My recipes are meant to be shared and enjoyed. I welcome you to re-post my recipes and text. I ask only that you credit me and include a link to my blog if you post any of my content.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Almond and Parmesan Chicken Tenders

This one is kid and adult approved.  It's a great, more healthy alternative to flour-laden, carb-dense recipes.  Yummy!

Recipe For Almond and Parmesan Chicken Tenders

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
3 eggs
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup of almonds, chopped in a food processor to a coarse meal texture
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic or onion powder
big pinch of kosher salt
couple of grinds of black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Set up a breading station:

  • Whisk eggs and then whisk in lemon juice and put in a shallow bowl. 
  • Mix the almonds, parmesan, paprika, garlic or onion powder, salt, and pepper and put in a shallow bowl.

Working a couple at a time, coat chicken tenders with egg mixture, then with almond mixture, and shake off excess.  Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet; no crowding.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.

Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Crustless Quiche

This is a breakfast/brunch dish for those of us who have childhood issues with runny eggs and need them to be thoroughly cooked and disguised with plenty of cheese.  Our picky kids seem to like this one too since it has the flavors of broccoli cheese soup.  You can bake this recipe in individual ramekins, which I think makes it kinda fun for kids, but you can also bake it in a pie dish.

Broccoli Cheddar Cheese Crustless Quiche Recipe

10 ounces fresh broccoli
6 large eggs
1/2 cup half-and-half
big pinch of salt
couple grinds of black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of your favorite seasoning:  nutmeg, toasted onion powder, garlic powder, etc.
3/4 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
butter for greasing ramekins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter four 8-ounce ramekins or a 9-inch pie dish.

Bring a stockpot of salted water to a boil.  Add broccoli.  Return to the boil and cook 1 minute.  Drain well. Transfer broccoli to a cutting board and blot dry with paper towels.  Chop broccoli coarsely.

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, a big pinch of salt, a couple of grinds of pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of your favorite seasoning.  Stir in broccoli and cheese.

Place ramekins or pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet.  Ladle the broccoli/egg/cheese mixture into ramekins, dividing evenly, or ladle it into a pie dish.  Bake until golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out pretty clean, about 35 to 40 minutes for individual ramekins, 10 to 15 minutes more for a pie dish.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Baked Shrimp Scampi

Maybe not the healthiest shrimp recipe, but seriously delicious!  This is better than any shrimp scampi you can get at a restaurant!  This recipe is slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa's Baked Shrimp Scampi Recipe.

Recipe For Baked Shrimp Scampi

2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick butter, at room temperature
4 minced garlic cloves
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 extra-large egg yolk
2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried breadcrumbs)
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.

Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish.

Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter-crumb mixture evenly over the shrimp.
 Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

Cucumber, Tomato, and Feta Salad with Vinaigrette

This recipe has it all.  It's crisp, cool, and refreshing.  It's ridiculously easy.  And it's really nutritious.  Enjoy!

Recipe for Cucumber, Tomato, and Feta Salad with Vinaigrette

2 cucumbers
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 package of feta cheese, 6 to 8 ounces
1/4 red onion

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (I like Penzey's pasta sprinkle)
salt and pepper to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, remove 4 strips of peel from the length of each cucumber (giving a striped appearance).  Trim away the ends, cut each cucumber in half diagonally, and scoop out all the seeds.  Thinly slice the cleaned cucumbers.

Put the sliced cucumbers in a colander set over a bowl.  Sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt and shake the collander.  This will help to draw extra moisture out of the cucumber.  Give the collander a shake now and again to disperse the salt evenly over the cucumber.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.

Cut the feta into small dice.

Very finely dice the red onion.  Rinse the onion in a collander to remove some of its pungency.

To make the vinaigrette, mix the red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, Italian seasoning, freshly ground pepper, and salt (go easy on the salt until you taste the finished salad, since you've already sprinkled salt over the cucumber).  Drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil while wisking to make a nice emulsified vinaigrette.

Combine the sliced cucumbers, cherry tomato halves, diced feta, and diced onion in a salad bowl.  Drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the salad (you may have extra vinaigrette left over that you can dress another salad with).  Taste the salad and add extra salt if necessary.

Green-Lentil Curry

This is a Madhur Jaffrey recipe that I found online at Food & Wine.  I love vegetarian eating and this is a main dish for me.  For my devoutly carnivore husband, this is a great side dish.  There are many beautiful spices in this dish and they're all used in moderation so the flavor is beautifully subtle and balanced.

Green-Lentil Curry Recipe

1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 garlic clove, mashed to a paste
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
1 1/4 cups dried green lentils (I only had regular brown lentils, so I used them for this recipe)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 ounces green beans, cut into 3/4-inch lengths
4 ounces kale, stemmed and leaves finely chopped
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt to taste

1.  In a small bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, coriander, and ground cumin.  Sitr in 1/4 cup of water to make a paste.  In a small skillet, heat the oil until shimmering.  Add the cumin seeds and cook over moderately high heat for 5 seconds, just until sizzling.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute.  Add the spice paste and let cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, abour 2 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook until thick, about 1 minute longer.

2.  In a saucepan, combine the lentils with the turmeric and 5 cups of water; bring to a boil.  Cover partially and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are barely tender.  Add the green beans, kale, carrot, three-fourths of the cilantro, and the cayenne and season with salt.  Cook until the lentils and vegetables are tender, 15 minutes.  Scrape in the spice paste and the remaining cilantro.  Simmer for 5 minutes, then serve.

Serve with steamed basmati rice, warm naan, and plain yogurt.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Chicken/Pork Breakfast Sausage

Using brined chicken breast in this recipe along with lean ground pork results in a very low-fat sausage that’s flavorful and has a nicer texture than chicken breakfast sausages I’ve had before. The fat content is so low that you’ll need to lightly coat your skillet with olive oil.

A great time-saving idea is to brine large amounts of chicken breasts, then freeze individually in ziplock bags for later use. I’ve found that prebrined and frozen chicken tastes the same in recipes as freshly brined. It’s also easiest to grind the chicken in the food processor when it’s still half-frozen.

We’ve eaten this sausage as standalone breakfast patties and cooked it in a breakfast hash with eggs, potatoes, and cheese. It was great both ways.

Recipe For Chicken/Pork Breakfast Sausage

1 pound brined chicken breast (partially frozen)
1 pound lean ground pork
¼ cup real maple syrup
2 teaspoons dry sage
1 teaspoon granulated toasted onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

Cut the chicken into chunks. Working in batches, pulse the chicken in a food processor until coarsely ground.

Combine the ground chicken, ground pork, maple syrup, and spices in a large mixing bowl. Mix well with your hands.

You can form patties or bulk cook it. If it’s warmed up a bit from mixing and gotten a little too soft and sticky, refrigerate for a while before forming patties.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Breakfast Strata With Pesto And Sausage

I love a breakfast casserole.  Anyone who knows me at all knows I'm not a morning person.  The greatness of a breakfast strata is that it's prepared the night before and refrigerated.  The only effort required to turn it into a brunch treat the next day is to remove it from the fridge and pop it into the oven.  Winning!!!  I also have childhood issues with eggs, namely runny yolks, so I particularly love a breakfast casserole that disguises the eggs amongst a myriad of ingredients.

I wanted to make a slightly healthier version of the traditional breakfast strata.  I used 100% whole wheat bread instead of the traditional white French bread.  I used low fat milk and part-skim mozzarella.  I would have used a lower-fat turkey Italian sausage if I had it on hand, but since I didn't I used traditional pork Italian sausage this time.  I mixed chopped spinach with the pesto.  Sneaky Mommy Alert:  If you have a picky kiddo who doesn't like veggies but does like pesto, you can hide all kinds of chopped or grated green veggies in pesto!  Tricking your kids into eating veggies is fun!

For the dry bread cubes you can cube bread that has sat open for a day to dry out or cube fresh bread and dry it in a 250 degree oven for 30-45 minutes.

Recipe For Breakfast Strata With Pesto And Sausage

6 cups dry bread cubes
1 lb. Italian sausage, mild or spicy
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup pesto, homemade or store-bought
8 eggs
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Brown, drain, cool, and crumble the sausage.  Pat with paper towels if necessary to remove excess grease.

While the sausage is browning, chop the spinach in a food processor and then combine well with the pesto.

Butter or Misto spray a 9-by-13 baking dish.  Place the bread in the dish.  Sprinkle with the cheese.  Dot with the pesto mixture.  Sprinkle the sausage evenly.

In a very large bowl wisk the eggs, then wisk in the milk, dry mustard, salt, onion powder, and pepper.  Gently pour the egg mixture over the other ingredients.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning remove the strata from the fridge.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Remove the plastic wrap from the strata and allow it to come to room temperature while the oven preheats.

Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered 40-45 minutes or until strata is puffy and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Sprinkle with additional grated Parmesan if desired for serving.

Canning Homemade Dark Beer Mustard To Share

Two pints of mustard to supply us for a while and eight half-pints to share!

Now that we know how yummy our Homemade Dark Beer Mustard is, I wanted to can a big batch of it to share.  I quadrupled the original recipe, to make 12 cups of mustard, plenty for our use and sharing with family and friends.

Canning high-acid food like mustard is easy using the waterbath canning method.  Ball's website,, provides all the info you need about the equipment and procedure.  Here's a quick link to their simple step-by-step instructions for waterbath canning.

There are several steps, but none of them difficult. The hardest part is waiting 3 to 4 weeks for the mustard to be ready to eat!  Just familiarize yourself with the instructions, get your supplies together, and set aside a morning or afternoon to cook and can.

Filled jars, waiting to be lidded and processed.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Love Shack Denton ... Completing The Trifecta

I'm a big fan of local celeb chef Tim Love.  You've probably seen him all over Food Network, Top Chef, really anywhere that there's a camera.  Hubby and I were fortunate enough to enjoy New Year's Eve dinner at his Lonesome Dove restaurant in Fort Worth a couple of years ago.  We've been to the original Love Shack in the Fort Worth Stockyards, we've been to the Love Shack So 7 on Fort Worth's West 7th Street, and today I completed the Love Shack trifecta.  I had a morning deposition on the north side of the square in Denton that concluded just in time for lunch and so I had an excuse to visit (alone, sadly) the newest Love Shack, located just east of the square.

I ordered my Love Shack fav, the single dirty love burger, along with an order of onion rings and an iced tea.  The burger was yummy, although I think it was cooked slightly short of the medium doneness described on the menu, just a touch too pink for my taste, but very enjoyable nonetheless.  Love Shack burger patties are made from a 50/50 combination of ground sirloin and brisket, and the dirty love burger is dressed with crispy bacon, melted cheese, a quail egg, the signature Love sauce, and the usual hamburger condiments.

The onion rings are the superthin kind that I love, well seasoned, and enough for an entire family.  I took home the leftovers and snacked on them all afternoon.  Although I'll never complain about an all-day onion ring snack, an individual serving size would be a nice menu addition.

Service and atmosphere are very friendly and Denton cool ... think Austin lite ... since it was weekday lunchtime I wasn't too out of place despite my dearth of ink and body piercings.  When I asked for the check, my server offered a to-go iced tea.  I know it's sort of a simple thing, but I love that considerate touch, when my server at lunch on a business day offers some carry-out caffeine to keep me awake through the afternoon.

Feel free to express yourself in the ladies room ...

Here's your chalk ...
Quirky and fun at this location is the graffiti-friendly bathroom wall.  The lower portion of the wall is tile, but the upper portion is chalkboard and there's a box of sidewalk chalk in the bathroom so you can leave your "for a good time call" or "Kearby was here" on the wall without guilt.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ensalada De Nochebuena (Mexican Christmas Eve Salad)

Forgot the camera, so here's an iPhone pic of this yummy salad.

In many Latin American countries, the most festive Christmas celebrations occur on Nochebuena, or Christmas Eve (literally "Good Night").  Ensalada de Nochebuena is a traditional Mexican Christmas Eve salad.  It's a great mixture of colors, flavors, and textures for Christmas Eve or any festive meal.

For The Dressing:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Mexican or Salvadorean crema (you can substitute sour cream if crema isn't available)
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Juice of one lime
3 teaspoons chili powder
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
Pinch of salt

Mix well, taste, and adjust seasonings to your taste.  This recipe will yield enough dressing to dress a Nochebuena salad and have some left over to dress another fruit salad.

For The Salad:
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (to taste)
1/4 cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped
Seeds of one pomegranate
Salad greens for presentation (optional)

And use any combination of the following ingredients, according to your taste:
2 tangerines or oranges, peeled, segmented, deseeded, and cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium jicama, peeled and julienned
20 oz. can of pineapple tidbits or chunks
2 bananas, sliced
2 medium-size cooked beets, peeled, cut in half, and sliced into "half moons"
2 small apples, cored and chopped
6-8 radishes, sliced thin

Toss together your choice of salad ingredients with the chopped cilantro.  Drizzle enough dressing onto salad to lightly coat and mix well.  If desired, line serving platter with salad greens.  Spoon salad onto platter.  Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and pomegranate seeds and serve.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Jonathon Erdeljac's Beer-and-Cheddar Soup

I'm anxious to visit Jonathon Erdeljac's new Oak Cliff restaurant, Jonathon's Oak Cliff.  In the meantime, I made his Beer-and-Cheddar Soup recipe, which has received the stamp of approval from my family.  My version of this soup doesn't make the prettiest picture, as I sacrificed vanity in favor of flavor and used my favorite Cabot extra sharp white cheddar instead of yellow cheddar.  I think this recipe has the perfect ratio of broth to cheese to beer, very savory, not cloyingly cheesy, no overpowering elements.  We try to limit our simple carbs, so we didn't serve the soup with the garlic-rubbed toasts as the recipe calls for, but that would certainly be a great textural addition.  And I didn't have a jalapeno handy, so I used a couple of pinches of cayenne pepper instead. 

Jonathon Erdeljac's Beer-and-Cheddar Soup

2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Garlic-rubbed toasts, for serving
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 large jalapeƱo, seeded and chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
One 12-ounce bottle lager or pilsner
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 pound piece of slab bacon, sliced 1/3 inch thick and cut into 1/3-inch dice
About 2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 pound sharp yellow cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
4 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded

1.  In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a bowl. Add the celery, onion, jalapeƱo, garlic and thyme to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 8 minutes. Add half of the beer and cook until reduced by half, 5 minutes. Add 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth and bring to a simmer.

2.  In a small skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk this roux into the soup until incorporated and bring to a simmer.  Cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the heavy cream, cheddar cheeses and the remaining beer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon and season with salt and pepper. Add a few tablespoons of broth if the soup is too thick. Serve the soup with garlic toasts.

Make Ahead:  The cheddar soup can be refrigerated overnight. Rewarm gently and thin with additional broth.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pernil (Roasted Pork Shoulder) For Christmas Eve

Pernil is the centerpiece of the traditional Puerto Rican Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) meal.  It's a delicious alternative to turkey or ham.  Pernil takes a bit of planning and a long cooking time; however, it's easy to make and doesn't require much hands-on prep time and it's made with budget-friendly bone-in pork shoulder.  Be sure to cook more than you need for the holiday meal so you can make Cuban sandwiches later. 

Recipe For Pernil (Roasted Pork Shoulder)

8-10 lb. bone-in pork shoulder (you may also see the word picnic on the label)

For the marinade:
15 black peppercorns
18 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 tablespoon dry oregano
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt for each pound of meat
Optional:  I had some naranjas agrias (sour oranges), so I added some juice from them as well

Crush and mix the marinade ingredients in a pilon (mortar and pestle) or in a blender.  Allow the flavors to marry while you prepare the pork.

Lightly score the surface of the pork skin in a criss-cross pattern, as you would an Easter ham.

Using a very sharp knife, carefully separate the skin from the top of the pork shoulder, starting at the large end, peeling it back toward the small bony end of the shoulder, stopping before you completely separate the skin from the bony end.

Use your sharp knife to jab deep holes into the meat all over, turning the knife to make the holes larger.

Reserve a bit of marinade for the surface of the skin.  Rub the remainder of the marinade all over the pork, using your fingers to work it deep into the knife holes.  Carefully re-position the skin back into place and use butcher's twine to tie it securely.  Rub reserved marinade into the skin.

Place in ziptop bag.  Either double-bag or put a tray underneath in case of drips.  Refrigerate at least overnight and up to 2 days.

Perniles resting in the fridge, marinating for the big day.  We made two Perniles so there'd be plenty of leftovers for Cuban sandwiches ... yummy!

One hour before cooking, remove the pork from the refrigerator, remove it from the bags, place it on a rack in a roasting pan, skin side up, and cover with foil.  While pork is coming to room temperature, preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place pork shoulder in oven and bake for 30 minutes per pound.  Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees, remove the foil, and roast until the skin is brown and crispy, about an hour.  When done, the skin will literally sound crunchy if you tap it.  While roasting keep an eye on the Pernil to avoid burning the skin.

Although the USDA now says pork is safe if cooked to 145 degrees, this cut needs to be cooked low and slow to allow the fat to tenderize the meat and I recommend a finished internal temperature of 160 to 180 degrees.

Remove the Pernil from the oven and let it rest for 15 to 30 minutes, tented with foil.  Remove the butcher's twine and separate the skin from the meat.  Carve and shred the meat.  Cut/break the crunchy skin into bite-sized pieces.  Serve the meat on a platter with the crunchy skin on the side.