Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Creamy Tarragon Chicken

recipe adapted from Deals to Meals

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp butter
Salt and Pepper
1 small onion, chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp tarragon
1/4 c flour
1 1/2 c cold water
1 c sliced mushrooms
1 c cream

Melt butter in skillet.  Add chicken breasts.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook on medium heat about 5 minutes on each side.  Sprinkle onion, garlic and tarragon over chicken and cook for another 5 minutes.  Whisk together flour and water until smooth.  Pour over chicken.  Add mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes until mixture thickens.  Stir in cream, salt and pepper to taste, and cook until mixture just starts to bubble.  Serve with mashed potatoes or rice.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Chunky Monkey Pancakes

recipe from Our Best Bites

These are a frequent request of my husband.  He LOVES them.  They taste a lot like banana bread pancakes and of course are a kid-pleaser with a few chocolate chips sprinkled around.  I find that these cook a lot better if you keep them pretty small.   A yummy, fun Saturday morning treat!  

1 1/2 c flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 c buttermilk*
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 large or extra large egg
2 small or medium ripe bananas
1/4 c mini chocolate chips (or regular chips roughly chopped) tossed with 2 tsp flour (This helps to keep the chips suspended throughout the batter instead of sinking to the bottom.)
cooking spray or butter for griddle

1 c maple syrup
1/2 c peanut butter

*As a substitute for buttermilk, place 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar in a 1 1/2 c measuring cup and then fill the remainder with milk.  Let sit for 2-3 minutes to allow acid to sour the milk.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together.  In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla and whisk well.  Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until moistened and combined.  Place bananas in a bowl and roughly mash with a fork.  Fold into batter.  Add the chocolate chips that have been tossed with flour and stir.

For syrup, heat peanut butter in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Add maple syrup and gently whisk to combine.  Heat in the microwave for another 30 seconds, whisk, and then set aside.  

Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet to medium heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray or butter and pour pancake batter onto griddle.  Use 1/4 c for large pancakes (4-6")  or 2 Tbsp for kid-sized ones (2-3").  Wait until bubbles form and edges are set and then flip.  

Reheat syrup if necessary and pour over warm pancakes

28-30 2-3" pancakes (using 1/8 c batter measure)
14-15 4-6" pancakes (using 1/4 c batter measure)

Freezer instructions:
Let cooked pancakes cool to room temperature.  Place in a single layer in the freezer until frozen and then place pancakes in a Ziplock bag or airtight container.  Reheat in a microwave or toaster until heated through.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Basic Stir-Fry Sauce

recipe adapted from Family Wok
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1/2 c chicken broth
1 Tbsp soy sauce (or Bragg's Liquid Aminos)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp rice wine or sherry (I used rice vinegar)

Heat the sesame oil in a small saucepan.  Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry for 15-30 seconds over medium heat until fragrant.  Add the chicken broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, pepper and lemon juice.  Bring just to a boil, stirring.  Dissolve the cornstarch in the wine and whisk into the sauce.  Heat until sauce thickens and reaches a full boil.  Simmer for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.  Pour over your stir-fry and mix.  Serve over rice.  *Depending on how saucy you like your stir-fry, you may want to double the recipe for more sauce.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Skillet Summer Vegetable Lasagna

recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Okay, I am trying to become a good food photographer, but I just didn't know how to make this picture look exceptionally appetizing, but trust me, it is a delicious, easy meal that utilizes many of the garden vegetables you probably have coming out of your ears this time of year.  

Serves 4-6

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes (I used a quart jar of my stewed garden tomatoes)
Salt and pepper
10 curly-edged lasagna noodles, broken into 2-inch lengths
1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 small yellow squash, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil (I didn't have any fresh, so I used about 1 1/2 tsp dried)
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese (I used cottage cheese)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
(I also added 2 cups fresh spinach)
1 tsp salt

Heat oil in a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Drain tomatoes into a 2-cup liquid measure.  Add water to tomato liquid to make 2 cups.  Add tomato/water mixture and 1 tsp salt to skillet.  

Scatter noodles into the skillet, layer tomatoes over the noodles and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, stirring occasionally (so the noodles won't stick) for about 10 minutes.  

Stir in zucchini and squash, cook, stirring now and then, until noodles and squash are tender, about 8 minutes.  Add basil, (spinach if, using), and half of the ricotta cheese and half of the Parmesan cheese to the noodles, stirring until the sauce is creamy.  Dollop remaining ricotta cheese over the noodles, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bread Sticks

from my sister-in-law Brenda
Use Basic Roll Dough recipe.  1 x recipe makes one pan of breadsticks.  Follow recipe until it says to roll into desired shapes.

Basic Roll Dough 
3 1/2 c flour
1 Tbsp instant dry yeast
1 1/4 c milk
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c butter or margarine
1 tsp salt
1 egg

(1/4-1/2 c melted butter for pouring over breadsticks before baking)

In a large saucepan on stove, melt butter over medium low heat. Then, stir in sugar and milk.  Continue to stir until milk mixture is warm, but not so hot that it kills your yeast.  In a bread mixer, combine 1 1/2 c flour and yeast.  Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and mix.  Add egg and salt.  Slowly add remaining flour until sides wipe clean. (You may need a little more or a little less.) Mix for 3-4 minutes.  Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and let raise for 45 min to an hour.  Punch down and roll into desired shapes.  Let raise on greased or silpat lined cookie sheet for 10 minutes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-16 minutes or until golden brown.  This recipe can be used for cinnamon rolls, rolls, bread sticks, or pigs in a blanket.

For bread sticks:
After the dough rises, punch down and roll into rectangular shape.  Grease the bottom of a large baking sheet.  Dough should fit into bottom of sheet.  Spread dough evenly into sheet by pushing into the corners with your fingers.  Score dough into strips.  Melt 1/4-1/2 c butter and pour over strips. Use your fingers or pastry brush to spread evenly over all bread sticks.  **Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and a little garlic salt. Let raise 5 minutes.  Bake 12-16 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on rack to prevent sweating.

**I also like to use this Garlic Bread Seasoning recipe from Our Best Bites

Garlic Bread Seasoning:
recipe from Our Best Bites

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

Sprinkle over bread sticks or combine 1 1/2 Tbsp seasoning with 1/2 c melted real butter and pour over bread sticks.  This is also the seasoning that goes in this amazing pizza sauce!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Taco Night Tacos

Recipe adapted from Deals to Meals
I love taco night!  It is simple, quick and always tastes yummy.  I used to use the packaged taco seasoning... until I became aware of all the unhealthy stuff that is put into those seasoning packets and realized when you make your own, your taste buds, tummy and overall health love you for it!  

1 lb. lean ground beef 
(*I used 1/2 lb. ground beef and 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa for these tacos  and my husband said they still tasted great!  Score!  I cooked the quinoa in beef broth to give it a little more flavor)
1 small to medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar

Taco Seasoning:
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cumin
dash of cayenne pepper
dash pepper

Brown the ground beef and drain off grease. Add onions and garlic and continue to cook until onions are starting to appear translucent.  Stir in tomato sauce and taco seasoning ingredients. Simmer 10 minutes and then serve.  We love the uncooked tortillas you can buy at Costco at our house, but this goes great in soft shell, hard shell, over tortilla chips, whatever floats your boat!

You can make the taco seasoning in a bigger batch and then store to use in the future. If you do this, just add about 1 1/2-2 tsp to your ground beef.

If you decide to use quinoa, bring 1/2 c quinoa and 1 c broth or water to boil in medium saucepan. Boil for about 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.