Monday, February 27, 2017

Cheddar and Sweet Corn Pie

Sweet Corn Pie Slice blog

We had some unusually warm weather for New England in February this year. Warm weather makes me go into spring cleaning mode. Since it's still a bit chilly to get outside and do much in the yard, I started to purge my kitchen. I tried to get my cupboards and drawers down the only the essential things I need. Not an easy task, but I think I did a good job.

Next I turned my attention to our two freezers. We have two refrigerators, one in the kitchen (of course) and one in your garage to hold "extras". Gallons of milk, water, beer, wine, etc. It's pretty much the beverage fridge. Well I got the hankering to really clean out the freezers in both fridges. It wasn't too bad, but I did notice I had an over abundance of steak. Sirloin tips and rib eyes mostly. I tend to buy in bulk when the price is right and then I vacuum seal them. Well it was time to use up some of the steaks and since the weather was nice, we decided to grill them.

Cheddar and Sweet Corn Pie blog 1

I try and watch my carbs so I was trying to think of a side to go with the steaks that wasn't heavy on carbs. I saw a recipe for Cheddar and Sweet Corn Pie and I knew I had a winner.

This is such an easy pie to throw together. I used frozen sweet corn from Trader Joe's. I can only imagine how good this will taste when I make it with fresh summer corn.

It's cheesy and sweet with a crispy topping. A keeper for sure!

Cheddar and Sweet Corn Pie blog

Cheddar and Sweet Corn Pie
adapted from a recipe at Natural Comfort Kitchen
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups fresh or thawed corn kernels (6 large ears)
⅔ cup milk ­
1-1/2 cups (about 8 oz.)shredded soft cheese -­ I use half cheddar and half fontina
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
salt & pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, optional
3 eggs, whisked

For the topping:
1 tablespoon of butter
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded cheese
pinch salt & pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 375 (F) and move rack above middle position. Lightly spray standard sized pie plate with cooking spray. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook about 4 minutes until slightly browned at edges. Turn heat down to medium, add garlic, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until garlic is fragrant but not browned. Combine onion/garlic mixture in a medium mixing bowl with corn, milk, 1½ cups cheese, ½ cup panko, good pinch of salt and pepper, and chives (if using). After stirring, whisk the add eggs in a separate bowl and then add to corn mixture. Pour into pie plate.

For the topping: Melt 1 tablespoon butter, let cool slightly, then combine with ¼ cup panko, ½ cup cheese, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the pie filling. Bake (on a rimmed baking sheet for easier handling) about 35 minutes, until slightly puffed, set, and beginning to brown. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Smothered Crispy Chicken with Baby Bok Choy and Mushrooms.

Chicken and Bok Choy Blog 1

I'm a teeny bit addicted to baby bok choy. Every time I go shopping at the Asian market, which is usually about once a month, I get a big bag of baby bok choy.

I eat it stir fried with some sesame oil, soy and garlic or I crisp it up in a pan with some oil, salt & pepper and just shovel it in my mouth. It's sooo good. Seven years ago I posted my Simple Baby Bok Choy recipe and I still use it to this day.

A few weeks ago I bought another giant bag of it and decided I needed to try something new. This crispy chicken with baby bok choy and mushrooms was amazing!

Don't skip the searing of the chicken. It makes a big difference!

If you can't find baby bok choy in your local market, venture into your neighborhood Asian market. You'll leave with a lot more than bok choy!

Chicken and Bok Choy Blog

Smothered Crispy Chicken with Baby Bok Choy and Mushrooms.
adapted from a recipe at Whisk it Real Gud
8 chicken thighs (skin on)
Salt and pepper to taste
vegetable oil
2 packages (8oz) baby bella mushrooms, sliced
3 cups of chicken broth
3 tablespoons flour
One bunch of baby bok choy (cleaned dried and cut lengthwise then quartered)

Preheat oven to 375. Pat the chicken dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Get a frying pan really hot, and cover the bottom of the pan with the oil and sear the chicken on each side for about 4­ -5 minutes. You want a nice golden sear on the skin. Reserve the juices from the pan. Place the chicken in a lightly sprayed baking dish and bake for 30­ 35 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and add in the baby bok choy. Place it in between the chicken thighs so you have bok choy in every nook and cranny. Pour the chicken juices over the baby bok choy and place back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.

While the chicken is finishing cook the slices mushrooms in the same frying pan. You may have to add a bit or olive oil or vegetable oil to stop them from sticking. Cook until just tender and then remove from pan and set aside.

Add the chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Once it's boiling add in the flour and stir with a whisk to get rid of any lumps. At this point I added in some seasoning. You can use any seasoning you like, I added in 1 teaspoon of Mrs. Dash, some garlic powder and some parsley. Turn the heat down on the pan and let the sauce thicken. Once thickened add the cooked mushrooms back into the pan. Remove the chicken and bok choy from the oven, pour the sauce over the pan and return to the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling. Let set 10 minutes and then enjoy!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Double Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Double Choc Oatmeal Cookies blog 2

Oatmeal Cookies are one of my families most favorite treats.

Don't get me wrong, we love lots of different kinds of cookies, but oatmeal is really up there at the top of the list.

I've made Raisinette Oatmeal CookiesOatmeal Cookie Bars, Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies, Thin, Chewy & Buttery Oatmeal Cookies, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Pizza, Chocolate Oatmeal Bars, Giant Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, andGood Ole Original Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, phew! The list could go on and on. Just when I thought there can't possibly be another kind of oatmeal cookie that I haven't made.....I think about Chocolate Oatmeal cookies and because if one dose of chocolate is good, two or even three is better right? So I start concocting a recipe, a bit from this recipe, a bit from another until I have Double Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies and I want to make them immediately but I wait.

I'm patient.

I knew I had to wait. I waited for a snow storm, which doesn't take very long in February in Rhode Island and last week we got over a foot of snow and I knew I was going to make soup and I knew I was going to make these cookies.

Snowy days are just meant for oatmeal cookies and when they are loaded with chocolate chips and cocoa powder and some espresso powder it takes the little ordinary oatmeal cookie and sends it over the top!

Double Choc Oatmeal Cookies BLOG

Double Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
makes about 32 cookies
recipe from Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional but I think it gives the cookies a rich flavor)
pinch salt
3 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking oats)
1-1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a few baking sheet with parchment and set aside. I alternate with 3 baking sheets when I'm making cookies. One for cooling cookies, one in the oven and a third to rotate so I am never putting cookie dough on warm cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, mix softened butter and sugar with a hand mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix it well. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder (if you are using it) soda, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet. Mix until just combined. Mixture will be thick. Fold in oatmeal using a heavy wooden spoon or large spatula, again, this batter is what I call spoon-breaking batter so make sure you are using a strong stirrer. Add in the chocolate chips and mix until just combined.

Use a cookie scoop or drop by rounded tablespoon on the baking sheet. Bake for 11- 13 minutes. Mine we perfect at 13 minutes. Don’t over bake! Remove from oven and let them sit on the baking sheet for about 3 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Italian Wedding Soup

Wedding Soup Blog

You see that picture of soup right there? Oh how I suffered to get that photo. My husband was out shoveling, it was 12 degrees out, and I ran into the garage with this nice hot bowl of soup and my camera and made him hold a spoon in the bowl so you could see all the delicious ingredients in that soup. A dozen or so shots and I was done. It was just too cold! Brrrr!

So we got a whopper of a snow storm last week. Over a foot of snow, and while most people will hate the thought of all that snow, I love it. I mean I really love it. I am a snow lover. I love the way it blankets my whole world in white, the crunch of it underfoot, the coldness in the air. I adore a snow storm.

The absolute best part for me is all of us the house at one time (rarely happens with two college students), big mugs of homemade hot chocolate, warm cookies from the oven and a huge pot of soup on the stove. That is exactly what I did last Thursday.

I made what might have been the best soup of my life that day. I got up early in the morning and made the little meatballs, then I cooked a chicken in a big pot and started on Italian Wedding Soup. One of my faves. I took notes as I was going along so I could share it with you all. So glad I did.

This soup is so good. I mean really so incredibly delicious. I doubled this recipe. By Friday it was gone!

Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup
Recipe from Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
For the meatballs:
1/2 lb. ground chuck
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt & pepper to taste

For the soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
7 cups chicken stock * see note
salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
1/2 cup acini di pepe pasta (or any other little pasta)
4 cups, fresh baby spinach leaves, lightly packed
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

In a medium bowl, combine all meatball ingredients and mix together. Don't over-mix it though. I use my hands to mix. Roll the meat into small little balls. About the circumference of a dime. Refrigerate until you are ready to use. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet and then add onions, carrots, celery and cook until just tender. About 10 minutes. Set aside.

Put the chicken stock into a large pot on medium heat (*see notes). Once the veggies are tender add them to the stock. Add in the seasonings and heat to a slow boil. Boil for about 15 minutes.

Put the meatballs into the soup and continue to cook for about 4 minutes or until the meatballs float. Lower the soup to a simmer. Now to add the pasta. I cook my my acini di pepe in a separate pot until it's very al dente and then add it in to the pot. I find that cooking the pasta in the soup makes it turn out very gummy and makes the soup too starchy. Add in the cooked pasta and the spinach leaves. Cook until the spinach has wilted. Add the Parmesan, give it a quick stir and your ready to eat! Mangia, mangia! Something my dad always said when the food hit the table!

Note* You can certainly buy chicken stock but I like to make a quick chicken "stock" by boiling a small 3 - 4 pound chicken carcass. You can even do this with a rotisserie chicken. Just pick the meat off the bones and then throw all the bones and skin into a soup pot, bring to a boil and simmer an hour. Remove the chicken bones and you have a fast chicken stock! I save the chicken meat for another meal or freeze it for my next batch of chicken soup.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Homemade Mayo

Homemade Mayo BLOG 1'

Homemade Mayo.

It was something that I had on my "to do" list for years, something I knew that I wanted to start making from scratch.

I wish I would have started earlier. It's so easy.

Oil, eggs, a litle mustard, some lemon and a little garlic and you have mayo! Creamy, delicious homemade mayo!

I'm adding this to my "I don't have to buy it, I make it from scratch" list!

Homemade Mayo blog 2

Homemade Mayo
1 cup oil (I used vegetable oil but you could also use a neutral tasting oil like canola)
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
Optional - 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped (adjust amount to taste)
salt & pepper, to taste

Make sure ingredients are at room temperature before starting to mix and use a cylindrical container. You don't want to make this is a wide bowl or container.

Add oil, egg yolks, dry mustard and lemon juice into a blending container. Place hand blender at the bottom of the container and turn on. You will see the mayonnaise start to form at the bottom. It will begin to emulsify and become thick. IMPORTANT: make sure to not lift up blender until most of the oil has been incorporated; then begin to move up slowly. Add in the chopped garlic Add the chopped garlic, salt and pepper. This should keep in the fridge for a week, hence the small batch. I keep mine in a small glass jar.