Kitchen Concoctions: February 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Think I'm In Love

Well it is the last day of the month, again. Like I said a few days ago, the month just flew by! And it doesn't help that February is a short month anyways. Since it is the end of the month it is time to wrap up another cookbook.

This month I featured Emeril 20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast. I have featured an Emeril cookbook before (Emeril At The Grill) and was impressed with that book but I must say that I like this one even more.

In fact, I think this cookbook made me fall in love with Emeril. At least his cooking that is! LOL! Emeril 20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast is divided into three sections: recipes that take 20 minutes to prepare, 40 minutes to prepare, and 60 minutes to prepare. Each section has everything from appetizers and soups and salads, to entrees, and desserts and everything in between. Not all recipes have pictures, although quite a few do, but all recipes list exact prep times and cook times, and have the number of servings listed too.

While most of the recipes have basic and readily available ingredients, I did have one recipe that stumped me and I had to substitute a different ingredient for the one I couldn't find. Also some of the recipes actually took a shorter amount of time to prepare than what the time had listed and one did take longer to make. I totally would rather them take a shorter amount of time to make so that I can eat my yummy dinner sooner.

I would 100% recommend this book. There are so many other recipes that I want to try making from it and with it's track record I know those recipes will turn out delicious too! A couple of the recipes I have seen in a few of Emeril's other cookbooks and on his website, but the majority of them are new. Who doesn't love a well put together, well rounded, cookbook with recipes you know everyone will love.

The first recipe I made was this Chili Mac. It was good and made a TON. I mean you could literally feed an army off the amount of food this recipe makes. I was slightly disappointed with it though, because I was hoping for a chili mac that was a little bit more 'saucy' and 'cheesey'. However, this didn't keep Eric and I (and Eric's brother helped too) from eating the ENTIRE pan in the course of two days. Good thing I had these two guys on hand with big appetites to help devoir this.

Next I made this Stir-Fried Chicken and Aromatic Jasmine Rice. This was actually two separate recipes that I combined for one AMAZING dish. Eric and I gobbled this up and the only disappointment that we had was that there was NOT enough leftovers (that's always a good problem to have). I am totally making this again this week for dinner (not even 3 weeks from the last time I made it) and I am for sure going to double the recipe. This was my absolute FAVORITE recipe (so far) from this cookbook.

Another recipe that Eric has already asked me to make again was the Cornmeal Crusted Tilapia. If you remember this was the recipe that gave me a little trouble. I looked high and low for that blue cornmeal and could not find it anywhere. Next time I will have to look at an organic/specialty grocery store. But despite not having blue corn meal, this dish was so easy to make and tasted great.

These Boursin Stuffed Chicken Breasts were a nice way to change up the same ole' same ole' chicken breast that we all serve every other Sunday. This chicken had flavors and ingredients that complemented each other well. It was a nice treat to have a 'fanicer' chicken breast dinner. ; ) This was the one recipe, however, that said it was only supposed to take 40 minutes and it really took me over an hour! : (

And last, but certainly not least, this chicken and rice soup was the second place runner up for the "FAVORITE recipe from this cookbook" award. With simple ingredients that are pantry staples for most; this soup came together quick and had wonderful flavor. I love having great soup recipes on hand during these chilly months. And ones that come together fast, make a lot, and use ingredients I already have on had; not to mention taste wonderful, means this is a recipe to use again and again.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Freebie For You

A few weeks ago I received a calendar in the mail from Pillsbury. I have no idea why I got it; but it was a pleasant surprise. It is the perfect calendar to hang in my kitchen because it is large and each month has a recipe and and a picture of that recipe's final product. I thought what a neat calendar but really it was a calendar and cookbook all in one! 12 recipes 12 pictures, and a nice well put together calendar. I was excited and flipped through it, before I ran to the kitchen to hang it up. Most of the recipes featured in this calendar are from past winners of the famous Pillsbury Bake-Off. The other few recipes that are not from the bake-off are classic Pillsbury recipes using their products (like Monkey Bread).

This calendar has now been hanging in my kitchen for a few weeks and I have stared at the picture and recipe for this month's recipe every time I walk in the kitchen. The calendar whispering "make me... eat me". So then I had the idea "Why don't I make each of the recipes for each month and feature them monthly on this here blog". How fun right?!?! (Ok maybe I am the only one who thinks it is fun and is excited; so just humor me please!)

If I had thought about all this back before Valentine's day these little pies would have been perfect for a Valentine's Day treat or party. But because Valentine's is long over I guess you will have to find another excuse to make these.

The recipe is called Grands Little Pies; but because they were baked in a Grands biscuit they were more like coffee cake for me. Kids would love waking up on Saturday morning to eat some of these. Of course make some scrambled eggs to go with them so you feel a little less guilty about eating them! : )

Notes: You could easily substitute pie crust instead of the biscuits to make them more dessert like than coffee cake like (I actually did this for about half of mine). After making and eating them I defiantly realized that I should have added more pie filling and streusel topping to each one.

***Want a calendar of your own (so you can follow aglo)? Click here and sign up for The Pillsbury Newsletter and get your calendar for free! Hum, maybe that is how I got mine; since I have been subscribed to The Pillsbury news letter for quite some time.

Grands Little Pies/Coffee Cakes
Makes 16 servings

3/4 cup all-purpose or unbleached flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2 cans (16.3 oz) Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers refrigerated biscuits
1 can (21 oz) apple, blueberry or cherry pie filling (I used cherry)

Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, mix flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in nuts.

Separate dough into 8 biscuits. With floured fingers, flatten each biscuit to form 4-inch round. (I actually floured my work surface and used a rolling pin to press the biscuits out) Press each biscuit round in greased 2 3/4x1 1/4-inch muffin cup. Spoon 2 tablespoons pie filling into each biscuit-lined cup. Sprinkle each with about 2 tablespoons flour mixture. (Cups will be full.)

Bake 15 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; place on cooling rack. Cool 10 minutes.

Store leftovers in refrigerator.

recipe adapted from

Friday, February 26, 2010

Stay Tuned....

Where has the month of February gone? Seriously!?! I feel Like Rip Van Winkle, I fell asleep at the end of January and woke up and it was practicly March, and I have no recollection of were the month went. But wait if I were Rip Van Winkle and I did sleep for an entire month shouldn't I feel extremely well rested and not a walking Zombie. But wait if I were a walking Zombie then how could I be Rip Van Winkle? Anyways enough of my delirious rambling! I apologize for all of that non-sense!

And I also apologize for being MIA for the past month. Even though I have blogged some; it has not nearly been as much as normal. I am also SO far behind on my blog reading as well.

It truly has been one insanely busy month. And to top it off I have been in the kitchen a lot more lately, cooking for baby showers, birthday get togethers, and just trying new recipes, that I have so many yummy things to share with you.

Since it is the end of the month I have one more cook book of the month recipe for ya. This soup was delish. I am seriously thinking that Emeril is one of my new favorite chefs because pretty much 98% of every recipe that I have made of his has been absolutely scrumptious and something that I would totally make again.

This soup was so easy. With basic ingredients that are pretty much pantry staples this soup is easy to whip up at the last minute in a flash. Of course it makes a ton, which is perfect for company, sharing with neighbors, or using the leftovers for lunch.

This soup was savory and full of flavor. Eric loved it because it had rice (he loves rice more than pasta, or even bread)! You must make this soup and you must stay tuned because this delicious, savory soup went perfectly with a sweet little sandwich.

Notes: This recipe was in the 40 minute section of the Emeril 20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast cookbook however even including the prep time it only took me about 30 minutes from start to finish.

Chicken and Rice Soup
makes approximately 8 to 10 servings

2 large chicken breasts, cut into 3/4 inch dice
1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon Creole Seasoning
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small onion, cut into a dice
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into a large dice
4 celery ribs, cut into a large dice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
10 cups chicken broth or stock
1 cup long grain white rice

Place 1 tablespoon oil in saute pan add chicken and 1 tablespoon creole seasoning. Toss to coat chicken. Cook chicken until cook through about 5 minutes.

In a large soup pot add reaming oil and all vegetables except garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to caramelize and vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic, basil, salt, crushed red pepper, and reaming creole seasoning to the soup pot. Cook for 1 minute. Add cooked chicken, rice, and broth. Bring to a boil. Stir, cover pot, and reduce heat. Let simmer for 12 minutes or until rice is tender.

recipe adapted from Emeril 20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast

This soup was perfect a few days ago when central Texas received a rare and beautiful snow storm. We didn't get much snow but evey little snow flake was perect!

Mo Jo, my pup, especially enjoyed the rare winter wonderland.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Different Kind of Stuffin'

One of Eric's favorite meals is stuffed chicken, particularly Chicken Cordon Blue. You know the chicken breasts stuffed with cheese and ham. Well when I saw this recipe in the Emeril 20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast cookbook I had to make it for Eric (and me too!). Not quite Chicken Cordon Blue but how can you go wrong with chicken stuffed with Boursin (MMMM Boursin cheese), toasted pecans, and spinach, and then breaded and baked.... what more of a perfect combination is that (and sill just as classy as Chicken Cordon Blue)!

Go splurge on the Boursin; and take the time to make this! Perfect for a Sunday night dinner when you splurge on dinner anyways (you know you have the bread, salad, entree, two sides, even dessert) or if you are having company over make this chicken and WOW your guests with this fancy and classy meal!

Notes: This recipe was in the 40 minute section of the cookbook, however it took me a totally time of 60 minutes; because my chicken took longer to cook through (but I was using rather plump breasts). But totally worth the wait. Eric loved it and said it was a nice change from the Chicken Cordon Blue. The chicken was juicy and tender and the cheese oozed out when it was cut open.

Boursin Cheese, Spinach and Pecan-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Makes 6 servings

3 tablespoons butter
4 ounces prewashed fresh spinach
8 ounces pecans, toasted and chopped (about 1 cup)
One (5.2 oz) package Boursion Cheese (I used roasted garlic flavor)
6 (6-8 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons creole seasoning
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons canola oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in saute pan over medium heat. Ass the spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove spinach from pan and drain all the liquid. Chop spinach and place in a small bowl. Add chopped pecans and Boursin cheese to spinach and mash together to combine.

Cut a long slit into each of the chicken breasts, slicing from the top to the bottom and approximately 3/4 of the way into the breast. Using a spoon or a spatula, smear the the top and the bottom of the inside of the chicken breasts with the cheese/spinach mixture. Secure the opening with toothpicks to hold it closed and the filling in while cooking. Season the breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.

Combine the flour and 1 teaspoon of creole seasoning in a bowl. And a second bowl combine the egg, milk and 1 teaspoon of creole seasoning. In a third bowl combine the bread crumbs and remaining 1 teaspoon of creole seasoning. Dredge each chicken breast first in the flour, then in the egg wash, and lastly in the breadcrumbs; set aside.

Heat oil and remaining butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken breast and sear until brown, approximately 2 minutes per side. Place the seared chicken breasts on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until cooked through. (Mine actually took 20-25 minutes).

Remove toothpicks before serving.

recipe adapted from Emeril 20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Takin' the blue out of it

The recipe I choose to feature from this month's cookbook of the month seemed easy enough. All ingredients that are common in most grocery stores and the recipe seemed fast and easy.

When I was planning out my weekly recipes last week and looking over what recipes I was going to make for the cookbook of the month features I saw this recipe for trout. It sounded easy, fast, and yummy and Eric and I really don't eat much fish because it can be expensive, it doesn't keep well for leftovers, and Eric is just not that big a fan of seafood.

Well I decided fish would be a good change to our normal chicken, pork loin, and ground beef/turkey dinners. But of course my grocery store did not have trout (is there a season for that?) but was having a great special on tilapia, a fish that Eric likes.

I then went to find the 'blue cornmeal' that the recipe originally calls for and my grocery store did not have any of that either. I could have sworn that I have seen it there before. Through out the week as I passed other grocery stores, Wal-marts, and Super Targets I checked for this blue cornmeal. But none had it. I decided I wanted to make this fish and have it ready to post for this week's cookbook of the month recipe and was tired of looking for this darn blue cornmeal when I knew I had perfectly good yellow cornmeal at the house. So this fast and easy fish recipe quickly became a huge nuisance on the hunt for the blue cornmeal. I decided to use the regular yellow cornmeal I already had and I really don't think the flavor was changed by me using yellow cornmeal instead of blue; it just would have had a more unique presentation.

The other 'hiccup" I had with this seemingly simple recipe was that it calls for ground coriander. The lovely spice rack that Eric gave me for Christmas, which came with 25 spices, so I figured I had this spice at home and did not need it. I was right that my new spice rack had it; however it was not ground up. I don't have a coffee grinder and so I had to try and smash the coriander with my hands still leaving pretty much in large chunks.

Finally I was able to whip up this entree and despite all the 'issues' I had, and it turned out delicious. The whole time Eric ate, he would take a bite and say how good it was take another bite and say how great it was.... you get the idea. If you know it got that response it must be good.

Other recipe notes: I halved the original recipe because I don't like left over fish. The halved amount was perfect for us and made two tilapia filets. You might be able to find blue cornmeal at Whole Foods or Sprouts (I don't have one relatively close by or I would have tried there) or even a Fiesta Food Market, or other specialty store. The next time I make this recipe (and there will be a next time) I am going to try and go to one of these specialty grocery stores and try and get the blue cornmeal because I am anxious to see how it looks after it is cooked.

Blue/Yellow Corn-Crusted Trout/Tilapia with Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream

1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped (1/2 tablespoon dried)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup blue/yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 (6 oz) skinless trout/tilapia fillets
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
lime wedges for serving

Combine sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl. Stir to mix well and set aside.

Combine cornmeal with the coriander and cumin in a shallow dish. Season fish fillets on both sides with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Then dredge the seasoned fish fillets in the cornmeal mixture, shaking off any excess.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. When hot add 1 tablespoon butter. When butter is melted and 2 fish fillets. Cook on each side until golden and crisp, approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining fish fillets.

Serve each fillet with a dollop of the cilantro-lime sour cream and garnish with lime wedges.

recipe adapted from Emeril 20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lonely.... Oh So Lonely...

I am all alone this Valentine's Eve! : ( What!!! You might say. Well I guess that is the price you pay when your boyfriend works in the restaurant industry. Every person who works in the restaurant industry knows that they will be working every Valentine's Day and every Mother's Day because those are the two busiest days of the year. In fact this is the first Valentine's Day in over four years that I, in fact, have not had to work and it is only due to the fact that a few months ago I left the catering/restaurant industry for a job with more 'normal' work hours.

So I am at home tonight watching movies, catching up on my blog reading and eating chocolate. What more could a girl ask for on Valentine's Day; right?!?

This recipe for brownies is a great 'go to... make in a pinch' brownie recipe. It uses just a handful of ingredients and whips up in just minutes. The baking and cooling time take the longest but really you could have a pan of brownies ready in about 30-40 minutes with this recipe.

I make these delicious, ooey-gooey brownies all the time but because it is a recipe I make all the time I don't think to take pictures of it and the one time I did think to take a picture of them the pictures turned out awful and did not do these brownies any justice.

Like I said these yummy, easy, brownies are perfectly when you need a last minute dessert, or you are all alone on Valentine's Day and want to pamper yourself with chocolate and watch sappy chick flicks! : )

Notes: The brownies are best stored in an air tight container in the fridge. Serve chilled and top with vanilla ice cream and drenched in chocolate syrup and caramel sauce!

German Chocolate Brownies
from Kitchen Concoctions

1 German chocolate cake mix
2/3 cup butter (room temperature)
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tub Coconut-pecan frosting (the kind you find above the cake mixes at the store)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X13 pan. In a large bowl using a fork or pastry cutter, cut in butter with the cake mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press 1/2 the mixture (about 2 1/2 cups) into the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle chocolate chips over hot crust. Empty frosty into a bowl and mix in the pecans and coconut flakes. Drop frosting by tablespoonfuls over chocolate chips. Mix 1/4 cup of milk into the remaining cake mix/butter mixture. Stir to combine. Drop this batter by teaspoonfuls over the frosting. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely. Cut into squares and refrigerate until served. (These brownies really do taste best cool.)

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Lost Tradition

Eric and I are HUGE Lost fans. I mean HUGE. We were a little late to the obsession and did not start watching it until after Season 2 was on DVD. Ever since then we have watched it obsessively every season on TV.

For the Season 3 premiere, Eric's Aunt Grace invited us over to her house, along with Eric's Mom to eat dinner and watch it (they are just as equally obsessed, ok maybe not quite as obsessed!). For dinner that night Eric's Aunt made Lentil Bean Soup; We loved it!! It was the perfect start to our Lost season premiere! Ever since then, wither we watch the season premiere of Lost with Eric's family, or our friends, or it is just the two of us we make this soup!

Unfortunately last Tuesday night's season premiere of Lost is the last season premiere the show will ever have since this is the last season of the show. It is certainly bitter sweet. Hopefully some of the mysteries that plague the island will be revealed but it is said to see such a suspenseful, well written, addicting show come to an end. If you have never seen it you really should go out and buy/rent the DVDs starting with season 1 (you MUST watch if form the very beginning). But be forewarned you will become hooked, you WILL become obsessed, and you WILL love this show!!!

And I guess since the show is going off the air I better find a new excuse to make this soup... maybe just because it is soooo yummy and perfect on a cold winter's day.

Notes: This is my own version of lentil bean soup inspired by Eric's Aunt Grace. It can be made vegetarian by susbstituting vegetable stock for the beef broth. This makes a lot of soup. Perfect for sharing with friends, perfect for leftovers, and perfect for freezing!

Lentil Bean Soup
from Kitchen Concoctions

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 pound lentils (approximately 1 1/4 cups)
14 cups low-salt beef broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cups dried elbow pasta
1 cup shredded Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese

Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery salt, and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. . Add the garlic and saute 1 to 2 minutes more. Add the tomatoes with their juices. Simmer until the juices evaporate a little and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the lentils and mix to coat. Add 10 cups of the broth and stir. Add the thyme and Italian seasoning Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 40 minutes.

Stir in the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the cheese, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

2 4 1

Today you get a double whammy, a twofer, a two for one special! Today you get (for the first time ever in the history of this blog) I am posting two new recipes back to back on the same day! Whaooo!!! I guess that makes up for being late on posting the cookbook of the month recipe and not blogging as regularly lately.

Both of these recipes come from February's cookbook of the month, Emeril 20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast. When I was first started 'reading' this cookbook I saw this recipe for Jasmine Rice. I love rice and am always looking to try new varieties and change up the traditional rice side dish. So I marked this recipe with my post-it flag. It then said in the footer that this rice would go good with a chicken stir-fry, or a beef stir-fry, or a pork stir-fry. It then gave the corresponding page numbers to find recipes for each of these stir-fry's. I immediately flipped to each one and marked them too. I decided to make the chicken stir-fry that Emeril recommend with this rice because I had chicken in my freezer that I needed to use up and because it was in the 20 minute or less section of this cookbook. Any meal that can be made in 20 minutes or less scores HUGE points in my book.

This dish was fast and easy, and tasted great. All the flavors complemented each other perfectly. Eric and I both loved it; Eric even said it tasted just like stir-fry you would get at an Asian food restaurant. I will defiantly be making this on a regular basis. Did I mention it was very tasty and was ready in 20 minutes??

The only 'issue' I had was that in the cookbook it says this recipe feeds four. Now while there was plenty of rice for four people the meat and vegetable topping was a little low for four. I would defiantly add one more chicken breast to make enough for four to five servings. If you are only feeding two to three people then the amounts below are perfect. But because any and all Chinese food is good or even better as leftovers; I would make plenty for now and later.

Other recipe notes: The original name of the stir-fry was 'Stri-Fry with Chicken and Cashews". I did not have cashews and so I left them out of the recipe and title. The recipe also calls for crushed red pepper flakes; but don't worry! The amount listed gives just enough hint of spiciness but is completely tolerable (even for kids). Of course add more or less to your liking. With regards to the rice recipe; the original recipe had fresh ginger, lime zest, and chopped peanuts in it as well. I did not have any of these things and therefore left them out. As always my version is the recipe below. Now go make some fresh food FAST!

Stir-Fried Chicken

1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons chicken stock or broth
1/4 cup hoisin sauce (found on the international food isle next to the soy sauce)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
4 green onions, chopped, tops and bottoms separated
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and julienne
1 teaspoon cornstarch
salt and pepper
Aromatic Jasmine Rice (recipe to follow)

In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup chicken broth, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce. Set aside. Heat oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add chicken and cook through for several minutes. Add green onion bottoms, garlic, and crushed red pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Add red bell pepper and cook until tender about 1 minute.

Add sauce to pan and mix well. In a small bowl combine cornstarch and remaining 2 teaspoons chicken broth and stir well. Add the cornstarch mixture to the stir-fry and bring to boil. Continue to simmer until the sauce begins thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and serve over Aromatic Jasmine Rice. Top with the green onion tops.

Aren't the colors of this dish so bold and vibrant!

Aromatic Jasmine Rice

2 cups jasmine rice
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine all ingredients except cilantro in a 2-quart saucepan, and stir well to combine.

Place pan over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking. Once it reaches a boil, immediately reduce heat to low and cover pan. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and allow the rice to steam, covered and undisturbed for 5 minutes. Add cilantro and gently fluff with fork.

both recipes adapted from Emeril 20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Last Minute Super Bowl Ideas

I am not a huge professional football fan. I do try and keep up with and watch a few college teams, but when it comes to the professional football teams I really have no clue. But every year right around February I get excited about the Super Bowl. I love watching that game, going to Super Bowl parties, or just having a few friends over to celebrate. Usually the guys will hog all the seating in the living room in front of the TV so some of us (mostly the ladies) sit and play cards or dominoes. But usually the thing I look forward to the most, besides the socializing, is the food!

I have decided to post (or re-post) a few of my favorite 'party recipes' that would be perfect if you were hosting a Super Bowl party or if you just need something to bring to a party you are invited to.

These chicken strips, a recipe I posted in the early months of this blog, are easy to make and very tasty. And since they are chicken tenders and not those wimpy nuggets, they will fill the biggest football fan's appetite.

Chili is a perfect game day meal! Serve it over Fritos or with corn bread or as a topping on hot dogs; this chili is extremely tasty, extremely easy, and I guarantee (from personal experience) it will be the hit of the party.

Speaking of chili... the chili mac I blogged about on Monday, opps I mean Wednesday, would also be a perfect Super Bowl hit.

Want a dessert to take? Try these yummy "Almond Joy Brownies".

Or these... a childhood favorite that a football fan of any age would enjoy.

And in case you are wondering I am rooting for the Saints! Purely on the fact that I like rooting for the under dog (hey they need some lovin' too!!) and because my mom and her family are from Louisiana!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I originally had intentions to post this Monday (it was all written all I had to do was upload and edit the photos) but life got in the way (as it does sometimes). So just go back and imagine you are reading this and it is still Monday!

In the "real world" or my non-blogging world I love when the first day of the month is a Monday... it means a full round of a fresh start... a new day, a new week, and a new month. However with this blog and my cookbook of the month features it kind of makes it a little difficult. I had to scramble and post the "bonus" 5th recipe on Saturday then turn around and post January's cookbook recap yesterday. Not giving me the opportunity to create an individual post about February's new cookbook before I start posting the recipes (you all may not care, but this is how I like to do things around here).

Anyways, so this is going to be a rather long post as I give an initial review of February's cookbook of the month and then post the first recipe! So here goes...

I had another cookbook picked out for this month however I received a package in the mail a few weeks ago and decided to change things up. Back in November one of my favorite blogs, Taste and Tell, (I have like 25 cooking blogs that are my 'favorite' : ) ) was having a cookbook giveaway. To my surprise I won!!! To make it even sweeter, Deborah, the foodie who writes Taste and Tell, announced me as the winner on my birthday! How fun is that... I won a giveaway AND I won it on my birthday.

The cookbook was Emeril's new cookbook: Emeril 20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast. Immediately when I received it in the mail a couple of weeks ago I knew I was going to feature it this month.

Let me just start by saying that I love this cookbook. Not only because I won it, and I won it on my b-day, but it is a great cookbook. This cookbook is divided into 3 section- meals that take 20 minutes to prepare, 40 minutes to prepare, and 60 minutes to prepare. Each section has soups, salads, sandwiches, appetizers, main entrees, and desserts. And each section has about 20-30 recipes (score!!). There are ton's of pictures and not only does each recipe list your usual ingredients and directions but each recipe in this book also has prep time, cooking time, and cooling time listed. Recipe ingredients are pretty standard and if there is a 'specialty ingredient' needed they are all pretty easy to find at any grocery store. The directions are well written and each recipe (even the 60 minute ones) seem easy enough to prepare.

The one qualm I do have with this book is that serving amounts are not listed. I found this out the hard way when I went to make the recipe below.

This chili mac was in the 60 minute section but it really only took about 40 minutes from start to finish. It tasted great and is a dish that anyone, all ages would love. The recipe does call for jalapenos and chili seasoning but if you de-seed the jalapeno it is not terribly spicy, just enough hint of spice (of course you could keep the jalapeƱo seeds in and add more chili seasoning if you want the extra kick).

Even though this was delicious and Eric and I both had seconds we did not even put a dent in this chili mac. The full recipe makes a overflowing full 9x13 pan. Which is perfect if you have a crowd to feed. Good thing it tasted so good and we like leftovers because I took some for lunch today and we will be eating it again for dinner tonight.

Notes: The original recipe called for 2 pounds of beef. I thought that was way to much since there are also beans and of course the pasta. In the end I am glad I only used 1 pound of ground beef considering the large amount of food this ended up being. Also the original recipe called for 5 tablespoons of chili powder, again I thought this was a little excessive. I used 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder and 1 1/12 tablespoons taco seasoning. I thought that this was the perfect amount and combination. My changes are expressed in the recipe below.

Better Than Mama’s Chili Mac

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onions small diced
2 jalapenos, stemmed and minced
1 tablespoon salt, plus more for pasta cooking water
1 pound extra lean ground beef
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 tablespoon oregano
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 (28 ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, broken with your hands, with juices
2 cans kidney beans, drained
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 pound medium cheddar cheese
Sour cream for serving, if desired

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a 6-quart soup pot. Add onions, jalapenos, and 2 teaspoons of the salt and cook until soft, 2 minutes. Add ground beef, chili powder, taco seasoning, oregano, and garlic and cook, breaking up any clumps of meat with a spoon, for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, and 1/2 cup of water, stir, and bring chili to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until thickened to chili consistency, about 20 minutes. Taste and add 1 more teaspoon salt, if needed.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

While the chili is simmering, cook macaroni according to package directions in boiling salted water, drain in a colander, rinse under cool running water and set aside. Grate cheddar cheese and set aside.

Place a 9 x 13.5-inch or other 3-quart casserole dish on a baking sheet. Once chili has finished cooking, fold in the cooked macaroni and 1/2 of the cheddar cheese. Transfer chili-mac to the baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake until heated through and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving. Serve each portion garnished with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

recipe adapted from Emeril 20-40-60: Fresh Food Fast

See what I mean- an overflowing 9x13 pan.
Related Posts with Thumbnails