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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pesto and Goat Cheese Rice Bake

This is super fancy schmancy. It is totally company worthy because it calls for amazing ingredients and looks fantastic. The colors are so beautiful together, your eyes will eat it before your mouth does! It works as a great main vegetarian entree, or it can be made as a side dish. I made it to accompany stuffed chicken breasts (check back soon for the recipe :p).
-3 cups cooked rice (about 1.5 uncooked)
-1 3/4 cups shredded parmesan cheese
-1/2 cup prepared pesto
-4 ounces crumbled goat cheese (feta is a good substitute)
-1 10 ounce jar roasted red pepper, drained, patted dry and chopped

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray an 8 inch springform pan (I'm sure it will work with the regular 9 inch) with cooking spray.
-Mix rice with 1 1/2 cups of the parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
-Layer half of rice on the bottom of the springform pan. Spread half of the pesto, sprinkle with half of the goat cheese, then top with half of the roasted peppers.
-Repeat layers. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of paremesan cheese.
-Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Apple Dip

I learned this recipe from my friend (she's also my SIL :)), and she learned it from a friend, and the friend learned it from a friend, and that get the idea, right?
It's yummy with apples, and it tastes just as good on bagels too! The apples in the picture have sort of wilted, that's because it was soo good that I forgot to take the picture when it was first set out!
-8 oz cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-Using an electric mixer, mix the cream cheese for 1-2 minutes until it is soft
-Add the sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and mix until well blended
-Chill in refrigerator and serve!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Olive Biscuit Cups

These are very cute, they are the perfect finger food! Use this recipe as a base for your creativity. I've filled these biscuit cups with many different mixtures, such as chili, shrimp, spinach dip, cheese, pizza ingredients...the list goes on and on!

-1 can refrigerated biscuits (if using the flaky layers or jumbo type, split each biscuit in half)
-filling (in this picture I used an olive tapenade)

-preheat oven to 350 degrees
-press biscuit dough into mini muffin pan, let edges of dough extend over the cup
-fill generously with filling
-bake for about 8-10 minutes

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Thai Coconut Curry

The flavors in this dish are really robust and pronounced, every bite is packed with amazing flavor. I read a bunch of online recipes, and compiled this to accomodate our taste buds and readily available ingredients. The result? Take a wild guess! Better yet, try it for yourself and let me know!

The chunky peanut butter adds bits of peanuts, and adding shredded coconut helps to bring out the coconut flavors without tasting sweet. The lime makes a HUGE difference in this dish, it really emphasizes all the other ingredients.

-1 pound chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
-2 tablespoons oil
-4 diced green onions, whites and greens
-6 cloves fresh minced garlic
- 1 inch piece fresh minced ginger
-1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-1 can bamboo shoots
-1 can coconut milk
-1/4 cup water
-1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
-1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter (chunky is best, but creamy works too)
-1 teaspoon curry paste (optional)
-1 cup spinach (not authentic, but you can't taste it, and it adds nice color)
-1/2 cup packed fresh minced lemongrass (optional, but it makes a difference)
- 4 squeezed limes
-1 cup fresh minced basil

-salt to taste

-To make in the slow cooker, add all ingredients except for coconut milk and basil and turn on low for 4 hours. Stir in coconut milk and basil during last 15 minutes of cooking.

Stove top:
-Heat oil in pot. Add chicken, green onions, red pepper flakes, ginger and garlic and cook until chicken is halfway cooked.
-Add salt, coconut milk, water, bamboo shoots, lemongrass, peanut butter, curry paste, lime juice and spinach. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
-Add basil and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tortilla Soup

I LOVE tortilla soup. Any time I used to go to any Mexican restaurant, I'd have to order it. Until I perfected my own recipe, and it is SO much better than any other professional chef ;-)
A GREAT use for leftover fajitas (homemade, or even easier, brought back from a restaurant) is to throw them into this soup. It also really cuts the prep time.

-2-3 cups leftover fajitas


-2 tablespoons cooking oil
-1/2 pound chicken or steak or shrimp (or skip this step for veggie soup)
-1 of each, cut into short strips or cubes: yellow onion, red, green, yellow bell pepper (or buy frozen bell pepper medley)
-1 can corn
-1 can black beans
-leftover mexican rice OR 1/4 cup uncoocked rice
-1 squash, cut into small cubes
-1/2-1 cup mild salsa or picante sauce (fresh tastes awesome, but anything works)
-1 bunch minced cilantro
-4 cloves fresh minced garlic
-2 green onions, white and green parts
-4 cups broth or water
-2 tablespoons taco seasoning

Garnish (optional)
-sour cream
-avocado slices
-shredded cheese
-tortilla chips

To make
-Heat oil in pot, combine optional chicken/steak/shrimp. Cook halfway, then add onions, bell peppers, garlic, squash, rice and green onions until squash and rice are halfway cooked.
-Add salsa, beans, corn, broth and taco seasoning.
-Simmer until rice is cooked. Add cilantro and cook for 5 more minutes.
This all goes MUCH faster if the chicken and veggies are precooked, and the rice is already made.
-Garnish with optional toppings.