Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes

*Adapted from The Picky Cook

1 Cup flour
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
1/4 Teaspoon baking soda
7 TBSP sugar
half a pinch of salt
8 TBSP poppy seeds
zest of 3 small or 2 large lemons
1 cup buttermilk (make your own with 1 cup milk and 1 tsp lemon juice from the lemon)
1 large egg
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter (melted)  

Mix dry ingrendients together in the Kitchenaid or with a hand mixer (flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt).  While that is mixing make your own buttermilk (1 cup milk with 1 tsp lemon juice, and let it sit for just a few minutes.  You'll watch the milk curdle and you'll know it's ready).  
While the buttermilk is curdling, grab a zester or a cheese grater with a small grating side.  Zest the lemon (grate small pieces of the peal off with the grater).  
Melt the butter in the microwave.  In a separate bowl lightly beat the egg with a fork.  Add the buttermilk mixture.  Add the melted butter.  Add the zest of the lemons and the poppy-seeds.  Mix well.  
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine.  Don't over mix- the batter should be a little lumpy.  Over mixing will cause the pancakes to not be as fluffy, trust me.  

Heat a skillet on medium heat on the stove top.  Grease with butter or butter flavored no-stick spray.  Add about 1/3 of a cup of batter in rounds to create the pancake.  Watch until there are a few bubbles foaming on the sides and flip the pancake.  It should be golden brown on both sides.  

Serve with sliced strawberries coated with sugar.  (We chop up about a cup and add about 2 tsp sugar it comes out great).  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chicken Caesar Salad

Yes, you CAN make salad for dinner and still fill up yourself and significant other. Mine has a metabolism of steal and enough chicken, cheese, and dressing work for him!

Let's start with the chicken:

Grilled chicken is something easy to do, but few do right! TRUST me on this and you will avoid the dry chicken and it will come out great every time!
If you have a meat pounder, pound the chicken to be about the same size and thickness throughout. If not, push with your hand (it gets less gross after a few times I promise). You then want to give the raw chicken a light bath in olive oil so it is coated evenly.  You then want to grind fresh salt and pepper over both sides.  Be VERY generous, particularly with the pepper.  If it's mostly coated in pepper that's perfect.

Turn your grill to medium heat.  Cook on one side until you see the white color you're looking for extend just past the half way point on the chicken.  This takes about 10 minutes on most grills.  Flip it only once, and let the other side cook for 8 minutes.  Take the chicken off the grill before it's totally done, it should be a little squishy to the touch.  TRUST ME!  You are going to put the chicken on a ceramic plate and cover in tin foil.  This method sears both sides and locks in juices.  The tin foil bakes the middle portion and you will end up with perfect chicken.  You can do this with a George Foreman as well, just take off a few minutes early and do the same.  
While the chicken cooks in on the plate, you will need: 
2 head of fresh romaine lettuce
1 tomato 
Shredded parmigiana cheese
Sunflower seeds
Caesar dressing

Chop the lettuce in fine pieces and arrange on places.  Slice tomato into thin slices and arrange on top of lettuce.  Sprinkle with sunflower seeds.  Lightly pour dressing in Z-shaped strokes across the plate.  Sprinkle with parmigiana cheese.  Add croutons.  

At this point the chicken should have had 10-15 minutes to cook while you prepped everything else.  cut into slices and arrange on top of the salad.  If you're nervous cut the middle first and be impressed as to how moist and cooked the chicken is.  If you took it off too early put it back on the grill for just a few minutes and then back on the plate with tin foil for a few minutes.  But, trust me, it should be done and fantastic!  

Stand back and admire this mouth-watering healthy dinner:

and enjoy!

Smashed Potatoes

I worked for an "Australian Grill" restaurant in high school that had the most delicious side potatoes everyone ordered called "smashers." The restaurant may now be gone, but the smashers are something I couldn't get out of my head. I have to admit they also added about a 1/2 cup of cream cheese to this recipe, but I'm making mine a little lighter. Feel free to add extra cheese, butter, sour cream, or cream cheese to make all the fatty-goodness you desire.


*Boil 6-8 red potatoes with skin left on until fully cooked.

* Drain water from pan so only potatoes are remaining.

* Add about 1/2 cup milk, 2 TBSP butter, and 1/4 cup sour cream. Mix with a hand mixer but leave slightly clumpy.

* Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp. garlic salt on top and 1/2 cup of chedder cheese (the sharper the better). Mix slightly for a minute until mixed, but still clumpy.

* Place in serving bowl and sprinkle with cheese.
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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sauteed Mushrooms

In my opinion, there is only one thing that can make the perfect steak better- copying Ruth Chris and making sauteed mushrooms to top it off.

Here's what you need besides a steak:
1 package of mushrooms (if you don't buy sliced you'll need to slice them to your liking)
1/2 stick butter
2 large cloves of garlic finely chopped

(that's it!)

You will want to place the butter in a frying pan on medium heat to melt it. Add the garlic once it is all melted and saute the garlic until golden brown.
Add the mushrooms and coat with butter and garlic. It only takes about 3-5 minutes for the pan to start steaming, the mushrooms to looked wet instead of dry, and have steam like this:

That's when you know you are done!

Top the perfectly grilled steak with the mushrooms and serve immediately.
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Grilled Carrots

1 bag (about 14) Carrots- choose the long, skinny kind
4 TBSP Melted butter
3 TBSP Honey
Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil carrots in water for about 8 minutes- just enough to poach the carrots. They should be almost cooked, but a little crisp still.
Heat the grill to medium high.
Take the carrots out of water.
While they cool a little mix the melted butter and honey together. Then glaze the carrots with the butter/honey mixture. Season with salt and pepper on all sides of carrot.
Place carrots on the grill and grill for 3 minutes on each side. Be sure to close the grill between turns so the carrots cook and the marinade sets in.
Serve immediately.
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Simple Cheese Fondue

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1 cup white wine (cooking works great for non-alcoholic users)
1/2 lb grated fontana cheese
1/2 lb grated Gruyere cheese
2 Tbsp cornstarch

Boil wine until alcohol burns off (or just to a boil if using cooking wine), meanwhile combine cheeses and add the cornstarch to the bowl, this will coat the cheese and help with consistency. Add about a half cup at a time and slowly stir into wine until melted, and until all cheese is combined. Transfer to a fondue pot and keep warm on low while serving.

Dip with: 
Cooked meat, artisan breads, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, tomatoes, asparagus, or any other dip-able item your heart desires!  

Bran Muffins

2 cups of Bran Flakes crushed
1 1/3 cup Milk
1/2 cup Raisins (can be omitted if you're not a fan)
1/2 cup crush Nuts (we love Pecans) (also can be omitted)
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 cup Oil
1 Egg
1 1/4 cup Wheat Flour
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
3 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon (can be omitted)

*I've also added a crushed banana, tried Craisins, and other crazy fruit, all worked well!

Heat oven to 400, spray muffin tin with non-stick spray.
Mix Bran Flakes, milk, raisins, nuts, and vanilla together and let the cereal get mushy for a few minutes.
Add the Oil and Egg, and mix. Mix in the rest of the ingredients.
Add to muffin tins so they are about 2/3rds of the way full.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan just a few minutes and then remove and serve with butter or honey.
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Summer Salad

I can't get enough of this in the summer!

1 tub (like Costco size) of Spring mix
1/2 cup Feta cheese
1 pt. Strawberries cut into wedges
1/2 cup Sunflower seeds or Pine nuts

Sweet Dressing (such as poppy seed, raspberry vinaigrette, or champagne) to taste.

Add toppings to salad, mix dressing in, and enjoy!
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