Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rachel Ray's Cheeseburger Chili Mac and Cheese

I'm not a huge tv person but whenever I need something in the background while I'm cleaning or doing homework I usually turn on the Food channel. It makes very good background noise and I know as long as I catch the last 5 minutes I won't have missed any huge plot twists. Rachel Ray is one of my favorite cooks to watch. I found this recipe while searching for a dessert I had seen on one of her shows (don't ask how I got from dessert to cheeseburger chili mac and cheese). The combination sounded like a interesting one and I had to out it on our weekly meal list.

This was delicious. You could taste the separate chili and cheeseburger tastes and they went great together. Recipe is from Rachel Ray.

2 tbsp EVOO
1.5 pounds ground sirloin
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp chili powder
salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup ketchu
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1-2 cups beef stock (use more if you want it more liquidy)
pound elbow macaroni
1.5 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat broiler and bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Place a pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the ground sirloin and cook until brown, about 6 minutes. Add the onion and chili powder to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the onion is tender, 5 minutes. Add the ketchup, mustard, tomato sauce, and beef stock to the pan. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium-low heat until thickened, about 5 mintues.

While the chili is simmering, add the pasta to your salted boiling water. Cook to al dente, drain, and return to pot. Add the chili to the pasta pot and mix well.

Transfer everything to a casserole dish and top with the shredded cheese. Place the casserole under the broiler to melt the cheese. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WC Recipe Swap: Chicken with Green Olives, Black Beans and Saffron Rice

One of the posters on a cooking board I frequent recently suggested a recipe swap featuring chicken. I thought this was a great idea because you can never have enough chicken recipes! I submitted my Honey Balsamic Glazed Chicken that I made a few weeks ago and received this one in return.

I was a little nervous before getting my recipe because I wasn't sure what I would be getting! The WC Board has a range of skills and I was afraid I'd end up with a complicated recipe I didn't understand with ingredients I had no clue where to find. Luckily, I didn't.

This was a relatively simple and easy to put together recipe. I didn't make the beans because the hubs is not a fan, as you know. The flavors of this recipe complemented each other and the hubby went back for sec err... thirds. Next time I make this and there will be a next time, I might use boneless, skinless thighs since I have this weird thing about meat on bones. Overall, I'd definitely recommend this recipe to anyone who likes olives! Recipe adapted from Nestie nunyabeeswax.

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 small jar Spanish green olives
1.5 cups white wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
4 tbsp olive oil

Black Beans
1 pkg dried black beans
2 onions
1 head of garlic
1 bunch cilantro
stock or water (enough to cover beans)

Saffron Rice
3 cups white jasmine rice or basmati rice
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3.5 cups chicken stock
2 tsp saffron threads
1 tsp turmeric

For the beans, rinse and check dried beans thoroughly. Peel and quarter the onions and place in a large stock pot. Peel and smash the garlic and add to pot along with the beans and cilantro. Cover with stock or water, at least 3 inches above. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until soft.

For the chicken, preheat the oven to 350º. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown in 2 tbsp of olive oil on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Add remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and saute onion until almost translucent then add garlic and saute another minute. Deglaze the pan with wine, allowing the alcohol to cook off. Stir in chicken stock and green olives. Add chicken back to the pan and pour ingredients into an oven-safe pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until heated through.

For the rice, start by toasting the rice in the butter and olive oil for about 3 minutes. Stir in the turmeric and then add the chicken stock and saffron. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered until rice has absorbed stock, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit with lid on for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Apple Hand Pies

Happy Pi Day! Yeah, I know, I'm such a nerd :) But I love pie so this was the perfect excuse to try this recipe out! I love it because it's like built in portion control-as long as you only grab one! These are very easy to make and would be great so satisfy a sweet craving! Recipe source.

1 pre-made pie crust
1 granny smith apple, or your choice
1.5 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
tiny pinch of nutmeg
1 egg + 2 tbsp water, for egg wash

Preheat oven to 375º. Peel the apple and cut into very small cubes. Place the cut up apples in a bowl and add the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir until apples are well coated and set aside.

Roll out pie crust on your flour-dusted surface. Cut out circular shapes using a 4.5 inch diameter cookie cutter or the top of a wide glass. My crust yielded 5 + 1 small circular dough crusts.

Put 1-2 tbsp of the apple filling on each circular dough and fold in half. Use a fork to press the seams of the pie dough together. In a bowl, whisk the egg and water. Lightly brush each of the apple pies with the egg wash. Poke two small vent holes on the top of each pie.

Place pies onto a parchment paper lined cookie pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the surface looks golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Friday, March 11, 2011


Excuse the minor burntness of the picture that was a result of me misreading the oven temperature. Yep, yet another enchilada recipe. But this one is a must-make. I can't decide whether I prefer these from Annie's Eats or the Enchi-Ritos that I normally make. I've decided they are both my favorites since these are chicken and the enchi-ritos are beef. They aren't exactly your authentic enchilada recipe but they are delicious!

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 oz reduced fat sour cream
8 oz Ranch salad dressing
flour tortillas (10-15)
jar of salsa
shredded mexican cheese

Cook chicken breats by preferred cooking method until cooked through. Set aside to cool.

While chicken is cooling, mix up the sauce. In a large bowl, combine half the sour cream and half of the Ranch dressing. In a small bowl combine the rest of the sour cream and ranch dressing. Stir both until well combined. Shred or chop the cooked chicken and add to the large bowl. Mix with sauce.

Preheat the oven to 375º. Grease a 9x13 pan (I needed two). Take one tortilla and top with a little less than 1 tbsp of sauce from the small bowl. Spread over the tortilla in an even layer. Add some of the chicken mixture to the center of the tortilla. Top with salsa to taste. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Roll up tortilla and place, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining ingredients. I choose to use the remaining sauce to top on the enchiladas before I put them in the oven.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

These are the ultimate indulgence. What could be better than cheesecake with a chocolate chip and graham cracker base topped chocolate chip cookie dough? Maybe cheesecake with a brownie base topped with cookie dough? Hmm I'll have to think on that one.

Everyone enjoyed this combination and it's a great alternative when you need to bring a dessert dish... or just need something delicious to snack on. Recipe from Beantown Baker.

1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tbsp butter, melted
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

10 oz cream cheese, room temp.
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cookie Dough
5 tbsp butter, room temp
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips (I added a 1/2 cup more)

For the crust: Preheat oven to 325º. Grease an 8x8 pan with butter, line pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Combine crumbs and butter and stir until crumbs are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips. Press crust mixture into bottom of the pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Set pan on wire rack to cool.

For cheesecake: Using mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating until just blended. Pour batter into cooled, baked crust.

For cookie dough: Using mixer and paddle attachment, mix butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract at medium speed until smooth. Adjust mixer speed to low and add flour. Mix until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop cookie dough by teaspoons over the top of the filling.

Bake about 30 minutes or until set. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Place in refrigerator to chill. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Weekly Meal List

The hubs and I are trying to incorporate more vegetables into our diet so I've decided to start planning out veggies out too!

Tuesday: Honey Balsamic Glazed Chicken with Rice and Cucumbers in Vinegar
Wednesday: Spaghetti Bolognese, Garlic Bread, and Caesar Salad
Thursday: White Chicken Chili
Friday: Shrimp Lo Mein
Saturday: Cheez It Chicken and Asparagus with Red Potatoes
Sunday: *I'm leaving this open. I'm supposed to receive a recipe to make as part of a recipe exchange*
Monday: Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with Broccoli

Monday, March 7, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Chili

You know that feeling when you come home and your husband has just baked chocolate chip cookies (or in my husbands case, lit our birthday cake scented candle and let it burn) and the delicious smell has filled your house? I love that smell. Making this was nothing like that.

Instead, imagine the smell of buffalo wings filling your entire house. As delicious as they taste, I'd rather come home to a house that smells like birthday cake, not buffalo wings. But the hubby loved it and has suggested we invent a buffalo scented candle since Yankee Candle has yet to put one on the market. Yeah, we'll get right on that babe.

Buffalo chicken chili does taste as good as it smells though, as long as that smell is contained to the steam wafting from my bowl. The original recipe for this, from Prevention RD, called for it to be made over the stove but I had no time and no other crock pot meal on the menu for that week so chili it was. Prevention RD had made this recipe twice and the second time she followed the recipe exactly and put the chicken and veggies in the food processor and pureed it all up. It's all a matter of preference but the next time I make this I'll stick to simply chopping everything up. The chili was spicy and delicious and a great alternative to your usual chili but the weird texture distracted a bit from the taste.

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large carrots
3 stalks of celery
1 large red pepper
5 cloves of garlic (I substituted a little garlic powder)
5 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 cup of Frank's Red Hot Wing Sauce (or your preferred buffalo wing sauce)
2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can black beans, drained (I, of course, omitted because of hubby's deep dislike of beans)
1 15 oz can chili beans in sauce (once again, these were omitted)
salt and pepper to taste (I left this out and we just added as needed while we were eating)

Put chicken breasts in food processor to grind up. Rinse out food processor and add carrots, celery, garlic, and red pepper and puree. (You can just choose to cut up all the veggies/chicken if you'd prefer for a different texture). Add veggies and chicken to crock pot along with the rest of ingredients. Cook on low for 8 hours. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mozzarella and Feta Cheese Pizza

This pizza was inspired by my favorite Mediterranean restaurant and hookah bar in Atlanta: Cafe Istanbul. I started going there in high school with my older sister and I've seen it go from a tiny two room building to a much larger space with a VIP booth in the back. Most of the seating is on the floor with low tables and pillows. If you go during the weekend, there are belly dancers that come out every hour. It's so much fun. If you're ever in Atlanta, check it out.

As fun as the atmosphere is, the reason I go is for the food. Specifically, the Turkish Kayak Pizza. Its topped with mozzarella and feta gooeyness and is absolutely amazing. Me and the hubs can finish the whole thing by ourselves along with a hummus platter.

There's not really a recipe for this one, but the next time you decide to have pizza night in your house try this combination. You'll be hooked!