Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Down here in South it finally feels like Fall. I've been waiting for it and the weather here after a blistering summer has become cooler. This makes it the perfect time of year for making soup. This recipe is one of my favorites because of its ease and tastiness. It's also reasonably healthy which makes it even more of a plus. 

Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
 3-16  oz chicken broth boxes 
1 (10-ounce) can Mexicorn (corn and bell peppers), drained and rinsed
1 (14-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (-ounce) can green chiles, drained (the smallest can possible I can't recall how big but the can is tiny)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or sliced ( If you have a carnivorous husband use 3)
2 teaspoons fajita seasoning blend or to taste
2 tablespoons ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnishes, see below
In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add celery, carrot, and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until veggies begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables, and stir. Flour will form a paste; allow paste to cook for at least 2 minutes. Gradually add chicken broth, whisking. Heat the mixture until it begins to simmer and thicken, approximately 7-8 minutes.
Note: At this point, you have the base for pretty much any chicken soup you want to make! Add mexicorn, beans, green chiles, and garlic. Mix and return to a simmer. Add cooked chicken and spices, seasoning the soup to taste. Simmer over low heat, covered, for 20-30 minutes.

After flavors have had time to meld, the soup is ready to eat.
Garnish Ideas:
Shredded cheese
Chopped fresh cilantro
Fat free sour cream
Sliced avacado
Corn tortilla chips
Your favorite cornbread

Serve with your favorite garnishes and enjoy!

** disclaimer I don't really use recipes so if something seems a miss and you want to add more go for it. I never really make anything the same way twice.**

~So I've been stewing on my portion sizes all day so I came home and made it. I changed a few things around since this morning. I was to gung ho about posting I guess. Maybe I should also look into writing recipes down. ~

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rude-looking, but delicious cookies

Yay for a dessert week!

This was a pretty easy recipe. I didn't have instant espresso so I used a shot of coffee liqueur instead. I also had to skip the hazelnuts... I had some, but they smelled funky. So no hazelnuts.

I was confused at the instruction to beat the flour into the butter. In my experience, you can't just turn the beater on when you pour that much dry stuff over that little butter, or it goes flying. I found it much more effective to mix the dry ingredients in with a fork.

I also saw no need to knead the dough on waxed paper. I just kneaded it in the bowl.

Here's a picture of the cookies before baking. It looks a little, um, rude.

I also took a picture of the dough in the bowl. But it looks even ruder.

Since Nutella (or my store-brand version) is rather goopy stuff, I devised an easier way to scoop it onto the cookies.

1. Take a measuring spoon and dig out a heaping spoonful.
2. Use a knife to scrape the top off onto a cookie.
3. Then dig out the rest onto another cookie.

Amazing. I loved them. Great nighttime snack. But I shouldn't have eaten three at once. That was a little too rich.

The chocolate portion of these reminded me of these Vegan Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles, minus the spice. I wonder if these could be made with oil instead of butter.

A twofer

I did in fact make the Pizza Pot Pie from two weeks ago, I just haven't had the time to sit down and write about it!

I made the decision to halve the recipe while I was at the grocery store buying the sausages, because 4 lbs of sausages is a LOT of sausage, and while Derek does eat a lot, he doesn't eat quite that much.

Also, I've never really had an easy time with cutting uncooked sausages, so I opted to just squeeze the meat out of the casing and just brown it up.

I was super disappointed that I didn't have enough ricotta (I barely had half!) but, it was what I had on hand, so I used that.

Here's out pot pie, fresh out of the oven.  I sprinkled the top with some sea salt, oregano and pepper flakes, 'cause that's how I roll.

And plated,

(it's sideways, but refuses to upload the way I've got it rotated on my computer.  I have anger)

All in all, we found this to be good, but way too salty.  While it was good at the time (and wonderful as hangover food) I don't think we'll make this again.

Next up, Aunt B's fantastic cookies.

These things are seriously amazing.

I was rather confused while at the grocery store, because they didn't have "hazelnuts" but they did have "filberts", which looked suspiciously like hazelnuts.

ETA: Don't worry, I did bust out my iPhone to double check that filberts = hazelnuts.  They do.

(this picture also refuses to load in the orientation I would like.  Grrrrrrrr)

I was not in the mood for finely chopping nuts today (hehe, I said nuts) so I pulled out my food processor and made quick work of them (after toasting them on the stove until fragrant of course).

The end result is fantastically yummy cookies.  I'm pretty sure Derek and I ate at least 10 between us tonight.  The addition of a bit of Nutella on top just takes them to awesometown.  It should also be noted that I included the option espresso powder.  I'm a big fan of espresso in chocolate things.  I feel that it adds a really great depth of flavour.

There are 28 cookies in this picture, but don't be deceived.  I made a math (or remembering) error when calculating how much weight each cookie should be (I like my cookies to all be the same size, so I weigh the dough, then do the math, then weigh out each portion.  A bit much?  Probably) and made a total of 36 instead of the recommended 28.  But they are small and cute and I love them.  I will most certainly be making these again.  I think they would make a great addition to a holiday baked goods package, since they very much resemble Ferrero Rocher.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Worth the Wait

Pizza Pot Pie is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of meat and a lot of cheese. Even J, who has been known to put away some food, said, “Are you going to use all of that?”

I made very few changes to this recipe. I used 3 lbs of sweet Italian sausage and 1 lb. of hot sausage and I substituted dried herbs instead of fresh. Other than that, I followed it as written.

After a bit of trial and error, I discovered that kitchen shears are the perfect thing for cutting sausage. I browned it in batches, because my skillet is not big enough to hold it all at once.

I always get my pizza dough at Trader Joe’s. They have a plain white, whole wheat and garlic & herb dough and best of all, it’s only 99 cents!

My top shrunk up when it baked, but it didn't overflow. I waited until the very end of the week to make this recipe, but it was worth the wait.

A Plethora of Updates

I haven't been on here in I have lots of recipes to update. The last three weeks, in fact.
Last weekend I went to Boston to visit a friend and we decided to make the lettuce wraps for dinner one night. We used ground turkey breast rather than pork and were worried about it being too spicy, so we used a sweet chili sauce instead. The result was rather lime-y and not overly thai-tasting. It was alright for a light dinner, but probably not something I would try again. The wine was excellent though.

Then today was a kitchen day! Ed went off to golf for the day and I got the house to myself, so I did some laundry and then played in the kitchen. The same friend from Boston came up tonight and we got to enjoy all of the goodies.

First I made the chocolate hazelnut thumbprint cookies. Let me just say...OH MY GOODNESS! Anything that gets me to buy Nutella is a good recipe for me, but these were divine. I used dark chocolate powder rather than the unsweetened cocoa powder, and I didn't have parchment paper or wax paper, but everything worked out fine. The batter itself was to die for (and yes, I ate it raw eggs and all...I figure with the recent egg scare the eggs are probably safer than usual right now...), and the finished cookies were awesome!

And then finally, I made the pizza pot pie. I didn't measure anything for this recipe, but I used a lot less of everything than the recipe called for. I used fat free ricotta, two egg whites rather than the egg (saved from the cookies, since they only used yolks), low fat mozzarella, chicken sausage and whole wheat pizza crust. I thought it came out fairly well, though if I were to make it again, I think I would put a bottom crust on too for just a little more chewy factor. However, it was a tasty, easy meal that would be great to bring to a potluck sometime...and was an excellent pre-out-to-the-local-bar dinner for my friend and me!

So there it is...three weeks worth of recipes...finally updated!

Friday, September 24, 2010


I wanted to switch it up a bit this week with a dessert recipe, and we're trying to eat a *little* bit healthier, so I found this cookie recipe on I figured it would be worth a shot, and that's what it's all about, right?!

Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies


  • 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread (such as Nutella)


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt; stir with a whisk. Place butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Stir egg yolks with a whisk, adding espresso, if desired. Add the yolk mixture and vanilla to butter; beat well. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat at low speed just until combined.

3. Turn dough out onto a sheet of wax paper; knead 6 times or until smooth and shiny. Shape dough into 28 (1-inch) balls. Roll sides of balls in nuts, pressing gently. Arrange balls 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press thumb into center of each cookie, leaving an indentation. Bake, 1 batch at a time, at 350° for 10 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks. Spoon a scant 1/2 teaspoon hazelnut-chocolate spread into center of each cookie.

Nutritional Information

6.5g (sat 2.7g,mono 2.3g,poly 0.4g)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Better late then never... twist on the pita burgers

I’ve been a bad blogger and cook. Work has kept me so busy that by the time I get home I don’t really feel like cooking. I’ve been making big things, like chili, that last a while so I don’t have to cook as often. I’ve been reading the delicious things that have been posted and have been itching to try them. The pita burgers from a few weeks ago really caught my attention. I did a few tweaks because I didn’t have everything that was needed but it all seemed to come out really well.
 The biggest substitutions I  used sliced skirt steak instead of ground beef and greek yogurt for the sauce instead of mayo. I’m not a big fan of mayo.
I prepped the sauce first since I wanted it to marinate the flavors while I prepared everything else.

Since the steak was sliced so thin I baked it in my convection oven so it would still be juicy along with some paprika and spices.

Diced some onions, tomatoes and lettuce I had lying around. Creating what ultimately became more of a gyro then burger. As soon as the steak was finished cooking I swiftly assembled them added some fresh Tabouleh salad. Viola a really quick dinner that was inspired by the pita burger post.

I think I'm going to continuing playing catch up with the Thai lettuce wraps next. I have a lot of cooking to do. :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Victor and I are having a vegetarian week, so I opted to make a meat-free version of this pizza pot pie.

First, I sautéed a red bell pepper, onion, and some king mushrooms with some salt and Italian seasoning.
Pretty, eh?
Into the pan that went with tomato sauce.

My ricotta mixture contained some garlic scapes along with the other stuff. I wasn’t sure what it meant to “dot” the tomato sauce with the ricotta so I plopped it on in generous globs.

Probably not 2 cups of mozza, but I was too lazy to grate more
The topping was Victor’s homemade pizza dough. My last egg went into the ricotta so I brushed the top with olive oil instead. I had some trouble tucking it around the pan so I just hoped for the best…

I think it leaked a little. Oh well.  

I wasn’t really sure what to make of this recipe. It tasted good – especially the ricotta – but it seemed like a rather inconvenient way to eat pizza.

Upside down? With a spoon?
I also wasn’t a fan of the pizza dough as a topping; for me, the pastry top is the best part of a pot pie.

But as I said, I did love the ricotta filling and will probably use that again on future (right-side up) pizzas.

I also found it to be a good make-ahead recipe. I made the ricotta mixture, grated the mozzarella, and sautéed the veggies while Victor made the dough. Then I went out for a run while waiting for the dough to rise. When I came back, all I had to do was assemble the pie, and pop it in the oven. Obviously this is even easier if you use pre-made pizza dough and pre-grated cheese.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thai Lettuce Wraps

I can't believe it took me this long to finally make a recipe that was posted for the week. I have to say it wasn't what I was expecting, but it was still pretty good. Unfortunately, the hubs didn't give it the approval I was hoping for, so it will go in the recipe book for a variation some day.
I didn't want to buy a whole bottle of Sriracha chile sauce for the little amount it called for, so I substituted some Frank's Red Hot and cayenne pepper. I also added the seeds of the jalapeno, but it still wasn't super spicy like I was hoping for.

Here's the meat in all of its glory, cooking away. We did cut the recipe in half, especially since it was just the 2 of us, and it was a new recipe.
Thankfully, my boss had just brought in a ton of fresh herbs from her garden, so I had plenty on hand without having to hit the grocery store for some.

The best part of the night...I asked the hubs to get the lettuce ready for dinner. This is what I turned around to.
Ummm yeah. That's not really what I meant. Needless to say, we busted out the burrito wrappers and ate it that way. I added a little bit more of the Frank's Red Hot on top, and it was delish. I think he secretly intended on eating it that way to begin with. He heard me say lettuce wraps and his eyebrows went up in that "I'm thinking no" kind of way.

Now it's time to head off and eat my much deserved bowl of ice cream after a long week of running and spinning class.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Party in my mouth

I'm planning the Thai lettuce wraps for tomorrow night's dinner, but the hubs wanted to use chicken for tonight. Then I'll hopefully work in the pot pie recipe for this week. Unfortunately, we haven't had many nights to cook at home.

I came across this recipe through the What's Cooking? board on The Nest. It is a blog update from "Confections of a Foodie Bride". Can I just say wow?!
Here's the original recipe from her blog, and I have to say I didn't make any changes.

Chicken Relleno
1/3 cup pistachios, shelled
4 oz goat cheese, softened
juice from 1/2 lime
2T cilantro, chopped
1/2 roasted red bell pepper, chopped (reserve other 1/2 for another use)
1/2 roasted poblano pepper (reserve other 1/2 for sauce)
salt and pepper to taste

4 5-oz chicken breasts (I used the chicken tenders the hubs took out of the freezer already)
1T olive oil

1 bunch cilantro
1 in. piece of ginger, peeled
1 clove garlic (I used chopped garlic from a jar and just used a small spoonful)
1/2 roasted poblano
juice and zest from 1/2 lime
dash of curry powder (I didn't have any, so this wasn't added.)
fat-free half and half (I used light cream, since I needed it for another recipe this week.)

Preheat oven to 425. Process pistachios in the food processor for ~10 seconds, until mostly ground. (I think I'm the only person who loves food this much and doesn't own a food processor, so I just used my blender. It seemed to work okay. I just made sure to chop things smaller before putting them in.) Add goat cheese and lime juice and process until thoroughly mixed. Add cilantro, the chopped bell pepper and poblano peppers and pulse to just combine. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Place 1/4 of goat cheese mixture in center of each chicken breast. Roll the ends up and secure with toothpicks. (not to self: need to buy some that aren't dyed fancy colors. All of my chicken had fun blues and greens running through the middle. oops!) Heat olive oil in an oven-safe saute pan until very hot. Place chicken breasts in pan (toothpick side up) and sear 1-2 minutes, until nicely browned. Flip (toothpick side down) and transfer to the oven for ~8-10 minutes until cooked through.

While the chicken is baking, make the sauce: Cut the bunch of cilantro so that most of the stems are left behind. Place all ingredients except the half-and-half in a blender. With the blender running, slowly stream in the half-and-half until you reach a nice, saucy consistency. Transfer toa small sauce pan and heat on low. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 4.

I served mine with linguine and it was amazing! It had a really unique pepper flavor, but it was so creamy thanks to the sauce and goat cheese. This is definitely a recipe going into my rotation. Unfortunately, I found out that the hubs doesn't so much like pepper flavor. I thought it was more of a texture issue. Oh well. I guess this recipe will be a girl's night only.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lettuce Wraps

I was skeptical when I started to make this recipe, but I was pleasantly surprised.

As I was getting ready to make this last night, I realized that I didn't have sriracha, but I did have spicy Thai chili garlic sauce. For future reference, this substitution does not provide enough heat, but an extra sprinkle or two of cayenne pepper did the trick.

This was my first time eating a lettuce wrap and I loved it. However, J was not a fan of the lettuce wrap. He liked the meat (although he added even more pepper - I swear he doesn't have any taste buds left), but the whole rolling things up bit was too fussy for him. If I make it again, I will have to find another way to serve it. Maybe I can turn it into a Thai taco salad.

Pizza Pot Pie

Okay, it is moving into fall and that means that I am craving some comfort foods. So I hit the cookbooks this week to figure out what I wanted to post for this week's recipe of the week. I came across the Pizza Pot Pie in Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins' Silver Palate Cookbook (p. 166). This could be easily adapted to be a vegetarian option for those who are interested!

2lbs sweet Italian sausage, in 1-inch pieces
2lbs hot Italian sausage, in 1-inch pieces
4 1/2 cups of tomato sauce (recipe suggests spicy sauce)
2 cups ricotta
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3/4 cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
2 1/2 tablespoons of dried oregano
2 eggs
Freshly grated pepper to taste
4 cups of grated mozzarella cheese
Pizza Dough for crust

Preheat oven to 350F.

In heavy skillet, saute sausages until brown, drain well, and transfer to a bowl. Add tomato sauce to bowl and set aside.

Mix ricotta, parmigiano-reggiano, 1/2 cup of parsley, 2 tbsp of oregano, 1 egg, and pepper.

In rectangular oven-proof dish (9x13), spread half the sausage/tomato sauce mixture. Dot this half with ricotta mixture and sprinkle 2 cups of mozzarella evenly over surface. Sprinkle with half remaining parsley and half remaining oregano. Repeat.

Roll out dough to about 1/3 inch , being certain dough is about 1 inch larger than baking dish all the way around. Transfer dough to top of pizza and tuck in the excess all around. Beat remaining egg w/1 tbsp of water and brush on top of crust.

(Recipe also says you can reserve some extra dough and cut out shapes to decorate the top, if you feel so inclined)

Bake for 35-45 minutes, then let pizza stand 30 minutes before serving.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pigging out

I love Thai food, but I've never made it myself. So I had every intention of being diligent and following this week's recipe to a tee.

But then we went grocery shopping. At first, we couldn't find the ground pork. We would have looked harder until we saw this:
3kg (about 6.6lb) of pork. At $1.72 a pound. We couldn't resist.

"We can grind it with our KitchenAid mixer meat grinder attachment!" said we.

Well, we got home, and remembered what a pain it was to clean that thing. So we went and cut up a quarter of that pork into cubes instead. The rest was portioned and frozen.

(I shall be grateful if more pork recipes are posted over the next few weeks.)

Anyway, despite all this, we loved the recipe. I absolutely loved the sauce. I was actually surprised at how well the sauce coated the meat; I was skeptical when I realized that the recipe didn't call for the meat to be marinated. I'm sure I would have loved it more if we had actually used ground pork, which would have soaked up even more sauce. I have some leftover pork, which I shall be packing with some rice and salad for lunch later this week.

Not pretty. But still delicious.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Thai food is teh awesome.

Like Alyson, I really love the flavours of Thai food.  The blend of spicy, sour, sweet and salty are like magic in my mouth.

We've never done lettuce wraps before, but you can bet we'll be doing them again.  With this recipe, because man, these are good.

I made the recipe as written which was great, since ground pork was on sale this week.

I served the wraps with a mango salad.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mmm. Lettuce Wraps.

Little know fact: Thai flavours are amongst my favourite.

Mint, purple basil, cilantro
Lime, fish sauce, basil, cilantro, jalapeno... the flavours are just so vibrant and fresh.

This week was like recipe heaven for me.

turkey mixture, lettuce, a little sweet chili sauce
 I used ground turkey instead of pork for this recipe since it was all I had on hand.

Recipe reverse strip tease:

Lettuce and chili sauce

Topped with turkey and what not.
Vin de jour (awesome pairing)
Passion fruit, salted caramel, mint
The perfect ending? Macaroons from the local patisserie.


This recipe is definitely going in the box of repeats. Loved the flavours, loved the messiness, loved everything!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mini Burgers

I have to tell you that I was sick as a dog when I made these, so my recollection of the process and the pictures are not the best this week. Hopefully, I will be back on my game next week.

I changed just a few things in this week's recipes. With the cucumber salad, I used sour cream in place of the mayonnaise and dried mint, since I forgot to get some fresh from my co-worker (I was distracted by the sore throat).

For the burgers I used ground turkey, since I don't eat beef. I made the mix into eight burgers about two inches in diameter and that was the perfect size to get two into the pita. I don't think I could have made 16 burgers, they would have been the size of a quarter. The mini-burgers were very flavorful. I didn't eat mine in a pita (again, I blame being sick), but here is a picture of J's sandwich before he demolished it.

Thai Ground Pork Salad

It was hard to pick a recipe to post. I decided to first narrow it down to a protein that we haven't used yet.

The first thing I thought of was pork. Well, that should be easy, right? Wrong. Then I had to decide on whether I wanted to do a loin, or ribs, or sausage, or chops, etc... whew.

So, when I was getting frustrated by looking up too many things online, I decided to open my Food & Wine 2010 Annual Cookbook. Looking at their pictures always makes me drool. I flipped right to the pork section, and while it was still difficult to pick something, I decided on this Thai ground pork salad. I'm obsessed with Thai food right now (have been for a few years, actually), and we haven't done anything similar yet, so I thought it was perfect.

If you don't like heat, feel free to reduce or omit the jalapeño (duh). I hope you all enjoy!

Thai Ground Pork Salad

From Food & Wine Annual Cookbook, 2010 (pg. 170)

Total time: 40 min
6 servings

2 pounds ground pork
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 small shallots, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced, plus sliced jalapeño for garnish
Juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges for serving
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon Sriracha chile sauce, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped mint
1/2 cup chopped basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup chopped salted peanuts
1 head Boston or other leafy lettuce

In a bowl, mix the pork, garlic, shallots, and minced jalapeño. In a small bowl, whisk the lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, and the 1 teaspoon of Sriracha.

In a skillet, heat the oil. Add the pork mixture; cook over high heat, stirring to break up the meat, until no pink remains, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime mixture. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; stir in the herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Top with peanuts and sliced jalapeños. Serve with lime wedges, Sriracha, and lettuce for wrapping.

Pair a vivid, lightly sweet Riesling with this meal.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Burger Goodness!

I just need to start with a sidenote and say that I have yet to try a weekly recipe that I didn't like! This week's recipe was no different. The cucumber salad was awesome--I didn't measure so it was super lemony, but that balanced perfectly with the mint and the whole dressing was wonderfully creamy. Next time, I might try it with greek yogurt though instead of mayo which I think might thicken it a bit and add a little more tanginess. I also think this is a great, easy potluck salad--especially if I throw in just a little red onion!
I pretty much followed the recipe for the burgers on this one, except I didn't measure anything--I tend to just eyeball things. The only changes I made were that I used fresh garlic rather than dried and I mixed dry parsley with fresh cilantro because I didn't have any fresh parsley on hand and the combo was good. We also skipped the mini-burger part and just went ahead and made regular sized burgers. The burgers were great, though I think I overmixed them and then Ed over-grilled them a little because they were a little dry. This would have ruined a regular burger for me, but it didn't ruin these and the yummy cucumber salad made up for the missing juiciness in my burger. Ed liked them too, though he just had them on a regular roll and he said he would have liked me to add a little more spice to the meat, but it is always great when I get a thumbs up from the world's pickiest eater! We served them with corn on the cob, the rest of the salad, and some oven roasted potatoes...delicious!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Burgers & naan

This week's recipe is actually very similar to a dish Victor often makes, kebab & naan. But, he left me to my challenge and I got to do it my way.

I tried a trick for juicy meatballs from Michael Smith's spaghetti & meatball recipe from Chef at Home: I started with some bread crumbs (crumbled from one end slice of a whole wheat loaf) and added some milk. Victor usually doesn't do this step but I've been curious whether it really works. (I'll answer this question later.) Then I added all the seasoning (not really sure how much... but I think it was a LOT) and stirred in the beef. I also added an egg to help bind it all together.

Time for the trusty grill pan again.

In the meantime, Victor made his usual naan. It's just a simple white bread recipe, rolled out into flat pieces and grilled until it puffs up. He uses the pasta roller attachment on our KitchenAid mixer.

I made sort of a taco sandwich with the naan and served it with microwave steamed corn on the cob.

The mint in the cucumber salad totally made this dish for me. Between this and the Week 2 recipe, I've really developed an appreciation for fresh mint in cooking. I let the cucumber salad sit for so long that the cucumbers turned into pickles in the dressing. But that made it more awesome. Oh, I also used Miracle Whip in place of mayonnaise and added some lime juice.

I have to say - cucumbers aren't my favourite, but they were perfect with these burgers. And I'm not a big fan of foods in sandwich form, but with the thin naan, these sandwiches had a more than acceptable bread : stuff ratio.

I'm not sure how much seasoning I used but I'm pretty sure it was at least twice as much as the recipe called for. We like our meat well seasoned. Since I didn't measure, I felt that I made it a little unbalanced (too much cumin maybe), but Victor thought it was perfect. To each his own!

And the bread crumbs & milk trick? AMAZING. These were the juiciest burgers I've had in a long time.

Hooray for leftovers for lunch!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

Yum! I loved this recipe. I thought it was very simple to make. I used sundried tomatoes from a bag, like the kind you use on top of salads. I used to work for Olive Garden and they had a dish similar to this that I adored. I stuffed the chicken like a sandwich and did without the fancy presentation of slicing. Barry was disappointed there was not more (I only made 2 breasts). Served with dinner was a simple side of pasta and garlic. I will definitely keep this recipe on file.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Chicken, Artichoke, Tomatoes, Wine=Delicious!

I finally got around to this week's meal on Wednesday night. My brother-in-law and his girlfriend came over for dinner, so I decided that I would make the chicken for them! I thought the stuffing was pretty easy to make. I didn't really measure anything, just threw in the different ingredients and cooked until the wine was mostly cooked out and then added the cheese. Stuffing the chicken was harder than I thought it was going to be...but it probably would have helped if I had toothpicks rather than having to cut down wooden skewers which really weren't cooperating in the process. The stuffing was also a little oily from the oil the sundried tomatoes were in, but it wasn't noticeable once the chicken breasts were cooked.

I served the chicken with corn on the cob and corn chips with guacamole that my brother-in-law's girlfriend made...and of course, the rest of the wine! It was an odd little combination, but everything was tasty!

The best part was that I ended up with an extra breast to take for lunch the next day! Yum!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Epic Stuffing Fail

Um, wow, I really suck at stuffing chicken breasts!

Overall, I was a bit underwhelmed by this dinner.  I do, however, think that it's time cooking in the chicken mellowed out the stuffing a bit.  I think my issue is that I'm not a huge fan of sun dried tomatoes.  Derek thought it was pretty good, and ate two of the breasts, so, that's good!

I was going to serve this with steamed green beans, but time got away from me, so, it went on a bed of spinach.