Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mama Casserole

First disclaimer: This recipe was created by a woman who hates mushrooms. But she loves this casserole.

Second disclaimer: It's easier than hell, tastier than imaginable and can't be good for you whatsoever (and I even substituted ground turkey ...)

And finally: I love this recipe because it reminds me of my mama - hence I call it Mama Casserole. This is a homely casserole that is good for rainy days or watching crappy romantic comedies.

Mama Casserole
by Mama Sharon

1 lb. ground meat (mom uses ground beef, I use turkey)
1/2 bag frozen tater tots
2 cans Campbell's Golden Mushroom soup

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a casserole (I used my beautiful square Paula Deen one ... I have no clue what size it is - 9 x9?) pat down the ground meat to a thin layer. Cover with a single layer of tots and spoon soup over the tots. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spicy Cheese Quick Bread

OK - I'm gonna give this recipe a big ol' meh. I had high hopes for something so studded with Cheddar cheese and I was kind of disappointed by the results. I'll be turning the leftovers into croutons sooner rather than later.

Spicy Cheese Quick Bread

1 3/4 C. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 C. half-and-half cream
1/2 C. milk
1/3 C. vegetable oil

1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan and set aside.
2. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, and Cheddar cheese together in a large bowl. Whisk in half-and-half cream, milk, and vegetable just until blended. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hasselback Potatoes

I got in touch with my inner Swede for this recipe which I served with the Pork Chops Loaded with Deliciousness. These were similarly delicious but they're kind of a pain in the arse when regular baked potatoes would have done. But my mother-in-law was over, I wanted to show her that her son isn't just living on macaroni and cheese and bologna sandwiches.

Hasselback Potatoes

4 (8 ounce) baking potatoes
2 T. butter, melted
salt and pepper to taste

2 T. finely grated fresh Romano cheese
1 T. seasoned dry bread crumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Peel the potatoes, and place in bowl of cold water to prevent browning. Using a sharp knife, make slices across the potato the short way about 1/8 to 1/4 inch apart. The slices should stay connected at the bottom, and the spoon helps keep the depth even. Return the potato to the bowl of water, and proceed with the remaining potatoes.
3. When all of the potatoes are cut, place them cut side up in a shallow baking dish or small roasting pan. Drizzle with half of the butter, then season with salt and pepper.
4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from the oven, and drizzle with the remaining butter. Sprinkle Romano cheese and bread crumbs onto the tops of the potatoes, and season with a little more salt and pepper. Return to the oven, and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pork Chops Loaded with Deliciousness

It's kind of funny - when I originally saw this recipe on the AllRecipes newsletter, I clicked on it but wasn't going to make it because of the fat content. But then I clicked on the recipe again and realized that I had to try these pork chops just once for the sake of the awesomeness I knew that would follow.

How can this much butter be a bad thing?

And I was not disappointed. I made these chops for dinner when my mother-in-law came up for the weekend. I think Gloria liked them, but Ryan and I were transported to some sort of pork heaven that was coated in Ritz Crackers and bathed in butter.

It was that delicious.

Famous Pork Chops

1 c. crushed butter crackers
garlic salt to taste (**I omitted because I suck and I forgot.)
ground black pepper to taste

3 eggs, beaten (**seriously? You only need 1 or 2. Three is a waste)
4 pork chops (**I ended up making 6 with the amt of eggs)
1/2 cup butter

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a shallow bowl combine crushed crackers, garlic salt and pepper; mix well. In a separate bowl beat eggs.
3. Dip your pork chops in the egg batter and then in the cracker mixture. Place the pork chops in a casserole dish. Place chunks of the butter around the pork chops. Cover and bake for 45 minutes.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lemon Yogurt Cake

As many folks know, I love all things Ina Garten. (I can't figure out whether I'd rather be Ina when I grow up or Tina Fey.) So this cake is awesome on a few counts.

1) This marked the inaugural usage of my KitchenAid mixer.
2) It's lemon - I love lemon. Lemon ... ah lemon.
3) And it's Ina Garten ...

So here is Ina Garten's Lemon Yogurt Cake which has been renowned by several food bloggers throughout history. It got a seal of approval from the hubby's coworkers as well, so this one is an easy keeper.

Lemon Yogurt Cake
from Food Network

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The ugliest cake you'll ever love ...

Hubby and I were talking lately that I've kind of strayed from my "simple recipes for lazy people" mantra that I adopted when I first started this blog. And I think it's true (see the itty-bitty chocolate chip cookie recipe for an example of how time consuming baking can be.). What can I say? Although I've always loved cooking, as I've been making more recipes, I find myself liking new challenges and trying new things.

That is why I now have buckwheat flour in my pantry. And although I initially bought too much - having buckwheat flour on hand is worth it to make this cake as often as possible. (Thank god I didn't find this recipe before the wedding ... uff da.)

I got this recipe from 101 Cookbooks who took this recipe from David Lebovitz's book "The Sweet Life in Paris." And I have to be honest - this is one homely looking cake, but it is very surprisingly tasty. Very much worth buying buckwheat flour for.

Breton Buckwheat Cake with Fleur de Sel

For the cake:
7/8 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon plus
1/3 teaspoon fleur de sel (**did not have, used sea salt)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temp
1 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum (**I just used the Bacardi I had from some last Christmas's rum cake.)

For the glaze:
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon milk

Butter a 9 or 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or a 9-inch springform cake pan. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the buckwheat and all-purpose flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cinnamon. In the bowl of a standing mixer or by hand, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat the 4 egg yolks and whole egg with the vanilla and rum with a fork, then gradually dribble the egg mixture into the batter while beating. If using an electric mixer, beat on high speed so the butter gets really airy. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top as flat as possible with an offset metal or plastic spatula. Make a glaze by stirring the single yolk and milk together with a fork, then brush it generously all over the top. (You may not use it all, but use most of it.) Take a fork and rake it across the top in three parallel lines, evenly space; then repeat starting from a slightly different angle to make a criss-cross pattern.

Crumble the remaining 1/3 teaspoon salt over the gateau with your fingers and bake for 45 minutes. Let cool completely before unmolding. Per Heidi's suggestion, I did put a pan underneath my tart pan because there was a bit of leaking.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bastardized Couscous

OK - so toward the end of my "no-spend" month, I'll be honest - I really did not do that great of job at not spending money. And now that I got that off my chest, I'll share with you a "clean out the pantry" recipe that I concocted with some expired couscous (does couscous really expire? discuss.), asparagus that seduced me in the produce section, some leftover morels from my beloved father, freshly grated Parmesan cheese and generic V8.

Here's the basic gist of what I did:

Cook the couscous according to directions. Instead of using water or broth, I used vegetable juice - I was looking forward to turning said couscous into an interesting color and getting some tomato flavor.

I grilled 1 lb. of asparagus with lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt and garlic. After it cooled, I cut it into bite sized pieces and gave it a quick saute with (the damn near invisible) morel mushrooms.

After the couscous was done, I tossed it all together with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. This dish is good hot or cold.

Note on cheese: I never used to grate my own cheese. But it just so happens that Wisconsin is a neighboring state and damn their cheese is cheap. In fact, I need to make a cheese run one of these first days.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Greek Chicken Kabobs

My husband and my dear friends can attest to one particular culinary obsession that I have: Our local grocery store Hyvee has these wonderful Greek chicken kabobs that I always bring to get togethers. Unfortunately at $7 for four of them, I cannot eat these kabobs every night although I would really try to do so if it was affordable.

So I decided to use my culinary noggin and try to recreate the delectable marinade that Hyvee spreads on their crack kabobs.

And friends ... I think I did it. Or at least, I'm in love with this chicken enough to turn my back on my former poultry addiction.

And of course, I didn't measure, but here's an approximation of my creation.

Greek Chicken Kabobs

zest of one lemon
5 twists of sea salt
1/2 tsp. dried mint
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 T. olive oil (**oh hell, I just put some in there until it looked like a decent consistency. Don't use too much though because you don't want to burn the kabobs.)

1 lb. chicken tenders (boneless, skinless, etc.)

I made the marinade, put the tenders in a sealable bag, poured the marinade and mashed it all together. Note - I did not have any extra marinade, I just made enough to coat the tenders. Then I refrigerated for 1 hour. (Well, I refrigerated longer than that because we ended up having company that afternoon and dinner was delayed, but you get the picture ...)

I heated my outdoor grill on high, alternated chicken and button mushrooms on my skewers. I turned down the grill to medium and cooked the kabobs for about 15 minutes, turning every so often. (I probably overcook my chicken, but I got food poisoning once off of undercooked chicken. Won't make that mistake again.)

And then ... my crappy sidedish.

I got this off of and man ... this was an unfortunate use of eggplant.

Eggplant and Tomato Packets

1 eggplant, peeled and cut in half
1 tomato, cut in half
garlic salt
olive oil

Peel and cut an eggplant in half. Cut the tomato in half. Place one half of each in a piece of heavy aluminum foil, sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the foil into packets. Grill on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.

For posterity's sake, this is the crappy side dish. I think its blurriness kind of equates its crappiness.