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Monday, September 24, 2012

grilled chicken salad with chipotle-lime vinaigrette


I declare the next month "Make Something You Found Online" month.  It's an excellent idea, isn't it?  I'm going to gather up all of those recipes I've pinned on Pinterest and all of those craft ideas I've bookmarked and actually make one instead of just drooling at my computer screen.  Anyone with me? 

I kicked things off a little early by making this beautiful salad...yep, found online!  This recipe has been sitting in my Tasty Kitchen recipe box for ages, and now I can't believe I put it off for this long!  It is soooooooo good.


Although the ingredient list might be a little long, don't let it intimidate you.  It's actually quite easy to put together and makes a delicious dinner for two.  I can't recommend it enough.  I only wish it was my idea! :)


Grilled Chicken Salad with Chipotle-Lime Vinaigrette
adapted from this recipe on Tasty Kitchen

1 chipotle pepper (from a can with adobo sauce), minced
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. black pepper
1/8 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. cumin
1 t. sugar
2 thin boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup matchstick carrots
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup pico de gallo
1 avocado, sliced

For the dressing/marinade, combine chipotle pepper, lime juice, cilantro, seasonings, and sugar in a small bowl.  Whisk in olive oil.  Pour half of the dressing into a zip top bag and add chicken breasts.  Marinate for at least an hour or up to overnight.  Refrigerate the rest of the dressing.

Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (a George Foreman grill works great).  Grill chicken until cooked through. 

Meanwhile, roast the frozen corn by broiling it on the top rack of your oven for 8-10 minutes or until it has brown spots.  In a large bowl, combine the lettuce and carrots.  Whisk the dressing to recombine and then toss with lettuce and carrots.  Slice chicken into thin pieces and place on top of salad.  Top salad with roasted corn, avocado, and pico de gallo.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

homemade butter


As you may have noticed, I just love making homemade bread!  And nothing goes better with bread than plain old butter.  

Making your own butter is easy to do and so much fun.  The flavor is pure and wonderful, and it's easy to mix in honey, herbs, or other extras to give it that special kick.  I'm sure you already know how to do it thanks to Pinterest, but I thought I'd post my own tutorial just in case.

Here's the step-by-step for how I make fresh butter at home...

First, grab a container with a tight sealing lid.  I like to use a freezer canning container.  You could also use a protein drink shaker, a Mason jar, or even just plain old Tupperware.  Anything will work, just make sure the lid fits on tight.

Next, find a small (clean) object to put into your container.  Marbles work well, but I like using a corn-on-the-cob holder.  It's small, and I know it's already clean.
 

Fill your container up with cream.  I recommend only filling it 1/2 to 3/4 of the way full.


Start shaking!  The best way to do it is to hold it at one end and flick your wrist down.  Not only does it help agitate it better, but it also is easier on your arm muscles.

After a few minutes of shaking, your cream should be incredibly thick.  You may have even stopped hearing your little object hit the sides of your container.  If you open it up, it will look rich and creamy, almost like melted ice cream.


Keep shaking!  After a few more minutes, it will begin feeling a bit different.  It will probably sound a bit like you are shaking a slushy.  If you open the lid, you'll notice that it has started to separate.


Keep shaking!  After just a few more minutes (or less!) you will hear that unmistakable sound of "thud" against the sides of your container.  When it feels like there's just one solid block of matter moving around in there, you are through!  Open up the lid, and you'll see that a blog of butter has collected around your little object.  You'll also find a thinner liquid surrounding your butter.  I've heard mixed reports on this thinner liquid - some say it's skim milk, some say it's whey, some say it's buttermilk (I doubt that...too thin).  Either way, it's also edible, so feel free to use it in recipes.


Pour out the thinner liquid and move the butter to its own dish.  Add seasonings or sweeteners, or just leave it plain - it will taste delicious!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

quick sourdough bread


If you love fresh bread, you definitely need to try this recipe.  It's so easy!  Now, I admit, it doesn't have a very "sour" taste, so if you are a huge fan of sourdough, you might be a bit disappointed in its lack of kick.  However, it's a delicious soft, white bread that goes excellently with soups or salad.  I loved it!


You need to start this recipe the night before you actually want the bread.  Mix together potato flakes, sugar, one cup warm water and yeast in a large bowl.  Then, cover and let it stand overnight at room temperature.  It will look like a science experiment the next morning!


In the morning, add oil, salt, warm water, and flour.  Combine it until it's a beautiful ball of dough and let it rise.


Once the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it back down.


Then, divide it into three parts.


Knead each of the three parts and then form them into loaves.  I put two into greased loaf pans and then made one a round loaf.  They all worked well!


Bake the loaves for 30 minutes, and voila!  You have beautiful, quick sourdough bread without a lot of work.



Quick Sourdough Bread
from Gooseberry Patch's Made from Scratch

3 T. instant potato flakes
3/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups warm water, divided
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 2 T. oil, divided
1 T. salt
6 to 7 cups bread flour
2 T. butter

Mix potato flakes, sugar, one cup warm water and yeast in a large bowl.  Cover and let stand overnight at room temperature.  In the morning, combine 1/2 cup oil, salt, 1 1/2 cups warm water, and flour; stir into the yeast mixture.  Cover and let dough double in bulk; punch down and divide into thirds.  Knead each third 6 to 8 times; shape into loaves.  Brush tops with remaining oil.  Let rise until double in bulk.   Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and brush tops with melted butter.  Makes 3 loaves.

Monday, September 17, 2012

italian meatball subs


The weather where I live can't decide whether it's summer or fall, so I can't decide whether I should be making sandwiches or hearty soups.  Such a dilemma!  Fortunately, there's recipes like this one that transcend both seasons. 

These meatballs are cooked in a slow cooker in a delicious hearty sauce that will get your whole house smelling like comfort food (think fall).  But, you serve them up on buns to make wonderful sandwiches for an easy meal at home or a great dish for your next get-together (think summer). 

Fall...summer...who needs to decide?


Italian Meatball Subs
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 T. fresh parsley, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Combine all ingredients except buns in a large bowl; mix well.  Form into 2-inch balls and place in a slow cooker; pour sauce over top.  Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, or on high setting for 4 to 6 hours.  To serve, top with sauce from slow cooker.

Sauce:
28 oz. can tomato puree
28 oz. can Italian-style crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 1-1/2 oz. pkgs spaghetti sauce mix
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until blended.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

chili-spiced chicken breasts


As you've probably noticed if you are a regular around here, I'm always sharing recipes from my Taste of Home Light and Tasty cookbooks.  Taste of Home discontinued that magazine several years ago, but the cookbooks remain a favorite of mine.  If you ever see one in a used book store (I believe they are out of print now), snag it!  You'll love it.  They have great recipes that use normal ingredients, but the best part is that all of the recipes are light.  The cookbook provides the nutritional information for every recipe it includes, which is great for those of us who are trying to cast off baby weight.

P.S. - Did I tell you that I earned lifetime status in Weight Watchers?  Whoohoo!!!

Anyway, this recipe is one of my favorites from the Light and Tasty 2003 cookbook.  It's quick to whip up and tastes amazing.  We like it best served over couscous.  I hope you'll enjoy it, too!


Chili-Spiced Chicken Breasts
from Taste of Home's Light and Tasty 2003
3/4 t. chili powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/8 to 1/4 t. cayenne pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz. each)
1 t. canola oil
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 t. cornstarch
2 t. water

Combine the first five ingredients; rub over chicken.  In a nonstick skillet, brown chicken in oil on both sides.  Add onions, jalapeno and garlic; saute for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.  Remove chicken and keep warm.  In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into tomato mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until slightly thickened.  Serve over chicken.  Serves 4.

Nutrition: 166 calories, 3g fat, trace saturated fat, 66mg cholesterol, 526mg sodium, 7g carbs, 2g fiber, 27g protein.


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