Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Creamy Tomato Soup

Randal and I both love the tomato soup at Panera, and after stopping to have lunch there a few weeks ago I wanted to see if I could find a recipe for it. I found this one over at Running To The Kitchen and it's so good and really does taste like the soup at Panera!

8 tomatoes, quartered
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 head of garlic
1 tbspbutter
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 piece of whole wheat bread, toasted & cubed
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with foil.

In a large bowl toss together the tomatoes, vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the oil and salt and pepper.  Spread onto the baking sheet. Cut the top off the head of garlic, season with salt, pepper and a little olive oil, wrap in foil and place on the baking sheet. Roast for 1 hour.

In a large pan heat the remaining oil, add the onions and minced garlic and cook until softened.  Add the roasted tomatoes and garlic to the pan, along with the parsley, vegetable broth, tomato paste, brown sugarand bread. Simmer for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes add the heavy cream and parmesan cheese.  Take off the heat and puree until creamy.

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Baked Mozzarella

I made these baked mozzarella balls from Peas and Carrots to go with homemade tomato soup.  Randal doesn't like croutons or anything like thatin his soup so I thought these would be a nice alternative. The picture is not that great because they stared to fall apart a little in the oven, but they taste so good it doesn't matter!

Mozzarella cheese, cubed
1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

Freeze mozzarella cubes for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 425, line a baking sheet with foil and place a baking rack over the foil sprayed with cooking spray.

Place the panko and italian seasoning in a small bowl, in a seperate bowl add the flour and beat the egg in a third bowl.

Roll the frozen cheese in the flour, then the egg and finally the panko.  Place on the baking rack and cook for 8 - 10 minutes, until golden brown.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Pineapple and honey ribs, potato salad, corn

Tuesday:  Mongolian beef, jasmine rice

Wednesday:  Eight layer casserole, salad (did not make this last week)

Thursday:  Herbed roast chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans (making this again because Randal loved it last week)

Friday:  Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

I found this recipe over at Chef In Training.  I love traditional chicken cordon bleu so I thought this would be a good twist on that and something that Randal and I would both like.  This recipe is really good, but it's so rich that a little goes a long way, but what else can you expect from a recipe made with a brick of cream cheese and 2 cups of heavy cream!

10 oz penne pasta
2 cups heavy cream
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 1/2 cup swiss cheese, grated
2 cooked chicken breasts, cut into strips
3/4 cup bacon, diced
3/4 cup ham, diced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350

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

Heat cream cheese over medium heat until melted. Stir in heavy cream, add the onion powder, garlic salt  and swiss cheese, stir together until smooth.

In a 9x13 baking dish, add noodles noodles, chicken, bacon and ham. Pour the sauce over and top with more swiss cheese and the breadcrumbs. Bake  for 20 minutes.

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Honey Plum Soy Chicken

This is a Pioneer Woman recipe from her latest cookbook. The original recipe called for an entire bottle of soy sauce, but I reduced that amount to a 1/4 cup and to be honest that was still a little too much. We also used cherry preserves rather than plum and plumogranate plumcots in place of the regular plums, for just a little more fruit flavour. Apart from being a little salty from the soy sauce we both really enjoyed this.

8 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
3 cups red wine
3 bay leaves
13 oz plum preserves (I used cherry)
1 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 plums, pitted and chopped (I used plumogranate plumcots)

Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl with two cups of red wine and the bay leaves, cover and refrigerate for an hour.

In a small bowl mix together the preserves, honey and soy sauce.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil.  Remove chicken form the red wine, brown in the olive oil.  Add the garlic, remaining cup of red wine, plums and preserves mixture.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for about an hour until the chicken is cooked through.
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Monday, July 23, 2012

Chili Con Queso Pasta Bake

This is a Rachael Ray recipe that I found on pinterest. It sounded good and we both like all the ingredients but unfortunately neither one of us really loved the final dish. There's nothing wrong with it, it was fine, but we both thought it was a little bland which is strange considering it does have quite a lot of spices in it.

1 lb pasta
1 lb ground beef
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp chili powder
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalepeno, diced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 can diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, brown the ground beef with the garlic, jalapeno and onion, cook for 5 minutes, drain the grease from the pan.  Add the cumin, coriander and chili powder and turn the heat to low.

In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour.  Cook for a minute or two, whisk in the milk.  When the milk starts to boil add the cheese and parsley, once the cheese has melted add the tomatoes.

Drain the cooked pasta and add it into the pan with the ground beef, pour in the cheese sauce and stir to combine.  Transfer to a baking dish. top with more cgeese and bake for 20 minutes.

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Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Thai green chicken curry, jasmine rice

Tuesday:  Tomato soup and BLT's

Wednesday:  Eight layer casserole, salad

Thursday:  Herbed roast chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans

Friday:  Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pineapple and Honey Ribs

Randal loves bbq and especially ribs, and I know I have said it before, but it's just not my favourite thing. I am always looking for different rib recipes that will give Randal his bbq fix but will be different enough from that bbq sauce flavour so that I can enjoy it also. These pineapple honey ribs from Snappy Gourmet are so good, I think I have found my new favourite rib recipe, the pineaple and lime really add so much flavour to the honey bbq sauce and Randal loved them also.  The only thing I changed about this recipe was the cooking method, because unless Randal is home to grill them I always cook ribs low and slow in the oven.

1 rack of pork ribs
3 tbsp caribbean jerk seasoning
1 cup honey barbecue sauce
1 1/4 cup chopped pineapple
3 tbsp lime juice

Line a baking sheet with foil, put the ribs on the foil and cover with the caribbean seasoning. cover with the foil and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Put the bbq sauce, pineapple and lime juice in a food processor and blend until smooth, refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat oven to 275.

Brush the bbq sauce onto the ribs, cover with foil and bake for 4 hours, basting the ribs every hour with the bbq sauce.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Chili con queso pasta bake, salad

Tuesday:  Honey plum soy chicken, jasmine rice

Wednesday:  Pineapple and honey bbq ribs, potato salad, corn on the cob

Thursday:  Chicken cordon bleu pasta, salad

Friday:  Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Country Captain

This is another one of those recipes I have had saved for a long time.  I don't know why I have waited so long to make it because this turned out to be one of the best meals I have made in a while.  It's part chicken curry part chicken stew served on rice. This recipe does make a lot, so I froze half of it and for another week.

1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup raisins
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper, plus more for seasoning
6 slices bacon, chopped
12 chicken thighs, skin on
1 large dried chile, such as guajillo or pasilla, split, seeds removed
1 lb peeled and sliced carrots
2 cups diced yellow bell peppers
2 cups diced onions
3 cloves garlic 
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp ginger
2/3 cup toasted almonds, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Pour the broth into a small pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the raisins and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the curry powder, garam masala, salt, and black pepper.

Over high heat fry the bacon until lightly browned, transfer the bacon to apaper towel.

Season the chicken thighs with salt, pepper and the dried thyme. Brown the chicken in batches over medium-high heat in the bacon fat until they are golden brown. Add the reserved bacon fat. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Add the chile and fry in the fat, about 30 seconds per side, until very fragrant.  Add the carrots, bell peppers, onions, and garlic and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, spice mixture, ginger, and the raisins and their broth and the bacon. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the tomatoes have cooked down  and the sauce has thickened, about 8 minutes.
Pour the vegetable mixture into a large baking dish and place the chicken thighs in the sauce.  Cover loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the sauce has thickened further and the chicken skin is just beginning to crisp, about 15 minutes more.
Serve with  rice and garnish with the almonds, and parsley.

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Linked to: Addicted To Recipes, Flour Me With Love, Create With Joy,   Couponing and Cooking, Eye Heart, The Dedicated House, A Pinch of Joy, Serendipity and Spice, Home Sweet Home, Happy Homemaker

Friday, July 13, 2012

Banana Pudding

This banana pudding recipe from Hilah Cooking was so easy to make, and it's so good I'll never make boxed pudding again.  I was actually really surprised at just how quick this was to make, it's really not much more effort than making the cook and serve puddings and this way you know exactly what went into it.

1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large banana, peeled and sliced
vanilla wafer cookies
In a saucepan over medium heat combine the sugar, cornstarch, and milk. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved, add egg yolks and butter and stir constantly until it starts to bubble.  Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
To assemble the banana pudding you can either make one large bowl or as I did, individual puddings.  Place a layer of vanilla wafers on the bottom of the dish, followed by a layer of banana and a layer of pudding. Repeat layers and end with vanilla wafers. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bombay Chicken with Red Lentils

This is another recipe that I have had saved for a long time. It's a really good chicken and lentil curry dish, and next time I make it I think I will add cauliflower in with the green beans, maybe some diced potatoes also, as I love vegetable curries.

1 1/4 cups red lentils
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp ginger
6 cups water
4 chicken breasts, cooked
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2  garlic cloves
1/2 tsp red pepper
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 cup fresh green beans
Combine the lentils, onion, jalapeno, ground cumin, turmeric, ginger and 6 cups water in a large pot. Simmer for 45 minutes. Add the cooked chicken chicken and salt.
Put a tablespoon of oil in a small pan, when very hot add the cumin seeds, when they start to sizzle add the garlic and cook for aminute or two. Add in the red pepper and immediately add into the chicken and lentils. Stir in the lemon juice, sugar, garam marsala and green beans and simmer for 10 minutes. Top with cilantro and serve.

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Linked to: This Chic Cooks

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mango Cilantro Chicken

I found this recipe in a magazine and even though the original recipe was made with truvia sweetener, I decided to use real sugar instead. Randal actually does use truvia and likes but I prefer to use real sugar, especially for cooking.

When I first made the marinade, both Randal and I thought we would not enjoy it very much.  But after marinating all day and brushing on the sauce as it was being grilled, it turned out so good.  We loved the heated, reduced sauce - it was especially good when mixed into the rice.

2 lbs chicken (we used boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs, and we both agreed the thighs were better)
2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and roughly chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro (stems included)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp hot sauce
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 red onion, diced
2 tbsp minced ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, juice and zest
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Put the mangoes, cilantro, sugar, hot sauce, vinegar, coconut milk, onion, ginger, garlic, lime juice and zest and oil in a food processor and puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Divide it in half.

Place the chicken and half the mango mixture in a plastic bag and refrigeratefor 6 to 8 hours to marinate.

When ready to grill the chicken, put the other half of the mango mixture into a small saucepan with the water and simmer over low heat until thick, about 20 minutes.

Season chicken with salt and pepper, and baste with marinade while grilling chicken.  Stop basting chicken when there is about 10 minutes of cooking time left.

We served the chicken with rice that I cooked using the rest of the leftover coconut milk.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Bombay chicken and lentils, jasmine rice

Tuesday:  Pork chops, stuffed tomatoes, corn spoon bread

Wednesday:  Country captain

Thursday:  Spag bol and salad

Friday:  Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Grilled Pork Chops With Plum-Ginger Sauce

I have had this Rachael Ray recipe that I pulled from the magazine for quite a while now.  I used to keep recipes printed from other blogs and torn from magazines in a recipe binder, but thanks to pinterest I really don't need to do that anymore, so I am slowly working my way through the recipes in that binder and this was one of them.  We both actually really liked the plum ginger sauce and it went really well with the pork chops.

Pork chops
tbsp olive oil
4 plums, halved and pitted
1 red onion, thickly sliced
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

Preheat a grill to medium-high. Drizzle the olive oil on the pork chops, plums and onion and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on the grill and cook, turning once, until the plums and onions are softened and just charred, 6 to 8 minutes, and the pork chops are golden-brown and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the plums and onion to a medium bowl and cover tightly with foil and let stand for 10 minutes.

Coarsely chop the plums and onions and return to the bowl. Stir in the lemon juice, ginger and vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Beef Bourguignon

I know it seems a little crazy to be making something that requires hours of oven cooking considering the temperature of Texas in July. I blame it on the amazing whole foods store in Austin though. We took a short trip to Austin 2 weeks ago and on the way home decided to make a quick stop at the 80,000 sq ft whole foods, and a quick stop turned into 3 hours and lunch, which is when we tried the beef bourguignon and decided we had to make it once we got home. This is so good, it's well worth the expense and the hot kitchen!

3 lbs beef, cut into 2 inch cubes
6 oz bacon, diced
1 lb mushrooms, quartered
1 lb carrots, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 package frozen pearl onions
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp flour
3 cups red wine (I used Cotes du Rhone)
2 cups beef broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic,mashed
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 450
Saute the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a casserole dish and set aside. Dry the beef in paper towels,  it will not brown if it is damp. Saute it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.
Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned, add to the casserole dish with the meat.  Sprinkle the 2 tbsp of flour over the meat, stir together and place in the oven for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes stir the casserole and return to the oven for a further 4 minutes.  Remove the casserole and lower the oven to 325.

Add the wine and beef broth so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, thyme and pearl onions. Cover the casserole and place in the oven and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
While the meat is cooking, saute the mushrooms in butter until tender.  When the casserole is done, add the mushrooms and serve.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Beef bourguignon

Tuesday:  Stuffed peppers and salad

Wednesday:  Garlic lime pork chops, jasmine rice and green beans

Thursday:  Leftovers or maybe BLT's

Friday:  Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Hummingbird Cupcakes

I had never heard of hummingbird cake until a lady that Randal works with made one for the office, she has now given me her recipe to try, but the recipe for these cupcakes are from Brown Eyed Baker, I thought the dried pineapple flower decorations were really cute.

2 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp cinnamon
3 bananas, mashed
2/3 cup crushed pineapple, drained
2/3 cup walnuts, chopped
2/3 cup shredded coconut
1 and 1/3 cups granulated sugar
11 tablespoons unsalted butter
1½ tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

12 ounces cream cheese
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 cups icing sugar

Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

In a small bowl whisk together the  flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In a large bowl mix together the banana, pineapple, walnuts, and coconut.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar untillight and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time and the vanilla.  Add in the flour mixture and beat until just combined.  Stir in the banana mixture.

Fill each liner 2/3 full with batter and bake for 20 minutes.

To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese for 5 minutes.  Add the vanilla and icing sugar and beat together for 2minutes, until smooth.

To make the dried pineapple flowers, preheat the oven to 225 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Remove the top, bottom and rind off a fresh pineapple.  Slice the pineapple into very thin rounds and place the rounds onto the parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 45 minutes, flip over the pineaplle rounds and bake for a further 30 minutes or until they are completely dry.  Place the driedpineapple rounds into muffin tins to form he flower shape and leave to cool overnight.

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Linked to: Couponing and Cooking, Create With Joy, Serendipity and Spice, Tutus and Tea Parties