Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bologna–love it or hate it?

I loved bologna sandwiches as a child, so no wonder that I love this fancy grown up version by Sunny Anderson.  It’s not something I’d want often, but during those random nostalgic moments, it’s a great one to keep in the recipe book.  I skipped the chipotle mayo, but I’m sure that would be great too.

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While the bologna was cooking, I also made some healthy sides to even out the fatty deli meat.  Leaks, roasted tomatoes, and asparagus.

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Ingredients

Chipotle-Mayonnaise Spread:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped or 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
Bologna:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (2-inch thick) slice bologna, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (about 8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup onions, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 slices white Pullman bread, toasted

Directions

For the chipotle-mayonnaise spread: Combine the mayonnaise and chipotle pepper in a bowl, and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the bologna: In a large pan on medium-high heat add the oil. Add the bologna chunks to the hot oil. Sauté while tossing to brown all sides, about 8 minutes. Add the onions and season lightly with a few grinds of pepper. Continue to toss while cooking until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes more. Stir in the mustard, and honey to coat, and then add the wine. Simmer while tossing until the wine bubbles and foams and is reduced to only a bit of sauce in the pan.

To assemble the sandwiches, slather chipotle mayonnaise on each slice of toasted bread and top equally with the bologna. To serve as a smaller bite, cut the toasted bread into 1/4ths and continue to top as directed.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chicken Salad Delight

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Sunday night and I’m doing my week in a day cooking.  In addition to making my dinners for the week, I also like to make a few items that are easy to-go items.  This week I made chicken salad and egg salad.

I made the chicken salad a little different than normal and I really loved the outcome.  Since it’s just me that will eat it – I used only 1 large chicken breast (or 4 tenders), but if making this recipe for more than one, I’d definitely suggest at least doubling up on the ingredients.

First, I poached the chicken in water with onion, garlic, bay leaves, celery, salt and pepper.  Once cooked and just slightly cooled, I chopped it to a shredded texture.

Next I mixed the following ingredients:

  • large spoonful of mayo (I’ve been using the mayo w/ olive oil and I love it!)
  • small spoonful of softened cream cheese
  • small palm full of chives, finely chopped
  • handful of grapes, halved
  • dash of dill
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • small palm full of celery and celery leaves, finely chopped

So flavorful and creamy!!  Delicious on crackers, a croissant, or just by itself.  Also, perfect for a busy work week lunch.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tips & Tricks

Ripening and Keeping Bananas: Separate banana fingers from the “pack” when you get home from the grocery. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.

Storing Cheese: Store your opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not mold!

Peppers: Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.

Cooking Ground Beef: Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.

Creamy Scrambled Eggs: To make scrambled eggs or omelets rich and creamy, add a couple of spoonfulls of  sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream in and beat.

Mint Brownies: For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed. Melt Andes mints in double broiler and pour over warm brownies.  Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.

Garlic Flavor: Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic  and at the end of the recipe if you want a stronger taste of garlic.

Candy Bar Treat: Leftover snickers bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert.  Simply chop them up with the food chopper. Peel, core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over the apples. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes!!!  Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Reheat Pizza: Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet  on top of the stove, set heat to med-low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza.

Easy Deviled Eggs: Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag. Seal, mash till they are all broken up.  Add remainder of ingredients, reseal, keep mashing it up mixing thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture  into egg. Just throw bag away when done easy clean up.

Expanding Frosting: When you buy a container of cake frosting from the store, whip it with your  mixer for a few minutes. You can double it in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less sugar and calories per  serving.

Reheating Refrigerated Bread: To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster. 

Measuring Cups: Before you pour sticky substances  into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry cup.  Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mexican Lasagna

I’ve seen a multitude of lasagna recipes and decided to make one of my own!  While it came out a little more casserole feeling than lasagna to me, it tasted great and I would highly recommend.  Hope you enjoy!

Prep: preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 13x9 pan.

Recipe / Ingredients:

  • 4-5 cups shredded chicken 
  • 1 small/med chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic (grated, pressed, or finely chopped)

TIP - You can either cook your chicken first (I poached my chicken, then shredded) and cook the onion separately OR you can cube chicken breast and cook with the onion.

If your chicken is already cooked… next cook onions and garlic until softened in a couple tablespoons of olive oil.

Once onions and garlic are cooked, add cooked chicken and the following ingredients to pot or large skillet.

  • 15 oz can enchilada sauce
  • 15-20 oz can of plum or diced tomatoes
  • sliced black olives (small can or enough for personal liking)
  • salt (1 teaspoon) and pepper (1/4 teaspoon)

Let simmer about 20 minutes until sauce thickens and flavors marry.

Separately, mix following ingredients in small bowl and set aside:

  • 2 cups of cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs

Now it’s time to start the layers!!

Final ingredients –

  • corn tortillas (not the crunchy hard shells!)
  • shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese (my grocery has a blended bag, but if yours doesn’t just pick your favorite!).

Spread 1/3 of the meat sauce on bottom of the pan, top with 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture, shredded cheese and finally the corn tortillas (I cut them in half and used 4 rounds per layer). Repeat 2 more times but leave off the tortillas on the final layer and just end with the cheese. 

Cover with tin foil and cook for 20 minutes.  Uncover and cook 10 minutes more.  Serve hot!

TIP: I like mine with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro.