Monday, May 28, 2012

Ina Garten's Chicken Chili

 This recipe is SUPER simple and doesn't take all day to prepare. I saw Miss Ina making it on a recent episode of The Barefoot Contessa and immediately wanted to try it. You know how some recipes are all about slow simmering all day on the stove top? Well, not this one. It's done in under 2 hours and it's SO chunky and hearty! You'll love it! It's also really convenient because you can make it in advance and just reheat it when it's time to serve. It's actually BETTER after it sits in the fridge for a day or two. So, give this one a try! No need to wait for a chilly day to make it a chili day!
Thanx, Miss Ina!

4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
1/8 cup good olive oil, plus extra for chicken
1/8 cup minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 medium red bell peppers, cored, seeded, & large-diced
2 medium yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded & large-diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for chicken
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes in puree, undrained
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on*
freshly ground black pepper
onions, corn chips, grated cheddar, & sour cream (optional, for serving)

 Cook the onions in the oil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Crush the tomatoes by hand or in batches in a food processor fitted with a steel blade (pulse 6 to 8 times). Add to the pot with the basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
 Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked. Let cool slightly. Separate the meat from the bones and skin and cut it into 3/4-inch chunks. Add to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with chopped onions, corn chips, grated cheddar, and sour cream for toppings, or refrigerate and reheat gently before serving.

Joey's Tips:
*Instead of roasting the chicken breasts, I just bought a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and then pulled all the meat from the bones once it was cool enough to handle. I HIGHLY recommend doing this because it was so easy, I used the whole chicken which was quite a bit, and the meat was SO tender that it fell apart. And if it's a warm day, then there's no need to turn on the oven! Perfect!
If you like beans in your chili, go for it! Just rinse and drain a can of any kind of beans, and then add them to the pot. Red, white, or black beans..... even a regular can of pork and beans, all good! (of course, you wouldn't drain or rinse the pork and beans, but you already knew that, right?)
If you like a spicier chili, then go ahead and double the amount of the spices. I omitted the cayenne pepper and crushed pepper flakes because I don't like the heat, but if you're all about it, go for it! In fact, add any kind of hot peppers you like! Jalapenos, etc, whatever you like! If you're serving a large group, leave the hot ingredients out of the pot, and serve them along with the toppings. Let your guests have the choice!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dor Stop Raspberry French Toast

 Have you ever seen a show on the Food Network called Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives? It's basically just Guy Fieri going all over the country trying different (usually family owned) food "joints". I have to say, I'm kind of addicted to the show because it's food that I want to eat! I LOVE diner food! It's usually diner food that is bumped up a little, though. It's usually made from scratch, or maybe it'll be about food that is slightly creative, or not exactly the norm, and sometimes it'll be WAY over the top! (Yes, you guessed it, those are usually the things I want to try!) And Guy Fieri kind of cracks me up every time he says something is "out of bounds", or "off the hook", or anytime he refers to "flavor town." Usually when I watch the show, I wait for a place that is close enough for me to visit, but if it's it's too far away, then I try to figure a way to recreate some of the dishes that are served on the show. This is exactly how this recipe came to be. I was watching the "What's For Breakfast" episode which featured a place in the Dormont section of Pittsburgh, PA, called the Dor-Stop Restaurant, (famous for its pancakes and other breakfast creations.) As soon as I saw this dish, I thought "I am SO making that!!" And that's exactly what I did. Basically I just kind of guessed at the amounts of things, but it's pretty straight forward. And wait'll you taste it!!  As Guy said, the crunch is "money" and it tastes like a jelly doughnut exploded! LOL OMG so good! It's definitely a one way ticket to flavor town! So, if anyone at the Dor Stop is reading this, thanx for the French Toast idea! It's really awesome! And if I'm ever in Dormont Pa, I'll be sure to stop by!

8 oz cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbs seedless raspberry jam

3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

thickly sliced crusty bread
finely crushed regular corn flakes

In a mixing bowl, cream the cheese and sugar together until smooth. Mix in the raspberry jam until well combined. Set aside.
In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Dip the slices of bread into the egg mixture, flipping to coat both sides. Then place it in another shallow dish containing the crushed corn flakes, being sure the corn flakes coat all sides. Place in a hot skillet with a little melted butter until it's golden on both sides. Serve French toast with a big dollop of the raspberry cream cheese and then top with a little more raspberry jam. Heaven!

I tried it with regular bread, and I decided that the thicker bread was MUCH better.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Baked Tilapia with Wine and Tomatoes

Now that the weather is getting a little warmer, I've been craving a lighter fresher menu. Fresh produce, crisp salads, fresh herbs. It all seems to be hitting the spot, lately. Don't get me wrong..I still LOVE a hearty stick to your ribs kind of dinner, but that often makes me think of cold weather and needing to warm up and fill your belly. Know what I mean?
 This wasn't really a recipe, but it was too good not to share. It was absurdly simple to make and was ready in a snap. It's the perfect mid-week dinner when you've just gotten home from a long day and you don't feel like going to a lot of trouble for dinner. Serve with some steamed veggies and maybe some rice, boom there's dinner!

drizzle of olive oil
3 or 4 tilapia or other fish fillets
garlic powder
Old Bay seasoning
salt and pepper
1 large tomato (or several cherry or grape tomatoes, halved)
a few glugs of white wine
2 tbs butter

 Heat oven to 350F.
Place tilapia fillets in a casserole dish. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Season generously with garlic powder, Old bay, salt and pepper. Cut the tomato into large chunks. Place on top of fillets. Pour white wine over all. Dot with butter. Bake about 25-30 minutes or until the fillets are cooked and are easily flaked with a fork. That's it!!

Try adding a little chopped fresh basil or parsley over the top as you take it out of the oven. It adds a little extra layer of flavor!
This is also the perfect thing to make in foil packets on the grill:
 Place seasoned fillets on large pieces of heavy duty foil (or several layers of regular foil). Top with tomatoes, butter and a splash of wine. (You can also add sliced onions or scallions if you like). Fold the foil over and seal the edges to make a closed packet. Pierce the top to vent steam. Place on a grill and cook until the fish is tender and flaky. Easy!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Grandma Yearwood's Coconut Cake with Coconut Lemon Glaze

 If you know me, you know how much I love Paula Deen's recipes. I guess it's because I'm all about comfort food, which is very similar to southern cooking. So, when I heard about Trisha Yearwood's new southern cooking show, I knew I wanted to check it out.
 This is a recipe that she made on the first episode I saw. While she was cooking with her sister and her niece, she told the story of how her Father had wanted a certain cake that his mother had often made, but no one knew the recipe. Years later, they found a box of recipes and this was among them. As soon as he saw the recipe, he said "That's the cake!!" And now it's become a staple in their family once again.
 Pretty cool, huh? I just love stories like that. That's sort of one of the reasons I started this blog. It's a great way to archive my family's recipes, and hopefully they'll be passed down for generations. we need to talk about the cake itself... It's crazy insanely good, but OMG.....Holy go off your diet, Batman! This cake seriously gives Miss Paula a run for her money! So, just remember to save this one for a special occasion, ok? But DEFINITELY try it! It's amazingly good!

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing
flour, for dusting pan
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 12oz box vanilla wafers, finely crushed
1 6oz bag coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Coconut Lemon Glaze:
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
Grated zest of 2 large lemons
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
1 6oz bag coconut

For the cake:
Grease and flour a 9-inch tube cake pan. Cream the butter and sugar until light and smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, beating well. Mix in the vanilla wafer crumbs, coconut and pecans. Pour into the pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack.

For the glaze:
Mix the sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon zest and juice, 1 1/2 cups of water and coconut in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until thickened, for about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly, then using a toothpick, poke several holes in the top of the cake and drizzle the glaze over the cake.

Instead of greasing and flouring, I just use a nonstick baking spray. It has flour right in the spray, so it takes care of both the greasing and flouring at the same time. Very convenient!
I used a tube pan, just as the recipe directs, but I think a Bundt pan would make the cake look a little nicer when it's flipped over....Then again, Jerry says that's what ALL of my cakes look like. So not true! Anyway,  I was also thinking of using a 9x13 pan, just because that would lend itself to pouring the glaze on top and letting it sink into the cake, as opposed to running down the sides, don't you think?
I think next time I may leave the lemon out of it, and just make it a coconut cake. Actually, Chris said he doesn't even think the cake needs to be glazed at all.  Well, you decide!