January 25, 2009

Chrystal's Chicken Curry

I. Love. Curry.

This recipe definitely cured my craving for #19 Royal Thai Curry at Royal Thai on Greenville. Oh man!! I can't believe I actually made something very similar to one of my favorite dishes. And I must say that I did it without a recipe so this is my own made up version. I checked a few recipes online just to check to see if there was something major I needed that I didn't have then I went for it.

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders
1 medium onion, quartered into chunks
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper
5 green onions, chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled, quartered
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 can (14.5) chicken broth
2 tbsp curry powder
olive oil
2 cups basmati rice (cooked as directed on package)

Coat a big skillet or dutch oven with olive oil. Place chicken breasts or tenders in pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan to cool then shred into bite size pieces. Add a little more olive oil to pan then throw in the onion and garlic. Saute for 4-5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Pour in chicken broth and add bell pepper, green onions and potatoes to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, scrape bottom of pan to get all the stuff stuck on the bottom of the pan and stir everything together. Add chicken and curry powder and stir well incorporate powder evenly. Bring to a boil and then cover; Reduce heat to low-medium and let simmer for 10 minutes. Then spoon out about a tablespoon or two of the juice from pan to a small cup. Then add the heaving whipping cream and stir. Then add to pan and stir well to incorporate the cream. Let simmer for another 5 minutes. ** This dish is like a stew so it will be a little soupy. If you want it a little thicker, spoon some of the juice in a small cup with about 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a and stir into the pan. Serve over the basmati rice.

Andes Mint Chunk Cookies

I use to not have the appreciation of chocolate and mint together. I started to love the combo when I had an Andes Mint. hmmmm I tried out some cookies using a package I found in the baking section of Andes baking chips. I knew they just HAD to be good. Sure enough... they are. These cookies probably disappeared faster than any I've made recently. My husband must approve of their deliciousness.

Please note that most baking recipes call for unsalted butter. This one, however, calls for salted. So make sure to get that for extra flavor. I used the unsalted but I could kind of tell it was missing something. It probably won't make a huge difference but just wanted to point that out.

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 pkg (10 oz) Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips (or you can chop up a package of the Andes chocolate mints)
2 2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Blend butter and sugars until incorporated. Add vanilla and eggs and blend well. Then add baking soda and baking powder. Stir in the baking chips and then the flour. Chill for approximately one hour in the fridge. Using cookie scoop, make balls of dough. You can probably use scoop for uniform size but you can roll in hands to form balls as the dough may be a little crumbly. Put balls of dough on non-stick baking sheets and slightly flatten with fingers. Raise the oven rack one level above middle. bake at 350 for approximately 8-10 minutes. Cool on pans for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Hamburger Steak with Carmelized Onions

Another healthy meal from the Weight Watchers book. It was good but too vinegary for my taste. Chris enjoyed it. So if you like balsamic vinegar you'll love this recipe. It's really simple and healthy.

**WW Points - 4 pts per serving (serving 1 patty and about 1/3 cup of onion mixture)

1 lb ground sirloin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup beef consomme
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Combine sirloin, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning in a small bowl. Shape into 4 (1/2 inch thick) patties. Heat a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties; cook 3-4 min on each side or until browned. Transfer patties to a plate.

Add onion to pan and saute for about 4 minutes. Return patties to pan. Combine consomme and balsamic vinegar; pour over onions and patties. Bring mixture to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes or until meat is done. Serve with vegetables of your choice.

January 14, 2009

Greek Pockets

I've seen the filling recipe on other blogs as Feta Salsa. You can just use it as a dip and put it on crackers, melba toasts or even put it on a bed of greens for a tasty salad. I thought I'd just put it in crescent rolls like a pocket and try it out. They turn out really nice. I love how flavorful they were and light. It's really not that bad for you so 1 pocket could be a healthy dinner or lunch.

4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
About 6 sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
2 tsp dried dill
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
2 scallions, chopped thin
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried basil (optional for crust to give flavor)
1 can crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Gently stir all ingredients together in a small bowl. Place crescent rolls on lightly greased baking pan. Make 4 rectangles and push together seams. Place a generous mound of filling in the center of each rectangle. I'd say about 2-3 tablespoons. Fold sides over to create a pocket. Pinch ends down on top and bottom so filling doesn't spill out. Lightly push mound down to evenly distribute filling through out pocket. Sprinkle a little dried basil over each pocket for color and flavor. Bake for about 12 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Makes 4 pockets.

Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce

I found this recipe on a winery site that sounded delicious. It was created by their executive chef. I changed it up a bit. I brought out the nice dinner plates and lit candles for this one. I hope you enjoy it!

4 center cut pork chops, 1 1/2 - 2 inches thick (I used them on a bone for flavor, you can use boneless if you wish)

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup white wine

14 oz. chicken broth

3 tbsp stone ground mustard

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tsp dried dill

In a large saute pan add olive oil over med-high heat. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and add to the saute pan. Cook for 5 minutes on each side or until brown. Add the white wine, let reduce to a glaze. Then add the chicken broth and cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the chops from the pan to a plate and cover. Turn up the heat and add the mustard, garlic and dill then boil for a minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Optional: You can add a tablespoon of butter to enrich the sauce. If you want it thicker, mix 1/2 cup of the sauce with a tablespoon of cornstarch. Whisk into pan until creamy.

Serve with noodles, wild rice or steamed vegetables. The sauce is really good so you'll want to mop it up with something.

January 12, 2009

Mexican Chili

This is the first recipe I've tried out of our new Weight Watchers cookbook. We really enjoyed it. It was very easy and fast. Perfect for a weeknight meal when you don't have much time.

Mexican Chili

Prep time: 3 minutes Cook Time: 12 minutes

1 lb ground round
1 small onion, chopped
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes with garlic, undrained
1 (15-oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup hot water
2 tbsp chili powder
1 oz semi sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Cook beef and onion in a large saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until beef is browned. Drain, if necessary. Add tomatoes and remaining ingredients; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Makes 6-one cup servings.

January 11, 2009

Tuna Noodle Casserole

This is one of our favorite dishes. I make it a lot and we never get tired of it. Sometimes it's our lunch and dinner the following day. Other times it doesn't make it that long. This is the healthy version too so if you're looking for something low-fat it's perfect.

Tuna Noodle Casserole

12 oz uncooked egg noodles
12 oz water-packed tuna, drained
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
16 oz. fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup fat-free mayo
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp parsley, fresh chopped (dried is fine)
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook noodles according to the package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Fold in tuna, corn and peas.

Whisk sour cream, mayo, mustard, parsley, salt and pepper together in a separate bowl. Taste if you wish to see if you need more salt and pepper. Fold into noodle mixture. Transfer to a 4-quart casserole dish and top with cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

White Chocolate Craisin Chews

We worked hard all day to organize our office closet and file cabinets. The shelving units we found are perfect for what we needed. It made me realize what a pack rat I am. (not that my husband didn't have his own share of stuff to purge such as old computer equipment, cords, cables, etc) It was a great feeling to get rid of so much stuff that we didn't need. I threw away tons of paperwork I've kept and collected over the years like old bills, bank statements, etc. Now I need a shredder to run 4 boxes of old checkbooks through. I may just burn them sometime this week. That would be a nice release for me. Yes, I'm a pyro sometimes and it gives me joy to see some sort of destruction. ha ha I still have things on my desk to find a place for or decide whether to throw out or not. After 4 moves in 9 years since I've been in Dallas, you'd think I'd have less crap to get rid of but it really seems like more and more piled on during or after each move.

I was in the mood for sweet, chewy cookies so I decided to reward myself with these delights today. I pretty much just used a basic cookie dough recipe and stirred in chunks of white chocolate and craisins. Yummy!! I love them!

White Chocolate Craisin Chews

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 stick of butter, softened
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup craisins
6 oz. (About 1 1/2 cups) white chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used baking chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend sugar and butter together until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, blend until mixed. Add flour, baking soda and salt, mix until incorporated. Stir in craisins and white chocolate. Use cookie scoop and place cookies on ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 9 minutes or until you start to see them lightly brown around the edges. Let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack. Note: The cookies will flatten when they cool. Store in airtight container.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

January 5, 2009

Mexican Chicken Lasagna

It's the same story each January. The new year tends to make people think twice about what they eat. They start dieting. (again) They start a workout routine. (again) They try to shed those extra pounds put on over the holidays. I admit that I fall into that group of people. I bought a new Weight Watchers cookbook with some yummy looking recipes. This recipe isn't one out of the book but it's off the website and we love it. It's very filling and tasty. I'm sure you'll see some of the recipes from the book as well.

Losing weight or being healthy isn't just about dieting. It's about changing your lifestyle. Dieting makes it sound so cliche. But if you pay attention to what you put in your mouth, you'll start to realize there are quite a few things you can do without. The way I see it, if I don't get some sort of pleasure from it or it doesn't make me go "mmmm", I definitely make an effort to not eat it or at least try to cut back. Notice that I said I make an effort. Not that it works every time but it does help me think about it more than I use to. Then when October rolls around and I have an excuse to eat all the leftover candy that didn't get passed out to the cute little kids all dressed up, I won't feel so guilty. It seems to work for me. If I strive to follow my routine from January through September, then I feel I'm okay to let loose from October to December. It may not be a healthy or smart way to do things but it works for me. And I'm happy with it. So back off!

Mexican Chicken Lasagna

1 1/2 - 2 pounds uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast (or you can buy the already roasted whole chicken at your grocery store deli and pull all the meat off)
30 oz. canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups corn
3 cups light sour cream
2 cups shredded reduced-fat Mexican-style cheese
8 oz (or two 4 oz cans) chopped green chilies
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
12 medium corn tortillas, cut into 2-inch strips
1 cup salsa (optional for side)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13x9 pan with cooking spray.

Place chicken in medium saucepan and fill with enough cold water just to cover chicken. Set pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. Drain. When chicken is cool enough to handle, cut or shred into small bite size pieces.

Transfer chicken to a large bowl and add beans, corn, sour cream, 1 cup of the shredded cheese, chilies, cumin, garlic powder and pepper; Mix well and set aside.

Arrange half of the tortilla strips on the bottom of the pan, overlapping pieces to cover surface. Carefully spoon half of the chicken mixture over the tortilla strips, layer with remaining tortilla strips and then top with remaining chicken mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of cheese.

Bake until bubbly and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Serve with salsa on the side or on top.

January 3, 2009

Bacon Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Maple Cinnamon Glaze

My husband (Chris) and my best friend (Lesley) love bacon. So I thought I'd try something out of the ordinary just for them. I tried two recipes that were very different. The first turned out very bland and was more like a biscuit than a cookie. I should have known by looking at it that without sugar and vanilla it was going to be a little tasteless. Lesley enjoyed them and took the leftovers home to have with coffee for breakfast. Chris & I didn't like them at all so we were glad that they weren't going to waste. Then I tried another recipe this morning that turned out amazing. It could use more bacon and chocolate but I'll include that in the recipe so that you don't feel cheated. The glaze is optional but it definitely adds another layer of sweetness to the cookie.

Bacon Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Maple-Cinnamon Glaze

6 tbsp butter, softened
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips (I cut up baking chocolate into chunks and it worked well)
1 cup crumbled cooked bacon (about 1 pound)
Maple-Cinnamon Glaze (recipe follows)

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugars and extracts until blended. Then add the egg and mix until incorporated. In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir together (or mix on low).

Stir in chocolate chunks and crumbled bacon until integrated well.

Create a ball out of the dough and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dough from fridge. Use a cookie scoop or roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place dough about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten dough slightly with fingers by pressing on center. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Allow cookies to cool on cooling rack while you make the glaze.

Maple-Cinnamon Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup (best if you use 100% maple syrup)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2-3 tbsp water

Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Add a little water at a time to get a creamy consistency.

Spread a small amount of glaze on top of each cookie. Makes about 18 cookies.

Let me know what you think!!

January 1, 2009

Mexican Cornbread

Every year as long as I can remember we have had black eyed peas on New Year's Day for good luck in the coming year. My husband Chris never heard of doing that until he met me. I'm glad I could bring a new tradition to our family. He enjoys them as much as I do now and looks forward to it.

I did a little research for a Jalapeno or Mexican Cornbread to make along with the black eyed peas. I found a simple one on the Food Network website by Paula Dean. Amazingly enough, it doesn't call for any butter in the recipe so I had to try it out. It's very light and the little bits of jalapeno add a nice kick to the flavor.

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
2 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk or buttermilk (I used 2% and it was still tasty)
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp chopped jalapenos (I used 2 medium jalapenos, so it was probably more like 3 tbsp)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square pan or cast iron skillet. I used a cast iron skillet. I feel it cooks it through better but if you don't have one a regular glass or metal pan works well too.

In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. To dry mixture, add egg, milk, sour cream, oil and jalapenos. Mix until smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. I checked the center at 20 minutes and it was done.


Happy New Year

Santa was good to me this year. I must have been on better behavior than I thought. He brought me a few gifts that I really wanted but didn't expect to receive. The best gift being my 6 quart Kitchen Aid Professional 600 mixer. I will definitely be breaking it in starting today or tomorrow. Now I have to find a great recipe that is worthy of being the first to dirty up my red beauty.

I promise to share more tasty recipes and pictures regularly. I'm working on a list of things I want to make, take pictures of or modify to share with everyone. If you have requests of something you'd like to see let me know and I'll try to work them in.

Happy New Year!!