Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Product - Buffalo Mac & Cheese

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We're always looking for the spice of life--in food. We like chicken wings. We like Mac & Cheese. How could it be bad together?

We bought the Mac & Cheese a long time ago, so its possible it isn't even available anymore, but I could be wrong. The box sat on the shelf for a long time before we decided to actually try it. My original excuse was that we didn't have any milk because milk is necessary for a good mac & cheese. However, tonight when we broke out the box it was discovered that this is a water + pasta + sauce packet only. No milk.

It took about 15 minutes to make the mac & cheese from start to finish.

Result: Buy Kraft if you want the nostalgia back...this stuff was spicy and didn't get that satisfying thickness of mac & cheese sauce. We didn't eat the whole thing. But seriously, if it says on the box to get rid of the leftovers can it be good enough for consumers?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chicken Chilaquiles

I've read here and other various places that the best shortcut for dinner is a rotisserie chicken. Spending just $5 at the grocery store can make any meal amazing. And I'm happy to say that its true. A friend of mine confessed to using canned chicken in a recipe--rotisserie could have made all the difference in flavor. And it does in this recipe.

Chicken Chilaquiles was a recipe I found on Dinner Tonight the Martha Stewart Everyday Food Blog. This recipe was fantastic and I highly recommend it. The most time consuming part is shredding the chicken, so if you have kids that want to help you if the chicken is cool enough I say go for it. Or you could do that earlier...the chicken is heated up so you don't have to keep it warm.


Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes in puree (or you could just get them pre-chopped)
  • 2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo, finely chopped (about 1 heaping tablespoon), plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from same can)
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 small cooked rotisserie chicken (about 1 3/4 pounds), skinned and shredded (about 4 cups), carcass discarded
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves, chopped, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
  • 4 cups (about 3 ounces) tortilla chips
  • 1/2 can pinto or black beans
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • Queso Fresco or Monterey Jack Cheese


  1. Combine oil and garlic in a large (3-to-4-quart) saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and sizzling, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes with their puree (breaking tomatoes up), chipotles and adobo, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil; season with salt. Reduce heat and simmer rapidly until lightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add chicken and beans and cook, stirring, until hot, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in chopped cilantro.
  4. Divide chips among four shallow bowls; top with chicken mixture and sauce. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, sour cream, and cheese. Serve.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cheese Ice Cream

At the local pizza joint, they have hundreds of old magazines for customers to read and enjoy while waiting for their pie. I always love to read Gourmet--a magazine I wouldn't order but love to read. These are old magazines, so I can't pinpoint the issue, but I can tell you that this one summer issue talked about a Watermelon Sundae. Apparently, if you pair this special ice cream with watermelon, it makes watermelon taste even colder on the hottest of days.

Instead of going the watermelon route though, I decided to just make the ice cream. The ice cream was good with chocolate sauce, and is probably great with fruit--but by itself it is a little bit too gritty I think. But try it for yourself!

Cheese Ice Cream (I'm sure there is a better name for this)
1 15oz container cold whole milk ricotta (1 2/3 C)
3oz Cream Cheese
1 C cold whole milk
1 C sugar
2 T dark rum (you can buy little bottles at the liquor store)
1 t lemon zest
1/2 t vanilla
1/8 t salt
1/3 C heavy cream
Ice Cream Maker

1. Blend cheeses, milk, sugar, rum, zest, vanilla and salt in the blender until smooth, about 1 min (I used the food processor and it took about 30 seconds)
2. Add cream and blend until just combined, about 5 minutes (With the FP it took about 1 minute).
3. Freeze in the ice cream maker (it takes 20 minutes in ours usually but it was done in about 15). Freeze in an airtight container for 3 hours before serving (honestly you could serve it right away it was so thick and delicious).

Tip1 - The ice cream gets really cold and hard, leave it out before you serve it.
Tip2 - If you want to serve a Watermelon Sundae, cut slices one inch thick and serve ice cream next to the watermelon on a long plate, shave chocolate onto the ice cream.
Tip3 - I liked this ice cream with warm hot fudge which softened the ice cream

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Monterey Chicken

Joey and I are really getting into cooking now that we have all these great new things from our wedding gifts. A couple of weeks ago, we went to Ralph's with a handful of coupons we received for being new neighbors. Included in this was a coupon for a free 1lb package of Ralph's bacon. We used all the free coupons and then all we had to do was figure out some recipes to make it really worth it.

Joey landed on Monterey Chicken. He had had the recipe before and thought it was ok, so we decided to go ahead and make it. Monterey chicken is sort of an explosion of a lot of different flavors together. I can't say its my absolute favorite thing..but it wasn't bad. I think the part I found weird was the salsa topping with the bbq sauce. I don't usually eat bbq tacos...but its been done before.

We used a recipe from RecipeZaar with a few adjustments:

  • 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter (we omitted this)
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked (not too crisp) - we didn't need this many
  • 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce

Salsa Topping (we just made a basic pico de gallo with cilantro, tomatoes, onion, lime juice and salt)

  • 1 green bell pepper, diced small
  • 1 onion, diced small (white or red)
  • 1 tomato, diced small
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  1. At least one hour or even a day ahead of time, make the Salsa Topping.
  2. Mix Salsa ingredients in a small bowl, chill.
  3. In a 13x9" baking dish, place the chicken, (not touching) and dot with Butter (if you don't dot it with butter it just won't brown which isn't a problem since you're covering the top anyway).
  4. Bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes, or until done.
  5. While chicken is cooking fry bacon and shred the cheeses.
  6. When chicken is fully cooked, remove from oven.
  7. Turn oven up to 425°F (*Unless you prefer the broiler).
  8. Spread the barbecue sauce on chicken, then the bacon and then add cheeses.
  9. Place the baking dish, back into the hot oven* or under the broiler for a few minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly, plate and top with the chilled Salsa Topping.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Recently 4 or 5 people, tv shows, and magazines mentioned Arepa's. This savory stuffed Latin American pancake was otherwise unknown to me--but after watching Bobby Flay compete for the best ones, I knew I had to make them.

I ended up settling on the first written recipe I found from Cookie magazine--a magazine geared towards parents that often contains recipes for simply, healthy foods that kids will eat. After looking at the picture in the magazine, and then looking at the ingredients to make sure they were husband-friendly, I decided to make them.

Unabe to find the main ingredient masarepa cornmeal in my regular grocery store, I commissioned Gavin to get it from the local Latin market near his house. He got the white masarepa also comes in yellow which would probably look more like the original picture...but close enough.

Our final decision was that these were good enough to eat and not throw out, but they were a little bland (thank goodness for homemade pico de gallo!). There is so little filling compared to cake that you end up eating a ton of cake which is the part that isn't flavorful. I also have a suspiscion that my dough was too dry...because it was really hard to pack that filling. I'm going to get some tips from Joey's cousin who is the master Arepa cook.

2 C precooked masarepa cornmeal
1 t salt
2 C hot chicken broth or water (I used 1 14 oz can of broth and 2 oz water)
1/2 C canned black or pinto beans, drained
1/2 C shredded jack cheese

1. Combine cornmeal and salt in a bowl
2. Add hot broth and mix until a dough with no lumps form
3. Allow to cool slightly, then separate into 8 portions.
4. Dipping your hands in cold water, form dough into 8 balls
5. Poke a hole in each ball and fill with 1 t. beans and cheese (or more, whatever you can fit!), pinch the dough around the filling to close
6. Between your hands flatten the balls into 1 inch thick disks
7. Heat griddle or electric frying pan (I did the EFP to 375). Generously grease the pan with oil or butter
8. Cook until crispy on both sides (they say 3 minutes per side, I say more like 10-12 minutes total--just watch 'em)
9. Serve warm with pico de gallo

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Onion-Roasted Potatoes

To go with our chicken, we rounded out the meal with steamed green vegetable mix and Onion Roasted Potatoes.

I could eat the potatoes like candy. I practically did. The best part is, these are incredibly easy to make and delicious all in one!

1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
2 lbs mini red potatoes, halved
1/3 cup olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. On a rimmed baking sheet combine all ingredients.
2. Bake, stirring occasionally, 35 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown.
3. Serve HOT!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Yesterday, my parents came over to paint a room and hang out at our construction-free new house. Joey and I attended the E3 Expo. My mom offered to make us dinner, so we searched through our recipe books and finally decided on Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. I realize it sounds ridiculous, and so does Ina Garten--the recipe's author. However, the garlic doesn't taste strong and sharp, instead it is sweet and tender. In fact, in the end, the chicken didn't taste "garlicky" at all--instead it got its flavor from the wine and cognac in the recipe. It was pretty good though, so good that my dad wanted to add it to my mom's official repertoire!

Don't let the longish ingredient list turn you away! Also, my mom said this was sort of time you may want to consider making it on the weekend--or at least pealing the garlic the day before.

2-3 whole heads garlic (40 cloves)
2 3 1/2 pound chickens (my mom recommends getting all one style of chicken like a package of thighs and legs or a package of breasts because the cut up whole chickens had a lot of weight that was unused)
Black Pepper
1 T unsalted butter
2 T olive oil
3 T Cognac, divided (you can buy the mini bottles at liquor stores like BevMo)
1 1/2 Cs dry white wine (we found a picnic pack that comes in 4 small bottles so we don't wast it all)
1 T fresh thyme
2 T flour
2 T heavy cream (this recipe includes making a sauce...I might not excel at this recipe)


Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside.

Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, saute the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or a spatula; you don't want to pierce the skin with a fork. If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium. When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to saute all the chicken in batches. Remove the last chicken to the plate and add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.

Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste; it should be very flavorful because chicken tends to be bland. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot.