Sunday, February 7, 2010

One Year in the Saddle!

This week my blog is turning one! It's hard to believe it has been a year. One year ago I have to say I was a little freaked out. Jer and I had both just gotten our hours cut at work by 30% and I honestly wasn't sure how we were going to get by. We hunkered down though and Jer was able to pick up more hours a second job that he had held on to. I put myself into full study mode to plow through the remainder of my registration exams and I started doing this.

Although I still feel like a baby blogger, I have learned so much about the medium and I am excited to see how this will evolve over the next year. So far, if I can just get back to posting regularly, things are looking pretty bright.

Last time I posted we were just beginning to reconstruct our bathroom. Well, it's taken a little longer than expected but I'm happy to say that were are almost back to having a fully functioning and beautiful bathroom. You will understand my absence when you see what we have been through...




You will have to wait until next week to see the results. You won't want to miss it!

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This recipe comes from Rachel Ray. I have mixed feelings about her and her food. I find that her recipes always need to be taken with a grain of salt, so to speak, because the amounts can sometimes be a little off. This is one I saw her making on her show quite a while ago and I put it on my ever growing "to make" list. It ended up being simple and flavorful, and it looks so pretty with all of the bright colors.

Honey Nut Chicken with BBQ Succotash
from Rachel Ray
makes four servings

For the Chicken:
2/3 cup honey roasted peanuts
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (I used Panko)
1 T grill seasoning blend
2 eggs
splash of whole milk
2 t hot sauce
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2-3 T vegetable oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pulse nuts, bread crumbs and grill seasoning in a food processor to combine. Pour onto a plate.
Beat eggs with milk and hot sauce in a shallow dish. Pour flour onto another plate.

Heat vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Dust both sides of the chicken with flour then dip into the egg mixture and coat with the nutty breading. Place in the pan and brown 2 minutes on each side until evenly light golden in color. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake until juices run clear and breasts are cooked through, 12-15 minutes.

For the Succotash:
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 14 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1o oz. frozen corn
kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
chives, parsley, scallions or cilantro for garnish (optional)

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and peppers and cook 5 minutes. Add beans and corn and season with salt and pepper to taste. When corn is heated through and BBQ sauce. Stir to combine and garnish if desired.

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This chowder has a long list of ingredients but they all play very nicely together. It is sort of a Northeast meets Southwest flavor combination.

Chicken and Corn Chowder with Chiles and Cheese
from Tasty Kitchen
makes 8 servings

3 slices bacon, chopped
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 green chiles (or 1 4oz. can) diced
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 14 oz. can creamed corn
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups skim (or 1%) milk
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 t cayenne pepper
kosher salt and black pepper

Cook the bacon in a large pot over medium heat until crispy. Remove and let drain on a paper towel. To the bacon drippings add the chicken, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the green chiles and cook an additional minute. Add the chicken broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add frozen corn and creamed corn and stir well.

Place flour in a medium bowl and gradually whisk in the milk. Add the flour flour mixture to the soup and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in the grated cheese and cayenne pepper. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish with crumbled bacon and grated cheese if desired.

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Lets just keep the chile theme going here a while. This is a Pioneer Woman creation and was as easy and delicious as she claimed it was.

Chile Relleno Casserole
from Pioneer Woman
makes 6-8 servings

8 whole green chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded
1 1 2/ cup grated Monteray Jack cheese
5 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix together eggs, milk, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne.

Cut chiles in half and place half of them in a single layer on the bottom of a heavy 9x13 baking dish. Top the chiles with half of the grated cheese. Repeat with another layer of chiles and cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the top. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until completely set.

Serve with warm corn tortillas.

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Now this is what I call a man meal. Every time I make something like this I get a "Good dinner, Honey." from Jer. His highest compliment. He is a man of few words.

Strip Steak with Rosemary and Garlic and Baked Potatoes
from Real Simple
makes 2 servings

2 russet potatoes
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 T fresh rosemary
1 T olive oil
1 1" thick strip steak
kosher salt and black pepper
sour cream

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and bake directly on the oven rack until tender, 45-55 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a shallow dish, combine the garlic, rosemary and oil. Add the steaks and turn to coat. Let marinate, turning once, for at least 30 minutes (up to 1 day in the refrigerator).

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. remove the steaks from the marinade (reserve the marinade) and season with 1/4 t each salt and pepper. Cook to desired doneness, 5-7 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Wipe out the skillet and return to medium heat. Add the reserved marinade and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is golden, 2-3 minutes. Spoon over the slices steak and serve with the potatoes and sour cream.

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This simple tomato sauce was simply perfect. It tasted like summer, and was even better on the second day. I still can't believe the incredibly simple list of ingredients.

Tomato Sauce
from Smitten Kitchen
makes four servings

28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes (she recommends San Marzano but I am not sure if they are available everywhere)
5 T unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
salt to taste

Put the tomatoes, onion and butter into a medium sized, heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot. Remove from heat, discard the onion and add salt to taste.

Serve with your choice of pasta. I used a thin, whole wheat spaghetti.

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2 comments:

Twila said...

I can't believe you're making us wait till next week to see the bathroom! If only I was cooking for two again, I could bide my time making those fabulous looking chile relleno things...

Pat said...

Thanks for reminding me of the relleno casserole. It is a much lower fat version of fried rellenos.
The chicken peanut bbq looks good, my favorite snack these days is sugared peanuts. I bought some of Orowheat's thin sandwich buns yesterday, so maybe I will try the recipe.
Looking forward to the beautiful bath pics.