Posts Tagged ‘easy recipes’

Angie’s two cheese alfredo (with chicken and asparagus)

April 29, 2010

“If you want something to taste good, you have to use quality ingredients.” – (Grandma) Millie Cherryholmes (and virtually every chef/foodie/decent cook in the world)

This is never more true than when it comes to sauces… specifically an Alfredo sauce.  Personally, I’m not really a big fan of the cheese sauce + pasta combination — I much prefer a bolognese or simple Italian gravy — but as it’s Keith’s favorite… on occasion I cave.  In this instance, I’m glad I did.

I realize this is technically  probably not an Alfredo sauce… but let’s just be kind and say it is.  Normally with cheese sauces I stay very french and stick with Swiss and add a few spices.  Last night I needed something different (with allergies if the flavor doesn’t slap me in the face, I taste nothing… so clearly Swiss just wouldn’t cut it).

My new friend at the Amish Market on the corner (who we’ll call Angie) had a good 2 minute conversation with me in the cheese aisle about sauces – which is saying something of a total stranger in Manhattan – and agreed with me that if I was going to mix two flavors of soft cheese in a sauce, Swiss and Smoked Gouda would probably be a safe bet.  So here we go.

Ingredients: (serves 3-4)

  • 1 cup Swiss cheese (grated)
  • 1 cup Smoked Gouda (grated)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 lb Asparagus (chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon rosemary
  • Garlic powder (to taste)
  • Sea Salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)

What you’ll need to clean up:

  • 1 baking sheet
  • 1 cutting board
  • 1 cutting knife
  • 1 basting brush
  • 1 soup/stock pot
  • 1 sauce pan

Step One: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Step Two: Fill a 3 quart (or more) soup or stock pot half full of water and bring to a boil, add salt and a dash of olive oil. Bring to a boil.

Step Three: While waiting for water to boil, brush both sides of chicken breasts with two (of the three) tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Place on lightly greased baking sheet.  Toss chopped asparagus in remaining olive oil and place on same baking sheet.

Step Four: Roast chicken and asparagus in 350 degree oven for 20-22 minutes (until no pink is left in chicken).

Step Five: While chicken and asparagus are roasting, put pasta into boiling water until at desired consistency (8 minutes) and remove, drain and cover.

Step Six: While pasta is cooking, place sauce pot over medium heat and melt 2 tablespoons of butter.  Once butter is melted, add 1 tablespoon of flour and whisk until butter and flour clump together.  Add 1 cup of milk and bring to a simmer, stirring continuously until smooth.  Remove from heat and add both swiss and smoked gouda and sir with which until sauce is smooth (you can bring back over heat if cheese isn’t melting).

Step Seven: Pour 3/4 of sauce into prepared pasta and stir until fully mixed.

Step Eight: Remove baking sheet from oven and cut chicken breast (on cutting board) into strips.

Step Nine: Equally distribute pasta into bowls and top with chicken, roasted asparagus and a 1/4 of remaining sauce (if desired) for each portion.

-Eat Hearty!

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Millie’s Ten-Minute Donuts

April 28, 2010

Watch out people, this is a Millie Original. In fact, the first time I actually had these little “gems” (get it “gem donuts”… eh.. EH) was on a ski trip with my parents, sister, and Grandma Millie.  It was Christmas morning and after opening stockings, Grandma starts whipping these up and informs me that she used to make them with my Mom all the time (imagine my outrage at having never before been treated to homemade donuts).

Since then, I have now trotted these out at a couple of brunch parties.  Donuts make a fantastic party: simply give everyone there own brown paper bag with a coating of their choosing (powdered sugar, cinnamon and sugar, etc.) and everyone can coat their own hot donuts.  Make sure to brew a big pot of coffee and prepare yourself for swiffering after 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Canned biscuits (one biscuit is one donut… I usually do at least 20… often 30 if we’re being honest)
  • Enough vegetable oil to float a biscuit in a stock or soup pot.
  • Cinnamon and Sugar for coating (can also use powdered sugar or make a glaze from powdered sugar and a little milk)

What you’ll have to clean up after:

  • Soup or stock pot
  • Fork or tongs (for turning)
  • Your counter, floor… maybe yourself?

Step one: Place oil in soup or stock pot and heat on medium-high heat.  Oil is ready when you place one of your donut holes (see below) in oil and it begins to bubble and fry while floating.

Step two: Remove biscuits from can and lay each out on flat surface.  Using a vanilla lid or other small circle, cut a hole in the center of each biscuit (keep the cut out piece for donut holes later 🙂 ).

Step three: When oil is ready, place prepared biscuit into hot oil and let float and fry until golden on one side (depends on heat of oil, but watch closely… can be as quick as 15-20 seconds), then flip (using tongs or fork).

Step four: When opposite side is golden remove from oil and place on paper towel to sit for a minute (if you can wait that long… I’ll often down one after 20-30 seconds).

Step five: After a minute, toss in preferred coating and serve.  These are BEST when hot. As they cool they become a little more “biscuit like”… still good, but nowhere near as good as when hot.

Repeat steps 3-5, until you’ve cooked all your donuts.  You can float as many in the oil as you can comfortable turn.  Be extremely careful when frying… it’s VERY hot.

Serve as you go along: drink a lot of coffee, have good conversations… and try not to think of the calories :-).

-Eat Hearty!

Easiest Roasted Chicken… EVER

April 27, 2010

I recently shared this trick with the ladies of Big Girl Small Kitchen and decided to trot it out again last night.  Roasting a chicken can seem like a daunting task, but in reality, the only tricky part is how to keep the moisture in.

I find the best way to keep a chicken nice and moist while roasting is to simply baste it with a comination of balsamic vinegar and honey.  I really don’t know the chemistry of it, but when you mix the two together, it completely dissolves into a single liquid that you can easily spread accross your chicken.

So simple. And I have yet to have my chicken come out dry.  I’ve only used this on chicken breasts (I rarely have the occasion to cook an entire chicken), but I’m sure it would work just as well on the whole thing.

Ingredients:

  • Equal parts Vinegar and Honey (depending on how much chicken you’re roasting)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Rosemary (to taste)

What you’ll clean up afterwards:

  • One small mixing bowl
  • whisk (or fork)
  • basting brush

Step One: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Step Two: Whisk the vinegar and honey together in a small mixing bowl.  Add salt, pepper, and rosemary to taste.

Step Three: Lightly salt and pepper the chicken and rub in on both sides

Step Four: Baste all sides of the chicken with the vinegar/honey mixture.

Step Five: Grease a baking sheet (I use Pam-olive oil) and place breasts on it.

Step Six: Roast in 350 degree oven for 18-20 minutes or until there is no pink left in center of thickest part of the meat.

-Eat Hearty!

Red Velvet Brownie Cupcakes

April 26, 2010

There are two things in life that I know – without a doubt – will cure any case of the blues: brownies and cupcakes. Add in cream cheese frosting and you get downright euphoria.

“Why not combine the two” I asked myself… and so I did.  I remember both my Mom and Grandma used to make a variety of brownie bars that mixed cookie dough and brownie batter together (I believe) resulting in a chewy, buttery deliciousness.  Knowing it was possible, I started experimenting.

Combining some of my own ideas with various recipes from www.allrecipes.com, here’s what I ended up with.

The recipe below is the ridiculously simple method.  You can make both batters from scratch, but having done it both ways… there isn’t much of a taste difference, but purists are purists… so knock yourselves out.

Ingredients:

For Cupcakes:

  • 1 (19.5 oz) package brownie mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 (18.25 oz) package white cake mix
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons dark chocolate extract (optional)

For Frosting:

  • 1 small box confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temp)
  • 1 8oz block cream cheese (room temp)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 teaspoons milk

What you’ll have to clean up:

  • 2 mixing bowls
  • 1 regular bowl (for egg whites)
  • 2 cookie scoops
  • 1 frosting knife
  • 1 mixing spoon

Step One: Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Step Two: Line 48 muffin cups with paper liners.

Step Three: Whisk together the brownie mix, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup canola oil, and 1/4 cup water in a bowl – just until fully incorporated, about 50 strokes do not overmix. Set aside.

Step Four: In regular bowl, beat 3 egg whites until frothy. Set aside.

Step Five: Mix the cake mix, 2 tablespoons canola oil, 1 1/3 cup water, and 2 teaspoons of dark chocolate extract (if available) in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until combined.  Fold in 3 egg whites and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Step Six: Using cookie scoop, fill each cupcake paper 1/3 full with brownie batter. Add cake batter over the brownie batter, until muffin cups are each 2/3 full.

Step Seven: Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes.

Step Eight: Make frosting: cut the block of cream cheese into smaller pieces (4-6) and place in mixing bowl.  Cut the butter into 1/8 cup pieces and add into bowl.  Cream the butter and cream cheese together — you can add a little milk to facilitate this process.  Add in the vanilla and 1-2 teaspoons of milk (you can add more if you like a less firm frosting).  Stir until fully incorporated.

Step Nine: Frost your cupcakes using either a knife or piping bag.

-Eat Hearty!