Friday, July 18, 2008

Mini Blackberry Pies

Pictures only. I've been experimenting with some fun new desserts and these were the perfect size and taste.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chicken Chili & Cheesy Corn Cake

I've never used ground chicken, but this seemed like a good way to test it out. Yum!

1 lb ground chicken
your favorite chili mix (I use Shelby Carolll's)
8 oz tomato sauce
1 bottle of beer
1 can black beans, slightly drained
shredded cheddar, sour cream & chopped red onion to garnish
chichi's corn cake mix (1/4 cup water, 1 can creamed corn, 1/4 cup melted butter)
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/3 cup shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 375.

In a bowl, mix corn cake mix, water, creamed corn and melted butter. Add green onion and cheese. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes.

In the meantime, brown ground chicken in a hot pot.

Drain fat and add tomato sauce and beer. Simmer for five minutes.

Add chili seasoning, salt and cayenne pepper from chili kit according to taste. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add black beans and masa powder (mix powder with 1/3 cup water) into chili and mix in. Let simmer for another five minutes. Garnish with cheese, sour cream and red onion. Serve with piece of corn cake.

Monday, July 14, 2008

BBQ Salmon and Fried Green Tomatoes

The farmer's market proved a source of inspiration yet again with green tomatoes. DH and I enjoyed a yummy appetizer of fried green tomatoes with goat cheese and balsamic reduction at 95 Cordova on our babymoon, and I attempted to recreate it.

BBQ Salmon
Salmon filet
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp green onion, sliced thin
2 tbsp honey

Whisk ingredients together in a bowl and marinate salmon for two hours, covered in fridge. Wrap in foil and grill to desired temperature.

Fried Green Tomatoes & Goat Cheese
2 green tomatoes, sliced
goat cheese (enough for 1 slice per every 2 tomatoes)
seasoned panko breadcrumbs
olive oil
1 egg, beaten
balsamic vinegar

Use olive oil to coat bottom of skillet and heat. Coat each tomato slice in egg and dip both sides in panko breadcrumbs. Lay in skillet. When one side is golden brown, flip and cook til golden brown on the other. Place slice of goat cheese on one piece of tomato and top with another. Drizzle each stack with balsamic vinegar and serve warm.

Holy Guacamole!

Honestly, I'm not the biggest guac fan. There was one restaurant in Boca (whose name eludes me) that used to prepare it tableside, and honestly, it was about the only guac I ate. However, the avocados at the farmer's market were too good to be believed, so I thought I would give it a shot to serve with leftover hummus and flatbread.

1 avocado, pitted
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 chopped tomato
juice of one lime
2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried cilantro
dash of paprika

Mash the avocado with salt and lime juice. Add onion, garlic, tomato, cilantro and paprika. Chill for several hours before serving.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fried Plantains

After much debating between recipes, I threw caution to the wind, used my best judgment and used the advice of my friend N, who stated that the whole secret was making sure the oil reached halfway up the plantains. She was right!

3 ripe plantains (mostly black on outside)
vegetable oil
4 tbsp butter
brown sugar
Peel and slice the plantains into slices (on an angle) about 1/2" thick
Melt butter in a skillet with about 1/4" oil. When oil is hot, lay plantains in a single layer in the skillet.
When golden brown on the bottom, flip to cook on the other side.
When both sides are golden brown, and slices are starting to get crispy, sprinkle with brown sugar and flip one more time.
When sugar is carmelized, remove from heat and serve.

Antipas Tray

I always like to serve a little something pre-meal when we have guests. It's great to have a light appetizer with which to relax when people arrive so we're not rushing around cooking immediately. Normally, I do a bruschetta or spinach dip, but since we were going to be having wine, I felt this platter was better suited. And best of all? No cooking required.

From top left working around the tray: garlic hummus, blue cheese stuffed olives, roasted red pepper, garlic stuffed olives, parmesan reggiano, fresh mozzarella. I served it all with crispy flatbread (not shown) and it was delicious!


I love a good chimichurri sauce, so since we were making grilled skirt steak for dinner, I opted to lighten up on the marinade (just a quick soy, honey, ginger, garlic, mustard mix) so that we could complement our meal with this.

1 cup fresh parsley, tightly packed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Puree items in blender. Pour into bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for two hours. Serve with your favorite grilled beef.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Panko Crusted Chicken Fingers

The fryer sure is getting a workout since I started using it. We had some frozen chicken tenderloins that needed to be cooked up, so DH picked up some panko breadcrumbs and I adjusted my Southern Fried Chicken recipe to work for it. YUM.

1 lb chicken tenderloins
4 cups buttermilk
box of panko breadcrumbs
herbs & spices to taste (garlic salt, black pepper, oregano, parsley, basil, paprika, crushed red pepper)
oil for fryer

In a large bowl, mix buttermilk and your choice of herbs and spices. Mix together and add chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Put recommended amount of oil in fryer and heat to 375.

In the meantime, put panko breadcrumbs in a bowl with herbs and spices to taste.

When oil is ready, move pieces of chicken into the panko breadcrumbs, coating thoroughly. Gently place in fryer basket and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Repeat until all chicken is cooked. Allow to drain on a paper towel for a few minutes before serving.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rocky Road Ice Cream Sandwiches

I adjusted my Two-Chocolate Chunk Cookie recipe for this fun summertime dessert.

1 1/2cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten

6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
6 oz semisweet chocolate chunks
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds
container of good quality vanilla ice cream (or your favorite flavor)

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl and set aside.

Use a mixer to cream the butter and sugars on low speed until smooth. Add vanilla and egg and beat on low speed for 15 seconds, or until fully incorporated. Do not overbeat.

On low speed, add the flour mixture, a little at a time. Beat until just incorporated. Gently fold in chocolate chips and chunks, marshmallows and almonds with a spoon or spatula

Let the dough chill for at least two hours.

Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a cookie scoop to drop 2" portions of dough 2" apart.

Bake 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Soften ice cream until it is the consistency of soft-serve. Place 1/2 cup of ice cream into a ziploc bag, snip the corner and pipe into center of one cookie. Place second cookie on top and squeeze so that ice cream reaches the edges. Wrap sandwich in foil and freeze immediately. Keep in freezer for 24 hours before serving.

Optional: after one hour, remove from freezer, unwrap and roll sides in mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts or chocolate sprinkles.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mini Boston Cream Pies

I got this recipe from Betty Crocker. I made some measurement adjustments and the end result is yummy and cute.

Cookie Crust
1 pouch Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
2/3 cup melted butter
1 egg
2 tbsp sugar

2 8oz pkg softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp fat-free milk
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
2 eggs
1 large box of instant vanilla pudding

2 cans of whipped chocolate frosting

Heat oven to 350. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. Lightly spray cups with cooking spray.

In bowl, combine sugar cookie mix, butter and egg until a soft dough is formed. Roll dough into 24 1.5" balls and place one ball in each baking cup.

Moisten bottom of small flat-bottomed glass (I used a beer bottle - it was a perfect fit) with water, dip into sugar and press down on dough balls to flatten. Dip in sugar for each press.

In bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, flour and milk on medium until smooth. Beat in sour cream. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time, until blended. Add pudding mix and mix until incorporated. Spoon about 2 tbsp of filling into each cup.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set. Cool for 45 minutes and remove from pan.

Put frosting containers in microwave for 20 seconds. With a star tip, pipe frosting into dip on top of each cup. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Store in fridge, covered.

Beer Batter Veggies with Horseradish Dipping Sauce

This weekend, DH gave me a deep fryer (that also steams & boils) as a gift. I was so excited to use it, and fried veggies are among my favorite guilty pleasures. I'm looking forward to putting this new appliance to good use.

Beer Batter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 beaten egg
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 cups flat, light beer

Put flour, egg, garlic salt, pepper and paprika in a mixing bowl. Add beer and whisk together.

Fried Veggies
Cut zucchini, broccoli and mushrooms into bite-size pieces. Toss in beer batter.

Heat deep fryer to 375. Carefully add coated veggies to basket and fry 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Place on paper-towel covered plate to absorb extra oil and serve immediately.

Horseradish Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
horseradish to taste

Mix together to desired spiciness. Chill before serving

Honey Balsamic Chicken

The fun thing about marinades is that you can really just throw together flavors you enjoy and normally, you get a pretty good combination. I also believe that the longer you marinate your chicken, the more flavorful it will become.

1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
basil & oregano to taste
boneless, skinless chicken breast

Whisk honey, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, basil and oregano together in a medium bowl. Place chicken in marinade, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least an hour.
Grill to desired temperature.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Corn Cake Fiesta

DH named this one and I guess it fits. It's a spin on traditional tacos and we both enjoyed it.

1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
2/3 cup water
1 pkg corn muffin mix
1 egg
2 tbsp melted butter or shortening
3/4 cup water
1 can black beans
1/3 cup medium salsa
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 lime, sliced
1/3 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar

In a medium bowl, combine corn muffin mix, melted butter, egg and 3/4 cup water. Set aside.

In a small pot, combine drained black beans and salsa. Leave on low while preparing remainder of meal.

Saute ground beef or turkey in a hot skillet, until cooked through. Drain fat. Add taco seasoning mix and 2/3 cup water. Let simmer.
Heat a griddle or pan and spray with nonstick butter spray. Ladle corn mixture onto hot skillet as you would pancake batter (2-3 per pan). Allow to cook to golden on one side and flip. As they finish arrange on a platter, until all are completed.
Spoon black beans over corn cakes. Spread taco meat over black beans. Sprinkle cheese on top. Put sour cream in a plastic bag, snip the corner and pipe over cheese. Garnish with red onion and limes.

Summer Tuna Salad

This is an old favorite in the RVA household - my family was making this for summertime for as long as I can remember. It's a nice, light meal, and goes great with fruit and cheese.

1 can solid white albacore packed in water, drained super well
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound pasta (elbows, penne, farfelle and similar work best)
2-3 tbsp mayo to taste
salt & pepper to taste
cherry tomatoes and parsley to garnish

Boil water and cook pasta al dente.

In a medium bowl, combine tuna, celery, onion, salt & pepper. Break up tuna with a fork to desired size chunks.

Drain pasta and shock with cold water immediately. Drain until dry.

Add pasta to tuna mixture and lightly toss. Add mayo and mix to desired consistency. Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with parsley and tomatoes. Serve chilled.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Patriotic Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

These are easy and pretty cute. I also used them to test my new cupcake decorating set. SO fun!

Your favorite white cake mix (I used a box mix)
Red & blue food coloring
Buttercream frosting
Red & blue M&Ms

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare cupcake pans with nonstick spray.

Prepare cake mix according to directions. Divide batter into three bowls. Set one bowl aside (white).

Add about 30 drops of red food coloring to one bowl and 30 drops of blue food coloring to the other. Blend well.

Drop random spoonfuls of each color into each cupcake space, until spaces are 2/3 full.

Bake according to directions.

Frost with buttercream frosting.

Double-bag M&Ms and lightly crush with a rolling pin. Sprinkle on top of frosted cupcakes.

Buttercream Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, softenend
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Beat ingredients until smooth.