Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pork and peppers, revisited

Although tonight's dinner is similar in ingredients, pork and peppers, the flavors were different enough to be equally satisfying!

I have signed up for a weekly, or maybe daily, email from AllRecipes.com so I can try a few new "favorites." So far, much success. Here is my, more simplified just as tasty, variation of a recipe titled "Best Ever Sausage with Peppers, Onions, and Beer!" HIGH HOPES...

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 pounds Italian sausage links
  • 3 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 (12 fluid ounce) bottles beer
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage, by squeezing small bites out of the casing. Cook sausage until browned on all sides.
  2. Pour in 1 bottle of beer to deglaze the pan, scraping up any blackened bits from the bottom. 
  3. Place the red pepper, onion and garlic in the pan. 
  4. Stir in the remaining beer and the tomato paste. 
  5. Season with oregano, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Cover, and simmer until onions and peppers are tender. 
  6. Cover, and simmer until sausage is cooked through.
Boiled some orzo, and served with a side of Brussels sprouts. (Leftovers served with long-grain and wild rice.)

Nutritional Information Amount Per Serving  Calories: 724 | Total Fat: 50g | Cholesterol: 89mg

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pork burritos

Couldn't figure out what to do with the leftover pulled pork, so I ended up throwing it in a saute pan. I added diced red pepper and my taxi seasonings: chili powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne, cumin, and due to lack of garlic powder, onion powder. I warmed tortillas, diced lettuce and avocado. I spread it all on the tortilla with a sprinkling of cheese, and rolled it up. So good. Sweet from the bbq sauce and pepper, but the cayenne gave it some nice heat.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chocolate Dump It Cake

Then, I thought about make a cake from AH:

Chocolate Dump-It Cake
Adapted from Judith Hesser

2 cups sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 pound unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for greasing the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon semi-coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups sour cream, at room temperature

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and place a baking sheet on the lowest rack, to catch any drips when the cake bakes. Put the sugar, unsweetened chocolate, butter and 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir occasionally until all of the ingredients are melted and blended. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar. Grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan. (If you prefer, you can grease it, line it with parchment and then grease and flour it. This is not necessary, but parchment does make getting the cake out easier.)

3. When the chocolate in the pan has cooled a bit, whisk in the milk mixture and eggs. In several additions and without overmixing, whisk in the dry ingredients. When the mixture is smooth, add the vanilla and whisk once or twice, to blend. "Dump" the batter into the tube pan and bake on the middle rack until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on a rack. (This can be tricky, so if someone is around, enlist them to help. Place a ring of wax paper on top of the cake so you have something to grab onto when turning it out.) Let cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, then let cool to room temperature. It is very important that the chocolate and sour cream be the same temperature, otherwise the icing will be lumpy or grainy. (Test it by stirring a little of the sour cream and chocolate together in a bowl; if it mixes smoothly, it's ready.) Stir in the sour cream, 1/ 4 cup at a time, until the mixture is smooth.

5. When the cake is cool, frost it. 

Makes 10 servings.

Who is she kidding? I have more than half of it left and we have had 7 people eat it already. And one of those was JW, who loves sugar. WAY more than 10 servings.

Also, I don't believe in sifters, but this might be the one recipe in which I could support one. In the end, you can see a few flour clumps that just don't look pretty.


Also, I like this cake served best chilled. Maybe some berries, like mine, or vanilla ice cream, like JW would prefer.

Roast Chicken

I wanted to roast chicken, being that it was a Sunday afternoon.


I had a 6.5 lb chicken, that I wanted to do a nice herb-lemon.  I searched on AllRecipes, and found two that I blended together:


Ingredients

  • 1 (3 1/2) pound broiler-fryer chicken
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt-free lemon-pepper seasoning (I didn't have this...)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 medium lemon, halved
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs

Directions

  1. Loosen skin around chicken breast, leg and thigh. Combine the seasonings; rub half under skin. Cut half of the lemon into quarters and place in the cavity along with rosemary sprigs. Skewer openings; tie drumsticks together with kitchen string.
  2. Place chicken breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Squeeze the remaining lemon over chicken; rub with remaining spice mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees F for 1 to 1-1/2 hours or until chicken juices run clear and a meat thermometer reads 180 degrees F (cover loosely with foil if browning too quickly). Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. (Discard lemon and herbs from cavity before carving.)


I also poured about 1/4 cup of wine and 1/4 cup of chicken stock in the bottom of the pan. I also added cut potatoes and baby carrots. I forgot to coat in olive oil, S&P- next time. Also, leave out the baby carrots, they shriveled up into burnt sticks.
PS- I don't have kitchen twine, so I used some skewers... we shall see if it is as moist as I was hoping! Since I have a 6.5 lb chicken, I put it in at 375 on convection. It's only been 20 minutes, so I'll check on it in an hour and turn it, as the convection cooks one side much faster than the other....



...In the end, the bird turned out perfectly. The little built-in thermometer popped up around 2 hours and 15 minutes on convection, and a few turns later. IT WAS AWESOME. It was super moist and flavorful. 


I made a nice pan sauce, just added a little more stock and some flour and scrapped the pan!


Too bad JW and I weren't hungry after eating some homemade guacamole, but we ate it for lunch and dinner the next day. I even made Chicken Cesar Salads from it too. It's going to last all week.

Cooking for Mr. Urban EcoForms

I am serving on the Green Committee at our condo, and I convinced a college friend JL to come speak to our committee, and I promised a home cooked meal!

Although it was quick (not the meeting, that was too long), we ate chicken pot pie, drank wine, and attempted to find the Phillies on tv:

A keeper by Not Your Mothers Weeknight Cooking:

Chicken Pot Pie:
Prep 25 minutes, cook 35 minutes
2 T butter
3 chicken breasts
2 T shallots
1/4 c flour
1.5 c broth
1/2 c white wine
1/2 c half n half (I used 1/2 c skim milk and a touch of butter)
1 T parsley
16 oz frozen veggies (I used half peas and carrots and half corn)
2 roll-out frozen pie crusts (defrost on countertop for 20 min, shoprite brand was sooo good!)

1. Preheat oven to 400, and grease a 9" pie plate. Since I used two pie crusts, I laid one in the bottom of the pan, pricked it, and let it bake for 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, I diced the chicken and shallots and added them with butter to saute. Let them finish cooking (8 minutes) and added flour to coat. Then poured in wine, broth, milk, and parsley; allowing the dish to simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Added S&P and took the pie crust out of the oven. and poured the mixture inside. Lay the second crust out and wet the edge with a little water (it called for egg, but i was out), and flip it on top. Push the crust into the pie dish to seal. Slice the top with a knife and I coated with egg white/water wash.
4. Put the dish on a cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes.

JL took some for the road too!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sausage Gravy

I am seriously obsessed with sausage gravy, and unfortunately you cannot get it north of the Mason-Dixon line very easily. So, I resorted to making it myself.

And, WHAT WAS I WAITING FOR!?!? This recipe was super easy and exactly what I had been waiting for!!!  I need to ignore the nutrional facts below if I plan to make this again...

Sausage Gravy:

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Bob Evans® Original Recipe Sausage Roll
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 8 prepared biscuits

Directions

  1. Crumble and cook sausage in large skillet over medium heat until browned. 
  2. Stir in flour until dissolved. Gradually stir in milk. 
  3. Cook gravy until thick and bubbly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot over biscuits. 
  4. Refrigerate leftovers.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 710 | Total Fat: 44.5g | Cholesterol: 71mg

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pulled pork Sundays

I recently gave a friend a slower cooker for a bridal gift, and for the card I gave her this new found recipe. With three ingredients, it was a perfect meal for a day of alumni activities.

The only problem... when I ordered my groceries from ShopRite.com, I wanted fresh pork shoulder, but they sent my a 10lb shoulder. WOAH. 10 pounds. This thing still had the skin on it. It just looked like a pig. It was nasty, and made me thing twice about eating it.... hmmm.

After I got the skin and three inches of fat cut off, I cut the pork in thirds, and froze two sections. The third section I tossed in the slow cooker with 12 oz of root beer, generic for 79 cents. Turned it on low, and left.

About 5 hours later, I turned it off and drained the liquid off. I plugged it back in and added the store bought bbq sauce (yes, MK, I didn't make it from scratch- maybe next time...). Let the sauce warm on the meat while I toasted the buns and baked the sweet potato fries in the oven.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring Meal

I have to reference my own blog for this one. This chicken recipe is a keeper. 

Parmesan Crusted Herb Chicken:
2 Chicken Breasts
2 T olive oil
1/4c milk
1/2c bread crumbs
1/4 c parm cheese
1 T parsley
1/2 t basil
1/4t marjoram
1/4t paprika
S&P

Drizzle chicken with olive oil then dip in milk. (To do this, I put them in the same pan I would be baking them in, and then just poured out the liquid when I was shaking.)

In a bag mix together, 1/2 c bread crumbs, 1/4 c Parmesan cheese, 1 T parsley, 1/2 t basil, 1/4 t marjoram, 1/4 t paprika, salt and pepper. Add the chicken, and shake.

Add the chicken to a Pyrex, and bake for 35 minutes at 425.

For the pasta salad, I used the Fresh Mozzarella Pasta Salad from Allrecipes.com:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2 fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, or as needed

Directions

  1. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Stir in the orzo, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, but still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drain well, and let cool.
  2. Mix the mozzarella cheese cubes, tomatoes, basil, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt with olive oil in a salad bowl. Gently mix in the orzo pasta, and toss lightly to coat the ingredients with oil.
And don't those Brussels sprouts have an AWESOME color!!! The meal was great for spring, and other than the baking part, I could see it sticking around for summer....