Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chicken Parmesan Subs

Another one thanks to my need to use the Costco sun-dried tomato jar and watching Rachel Ray. A few tips - The recipes makes a TON of sauce. The sauce is very yummy and would be good for pasta too. I only used about 1/2 of the sauce with the chicken and froze the rest to use later. I also did not buy a rotisserie chicken - I just cooked about 5 chicken tenders.
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 packed cup dry sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 15-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup basil, roughly chopped
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4 sub rolls, split open (but not all the way through)
  • 8 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
Place a medium-size skillet over medium heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the garlic to the pan and cook gently until aromatic and light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, stock, some salt and pepper to the pan (the stock should cover the tomatoes) and simmer until the tomatoes have plumped up and softened, about 15-20 minutes. Add the can of tomatoes to the pan then transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree. Add chopped basil, season with salt and ground black pepper and reserve warm back in the skillet.
Return the sauce to the skillet and add in the rotisserie chicken. Simmer until the chicken has heated through, 2-3 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Parmigiano. Divide the mixture between the sub rolls and top with a slice or two of mozzarella. Pop the sandwiches under the broiler until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Creamy Lemon Bars

20 Nilla Wafers, finely crushed
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold real butter
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese (you can use 1/3-less fat cream cheese)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. grated lemon peel, divided
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (don’t even think about opening a bottle!)
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Spray lightly with non-stick spray and set aside. (The foil isn’t too pretty, but it makes clean-up and cutting the bars a cinch!)

In a bowl, combine Nilla Wafer crumbs, 1/2 cup flour and the brown sugar. Chop butter into small pieces and then cut into crumb mixture with a pastry blender.

Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 min.
While crust is cooking, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 2 Tbsp. flour, and baking powder; mix well. Blend in 1 Tbsp. lemon zest, and lemon juice and then pour mixture over crust.

Bake 25 to 30 min. or until center is set. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight. These bars improve with time. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and remaining 2 Tbsp. grated lemon peel just before cutting into squares to serve. Store leftover squares in refrigerator. (As if you'll have leftovers!)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

7 Layer Taco Dip

1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix 
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans 
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream 
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa 
1 large tomato, chopped 
1 green bell pepper, chopped 
1 bunch chopped green onions 
1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded 
1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained 
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1. In a medium bowl, blend the taco seasoning mix and refried beans. Spread the mixture onto a large serving platter. 
2. Mix the sour cream and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Spread over the refried beans. 
3. Top the layers with salsa. Place a layer of tomato, green bell pepper, green onions and lettuce over the salsa, and top with Cheddar cheese. Garnish with black olives. 

Notes: Matt made the layers a little differently. He put refried beans first. Then he mixed cream cheese, sour cream and taco seasoning together. After that he put layers of tomatoes, green peppers, onions and lettuce. On top of that goes salsa, cheese and olives.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling

3 T Flour

1/2 C milk (whole milk is best, but I used non-fat when it's all I have and it's actually fine)

1/2 C real butter

1/2 C sugar (that's granulated sugar, not powdered sugar)

1 t vanilla extract

Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat. Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. This happens quickly. When the mixture is the consistency of a thin pudding (you should be able to see the bottom of the pan when you stir it), strain through a mesh strainer (just whisk in the strainer to push the thick stuff through) and then let it cool completely to room temp. or chill it in the fridge. If you don't let it cool completely, it will melt the butter and you'll have runny frosting.Beat the butter and the sugar for a minute or two until well combined and fluffy. You'll want to use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, not the flat paddle. Then while beating, add in the thickened milk mixture and the vanilla. Beat for 7 minutes. Yes, 7 whole minutes. I know that seems like a long time, but that's when the magic happens! It will go from looking like a weird goopy mess to something thick, velvety smooth, and perfectly fluffy

Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes

2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. cake flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks butter, softened
2 1/4 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1 egg white
1 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 lb. strawberries, pureed A few drops of red food coloring (optional; I understand it's kind of a hot topic, but they turn out a bit gray inside if you don't use it...)
Double recipe of Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling

Preheat oven to 350. Line a METAL muffin pan with paper liners--you absolutely must use a metal pan in this recipe to give them as much help as they can get rising. Whisk flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add eggs and egg white, one at a time, beating after every addition.
Reduce speed to low. Combine buttermilk and vanilla together and set aside. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk mixture; end with the dry ingredients. If desired, add a few drops of red food coloring until a pretty pink color is reached. Scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure everything has been mixed in. Divide batter among muffin cups (about 30), filling them almost all the way to the top.
Bake cupcakes until a knife inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 22-25 minutes. Allow to cool in muffin tins. Top with a swirl of frosting (just cut a generous hole off the corner of a Ziploc or disposable decorating bag and swirl around the cupcake).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thai Peanut Noodles

I like this one better than the other Thai Noodle recipe I posted a while ago. This one is not as heavy. I used a couple teaspoons or so of powdered ginger instead of the fresh ginger and it turned out great. The lime is a very important ingredient - it makes this taste so good - so don't leave it out!

1/2 c. chicken broth
3 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1-2 tsp. Sriracha chili sauce (1 is mild with a bite, 1.5 is medium, 2 is hot)
1 1/2 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh minced ginger
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
8 oz. linguine noodles
Chopped green onions
Chopped cilantro
2 limes, cut into quarters
Chopped peanuts

Cook noodles in salted water. In the meantime, combine chicken broth, peanut butter, chili sauce, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk until smooth and remove from heat. Toss cooked noodles with sauce and divide among 4 bowls. Sprinkle with green onions, cilantro, chopped peanuts, and garnish each serving with 2 lime quarters. Before eating, squeeze lime juice over noodles and stir to combine.

If desired, you can add meat to this dish by stir-frying shrimp or very thinly-sliced chicken in some olive oil with a couple cloves of garlic, some fresh ginger, some green onions, soy sauce, and a small squirt or two of Sriracha chili sauce.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Well, i see that the competition for the Best Chef is going on here and it's totally between Suzy and Wendy, but i decided just to post one little recipe. I like to make different kinds of pancakes for breakfast. I saw this recipe online on some cooking blog and thought i'd try it. So I made them the other day and we all loved them. 

Cottage Cheese Pancakes  

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk
1 cup full-fat or low-fat cottage cheese
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cups finely chopped walnuts (optional)
1/3 cup dried currants, plumped (optional)

2 large egg whites

Pure maple syrup or honey, or plain yogurt (optional, for serving)

1. Lightly butter, oil, or spray your griddle–nonstick works best with these, if you have them–if needed, and preheat it over medium heat. If you are using an electric griddle, preheat it to 350 degrees F. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F if you do not plan to serve the pancakes hot off the griddle.

2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon or nutmeg and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, cottage cheese, butter, egg yolks and vanilla.

3. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently whisk them together, mixing just until combined. Stir in the walnuts and/or currants, if using them.

4. Beat the two egg whites until they are stiff but not dry and fold them into the batter.

5. The batter will be thick and bubbly - similar to cake batter. Spoon 1/3 cup batter onto the griddle for each pancake, nudging the batter into rounds. These are thick and might take a little longer to cook than most other pancakes. Cook until the top of each pancake is starting to dry around the edges - you will get a few bubbles here and there - then turn and cook until the underside is lightly browned. These will keep in a 200 degrees F oven while you finish making the rest, but they are best served immediately, when they are at their lightest and puffiest.

My Notes: I didn't separate eggs, i just mixed whole eggs with the wet ingredients. Maybe my pancakes weren't as puffy as they are supposed to be, but they were still pretty good.


I changed the background.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Watcha got Cookin...

Suzy! I think this is no longer mom's blog. It now belongs to Suzy since she posts the most. So thank you Suzy for sharing your recipes with us. :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I have never been a huge fan of meatloaf so I am always looking for ways to make it taste better. This was one of the best recipes I have found.

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 cup crushed buttery round crackers
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons steak sauce
brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Stir the ground beef, crushed crackers, Cheddar cheese, and onion soup mix in a large bowl until well combined. Whisk the eggs, ketchup, and steak sauce in a separate bowl until smooth. Mix the eggs into the meat until evenly combined, if the mixture seems too dry, add a little water. Press into a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
3. Bake in preheated oven until the meatloaf reaches 160 degrees F (71 degrees C) and is no longer pink in the center, 45 to 60 minutes.