Friday, February 29, 2008

Transformed Mexican Yum

We do our budget monthly so here we are at the end of the month and there are only certain things that can be made with the bits of produce and fresh food we have left. Our freezer is always stocked with meat so yesterday I put out some chicken breasts to thaw and had on my mind to make Cooking Lights Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce which is so yummy. But as the day went on theweather began to change and lo and behold, snow started to fall. My tastes tend to be dictated by the weather adn now I wanted something a little less summery...if that makes any sense.

With two options going in my head, I called Alex for his opinion. After calling the hubby and asking him mexican or italian, mexican it was and dinner was chosen. I came up with this recipe on my own and it did not dissapoint. Using things in the the pantry, dinner was on the table in 30 minutes flat.

The dish of the night....

Spicy Cornmeal Crusted Chicken with Cilantro Rice and Jalapeno Chutney!

Here is the recipe:

Spicy Cornmeal Crusted Chicken

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 C cornmeal (I used Quaker)
2 tablespoons cheddar cheese
1 egg white

1. Set up a dredging area...put egg white in one bowl, while putting a plate or bowl out for the cornmeal mixture.
2. Place all dry ingredients with the cheese in food processor, process until all are uniform in size.
3. Place crumbs on plate and dredge chicken in egg whites followed by a dredging in the cornmeal mixture.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saute pan and place coated chicken in the pan over medium heat, cook for about 5 minutes on each side.

Cilantro Rice

Follow the recipe of your choice for white rice, (I used uncle ben's long grain)
Add 1 T lime juice and 1 T salt to the water with teh rice.
When done cooking stir in 1 T cilantro, minced, with lime juice and salt to taste.

Jalapeno Chutney

1/4 red onion
2 T jalapenos
6 cherry tomatoes
1 T cilantro

Place all ingredients in the food processor, process so all is chopped but still chunky.

Place rice on plate, top with a piece of chicken and dollop chutney atop the chicken. Garnish with lettuce, more cheese, sour cream and salsa to taste!

It's so yummy, even hubby was shocked I came up with it on my own!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Must eat cookies!

Lately I have really had a craving to bake and well...a craving for all things baked:) So yesterday, with not much time to bake from scratch and really desiring cookies of some sort, I scoured the pantry to find, much to my delight, the other half of the brownie mix. I often cut mixes in half just because we don't eat or need that many baked goods around, and though I prefer to make something from scratch they fill in when they need today!

I threw together what I thought would take this brownie mix to a cookie form. So to the half box of mix I threw in one egg, 1/4 C oil, and 2T water. Mixed...added chocolate chunks and baked at 350' for about 10-12 min. Check to make sure they are just about setting and then pull them out.

Verdict, well for a quick and easy cookie made with something we just had on hand and in less than 5 minutes, they were amazing and curbed the craving perfectly!

Tuesdays with Dorie!

Well, it's official...I am now part of my first blogging event! Tuesdays with Dorie is a group of fellow foodies, started by Laurie, who have made it their goal to make all the recipes from Dorie Greenspan's new book Baking: From my Home to Yours. This book is so great!

Last year I began making some of the recipes out of this cookbook and while some were amazing and some were okay, they all had one thing in common. They were not very difficult and used things you may have on hand. Our favorite so far are her classic biscuits. The way she explains the process of making them is straightforward and fun! When someone explains how to cut butter into biscuit dough by making sure you use your fingers and getting your hands full of dough, then the recipe must be a keeper:)

The group has been baking through the book for a couple of months now and since I have just joined I am debating if I should go back and bake the previous choices...we'll see!

But up this week and due to be posted next Tuesday are snickery squares! A shortbread base, dulce de leche fillings, covered in chocolate and sugered peanuts...YUM!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Chocolate and Peanut Butter...purely delightful!

This weekend was finally one where the hubby and I did not have any plans. To me that is great, a chance to catch up on cleaning, make my plans as I go, and time for baking. This past week I have been truly enthralled with the enticing recipes on Picky Palate. If you have not visited this site before, do not wait. It is full of great recipes that are quick, easy and look wonderful.

We needed a treat around here and after giving hubby a choice, these Peanut Butter Cup Brownies won out. Though the original recipe is on Picky Palate's site, I made a few changes and mine is below. I often have brownie and cake mixes on hand for the times you just need something quick, that and I have not yet found the right brownie recipe for me to throw away the box. (I grew up on box mix brownies, so maybe that contributes to it!)

When using box mixes I often split them in two since it's usually just me and the hubby. I just scoop equal amounts of mix into the bowl and a ziplock bag to save for later. So for this recipe, I cut it in half and made it in an 8" pan.

These are gooey, yummy, chocolate, peanut buttery goodness in a pan!

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Brownies

1/2 box of the brownie mix of choice (9x13 size)
4 oz softened cream cheese
1/4 Cup creamy peanut butter
2 T sugar
1/2 egg (I used 1 1/2 T egg substitute)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 Cups mini marshmallows (I used large marshmallows cut up)
6 regular size Reeses Peanut Butter cups, cut into cubes
1/2 Cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place brownie mix and ingredients on back of box as directed (eggs, oil, water) into a large mixing bowl. Mix until combined and pour into a greased 8 inch baking dish. In a separate bowl mix together the cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Drop by tablespoonfuls evenly over the brownie batter. Take a knife or toothpick and swirl the cheese mixture through the brownie batter. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through.

2. Once brownies are just about cooked, with about 2 minutes left, sprinkle marshmallows, Reeses cups and chocolate chips over brownies. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until marshmallows are puffed slightly. Remove and cool completely before cutting.

3. Once cool, use a plastic knife to cut into squares for an easy non stick cut. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A new look, a new day!

Here in Minnesota, winter is still in full swing. But for one of the first times all week the temperature is above zero and the sun is shining bright! What a difference! From the look of my blog, you might be able to tell that I am excited for spring. I know it just has to be on its way and if not, well then at least it's spring here at Blissful Bounty!

One other great thing about today....the Foodie Blogroll! I am so excited to be a part of this. On the lower right side of the blog is a list of food blogs for all to enjoy. I myself am now added and I couldn't be more ecstatic or thankful to the Leftover Queen (who helped add me)!

Take a look at some of the other great blogs with amazing food...I have and they look terrific!

Happy early spring!

Spaghetti Bolognese...mmm so good!

Spaghetti is always a back up at our house and last minute meal if we are busy. Multiple types of pasta line our pantry, but one of Alex's favorites is spaghetti with meat sauce. At our house, this usually consists of cooked spaghetti, a bottle of sauce and a pound of hamburger.

The other day while viewing the wonderful creations by Picky Palate
I came across a recipe for spaghetti bolognese that I knew would be a hit at our house. Super easy and yet uses ingredients that most have on hand. This recipe is quick to make and tastes great, it will now take the place of our 3 ingredient, and oh so regular, spaghetti and meat sauce.

Here is the recipe as created by Picky Palate!

Spaghetti Bolognese

12 strips uncooked bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces (I think I used 6)
1 medium onion, diced
1 lb ground beef
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 26 oz jar Classico Pasta Sauce (or other favorite brand, or homemade)
1 ¼ Cups half and half (I used skim)
¼ Cup parmesan cheese

1 Box thin spaghetti noodles (I used fettuccine)

1. Cook bacon in a large dutch oven or large pot over medium heat until browned and crisped. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside. Discard all but 2 Tbsp’s of bacon grease. Saute onion in remaining bacon grease for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add beef, salt and pepper; crumble beef and cook until browned, about 5-8 more minutes. Stir in cooked bacon pieces. Reduce heat to low and stir in pasta sauce, half and half, and parmesan cheese. Stir to combine; cover with lid and let simmer for at least 20 minutes, or up to an hour.

2. Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions. Spoon noodles onto a large plate and pour sauce right on top. Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese if desired.

6 servings

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The best bbq pork? Someone thinks so!

Barbeque Pork...I love it, I actually like most things with bbq sauce. For the past year or so I have been making Cooking Light's BBQ Pulled Chicken whenever we want bbq. But after reading on so many blogs and boards, I decided to hang up my apron and try something quite out of the ordinary for me...a recipe with 3 ingredients!

This recipe is so easy and produces bbq pulled pork that is really delicious!

BBQ Pulled Pork

1 Pork Tenderloin
1 (12 ounce) can rootbeer (I used Diet)
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

1. Place tenderloin in crock pot and pour rootbeer over the top.
2. Cook on low for up to 7 hours.
3. Drain excess liquid, shred meat and mix in the bbq sauce.
4. Let simmer for a couple minutes to heat up and serve on rolls.

(feel free to saute onions and add along with the bbq sauce)

It doesn't get any easier than this and it is good, so good that Alex called it the "best bbq pork ever!"