Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Calling All Recipes!

We actually spend quite a bit of time researching new recipes. Some we choose because they will challenge us in the kitchen. Some are chosen because they are simple and easy to throw together on a week night. Some recipes we choose because they will taste great re-heated. Some we choose because we need to feed a horde or people. We actually enjoy reading cookbooks and scouring the internet for tasty treats. 

We've featured quite a few recipes that were handed down from family and friends. These recipes have been some of the best dishes we've ever put together.

Well, call us greedy, but we want more! Do you have a recipe that you want to share? Something that makes people cry happy tears when they eat it (even if only figuratively)? We promise to give you all the credit for the recipe when we post it.

Feel free to post recipes in the comments section, send us a Facebook message, or if you know our email address, send it there. 

We'll plug through the mass emails as quickly as we can, so please don't be offended if you don't see your recipe right away.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kielbasa, Kraut & Noodles

This recipe is an adaptation of one of Michelle's brother-in-law's mother's recipes. Did you follow that? We've been wanting to try it for a while. Both of us love smoked sausage and sour kraut, so obviously, this meal was a hit with us. And, to top it off, this is super easy to make.

Here's what you need:
1 pack of Polska Kielbasa
About 1 1/2 cups of sour kraut
1/2 a bag of egg noodles
Pepper to taste

Here's what you do:
Start your water boiling to cook the egg noodles. Meanwhile, heat a high-walled skillet over medium heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil.

Once your pan is hot, place the sausage inside. We're going to crisp the sausage up whole before we slice it.

Let that cook until it's browned and the skin is crisped.

Once that's sufficiently crispy, remove from the pan and slice on the bias.

At this point, the water for our pasta was boiling, so we salted the water with Kosher salt, and drop your noodles.

Add the sliced sausage back in the pan.

Top with the sour kraut.

Let that cook while your pasta finishes cooking. Scoop the pasta into the pot.

Season with pepper and toss everything around to coat it.

 Throw a lid on it and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

Now, all you have to do is give it another good stir, and plate it.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Spicy Grilled Chicken Tenders with Citrus Honey Mustard


This recipe is yet another that comes from our reluctance to go to the grocery store. We scrounged around in the fridge and cabinets until we found enough things that would go taste good together. You can adjust the heat of the tenders as you wish. We put a whole bunch of cayenne in because, well, the citrus honey mustard has a cooling effect. And, we love to spice things up every once in a while.

Here's what you need:
1 lb chicken tenders
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cayenne (this is where you may want to cut it back)

Citrus Honey Mustard:
1/2 cup mayo (NO MIRACLE WHIP HERE!)
2 Tbsp yellow mustard (or dijon would work here too)
3 Tbsp honey
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1-2 Tbsp Orange Juice

Here's what you do:
2-3 hours before you want to eat, mix up your honey mustard. You want it to be able to sit in the fridge for a while.

Combine mayo, mustard, honey and lemon juice in a small bowl. Give that a good stir.

Slowly add in the orange juice until you reach the consistency that you want. If you're using as a dipping sauce, keep it a little thicker. If you're using as a salad dressing, thin it out a bit more.

Mix that all together and then pop it into the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. If you're making the day before, cover tightly.

About 20 minutes before you want to put food on the table, either fire up your grill, or in this case grill pan, and let it heat to medium. Spray down with grilling spray or cooking spray.

Mix the chili powder and cayenne either on a plate or in a long, flat dish.

Roll the thawed chicken around in the mixture to coat it.

Throw them on the grill and resist the urge to move them around a ton. Let them cook until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F.

Pull off the grill and portion out your citrus honey mustard into little bowls.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Enamel Coated Cast Iron Dutch Oven

This baby has changed our lives. We've wanted one for ages, but never purchased one.  Well, Zack's parent's bought one for us for Christmas and we have already gotten our money's worth. Or, their money's worth. Whatever. 

You'll be seeing it a lot in our posts going forward. This pot holds heat amazingly well, and heats evenly across the entire surface. It's a 6 quart pot, so you can fit just about anything inside. 

It's also heavy, even when it's empty. We recommend using both hands when lifting it and sitting the lid down when you're taking it off to stir or season. 

As far as cleaning goes, we left cooked our Red Wine Braised Short Ribs in this and it was quite a mess afterwards. We left it to soak for a couple of hours and after that, clean-up was a breeze.

Overall, we HIGHLY recommend purchasing one. The only thing we would change about this pot is the handle. It is only rated up to 400 degrees, so we're planning on switching it out with a stainless steel knob.

Four Thumbs Up!

Monday, January 23, 2012

French Onion Soup

We don't know about you, but we love French Onion Soup. Is there anything better on a cold winter day? There's just something about caramelized onions that make us happy. 

We've experimented with different recipes, but in the end, we ended up creating our own recipe for this. 

Here's what you need:
5  lbs. sweet onions
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups white wine
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs of thyme
6 cups of beef broth
2 cups water
1 oz. whiskey/cognac
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Here's what you do:
Start by heating a your olive oil in a dutch oven. You just want enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Clean your onions and slice into crescent moon shapes. We know, it's a lot of onions.

Once your oil is hot, add all of the onions to the pot. For each layer of onions that you add to the pot, sprinkle a dash of salt and a pinch of pepper. Throw the lid on and walk away for 15-20 minutes.

Remove the lid and give it a quick stir. Let it cook, uncovered over medium-low heat for a couple of hours. Stir this occasionally, but be patient and let the onions cook down in their own time. Your patience will be rewarded with this:

Ok, so it might look a little gross, but it tastes a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Now that you have a pot full of caramelized onions, add the white wine, until the onions are just covered.

Let that reduce by about half, then add the thyme and bay leaves. You'll also want to salt and pepper this again.

Now add the beef stock, water and brown liquor. Traditionally, French Onion soup is made with cognac, but we used a scotch with a gold label. You can use whatever you prefer.

Bring the soup to a boil and then let simmer for at least an hour.

About 10 minutes before you're ready to eat, pre-heat your oven to broil. Slice a nice crusty bread on the bias and top with cheese. We used provolone here, but gruyere is also a great compliment to the crouton. Place these under the broiler and keep an eye on them. They will cook quickly.

Now, simply spoon up a bowl, top with the crouton and serve.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tuna Steaks with Lemon Caper Pan Sauce

We were at the grocery store the other day and noticed these beautiful tuna steaks were on sale. We haven't made tuna in AGES, so of course we picked some up. This recipe is pretty easy to make, and all of the other ingredients are ones we keep on hand all of the time.

Here's what you need:
2 Tuna Steaks (or however many you need to feed your group)
1 Tbsp olive oil (to coat the pan)
Kosher Salt 
Black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 Tbsp capers with some juice
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup-ish white wine
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Parsley to garnish

Here's what you do:
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. We used our high-walled skillet, but any 10" pan will do.

Lightly salt and pepper the tuna on one side.

We also added the lemon zest to the oil to flavor it a bit. Tuna and lemon work great together, so we really wanted to impart some lemony flavor.

Place it in the pan, seasoned side down, then season the other side. 

Let those hang out for a couple minutes. You'll see the fish change from this gorgeous pink color to white about 1/3 of the way up the side. That's when you should flip. You should have some nice browning on the fish.

Let those hang out for another couple of minutes, until you can't see pink on the side anymore. 

Meanwhile, chop up some parsley. Set this aside to garnish your meal later.

Once the sides of the tuna are cooked, pull out and set in a warm oven to keep it from cooling too much.

Add the capers to the pan and let them cook for about a minute.

Next, add in the juice from 1/2 a lemon.

Next, pour in the white wine. We didn't measure it, just poured about 1/4 of a cup.

Let that simmer for a couple of minutes. You want the overt wine smell to cook off and let the sauce reduce a bit. (Not too much, you still want it thin).

At the very end, we decided it needed a little something to kick the sauce up a notch. We added 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and it made the sauce perfect.

We let the butter melt and simmer for another couple of minutes. 

Next, we just composed our plate by topping the tuna with the pan sauce and then the parsley.

Tuna is best when it's pink in the middle. The fish stays juicy and flaky. It's completely safe, so don't worry about germs or bacteria. 


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Baked Chicken with Homemade Cheese Sauce

The other night, we were looking for something new to make to dress up chicken. Well, this cheese sauce isn't exactly new to us, we use the same principle to make our Homemade Mac & Cheese.

Here's what you need:
1 package of chicken (we used chicken tenders)
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Chipotle Chili Powder

Cheese Sauce:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
dash of white pepper
1 cup milk
3/4 - 1 cup cheddar cheese

Here's what you do:
Preheat your oven to 350.

Season your chicken with salt, pepper, and chipotle chili powder. Don't go too crazy on the seasoning, just sprinkle over the top.

For chicken tenders, you need to bake for about 30 minutes. If you're using chicken breast, you'll probably need 1 hour to 1 1/4 hour to cook them through. The internal temperature of the meat should be at 170 degrees.

About 10 minutes before you're ready to put food on the table, start your sauce. Melt the butter over medium heat.

Add the flour, salt and white pepper. If you don't have white pepper, you can use black. You just won't have a completely white sauce.

Whisk that all together until you have a pretty loose roux. 

Now, slowly add the milk, whisking the whole time to combine the roux and milk.

Whisk, whisk, whisk until it's combined completely and not lumpy.

Keep whisking, though with less vigor than before. You just want to keep it moving so it doesn't burn. Let the sauce come up to a low boil. Let it cook for about two minutes, until it thickens.

Now, you're ready to add your cheese.

Stir in a little bit of the cheese at a time, until it melts completely.

Is there anything better than cheese sauce? And, with this one, you get the added bonus of it being healthier than the process junk you can buy in the store. It only takes 10 minutes. We also put some on top of our steamed broccoli and cauliflower.