Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo

This recipe is from my amazing friend Mary, who is the mother of three beautiful children with another little one on the way.  I added her chicken fettuccini alfredo recipe to my list of 30 Things to Make Before I Turn 30 and waited for a special time to make it. When we hosted a small dinner party I decided it was time for Mar's fettuccini and went with an Italian Theme for the dinner. This recipe is perfect for feeding a larger crowd. It's different than your standard fetticcini alfredo because it has diced tomatoes and chopped green onion, which extremely enhances this creamy, cheesy pasta dish. I will be making it again and again.

Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo
From Mary - thanks dear sweet friend! 

Printable Version
1/4 cup of butter
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 1/2 pounds of chicken cubed (boiled first)
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of heavy cream
1 package of Knorr's Alfredo Sauce mix
1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1 box of fettuccini
1 block of Parmesan cheese
Several fresh basil leaves, chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta to al dente. Meanwhile heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, green onion and garlic and saute until lightly browned. 
Stir in cream, dry sauce mix, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 3 to 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. 
Remove from heat and toss pasta with sauce. Grate fresh parmesan cheese on top and sprinkle with fresh basil. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

There is a reason why this baked macaroni and cheese from Alton Brown has 4 stars and 1,225 reviews on Food it's a winner! I didn't even use the same cheese as the original recipe and it was still very creamy and cheesy and ooey gooey yummy. My favorite part is the topping made from Panko bread cumbs and butter...mmmmm. 

I made this for a family get together and the true test was to see if even the little kiddos liked it. They did! My cousin's cute and observant 3 1/2 year old daughter asked what the "red things" on the noodles were (paprika) but nonetheless, she ate it and said it was good. :) I doubled the recipe to feed a larger crowd, but we had a ton left over. When warmed up the next day it was still tasty, but unless you are featuring the mac and cheese as your main entree or feeding 10 or more people, 1 batch should be enough. 
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
From Alton Brown on Food
Printable Version

Ingredients for 6 - 8 servings (one batch)
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups of milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf (I omitted since I didn't have it)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I used a combo of 3 different types of cheeses)
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
Fresh black pepper
For the topping:
3 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of Panko break crumbs 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente. 

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate large pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of clumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf. 

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the macaroni and pour into a 2 quart casserole dish. Top with the remaining cheese. 
Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for five minutes before serving. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Smoked Whitefish Dip

The whitefish for this recipe came straight from the smokehouse, pictured above, on the shore of Lake Michigan. It was given to me (and my hubby and my lovely in-laws) by a family friend who owns a fishing company in the Upper Peninsula. The first time I tried to make it I used a food processor and pureed everything - fish and all. BAD IDEA! Although the taste was still great it was a shame to turn such beautiful fresh fish into paste. Thankfully we were given enough fish that I got a second try at the dip, so decided to fold in small pieces of the whitefish. Such an improvement! The whitefish needs to be the star in this appetizer so that every bite has nice big chunks of fish. This dip was a huge hit with my relatives who are huge outdoorsmen and fishermen and who appreciate a beautiful fresh smoked fish. You could alter this for any smoked fish you like or are able to get your hands on - salmon would be delicious as well!

This was the first dip:
Great flavor, not great texture. 

The second dip:
Excellent flavor, much better texture. 

Smoked Whitefish Dip
Printable Version
2 cups of fresh smoked whitefish 
1 block of cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
The juice of half a lemon
1 small onion, chopped
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cream together all ingredients except the fish with a hand blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Fold in the fish and place into serving bowl. 
Garnish with lemon and serve with crackers. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tangy BBQ Meatballs

I always have ground turkey in my freezer or fridge and keep an eye out for new ways to use it. I came across this recipe from Momma Hen on Tasty Kitchen and just the name "Tangy" in the title sold me. These meatballs are extremely easy and perfect for a night you just want a quick dinner. They are savory and filling. I served them over brown rice, but they would be great on their own or even as an appetizer. 

Tangy BBQ Meatballs
Thanks to Momma Hens Kitchen

Printable Version

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground turkey
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil (I used fresh)
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
For the sauce:
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon sugar

For the meatballs:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine ground turkey, bread crumbs, black pepper, oregano, basil, and garlic and mix well. Form into golf-ball sized meatballs and place on a greased baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned and cooked through.
For the sauce:
Mix all sauce ingredients well in s small bowl. Place meatballs and sauce in a saucepan over medium low heat. Mix well and keep warm until ready to serve.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

100th Post!! Single Serve Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Wow! So crazy that I'm already at my 100th posting! When I started this blog 8 months ago, in November, 2009 and I had no idea how much I would enjoy it and how much better of a cook I would become as a result. I am having a blast with little past time and I want to thank you reading my blog and supporting me! Here's to another 100 recipes!  Now onto dessert...

A couple of weeks ago I found myself with a leftover loaf of french bread and a hankering for bread pudding. I didn't have enough bread for a full batch of bread pudding, so I decided to scale it down based on three single servings. My Gram Walters made the best bread pudding. It was my dad's favorite thing out of all the countless desserts Gram had in her repertoire. She put raisins in hers, but my hubby won't touch raisins with a ten foot pole and I wanted him to share in the caloric intake so I decided to whip up a caramel sauce instead. I got the idea from my brother in law, Chuck, who makes a bread pudding with croissants and caramel sauce that is out of this world . 

Single Serve Bread Pudding
*Makes three individual portions**
Modified from Cafe Munchkin 
Thanks to Gram and Chuck for the inspiration!

Printable Version
1/3 loaf of french bread
1 cup whipping cream
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Cut bread into cubes and divide equally into bowls (make sure the bowls are oven proof!). Whisk together all the ingredients for the pudding and pour over the bread pieces until the are submerged. 
Cover with foil and let stand for several hours or overnight if you can wait. (I couldn't!) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the bowls in a larger pan with about a half inch of hot water. Bake for about 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the bread is puffed up and the liquid is absorbed and the tops are just lightly browned. 
Caramel Sauce
From Southern Food

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup boiling water
Dash of salt
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cream
Vanilla to taste

Mix sugar with flour in saucepan; blend well. Add water and salt. Stir while cooking for 6 to 8 minutes. If too thick add a little more water. Remove from heat; stir in butter, cream, and vanilla to taste. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bruschetta Burgers

I found the recipe for these bruschetta burgers on one of my new favorite cooking blogs, Lick the Bowl Good. Be sure to check Monica's blog out, she has a ton of incredible looking dishes and beautiful desserts on her site.

I decided to modify the recipe to use turkey burgers instead of beef. I also made these low carb by omitting buns. My hubby and I loved these burgers. They are loaded with flavors: the melted cheese, pesto mayo, and the bruschetta topping make these burgers one of a kind. They are super easy but so good they would impress your guests at a cookout and definitely take burgers up a notch.

Bruschetta Burgers
From Lick the Bowl Good

Printable Version

Bruschetta Topping:
2 ripe tomatoes, on the vine, seeded
1 garlic clove minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil or basil puree
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesean cheese
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Pesto Mayo:
3 tablespoons good mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared pesto

Ground turkey (or ground beef), seasoned only with salt and pepper
Mozzarella or Provolone cheese, to melt on the burger
Optional: Buns or foccocia bread


For the bruschetta: Mix all the ingredients together except salt.  Add salt right before topping the burgers so the tomatoes don't get watery. Set aside.
For the pesto mayo: In a small bowl, mix the pesto and mayo together. Set aside.

For the burgers: Season the burgers with salt and pepper, then form them into patties of your desired weight. Cook burgers to your liking either on the grill or stove top. Once cooked to your desired internal temperature, place cheese on top of burgers while they are still hot so it melts on the patty.

Assemble: Toast buns or foccacia then generously spread on pesto mayo. Top the bottom bun with the patty then scoop bruschetta on top of that. Sandwich it all together with the top bun and eat it up!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Antipasti Platter

Last week I invited my husband's coworkers over for a little dinner party and decided to go with an Italian theme. I knew right away what my main course and dessert would be but I had a hard time deciding on an appetizer. I needed it to be large enough to feed 8 people but quick and easy since I knew I would be busy focusing on the main dish (my friend Mary's decadent Fettuccini Alfredo, which I will post next). I wound up finding this post on Tasty Kitchen. The title is "Anatomy of an Antipasti Platter, or How to Set the Bar Impossibly Low." While I wasn't purposely intending to "set the bar low" (after all a girl with a cooking blog does have expectations to live up to!) I was looking for a fun, easy, and delicious Italian appetizer and I found it. It doesn't get much easier than this, but people just dive into it! How could they not with so many yummy marinated, cheesy goodness laid out so beautifully? The great thing about buying so many different ingredients is that people can pick and choose, layer, and stack, grab and gobble, and you will have enough to replenish the platter once with some bits and pieces left over. 
Antipasti Platter
**This technically isn't a "recipe" but is more of preparation instructions! 

Printable Version

1/2 pound thinly sliced proscuitto
1 pound marinated olives (mix it up with Kalamatas, Green Olives, Stuffed Olives, whatever you like!)
1/2 pound thinly sliced salami
1/2 pound cubed Provolone
1 jar marinated Artichoke Hearts, cut into quarters
1 jar Pepperoncini Peppers
1 tub fresh Mozzarella Balls (I couldn't find "balls" so used slices instead)
1 jar roasted red peppers, thinly sliced 
You could also use pickles, small cubes of cantaloupe, roasted garlic cloves, sundried tomatoes...basically you have license to go crazy with this one!

Arrange on a large platter with the ingredients in rows. Serve with fresh bread and olive oil and let people go to town!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Homemade Instant Pancake MIx

Correct me if I am wrong, but haven't I mentioned before on my blog that I love breakfast? Ahhh yes, in my scones post, I even wrote an "ode to breakfast". So since I am pretty sure that my faithful readers already know breakfast is my favorite meal, and that I could eat breakfast any time of the day, any day of the week, let's get right into this pancake mix. 

Instead of buying the boxed stuff like Bisquick or Aunt Jemima's I decided I wanted to find a recipe for homemade pancake mix. I turned to my food blogger friend Jen at Beantown Baker and borrowed her recipe from Alton Brown. This mix makes quite a lot. I've already made 4 batches of pancakes and will be able to make about 2 more. If you aren't going to use the mix in three months, keep it in the freezer. I will eat mine up in a month, so didn't have to worry about that. You can add blueberries or bananas or whatever your little heart desires to this mix. It makes very fluffy, thick, belly filling pancakes so Jen recommends adding in a little more buttermilk if you like yours thinner. 

On a side note, I want to thank my friend Andrea for advising me to use a griddle to make my pancakes. I naively thought that because the name is "pan" cake, you should use a pan but this resulted in frustration and lots of either undercooked or burnt pancakes. So now I pull out my trusty indoor grill and get pancake perfection. 
Instant Pancake Mix 
From Beantown Baker and Alton Brown's Good Eats Cookbook
Yields 3 batches of 12 pancakes

Printable Version
6 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to mix. Use within 3 months or store in freezer.
For 12 Pancakes:
2 eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons melted butter (I omitted this after my first batch and they were still yummy)
2 cups instant pancake mix from recipe above
1 stick of butter for greasing pan (I used cooking spray)
2 cups of fresh blueberries, optional

Heat an electric griddle or frying pan to 350 degrees. Whisk together the eggs whites and the buttermilk in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the melted butter.

Combine the buttermilk mixture with the egg yolk mixture in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until throughly combined. Pour the liquid ingredients on the top of the pancake mix. Using a whisk, mix the batter until it is combined. Don't try to work all the lumps out (this will make your pancakes tough).
Lightly butter the griddle. Wipe off with a paper towel so that no butter is visible. Gently ladle the pancake batter onto the griddle and sprinkle on fruit if desired. When bubbles begin to set around the edges of the pancake and the griddle side is golden, gently flip the pancakes. Continue to cook 2 - 3 minutes or until the pancake is set. 
Serve immediately or remove to a towel-lined baking sheet and cover with another towel. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ultimate Taco Salad

This taco salad makes a regular appearance at potluck dinners with my Mom's family. My Mom and my Aunt Diane both contributed a taco salad recipe to our family cookbook and I decided to combine and modify both of the recipes, making it the most ultimate taco salad (in my humble opinion of course!). I served this for dinner when my friend Beth and Neile were visiting earlier this summer. I made Cobb Guacamole as an appetizer that night and it was a great addition to this salad that is already bursting with lots of fresh veggies and tons of flavors. Pioneer Woman's Homemade Ranch Dressing rounded out this one dish dinner.  

Taco Salad
From Aunt Diane and My Momma
Printable Version

1 pound of ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 package of taco seasoning (which I forgot, so used lots of spices instead)
1 large bag of variety lettuce
1 container of small cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2 ears of cooked corn, cut off the cob
1 avocado, sliced
1 small container of sliced black olives
1 regular sized bag of Doritos
1 cup of grated cheese (Mexican or Cheddar)

Brown meat with onion. Add taco seasoning and 1/2 cup of water. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Assemble salad ingredients together in a very large bowl. Just before serving toss in crumbled Doritos. Add meat mixture and top with cheese. Serve with dressing of your choice. My Aunt Diane mixes in 8 ounces of Creamy Italian Dressing right before serving and then you don't need dressing. I used P Dub's ranch and everyone put on whatever amount they desired.


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