Jan 22, 2008

New Cookbooks!

Over the past few months I have been adding slowly to my cookbook collection. I recently purchased Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook after borrowing it from our church library and falling in love with it. I used to always use the "Fix It And Forget It" books quite a bit when I was seeking a great slow cooker recipe but this is now my "go-to" book for all things crock pot. This book is great because it uses a lot of really nutritious ingredients and there are not a lot of processed foods used. I also bought the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking Cookbook. This one is awesome if you are trying to incorporate more whole grains into your diet. There are plenty of recipes for things you would normally make like pancakes, oatmeal, breads and pizza crust. The only difference is these recipes use whole grains and they taste great! You can check all the new additions to my collection over on the right sidebar ... just scroll down a bit to see them all.

Jan 19, 2008

Chicken With Tomato Rice Pilaf

I recently got a few new cookbooks that contain some really amazing recipes. I'm hoping to try several over the next few weeks and will post the recipes here.

Tonight I made a dish called Chicken With Tomato Rice Pilaf from Claudia Roden's Arabesque. This cookbook contains recipes from Morocco, Lebanon and Turkey. There are many beautiful photographs throughout the book as well. It would make a beautiful coffee table book because the cover is so pretty. I really enjoyed reading this book because not only is it a cook book, it also contains a wealth of information about the countries from which the recipes hail. This is the first recipe I have tried from this book and it is wonderful! We had it with buttered peas, homemade pitas and hummus.

Chicken With Tomato Rice Pilaf
(Adapted from Arabesque by Cladia Roden)

(for the rice)
1 1/2 c. long grain rice
1 (15 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 tsp. chicken bullion powder
2 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper
1/2 stick butter, diced

(for the chicken)
4 boneless, skinless chicken pieces
1 Tbsp. light olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper
dried parsley

Start by making the rice. Blend tomatoes in blender then add enough water to make 2 2/3 cups. Pour the tomato puree into a pot along with the bullion, sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes or until rice is fluffy. Add more water if needed towards the end of cooking and simmer a few more minutes. Stir in butter and set aside. For the chicken, cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Heat oil and butter in a skillet then add chicken and cook 6 - 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn pieces over once during cooking. Serve chicken over the rice sprinkled with parsley.

Jan 18, 2008

Creamy Potato Corn Chowder and Spicy Cheddar Muffins

Winter is always the time that I begin to crave nice warm bowls of soup. Thick, creamy soups are always a favorite around here. My girls have been sick with colds and my oldest requested chowder yesterday. This recipe really hit the spot for her and helped her sore throat feel much better! This is the recipe I came up with based on several I found on-line and from friends. It came out wonderful and will certainly be a staple for us. To go along with them I made Spicy Cheddar Muffins which were form a recipe I found at King Arthur Flour. I did cut down the cayenne quite, cut the pepper in half and added a little Smoked Paprika for extra flavor. They were wonderful!

Creamy Potato and Corn Chowder

2 1/2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 bag frozen corn
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 Qt. chicken broth
4 Tbsp. butter, divided
1/2 c. whole milk
2 Tbsp. corn starch
1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. dill weed
1/2 block cream cheese
Season salt and pepper to taste
bacon bits and sliced scallions for serving

In a large stock pot, melt 2 Tbsp. of the butter. Add onions and celery and cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until veggies are soft. Add broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Mash a few of the potatoes right in the pot to release the starch as a thickener. Stir the corn starch into the milk then slowly pour into the pot while stirring. Stir in cheddar cheese until it melts. Cut cream cheese in small pieces ans stir in until it melts. Stir in dill. Season with seasoned salt and pepper to your taste. Finish bu stirring in the last two Tbsp. of butter until melted. Serve garnished with bacon bits and sliced scallions.

Spicy Cheddar Muffins

(from King Arthur Flour)

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) extra-sharp grated cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) butter
1 cup (8 ounces) milk
1 large egg

*To add fiber to your diet in delicious fashion, substitute 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour + 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur All Natural White Whole Wheat Flour (or 100% Organic White Whole Wheat Flour All-Purpose Flour) for the 2 cups all-purpose flour.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease the wells of a 12-cup muffin pan, or grease muffin papers and place them in the wells.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, peppers, and 1 cup of the grated cheese. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat together the butter and milk, stirring until the butter melts. Cool to comfortably warm (e.g., it doesn’t burn your finger when you test it), whisk in the egg, and pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir just till everything is thoroughly moistened. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them nearly full. Sprinkle with the reserved cheese, then very lightly with paprika, if desired, for added color.

Bake the muffins for 16 to 18 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Remove them from the oven, cool them in the pan for 5 minutes, then serve and enjoy warm; or transfer from the pan to a rack to cool completely. Store muffins wrapped, at room temperature. They’re best enjoyed warm, so when you’re ready to serve, reheat briefly in the microwave (15 seconds or less), or in a preheated 350°F oven, lightly wrapped in foil, for about 10 minutes.
Yield: 12 muffins.

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