Chicken With Balsamic Pears

December 2, 2011

I recently made this as a spin on the recipe in October Everyday Food for Turkey with Balsamic Pears. Instead of the turkey, I used 4 small chicken breasts. This recipe seemed to take forever to make! I guess there were just a lot of steps and different combos to cook at different times. It turned out nicely though. If  I made this again, I think I would cook the chicken only about halfway first, then I would add it back in when I added the pears, so that the flavors of the sauce could permeate the chicken more. I might even marinate the chicken in the broth/balsamic/mustard mix for a bit.

I really enjoyed having pears in a completely different way. It was a nice fall meal.


Pappardelle with Creamy Chicken Sauce

March 8, 2011

This recipe is from March Everyday Food.

1 tbsp olive oil

7 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces

salt and pepper

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves

2 c heavy cream

1 lb pappardelle

Cook chicken with oil after seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook for 7 minutes. Add onion and cook 6 min. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add cream and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook about 15 minutes until it coats the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper.

Boil pappardelle. Reserve 1 cup cooking water. Add to sauce and toss pasta with sauce.

Ok, so that is Martha’s recipe. I used chicken breasts and substituted broccoli for half. I also added Parmesan cheese because pasta without cheese is like air without oxygen. This was good. I haven’t used pappardelle in a long time and I do like it. It definitely needed cheese though!

Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers

March 3, 2011

This recipe is in March Everyday food. Like a lot of you, I’m looking for a good veggie burger to make at home. This recipe caught my eye because it has some beef in it, but also has barley and chickpeas. I thought maybe this would be a good compromise. Sorry, Martha. This one was a loser. It was completely flavorless, even though it had fresh mint in it. I was really disappointed. It needed garlic I think. I don’t even know if that could save it though. A total thumbs down.

2 oz feta

1/4 c plain yogurt

salt and pepper

1/4 c bulgur

15.5 oz can chickpeas rinsed

1/2 lb ground chuck

1/3 c roughly chopped mint leaves

4 buns

1 small cucumber

1 large tomato

Mash feta, stir in yogurt and salt and pepper. Set aside.

Combine bulgur with 1/2 c boiling water. Cover with plastic wrap for 10 min. Pulse chickpeas in food processor, mix with beef and mint. Drain bulgur and add to mixture. Mix with your hands until combined. Divide into 4 1 inch thick patties and season with salt and pepper. Spray a pan with cooking spray, heat over medium high. Add patties and cook 8-10 min, flipping once. Serve on buns with cucumber, tomato and yogurt sauce.

Broccoli and Goat Cheese Galette

November 11, 2010

This recipe is from November Everyday Food. I made the alternate version of the recipe (described on p. 101) which replaces broccolini with broccoli and feta with goat cheese. I also used a store bought pie crust. You put your crust on a baking sheet, spread the goat cheese on it (I used 2 oz – I should have used more), place some parboiled broccoli on top and sprinkle with parmesan. Fold the edges of the crust up and brush with egg. Bake at 400 for about half an hour.

This was good, but not fantastic. It was a different way to eat broccoli at least, which shows up on our dinner table at least once a week.

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Apple Sour Cream Coffee Cake

October 20, 2010

Sounds good, doesn’t it? This recipe is from October Everyday Food. This recipe has everything a gal could want in a coffee cake – sour cream, apples, nuts, cinnamon, crumb topping. Thumbs down though. Not a winner. This would not cook all the way through no matter how hard I tried. It’s supposed to bake 60-70 minutes. I gave up after 80 because it was burning on the edges. I’m not even going to type the recipe here because I didn’t like it. It was moist, but moist to the point of mushiness. It had some spice flavor, but not enough. The crumb topping absorbed into the cake. Just not a good thing.

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Broccolini with Sesame and Ginger

October 15, 2010

I haven’t worked with broccolini a lot so I was interested to give this Oct Everyday Food recipe a shot.

Heat 2 tsp sesame seeds in a pan over medium heat until toasted. Remove. Add 2 tsp oil to the pan and 2 bunches broccolini with 2 sliced garlic cloves and thinly sliced small piece of ginger (the recipe does not specify how big). Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until it is “crisp-tender” which the recipe says is about 12 minutes. Then uncover and add 2 tsp soy sauce and cook until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Top with sesame seeds and serve.

I needed to add more water to this as mine kept evaporating. The ginger and garlic gave this a nice flavor without being overpowering at all. I liked the broccolini – tasted almost exactly like broccoli to me actually, just thinner. This was a nice quick and easy veg that was something different.

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Chicken Spinach Casserole

October 13, 2010

Once in a while I hit on a Martha recipe that just makes me swoon. This is one of them. This recipe is from Oct Everyday Food and is part of a section about rotisserie chicken. I don’t buy rotisserie chickens (not organic!) so I roasted my own chicken breasts for this one.

Preheat the oven to 450. Mix 2 cups torn up bread pieces with 1 tbsp olive oil and some salt.

In a pot, heat 1 1/2 tsp oil and cook 4 cups spinach and a little salt until wilted (I think you could totally use frozen spinach and skip this step). Squeeze the water out of the spinach and chop.

Wipe out pot and cook 1 1/2 tsp oil with 1 chopped up onion and 1 garlic clove, chopped. Cook 8 min until soft.

Add 1/4 cup white wine and cook until almost evaporated, 5 min. Add 2 tbsp flour and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups half and half and 1/2 tsp lemon juice. Bring to a boil.

Add 1 cup shredded cooked chicken and spinach to cream mixture and pour into 2 quart baking dish. Cover with bread. Bake 8-10 minutes.

OMG. This dish was insanely good. And I really did not expect it to be that fantastic. The sauce is velvety and smooth and rich with lots of flavor. This knocked my socks off and I’ll be making this one again and again and again.

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Chewy Caramel Popcorn and Pretzel Bars

October 12, 2010

This recipe is from Oct Everyday Food. Popcorn, caramel and pretzels sounded like an excellent combo. I wasn’t sure about the chewy part though.

You start with 12 cups popped corn and 4 cups coarsely chopped pretzels, mixed in a big, big bowl. Spray a 9×13 baking dish.

In a pan, mix 2 cups sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 cup water to a boil then boil undisturbed for 8-12 minutes. The recipe says the longer you go, the darker it gets. I went a good 12 minutes because I like it dark, but as you can see it really wasn’t all that dark.  Remove from heat and mix in 2/3 cup heavy cream and 2 cups mini marshmallows. Pour over popcorn and pretzels and press into pan. Sprinkle with salt on top.

This was a gooey mess to make. It actually tasted great, but it was a bit too gooey for me. You couldn’t really get a piece from it – there were long strings of caramel all over the place when you tried to cut a piece. You ended up with kind of a pile of glop – not a square. I would have like the caramel to be a bit harder. I think this also really needed nuts to give it some additional flavor. It tasted great, but was just a mess.

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Watching the New Shows

September 13, 2010

I just had to put up a quick little post to say I watch Martha’s season opener today on Hallmark and I also watched Everyday Food (for the first time) and Lucinda (Mad Hungry). I hope you’ll share your thoughts on these with me – I would love to hear what you think.

As for Martha, first of all, I thought she looked fantastic. “Rested,” perhaps? That segment with the MTV guys was weird. It has nothing to do with Martha and it was awkward due to the time delay. Just awful. The interview with Jennifer and Alexis was awkward. Very stilted and strange. I haven’t watched their show yet (tonight maybe I will get to it) but it looks kind of odd. Jennifer has lost a ton a weight and looks fantastic. The questions from the audience were strange and the answers worse. They couldn’t name any of their upcoming guests? What did Martha think they did to prepare for the show? They seemingly had nothing to talk about. It was all just uncomfortable to watch. Jennifer tries to please Martha. Alexis remains aloof and snotty. Very weird TV.

I skipped the pet segment. The cookie segment with Sarah Carey and John Baricelli was also a little odd. All they did was dunk cookies in sugar – not a lot of baking there! The cookies sound good though and I may have to print out the recipe. I love Lucinda, but a quesadilla with bacon, cheese and peppers? Not exciting.

Onto Lucinda’s show, Mad Hungry. I’ve GOT to make those pork chops. And the potato wedges. And the cabbage. Sigh. I’ve got her cookbook and really liked it but haven’t tried these items. I was surprised her show was an hour – it seemed like a long time. Loved her set – it was very her. I may have to allow Teen Martha a peek at her son Calder who is quite cute! This is a show I will definitely tune into, although I do have a tendency to fast forward through the boring parts.

Everyday Food. This was my first time catching this. I was surprised that each segment was a different host. I kind of liked it for quick ideas but I don’t know if it is something I would sit down and watch on a regular basis. And when did Sarah Carey have long hair? It’s been short every time I’ve ever seen her.

So those are my impressions. What were yours?

Update: I watched Whatever. Not quite sure what to think. Jennifer seemed VERY nervous, but looked fantastic. The opener was a little awkward, but as always I enjoy hearing Alexis complain about Martha. The guest segments seemed really long. Are there fewer commercials on Hallmark? Paula Abdul was fun. Partially incoherent as usual. I would have liked to know more about what her new show really is about. The dance lesson was lame.  I fast forwarded through most of the guy who has had over 100 Internet dates. I just didn’t care! I liked the third guest, about the beauty products and am going to get her book. I will continue to tape this and watch it at least for now. I don’t quite ‘get’ how this is different from other talk shows yet, but maybe it will evolve.

Applesauce Cake No/ Apple Cake Yes

April 14, 2010

The idea of this cake from April Everyday Food got me excited. It sounded like it would be easy and healthy. It wasn’t all that easy! I assumed it would use applesauce. Nope. You have to peel, core, and cut apples and then cook them. Then you mix that with all the other ingredients and bake it.

You are supposed to dust it with powdered sugar when serving. Even with that as a topping, this was not very sweet. Therefore, no one wanted to eat it. It also didn’t taste very apple-y. Since it only has three apples in it, the flavor was not strong. I’m not even going to bother sharing ingredients here since I don’t recommend this cake at all.

HOWEVER, I am going to share my own recipe for an apple cake that is to die for, so hold on to your hats for this one:

Brette’s Apple Cake

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

3 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups diced, peeled tart raw apples (about 4 apples)

1 cup pecans

2 tsp vanilla

Combine the oil and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Beat in flour, soda, spices and salt.  Stir in apples and nuts.

Bake in a buttered and floured tube pan at 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let it cool in the pan then remove.

Make the sauce:

6 tbsp butter

6 tbsp brown sugar

6 tbsp sugar

6 tbsp heavy cream

3/4 tsp vanilla

Melt all together in a saucepan then boil for 1 minute. Serve alongside the cake as a sauce.

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