I wanted to try this recipe because we don't typically cook with some of these ingredients (wine, cream, etc) but we both like creamy sauces and I love mushrooms. It was a really good, different meal for us.
Pork Chops with Mustard Cream
4 pork chops, 1 in. thick
flour for dusting
salt and pepper
3 tbsp. butter divided
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 cup baby bella mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup chicken stock, warmed
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Season chops with salt and pepper and dust with flour. Heat 2 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Cook chops for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
Add the rest of the butter and olive oil to pan and add onions and mushrooms. Saute for 5 minutes, then add garlic and saute 2 minutes more. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up the brown bits and let reduce by half, about 5 minutes.
Turn heat to medium, add warm stock and stir, then add pork chops. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook 5 minutes more. Remove chops to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Add heavy cream to juices in pan and reduce heat to medium-low. (Optional: At this point, you can add about 1 tbsp of flour to thicken the sauce). Let simmer for 5-8 minutes.
Remove from heat, add Dijon mustard and mix thoroughly. Spoon sauce over pork.
While waiting for dinner to cook tonight, I started flipping through some cookbooks. I wanted to find something to bake and the primary criteria was that the recipe was simple and contained few ingredients. I found this recipe for shortbread cookies in one of the cookbooks Shane and I received as a wedding gift.
I've never made shortbread cookies and I honestly can't remember eating them before today, so I can't say whether these were "good" shortbread cookies. What I can say, is that I really liked them! The recipe was super easy, even the part that required rolling out the dough. I'll definitely be making these again soon!
from Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook, by Mary Barber & Sara Whiteford
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
about 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-low speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the 2/3 cup powdered sugar and beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla and kosher salt and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour, a spoonful at a time, and beat until just incorporated.
Gather the dough into a ball and place on a large piece of plastic wrap. Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap well. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.
Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 F.
Let the dough soften slightly at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Place the dough between 2 layers of plastic wrap. Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies and place about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Gather the scraps into a ball and repeat the rolling and cutting process. Sprinkle the cookies with granulated sugar.
Bake until the cookies are slightly golden brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
Makes about 20 cookies.
I saw Ina make this on Barefoot Contessa yesterday and immediately knew I wanted to try it. I'm always struggling to find new ways to make chicken and this looked so good! The recipe does call for the chicken to be grilled outside, but we definitely weren't going to try that in these frigid temperatures. We ended up searing the chicken on the stove and then finishing it off in the oven. It was good, though not our favorite way to make chicken. We'll give this recipe another shot when we can cook out on our grill!
All of the cookie sheets we have seem to warp in the oven at temperatures of 400F or above. So, the other day I went out to buy a new one. I should note that all of the cookie sheets we already have claim their thick construction will prevent warping. Cookie sheets are cheap enough, though, that I decided to head out and look for a nicer one. I found one that was substantially heavier and thicker than anything we have and was excited to head home and use it. That night, I used it in our oven at 425F and wouldn't it figure that it warps after a few minutes in the oven. We just can't seem to win. So, if anyone has recommendations for cookie sheets that won't warp at high temps, we're all ears!
In any event, this recipe was on the back of the cookie sheet wrapper. It looked like a fun variation on the chocolate chip cookie so I gave it a shot. Shane liked the end result, but I thought these were a pain to make so I probably won't make them again anytime soon.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Sticks
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
Cream butter with both sugars in a mixing bowl. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture.
Divide the dough in half. On prepared baking sheet, shape each half into 10 x 6 inch rectangles about 3 inches apart. Sprinkle each rectangle with 1/2 cup chocolate chips; press in lightly.
Bake 15-18 minutes or until a light golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Cut with a serrated knife into 1-inch strips; cut each strip in half. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt remaining chocolate chips. Dip cookies halfway into melted chocolate. Place on wire rack over waxed paper to dry.
Makes 2 1/2 - 3 dozen cookie sticks.
Garlic Cheddar Chicken
2 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp dry bread crumbs (I use Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs and omit the seasonings below)
1/8 tsp dried parsley
1/8 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
6 tbsp shredded Cheddar cheese
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, and cook the garlic until tender, about 5 minutes.
In a shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, Cheddar cheese, parsley, oregano, pepper, and salt.
Dip each chicken breast in the garlic butter to coat, then press into the bread crumb mixture. Arrange the coated chicken breasts in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with any remaining butter and top with any remaining bread crumb mixture.
Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
Now that I've gotten a little more comfortable working with yeast, I really wanted to try making bread. I didn't want to make plain white bread, but I also wasn't feeling brave enough to try anything too crazy. I'd seen this recipe on several food blogs and it always looked so good. I had all of the ingredients on hand and the recipe looked manageable so I decided to give it a shot...I'm certainly glad I did!
This bread is fantastic!!! The recipe was easy to follow, and while it was a fairly time consuming process, the results are well worth the effort. The best part was the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven. Of course, I had to try a warm slice when it came out of the oven and I was not disappointed. This is going to be a very tasty breakfast treat for the next few days.
Two minor modifications to the below recipe that I made:
1. I only had dark raisins so those were the ones I used. Instead of 1 1/2 cups, I used 1 3/4 cups based on recommendations on other websites.
2. Also, based on recommendations from others, I used 1 cup brown sugar and 2 tbsp + 3/4 tsp cinnamon for the filling.
Brown Sugar Raisin Bread
1 Tbs. active dry yeast
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (105° to 115°F)
1 cup warm milk (105° to 115°F)
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbs. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 to 6 1/4 cups bread flour, plus more
3/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup dark raisins
For the filling:
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
mixed with 4 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of the granulated sugar over 1⁄2 cup of the water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. (I used about 1/2 tbsp of sugar to make sure the yeast would proof)
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the remaining 3/4 cup water, the milk, butter, the remaining granulated sugar, salt, egg and 2 cups of the flour. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture and 1⁄2 cup of the flour and beat for 1 minute. Add the raisins, then beat in the remaining flour, 1⁄2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Switch to the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed, adding flour 1 Tbs. at a time if the dough sticks, until smooth and elastic (i.e. when the dough starts to follow the hook around the bowl and no longer sticks to the sides), about 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a greased deep bowl and turn to coat it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours.
Lightly grease two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide the dough in half and roll or pat each half into an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. Lightly sprinkle each rectangle with half of the filling, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Beginning at a narrow end, tightly roll up each rectangle into a compact log. Pinch the ends and the long seam to seal in the filling. Place each log, seam side down, in a prepared pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough is about 1 inch above the rim of each pan, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours.
Preheat an oven to 350°F. (Before baking I brushed the top of each loaf with an egg wash). Bake until the loaves are golden brown and pull away from the sides of the pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Turn the loaves out onto wire racks and let cool completely. Makes two 9-by-5-inch loaves.
Not too long ago, I made a batch of homemade pizza dough and used half to make calzones. I stuck the other half in the freezer after it had risen. Today I decided to defrost the rest of that dough to make breadsticks for dinner. Based on what I've read, I think I could have taken the dough out of the freezer and let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight. However, since I didn't decide to use it until today, I just let it sit on the counter for about an hour and a half and it defrosted completely. After that I just put it in a greased bowl and covered it until I was ready to use it.
We didn't use a recipe to make these breadsticks. Essentially, we just rolled the dough out into a decent sized rectangle (maybe 8 inches x 12 inches). We put it on a baking sheet and let it sit for about 15 minutes before topping with olive oil, some garlic powder and a little parmesan cheese. Next, we baked it at 425 for about 12-14 minutes. When it came out we cut it into individually-sized pieces to eat.
Shane and I were in agreement that we overcooked these. The flavor was good, but they weren't soft enough. Next time we'll probably try rolling the dough into long cylindrical pieces before cooking to see how that turns out.
I decided to make steak tonight since we haven't had it in a while. Generally when we make steak, we throw together whatever we have in our cabinet to make a marinade but today I tried something I found on allrecipes.com. I trimmed the fat off of the steak and cut it into cubes before sticking it in the marinade. The recipe recommended marinating for at least 2 hours but ours were sitting in the marinade for close to 5 hours. When it came time to cook the steak, we just threw the cubes into a skillet on medium-high heat for about 4-5 minutes.
I thought these were the best steak tips we've ever had! It probably helped that they were actually cooked medium rare like we wanted. We still haven't mastered a good technique for ensuring our steaks are cooked to the right temp, so it's always hit or miss. As you might guess by looking at the ingredients, this marinade does make the meat rather sweet, so if sweet isn't your thing, you might want to skip this one. Shane doesn't like his meat too sweet, so while he liked this recipe, he'd prefer something else next time.
According to the original recipe, this marinade would also work well on chicken and pork.
Steak Tip Marinade
adapted from Allrecipes.com
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon crushed garlic (I just used garlic powder instead of fresh garlic, about 1 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
dash of onion powder
In a medium bowl, mix water, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, cinnamon, worcestershire sauce and onion powder. Transfer the marinade to a large ziploc bag and place meat in the mixture. Close the bag and marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before cooking as desired.
Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops
from Giada De Laurentiis, FoodNetwork.com
2 large eggs
1 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan
4 (1/2 to 3/4-inch thick) center-cut pork loin chops (each about 10 to 12 ounces)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
Whisk the eggs in a pie plate to blend. Place the bread crumbs in another pie plate. Place the cheese in a third pie plate. Sprinkle the pork chops generously with salt and pepper. Coat the chops completely with the cheese, patting to adhere. Dip the chops into the eggs, then coat completely with the bread crumbs, patting to adhere.
Heat the oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops, in batches if necessary, and cook until golden brown and the center reaches 150 degrees, about 6 minutes per side.
I haven't baked anything in a while so I wanted to make some cookies last night. I've been craving peanut butter cups so I set out to find cookies that would either include peanut butter cups or at least replicate those same flavors. This recipe fit the bill. These cookies remind me of the hershey kiss cookies people make at the holidays. They were equally as tasty as those too!
The original recipe calls for using mini muffin pans to make the cookies. I don't have a mini muffin pan so I just baked these on my silpat on a cookie sheet. I think the main problem I ran into was that the cookies weren't deep enough for the peanut butter cups, which I suspect they would have been were they baked in the mini muffin pans. The lack of depth caused many of the cookies to crack when I pressed the peanut butter cups in. In the end, it didn't matter since I wasn't concerned with the appearance of the cookies.
Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
40 miniature chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda; set aside.
Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk. Add the flour mixture; mix until combined.
Shape into 40 balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan.
Bake at 375 for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball. Cool and carefully remove from pan.
This meal was ok but I don't think it'll make it into the dinner rotation at our house. We both agreed it wasn't bad, but definitely not among our favorite recipes for chicken.
Foil Packet Italian Chicken
from Amber's Delectable Delights
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
3 red potatoes
1/4 cup marinara sauce
1/4 cup Italian cheese blend (or just mozzarella)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Lay 2 pieces of aluminum foil on a flat surface and spray the middle of each with non-stick cooking stray. Wash and scrub potatoes and slice into very thin slices. Arrange the potatoes in an oval shape (about the size of one chicken breast) onto the middle of the foil and sprinkle them with salt and black pepper to taste.
Mix the garlic powder and italian seasoning in a small bowl, rub on both sides of the chicken breasts and place a chicken breast on top of each pile of potatoes. Top each chicken breast with 1/8 cup of marinara sauce and 1/8 cup of cheese.
Raise up the long sides of foil and fold down twice; do the same thing to the sides of the foil creating an air tight seal. Transfer packets to a baking sheet.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until chicken is 170 degrees.
To accompany the meatloaf, I was originally going to try making the sweet potato fries with white potatoes. Then I remembered how messy the process to make those fries was and set out to find an easier recipe. These fries were a hit with us and couldn't have been simpler to make. They do take a while to bake, but since the meatloaf does as well, they were a good match.
adapted from Allrecipes.com
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2-3 tablespoons ketchup
3-4 drops worcestershire sauce
bbq sauce (optional glaze - I didn't measure the quantity used...it was enough to cover the meatloaf in a thin layer)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
In a bowl, mix the turkey, milk, bread crumbs, eggs, ketchup and worcestershire sauce by hand. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the cheese into the mixture. Transfer to a baking dish, shape into a loaf, and top with the bbq sauce glaze.
Bake in the preheated oven to an internal temperature of 175 F, about an hour. Remove from oven, cover with foil until internal temperature reaches 180F (about 5 minutes) then serve.
We doubled the recipe below to make sure we'd have enough, but it ended up being more than we needed.
1 large baking potato
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
shredded parmesan cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 450 F (I baked the fries on 400 F since the meatloaf was in the oven at the same time).
Cut potato into wedges. Mix olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder and onion powder together. Coat potatoes with oil/spice mixture, top with parmesan cheese and place on a baking sheet.
Bake for 45 minutes in preheated oven (Due to the lower oven temperature, I baked for close to an hour).
On an unrelated side note, winter is back....
Unfortunately, the batteries in our camera died so we didn't get a ton of shots but here are a few.
The beautiful bride
Ben and 4 of his 5 groomsmen at night's end
I bought apples at the store the other day because I had been craving an apple dessert. Making an entire dessert (like an apple pie) simply isn't an option at our house because Shane won't have any so whatever I don't eat goes to waste. A quick search on the Food Network site turned up a recipe for individual peach upside-down cakes so I ran with that. I altered the recipe to make apple upside-down cakes so I'll post that modified recipe below (link is to the original peach recipe). The recipe yields 4 cakes but I halved it without a problem.
These were awesome. I really liked how quick and easy they were to make. Plus it was great not to have a ton of leftovers sitting around. I'll definitely make them again...maybe with peaches!
Individual Apple Upside-Down Cakes
from Alton Brown, FoodNetwork.com
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 medium apples, peeled (I used granny smith)
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature (I didn't have buttermilk on hand so I substituted milk and lemon juice)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Divide 2 tablespoons of the butter between 4 (6-ounce) ramekins. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and set aside. Evenly divide the brown sugar between the ramekins; sprinkling it into the bottoms of the dishes. Cut each apple into 12 to 14 pieces. Lay the apples on top of the sugar; evenly dividing them between the dishes and sprinkle with the cinnamon. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar, buttermilk, vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir just until combine. Pour the batter over the apples; dividing the mixture evenly between the dishes. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake reaches an internal temperature of 190 F.
Remove from the oven to a rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each dish and turn upside down onto a serving plate. Repeat with each cake. Serve immediately.
Having overcome my fear of yeast, a whole new world of possibilities has opened up! Today I made pizza dough, which we then used to make calzones. Making the dough was very easy - very few ingredients and really not much guess work (in other words, it was very clear that the dough had risen). I used a popular recipe from allrecipes.com and based on some of the reviews, I stuck half of it in the freezer to use another time. The other half we split in two so Shane and I could each stuff the calzones with our favorites. I went with mushrooms and onions while Shane chose sausage. We also used sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, cheddar and garlic. I didn't measure the quantities we used - we just kind of eyeballed it. These were really good!! In fact, I think our local pizzeria might be losing our calzone business.
As usual, the pictures don't do the calzones justice....
(Shane proved to be an expert tosser - he was a big help in getting the dough rolled out)
Pizza Dough (my modifications in green)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 F)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit (covered) for 10 minutes.
Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour. (I used the paddle attachment on the KA mixer for this part and then switched to the dough hook before adding the rest of the flour)
Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. (I used the dough hook to knead the dough. I had to add approximately another 1 1/2 cups of flour (4 cups total) to get the dough where it needed to be) Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. (I let it rise for an hour and a half) Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out.
Baking temperature and time are dependent on a number of factors (including whether you're making pizza or calzones), but we baked the calzones on a greased cookie sheet at 375 F for about 30 minutes.