Monthly Archives: May 2012
|May 28, 2012||Posted by Lauren Keating under Chicken and Poultry, Light, Quick Weeknight Meals, Sides|
This post is going to be short and sweet. I’m actually typing it in the car while we drive to DC for a wedding and it’s kind of hard to see the screen with the sun in my face! (That’s what I get for leaving this month’s Secret Recipe Club post until the last minute… again.)
This month, I was assigned to cook something from K&K Test Kitchen. The blog is the joint effort of 20-something Kelsey and her mother, Kim. Such a fun idea, right?! I love it. They have a lot of really great, easy to make recipes – and a series devoted to making 5 meals with less than $50! I picked this recipe for chicken with potatoes, bacon, and chard because it’s light and clean (did I mention that I’m in the wedding that I’m headed to? And that my dress takes uh… a little bit of a struggle to zip? Whoops!) but they also have a recipe for apricot scones that’s totally caling my name. I’ll be making those next week, for sure.
Anyway, this recipe was great and, as promised, super quick and easy. I adjusted it a little to eliminate the use of one pan (I hate doing dishes) so my version take a few minutes longer, but it’s still on the table in under 30 minutes.
Chicken with Potatoes, Bacon & Chard
Yields 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 1 pound assorted Fingerling Potatoes
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 sliced thick-cut bacon, chopped
- 4 6-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 head green chard, chopped
- Heat the oven to 425*F. Slice the potatoes into very thin rounds (I used a mandoline set to 1/8″). Toss with olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until it’s crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan, leaving the drippings behind. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add it to the pan. Cook for 6 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Remove from the pan and let rest. Add the shallot, mustard and vinegar to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the shallot is translucent and soft. Add the chard and cook, tossing it with the sauce, until it’s wilted – about 5 minutes.
- To serve, arrange a bed of potatoes and chard on each plate. Top with sliced chicken breast and crumbled bacon.
Be sure to visit all of the other Secret Recipe Club Posts!
|May 22, 2012||Posted by Lauren Keating under Cake and Pastry, Desserts, Fruit, Indulge, Summer|
It’s spring, the weather is gorgeous, and strawberries have started to make an appearance at the farmer’s market … what more can you ask for?
The first week that strawberries are really good might be the happiest that I am all year. In season strawberries can’t even compare to the pale, bitter berries that are available the rest of the year. Just follow your nose – if they’re ready, you’ll be able to smell them even before you see where they are in the store or at the market. Their scent is so intoxicating that it makes me giddy, and I buy them by the basket full. I just can’t help myself!
Once I’ve eaten way more than my fill, I make this cake. I’ve been making it for a few years now, an it’s absolutely delightful. It’s light and fluffy and had the perfect strawberry milkshake-like flavor. Go ahead and add plenty of colorful sprinkles – a cake this good is worthy of a celebration.
(Also worthy of a celebration? Winning $100! You still have a week to enter my contest – see the details here.)
Fresh Strawberries and Cream Cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours (includes cooling time)
It’s really hard to get homemade strawberry cake right, but good berries do the trick. Unfortunately, that means there’s only about a month-long window where this recipe really works. I’ve made it in the winter with frozen berries, but it’s just not the same. What are you waiting for?
I use store bought icing. I know a lot of people think it’s terrible, but I love it and my homemade icing is never as good (except for my peanut butter oreo buttercream, but that just doesn’t go with this cake). If you have a great recipe for frosting, go ahead and use it. But if you don’t, by all means, go ahead and use the stuff from the store.
- 3 cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 cups Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Baking Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks unsalted Butter, softened
- 2 cups fresh Strawberry Puree
- 1/2 cup Buttermilk
- 5 Egg Whites
- 2 cups of your favorite cream cheese or buttercream frosting
- 1 cup chopped fresh Strawberries
- Rainbow Sprinkles
- Heat oven to 350*F. Grease the bottoms and sides of two 9-inch cake pans.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and strawberry puree and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes. Mix together the milk and egg whites in a second bowl, then gradually incorporate into the batter. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake coms out clean. Allow cakes to cool completely, about 1 hour, then invert and remove them from the pans.
- Mix together 1/2 cup frosting and chopped strawberries. Place one cake layer on a platter. Spread the top with strawberry frosting. Top with the second cake layer. Spread the top of the cake with a thin layer of frosting, then frost the sides. Decorate with rainbow sprinkles.
|May 13, 2012||Posted by Lauren Keating under Chicken and Poultry, Pasta and Noodles|
Roasting chicken has become my latest Sunday tradition. Ever since I made one with lemon and za’atar a few weeks ago, I’ve been hooked! Unfortunatly, while I love the whole chicken/starch/vegetable meal the first night I don’t really love it as leftovers. Salads get boring, so I’ve been trying to come up with new ways to use leftover roast chicken. (Although it is tempting to just make flautas every. single. time.)
I’ve been meaning to make stuffed shells with cream sauce for a while now… I think I saw a picture when I was flipping through an issue of Everyday Food back in February, and I haven’t been able to get the idea out of my head. Well, I finally got around to making them and all I can say is oh my God, these are delicious!
The flavor is light and fresh, and although the feta cream sauce seems indulgent, it isn’t a heavy meal at all. I love, love, love the flavor of the roast chicken combined with cream – it’s so luxurious!
This dish ia little more time-intensive than most thing’s I make on weeknights (not only do you have to wait for pasta to boil, but you also need to bake it) but it’s worth every second. You can also make a big batch but throw half of it into the freezer to bake another time… I have some in my freezer now.
Chicken and Spinach Shells with Feta Sauce
Yields 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
These stuffed shells are a great way to use up leftover roast chicken. I found that one breast from a six-pound bird yielded about 2 cups of shredded chicken, which was the perfect amount for this recipe. If you don’t have leftovers, a store-bough rotisserie chicken works too.
I garnished my shells with pea shoots that I bought at the farmer’s market – the tender shoots has a subtle spring-pea flavor and a slight crunch that was a perfect compliment to the soft shells.
- 20 pieces Jumbo Shells Pasta (about 1/2 a box)
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 3 Tablespoons Flour
- 1/2 cup Fat Free Half and Half
- 1-1/2 cups Skim Milk
- 4 ounces Reduced Fat Feta, crumbled
- 1/4 cup Water
- 2 cups Chopped Spinach
- 2 cups Shredded Chicken Breast, leftover or from a store-bought rotisserie chicken
- 1 teaspoon Oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Parsley
- Preheat the oven to 450*F. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain.
- While the pasta boils, prepare the sauce and filling: Melt the butter in a large saucepan set over medium-low heat. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Cook for minutes, or until the mixture turns a light golden color like butterscotch. Whisk in the half and half and milk, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the feta. Transfer half the sauce to a measuring cup or bowl. Stir the water into this portion of the sauce. Add the spinach to the sauce that’s still in the pan, and cook until it’s wilted. Stir in the chicken, oregano, and red pepper. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Pour about 1/4 cup of the sauce into the bottom of a 7×11 baking dish. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of filling into each shell and arrange, open side up, in the dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
|May 10, 2012||Posted by Lauren Keating under Breakfast, Fruit, Vegetarian or Vegan|
Yields: 24 servings (1.5 cups)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
- 1 cup freshly squeezed Pink/ Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice (from about 4 grapefruits)
- 5 sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 1/4 cup Honey
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 2 Egg Yolks
- 5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- Add the juice and thyme to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Simmer until reduced by half. Discard thyme sprigs.
- Add the honey and sugar to the juice and cook over low heat until it dissolves. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and egg yolks together in a medium bowl. Slowly pour half the juice into the eggs while whisking vigorously, then whisk the egg mixture into the pot.
- Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until melted. Cool to room temperature, then cover and store in the refrigerator.
|May 7, 2012||Posted by Lauren Keating under Fish and Seafood, Light, Pasta and Noodles, Quick Weeknight Meals, special projects|
Lipman Produce recently asked eleven bloggers to create a recipe for their new consumer web site, Lipman Kitchen. Lipman is a family-owned company that’s been around since the 1930′s but, until now, their tomatoes never had a “brand” associated with them. They’re actually North America’s largest growers of field tomatoes, so there’s a good chance that you’ve eaten their tomatoes without knowing it!
It’s funny, but other than looking to see if produce at the grocery store is local or not, I’ve never really considered where it comes from or who grew it. It never occurred to me that all of the tomatoes on the shelf might not have come from the same place (unlike say, in the meat section where I know the pork all comes from the same major producer unless the label indicates otherwise). Now, with their consumer launch, Lipman tomatoes in the Northeast and in South Florida will be identified with signs, stickers, and packaging. While I’m not sure how I feel about branding produce, I like that it made me think about where it comes from.
I actually had a really hard time coming up with a recipe idea that put tomatoes in the spotlight. I initially thought a tomato jam might be nice (it’s one of the first things I remember making when I was a kid, but I have’t made it in ages), but someone else had already claimed that idea for herself. Same with the fresh Bloody Mary and the tomato tart that I pitched Lipman. We ended up settling on this light and fresh pasta dish that’s perfect for a busy weeknight. It’s a nice deviation from more traditional Italian pasta recipes, and I love the way the sweet tomatoes contrasted with briny feta and kalamata olives.Topped with marinated and grilled shrimp, it made a great summertime dinner and I enjoyed the leftovers as a chilled salad the next day.
Click on over to Lipman’s site to get the recipe for Greek Pasta with Feta and Shrimp and check out the recipes that the other bloggers came up with.
I was provided with tomatoes and was compensated by Lipman Produce for creating this original recipe. All opinions are my own.
|May 2, 2012||Posted by Lauren Keating under special projects|
This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Whitney Farms. All opinions are 100% mine.
I try to find the time to plant a garden every year. It’s hard, since May and June seem to fly by before I can blink, but garden-fresh vegetables really taste a million times better than the ones from the grocery store and the farmer’s market can be kind of expensive (plus, well, I don’t always feel like waking up that early on Saturday morning!
This year, we had a beautiful spell of weather in the beginning of April that got me thinking about this year’s garden early. For once, I finally feel prepared! I even started to build a raised bed to plant in. There’s a patch of space in my backyar that we can’t for the life of us get to grow grass (we even tried sod with no luck!), so rather than spend another summer looking at ugly dirt, I decided to put my garden right over it. I’m really excited, since it will be more space than I’ve had in previous years. I’m still deciding what to grow, but I definitely want to do lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers. jalapenos and habaneros (which I always have good luck with), carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
I’m especially excited because this year I’m going to use organic plant food and organic soil from Whitney Farms® (I received samples for free, but if you click the link there’s a $3 coupon.) I always buy organic plants at the farmer’s market – they always have a better selection than any of the local gardening centers – but then I bring them home and immediately dump conventional plant food all over them. It always makes me feel guilty since I prefer to eat organic, and I always say that I’m going to find something better for next time, but I always forget until it’s too late.
Of course, it’s still too cold to actually plant anything – here in upstate New York it isn’t uncommon to have frost well into May. So far, I’ve just done a few pots of herbs (basil, cilantro, and thyme) that I can bring inside on particularly chilly nights. So far, they seem to be doing well!
Have you ever used Whitney Farms products before? Do you like them? And is there anything that I’m completely forgetting about that you think I absolutely must plant?