Archive | November, 2012

Mashed Chipotle Sweet Potatoes – Thanksgiving Part Deux

28 Nov

I saw this recipe on one of the blogs I follow (http://www.hardlyhousewives.com) and knew I needed to bookmark it to try.

It was my job to bring the sweet potatoes to Thanksgiving this year, and I had already picked out my official recipe to try, but this NEEDED to be made and brought as well.

This looks amazing. And I knew it would taste so good, too!

I love recipes that have a little spice and kick to it.

And this one is healthy and simple!! No-brainer……look at all the flecks of pepper in there!

Here are some pics of my brothers and my dad from Thanksgiving! None of us could get focused for a pic…..I think we were all moving around too much.

 Fun times! I hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season!

Mashed Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 Large Sweet Potatoes
  • 1-4 Canned Chipotles, chopped
  • 2 Tbs of Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tbs of Honey
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  • Wash and place potatoes (skin-on) in a large pot full of water that covers them. Boil them until they are fork tender, about 12-15 minutes. Drain pot and place potatoes on counter/plate to cool off.
  • When potatoes have cooled off, remove skin and discard.
  • Cut potatoes and place in bowl/pot and gently mash.
  • Put on gloves and chop peppers and place in potatoes. Stir together. Start out with 1-2 peppers and then taste to determine level of hotness. You can always add a little more heat by adding some of the sauce the chipotle peppers are canned in. I think for 5 potatoes, I used about 4-5 peppers…I like it hot!
  • Add your butter and honey and a healthy pinch of salt/pepper. Taste and then adjust.

My new oven

24 Nov

Earlier this fall around the beginning of September I started noticing my oven-cooked food being a little more difficult to cook. Things werent turning out right (soggy on bottom and burnt on top), it was taking forever to reach any kind of temperature (2 hours to hit 400), and I couldnt handle it anymore.

Quite frankly, it was depressing to cook and bake any longer. I didnt know if my food was going to turn out right or not. Then I had to learn how to make use of the top heating coil instead of the bottom one (which was no longer working) without scorching things. It took about 2.5 hours last weekend to make a tray of brownies.

This was the same oven that had been in the house practically since it was built in 1977! So it was definitely time for a new one. My parents being wonderfully awesome, foresaw the holidays coming and knew I would want to bake for everyone……so they offered to get me a new oven for my christmas present this year. How fabulous!!!!!!! Isnt it glorious????

My new oven was delivered this morning. I cant stand how awesome it is. I love it already. I cant wait to cook all of my blog recipes on my new stove 🙂 🙂  Thanks mom and dad!!!!!!!

Now my kitchen is starting to match – Dishwasher on the left and Stove on the right. Next step: replace the microwave above the range.

I made a trial run with brownies and turkey curry soup. If the soup is any good, I’ll let you know 😉

Bourbon and Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes – Happy Thanksgiving!

24 Nov

From the minute I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit (November 2012), I knew I was going to make it for Thanksgiving. I am usually the Sweet Potato/Yams girl – and I usually bring Candied Yams. But I am getting tired of plain ole candied yams. I wanted to step it up this year. And I am really not into the whole marshmellow thing.

The sauce was delicious and soooo easy. I might have also added a splash or two more of bourbon than the recipe calls for. I cant help it. More alcohol, more better right? 🙂

I cant stress how easy this recipe was to make. The hardest part about it is peeling and chopping the sweet potatoes. And even that’s not a big deal.

Get the potatoes all nice and roasted and crispy if possible. So delicious. I could sit down with just the plain roasted sweet potatoes……yum!

You make the sauce separate from roasting the sweet potatoes. Then pour it on right before serving and add the toasted almonds. It is so good – you can really taste the coffee and bourbon flavors. The flavor complements the sweetness of the potatoes.

This makes a perfect side dish anytime, but really glams up the thanksgiving table if I dont say so myself. Here is a pic of our 3 turkeys that my brother Pat made – baked, smoked, and fried……everyone had their favorite type of the night. But they were all so tasty and well-cooked. My brother makes some goodass meat!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with family and friends!!!

Bourbon and Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups strong hot coffee
  • 9 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons(packed) dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (about 8 medium), peeled, cut into 2 1/2-inch–3-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped smoked almonds (or toasted almonds)

Directions:

  • Stir coffee, maple syrup, sugar, and espresso powder in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a boil; cook until thickened and reduced by half, 6-7 minutes.
  • Remove syrup from heat; add bourbon and 2 tablespoons butter. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is reduced to about 3/4 cup, 40-45 minutes (mixture should be thick enough to coat a spoon, but not sticky, and will thicken as it cools). Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (DO AHEAD: Sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Rewarm before serving.)
  • Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 425°. Melt remaining 7 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan; pour into a large bowl. Add sweet potatoes and oil and season with salt and pepper. Divide potato mixture between 2 large rimmed baking sheets and roast, turning potatoes often and rotating sheets halfway through, until potatoes are tender and start to turn golden brown and crisp around the edges, 30-35 minutes. (DO AHEAD: Potatoes can be roasted 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. You dont have to rewarm before serving since the sauce will be warmed.)
  • Toast your almonds (either in oven or in sautee pan on stove)
  • Transfer potatoes to a serving platter. Drizzle some warm sauce over and sprinkle with almonds; serve remaining sauce along-side for those who want more.

Pizza Bites

16 Nov

I saw this recipe online and it immediately grabbed me. Who doesn’t like pizza?!?!?! And little bites of pizza sound wonderful, right? I wanted to try these, but needed a venue/party as an excuse to make them…thankfully Mel was having her annual Halloween party!

You can either make your own pizza dough, or cheat and use storebought. Since I was tight on time, I cheated and got whole wheat pizza dough from Whole Foods (supposedly the best store-bought pizza dough out there).

This recipe is so simple I don’t even need to spell it out for you…

You are wrapping a slice (or 2!) of pepperoni and a bite of mozzarella inside a little wad of pizza dough.

Seal it up, put it in a pan and brush with olive oil, sprinkle with cheese, and sprinkle on some herbs!

I found that they are better when they are warm – and you should not overcook them. So watch the cooking temperature and time! Serve with warm marinara or pizza sauce.

Pizza Bites

Ingredients for Bites:

  • ½ batch pizza dough (enough for 1 pizza)
  • 4 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed (about 20-24 pieces)
  • Sliced pepperoni

Ingredients for topping:

  • Olive oil
  • Italian seasoning (I used dried oregano and basil)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate or cake pan. Divide the pizza dough into 20-24 roughly equal sized pieces. Take one of the dough pieces, top with a cube of cheese and a slice or two of pepperoni. Pull the edges of the dough around the fillings and pinch closed. Place seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.

Lightly brush the tops of the dough balls with olive oil. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm, with dipping sauce as desired (I used marinara sauce).

Chicken Pot Pie

11 Nov

The first chilly weekend came earlier this fall and I decided it was time to make some Chicken Pot Pie. I cant believe I’ve never made it before. I was definitely surprised to find out how easy it was. Duh….why wasnt I doing this for the past few years?

I went onto AllRecipes.com and did a lot of research and read a lot of reviews….and picked what sounded like the best recipe – “Chicken Pot Pie IX”. Robb and I both wanted a recipe that would not be too watery or too complicated.

And neither of us wanted to use potatoes either since we try to limit our carbs as much as possible. So we made sure our recipe did not include potatoes. And I used fresh mushrooms from the farmers market and sauteed them up prior to adding so they added to the flavor.

I roasted my own chicken in the oven (more on simple oven-roasted chicken later….) instead of boiling or buying a pre-roasted chicken. I wanted the flavor of the chicken to be perfect. I also wanted to make my own pie crust, since I know that it tastes the best 🙂

The filling was so easy to make. It came out nice and thick and had a stellar taste.

I put the top on the pie and couldnt resist using extra dough to make a goofy shape to put on top of the pie…..just like my mom does. Although my mom’s decorations on her pies are outstanding. And mine just looks…….really pathetic! hahaha I believe I thought I was putting a chicken on top of the chicken pot pie. Get it?????? 🙂

And look at how it came out after it baked its little heart out…….

It was so good. I will now let you look at some of the pictures of deliciousness……..

This chicken pot pie recipe is the BOMB. It’s simple enough where you can add in a lot of your favorite ingredients/vegetables (I added corn and sauteed mushrooms) and customize to your liking. Dont fear the pie crust – you can use storebought if you like and that is perfectly allright.

This dish tastes hearty and delicious and is perfect for that chilly sunday dinner.

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cupsliced celery
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup milk
  •  2 (9 inch)unbaked pie crusts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)

In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside. (Or you can roast your chicken in the oven to cook and then cube into pieces, which is what I did – just make sure to cook the veggies!)

In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside. Combine with chicken, carrots, peas, and celery.

Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Roasted Cauliflower

5 Nov

The air is getting to be a bit chillier and some of the cool-weather produce is starting to come into bloom – cauliflower, broccoli, and squashes.

I’ve been dying to try roasting cauliflower. I’ve heard so many people talking about roasting cauliflower. So I snatched up a small head of cauliflower for $1.50 at the farmers market and gave it a whirl.

It sounds healthy and any vegetable tastes more amazing when it’s roasted (and with some cheese!). You can either keep it simple and roast with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Or you can try the recipe listed below to spruce it up a little bit!

This was the BOMB. It was delicious and light – even with the sprinkle of parmesan cheese. I really think the lemon juice helps to add a certain “brightness” to the taste.

I dont normally eat cauliflower (unless raw in my salad), but I am challenging you to buy some and try this out for a healthy side dish everyone will enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely minced
  • Lemon juice from half a lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1 Preheat oven to 400°F.  Cut cauliflower into florets and put in a single layer in an oven-proof baking dish.  Toss in the garlic.  Sprinkle lemon juice over cauliflower and drizzle each piece with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  If the oven hasn’t reached 400°F yet, set aside until it has.

2 Place casserole in the hot oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown.  Test with a fork for desired doneness. Fork tines should be able to easily pierce the cauliflower. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 Nov

I wanted to make something fall-ish and pumpkin-y….are they words? I dont think so, but we’ll just go with it!

The batter came together easily and as soon as I whipped them up and doled them out on cookie sheets, I knew they would be good.

They are very cakey in texture. I think the pumpkin taste could be a bit stronger…..maybe a smidge more of the nutmeg maybe?

This batch of delicious goodies went with me to work for some team meetings…..And it was devoured in 2 days. ‘Nuff said.

Pumpkin-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, soft
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1  3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1  1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.

In a separate large bowl or stand-mixer, cream butter. Then slowly add  larger dry flour/sugar mixture in batches.

Add the egg and pumpkin. Then the rolled oats and chocolate chips.

Drop heaping spoonfuls onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake 10-12 minutes.

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