Archive for February, 2012

February 20, 2012

Grandmother Paul’s sour cream pound cake

Paula Deen

Makes: 16-20 servings

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Sift the baking soda and flour together. Add to the creamed mixture alternating with eggs, beating each egg 1 at a time. Add the vanilla and pour the mixture into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes.

*Chef’s note: Delish. I used a bundt pan, and 80 minutes was perfect. Not too sweet. I may even add 1/8-1/4 tsp. salt next time to round out the flavor, but with homemade whipped cream and fresh strawberries, this pound cake was pretty much perfect! I think I’ll go have another slice….

February 20, 2012

Smoky scalloped potatoes

Pat Neely

Serves: 6

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan. Once the butter foams, add the shallot and garlic and saute until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the half-and-half, smoked paprika and potatoes. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Pour half of the potato mixture into the buttered casserole dish. Shake the pan to arrange the potatoes in a single layer. Sprinkle half of each of the cheeses on top of the bottom potato layer. Add the remaining potatoes and shake again to arrange in a layer. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese, cover with foil and bake 45 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove the foil and place back in the oven for another 15 minutes, or until the potatoes and cheese are golden and browned. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

*Chef’s note: That Neely knows his scalloped potatoes! Very tasty. Be sure to season well with salt; my only comment!

February 20, 2012

Chocolate chip peanut butter cheesecake bites

Rachael Ray

  • 1 cup crushed chocolate wafer cookies
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon gelatin
  • 8 ounces room-temperature cream cheese
  • 7 ounces condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Mix cookie crumbs with butter; press into 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Combine gelatin with 1 tbsp. water; let sit 5 minutes. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, condensed milk and peanut butter. Microwave gelatin 20 to 30 seconds to melt; beat into cream cheese mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Fill pan and freeze 20 minutes. Cut into bite-size squares.
*Chef’s note: Heaven. If you like peanut butter, chocolate and cheesecake, that is. And I do. I added a tablespoon or so more peanut butter and probably a quarter cup more chocolate chips, and I didn’t regret it. I can’t remember exactly how many Oreos I used, but make sure you have a cup once they’re crushed, not a cup before crushing. And it definitely took more like an hour to set up, but it was so worth the wait. The first and edge pieces are a bit tough to get out, so I suggest using a casserole dish if you have one like I did, rather than a metal baking pan, which won’t scratch as easily. 
February 20, 2012

Honey-lime chicken with coconut-black bean rice

Southern Living

Serves: 4

  • 1 (13.5-oz.) can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 6 (4-oz.) chicken breast cutlets
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 (15.5-oz.) can seasoned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Bring coconut milk and 1 tsp. salt to a boil over medium-high heat; stir in rice. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with pepper and 1/2 tsp. salt. Place crushed tortilla chips in a shallow bowl. Whisk together honey and next 2 ingredients in a second shallow bowl. Reserve 2 Tbsp. honey mixture. Dip chicken in remaining honey mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Dredge in crushed chips.

Cook half of chicken in 2 Tbsp. hot oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 2 minutes on each side or until done. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken and oil. Spoon reserved honey mixture over chicken.

Stir black beans and next 2 ingredients into rice; spoon onto serving plates. Top with chicken and cilantro.

*Chef’s note: Another hit! Ah, that rice! Yum! I didn’t realize coconut milk was so fatty, though, so I don’t know that I will make this as often as I’d like to. I used tenderloins but next time will use cutlets. The breading didn’t adhere very well for me and burned a bit, but even with a bunch falling off the chicken was still full of flavor. I think my pan was just too hot and I flipped the chicken too often. I was out of green onions but would add them next time. Again, I left out the cilantro. I think it’s safe to say I always will.

February 20, 2012

Simple perfect enchiladas

Pioneer Woman

Serves: 4


  • 1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon All-purpose Flour
  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Enchilada Or Red Sauce
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro


  • 1-1/2 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
  • 2 cans (4 Ounce) Diced Green Chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt


  • 10 whole (to 14) Corn Tortillas
  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil


  • 3 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Black Olives
  • 1 cup Chopped Green Onions
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Cilantro

Step #1 – The Sauce
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and flour and whisk together to make a paste, cooking for one minute. Pour in the red sauce, chicken broth, cilantro, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes.

Step #2 – The Meat
Brown the meat with onions in a skillet. Drain off fat. Stir in 2 cans diced green chilies and seasoned salt. Set aside.

Step #3 – Tortillas
Heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. One by one, using tongs, fry tortillas in oil until soft, not crisp – about 30 seconds per side. Remove to a paper—towel lined plate. Repeat until all tortillas have been fried.

Step #4 – Assembly
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour ½ cup red sauce in bottom of baking pan. Spread to even out. Dip each tortilla into red sauce, then remove to work surface. Spoon meat, a little grated cheese, a little black olives, and green onions in the center of tortilla. Roll up and place, seam down, in baking pan. Repeat until pan is filled. Pour extra red sauce over enchiladas. Top with remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle cilantro over enchiladas before serving.

*Chef’s note:  I am crazy about this recipe. Overly delicious. I used parsley in place of cilantro (hello, do you know me by now? :D) I will admit, it’s a pain to make, but if you have the time it is more than worth it! A bit rich, but, hey. I still could have eaten more than my share.

February 20, 2012

Spinach salad on garlic croutons (+steak!)

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4-6

  • 2 large eggs
  • 12 slices crusty peasant bread
  • 2 large cloves garlic, halved
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for liberal drizzling, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 pound thick cut pancetta, diced
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick or quartered
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup Marsala or dry sherry
  • 1/2 pound farm spinach – available bundled in produce department, washed, dried and chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the eggs in a pan, cover with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover the pan, turn off the heat and let stand 10 minutes. Run the eggs under cold water, crack and return to cold water for a few minutes to loosen shells. Chop the eggs and set aside.

Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove baking sheet from the oven and rub with the garlic. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the cheese, then return to the oven to melt the cheese, about 1 to 2 minutes.

While bread toasts, heat a skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, a couple of turns of the pan. Add the pancetta and crisp for about 3 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and deglaze the pan with Marsala or dry sherry.

While mushrooms cook, combine spinach with red onions and dress with juice of 1 lemon, a liberal drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and nutmeg.

Arrange the toasts on a platter and top with the mushrooms and spinach. Garnish with chopped eggs and serve.

*Chef’s note: This was the best salad everrrr. YUM. O. We topped this with grilled flank steak that had been marinated for a few hours in olive oil, garlic, honey, soy sauce and a dash of red wine vinegar. Perfect addition for a complete meal.

February 20, 2012

Pesto presto chicken

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 8-10 leaves basil, about a half a cup
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, a handful
  • 1 5.4 ounce round of Boursin garlic and herb soft cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, a couple of handfuls
  • 4 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 12 slices 1/2 inch thick of vine ripe tomato, 3 medium tomatoes

Preheat oven to 450ºF. In a small pan over medium heat lightly toast the nuts then cool.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, parsley, pine nuts, Boursin cheese, 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (about a handful), some salt and pepper. Process into a smooth paste. Reserve.

Butterfly each of the chicken breasts and pound them out lightly in a plastic bag with a dash of water using a skillet or meat mallet. Season both sides of the chicken and divide the herb-cheese mixture between the four breasts, placing a scoop on one half of each breast. Fold the flap over to enclose the cheese mixture.

Transfer the chicken pockets to a baking sheet and shingle 3 slices of tomato over each breast. Season with some salt and pepper, drizzle with about 2 tablespoons EVOO and sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano (about a handful).

Bake the chicken pockets until cooked through and light golden brown, 20-25 minutes.

*Chef’s note: I made this without the basil (whoops!), and it was still very tasty! (And, boy, is that Boursin good plain on a cracker!) I’m not usually a fan of stuffed dishes, but this wasn’t over-the-top rich. Just be sure to season it well.

February 20, 2012

Pumpkin pasta with sweet Italian sausage

Recipe Girl

Serves: 6-8

You can find the recipe here: Recipe Girl – Creamy Pumpkin Pasta

*Chef’s note: Super tasty! A bit rich, but not something I’d make often anyway. I used Parmesan; don’t skimp on it because it totally makes the dish! I left out the white pepper because I don’t have any. I’m not sure if it would have added something great to the dish or not because I’ve never used it! Definitely a good fall dinner.

February 20, 2012

Southern-style crab cakes with cool lime sauce


Serves: 4

  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1 cup light mayonnaise, divided
  • 2 tablespoons country-style Dijon mustard, divided
  • juice of 1 lime, divided
  • 1/4 cup green onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (.7-oz) packet zesty Italian dressing mix
  • 26 round buttery crackers, divided
  • 2 (8-oz) cups lump crab meat
  • cooking spray

Prepare sauce by combining sour cream, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon mustard, and juice of one-half lime. Chill until ready to serve.

Chop onions; place in large bowl. Squeeze juice of remaining one-half lime over green onions. Stir in dressing mix and remaining each 1/2 cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon mustard. Crush thirteen crackers while adding to mayonnaise mixture. Add crab meat and mix well. Shape into eight 3/4-inch thick patties (wash hands). Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Crush remaining thirteen crackers onto plate. Remove pan from heat and coat with cooking spray.

Lightly coat patties with crackers, then place in pan; cook 12–15 minutes, turning once, or until golden and thoroughly heated. Serve crab cakes with sauce.

*Chef’s note: These were very good! I don’t think the Italian dressing mix was necessary; there already was enough flavor, and I like to stay away from artificial things like that if I can. A few more Ritz wouldn’t hurt, though ;)

February 20, 2012

Chicken and waffle Monte Cristos with rosemary-maple gravy

Rachael Ray

Serves: 4

  • 8 slices thick cut bacon or sliced pancetta
  • 4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups multi-grain pancake mix (recommended: Highland Sugarworks)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • A generous handful grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup dark amber maple syrup

Heat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Arrange the bacon on a slotted pan or on a cooling rack set on top of a baking sheet. Bake the bacon or pancetta until crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut each chicken breast horizontally to make 2 small cutlets from each piece. Pound the cutlets very thin and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Preheat the waffle iron.

Melt a couple of tablespoons butter in small dish in the microwave. Combine the pancake mix, egg, milk, vegetable oil, nutmeg, cheese, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Brush the waffle iron with melted butter and fill it with half of the batter, to make 4 square waffles.

While the waffle cooks, heat a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil in large skillet over medium-low heat and add the chicken cutlets. Saute, 4 cutlets at a time, until cooked through, a couple of minutes on each side.

When the cutlets are all cooked, add a couple tablespoons butter to pan. When the butter has melted, stir in the rosemary and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle in the flour, stir for 1 more minute, then whisk in the stock. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, then add the syrup. Reduce heat to low.

Make second set of 4 waffles, while keeping the first set warm in oven with the bacon.

To serve, cut the waffles into 8 squares. Arrange a chicken cutlet on each waffle and top with a couple of slices of bacon or pancetta. Add a second cutlet on the bacon and cover with another waffle. Cut the chicken and bacon wafflewich from corner to corner and serve with gravy poured over the top or in individual ramekins for dipping.

*Chef’s note: Yeah, this was good. The only thing I would change from the recipe would be to use a tad less maple syrup; it was almost too sweet for me. The bacon took longer than 20 minutes, but it was the best bacon I’ve ever had! And the waffles should be crispy; the waffle iron I used produced a soft waffle, which was tasty but the texture was off for this dish. And this also produced only 6 waffles for me, but that was plenty of food. I used a fork and knife as opposed to eating it like a giant sandwich. Yum!