Chipotle Beef Tostadas

Happy Valentines Day!  I hope you are spending the day celebrating with loved ones and eating just a little too much chocolate.  This is a quick and spicy recipe to put some real food in your belly before you unwrap one more chocolate kiss.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine, June 2012.

No substitutions were made.

chipotle 1

Chipotle Beef Tostadas

2 tblsp vegetable oil
1 lb ground beef chuck
1 large white onion, minced
kosher salt
1 to 1 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder
1 10 oz can Mexican-style diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained
1 med zucchini or yellow squash, diced
2 c coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage
freshly ground pepper
8 tostada (flat crisp tortillas) or taco shells
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese

chipotle 2

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Add the ground beef, half of the minced onion, 1 tsp salt and the chipotle chile powder; cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned and the onion is tender, about 7 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, beans and zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is just tender, about 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the coleslaw mix, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.

Divide the tostadas among plates and spoon the beef mixture on top.  Top with cheese, slaw and remaining minced onion.  Serve with lime wedges.

chipotle 3

cartoon-strawberry-9I used a heaping tsp of the chipotle chile powder, and it was plenty spicy for us.  It just depends on how spicy you’d like you’re mixture to be.  This is great quick  recipe for a weeknight meal.

Advertisements

Roasted Vegetable Frittata

We love quiche in our house, but haven’t really tried a frittata before.  I’m glad I finally decided to try.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine, September 2012.

Substitution made, noted below.

frittata 1

Roasted Vegetable Frittata

1 small zucchini, 1 inch sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and 1 1/2 inched diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1 1/2 inch diced
1 red onion, 1 1/2 inch diced
1/3 c good olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp minced garlic (2 cloves)
12 extra-large eggs – I used 14 large eggs
1 c half-and-half
1/4 c freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tblsp unsalted butter
1/3 c chopped scallions, white and green parts (3 scallions)
1/2 c grated gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the zucchini, peppers and onion on a sheet pan.  Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with  1 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and toss well.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Add the garlic, toss again and bake for another 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and turn the oven to 350 degrees.

frittata 2

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, parmesan, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.

In a 10-inch ovenproof saute pan, melt the butter and saute the scallions over med-low heat for 1 minute.  Add the roasted vegetables to the pan and toss with the scallions.  Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes over med-low heat without stirring.  Transfer the pan to the oven and bake the frittata for 2- to 30 minutes, until puffed and set in the middle.  Sprinkle with the gruyere and bake for another 3 minutes, until the cheese is just melted.  Cut into 6 or 8 wedges and serve hot.

frittata 3

cartoon-strawberry-9This puffed up and was beautiful.  The changes I make next time?  Less oil on the veggies.  1/4 c or less would be fine.  Stir the veggies and the eggs when added to the pan.  Since I didn’t do this, the veggies all stayed at the bottom like a vegetable crust; which isn’t bad, but it didn’t match the picture.  Another great recipe for a special Saturday breakfast!

Italian Wedding Soup

The temps have hit all time lows here in Nashville this week, the perfect time for warm and nourishing soup.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine.

Substitution made, noted below.

Italian Soup 1

Italian Wedding Soup

1 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 sm onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp chopped fresh sage – I used dried sage
3 c fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 Parmesan cheese rind, plus 1 tblsp grated Parm, plus more for topping
1/2 lb ground pork – I used ground chicken
3 tblsp breadcrumbs (preferaly panko)
3/4 c orzo
8 oz baby spinach (about 8 cups)

Heat olive oil in a large pot over med-high heat.  Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 4 minutes.  Add half of the garlic and 1 tsp each Worcestershire sauce and sage; cook 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, 3 c water and the Parmesan rind and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes.

Italian Soup 2

Meanwhile, mix the pork, breadcrumbs, 1 tblsp grated Parm, the remaining garlic, Worcestershire and sage in a bowl.  Form into 1-inch meatballs.

Increase the heat to med-high and bring the soup to a boil.  Stir in the orzo and cook 6 minutes.  Add the meatballs and cook until they are firm and float to the top, about 4 more minutes.  Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 more minute.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with Parm.

Italian Soup 3

cartoon-strawberry-9The sage lends a rich flavor to the broth and to the meatballs.  I would cut the orzo down to a half cup, and add in a healthy dash of salt and pepper.  Healthy and hearty soup ready in about an hour!

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

The weather suddenly realized it was Fall and the temperatures dropped, we went from flip-flops to wool sock a matter of days.  So the word of the season is SOUP.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine, October 2011.

No substitutions were made.

broc cheese 1

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

2 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 c low-sodium chicken broth
2 c half-n-half
1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
Kosher slat and freshly ground pepper
2 c chopped broccoli florets
1/3 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/3c)
Croutons, for topping (optional)

broc cheese 2

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over med-high heat.  Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, half-n-half, both potatoes, bay leaf, 2 c water, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to med-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, put the broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl; add 3 tblsp water and season with salt.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes, drain.

broc cheese 3

When the potatoes are tender, remove the bay leaf from the soup and transfer the soup to a blender.  Puree until smooth, leaving the filler cap slightly open to let steam escape (or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender).  Return the soup to the pot and thin with water, if necessary.  Return to a simmer over med-low heat; stir in the broccoli and season with salt and pepper.

Add the cheese and stir until melted.  Ladle the coup into bowls and top with croutons if desired.

broc cheese 4

cartoon-strawberry-9This soup was good, but not great.  I’m wondering if a blend of cheese, cheddar and mozzarella?  Maybe a little Parmesan?  BUT, it was filling and hot on a cold Fall afternoon.

Apple Honey Drumsticks

Growing up, I only wanted the drumsticks when the famous red & white bucket would make its way home.  Somewhere in my early 20’s, bags of the frozen boneless skinless chicken breast made its way into my fridge; they’re easy and can be cooked in a million different ways.  Around Labor Day this year I was in the supermarket and saw a package of drumsticks.  How had I forgotten about my first love?

A 4.5 pound package came home with me that day.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine, September 2011.

No substitutions were made.

apple honey drumsticks 1

Jacob’s Apple-Honey Drumsticks

12 skin-on chicken drumsticks
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 c apple juice
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/4 c low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp honey
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/8 to 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
1 tblsp unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Set a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet.  Put the drumsticks on the rack and season both sides generously with salt and pepper.  Bake 30 minutes; flip the drumsticks and continue baking until golden and crisp, about 30 more minutes.

apple honey drumsticks 2

 

Meanwhile, make the sauce.  Bring the apple juice, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt to a boil in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Reduce the heat to med-low and simmer until the sauce is syrupy and coats the back of a spoon, 20 to 25 minutes.  Set aside until the chicken is done.

Stir the sesame seeds into the sauce, if using, and warm over medium heat, if necessary.  Transfer the chicken to a large bowl.  Add the sauce and butter and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer the chicken to a platter and drizzle with any remaining sauce from the bowl.

apple honey drumstick 3

cartoon-strawberry-9I could not get this sauce to set up correctly.  I’m not sure if I used the wrong type of pan, didn’t set the heat correctly, or what; but it didn’t work.  On the plus side?  The taste of the sauce is great!  Sweet and spicy with a little heat from the red pepper.

Fresh Peach Cake

We have had many people stay in our guest room over the four short years that we’ve lived here.  Friends, family, students and even a few puppies.  It’s a joy to share our home with all of these wonderful people.  Our last guest gave me a bag of fresh Georgia peaches and told me to make some fun recipes with them.  Here’s round #1.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine, June 2011.

No substitutions were made.

peach cake 1

Fresh Peach Cake

1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 c sour cream, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large ripe peachs, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/2 c chopped pecans

peach cake 2

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 inch square baking pan.

IN the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on med-high speed, until light and fluffy.  With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and slat.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined.  In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon.

Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan.  Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture.  Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.

Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

peach cake 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Fresh Peach Cake – Is there anything more need be said?  This is not an overly sweet cake, and pairs wonderfully with a vanilla latte.  (Thank the heavens for my barista husband.)

Nutty White Chocolate & Peach Oatmeal Cookies

Every once in awhile, you just need to stop everything and make some cookies.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine, May 2011.

Substitutions made, noted below.

peach oatmeal cookies 1

Nutty White Chocolate & Peach Oatmeal Cookies

3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c packed light brown sugar
1/4 c packed dark brown sugar – I used all light brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 c rolled oats
1/2 c dried peaches – I used dried apricots
1/2 c chopped walnuts – I used pecans
1/2 c white chocolate chips

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt.  In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and mix on low speed until incorporated.  Slowly add the flour mixture, oats, dried peaches, walnuts and white chocolate chips and mix until combined.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  With wet hands, make 20 balls from the dough and put on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  Press down on the dough balls with the palm of your hand to make flat circles.

Bake the cookies until golden and still a bit tender in the center, 15 to 17 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let sit on the baking sheets for 1 minute, then transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.

peach oatmeal cookies 2

cartoon-strawberry-9I really love this take on an oatmeal cookie.  Sweet and chewy apricots.  Crunchy oats and pecans.  All around good cookie.

Towering Flourless Chocolate Cake

I’m sure y’all think we do nothing but eat sweets, cookies, cakes and pie, Oh My! I promise, we do have a good dose of protein and veggies every day.

I had planned to do a post on the steak and potatoes  that I made for husband’s birthday.  But I only took pictures of the beginning stages of everything and not the final product.  It’s a blessing and a curse really.  The steak didn’t come out as well as the last time I made it (curse), but I have a pretty good idea why (blessing).  I guess I’ll just have to make it all again to redeem myself and to take all the proper pictures.

This is the cake I made for husband’s birthday.

The recipe is from Food Network Magazine, March 2012.

No substitutions were made.

Any cake that starts out with 12 ounces of chocolate is a winner in my book!

Any cake that starts out with 12oz of chocolate is a winner in my book!

Towering Flourless Chocolate Cake

For the Cake:
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces, pluse more for the pan
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs
3/4 c turbinado sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 c stout beer (such a Guinness)
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Meringue:
2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tblsp unsalted butter
1 tblsp light corn syrup
1 c granulated sugar
3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

choc cake Collage

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment papaer.

Put the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water).  Stir until the chocolate melts, then remover the bowl from the pan.

Put the eggs, turbinado sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Set the bowl over the same pan of simmering water and whisk until the mixture is warm, about 2 minutes. Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer; beat with the whisk attachment on medium speed until tripled in volume, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring the beer and vanilla to a low boil in a saucepan.  Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the beer mixture, then the melted chocolate, until combined, about 2 minutes.  Gradually beat in the butter until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake until a toothpick come out with a few crumbs, about 35 minutes.  Cool in the pan, on a rack 1 hour, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and remove the ring.  Let cool completely.

flourless choc cake 3

Make the meringue:  Microwave the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a microwave-safe bowl in 30 second intervals, stirring until the chocolate melts.

Whisk the granulated sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar, salt and 1/3 c of water in a heatproof bowl.  Put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water; beat with a handheld mixer on low speed, then gradually increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes.  Remove the bowl from the pan; continue beating until the meringue is cool and fluffy.  Fold in the vanilla, then fold in the melted chocolate until swirled.  Spread the meringue on the cake.

flourless choc cake 4

cartoon-strawberry-9  This cake is superb, ‘fudgy’ and dense, but not heavy.  The meringue adds a wonderful lightness to the whole thing.  Husband loved it and I just need another excuse to make it again.

Almost-Famous Pecan Waffles

January marked our fourth anniversary of living in the south, and I still haven’t eaten at a Waffle House. But a good waffle for a Saturday morning breakfast is one of my favorite things, so I had to try these out.

The recipe is from Food Network Magazine, December 2011.

I did not alter the recipe in any way.

pecan waffles 1

Almost-Famous Pecan Waffles

3/4 pecans
1 1/2 c all-purpose four
1/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 large egg
1 c whole milk – I used 2%
1/2 c buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tblsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for brushing and topping
1/4 c vegetable shortening, melted and cooled
maple syrup for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pecan on a baking sheet; bake until toasted, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool, then chop. Reduce the oven temp to 200.

pecan waffles 2

Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk the egg, milk, buttermilk and vanilla in a separate bowl until combined. Stir the egg mixture, melted butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until just combined. (The batter will be lumpy.)

Preheat a waffle iron and brush with melted butter. Ladle some batter into the iron; sprinkle with 2 tblsp toasted pecans. Cook until golden brown, then transfer the waffle to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter. Top the waffles with butter and maple syrup.

pecan waffles 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Oh my goodness, these waffles are good! If you have a special day coming up, these would be a great celebration breakfast!

Cheesy Corn Puffs

I made these to go along with a soup and salad night.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine, November 2011.

I altered the recipe slightly, noted below.

cheesy corn puffs

Cheesy Corn Puffs

1 cup canned cream-style corn
4 tblsp unsalted butter
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1/2 c shredded pepper jack cheese, plus more for topping – I used Trader Joe’s 3 cheese blend (mozzarella/monterey jack/cheddar)
1 tblsp chopped fresh chives – I left this out

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line 2 backing sheets with parchment paper.  Bring the corn, butter and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to low, add the flower and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 2 minutes.

Scrape the dough into a bowl; let cool slightly.  Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring well between each addition.  Stir in the cheese and chives.  Chill the dough 15 minutes.

Scoop tablespoon size mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.  Sprinkle with more cheese.  Transfer to the over and bake until golden brown and puffy, 20 to 25 minutes.  Serve warm.

cartoon-strawberry-9I didn’t add the chives only because I didn’t have any on hand.  As you can see above, mine spread a little and weren’t very pretty, but tasted wonderful.  They were a good compliment to a soup and salad evening.