Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fetuccini Bolognese

Considering it was about 90 degrees outside yesterday, I know this seems like a weird recipe to post. But, I actually made it about 2 months ago and keep forgetting to post it. So don't question my cooking/weather sanity just yet.

I'm still on the hunt for the perfect bolognese. This recipe came close, but it's not quite there. Even though I let it simmer for the full two hours, the taste of red wine was still a little strong. If I make it again, I think I'll reduce the amount of wine and maybe add some Italian sausage in with the ground meat.

Fetuccini Bolognese
Recipe from Pastor Ryan, via Pioneer Woman (adapted)
Serves 6
Prep Time - 30 minutes
Cook Time - 2 hrs

1/4 cups Olive Oil
3/4 cup grated carrots
1 medium-large onion, diced
2/3 lb ground beef
1/3 lb ground pork
1 TBSP dried Oregano
2 TBSP dried basil
3 oz tomato paste
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry red wine (Chianti was great)
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
3 cans tomato sauce or tomato puree
1 can diced tomatoes, with juices
1/2 cup milk
salt & pepper, to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb fetuccini noodles

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat. Add grated carrots and onions and cook for a few minutes. Make a well in the center of the mixture, and then add in the ground beef and ground pork. Cook for a few minutes until brown, gradually stirring it into the carrot mixture.

Add the oregano and basil. Use fresh if you have it. If you don’t, it’s fine (if you do, double the amount used). When the meat is browned and combined with other ingredients, make another well. Add tomato paste and let it heat. Add garlic and stir to combine.

Make a well in the center of the mixture and add red wine. Stir together. Add Worcestershire and stir. Add canned tomatoes. Finally, pour in milk, stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes to 2 hours. If you can wait the 2 hrs, really try to give it the full 2 hrs because the flavors will really develop by cooking it for so long.

Serve with pasta and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Barbeque Sauce

I know that ketchup is one of the main ingredients in barbeque sauce. So, it shouldn't have surprised me when I looked at the ingredients to my favorite barbeque sauce and saw that the first ingredient on the list was high fructose corn syrup. I was prepared for it to be high on the list, but first absolutely floored me.

A while ago, I started buying organic ketchups because we decided we like the taste of ketchup made with sugar better than ketchup made with high fructose corn syrup. Unfortunately, I went a little crazy at the store and made our fridge look like we were on a ketchup bender - we ended up with about 3 bottles of the stuff in the fridge. So, I decided to make barbeque sauce. I was a little hesitant at first, after one terribly failed attempt, but I gave it another try and I am so glad I did. This sauce had nice heat to it, and we have now tried it with both chicken and pork and it's fantastic with both. I'm glad I made a double batch.

Spicy Barbeque Sauce
Recipe from Epicurious, adapted

2 TBSP oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped celery (I think I used 2 ribs, total in my double batch)
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 TBSP paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 cup ketchup (try to use organic)
1/2 cup beer
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce

Heat oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add onion and celery and cook until tender, probably about 5 minutes. Add garlic and spices and stir. Cook for about a minute. Add the ketchup, beer, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.

Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chicken in Milk

I'm a big fan of Jamie Oliver. I was a fan of the show "Food Revolution" and am an even bigger fan of his recipes. I've had my eye on this particular recipe for a while. I had the day off yesterday and decided to make it. Then, later, I realized that I had absolutely none of the ingredients for it except the salt & pepper. So, off to the grocery store I went.

I think you need to make this chicken. Like right now. It's tender, juicy, and has amazing flavor. The meat practically falls off the bone. This picture below doesn't do it justice, but I think it does a decent job showing the beautiful color you get on the chicken from browning the chicken before the braise. Try not to let the bad picture sway you away from the recipe.

Chicken in Milk
Recipe by Jamie Oliver, ever so slightly adapted
Serves 4
Prep Time - 5 minutes
Cook Time - 1 hr, 45 min

1 3-lb chicken
salt & pepper
1 stick butter
1/2 cinnamon stick
handful fresh sage leaves
zest of 2 lemons (I used one)
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
6 cloves garlic, skin left on
4-5 sprigs thyme (i added)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Use a dutch oven or small roasting pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt & pepper and brown on all sides. Set the chicken aside and pour the butter from the pan into a bowl (The original recipe says to throw it out but I saved it for basting).

Put the chicken back into the pot and add the rest of the ingredients. Bake for 1 1/2 hrs. (I covered it with foil for the first hour and then took the foil off and baked it uncovered for the last half hour).

Baste with the cooking juices a few times (I basted 4 times total, rotating basting with the juices and the leftover melted butter).

Carve the chicken and serve with the sauce from the pan, if desired. We didn't do this because we thought the chicken was too wonderful on its own.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich

I really love Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwiches. In fact, I'm not sure I know a single person that doesn't love them. I do not, however, like the seemingly ever-increasing price tag that comes with them. I'd been toying with the idea of making them at home for a while, but I was a little afraid I'd end up disappointed. However, one day I brought up the idea of making them to my husband, and he was game. So, we tried them.

They were excellent. I wouldn't say they taste exactly like Wendy's, but they're really close. And, since you make them, you have the added bonus of knowing exactly what you put in them.

Spicy Chicken Sandwiches
Recipe adapted from various websites
Serves 4
Cook & Prep Time - 15 minutes

1/3 cup Frank's hot sauce
2/3 cup water
1 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp salt (I thought this was a bit much so I would probably do 1 1/2 tsp instead)
4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder
4 boneless chicken breasts
oil, for frying

4 buns
Tomato slices

Preheat oil to 350 degrees F.

Mix together water & hot sauce in one bowl or shallow dish. Mix together the flour, cayenne, pepper, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder in another bowl or shallow dish.

Pound the chicken just a little bit and dredgein the flour mixture, then dip in the hot sauce mixture, and then back into the flour.

Drop into the hot oil and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until the chicken reaches 160 degrees F.

Serve on buns and garnish with the tomato, lettuce, and mayonnaise.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Frontera Grill

I was just in Chicago and was able to eat lunch at Frontera Grill. If you ever find yourself in Chicago, you should go. It's amazing. You won't regret it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Italian-Style Drip Beef

Yep. This is another sandwich. You'll love it, I swear. As you may recall, I recently blogged about Pioneer Woman's basic Drip Beef and was only so-so on it. I figured we would like this one better, and I was right. It was fabulous. It's basically everything you would want in a sandwich.

Italian Style Drip Beef
Recipe from Pioneer Woman, adapted

1 medium onion, sliced
4-6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 whole Beef Chuck Roast, 2.5 To 4 Pounds
2-3 cups beef broth
1/4 cup sherry
¼ cups Water
1 packet Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon Salt
3 TBSP whole peppercorns
3-4 sprigs rosemary
½ jars (16 Oz) Pepperoncini Peppers, With Juice (I omitted, but would use next time)
cheese slices (I like Muenster)
Buttered, Toasted Deli Rolls

Spray ceramic of crock pot with cooking spray and add onions and garlic. Season roast with salt & pepper and place on top of the bed of onions. Add liquids, Italian seasoning, peppercorns, salt, rosemary, and pepperoncini. Cook on low for 8 hrs.

Take the meat out of the crock pot after about 8 hrs and shred with forks. Season the meat with pepper.

Place meat and onions (if desired) on top of buns and then top each sandwich with cheese. Put in the oven or under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese melts.