Monday, June 30, 2008

Beef Goulash

Last night we had Beef Goulash from the Cooking Light Magazine. It was kind of a dismal rainy day in New England so rather than tending the grill with an umbrella we went for a meal that was made on the stove top and made the whole house smell good. We served it with egg noodles and a nice crusty bread. Even the littlest eater was a member of the clean plate club.

You can find the recipe on or here Roasted Tomato-Beef Goulash:

Here we have all the ingredients ready to go....beef, onions, garlic,fire roasted tomatoes (they're key), carrots, celery, salt, pepper. The recipe calls for caraway seeds but I'm not a fan so we omitted them.
Here the meat is nicely browned in the pan. I love how it caramelizes on the edge of the pan!

Here is everything in the pan. Once everything is combined it simmers on the stove for an hour and a half, and that's where the house really starts to smell great.

And the finished product. The goulash is served atop a bed of egg noodles. It was delicious, the meat was tender and perfectly cooked. The fire roasted tomatoes were a nice "smokey" touch. We would definitely make this recipe again. And best of all, it's a "Light" recipe! Eat up.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

BB: Parmesan Chicken

This week's Barefoot Bloggers challenge was Parmesan Chicken chosen by Megan of My Baking Adventures. We made this meal at a normal hour on Sunday, much better than the Pasta and Pesto which we made at midnight! This chicken is really simple but has great flavor. We found cooking it slowly over medium/low heat kept it from getting too browned. And as a bonus, our year and a half son has been gobbling it up, and he's not a huge chicken guy!

Recipe Courtesy of Ina Garten the Barefoot Contessa (serves six):

4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
Unsalted butter
Good olive oil
Salad greens for 6, washed and spun dry
1 recipe Lemon Vinaigrette, recipe follows (we halved the vinaigrette)

Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4-inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin. (We used a meat mallet)

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate (we used glass pie plates). On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts. (We used 2 pans to speed up the cooking process and using the medium-low heat really kept them nice and golden. We also wiped the pans out between batches just to remove some of the really dark bits).

Toss the salad greens with lemon vinaigrette. Place a mound of salad on each hot chicken breast. Serve with extra grated Parmesan.

Lemon Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons) 1/2 cup good olive oil 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

We served ours with a side of sauteed zucchini, yellow squash and onion. This was a great meal and will definitely make it again. In fact we have so much we're eating the left overs several nights this week. One night we turned the chicken into baked chicken parm and served it with spaghetti and a quick homemade sauce..yum! No picture of my four pawed sou-chef tonight. He slept through the whole process on his bed only to get up when we opened the dishwasher...a dog loves nasty food smells!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lemon Cake

Okay, so this picture is of a half eaten loaf of Lemon Cake. It was so tasty that we had to cut right into it before I remembered to take a picture.

We had a BBQ this afternoon and after much dilemma on what to bring we decided on the Barefoot Contessa Lemon Cake from Barefoot Parties. This is quite possibly the best tasting lemon bread. The glaze on top is sweet and lemony while the syrup poured over the bottom adds just a slight touch of sugar. I could easily eat this entire loaf! We kept one loaf (above) for ourselves and gave the other to the BBQ hosts wrapped in parchment paper tied with kitchen string. Very simple.

Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa:

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest lightly packed (6 to 8 large lemons - Use only fresh lemon juice and zest)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans.

Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, the key to great cakes is beating the butter and sugar until the mixture's until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed add the eggs, (break the eggs into a dish before adding to the batter to avoid a bad egg or shells in the batter) 1 at a time, and the lemon zest. Sift together the flour, to make sure there are no lumps, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Separately, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cook 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, cool for 10 minutes, invert them onto a rack set over a tray and spoon the lemon syrup over the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides. To freeze these cakes, prepare them except the glaze. Wrap them well in plastic wrap and freeze. When you're ready to use, defrost and glaze.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Take Out Made In

Tonight's dinner was Chinese Barbecued Pork served with spicy broccoli and brown rice. A few months ago the husband and I decided to do Weight Watchers so we could both shed the rest of the "baby" weight. With the baby almost 17 months, it was time. Anyway, we bought a Weight Watchers cookbook called Take-Out Tonight. It is full of easy recipes to make at home that are a LOT healthier than what you might order at a restaurant and really take very little time to prepare...which in our house is a must!

So, for the pork (from the WW Take-Out Tonight cookbook):

Marinade a 1lb trimmed pork tenderloin for 6-24 hours in a zip lock bag in the fridge. Roast on a greased roasting pan fitted with rack in a 450 degree oven for 25-27 or until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

To make the marinade combine 2T honey, 2T hoisin sauce, 2T sake or other white wine, 2t oyster sauce, 2t reduced sodium soy sauce, and 1t sesame oil. I don't have a picture of the meat marinading because it just kind of looked weird.

Here's the broccoli I made prior to cooking. I steamed it in a wok with a little water, a few drops of sesame oil, a tablespoon or so of soy sauce, a shake of sesame seeds and a shake of red pepper flakes. I covered the pan until they were crisp tender.

And here's the end result. The pork with broccoli and brown rice, which I also added a little soy sauce to. Soy sauce is so good, too bad it's so salty!

Tonight's dessert is a chocolate skinny cow. My favorite part is the chocolate filled cone...the little chunk of chocolate at the bottom, yum!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

BB: Pasta, Peas, and Pesto

Our first Barefoot Bloggers dish was chosen by Elizabeth of Ugg Smell Food. She chose Pasta, Peas and Pesto. Yum you say. In typical fashion we decide to start making this meal around 8:30pm on the hottest day of the year so far. The thermometer read 95 degrees and the humidity was at least 100%. Needless to say, it was a hot adventure!

We managed to get through the task with only one minor issue--which you might notice in the final product picture--but it was remedied after the fact. Here goes...Recipe Courtesy of Ina Garten the Barefoot Contessa: Pasta, Peas, Pesto


3/4 pound fusilli pasta
3/4 pound bow tie pasta
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 1/2 cups pesto, packaged or see recipe below
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups good mayonnaise (I used just shy of a cup)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted (I used 2 cups)
1/3 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (I used maybe 3 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil (I used just shy of 1 cup)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

What to do:

Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature.
I made the pesto first:
Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top. Yum, love Pesto

Back to the main recipe now that the pesto is made. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. I used a reduced fat mayo (I know, probably not the best tasting, but needed to spare a few calories). And here's where the heat got to me. I misread where it said to use 1.5 cups of pesto, I just added the spinach, etc right to all the pesto I you can imagine the HUGE amount of sauce I had created. At first I was annoyed that I had misread the recipe, but after a good laugh we decided extra pesto sauce was just fine...we used a little extra when coating the noodles.

Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignolis, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature. And, for the finished product we have the slightly overdressed pasta, but none the less, it was delicious. We ate ours with some ricotta and herb stuffed chicken hot off the grill.

And it appears my fruitful kitchen helper was defeated by the heat. No pesto for you this time big guy. Stay cool.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers

I did it. I joined Barefoot Bloggers. I love Ina Garten and am glad to have found something I can actually do! One of my friends thought Ina's name was In A Garden (honestly)...she thought she was Barefoot In A Garden...we still joke about it today.