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Archive for January, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

My husband and I keep a grocery list on our refrigerator, and a couple of weeks ago, I came home to the words “chicken enchiladas” on the list.  I took that as a hint.

The following recipe is adapted from The Best Cover and Bake Recipes from the Editors of Cooks’ Illustrated.

1 TBSP canola oil

1 medium onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 TBSP chili powder

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp sugar

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

15 oz tomato sauce (I used 8 oz. fire roasted tomato sauce and 8 oz. Mexican style tomato sauce)

3/4 c. water

1/2 c. cilantro leaves, chopped

12 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

10 6 inch corn tortillas

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Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until golden.  This should take about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, salt and sugar.  Cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds.

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Add the chicken, and stir until the chicken is coated with the spices.

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Add the tomato sauce and water.  Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low.  Continue to simmer and stir until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

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Separate the chicken and the sauce.  To do this, I drained the chicken mixture over a bowl to collect all of the tomato sauce.  Allow the chicken to cool.  (The recipe called for freezing the chicken mixture on a plate for 10 minutes, but I just left the chicken in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes while I started another recipe for the week.)

Once the chicken has cooled, mix with the jalapenos, and 8 oz. of the shredded cheese.

Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Spray both sides of each tortilla with cooking spray, and place the tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet.   Bake for about 4 minutes, until the tortillas are soft.

Cover the bottom of a baking dish with the tomato chili sauce.  Spread 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture in a tortilla.  Roll the tortilla and place it, seam side down, in the baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas.  Cover with the remaining sauce and cheese.

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Increase the heat in the oven to 400 degrees.  Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

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I served this with rice and beans.


Green Curry Shrimp Wraps

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

During the week, my husband and I eat a lot of sandwiches and wraps for lunch.  They’re easy to take to work and don’t make too much of a mess when you’re eating at your desk.  That being said, I’m always looking for unique and satisfying recipes to try.

The following recipe is adapted from Nourish. The original recipe made green curry paste from mint, cilantro and jalapeno, but I used store bought green curry paste.

Here’s the recipe:

3 TBSP green curry paste

1 jalapeno, minced

1 1/2 lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 small tomatoes, diced

1/2 jicama, sliced thin

2 carrots, julienned

1/2 c. plain yogurt

1/4 c. diced cucumber

1/4 c. diced red onion


wheat tortillas (8 to 10 inch)


Coat a skilled with cooking spray.  Add 2 tablespoons of curry paste and the shrimp.  Cook the shrimp until it is pink.

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Mix the jicama, carrots and two-thirds of the diced tomatoes in a small bowl.  In another bowl, mix the yogurt, the rest of the green curry paste, the rest of the tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and salt.

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Spread 2 tablespoons of the yogurt mixture over one of the tortillas.  Cover the tortilla with a handful of spinach.  Add a handful of the tomato, jicama, and carrot mixture.  Top with 6 to 8 shrimp.

Food Blog 038Roll up the tortilla.  I usually fold two sides in, and then roll up from the bottom (non folded) end.  Enjoy!

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Cincinnati Chili

Friday, January 8th, 2010

I once watched two of my co-workers nearly come to blows during a debate over what makes “Cincinnati Chili” Cincinnati Chili.  One- originally from Ohio- contended it’s the pasta.  The other- from Chicago and no stranger to Chili Mac- contended it’s the chocolate.

While I tend to agree with the Chicagoan on this one, it doesn’t really matter who is right.  Cincinnati Chili is delicious and has a very unique flavor.  The following recipe is delicious and pretty easy to make.

Cincinnati Chili Mac (adapted from The Best Cover and Bake Recipes from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated)

2 lbs. ground beef (I used 85 percent lean)

1 TBSP vegetable oil

3 medium onions, minced

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 TBSP chili powder

1 TBSP cocoa powder (I happened to have Xocolatl powder, which is a mixture of cocoa, chilies and cinnamon)

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. ground allspice

4 c. chicken broth

2 TBSP cider vinegar

1 1/2 TBSP brown sugar

28 oz. tomato sauce (I used chunky tomato sauce)

2 c. water

1 lb. elbow macaroni

Heat a Dutch oven over medium low heat.  Add the ground beef.  Breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, cook the beef until it is no longer pink.

Food Blog 001Food Blog 003Remove the beef with a slotted spoon, and drain the beef in a colander.

Once the beef is removed from the Dutch oven, add the oil.  Add the onions, and cook, stirring frequently until the onions soften and start to brown.  Add the garlic, chili powder, cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, and allspice.

Food Blog 004Cook the onion and spice mixture over medium heat for about a minute.  Add the broth, vinegar, brown sugar, tomato sauce, water, and beef.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook covered for an hour.

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After an hour, add the macaroni.  Mix the macaroni in thoroughly, and cook uncovered for another 20 minutes.  Make sure to stir the chili occasionally to cook the pasta evenly.  The pasta should be tender after 20 minutes.

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I served this with some grated cheddar cheese and some chopped green onions.


Orzo with Cherry Tomatoes

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

I tried this recipe for the first time over the summer, and although it is definitely a bit summery for a January dinner, I thought this orzo dish would be a good accompniament for Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts.  I was not disappointed.

This recipe calls for cherry tomatoes, but I’ve used grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and a combination thereof.  This time around, I used 1 container of cherry tomatoes, and 1 container of grape tomatoes that I hadn’t used yet.

Adapted from Serious Eats, Orzo with Cherry Tomatoes , Capers and Lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. package of orzo
2 c. chicken stock + 2 c. water
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 c. capers, drained
3 TBSP pine nuts
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
1 TBSP lemon zest
Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Add the tomatoes and garlic.  Cook until the tomatoes are soft, about 4 minutes.

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Bring the water and chicken stock to a boil.  Add the orzo.  Return to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and cook for about 6 minutes.  Remove from heat and keep covered for another 3 minutes.  My orzo was cooked, but a little watery, so I drained the remaining liquid.

Mix the orzo, tomatoes, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

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I usually serve this with chicken, but I’ve also added it to salads or served it with grilled shrimp in the summer.


Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

My parents went to Canyon Ranch, a spa in upstate New York, in May, and they have been raving about the food and their Canyon Ranch cookbook since their visit.  I got a copy of the book in October and have slowly started experimenting with some of the recipes.

Nourish, the Canyon Ranch cookbook, focuses on healthy eating, and the recipes are very easy to follow.  This past weekend, I tried Spinach-Stuffe Chicken with Artichoke Caper Sauce.

For the chicken:

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

6 oz. package spinach leaves

2/3 c. crumbled feta

1 TBSP olive oil

1 c. chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a heavy skillet, saute the spinach over medium heat, until wilted.  Set the spinach aside to cool.

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Place a chicken breast on a cutting board covered with plastic wrap.  Cover the chicken with another piece of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet until the chicken is 1/4 inch thick.

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Stuff the chicken breasts with 1/6th of the wilted spinach and 2 TBSP of the feta.  Roll the chicken breasts up and secure with kitchen twine or cooking bands.

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Heat 1 TBSP olive oil in a heavy skillet.  Sear the chicken breasts in the pan, cooking for about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer to a baking dish and add the chicken broth to the pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, or until a thermometer reaches 165 degrees.  I started checking the temperature after 25 minutes.

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While the chicken is in the oven, make the sauce.  If you can find artichoke hearts packed in water, use those.  For some reason, I can only find artichoke hearts packed in brine, so if that’s all that you can find, make sure you rinse the artichokes well.  I ran mine under cold water for about 5 minutes.

For the artichoke caper sauce:

12 oz. canned artichoke hearts

1 TBSP olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. capers

1 c. chicken broth

juice of one lemon

1 TBSP unsalted butter

Chop the artichoke hearts into small pieces.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Add the artichoke hearts, garlic, and capers.  Cook for three minutes.

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Add the chicken broth and lemon juice and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Add the butter to thicken the sauce slightly.

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The chicken breasts I used were very large, so I cut the chicken breasts in half to serve them.   Once the chicken is ready, top with the sauce and serve.  I served this with orzo and a salad.

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Monday, January 4th, 2010

So, we got a pizza stone as a wedding present, and I finally got a chance to use it this weekend.  After talking to my dad and my uncle, I was very intimidated about using the pizza stone (my dad reminded me about our failures at making pizza when I was younger), but I was prett proud of my results.

First of all, I wanted to make my own dough, but I was having problems getting the yeast to foam up properly.  So, I ran to Whole Foods to get some premade dough.  It worked pretty well.

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I used one ball of dough to make two pizzas. Place pizza stone in oven, heat to 500 degrees for 30 minutes..

While the oven is heating,  knead and roll the dough out.  I used the following toppings:

Adapted from Pizza by Pamela Sheldon Jones

1/4 lb. shrimp, chopped

3 TBSP pesto (I used store bought pesto, since I happened to have some around)

3 sun dried tomatoes, chopped

1 roasted red pepper, sliced

1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Spread the mixture over one of the pizza rounds.

Food blog 085 Cook at 500 degrees for 6 minutes.

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Adapted from The Dean and DeLuca Cookbook

3 TBSP diced tomatoes with juice

8 slices mozzarella

5 torn basil leaves

1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Spread tomato sauce over the pizza round.  Cover with the mozzarella cheese.

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Bake for 7 minutes.

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Top with basil and Parmesan.

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Our favorite was definitely the shrimp pesto pizza.  We have a ton of other recipes to try, so stay tuned for more pizza recipes (hopefully with a more successful attempt at making my own dough.


Beef Barley Soup

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

I would say that I only make soup during the winter months, but that would be a boldfaced lie.  I love soup and will find any excuse to make it.  The following recipe is one of my favorites (and is very satisfying on a cold winter day!)

This recipe is pretty easy:  just saute some onions and carrots, and then put everything in a slow cooker.

Adapted from The Best Slow and Easy Recipes from the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated

28 oz. can diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted diced tomatoes)

2 TBSP vegetable oil

3 small onions, diced

6 oz. can tomato paste

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 c. red wine

4 c. beef broth

4 carrots, cut into 1/2 in. pieces

1/3 c. soy sauce

3/4 c. pearl barley

3 lbs. beef stew meat

10 oz. package frozen peas

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and carrots.

Food blog 067 Add thyme and tomato paste.  Continue to cook for another 10 minutes.

Food blog 068Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits.

Transfer mixture to a slow cooker insert.  Add the diced tomatoes, the broth, soy sauce, and barley.  Add the beef, season with salt and pepper, and stir until well combined.

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Cover the crockpot and cook on low heat for 9 hours.  After 9 hours, add the peas, and cook for another 10 minutes.

Food blog 093 I like extra vegetables in my soup, so I added the peas to this recipe.  I’ve also added potatoes (1 lb. red potatoes, cut in 1/6ths or 1/8ths) and mushrooms (8 oz. sliced mushooms).  This recipe makes it easy to add veggies to your liking.


Remoulade Sauce

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

The following recipe makes a lot of sauce!  I originally served this remoulade sauce with shrimp cakes, but when I had some left over, I made chicken sate and even used the leftovers on a ham sandwich instead of mustard.

I adapted the following recipe from one I found on the Food Network website

Juice of one lemon

3/4 c. vegetable oil

1/2 onion, chopped

4 green onions, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chpped

1 TBSP fresh grated horseradish

3 TBSP Creole mustard

3 TBSP yellow mustard

3 TBSP ketchup

3 TBSP chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

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Process for 30 to 45 seconds.  The sauce will keep for several days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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