Friday, November 28, 2014

Cook's Illustrated's Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

This is another Cook's Illustrated winner, we love this recipe so much.  If it weren't bone in chicken, it would receive a perfect 10 from all of us, but only the boys give it a perfect 10, Aaron and I give it a 9.  This is not a difficult recipe to make, but it does take a little time.  Each serving is about 185 calories per piece of chicken, but that is an average, so a little less or more depending on how big your chicken is and what piece you eat.  Anyway, this is such a great chicken dish, so flavorful and moist.  Here's what to do:

4 lbs of bone in skin on chicken pieces
1/4 c table salt
3 medium heads garlic, cloves separated but unpeeled
2 medium shallots, peeled and quartered
1 T olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 c chicken broth
2 T unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 400.  Dissolve the 1/4 c salt in 2 quarts cold water, and brine the chicken for 30 minutes.  Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry, then season with pepper.
Toss the garlic and shallots with 2 t of the olive oil and salt and pepper and place in a 9 inch pie plate.  Cover with foil and roast until softened, about 30 minutes (or more), shaking the pan after 15 minutes.  Stir, and roast uncovered for another 10 minutes.  Remove the garlic from the oven and increase the oven to 450.
Heat the remaining 1 t of olive oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, and brown the chicken pieces skin side down.  Brown on both sides, then remove the chicken to a plate.  Discard the fat.  Add the chicken broth and herbs, scraping the brown bits from the pan.  Add the garlic/shallot mixture to the pan, then nestle the chicken skin side up in the pan.
Bake the chicken until the breast registers 160, and the thigh reaches 170 degrees.  When chicken is cooked, remove the pan, and remove 12 garlic cloves to press through a fine mesh sieve.  Transfer the rest of the garlic, the shallots, and the chicken to a serving plate.  Push the garlic through the sieve into the pan juices, bring the liquid to a simmer, then adjust seasoning to taste.  After thickened slightly and seasoned, remove from heat and whisk in the butter.  Serve with the chicken.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Here's my apple pie I can't wait to eat :).  I hope everyone has a wonderful day, and I also hope I will have some new recipes to share after our feast.  I am so thankful for my family and friends, good food, and a wonderful life!  I hope everyone is safe and happy this Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Julia Child's Boef Bourgignon

Soup is a comfort food for me, especially with our weather being so cold right now, and this might be the best soup/stew in the world.  I can't actually believe I've never featured this on my blog, it's one of our family favorites, and Aaron asks for it a lot.  This is a time consuming meal, but it is totally worth the time.  This is the Boef Bourgignon that was made famous on the movie Julie and Julia, and I make very few changes from Julia Child's original, except we substitute the wine for beef broth, which makes it not bourgignon, but oh well.  We've made it with the wine before, and it is delicious that way, but we prefer it with the beef broth.  This gets a perfect 10 for us, and each serving is about 490 calories.

See all those delicious mushrooms and onions?  Yeah, they make this stew.  Here's what to do:

For the Stew:

2 lbs beef stew meat, dried and salted
6-8 slices bacon, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper
2 T flour
3 c red wine if using or
5-6 c beef broth (may want to go low sodium broth, can get very salty), enough to cover the beef
1 T tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, mashed
2-3 thyme sprigs
bay leaf

For the Onions:

18-24 pearl onions
1 1/2 T butter
1 1/2 T oil
1 c beef broth
4 parsley sprigs
bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme

For the Mushrooms:

2 T butter
1 T oil
12 oz sliced mushrooms
1 scallion, chopped

Preheat the oven to 450.  Saute the bacon in a Dutch oven until crisp.  Remove to a side dish, then brown the beef in batches, browning on all sides.  Remove the beef to the same dish as the bacon, then add the onion and carrot and brown them until a little softened.  Drain off fat if necessary (I never have any fat to drain), and return the beef and bacon to the Dutch oven.  Add in the salt and pepper, then the flour, making sure to coat the beef well.  Place the beef in the preheated oven, uncovered, for 4 minutes.  Stir the beef, then cook for four minutes more.  Remove the pan, then reduce the oven heat to 325.  Stir in the wine/broth, then add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and additional seasoning.  Bring to a simmer on the stove top, then cover it and place in the oven for 2.5-3 hours.  
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Melt the butter and oil, add in the onions, and brown on all sides for a few minutes.  Add in the beef broth and herbs, season to taste, and let braise for 45 minutes to an hour.  Make sure onions are super tender, but still retain their shape.  Set aside.

Melt the butter and oil, then when the butter has ceased bubbling, add in the mushrooms.  Cook, flipping the mushrooms often, until the mushrooms start to release some of the fat they have soaked up.  Season well, then add in the green onion, and cook for a minute more.  Set aside.

When the meat has finished cooking, remove the meat/veggies from the broth, and bring the broth to a boil.  You want this to get as thick as you desire, we like our stew thick, so we reduce it quite a bit.  Adjust the seasoning to taste, then add the beef/veggie mixture back in the broth and add in the mushrooms and pearl onions in as well.  Make sure everything is heated through, then serve.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

So these were a hit in our family.  For science, the boys had to make a week's menu of meals, figure out the nutritional information, and make the shopping list with me.  They also had to help me make the food.  This was one of Noah's choices, and our family was nuts about them.  These are the best chicken nuggets we have ever had, and everyone gave these a perfect 10 except for Owen, he gave them a 9 because he said they were too crispy.  Anyway, it's hard to go wrong with deep fried chicken :).  I don't have calorie information about these, because I didn't really measure anything, but here's what I did:

2 lbs chicken breasts, cut into bite size cubes and seasoned

garlic salt
onion powder

3 eggs

Parmesan herb bread crumbs
plain bread crumbs
1/2 t baking soda

Heat a large pot of oil to about 350 degrees.  Mix together the flour, salt, garlic salt, pepper, and onion powder.  In another bowl, beat together the eggs and buttermilk.  In a third bowl, mix together the bread crumbs and baking soda.  Coat the chicken in flour, then in the buttermilk mixture, then in the bread crumbs.  Fry the chicken in batches, making sure the chicken is golden brown on all sides.  Drain on a paper towel lined plate, then serve.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy, and totally delicious!

Friday, November 21, 2014

JoAnn Fluke's Cranberry Muffins

These are a great fall muffin, and my kids loved these.  I found them in one of JoAnne Fluke's books, and these are simple and quick to throw together.  Noah helped me.  I made 23 muffins, and each muffin was 213 calories.  Owen and Noah gave them a perfect 10, and I gave them a 9, I would've like a little almond or vanilla flavor in these.  
Cranberry Muffins 

Preheat oven to 375.
¾ c melted butter 
1 c white sugar 
2 beaten eggs 
2 t baking powder 
½ t salt
1 c dried cranberries 
2 ¼ c flour 
½ c milk 
½ c whole berry cranberry sauce 
Crumb Topping:
½ c sugar 
1/3 c flour 
¼ c butter softened 

Line muffin tins.  Put cranberries in the melted butter and set aside to cool.  Mix together sugar, baking powder, eggs, and salt.  Stir in the butter and cranberries.  Add ½ the flour mixture, then ½ the milk.  Add the rest of the flour mixture then the rest of the milk.  Stir in the cranberry sauce.  Fill tins ¾ of the way full then add the crumb topping.  To make crumb topping mix together sugar and flour, then cut in the butter.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, cool for 30 minutes, then remove from pans.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Border Cookbook's Goat Cheese Tacos

So I loved these goat cheese tacos, but the rest of the family didn't love them as much as I did.  Oh well, they are so tasty and fresh, I love me some goat cheese!  These are fairly simple to make, and with the pico de gallo and avocado, these are healthy and vegetarian too :).  Maybe that's why Aaron didn't like them as well :).  Anyway, Aaron and Owen gave these a 7, Noah gave them an 8, and I gave them a 9.  Each taco was 312 calories, and I found this recipe in The Border Cookbook.  Here's what to do:

8 flour tortillas
4 oz creamy goat cheese at room temperature
1 c refried beans, warmed
4 oz Monterey Jack cheese

pico de gallo

Spread each tortilla with goat cheese, refried beans, and Monterey Jack cheese.  Cook them in the oven or in a pan until melted through.  Top with avocado and pico de gallo, and more jalapenos if desired.  Serve.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found this chocolate chip cookie recipe on, and it was a hit with the boys :).

Aaron, like usual says he wishes these were just chocolate chip, but oh well :).  I followed the recipe exactly, I just didn't add as many sprinkles.  We took these to AWANA and everyone enjoyed them.  Each cookie was 155 calories, and Aaron gave these an 8, Owen and I gave them a 9, and Noah gave them a perfect 10.  These are fun, easy, and really delicious.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Chinese Take-Out's Mongolian Beef

I am a red meat kind of girl, so when I get to have beef rather than chicken for Chinese food, I am all in :).  Aaron prefers chicken most of the time, but I love me some steak/beef/what ever.  This Mongolian beef has such great flavor, and we all gave it a 9, except Aaron who gave it an 8.  Like all the recipes in Chinese Take-Out cookbook, this is relatively low in calories, but we always wish we had more sauce.  Each of the five servings was 256 calories, not including the rice, but it would be more if we made more sauce, which I plan on doing next time.  In fact, I will just post the doubled sauce recipe here, so I won't even try to make it the other way :).  Here's what to do:

1 T soy sauce
1 T mirin
2 t cornstarch

1 lb flank steak, sliced thinly against the grain

1/4 c soy sauce
4 t hoisin sauce
4 t chili paste
4 t mirin
2 t oyster sauce
2 t sesame oil
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes

1 T oil
2 leeks, white part only sliced thinly
1 t minced fresh ginger
1 scallion, chopped

Marinate the beef in the marinade for about 10 minutes.
Mix the sauce ingredients together, then set aside.
Heat the oil in your pan, then add in the beef to stir fry for a few minutes.  Add the leeks, and ginger and stir fry for another few minutes.  Add the sauce, and stir, cooking until the beef is cooked to desired doneness.  Garnish with scallions and serve.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cake Batter Pancakes

So we found these delicious pancakes at, I love that site, and we loved these.  The boys gave these a perfect 10, and Aaron and I gave these a 9.  Each pancake was only 78 calories each, because this made a lot, and there is no oil or butter in this recipe, which cuts down on the calories.  Anyway, I followed the recipe exactly, I just didn't make the glaze, which would probably be even more delicious, because my family always says they just want syrup, sigh :).  Try these, they are great!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Absolutely Avocado's Mexican Chopped Salad with Crab

This was going to be a side dish salad from the Absolutely Avocados cookbook, but the recipe I was going to make with the Krab didn't happen because I forgot one of the main ingredients, sigh :).  Anyway, I changed this recipe a little to make it a main dish, and it was super delicious.  We all gave this a 9, it was super great.  Each serving was 578 calories, and it came together really quickly.  Here's what I did:

2 avocados, peeled and chopped
4 ears corn, cooked and cooled, then cut off the cob
3 scallions, chopped
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bag romaine lettuce, chopped
chopped cilantro, to taste
1/2 c olive oil
1 lime, juiced
1 t honey
1 T mayonnaise
1/2 t salt
5 oz pepper jack cheese, grated
1 lb Krab (fake crab meat, use the real stuff if you can :))

Mix together the olive oil, lime juice, honey, mayonnaise, and salt.  Set aside.  Mix together the avocados, corn, scallions, black beans, bell pepper, lettuce and cilantro.  Add in the cheese and Krab, then toss with the dressing and serve.

Yum, yum, yum!  This was a great, cool salad, and a really good summer meal, even if we had it in October :).

Friday, November 7, 2014

Michael Symon's Spicy Fried Potatoes

My favorite potato recipe, hands down.  I loved this.  I gave it a perfect 10, Aaron and Noah gave it a 9, and Owen gave it a 4 because of the spicy sauce.  I found this in Michael Symon's Carnivore cookbook, and it was a great side dish.  Each serving was 329 calories, and this was spicy!  The potatoes by themselves are not, just the sauce is.  I actually cut down on the spice, I can't imagine how spicy it would be with the original amounts.  I will post what I did here.

7 small yukon gold potatoes, chopped in half and cooked in well salted water
1/4 c olive oil
1 T paprika
1/2 T chipotle powder
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c mayonnaise
1 T sriracha sauce
1/4 c bacon fat
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 scallion, chopped

Combine the olive oil, paprika, chipotle powder and garlic together in a small saucepan, and warm for about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat, let cool slightly, then add the mixture to the mayonnaise and sriracha.  Set aside.
Heat the bacon fat in a skillet, then smash each potato with your hand, and cook the potatoes for about 3 minutes per side.  Sprinkle them with salt, the lemon juice and zest, and the scallions.  Serve with the spicy sauce.

So delicious, I will be making these again, and Owen likes them a lot without the spicy sauce, he gives them a 9, so maybe try that if you make this, the potatoes even on their own are delicious.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Michael Symon's Couscous in Tomato Sauce

So Noah and I really enjoyed this, giving it a 9, while Owen and Aaron only gave this a 6.  I love that this has so many veggies, but doesn't taste like veggies only.  This came together relatively quickly and easily, and was a great side dish to have with our bacon wrapped chicken.  Each serving, and the servings are large, was 337 calories.  This came out of Michael Symon's Carnivore cookbook, and he called for fregola, but since I can't find that, we used couscous.  Here's what to do:

6 T olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 onion, chopped
1 turnip, peeled and diced
1 rutabaga, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 c couscous, cooked in chicken broth or well salted water
1 bunch thinly sliced kale
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add in the vegetables and thyme and some salt.  Cook about 10 minutes.  Add in the tomatoes, 1 cup of water, and the red pepper flakes and simmer for 30 minutes.  (I wish I had cooked this longer, I would've liked my veggies a little mushier, but that is just a personal/family preference.)
Add in the couscous and kale, and cook for a few minutes.  Pick out the thyme stems and discard.  Stir in the Parmesan, adjust the seasonings, and serve.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Border Cookbook's Riders In Chaps

So this wasn't a hit with anyone aside from Owen.  He loved this meal, he gave it a perfect 10, Noah gave it a 7, Aaron gave it a 4, and I didn't even have any of the eggs, so I don't get a vote.  I don't love eggs, especially not over medium ones :).  Anyway, the pork was really good, everyone agreed on that, but no one liked the eggs in addition, except for Owen.  Like I said, he loved it with the eggs.  The pork was an easy crockpot combination, and the eggs just needed to be cooked right before serving, so this was an easy meal.  Each tostada with two eggs on it was 535 calories.  Here's what to do:

1 lb pork loin
1 large onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 canned chipotle chile and 1 t adobo sauce
1/2 t salt, plus more to taste
1/4 t dried thyme
1/2 c water

6 tostadas
12 eggs
beans if desired

Place the pork, onion, bay leaf, chipotle chile and sauce, salt, thyme and water in your slow cooker.  Cook on low for around 6 hours, or until the meat shreds easily.  Shred it and set aside.
When ready to serve, cook the eggs either sunny side up, or over medium, and salt them to taste.
To assemble, take one tostada, swipe with beans if using, layer on meat, 2 eggs, cheese, and guacamole, then serve.