29 November 2009

Cranberry + Orange Relish

I'm posting this recipe primarily for selfish reasons... I want to be able to make the same recipe next year at Thanksgiving! Cranberry relish is one of those things that I despised at the Thanksgiving table as a child. I think it was because I was forced to try some of that cranberry sauce from a jar (you know, the kind with ridges)... ugh, this is SO MUCH BETTER! Fresh cranberries, plus a hint of orange and Grand Marnier - Yes please!

Cranberry & Orange Relish
Yield: 10 Servings

2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
2 Tbsp. Fresh Ginger, grated
1/2 C. Dark Brown Sugar
1 C. Orange Juice
16 oz. Fresh Cranberries
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
6 Orange Segments
1 Tbsp. Orange Zest
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the ginger and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Ad the sugar, orange juice, and cranberries; cook until cranberries burst and the sauce thickens (about 15 minutes). Turn off heat; stir in the black pepper, orange segments, and orange zest. Finally, add the Grand Marnier just before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

24 November 2009

Giveaway Winner...

Doug generated a random number for the cookbook giveaway - 

Congratulations to.... 

"Fun!  I love new cookbooks!  My favorite holiday food is probably Christmas cookies but I do love having prime rib with the fam at gramps and of course twice baked potatoes!"

I'll send you a copy of the Junior League of Omaha's Cookbook!  I hope that you and your family will enjoy it very much!  :)  

I loved hearing about everyone's favorite holiday foods - it gave me an idea for what's to come on the blog!  Stay tuned!

23 November 2009

Spinach, Pear + Goat Cheese Salad

Yes, that's right... that is a holiday kitchen towel. I've already set out the Christmas decorations, put up the garland, lights, and wreath. I just love the holidays! I kind of don't want to admit this, but I've been listening to Christmas music since Halloween. I also don't want to admit the next thing... I didn't make this lovely salad... Doug made it! This is "his salad" that he plans on making for the holidays - or so he says. The recipe calls for light lemon vinaigrette, but we didn't see that at the grocery store, so we used light dijon vinaigrette and it was still yummy. I like the lemon better - Doug likes the dijon better, so we'll leave it up to you! Enjoy!

P.S. Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY! Just leave a comment about your favorite holiday food.

P.P.S. Happy birthday EMILY! For your birthday, I decided to give you recycled traffic!

Spinach, Pear & Goat Cheese Salad
(Guest Chef Blogger: Doug)
Yield: 2 Servings

1 Pear, cored & thinly sliced
1/2 C. Diet Lemon-Lime Soda (like Sierra Mist)
2 C. Baby Spinach Leaves
1/2 Shallot, finely chopped
1/4 C. Goat Cheese, crumbled
1/4 C. Pine Nuts, toasted
1/4 C. Light Lemon or Dijon Vinaigrette (we like Newman's Own)

Place the pears in a bowl with the lemon-lime soda. Set aside (this will keep them from turning brown). Place the baby spinach in a serving bowl; add the shallot, cheese, and nuts. Drain the pears and discard the soda. Add pears to the salad and gently toss. Serve with vinaigrette dressing.

22 November 2009

Chocolate-Butterscotch Krispie Bars

Sometimes people call these "Special K bars," but I never understood it.  There isn't Special K cereal in it or anything!?  I know everyone has their own recipe for this, but these are the BEST (thanks to Mrs. M)!  The last time I made these, I brought them into work and everyone at the office just devoured them.  Today, Doug is bringing these little guys to his grandparents' house for everyone to enjoy.  Have a great Sunday!  I'll be studying for my MBA test that I have tomorrow night - last exam of the semester!  YES!  :) 

Chocolate-Butterscotch Krispie Bars
(Mrs. M's Recipe - thanks!)
Yield 30 Bars

1 C. Sugar
1 C. White Syrup
1 1/2 C. Peanut Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla
5 1/2 C. Rice Krispies
1 bag Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 bag Butterscotch Chips

Boil sugar and syrup for 1 minute.  Add peanut butter, vanilla, and krispies.  Butter a 9 x 13 pan.  Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips in the microwave; pour over krispies in the pan.

19 November 2009

50+ Followers: GIVEAWAY

An overnight sensation... I woke up having more than 50 followers!  Thanks everyone!  You know what that means: it is thyme for a GIVEAWAY!  

Now I've thought a lot about this giveaway... perhaps some cute holiday kitchen towels, autumn-scented candles, winter-inspired cocktail plates and napkins... the list goes on.  The truth of the matter is that I have quite a few gentlemen following my blog and I'm not sure they would enjoy something so "girly."  

You know I've been blogging a lot from my Toast to Omaha cookbook... and because I just so happen to be the Marketing Coordinator for the Junior League's cookbook, I figured one of my readers should enjoy this cookbook too!  

It is a GREAT book that includes lots of tried and true recipes, fun entertaining tips, and interesting history about Omaha.  It is on its final print, so quantities are limited!  Here are the giveaway rules:

1) You get ONE entry for leaving a comment about your favorite holiday food
2) You get TWO additional entries for following the blog 
3) You get THREE additional entries for posting this giveaway on your blog & linking it back here

I'll put all the entries in a spreadsheet and I'll have Doug generate a random number.  

THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED 11:00AM CST on Tuesday, November 24th, so enter before then.  (If winner fails to return contact within 5 days, a new winner will be chosen).


18 November 2009

Spicy Turkey Po'Boys

This recipe brings back sweet memories... I made this for Doug when we first started dating. Sometimes I have to remember that guys don't always like seafood and salad for dinner; they want something more substantial. While a sandwich isn't something that I would normally make for dinner, this is a nice change of pace. The original recipe calls for ground pork, but I prefer to use ground turkey instead. You all get to enjoy this recipe thanks to Doug's special request!

Spicy Turkey Po'Boys
(Adapted from Food & Wine)
Yield: 4 Yummy Sandwiches

1 1/2 Pounds Ground Turkey (or pork)
1 1/2 tsp. Paprika
1 1/4 tsp. Dried Thyme
3/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
3/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1/2 C. Mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
2 Medium Kosher Dill Pickles, very finely chopped
1/2 Small Shallot, minced
4 8-inch Soft Baguettes, split lengthwise
2 C. Iceberg Lettuce, shredded
2 Tomatoes, thinly sliced
Hot Sauce, for serving

Preheat a grill pan. In a large bowl, using your hands, mix the ground turkey with paprika, thyme, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Form the turkey into twelve 1/2-inch thick meatballs. Grill the turkey meatballs over moderate heat, turning once, until they are cooked through (about 8 minutes). Note: I have also baked these in the oven and they turn out just fine too.

Meanwhile, mix the mayo with Dijon mustard, pickles, and shallot; season with salt and pepper. Spread the mayo mix on both sides of the baguettes. Place 3 turkey meatballs on the bottom of each baguette and top with lettuce, tomato, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Close the sandwiches and serve warm.

17 November 2009

Pecan Crusted Tilapia

Here is another recipe from the Junior League of Omaha cookbook... While I was browsing through all of the yummy recipes, I fell in love with the simplicity of this recipe. However, the next time that I make this, I will make sure to finely chop the pecans. I gave it a small, rough chop - but not small enough. Would you like some fish with those pecans?! Hahah... it still tasted great, especially with the fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Pecan Crusted Tilapia
(Adapted from Toast to Omaha)
Yield: 4 Servings

4 Tilapia Fillets
1/4 C. Flour + a pinch of salt & pepper
4 Tbsp. Milk
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1 C. Pecans, finely crushed
2 Tbsp. Butter
4 Lemon Slices
4 Sprigs of Fresh Parsley or herb of your choice

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. On a small plate, roll each tilapia fillet in the flour, salt and pepper until coated. In another bowl, mix the milk and egg. Increase the amount of milk and egg if larger filets are used. Place crushed pecans in a separate bowl. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Dip each floured fillet in the egg mixture, then into the crushed pecans, pressing them into the fish. Place the fillets on the baking sheet. Top each fillet with 1/2 Tbsp. of butter. Bake for 30 minutes or until fish flakes. Garnish each fillet with a slice of lemon and a sprig of fresh parsley.

16 November 2009

Pears + Prosecco

Baked pears and prosecco is a very simple dessert to make. It looks quite elegant, but doesn't require too much effort, so that means I get to spend more time with my guests! I like serving this dessert with prosecco for something bubbly and refreshing. I'm thinking that this might become my new favorite dessert for the holiday season! As Julia Child would say... "Bon Appetit!"

Baked Pears
(Adapted from Honey & Jam)
Yield: 4 Servings

2 Bartlett or Bosc Pears (cut lengthwise and core removed)
1/4 C. Flour
1/8 C. Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, cubed
1/4 C. Rolled Oats (not quick oats)
1/4 C. Slivered Almonds (optional)
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
Honey (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Mix the flour and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Add the cubes of butter and rub it into the mixture until it makes small crumbles. Stir in the oats, almonds, and cinnamon. Cut pears in half, lengthwise; remove core with a spoon (this creates a little well for your crumble mixture). Evenly distribute the mixture into the well of each pear. Bake for 30 minutes, just until the crumble starts to get golden brown. Serve warm and drizzle a little honey on top for a sweet finish.

I served this with fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt.

15 November 2009

Just 3 More...

We just need 3 more "official" followers before I do my first Giveaway!  Let's make it happen this week :)  

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Yes, it is true... Doug hasn't been fed in 10 days! I made him this soup so that he can get some nourishment back in his system. Okay, okay, I'm only joking :) But I haven't blogged in 10 days and I feel like I've been letting you guys down! I just had a stressful week of exams, presentations, and papers so I had to take a little break in the kitchen. Needless to say, I've been having a lot of simple meals that were definitely not "blog-worthy."

Now that finals are (almost) over, I will be enjoying my free time whipping up some delicious meals in the kitchen. I just got my hands on a new cookbook, Toast to Omaha, and I already flagged 15 recipes in it! I'm the Marketing Coordinator for that cookbook, so I figure that I'm just doing some "quality control." Hope you guys enjoy this soup - I think it is perfect for a cold Fall day like today.

Chicken Tortilla Soup
(Adapted from Toast to Omaha - Junior League Cookbook)
Yield: 6 Servings

2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, poached & cubed
1 (12 oz) Can Chicken Stock
1 (10 3/4 oz) Can Tomato Puree
1 (10 oz) Can Mexican-Style Tomatoes
1 (15 oz) Can Corn, drained
1 (15 oz) Can Chili Beans
1 1/2 C. Water
1 Onion, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
2 1/4 tsp. Hot Sauce
2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
Sour Cream (for garnish)
Cheddar Cheese, shredded (for garnish)
Tortilla Chips, crumbled (for garnish)

In a large stock pot, combine chicken, stock, tomato puree, tomatoes, corn, chili beans and water. In a skillet, saute onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes; then add it to the chicken mixture. Add chili powder, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes. Top each serving with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and crumbled tortilla chips. (I made my own tortilla strips out of a wheat tortilla. Cut it up into small strips and toast them in the oven so that they crisp up a bit). Enjoy!

05 November 2009

Seared Scallops with Saffron Sauce

My cousin, Meg, is back from her travels in Europe! Yay!! She is my partner in crime... especially in the kitchen! Anyway, Meg came over to my place the other night and whipped up some pretty fabulous seared scallops with a lovely, buttery, saffron sauce. It is pretty delicious, so I urge you to give it a try soon.

Seared Scallops with Saffron Sauce
(Loosely adapted from Food Network and Meg's personal touches)
Yield: 4 Servings

1/2 Pound Fettuccini
1 Pound Sea Scallops
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 C. Shallots, finely minced
1/2 C. Dry White Wine
1 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
1 Stick Cold Butter, cut into cubes
1 Pinch Saffron Threads
Fresh Lemon Juice (to taste)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccini and cook until al dente (about 10 minutes). Next, make the saffron sauce. In a wide saucepan, combine shallots and white wine; reduce. Add saffron threads (a little goes a long way) and 1 Tbsp. of cream. Place pan over medium to medium-high heat and whisk in butter a piece at a time, adding the next piece before the last one has completely melted; stir constantly. Do not allow sauce to boil. Add fresh lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile in a saute pan, start heating 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Place scallops in the pan, searing for at least 3 minutes on each side (might need to do that longer, depending on the size of your scallops). Scallops should have a nice golden brown crust. To serve, transfer fettuccini to a plate, top with scallops and then pour the saffron sauce on top. We garnished our plates with a large slice of lemon.

02 November 2009

Coconut Chip Blondies

I'm going to give these blondies to the 3 guys in my MBA class that read my blog... only because I promised to bring in a sweet treat.  I guess since they have to put up with me this semester, they might as well have some chocolate, coconut, butterscotch gooey goodness... 

These are like chocolate chip cookies on steroids.  You can't screw these up.  You just can't.  They are sooooo easy!  I love desserts that don't require stand mixers (probably because I'm still dreaming of a KitchenAid).  One day... one day... and from that moment on, I'll probably be in the kitchen 24 hours a day/7 days a week - and like 500 pounds heavier!  But until that day, these blondies will suffice!

Coconut Chip Blondies
(Adapted from Annie)
Makes 16 Bars

1 C. All-Purpose Flour
1/8 tsp. Salt
8 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 C. Light Brown Sugar, packed
1 Large Egg
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 C. Sweetened Shredded Coconut
1/3 C. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/3 C. Butterscotch Chips

For Topping:
3/4 C. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 tsp. Butter
Sweetened Shredded Coconut (for garnish)

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.  Prepare an 8'' x 8'' square baking dish.  In a small bowl, mix together the flour and salt; set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar; beat until incorporated.  Add the egg and vanilla extract; mix until just blended.  Slowly add the flour and salt mixture.  After the wet and dry ingredients are incorporated, add the shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips; fold with a rubber spatula.  Pour the batter into the baking dish and spread evenly.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Let the bars cool before adding the topping (below).

To make the drizzle topping, put the chocolate chips and butter in a small bowl.  Microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring in between to make sure it is evenly melted.  Pour the chocolate mixture into a plastic sandwich bag and snip off a tiny corner; drizzle chocolate over the bars.  Sprinkle some more coconut on top (if desired).  Cool completely before cutting.