Friday, November 30, 2012

Chicken with Red Wine Sauce


Real connoisseur's will wince at this admission, but I love cooking wines.

When my brother and I were children, on a few rare occasions, we were allowed sips of red wine. Usually it was connected to the holidays, but sometimes my father just indulged our curiosity. While I loved pretending to be drunk, I always hated the taste - an unfortunate prejudice that followed me into my adulthood. Forget the Manischewitz...I didn't drink anything with alcohol in it at all.

For years, I avoided recipes that included wine in its ingredients, assuming I wouldn't like them either...but finally I gave in and tried one, and I've been hooked on Holland House ever since.  So, if you're like me and know nothing about wine but want to try something new, this recipe is for you. :)

Chicken with Red Wine Sauce

Ingredients : 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 lbs boneless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup red cooking wine 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  Directions:

Cut chicken into small strips.

 
Heat oil in skillet over medium/high heat. Stir fry chicken with garlic and onion until chicken is no longer pink and its juices run clear. Sprinkle with paprika and brown sugar.  *I* use two heaping tablespoons of minced garlic, myself...but then, I love garlic.


Pour red wine around chicken. Lower the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, lightly basting chicken as you cook.


 The wine will slowly thicken and your chicken will pick up a beautiful caramel color. Towards the end, you can leave the lid off to help the sauce thicken if you like.


Season to taste with salt and pepper, but keep in mind that cooking wines have a higher salt content than regular wines. You might not want to use any at all. I serve mine over white rice (I serve everything over white rice because I have a microwave rice cooker, and that thing is the bomb!) but this goes perfectly with spaghetti as well.


Easy, tasty and fabulous looking!!  Make it this weekend. It will be a perfectly yummy surprise for your hungry family!






Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Chicken Souiza Cornbread Bake



Whenever I buy chicken, I buy it in the economy packs, which generally give you eight decent sized chicken breasts at a fair price. Usually I'll bake four of them right off the bat, to be used in recipes during the week. (Also great for cutting up to toss on salads or use in lunch wraps.) As such, I'm always on the look out for new recipes that use cooked chicken, and lately, this has become one of our favorites. Don't be put off by the large ingredient list. Almost everything here is self-contained. All you have to do, really, is chop an onion..(well, and the chicken if you haven't done that already.) Then it's just a matter of mixing things together and layering them in a baking dish. Easy. (ish)  


INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 1/3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1 can cream style corn
  • 1/2 cup eggs (2 eggs)
  • 1 (8.5 oz) package corn bread mix 
  • 1 4oz can green chili peppers, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 (8 ounce) package Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (x 2)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Directions:

1.   Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 9x13 inch baking dish.

2.   Melt margarine in a small skillet over med-high heat. Saute onion and garlic until tender, 4 to 6 minutes; set aside.
                                                      ...Because it smells AMAZING!

3.   In a large bowl, combine corn, cream style corn, salt and eggs. Beat in muffin mix. Fold in cooked onion mixture. Pour into prepared baking dish.



                                         (Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix...still only costs like..$0.35!)

4.   In a large bowl, combine chicken, green chiles, mushrooms, sour cream, salt and pepper. Spoon over corn mixture to within 1 inch from edge.



 (It will sink in a little, but not much. So long as you are gentle, it will sit delicately on the top. Or at least not emulate cement.)

5.   Sprinkle top with cheese.
 

6.   Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes. (Edges should be golden brown.)



Add a little more salt/pepper to taste. Yeah, it sort of looks like a mosh of stuff...and it is. But it's a delicious, hearty meal for a cool winter evening, and it tastes amazing! Kids will love it. Spouses will love it. Everyone is happy, and you look pro! Which is great...because making you look pro is what Killer Gourmet is all about!




Sunday, June 17, 2012

Perfect Baked Ribs



This isn't a recipe per se, but rather an easy way to cook perfectly tender juicy 'falls off the bones' ribs in your oven.  While this method is best served using baby back ribs, I used country ribs here because they were on sale. And it's very simply this:

Ingredients: 
  • Any kind of porks ribs
  • Any kind of bottled or homemade BBQ sauce
  • Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Brown Sugar for rub.
If you are using baby back ribs, you want to remove the membrane on the back by slitting it with a knife and pulling it off. (It comes off pretty easily.) Break your ribs down into small portions (like three to four ribs per) and tear off a sheets of aluminum foil big enough to fully enclose each.  Spray your foil pieces with cooking spray. Shake your rub stuff over the meat and using one or two fingers just rub it into the meat. You can change rub ingredients according to taste or use some prepackaged rub...but these guys work fine and are generally in every kitchen.


Seal up your foil into nice tight little packets and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. (I like to ready them the night before I plan on baking them since it only takes a few minutes.) (And its nice to get it out of the way.)  I also wrap a couple of sweet potatoes with a pat of butter each because they bake perfectly with these in the same amount of time.



When you are ready to cook them, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 c.)  Open each little pack just a little, cover your ribs with some BBQ sauce, reseal it, and bake at 300 for two hours forty five minutes.  When time is up, open your foil packets, add more sauce, and stick your tray under the broiler for five minutes.


What you come out with is unbelievably tender, visually pleasing ribs.


 Serve it with your big ol' sweet potato and a nice crispy salad!


Remind your family what this would have cost them in a restaurant and then pass around a tip jar. 
It really is that simple!



Friday, May 11, 2012

Chicken Parmigiana



Chicken Parmigiana is one of the very first dishes I learned how to make because it's pretty basic. Toss some sauce and cheese on breaded chicken and throw it in the oven. In reality though, I end up with two pots, one pan, one strainer, one casserole dish, and two bowls in my sink. If you're not a clean as you go person, it can quickly trash your kitchen, but that's because I include the pasta in this meal. The pasta is always to blame. My kids always called this meal, "Chicken Pizza," and that's pretty much what it is.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 package of boneless chicken (1-2 lbs)
  • Italian Breadcrumbs
  • 1 jar Spaghetti Sauce
  • 4 oz shredded mozzarella or mozzarella slices
  • 2 tbls Olive Oil
  • Two cups of elbow or rotelle pasta 
  • 1 egg 

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350. Slice the chicken in half with a nice sharp knife so you get two thin pieces of chicken out of each breast. Dip each slice in the egg and then the breadcrumbs and fry it all over a med-high heat just until the chicken becomes a nice golden brown color.



 We're not trying to cook the chicken here, we're only sealing the breading on so that it doesn't decide to stick with the casserole dish later, but that little bit of frying really does enhance both the flavor and look of your chicken. Four minutes per side should do it. You will use pans. I use a griddle because I'm pro like that. (They only cost like $20. Hint hint.) 


                                                Lightly browned chicken. Like a boss.

Put a teeeeny bit of oil on a paper towel and coat the bottom of the casserole dish, and then fit your chicken on in there all nice and cozy. Coat each piece with about a tablespoon of spaghetti sauce. (Plain old marinara sauce works best I think.) Cover your casserole with foil and stick it in the oven for 20 minutes.

                                                       (Woot...we're going in an oven!)

About ten minutes before it's done, set up a half pot of water to boil for the pasta and the remaining sauce can go in its own little happy pan on medium/low, if you like, just so its slowly cooking while all that is going on. Go watch TV for a few minutes. 

Ding! (TV makes everything go faster.) Pull your chicken out, remove the foil, cover the top of the chicken with handfuls of Mozzarella cheese and stick it back in the oven, uncovered, for ten more minutes. Dump your pasta into the boiling water. Stir it. Stir it again. Go watch TV for a few minutes.


Provided nothing has gone wrong, ten minutes later you will have moist succulent chicken topped with bubbly cheese and perfect pasta ready for the strainer.

                                         (Moist succulent chicken topped with bubbly cheese!)

Shovel it out onto an plate and serve with pasta and sauce and a nice little crisp green salad on the side. Listen to everyone belly ache afterwards that they ate too much.


                                                                    (Chicken Pizza)


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Beef Bourguignon


When I first moved out of my childhood home to live on my own, I knew very little about cooking. While my mother was a perfectly good cook, she never really taught me how to make anything other than pancakes, scrambled eggs, grilled cheese and french toast, and so it was that I actually lived on those few things for about a month. Hot dogs, hamburgers, spaghetti, soup and frozen pizza eventually rounded out my menu that year. Finally growing sick of those things and determined to cook something more wholesome, I progressed to 'the instructions are right here on the box, just add this packet of gunk' prepacked items like Shake & Bake, Hamburger Helper and bagged Pot Roast.

Truth was, I would have liked to eat real food, but any time I looked at a cookbook I was intimidated by ingredients and terminology I wasn't familiar with, and assumed only actually cooks could make those things. 

It wasn't until my then mother-in-law gave me a fantastic book called "Best Recipes from the Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars" that I actually attempted to cook something from scratch. Luckily, it was a very simplistic cookbook. It told you exactly what the products were that you needed, and used brand names I recognized, and that was where the revelation took place. It was specifically saying 'Holland House Red Cooking Wine' in a recipe for Beef Bourguignon. I always wanted to cook with wine, but not being a drinker and knowing nothing about them, I didn't dare try it. Cooking wines...I had seen them in the store, but never realized I could use them. And so...it became the very first real recipe I tried to cook, and after achieving spectacular results, I positively went insane and made everything in that book. 

I make my Beef Bourguignon a little differently now, based on my personal taste, but I will still credit Ceil Dyer's book for the basic premise underneath. It's a great book to give to someone who lives in grilled cheese. However, since this is actually my own recipe now, I give to you:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jodi's Beef Bourguignon

Ingredients: 
  • 1 lb of stew meat (or plain old top round..chopped into bite sized chunks)
  • 6 slices of bacon - cut up
  • 1 small onion diced 
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes (or 2 tsp beef bouillon powder) - dissolved in 1 1/2 c hot water.
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic (that stuff in the jar)
  • 2-3 tsp flour 
  • 1 1/2 cup Red cooking wine
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Raw bacon doesn't like to be sliced up into 1/2 inch sized bits. It will fight you. So use a sharp knife or at the very least a serrated one, and be prepared to saw at it a little. (Not the finest looking slices of bacon here..but it was on sale so I won't complain.)


Toss this bacon into a deep pan, add in the garlic and onion and fry on medium high heat. While that's going on, coat your beef chunks in flour and throw them in the pan as well. Beef fried in bacon grease with garlic and onion smells incredible. Husbands will peek in your kitchen and mention they love you. Strangers will stare longingly at your home from the street. You'll have it going on like that!



Stir this all occasionally until the beef is browned and the bacon is at least semi-crisp. Then add the red wine, bouillon, tomato paste, sugar, pepper and thyme (and the Worcestershire sauce if you like it,) and mix it all together well. (See..it's just this kinda stuff...nothing scary.)


    
Reduce heat and cover. Let simmer for three hours, but you want to check on it and give it a stir every hour or so.


The ideal thing is for the bottom to get ever so slightly burned and stir that in, because that is part of what gives this its amazing flavor. (Just my opinion, as I like that burned flavor, but of course, if you don't...don't...do that..)  This is tender enough to eat at the 2 1/2 hour mark if you're in a hurry, but to really get the 'fall apart in your mouth' beef, go the full three hours. The sauce will be nice and thick by the time it's done.


                                          Serve over egg noodles or white rice! Delicious!


   

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hawaiian Style Meatballs

                                          (Yes, these are meatballs...not alien eggs...)

Today's scrumptious culinary treat is Hawaiian Style Meatballs! Simple to make. Easy to eat!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion and garlic powder 
  • 1 cup apricot or peach preserves 
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (omg, keep a bottle of this in your kitchen always!) 
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Mix the ground beef, soy sauce, brown sugar, onion powder and garlic powder thoroughly in a large bowl. Form the mixture into 2 tablespoon-sized balls and place on a foil covered baking sheet. 
  3. Bake in preheated oven until no longer pink in the center...about 15 minutes. Stir the preserves and the cider vinegar together and toss with meatballs in a clean bowl, then return to the baking sheet and bake for an additional 6 minutes. 
I normally serve these over white rice but tonight I made them with mashed potatoes and that worked too. :)

The first time I made this I wasn't thinking and added everything into the meatballs from the start, but they turned out great that way too. The preserves are the secret ingredient in this dish. I use peach, but you apricot folk do as you like. In all honesty, the best tasting preserves I've used has been the Harris Teeter store brand. (When we first moved to North Carolina, we drove past the Harris Teeter every day for a month to go food shopping, because we had no idea it was a supermarket. It sounds like a furniture store or something, doesn't it?) 

There wasn't much I could do with pictures for making meatballs, but I took some anyhow, and I have to say, they are epic. 

                                        A dramatic shot of meatballs waiting to go into the oven...

          A second dramatic shot because I decided the first shot wasn't enough drama all by itself, and meatballs like drama. They also like 400 degree ovens!  

Cooked meatballs slathering themselves in the sweet preserves! 

The tin foil making a dramatic meatball optical illusion. And...back into the oven they go! 

No..wait...a shocking surprise! ONE MORE dramatic meatball picture! 


Okay, so imagine these on top of some white rice and ya got a gourmet Hawaiian meal!
(well..maybe not gourmet...or authentically Hawaiian..but..come on...they're tasty meatballs!) 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chicken Bacon Ranch Wraps



These can be eaten hot or cold. Make a bunch. 

Ingredients:
  • Cooked boneless breast chicken - cubed. 
  • Large flour Tortillas 
  • Cooked crispy Bacon
  • Green Bell pepper, chopped
  • Red Onion, chopped
  • Shredded Cheddar (or Mozzarella)
  • Black Olives, sliced.
  • Creamy Ranch dressing (or tasty dressing of your choice) 
First of all, yes, every other recipe here is wrapped in a Tortilla. Those things are amazing. I love them. I didn't put a quantity on my ingredients because you can adjust them according to your needs. I usually make 8 at a time, since you can snack on them all week long.  (And you will!)

So for starters, we're going to fry up a strip of bacon, one for each wrap. Here's a picture of the bacon frying because bacon is awesome. (By the way...if you don't have a griddle, you totally should buy one! I wish I had gotten mine twenty years ago. They make your life sooo much easier, and I swear they are easier to clean than a pan.)


While the bacon is frying, you can chop up your veggies and chicken. Put your entire stack of Tortillas on a paper towel and stick them in the microwave for one minute. You want them to be soft and pliable. Tortillas like to be soft and pliable. Gather all your ingredients together and be ready to make like an assembly line.

 

Draw a line of dressing across the middle of the Tortilla and top with a handful of chicken. Then pile on the rest of the ingredients according to taste. Obviously, if you don't like olives or onions, etc, you can omit those things, and add things you do like, because no one is going to question you. There is no wrap police. Yet. They are equally good with cheddar and mozzarella and they are equally good with Creamy Ranch, Caesar and Italian dressings, etc. You may be the master of your own culinary destiny!



For show purposes, I lined everything up for the photo, but normally, I just dump it all in one big row.

To fold a Tortilla for a wrap, you're going to fold the sides in first (barely an inch..just enough to keep stuff from falling out the sides. Then you fold the bottom half up and over your filling and you just scrunch it all inwards. The warm Tortilla will be malleable. If you hold it there a second, you can feel it conform. Fold the sides in again and roll it forward all the way. Again, hold it there a second and squeeze it gently. It's almost like playing with play dough. (I probably should have done these on something other than a white background as it's hard to see. Sorry!)




As you make each one, pop it in the microwave for 45 seconds while you make the next one. (Assuming you are going to eat it now. Otherwise, you can pile them into a big zip lock bag and refrigerate them just like this until you are ready to eat them.)

To be a true Killer Gourmet, slice them at a diagonal and serve with one half leaning against the other. Like so:

 Yay! It's yummy noms!

(For a healthier low fat version of these wraps, omit the bacon and choose a low fat cheese and dressing. They're almost as good. But of course, nothing is as awesome without bacon.)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spinach Chicken Crepes

 
It takes about an hour of work to make these sumptuous Spinach Chicken crepes, so I only make them once every two months or so, but they are sooo worth the time. This recipe makes twelve crepes, and I usually cook six and either refrigerate or freeze the other six to eat at a later time. If you are feeling adventurous one day and wanna be all pro in the kitchen...these are the things to make!

Filling Ingredients: 
  • 2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups grated asiago cheese *
  • 3 eggs, beaten to blend
  • 1/2 package fresh spinach (or...half a can works too)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb cooked chicken, chopped   
  • Jar of Alfredo Sauce for topping. 
* - I use the grated 'Italian Mix' cheese sometimes because not every store carries the grated asiago. So long as it contains asiago cheese, it's fine. The mix cheese is very close to the same flavor.

Crepe Ingredients:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh snipped chives (*green onions work just as well and is what I use here)  
  • olive oil spray
Prepare the crepe batter first. Add the eggs and water and combine well. Add the flour and salt, and process until mixture is very smooth. Stir in the chives or onions. Place in a bowl and let sit for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, asiago (save a little cheese to sprinkle on top later) and eggs in a large bowl. Add the chicken and onions. Regardless of which kind of spinach you use, canned or fresh, stick it in the microwave for a minute to remove some of the moisture from it. (If you use the canned stuff, drain it really really well first)  Fold the spinach into the ricotta mixture.

                                      (Yes, it sort of looks like greenish gunk at this point)

To make the crepes, lighty grease a pan and heat over med high heat. Temp wise...think pancakes. You want these crepes to come out rectangular in shape. There's a way easier way of making crepes than to hold the pan at an angle and swivel it around. I just pour like a quarter cup of mix onto the pan and then take a regular straight edged spatula and spread the liquid into the shape I want.  Observe my very brief video. (I lay some oil on the side of the griddle and shove it around with the spatula every once in awhile as needed..so ignore the LAKE of oil on the side there, lol)

video

Then you turn them over and let them cook 10 seconds on the other side. I use tiny squares of wax paper to separate them as I stack them. I have no idea if they stick together or why I started doing it that way, but it's habit now. :)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease bottom of baking dish.

Fill each crepe with 1 cup ricotta filling, then roll.




 Place in baking dish, seam side down.



Pour the Alfredo sauce on the top of the crepes and sprinkle with a little cheese.




Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.


 
The filling, the crepes and the sauce are have their own unique, amazing flavors and the combination of tastes is OUT OF THIS WORLD delicious!