Saturday, July 30, 2011

Honey Cornbread

adapted from my friend Laurel
I got this recipe from one of my old college roomies, Laurel.  I like this particular cornbread recipe because it doesn't call for as much butter as others that I have tried and it also uses honey as the sweetener instead of sugar.

1 C sifted flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 C cornmeal
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 C milk
1/4 c butter
3 Tbsp honey

In a large bowl, mix and sift the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the cornmeal and mix.  In a separate bowl, combine the egg, milk, butter and honey. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir until moistened.

Pour into and greased 8x8 baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 min. Watch closely! (The original recipe says to bake at 425 degrees, but I always found that the cornbread was getting too brown on top and was a little dry.  At 375, my cornbread baked through, but stayed moist and crumbly.)  Yummy!  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mango Quinoa Salad

Recipe from Our Best Bites
2 cups cooked quinoa* at room temperature or chilled
1 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium mango, peeled and diced**
1 red bell pepper, diced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 handful chopped cilantro (about 1/2 cup)
4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper

Quinoa can be cooked in water or broth.  OBB suggests using vegetable or chicken broth for enchanced flavor, but plain water works great too.

Place quinoa in a large bowl.  Add mango, red pepper, green onion, black beans, and cilantro.  In a small bowl combine vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice. Whisk until smooth and pour on top of salad.  Toss to combine and add salt and pepper to taste.  Chill for at least one hour before serving.  

*If you are unfamiliar with quinoa, check out this tutorial from Our Best Bites.

**Also, I love this tutorial on how to cut a mango.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

recipe from Our Best Bites
4 c chopped Romaine Lettuce
2 c chopped grilled chicken (you can use Taco Chicken* if you want.  It is delicious!)
1 c cherry or grape tomatoes, washed ( I just used chopped tomatoes, since that is what I had on hand)
1/3 c vertically sliced red onion
1 avocado, cubed
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 8 3/4 oz can corn, rinsed and drained. (I like to use frozen corn)

1/3 c chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 c light sour cream
1 1/2 tsp adobo sauce from canned chipotle chili peppers (You can usually find these in the Mexican food section of the grocery store)
1 tsp chili powder
4 tsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp salt

Tortilla strips
Or, I bought taco shell bowls at the deli section at Macey's and served the salad in those. It was delicious!

Make sure all salad ingredients have been washed or rinsed.  Combine lettuce, chicken, beans, corn, onion, and tomatoes in a large bowl and gently mix.  Set aside.

Mix dressing ingredients.  Start with 1 1/2 tsp of adobo sauce and then go from there, probably adding more if desired 1/4-1/2 tsp at a time.  You could even chop up one of the chili peppers and toss it in there if you are super brave with spiciness.  I just added the 1 1/2 tsp of sauce recommended in the recipe and it was just the perfect amount of "kick".  Set dressing aside.

When ready to serve, add avocado, tortilla strips (if desired) and dressing, gently combine and serve.

I have never used adobo sauce before and it added such a yummy smoky flavor to the salad.  It's worth the trip to the grocery store to try it!  

*TACO CHICKEN  Recipe also by Our Best Bites

1 lb chicken breasts or thighs
A couple of juicy limes
A splash of red wine vinegar
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or coarsely chopped
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Juice the limes and combine with a couple splashes of red wine vinegar.  Add garlic.  Pour over chicken.  This will not completely cover chicken; just turn it occasionally as needed.  Marinate for at least 4 hours, no longer than 8.

Heat an outdoor grill (you can also use a grill pan inside or your broiler in your oven).  Combine salt, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper in a small bowl. Remove chicken from marinade and rub spices all over the chicken.  

Grill about 7 minutes per side.  Remove from heat and allow to stand for a few minutes so it doesn't lose its juiciness.  You can either eat the chicken as it is, maybe with Mexican rice and beans, or slice it up and use it as you would taco meat. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Oh Henry's

recipe from my Mom
This recipe was a favorite in our house when I was growing up. It is very simple and perfect for a potluck or neighbor treats (if you can bring yourself to share.)  Although I am not a huge butterscotch fan by itself, when combined with the chocolate chips, it adds a creamy texture and subtle difference in the taste of the chocolate topping that is a-mazing!  Enjoy!

1 c sugar
1 c Karo syrup
1 c peanut butter (I like to use chunky so that you get a little bit of nuttiness)
1 c salted nuts (optional)  I usually don't add these, so that is why I use chunky peanut butter
3 c Rice Krispies
6 oz chocolate chips (I use semi-sweet because this is already a very sweet dessert)
6 oz butterscotch chips

In a medium saucepan, bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add peanut butter and stir to combine. (I use the same measuring cup that I used for the corn syrup to measure the peanut butter because it helps the peanut butter to just slip right out.)  Add the nuts (if desired) and the cereal.  Mix well.  Spread mixture into a 9x13 pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  

Melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips in a double-boiler. If you don't have a double boiler, you can boil water in a medium saucepan and place a smaller saucepan inside the medium one  to melt the chips.  

Pour chocolate sauce over the Rice Krispie mixture and spread evenly.  Set aside to cool.  When cooled completely, cut into squares.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Homemade Pizza

Recipe from Our Best Bites
1.  Begin preparing your dough (See pizza dough recipe)  Complete steps through the first rise.

Breadsticks & Pizza Dough

1 1/2 c warm (105-115 degrees) water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp yeast
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 1/2 c flour

In a large bowl (the bowl of your mixer, if you have one), combine water, sugar, and yeast.  Let stand for 10 minutes or until yeast is bubbly.

Add salt and stir.  Add 1 1/2 c flour and mix well.  Gradually add more flour (usually between 3-4 cups, depending on your elevation and humidity) until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and it barely sticks to your finger.

Spray a glass or metal bowl with cooking spray and place dough in the bowl.  Cover and allow to rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

2.  While your dough is rising, prepare your sauce.

Pizza Sauce

1 6 oz can tomato paste
6 oz water (just use the empty tomato paste can)
3 Tbsp garlic bread seasoning*
1 Tbsp sugar or honey
3/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Empty tomato paste into a bowl and add water a few tablespoons at a time, stirring constantly until combined.  Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine and allow to stand until ready to use.  Covers two average-sized pizzas;   Freezes extremely well.

* Garlic Bread Seasoning
Combine the following ingredients:

1/2 c powdered Parmesan cheese
2 tsp Kosher salt
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
2 tsp marjoram
2 tsp parsley

3. Preheat your oven (and your pizza stone, if you want) to 425 degrees.  (I don't have a pizza stone, I just use round pizza pan and this recipe still works great!)  While oven is heating, punch down dough and shape into a disc.  Spray your work surface, rolling pin, and pizza stone (or pan) with non-stick cooking spray.  Place dough disc onto work surface.  Roll and shape into a circle.  Very gently transfer the dough onto your pizza stone (or pan) and continue to shape up to the edges of the stone.  

4.  Using a fork, prick several holes in the crust.  Drizzle crust with a little olive oil... and brush all the way up to the edges.  Sprinkle with garlic salt.  Both oiling and salting the crust help crisp it up, give it a great flavor, and keep it from getting soggy in the middle.  

5.  Bake crust in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven.

6.  Spread layer of sauce over the surface of the crust.  Top with whatever toppings you like.  Add layer of cheese and then sprinkle with oregano.

7.  Return crust to oven and bake 10-12 minutes more or until cheese is melty and crust is golden brown.