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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chicken Portobello Pesto Pizza

Let me apologize for the lack of photos I have of this recipe.  It may or may not have to do with the fact that I was in such a hurry to eat this, that I forgot about photos...until I was down to one slice, with very little daylight to contribute to a respectable photo.

However...I can tell you that I did manage to enjoy slice, after slice, after slice.

And, I've eaten enough slices to come to the conclusion that this is a recipe I will definitely make again!

Maybe it has to do with the fact that I LOVE mushrooms!  Cooked mushrooms, that is (I also like raw mushrooms, but it comes nowhere near my love for the cooked kind).  So, when I saw this recipe on Brown Eyed Baker, I was instantly convinced.

The combination of mushrooms, pesto, and cheese sounded almost-perfect.  But not perfect yet, because it needed meat.  Actually, it just needed meat so my boyfriend, Tony, would be enthusiastic about it.  Luckily, I had some leftover chicken in my fridge, so I chopped that up and threw it on the top...and boy, am I glad I did!  The chicken took it from almost-perfect to perfect!

The chicken, mushrooms, pesto, and cheese created an amazing blend of flavors, and it was such a nice change from the usual tomato sauce pizza.  I even used Trader Joe's whole-wheat pizza dough, which not only saved me time from making homemade crust, but also made me feel a little less guilty.  Feel free to make homemade dough if you prefer, but I think the Trader Joe's pizza dough works fine for this recipe.  I also used Trader Joe's jarred pesto, and 1 1/2 cups of their packaged Quattro-Formaggio blend of shredded cheese, instead of the cheese called for below.

Chicken Portobello Pesto Pizza
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Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield:  One 12-inch pizza

Store-bought pizza dough of your choice (or homemade, if you prefer)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup pesto
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
8 ounces provolone cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

While oven is preheating, prepare the onions and mushrooms.  In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat and add the sliced onions and mushrooms.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released all of their liquid, and both the mushrooms and onions are soft and browned, about 10-15 minutes.  Set aside.

Shape pizza dough into a disk using the palms of your hands.  Starting at the center of the disk and working outward, use your fingertips to press the dough until it is about 1/2-inch thick.  Holding the center in place, stretch the dough outward.  Rotate the dough a quarter turn and stretch again.  Repeat until the dough reaches a diameter of 12 inches.  Use your palm to press down and flatten the thick edge of the dough.  Transfer the prepared pizza dough to a pizza peel, parchment-lined baking sheet, or pizza pan.

Spread the pesto over the pizza dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border uncovered.  Spread the onion and mushroom mixture evenly over the pesto, then sprinkle with chicken.  Top with cheese.

Place pizza in oven, and bake until the crust edges are brown and cheese is golden-brown in spots, about 8-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven, then slice and serve.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Foil-Baked Fish with Black Beans and Corn

I'm a huge fan of fish.  HUGE.  In fact, I wish I could eat it everyday.  It's delicious, quick-cooking, and very healthy.

Fish is also a great base for a variety of flavors.  You could go the sweet route, with flavors such as teriyaki, lemon, orange, etc.  OR you could take a more savory route, using barbecue sauce, spices, chipotle peppers...the options are endless!

This particular recipe involves a seasoning of butter. chipotle peppers, orange zest, juice, and garlic.  The mixture is spread over the fish, then placed on a bed of black beans and corn, wrapped up in a foil-packet.  In the foil packet, the steam accumulates, resulting in a juicy piece of fish.  The butter melts on the fish, and all of those delicious flavors infuse into the bean and corn mixture.

This flavor combination is so good, and would be great using any type of white fish.  Halibut would be nice, but you could also get away with using a less-expensive type of fish, such as cod or tilapia.  I used tilapia this time, but I'd like to try this again soon, with cod.  This is a great meal for weeknights, because it takes little time to cook.  You could also prepare the foil packets the night before, then just transfer the packets from the fridge to the oven when you're ready for dinner!

Foil-Baked Fish with Black Beans and Corn
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Recipe from Pink-Parsley
Yield:  4 foil packets (containing 1 fillet each)

4 skinless, white fish fillets (6 to 8 oz each), 1-inch thick
Salt and pepper
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 tsp grated orange zest
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups corn kernels
1/2 red onion, minced
2 scallions, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Using a fork, mix together the butter, 1 tsp chipotle, orange zest, half the garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in a medium bowl until well combined.  Spread butter mixture over fish.

Combine the beans, corn, onion, scallions, 2 Tbsp cilantro, orange juice, remaining chipotle, remaining garlic, scallions, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in a bowl.

Lay four 14-inch lengths of foil on the counter and divide the bean mixture evenly over the lower half of each piece of foil.  Top with fish, and fold the foil over the fish, folding the edges to seal.

Arrange the packets in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the fish is cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Carefully open the packets and sprinkle with remaining cilantro.  Serve.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Scandinavian Almond Bars

Scandinavian Almond Bars are one of my most favorite, most requested cookie recipes.  I've been making these for years, and are present during every holiday season, but also, year-round.  They begin with a crunchy cookie base, infused with almond extract for a subtle, nutty flavor.  Sliced almonds are sprinkled over the top, then baked.  As they cool, they are cut into bars and drizzled with a sweet, sugar glaze.  They really have a stunning appearance!  These cookies are great on their own, but also great for dunking into a cup of tea or mug of coffee.

The last time I made these was when I went to visit my family over the holidays.  I knew I had to make these bars because they would be expected by everyone, especially my grandma.  My grandma loves any kind of sweet that involves nuts, so these are a favorite of hers.  Since I moved away, I don't have many opportunities to bake these for her anymore, so it's a requirement to make time to do so whenever I'm there!

Clockwise from left:  Grandma, me, Dad, Mom, sister, Uncle Larry, Great Grandpa

Grandma and I

I don't have any current pictures of her and I at the moment, but I do have this one...I think this was taken sometime around 1990.  The next time I visit her I hope I can take new pictures, and make copies of some other family photos that she has.  Her 90th birthday is coming up in April, so maybe in a few months I can wish her a happy birthday and bring her some of her favorite cookies; these Scandinavian Almond Bars!

Scandinavian Almond Bars
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Yield:  about 4 dozen

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp milk
1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 to 2 Tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar, until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and extract.  Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Divide dough into fourths; shape into 12-inch x 3-inch rectangles.  Place 5 inches apart on greased baking sheets.  Brush with milk, then sprinkle with almonds.  Press down slightly with the palm of your hand, to make sure the almonds stick to the dough.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and edges are lightly browned.  Cool on pans for 5 minutes, then cut diagonally into 1-inch strips.  Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

In a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, extract, and enough milk to achieve drizzling consistency.  Drizzle icing over bars.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cuban Pork Street Tacos

One thing I love is going to a really authentic Mexican restaurant:

The ones that are often located in a hidden, hole-in-the-wall type of location.

The ones that are sometimes in a somewhat questionable neighborhood.

The ones where you actually see Mexican customers.

But most important of all, the ones that serve small soft tacos, usually for around $1.00 each.

Those are the BEST!  I love getting the small street tacos, usually with pollo (chicken) or carnitas (pork).  They always have so much flavor, especially with the traditional topping of onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.

Every once in a while, my boyfriend and I will make the short drive to a little restaurant in Westminster, called Taqueria Mexico.  They have the best authentic street tacos, and at 88 cents each, you really can't beat it!  But of course, it's not always convenient to make the drive over there, especially living in Southern California where there is always the issue of traffic.  So, when I saw the recipe for Cuban Street Tacos at Mel's Kitchen Cafe, I knew I had to try it.

This recipe consists of seasoned pork, seared, then cooked in a slow cooker.  The slow cooking method gets the meat really tender and juicy, allowing you to easily shred it in preparation for making tacos.  It also allows time for the meat to absorb the flavors from all of the ingredients in the pot.

This recipe made plenty of shredded pork, so Tony and I were able to eat tacos for several days!  The best part is, we never got tired of eating tacos.  We layered the pork on a warm, soft corn tortilla, with a little bit of chopped onion, tomato, and cilantro.  Then we sliced up some fresh limes to squeeze over each taco, and added a bit of sliced avocado on the side.  We also kicked it up notch by drizzling each with our favorite brand of hot sauce, Valentino.

Although we've finished up all of the pork now, we're already planning to make this recipe again.  It made dinner really easy for us for a few nights, so it'd be a great recipe to make on Sunday, before a busy work week.  I'm glad I have an alternative option now for those days when I can't make it to Taqueria Mexico!

Cuban Pork Street Tacos
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Recipe adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Yield:  Serves 8

For the pork:
4-pound boneless pork butt or boneless pork top-loin roast, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp canola oil or vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 onion, peeled and halved
Juice of 1 lime
1 medium orange, halved and juiced, rinds reserved

For the tacos:
Small corn tortillas
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 limes, cut into wedges
Avocados (if desired)
Your favorite hot sauce (if desired)

Rub the pieces of pork all over with salt.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, until the oil is simmering and hot.  Add the pork and sear each piece on all sides, working in batches, if needed.  Once browned, remove the pork to the slow cooker.  Into the same pot used to sear the pork, pour in the water and chicken stock, scraping the bottom of the pot with a flat-edged spatula to loosen the brown bits from the bottom.  Add pepper, cumin, chili powder, oregano, bay leaves, garlic, jalapenos, onion, lime juice, orange juice, and orange rinds and bring to a simmer.  Pour the mixture over the pork in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until the pork is very tender.

Remove the bay leaves, onion, and orange rinds from the pot and discard.  Remove the pork and place in a bowl set aside.  Pour the liquid from the slow cooker into a pot on the stove and over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil.  Let the mixture boil until it reduces to about 1 cup and is thickened slightly, about 10-15 minutes.

Shred the pork into a bowl and pour sauce over the pork.  Serve in tortillas garnished with onions, tomatoes, and cilantro.  Serve with lime wedges, hot sauce, and avocado slices, if desired.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chocolate S'mores Cupcakes

In case you haven't noticed yet by reading my blog, I LOVE cupcakes!  I wish I had more excuses to make them so I could bake them more often, because let's face it:  there's no way I'm going to bake a batch of cupcakes and let them sit in our house with just Tony and I.  There's no way we could ever resist that kind of temptation!

I have a huge list of cupcake flavors I want to try.  Many of the creative cupcake flavors I've been finding have been through Pinterest (follow me!).  Specifically,  you can see my list of cupcake-related pins here.  This S'mores Cupcake recipe seemed like such a fun, creative recipe, so I was thrilled when my co-worker requested some for her daughter's boyfriend's birthday.

I'm kind of glad she requested these, because it "required" me to go out and purchase a kitchen torch.  I've always wanted one, along with a million other kitchen gadgets, so I was happy to buy one.  Since I've never used one before, I purchased a fairly inexpensive one that came in a creme brulee kit, with four small ramekins also included.

The kitchen torch was so fun to use!  I loved toasting the tops of the s'mores cupcakes.  The marshmallow frosting toasts so easily with the torch and adds such a neat looking effect to the entire cupcake.  Topped with the graham cracker square and piece of chocolate, I think these cupcakes are absolutely irresistible.  Now I can't wait to find other ways to use my new kitchen torch.  Maybe a variation of creme brulee?  Creme brulee cupcakes, perhaps?

Chocolate S'mores Cupcakes
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Recipe from Glorious Treats
Yield:  about 12 cupcakes (for 24, either double the recipe, or click the link above to go to Gloriuos Treats for the original recipe)

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp boiling water

For the marshmallow frosting:
2 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for one minute.  Stir in boiling water (the batter with be thin, don't worry).

Fill liners 2/3 full with batter.  Bake cupcakes for approximately 22-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

For the frosting:
In a large heatproof bowl, combine the egg whites, sugar, water, corn syrup, cream of tartar, and salt.

Set the bowl over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan and heat mixture, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is reaches 160 degrees F, about 3 minutes.

Remove bowl from the saucepan.  Using an electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed, about 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, microwave 1 cup mini marshmallows 30 seconds to 1 minute, until puffed, and starting to melt.

Add marshmallows to mixture in electric mixer; reduce speed to low and add vanilla.  Continue beating until the marshmallows are melted and frosting is completely smooth, about 3-4 minutes.

Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.  Use a kitchen torch to brown the frosting.  Top with a piece of Hershey's chocolate and a piece of graham cracker.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Garlic

I hate doing laundry.

I know I'm not alone here.  It's really a pain.  I live in an apartment-style building, with three other units, so we all share the same laundry room.  It's just one little room right outside our building, with one little washing machine, and one little dryer.  And they require quarters.  UGH, the quarters!!  I cannot count the number of times I've gotten the dirty laundry sorted and ready to take to the washing machine, only to realize there are NO quarters.  *sigh*

But even worse than the weekly laundry chore is when I wash the blankets.  Our bed comforter and the other blankets in our linen cabinet are too big and bulky to fit in our washer here, so I have to lug it all over to the laundromat, where I hate going.  I hate sitting there and waiting...and waiting...and waiting.  But, luckily enough, there is a small kitchen supply store next door for me to kill some time, and last time when I went, I was delighted to find a small clearance table outside the store.  There wasn't too much on the little table, but UNDER the table...there was a box.  With free magazines!  They were old issues of various food magazines, so I happily grabbed a couple to use as reading material while waiting for my laundry.

One of the issues I grabbed was a September 2003 issue of Cooking Light.  I was actually a little unfamiliar with this magazine, but any magazine that focuses on healthy, delicious meals is a winner to me (not to mention the cover photo was banana bread...*drool*).  In it, I found many recipes that will now be filling my weekly dinner plans in the near future.  One of those recipes was Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Garlic.  It sounded just like my type of dish.  A good serving of chicken, tomato based sauce, cheese, and fresh herbs, all over a bed of pasta.

This was a really simple dish.  It didn't take long to prepare at all!  The spiral cuts of the stuffed chicken make a great presentation, so it would be a great meal to make for company.  This recipe will definitely be going into my list of dishes to make again!

I'd never thought I'd say this...but I'm sure glad I went to the laundromat that day. :)

Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Garlic
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Recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Light magazine - Sept 2003 issue
Yield:  4 servings

4 ounces goat cheese, softened
3 Tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil, divided
1 Tbsp minced garlic
4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 (25.5 ounce) jar Italian herb pasta sauce
3 whole garlic cloves
3 cups hot cooked fettuccine or spaghetti (or whatever type of pasta you prefer)

Combine goat cheese, 2 Tbsp basil, and minced garlic.  Set aside.

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and pound each half to a 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin.  Divide the cheese mixture evenly among breast halves.  Roll up jelly-roll fashion.  Tuck in sides; secure each roll with wooden picks or tie each roll with kitchen string.

Heat the pasta sauce and whole garlic cloves in a large skillet over medium heat; add chicken.  Cover and cook 25 minutes or until chicken is done (using a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should be 160 degrees).  Remove pan from heat.  Let chicken rest for 5-10 minutes.  Remove picks or string, and slice chicken roll into medallions.  Serve chicken over bed of pasta.  Garnish with extra sauce and 1 Tbsp basil.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Lemon is one of those flavors that makes me happy.  It's bright yellow appearance and tart, citrus flavor make me think of summer-y things.


Lemon Meringue Pie.

Lemon Bars.

They're all SO GOOD (and all recipes I will have to share on here...eventually).

Even though we have quite a while to go until summer, these cupcakes can be made year round.  And actually, making these cupcakes now would be perfect timing, since we're right in the middle of citrus season.  I'm sure some fresh meyer lemons would be amazing in this recipe!  For those who are still dealing with cold, wet, winter weather, these are just the right thing to perk you up, and remind you of sunny times ahead!

These lemon cupcakes begin with a sweet lemon cake base, lemon infused Swiss meringue buttercream, and a homemade candied lemon peel.  I really recommend you try the candied lemon peel step.  Not only does it make the flavor of the cupcake more obvious, but it makes the cupcake look so professional!  They taste very good too!

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
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Cake recipe adapted from my baking addiction
Frosting recipe adapted from Annie's Eats
Yield:  about 12 cupcakes (for 24, either double the recipe, or click the link above to go to mybakingaddiction.com for the original recipe)

For the cupcakes:
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp buttermilk
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
zest from one lemon
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp pure lemon extract

For the frosting:
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp pure lemon extract

For the candied lemon peel:
Peel of one lemon
1 1/2 cups sugar. plus more
1 1/2 cups water

For the cupcakes:
Center a rack in oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Prepare pan with liners.  Set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.  Whisk together milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.  Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub together with fingers until sugar is moist and fragrant.  Add butter and beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.  Beat in extracts, then add one-third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.  Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then half of the dry ingredients.  Add the rest of the milk-eggs, then the last of the dry ingredients.  Divide the batter into prepared cupcake liners.

Bake for 18-22 minutes, until cupcakes are risen and springy to the touch.

For the frosting:
Combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture reaches 160 degrees F.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.

Reduce speed to medium and add the butter, 2 Tbsp at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  Stir in the lemon extract and mix just until incorporated.

Frost cupcakes as desired, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days, or freeze up to 1 month.  To use, bring to room temperature and beat until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

For the candied lemon peel garnish:
Wash and dry lemon.  Cut strips of peel with a vegetable peeler.

Place strips of peel on a cutting board.  Scrape cut side of peel with a paring knife to remove the bitter white membrane.  Then cut peel into thin strips.

Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.

Add peel strips.  Reduce heat to low.  Simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until peel turns translucent.

Place wire strainer over bowl.  Spoon strips of peel into strainer, drain thoroughly.

Add additional sugar to Ziploc bag.  Add peel and shake to coat.  Remove from bag and place on wax paper to dry.

  • I used a Wilton 1M swirl tip to decorate the cupcakes pictured above

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lemon Salmon with Lima Beans

Here is another successful recipe from my Food Network magazine.  We are big salmon lovers in this house, so I was pretty sure that we would enjoy this dish, no matter how it turned out!

Lemon and salmon is a pretty flawless combination, but I am actually pretty unfamiliar with lima beans.  I don't eat them, I don't cook with them...and until the other night, they did not exist in my kitchen.  Luckily, this recipe opened my eyes up to lima beans!  It was the perfect accompaniment to the salmon, and simmered with garlic, oregano, and red pepper, these beans were full of flavor.

This is another quick and healthy weeknight meal.  I was able to whip this entire dish up within 30 minutes, so it's a great go-to recipe on days when you don't have a lot of time but still want to eat a home-cooked meal.

And, not that I care about watching weight/calories, but for those of you that are, you may be happy to know that one serving of this dish is only 340 calories.  Wow!  I guess on nights when I cook this, I will have to balance my night out with a pretty hefty dessert.  LOL

Lemon Salmon with Lima Beans
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Recipe from The Food Network Magazine - Jan/Feb 2012 issue
Yield:  4 servings

1 lemon, halved
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
3/4 tsp paprika
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3/4 tsp dried oregano
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 1-pound bag frozen baby lima beans
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
4 5-ounce skinless center-cut salmon fillets

Slice 1 lemon half into 4 thin rounds and set aside.  Grate the zest of the other lemon half and set aside; squeeze some of the juice into a bowl and mix in the yogurt and 1/4 tsp paprika.

Preheat the broiler.  Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a medium saucepan and add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes.  Cook until the garlic is golden, about 2 minutes.  Add the lima beans, 1 1/2 cups water and the lemon zest; partially cover the pan, bring to a simmer and cook until the beans are tender, about 20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley, 1 Tbsp of the yogurt mixture, and the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil.

Meanwhile, mix the remaining 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper to taste in a small bowl.  Sprinkle all over the salmon; arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet and top each fillet with a lemon slice.  Broil until just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.  Serve with the lima beans and top with the yogurt mixture.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New Year Peanut Cookies

Happy Chinese New Year!  Although I am not Chinese, I have been very aware of this holiday through association with some Chinese friends.  Chinese New Year is the biggest celebration in China, with families cooking and baking numerous foods and treats in the days leading up to the new year.  

In honor of the Chinese celebration, I've decided to share with you a common Chinese New Year treat:  Peanut Cookies.  If you are somewhat familiar with Chinese foods, you may recognize these crumbly, nutty cookies.  They are very popular among Chinese families, and often made during the Chinese New Year.  I got this Peanut Cookie recipe from one of my favorite food blogs:  Rasa Malaysia.  

Rasa Malaysia is a blog I read, written by Bee Linn Yow, that focuses on authentic Asian-inspired dishes.  I love trying new foods from other cultures, especially Asian cultures, so her blog is a trusted source of mine for those times when I'm feeling adventurous!  I knew I could count on her blog for Chinese New Year recipes, and I was right.  She has a multitude of recipes appropriate for the Chinese New Year, so head over to her blog if you'd like to see some other recipes.  Keep in mind that the recipes on her blog are not strictly Chinese, so even if you're in the mood for another type of Asian cuisine, she may have what you are looking for!

These Peanut Cookies are perfect for anyone who loves peanuts.  They have a crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture, unlike most other cookie recipes.  The dough consists of mainly peanuts, flour, oil, and sugar, which contribute to this unique quality.  The best part is the aroma as they bake in the oven!  The whole house smelled like peanut butter while these were baking, so I couldn't wait to try these.  They definitely were a success, and made a great afternoon snack.  I think I'll be enjoying these again with some tea later!

Chinese New Year Peanut Cookies
Get the recipe from Rasa Malaysia - click here

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chicken & Broccoli Stir-Fry

This year I made a New Year's resolution.  I know, I'm always that person who says "resolutions are dumb" and "why wait til the New Year to make a resolution," but this year, I really felt right about this one.

This year, I am going to...eat healthier!

Notice that I am keeping this resolution pretty general.  No specifics.  No "I'm going to eat vegetables every day" or "eat fish twice a week."  Those are nice, and I may actually do those...but I'd like to think that as long as I don't include specifics, then I'm not setting myself up to fail.  There are plenty of things I can do to eat healthier that don't necessarily require me to cut myself off from things I enjoy (like sweets!).

In order to fulfill my resolution, I figured the best way to start is by cooking more meals at home.  Not only will it save us money in the long run, but I think home-cooked food always tastes better, and will eliminate unwanted ingredients in our food.  Cooking with fresh, wholesome ingredients is much better than purchasing food filled with sodium, preservatives, MSG, and who knows what else.

So, as you can imagine, I was delighted when the first issue I received of The Food Network Magazine was titled "The Light Issue!"  The entire magazine was full of nutritious recipes that I could make throughout the year.  As I started planning my dinner menu for this week, I immediately noticed the Chicken & Broccolini Stir-Fry recipe.  It sounded like the perfect weeknight meal.  It was quick, easy, and healthy.  I made a few adaptations to the recipe, such as using broccoli instead of broccolini, and it turned out wonderfully.  My boyfriend said he would definitely eat it again, so it's a keeper!

Chicken & Broccoli Stir-Fry
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Adapted from The Food Network Magazine - Jan/Feb 2012 issue
Yield:  4 servings

1 Tbsp egg white (about 1/2 large egg white)
1 Tbsp mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine) or dry sherry
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup oyster sauce
2 bunches broccoli, stems trimmed, cut into florets
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp minced peeled ginger
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
4 to 5 baby bell peppers, sliced into thin rings
1 to 2 red jalapeno peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
1/4 cup sliced almonds, or chopped cashews, toasted

Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Meanwhile, whisk the egg white, mirin, and 1 Tbsp cornstarch in a medium bowl.  Add the chicken and toss to coat.  Whisk the remaining 2 Tbsp cornstarch, the oyster sauce, and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl.

Add the broccoli to the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes.  Drain and rinse under cold water.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.  Increase the heat to high and add the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Add the garlic and ginger; stir-fry 30 seconds.  Add the scallions and peppers; stir-fry 1 more minute.  Add the chicken, broccoli, and nuts and stir-fry 2 more minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium; whisk the oyster sauce mixture and add to the skillet.  Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 3 minutes.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Tart

Last month, I decided that it was time for me to start subscribing to some of my favorite food magazines.  Honestly, I'm not sure why I never decided to subscribe sooner, but when I found a great deal ($12.50 for THREE one year subscriptions for the magazines:  Taste of Home, Bon Appetit, and Saveur) I really couldn't turn it down.  On top of that, my boyfriend also gifted me a subscription to The Food Network Magazine!  So, this month I have been absolutely loving my variety of reading material...if you count looking at recipes and drooling over photos reading.

When I received my first issue of Bon Appetit, I was very excited to try some of the recipes!  I noticed that the recipes in this magazine are a little more sophisticated and gourmet than some of the other magazines, and some require ingredients I haven't really had much experience with.  But I love this fact, because I find it a great way for me to push my food boundaries a little bit, and get me out of my comfort zone.

I flipped through the magazine, making a list of the recipes that I would be willing to try.  One that made the list was the Roasted Vegetable Tart, which was also the cover photo for this month.  Now, I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but my boyfriend doesn't really get excited about foods that don't contain meat.  Put a huge piece of steak or chicken on his plate and he's happy, but don't expect the same response from any type of veggie or carb dish.  So, as you can imagine, he didn't really seem that excited about the tart.  

Of course, that didn't sway me, and I went ahead with the tart as planned.  I got started on the dough for the crust early Sunday morning.  I knew that by following the recipe exactly, using no substitutions or shortcuts, I would be spending a lot of time in the kitchen that day.  Since it was my first time with this recipe, I wanted everything homemade, exactly as the recipe states, so I could really get a feel for how it should taste.  

So, I carried on:  Combine the ingredients for the crust.  Chill.  Roll out the dough.  Chill.  Line tart pan with dough.  Add weights.  Bake.  Remove weights.  Bake.  Chop vegetables.  Roast.  Chop more vegetables.  Roast.  Chop more.  Saute.  Layer vegetables in crust.  Add goat cheese.  Combine egg and cream.  Pour.  Sprinkle with thyme.  Bake.  DONE!

As you can see...it was a multi-step process.  Of course, there are always short cuts, such as using a store bought pie crust, or using jarred roasted red peppers, or roasting the vegetables a day in advance...so don't be scared by the many steps.  It's definitely worth the effort. 





Really.  Probably one of the best things I've ever made.  I never thought I could be so incredibly satisfied by a dish consisting primarily of vegetables.  And even my boyfriend said he had never been so wrong about his prediction of a dish.  This recipe is perfect.  No adjustment could make it better.  The crust was flaky, the roasted vegetables were savory, the goat cheese added a creamy, mild flavor, and the sprinkling of thyme added just the right finishing touch.  Although we ate this tart for brunch, I think the flavors are savory enough to be enjoyed at any time of the day.

Please do me a favor and make this.  I made this only 6 days ago and I'm already craving it again...

Roasted Vegetable Tart

Recipe from Bon Appetit - January 2012 issue
Yield:  One 10" tart

For the pastry:
2 cups all purpose flour, plus more
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp sugar
10 Tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes

For the filling:
2 red bell peppers
11 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1" cubes
1 small red skinned sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 small onions, thinly sliced
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, divided
4 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream

For the pastry*:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pulse 2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor.  Add butter; pulse until coarse meal with pea-size lumps forms.  Drizzle 3 Tbsp ice water over mixture.  Pulse until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by 1/2 tablespoonfuls if dry.  Gather dough into a ball; flatten into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap; chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 13" round.  Transfer to a pie dish; press onto bottom and up sides of dish.  Trim dough, leaving 1/2" overhang.  Fold overhang under; crimp edges.  Freeze for 10 minutes.  

Line dough with foil or parchment paper; fill with dried beans or pie weights.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove foil and beans.  Return to oven and bake until crust is light golden brown, 25-30 minutes longer.  Let crust cool completely.  

*Crust can be made 1 day ahead.  Store airtight at room temperature.

For the filling**:
Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 450 degrees.  Using a small paring knife, cut around stems of bell peppers.  Lift out stems with seeds and discard.  Transfer whole peppers to a small baking dish; drizzle with 2 Tbsp oil.  Roast on upper rack, turning peppers occasionally, until tender, about 40 minutes.  Transfer peppers to a small bowl; cover with plastic wrap.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Peel peppers, then tear into strips.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, toss eggplant with 4 Tbsp oil in a small bowl to coat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast on lower rack for 10 minutes.  Add sweet potato to eggplant and mix gently.  Continue roasting until eggplant and sweet potato are tender, 20-25 minutes longer.  Set vegetables aside.  

Line another rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss tomatoes with vinegar, 1 Tbsp oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Arrange tomatoes, skin side down, on prepared sheet.  Roast on lower rack until tomatoes are beginning to brown and are tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes.  Set aside.  

Meanwhile, heat remaining 4 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions and fennel; cook, stirring frequently, until parts of vegetables are slightly softened and others still crisp, 5-6 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Using a slotted spoon ,transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

**Vegetables can be prepared 1 day ahead.  Cover separately and chill.

For the tart:
Scatter onion-fennel mixture over bottom of tart crust.  Top with eggplant-sweet potato mixture and roasted peppers.  Scatter 1 tsp thyme over.  Top with goat cheese and tomatoes.  

Whisk eggs and cream in a small bowl; season lightly with salt and pepper.  Slowly pour egg mixture over vegetables.  Scatter remaining 1 tsp thyme on top.

Bake tart until filling is set and pastry is golden brown, 50-60 minutes.  Let stand for at least 10 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Let me begin by saying that these are, by far, the best vanilla cupcakes I've ever eaten.  No bakery cupcake OR homemade cupcake that I know of has ever compared to this recipe!  I've already made these twice now within the last month, and am still craving them again.

When it comes to food flavors, I have a fairly simplistic palate.  For example, if I go to Baskin Robbins, out of all the "31 flavors" I end up with either vanilla or strawberry ice cream.  When I eat potato chips, I eat original Lays.  When I go to Yogurtland for frozen yogurt, I get vanilla and strawberry yogurt, with strawberries (and sometimes mochi pieces, if I'm feeling REALLY daring).  When I order pizza, my favorite will always be plain cheese.  I know it sounds boring, but for certain things, I like to be able to taste each flavor or ingredient, without being muddled up with a bunch of add-ins.

That's why I really appreciate this vanilla cupcake.  Sometimes vanilla cupcakes can also be pretty boring and lackluster, but this recipe really emphasizes the smooth flavor of the vanilla.  The little flecks of vanilla bean are visible in both the cake and the frosting, and makes them seem so gourmet!  The flavor of the vanilla also tastes much stronger in this cupcake than any other vanilla cupcake I've tried.  It just tastes...real.  No imitation vanilla here!

Before I share this recipe, I urge you to buy a bottle of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste.  I discovered this product about a year ago, and it has changed my baking dramatically.  This paste can be used whenever a recipe calls for vanilla extract.  I prefer to keep a bottle of the paste and extract on hand, and save the paste for recipes that will really benefit from its flavor and presentation.  Frostings work especially well with this paste, and look very pretty with the specks of vanilla bean.

This recipe is great to make for parties or large gatherings, because pretty much everyone likes vanilla, so you can't go wrong. When they taste this cupcake, they will be impressed by the rich flavor and beautiful presentation.  Best of all, swiss meringue buttercream can be safe to eat at room temperature, isn't overly sweet, and has a light, velvety texture similar to whipped cream frosting, so it really is worth the extra effort!

FYI:  The original recipe on Annie's Eats yields about 30 cupcakes.  I only needed a dozen for a particular event I was baking these for, so I halved the recipe and posted the halved recipe below.  If you would like to make the larger batch, either double the ingredients or save time and click here for the 30-count version.

The frosting recipe makes about 5 cups, enough to frost 2 dozen.  I ended up using the second half for a batch of a different flavor cupcake, but you can also store the frosting in the fridge for up to a week; just remove from the fridge and rewhip when ready to use (I recommend this over halving the frosting recipe--Swiss meringue buttercream can be very finicky).

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
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Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats (cupcakes) and Annie's Eats (frosting)
Yield:  about 15 cupcakes/5 cups of frosting
For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
half of a vanilla bean OR 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:
5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla bean paste

For the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare cupcake pan with liners.  Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk together and set aside.  Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer.  Add the vanilla bean paste with the butter, and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light and creamy in color.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for one more minute.

Add the sugar to the butter mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition.  Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix 15 seconds longer.

Divide batter between prepared liners, filling about 2/3 of the way full.  Bake 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clea.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

For the frosting:
To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture reaches 160 F (be patient! This takes a while.  Use a thermometer).

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes. 

Reduce speed to medium and add the butter, 2 Tbsp at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  Stir in the vanilla bean paste and mix just until incorporated.  Tint with gel icing color if desired.

  • Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to a month.  To use, bring to room temperature and beat until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mom's Rice Stuffing (AKA Bacon Rice)

Here is another GREAT recipe, straight from the most special of all of my recipe sources:  my mom! 
Just a side note:  my mom's birthday was yesterday, so this is nice timing to post one of her best recipes.  (Happy Birthday, Mom!)

Over the years, my mom has spent many evenings in the kitchen, cooking dinners for our family.  It's one of the many things that I have come to appreciate, and something that is often taken for granted, but I think that it is an essential part of a good family experience.  Especially now, with such busy lives, whether it's because of our jobs, school, and for some, kids, it's very important to find the time to sit down at the table and have a nice homecooked meal with the family.

This rice stuffing recipe is very special.  It's special, not only because it's from my mom, but because this dish was only served once a year. 

Every Thanksgiving, in lieu of the traditional Stovetop stuffing, my mom would make this rice stuffing...and it is definitely a good replacement.  I used to crave this recipe all year long!  Once Thanksgiving arrived, I would pile it on my plate, and eat it with some mashed potatoes and gravy (carb-heaven!!!).  Oh, of course there was the turkey, stuffed eggs, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes, but I barely noticed next to the pot of rice stuffing.  And the next day, when we would heat up all the leftovers, this rice stuffing would taste just as good as it did the day before. 

This recipe has everything I could ever want from a rice dish.  Savory bits of bacon, crunchy pieces of celery, and chopped onion, all sauteed in butter and soaking up the seasonings from a package of Lipton noodle soup.  It is to die for!  If it weren't for all of the butter, I would make this dish once a week.  I'd sit down with a bowl of it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Really, it's that good.

So although Thanksgiving may be quite a while away, I think it's worth the time and (minimal) effort to try out this recipe before then.  Besides, you should have a test run before you actally serve it for the big day.  I think it would also be a great dish for Easter dinner...that's not too far!  Maybe I'm making too many excuses for you to make this dish, but it really is worth it.

Please make and enjoy it...just don't eat the whole thing by yourself.

Mom's Rice Stuffing (AKA Bacon Rice)
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4 cups rice (uncooked)
1 8 ounce package bacon
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
3 cups diced celery
2 cups diced onions
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 packages of Lipton noodle soup (1 box)

Prepare rice; cook according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in 12" skillet, cook bacon until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.  Crumble or chop into pieces.
In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add celery, onions, salt, pepper, and soup mix.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. 
Remove celery mixture from heat.  Stir in rice and bacon pieces.  Mix well.

  • I usually reduce the butter by a few tablespoons, just to make it slightly healthier. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes

One of my favorite cupcakes flavors has always been red velvet.  I can't even begin to describe the flavor of the deep red cake, but pretty much anything paired with cream cheese frosting is a winner.  I've always been a fan, yet until recently, I never really knew what ingredients were in red velvet cake to give it that unique flavor.

About a month ago, a friend from work asked me to make some cupcakes for his father-in-law's birthday.  I'm always glad to have a reason to bake in my kitchen, so of course, I obliged.  Red velvet was one of the cupcake flavors he requested, so I immediately went to the blog with the most trusted cupcake recipes (in my opinion, at least):  Annie's Eats.  Also, since his father-in-law likes to fish, he requested some sort of decoration to relate to this hobby.  We ended up making red fish decorations out of red candy melts, which you can see in the photo above.

It was surprising to see that red velvet cake actually has some unusual ingredients, such as vinegar!  However, it is such a small amount, it really helps give the cake it's unique flavor without being recognizable.  This, in combination with cocoa powder, buttermilk, and red food coloring create the undeniable red velvet flavor.

The end result was an incredibly yummy, moist cupcake.  The flavors of the cupcake worked perfectly with the smooth, sweet flavor of the cream cheese frosting.  Luckily, I just made one extra cupcake to try before I delivered these to the birthday party.  If these cupcakes weren't for the party guests, I probably would've eaten the whole batch!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
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Recipe from Annie's Eats
Yield:  about 24 cupcakes

For the cake:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp (1 oz.) liquid red food coloring
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled white vinegar

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp clear vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cupcake pans with paper liners.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar.  Beat on medium speed until well blended.  Reduce speed to low, then mix in the dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Divide the batter evenly between prepared liners.  Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar until incorporated, then increase speed and beat until smooth.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Honey lime chicken enchiladas!  Finally, it's posted--it's the perfect way to begin the new year!

I'm excited to share this one, because according to my boyfriend, Tony (and me, of course), this is one of the top 5 things that I make for dinner.  When you first think of enchiladas, I'm sure honey isn't exactly something you'd expect on the ingredient list, but in this recipe it really adds an amazing quality to this dish!  It is the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and savory.  The honey, lime, chicken, and cheese all meld together perfectly in a bed of green enchilada sauce.  These definitely are not traditional Mexican enchiladas by any means, but they are a stellar variation!

I originally saw this recipe posted on Mel's Kitchen Cafe, and it immediately sparked my interest.  However, I tend to bookmark a lot of recipes and then forget about them...but then, it seemed like it was getting posted on practically ALL of my favorite blogs, with tons of rave reviews.  Since this recipe has so many fans, I knew that I had to try it and see what all the hype was about.  I'm so glad I did (and Tony's glad too)!

Now, enchiladas are probably one of the toughest foods to photograph.  With their melted cheese and dripping sauce, they aren't exactly photogenic, so I tried my best to get the least messy looking picture.  I hope my ravings about this dish are enough to convince you to try it.  I kept the recipe almost identical to the original post, except I reduced the honey just a bit, and increased the amount of lime juice.  I prefer it this way, so that these enchiladas are not overly sweet, but just enough to lend a subtle taste to the dish.

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas
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Recipe adapted from Mel's Ktichen Cafe
Yield:  One 9x13 dish

4 Tbsp honey
6 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded (about 3 chicken breasts)
8-10 flour tortillas
1 pound monterey jack cheese, shredded
16 ounces green enchilada sauce
1 cup heavy cream (or sour cream)

Mix the first four ingredients together and toss with the shredded chicken in a Ziploc bag.  Let it marinate for at least a 1/2 hour.  Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.  Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, reserving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of the enchiladas.  Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream and leftover marinade.  Pour sauce on top of enchiladas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until browned and crispy on top.

*Freezer directions:  Follow preparation directions, then freeze prior to baking.  To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake enchiladas, covered (without thawing) for 1 hour.  Uncover and bake 30 minutes longer, until browned and crispy on top.  Enchiladas may be frozen up to 2 months.