Search This Blog

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Craisin Cookies

Like most cookies, this batter is "textbook" cookie batter....cream the sugar and butter together, add the egg and beat til creamy.  Add the dry ingredients just until incorporated, gently add the chips and whatever else, take spoonfuls and place on your cookie sheet, etc......  What makes them incredibly delicious and different is I replaced the raisins with craisins and added rice cereal.... ergo the crispy crunchy part of the title.  

Here is a list of ingredients:

1 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup craisins

As I said, cream the butter and sugar together in your mixer.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until creamy.  Add in all your dry ingredients and mix just until blended.  Now, gently mix in the craisins and chips.  Last but not least the rice cereal.  Try not to mix too much.

Use any size spoon you would like and shape the dough into a ball.  Once you place it on the cookie sheet, gently flatten with the palm of your hand.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.  Let cool and watch them disappear!

Sauteed Pork Medallions in a Lemon-Garlic Sauce

I love cooking pork tenderloin because it takes no time at all, and it always comes out tender and juicy.  Seeing as the last three time I made pork, I butterflied and stuffed them, I decided tonight it was time to do the "medallion" thing.  This is very easy to make and the leftovers are great in a sandwich.  Here is all you need:

Pork tenderloin
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
½ Vidalia onion, chopped
about ½ - ¾ cup white wine
the same amount of chicken broth
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley

Begin by removing the "silver membrane," then cut into ¾" slices.  Either use the palm of your hand or cover with plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to flatten to about ¼" thick and set aside.

In a bowl, combine about 1 cup of flour, and liberally sprinkle in garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper and mix together.  One by one, dredge each piece of pork in the flour.  Have a fry pan heated to medium high and coated with a little olive oil.  Place as many as you can comfortably fit in the pan and brown on each side for about 2-3 minutes.  Drain the cooked pork on some paper towels.
Once you are done, add a little more olive oil and cook your onion and garlic for just about a minute. 

Add your wine and chicken broth and increase your heat to high and scrape all the great brown crumbs that are stuck to the pan.  Keep stirring as it thickens.  You want to reduce the liquid by about half. 

When it's there, turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and parsley, along with salt and pepper.  Now is the time to taste the sauce to see if it needs anything else.  Time to add the pork into your sauce to coat.  Return to the lowest heat setting, cover and let everything simmer together for about 5 minutes.  That's it!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Broccoli and Goat Cheese

If you have followed me for any length of time, you know that I love to stuff and roll things!  I also love to cook these rolled-up bundles in my large cupcake here we go again, except the ingredients have changed.  I have to say this one came out delicious!  Chicken always seems to go well with broccoli, and well...goat cheese?  Who doesn't love goat cheese?  

Read and do as I do:

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 large handfuls of broccoli, finely chopped
1 shallot, chopped
fresh basil....maybe 10 leaves, cut up
salt and pepper
about 1 cup of goat cheese
12 slices of Prosciutto
Seasoned breadcrumbs

This dinner is a little labor-intensive, but when you love to cook, you simply don't mind!  Begin by chopping up your broccoli and shallot and add to a fry pan with a little olive oil.  Saute until the broccoli begins to become tender.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly and add your chopped basil, salt and pepper.

Once cool, mix in the goat cheese.  Taste to make sure there is enough salt and pepper.

Take the chicken breast and butterfly the thick end so that it lies flat on your counter.  Using your meat mallet, pound out as thin as you can.

Begin by laying 1 ½ slices of prosciutto on the chicken, followed by a scoop of broccoli stuffing.

Roll everything up and place in your cupcake tin that has been sprayed with a little vegetable oil spray.

When you have them all done, spray the tops with the oil spray and sprinkle with a little seasoned breadcrumbs.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until juices run clear.

Another masterpiece for you to enjoy!

Not Your Average Butternut Squash Soup...

This is not your average butternut squash soup!  It's got serious flavors going on than make you say yum after every spoonful!   And, what's great about this soup is you can either add or leave out the dairy portion of this recipe.  It's totally up to you ~  Here are my ingredients:

2 large Butternut squash
2 handfuls of baby carrots
1 large Vidalia onion
2 apples
olive oil
1 can coconut milk
2 boxes chicken stock
3 tablespoons curry
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper (if you don't have this, use black pepper)

Start out by peeling and roughly cutting the following:

2 large butternut squash
about 2 handfuls of baby carrots (probably measures about 2 cups)

Place them in a bowl and coat with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread out on a baking sheet.  Place in a 400 degree oven and roast for about 20 minutes, or until tender.  While these are roasting, peel and roughly cut one good-sized Vidalia onion.  Saute in your soup pot with a little olive oil.  After about 10 minutes, add in 2 apples that have been also peeled and roughly cut.  Once they are tender,  add the roasted squash and carrots.

Now or your seasoning...I added 3 tablespoons of madras curry, ¼ cup of light brown sugar, a teaspoon of sea salt and a ½ teaspoon of pepper. Stir to incorporate, and add 2 boxes of chicken stock.  Simmer on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes.

You're in the home stretch at this point.  The only thing left to do is add a can of coconut milk and break out your stick blender.  If you don't have one, you can use your food processor.  You want to totally puree everything.  This is the point where you decide dairy or no dairy.  I added about 2 cups of non-fat half and half.   Done!  Taste and make sure you don't need any more curry or salt.  You want to make sure you taste a bit of heat from the curry.  I think I sprinkled in another few teaspoonfuls.  So delicious.  The apples, carrots, squash and curry flavors  were incredible together.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Lactose-Free Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup with Kale and Artichokes

I have always loved creamy soups, even though they are not always the best thing for my waistline.  I have made it my goal in life to make creamy soups that are healthy and won't enlarge me!  Plus, two of my daughters are discovering that they are lactose-intolerant, so that puts another twist on things.  I really came up with a winner here... and it was easy to make.  Here are the ingredients:

Olive Oil
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 large sweet onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic chopped
Fresh Thyme
2 boxes of chicken broth
handfuls and handfuls of chopped kale
one handful of spaghetti, broken
½ tsp each salt and pepper
2 cups of lactose-free milk
¼ cup flour
at least 2 cups of pulled chicken (I bought a roasted chicken)
1 cup "Country Creamer" (dairy-free creamer)
1 can artichoke hearts, cut up

I begin by sautéing the carrots, celery, onions and garlic in a small amount of olive oil.  I then add the chopped kale and some fresh thyme sprigs bundled together.   Once the kale has begun to wilt, pour in the chicken broth and let it simmer

I like to partially cook any pasta for soup in a separate pot so it won't absorb too much of my soup broth.  While the pasta is cooking, combine 2 cups of the lactose-free milk with one cup of flour and whisk until blended.   After you have added the pasta to the soup, pour the milk mixture in and increase the heat to medium high.  Stir until thickened, about 8-10 minutes.  You can also add the artichoke hearts, seeing as they don't need to be cooked.


Believe it or not, the last ingredient is the chicken.  I like to put it in just before serving so that it will stay nice and tender.  There's nothing worse than eating chicken soup where the chicken is tough and over cooked.  I also add the cup of Country Creamer, just to give it a little richness.  Don't forget to remove the thyme sprigs and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Braised Chicken Legs with Capers and Parsley

I think braising is fast becoming a new favorite of mine.  Everything braised comes out moist, tender and full of flavor, added bonus?  If you have enough braising liquid, it makes a really great base for soup.  It has the perfect thickness and all the flavors you need, just add veggies and whatever meat you feel like adding.  So my ingredients?  

Chicken legs
1 sweet onion
fresh thyme, parsley and sage
seasoning (onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, paprika)
2 tbs capers
Corn Starch for thickening
1 box of chicken broth
½ cup of white wine

Well, back to braising...  I decided to braise chicken legs.  I dried them off and seasoned them with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and onion powder.   I melted a small amount of oil and butter in my pan and browned the chicken on all sides.

Once they were brown, I removed them from the pan and added in my onions, some fresh parsley, and an herb bundle of sage and thyme.

After about 5 minutes of sizzling, I pour in a box of chicken stock and the white wine.  I picked capers to add next because I wanted something a little "lemony."  Add the chicken legs back in and bring to a boil.

At this point, turn the heat down to a low simmer and cover.  I let them simmer for at least on hour, turning the chicken ever once in a while.  Test the chicken with a fork to make sure it is nice and tender.  While this is cooking, I turn to making some Jasmine rice.  This rice is so has this slightly sweet aromatic flavor that compliments anything it goes with.

After about an hour and fifteen minutes, my chicken is just about to fall off the bone.  I take just a little cornstarch and water (maybe about a tablespoon of each) and once mixed, I pour it in to thicken the sauce just a little.  All that is left to do is eat!  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies

For some reason I have always loved Snickerdoodle cookies.  For some reason, I think part of what makes them so good is the cream of tartar.   They are simple, delicious, and coated with cinnamon sugar....what's not to love?  It got me thinking that they might taste good if there was a chocolate version.  Evidently I am the last to know that there are a ton of chocolate snickerdoodle recipes out there!  and, they are indeed delicious. 

Here are your ingredients:

Cream together:         1 1/2 c. sugar
                                   1/2 c. butter, softened
                                   1 tsp. vanilla

Now add:                   2 eggs

Once blended, add the dry ingredients (try not to over-mix the dough!):

                                   2 1/4 c. flour
                                   1 tsp. cream of tartar
                                   1/2 tsp. baking soda
                                   1/4 tsp. salt
                                   1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa

In a small bowl, combine:

                2 tbsp. sugar
                2 tsp. cinnamon

Shape the dough into balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until set.  Remove from the cookie sheets as soon as they come out of the oven.

These cookies are are so crunchy and sweet and the combination of the cinnamon and chocolate together?  Oh my word...... delicious!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Really delicious risotto.....again!

Anyone who follows me knows a few key things that I love, one being a one pan meal.  I love to build a dinner that has all the food groups represented... and tonight is no exception!  Ham, asparagus, risotto, artichokes and a little Parmesan to round it off....  I'm telling you, though, tonight, I got the flavors spot on!  I hope I can replicate the creation... it was a lot of "a little of this and a pinch of that."  Here goes:

1 cup of risotto
4 cups of chicken broth
1 tbs dried onion
Sliced ham
olive oil
artichoke hearts
½ of a large shallot chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
roasted asparagus
Parmesan cheese
Fresh thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste

This time I don't have any step by step photos, but follow along with the narrative and it will come out great!  Begin by melting a tablespoon of butter, a sprinkling of dried onion,  and a splash of olive oil in a pan.  Add 1 cup of risotto and cook for about 10 minutes.  Just when it starts to lightly brown, begin adding your chicken broth, one cup at a time.  Simmer and stir until the broth has been absorbed, then add another cup.  Keep going until 4 cups of broth have been absorbed.  I had about 2 handfuls of fresh spinach left over, so I chopped it up and folded it into the hot risotto.  Turn off the heat and set aside.  

Time to get the rest of your ingredients ready.  The asparagus needs to be roasted with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, turning them about half way through.

When done, cut into 1 inch pieces and add to the risotto.  Cut up about 6-8 slices of ham and add in.
I also added approximately 1 cup of artichoke hearts, cut up, but honestly?  Who ever measures artichoke hearts?  The more the merrier!  I also added about a tablespoon of fresh thyme.  I thought it needed something else, so I cut up 4 cloves of garlic and half of a large shallot and sauteed them in a little butter.  You can add in your salt and pepper to the onions.  Once they are translucent, I add them in.  

Last but not least, a healthy sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and my life is complete.   A masterpiece!  This one was a true keeper!  The flavor of the roasted asparagus, combined with the ham, thyme and shallot/garlic mixture was amazing...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My newest creation...Pork Tenderloin stuffed with potatoes!

As you can tell by looking at my blog, I love to make different renditions of stuffed pork tenderloin.  Most of them have a bread or breadcrumb base, so this time I really wanted to try something different.   I love serving pan-roasted potatoes with pork and thought why not put the potatoes in the pork instead of along side?  Read on and you'll see what a great idea this was!

My ingredients are:

2 Pork Tenderloins, butterflied and pounded out
5-6 New Potatoes
1 onion, chopped
approximately 2 cups roughly chopped mushrooms
Fresh Thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 slices of Panchetta, diced and cooked

I begin to build my stuffing by cooking the potatoes.  You want to remove them from the water when they about ¾ cooked.  Run under cold water.  Dice them up and set aside in a bowl.  

Grab a fry pan and cook up the onion and garlic.  Add your chopped kale and continue cooking until the kale has wilted.  Sprinkle in about a teaspoon each of dill and thyme.  Once the stuffing is done, taste again in case you need to add more.

As each ingredient is finished cooking, combine in your bowl.  I add the mushrooms without cooking them.  Once you stuff and bake the tenderloin, the mushrooms will have cooked just enough.

While your stuffing is resting, you can prepare the pork.  Butterfly each tenderloin and pound flat.  Sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and place your stuffing down the middle.

Now the fun part.... roll up as best you can, trying to tuck all the stuffing in as you roll.  Use some cooking twine and tie it together.

Now brown the tenderloins in a nice hot fry pan so you can get that brown coating.  Place both tenderloins in a roasting pan and cook in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
I drizzled the tops with a little Caesar Dressing, but feel free to get creative.  You could make a sauce with a little olive oil, Dijon mustard, a splash of white wine and some tarragon and use that instead.  

Now, I like to serve my tenderloin while it is a little pink, but if you prefer it well done, let it stay in the oven for another 15 minutes or so. 

I roasted some haricot vert to have along with it.  So delicious!