Monday, June 25, 2012

Pan Fried Onion Dip

This is a healthier version of the traditional onion dip.  This dip was a big hit with our family.

1 tsp canola oil
3 cups roughly chopped or sliced onions
1 tsp brown sugar
3 TBS light tub-style cream cheese
3 TBS light mayonnaise
1 cup light sour cream
1 tsp dried minced onion
3/4 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Pita Chips

Heat oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Stir in the onions, lower the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  (To quick start your onions, cook them in a microwave for 5 minutes first.)

Stir in the brown sugar and continue to cook for another 7-10 minutes, stirring periodically, until onions are deep golden brown.  Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese and mayonnaise.  Add the sour cream and then the remaining ingredients, including the warm caramelized onions.

Serve immediately.  Or, refrigerator for 30 minutes to meld flavors and serve as a cool dip.  Serve with pita chips.

Makes 10 servings

Source:  Eat More of What You Love - Marlene Koch


Chicken Pizza with Balsamic Glaze

The first time I had this pizza was at Infusino's restaurant.  Unfortunately, they don't have it on their menu any longer.  So, I decided to make it myself.  This recipe is so quick and easy to make.

1 prepared pizza crust
1-2 TBS garlic-infused olive oil
1/2 cup low-fat Ricotta cheese
1 Roma tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pre-cooked chicken, cut in small pieces
Balsamic Glaze*
5 fresh basil leaves, cut in thin pieces

Using a pastry brush, brush oil over top of crust.  Spread ricotta cheese over crust within 1/2 inch of the edge.  Arrange tomatoes on top of the ricotta cheese.  Sprinkle chicken over the tomatoes and drizzle with a little of the balsamic glaze. 

Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes.  When done, sprinkle basil leaves over the top and drizzle with more of the balsamic glaze.

* I used Trader Joe's Balsamic Glaze.  You can make your own balsamic glaze by reducing balsamic vinegar over medium-low heat in a small sauce pan.  Stir often and watch it closely so it doesn't burn. 


Friday, June 15, 2012

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

My mom and I have been making this carrot cake for many, many years.  It is an absolute favorite in our family. 

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups shredded carrots
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix for a minute or two until well blended.  Add the oil and carrots.  Mix together.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients.  Add to the wet ingredients and mix well.

Pour into a greased 9x13 pan.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting

6 TBS butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
3 tsp vanilla

Mix at high speed until creamy.  Frost cake.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Buttermilk Chicken Marinade

My Dad was reading through my Penzeys Spices catalog and came across this recipe.  "Wow..this looks really good", he said.  Well, now I knew what to make for his Father's Day dinner.  Happy Father's Day Dad!  We love you.  This chicken tasted great.  It went really well with baked Mac and Cheese and corn on the cob.

3-4 lbs, bone-in chicken pieces (I used thighs)
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS olive oil
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp dill weed
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Mix all of the ingredients except the chicken in a gallon-size Ziploc bag.  Add the chicken pieces and coat well.  Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. 

Fire up your charcoal, making two banks of coals with an empty center.  Shake the chicken off as you pull it from the marinade.  Place the chicken in the middle of the grill, cooking over indirect heat.  Turn every 10 minutes.  Cook until done, roughly 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces.  If in doubt, use a meat thermometer - 165 degrees is the safe interior temperature for poultry.

Serve 4-6

Source:  Penzeys Spices - Summer 2012


Mac and Cheese

Very cheesy, very rich.  THE best baked macaroni and cheese I've ever eaten.  This is a great side dish to go with grilled chicken. 

Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 lb elbow macaroni or cavatappi
4 cups milk
6 TBS unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
12 oz Gruyere, grated (4 cups) *I used 1 cup Swiss and 3 cups Monterey Jack
8 oz sharp white cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1 TBS kosher salt (use less if using table salt)
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 lb fresh tomatoes (4 small) * I used roasted Roma tomatoes
2 TBS butter
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (7 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water.  Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6-8 minutes just until al dente.  Drain well.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it.  Melt 6 TBS of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour.  Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.  While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.  Remove from the heat and add the cheese, 1 TBS kosher salt (use less if using regular table salt) and pepper.  Add the cooked macaroni and stir well.

Pour into a 3-quart or 9x13 baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top.  Melt 2 TBS of butter and combine with the bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is slightly browned on the top.

**Gruyere can be very expensive.  That is why I substituted the Swiss and Monterey Jack.
When I re-heated my leftovers, I added just a little bit of milk before heating.

Source:  Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Family Style


Lemon Custard Pie

This is a quick and easy lemon pie.  You will surely love it!  Very refreshing on a warm summer day.

4 eggs
1 TBS vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 whole lemon, cut into 1 inch chunks, seeds removed (do not peel!)
1 stick butter

1 prepared pie crust (unbaked)

Blend the eggs, vanilla and sugar in a blender for about 30 seconds.  Add the lemon chunks.  Blend for about 2 minutes.  Cut the butter into chunks.  Add to the blender.  Put the blender on the Whip setting and whip for 10 minutes.  Pour filling into pie shell. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until set.

Let pie come to room temperature then refrigerate. 

No meringue is needed. Top with a dollop of whip cream. 

Source:  Lois Bailey