Recent Recipes

Chicken Meatballs with Peanut Sauce

Comments (1) | Thursday, May 10, 2012

I used to have an aversion to Thai flavors.  Or maybe it was just an aversion to trying new things.  It wasn't something I ate as a child, so adding it to my palate has been a "grown up" challenge.  I'd like to think I'm giving my kids the chance I didn't get, expanding their dietary variety.  And though peanut butter in savory dishes kind of freaked me out, the kids seem to love it and it hasn't done me wrong.

These meatballs were delicious, so full of flavor.  I used ground turkey as it was what I had on hand (in the freezer) but ground chicken would have worked well too.

*recipe courtesy of Family Circle magazine*

Chicken Meatballs with Peanut Sauce

1 pound ground chicken (or turkey)
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup finely diced sweet red pepper
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp grated ginger, divided
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup light coconut milk
1/3 cup reduced fat peanut butter
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
3 cups cooked basmati rice

In a large bowl, combine first nine ingredients (using 1 tsp of the grated ginger.)  Mix well and form into 20 meatballs. In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat.  Add meatballs and brown on all sides, 5-6 minutes total.  Remove meatballs from pan.

In same pan combine coconut milk, peanut butter, broth, soy sauce and remaining 1/2 tsp ginger.  Stir constantly over medium heat to melt peanut butter.  Bring to a simmer and cook 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened.  Add meatballs to sauce, cover pan and cook 5 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

Serve meatballs and peanut sauce over rice.  Garnish with cilantro if desired.

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Coconut Apricot Icebox Cookies

Comments (0) | Monday, May 7, 2012

I love to bake.  I love cookies.  I love to bake cookies :)

And I enjoy trying new and different recipes.  I aim to please my tough cookie critic husband and often look for recipes that I think he'll enjoy.  I wasn't sure about this one but flipping through one of my cookie cookbooks, this recipe caught my eye and I had all the ingredients on hand (unsalted butter, coconut and dried apricots included!) So I figured this one was worth a shot.

Kids had fun helping and when Joe came home, took his first bite and said (muffled by a mouthful of cookie) "oh... my... gosh... these are SO good!"  I knew I had a hit.  At that point, no matter what anyone else thought, I was basking in the glory of my success as he continued to repeat how amazing they were.

Despite my assumption that they would be dense and "shortbread" like, they came out extremely light and airy, slightly chewy and most importantly just absolutely delicious...

*Recipe courtesy of "Great Cookies" by Carole Walter*

Coconut Apricot Icebox Cookies

1 (10 oz) package sweetened, flaked coconut
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried apricots, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes and chopped into 1/8 inch pieces
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon imitation coconut extract
1 large egg white, lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons water for brushing the logs
1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon milk for brushing tops of unbaked cookies

Place the coconut in the work bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Set aside

Mix together flour, baking soda and salt.  Remove 1 tablespoon of the dry ingredients and toss with apricots.  Set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer mix butter on medium-low speed.  Pour in sugar in a steady stream and mix for 1-2 minutes.  Add the egg and mix 1 minute longer, scraping sides of bowl as needed.  Mix in the extracts.

Reduce mixer speed to low and blend in 1 3/4 cups of the coconut.  Add the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing only to combine after each addition.  Using a large rubber spatula, mix in the apricots.  Shape dough into three logs, each measuring about 8 x 1 1/2 inches.

Place remaining coconut on a clean work surface.  Brush each log with egg white wash and roll to coat in coconut.  Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour (will keep in fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for 1 month.)

FOR BAKING:  Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Using a sharp knife with a thin blade, slice dough into 3/8-inch thick slices, turning dough every 2-3 cuts to maintain shape, and place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  If dough cracks when slicing, firmly press it back together.

Lightly brush tops of cookies with egg yolk mixture before placing in oven.  Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.  If needed, rotate pan 180 degrees half way through baking for even browning.  Let stand for 1 minute before loosening with a thin metal spatula.  Transfer to cooling racks.

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Cajun Braised Skillet Chops (freezer meal)

Comments (0) | Saturday, May 5, 2012

I often look at recipes and think "who thought of putting these ingredients together?" and sometimes skip right over them.  Until recently when I realized, hey if someone put them together and bothered to create a recipe then that someone must have thought it was good right? (and sometimes... just sometimes, this logic fails me.) This recipe, however, impressed and pleased and "wowed" everyone's palates.  I may just have to try the "Tex Mex" version next time.

As with some of my other favorite freezer recipes, this one takes a little more prep time but totally worth it!

*Recipe altered from Fix Freeze Feast by Kati Neville and Lindsay Tkacsik*

Cajun Braised Skillet Chops
(makes 2 entrees, 4 servings each)

8 pork loin chops
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups chicken broth
1 (15 oz.) can sweet corn, drained
1 (14.5 oz.) can petite-cut tomatoes, undrained
1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 one-gallon freezer bags, labeled
2 one-quart freezer bags

Rinse and trim chops as desired.  Lay out 2 shallow dishes.  Put egg whites in one dish.  Mix Parmesan, pepper and Cajun seasoning in the other. Line a baking sheet (or 2) with parchment paper.  Dip chops into the egg, then dredge in Parmesan coating and place onto prepared baking sheet.  When all chops are coated, place in the freezer for 1 hour.  Discard remaining egg and Parmesan mixture.

Into each 1-quart freezer bag measure 2/3 cup chicken broth, 1/2 can corn and 1/2 can tomatoes, 1/3 cup onion and 1 tablespoon garlic. Seal.

Divide frozen chops evenly among the 1-gallon freezer bags.  Place one bag tomato mixture into each bag of chops.  Seal and freeze.

To label the freezer bags:  Completely thaw.  Fry chops in 2 tsp oil in deep skillet or dutch oven over medium heat.  Remove from the pan.  Pour tomato mixture into pan.  Gently scrape browned bits from the bottom; reduce heat to medium-low.  Return chops to pan.  Simmer, covered, 15 to 20 minutes, turning chops at least once.

*Tex Mex variation: substitute a packet of Taco seasoning for the Cajun seasoning, fire roasted tomatoes for regular and Green Giant Mexicorn in place of the corn*

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Shrimp and Bacon Deviled Eggs

Comments (0) | Thursday, May 3, 2012

A little taste of wonderful :)

We were invited to some friends' house for Easter dinner this year and signed up to bring an appetizer and a dessert.  Like my earlier posts on appetizers I will reiterate that I love signing up for appetizers because it gives me the perfect opportunity to make a new recipe that I wouldn't have otherwise made.  But when I realized someone else had already signed up to bring deviled eggs I was crushed.  For this was the recipe I had planned to "wow" people with.  I searched for something different.... then got the text.... Deviled egg maker #1 was sick and wouldn't be making it to dinner.  Would I mind making the eggs in her absence...

Would I mind? I was secretly beside myself.  Shrimp and Bacon Deviled Eggs would make their debut! And much to my expectation, they were everything I imagined and more...

*recipe modified from Cooking Light*

Shrimp and Bacon Deviled Eggs

8 hard boiled large eggs, peeled
2 tablespoons instant potato flakes
1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup salad shrimp chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons Real Bacon Bits (not the fake granular kind)

Cut eggs in half lengthwise; remove yolks.  Place 4-5 yolks in a medium bowl; reserve remaining yolks for another use (crumble over a salad?) Add potato flakes and next five ingredients (through pepper); stir well.  Stir in shrimp and parsley.  Spoon about 1 rounded tablespoon yolk mixture into each egg white half.  Sprinkle with bacon.

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