Christmas Menu Planning

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I can't believe we're a mere 2 days from Christmas already. Sydney is in high gear this year, at 2 1/2 years old, she's really starting to get the idea of Santa, Gifts, etc.  Every morning she asks "Its Christmas??" and every day we talk about how many more days to go...  She has also finally decided to let us know what she would like, so we've scrambled to find what we hope she was asking for.  What fun!

We're hosting Christmas dinner this year.  My inlaws are in town from Florida, my parents and sister will be here as well as Nick's uncle and grandfather.  I LOVE a full house for the holidays!!

I have just finalized our menu this year, and wanted to share it.  I will follow up with the recipes chosen, that have not been covered before.

Our Christmas Dinner Menu

Starters

Baked Brie wrapped in Phyllo Dough with Carr's Water Crackers
Pear and Goat Cheese Mixed Green Salad

Main Course

Honey Glazed Ham (gift from Nick's company)
Herb and Spice rubbed Beef Tenderloin w/ Horseradish Cream Sauce

Side Dishes

Gratin Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes (undetermined method)
Creamed Spinach

Dessert

Individual Swirl Cheesecake Cups
Gingerbread Cookies
Ice Cream & Whipped Cream

I hope everyone out there is planning something fun this year, and hope you have a blessed Christmas and a very Happy New Year!!!

Potato Gratin

Friday, December 17, 2010

I recently came to my own blog site looking for a recipe I was sure I had shared in the past.  Shocked not to find it, I have to add it now.  These are a staple in my house.  By now I have basically memorized this recipe, and can throw in curve balls here and there, given what I have on hand in the fridge, and how inspired I'm feeling.  I give you a really smashing, basic Potato Gratin (courtesy of Williams-Sonoma) with slight modifications for helpful hints, and CHEESE.


Potato Gratin

1 1/2 tsp unsalted butter, room temperature
2 lb Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes, peeled, sliced thin (about 1/8")
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups half and half
3/4 tsp kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
(1/2 cup shredded cheddar/jack cheese, optional)

Preheat oven to 400.  Grease a 2 qt baking or gratin dish with butter.

In a heavy saucepan, over med-high heat, add cream, half and half, garlic, salt and pepper (about 10 twists of a peppermill, or about 1/2 tsp).  Add potatoe slices carefully, making sure they don't stick together as you add them to the pan.  Let mixture reach a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring gently (so that you don't break the slices).

Carefully transfer potatoes and cream to baking dish, arranging in layers.  Add generous sprinkle of cheese throughout, and on top (optional).

Bake about 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender, and slightly browned.

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Every now and then I think back to my childhood, and remember my favorite meals that my mom used to make.  Tuna Melts, Sloppy Joes...and Chicken and Broccoli Casserole.  I have made a few modifications to this recipe over the years, but the flavors and textures remain the same.  This is a relatively easy recipe, sure to please even the picky little ones in your family.

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 -3 large broccoli crowns, flourettes only
1-2 medium onions, chopped
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
2 cups shredded cheddar/jack cheese
3 tsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Meanwhile, set a non-stick skillet on medium to medium-high heat with olive oil.  Once oil has thinned, add chicken breasts and brown both sides, 8-10 minutes.  Then remove chicken to a plate to rest.

In same pan, add onions and cook until translucent and slightly carmelized, 5-7 minutes. 

Then add soup, milk, butter, and remaining seasonings, and stir until smooth.  Consistency should be of a thin gravy, not lumpy (aside from onions).  If its too thick, add a little bit more milk until it is thinned out.  Adjust seasonings to your taste.  Add 1/2 of the cheese at this point, and stir until incorporated.

Meanwhile, chop chicken into cubes, and then add into sauce.

In a 9x12 glass baking dish, lay broccoli flourettes in an even layer across the bottom.  Pour sauce/chicken mixture over broccoli, make sure all broccoli is covered.  Sprinkle remaining cheese overtop.

Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly browned and bubbly. 

Serve with freshly steamed basmati rice (add a touch of butter and garlic salt to water, prior to boiling for a nice hint of flavor).

Bacon Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

Monday, November 29, 2010

I am a potato queen.  No really, that's what my family calls me.  Potato Queen.  At any family gathering that requires potatoes, I am the de facto bringer of those goods.  What can I say?  I spent a lot of time in braces, perfecting mashed potatoes. 

I have come to the conclusion that the very best mashed potatoes should contain all the yummy things that you enjoy in a baked potato.  So that changes for each person, but the theme is the same - if you love it in a baker, you'll love it mashed.  This logic brought about my Thanksgiving contribution, and today's offering.  Enjoy.

Bacon Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

1 5 lb bag russet potatoes, skinned and cubed
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
6-8 bacon strips, cooked until crispy, and then chopped
1 8 oz bag cheddar and monterrey jack cheeses, shredded
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Boil potatoes until fork-tender, about 20 minutes at a boil.  Drain and add back to pot.

Add all ingredients, and then using a hand mixer, beat on low until smooth (or desired consistency).

Add more seasoning as desired.  These were DELISH.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I believe I have posted a recipe similar to this one before, but I think this version is an improvement.  Mainly because I brown and coat the meat prior to adding it to the cooker which adds a layer of flavor and richness to this otherwise very simple recipe.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

1.5 lbs cubed beef for stew
1/2 cup AP flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 tbsp olive oil

1 bag baby carrots (about 2 cups)
4 red potatoes, skin on, cubed
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
1-2 cups vegetable or beef broth

In a gallon sized ziplock bag add flour, salt and pepper.  Shake to mix evenly.  Add beef and shake to coat.

Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet, add olive oil over medium-high heat.  Once oil has thinned, add beef and flour from bag and brown for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly browned.  If all oil is absorbed quickly, drizzle a bit more so that the mixture incorporates into a thick gravy texture.

Combine all ingredients in crock pot and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours, or HIGH for 4-5.  The texture should be rich and thick.

Simple Baked Acorn Squash

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I got a few beautiful little acorn squash at the apple orchard last week.  They're so simple to make as a side dish or even an easy, healthy fall snack.

Simple Baked Acorn Squash

Here's what I used:

2 acorn squash
1 tbsp butter, divided
salt

Here's what I did:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds.  Srape gently to get rid of goopy connective pith.  Place on foil lined baking sheet, and add a small pat of butter to each squash cup.  Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until fork tender.

I like to serve it as is, and let everyone scoop out the center.  Also an easy baby or toddler snack if scooped out and served as a puree.

Fresh Apple Crumble

Monday, October 18, 2010

Nick and I took Sydney to a nearby apple orchard yesterday, and we had the best time picking apples and enjoying the gorgeous 70 degree weather.  Sydney definitely thought it was her responsibility to check each apple's sweetness...by taking a bite...from each apple.  LOL. 

Once we got all EIGHT POUNDS of apples home, I stared at them.  We don't eat a lot of apples.  What would I do with them all?  (Note: my horse Zen assured me that if I couldn't think of anything, he'd be happy to take care of the problem for me.  He's like that.  A fixer.)

A quick chat with a neighbor helped me formulate a plan.  I could do a pie, but that would be a tall order.  Crust.  Dough.  Filling.  She mentioned a simple recipe of fresh cut apples, cinnamon, sugar, oats...  Now that sounded like something I could handle. 

So I went looking and found something just right.  And it was really, really yummy!

Fresh Apple Crumble

Here's what I used:

6 tart apples, skinned, cored, and cut into thin wedges
1 cup white sugar
1 cup AP flour
1 cup quick-cook oats
2 tbsp ground cinnamon, divided
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 stick butter, sliced thin

Here's what I did:

Preheat oven to 350.  Layer or pile apples into a 9x12 or 8x8 baking dish.  I used a glass pyrex baking dish. 

Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, using half the cinnamon.  Drizzle with melted butter and stir to incorporate.  Its important to incorporate the dry ingredients first, so that your flour and sugar begin to dissolve. 

Spoon your crumbly mixture evenly over the apples, making sure they're all covered.  Sprinkle remaining cinnamon overtop, and evenly distribute butter slices.

Cook for 50 minutes.

We had this with French Vanilla ice cream underneath.  It was simple, delicious and make our entire home smell fantastic!!




Buffalo Chicken Dip

Monday, September 27, 2010

Well ladies (and men), football season is upon us.  Are you a football widow?  I am.  My husband is a huge supporter of both LSU (Geaux Tigers) and the Washington Redskins (ducks tomatoes).  We proudly display the flags bearing our team logos on the day of big games, and banter cheerfully with neighbors about our rivalries.... 

But what do I get out of football season?  I never was educated to love the game.  Downs, pass interferences and 5 yard penalties are still somewhat foreign terms to me...  But what I CAN get into is the FOOD.  Game food.  Munchies.  Appetizers.  Oh yes, sign me up for all of those.

And this one here?  Its courtesy of my sister in law, Judy, up in St. Louis.  And its a winner.  Even if our teams are not...  Sorry Skins.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Here's what I used:

3-4 chicken breasts, cooked, and diced
1 8 oz block cream cheese
16 oz cheddar, shredded
12 oz mozzarella, shredded
1 cup buffalo sauce (or as preferred)


Here's what I did:

Mix all ingredients to incorporate together and bake in glass casserole dish at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Stir. If still lumpy, continue to cook until smooth. Serve with Fritos and Celery sticks.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Friday, September 17, 2010

My grandmother came to visit me.  She has spent her whole life in south Texas, and has the culinary repertoire to show for it.  The lady can cook.  All by scratch and all by feel.  No recipes.  So its only when we visit each other that I'm able to reach over her shoulder, attempt to measure something, and then quickly scribble down the recipe.  While "pinch" and "dash" are great cooking terms, they do very little to help me actually recreate them when she's gone back home. 

So, over the last 2 days we commenced to tortilla making.  The first night she made them, and I took notes, and measured.  The second night I made two batches.  One was just ok, and the second was spot on.  They were delicious!!  These are nothing like store bought tortilla's.  If you have a really good mexican place near you, you JUST MIGHT try tortilla's like this...but only if you're lucky.  These are amazing.  And so is my grandmother.  Love you, Mia!

Homemade Flour Tortillas (about 12 tortillas)

Here's what I used:

4 cups AP Flour
4 tbsp vegetable shortening (Crisco, etc), room temperature
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1-2 cups hot water



Here's what I did:

Even with a recipe, making tortilla's is still much by "feel".  Start out with a large mixing bowl, and place a fine metal strainer overtop.  Add flour, baking powder and salt, and sift it through.  This removes any lumps that may be in the flour, and also adds a lightness to the mix.  You can use a spoon or the back of your measuring cup to encourage the dry ingredients through the strainer.

Next, add the shortening.  Using a pastry blender, cut the shortening into the flour.  This is important because it allows the shortening to incorporate while still allowing the lumps of fat to remain whole.  You're looking for a "cornmeal" consistency, as my grandmother would say.  You can also try to do this with a fork.

Once the shortening is fully incorporated, start adding the hottest water, in increments.  I start with 1/3 of a cup, and then add, little by little, until the dough begins to come together.  With one hand, begin to mix the water as it is added.  With the other hand, continue to drizzle water into the bowl. 

The dough should be pretty well formed after a cup or so of water.  But it depends.  So once the dough is making a definite ball, and adhering to itself, work it with your hands a bit.  Fold it over several times, and knead it with your hands.  If it still seems too thick, add a little more water.  You want the dough to be slightly tacky but not sticking to your hands.

Now let it rest.  Leave it on the counter, and cover with a dishtowel, or wrap in wax paper and leave it for 20-45 minutes. 

Next, its time to form the dough balls.  Pinch off dough into balls that are about 2x the size of a golf ball.  They should fit in your palm, but not be as large.

Once the dough balls are done, start to roll them out on a large flat surface, using a rolling pin.  I find that a wooden rolling pin works best, as you don't experience much sticking.

Roll out each dough ball so that they are very thin.  About the thickness of a penny.  Each tortilla should be about the size of your hand, with fingers outstretched.  If you want them bigger than that, simply make your dough balls larger...and you'll have more dough for each tortilla.

Now you have your raw tortillas.  Heat up a large flat griddle if you have one.  These work really well for tortilla cooking.  If you don't have one, you can use a skillet, cast iron works well for this.  Get it as hot as possible.  I set my griddle to 400 degrees, the highest setting possible.  You want to hear the tortilla sizzle just slightly when you add it to the griddle. 

I can fit 3 tortilla's on my griddle, but with a skillet you may have to make them one at a time.  You should allow several minutes per side.  If you see air bubbles forming, and puffing up your tortilla, AWESOME!  These are the best ones.  Check to see for a medium browning to occur, and then flip.  Flip as little as possible here - its sort of like a burger, the less flipping, the better.  After several minutes per side, or as quickly as they puff up and brown, you can remove and put them in a tortilla holder, or between several folds of a clean dishtowel. 

Enjoy.  These are awesome with just about anything.  Breakfast burritos, fajitas, a touch of butter...even a sprinkle of cinnamon!  These keep well in the refrigerator - or you can also make a large batch and freeze them, they'll last several months if properly sealed. 

I have to say I have waited years to learn this recipe from my grandmother, and I'm beyond thrilled to be able to share it.  I hope you enjoy, I know I will.

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oh, hi.  Its been a while, yes?  I could list excuses, but I won't.  But I promise, they're all good ones!  In fact, this recipe is a good one too.  So good I had to pop in and post it! 

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

Here's what I used:

4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup good salsa (I used Jack's "Garden Fresh Gourmet" Special Salsa in Medium)
1 cup water + 3 cubes bullion (OR) 1 cup Chicken Stock
1 green bell pepper, rough chopped
1 large onion, rough chopped
1/2 lb cherry/plum tomatoes, stewed (instructions below)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Tony Chacheries (or other cajun seasoning)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp cumin

For Plating: white rice, shredded mexican cheese blend and lite sour cream. 

Here's what I did:

Prepare the tomatoes by adding them to boiling water.  Allow water to return to a boil, and then remove from heat.  Gently peel away skin from the tomatoes, and set aside.

In the crockpot, add all ingredients, and cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 8-9 hours.

As a final step, remove chicken and chop into 1" slices, cubes, or shred with two forks, if desired.

We served this with white rice, and several typical "mexican" toppings or fixings.  Feel free to add what your group would enjoy.  Fresh chopped cilantro and jalapeno's would be a really nice addition.

Lemon Garlic Salmon with Asparagus

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hello there!  Suffice to say its been a while, and we've been really busy around here.  I will post some pictures of my 8 day trip to New Mexico with my Dad and Sister.  It was fabulous.  The scenery was breathtaking.  And the New Mexican Cuisine was inspiring.  I will definitely be looking for ways to incorporate some truly inspired dishes into my lineup.

But last night, I pulled out a beautiful huge salmon filet that we picked up at Costco this week.  I cut it in half, to make two large filets (they filled up an entire cookie sheet...that large).  And I began dressing it with finery...

Lemon Garlic Salmon with Asparagus

Here's what I used:

1-2 large Salmon Filets (about 4-6 oz per person)
juice 1 lemon
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
S&P

1 lb fresh asparagus

Here's what I did:

Preheat oven to 500/Broil, with oven rack at top level (this should allow for 2-3" space for salmon to sit while broiling).

Line a cookie sheet with foil, to save on cleanup.  Place salmon, skin side down, and then drizzle with lemon juice.  Add garlic and softened butter, evenly distributed.  Finally season with salt and pepper.  Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes at room temperature - this will give the lemon juice a bit of time to marinate the fish.

Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus.  In order to remove the stemmy, tough ends of the asparagus, take each spear between your hands, and snap them in two.  The spear should break at the point where the stemmy/tough part begins.  Discard the tough, stemmy end.  Set medium sized saucepan to boil with asparagus spears and a little salt. Allow them to simmer for 6-8 minutes, or until tender, but still al dente. 

Once salmon is in the oven, allow to broil for 6-10 minutes, depending on thickness of filets.  Mine were only about 1/2 - 1" thick, so I cooked them for 7 minutes.  You're not looking for a crusty brownish finish here, but more of a soft frothy one.  The edges may brown more than the center, but that's fine.

Allow salmon to rest for a few minutes, while removing asparagus from heat.  Blanch the asparagus in the pan by running the pan under cold water for 1 minute.  Then remove asparagus to a serving dish, and dress with 2 small pats of butter, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Serve salmon alongside asparagus.  This would go wonderful with a nice Chardonnay.  :)

Peaches and Cream Sundae

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Summer's bring warm weather, ice cream socials...and Farmer's Markets!  Fresh ingredients that have never seen the inside of the fridge have such incredible flavors.  While not always possible, its the best opportunity to enjoy summer fruits while they're at their peak!

I was lucky enough to score about a half dozen each of peaches and nectarines, and decided to make a fresh, sweet and refreshing fruit mix out of them, and then dress a sundae in their honor!!

Peaches and Cream Sundae

Here's what I used:

6 fresh peaches, cubed 1/2"
6 fresh nectarines, cubed 1/2"
juice 1/2 lemon

Vanilla Ice Cream
Whipped Cream

Here's what I did:

Toss fruit (skin on) with lemon juice and let sit for 20-30 minutes at room temperature.  This will let the fruit create their own syrup at the bottom of the bowl.

Pile a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream, and top with fruit, and then whipped cream.  Be sure to ladel some of the fruit juices out of the base of the bowl.

Brie wrapped in Phyllo with Jalapeno Jelly

Thursday, August 5, 2010

When I think of my favorite appetizers, this one is right up there.  Talk about a conversation piece, too.  Crispy, light phyllo pastry wrapped around a sweet, spicy, melty brie and jalapeno jelly combination.  Yummmmmmmmm.








Brie wrapped in Phyllo with Jalapeno Jelly

Here's what I used:

1 small wheel (round) of brie
1 small jar jalapeno jelly
3-4 sheets phyllo sheets, thawed
3 tbsp butter

Carr's (or other) water crackers

Here's what I did:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Lay phyllo dough sheets flat once the package has had a few minutes to thaw.  If the phyllo starts to crumble or break, it needs more time to thaw.  It should be pliable and not brittle.  On a clean, flat surface lay each sheet of phyllo down flat, brushing lightly with butter between each sheet.  Once 3-4 sheets have been layered, place brie wheel in the center.  Add 4-5 tbsp of jalapeno jelly on top (more if brie wheel is larger), evenly spread.

With both hands, carefully fold the phyllo up the sides and overtop the brie and jelly, working your way around the sides to gather up all the dough.  Use butter to smooth out and get the phyllo to stick to itself, creating a "shell" around the cheese.  If you're feeling creative, trim and twist the corners of phyllo in the center to create a raised point.  You can also get cookie cutters and cut out several shapes, pinching edges of the shapes to create dimension on top of the pastry-wrapped cheese wheel.  Brush the entire top and sides with butter.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until phyllo is golden brown. 

HINT: Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing.  If you cut into it too soon, the brie will quickly melt out of the wheel, and be more difficult to heap onto crackers.

Pesto Pea Salad

Thursday, July 29, 2010

One thing that I absolutely LOVE and look forward to each summer is making delicious, refreshing and flavorful salads.  One of my all time favorites is a recipe by Ina Garten, Pesto Pea Salad.  Something about the delecate baby spinach leaves paired with toasted pine nuts and sweet little peas popping between your teeth is just so refreshing...and screams summer to me.


Pesto Pea Salad

Here's what I used:

Salad:
2 cups of frozen peas
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
2 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
4 tbsp pesto (see recipe below)

Pesto:

1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
9 cloves diced garlic (about 3 tbsp)
5 cups fresh basil leaves (1-2 bunches)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Here's what I did:

Toast pine nuts in a dry saute pan and cook over medium heat for 4 minutes, or until evenly light brown and fragrant, set aside.

Cook the peas in a pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute, and then blanch in a bowl of ice water (this will keep the peas from overcooking).  Drain when peas are fully cooked.
Rinse, pat or spin spinach leaves dry, and add to a salad bowl. Sprinkle the peas and pignolis over the spinach and add the pesto and toss.

To make pesto dressing, combine first 6 ingredients in a food processor or blender, and then slowly drizzle in olive oil.  Add parmesan during the last minute, as pesto is binding together.

Orzo Caprese Salad

Monday, July 19, 2010


One thing I like to do, to mix things up is adapt some of my favorite salads into a pasta side dish.  These work great for summertime gatherings, BBQ's and more...and add more of a filling quality to otherwise light salads.  This time I decided to work with Orzo Pasta because I like the texture and shape of the pasta, its very much like rice, but in pasta, and think it lends itself to a cool summer salad dish.

Orzo Caprese Salad

Here's what I used:

1 box orzo pasta
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, cubed small
1/2 red onion, fine chopped
6-8 fresh basil leaves, rough chopped
4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp garlic salt
S&P

Here's what I did:

Set large pot to boil with liberal sprinkling of salt in water.  Cook orzo 8-10 minutes, or until al dente.  Drain and add olive oil to pasta, to keep small pieces from sticking.

Once pasta has cooled to a luke warm, add all ingredients, and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm or cold.

Lemon Garlic Hummus

Friday, July 16, 2010

This one is too easy.  Anyone could do it.

Lemon Garlic Hummus

Here's what I used:

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
juice 1/2 lemon
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp champagne vinegar
1/2 tsp pepper
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1 package whole wheat pita bread

Here's what I did:

Simply combine all ingredients except for olive oil in a food processor or blender and begin to blend.  Slowly pour olive oil and allow mixture to become smooth.  Continue to process until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.  I like mine as smooth as possible, with no grainy texture. 

Transfer hummus to serving bowl and drizzle top with olive oil.

To accompany hummus, toast whole wheat pita bread in a toaster oven or conventional oven (at 350 degrees) for 5 minutes.  Using a pizza cutter, cut pita bread into wedges and serve warm with fresh hummus.

Pan Roasted Chicken with Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

Monday, July 12, 2010


I have been looking for a good recipe to use Quinoa, and I think I have found it!  I was excited about using Quinoa (pronounced "kee-noa") for the first time.  Quinoa is a gluten-free grain, high in essential amino acids and a complete protein source - making it an excellent choice for vegetarian's as well as health-conscious folks looking to make the best choices in their food selections.

My inspiration for this recipe was a Bon Appetit recipe, that I altered in a few ways.  I first reduced the amount of white wine, and replaced 1/2 of the quantity with chicken broth.  Also, shitake mushrooms are hard to come by, so I substituted white button mushrooms for them.  Finally, I added chicken breasts to pair with the risotto to make it a more complete "dinner".

Pan Roasted Chicken with Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

Here's what I used:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil
S&P

1 cup dried, rinsed quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp dry thyme
1 med onion, chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic (1 clove)
6-8 button mushrooms, stemmed, sliced thin
6-8 oz package bella (crimini) mushrooms, stemmed, sliced thin
shredded parmesan (topping, optional)

Here's what I did:

First I added olive oil to a non-stick skillet and set to medium heat.  Meanwhile I rinsed, patted dry, and seasoned the chicken breasts with thyme, salt and pepper.  Once oil is heated, add chicken (should sear) for 3-4 minutes per side.  Once a light browning has been achieved, add the white wine and chicken broth, and let cook for another 6-8 minutes, flipping 1-2 times.

Meanwhile, set a medium pan to boil with water and salt for quinoa.  Add rinsed quinoa and cook for 13 minutes at a simmer, covered, or until all liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat.

Once chicken is well-cooked, or has reached an internal temperature of 160, remove from heat and set aside.  Add olive oil to same pan with juices from chicken remaining.  Saute onions for 5 minutes, add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.  Add mushrooms and thyme, and saute until mushrooms are heated through.  At this point, add white wine and chicken broth, and let simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until liquid becomes slightly thicker. 

Add mushroom mixture to quinoa pan, and incorporate all ingredients.

Plate mushroom quinoa with chicken.  The original recipe suggests topping this with grated parmesan, however we did not really like that combination.  So I would suggest trying it out to see if you like it, otherwise omit.

Chicken Tagine with Fennel and Onion

Friday, July 9, 2010

This recipe is another Bon Appetit find that I had dog-eared for later.  I love Chermoula, another Moroccan dish, so I was sure that Chicken Tagine would be right up my alley.  I did make several modifications from the original recipe.  Nick hates olives, so I swapped in onion for them.  I also added wild rice to the plating of this, as we usually try to pair dinners with a starch, but it can be easily left out, so that the final product is more of a stew.

One thing I love about the results of this dish is that it reminds me of Tom Yum soup at a Thai restaurant.  Something about the lemon citrus, paired with a broth and a hint of heat from the cayenne really rang true to my taste buds.  I will definitely be adding this to my rotation of C2B Kitchen Classics (I just made that up).  ;)

Chicken Tagine with Fennel and Onion

Here's what I used:

1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6 skinless boneless chicken thighs (1 1/2 pounds)
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 medium fennel bulbs, stalks trimmed, bulbs halved vertically, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 white onion, chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 bag 90 second Wild Rice from Uncle Ben (gasp.)

Here's what I did:

Mix all spices in a large bowl. Cut chicken crosswise into thirds. Add chicken to bowl of spices, and stir to coat.

Add 1 tbsp oil to large non-stick stock pot (I used my Mario Batali Dutch Oven) over med-high heat.  Brown chicken, about 2 minutes per side, and then remove.  Add 1 tbsp oil, fennel and onion to same skillet. Sauté until golden brown in spots and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Return chicken to pot, add broth and lemon juice. Bring to simmer, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until chicken is cooked through and sauce begins to thicken, about 20 minutes. Stir in cilantro just before serving, and add salt and pepper to taste.

I plated this in a soup bowl, with about a cup of rice, topped with 2 heaping ladles of chicken, vegetables and broth.

Spaghetti and Meatballs All'Amatriciana

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Nick had his eye on a past issue of Bon Appetit magazine, when my dad planned to come over last night to help me finish my homemade drapery panels (see yesterday's post here).  He made two trips to the store to get what he needed, and the most incredible aromas wafted upstairs into our bedroom while my dad and I furiously ironed and steamed the stubborn wrinkles out of my Home Depot drop cloths...

Meanwhile the banging of pots, hiss of steam and insanely yummy scents of what awaited us quickened our resolve to finish my latest project.

These spicy, rich, decadent meatballs may be the best I've ever had.  No joke.

Spaghetti and Meatballs All'Amatriciana

Here's what he used for the Meatballs:
6 ounces uncured applewood-smoked bacon (about 6 slices), diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds ground beef (15% fat)
2/3 cup chopped drained roasted red peppers from jar
2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup coarsely grated onion
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram
2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sauce:
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice (preferably San Marzano)
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
6 ounces uncured applewood-smoked bacon (about 6 slices), cut crosswise into thin strips
1 tablespoon (or more) extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups finely chopped onions
1 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram

Pasta:
1 1/2 pounds spaghetti
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh marjoram
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Here's what he did:

Pulsed bacon in a blender/processor, and ground it into a coarse paste. Transfered to large bowl. Mixed beef and with remaining meatball ingredients and let rest for a few minutes.

Using moistened hands  roll meat mixture into 2-inch meatballs, cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to cook.

Meanwhile, puree tomatoes with juice and garlic for sauce in batches in blender until smooth. Cook bacon in large (nonstick, if available) pot over medium heat until crisp; transfer bacon to plate.  Add 1 tbsp of oil to drippings in pot and heat over medium heat. Add half of meatballs. Cook until brown on all sides, turning carefully with small metal spatula, about 9 minutes.  Transfer meatballs to baking sheet. Add more oil to pot if needed and repeat with remaining meatballs.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add onions and crushed red pepper to pot. Sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Add wine; boil until reduced by half, stirring up browned bits, about 8 minutes. Add tomato puree and marjoram. Boil until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Mix bacon into sauce. Add meatballs; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until meatballs are heated through and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Finally, cook spaghetti in pot of boiling salted water until just tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons oil and marjoram. Divide spaghetti among bowls. Top with meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and serve, passing additional cheese separately.

This one was outstanding!

Dropcloth Drapes: Designer looks on a Budget!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

We have lived in our house for nearly 4 years, and our master bedroom has always had bare windows.  Every time I would browse the usual suspects: Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Restoration Hardware - I got a knot in my stomach.  To do window treatments for all 5 large windows, would be a small fortune!  So there they sat, lonely and undressed.

Recently I ordered 10 panels of a nice modern grommeted drape from Overstock, along with a pewter colored rod and tiebacks.  Once they came, I realized that the choice I made would not fit the room...so I returned all but the rods. 

I continued to search sites, and came across several inspirational dropcloth window dressings.  I was Inspired! 

Here's why they're so great:

1.  CHEAP.  6x9 foot panels are under 10 dollars each
2.  HEMMED.  All edges are finished
3.  CHARACTER.  Oatmeal colored, but flecks of other threads make each panel slightly unique
4.  EASY.  No sewing required.  I used Stitch Witch and an iron for all modifications
5.  BIG.  Designer looks of puddled draperies for big effect

Here's what I bought:

I bought 12 6x9 foot Canvas Drop Cloths.  2 panels per window, and 4 panels for the large 3-casing window at the far end of the room.  You can find them here.  They also have similar dropcloths at Lowe's and Walmart, from what I have read.  I spent about 120.00 on dropcloths.

I also bought 12 yards of a coarse black linen, which had a similar grainy texture to the dropcloths.  I was able to come upon sales at Hancock Fabrics and Jo-Ann fabrics.  I got 12 yards (for 72" x 16" black stripes at the bottom of each drape).  At an average of 4.00 a yard, that was 48.00

I purchased 4 rolls of 13 yard Extra Stengh Stitch Witch, at 4.00 a roll, for a total of 16.00

I got 2" wide drapery rings with clips at Target on clearance for 6.00 each (7 rings per pack).  The total for the rings was 72.00.

My total for materials (less rods) was 256.00.  (The items I returned to Overstock totalled over 400.00).

I already had an iron, and the rods.  That's all you need!

Here's what I did:

First I washed all the panels in hot water.  I had to do this in two batches of 6 panels.  Then I dried them for just about 10-15 minutes, and then laid them all flat to decrease the wrinkles.

Next came the tedious task of ironing/steaming each panel until they were as flat and pressed as possible.  I added a 4" fold to the top of each drape, where the clip rings would attach, and to add some interest to the top portion of each panel.  And then attached the panels to the clip rings on the rods. 

I then divided the black linen into 3 yard sections, and cut each 3 yard block into three equal rectangles at about 3 yard x 18".  These would become my black color blocks at the bottom of each panel.

Using my Stitch Witch, I finished off one long side of each black linen strip, folding over about 1/3 to 1/2".  Then, while the panels were ALREADY hanging, I moved my ironing board under each panel, and using the Stitch Witch again, steamed/ironed each panel so that the finished edge of each black linen strip was 16" from the bottom (allowing about a 2" or more at the bottom and sides, to cleanly fold and adhere them behind the panel.

I have only finished 6 panels at the time of this posting.  But here is what they currently look like, to give you an idea.  I have not finished the bottom seam yet, I will do that at the end, so that I get the exact same break at the bottom of all the panels.

I love how they've turned out!! 








Flank Steak Fajitas Adobo on Black Bean and Goat Cheese Tostadas

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We celebrated my dad's 63rd birthday last weekend.  My dad is from south Texas, so Tex-Mex food is in his blood.  What better way to celebrate than to make everyone some healthy, super yummy Fajita Tostadas??




Flank Steak Fajitas Adobo

1 large flank or skirt steak (1.5 - 2 lbs)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup lime juice (3-4 limes)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp ancho or new mexico chili powder
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
ground black pepper

Blend all ingredients but steak in a blender until a smooth paste.  Coat all sides of steak, cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight, turning 1-2 times.

Place flank steak on direct high heat, searing for 3 minutes per side.  Spoon 1-2 tbsp of leftover marinade on meat when flipping over.  Grill one more minute for rare or 2 minutes per side for medium rare.  Let steak rest under foil for at least 5 minutes on a cutting board or in a baking dish.

Thinly slice steak across the grain in thin strips (about 1/8"), and place in warmed serving dish.

Black Bean and Goat Cheese Tostadas

I think I have covered these before, but the final product was dressed more for this occasion, so I'll repost and add what changed.  This served 7 adults, so I will put in the quantities that fed our number of people.  Generally, 1 to 2 tostadas per person is a good estimate.

12 8" whole wheat tortillas
2 tsp olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz plain goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 head romaine lettuce, thin chopped
4 roma tomatoes, diced
6 scallions, thin sliced
2 limes, cut in wedges

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cover oven rack with foil, to provide optimal area for tortillas to cook quickly.  If you're only making a few, you can use a baking sheet, but this is a great idea for larger quantities.

Spray both sides of tortillas lightly with cooking spray, and place in oven.  Bake until lightly puffed and brown, about 10 minutes.

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Stir in beans, and heat until warmed through.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and turn off heat.

Top tortillas with beans and cheese crumbles; bake until cheese is melty, about 5 minutes.  Remove from oven, and set out for guests.  Make lettuce, tomatoes, scallions, lime wedges and Fajitas Adobo available for each person to create their own tostada.

Enjoy!




Umbrella Fun: Caprese and Greek Salad Appetizers

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I recently received my first issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine, and was inspired by a small description and photo of a Caprese (fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil) salad skewered onto a fun little twistie skewer.  I thought it would be a great idea for Father's Day dinner, as an appetizer.  Then I expanded the idea to a Greek (feta, kalamata olive, baby cucumber) salad skewer as well...and so I went shopping!

My hopes were dashed when I realized that my local grocery didn't have cute twisty skewers.  I went home, empty skewered. 

Setting all the ingredients out on my counter, I pushed aside a large box of little Umbrella's, you know, for drinks and such.  OOHHH!!!  IDEA!!  Use the Umbrella's as skewers!  How cute!! 

And so I did.  And they were loved by all. 

Umbrella Fun: Caprese and Greek Salad Appetizers

Caprese Salad Skewer

1 container small mozzarella balls (or larger and halve or quarter)
2 stalks fresh basil, or about 20 leaves
1 container cherry tomatoes
2 yellow tomatoes, cubed small
3 tbsp olive oil
S&P

Greek Salad Skewer

1 8 oz block feta, cubed small
2 baby cucumbers, halved lengthwise and then again widthwise
20-ish pitted kalamata olives
3 tbsp olive oil
S&P

Simply combine ingredients for each of the two salads in separate bowls and stir to coat ingredients.  Then, skewer your umbrella's with alternating ingredients to create a varied appearance on the serving tray.  Wrap the basil leaves around the mozzarella ball/slice for a pretty effect.  You could also have fun with this and stick the umbrellas in an upturned cantelope or cucumber half for a fun presentation.

Hot Artichoke Dip

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Yesterday we had Sydney Grace's 2nd Birthday party.  Last year Nick slaved over the grill for the entire party, and we barely saw each other.  He was asking me if certain people came over...he was that busy slaving for food.  This year we wisened up.  PIZZA!  Delivery!  I know, I have a food blog and thus should make fantastic food every day of my life, right??  I don't have time for that, especially on a day that I want to ENJOY the party and watch my little girl enjoy herself too. 

I did prepare ONE appetizer, in large quantities.  And by the end of the party, it was ALL GONE.

I'll share it with you, but its so easy, you'll laugh.  Here goes...

Hot Artichoke Dip

Here's what I used:

2 cups chopped artichoke hearts
2 cups Hellmann's Mayonnaise
2 cups shredded parmesan (not powdered)

Here's what I did:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine three ingredients in mixing bowl, and then transfer to 8x8 glass or ceramic baking dish. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Serve with Triscuits or your favorite crackers.

**Here's what makes this recipe so easy, notice the portions.  They're equal.  You can easily double, triple, etc. and still get the same result.  For the party...I made two 9 x 12 baking dishes full of this dip (using 4:4:4) in EACH dish...and it was delicious.  I quoted this recipe to at least 5 people.  I hope they try it themselves!

Homemade Pizza!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

While on vacation with my husband's family, my sister-in-law Judy turned me on to a fun, easy, inexpensive dinner idea.  Making our own pizza!  Sydney loves to sprinkle the cheese on, and place the pepperoni's with me.  Its like a crafts project with food.  ;)  While the cost probably comes out close to your nearest delivery joint, I guarantee that the fun of making your own is enough to give it a try.  And the best part, is that the toppings are completely yours to choose...


Homemade Pizza

Here's what I used:

12" prepared pizza dough (I used a precooked Harris Teeter dough)
16 oz shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
14 oz jar Ragu Homestyle Pizza Sauce
1 Roma tomato, sliced into rounds
1 stem fresh basil (about 8-10 leaves)
1 package turkey pepperoni

Here's what I did:

Follow directions for your dough.  Mine was ready to dress, so I preheated the oven to 375 and got to pizza making!

Nick likes pepperoni while I prefer the more vegetable and herb pizza, so I did a half and half.  First I used about 1/2 of the Ragu sauce (which is very good, I was shocked at the flavor of this.  You can taste the oregano and seasonings) and spread it evenly to about 1" of the edge all around the pizza.  Next, add the cheese in an even layer, using the entire bag.  I then dressed my side with the tomato slices, and placed one basil leaf atop each tomato slice, and added pepperoni to the other side.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and crust is lightly golden brown on the edges.

Spicy Roast Cauliflower and Sesame Green Beans

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Last night we celebrated Nick's Birthday, and I treated him to Lemon Oregano Roast Chicken with two super healthy vegetable side dishes.  Both came from one of my favorite cookbooks, The South Beach Cookbook.  They are also extremely easy with minimal ingredients and tons of flavor.



Spicy Roast Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, cut into florettes
1 tsp red pepper flake
2-3 tbsp olive oil
S&P

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir to evenly coat cauliflower.  Then add to a foil-lined cookie sheet (for easy cleanup), and cook for 30 minutes.  Voila.


Sesame Green Beans

1 lb greenbeans, trimmed
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce

Bring saucepan with about 2" of water to a boil and then cook green beans for 2 minutes, drain and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, oil and soy sauce, and then add green beans.  Stir to incorporate.  Serve warm or cold.

Recipe Plans for this Week

Monday, June 14, 2010

Nick and I are constantly attempting to organize our busy lives.  One way we try to organize and save money is menu planning.  Often, I simply choose 4-5 proteins (chicken, beef, ground turkey, etc.) and 8-10 vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, etc.) and then pair them up with some quick cook brown rice.  Matching up one grilled/baked protein w/ 1-2 veggies, and then a whole grain carb...  But usually this results in Nick getting bored, or me being unimaginiative...and thus an empty blog.

Speaking of which (and off topic) we just returned from 8 days in Sarasota and Longboat Key, FL for the wedding of a close friend and his lovely new wife.  I know you all were reading this from St. Lucia...STOP!  Enjoy your honeymoon, the photos are breathtaking.  I digress.  Anyway, no updates since we were on vacation.  We did happen to be in Sarasota during the "Taste of Sarasota" restaurant week and had some fabulous food.  Most notably, the delicious cuisine of Euphemia Haye.  I could go on and on, but I'm already off topic...so I'll go back to it now...

Recipe Plans!  Essential for an organized and budgeted life!

Here are the plans for this week:

Chicken stuffed with Goat Cheese and Fresh Basil (also known as Chicken Chevre) w/ Steamed Broccoli and Brown Rice

Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs w/ Mixed Green Salad


Lemon Oregano Roast Chicken with Spicy Roast Cauliflower and Sesame Green Beans

On another tangent, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my amazing husband!  He is 33 today and is a wonderful, loving partner and "Dadda" and a wonderful provider to our little family.  I'll update on what I got him later...

PW's Braised Short Ribs with Bacon Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Do you know the Pioneer Woman?  You should, she's a World Famous Blogger.  A gifted photographer.  And soon to be even more mainstream...because she's having a movie made about her right now.  Being played by none other than Reese Witherspoon.  Ree Drummond is also an INSANELY good cook.  I know.  I just made her Braised Short Ribs.  You should too. 



PW's Braised Short Ribs w/ Bacon Cheddar Mashed Potatoes

Here's what I used:

8 whole Bone-in Beef Short Ribs
1/4 AP Flour, for dredging
6 pieces pancetta, diced (I used bacon)
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 whole medium onion, diced (I used 2)
2 shallots, peeled and finely minced
3 regular carrots, unpeeled, diced
2 cups red or white wine (I used Barefoot Merlot)
2 cups Beef broth
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
2 sprigs fresh Rosemary

4 peeled russet potatoes
1/2 cup colby jack cheese, shredded
1 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup sour cream
bacon crisps from Braised Short Rib recipe above

Here's what I did:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Season ribs w/ S&P, and dredge in flour.

In a large dutch oven, cook pancetta (or bacon) on medium until crispy and then remove (and set aside for mashed potatoes).  Add olive oil to pancetta/bacon grease and raise heat to high.  Brown ribs on all sides for 1-2 minutes per side, and remove.  Turn heat to medium and add onions, carrots and shallots to pan.  Cook for several minutes and then add wine.  Deglaze pan (scrape bits off bottom) with cooking spoon to get the yummy bits into the mix and off the bottom of the pan.  Boil for 2 minutes.

Add broth, 1/2 tsp salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Add ribs, thyme and rosemary (whole).

Put lid on pot and cook for 2 hours in the oven.  Reduce heat to 325 and cook another 35-45 minutes.  Ribs should be falling off the bone.

While ribs are cooking, set a large pot to boil with potatoes.  Cook until soft.  Add potatoes and the last 4 ingredients together and mix with hand mixer in large mixing bowl until smooth.  Add S&P as desired.

Plate with mashed potatoes on the bottom, 1-2 ribs on top, and then drizzle/heap sauce/vegetables on top and around the plate or bowl. 

This dish definitely has a "fall/winter" vibe, but we weren't complaining.  It was decadent, delicious and surprisingly simple for what you get as a result.  Yummm.

Sausage con Queso Dip

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Velveeta doesn't last long in my house.  I may buy it for a specific recipe...but once its in the fridge, I start making plans for it.  I can't help myself.  No, its not brie, or camembert, or even chevre...but oh, the possibilities!!

This dip is great for football season, BBQ's, and you can prep it all up to take to a friend's house, and heat it up there...and its delicious.

Sausage con Queso Dip

16 oz Velveeta, cubed
10 oz can Rotel, juice included
1-2 spicy sausages, cut into small bite-sized pieces (I used Aidell's Andoullie)

Combine all three ingredients in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave on high for 4-6 minutes.  Stir every 2 minutes, to incorporate.  Serve with tortilla chips, pretzels - also great as a topping on hot dogs!

Crawfish Fettucine

Monday, May 17, 2010

Having an old friend stop by is reason to celebrate!  We used to live near Washington, DC in Arlington, VA and often had get together's, BBQ's, Bar Crawls, etc.  These days, we live in the suburbs, hence the "City 2 Burb" blog name.  Well, when Erika, an old friend from our "fun & lively" days stopped by yesterday, I knew I had to cook up something special for her.

She took leftovers.  Nick is eating leftovers today.  And I can't WAIT to warm up MY leftovers.  This was really yummy, slightly spicy, creamy, pretty (nice flash of color with the crawfish tails) and pretty simple.  I will say that you go through plenty of dishes with this recipe, but the end result is worth it, and while in the final stage of this recipe, you have time to clean the pots!  haha.

Crawfish Fettucine

Here's what I used:

2 lbs crawfish tails (Louisiana, if possible.  Chinese is ok, but not quite the same)
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup butter, unsalted (no, this is not a Paula Deen recipe)
1 tsp jalapeno relish
6 oz Velveeta Cheese
1/3 cup half and half
Tony Chacheries Cajun Seasoning
S&P
1 lb Fettucine
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese

Here's what I did:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large saucepan, set butter to melt over medium heat.  Add onions and bell pepper and let cook until translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic, parsley and crawfish tails, and stir to incorporate.  Let cook another 5-10 minutes.  Add Velveeta, cream and jalapeno relish and stir to incorporate.  Taste.  Add 1 tsp Tony Chacheries or other Cajun Seasoning, Salt and Pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, set a stock pot to boil, and cook Fettucine to al dente.  Drain and set aside.

Incorporate crawfish sauce and pasta, and then add them to a glass baking dish.  Sprinkle top with Parmesan, and bake for 15-20 minutes.

I served this with warm french bread.  It was really good.

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