Thursday, June 24, 2010

Home-made Ice Cream

So my special house guest who I mentioned in this post happened to have a hand-crank ice cream machine with him. He's driving cross-country and had a bunch of stuff with him. It's not like he just drives around with this contraption in his car. But anyway, we had to try making ice cream. So what went into this?

1/2 gallon 2% milk
2 cans of sweet and condensed milk
2 Tb. vanilla extract
1/2 pint of heavy cream

Add all ingredients together in metal canister. Add ice, rock salt and a little bit of water all around the metal canister and start crankin'. And about 30 minutes later, voila you have ice cream!

I was pretty surprised at the flavor of this ice cream. It tastes like French Vanilla or Vanilla Bean ice cream. The texture was a little grittier, but overall the ice cream was really good. And it made a ton. We have a lot left over for a while.

It took a little patience and a lot of muscle at the end to crank that ice cream, but it was fun to make it yourself. At least you know what's in your ice cream now. It tempted me to want to make my own ice cream from now on. Of course I'd buy an electric ice cream machine since I have no patience, or muscle, to hand-crank the ice cream for 30 minutes.

But it's definitely something fun to do with friends and/or family on a summer day!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese

Want to spice up boring mac 'n cheese? Try this recipe!

Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese

Bread topping:
2 Tb. unsalted butter
2 Tb. olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs

For breadcrumbs, heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and breadcrumbs and cook until crumbs are golden, stirring often. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
3 cups whole milk, warmed in the microwave
2 cups heavy cream
1 Tb. dry mustard
2 Tb. chopped chipotle chilies in adobo
1 lb. macaroni
2 lbs. extra-sharp grated cheddar cheese

For macaroni, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, cream, mustard and chipotles. Simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes. Must come to a full boil and thicken.

Cook macaroni in a large pot of boiling, salted water until just tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in chipotle sauce, cheese and salt to taste. I add approximately 1 tsp or so.

Fill a 3-quart shallow casserole, greased with olive oil, with mixture and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Cheese-y goodness!

I love this macaroni and cheese. The chipotles give it a nice kick and change to the dish. The two tablespoons isn't actually that much and I'd actually might add a little more next time to make it spicier. You can control the spicy-ness level by the amount of chipotles. The toasted breadcrumbs with garlic also add a nice dimension to the meal and a nice crunch to the creaminess. I used the word "nice" a lot in that paragraph...

This definitely is NOT a diet-friendly meal with the whole milk, heavy cream AND cheese. But it's so good. I used a corkscrew type pasta instead of macaroni. It's able to keep the cheese sauce on the pasta a little better and gives the same feel as macaroni.

It didn't have the stringy cheese feel that I always envision macaroni and cheese to have. But it's rich and has a good cheddar flavor so I'm not complaining. The chipotles and cheddar play well off each other.

If you're looking for something different, try this recipe out. I'll definitely be making it again.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

I bet you didn't know that I worked at a fast food Indian restaurant called KC's one summer. Never had Indian food before. The owner let me taste a few dishes when I first started and I soon became a fan. If I worked that day, I was able to get a free meal. My favorite was always Chicken Tikka Masala. I love the spicy and creamy-ness of the sauce and the fact that it was white meat. A lot of the chicken dishes used dark meat.

Always a fan of Indian food, it can get really expensive. So I'm pretty ecstatic that this recipe can fill my Indian craving pretty quickly. The only sad thing is that I don't ever have any naan. And that's one of the best parts of eating Indian food. But I learn to live without it.

Chicken Tikka Masala

1 cup plain yogurt
1 Tb. lemon juice
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tb. fresh ginger, minced
3 boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
4 wooden skewers, soaked in water 20 minutes
1 Tb. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. paprika
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 tsp. cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger and chicken in a large bowl. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Thread chicken onto soaked skewers and grill on high heat until chicken is done, about 10 minutes each side. I don't grill the skewers, I just cook them on a George Foreman grill. You could probably cook these in a frying pan also. Set chicken aside when done.

In a large heavy skillet, melt butter and saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute over medium heat. Season with 2 tsp. cumin and paprika.

Stir in tomato sauce and cream, simmer on low for 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, simmer additional 10 minutes.

Salt to taste and garnish with chopped cilantro.

I love the colors in this dish.

Like I said, this recipe usually fulfills my craving for Indian food. I did buy naan from the grocery store one day, but it's just not the same as getting it at the restaurant. And the rice isn't basmati rice, but plain old white rice. Basmati is usually a little sweeter and fluffier, but white rice serves its purpose.

The chicken is really spicy and the marinade always makes me sneeze for some reason. I love this sauce. It's a creamy tomato sauce with a bit of spice to it. If you like a lot of sauce, double those components. Otherwise there's just enough sauce for a bite of chicken. I like to mix the sauce and rice together without chicken, so I doubled it this time. Granted, I only used two chicken breasts, so there was a lot more sauce than meat. I'd use two jalapenos too if I could to add more spice. And cilantro is also a must in this dish. It's how I remember the chicken tikka masala from my job.

I think this dish is a gateway meal for other Indian food. And there is no curry in this dish. A lot of people equate Indian food to curry and curry can be really strong. But there is no curry, so don't be afraid.

Give this a dish a try and if you like it, give me a call so we can go get Indian food together.

Monday, June 21, 2010

BBQ Chicken Pizza

The first fancy pizza I ever had was a BBQ Chicken pizza. So why wouldn't I find a recipe to make a pizza that I love? This came from Southern Living and is easy thanks to Pillsbury pizza doughs!

BBQ Chicken Pizza

1 small onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. olive oil
1 refrigerated pizza crust
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
Grilled chicken breast, shredded
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese with peppers - I generally just use Mozzarella cheese.

Saute first 4 ingredients in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, 8-10 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Unroll pizza crust; press or pat lightly into a greased 13x9" pan. I like to spread some vegetable oil on the pan, sprinkle with cornmeal and roll the dough out over it.

Bake crust at 400 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes. Spread 1/2 cup barbecue sauce evenly over top of pizza crust in pan. Arrange chicken strips evenly over sauce, top with onion mixture and sprinkle evenly with cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish with cilantro.

The onions and peppers were omitted this time because of some picky eaters staying at my house....

Have I ever said how much I like home-made pizzas? Oh, did I mention that here? Well it bares repeating. Home-made pizzas are the best. Easy to do and easily customizable. Take your favorite barbecue sauce and use that, use a roasted chicken from the grocery store... It's all so easy. I especially love the cilantro on top. Have I mentioned my love of cilantro too? That's what a barbecue chicken pizza is all about. I love all the different flavors going on in this recipe.

This particular time I did leave out the onion and red pepper mixture because of a special house guest who isn't a fan of vegetables. And no, it's not Wes. But I really like red peppers on this pizza. It gives it a sweet crunch to this pizza and adds another component to chicken and cheese.

Give this recipe a try. I think you'll become a fan too.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I love all the offerings a pizza joint has to offer: calzones, subs, oh, and pizza. I also subscribe to Real Food magazine and they had a recipe for meatball and spinach calzones. That's a little too fancy for me. So I used that recipe to make my own.


1 tube of Pillsbury regular crust pizza dough
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Any additional fillings - I used pepperoni
Pre-made pizza sauce

Preheat oven to 440 degrees. The tube of pizza dough will say 425 and the recipe in the magazine said 450. So I went for somewhere in the middle.

Grease a baking sheet with vegetable oil. Roll out the pizza dough on the baking sheet, spreading out the dough as much as you can. If the dough tears, just patch it back up. Once dough is spread out, cut the dough into at least four sections.

Place toppings on half of each of the sections of dough. Leave a little bit of a border. Top toppings with cheese. Fold the other half of the dough over the cheese and toppings. Crimp the edges together with a fork to seal the dough together. Cut some slits into the top of the dough so steam can escape.

Sprinkle a little bit of salt on top along with some oregano and Parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven for about 18 minutes, until calzones are brown and golden.

Sorry for the ugly looking pizza sauce. It exploded heating up in the microwave.

These babies cooking in the oven made the house smell like a pizza parlor. It was probably the pepperoni baking, but it smelled so yummy! I was salivating waiting for these to finish baking. And when they came out, they did not disappoint!

They looked a little small before putting them in the oven, but they definitely expanded in the oven and came out as good size calzones. Not like those monsters pizza places usually serve you. The crust was nice and tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside. And it tasted just like one you'd get from the pizza place!

You can use any pizza dough available. The recipe in Real Food says to shape the dough into rounds to get the half-moon shape. But hey, square calzones work too. Such a simple recipe. It may take a little time to put the calzones together, but just pop them in the oven, heat up some pre-made pizza sauce and you're done! The wonderful thing about these is that you can customize them to your taste.

Mm-mmm-mmm! Enjoy

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Shrimp and Grits

Grits is a southern thing. I never had them before and always thought it was a weird staple in Southern breakfasts. I did watch a Bobby Flay Throwdown episode where they did shrimp and grits and that sparked my interest in trying to make this classic Southern recipe for my Southern boy. So I hunted down a recipe that wasn't too involved and that had good reviews. Naturally, I went to Don't remember who I got this recipe off of, but it's a good one!

Shrimp and Grits

For the grits:
3 cups of milk
3 cups of heavy cream
1 cup stone-ground white cornmeal
2 Tb. unsalted butter
Salt & pepper

Place a 3-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the milk and cream. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal. When the grits begin to bubble, turn the heat down to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, until mixture is smooth and thick. It actually took me a lot longer than 15 minutes for the cornmeal to absorb all the liquid. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Thin it out with a little extra cream if necessary. Salt & pepper.

For the shrimp:
2 Tb. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, minced - I omitted, but added a few shakes of onion powder with the garlic.
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb. andouille or spicy Italian spicy sausage, cut in chunks
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
2-3 bay leaves
2 lb. large shrimp, peeled & deveined
Pinch cayenne pepper
Couple of shakes of Tabasco
1/2 lemon, juiced - I actually only did a few shakes from a lemon bottle.
Salt & pepper
2 Tb. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 green onions, sliced

Place a deep skillet over medium heat and coat with olive oil. Add the onion and garlic; saute for 2 minutes to soften. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, until there is a fair amount of fat in the pan and the sausage is brown.

Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to create a roux. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and continue to stir to avoid lumps. Toss in bay leaves.

When the liquid comes to a simmer, add the shrimp. Poach the shrimp in the stock for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are firm and pink and the gravy is smooth and thick. Add the cayenne pepper, Tabasco and lemon juice. Season with salt & pepper. Stir in the parsley & green onions.

Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Add the shrimp mixture and mix well. Don't serve the bay leaves! Serve immediately.

I added asparagus at Wes's request.

Let me begin by saying that this is not a diet-friendly meal! With the sausage and 3 cups of milk AND cream, it's a pretty rich meal. The grits are nice and creamy with a buttery flavor. You could probably halve the amount of grits, there was a lot left over, and possibly even adjust the ratio of milk and cream. I am also not sure of what kind of cornmeal I had, it was just some we had sitting in the pantry. There are different types of cornmeal ranging from coarse to really fine. Can't find stone-ground at the grocery store specifically? Just use whatever is there.

While the grits are all fine and good, the really tasty part of this dish was the shrimp, sausage and gravy! The cayenne and Tabasco really add a nice kick to this dish. I didn't make it that spicy and it actually had the perfect amount of kick at the end without overpowering. The sausage was just perfect and spicy. Scoop up a piece of shrimp, some gravy and a little bit of grits and it's a delicious, creamy, spicy mouthful.

Making the grits can be a bit challenging. And since mine took so long to come together, I waited to add the shrimp at the very last minute so they didn't overcook sitting there waiting for the grits. And that is perfectly fine. The heat of the gravy and pan with cook the shrimp and you'll come out with perfect shrimp!

The shrimp, sausage and gravy were still good the next day. However, I think the milk and cream in the grits didn't translate as well. They sort of had a bitter flavor from sitting in the fridge overnight. If you have left over shrimp and sausage, serve it over rice for the next meal instead.

If you're up for something different, give this recipe a try. The hardest part will be waiting for the grits to come together. But if you halve that part, it may not take as long!

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sloppy Joes & Baked French Fries

Ok, so when I hear "Sloppy Joes," I think of Manwhich from a can. Guess their marketing worked on me. Even though I associate Manwhich with sloppy joes, sloppy joes from a can just does not sound good to me. I like finding recipes for childhood comfort foods, so I looked up sloppy joe recipes. This recipe is easy and full of flavor. Way better than from a can.

Sloppy Joes

1 lb. ground chicken, turkey or beef - I used ground turkey
1 medium onion
1 Tb. mustard
1 Tb. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tb. sugar
1 Tb. vinegar
3/4 cup of ketchup
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup green bell pepper - I just used half a pepper
1/2 cup celery

Brown meat in large heavy skillet over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes, breaking up clumps. Add onion, mustard, Worcestershire, sugar, vinegar, ketchup, salt, green bell pepper and celery. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring now and then, about 40 minutes so the flavors mingle.

Ladle meat generously on top of hamburger buns.

Baked French Fries

Cut potatoes into wedges.
Toss with vegetable oil and salt on a baking sheet.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes or until wedges are golden brown.
Adjust seasonings to taste.

Yes, it is sloppy to eat sloppy joes.

Of course I omitted the onions and celery from this dish because Wes doesn't like them. And honestly, I think I like this without those ingredients anyway. The sauce definitely thickens up during the 40 minute time and it turns into a sweet, kind of tangy coating for the meat.

I really like the ground turkey for this dish. It's obviously lighter and healthier than ground beef. Of course, if you're used to eating sloppy joes with ground beef, use ground beef. It'll taste just as good! And the green bell adds a nice crunch and sweetness to the dish.

A very easy dish to make, but a little time consuming because of the merrying of ingredients. I didn't let mine sit a full 40 minutes since it seemed thick enough by time the fries were done. Oh, and can I say how much I like these fries? They're crispy on the outside while light and fluffy on the inside. Super easy to do too!

Such a great comfort meal that reminds me of a childhood meal. Though I don't think my mom ever really served sloppy joes. Oh, well. Maybe it'll remind you of your childhood.

Happy cooking!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Banana Crumb Muffins

I'm always looking for breakfast to go during the week. Enter muffins. I made a coconut banana muffin a few months ago that was super yummy. I have another obsession with coconut similar to my obsession with pesto. But that's another story. I decided to try another banana muffin that seemed easy to make. Not sure where I got it from. Most likely this recipe came from

Banana Crumb Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tb. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tb. butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease muffin pan or line with muffin papers.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cup flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Let the butter cool a little before adding to the banana mixture so you don't scramble the eggs. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 Tb. flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 Tb. of butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.

Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

So what if muffins are just mini cakes? It's an excuse to eat cake for breakfast!

This muffin tastes pretty similar to banana bread. I left some of the mashed bananas a little chunky to get more of a banana taste in bites. What's the best part about this muffin? Why the crumbs on top of course! Who doesn't love streusel type toppings on top of baked goods?

Though, the crumb mixture did make a lot. I would almost 1/2 that part of the recipe next time. A teaspoon of the crumb mixture over the muffins would've been enough. But since there was so much of it left, I ended up putting about two teaspoons on each muffin. That was a bit much and made the muffins pretty sweet. And with 3/4 of sugar already in the batter, the muffins don't need to be any sweeter.

But overall a delicious muffin - especially when they're right out of the oven. Wes even wanted to eat one for dessert. Muffins equal cake, remember? Give this recipe a try. It's easy and very delicious! If you like banana bread, you'll like this muffin.

Happy cooking!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Robin Hood

So this new version of Robin Hood is not the Robin Hood movies from the past. It's actually, in a sense, a prequel to the well known legend of Robin Hood. It starts off with Robin fighting in the Crusades with King Richard and it eventually leads him back to England to take up the life as Robin of Loxley. The movie basically leads up to how Robin becomes the man that we are all so familiar with.

It's an entertaining movie and quite an interesting way to tell the story of Robin Hood. Ridley Scott, who directed, definitely takes a different approach to all the characters. I don't know much of Scott's interpretation is based on the actual story of Robin Hood, but he tells an interesting story in this movie. I especially enjoyed Robin's buddies from the Crusades. When there is a sequel made, I think the band of Merry Men will be fun to watch.

Russell Crowe did a good job as usual. His role does seem a little similar to his Gladiator role, which I kept thinking of during the movie because my co-worker liked to refer to this movie as Gladiator 2. Cate Blanchet plays her typical strong heroine role. Can she play any other role? While she did a good job, I think I would rather see someone else in this role than her.

I admit, I fell asleep in the middle of the movie. It was long, got a bit slow in the middle and seemed to take a while to get to the resolution of all the problems. The ending was definitely entertaining and worthwhile, I just wished they got there a little sooner. It was fun to see all the characters develop into the characters we know now. Overall a good movie. Not a must-see in the theatre, but if worth it if you go. Definitely a rental though when it comes out.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pesto Crusted Salmon with Goat Cheese Filling

Ok, so I had tried a cheese stuffed salmon dish a while ago. I didn't blog about it because it just wasn't good. I should have shared it anyway, but I was too ashamed. So, I will share this adventure. On paper, the recipe sounded good. My mom passed this along from a cooking class and she had wonderful notes all over it. Plus it has pesto. How can you go wrong with pesto? Read on......

Pesto Crusted Salmon with Goat Cheese Filling

4 (5-6 oz.) salmon fillets
6 oz. soft goat cheese or cream cheese
1 Tb. chopped shallots
1 tsp. chopped chives - I left this out
3/4 cup prepared basil pesto
1 cup flour
1 cup panko crumbs - I used plain breadcrumbs.
3 Tb. olive oil

Using a paring knife, cut a small pocket in the side of each salmon fillet. Combine the goat cheese (I used cream cheese), shallots and chives and push 1/4 of the filling into each pocket.

Season salmon with salt & pepper and dredge in the flour. Dip in pesto and then coat well with panko. I only covered one side of the salmon with pesto. Let crust set up for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil in large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Brown salmon on both sides and transfer skillet to oven and bake 6 to 8 minutes. (Salmon may be transferred to a parchment-lined or silpat baking sheet before baking.)

Mmm.... Pesto.....

So it looks good. I've determined that cheese and fish do not go together. And I learned via Food Network that those two items just don't go well together period. But this has pesto! Pesto! And pesto did not save this dish. I think the cream cheese mixture with the shallots was just too strong of an onion flavor. If I ever were to make this dish again, I'd leave the chives and omit the shallots.

Plus this dish was a lot more work than the outcome was worth. I bought salmon with the skin still on, so I skinned the fish myself. Too much work #1. Then cutting a pocket which I did not do a good job of. Too much work
#2. Stuffing the fish then dredging in flour and then pesto and then breadcrumbs? Too much work #3.

Wes said it was ok. I think the shallot flavor was too strong for him, but he said it wasn't terrible. He's so much nicer on my cooking than I am. Anyway, if you for some reason have the desire to try this recipe, let me know how it goes and what you would change. I'm always up for trying again to make it better!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Garlic Herb Cheese Stuffed Pork Tenderloin & Corn Cakes

Another one of my mom's class recipes. Before I knew how to make this, I thought it was pretty involved. But after making it a couple of times, it's not that hard. This is possibly one of my favorite dishes. (I think all of my favorite dishes are ones that my mom made at home.) One tenderloin is good for two people, so if you're cooking for more, follow the recipe as is below.

Garlic-Herb Cheese Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

2 pork tenderloins
1 bunch fresh spinach - I leave this out. Don't ask why. I don't ever remember my mom using this ingredient either.
2 - 5 oz. Rondele Cheese - I usually grab the garlic & herb kind.
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tb. olive oil
1 cup chicken broth

Trim fat & silverskin from pork. Butterfly pork by slicing lengthwise down center but not all the way through. Lay open and flatten to 1/2" thickness.

Wash, dry & remove stems from spinach leaves. Lay leaves over pork. Salt & pepper.

Spoon cheese onto leaves down center of meat & sprinkle with Parmesan. The cheese spreads more easily if it's been sitting out a little while. Leave at least a 1/2" border so that the cheese doesn't completely ooze out when rolling up the meat. Roll meat up and tie with string. This keeps the whole thing together while you sear it.

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Heat large oven proof skillet over medium-high heat on stove and add oil. I use a non non-stick pan so that crusties form on the bottom of the pan. Brown pork on all sides. Place skillet in oven and cook for about 20 minutes until meat is cooked through. Meat temperature should read 160 degrees. Remeber the handle of the pan is hot too when removing it from the oven!! I stupidly forgot one time and yeah, my hand hurt.

Remove pork to carving board and return skillet to stove top. Add broth to pan and bring to a boil, scraping up the brown bits. Boil sauce until reduced to syrupy mix.

Slice meat and spoon sauce over meat.

Corn Fritters

1 package corn muffin mix (Jiffy mix)
1 egg
2 Tb. vegetable oil + more for frying
3/4 cup milk
1 Anaheim or poblano pepper, seeded & thinly sliced - I use jalapeno peppers too.
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup shredded cheddar

Combine dry mix with egg, 2 Tb. oil and milk to make batter. Then stir in chile peppers, corn and cheddar. Heat thin layer of oil in large skillet & cook six small cakes, for 2-3 minutes on first side and 1-2 minutes on second side until evenly deep golden in color.

Transfer to towel lined plate & salt the cakes. Repeat, adding additional oil for remaining cakes.

The gravy sauce on the pork makes everything so much yummier!

Normally I serve the pork with mashed potatoes and a veggie, but I decided to fry up some corn cakes instead. This things are really good. The crispiness from the crust on the outside and the crunch from the whole corn kernels inside give a nice contrast to the pancake like consistency the corn muffin mix gives. Then there are the jalapeno peppers which give it a nice zing. I really like these corn cakes with BBQ (ribs or chicken). They just have that home style feeling.

But let's not forgot about that delicious pork tenderloin. I love how the cheese oozes out. It makes scooping it up with the meat that much more yummy. The sauce is what brings it together though. Without those crusty bits on the bottom of the pan, the sauce just wouldn't be the same. That's why I don't use a non-stick pan. No matter how stubborn the pork seems to be when trying to brown it, it makes it worth while. And the meat is so tender, you can cut it with a fork!

One of my favorite meals. The hardest part might be tying the meat up with the string. That can get a little messy if the cheese is oozing out from the pork.

You have to give this one a try! Happy cooking!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Roast Chicken

Every buy one of those roast chickens from the grocery store? They're pretty yummy and very convenient. I found a recipe online from This is Reverb blog. Actually, I got it off of Pioneer Woman, but she had Ryan from This is Reverb on her blog and he made this chicken. Pretty easy and tastes pretty similar, if not exactly the same, as those chickens sitting under the heat light at the grocery store. And it doesn't take too long and isn't difficult to do. Great for a meal or shredding the meat for other dishes.

Roast Chicken

3-4 lb. whole chicken
Onion, lemon, head of garlic, carrot (aromatics)
Canola oil
Salt & pepper
1-2 Tb. of chopped fresh herbs (Sage, rosemary, thyme)
1 Tb. salt
1 tsp. Pepper

Mix herbs, salt, pepper and 2-3 Tb. canola oil together. Pat dry the outside of the chicken. Stuff aromatics into the cavity of the bird after removing any gizzards. Rub the herb mixture over the skin of the bird. Heat oven to 450 degrees and roast chicken for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Once chicken is finished, remove from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes.

Look at that golden crust. Mmm....

I definitely had to get over the whole, raw chicken thing and sticking my hand in the cavity looking for any gizzards. Yuck. Conveniently, there was a herb packet that already had sage, thyme and rosemary bundled together so I didn't have to buy them all separately. After chopping them all up, there was more than enough herbs, so I saved the rest of the chopped herbs for another time and another bird - who's sitting in the freezer.

If I have the time, and energy, I will definitely do this over buying those roast chickens at the grocery store. Of course, the benefit of those chickens at the grocery store is the time convenience. But this turned out just as well. And bonus, this chicken came with one of those timer things that pop out when the meat is done. Turkeys usually have these too.

The meat was so juicy and tender and the skin was crispy and so yummy. Though the oil did smoke in the oven so the house quickly filled with smoke. I frequently opened up the oven to let some of the smoke out. Subsequently I opened a few windows and doors so the fire alarm wouldn't go off either.

That's the next feat - not to get the smoke to overtake the house. But so yummy and easy. Give it a try!