Friday, February 17, 2012

White Spinach Cheese Dip

The recipe I am sharing with you today is a delicious cross between two of my favorite things, cheese deep and cheese fondue!!! (can you tell that I am a cheese lover? :) ). I made that recipe to share one Friday night with Kate, it was delicious!!! We ate it with whole grain Tostidos cups, those things are SOOOO delicious, it is actually dangerous, I have to warn you, you might end up wanting to eat the whole bag straight up, I know I was tempted to. If you cube the cheese, try not to eat too much of it just like that. It is a recipe that will test your will power, this is the warning message, if you resist I can promise you that you will enjoy the reward.

White spinach cheese dip
Recipe adapted from Bev Cooks
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
-  4 handfuls of baby spinach
- 1 (10 oz) can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
- 2 (8 oz) blocks pepper jack cheese,cubed (or shredded)

- Heat the oil over medium-high in a saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft
- Add the cream of mushroom soup and chiles. Stir to combine.
- Add in the cheese and melt it. Add the spinach one handful at a time until wilted.

Enjoy!!! I tried whole grain Tostido's chips and OMG they are AWESOME (too good may I say...)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Polenta Pie

I started following food blogs a few years back, started with 101 Cookbooks, then maybe a year later I added White on Rice Couple. Now I am up to 10 with 70 more I want to have a look at... Of course a lot of them have cross overs and the recipe I am sharing with you today is actually the first one I found on two blogs. The first time I saw it was a delicious, cheesy, meaty version created by Bev from Bev Cooks, a few weeks later a vegetarian version was posted on Two Peas and their Pod. I did not actually connect them initially but both sounded absolutely delicious!!!

I was in a vegetable phase so I decided to go for the healthier version with delicious roasted vegetable and I doubled it... That was probably not the smartest choice, I ate it for 3 weeks!!!! but loved every bit of it :).

Vegetarian Polenta Pie
Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Tomato sauce:
- oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- salt & pepper
Polenta pie:
- 2 small zucchinis, chopped
- 2 small yellow squashes, chopped
- 1 small eggplant, chopped
- 2 red pepper, chopped
- oil
- Salt & pepper
- 2 c polenta
- 6 c milk
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 c grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 c shredded mozzarella

- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- To make the tomato sauce, heat the oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add the onion and cook until tender. Stir in garlic, tomatoes,  basil, oregano, and red pepper. Season with salt and black pepper and let simmer for about 30 minutes over low heat.
- While the sauce is simmering, roast the vegetables. Place zucchini, squash, eggplant, and red pepper on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. When the vegetables are done roasting, set aside to cool and reduce oven temperature to 375 F.
- In a large pot, bring the milk, butter, sugar and salt to a light simmer. Slowly add the polenta to the pot, whisking constantly until the polenta pulls away from the sides of the pot.  Pour the mixture into a 13 by 11 casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Top with the parmesan.
- Evenly spread the roasted vegetables on top of the polenta. Spread the tomato sauce over the vegetables and top with grated mozzarella cheese. 
- Place the pie in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until bubbly and the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Let rest for about 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm.

Enjoy!!!! Note that I had a little too much sauce so it made a mess in my oven, you might want to hold off some of the sauce.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chocolate Chip and Caramel Cookie Bar

This week end was a lot of fun, I packed the girls in the car and drove an hour and a half south of Gainesville to a lure coursing get together. I thought that Trysta might be into that since she always wants to run, especially after cats and squirrels. It turns out she was not interested at all, she would much rather play with other whippets :). I did come back with a nice sun burn... which is amusing considering that many of my Facebook friends are posting pictures of snowy landscapes...

Anyway, lunch was a potluck, with a lot of DELICIOUS food!!!! I decided to take that opportunity to bake that cookie bar recipe. I have to say that any recipe that takes more than 2 sticks of butter has to be made for a crowd. I doubled the recipe and it did not turn out exactly ass I expected :). It was more of a very chocolaty goeey brownie, especially after sitting in the sun for a few hours ;).

This is probably AMAZING with some vanilla ice cream, but you might want to make that your dinner...

Chocolate Chip and Caramel Cookie Bar
Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
- 4 1/4 c AP flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3 sticks (!!!) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 2 c brown sugar
- 1 c sugar
- 2 large egg
- 2 large egg yolk
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 c chocolate chips (I would probably use 3 next time)
- 22 oz caramel candy squares, unwrapped
- 6 tbsp heavy cream

- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray an 11 by 13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In the large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugars together until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon, just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the caramels and heavy cream. Microwave caramels on high until caramels are melted, stirring every 20 seconds.
- Divide the cookie dough in half. Press half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan. Pour hot caramel over the cookie dough. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough over the caramel it will cover the caramel when  it cooks.
- Bake cookie bars for 30 minutes or until the top of the bars are light golden brown. Cut bars into squares and serve.

Enjoy!!! (warm)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Potato latkes (in duck fat!!!)

Latkes are some of the easiest, most delicious and most addicting side dishes I know about. It is very simple, a shredded vegetable, originally potatoes, sweet potatoes or one of my favorite zucchini! You toss it with some flour or corn starch and sometimes an egg. And you drop it in a hot oiled pan. Brown it, flip it, brown and ENJOY!!!! This is as simple as it gets, especially if you have a food processor that shreds for you (I am really gifted at shredding my fingers otherwise :) ).

My love for latkes made me very excited when I came across this on the Family Kitchen and this recipe from Delicious Dishing just screamed my name. Before you click on the link I am warning you that you might feel compelled to make that recipe IMMEDIATELY, it doesn't matter if it's 6am or 11pm, this is how good and delicious they look.

Here is my adaptation of this recipe:
Potato and scallion latkes
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 1 lb potatoes, peeled and shredded, reserved in cold water
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- duck fat (or oil...)
- salt & pepper

- Swirl the shredded potatoes in the water and rinse them, and then dry them thoroughly using paper towels.
- Place the shredded potatoes in a large bowl, toss with cornstarch.
- Heat the fat in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the potatoes to the pan, and gently spread them, season with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle the scallions on top of the potatoes
- Spread the remaining potatoes on top of the scallions and season
- Cook for 6 to 7 minutes to brown the bottom.  
- Then flip the potatoes to brown the other side. To do this place an inverted baking sheet on top of the pan and flipping the whole thing over and then sliding the pancake off of the baking sheet back into the skillet (you can also use a plate depending on the size of your skillet)
- Cook until the bottom is brown and crispy

Enjoy!!! you can also make individual latkes if you wish :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Prosciutto wrapped, stuffed chicken breast

This was my latest Christmas dinner. When I went grocery shopping the story had already been raided and I could not find any exciting protein. I was hoping for some duck, goose or maybe fish but nothing was calling my name. That's when I thought about that recipe that I came across on Bev's blog, I though that it was simple and yet fancy enough for Christmas, and perfect since it was just my mom and I so I could easily down size it. I tweaked it a little and served it with some potato latke.

My breasts definitely did not look as nice and my wrapping job was a MESS!!! but they did taste good, that's all that matters... right?...
Prosciutto wrapped, stuffed chicken breast 
Recipe adapted from Bev Cooks
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 slices prosciutto
- 1/2 c aragula
- 1 c shredded mozzarella
- salt and pepper

 - Butterfly the chicken breasts. Layer 1/2 c shredded cheese, followed by half the arugula. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top and close the chicken breast.
- Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Lay the chicken breast on top of the 2 prosciutto slices and wrap around the breast. (Mine fell appart so I used more slices, I suspect that they were too thin :) )
- Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts to the pan seam side down and sear on each side, until the chicken is cooked through and prosciutto is nice and crispy. Remove from pan and set aside to rest a few minutes.
- Be careful not to overcook the chicken, the small breasts turned out dry...

Enjoy!!! with a nice salad or potato latkes (like we did, recipe to come shortly)