The culinary ramblings of a picky eater.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chicken Quesadillas

I've made quesadillas a million times, and I've made several different kinds-beef, chicken, cheese. They are SO easy, and so yummy. I've shared a beef quesadilla recipe on this blog before. This time, I'm sharing the chicken kind. Super simple. Super easy. Supper wonderful. This can be a light meal, an appetizer, or a snack. Enjoy!

-Chicken breast, cooked and shredded (enough to feed everyone; I used two)
-1/2 cup water
-1/4 teaspoon cumin
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-shredded cheese, (I used colby jack), about 1/4 cup-ish per tortilla
-tortillas, enough to feed everyone

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium skillet, heat the water, and mix in the spices. Add in the shredded chicken,
and cook, stirring frequently, until the water has dissipated, and the chicken has taken on the flavor of the spices. Remove from heat and set aside.

Sprinkle a thin layer of cheese on one half of a tortilla.
Add a little of the chicken. Sprinkle a little more cheese over the chicken.
Fold the tortilla over so it covers the filling.
If necessary, poke a toothpick through it to keep it folded over. Place on a baking sheet.
When all the quesadillas are made, place in the oven and bake for about 5 minutes, turn over, and bake for another 5 minutes, until the tortilla is a little crispy and the cheese is melted and everything is yummy.
When the quesadilla is heated through and a little crispy, remove from the oven and cut into wedges (3 wedges per tortilla).
Serve with dipping sauce of your choice...sour cream, salsa, queso, whatever. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chicken with Lemon Herb sauce and roasted veggies

I've been trying to come up with new recipes lately. I've wanted to do some sort of lemon herb sauce for a while now, but let's just say...anything involving lemons that I've tried before, has NOT been good. At all. Really. Apparently I just don't know how to gauge how much lemon-y-ness to add. I usually over-do it, and it's just...awful. Haha. So this time, I was determined to make something palatable. And for once...I managed. It actually worked. It was amazing. Haha.

I roasted some veggies to go with the chicken. Fresh green beans and carrots, to be exact. I think they went well together. Ok, enough talk. Here's the good stuff.

-Chicken breast (as many as needed)
-flour, for dredging
-egg wash (raw egg and milk scrambled together), for dredging
-bread crumbs, for dredging
-3 tablespoons butter, divided (2 tablespoons for chicken, 1 tablespoon for sauce)
-1 tablespoon flour for sauce
-1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
-3/4 cup heavy cream
-approximately 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh squeezed!!!)
-1/4 teaspoon rosemary
-fresh green beans, enough to feed everyone
-fresh carrots, enough to feed everyone
-salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Wash the veggies. Snap the ends off the green beans. Peel and cut the carrots into a similar size and shape as the green beans. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray and spread the veggies on it.

Dredge the chicken in the flour, then the egg wash, then the breadcrumbs. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter into a skillet.
Brown the outside of the breaded chicken, then place the chicken breast on top of the veggies.
Place in the oven and roast until the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are crisp tender (about 15-20 minutes).

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the tablespoon of flour and allow to cook for a few minutes. Add the milk and cream, whisking to combine well. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the sauce begins to thicken. Stir in the lemon juice and rosemary, and allow to thicken up again, stirring frequently.
When the sauce reaches the right consistency, (it should coat a spoon dipped into it, but should still flow easily), it's done!

Serve the veggies with the chicken, and spoon some of the sauce directly over everything. The sauce tastes just as good on the veggies as the chicken. Enjoy the yumminess!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Homemade Tortilla Chips

I love eating tortilla chips with some sort of dip. It is one of my favorite snacks ever. I decided since I like them so much, I might as well try to make some at home. I used store bought flour tortillas. Adjust as desired. :)

-1 package flour tortillas
-cooking spray
-salt, if desired

Turn on the broiler setting to low on your oven. Let it pre-heat.

Cut the tortillas into wedges. I used a pizza cutter and cut a few at a time. I got 8 wedges from each tortilla.
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Lay out the wedges in a single layer, making sure they don't touch or overlap.
Spray the wedges with cooking spray. Place under the broiler until toasted.
Just stand there and watch them. It won't take long. Flip the wedges over and return to the oven until that side is crispy as well. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt, is desired. Serve with the dip of your choosing.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pasta in Asiago Cream Sauce

I was first introduced to Asiago cheese in college, and we've had a good relationship since then. I really like it. So when I got bored of all my regular pasta sauces, I decided to try an asiago cream sauce. It's very similar to a traditional Alfredo sauce, but instead of parmesan cheese, I used Asiago. It's super easy to make, and then I just tossed some pasta in with it for a simple, easy dinner. I didn't use a lot of seasoning, because I think the cheese has a strong enough flavor on its own. So, away we go!

-3 tablespoons butter
-2 tablespoons flour
-1 cup heavy cream
-1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
-2 cups, approximately, grated Asiago cheese
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-Pasta, whatever kind you'd like (I used spaghetti)

Cook the pasta in boiling water until tender. Drain and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter of medium/medium low heat. Whisk in the flour until it forms a roux, letting it cook a little longer while stirring frequently.
Add the cream and milk and whisk to combine well.
Let the cream and milk heat through, stirring frequently. The sauce will begin to thicken slightly. Add the cheese and stir until well incorporated. It will melt into the sauce, but keep stirring it frequently until it does.
Add the the garlic powder and stir to incorporate. Let the sauce cook and continue to thicken, stirring frequently, until it is the desired consistency. Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce until well coated.
Serve and enjoy!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Treats- Cupcakes!

As we all know, it's Valentines Day, the holiday set aside to indulge our sweet tooth and honor our sweet heart. So on this special day, I decided to share a special cupcake.

Ok, enough of that fluffiness. For those of you sharing this day with a significant other, this is a great little treat to whip up for them. For those of you that aren't really celebrating this holiday, for whatever reason, it's a yummy dessert that you could make for fun.

I made two versions; Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes, and Vanilla Cherry Cupcakes. They're made pretty much in the exact same way, except one uses chocolate cake batter and one uses vanilla, so you might see pictures of one or the other. Easy cheesy. And guess what else...I used boxed cake mix. Oh my word. I know. But it works. And while I don't mind baking from scratch, I also don't mind using a couple convenience items occasionally. The "icing" is actually chocolate ganache, so it's not the really sugary-sweet frosting most cupcakes come dressed in. I'm not huge on frosting, so this works for me. I hope you enjoy!

-1 box cake mix, chocolate or vanilla
-whatever ingredients specified on the cake mix (eggs, water, and oil, usually)
-1 large can cherry pie filling
-paper/foil baking cups
-1/2 cup heavy cream(for ganache)
-1 cup chocolate chips (for ganache), I used regular semi-sweet for the chocolate cake and white chocolate for the vanilla

Preheat oven to temperature given on cake mix.

Place the baking cups into a muffin tin. Prepare the cake batter according to package directions.
Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners in the muffin tins, about 2/3 full.
I think most cake mixes will yield 24 cupcakes. Next, spoon three cherries from the pie filling can into each cupcake.
Bake as specified by cake mix package.

When cake is baked, remove from oven and let cool. While cupcakes are cooling, prepare the ganache. In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium/low heat.
When the cream is heated through, add the chocolate chips
and stir frequently until the chocolate has melted into the cream, creating a thick sauce texture. Remove from the heat and let cool just enough that it's not runny but still very spreadable. Spread on top of the cupcakes as icing.
I topped mine with another pie filling cherry,
but you could sprinkle it lightly with cocoa powder or powdered sugar as another way to make it look pretty. Or you could just leave it alone and let the ganache be shiny and pretty on its own.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chicken Flautas

As I was debating whether to call these little suckers flautas or taquitos, I decided to do some research. It resulted in me being enlightened about the culinary names of some great Hispanic food. Did you know that "flauta" means flute in Spanish? And that flautas are called flautas because they look like a flute? It's true. It's also true that flautas are typically made with flour tortillas, while their close cousin the taquito is usually made from corn tortillas. That's about the only difference, and the two words are sometimes used interchangeably for this lovely little food. So I ended up calling mine flautas because I used flour tortillas. If you use corn tortillas, you can call them taquitos. Or you can call them either name and just revel in the goodness that is a flauta/taquito. I don't mind.

These are great as an appetizer, but they also work wonderfully as a meal. Just gauge how many to make based on which option you choose. Make more for a meal than an appetizer, obviously. My hubby and I both found these to be rather amazing. I will be making them again, probably pretty soon. And I will make more this time. I made 10 (which is what the recipe below should yield, approximately). It was not enough. Don't judge me. Just make them and see for yourself. I dare you.

-1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded (about 1 cup)
-1/4 cup plain tomato sauce
-1 tablespoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-1/2 teaspoon cumin
-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
-1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used colby jack)
-approx 10 fajita sized flour tortillas
-cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix together the tomato sauce and spices.
Add the shredded chicken and stir to coat with the sauce.
Stir in the shredded cheese. Spoon a thin line of the chicken onto the center of the tortilla.
Roll as tightly as possible to get a somewhat thin roll.
I stabbed mine with a toothpick to keep it rolled tightly. Repeat until all the chicken is rolled into a tortilla.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place all your little chicken tortilla rolls onto the baking sheet, leaving at least an inch between them.
Spray the rolls with cooking spray. Bake in your 400 degree oven for approximately 7 minutes. Turn the flautas over. Bake another 7 minutes or so. The flautas should be crispy and slightly browned.
Serve hot with your dipping sauce of choice.
I used sour cream, but guacamole, queso, and salsa are all good choices too. Yum. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cheese, Broccoli, Potato, and Carrot Soup

It's still pretty stinkin' cold outside here where I am, so occasionally, I still get in the mood for a good hearty soup. I've made Broccoli Cheese soup before, and it is actually one of my favorite soups. When I was a kid, I didn't like veggies...oh wait, that's still true. Oops. Anyway, back to my story. My mother probably rejoiced and praised God in Heaven when she found out I actually enjoyed broccoli cheese soup. It had a green healthy veggie in it. And she didn't have to force me to eat it, or threaten me to eat it, or beg me to eat. I would gladly eat it. The fact I was eating it because it was smothered in a cream based cheese soup didn't matter. Haha. Plus, I was a scrawny kid, and the extra dairy and fat was probably good for me.

On to the present day. I still enjoy Broccoli Cheese soup, but sometimes it's just not hearty enough for a meal, you know? It's better as a side or something in my mind. So I came up with this soup as a way to make it more meal worthy, but not take away all the good stuff. I guess you could say it's almost a cross between baked potato soup and broccoli cheese soup, with carrots added in for fun. Which is awesome because I love baked potato soup too. This is a win win, people. A And delicious. Enjoy!

-3 tablespoons butter
-3 tablespoons flour
-3 cups milk
-3 cups chicken broth
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-2 cups shredded cheese(I used cheddar)
-2 potatoes, peeled, cubed, and cooked (bake or boil, as long as they're tender)
-1.5 cups broccoli, cut into small florets and steamed or blanched
-1 cup carrots, cut into bite sized pieces and steamed
-salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk together to make a roux.
Let it cook a couple more minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the milk and stir to combine well.
Continue stirring frequently, letting the soup thicken.
When it's thickened substantially, add the chicken broth and stir to incorporate.
Add the onion powder and mix it in well. Let the soup cook for a minute to help it start to thicken slightly again, stirring occasionally.

Add the cheese and let it melt into the soup, stirring frequently.
When the cheese is well incorporated, salt and pepper to taste. Add the potatoes, broccoli, and carrots. Stir to combine. You want the chunks of everything to be evenly distributed.
Let the soup cook for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything is hot and delicious. Serve immediately.
It would be awesome with a chunk of crusty bread or something. Mmm. Devour at will.