Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pimento Mac & Cheese

  • 1 pound elbow pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon paprika, plus additional for garnish
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons of hot sauce
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar, grated, divided
  • 2 3-ounce jars of pimentos, drained
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring it up to a boil to cook the pasta. Once at a boil, add some salt and the pasta, and cook it just shy of al dente.

Heat a large pot over medium heat with EVOO and butter. Add the onions, garlic, paprika, salt and ground black pepper, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook about a minute. Whisk in milk and hot sauce, and bring up to a bubble. Turn off the heat, and stir in half of the cheese in a figure-eight motion until it's all melted.

When the pasta is done, drain it well and add it to the pot with the cheese sauce. Toss to combine. Fold in the drained pimientos then pour everything into baking dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake in oven until cheese is brown and bubbling. Garnish with the chopped parsley and a sprinkle of paprika.

Things I learned from this recipe-
1. i don't like pimentos
2. i don't like pimento & cheese...even in a rachael ray recipe :( boo!

Rating: YUM-o-not ...pimento lovers would probably give it a yum

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Orange-Balsamic Glazed Chicken & Lemon Risotto

Orange-Balsamic Glazed Chicken
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 scallions, whites and greens, finely chopped

In a large pan, heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high to high heat.

Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. When the oil is hot and ripples, add the chicken and brown for 5 minutes, then turn and sprinkle with rosemary. Cook until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 5 minutes more.

In a small bowl, stir together the marmalade, vinegar and stock and pour over the chicken. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and becomes a thin glaze. Add the scallions during the last minute of cooking time.

Lemon Risotto
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small to medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup cooking white wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup grated romano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, heat the stock and 2 cups water over medium low heat.

In a risotto pot or large skillet with a rounded bottom, heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic to pan and saute to soften 3 to 4 minutes Stir in the rice and add the zest of 1 lemon. Heat the rice for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook until evaporated. Add in the hot stock, a few ladles at a time, and stir for a minute with each addition, to develop the starch and the creamy aspect. Total cooking time will be about 18 minutes or so. Keep adding stock each time the pan starts to become dry at the edges. When rice is cooked to al dente, stir in the butter, juice of 1 lemon, the cheese and herbs. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve immediately.

Things I learned from this recipe-
1. wal-mart totally represented and had arborio rice! they actually had all the "fancy" things that i needed for my next 3 recipes (Orange-Balsamic Glazed Chicken & Lemon Risotto, Pimiento Mac & Cheese and Citrus-Soy Chicken Stir Fry)...get it wal-mart! so don't be afraid to try to get funky items there... if you can find them there you can save a ton!
2. you don't have to add all of the chicken stock, just keep adding to keep the rice cooking until al dente and moist... i thought you did so my risotto turned out a little too soupy, but still good!

Rating: Very different but YUM

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Florentine Frying-Pan Pizza

  • 3 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
  • ½ pound mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • nutmeg
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 pound store-bought pizza dough, quartered
  • 1 cup shredded Italian Fontina or Provolone cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 425oF.

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of the EVOO. Add the mushrooms and sauté until golden brown. Season them with salt and pepper, then remove to a plate. Lower the heat to medium-low, then add the butter to the pan and melt. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute, then sprinkle the flour into the pan and whisk for a minute. Whisk in the milk and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Add the mushrooms back to the skillet and stir them into the sauce. Separate the drained defrosted spinach with your fingers to loosen it up as you add it to the pan. Stir the spinach into the mushrooms and sauce. Remove from the heat.

Roll out ¼ pound of pizza dough to form a round large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 6-inch skillet. Wrap and freeze the unused pizza dough in ¼-pound individual portions. Heads up: If your skillet handle isn’t oven-safe, wrap the handle a couple of times with aluminum foil. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of EVOO into the skillet and coat the sides with a pastry brush. Lay the dough into the skillet, pressing gently as you work the dough up the sides so it reaches the edge of the skillet. Fill the dough with the mushroom and spinach mixture and top with Fontina or Provolone and the Parmigiano cheeses. Pop in the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the edges and bottom of the crust are golden brown.

Things I learned from this recipe-
1. cast iron skillet handles stay hot long after they come out of the oven... ouch!
2. be light on the salt you add... i got mine too salty because the cheeses are already pretty salty, so it kind of makes the whole dish get salty fast if you don't go light while cooking the mushrooms and sauce.

Rating: YUM

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pesto-Presto Chicken

  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (or 4 tsp dried)
  • ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 1 (5.4-ounce) round of Boursin garlic & herb soft cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 pieces of boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a small pan over medium heat, lightly toast the pine nuts, then set aside to cool. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, parsley, pine nuts, Boursin cheese and ¼ cup of the Parmigiano. Season with a little salt and pepper and process into a smooth mixture.

Butterfly each piece of chicken breast by slicing into but not all the way through the breast at the equator. Open the two halves as if you were opening a book. Pound the split breasts with a meat mallet to about ¼-inch thickness. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper, then divide the herb-cheese mixture among the four pieces of chicken using a couple of small spoons. Fold the chicken in half (like closing a book) to enclose the cheese mixture.

Transfer the chicken to a nonstick rimmed baking sheet and shingle 3 slices of tomato over each breast. Drizzle the stuffed breasts with about 2 tablespoons of EVOO and sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano.

Bake the chicken until it’s cooked through and light golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Things I learned from this recipe-
1. you can leave out the pine nuts & use dried basil and parsley and save $12 on making this recipe :0
2. this is a REALLY easy & simple recipe that only looks fancy!
3. this was so good it will be on the standard rotation at the ray house

Rating: so YUM-O!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ancho Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 2 large ancho chiles, seeded and stemmed
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup frozen kernels, defrosted
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red chile pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skinned and shredded
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 limes
  • 2 ripe Hass avocados, halved
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Tortilla chips
Add the ancho chiles and the chicken stock to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chiles are tender. Remove from the heat to cool.

While the anchos simmer, heat a medium soup pot with vegetable oil over high heat. Add the corn and saute until charred at the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat a little, add the onions, jalapeno, red chile pepper and garlic. Season with cumin, smoked paprika and cinnamon. Saute for 5 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes. Puree the anchos and the stock in a food processor, then add it to the soup pot. Stir in the honey and the shredded chicken and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Thin the soup with 1 cup of water and simmer over low heat to combine flavors, about 5 minutes.

Zest and juice 1 lime and add to the soup pot. Seed and dice the avocados and add to a small bowl. Dress with the juice of the remaining lime.

Top with diced avocado and ladle the soup over the avocado. Garnish with sour cream and whole or chopped cilantro leaves & serve with tortilla chips.

Things I learned from this recipe-
1. ancho chiles are not a type of chile.... they are DRIED poblano chile peppers
2. the only place in tuscaloosa you can get ancho chiles is the piggly wiggly in alberta city & save-a-lot (lol... go figure!)