Thursday, September 23, 2010

Alice Springs Chicken

My husband and I don't have much time to go out to dinner and enjoy ourselves. As a result we don't get to enjoy some of our favorite meals at restaurants that we go to. One night I wanted to make something special for my husband who wasn't having a great day. I had chicken out of the freezer and did a search online to gather some ideas of what to make.

I then came across the Alice Springs Chicken from the Outback restaurant. This is one of his favorite meals from this restaurant and I had most of the ingredients. What could be better then chicken smothered in mushrooms, bacon, and melted cheese after a hard day at work? The recipe that I found online called for the chicken to be marinated in a honey mustard marinade. I didn't have much time to get the chicken marinaded so I skipped the marinade, pan sheared the chicken in the pan, and just proceeded with the rest of the process. Oh and did I mention that I seared the chicken in the same pan that I cooked the bacon in? I added a little clog artery to the menu too :-).

I will give you the entire recipe so if you want the night before you can whip up the marinade and let it hang over night getting the full effect with your dinner.

Alice Springs Chicken

1 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup honey
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp lemon juice
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
12 slices cooked bacon
3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley

Combine the mustard, honey, and 1 Tbsp of the oil along with the lemon juice and mix. Place the chicken in a 1 gallon ziplock bag and pour half the mixture on top. Refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours. Save and chill the remaining marinade to serve later with the chicken. After chicken has marinaded: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the remaining oil in a frying pan, heat and sear chicken on both sides. Place chicken in an oven safe pan and brush liberally with the marinade. In the same pan add butter and saute the mushrooms. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place bacon strips across each breast, spoon mushrooms on top and then add approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup of cheese on each breast. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake 7 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubble. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with honey mustard marinade.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Veggie Pizza

No this isn't your normal pizza shop pizza. All warm with melted cheese and sauteed vegetables.This pizza has a cream cheese spread on a buttery crescent crust and fresh crunch veggies. This is usually my go to for pot lucks at my Capital Region Mother's of Multiples annual pot luck. I first had this at my baby shower for my daughter, who is now 4. My, at that time future, sister-in-law brought this over for the shower. It was so yummy that I had to have the recipe. Simple and easy, it is perfect for any party or just a quick little snack. I have also found that my daughter loves this and it is great at getting her to eat some of those veggies. I heard that Pampered Chef also has this in one of their recipe books. This is how I make it and of course you can make it your own by changing it up.
Veggie Pizza

2 Pillsbury crescent roll tubes
1 packet of powdered ranch dressing mix
2 bricks of cream cheese
1 cup of mayonasie
any veggies your choice, chopped fine
fine shredded cheese

Bake the crescent rolls as directed on package. Mix mayonnaise, ranch packet, and softened cream cheese in bowl. (Mush easier if you use a electric hand mixer but you can do it by hand). Spread cream cheese mix evenly over crescent rolls. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and chopped veggies. Keep cool until time to serve. Makes 2 pizza.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Frugal Gourmet Returns

I may be only 29 but I sure do remember the Frugal Gourmet, Jeff Smith. I remember seeing him on TV occasionally but mostly I remember his cook books. The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors: Recipes You Should Have Gotten from Your Grandmother and The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines: China, Greece, and Rome. My parents owned both of these and made several recipes from them. The one I can remember the most is stuffed cabbage. I always remember it being this time consuming meal that my mother would have to start early. Now that I have made it a couple of times for my family it really is not so bad to make. Yeah boiling the cabbage and waiting for it to cool so you can gently pull the leaves off and stuffing about 24 rolls then letting them simmer for 50 minuets seems time consuming but it isn't a labor consuming.

With cabbage growing the garden it's either cole slaw or stuffed cabbage. I really need to build on my cabbage recipe knowledge. When I made the recipe last I was try to decide if I wanted to use the crock pot or channel my inner Jeff Smith and make it "like my Grandmother" did. I did end up making it the Frugal Gourmet recipe version. 

Polish Stuffed Cabbage

For the Filling:
1 1/4 cups converted rice
2 cups water
3/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped small
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 3/4 lbs lean ground beef
3/4 lb ground pork
salt and pepper to taste
For the Cabbage
3 medium heads winter cabbage
For the Sauce
3 cups tomato sauce
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

To Prepare the Filling
Place the rice in a small pot and cover with 2 cups of water. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then drain the excess water. Heat a frying pan and add the oil, garlic, and onion. Saute until the onion is transparent. Stir in the parsley and allow the mixture to cool. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat with the cooled rice and onion mixture. Ass salt and pepper to taste.

To Prepare and Fill the Cabbage Leaves
Cut out the cores of the cabbage with a paring knife. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a bit of salt. Add the cored cabbages, one head at a time and blanch for 5 minutes. Place in a colander and carefully pull off 24 of the largest, best looking leaves, 1 at a time. Rinse with cold water, just as soon as you pull each one from the head. Place 1/3 cup of the filling in the center of each leaf and roll it up, foling the ends so that have a nice bundle. Place the stuffed leaves in a 10 to 12 quart stove top cover casserole. Be sure that they are packed rather tightly together. Place some of the leftover leaves on the top.  
To Prepare the Sauce and Cook
Mix the tomato sauce and vinegar together and pour over the contents of the pot. Add boiling water to just barely cover the rolled leaves.
 Bring to a boil slowly over medium-low heat. Simmer, covered, for about 50 minutes, or until all is tender. Do not over cook.
I think my mother still has these cook books and I may have to borrow them to perhaps make another recipe from the Frugal Gourmet Past. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Build a Better Burger

I am always looking for new ways to make my hamburgers. I usually like to add a little more flavor then just salt and pepper. My husband would just prefer to have it that way. Sometimes I can't even get Montreal Steak Seasoning on the burger. And always cheese or no cheese topper. I usually want to try to make something different like a taco burger or topped with something different like avocado. The answer I receive usually ends with well make mine just salt and pepper. I should just cave a do so but I want him to try it too.  Try it you might like it. I always make it just plain salt and pepper, but I will admit when he isn't looking some times I top it with Steak Seasoning. ;-) sshh don't tell him.

This time around I was craving a steak sub but didn't have any steak thawed and wasn't driving 30 minutes to get sub and pay $25. Yes we live that far from a sub shop. At least a good sub shop. So the idea popped into my head, steak and cheese hamburgers. I sauteed up some onions and peppers and added some salt and pepper to the meat. Yes, I know I just said I didn't like just salt and pepper but we were adding a new topper. Burgers grilled up with some cheese on top and topped with a peppers and onions. A little mayo on the bun and it was great!  I served it with some chopped cucumbers and tomatoes tossed with Italian dressing. Enjoy!!
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