Archive | November, 2010

Chicken Soup for Cold Toes

30 Nov

There are certain foods that resonate in peoples’ minds with feelings of comfort and safety, like you just walked in the front door of your house and the table is already set for dinner. Your mom is in the kitchen with a big pot of the good stuff, and she tells you that you’re just in time. It’s the same dish she’s been making since you were a kid, and you like it that way because it makes you feel home.

There are actually a few dishes like that for me since my family has always been all about cooking and food, but one of them warms my body as well as my heart (cue the “awwwww”  crowd voice). Leandra, my mom, has always had a mean chicken soup that she would make if ever my brother or I was feeling even the tiniest bit sick, and I don’t think it cures any serious diseases, but it always made me feel better. Now that I am two time zones away from home and all the toe-warming heat of Florida, I need to make my own chicken soup to keep myself warm and cozy. I hope this soup keeps you feeling good this winter before you get to go scrape the ice of your vehicle. Stay cozy my friends.

Into the pot:

2 Chicken breasts, bone in

3 long carrots, sliced

3 stalks of celery, sliced

Quarter chopped onion

One can of peas, drained

One large container/can of chicken stock

Half the container full of water

Salt & pepper

Italian seasoning

Crushed rosemary

Cooked noodles (you can also use rice)

Throw all of the ingredients, except the noodles, into a large pot. Bring the soup to a boil, and then let it sit for an hour on medium-low for an hour. At that point, the chicken should be done so take it out and pull the meat away from the bones. Put the chicken back into the soup, and then add the cooked noodles. Tap out and munch down.

Simply Sides: Turkey Day Baked Sweet Potatoes with Super Sauce

26 Nov

Happy Thanksgiving! Before the feasting festivities begin today, I thought I’d take a sec to tell you guys what I’m thankful for, and I’m going to share some sweet potato goodness in case you don’t know what to bring to dinner tonight. I’m thankful for my family, who has stuck by me no matter what; Collin for being adventurous enough to take the jump across the country with me; my insanely, amazing friends who are doing great things everyday and constantly inspiring me;  snow and mountains; being healthy; and the pursuit of happiness.  I hope you all have a delicious and fabulous day with the people you love and lots of food. And now, for the sweet tots.

What ya need:

Sweet Potatoes

S&P

Butter

Tin Foil

Super Sauce:

Cream Cheese

Sour Cream

Pepper

Grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400F. Wash the potatoes, dry them and poke holes all over them. Then, rub them with butter and season with S&P. Wrap each tot in a piece of tinfoil with a small sliver of butter. Bake for an hour or so. You will know that the sweet potatoes are done if you can poke a fork straight through the fattest part of the potatoes with no difficulty. Each potato might cook differently so check each one. This dish is best when the consistency is kinda mushy so let them go a little bit longer if you see fit.

For the sauce, just mix all those ingredients together. Quantities will depend on how many people you are trying to feed. For example, today I made 6 tots so that 12 people could each have half with their Thanksgiving smorgasbord, so for the sauce I used one square pack of Philadelphia Cream Cheese with about half a large container of sour cream and a fair sprinkling of pepper and Parmesan, and there was a fair amount of leftover sauce.

Once again, Happy Turkey Day, and have a good turkey coma. Nighty night.

Simply Sides: Steak Fries

24 Nov

It is a proven fact that millions of people the world over, including myself, are addicted. To french fries. Yes, it is a harsh reality that many of us crave the papas fritas on a regular basis, and chains like McDonald’s only have dangle these golden, greasy sticks in our faces, and we all come running. Thankfully, the solution to your addiction lies in your own home. These steak fries are a quick fix for the hard-core addicts and go well with anything that comes off your grill, not just steak.

 

What you need:

Russet potatoes cut into wedges (figure about 1-1.5 potatoes per human depending on their love for fries)

Olive Oil

Salt & pepper

Pinch of crushed rosemary

Somewhat spicy seasoning mix (Some examples are Gator Sprinkle, Montreal Steak Seasoning, or you can just use your favorite combo of chili powder, paprika, pepper, allspice, coriander, ect.)

Dipping Sauce:

Honey Dijon mustard

BBQ sauce

Can't wait to eat ya little potatoes

First, you want to preheat your oven to between 450-500 F, and while it is heating up start dressing the potatoes. Rub the wedges down with the olive oil, making sure that they are completely covered. Then, season the wedges with S&P, crushed rosemary and the rest of your spices. Spread the future fries evenly onto a baking sheet. Once the oven is ready, throw in the fries in for 15 minutes, flip ’em, and then throw back in for about 15 more minutes until they are crispy on the outside and take on a golden brown color.

For the dip, just mix the sauces together and go nuts!

Go eat before they get cold.

Simply Sides: Parmesan-Crusted Brussels Sprouts

23 Nov

I feel like I’ve been giving you guys a lot of main dishes and not as many things to accompany them since I started D.D., but have no fear my friends. The sides are here and right in time for Thanksgiving! I don’t know about you guys, but my favorite part of the Turkey Day meal is not the bird. Bring me mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, candied carrots and peas. Onions, rolls and more green beans. Drizzle on the gravy, and it’s a happy day for mes.

Oh look, I’m so excited that I rhyme.

Alton Brown’s Good Eats is featuring brussels sprouts right now so I’ll start off the side show with 101 Cookbook’s golden-crusted sprouts. The girl who writes this is a genius for the single fact that she made a normally frowned-at veggie completely irresistible. My brother actually threw up on the dinner table after being forced to eat brussels sprouts when people still thought steamed was the only way to munch on sprouts. We’re gonna step it up a notch or three from that.

Brussels sprout (tip of the stem cut off and halved.)

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

Grated parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, douse the sprouts in olive oil and S&P.

Begin to sauté the sprouts, flat side down, in a large skillet on medium-low heat.

After about five minutes, sprinkle on the cheese and flip the sprouts. Stir them up a little bit and let the little guys go until tender.

Sprinkle on a little extra cheese when you serve it, just because you can.

Juicy Cornish Hens

19 Nov

OK kids, this is an easy one. I’m not just saying that either, it’s about as simple as it gets. Cornish hens. Don’t let the fancy name throw you off, these birds are a great fix, especially for a looks-super-fancy-but-was-a-breeze dinner parties. What is even better about the hens, as with any bird you roast, you can throw your own unique spin on it and add flavor with your favorite palate elements. Being a Florida girl, I went with something citrusy and sweet. Hope you like it as much as we did.

 

Two Cornish hens

S&P

Rosemary

Oregano

Thyme

Olive oil

Two small oranges (sliced into quarters)

6 garlic cloves

Orange juice

Dijon mustard

Honey

 

Nectar juice:

Combine the OJ, mustard and honey in a medium bowl. You want to make enough to create a bath for the hens. Stir the ingredients together until the honey is dissolved and everything is well blended. Season with spices listed above.

Preheat your oven to 350F

Rub the hens with a light layer of olive oil, and then season with the spices. Shove as many cloves of garlic and orange slices as you can into each butt, and closely surround them with the rest in a small baking dish. Let the birds roast for about 30 minutes, and then dowse them with the nectar juice. Brush the juice onto the hens every 10 minutes for another half an hour. Let sit for less than five minutes and then serve.

Le Chateau Fondue Restaurant

18 Nov

I need to get real serious with you all for a second here.

If you haven’t been to this place yet, your life is incomplete. This fancy find is located at 1040 15th St in the downtown area, and it’s every cheese-and-chocolate lover’s paradise.I had to roll myself down the street like the fat kid in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I guess I did that to myself since we ordered the four-course meal for two that is only meant for people with an extra cow stomach. We dined on salads; a fondue cheese course served with apples, breads, carrots and celery; a main course of shrimp, chicken, two types of steak and salmon; and just when we had enough the chocolate/marshmallow dip. While it was all amazing, I would have been happy with just the cheese and chocolate. What else could a girl need?

Le Chateau has a solid French menu as well, but I honestly didn’t even look at it. What can I say, I’m in it for the cheese. You can check them out at Le Chateau.

I told you this was serious.

BBQ Chicken Mac-n-Cheese

17 Nov

OK, so I totally stole this from Picky Palate, and it’s amazing. If you feel good about and consistently have cravings for down-home BBQ such as shredded chicken in sweet bbq sauce and cheesy, gooey macaroni and cheese, then jump right into this one.

 

Sliver of butter or dash of EVOO

3 large chicken breasts

Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce

Squirts of Honey (look for the bear jar)

Paprika

Gator Sprinkle

1 box of mini farfalle

5 Tablespoons butter
5 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
4 Cups milk
5 Cups shredded cheddar cheese

 

Season the breasts with S&P, Sprinkle and a little bit of paprika, and then put them in a greased skillet with the BBQ sauce ad honey. Cover and let cook on medium-low for about 15 minutes. Flip them once, and be sure there is no pink on the inside, but don’t over-cook them either. Once they are done, use two forks to shred the chicken apart.

While you are shredding the chicken, pre-heat the oven to 350F and cook the farfalle.

Melt the butter in a large pot on medium heat. Slowly stir in the flour, one table spoon at a time, and then add all the seasonings. Stir in one cup of milk at a time, and then do the same with the cheese. Once the pasta is done, stir it into the cheesiness.

Grease the bottom of a large baking dish, and then spread on the macaroni evenly up to the sides. Sprinkle the shredded chicken all around, and then add on some more cheese and bread crumbs for good measure.

 

Let it bake until the top crust is golden