Friday, January 29, 2010

Jalapeno Garlic Tilapia

(Portion sizes appear larger in picture!! Also, in this picture, I served with rice rather than over angel hair pasta as indicated below!)

This is one of Larry's favorite dishes from Johnny Carino's. So, when I stumbled upon the recipe, I thought I'd give it a shot. He loved it! Matter of fact, he wants me to make it for my father-in-law next time they come for a visit. I believe you can make this sauce to go over any type of fish, use with shrimp or just as a dip!!

2 (4 oz) tilapia filets
1/2 c flour
2 oz melted margarine
1 tsp chopped garlic
1/4 c diced jalepeno
1 c de-stemmed spinach, chopped
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
1 pinch garlic salt
4 oz heavy cream
1/4 c lemon butter*
5 oz angel hair pasta
1/8 c diced roma tomato
1 tsp fresh parsley

*Lemon Butter:
1 stick butter
1/4 c lemon juice
2 tsp garlic
Combine & refrigerate until ready to use.

Add margarine & garlic to medium temperature saute pan.
Dredge tilapia filets in flour & add to pan. Once tilapia has finished cooking on one side, flip them over and add jalapenos, spinach, salt, pepper & garlic salt.
In the meantime, prepare angel hair pasta.
As the filets begin to flake, add the heavy cream & bring to a slight boil.
Once the cream boils, remove pan from fire/heat and pour the lemon butter into the sauce.
Place the pasta on a plate, add a piece of fish & sauce on top.
Garnish with fresh roma tomato & parsley

I made Pioneer Woman's
Crash Hot Potatoes as a side item! Super yummy!!
You will not regret trying either of these recipes!

Chicken Parmigiana

In my quest to cook things outside of my comfort zone, I found the recipe for Rachael Ray's Chicken Parmigiana and naturally, it was awesome! I must admit though, I didn't follow her recipe completely. I used Prego's Roasted Garlic spaghetti sauce instead of making it from scratch (something Sandra Lee would do) and so it turned out "Semi-Homemade"!! (Wonder if I watch way too many Food Channel shows???)

1 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
1/4 cup chopped parsley (about a handful)
2 tablespoons chopped oregano (about half a palmful)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 chicken breast cutlets, about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided, plus additional
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 small, yellow-skinned onion, finely chopped
1 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, such as Muir Glen brand
1 cup chopped fresh basil (about 2 handfuls), plus additional for garnish
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Preheat broiler.
Set up three dishes on your countertop: Fill one with the flour, one with the eggs, and the other with a mixture of the breadcrumbs, half the grated cheese, herbs, salt and pepper.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 3 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 3 tablespoons. While the pan is heating up, season the chicken cutlets with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and coat each one in the flour, then in the egg, and lastly in the cheesy breadcrumbs.
Once the oil is hot, cook the chicken cutlets until golden brown and cooked through, 3-5 minutes per side depending on how thick they are. Cook them in two batches, transferring the cooked cutlets to a paper towel-lined plate while the others, adding more oil to the pan between batches if need be.
While the chicken is cooking, place a medium-size pot on the stove over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Add garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and chopped onion. Cook 5-6 minutes, stirring often, until the veggies have softened. Add the tomatoes and heat them through, about 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the basil, then season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Layer the chicken with the sauce in a casserole dish. Top the casserole with the remaining grated Parmigiano and mozzarella. Brown the chicken parm casserole under the broiler until the cheese has melted and is lightly golden brown, about 3 minutes. Garnish with some chopped basil before serving.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Heart Healthy - Homemade Salsa

I'm joining Robin at Big Red Kitchen for National Wear Red Day Event... So, here's my Heart Healthy Recipe. I'll save this space for my recipe but check Life's Little Blessings for my (coming soon) post on the Heart!

4 large tomatoes, seeds removed, diced
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 green pepper, diced
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
4.5 oz. can green chilis, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1 medium onion, diced
1/8 tsp. black pepper
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine tomatoes, green pepper, chilies, onion, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Heat thoroughly on medium-high temperature for approximately 10 minutes. Let cool and add the cilantro. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cajun Saffron Rice

I hit the jackpot recently while attending services at Mineral Springs church of Christ in Mineral Springs. As most of you know, this was my Mother's church. It's an awesome place to worship - it's a place of help, hope & home. I love this place. Not only did they give Mother a new life but they let her be a servant for God which was her pride & joy of life. This is where I was baptized by our very close friend Mike Reese and where we held Mother's final celebration. I make sure I attend each time I'm home because I feel Mother's love & touch while I'm there. Oops...about the jackpot - it happened to be Potluck Sunday when I was visiting! YUMMY!!! Anyways, this was the first dish I came to & just had to make it for the whole family to enjoy.

2 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces kielbasa, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth
1 (5 ounce) package saffron rice mix (I use Mahatma saffron yellow rice)
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium hight heat. Add the sausage and brown on both sides - about 5 minutes total. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Drain off the grease. Add the broth and rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in the shrimp, sprinkle with cajun seasoning, cover, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Season with salt and pepper

I served this with toasted/buttered whole-wheat Orowheat Sandwhich Thins as I felt that was plenty. I think a side salad might be good too! Let me mention, the white stuff you see in the picture is melted mozzarella cheese - I thought it was a wonderful addition. And the next time I make it, I'm going to add crawfish tails!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Funny thing...this is the ONLY picture I took! It's my chopped mushrooms, bamboo shoots (which was an add-in not listed below, onions & water chestnuts!

I finally got the ingredients to make Chicken Lettuce Wraps for Larry. He asked me for them weeks ago but for some reason, I had to get mentally prepared to make them. They were really good except that I felt like they weren't spicy enough for my tastebuds! As I'm writing out this post & reviewing the ingredients, I realize it's because I didn't follow the instructions very well! For the "special sauce" it calls for red chile paste and it just dawned on me...I didn't follow that step!!! I did add a lot more hot mustard to mine to compensate and would make them again! Next time, I would add either Chinese collophone noodles (cooked per pkg. directions) or chopped peanuts!

3 tablespoons oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 c water chestnuts - minced to the size of corn kernals
2/3 cup mushrooms - minced to the size of corn kernals
3 tablespoons chopped onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4-5 leaves iceberg lettuce

Special Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon hot mustard
2 teaspoons water
1-2 teaspoon garlic and red chile paste

Stir Fry Sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in water in a small bowl. Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil. Mix well and refrigerate this sauce until you're ready to serve. Combine the hot water with the hot mustard and set this aside as well. Eventually add your desired measurement of mustard and garlic chili sauce to the special sauce mixture to pour over the wraps.

Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan. Saute chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side or done. Remove chicken from the pan and cool. Keep oil in the pan, keep hot. As chicken cools mince water chestnuts and mushrooms to about the size of corn kernals.

Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl. When chicken is cool, mince it as the mushrooms and water chestnuts are.
With the pan still on high heat, add another Tbsp of vegetable oil. Add chicken, garlic, onions, water chestnuts and mushrooms to the pan. Add the stir fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple minutes then serve it in the lettuce"cups".

Top with"Special Sauce".

I'd really like to learn how to make Spring Rolls or Egg Rolls - if you have a recipe worth sharing, please do so!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu

2nd week of menu items from the hubs. This week he asked for grilled chicken salad (done), chicken stir fry, deer meat & Cordon Bleu. (And he's still waiting on the spicy lettuce cups!) So, I ventured out on a misson to find the recipes to make these special request items. Sure, I could buy these little frozen Cordon Blue patties, bags of stir fry and bags of grilled chicken, but I sure have had a lot of fun cookin these requests all "semi-homemade"!! I was a little nervous about making Cordon Bleu but it was SO easy and did I mention....DELICIOUS!!!Sorry the picture is not all that good. As I was packing it up into my leftovers container, I realized I didn't get a picture. You know, sometimes, pictures do not do justice to the real deal!

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (Tyson works best! Yes, I'm partial!)
6 slices Swiss cheese
6 slices ham
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour (or more)
1 tsp paprika
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c dry white wine or chicken broth
1 tsp chicken bouillon granules
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 c heavy whipping cream
chopped basil, for garnish (optional)

1) Pound chicken breasts to 1/2 in thickness. Place a slice of cheese & slice of ham on each breast within 1/2 inch of the egde. Fold the edges of the chicken over the filling and secure with a toothpick. Mix the flour & paprika in a small bowl & coat the chicken pieces.
2) Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Add the wine or chicken broth and bouillon. Reduce heat to low, cover & simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
3) Remove the toothpicks & transfer checken to a warm plate. Blend the cornstarch with the cream in a small bowl and whisk slowly into the skillet. Cook, stirring until thickened and pour over the chicken. Serve warm!
I served this with green beans & cheese and spinach tortillini. I know it'd be so good with mashed potatoes too.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Paula Deen's Hurry Up Chicken Pot Pie

I have been hungry for chicken pot pie for some time now. I found Paula Deen's recipe & thought I'd give it a try. It was DELICIOUS! I don't have a picture of it, unfortunately because once it was done & dished out, I realized, I didn't take any pictures. Oh wait...there were left-overs & I was able to get a picture! Not as good as when it first came out of the oven - but you'll get the idea!
1 c chicken breast, cooked & chopped (I used a large can of chicken)
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1/2 c thinly sliced carrots (I used a whole can of sliced carrots)
1/2 c frozen green peas (I used a whole can of English peas)
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 c chicken broth
salt & pepper, optional
1 1/2 c Bisquick
1 c milk
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a greased 2-quart casserole, layer chicken, eggs, carrots & peas. Mix the soup, chicken broth & season with salt & pepper, if desired. Pour over the layers. (I gently mixed the soup mixture with the veggies rather than having layers.) Stir together the bisquick & milk and pour this over the casserole. Drizzle butter over the top. Bake until the topping is golden brown, 30-40 minutes. (Mine took a little longer!)

Larry liked it and he doesn't even like chicken pot pie. I think next time, I'm going to add whole kernal corn & chopped potatoes.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chipolte Lime Chicken

This was made by special request from Larry! I was surprised at how moist & tasty the chicken turned out! This was my first time to ever cook anything chipolte flavored but it won't be the last!
(Note, I found this picture online & borrowed it! I was so excited about this new menu item, that I forgot to take pictures!)

2 1/2 lbs
boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 6
chipotle chile in adobo, minced
1/2 teaspoon
adobo sauce, from the canned peppers
1/4 cup
lime juice
garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup
olive oil
2 tablespoons

1) Preheat grill to moderate heat for gas or medium indirect heat for charcoal and AWAY from fire, lightly oil or spray COOL cooking rack for easy cleaning.
2) Mix minced pepper, adobo, lime juice,garlic, oil and pour half into resealable bag. DO NOT add the honey. That comes later. Reserve the rest for basting.
3) Season chicken with salt and pepper- sometimes we use season salt or lemon pepper for a twist.
4) Add chicken to bag and allow to marinate for 15 minutes. No need to refrigerate for this short time.
5) Remove chicken from marinade and place on preheated grill. Discard USED marinade.
6) Grill chicken about 4-5 minutes then flip over and cook another 4-5 minutes.
7) Now add the honey to RESERVED marinade and baste chicken. Immediately flip chicken and baste the unbasted side. Grill until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
8) Remove from grill and pour any remaining RESERVED sauce on top.
Note: This can be done on an indoor grill as well. Make sure you spray or oil it before heating grill. I actually cooked mine in a skillet & let it sit a little while before serving. The flavors just seemed to "mesh" by resting together for a bit!

I made Goya yellow rice as a side for a simple yet perfect dinner.

Do you like to try new recipes & flavors? What's something different/unique that you've had on your menu?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tamale Pie

I don't know about you, but when I'm not hungry, it's hard for me to cook! During the last two weeks, I've not really "cooked" anything! We've just eaten what we wanted, when we got hungry! I love those days! They spoil me! But now that we're back in the school routine, it's back to cooking for me.

Every time I ask Larry what he wants, he says, " I don't care. Every thing you cook is good". Or sometimes, he may throw in..."well, I don't know what's on the menu"! Ok, well then tell me what you want on the "menu" and that's what we'll have. When he does ask me for something, it's usually chicken & dumplins, chicken noodle soup, Shepard's Pie or even B's pizza. (That's the way my mom made them!) But this time, he threw me for a loop and asked for Tamale Pie, Chipolte Lime Chicken and Spicy Lettuce Cups! Well, alrighty then!

On the mission I went to find the perfect recipes for ... all of the above! So far, I'm 2 for 2! Here's the Tamale Recipe I found. I won't lie and tell you where I found it - because I looked so much, I couldn't even tell you where I found it! But it's good & I hope you enjoy!

3 Tbsp Canola oil, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 lg clove garlic, finely chopped
1 lb beef (or turkey) (I used ground deer burger)
1/2 tsp chipolte puree or smoked paprika (or more to taste)
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp sugar, divided
2 tsp white vinegar
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 15 oz can beans (pinto, kidney or black) (I used pinto)
2 c frozen corn (I used 1 can whole kernal, drained)
1/3 c flour
2/3 c cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 c buttermilk
1 egg
1 c grated cheddar cheese

1) Heat oven to 400. In a 10 or 12 in heavy oven proof pan, heat 1 Tbsp of oil & saute onions until translucent and browning around edges.

2) Add garlic & saute another minute, then crumble meant. Turn up heat to cook - stirring & breaking until browned.

3) Stir in chipolte puree, 3/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp of sugar, vinegar, tomato sauce, beans & corn. Simmer for a few minutes so the ingredients can get to know each other! ( that the other day & couldn't wait to use it!)

4) Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, remaining 1/2 tsp salt & remaining Tbsp sugar. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk & remaining oil. Finally, mix the liquid mixture with the dry ingredients. Stir in half of the cheddar cheese. **Or cheat like I did...I had a package of War Eagle Cornbread mix so I just followed the package instructions - added sugar & cheese! Ta-Da...

5) Pour meat mixture into 9x13 baking dish
Cover evenly with cornbread mixture. Top with remaining half of cheddar cheese. Place in pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes or until cornbread is golden brown & knife inserted in center comes out clean!

It was really, really good! Personally, I think it needed a little jalepeno to spice it up a little but overall, it was different & good.

There are TONS of Tamale Pie recipes out there. In this one cookbook I always reach for when looking up new recipes, she actually used Tamales & Wolf brand chili instead of using making cornbread. My dad's wife says she actually makes chili & layers her ingredients starting with cornbread mixture on the bottom, chili, corn, cheese - repeat.

If you have a favorite Tamale Pie recipe do you fix yours?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Crawfish Corn Chowder

One of my co-workers made this chowder for a Multi-Cultural luncheon at work recently. They had a whole slew of Louisiana dishes and I just had to have this recipe. My VP made Jambalaya & he kindly gave me his "secret" recipe too! It was so yummy!

Here's her chowder recipe....I hope you enjoy!

2-3 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 stick butter
2 lbs Crawfish tailmeat*
1 pint half and half
2 cans cream of potato soup
2 cans whole kernal corn, drained
celery seed to taste
salt & pepper to taste
ground red pepper to taste
1/2 bunch of parsley, destemmed & chopped
5-6 green onions, chopped

Saute veggies in butter. Add cream of potato soup, corn, celery seed, tailmeat and half and half to desired consistency. (I added water too). Stir until simmering. Add salt, black pepper and red pepper, let simmer a little more until all flavors are meshed. You can add a can of cream of celery soup, cream of shrimp soup, etc...if you like. Last 5 minutes, add parsley & green onions.

*Crawfish tailmeat can be found frozen in the seafood case at Wal-Mart. Shrimp or keilbasa sausage can be substituted and/or included.

I added a little Tony Chachere's seasoning to give it a more Louisiana flavor.