Thursday, September 29, 2011

Slow Cooker Chicken Soup

Today I was feeling a little under the weather so I decided to make Matt and I soup for dinner.  Chicken soup is so easy because you can throw just about anything in it and it will taste good.  I got home from work too late to get a good base, so I just threw a can of Campbell's condensed cream of celery soup, water, half an onion, two chicken breasts, and a bag of mixed frozen vegetables.  I also added a bunch of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion flakes, and parsley.  If I had had more time, I would have used fresh vegetables, but the bagged veggies worked out great!

Chicken Soup cooking away in the crock pot!

Chicken Soup (Note the new festive table cloth!)
 I added a little shredded cheddar cheese at the end for some added creaminess and a little extra saltiness.  Delicious!

Slow Cooker Chicken Soup

2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 (10 oz.) cream of celery soup
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. garlic
1 Tbsp. onion flakes
1 Tbsp. parsley
Salt and Pepper
1/4 cup shredded cheese

Add all ingredients to slow cooker.  Stir.
Cook for 3-4 hours on high.
Sprinkle cheese on top as you're serving.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sweet Apple Quesadillas

To continue on with my Mexican Fiesta noche, I decided to make sweet apple quesadillas, which I found the recipe for on the tortilla package!  These actually turned out quite good, though the last one I made, the pan got a bit too hot and I set off the smoke alarm... again.  Luckily, it didn't go off for the whole building!  
Also, as a side note, I would add more sugar next time; the recipe called for apple pie filling, but I used real apples, and didn't add enough sugar to make it sweet enough.  Also, the recipe called for Mexican shredded cheese, but I used cottage cheese to make it less salty.  Oh well, buenos noches!

For real, I didn't do this on purpose, but it's awesome.

The apples, cooking away!

Apple, raisin, sugar, and cinnamon mixture!

Cottage cheese, added!

Yum!  (The darkest one is the one that set off the fire alarm.)

Sweet Apple Quesadilla!  
Sweet Apple Quesadillas

2 apples, chopped small
1/2 cup raisins
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup cottage cheese
4 small tortilla shells
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Place small saucepan over medium heat.  Add apples, raisins, sugar, and cinnamon.  Cook until apples are soft, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat.
In a small frying pan, add oil.  After hot, add one tortilla to oil.  Place about two Tbsp. of apple mixture and 1 Tbsp. cottage cheese to half of the tortilla. Fold tortilla over itself.  Flip.  Cook until golden brown.

Chicken Thighs with Tangy Yucatecan Spices and Potatoes

Today I decided to cook up some Mexican fare out of my favorite cookbook, Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless.  The recipe I picked out was actually for the grill, so I mocked it by using a grill pan.  I did have some trouble however... first, I didn't check that the blender was put together correctly and I accidently chopped up the rubber seal ring, whoops!  The garlic therefore was not blended into a paste, so I had to put chopped garlic into the marinade.  Then I put some of the marinade into the cooking chicken and the chopped garlic started to burn, so I had to scoop it out.

Marinade for the chicken

The recipe called for a pepper and tomato salsa, but I didn't have any tomatoes, so I took the other suggestion which called for a green chili hot sauce (bottled).  Unfortunately, I didn't have that either, so I made one with the ingredients I did have: green chilis, garlic, chicken broth, minced onion, salt, pepper and cilantro.  It came out okay, but it was much better over the chicken.

Green Chili Salsa

Chicken Thighs

Chicken Thighs with Tangy Yucatecan Spices, Potatoes, and Green Chili Sauce
Chicken Thighs with Tangy Yucatecan Spices and Potatoes

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 chicken breasts
1 cup chicken broth, divided
4 medium potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 (4 oz.) can green chiles
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 small onion, minced
Salt and Pepper

12 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup vegetable oil
6 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Pinch ground cloves
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. sugar

Combine all ingredients for marinade in a large bowl.  
Take half the marinade and put in medium bowl.  Add the chicken. 
Scrape the remaining marinade and add to a small saucepan.  Add the chicken broth, green chiles, 1/4 tsp. salt, and onion. Set aside.  
Heat grill pan over medium heat.  Add 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil.  When hot, add chicken breasts. Cook for about 7 minutes on one side, flip, cook an additional 5 minutes.  
Meanwhile, place the potatoes, 1 Tbsp. water, and a good amount of salt in a microwaveable bowl and cook, covered in plastic wrap.  Make sure to poke holes in the plastic wrap and cook for about 6 minutes.  Pour off the water.  
Bring the broth to a boil, taste and season with salt if necessary.  
Serve with broth poured over chicken and potatoes.  

Recipe adapted from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

Monday, September 26, 2011

Philly Cheesesteaks!

Today I decided to embrace my new move and pay homage to probably the most famous food of my new city... cheesesteak!  I decided not to follow any recipes today, because really, it's just meat, onions, and cheese.  (I added peppers too.)  Also, if you happened to make the pot roast I made last week, this is the leftovers!  

Beef, peppers, and onions.
The biggest problem I had tonight was that I wanted to make the cheese kind of liquid like on a real cheesesteak, but I didn't want to use cheese wiz.  So, I put cheese and milk in a cup and microwaved it.  That worked pretty well, however I added too much milk and it was a little too liquid-y.  Whoops!
The cheese and milk mixture!

Cheese mixture added to the beef, peppers, and onions.
All in all, the cheesesteaks turned out pretty good, though the cheese was a little runny and I had to serve it on white bread (rolls are more expensive!).  Oh well, go Phillies!  

Philly Cheesesteak! 
Philly Cheesesteaks

1 Tbsp. oil
1 pound leftover beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 pepper, diced
1 cup milk
2 cups cheese, shredded
Good quality hoagie rolls
Salt and Pepper

Over medium high heat, add oil to skillet.  Add peppers and onions.  Cook until onions are translucent, about five minutes.  
Meanwhile, add milk and cheese to small saucepan, and whisk until a thick cheese sauce forms. 
Add beef to peppers and onions and heat through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Scoop beef mixture into a hoagie roll.  Top with cheese sauce. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pasta with Peas and Sausage

Tonight I made pasta with peas and sausage.  The recipe called for canned peas, but I used frozen because they taste way better and I don't like mushy peas (who does??).  There were also a bunch of comments on the recipe that it tasted bland, so I added a ton of garlic powder.  (Obviously the other cooks weren't Italian!)  The final thing I did was use crushed tomatoes instead of sauce for extra flavor and not as much water as was called for.

The sauce, simmering away! 

Almost finished...

Pasta with Peas and Sausage!
Pasta with Peas and Sausage:
1 small onion, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 bag frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup water
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. basil
1 Tbsp. garlic
1 lb. ziti
Freshly grated parmesan

In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the onion in oil, stirring occasionally, for bout five minutes.  Add the sausage adn cook it until no longer pink.  Drain, then add the tomatoes, peas, water, salt, pepper, basil, and garlic.  Bring to a boil and simmer for twenty minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions.  Drain, and add the the sauce.  Simmer until heated through.
Serve, topped with parmesan.

Recipe adapted from Food Network

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chicken Soft Tacos

Last night I made chicken tacos from a recipe I found in my "Mexican Everyday" cookbook by Rick Bayless.  Even more surprising, I had all the ingredients!  I started off so fancy and cooked my peppers over an open flame!  (I had to stop though because I almost lit it on fire and didn't want to set off the smoke alarms again!)  They were supposed to have either guacamole or tomatillo salsa on them, but since both avocados and tomatillos are expensive, I went for adding refried beans, rice, and cheese.  Delicioso!

Broiling my peppers!

Chicken, onions, and roasted peppers!

Chicken Tacos
Chicken Soft Tacos

2 large green peppers
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
1 large white onion, sliced
Salt and Pepper
1 pound boneless/skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
Warm flour tortillas
Toppings: Guacamole, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream

Roast the peppers over an open flame (if you have gas burners, that's how I like to roast them!) until blistered and blackened, turning regularly, about five minutes.  Place in a bowl, when cool, scrape off the blackened skin.
Heat 1 Tbsp. of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook, until golden brown and crunchy.  Scoop into a bowl, set aside for later.
Cut the pepper into same size strips as onion, add the the same bowl.
Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
Add the remaining one tablespoon of oil to the skillet.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken.  Brown one side, about five minutes, flip and cook an additional four minutes.
When the meat is done, add garlic and lime juice.  Reduce to a glaze.
Cut the chicken into same size strips as peppers and onions and add the chicken into the same bowl.
Season with additional salt, if necessary.
Serve tortillas warm with chicken, peppers, and onions, and whatever toppings you like.

Recipe adapted from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pot Roast

Today I decided to try my hand at an American classic... pot roast.  I looked at a few recipes and ended up making up my own from what they said to do.  Everything turned out great!  The meat was super tender and flavored well.  The only thing I would do differently is trim off some of the fat before putting the roast in the crock pot.

Pot roast sizzling away!

Pot roast with linguini! 
Pot Roast:
1 4-5 pound rump roast
1 cup canned tomatoes
1 onion
5 stalks celery
2 cups water
Garlic Powder
Onion Flakes
1 tablespoon butter

Place onions and butter in bottom of crock pot.  Cook until onions are soft
Put roast on top of onions
Add rest of ingredients.
Cook on high for approximately 6 hours.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Frankfurters and Noodles

Doesn't "Frankfurters and Noodles" sound fancier than Hotdogs in spaghetti?  Well, that's what I made last night!  I found a great recipe in my Culinary Institute of America cookbook that took hot dogs to the next level!  They were cooked in onion and tomatoes with Italian spices and then added to the pasta.  I was a little skeptical, but it turned out really good!  Who knew?

Hot dogs, onions, and spices!

The finished product!

Frankfurters and Noodles

1 pound frankfurters, cut in half diagonally
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. basil
2 Tbsp. butter
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 cup milk
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups wide egg noodles, cooked
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

In a large skillet, brown frankfurters and onion in butter over medium high heat.  Cook until onion is translucent.
Stir in basil, cream of celery soup, milk, and diced tomatoes.  Heat through, stirring occasionally.
Add pasta, tossing to coat.  Spoon into bowls, topping with parsley.

Recipe adapted from Culinary Arts Institute Cookbook

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes!
Today, being Sunday, I decided to make pancakes from scratch for Matt and I!  I found a recipe in Glamour Magazine called "Love You Pancakes," so I decided to try those.  Well, they were supposed to be made with berries, however, when I took my raspberries out of the fridge, they were super moldy.  Boo.

Absolutely NONE of these were salvagible.  How sad!  
The recipe said that I could substitute peaches instead of berries, but I didn't have them, and since fall is upon us, I decided to cook down some apples.  I put some Smart Balance in a pan with the apples, cinnamon, and some sugar.  I cooked those until they were mushy.

Apples and cinnamon!  
After that, I added the apples to my pancake mix. The recipe also called for ricotta cheese, but I substituted cottage cheese, because that's what I had, and it worked out well.  I didn't have baking powder, so I just left it out... it didn't do anything to the taste, they were just a little flat.  Oh well, they were still yummy!

My delicious pancakes... from scratch!  

I haven't used a hand mixer before, so I whipped it out today to whip up my egg whites... which I expertly seperated from the yolks!

Look at those peaks!  

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

1 lemon
1 tsp. butter
3 apples, cored, diced
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
2 cups Flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 cup cottage cheese
1 1/4 cup milk
4 large eggs, seperated

Over a bowl, use a grater to zest the lemon.  Cut the lemon into wedges, set aside.
Heat butter in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the apples, cinnamon, lemon zest, and 1/4 cup of sugar.  Heat until apples are slightly mushy.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, 1 Tbsp. sugar, and baking powder.  In another bowl, beat the cottage cheese with milk and egg yolks.  Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.  Let batter sit for 10 minutes.
Beat egg whites with a hand mixer until soft peaks form.
Gently fold in apples into batter followed by folding in the egg whites.  (Make sure you don't overmix!)
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium low heat.  Melt 1/2 tbsp. butter at the center of the skillet.
Spoon batter into the hot skillet, directly onto the butter.
Cook until each pancake until the bottom is golden brown and the bubbles on the surface begin to break, about two minutes.  Flip the pancake and cook until golden brown, about one more minute.
Serve with maple syrup and lemon wedges.

Recipe adapted from Glamour

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Tonight I decided to make a chicken and broccoli casserole recipe I found in Cosmo.  Well, first, I used Smart Balance instead of regular butter to be healthier, but when I mixed in the flour, I don't think there was enough fat to keep it liquid and it formed into weird mushy balls.  Then I had to add the chicken broth without it being mixed correctly, but I guess it was fine.  
My sauce bubbling away!

Right before my casserole went into the oven. 
Everything went fine after that until I was supposed to put the casserole into the broiler.  Now, I don't usually use the broiler, but I decided I would follow the entire recipe this time.  MISTAKE!  The recipe said to put it in for one minute, so after about 30 seconds I started smelling burning and took the casserole out, which was on fire!!  I blew it out but then my fire alarm started going off.  Luckily I had the windows open already so they stopped after a few seconds.  

After I blew out the fire!  All my cracker crumbs and cheese
My previously beautiful crumb topping.

I scraped off all the burnt parts and salvaged the casserole.

The finished product... minus most of the crackers and
Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 package frozen broccoli florets, thawed
2 cups chicken breast, cooked
1 cup cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 325.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and add the flour.  Cook for about two minutes, whisking.
Add the broth, and shallot and increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens, about 10 minutes.
Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice.  Remove from heat, stir in Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup of the parmesan.
Place the broccoli in a greased casserole dish and pour half the sauce on top.  Add the chicken and pour the remaining sauce on top.  Top with cracker crumbs and the remaining cheese.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese on top is golden brown.

Recipe adapted from Cosmo

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Homemade Mac and Cheese!

Today my friend Kevin had Matt and I over for dinner and he made his grandmother's mac and cheese... it was delicious!  It was super cheesy and had a perfect crumble topping :)  Everyone had seconds, my only complaint is that I didn't have more!

Macaroni and Cheese and Spinach!  
For desert, Kevin's roommate Kelly picked up a pumpkin roll filled with a cream cheese frosting.  To finish it off we had fresh apple cider!  Yum!!

Look how cheesy!  

Kevin's Family Macaroni and Cheese:

1 pound spiral pasta
2 bricks extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup Ritz crackers 

Layer cooked pasta on bottom of casserole dish
Cover layer completely with cheese
Layer Ritz crackers
Repeat layers twice
Pour milk around the edges of the pan until it comes to the top

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Spanikopita Meatballs with Tzatziki

Look at these lovely formed meatballs!  (Don't worry,
they're not cooked yet!)
My mom makes these quite a bit, so today I decided to try my hand at it!  (Plus we had ground turkey in the freezer.)  This recipe actually can be credited to Rachael Ray, but with my mom's help, I tweaked it a bit.  First of all, it's supposed to be made with ground chicken, but was ground chicken on sale this week?  Nope, ground turkey was.  (I made it with ground turkey.)  Next, the turkey meatballs themselves are a little bland without the tzatziki, so I added extra garlic, salt, and pepper.

The mixture, before making them into meatballs. 
The tzatziki itself was great, though I didn't have any coriander (who does on a budget) so I added extra cumin.  I also didn't have enough Greek yogurt (guess I should have had Cheerio's for breakfast) so I just finished what we had.  

I finished off the meal with some spaghetti tossed in olive oil and garlic.  Delicious!!  

The finished product!!  (Okay, this actually doesn't look that
good, but trust me, it was.)

Spanakopita Meatballs with Tzatziki


1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
3/4 cup crumbled feta
1 pound ground chicken

1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
1/3 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp. dill
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 Tbsp. cumin

Preheat oven to 400.
For meatballs:
In a bowl, combine onion and three cloves of garlic.
Squeeze the water out of the spinach until completely dry.  Add it to the garlic and onion.  Add feta, chicken, and garlic powder with a liberal drizzle of olive oil.  Mix well and form 18 meatballs.  Place the meatballs on a baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
For Tzatziki:
Place yogurt, garlic, cucumber, dill, lemon juice, cumin and salt in a bowl and mix well. Serve with meatballs as a dipping sauce.

Recipe adapted from Food Network

P.S.- If you're an avid reader, then you know I made Mexican chicken soup a couple of days ago.  Well, I had some leftovers for lunch today and it was much better.  The spices have time to strengthen and the overall flavor was better.  Just a tip if you wanted to make it!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Chicken with Apple, Onion, and Cider Sauce

This week apple cider was on sale at the grocery store which means fall is here!  I was so excited that I decided to put that fall spirit into my dinner tonight.  I found a recipe on Food Network for chicken with apples, onions, and my fresh apple cider.  My chicken turned out great, though next time I would add more apples, one just wasn't enough (it was that good).  Matt ate his whole portion and finished off the sauce on top of his rice!  I did accidently forget to turn off the rice when it was done cooking, but luckily it didn't burn, though a good portion got stuck to the bottom of the pot... good thing Matt does the dishes!

Look at that chicken sizzling away!

Apples, onions, garlic, and spices!

Chicken and cider added to the apple and onion mixture!

Rice stuck to the pan... sorry Matt!

Chicken with apple, onion, cider sauce and wild rice.  

Chicken with Apple, Onion, and Cider Sauce

4 chicken breasts
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Flour, for dredging
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 apple, cored and roughly chopped
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp. cold butter

Preheat oven to 350.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off the excess. Add two tablespoons oil to the pan.  Place the chicken in the skillet and cook until golden, about five minutes each side, and bake until cooked through, about eight minutes.
Meanwhile, add the onion and apple to the skillet, with one tablespoon oil and increase the heat to high.
Cook about two minutes, add the vinegar and scrape the browned bits from the pan.  Let the mixture thicken, until the vinegar gets syrupy, about a minute.  Add the chicken broth and return to a bowl.  Cook until the broth reduces by half.  Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and whisk in butter.
Remove chicken from oven and add any juices to the sauce.
Serve chicken with the juice over top.

Recipe adapted from Food Network

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mexican Chicken Soup

Okay, so I know I didn't post yesterday, but I went out to an Indian restaurant in the city, near Avenue of the Arts.  Also, it was appropriately named Indian Restaurant... at least I knew what I was getting!  I went with Matt and my friend Chris, and we got a smorgasbord of food.  I got chicken malai, chicken cooked in coconut milk and Indian spices and we all got some naan (Indian bread) to share.  Delicious!

Well, that's enough about yesterday, today I made Mexican chicken soup from a Food Network Magazine recipe.  Everything was going fine until I had to add my canned tomatoes.  I didn't realize that it was a can of cooked plum tomatoes, not diced ones.  So after I dumped the entire can in, I had to scoop them out and cut them up.  Whoops!  Other than that snafu, it turned out pretty good, though a little under-seasoned.  Perhaps after a day, the flavors will strengthen and be better as leftovers!

Step 1: Chicken broth, celery, onions, and spices.

Step 2: Add tomatoes and green chiles.

Accidental step: Cut up all the tomatoes.  

Finished product: Add chicken and cilantro!

Mexican Chicken Soup

2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
6 cups chicken broth
1 (4 oz.) can green chiles
1 (15 oz.) can corn
1 (15 oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp. oregano
1 cup cooked chicken breast, shredded
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, celery, garlic, chili powder, and cumin; cook until the onion turns translucent, about five minutes.  Add the chicken broth, bring to a bowl.  Reduce heat, summer, uncovered for about ten minutes.  Add the green chiles, corn, tomatoes, and oregano; cook for another five minutes.  
Take saucepan off heat and stir in chicken, cilantro, and lime juice.  Season to taste, with salt and pepper.

Recipe adapted from Food Network