Friday, October 25, 2013

Smoked Gouda, Ham, and Apple Grilled Cheese

Ingredients (for 1 sandwich):
2 pieces bread
Approximately 4 thick slices smoked Gouda
4-6 slices country smoked ham
1/4 apple, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter

1. Heat one tablespoon butter in pan on medium-low heat.
2. Add one slice of bread to the pan and top with two slices of the cheese, all of the ham and apples and then top with the additional cheese and the other slice of bread.
3. After about three or four minutes, pick the sandwich up with a spatula and melt the remaining one tablespoon of butter.
4. Flip the sandwich over to grill the other side. Check after about three or four minutes to make sure it's not over-browning.
5. Flip again and cover with a large lid until the cheese is melted and the sandwich is warm throughout, about two more minutes.

Notes: This was a tasty sandwich. I noticed the apple flavor more with my second half of the sandwich, after it had a chance to cool a bit, but I don't know if that is just a coincidence. This was our first experience with Gouda cheese, which we found at the deli counter.

Source: She Knows Food&Recipes. I first found it on this page, along with the White Pizza Grilled Cheese we posted in August. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Indian Chicken Curry

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon paprika
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
salt to taste
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until lightly browned. Stir in garlic, curry powder, cinnamon, paprika, bay leaf, ginger, sugar and salt. Continue stirring for 2 minutes. Add chicken pieces, tomato paste, yogurt, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. 
2. Remove bay leaf, and stir in lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Simmer 5 more minutes.

Notes: This recipe was recommended by Brittany's brother, Curtis. We also added peas, sweet potatoes, and cashews. We enjoyed it. Expect your kitchen to smell like curry for a while after you make this. Makes 4 servings.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Easy Skillet Lasagna

1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans Italian diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup tomato sauce
3 basil leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup part skim mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
About 6 ounces lasagna noodles, broken into thirds & fully cooked
2 tablespoons parsley (dried or fresh)

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook until garlic is fragrant, about one minute. Add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, salt and pepper. Cook mixture until it thickens up a bit, around 5 minutes.
2. Add noodles to skillet and stir into the mixture well. Add scoops of ricotta cheese over the noodles; add in mozzarella and Parmesan. Stir in parsley. Cook about 2 more minutes, or until mixture is thick.
3. Serve immediately with additional basil or parsley.

Notes: This is a recipe we tried in June of 2012 and I don't remember what I thought about it at the time. Apparently I was hungry because that is a big pile of lasagna.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

3-4 nice size boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
salt and pepper
1 c. honey
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/2 cup diced white onion
1/4 c. ketchup
2 T canola oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 t. red pepper flake
1 T toasted sesame oil
4 t. cornstarch dissolved in 6 T water
sesame seeds for garnish
chopped green onions for garnish

Season both sides of chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Place flat into Crock Pot. Scatter onion over the top. In a small bowl, whisk together honey, soy sauce, ketchup, oil, garlic, sesame oil and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or on high for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours or until chicken is cooked through and shreds easily. Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce. Dissolve 4 t. cornstarch in 6 T. of water and pour into crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for 10 more minutes. Shred chicken and return to pot. Toss with sauce before serving. Serve over rice, sprinkled with sesame seeds and green onions.

Notes: I remember enjoying the flavor of this recipe. Since it is cooked in the crock pot and not breaded, the texture is different than what you are going to get at your typical Chinese restaurant.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Chubby Chicken and Cream Cheese Taquitos

3 cups cooked shredded chicken
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup salsa
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped baby spinach, stems removed
Coarse salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
9-10 (6-inch) flour tortillas
Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
Optional sauces: sour cream, guacamole, salsa, taco sauce, ranch dressing

1. In a large bowl mix together the chicken, cream cheese, sour cream, salsa, cheddar and spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
2. Working with one tortilla at a time add 2 heaping tablespoons of the chicken mixture off center and spread out like a log. Roll up and set seam side down on a platter. Repeat until all the tortillas are filled and rolled. 
3. Add enough oil to a large skillet to generously cover the bottom. Heat on medium to medium-low heat, cook tortillas in batches, turning to brown each side. Remove to paper towels to drain.
4. Serve with your choice of dipping sauce.

Notes: These were tasty. The recipe at the source link recommends using rotisserie chicken.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Crunch Wraps

1 lb ground beef
1 pkg taco seasoning (or less, to taste)
4-5 burrito sized tortillas, warmed
sour cream
tomatoes, pico de gallo, or salsa
shredded cheddar cheese or nacho cheese sauce
tortilla chips, slightly crushed
shredded lettuce

Brown ground beef and mix with taco seasoning according to package directions. Spread a small circle of sour cream in the center of each tortilla. Divide beef between tortillas, placing in the center with the sour cream. Top with tomatoes, cheese, crushed tortilla chips, and lettuce. 

To fold, pull the bottom of the tortilla to the center and continue around the entire tortilla. There will be a small opening in the center and you will have a hexagon shape. Place each wrap in a skillet over medium heat with the open side down. Grill for about a minute on each side until browned.

Notes: Check out the source link if you want a better photo than mine. Brittany almost always orders a crunch wrap on the (rare) occasion that we go to Taco Bell. I think this recipe was a decent attempt at replicating the experience.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chicken Enchilada Soup

3 cups chicken stock
2 skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
4-6 jalapeno peppers, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup tomato paste
8 oz cotija cheese, crumbled
8 oz pepperjack cheese, divided
1 cup cilantro, chopped
Tortilla chips

In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, add chicken stock and heat over medium heat. Add chicken breasts, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Simmer about 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside. Add tomatoes, jalapenos, bell pepper, onion, and garlic to the pot. Simmer about 30 minutes, covered until tomatoes have begun to break down. Add black beans, corn, and tomato paste and stir to incorporate. Add cotija cheese and half of the pepperjack cheese and stir to melt. Return chicken to soup an cook about 20 more minutes until desired consistency.

If soup isn't as thick as desired, you can add strips of flour tortillas. They will dissolve into the soup to thicken the broth. Add cilantro, reserving some to top individual bowls if desired. Ladle into serving bowls and top with crushed tortilla chips, reserved pepperjack cheese, and cilantro if desired.

Notes: We made this way back in March 2012. I remember liking it, but I think it was too spicy for the rest of the family.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fish and Chips

4 potatoes
corn or peanut oil
1 lb cod or 1 lb other lean fish fillet
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vinegar
2/3 cup water

1. Cut potatoes lengthwise into ½-inch strips.
2. Heat oil (2 to 3 inches or enough to cover) in deep fryer or Dutch oven to 375 degrees.
3. Fill basket one-fourth full with potatoes. (Be sure and put the chips in one at a time so they don't stick to each other.) Skip the next step if you're not using a basket.
4. Slowly lower basket into hot oil. (If oil bubbles excessively, raise and lower basket several times.) Use a long-handled fork to keep potatoes separated.
5. Fry potatoes 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown; drain on paper towels.
6. Place potatoes in single layer on cookie sheet and keep warm.
7. Repeat with remaining potatoes.
8. Cut fish filets into 2 x 1/-1/2-inch pieces. Pat dry with paper towels.
9. Mix flour and salt.
10. Mix baking soda and vinegar.
11. Stir vinegar mixture and water into flour mixture; beat until smooth.
12. Dip fish into batter, allowing excess batter to drip into bowl.
13. Fry 4 or 5 fish pieces at a time (do not use basket) about 3 minutes, turning fish once, until brown. Drain on paper towels.
14. Set oven control to broil. Broil potatoes 6 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp.

Notes: We don't have a deep fryer, so I believe Brittany baked our (sweet potato) fries when she made this, and followed steps 8 through 13 for the fish.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ginger Carrot Soup

2 tablespoons sweet cream butter
2 onions, peeled and chopped
6 cups chicken broth
2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and white pepper
Sour cream
Parsley sprigs, for garnish

In a 6-quart pan, over medium high heat, add butter and onions and cook, stirring often, until onions are limp. Add broth, carrots, and ginger. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender when pierced.

Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Don't fill the blender more than half way, do it in batches if you have to. Cover the blender and then hold a kitchen towel over the top of the blender*. Be careful when blending hot liquids as the mixture can spurt out of the blender. Pulse the blender to start it and then puree until smooth. Return to the pan and add cream, stir over high heat until hot. For a smoother flavor bring soup to a boil, add salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with dollop sour cream and parsley sprigs.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

Notes: We obviously didn't bother with any garnish. It has been almost a year since we tried this, and I honestly don't remember whether I liked it or not. That probably means that it was okay but nothing special. We will have to have it again sometime and I will update the notes.

Source: Recipe, including advice on blending hot liquids, comes from the Food Network.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Chicken Chimichangas

2 1/2 c. cooked, shredded chicken
1-2 c. salsa (we used green)
Green onions
1 c. black beans
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt

Put shredded cheese and chicken mixture in tortillas. Fold up (sides first then top and bottom) and put on baking sheet, seam side down. Brush with melted butter. Top with cheese(optional). Bake 475 for 13-15 min or until golden brown. Serve with shredded lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes, salsa, etc.

Notes: These were really tasty. Erin recommended using green salsa and so we did.

Source: Our friend, Erin.