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Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!


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Chipotle and Lime Shrimp Tacos

Shrimp TacosThis recipe is from Cuisine at Home Magazine (June 2010 issue).  My husband and I have been on a chipotle pepper kick – especially if it also has adobo sauce. I think my husband must have told me these tacos were good about a dozen times tonight.  Since we are trying to limit our calories in an effort to lose weight, this recipe was appealing since 2 tacos has 462 calories and did not feel like we were starving. You most certainly can cook the shrimp by grilling them on skewers – I opted for the cast iron skillet. Photo credit: Hubby – thank you!

Shrimp Tacos

adapted from Cuisine at Home Magazine (June 2010 issue) | Serves 4

For the Shrimp Tacos:

  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 8 (6 inch) flour tortillas

For the Chipotle Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup crema, sour cream, or mayo (or combination of two)
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • salt to taste

For the Red Cabbage Slaw:

  • 4 cups shredded red cabbage (about 1/2 a small head)
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar, or white wine vinegar
  • salt to taste

Instructions:

Marinate the shrimp in the refrigerator in a marinade made with lime juice, olive oil, and chili powder. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.  In the meantime, make the chipotle sauce: Combine the mayonnaise (Mexican crema, or sour cream) with the minced chipotle peppers, honey, tsp lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate the sauce until serving.

Combine the ingredients for the slaw in a medium bowl.  Toss to coat the cabbage.  Refrigerate until serving.

Skewer the shrimp on wooden skewers and either cook them on the grill or cook in a cast iron skillet for 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

Lightly sprinkle a few paper towels with water and place on a plate.  Top with 8 tortillas and cover with another damp paper towel.  Microwave the tortillas to soften them for 1 minute.

Assemble the tacos: Place a flour tortilla on your plate.  Spoon 2 to 3 spoons of red cabbage slaw in the center of the tortilla.  Top with 4 shrimp on each taco and spoon a few tablespoons of chipotle sauce over the top of the shrimp.  Enjoy.

2 tacos with sauce and slaw 462 calories according to Cuisine at Home Magazine (June 2010 issue p 9)

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Italian Meatballs

img_4050I have recently made a few new recipes.  Two of them by Bobby Flay – and both of them outstanding! This one is for Spaghetti and Sauce.  We LOVED the meatballs!  I will be making them again in the future – maybe even in bulk to freeze them for the future.  I did  not use veal as it is sometimes hard to find.  I doubled the recipe because we had more than 4 people eating dinner… Now I wish I had made even more!

Spaghetti and Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

adapted from Bobby Flay

Serves 8

Meatballs Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely minced and sauteed
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil/canola oil

Homemade Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 (28 oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes, with liquid, pureed in a food processor
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 small bunches fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • basil leaves for topping, optional

Instructions:

For the meatballs:

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, ground pork, eggs, grated Parmesan, cooked garlic, dry bread crumbs, minced fresh parsley, salt, and pepper.  Use two large serving forks to break up the meat and mix all the ingredients until it is evenly seasoned.  Do not overwork it as it will become tough.  Form 1 to 1 1/2 inch meatballs with your hands.

Heat a non stick skillet with 1 cup of cooking oil over medium high heat.  Cook the meatballs in batches, turning them over with tongs and continue cooking until golden brown. You do not need to cook them through entirely, as you simmer them in the sauce.  Drain the meatballs on a wire rack for a few minutes while you finish cooking the remaining meatballs.

For the sauce:

In a large stock pot, cook the onions in olive oil over medium heat and cook until softened.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add processed tomatoes, bay leaf, parsley, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring the sauce to a boil and add in the browned meatballs.  Reduce the heat to just a simmer and cook the sauce and the meatballs for 45 minutes or longer.

Serve over cooked pasta and top off with basil and additional grated Parmesan cheese.

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Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

img_3921Here is another easy dessert recipe.  It is Ina Garten’s Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake (Barefoot Contessa Food Network)  I loved the ease of preparation.  While she recommends a specific brand of chocolate chip cookie, I used a generic crunch chocolate chip cookie (it softens overnight).  The dessert reminds me of Tiramisu.  No baking involved!  Icebox cakes are layers of cookies and whipped cream/cream cheese in a spring form cake form and refrigerated overnight. Next day simply cut around the cake and release the sides of the cake form.  Slice and enjoy!

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

adapted from Ina Garten, Food Network

Serves 10

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
  • 12 oz Mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 packet instant espresso coffee (like Starbucks brand instant coffee single)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 24 oz crisp chocolate chip cookies
  • shaved milk chocolate for garnish

Instructions:

In your mixing bowl, add whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, instant espresso coffee, and vanilla extract.  With the whisk attachment mix the ingredients on low speed until combined; then increase to medium speed and whip until soft peaks form.

In the bottom of a 8 inch spring form cake pan, place a layer of chocolate chip cookies in the bottom of the cake pan.  Break cookies into smaller pieces to fill in any gaps.  Spread one fifth of the whip cream mixture over the top of the cookies all the way to the edge of the pan.  Repeat with cookies alternating with whipped cream until you have 5 layers of cookies and a fifth layer of whipped cream at the top.  Use a vegetable peeler to create chocolate shavings to top the whipped cream for garnish.  Cover the spring form pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Carefully cut around the edge of the spring form cake pan loosening the whipping cream from the edge.  Carefully open the form and remove the sides.

Cut the cake into 10 slices and serve.

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One Skillet Chicken with Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce

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Winner winner chicken dinner…. Here is winning recipe I found through Pinterest.  The original recipe is from Little Spice Jar and my husband announced I could make this recipe every week! I added extra parsley and fresh rosemary to the original.

One Skillet Chicken with Lemon Garlic Sauce

adapted from Little Spice Jar

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut in half  to 1/2 ” thickness
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley or basil, as garnish
  • lemon slices, optional

Instructions:

Cut the chicken breast halves in half horizontally to make them thinner cutlet.

Season each chicken cutlet with salt and pepper on both sides.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Saute the chicken breast halves in a large stainless steel skillet over medium high heat in canola oil, for 3-4 minutes on each side.  Remove the browned chicken to a Pyrex oven safe dish. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 cup of minced parsley and minced fresh rosemary. Cover with foil and place in the oven.

Saute the shallots in the same skillet you used to cook the chicken for a few minutes over medium high heat.  Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook another minute. Add chicken broth and lemon juice.  Stir the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or whisk to loosen the browned bits from the pan.  Bring the broth to a boil and cook reducing the liquid until about 1/3 of the sauce remains.

Turn off the heat and add butter to the sauce.  Stir and allow the butter to melt completely.  Add heavy cream and stir.  Remove the chicken cutlets from the oven and pour the sauce over the chicken.  Add sliced lemons if you desire.  Place the glass dish back in the oven to cook for an additional 8 to 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley just before serving.

Serve with pasta and steamed vegetables.

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Butterflied Chicken with Garlic Smashed Potatoes

I love Cook’s Country Magazine and have been a faithful subscriber for nearly a decade.  In the October/November 2016 issue I found this recipe for Butterflied Chicken with Garlic Smashed Potatoes.  Just reading the recipe was an invitation to make it sooner than later.  It is a delicious chicken dish that I will serve again.  It is not hard to make – the hardest part is cutting the back bone out of the chicken (use poultry scissors).

Butterflied Chicken with Garlic Smashed Potatoes

adapted from Cook’s Country Oct/Nov 2016 issue

Serves 4 | approx. 585 calories per serving (as per fitnesspal)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (4 lb- 4 1/2 lb) roasting chicken, giblets discarded
  • 1 Tbsp extra- virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 lb Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced to 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chives (optional)

For the Parsley Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp capers, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Place the rack in your oven to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 F.

Place the whole chicken on the cutting board breast side down.  Remove and discard the giblets.  Use poultry scissors to cut along both sides of the backbone from tail to neck and discard the backbone.  Turn the chicken breast side up.  Dry with paper towels.  Coat the chicken with one tablespoon of olive oil and season the chicken with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 a teaspoon of pepper.  Tuck the wings behind the bird.

In a 12 inch stainless steel skillet add the sliced potatoes, water, smashed garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  Place the butterflied chicken on top of the bed of potatoes in the skillet.  Heat the skillet on the stove top over medium high heat until the water comes to a boil.  Turn off the burner and place the skillet in the oven.

Cook the chicken and potatoes in the oven at 450F for 1 hour, rotating the pan in the oven after 30 minutes. (Test chicken with a thermometer 160F for white meat 175F for dark- cook longer if necessary).

Meanwhile make the parsley sauce: in a small bowl, combine minced fresh parsley, olive oil, minced capers, minced shallot, lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste

Remove the skillet from the oven and place on stove-top.  Carefully lift the chicken from potatoes and place onto a cutting board to allow it to rest.  Cook the potatoes over medium high heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon out any excess liquid in the skillet.   Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes and half and half.  Taste, season with salt and pepper if desired.

Serve the roasted chicken with the garlic smashed potatoes and parsley sauce.

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Homemade Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches

img_3906This past summer I visited my parents in Southern New Jersey for a few days.  They are just over half an hour from Philadelphia – home of the Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich.  I did have a great sandwich during my visit.  Upon my return to California I wanted to make it from scratch, not using the frozen minute steak product that I have used in the past.  After a quick search on the internet I discovered that the best meat to use is Rib Eye.  There is no going back!  Delicious.  The first two times I made it I completely forgot to take pictures of my sandwiches, so of course.. I had to make them again (and forgot again) and again.  I prefer them on a good crunchy French roll, but a Kaiser roll will do the job.

In order to slice the steaks paper thin, it really helps to freeze the steaks for 45 minutes before slicing them and having a nicely sharpened chefs knife will make it an easy process as well.

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 rib eye steaks, freeze 45 minutes before slicing super thin against the grain
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sweet onion (like Maui or Walla Walla or other), sliced thinly
  • bell peppers (red, green, yellow as you desire) washed, stem and seeds removed, sliced thinly
  • mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thinly
  • Provolone Cheese (2 slices per sandwich)
  • 4 crunchy French rolls, split in half and toasted

Instructions:

Freeze the steaks for 45 minutes to help the meat become a little stiffer and easier to slice paper thin.  I remove the bone first as well as large pieces of fat before slicing.  Using a nicely sharpened knife begin cutting each steak thinly at across the grain. You want it to be as thin as possible.

Season the steak with salt and pepper.

Slice your French rolls and toast them under the broiler.

In a large non stick skillet saute the thinly sliced onions in about 1 tablespoon of canola oil.  Season the onions with salt and pepper and cook over medium  high heat until the onions have softened and caramelized.  Remove the onions to a bowl and over with foil to keep warm.  Saute the peppers next, using the same skillet.  When the peppers are softened, remove them to a second bowl.  Next, saute the mushrooms in the same skillet until they are golden brown, adding more oil if necessary and seasoning with salt and pepper.  Remove to a bowl and cover with foil.

Heat the same skillet over High- medium high heat and add 1 teaspoon of canola oil.  Add a quarter of the shaved steak to the pan and cook for 1 minute.  Stir.  Cook an additional minute or two as you desire.  Mound the steak in one area of the skillet and top  with two slices of provolone cheese.  Allow the cheese to melt.  With a spatula, carefully lift the cheese topped steak and place on the toasted roll.

Repeat with remaining steak.

I like to have each person top their cheese steak sandwiches with sauteed onions, mushrooms, or peppers as desired.

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Austrian Bread Dumplings 101

Semmelknôdel (Austrian Bread Dumpling) was one of my favorite foods growing up in Austria. I have wanted to make a tutorial of sorts for Americans (like myself) to make this wonderful food even though you are not in Austria to enjoy them.  If you love stuffing (dressing) you probably will like this.  They are dumplings made of bread, egg, milk, flour, and regionally also includes cooked bacon.  The region of Tyrol in Austria uses bacon in them.  They call them Speckknôdel.  In this blog post I will have step by step instructions.  If you do not want bacon in them, just leave it out (but why would you?)

To start off, use a stale baguette – you know.. it was sitting on your counter a few days too long but is not completely dried out yet, you still can cut it into cubes with the centers of the cubes slightly soft but pretty dry on the outside.  I also made them with Ciabatta bread with success.  Semmel in Austria is like a Kaiser roll.  Except here in the States, Kaiser rolls are often soft and not the crisp texture that they have in Austria, so I found that a French Baguette does the job perfectly!

Cut the 3 days old French Baguette into 1/2 inch cubes and place the cubes in a large bowl.

Add 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

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Cube 8 ounces of bacon and fry them in a non stick skillet until crisped up.  Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon and place the bacon bits on a paper towel to drain.

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Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings from the skillet.  Saute 1/2 cup chopped onions over medium heat until cooked and lightly browned.  Add the cooked onions, cooked bacon, and 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour to the bread cubes in the bowl.

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Mix the bread cubes, bacon bits, onion, parsley, flour by hand to combine.

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Pour 3/4 cup (6 oz) of cold milk into a measuring cup.

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Add two large eggs to the milk.

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Whisk the egg and milk mixture until well combined.

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Pour the egg and milk mixture over the bread cubes mixture in the large bowl.  Begin to combine it by hand (my cheapest kitchen tool), tossing the mixture until it takes on the liquid.  Your hands do get a bit messy, but cleans up with soap and water!🙂

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Form the dumplings into snow ball sized balls.

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You want the breadcrumb mixture to be quite sticky.. flour sticking to your hands.  If you press on the dumpling with your finger and it falls apart, it is not sticky enough… see?

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Sprinkle a few tablespoons of flour over the bread mixture if it does not hold together well.  I added about 3 tablespoons of flour and combined it with my hands again.  This time it was quite sticky!  Perfect!

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Once again I formed them into balls and this time they stuck together nicely.  You don’t want to squeeze them to death, but you do want nice firm dumplings that hold together nicely.

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The dumplings should be about 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

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I formed 6 dumplings.

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Fill a large stockpot with 3 inches of cold water and place over a burner over high heat to bring it to a simmer.

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When the water begins to simmer (bubbles are starting to come up from the bottom, but it is not at a full boil). Add 1 tablespoon of salt.

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Carefully lower the dumplings into the salted, simmering water and reduce the heat to medium high, keeping it at a simmer, do not let it boil.  Set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes.

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After 15 minutes the dumplings will have softened up a bit but still hold their shape

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Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon to a serving bowl.

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Serve with a meaty gravy like Rahmschnitzel

or Beef Rouladen or Wolfgang Pucks Beef Goulash with Red Cabbage.

Trouble Shooting:

Help me.. they fell apart!!! Well, not all is lost,  you can make Serviettenknôdel- loosley translated “napkin dumplings”. (if they fall apart, they did not have enough flour added to the mixture and were not sticky enough, but there is hope.. you can scoop the dumplings that have fallen apart out with a slotted spoon and place the bread mixture into a clean kitchen towel (you can also use foil).  Form the bread into a log and wrap the bread mixture tightly in the kitchen towel.  Tie off the ends of the towel and place it in the simmering water.  Cook 15 minutes.  Unwrap and slice into 1/2 inch slices.  Serve.)

My favorite way to use up leftovers .. if you are lucky enough to have leftovers:

Cut the cold dumplings into slices and then melt about half a tablespoon of butter in a non stick skillet… fry the bread dumplings turning over from time to time until golden brown.  Add an egg to the skillet,  season with salt and pepper and cook as you desire.  Yum: Breakfast is served!  This is called Knôdel mit Spiegelei (Dumpling with sunny side egg)

IMG_3048I blogged this dish already, but some time ago: https://goodcookbecky.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/semmelknodel-austrian-bread-dumplings-with-bacon/