Kitchen Concoctions: June 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

All American Food for an American Holiday

Ever wonder how certain things came about or were invented? I do! All. The. Time. Especially food! (BTW I love the Food Network Show Unwrapped!) Well the article below, that I wrote for meal planning/recipe site Food on the Table, is all about some popular American food. So this 4th of July weekend impress your friends and family when you bust out these fun food facts (say that three times fast) while you serve these burgers, S'more cookies, or even the All American BBQ Chili Dogs shared below!

From sea to shining sea, there are some foods that ‘sing’ America! To celebrate the upcoming Independence Day holiday why not host an all American dinner party with a menu full of popular foods that have helped build our beloved Nation.
Hamburgers: There is great debate about where the All-American hamburger got its start. Some say that a New Haven, Connecticut restaurant owner in the early 1900’s had a customer in a hurry and needed lunch fast. So he slapped a beef patty between two slices of bread and served up the first “hamburger”. But to people from the south, the hamburger was invented long before then, in the late 1800’s in Athens, Texas. Debate or not, hamburgers are an inexpensive, easy to make meal, that make them one popular American food!
S’mores: It is uncertain where this classic, delightful campfire treat originated; but the very first printed S’more ‘recipe’ is found in a 1927 Girl Scout camping manual. The original name of this gooey treat was actually “Some More” because of the constant requests for more. The name was later abbreviated to “S’more” perhaps because of the difficulty to say ‘some more’ with a mouth full of sticky marshmallows!
Chili Dog: Serving sausage in a bun is a meal known around the world. Germans are known to be the first to enjoy this simple meal back in the 13th century. However, the chili dog, also known as a Coney Island hot dog, came about in 1914 in Jackson, Michigan. The original “Coney Island Dog,” which actually has little association with the Coney Island of New York; was a grilled hot dog served with a beanless chili, cheese, yellow mustard and chopped onions. Today Americans near and far enjoy this hands on meal at sporting events, BBQ’s and more!

Other great “All American” foods to serve up this 4th of July include Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich, Corn Dogs, Buffalo Wings, Peach Pie, grilled corn on the cob and potato salad.
Try this flavorful recipe for an All American BBQ Chili Dog at your next gathering!

One Year Ago: Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls
Two Years Ago: Cheese and Chicken Stuffed French Bread

All American BBQ Chili Dogs
by Heather of Kitchen Concoctions:
Prep Time: 6 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Serves: 5
5 all-beef hot dogs
5 hot dog buns
½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
½ tablespoon olive oil
½ small white onion, chopped
1/2 cup barbeque sauce
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 tablespoons chili seasoning
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
In a large saucepan over low heat, heat olive oil, add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the barbeque sauce, beans, chili seasoning, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, apple cider vinegar and mustard. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, set up grill for direct cooking over medium heat. When ready, place hot dogs on the grill. Cook for 10 minutes or until heated through, turning occasionally. Add buns to grill and toast. Place hot dogs in buns and top with chili and cheddar cheese.

Summer Barbeques on a Budget

Throwing a barbeque this Independence Day is a fun way to celebrate with friends. Don't worry if you are on a tight budget, you can still celebrate in style! Check out the article below that I wrote for meal planning/recipe site Food on the Table, with my tips on how to throw a summer barbeque on a budget! And if you have any good tips to throw a BBQ on a budget please share in the comments section below!!! I would love to hear them!

 (Oh and the recipe for Chicken Parmesan Burgers at the bottom of this post is awesome!!)

With school out for summer, outdoor activities are in full swing. One fun summer time activity is outdoor grilling. Barbeques are a great way to celebrate summer holidays such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Father’s Day or to simply celebrate the carefree days of summer. Even if you are on a tight budget this summer, a laid-back backyard barbecue is an inexpensive way to enjoy time with friends and family.

To save money without sacrificing all the fun, simply follow these tips, for a budget friendly barbecue:

• The meat: One way to keep costs low is to choose only one protein to serve. If hot dogs are on sale at the grocery store, grill hot dogs and set up a hot dog ‘bar’ with all the popular toppings. Also save money by being resourceful and using what you already have on hand. Grill chicken or shrimp if that is what you have. Keeping it simple with only one main protein saves time and money.

• Side dishes: Potato salad, coleslaw, and baked beans are all popular and fairly inexpensive barbeque side dishes. However, if you are looking to keep things easy and inexpensive, stick with fresh veggies. Summertime means an overwhelming amount of fresh, seasonal vegetables which are available at low prices. Corn on the cob, zucchini and squash all grill beautifully.
• Dessert: With fresh summer fruit available try grilling some peaches, making a cobbler or simply enjoying some fresh berries with homemade whipped cream.

• Beverages: Lemonade and ice tea are extremely inexpensive and will keep your guests cool in the heat of the summer. If you are looking for a cost effective way to serve alcoholic beverages, choose one variety of beer to serve, one specialty drink or ask guests to bring their own.

• Serving: While paper plates and plastic cups may be convenient for gatherings, they add extra unnecessary costs. Using what you have on hand will keep your shopping list down to the essentials.

Looking to add a little variety to your grilling menu this summer? Try these flavorful Chicken
Parmesan Burgers.

One Year Ago: Secret Ingredient Sloppy Joe Chili
Two Years Ago: Texas Fruit Cooler

Chicken Parmesan Burgers
by Heather of Kitchen Concoctions:
Printable Version

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Serves 4-5
1 pound ground chicken
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup marinara sauce
¼ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
½ tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
1 egg

1/3 cup marinara sauce
5 slices mozzarella cheese
5 buns
Mix burger ingredients together and shape into 4 to 5 patties.

Heat grill to medium. Lightly oil grill grate. Place patties on grill and cook 5 minutes per side or until cooked through.
Spread approximately 1 tablespoon marinara sauce on each bun.

Top bun with cooked chicken patty. Top patties with additional marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Top with spinach and serve.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gimmie "Some More"

Oh man, oh man, oh man! Do I have the recipe for you today!!!!

The Perfect S'more Cookie!!!!

Whoa..... did I say perfect?

I made these cookies just a few days ago and have been dying to share them with you! They are that good!

With all this talk about grilling out and BBQ's and summer fun I have had S'mores on my mind. They are the perfect treat anytime, but there is just something about cooking outdoors that drives you to want a S'more! Because of this I knew I wanted to include a fun and unique S'more treat as part of this week's barbecue round up. I was immediately drawn to a cookie but as to what type of cookie was the question.

A chocolate chip cookie base, a chocolate cookie base, chop the S'more ingredients and throw them in or leave them whole and sandwich the cookie dough around them. There were so many ways I could go with this.

I was worried about the texture of whole (or broken) graham crackers would have on the overall cookie. I went back and forth. Back and forth.

And then I saw it! Confessions of a Cookbook Queen did it right- a S'more cookie with grahmn cracker crumbs mixed into the dough! Genius! Why didn't I think of that!

This cookie has the perfect S'more flavor: gooey marshmallows, melted chocolate, and that distinct grahmn cracker flavor.


The S’more Cookie
Printable Version
Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
3 Hershey bars, broken into rectangles
2 Hershey bars, chopped into small pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Blend in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips, 1 cup of marshmallows, and 2 chopped Hershey bars.

Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto greased cookie sheet, about 3 inches apart.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 8 minutes. Remove and quickly press 2 to 3 of the remaining marshmallows, as well as, 1 Hershey chocolate rectangle into cookies. Return to oven and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, as seen on Sugar Foot Eats

Monday, June 27, 2011

Get Your Grill On!

With Independence Day just a week away I thought I would host a barbeque (or grill out depending on where you are from) here on Kitchen Concoctions! All this week I will be featuring recipes that would be perfect served at a 4th of July BBQ, or any BBQ this summer for that matter. I will also be sharing some grilling/barbequing tips and tricks! Today I am sharing an article and recipe I wrote for meal planning/recipe site Food on the Table, with some tips on how to safely grill out. Remember folks, safety first!!!

Summer barbeques are a fun way to celebrate many different occasions. However, if proper safety measures are not followed then that fun day of grilling can come to a quick end. Here are some important grilling safety tips to follow:

• When using a grill be sure and place it on a flat surface, away from fences, plants, overhangs, deck railings and buildings. Also, make sure and position the grill in a well-ventilated area.

• Light charcoal carefully. Avoid pouring lighter fluid directly onto hot coals because flames could travel up the stream of fluid and cause a fire. Also never use gasoline to light a charcoal fire due to the risk of an explosion.

• When putting out hot coals, place the cover on the grill and close vents. Allow the coals to burn out completely, approximately 36 to 48 hours and then dispose of coals properly.

• Kabobs are a fun and impressive way to serve food to your guests and also make it easier to cook smaller pieces of meat. If using metal skewers, be careful not to touch them directly off the grill, as the metal will be hot. When using bamboo or wooden skewers be sure and always soak them for at least 20 to 30 minutes before using them, thus preventing them from charring or burning while cooking with them.

• Food safety is of upmost importance when grilling. Use a meat thermometer to insure that meat is cooked to the proper temperature. Use clean plates, cutting boards and utensils when handling cooked food as opposed to raw. Try and store food at proper temperatures and discard any food after sitting out in the sun and in high temperatures for more than one hour.

Looking for an easy but tasty grilled chicken recipe that the whole family will love? Try this Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken.

One Year Ago: Secret Ingredient Sloppy Joe Chili
Two Years Ago: Texas Fruit Cooler

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken
Printable Version
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Servings: 4

1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon steak sauce
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

Preheat the grill for medium heat.

In a shallow bowl, mix the mustard, honey, mayonnaise, and steak sauce. Set aside a small amount of the honey mustard sauce for basting, and dip the chicken into the remaining sauce to coat.

Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill chicken over indirect heat for 18 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, or until juices run clear. Baste occasionally with the reserved sauce.

adapted from Food on the Table

Sunday, June 26, 2011

H.E.B. Texas Life Magazine

May was a super crazy and exhausting month for me so I never got around to posting all my Magazine of the Month (M.O.M.) recipes and writing the review. So I shared all of those recipes this past week and now it is time for the review!

The magazine that I had chosen for May was not your typical food magazine. If you live in Texas you are familiar with the grocery store H.E.B. (it is practically taking over Texas!!). Every month H.E.B. puts out a monthly magazine with recipes, coupons, cooking tips, crossword puzzles, and more. This magazine is available at all H.E.B. stores to the customers for free. I debated about using this magazine as one of my reviews because unless you live in Texas you don’t have access to it.

But I am always asked for budget tips and how to save money (especially for my job) and after much thought I went ahead and choose this magazine for a review. The main reason is because this is a magazine that I look forward to every month and it is FREE! No subscription required, like all the other magazines I have featured. So while most magazine subscriptions can be pricey they don’t have to be! Does your grocery store offer a magazine like this?

For being free the H.E.B Texas Life Magazine is a great magazine! All of the recipes revolve around the current month (this month grilling recipes, last month recipes that were perfect for cooking for Mom). Also there are always coupons in the magazine for ingredients called for in the recipe (can’t beat that).

Pictures: Yes!

Almost every single recipe in this magazine has a color photo to accompany it!

Prep Time, Cooking Time, and Number of Servings listed: Yes!

H.E.B. really has their customers in mind when developing recipes for this magazine. Every recipe states prep and cooking time as well as number of servings. This information is rare in most cookbooks and a lot of magazines so this is awesome!

Clear, easy to follow directions and ease of preparation: Easy!

Again keeping customers in mind the directions are easy to read and follow. And all of the recipes are easy enough for even the beginner cook.

Variety of recipes: extensive

The magazine features breakfasts, sides, desserts, beverages, and family (and budget) friendly dinners.

Easily available ingredients and budget friendly: Of course!

Since this magazine is written by the grocery store for its customers, all of the ingredients for each recipe are of course available in the store. Also each recipe lists if a H.E.B. brand product is available (which is usually cheaper than the name brand); and the magazine also contains coupons for ingredients used in the recipes.

Special feature:

I think the fact that my grocery store provides a free monthly magazine like this is a pretty ‘special’ feature in and of its self. Oh and all the coupons. Who doesn’t love coupons!

Cost: Free! FREE! FrEe!

So in case you missed them, here are the recipes I featured.

I am pretty much a creamed corn snob. This Scalloped Corn was good and eaten by all, but it is not my favorite version of creamed corn.

Sangria is a nice refreshing drink especially on the hot days of summer. Try this tropical version at your next pool party or barbeque.

Lemon desserts are so popular in the summer. This Whipped Lemon Mousse was easy but the directions need to be followed precisely to ensure it turns out right.

And a one pot meal, that costs less than $10 and tastes great? This Chicken and Broccoli Pasta is a winner!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saving the Best for Last

I totally saved the best for last today. Today I am hosting the last giveaway to celebrate my 2 year blog anniversary and it is a good one (If you are a Rachael Ray fan check it out)!

Today is also the last day (at least for a little while) that I will be participating in Saturday's with Rachael Ray. And the last recipe as far as my Everyday with RR magazine review.

I also think today's recipe is the best RR that I have featured this month.

Flaky tilapia with a slightly spicy, slightly smoky sauce brightened with lime juice and plump corn. I served this Chili Lime Tilapia with Cilantro Lime Rice (recipe coming soon) which was fresh and flavorful. This was a killer meal that will totally be a regular around here for many years to come.

One Year Ago: Tex-Mex Spice Rubbed Chicken
Two Years Ago: Texas Fruit Cooler

Chili Lime Tilapia with Roasted Corn
Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Serves 4

1/3 cup mayonnaise
zest and juice from 1 large lime
1 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 tilapia fillets (1 pound total)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
lime wedges for serving

Preheat the broiler. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lime zest, lime juice, chili powder, seafood seasoning, salt and black pepper. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish with 1 teaspoon of the mayonnaise mixture.

Place the tilapia fillets in the baking dish and coat with the remaining mayonnaise mixture. Top with the corn.

Broil until the corn is lightly browned and the fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve with additional lime wedges.

adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine, February 2009

This recipe is being linked over at Taste and Tell Blog as part of Saturday's with Rachael Ray

Look and Cook Cookbook Winner and Everyday with Racahel Ray Giveaway!

Today is the last and final giveaway celebrating my 2 year blogging anniversary. But before I announce today's giveaway the winner of last week's giveaway, the Rachael Ray Look and Cook Cookbook is (selected by

True Random Number Generator 5 (Liz)
Congrats Liz! Please contact me at kitchen_concoctions at hotmail dot com with your mailing address (if I do not have the winner's mailing information with in 72 hours another winner will be selected).

And now for the final giveaway. A drum roll please...


I thought that since I am doing a year of magazine reviews and this month's is Everyday with Rachael Ray that this would be the perfect final giveaway.

You have FIVE separate ways to enter the Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine Subscription Giveaway! (NOTE: Please leave a SEPARATE comment for each response below):
1. Leave a comment on this post answering the following question: What is your favorite food magazine (or magazine with recipes)? I need a few ideas for future months!

2. Become a follower of Kitchen Concoctions through Google Friend Connect.

3. Tell someone about this giveaway, whether it be on a blog, Facebook or Twitter and leave a new comment letting me know and sharing the link.

4. For a fourth entry to this giveaway, head over to Kitchen Concoction’s Facebook page and click ”Like”. Then come back here and leave a separate comment letting me know you did.

5. And for a fifth and final entry follow Kitchen Concoctions on Twitter. (I am brand new still trying to figure this whole Twitter thing out, so I need all the support I can get!)

This give-away closes Saturday, July 2, 2011 at 12:01 A.M. CST. Winner will be chosen at random and will be announced sometime shortly after the give-away ends. Giveaway for US residents only.

Disclaimer: This giveaway is NOT sponsored by Rachael Ray. I just like her magazine and recipes and like you my readers and wanted to host a giveaway! If Ms. Ray ever wanted me to come cook with her I would be happy to! Wink! Wink!

Friday, June 24, 2011

One Pot Meals

I love one pot meals. I mean who doesn't?? Meat, starch, and veggies all mixed up and cooked together.... how easy is that?

This Chicken and Broccoli Pasta was so easy. The 'sauce' was cheesy and coated every inch of broccoli and filled every nook and cranny of the penne pasta for a cheesy carb heaven.

Need I say more?

Note: This recipe calls for pre-cooked shredded/chopped chicken. So plan ahead and use leftovers or boil 2 chicken breasts in some chicken broth.

Chicken and Broccoli Pasta
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Makes: 4 - 6 servings

1 pound penne pasta,
4 cup fresh (or frozen) broccoli, coarsely chopped
1 package Boursin Cheese (garlic flavored)
1/2 cup milk
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained well, chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese,
Heat oven to 375°F. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking or casserole dish with non-stick spray.
Cook pasta in boiling, salted water according to package directions. Add broccoli when pasta is almost done; cook 2 or 3 minutes longer and drain well.
Return pasta and broccoli to cooking pot. Add Boursin cheese, 1/2 cup Italian cheese, and milk; stir gently over low heat until cheese melts. Stir in chicken and tomatoes; season with fresh black pepper, to taste. (Add additional milk if too dry.)

Transfer mixture to baking dish. Top with shredded cheese. Bake 20 minutes or until cheese melts and top begins to brown.

adapted from H.E.B Texas Life Magazine, May 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jumping on the lemon bandwagon.

I feel like lately all I have seen are lemon desserts. I love lemon but where is all the chocolate??

(But if you do like lemon be sure to check all these desserts out.)

Want your lemon in bar form? Well try these.

Or maybe you like it... well icy.

Microwave lemon curd? Who knew it could be done!

And I am a freak about lemon in cheesecake form!

And now how about lemon mousse? I loved the idea behind this low calorie dessert. Really the flavor possibilities are endless. Lime or Strawberry daiquiri anyone?

I did find the texture in these a little bit off but I think that is because my Jello did not fully dissolve and my whipped topping was frozen and not thawed which made it difficult to blend. I can't wait to try these again and follow my own tips! Ha!

Whipped Lemon Mousse
Prep Time: 15 minutes Chill Time: 5 hours Serves 12

2 cups water
3 (3 ounce) packages lemon flavored gelatin
3 cups crushed ice
1 (12 ounce) can frozen lemonade
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Place 2 cups water in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Add gelatin, stir to completely dissolve and microwave 1 minute more.
Add crushed ice to dissolved gelatin and stir until completely melted. Add frozen lemonade concentrate and stir until dissolved.  Place gelatin in large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the freezer from 45 minutes, until gelatin is thickened but not set.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat dessert topping into gelatin 1 cup at a time. Pour mixture into serving glasses and refrigerate for another 2 hours or until set.

 Serve topped with additional whipped topping.
adapted from H.E.B Texas Life Magazine, February 2010

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How are YOU celebrating the first day of summer?

Today is June 21st.

The first official day of summer.

The summer solstice.

The longest day of the year.

It is also a Tuesday.

And Eric's brother's birthday.

And the first day in weeks that we are no supposed to reach temperatures of 100+ here in Texas.

And they are actually forecasting rain. We desperately need rain.
And even with rain and lower temps it is still H.O.T.

And it is still the first day of summer. And THAT deserves a refreshing, ice cold beverage.

This sangria would be lovely at a bridal shower or summer BBQ. Don't drink wine? No problem! Leave it out (add more juice or soda) and still have a nice flavorful drink.

So how are you celebrating the first 'offical' day of summer?

Tropical Sangria
Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 0 minutes Makes: 12 - 18 servings

1 (liter) bottle Pinot Noir
2 cups lemonade
2 cups Pomegranate juice
1 fresh lemon, sliced
1 fresh lime, sliced
1 fresh orange, sliced
2 cups lemon-lime soda

In a 3-liter pitcher, add in all of the diced fruits along with the Pinot Noir, lemonade and pomegranate juice. Serve over ice and top with lemon-lime soda.

inspired from H.E.B Cooking Connection

Monday, June 20, 2011

Do you have the one I am looking for?

I'm on the prowl. On the hunt. I need to find it: THE. PERFECT. CREAMED. CORN. RECIPE. Do you know who is hiding it? Do you know where I can find it? I! NEED! IT! Please help.........

I once had the the best creamed corn EVA... at a little fancy pants restaurant named ?? (OH darn I don't rememba'). I have searched high and low for a knock off. But haven't had a very good luck.

First came these. And while they were rather delightful; they just didn't please. Then I saw another. This recipe is baked and not sauted, and there for can be named 'scalloped'. And while these where sure ding dang dandy, they were drier than the dessey. Oh how I have dreamt about that captivating creamed corn since that delightful delicious night.

Again I plead... Send me a great
   creamed corn   recipe!
Thank you! I'll be here all night!
Now seriously people. I really need a good creamed corn recipe. I do like these because of the jalapenos and the richness from the can of cream corn, but they are just not as creamy as I thought they would be. But it is important to note that these were completely gone at the end of the dinner I served them at.

Scalloped Corn
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 60 minutes Serves 8
4 cups frozen corn
1 (14.5 ounce) can cream-style corn
2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Heat oven to 350°F.
Spray a 13x9-inch-baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine frozen corn, cream corn, jalapeño peppers, onion, sour cream, eggs, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
Pour into prepared baking dish and bake uncovered for 60 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
adapted from My H.E.B. Texas Life Magazine, December 2008

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Recipe I Forgot All About

Almost EXACTLY a year ago (to the second) I participated for the first time in Saturday's with Rachael Ray! I was so excited to participate in this virtual recipe exchange of sorts.

I shared a FAN-freakin'-TASTIC recipe for Beef 'n' Bean Burrito Burgers. These burgers were so tasty and I loved how the beans in the burger help 'streach' the ground beef as well as add flavor.

Along with those burgers I made this Grilled Corn and Red Potato Salad. I had intended on sharing this RR recipe the following Saturday (a year ago) as part of Saturday's with Rachael Ray but never did. I keep having intentions of sharing this recipe but still never got to it and eventually forgot about it.

So today here is that long lost recipe for that potato salad! I liked this salad because it had a light vinaigrette (instead of a heavy creamy based dressing as found on most potato salads) and had the addition of corn. This is a great side dish for all those summer BBQs!
Note: Fresh grilled corn would be lovely in this salad (which is so plentiful this time of year) because of all the flavor it would add (but all I had was frozen corn). So if you have fresh use it, if not frozen corn can be used!

P.S.: My latest giveaway is for the newest RR cookbook: Rachael Ray's Look and Cook. So if you are a RR fan go enter!

One Year Ago: Beef 'n' Bean Burrito Burgers
Two Years Ago: Israeli Spice Pork Chops

Corn-and-Red Potato Salad
Printable Version
Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Serves 8

1/2 cup extra-virgin plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and finely chopped
10 red potatoes (about 3 pounds)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed

In a medium bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup olive oil, vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper. Whisk in the onion and chilies.

In a pot of salted water, bring the potatoes to a boil and cook until just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, let cool, then cut into bite-size pieces. Add to the vinaigrette.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Toss the corn with the 1 tablespoon olive oil and chili powder. Place corn on baking sheet and broil the corn for 3-4 minutes.
Add the prepared corn kernels to the potatoes and vinaigrette; toss to combine.

adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine, June/July 2009

Cookie Cutter Set Winner And Rachael Ray "Look and Cook" Giveaway!

Yup like I promised I am still celebrating my 2 year blogging anniversary with ANOTHER giveaway (4 giveaways total all month long!!)!

But first the winner of last week's giveaway, the Wilton 101 Cookie Cutter Set is:

True Random Number Generator 10

Congrats SARAH! Please contact me at kitchen_concoctions at hotmail dot com with your mailing address. (Note: If not contacted within 72 hours I will select a new winner).

Now for today's giveaway! Since I have been playing along with Saturdays with Rachael Ray all month to celebrate my blog anniversary as well, I thought it would be fun to host a Rachael Ray themed giveaway.

So today, in honor of 2 years blogging and in honor of Saturday's with Rachael Ray, I am giving away Rachael's latest cookbook: Rachael Ray's Look and Cook. This cookbook has 100 new recipes and over 600 step by step photos. This is a big difference from the 'old' RR cookbooks which only have mAAybe 4 to 5 photos.

You have FIVE separate ways to enter the Rachael Ray Look and Cook Cookbook Giveaway! (NOTE: Please leave a SEPARATE comment for each response below):

1. Leave a comment on this post answering the following question: Where do you get most of your recipes? Do you create them yourself, from friends and family, cookbooks, blogs, cooking TV shows, other food websites, magazines? What is your trusted recipe source?

2. Become a follower of Kitchen Concoctions through Google Friend Connect.

3. Tell someone about this giveaway, whether it be on a blog, Facebook or Twitter and leave a new comment letting me know and sharing the link.

4. For a fourth entry to this giveaway, head over to Kitchen Concoction’s Facebook page and click ”Like”. Then come back here and leave a separate comment letting me know you did.

5. And for a fifth and final entry follow Kitchen Concoctions on Twitter. (I am brand new still trying to figure this whole Twitter thing out, so I need all the support I can get!)

This give-away closes Saturday, June 25, 2011 at 12:01 A.M. CST. Winner will be chosen at random and will be announced sometime shortly after the give-away ends. Giveaway for US residents only.

Disclaimer: This giveaway is NOT sponsored by Rachael Ray. I just like her new cookbook and recipes and like you my readers and wanted to host a giveaway! If Ms. Ray ever wanted me to come cook with her I would be happy to! Wink! Wink!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Going Green with Green Beans

I have had food and blogging on the brain a lot lately (when is it not consuming my every thought! lol!)! I have been cooking up a storm, developing recipes, editing photos, writing up restaurant reviews and blog posts, and planning some fun and useful features for Kitchen Concoctions. But none of this is quite ready just yet (hopefully more regular blogging soon). So in the mean time enjoy my latest article and my newest addiction, Green Bean Fries, that I developed and wrote about for meal planning/recipe site Food on the Table.

Looking to ‘go green’ and eat local this summer? Well choose green beans! While green beans, are available year round, they are perfect for picking and at their peak from April to August, thus making them the least expensive and freshest during this time of year.

Green beans are in the same family as kidney beans and black beans. They are easy to grow and thrive even in the poorest of soils, thus making them a popular crop grown all over the United Sates and all around the world. In fact, green beans are also known as “haricot vert” which is simply the French term for this vegetable.

Green beans provide many valuable vitamins and nutrients: Vitamin B, folic acid, and the mineral silicon, which is important for bone growth and overall health. Green beans are also an excellent source of lutein and beta-carotene, which are normally found in carrots and tomatoes.

When picking green beans this summer, look for beans that are tender, smooth and a vibrant green color. Beans should have a firm texture and ‘snap’ when broken. Avoid any beans that are limp, or have bruises or brown spots.

Green beans are best stored unwashed in a plastic container in the refrigerator. To keep beans their freshest, do not snap off the ends of the beans before storing. If refrigerated properly, green beans will keep for 5 to 7 days. Fresh green beans can also be frozen for future use. For best freezing results, steam beans for 2-3 minutes and then place beans in ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Place completely cooled beans in freezer safe packaging. Green beans will keep frozen for 3 to 6 months.

As with all vegetables, the healthiest way to cook green beans is to steam them. However, green beans can also be boiled, sautéed, roasted and even eaten raw.

Have a picky eater that won’t even touch these glorious greens? Well they won’t be able to pass up these crunchy Green Bean Fries!

One Year Ago: Peach Pie Fruit Salad
Two Years Ago: Israeli Spice Pork Chops

Green Bean Fries
by Heather of Kitchen Concoctions:
Printable Version
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Serves: 5-6

1 pound fresh green beans
1/3 cup ranch salad dressing
1 ½ cups Panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Rinse green beans in lukewarm water and dry completely. Snap or cut off both ends of the beans.
Toss prepared beans in flour. ranch dressing. Dip ranch covered green beans in panko bread crumbs and the place beans in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Bake beans in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Man food

I promise I will keep this G rated.

Ok maybe PG just to keep things fun.

Today when I went into check my Google stats it said that 'man butt' was a popular search word that linked to my blog. Man butt?? Really??? I mean I try to keep things funny and open minded on this blog, but man butts? I have no clue where that one came from... this IS a food blog for Pete's sake!

Ironically I was going to write about man 'food' today since next Sunday is Father's Day and because the recipe I am sharing today is for chicken wings, which I think is the ultimate 'man food'.

But for some reason I can't stop thinking laughing about man butts.

Sometimes I think I still have the mind maturity of a 12 year old.

Anywho. Just like pizza and hamburgers, chicken wings are another thing that frequent our dinner menu because they are one of Eric's favs. I like chicken wings just as much as the next girl, but I need some variety. I liked that these wings were baked and not fried (baking things are more healthy... more of a girl thing) and the sauce was slightly sweet but mostly tangy. This was a nice change to the normal wing sauce.

So here's to Man food Man butts everywhere!

(This recipe is being linked to Saturday's with Rachael Ray)

One Year Ago: Artichoke 'n Bacon Pizza Squares
Two Years Ago: Extreme Peanut Butter Cookies

Hot Mustard Wings
Printable Version
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes Serves: 6
2 pounds chicken wings, separated at the joint and tips discarded
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Arrange chicken wings on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake in the upper third of a 500° oven for 35 minutes. Whisk together mustard, soy sauce, Teriyaki sauce, vinegar and sugar; add wings and toss.
adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine February 2009

Cascade Winners and ANOTHER Giveaway!

It's Saturday! Which I am sure for most of you is already a happy day, because it is the first day of your weekend! Well I think I am going to make it a little happier for some of you. I am announcing the winners of the Cascade sample packs and one lucky winner who will receive a sample pack and a $15 Walmart gift card. I am also continuing to celebrate my 2 year blogging anniversary with another giveaway for you today and a Rachael Ray recipe that I will share later today!

But first the Cascade Sample Pack winners:

True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 33 Result: 20 (CHERYL F)
True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 33 Result: 26 (MARI)
True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 33 Result: 22 (SARAH)
True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 33 Result: 4 (DANIELA6968)

And the grand prize winner of the $15 Walmart Gift Card and Cascade Sample Pack:

True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 33 Result: 10 (DESI)

All winners please email me with your mailing address and I will get your sample packs mailed right out. If I don't hear from you within 72 hours I will randomly select a new winner.

Thanks to all of you who entered! I learned a lot of new cleaning tips!

AND now for today's GIVEAWAY!!!
I have mentioned several times on this blog that one of my most memorable and special gifts that I have ever received are a box of 101 assorted cookie cutters from my Mom a few years ago for Christmas. She also included her sugar cookie recipe and classic butter cream frosting (I shared these recipes recently here). This gift was so special to me because I have so many fond memories of making and decorating sugar cookies for a variety of holidays. So to celebrate my 2 years of blogging today I will gift to one lucky reader a box of Wilton brand 101 assorted plastic cookie cutters. As I have mentioned before I think cookie cutters make a fun wedding gift, bridal or baby shower gift, a welcome to the neighborhood gift, thank you gift and more. Gift them with some homemade cookie dough and you have got a great personal gift.

You have FIVE separate ways to enter the 101 Wilton Cookie Cutter Giveaway! (NOTE: Please leave a SEPARATE comment for each response below):

1. Leave a comment on this post answering the following question: What is your favorite cookie? If you have a recipe please share but it is not required.

2. Become a follower of Kitchen Concoctions through Google Friend Connect.

3. Tell someone about this giveaway, whether it be on a blog, Facebook or Twitter and leave a new comment letting me know and sharing the link.

4. For a fourth entry to this giveaway, head over to Kitchen Concoction’s Facebook page and click ”Like”. Then come back here and leave a separate comment letting me know you did.

5. And for a fifth and final entry follow Kitchen Concoctions on Twitter. (I am brand new still trying to figure this whole Twitter thing out, so I need all the support I can get!)

This give-away closes Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 12:01 A.M. CST. Winner will be chosen at random and will be announced sometime shortly after the give-away ends. Giveaway for US residents only.
Disclaimer: This giveaway is NOT sponsored by Wilton. I just like their products and like you my readers and wanted to host a giveaway!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rice is Nice.

As much as I love pasta sometimes I think I am more of a rice kinda girl. Yellow rice, risotto, rice pudding. Mmmm! My love of rice is so great that I even wrote an article about it for meal planning/recipe site Food on the Table. I even included a recipe for an o-so creamy risotto!

Rice is an ancient grain that has been eaten for thousands of years. Today rice is a staple for half of the world’s population because it is healthy, versatile, affordable and easy to prepare.

Rice is sodium and cholesterol free and only has a trace amount of fat. It is a nutrient dense food, with over 15 vitamins and minerals.

Milled rice (white rice) will keep almost indefinitely if stored in an air tight container in a cool dark place. Whole grain rice has a shorter shelf life due to the oils in the bran layer. These varieties of rice are best stored in the refrigerator or freezer. When cooked, rice can be stored for up to six days in the refrigerator.

With more than 40,000 varieties of rice grown world wide it might be a bit overwhelming as to what variety of rice to serve at your next meal. Below are some of the more common rice varieties found here in the United States.
  • Wild Rice is a grain that grows wild in isolated lake and river bed areas primarily in North America. Wild rice requires more cooking time than other rice varieties and should be soaked for several hours before cooking. Once cooked, wild rice is slightly firm and chewy. It is great eaten by it’s self or in soups or casseroles.
  • Jasmine Rice is a long grain rice variety; and is known for being a fragrant or aromatic rice. It is named after the sweet smelling jasmine flower. Because of its unique flavor, aroma and white silky texture it naturally enhances the spices and flavors traditionally found in oriental cooking.
  • Basmati Rice is a long grain rice with a distinct nutty flavor and firmer texture. This flavor and aromatic scent is caused by the aging of Basmati rice. It is common in Indian cooking, as it pares well with curries.
  • Arborio Rice is a short-grained Italian rice and is classily found in the preparation of risotto. Arborio rice undergoes less of a milling process than other varieties of rice which causes it to have a high starch content. Cooking releases this starch giving it that traditional creamy risotto consistency.
Now that you know more about rice try this creamy Three Cheese Broccoli Risotto!

One Year Ago: Cookbook Review: Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Grilling
Two Years Ago: French Onion Pork Chops

Three Cheese Broccoli Risotto
by Heather of Kitchen Concoctions:
Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Serves 6 as side dishes and 4 as main dish

4 1/2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ medium white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 head of broccoli, chopped
½ cup white wine
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup Arborio rice
1/3 cup cheddar cheese
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Salt and pepper

Heat chicken stock in a small pot and keep on low heat.

In a medium size heavy sauce pan heat oil over medium heat, Add onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Add broccoli and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and let the broccoli cook for an additional 4 minutes. Set aside.

Melt butter in the pan on medium-low heat. Add rice stirring until well coated and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add wine, season with salt and pepper and mix well until wine is absorbed into the rice. Ladle 1 cup of stock into rice and mix until all stock is absorbed. Add another ladle of stock and continue adding and stirring until all broth is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes. Stir in broccoli, cheeses and parsley, mix well and serve. Top with additional cheese if desired

Saturday, June 4, 2011

In Case You Missed It

Back in March I celebrated 2 years of blogging. I know for a little blog like mine no biggie. Such I smallie I completely missed it. Well. Actually. I thought about it, but was insanely busy that month to do anything special to celebrate.

Then came April and more events and well May was fun with going out of town and then stressful because I moved and well now we are in June. And in case you have not been paying attention I have been doing a food magazine of the month feature  (inspired by here) (well I missed last month because some how I lost my camera cord in the move, well I knew where it was I just couldn't find it but Eric did so now I have it and now I can edit the pics for that magazine and do the review late). So to make up for lost time I thought I would celebrate big! Big as in with giveaways and tasty recipes.

So here is the run down: One of my favorite blogs (Taste and Tell) does a Saturday's with Rachael Ray segment. I have quite a few RR recipes in my trusty blue binder from her magazine. So I knew when I started this MOM feature I would do RR's magazine one month. Then I thought that it would be fun to play along and participate in Saturday's with Rachael Ray (are you following me??). So for the month of June every Saturday I will feature an "Everyday with RR" recipe AND to celebrate my b-lated 2 year bloggerversary I will host a giveaway every Saturday for the month of June too!

Today's giveaway is found here! So go enter! (each giveaway will run Saturday to the following Saturday for the month of June)

And now for the recipe (finally... right?)! This was a fun take on the meatball sub! Instead of serving chili dogs at your next sporting event or summer gathering make the Chili Meatball Subs!

Chili Meatball Subs
Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 30-35 minutes Serves 6

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, one-half finely chopped, one-half thinly sliced
1 cup corn chips, such as Fritos, crushed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 cup beef broth
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can black beans
6 sandwich rolls, split halfway and toasted
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese (about 8 ounces)

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, chopped onion, 1/2 cup crushed corn chips, the egg, chili powder, and beef broth. Shape into 1-inch balls.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and the remaining 1/2 cup crushed corn chips and bring to a boil. Add the meatballs to the sauce, cover and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Stir in the beans and cook just until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the chili meatballs and sauce into the toasted rolls, then top with the cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.

adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine, May 2009
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