Sunday, November 25, 2012

Island Pork Tenderloin

I have honestly been afraid of making a pork tenderloin for awhile after I've made a few really dry ones.  But, I thought I'd try again since this recipe said it was the "best pork" they had ever had.  It has a seemingly weird combination of spices and flavorings, but it was really flavorful and juicy.  I have reaffirmed my like for pork.  Make sure you have a meat thermometer so you don't overcook it.  I hope you enjoy!

For spice rub:
2 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 pork tenderloins (2 ¼ - 2 ½ lbs total) trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil

For Glaze:
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp Tabasco

Stir the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl and rub all over the pork.  Heat oil in ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over medium high heat.  Brown pork, turning occasionally, about 4-5 minutes total.  Remove from heat, but leave pork in skillet.

Stir together brown sugar, garlic and Tabasco in a small bowl.  Pat the mixture on top of the pork.  Place skillet in the oven at 350.  Roast until thermometer inserted diagonally into the center of each tenderloin registers 140 degrees, about 20 minutes.  Let pork stand in skillet, loosely covered with foil for 10 minutes.  

Chocolate Cream Pie

So, I made my first attempt at chocolate cream pie for our second family Thanksgiving get-together.  I'd have to say that the chocolate cream was not the hard part, the meringue, however, proved to be tricky.  I'm definitely going to have to make this again and practice the meringue.  Or, I could just use Cool Whip!  The key to this recipe is that the chocolate part will not get any thicker while baking, so make sure it's the right consistency before pouring it into the pie crust.  (I once again used a pre-made pie crust.)  I had no idea my dad liked chocolate cream pie so much, so this recipe will become a family tradition from now on.  It sure was tasty and did not last long.  I hope you enjoy!

Filling ingredients:
4 tablespoons of cocoa or 1 1/2 squares of baking chocolate
3/4 cups of sugar
5 tablespoons of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
2 egg yolks, beaten slightly
1 tablespoon of butter

Meringue ingredients:
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of sugar
Mix your sugar, flour, salt, cocoa, eggs and milk (all except vanilla and butter) with a whisk.
Cook while stirring on medium until it bubbles and thickens, about five to 10 minutes. If it becomes lumpy, just beat out the lumps. (It will not get any thicker in the oven so cook until it's as thick as you want it.)

Remove from heat and stir in your vanilla and butter. Meanwhile, poke holes in your pie crust with a fork and bake it at 350 until it’s brown, about 20 minutes, OR follow the instructions on your pie crust's recipe.

Beat your egg whites with salt and when they start to get fluffy add the sugar. Pour the chocolate custard into the baked pie shell and top with the beaten egg whites. Bake it until it the peaks on the meringue are lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Chocolate Bourbon Walnut Pie (Derby Pie)

Happy Thanksgiving!  I can't believe how fast this year has gone already.  As my husband and I are packing up our apartment to move into our first home, I decided to make some desserts as my last hoo-rah in tmy small kitchen.  This was my first attempt at a pie that I have been craving for quite some time.  I honestly had it about 4 years ago when a friend of a friend brought it to dinner.  Since I've never made it before, I'm not sure the texture of mine was right; It just looked different than the original recipe's picture.  But, who cares as long as it tastes good, right?  I used a pre-made crust just to save time, but you could always make your own crust if you'd like.  Will definitely be making this again.  I hope you enjoy!

9-inch pie crust (pre-made or homemade)
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¾ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup light corn syrup
4 eggs
¼ cup bourbon
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1¼ cups walnuts, given a very coarse chop
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips


1. Prepare the pie crust as directed in your recipe; blind bake according to the recipe's instructions; set aside.
2. Adjust the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed with a whisk attachment (or in a large bowl with a whisk and a lot of elbow grease), whip together the butter, sugars, corn syrup, eggs, bourbon and vanilla extract until frothy. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.
4. Pour into the prepared pie crust (you may have more filling than will fit into your pie pan - just fill it up as far as you can). Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until set. Cool completely at room temperature (at least 4 hours) before slicing into the pie. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Found on Food Gawker, here.

Corn and Chicken Chowder

When I saw the picture of this recipe, I knew I had to make it.  I love soups (especially this time of year) and  this chowder sounded absolutely satisfying.  This is another great use of leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken.  You could also cook chicken breasts in a crock pot with chicken broth for 1 1/2- 2 hours on high, then cube.  The bacon in the recipe is also a plus for my husband.  I'm going to bring the leftovers to my sister and my new niece, since it makes great leftovers.  Delicious!  I hope you enjoy!

  • 6 ears of fresh corn, husked and silks removed (or 1-30 ounce can corn and 1-15 ounce can cream corn)
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 8 scallions
  • 3 medium potatoes (I use Idaho potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 small can (4 ounces, I believe) chopped green chiles
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • handful of grated cheddar, for garnish
  1. In a large stock pot, fry the bacon pieces until crisp. Remove from the pan, leaving the drippings, and set aside.
  2. Peel and chop the potatoes into bite sized chunks. Slice the scallions very thin and separate the greens from the whites.
  3. Place the potatoes and white scallion pieces into the stock pot and cook over medium heat until the scallions have softened, 2 or 3 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.
  5. Pour in the milk, chicken stock, Old Bay, thyme, parsley, cayenne, salt, and pepper, stirring well. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  6. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add corn (If using fresh corn, cut from the cob with a sharp knife. Use the back of your knife to release the pulp from the cob.), chicken, and green chiles. Cook over low heat until heated through, about 5 minutes. Garnish with scallion greens, bacon, and cheddar cheese.
Recipe from here.

Chicken Pot Pie Crumble

Who doesn't love fall? The weather, the colors, the football games, and the food just make my heart happy.  Fall always brings out the best comfort foods like this recipe's version of the classic chicken pot pie.  I love how the topping was made from a homemade dough that was pre-baked as little crumbles.  I found this recipe from Food Gawker, here.  Delicious!  Excellent leftovers, too.  I hope you enjoy your holiday season!

20 oz. boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 large)
1 (14.5 oz) can low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup peeled and diced carrots (about 2 large carrots)
3/4 cup diced celery (about 2 large stalks)
3/4 cup finely diced yellow onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
2/3 cup frozen peas
3 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp dried thyme

For the crumble:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder (use 1/2 tsp for a slightly stronger garlic flavor)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup butter, cold and diced into small cubes
2 oz. finely shredded Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup packed)
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp heavy cream

Place chicken in a slow cooker, pour chicken broth over chicken. Cover with lid and cook on low heat about 5 - 6 hours until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from slow cooker, dice and set aside. Strain broth from slow cooker through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and reserve broth (if you don't have a fine mesh strainer just try to remove the pieces of fat). 
To prepare crumble: Preheat oven to 450 degree. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder and optional cayenne pepper. Using your finger tips, cut butter into mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Pour in heavy cream and mix just until combine. Break and drop mixture into 1 - 2-inch pieces onto a Silpat lined baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and set aside.
To prepare filling: Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add diced carrots, onion and celery. Saute vegetables, stirring occasionally until lightly golden and tender, about 5 - 6 minutes. Pour vegetables into a bowl and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, melt butter in saucepan (I like to brown it a bit for and extra layer of flavor), then add in flour and cook, stirring constantly for about 20 seconds (it will be very thick). While stirring, slowly add in milk followed by reserved chicken broth, lemon juice, parsley, thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture just to a boil,  then slightly reduce heat and allow to cook about 1 minute longer until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove sauce from heat and add sauteed vegetables, frozen peas and diced chicken to sauce, then toss to evenly coat. Pour mixture into a 9-inch pie dish and sprinkle with baked crumble topping (mine fit perfectly in my pie dish but if yours is coming close to the top edge you may want to sit it on top of a cookie sheet to prevent spills in your oven). Bake in 400 degree oven until nicely golden about 12 - 14 minutes. Serve warm.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Baked Chicken and Spinach Flautas

I couldn't go too many dishes without a Tex-Mex recipe, so I thought I'd try my hand at flautas.  This is yet another great recipe to use leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken (money saver!).  In hindsight, I probably should have used fresh spinach rather than frozen, but it still came out delicious.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing tortillas
  • 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 tbsp finely diced jalapeƱo; leave seeds in if more heat is desired
  • 2 tsp ground chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded leftover or rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup chopped baby or flat leaf spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 12 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas. Larger tortillas can be used but for best results, cut in half and start rolling from cut-side
  • 1. Preheat oven to 425.  Lightly grease a rimmed pan with olive oil and set aside. Place a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, oil and jalapeno and cook, stirring often until onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin and garlic powder and stir for 30 seconds. Add water and chicken and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl, add spinach, toss gently and let sit briefly as spinach wilts. Stir in cheese, sour cream, cilantro and lime juice and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel or clean kitchen towel and microwave on high for 45 seconds. Working with one tortilla at a time, lay tortilla on a clean work surface and place 3-tablespoons of chicken mixture in bottom third of the tortilla; roll up tightly. Place seam-side down on prepared sheet pan and repeat with remaining tortillas, spacing evenly on the sheet pan. Lightly brush tops and sides of tortillas with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake until golden brown and crispy, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with salsa, sour cream or guacamole, as a garnish, if desired

  • .
  • Slow Cooker Beef Chili

    It's chili season, and I am excited about the cooler temperatures here in Texas.  This is probably my favorite chili yet.  It's just the right texture for my taste and who doesn't love avocados?  I also enjoyed this with Frito's.  Too much goodness in one dish.  I hope you enjoy!

    • 1 lb ground beef
    • 3/4 cup diced onion
    • 3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
    • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
    • 2 (15.5 oz) cans kidney beans, drained
    • 1 (15.5 oz) can great northern beans, undrained
    • 2 tablespoons chili powder
    • 2 teaspoons cumin
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    In a medium skillet, cook the ground beef until mostly browned. Add in the onion and bell pepper and cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.  Add the beef mixture to a slow cooker. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beans, chili powder, cumin and salt. Cook on low for at least 4 hours (but it can be cooked all day long).

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

    Oven Roasted Okra

    So, I saw this pinned on Pinterest and thought it looked really delicious and simple.  Not sure why I never thought of roasting okra.  The pinner did say it'd be crispy like fried okra, which mine wasn't, but my husband and I still loved it regardless.  I cooked mine for about 20 minutes.  I hope you enjoy!

    Simply toss 1 container (about 1 lb) fresh okra with the stems cut off with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Bake in 425 degree oven for 15-25 minutes.

    Pumpkin Bundt Bread

    Yes!  It's my favorite time of year!  Now if only the weather would cool down a little, we'd be in business.  But I'm still making it feel like fall in the kitchen with this delicious pumpkin bundt bread.  I'm only calling it bundt bread because I made it in a bundt pan.  You can make it in two loaf pans or cupcake tins if you'd like.  I actually made my own pumpkin puree since I had two small pumpkins handy.  I had done this only once before (see post here) and it was relatively simple.  There are other ways to puree a pumpkin besides steaming it, but steaming it is easier for me.  It definitely makes you feel more domestic and crafty when you go from a pumpkin to a pumpkin bread.  Well, enough said, this bread is delicious, especially warmed with butter. I hope you enjoy!

    • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg
    • 2 1/2 cups sugar
    • 4 large eggs, room temperature
    • 1 cup canola oil
    • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree- or homemade pumpkin puree
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and lightly flour two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans or one 12 cup bundt pan.  Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl.  Set aside.  Whisk together the sugar, eggs, and oil in separate bowl until well blended.  Stir in the pumpkin, water and vanilla and mix well.  Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir just until all the ingredients are moist.  Do not over mix.  Pour the batter evenly in the pan and bake about 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center of each loaf pan (or bundt pan) comes out clean.  (Mine took about 45 minutes).  If making muffins, bake for only about 15 minutes.  Let rest for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan(s).

    Chicken Tetrazzini

    Thanks Martha Stewart for a really simple and delicious one-pot meal.  It's great for using a rotisserie or leftover chicken.  I cut the recipe, below, in half since it's just me and Tim.  I hope you enjoy!

    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 6 tablespoons butter
    • 1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3 cups milk
    • 1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
    • 3/4 cup dry white wine
    • 3 cups grated Parmesan cheese (I used about half that to save the calories)
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
    • 1 pound linguine, broken in half
    • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat shredded (about 4 cups)
    • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed and drained


    1. Preheat oven to 400. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (for pasta). In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over high heat. Add mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until tender and browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and set aside.
    2. Make sauce: In same saucepan, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add flour; cook, whisking, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, gradually add milk, broth, and wine. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and add 2 cups Parmesan and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
    3. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions for al dente; drain and return to pot. Add sauce, chicken, peas, and mushrooms. Toss well to combine. Divide between two shallow 2-quart baking dishes; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Freeze (see below) or bake until browned, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.