Sunday, November 29, 2009

Recipes to try

All from Real Simple

Appetizers:

Parmesan Twists, Real Simple
Easy Samosas, Real Simple
Rosemary Pecans

Dinner Salads:
Chicken and Peach Salad

Poultry:
Golden Chicken with Tomatoes and Olives

Dessert:
Berry Shortcakes

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cream of Tomato Soup

From foodtv.com, by Georgia Downard.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, or 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, juices reserved
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium canned chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup light cream or milk
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

In a large nonreactive saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and carrot and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes without allowing to color. Add tomatoes with their juices, broth, tomato paste, basil, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer stirring frequently, 15 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.

In a food processor or blender, puree soup in batches until smooth. Return to pan and stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes, and serve.


This is a pretty basic, very tasty cream of tomato soup, much like other tomato soups I've made, like this. I did use canned tomatoes, and the result was a thinner soup that I would have liked. I would use canned diced tomatoes in the future. I felt the soup was too thin, so added another tablespoon of tomato paste; as I've said in other tomato soup recipes, I've sometimes accidentally used the whole can (what are you supposed to do with the leftover paste??) so I might just go ahead and do that too. I also added a stalk of celery and some garlic with the carrots and onion. Finally, I only had about 1/2 c of chicken broth on hand, so I just used chicken stock I had to complete the 2 cups. What's the difference between broth and stock anyway? I had 2% milk around from another recipe, so went ahead and used that as the "cream."

So this was good, reasonably fast and easy to make, and has (temporarily at least) sated my craving for tomato soup.




Saturday, November 21, 2009

Awesome Slow Cooker Pot Roast

allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
  • 1 1/4 cups water I used beef broth
  • 5 1/2 pounds pot roast

Directions

  1. In a slow cooker, mix cream of mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and water. Place pot roast in slow cooker and coat with soup mixture.
  2. Cook on High setting for 3 to 4 hours, or on Low setting for 8 to 9 hours.

I have made this once before, and raved about it. I made it essentially the same way I had made it before, and it was just fine. I wouldn't say I was nuts about it, and our guests seemed to like it, but also didn't really RAVE about it.

The good thing about this one, though, is that it was very easy to make. There are a TON of reviews on allrecipes of this one, and many people give suggestions for improvement, so I imagine some of them are going to improve this.

I also tossed in some quartered potatoes, celery, and carrots with the roast, and I used a 4 pound angus rump roast.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shrimp Newburg

Another from Rachael Ray's December 09 issue.
Photobucket

  • 4 Servings
  • Prep 15 min
  • Cook 20 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp—cleaned and cut into thirds, shells reserved
  • 1 1/3 cups 2 percent milk
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup sherry wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped chives
Slash sodium by serving the shrimp over brown rice instead of buttered toast.

Keep the flavor but lose the fat by replacing heavy cream and egg yolks with fresh shrimp broth and milk.

Shrimp is a good source of low-calorie protein—and it's more affordable than the traditional lobster.

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the rice with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes; fluff with a fork. Cover to keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt 2 teaspoons butter over medium heat. Add the shrimp shells and cook, stirring, until crisp, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the milk with the cornstarch, then whisk into the shrimp shells. Bring to a simmer, whisking, then cook for 1 minute. Strain the mixture into a bowl, pressing the shrimp shells to get all the liquid; discard the shells. Wash and dry the saucepan.
  3. In the saucepan, melt the remaining 2 teaspoons butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk mixture and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the shrimp and sherry and cook, stirring, until the shrimp is firm, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the chives. Serve over the rice.




BAJ thought this was REALLY good and said he wants to have this again. I wasn't as convinced, however, partially because of a mental thing I had that perhaps the shrimp wasn't fully cooked.
It was easy, but I can't imagine it took the amount of time it said it did; I felt like it took me much longer.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chicken Broccoli Couscous

Recipe from Everyday with Rachael Ray December 2009.
Photobucket


* 4 Servings
*
* Prep 15 min
*
* Cook 20 min

Ingredients:

* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
* Salt and pepper
* 3 cups chicken broth
* One 10-ounce box couscous
* 1 onion, finely chopped
* 1 head broccoli, broken into small florets
* 1/2 cup raisins
* 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
* 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted Omitted

Toast nuts in a 350° oven until fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes.
Directions:

1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the pan and cook, turning once, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a work surface, let cool, then shred; reserve the skillet.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring 2 cups chicken broth and 1 tablespoon olive oil to a boil; season with salt and pepper. Add the couscous, cover and remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

3. In the reserved skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and the remaining 1 cup chicken broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken, raisins, parsley and couscous; season with salt and pepper. Toss with the almonds before serving.




Pictures coming soon, whenever I get around to uploading them.

This...sucked. Blandness all around, with the exception of those bites with raisin in them. I think, perhaps, we haven't found a decent couscous recipe yet, but the ones we've tried have been pretty terrible. The whole family's servings got tossed, and we had a package of ravioli for dinner.

Hey, at least it was reasonably cheap...

Monday, November 9, 2009

French Onion Macaroni and Cheese

Photobucket
From the December 2009 Everyday with Rachael Ray
  • 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large onions, very thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate or whole wheat penne rigate pasta
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 pound gruy√®re cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. In a skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions, thyme and bay leaf for 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and cook until the onions are browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate and discard the bay leaf. Reserve the skillet.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and return to the pot.
  3. In the reserved skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour for 1 minute, then whisk in the chicken stock and milk and bring to a boil; season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Lower the heat and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese until melted.
  4. Combine the onions and sauce with the pasta and toss well.


I saw this in the new RR magazine, and immediately thought of my friend Lauren, who loves all things French Onion, and put it on my meal plan for the week.

BAJ and The Boy were going to be a little bit late getting home, so I started shredding the cheese and slicing the onions before I planned to start cooking. After completing these tasks, the recipe time took thirty minutes as suggested, but without it, I'd add another 5-10 minutes to the time.

BAJ REALLY liked this one, and said I could make it again anytime. I thought it was tasty, but that it wasn't as all that as he made it out to be. Nonetheless, this is the first mac and cheese recipe he's LIKED, let alone raved about, so it's definitely going to be a keeper around here.
Photobucket

Pan Fried Chicken with Fresh Tomato and Corn Salsa


From Everyday with Rachael Ray August 2009. See original here
  • 4 Servings
  • Prep 20 min
  • Cook 5 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 chicken breast cutlets (about 1 1/4 pounds total)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 3 ears)
  • 2 tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
Easy does it
Stand an ear of corn upright in a large bowl and run a knife down the length of the cob to remove the kernels.

Directions:

  1. In a shallow dish, stir together the breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons basil. In a separate shallow dish, add the buttermilk; in a third dish, add the flour. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Working with 1 piece at a time, coat the chicken in the flour, then dip into the buttermilk and coat with the breadcrumbs, shaking to remove any excess.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until golden-brown, about 5 minutes; drain on paper towels.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the corn, tomatoes, onion, the remaining 2 tablespoons basil and 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Serve over the chicken.


This was really tasty; I especially liked the corn salsa. I definitely overcooked the chicken, however, which meant we didn't ultimately like the dish, but will need to give it another try. This has all the perfect flavors of summer, and, aside from screwing up the chicken, we'll have to try this again!! Oh yeah, I made this July 23, and just never got around to blogging it. Oops. I served with couscous, as suggested by Rachael Ray!

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

From allrecipes.com, see the original here.
Ingredients

* 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1 onion, chopped
* 1 1/2 cups beef broth
* 3 potatoes, diced
* 4 carrots, sliced
* 1 stalk celery, chopped

Directions

1. Place meat in slow cooker. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt, and pepper; pour over meat, and stir to coat meat with flour mixture. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, onion, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery.
2. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on High setting for 4 to 6 hours.

I made this for "lunch club" at work, partially (erm, largely) due to my husband's dislike of all things beef. I messed up modified the recipe by adding a whole can of beef broth, only using 2 potatoes, and using 2 stalks of celery. It was a little bit too much broth, I thought, but after taking the first serving, I decided that wasn't the case at all, and was glad I had done it.

This was a really flavorful stew, and I will certainly make it again. If you go to allrecipes and read the reviews, someone name Corinne made a bunch of modifications to the base recipe, but I'm not a fan of cooking meat before putting it in a slow cooker, so I went with the original recipe! When I make this in the future, I will add a can of mushrooms (almost did that this time, but, um, forgot) and a can of tomatoes--not sure if stewed or whole would work best. I also might take Corinne's modification of using a package of stew mix, although I love the idea of setting the spices on my own.

The good thing about lunch club is that you get the benefit of the opinions of several coworkers. First, they all commented (as did some students who could smell it in the hallway) on the delicious aroma of the stew. It's funny, you bring a crockpot into work and people think you're a domestic goddess. I heard feedback from two others who ate the stew, and they both commented (unsolicited) that it was really good.

In short, this beef stew isn't like Mom makes, but it's pretty good nonetheless... and until I get around to bugging Mom for her recipe, or finding one that comes close, this is a delicious (and fairly easy) stew!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lemon Thyme Chicken

For some reason, I never added Annie's Eats to my Google Reader. I've made some things from her blog before, via other bloggers, but I made sure to do it when I found this recipe. Today, I was looking for something with chicken (which I actually remembered to make sure was defrosted--an aside, I have about 30 vacuum packed chicken breasts in the freezer because I forget to defrost and then buy more when I need to cook dinner. BRILLIANT) and had a craving for some kind of creamy sauce. I stumbled upon this recipe, and knew it to be just what I wanted... although the sauce wasn't very creamy. I digress.
So, this is a Chicken Francese kind of thing. Except that it adds in thyme and some butter. It's also very smart in butterfly the chicken instead of POUNDING the chicken... so. much. easier! Also very smart to start browning in the pan and then continue cooking in the juices--so moist and juicy and not overcooked!
So, if you're reading this, and you haven't yet added Annie's Eats, do it NOW!
Lemon Thyme Chicken
Printer-Friendly Version

Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup flour
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2/3 cup dry white wine I substituted vegetable broth
Juice of ½ a large lemon (or the juice of 1 whole lemon, if desired)
2-3 tablespoons butter
Directions:
Butterfly the chicken breasts to create four halves. Season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a shallow bowl, and dredge the chicken pieces in the flour, shaking off the excess. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute until lightly golden, about 2 minutes; flip and cook on the other side, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme leaves to the pan and saute just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Off the heat, add the wine to the pan. Return the pan to the heat and bring the liquid to a simmer. Reduce until the sauce has thickened and the chicken has become golden brown on each both sides. Add the lemon juice to the pan and stir in the butter until completely melted. Serve immediately, and spoon the extra sauce over the chicken.

Oh, yum. The hubs made mashed potatoes while I took care of the chicken, and the sauce tasted so good over those taters. I wish there had been more sauce leftover, but I might have reduced it just a little too much.
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