Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Yummy pulled pork!

This meal was so yummy. We practically ate ourselves sick tonight.

1 pork tenderloin (I honestly don't know how big it was)
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
Tony Chachere's Seasoning
Jack Miller's bbq sauce
Kitchen Bouquet browning and seasoning sauce

Last night I threw the pork tenderloin in my crockpot, seasoned it really well, added the onions and garlic and some water and a touch of the Kitchen Bouquet. It sat in the fridge all night and I cooked it on low all day, about 10 hours.

When I got home, I pulled the pork out of the crockpot and strained the gravy through a strainer. Since I didn't brown the pork first, the fat cooked off and was floating in the gravy. I left about a cup of the gravy in the crockpot and shredded the pork and added it back.

Then I added most of the bottle of bbq sauce and stirred really well. I let it continue to cook on low for another half hour of so.

We ate it on wheat buns with leftover augratin potatoes. It was so good. I ate a sandwich and a half and DH ate 3 sandwiches. And the best part is that we have leftovers for tomorrow night!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Three Cheese Alfredo Sauce

I didn't get to spend as muc time in the kitchen today as I usually do on Sundays, I had a lot of errands to run. Next Saturday is my daughter's second birthday, and I still have a lot to do.

I like making this sauce because it uses things I usually have on hand. I have a fabulous recipe the alfredo sauce from Olive Garden, but it uses half and half and cream cheese, and I never just have those things lying around.

Three Cheese Alfredo Sauce

1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
celery, diced (about 1/4 cup)
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups milk
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2/3 cup shredded cheese (romano, parmesean and asiago mixed, I used the one in the can)
salt and pepper to taste
Tony Chachere seasoning

Sautee onions and celery in butter until translucent. Add 2 cups of milk and stir with a whisk. Dissolve cornstarch in 1/4 cup of milk and add to sauce, continuing to whisk. Cook on medium-low for 5 minutes, continuing to stir. Add cheese and salt and pepper. I also add Tony Chachere's, but we like our food spicy! Let the sauce cook down until desired consistency.

I grilled some chicken on my George Foreman and added it to the sauce and served it over penne rigate with a side of steamed broccoli. It doesn't photograph well, but sure is yummy:)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Chicken Fajitas

This is one of our favorite meals. For starters, it's just one pot, so less dishes to wash. I have never used any kind of seasonings aside from salt and pepper and lemon pepper. I just rely on the onions and bell peppers to give the chicken a lot of flavor.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into slices
1 large bell pepper, cut into slices
2 medium onions, cut into slices
olive oil
salt and pepper
lemon pepper
1 lemon
flour tortillas (I have used wheat before)
shredded cheese
any additional desired toppings

Heat a non-stick skillet (I have also used my electric skillet for this) and coat the bottom with olive oil. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper and a little bit of lemon pepper. Cook until browned. Add onions and bell pepper. (I have also added mushrooms when I have some on hand.)

Let cook down until chicken and veggies are brown and cooked throughout, add a little bit of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Heat tortillas for 20 seconds in microwave. Serve chicken and veggies in rolled up tortilla with toppings of your choice!

Apple Pie

I'm not a sweet lover, unlike my daughter and husband, but I do enjoy the occasional treat. We had my parents over for dinner Sunday night and my mom loves pie, so I wanted to make this for her. She ended up helping me a lot, but I guess that's what mom's are for. Click here for the original recipe.

6 cups thinly sliced apples (I used 4 Granny Smith apples)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie (I used frozen deep dish crust)

Prepare your pastry for a two crust pie. Wipe, quarter, core, peel, and slice apples; measure to 6 cups.
Combine sugar and cinnamon. The amount of sugar used depends on how tart your apples are.
Arrange apples in layers in pastry lined pie plate. Sprinkle each layer with sugar and cinnamon. Dot top layer with small pieces of butter or margarine. Cover with top crust.
This is where I made a mistake. When I got home from the store, I left the crust out. When it was time to put the top layer on, it was too soft and crumble. Lesson learned!
Place on lowest rack in oven preheated to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake for 30 to 35 minutes longer. It took a LOT longer than this. After the 30-35 minutes the apples were still hard and it went back in the oven for another 30 minutes or so.

It was really good. Hubby just got finished with another piece!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mac and Cheese

Just the two of us....
DH had to work late tonight, so I needed something quick and easy for Allie and I. I always wanted to make a homemade mac and cheese and tonight was my chance! It was delicious and I will be making it again.

1 box of penne rigate pasta
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups cheddar cheese
1/4 cup of romano, parmesean and mozarella cheeses
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Boil pasta until done, drain and set aside. To make the bechamel sauce, melt butter and add flour. Whisk until incorporated and add milk. Continue to whisk until flour is absorbed. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add cheeses and whisk until all melted. Mix bechamel sauce with pasta, sauce will be a little thing.

Put a little bit of butter in the bottom of a casserole dish and add pasta mixture. Top with a little bit of breadcrumbs. Bake about 20 minutes, until lightly browned.

Allie really enjoyed hers too, she ate two bowls!

Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower with browned butter

I am very lucky in the sense that DH loves veggies. When we started dating, all he ate was corn and green beans, but now enjoys a wide variety of veggies. But I'm starting to get tired of the same old things cooked the same old way. So when I saw this recipe, I knew we would like it. I saw it in someone's blog, I apologize that I don't remember who. Click here for the original recipe.

Roasted cauliflower has a savory caramelized crust and is tender and creamy inside. The roasting process coaxes maximum flavor from the cauliflower. Aaron finds this preparation intriguing, yet simple.

6 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 head) I used 1 small bag of cauliflower florets and 1 small bag of broccoli florets, both frozen
Cooking spray I used olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons butter I used an entire stick
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon parsley

PreparationPreheat oven to 400°.
Arrange veggies in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray (olive oil). Coat cauliflower with cooking spray (olive oil); sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes, turning veggies twice.

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add parsley and garlic powder, I also added a little more salt and pepper. Combine veggies and browned butter in a bowl, and toss gently to coat.

These were very good. I usually just steam broccoli and cauliflower and toss with a butter and vinegar sauce, but we like this much better. I would also like to try with squash.

Parmesean Bread

I have never been able to make a good homemade bread, and this time was no exception! The original recipe came from, but I got the idea from Amber. I wanted something fairly simple, but not plain. I really think this is normally a really good bread, I just put too much flour and it was very flaky and heavy.

Use freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, preferably imported, for the best flavor. And you will achieve better results in bread making if you buy one of the professional-quality active dry yeasts, such as Engedura from Holland or SAF from France. You can also make the dough by hand: Stir together the ingredients in a bowl and then knead the dough on a lightly floured board until smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes.

3 3/4 cups unbleached bread flour, plus more as needed This is where I added too much
1 Tbs. (1 package) active dry yeast
2 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups warm water
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese I used a mix of romano and parmesean
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer, combine the 3 3/4 cups flour, the yeast and salt. Next time I will start with 3 cups and add from there. Add the warm water and stir with a wooden spoon until just mixed together. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese over the dough. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and begin mixing and kneading on very low speed. When the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 12 to 15 minutes, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead by hand for 1 to 2 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, brush it with a little olive oil and return it to the bowl. Cover with a towel and let rest in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 425°F. Brush a 9-inch round pan with olive oil. Place the remaining 1/4 cup cheese on a plate. Punch down the dough. Return it to the floured work surface and knead a few times. Then, using your palms, roll the dough to form a log about 12 inches long. Cut the log in half crosswise, then cut each half crosswise into 6 equal pieces. Knead each dough piece a couple of times, roll it between the palms of your hands into a ball, and then roll it in the cheese to coat lightly and evenly, shaking off any excess. As each ball is coated, place it in the prepared pan, resting it against the rim and pressing down slightly to form a 2-inch disk. Arrange 9 balls around the rim and 3 balls in the center. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise again in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle the top with the cheese remaining on the plate. I mixed in the basil and garlic power with the cheese before doing this step. I thought it needed a little something else. Using a razor blade or sharp knife, cut a slash 1/4 inch deep in the top of each ball. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until brown and crusty, 20 to 30 minutes more. I left mine in for 12 minutes and I think it was overcooked even then. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the rolls rest in the pan for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove them from the pan; the rolls will come out in a single loaf. Serve the loaf warm, breaking off the rolls at the table. Or let cool, top side up, on the rack. Makes 12 rolls.

It had a really good flavor, I just didn't care for the texture. I think it was just because I put too much flour. I do plan to try and make this again.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Beignets with powdered sugar!

This was so easy to make, the part that took the longest was heating up the oil. Sure, I cheated a little, but they were still yummy!!

1 can of 10 refrigerated biscuits (I used Texas style)
vegetable oil
1/2 cup of powdered sugar

Put about 1/2 inch of oil in the bottom of a skillet. Or you can use a deep fryer if you have one.
Pat down the biscuits, I leave them whole, but my mom cuts them in half. Sometimes she even cuts out a hole in the middle to make them look more like donuts.

Once oil is heated, (I tested a little piece of biscuit to make sure it bubbled) put biscuits in oil. Watch very closely, it only takes about 20 seconds before it's time to turn them over. They brown very easily. I use two forks to turn them over.

Drain on paper towels and top with powdered sugar.

Easy and delicious. The only bad thing is that they get soft and mushy and don't reheat well.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Potato Soup!

I used Ally's potato soup recipe and changed just a few things. It was delicous, thanks for the recipe Ally!

Loaded Baked Potato Soup
8 potatoes
1 stick of margarine
1/2 cup flour
1 medium yellow onion diced (about 1 cup)
3 cloves of garlic minced
6 cups whole milk
2 cups half and half
1/4 cup chopped green onions/chives
1/2 tsp. fresh nutmeg grated
10 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. freshly grated black pepper
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp. Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning

Cook potatoes in microwave and remove skin. Dice and set aside.

Saute onion in butter for about 3 minutes and add garlic, saute for another minute. Slowly whisk in flour until the sauce is smooth. Slowly add milk, continuing to whisk so it doesn't clump. Whisk in the half and half, nutmeg, Tony Chachere's, salt and pepper. Let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add potatoes and mash with the whisk until the soup is desired consistency. Add green onions, cheese and sour cream. Let simmer until potatoes cook down. Garnish with a little bit of cheese, bacon and more green onion.
I served with french bread, it was YUM!