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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.

Monthly Archives: September 2009

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

Stuffed Flank Steak with Monterey Jack Cheese Grits

I’m quickly discovering how amazing and versatile flank steak can be. We’ve made some of my favorite dishes using steak that I formerly thought was too tough to use for anything but fajitas. Boy was I wrong! This steak is tender and moist, and the Tex-Mex flavors really shine through. The creamy grits are enhanced by the wonderful flavor of Monterey Jack cheese. The flavors and textures of the steak and grits compliment each other perfectly and form a dish that could easily make you swoon.

My other favorite flank steak recipes:
Flank Steak with Chimichurri
Steak Fajitas

Stuffed Flank Steak with Monterey Jack Cheese Grits
8-10 oz flank steak

1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/8-inch rings
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into strips
2 tablespoons oil, divided
1 cup queso fresco, grated or crumbled1 jalapeno, seeded and julienned
Sea salt
Cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

For the marinade:
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar

2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 cloves chopped/minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon cumin
Large handful fresh cilantro, chopped

For the grits:
3/4 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup water

1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup quick-cooking grits
Sea salt

1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

For the pan sauce:
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons white wine (We used red.)

-Butterfly the flank steak and place in a large ziploc bag. -Whisk together the marinade ingredients and pour into the bag.
-Let sit a couple of hours or overnight, massaging the bag every once in a while to disperse the marinade.
-In a saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat.

-Add onions and bell peppers and cook until soft and browned, adding a couple of tablespoons of water as necessary while cooking.
-Preheat the oven to 375°.
-Remove the steak from the bag and lay flat on a large cutting board.

-Spread the onions, bell peppers, queso fresco, and jalapenos evenly over the steak.
-Roll the steak tightly along the grain (if the grain is going left-to-right, roll that way opposed to top-to-bottom) and secure with kitchen twine.

-Season all sides liberally with sea salt and cracked pepper.
-Heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter in an oven-safe saute pan over high heat until very hot.

-Sear the rolled steak 1-2 minutes on each side until very nicely browned.
-Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the internal temperature reaches 135°.

-Remove from the oven and tent the pan with foil – and while you’re at it, throw an oven mitt over that scorching hot handle.
-Let the meat rest 10 minutes while making the grits.
-Bring stock, water, cream and butter to simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

-Gradually whisk in grits.
-Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until grits are creamy and tender, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.

-Add a pinch of sea salt and the cheese, whisking until incorporated.
-Remove the meat from the pan and slice into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch rounds.

-Place the pan over high heat and add the clove of garlic and saute until fragrant.
-Deglaze the pan with the wine, making sure to scrape up all the browned bits off the bottom and sides.

-Reduce by 1/2.
-Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
-Spoon grits into a bowl, top with fajita rolls, and drizzle with the pan sauce.

Serves 2

Source: As seen on Confections of a Foodie Bride (Grits: Adapted from Bon Appetit, July 1999, Inspired by/Pan sauce from: Elly Says Opa!)

Garlic Glazed Chicken Pizza

Eric and I recently purchased a pizza stone, and we’ve both really enjoyed using it. Although our first attempt at pizza didn’t turn out perfectly, this one definitely did. The chicken packs a bit of punch, but it pairs wonderfully with the creaminess of the Gruyere and Mozzarella cheeses. The garlic glaze imparts a wonderfully sweet flavor and gives this pizza a bit of Asian flair.

We’ve had leftover chicken every time we’ve made this, as I didn’t want to overcrowd the pizza with chicken. I’m sure it would be great the next day over steamed rice (or it might just get eaten while you’re waiting on the pizza to bake).

Garlic Glazed Chicken Pizza

Garlic Glazed Chicken Pizza
pizza dough of choice
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or less, depending on taste)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
drizzle of olive oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons green onions

-Preheat oven to 450°.
-Combine the garlic, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, honey and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.
-Saute chicken until cooked through. Remove from skillet and set aside.
-Add the garlic mixture to the pan and cook over medium-low heat until reduced to the consistency of syrup, about 10 minutes.
-Return chicken to skillet and coat with garlic glaze.
-Lightly brush pizza dough with olive oil. Top with chicken and cheeses. Sprinkle green onions over pizza and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Source: Adapted from Food o’del Mundo

Lemon Rosemary Chicken Souvlaki

Eric and I get burnt out pretty easily when it comes to having the same dishes too often. This is especially true in the case of chicken. Thankfully, we’ve added many new recipes to our repertoire and don’t have to worry about this as much these days. This chicken, while incredibly simple, is also incredibly delicious. It’s juicy, smoky and full of flavor. To me, the lemon gives it a flavor reminiscent of summer (not that we ever have to reminisce about summer since we live in Florida, but you get my point). We served ours with Israeli couscous and steamed broccoli.

Lemon Rosemary Chicken Souvlaki
Juice of 1 large lemon, plus water to equal 2 cups liquid
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh, chopped rosemary, plus a little more for sprinkling
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon pepper

-Combine the lemon juice, water, zest, salt and rosemary in a small, microwave-safe bowl.
-Cook on high power for 1-2 minutes or until mixture comes to a boil.
-Remove from microwave, stir until salt is dissolved, and allow to cool for 20 minutes.
-Cut the chicken into large chunks and place it in a bowl or baking dish. Add the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
-If using wooden skewers, prepare by soaking them in water for 30 minutes. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
-Remove chicken from the brine and toss with olive oil, garlic and pepper. Skewer and sprinkle with additional rosemary.
-Cook, turning occasionally, until chicken is cooked through.

Source: Good Life Eats via Ezra Pound Cake