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Stuffed Anaheim Peppers

DSC_4723 (1600x1060)The Anaheim peppers are doing great out on the patio and I needed to do something with them.  They seemed big enough for stuffing and a search for a recipe turned up this one.  She used mozzarella but I thought Monterey jack would work.  The six minute parboil worked fine.  Grill chicken breasts and shred them for the stuffing mix, the cream cheese acts as a binder.  I didn’t have any green onions, should have chopped some chives but didn’t.DSC_8674 (1600x1060)I wish I had shredded the chicken a little better but it worked out OK.  I had enough to stuff six peppers.  These went into a 375 oven and I looked at them after 15 minutes – there was just a hint of brown on an edge or two so I cranked the oven to 500 and kept a close watch, removing them after about 5 additional minutes.DSC_8683 (1600x1060)Her mole recipe would have been fine, I guess, but I know my ancho sauce recipe so I used it.  Simmer some dried ancho or similar chilies in a cup or two of water or broth and let them steep, then puree them with the liquid in a blender when they are cool.  I pushed mine through a sieve to remove any skin bits or seeds and poured it back into a saucepan.  In a skillet sweat half an onion with garlic, oregano, ground cumin, black pepper and salt then add to the chilies along with a splash of fresh lime juice and a tablespoon of tomato paste and simmer until thick.DSC_8675 (1600x1060)I plated them atop a bed of Spanish rice along with refried beans, guacamole, and sour cream.  DSC_8680 (1600x1060)These were very good!

 

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King’s Ranch Chicken Casserole

DSC_8545 (1600x1060)I’ve been seeing this dish around the web and it sounded good enough to give it a try.  There are scores of recipes for it but I’ve found the Allrecipes site is very good for placing reviews from real people who have modified the basic recipe to more suit their tastes and it’s worth your time to look at a few of them.  I followed the suggestions in the review that was rated the best positive review, the one that begins: “I grew up in Texas…”DSC_8542 (1600x1060)I didn’t have any bell peppers so I used a few of the green Anaheims from my patio garden.  The method of layering the ingredients and pouring the canned soups and tomato bits mixture over the top worked better than I was thinking it did when I pulled the casserole from the oven.  I was expecting the topping mixture to soak through more than it did, but I think it was the better for that.DSC_8546 (1600x1060)The veggies and chicken kept a lot of their own character rather than being a more homogeneous, undifferentiated, glop that would have been the result if the soup mix had been layered in as well.  I’d also note that the chili powder mixed in with the shredded cheddar added to the eye appeal.  I think adding different veggies to this same general recipe would be interesting.  I’m thinking beans or maybe corn.  Hominy?

Friday Recipe Exchange: 4th of July Cookout Ideas

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Since the 4th of July is barreling toward us, I thought I should get some ideas together. This is absolutely my favorite holiday. Food, fireworks and friends, what could be better?  So let’s jump  right into the food portion of our festivities.

These are quick and easy ribs if you don’t want to do the smoke for the whole day style, the citrus glaze is the star of this recipe: Baby Back Ribs with Citrus Glaze (recipe here).

Buttermilk Pie (click here) will get all the ooo’s and aaahhh’s, until the fireworks anyway. As pretty as it is tasty.

JeffreyW makes a Classic Orange/Lemon Shakeup (pictured above and recipe here)

And for a different take on cucumber salad, how about Minted Cucumbers, (recipe here).

Hopefully that will give you some ideas for your own July 4th celebration. What’s on your menu for this weekend and for the holiday? What are your favorite recipes for the celebration? We always have to leave room for the funnel cake at the fireworks. Hit the comments to share your recipes and what you like to do on the 4th.

Tonight’s featured recipe is one I made a few years ago on a whim, inspired by a recipe I didn’t follow for various reasons, and I get requests for it every July 4th now. Because it’s a kabob style, it’s a bit labor intensive, but you can prepare all of it the day before. If you want your chicken even drunker, you can soak it in the extra bourbon overnight.

Drunken Chicken 1

Grilled Bourbon Chicken Appetizers

12  servings

  • 1- 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  •  1/4 cup chopped Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  •  1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Bourbon whisky (how much you use and what you do with the leftover is between you and your bottle)
  • 8 oz pineapple chunks
  • 12 strips of sliced bacon (should be a pound)
  • 12 short wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes before assembling and grilling*

Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch x 2-inch cubes, you should have 36 pieces (you can soak in bourbon if you like)

Mix together Chipotle peppers, brown sugar, cayenne pepper and add enough whisky and pineapple juice to make a thick sauce. Cover chicken cubes on all side with sauce and let marinate for at least 1 hour.

To assemble: Start with a pineapple chunk, add one end of full bacon strip, add chicken cube, then wrap bacon around the top of the cube and skewer, add another cube of chicken, wrap bacon around the bottom of that piece of chicken, then skewer, add a third and repeat with the bacon strip, you’re creating a ribbon with the bacon. Finish with a pineapple chunk.

(And I wish I had a photo of that step for you, but we got so busy doing them, I forgot to get the camera out. When I make them this year, I’ll remember, promise. I barely got a finished picture, had to grab someone’s plate before they started munching).

Grill over medium high heat (if using coals, start over hot coals, then move away from direct heat for the remainder of cooking time), turning frequently. Cook until chicken is 160-165 degrees. Shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes, don’t overcook or you’ll have dry, rubbery appetizers. Serve hot.

*please don’t forget this step or all you’ll have for appetizers is flaming skewers.

That’s it for this week. There won’t be a recipe exchange next week. And if you missed it, this week’s complete dinner menu and shop list is Pork Stir-fry and Tangy Lemon Pie (click here).  Have a safe and happy 4th! – TaMara

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Fireworks2

Chicken Enchiladas

DSC_8441 (1600x1060)These have chicken, sour cream, salsa verde, and Monterey jack.  I was fooled by the packaging on the tortillas – they said yellow corn tortillas in the big print but the smaller line indicated they were a blend of corn and wheat flours.  They did hold up better to handling than the 100% corn variety and didn’t taste bad.  Still…DSC_8443 (1600x1060)I poured a layer of tomatilla salsa in the casserole bottom and laid the rolled up enchiladas over that, and then spooned on a salsa verde and sprinkled more cheese.  The dish baked in a 400 oven for 20 minutes or so.DSC_8445 (1600x1060)I garnished it with cotilla cheese and some jalapeno slices.  Each plate got a pair of enchiladas and a daub each of refried beans. guacamole, and pico de gallo.  I cut the leftover tortillas into wedges and fried them in oil until they browned and sprinkled them with kosher salt.DSC_8449 (1600x1060)The guac is simply mashed avocado with a dash of lime juice and a pinch of salt.  The pico is diced onion, tomato, and chopped parsley because boo tastes like soap cilantro.  I has a splash of lime juice as well.DSC_8448 (1600x1060)

Friday Dinner Exchange: Holiday Weekend Grilling

Stuffed Burger Uncut Snap

I have a four day weekend and most of it is supposed to be wild and windy weather, so  grilling will most likely have to wait. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have  grilling recipes. These all seem to be favorites based on comments, views and requests.

First up, the basics of grilling a good steak are here.

Next is one of my most requested recipes in the summer, Steak with Coffee Rub (click here). There is an entire dinner menu and shopping list at the link.

There are nine different hamburger recipes here, including Stuffed Burgers (pictured above) and veggie Black Bean Cheddar Burgers.

And finally, a few grilled chicken recipes, including Sunrise Chicken and Fruit Juice Marinated Chicken are at this link.

What’s on your menu for the weekend? Staying home or hitting the road? What are some of your favorite grilling recipes? Hit the comments and share. Be safe this holiday weekend, and don’t forget to thank a vet.

Tonight’s featured recipe is one of my favorites, because, well, blueberries!

Grilled Sirloin with Spicy Blueberry Sauce

  •  2 cups frozen wild blueberries (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup sugar + 1 tbsp
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you want it)
  • pinch of chili powder
  • 1 lb Sirloin, cut into 4 pieces
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Saucepan and small bowl

Run still frozen blueberries through a food processor until finely chopped.  Add all ingredients to a small saucepan on low heat until the blueberries melt and give you enough water to bring to a boil without scorching.  Boil for 1 minute or so, stirring constantly until liquid is reduced by half.  Let simmer on low, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the rest of dinner.

Broil or grill sirloin until cooked according to your preference, if you can, sear the outside so it’s really crispy on the outside.  It works well if you coat the steak with lots of ground pepper on the outside as well.  Once the sirloin is done, place two tablespoons of blueberry sauce on the plate, place steak on the sauce then top with more sauce.  Place remaining sauce in a small bowl and serve with meal.  Goes great with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed zucchini.

That’s it for this week. If you missed it, I did post the Blueberry Upside Down Cake photos and recipe here. Later this weekend, I will finally have my gadget review for my robot “butler”.  Have a great holiday weekend – TaMara

 

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Chicken Dumplings

DSC_8372 (1600x1060)I found a frozen block of turkey broth while rummaging through the big box and dragged it out.  I added more broth and a few more chicken thighs, tossed in some veggies and a bag of dumplings that have been in the freezer since I can’t remember when.  It all simmered for a good while but the dumplings never did get quite right, they’ll be better tomorrow when they have had more time to soak.

Pizza Pr0n – Roasted Garlic White Cheese Sauce

DSC_8301 (1600x1060)These may be my favorite pizzas.  For today, anyway.  I roasted three heads of garlic and squeezed them into the white sauce along with fresh grated pecorino.  The dough used up 3-1/4 cups of bread flour so there was plenty for a 14″ pie.  The edges puff up so that they are like soft pretzels, especially when they are brushed with butter and sprinkled with kosher salt.  I rolled string style mozzarella into the edge to make it a cheese crust.  I gave the crust five minutes in a 400 oven before I added the toppings.  I’ve done it both ways, par-baked and not, and I have yet to decide which method works the best, my practice hasn’t really been rigorous enough and the time between pies is playing a role.DSC_8311 (1600x1060)I par-boiled the broccoli for a couple of minutes and cooled it in running water prior to assembling the pie, the chicken was sauteed to just barely done as well.  The completed pie baked for about 12 minutes then finished under the broiler until it looked good enough.  I like to see a little crust on the cheese topping and the edge should be browned nicely.  Let the finished pie sit for a few minutes before slicing to give the cheese time to settle a bit.DSC_8309 (1600x1060)I have to wait to get my slice to the plate before I can add the red pepper flakes.  I usually give it a grind of black pepper, too.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Risotto

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I’m neck deep in painting a porch glider before the weekend rains come, so this will be quick tonight. When JeffreyW posted the photo above, I knew I wanted to try the recipe, so it became the featured recipe tonight.

He also posted this delicious recipe this week: Moroccan Spicy Lamb Soup, pictures and recipe here.

And earlier this week, I made one of my favorite pasta dishes, Pasticcio, full dinner menu, recipes and shopping list here.

It’s meager offerings, so spice things up and share some of your favorite recipes in the comments. You know what I’m doing this weekend, what’s on your to-do list? And if I missed a recipe step in my haste, let me know in the comments and I’ll fix it.

For tonight’s featured recipe:

From JeffreyW:

I’m on a chicken recipe spree!  At least until I run out of chicken breasts, anyway.  This recipe from Emeril Lagasse looked pretty good, with the added bonus of  the side dish calling for the truffle oil that rounded out a recent online order I placed a while back and was looking for a place to use.

I didn’t have the proper arborio rice so I used the  jasmine variety that I do keep on hand and has worked for me before.  Instead of Parmesan I used fresh grated pecorino.  The mushrooms were the usual supermarket white buttons, nothing fancy.  I think I can take or leave the truffle oil, it not adding any particular enjoyment for me but I’ll wait a while and try it elsewhere before I make up my mind.

The goat cheese filling worked very well, every time I made a cut a little more oozed out and was quickly mopped up.  I used a lot more garlic than the recipe wanted.

Adapted from Emeril:

Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

  • 4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 3 ounces goat cheese
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced chives
  • 1 teaspoon minced parsley leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon  cajun spice mix or Emeril’s Essence
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/4 cup clarified butter or vegetable oil
  • Mushroom Risotto, recipe follows, if desired
  • Julienned carrots, accompaniment, recipe follows
  • Chopped fresh parsley, garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

With a chicken breast flat on a cutting board, using a sharp knife, about 1/3 of the way down the thick side, cut a deep pocket horizontally into the center of the meat about 3/4 of the way down, being careful not to cut through to the other side. (The pocket will be about 2 1/2 inches long and 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep.) Repeat with the remaining breasts. Wash hands well.

In a small bowl, mash together the goat cheese, butter, chives, parsley, thyme, lemon juice and garlic. Season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Divide into 4 equal pieces and form plugs to fit inside the chicken breasts. Insert 1 into each breast and press the edges of chicken meat to seal. Lightly season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

In a large shallow bowl, combine the flour and the Essence. In another bowl, beat the egg with the water.

One at a time, lightly dust the chicken on both sides with the flour, then dip in the egg, shaking to remove any excess. Place again in the flour and turn to completely coat, shaking to remove any excess. Set aside.

In a large, oven-proof skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Arrange the risotto in the center of 4 plates and place the chicken to the side. Arrange the carrots along the bottom of the plates, and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.

Mushroom Risotto

  • 5 to 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 12 ounces assorted mushrooms washed, thinly sliced,
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup fresh grated pecorino.
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons truffle oil, optional
  • 4 ounces prosciutto or Serrano ham, thinly sliced

In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to very low to keep hot.

In a large heavy saucepan, heat the oil and melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook, stirring until fragrant and soft, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until wilted and their liquid is evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until the grains are opaque, about 1 minute. Stir in the thyme. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until nearly all evaporated. Add 3/4 cup of the stock, the salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until the stock is nearly all evaporated. Continue adding more stock 1/2 cup at a time as the previous addition is nearly absorbed, until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy, 18 to 20 minutes. Stir in cream, 1/2 cup of the cheese, and the parsley and mix well.

Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste. If desired, stir in truffle oil to taste.

Serve immediately, topping each portion with a sprinkling of the remaining cheese and ham.

Dinner Menu: Hot Orange Chicken, Potato Wedges and Mocha Cake

Potato Wedges1a

As promised, this week’s menu. Kind of hodge-podge. I love spicy, citrus flavored chicken and this one is quick and easy. The potato wedges are a breeze and the Mocha Cake is the simplest chocolate cake to make, a cousin to yummy Lava cake.  Enjoy.

  1. Hot Orange Chicken
  2. Potato Wedges
  3. Tossed Salad w/Pineapple chunks
  4. Mocha Cake

Hot Orange Chicken

  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sage
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander (cilantro)
  • ¼ tsp orange zest
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded*
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

bowl

skillet or wok

Mix the first 6 spices in bowl and rub chicken with it.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Heat oil in skillet or wok over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook until golden on all sides (5 minutes).  Add water, cornstarch, lemon and orange juice and let simmer 7 to 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken, keep warm.  Bring liquid to a boil, cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until reduced by half.  Spoon over chicken and serve.

Potato Wedges – easy to do, quarter potatoes, rub with olive oil, salt and place in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 425° until tender.

Mocha Cake

  • 1 cup flourMocha6b
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

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  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup very hot coffee (see notes)

8×8 inch baking dish

Preheat oven to 350°

Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt.  Combine milk, oil and vanilla, mix well and add to flour mixture.  Stir well.  Pour batter into baking dish.  Combine sugar and cocoa (from bottom list) and sprinkle over batter.  Pour hot coffee over batter – DO NOT stir.  Bake for 30 minutes or until center springs back when touched.

NOTE: if you don’t want to use coffee, use boiling water. If you want stronger coffee flavor you can use ½ cup hot espresso and ½ cup boiling water.

Lo Mein Pr0n – with Chicken and Shrimp

DSC_8166 (1600x1060)Wikipedia tells me that “lo mein” translates from the Cantonese to “stirred noodles”.  This dish had chicken breast chunks and shrimp with broccoli, onions, and carrots along with rehydrated mushrooms that I bought dried.  I’ve learned to simmer them for at least an hour before they are anywhere near tender enough to eat, and don’t try to save the stems.  I simmered these with the dried cayenne peppers, and used the broth from that in making the brown sauce.  I ran across a good discussion of brown sauces here.  Mine has dark soy, oyster sauce, Chinese cooking wine, chicken paste in that mushroom stock, a little chili paste, tamari, and a lot of garlic.  I sweeten ours with Splenda but sugar is more common.

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