Sunday, September 28, 2008

I'm Cultured!

Well, at least this recipe is. I got it from Bon Appetit, oooooooh. My lovely husband got me a subscription when he bought my mixer last year. Sadly, I have never attempted a recipe out of this magazine until today! The ripped out magazine page has been hanging on my fridge for a few days and I feel I should frame it and hang it on my wall. Why? Because this was the most delicious pasta dish I have ever eaten. It definitely makes it into the Top 3 for sure. I will most certainly have to make more of the recipes out of this magazine in the future.

Jason was hesitant when he heard there was lettuce (arugula) in this dish, and I was a little skeptical myself. Let's face it, I don't even like arugula in a salad. After eating it, I understand why the arugula was there: It adds crunch and a bit of peppery flavor. It was downright perfect.

The only thing I did differently was add extra rigatoni. Being a huge pasta fan, I didn't think 8 ounces of rigatoni would be enough. I am glad I added the extra because now I have lunches for the next week! Evidence below:

We ate this and it didn't need any accoutrements. The only thing we did eat with it was a yummy crusty Kalamata and rosemary baguette. It was heaven on a plate for sure.

Ohhhhh, I wish I could go back and eat this entire plate of pasta all over again. Instead, I will have to wait until tomorrow for my lunch.

Bon Appetit! Get it? Tee hee, because I got the recipe from the magazine of the same name?!? Get it? Oh never mind.

Rigatoni with Spicy Sausage-Tomato Sauce, Arugula, and Parmesan
from: Bon Appetit Magazine June 2008

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 pounds fresh hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes in juice
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes with added puree
8 ounces rigatoni
2 cups (packed) fresh arugula, stemmed
1/2 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion; saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add sausage; cook until browned, breaking up with back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Drain drippings. Add wine, diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes; increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain.

Stir pasta, arugula, basil and oregano into tomato sauce. Simmer until arugula wilts, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to large bowl. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's Puffy All Right

Tonight, we had breakfast for dinner, yum! I had a few pieces of bacon from a couple of weeks ago's pasta recipe (See Bacon Pasta post), and I had all the ingredients on hand for this Betty Crocker recipe, so Puffy Oven Pancake it was! Add some eggs, and it was a complete meal.

I wanted a little more pizazz, so I made the variation at the bottom of the recipe for Apple Oven Pancake. What better way to usher in the fall by celebrating with apples?
This dinner baked up very quickly, and I am not so great with timing everything to finish at the same time, so a big pat on the back. The pancake, bacon and eggs were all done at the same time! No cold food in sight. I think that's why I like casseroles so much. Everything is done and hot at the same time.

I bet this recipe would be good with other fruit too. Maybe peaches? I would suggest pineapple, but the husband doesn't like pineapple. Such a shame considering all the fresh pineapple that we encountered while vacationing in Jamaica.

I served this plain, with a tiny bit of maple syrup over the top. It was sweet enough that it didn't need syrup, or even extra butter.
Here's to pancakes in the oven!

Puffy Oven Pancake
from: Betty Crocker

2 tablespoons stick margarine or butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
lemon juice and powdered sugar or cut-up fruit if desired

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Melt margarine in pie plate in oven; brush margarine on side of pie plate.

2. Beat eggs slightly in medium bowl with wire whisk or hand beater. Beat in remaining ingredients except lemon juice just until mixed (do not overbeat). Pour into pie plate.

3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until puffy and deep golden brown. Serve immediately sprinkled with lemon juice and powdered sugar.

Apple Variation

Prepare Puffy Oven Pancake as directed, except sprinkle 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon evenly over melted margarine. Arrange 1 cup thinly sliced peeled baking apple (1 medium) over sugar. Pour batter over apple. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Immediately loosen edge of pancake and turn upside down onto heatproof serving plate.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Chicken from Camille

Mind you, I have no idea who Camille is. That is just the name of this recipe. So, thanks Camille! I appreciate you contributing to my blog. And thank you to All Recipes. I have to say how much I love their website. Not only do I get daily emails from them with a recipe of the day, but I can always find a good recipe by using the search tools.

Tonight, to go along with our herbed dinner rolls, I made Chicken a la Camille. Essentially, this is herbed chicken coated with barbeque sauce. Yum yum yum.

The nice thing about this recipe is that chicken, Italian seasoning and barbeque sauce are always things that one would have on hand in the pantry. Sometimes, it's nice to make things that aren't fussy and take little time.
Add some potatoes and a veggie, and you have a nice dinner in under 30 minutes. I sound like Rachael Ray. Sheesh.

Chicken a la Camille

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup Italian seasoning
1 cup barbeque sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place chicken and seasoning in a resealable plastic bag; sell and toss to coat; place chicken in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish.
3. Bake for 20 minutes.
4. Place sauce in a shallow dish or bowl and dip chicken in sauce to coat.
5. Bake for another 20 minutes; serve with additional barbeque sauce

An Uprising, Deux

If you read my blog (who am I kidding, no one actually reads this thing) you will notice that I made cinnamon rolls last weekend. Since I had extra yeast, I decided to try my hand at making rolls. I found the recipe on, my go-to place for a good recipe. I wanted rolls, but didn't have shortening to make them, so I found an alternate recipe using butter. To go alongside our herbed chicken, I thought the herbed rolls sounded delish! So, I went and gave the chives in my garden a haircut. I don't have fresh parsley, so I subbed it with dried parsley, dill, and some Italian seasoning.

I got to use my mixer! It's always a treat when I get to. So, off to make herbed rolls. I started these at about 3:30 with the intention to have them with our dinner, some time between 6:00 and 7:00.

The best part of making this was watching the yeast dissolve. I know, I am a weirdo. It is really fun to watch the bubbles, although it's slightly creepy that it's alive. If you ever need to get some aggression or anger out, kneading dough is a good way. Not that I really have any anger.........

Here is a fun trick for you: If you don't have a very warm place for your dough or rolls to rise, I stoll this trick from Alton Brown: Place the bowl on top of a heating pad, set to low. It works like a charm!

Here are the rolls all ready to be baked, after their second uprising:

So, enjoy these rolls. And for those that don't want the herbs, you can always omit them and use a little bit more flour to make up for it.

BTW, they do need butter or margarine after taking them out of the oven. It definitely adds a little something to the rolls.

Fresh Herb Dinner Rolls

1 package (.25 oz) active dry yeast
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 cup milk, room temperature
2 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
6 cups bread flour
1 egg white
2 tablespoons water

1. In a small mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in 1 cup warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the yeast mixture with milk, eggs, salt, butter, parsley, chives, and 4 cups flour. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough has pulled together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume, about one hour.

3. Grease two 9x13 inch baking pans. Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 24 pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball and place into the prepared pans. Cover the rolls with a warm, damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg white with 2 tablespoons of water; brush egg wash over top of rolls.

5. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

An Uprising!

Who doesn't love hot cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven? If you can honestly answer no to that question, there may be something wrong with you.

I haven't had a lot of experience with yeast breads, however, I thought I would take a shot at cinnamon rolls. I figure, even if I mess them up, they would still taste pretty decent.

These weren't terribly hard to make. The only thing that was worrisome for me was where in the world I was going to roll out my dough. Let me explain: My kitchen is tiny. Very very tiny. See proof below:
See? So, instead of rolling out the dough in my kitchen nook on our breakfast table, I decided to use the counter. I moved those canisters you see, and it worked out just fine!

I can honestly say that these were a success. They were easy, fun to make, and tasted really really good. I pulled the frosting recipe from another cinnamon roll finding on allrecipes, and the two recipes in combination were a hit! I normally don't like cream cheese frosting, but this wasn't overly cream cheesy (is that a word?).

See my progress in the pictures below.

Here is the dough all rolled out ready to rolled into the rolls. That's a lot of the word roll in one sentence. Doesn't the filling look yummy? I used the Makara cinnamon that Cinnabon sells.
All ready to go in the pan. Look how tiny they are!

Here they are halfway through rising. The picture looks funny because there is plastic wrap over them. I set the pan on top of my washing machine. It was the warmest place in the house since the sun comes through the window there. It ended up being the perfect place for them.

Here they are after completely rising.

Now it was into the fridge for a couple of hours until Jason got up to enjoy them also.

Cinnamon Rolls

1 package (.25 oz) active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, room temperature
2.5 cups bread flour

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar

1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the sugar, salt, egg and 1 cup flour; stir well to combine. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well with each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

3. Lightly grease an 8x8 square baking pan. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Smear the dough with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. Roll up the dough along the long edge until it forms a roll. Slice the roll into 16 equal size pieces and place them in the pan with the cut side up.

4. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or cover and let rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake rolls until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Out of the oven. Yummmmm.

Cinnamon Roll Icing

1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons milk

1. Mix all ingredients together and spread over warm, not hot, cinnamon rolls.

Potluck Offering

My family is large, and so when we all get together, there is tons of food. I thought that I would be different and bring a bean and olive spread, but alas, I arrived at the potluck and there were already five other spreads. There was salmon dip, guacamole, clam dip, french onion dip, and some other odd looking thing. I didn't taste that one.

Here I was thinking I was going to be creative, but noooooo. Oh well. I thought my spread was delicious, and probably the only one there that was light.

This was easy to assemble and the ingredients are probably ones that you have on hand, except maybe the Kalamata olives. All you is pop the items into a food processor and voila! Bean olive thingy. I brought whole wheat crackers and they were the perfect addition to the dip. Guess what? I still have tons left over. I plan on using the spread on sandwiches, and on the leftover crackers.

So, the next time I go to a potluck, remind me to see if there are other people bringing dips. Please?

Provencal Olive Spread
from: Cooking Light June 2005

2 cans (15.5 oz) Great Northern beans or other white beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
4 teaspoons capers
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 Kalamata olives, pitted

* Place all ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.

Bacon Pasta

Two things you don't think of when you think of pasta. But, just be imaginative for a minute. Do you like bacon? Do you like pasta? Then you will probably like this easy and quick recipe.

I am always looking for pasta my husband will actually eat. It's not his favorite dinner choice, which is unfortunate, because it's always MINE. So, I figure he really likes bacon, and I really like pasta. Best of both worlds.

This recipe took about 30 minutes to pull together. As I was browning the bacon, I had the pasta water going. Plus, I made an herb and cheese foccacia, so that was in the oven.

The only thing that I was disappointed in was the fact that I had no green onion. I had every intention of using some from my garden, but my garden didn't produce enough this year. Dang this stupid Portland weather! I would highly recommend using green onion if you decide to make this. Notice there is also tomato in this recipe. You don't think I would actually make something without tomato do you?

If you choose to make foccacia also, it's super easy. I buy a pre-made foccacia in a package and jazz it up a bit. First, spread extra-virgin olive oil over the top of the bread. Then, sprinkle Italian seasoning on the top. Then, sprinkle fresh grated Parmesan over the top of that. Bake the loaf in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. You end up with a nice browned, crispy outside and a soft, warm inside. Pure heaven!

I don't have much else to say other than this was really good. Jason loved it, which is great, because he got the leftovers in his lunch the next day.

Peppered Bacon and Tomato Linguine

1/2 pound peppered bacon, diced
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 package (1 pound) linguine
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly browned. Drain, reserving drippings and set aside.

2. Saute green onion and garlic in bacon drippings over medium heat for one minute. Stir in tomatoes, basil, salt and ground pepper, simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

4. Toss hot pasta with sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

People Stink

I had to set my blog to private because anonymous people (rude ones) were leaving nasty comments. So, maybe when I am more brave at some point in the future, I will make it public again. Instead, it's now invite only. Besides, this blog was more for me anyways to track my cooking progress.

So, here's to you stinky rude people! Take that!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Dijon Cluck Cluck

I made a Dijon Chicken last night. It was okay. Jason liked it better than I did. He actually requested I keep the leftovers to pack in his lunch. That is usually the sign of a success in our house.

The recipe was very easy to put together, so if you only have a few minutes, I would suggest making this. It takes ingredients you would probably have on hand, like flour, dijon mustard, and fresh mushrooms. Of course, if you aren't a fan of fungus, you could probably skip the mushrooms. I personally like them, so there.

This is a very rich dish, so I would suggest pairing it with something light, like a green salad or a green vegetable. We had broccoli with our's. I made rice also to soak up the sauce that the chicken is cooked in. It would also be good with egg noodles. This reminded me of beef stroganoff, except with chicken. And mustard. Oh, and whipping cream rather than sour cream. Okay, not like stroganoff at all.

I wanted to put the green onions in the recipe, I really did. However, with the issues my garden was having this year, I had no green onions. They all rotted in the garden before I could use them. Stupid rain and cold weather.

Oh, and if you are cooking for yourself, follow the recipe. If you are feeding two or more, you will probably have to double it.

Have fun taking out your aggression on the poor chicken.

Mushroom Chicken Dijon

1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 tablespoon butter
4 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 ounces chopped green onions
salt and pepper to taste
1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon Dijon-style prepared mustard

1. Cut chicken breast in half, and pound until flat. Coat with flour. In a small skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat and saute the floured breast on one side for 4 to 5 minutes.
2. Flip chicken breast. Add mushrooms, green onions, salt and pepper to taste. Add cream and mustard, stir all together and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and serve.