Monday, October 31, 2005

Fettucine Alfredo

This recipe couldn't be simpler and it is soo tasty. It was tonight's comforting dinner.

It's a wonder some of my clothes are getting a little tight!

Fettucine Alfredo
Makes 4 Main Course or 6 First Course Servings
Williams Sonoma Pasta Cookbook

1 1/2 Cups Heavy/Double Cream
5 TB Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt & Ground Pepper
Fresh Grated Nutmeg

1 lb Fettuccine, dry/fresh-whatever!

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over high heat, bring cream and butter to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 minute. Add 6 TB of the Parmesan and whisk over low heat until smooth, about 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and season with salt & pepper to taste and a generous pinch of nutmeg. (Be judicious with the salt. The Parmesan is itself salty, and too much added salt will throw this creamy, sweet sauce out of balance.)

Generously salt the boiling water, add the pasta and cook until al dente, timing based on the package instructions. Drain pasta well. Put the pasta in a warmed large, shallow bowl. Pour on the sauce and sprinkle with 6 more TB of the cheese. Toss well. Serve immediately. Pass the remaining cheese at the table.

I like to have some protein with my pasta. I saute up some chicken, cut into bit sized pieces, toss with a little olive oil, salt and some spices, usually when I'm in a hurry it's just a little Mrs. Dash. Let sit for a bit to get a good sear on the chicken. Serve on top of the pasta/sauce!

If you haven't had or used fresh nutmeg, I highly recommend it. The fragrance of the freshly grated nutmeg is unmatched. The grated stuff you get at the store is very bland by comparison. I do have trouble finding nutmeg at a regular grocery. If you have a whole foods store you should be able to find the nutmeg there, or you might find it in your regular grocery, if you have larger International Food section...don't know why it's there. If you buy the fresh nutmeg, they are small, about the size of an acorn. You can keep using the same one nutmeg for a long time. Just make sure to keep it in an airtight container, away from the heat of the mistake!

Artichoke Dip

Terri in WI had this at a work function last week and everyone is at her office is raving about it, so the person who made it sent the recipe around. Terri forwarded to me and I've put it here. Enjoy.

Artichoke Dip
1 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Combine above ingredients and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

*I don't recommend using reduced fat mayo or sour cream as it tends to separate.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Truffle Brownies

Actually, let's call these SIN.

There is a new show on the Food Network, I can't think of the name of the show, but it is the result of a viewer participation thing...American Food Idol? The show is PARTY LINE. The hosts/chefs are this gay couple who use to be caterers.

I watched them make this decadent brownie and new I had to try it. Of course, I would have all the ingredients on hand...!

Truffle Brownies
Recipe courtesy Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 8 brownies

2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick margarine
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Chocolate ganache for topping, recipe follows

Special equipment: 9-inch round foil cake pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Using a hand held electric mixer, beat the eggs and salt together in a large mixing bowl until frothy. Add the sugar and beat until the eggs are thick and pale yellow, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and beat an additional 30 seconds.

Put the margarine and chocolate in a microwave safe container and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir to insure that the chocolate has melted. Microwave an additional 30 seconds, if needed.

With the mixer running, pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture. Add the flour and beat 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat an additional 30 seconds.

Spray the cake pan with a pan release spray and pour in the brownie batter. Place the pan on the top rack of the oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes until the center is barely set.* Remove the pan from the oven and let cool. Top with the ganache and place in the freezer for at least 1 hour.

To serve, remove from freezer and slice immediately. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

*Cook's Note: If tested with a toothpick the center will still be gooey. If tested by touch, the center will be soft. It will set once frozen.

Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 cup (4 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream

Put the chocolate chips and cream into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove the bowl and stir with a whisk or fork until well mixed. Use immediately. If using the ganache later it will need to be reheated.

Yield: 3/4 cup

Ooops, I used chocolate chips for the brownie batter...ooops. I'm not sure how it affected the dish, outside of being way more sweet than it should have been.

I baked my brownies in a regular glass pan. I needed to bake them for an extra 5 minutes, I should have gone another 10-15.

And I used butter...why bother with margarine. I haven't had that for about 12 years.

Ginger Scones

Another gem I found while cleaning today. If you haven't tried the Ginger Scones at Teaism, I highly recommend it. This is their recipe, ssshhhh, don't tell anyone. This is a pretty easy recipe, but do becareful not to overwork the dough.

Ginger Scones

yields 12 Scones

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 TB sugar
1/2 tsp dried ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
4 TB, unsalted butter, cut into pea sized cubes
2 oz. chopped, crystallized ginger
3/4 Cup milk

1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tsp cold water to make an egg wash

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

You can mix by hand or with a food processor/mixer, but be careful not to over blend--creating tough/chewy scones.

Put the seven dry ingredients in a bowl and add the butter. Blend the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles a course cornmeal. Some large pieces of butter should remain, this will make your scones light and fluffy. If you are using a processor, pulse briefly. Stir in the chopped, crystallized ginger. Add the milk and work quick with a fork to incorporate. The dough should be soft and slightly moist.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and gently pag down until it stands about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 12 triangles. Put onto an ungreased baking sheet. Brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle with some sugar. Bake for twelve minutes until golden. Let cool.

UPDATE 10/8/06: Click here for photos and notes.

Cream of Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup

A few-two/three-years ago I went to a tasting for a donor dinner at a hotel in DC. One of the options we tasted was Cream of Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup. It was awesome. A quick search back at my desk yielded about five recipes that all seemed really good. This is a mixture of all of those.

PS: All the times I've made this, it is devoured!

Cream of Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup

2 1/2 lbs Red Bell Pepper
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 TB Olive Oil
1 Cup, Shallots, diced
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 TB thyme, fresh or dried
1 TB oregano, fresh or dried
3 Cups, or more, canned broth (Vegetable or Chicken)

1/2 Cup of Cream
2 tsp, red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp, cayenne pepper

Char peppers over gas flame or in a broiler until blackened on all sides. Place in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap or wrap in a paper bag. Let stand 10-20 minutes, this cooling period will make it easier to peel the peppers.

Peel, seed and slice the peppers.

Heat oil in heavy, large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, thyme and oregano, saute for three minutes. Add 3 cups of broth, vinegar, cayenne pepper, tomatoes and all the roasted peppers. Simmer uncovered until peppers are very soft, about twenty minutes.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return to the same pot. Add cream. Rewarm soup, thinning with additional broth if needed. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

I like to also serve with some thin strips of sauteed chicken breast, for a little added protein.

Serves about four.

UPDATE 9/15/06: Click here for pictures of the peppers 'roasting.'


Who wouldn't eat a dish prepared
with sauteed onions, garlic,
and...a little bacon?

--Ethan Becker, one of the authors of The Joy of Cooking

Cranberry Kickin' Apple Pickin' Chicken

Ha ha ha! This is another recipe that I found today from way back in the day. The last time I made this I was blitzed off my rocker on Cosmos that my roommate, Doug, made for me! BLITZED!

The short story of this recipe is: I heard somewhere, and it could be false, that Apples and Onions are in the same flora family. And I said, Apples and Cranberries are good together, so therefore, Onions should go together. And voila! I put them all together with chicken and it was tasty yum yum. However, the last time I made it, remember, when I was blitzed....I messed something up and everything ended up really really pink.

Cranberry Kickin' Apple Pickin' Chicken

1lb Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast
2 Apples, peeled and diced
1 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
1 large Onion, diced
10 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 TB butter
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
2T Honey
2T Brown Sugar
Water (maybe a cup or so)
spicy season salt type of thing

Marinate chicken with onions, garlic, olive oil, craisins, apples, salt and pepper, honey and brown sugar for 4 hours (NOTE—generally, half of the ingredients are used as marinade and the rest in the cooking, except Honey & Brown Sugar.)

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil, until translucent, set aside. Add chicken and saute until nearly cooked through, set aside. Add water and craisins & apples, simmer and reduce, add butter and garlic/onion mixture. Return chicken, cook through.

Salt and Pepper to taste

Dash of BAM

Serve with long grain & wild rice, corn and bread, garnish with more craisins and apples

NOTE: I remember rinsing the craisins in warm water, the packaged ones I used seem to have a bit of a waxy covering...?

It's really tasty! When I make it again, I'll make sure to double check everything and note that here.

Wild Rice Soup

I was cleaning today and found many recipes from my younger years....they are funny, most of them are in the trash. Sorry, no need to laugh when I'm rich and famous.

Here is one of the recipes. I know I've made it and I made it a few times, but not in the last 6 years...minimum. So any recollection of what worked and what didn't are out the door until I try again.

This is a nice hearty soup for the fall.

Wild Rice Soup

Servings: Unknown, can't remember

1 cup cooked, cubed chicken
3 TB Butter
3 TB Flour
1/2 cup of celery, diced, medium pieces
1/2 cup carrot, diced, medium pieces
1/2 medium onion, diced, medium pieces
Salt & Pepper, to taste
2 cups milk
1 can broth, chicken or veg
1 cup wild rice, cooked

Melt butter and over medium high heat, saute onion, celery and carrot until tender. Sprinkle the flour over evenly. Add the broth, whisking. It will thicken pretty quickly. Add the milk, stir until thickened, add the rice and chicken. Heat until warmed through.

Easy right? From what I remember it was. For some people, it might be nice to try some other hearty fall veg, or mushrooms. I'm guessing it will be two to four servings. Make sure when you cook your wild rice to season it appropriately. If I remember correctly, the rice was the most bland thing in this when I made all those years ago.

One Click Recipe List

Make sure to check out the new ONE CLICK recipe listing page. There are enough recipes now that it's a pain to try to search for them. Go to the right side of the page and under the external links, there it is. Let me know if you have any suggestions for improvement.

Also let me know if you find any broken links or links to different pages.


Friday, October 28, 2005

Giving Thanks to Butter!

I mentioned earlier that Thanksgiving is the high holy day for me. It is the holiday when I place the buttersticks, not Butterstick..., on the pedestal and worship.

My first two steps are complete for Thanksgiving 2005. The guest list is done and the menu is selected.

Roasted Turkey--last year we did a Kosher bird, I think we will again this year
Onion & Sage Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Candied Sweet Potatoes
Collard Greens
Baked Corn Casserole
Gingered Carrots
Green Bean Almandine
Drunken Cranberries-Mmmm, bourbon

Generic Brown & Serve rolls--everything else is homemade-give me a break

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
Pumpkin Bars
Basic Pumpkin Pie

If I was a litte more insane, I would add pumpkin risotto and pumpkin ravioli, just to round out the gourd food category, but I'm going to stick to tradition and keep pumpkin in the desserts this year.

I'm not doing an Apple Pie, which was also tradition in my family, so I think the "apple" will work it's way into the meal as either Apple Cinnamon Martinis or Caramel Apple Martinis? What's your choice?

There will also be Beaujolais Nouveau!

Stayed tuned for recipes and updates.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Lists of Seven

The folks at DC Food Blog have requested a response on their recent post, answering the following questions. Here they are!

7 things I want to make before I die:
1. Paella—no reason really, I just feel it would be challenging
2. Homemade Sausage
3. More veggies—I hear they are good for you
4. My own curry spice blend
5. Applesauce—J & T have made me jealous
6. Cheddar Cheese
7. Braised Firecracker Pork—one of the only dishes I’ve had at a restaurant and can’t figure out how to recreate, getting there though!

7 things I cannot do in the kitchen:
1. Carve a bird; turkey, chicken or otherwise
2. Sharpen knives
3. Quickly and properly chop an onion—that scar will last a long time
4. My rice never, ever comes out right!
5. Clams/Mussels/Oysters—not that I can’t, but I won’t.
6. Make a sublime cupcake—one that makes you cry with happiness & joy
7. Grow herbs in the kitchen—they always die when I have them indoors…outside, they are fine.

7 things that attract me to the kitchen:
1. The color Yellow, the day I get to design my own kitchen, it will be yellow!
2. Aromatic spices
3. My Kitchen-Aid, my child, my love, my precious
4. Freshly ground coffee
5. Pumpkin, it’s not just for pies! Must make Pumpkin Risotto SOON!
6. Cookie Jar—if I had one
7. Fresh Rosemary, Thyme & Ginger

7 things that I say most often in the kitchen:
1. It’s not ruined yet.
2. What’s for dinner?
3. I’ll only have one, thank you.
4. Mmm, it’s sooo good.
5. Taste this!
6. Why can’t I make rice properly?
7. Butter is good for you, right?

7 celebrity crushes in the food world:
1. Nigella Lawson—good one
2. Paula Deen
3. Alton Brown
4. Martha, yes Martha—can you imagine having access to that kitchen?
5. Julia Child
6. Betty Crocker—she’s held up well over the years!
7. Tyler Florence—but I don’t think that would be for the food

What am I missing?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Beaujolais Nouveau

It's almost that time of year when the newest batch of Beaujolais Nouveau is released. By law the wine is not allowed to be released before the third Thursday of November. This year that happens to be November 17, a week before Thanksgiving.

I've had good bottles, I've had ass bottles and I've had amazing bottles. You never really know what it's going to be, but each year it is something I look foward to. I think last year, or the year before I bought at least a half a case.

I hope to hear about all your experiences with the Beaujolais from years past and this year! One of the largest producers, Georges Dubœuf, is saying this year's vintage is going to be really great. Take that with a grain of salt.

Generally, I find bottles of Georges Dubœuf Beaujolais Nouveau for around $10. A good value.


Monday, October 24, 2005

Sesame Orange Shrimp

This is what we're having for dinner tonight. We'll let you know how it goes.

Sesame Orange Shrimp
Everyday Food

Serves 4

2 large egg whites
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ cup sesame seeds
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1-1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup vegetable oil, plus more if needed
1 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

1. In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites, cornstarch, sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until frothy. Add shrimp, and toss to coat.

2. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in two or three batches, cook shrimp until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Add more oil to skillet if necessary for remaining batches.

3. Wipe skillet with a paper towel. Add orange juice, soy sauce, and sugar. Boil over high heat until syrupy and reduced to about 1/3 cup, 4 to 5 minutes. Return shrimp to skillet; add scallions, and cook until heated through and coated with sauce, about 1 minute.


Hello all,

Today is october 24, 2005. In 31 days it will be Thanksgiving, November 24, 2005.

31 Days.

Never to early to starting thinking about what you can prepare.

If you celebrate Thanksgiving with friends or family, consider preparing at least on item you can bring. Let me know if you have questions or need ideas. I'd be happy to help. Stay tuned and I start to post what I'll be case you don't know me very well, Thanksgiving is my High Holy favorite Holiday...I look forward to doing the whole shabang!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Ray Ray

My little Ray Ray! A nice article and a little history on our Rachel Ray in the New York Times.

-Thanks Sterfanie for sending me the link...I would have missed it otherwise.

PS: Folks, I'm almost back to a regular schedule. Hopefully that means some new recipes soon! Hang in there.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Contributed Recipe: Risotto, Chicken & Sauce

Contributed by: Lady Brandenburg

From Rachel Ray’s book “Cookin’ Round the Clock
“Not Just Another Chicken and Rice Dinner”


2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic (we used 2 cloves)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup Arborio rice (we used our regular Jasmine rice)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
½ cup dry white wine
3-4 cups chicken broth (I use 100% fat free)
¼ to 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (we used fresh grated Parmigiano only)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh-leaf parsley (we had none – stupid Giant was out of it!)
1 cup tiny frozen peas, thawed

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil then garlic and onion and sauté, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes. Add rice and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook another minute or so, then add wine and cook until wine is completely absorbed, 30 seconds. Add about 1 cup of broth and stir. Reduce heat to medium and cook until broth is absorbed, stirring often. Continue adding ½ cup of broth each time liquid becomes completely absorbed, stirring all the while. Use as much broth as is necessary to result in creamy, slightly chewy rice; this should take about 22 minutes. (Note: we had to cover the rice to get it to cook all the way through so it was chewy and not “crunchy.”) Work on chicken while rice continues to cook; recipe follows.

When rice is cooked to desired consistency, remove from heat and stir in cheese, parsley, and peas and stir to combine and to heat peas through.

Yield: 4 servings. (We ate about 2/3 of it, so had about 1/3 left over).


2 pounds chicken cutlets (we used a 1 and ½ pound package, so we ¾’d most of the rest of this recipe)
Salt and ground pepper
3-4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/3 to ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (as indicated above, we used fresh grated Parmigiano)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (we used a little more)
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning (we used Montreal chicken seasoning)
1 clove garlic
1 jar (3 ounces) pine nuts (pignoli) (we couldn’t find these at Giant, so we didn’t use them and didn’t miss them)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
Olive oil, for frying
1 plum tomato, seeded and finely chopped, for garnish (hubby doesn’t like tomatoes, so we didn’t use any)

1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
½ cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (Giant didn’t have parsley, so we used fresh thyme)
Juice of ½ lemon (we used a little more, mainly because what are you gonna do with the other half?)
Salt and ground pepper to taste
½ cup extra virgin olive oil (I think we ended up using a little more)

Season cutlets with salt and pepper on both sides. Place flour in a shallow dish (we used a dinner plate) and turn cutlets lightly in flour.

Combine bread crumbs, cheese, red pepper flakes, poultry seasoning, garlic, pine nuts, and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse-process to evenly mix (we just turned the food processor on and left it on). Transfer to a plate. Beat eggs in a separate shallow dish (we used another plate).

Heat a thin layer of oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan, in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Coat cutlets in eggs then breading and place in hot oil. Cook cutlets in a single layer, in 2 batches if necessary, until breading evenly browned and cutlets’ juices run clear, 3 to 4 minutes on each side (for us this took a lot longer – we ended up covering the pan with foil to allow the cutlets to cook more thoroughly – they were still juicy). Remove to a plate and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Make the sauce: Return food processor bowl to base and add basil, parsley and lemon juice. (Again, we didn’t have parsley, but the basil, lemon and oil is still really tasty on its own). Add a little salt and pepper. Turn processor on and stream in oil until a loose paste forms.

Serve chicken cutlets with a generous topping of the sauce. Garnish with tomato.

Yield four servings. (For two of us, we ate two out of the three cutlets which was about 1 and ½ pounds of chicken).

This is SO YUMMY!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Contributed Recipe: Sweet Ginger Stir Fry

Contributed by: Dancer In DC

Sweet Ginger Stir-Fry
serves 2-3

All these measurements are approximates, as stir-fry is the one thing I cookwithout following a recipe! The "main" part of the dish (meat and vegetables)can be changed easily - use whatever you like. Tofu? Broccoli? Waterchestnuts? Knock yourself out! See below for some basic guidlines.

The sauce:
2 Tbsp canola oil (vegetable, peanut, or macadamia would work also)
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp toasted seasame oil
1/2 tsp fish sauce (optional, just adds a touch of salty flavor)
1/2 cup broth (I used beef, but chicken or vegetable would be fine)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 piece of ginger root, minced (about the size of your thumb)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water
salt and pepper

Coat the bottom of your wok (or deep sautee pan) with the canola oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is "shimmering" add the onion. Saute until the onions are translucent and slightly brown. Add the vingear, soy, seasame oil, fish sauce, and broth. Stir constantly for a minute, then stir in the sugar until dissolved. Add the garlic and ginger and keep the sauce moving. Then add a cornstarch slurry (simply mix the starch and water in another bowl before adding). Continue stirring until sauce is thick and hot. Give it a quick taste, and add salt and pepper as desired. Reserve the sauce to a bowl.

The stir-fry: Add another 2 Tbsp canola oil to the pan over medium-high heat. Make sure to deglaze the plan from any remaining sauce. Once the oil is very hot, add 2 chicken breasts cut into 1/2" pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute until browned. Add one small chopped jalapeno pepper and stir. Next add vegetables one at a time. Between each addition, stir everything up for a minute, then cover and let steam for two minutes. You should add vegetables from hardest to softest. So thick vegetables like carrots and broccoli should go first, soft vegetables like pea pods should go last. After steaming the last vegetable, add the bowl of sauce. Saute for another 2 minutes, adding additional broth if necessary to thin out the sauce. Make sure everything is well coated. Steam for 2 minutes, and then serve immediately. I served this with jasmine rice, which was delicious. But you could use chow mein noodles, rice noodles, or whatever you prefer.

Contributed Recipe: Chicken & Broccoli

Contributed by: Lady Brandenburg

Another successful recipe from Weight Watchers website . This is Chicken and Broccoli in Garlic Sauce. Non-dieting hubby loved it. I adjusted the recipe by:

1) using 6 garlic cloves instead of three

2) using white Jasmine rice because I haven’t entered the world of brown rice yet

3) using Mrs. Dash instead of thyme

4) adding about 2-3 tablespoons of Hoisin sauce to the whole thing because I just can’t make Chinese food without it

5) added another thing I now add to all Chinese food – about two tablespoons of the garlic and hot red pepper relish (can’t remember the actual name for this stuff, but it makes anything garlicky and spicy!).

I ate the suggested half cup of rice and one cup of the chicken/broccoli/sauce, and with the exception of sneaking a few bits of chicken while storing the leftovers, it was plenty filling. And this is yet another dish that needs no side dish – it’s a meal in itself.

2 tsp olive oil
3 medium garlic clove(s), minced, or more to taste
1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp dried thyme, or 2 tbsp fresh minced thyme, or to taste
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cup broccoli, florets
1 1/2 cup canned chicken broth, reduced-sodium
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 cup cooked brown rice, kept hot

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Season chicken with thyme, salt and pepper and add to skillet. Cook until browned on all sides, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes.

2. Add broccoli to skillet, cover and cook 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of broth, cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

3. Dissolve cornstarch in remaining 1/2 cup of broth and add mixture to skillet. Simmer until mixture thickens, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Serve over rice.

Yields about 1 cup of chicken mixture and 1/2 cup of rice per serving.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Contributed Recipe: Mahogany Beef Stew With Red Wine and Hoisin Sauce

Contributed by: MCB

I have another recipe referral for you. This one is cribbed from Bon Appetit magazine, which really should be the bible for every foodie. It's one of my favorite cold- weather dinners - when served over horseradish mashed potatoes with a glass of Cabernet or Shiraz, it truly is paradise.

Some recommendations: I highly recommend serving it with a tart or spicy starch, since that helps cut the hoisin-induced sweetness of the stew itself. I usually skip the packaged stew meat and purchase a better cut of beef, then chop the meat a bit smaller than is called for in the recipe (I like my stew meat to be nice and tender when it's done cooking). I also add more carrots- but I really, really like carrots.

Mahogany Beef Stew With Red Wine and Hoisin Sauce
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed, cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs,undrained
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 bay leaves
1 pound slender carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into1-inch lengths
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

*Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over high heat.
*Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper.
*Add meat to pot; sauté until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.
*Push meat to sides of pot.
*Reduce heat to medium; add 2 tablespoons oil to pot.
*Add onions; sauté until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
*Mix meat into onions.
*Add 1 cup wine, tomatoes with juices, hoisin sauce, and bay leaves.
*Bring to boil.
*Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
*Add carrots and 1 cup wine.
*Cover; simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
*Uncover, increase heat to high; boil until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes longer.
*Reduce heat to medium, add corn starch mixture and simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
*Discard bay leaves.
*Season stew with salt and pepper.

(Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before serving, stirring occasionally.) Transfer stew to large bowl. Sprinkle with parsley; serve.

Bon cuisine!

UPDATE: Photo post here.

Contributed Recipe: Chicken Breasts Stuffed With Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Contributed by: MCB

I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes, which I stole from the totally marvelous Cooking Light magazine.

The chicken makes a great meal served with sides of orzo and wilted spinach. The filling smells *delicious* while cooking, and I've found it also works really well in portabello mushroom caps and on baked potatoes (for our vegetarian friends) - make a double batch and save some for later.

[PS: Saw your post on whole wheat pasta. I highly recommend Barilla Plus- it has some of the benefits of whole wheat, without that chewy cardboard-like texture.]

Chicken Breasts Stuffed With Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped shallots, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water

*Combine boiling water and tomatoes in a bowl; coverand let stand 30 minutes or until soft.
*Drain and finely chop.
*Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
*Add 1/3 cup shallots, sugar, and garlic; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently.
*Spoon into a bowl; stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar.
*Combine chopped tomatoes, shallot mixture, cheese, basil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring well. *Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket.
*Stuff about 2 tablespoons cheese mixture into each pocket.
*Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper.
*Heat 1 teaspoon oil in pan over medium-high heat.
*Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.
*Remove chicken from pan; cover and keep warm.
*Add broth, remaining shallots, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and thyme; bring to a boil.
*Combine cornstarch and water, stirring with a whisk.
*Add cornstarch mixture to pan; bring to a boil.
*Cook 1 minute or until sauce is slightly thick, stirring constantly.
*Serve sauce over chicken.

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Contributed Recipe: Mexican Lasagna

Contributed by Lady Brandenburg:

This is another Weight Watchers recipe from their website. It’s sort of a Mexican Lasagna. It’s a nice little change from the same old tacos we usually make. I adjusted the recipe by adding taco seasoning to the turkey, using regular flour tortillas and by adding toppings at the end like fat free sour cream. If you are not counting calories, use regular cheese, but I think reduced fat cheese tastes just like real cheese in a recipe like this. We made this is a regular sized rectangular baking dish, not a pie plate. Again, my non-dieting husband LOVED this and it’s another recipe that is so filling, you don’t really need any side dishes with it, and also is not too bad left over.

1 serving cooking spray (5 one-second sprays per serving)
3/4 pound uncooked ground turkey breast
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp chili powder
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup fat-free skim milk
4 oz canned jalapeno peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 large burrito-size wheat flour tortillas
3 cup tomatoes, chopped
2 oz low-fat cheddar or colby cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup) FOR FILLING
1/2 oz low-fat cheddar or colby cheese, shredded (about 2 tablespoons) FOR TOPPING

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium heat. Place turkey, onion and chili powder in skillet and cook until turkey is browned, stirring occasionally to crumble meat, about 8 minutes. Remove turkey mixture from skillet and set aside.

2. Place skillet over medium-high heat and add flour. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.

3. Remove skillet from heat; stir in turkey mixture, jalapenos and cumin.

4. Wrap tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave on HIGH until softened, about 15 seconds. Place 1 tortilla in bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Spread 1/3 of turkey mixture over tortilla. Spoon 1 cup of tomato on top and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of cheese. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients ending up with 2 tablespoons of cheese.

5. Cover pie plate with aluminum foil and cook until cheese melts, about 15 minutes. Let stand, covered, 2 minutes before cutting into 6 wedges.


Contributed Recipe: Sheperd's Pie

Contributed by Lady Brandenburg:

This is a Weight Watchers recipe. My non-dieting husband LOVED this. If you are not counting calories, you can use real butter, sour cream, ground lamb or beef, etc. Also, I think everyone has their own way of making mashed potatoes, so for that part of the recipe, if you have your own homemade mashed potato technique, use it. I used a ton of “I Can’t Believe It’s not Butter” in my potatoes and it really does make them taste buttery. What I liked most about this is that it feels like comfort food – and it’s filling so you really don’t need to make anything else with it. It’s a one dish meal and makes for some really yummy leftovers.

2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1 Tbsp reduced-calorie margarine
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
2 medium stalk celery, diced
1 pound uncooked ground turkey breast
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp rosemary, fresh, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cup canned chicken broth, or beef broth

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
2. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and pour in enough water to cover potatoes. Set pan over high heat and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain potatoes, transfer to a large bowl and add sour cream and margarine; mash until smooth, season to taste with salt and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery; cook 3 minutes, until soft. Add turkey and cook 5 minutes, until browned, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Add flour, rosemary, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper; stir to coat. Add broth and bring to a simmer; simmer 3 minutes, until mixture thickens.
4. Transfer turkey mixture to a 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate. Spread mashed potatoes over top and using the back of a spoon, make decorative swirls over the top. Bake 30 minutes, until potatoes are golden. Slice into 6 pieces and serve.

Weight Watchers renovated Shepherd's Pie by:
Using turkey breast instead of lamb or beef.
Swapping nonfat sour cream for most of the butter in the mashed potato topping.
Adding reduced-calorie margarine, instead of butter, to the mashed potatoes.



I've been really busy for the past few weeks and will remain so for the next few. Ugh. That said, I'm not going to really have the time to prepare the way I normally do for the blog and testing new recipes.

This is where you all come in!!!

I'd like to ask the readers to submit to me via email a favorite recipe and any notes or stories you have on it. Or if you have kitchen tips! I will then post them here for all to enjoy.

You can find my email is the description at the top of this page in the description of the blog, it is spelled out to foil those evil spammers!

Look forward to hearing from you. I will continue to post my own stuff over the next three/four weeks as best I can.

Many Thanks,