Thursday, January 31, 2013

Barbeque Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Today is bonus day!

Sorry, this is not a monetary bonus.  Bonus as in, I'm sharing a recipe and some Bits and Bites!  How lucky for you!

Bonus number one:  this soup.  Amazing.  I made it last year and was sure to whip it up again this winter so I could share it with the invisible people who visit my blog.  (If there are any of you out there.  ps comments are always welcome!  Otherwise, I will continue to assume I am simply talking to myself.  Which I tend to do more than I'd care to admit, so that's really nothing new.)

But like I said before, this soup is amazing.  It's got a lot going on with bacon, onions, corn, red bell, and bbq shrimp; the flavor is definitely not a-lacking.  Oh, and now that I've had the honor of making it twice, I've fine-tuned the details to make it taste even better!

Stay tuned after the recipe for bonus number two: bits and bites links!

Barbeque Shrimp and Corn Chowder

Serves 2 to 4

2 slices of bacon
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons flour
1 small potato, peeled and diced
1 (15.25 ounce) can sweet corn kernels, drained
1 cup of chicken stock
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon olive oil
6 ounces of raw peeled and deveined shrimp (I actually used the small frozen, cooked shrimp)*
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
Dash of cayenne pepper
salt & pepper

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the bacon slices and cook until crispy and golden brown. Remove bacon and let drain on a paper towel.

Add onions and peppers to the pot with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Whisk in the flour, cooking for 1-2 minutes or until flour becomes golden in color and smells a bit nutty. Add chicken stock, potatoes, and corn. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes.

While soup is simmering, heat olive oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and add to saucepan with barbeque sauce, tossing to coat until heated through.

Once soup has slightly thickened and the potatoes have started to break down, stir in milk. Add more broth and/or milk if you desire a thinner consistency.  Add 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and a dash of cayenne and dump the entire bbq sauce/shrimp mixture into soup pot.  Season according to your tastes. Serve in bowls topped with the crumbled bacon. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to one week.

*I have made this once with "small"-sized shrimp and once with "medium"-sized shrimp and preferred the smaller size.

Adapted from How Sweet It Is.

Bits and Bites BONUS!

1.  15 Food Blogger Trends of 2012 That Need To Go.  Very funny article.

2.  Super Bowl Cupcakes using Easter Eggs!  Crazy cute!

3.  Make your own sugar hearts.  I heart pink.

4.  Waldorf Salad Cupcakes.  Weird!

5.  Arty McGoo.  Has some seriously mad cookie decorating skills.  You need to see this.

6.  Dorito Oreo Popcorn.  Great minds think alike!

7.  Homemade American Cheese.  The store-bought stuff isn't even made from actual cheese!  That's just sad.

8.  Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies.  Um..yum.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Doritos Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is nacho ordinary chocolate chip cookie.

Let me start by saying we have a lot of chips in our pantry.  At this moment: Tostitos, Doritos, Zapps, Mission, Kettle, and more.  But remember that crazy chocolate chip grilled cheese I mentioned a few months ago?  And remember those salt and vinegar filled junk food cookies I baked up?  Wonder where the idea for these cookies came from?  It's a simple math problem, really.

It starts off with a classic chocolate chip cookie recipe straight from the kitchen of my unofficial sister-in-law, Jackie (official sister-in-law this June!).  Now she claims she's no cook, but the ooey gooey brownies and white chocolate trail mix she totes around and into my life beg to differ.  She brought these cookies to the lake once, sans the nacho cheese, of course, and I demanded requested the recipe ASAP.  I've made them in the traditional form, but this time I decided to funk things up a bit, adding to its soft and chewy texture by tossing in a classic chip.  Do not be afraid.  The chip adds in a very subtle flavor with a slightly salty crunch.  It's a good thing, promise. 

So I'm sorry, Jackie, for dorito-izing what can only be described as a fabulous chocolate chip cookie.  My blog made me do it.

Doritos Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 12 large cookies or 24 small cookies

3/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup crushed nacho cheese Doritos

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. 

In medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.  Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy.  Mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt until just blended.  Fold in the chocolate chips and crushed chips.  (At this point, I let my dough rest for a few minutes to firm up slightly).  Drop cookie dough on to the prepared cookie sheets. 

Bake at 325 for 10 to 12 minutes (for small cookies), closer to 15 for larger cookies or until edges are lightly toasted.  Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Adapted from Jackie. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Football Dip

Are you ready for some football...dip?!

Say hello to the Sunday staple in my parents house, and the easiest recipe you'll ever see featured on this blog- hello, football dip!- created by none other than a man, my dad.

Now yes, this came from a man who has confessed to actually eating wiener water soup in his college days (I shutter at the thought) and felt it appropriate to actually butter his toast before applying the peanut butter (this is why men need women in their lives), but he finally knew what he was doing when he created his famous football dip.

It's a simple mixture involving two key ingredients: a single can of chili, no beans, and a jar of creamy cheddar cheese dip.  No frills here.  Plain and simple.  Remember, this came from a man.  Now I could call this chili cheese dip to satisfy everyone out there screaming "that's the freakin' Skillet Queso I ate at Chili's last Friday night!" at their computer, but no, that would take away from the origins as I know it and this is no Chili's Skillet Queso.  This is my dad's football dip thankyouverymuch.

Football Dip

1 (15-ounce) can chili, no beans (we always use Hormel, the fancy people we are)
1/2 (15.5-ounce) jar (roughly 3/4 cup) cheddar cheese flavored dip (we stick to Tostitos brand)

Pour chili and cheese into small pot and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Once heated through, serve warm with tortilla chips.

Recipe adapted from my dad.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Creamed Corn and Cheddar Cornbread

I apparently talked in my sleep Friday night.

After arriving home late after an evening out with some co-workers, Nathan decided to [try to] wake me:

Nathan:  are you asleep? (while shaking me.  can't a girl get some beauty rest around here?!)
Me: --
Nathan:  did you get my text? 
Me:  (unconsciously coming to) I got the first two.
Nathan:  What about the last one?  (the one that I read the next morning where he declared having drank nine margaritas.  drank or drunk?  drunk might be appropriate here)
Me:  --
Me:  that shirt you're holding...
Nathan: (stares at his empty hands)
Me: it's not even on sale for half off.
Nathan:   even in your sleep you're taking about sales!
I eventually come to (Nathan is in the process of pulling up his video recorder on his phone.  Lovely.), I am informed of the conversation, we both have a brief giggle fit and I promptly pass back out.  What can I say...I get excited about a good sale.  It's not a terribly big surprise I was dreaming of them at one in the morning.

I also get pretty excited about finding more uses for my new skillet!  Enter: this cornbread.  It's similar to the one I've posted in the past, with the addition of creamed corn, onions, and more cheese.  How can you go wrong with those additions though, really?  Oh, and might I add my favorite way to eat a wedge of this stuff?  Topped with melted cheddar and warmed salsa.  Best.  Idea.  Ever.

Creamed Corn and Cheddar Cornbread

Makes one 10-inch skillet (or an 8-by-8 inch baking dish)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup buttermilk (I used a mixture of 2/3 cup milk + 2 teaspoons white vinegar.  Mix and let sit for five minutes before adding to flour mixture.)
2 large eggs
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup canned creamed corn
1/4 cup chopped sweet yellow onion
2 to 3 jalapeno chiles, seeded and finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. If using an 8-inch-square baking dish instead, simply grease the bottom of the dish with some of the butter and place the remainder in the bottom of the dish. Set the skillet or dish aside.

Sift the flour blend, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda together into a large bowl.
In a small bowl, mix the buttermilk and eggs together well. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to thoroughly mix.  Fold in the cheese, creamed corn, green onions and chiles and stir until well combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared skillet or baking dish and dab a bit more butter on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown. Leave to cool in the pan or dish a few minutes before slicing and serving while warm.

Adapted from Food Network Magazine.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Potato Rosemary Rolls

I am loving January.

Things have slowed down and I am finally able to spend more time in the kitchen, baking up savory breads and preparing actual meals (we had our fair share of frozen pizzas last month).  I have been organizing, tossing, cleaning and condensing all over the house.  Buuuut....I will confess, our Christmas decorations are still up (ps our neighbors still have their multi-colored roof lights on, so don't judge me!).  Now I planned on keeping them up for a while.  In fact, upon arriving back home after spending the holidays with family I warned Nathan:  "Just so you know, we're keeping the decor up through January".  His reply: "heck, you can keep them up all year!"  This is why I love that boy.  But I'll be honest, I'm ready to take them down.  This weekend- it's on my list.

So back in the kitchen- I've been cooking and baking, blog searching and menu planning.  (Tonight we had this salmon.  Wowza.  And this is coming from a non-salmon eater.  Ok, a salmon hater, if we're honest.)  But I should probably gush about these here rolls.  That's what this post is about, afterall.  Soft and flaky, with a sprinkling of salt and rosemary.  They're pretty wowza too.

Potato Rosemary Rolls

Makes 8 rolls

3/4 cup warm water (between 110-115 degrees)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon yeast
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup dry potato flakes
1 1/2 cups bread flour (I'm sure all-purpose would work fine)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

Combine water, yeast, and sugar in mixer fitted with dough hook and allow yeast to proof for 10 minutes.

Add in olive oil and milk and stir.  Add in potato flakes, 1 cup flour, salt, and rosemary and mix until combined.  Gradually add additional 1/2 cup flour, adding more or less until dough becomes tacky yet pliable.  Knead in mixer for 1-2 minutes to allow yeast to incorporate into dough.  Remove dough hook, cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in the fridge overnight (up to 24 hours)*.

Once doubled in size, punch dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Form dough into a ball shape and roll out into a circle.  Cut circle into eighths (I use a pizza cutter and just cut it like you were slicing up a pizza!).  Take each dough "slice", one at a time, and gently pull at the two ends, stretching out the triangle shape.  Tie the stretched out triangle into a single knot and place on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough.

Mix the coarse salt and rosemary in small bowl.  Brush the top of each roll with egg and lightly sprinkle with rosemary salt.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until slightly golden.

*Alternatively, you can let the covered bowl of dough sit at room temp for one hour or until doubled in size.

Adapted from AllRecipes.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Skillet Lasagna

I'm becoming my mother...

I like everything to be organized and put in it's place ("Everything has a home!").  I shake my head at the overuse of profanity in movies (Is it really necessary?).  I inhale loudly when taken by surprise.  I ask the waitress for a booth when she seats us at a table (booths are so much cozier).  I believe homemade pie crust takes more time than it's worth.  And lasagna.  (Hello frozen aisle!) The exception: unique variations such as the Mexican one I made in October.

But a traditional lasagna version without all the sauce, cheese, meat, repeat?  Yes, please!  And guess what?  It tastes exactly like lasagna, but it's even more fun to eat.  I think mom would approve.

Skillet Lasagna

Serves 4

4 ounces lasagna noodles, broken into thirds (I used 5 noodles)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 pound 95% lean ground beef
1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
Parmesan cheese for grating

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In large pot, cook broken pasta noodles according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, season ground beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Heat a large (mine was 10.25 inch) oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add in olive oil and butter, then toss in onions with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Add in garlic and cook for another minute, then add in ground beef, baking it apart with a spatula or wooden spoon. Cook until just browned, about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. If there is excess liquid in the pan, feel free to drain a bit.

When noodles have softened, remove with a slotted spoon or drain and set aside for a few minutes.  Once beef is browned, add in tomatoes and basil, tossing well to coat. Add in broken noodles, using the spatula or spoon to fold the beef and sauce over the noodles. Once noodles are evenly distributed and mostly under the sauce, sprinkle mozzarella on top and scoops of ricotta. Bake for 10 minutes.

Adapted from How Sweet It Is.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Garlic Bread Buttermilk Biscuits

So I was in Target the other day...

It's a disease, really. 

I saw all of their cute v-day stuff out and p.s. I want it all.  And I saw swim suits.  The first week of January.  We're apparently in summer mode people.  Now I know this is nothing new, we see this every year.  But every year it amazes me.  Who in their right mind wants to try on a bathing suit in January?!  Post-holiday cookie binge.  Pale, dry skin.  And the layers!!  You're peeling off scarf, coat, sweater, shirt, shoes, socks, pants, omgtoomuchwork.  And don't get me started on all the static going on. 

I'm just not ready for this yet; I'm still in soups, stews and sweatpants mode.  So guess what I threw in my basket during my weekly Target run?  You got it- sweatpants.  And a cute, stripey sweater.  And some fleece pj pants.  Gotta love Target clearance.  Then I went home and made this bread for dinner: a cheat-by-throwing-it-in-a-loaf-pan-biscuit with a garlic bread twist.  Salty, buttery, and perfect on a cold night. 

So while all those suckers are crying in the mirror and paying full price for a swim suit, I'll be cozy at home, sitting in my clearance sweatpants dredging these biscuits in a hot bowl of soup.

Garlic Bread Buttermilk Biscuits

Makes one 9x5 loaf pan (double recipe for an 8x8)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk (I used a mixture of 3/4 cup milk + 1 tablespoon milk + 1 tablespoon white vinegar.  Mix and let sit for five minutes before adding to flour mixture)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. 

Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave and stir in the garlic, garlic powder and dried oregano.  Pour the garlic and herb butter into the prepared baking dish.  Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add the buttermilk (or milk mixture) and mix until you get a smooth, thick batter.  Spoon the batter on top of the garlic butter. Smooth as much as possible with a spatula so it’s evenly distributed.

Bake for 15-17 minutes (20-25 for 8x8 pan), or until golden and cooked through.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Place a plate upside down on top of the baking pan, then flip so the bread comes out with the buttery part on top.  Slice and serve.

Adapted from Katherine Martinelli.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Creamy Stove Top Mac and Cheese

I've been playing with my Christmas toys.

I'm not talking Barbie Dream Houses and American Girl dolls (oh memories).  I'm talking baking cookbooks, cast iron skillets, and shiny new knives.  And these little bowls.  A set of four Le Creuset soup bowls given to me by my favorite Aunt and Uncle and fellow blogging cousin over the holidays.  It was love at first sight.  And I didn't waste any time putting them to use.  Enter:  mac and cheese.

Now this is supposed to be a copycat version of the Panera Bread Co. recipe; however, I couldn't say, as I've never tried it, but it hasn't gone unnoticed.  As a (formerly) frequent viewer of the Panera menu I have their offerings down pat and recall the cheesy pasta advertised on display boards near the register (Nathan and I ate our fair share of lunches there during our years in college, but down where we live now the locations are few and far between.  Tear. Side note: Panera will always hold a special place in my heart- it's where we ate the night we officially decided to be a couple.  Oh come on people, you remember this kind of stuff too!).  But after stumbling upon this recipe and receiving my pretty new bowls...well...let's just say I put two and two together: mac and cheese it was. 

Super creamy, super cheesy, and rather fun to make.  It takes a little bit more time than the Kraft version but whoa will you taste a difference (don't get me wrong, I love the fun shapes and powdered cheese stuff too!).  This just takes that mac to a whole new, sophisticated level.

Creamy Stove Top Mac and Cheese

Serves 4

8 ounces shell pasta or other small pasta shapes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half (I used 2% milk)
2 ounces white American cheese, chopped or torn into pieces*
4 ounces extra sharp white cheddar, shredded*
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp hot sauce (I used Tabasco)

In a large stockpot, cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain well.

While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.  When the butter has melted and has started to bubble, whisk in the flour; cook for 1 1/2 minutes whisking constantly.  Gradually whisk in the milk until no lumps remain.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook milk mixture, whisking frequently, until it thickens and bubbles, about 8 minutes.

Remove sauce pan from the heat and by the handful, stir in the cheeses allowing all of the cheese to melt into the sauce before adding more.  Stir in the mustard, salt, and hot sauce.  Return the sauce pan to the heat and stir in the pasta.  Be sure to stir up the sauce from the bottom of the sauce pan and thoroughly coat all of the pasta with sauce.  Cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat until heated through. 

*We currently have about seven different kinds of cheese in the house and none of them were the two I needed for this recipe.  My solution: the grocery deli.  They will kindly slice you the ounce amount you need, which means it's already measured come cooking time and no waste!!

Adapted from Smells Like Home.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Best of 2012 (My Picks)'s a new year...any resolutions??

I've sorta got an ongoing list of resolutions with my 26-by-27 list, as well as my kitchen bucket list, but a text from my sister the other day inquiring about 2013 prompted two extra special goals for myself this year: 

(1) Take a tropical trip with Nathan.  He has been discussing how he oh so bad wants to take a cruise for the last four and a half years of our relationship.  Gotta shut that boy up already!  And it would be kind of nice, not gonna lie.

(2) Move back to Oklahoma.  Yup, you heard me.  We've enjoyed the last year and a half in Texas but our hearts are in OK with the fam.  And I just can't spoil my adorable nephew as much as I would like living this far away. 

So yea...I've got some pretty major resolutions this year but I've got, what?  362 days left?  No prob.  But enough about me, let's talk about food now.  Let's talk about my favorite recipes from the blog 2012.  Ok, well this still might constitute talking about me since they're my picks, but that's neither here nor there.  Here we go:

1.  Restaurant Style Salsa.  I've made this more times than I care to admit.

2.  Homemade Flour Tortillas.  The packaged stuff never tasted so...packaged. 

3.  White Chocolate Coconut Brownies.  Flavor match made in heaven.

4.  Cookies and Cream Cake.  Tall, dark, and delicious.

5.  Triple Chocolate Cupcakes with Pumpkin Pie Frosting.  I think every time I took a bite of these I said "omgthesearesogood".  Dead serious.

6.  Sweet Corn, Peach, and Honey Mustard Chicken Salad.  Finally, something healthy for the New Year!  And pretty to look at.

7.  Buffalo Turkey Chili.  Perfect for the cold months: warm, filling and spicy!

8.  Corn and Cheddar Quinoa.  Consider me officially Quinoa-Converted!

9.  Peanut Butter Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies.  Oh, it's been too long since I sunk my teeth into these.  Must.  Make.  Soon.

10.  Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup.  Best version I've tasted to date.

There are so many more I'd like to list but I will hold my tongue and stop at ten.  Go check out the archives for more deliciousness!