Thursday, February 25, 2010

Funny Aprons

Yesterday was my birthday. I am quickly approaching 30, eek! Just kidding I am totally fine with my age. Anyway, my mother-in-law got me these two very cute and funny aprons. I have been wanting some for a long time, so this was a great surprise. I thought I would model them for you. :)

In case you can't read them they say "I'm a princess that's why" and "Move Over Martha," respectively.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

General Tso's Chicken

My mom and I went down to Ellenton to shop this weekend. For those of you not from the Tampa Bay area, Ellenton is a town between St. Petersburg and Sarasota where they have this kick ass outlet mall. We go down at least once a year to shop. They also have this great kitchen store called Le Gourmet Chef. In addition to cookware, bakeware and kitchen gadgets, they also sell incredible food products like sauces, etc., which they provide numerous samples of around the store.

My mom bought me this General Tso's sauce, one of my husband's and my favorite Chinese dishes. I used it last night and it was great. The recipe is posted below my lovely picture. Here is a link to the site, in case you want to purchase some of this yummy sauce. In addition to this sauce, I bought a pyrex glass baking dish with lid. Just something I needed and will come in handy. (Wish I had it when I made my enchilada lasagna the other night.) Le Gourmet Chef has great prices, too.

2 Tbsp oil
1 lb chicken breast, cut into cubes
All-purpose flour
Broccoli florets, steamed
1/4 cup General Tso's sauce

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet. Pass the chicken through the flour, dust off any excess. Add the chicken to the pan and toss around until lightly brown and the chicken is cooked through. Once the chicken is done, reduce the heat to medium-low, add the broccoli to the pan and then the sauce. Toss to coat and let cook for a few minutes. You may need to add a little more sauce. It's your call. Serve over brown or white rice.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Alton's Enchilada Lasagna

I love enchiladas and I have tried a couple of different recipes, but have never been totally satisfied. Plus, I find rolling them up very frustrating. They never roll up easily and the filling ends up spilling out of the sides. This recipe fixes both of these issues. It has great flavor and you don't have to roll everything up, just lay out flat.
For the sauce:
2 dried chipotle chiles, stems and seeds removed, diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 and 1/2 tsps chili powder
1 and 1/2 tsps cumin
2 cups chicken broth
3 cups tomato sauce (a large can)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

For the filling:
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 and 1/2 cups diced onion
pinch Kosher salt
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
3 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Nonstick cooking spray

Combine the chiles, garlic, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the chiles are soft. Set aside until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the chicken until cooked through, approximately 7-9 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and place in a medium bowl. Add the onions to the same pan along with a generous pinch of sale, decrease the heat to medium-low and sweat for 4-6 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and cook until the onions are tender, 2-3 minutes more. Add the chicken back to the pan and remove from the heat.

Spray a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Place 1/2 cup of the sauce into the bottom of the dish. Dip 4 tortillas into the remaining sauce and lay them into the bottom of the dish. Cut 1 of the tortillas in half to evenly cover the bottom of the dish. Top this with half of the chicken mixture and 1 cup of the cheese. Starting with 4 more tortillas, repeat the layers, ending with the last 4 tortillas on top. Pour remaining sauce over the dish and top with reamining 1 cup of cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven on the middle rack for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese on top is bubbly.

Serve with sour cream and sliced scallions for garnish.

Pretty Tulips

Tulips are my absolute favorite flower. I just had to buy these yesterday when I saw them at the store. Just thought I'd share. They make me smile.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Healthified Shrimp Scampi

I love shrimp scampi, but most recipes I always have a ton of butter, which is delicious, but not very healthy. This recipe is courtesy of Ellie Krieger and her The Food You Crave cookbook.

2 Tbsp olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 and 1/4 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and quartered
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley, plus a little for garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, 2-3 minutes. Add the shrimp, artichoke hearts, wine and lemon juice and cook until the shrimp are cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Divide among 4 plates, garnish with additional parsley, and serve.

I added a little freshly grated parmesan reggianno and served it over orzo. You could also serve it over rice or whole-grain pasta.

New Electronics!

So I finally bought a new computer and it is glorious! I don't know why I waited so long to bite the bullet. My last Dell served me well for five years, and my husband is still using it, so I decided to go with another Dell Inspiron. I got the top of the line 15 series. It has tons of memory and Windows 7. It is so nice to just turn it on and be able to start working immediately. I am totally in love with it.

My birthday is in a couple of days and my husband surprised me with a new camera. (He wanted me to have one for my upcoming trip to Chicago.) In a matter of 48 hours I made a huge leap in the technology world. This is like my first digital camera, I know pretty sad. I just have never been a big picture-taking person. Nonetheless, I am excited. I am going to try really hard to post more pictures of the dishes I make. It also has video capabilities, so I am going to try to upload instructional videos. Stay tuned...

By the way, the camera is a Canon Powershot.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Super Bowl Ideas

Super Bowl is in just a couple of days, so I thought I would share some ideas for all of you hosting or attending parties. I am having a few people over myself. I think it is going to be a little chilly out so we are going to make some chilli along with a couple of dips. Hope these recipes and links help in your Super Bowl planning!

Mount Diablo and Cuban Sandwiches: See the recipe here.

Buffalo Chicken Dip: This dip is reserved specifically and exclusively for Super Bowl Sunday because it is so fattening, yet so delicious. See the recipe here.

Guacamole: Mmmm... Avocadoes, probably the most perfect food on the planet: delicious, creamy, buttery, bright green avocadoes. See the recipe here.

Came across this article in the St. Petersburg Times yesterday. 25 dip recipes. There are some great ones here. I think I am going to make the queso along with the quacamole from above. See the article and recipes here.

Chai Thai Teriyaki Meatballs: I've mentioned my friend Michele's sauce company, Intensity Academy before. You gotta try these meatballs. Don't forget to add your bottle of Chai Thai Teriyaki to the mix. See the recipe at the Intensity Academy blog here.

Calzones and pizzas will be a hit. Try these Spinach and Artichoke Calzones or my Chicken Pesto Pizza.

I may do a little pigs in the blanket or shrimp cocktail as well.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Homemade Croutons

If you're anything like me, you'll buy a loaf of Cuban or some other kind of bread to accompany soup one night, but by the next day, the bread is starting to get a little stale. So what do you do with this day old or even a couple days old bread? You don't want to throw it away because that would be a waste of money. The answer... you make homemade croutons! They're so easy to make and much better than the store bought kind.

Simple cut the bread into cubes. Toss in olive oil with a few seasonings like Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Coat well and spread onto a baking sheet in an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Let cool and store in a sealable plastic bag. Serve on top of soups or salads.

Cheddar Ham and Corn Chowder

Here is another great, super easy soup recipe. Perfect for a cold, winter night. Serve with crusty bread.

2 cups water
2 cups cubed peeled potatoes
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups (8-ounce package) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 and 1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham

In a large soup pot, bring the water, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Remove from the heat; do not drain.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Blend in the flour, let cook for a minute; until golden brown. While whisking, slowly add the milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly (may need to increase the heat a bit). Add the cheese and stir until melted. Stir the milk mixture into the undrained vegetables. Return large pot to the heat. Add the corn and ham; heat through, stirring occassionally. Serves 6.