Archive | April, 2011

Filipino Chicken Adobo

28 Apr

I only garnished with the onion, because I thought it looked too much like BBQ chicken in the photo. 😛

Ever surprised that you like something?  That is how I feel about this dish.  I’m not fond of vinegar.  I hate the smell.  I don’t even like anything that’s pickled, with the exception of nacho sliced jalapeños.  So, when I first had my boyfriend ask his mom how to make this dish, I was put off by the amount of vinegar involved.  But, for some reason, I like it.  It just works.  I’ve been making this for about a year now.  It is so simple to make.  While it’s a new dish for me, this is something my boyfriend ate growing up.  I love to give him a taste of nostalgia.  There’s nothing better than when the taste or smell of something connects you to the past.

What You Need:

  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Cover and marinate chicken for 1-3 hours in the refrigerator.  I usually marinate overnight, but I didn’t plan ahead this time.  After marinating, bring to boil over high heat, then lower heat. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer until sauce is reduced and thickened, and chicken is tender, about 20 more minutes. Serve with steamed rice.

*Optional* The skin is not going to be crispy, but you can place the chicken skin-side down in a skillet with oil heated on medium-high.  Only cook long enough to crisp up the skin, because you don’t want to cook your chicken to death.  While you’re doing this, you can continue to reduce the remaining sauce in the pot.

Easy Granny Smith Apple Pie

21 Apr

This pie is… well, easy as pie.  I know that is cheesy, but that’s just me!

Anyway, my mom makes amazing apple pie.  Her ‘secrets’ are that she always uses Pilsbury crust (her excuse:  Why bother making homemade when the store-bought is just as good, and so easy?), and she always uses Granny Smith apples.  The combination of sweet and tart is amazing, and lends itself nicely to a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Here’s the problem.  When you ask my mom for a recipe, she’s like, “Ohhh… sometimes I put 3/4 a Cup of sugar, sometimes I add a cup.  You could put some butter in there, but you don’t have to.  It just depends on what I have on hand.”  It isn’t that she’s trying to hide the recipe from me, it’s just that some things that she’s been making for years, she has never written down, and just wings it.

I think my mom makes it the best, but that’s because it’s always special when my mom bakes it, because it’s usually by request.  I made this pie for my friend’s birthday, and I wish I had made an extra one for myself.

Apple Pie

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 package Pilsbury refrigerated crusts
  • 6 or 7 Medium Granny Smith Apples (Peeled, Cored, and sliced *not too thinly!*)
  • 3/4 or 1 C of sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2-3 Tbsp Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Butter

Method:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Press one crust into the bottom of your pie plate.  Some crust should be hanging over the sides, leave that alone.  Mix sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a bowl.  Toss your sliced apples in the mixture.  Pour the apples into the pie plate.  Cut the butter into small cubes, and tuck evenly into spaces between your apples.  Place the top pie crust on top, be careful not to stretch it, and seal the edges with your fingers, or a fork.  Using a knife, make slits on top of the pie.  They can be decorative, but they don’t have to be.  Make sure they’re big enough, or too much steam will get trapped in your pie.  Now, this is important.  Cover the edges of your crust with foil until the last 15 minutes of cooking.  If not, they will get way too brown.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Gooey Butter Cake

21 Apr

You may be saying to yourself, “Another chocolate and peanut butter combination?”  I really need to change things up.  I have been wanting to try this version of Paula Deen’s gooey butter cake ever since I made the pumpkin one.  My expectations were high for this version, because the pumpkin one was out of this world.  Let me start by saying, this doesn’t come close.  It’s not that it isn’t good, but it doesn’t even seem to be the same dessert as the pumpkin version.  The filling is gooey, as promised by the title, but the crust/cake part didn’t seem to have the texture I was looking for.  I wonder if it was because I mistakenly picked up the cake mix with pudding in the mix.  I know I didn’t use that kind previously.

With that said, the boyfriend and coworkers enjoyed these.  I thought they tasted better the next day.  I am definitely my biggest critic.  I always have an idea of how I want something to turn out, and when it doesn’t work out that way, I’m disappointed.

If you’re wondering how I haven’t had triple bypass surgery after baking all of these desserts with 2 sticks of butter, trust me, I’m giving away more than I consume.  My favorite part about baking/cooking, is sharing the love.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Gooey Butter Cakes (Paula Deen)

 

What You’ll Need:

Cake:

  • 1 (18 1/4-ounce) package Devil’s Food cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar and mix well. Spread mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.

(Side Note:  I took these out of the oven at 40 minutes, and I baked it in my 13X9 glass Pyrex.  Be careful not to over bake these.  They have a lot less moisture than the pumpkin version, so they won’t take as long.)

Linguine Alla Carbonara

12 Apr

Yesterday, I had a bad case of the Monday’s.  I was exhausted when I got off work, and I actually made one of those Bird’s Eye Viola! frozen bagged meals for dinner.  It was awful.  My boyfriend couldn’t believe I was actually serving that for dinner.  We ate it, but that won’t be something I’ll ever buy again.

Today I felt like I needed to redeem myself from last nights sub-par meal, so I thought I’d make something simple, comforting, and delicious.  Linguine Alla Carbonara!  My friend made it for me a couple of months ago, and I’ve been wanting to make it ever since.  So, I bought all the ingredients after work, stopped by my friend’s house for the recipe, came home, and started cooking.  The result?  Amazing.

Linguine Alla Carbonara (Recipe Adapted from Lidia Matticchio Bastianich’s Lidia’s Italian American Kitchen 2001)

What You’ll Need:

  • 6 Ounces Bacon, cut into ¼ in strips
  • 2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion, Chopped.  (The original recipe calls for 2 onions, but I think that’s too much, but feel free to use two if you really love onions).
  • 1 ½ Cups Hot Chicken Stock (plus more if needed)
  • 1 pound linguine
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 Cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • ¼ Cup of Heavy Cream (optional, not traditional… but yummy!)
  • ¼ Cup chopped flat leaf parsley (optional, mainly for color)
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • Salt

Method:

Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-Qt pot over high heat.

Heat 2 TBS of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add bacon strips, and cook for about 6 minutes, or until the bacon is slightly browned, but still soft in the center.

If your bacon has rendered more than 4 TBS of fat, pour off the excess.  If there is less and that, add olive oil to measure the amount missing.  Add the onions, and cook until wilted, but still crunchy, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Add the stock, and bring to a boil.  Adjust the heat to a “lively simmer” (don’t you just love that???  HAHA).  Cook until the liquid has reduced by half.

Meanwhile, stir the pasta into the boiling salted water, return to a boil, and cook, semi-covered, for 8 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Ladle off a cup of the pasta-cooking water (you may need this to add more liquid to your sauce, if needed).  Remove cooked pasta directly from the boiling water, to your bacon, stock, and onion mixture.  Bring the sauce and pasta to a boil, and coat the pasta with the sauce.  If there isn’t enough sauce to coat the pasta, supplement with the pasta-cooking water you reserved.  Check the seasoning, add salt if desired.  Remove the pan from heat, and add the egg yolks, one at a time, stirring well after each.  The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs.  Add the grated cheese, stir well.  Add the heavy cream, and mix well.  Season the pasta generously with coarsely ground black pepper.  Garnish with parsley (optional).  Serve immediately.

Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Treats with Chocolate Peanut Butter Drizzle

10 Apr

I have been slacking… well on this blog.  I’ve been working two jobs, and it’s been kicking my butt.  I spend all of my spare time passed out.  So, I thought of something quick, simple, and yummy that I could make to snack on for the week… Rice Krispies Treats!

Who doesn’t love Rice Krispies treats?  They’re one of my boyfriend’s favorite sweet treats, and I’m always looking for ways to improve them.  It would be silly for me to give you the recipe for regular Rice Krispies Treats, because it is on the box!  Today I added some peanut butter to the mix (and of course more butter), and I didn’t think that made them special enough, so I topped them with a chocolate and peanut butter drizzle.

Ingredients:

1 (10oz) package of marshmallows

1 stick of butter

3 tsp Creamy Peanut Butter

6 Cups Rice Krispies Cereal

Method:

Melt butter on medium low until it starts to foam white, add marshmallows, and stir until completely melted.  Then, add peanut butter until incorporated into the mixture.  Stir in the rice krispies, then pour the mixture into an 8X8 greased pan.

Topping:

A Handful of Chocolate Chips (this is technical stuff, people)

3 tsp of Creamy Peanut Butter

Method:  Melt chocolate in the microwave, on high,  in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until completely melted.  Add peanut butter, and stir until incorporated.

Drizzle over the treats, I used a ziplock bag with the tip snipped off.  Allow to set before you cut into the Rice Krispies treats.