Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chili Chicken Tacos

When Scot went on the snowshoeing trip a week or so ago, I had him go grocery shopping for the food. I had him get tortillas for the trip. And he bought a pack of 36. For 3 people. That's fine. He just likes to give me a challenge every once in while. See if I can come up with enough dishes that will use up the spare 30 tortillas. I made Migas over the weekend. That used up 3. And, of course, a taco night would help too. Used up 9 (and I bet you will NEVER guess how those were distributed between the two of us).

I actually made this chicken taco meat over the weekend. It is the easiest thing EVER. And it is awesome! I decide how much I like recipes based on a delicious versus easy versus cheap scale. All you do is throw some boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the crock pot (with a few other things), turn it on, and let it go. I had it on medium and let it cook for maybe 5 hours. It just falls apart, so easy to shred. I think you could get away with using bone-in chicken thighs too. I would take off the skin though. We used part of the bulk purchase of corn tortillas, but I definitely prefer flour tortillas for this combo. For toppings, we did the traditional American taco toppings: lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes, colby jack cheese, and sour cream.

Chili Chicken Taco Meat

from The Urban Spork

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 cup prepared tomato salsa

1 to 2 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo

1 tablespoon chili powder

salt and ground pepper

In a slow cooker, combine chicken, garlic, salsa, chiles, chili powder, 1 teaspoon

salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cover, cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours

– stir occasionally.

Transfer the chicken to a serving bowl and shred, using two forks; moisten with

cooking juices. Serve in taco shells with desired toppings.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 5 min., Cook time: 4-8 hrs., Difficulty: Easy)

Printable Version

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sesame Noodles with Asian Slaw

I saw this recipe a while ago, and I thought, I always have all those ingredients, so I had to try it! I think you can get all of them at most large grocery stores. But, you can definitely get them at an Asian market. And they are cheaper. And it is way more fun. I hate big grocery stores. And how they bag my groceries. Seriously, I have a problem. If anyone knows any techniques for calming myself down while I check out, that would be great. Not watching kind of doesn't work.

Btw, I didn't really use the proportions below. I just kind of added the amounts that I like. Sesame oil is very strong and so I didn't use so much. I also added sesame seeds, because I have them. I only used about 1 tsp of sugar. Didn't add the hot water. And I grated the garlic. I never eat raw minced garlic. I like it grated (or pressed, but I don't have or want one of those garlic presses...even though, grating it makes my hands smell for about 3 days).

I also made another Asian slaw. This time: napa cabbage, green and red pepper, carrots, cilantro dressed with lime juice, rice vinegar, light oil, salt and pepper.

Simple Sesame Noodles

12 ounces, fluid Thin Noodles, Cooked And Drained
1/4 cups Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Sugar
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Pure Sesame Oil
1/2 teaspoons Hot Chili Oil
4 Tablespoons Canola Oil
2 Tablespoons Hot Water
4 whole Green Onions, Sliced Thin

Whisk all ingredients (except noodles and green onions) together in a bowl. Taste and adjust ingredients as needed. Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat. Sprinkle with green onions and toss. Serve in a bowl with chopsticks. Yummy!

(Servings: 2-3, Prep time: 10 min., Cook time: 10 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Zucchini and Corn Quinoa with Mexican Egg rolls

Scot was in love with this meal. I mean he loves everything. But he really loves Mexican. Both the egg rolls and the quinoa. This meal is so filling. I took a bite of a egg roll and was full. The quinoa too, very filling. And very satisfying.

I have been wanting to try quinoa for forever. It is a gluten-free grain. I like it. It is a little chewy and heartier than most grains. I don't think I made it completely right, but it still tasted really good. I ended up doing it more like a risotto. The water kept getting completely absorbed and I would have to add more. I ended up adding 1.5 times the amount of water. This has happened to me before with rice, so not really sure. But, regardless, it all worked out.

I have had Mexican egg rolls and made plenty of regular egg rolls, so this was fun for me. I love spring wrappers instead of the regular egg roll wrappers. I got that idea here. When frying anything, you can always do a shallow fry. I almost always do a shallow fry, because it wastes less oil.

Zucchini and Corn Taco Seasoned Quinoa
from Closet Cooking with modification by foodforscot

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water (plus up to 1 cup more)
1 batch taco seasoning (recipe below)
1 ear corn (grilled and kernels cut from cob) or 1 cup frozen corn, cooked
1 cup zucchini (grated)
1 cup black beans
1 green onion (sliced)
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
1 tablespoon oil
1 lime (juice)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup cotija (crumbled)

Simmer the quinoa in the water along with the taco seasoning until the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes (I cooked it for over an hour). I had to keep adding water because the quinoa would soak up all the water and still be crunchy! I ended up adding another cup of water or more! Not sure why.

Mix the quinoa, corn, zucchini, black beans, green onion and cilantro in a large bowl. Dress with oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.

Serve garnished with cotija cheese.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 10 min., Cook time: 1 hr., Difficulty: Easy)

Taco Seasoning

1 tablespoon chili powder (toasted and ground dried chilies)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons cumin (toasted and ground)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Mix everything.

(makes enough to season 1 pound meat)

Mexican Egg Rolls

1/2 cup chicken, cooked and shredded
1 small onion, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup black beans, rinsed
1 8 oz can of diced green chilies, drained
1/2 cup shredded Colby jack cheese
handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
Spring roll wrappers
1 egg, beaten
light frying oil (about 2 cups)

In a skillet in a tbsp of oil, cook onion until softened. Add corn and cook until warm. Add beans and green chilies.

In a large bowl, combine shredded chicken, veggie mixture, cheese, cilantro, salt and pepper.

Preheat oil in deep skillet or shallow pot. You will need at least approximately an inch deep of oil (you can also deep fry them).

To wrap egg rolls, lay one wrapper with corners pointing right and left (and up and down). Fill with about 1/2 cup of filling. Bring bottom corner up and over filling, fold in both side corners, tightly roll until there is about 2 inches left. Brush remaining corner with egg wash and continue roll to make a nice seal. Carefully fry them in batches. If doing a shallow fry, you will need to fry each side for about 3 minutes on each side.

Serve with dipping sauce.

(Servings: 8 egg rolls, Prep time: 30 min., Cook time: 15 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pot Stickers

This might be my new favorite recipe on the blog. Did you know that pot stickers were originally created by accident? The chef of some ancient king accidentally steamed dumplings for too long, all the water evaporated and the dumplings stuck to the pan. They got all crispy and the chef didn't have time to remake them, so he served them to the king, who loved them! Well, that is what I heard on Arthur once (yeah, the cartoon). It must be true. Wikipedia does not confirm this story.

Now, I am not Asian. However, I am pretty sure I should be. I NEED to travel Asia and eat all the food in every country. I try to experiment at home, but I think it is always best to eat dishes made by experts first. I finally found an Asian market here in Boulder. I loved every second of it. And inch. I went yesterday and got so much good stuff (not really for this meal, btw): kimchi, mochi, sriracha, new toasted sesame oil (mine was like 7 years old...), and tons of other stuff for some dishes I am making in the near future. And it was so cheap! Smelled weird in there. And the lady seemed to hate life. But she was helpful. I can't wait until I need something again soon so I can go back.

This meal was just delicious. I had Scot help me fill the pot stickers because this makes 36! See video below for a little demo.

This recipe is very detailed, so I don't know that I have any tips. Oh yeah, one thing, these are best if you let them cool maybe 5-8 minutes before eating them. Since they are steamed/boiled, they are wicked hot on the inside. If you wait, they are much easier to eat. I served with the best dipping sauce ever (recipe below), sticky white rice, and snow peas (quickly boiled and tossed with soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame seeds).

Pot Stickers
adapted from Thy Tran’s recipe in Fine Cooking Magazine via Food People Want

2 cups finely chopped napa cabbage
Kosher salt
12 oz. ground pork
8 oz. peeled, deveined raw shrimp, coarsely chopped
3 medium scallions, thinly sliced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
1-1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon toasted Asian sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
36 very thin, 3-inch circular, store-bought pot sticker or gyoza wrappers
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

Make the Filling: In a medium bowl, toss the cabbage with 2 teaspoons salt and set aside for 30 minutes to shed moisture. Wring out in a clean kitchen towel to extract as much liquid as possible.

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage with the pork, shrimp, scallions, garlic, Shaoxing, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir until well mixed. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Fill the Dumplings: Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons of the filling onto a dough wrapper, fold it in half, and make your first pinch at the center of the curved edge and then pleat toward the center on both sides to create a rounded belly. This wider shape allows the dumplings to sit upright in the pan and form a flat surface for browning.

Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling. As you work, arrange the filled dumplings in a single layer without touching on large plates, so they don’t stick together.

Pan-Fry the Dumplings: Heat 2 Tbs. vegetable oil in a heavy-duty 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working quickly and in batches if necessary (adding more oil for the second batch if needed), arrange the dumplings belly side down in concentric circles starting from the outer edge. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour in about 1/2 cup water or enough to come about a third of the way up the sides of the dumplings, bring to a boil, cover, and cook until all of the water has been absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the lid, reduce the heat to medium, and continue cooking just until the dumplings are dry and crisp on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Loosen the dumplings from the pan with a spatula.

Invert the pan over a plate to flip the dumplings, browned side up, onto the plate (or transfer with a spatula). Serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce (see recipe below).

(Servings: 36 dumplings, Prep time: 1.5 hrs., Cook time: 45 min., Difficulty: Intermediate)

Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2-3 tbsp of honey
1/4-1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes

Mix everything together. Taste and adjust as needed.

And, for fun, here is a little demo of Scot cheffin' up some pot stickers:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Granola Bars

I love these. I would have loved them even more if I was eating them out in the wilderness. Which I was not. Scot was! We had been planning on going on a snowshoeing trip with some friends and staying a couple nights in a yurt. As I have mentioned more than once (sorry), I sprained my ankle times two. Therefore, I could not hike up this mountain. I am actually recovering much quicker and have been carefully walking on it for the past few days. Although, it gets sore and weak fast. One of our friends who went on the trip offered to pull me up in a sled. Scot offered to carry me. They were both just trying to be nice because I really think there is nothing worse for me than staying home from things like this. For one, I am constantly worrying about everyone on the trip (scared about avalanches, blizzards, getting lost, and other things that would probably never happen). And the funny thing is, when I am on these trips, I never worry about any of these things. Second, it is just lame. Third, I feel left out. Fourth, other obvious things.

I did try to get involved by preparing all the food that I normally would have prepared. That is where these granola bars come in. They are very filling. That is one of the reasons they weren't as useful when you are sitting at home. I ate part of one for dessert and I got so full. I had one for breakfast with coffee and that was nice.

For my nut and fruit combo, I used: 1 cup almonds, 1 cup craisins, 1/2 cup dried coconut. I pulsed all of them in the food processor because I don't like chunky granola bars. I also used almond butter.

I would recommend using 1/2 cup sugar or less. I don't remember what I used, but they were more than sweet enough for my taste. I am wondering if I could get away with no added sugar at all.

I am so excited about making these for hiking trips this summer. And I want to play around with the flavors. Try new things. Scot wants me to try some chocolate version. I would definitely recommend the craisin, almond, and coconut combo. This recipe looks long, but it is really simple...I just kept some of the tips in there because I thought they were nice.

Here are some pics of what those crazy guys were doing out there. The yurt:

Snowshoeing in (deep snow):

Thick, Chewy Granola Bars
adapted from King Arthur Flour via smitten kitchen

This is probably the most flexible recipe I’ve posted. When it comes to granola, what you’re looking for is a basic proportion of chunky (nuts, dried fruit) to sticky (syrups, sugar, butter or oils) and from there, you can really go to town. The vanilla is optional. The cinnamon is optional. You can use no dried fruit or you can use all dried fruit in your 2 to 3 cup mix. You can toss in things like puffed rice cereal or flax seeds. In the comments, I’d love to hear what mix you came up with and how you liked it. I can only imagine the possibilities.

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats (if gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free oats)
1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (use more for a sweetness akin to most
purchased bars; use less for a mildly sweet bar)
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor
or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (total of 10 to 15 ounces)*
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (I used almond butter) (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional, namely because I was not convinced that the
flavor came through)
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or corn syrup
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (see Note above)
1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray. Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)

Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.

Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. (Alternately, after about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. This can speed the process up.)

Once cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares. [Updating to note, as many had crumbling issues:] If bars seem crumbly, chill the pan of them further in the fridge for 30 minutes which will fully set the “glue”, then cut them cold. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.

*Suggestions: Dried cranberries, apricots, pecans, sunflower seeds, coconut, walnuts, sesame seeds, pepitas, dried pples or even chocolate chips. My mix: 1/2 cup wheat germ, 1 cup dried cherries, 1 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup pecans and 1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes. Because my pieces were all pretty coarse, I pulsed them in the food processor a few times to break it up a little, though this isn’t necessary if you don’t mind yours chunkier.

(Servings: 8, Prep time: 20 min., Cook time: 40 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Monster Cookies - Sea Level Experiment

Guess what? My mother-in-law took me up on the monster cookie experiment! (see my original Monster Cookie post) See below for her message and the results!

Hi Shanon,

I conducted the cookie experiment this morning. Made the Monster cookies with flour & without. See the progression of pictures. It was fun! Clearly, the cookies without flour were better at our altitude. Those with flour were more crumbly & less tasty. Those without the flour were chewy & the peanut butter flavor was strong. Without flour, they were flatter, but still had a great cookie look.

Your Father-in-law & Uncle appreciate your asking for this experiment!


The judges:

Sounds like it may be the elevation!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Simple Chicken with Cucumber Salad

I am dedicating this blog to the best dog in the world. Copper! My dog! Why? Well, first the pics for this dinner are horrible. In fact, only one is semi-non-blurry. I need a new camera!!! Yeah, that is the reason. Second, I just love my dog. He is seriously the best dog. Ever.

I have been spending a lot of quality time with the guy. And, my favorite thing about him, is his never ending quest for sun. Or heat. Even if it means he is taking someone's seat. Or he has to sit really awkwardly on a thin slice of couch...he'll do it. It is worth it. In fact, in most cases, the heat he is craving will be too hot after about 20 min. So, he'll have to move to a cooler spot. Cool down. Maybe get a drink. Then, repeat.

And if you are in the only spot that has sun? That is a real problem. And his only goal in life is to get you to move enough so that he can sneak in.

Another source of heat...our blankets, which are all fleece for the most part. Copper doesn't understand how insane I get when dog hair covers everything. I am getting better.

Well, at least he looks extremely refined.

Back to it is!

It is really a leftover remix. I have had this for the past two nights. What is it? First, I just did a simple pan fried chicken breast. Last night, just seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked it in olive oil. Tonight, I dredged it in flour too. The cucumber salad is just: sliced cucumbers, fresh chopped dill, a little sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. And I served it with warm pita bread and diced tomatoes. To eat, just fill pita pockets with the chicken, cucumbers and tomatoes. It is just a basic, easy dinner. Takes about 15 minutes to make.

Cucumbers and tomatoes are my two favorite veggies. Well, maybe. It is hard to pick. But, nothing beats a homegrown, ripe tomato. When I was living at home, we had endless supplies of cucumbers and tomatoes. And in the summer, I would live off of cucumber and tomato salads and tomato sandwiches.

I need a garden!!! And I need summer!!! Boulder is so confused. It keeps snowing! "March is 2nd snowiest month in Boulder." I don't care!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Monster Cookies

I took my comprehensive exam last week. What is that? Don't matta. Actually, it does. So, I presented my research to my thesis committee. Like a progress report. And, it is required/expected that you bring refreshments. Although, this is not in any rules, it is just the tradition. If you have it in the morning, you need to bring breakfast. If it is over lunch time, bring some sandwiches. Mine was in the afternoon, so I brought cookies, lemonade and tea!

I had big plans for the menu. I wanted to make these monster cookies and the raspberry shortbread bars. Well, I kind of ran out of time. And ended up not making the shortbread bars and having Scot make these for me. No one probably cared or noticed but me. Actually, everyone really liked Scot's cookies. He got lots of praise.

I have made these several times. And the first time, I made them for no reason, which I never do. And it was a huge mistake. Because I am obsessed with these cookies. I literally can't eat just one. I like to make these mini too. I actually measure out each one using a tablespoon. Scot made them a little bigger, maybe 1.5 tablespoons. Here are mine, that I made back in Dec. for the Clutch (hang on) fundraiser, Rev (the rest of the pics are from Scot's batch):

I do adjust for high altitude on occasion and this occasion is one of them. Of the occasions. I used to make these huge monster cookies whenever we went camping with friends in college in Minnesota. Everyone loved them. Then, I made the same recipe when I moved here, and they were hard, crunchy, crumbly messes. I thought I lost my touch. Then, I started thinking about excuses and like my friend, Tim always says, "it must be the altitude!"

Therefore, I did a little experiment. I found this new recipe (I don't know why I didn't use the old one, but whatever). Then, I made it as is, according to the directions. I baked one cookie. It came out SO flat, hard, nasty. Then, I did a high altitude adjustment...added 1 cup of flour. There are several suggestions for high altitude for cookies and other baked goods, I just randomly chose that one. Baked another cookie, and it came out amazing! It was soft, chewy, puffy.

Now, if someone at sea level could do the same experiment, that would be great! Why? Well, I think it would it would fully prove whether it is the altitude or not. Because there are two possibilities:

1. The original recipe was bad in the first place. Although, if you go to original recipe, it has really good ratings. And it seems like plenty of people made them without flour and had great results. But there are plenty of people who needed to add flour, were they all at high altitude? Some said they were at high altitude, some just seemed confused and mad. I am wondering if people just have different tastes?

2. Maybe adding flour or having flour in oatmeal cookies always makes them better??? Regardless of altitude.

Those two possibilities now seem the same. But it is too late to erase now.

UPDATE: Mother-in-law did this experiment here!

Last note: it says raisins (optional) in the recipe below. They should really be forbidden. There is a time and place for raisins, and these cookies are not it. These cookies aren't going to get any healthier just by adding some raisins.

Last note^2: The recipe below is adjusted for high altitude. If you aren't at high altitude, don't add the flour. Or do.

Monster Cookies
courtesy Donna Haney as adapted by Paula Deen and foodforscot

3 eggs
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup multi-colored chocolate candies
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup raisins, optional
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)
1 cup flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

In a very large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars. Mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Mix well. Stir in the chocolate candies, chocolate chips, raisins, if using, baking soda, oatmeal, and flour. Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not overbake. Let stand for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool. When cool, store in large resealable plastic bags.

(Servings: 36, Prep time: 30 min., Cook time: 1 hr., Difficulty: Easy)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

BBQ Chicken Pizza

I am a BBQ chicken pizza lover. And I think this is a great recipe. I used a nasty BBQ sauce, my only regret. When I say nasty, I don't really mean nasty. It was a honey BBQ sauce...way too sweet. I have used this BBQ sauce to make BBQ chicken on the grill, and I have never minded it. But, I think for pizza, I like a savory BBQ sauce.

I am digging Pioneer Woman's pizza recipes. I love her dough. I love that it is cooked on a baking sheet. I love that the dough is better when made a few days ahead of time. And I love the fresh mozzarella as the base. I think I might make a few of my own (because I have tried all of hers). See Eggplant Parmesan Pizza and Caramelized Onion and Prosciutto Pizza.

I am going to do this pizza again with a better BBQ sauce. Soon.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

by Pioneer Woman

1 whole Recipe For Pizza Crust (1/2 this recipe)

2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1/2 cups Barbecue Sauce

Olive Oil, For Drizzling

Salt For Sprinkling

16 ounces, weight Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, Sliced Thinly

1/2 whole Red Onion, Cut In Half And Sliced Very Thin

Chopped Cilantro, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Salt chicken breasts on both sides, then place in an ovenproof dish. Pour BBQ sauce over the breasts and turn them over to coat. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Remove from oven and cut into a fine dice. Set aside. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees.

Roll/stretch out one pizza crust. Lay it on a sheet pan drizzled with olive oil. Drizzle a little olive oil on the crust, then sprinkle on a little salt.

Spoon a couple of tablespoons of extra BBQ sauce on the crust and spread it evenly. Top sauce with half the sliced mozzarella. Sprinkle on half the diced chicken and thinly sliced red onion.

Sprinkle again with a little salt, then bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and toppings are bubbly.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle on plenty of chopped cilantro. Cut into squares and serve immediately. Repeat with other crust and other ingredients, or save for another time.

(Servings: 5-6, Prep time: 30 min., Cook time: 15 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Printable Version

I also made this asian slaw. No recipe, it is just a bunch of julienned veggies (I used: carrots, cabbage, bean sprouts, and cucumbers). Toss with cilantro and a dressing of rice vinegar, lime juice, sunflower oil, salt and pepper. I really just wanted to use up the cabbage from Corned Beef and Cabbage. I love an asian slaw.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Caramelized Onion and Prosciutto Pizza

We are on spring break this week. Usually, that doesn't mean much for us. This year no one gave me homework to do over break (evilest thing ever). It is a good time to take a break from research. Etc. Minus the sprain, I am loving it.

I decided to try out a few pizza combos that I have been eyeing. Last night, I made a BBQ Chicken pizza. I will post later. I am a little behind on blogs. Tonight, it was caramelized onion and prosciutto pizza. It definitely brought me back to the short times I have been in Europe and been surviving off of the American dollar. Pizza is so dependable. And this pizza dough is nice and thin and very similar to what I have had in Europe.

Scot and I spent some time in Switzerland a year or so ago. We also travelled around Europe a little while we were there. Switzerland is ridiculously expensive. We found a few places to get a slice of pizza, for maybe $5. And that $5 slice was pretty good. Until we went to Italy, where you can buy pizza by the pound...and it was AMAZING. And they had such good topping combos. And prosciutto is obviously a standard topping. It was always an option. Sometimes with olives, or artichokes, or by itself.

I really liked this salty ham with sweet onions. And the creamy fresh mozzarella. A few things...the brown sugar to caramelize the onions is really optional. Especially if you use a sweet onion. Red onions really aren't that sweet, but do sweeten up when you caramelize them. I was planning to use red onion, but my red onion was rotten! Hate it when that happens. So, I used a sweet yellow onion as backup. And I think it was probably better. Also, I think 500 degrees is too hot! It would be ok with a pizza stone, but I think 450 is good. But, if Pioneer Woman says 500, go ahead and try it for yourself! I tried it this time and think its too hot.

Caramelized Onion and Prosciutto Pizza

by Pioneer Woman

1 whole Pizza Crust (1/2 this recipe)

Olive Oil, For Drizzling

1 whole Large Red Onion, Halved And Thinly Sliced

1/4 cups Brown Sugar

Kosher Salt To Taste

Parmesan Cheese, Grated

10 ounces, weight Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, Thinly Sliced

8 slices Prosciutto (more To Taste)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and brown sugar and toss/stir for several minutes, or until onions are brown and cooked. Set aside. Roll out pizza dough to a rectangular shape. Drizzle on olive oil, sprinkle on a little salt, followed by a little Parmesan.

Lay slices of mozzarella evenly over the top of the crust. Arrange caramelized onions over the top of the mozzarella. Randomly lay slices of prosciutto over the onions.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the lower half of the oven, or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and cut into squares. Serve immediately.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 20 min., Cook time: 15 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Printable Version

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Brunch Menu

The sis-in-law was in town to do some pre-wedding celebratory things. Showering. I had her and her friends over for a brunch. Kind of like a low key shower for a low key bride. Lots of good girl talk and a really easy brunch. If you want a good make ahead menu, this is it.

Scot was the only boy around. So he was our slave. He served us and also kept our water classes magically filled. What a wonderful brother/husband!

Please excuse the series of bad photos. I was hosting, you know, no time to take food photos. Even though I just told you that Scot did all the hosting, that is still my excuse.

Btw, I love brunch. I love hosting a brunch. I can't wait for Easter.

The Menu:

Broccoli Cheese Soup

And the last recipe from the brunch! Broccoli Cheese Soup. The recipe is from cdkitchen and lots of people claim that it is a great Panera knock off. I often get the Broccoli Cheese Soup from Panera. And I love it. And this is pretty close. I think the texture is different. But I think I like it both ways. It could be that I didn't immersion blender it long enough. But, either way, it was tasty.

I served it with some nice crusty bread from Panera. This soup should marry crusty bread. I don't think it is the same without it.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups chicken stock or bouillon
1/2 pound fresh broccoli
1 cup carrots, julienned
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar

Saute onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux). Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 45 min., Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)