13 January 2011

This is a recipe I got in my email a while back and decided to try last night. It's from Allrecipes.

Garlic Cheddar Chicken

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
1 cup flour
⅔ cup Panko bread crumbs
¼ cup Parmesan
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp dried oregano
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 350°. Cover a baking sheet with foil and top with a baking rack. Coat with cooking spray.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Spread the flour out in a shallow bowl or plate. In another shallow bowl, combine Panko, Parmesan, cheddar, thyme, and oregano.

Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off excess, then dip in the garlic butter, then press into the bread crumb mixture. Arrange the coated chicken breasts on the prepared rack.

Bake 30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.

Makes 4 servings.

Mmmm, this chicken is so good! Tender and juicy on the inside and garlicky, cheesy, and crunchy on the outside. Really tasty!

A few notes: The chicken breasts I use are actually cutlets, where I cut them in half so they aren't as thick. So I would suggest pounding them out if you have regular-sized ones. If not, they will take a lot longer to cook.

The garlic butter was supposed to be all butter, but I have been trying to cut back on using butter when I cook, so I did half butter and half olive oil. It worked just fine. I think it would probably even work with all olive oil. I'll try that next time.

I also increased the breading ingredients. It was supposed to be enough for four chicken breasts, but I got it to barely coat three. I also increased the garlic by a clove (we love garlic) and the thyme was originally parsley.

The original recipe said to bake this in a 9x13" baking dish, but a lot of the reviewers said that it got soggy on the bottom, so I did mine on a baking sheet with a rack. That worked out really well. Make sure you put foil underneath the rack on your baking sheet because a lot of breading falls through and that would be a big pain to scrape off.

If you like garlic and you like cheese, this recipe is for you! It reminds me of that old Taco Bell commercial: "Cruncheweesy!" :)

08 January 2011

I saw this recipe on a blog one afternoon and it sounded so good that I made it for supper that night. I was planning on roasting some cauliflower for a side anyway, so I already had everything on hand.

Silky Cauliflower Soup

1 head cauliflower
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
½ cup finely grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Remove the leaves and thick core from the cauliflower, coarsely chop, and reserve.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook until softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the cauliflower and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the cauliflower is very soft and falling apart, about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and, using a hand held immersion blender, puree the soup, or puree in small batches in a blender and return it to the pot.

Add the Parmesan and stir until smooth.

Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Not much to say about this recipe except that it's awesome and so easy. Mine came out a little thin and I think it was because my cauliflower head was on the small side. I should have realized that and not added as much liquid, but I didn't think about it. It was easy to fix; I threw in some instant mashed potato flakes that I like to keep on hand. That thickened it up perfectly. It wasn't any more work than roasting it would have been. And on a cold January evening, nothing hits the spot like soup!

This is a soup I made using leftover Thanksgiving turkey. I started with this recipe on Food.com, but changed it enough that I'm not sure you can call it the same recipe anymore.

Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

2 tbsp olive oil
½ large onion, chopped
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
5 cups chicken broth
1 (6 oz.) package long grain and wild rice blend (Uncle Ben’s)
2 cups diced cooked turkey

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook 5 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add broth; stir in rice mix, seasoning packet, and turkey; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes until rice is tender.

Makes 6 servings.

This version is way simplified from the original. The original called for sherry, heavy cream, egg yolk, a handful of herbs, and soy sauce. I thought the seasoning packet that came with the rice blend was sufficient seasoning, so I skipped the other herbs, and I wanted a brothy soup, so I skipped the ingredients that made it creamy.

I loved this soup. The only complaint I had is that the Uncle Ben's rice mix had very little wild rice in it. I would have liked a lot more. So next time I might make my own blend of long grain white and wild rice. I will have to adjust the cooking time, however, because I'm pretty sure the Uncle Ben's rice is parboiled because it only took 10 minutes to cook. And I think wild rice usually takes longer than that. But the rest of the soup prep is so simple and fast that I wouldn't mind adding to the cooking time to get more wild rice in there.

Awesome use for leftover Thanksgiving turkey!

This is a soup I made on New Year's Day. I was trying to keep with the tradition of eating pork and cabbage on New Year's Day, so I made this pork soup and then a cabbage side dish. I got this recipe from Food.com, but it's originally from Better Homes and Gardens.

Slow Cooker Pork and Edamame Soup

2 lbs. boneless pork, cut into ½” cubes
1 tbsp oil
3 cups chicken broth
1 (12 oz.) package frozen edamame, thawed and shelled
1 (8 oz.) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 (3 oz.) package ramen noodles, broken (discard seasoning packet)

Place pork in slow cooker. Stir in chicken broth, edamame, water chestnuts, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, crushed red pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3½ to 4 hours. Skim off fat. Stir in ramen noodles. Cover and cook for 5 minutes more.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 (440 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Calories 613.4
Fat 40.1g
Saturated Fat 12.6g
Cholesterol 107.5mg
Sodium 1103.4mg
Carbohydrate 24.9g
Fiber 4.0g
Protein 38.3g

This was really good. I liked it a lot, but Jim went so far as to say that it is the best soup he's ever had. Wow!

I only changed a few things. It originally called for the pork to be in 1" cubes, but I thought the chunks were a little big, so next time I will do ½” cubes. Also, it called for browning the pork in a skillet before adding to the slow cooker. I didn't really think that was necessary, so I tried it without and it was just fine. Maybe not as pretty, but I don't care.

Other than that, I didn't really change much. It called for a red bell pepper, which I left out because of personal preference, but if you like peppers you should add it because it will brighten the color a bit.

I'm sure I'll be making this soup many more times in the future, based on Jim's review!