Thursday, August 25, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo

Alfredo sauce is a personal weakness of mine. All of that heavy whipping cream, butter and cheese...yum! Not exactly the most healthy of foods. I swear it's just short of a million calories, not to mention loaded with saturated fats. For a while, I thought I was doomed and I would have to cut this out of my diet or accept my fate and clog my arteries. And then I stumbled on this little gem of a recipe from Cook This, Not That! Have you ever heard of Cook This, Not That? If not, you have now! It's all about cooking your favorite restaurant meals in to healthier meals at home. I cook out of it all of the time! And I seriously l-o-v-e this Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo Sauce. LOVE. I often find myself going for third second helpings! The best thing about it, is it's a great way to sneak in vegetables for those picky husbands kids!

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo
recipe adapted slightly from Cook This, Not That!

10oz pasta
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup half and half
3/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
2 cloves garlic, halved
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Add flour to butter until well mixed {be careful not to burn}. Slowly add the milk and half & half. Whisk to prevent lumps from forming. Add chopped red peppers, garlic and cheese. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, stir often. Pour mixture in to blender and puree until smooth and uniform in color or you've reached desired consistency. {I made mine with little chunks of red pepper}. Return to pan, salt and pepper to taste and continue simmering until pasta is done. Pour over prepared pasta.

Serves 4.

Notes: You can find bottled roasted red peppers at the store but the stores don't always carry them. Or you can do what I did and roast your own with a tutorial like the one found here. It's pretty easy and only takes a little bit of extra prep time.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rosemary Focaccia

Let's talk carbohydrates. While most of America hates them, in our household we LOVE them. I actually just finished reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan and he talks about how Americans hate carbohydrates and instead we eat {way too much} meat. Which that doesn't seem to be doing anyone favors because hello have you heard there is an obesity epidemic.

To avoid that soap box {don't worry I don't claim to be a expert in eating healthy}, let's continue with carbohydrates. My view, if you eat enough of them it will make you work it off, because they are so dang good you can't avoid them. Especially bread. When it's covered in butter and seasoned with rosemary, my favorite seasoning.

I made this focaccia with the intent to serve it with dinner. Instead it became my dinner, because it was ready at 4:00 and how was I going to hold off until 6:00? Don't worry I ran four miles the next day in the heat and humidity so I think between the running and the bucket of sweat I burned it all off. But we enjoyed it so much I made it again, to use for bruschetta. The second time I used dried rosemary instead of fresh and it was equally delicious. And using it for brushcetta was amazing, it might have helped that we used fresh mozzarella. Yum.

Rosemary Focaccia
adapted from Our Best Bites

1 c. warm (105-115 degrees Fahrenheit) water
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. Kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp rosemary (dried or fresh), divided
1/4 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and sugar. Allow to stand for 10 minutes or until bubbly. While the yeast is getting bubbly, combine 2 C of the flour, salt, 1 1/2 Tbsp. rosemary, oregano and garlic powder.
Add flour mixture to yeast mixture along with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Mix well. Slowly add remaining flour to make a very soft dough–try and resist the urge to add too much flour. You want a soft, wet dough. Cover and allow to rise 45 min- 1 hour or until double in size. Lightly flour your work surface and transfer dough onto this surface. Shape into a rounded loaf and place on a greased cookie sheet or pizza stone. Cover and allow to rise another 45 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Use remaining tablespoon of olive oil to brush over tops of loaves. Sprinkle with remaining rosemary and some Kosher salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until very lightly golden-brown.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fried Zucchini Chips

I've been MIA for the past week. We went camping with my husband's family and then as soon as we got home I promptly came down with the flu or food poisoning. The mere thought of food has made my stomach turn. I've been living off of chicken noodle soup and jello for the past couple of days. It's been rather unpleasant. But now I'm back on my feet and ready to eat!

I've had my eye on this recipe for Zucchini Chips from 100 Days of Real Food for awhile. My mom and step dad have been growing a vegetable garden and dropped off some zucchini the other day and I knew just what to do with it! And it was tasty! I think next time I would also like to try baking them. The frying didn't exactly agree with my acid reflux ;)

2 medium zucchinis
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Thinly slice zucchini in to 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices {personally I prefer the thicker slices}. Beat eggs in a small bowl. Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Put bread crumb mixture in to a shallow bowl. Take zucchini slice and dip in the beaten egg and then cover the zucchini in the bread mixture. Once all of the zucchini slices have been breaded heat the olive oil in a large saute pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot add a layer of breaded zucchini slices to the pan. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Once cooked, place on plate with a paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Serves 4-6

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rosemary Citrus Chicken

I got this recipe from a recipe book my mother in law had. It's become one of our favorite meals. Growing up Sunday was always a nice, big meal. Since we are back in Virginia from our summer away I wanted to do a nice meal. I was able to pick up the chicken from the farmers market, for about the same price as the grocery store's organic chicken. I also picked up the rosemary at the farmer's market. This recipe calls for fresh rosemary and you must use fresh. I've never used otherwise, though I'm sure you can, but the flavor is more powerful with fresh. Typically I add red potatoes, but since we had friends over for dinner they brought the potatoes. This time I used homemade chicken broth using this method from the last time I made this recipe. It was delicious as always. Link
1 roasting chicken
salt and pepper
1 T whole fresh rosemary leaves
1 T finely chopped rosemary leaves
2 T olive oil
6 cloves garlic
1 lemon
1 orange
1 1/2 lbs red potatoes, cut up
1/2 bag carrots
2 c chicken broth

Preheat oven to 450. Season chicken cavity with salt and pepper. Cut lemon and orange in half. Set half of each aside for juicing later. Cut remaining orange and lemon in pieces. Loosely stuff cavity with cut up lemon, orange, whole rosemary leaves, 1 T olive oil, and 3 cloves garlic.

Squeeze juice from remaining orange and lemon into a small bowl. Add remaining 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 T olive oil, chopped rosemary, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Smear citrus mixture over the chicken. Place in roasting pan (I use a 9X13 glass dish) breast side up. Add the potatoes and carrots to pan. Season with salt and pepper then pour broth over them. Cover the pan with foil and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and cook for 15 more minutes.

Watch it get devoured.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Glazed Salmon with Broccoli

I got this recipe from Real Simple Magazine (they often have good, easy recipes). It is so delicious, it's usually my go to salmon recipe. I changed the recipe a little bit to fit my needs and it turned out good. I had some new potatoes still so I added it to the menu and it was a good addition. Even if you aren't a big salmon fan I'm sure one of these recipes will agree with your taste buds.

1/4 c brown sugar
2 T low-sodium soy sauce
1 c white rice
1 head broccoli (stems discarded), chopped
10 small new potatoes, halved
4 pieces skinless salmon fillets (1 1/4 lbs)
1 T olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400. On a rimmed baking sheet place potatoes on sheet and season with 1 T olive oil and kosher salt and pepper. Roast about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine sugar and soy sauce, set aside. In rice cooker cook 1 c rice to 2 c water. During last 3 minutes add broccoli. Let stand until broccoli is tender. Fluff with fork. When potatoes are done push aside and place salmon in the center. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon half glaze over salmon. Cook until salmon is opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve salmon with rice and the remaining glaze.

Monday, August 8, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Okay, Okay for my first post I know I'm not exactly adhering to our goal of mostly fresh... But I would like to think that this pizza is better for you than anything you might order in! Troy and I used to order pizza every Friday night because come Friday I was too burnt to out cook. That got expensive and overly greasy. Since my husband can't seem to go a whole week without eating his fave BBQ Chicken Pizza... I thought I'd try a hand at making my own. It was definitely easy and took me maybe all of 5 minutes?

*Notes: Sorry the measurements might be a bit off but it's pizza so you can honestly make it however you want! It's pretty hard to mess up! Also, I used green onions instead of red onions which are typically on BBQ Chicken Pizza. My husband doesn't like them but he doesn't mind green onions because they're more subtle. So if you like them I'd opt for the red onions! One more thing...this pizza doesn't make a whole lot especially if you have a husband like mine :) So if you are making this for more than 2-3 people I'd make a second pizza!

1 Boboli 12in 100% Whole Wheat Thin Crust Pizza
1/2 cup (ish) of your favorite BBQ sauce (I used Famous Dave's)
1-2 cups shredded mozarella cheese depending on preference
2 cups shredded chicken
4 strips pre-cooked bacon cut in to pieces
3 green onions chopped (about a 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven according to the directions on the Boboli package I believe it's about 450 degrees.

Spread BBQ sauce on pizza crust leaving a one inch border around the pizza. {Honestly, I just squirted the sauce directly on the crust until I got my desired amount. I estimated it was about a half cup. Do what suits you.}
Sprinkle on the cheese and then add chicken, bacon and green onions.

Bake 8-10 minutes. I put mine on parchment paper to make clean up a snap!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chicken Posole

I love Mexican food. LOVE IT! The husband, not so much! But with following the Real Simple menu for a month we ate it. I really liked chicken posole. Definitely a meal for a cool day (which was not yesterday). I made some adaptions to the chicken. The recipe called for shredded rotisserie chicken, which would have been a lot easier, but my way was cheaper. I took about six chicken breasts and thawed them. Then seasoned with red pepper and oregano, wrapped in three different tin foil packets and baked at 450 for about 30 minutes. Then I used a fork to shred the chicken. Yum! Chicken posole has a nice spiciness to it and the lime added some good flavor.

1 T olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
black pepper
32 oz chicken broth
1 can 28 oz diced tomatoes
1/4 crushed red pepper
2 cups shredded chicken
1 can hominy, rinsed (you can find hominy in the Mexican aisle and it comes in a 29 oz can, at least that's all I found, and I used the whole can)
1 lime, cut into wedges

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/4 t of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and beginning to brown, 10-12 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes and pepper and bring to a boil. Stir in the chicken and hominy and simmer until heated through. Serve with lime. Serves 4.