Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Chicken Artichoke Panini

I absolutely love paninis, and got a panini press back before they were all the rage. One of the first paninis I created was this one, and I would say it's still one of my favorites. This panini is very easy to make, so it's a perfect weeknight meal.

Chicken Artichoke Panini

1 package of Italian style chicken strips
1 can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained
4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
4 tbsp. basil pesto
8 slices of your favorite bread
olive oil

Spread one tablespoon of pesto on 4 pieces of bread, and top with chicken, artichokes and cheese. Brush the outside of each sandwich with olive oil, and place on panini press. Grill until golden and the cheese is melted.

Party Potatoes

A few of Chad's good friends came in town for Memorial Day, which means we had a crazy weekend of drinking, going out and hanging out in the sun. The beach was beautiful on Saturday, and then Sunday we had a pool party and BBQ. Greg made some amazing ribs, Robby did a low country boil and all the girls brought sides. One of my contributions? Party potatoes. Or picnic potatoes, hashbrown casserole, whatever you want to call it. My mom used to make these for a breakfast potato casserole when she was catering...it's a versitile little dish. When I made them Sunday, they wouldn't all fit in the baking dish, so I threw some in a loaf pan for me, Chad and his mom to enjoy with dinner Monday.

Party Potatoes

1 bag frozen diced hashbrown potatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 large onion, finely diced or grated
2 cups shredded cheddar, divided
1 tsp. garlic salt
ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Mix the soup, sour cream, onion, half of the cheese, garlic salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in potatoes, and place in a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 45 minutes or until cheese is golden.

Broccoli Salad

This is another salad from Stacy's summer salad cooking club night, and it was perfect for the Memorial Day BBQ. I had this the next day and it actually tasted better because all the flavors had combined.

Broccoli Salad

2 heads of broccoli florets
1 large red onion, diced
1 lb. of bacon, cooked and chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. vinegar (I only had apple cider vinegar, so I used that)

Put broccoli, onion, bacon and cheese in a large bowl. Mix mayo, sugar and vinegar in a small bowl, pour over the broccoli and mix well. Chill at least 2 hours.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Caprese Burgers

I saw a post by Ashlee on the What's Cooking board a few weeks ago for Italian burgers. It looked fabulous and I've been thinking about them (and the zucchini sticks below) ever since! I made a few changes to her originial burger recipe and they turned out pretty darn good. Thanks for the inspiration!

Caprese Burgers

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
10-20 leaves fresh basil, chiffonaded (I love basil, so I put a lot)
4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
basil pesto
hamburger buns

Mix the beef, garlic, Italian seasoning and basil in a large bowl. Divide mixture into four equal parts. Working with a quarter of the meat, divide that portion in half and make two equal patties (they should be somewhat thin because you will put them together to make one burger). Repeat with remaining portions. Place one slice of cheese in the center of four patties. Place the remaining patties on top and pinch around the edges to seal. Grill for 10-15 minutes or until desired temperature. Toast buns, smear with pesto and top with a burger and tomato slices. (I like mine open-faced, so no top bun for me.)

Zucchini Sticks

These were also from Ashlee's blog, but I decided they were just perfect the way she made them so this is her recipe exactly. Chad and I LOVE zucchini, and both agreed we could eat these all the time.

Zucchini Sticks

2 egg whites, whipped to a foam
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 zucchini, julienned (mine were small so I used 3)

Heat oven to 450. Combine zucchini breading ingredients in a shallow dish. Whip egg whites in a bowl until they foam. Toss zucchini in the egg whites, then toss in the bread crumbs. Transfer to a baking sheet (I used a wire rack so the air would circulate and they would get crispy all over). Bake for about 20 minutes, until crispy and brown. Serve with marinara sauce on the side for dipping.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

TWD: Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake

For my second Tuesday with Dorie, the pick was Traditional Madelines. I guess these are a French cookie-type dessert, and to make it you need a special pan. It was a good thing for me (and my budget) when it was announced that if you didn't have a pan you could go back and pick any of the previous week entries that you had missed...which for me is a lot, since I just joined the group last week. After looking through the many recipes I decided on this Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake, which was fabulous. I had a guest baker, Kelly, which made making it even more enjoyable because we chatted and drank wine as we baked away. The only bad thing about this dessert is it takes forever to cook, and then to cool and chill, so after all that work yesterday I just got to taste it this afternoon. But it was worth the wait!

Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake, from Dorie Greenspan

For the Crust
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

For the Apples
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter
3 large Golden Delicious or Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths(I used Fuji)
2 tbsp (packed) light brown sugar

For the Filling
1 1/2 pounds (three 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature (I used 2 regular and 1 light)
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
6 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp apple cider (I used 2 tbsp. apple juice because I couldn't find cider)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract (oops! ran out so only used 1 tbsp.)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream (I used light)
1/3 cup heavy cream

Caramel to drizzle on top

To Make the Crust: Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 1/2-inch springform pan.

Put the graham cracker crumbs in the food processor. Pulse in the sugar, then pour over the melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are moistened. Turn the crumbs into the springform pan and, using your fingertips, firmly press them evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan as far as they’ll go. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven. (The crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the pan from the freezer and wrap the bottom tightly in aluminum foil, going up the sides. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is set and lightly browned. Transfer to a rack to cool while you make the apples and the filling. Leave the oven at 350 degrees F.

To Make the Apples: Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides, toss in half of the apple slices and cook, turning once, until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the apples with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and cook them, turning, just until coated, another minute or so. Scrape the apples onto a plate, wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining apples. Let the apples cool while you make the filling.

Getting Ready to Bake: Have a roasting pan large enough to hold the springform pan at hand. Put a kettle of water on to boil.

To Make the Filling: Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed, scraping down the bowl often, for about 4 minutes, or until it is velvety smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes. Beat in the cider, vanilla, and cinnamon. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Finally, beat in the sour cream and heavy cream, beating just until the batter is smooth.

Pour about one third of the batter into the baked crust. Drain the apples by lifting them off the plate with a slotted spoon or spatula, and spoon them into the pan. Cover with the remaining batter and, if needed, jiggle the pan to even the top. Place the springform pan in the roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 to 45 minutes, covering the cake loosely with a foil tent at the 45-minute mark. The cake will rise evenly and crack around the edges, and it should be fully set except, possibly, in the very center–if the center shimmies, that’s just fine. Gently transfer the cake, still in the pan, to a cooling rack and let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it for at least 6 hours; overnight would be better.

Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the crust, open the pan’s latch and release and remove the sides.

Kelly and I making the cheesecake...check out her blog here

Love the apples in the middle of the cheesecake

That's a whole lot of cheesecake to eat!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Recipe Exchange

I participated in a recipe exchange on the cooking message board that I frequent...this was supposed to be made like 2 weeks ago so I'm a little behind. Sorry! I am not good at making recipes as directed, so of course I changed it up a bit. It was kind of ironic because this exchange was family recipes, and the one I received was Great Grama's Chicken Eureka...and in modifying it I used my Granny's Broccoli Casserole recipe. So it's two family recipes rolled into one! This was a good, easy weeknight home-cooked meal.

*Note - My camera is on it's last leg...the focus is all out of whack. So until I get a new one (hopefully for my b-day, hint, hint!) I have to live with blurry pictures. =(

Chicken Eureka

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 head of broccoli florets
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I used Healthy Request)
1/2 cup light mayo
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
a few dashes of Worsteshire sauce
1 cup cheddar cheese, divided

Mix the soup, mayo, sour cream, parmesan and Worsteshire in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup of cheddar. Put the broccoli in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish, and then layer the chicken on top. Spoon the soup mixture over the chicken and broccoli, and sprinkle with remaining cheddar. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until cheese is golden. I served this over brown rice.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My first Tuesday with Dorie!

This is my first week participating in a baking group called Tuesday's with Dorie. It's a group of internet food bloggers who all own Baking: From my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan, and choose a recipe to bake and blog each week. I love to cook, but am not the best baker so I thought this would be a good way to practice some skills. After looking through the cookbook, I think this will be a challenge for me because I am a tiny bit particular (but getting better!) about what I eat. Take for example the choice for this week, Florida Pie. I was thinking key lime deliciousness, but Dorie adds the hated coconut to her pie. I was just going to make it as the recipe stated and bring it to work, but I really want to taste what I slave over so I decided to modify it a bit instead. So here is my version of Florida Pie, with raspberry instead of coconut. And whipped cream instead of meringue.

Florida Pie, adapted from Dorie Greenspan

Graham cracker crust (2 cups of graham cracker crumbs mixed with 4 tbsp. melted butter and pressed in the bottom and sides of pie pan)
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
4 large egg yolks
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh Key (or regular) lime juice (from about 5 regular limes)
cool whip, or fresh whipped cream
fresh rasperries to garnish

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment of a silicone mat.

Put the cream and jam in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the cream is reduced by half and the mixture is slightly thickened. Scrape the raspberry cream into a bowl and set it aside while you prepare the lime filling.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl beat the egg yolks at high speed until thick and pale. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the condensed milk. Still on low, add half of the lime juice. When it is incorporated, add the remaining juice, again mixing until it is blended. Spread the raspberry cream in the bottom of the graham cracker crust, and pour over the lime filling.

Bake the pie for 12 minutes. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes, then freeze the pie for at least 1 hour.

Right before serving, top pie with whipped cream and fresh raspberries.

My key lime guts, after being juiced (I needed a lot of key limes for 1/2 cup of juice)

My first homemade graham cracker crust...so easy

Added the raspberry cream

Key lime on top


Monday, May 12, 2008

Beer Can Chicken

I've been wanting to make this for a while now, and I don't know why I waited so long because it was SO easy! Rub on some spices, pop the chicken on a can of beer and throw it on the grill. Delicious! There is one thing I will do different next time...my chicken had an opening on the top, so I think some of the moisture escaped. Next time I will throw a lemon or something in there to block it up and keep all the juiciness in the chicken. This is from the Food Network.

Beer Can Chicken

3 to 4 lb. whole chicken
oil (I used olive oil)
favorite dry spice rub (I used Montreal Steak Seasoning)
can of beer (I used Budweiser)

Heat grill to medium-high. Remove all the insides of the chicken. Wash and pat dry. Rub with oil, then rub inside and out with seasonings. Pour out (or drink!) half of the beer, and place the can on a baking sheet. Plunk (that is the wording from the Food Network recipe!) the bird cavity over the beer can. Place on the grill, off to the side so it's not directly over the flame. Balance the chicken on it's two legs and the can like so...

Cook for about 1 1/2 hours with the cover on, or until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees in the breast area. Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Raspberry Chicken with Goat Cheese

So if you look at my blog regularly you have come to notice that I use a lot of goat cheese. I just love the stuff...I made a BLT sandwich recently and even put goat cheese on that! One of the first dishes I had with goat cheese was from a really good restaurant in Orlando, the Lake Eola Yacht Club. It's sinced closed, but the Raspberry Pork Tenderloin with Goat Cheese is still one of my favorite meals. This is basically the same thing, but with chicken.

Raspberry Chicken with Goat Cheese

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
chopped fresh thyme, or dried thyme
2 shallots, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup seedless raspberry preserves
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
fresh ground black pepper
4 oz. log of herbed goat cheese

Season the chicken with thyme, salt and pepper. Cook in olive oil in a big skillet until chicken is cooked through. Remove from pan and keep warm. Deglaze the pan with a tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook 2 minutes. Add the rest of the wine, the preserves, vinegar and lots of fresh pepper. Stir until the preserves melt, and let simmer until sauce is thickened. Spoon sauce over chicken and top with a pat of herbed goat cheese.

Green Beans with Mustard Vinaigrette

This is an easy way to fancy up some green beans. It's not my most spectacular side, but it uses basic ingredients and whips up in no time. I'm really starting to love Dijon mustard...it's so versitile!

Green Beans with Mustard Vinaigrette

1 lb. of green beans, washed with ends trimmed
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
ground black pepper

Boil or steam the green beans to your desired level of crispness. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and mustard in a small microwave safe bowl and add pepper to taste. Microwave for 30 seconds. Toss vinaigrette with cooked green beans.