Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Jones' household!

Snickerdoodle Cookies and Wes enjoying leftover cookie dough batter.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chicken Roulades with Chorizo

Chicken Roulades with Chorizo and Manchego
by Anne Burrell

So I stumbled across across this recipe when we were planning to have friends over for dinner. Well, that never happened, but this recipe was just too good to just wait for a special occasion.

I have to say, this dish was pretty amazing. Or at least, the stuffing is what really made this dish. It's a mixture of chorizo (Spanish sausage) and manchego (Spanish cheese). Luckily grocery stores carry a lot more exotic ingredients, so it wasn't too hard to find everything I needed at Safeway.

The stuffing can be made ahead of time, I wouldn't necessarily recommend the day before, but you could probably do it since the whole thing is going in the oven in the end. The stuffing definitely makes enough for about six chickens. However, since I only made three, I used the leftover for breakfast burritos and it was amazing.

So this recipe is a little intimidating. There's butterflying chicken breast, rolling it up and then breading it. Butterflying the chicken breast is definitely the way to go. It keeps the chicken in an even square type shape when you go to pound it. Pounding a regular chicken breast without butterflying it can turn it into some oblong shapes. And since you're rolling it up with a filling, it helps to make sure nothing spilling out.

I recommend using toothpicks to keep the chicken rolled up. Without it, it may have a tendency to unroll itself. And toothpicks help keep it together when you're dredging the chicken as well. I skipped dredging the chicken step, probably because I was too lazy to do all that breading. While the chicken was still amazing, I think breading it would just add that extra element to really make this dish.

The sauce, was eh. It was a nice element to add a little moisture to the chicken, but I don't know that it was something I would absolutely have to have next time. However, this chicken dish is something I would definitely make again. It can be a good dish to serve dinner guests as it looks impressive and tastes great.

Yum, yum!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shrimp and Andouille with Grits

Shrimp and Andouille with Grits
by Everyday Food

This isn't the first time I've made shrimp and grits. However, this is a different version than the one I made here. This recipe was a a little more simple and it still packed big flavor. I think I liked the sauce that the shrimp and sausage were cooked in. It must've been the garlic type sauce. And I couldn't find andouille sausage exactly, so I substituted hot Italian links. And instead of grits, I made polenta.

A good, down home meal. The shrimp were incredibly tender. And like I said, the sauce gave it an extra punch of flavor which I enjoyed. I also do like the hot Italian links as it gave a little extra kick to the dish.

A fun, typically Southern meal to try.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Turkey Meatloaf with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Feta

Turkey Meatloaf with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Feta
by Giada Di Laurentiis

This recipe was passed on to me by one of my co-workers. It sat around for quite a while, then I realized I had sun-dried tomatoes and feta to use up in my fridge. When I told Wes that we were having meatloaf, he was very excited. However, when he took his first bite of this "meatloaf" he declared, that this was not meatloaf.

This is a fun take on "meatloaf" and it's nice and light. I admit, the grocery store didn't have ground turkey, so I used ground chicken instead. Surprisingly, it stayed pretty moist and it didn't dry out like ground poultry can. I do love the sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes and the saltiness of the feta. You can never go wrong with that combination.

The great thing is that you can make this a day ahead and just pop it in the oven when you're ready to eat. Planning ahead for this meal allows you to not be spending a super long time in the kitchen for this since it takes 45 minutes to cook.

Pair this with classic meatloaf side dishes like mashed potatoes and a vegetable or keep it lighter with maybe couscous and a veggie. It's a fun take on meatloaf. And Wes eventually did come around to this dish, saying it was ultimately pretty good.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Asian Beef and Snow Peas with Fried Rice

Beef with Broccoli (or snow peas) with Fried Rice
by The Pioneer Woman & Everyday Food


One day I'm going to open my own Chinese restaurant with recipes by other people. I'd probably include this dish by the Pioneer Woman, who really got it from someone's cookbook. The first time I made this, it was WAY too salty. Almost unedible. The soy sauce covers your salt content, so taste the sauce before you add any more salt. Just wanted to put that out there.

But a super simple and quick recipe. And flank steak is an inexpensive cut of meat that lends itself to a thin slice against the grain. This recipe tastes pretty much like your typical beef and broccoli (or snow peas) dishes. Although, the sauce definitely has more punch and flavor than any take-out I've had.

And just to mix it up, I made Everyday Food's Fried Rice instead of just steaming some white rice. This meal was like an upscale version of Chinese take-out. And maybe, just a little healthier. That is, if you hold off on adding more salt at the end, like me.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Deep Dish Pizza

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
Recipe make-over by Cooking Light

Ok, I really LOVE pizza. I think there was only one time in my life where I remember being sick of pizza. But thankfully, that hasn't happened recently. I'm typically not a deep-dish kind of person though. I'll eat it, but it's not my favorite style of pizza. I prefer the flat triangle type of pizza you get.

But perusing Cooking Light's website, I stumbled upon this recipe. It calls for homemade dough and you know I love a challenge. Especially since I had been on a kick my making my own bread and pizza dough. The only alteration to the recipe was that I left out the mushrooms (who likes to eat fungus anyway?) and used real sausage. So much for "cooking light".

Oh, my word. I LOVE this pizza. At first I wasn't sure if all the toppings were going to fill up the baking dish, resulting in a unfulfilled deep dish pizza. But they made it with a little bit of a crust at the top. I think what really makes this dish is letting the tomatoes drain with the dried herbs. It really gives it that extra flavor and punch to the "sauce." Love the spiciness of the sausage, mixed with the tanginess of the tomato and herbs, coupled with the crunch and sweetness of the bell peppers and the hint of cheese.

Great thing, you can make it a day or so ahead and just pop into the oven when ready. So good. And if you follow the recipe according to the website, it's probably a whole heck of a lot lighter than what you'll find at your pizza joint.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Shrimp Pad Thai

Shrimp Pad Thai

This edition of pad thai ended much better than my last attempt at it. Partly because I actually found the correct type of noodles for the dish. And partly because I gave in and bought fish sauce, which probably 99.9% of pad thai recipes use - except for the first recipe I made.

Honestly, I don't remember a whole lot about this dish and haven't made it since. I do remember that it didn't have that kick and spice that I love about pad thai. But the texture was there and the base flavors were there too.

I will have to keep experimenting and finding that perfect pad thai dish that I dream about. Luckily, I get my pad thai fix pretty regularly via work. A girl has got to eat while sitting on her behind answering phone calls at 10:00 at night.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chile Corn Chowder

This recipe came about from my produce picking trip last year. I had gotten a bunch of peppers and didn't know what to do with them. So I scoured the internet and found a suitable recipe. Don't ask me how I found it.

The gal uses organic, but heck, I just used whatever I had on hand. Hooo, boy, was this a spicy soup! Must've been those peppers I got. Still not sure what they were. Maybe hatch chiles? You know, like the ones they sell on the side of the road in the fall? Anyhoo, I think this was my first foray into roasting peppers too. Some of the chiles were harder to peel from the skin, but it didn't take too long before I had all the meat and seeds for the soup. Yep, I left the seeds mixed in. Make a mental note of that for next time.

Granted, I like spicy things. And I love this soup. I put a little Monterrey jack on the bottom of the bowl in addition to on top. So when you dipped down to the bottom, you also got some ooey, gooey, cheesiness. Good with some bread to dip and a delicious, totally not-healthy, soup to add to the repertoire.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Meatballs and Polenta

This is one of the first recipes I tried that I had gotten online and a meal that I never really had before. Don't ask me how I stumbled upon it. Maybe I was looking up meatball recipes. Maybe I was looking up a way to use up some beef. Who knows. It was probably one of the more involved recipes I had ever tried to date.

It turned out pretty incredible. Though, I do admit, the recipe makes a lot and it's a heavy dish. With a mixture of pork and beef, it sits heavy in your stomach the rest of the day. But it is yummy with that melted cheese and creamy polenta. The addition of pork to the meat mixture adds a richness and makes for a moister (more moist?) meatball. If you read the recipe, you'll notice that I omitted the tomatoes and mushrooms.

I've made a couple of variations of this recipe. The second time I made it, I cut the recipe in half and only used the ground beef. Still a rich dish, but not as heavy as before. The third time, I think I mixed in ground turkey with the beef which lightened up the dish a lot. It definitely changes the flavor profile, but we're not picky.

A fun take on meatballs for the family!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Focaccia Bread

So I'm sure I've mentioned that I got the Joy of Cooking cookbook for Christmas one year. The homemade pizza dough comes from that same cookbook. In fact, this focaccia bread starts out the exact same as the pizza dough, but ends up in a different form.

If I could live off of carbs for the rest of my life, I'd be one happy girl. This bread, right out of the oven, was to. die. for. The outside was crusty and the inside was nice and fluffy. I have no clue what I put on top - probably some mixture of Parmesan cheese, dried oregano and dried basil. I did salt the top, but it doesn't need it. Dipped in some olive oil and it was just heavenly.

Wes wasn't as thrilled about it as I was. But then again, I don't know that he loves carbs as much as I do. I could and probably did, eat this whole thing myself.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lasagna Rolls

Lasagna Rolls by Giada de Laurentiis

Who doesn't love lasagna? This is a nice little spin on lasagna, although maybe just as labor intensive. With lasagna it's a little easier to layer and spread the filling and layer. This recipe was more of layering of each noodle, which were delicate. Luckily there were enough extra noodles in case I tore one in the process.

This was a tasty meal and reminded me a lot of stuffed pasta shells or some other form of stuffed pasta. It's probably good for making ahead and freezing or cooking for later in the week -- just like lasagna.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pizza Sandwiches

Pizza Sandwiches by Martha Stewart

This is one of my first introductions to goat cheese and other Italian meats. Thanks Martha Stewart. Actually, I think this recipe was in the same magazine as the roast chicken. And like the roast chicken, it's way yummy.

The recipe calls for homemade dough, but store-bought pizza dough, will work just fine I'm sure. I love the mixture of textures and flavors that is in this "sandwich." There's the spiciness of soppressata (a type of salami), the taginess of the goat cheese, the sweetness of the tomatoes and the richness of the mozzarella cheese.

It is a pretty rich little pizza though without the arugula. The arugula with the lemon juice adds a nice freshness to this dish and helps cut through the richness of the stuffing.

If you don't make your own dough, it's not a hard dish. The ingredients may be a little pricier than your normal pepperoni, but it's a fun indulgence every now and then. And again, thanks to Martha for introducing me to goat cheese and soppressata.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pan-Fried Noodles

It's no secret that I'm Chinese, right? I do get the random person every now and then asking me if I cook Chinese food. The short answer is no.

Growing up my family did take us out for Chinese food. And I remember the place we always went to was a little mom and pop shop called "The Great Wall." Served family style, my parents always ordered a meat dish and the pan-fried noodles. While, I wasn't super keen on what they ordered (I always ordered a plate of potstickers, and that was my dinner), I did love the pan-fried noodles. Something about the crispy noodles and sauce that eventually got soaked into the noodles, just appealed to my little-kid palate.

So, anytime I went to a Chinese restaurant, whether it was in college or afterwards, I always looked for pan-fried noodles. The closest I'd get was usually the lo mein, which satisfied my noodle sauce craving.

But one day, Wes's boss suggested we try an Asian restaurant. Asian. Not Chinese. This place has all sorts of Asian cuisine from sushi to thai-type food. Lo and behold I spied amongst their vast menu, pan fried noodles. Well, I had to give it a try. And it was delicious. Just as I remembered it as a kid. I loved it. Granted, eating out is not always a great option and I'm too lazy sometimes to take the drive all the way up to the restaurant and wait to order the food. So I searched for a recipe online. Luckily I found one. And it does not disappoint.

Hong Kong Style Pan Fried Noodles (based on sugarlens'recipe)
serves 4

1 (16 oz.) package Hong Kong style noodles (I found these in the refrigerated aisle at the Asian grocery store)
2 small chicken breasts, sliced thinly
1 small onion, sliced thinly
2 cups broccoli, chopped
2/3 cup sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons corn starch
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce

2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 cup water
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of cooking wine

1 tablespoon of corn starch
1 tablespoon of water

Add oil to a heated pan. Add noodles. The noodles should brown very quickly. Use a pair of chopsticks or a spatula to make sure the noodles are getting browned evenly. If you need to, use the spatula to press the noodles against the pan or add some more cooking oil to make sure you brown most of the noodles. Plate the noodles and set aside.

Mix together the ingredients for the marinade and add the sliced chicken. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients for Sauce. In a smaller bowl, combine corn starch and water. Set aside.

Add oil to a heated pan and saute garlic and broccoli for about 3 minutes or until garlic is starting to turn brown. Add a half cup of water and cover to let the broccoli finish cooking by steaming. After 5 minutes, remove cover and check to see if the broccoli is done. Salt to taste and dish out.

Add oil to a heated pan and cook onions, mushrooms, and chicken until done. Add broccoli back to the pan. Stir well. Add the Sauce mixture. Bring it to a boil.

Add the corn starch mixture and give a quick stir. Bring it to a boil.

Pour gravy on top of the noodles. Serve immediately!

I, of course, used whatever veggies I want. Usually there are green beans, water chestnuts and all sorts of other veggies in this dish. But carrots and broccoli work just fine for us. The protein is interchangeable too. Shrimp or beef would work equally well. The recipe looks labor intensive, but it's really not. It's just more mixing of multiple sauces and marinades that make it look hard.

My favorite part about this dish? When the sauce (or gravy as the recipe calls it) soaks into the noodles and softens them up. So there's a little bit of crunch, but a little bit of soft noodle that is coated in sauce. It makes my mouth water just writing about it.

If you can't find Hong Kong noodles the recipe calls for, plain spaghetti would work just fine. There's no specific texture to these noodles that requires a special pasta. But I did find a suitable noodle in the Asian section of the grocery store.

This is the one Chinese dish I can say I do cook. Traditional or not. It takes me back to my childhood and that's one of the best things.

Monday, November 28, 2011

TV Dinner

Ok, so I totally meant to do some posting last week, but didn't get around to it. Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of the Thanksgiving feast that my sister-in-law cooked. So for today, we'll settle for a good old fashioned TV dinner updated.

This is Salisbury Steak with Pesto Creamed Spinach, Mashed Potatoes and Apple Turnovers with Ice Cream. Skip the compartment trays that you stick in the microwave. We did most likely eat this in front of the TV though. Have to keep some sort of tradition alive, right?

The recipes are a mish mash. The Apple Turnovers are from Ina Garten, Salisbury Steak from Rachael Ray, Pesto Creamed Spinach from some cookbook (recipe below) and the mashed potatoes are just homemade.

Pesto Creamed Spinach - Bon Appetit Cookbook
1-10 oz package frozen chopped spinach
2 TB. purchased pesto
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano Cheese

Drain spinach and squeeze dry. Heat heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add pesto, then spinach, stir until heated through. Add cream and stir until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Mix in cheese. Season to taste with pepper.

Overall, a pretty decent meal. Although, since I left the mushrooms out of the salisbury steak, Wes did make a pretty accurate comment in that it was basically just a hamburger patty. I do like my creamed spinach a little creamier, but did enjoy the pesto addition to mix it up some.

The apple turnovers were pretty yummy and easy to make. Although, I wish I could have stuffed them a little more. Served warm with vanilla ice cream and I was pretty happy.

A fun, nostalgic little meal. Could make it even more fun if you did have some trays with compartments, so it could be served like those TV dinners from the 50s.


Monday, November 14, 2011


It's basically winter. So let's reminisce about summer...

Back when Wes's sister and her family of five, plus husband, came out to visit, we took the opportunity to roast some marshmallows in the backyard. It's ok. We had a contained fire for the kids to play with. There was no shortage of sticky fingers and chocolate mustaches on everyone. But it's all worth it to have some s'mores on a summer's night!

Bailey and Wes roasting marshmallows.
Eli enjoying a s'more. Don't worry, he didn't cook his own marshmallow.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Avocado Crab Salad

So I think I was on an avocado kick when I found this recipe. And why not throw crab into the mix? It's one of the ways to get Wes, the meat-eater, to eat a salad for dinner.

Canned crab makes this a pretty quick dinner. Although, I would try to find fresher crab meat next time. It was still a delicious salad.

Avocado Crab Salad

The recipe calls for anchovies and haricots verts, or fancy green beans. I don't remember if I left the anchovies out or not. If you look closely in the pictures, I definitely left out the green beans. Either I forgot to add it to the grocery list or I didn't feel like having green beans in my salad. Most likely it was the second reason.

And chances are I left out the anchovies. Either way, it was still a tasty salad. The dressing will be just as good without the anchovies if it's something you're not interested in utilizing. However, those experts over at probably make the dressing that much better by adding the salty little fish.

And you know, you can always turn this into a wrap if people in your life are so against salad as an entree. It wouldn't be the first time I've used that trick on you-know-who.

Enjoy! And happy 11-11-11!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

I think I've found Wes's favorite meal. And it's a simple one at that. It's Martha Stewart's roast chicken with roasted carrots and potatoes. With so many roast chicken recipes out there, there is bound to be one that should be come a family staple.

This one is a little less involved than the ones that have you stuff the cavity with lemons, garlic, onions, etc. It gets a hint of rosemary from sitting on it and from the cavity. But the great thing about this particular roast chicken recipe is the crispy skin. Isn't that one of the best things about bone-in chicken, whether it be fried chicken or roasted? It's the crispy skin that's a treat.

While Martha's recipe already includes the potatoes, I added carrots to the mixture for another vegetable. Any root veggie would do great though. Love the crispiness the potatoes get and the sweetness of the carrots.

Buy a whole chicken and try this recipe. Don't get too weirded out by the gibblets and stuff. The small ick factor is worth this classic and rustic recipe. Another great thing: this chicken doesn't smoke out the oven either since butter is the fat source instead of oil. No one likes to have their eyes burn and the fear of the smoke alarm going off. Although, sometimes... it's worth it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Shrimp and Roasted Garlic Tamales

This recipe came from the same Bobby Flay cookbook as the short rib recipe. And no, it wasn't any easier to make. This was an all day project.

Who doesn't love tamales? But not wanting to buy a whole bag of masa for just a few tamales, I looked for alternatives that were more doable. Luckily, this recipe was in that cookbook. I don't know if was worth all the time it took. And like I mentioned before, it was probably lacking the actual hand of Bobby Flay himself.

The tamales ended up being pretty sweet and yummy. But soaking the corn husks for 24 hours, then the messiness of trying to stuff them, I think I'll stick to the frozen kind in the freezer section of the grocery store. The garlic sauce could have been a bit thicker as well. It was a runny and didn't really stick to anything. Although the tamales did do a good job of soaking up the sauce.

All in all, it was a good effort and didn't taste bad. But Bobby Flay is just too much work for me.

I saw shrimp and thought this would be an easy and quick meal. Ha. Not!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Sauce

So I had a jar of roasted red peppers leftover from some other recipe and a tub of feta from when my mom was here. So I looked up some recipes where I could knock out two of these items that were sitting in my fridge. Enter the recipe for roasted red pepper and feta sauce.

Aside from it being healthier, it was pretty tasty and way easy to make. Basically you throw everything into a blender and it comes out as a sauce. I do like the saltiness of the feta and how it sort of cuts through the red pepper flavor. I added some roasted sausages at the suggestion of other commenters of the recipe. But chicken would probably work equally as well. Plus Wes likes to have some sort of protein in his meals. I don't think I could ever turn him vegetarian.

Delicious meal for a busy night!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mexican Flatbread Pizza

I'm a fan of The Pioneer Woman's blog. I love drooling over her step by step pictures of her recipes. Unlike a lot of other blogs, this one included, it's kind of nice to watch the process of making a meal. Kind of like watching a cooking show, but without the moving picture.

Anyway, I've tried a handful of her recipes and this is one of them. Super easy and flavorful. It's also easy to tweak to your likings.

Here's the recipe: Mexican Flatbread Pizza

Sorry about the blurry picture. I was in a hurry to eat and didn't take enough shots to warrant one good one.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Parmesan and Sage-Crusted Pork Chops

Parmesan and Sage-Crusted Pork Chops

Love, love, love these! So tender, easy and flavorful. Instead of getting chops, I used a pork tenderloin and made medallions. I paired it with a rich, home-made scallop potatoes and some asparagus. The scalloped potatoes might have been a little over powering for the pork, but both of them were delicious.

The sage took front and center for the pork, which typically doesn't have a whole lot of flavor on its own. The sage was a nice, earthy flavor and a good change of pace. I don't cook with a lot of sage, so it was a great change up of flavors to day to day meals.

If you use pork tenderloin instead of chops, plan on one tenderloin per two people. The cooking time will also depend on the thickness of your pork.

Parmesan and Sage-Crusted Pork Chops

  • 1 (1 1/4-ounce) slice white bread, torn into pieces
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 4 (4-ounce) boneless thin-cut pork loin chops, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1. Place bread in a food processor; pulse bread 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure about 1 cup. Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, sage, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Place flour in another shallow dish. Combine mustard and egg whites in another shallow dish, stirring with a whisk.
2. Working with one pork chop at a time, dredge pork in flour, shaking off excess. Dip pork into egg white mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Coat pork completely with breadcrumb mixture. Set aside. Repeat procedure with remaining pork, flour, egg white mixture, and breadcrumb mixture.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add pork; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned and done.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Chicken Bryan

Chicken Bryan
Copycat recipe from Carrabba's Italian Grill

So for my birthday dinner, I asked to go to Carrabba's. I had their Chicken Bryan - chicken breast with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and a lemon butter sauce. Oh, so good. So good, I had to find a copycat recipe so I could have this meal whenever I wanted. Not sure where I found it, but it delivered.

Love the tang of the goat cheese and the sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes. Then you have the silkiness of the lemon butter sauce. Yum! Oh, man. I may have to put this dish in the rotation coming up.

Chicken Bryan - serves 6 (I halved it for 3)

6 large chicken breasts
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces goat cheese, softened to room temperature

Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups finely sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Prepare the Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce: Place butter, garlic, and onion in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté until garlic and onion are tender and transparent. Add white wine and lemon juice. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer to reduce by half. Reduce heat to low. Add cold butter one piece at a time. Add sun-dried tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper and stir to blend ingredients. Set aside.

Prepare the Chicken: Reduce charcoal briquettes to white-hot coals. Brush chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill chicken over hot coals 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through. Divide goat cheese evenly between chicken breasts, placing some on each breast for the last two minutes of cooking. Place cooked chicken on serving platter and spoon Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce over chicken.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chile Beef Short Ribs with Queso Fresco Polenta

Chile Beef Short Ribs with Queso Fresco Polenta
Recipe from Bobby Flay

I don't remember a whole lot about this recipe. I got a bunch of cook books from the library and saved a bunch of recipes that looked enticing. This was the first time I ever made short ribs. And this being a Bobby Flay recipe, it has a lot of steps and layers. Nevermind that to properly cook short ribs, it needs to be "low and slow" as they say.

The flavor was there, but seemed to be missing something. Maybe it's that Bobby Flay touch. And I mean the actual touch. Like him making the meal and not me. The meat was tender, but it did take some effort to shred the meat.

I don't know if I'd make this recipe again, but I'll definitely give short ribs a go again.

Serves 4

3 tablespoons New Mexico red chile powder
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican cinnamon
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

3 pounds bone-in short ribs
1/+ cup canola oil, plus extra as needed
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 cup dry red wine
4 cups Enriched Chicken Stock or low-sodium chicken broth
6 sprigs fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper

Creamy Polenta with Cotija

1. Preheatthe oven to 325 degreesF.

2. Mix together the chile powder, 2 teaspoons salt, the cinnamon, and the coarsely ground black pepper in a small bowl. Lay the ribs on a baking sheet and season one side with the spice mixture, rubbing the mixture in so that it adheres to the meat.

3. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof Dutch oven over high heat until it shimmers. Working in batches, place the ribs in a single layer, rub side down, in the oil and cook until a crust has formed and the ribs are golden brown. Turn the ribs over and cook until the second side is golden brown. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remainino ribs adding more oil if needed.

4. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan and add the garlic, onion, carrots, and celery and cook until golden brown and caramelized, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the wine and boil until nearly reduced, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer.

5. Return the ribs to the pan along with the thyme and bring to a simmer. Place the lid on the pan and place in the oven. Cook until the meat is tender and is falling off the bone, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

6. Carefully remove the ribs to a large plate and let cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and discard the bones.

7. Strain the sauce into a medium saucepan and return it to the stove over high heat. Bring the sauce to a boil and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a sauce consistency, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and discard the thyme sprigs. Return the ribs to the pan to reheat.

8. Serve over creamy polenta with cotija in large shallow bowls.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Asian Chicken Meatballs

Asian Chicken Meatballs

Spicy and so easy. I made the meat mixture the night before, used a cookie scoop to make the meatballs, and cooked up 5 minute rice. Throw in some edamame and dinner is ready in under 30 minutes.

I was a little worried that the meatballs would dry out since I used chicken (the recipe actually calls for turkey, but the grocery store was out of turkey). But they were delightfully moist and tender. The Siracha might have overwhelmed the flavors a bit, but it's so worth it. Don't freak out about fish sauce - you can't taste it.

This meal was planned for a little get together, but despite some scheduling conflicts, that get together didn't happen. I was bummed since this turned out so good, but a little glad because if it didn't.... Well, you know, never try a new dish on company.

Yum, yum!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tomato Bisque and Grilled Cheese

Blogging takes a lot of work! Hence the year away... I think I might format this blog a bit differently, but for now, on Denver's first real snow day:

Tomato Bisque and Grilled Cheese

Another recipe from my mom that she got somewhere and good classic grilled cheese. This is what I wish we had tonight.

More posts to come!