Monday, October 16, 2017

One-Pot Creamy Chicken & Rice Casserole

I really liked this dish- it was very creamy and comforting.  There's chicken in here- I used some rotisserie chicken, but I could have actually done without it.  (One could omit the chicken and use veggie broth to make this vegetarian.)  My husband liked the chicken, but I thought it just got in the way of the delish creamy rice.  I might make this again and leave it out.  I think it'll be good either way.  This is kind of like a combo between mac & cheese and risotto.  Although, it's a lot less hands-on than risotto since you don't have to constantly stir. 
One-Pot Creamy Chicken & Rice Casserole
adapted from The Kitchn

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more for seasoning (or to taste)
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 3/4 cups whole or 2% milk
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

1.  Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 8 minutes.

2.  Add the rice and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until they smell toasty, about 1 minute. Add the broth, milk, and remaining salt, and season with pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally so that the rice doesn't stick to the pot. Add the chicken, stir to combine, and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. (Add water as needed if the rice absorbs it all before tender.)

3.  Remove from the heat. Stir in the peas and 1 cup of the cheese. Taste and season with more salt as needed. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese, then cover again and let sit for the cheese to melt and the rice to steam, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Thai Basil Beef

This was a great use of my Thai Basil plant.  I also added some regular (Italian) basil to this.  This was a quick, easy and tasty dish.  I love the Thai flavors in this. 
Thai Basil Beef
adapted from Closet Cooking

1 pound ground beef
2 shallots, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 birds eye chilies, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fish sauce (or soy sauce or tamari)
1 tablespoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1 lime, juice and zest
1 cup basil (preferably Thai basil)
2 green onions, thinly sliced

1.  Cook the ground beef and shallots in a large pan over medium-high heat until the meat is cooked, about 10 minutes.

2.  Add the red pepper, garlic and chilies and cook until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the fish sauce, sugar, lime and basil and cook until the basil just starts to wilt, about a minute. (Taste test and adjust to make sure that the balance of salty, sweet and sour is just right.)  Enjoy garnished with green onions!
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Monday, October 9, 2017

Shrimp & Corn Chowder

I loved this chowder- so full of flavor, and comforting.  I don't cook with shrimp often, but I really should.  One could also use cooked crab meat or fish, like salmon, or whatever you have on hand. The original recipe for this soup called for 32 oz. of corn, but I cut it in half, and it was plenty.  I couldn't imagine what 32 oz. would look like!!
Shrimp & Corn Chowder
adapted from The Kitchn

6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large sweet onion, diced small (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups (32 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth
2 large russet potatoes (about 1 pound total), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (about 1 1/2 cups)
2-3 cups frozen corn kernels
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning (or celery salt)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cups whole or 2% milk
1 pound uncooked peeled and de-veined shrimp, tails removed*

1.  Place the bacon in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the fat is rendered and the bacon is lightly browned, about 6 minutes.

2.  Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until softened and browned at the edges, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon and onions to a bowl, leaving the bacon grease in the pan.

3.  Add the butter to the pan and stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until the butter is completely melted, about 1 minute. Add the flour and whisk until completely combined and the mixture forms a paste. Continue whisking until the flour mixture darkens to a golden blond, 2 to 3 minutes.Add the broth and whisk until it is completely incorporated into the flour mixture and there are no lumps.

4.  Add the potatoes, carrots, corn, reserved bacon and onions, celery salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

5.  Add the milk and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high, cover, and bring to a gentle boil, about 3 minutes. Stir well, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

6.  Add the shrimp and stir gently, making sure they are all submerged. Cover and cook until the shrimp are just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Immediately ladle the chowder into bowls and serve.

*I could only find fully-cooked shrimp without tails.  I did not want to mess with removing the tails myself.  To use these, thaw them out beforehand, according to package directions.  Then add at the very end and just heat through before serving.  Do not cook further.
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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Bread

Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Bread
adapted from Gather for Bread

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup Nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread

1.  Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom only of 3 (5 3/4 x 3 inch) mini loaf pans or one large pan (9 x 5 x 2 3/4 inch); set side.

2.  Combine all ingredients except Nutella in a bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.

3.  Heat Nutella in a small bowl in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, being careful not to overheat.
Spoon half of pumpkin batter into prepared pans. Spoon half of Nutella over pumpkin mixture. Swirl gently with a knife. Spoon remaining pumpkin batter over top. Repeat with Nutella, swirling gently.

4.  Bake 25-35 minutes for mini loaves or 50-60 minutes for 1 large loaf. A toothpick inserted in center should come out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.
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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Hungarian Meatballs

I've had this recipe bookmarked forever, and finally made it when the weather started changing to fall.  We all enjoyed these tasty Hungarian meatballs.  These make me want to try other Hungarian foods. I used veal, which is readily available here, but one could use beef, or a mix of beef and pork. We had these over homemade German Spaetzle.

Hungarian Meatballs
adapted from The Daring Gourmet

For the Meatballs:
1 pound ground veal (or beef, or meat of your choice)
1 egg
⅓ cup plain breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
2 tablespoons sunflower oil for frying

For the Sauce:
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced, optional
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups beef broth
1 cup cream (lower calories: substitute evaporated milk)
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1½ tablespoons fresh chopped dill
½ cup sour cream

1.  Place all the meatball ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and knead to thoroughly combine. Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls or whatever size you prefer. (*You can form the meatballs ahead of time and place them on a dinner plate.  Cover with plastic wrap and cook when ready.)

2.  Heat some oil in a skillet and once hot add the meatballs, browning on all sides. Transfer the meatballs to a plate and discard all but a tablespoon or so of grease.

3.  Add the onions to the skillet and fry until translucent and golden brown. Add the garlic and fry for another minute (don't fry garlic too long or it becomes bitter). Add the mushrooms, if using, and fry until they've released their juices and they're mostly evaporated. Transfer the onion mixture to a bowl and set aside.

4.  Add the butter to the skillet and melt it. Add the flour and whisk until dissolved. Continue whisking vigorously for another minute or two until the flour mixture is a deep golden brown. 

5.  Pour in the hot broth while continually whisking to prevent clumping. Continue to whisk while bringing the mixture to a simmer. Add the cream and whisk until combined. Continue to simmer for another minute or so until the sauce is thickened. Return the onion mixture to the sauce and add the pepper, salt and paprika. Stir in the sour cream and dill.

6.  Return the meatballs to the sauce, stirring to coat them, and simmer covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

7.  Serve over hot buttered egg noodles, Spätzle, potatoes or rice.  Garnish with some chopped fresh dill if desired.
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Friday, September 29, 2017

Tomato, Feta & White Bean Salad

I made this salad for my husband and I to eat for lunch for a few days last week.  It was easy to make, and it had great flavor.  It's a great summer or early fall dish.  I cut back on the feta to only about 1/2 cup.  It was plenty.  
Tomato, Feta & White Bean Salad
adapted from the Kitchn

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced shallot
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (about 2 cups), halved
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, or more to taste
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dry

1.  Whisk the oil, vinegar, shallot, a big pinch of salt, and a few generous grinds of black pepper together in a large bowl. Add the beans, tomatoes, feta, parsley, and oregano and toss to combine. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.
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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Butterscotch Fudge

I was reading a book (but a super depressing and not good book, so I won't mention the title) and it mentioned Butterscotch Fudge.  Best part of the whole book, lol.  I hadn't really heard or thought of butterscotch fudge before, so I looked up a recipe immediately and then soon after, bought the ingredients to make it.  We all loved it, and it was super easy.  There's so much sugar in this (and all fudge, pretty much), so I don't make fudge often.  But it's fun sometimes.  This is great for fall, too, with the fall-ish color.   PS:  Use the SMALL can of evap milk!  Not the regular-size can.

Butterscotch Fudge
adapted from Nestle

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup (5 fl.-oz. can) evaporated milk (tiny can, not regular sized)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 2/3 cups (11-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Butterscotch Flavored Morsels
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Line 8-inch-square baking pan with foil.

2.  Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

3.  Stir in marshmallows, morsels, nuts and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until marshmallows are melted. Pour into prepared baking pan; refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Lift from pan; remove foil. Cut into 48 pieces.
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