Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Amazing Cafe Rio Bar

I am appalled that I haven't posted this recipe yet. If I am having a crowd over for dinner and want less stress, this is what I always seem to default to. By "default", I don't mean "settle for." This chicken/pork is so flavor-bursting that you will never forget it.

This is the deal: Make the chicken or pork in the crock pot and let it cook all day, on high for 2-3 hours to get it going, then on low for 4-5 hours, until the meat is very soft and will shred easily with two forks. I usually just put all the dishes on the counter and let people do what they want. I LOVE to make a big salad on my plate, my husband likes to put everything in a tortilla and chow.

The Amazing Cafe Rio Bar

~2 lbs. chicken or pork (You can use less than this, I usually use about 1 large chicken breast for every 2 people that I am feeding.)
1 c. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
2 T. dried chopped onions (You can use fresh too)
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. chili powder
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. ground ginger
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 c. red enchilada sauce (comes in a can, you can also use red or green taco sauce)
1 c. brown sugar (sometimes I decrease this to 2/3 - 3/4 c.)

Place chicken in crock pot. Combine next 8 ingredients in small bowl then pour over chicken. Cook as said above. An hour or so before serving, add enchilada sauce and sugar. Make sure to use a slotted spoon when serving.

In the afternoon or an hour or so before dinner get any or all of these toppings ready:
- black beans
- guacamole (for recipe, click)
- pico de gallo (diced tomatoes and red onions, chopped cilantro and jalapenos and lime juice)
- finely shredded cheddar cheese
- rice
- green or red leaf lettuce
- whole kernel corn
- sour cream
- tortillas of your choice

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Chicken Marsala

Here is a classic chicken dish that is one of my favorites. The sauce is made from Marsala wine, which is one of the easiest wines to cook with, which is sweet and rich and fulfilling. You can serve this dish over homemade mashed potatoes or pasta, though I much prefer the potatoes. Serve with some healthy veggies.

This recipe was given to me by my uncle James, off the top of his head. This is for 1 serving.

1 chicken breast, pounded to 1/2 inch thick
Olive oil
2-3 T. finely diced red onion
1 T. butter, divided
3 oz. Marsala wine (measure this out in advance)
6 oz. chicken stock (measure this out in advance)
Handful fresh mushrooms, pre-sauteed in a little olive oil

Heat enough oil to cover bottom of heavy, nonstick skillet over high heat until dots appear. Add chicken breast and cook, undisturbed until just the top edges of breast become white. Flip and cook about 3 minutes more. Use a fork to hold chicken breast in place and tip pan to drain oil. Leaving chicken in hot pan, drop 1/2 T. butter in pan and let melt. Place onion in pan over high heat and let caramelize , about 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and without leaning over pan, add Marsala wine. Wine will sizzle. Put pan back on full heat. Immediately add chicken stock and mushrooms and 1/2 T. butter. Taste the sauce at this point. It is NOT done yet, but its good to taste what it shouldn't taste like! Simmer on high heat for 3-5 minutes, tasting sauce with finger every 1-2 minutes. When that sauce is done, it should be slightly thicker and should be quite sweet and wonderful. :) Place a bed of mashed potatoes or noodles on plate. Top with chicken and then pour sauce over the top.

Chunky Garlic Red Skinned Mashed Potatoes
1 serving

3-4 large red skinned potatoes, cut into quarters and boiled until soft
2 T. butter
2-3 fresh minced garlic cloves
whole milk, enough to make potatoes creamy to your likin'
salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in small mixing bowl. With handheld electric mixer, mix on med-high speed until desired consistency is reached.

From Scratch: Peanut Butter Ice Cream

OK, this ice cream is to die for! I absolutely love it!

Adapted from How to be a Domestic Goddess

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
1 t. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped unsalted, dry roasted peanuts
5 Reese's Peanut Butter Holiday shapes (trees, hearts, eggs), chopped into small pieces (if you can't find these, you can use regular peanut butter cups)

In medium bowl, combine eggs and sugar with whisk. Add cream and milk and whisk until smooth. Add PB and whisk until smooth. Place in ice cream maker and freeze according to machine directions until almost frozen. 5 minutes before done (or as frozen as it will get with the ice cream maker) add peanuts and PB cups. Place in airtight plastic container in freezer for at least 30-45 minutes before serving, to firm up. And the most important part... enjoy!

Note: The base to this ice cream is derived from Ben & Jerry's ice cream recipe book. You can use these amounts of eggs, sugar, cream and milk for any ice cream base that you want to make! Be creative! (Or go to Coldstone and get some ideas there!)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cheesy White Chicken Chili

A lot of my friends have had this soup, so sorry for the repetition but this is definitely a recipe that is worthy of a blog post! My mom's church has a chili cook-off every year and this was a winner a few years back, made by one of her friends. My friend, Valerie made it last year at her church's chili cook-off and it won there too! This recipe has also won the favorite-recipe-of-the-night at one of our cooking clubs that the med-wives hold monthly. So, there's your proof that its good!

1 T. oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans green chilis
2 t. cumin
1 t. oregano or ital. seasoning
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
30 oz. chicken broth
3 c. chicken breast meat, cooked & chopped or shredded
4 cans white beans, drained
1/2 - 1 c. sour cream (optional)
4 - 6 oz. cream cheese (optional)
1 can whole kernel corn (optional)
12-16 oz. grated Mexican blend cheese (can use any combination of Monterrey Jack, pepper jack, or cheddar, stay away from mozzarella b/c it is stringy when melted)

In 4 or 5 qt. pan, heat oil over medium-high heat and soften onion and garlic. Add green chilis, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Cook a few minutes, then add broth, chicken, and 3 cans of the drained beans. Mash the fourth can of beans (use a potato masher, fork or pastry blender and mix in a little bit of the broth from the soup to make it a little easier) and add it to the pot. Turn heat to low, wait until it is hardly simmering and add cheese slowly until completely melted. If you add the cheese while the soup is bubbling ferociously then the cheese will clump and stick to the chicken... yuck. You can add the sour cream, cream cheese, and/or corn if you would like, but the soup is great without them, depends on your taste. You can serve it with tortilla chips, extra cheese, fresh cilantro, jalapenos, green onion, salsa, or serve over rice or in a bread bowl. Personally, I like it straight up, in a bowl with some homemade bread.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Molasses Spice Cookies

Both my husband and my mom's favorite cookie!

It is important to underbake these cookies so that they stay soft for days after they are baked. They won't look done when they come out of the oven, but they will finish baking on the cookie sheet after they are out of the oven. If you overbake them they will be dry and crisp. I like to make my Ginger Snaps small and cute. They always turn out perfectly round with cracks throughout!

Adapted from The Best Recipe

In medium bowl, sift:
2 1/4 c. flour
2 t. soda
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground ginger
3/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. ground allspice

In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes:
12 T. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar

Then add and beat until combined, about 30 seconds:
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla
1/3 c. unsulphured molasses

Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.

Working with about 1 T. dough at a time, roll dough into balls then roll in granulated sugar before placing on ungreased cookie sheet. Place 1 1/2 inch apart. Bake at 375 for 8-9 minutes until cracks begin to show on each cookie and edges are just barely light brown. Cool cookies on sheet for 2-3 minutes then transfer to wire wrack to cool.


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