Friday, March 30, 2012

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Don't you just love casseroles? They're relatively simple to throw together and you can make them up in advance if you need, then bake right before you want to serve. We've had a busy spring in our new house, so the art of the casserole has come in handy. 

Here's what you need:
3 12 oz. packages of tuna in water (get the low sodium variety!)
1 can low-sodium cream of mushroom soup (use two cans if you like it creamier)
1/2 Tbsp black pepper
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 bag frozen peas
1 shallot
1/2 12 oz bag of broad egg noodles
A couple handfuls of crushed lightly salted potato chips

Here's what you do:
Start your water boiling for the pasta.

Next dice up the shallot.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Coat the bottom with about a tablespoon of olive oil and add the shallots to the pan. 

Saute the shallots for a couple minutes to soften them, then add the peas.

While the peas are heating through, drain the water off of the tuna and add to a large bowl with the salt, pepper and Old Bay.

By now, our water was boiling, so drop the pasta in for about 10 minutes. Also, preheat your oven to 350 right now.

Add the can of cream of mushroom soup to the tuna.

Once the peas have heated through, add them to the tuna mixture.

Once your noodles are cooked, drain and add to the mix.

Pour everything into a casserole dish. This is where you can place in the fridge overnight and bake later.

Crunch up a few handfuls of potato chips to cover the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the chips are brown and crispy.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cucumber Tomato Salad

We have a simple one for you today. We wanted a nice side to pair with our barbecued chicken. We also didn't want to spend much time on it. We have this salad a lot. It's simple and tasty.

Here's what you need:
3-4 tomatoes (we used heirloom, but whatever you prefer will work)
2-3 cucumbers
1/2 cup Italian dressing

Here's what you do:
Peel and slice your cucumbers.

Chop your tomatoes.

Put everything in a large bowl and coat with the Italian dressing.

Stir. Store in the fridge until you're ready to eat.

We told you it was easy!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Barbecued Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

We've had absolutely gorgeous weather lately, and we were actually home one evening and able to fire up the grill. We both really enjoy barbecued chicken, and we thought the pineapple salsa would pair nicely with it. 

Here's what you need:
1/2 fresh pineapple
1/2 red pepper
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 medium shallot
1 handful of shallot
1 tsp salt
1 cup barbecue sauce, divided
1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast

Here's what you do:
Trim the chicken breast to remove any fat, and then place in a bowl and coat with about 1/2 a cup of barbecue sauce. We normally make our own sauce, but we are currently out, so we used Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet & Spicy. We also forgot to snap a picture of this step. Just imagine a bowl of chicken breast covered in barbecue sauce.

Pop the chicken in the fridge for an hour or so.

Now, get started on your pineapple salsa.

Start by dicing the pineapple.

Then dice the red pepper.

Next up to dice is the shallot. You can use half a red onion if you want, but we had shallots, so that's what we used.

And finally, grab a handful of cilantro and chop that up too. Give it all a good stir to combine it.

Next add the salt and lime juice. 

Cover and put in the fridge until you're ready to plate.

When you're ready to start grilling, set up direct and indirect heating zones by piling your coals on one side of the grill.

Start your chicken directly over the coals and sear for 3-4 minutes on each side. 

You actually want the sugars in the barbecue sauce and blacken. Once it starts to blacken, flip them over and sear on the other side.

After you've seared chicken on both sides, move to the indirect side of the grill and brush with more barbecue sauce. Cover and let cook for about 5 minutes.

Flip and brush with more barbecue sauce. Cover again and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. 

Check the internal temperature of your chicken. You should be at 165 degrees by now. If not, keep on indirect heat and cover, checking every few minutes.

When you're up to temperature, garnish with the pineapple salsa.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Baileys Irish Cream Cupcakes

We also celebrated St. Patrick's Day with this amazingly tasty cupcakes. These are not for children! They do contain alcohol in the cupcake, and the icing. You can substitute the liquor with Baileys Irish Cream coffee creamer.

We got this recipe from the Tasty Kitchen blog. The original recipe is for mini cupcakes, but we wanted regular size cupcakes. These cupcakes are ridiculously tasty. They'd be great for a bridal shower, or a Tuesday. There's always an occasion for cupcakes.

Here's what you need:
1 1/4 cup boiling water
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream
1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Buttercream Frosting:
1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar
2 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream
Dark Chocolate to shave over the top

Here's what you do:
Start by boiling the water for the cupcakes.

Measure out your cocoa in a medium bowl and pour the boiling water over it.

Whisk until smooth.

Place in the refrigerator until completely cool. Once cooled, add the Bailey's to the mix and whisk to combine.

Combine the salt, butter and vanilla in a mixing bowl. 

Cream together for a couple minutes until smooth.

Add the eggs one at a time and allow them to combine.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.

Next, pour in the cooled cocoa/Baileys mixture.

Add the other half of the flour mixture. Make sure all the flour from the edge of the bowl gets combined.

Pour the batter into your cupcake wrappers, stopping about 1/4" from the top. They're going to need room to rise.

Pop in the oven for 12-15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for a couple minutes.

Then, remove to a wire rack to let them cool completely.

Alright, while your cupcakes are cooling, go ahead and mix up the icing.

I used the whisk attachment on my stand mixer for this, to make the icing nice and fluffy. Start by combining the softened butter, nutmeg and cinnamon and beating together for a couple of minutes on medium speed.

Reduce the speed on your mixer and add in the powdered sugar.

Turn the speed back up to medium and let that combine until smooth.

Add in the Baileys and beat for a couple more minutes until nice and fluffy and airy.

If you own a pastry bag, this is where you want to use it. If you don't (like me), snip off the corner of a Ziploc bag and slide a decorating attachment in.

Fill the bag with the icing, and top your cupcakes. Make sure the cupcakes are completely cooled! Otherwise, your icing will melt.

At the very end, shave the dark chocolate over the top.