Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No Recipe Today...

I've been traveling for a while, so I haven't been cooking much lately, but I have been scouring the Interwebs for new stuff to make once I get back home. You should definitely check back here in a week or two for some new stuff that I'm planning to make.

I don't want to post the recipes here without testing them first in my own kitchen, but just know that lots of them are sounding really yummy to me.

For the time being though, since I haven't shared anything in a while, I'll give you an idea of some things I've been eating in the past week.

AJ at Skyline...

Mmmmmmm. So yummy!

When we were in Ohio, AJ and I went to Skyline Chili (which for me, is a big treat, because we don't have any of them in Hometown, USA).

If you're ever in Ohio, go here.

Mmm. Salty Caramel for me and Wildberry Lavender for AJ.

We also went to Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream while we were in Ohio and got some of the most delicious ice cream I've ever eaten. When I told my Aunt we were going, her eyes got all big! Then when we got back, she had found an article about Jeni's in a magazine and tore it out for me. The article included a base recipe that Jeni's ice cream is made from. You can bet that as soon as I get home I'm going to test it out and then blog about it here, so you definitely want to stick around a few days!

Yummy pizza.

We've also had some Hometown, USA pizza, and several homemade meals as well. Tonight I'm making my Martha Stewart's Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms for dinner.

And that folks, is where I'm at right now. I promise there are fun things coming up, just nothing in the next week or so. I should be home a week from today, so mid-week next week should bring new and exciting recipes to this blog. See you then!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Zucchini Gratin

During the summer we always tend to have an excess of zucchini and yellow summer squash. These things grow like crazy and there are only so many loaves of zucchini bread you can eat before you want to leave the zucchini out in the garden for the animals! Here's another great way to use up some of that excess!

This is a super yummy side dish and it feeds a lot of people! You can thank Pat and Gina Neely for this one.

Neely's Zucchini Gratin

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 zucchini (or yellow squash), sliced into half moons 1/4-inch thick
2 plum tomatoes, chopped and seeded
1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Butter an 8 by 8-inch casserole dish.

  3. In a large heavy bottomed saute pan over medium heat, melt butter. Saute onion and garlic until translucent. Add zucchini and tomatoes, about 7 minutes Add thyme, and flour. Season with salt and pepper. Add mixture to the buttered casserole dish

  4. In a medium size bowl, add brown sugar, eggs, and half-and-half. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the milk mixture over the zucchini and sprinkle with both of the cheeses. Bake for 30 minutes.
Mmmm, mmm, mmmmm! Enjoy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Corn and Black Bean Salad

This is a yummy summer-time recipe! I whipped it up the other day and have been eating it for lunch and on chips for the past few meals. The best part about it is, you can add or omit ingredients based upon what you have in your pantry at any given time!

Corn and Black Bean Salad

1 c frozen (or fresh) corn kernals
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 small red onion, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 c diced tomatoes (optional)
1/2 c diced avocado (optional)
  1. In a bowl combine all ingredients and mix well.
I like to use the frozen corn and as it thaws it gives off a little water. You can add tomatoes and avocado for extra flavor, but I didn't have any. Trust me though, this is just as good without the extra ingredients if all you have is the corn and black beans.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Mama's Peach Cobbler

There are few recipes that remind me of childhood and summer more than My Mama's Peach Cobbler. Okay, so there are no recipes that remind me more of childhood and summer. I have vivid memories of working at the neighborhood swimming pool and having my mom bring this down for all us overworked lifeguards.

After a long day in the sun, we would sit around in the guard shack and eat this with spoons, directly from the bowl the way it is meant to be eaten. I know lots of people like to pair cobblers with ice cream, but do me a favor, just make this and eat it plain, right out of the bowl, and you'll understand.

My Mama's Peach Cobbler

1/4 c + 2 tbsp butter
2 c white sugar, divided
3/4 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
dash salt
3/4 c milk
2 c fresh sliced peaches

  1. Melt butter in glass Pyrex bowl (or any oven-safe mixing bowl).
  2. Mix together 1 c of the sugar, the flour, baking powder, salt, and milk. Pour over butter, DO NOT STIR.

  3. Combine peaches with remaining sugar (you may want to use less sugar, depending on how sweet your peaches are). Place on top of batter mixture (again, DO NOT STIR) and bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. When I made this last week it needed a FULL 60 minutes. Don't fear if the sugar is browning around the edges, its just more delish that way!

I had to call my mom for this recipe last summer and I never realized how easy it is to actually make it, but I think that is what makes it all the more magical.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chinese Style Green Beans

A yummy side dish to go along with Chinese food. I usually make these when I am serving my Ten-Minute Szechuan Chicken and rice. The entire meal is a big hit! Its definitely a healthy alternative to your regular Chinese take-out, which tends to be filled with sodium and other nasties.

1 tablespoon oil, peanut or sesame
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
  1. Heat peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the edges begin to brown, about 20 seconds. Add the green beans; cook and stir until the green beans begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar, oyster sauce, and soy sauce. Continue cooking and stirring for several minutes until the beans have attained the desired degree of tenderness.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ten-Minute Szechuan Chicken

I made this recipe one night when I was craving Chinese food. I try to limit the amount we order out because it gets expensive and its not very good for you. This was a great substitute for the little white take-out boxes filled with breaded meat and sodium!

I highly recommend making this next time you get a craving for Chinese. I usually serve it with white rice that I make with chicken broth instead of water (just gives it a little extra flavor) and Chinese green beans.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon white sugar
3 green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  1. Place the chicken and cornstarch into a bag or bowl, and toss to coat. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the chicken pieces and garlic, stirring constantly until lightly browned.

  2. Stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and water. Cover, and cook until the chicken pieces are no longer pink inside, 3 to 5 minutes.

  3. Stir in the green onion, and cayenne pepper, cook uncovered for about 2 more minutes. Serve over white rice.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cucumber Salad Recipes

In case you were on the look-out for more summer time recipes (who isn't) or perhaps you are just going through a cucumber phase like I am, here are a few different easy cucumber side-dish salads you can whip up and throw on the table during the summer!

Tangy Cukes and Onions

3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 c water
1/2 c white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 c white vinegar
  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
  2. When you start running low on veggies, slice more up and add them to the bowl.

  3. NOTE: You'll want to taste this before serving and adjust the ingredients based on your taste, I like it tangy, so you might want to add more sugar and water to yours.

Persian Cucumber Yogurt Salad

1 1/2 c plain yogurt
3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
5 tablespoons dried dill weed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, and shallot. Season with dill, salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to blend flavors.
Both of these are no-cook sides that go with just about any summer dinner you put on the table. Most recently I served the Tangy Cukes with Quiche and the Persian Cukes with Cheeseburgers, hot off the grill. You could even have "salad night" and just make a bunch of summer sides as your meal!

Enjoy, and stay cool, my friends!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cheese and Sausage Quiche

We have this for dinner a few times a month. D loves breakfast for dinner, and this is a great way for me to feel like we're eating a real meal and not just eggs. It is adapted from a recipe I originally found on AllRecpices.com, but I pretty much changed everything. Lots of times we just have the quiche, but I also like to serve it alongside a green salad.

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
1 lb ground breakfast sausage (we use the spicy kind)
1 large onion, chopped
2 c shredded cheese
5 eggs
1/2 c half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
  1. Spray pie dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread pie crust in dish and set aside.

  2. In a skillet, cook sausage until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add onion and saute until tender.

  3. Spread 1 c of shredded cheese in pie crust. Top with sausage and onion mixture. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of sausage. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

  4. In a bowl, whisk together eggs and half-and-half. Pour over the top of the pie. Place pie dish on cookie sheet to catch any spillage.

  5. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F; bake 30-35 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
Now, let's note that you could add veggies of some sort to the quiche, but why mess with the delicious harmony that is sausage, egg, and cheese? I mean, the combination is so classic that McDonald's named a sandwich after it. Don't mess with it.

If you really must get your veggies, serve them as a side to this fantastic dish!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Waldorf Salad with Grilled Chicken

This recipe is a family favorite, and we're having it tonight for dinner! We're big salad eaters, especially during the Summer months when the weather gets too hot to think about really cooking or baking. Don't tell anyone, but I've been known to make this one in the Winter too, I just cook the chicken on the stove or bake it in the oven.

You can switch out the apples for pears, if you like, but we like the crunch of the apple. You can obviously tweak the amount of each ingredient you add to match your own taste.

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
2 hearts of romaine lettuce
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 apples, chopped
1/2 c craisins
1/2 c pecans
1/4 c fresh goat cheese
raspberry vinaigrette (or other oil & vinegar based dressing)
  1. Season chicken with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook chicken on medium-hot grill or grill pan until juices run clear. Remove from heat and set aside.

  2. When chicken is cool enough to handle, slice into thin strips.

  3. Wash lettuce thoroughly and chop into bite size pieces. Top with green onions, apples, craisins, pecans, goat cheese, chicken and dressing. Toss to coat and serve immediately!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

I don't know about you, but every time we order Chinese food in our house we end up with an excess of white rice that just goes to waste. We have a few meals that we like to make to use up the rice, and this is one of the newest that I threw together a few weeks ago. The pictures are from the first time I made it, and I've made a few changes since then!

Cheese Chicken and Rice Casserole

2-3 chicken breasts
1 tsp olive oil
1 (14.5 oz) can cheddar cheese soup
1 (14.5 oz) can broccoli cheese soup
1/2-1 c milk (depending on how sticky your rice is)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1 head fresh broccoli (the second time I used frozen)
2 small takeout containers of cooked white rice
I forgot to take a picture before I cut the broccoli florets off the "tree."
  1. Slice raw chicken into bite sized pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large saute pan coated with olive oil, cook until no longer pink. Set aside.

  2. Whisk together soup, spices, and some of the milk until smooth. Steam broccoli in the microwave (or on the stove), add to soup mixture and then stir in rice.

  3. In a medium sized casserole dish, place chicken and top with rice mixture. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 15-30 minutes.
This is a good all-in-one dish that you can add pretty much anything to! The second time I made it, I had some zucchini and I threw that in with the chicken and a chopped onion and it was really good! Its a good way to get some extra veggies into your diet without feeling like you're eating like a rabbit.