Friday, December 16, 2011

Eggnog French Toast

Yup that's right Eggnog French Toast....I can hear your tummy grumbling already just from reading the title of this post.  How could it be anything but tasty and wonderful?  If you have a carton of eggnog sitting around needing to be used up try this recipe, or the Eggnog Cupcakes I made a week.  Either way you can't go wrong.

Eggnog French Toast

4 large eggs
3/4 cup eggnog
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional*)
8 slices thick Texas toast or other thick bread
butter, softened
powered sugar

1. Break eggs into a shallow dish and beat lightly.  Add eggnog and ground nutmeg to eggs, mix well.
2.  Heat griddle to medium heat.  Dip bread into egg batter, allow the bread to soak up the mixture for a few seconds.  Cook about 4-5 minutes per side or until golden brown.
3.  Serve toast topped with butter and a light dusting of powdered sugar.
* note:  most eggnog mixtures you get from the store will be loaded with lots of yummy holiday spices already but I LOVE nutmeg so I always add extra.  If you aren't a huge fan or don't want extra you can omit the extra amount of ground nutmeg in the recipe.

Mini Banana Breads

I don't think I'm the only one out there that is happy to see over ripe bananas on the counter because I know they are perfect for making banana bread.  Thing is, in my house they usually don't make it to that point.  We go through a lot of bananas around here.  So the other day when I woke up and saw 5 brown bananas just sitting there begging to be made into bread I was pretty darn excited.  Plus I have these cute mini bread pans that I hardly ever get to use.

Mini Banana Breads (some with chocolate chips, others with walnuts)
adapted from Mom's Big Book of Baking

Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 very ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Coat the inside of a loaf pan (or the mini loaf pans) with cooking spray.
2. Combine the flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Combine the butter and sugars in a large bowl.  With an electric mixer, on medium-high speed, cream them together until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, bananas, and vanilla and beat until smooth.  With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until just combined.  This is where I divide the batter in half, mix half with the walnuts and the other half with the mini chocolate chips.  You could combine it all together and make walnut, chocolate chip banana bread, or leave out one and double the other.  Its really up to you.
4.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s). Bake the loaf until it is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes.  Let the bread cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, inver it onto a wire rack, and then turn it right side up on the rack to cool completely.

Lemon Chicken

The other night I asked the hubby what he wanted for dinner.  Its always a loaded question.  He always comes up with something way off in left field.  This specific night when I asked he first said, "well, what are my choices" and so I started naming off a few things I knew I had all the ingredients in the house to make.  Then he says "I want lemon chicken!"  Lemon chicken?  Where did that come from?  I checked my produce basket (I love my produce basket!  See picture below)  and I actually had several lemons that needed to be used so I started throwing things together to make some lemon chicken.  No recipe, just my imagination, I hope I can remember what I put in it since I made it 4 days ago!

Lemon Chicken

1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
salt and pepper to taste
small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1 1/2 teaspoon corn starch
Cooked rice

1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Saute onion and garlic for a few minutes, until soft, about 3 minutes.  Salt and pepper both sides of chicken tenders.  Add chicken to onions and garlic, cook for about 3-4 minutes per side.
2. Remove chicken from pan, add most of the chicken broth (reserve about 1/4 cup to mix with the corn starch).  Bring broth to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix reserved broth and corn starch in a small bowl.  Add starch mixture to the simmering broth and allow to thicken.  
3. Add chicken back into pan with lemon juice and zest, cook until chicken is completely cook through.
4. Serve chicken over rice with lemon gravy.

Pork Saltimbocca w/Polenta

Honestly I have no idea what Saltimbocca is.  I was looking through my Cooking Light cookbook one day to try and find some new recipes to make and I saw the picture of Pork Saltimbocca and it looked really yummy so I made it.  My family (the husband and my 13 yo son) don't really like it when I try something new like this.  Their comments were "what's sage?  what's prosciutto?  what's polenta?"  LOL I guess until lately they have been pretty stuck in their comfort zone.  In the end I thought it was really tasty, both my husband and son said it was different but good.

Pork Saltimbocca w/Polenta
adapted from Cooking Light Pork Saltimbocca

6 boneless center-cut loin pork chops, trimmed
6 very thing slices prosciutto
6 large fresh sage leaves
1/3 cup shredded sharp provolone cheese (recipe says fontina but I didn't have any)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh sage

2 cups milk
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
1 cup instant polenta
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. To prepare the pork, place each chop between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, pound to 1/4 inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin.  Arrange 1 prosciutto slice over each chop, top with 1 sage leaf and about 1 tablespoon cheese.  Fold chops in half to sandwich filling, secure with wooden picks.  Sprinkle both sides of pork chops with pepper and salt.  Place flour in a shallow dish, dredge stuffed chops in flour.
2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skilled over medium-high heat.  Add chops, cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned.  Remove chops from pan, cover and set aside.
3. Add chicken broth to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits, cook until reduced by half, about 8 minutes.  Stir in 1 tablespoon sliced sage.  Reduce heat to medium. Return chops to pan, cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, turning once.  Removed wooden picks from chops.
4. To prepare polenta, bring milk and chicken broth to boil.  Gradually stir in polenta and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook 2 minutes.
5. To serve arrange 1/2 cup polenta on plate, top with a chop and drizzle with sauce.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chicken Parmesan w/orzo

I don't make chicken parmesan very often.  I'm not really sure why.  It's just not one of those dishes that come to me when I'm in the kitchen opening and closing my refrigerator and pantry trying desperately to find something to make for dinner.  You know you do it too!  I'll open the refrigerator, glance, close it, open the freezer, glance, close it, walk to the pantry, open the doors, glance, close it and start all over again.  I'll do this 3 or 4 times before I finally figure out something to make!  This chicken parmesan recipe is pretty quick to get it together and its tasty.  I hope you enjoy it like I do.

Chicken Parmesan
adapted from Cooking Light's Herbed Chicken Parmesan

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (of course I use more, I'm a cheese addict!)
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 pound chicken tenders
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups your favorite jarred tomato-basil pasta sauce
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup shredded provolone cheese (I had provolone slices that I used instead of shredding it)
Cooked Orzo (follow package directions)

1. Preheat broiler.
2. Combine 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish.  Place egg whites in a shallow dish.  Dip each chicken tender in egg whites, dredge in breadcrumb mixture.  Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken, cook 3 minutes on each side or until done.  Set aside.
3. Combine 1/8 teaspoon salt, pasta sauce, vinegar, and pepper in a microwave-safe bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, vent.  Microwave mixture at High 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Pour over chicken in pan.  Sprinkle evenly with remaining Parmesan and provolone cheese.  Wrap handle of pan with foil, broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts.
4. Serve over cooked orzo.

Black Bean Enchiladas

A little while ago I was on a kick to not eat any meat.  I read the book "Skinny Bitch" and it totally turned me off of animal products for about 2 months.  LOL, until I forgot what I read and started eating meat again.  During that time I was looking for recipes without meat and found one called White Bean Enchiladas from Cooking Light.  This recipe is a variation of that.  Just as a quick note, I almost forgot to take a picture of the dish!  Please forgive me for the not so appealing picture.

Black Bean Enchiladas
adapted by Cooking Light White Bean Enchiladas

2 Tablespoons sour cream
1 16oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 16oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese (I'll be honest, I use about twice this much!)
1 4oz can chopped green chiles
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
1 10oz can enchilada sauce (I only had green on hand but the first time I made it I used red and liked it better with red)
1/4 cup water
6 corn tortillas
Cooking Spray

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine sour cream and beans in a food processor; process until almost smooth.  Stir in 1/4 cup cheese, chiles, onions, cilantro, and cumin.
3. Combine 1/3 cup enchilada sauce and 1/4 cup water in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.  Dip 1 tortilla in sauce mixture to soften, and transfer to a plate.  Spread 1/4 cup bean mixture down center of tortilla, roll up.  Place roll, seam side down, in a 11 x 7 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas and bean mixture.  Add remaining sauce to pan, cook 1 minute.  Spoon over enchiladas, sprinkle with cheese.
4. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly.  Sprinkle with cilantro if desired.

More recipes coming

Life has been really hectic the last couple of weeks.  I have been cooking and taking pictures, I just haven't had the time to post them.  I'm hoping to have extra time tomorrow to get them done.  Keep your fingers crossed.  This is what you'll be seeing in the next coming days:

Black Bean Enchiladas
Chicken Parmesan w/ Orzo
Eggnog French Toast

and more!