Saturday, January 24, 2009

Smokey and Spicy "Chile" over Pasta

I think I am channeling Rachel Ray on this recipe I invented of today. It definitely seems like her type of thing.
I used grass fed, free range ground beef available from my farmer's market. If you can get grass fed beef, do it. I just finished reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. The things they do to cows to mass produce beef and milk is horrible and not good for you. This beef is free of bad growth hormones. It has lots and lots of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.

5 pieces bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped,
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lb ground beef
3/4 tsp chipotle powder
1 can green chiles
1 can tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes
shredded spicy cheese, to taste (I used habanero cheese! Monterey Jack with jalepeno would work)
handful chopped cilantro
3-4 green onions, chopped
1 lb pasta of choice (I used bucatini since I had it already but I think penne or shorter shapes might work even better)

Fill a large pot with water to cook the pasta bring to a boil.
While the pasta water is heating up, cook the bacon in a large pot until crisp.

Oh boy, bacon. This is free range pork bacon also!

Reserve on paper towels. Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of bacon grease out of the pot. Add in the onion and garlic, cook until softened. Add in the beef and chipotle powder, cook, and drain some of the fat off. (Unless you like to live dangerously).
Add in the green chiles. I think you could also add some bell pepper in here too, or some black beans.
Add in the can of tomatoe sauce or chopped tomatoes, a handful of shredded cheese and the bacon.

Mmm this is winter comfort food for sure.

Once the pasta is done, drain it. Serve in bowls with the chile beef mixture, topped with some more cheese, cilantro, and green onion.

Here are all the toppings!
My husband really enjoyed this.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Sausage Potato Cups!

This recipe was posted previously, but was recently featured on the Key Ingredient website's blog, The Back Burner. They gave me this handy recipe card for it. Yay!!

Cheesy Sausage Potato Cups with Yogurt Mustard Sauce

Small potatoes baked with sausage, peppers and sharp cheddar cheese ...

See Cheesy Sausage Potato Cups with Yogurt Mustard Sauce on Key Ingredient.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Easy Sticky Buns

Melissa of Made by Melissa picked this super fast recipe for this week. I don't think they are in the same league as my version of a Cinnabon I made this Christmas (I'll have to post that sometime) but they are really fast and tasty, perfect for a non-holiday time.
My one issue is that frozen puff pastry it is not all natural. So I think normally I'll stick to bread dough buns, but I have to admit these were goooood. My husband tried one, and then ate another one right away!
The only modification I made was to leave out the raisins, since we are not big fans. Instead, I threw a few more pecans inside the roll.

Easy Sticky Buns by the Barefoot Contessa
Makes 12 (I halved this recipe)

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted for the filling
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar.

I decided to make this recipe even easier by not dragging out my mixer. I just softened the butter in the microwave, and mixed in the brown sugar with a fork!

Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.

Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with half of the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of the raisins.

Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down.

Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2 inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide.

Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon), and cool completely.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Rachel Ray: Gnocchi with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli

While checking out Cynthia over at Diary of a Glad Housewife, I noticed she had also received Rachel Ray's Big Orange Book for Christmas. So we are both making a recipe from our new book this week! Check out her recipe.
Rachel Ray, as I have mentioned on here before, makes some of my favorite recipes. I don't watch her show though, her personality can be a little weird-o! But I love her magazine. (I am going to be in her April issue, more about that later!) I think the Big Orange Book is a good addition to my cookbook collection. There are some really yummy sounding vegetarian recipes, holiday and party recipes also. I would definitely reis really nicecommend it.
I went on another expedition to Trader Joe's this week, and I got some basil pesto chicken and turkey sausage. So I chose this recipe from the kosher section of Rachel's new book.
I was excited to try this recipe, the original name is Gnocchi with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli Rabe. I have never cooked with broccoli rabe, so I was excited to try it. Sadly when I went to the grocery store, there was none to be found! So I changed it to regular broccoli, and it was tasty.
There was one great tip in this recipe I'd like to point out- to break up the sausage while browning, use a potato masher. This works much faster than anything else I've tried. Next time I make a meat sauce with sausage I am going to use this tip.
This dish was tastier than I thought. Don't leave out the red pepper, it gives the dish a little KICK.
1 (12-16 oz.) package fresh or frozen gnocchi
2 bunches of broccoli rabe, stem ends trimmed and chopped OR 2 broccoli crowns, cut into florets
4 tablespoons EVOO
1 1/2 pounds Kosher Italian chicken sausage links, casings removed (I used Trader Joe's basil pesto chicken and turkey sausage)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
zest and juice of 1 lemon
Crusty bread (I bought LaBrea roasted garlic bread)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat to cook the gnocchi. Once the water is boiling, add some salt, add the gnocchi and cook according to package directions. Rigt before draining, rmove and reserve about 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid (I ALWAYS forget to do this! I used chicken broth)
While the water for the gnocchi is coing to a boil, bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a large high-sided skillet. add some salt and the broccoli (rabe) and simmer for 5 minutes, drain and reserve. Return the skillet to the stove and heat 2 tablespoons of EVOO over medium high heat. add the chicken sausage and break it up with the back of a spoon or a potato masher while it cooks and browns, 6-7 minutes.

Add the onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the sausage and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the onions start to get tender. Remove the sausage and onion from the skillet and reserve.

Here is the reserved sausage, broccoli and the lemon zest ready to go.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of EVOO and heat it up. Add the drained gnocchi to the skillet and brown lightly for a couple of minutes. Return the sausage and onions, broccoli to the pan. Toss to combine and add the reserved pasta water (or chicken broth). Turn the heat up to high and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and zest and serve with the bread.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

I never would have thought to put sour cream in pancakes! Bananas are standard pancake/waffle but the combo of that with sour cream was very tasty. I also added a handful of pecans to the batter.
The only thing I had issue with was the fact that you put the bananas in one cluster in the pancake. Next time, I would mix the bananas in with the rest of the batter. My husband liked it the way it was.

Barefoot Contessa's Banana Sour Cream Pancakes
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • (My addition-about 1/2 cup of chopped pecans)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Unsalted butter
  • 2 ripe bananas, diced, plus extra for serving
  • Pure maple syrup


Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, mixing only until combined.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it bubbles. Ladle the pancake batter into the pan to make 3 or 4 pancakes. Distribute a rounded tablespoon of bananas on each pancake.

Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on top and the underside is nicely browned. Flip the pancakes and then cook for another minute until browned.

Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add more butter to the pan, and continue cooking pancakes until all the batter is used. Serve with sliced bananas, butter and maple syrup.

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Baked Macaroni and Goat Cheese with and Roasted Peppers

I got two new cookbooks for Christmas, and I am very excited about this one, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. I'm not a vegetarian, but I like to cook vegetarian meals sometimes and this book sounded too good to pass up.
The first recipe I made from this was the Hot Curry powder, but I haven't used it yet. I hope to tomorrow in a butternut squash recipe.
I made Baked Macaroni and Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Peppers, which is a variation on the standard Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe. That is one of the things I like, they give you a lot of basic recipes, but then give you a lot of ways to make it more exciting or different.
I used my Chevre from a recent excursion to Trader Joe's. It is delicious, and much cheaper than any goat cheese I can buy around here. Trader Joe's, please come to Lancaster. PLEASE?
Here is my paraphrased recipe. The ingredients are the same (I used different pasta and added a little salt)
2 1/2 cups milk
1 lb elbow macaroni (I used Trader Joe's Vegetable Radiatore)
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
(1 tsp salt)
1 cup goat cheese
2 red bell peppers
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (I used basil I threw into a plastic baggie this summer and tossed in the freezer! It was good.)
1/2 cup bread crumbs

First, you need to roast your peppers. I think the best way is to stick them in a toaster oven on broil for about 20-25 minutes. Turn the temperature all the way up (450 for me) and turn the peppers once. (While the peppers are roasting, I would start the pasta water, butter a 9x13 dish, and get your cheese ready.)

Here is the pepper, roasted and ready to be skinned and chopped.
Then take the peppers, and either wrap them in foil or stick then in a plastic baggie. Then, here is a new tip from the book. To remove the skin and seeds, take them out under running water. This helps!! Chop the peppers.
Put your pine nuts in the toaster oven to toast now. Just be careful not to let them go too long. About 8 minutes on 300 works for me.
When the pasta water is ready, cook the pasta-not too long! Drain the pasta earlier than you normally would, since it will soften more in the oven.
Pre-heat your oven to 400.
In a small pot, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. When the butter is foamy, add the flour and whisk. Let it cook for about 5 minutes, until it is light brown. Then add the milk, a little at a time, whisking after each addition until smooth. Add the grated cheddar and stir until melted. Add the salt and pepper.

Throw this sauce over the pasta, then the red peppers, basil, pine nuts and goat cheese.

Mix it all up, then pour into your baking dish.
Throw on the bread crumbs. I also added a few little dots of goat cheese on top.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until browned.

Eat. Then eat some more.

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