Monday, October 31, 2011

Chicken Wrap with Thai Peanut Sauce

This sauce is nuts! Great for a weeknight dinner.
Prep time: 30 minutes             |          Total time: 30 minutes           |           Yield: Serves 4

Wrap filling:
· 2-3 chicken breasts
· 2 bell peppers
· 2 zucchinis 
· 1 onion
· 3 tablespoons of olive oil
· Salt, pepper, and pepper flakes to taste

Peanut sauce:
· 1 clove garlic, minced
· 1/2 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger

· 1/2 cup vegetable oil
· 1/4 cup good apple cider vinegar
· 3 tablespoons soy sauce or White Miso
· 1 1/2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
· 1/2 tablespoon honey

·  1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
· 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Wrap filling:
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in an oven-safe skillet on top of the stove over medium-high. While that’s heating, rub the breasts with salt, pepper, and pepper flakes.
3. Brown breasts in the pan on top of the oven, without disturbing for a few minutes on each side. Move the pan to the oven. Do not cover the pan; the skin will continue to crisp in the oven.
4. Let them cook for about 10 minutes in the oven, then flip them over again. Start checking for doneness at the 25-minute mark (time will vary depending on size).
5. Chop bell peppers, zucchinis and onion. Sauté in remaining olive oil (1 tablespoon).

6. Slice chicken into strips. Place chicken and vegetables in a tortilla.

Peanut sauce:
1. Combine ingredients and blend using a food processor or a blender.
2. Drizzle wrap with peanut sauce. 

Source: Sauce from Barefoot Contessa (link forthcoming). 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Fondue

Creamy pumpkin perfection. Great for holiday parties.
Prep time: 30 minutes             |             Total time: 2 hours            |            Yield: Serves 8

· 1 (15-inch) piece of baguette, 
cut into 1/2-inch slices 
· 1 (7-pound) orange pumpkin
· 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
· 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
· 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
· 2 1/2 cups grated Gruyère (6 ounces)
· 2 1/2 cups grated Emmental (6 ounces)
· 1 tablespoon olive oil
· 4 apples
· 8 cups veggies (carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini)

1. Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lower third.
2. Toast baguette slices in 1 layer on a baking sheet in oven until tops are crisp (bread will still be pale), about 7 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
3. Remove top of pumpkin by cutting a circle (3 inches in diameter) around stem with a small sharp knife. Scrape out seeds and any loose fibers from inside pumpkin with a spoon (including top of pumpkin; reserve seeds for another use if desired). Season inside of pumpkin with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
4. Whisk together cream, broth, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Mix together cheeses in another bowl.
5. Put a layer of toasted bread in bottom of pumpkin, then cover with about 1 cup cheese and about 1/2 cup cream mixture. Continue layering bread, cheese, and cream mixture until pumpkin is filled to about 1/2 inch from top, using all of cream mixture. (You may have some bread and cheese left over.)
6. Cover pumpkin with top and put in an oiled small roasting pan. Brush outside of pumpkin all over with olive oil. Bake until pumpkin is tender and filling is puffed, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

7. With a large spoon, stir cheese with desired amount of pumpkin.
8. Dip with bread, apples, and veggies.

Source: Epicurious. Thanks MP!

Zucchini Pizza

Pizzacchini. Great for a healthy dinner.
Prep time: 30 minutes           |            Total time: 50 minutes            |          Yield: Serves 4

Note: This recipe makes 5 different zucchini pizza variations. Adapt with your favorite pizza toppings.

Base: 8 zucchini, halved lengthwise

Toppings #1:
· 1/8 cup of marinera sauce
· 1/8 cup of homemade pesto
· 1/8 cup of fresh feta
· Chopped onion to taste.
· Meat of your choice (pepperoni, 
prosciutto, ground sausage, etc.)

Toppings #2:
· 1/8 cup of homemade pesto
· 1/8 cup of fresh feta
· Chopped onion to taste
· Chopped bell pepper to taste

Toppings #3:
· 1/8 cup of marinera sauce
· 1/8 cup of mozzarella cheese
· Chopped onion to taste
· Shredded meat of your choice (pepperoni, 
prosciutto, ground sausage, etc.)

Toppings #4
· 1/8 cup of tahini sauce (mix tahini paste, olive oil, and lemon juice)
· 1/8 cup of fresh feta
· Chopped onion to taste
· Chopped bell pepper to taste

Toppings #5:
· 1/8 cup of homemade pesto
· 1/8 cup of fresh feta and mozzarella 
· Shredded meat of your choice (pepperoni, 
prosciutto, ground sausage, etc.)

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 13×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Add sauces and toppings to zucchini halves. For deep dish pizzas, scoop the seeds from the center of each zucchini half, using a spoon. Fill with toppings.
3. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.

Source: Inspired by All Recipes. Updated by Chef Power and Chef Hannan.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tortilla Soup

Spicy fresh. Great for a quick dinner...great for leftovers. 
Prep time: 10 minutes         |           Total time: 30 minutes           |            Yield: Serves 4

· 6 (6-inch) corn tortillas

· 1/4 cup grapeseed oil, peanut oil, 
other high smoke-point oil
· 1/2 cup chopped onion
· 2 cloves garlic, minced
· 1-2 medium Anaheim, poblano or
chiles, seeded, veins removed, chopped 
· 4 cups chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
· 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
(recommended Muir Glen fire-roasted)
· 1 cup whole corn kernels, cooked
· 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
· 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
· 1 ripe avocado
· 1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded cheddar
· Chopped fresh cilantro
· 1 lime, cut into wedges


1. If you are starting with somewhat old, dried out tortillas, great. If not and you are starting with relatively fresh tortillas, put them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven at 200°F for 10-15 minutes to dry them out a bit.
2. Cut tortillas in half, and then cut the halves into 1/4-inch wide strips. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 3-quart pot. Working in three batches, fry the tortilla strips in the oil, until lightly browned and crisp. Remove the tortilla strips from the pan and let drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.
3. Add the chopped onions to the pan, cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add the chopped chile and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until the onions and chiles have softened.
5. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
6. Add the broth, tomatoes, and salt. Increase the heat to high, heat until the soup begins to boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and corn.
7 To serve, pit, peel, and cut the avocado into 1-inch pieces. Divide half of tortilla strips among 4 individual serving bowls; ladle in soup. Top with avocado and cheese; garnish with remaining tortilla strips and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Source: Simply Recipes.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Tastes like fall. Great for a seasonal dessert.
Prep time: 10 minutes             |             Total time: 30 minutes            |          Yield: 24 cupcakes


· 1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix
· 16 ounce canned pumpkin pie mix 
· 1/2 cup water
· 1/3 cup vegetable oil
· 4 eggs
· 1 container cream cheese frosting

1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Place paper baking cup in each 

of 24 regular-size muffin cups.
2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, pumpkin mix, water, oil, eggs and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (about two-thirds full).
3. Bake 19 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
4. Frost cupcakes with frosting. Sprinkle edge of frosted cupcakes with pecans; press lightly into frosting. Store loosely covered.

Source: Adapted from Betty Crocker

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Potato and Cheese Pierogi

Bring on the Polski. Great for an all day project.
Prep time: 1.5 hours         |         Total time: 2 hours         |         Yield: ~3 dozen dumplings

· 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 
· 3 large eggs · 2 tablespoons sour cream 
· 3/4 to 1 cup water


· 1-1/2 lbs baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
· 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
· 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 
· 1 small sweet onion, chopped 
· 1 clove garlic, minced 
· 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 
· 3/4 to 1 cup grated dry farmer's cheese 
· Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

· 3 tablespoons butter 
· 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
· 2 tablespoons flour 
· 1-3/4 cup chicken broth (either homemade or low-sodium) 
· 1/2 teaspoon salt 
· 1/4 teaspoon white pepper 
· 1/4 cup sour cream 
· 1/3 cup chives

Finished dish:

· 1/2 stick butter, cut into 1 tablespoon portions 


Prepare dough:
1. In a large bowl or mixer, combine the flour, eggs, sour cream and 1/2 cup of water. 
2. Beat the eggs as you mix and gradually add the rest of the water until the mixture is combined.
3. Turn the dough onto a well floured surface. Knead it gently, using a dropping technique (lift the dough from the surface and drop it down). Knead only until the ingredients are blended and the dough is smooth and slightly sticky, about 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to over work the dough.
4. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 20 to 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Make filling:
1. Put the potatoes in a medium pot and add just enough cold, salted water to cover them. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.
2. While the potatoes cook, melt the butter and oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. 
3. Add the onion, garlic and thyme, cooking until the onion turns translucent, about 2 minutes. 
4. Lower the heat and continue cooking until onions caramelize slightly, about 20 minutes. You may need to add a bit more butter as the onion and garlic mixture cooks. 
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside to cool.
6. When the potatoes are soft, drain them in a colander and lightly press out the remaining moisture. Return them to the pot, remove from heat and add the cooled onion mixture and the cheese. Mash them just until blended and large lumps are gone. Season again with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool while you roll out the pierogi dough.

Assemble pierogis:
1. With lightly floured hands, pinch off tablespoon sized portions of the dough and roll them into balls. The balls should be about 1-1/2 inches in diameter, yielding about 3 dozen total.
2. On a well floured surface, gently roll each ball with a rolling pin until about 1/8 inch thick and 3-1/2 inches round. Cover the finished rounds with a damp towel so they don't dry out while you're working.
3. Once your rounds are rolled out, hold each in the palm of your hand, filling the center of it with a generous tablespoon of the potato mixture. 
4. Gently fold the round in half, pulling the edges away and pinching them firmly shut to enclose the filling. Be sure the edges are sealed by working from one end to the other. As you work, set your filled pierogi aside on a floured surface and cover them with plastic wrap.
Make sauce:
1. Heat the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly until it softens and begins to turn a very light golden color. Be careful not to allow it to crisp or brown. 
2. Add the flour, and continue stirring until it is well incorporated into the butter and garlic. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the flour begins to turn golden yellow.
3. Gradually begin stirring in the chicken broth, blending it with the flour mixture until the sauce is smooth, creamy and thickened. 
4. Add the salt and pepper, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Whisk in the sour cream and blend until smooth. Add the fresh chives just before serving.

Cook pierogis:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. 
2. Working in batches, drop no more than 6 pierogi at a time into the boiling water. After they float back to the surface, allow them to cook another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the pierogi with a slotted spoon and place on a towel to drain and cool.

Sauté and serve:
1. To finish the dish, heat a tablespoon or two of butter in a pan over medium heat and briefly sauté them in batches until they are slightly crispy and brown on the exterior. 
2. Transfer to a serving dish and top with sauce.


A real crowd pleaser. Great anytime.
Prep time: 5 minutes                |             Total time: 15 minutes             |             Yield: 1 batch


· 3 ripe avocados
· 8 ounces of salsa (pico de
gallo/Pace hot salsa)
· 1 lime, juiced
· 1/2 medium onion, diced
· 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
· 1 clove garlic, minced


1. Cut avocados in half. Remove pit. Scoop out avacado from the peel; put in a mixing bowl.
2. Using a potato masher or fork, mash avocado. Add salsa, lime, onion, cilantro, and garlic.

Source: Chef Hannans.