Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cheesy Chicken Eggrolls

Eggroll wrappers are my current food obsession. I've tried a few different experiments lately, this was the latest.
Here's what I used:
10 eggroll wrappers
1 1/2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken breast
6 oz. softened cream cheese
1/4 cup each shredded cheddar and Monterey jack
2 jalapeños diced
salt, pepper, garlic powder and a dash of cayenne

Mash all of that together and divide into ten equal logs. Wrap each log into eggroll wrapper as directed on package. (note that I unwrapped this one for its photo op)

Heat a non stick skillet with a tablespoon of vegetable oil and place the rolls open flap down. Brown all sides until they are crisp and golden.

If you were deep frying them they would be hot enough inside but these will need to go in a 350 degree preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes. I've tried them just baked and not fried at all but they just aren't the right texture for me. I made a quick dipping sauce featuring my new favorite condiment from Trader Joes.

Green Dragon Hot Sauce is so good! I mixed a few spoons of sour cream, a few splashes of green dragon and chopped cilantro, yummy.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

15 Bean and 2 Greens Soup

Here's a super healthy one for you! My excuse for soup today is that I'm feeling a little under the weather and even if it doesn't make me feel better, I won't have to cook tomorrow. I bought both of these this week:
A big giant bag of baby spinach and kale and these beans. I didn't plan on putting them together but it seems like a good match. Let's talk about beans and rules. Every bag of beans has the same directions; soak overnight or boil and simmer for an hour. I'm a big fan of rules but I am going to disregard bean rules from now on. They taste so much better if you just go ahead and cook them in the soup. I'm not even sorry. 

Here's what you need:
20 oz. bag of 15 bean mix
Big bag of greens
1 quart chicken or veg stock 
2 onion chopped
2 carrots chopped
3-4 celery chopped 
2 garlic cloves chopped 
2-3 TBS tomato paste
Herbs de Provence 
Salt and pepper 
Start the soup as usual; heat a bit of oil in a heavy soup pot and cook the vegetables until they start to soften. Season with salt and pepper, add broth and beans. 
Apparently these beans came with a ham packet... I'm going to take that out.  Add water or more broth if needed to cover beans. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 1.5 to 2 hours until beans are tender, adding liquid as needed. While that is happening give the greens a rough chop. When the beans are cooked check seasoning, add paste, herbs and finally the greens. 
They will wilt immediately. Soup is ready, enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Stout braised short ribs

I've had short ribs on my mind lately, today was the day to do something about it. I don't cook a whole lot of meat so I'm always worried about ruining it, thankfully that did not happen. I opted for stout over red wine this time because I've also had my mother's  Guinness Beef Stew on my mind as well. 
Here's what you need:
4-6 beef short ribs 
1 large onion diced
2 carrots diced
3 celery stalks diced 
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 bay leaf
Olive oil
Salt and pepper 
1 pint stout (Guinness)
2-3 cups beef stock
Preheat oven to 380 degrees. 
Season the beef, heat olive oil in a ditch oven and brown ribs for a few minutes on each side so they get nice and brown. Remove from pan and add the diced vegetables, cook around 5 minutes or do until they are just soft. 
Add the 2 cups of stock and scrape up all of the bits. Add the herbs, stout and the ribs, bring up to a simmer. 
If the liquid doesn't go at least halfway up, add more broth. Cover and place in the oven for 2 hours. 
The meat should be falling off the bone. I served them on top of scallion mashed potatoes with peas and mushrooms on the side. 
In case anyone was worried that there was no soup today...
Fear not, the plague has hit our house so chicken soup had to happen. It's a basic chicken soup with my sister's secret ingredient that makes it so good. 


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Butternut, Leek and Sausage Pasta

Wow, is this good and It only dirtied two pans! It makes quite a bit so plan on feeding guests or having leftovers for days. I had extra leeks from the other day and lost interest in the recipe I saved them for so this was how it started. 
Here's what you need:
1 lb pasta
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup half&half 
1 lb Italian sausage
1 1/2 leeks cleaned and chopped
1 butternut squash, cut up and roasted
Grated Parmesan 
Salt, pepper and garlic 
Fresh chopped parsley
Start by peeling and chopping squash into 1 inch pieces, season and drizzle with oil. Roast in a 400 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes. While the squash is cooking, clean the leeks (you can substitute with yellow onions).  
Remove sausage from casings and brown in a large sauté pan that has a lid (for later), add leeks and some crushed garlic, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until softened. Check on the squash every once in a while, move it around to keep it from over-browning. Add broth and cream and slowly bring to a boil, add pasta making sure there is enough liquid to just cover it. Reduce heat, cover and set timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, uncover and stir. The pasta should be almost aldente, add a little water if it's all gone and continue to cook covered for a few more minutes. If there is too much liquid, continue cooking for a few minutes uncovered. 
Remove from heat, stir in grated cheese until it forms a creamy sauce, add in squash, sprinkle with parsley and serve. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

The first cut is the hardest

Vintage linens are equal parts wonderful and terrifying when you are deciding to take a scissor to them! 

I scored this bounty of linens at Décor last week and I've been anxious about it ever since. I washed them, inspected them, sorted them, and admired them for a longer amount of time that I'd care to share. I decided on one piece, a linen table runner that had a few stains and went for it. Nothing too crazy, I had to start small. 
I made a few lavender sachets with some of the lace, some vintage fabric, buttons and bits of vintage trim I had stashed away. I even made a cute little apron. 
Now I need to think of a few more ideas!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Tomato Leek Soup

I'm preparing for the blizzard that's coming today, not that I need a reason to make more soup. Typically I use regular yellow onion in this soup but I needed leeks for another recipe so I gave it a try. It's delicious but I need to remember to double it next time because it ends up being about 1 1/2 quarts in the end. 
Here's what you'll need:
8-10 plum tomatoes 
3 cloves garlic 
1 1/2 chopped leeks
Olive oil 
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups half&half
Salt, pepper, rosemary

Start by slicing the tomatoes lengthwise into 3-4 slices each. Lay the slices evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet along with whole peeled garlic. 
Season with salt and pepper, drizzle a bit of oil and bake at 400 for 30 minutes. While that cooks, clean your leeks. Cut off most of the green stalk, rinse sand from the outer leaves, slice them lengthwise and rinse again. Chop them up and let them sit in a bowl of cold water, swishing them to loosen any sand.    Let them sit a few minutes until the sand falls to the bottom of the bowl. Scoop them our carefully and drain on a towel. 
Heat a soup pot with a bit of oil, season and sauté leeks, add the roasted garlic and mash them as the leeks cook. 
Add the tomatoes and sauté with leeks for about 5 minutes, breaking them up with the back of a wooden spoon. Add 2 cups of stock, bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. Add 2 cups of half&half and simmer another 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and it's time to blend the soup. I don't have a regular blender so I used my hand held emulsion blender. I think you'd be better off using a food processor or a regular blender because it took me forever to purée the tomato skin. 
You may need to add a bit more stock if it's too thick. That's it! It's so much better than canned tomato soup. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

One pan chicken and orzo

I never want this dish to end. Greek inspired with the lemon, feta and is so good and easy. It started because boneless chicken thighs were on sale, I can't bring myself to buy them off sale and I never have time to debone them myself. The rest of the ingredients are pretty much always here so this came together easily. The added bonus is that I only used one pan, my husband (aka the one-man clean up crew) will appreciate that. A little side note- will you look at this parsley
It is mid January in Connecticut and I still have parsley in the garden! You should also know that it never looked this good all summer. 
Moving along, here's what you'll need:
1 pkg boneless skinless chicken thighs (10)
1 large onion diced
3-4 cloves garlic chopped
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
1 cup pitted calamata olives chopped
1 lb orzo
1/4 cup white wine
4 cups chicken broth 
Fresh parsley
1 cup grape tomatoes halved
Olive oil 
Feta cheese
Salt, pepper, rosemary, and a pinch of dried oregano 
Heat a large skillet and brown seasoned chicken in some oil over medium high heat, approximately 5 minutes each side. 
Remove chicken and set aside. It's ok if it's not cooked through. Add onion and garlic to the pan, scraping up bits on the pan. Sauté until wilted and then add the orzo, stirring to coat with the onion. Continue to toast the orzo for a few minutes. Add the wine and lemon zest and juice and stir in until absorbed. Add the broth, olives and tomatoes and bring to a boil. 

Reduce to simmer and place chicken on top, cover and simmer for approximately 10 minutes. 
Check it a few times to be sure that the orzo isn't sticking and that you have enough liquid. You can add a splash more of broth or water if needed. 
When it's finished sprinkle with parsley and crumbled feta. I didn't need to season this dish other than when I cooked the chicken, the olives and feta are salty enough on their own. 
Speaking of salt...
Here's a tip that doesn't pertain to this particular dish but it's handy when cooking pasta. 
I add salt right in the box of pasta while I'm waiting for the water to boil and dump it all in together. I have a few reasons for this. 
1-I can never remember if I salted the water or not. 
2- if I pour the salt in the water from the jar all of that steam clumps the salt. 
3- after 11 science fairs with my kids I still can't remember what boils faster, salted or unsalted water.