Sunday, June 2, 2013

Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Lemon, and Asparagus

I can't believe it has been over a year since I have last posted a recipe!  A lot of things have happened in this past year.  I got engaged, moved all the way across the country from Cincinnati, OH, to Denver, CO, ended a postdoctoral fellowship, and started a new job. These last 3-4 months especially have been so hectic.  When I moved back to Cincinnati after graduate school, I moved into a 3 bedroom house.  After living there for 5 years, I think I tried to fill every available space because packing up that house was a monstrous job.  Fortunately, I donated and got rid of a bunch of stuff, but it still was a haul to move everything across the country.  I can't thank my dad, my uncle, and our friend Mark for driving the moving truck through breakdowns, unexpected stops in Columbia, MO, and bad weather.

This dish was one that I could make on a weeknight that wouldn't take too long to prepare, and it cooks in one dish, which makes clean up a breeze.  When I first made this, I used a whole chicken that I broke down myself, but believe me, it's much easier to just buy a chicken that is already cut up into 8 pieces.  With the lemon and asparagus, it is perfect recipe for spring/summer, make it while the asparagus is still in season, you won't regret it!

Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Lemon, and Asparagus
    adapted from Martha Stewart
    serves 4

  • 1 1/2 small new potatoes, halved or quartered if potatoes are large
  • 4 tablespoons butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 chicken cut up into 8 pieces (about 3 lbs)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-3 inch pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Place the potatoes and half the butter in a roasting pan (I used a 9 x 13 glass pan), scatter the garlic cloves over the potatoes and season with salt and pepper and dried thyme.  Roast the potatoes, tossing once, until the potatoes are golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Place chicken, skin side up, on top of potatoes; season with salt and pepper.  Roast until chicken begins to brown, about 20 minutes.  

Scatter the asparagus, lemon, and remaining butter around the chicken.  Roast until the asparagus is tender and the juices on the chicken run clear, about 10-15 more minutes.  Serve chicken, vegetables, and lemon drizzled with pan juices.  

Notes:  Be sure to squeeze the lemons over the whole dish, the roasting mellows the acidity, and really brightens the dish.  

I hope to get back to posting more regularly now that I am settled into my new place.  I hope you try this dish and enjoy!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cheddar Topped Shepherd's Pie

It's almost St. Patrick's Day, and recipes are popping up all over my favorite food blogs, and I thought this recipe for Shepherd's Pie would fit right in.  Shepherd's Pies has a meat and vegetable filling, either made with ground beef or ground lamb, which is topped with a mashed potato crust.  When I saw this recipe from Martha Stewart, I knew I wanted to try it.

This recipe is easy and made with ingredients that are usually refrigerator and pantry staples.  I only had to pick up some authentic Irish cheddar from the store, and I was able to whip this up in no time.  The only thing that takes a lot of time is all the vegetables that have to be chopped.

The only change to this recipe I made was to partially cook my ground beef before adding it to the pan.  Recently, I was lucky enough to win a contest from Serious Eats.  It was a Super Bowl contest, and the prize was 10 lbs of ground beef to use at your Super Bowl party.  The beef was shipped in 2 lbs. packages, and we only used 4 lbs. on Super Bowl Sunday, so I had 6 lbs. sitting in my freezer.  This was really high quality meat that contained a lot of fat and marbling, so if your beef has a high fat content, you may want to partially cook the meet before adding it to skillet to get rid of some of that extra fat.  If your ground beef is very lean, this step isn't necessary.

I thought this was a hearty, homey dish that is quick and easy. Next time I think I will try add some peas in the dish as well.  Happy St. Patricks Day!

Cheddar Topped Shepherd's Pie
   serves 6-8

  • 2 lbs. baking potatoes (I used Idaho Russets), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
  • 6 medium carrots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 celery stalks, halved (if large) and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 to 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese (I used Kerrygold Mature Cheddar)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, place the potatoes in large pot and cover with salted water (about 1 inch above the potatoes).  Cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile heat a 5 quart Dutch oven, or a large heavy-bottomed pot, over medium-high heat.  Add carrots, celery, onion and thyme, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Do not brown the vegetables. Add the flour and the tomato paste, cook for at least a minute to incorporate the flour and tomato paste.  Add the beef and cook until it is no longer pink.  Add 1 cup of water and bring it to a boil, simmer 1 minute.  Pour the beef filling until a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Drain potatoes and return to the pan, cook over medium heat until the water is evaporated, about 1 minute.  Keep stirring so the potatoes do not stick to the pot.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the whole milk (start with 3/4 of a cup and add up to 1/4 cup more until the desired consistency is achieved), and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese.  Mash until the potatoes are smooth and season with salt and pepper.

Drop dollops of the mashed potatoes over the beef filling, spread to the edges of the dish with a spatula (it won't be a very thick layer, but it will puff up a bit in the oven).  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese.  Bake until the topping is browned and the filling is bubbling, about 15-20 min. (Mine was ready by 15 minutes).  Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day: Biscoff Kisses

For Valentine's Day I wanted to make something fun and playful.  Unfortunately, my boyfriend won't be in town until this weekend, so I will be sharing these cookies with family and friends, which is great too.  I will be making a special dessert this weekend to celebrate Valentine's Day with him as well.

I decided to do a take on the holiday staple, The Peanut Blossom.  You know, the peanut butter cookie that has the Hershey's kiss pressed in the middle of the cookie.  I love those cookies, but I wanted to make them a bit differently.  Have you heard of Biscoff cookies?  They are those tasty, lightly spiced cookies that you get when you are on a Delta flight.  Well the makers of these cookies have come up with Biscoff Spread.  It's basically similar in texture to Nutella or Peanut butter, but it taste just like those delicious cookies.

image from

I used the Biscoff Spread in place of peanut butter, and instead of the typical solid milk chocolate kiss, I used the Hershey's Kisses that are filled with caramel.  I know, right?  I thought they would go well with the Biscoff flavor, and I wasn't disappointed.  The Biscoff flavor is pretty subtle, but it adds a nice flavor that is sweet and delicious.  You could make these cookies with Nutella or peanut butter if you can't find the Biscoff spread, but I do recommend you seek it out because it's delicious.

Biscoff Kisses
    adapted from Land O'Lakes
    makes 30-36 cookies

For the cookies:
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff spread
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

For rolling and finishing the cookies:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 30-36 Caramel-filled Hershey Kisses

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Combine the 1/3 cup white sugar, the brown sugar, the butter, and the Biscoff spread in a large bowl.  Using a mixer, beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add the egg, vanilla, and salt and continue beating until well mixed.  Scraping the bowl as you go along, add the flour and the baking soda and mix until the flour is fully incorporated.  At this point, if the dough is too soft you can refrigerate it until it is a bit firmer (30-60 minutes).

Shape dough into small balls.  I used a 2 tsp cookie scoop to make uniform sized cookies.  This is a bit bigger than the 1-inch balls that the original recipe calls for, but I like my cookies a bit bigger.  Rolls the balls in the additional 1/4 sugar and place on cookie sheets that are covered in parchment paper, spaced at least 2 inches apart.  

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes (for bigger cookies) or 8-10 minutes (for smaller cookies) until the cookies are lightly golden brown.  When you remove the cookies from the oven, immediately press an unwrapped Hershey kiss in the middle of the cookie.  Place the cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.  

Note: The caramel filled kisses are a bit more delicate than the solid chocolate ones, so be careful not to disturb the cookies while they are cooling or the kisses with melt into funny shapes.  (See below, not so pretty, right?)

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Honey-Chipotle Pork Meatballs

Here is another recipe from my Magazine of the Month, Everyday Food January 2012: The Light Issue.  This time I made the Honey-Chipotle Turkey Meatballs.  I wanted to make this with ground turkey, but when I went to the grocery store to get the ingredients, there was no ground turkey.  I know that sounds crazy, but the last two times I have tried to get ground turkey, it wasn't available.  Maybe there is a shortage or a recall of which I am not aware, but fortunately there was ground pork on sale, so I decided to make the meatballs with that instead.  Granted, they are a bit fattier with turkey, but after making these meatballs, I think any kind of ground meat would work well with this recipe.

I loved these meatballs, they had a great flavor, and the combination of sweet and spicy was spot on.  I did make some changes.  I like my meatballs to be a bit saucier, so I doubled the ingredients of the sauce.  I used a chipotle sauce instead of the straight chilies, because I thought it would add a bit of a richer, more complex favor than the chilies alone.  The original recipe called for shaping the meat into 16 meatballs, but they seemed too big to me.  I wanted bit-sized meatballs, so I shaped mine into 20 meatballs instead.  These would make a great appetizer for a dinner or if you want to take them to a tailgate or potluck, you can easily double or triple the recipe.  

Honey-Chipotle Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey or pork
  • 1/4 of a yellow onion, minced finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced finely
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. flat leaf parsley, chopped finely (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, add the ground meat, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and parsley.  Mix together until just combined, being careful not to overmix as the meat will become tough when cooked.  

Form into 16-20 meatballs depending on the size of meatball you like.  In a large ovenproof skillet, heat one tablespoon olive oil to medium high.  Add the meatballs and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.  Transfer skillet to the oven and bake an additional 5 minutes.  Test for doneness by cutting one of the meatballs in half to make sure it is cooked all the way through.  

While the meatballs are cooking, stir together the honey, chipotle sauce, and cider vinegar.  

Remove the oven from the skillet and transfer the meatballs to a serving bowl, draining any fat that has accumulated (if using pork).  Pour the honey-chipotle sauce over the meatballs and toss to combine, serve immediately.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Asian Chicken and Orzo Salad

I made this pasta salad when I had a few friends over for lunch one Sunday.  It's a great dish because you can make it the night before and serve it cold or at room temperature.  I found this recipe over at the Food Network.  It's from Paula Deen if you can believe it or not, and it doesn't contain one bit of butter.  Based on the reviews I changed things from the original recipe, like I reduced the oil in the recipe and added more soy sauce and some of the other ingredients.  I thought the changes added a lot of flavor, and I really liked it.  This recipe makes a lot, so it's great for a party, light and pretty healthy too.

Asian Chicken and Orzo Salad

  • 1 cup of shelled, cooked edamame (you can cook them by blanching them in boiling, salted water for about 4-5 minutes if they aren't cooked when you purchase them)
  • 1-16 oz package of orzo, cooked and drained
  • 1 cup water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 2 green onions, whites and greens, sliced thin
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil (any neutral tasting oil will work)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil 
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce 
  • 1 tsp Sriracha (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the orzo, chicken, edamame, green onions, and red bell pepper.  In a small bowl, whisk to combine the canola oil, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin, and Sriracha.  Pour over the pasta and chicken mixture and toss to combine.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.  Can serve cold or at room temperature.

Note: When you are ready to serve, give it a taste, it may need more soy or hoisin sauce.  Mine felt a bit dried out the next day, so I drizzled some extra soy sauce  and hoisin sauce over the top, stirred to combine, and it was just great.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Easy Blackberry Cake

If you are looking for an easy weeknight cake studded with delicious fruit, then this is recipe for you.  I found this over at Pioneer Woman's website.   She calls it a cobbler, but to me, cobbler is usually a fruit filling topped with a biscuit-like crust.  In this recipe you make a batter, then scatter the fruit over top, and as the cake/cobbler bakes, the fruit sinks down into the batter and releases its delicious juices.  She does have another recipe for blackberry cobbler that is more like to kind I am used to, and I will have to try it sometime.

So like I said, this is an easy weeknight recipe, and you will see why.  It's a recipe that comes together in a flash, you don't even need to get out your mixer.  You can easily throw it in the oven while you are baking dinner on the stovetop, and it will be ready by the time you are finished eating dinner.  I made mine with blackberries like the Pioneer Woman did, but I think it would be good with almost any fruit.  I would love to try cherries, blueberries, or peaches as well.

Easy Blackberry Cake

  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1 cup of sugar, divided (3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup self-rising flour (or 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups blackberries 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a baking dish (I used a glass pie pan).

Melt the stick of butter in the microwave.  In a separate bowl, combine 3/4 cup sugar and 1 cup flour, slowly pour in the milk and mix well.   Then pour in melted butter, and mix until it is fully incorporated into the batter.

Rinse and thoroughly dry the blackberries.  Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and scatter the blackberries over the top of the batter.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup over the top of the cake.  (Don't skip this step, as it gives a sweet, crisp top to the cake).

Bake in the oven until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  For me it was about 40 minutes, but the original recipe calls for up to one hour.  So check around 35 minutes, and keep close watch from there.  Remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack.  Serve alone or with ice cream or whipped cream.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Honey-Glazed Carrots with Cilantro and New Blog Features!

So I haven't blogged in almost three months.  I really didn't want to post one recipe in November and one in December.  I wanted to come back when I was ready to devote more time to it and really make it a commitment in my everyday life.  I've decided that there is no time like the present.  In order to blog more and to utilize my great collection of food magazines and cookbooks, I am introducing two new features to my blog.  One is what I am calling Magazine of the Month.  I am going to take one of my many magazines from my numerous subscriptions and cook 3-4 recipes from that magazine during the current month.  The recipe above is from this month's choice.

Another addition to my blog is what I am calling my Current Cookbook.  I am going to pick one cookbook and cook 4-5 or more recipes from that book.  At the end, I will write a comprehensive review of the cookbook and give it a rating.  I have so many, yet I rarely cook from them, I just love to look through them and get ideas about what I want to cook.  This isn't a bad thing, I just want to try so many recipes from these books, now I am giving myself the chance to do it.  My first choice for my Current Cookbook is America's Test Kitchen's Slow Cooker Revolution.  I thought it would be a good choice for these cold winter months, and I also just got a new slow cooker that I am eager to try out.

So onto the recipe.  Like I said, this is from Everyday Food, and the reason I picked it was because it had an interesting method for cooking the carrots.  You place the carrots in a skillet with a little olive oil, then you cover it for water.  As the carrots boil in the water they become soft, and then the water eventually evaporates.  The carrots then begin to caramelize in the skillet and pick up those lovely charred spots that add a lot of flavor to the carrots, add in some honey time to bring in a bit of extra sweetness.  You then deglaze the skillet with a bit of water or broth.  The carrots are finally tossed with a bit of cilantro for some brightness.  I really love this technique.  It's so delicious and the carrots and cooked wonderfully.  I will definitely use this method from now on.

Honey-Glazed Carrots with Cilantro  
   serves 4

  • 6 medium sized carrots, halved lengthwise and chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons of broth, white wine, or water
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh cilantro

In a large skillet, combine the carrots and the olive oil.  Add just enough water to cover the carrots (about 2 cups).  Cook over medium-high heat until the water is evaporated and the carrots are soft, about 15 minutes.  

At this point, cook, tossing often until the carrots are light golden brown with some charred spots. Season with salt and pepper.   Add 1 tablespoon honey and 2 tablespoons broth, white wine, or water.  Stir and scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon, until the carrots are glazed, about 2-4 minutes.  Stir in 2 tablespoons of the chopped cilantro.  Serve immediately.

Print Feature:

Another great feature that I have added is a "Print/PDF option" to the blog.  This means if you click on the icon below, you will be able to print or save a pdf of this blog post.  I really love this feature on other blogs, because when I see a recipe I like, I like to print it out immediately or save it as a PDF onto my computer, so I can use it later.  Anyway, I hope you like the new features, and I hope to be around more often!


I don't know who has checked out Pinterest yet, but it's a great website where you can "Pin" different things on your personal pinboard. It's a place to share all the wonderful things you see on the web.  People use Pinterest to remind them of ideas for cooking, organizing, decorating, you name it.  If you see  a recipe you like here, and you want to "pin" it, that would be wonderful.  Just click on the button below, and you will be able to do that.  

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin Apple Donuts with Apple Cider Glaze

Fall is my favorite time of year.  Living in the Midwest, you get to experience the best of it.  The leaves change color, and it's finally getting cooler.  It's this time of year that you start to see all the pumpkin recipes showing up on the blogs and in the cooking magazines.  I love pumpkin desserts, and after I got this pan on sale the other day, I knew I wanted to make pumpkin donuts.  I had some honeycrisp apples (another wonderful fall occurence) on hand, so when I found this recipe from Cherry Tea Cakes for Pumpkin Apple donuts, I knew I had to try them out.  

These donuts are really delicious, they are cake-like considering they are baked and not fried, and the apple cider glaze add a spicy sweet topping to the apple filled donuts.  I altered the original recipe a bit by decreasing the amount of sugar and increasing the spices in the batter.  I also swapped out some of the white sugar for brown sugar to incorporate a deeper more molasses-like flavor to the donuts.  I think the changes turned out well.  You will have some extra glaze left over after you dip the donuts, but I just spooned some over the donuts once the first glaze had dried to add an extra sweet layer.  I will definitely be making these again.  

If you didn't have a donut pan, you could always bake these in muffin tins, but you would have to increase the baking time a bit. 

Pumpkin Apple Donuts with Apple Cider Glaze
    makes 10-12 donuts

For the donuts:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼  teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½  cup canned pumpkin puree
  • ¼  cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup peeled, cored and chopped apple

For the glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup, or less of spiced apple cider or milk if you don't have cider
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease donut or muffins pans.  

In a large bowl sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. 

In a separate bowl, mix together egg, white and brown sugar, pumpkin and oil. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stirring just to moisten. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into doughnut molds filling roughly half full to three quarters full.  

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let sit in the pan for a few minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.  Allow to fully cool before dipping in the glaze.  

To make the apple cinnamon glaze,  mix powdered sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Add cider or milk until you reach the desired consistency. Dip each doughnut in and allow glaze to set.  If you have any extra glaze you can always spoon it over the donuts once the first layer of glaze has fully set.