Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hubby Made French Onion Soup

It is a real treat when my hubby cooks for us.  His specialty is french onion soup and WOW does he deliver!  I had such a fun time documenting his process and of course reaping the benefits of his hard work.  This recipe is definitely a process and get ready to shed some tears with all of the onions.  Cheers to my sweet hubby who blesses me when this meal shows up on the menu board!

1/2 c. unsalted butter
4 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 c. red wine, about 1/2 bottle
3 heaping tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 quarts beef broth
1 baguette, sliced
1/2 lb. grated Gruyere (don't skimp…get the good stuff!)   

Check out the hi-tech cooking with the recipe pulled up on his ipad…

Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, bay leave, thyme and salt & pepper.  Cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized about 25 minutes.
Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes.  Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.

Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir.  Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.

Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.  Season to taste, with salt and pepper.

If you have enough feel free to enjoy a little wine and cheese.

When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler.  Ladle the soup in bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese.  Put the bowls into the oven to toast the bread and melt the cheese. 

I would not change a thing to this amazing recipe!  

Made Chicken Stew from the Cookin Canuck

Another great discovery on Pinterest, the Cooking Canuck and her unique Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash & Quinoa.  The stew is not a quick weeknight meal but if you get home early or can start prepping late afternoon you can pull off this great meal.  I found that the leftovers are even better!!
Start with some great, healthy ingredients:
1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded & chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 can (14 oz.) petite diced tomatoes
2/3 c. uncooked quinoa
3/4 c. pitted and quartered kalamata olives
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 c. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Steam the butternut squash until barely tender, about 10 minutes.  Remove half of the squash pieces, set aside.  Steam the remaining squash until very tender, an additional 4 to 6 minutes.  Mash this squash with the back of a fork.  Set aside.  (I mashed all of the squash since B does not like the chunks)

In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring the chicken broth to a simmer.  Add chicken, cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Transfer the chicken thighs to a plate and allow to cool.  Pour broth into a medium-sized bowl.

Return the saucepan to the stovetop and lower heat to medium.  Add olive oil.  Add onion and cook stirring occasionally, until onion is starting turn brown, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add minced garlic and oregano.  Cook stirring for 1 additional minute.

To the saucepan, add tomatoes, butternut squash, pieces and mashed.  Stir to combine.

Stir in reserved chicken broth and quinoa.  Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until quinoa turns translucent, about 15 minutes.

Shred the chicken with your fingers or a fork.  Stir the shredded chicken, olives and pepper into the stew and simmer, uncovered, to heat, about 5 minutes.

What I would do next time:
Double the kalamata olives or slice olives in half so more bites have the great taste
Simmer for longer with olives so the flavors have more time to soak in
Invite girls over to enjoy - sadly, not B's favorite

Friday, January 27, 2012

Made Cajun Stuffed Chicken from Pinterest

Well now I really did it…I had to go and join Pinterest!  Not only can I wish for the latest looks and get ideas for the house but I have found some great new recipes.  So fun but such a time sucker!!!  I have also discovered that prior to Pinterest I was very naive to the amount of blogs out there, not just cooking but literally there is a blog for everything under the sun.  This Cajun Chicken recipe was my first to try and it really was good.  A few changes next time but overall a positive and surprisingly easy dish to assemble. 

For our side dish I chose one of our favorites that I don't cook that often, Artichokes with Hollandaise Sauce.  Mmm….Mmm good!!

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 c. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp. breadcrumbs
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Flatten chicken to about 1/4-inch thickness using a meat tenderizer.  In a medium bowl, combine pepper jack cheese, spinach, salt and pepper.  Spoon about 1/4 c. of the spinach mixture onto the chicken breasts.  Roll the chicken breast tightly and fasten the toothpicks.  Brush each chicken breast with oil.  Sprinkle the Cajun seasoning mix evenly over all.  Sprinkle any remaining spinach and cheese on top o the chicken (optional).  Place chicken, seam-side down onto a tin foil-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  Remove the toothpicks before serving.

What I would do next time:
Half the cajun rub - a bit on the salty side.
When using the meat tenderizer to flatten out the chicken, place meat in papertowl or parchment paper
No added salt, cajun seasoning is sufficient
Use natural-colored toothpicks

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Made Creamy Pheasant from South Dakota

My friend, Elizabeth of Elizabeth Ann's Recipe Box, and I were able to celebrate a sweet friend this weekend in West Texas.  I am thankful to have gotten to know this sweet Chef over the past year!  Elizabeth is the queen of cooking game and so this post is dedicated to her as she is an inspiration to all the wives out there cooking up what our men bring home from the fields.  Dove was the first game meat that I cooked with a few months ago and I tried something out of the box that did not turn out so great.  Next time I will go with the whole bacon, jalapeno and cheese popper.  I have redeemed myself with this tasty Creamy Pheasant dish and it was a huge success.  I know success when B asks, "can we have this every week?".

6 pheasant breast halves
Butter and vegetable oil
Flour with salt and pepper
1/2 c. onion
1/2 c. celery (optional)
1/2 c. mushrooms (optional)
Garlic seasoning to taste
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. chicken broth
2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. white wine
Dredge pheasant in flour mixture.  Brown in skillet with oil and butter.  Be sure to use vegetable oil as EVOO does not work as well.  Put aside in baking dish.  Saute onion and mushrooms in same skillet that you used to brown the pheasant.  I left the celery out since it is not a favorite in our house unless served with peanut butter.

 After the vegetables are cooked through, add soup, chicken broth and simmer.

Add sour cream, yes 2 cups!!!  I have NEVER used a 16 oz. container of sour cream in anything….maybe this is why it has been requested as a weekly dish.

 Pour over pheasant - cover and bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.  

 Add wine to sauce and return to oven for 15 minutes.  

Please serve with some sort of vegetable so you can mentally feel better about all of the sour cream!!

What I would do next time:
Saute minced garlic with the onions and mushrooms vs. garlic "seasoning"

A special thanks to my favorite hunters, my FAVORITE pictured in the middle, that braved the South Dakota temperatures to bring home tasty birds!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Made an English Breakfast, Toad In The Hole

I was 9 years old in this picture and it looks like not much has changed with my love for "big hair" and cooking a skillet breakfast.  Pretty sure it was just scrambled eggs back then and today, Toad in the Hole.  This is the second breakfast skillet dish that I have found and loved from Williams Sonoma.  As B and I talk about family traditions this is one I hope to keep each Christmas morning.  This 2nd annual B&L Madeley Christmas tradition was another success!  It was extra fun cooking in my mother-in-law's kitchen…she has a Viking and I fell in love!

3/4 c. milk
2 whole eggs plus 1 egg white
2 tsp. whole-grain mustard
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
3 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. mild pork breakfast sausage links
1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1/2" strips
4 oz. spinach
Freshly group pepper, to taste
1/2 c. grated Gruyere cheese
2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives

In a bowl the night before if you are making for breakfast, using immersion blender, blend milk, eggs, egg white and mustard 1 minutes.  Add flour and 1 tsp. salt; blend 30-60 seconds.  Refrigerate batter 2 hours or overnight. 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In 10' fry pan over medium heat, warm 1 tsp. oil.  Brown sausages 8-10 minutes.  Transfer to plate.  As you can see I chose a different meat and went for venison from sweet friends and Dallas photography.  I highly recommend this option!!

Wipe out pan.  Warm 1 tsp. oil in pan.  Cook bell pepper 8-10 minutes.  Transfer to plate.  Warm 1 tbsp. oil in pan.  Add spinach, salt and pepper; cook 1-2 minutes.  Transfer to plate.  Pour 2 tbsp. oil into 12" fry pan; place in oven 10-15 minutes.   

Stir cheese into batter.

Remove pan from oven.  Add sausage, bell pepper and spinach to pan; pour in batter.  Bake 25-30 minutes; do not open oven door early.

 Garnish with chives.  Serves 4-6.