Friday, May 30, 2008

Have I lost my tolerance?

I thought maybe it is possible that I have lost my tolerance to spicy food since I've lived in the land of bland food for nearly 3 years. After inheriting a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce from another expat family leaving for America, I decided to make Smoked Chicken in Red Pepper Sauce. Wow ... this was hot! I should have read the reviews before making this because this seemed to be the consensus from everyone. Good ... but HOT! I thought chipotles were smoky but not very spicy so I used the whole jar as instructed. I think it was too much ... I would only use a couple next time. I served the chicken with polenta ... it made a nice duo. The only tweak I did was to add a cup of water to the chicken and pepper mix and let the chicken braise on a low heat for 30 minutes. It turned out very tender and there was enough of a sauce to put over the polenta.

*** Update: I just re-read the recipe and I think I (along with everyone else who rated it) read the recipe wrong. Check it out for yourself .... does that mean 1 chipotle chili, chopped or 1 drained can of chipotles, chopped??? After reading it, I think it is 1 chili only ... just a bad way of writing it or maybe a tired cook.....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My favorite Greatest Hits recipe - revisited

I know I've posted this one earlier, Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut-Curry Sauce, but this is our absolute favorite Greatest Hits recipe so far. This recipe turns out such a wonderful curry sauce. If you haven't tried it already, you really should. I have so many more recipes I wanted to try this month but May is slowly closing in on me!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Kerri's Ceasar Salad

I made the salad today for the first time for the family lunch event and it was a huge hit! Although not exactly a "fat free" dressing, it was great and very impressive to everyone. I will definitely make for guests again, and maybe for DH if he begs :)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Chicken revisited

So, I just wanted to share that I made the delicious chicken that Robin made:) I used carrots instead of potatoes, and then made rice with the chicken stock. This was such a scrumptious meal. I love carrots too:) See my beans from the garden in the background...and tomatoes too.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

BBQ chicken potpie

This Barbecued-Chicken Potpie recipe was on a couple of sites. This is very delicious and I know it is one that Kerri makes for people when she takes them dinner. I attempted to do that for a friend who just had a baby, BUT...long story short, I need to clean out my pantry because I have some expired items.

This is so mouth is watering just thinking about it:) I briefly read the recipe and grabbed crescent rolls to top it with instead of corn bread...whoops. IT was delicious!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Blue Cheese-Pepper Steak Wraps

I am getting the feeling that I have one of the oldest versions on KGH and I am going to guess that this recipe isn't in the new editions. We enjoyed it immensely. Brian especially love it because of the blue cheese with the steak. The recipe for Blue Cheese-Pepper Steak Wraps is from cooking light. They were delicious. I carmelized the veggies...that's my thing.

Kerri's comment, "Be sure to use a good quality steak or else it will be too tough." Well said Kerri!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chicken Curry in a Hur....holy cow that's hot!!!

Well, the title says it all. Perhaps one of Rachael Ray's most famous recipes needs a little interpretation of the curry amounts.

Now, I like spicy foods. I can handle just about anything. But I put in 1.5 Tb of curry paste (recipe says 2 Tb) in the recipe and it was so hot, we were sweating, guzzling water, and planning our trip to Braum's for ice cream as we inhaled each bite.

Perhaps she meant "weak, sissy curry paste", but I had "Thai curry paste". Geesh.

Anyways, we will make this Chicken Curry in a Hurry dish again, but with about 1tsp of curry paste, or maybe less.

Heading out for more water.....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Crispy Chicken with Basil and Sweet Tomatoes (Poultry)

This is a really easy but great dish. You just need to be able to hang around the house a while for the cooking time.

4 chicken drumsticks and 4 chicken quarters (legs and thighs joined)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
a big bunch of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 lb. cherry tomatoes, halved
10 cloves garlic, chopped
olive oil
1.5 lbs new potatoes

Preheat oven to 275. Season chicken with salt and pepper and put them in a snug-fitting pan in one layer. Throw in all the basil, the halved cherry tomatoes and the potatoes. Scatter the garlic cloves into the pan and drizzle over some olive oil. Mix around, pushing the tomatoes and potatoes underneath the chicken. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Take it out and stir it all around a bit and raise the heat to 325 and cook for another 2 hours. It's done when you see clear juice coming from the chicken when pierced and the meat falls off the bone.

Chinese Slaw and Thai Style Pork Stew

So, I took Kerri's recommendation with the Thai Style Pork Stew and Chinese Slaw. We enjoyed it. I didn't make any rice with the stew...which I regret. The delicious peanut buttery sauce definitely needs an accompaniment. The slaw was okay, but ...we love mayo!! Very fun making meals from KGHs!! PS. Do you like the fork and knife? It really adds something, right?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Curried Chicken Penne with Fresh Mango Chutney

Mmm, that Kerri girl really knows how to pick out some good recipes. This has caught my eye since I first received the 2nd version, but we just made it tonight for the first time.

As a side, DH made the chutney. It was soooo great because there is a lot of chopping in this recipe. Taste wise, it was awesome. DH fell in love, too.

Curried Chicken Penne with Fresh Mango Chutney

We like spicy food around here, and the spice level on this was just perfect. No sweating, but feeling some heat. The sweet side balanced perfectly.

I also made this with some Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus with Cheese, but that's not from Kerri's cookbook. It was quite yummy, too. Note, I used NO butter AT ALL, but rather Pam. She's very dependable.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Italian Sausage Soup

I'm so happy that we are doing Kerri's Greatest Hits this month, because it is giving me a chance to try out more of her famous recipes, like this Italian Sausage Soup. It was a huge hit for me and DH last night, and frankly, we can't wait to make it again.

We must confess that the recipe says it's four servings, but ours only ended up being 2!

P.S. - Mine looked nothing like this lovely picture above, but who cares, it was so good!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Monterey Jack, Corn, and Red Pepper Risotto (Meatless Mains)

We tried another Meatless Main last night, MJ Corn and Red Pepper Risotto. We both agreed it was good. I probably wouldn't use it as a company dinner because as you can see from the photo mine turned out looking like dirty rice. This is another one that is easy to have the ingredients on hand for an easy weeknight meal. I think a little fresh cilantro sprinkled on top would have been a great addition.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Another newcomer - Chinese Slaw


I think this one might be in Mel's second copy, but I don't think anyone else has it. My husband LOVES slaw, but I am just not a fan. I think it is because most cole slaw recipe have mayo based dressings and I am more of a vinegrette kind of girl. I started making this recipe about a year ago...whenever we moved in with my parents. My mom loved it. This is one that I printed out, and then threw away. I figured I could just wing it with whatever I had, but you forget, so I print it out again, then throw it away. I think I eventually stole my mom's copy and that is what is in my cookbook. Sorry Mom! Even though I have the recipe, it is just a guide, and I just use whatever I have and whatever I feel like. It is a nice fresh addition to asian crockpot meals. I served this with Thai Style Pork Stew.

Spiced Stewed Zuchini (Salads and Vegetables) and Basmati Pilaf with Almonds and Cilantro (Grains)

Last night was vegetarian night at our house so we tried two side dishes out of the Greatest Hits book and added a good multigrain bread with cheese. My husband chose to use the stewed zuchini as a topping for the rice and I enjoyed them both seperately. We loved both dishes and I especially loved the chickpeas with the zuchini.

Monday, May 5, 2008

ooeey-gooey peanut butter brownies

I needed something to bring to a bbq last night and this seemed fitting. They were easy and delicious, but I did have some issues with the sweetened condensed milk. I had two cans so I didn't get any when I went to the store, but when I started to cook...they expired in 2006:( I looked up on the in Internet how to substitute. Just heat some sugar with evaporated problem, I have a can of evaporated milk...that expired in 2006...MAN! I ended up having to run to the convenient store. The brownies were well received.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Baked Shrimp with Feta Cheese

We made this one tonight for the first time from Kerri's cookbook. She kindly wrote above it "Yum!" and we absolutely agree. This very simple and very fast recipe is absolutely outstanding and crazy healthy. Four thumbs up (toes count too).

1 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 lb medium shrimp - peeled and deveined
3 garlic gloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups diced plum tomatoes (about 3/4 pound) - we used a giant can of san marzano tomatoes and reserved much of the juice
3/4 cup (3 oz) finely crumbled feta cheese
4 cups hot linguine (8 oz uncooked)
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Heat oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Add oregano through garlic. Saute 3 minutes. Spoon shrimp mix into 11x7 baking dish coated with cooking spray (oops, didn't use cooking spray).
3. Add wine to skillet, cook over low heat until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 3 min). Stir in tomato and pour over shrimp mix. Sprinkle with cheese, bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Serve mixture over pasta and sprinkle with parsley. Yield 4 servings (or 3 in our house).

Since there is no fat in this recipe, it might be good to add some buttery garlic bread or some oil/bread dipping combo.

This recipe is so good that you'd have to be a dork (or allergic to shellfish) not to make it. Wow, I can't wait until lunch tomorrow for leftovers. Thanks, Kerri's Greatest Hits (2nd version).

NEW ADDITION - Thin and Crispy Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe has not been cut out from the magazine yet, so no one has it. These are The Best Oatmeal Cookies Ever. Most oatmeal cookie recipes end up chewy, and if you prefer that fine...I always feel like they end up semi-stale tasting. I think I have been subconsciously looking for these cookies, without knowing what I was really looking for. If there is an oatmeal cookie recipe in your cookbook, it won't make the new edition. These are in. Again, I got this recipe from Cooks Illustrated. I made them recently for someone who had a baby, and forgot to take a picture. I don't follow the recipe exactly, which is probably why mine don't end up as thin as the picture. Mel - you will die when you see how much butter is in them, but I have had good luck cutting the butter back quite a bit. I want to say I only used 1 stick with good results, but this last time I think it was 1 stick plus 2T.

Thin and Crispy Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
14 T unsalted butter, softened, but still cool (65 degrees)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in medium bowl.
2. In standing mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter and sugars at medium-low speed, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute longer. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula. Add egg and vanilla and beat on medium low until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl again. With mixer running at low speed, add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated and smooth, 10 seconds. With mixer still running on low, gradually add oats and mix until well incorporated, 20 seconds. Give dough final stir with spatula to ensure no flour pockets remain.
3. Divide dough into 24 portions, each about 2 T, then roll between palms into balls. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart, 8 dough balls per sheet. Using fingertips, gently press ball to 3/4 inch thickness.
4. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are deep golden brown, edges are crisp, and centers yield to slight pressure when touched, 13 to 16 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack;cool cookies completely on sheet.

Baked Potato Soup (Soups and Stews)

Although I haven't made this since winter, this is my go-to soup when my husband is craving Baked Potato Soup. This was a CL cover recipe. Thanks for sharing this one wirrek - it's a winter standard for us.

Mexican Lime Marinated Chicken

This one is in the Poultry section under 8 Ways with Barbecued or Broiled Chicken. Marinate the chicken and grill ... here is the marinade:

juice of 3 limes
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 t. sugar
1 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1/2 t. dried tarragon
1 clove of garlic, minced

We sliced the chicken for fajitas. It was good ... maybe missing a spice ... maybe oregano? Or, possibly, I just marinated it too long ... the chicken looked practically cooked from the citric acid after 3 hours. I thought it tasted a bit too limey but I want to give it another shot with some tweaking next time. Sorry, no picture this time.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Hummus - Two Ways (Appetizers)


Roasted Red Pepper Hummus:

One of my favorite wirrek appetizers, especially when served with baked pita chips.

salt & pepper, to taste
juice of 1 lemon
1-2 cloves garlic
can of chickpeas, drained
olive oil, to taste

Puree all ingredients in a food processor, season with salt and pepper and thin to desired consistency with olive oil. For roasted red pepper hummus, add 1-2 roasted red peppers.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Peanutty Noodles (Meatless Mains)

Well, I have to submit this one first because we have made it twice in the past two weeks! This was a great discovery ... we loved it! I first had the notion to use asian rice noodles but I followed the directions as written and I really prefer the linguine. Other than the fresh produce it calls for ... it is really easy to have the ingredients on hand. This is a very quick, inexpensive weeknight dinner.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May challenge - Kerri's Greatest Hits

Wow, is it May already? Robin - thanks for the last challenge. I don't feel like I participated as much as I would have liked...apparently we have a late growing season here. We are just NOW seeing berries stands pop up. But it was fun an interesting to see the combinations that everyone came up with!

For May, we will be doing a cookbook challenge and cooking from Kerri's Greatest Hits. I think everyone has a copy, but if you are reading this and don't have one, let me know!

The early, early editions of Kerri's Greatest Hits started when I was in college. I didn't cook as much as I do now, but there were some favorites: Worthy Cesar Salad, Thai Chicken, etc. As people I knew got married, I would give them copies of these recipes on note cards for a personal wedding gift. I was in college and poor, and it probably was a lame gift. I usually would get them a "real" gift for their shower.

After I started in the real world, my very good (ex?) friend Craig gave me a subscription to Cooking Light when the gift he wanted to get me didn't work out. That is when I really started cooking and I would cut out all the recipes I made and put them in a photo album. This was before digital cameras and you had to keep all your pictures in a photo album, circa 1999-2000. The following year was when I made the next version Kerri's Greatest Hits cookbook. I made copies of the recipes I had and again, put them in a photo album along with comments. I used this as a wedding/shower gift, and included a subscription to Cooking Light as a supplement. The book itself had come along way, but the recipes, to be honest, I don't make that much anymore. My apologies to those of you who have this early edition (KAJ, MOM).

These cookbooks were better received and I started to have more requests as more people got married. And MEL, I SWEAR I made you one of these early editions because you didn't want to wait until you got married! I made a bunch for Christmas presents that year (2001) and at this time, it was starting to beat me down. I think it was my (ex) friend Amy who suggested I have it bound instead of using the photo album method, and I think she got the first one of that version for her wedding. She apparently got it in the divorce. Oh well.

In my current system, I keep a file folder of all the recipes divided into their subsections. When it is time to make a new one, I take my stash and the photo album cookbook I am currently filling to a copy shop. I add new recipes, and take out old ones as I go, then have it bound. This process takes usually 2 hours and cost about 20 dollars.

The largest section...desserts, which is weird because I feel my dessert standards are highest. When trying a new recipe, it is usually very clear if it will make the book or not, but unfortunately, I end up with a lot of recipes in the book that I have only made once (white chocolate raspberry cheesecake, African chicken peanut soup). It happens just as often that I will make a recipe and not be wowed by it, but still go back to it over and over until it makes the cut (jam filled whole wheat almond muffins)(adobo flank steak). Some versions have comments "I made this for you!""Mark hates peanuts.", some have stars, but a lot of care goes into making all these books, so it means a lot that people enjoy them.

I will be using this challenge to cook my standard freezer meals, as my personal monthly challenge is to have a baby by May 31st!!