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  • Have a Spooky Halloween!

    Cheddar Witches Fingers - Cheese straws in the shape of fingers, complete with a black almond "finger nail." Delicious and totally spooky.

    Candy Apples - You don't need to go to the fair to get my favorite treat because you can make these at home. Black food coloring gives them a festive touch.

    Pumpkin Caramel Sauce - Having a not-so-scary Halloween party? Serve ice cream with this pumpkin infused caramel sauce on top.

Yearly Archives: 2009

Mashed Parsnips

Recently, Eric and I came across parsnips at our local farmers’ market. Neither of us had ever eaten them, and we both thought it would be fun to try something new. I first considered making some type of roasted root vegetable dish, but then I found this recipe and couldn’t resist giving it a try.

Parsnips have a nutty, sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with Parmesan cheese. The potato in this recipe helps balance out the sweetness of the parsnips just enough. These have a light texture that I feel makes them the perfect complement to a heaver main dish, such as a roast. I made these as an alternative to our usual mashed potatoes, and I was thrilled with how well they turned out. Next time, I’d like to mix in some roasted garlic simply because I love the depth and flavor of it. The texture is a little different than mashed potatoes, but don’t let that discourage you from trying this recipe. It’s simple, delicious and perfect for winter!

Mashed Parsnips

4 medium sized parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1 potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup warmed milk
1/4-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

-Boil the parsnips and potato for about 15 minutes or until fork tender.
-Drain well.
-Add olive oil, milk, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Mash until creamy. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.

Source: Adapted from Souvlaki for the Soul

Lemon Butter Chicken with Haricots Vert

Chicken is the protein we have the most often. Because of that, we tire easily from having it the same way over and over again. This dish, however, is not one that I could get bored with anytime soon. It tastes great and is incredibly easy to make. What’s not to love about that?

The lemon butter is the highlight of this dish. It turns a simple, one pan meal into a meal that is elegant and delicious (yet still quick enough to make on a busy night).

Lemon Butter Chicken with Haricots Vert


boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
All purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 shallots, peeled, halved
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons
fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 pound haricots verts or slender green beans, trimmed

-Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
-Season chicken with salt and pepper and lightly coat with flour.
-Add shallots and chicken. Cook chicken about 5 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through.
-Remove chicken and set aside.
-Add butter to skillet; once melted, add the lemon juice and zest.
-Add haricots vert and toss to coat. Cover and cook until beans are crisp-tender, about three minutes.
-Return chicken and any juices to skillet. Simmer for about two minutes, until sauce has thickened.
-Season with salt and pepper to taste, and transfer to a plate to serve.

Source: Adapted from Bon Apetit, June 2009

Pasta with Creamy Cajun Sauce

This dish is nothing short of decadent. With white wine, heavy cream, garlic and Cajun seasoning in the sauce, how could it not be? This pasta has an incredible depth of flavor that comes from reducing the sauce not once, but twice during cooking. The smoked sausage adds an additional layer of flavor and texture, as well. Top this pasta with fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese, and you’ve got a fantastic, restaurant-worthy meal.

Pasta with Creamy Cajun Sauce

1/2 pound Farfalle pasta
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped parsley
Parmesan cheese
Andouille or other smoked sausage, cut into bite-size pieces (optional)

-In a large pot, boil water for pasta. Salt water.
-Brown sausage in a small skillet over medium heat. Once browned, transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
-Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute for two minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant.
-Add white wine to skillet, making sure to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom. Let wine reduce by half, about two minutes. Meanwhile, boil pasta and cook until al dente.
-Stir in Cajun seasoning, paprika, salt, pepper and tomato paste.
-Add cream and heat to almost bubbling, then reduce heat to low.
-Allow the cream mixture to reduce by half, about 5 minutes.
-Drain pasta and add to skillet.
-Toss with parsley and freshly grated Parmesan.

Source: Adapted from Steamy Kitchen

Honey Chipotle Grilled Corn

Corn is my absolute favorite vegetable, and one of the best ways to cook it is on the grill. Cooking corn on the grill (or in a grill pan, in my case) really brings out its sweet flavors. The additional sweetness of the honey perfectly complements the smokiness of the chipotles and gives this corn an extraordinary flavor. It would make a great side dish to pretty much any meal.

Honey Chipotle Grilled Corn

2 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup honey
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ears fresh corn in husks

-Heat grill pan to medium-high heat.
-In a small bowl, whisk together chipotles, butter, honey, garlic and salt. Set aside.
-Grill corn in husks, turning frequently, for about 15 minutes or until husks are blackened.
-Transfer corn to work surface, remove husks and brush generously with butter mixture. Return to grill pan.
-Grill an additional 5 minutes until corn is lightly browned. Serve with remaining butter.

Source: Adapted from Sunset, July 2007

Chicken Enchiladas

I love enchiladas, but my first attempt to make them at home turned out miserably (thank you, jarred sauce). I’ve come a long way in my cooking since that time, and these enchiladas are definitely proof of that. These are simply delicious and would be great served with Mexican rice and black beans. They also make great leftovers! The only change I would make next time is to incorporate a chipotle in adobo. They impart such a wonderful smoky flavor, and I love finding reasons to use them in my cooking.

Chicken Enchiladas

1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons sugar
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
1 cup extra sharp white cheddar, shredded
1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
cooking spray
salt and ground black pepper

-Preheat oven to 425°.
-Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, jalapenos and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stirring often, cook 8-10 minutes or until onion and jalapenos are softened.
-Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar and cook for thirty seconds or until fragrant.
-Add tomato sauce, water and chopped tomato. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly.
-Add chicken breasts to sauce, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until chicken is cooked through, 12-20 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken. Remove chicken to a plate and allow to cool.
-Using a fine mesh strainer, strain sauce into a medium bowl, making sure to press the onion mixture to extract as much liquid as possible. Add salt and pepper to the sauce if needed.
-Place onion mixture in a large bowl and set aside.
-Shred chicken and add to the onion mixture. Add 1/4 cup sauce, 1 cup cheese and cilantro. Stir to combine.
-Place tortillas on plate, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high heat for 1 minute.
-Fill each tortilla with about 1/3 cup chicken mixture, roll tightly and place seam side down into a greased 9×13 baking dish.
-Lightly spray the tops of the tortillas with cooking spray and bake uncovered for about 7 minutes. This will give your enchiladas a nice crunch, so skip this step if you don’t want it.
-Reduce heat to 400°. Remove enchiladas from oven and top with remaining sauce and cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
-Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese has browned.
-Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.
-Top with sour cream, salsa, cilantro, guacamole, etc.

Source: Adapted from Pink Parsley, originally from America’s Test Kitchen