Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summer Peach Crisp with Pecans & Toffee Bits

We have too many peaches, so i had to find a way to use at least some of them. I found this recipe on some blog and it sounded good, cause unlike usual peach cobblers it had toffee in it. Mmmm... It was very delicious.

Serves 6

6 cups peaches, peeled and sliced (about 2.5 lbs)
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

¾ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¾ cup English toffee bits (like Skor or Heath)½ cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place six 1¼ cup ramekins on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; set aside.

Meanwhile, immerse the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds, then place them in a bowl of ice water. Peel the peaches and slice them into thick wedges and place them into a large bowl. Add the sugar, brown sugar, flour and lime juice and blend well. Divide filling evenly among ramekins.

To make the topping, whisk flour, brown sugar and salt in bowl to blend. Using fingertips rub in butter until mixture hold together in clumps. Stir in toffee and pecans; sprinkle over filling.

Bake Crisps until filling bubbles and topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream if desired.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Grilled Chicken and Veggie Skewers

We had this tonight - it was delicious!

1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into small, bite-sized pieces
1 each yellow and green zucchini squash, cut in half (if large) and sliced
8 oz. small whole mushrooms, stems removed
1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper (or combo of 2 or more), chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 small red onion, carefully cut into bite-sized chunks (try to keep as much of the pieces in tact as possible, but don't stress it if they start to fall apart)
Sweet cherry tomatoes
1 recipe of Zesty Italian Dressing (below)

Prepare Zesty Italian Dressing:

1/4 c. white vinegar
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. seasoning salt
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (this really doesn't add much heat; it's better with it!)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
4 cloves garlic
1 c. canola oil
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese (either fresh or from a can)
3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning (add more if needed)

In a blender, combine vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, mustard, salt, seasoning salt, black pepper, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Blend. While blender is running, slowly add oil in a steady stream. Turn off blender and add Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese. Pulse blender 2-3 times to combine herbs and cheese. Remove 1/2 c. of dressing for basting during grilling and set aside.

Place cut-up chicken in a shallow dish and pour a little less than half of the remaining dressing over the chicken. Place in refrigerator for 2-3 hours or until ready to use (I marinated overnight).

Place chopped veggies in a dish (a 9x13 pan works great) and pour remaining dressing (except for reserved 1/2 c.) over the veggies. Toss gently to combine. Set aside.

If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for about 30 minutes.

When chicken is done marinating, skewer veggies and chicken (you'll have far more veggies than chicken, so keep that in mind when assembling your skewers; use about 3 pieces of chicken per skewer, but as many vegetables you can get on there).

Preheat grill and then cook skewers for about 10-12 minutes over medium heat until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender-crisp, turning at least once.

I served them with some Long Grain and Wild Rice. YUMMY!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Santa Fe Chicken Salad

Can you tell I have been craving salads lately? This is a copycat I found for the Santa Fe Chicken Salad they serve at the Cheesecake Factory. It was really good - it might sound like a really bizarre combination of tastes but they really all do go together. Since there are really 3 dressings (a lime dressing, bean relish that is like a black bean salsa, and a spicy peanut drizzle) it is probably best to do the dressings ahead of time. This is one of my new favorite salads.

6 chicken breasts halves
1/2 cup teriyaki marinade
16 cups romaine and leaf lettuce
1 cup cilantro
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed
1 cans whole kernel corn, drained
3 cups grated jack cheese
3 cups corn tortilla chips crushed
3 cups diced seeded tomatoes

Marinate chicken 1 hour in teriyaki marinade. Broil and baste chicken approximately 15 minutes; cool, then cut into bite size pieces or shred. Tear greens; add cilantro and beans and corn. Dress with Lime Dressing (see below).

Fill 8 plates with greens, top each with chicken, 1/4 cup cheese, tomatoes, 1/2 cup Bean Relish (see below). Drizzle with Peanut Dressing (see below).

Lime Dressing:
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon snipped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup olive oil

Process until thick.

Black Bean Relish:

Process together:
1 can Beans
1/2 cup each chopped red pepper, green pepper and red onion
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoons oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Peanut Butter Dressing:
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons sriracha hot sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
3 tablespoons sesame oil

Process until well blended.

This recipe is for 8, so if you have fewer people to serve, decrease amounts. I halved the dressing, bean relish, and peanut drizzle and had enough for probably 4 people. For the salad amounts, I probably only used 1/4 can beans and corn.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thai Peanut Noodle Salad

This one sounds a little strange but it was actually really good. One of my new favorite meals. And it is perfect for summer - cool and light.

8 oz Linguine Fini (or regular linguine)
4 C shredded greens: any combo of napa cabbage, romaine lettuce or even spinach
2 C thinly sliced purple cabbage
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, julienned
1/2 medium cucumber, halved and sliced
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
3 C diced grilled chicken
honey roasted peanuts (about 1/2 cup)

Start by bringing a pot of water to a boil. Add a spoonful of salt and then add your pasta. While pasta is cooking, start chopping those veggies. You can really use any mix of veggies you want.

As soon as your pasta is done drain it and run some cold water over it until it's cool. If you're not going to use it right away, add a drizzle of the salad dressing and stir to coat. This will prevent the noodles from getting all clumpy. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.

When you're ready to assemble the salad, place noodles, veggies, and chicken in a large bowl.

Pour the dressing over everything, stirring as you go until you have enough to coat.

1/2 C peanut butter
1 lime, juiced and zested
2 1/2 t sesame oil
1 T seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 T soy sauce
3 T honey
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 T minced ginger
1/2 C roughly chopped cilantro (stems and all)
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/4 t kosher salt*
2-3 t sriracha chili sauce*
2-4 T water*

*The need for salt may differ depending on the brand of PB you use. Taste first and then add.
*I use 3 t Sriaracha, but you may want more or less depending on your preference of heat levels. Again, taste first and then add.
*Lastly, the addition of the water is purely for consistency which again, depends on the PB brand you use. Add water until you get the consistency you want, or leave it out completely.

Place everything in a blender and mix until smooth. Makes about 2 cups.

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored
and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 pound strawberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor
10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
butter flavored cooking spray
2 cups cinnamon sugar

1. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, Golden Delicious apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
3. Coat one side of each flour tortilla with butter flavored cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray.
4. Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit mixture.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Home-made funfetti cake

We don't really like the after taste of cake from a box... and my little boy really wanted a sprinkle cake for his birthday. So I just made the better homes and Garden white cake and mixed a whole container of sprinkles in it before I baked it. I topped it with a butter cream frosting and a whole other container of sprinkles. Here is the white cake recipe I used.

4 egg whites
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or shortening, softened
1-3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/3 cups buttermilk or sour milk
1. Allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and lightly flour two 9x1-1/2-inch or 8x1-1/2-inch round cake pans or grease one 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set the pan(s) aside. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until well combined. Add egg whites 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Spread batter into the prepared pan(s).
3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes for 9-inch pans, 30 to 35 minutes for 8-inch pans or 13x9-inch pan, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cake layers from pans. Cool thoroughly on racks. Or, place 13x9x2-inch cake in pan on a wire rack; cool thoroughly. Frost with desired frosting.
4. Makes 12 to 16 servings