Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Mother Loaf

Alright, so I've got to vent and so vent I shall. I hate Physics. I know my very existence is based on physics, but I hate it. I think it's pointless to know how one gets from point A to point B and how fast it takes me to get there. I don't care how heavy something is if it's on an incline. And I really hate right triangles right now. With that being said, I want to personally thank Physics and the fact that it almost completely ruined my Sunday evening. The only savior was some good comfort food... in the form of a loaf of meat. I give you - the Motherloaf. I know, stupid name... but oh was it delicious...

Adapted from Bon Appetit Oct 2009 Issue -"Turkey Meatloaf w/ Mushrooms & Herbs"

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups bread crustless bread squares (I used half french baquette and half wheat sandwich bread)
1 cup chicken broth
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup shallots, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tablespoon thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt
steak seasoning mix (you can make your own, or store brand, mine is equal parts red pepper flakes, season salt, and chili powder)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb. ground turkey breast
1 lb. ground chuck beef

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.

Toss bread squares in chicken broth and let soak for about 10 minutes.

Add in everything else but the meat. Mix up real good.

Add in the meat and blend well. Mold into pan and bake for about an hour and 25 minutes. Let rest for about 15 minutes.

Slice and serve.

Now seriously, how easy is that! I love meatloaf. And this is no exception. I made a quick and easy gravy also by mixing some of the pan juices with some beef stock and reducing down. Add a little cornstarch and the mixture should thicken a bit if you like it that way! Enjoy!

Friday, September 25, 2009


I must say, this week has been a little bit better than last. Not as busy, and not as stressful. Although my Organic Chemistry test kind of pissed me off. I got a C, borderline B- and it was all mistakes I could have avoided if I just read the damn question properly. Oh well, you live and learn. I have 3 lab reports and a Physics test all on Monday so it should be a joy this weekend I'm sure. Anyway, enough ranting... on to the links!

BDubs Recipes
- If you're like me and Andy, you love football. What goes great with football? A cold beer and some bdubs wings! But why pay the $5 or $6 for a bottle of your favorite sauce when you could make your own? Exactly.

30 Minutes or Less - Ever been in a bind to make something? Not enough time? Not enough energy? Well, instead of driving down to Taco Bell, check out this site which offers over 100 quick and easy meals... not to mention, they're on the healthy side too!

- Yeah, maybe Hershey's is just Americanized fine chocolate... but it reminds me of childhood and it tastes pretty dang good. Great uses and recipes for chocolate here.

Encyclopedia of Spices - Ever want to know what Zedoary is? Or where to get Harissa? Well, find anything out about the majority of spices out there, it's pretty much here.

Pasta Pie
- This is definitely awesome. Will make this soon and eat every last bit because it looks amazing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Panko Encrusted Chicken Breasts w/ Maple Mustard Pan Sauce

Well that was a doozy to say out loud. Good thing it's simpler than it sounds. Now I have to make a confession. Mustard scares me. Pretty much any condiment does: mustard, ketchup, MAYO (especially mayo), relish, it all freaks me out. I don't know what it is, but if you ever wanted to have me in a panic attack, just throw a bunch of condiments on me and I'll be set. So I was kind of weary making this sauce, but I've been learning to face my fears and overcome, and that is what I did...


5 boneless chicken breasts, each cut in half crosswise
2 eggs
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, divided
1-2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons coarse-grained mustard
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

If you're in a bad mood or angry at something when you start to make this, then this recipe is definitely going to relieve some stress. Place a few chicken breasts in a large plastic bag and flatten with a rolling pin or bottom of a pan. Really get it good, but don't murder the chicken, that's just wrong. You want it to be about 1/2 inch thick.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, parsley, and a squirt or two of the Dijon mustard. Like I said, mustard wigs me out so I kinda skimped on the mustard a bit. But you can add as much as you like if you're into that.

Dip chicken in egg mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Then dip chicken into panko and cover all over.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium to high heat. Cook chicken until it has a nice brown crust, about 4 minutes per side.

Make sure you don't overcrowd your pan, I did about 3 pieces per batch, but it just depends on the size of your chicken. Set chicken aside in a pan and cover with foil to keep warm.

In another small bowl, mix together the broth, syrup, coarse-grained mustard, and a few squirts of dijon mustard. Add this mixture to the pan used for searing the chicken and reduce to about 3/4 cup. Should be about 4-6 minutes. Then add chilled butter and stir until melted. Plate chicken and spoon sauce over top!

This was really good. I loved the panko crunch and the chicken was nice and tender. The sauce was great. It was a little sweet, but you could definitely get a good hint of mustard. And it didn't freak me out. Not to mention our dinner guests were pretty pleased also. (Patting myself on the back now). Enjoy!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Twice Baked Loaded Sweet Potatoes

I'm telling you, these past couple of weeks, with flu season and all, have made for some quite hellish days at work. I'm so stressed out from the pharmacy that after coming home from a late shift, I don't want to spend hours preparing a great meal. I can settle for a quick, mediocre one. And this was just the case the other night with these potatoes I found over at Mango & Tomato...


2 large sweet potatoes
2 medium sized chorizo pork sausages
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
6-8 fresh mozzarella balls
salt and pepper to taste

This is pretty much a no brainer recipe: just cook potatoes, fry filling, and bam, but I'll go into the details just in case...

Preheat oven to 475 degrees and bake potatoes for about 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes. Mine were pretty hefty, so it took all of about 45 minutes to get them good and done.

While you're waiting for the potatoes, remove the chorizo from it's casing and fry in a skillet until browned. Then add your garbanzo beans and mix well. The chorizo gives the filling a pretty decent heat, but I found that I had to add a little bit of salt and pepper just to add a little more flavor.

When potatoes are finished, allow them to cool for about 10-15 minutes. Make a slit in the middle of each one and carefully remove the filling and add it to the sausage/garbanzo mixture.

Shred some fresh mozzarella into the mixture, as much as you'd like, and mix well. Then add the mixture into the potato skins. Top with bits of mozzarella (I did this in layers by putting some cheese on the bottom of the potato skins, then add some filling, then more cheese in the middle, and more filling, and then top with cheese, but I like mucho cheesy things so you don't have to do this). Bake the potatoes for about 5 minutes, until cheese is nice and melted and dig in!

This didn't take considerably long to make, especially since I made Andy start baking the potatoes a little before I left work so they would be done by the time I got home! Smart eh? Overall, it was okay... would have been great as a side dish of loaded mashed sweet potatoes, but it was quick, easy, and relieved a little bit of my stress so I can't complain! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yellow Squash & Zucchini Bowties

Well, after an uneventful lamb dinner on Tuesday night, I knew I had to make up for it yesterday. I mean, I've only cooked with lamb about 3 times, and each time it just seems like I flop. I can't get rid of that game-y taste and it just doesn't end up being a winner, so I think I'm going to retire the lamb cooking, for now at least. So sticking to what I'm good at, I decided on a pasta dish. I've never really been let down by pasta, and this was no exception either.


1 large zucchini, cut into 1 & 1/2 inch sticks
3 small yellow squash, sliced and quartered
12 basil leaves, chopped
handful of pine nuts
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and fresh black pepper to taste
1 box bowtie pasta
1 cup parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
1/4 cup white wine, like a chardonnay

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

While waiting for the water, you can start on the rest of the components of the dish. In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium-high heat. Stir constantly so the nuts do not burn, and they should be good in about 2-3 minutes.

I really liked the pine nuts, they gave a nice added crunch and texture to the dish!

Then in a large fry pan, add 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil. Melt butter and then add your veggies. I had so much that I did it in 2 batches, 5 minutes each batch.

You want the veggies to start to get soft and slightly browned. Season with salt to taste, transfer to a bowl, and set aside.

When water comes to a boil, add a large pinch of salt and pasta to water. Cook until tender. Drain the pasta and reserve in the pot.

In the same fry pan you used for the veggies, melt remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and add garlic. Stir until fragrant. Add white wine and then add back in the zucchini, squash, and pine nuts. Mix together.

Add the zucchini/squash mixture, along with the chopped basil, to the bowties. Make sure everything is mixed well and then add in your parmesan cheese. This will melt and kind of make a light sauce.

Plate the pasta and top with additional parmesan cheese, if desired, and freshly ground black pepper.

This was a great meal. We both cleaned our plates in a matter of minutes. Definitely a meal that didn't leave you bloated either. I'm pretty sure it's pretty healthy too. So there's pluses all around with this one! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chicken Teriyaki With Garlic Noodles

Yes, I'm Asian. That's pretty obvious. I've only made chicken teriyaki once. I found a new recipe on it, that I tweaked a tad and turned out that Andy really enjoyed it. He couldn't stop raving about how good the kitchen smelled and how good the chicken tasted, so it looks like this one is a keeper. Found the basis for this recipe from the blog Imperrfections.

Chicken Teriyaki Ingredients:

2 large boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup sake (I really think this is the magic ingredient)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
salt to taste

The one thing that I switched up from Imperrfection's recipe was the sake.

The previous teriyaki recipe I used had sake in it, and I really think it balanced out the sweetness factor from the sugar so I toned down the vinegar and added the sake. And don't hesitate to do some sake bombs at any given moment. Makes the cooking process even more fun!

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Line a roasting pan with foil. Salt and pepper chicken strips and add to pan with foil.

Whisk together the cornstarch and water in a saucepan. I think cornstarch is like a miracle ingredient sometimes. Instantly thickens things and is a way cool science experiment when used in a matter of ways. But I'm not here to talk about science, it's all about the chicken right now.

Add rest of ingredients and bring to a simmer. Stir often until sauce is thickened. You'll be able to tell right away because the sauce will start to "bubble in slow motion." You'll know what I mean.

Pour sauce over chicken and mix so it coats the pieces evenly.

Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Garlic Noodles Ingredients:

1/2 box penne pasta
1/4 box linguini
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 green onions, chopped
2 & 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

I pretty much followed this recipe to the tee, except I used a different pasta(s). Mainly because it was in my cupboard and why go out and buy more pasta when I've already got an assortment? Right? Right.

Cook pasta according to package directions until you get it al dente. Drain and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in large skillet. Add garlic and onions and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.

Add fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Toss in pasta and mix until evenly coated with sauce. Serve with teriyaki.

This was quick, easy, and absolutely delicious! Great for a busy weeknight meal. Enjoy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chicken Grande Burritos

The dawn of football season is upon us. So bring on the comfort food! Tons of cheese, grease, wings and full bellies. That's what football food is all about... right? So to start the first Sunday of football season off right, we had our friends Kendra and Nick over to watch a couple games and eat some grub. And we had some pretty great burritos for dinner that went very well with a few beers!

Chicken Grande Burritos
adapted from Bon Appetit magazine September 2009

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 & 1/2 lb chicken breasts, cut into thick strips
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon mexican chili powder
1 6 oz. can of tomato puree
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatos
1 & 1/2 cups chicken broth
cilantro, chopped for garnish
6 burrito-sized tortillas
1 package of monterey jack & cheddar blend
12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
1 can verde enchilada sauce

Heat oil in large skillet over medium to high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to skillet. I had a little extra chicken so I had to do this in two batches so I wouldn't overcrowd my pan. Toss chicken until cooked through, maybe 5-7 minutes each batch. Transfer chicken to bowl and set aside.

Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to skillet. Season with salt and pepper and cook until almost soft, about 4-5 minutes.

Add chili powders and oregano. Stir until incorporated. Then add tomato paste and stir until well combined. Then add chicken broth and crushed tomatoes. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and let sauce thicken, about 15 minutes. Stir the mixture occasionally.

Meanwhile, shred the chicken coarsely. You can have a few big chunks in there for added texture, it doesn't have to be perfectly shredded. Add the chicken to the sauce and simmer for about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. One at a time, place tortilla on work surface. Add desired amount of cheese to center of tortilla, leaving about 2 inches on top and bottom. Add a few chopped cherry tomatoes and scoop of chicken filling mixture. Then top with lettuce. Fold over top and bottom and roll into burrito. This takes a bit of practice. I found that I was filling the burritos with too much and could hardly close them, but if it's not pretty, it's not the end of the world. It's the taste that matters in the end, right? Fold each burrito over and place in roasting pan, seam side down. Do this for the remaining 5 burritos. I found that only 6 would fit in my pan, but if you can get more, be my guest, because there's going to be TONS of filling left over.

Top each burrito with enchilada sauce and some more shredded cheese. Then bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

To plate, I placed a scoop of queso blanco on the plate, then put the burrito over that, and topped with more queso blanco and a pinch of fresh cilantro. This was quite cheesy, but I like it that way, and nobody else seemed to mind either!

This was a very filling dish and perfect for a football season dinner. Was very reminiscent of something you get at an authentic Mexican restaurant. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


So yeah, I understand that with my first links post a couple weeks ago, I did say every other Friday... and now it's Saturday. But to my defense, this week has been utterly hellish. Food is the only thing that is keeping me going, so I apologize for the lateness, and on to the links!

Basic Marinara Sauce - This is just a very simple, easy marinara. I like it because it's just the base so you can pretty much add anything you want and have it come out to your personal liking!

Skull Wedding Cakes
- Creepy or cool? Very unique, that's for sure!

20 Food Inventions We Could Have Done Without
- Goes through a list of certainly odd concoctions that have hit the grocery store shelves... I must say, some of the stuff, like candy cigarettes, aerosol cheese, and oscar meyer cheesedogs, were some of my favorite things as a child!

Food Myths
- runs down a few misconceptions in the kitchen... my personal favorite on the list "don't salt your meat before cooking"... seriously??? People really thought that? wtf.

Temple of Thai - If you're like me and you LOVE Thai or any other ethnic food, this site it for you. Pretty much every That recipe known to man is on this list.

Well, I'm crossing my fingers that since it's going to be a new week, it will be a new attitude. And don't forget to get your flu shots! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Beef Tenderloin W/ Broccoli/Cauliflower Hash

There's nothing more savory to me than a big hunk of beef (sorry vegetarians)! Especially a tenderloin, which when cut up is pretty much filet mignon! And don't worry you vegheads out there! I've got a Broccoli/Cauliflower Hash that is to die for (you could opt out the bacon of course to suit your needs).

Beef Tenderloin Ingredients:

1/2 cup parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb beef tenderloin in one piece
2 cups chopped broccoli
2 cups chopped cauliflower
1 lb red potatoes, cut into cubes
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 ounces sliced pancetta, chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup beef stock
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon white truffle oil

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine May 2009 issue

In a food processor, combine parsley, rosemary, brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Process until it turns into a paste. Coat the tenderloin with the paste and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight is ideal.

In a large saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Also, line a large bowl with paper towels and set aside. Add the broccoli and cauliflower to pot and cook until crisp and tender, about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove broccoli and cauliflower from pot and place in bowl with paper towels and pat dry. Set aside.

Put the potatoes in pot and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the pot and dry potatoes. Mash the potatoes and add them to broccoli and cauliflower bowl. Mix the vegetables together well and season with salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in medium sized skillet and add pancetta and cook until crisp, maybe 5 minutes. Stir the pancetta and oil into hash mixture.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Spread the hash mixture in the skillet in an even layer and cook until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Flip over hash in sections, and carefully pour remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil around edges. This will make sure the edges crisp up as well! Cook for another 3 minutes or until browned and crisp. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the tenderloin, you can either cook on a grill or pan fry in a skillet. It was raining outside, so I couldn't use the grill, so I decided to pan fry. And i liked this idea better too because I could get those juicy sucs from the tenderloin to make my sauce even better!

Unwrap the tenderloin and cut into 4 even slices, about an inch and a half thick. Season with salt and pepper and sear both sides until medium high to high heat, about 8 minutes on both sides for a nice medium rare. I use the palm method to test my steak's doneness, so timing really doesn't work very well, especially when stove heat differs for each person. Just cook it how you like it though! Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest for about 5 minutes.

Now it's sauce time! With those delicious sucs you've got, deglaze your pan with the beef stock. Also stir in your mustard. Season with salt and pepper and there you have it, basic sauce! In addition to all this, I added 1 tablespoon of cold unsalted butter, this gives the sauce an added sheen and another depth of flavor. You can choose to do this or not. Set the sauce aside.

Reheat the hash in skillet until sizzling. Transfer the hash to plates and drizzle with a little bit of white truffle oil (if you've got it). Place the tenderloin steaks on top of the hash and drizzle with the sauce and serve.

Yes, there may be a ton of components to this dish, but trust me, it is WELL worth it. Very good all around! Enjoy

oh, and as an added side note, these brownies were what we had for dessert! You can find the recipe here at A Dash Of Sass!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Foodie Fights Battle #11 - Chipotle/Goat Cheese: Chicken Adobo Lettuce Wraps W/ Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa & Goat Cheese Queso

Ok. Chipotle & Goat Cheese. Two amazing ingredient on their own. But can they work together as one to be a powerhouse of flavor? The answer? Si.

This is my second battle, and after winning the first, I knew I had to bring my A plus plus game because yeah, winning one battle is pretty awesome, but what if it was just a fluke? So what if one judge gave me the win, but to get two wins in a row (and be the 1st to ever do so, I might add), now THAT would be incredible. Not to mention how huge my head would become after doing so, but I digress. Now to bring myself back to the present instead of dreamland.

Anyway, the immediate moment that I found out the ingredients, my brain was at work. Exploring flavor options and profiles. Thinking what would sound good and refreshing. And BAM! My pencil met the paper and I came up with this... Lettuce Wraps. Chicken ADOBO Lettuce Wraps. I've been looking for a reason to make chicken adobo for ages, considering my last bout pretty much sucked. A sad day for a Filipino when her adobo doesn't turn out well.

So for the adobo, I chose to do two different styles. The traditional Filipino adobo with chipotles. And then the Latin American Style adobo that chipotles are usually in when you buy them from a can. Out of them both, I don't know if it's because I'm Filipino and I'm kind of partial anyway, but I liked the flavors of that one better.

Marinated Chicken in Filipino Style Chipotle Adobo:

1/2 lb boneless and skinless chicken thighs
3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vinegar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 big pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Marinated Chicken in Latin American Style Chipotle Adobo:

1/2 lb boneless and skinless chicken thighs
3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon oregano
juice from 1 lime
1/4 cup vinegar

For the marinades, combine all ingredients, except for the chicken and bay leaf from Filipino adobo, in a blender and puree until all ingredients are incorporated. Then in 2 separate plastic bags, combine chicken thighs, pureed marinades, and add bay leaf to Filipino adobo bag. Seal both bags, and make sure there is little or no air in each one. Fold bags as tightly together as possible, that way, the marinade has little surface area and can penetrate through the chicken easier. I let the marinades sit in the fridge for 2 days, mainly because I lost track of time and couldn't make time until today (Labor Day), but I'd suggest letting it marinate for AT LEAST 2 hours, but overnight is ideal.

So as I was brainstorming, I was trying to think of how I could incorporate the goat cheese in all of this. And keeping with a sort of Asian/Latin American fusion type deal, I decided to do a goat cheese queso to top the chicken. Which then led to the idea of a Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa. Cheese and salsa go together fantastically, so why not in this dish also??! The ball was rollin' and I was getting excited.

Goat Cheese Queso:

6 oz. Queso Fresco, chopped into cubes
1 Serrano Pepper, sliced
6 oz. Goat cheese, chopped into cubes
1/2 to 1 cup of heavy cream, depending on the consistency of how you like your cheese

In a small saucepan, combine cheeses and serrano peppers. Let melt, and then add cream in small batches until you get the texture of your liking.

I've never melted goat cheese before, so I didn't know how well it would interact in all of this, but it faired pretty well. It gave the cheese a texture, kind of gritty (but not like sandy, unbearable gritty, but the taste of goat cheese gritty (if that makes any sense at all?!?!)). It definitely packed a heated punch with the Serrano pepper in there though!

Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa

1 lb. of tomatillos, halved and quartered
3 gloves garlic, chopped
2 canned chipotles in adobo sauce

In a large fry pan, saute garlic until just fragrant, maybe a minute.
Add tomatillos and cook until soft.

Remove from heat for a few minutes and add to blender along with chipotles.
Pulse a few times until you get a desired consistency. Some like it chunky, but mine was pretty smooth.

So now I have all of my components, and individually tasting each one, they all tasted pretty damn good. But would they work together?!?!

Grill the chicken on a medium to high heat on a charcoal grill.

Cook until white throughout.
Let chicken rest on cutting board for about 5 minutes.

Then cut chicken in strips.

Get out some lettuce leaves, I used iceberg because they're crisp and I thought they would hold well. Layer some strips of chicken on top of lettuce.

Then add salsa.

And finally, top with queso.

Fold over and stuff your face! Andy enjoyed them, and I finally took this to work shortly after I made them, and all of my coworkers seemed to enjoy them also. So I'm pretty sure this was a home run with them, and hopefully it will be for you guys too!! Good luck to the competition!!!


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