Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oreo Truffles

I'm trying to get better at baking/making desserts. I feel like a good dessert is the finishing touch to a great meal.

I took a stab at making Oreo Truffles and they were a hit! Using Kraft's Easy Oreo Truffle recipe, I crushed nearly a whole bag of oreo cookies and mixed it well with fat free cream cheese. Then I made small little balls and set aside.

I melted an entire packet of Baker's Semi- sweet chocolate squares and using a spoon, dunked the balls in the chocolate.

I set them on parchment paper, topped each with sprinkles and refrigerated for an hour - et voila!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cornish hens- Your own personalized chickens!

So cute! I made a couple of cornish hens - they are too cute! They turned out great

Using the Roasted Cornish Hen recipe from Down Home With the Neelys, the recipe was a simple rub of poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, dried basil and
olive oil - that's it!

I roasted the hens for just over an hour at 375 and they were juicy and the skin was delicious!

I put a little too much oil because the skin wasn't as brown as I would have liked - next time.

How cute would cooking a bunch of these be for a holiday dinner? Everyone gets their own personalized chicken!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dear Kim, fellow floggers and foodies,

Do you have a crockpot/slow cooker and if so, what recipes turned out really good?

I used it for the second time on the weekend and make chicken jamabalaya. After 4 hours of paranoia of whether the chicken and sausage were actually cooked and we weren't going to get salmonella, I poured it over steaming rice and it was decent.

What I think got my goat was that I know I could really stepped up that dish by doing it in the pan. I could have developed the flavours, spices and improved the presentation plus not be worried. BUT.. then I would have been cooking a lot longer.

.So, I'm not sure what to do or really how to use this crockpot without feeling like I could have done it better by hand..

- A very crock-fused Mandy

Spaghetti with Butternut Squash and Prosciutto

This recipe happened by accident but what a happy accident it turned out to be! I had made butternut squash casserole for a (cancelled) Christmas dinner party and had a lot leftover, so I decided to toss it with cheese and pasta. There's only so much you can take when it comes to leftovers so instead of tossing it out, I like to reinvent it. I've had ravioli with butternut squash before so it led me to believe that my leftover butternut squash casserole would work well with pasta, creamy cheese and salty prosciutto. It was a match made in heaven. Would have been even lovelier with fresh sage or basil but I didn't have any.

1 butternut squash, halved
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp cream cheese
3 tbsp parmesan cheese
4 slices prosciutto chopped
spaghetti cooked al dente

Roast butternut squash cut side down in 350 oven for about 45 minutes or until tender.
When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh into a large bowl, and add butter maple syrup cinnamon and salt and pepper to taste and purée with a hand mixer until smooth. Add a little apple juice or water if the consistency is too thick.
Pour hot squash puree over spaghetti and cut cream cheese into little cubes tossing to coat the spaghetti and melt the cheese. Top with prosciutto and parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Roast Chicken

This is one of my favorite recipes! I saw it on a Martha Stewart DVD and had to make it. This is pretty much a guaranteed winner every time!

The original recipe is from Norma Darden of Miss Mamie's Spoonbread in NYC and was shown on Martha Stewart's DVD.

The only difference from the ingredients is that I basted the chicken with an entire bottle of white wine and threw in some onions at the bottom of the pan for flavor.

I served the chicken with roasted red potatoes in rosemary and thyme.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

When I go grocery shopping, I seldom go down all the aisles. But since baby fell asleep in the shopping cart, I wanted her to nap so I took my time.
I ended up getting some inspiration to make Mexican food. I used a lot of shortcuts in this recipe so it was easy to throw this together.

8 flour tortillas
1 box Spanish rice cooked to directions
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts sliced
1 onion, sliced
1/2 red pepper sliced
1/2 green pepper sliced
1 package Fajita sauce mix
2 cups shredded cheddar/jack cheese

Mexi-ranch sauce
Mix together:
1/3 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup salsa
2 tbsp sour cream

Cook rice according to boxed directions. Meanwhile, stir fry onion, chicken strips and peppers until cooked through. Add fajita seasoning to package directions.
Spread half of the mexi-ranch sauce to the bottom of a baking dish.
Fill tortilla with a sprinkling of cheese, some Spanish rice and some of the chicken fajita mixture; roll tightly and place in baking dish seam side down.
Once all tortillas are filled and rolled, top with the remainder of the mexi-ranch sauce and rest of the shredded cheese.
Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes until cheese is bubbling and browned.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Leek Potato and Chickpea Soup

To use up the rest of the leeks I bought, I decided to make a leek soup. To be honest, cream of leek soup was about the only thing I thought leeks were actually used for. Now that I know the mild creamy flavour a little better, I will definitely be cooking with leeks more often and in more creative ways. This soup was actually very delicious...I kinda just made up the recipe as I went along. I reserved about 1/4 can of the chickpeas from my hummus and added it to the recipe and it added great body to the soup.

2 large leeks washed thoroughly and sliced into half moons
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1/4 can chickpeas
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 tsp cumin
2 tbsp cream cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté leeks and garlic and cumin with a little butter in a large pot until fragrant and softened. Add potatoes, chickpeas and chicken stock and simmer until potatoes are cooked (20 minutes or so). Remove from heat, stir in cream cheese and purée (careful not to splash, it's hot!) with an immersion blender until smooth.

Spicy Hummus

My father-in-law taught me many kitchen lessons. With his hummus recipe I learned:
1. Making your own hummus is easy and tastier than the store-bought version
2. Remembering to keep the lid on the blender is easier than cleaning hummus off of the ceiling.
xo, Trevor ;) !

1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
2 tbsp tahini
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp chili powder (not Mexican chili powder...Indian chili powder, or you can use cayenne)
1/4 tps cumin
salt & pepper to taste

Place everything in a blender (don't forget to close the lid!!) and purée until smooth. Add a little water to loosen as necessary. I garnished this with an extra sprinkling of cumin and chili powder. Serve with warm naan or pita.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Veal Meatballs with Fingerling Potatoes, Green Beans and Leek Saffron Cream Cheese Sauce

Sharl felt like meatballs for dinner, but instead of making them with traditional red sauce and spaghetti, I experimented a little and came up with this...it was SO good!
I've never cooked leeks before, so of course I couldn't resist buying some to try!
To wash leeks properly (because there is a lot of sand and soil hidden in the layers), cut leeks lenghtwise and slice thinly crosswise into half moon. Immerse leeks in a large bowl of cold water and separate layers to allow dirt to fall to the bottom of the bowl. They are so delicious with a really mild onion flavour. I'm already thinking about what to make with the rest of the leeks!

500g ground veal
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2-3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 egg
1 large leek sliced (white parts and light green parts only)
splash of vermouth or brandy
3 tbsp cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
pinch of saffron
Fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
Green beans, trimmed

Place fingerling potatoes in a pot of water to boil for about 15-17 minutes.
Meanwhile, use a fork to gently mix ground veal, half of the minced garlic, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, thyme and egg in a large bowl. Form into meatballs and fry in a non-stick skillet until browned and cooked through (about 7 minutes per side). When meatballs are cooked, remove from pan and allow to rest on a plate lined with paper towel.
Add the green beans to the pot of potatoes to steam for about 10 minutes while you cook the cream sauce.
Add a little olive oil to the pan and sauté the rest of the garlic and the leeks until softened. (You can add a splash of vermouth or brandy at this point if desired...I added vermouth) Melt the cream cheese in the pan and add enough milk to thin out the sauce a little. Add pinch of saffron and season with salt and pepper. Serve sauce over meatballs and serve alongside fingerling potatoes and steamed green beans.