Wednesday, May 19, 2010

LaNell's Broccoli Salad

Now, do I know who LaNell is? No. But I can tell you that her broccoli salad is delicious!! I got this recipe from the Sugar Doodle website. We had this salad tonight with grilled chicken and strawberries and it was wonderful. I have a feeling I'll be making this a lot this summer because my husband and I couldn't get enough of it.

LaNell's Broccoli Salad

4-6 cups fresh broccoli florets
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup cooked and crumbled bacon

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

In a bowl combine broccoli, onion, sunflower seeds, raisins, and bacon. In a separate bowl combine ingredients for dressing and mix well to mix in sugar. Pour desired amount of dressing over the broccoli mixture (I didn't use all of the dressing) and toss well to combine. Serve right away.*

*Make this salad right before serving - if it's left to sit it will get soggy.

Mock Pasta Carbonara

Quick, easy, and delicious! My kind of meal. This is a great mock carbonara, though in truth it tastes more like a bacony alfredo-ish sauce. It is rich and creamy and takes about 20 minutes to make or as long as the pasta takes to boil. My whole family really liked it.

Mock Pasta Carbonara

3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
dash of salt
ground black pepper
1 lb. cooked pasta (I used spaghetti)

Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Combine milk, half and half, and sour cream. Set aside.

While pasta is cooking melt butter in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Add cooked and crumbled bacon and cook for a minute, add garlic and cook for another minute. Add flour and stir well. Add milk/half & half/sour cream mixture and stir well. Once sauce is hot and thickened add Parmesan and onion powder and season with salt and pepper. Mix in the cooked and drained pasta and toss well to coat pasta evenly. Top individual servings with Parmesan.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pecan and Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Ooh ooh this chicken was so good!! It was so flavorful! My kids said this chicken was better than chicken nuggets so I'm just gonna go ahead and take that as their highest possible compliment. I wish I could remember which recipe blog I got this recipe from - I hate it when I can't give credit where credit is due - just know it wasn't my recipe and it's absolutely delicious.

Pecan and Parmesan Crusted Chicken

4-6 chicken breasts, pounded to a uniform thickness
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
about 2 tablespoon canola oil

Put flour into a pie plate or other shallow dish. In another pie plate whisk eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. In another pie plate mix bread crumbs, Parmesan, pecans, oregano, basil, seasoned salt, and pepper. Dredge pounded chicken breasts in flour, then egg (letting excess egg drip off), and then in the bread crumb mixture, pressing the crumbs into the chicken to coat well. Place on a platter and let rest for 5 minutes.

While chicken is resting, in a large skillet heat enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan. Make sure oil is nice and hot, then brown the chicken (in 2 batches) in oil for 3 minutes on each side or until well browned. Transfer chicken to a baking dish or baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until internal temp reached 165 degrees.

Lasagna Bowls

This is a different twist on pasta - kind of a spaghetti/lasagna mix. The meatsauce is actually not very tomato-y - it's more beefy and savory and goes so well with the noodles which are tossed with white sauce and Parmesan. This is a Rachel Ray recipe that I modified just a little. My family really enjoyed it and I think it will be requested in the future.

Lasagna Bowls

1 lb campanelle pasta
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 oz pancetta, chopped into small pieces (bacon could be used instead)
1 lb ground beef
1 carrot, chopped very fine or grated
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon crushed bay leaves
3 tablespoons tomato paste (could double this for more tomato-y sauce)
2 cups beef stock
splash red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a heavy sauce pan or dutch oven. Add pancetta and cook until much of the fat has rendered and it is browned. Add ground beef and cook until browned, breaking up as you cook it. Add onion, carrot, garlic, allspice, salt and pepper and bay leaves. Cook 3-4 minutes or until vegetables have softened. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in beef stock and splash of red wine vinegar. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and continue to simmer on low heat until ready to serve.

While meatsauce cooks, melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour and whisk together a minute or so then whisk in milk and bring to a low boil, reduce heat and season with granulated garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Let cook on low and thicken for a couple minutes. Toss pasta with this white sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan.

Serve pasta in individual bowls with meatsauce ladled over the top and sprinkled with extra Parmesan.

Favorite Chocolate Mousse

Yum! YUM!! Chocolate mousse is my favorite dessert so when my husband asked me what dessert I wanted on Mothers Day guess what I asked for?! Yep. Ooh and my dear husband did such a great job. This mousse is wonderful with that awesome nearly-fluffy traditional mousse texture. I got this recipe from my friend Alex and modified it just a bit for the taste and texture I like (I added a bit more whipped cream and use a combination of milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate). Thanks Alex!

Chocolate Mousse
-makes 8-9 servings

6 oz good quality semi sweet chocolate chips (I like Ghiradelli)
6 oz good quality milk chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups heavy cream

Melt chocolate very slowly in a double boiler stirring frequently with a rubber spatula. Meanwhile bring 1 cup cream to a boil. Whisk hot cream into melted chocolate until combined. Set aside and let cool for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whip remaining 1 1/2 cups cream with an electric mixer until light, fluffy, and firm. Carefully fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture a little at a time with rubber spatula. Mix well, folding, after each addition. Pour mixture into 8 - 9 ramekins or serving dishes and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Bitter Sweet Chocolate Truffles

I made these lovely, rich, and decadent little truffles for a book club I hosted last week. We read The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, thus the bitter-sweet theme. This recipe makes 12 truffles and they are best when eaten soon after making - if you store them too long they get grainy. These would be great on a plate of Christmas goodies.

Bitter Sweet Chocolate Truffles

1/4 cup heavy cream
5 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons butter, softened

2 cups dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons shortening

Heat bittersweet chocolate and cream in a double boiler until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and add butter. Stir until ganache is very smooth. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making sure that the plastic wrap makes contact with all the surface of the ganache. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until set.

Form truffles with a melon baller or smallest cookie scoop. Place balls on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Freeze until frozen through.

Heat chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir. If needed microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Using a fork dip frozen truffle balls in chocolate, making sure you coat truffles very well. Place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and freeze until chocolate coating is set. Allow to come to room temp and serve.

BBQ Chicken Braid

This is a super yummy dinner braid similar to the Ham and Cheese Braid that I've posted before. You can use any bread dough, including a loaf of thawed Rhodes frozen bread dough, but I used my pizza dough recipe because it's so darn quick and easy. My family really loved this dinner.

BBQ Chicken Braid

pizza dough for 1 pizza or 1 loaf thawed frozen bread dough
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
bottled barbecue sauce
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar (or other cheese)

Roll out dough into a 11x17 rectangle. Cut 1 inch wide strips along either side of the rectangle - there should be a solid strip about 3 inches wide in the middle. The strips will look like fringe on both sides of the dough. Spread 1 cup of cheese down the center of the dough. Top with shredded chicken and onions, then spoon desired amount of barbecue sauce over the chicken and onions. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Fold strips over the filling, alternating strips from each side and pressing them into the dough on the opposite side. Turn under, pinch, then seal the ends. Place braid on a greased cookie sheet or baking stone. Allow braid to rest and rise for about 15 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes, covering braid with foil during last 5 minutes or so to prevent over browning. Make sure the bottom of the braid is browned so that you know it is cooked all the way through. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before cutting into slices.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pork Schnitzel

Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woo... I made schnitzel and noodles!! And wow was it delicious! It makes me want to sing and from now on when I hear that song I'm going to want this schnitzel! All the thanks goes to America's Test Kitchen because this is yet another wonderful recipe from that show. Yummmm... We had the schnitzels with brown butter noodles and homemade applesauce - in my opinion it was a perfect dinner!

Pork Schnitzel

8 sliced white sandwich bread, crust removed and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pork tenderloin (about 1.25 lbs), trimmed of fat and cut on an angle into 4 equal pieces
2 cups vegetable oil for frying
lemon slices for serving

Place bread cubes on a large microwave safe plate and microwave on high for 4 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Microwave on medium power for 1-3 minutes, until bread is very dry and a few pieces start to brown (for me this was only 1 minute). Process bread cubes in food processor to very fine crumbs. Place bread crumbs in a pie plate and set aside. Place 1/2 cup flour in a pie plate and set aside. Combine eggs and 1 tablespoon of oil in another pie plate and beat together, set aside.

Place pork with 1 cut side down, between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or in a gallon ziplock bag and pound to an even thickness of 1/8 - 1/4 inch. Season pounded pork cutlets with salt and pepper. Working with 1 cutlet at a time, dredge in flour, then in egg mixture (allowing excess to drip off to ensure a thin coating of egg), then in the bread crumbs, pressing on the crumbs to adhere. Place breaded cutlets on a wire rack over a cookie sheet and allow coating to dry for 5 minutes.

Heat 2 cups of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until a thermometer registers 375 degrees. Lay 2 breaded cutlets in the pan without overlapping and cook shaking the pan continuously and gently, until cutlets are wrinkled and golden brown on both sides, 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer cutlets to a paper towel lined plate and flip several times to blot up excess oil. Repeat with remaining cutlets. Serve immediately with a little lemon squeezed over each schnitzel if desired (I love it with lemon).