Thursday, December 16, 2010

Penne with Vodka Sauce

Thank you to my friends for providing me with the 1/2 cup of vodka that I needed so that I didn't have to purchase any! Unfortunately, I will be having to purchase some in the near future; this meal is now a #1 meal in our house. Easy and O SO TASTY! There is a little sting from the vodka after a creamy, tomato sauce and fresh basil flavor. We love it, ate every bite, and wanted more.

Penne with Vodka Sauce
Printable Version
Kosher salt
12 ounces whole-wheat penne
1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup vodka
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn, plus more for topping
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta. Empty the tomatoes into a bowl and crush with your hands.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in the vodka, tomatoes and salt to taste. Return the skillet to medium heat and simmer, stirring often, until the alcohol cooks off, about 7 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the parmesan and basil.
Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to combine, adding some of the reserved cooking water to loosen, if needed. Season with salt. Serve topped with more parmesan and basil.
Serves 3.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Neighbor Gifts

Ahh...the yearly neighbor gifts. I can never decide if it is a screaming AHHH or an enjoyable one. It is always such a hard decision to know what to give so many of my fun neighbors. It sure doesn't help that they are all way too creative and end up giving me delicious, cute treats. This year I did Minty Melting Delights...Homemade hot cocoa with Keebler Grasshopper cookies. It was a hit! I attached the note below the picture and people loved it!
Melt In Your Mouth Cookies
Gather your family for a special treat...
Be prepared to get a little messy!
Take one mint cookie and take a small bite off each end.
Use the cookie as a straw to sip the hot cocoa...
As soon as the hot cocoa touches your tounge, POP the
cookie in your mouth and enjoy a Minty Melting Delight!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I am so excited...Cody liked this soup! He said that it counted as a 'real meal' because it was actually filling, unlike the normal soups that I make....anyway...My best friend Ali fed me this soup and I am so glad that she did! This is delicious, FILLING, and easy. A perfect meal to make for a large group. MMM I want to make it again right is cold and snowy and this looks yummy!

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Printable Version

2 boxes uncle ben's wild rice, cooked (I found bags that you put in the microwave for 90 sec- much quicker!)
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup cream
2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
Saute veggies in butter. Add flour and stir for 30 seconds. Add broth and parsley flakes. Stir until thickened, then add rice, cream and chicken. Cook five minutes prior to serving. Add additional milk if too thick.

Recipe from Ali
Serves 8.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Chick Fil'A Sands

I am not a big fast-food fan. We can probably count the number of times we have eaten fast food in the past 4 years, and it is meager. One time however, we ate a a Chick Fil'A. So good. Like so so good. So, when food network magazine (aka my new favorite past time) published this recipe I had to give it a shot. Yum! Talk about a great chicken sandwich. This was a classic.

Chick Fil'A Sands
Printable Version

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each)
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup dill pickle juice
1 egg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
oil, for frying
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon malted milk powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 sour pickle cut into 8 slices, plus 1 tablespoon pickle juice from the jar
2 teaspoons white vinegar
4 soft hamburger buns, split
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 4 thin cutlets. Place the cutlets between 2 pieces of heavy-duty plastic wrap and pound to 1/8-inch thick with a mallet or heavy skillet.
Whisk together egg, milk and pickle juice, and pour into a large ziplock bag or bowl. Add chicken pieces and marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

Heat about 2 inches oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until a deep fry thermometer registers 325 degrees F. Meanwhile, whisk both flours, the malted milk powder, confectioners sugar, baking soda, dry mustard, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper in another dish. Toss the pickle slices, pickle juice and vinegar in a bowl and set aside.
Working in batches, dredge the chicken in the flour mixture and shake off any excess. Fry the chicken in the hot oil until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side, adjusting the heat as needed. Drain on paper towels.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spread the cut sides of the buns with some of the butter and lightly toast in the skillet, buttered-side down; spread with more butter. Put 2 pickle slices on each bun bottom; top with a piece of chicken and cover with the bun tops.

Recipe adapted from Food Network Mag
Serves 2.

Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup

It is soup time again! I wish I could eat soup every day of forever...okay, so maybe not on humid 100 degree days in Nebraska, but any day under 40. We ate this soup for a girls lunch and it was more than perfect. Smooth sweet flavor of apples and sweet potato and a little kick from the curry equals one delicious eat-once-a-week-in-the-winter SOUP!

Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup
Printable Version

3 medium sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish
1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups chunky applesauce
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Peel and dice 2 1/2 sweet potatoes. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, nutmeg, 1 1/4 teaspoons curry powder, and salt and pepper to taste and cook until toasted, 1 more minute.
Add the diced sweet potatoes, chicken broth and 2 cups water to the pot, cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and stir in the applesauce. Simmer, covered, until the sweet potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Puree the soup with a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper; keep warm.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon curry powder and cook, stirring, until browned; remove from the heat and add the vinegar. Top with the curry butter and cilantro.

Recipe from Food Network Mag
Serves 4