Monday, September 27, 2010

Chicken with Artichokes and Roasted Red Peppers

Last week, I had some leftover artichoke hearts in my fridge so I went browsing through my Google Reader and found this recipe. I also had some leftover roasted red peppers which led to my first adaptation to the original recipe. I changed a few other things around and ended up with a good weeknight meal.

Pan sauces have given me problems in the past - mine are never flavorful or rich enough but I think this one came close. Next time I will may try adding a bit of butter right at the end to bring some creaminess to the dish. I served this over rice pilaf and alongside some roasted broccoli.

Chicken with Artichokes and Roasted Red Peppers
adapted from Aggie's Kitchen
Makes 4 small servings

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1-1.5 pounds)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 of a large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
small jar (about 7 ounces) roasted red peppers, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place top side down in skillet. Cook until golden-brown, about 7 minutes on each side; and remove to a plate. Keep the skillet over medium heat.

Add the onion and garlic to the chicken drippings in the skillet and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts, wine, chicken broth, and red peppers. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 3-5 minutes. Add the parsley, and more salt and pepper to taste.

Return the chicken to the skillet and simmer until heated through, about 1 minute.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Best Dang Thing EVER Bars

No arguments here about the name of these bars. They certainly live up to their name with a crumbly chocolate crust, a buttery caramel layer, topped off by some more chocolate crumbles and chocolate frosting (and nuts, if you wish). And since this uses a cake mix as a base, fairly simple to make!
The original recipe calls for German chocolate cake mix, but my wonderful supermarket didn't have that in stock, so I chose Devil's Food with great results. I also did not add the pecans since nuts are not my favorite, but I am sure they would add a nice crunch. Other tips - unwrap the bag of caramels before you start anything, since melting the caramel takes longer than the crust takes to bake. And don't add too much water to the frosting - it doesn't harden up in the fridge, so don't make it too runny. Otherwise, make these soon!

I didn't make any other changes to this recipe (other than only cutting them into 32 bars) so I will link you right to Beantown Baker with the original!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pasta Fagioli Soup

Mmmm, the first slow cooker meal of the season, and it also happens to be a soup! Perfect comfort food while I am awaiting the changing leaves and pumpkin picking with Abbie. This recipe is actually a little reminiscent of the last soup I blogged, but easier to make and tastier in my opinion.

Fairly easy to prep, with browning the ground beef and chopping the onion the only real work you have to do. The cayenne pepper gives it a little kick and the broth is nice and rich with the beef and tomato taste. Add some Parmesan cheese to give it a nice salty bite and enjoy this while watching the leaves fall!

Pasta Fagioli Soup
Makes 6-8 servings

1 can Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped (I omitted)
2 (10.5-ounce) cans beef broth
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, broken apart
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
3 cups dried pasta, cooked (I used elbows)

Combine all ingredients but pasta in a 4 to 7-quart slow cooker. Cook on Low for 8-10 hours or High for 4-5 hours. At the end of cooking time, add the cooked pasta and serve immediately.

Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Matt's Turkey Burgers

My friend Nicole's husband, Matt is a great cook. So when he was waxing poetic about his turkey burgers I knew I had to get the recipe! This is a delicious change from my regular turkey burgers - the mayo and Dijon add a creaminess and bind the burgers together without an egg or bread crumbs; and the other spices all work together to create a great flavor. Matt recommends serving them with crumbled blue cheese melted on top (which we did) and grilled red onion. Yum!

We liked these so much we had them twice in one week! The first time I served them with sweet potato fries and sesame spinach salad and the second time I served them with cole slaw and sauteed zucchini and tomatoes.

Matt's Turkey Burgers
from Matt of Ingredients for a Wonderful Life
Makes 4 burgers

1 package lean ground turkey (about 1.25-1.33 pounds)
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
splash of soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder (I used chili powder)
2 teaspoons salt (I would recommend 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients and form into 4 patties. Grill over medium heat, about 4-5 minutes each side, flipping only once until meat is no longer pink in the middle.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bacon Appetizer Crescents

Yes, another post with no photos - I do apologize! I brought these to a barbecue and neglected to take any pictures as they were being gobbled up by everyone. But I got so many compliments (and they are so EASY) I couldn't keep them all to myself. And you can look at some nice photos over on Delish where I found these!

You can pretty much change up the add-in ingredients here to suit your tastebuds, I can't wait to try some new variations! I wouldn't make these too far in advance, and if you do, warm them slightly before serving.

Bacon Appetizer Crescents
slightly adapted from Delish
Makes 32 pieces

1 package (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened
8 sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled, or 1/2 cup REAL Bacon Bits
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon milk
2 cans (8-ounce) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick foil.

Mix together all ingredients except crescent rolls until well-blended. An electric mixer helps, but is not necessary.

Separate each can of dough into four rectangles on a work surface. Firmly press perforations together to seal. Spread each rectangle with about 2 tablespoons of cream cheese mixture; cover evenly. Roll up each rectangle (starting with the shorter side) and then cut each cylinder into 4 equal pieces with a serrated knife. Place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

Whew, with a name like that you know this dessert HAS to be out-of-this-world and it certainly delivered! I thought this would be very time consuming to make with all the steps it calls for, but it was surprisingly quick to make and the end result certainly made it all worth it.

You start with a layer of graham cracker crumbs mixed with chocolate chips, then top it with a sweetened cream cheese layer, then top with a layer of crumbled cookie dough and bake. How can you go wrong here?
Other than not finishing these off with the chocolate drizzle and only using 8 ounces (1 bar) of cream cheese instead of the called for 10 ounces, I didn't make any changes to the original recipe so I will link you below. If you make these in an 8x8 pan, like I did, just bake a few minutes longer until the center is set. Enjoy!

Note: Ok, sooo it has come to my attention that these were posted last year (at almost the same time, which is odd) but they were so good I want you to try them again!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

BBQ Meatloaf

So hungry people + a late dinner time + comfort food = some really ugly pictures, so there are none for this post. Sorry! But this was so delicious and easy to prepare I just had to share it with you.

I saw this on my friend Nicole's blog while I was making my weekly meal plan and immediately added it to the list. I have been making my same version of turkey meatloaf for awhile now and was in the mood to try something new. This was great - a tasty make-your-own BBQ sauce really adds a lot to the old favorite!

BBQ Meatloaf
slightly adapted from Ingredients for a Wonderful Life
Makes 4-6 servings

1.25-1.5 pounds ground beef or turkey
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an 11x7 baking dish with cooking spray.

Mix together the beef or turkey, bread crumbs, onion, egg, salt, pepper, and 1/2 c. of the tomato sauce. Form mixture into a loaf and place into prepared baking dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the rest of the tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour the sauce over the meatloaf.

Bake for 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes or so with the pan juices.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Caprese Lasagna

This is a lovely little version of lasagna filled with fresh ingredients that would be perfect for these last days of summer. Ripe, juicy tomatoes and fresh, fragrant basil pair with mozzarella cheese and a creamy sauce to make a delicious and simple dinner.

The original recipe calls for a 13x9 baking dish, but I separated mine into two 8x8's so that I could have one to freeze. If you do this I would definitely recommend making another half batch (so 1 1/2 times the sauce ingredients) because I ran out at the end. Otherwise, I didn't make any changes from Lauren's version so here is the link!