Monday, August 13, 2012

Restaurant Chips & Salsa

I'm not a fan of jarred salsa's from the grocery store. I am a fan of the good stuff, the salsa they serve at Mexican restaurants. This is a Pioneer Woman recipe, and she really nailed it! We've been eating it for days now and I'm already thinking of making another batch, it's so good!

What you need for homemade chips:
corn tortillas, you get 6 chips out of each, so you figure out how many you want to fry up
corn oil

For the salsa:
1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies)
1/4 cup Chopped Onion
1 clove Garlic, Minced
1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 cup Cilantro (more To Taste!)
1/2 whole Lime, the juice

This makes a ton! Use either a 12 cup food processor, or make in batches.

Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you'd like.
Refridgerate salsa for an hour before serving.

When you're ready to serve the salsa, heat corn oil in a skillet. You want about 3/4 inches of oil in the pan. Heat oil to 350. Cut your corn tortillas (like cutting a pizza) into 6 pieces. Fry the chips, in batches, for just about a min.

Toss them on a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up some of the oil. Salt while hot. Serve with salsa.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie-stuffed Oreos

OMG. See that picture? That really happened in my kitchen today.
I saw these floating around on Pinterest one day. Their picture made my sweet tooth ache just at a glance. They taste just as ridiculously good as they look.
Super easy to make, and my little Toots loved helping with them :)

For the chocolate chip cookies you need:
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips ( I used 1 cup semi sweet, and 1/2 cup white cause that's what I had)

32 Double Stuff Oreo cookies
Preheat oven to 350.

Cream together the butter and sugars, add egg and vanilla extract. Stir in flour, salt, baking soda and chips.

Line a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper. Seperate the oreo cookies and line up the halves without the white frosting, on the cookie sheet..

Put small scoops of cookie dough onto each of these ...

Bake them for 8-10 minutes. When they come out, while they are hot, place the other halves of the oreos on top..

Mmmmmmm, the frosting begins to melt just a little..

Let cool for 10 minutes before digging in..

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Penne Rustica

Ok, so these pictures aren't the best step by step pictures because I was feeding my 6 week old baby while I was making dinner, but it's not a hard dish to prepare. This is a mock version on Macaroni Grill's Penne Rustica. But honestly, I think this one is better. It's a combination of chicken, shrimp and pancetta over penne, with a sauce to die for.
You need to use a grill for the chicken, and a stove for the pancetta and shrimp.

You need (for the Gratinata Sauce):
3 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. minced garlic
3 tbsp. Marsala cooking wine
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup milk
1/2 chicken broth
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
2 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. frsh thyme, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. cayenne (or more if you want it spicy)

1 pound penne pasta
12 medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 skinless chicken breast fillets
1/2 cup pancetta, chopped

a small handful of shredded parmesan for sprinkling (I ran out of parmesan, so I used mozzarella and it was good. Any cheese is better than no cheese!)
1 1/2 tsp. paprika

Preheat grill to high. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
In a bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients, except for the butter, garlic, and wine.

Prepare sauce by melting the butter in a skillet over a med/low heat. Add garlic and sweat it out for about 5 minutes. don't let the garlic brown! Add the Marsala wine and cook another 5 minutes.

Add the bowl of remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Bring it up to a simmer and leave it there for 10 minutes.
Cover sauce and remove from heat. It will thicken as it sits.
Cook pasta according to package. Drain and set aside.
Rub chicken with a bit of olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Grill chicken for about 10 minutes per side, or until done. When chicken is done, slice it into small strips.
Heat some olive oil in a smaller skillet. Add the pancetta and cook for about 7 minutes. Just until they begin to crisp up.

Season the shrimp with some salt and pepper and pan fry them in a little olive oil too, just until they start to pink. this should only take 2-3 minutes.

In a big ceramic or glass dish, pour in the pasta..
This is where I become M.I.A. My hubby took over in the kitchen for a few minutes so I could feed a hungry baby :)
After the pasta, layer the chicken, then shrimp, then pancetta. Pour the sauce over the whole thing.
In a small bowl, mix the parmesan (or mozzarella) with the paprika. Sprinkle over the suace. Bake at 500 for 10-12 minutes.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Seriously Tasty Chicken Fingers

My good friend Hillary shared this recipe with me. These are some seriously tasty chicken fingers. I served them with a small pasta side one night, and made the best chicken burgers with left-overs the next night. You'll love these, trust me, they're delicious.

You need:
4 chicken breast halves, cut into strips (whatever size you want)
1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup flour
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. seasoned salt
dash of pepper
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. baking powder
1 quart of vegetable oil for frying

Place chicken strips into a large, resealable plastic bag. In a small bowl, mix the egg, buttermilk and garlic powder. Pour mixture into bag with chicken. Seal, and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.
In another large, resealable plastic bag, mix together the flour, bread crumbs, paprika, onion powder, seasoned salt, pepper, and baking powder.
Remove chicken from refrigerator, and drain, discarding buttermilk mixture. Place chicken in flour mixture bag. Seal, and shake to coat.
Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Carefully place coated chicken in hot oil. Fry until golden brown and juices run clear. Drain on paper towels.

Homemade French Bread

The best part about baking your own bread, is the way it makes the whole house smell. It's raining outside and I have hot, fresh bread. Ahhhh, what a perfect day. All I need now is a good chic flick.
This is a super easy bread to make. No bread machine needed!

You need:
2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
1 tbsp. active yeast
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
5 cups bread flour
cornmeal, for sprinkling cookie sheet

Dissolve yeast in warm water, with the sugar. Let sit for about 10 minutes to foam up.
Add 3 cups of flour, the vegetable oil, and the salt. Mix well for 2 minutes. (I used my kitchen aide stand mixer)
Stir in the remaining 2 cups of flour and pour onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until smooth.
Place the dough into a well-oiled bowl and cover. Let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Punch dough down and divide in half.
Grease a cookie sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal.
Shape each halve into a loaf form and set on cookie sheet.
Make 3-4 diagonal cuts into each loaf.
Cover again and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
I sprayed some spray-butter on each loaf before baking to give the crust a little extra crunch, and for some nice color.
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.