Monday, April 28, 2008

Alice Springs Chicken

I love Outback, and even though I haven't ever ordered this chicken there, I have always thought it sounded really good. I know there are tons of copy-cat recipes out there, so I searched and found this one that I thought sounded good. I invited Kelly (nestie me&mb) over for dinner because her husband was out of town, and her, Chad and I sat outside in the beautiful weather and REALLY enjoyed this meal. The honey Dijon marinade and sauce for the chicken was so good, and I'm not a huge honey mustard fan. For our version, I didn't use parsley and Kelly is a silly girl who doesn't like mushrooms so we left it off her piece.



Alice Springs Chicken

1 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup honey
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lemon juice
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used two and butterflied them, they were huge)
1 package baby bella mushrooms
6 slices bacon, cooked
shredded cheese (I used colby jack)
salt and pepper

Place the mustard, honey, olive oil and lemon juice in a food processor or mini-processor. Process until smooth and thickened. Pour half the mustard over the chicken breasts and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Reserve the rest for later.

Cook chicken, either on the stovetop or on the grill (we grilled and it was great). While the chicken cooks, saute the mushrooms. Once the chicken and mushrooms are done, place chicken breasts on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Brush with some of the reserved marinade, and top with mushroom, bacon and cheese. Heat in the oven until the cheese it melted, about 7 minutes.

Roasted Red Potatoes

This is one of the first things I started making back in college that people would say, "Wow, you're a really good cook!" I am very proud of my delicious roasted potatoes and think they compliment any type of meat main dish. I always make more that I think I will need of these because this is the type of side you just can't stop eating. I am usually still picking them off the pan as I wash the dishes! The quantity below is to serve 4.



Roasted Red Potatoes

1 1/2 lbs. red potatoes, washed and chopped (the thicker you chop, the longer they need to cook)
1 envelope Good Seasons Garlic and Herb salad dressing mix
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 to 1/2 cup of olive oil

Preheat oven to 400. Put the potatoes, dressing mix and parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Add olive oil and toss, adding more oil as needed to get the potatoes good and coated. Coat a baking sheet with a LOT of cooking spray (these potatoes like to stick) and place the potatoes on a single layer. Bake for an hour or until potatoes are golden with a crunch on the outside, but soft in the middle.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Apple Turnovers

I love apple desserts. I saw this on a blog, Sweet, Savory, Southern, and thought they looked good and really easy. They were both. I think if I made them again, I would use both pieces of puff pastry and make bigger triangles or rectangles, because I love the filling and I couldn't get as much apples in the middle as I would have liked!



Apple Turnovers

2 medium apples, peeled and diced (I used Gala)
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp flour
4 pats butter (just a thin slice)
2-3 Tbsp prepared cinnamon sugar
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed (12×9 sheet)
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a baking sheet and set aside (I used my silicon baking mat). Carefully unfold the sheet of puff pastry on a clean, lightly floured surface. Cut into 4 even squares. In a bowl, combine apple, sugar, cinnamon and flour. Spoon the mixture onto the center of each puff pastry square leaving a small border around the filling. Place 1 pat of butter on top of the filling in each pastry. Brush the edges around the filling with the beaten egg. Next, fold into triangles. Using a fork, press the edges together to seal. Make 2 slits in the top of each pastry. Brush the top with the egg and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 20 min, until the pastry puffs and is golden brown. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Homemade Onion Dip

This is seriously the most addicting dip ever. I think I make it at least once a week, and sometimes (like this week), two! I learned this from my mom, but I think it started with Aunt Carm. The first time I made it I didn't think it was that good...I undercooked the onions and the garlic. You want the onions very browned and the garlic very mushy so you can mash it up really well. This was delicious at the beach this past weekend for Mike's birthday. Yum!



Homemade Onion Dip

1 large sweet onion (like Vidalia)
1 head of garlic
24 oz. sour cream (I use light)
juice from half a lemon
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400. Cut the ends off the onion, and cut the onion in half from top to bottom. Cut into thin slices. Put the onions in a single layer on a baking sheet and coat with olive oil (I drizzle it over and then toss with my hands). Cut the top 1/3 off the head of garlic, exposing the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and put in a foil packet. Put both in the oven, baking the onions for about 30 minutes (or until many are dark brown in color) and the garlic for 45 minutes (or until the cloves are nice and soft).

Using a fork, remove the cloves and put into a bowl (or you can do like my mom does and just squeeze them all out!). Mash the garlic with a fork, and then stir in the sour cream. Add the onions and mix, then add the juice from the lemon. Let sit in the fridge for a couple of hours to chill and for the flavors to mix. Stir before serving with ridged chips.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pasta with turkey sausage, artichoke and sun-dried tomato

This is my favorite Giada recipe. It's so light, but with so many delicious flavors. And it combines many things I love...pasta, artichokes, sun-dried tomato, basil, cheese. Chad loves it too, but I'm starting to think he's biased because he tells me every time I make him dinner that it is his favorite meal! I stay pretty close to this recipe, but any changes are in italics.



Pasta with turkey sausage, artichoke and sun-dried tomato

3/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced, 2 tablespoons of oil reserved (many times I just use ones in the bag, not packed in oil)
1 pound Italian hot sausages, casings removed (I use sweet because I don't like hot)
2 (8-ounce) packages frozen artichoke hearts (frozen is hard to find and expensive, I just use 1 can of quartered hearts)
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
16 ounces fusilli pasta (I use whole wheat rotini)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, plus additional for garnish
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves (I leave these out)
8 ounces water-packed fresh mozzarella, drained and cubed, optional (not optional for me!)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil reserved from the tomatoes in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown, breaking up the meat into bite-size pieces with a fork, about 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a bowl. Add the artichokes and garlic to the same skillet, and saute over medium heat until the garlic is tender, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, wine, and sun-dried tomatoes. Boil over medium-high heat until the sauce reduces slightly, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the fusilli in boiling water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta (do not rinse). Add the pasta, sausage, 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil, and parsley to the artichoke mixture. Toss until the sauce is almost absorbed by the pasta. Stir in the mozzarella. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve, passing the additional Parmesan cheese alongside.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Broccoli and Ramen Noodle Salad

Last week we had cooking club in Orlando, and Staci was the host. She did a theme night of summer salads (great idea!) and this was one of the 4 she showed us how to make. It was definitely my favorite...I think I had about 3 helpings! One thing to note...as I was making the dressing, I tasted it to see how the flavors were because I halved the recipe. It did not taste good at all! I threw it on the salad and hoped for the best because I knew I had made it correctly. Luckily, once it sat in the fridge and mixed with the salad it was still the delicious concoction I remembered. (And Chad wants everyone to know that the fresh-caught, pan-fried trout in the background was caught and cooked by him!)



Broccoli and Ramen Noodle Salad

1 bag of broccoli slaw mix
1 package chicken flavored ramen noodles
2 stalks green onion, chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup white sugar
1/8 cup or 2 tbsps. olive oil
3 tbsps. cider vinegar

In a large salad bowl combine the slaw, broken ramen noodles and green onions. Whisk together the sugar, oil, vinegar and ramen seasoning packet. Pour over salad and toss evenly to coat. Refrigerate until chilled; top with sunflower seeds before serving.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Eggplant Un-Rollatini

I've been wanting to make eggplant rollatini for a while, but I like to cut my eggplant slices thick so you can really taste it, and I also bake my slices instead of frying them, so I didn't know if they would be that rollable. So I decided to throw them in a casserole dish layered like a lasagna and voila...eggplant un-rollatini. It was pretty easy to make, and I think I cut down on a lot of prep time since I didn't have to roll individual eggplant slices. This was delicious...anything that combines the Italian flavors of lasagna has to be tasty!



Eggplant Un-Rollatini

3 medium eggplants, washed and sliced
Italian bread crumbs
eggs and milk for dipping eggplant
bottled sauce or make your own (my recipe is here, minus the ground beef)
15 oz. container of part-skim ricotta cheese
8 oz. light cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonaded
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided

Lay eggplant slices on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 20 minutes and then brush salt off. Pre-heat oven to 400. Beat eggs with milk in a shallow dish, and put eggplants in a second shallow dish. Dip slices in egg mixture, then dredge in breadcrumbs and lay on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once. Turn oven down to 350.

Mix ricotta, cream cheese, basil, and 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese in a mixing bowl. Cover bottom of casserole dish with sauce, then layer half the eggplant. Top eggplant with ricotta mixture and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella. Layer with remaining eggplant, top with sauce and rest of mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, uncovering for last 5-7 minutes to brown cheese.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I made it to 50!!!

The post below represents the 50th post on my blog! I am really proud of my little piece of cyber-space. Even though it might not be widely read, I have found it to be a great outlet for my cooking obsession. It helps keep my recipes all in one place, and gives me a reason to search out fun, delicious and new blog-worthy dishes. If you are reading this, thanks for sharing in the past 50 posts with me!

Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

I saw this recipe in the latest edition of Cooking Light, and pulled it out right away to try. Like most Cooking Light recipes, it didn't disappoint. Although I wouldn't quite call it a salad, it was a perfect light and quick weeknight dinner. Chad loved it and ate 3 helpings as usual! The original recipe can be found here, and my recipe with a few modifications is below. This would feed 4 people.



Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

1 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
3 cups chopped grilled chicken breast strips, heated (such as Tyson)
1 cup baby spinach
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 can artichoke bottoms, drained and chopped
chopped fresh basil
chopped fresh oregano
3 tablespoona extravirgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt
black pepper
4 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Combine pasta, chicken, and the next 5 ingredients (through oregano) in a large bowl; toss well. Combine oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle each serving with a tablespoon of cheese.