Friday, August 28, 2009

Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce

I've made these enchiladas a million times and everyone seems to love them. I usually saute' some zucchini and top with Mexican cheese, and make a salad to go with it. I thought this was a good one with Fall almost here!!! Yay!

Serves 4-6
1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat shredded
6 scallions, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 jalapeno chile, quartered (remove ribs and seeds for less heat, if desired)
1 teaspoon chili powder
corn tortillas (6-inch)
1 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
handful of roasted pepitas (totally optional, but good addition!)
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine chicken and scallions. Season generously with salt and pepper; set aside.
2. In a blender, puree pumpkin, garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, 2 1/2 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until smooth (hold top firmly as blender will be quite full). Pour 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of an 8-inch square (or other shallow 2-quart) baking dish.
3. Lay tortillas on work surface; mound chicken mixture on half of each tortilla, dividing evenly. Roll up tortillas; place, seam side down, in baking dish. (hint: If your tortillas are cold or a little dry, just heat them up in the microwave and they will be soft and pliable.)
4. Pour remaining sauce on top; sprinkle with cheese. If using pepitas, sprinkle on top. Place dish on a baking sheet; bake until cheese is golden and sauce is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Parmesan-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

We had this for dinner last night - another great recipe from Everyday Food. It's really easy and good. I served it with rice and gravy(made from the pan drippings) and a green salad (the picture is not mine!). If it's still too hot to use the oven, you can do these on the grill, cooked indirectly.


Serves 4
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Grated (about 1 tablespoon) zest of 1 lemon
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 (about 3 pounds) bone-in chicken breast halves

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, combine parsley, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and zest. Season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Divide parsley mixture evenly into four mounds. Carefully loosen chicken skin with fingers; tuck parsley mixture under skin. Season with salt and pepper. Place in a 9-by-13-inch roasting pan.
Bake until skin is crispy, chicken is cooked through, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat (avoiding bone) registers 165 degrees, about 30 minutes.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

who doesn't love breakfast for dinner?

if you are looking for something fun to do this weekend and live in the greater phoenix area, here is a suggestion... friday night (august 14th) several breakfast restaurants in the valley are participating in a "pjs and eggs" breakfast for dinner event. they will be open friday night starting at five to celebrate hickman's family farms' 65th anniversary. they ask that you show up in your jammies and bring a new pair (any size) of pajamas to donate to arizona's children association foster care program. matt's big breakfast, over easy and scramble are all participating (to name a few). for the complete list and details go here.

if you don't live in phoenix or simply don't feel like facing the crowds you could always steal some inspiration and make your own family breakfast for dinner friday night. pjs and all...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala
We love Indian food and this recipe comes REALLY close to how good it is in our favorite restaurant. I always make it with Jasmine rice and serve it with Naan- Indian flatbread that I can find in my local grocery store in the bread section. Brush it with olive oil and grill it or heat it up on a skillet.
For the Chicken:
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt or at fat free plain greek yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves , minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Masala Sauce
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , diced fine
2 medium garlic cloves , minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano or jalepeno chile , ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon garam masala
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
For the chicken :
Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.
For the sauce:
Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Dip chicken in yogurt mixture (thickly covered) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro if using, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Whoopie Pies!


2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (Droste brand is pretty easy to find), 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 cup packed lt. brown sugar, 8 Tbl. unsalted butter-softened but still cool, 1 large egg-room temp., 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 cup buttermilk


12 Tbl. unsalted butter-softened but cool, 1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/8 tsp. salt, 2 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff

1.For the cakes: Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions and heat to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets w/ parchment. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.

2.With electric mixer on med., beat sugar and butter until fluffy(few minutes). Beat in egg, scrape down bowl, and add vanilla.Reduce speed to low and beat in 1/3 of flour mixture, then half of buttermilk. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the buttermilk, and finally the rest of the flour mix. Use a spatula to give batter final stir.

3.Using a 1/4-cup measure, scoop 6 mounds onto each sheet, spacing 3 inches apart. Baked until the cakes spring back when touched, 15-18 minutes. Switch and rotate pans half-way through baking. Cool completely-atleast an hour!

4.For the Filling: With mixer on med. speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and salt. Beat in marshmallow creme until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate filling for atleast 30 minutes!!(You can't skip this-believe me, I tried!)

5. Dollop 1/4 cup filling on flat side of 6 cakes. Top with flat side of 6 remaining cakes. Enjoy!! You will need a strong cup of coffee to counteract the sweet richness of these cakes!

I made slightly smaller ones for the kids, and though they all took a whole one, I don't think any of them finished one! But that was quite alright because we enjoyed the rest the next day. I think they might have even been better the next day!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

(Chicken) Carbonara

This is a pretty easy dinner (recipe from Giada de Laurentiis) that you usually have the ingredients on hand for (ok, I just use bacon instead of pancetta, and usually 1/2 and 1/2 instead of cream, and I don't always have the fresh herbs, so sometimes I use dried, and I never put on the walnuts and lemon zest, but maybe they're good too. Oh, and sometimes I make it without the chicken, and I use whole wheat pasta, and the other day I threw in a bag of frozen peas... so you see how I improvise, but any way you do it, it's delicious.) My dad claims Giada can't be a very good cook because she is so skinny, but hey, this is pretty good. She must just make it and not eat it.


* 2 teaspoons olive oil
* 4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
* 2 teaspoons minced garlic
* 2 1/2 cups whipping cream
* 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
* 8 large egg yolks
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
* Salt
* 1 pound spaghetti
* 4 cups coarsely shredded chicken (from 1 roasted chicken)
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
* 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel


Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and garlic and saute until it is brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, cheese, yolks, basil, and parsley to blend.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook until it is just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Drain.

Add the chicken to the pan with the pancetta and stir to combine. Next, add the spaghetti and the cream mixture and toss over medium-low heat until the chicken is heated through and the sauce coats the spaghetti thickly, about 4 minutes (do not boil or you might end up scrambling the eggs). Season the pasta, to taste, with pepper and salt if needed (the pancetta will likely add all the salt you need). Transfer the pasta to a large wide serving bowl. Sprinkle the walnuts and lemon zest over, and serve.
(photo credit:

Monday, August 3, 2009

whoopie pies - coming soon!

my fabulous sister-in-law mary made these saturday night and they are so good, i cannot even tell you. i am going to drag mary into the blogging world so she will share the recipe with you. think of this as a coming soon post...

french bread pizzas with spinach & strawberry salad

This is a Rachel Ray recipe that my entire family loves (they love when i make enough for leftovers, they love it so much... pete likes to eat it cold in the morning on the way to work, a take on a ham and cheese croissant, i guess). Just the idea of french bread pizza was one i never really thought of, so it opens up the door to all kinds of combinations. so easy, so good... a kind of theme in my kitchen...

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard
  • 1 baguette, split lengthwise and halved crosswise
  • 1/2 pound deli-sliced ham, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded gruyère cheese
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

  • Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small saucepan, cook the butter and flour over medium-low heat, whisking, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, then season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1 tablespoon mustard.

  • Slather a quarter of the white sauce over each baguette quarter, then top with the ham, gruyère and thyme. Bake until the cheese is bubbly, about 12 minutes.

  • Rachel Ray suggests a radish and cucumber salad (recipe here) to go with it, but i made one of my favorite summer salads - spinach with strawberries, feta (i have also made it with goat cheese which is super good), red onion and chopped pecans (for decadence use trader joe's praline pecans) all tossed with brianna's blush wine vinaigrette. (did you know brianna's salad dressings have a whole website with suggestions for different dressings?)

    happy kids equals a good meal...

    pork tacos

    this is less of a recipe and more of a suggestion since i do not actually have a recipe. the good news about that is that they are super easy. i put a pork roast in my crock pot with chopped onions, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro and seasonings. cooked it for probably about 4 hours (until the pork pulls away with a fork). then i pulled the pork and served it with queso fresco (my favorite mexican cheese), onions, cilantro and a little squirt of lime all on a corn tortilla. yum. super easy, super good.