Friday, November 13, 2009

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

I made this the other night and although it's not a "true" Alfredo (I mean I doubt that they use Colby-Monterey Jack cheese blend in Italy) it was very good--and it's one of those dishes that even your picky eater kids would like. Anyway, this recipe makes enough to feed 6 to 8 people, so it's great for a party.

INGREDIENTS (serves 6)

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into cubes
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 pound fettuccine pasta
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 (8 ounce) package sliced mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • /4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

In a large skillet over medium heat combine chicken, 2 tablespoons butter, garlic and Italian seasoning. Cook until chicken is no longer pink inside. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in the skillet. Saute onion, 2 tablespoons garlic and mushrooms until onions are transparent. Stir in flour, salt and pepper; cook 2 minutes. Slowly add milk and half-and-half, stirring until smooth and creamy. Stir in Parmesan and Colby-Monterey Jack cheeses; stir until cheese is melted. Stir in chicken mixture and sour cream. Serve over cooked fettuccine.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sauerkraut and Kielbasa Stew

Okay, I'm not sure if this is really a stew but that's what I'm calling it because you basically put all your ingredients in a pot and let it simmer for 2 to 3 hours. I also used turkey kielbasa just to make it slightly healthier, but you can use regular kielbasa for this recipe. I was quite surprised with the flavor: it was really tasty and a bit sour! I think next time I'll omit the potatoes and cut the kielbasa hot dog-size so I can serve it in rolls with some mustard. Yum!

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (four if you are a garlic lover)
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and diced (try to use a waxy potato like Yukon gold)
  • 1 (16 ounce) bag sauerkraut, from the deli aisle (not canned please)
  • 1 lb beef kielbasa, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (two if you love sausage)

In a large ovenproof pan put the cold butter with the diced onion, and slowly bring to a simmer on medium heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add minced garlic and simmer 2 more minutes. Add the thyme and sage. Next combine with the sauerkraut (undrained and unrinsed), kielbasa and potatoes.

Bring to a simmer and cover loosely with foil and place in a preheated 225°F oven for 3 hours. (I cooked mine over the the stove top because it was too hot to use the oven and it came out just fine).

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Sloppy Joe's

I made these sloppy Joe's last night and they were quite tasty. Next time I'll omit the honey and molasses because they were a bit sweet for me. These are definitely grown-up sloppy Joe's because it has some heat and spice to it. I served mine over toasted artisanal whole wheat bread because I wanted to be fancy, but it will taste just as good over hamburger buns or regular sandwich bread.

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon ground chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 roasted poblano pepper, peeled, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 large roasted red bell pepper, peeled, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey (omit if you don't want your Joe's to be too sweet)
  • 1 tablespoon molasses (omit if you don't want your Joe's to be too sweet)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Heat oil in a large skillet and brown the chuck, making sure you break it down into pieces with a metal or wooden spatula. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the oil.

To the same pan add the onion and celery and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the ground chipotle and the ground cumin powder and cook for 30 seconds. Add the peppers and garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Add the cooked ground chuck back into pan and add remainder of ingredients: ketchup, BBQ sauce, water, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, honey, and brown sugar and molasses (if using) and apple cider vinegar. Bring to a simmer until sauce thickens to your liking, then lower heat to medium-low and cook for 15 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve over your favorite toasted bread or in hamburger buns.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Swedish Meatballs

I've never made Swedish meatballs before and I gave it a try for Halloween. We had family and friends come over for a cocktail and treats, and I served these as appetizers. They were quite delicious and I bet they would also taste great over a bed of egg noodles as a main course. After I cooked all the meatballs, I placed them in a Crock-Pot, poured the sauce over them and kept it on low. Or you can use the oven method (like in this recipe) and it will work just as good. This recipe is straight from Alton Brown's show, "Good Eats."

INGREDIENTS (makes 32 to 36 meatballs)

  • 2 slices fresh white bread (I used wheat bread because that's all we had)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons clarified butter, divided (I suggest you buy Ghee, which is what I used, and it's much easier than making your own clarified butter)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • A pinch plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 pound ground chuck
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Tear the bread into pieces and place in a small mixing bowl along with the milk. Set aside.

In a 12-inch straight sided saute pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until the onions are soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread and milk mixture, ground chuck, pork, egg yolks, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and onions. Beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes.

Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1-ounce portions and place on a sheet pan. Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds. (I don't have a scale, so I just made my meatballs about 1.5" in diameter). Heat the remaining butter in the saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the meatballs and saute until golden brown on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to an ovenproof dish using a slotted spoon and place in the warmed oven. Once all of the meatballs are cooked, decrease the heat to low and add the flour to the pan or skillet. Whisk until lightly browned, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Add the cream and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency. Remove the meatballs from the oven, cover with the gravy and serve.