Friday, January 28, 2011

Cranberry Orange Cookies

I love to be home during a snowstorm.  It's exactly the kind of weather that makes me want to just stay in and bake.  So yesterday I decided to make cranberry orange cookies.

The texture is chewy and flavor is a delicious balance of cranberry, orange, and walnut.

1 c. real butter, softenened
1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. grated orange zest
2 TBSP orange juice
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. cranberries, chopped
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped

For the glaze:
1/2 tsp.grated orange zest
3 TBSP orange juice
1 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar


1.Preheat the oven to 375*

2.  In a large bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar
and brown sugar until smooth.

3.  Beat in the egg until well blended.

4.  Mix in 1 teaspoon orange zest and 2 tablespoons orange juice.

5.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt;
stir into the orange mixture.

6.  Mix in cranberries and if using, walnuts, until evenly distributed.

7.  Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie
sheets.  Cookies should be spaced at least 2 inches apart.

8.  Bake for 12 to 14 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges
are golden.  Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

9.  In a small bowl, mix together glaze ingredients and drizzle
over the tops of cooled cookies. Let stand until set.

I almost cut the recipe in half but then decided to go through with the
full four dozen.  This may not have been the best decision because
now I'm not so sure I trust myself alone in the kitchen with them.
 Yummy!

 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Old Bay Chicken and Shrimp Pasta

We have one kid who absolutely loves shrimp and would probably eat it every day of his life if I had it readily available all the time.  Then, we have another kid who says he hates seafood of any kind (never mind the fact that he practically inhales my sushi made with smoked salmon and crab - somehow
that's different in his mind).

So, the shrimp lover has been pestering me daily requesting I serve shrimp in the very near future.  Tonight is his lucky night.  Tonight, we are having shrimp but, in the interest of keeping complaints to a
minimum, we are also having chicken.  :)

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1/2-inch strips

4 teaspoons OLD BAY® Seasoning, divided
1 TBSP butter
1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 c. heavy cream
8 oz. penne pasta, cooked and drained
3 green onions, sliced
Parmesan cheese, taste
red pepper flakes, to taste

1.  Coat chicken with 2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning.
Melt butter in large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Add chicken; cook 3 minutes per side, or until done.

2.  Coat shrimp with Old Bay Seasoning, to taste.
 Remove chicken from skillet; add shrimp.
Cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or until shrimp turn pink
and add chicken back to skillet.

3.  Mix remaining Old Bay with cream.
Add cream mixture, cooked pasta and green onion to skillet.
Bring to a boil. Lower heat; simmer 5 minutes or until sauce thickens
and pasta is heated through.

4.  Top with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes
and serve immediately.
We love this seasoning!
(I forgot to get a photo of the food before we starting eating!) 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tuscan Soup

We love hot and spicy soups on cold nights.  So, yesterday evening, as the snow was falling outside, we were all sitting around the dining table enjoying a wonderful, Tuscan soup with spicy pork sausage, cannellini and garbanzo beans, potatoes, spinach, garlic..... it was all just so very good.

Here's the recipe:

6 c. chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 links spicy Italian sausage
3 large potatoes, cubed
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch fresh spinach, rough chopped
1/4 c. evaporated milk
salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, shredded


1.  Remove skin from sausage and crumble into large pot. 
Add chopped onion, and cook over medium heat. 
Add garlic when meat is almost done.

2.  Add broth, potatoes.  Boil until potato is cooked.  Stir in beans.

3.  Add spinach. Continue boiling until spinach is lightly wilted.

4.  Remove soup from heat, stir in evaporated milk, and season to taste. 

5.  Top with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately. 
 Served with baguette slices and Italian Garlic Butter.
 
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chicken and Waffles

My kids had never heard of chicken and waffles together before so, when I told them this was what we were having for dinner, they looked a little concerned.  My husband had a different reaction.  He will try anything I make and seemed intrigued, as was I, by the flavor combination.

I wasn't sure if I should serve something on the side or if the chicken and waffles were sufficient.  So I did some searching online and this is what I found out:

Chicken and waffles can be served breakfast style with bacon or grits but you can also serve it more like a dinner with greens.  I decided to serve it for dinner with maple syrup poured over the top and bacon on the side and that turned out to be a good choice for us because everyone cleaned their plates!
I used Emeril's recipe for the chicken, using boneless breasts and adding extra spices. Then, I cheated a little by using a waffle mix (we like Krusteaz). Poured the maple syrup over the top just before serving and the combination of sweet and spicy was amazing!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Really Fresh Seafood

I love it when I find a new place to buy fresh, organic ingredients! 
This place is not exactly local but it sounds pretty amazing!

Did you know you can get fresh seafood online?  Apparently, there is a business in the San Francisco Bay Area called I Love Blue Sea that serves local sushi restaurants but also offers a way for home cooks to order seafood online.   :)

What I'm liking is the fact that they only ship fresh caught, sustainable seafood that is certified by the Monterey Bay's Seafood Watch Program.  This makes me happy because I refuse to buy chemically enhanced seafood.   

It may be time to make my Fabulous Crab Cakes again!

P.S.  Also found out wine.com has a large organic selection.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Collard Greens

Last night's dinner was amazing!  We had Emeril's honey brined pork chops with a Creole mustard reduction sauce, spicy black-eyed peas leftover from New Year's Day, Southern-style collard greens, and buttermilk cornbread.  The flavor combination was crazy good!

I've used the same recipe for collard greens for a few years now and the result is always fantastic.  Even my boys who used to turn their noses up at greens now like these so much they actually go back for seconds!   It must be the bacon in there.  Everything's better with bacon, right?  :)

Here's the recipe:

1 TBSP olive oil
3 slices bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
3 c. chicken broth
red pepper flakes, to taste
1 lb. fresh collard greens, cut into 2-inch pieces

1.  Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp.
Remove bacon from pan, crumble and return to the pan.

2.  Add onion, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic, and cook until just fragrant.

3.  Add collard greens, and fry until they start to wilt.

4.  Pour in chicken broth, and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

5.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, or until greens are tender.



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