Recent Recipes

Walnut Crusted Apple Pie

Comments (0) | Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Christmas dinner was a disaster.

I may be exaggerating.  Maybe not quite a disaster.  But it did leave me crying into my hands at the table, quietly sobbing "I'm sorry, it's so bad" to my family.  My poor husband knew just how to respond and patted my shoulder lovingly with a "it's really not that bad honey..." But when it all came down to it, when asked if he'd eat any leftovers he hesitated for a long while before saying sweetly, "no... I don't think so." And that's when I knew it had been a huge flop.  A 9 lb ham in the trash... Not for my lack of skill or trying.  I cooked all afternoon!  But I'll spare you the details of the slimy ham I purchased from Albertson's and get down to the fact that dessert saved the day.

Not the prettiest looking pie, I couldn't get the crust to come together like a pastry crust should.  It was crumbly and hard to handle and I ended up just smashing the edges together in an effort to "seal" the two crusts.  No decorative crimping here... sorry folks.  And for this reason alone I figured the dessert would likely follow in the footsteps of the disastrous dinner.  But no, this thing was amazing... and even better on days 2 and 3!

Walnut Crusted Apple Pie

1 lb fuji apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 lb golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
6.75 ounces all purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold butter cut into pieces
3 tablespoons ice cold vodka (or water)
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon milk
1 egg yolk

Combine first 8 ingredients (through cinnamon).  Toss to coat.

Place nuts in a food processor; process until finely ground.  Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Add flour, 3 T brown sugar and 1/4 t salt to food processor; pulse 5 times.  Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal (about 6-8 times.) Turn processor on and slowly add vodka through food chute processing just until combined (do not form a ball.)  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 3-4 times.  Divide into 2 equal portions.  Flatten each portion into a 4 inch circle on plastic wrap.  Chill 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425.

Unwrap and place 1 dough piece onto plastic wrap.  Cover with 2 overlapping pieces of plastic wrap.  Roll dough, still covered, into a 10-inch circle.  Place into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Spoon apple mixture into crust.  Follow same rolling instructions for second dough piece, rolling into a 12-inch circle.  Place over apple mixture and press edges of crusts together.  Fold under and flute.  Cut slits in top of dough to allow steam to escape.

Combine milk and egg yolk, stirring with a whisk.  Gently brush top of dough with egg mixture.  Place pie plate on a foil lined baking sheet (or on one of these amazing pie drip catchers from Williams Sonoma that my step mom bought me!) Bake at 425 in lower third of the oven for 20 minutes.  Shield edges of pie crust with foil.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 (do not remove pie from oven) and bake an additional 30 minutes or until browned.  Cool on a wire rack.

Original recipe courtesy of Cooking Light

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Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Comments (0) | Thursday, December 13, 2012

I find it extremely difficult to take "good" or pretty photos of casseroles, especially once they're dished onto the plate.  Of course, my food photography is novice at best anyway... but I always want the presentation to at least look appealing!  Rest assured that while this looks like a pile of goop, it was incredibly delicious and so convenient to pull out of the freezer on a busy weeknight. A flavorful "comfort food" kind of meal. I promise to try and get a better photo next time I make it...

I used an entire rotisserie chicken, pulled from the carcass and shredded (I love how appealing that sounds... sorry...) and I divided the whole thing between 2 large square foil pans to freeze for later (this was on a "freezer meal" prep day.)  The recipe makes 10-12 servings itself so, unless you plan to feed a crowd, I would divide it.  It was plenty for us to have for 2 nights worth of dinner.

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole 
1 (2.25-oz) package sliced almonds
2 (6.2-oz) boxes fast cooking long grain and wild rice mix (I used 3 boxes of Rice-a-Roni brand)
2 tablespoons butter
4 celery ribs, chopped
5 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
2 (8 oz) cans water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt (could be omitted, there is plenty of flavor without)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided (I think I used about 3, total)
2 cups soft fresh breadcrumbs

Prepare rice mixes according to package directions.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add celery and onions.  Saute 10 minutes or until tender.  In a large bowl mix together celery/onion mixture, chicken, next 6 ingredients and 3 cups of the cheese.  Spoon mixture into a lightly greased large baking dish or 2 smaller (11x7) baking dishes. Top with breadcrumbs.

To make tonight: Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.  Top with remaining cheese and almonds and bake an additional 5 minutes.

To freeze and make later: cover with plastic wrap, place cheese and almonds in a resealable freezer bag, place on top of plastic wrap and cover dish with foil.  Label, date and freeze.  Thaw and cook as directed above. OR Remove from freezer and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.  Bake, COVERED, at 350 for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 55-75 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Top with cheese and almonds and heat 5 minutes longer.

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Walnut and Rosemary Oven Fried Chicken

Comments (0) | Monday, December 10, 2012

My husband never complains about what I make for dinner (except on the rare occasion that I've made soup... he's not a big "soup for dinner" kind of guy.)  So I occasionally have to ask him what he thinks of my new recipes and can usually gauge how much he really likes them by his genuine responses.  One of the ways I know I've found a good recipe is when he tells me, without prompting,  "this is great honey!" as he finishes every last bite.

The flavors in this recipe prompted just such a response and I couldn't have agreed more.  A quick and easy weeknight meal, I paired it with a baked potato and steamed veggies.

Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken
1/4 cup low fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 chicken cutlets (or 4 small 6 oz breasts pounded slightly)
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

Combine buttermilk and mustard in a shallow dish, stirring with a whisk.  Add chicken to buttermilk mixture, turning to coat.

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add panko to pan; cook 3 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently.  Combine panko, nuts and next 4 ingredients in a shallow dish.  Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture; discard buttermilk mixture.  Dredge chicken in panko mixture.

Arrange a wire rack on a large baking sheet; coat rack with cooking spray.  Arrange chicken on rack; coat chicken with cooking spray (or spray lightly with olive oil.)  Bake at 425 for 13 minutes or until chicken is done.

Calories: 292, Fat: 9.6g, Sat: 1.6g, Protein: 42.7g, Carb: 6.8g, Fiber: 0.9g

*Courtesy of Cooking Light*

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Peanut Butter Caramel Corn

Comments (1) | Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I can't say enough good things about this recipe.  Absolutely amazing.  I took a double batch to work the first time I made it and it was gone rather quickly with compliments all around.  I decided to make a few big batches to give out as Christmas gifts this year and it was a big success.  And to think, it's so relatively light too!  Note: don't get ahead of yourself and add the peanut butter until AFTER the sugar/syrup/butter mixture has cooked.  I did this once.  It turned out OK but tasted a little like slightly burnt peanut butter.  Not nearly as good as its intended flavor...

I air popped the popcorn omitting the 2 tablespoons of oil and left out the almonds. I also doubled the recipe and baked it in a large foil roasting pan.  The high sides made it easier to stir while baking.

Peanut Butter Caramel Corn
cooking spray
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup light colored corn syrup
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 250.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, coat paper with cooking spray.

Heat oil in large dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add popcorn; cover and cook 4 minutes, shaking pan frequently.  When popping slows, remove pan from heat.  Let stand until popping stops. Uncover and add almonds.

Combine sugar, syrup, butter and salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat; add peanut butter and vanilla, stirring until smooth.  Drizzle over popcorn, toss well.  Spread mixture onto prepared pan.  Bake at 250 for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool completely.

*Courtesy of Cooking Light*

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