Sunday, October 25, 2009

Candied Pecans

These are SO, SO, SO good- like, so good that you are supposed to add them to your salad, but you might eat them all before they make it there! Only one requirement to seeing this recipe through unto completion- DON'T STOP STIRRING!!!! And get excited, they are cheaper than buying them already candied in the store--- way to save yourself some grocery money!!!

2 cups chopped pecans (you could use walnuts too)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

First, chop your nuts. Then heat your pan to medium or medium high heat. I put a sliver of butter to prevent sticking and give them a quick stir. Then I added the rest of the ingredients and stirred.... and stirred, stirred, stirred. Don't stop stirring!!! If you do- you will have burnt nuts! You will see the sugar begin to melt, keep scraping it off your pan with a spatula and turn them over and over (I keep a butter knife near my spatula to scrape the melted sugar off the spatula back into the pan). Do this until all the sugar is melted and the nuts are evenly coated, then turn them out onto a piece of foil or wax paper. Let them cool in a single layer then add them to you salad!

Gadget PROMO!!! So, one of my favorite wedding gifts that I received was this awesome cutting board and rounded cutting blade. I am pretty sure it was from Costco, but if you do a lot of chopping, you would love this bad boy. It prevents your ingredients from flying all over the place- jot it down, Christmas is coming!!!

Meal Plan for Sept. 26th- 31st

So, I kinda got lazy with my meal plans, not knowing if anyone really gives a hoot about this part of the blog, but I did get an email asking where they went, so- here we go again.... if you DO give a hoot.

Monday- Santa Fe Salad with Chicken
Tuesday- Chicken, Marsala, & Tomato Sandwiches (crock pot) & Brussel Sprouts
Wednesday- Spaghetti & Crunchy Spinach Salad
Thursday- Spinach & Leek White Bean Soup
Friday- left overs
Saturday- out

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Chicken, Marsala, & Tomatoes

So, this recipe doesn't really have an official name, because I kinda tweaked the original idea too much to still call it it's original name, so hence, "Chicken, Marsala & Tomatoes" was born. :) Let me be honest. Sometimes I wish my crock pot were more versatile (maybe even Jettson-like) and you know, would make salads and veggies (and Cocky Cookies) and stuff. If that were the case, I would use it multiple times a day!!! I mean honestly, how delightful is it to come home to a fragrant house, intoxicating smells wafting out the door THAT YOU DIDN'T SLAVE OVER!!!! It's really a beautiful thing. So, that being confessed- I love my crock pot, but I feel like I only have limited healthy recipes that all don't taste the same (mushy), so without further a-do, I am excited to welcome this newest recipe into the Haddon Crock Pot family. He's easy and tasty and a great change up to your typical crock pot meal.

1 pound chicken (I used 1.3 lbs. for 4 people with no left overs)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp pepper
4 TBSP tomato paste
1 cup Marsala wine
1 can diced tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 onion, sliced thin
handful of basil leaves, chopped
cibata rolls, toasted
** 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes if you want a kick to it

OK, so, I actually prepped this meal the night before, I thought: 1) maybe it will be better because it will marinate in the wine and tomatoes overnight 2) one less thing to do in the morning! So, I washed my chicken breasts, put them in and poured the wine and tomatoes & tomato paste on top. Added my seasoning and put it in the fridge with the lid on. Next morning, I turned it on low for 8 hours and let it do it's thing. Now, it is really helpful if you can time this right- but about 2 hours before it finished (1 hours would probably work too) I shredded my chicken, sliced my pepper and onion and put it all in, giving it a good mix. (If you put your pepper and onion in too soon they get mushy) Then when dinner time rolled around, I toasted my rolls and chopped my basil. Scoop the shredded mixture on top of the roll, add your chopped basil and wah-la! You are done!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Beef Chili with Baked Potatoes

Here's another recipe for chili, this one is different than the turkey chili that I also make- it's got a totally different thing goin' on here. This has a little more kick to it, it's the kinda chili you pour over a baked potato and enjoy on a cool day. And best of all, I made it in the crock pot, so, it pretty much made itself!

2 lbs. ground beef
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
28 oz. diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1 can pinto beans, drained & rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
8 oz. can tomato paste
2 TSBP chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Break up your beef into chunks, dump it in along with everything else. Stir it all up. Cook on low heat for 8 hours (if I am home, I stir it a few more times during the day). Serve as a soup with french bread or even better, over a warm Baked Potato!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lettuce Wraps

These are awesome, super fast and really easy.... give them a whirl, they are a modification of a recipe from All Recipes... kinda like P.F. Changs Lettuce Wraps.. but better :)

1 lb ground turkey
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 shittake mushroom
1 large carrot, shredded
2 TBSP fresh ginger, grated
2 TBSP brown sugar
5 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP rice vinegar
1 TBSP sesame seed oil
1 (8oz) can water chestnuts, chopped
1/2 cup green onions

Chop your mushrooms, water chestnuts, and shred your carrot. Then brown your ground turkey with your minced garlic until it's no longer pink. Dump in your chopped items and let them cook for 2-3 minutes. Add your ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and rice vinegar and stir it well letting cook for another 2-3 minutes. Last add your chopped green onions, give a final stir and let cook for 1 more minute. Wash and spin lettuce leaves, from Iceberg or Romaine Lettuce. Serve as an appetizer or main dish.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

White Bean Salad

I am trying to use more beans in my cooking- good fiber, inexpensive, great protein, easy to cook with and travel with... and tasty little guys! So, here's a salad to leave in the fridge and munch on for lunch- perfect for road trips when you don't want to stop or for packing a lunch for work!

2 can beans, drained but not rinsed
4 TBSP red onion
1 TBSP olive oil
3 tsp. wine vinegar, white or red
2 tsp. fresh chopped parsley
1/2 lemon, juiced
s & p

Drain, but don't rinse 2 cans of white beans and add them to a bowl. Add the other ingredients. Stir, cover, refrigerate for at least an hour or over night. Enjoy. How easy was that?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hazelnut & Dried Cherry Biscotti

Ever since I started this blog, I have wanted to post this recipe. It's one of my all time favorites (do I say that a lot??? I think I love food!). But now that it's cold, and a hot beverage sounds favorable, what goes better with it than some fresh, homemade biscotti??? It's easier than it looks, a little time consuming, but it makes a TON- great for gifts with the holidays coming up... or just to eat by yourself as you cuddle up on the couch with a good movie and a warm mug!

1/2 cup butter, at ROOM TEMP
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted & skinned
1/2 cup tart dried cherries
1 tsp grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 325. On a cookie sheet, pour 1 cup hazelnuts (I buy mine with the brown little skins on them, this will peel that skin off and toast them) and stick them in the oven. You want to stir them occasionally so they don't burn on one side, bake them for 10-20 minutes until the skin starts to crack, then remove them and put them on a cool plate, otherwise they will continue to cook on the cookie sheet. After cooling, toss them onto a clean kitchen towel, fold it in half, and roll them back and forth to get the skins to peel off, this is really easy! Now chop them up (and the cherries too) so that you are ready for them. While you are at it, bump your oven up to 350 for the biscotti and prep your cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter (it must be room temp, it makes a big difference compared to melting it in the micro). Add the sugar and beat until well blended. Add the eggs and beat on low speed, then add vanilla and continue on low speed until all blended. In a separate bowl, add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon- then slowly add that to the egg mixture, beating it on low until it's all incorporated. Add the cherries, hazelnuts, and orange zest. The mixture will be really soft, so put some flour on your hands and divide your dough into two, making a log out of each one, they should be 4 inches apart, they don't spread much. Shape them into a log/loaf (you will be able to make 2 with this recipe) and put them side by side on a lined cookie sheet to bake for 25-30 minutes until they are golden. Take them out and transfer the PANS to a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then cut them on a diagonal using a serrated knife. Lay them on their sides and put them back in the oven for 10 more minutes to harden up. When they come out they will be golden brown and delicious! Let them cool and enjoy or store in an air tight container!

*Recipe taken from the Williams & Sonoma Cookies Cookbook

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fresh Ginger Tip!

A "nugget" of ginger, usually they are larger and look like a piece of coral...
The "nugget" without his skin, a yellowish color inside
Ok, I use ginger in a TON of recipes, here's a way to save some cash and use fresh ginger at the same time. I buy a peice of ginger root, peel it with the carrot peeler, then pop it in a zip lock bag and stick it in the freezer DOOR (so I can find it quickly!). Then when ever my recipe calls for ginger, I use a grater (which works great of frozen hard ginger!) and it's fresh to boot! Hope that helps!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hawaiian Pizza

So, let me just start by saying, I know it doesn't take a genius to figure out the ingredients that go into this recipe, but sometimes I (and my husband for that matter) use this blog as a recipe box that we look through when we don't know what we feel like for dinner that week. That being said, this is kinda the archive of things I make, so I thought I should add this guy to the repertoire. It's Super Simple and less expensive than ordering one!

Wheat Dough (make it or buy it, mine's from TJ's)
marinara sauce (same deal as above)
mozzarella cheese, shredded
Canadian bacon
pineapple (mine was fresh, but you can used can)

Take your dough out and let it rise while you prepare the ingredients. First, I brown the Canadian bacon on the stove in my frying pan. Next, I shred the cheese and slice the ham and pineapple. By that time, it's ready to roll out the dough, add your sauce and cover it in toppings. Pop it in the oven for 13-15 minutes (or per dough instructions) until it is golden and bubbly on top. I serve mine with a side of greens like Sauteed Swiss Chard or Spinach salad. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Crispy Quesadilla

Now, I have to admit, I am not the biggest quesadilla fan in the world.... well, maybe that is until now! I found a great way to incorporate some different ingredients and get a really crispy crunch to it, and now, I think I am in love! I would have to say this is one of the easiest recipes you can chose when you are in a time crunch and you need a quick bite to eat- perfect for someone on the go!

cheese (I used Monterey Jack)
roma tomatoes
4-5 leaves of basil
grapeseed oil
pepper or other seasoning

Heat about 1/2 tsp. grapeseed oil in a frying pan, lay your first tortilla just long enough for air bubbles to form underneath, then flip it (it should start to get lightly toasted) repeat this 3-4 times. Then do the same thing with the second tortilla (if you are making a whole). Then place one of the tortillas in the pan, add some shredded cheese (or mine was thinly sliced), some chopped tomatoes, finely chopped basil (you could use spinach too) and sprinkle with pepper. I also added some left over chicken slices to mine. Then I placed the top tortilla on, over medium heat and let it cook for just a bit. Then with a big flipper-thing (and my fingers) I carefully flipped it over. You could also opt to only cover half the tortilla with toppings and then just fold it in half. That would be much easier than flipping, you decide!

Get creative- try mushrooms, spinach, beans and olives or different cheeses to mix it up!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Thanks to a fabulous family vacation, I took some time off from recipes, but we are refreshed and ready to get back in the saddle with some yummy fall meals!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar...

So up until a few minutes ago, if you were to ask me if I liked Brussel Sprouts, I would have answered without hesitation, without a doubt- NO WAY!!! But things have changed around these parts, I can now (thanks to Natalie's recipe) answer, Yes I do!!!! Check out Natalie's blog for the original recipe and some other tasty ones I can't wait to try!!!

Here's what I did to roast them....
3 large handfuls of small brussel sprouts (from Costco) for 2 people
a generous amount of Grape Seed Oil (or Olive Oil if you prefer)
1 clove garlic, minced
sea salt

Preheat your oven to 425. Wash and trim the bottoms of your brussel sprouts (discard any damaged outer leaves) and cut them in half. Throw them in a bowl, generously drizzle Grape Seed Oil on top (or Olive Oil) then mince garlic and add s & p. Mix well and pour on to a roasting pan or a cookie sheet lined in parchment paper. Quickly with clean fingers, flip them over so the flat side is on touching the cookie sheet. Pop them in the oven for 8-10 minutes (for small sprouts, 10-12 for larger ones). They will be browned on the underside when done. I served them with a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar on top, because, well, everything is better with balsamic :) Enjoy, you are now officially an adult- you ate brussel sprouts!
Brussel Sprouts tossed with ingredients...
Laying flat on the parchment-lined cookie sheet...
Served up with some Teriyaki Chicken Thighs...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Here's where we are at this week, keep checking in for some new fall recipes.... welcome autumn!!!

Monday- Steak Cobb Salad (left overs for lunch this week)
Tuesday- Spanish Potato Omelet & green veggie salad
Wednesday- Maple Salmon, Asparagus, & Sweet Potato Fries (yellow)
Thursday- Spaghetti & left over asparagus
Friday- left overs
Saturday- out