Archive | July, 2010

What to do with chicken, carrots and potatoes…

29 Jul

WARNING! I didn’t really take any measurements so this isn’t a very exact recipe… but still easy and yummy!

Oooh, my first ever post on a blog. Very exciting. Now to the food…

Ever get home and NOT want to go to the grocery store but still want to make something good for dinner? I will do anything to avoid a trip to the market. I wish there was a website where I could type in what ingredients I had at home and POOF there’s a great recipe. Last night I had boneless skinless chicken thighs, carrots (fresh out of the ground from our local organic CSA) and little red potatoes and no clue what to do with them. I didn’t find anything online that looked good so I just decided to start cooking and see where it got me. Could be a recipe for disgusting, BUT it turned out awesome. Here’s what I did:

Ingredients:

Boneless skinless chicken (1 package)

4 smaller carrots

3 small yellow onions (1 large normal onion would work… these were small because they were from our farm)

1 cup (?) of red wine

6 medium red potatoes

3 cups (?) of stock (ours was chicken/duck/beef stock, but normal ol’ chicken stock will work fine)

1/2 a stick of butter

salt and pepper

3 dried star anise flowers

Tablespoon of corn starch

1) Trim up one package of boneless skinless thighs or I suppose breasts if you prefer (ewww for me but I know lots of people like…) and get your heaviest pan nice and hot with some olive oil. Add some salt and pepper to each side of the chicken and lay them in to brown. Since you want them to get a nice crust, don’t over-crowd the pan. I did half the pack at first and even let the pan reheat up before the 2nd half. Make sure it’s already nice and hot before you lay them in (a nice sizzle noise) but make sure no burning! Watch them closely, checking for a nice brown crust. I think I did around 3-5 min each side. Chicken does not need to be cooked through, just nice and brown on both sides. Wow that was very non-exact.

2) While the chicken is browning I boiled the potatoes, and chopped onions and carrots into bite size pieces.

3) After all the chicken is brown (and potatoes are boiling alongside) I took all the chicken out to rest on a plate and put chopped onions and carrots in the hot pan (more fun sizzling). Add a pinch or two (or three if you like salty like me!) of salt. Cook until… they look good? I know, I suck. Cook until carrots are slightly tender and onions are just starting to look soft. Then add a cup or so of red wine. Let the wine boil for a moment (1 min?) so all the alcohol cooks off and turn the heat to simmer and cover the whole pan so the carrots can steam in the wine. Add 2-3 dried star anise flowers (I know, not everyone has this around, but sooo yummy so I recommend buying them).  Let that go until the wine has cooked down and there’s not much liquid left in the pan. I’d say about 3-4 min, depends on how much wine you put in, as I did not measure!

4) While that’s simmering, turn your attention to the potatoes. I let them boil till a fork could go in very easily then drained them. I started to chop them at this point to add to the carrots and onion mixture, but since this whole thing was an experiment from the beginning I decided last minute to mash them instead. GREAT idea, they were sooo yummy. I loved mashed potatoes that have pieces of skin and a few little chunks. Actually, I love all mashed potatoes, but I feel like the chunkier variety is less common. I added about a cup of chicken stock, but just do a little at a time to see how much will soak in. I added salt to taste and about half a stick (1/4 cup) of butter. I never said this was healthy! We considered adding horseradish, but decided to have it “on the side” instead. Super yummy!

5) Back to the pan mixture. Once the wine has cooked down add the chicken back in the pan with 2 (approx) cups of stock. Enough so that the chicken is sitting in broth, but doesn’t need to be covered. Bring the whole thing back to a boil and let it boil for… 2 min? You want the stock to cook off a little so it gets thick. Then cover and turn the heat to simmer. Let that sit… as long as there’s liquid and you’re willing to wait. I hadn’t fully finished mashing the ‘taters yet so I went back to that while the chicken simmered. I think in total it was less than 10 min. Let’s say 7 min. The chicken and the carrots got nice and tender. Then I added just a bit (1 tablespoon?) of cornstarch to the whole mixture so the sauce would thicken up. Stir just for a minute. Oh, and I took out the star anise about halfway through simmering, just so it wouldn’t get too strong. Who knows if that did anything! Taste, add salt/pepper if you want.

6) Serve the whole thing over a bed of mashed potatoes! My picture is not very pretty (ok, it’s downright awful looking), because I started eating before I thought to take one… but it was super super yummy.

ugh, I promise a more appetizing photo next time!

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Jacked-Up Banana Bread With Pecans

25 Jul

I froze some overripe bananas a bit ago and have been planning to make banana bread for a while ago.  Today I finally decided to do it and spent some time looking up recipes.  I finally decided to go for a recipe on one of my favorite cooking blogs, Smitten Kitchen. However, after I decided to make it, I realized that the recipe calls for bourbon and sadly, liquor stores in Texas are closed on Sunday.  I did some quick research and found that 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of vanilla can be substituted for 1 tablespoon of bourbon and went with that (though I’m sure bourbon would have been awesome in this and I can’t wait to make it again and try it the original way).  I also decided to add 1/2 cup of pecans to the original recipe as I am a firm believer that any banana bread is better with nuts (I just added them last).  Below is the original recipe…hope you enjoy!

Elise’s Friend Heidi’s Friend Mrs. Hockmeyer’s Banana Bread, As Jacked Up by Deb
Adapted from Simply Recipes

No need for a mixer for this recipe — need I say more?

3 to 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted salted butter
3/4 to 1 cup light brown sugar (depending on the level of sweetness you prefer, I always use the smaller amount)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 1/2 cup of flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, vanilla and bourbon, then the spices. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

Roasted Pear-Butternut Squash Soup with Crumbled Gorgonzola

15 Jul

This soup is absolutely delicious soup.  It’s one of my favorite things to make in the fall and winter, but it’s so delicious that I can’t resist making it even when it’s ridiculously hot outside.  I got the recipe from one of the many, many cooking blogs/websites I follow on my google reader.  This one is called Eating Well.  The recipe on Eating Well calls for Stilton cheese, but the first time I made it, I couldn’t find that I opted to substitute in Gorgonzola.  It was perfect with this soup, so I’ve continued to make it that way.  The soup is even good without the cheese, but that’s really what sends it over the top.  Though it takes a bit of time (don’t decide to make this when you are starving), it’s pretty easy.  Here’s the recipe:

What you need:

  • 2 ripe pears, peeled, quartered and cored
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 1 large leek, pale green and white parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced and washed thoroughly
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2/3 cup crumbled Stilton, or other blue-veined cheese
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives, or scallion greens

How to make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine pears, squash, tomatoes, leek, garlic, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spread evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 40 to 55 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  3. Place half the vegetables and 2 cups broth in a blender; puree until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan. Puree the remaining vegetables and 2 cups broth. Add to the pan and stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  4. Cook the soup over medium-low heat, stirring, until hot, about 10 minutes. Divide among 6 bowls and garnish with cheese and chives (or scallion greens).

Most things I cook are relatively healthy and this is no exception.  According to Eating Well, it makes six servings, but sometimes mine doesn’t quite last that long.  If you can indeed make it into six servings, then the nutrition information is: 235 calories; 10 g fat (5 g sat, 5 g mono); 11 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein; 6 g fiber; 721 mg sodium; 700 mg potassium.  Not bad at all.