January 2013

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Even though the Steelers are not in the Superbowl this year, I am still excited to watch some football on Sunday. I love watching a good football game and miss the season during the spring and summer. A really good part of watching the Superbowl is partaking in all of the game day snacks that are popular. I know I like a good chicken wing every now and then, so I wanted to share my favorite hot garlic wing recipe.

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I believe that chicken wings should be crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. While I know that many people may feel that coating the wings in anything prior to frying them is wrong, I just can’t get enough of the crispiness caused by the cornstarch coating. It is just so good that I can’t worry about authenticity.

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This sauce is perfect for me. I can control the heat, although I like a lot. Plus, I can pack it full of garlic for a more complex sauce. I hope you enjoy this year’s game as well as all of the snacks.

Hot and Crispy Chicken Wings

by Jessica

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

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Ingredients (1 dozen chicken wings)

  • 1 dozen chicken wings
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot
  • Habanero hot sauce to taste

Instructions

Begin heating oil to 350 degrees

Combine cornstarch and spices in a medium-sized bowl. Toss the chicken wings to coat.

When the oil reaches temperature, fry the wings in batches for 8 minutes, or until cooked through, brown, and crispy.

In a separate sauce pan, heat the butter on medium heat. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. Turn the heat to low and add the hot sauce. For a spicier sauce, add some habanero hot sauce.

Remove the wings from the oil and place in the hot sauce mixture. Toss to coat. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

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You know what is so tempting about enchiladas? It is the melty cheese and the delicious filling. As I was eating these enchiladas, I could not believe how good they were. I confess that I am in love with cheap Mexican American food. I know it is not authentic. Sometimes it is not even good. I just love it. I like the authentic stuff, too but man do I love crapy “Mexican” food. This is way better than that.

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These are excellent leftovers. So, you can make them in advance and reheat them for lunch or dinner. I like to eat them with some beans.

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If you make some shredded beef, make sure you make these with the leftovers.

Red Enchilada Sauce

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: simmer

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Ingredients (Enough sauce for 10 enchiladas)

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons pureed chipotle in adobo
  • 14 ounces tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

In a small sauce pan, heat oil on medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 to 60 seconds. Whisk in flour and cook 1-2 minutes. Add spiced and cook an additional 30 seconds.

Add tomato sauce and water. Simmer until it thickens. Use with enchiladas.

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Shredded Beef Enchiladas

by Jessica

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

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Ingredients (10 enchiladas)

  • 10 flour or corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups red enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup shredded beef
  • 6 ounces monterey jack cheese, shredded

Instructions

Set up a station for making the enchiladas. Grease a 9×13 glass baking dish. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a wok or deep skillet, add the oil. Heat on high. When the oil is hot, add one tortilla for a few seconds. Flip and fry an additional few seconds just to soften the tortilla. Immediately remove and set in the warm enchilada sauce.Submerge the tortilla in the sauce and remove from the pan. place a spoonful of carnitas and a spoonful of rice on the tortilla. Roll and place in the 9×13 baking dish. Repeat with all 10 tortillas.

Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas. Top with cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until brown and bubbly. Serve immediately .

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Pot of Beans

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A big pot of beans cooking in the oven all day. Nothing says good to my husband like that. He is a Mainer. I am not. In fact, I have only been to Maine twice. In both trips, I never tried the elusive pot of beans dinner that he craves from his childhood. I am still not exactly clear on what it was that his family made, but I have made a few attempts. One was a barbecue style baked bean like those from my childhood and the other was this.

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We typically eat these beans with Mexican-style food as a side dish. I like to thin them out a bit so they have the texture of refried beans from a crappy Mexican restaurant and then melt white American cheese on top. I know that it is not actual Mexican food, but it is delicious and it makes me happy.

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This is another one of this Dutch Oven meals that just cooks for hours. I love it. It is like magic when you open the oven and find perfectly cooked beans.

Pot of Beans

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2-4 hours

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Ingredients (6-10 servings)

  • 4 cups dried beans (I use pinto beans and navy beans)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 jalapeños, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 3 ounces bacon, diced

Instructions

Heat the oven to 350.

Rinse the beans and sort out the beans that are not whole. Place the beans in a Dutch oven. Cover with 2 inches water. Cover and cook in the oven about 2 hours until almost soft.

Add remaining ingredients and cook an additional 1-2 hours until soft. If desired, smash the beans. Serve with melted cheese.

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Ever since I made carnitas, we have been obsessed with them. So obsessed that I have probably made them 6 times in the past two months. I just love the salt, slightly spicy carnitas mixed with the sweet corn casserole. I can’t get enough. In order to prevent getting sick of it (like I usually do), we decided to try making shredded beef. I have to say, the beef is just as good as the pork. I changed the way I served it so that it would not be the same dish however, I highly recommend the corn casserole.

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This is another recipe that sits for a few hours in the oven. I love those. I like that most of my cooking is done in 30 minutes and I can relax for a few hours. I made this in my new Aubergine Le Creuset Dutch Oven that we got for Christmas thanks to an awesome gift card from our best friends. We choose this pan because it has a lot of surface area and is perfect for browning meat. It is a great pan for making both carnitas and shredded pork. I will be sharing another Dutch Oven recipe later this week.

Shredded Beef

by Jessica

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 to 3 hours

Ingredients (6-10 servings)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 pound beef roast
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeños, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chiptole
  • 1 teaspoon adobo
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 can rotel
  • 1 bottle light beer
  • water

Instructions

In a dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat.

Salt and pepper the beef and brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside. Sauté the onions and jalapeños until tender. Add the spices and cook for about 1 minute. Add the beer and deglaze the pan until the alcohol smell is gone (2-4 minutes). Add the Rotel.

Return the beef to the pan and fill with water until about 3/4 of the meat is covered with liquid. Place in a 350 degree oven and cook for 2-3 hours, or until most of the liquid is evaporate.

Shred the beef when it is slightly cool. Serve in tacos, enchiladas, etc.

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I’m about to tell you about the best side dish that I have ever made for a holiday dinner. The last day of work before Christmas, I spent some time talking about side dishes for the holidays with people I work with. One person said that every year she orders a roasted vegetable tray and she loves it. The leftovers are delicious, it adds more vegetables to the meal, and everyone loves it. I knew I had to make one. I love veggies, especially when they are already prepared and in my refrigerator. So, I knew that the leftovers would be eaten and enjoyed. Plus, it is more fun and interesting than a regular veggie tray, and I love unique.

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I started thinking about dips and I knew that I had to try making aioli. I finally settled on aioli, basil aioli, and chipotle aioli. Since making the aioli, I have found other delicious uses for the recipe. Oh, if you are having ham, the chipotle aioli is fantastic on leftover ham sandwiches.

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For my vegetable tray, I roasted beets, mini zucchini, green beans, carrots, peppers, onions, and mushrooms with olive oil in a 450 degree oven. I stemmed the artichokes and bought grape tomatoes. Finally, I marinated some white kidney beans in pesto. I placed the cool veggies on a tray and we dug in. Everyone ate the vegetables and enjoyed them. This is a new staple at all family get togethers.

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It adds a beautiful array of colors to any tables cape.

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The other day, when we were eating my Chili Roasted Potatoes with Chipotle Aioli, I started thinking about the aioli. I recognized that flavor. At first when I made it, I thought it was from a dipping sauce for calamari at a restaurant. Then it hit me. I remembered that flavor as the dipping sauce that accompanied a mushroom quesedilla that I at at least once a week for a while when I was in middle school.

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When I was in middle school, a house down the street was turned into a delicious restaurant that mainly focused on gourmet take out foods. The restaurant was called the Golden Olive and it was located in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. I frequently ate there and enjoyed many of the offerings. I remember the jerk chicken that made my tongue tingle in a new and interesting way. I had many new and interesting kinds of soup, crab cakes, roasted vegetables, and the most delicious breaded shrimp. But, the menu item that I returned to again and again was the mushroom quesedilla. It was simple. Cheese, mushrooms, shell. That’s it. What really made it special was the dipping sauce. Unfortunately, I had no idea what it was until last week. As soon as I realized it, I knew I had to make a quesedilla and recreate the meal I enjoyed so much as a middle schooler. I ate this hot and cold. It is good both ways.

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This recipe really brings back a food memory for me that was originally created by Marla and Pat, the proprietors of The Golden Olive. I am so excited that I can now make this easy and scrumptious meal at home. I really miss them and their delicious offerings. While I don’t know where they are or what they are doing, I am so grateful for them because they taught me so much about food, flavors, and kindness.

Portobello Mushroom Quesedilla

by Jessica

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: roast grill sandwich entree snack

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Ingredients (2 quesedillas)

  • 2 portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded monterrey jack cheese
  • 2 flour burrito shells
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • chipotle aioli

Instructions

Roast the sliced mushrooms in a 400 degree oven for 10-20 minutes or until slightly browned.

Heat a skillet (large enough to fit a burrito shell) over medium heat.

Spread cheese and mushrooms over half of the burrito shells. Fold them over and spray one side with olive oil.

Place the olive oil side down in the pan. Cook until browned. Spray the other side with oil and flip. Cook until the cheese is melted and the other side is browned.

Serve hot or cold with chipotle aioli.

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Chipotle Aioli

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: blender

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Ingredients (1 cup mayonnaise)

  • 1 egg yolk at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons pureed chipotles in adobo

Instructions

In a small food processor, add the egg yolk, salt, lemon juice, and garlic. Turn on low and slowly drizzle in oil in a steady stream until it is all incorporated. It should be thick. Add the chipotle in adobo and combine. Remove from the food processor and store in a container with a lid.

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So, based on this post, I think you know that I like to dip potatoes in aioli. The problem with yesterday’s meal? You just can’t eat frites every single day. IT is a shame. They are yummy, but that wouldn’t be healthy. Plus, I think we would all get sick of them eventually. So, I came up with a way to enjoy potatoes and aioli in a slightly healthier, not fried manner.

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Roasted potatoes were one of the first recipes that I made from a cookbook. I made roasted potatoes with rosemary and garlic and these teeny, tiny onions. They were good, until I made them a few times a week. These Chili Roasted Potatoes are equally as good, except they have a kick. Plus, they mix sweet potatoes with white potatoes. Then there is the chipotle aioli. Oh. My. Goodness.

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For a more detailed post on making aioli, check out this one. I highly recommend this. Oh, and make a really big batch of potatoes because the leftovers are fab.

Chipotle Aioli

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: blender

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Ingredients (1 cup mayonnaise)

  • 1 egg yolk at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons pureed chipotles in adobo

Instructions

In a small food processor, add the egg yolk, salt, lemon juice, and garlic. Turn on low and slowly drizzle in oil in a steady stream until it is all incorporated. It should be thick. Add the chipotle in adobo and combine. Remove from the food processor and store in a container with a lid.

Chipotle Aioli

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: blender

 

Ingredients (1 cup mayonnaise)

  • 1 egg yolk at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup light tasting oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons pureed chipotles in adobo

Instructions

In a small food processor, add the egg yolk, salt, lemon juice, and garlic. Turn on low and slowly drizzle in oil in a steady stream until it is all incorporated. It should be thick. Add the chipotle in adobo and combine. Remove from the food processor and store in a container with a lid.

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Basil Aioli

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Frites. When I see them on a menu, I really have no choice but to order them. Oh, especially if they come with a house made aioli. My favorite frite and aioli combination? It has to be the Brugge Frites with Basil Aioli at Point Brugge. So, imagine how blown away I was when I finally figured out how to make it, and that it was so easy!

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Basil aioli is just a basic aioli. If you didn’t know, aioli is just a fancy name for homemade mayonnaise. I was so intimidated to try it because it seemed so difficult. But, I decided to try it anyway and it couldn’t be easier.

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To make aioli, start with one room temperature egg yolk, garlic (I like 3 roasted garlic cloves), 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the juice of 1/2 a lemon in a small food processor. Turn the food processor on low and slowly drizzle in 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil and 2/3 cup light tasting oil (vegetable, canola, etc.).

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When it is done, it should be thick just like mayonnaise that comes in a jar.

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For the basil aioli, just before serving, add a few leaves of fresh basil that has been chopped. If you do this in advance, it will only last 1-2 days. The basil will make it taste a little funky. Otherwise, it will last for up to 1 week. You will be amazed at how east this is and how much better it tastes than regular mayonnaise. Serve with french fries, on a sandwich, or as a tip for roasted veggies.

Basil Aioli

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: blender egg

Ingredients (1 cup mayonnaise)

  • 1 egg yolk at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup light tasting oil (vegetable, canola, etc.)
  • 4-8 leaves basil, chopped

Instructions

In a small food processor, add the egg yolk, salt, lemon juice, and garlic. Turn on low and slowly drizzle in oil in a steady stream until it is all incorporated. It should be thick. Remove from the food processor and store in a container with a lid. Before serving, add the chopped basil.

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My favorite thing about going out for breakfast was always the hash browns. I don’t enjoy big chunks of potatoes or anything fancy, just grated potatoes fried in a pan. I like them crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. The problem with trying a new breakfast place is that you never know what kind they have. There is nothing more disappointing for me than getting my order and discovering that the hash browns are not the way I like them.

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I took me a while to figure out how to make my favorite hash browns at home. I’m not sure why. They are really easy. Maybe it was patience. Sometimes on the weekend I don’t have a ton of patience. I have a theory that it all gets used up at work and then bank is empty. Anyway, they real don’t take all that much time, but the results are totally worth it. Plus, they are exactly how I like them.

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The key to making these hash browns is squeeze as much water as possible out of them. I like to grate the potatoes directly into the dishtowel that I plan to squeeze with. It reduces the number of dishes. I have some sort of weird need to conserve the number of dishes that I use in each meal. Oh, and I don’t even do the dishes. Anyway, squeezing the liquid out is probably the most important step. From there, it is all about allow the potatoes to get crispy on one side before flipping them.

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I highly recommend trying these at home. They are simple and are delicious at any meal. You can top them with anything. I like freshly sautéed veggies and a dippy egg. A mimosa on the side never hurts!

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Perfect Hash Browns

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: fry side breakfast vegan vegetarian soy-free nut-free potato

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Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large Idaho Potato, grated
  • 1/2 onion, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Heat the oil in large skillet over medium heat.

Place grated potatoes in a dish towel and squeeze to remove as much moisture as possible. (It is easier to grate the potatoes directly into the dish towel.) Mix the potatoes with the grated onion.

Divide the potatoes into two piles and place them in the hot oil. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until browned. Flip when brown and cook the other side until brown. Salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from the pan and serve with your favorite breakfast.

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Lemon Cookies

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My dad is obsessed with lemon. He loves lemon desserts and lemon water. He has even been known to buy a can of lemon pie filling and eat it with a spoon. His love of lemon has lasted as long as I can remember. His dessert request is always something with lemon. These cookies appear on our cookie trays for him. They are delicious and everyone who has ever tried them loves them, but no one has the love of lemon that he has.

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These cookies are light tasting, have a very nice crumbly texture, and are dainty enough to be an accent to any cookie table or tray. They are great as a Christmas cookie, a summer cookie, or a just because cookie. They can even be frozen after they are iced. To freeze them, do not stack the iced cookies. Put them in a single layer. To defrost, set them on the counter until no longer frozen.

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This recipe is unique because it calls for 1 1/2 cups of cornstarch. That is not a typo. In fact, that ingredient is exactly what gives the cookie its texture. The texture really makes this stand out from other cookies. I highly recommend trying them the next time you make cookies. Especially if you have a lemon lover in your life.

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Lemon Cookies

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (4-6 dozen cookies)

    For the Cookie

    • 2 cup butter, room temperature
    • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 ½ cup cornstarch
    • up to 1 tablespoon water

    For the Icing

    • 1/3 cup butter, room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
    • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 4 cup powdered sugar
    • pinch salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla

    Instructions

    For the Cookie

    Heat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add powdered sugar and cream until light and fluffy. Add lemon zest and vanilla extract; beat until just combined. Add flour and corn starch into butter mixture and beat all ingredients are incorporated.

    Roll cookie dough into 1-inch balls. Place onto ungreased cookie sheets. They can be placed close together because they spread very little. Bake 15 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 2 minutes. Carefully remove from baking sheet and cool on wire racks (warm cookies are extremely delicate). When cool, spread or pipe Lemon Frosting onto cookies.

    For the Icing

    In a medium mixing bowl, combine butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and powdered sugar; stir until well mixed.

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