Saturday, October 30, 2010

Party Pinwheel Wraps

One of my coworkers hosted a get-together at her house last night. She made chili and cornbread muffins-we all brought a dish to pass.  There is always a ton-o-food at this sort of event and everything is fabulous. I decided to do an appetizer and thought of these wraps that always go over big when I have brought them to a work potluck. Sure enough they were the first food we ran out of last night.
I made them in the morning and stuck them in the refrigerator at work.


4 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
½ (1 ounce) Package Ranch Dressing Mix
* 2 Green Onions, minced
2 (12 inch) Flour Tortillas
¼ cup Red Bell Pepper, diced
½ (2 ounce) Can Sliced Black Olives
¼ cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese


1. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, and green onions. Spread this mixture on each tortilla. Sprinkle red pepper, black olives, and cheese (if you'd like) over the cream cheese mixture. Roll up the tortillas, then wrap them tightly in aluminum foil.

2. Chill 2 hours or overnight. Cut off ends of the rolls, and slice the chilled rolls into 1 inch slices.

I skipped the chilling before I sliced them as I didn't have the time. It works fine, just use a sharp knife.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chardonnay Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

 Soup is so wonderful; especially when cooler weather rolls around. When winter really kicks into high gear a bowl of soup and fresh bread is great comfort food for me. This chicken wild rice soup is incredibly delicious. As you might imagine from the amounts of the ingredients it is also a HUGE recipe. We each had a bowl for lunch on Sunday, packaged up four bowls to give away and still had five large bowls worth to freeze. No complaints from me!!


1 onion diced
1 red bell pepper diced (You could use green too, though I am personally not a fan.)
3 stalks of celery diced
2 carrots peeled and diced
4 raw chicken breasts chopped into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup white wine
1 Quart chicken stock
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp pepper
1/2 gallon heavy cream (yes, a half a gallon)
4 cups cooked wild rice (about 1 cup uncooked)
1 cup white wine


1. Saute onion, red bell pepper, celery and carrots in a large stock pot. ( I mean large. My good sized stock pot was 3/4 full.)

2. Add the chopped raw chicken and cook through until chicken is no longer pink.

3.Deglaze with 1/2 cup of white wine and add chicken stock and seasonings.

4. Add cream. Bring almost to a boil and thicken with roux.

5. Add the rice and wine.

I prefer to thicken after all the ingredients are in the soup and that is what I did in this case.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rigatoni with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

The words creamy, pasta and mushrooms always sound good to me. I have been wanting to try this recipe for a while. Not to mention it was a good excuse to buy and try some Marscarpone cheese.
I made about half the following recipe for Husband and I and served it with some chicken seasoned with rosemary and thyme. It is an easy, quick recipe that comes together in under a half hour.

Credit to Giada De Laurentiis from Everyday Italian


1 pounds Rigatoni Pasta
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Shallots, minced
1 Clove Garlic, minced
Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 pounds Assorted Mushrooms - I used white and portabella
½ cups White Wine
½ cups Vegetable Stock
1 cups (8 ounces) Mascarpone Cheese, at room temperature
½ cups Grated Parmesan
¼ cups Chopped Fresh Chives - I used green onion tops


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. While the pasta is cooking:

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the heat to high. Add the wine and cook for 3 minutes until all the liquid evaporates. Add the stock and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mascarpone cheese. Stir until creamy. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water, and transfer to a serving bowl. Add the mushroom mixture and the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss well to coat pasta, adding the reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Garnish with the chopped chives. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Breakfast for Dinner

I was on my own for dinner tonight; and decided to make something as opposed to dig for leftovers in the freezer. I had a bunch of eggs and some leftover mushrooms. Sounded like the makings of an omelet.

Nothing magical or fancy here and I am no expect on omelets; especially not flipping them! I whisked two eggs, a little milk and salt and pepper. I poured it into a heated skillet and added some mushrooms and onions that I had previously sauteed along with a little sharp cheddar cheese.Then it was folded, flipped and tossed on the plate with a bit more cheese on top.

A few red grapes to go with the omelet and I have dinner. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chimichangas and Cilantro-Lime Rice

Browsing the Farmer's Market over the weekend I found a stand with Jalapeno peppers and fresh cilantro. I remembered these two recipes I found recently and had been wanting to try.

The chimichanga recipe was adapted from Food Network


2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
4 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 White Onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Jalapeno Pepper, diced (remove seeds for less heat)
1 ½ tsp Chili Powder
½ tsp Ground Cumin
¼ tsp Ground Cinnamon
Kosher Salt
1 small Tomato, chopped, plus more for topping
2 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Cilantro
Sriracha Sauce to taste
2 ½ cups Shredded Rotisserie Chicken
¼ cup Sour Cream
Black beans-slightly smashed with a fork
4 10- Inch Flour Tortillas
1 cup Shredded Mexican blend, plus more for topping
Salsa, for topping


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Melt the butter with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a skillet; transfer to a bowl. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the skillet. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeno and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon salt; toast 30 seconds. Add the tomato, cilantro and Sriracha sauce and cook until slightly dry, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken and sour cream and warm through. Remove from the heat.

Brush a rimmed baking sheet with some of the butter-oil mixture. Spread 2 tablespoons black beans down the center of each tortilla, leaving a 2-inch border on both ends. Top with 1 cup chicken mixture and ¼ cup cheese. Fold in the ends and roll up.

Put the chimichangas seam-side down on the baking sheet; brush with the butter-oil mixture. Bake 8 to 10 minutes per side, brushing again after you flip. Top with the salsa, more cheese, lettuce and tomato.

* I feared disaster when the time came to flip it halfway through baking, but it stayed together perfectly. I used 8 inch shells as that is what I had available so they were sort of mini-chimichangas; but it was a good portion size.
I don't keep Rotisserie chicken lying around, so I baked boneless skinless breasts with a little fresh ground pepper and olive oil.

Cilantro-Lime Rice

Cooked White Rice
1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice, 4-6 limes for about 4 servings or rice
Coarse Salt, to taste

Cook or re-warm white rice. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool briefly. Begin by adding the juice of one lime to the warm rice, stir to combine and taste. Continue adding fresh lime juice until rice is tangy enough. Repeat with the cilantro, add a few tablespoons at a time until the flavor comes through. Repeat again with the salt (do salt last because the acidity of the lime juice will brighten up the flavors a lot and you may not need as much salt as you normally would), just adding a few pinches at a time and stirring well then tasting. Taste dish again and adjust flavors as needed.

*This was a great accompaniment to the chimichangas. The lime and cilantro made a great fresh, light taste.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Orange-Honey Glazed Chicken

I use Yummy Soup; a Mac-based recipe management program. It works very well and got even better recently with the ability to easily import recipes on the web.
The program came with some recipes already imported and this was one of them. I was a bit concerned with idea of reducing glaze; but it wasn't hard at all. The glaze thickened up nicely after coming out of the oven and had great flavor.
I made half of the recipe and it maybe could have used a bit more glaze. But I don't think you could really have too much. :)
The hardest part was remembering to keep my bare hand off the handle of the skillet! There are several references to that in the recipe and I can see why.

Attribution: Cooks Illustrated


1 ½ cups Orange Juice Plus An Additional 2 Tablespoons
⅓ cup Light Corn Syrup
3 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Distilled White Vinegar
⅛ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
Table Salt And Ground Black Pepper
½ cup All-Purpose Flour
4 Chicken Breast Halves With Ribs & Skin
2 tsp Vegetable Oil
1 medium Shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk 1 ½ cups orange juice, corn syrup, honey, mustard, vinegar, pepper flakes, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper together in medium bowl.

2. Remote ribs and excess fat from breasts. Trim off any extra overhanging skin as well. Place flour in pie plate, then season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Working with one chicken breast at a time, coat chicken with flour, patting off excess.

3. Heat oil in ovenproof 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add chicken breasts skin-side down; cook until well browned and most of fat has rendered from skin, 8 to 14 minutes. (If after 3 minutes you don't hear definite sizzling, increase heat to medium-high. If after 6 minutes chicken is darker than lightly browned, reduce heat slightly.) Turn chicken and lightly brown other side, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to plate.

4. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon fat from pan. Add shallot and cook until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase heat to high and add orange juice mixture. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until syrupy and reduced to 1 cup (heatproof spatula should leave slight trail when dragged through glaze), 6 to 10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and tilt to one side so glaze pools in corner of pan. Using tongs, roll each chicken breast in pooled glaze to coat evenly and place skin-side down in skillet.

5. Transfer skillet to oven and bake chicken until thickest part of breasts registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 25 to 30 minutes, turning chicken skin-side up halfway through cooking. Transfer chicken to platter and let rest 5 minutes. Return skillet to high heat (be careful-handle will be very hot) and cook glaze, stirring constantly, until thick and syrupy (heatproof spatula should leave wide trail when dragged through glaze), about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons orange juice. Spoon 1 teaspoon glaze over each breast and serve, passing remaining glaze at table.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cheddar Garlic Biscuits

These may bear a slight resemblance to a certain restaurant biscuit. :)

I have tried a number of recipes for cheddar garlic biscuits. These are delicious; moist and very flavorful.  We both ate one immediately after they came out of the oven. Of course, they are at their absolute best hot and fresh. One more for each of us with dinner and I froze the rest right away. These babies are best out of sight unless you want to eat the whole batch!


Mix together in a small bowl and set aside for brushing:
2 tbsp. Butter, melted
¼ tsp. Dried Parsley Flakes
½ tsp. Garlic Powder
Pinch Of Salt

Whisk with a fork in a large bowl:
2 cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1 tbsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Onion Powder
½ tsp. Garlic Powder
2 tsp. Dried Parsley
¾ cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Add to the bowl all at once:
⅔ cup Milk
⅓ cup Vegetable Oil


Place the oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 475. Use an Airbake cookie sheet or double up two cookie sheets together if you don’t have an Airbake.

Stir with a fork just until the dough readily leaves the sides of the bowl. Scoop the dough with a spoon and drop two inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until lightly golden browned on top. Immediately, liberally brush the melted butter mixture over tops of biscuits.

Makes about 10 biscuits.