Saturday, March 26, 2011

Brazilian Black Bean Soup and Pao de Queijo

First up on this week's menu plan, Brazilian Black Bean Soup from my friend Julie's blog. This soup turned out so flavorful, and we really felt good about eating it since the ingredients are so healthy! Unfortunately, I am currently having computer issues, so I will go ahead and direct you to Julie's blog for Brazilian Black Bean Soup and Pao de Queijo.

Hopefully I am back up and running with the blog soon! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Menu: Week of March 28 - April 3

Finally! A new menu plan! Most of these recipes I have already blogged, and the last couple will be added in the next couple of days. It's going to be a delicious week!

Monday: Brazilian Black Bean Soup and Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)
Tuesday: Creamy Poppyseed Chicken
Wednesday: Slow Cooker San Francisco Pork Chops over rice
Thursday: leftover/takeout night
Friday: Grilled Pepperoni and Red Onion Pizza
Saturday: Fontina and Prosciutto Chicken with Sun-dried Tomato Bread
Sunday: Taco Casserole
Family Night Treat: Grasshopper Bars

Sounds good, right? Let's get shopping!

printable shopping list

all-purpose flour
bread flour
tapioca flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
white sugar
brown sugar
powdered sugar (2 1/2 cups)
green food coloring
mint extract
poppy seeds
soy sauce
olive oil
canola oil
taco seasoning
chili powder
dried oregano
1 bay leaf
red pepper flakes
3/4 cup chicken broth or 1/4 cup chicken broth and 1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cans low sodium beef broth
1/2 C Pizza sauce (We use Hunt's Basil, Garlic and Oregano tomato sauce)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
4 oz sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes with chilies (Rotel)
1 (3.5 oz) can chopped green chilies
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 (4 oz) bag cheese flavored tortilla chips (Doritos)
1 (3 oz) can French Fried onions (found near the canned green beans)
1 brownie mix (and eggs and oil to prepare it)
1 sleeve Ritz crackers

3 1/2 yellow onions
1/4 red onion
2 carrots
2 ribs of celery
4 sprigs fresh basil
5 oz fresh young salad greens
1 head of garlic
1 egg
16 oz sour cream plus extra to garnish the black bean soup, if desired
3 oz cream cheese
3 sticks butter
4 thin slices fontina cheese
4 oz mozzarella cheese
16 oz cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 oz sliced pepperoni
2 thin slices prosciutto
1 lb ground beef
4 bone-in pork chops
4 chicken breasts
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast (about 1 1/2 - 2 breasts)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Slow Cooker San Francisco Chops

After seeing this recipe recommended on Grandma Honey's blog, I decided to give it a try. It is the perfect recipe: easy, delicious, with common, inexpensive ingredients! We loved it.

Grandma Honey got this recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe, who adapted from a recipe from Jane Deere, both great blogs!

printable recipe
Slow Cooker San Francisco Chops

Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 pork chops, about 1-inch thick
Salt and pepper for seasoning
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
Hot Cooked Rice, for serving

In a large 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is simmering and hot. Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper and place 1 or 2 at a time in the skillet.

Brown the pork chops for 1-2 minutes on each side in the hot oil until golden.

Transfer the chops to the slow cooker.

Add the garlic to the drippings in the skillet and stir constantly over medium heat until the garlic is aromatic and golden (but not burned or it will turn bitter!). Stir in the soy sauce, broth, brown sugar and red pepper flakes; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Pour over chops.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours until the meat is tender.

If using bone-in pork chops, fish out the bones from the slow cooker. Remove the chops from the slow cooker to a shallow pan or plate – they will most likely be falling apart in tenderness at this point.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and cold water until smooth.

Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the sauce in the slow cooker.

Return the chops to the slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker heat to high and cook for 30 minutes to an hour longer, until the sauce is slightly thickened.

Serve the tender chops over rice and garnish with green onions, if desired.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sun-dried Tomato Bread

Yesterday I blogged about Fontina and Prosciutto Chicken which I served with this Sun-dried Tomato Bread.

I pulled this recipe from The Italian Cooking Encyclopedia, I made some adjustments to the ingredients I had on hand. It turned out very flavorful, with a great crust. With the leftover bread, we topped slices with grated mozzarella, fontina, and parmesan, melted the cheese under the broiler, and served with marinara dipping sauce. Yum!

printable recipe
Sun-dried Tomato Bread

yield: 2 small loaves

3 cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp oil from jar of sun-dried tomatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup drained sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped

Combine flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Allow yeast to dissolve for a few minutes in the warm water.

In a small saucepan over low heat, dissolve the tomato paste in the milk.

With a wooden spoon or a dough hook on low speed, mix the yeast/water mixture into the flour mixture.

Add the milk/tomato paste mixture along with the oils and mix well. Gradually mix the flour into the liquid ingredients, until a dough is formed.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. I did most of the kneading process with the KitchenAid on medium speed.

Place in a greased bowl, turn to coat, and cover. Place in a warm oven and allow to rise for about an hour.

Punch dough down and knead in the tomatoes and onion until evenly distributed. Form the dough into two balls. Place the balls of dough on a greased baking sheet and return to the warm oven. Cover with a dish towel and let rise for about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Bake the bread for about 45 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow when you lift them up and tap the bottoms with your fingers. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fontina and Prosciutto Chicken

Here is the first recipe from the Italian cookbook that I found in a thrift store a week ago. When my husband described this dish to his dad, who served a two year mission in Sicily, my father-in-law described it as "The Italian version of Chicken Cordon Bleu." I think that description was pretty accurate, and I have to say, I like the Italian version! Stuffed with prosciutto and topped with melted fontina cheese, what's not to love?

These are a little bit "fancier" ingredients than I usually cook with, but they really were not that expensive or hard to find. The 2 slices of prosciutto were less than a dollar at the deli counter in the grocery store. I did have to hit Sunflower Market to find the fontina (about $6 for 8 oz, although you only need a few slices for this dish), I am sure you could also find it at Whole Foods or any other market with a selection of fine cheeses. Alternately you could substitute Swiss or Gruyere.

I only made 2 chicken breasts so that is what is pictured, but this recipe is for 4 breasts and serves 4 people. This recipe is adapted from The Italian Cooking Encyclopedia.

printable recipes
Fontina and Prosciutto Chicken

2 thin slices of prosciutto
4 thin slices of Fontina cheese
4 chicken breasts
4 sprigs of fresh basil
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
tender young salad greens, to serve

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the prosciutto slices in half and roll each half around a sprig of basil.

Cut a slit lengthwise in each chicken breast and stuff with the rolled prosciutto and basil.

Heat the oil and butter in an oven proof skillet over medium heat until foaming.

Place the chicken breasts into the skillet and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side, until golden.

Remove the chicken to a plate, and pour in the wine or chicken broth, stirring until sizzling.

Place the chicken breasts back in the skillet and spoon the sauce over them.

Season with salt and pepper.

Place slices of fontina cheese on top of the chicken.

Bake for 20 minutes at 400F, or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Serve on top of the fresh greens.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pancakes

Last night we put our children to bed at 8 as usual then enjoyed some popcorn and a movie downstairs. When we headed upstairs to bed, I noticed that Nathan's bedroom light was on. Opening the door, this is what we found:

I guess he had gotten up to play and fallen asleep on the floor. We had a good chuckle and put him back to bed, but I would not have been as amused if I had realized how many more times throughout the night he would be getting up. Our friends gave him a train table that their boys have outgrown and Nathan loves it so much that he apparently decided it was playtime at 3, 4, and 6 AM this morning. Needless to say, as the parent who is the lighter sleeper, it was a little bit of a rough night for me.

Fortunately, I have an amazing husband! In the morning, he got up with the kids and let me sleep in. Pure bliss. On top of that he made me these fantastic pancakes AND took notes on how he did it so I could post it for all of you. I hope you all enjoy these as much as I did!

There are three parts to this recipe:

1.  Cream Cheese Sauce
         4 oz Cream Cheese, softened
         1/4 C Milk
         2 T Sugar
2.  Blueberry Sauce
         1 C Blueberries, rinsed and drained
         1/4 C Sugar
         1/4 C Water
         2 t Corn Starch
3.  Blueberry Pancakes
         Use this Pancake Recipe
         1/2 C Blueberries

Cream Cheese Sauce

Mix the cream cheese and milk together in a mixer until combined.

Add the sugar and mix on high until combined.

Pour the sauce into a bowl and refrigerate until the pancakes are ready.

Blueberry Sauce

 Rinse and strain the blueberries.

Place the blueberries and sugar into a saucepan.

Smash the blueberries and mix with the sugar. Turn the burner on low and let sit for several minutes. This is an excellent time to start the pancakes.

Once the berries have warmed up add the water and bring to a boil.

Once the sauce is boiling add the cornstarch and whisk until slightly thickened.

Set the sauce aside until the pancakes are ready.

Blueberry Pancakes

Mix the pancake batter according to the recipe and pour the batter out onto a griddle. While the pancakes are cooking drop the blueberries into the batter. Mixing the berries with the batter can result in broken berries, this way keeps them whole.

Once the pancakes are done arrange on a plate and top with the cream cheese sauce.

Add the blueberry sauce and enjoy! These are very rich, I would say 1-2 pancakes per serving, the recipe yields 8 pancakes total.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Grasshopper Bars

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

If I was more creative, my kids would be sporting cool green hairdos today ala this mom. Alas, my kids have to settle for normal hair and eating this fun mint dessert.

I have been craving Grasshopper Bars, or mint brownies, for awhile now. My own mom made these treats for us growing up and they are just as good as I remembered!

A little goes a long way with these, they're pretty rich!

Click here for my entire St. Patrick's Day menu and shopping list.

printable recipe
Grasshopper Bars

1 brownie mix, prepared according to package directions. I like to follow the more "cake-like" directions for this recipe, if you have that option.

1/2 cup butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp mint extract
green food coloring

1 cup (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup butter

Prepare and bake brownies according to package directions in greased 13x9 inch pan. Set aside to cool.

In medium bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese for the filling, until light and fluffy.

Add powdered sugar, mint extract, and a few drops of food coloring. Beat until smooth.

Spread the green filling on the cooled pan of brownies.

In a small bowl, melt butter and chocolate chips together in microwave. Heat on high for 30 seconds, stir, then heat and stir in 10 second intervals until smooth.

Spread chocolate frosting over mint filling. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or until firm.

Cut into small squares and serve.