Chicken Cacciatore Easy Version

I just wanted to try something new for the children and I was not sure they would eat chicken with a tomato sauce. My son had his friend over and I served this dish. His friend asked me to give the recipe to his mom and my son said “please make this again.” Success! Even my daughter, who is a picky eater, ate dinner that night. This recipe is very easy and found in the February 2012 issue of Food and Wine magazine.

Braised Pork with Cherry Gravy

Fried Rice

 

This is my own version of fried rice adapted from the Food Network and courtesy of Tyler Florence.

My daughter came home from her friends and said she loved fried rice. I had never made it before so I found a recipe online and served it to her. She said “yuck peas”, so a couple weeks later I tried again, but this time I replaced the peas with mushrooms, which she loves. This version turned out great but I took the cabbage and shrimp out of Tyler’s recipe. The nice thing is you can add whatever veggies you like and include or omit shrimp and/or chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbs peanut oil
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 (2in) piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups cooked rice, preferably cooled.
  • 3 Tbs soy sauce
  • ¼ bunch scallions, sliced for garnish
  • ½ cup chopped peanuts, for garnish

Directions:

Heat 2 Tbs of the peanut oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium high. Give the oil a minute to heat up, then add the shallots and ginger stir-fry for 1 minute until fragrant. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add 2 more Tbs of peanut oil, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, sauté mushrooms until tender, set aside.

Add remaining oil in wok and when hot, crack the eggs into the center. Scramble the egg lightly, and then let it set without stirring so it stays in big pieces. Fold the rice in and toss with egg until well combined.  Return all other ingredients to dish and season with salt and soy sauce, heat through. Garnish with scallions and peanuts.

 

Dawn’s Tri-tip Marinade and Seasoned Red Potatoes

 

 

My best friend, Dawn, was watching my children one day so that I could go to work and I came home to this delicious meal. My response was “when can you move in?” She is a fantastic cook and creates delicious meals without recipes. These are both her creations and as far as measurements, you will have to add to taste.

Beer Braised Beef with Onion Dumplings

I have so many cookbook and not enough time to try every recipe. I bought the cookbook The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook recently. This is the first recipe I tried from it. It was yummy but I felt it was a little too sweet because of the allspice and cloves. I would recommend a slight reduce on these spices if you don’t want it tasting too sweet. I also omitted the dill from the dumplings because I have not found a taste for dill in recipes yet. The dumplings and the braised beef with beer is delicious.

Beer Braised Beef

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds boneless chuck (fatty rather than lean), cut into 1 ½ inch chunks
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 pounds onions, coarsely chopped
  • ½ pounds carrots, thickly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 bottle (12ozs) dark beer
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt

Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbs chopped fresh dill
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup fine fresh bread crumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 5-7 quart Dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan, heat 2 Tbs of the oil over medium-high heat. Dredge the beef in the flour, shaking off the excess. Working in batches (this is so the meat browns, rather than steams), cook the meat until browned all over, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the meat to a bowl.

Add the remaining 2 Tbs oil to the pan along with the onions, carrots, and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the thyme, allspice, cloves, beer, tomato paste, salt, and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Return the meat to the pan. Cover and place in the oven. Bake for 1 ½ hours, or until the meat is tender. Place the pan on the stove top.

Dumplings:

In a small skillet, heat 1 tbs of the melted butter. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the buttermilk, dill, and 2 tbs of the melted butter. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the buttermilk mixture. Stir the dumpling mixture gently until moistened.

In a shallow bowl, stir the remaining 3 tbs melted butter into the bread crumbs. One at a time, drop the dumpling mixture by rounded tablespoon into the crumb mixture and turn to coat. Drop the dumplings onto the simmering stew, spacing them evenly. Cover the pan and simmer the stew until the dumplings are tender and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

 

Spicy Oven Fried Chicken

My best friend Dawn gave me the Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh cookbook for my last birthday.

My favorite recipe in this book is this Spicy Oven Fried Chicken. It is very simple to make and bursting with flavors. My children love the taste. I have used boneless chicken breast with or without skin. You can reduce the cayenne pepper if you want it less spicy; it does have a kick. Don’t omit the melted butter because that adds crisp to the final dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 Tbsp salt, divided
  • 1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper, divided
  • 12 chicken pieces with skin and bones (4 breasts, 4 thighs, and 4 drumsticks)
  • 1 cup unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Whisk buttermilk, mustard, garlic, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp cayenne in large bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and chill at least 3 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place 1 rack on each of 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Mix breadcrumbs, cheese, flour, thyme, paprika, remaining 1 tsp of salt, and ½ tsp cayenne in medium bowl. Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Working in batches, add chicken to breadcrumb mixture; turn to coat. Arrange chicken pieces, skin side up, on racks. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature. Drizzle butter over chicken; bake until crisp, brown, and cooked through, about 50 minutes.

 

 

Pot Roast by Julia and Jacques

Roasted Red Potatoes

 

Try this simple potato dish that has been a favorite of my parents the few times I’ve cooked it for them. The skins of the potatoes are left on leaving all the flavor and the cheese gets crunchy on top.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound small red potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Directions:
Cut the potatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices. Toss with oil. Place in a single layer in a greased pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until tender.

Sweet Potato Puree with Streusel

 

This recipe, found on epicurious.com, is the sweet potato dish I have been making with my Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for the past couple years. It is delicious and very sweet if you add marshmallows on top of the streusal, look out sugar rush.

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, such as Louisiana, jewel, or garnet yams
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

Directions:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Butter 9- by 13-inch baking dish or 2-quart casserole. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Pierce each potato with fork and transfer to baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 50 minutes. Cool until easy to handle.

Meanwhile, make streusel: In medium bowl, combine flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 stick butter. Rub mixture between fingertips until blended and crumbly. Set aside.

Halve potatoes lengthwise and scoop out flesh into large bowl. Add remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar and 3/4 stick butter and mash with potato masher or, for a smoother purée, handheld electric mixer. Spread mixture in prepared dish and cool completely. (Streusel and purée can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated, separately, covered.)

Sprinkle streusel over potatoes. Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. (Completed dish can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated, covered. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before reheating and let come to room temperature. Bake, loosely covered with foil, until heated through, about 25 minutes.)

Variation:
Sweet potato purée with marshmallows: Omit streusel. Spread purée in baking dish, cover with foil, and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle top with 3 cups miniature marshmallows and broil until marshmallows are lightly browned, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.