Tuesday, June 29, 2010

30 Things to Make Before I Turn 30: Monkey Bread

This recipe was probably the "naughtiest" thing I had on my list of 30 Things to Make Before I Turn 30. "Naughty" because it's the exact opposite of figure friendly. Which is why, of course, I waited until my girlfriends from college came down to visit to make it so that they could partake in this sinful breakfast food with me. After all, what are good girlfriends for if not for indulging together?! :) This recipe is my Grandma Walters. When she made it the family would pick at it from the minute it was placed on the table, piping hot. That's where monkey bread gets it's name - you get to grab little pieces of it like a monkey!

Monkey Bread
From Grandma Walters
Printable Version
3 cans buttermilk biscuits (I only used 2 cans and that was more than enough for 4 of us! If you are feeding 5 or more, use 3 cans)
1 cup of sugar
4 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick of butter
1 cup of chopped nuts (I prefer pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut biscuits into fourth and roll together - does not have to be perfect balls though. Shake in a bag with the cinnamon and sugar.
Layer in a bunt pan and sprinkle with nuts all the way through the layering process. Melt brown sugar and butter and boil for one minute. Make sure to stir and keep an eye on it. Pour over the biscuits. 
Bake for 35 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, then turn upside down on plate to serve. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Creamy Cucumber Salad

This cool, creamy cucumber salad is one of my most favorite things my Grandma Walters made. Gram used to have this in her fridge all summer long. Of course she used REAL sour cream and therefore hers is better than mine, but even with the low fat version of sour cream, one bite of this salad brings me right back to her kitchen. Make sure to let this marinate in the fridge for several hours before eating.

Creamy Cucumber Salad
3 cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dill (fresh is best!)
Place sliced cucumbers and onions in a serving container or bowl. In a separate bowl whip together sour cream, vinegar, salt, and dill. Pour mixture over cucumbers and onion. Shake or stir until the veggies are covered. Place in refrigerator to let flavors marry. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Five Minute Pizza Dough

When I made Buffalo Chicken Pizza, I decided to use homemade pizza dough. I found this recipe for 5 minute pizza dough on Tasty Kitchen and in doing so made a new cooking blog friend at A Busy Nest. I encourage you to check out their blog, I found several new recipes on there I am excited to try sometime. This pizza dough couldn't be easier. It only takes a a few minutes to prep and then you have to let it sit for 5 minutes. Some other Tasty Kitchen users said that they will try this recipe with whole wheat flour and I think next time I will do the same. 

Five Minute Pizza Dough
1 tablespoon instant yeast (I used one small packet of active dry yeast)
1 cup very warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve the yeast with water. Add the oil, salt, and sugar. Mix in flour until a soft dough ball forms. Let stand for five minutes. Pat into a greased pizza pan. 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Over Memorial Day weekend this year my husband and I met my sister and brother in law and mother and father in law at Cape Cod to celebrate my in laws 35th Wedding Anniversary. We stayed at a lovely cottage in Brewster, Mass and dined on the local fare of lobsters and clams and buffalo chicken pizza. Buffalo chicken pizza? Yes, that's right! We got pizza one night from a local pizzeria and the buffalo chicken was out of this world. Any "alternative" pizzas always catch my attention because I'm not much of a traditional tomato sauce/pepperoni/sausage kind of girl. I'm the girl that likes veggie pizzas or white pizzas or chicken pizzas. After one bite of this pizza I declared, "I'm going to try to make this pizza myself!" That's one of the best things I've found through all of my cooking adventures - once I try something I really like, I know I can now make my own version at home. 

This Buffalo Chicken pizza from Sandra Lee was so yummy! With grilled chicken strips marinated in buffalo sauce, cooled off by blue cheese and celery, it isn't exactly like the Cape Cod creation, but I loved the crunch and coolness that the celery added. Celery on a pizza - yes it sounds crazy, but is actually terrific - even my hubby who was a bit skeptical agrees. I made homemade pizza dough for this pizza and will post that recipe next. 

Buffalo Chicken Pizza
1 pound chicken tenders, cut into small strips
1 cup buffalo wing sauce plus 2 tablespoons
Pizza dough (Sandra recommends a 13.8 ounce can of refrigerated dough. I made my own)
1 cup blue cheese dressing (This is where I made a mistake and bough blue cheese crumbles instead. Still turned out great!)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 small red onion, sliced
1 cup celery (2 stalks), diced


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spray baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside. Carefully unroll dough and place on prepared baking sheet. Press out dough with clean hands to form a 13 X 9 inch rectangle. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 7 minutes or until crust begins to brown. Meanwhile place chicken strips in a large bowl with 1 cup of the buffalo sauce. Toss to coat the chicken. Grill the chicken strips for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. 
Remove crust from oven and top with blue cheese dressing leaving a 1 inch border. (Since I bought the crumbles instead of the dressing I just sprinkled the dough with the crumbles and drizzled a little olive oil and buffalo sauce over the cheese as the base). Next top with the chicken strips, red onion, and celery. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of buffalo sauce.
Cover with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and cheese has melted. 
**I made my pizza indoors, but you can also make it on the grill. If you want the directions for the grilled version, click on the link (Sandra's name) above.
Cape Cod Sunset

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Caprese Salad

One of the most refreshing and flavorful Italian summer time eats, Caprese salad is a cinch to make and can be served as either an appetizer or salad. I could eat an entire platter myself!

Caprese Salad
3 vine ripe tomatoes, sliced to 1/2 inch thick
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced to 1/4 inch thick
2o to 30 (about 1 bunch) fresh basil leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
Coarse salt and pepper

Lay down tomatoes and top with mozzarella slices and then basil leaves. Drizzle the salad with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pasta with Mizuna

A few weeks ago our CSA goodie bag contained a bunch of mizuna. Having never seen or heard of mizuna before, I looked at it carefully and decided that it looked a lot like the leaves of a dandelion. I was very unsure of how to use it. Thankfully, our Farmer's Market included this recipe for Pasta with Mizuna and I am so glad that they did because it was excellent. I did a little research on mizuna and found that it is also known as Japanese Mustard Greens. In Japanese "mizuna" means water greens. It is usually used as a variety in salads or added to stir fries or other recipes, like this pasta dish, at the end of cooking. The flavor of mizuna was slightly peppery and similar to arugula. It was a nice addition to this savory pasta dish.

Pasta with Mizuna

1 pound of your favorite cooked pasta (I used bow tie)
3 slices thick sliced bacon, diced (optional)
1 bunch mizuna, roughly chopped (about 3 cups)
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
3 tablespoons mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Bring pasta water to boil and add in pasta. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a pan and set on paper towels to drain. Once cool, chop it up. Heat olive over medium heat in a large pan and add the onion, garlic, and red wine vinegar. Cook for five or six minutes or until the onions begin to caramelize. Add mustard, walnuts, lemon juice, and tomato and cook until the tomato begins to dissolve (about four minutes). Add mizuna and cook until it starts to wilt. 
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve over pasta and sprinkle with shaved parmesan. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Avocado Shrimp Ceviche

When my husband and I were in Mexico this spring I tried shrimp ceviche for the first time. I really liked the fresh flavors: the combination of fresh shrimp with tomatoes, lime, avocado, and cilantro. I ate it on vacation almost every day. I decided to attempt making my own shrimp ceviche and was surprised at how similar it tasted to the one I loved so much in Mexico. This refreshing, cool recipe is wonderful for an appetizer or a light meal, especially in the summer. 

Avocado Shrimp Ceviche
2 pounds large shrimp - peeled, deveined, and chopped (I went the easy route and bought cooked shrimp at the fish counter)
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
5 roma tomatoes, diced
1 white onion, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (I'm a wimp and omitted this)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
Saltine crackers or Tortilla chips (I used Tostitos Scoops)
**I cut this recipe in half since just my hubby and I ate it

Place the shrimp and lime juice into a large bowl and stir to coat. Let stand for about 5 minutes or until the shrimp are opaque. The lime juice will cook them. Mix in the tomatoes, onion, and cilantro until coated with lime juice. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Remove from the fridge and mix in the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, hot, sauce, and salt and pepper.  Set out extra Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, hot sauce, and lime wedges for people to individualize to their liking. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

30 Things to Make Before I Turn 30: Pioneer Woman's Buttered Rosemary Rolls

Mmmmmmm why didn't I make these melt in your mouth rolls the moment I first laid eyes on them? So much of my life has been wasted without them! They are so heavenly! My deprived husband, who never gets fresh from the oven rolls, ate 3/4 of the pan in one sitting. Pioneer Woman recommends making these if you have dinner guests and I concur that these rolls are most definitely guest-worthy. The hardest part is waiting for them to rise - it takes 3 hours! Oh and PLEASE heed my advice...after you take the skillet out of the oven, lay a pot holder over the handle because if you are like me, you will forget that it is still 400 degrees and spend the rest of the night icing your hand. YIKES! 

Pioneer Woman's Buttered Rosemary Rolls
Frozen, Unbaked dinner rolls (PW uses Rhodes and my grocery store happens to carry those too)
Melted butter, regular, salted (I used unsalted because that is all I had and they were still amazing!)
Fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
Coarse sea salt

Spray an iron skillet with cooking spray or coat with olive oil. Place frozen rolls in the skillet, leaving plenty of room for rising. Cover and allow to rise for several hours (at least 3).
After rising, brush rolls with melted butter. Sprinkle on chopped rosemary and brush with additional butter. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake according to roll package directions (usually 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes) until rolls are a deep golden brown on top.
Brush again with butter and serve skillet on table. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hawaiian Chicken

Here is another winning recipe from Tasty Kitchen. As soon as I saw Briana's delicious looking picture of her shredded Hawaiian Chicken, I added it to my Tasty Kitchen recipe book. I am glad I did! After cooking in my Dutch Oven for 2 hours the chicken just fell apart. The soy sauce/pineapple juice marinade make this chicken incredibly juicy. Another person who tried this recipe suggested adding pineapple chunks at the very end and I agree that is a great idea! Next time I will definitely try that, since I love cooked pineapple.

Hawaiian Chicken

3/4 cups soy sauce
1/2 cups vinegar (apple cider vinegar would work too)
1/4 cups pineapple juice
3/4 cups brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ginger
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups water
1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
1 cup mushrooms, very thinly sliced
4 cups cooked rice

In a Dutch Oven over low heat, add soy sauce, vinegar, pineapple juice, brown sugar, and ginger. Stir to combine and heat just long enough for the sugar to dissolve. Add chopped garlic, water, and chicken. Turn chicken to coat.

Bring to a boil and skim off and discard any foam that rises to the top. Reduce heat to low and simmer with the lid closed for 45 minutes to an hour. At this point stir or flip chicken so that the opposite side is immersed in the sauce. Add mushrooms, stir, and cover. Cook for an additional 45 minutes to an hour or until the chicken is easily shredded with 2 forks.
Shred chicken and stir. Serve over steamed rice. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Crab & Asparagus Supreme

My fabulous Aunt Chris shared this recipe with me once spring rolled around and fresh asparagus was abundant. This is a unique way to use lovely spring asparagus. We are spoiled living so close to the Atlantic because our fish counter sells fresh crab straight out of the ocean, but if you don't have access to fresh crab, you can use imitation crab. I really enjoyed this creamy, filling dish and modified it from the original recipe to use fresh tarragon instead of dried. Anytime I use fresh tarragon I am surprised at how much it changes the flavor of the dish, but always in a good way. I also added in half of a sauteed onion. I liked how it added a crispy, savory layer to this supreme dish.
Thanks Auntie Chris for another yummy recipe!!

Crab & Asparagus Supreme
6 ounces of crab meat
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 soup can of half and half
Half an onion, chopped
3 or so leaves of fresh tarragon, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1 pound fresh asparagus
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups of rice, cooked
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Place crab meat into skillet over low heat. Add undiluted soup, half and half, salt, and pepper. Stir, cover, and cook on low heat until heated through. In a separate pan saute onions until slightly browned.
While the mixture is cooking cut asparagus into diagonal slices and cook for 8 minutes in boiling water. Drain. Add to creamed crab mixture with lemon juice and tarragon. Stir in shredded cheese. Once cheese has melted, serve over hot rice. 
I had to show this picture of perfectly laid out rice - my cute husband's contribution to this dish. :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Many people are familiar with lettuce wraps from eating them at P.F. Changs, which is where I had my first lettuce wrap. If you like P.F. Changs lettuce wraps, you really have to try making your own. I must give credit to my wonderful hubby for suggesting we try making Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps after we received a big bunch of lettuce in our CSA bag last month. He is a smart guy, that husband of mine, because this was one of the best dishes we have made together. They are juicy, flavorful, fresh, crispy and actually a very light meal. What's great about these, is you can use them as an appetizer and make them individualized. I added honey roasted peanuts to mine for extra crunch and sweet peanut flavor. Hubby, who is a cilantro freak topped his wrap with an excessive amount. No matter how you customize these, they are sure to be delicious!

Asian Lettuce Wraps

16 lettuce leaves (recommended are Boston Bibb or butter lettuce, but we used romaine)
1 pound ground turkey (lean ground beef can also be substituted)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons pickled ginger (I used regular ginger)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts drained and finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
6 or 7 fresh mushrooms of your choice, chopped
2 teaspoons Asian (dark) sesame oil
Cilantro for garnish

Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry, being careful not to tear them. Set aside. In a medium skillet over high heat, brown the meat in 1 tablespoon of oil, stirring often, and reducing the heat to medium if necessary. Drain and set aside to cool.  In the same pan cook the onions, stirring frequently.  Add the garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger and vinegar to the onions and stir. Stir in chopped water chestnuts, green onions, mushrooms and sesame oil and continue cooking until the onions just begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. (This is where I added in about 1/2 cup of chopped honey roasted peanuts!)
Arrange lettuce leaves around the outer edge of a large serving platter and pile meat mixture in the center. To serve, allow each person to spoon a portion of the meat into a lettuce leaf. Wrap the lettuce around the meat like a burrito and enjoy!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

30 Things to Make Before I Turn 30: Scones

Breakfast, how I love thee. Let me count the ways...eggs, toast, coffee, fruit, hash browns, pancakes, waffles, and today's feature: scones! If I go to Starbucks and grab breakfast, I almost always get a scone. I like how scones have the consistency of a biscuit and can be so many different flavors. My favorites are blueberry and raspberry, but since my refrigerator was filled with fresh seasonal strawberries, it just made sense to try my hand at these Juicy Strawberry Scones from Good Things Catered - especially because scones are one of my 30 Things to Make Before I Turn 30

Okay, I'm just going to be honest here - my scones were not really that juicy. I am not sure why, but if I had to guess, I think it was because I had to keep adding flour because my dough would not take shape enough for me to roll it out. This probably took away from the "juiciness" of my scones. Juiciness aside, I did like the flavor of these scones and am still proud of myself for making homemade strawberry scones. If you have a favorite scone recipe, please share because I want to take a crack at them again sometime!

Strawberry Scones
2 1/4 - 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour (depends on how ripe your strawberries are)
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 egg
1/4 cup yogurt
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoon orange zest (my ingredient pictures shows a lemon, oops)
1 cup fresh strawberries, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl combine egg, yogurt, milk, orange zest. Whisk to combine thoroughly and set aside. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, powder, salt, and whisk to combine. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter into flour until all pieces are smaller than pea sized. Add strawberries and toss to coat. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix in lightly with a fork until dough just comes together. Turn dough out onto well floured work surface and pat into large ball. 
Cut dough in half. Shape half of dough into flat disk shape and cut into 8 slices. Place on baking sheet and repeat with other half of dough. Sprinkle the top of scones with  sugar and place in oven. Bake until the scones turn slightly brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cook on baking sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool or eat right away! 


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