Monday, March 22, 2010

Good Old Fashioned Pancakes

I was in the mood for pancakes this morning. But I looked in my pantry and didn't have any pancake mixes! So I looked for a recipe and found this one. I never felt the need to make pancakes from scratch. Why should I when its easier to use the mix, right? Well, I couldn't believe how easy it was to make this. Its as easy and delicious as pouring the mix out of the box and adding milk/water and eggs. They come out so soft and fluffy, maybe I won't use the box anymore.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/4 cup milk
1 egg
3 Tbsp. butter, melted

1) In a large bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add milk, egg, and melted butter. Mix until smooth.

2) Heat a lightly oiled/buttered griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Scoop batter into griddle. Brown on both sides and serve hot with butter and maple/pancake syrup.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lemons on 'Roids

My co worker was mentioning about a diet she heard about that consists of drinking warm lemon water before breakfast and throughout the day. Easy enough. So off I went to get some lemons from my parents. I always brag about how I always get my lemons from my parents' lemon tree to use on my recipes. They seem to have them growing all year long. Well, I didn't mention how awesome these lemons are. They practically have no seeds in them and they are HUGE!!!

In the front-center is an average sized lemon that my neighbor gave us. Behind it are from my parents' lemon tree. The size of grapefruits! Its lemons on steroids! I would say that I can get enough juice in one to equal 2 average sized lemons. I don't know what my dad uses as fertilizer, but whatever it is, its doing an awesome job.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chimichurri-Marinated Flank Steak

I've been on an Argentine food kick lately. This past weekend, we went out to lunch and tried out a local Argentine restaurant. We ordered their Skirt Steak marinated in Chimichurri sauce. I haven't made my Chimichurri Sauce in a while, so I was craving to make it for dinner tonight. I served this with some rice pilaf and some crusty, french bread to dip with the Chimichurri sauce. Mmmmmm!

1 lb. flank steak
3/4 cup Chimichurri Sauce

Marinade flank steak in a frozen storage bag with chimichurri sauce for 1-2 hours. Grill until cooked to your liking, about 3-4 minutes on each side.

Argentinian Chimichurri sauce

I LOVE Argentine food. Especially the chimichurri sauce. I learned about this delicious sauce almost 10 years ago, when I would go to lunch with some of my co workers at an Argentine restaurant. They always served complimentary crusty, french bread to dip into their house chimichurri sauce. I always seem to fill up on the bread and sauce, that I can never finish my delicious main course. Anyway, I haven't been to that Argentine restaurant in a while, and I used to crave Chimichurri sauce, so I searched for the recipe and found so many different versions. And so I came up with this one and have been making it ever since. I have fresh parsley and oregano growing like crazy in my herb garden, so this is definitely a great recipe for them. This is a great marinade for chicken, pork or beef, and its definitely a great dip for bread or empanadas.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (1 tsp. if you like it spicy)
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chicken Tetrazzini

This recipe comes from Giada de Laurentiis. I love her pasta recipes, especially the creamy pastas. I haven't made this in a while because its pretty time consuming and requires a lot of ingredients. But its definitely worth the time. Its super creamy and not for the diet conscious either. This recipe calls for chicken that you have to cook, but you can eliminate that step of cooking the chicken by using a prepared roast chicken that you would find at the supermarket, then chop it all up for this recipe.

9 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 boneless chicken breasts
2 1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. thyme leaves
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup chicken broth
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
12 ounces spaghetti or linguine pasta, cooked al dente
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs.

1) Preheat oven to 450 deg. F. Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with 1 Tbsp. butter and set aside

2) Melt 1 Tbsp. of butter and 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a frying pan. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 tsp. each of salt and pepper. Cook chicken on the hot pan until pale golden, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from the pan and cool slightly. Coarsely shred chicken into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Set aside.

3) In the same pan, add 1 Tbsp. each of butter and oil. Add mushrooms and sautee until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms become pale golden, about 12 minutes. Add onion, garlic and thyme. Sautee until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add wine and simmer until it evaporates, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture in the bowl with chicken.

4) Melt 3 more Tbsp. butter in the same pan. Add flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, cream, broth, nutmeg, the remaining 1 3/4 tsp. salt, and the remaining 3/4 tsp. pepper. Increase the heat to high. cover and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered, until sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes.

5) Add sauce, cooked pasta, peas, and parsley to the chicken mixture. Toss until the sauce coats the pasta and mixture is well blended.

6) Transfer pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Stir cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle cheese mixture over the pasta. Dot the pasta with the remaining 3 Tbsp. butter. Bake uncovered until golden brown and the sauce bubbles, about 25 minutes

Monday, March 8, 2010

Banana Cream Squares

I bought another cookbook over the weekend. Its one of those monthly cookbooks you find at the register in the supermarket. This one is a Betty Crocker Cupcakes and more cookbook. I found lots of cool ideas for making desserts. Including this one. Hubby loves banana desserts. I have a Banana Split pie recipe that he loves, but I haven't made it in awhile. And this recipe reminds me of it. This one gets a plus from hubby and I think it tastes really awesome too.

1/2 cup cold butter
1 pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 package cream cheese, softened
1 can condensed milk
1 tub frozen whipped topping
1 box instant banana pudding mix
3 medium ripe bananas, sliced

1) Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Grease 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

2) In a medium bowl, cut butter into cookie mix until mixture is crumbly. Set aside 3/4 cup of the mixture. Mix egg in remaining mixture until well incorporated. Press crumbs evenly in bottom of dish. Bake bake for 13-15 minutes until edges are light golden brown. Cool completely.

3) In another 13 x 9 pan, place the reserved crumbs in a thin layer. Bake for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally or until light golden brown. Cool completely.

4) In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add condensed milk and beat until well blended. Beat in whipped topping until smooth. Add pudding mix and continue to beat for an additional 2 minutes.

5) Spread 1/3 of the pudding mix onto cooled cookie base. Arrange banana slices in a single layer over pudding. Top with remaining pudding mix. Refrigerate 10 minutes until set. Sprinkle cookie crumbs over pudding.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mashed Potato Layer Bake

I found this recipe in Yahoo's food section. I know hubby loves potatoes, so I saved this recipe for a later use. I didn't know what to make for dinner tonight, so I just made my Albogindas soup and decided to make this as a side dish to try out. Hubby said it was pretty good, but it tasted a little too cheesy and made it more of a cheese bake than a potato bake. So I'll try to lessen the cheese the next time. I also cut this recipe in half tonight, since its only the 2 of us eating. This is definitely must make for our Thanksgiving functions.

4 large white potatoes, peeled, chopped and cooked
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, chopped and cooked
8 oz. Chive & Onion Cream Cheese spread
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1) Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Place potatoes in separate bowls. Add half each of the cream cheese and sour cream to each bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mash with potato masher until creamy.

2) Stir in half of the parmesan cheese with the white potatoes. Stir in half of the cheddar cheese with the sweet potatoes.

3) Alternately layer half each of the white potato and sweet potato mixture in a clear glass dish/casserole. Repeat layers.

4) Bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheeses on top and bake for another 5 minutes or until cheeses have melted

Breakfast Hash

The hubby was asking for some hash browns for breakfast one day. Unfortunately, I didn't have any on hand at the time. So this weekend, I decided to surprise him with this dish I concocted to make up for it. Its a whole breakfast meal in one and he loved it. He loves potatoes, so he had 3 servings of this dish. Its pretty simple to make. I used a frozen, store-bought bag of Potatoes O'Brien, which made it even more simple. I served this with a side of my white gravy/bechamel sauce to make it even more rich.

14 oz (half a bag) of frozen Potatoes O'Brien
8 oz (half a tube) breakfast sausage
1 clove garlic, minced
4 eggs
1/4 tsp. paprika
salt & pepper to taste

1) In a large skillet, brown sausage meat, making sure to break up any large pieces. Remove meat from skillet and set aside.

2) In the same pan, sautee garlic. Add frozen potatoes. Continue cooking until the potatoes have browned to a crisp.

3) Add sausage meat and continue cooking for another minute. Stir in 1/8 tsp. paprika and salt & pepper to taste.

4) Crack 4 eggs over the potato mixture, one at a time. Sprinkle the remaining paprika, salt & pepper to taste on top of the eggs. Cover skillet and cook until egg whites are no longer clear, about 5 minutes.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monkey Bread

When I first heard the term "Monkey Bread," I became curios. I was watching Unwrapped on the Food Network and saw a company making it, but never found it anywhere in the store. I came across a recipe a while ago, which was pretty simple. It only called for coating the dough in sugar and then baking it. It tasted pretty good. I didn't make it again because it didn't impress me so much. I found this recipe not too long ago, and it calls for a syrup topping. This one beat the old recipe by far. Its ooey, gooey, goodness. Hubby loved it. Its pretty addicting, especially if you eat it hot. The recipe called for baking it in a bundt pan, which I don't have. So I improvised by using my spring form pan and placing an empty can in the middle to make the hole. This is a pretty simple, must-try recipe. Its great for breakfast, dessert, or something to snack on.

4 cans refrigerated biscuit dough (or 2 cans of the large biscuit dough)
2/3 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Syrup topping
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon

1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease bundt pan.

2) In a freezer bag, combine 2/3 cups brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

3)Using kitchen shears, cut biscuits in 4 (6 if you're using the large biscuits). Drop biscuit pieces in the bag and shake to coat. Arrange coated biscuits into the prepared pan.

4) Place syrup ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes.

5) Pour syrup over biscuits. Bake for 35 minutes.

6) Turn over onto plate and serve hot.