Friday, February 28, 2014

Cook's Illustrated's Chicken Enchiladas

Here is another family favorite that we have all the time.  Cook's Illustrated's Best International Recipe cookbook is such a great resource, we love everything we have tried in it.  This is such a tasty enchilada recipe, I don't think I've ever had home made enchiladas that I like better.   This time we made it with Monterey jack cheese, but we have used cheddar before as well, and both are great.  I will list the ingredients we used this time, but we have done it differently in the past, and no matter how we make it, it is delicious.  This makes 12 enchiladas, and the calories for 1 enchilada are 210.  Aaron and Noah and I give this a perfect 10, and Owen gives it a 9, because he thinks enchiladas are too spicy.  Here's what we did:

1 1/2 T vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 T chili powder
2 t ground coriander
2 t ground cumin
1/2 t salt
2 t sugar
1 lb chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
3/4 c water
1/2 c coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
1 4 oz can mild green chilies
10 oz Monterey jack cheese, shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)
12 6-inch corn tortillas

Heat the oil in a large saucepan until shimmering.  Add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5-7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, salt and sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the chicken and coat thoroughly with the spices, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the tomato sauce and water and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through and the flavors have melded, about 8-10 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 300, and spray the tortillas with cooking spray on both sides.  Cook the tortillas for 2-4 minutes in the oven on a cookie sheet.  Pour the chicken mixture through a strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the strained chicken to extract as much sauce as possible; set the sauce aside.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and freeze for 10 minutes to allow easier handling.  When cooled enough, combine the chicken with the chilies, cilantro, and 2 cups of the cheese.  Smear 3/4 c of the sauce in the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan, then fill each tortilla with the chicken mixture.  Arrange the filled tortillas seam side down in the dish, then cover with the remaining sauce, coating the top of each tortilla.  Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the enchiladas.  Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees, then cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Uncover and serve immediately.

It sounds like a lot of work, but it really comes together pretty quickly, and it tastes so darn good :)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cook's Illustrated's Potted Chicken

This is one of the recipes that I come back to all the time, it is such a hit here, and although it takes a while to cook, the actual work this requires is minimal.  I found this recipe in my Cook's Illustrated Best International Recipes cookbook, and it is one of the first ones I tried.  The sauce is out of this world, and the chicken is so darn moist.  We remove the skin, but you don't have to if you like the salty flavor of the skin.  It won't have crispy skin, but it does taste good.  Because of the variables in the chicken size, it is difficult to calculate calorie information, but for 180 g of chicken and 1/4 of the sauce, the calories are 303.  Aaron and Owen gave this a 9, and Noah and I gave this a perfect 10.  Like I said, this is one of our family favorite recipes, it's something we have all the time.  Here's what you do:

1 whole roasting chicken (4 1/2-5 lbs, giblets discarded)
1 T olive oil
2 large shallots sliced thinly
6 medium garlic cloves, peeled and trimmed
1 c chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 t minced fresh thyme leaves
2 T unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces and chilled

Preheat oven to 375.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Add the oil, shallots, and garlic cloves to a large Dutch oven, and lay the chicken on top, breast side up.  Cover and bake until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees, about 1 hour.  Tip the chicken to drain the juices, then set aside and cover with foil to rest while making sauce.  Separate the fat in the juices, then stir in the broth, bay leaves, and thyme.  Bring to a boil, and cook until the liquid has reduced to 1 cup, about 5-10 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves off the heat, whisk in the butter and season to taste.  Carve the chicken then serve with the sauce.

Definitely try this one, it is so easy and delicious.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cook's Illustrated's Hummus

I love hummus!  Here is the easy recipe from Cook's Illustrated.  We love this, Noah and I gave it a perfect 10 and Aaron and Owen gave it a 9.  Calories are around 40-50 calories a tablespoon depending on your tahini.  Great with pita chips, pitas, veggies, on sandwiches, anything!

1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 lemon, juiced
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c tahini
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c water
cayenne pepper

Mix it together in a food processor.  Serve cold.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Pioneer Woman's Grilled Corn Dip

This wasn't a big hit around here, I liked it the best, but the cotija cheese was kind of off putting in this recipe for most of the family.  I changed it just a little, and I think it would be good for a big party, but it made sooooo much, and it had a funky smell.  Aaron gave it a 6, Owen gave it a 7, and Noah and I gave it an 8.  No calorie information because I couldn't figure out how many serving there were, it was so much food :).  Here's what I did:

1 can creamed corn
1 can corn
8 oz cream cheese
4 green onions, sliced
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz monterey jack cheese
4 oz cotija
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t paprika
dash of cayenne pepper
juice of 1 lime
dash or 2 of tobasco

Mix everything together, then serve with chips.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pioneer Woman's Black Eyed Pea Salsa

We tried this black eyed pea salsa and although good and easy, it was bland.  We found the recipe in the Pioneer Woman's latest cookbook, and it was fun to have black eyed peas for our New Year celebration.  The boys gave this an 8, and Aaron and I gave this a 7.  I followed the recipe exactly, and for 1/12 of the total the calories were 98.  We ate this with chips, and also as a salad the next day.  Here's what to do:

3 15 oz cans black eyed peas drained and rinsed
3 celery stalks, finely diced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1 jalapeno seeded and chopped
1 c chopped clantro
Juice of 1 lime
tortilla chips or serving.

Mix everything together and serve.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Picky Palate's South West Quinoa Salad

For my birthday I received Picky Palate's cookbook, and we have been enjoying the food we have tried.  This salad was great to make in the morning, then eat for dinner with some pork quesadillas.  This is quick and refreshing, and pretty healthy.  I added some chicken broth and avocados to the original, and cut down on the dressing a little.  We split this into 10 servings, and each serving was 310 calories.  Aaron gave this a 6, Owen a 7, I gave it a 9, and Noah gave it a perfect 10.  Here's what I did

1 1/2 c quinoa
2 c chicken broth
2 c water
15 oz canned black beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz canned corn, drained
1 roma tomato, chopped
20 olives, sliced
1/2 chopped green pepper
1/2 c cilantro leaves
3/4 t salt, divided
scant 1/2 c (a little less than that really) olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
pinch of sugar
1/4 t ground cumin
1 avocado, diced

Rinse the quinoa in warm water and bring chicken broth and water to a boil.  Add the quinoa, bring it back to a boil, and cook until the liquid is absorbed.  Let sit for 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork and place in a bowl.  To that bowl add beans, corn, tomato, olives, green pepper, cilantro, and 1/2 t salt.  In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lime, sugar, cumin, 1/4 t salt, and cumin.  Pour it over the salad ingredients, and place in the fridge to serve.  When ready to serve, add the avocado and mix it all together.  Serve.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Pioneer Woman's Dulce De Leche Brownies

Happy Valentine's Day!  Here is a sweet treat from the Pioneer Woman to make for your loved ones. 
These were a hit at our house, and they are super yummy.  I found the recipe in the Pioneer Woman's newest cookbook, and although I found the cooking times to be a little off, overall this was a very successful recipe.  Noah said I HAD to make them again, and I will because they were awesome.  These were cut into 16 servings, and each serving was 378 calories.  Aaron and I gave them an 8, and the boys gave them a 9. 
5 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 c butter, softened
2 c sugar
4 eggs
1 1/4 c flour
1 T vanilla
7 oz or so dulce de leche, warmed a little for stirring in
Melt the chocolate, then set aside to cool.  Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add one egg at a time, then slowly drizzle in cooled chocolate until combined.  Add the flour, then the vanilla.  Place into a greased pan, then stir in the dulce de leche in a marble pattern.  Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for at least an hour (recipe says 45-50 minutes), probably more.  I cooked mine for 70 minutes, and it could've cooked even longer.  Let cool in pan, then cut and serve.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pioneer Woman's Red (or not :)) Velvet Pancakes

Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow!  Red Velvet Pancakes from The Pioneer Woman's newest cookbook are yummy and perfect for your Valentine :).  This recipe was a hit with my boys, not so much with my true Valentine Aaron, but regardless these are good and easy.  I felt like there was too much baking powder, they had that bitter taste that comes from too much baking powder, and I added more cocoa powder, but mostly followed the directions.  Also, I didn't use maple syrup, I used vanilla and almond extracts. Each pancake with syrup was 184 calories, and the recipe made 22 pancakes or us.  Aaron gave them a 6, I gave them an 8, ad Owen and Noah gave them a perfect 10.  Here's the easy peasy recipe.  Make them red if you desire, I just really don't like using food coloring very much :).

3 c flour
3 T baking powder
2 T sugar
1 t salt
2 T cocoa powder
1 1/2 c almond milk
1 c buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 T vanilla
2 t white vinegar
4 T butter, melted

2 1/2 c powdered sugar
dash of salt
4 T butter, melted
1/4 c buttermilk
1/4 c almond milk
1 1/2 T corn syrup
1/2 T vanilla and almond extracts, mixed, mostly vanilla

Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cocoa powder.  Set aside.  Mix together almond milk, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and vinegar.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined, then add in the butter and cook on a heated griddle.
Whisk together the icing/syrup ingredients, then pour over your pancakes and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Absolutely Avocado's Bacon Cotija Guacamole

Owen bought me the Absolutely Avocados book for Christmas this year, and it is so fun.  We love avocados around here, and so we are excited to try just about everything in this cookbook.  The first thing we tried was this Bacon Cotija Guacamole, and although I really liked it, and everyone else liked it pretty well, I have to warn you that the cotija cheese is pretty powerful.  I like it, but not everyone does.  Noah and I gave it an 8, and Aaron and Owen gave it a 7.  Each serving was 321 calories, if you only divide it in four, but we divided it into 6, so it was a little less calories.

3 strips thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped
3 Hass avocados
1/2 c chopped cilantro
1/2 c crumbled cotija cheese
1 T jalapeno, chopped
Juice of 1 lime

Mix all ingredients in the blender, reserving some of the bacon to garnish the top.  Serve with chips.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Pioneer Woman's Chimichurri Shrimp

Yum!  These were super good, and all of us gave them a 9.  We found the recipe in the Pioneer Woman's newest cookbook, and we will have these again.  We split this into four servings, and each serving was 263 calories.  Easy, fresh, and really delicious, these are worth trying soon!

1/2 bunch cilantro leaves
1/4buch flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 garlic cloves
2 limes, juiced
1/2 t cumin
1 dash cayenne pepper
1/2 t salt
1/4 c olive oil
1 lb shrimp
1/2 T olive oil

In a food processor, process the cilantro, parsley, lime juice,cumin, cayenne and salt.  Cover and begin processing, then add in the oil in a slow stream, processing until smooth.  Drizzle half of the sauce, reserving the other half, over the peeled and deveined shrimp, stir, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Heat the olive oil in a pan, then cook the shrimp until done.  Serve with the reserved chimichurri sauce.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Pioneer Woman's Fiesta Black Beans

This picture is of the black beans over the Lime Rice, both of which were great.  This recipe came from Pioneer Woman's newest cookbook.  On this recipe, I didn't follow the recipe as closely, so I will post what I did.  This made 6 servings, and each serving was 188 calories.  Owen gave the beans a 7, and everyone else gave them a 9.  These are delicious, and here's what I did.

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 t chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1 t salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 c chicken broth

Cook the bacon until crispy.  Remove some of the bacon grease, then add in the peppers and onions.  Add in the chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper.  Then add in the beans and broth.  Cook for a few minutes until beans are soft and flavors have melded.  Serve with rice.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Pioneer Woman's Lime Rice

This rice can be found in the Pioneer Woman's A Year of Holidays cookbook, and we really enjoyed this.  It is easy, and quick to make, and although I cut it in half, I basically followed the recipe.  Noah gave it a 7, and everyone else gave it a 9.  For 1/5 of the total, the calories are 151.  Here's what to do:
1/2 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 c rice
2 c chicken broth
1/4 t salt
Juice of 1 1/2 limes, and zest of 1 lime
Heat the oil in a medium pan, then add the garlic and onion.  Stir them around and cook them for 3-4 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low, then pour in the rice.  Stir it around and let it cook for about 2 minutes.  Stir in the broth and salt, then add in the juice, and a little of the lime zest.  Cover and cook the rice 20-25 minutes.  Stir it once or twice, very important, to keep it from sticking.  Sprinkle on the rest of the zest, then serve. 
We ate ours with PW's Chimichurri Shrimp and Black Beans, recipes coming soon :).

Monday, February 3, 2014

Flour's Oatmeal Maple Scones

I received the Flour cookbook from my Mother-in-Law for Christmas this year, and I love it.  I wanted to try these scones right off, they sounded super delicious and easy, my kind of food ;).  I didn't have enough maple syrup, although I thought I did, so I used some regular pancake syrup in addition to the maple syrup, and also for the glaze I used vanilla and almond extracts, and almond milk rather than maple syrup.  We all really liked these, especially after we let them sit a little while.  Aaron gave them an 8, and the rest of us gave them a 9.  Each scone had 487 calories when made with the original recipe, a little less when made the way I made them.  Here's what I did:

1 1/2 c flour
1 1/4 c old-fashioned oats
1 1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
1/2 c hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 c Craisins
1/2 c unsalted butter, cut into 8-10 pieces
1/3 c cold heavy cream
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c pancake syrup
1 cold egg
1 c powdered sugar
2 T almond milk
1 T vanilla and almond extracts mixed, mostly vanilla
1 T water

Using a stand mixer, mix together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, hazelnuts, and Craisins until combined.  Scatter the butter over the top and beat on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until the butter is somewhat broken down and grape-size pieces are still visible.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cream, syrups, and egg until thoroughly mixed.  On low speed, pour the cream mixture and beat for 20 to 30 seconds, or just until the dough comes together.  It will be fairly wet.
Drop 1/3 c sized scones onto a cookie sheet, making 8 of them.  Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for a few hours.
Preheat the oven to 365, and bake directly from the freezer for 40-45 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes.
To make the glaze, whisk together all the ingredients until you have a smooth, pourable glaze. 
Brush or pour the glaze over the tops of the scones and then serve after allowing the glaze to soak in for a little while.