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.