The culinary ramblings of a picky eater.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chicken Bacon Quesadillas

Ok, so quesadillas are so super easy to make. I make them when I don't feel like cooking. Most of the time they're really simple, like just cheese or something. But occasionally I like to spice things up a bit. This time, I used chicken, bacon, and cheese. Super easy, and quick. Dipping these in ranch dressing is pretty tasty too. MMM. You can also make these as an appetizer or snack, or as a full on light meal. Very adaptable.

I bake my quesadillas most of the time, but you can grill them too. Either way, the inside is hot and melty and yummy, so do what you will. None of the ingredients have measurements because I just throw things together. Make enough to feed everyone, and just assemble at will. Let's go!

-chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (you can season them if you want, depending on what flavor you're going for)
-bacon, cooked and crumbled (you can cheat and use store bought bacon bits)
-shredded cheese (I used colby jack)
-tortillas (I used flour. I think they work better for quesadillas)

Sprinkle a layer of the cheese on one half of one of the tortillas.
Add the chicken and bacon.
Sprinkle another layer of cheese on top. Fold the tortilla over the filling.
Use a toothpick to hold it closed if necessary. Place on a baking sheet
and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, turning over halfway through. The tortilla should be slightly crispy and slightly browned.
Cut the baked quesadilla into wedges
and serve. Ranch dressing for dipping sauce, and you've got a winner.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rigatoni with Broccoli in Garlic Parmesan Sauce

Oh boy! A new pasta dish! Hehe.

Ok, seriously, you all know I love me some pasta. I will forever continue to experiment with new pasta concoctions. And this one turned out really well, and contains a green veggie. Score! So yay for that. It also contains butter, but hey...

This was SO.SIMPLE. to make it's ridiculous. Start to finish, under 30 minutes. And it's practically a one pan wonder, except for I boiled the pasta in a separate pot, but still. So exciting. And it was yummy. This would be easy to adapt, too. You could add some chicken to it to add some protein. You could add some other veggies if you're that kinda person. Like I said, super simple to make. I also made a small portion, so this isn't really family sized. I would say it could feed 2 people, so adjust accordingly. Ok, I'll just share the recipe now. Woohoo!

-pasta (I used rigatoni)
-4 tablespoons butter, divided
-1 tablespoon flour
-1 head broccoli, cut into florets
-1.5 cups chicken broth
-1 tablespoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-1/2-3/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the broccoli florets and saute in the butter for a couple minutes.
They won't be cooked all the way, but that's ok. Add the other 2 tablespoons of butter and let them melt. Add the flour and stir to make a roux around the broccoli. Pour in the chicken broth and stir to incorporate.
Let the broth heat up, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, and parmesan cheese.
Stir to combine. The sauce will begin to thicken a bit. Continue cooking for another few minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is no longer thin and runny but still pourable. Add the drained pasta and stir to coat.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Yummy! And so easy!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mexican Chicken Burrito Bake

I have shared my chicken enchilada recipe on here before, which I love. It's a great, mild chicken enchilada recipe. I will say, though, that sometimes I don't really want enchiladas, but something else that is Tex-Mex and yummy. I decided to try a little something new, and I think it turned out pretty well. There were no leftovers, and my hubby had seconds, so it had to have been decent. Haha. I can't really figure out what to call it, so you get the above title in all its clumsy glory.

This is extremely simple to make. I like simple. Especially on nights when I am pretty close to exhausted and don't want to think about cooking, but still have to do it anyway. I hope this can give you another easy weeknight meal. Yum!

-Chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I used one large chicken breast, and it made enough filling for about 7 small burritos)
-1/2 cup uncooked rice (I used instant-this is a great way to use up some leftover rice from another meal too)
-1/4 cup salsa
-1 tablespoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-1.5 tablespoons chili powder
-1 teaspoon cumin
-1/2 cup water (more if needed, but start small)
-1 cup or so of shredded cheese (I used colby jack), divided
-tortillas (I used the small fajita size)

In a small pot, cook the rice according to package directions. Set aside.

In a medium sized pot, add the chicken,
water, and spices.
Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add in the rice
and let it all cook together until the liquid has been absorbed, stirring frequently. When the liquid is mostly gone, it's done!

Take a tortilla and spread a thin layer of the cheese in the center.
Next, spoon a line of the chicken mixture on top of the cheese.
Roll the tortilla around the filling, creating a small burrito. Place seam side down in a baking dish.
Repeat until the filling is used up and the baking dish is full.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until the cheese is melted and the burritos are a little crispy on the edges and hot inside.
Serve and enjoy!
A little sour cream, salsa, or queso dip would be great with these... Yum!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chicken in Peanut sauce

I decided to experiment with a new Asian inspired dish. Chicken in Peanut sauce, over noodles. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it actually turned out all right. I think I'll tweak it next time I make it, but for a first attempt, not too shabby. :)

A lot of Asian or eastern dishes are pretty spicy, so I tend to be hesitant to try them when they're made by someone else. But when I decided to try this, I could kind of control how things went in the spice department, which means that this is persnickety approved. It was very flavorful, in my opinion, but not overly so. I don't know how "authentic" it tastes, but it works for me. I used fettuccine pasta as my noodles. I just think they work well. You could also use spaghetti, or some sort of Asian noodle. Whatever floats your boat. Enjoy!

-1/2 cup peanut butter
-1 tablespoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-1 teaspoon ground ginger
-3 tablespoons soy sauce
-3 tablespoons brown sugar
-1 cup chicken broth, divided in half
-chicken breasts, enough to feed everyone
-pasta (I used fettuccine)

In a small bowl, mix together the first 6 ingredients and half of the chicken broth until well incorporated.
Put the chicken breasts in a large plastic bag, and pour in a little of the mixture as a marinade.
The remaining mixture will be your sauce, so don't use too terribly much as a marinade, maybe a quarter of the mixture or so, enough to coat the chicken. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight in the fridge. Keep the rest of the sauce in the fridge too, if you're doing the overnight option.

When you're ready to make the rest of the meal, boil a pot of water and cook the pasta. Drain and set aside. Pour the remaining sauce mixture into a small sauce pan. Add the other half of the chicken broth. Heat over medium heat and allow it to thicken slightly, stirring frequently.

Grill the chicken until cooked through. I used a counter-top grill contraption that takes like 5 minutes to cook chicken, but do it however you prefer. NO PINK in the middle! :)

Slice the chicken into strips.
Pour most of the sauce over the noodles and stir to coat well, leaving a little sauce in reserve for the chicken.
Plate the pasta, then place the sliced chicken on top of the noodles. Spoon a little bit of the sauce over the chicken for good measure.
Yummy! Eat and enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Homemade Deli Sandwiches

When I was growing up, my amazing mother made me a lunch everyday, and it usually contained a sandwich. Usually, they were the regular lunch meats and some cheese, but nothing terribly exciting. I mean, it was a lunch for school.

Sometimes, though, on a weekend, we would have "Hawaiian bread sandwiches." You've never heard of Hawaiian bread? How sad. It's amazing. It's a sweet bread, but not too terribly sweet. Amazing for sandwiches. And on those rare occasions we had these wonderful sandwiches, my parents would "splurge" on fresh sliced deli meat from the deli part of the grocery store, and some deli sliced cheeses. And we would be in hog heaven.

So...while this blog post does indeed show you how to construct a sandwich on Hawaiian bread, it is more of a nostalgic post for me, because I carried on the tradition of Hawaiian bread sandwiches. Hehe. Let's take a walk down memory lane now, shall we?

-Hawaiian bread
-sliced deli meats
-sliced deli cheeses
-any sandwich condiments you prefer (mayo, mustard, etc)
-any sandwich trimmings you prefer (lettuce, tomato, etc)

Hawaiian bread, at least the kind I get, usually comes in this awesome round loaf.
I use my electric knife to cut it. It's easier to me than a regular bread knife. I can get the slices more uniform. So I cut several slices, as many as I'll need to make the sandwiches, and leave the rest whole.
It retains it's moistness better that way.

Moving on. I take my two slices of bread and spread whatever condiments I'd like on the bread
(this one was for my hubby...I don't like mustard). Then I add the cheese (I used smoked provolone for this one) onto one slice of bread. Then I add the meat onto the cheese (I used roasted turkey). I usually fold it to fit on the bread, however that will work. I top it with the other piece of bread, and voila!
Yummy deli sandwich is ready to go.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chocolate Pastries

I first made these delightful little things a little over two years ago, and they have been a go-to dessert since then. They are so easy to make, and they taste amazing. And they're not something people typically make for dessert, at least not in my opinion, so it's fun to make them.

These are simply puff pastry filled with chocolate ganache. The ganache will set up slightly as it cools, making the pastry easier to eat than if the ganache is still liquid. I can never help but eat one as soon as it's filled, though, so I always make a mess with at least one pastry. Haha. These are also easily portable. They're pretty sturdy little things, so they're great to take to get-togethers. Alright, enough teasing. Here's the scoop.

-Frozen puff pastry sheets (one sheet will make 16 pastries)
-1/2 cup heavy cream (per puff pastry sheet)
-3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (per puff pastry sheet)

Thaw the puff pastry sheet according to package directions.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

When the pastry is thawed, lay it out on a piece of wax paper.
Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the sheet into sixteen pieces, equal in size as much as possible.
Place each pieces of pastry dough into a mini-muffin tin cup, making sure it touches the bottom of the cup and doesn't rip anywhere.
The pastry will give slightly, just be gentle. When you have all your pastry in the tin, bake the pastry until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
I use my little melon-baller to hollow out the inside of the cups again, since the pastry puffs up into the middle.
You need some space for the ganache to go. Make you sure you don't puncture it anywhere, though, or the ganache will seep out. Set aside the pastry after you've done that while you make the ganache.

While the pastry is cooling, heat the 1/2 cup of cream in a small sauce pan over medium/medium low heat.
You don't want it to get too hot. My stove has heat settings up to 10, and I set it on 3 or 4 for this. When the cream is warm, add the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate is melted into the cream.
It should be relatively thick, but it should still be "pourable."

Spoon a little of the ganache into each pastry shell.
I fill the pastry cavity up until the ganache would start to "overflow," then I stop.
At this point, the pastries are done. You can remove them from the muffin tin onto a serving platter or what-have-you. I usually let them sit for a little while as mentioned earlier, so the ganache can set up, but it's not entirely necessary. Enjoy!