Monday, January 16, 2012

New year, new recipes!

As this year kicks off I once again find myself in the incredibly amazing spot of being a voluntary brand ambassador - I'm not paid for anything I'm just sharing my love of cooking.

Tonight I made what I call Fire roasted Italian Chicken - it's quick, it's simple, I think it's gourmet. 

I don't *gasp* have an actual recipe for it.  I cook to taste.  Having said that I'm trying to give as best of a recipe as possible.  This would be for 1 person

2 Tbsp grapeseed OR extra virgin olive oil
1 - 6oz boneless skinless chicken breast
1/2 tsp granulated garlic  (please note this IS different than garlic powder or garlic salt)
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves, crushed
3 ounces Good quality Pinot Grigio Wine
1/3 cup cannelini beans - drained and rinse
1/4 cup fire roasted tomatoes - do NOT drain
1/4 cup julienned carrots
1/4 cup long grain wild rice (pre-cooked Uncle Ben's 90 second rice)

Pour oil into large skillet.  Heat skillet over a medium high heat.  Season both sides of the chicken breast w/ the granulated garlic, italian seasoning, and rosemary.  Carefully place the chicken breast in the skillet.  Cook until each side is a golden brown - about 4 minutes per side.  Slide chicken breast to the side of the pan, pour in the wine, scrape up any of the "tasty bits' on the bottom of the skillet by using a wooden spoon to assist in deglazing the pan.  Add in the cannelini beans, tomatoes, carrots, and rice.  Allow to simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occassionally.

This is a very hearty and rustic meal.  If you would like, feel free to tweak - I've added baby port mushrooms, I've also added in more tomatoes, and then topped the chicken w/ a slice of FRESH mozzarella cheese (not the brick stuff).  It's VERY wholesome and healthy as made above.  I do NOT really like using salt b/c I prefer the seasonings to bring out the flavour of the meal.  If you prefer feel free to add some salt.


The other night I made a rather interesting meal consisting of  Cilantro Lime Flounder, wild rice, and sauteed squash and zucchini.  Yes I'm quite aware it's for a cod recipe, but flounder can be substituted as well.

The taste is difficult for me to describe, if I could think of a way to describe it I would say it's Floribbean Cuisine.   It was very quick to make and I appreciated the healthy appeal of this recipe.  The changes I made were neglible in the sense I used butter...b/c butter makes everything better - oh wait that's bacon...or is it?

Because it's 1700 somewhere or as civilians say 5 o'clock somewhere (rabbit trail...anyone know why it's typed o'clock?)  and b/c I had a recipe that could be called Floribbean Cuisine  I decided to have a Blue Hawaiian

This was very potent so make sure you're sitting down when you drink this, and if you want feel free to dress up in some Islander wear for a truly authentic drink :-)


I am in love...w/ my slow cooker - yes that kitchen accessory that's likely sporting cobwebs underneath your kitchen cabinet.  It is such a fantastic accessory that can make so many amazing BBQ Ribs!  "No way' you say!  'Way!" I say ;-)

What makes it's just two simple ingredients!

1 package of country style pork ribs
1 bottle of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce

Okay, Okay I'm not trying to drop names or promote this specific brand, but my goodness the Hickory & Brown Sugar sauce is finger lickin delicious! 

SO...I spray the inside of my slow cooker w/ non stick spray, and then plop my ribs inside the slow cooker, and then use a basting brush, I brush the ribs liberally w/ the sauce. Simple huh?  At that point, I place the lid on my slow cooker, turn it to high and walk away.  About 5-6 hours later, my ribs are ready to be devoured!

Rounding out the meal...homemade mac and cheese - and NOPE it's not the boxed junk!

1 (8 ounce) package elbow macaroni
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 pound Cheddar cheese (mix of sharp & mild)
1 1/2 cups milk
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tsp worchestershire sauce
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder

Preheat oven to 350° Spray a 2 quart casserole dish w/ nonstick spray
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente;
Meanwhile melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, whisking until combined.  Slowly pour in milk, whisking to combine, continue whisking until it thickens. Add in the cheese, and stir until well blended, add in the salt, black pepper, worchestershire sauce and dry mustard powder, stir to combine.
Once the pasta has finished boiling, drain.  Return the pasta to the pot, and pour the cheese sauce inside, stirring well to combine.  Pour mixture into casserole dish and top w/ more cheese if desired. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Rounding out the meal steamed green beans and beer bread.

I can see the male readers perking up at the word beer.  Their beloved drink has gone to...bread!
I've now made this same recipe about 8 times but each time using a different brand of beer.  I think I really need to start another blog dedicated to beer bread b/c I can't get enough of this stuff!  This time I used a Vanilla Porter beer.

If you've never tried your hand making beer bread give it a try...Three simple ingredients - self rising flour, sugar, and beer...simple quick -ohhhh and speaking of simple - Anyone know of that homebrand company that sells beer bread MIX (you have to buy the beer) that's like about $5 per mix?  This is SO much better and more economical to make!  Tell yourself that you'll try beer bread this week...oh and don't use a nasty beer...what you may like drinking may not taste so good in the beer bread, crazy but true.  I've used w/ success, Purple Haze Beer, Ybor Gold (a local beer to my city), Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (OMG Good!), Winter Abby Pale Ale, and a host of others....see I told you I need a beer bread blog!

And last but not least lets have another drink...this time we're going tropical and heading towards the Bahamas for a Bahama Breeze!

Now granted the recipe said it served 4 I'm thinking NOT!  This made ONE serving...and it was very tasty too!  If you can't find the Apricot liqueur, feel free to sub w/ some passionfruit rum, and it will still give you that tropical feeling!


I love meals in one - you get your meat/poultry, your veggies, and your starch...SO next up is Chicken pot pie. 

Was it to die for...ehhh not really, but it was good, it was country cooking, and I made it...using someone else's recipe that I'll tweak if I make again ;-)


I think in my food buffet that nothing would be complete w/o another new recipe  Penne a la Vodka

Mmmm pasta, vodka, umm vodka...haha no not really oh okay fine!  This was a pretty good recipe, but I would have to say my fav recipe by far is Penne w/ Spicy Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce  <-- That one OMG yum!

Oooohhh thirsty?  If so feel free to wash it down w/ a Purple Hooter

Granted I made this drink just to make it...would I make it again, ehhh probably not!  It was good for a faceless picture tho.

Last but not least...another pasta dish, a bit different, a bit unique, but VERY good!

Pumpkin Sausage Bisque w/ Ravioli  - now please note that I made some changes to this recipe.  As per my original review  I didn't have the pumpkin pie filling on hand, but DID have 100% pure pumpkin, so I knew I would need to add in some sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves and nutmeg. I read the submitters indication that they prefer things spicy so I kept that in mind and scaled back the cayenne. I also knew I wanted it to have some more depth than just chicken broth so I did a mixture of chicken broth (1 cup) and heavy cream (4 Tbsp). It was very tasty but I thought it needed a little something extra. I rummaged around in my fridge and found some ground sausage I had previously cooked...I added in about 1/2 cup and gave it another taste...OMG yum!!!!

Hopefully after you check out my blog your stomach won't be rumbling like mine is!

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I am a voluntary Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador and I do not receive compensation for my work with Any product received is only used for experience-based reviews on The Daily Gourmet. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are the sole opinions of Sarah.

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