Monday, August 31, 2009

Potato, Greens, and Goat Cheese Quesadillas


Normally, when I think of quesadillas I think of an easy, no-brainer meal option. Something quick to put on the table that everyone will enjoy. But I came across this recipe and loved the idea of goat cheese and a little more substance (and vegetables) to enhance this main dish.

At first glance, these seem like more work than what you'd expect in a quesadilla, but I think it's worth the effort. We've made them 3 times now and they've always been well-received.

Potato, Greens, and Goat Cheese Quesadillas
From Bon App├ętit | March 2008
Posted on Epicurious.com

yield: Makes 4

INGREDIENTS

1 1/3 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 medium)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/3 cups (packed) coarsely grated hot pepper Monterey Jack cheese (5 to 6 ounces)
1 1/3 cups jarred salsa verde (tomatillo salsa)
4 2/3 cups coarsely chopped stemmed mustard greens (from 1 bunch), divided
4 8-inch-diameter flour tortillas
3 ounces chilled fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled
Olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Place baking sheet in oven and preheat to 275°F. Steam potatoes until tender, about 8 minutes. Place in large bowl; sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Toss to coat. Cool potatoes 15 minutes. Mix in Jack cheese*. Meanwhile, blend salsa and 2/3 cup (packed) greens in mini processor until greens are finely chopped.

Arrange tortillas on work surface. Divide remaining greens between bottom half of each. Top greens with potato mixture, then goat cheese and 2 tablespoons salsa mixture for each. Fold plain tortilla halves over filling, pressing to compact. Brush with oil.

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 quesadillas, oiled side down, in skillet. Brush tops with oil. Cook until quesadillas are brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to sheet in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining 2 quesadillas.

Cut each quesadilla into 3 or 4 wedges. Serve with remaining salsa.

Cook's Notes:
  • I've never used Yukon Gold potatoes-- just russets-- and they've tasted great
  • We've tried it first with mustard greens and then with spinach leaves the next time and have liked them with spinach better
  • I've always made them flat using 2 tortillas per quesadilla instead of folding one, as the recipe says
  • *I didn't think of this before, but they would stay together better after cooking if you spread the pepperjack cheese out over the bottom tortilla, put the greens, potatoes (minus the pepperjack), goat cheese, and sauce on, and then sprinkled the remainder of the pepperjack on top before you put on the second tortilla*

Do you have any pet peeves?
Sadly, too many to name. But the worst is when people smoke outside our window. Then the smoke seeps into our apartment and stinks up the whole place. Yuck!

Any other hobbies besides being an amazing cook?
Is eating a hobby? I do love to eat, more than I like to cook, actually. But I also enjoy reading, singing, acting, going for walks on the beach, swimming, photography...

What is your favorite summer activity?
Swimming. Or anything to do with the water.

Are you a morning or a night person?
I would so love to be a morning person because they seem to be much more organized, but I am definitely a night person.

Are you a go-go-go sight-seeing kind of vacationer or lie-on-the-beach-all-day kind of vacationer?
I think that I like a little bit of both. If I'm going to a foreign country, I love to see as much as possible but also spend some time on the beach, by the pool, etc. if possible.

What is your favorite store?
Cost Plus World Market. Or maybe Target. It's a toss-up.

What is your favorite beverage?
Water. But I also love Vanilla Coke every once in awhile.

If you had to go back to school, what would your major be?
Not for any sort of practical reasons, but I would love to study theater and acting (I almost minored in them!).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Melanie W.'s Chipotle Cheddar Biscuits

It was nice to finally be able to make something on time! It probably won't be a regular thing for me for a while though, since we'll be on the move for the next couple months.

Anyway, when I first saw these in the cookbook I'll admit I was a bit surprised. They didn't seem to fit in with all the other sweets, and like Melissa said they don't really seem like a good breakfast food (unless you're looking for a quick way to get yourself going from the spicy kick they give you!) But I was happy to try them and try something different.

I decided to serve mine with turkey chili, since I had planned to make it anyway. That may have been a mistake, because it ended up being a bit too much spice in the end. I think they would go very well with a milder soup such as potato or corn chowder. My husband seemed to love them, as when we sat down to dinner he admitted he had already eaten 4 or 5!

I really like spicy foods and I also like chipotle pepper, but these still had to much spice for me. I used just under 1 Tbsp, but I think 1 tsp would have been plenty for me. My favorite part about them was the cheese!!! So delish. I would even make them again without any chipotle and just the cheddar. Serve those with some yummy chipotle flavored chili---that would be yummy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Danielle's Chipotle Cheddar Biscuits


I actually made these for the first time a couple of months ago. We liked them a lot, so I was glad to see it come up in the rotation.

I pretty much love anything with chipotle in it. We used canned chipotle peppers instead of powder both times I've made them. That works out well enough, but I think next time I'll try it with the powder instead so the flavor is more even. Also, Max thought they were too cheesy last time, so we used less cheese this time. I liked them both ways.

My only complaint about these biscuits is that they don't keep very well. They are great just out of the oven, but I really don't like them much after they've been sitting. Even later the same night they didn't taste nearly as good. I'll stick with making a half batch from now on unless I'm having people over and need a full batch.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chipotle Cheddar Biscuits

I know an awesome picture on an awesome paper plate.

I decided on this recipe because I am a sucker for anything with chipotle and cheese. Since the first time I looked through this book it stuck out to me. Well, since I am pretty spacey I thought last week was my turn so I made them last week and they turned out horrible. They were flat like a cookie. When I went back through the recipe I don't think my error was in the amount of the ingredients. The two things I ignored was to use "tightly packed" cheese and I didn't notice the part where it said not to over mix the dough with the buttermilk. I am not a very experienced cook so I have no idea if this is what caused it, but maybe it did so the moral of the story is read the recipe.

Anywho, once I realized I had another week I decided I would try again. It went better this time, but I am not as big a fan as I thought I would be. I love spicy so I didn't mind how hot these are, but if you don't like spice I would recommend use less chipotle. Also I don't think these are really a breakfast food it would accompany a soup or salad better. I think these would be great with a chili, so probably more of a winter, fall food. Although I did not like them my 2 year old son, Lucas, ate two biscuits, my husband ate a few, and my house guest, LuAnn's husband, ate few. So I guess my expectations were too high. Bottom line I am 50/50 on whether I will make them again.
These are my first try, Chipotle Cheddar Cookies

Now for the questions:

Do you have any pet peeves? I have a ton and can't think right now, but the one I can think of is poor customer service.

Any other hobbies besides being an amazing cook? This is sad, but I love to watch tv, read, sewing, knitting (because I can watch tv while I do it)

What is your favorite summer activity? Going to the beach or swimming

Are you a morning or a night person? Neither, I am a middle of the day person.

Are you a go-go-go sight-seeing kind of vacationer or lie-on-the-beach-all-day kind of vacationer? A little of both. If there is a beach there I want to lie on the beach for at least one day.

What is your favorite store? Gap, Banana Republic... I have worked there for 12 years so it is easy to shop. Plus I get 50% off. If I didn't have the discount I would say Nordstrom for shoes and Anthropologie for clothes and Target for everything else.

What is your favorite beverage? Lately I have been loving Brazilian Lemonade, but the old favorite is Dr. Pepper

If you had to go back to school, what would your major be?
I couldn't decide while I was in school so I am not sure now. Maybe one of the hundreds I considered while I was in college: Chemistry, Business, Economics, History , Sociology, Fashion Merchandising, Engineering, Dietetics... I have lots of interests I better just get a library card.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Melanie W.'s Sour Lemon Scones

I know this recipe is from a long time ago, but I finally made them last week and I thought they were so good, so I wanted to write about them!

They turned out perfect for me- not too dry and just the right amount of lemon flavor. I used all the butter it called for, though like Danielle had said it's gross how much butter is required! When I formed the dough I thought it was super sticky and I thought about adding more flour, but I resisted and glad I did or else they would have ended up too dry. I made the candied lemon peal and I think it really added to the lemon flavor. It wasn't hard to make, just more tedious than anything. The lemon syrup was more watery than I liked, so I added a little powdered sugar to thicken it up some, then it turned into more of a glaze.

I ate mine with some strawberry preserves which complemented the lemon flavor really well! They were also a huge hit with my current houseguests and they wanted the recipe. I'd love to make these again sometime!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cami's Shrimp Noodle Skillet

This was a big hit! It is definitely more creamy than cheesy, which I like. I've never used Velveeta before and was worried it would give it an artificial flavor, but I couldn't taste it at all. I think it just added to the texture, which was perfect. My husband is really picky about food and he like this. He requested I put this in the regular menu rotation.

The only modification I made was cutting back on the butter. I used 6 tablespoons. I didn't feel like it was missing anything. Chelsea was right, this makes a ton. Next time I make it I will have to have a large group. I would guess you could serve at least 8 people.

Deanna's Chocolate Pie


Wow! Things have been pretty busy for me lately (as I'm sure they are for everyone). I feel so guilty that the one and only time I've posted on Delish was on my selection week! Then I just silently stood by and read about all your pretty Baked creations, trying without success to fit something in.

Well, I finally got to one - I know, I know, it's a week late, but I'm happy I got around to it. This chocolate pie is very good. It's light and creamy. I brought it to a dinner with some friends who are helping me with some wedding details. Everyone loved it!

The only substitution I made was, like Cami, to use vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean in the whipped cream. Those beans are super-expensive! I love baking with them and really should find some way of buying them in bulk from Mexico or something but, for now, I'll save my $6 thanks ;) I also dusted the top of the pie with some milk chocolate shavings. You can't really taste them, but it looks pretty. If you're interested, you can see my blog post about this pie on my blog Occasional Sugar here. There's a couple more photos.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Creamy Shrimp Noodle Skillet

Time to change things up a bit...how about cooking with shrimp? Before trying out this recipe I had never worked with shrimp and found it suprisingly easy and fun to do something new. It's one of our favorite meals now. I actually buy pre-cooked shrimp because that's my only option and it turns out just fine. I recommend having some people over for this one cause it makes a bunch!

I'm planning on making this in a few days so I'll be posting my pictures later. Good luck!

Creamy Shrimp Noodle Skillet
From Taste of Home (my favorite cookbook ever!)

INGREDIENTS

1 package (16 ounces) medium egg noodles
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 cups half-and-half cream
1-1/2 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
8 ounces process cheese (Velveeta), cubed

DIRECTIONS

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside.
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, saute the onions, green pepper, celery and garlic in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in cream, Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Reduce heat; add the shrimp, jalapeno pepper and parsley. Simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes. Stir in cheese; cook 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Stir in noodles; heat through. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Now for the questions:

Do you have any pet peeves? People scraping their fork with their teeth
Any other hobbies besides being an amazing cook? Digital Scrapbooking, Drawing, Photography
What is your favorite summer activity? Shopping, being out later and it's still light, camping
Are you a morning or a night person? Would love to be a morning person but I have a tendency to stay up late cause there's so much I can get done at night
Are you a go-go-go sight-seeing kind of vacationer or lie-on-the-beach-all-day kind of vacationer? Both. I love relaxing but it's fun to do things too
What is your favorite store? Maurices, Walmart, Aldi's (I think I have a problem with the concept of the word favorite).
What is your favorite beverage? Cream slushes from Sonic
If you had to go back to school, what would your major be? Ha ha ha. Ha. Ha.
I'm still in school, probably will be until I die. I take online classes through an independent study program. It's going slowly..very slowly...but I am enjoying learning.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Reminder

Hi Ladies,

I just wanted to remind you that as soon as I receive a recipe I post it on the upcoming recipe page. This allows you to put the items on your grocery list in advance. If you already know which recipe you are going to choose, feel free to email it to me and I'll get it up.

Chocolate Pie

Melanie C. has been really busy as of late and asked me to choose a recipe and post for her. I am of course thrilled to do so. I have been eying the chocolate pie for a while. I am glad I chose it. This recipe again asks for those pesky chocolate wafer cookies for the crust. I decided I would go to the store instead of sending my husband to make sure we got the right thing. Well, would you believe he was right?!?! Our store doesn't stock them. To avoid going all over town looking for them I looked for an alternative. I didn't want to go with the vanilla wafers this time. I think that would taste weird. I saw Oreos were on sale. I've never made an Oreo crust but I've tasted them and they are really good. So, I chose Mint Oreos to make the crust. It was divine. The mint was just enough to tell it is there but not overpowering to the chocolate. I recommend this if you're looking for something a little different. I'm sure it puts the calorie count in the thousands per piece, but it is really good.

I made the chocolate part exactly like it said it should be. It is very rich and tastes a little more dense than the chocolate cream pies I've had in the past. I like it better though. It feels more grown up.

For the whipped cream I couldn't stomach paying $6.00 for a vanilla bean. So, I used vanilla extract. I also used powdered sugar instead of regular sugar. It makes the whipped cream a little thicker. If you wanted to pipe your whipped cream you should use powdered sugar. I know the recipe book says you can store the whipped cream in the fridge for up to 2 hours. I just put mine on the pie and it has held up two days without any sign of change. I imagine it will last until the pie is gone.
Do you have any pet peeves? Um, yes. I have many. Clutter at my house (not anyone else's) and flight delays (of which I've had many) would probably be the biggest two.
Any other hobbies besides being an amazing cook? I love to sew. I also like to scrapbook, ride my bike, run, read and nap.
What is your favorite summer activity? Going to the beach. Someday I want to make that my favorite winter activity as well.
Are you a morning or a night person? I'm a night person. I like to stay up late and finish whatever I'm working on / reading. Then I like to sleep in. That doesn't happen with a kid though. Thankfully I'm a good napper.
Are you a go-go-go sight-seeing kind of vacationer or lie-on-the-beach-all-day kind of vacationer? I like to go-go-go. I generally come home more tired than when I left. I like that.
What is your favorite store? I probably spend the most money at Target but I love Anthropologie.
What is your favorite beverage? Homemade strawberry lemonade.
If you had to go back to school, what would your major be? UGH. I struggle with this one. It would probably be fashion design. Although I have considered interior design or graphic design. That is one of the reasons I haven't gone back to school yet. I want to be 100% sure.

BAKED!


We just got back from our awesome trip to New York City! We had to make a stop by Baked, of course, and try many of their tasty things.

The bakery was everything the book makes it out to be; very "fashion-forward" and the like. We took two friends with us so we got to try several different items. They had several things that aren't in the cookbook and didn't have everything that is included in the book, but that was not really surprising as they can't have everything all the time. Below you can see the Lemon-lemon loaf, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip, Banana Chocolate Chip, and others.

Below are the Monster Cookies on the far right and Marshmallows on the far left.
I loved their decor, matched the book perfectly. My only sadness was that they were selling autographed cookbooks there and ours, of course, isn't autographed.


We tried the Lemon-lime bar, two Grasshopper bars, the Sweet and Salty cupcake, and the Malted Milk Ball cupcake. My evil plan was to try the Sweet and Salty without going through the 8 hours of making it. It was good but I don't think it's worth the time commitment, plus it was a little too salty for my taste. I think my favorite was the Grasshopper bar. That one isn't in the cookbook, unfortunately. It was amazing. I was pleasantly surprised that their prices were pretty reasonable, our total bill was $12. Each bar was about $3 and each cupcake was $1.50. Especially compared to the other places we visited in New York, this was a great deal.

We actually were able to talk to one of the bosses, though he wasn't Matt or Renato. I think he was a manager or something, I'm not sure, but he was super friendly and he even gave us a brownie for free as we were about to leave. (We didn't need it after the huge amount of calories that we had just consumed, but I thought it was really nice of him.)


We had a great time. I definitely recommend visiting if you're ever in New York.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Larisa's Peanut Butter Pie


I've been waiting to make this pie until we had family in town so that I wouldn't end up eating most of it myself! I love peanut butter and chocolate, but even for me this pie was a bit too heavy (not that you'd expect peanut butter and chocolate to be light and refreshing, but this is definitely a doosie). All of our guests enjoyed the pie, but several didn't finish their plates and I still had over half of the pie leftover in the freezer, which 6 missionaries courteously finished off for us. The peanut butter cream itself was smooth and not overly sweet, and both my husband and I think the flavors melded a bit better after a day or two (can flavors meld in the freezer?) Overall this recipe was a success, but for us, only to be enjoyed in small pieces. I perhaps might try this again for a holiday dessert, but its richness definitely calls for a special occasion.

I added 2 tablespoons of cream to the chocolate layer over the crust (thanks for the suggestion Danielle) which worked nicely to soften the layer into more of a ganache. The hot fudge was decadent and delicious, although we had loads of leftover sauce; I probably could have halved the recipe and still had plenty to spare. I will definitely use the hot fudge sauce again to add to other recipes. It's so much better home-made.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Danielle's Garlic Chicken Skewers



These were tasty and super easy. I actually still have some chicken marinading in the fridge cause I had too much, and I'm looking forward to having it again. We had our chicken skewers with grilled potato, veggie, and fruit skewers. Yum! Definitely a tasty dinner.

For those of you who like grilled fruit, our grilled mango tonight was amazing! I don't think I'd ever had grilled mango before tonight, but it was so so good. I brushed it with a lemon juice/brown sugar glaze. Yum.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Melanie W.'s Kabobs/Skewers


Since I didn't have a chance to make the Chicken and Bacon Kabobs, I decided to make them with the Sticky Garlic Chicken Skewers. I don't make kabos very often so this was something a little different and fun for us! If I had an outdoor grill I might make them more often, but instead we just grilled them on our George Foreman grill, and it seemed to work fine.
I liked both of these recipes, but I think I liked the sticky garlic chicken better. The cider vinegar used in the chicken bacon kabobs seemed way too over powering! I would have rather used way less. But either way, grilled chicken and veggies always makes for a yummy meal!

Cami's Sticky Garlic Chicken Skewers

We are also the proud owners of a new (to us) grill. It has been so nice and we use it all the time. We will definitely be using this recipe again before the summer is over. These have a really nice tangy taste. I enjoyed them. It was almost like BBQ sauce but better. I wasn't sure if I should mince the garlic so I didn't. It didn't have a strong garlic flavor and if I minced it I think it would have increased the flavor. I'll try that next time, but I loved it this way too. Thanks Melanie!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sticky Garlic Chicken Skewers


Well looky, looky this is our 100th post! It's by accident that I'm the one posting it but I think this calls for a celebration. Some more peanut butter pie perhaps? Just tell me when it's a good time for me to stop in and share some with you all.

This summer we inherited a grill from a neighbor and we can't get enough of it. Our weekly meal plans are based around what would be good on the grill. Today we stuffed ourselves with sticky garlic chicken skewers, roasted potatoes and corn on the cob. All we needed was some watermelon to top off the quintessential summer meal. I know that chicken kebabs were posted a month ago, but these are a little different and definitely worth a try.


Ingredients:
3 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp honey
4 Tbsp ketchup
4 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp hot pepper sauce (optional)
3 skinless, boneless chicken strips cut into chunks
salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients except the chicken in a Ziploc bag to create a marinade. Toss in the chicken and marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight. Skewer and grill. Easy peasy. Make sure your skewers soak for at least 20 minutes before you put them on the grill or their burn.

Oh and by the way, aren't my photos magazine worthy? I think I'll take up photography since I'm so obviously good at it.

PS Oh yeah, this is Melanie B.

Cami's Pear Plum Tart

As everyone has said before, this is really tasty, quick and easy. It would be good for large gatherings and I feel like it would be good with a wide variety of fruit. Of course apple would be good but blackberry and peach are on my list of things to try. This definitely serves more than 4. I would say more like 6-8. Of course, it depends on serving size but that was a lot of fruit. I added just a tiny bit more cinnamon and nutmeg because I love the flavor of both. It was great.

My husband doesn't generally appreciate baked fruit but he said this wasn't bad. That's saying something, I promise.

I would make this again.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Melanie W.'s Pear Plum Crisp


I'm glad this turned out to be just as easy as I thought! I made it on a busy day, but was still able to make it quickly, though I did have to eat it in a hurry. Luckily, I was able to enjoy it again the next day and still had enough to share with friends too.

I love apple crisp, so was interested to see how different this would taste. Surprisingly it wasn't nearly as different as I thought it would be. It was different enough to make it seem special though, and I thought the plums were so good! And I didn't even mind the peels on the fruit. I think I would have liked it better without the nutmet and perhaps a little more cinnamon instead, and I thought the lemon and orange gave it a nice kick.

A delish evening

We had some friends over for dinner last Sunday and I decided to serve up a delish dinner. I had been meaning to try Larisa's chicken kebobs and the peanut butter pie...and boy, was that a tasty dinner! For the kebobs, I added some brown sugar into the marinade to make it a little bit sweeter and I thought the sweetness of the marinade went really well with the smokey flavor of the bacon (and bacon make everything better...or was that butter? Either way, it was great!). In addition to the red bell peppers and mushrooms, I also skewered on some zucchini since that's my favorite veggie grilled. I realized, though, after they were on the grill, that I had forgotten the pineapple. We love fresh grilled pineapples, so I wanted to do it on these, but just forgot. Must try next time. Anyway, these were fabulous...they will definitely make an encore appearance at our dinner table.


Oh, the peanut butter pie. Loved it! It took me a little while to find the chocolate wafers, but I found them at Treasure Island...$5 for 9 ounces. I didn't want any leftover wafers, so I used all 9 ounces and an extra tablespoon of butter, so that made for a pretty thick crust. Maybe I pressed too hard to make it all fit, but my crust ended up being super hard once it was frozen. Did other people have super hard crusts? I think next time, I will just buy a pre-made chocolate crust to save myself a little time. Or I may try making it with Oreo cookies (as I purchased a box today at Costco). Heeding Danielle's advice, I was going to use the hot fudge on the bottom, but again, I forgot, so I didn't have a chocolate layer, which ended up being fine. Everyone loved it, and it was just tasty, really. In fact, we had some other friends over on Wednesday night for dinner and had it for dessert again that night. I loved that it was all super cold and frozen with the hot fudge on top. But I was kind of happy that we didn't end up eating the entire pie. The picture I took was of the very last piece, which Greg and I shared, although I think I probably ate more of it than he did. I think I'll be making the PB pie again, too. It's just too good not to.