Image 01

Archive for the ‘Main Course’ Category

On the Docket– Week of December 3rd

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

We’re still working through Thanksgiving leftovers.  That’s what I get for making a 19 pound turkey for four people.  I’m really glad I turned the leftovers into some casseroles, but boy will I be happy when we’re finished with these leftovers!

While I probably won’t be cooking too much this week, I’ve been clipping all sorts of recipes in anticipation of finishing these casseroles.  Here are a few of the recipes I’m looking forward to making soon!

Beef Stew:  I made black bean and chicken soup a few weeks ago.  It was such a satisfying lunch that now I’m on a soup kick.  Though it hasn’t been too cold yet, I’m hoping that if I continue cooking as if it’s cold, the weather will eventually catch up.

White Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Blondies:  Ok, I’m cheating a little bit here.  My boss was looking for some cookie recipes to bring to a friend, and I passed this one on to her.  She made the blondies this week, using peppermint kisses rather than the peppermint bark.  She brought me one as a sample on Friday.  They were delicious- buttery, pepperminty, and Christmasy.

Roast Shrimp with Carrot Couscous:  Though I’m really happy with how I dealt with the leftover turkey, having three casseroles at the same time is a little heavy.  The thought of a lighter meal like this is simply irresistible right now.

So many recipes to try!

Share

Let’s Talk Turkey

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Let’s consider this my Thanksgiving post mortem.  While I wholeheartedly admit that this information would have been far more useful a week or more ago, I was not sure how well my first attempt at cooking the Thanksgiving meal would go, well, until it was done.  Although I spent hours pouring over recipes in order to pick the perfect menu, I had my doubts on how I would be able to pull this off.

The Good:  From my limited number of diners (thanks mom, dad, and husband), the consensus was that everything was great.  Highlights were:  the apple tart (“best tart crust I’ve ever tasted”), the stuffing (“sausage and caramelized leeks?  Delicious!”), the gravy (“the color, taste, and texture are perfect”), and the cranberry sauce (the next day, my mom ate a heaping spoonful of cranberry on its own).

The Bad: While my parents didn’t have any criticism, my husband and I agreed that the turkey was dry.  Though the meat was very flavorful, I think the white meat was overcooked and that I should have pulled the turkey from the oven sooner.  That and I burned my arm.  Oh right, the bottom of the tart pan moves!

Lessons Learned:  Given that this was the first Thanksgiving I’ve prepared on my own, to say it was a learning experience is an understatement!  Here are my thoughts:

  • Prepare in advance:  I recognize this is a luxury.  I had time off to burn, so I took the week off.  If you can get the time off of work, take it in order to get a few things ready before company arrives.  On Tuesday, I made cranberry sauce, turkey stock, pie crust, mashed potatoes, citrus glazed carrots, and port glazed pearl onions.  Having a few items that just needed to be heated made all the difference.
  • Be prepared for a frozen/partially frozen turkey:  I was not prepared for this.  In fact, I hadn’t even considered it as a possibility.  When I picked up my turkey, that per the Whole Foods website should have been fresh, it was frozen solid.  Thinking nothing of it, I just put it in the fridge and assumed that I would be able to salt the turkey as planned the next morning.  Knowing what I know now, I would have done a few things differently.  First, I would have confirmed with the store that the turkey had not been frozen.  Second, I would have picked the turkey up on Monday, instead of Tuesday, in order to allow more time for the turkey to defrost in the refrigerator.  Finally, I would have done a bit more research on defrosting and cooking a turkey, which leads me to my next point.
  • Trust your instincts:  I put my 19 pound unstuffed turkey in the oven around 9 am.  After 4 and a half hours, the temperature at the thickest part of the thigh was about 166 degrees.  I should have pulled the turkey out of the oven at that point.  Instead, I kept the turkey in the oven based upon the cooking time I had discussed with several other people, drawing on years of experience cooking this type of meal.  I should have trusted my instincts; I think the turkey would have been that much better if I had.

All in all, the meal turned out very, very well, and I’m pleased with the results.  Sure, there are a few things I would have done differently, but even though hindsight is 20/20, I was very happy with the praise I received for a meal well cooked!

Share

On The Docket– Week of November 26th

Monday, November 26th, 2012

The name of the game this week: how to clear out the leftovers from a 19 pound turkey and all the trimmings.  Why I made that much food for four people is beyond me.  Go big or go home, I guess.

Turkey Cranberry Walnut Salad:  I love chicken salad.  So, considering I have an obscene amount of leftover turkey, some leftover dried cranberries, and a stash of walnuts in the pantry, I think this will be a fantastic lunch option for the coming week.

Turkey Tetrazzini:  Please see above regarding the amount of turkey left over from Thanksgiving.  I’ve always liked turkey tetrazzini but I’ve never attempted to make it.  Here goes nothing.

Turkey Shepard’s Pie:  Let’s see:  I’ve got turkey, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, and roasted pearl onions.  I think I can make a lovely shepard’s pie with these ingredients.

That should get me through the week without having turkey and all the trimmings every night until all the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone.

Share

The Last Month

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Where has the last month gone?

To tortellini and meatballs, oatmeal-cranberry-white chocolate chip cookies, Thanksgiving, and so much more.

 

Recipes and lessons to follow!

Share

Weeknight Calzones

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Once upon a time, there lived a girl who never wanted pizza.  It’s not that she didn’t like pizza.  In fact, she liked it quite a bit.  It’s just that when pizza was offered as an option, it was never what she wanted.

I hate to say it, but that girl is me.  I don’t know what it is, but I’m never in the mood for pizza.  I always enjoy it when I eat it.  What’s not to love?  Dough, tomato sauce, cheese, and any other topping you could imagine.  If asked, though, I’d rather eat something else.

The problem is my husband LOVES pizza.  We, ahem, buy pizza bagels on a regular basis.  Every time we debate what to order in, his first suggestion is pizza.  So, when my cube-mate offered me a recipe for mini calzones, I knew what I had to do.  I had to give them a try.  The results were delicious, and this recipe has become a weeknight staple.

 

Chicken, Spinach, and Artichoke Calzones (adapted from Cuisine at Home)

3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella

1/4 cup shredded Parmesean

1 chicken breast, cooked and diced

1 package Garlic and Fine Herbs Boursin

1/4 cup minced onion

1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts (I used about 5 artichoke hearts in brine, rinsed)

1/3 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 pound prepared pizza dough

1 egg, beaten

Flour

Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

For the filling, combine the cheeses, chicken, onion, artichoke hearts, spinach, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Mix to combine the ingredients evenly.

Divide the dough into four equal segments.  Dust the dough and the work surface with flour.  Gently roll and stretch the dough into an eight inch round and let rest.  I let mine rest for about 10 minutes.

Place 1/4 of the filling onto one side of each dough round.  Stretch the dough over the filling and crimp the edges to seal the calzones.  Brush each calzone with the beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

 

Place the calzones on the heated pizza stone and bake for 12 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

 

Share

On The Docket– Week of October 28th

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Well, it’s Halloween, and that means pumpkins!  I’ve never cooked with pumpkin before, let alone baked with it.  For some reason, though, the challenge is pretty alluring.  Some of the recipes I’ve found this week just look too delicious to pass up.

Fudge Striped Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cookies:  I recently tried pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for the first time a few weeks ago, and they were delicious.  This particular recipe reminded me of fudge stripe cookies, which I loved as a child.  I think these will have to make an appearance at my company’s Halloween party on Wednesday.

Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars:  One of my favorite fall desserts is pumpkin cheesecake.  Taking one of my faves and adding a little bit of maple seemed genius!

Ok, ok, I know I cannot subsist on baked goods alone.  But if they include pumpkin, they’re healthy right?  No?  Ok, fine.  Some lunch and dinner ideas as well.

Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowls:  To be honest, I’ll probably add some chicken to this recipe, but I really like the idea behind this burrito bowl.  I also prefer quinoa to rice, so I’m really excited to give this a shot.

Slow Cooker Adobo Chicken:  I love my slow cooker.  I actually jumped up and down when I unwrapped it for my birthday a few years ago.  Despite my rather unnatural love for this particular kitchen appliance, I generally forget I own one until fall.  This is one of the first recipes I’ve seen this fall that made me want to break out the slow cooker.

Chicken Curry with Egg Noodles:  I’m just going to go with “yep” on this one.  Chicken, curry, noodles, what’s not to love?

I’m really excited about these recipes, so I’m hoping they turn out alright.  I’ll keep you posted on the results!

Share

On the Docket- Week of July 9, 2012

Monday, July 9th, 2012

I think it’s going to be an interesting week.  First, I’ve accepted a “Sweet Genius” baking challenge.  My old boss and I were talking about cooking shows, and he issued me a challenge:  to use three random ingredients and an inspiration in a dessert a la the show.  I could not say no because I thought it would be a ton of fun.  I get my ingredients on Monday, so more to come on what happens there.

Second, my husband wants to try infusing our own liquors.  On 4th of July, while I was making breakfast, he came into the kitchen with six small Ball jars.  Why, might you ask, do we have six small Ball jars when I have never canned or preserved anything my life?  That is an excellent question for which I do not have an answer.  Setting the jars on the microwave, my husband said “I think we should infuse some whiskey.  I’m thinking peach and blackberry.  Would you be willing to look up how to do this so we could give it a shot?”  Once again, I could not say no, so more to come on that adventure.

With those two items in the works, I am once again not sure what will be cooked this week, but here are some recipes I’ve pulled to try.

Blackberry pie:  this is one of my favorite desserts of all time.  I am going to make one before the summer berry season is done.  I’m not sure if I’m going to go with the lattice crust, but we’ll see.

Tom Yum Grilled Shrimp:  Summer grilling season is upon us, and grilled shrimp is always delicious.  This recipe looked nice and spicy, so I added it to the list to try!

Salmon and Peas:  Not sure how this is a 4th of July Tradition, but this recipe looked delicious.

 

 

Share

On the Docket– Week of June 18, 2012

Monday, June 18th, 2012

From now on, On the Docket will be posted first thing Monday mornings.  I generally cook for the week on Sundays, so I spend a lot of time menu planning over the weekend.  While it takes a lot of time, it’s something I love to do.  Saturday morning, while my husband went mountain biking with a friend, I watched the Food Network and perused all the recipes I’ve clipped, a few magazines, and a couple of cookbooks to pick out a few meals for the week.

A few things I already tried

Broccoli Parmesan Fritters: These were delicious!  Rather than mashing the broccoli with a potato masher, which oddly enough is one of the only kitchen gadgets I don’t own, I put the broccoli in a food processor and pulsed it a couple of times, for a few seconds for each pulse.  My broccoli was a little smaller but still recognizable, as the recipe calls for.  I’ll definitely be adding this recipe to my side dish repertoire.

Nutella Buttercream Frosting: I’ve been on a baking kick lately.  Each time I tell my mom about my baking adventures, she mentions Baked by Melissa, a cupcake shop in New York that specializes in miniature stuffed cupcakes.  Since we’ve been talking about these mini cupcakes so much, I decided to try my hand at making them.  More to come on what I tried.

A few recipes I’ve clipped

Baked Oatmeal:  I’m always looking for breakfasts that my husband and I can take with us to work.  I’ve seen a couple of baked oat meal recipes, and I think it’s about time to give it a try.

Lemon Basil Chicken Salad:  Chicken salad is one of my favorite summer lunches.  This one looks nice and light.  ‘Nuff said.

Grilled Salmon with Chilled Somen: My pantry is a disaster.  I have multiples of a couple items, some half full sauces, andthe remnants of a few ingredients that were purchased for one recipe.  One thing I’m trying to find a use for is a bottle of Ponzu sauce.  This recipe seems to fit the bill, so I’ll give it a shot.

 

Share

On the Docket– Week of June 11, 2012

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

I love Zite and Flipboard.  Every night before I go to bed, or right after I get home from work, I read through the Food and Cooking section on Zite and read the most recent posts from the magazines I’ve added on Flipboard.  As a result, I clip a lot of recipes to try when I have some time.

Here’s what I clipped last week.  I most certainly won’t try them all this week.  Let me know if you have tried any of these or if you have any tips!

Mojito Cupcakes from Brown Eyed Baker:  I think a drink-themed bakery sounds like a great idea.  I recently tried Mint Julep cupcakes for a friend’s Derby party, so I think another cocktail based cupcake would be delicious.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes:  One, I love potatoes.  Two, twice baked potatoes are one of my husband’s favorite things.  Adding a sweet potato to the mix just sounds delicious.

Mediterranean Chicken Salad:  I’m a big fan of salads for lunch.  This just looked good to add to my repertoire.

Salmon:  I’ve been a salmon kick lately.  I like tried and true recipes, and this seemed to fit the bill.

Share

Chicken with Black Bean Chipotle Sauce

Monday, February 21st, 2011

The following dish is really easy and pretty darn good for you.  The original recipe called for whole chicken breasts, but instead, I cut the chicken into small cubes.  I served this with polenta, and it was delicious!

1/2 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

14 ounce can blackbeans, rinsed

2 teaspoons ground chipotle pepper

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon minced cilantro

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 tablespoons chili powder

4 chicken breasts, removed of excess fat and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Spray a saucepan with cooking spray and saute the onions until translucent, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 45 seconds.

Add the black beans, chipotle, chicken stock, tomatoes, cilantro and salt.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until thickened.  Remove from the heat and cool.

Picture 019

Place the black bean mixture in a blender and puree until smooth.

Picture 024

Combine the olive oil and chili powder in a small bowl.  Add the chicken and combine until the chicken is covered in the chili powder mixture.

Picture 021

Heat a skillet, coated with cooking spray, over medium high heat.  Add the chicken, and saute until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Serve the chicken with the black bean sauce.

Picture 037

Share