Monday, March 25, 2013

Chicken Quinoa Stew with Butternut and Beans

This stew is delicious.  No other explanation is needed.
It is thick and hearty and I devoured the leftovers everyday for almost a week.

Chicken Quinoa Stew with Butternut and Beans
Recipe slightly modified from Cookin' Canuck

1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1/2" chunks
2 cans chicken broth
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken (thighs or breast), cooked and cubed/shredded
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can garbanzo beans
2/3 c. uncooked quinoa
salt and pepper to taste
chopped cilantro, to taste

Steam the squash until barely tender, about 10 minutes.
Remove half of the squash, setting aside.
Steam remaining squash until very tender, and mash with a fork to puree.

Soak quinoa in some water to help remove the outer bitter coating.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat oil and saute onions until translucent.
Season with salt, pepper, oregano and garlic, cooking for and additional minute.
Add tomatoes, broth, chicken, beans, butternut squash pieces and mashed butternut; stir to combine.

Drain quinoa and run under water to rinse completely.
Add quinoa to pot and bring to a simmer.
Cover and simmer on low until quinoa is cooked, about 15 minutes.
Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

Spoon into individual bowls and stir in cilantro, to taste.

Monday, March 18, 2013

German Muffin Pancakes

These delicious beauties are incredibly easy to make.  Served with any fresh fruit and a dusting of powdered sugar (or whip cream), these make for a great show stopper breakfast, with minimal effort.
We all loved them!

German Muffin Pancakes
Recipe from Real Mom Kitchen

1 c. milk
6 eggs
1 c. flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. butter, melted

Blend all ingredients (except for butter) in a blender.
Slowly add in melted butter to temper the eggs.
Grease 18 muffin tins and distribute batter evenly.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
They will rise significantly while baking, and then shrink back down once you take them out, creating perfect little 'craters' for you to fill with fruit.

We topped ours with fresh blackberries and raspberries, then dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with maple syrup, but these would be great with any combinations of fruit / toppings!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mint Chocolate Roll Cake

My oldest just turned 7.  SEVEN!  How did that sneak up on me so fast...
There were several debates on the cake.  The morning before the big day he finally decided on a #7 cake decorated with M&M's.
It was heavily persuaded upon him, but I think it turned out great!
I looked at this tutorial to see how to make any number out of a cake.
Then I noticed #7 needed a roll cake.  I had never made one of those before.
It was obviously more work than a regular 9x13, but nothing too hard.
The original idea came from Bakers Royal - her chocolate peppermint roll has been on my desserts pinboard forever.  I switched up the frosting a bit to make it less "Christmas-y", but otherwise followed directions exactly.

It was delicious!

Mint Chocolate Roll Cake

Chocolate Genoise Cake
Recipe from Martha Stewart

5 Tbsp. butter, plus more for parchment and pan
2/3 c. sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1/3 c. sifted cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
pinch baking soda
6 large eggs
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Butter a 10.5x15.5x1" jelly-roll pan.
Line pan with parchment; and butter and flour the paper, tapping out excess flour.

Sift flour, cocoa, and baking soda together twice into a medium bowl, and set aside.
In a medium glass bowl whisk together eggs and sugar.
Set bowl over a pan of simmering water; stir until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved, 3-4 minutes. 
Remove from heat, and beat on high speed until mixture is thick and pale and has TRIPLED in bulk and creates 'ribbons' when you move the beater around (this took FOREVER - at least 10 minutes).

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter.
Skim off white foam, if any.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In three additions, sift flour mixture over egg mixture, folding in gently with a spatula.
While folding in the last addition, dribble melted butter over the batter and fold in (pour in only the clear yellow butter - leave out and discard the white liquid butter on the bottom of the pan.

Spread batter evenly into the jelly-roll pan.
Tap pan on counter to remove air bubbles.

Bake until cake springs back when touched in center, 15-20 minutes.
Do not overbake or cake will crack.
Let sit in pan on a wire rack until cook enough to handle.

Once cooled, dust surface with cocoa powder.
Cover with a sheet of waxed paper, and top with a damp dish towel.
Invert onto a work surface, and peel off parchment, dusting that side with cocoa as well.
Starting from one long end, carefully roll up cake in towel.
Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Mint Buttercream Frosting
Recipe modified from Bakers Royal
12 Tbsp. butter
5 Tbsp. heavy cream
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
green food coloring
2-3 drops Peppermint essential oil (or peppermint extract to taste)

Place all ingredients except chips in a bowl and beat until smooth.
Fold in chocolate chips.

Chocolate Pouring Sauce
Recipe modified from Bakers Royal

1/3 c. milk chocolate chips
1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
1/4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
4-5 Tbsp. water, warm

Place chocolate chips and cream in microwave safe bowl and heat, stirring after 30 second intervals, until melted.
Add powdered sugar and mix to combine.
Add water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Set aside and let sauce cool to warm.

Unroll Genoise cake and spread filling evenly over everything.
Roll filled cake from end to end.
Trim ends as needed for a clean finish.

Divide M&M's into individual colors.
Place fully assembled roll on a serving plate.
Pour warm Chocolate sauce into a piping bag (or ziplock bag) with a small circle tip.
Squeeze a single line of chocolate dipping sauce on the cake, and arrange with one color of M&M's, squishing them into the chocolate sauce to hold them in place.
Continue steps above, until entire cake is coated.
The chocolate sauce will harden as it sets, but I was able to "frost" the entire cake before it hardened in my piping bag.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pork Tenderloin in Pan Drippings

This is a quick throw together meal that tastes great served with mashed potatoes and/or roasted veggies.  The pork turns out perfectly juicy and is complete with its own sauce!

Pork Tenderloin in Pan Drippings
Recipe and photo from Chef Mommy

1 - 2 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed of skin and fat

For Marinade:
1/2 c. olive oil
1/3 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. lemon juice, or juice of 1 lemon
1-2 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1-2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp. dry mustard
black pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

For Pan Drippings:
Pan scrapings from pork tenderloin
1/2 c. chicken broth
3 Tbsp. reserved marinade, thoroughly mixed
1-2 tsp. butter

Combine marinade ingredients and mix well.
Reserve 3 Tbsp. of the mixture.
Place pork tenderloin and marinade in a Ziplock bag and let marinate for at least 3-4 hours.

In a deep sided oven-proof skillet, sear each side of marinated tenderloin.
Place skillet in 350 degree oven, uncovered, and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until inside reaches 160 degrees.
Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Over medium heat, place skillet with all accumulated pan scrapings.
Add chicken broth, and scrape up all of the browned pieces from the bottom of the pan.
Add reserved marinade and bring to a boil.
Boil for 2-3 minutes, letting it reduce down.
Add butter and remove from heat, stirring until butter has melted.
Pour over sliced pork tenderloin.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas

I have a thing for pepperoni pizza right now.  This is a great knockoff when you are in a hurry.  I've found myself making these over and over again throughout the months for a quick and easy lunch.

Pepperoni Pizza Quesadillas
Recipe and photo from Snixy Kitchen

8 flour tortillas, cooked
2 c. mozzarella cheese
1/3 lb. pepperoni
2 c. pizza sauce

Heat a skillet over medium heat and fry pepperoni until crisp; transfer to paper towels to drain.
Brush one side of each tortilla with a thin layer of pizza sauce (so thin that if you turned it over, none would drip).
Sprinkle cheese on top of the sauce on the bottom tortilla.
Top with pepperoni.
Sprinkle with another layer of cheese, and place tortilla on top, sauce side down.
Lay quesadilla in skillet over medium heat and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, until cheese is melted and tortillas are crispy.
Slice into quarters and serve with additional sauce, if desired.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sweet Soy Soaked Salmon over Noodles

I decided I need to expose my children to fish.
The Mr. HATES fish.  Actually, I'm not sure that 'hate' is a strong enough word.  Needless to say, it hasn't been worth the argument, so I don't make it unless he is out of town.  Unless I forget.  Which is what usually happens.
But today, I remembered!  And I knew just the recipe I was going to use, because I had saved it for months and months, just waiting for the perfect opportunity.
It did not disappoint.  And all 3 of my non-fish eating kids ate it.  And I get to eat the leftovers tomorrow.  And that makes me happy...
Sweet Soy Soaked Salmon over Noodles
Recipe from Bake-aholic

4 1/4lb. salmon fillets
1/2 lb. spaghetti pasta
olive oil
6 Tbsp. soy sauce
3" piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (I used 1 tsp. powdered)
juice of 1 lime (2-3 Tbsp.)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 bundle broccolini (I used asparagus)
1 large carrot, grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
4 scallions, chopped
2 tsp. sugar
3/4 c. chicken broth

Combine soy sauce, ginger, lime juice and red pepper flakes.
Pour over fish in a shallow dish and marinate for 5 minutes.

Wash and cut vegetables and set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet with 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat.
Remove salmon from the marinade, reserving the marinade, and add to hot skillet.
Cook 3-4 minutes on each side, until just cooked through.
Remove salmon from skillet and tent with foil to keep it warm.

Wipe skillet out and return to stove with additional 2 Tbsp. olive oil.
Add the bell pepper, asparagus, grated carrot and garlic.
Cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.

Add the sugar to the reserved marinade, and pour into the skillet.
Add chicken broth and bring to a light boil; let simmer for 1 minute.

Add the cooked, drained pasta and the scallions; toss to combine.
Serve salmon over noodles.