Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Orange Chipotle-Spiced Pecan Mix

I made these very tasty pecans for Thanksgiving appetizer. I will definitely be making more - sweet and spicy! If you can, buy the chipotle chili pepper. It is a great smokey hot flavor.

I found this recipe from on myrecipes.com and it was originally in Cooking Lite in November 2008.

1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 large egg white
2 cups pecan halves
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper
Cooking spray
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 225°.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until slightly frothy. Stir in pecans. Combine sugar, salt, and pepper. Add to pecan mixture; toss well. Spread mixture in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 225° for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven; cool completely. Stir in cranberries.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

I saw this easy recipe on a blog I read, Kelly's Korner, and added it to my list of quick and delicious snack/party recipes. I made it last night to take to a party tonight.

As Kelly does, I just scooped the mixture into a bowl and refrigerated it overnight. I didn't go to the trouble of shaping it into a ball and rolling it in pecans, as the original recipe calls for. So it's more of a cheese spread than a ball! I am serving it with graham crackers but animal crackers & Nilla wafer - regular or chocolate - would be good too!

1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of real unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners sugar (you may want to add more to your liking)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
chopped pecans, optional

Beat cream cheese and butter until very well blended. Mix in sugars and vanilla. Then mix in chips.

Now you can either form the mixture into a ball and coat with chopped pecans or spoon it into a little serving bowl. Refrigerate several hours before serving, ideally overnight.

This is a fun, sweet appetizer!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I made THIS for a dinner party last night.

It was delicious and turned out perfectly. This time, I followed the recipe to a T.

I will have a picture up tomorrow!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chicken and Apple Soup

What a bizarre looking picture! Maybe even un-appetizing. But I promise you it's not!

My brother and I made this soup at my parents house so I didn't have my camera. This is a photo from my phone.

But boy, this is a tasty fall soup if you love apples and chicken together!

Chicken and Apple Stew (I think it's more of a soup though...)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
salt and pepper
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
4-6 potatoes, diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 apples, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups apple cider
3 cups chicken broth

Preheat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized soup pot over medium-high heat. Place chicken cubes in a medium bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add flour and toss to coat. Add chicken to hot oil and brown for 7-8 minutes until done. Remove from pan on to a plate. Add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the pot. Add the onion, carrots, celery, potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, salt & pepper. Cook vegetables until tender, about 6 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the apple cider, scraping up any brown bits from the pan. Add chicken broth, apples and chicken to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 10 minutes until vegetables are soft and the broth has thickened.

This recipe is adapted from Espresso Yourself, a coffee shop/restaurant in Newport, PA. Not only was my sister a waitress/barista here last summer, I found the business card for Matt 'N Nat Photography, who will be photographing our wedding! This place has great food made with mostly organic ingredients.

My brother thinks that some egg noodles added to the soup would be tasty!

We also added about a cup of water to the soup to make more broth, so that is an option too if you think it's necessary.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chicken Piccata

For my birthday last month my Aunt Donna got me a subscription to Cuisine at home - a great magazine of recipes with no advertisements! The recipes all look great and seem easy to make. I already made sweet and spicy salmon filets from the magazine for Adam's birthday and last night I made chicken piccata. It was so simple and delicious. I love lemon and garlic flavors, especially with chicken.
For the recipe you can pound out chicken breasts into cutlets but I just buy the cutlets from the meat department at the grocery store - so much easier!
Chicken Piccata
From Cuisine at home
4 chicken breast cutlets (you can buy the cutlets or cut a breast in half and pound it thin)
salt and pepper
all-purpose flour
nonstick spray
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup dry white wine (I didn't have any so I used chicken broth)
1 teaspoon minced garlic (I used 2 cloves)
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon capers, drained
2 Tablespoons butter
Fresh lemon slices
Season cutlets with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour.
Coat a saute pan with nonstick spray, add oil, and heat over medium-heat.
Saute cutlets 3 minutes on one side. Flip cutlets over and saute the other side, covered, 2 minutes. Transfer cutlets to a warmed platter; pour off fat from pan.

Deglaze pan with wine and add minced garlic. Cook until garlic is slightly brown and liquid is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Add broth, lemon juice and capers. Return cutlets to pan and cook on each side for 1 minute. Transfer cutlets back to plate.
Finish sauce with butter and lemons. Once butter melts, pour sauce over cutlets.

I had a lot of trouble slicing the lemons. Need a new sharp knife badly!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Parc on Rittenhouse Square

In October, when Adam and I visited Arielle in Philadelphia, we came across a cute little French brasserie called Parc and just had to stop. The atmosphere was very inviting and we sat outside on the sidewalk and enjoyed our sandwiches and beer. Another reason why we loved this location is because it is right by Rittenhouse Square which is chock full of owners walking their dogs! We saw so many cute dogs trot by! This is a fun place to check out on a nice spring or fall day.

I had the country chicken club:

Arielle had the lamb sandwich:

Adam had the cheeseburger:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Beef & Vegetable Potpie with Cheddar Biscuits

Since the cold weather is upon us, I was looking for something hearty for dinner last night. As I was flipping through the latest Food and Wine magazine I came across a beef and vegetable potpie with cheddar biscuits. It sounded good and after going the through the entire magazine and another cookbook, I went back to that potpie. I am so glad I did!

But as I put the potpie into the oven, I realized I should not be a model for cooking success! With a hungry man waiting for his dinner and me hurrying with all my might, I forgot to add the peas to the pie!! We had them as a side. So if you make this, don't forget the peas!!!

The biscuits turned out so good on top of the pie! Make sure the bisuit dough is dense - if it's too runny, add more flour. If it's too thick, add a touch more milk.

The original recipe makes 2 potpies to serve 12 people. I halved the recipe and it turned out perfectly! I wrote below how I made a single potpie, which would serve roughly 5 people but if you go here, you can see the original recipe.

Beef-and-Vegetable Potpie with Cheddar Biscuits from Food & Wine Magazine

1 stick plus 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 white onion, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium to large parsnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
salt and pepper
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons self-rising flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 (10 oz) package frozen peas
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 450° and position a rack in the upper third. Line the bottom of the oven with foil to catch any drips.

In a large pot, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the oil. Add the onion, carrots and parsnips; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned, 8 minutes.

Add the beef and rosemary and cook over moderately high heat, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until no trace of pink remains and any liquid has almost evaporated, 10 minutes.

Stir in 3 Tablespoons of the flour and cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the milk and the stock and simmer until thickened, 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Put the remaining 2 cups of flour in a large bowl. Cut in the remaining 7 Tablespoons of butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cheddar. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of milk until a smooth dough forms. Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, arrange mounds of the biscuit dough on the filling baking dish.

Bake both potpie on the top rack of the oven for 20 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the biscuits are cooked through.

Let the potpies rest for 10 minutes before serving.

A parsnip is a great alternative to boring ole potatoes!

Those stinkin' peas on the side!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mudslide Milkshake

This sinful after dinner treat is from Claire Robinson. She has a fun show on the Food Network called 5 Ingredient Fix. It's worth checking out!

I am always looking for uses for frozen bananas because every time I have a banana that is too ripe to eat, I peel it, slice it and put it in the freezer for opportunities like this!

1/2 cup Irish cream (like Bailey's)
1/4 cup chocolate vodka - you can use regular vodka
1 pint coffee ice cream
1 banana, sliced and frozen
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth.
Warning: This is very strong!!! You can add some milk and more ice cream if you think it's going to kick your butt after the first sip.