Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Eggnog Pancakes

Trying to get back into the kitchen has been difficult with a new baby, to say the least. I've been cooking a lot of recipes that we are familiar with, so there hasn't been much to post on the blog. However, this morning I got the itch to cook something new, so I decided to try this recipe for eggnog pancakes. I'm not a fan of eggnog myself, but the hubby loves it and we found some pumpkin eggnog that I actually really like, so I used it in this recipe. The pancakes turned out really yummy, but are very thick and cake-like. Next time I will thin the batter with a little bit of plain milk, but Hubby loved the cakey, fluffy texture. These would be a great Christmas breakfast if you are going for something simple and quick!

Eggnog Pancakes
*Adapted from Taste of Home

2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups eggnog (I used pumpkin eggnog)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Milk, for thinning

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

Whisk the eggs, eggnog, and butter in a small bowl. 

Stir wet ingredients into dry and mix until just moistened. Add milk to thin if necessary. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a lightly greased griddle. Turn when bubbles form on top and cook until second side is browned. If the batter is thick, bubbles will not form, so watch the pancakes closely while cooking.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nana's Chili

Our good news: Hubby and I welcomed our little bundle of joy on October 14th at 7:39am. Her name is Emma Naomi after her great great grandma Emma and great grandma Naomi and we are ridiculously head over heels in love with her! Having a baby is the most amazing experience ever and, although I haven't forgotten the misery, I can't wait to do it again in a year or two. For now, we are just loving Emma and enjoying every second with her.

Now for the food! About a week after Em was born, I was really craving comfort food and this recipe wouldn't leave my mind. This is my Nana's (better known as Naomi!) recipe, so it was fitting that I make it to celebrate Emma's arrival. Nana may not have been here to welcome Em, but I know she was watching. Just eating her chili made it feel like she was close. And this is good chili. It's just spicy enough and full of goodness with lots of beans and delicious spices and flavor. I'm writing the recipe as we make it, which means that we don't dice the onion or green bell pepper and we don't sauté it with the ground beef. My dad hates onion and green pepper, but the flavor is necessary, so the onion goes in whole and the pepper is quartered. This is how I've always eaten it, so this is how I chose to make it. And it didn't disappoint. Comfort food in a bowl!

Nana's Chili
*From Naomi

1 pound ground beef
1 large onion
1 green bell pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon basil
1 1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon red pepper flake
1 can stewed tomatoes
2 cans tomato sauce
2-4 cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (I use 4 because the beans are my favorite part!)
1 large can tomato juice

Brown the ground beef and season with garlic powder and onion powder. Drain the fat and add two tablespoons brown sugar. Stir.

Add the ground beef and then the other ingredients, except the onion and green pepper, to a large pot and stir.

Quarter the green bell pepper and remove the ribs and seeds. Peel the onion and add the whole onion and pieces of pepper to the chili and stir.
Cook on low heat for 3-5 hours (or all day in a slow cooker), stirring occasionally. Remove the onion and bell pepper before serving. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Creamy Chicken, Black Bean, and Corn Taco Filling

I need spice in my life, apparently. Lately it seems like the spicier it is, the happier I am. Until the heartburn kicks in, that is! With my due date just 3 days away, you'd think I would learn to give up the spicy to save my stomach and throat, but I'm not that strong.

This filling is incredibly easy, as it cooks in the crock pot for 4-5 hours. I love the versatility of it too, as you could use it in traditional tacos or enchiladas or you could make taquitos out of it, which is what I did. Either way, this was a flavorful and slightly spicy delicious way to enjoy some Mexican food.

Creamy Chicken, Black Bean, and Corn Taco Filling

3-5 chicken breasts, frozen
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups frozen corn
1 15-ounce jar salsa (I blend mine to remove the chunks)
1 8-ounce block of cream cheese, softened
Taco seasoning, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder, to taste
Squeeze of lime juice

Place your chicken in a greased crock pot and season with taco seasoning, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder.

Add the frozen corn.

Add the black beans.

Pour on your salsa (or Ro-Tel if that's what you have on hand)

Cook on high for 4-5 hours or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and shred with two forks, then stir the chicken back into the taco mixture. Add cream cheese.

Cover and let it sit for a 1/2 hour. Stir to completely combine the cream cheese and add a squeeze of lime juice.

Now your filling is done! Enjoy on tacos, enchiladas, or a salad. Or you can use the filling for taquitos. Here's what we did: (Adapted from my baked chicken taquitos)

Preheat oven to 425º. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place about 1/4 cup of filling in warmed corn tortilla shells. Top with monterey jack cheese and fresh cilantro.

Roll your taquitos and place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Spray liberally with cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until ends start to crisp and brown. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cinnamon Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I have an obsession with all things cinnamon. There, I said it. Cinnamon is good on everything and in liberal amounts. This is not some crazy pregnant lady thing, this is a fact. What is a crazy pregnant lady thing is that I have been having dreams about good oatmeal cookies for a few weeks now. I needed them. The baby needed them! That definitely sounds crazy (and like I'm trying to justify the 2 cookies I had after my cereal this morning), but when I've eaten these cookies, she gets very active and kicks the poo out of my rib cage. I think she's a fan too.

About the cookies: oh yum. Oh heaven. Oh deliciousness! Where have you been all my life? Soft, chewy, full of cinnamon, and amazing. This was an easy, simple recipe, and the addition of cinnamon chips (JOY!) takes them over the top. Hubby's co-worker stole the bag I sent to work with him. Good thing, or I'd be eating my body weight in cinnamon chip oatmeal cookies today. There is no moderation in the land of nine months pregnant!

Cinnamon Chip Oatmeal Cookies
*Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick oats
1 cup cinnamon chips

Heat oven to 350º. Beat together butter and both sugars until creamy.

Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to the batter and mix until just combined.

With a spoon, stir in the oats.

Add cinnamon chips and stir to combine.

*Side note: Cinnamon chips taste like the filling of a cinnamon roll. Heaven.

Drop rounded teaspoons of batter onto a Silpat or ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes until golden. While waiting between batches, it's helpful to pop the batter into the fridge to keep it chilled. Cool about 1 minute on the cookie sheet before transferring to the cooling racks.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Aunt Kathy's Chicken Tetrazzini

Update (Jan 2017): We have been making this for a long time and have changed it up to reflect our tastes. I've found that adding a whole lot of garlic makes this the best dish ever. Some add mushrooms and peas, which could certainly be delicious, but I like serving it with a simple salad and calling it good. We also only make it using penne, as it holds the sauce a lot better than spaghetti.

Now that I am nearing the end of my pregnancy (37 weeks on Monday!), my complete aversion to all things chicken has subsided somewhat. I'm not saying that if you put a medium rare filet mignon and a piece of chicken in front of me, I'm not going to choose the succulent piece of beef, but at least the thought of chicken doesn't make me gag anymore.

This recipe definitely doesn't make me gag. In fact, I ate most of the leftovers, which says a lot in this house! My mom started making this only a few years ago and I've always loved it, so when I got the recipe from her a few weeks ago, I couldn't wait to make it. It came from my amazing Aunt Kathy, so you know it's good. It's also very simple. The recipe requires a few pans, so you will make a bit of a mess (or, if you're like me, a huge mess), but it is so worth it. This makes a lot, so you can easily feed a crowd or freeze the leftovers. That was my plan, you know getting ready for baby and all, but I ended up eating the leftovers. Oh well. It was worth it!

Aunt Kathy's Chicken Tetrazzini
*Adapted from my Aunt Kathy's recipe

1 pound penne (or pasta of your choice)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
6 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup flour
2 cups hot milk
2 cups hot chicken broth
1/2 heaping teaspoon salt
1/2 heaping teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup sherry
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
2-3 cups diced cooked chicken (3 breasts)
1/2-2/3 cup parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
2/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400º. Cook pasta until just before al dente. Add milk and chicken broth to a large microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup and microwave until warm. Meanwhile, melt 1/2 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for a minute. Whisk in flour. Cook for a minute or two and then stir in hot milk and chicken broth. Cook and stir until thick. Add more milk or broth if the mixture becomes too thick. 

Whisk in salt, pepper, nutmeg, sherry, and heavy cream (or milk, if you want to lighten it up a little bit) and remove from heat. One delicious thing we've started to do here is to add about 1/3 cup or more of parmesan to the sauce. Completely optional, but very yummy.

Mix the sauce, noodles, and chicken together. 

Pour into a large greased baking dish. 

 Mix the parmesan or Romano cheese and breadcrumbs and sprinkle on top of the pasta. 

Bake for 30-45 minutes or until bubbly and enjoy!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mom's Apple Crisp

Well, Hubby and I have officially begun the countdown. Baby girl is due in about 4 weeks and we're hoping (praying, begging) that she is a little early because the end of this pregnancy has been far more difficult than the beginning. Of course, the sweltering heat this week doesn't make the swollen ankles and discomfort any better, but the end is in sight. I just have to keep telling myself that!

I made this recipe a long time ago and the photos have been sitting on my computer waiting to be put into a post. I confess that I haven't been all that inspired to write or do much of anything lately, but I have to share this one before fall is really upon us because this apple crisp begs to be made in the cool weather I know is just around the corner. This recipe is my mom's, but it's also in one of my Nana's old cookbooks, which is probably where Mom got it in the first place. Regardless, Mom's apple crisp is guaranteed to make you happy and make your house smell like heaven. It's very, very easy too and always a crowd pleaser. So, once you feel that bite in the air that signals fall, make this apple crisp! Your friends and family will thank you, I promise!

Mom's Apple Crisp
*From my mom

6 cups peeled, pared, and sliced apples (8-10 apples-use Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, or Cameos; we use all Granny Smith because I love the flavor contrast between tart and sweet)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
2/3 cup margarine or butter, softened

 Heat oven to 375º. Grease 9x13 pan. Place apples slices in the pan. 

Mix remaining ingredients thoroughly and sprinkle over the apples.

Bake 30-45 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is golden brown. 

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream and cinnamon. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lapin Rôti (Roasted Rabbit)

While Hubby and I were in France last year, we got a chance to try a lot of different kinds of food, from horse to escargot to fresh chevre to fois gras. One of the meals that stood out the most to us (and the one we thought we had the most success of recreating) was my dish of roasted rabbit at Le Florentin in Bayeux, Normandy. This was our dinner after spending the day at the D-Day beaches and we were emotionally and physically drained. And starving. My beautiful rabbit thigh came out perfectly roasted, moist, and delicious. We decided we had to try making this dish at home.

And today, we finally did it! We picked up a rabbit at our local butcher shop, which came whole without the head and feet. Hubby found a video online that showed how to butcher it (see link further down) and we browned, then roasted the delectable little morsel. And it was SO good! This is a simple recipe with simple flavors, and it really allows the flavor of the rabbit to shine. If you're wondering what rabbit tastes like, well try the recipe!

(If you're still wondering, it's a cross between the dark meat of chicken and turkey. It's incredibly lean, which means it's good for you too!)

Lapin Rôti (Roasted Rabbit)
*Adapted from Cooks Recipes

3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 rabbit (look for a young rabbit, between 1 1/2-3 pounds)
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup white wine
1 teaspoon rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (we didn't use any)
Salt and pepper

First, butcher your rabbit. Here's a helpful video: How to Cut Up a Rabbit.

Add cut pieces to a bowl of salt water.

Heat oven to 350º. In a large, heavy skillet heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Pat dry rabbit and season with salt and pepper. Add to skillet and brown on both sides for 4-5 minutes or until golden. Prepare your other ingredients and have them ready to go (mis en place).

Place rabbit in a shallow baking dish. Add your chopped onion to the remaining oil in the skillet and stir. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly, or until onions have softened. (Ugh, check out the oil mess on my stove. Splatter screen Stephanie! Go put it on your grocery list! Geez.) 

Add crushed garlic and stir. Cook for another 2 minutes. Add wine and rosemary, stirring well. 

Pour the sauce over the rabbit and season again with salt and pepper.

Bake for 45 minutes. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley and enjoy!