Monday, October 31, 2011

Burly-Man-Size Chicken-Cheddar Barbecued Burgers with Spicy Coleslaw

It's Halloween, and I didn't make a single Halloween anything this year. It kind of made my husband a little sad since he's never celebrated Halloween before and this would have been his first one! Next year it will be made up.

These burgers are pretty decent. The coleslaw isn't as spicy, but I'm sure you could adjust the heat as much as you want! I didn't want to add too much spice since the last two meals were...hothothot.

These need a little bit more BBQ sauce and cheese. I think instead of adding the cheese into the burgers, I'd just top them off with some after cooking. Plus I would add some of McCormick BBQ seasoning to the burgers and top with more BBQ sauce after cooking. I like my BBQ sauce, okay?

All the ingredients you'll need! Some of which are hidden behind everything else...

After adding all the coleslaw ingredients, make sure the cabbage is completely coated and set aside to top the burgers with.

Poorly-shaped chicken burgers. I had to defrost my chicken in the microwave because I only set it in the fridge the morning of. It was still a little frozen by dinner time. After the microwave, my chicken was totally soggy and wouldn't hold. Oops. But still worked out okay!

Oh yeah. I recently bought myself a grill skillet thing. I've been wanting one for a while, and finally just decided I needed it. I love it! It's awesome for burgers. I can't wait to try other things on it. Like grilled chicken breasts...

The finished plate! Make sure to serve with yummy french fries for a tasty meal.

Burly-Man-Size Chicken-Cheddar Barbecued Burgers with Spicy Coleslaw
Recipe by: Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats Cookbook

1 cup mayo
1 tablespoon hot sauce
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 small red cabbage, halved, cored, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, thinly sliced
6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 pounds ground chicken
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1/3 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4 inch dice
extra virgin olive oil
4 kaiser rolls, split

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If an item says it's a staple item that means that I used so little of the full product that it wasn't worth the math to figure out each teaspoon, etc. Haha.

Total Price of Meal: $15.03

1. For the spicy coleslaw, in a bowl combine the mayo, hot sauce, lime juice, parsley, cilantro, salt and pepper. Add the sliced cabbage, red bell peppers, and half of the scallions, stir to coat the cabbage, and reserve the spicy slaw for topping the burgers.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, BBQ sauce, cheddar dice, reserved scallions, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Score the meat with your hand to mark 4 equal portions. Form each portion into a 1-inch thick patty. Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the patties and place them in the hot skillet. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until the patties are form to the touch and cooked through.

3. While the burgers are cooking, toast the kaiser rolls. Transfer the burgers to the bottoms of the toasted roll, pile some spicy coleslaw on top, and then replace the roll tops.

4. Serve with fries or chips.

Mexican Pasta with Tomatillo Sauce and Meatballs

Second recipe from Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats. This one is not going to be a keeper for us. It was okay to make the first time, and it used ingredients I've never purchased before.

I never usually put jalapenos in our dishes, because I'm not so much of a spicy eater and my husband can only tolerate so many. My grandfather? You should have seen him put extra hot sauce on his plate!

This dish is incredibly hot. I was thinking about seeding the jalapenos before slicing them, and ended up not. I should have. I need to take a lesson in how to properly chop onions, too. Some pieces are too big while others are too small. I'm trying to take baby steps here!

I think I also overcooked my chicken meatballs, and they were a little on the dry side. These pack a bunch of flavor, though, which was okay but I didn't enjoy with the sauce. I guess I'm a red or white sauce kind of pasta person.

I also used the whole block of Manchego cheese. We love our cheese around here, and I piled it on high after finishing the pasta, which made it a little more bearable to eat.

So, if you like spicy, try this dish!

I missed a few photos because it was getting late and dinner should have been on the table an hour before it was ready. It took a lot of time to prep. I need to learn to prep first then prepare. Not prep while preparing.

All the ingredients you'll need. I did have a Mexican beer, but my grandfather took it from it's hiding spot and drank it. He said he didn't like it at all. So I ended up using this 55 calorie beer. I should have gone with the chicken stock.

The onions, jalapenos, garlic and tomatillos cooking in a pot with the beer.

The chicken meatballs after they were done cooking. Look at all the flavor!

My plate piled high with cheese! Just like I promised.

Mexican Pasta with Tomatillo Sauce and Meatballs
Recipe by: Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats Cookbook

coarse salt
1 pound fettuccine
extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground pork or chicken
1 egg
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon allspice
a few dashes hot sauce
coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 jalapenos, fully seeded and very thinly sliced
1 cup Mexican beer or chicken stock
20 tomatillos, peeled and coarsely chopped
salt and pepper
1 cup grated Manchego cheese

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If an item says it's a staple item that means that I used so little of the full product that it wasn't worth the math to figure out each teaspoon, etc. Haha.

Total Price of Meal: $17.61

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and cook the pasta al dente.

2. While the pasta works, add a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to a mixing bowl. Place the meat in the bowl. Add the egg, bread crumbs, cilantro, the thyme, scallions, allspice, hot sauce, salt and pepper, and mix to combine. Form 2-inch meatballs and arrange on a rimmed nonstick cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

3. While the meatballs bake, make the sauce. Heat a deep-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, the garlic, onions, and jalapenos. Cook for 5 minutes, add the beer or stock, and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatillos and the cilantro, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender and saucy, about 10 minutes.

4. To serve, toss the drained pasta with the sauce and meatballs and the Manchego cheese. Serve with crusty bread.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Charred Tomato Soup with Pesto and Prosciutto Stromboli

Since this is my first recipe, I'll tell you something about the people who eat what I cook everyday. If I didn't live with my grandparents, my grandfather would feed himself and my grandmother frozen TV dinners. Every day. It sickens me. My husband, who is from Australia, ate fast food for every meal, every day (how is it that he's only 150 pounds?). It sickens me. I love to cook, and think everyone deserves a home-cooked meal every day for dinner. I usually get stuck into making the same meals every week with not too much change up. My husband and grandfather just want meat and potatoes everyday. So, this is my resolution. To introduce new foods we've never tried, or switch up favorites into something different.

I try to limit myself on how much I spend on groceries every week. Of course, trying out these new recipes I'll most likely have to buy quite a bit. With each recipe, I'll post how much I spent on ingredients, then a total price of the entire meal. A meal that will be costly, in my opinion, isn't worth it for every day making. We'll see how the recipes I choose meet my spending limit!

My first recipe of seven! This recipe comes from Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats.

My husband usually doesn't ever eat soup. This soup is a on the thin side, but good with the stromboli! It's a lot spicier than I thought it would be as well! Oh my. My lips were burnin'!

All the ingredients you need! Except I did forget to add garlic in the picture...

Tomatoes and onions getting ready to get into the broiler. Sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper. Yummy.

Naked unrolled strombolis. I decided 12 slices of prosciutto was too expensive and just went with six slices.

Strombolis all rolled up and sprinkled with sesame seeds, dried red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning.

Tomatoes and onions after they came out of the oven and into the blender. You know, I thought I almost caught the oven on fire with these tomatoes. I took the pan out of the oven, and when I did, a huge flame shot up at me! I think it's time for a new oven...

Tomato Puree with added cream. Almost done!

Finished tomato soup with stromboli.

Charred Tomato Soup with Pesto Prosciutto Stromboli
Recipe by: Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats Cookbook

6 ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1 small red onion, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
salt and pepper
1 tube refrigerated pizza dough
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour or cornmeal
1/2 cup store-bought pesto
12 slices prosciutto di Parma
4 slices Provolone
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 quart chicken stock or broth
1 cup heavy cream
20 fresh basil leaves, shredded or torn

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If an item says it's a staple item that means that I used so little of the full product that it wasn't worth the math to figure out each teaspoon, etc. Haha.

Total Price of Meal: $23.42

You can easily get 6 servings of soup from this meal (even though Rachael Ray says 4), although you'd probably need to make more strombolis!

1. Preheat the broiler to high.

2. Arrange the plum tomato halves, skin side down, with the onions on a rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Broil for about 4 minutes, flip, and continue to broil for 3 minutes, or until the tomatoes and onions are slightly charred. Lower the oven setting to 400 F.

3. Dust your hands and the dough lightly with flour or cornmeal and unroll the dough out onto a work surface. Stretch out the dough, gently spreading its rectangle shape. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces (you'll end up with four square pieces of dough). Cover each piece of dough with 2 tablespoons of the pesto.

4. Fold 3 slices of the prosciutto and 1 slice of the Provolone to fit each pesto-covered piece of dough, then roll each piece on an angle from corner to corner, making a long roll. Brush the rolls with extra virgin olive oil, then mix the sesame seeds, Italian seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon of the red pepper flakes in a small cup. Sprinkle and pat the mixture onto the strombolis, place in the oven, and bake until evenly golden, 12 to 14 minutes.

5. Place the tomatoes and onions in a blender or food processor, and puree until somewhat smooth.

6. Preheat a soup pot over medium-high heat, add the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and add the garlic and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Saute the garlic for a minute, then add the pureed vegetables and the chicken stock. When the soup comes to a bubble, stir in the heavy cream, then season with salt and pepper. Simmer the soup for 8 to 10 minutes.

7. When ready to serve, turn off the soup and stir in the basil. Adjust the salt and pepper to your liking. Serve the soup alongside the pesto and prosciutto stromboli, dipping them in the soup as you eat them.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Muffins Three Ways: Blueberry, Raspberry, Apple Cinnamon

First of all, I would just like to say: I need serious help in making a simple crumble for topping muffins. I followed the recipe just like it says, but all I got was a melted-all-over-the-muffin-pan mess! My muffins didn't look very good at all, but oh my did they taste amazing.

It could be because I cheated. I didn't fill the muffin cavities all the way, and made 12 muffins instead of 10. Tsk tsk on my part. Therefore making the crumble topping be a disaster! I'll make these again eventually and see where I could have gone wrong.

All the ingredients I used! Plus apples and raspberries to use for batch two and three muffins.

Add flour, salt, baking soda and sugar into a bowl.

Put in your oil, egg and vanilla in a measuring glass and add in enough milk to equal 1 cup. It'll be not quite a full half-cup of milk.

Fold in the blueberries to the thick batter.

This is where you're supposed to fill the muffin cups all the way, but...I didn't. Shame on me. I've read the recipe a million times, and still did it wrong!

All the ingredients you need for the crumb topping!

If you have a dorky husband like I do, this is the face he'll make while holding your uncooked muffins!

After mixing your crumble ingredients with a fork until the butter is pea-sized, sprinkle a good heap of the mixture on top of your muffins. I should have filled my tins up all the way. It makes me a little sad.

The terrible mess that came out of my oven. Oh my! What did I do so horribly wrong?! But they'll be gone in a few days. They're delicious. And ugly.

Blueberry Muffins
Recipe from: The Cutting Edge of Ordinary

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil (or vegetable oil)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
enough milk to fill one cup
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cold and cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

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If an item says it's a staple item that means that I used so little of the full product that it wasn't worth the math to figure out each teaspoon, etc. Haha.

Total Price of Meal: $3.71

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease the muffin cups or use muffin liners.

2. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk to mix. Place the vegetable oil into a 1-cup measuring cup and add the egg and vanilla. Pour in enough milk to fill it to the 1-cup line. Pour this into the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Don’t over mix! Gently fold in the blueberries. The batter will be thick.

3. Fill the muffin cups to the top. I used an ice cream scoop and one scoop filled them perfectly. Makes 10 muffins.

To make crumb topping:

4. Mix together the brown sugar, flour, cubed butter and cinnamon. Using a pasty blender or a fork combine until the butter is pea sized. Sprinkle over the muffins before baking.

5. Bake 20 - 25 minutes in a preheated oven or until they test done. Let cool 5 minutes in pan, and then remove from pan to cool on a rack.

Other Variations I Used: 1 cup raspberries OR 2 apples, finely diced and a good sprinkle of cinnamon instead of using 1 cup blueberries.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Visit to Chattanooga Cupcakes Drive-Thru

I love going into bakeries, especially cute little cupcakes bakeries that seem to pop up everywhere (even if I don't really get to go in them as much as I would like to). This is Chattanooga Cupcakes second store. I've never been to the first store they have downtown, but I would love to someday! We went at 7:30 PM, and the drive-thru was totally spooky at the side and back of the building the bakery is in. You can go inside the bakery, but I just have to be difficult. They have a very yummy menu! We went on a Saturday and they have a 'regular' menu and then five other cupcakes they serve on specific days. I know it could be expensive to serve all sorts of cupcakes every day, but that's the only thing that really disappoints me about cupcake bakeries. They tempt me with flavors I can't have on the day I'm there! They also say they are a 'from-scratch' bakery, which I like. The customer service was perfect as well. The price was like any other cupcake place and was $3.28 with tax. In my opinion, I really hate paying almost $4 for a single cupcake and I guess that's why I hardly ever go into cupcake bakeries (as much as I would love to).


Now, I love frosting. But not so much that I want two cups worth of frosting on top of my cupcake. There needs to be that perfect balance of cake to frosting. I opted this time to get the red velvet cupcake, which I've always been hesitate to get due to the fact I don't understand the hype of red velvet. I've made a few red velvet cakes myself, and they just don't pop out as one of my favorites. Maybe I'm doing something wrong? So, I get home with my cupcake and can't wait to dig in. The first I notice...two cups of frosting on my cupcake. I mean, a massive amount. I dip my tongue in to get a small amount of frosting to try. The frosting was a yummy cream cheese with red sanding sugar sparingly sprinkled on top. I try to eat my cupcake with the frosting on top, and eventually it just becomes too much and I almost put my dog into sugar coma with the handful of frosting I ended up giving him. I know, shame on me. He wanted some SO bad, though! The cupcake, sadly, wasn't something I'd go tell everyone to go out and buy. I wish I would have gone with the chocolate/chocolate combo. The cake was incredibly crumbly. Something I shouldn't have eaten in bed while watching a movie. It got everywhere. I wouldn't mind going back to try something more exciting, so maybe you'll see more on Chattanooga Cupcakes!

Maybe some day I'll find that perfect red velvet that will get me hooked.