Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sticky Ginger Chicken


This dish is inspired by the Sticky Ginger Chicken from Budget Bytes.  I had a bell pepper and broccoli in the fridge, so I decided to incorporate them both into the meal.  Pretty much any vegetable that works in a stir fry will work with this sauce.  Miss F was disappointingly, not a fan, but C and I were major fans.  I think it was really because she had a friend over to play and they had snacked on chips and guacamole that afternoon, so much was eaten that I don't think she would have enjoyed anything that I served for dinner that night.  I usually use chicken thighs in stir fry, it really works wonderfully, and that is no different here.
Sticky Ginger Chicken

¼ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon Sriracha
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 head broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, Sriracha and 1 tablespoon oil. Place the chicken in a shallow bowl, pour the marinade over top. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, bell pepper and broccoli to the skillet. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and vegetables from the skillet, then pour the marinade into the pan. Bring the marinade to a boil and let it thicken. Return the chicken and vegetables to the pan, tossing to coat in the sauce. Serve over rice, sprinkled with the sesame seeds.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Chopped Salad with Creamy Garlic Vinaigrette

Chopped Salad with Creamy Garlic Vinaigrette

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 cucumber, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ cup shredded mozzarella

Process the garlic, vinegar, egg yolk, sugar and mustard in a food processor. Stream in the oil with the processor running. Salt and pepper to taste. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and mozzarella with the prepared dressing. Serve.
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Killen’s Creamed Corn


I have enjoyed the creamed corn at both Killen's Steakhouse and at Killen's Barbecue.  When I saw that the recipe had been published in the Houston Chronicle, I knew I had to try it.  The at home version totally met my expectations.  The  corn cob infused half and half really makes a big taste difference compared to my usual creamed corn recipe.  I can't wait to try this recipe in the summer with sweet corn, I doubt it will need any sugar at all!  And if you are ever in Houston, head down to Pearland to try this spectacular creamed corn yourself!
Killen’s Creamed Corn

4 ears of corn
1 ¼ cup half and half
¼ cup butter
2 tablespoons sugar (can use more or less, depending on corn sweetness)
¹/8 teaspoon white pepper
¹/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Parmigiano-Regginao cheese, grated

Instructions: Shuck and cut corn off ears. Bring the half and half to a simmer and add corn cobs to infuse for about 30 minutes. In a separate pan melt butter and add corn niblets, sauté corn over low heat for about 20 minutes. Remove cobs from milk/cream mixture and scrape off all milk. Discard cobs. Add ¼ of the sautéed corn to milk/cream mixture and blend until smooth. Add the rest of the corn and simmer till thickened usually about another 30 minutes. Season to taste and put in casserole dish. Finish in a 500-degree or as high as your broiler will go, with a little cheese sprinkled on top. Broil until cheese just turns brown. Serve immediately.
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Monday, April 17, 2017

Artichoke, Spinach and Chicken Lasagna


I initially thought my friend Jen was attending my dinner party, so I decided to make a main dish tailored to her. Whenever we go out to lunch at Houston's, she always orders the spinach and artichoke dip. Without fail.  I want to make some sort of dish that mimicked that dip and lasagna seemed like a natural way to do it.  One of my biggest complaints about lasagna is that I don't love the texture of ricotta.  Here, I halved the ricotta, replacing it with cream cheese, more in line with the spinach and artichoke dip everyone loves.  The result was a perfect dinner party dish, I love things that can just bake while I socialize.  Unfortunately, Jen had to cancel at the last minute, which means I will have to have her over soon and serve this again.  The recipe looks long, but it is really quite easy, especially if you use the Instant Pot and Fasta Pasta shortcuts.
Artichoke, Spinach and Chicken Lasagna

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ cup water
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 pound lasagna noodles
¼ cup butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup flour
3 cups milk
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan
10 ounces chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
1 15 ounce can artichoke hearts, chopped
16 ounces ricotta
16 ounces cream cheese. softened
4 cups shredded mozzarella

Instant Pot instructions:
Place the chicken, water, Italian seasoning and garlic powder in the Instant Pot. Place on “Poultry” setting for 20 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally. Shred the chicken and set aside.

Regular instructions:
Place the chicken, Italian seasoning and garlic powder in a saucepan. Add enough water to cover the chicken. Heat over high heat until the water boils, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Shred the chicken and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Fasta Pasta instructions:
Place 9 of the lasagna noodles in the Fasta Pasta and fill to level 4. Microwave for 13 minutes. Drain and allow the noodles to cool. Repeat with remaining lasagna noodles.

Regular instructions:
Cook lasagna noodles in boiling salted water until al dente per package instructions. Drain and allow the noodles to cool.

In large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Whisk in the flour, until fully incorporated. Add the milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally. When the mixture thickens after about 5 minutes, remove from the heat. Stir in the parmesan, spinach, artichokes and shredded chicken.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the ricotta and cream cheese.

Layer ¼ of the chicken mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with 6 lasagna noodles. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta and cream cheese mixture over top. Layer ¼ of the chicken mixture over the ricotta and top with 1 1/3 cups mozzarella cheese. Layer with 6 more lasagna noodles, then 1/3 of the ricotta, ¼ of the chicken and 1 1/3 cups mozzarella cheese, twice more, ending with the mozzarella cheese. Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray, cover the lasagna spray side down. Bake for 45 minutes covered, remove the foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more. Allow to cool 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Spicy Shrimp and Tomato Pasta


Whenever C is out for the evening, I usually default to some sort of shrimp dish since it is a quick meal that I know Miss F will gobble up. I had a ton of grape tomatoes (and wine!) left over after a dinner party and I knew I wanted to make a shrimp pasta with them. The tomatoes "pop" once they simmer in the sauce for a bit, which adds a nice flavor to the sauce. Add as much cayenne as you prefer, Miss F and I enjoy spice, so I added a heaping 1/2 teaspoon, the spice was tempered by the half and half.  Be sure not to over cook the shrimp, they can get chewy very quickly, which is why it is best to keep them warm on a plate while you make the sauce.
Spicy Shrimp and Tomato Pasta

12 ounces linguine pasta
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup chicken broth
1 cup grape tomatoes
½ cup half and half

Prepare the pasta per package directions. Sprinkle the shrimp with the salt and cayenne pepper. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shrimp in a single layer, flipping after 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp to a plate. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and simmer for 1 minute. Whisk the cornstarch into the chicken broth, slowly add to the pan, stirring constantly, stir in the tomateos. Simmer for 5 minutes more, gently pressing a few of the tomatoes once they soften. Stir in the half and half, pasta and shrimp. Stir gently to combine and cook for 2 minutes more. Serve.
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Monday, April 10, 2017

Veal Marsala


I adore veal. I keep a bottle of Marsala wine in my refrigerator, usually reserved for creamy chicken Marsala pasta.  I had thought I had made veal marsala before, but when I tried to look up the recipe, I realized I didn't have one...so obviously I had never made it before.  One major must when I make chicken marsala is that it has to be served with really creamy mashed potatoes, which go perfectly with the rich Marsala wine sauce.  This recipe is adapted from Giada de Laurentis.
Veal Marsala

1 pound thin veal cutlets
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
3 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
½ cup sweet Marsala
¾ cup low-salt chicken broth
Leaves from 1 fresh rosemary sprig

Sprinkle the veal with the salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the veal cutlets to the pan and cook until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the veal to a plate. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet, add the shallot and the garlic, sauté for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the Marsala and broth, simmer until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Return the veal to the skillet, cook until heated through. Stir in the remaining butter, serve.
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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Lemon Roast Lobster


Whenever C is gone, Miss F and I always have seafood. Recently, lobster has become her favorite. It started with her "sampling" some of the tempura lobster from a meal I was having at Artista.  And by sampling, I mean she ate every single piece of lobster from my plate.  She loves the stuff...loves.  I am always looking for new ways to have lobster, beyond just steaming a whole lobster.  My mom had brought me a bunch of lemons from her tree and Lemon Roast Lobster was created.  It is so deliciously simple and would make a great entrée at a dinner party, as long as your guests love lobster as much as Miss F does.
Lemon Roast Lobster

1 lemon
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 lobster tails, split
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut half of the lemon into slices and juice the other half. Stir the juice with the melted butter. Place the lobsters in a baking dish, brush the lemon juice and butter mixture over the meat of the lobster, add the lemon wedges to the pan. Roast the lobster tails for 10 minutes until the meat is opague.
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Monday, April 3, 2017

Steak and Broccoli


I have been obsessed with flat iron steak as of late. It has so much flavor, is super easy to cook and fairly inexpensive (when it's on sale!) I love beef with broccoli, but I really wanted to try it with flat iron steak. I knew it would cook up beautifully and stand up to the rich, brown sauce. And I was right!  C insisted there was too much sauce, but I disagree completely.  I love having extra sauce to mix with steamed rice, it is vital to have extra sauce so I don't end up dousing my rice with soy sauce and Sriracha. 
Steak and Broccoli

1 pound flat iron steak, cut into 1/4-inch thick strips
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/3 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
1 pound broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces

In a bowl, toss the beef with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of the sherry. Let marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature. In a 2-cup measure, whiske together the remaining soy sauce, sherry and corn starch. Stir in the oyster sauce, beef broth, brown sugar and sesame oil. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the steak and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger, sauté for 30 seconds more. Add the broccoli and sauté for 2 minutes more. Pour the reserved sauce into the pan, stirring constantly for a minute more until the sauce begins to thicken. Serve over rice.
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