Saturday, September 27, 2008

Grilled Alaska Salmon Marinade

I love Salmon!!  This marinade is a perfect combination of sweet and spice.  Don't let the Red Pepper Flakes fool you, for the vinegar and sugar provide a perfect balance.  

The key is letting the Salmon marinade overnight.  Salmon is so easy to prepare.  I use a grill pan, lightly oiled.  Grill about 6 minutes on one side, and 4 on the other.   

Grilled Alaska Salmon Marinade
1/2 cup peanut oil (olive oil can be substituted)
4 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp green onions, chopped
3 tsp brown sugar
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt

Place salmon in a medium, non porous glass dish.  In a separate bowl, combine all other ingredients and whisk together.  Pour over salmon, cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.  Prepare salmon to your liking by grill or oven.  

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mushroom Risotto

Needless to say, it's been a while since I've blogged.  Hubby and I have been on a serious diet getting ready for our Italy trip, and well, taking pictures of my Healthy Choice meals would definitely not be appetizing to you.  

So, tonight I decided to conquer a Risotto recipe that I've had for quite some time.  Everyone thinks Risotto is difficult to make.  Actually, it is very easy, just time consuming.  I can tell you though, it is SO worth the time.  Pair it up with your favorite steak, fish, chicken and some wine and WALLA, you have an elegant meal.  

First you start up the mushrooms sauteed in a little Olive oil.  

Now I must say, I could just stop right here, eat um right out of the pan, and be done with it.  But, for the sake of the recipe, I'll stick it out.  

Now, you spoon out the mushrooms, add a little more olive oil, enter the shallots and garlic.  

Once those are tender, add the rice and saute a few minutes.  Meanwhile, warm your chicken broth on low heat.  Next, you will add your wine.  (this is the lengthy part) You must keep stirring until the rice has absorbed the wine.  Then, you will add your broth 1/2 cup at a time, until absorbed, repeat until broth has all been used.  You have to keep stirring the whole time.  This takes about 15-20 minutes.  

Next, you want to prepare your chives and fresh parmesan cheese.  Fresh is so much better and makes such a difference in your dish.  

Just dump everything in your rice, (mushrooms, parmesan, chives, butter and a little salt and fresh ground pepper to taste, and there you have it.  

Plate it up and gulp it down like you've been on a diet forever.  Wait.....I've been on a diet forever.  Hope you enjoy!!!

Mushroom Risotto
6 cups Chicken Broth
3 tbsp Olive Oil
2 pkgs Portobello Mushooms, thinly sliced
1 pkg white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 shallots, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
kosher or sea salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste
3 tbsp finely chopped chives
4 tbsp butter
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.  
Warm 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir in mushrooms, and cook until soft. (about 3 minutes).  Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside. 
Add 1 tbsp olive oil to skillet, and stir in shallots and garlic.  Cook 1 minute.  Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes.  When the rice becomes a golden brown color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed.  Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, stir until absorbed.  Continue adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously until the liquid is absorbed.  (about 15-20 minutes)
Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives and parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Black & White Cookies

This recipe came from a Chocolate book my husband got me for Christmas. He keeps asking me when I was going to make something from it, so today was the day.

These cookies weren't your normal soft chewy cookies. They were thin, crisp and not overly sweet. They may have lacked the sweetness due to the recipe calling for bittersweet chocolate, which I didn't have on hand. I used semisweet chocolate. They are nice and Rustic, though. Not my type of cookie, for I like the thick, chewy, very sweet type.

Black & White Cookies

2 squares Bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 egg

3/4 cup superfine sugar

1/4 cup corn oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp confectioners sugar

milk chocolate chips

white chocolate chips

Melt the bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Remove from the heat and let cool. Sift the flour and baking powder together.

Meanwhile in a large bowl, whisk the egg, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract together. Whisk in the cooled chocolate until well blended, then gradually stir in the flour. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 375. Oil 2-large cookie sheets. Shape tablespoonfuls of the mixture into log shapes using your hands, each measuring about 2 inches. Roll the logs generously in the confectioners sugar, then place on the prepared cookie sheets, allowing room for the cookies to spread during cooking.

Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 15 minutes., or until firm. Remove from the oven, and place 3 chocolate chips down the center of each, alternating the colors. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Giandua Souffle

This is my first attempt at a Souffle!! I've never understood what all the hype was about it......that is until now. Every now and then, I watch Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network Channel. I've seen the episode with this souffle on several occasions, so I finally decided to make it.

It has this wonderful chocolate hazelnut filling on the inside that just melts in your mouth. See the chocolate surprise....

It wasn't as hard to make as I thought. Give it a try, it will definitely impress anyone you make it for.

Giandua Souffle

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sugar, plus 1/4 cup
1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur (recommended: Frangelico)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 ounces milk chocolate, chopped, plus 6 ounces chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
Pinch salt
4 eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 375 degree F. Butter and sugar 6 (6-ounce) ramekins.

Heat the butter, 1 tablespoon sugar, hazelnut liqueur, and vanilla in a double boiler over medium heat until the butter melts. Remove the butter mixture from the heat, add the chocolate, and let sit until it melts, about 3 minutes. Place the chocolate mixture in a pie dish and place in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up. Use a spoon to form the chilled mixture into 6 evenly-sized balls about the size of a walnut. Reserve in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, place the flour in a double boiler and slowly whisk in the milk. Add the salt. Heat the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly until thick, about 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks and continue to whisk constantly. The mixture will thicken to the consistency of mayonnaise in another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat. Stir in the 6 ounces of chocolate and set aside to let the chocolate melt.

Place the egg whites in a large bowl with the cream of tartar. Using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites until soft peaks. Gradually add in the 1/4 cup sugar and continue whipping until firm peaks. Fold the egg whites into the warm chocolate mixture.

Place a ball of the chilled chocolate mixture in each of the ramekins. Spoon the souffle mixture over the chocolate balls and up to the rim of the ramekins. (At this point the souffle can be covered and kept refrigerated for 2 days.)

Place the ramekins in a hot water bath and bake until golden on top and the souffle has risen, about 30 minutes (40 minutes if refrigerated). Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Secret Fall off the Bone Ribs

I guess if I post it, it's not a secret anymore!!! DH has been begging me to make these, so today it was. It's a gloomy day outside, but it felt like a great summer meal. Ribs, potato salad, and a chocolate souffle for desert. (potato salad and souffle will be posted this week!!)
I've only given this recipe out to one person......until today. What good is a secret recipe anyways!!
Living in Texas for 8 years now, we've tried every rib there is to try. This one absolutely does fall off the bone. The combination of slow cooking in the oven, with grilling makes it the most tender delicious rib.

Secret Baby Back Ribs
It starts out with a dry rub:
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup ground black pepper
1/4 cup paprika
1/8 cup garlic powder

Now, it sounds like a lot of seasonings, but this is enough for 4-5 meals. So, once you mix, seal tight in an airtight container.

Go ahead and cut your baby back ribs into serving size portions, cause we're gonna give each one their own TLC. Also, tear off enough aluminum foil to be able to wrap them loosely once you've seasoned them. I use the non stick foil. If you don't, make sure to spray the inside with non stick cooking spray.
Rub both sides of your ribs generously with the dry rub.

Take your favorite BBQ sauce (in my opinion, Sweet Baby Rays Honey is the best!) and baste over your dry rub, leaving the fatty side of the rib up.

Once all your servings have been seasoned and basted, wrap each serving size loosely and put in a baking pan. Put in the refrigerator and marinate overnight.

Cook at 275 for 3 1/2 hours. Preheat your grill and oil to prevent the ribs from sticking.
Carefully take the ribs out with tongs and put fatty side down on grill. (this part will only take a few minutes)

Baste the meat side with some of the sauce from the foil packets then flip over. Remove and let set 5 minutes before serving.

Pass the paper towels and enjoy!!!!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pizza Pie

This is a recipe I've not tried before. It's from the Silver Palate Cookbook. It features your typical pizza ingredients - sausages, mushrooms, and tomato sauce - baked together under a pizza crust. It's very simple, and you can definitely adjust the ingredients to what you like. We almost thought of it as a pizza lasagna.

Pizza Pot Pie (adapted from the Silver Palate)

1 lb sweet Italian sausage, in 1 inch pieces
1 lb hot Italian sausage, in 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup slices portabella mushrooms
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 eggs
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
Pizza Dough (I used the refrigerated can type)

Preheat oven to 350.
In a heavy skillet saute the sausages, mushrooms and onion until brown. Drain well and transfer to a bowl. Stir the tomato sauce into the sausages and reserve.

Mix the ricotta, Parmigiano, parsley, oregano, 1 egg and pepper.

In an ovenproof dish, (about 9x13) spread half of the sausage mixture. Dot this with half of the ricotta mixture and sprinkle 1 cup of the mozzarella evenly over the entire surface. Repeat.

Roll out the pizza dough until the dough is about 1 inch larger than the baking dish all the way around. Transfer to the top of the pizza and tuck in the excess all around. Beat the remaining egg with 1 tbsp water and brush some of it on top of the crust.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. Let the pizza stand for 30 minutes befor cutting.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Chinese Salad

This one is very simple, but very good. The dressing is lite....but the crunchies put the salad over the top. I've had many different versions, but this one is our favorite.

If we have it by itself, I usually chop up some grilled chicken or bake some chicken tenderloins, chop them up and throw them in. Leftovers are not good....the crunchies lose their crunch.

Chinese Salad

1 pkg shredded cabbage
1-3oz pkg ramen noodles
6 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/8 cup white sugar

Crush noodles, place them in a medium skillet and brown in butter over medium heat. Add almonds and sesame seeds. Stir often to prevent burning. Add seasoning mix from noodles and cool. Toss in a large bowl with cabbage and onions.

Prepare the dressing by whisking together the vegetable oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Pour over salad, toss and serve.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Smores Galore!!

Some time ago, I wrote this recipe down in my notebook from the internet. I have a very bad habit of filling my notebook with recipes, but never trying them. So, I pulled this one out this week and it proved to be a winner. Very easy to make, but definitely satifies that sweet tooth gooey chocolate craving.

This will absolutely be a keeper!!!

Smores Bars

8 -10 whole graham crackers
1 pkg fudge brownie mix
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
2/3 cups peanuts (optional, I left these out)

Arrange crackers in a single layer in a greased 9x13 pan. Prepare brownies according to directions adding 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. ( I coat the chips in a small amount of flour. This keeps the chips from dropping to the bottom of the batter). Spread batter over crackers.

Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350. Sprinke with marshmallows, chips and peanuts. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until marshmallows are slightly puffed and golden brown. Cool before cutting.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Twist on Eggrolls

These eggrolls are not your typical eggrolls. They are Southwest Eggrolls. I love anything with Cumin in it. I'm not a vegetable eater at all, but there's something about these. It just doesn't seem like veggies in it!!

I don't make these too often, cause it is a little lengthy process, but they are so worth it. You can double the recipe, freeze, and bake just as needed. Also, you can fry them, however, we like them just baked. (a little healthier too!!)

Southwest Eggrolls

4 tbsp olive oil
2 boneless chicken breasts
4 tbsp minced green onion
4 tbsp minced red pepper
2/3 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed & drained
4 tbsp spinach
4 tbsp green chilies
2 tbsp cilantro, minced
3 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese
6" tortillas

Dice chicken breasts into very small pieces and saute in olive oil. Add minced onions and red pepper. Saute for 5 minutes.

Add corn, black beans, spinach, chilies, cilantro and seasonings. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat & stir in cheese until melted.

Spoon even amounts into tortillas & wrap. (I put an egg wash at the end of the tortillas to make sure they adhere). Put on sprayed baking sheet seam side down. I brush melted butter on the top of the eggrolls to give good flavor and to brown even. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes keeping an eye after 10 minutes.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Ultimate Lemon Cake

This, my friends, is the BEST Lemon Cake ever. It is adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook. I've tried both her original version (this one), and her yogurt one. The yogurt cake is good, however, no comparison in texture to the original.

The secret to the cake is spooning a lemon sugar syrup over the cake right out of the oven. This soaks into the cake, keeps it moist, gives it that over the top lemon flavor, and makes it melt in your mouth.

Lemon Cake (adapted from Ina Garten)

1 1/2 lb unsalted butter (at room room temp)
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 XL eggs, room temp
1/3 cup grated lemon zest (about 6-8 lemons)
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Glaze
2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
3 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the bottom of two loaf pans.
Cream the butter and 2 cups of granulated sugar in the bowl with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, and the lemon zest.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the butter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. (I start watching it after 30 minutes to be safe).
Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10 minutes, then invert them onto a cooling rack set over a tray, and spoon the lemon syrup over the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a bowl, mising with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the top of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sinful Eclair

I'm unsure where I acquired this simple, sinful recipe, however, I am quite sure that this is the most requested by my husband anytime he has a sweet tooth. It is so rich, but irresistable. It's by far the easiest dessert to whip up. The hardest part is waiting the 6-7 hours to let it sit and meld before serving.

Chocolate Eclair

2 pkgs Graham Crackers
2 3oz boxes vanilla instant pudding
2 cups milk
1 can Sweetened Condensed milk
8 oz cool whip
1 16oz tub chocolate frosting

Line the bottom of a 9x13 glass pan with graham crackers.

In a large bowl, combine pudding mix, condensed milk and milk with a hand mixer until smooth. (approx 2 minutes). Let sit in refrigerator 5 minutes and fold in cool whip.

Spread 1/2 of pudding mixture over graham crackers. Top with another layer of graham crackers. Spread remaining pudding mixture, and top with final layer of graham crackers.

Spread frosting over the top layer of graham crackers. I melt this in its tub in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir and then pour.

Make sure you let this set 6-7 hours in the fridge prior to serving. (this softens the graham crackers).

Perfect Roasted Chicken

This is by far our favorite Roasted Chicken. It's simple, elegant, and bursting full of flavor. I can tell you that I've tried many recipes, but this one I go back to EVERY time. The chicken will baste from the inside out!! It's from Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Only 4 ingredients. I think you will love it too!!

(I'm new with the food photography...feel free to leave comments and critique or give advice!!)

Lemon Roasted Chicken

1 3-4 lb Whole Roasting Chicken
2 small lemons
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Wash chicken thoroughly, sit at a tilt for 10 minutes and let excess water drain. Pat dry with paper towels. Remove the hanging fat. (sounds gross, doesn't it).

Sprinkle a generous amount of salt & pepper on the inside and outside of the chicken. Wash the lemons and dry with a paper towel. Soften lemons by rolling them back and forth on the counter with the palm of your hand. Puncture each lemon with a round sturdy toothpick at least 20 times.

Place both lemons in the cavity. Close cavity well and secure it with toothpicks. (close it well) Tie the legs together with kitchen string. (I used twine didn't hurt)

Place the chicken in a roasting pan, breast side down. Do not add any fat, this is a self basting process and the chicken will not stick to the pan. Cook for 30 minutes, turn, trying not to puncture the skin. If kept intact, the chicken will swell. (don't worry, if it doesn't, the flavor won't be afftected.

Cook another 30-35 minutes. Turn the heat up to 400, and cook an additional 20 minutes.

Let the chicken rest approx 15 minutes. The juices are absolutely delicious!! You can spoon it over the chicken slices.