Thursday, January 31, 2013

Green Beans in the crockpot

Cooking in the crockpot is always chancy around our house, because we like flavor, and the crockpot just doesn't deliver.  Regardless, I love the crockpot for the ease it brings me.  Monday, we had to drive Aaron to and from work, so I knew I had to have food prepared ahead of time so we could eat right when we walked in the door, since we had hungry people by the time we got home ;).  I premade dinner to just warm up, and I decided to try a recipe from my cookbook The Italian Slow Cooker from Michele Scicolone.  This is one of the better crockpot cookbooks, with lots of flavor usually.  The green bean recipe was easy, and I thought it would be flavorful, but it just wasn't.  Noah gave it a 2, Owen gave it a 4, and Aaron and I gave it a 6.  This wasn't a hit, obviously :).  Still, with some tweaking, it might be okay, and it is in the crockpot, so it won't take very long to make.

1 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 whole onion, chopped
2 oz bacon, chopped
1 c canned tomatoes and their juices
1 T fresh marjoram, basil, or thyme (I used dried marjoram)
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 T olive oil

In a skillet, heat the olive oil.  Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes, until very tender.  Add the bacon and cook until bacon crisps up.  Add the tomatoes, green beans, onion mixture, herbs, and salt and pepper and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours, then stir and cook for another 30 minutes.  (I did it on low for about 3 hours.)  Season again to taste, and serve.

Again, this wasn't great, but it was easy, and not terrible :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mac and Cheese with Roasted Chicken, Goat Cheese, adn Rosemary

Earlier this week we had a great pasta dish from Michael Symon's Live To Cook cookbook.  I have made this once before, but it has been a really long time, so hopefully it isn't featured on this blog :).  I love goat cheese, and my family really does too, and so we love this.  Noah and I gave this a 9, and Aaron and Owen gave it an 8.  We will have this again, because it doesn't require a lot of effort or ingredients.  The recipe calls for roasted chicken, but I just cook a few chicken breasts in some seasoned water, and then chop it up and add it to the pasta.  I'm sure a rotisserie chicken would work well, and I've used chicken I've cooked in the crockpot before too.  Anyway, here's the fabulous recipe:

1 lb dried rigatoni pasta
1 quart heavy cream
2 T chopped fresh rosemary (or thyme, both are great)
8 oz fresh goat cheese
2 c shredded roasted chicken (again, just used some sort of cooked chicken)

Put cream rosemary, and 1/2 t kosher salt in a large saucepan over high heat.  Bring to just a simmer, then lower the heat to medium and simmer to reduce the mixture by half.
Add the goat cheese and chicken to the cream and bring the mixture back to a simmer.  Continue cooking until it coats the back of a spoon, about 30 minutes (mine definitely did not take that long!).
Add rigatoni to boiling salted water and cook until al dente.  Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce.  Toss the past and then bring the sauce just back to a simmer. 

This doesn't keep very well, since the sauce separates, but it is creamy and fabulous the first time!  We'll have this again.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lemon Dijon Grilled Chicken

This recipe from Anne Burrell was a great one, and super easy.  I got this recipe from Anne Burrell's Cook Like A Rock Star cookbook.  Aaron and Owen gave it an 8, and Noah and I gave it a 9.  I like that I could do everything in the morning, and then just grill it at night, and we had a yummy chicken dinner.  Here's the recipe, cut in half, the way I made it.

1/2 c Dijon mustard
1 lemon juiced and zested
1 T rosemary
some red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, smashed
salt to taste
a little splash of olive oil

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

Mix together all the sauce ingredients, then slather it all over the chicken.  Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.  Grill the chicken and serve.

I'll add a picture soon, just like with all the other recipes I've said that about :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Potatoes with Arugula

So we had this warm kind of potato salad, and it was fabulous.  Both Aaron and I really enjoyed it, we gave it a 9, and the boys liked the potatoes, but not the arugula, big surprise there.  Noah gave it a 5 and Owen gave it a 6.  We got the recipe from Michael Symon's Live to Cook cookbook, and it is simple and delicious.

2 lbs red potatoes
1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 c cream
2 T coarse ground Dijon mustard
2 T butter, unsalted
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 - 1/2 lb arugula

Cook the potatoes in well salted boiling water until soft, then peel if desired (I didn't peel) and chop into bite size pieces.  Cook cream, chicken broth, and mustard until thickened and reduced, then add in potatoes and then add in the butter, salt and pepper to taste, and add in the arugula until wilted, then serve.

This was easy, and hopefully I didn't leave out any steps.  I'll upload my pictures soon, sorry they aren't on here yet!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

Last week we made some yummylicious cupcakes.  I really liked this recipe because it's easy and kid friendly.  Whenever I use cake mixes, I feel like I'm cheating, not really cooking, but when it comes to kids helping out, cake mixes are the way to go.  The boys helped me make these, and they had fun.  I found the peanut butter frosting to be too thick, it was hard to pipe, but the chocolate frosting recipe worked out really well.  I got the recipe from Our Best Bites second cookbook, but here is a link to it on their website.  I will put a picture up soon, I promise :)  The only critique I would have of this recipe is that you have to use the liners, otherwise the cupcakes get hard quickly and they are too crispy without the liners.  Other than that, this is a great recipe.  Noah and I gave them a 9, and Owen and Aaron gave them an 8.  Coming up soon, a chicken recipe, and a lamb recipe, and a potato recipe. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Spicy Tomato and Blue Cheese Soup

A few weeks ago we had Michael Symon's Spicy Tomato and Blue Cheese Soup.  This was really tasty, but way too spicy for us.  The kids really didn't like it, and only gave it a 3, but Aaron and I liked it quite a bit, the flavor was awesome, it was just over the top spicy.  I'll make it again, but with way less srirachca.  We found the recipe in Michael Symon's Live To Cook, which is the cookbook I'm working through right now.  No picture, sorry, but here's the recipe.

2 T olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes, with their juice (I just used regular canned tomatoes)
1 1/2 c chicken stock
3/4 c heavy cream
2 T sriracha sauce (I would use 2 t probably)
1 T fresh oregano leaves
1/2 c Roth Kase Buttermilk Blue Cheese (I used just a regular blue cheese)

Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the onion and a large pinch of salt and sweat for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and continue to sweat for 2 more minutes.  Add the tomatoes, their juice, and the stock and bring to a simmer.  Add the cream, sriracha sauce, and oregano and simmer for 45 minutes.  Pour the soup into a blender (I used an immersion blender), add the blue cheese, and blend until smooth, working in batches if needed.  Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean pot, taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary, and reheat to serve.  The soup will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for a few days.

I would definitely recommend trying this, but be careful with the sriracha :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Linguine with Heirloom Tomato, Capers, Anchovies, and Chile

So we had Michael Symon's pasta a few days ago, and I thought it was okay, and that's all anyone else thought too.  I was sick when I made it, and so I don't know if I did it right or not, and I know it didn't turn out how we wanted, but I'm not sure I can blame the recipe on that.  Anyway, we all gave it between a 4 and 5.  One fun thing I got to do was make my own pasta, since I received a pasta maker for Christmas this year, so the pasta was homemade for this meal.  Fun!

Here's the recipe

kosher salt
1 c dried bread crumbs
1 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 t crushed red pepper flakes (I used less)
Pasta dough cut into linguine
1 large brandywine heirloom tomato, about 1 cup
6 salt-packed anchovies, rinsed, filleted, and minced
1 T salt-packed capers, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c sliced flat leaf parsley leaves

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta and add salt until it tasted seasoned.  Toast the bread crumbs in a dry skillet over medium heat, tossing as needed, until lightly browned, about 3 or 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat.
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the garlic and sweat it for 2 minutes.  Add the red pepper flakes and cook for another 30 seconds.
Drop the pasta in the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the tomato, anchovies, and caper to the sauté pan, bring to a simmer, and cook for 2 minutes, or until the tomato has released its juices and the anchovies have melted into the sauce.  Remove the sauce from the heat and add the extra-virgin olive oil and parsley.
Strain the pasta and add it directly to the sauce.  Toss well before dividing among four bowls.  Top with the bread crumbs.

This was from Michael Symon's Live To Cook cookbook, and again, we didn't love this.  However, it was alright, and maybe another time when I can actually taste and smell again, we'll try it again.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cauliflower Soup

Hooray!  A picture!  We had PW's cauliflower soup last week, and we really really liked it.  The boys said it was their all-time favorite soup, and Aaron and I liked it too.  You can find the recipe on PW's website, and I used an immersion blender at the end to get it all creamy, rather than chunky.  This was great, and we had some rolls with it, so it was a great dinner.  Noah and Owen gave it a 9, and Aaron and I gave it an 8, Aaron says he wishes there were chicken in it.  Sigh... :)  Anyway, make it and you won't be sorry! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Chocolate Malted Whopper Cookies

So I'm back with the cookies I promised from Dorie Greenspan, you can find the recipe and a good picture at this website.  We liked these, but they weren't our favorite cookies.  I probably won't make them again, but this was a good way to use up leftover Halloween candy.  I'll be posting a good soup recipe very soon!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sweet and Savory Coconut Rice

Again, we don't have any pictures, but don't worry, the link with the recipe does!  We really liked this rice, Aaron especially.  I found it just a little sweet, so I added more salt to it, but Aaron and the boys liked it just how it was.  The coconut rice is found here, and it was fast and easy to make.  Aaron said it reminded him of Dominican rice he ate there, and he's wanted since.  He actually requested that I make this frequently, which I think scores a perfect 10 from him.  I gave it an 8, and the boys gave it a 9.  We had it with some green beans and this flank steak, which we also enjoyed, just not as much.  I can't serve meat medium rare because I'm preggers, so I had to serve it well done, and steak well done is just not delicious.  Oh well.  It was a great meal and we enjoyed it.  I will hopefully get back on the pictures next week, but I'll have a cookie recipe coming up soon that was pretty good.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Split-Level Pudding

We had Dorie Greenspan's Split-Level Pudding, and you can see pictures and recipe here, since I can't find my memory card, and, well, it's easier to link you to someone else's much better picture ;).  This was a hit.  My ganache, the bottom layer, was gritty, which was a problem, but I think I just needed to warm it up before putting it in the dishes to make sure it was all tasted amazing though.  If you've never had made from scratch pudding, you are missing out.  Store-bought packets can't compare.  Anyway, Owen gave the pudding a 10, the rest of us gave it a 9.  Calories aren't happening right now, but after the baby is done with nursing, I'll get back on the calorie train :).  I'll be sharing a rice recipe next time.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Catch Up

We have had lots of good food recently, and I will have to link to them because I didn't take pictures darn it!  Anyway, there were some good ones.  We have made it through the holidays, moving and selling one house, buying and moving into our new house, guests, traveling, and my pregnancy.  I'm feeling better, so I'm cooking again, hooray! 
Last night we had Creamy Artichoke Chicken from the cookbook 365 Days of Slow Cooking.  Here is a link to the blog, and I'll post the recipe here for since I changed it so much.  This is what I made.

4 chicken thighs, skinless, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 T tapioca
2 c chicken broth
Italian Spices to taste
6 oz marinated artichoke hearts, drained

Cook on low 3-5 hours, then add

1/2 c tomatoes (I used drained canned tomatoes because I had already used my other tomatoes and I forgot about it...sigh)
1 c mozzarella cheese
1/2 c cream

Cook for 1/2 hour, then serve over pasta.

My kids and I really liked this, Aaron thought it was flavorless.  Anyway, it's fast and easy, and delicious.

We had sweet potatoes in the crockpot for Christmas, the recipe is found here, and I added a little more butter and added pineapple juice rather than orange juice.  These are my favorite sweet potatoes I've ever had, really quite good, and they went over well at Christmas dinner with Aaron's family.

I'll post more later this week.