Friday, July 30, 2010

Simply Delicious Pesto Pasta

It is summer! My basil plant grows inches each day, the zucchini are small and tender (at least for the next day or two), life is good. This recipe was created one day when I was too lazy to go to the store! The fridge was pretty bare so I had to be creative. I made a batch of pesto. I like pesto, it is pretty, easy to make and so versatile. Once the pesto was made this meal came together in about 10 minutes.

Simply Delicious Pesto Pasta
Cook 8 ounces pasta, I like Barilla Piccolini, it is a Mini Penne
1 small onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 pound chicken tenders, grilled and sliced
Pesto--homemade or Costco
Saute onion and zucchini in a little olive oil till slightly brown. Add chicken and pasta, stir in pesto to taste. I just added a spoon full at a time. I also added a couple of tablespoons of liquid from the cooked pasta. Heat and top with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
This recipe would be great with mushrooms, yellow summer squash, red pepper etc. I had grilled chicken tenders in the fridge so this came together in minutes. I think we will see different versions of this recipe a lot in the coming months.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

TWD Chewy, Chunky Blondies

This delightful treat has all of my favorite ingredients, nuts, coconut, chocolate and toffee bits. I added a few white chocolate chips because I like them too. You will find Dories recipe on Nicole's blog, Cookies on Friday. She has some great recipes, take a moment and enjoy her great blog.

 I made this recipe twice and even conferred with Dorie by e-mail. She was so sweet to respond to my questions. The bars looked beautiful but then fell as they cooled. The second batch I adjusted several things for high altitudes. They were better but still need some tweaking. I am by no means giving up on Blondies, I have a few more ideas that may work.
I won't call this recipe a failure because it really tasted good. I can't quite call it a success because it does not look like the photo in the cookbook. So, I am anxious to see the Blondies of other TWD bakers.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Smokey Potatoes--Summer Side

My husband (a Silver Beaver) has been on many camp outs. One of his favorite meals is Foil Dinners, he has these down to a science. I think Foil Dinners deserve their own post soon. But today I want to share a delicious cousin of the Foil Dinner, maybe a little sister.
This packet of foil holds the most delicious tender flavorful side. Perfect with any summer cookout, or cook in the oven as I did.

It is pretty simple, slice potatoes and onions--I use a mandolin for quick even slices. Pile potato slices, a few onion slices and a tablespoon of diced butter. Add salt and pepper and the secret ingredient--smokey paprika. The smokey paprika makes this dish wonderful. Full of flavor!

I use extra heavy duty foil. Just believe me when I tell you it is much better than 'two layers of foil'.
Cook for about 20-25 minutes in a 400 degree oven or on a grill or coals. Check out Our Best Bites for more cooking outdoor info.
Enjoy often!

Monday, July 19, 2010

TWD Lots-of-Ways Banana Cake

Kimberly was our host at TWD this week. She chose a great recipe that I will make again. Lots-of-Ways Banana Cake was just what the name suggested. Use brown sugar and white sugar if you have both, if not all white will work. Liquid could be coconut milk, whole milk, buttermilk, sour cream or plain yogurt, I used a combination. Toasted coconut or dried fruit were suggested add-ins. I went with the toasted coconut, it was yummy.

I made cupcakes as they are easier to share. They fell slightly in the middle, not enough to worry me just more room for topping. I made a white chocolate cream cheese frosting. It was very rich. Next time I make this recipe, it will be soon, I will top slices with whipped cream. I think that would be the perfect dessert!
Another 5 star recipe from Dorie, Kimberly has the recipe posted. This was a fun recipe with so many variations,  see what other  TWD bakers created.

Monday, July 12, 2010

TWD Brrrrrrrr-ownies

Another 5 star recipe, this cookbook continues to impress. I love mint, I love chocolate. This is really one delicious treat. I used York Peppermint Patties and just gave them a course chop. This resulted in pockets of minty heaven. Our host this week is Karen check her blog for the recipe. I want to try this brownie recipe with Peanut Butter Cups. This is just another great brownie recipe to add to my ever growing collection. See what other TWD bakers did with this decedent recipe.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Skillet Chicken Tikka Masala

I have another new favorite cookbook. It is The Best Simple Recipes from America's Test Kitchen, it has over 200 flavorful, foolproof recipes that cook in 30 minutes or less. This is a fun cookbook--I have sticky notes on many pages. I like cookbooks from ATK because they tell me why things work, or don't. They have product reviews and a lot of interesting information. I read cookbooks like novels, this is a great read.
I also have a favorite new spice, it is garam masala. It is actually a blend of up to 12 spices, there are recipes to make your own but McCormick has done it for me. Their Garam Masala was the top pick of tasters. So here is a quick recipe with some wonderful flavors.
 Perfect for a busy summer evening when the crowd is hungry! My son would come home from a baseball game/practice and say, 'meat mom, I need meat'! This would keep him happy.

Skillet Chicken Tikka Masala
1 (14.5 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes-if using regular dice put in the food processor for a minute
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small chunks. That is about about 1 1/2 lbs chicken or 11-12 frozen chicken tenders from Costco.
salt and pepper
1 T vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
1 T garam masala
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Cook chicken until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate.

Add onion to empty skillet and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garam masala, garlic, and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 second.  Add tomatoes and bring to simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until slightly thickened , about 3 minutes.

Stir in cream and browned chicken, along with any accumulated juices, and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve over rice.
This recipe is a least 5 stars, I'm excited to try more recipes from this cookbook.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Winner!

I asked my hubby to pick a number between 1 and 18. Now this is a very unbiased male--he doesn't read my blog! He picked #11 which means Jill is our winner. Send me your Pampered Chef list Jill and I will have it shipped to you! Thanks to all who participated. More great recipes to come.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

The Martha Stewart Cookie Cookbook is a great resource. Each recipe is accompanied by a beautiful photo, it  is nice to have a visual of the final product. It also has a section on 'presentation', it is fun to deliver warm cookies to loved ones in a clever way. This is a great cookbook to add to ones cookbook collection. It would make a fun shower gift with a bar pan and a silpat.

I gave this Double Chocolate Coconut Cookie 5 stars. It is a winner!
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 cups white chocolate chunks (about 9 ounces)
1 3/4 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (about 6 ounces)

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Mix in eggs one at a time.  Stir in vanilla.

2.  Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.  Mix into butter mixture on low speed until well combined.  Stir in chocolate, coconut, and walnuts.

3.  Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart.  Flatten slightly.  Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes.  Let cool on sheets on wire racks 2 minutes.  Transfer cookies on parchment to racks to cool completely.  Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week. 

Don't forget to enter my 100 post give away. I will pick a winner July 5th at 10 PM. Winner will get a $25 Pampered Chef Shopping Spree. Choose your favorites and I will send it to your door. If you don't win and still need some Pampered Chef toys. Send me an e-mail with your order. I will place the order Wednesday July 7