Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 Recap

Our Thanksgiving wasn't a traditional one like the one pictured above. But it was perfect for us. Instead of family, my husband and I had a few of his single friends over and another married couple and their son. When you live 2000 miles away from family, it's just not feasible to go home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. We definitely missed being around our family and their traditions but it was cool to start our own traditions and I know his friends appreciated getting out of the barracks and having a home-cooked meal! We also skipped eating at the table and instead gathered around the couch and living room table. Our little 3-person table held all the food and we talked while watching the football games!

Now, on to the food stuff! I was able to prep nearly everything the day before which made the day of that much easier! Potatoes were peeled, veggies were cut, and the turkey was defrosted-in the bathtub I might add :) The morning of the hubby and I did some last minute cleaning and finished prepping and made a last minute grocery store run. All in all, the day of was hardly stressful! I've listed our menu below and will be adding recipes later on this week!

Rotel Dip in the Crockpot
Lil Smokies wrapped in bacon (requested by my husband)

Main Dish
Turkey with fresh herbs

Cornbread Dressing
Mashed Potatoes
Candied Sweet Potatoes (a last minute addition the night before)
Sauteed Green Beans
Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Pumpkin Pie with Fresh Whipped Cream
Butter Cake w/ Cream Cheese Icing
Sweet Potato Pie

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Caramelized Chipotle Chicken

So I've been slacking on the blog posts lately. Or at least it feels that way because we haven't been eating anything interesting in our house lately. We're on a very tight budget to save money for Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping, and tickets from CA to GA for Christmas (very expensive). But this week I got fed up with plain spaghetti and Ragu sauce, ramen noodles, and grilled cheese (if you ever need to eat cheap you can do it for under $15 a week- I really don't recommend it though). I went out and bought a package of chicken breasts intent on adding a little variety into our meals.

As I was preparing to add a little seasoning and just bake it, I remembered this recipe. The picture does not do it justice at all. Most everything is common stuff you would keep in your kitchen, with the exception of the chipotle peppers. It was the perfect dish to spice up our very bland week. Smoky and saucy with a little (or a lot) spice. If you need something different after Thanksgiving leftovers, give this a try!

1.5 tbsp olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tbsp chopped chipotles in adobo (add more or less depending on your preference)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (original recipe calls for bone-in, skin-on)

Heat oul in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, until smoking. Cook garlic, stirring occasionally until golden, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onion powder to the oil, stir and allow to simmer for about 1 minute.

Add the garlic and remaining ingredients, except chicken, to skillet and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 25 minutes.

Preheat over to 450º and place rack in the center. Brush half of the sauce over the chicken breasts and roast skin side up for 15-20 minutes. Brush remaining sauce on chicken and roast until cooked through and well browned in spots, about 20 more minutes.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Woo hoo, I won!

One of my favorite non-cooking blogs is House of Turquoise. Erin's blog is full of beautiful and inspiring turquoise decor photos and I love reading through it and imagining redoing my house completely in turquoise. Oh, if only my hubby would let me :)

Recently, she held a giveaway for a Candace Rose photo and I won! I can't wait to get my photo in the mail and frame it for our guest room. If you love turquoise or just want to look at some amazingly beautiful pictures, check out Erin's blog or head over to Candace's Etsy shop!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Texas Caviar

This recipe is so easy because all it involves is opening up a few cans and cutting up a few ingredients. It's a perfect dip for a party with a large amount of guests because it makes a ton and it's super addicting! Recipe from here.

2 cans white shoepeg corn
1 can black eyed peas
1 can black beans
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
8 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped (optional)
16 oz bottle Fat Free Kraft Zesty Italian dressing

Mix all together in a large bowl. Store in the fridge for at least 4 hours to let flavors marinate.

It's as easy as that! You can also add some chopped avocado if you like!

The Sweet 100

I've seen this and some other variations floating around on some of the blogs I visit so I thought I do it.

How the Sweet 100 Works:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you've eaten.
3) Cross out any items you would never consider eating.

1. Red Velvet Cake
2. Princess Torte
3. Whoopie Pie
4. Apple Pie either topped or baked with sharp cheddar
5. Beignet
6. Baklava
7. Black and White Cookie
8. Seven Layer Bar (also known as the Magic Bar or Hello Dolly bars)
9. Fried Fruit pie (sometimes called hand pies)
10. Kringle
11. Just-fried (still hot) doughnut
12. Scone with clotted cream
13. Betty, Grunt, Slump, Buckle or Pandowdy
14. Halvah
15. Macarons
16. Banana Pudding with nilla wafers
17. Bubble tea (with tapioca “pearls”)
18. Dixie Cup
19. Rice Krispie treats
20. Alfajores
21. Blondies
22. Croquembouche
23. Girl Scout cookies
24. Moon cake
25. Candy Apple
26. Baked Alaska
27. Brooklyn Egg Cream
28. Nanaimo bar
29. Baba au rhum
30. King Cake
31. Sachertorte
32. Pavolva
33. Tres Leches Cake
34. Trifle
35. Shoofly Pie
36. Key Lime Pie (made with real key lime)
37. Panna Cotta
38. New York Cheesecake
39. Napoleon/mille-fueille
40. Russian Tea Cake/Mexican Wedding Cake
41. Anzac Biscuits
42. Pizzelle
43. Kolache
44. Buckeyes
45. Malasadas
46. Moon Pie
47. Dutch Baby
48. Boston Cream Pie
49. Homemade chocolate chip cookies
50. Pralines
51. Gooey butter cake
52. Rusks
53. Daifuku
54. Green tea cake or cookies
55. Cupcakes from a cupcake shop
56. Creme Brulee
57. Some sort of deep fried fair food (twinkie, candy bar, cupcake)
58. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting
59. Jelly Roll
60. Pop Tarts
61. Charlotte Russe
62. An “upside down” dessert (Pineapple upside down cake or Tarte Tatin)
63. Hummingbird Cake
64. Jell-O from a mold
65. Black forest cake
66. Mock Apple Pie (Ritz Cracker Pie)
67. Kulfi
68. Linzer torte
69. Churro
70. Stollen
71. Angel Food Cake
72. Mincemeat pie
73. Concha
74. Opera Cake
75. Sfogliatelle / Lobster tail
76. Pain au chocolat
77. A piece of Gingerbread House
78. Cassata
79. Cannoli
80. Rainbow cookies
81. Religieuse
82. Petits fours
83. Chocolate Souffle
84. Bienenstich (Bee Sting Cake)
85. Rugelach
86. Hamenstashen
87. Homemade marshmallows
88. Rigo Janci
89. Pie or cake made with candy bar flavors (Snickers pie, Reeses pie, etc)
90. Divinity
91. Coke or Cola cake
92. Gateau Basque
93. S’mores
94. Figgy Pudding
95. Bananas foster or other flaming dessert
96. Joe Froggers
97. Sables
98. Millionaire’s Shortbread
99. Animal crackers
100. Basbousa

I've only had 32 out of the 100 which kind of surprises me considering I have such a big sweet tooth! I have to admit, I didn't even know what some of these were! Guess I need to start baking more desserts!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

For All You Harry Potter Fans... Butterbeer!

I have a confession: I love Harry Potter. Both the hubby and I are addicted and we can't even count how many times we've seen the movies and read the books. We're pretty awesome at Harry Potter Scene It and whenever we move back East, our first vacation will most likely involve a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Unfortunately, the hubby is coaching on the range this week so he has to leave for work before 4 in the morning. As much as we love HP, being on the range around loaded pistols and rifles coaching Marines on how to shoot with very little sleep probably wasn't a good idea. So instead we bought our tickets for 7:00 Friday night and I will just have to try to keep myself from going in the morning while hubby is at work!

When I saw a recipe for Frozen Butterbeer, I decided we had to make it before seeing the movie! I don't really drink but I'm going to go out and buy a bottle of butterscotch schnapps just for this recipe!

When the Hogwarts students went into Hogsmeade, butterbeer was their drink of choice. There isn't enough alcohol in it to have an effect on humans but it will make a house elf drunk! In the books, butterbeer is served hot and foaming but the recipe I'll be using is for frozen butterbeer. Enjoy!

Frozen Butterbeer

For the butterbeer:
1.5 cups cream soda
6 tbsp butterscotch schnapps
2 cups ice
For the foamy topping:
6 tbsps heavy cream
1 tbsp butterscotch schnapps

Combine the cream soda, schnapps, and ice in a blender. Blend until slushy. Pour into a glass or mug. In a small bowl combine heavy cream and schnapps. using an electric mixture, whisk together until almost whipped. You want the cream mixture to be slightly loose, not as firm as whipped cream. Top the butterbeer with the foamy topping and serve immediately. Serves 2. Enjoy!
I can't believe this is the last movie (with the exception of the second part). Seeing how much they've changed makes me want to have a Harry Potter Movie Marathon and enjoy a nice tall glass of butterbeer!

Free Martha Stewart Thanksgiving Cookbook Download

I found out about this on one of the cooking forums I visit and thought I'd pass it along. Here's the link courtesy of the Sirius Radio Website!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stuffed Pork Wellington

This recipe still needs a little work. Well, not the recipe but my pastry folding methods. The first time I made this recipe, it turned out like this...... yep. Not so pretty. But it was still absolutely delicious! My in-laws were in town two weekends ago so I definitely wanted to impress them with my cooking skills :) Amy, at Sing for your Supper, served this at her Luxury Dinner Party for Project Food Blog. As soon as I saw it, I put it on my list of recipes to try. Hers looked much prettier than mine but I'm convinced I'll get it right next time!

My in laws praised the recipe so much that I decided to use it again when my dad came to visit this past weekend! My pastry wrapping skills were much better than the first time. The preparation wasn't that hard and it tasted amazing. I definitely recommend this recipe if you want to impress!

2 pork tenderloins of equal size (about 2.5-3lbs all together)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp dried rosemary, chopped
3/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
extra 2 tbsp butter
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg + 1 splash heavy cream, beaten together, for egg wash

Flatten pork tenderloins between two pieces of plastic wrap and season with salt and pepper.

Mix together the parsley, 2 tbsp of softened butter, parmesan, rosemary, salt and pepper to taste (you're making a paste).

Spread mixture on one of the tenderloins. Top with the other tenderloin and press together firmly. Tie into place with a white string.

Heat the other 2 tbsp of butter in a skillet and brown the tenderloins well on both sides (about 2 minutes per side) over medium-high heat. Remove, allow to cool slightly and remove string.

Flour a large surface and a rolling pin and roll the puff pastry out into a rectangle large enough to wrap around the tenderloins. If you find that you don't have the rolling pin like you thought you did (like I did), use a rounded cup or coffee mug. Place the tenderloins on the pastry, moisten the edges with the egg wash and press firmly together to enclose the tenderloins completely. If desired, make decorations from any surplus pastry, moisten and press into place on top. Brush all over with egg wash.

Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a preheated 400º oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350º and bake for an additional 20 minutes (if pastry is browning too quickly, place a foil tent over it). Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve hot, cut into thick slices. Serves 4-6.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Roasted Asparagus

Like the pesto palmiers, roasted asparagus is an easy and quick dish to prepare for company. There is not a lot of preparation involved but they are delicious. While there are many ways to prepare it, this is my favorite!

2 bunches of medium asparagus
2 tbsp EVOO
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
Grated or shaved Parmesan, optional

Preheat oven to 450º. Trim the woody ends from the asparagus. Spread the spears in a single layer n a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and roll to coat thoroughly.

Roast the asparagus until lightly browned and tender, about 8-10 minutes, giving the pan a good shake about halfway through to turn the asparagus. Arrange the roasted asparagus on a serving platter and top with some Parmesan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pesto Palmiers

This recipe appealed to me not only because I love pesto but also because it's so quick! When I have company, I hate spending lots of time in the kitchen. I'd much rather make a quick meal and spend time talking while dinner cooks. This recipe would also work if you had unexpected company and needed something to share.
The recipe is from Confections of a Foodie Bride.

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1/2-3/4 cup pesto
1 egg
1tbsp water

Preheat oven to 375º. Roll out the puff pastry on a piece of parchment into a 12x12 inch square. Spread the pesto within a 1/2 inch of each side of the pastry. Using your spatula, make three indentions on the top edge of the dough at 3 inches, 6 inches, and 9 inches to divide the sheet into quarters.

Fold the left and right edges of the puff pastry halfway to the center of the dough (to the closest quarter-mark indention). Fold the sides to the middle again until they're almost touching. Fold the two halves together like a book.

(You can stop here and freeze for later use. Just let the logs thaw a bit and then proceed)

Cut into 1/2 inch slices and place onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Whisk egg and water together and brush over the palmiers. Bake for 8 minutes, flip, and bake for an additional 6-8 minutes. Palmiers are best the day of baking.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

So I've been a little absent. My in-laws came out for a visit and then 2 days later my dad came out to visit! We haven't seen them since July so we we're quite excited! I didn't get much blogging done but I sure did a lot of cooking! I'll post the recipes in the next few days but for now I'll leave you with my favorite Fall snack!

Scoop the seeds from the pumpkin and try to separate from pulp. Rinse pumpkin seeds under cold water and pick out all the pulp and seeds. This is easiest to do when it's in a colander.

In a small saucepan, add the seeds to water, about 2 cups to every half cup of seeds. Add a half tablespoon of salt for every cup of water (more if you like your seeds saltier). Bring to a boil. Let simmer for ten minutes and remove from heat and drain.

If you prefer, leave them out overnight to dry out.

Place the pumpkins in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet, stirring to coat. If you prefer, omit the oil and coat with a non-stick cooking spray.

Sprinkle with salt and bake at 325º F until toasted, about 25 minutes. Stirring every 8-10 minutes.

Let cool and store in an airtight container.