Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Almond-Tomato Sauce

This was surprisingly delicious. It had a creaminess that I didn't expect (though I'm sure that had a little to do with the Parmesan that I added before serving). And the roasted broccoli gave it a great pop of freshness.

Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Almond-Tomato Sauce
Courtesy of Food Network Magazine


Kosher salt
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1 head broccoli, florets and some stems, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Freshly ground pepper
12 ounces bucatini or spaghetti
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil
1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Put 2 pieces of foil side by side on a baking sheet. Put the almonds on one piece of foil and the broccoli on the other. Transfer to the oven; roast until the almonds are lightly toasted, about 7 minutes. Remove the foil with the almonds. Continue roasting the broccoli until tender, about 7 more minutes. Season the broccoli with salt and pepper and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook as the label directs. Meanwhile, pulse the almonds in a food processor until finely chopped; with the motor running, add the garlic and process until finely chopped. Drizzle in the olive oil and process until blended. Add the basil and pulse until smooth; transfer to the bowl with the broccoli.

Put the tomatoes and half of their juice (about 1 cup) in the food processor and pulse until pureed. Add to the bowl with the broccoli mixture and stir to combine. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce.

Sweet Chicken Nuggets

These are a decent substitution for the fast food ones that I'm finding less and less appealing these days. They certainly take a lot more time and effort than visiting the drive-thru does, but they don't make me feel like crap afterward. Win.

Sweet Chicken Nuggets
Courtesy of My Name is Snickerdoodle


2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Peanut oil (is best) or canola oil

In a medium bowl whisk the egg and stir in the milk. Trim any fat away from chicken. Cube chicken into bite size pieces. Place chicken in milk mixture,and cover. Let it "marinate" for 2-4 hours in the fridge.

In a gallon size resealable baggie combine flour, powdered sugar, salt and pepper. Seal and shake to combine.

Place about 2 inches of oil in a medium deep pot. Heat heat oil over medium-high. If using a thermometer let the temperature reach 375°F. If you don't have a fancy gadget, test the oil by dropping a few drops of water into it. You want it to sizzle and not pop too much. Adjust your heat if necessary.

Using a fork or tongs, remove cut chicken from milk mixture and place in the flour mixture. Seal and shake until nuggets are completely coated. Place about a 6-8 nuggets into hot oil and let them cook until golden brown, turning half way through once the edge of your chicken starts to turn white. About 1 minute each side. Always double check to see if any chicken you make is cooked through by making a tiny cut to see if it's pink. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Repeat until all nuggets are cooked.

Primavera With Prosciutto, Asparagus and Carrots

A very lovely primavera.

Primavera With Prosciutto, Asparagus and Carrots
Courtesy of Ted Allen from In My Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Discoveries for Passionate Cooks for Food Network Magazine

Kosher salt
1 pound penne or farfalle
1 pound asparagus spears, stems trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 cup snap peas
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces sliced prosciutto, jamon iberico or other high-quality ham, diced
1 large shallot, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade or low-sodium store-bought
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it generously and cook the pasta for 8 minutes; add the asparagus, carrot and snap peas and cook for 3 minutes. Check the pasta and vegetables to make sure they're cooked through but still have texture, then drain.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, add the ham and shallot and cook until lightly browned, 3 minutes or so. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the cream, stock and mustard and simmer for a minute or two, scraping up any brown bits.

Add the pasta and vegetables to the pan. Toss and cook for another 2 minutes, until cooked through and the pasta is coated. Taste for seasoning, add salt if necessary and serve immediately in warm bowls.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Nutella-Filled Sugar Cookies (and Cardamom Sugar Cookies)

When I saw this recipe, it reminded me of a fudge-filled sugar cookie that I loved when I was little (though I can't, for the life of me, remember what brand they were). And they far exceeded my expectations. I love Nutella.

Because of how warm it was today (heat index of 106°), I had to make sure to keep the Nutella blobs in the freezer the whole time. And I ended up running out of them before I ran out of the sugar cookie dough, so I created a cardamom sugar cookie too, which I did by adding a bit of cardamom to the sugar in which I rolled the cookies before putting them on the baking sheet. While the flavor was great, it was a little too subtle. So I'll know to add more cardamom next time. I may have found a new holiday cookie favorite...

Nutella-Filled Sugar Cookies
Courtesy of Buns in My Oven


1/2 cup Nutella
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Using a 1 teaspoon measure, scoop out Nutella and place in small drops on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter and 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar on medium until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and add in the the vanilla.

Turn the mixer to low and gradually beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Scrape down the bowl to ensure everything is well incorporated.

Place 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl. Use 2 tablespoons cookie dough for each cookie. Split the piece of dough in half and slightly flatten the bottom half by pressing it together with the palms of your hands.

Use a small metal spatula to lift the mounds of Nutella from the baking sheet and lay on the bottom half of cookie dough. If the Nutella starts to soften, place it back in the freezer for a few minutes.

Cover the Nutella with the other piece of cookie dough. Seal the edges with your fingers and roll the ball in the sugar to coat it. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet.

Repeat with the remaining dough and Nutella mounds, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart from each other on the baking sheets.

Bake the cookies, one sheet a time, rotating from front to back halfway through baking. The edges will start to turn brown when they are finished, about 10 to 13 minutes. The centers should still be soft and puffy.

Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Using a spatula, remove the cookies from the baking sheet and cool on a rack.

Taco Cupcakes

These would be great for a party. So tasty and not terribly difficult to make. Just a little prep and assembly. Worth the work.

Taco Cupcakes


3 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound ground chicken
2 tablespoons taco seasoning 
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed 
48 wonton wrappers 
1/2 cup salsa con queso 
1/2 cup chunky salsa 
1 cup reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese 
Guacamole, for serving

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly mist a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.  

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan or large skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground chicken and taco seasoning and brown, breaking it with a spoon. Add black beans and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until warm.

Push a wonton wrapper into the bottom of each of the sprayed cups in the muffin tin. Spoon a teaspoon of
queso into each wonton wrapper and spread across the bottom.

Follow by spooning some of the meat/beans mixture into each cup (about two teaspoons) and then spooning a teaspoon or so of salsa on top of that. Sprinkle a pinch of the cheese evenly over the top of each cup.

Press another wonton wrapper on top and repeat the layering steps with the remaining ingredients.

Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from muffin tin.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Breakfast Cookies

I made these since I hadn't been to the grocery store for the week yet and had run out of most of our breakfast staples. They were pretty much like baked oatmeal bites. Not exactly my cup of tea, but they weren't bad.  

Breakfast Cookies 
Courtesy of Wise Bread


3 mashed bananas (ripe)
1/3 cup applesauce
2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup raisins (or any other dried fruit you want to add)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar or other sweetener

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl really well. Let this mixture stand for at least 5 minutes to let the oats become good and hydrated.

Heap the dough by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes and let cool.

Mushroom Stroganoff with Goat Cheese

This is a great twist on a classic. And it goes really well with Chardonnay.

Mushroom Stroganoff with Goat Cheese
Courtesy of Alton Brown


12 ounces extra-wide egg noodles
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 portabella mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 bunch green onions, sliced and white bottoms and green tops separated
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
14 ounces beef broth
8 ounces sour cream
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground, plus more for garnish

Add the noodles to 4 quarts of cold water in a 6-quart pot, cover and place over high heat. Cook to al dente, stirring occasionally. 

Melt the butter in a 12-inch straight-sided saute pan set over medium-high heat. Increase the heat to high, add the mushrooms and sprinkle with salt. Saute until they darken in color, soften and give off their liquid, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the white bottoms of the green onions and saute 2 to 3 minutes.

Sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine. Cook until the flour disappears and the fond on the bottom of the pan turns dark brown, about 1 minute. Deglaze with the beef broth. Bring to a simmer and decrease the heat to medium-low. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, and then add the sour cream, goat cheese and black pepper. Stir to combine, and then partially cover and bring to a simmer to warm through, 2 to 4 minutes.

Drain the noodles, add to the pan and stir to combine. Garnish with the green onion tops and additional black pepper. Serve immediately.

Roasted Pork with Cajun Slaw

This was seriously awesome. We've always been big fans of pork and slaw, and this particular version was really satisfying. I added a little less horseradish to the slaw dressing just so that the kids would actually try it, but I imagine it would be even better with a little more kick.

Roasted Pork with Cajun Slaw
Courtesy of Food Network Magazine


1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, divided
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar, divided
1 large pork tenderloin (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Creole or whole-grain mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons drained horseradish
1 12-ounce package broccoli slaw mix
2 small bell peppers (1 red, 1 orange), thinly sliced
3 scallions, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 400°F. 

Mix 1 tablespoon each Cajun seasoning and brown sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle the pork with 1/2 teaspoon salt and rub with the sugar-spice mixture. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the pork and sear until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145°F, about 18 minutes. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, make the slaw: Whisk the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, horseradish and the remaining 2 teaspoons each Cajun seasoning and brown sugar in a small bowl. Toss the slaw mix, bell peppers and scallions in a large bowl. Add the mayonnaise dressing and toss to coat.

Slice the pork and divide among plates. Drizzle with any juices from the skillet. Serve with the slaw.

Honey Cashew Chicken

Super yum. 

Honey Cashew Chicken
Courtesy of Cooking Light


2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch cubes 
2 tablespoons cornstarch 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
1 tablespoon canola oil 
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil 
2 cups broccoli florets 
1 cup frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans) 
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped 
1 red bell pepper, sliced 
1/2 cup dry-roasted cashews, unsalted 
1 tablespoon rice vinegar 
3 tablespoons honey 
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce 
1 tablespoon Sriracha (hot chile sauce, such as Huy Fong) 

Combine chicken and next 3 ingredients in a bowl; toss to coat.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola and sesame oils. Add chicken mixture, and sauté for 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Increase heat to high, and add broccoli and the next 4 ingredients (through red bell pepper). Cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender and chicken is done, stirring frequently. Stir in cashews.

Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add vinegar mixture to chicken mixture; toss to coat. Serve with rice.

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Thyme-Scented Peaches

This was very tasty. The fruit was called "thyme-scented", but it was really the garlic that was the stand-out flavor. I never knew how delicious garlic roasted peaches could be.

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Thyme-Scented Peaches
A variation on this recipe from Cooking Light

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided  
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin  
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided  
1 pound small, ripe peaches, quartered and pitted (about 6) 
2 tablespoons honey 
1 garlic clove, minced 
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle pork with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add pork to pan; cook 4 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Place pan in oven. Cook for 15 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145°F. Remove pork from pan. Let stand 10 minutes; slice crosswise into 12 slices.

Preheat broiler to high.

Without cleaning pan, arrange peaches, cut sides up, in pan. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon oil, honey, and garlic, stirring well; brush peaches evenly with honey mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Broil peaches 6 minutes or until lightly charred; sprinkle with chopped thyme. Serve with pork. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

Basil Spaghetti with Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes

This was interesting. I'm not sure I'll make it again though. The leftovers weren't great. Meh.

Basil Spaghetti with Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes
Courtesy of Real Simple 


12  ounces  spaghetti 
large beefsteak tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), each cut into 4 thick slices 
3  tablespoons  olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet 
Kosher salt and black pepper 
8  ounces  fresh mozzarella, grated 
1/4  cup  grated Parmesan (1 ounce), plus more, shaved, for serving 
cloves garlic, chopped 
1/4 to 1/2  teaspoon  crushed red pepper 
3/4  cup  torn fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving

Heat broiler. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and return it to the pot.

Meanwhile, arrange the tomato slices in a single layer on a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet. Season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Dividing evenly, sprinkle the slices with the mozzarella and Parmesan. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden, 3 to 5 minutes.

In a small saucepan, warm the oil with the garlic and red pepper over medium heat until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the garlic oil, basil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve topped with the tomatoes, additional basil, and shaved Parmesan.

Cheesy Quinoa Mac and Cheese

Meh. It's not great. But it was worth a shot.

Cheesy Quinoa Mac and Cheese


1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained 
Veggies of your choice (optional) 
Good pinch of salt 
A few grinds of seasoning salt 
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large eggs
1 cup soy milk or non-fat milk
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese, more for sprinkling 
Optional - crushed red pepper, Panko bread crumbs for topping 
Toppings (optional) - salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, scallions
Lightly saute any veggies you would like in this dish.  

Cook quinoa to packaged instructions until fully cooked. (About 15 minutes) 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 13x9 inch dish (or 8 individual ramekins) with cooking spray.Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese. Stir very well and let some of the cheese melt.  Transfer to prepared baking dish and if using Panko crumbs or bread crumbs add now and bake 30-35 minutes, until bread crumbs are browned. 

Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread

We loved this so much that we didn't get a chance to take a picture of it. Delicious.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread
Courtesy of My Baking Addiction 

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups strawberries, rinse, dried and chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

With electric mixer cream butter, sugar and cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.

In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend flour mixture with butter mixture just until blended. Add buttermilk and only stir until just combined; do not over mix.

Carefully fold in strawberries. Dough mixture will be thick.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.