Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April Recipe Summary

This month's recipe theme was Garlic which I think we all found out is harder to make then we thought. Like Heidi said in her post I cook with garlic all the time so it was hard to find something that was a true garlic recipe.

Heidi: Three Cheese Pizza (using garlic cheddar cheese)
Jenn: Garlicky Green Beans
Michelle: Aioli Sauce

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chicken Enchiladas

I decided to make my Cinco de Mayo recipe early since had all the ingredients in the house. I have another recipe picked out that might try as well (churros) if I have time.

Chicken Enchiladas

4 skinless chicken breast
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pint sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
8 flour tortillas
1 jar taco sauce
3/4 cup cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. In a medium, non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook chicken until no longer pink and juices run clear. Drain excess fat, Cube the chicken and return it to the skillet. Add onion, sour cream, cheddar cheese, oregano and pepper. Heat until cheese melts. Stir in salt, tomato sauce, water, chili powder, green pepper and garlic.

3. Roll even amounts of the mixture in the tortillas. Arrange in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover with taco sauce and 3/4 cup cheddar cheese. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

My Review: This recipe was easy to make and tasted great. I did a few things different. I first cut the recipe in half since it was just the two of us. I also shredded the chicken instead of dicing it and used garlic salt instead of a clove of garlic. I would definitely make this again.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge: Cheesecake pops

I was really excited about this month's challenge because it was one of those things that if I was able to pull it off would make a great addition to any party. Cheesecake pops was this month's challenge hosted by Elle – Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah – Taste and Tell .

Unfortunately or fortunately this month (for once in my life) I had every weekend booked up with activities for myself and/or with family. So the only time I had was at the very beginning of the month to complete this challenge. I did complete it but it was a failure...but if failure taste this good bring it on more often.

I was really pressed for time which is why I didn't allow my cheesecake to bake as long as it should have. The recipe (which you can find on either of the challenge host blogs) stated to bake the cheesecake for 35-45 minutes...well I had it in there for at least 1 hour. Since I was doing this late at night and was super tired I took it out of the oven and thought it would set more in the refrigerator.

It did not and I was stuck with some really nice set cheesecake and cheesecake soup for the rest of it. So I put my thinking cap on and figured out a way to "mold" the pops...I used the mini cupcake papers I had and put the cheesecake in that, froze them for the 2 hours, put the sticks in them, and then dipped it in chocolate. The only thing is you have to keep them in the freezer or they turn back to soup if you leave them out.

The only other problem I had with this recipe was the 8" sticks that needed to be inserted into them. I had a really hard time getting myself enough freezer space to accommodate a cookie sheet and on top of that to get enough space for the 8" really was a comedy of errors for me on this challenge.

The idea for decorating the pops was to make it like a turtle...chocolate, caramel and nuts.

Review: The recipe for the cheesecake is really easy, fast and delicious which I would make again. Knowing that I will have to bake it for a lot longer then the recipe states. Making them into cheesecake pops I don't think I would make again...and if I do maybe I can buy a pre-made cheesecake and try it that way.

Friday, April 18, 2008

April Recipe (Kind of): Three Cheese Pizza

Ok so Garlic is April's theme. Which turns out harder than I thought to find a recipe I want to try. I think it's because I always cook with garlic. I made something the other night and Mike was like "Oh look, you used garlic....that's right April is cook everything with garlic month", but I guess I do cook with garlic a lot. It's one of those herbs/spices that when you're cooking and you want to add a little flavor to the dish...just add some garlic.

If you read the post below you'll see that we went to the King Arthur Flour Company to take a class on how to make pasta. Well the day before the class we went shopping in their store. Oh the fun we had. It was like three kids in a candy store. Well at one point I had a the classic pizza crust mix in my basket and Italian Style Flour in my basket...I was like I don't need both. But I was like hey who knows when I'll be back again I'm getting both. Boy am I glad I did!! I've been wanting to make pizza for a while and I figure with either of them I can. So tonight I made pizza with the help from the Classic Pizza Crust Mix.

Three Cheese Pizza With Peppers

1 Classic Pizza Crust Mix
(mixture requires you to add 2 Tbs of oil, 1 1/4 cup warm water and 1 1/4 ts salt)
4 oz of Grafton Village Garlic Cheddar Cheese
6 oz of Mozzarella cheese
2 oz of Parmesan cheese
1 green pepper
Pizza sauce

1. Preheat over to 425
2 .Prepare crust mix according to directions on the package and allow crust to rise for 20-25 minutes.

3. Spread sauce, cheese and peppers onto crust and bake for 17 minutes.


My Review: Yummy!! Yummy!! Yummy!! This was very easy to make. The one thing the pasta class taught me (besides how to make pasta) was how to tell when dough is supple after kneading. The directions on the package was to mix the dough until supple. So, I used my Kitchen Aid Mixture with the dough hook attachment and first I was like um is this right, but as the mixer continued to "knead" the dough you could see it changing into the supple dough I needed. I then skip one of the steps and just spread it onto an oiled 12x17 baking sheet with sides. Which was easier than I thought it would be. The rest is history. King Arthur definitely makes a quality product. I would definitely buy it again. Oh and the cheese was also bought on our weekend adventure. We had stopped there on our way and sampled about 5-7 types of cheese. Yummm cheese...Mike always asks me if I was a mouse in a former never know!

April Recipe: Aioli Sauce

When I have been thinking of what to make for my April recipe for a couple of weeks now. I cook with garlic a lot and enjoy the different taste it can take on. It is also the center of some great memories I have involving my husband...who loves eating garlic.

The first memory is one of our first wedding anniversary when we decided to celebrate it at The Franconia Inn in New Hampshire. Our stay included meals at their restaurant which was really great and I remember all the food being amazing. The one of many things that impressed us was with dinner when they gave a little dish of olives with olive oil and it had roasted garlic in it as well. It was just that extra little something added that made it very enjoyable. The roasted garlic was nice and mellow/sweet and so nicely spreadable on our bread.

The second memory just makes me laugh thinking about it and it is something I will not let Mike live down because it is just that funny. Mike decided one night he wanted garlic bread to go along with his meal. I don't know how many cloves of garlic he chopped up but it probably could have covered a whole loaf of bread. He put all that garlic on two piece of normal sized bread. It had to be at least a half of an inch high of garlic and I warned him that it was a lot of garlic. He was like I love garlic I can handle it...and proceeded to toast it in the oven. To make a long story short...he couldn't handle it and smelled of garlic for a good day or so. He was only able to make it through the first half of the first piece before he accepted the fact that it was a lot of garlic.

The recipe that I made for this month is something that I have been wondering about and curious about for a while now.

Aioli Sauce

2 large egg yolks
4 to 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
salt and ground white pepper to taste
1 cup olive oil, at room temperature
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cold water

- Whisk together in a medium bowl until smooth and light the egg yolks, garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Whisk oil in by drops until the mixture starts to thicken and stiffen. As the sauce begins to thicken, which in the oil more steadily, making sure each addition is thoroughly blended, before adding the next. Gradually whisk in the lemon juice and water.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately or refrigerate in a jar for 1 to 2 days.

Review: The above recipe is the full version but I cut it in half because I didn't want to have a cup of it for only 2 people. It was really easy to make and next time I think I will try it in the food processor or blender because my arm got really tired from whisking. I think I will also cut back on the garlic a little bit because it was Mike level garlic flavor and it was all I tasted for a while. I made meatloaf with boiled potatoes and green peas. I mixed in the aioli into my potatoes and it was really yummy! This sauce would be very perfect with any meat or fish dish and it would give it that little extra something.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

One that was Scary and one that was Amazing!!

We started out on our weekend early Saturday to make sure we can get to Vermont in plenty of time. So on the way there we stopped at a "restaurant" for breakfast since we were really hungry. We went with a chain figuring that it was the safest bet and just stopped at the first one we saw. Oh my it was a really scary place and we left wondering if that was the smartest idea...we almost called our mom's to let them know if they don't hear from us in a while it was the breakfast we just ate. Thankfully we didn't get sick and survived that scary place.

The next morning before our class we wanted to make sure we had a really good breakfast. Also a breakfast at a place that didn't leave us wanting to run for the hills. We decided to head into the town of Hanover, NH which was minutes away from our hotel and KAF. Jenn suggested a place that she said serves breakfast all day long...Lou's Restaurant.
It was exactly what we had in mind for breakfast and it didn't disappoint us at all. It was actually very hard to decide on one thing. Jenn and I both had a special...the Garden Omelet with hash browns and a cruller (you got to pick between toast, english muffin, a homemade muffin or a cruller) . Jenn had the chocolate covered cruller but I decided on the cinnamon sugar cruller filled with jelly (which is the picture below).

Heidi was the adventurous one and decided to try their Cruller French Toast in honor of her husband who would have totally ordered that for breakfast. It was really yummy and everything you would expect...I keep thinking that it is totally worth blowing your diet. Lucky for us it is a little over 4 hours from where we live because other wise we would be in big trouble.

Review: Totally worth the long drive to get there just for the above breakfasts we all had. It was a great value for what we got on our plates and it was just SO YUMMY!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chicken with Roasted Asparagus in a Goat Cheese Sauce

The class at King Arthur Flour Company was great!! If you ever have a chance to take a class there I highly recommend it. The class size was 16 people so the instructor was able to walk around and help if you needed it. In our case to check to make sure our dough wasn't to sticky before allowing it to rest. We were all excited when we found out that we would be able to take home what we made (see pictures below, in earlier post). So last night for dinner I made the pasta from the class.

Chicken with Roasted Asparagus in a Goat Cheese Sauce

1 bunch of Asparagus
Olive Oil
2 chicken breast, diced
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup of pasta water
4 oz Goat Cheese (I used Herb Goat cheese)

1. Preheat oven to 450 and start your water for the pasta.
2. Cut Asparagus and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook in oven for 10-15 minutes.
3.. While asparagus is in the oven heat pan with a little oil and saute the garlic. Add the chicken and cook until done.
4.. Take Asparagus out of the oven and cut into bit size pieces
5. Cook pasta according to directions, Once done reserve a 1/2 cup of the pasta water. In a separate bowl, mix together goat cheese and pasta water. Stir until cheese has melted. Return pasta back to the pot, along with the chicken, asparagus and the "cheese sauce"


My review: I can't really review the recipe since I made it up, but the pasta I thought tasted just as good as one that came from a box. I had made a little "box" pasta and mixed it in with the "homemade" pasta. You couldn't taste the difference. Now if it wasn't so time consuming I think I would be making it myself all the time. Of course I would first have to get a pasta machine, but I think I would make it again for very special occasions.

1st Annual KAF Weekend!

It has been a desire of mine for many years now to take a class at The King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center in Norwich, VT. I was trying to think when I fell in love with their products but it has been for a while now.

The way this weekend came to be is sort of a bittersweet tale because it was suppose to be our annual girl's weekend away. Unfortunately it proved to be super hard to get the 5 of us together on one weekend. To make a long story short when I called up to found out information about available classes last week...this past weekend was the only one available to us. So Heidi, Jenn and myself packed our bags and headed up to Vermont for the weekend.

We were able to get the last spots in their Pasta Primavera class that was on Sunday. We learned to make 2 different recipes for pasta dough and 3 different shapes of pasta. I am going to show you will the pictures Jenn took of how to make the pasta and their shapes.

The ingredients for the pasta dough is very simple: Flour (we used two different types AP and Durum Flour) and Eggs. In the class we put them into a bowl because our teacher informed us that they have had run away eggs which created a big mess. When we are home she told us we could do this right on the place where you will knead the dough after it is mixed.

After kneading the dough for about 10 minutes until it is soft and not sticky. It must rest for at least 15-30 minutes.

Once the dough has rested you will knead it again with the help of a pasta machine. Our teacher told us what the "rule" is for cutting the dough into a more manageable size is...the amount of eggs you used in making the dough is the number of pieces to cut it too. Since we made a 2 egg dough we cut the dough in half to give us 2 pieces. You put the machine on the number 1 setting (largest size) and run it through 8 times. Each time you folding the dough in half and crank it though. Then after that you start to stretch the dough...working from 1 to setting 9 on the pasta machine but this time you don't fold the dough in half.

Once you have the dough to the correct thickness you cut out your shapes for raviolis or you run the dough through the cutters for fettuccine or spaghetti.

Our teacher told us of a place in Italy that is famous for a ravioli shaped in a hen which is what we tried to recreate in the class...Jenn was brave to try that shape out...while Heidi and I stuck to the boring round ravioli shape. We filled our ravioli with roasted asparagus and cheese...the way it was served in Italy was with a poached egg yolk in the middle of the filling.

You cook the ravioli in a soft boil more like a high simmer so they won't break apart. We got to try ours with a little bit of a brown butter sauce and some bread.

The next pasta we made is called Garganelli which is shape resembles penne. The dough is made the same way but has an added ingredient of some parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in it. The only step that is different is the shaping.

You cut a square out of the dough that is 2x2 in size which you can do with either a cutter or a pizza cutter.

Then you use a gnocci board and a dowel to shape it into the penne like shape: Lay the pasta square diagonally on the board and place the dowel at the corner of the pasta square. Curl the corner of the pasta square facing you around the dowel and, with a gentle downward pressure, push the dowel away from you and off the board. The pasta will slide right off the dowel when you tilt it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

April Recipe: Garlicky Green Beans

So, for my April recipe, I got my inspiration from another recipe. I LOVED this recipe! (Oops, skipped right to the review on that one!) I LOVE garlic and haven't made green beans in awhile - out of the habit due to having to cut both ends and just seems to take forever, though I would guess you could use the frozen green beans, which are all ready to go. Of couse, gourmet chefs may leave it on for effect, or perhaps use haricots verts (sold in your local Costco, if no where else).

1 tablespoon margarine, melted
4 large garlic cloves, pressed through garlic press
1 large fresh rosemary sprig, chop up rosemary (throw away sprig)
1 teaspoon EVOO
1 pound green beans, cut off ends, cut beans in 1-inch pieces (or leave longer for effect =)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

1. Combine melted margarine, garlic, and rosemary in small bowl; put aside.

2. Heat oil in nonstick frying pan over medium heat until just smoking. Add beans, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce heat slightly, add water, cover, and cook until beans are bright green and still crisp, 2 minutes. Remove cover, increase heat to high and cook until water evaporates (if not already evaporated), 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium, add margarine mixture and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until beans are crisp-tender, lightly brown, and beginning to wrinkle, 2 to 3 minutes longer, but don't burn garlic! Top with parsley and plate (seasoning with salt and pepper, as needed). Serve immediately (if you cover until ready, the beans will start to wilt).

Review: I really enjoyed this, although my husband's first comment was "wow! garlic!" haha So, if you like less garlic, feel free to use less cloves. I think the fact that my garlic is slightly older (than the average bear), it could have made them more potent. Good thing we were both eating garlic though! *nudge nudge* lol I will definitely make this again.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

March Recipe: WW Veggie Stir-fry with Peanuts

So, I tossed and turned over what kind of peanut recipe was I going to make for our March calendar. I think Heidi had said she didn't want to do a dessert and I agreed. I had a Rocky Road Fudge recipe that takes 15 minutes though in case any one does want a peanut dessert! =)

Also, I keep on the WW warpath, I stumbled across a recipe for a stir-fry with peanuts. Perfect! I added cup up bonesless chicken breasts and added that into the recipe as well.

WW Veggie Stir-fry with Peanuts

1 tsp peanut oil
1 cup onion(s), chopped (about 1 medium onion or 1 cup of frozen chopped onion)
1 cup asparagus, chopped in 1” pieces
1 cup carrots, chopped (½ lb. / ½ bag of baby carrots)
1 medium green pepper, sliced (or 1 cup of frozen chopped green pepper)
4 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
¼ cup canned chicken broth, reduced-sodium
4 Tbsp peanuts, dry roasted
2 cups cooked brown rice

- Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add onion, asparagus, carrots, peppers, and mushrooms; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. (The frozen veggies make the recipe that much faster, especially for a week night meal.)
- Add soy sauce and cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes more.
Whisk cornstarch into broth in a small cup and add to pan; simmer until sauce thickens, about 1 minute.
- Spoon stir-fry onto rice on individual plates and top each serving with peanuts.

Yield: 4 servings: about 1½ cups of vegetables, 1 tablespoon of peanuts and ½ cup of rice per serving

WW points: 5 per serving.

If you add the chicken (4 oz. - uncooked - per serving), cook this in the pan before the veggies. Remove from pan once cooked and add in once veggies are done cooking. 3 oz. cooked chicken = additional 3 points per serving.

Review: I really enjoyed this recipe! It was quick and easy with the frozen veggies - less to cut up and prepare - and tasted good! While it may not be a lot of food for most people, it was the perfect portion size for me and left me with 2 days of leftovers for my hubby (while I was taking care of my parents - dad just had his carotid artery unclogged!). I will definitely make it again.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Pulled Chicken

I made this for Kevin a week or so ago. I got the recipe from the Kraft food book that comes once or twice a month. I thought it looks really tasty in the book so I had to try it =).

Prep Time:5 min
Total Time:25 min
Makes:4 servings, one sandwich each

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, sliced
1/2 cup KRAFT Original Barbecue Sauce
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 French bread baguette, 16 to 20-inches long (about 10 oz.)
4 KRAFT Singles

COOK chicken and onions in skillet on medium-high heat 8 min., stirring occasionally.

ADD barbecue sauce, water and sugar; stir. Reduce heat to medium; cover. Cook an additional 7 min. or until chicken is cooked through (165ºF).

REMOVE chicken from skillet. Shred chicken with fork or chop into small pieces. Return to skillet; stir until evenly coated with sauce. Cut baguette crosswise into four pieces. Cut each piece lengthwise in half. Fill with chicken mixture and Singles.

This was really easy and quick to prepare. I love pulled pork but it takes a long time to cook ( all day in a crock pot ), this is a great alternative to pulled pork. Kevin loved it. He had 2 + sandwiches and would have had more but he ate all I had. Im now keeping my eyes open for sales on boneless/skinless chicken thighs just so I can make this again. It was out of this world!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Dinner with Friends

Today we had friends of ours that just had a baby a few months ago over for dinner. It gave us a chance to check up with them and for me to try a few new recipes. What to make, what to make....I always get stressed when it comes time to think of a menu. But I kept it simple and everything turned out great. What I made you might ask? Pork Roast with Thyme, roasted potatoes and asparagus. Oh and dinner rolls. The new recipes were the dinner rolls which I have been wanting to try for a while (They were in the December issue of Everyday Foods) and the pork roast.

No-Knead Dinner Rolls

2 cups warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for pan and brushing
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping dough

1. Pour warm water into a large bowl; sprinkle with yeast, and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2. Add sugar, butter, eggs, and salt; whisk to combine. Add flour, mix until incorporated and a sticky dough forms. Brush top of dough with butter; cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place until dough has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

3. Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface. With floured hands, roll dough into a think log. Cut into 18 equal pieces (halve log, cut each half in thirds, then cut each piece into thirds again).

4. Brush a 9-by-13 inch baking pan with butter. One at a time, flatten each piece of dough, then fold edges toward the center, pressing to secure, until a smooth ball forms. Place dough balls in prepared baking pan, smooth side up (you should have three rows of six).

Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 400. Remove plastic wrap; brush rolls with butter. Bake until golden and rolls sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 35 to 40 minutes. (tent with foil if browning too quickly) Pull rolls apart and serve warm.

My Review: For my first try with making rolls from scratch, this was an easy recipe. I would definitely make it again. I received rave reviews. The only thing that I did wrong was forget to brush the rolls with butter before I baked them. But they turned out great without it. I did have to tent with foil also because they were browning quickly. Yummy!!

Sorry no picture of the roast, but here's the recipe

Pork Roast with Thyme

5 pounds pork roast
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried thyme

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

2. With a small knife, pierce top of roast. Force garlic slices into the cuts. Sprinkle the roast with salt and pepper. Place bay leaves in the bottom of the roasting pan, and set roast on top of bay leaves, fat side up. Mix vinegar and thyme in a small bowl, and pour over the top of the roast.

3. Bake in the preheated oven 3 hours, or until an internal temperature of 160 degrees F is reached. Using a baster or spoon, baste the drippings over the roast frequently while it is cooking. Let the roast rest for 10 minutes when done before slicing.

My review: It turned out great. I did a few things differently. First since there were only going to be four of us for dinner I bought a 3lb roast instead, so I reduced the measurements slightly. I also didn't insert the garlic into the roast, but laid the pieces on top. Another thing I did was since I had just finished making the rolls I reduce the oven to 350 and cook the roast for an hour and a half. The only thing was that at first there was enough drippings that I could bast the roast, but towards the end of the baking time, there wasn't much left. I did a one point add a little water to the pan. All in all it turned out moist and had great flavor. I would make this again.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Happy Blog Birthday!!

It was one year ago that we started out blog and look how far we have come since then. I just wanted to say Thank you to everyone that has read our blog and everyone that has posted to our blog. I can't wait to see what we come up with in the next year!

Egg Toast Sandwich

Well, I thought I'd put a new twist on that breakfast sandwich Michelle made a few weeks ago. I drove up to my sisters place in the Pocono's last saturday and we started talking about breakfast foods. I mentioned that egg sandwich Michelle made and she told me about another one that my Mom and her use to make at least once every weekend. Its very simalar to Michelles, exept this is made with that yummy english muffin bread ( which is a bit thicker then regular bread ). You take a shot glass and make a hole in the bread, butter the ends on both sides, dont forget to spray some pam on your frying pan so it doesnt stick. Crack one egg into the hole in the bread and let it cook. I sprinkled some salt and peper on it, and flip when the one side is cooked. Kevin LOVED it. I had made him two slices and he came back and asked for another. I also added one slice of cheese and let that melt when the egg was cooked. This was extremely easy and quick to make. I'd do it again since Kevin loved it so much =)


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