Vegetarian Chili

 

 

It’s comfort food weather. My daughter and I have had this recipe a couple times when we were feeling like a “no meat” kind of night. I found this recipe on the website http://www.cookieandkate.com. Its delicious and you can add shredded cheese and sour cream or eat it with crackers, whatever you prefer.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 TBS chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoke paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with their juices (20 ozs)
  • 2 cans black beans (15 ozs each) rinsed and drained
  • 1 can pinto beans (15 oz) rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar or lime juice (your choice)
  • chopped cilantro

Directions:

In a large pot heat the olive oil, add onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook until vegetables are tender (7-10 minutes).

Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and oregano. Cook until fragrant (1 minute).

Add tomatoes, black beans, pinto beans, vegetable broth and bay leaf. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat.

For delicious texture transfer 1 1/2 cups of chili (get some liquid) to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, transfer blended chili back into pot.

Add cilantro and vinegar to taste, add remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Serve with garnish of your choice.

 

 

 

Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Herbs

 

 

 

I recently read that the test of a good cook is if she/he could roast a chicken. I have tried multiple recipes and had many failures. However, this is the one recipe that produced a tender and juicy roasted chicken every time. I originally started with Julia Child’s recipe and improvised to make it easier. This is my take on a roasted chicken.

Ingredients:

  • One 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Butter
  • Fresh herbs (dried as an alternative)
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock or broth

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 425
  • Wash the chicken rapidly inside and out with hot water and pat thoroughly dry. Salt and pepper the cavity and place vegetables and fresh herbs inside the cavity; whatever you have in the pantry work (carrots, celery, onion, and lemon). Massage the chicken all over with 1 tablespoon of the butter
  • Choose a flameproof roasting pan that is about 1 inch larger than the chicken. Salt the chicken all over and set it breast up on a rack in the pan. (Thoroughly wash all surfaces and utensils that have been in contact with the raw chicken)
  • Roast the chicken in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, as follows: At 15 minutes Brush the chicken with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Scatter the onion and carrot all around the pan. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°. At 45 minutes Brush the lemon juice over the chicken. If necessary, add 1/2 cup of water to the vegetables to prevent burning. At 60 minutes Baste with the pan juices. Test to see if done: The drumsticks should move easily in their sockets; their flesh should feel somewhat soft. If not, continue roasting, basting and testing every 7 to 8 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer registers 165°
  • Spear the chicken through the shoulders; lift to drain; if the last of the juices run clear yellow, the chicken is done. Let rest on a carving board for 15 minutes; discard the string
  • Spoon all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the juices in the pan. Add the stock and boil until lightly syrupy, 5 minutes. Strain and serve with chicken.
  • Alternatively; you can boil the giblets in water with salt, pepper and bay leaves and make a gravy out of the drippings

Chase and Sophia’s Baked Mac n’ Cheese

 

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My son and his girlfriend are an adorable couple. She has quickly become a part of our family and I love her like she is one of my own. The positive effects she has had on my son are innumerable and it has been a delight to see the conscientious and considerate young man he has become while in a couple. One of the positive effects has been their love of cooking. My daughter and I came home tired and hungry from a day of traveling home from Canada a few weeks back and we opened the fridge and found this delicious baked mac n’ cheese inside; comfort food was just what we needed. They found this recipe on the website http://www.momontimeout.com and made a couple alterations.

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz elbow macaroni, cooked
  • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded (they used cheddar in place of Gruyere)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
  • 4 TBS butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large 3-4 quart baking dish. Combine shredded cheese in a large bowl and set aside.

Cook the pasta 1 minute to al dente. Drain and place in a large bowl. Drizzle pasta with olive oil. Set aside to cool.

Melt butter in a deep saucepan, dutch oven or stock pot. Whisk in flour and continue  whisking for 1 minute until bubbly and golden. Gradually whisk in milk and heavy cream until smooth. Whisk until bubbles form on the surface and then an additional 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Add 2 cups of shredded cheese and whisk until smooth and thick. Add 2 more cups of shredded cheese and whisk until smooth and thick.

Stir in cooled pasta and fully coat with cheese sauce. Pour half of the pasta into baking dish, top with remaining 2 cups of shredded cheese and then add the remaining pasta on top.

In a small bowl, combine panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese, melted butter and paprika. Sprinkle this mixture over the top and bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 30-35 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Stuffed Mushrooms

 

 

This tasty mushroom recipe is from the first diet plan that ever worked for me. It doesn’t taste like diet food because yummy melted cheese! Found in Suzanne Somers’ Get Skinny on Fabulous Food cookbook, they are cheesy and tasty with no rice or bread. They are easy to make and can be served as an appetizer if you are entertaining.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • 4 TBS butter
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 TBS chopped thyme, parsley or tarragon (she uses fresh lemon thyme in the book but I have trouble finding that)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

Directions:

Carefully pull stems off the mushrooms, finely chop stems. Select the 12 largest caps and set aside for filling. Finely chop the remaining mushrooms. Melt the butter in a large skillet, add shallots and saute until golden brown. Add chopped mushrooms and herb and saute until brown and crispy. Add wine and cook off the alcohol for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and preheat broiler.

Place the mushroom mixture in a mixing bowl with 1/2 the cheese, stir until well combined. Lightly rub the caps with oil and place on cookie sheet. Fill each cap and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Broil for 5 minutes. Cheese should be bubbly and the caps a little brown.

 

 

 

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

My daughter and I love the Great British Baking Show. We love how there is no drama and it is such a light show. I always want to bake something after I watch it and now I call cake “sponge.” The sponge on this cake is delicious. Who am I kidding, the entire cake is delicious and it helped that I used the best candied cherries I could find. This recipe was found in: Firehouse Food; Cooking with San Francisco’s Firefighters and was written by Lt. Lou Bacciocco.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple slices in heavy syrup
  • 6 maraschino cherries, cut in half
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups granulated sugar

Directions:

Adjust the oven rack to the center and pre-heat to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9 X 13 inch pan. Cover the bottom of the baking pan with brown sugar, pour the melted butter over the sugar. Drain the pineapple slices reserving 1/2 cup plus 2 TBS of the syrup. Place the pineapple slices over the brown sugar in even rows. Place a cherry half in each of the pineapple slice holes, facing up.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the egg yolks on medium speed with the granulated sugar for 3 minutes. Add the reserved syrup and beat for 1 more minute. Stir in the flour mixture until well incorporated.

Wash and dry the mixer and beat the egg whites until stiff peaks develop (3-4 minutes on high). Using a rubber spatula, lightly fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed.

While the cake is still hot, run a knife around the edges to loosen it from the pan, place on a platter by inverting onto the surface you will be serving the cake on. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Thai Coconut Chicken

 

I spent my first 6 months working as a paramedic in San Francisco. Because I didn’t spend much time working in SF, I didn’t get to know the SF Fire Department men and woman very well. What I do know, is that dinner is very important to firefighters at the fire house. I spent 6 years with my ambulance housed at the station I now work at, and 2 years housed coast side. Some of my best meals were at the firehouse. With that being said, I found this recipe from a book titled Firehouse Food: Cooking with San Francisco’s Firefighters. I made it for my daughter and I this weekend and we both loved it. I may tweak it a bit next time to add more heat and acid.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 5 TBS vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 medium white onion, halved and cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 TBS minced garlic
  • 1 TBS minced ginger
  • 1 jalapeno Chile, stemmed, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves (I suggest trying boneless, skinless thighs as they are more tender) 2 pounds total
  • 1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk ( I used unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 TBS rice vinegar
  • 1 bunch basil, leaves thinly sliced

Directions:

cook rice, set aside. Heat oil, add onion, garlic, ginger Chile, stir fry until the onion is softened (3-4 mins). Set aside. Heat more oil and add chicken until opaque (5 mins). Return the onion mixture to chicken, add coconut milk, soy sauce, vinegar, bring to a boil and cook until reduced by 1/2 (8 mins). Stir in the basil, and serve.

Suggestions: add Thai chili paste for more heat, juice of lime for acid, cilantro in place of basil and crushed peanuts to garnish.

 

 

 

 

Swiss Roll Cake with Strawberry Jam

 

My daughter and I have been watching the Great British Baking Show. With that being said, it inspires both of us to bake new things that we haven’t tried before. I decided to give a swiss roll a try. The sponge was delicious but I will keep working on the perfect jam. I found the sponge recipe on the website http://www.letseatcake.com. The only problem with this recipe for me was that all ingredients were in grams. I did my own conversions and the result was a delicious and light sponge. The strawberry jam recipe was found on http://www.allrecipes.com.

Sponge

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup caster sugar + 2 TBS for dusting parchment paper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs (room temp)
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla

Strawberry Jam

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.

Create caster sugar if needed by pulsing granulated sugar 15 times in a food processor, set aside. Line 9X13 pan with parchment paper. Sift flour and salt together in a small bowl. Separate egg yolks and whites into separate bowls. Add caster sugar and vanilla to egg yolks, whisk and set aside. Whip egg whites to soft peaks, set aside and clean mixer. Whip egg yolk mixture on high until the mixture has grown in size 3 to 4 times and batter has reached ribbon stage (approx. 5 min). Fold in the flour mix. Fold in the egg whites mix. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

While it is cooking lay a piece of parchment paper out and dust it with 2 TBS sugar. When cake is done flip it immediately onto parchment paper. Remove the paper it was baked on. Score the short end closest to you 1/2 inch from the end and begin to slowly roll up until entire cake is rolled. Cool before adding the filling.

Jam Directions:

Crush strawberries until you have 4 cups of mashed berries. In a heavy bottomed saucepan mix together strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high and bring to a full rolling boil. Stir often until it reaches 220 degrees F.