-6 minutes in 350 degree oil
Dust with powdered sugar

Week 7: Becky's Crusted Garlic Chicken

Just a note, we did beets but Brian made them and I would like him to post about them.  Maybe I can get him to show off his beet creations this weekend.

Marcie and I seemed to go in somewhat the same direction.  I decided to bread chicken.  I used a recipe from my Betty Crocker Chicken Cookbook and modified it a bit.  I picked crackers for this week's challenge because I opened a box of Saltines and one whole sleeve was all cracked and crumbled.  I figured I needed to find a use for cracker crumbs.

Crusted Garlic Chicken

1/2 sleeve Saltine cracker crumbs ( I used a whole sleeve and had a lot left over)
1 tbsp margarine or butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into tender size pieces (or buy chicken tenders!)
2 tbsp oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put oil in a 9x13 inch pan.  (The recipe called for using cooking spray which is what I did but toward the end the crackers seemed so dry and were burning to the pan so I added oil at the end.  I also lowered the temperature form 425).

Mix margarine, milk and garlic powder in  dish.  Mix cracker crumbs, parsley, chives, minced garlic and paprika in another dish.  Dip the chicken in the liquid mixture and then in the cracker mixture.  Put in pan.  Bake uncovered for 35 minutes (maybe less).  Make sure to turn the pieces at least once during the cooking process.

***Note: there was not enough garlic in this dish at all.  The cracker mixture was a little bland so I would recommend upping the herbs quite a bit.  Also you may need to add more oil to the pan part way through.  The recipe recommended spraying the chicken with cooking spray after dipping it.  I kind of missed that while making the recipe. That may have helped to not dry out the crackers so much.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Week 7: Marcie's Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This chicken recipe isn't innovative in any way, but it was delicious.  It's adapted from Kraft Foods Recipes.  I had a hard time coming up with something innovative to do with savory cracker crumbs.  I don't think you could taste that I used the Vegetable Ritz instead of regular Ritz, but it was a definite improvement over using bread crumbs.  The Ritz got a little crispy in the oven, and there was a nice buttery flavor along with the cracker crunch.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts
serves 3

3 chicken breasts, butterflied

2 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Kraft Italian 5 Cheese blend shreds
1 cup frozen spinach leaves, thawed and squeezed
1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 egg, beaten

15 Vegetable Ritz crackers, crushed (not too fine)
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Combine the cream cheese, Italian cheese shreds, spinach and seasoning.  Spread generously on one half of each chicken breast.  Fold the other half of the chicken breast over, use a toothpick to hold shut if necessary.  Dip in egg mixture, then dip in cracker mixture, then place in Pam-sprayed 9x13" pan.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week 6: Marcie's Goat Cheese & Beet Gnocchi

This is what my family thinks about beets:

So when we found out they were the secret ingredient of this week's cooking challenge, we were less than thrilled.  My goal was to figure out a way to disguise the beets so well that nobody would even know they were there, and I succeeded!  I found this great new food blog Always Order Dessert and modified her recipe slightly.  The beets gave the gnocchi a lovely rose color, but you couldn't taste them at all!  Mostly they tasted like goat cheese (yum) and butter (extra yum).  But if you don't like goat cheese, don't worry - even Ben liked these, and he hates goat cheese.  And beets.  But he does like butter.

I served them with a parmesan rosemary pork tenderloin, which is my very favorite way to cook pork tenderloin.  Super easy: cut three lengthwise slits in the pork tenderloin (the whole length of the loin).  Stuff with fresh rosemary needles and grated parmesan cheese.  Cover the pork tenderloin with more parmesan.  Cook until done (I think 400F for about 35 min?)

Goat Cheese & Beet Gnocchi
serves 4

For the gnocchi:
1/4 cup goat cheese

1/4 cup cream cheese (Neufchatel is okay)
1/2 cup roasted beat puree 

1 whole egg, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus more for flouring boards)
2 tsp salt (try less next time)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg

For the sauce:
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 bunch fresh basil
1 sprig fresh rosemary
salt & pepper

Make the gnocchi:
1) Stir the goat cheese and cream cheese together until smooth.
2) Add the beet puree, stir until smooth.
3) Add the egg, stir until smooth.
4) Combine the flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Add in small batches to the beet mixture, stirring until combined.  The dough should be sticky, but not too sticky to work with.  Add more flour if needed.
5) Working on a floured surface with floured hands, roll a handful of dough into a rope.  Cut into 1" pieces (make them smaller next time).  Place on a floured cookie sheet, and press with a fork to indent.
6)  Add half the gnocchi to a large pot of boiling water.  Wait until all the gnocchi pop to the surface, then cook for 2 minutes longer.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the gnocchi from the pot.

Make the sauce:
1) Melt the butter in a large skillet.
2) Dice the basil and rosemary.  Add to skillet.  Cook for a few minutes.
3) Gently drop the cooked gnocchi into the butter sauce.  Stir and cook for a few minutes until gnocchi are toasted.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Becky-Week 5: Cornmeal Pork Chops and Peach Salsa

I actually made a Moroccan chicken with peaches crock pot recipe first thinking it would be DEL-icious but alas it was flavorless!  I couldn't believe with 3 peaches, 2 tsps of ginger, 2 tsps of cumin and lots of other spices the dish could be flavorless but it was.  Sad day.  Plus I have tons of leftovers and I don't know what to do with it.

So I made another peach dish the following day.  This one was good!  I made a cornmeal crusted pork chops with a fresh peach salsa.  I actually used nectarines because that is what I had.  I found a couple peach salsa recipes on Betty Crocker's website as well as All Recipes.  I combined various ones to make my own salsa.

Corneal Pork Chop with Peach Salsa
Serves 4

Pork Chops
1/2 cup cornmeal
freshly ground pepper
olive oil

Peach Salsa
1 peach/nectarine peel and diced
1/4 cup cucumber, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup black beans
chopped chives
chopped parsley or cilantro if you like cilantro
juice of half a lime

Combine all the ingredients of the salsa together.  Chill in the fridge for an hour (at least) before serving.

Heat oil in a frying pan.  Combine cornmeal and pepper.  Bread pork chops.  Cook in frying pan until pork is done.  Serve with salsa.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Week 5: Marcie's Peach Pizza

Now, you may think that peach pizza sounds very strange, but I wanted to try something out of the ordinary this week.  And it wasn't bad!  I found the idea on Two Peas and Their Pod; doesn't their pizza look delicious?   I added some diced rotisserie chicken so that it would feel more substantial and some prosciutto because I had some leftover.  I learned a few things making this pizza.  Most importantly, when you are making a small balsamic reduction on a stupid electric stovetop, DO NOT leave the heat on while you go outside to pick a few basil leaves.  Although you may not think it, the balsamic can completely burn on your pot and cause your whole house to be filled with smoke so that you have to run the pot outside so as not to catch it on fire.  Not that I know from personal experience.  (Christmas idea for Marcie: small nonstick dishwashable pot)  Anyway, moving on, I also realized that I need to get better at rolling out pizza dough because this dough ended up with lots of holes in it.  And, why don't I ever remember that I can use bacon, if I'm going to fry up my prosciutto to make it crispy?  It's what, 1/3 the price?

Ben and I both liked this pizza, but it wasn't fantastic.  You could taste the peaches, but the balsamic and the prosciutto kind of overwhelmed it.  I think next time I would leave out the prosciutto and use less balsamic.  Amelia liked it because she got to make her own pizza (topped with string cheese and a few peach slices) and she actually ate it!  Yay!

Peach Pizza
serves 2
 Sorry about the terrible picture, something went wrong with my camera and a bunch of my files got corrupted.

For the pizza dough:
1 1/8 teaspoons rapid rise yeast (about half a package)
1/2 cup warm water (105 - 115F)
Pinch of sugar
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Corn meal-for spreading on pizza stone

For the balsamic reduction:
1 cup balsamic vinegar

Pizza toppings:
6 ounces fresh mozzarella - sliced
1 peach - thinly sliced
1/4 cup freshly chopped basil
1/2 cup cooked chicken breast - finely diced or shredded
2 ounces prosciutto, cooked until crispy

Add a pinch of sugar to the warm water, and stir in the yeast.  Let sit for 5 minutes until foamy.  Meanwhile, combine flours and salt in a mixing bowl.  Add the oil and yeast mixture.  Stir until combined, then switch to dough hook.  Beat for five minutes.  Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm area for an hour until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, make the balsamic reduction.  Cook the balsamic (on low heat!  watching constantly!) until it is about a quarter of the original volume.

When dough is ready, sprinkle corn meal on the pizza stone, and press pizza dough into an approximately circular shape.  Top with mozzarella slices, then chicken, then peaches, then basil and prosciutto.  Finally, drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Bake in 500F oven for 12 - 15 minutes.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

MDSBWFC Week 5: Peaches in a Main Dish

Marcie chose the theme for week 5, and it is to use "peaches in something you could serve for dinner"

As always, if you have a suggestion for a theme or want to participate, just comment on this post.  Also, mom and dad's kitchen is progressing nicely, so we might have judges by the end of the month!

Week 4: Brie and NotPesto Toasted Cheese

I made a variety of toasted cheese sandwiches for MDSBWFC: Week 4, and while there was a clear winner, several other sandwiches deserve honorable mentions.  It is my opinion that the bread you use matters very little so long as the crust isn't too crunchy.

* Prosciutto, sundried tomatoes, and asiago
* Peaches and gruyere (don't knock it until you've tries it... also good with bacon)
* Chicken, bacon, and cheddar (ok, it's not exactly gourmet, but it is REALLY tasty)

Anyway, brie and pesto may not be an original idea, but at least the NotPesto (I don't have a name for it, but it is decidedly not pesto) is my own creation.

Brie and NotPesto Toasted Cheese

2 tsp melted butter
2 slices of bread
3 oz brie, crusty stuff removed and "sliced"
1/4 cup NotPesto

Use a brush of some sort to spread the butter on one slice of bread and place it down on your frying pan. Spread on half the NotPesto, followed by the brie.  Spread the rest of the NotPesto on the other slice of bread and put it on top of the brie.  Then spread the rest of the butter on top.  Brie melts really fast, and this is a pretty thin sandwich, so you will likely have to use more heat than normal to get the right crustiness on your bread.

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 or 2 oz walnuts, pecans, or pine nuts
3 red bell peppers, roasted
1 head of garlic, roasted
salt and pepper to taste

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Week 4: Becky's Panini

I wasn't sure exactly what a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich is.  I wasn't sure if it could include other things besides cheese and I wasn't sure what to do with just a grilled cheese sandwich so I took the liberty of adding other ingredients to my gourmet grilled cheese sandwich.

I was inspired by the Chicken Bellagio meal at the Cheesecake Factory.  I just love this dish and I had hoped that the flavors would translate well into a panini.  It kind of worked :)

Bellagio Panini

Havarti Cheese
Thin slices of tomato
Olive Oil
Roasted Garlic Bread

Pound the chicken so that it's very flat.  Cook the chicken in a little olive oil.  Meanwhile layer the sandwich.  Spread the pesto on both of the insides of the bread.  Layer the other ingredients however you would like.  I used 2 pieces of cheese but it may be better with 3.  I used 1 slice of proscuitto and I think it needed 2.  It definitely needed more than 6 arugula leaves and you probably could leave it out!  I would also not use roasted garlic bread, a plain bread would be better.  The  roasted garlic bread overpowered the other flavors.  Put the sandwich in a George Foreman grill or panini maker.  Cook until the outside is golden brown.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Week 4: Gourmet Toasted Cheese Sandwiches

Julie ate an amazing toasted cheese sandwich three years ago, and I have been thinking about it ever since she told me about it.  I decided to use MDSBWFC as an excuse to try out this (and some other) fantastic toasted cheese sandwich ideas.

Week 3: Chevy's Sweet Corn Tamalitos

There is a Tex-Mex restaurant in Champaign that Julie and I used to enjoy called Chevy's.  Many of their meals came with a small helping of sweet corn tamalitos, and both Julie and I immediately thought of it when Marcie said the week three of MDSBWFC would be corn.  I used a recipe from which uses a 12 oz bag of corn.  My recipe below is scaled up to a 1 lb bag, because that's how God intended frozen vegetables to be sold.  If I made this again, I might finish it off uncovered for 8-10 minutes in the oven. to give it a little crust and get rid of any excess water.

Chevy's Sweet Corn Tamalitos

6.5 Tbsp softened butter
1/3 cup masa harina or flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 lb + 1/2 lb corn kernels
2/3 cup cornmeal
2/3 cup water
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp milk
salt as desired

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Then blend 1/2 lb corn kernels with water.  Add to butter/sugar mixer and beat until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined.

Pour dough into a 9x9 and tightly cover with aluminum foil.  Suspend over boiling water (I wedged it into my wide stockpot) for about an hour.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Week 3: Marcie's Sweet Corn Risotto with Wild Rice and Prosciutto

I found the idea for this recipe in the August 2011 issue of Midwest Living magazine, but had to change a few things because grocery stores in Sun Prairie don't carry pancetta.  The flavor of the completed dish was good, but the sweet corn flavor got a little lost amidst the chardonnay and prosciutto flavors.  The sweet corn added a nice little juicy burst of texture to the creamy Arborio and chewy wild rice textures.  Ben enjoyed this too (of course he did, it has prosciutto) but Amelia did not care for corn mixed with her rice.  Oh, and I decided I can't make risotto again unless Ben is home to help watch the girls.  Megan wasn't content to play in the kitchen, and I kept having to run after her to make sure she wasn't getting into trouble (or that Amelia wasn't dragging her around by the leg, like I caught her doing once during the cooking last night.)

Sweet Corn Risotto with Wild Rice and Prosciutto
(serves 4)

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3 oz prosciutto, chopped
1/4 large onion, finely chopped
5/8 cup uncooked Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
14 oz chicken broth
2 ears of sweet corn, kernels removed
1 cup cooked wild rice (1/4 cup uncooked wild rice, cooked in 3/4 cup water for about an hour)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
1/4 tsp black pepper
snipped parsley for garnish
freshly shaved parmesan cheese for garnish

1. In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add prosciutto, cook and stir for 8 minutes, or until nicely browned.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the prosciutto from the skillet and drain on paper towels.  Add the onion to the drippings in the skillet, cook and stir until softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Add Arborio rice to onion in skillet; cook and stir over medium heat until rice is slightly browned, about 4 minutes.  Add half of the prosciutto, white wine and red pepper.

3. Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth to the skillet, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is absorbed.  Continue adding chicken broth in 1/2 cup increments, cooking and stirring until all chicken broth has been absorbed (about 20 minutes).

4. Stir in corn, cooked wild rice, 1/4 cup cheese, butter pieces and black pepper.  Cook on low for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Cheese should be melted.

5. Top with remaining prosciutto, chopped parsley, and shaved parmesan to serve.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Week 3: Becky-Potato, Green Bean and Corn Salad

Well, Sometimes Becky managed to get week 3 in quite spontaneously!  We had no corn (the corn we were given had worms in all the ears so we had to throw them out) and I had no plans to go to the grocery store but then I had no bread and we ran out of diapers.  So at the very last minute (as Brian was starting the grill) I ran to the store and got some sweet corn (because I won't buy any frozen corn besides Trader Joe's).

This recipe turned out quite delicious!  Brian wasn't so much of a fan because he says that he likes green beans, corn and potatoes on their own so mixed together with too much lemon ruined the 3 foods he likes.  He also said he couldn't enjoy the corn with all the other ingredients.  To that I say pshaw!

I found this recipe (and several other good sounding corn recipes like scrambled eggs with corn) at The Kitchen.

Potato, Green Bean and Corn Salad
1 lb red potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
1 lb green beans, cut into bite size pieces (I used frozen but fresh probably would have been better)
3 ears of corn on the cob (I used 2 so maybe that was why Brian didn't taste enough corn)
1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp lemon (perhaps you could leave this out all together-I probably put in 2 tbsps)
3 oz. feta or goat cheese
salt and pepper

Boil the potatoes in water until the potatoes are fork tender.  Cook green beans until they are al dente.  Cook the corn however you would like (I microwaved it on high for 4-5 minutes in the husks). After the corn cools a little, cut the kernels off the cob.  Combine potatoes, corn and green beans in a serving bowl.  Chop the parsley and chives and add to the bowl.

Melt the butter in a small skillet or pot over medium heat.  Let it melt, swirling every once in a while.  Let it cook until the butter darkens and begins to smell nutty, swirling occasionally.  As soon as it darkens, take if off the heat!!! (I burned my first brown butter and had to start again).  Whisk in lemon and salt and pepper if desired.  Pour over potatoes, green beans and corn.  Add cheese.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Week 3: Corn

Marcie picked our theme for week 3, and it is corn.  Fun corn fact: corn is the second most cultivated crop in the world, after wheat.  That wasn't really very much fun, so here's another one: one acre of corn can yield about 11 million kernels.

If you want to participate, just send me your recipe for a corn related dish and a picture of the finished product by Thursday.  Also, if you want to be a regular participant or suggest a theme, just say so in the comments!

Week 2: Marcie's Rosemary Vanilla Chicken

We all really liked this recipe, the girls included, but we didn't think it tasted much like vanilla.  As it was cooking, it smelled deliciously vanilla-y, but the vanilla flavor in the final dish was subtle.  Actually, it's hard to describe exactly what the flavor of the end product was - not rosemary, not vanilla, not chardonnay, just yummy.

Vanilla Rosemary Chicken
serves 4

5 boneless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 large handfuls baby carrots, finely chopped
1 cup chicken broth
cup chardonnay
1/2 vanilla bean (seeds scraped out, then finely dice the shell)
2 sprigs of rosemary, needles peeled off

Pour the oil in a large skillet, turn heat to high.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken.  Cook until chicken is golden brown on all sides, turning frequently.  Once chicken is browned, remove from skillet.

Add onion and carrots to the juice in the skillet.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened.

Add chicken broth, wine, rosemary, vanilla bean seeds and diced vanilla bean shell to the skillet, stirring until combined.  Place chicken on top of the mixture.  Cover skillet tightly, turn heat to medium-low, and simmer for 45 minutes until chicken is tender.  Remove cover, and let juices thicken until a sauce forms.

Serve over rice.

Week 1: Marcie's Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Isn't it funny that we all chose to make a salad with quinoa?  Maybe we'll have to do quinoa again sometime, but this time say it can't be used in a salad.

I modified a recipe from allrecipes, and I think mine sounds a lot better.  :)  Ben and I both liked this salad.  I made his with mozzarella cheese and without tomatoes, but I think the feta cheese is what really makes this dish so tasty.  The girls didn't get to try any quinoa, because we were running so late that day that they were in bed before this was ready.  I'm curious what they would think of it.  Next time, I may add more quinoa, or plan on serving some bread with it.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Serves 2 as a main course salad

1 cup water
1 cube chicken bouillon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

1 large cooked chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 roasted red pepper (I used one from a jar)
2 oz feta cheese crumbles
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil

Combine the water, bouillon cube and garlic in a small pot and heat to boiling.  Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat to low and cover.  Simmer for 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed.
Meanwhile, combine lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

In a salad bowl, combine quinoa, chicken, red pepper, feta, tomatoes and herbs.  Drizzle with the balsamic dressing and toss to combine.  Serve warm or cold.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Week 2: David - Vanilla Pad See Ew

Both Julie and I immediately thought of using the vanilla to flavor beef for MDSBWFC: Vanilla.  I trialed some different flavorings with hamburgers, which resulted in some of the strangest burgers ever.  The two major ideas we had were to braise some beef with a vanilla bean in the braising liquid and to make a beef noodle dish. We decided to make a Pad See Ew which ended up having a delectable salty, sweet, spicy, rich flavor.

Vanilla Pad See Ew

14 oz wide rice noodles
2 eggs
3 Tbsp soy sauce + 3 Tbsp water
1.5 lb sirloin
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 fresh red chilies, finely chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1/2 lb snow peas

1 Tbsp soy sauce (always use low sodium!)
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 dried red chilies, reconstituted and finely chopped (I use Japones)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp water

4 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Marinate beef in marinade for at least 4 hours.

Stir fry beef, garlic, chilies, bell peppers, mushrooms, and snow peas in batches and place to the side.  Make sure the garlic and chilies are evenly distributed.

Cook rice noodles in boiling water for 3 or 4 minutes.  Meanwhile, scramble the eggs in wok.  Add soy sauce/water mixture and 2 Tbsp oil to eggs, then dump in rice noodles.  Fry until noodles have absorbed all the liquid (add more water if noodles are too chewy).  Add meat and vegetables and mix well.  Add sauce and cook until bubbling.  Remove from heat and serve.

Week 1: David

I went in a similar direction as Becky, making a quinoa oriented salad.  Julie and I thought up four different styles: Southwestern (chorizo, corn, black beans, red bell peppers, garlic), Italian (spinach, red bell pepper, bacon, parmesan), Indian (mushroom, cashew, raisins, mint, ginger, and garlic), and Thanksgiving (Italian sausage,  mushrooms, craisins, and thyme).  While the Southwestern had the most potential, it didn't work well as a salad because the elements were too separate from each other... perhaps a little bit of sauce would have tied everything together.  In any event, we had a lot of fun trying four different quinoa salads with so many ingredients.  Only rarely have I appreciated having such a large cutting board before:

Ultimately, I chose the Thanksgiving themed salad as my submissions for MDSBWFC: Quinoa.  Recipe follows picture.

Thanksgiving Quinoa Salad

12 oz dry quinoa
1 1/4 pounds sweet Italian sausage
1/2 pounds baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup craisins
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme

Cook quinoa.  Chop sausage and fry it, draining fat.  Fry mushrooms until nicely seared.  Toast craisins.  Combine sausage, mushrooms, craisins, and thyme and cook for a couple minutes.  Stir sausage mixture into quinoa.  To serve, line a small glass with waxed paper, fill with quinoa salad, and invert.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Week 1-Becky: Chicken with Quinoa and Vegetables

Well I guess the "Sometimes  Becky" will be the first one to post the quinoa challenge photo and recipe.  I  didn't get the challenge done in the deadline but I made it for dinner tonight  at it was yummy!  It's by far the best quinoa dish I've made.  There are some changes I would make to the following  recipe but not too many.  I got the recipe from AllRecipes and made just a few changes.

Chicken with  Quinoa and Vegetables
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
4  tbsp olive oil
3 green onions (calls for 2 garlic scapes but I couldn't find those), chopped
6 cloves of garlic (needs more-couldn't taste the garlic)
1 small onion,chopped
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 zucchini, diced
1 tomato, diced (need more unless it is a large tomato)
4  handfuls of fresh baby spinach
4  ounces crumbled feta cheese
8 fresh basil leaves, sliced (need a lot more-couldn't taste it at all)
1-2 tbsp lime juice
1/8  cup pine nuts, toasted

Put the quinoa and chicken broth in  a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 12 minutes (or  maybe a little longer-the quinoa had a little bit of a crunch still).

Heat 2 tbsps of oil in a large skillet.  Cook the green onions, garlic and onions until the onion is translucent.  Add the chicken and cook  until the chicken is still a little pink (I cooked it through).  Remove the meat  mixture and set aside.  Put the remaining 2 tbsp oil in the skillet and add the zucchini, tomatoes and spinach.  Cook until zucchini is tender-5 to 8 minutes.  Return chicken to the skillet and sprinkle with feta cheese, basil leaves and lime juice.  Cook until the chicken is done.  Serve over quinoa and top with pine  nuts.

This was quite tasty but a little salty-probably just from the feta cheese.  Not sure how to fix that.  My kids ate a few pieces of chicken but wouldn't eat the quinoa  or anything  else.  I diced the zucchini very small and couldn't taste it so it's a nice way to get more veggies in a dish!  Natalie and Noah wanted me to take pictures of their food as welll so here are their plates.