Archive for the ‘Kitchen’ Category

National Culinary Arts Month!

July 1, 2018

Did you know that July is National Culinary Arts Month?  A month that “promotes the awareness of professional cooks and chefs, as well as their contributions to new culinary trends.”  So whether you go out to eat and have a chef spoil you with their creativity, or you stay at home and try something new yourself, focus on enjoying your culinary experience(s) this month.  I usually do not need to wait for a specific month to do this (nor do I wait), but now that I know there is an entire month dedicated to this pursuit, and I have to say is … let’s get to the cooking!  Dilly dilly!

Advertisements

Cheesecake of the Month — June 2018!

June 16, 2018

This month I discovered a really easy sounding mini-cheesecake recipe that does not require a springform pan.  You make these in your standard muffin cups (paper-lined of course) to create the perfect individual-sized servings.  Enjoy!

Lemon-White Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes

Ingredients
1 package (4-ounce) of Baker’s white chocolate, divided
28 square shortbread cookies (1-1/2 inch), divided
2 Tablespoons of butter, melted
1/2 cup (plus 2 Tablespoons) of sugar, divided
2 packages (8-ounce each), cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/4 cup of lemon juice
2 eggs

Directions
1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

2. Melt  two (2) ounces of chocolate and set aside for use later.

3. Grind sixteen (16) cookies in food processor until finely crushed and place in a medium-sized bowl.  To this bowl, add the butter and two (2) Tablespoons of sugar; mix well.  Press about 1 Tablespoon-full of this mixture onto the bottoms of your 12 paper-lined muffin cups

4.  Beat the cream cheese, vanilla, and remaining sugar in a large bowl. until blended.    Add the lemon zest, the lemon juice, and the melted chocolate and mix well.  Add the eggs (one at a time) and mix on low speed just until blended (do not overbeat).  Then simply spoon this mixture over the prepared crusts.

5.  Bake for 17-20 minutes (or until the centers are almost set) then cool completely.

6.  Melt the remaining chocolate and chop (coarsely) the remaining cookies.  Sprinkle the cookie pieces over the cheesecakes and drizzle with the melted chocolate.

Hasselback Your Chicken!

June 5, 2018

Here is an amazing recipe that I ran across the other day . . . sheer genius, and delicious to boot!

Jalapeño Popper Hasselback Chicken

Ingredients
1 cup of cream cheese
6 jalapeño peppers, finely diced
1 cup each of shredded mozzarella & shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tablespoon of salt
1 Tablespoon of pepper
3/4 cup of heavy cream
4 chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
Sliced cheddar cheese
Narrow strips of thinly cut bacon (cooked until crisp)
Salt
Pepper

Directions
1. In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, diced jalapeños, two cheeses, salt, pepper, and cream.  Set aside.

2. Cut parallel slit down the length of each chicken breast and place in a greased skillet (or heavy-duty, oven-ready pan) and insert into the slits the cheese slices and the bacon strips (alternate between the two).

3.  Season with the salt and pepper and then spoon over the tops, your cheesy popper mixture.  Bake for 40-50 minutes (or until the sauce is bubbling and the chicken has been cooked through).

Enjoy!

Time for a Quiche!

May 20, 2018

Happy Sunday!  Being a lover of all things bacon, I have long been a fan of Quiche Lorraine.  Well, did you know that today is National Quiche Lorraine Day?  I guess that means I will have to make this for dinner tonight, alas, the sacrifices we make day in and day out.  lol

And, if you are needing the recipe, here is the recipe I posted a couple of years ago.

Cheesecake of the Month – May 2018!

May 15, 2018

I was surfing the web the other day and came across the most wonderful blog . . . sprinkles for breakfast (Lindsay Nathanson).  I’ve done a lavender cheesecake before (with white chocolate and blueberries), but Lindsay uses honey with hers and it sounds amazing!  I can’t wait to try it.

Honey Lavender Cheesecake

Enjoy!

 

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth!

May 6, 2018

If you are looking for a quick, easy, and no-bake cookie that is out of this world, then give this a try.  A friend of mine introduce me to this sweet treat and they were awesome!

Ingredients
4 cups of Rice Krispies cereal
1 cup of light corn syrup
1 cup of sugar
1-1/4 ups of peanut butter
5 regular-sized Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups
1/2 cup of milk chocolate chips

Directions
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Pour the Rice Krispies into a large bowl.
3. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the corn syrup, sugar, and peanut butter and cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is evenly combined.
4. Pour this peanut butter mixture over the Rice Krispies and mix together.
5. Now mix in your chocolate chips.
6.  Wait a couple of minutes then add in your crushed Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (you don’t want them to fully melt).
7.  Drop spoonfuls onto your lined baking sheet and allow cool.

Enjoy!

This Stuffed Chicken Will “Pop!”

April 21, 2018

I tend to enjoy “hot” and “spicy” foods.  So when I found this recipe, I was anxious to give it a try . . . I was not disappointed.  It is a bit labor intensive (and certainly will not make your heart doctor’s list of recommended foods), but well worth the effort.

Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Fried Chicken

Ingredients
3 chicken breasts
1 cup of mozzarella cheese
1 cup of cheddar cheese
1 cup of cream cheese
1/2 cup of crispy bacon
1/2 cup of jalapeños, diced
black pepper
2 cups of buttermilk
1-1/2 cups of flour
1 Tablespoon of paprika
1 Tablespoon of cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon of garlic powder
1 Tablespoon of salt
1 Tablespoon of black pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1.  In a bowl, combine your cream cheese, mozzarella, cheddar cheese, bacon, jalapeños, and black pepper.  Spoon onto a sheet of cling wrap adn roll into the shape of a sausage and put it in the freezer to set.

2.  In the meantime, bash out your chicken breasts between two sheets of cling wrap.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Cut a piece of the “popper” mix amd place on your chicken breasts.  Roll the breasts up like a burrito and secure with a toothpick.

3.  Dunk each chicken roll into the buttermilk.  Season your flour with the spices, salt, and pepper.  Dredge your buttermilked chicken roll into the seasoned flour to coat evenly.

4.  Fry the chicken rolls in hot oil for 3 minutes (or so).  Transfer to a tray with a rack and put in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

Don’t Knock It Until You’ve Tried It!

April 5, 2018

I will be the first to admit that when I heard of this soup recipe, I was a bit reluctant to give it a try.  But following the glowing reviews from friends who had had the opportunity to taste it, I was glad I kept an open mind.  This is a super easy and quick to prepare recipe that I plan to keep handy throughout the soup season known as winter. And this recipe makes a lot, so be prepared to eat soup a lot . . . or freeze the leftovers.  Enjoy!

Sauerkraut Soup

Ingredients
1 pound of smoked Polish sausage, cut into pieces
5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
3 cans (14-1/2-ounces each) of chicken broth
1 or 2 cans of sauerkraut (24-36 ounces) drained and rinsed
2 cans (11-1/2-ounces each) of V8 juice

Directions
In a large soup opt, combine the sausage, potatoes onions, carrots, and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cook until the potatoes are tender.  Add the sauerkraut and the V8.  Return to a boil to heat through.

Get Your Ramekins Ready!

March 20, 2018

Next time you are cooking for a crowd and are looking for a seemingly easy dessert, give this deliciously sounding recipe (chocolate) a try.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Pot de Crème

Ingredients
1 quart of heavy cream
1 cup of sugar
A pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons of vanilla
12-13 egg yolks (10 ounces)
3 ounces of chocolate (64% cacao)

Directions
1.  Combine the cream, half the sugar, the salt, and the vanilla in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.

2.  Combine the other half of the sugar with the egg yolks and whisk to combine.

3.  Once the cream mixture boils, temper the egg mixture by slowly adding the hot cream to the chocolate and whisk.  Then add the egg yolk mixture and chocolate to the cream mixture.

4.  Strain and pour into your molds and bake at 225 degrees until set.

Recipe courtesy of Pastry Chef Katie Ianni, Aerie Restaurant (Grand Traverse Resort)

Yummy Casserole!

March 6, 2018

It never hurts to have a few quick and easy casserole recipes at your disposal (or prepared and in your freezer) for those times when you just need a quick and easy meal. Here’s one with wild rice that you can make with chicken (regular or Cajun-spiced) or shrimp.  Enjoy!

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Ingredients
1 package (2-1/4-ounce) of sliced almonds
2 boxes (6.2-ounce each) of fast-cooking long-grain and wild rice
1/4 cup of butter
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
5 cups of cooked chicken, diced
2 cans (10-3/4-ounce each) of cream of mushroom soup
2 cans (8-ounce each) chopped water chestnuts (drained)
1 container (8-ounce) sour cream
1 cup of milk
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
4 cups (16-ounces) of shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups of breadcrumbs

Directions
1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan for 4-6 minutes or until toasted and fragrant (stir occasionally).

2.  Prepare your rice according to the directions on the package.

3.  While rice is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add the celery and onions and saute for 10 minutes (or until tender).  Stir in the chicken and the next six ingredients, the rice, and 3 cups of the cheese.  Spoon this mixture into a lightly greased 15×10 baking dish and top with the breadcrumbs.

4.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and top with the toasted almonds before returning to the oven for an additional five minutes.

To Make Ahead
Follow steps 2 and 3 above then cover with aluminum foil and freeze for up to one month.  Remove from freezer and allow to stand at room temperature for one hour.  Toast your almonds as directed in step 1, then bake your casserole (covered) at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Uncover and continue baking for 55-75 minutes (or until thoroughly heated.  Sprinkle with 1 cup (4-ounces) of shredded cheddar cheese and toasted almonds and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Or you can try these tasty variation:

Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole
Substitute 2 pounds of peeled and deveined , medium-sized raw shrimp (41/50 count) for the chicken; 2 cups (8-ounces) of shredded Monterrey Jack cheese and 2 cups (8-ounces) of grated Parmesan cheese for the cheddar cheese; and 1 cup of dry white wine for the milk.

Cajun Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
Omit the salt and the pepper.  Reduce the chicken to 2-1/2 cups.  Prepare as directed, sauteing 1 pound of chopped andouille sausage, 1 diced green bell pepper, with the celery in step 3.   Stir in 1 can (15-ounce) of black-eyed peas (drained) and 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning into the rice mixture.