Thursday, November 19, 2009

How'd I Do That Chicken?

Tonight I grabbed a jar with (*)spices in it, which I "think" came from this recipe: Rachael Ray's Devil Chicken. So that's why I call it, "How'd I Do That Chicken".

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
olive oil
*spices(really, any spices would probably do)
2 cups white rice
4 cups chicken broth
4 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
2 Tbl. real bacon pieces

Place chicken breasts in a gallon size ziploc bag and seal. Flatten the breasts using a rolling pin or kitchen hammer. In a large non-stick skillet coat bottom of hot pan with approx. 1-2 tsp. olive oil. Add spices to deep plate and dredge each side of chicken with spices and place in pan evenly placed. DO not move chicken around, you're trying to get a good caramelization on each side. Cook on med to med-high for about 5 minutes, until browned. Turn over with tongs, and don't move again for another 5 minutes, or until deeply browned. Remove chicken pieces to a plate and set aside. Add rice to pan and about a cup of broth. Using a wooden spoon, scrape pan to get all the bits and yumminess loose. Add remaining broth and garlic and bring to boil. Return chicken to pan, sprinkle bacon pieces evenly, cover, and simmer on low 20-25 minutes, until rice is done, do not remove lid until ready to check doneness. I served this with carrots, the sweetness vs. savory was a great combination. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes and slice against the grain for very tender strips to serve over rice. Makes 6-8 servings.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Foolproof Family Sunday Menu....

This is by far my favorite Sunday night dinner, other than one I don't have to fix myself.

Peppercorn Pork Tenderloin(quick braised, and yes, this is FAST!)

Mashed potatoes


Green Beans

Hormel markets and packages these delicious tenderloins that just melt in your mouth. Even though they're fantastic BBQ'd, "quick braised" is my favorite way because the gravy you make from the drippings is just divine. They even claim on their website, "Foolproof, Flawlessly Seasoned Entrées – Always Juicy and Tender".

Heat oven to 400'. Drizzle a hot non-stick oven proof pot with olive oil, about 1 Tbl. and place two tenderloins. Brown the outside of the tenderloins for approx. 5-8 minutes each side, flipping only 4 times. When all 4 sides are browned add 4 cups vegetable stock/broth, bring up to boil and turn off heat. Cover, and place in hot oven for 1 hour. When thickest part of tenderloin reaches 180', it will be fork tender.

While tenderloin is cooking prepare mashed potatoes and vegetables.

My mashed potatoes:

8-10 large russet potatoes, peeled, rinsed, and cubed
Fat-free Half and Half
1 stick salted butter
salt & pepper to taste

Add potatoes to large pot and fill with enough water to cover all the potatoes. Cook on high until they begin to boil. Turn heat down to avoid overspill and cook on medium to medium-low for about 20 minutes until fork tender. Using a slotted spoon/wire bowl, remove potatoes to large bowl. Cut butter stick into cubes and add to potatoes. Add approx. 1/2 cup half and half to potatoes, salt, and pepper. Use a wire masher(not electric beaters, this releases too much starch and they become gummy) and smash until fluffy.

To make gravy:

Remove tenderloins and set aside and cover to "rest". Strain juice from pan through fine sieve colander to remove chunks. Return pan to stove top and melt 1/2 stick butter over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup flour to make roux. Gradually add vegetable broth/stock back to gravy, whisking constantly to keep smooth. You can also whisk a rounded Tbl. flour in with 1/2 cup potato water and add into gravy mixture whisking fast if the gravy is too thin. Add plenty of pepper. The juices from the pork will be remarkably lean, very little fat, because these pieces are very lean.

Pour gravy over pork and potatoes, and even tasty on green beans!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pumpkin Crunch

This was sent to me in an email for our Relief Society Enrichment Program. Tested and approved!

1(29 ounce) can Pumpkin
1 can (13 ounce) evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 ½ cups white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 tsp. clove
1/2 tsp. salt
1 box yellow cake mix
1 C chopped nuts
2 cubes butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Blend the pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, ginger and salt. Pour into a 9 x 13 pan.
Sprinkle the (dry) yellow cake mix over the pumpkin mixture and pat gently.
Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the dry cake mix. Melt the butter and drizzle over the nuts and cake mix. Bake for 1 hour.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Copycat Cafe Rio From Someone Who Has Never Eaten There

My recipe for the pork differs a little from some available on the internet because I have tried it before and found there to be WAY too much liquid even though I cooked up twice as much meat with it. So, I've adjusted the liquid. Also the bean recipe is different because I found the beans to be a little bland and decided to flavor it up a bit, so it's not the Cafe Rio copycat, but it's slightly sweet and goes perfect with the pork and rice.

Café Rio Sweet Pork

4 lbs pork roast or tri-tip
1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes in puree***
3 tsp pressed garlic
2 cups brown sugar
1 round Tbl. Cumin
3 C Dr. Pepper
4 Tbsp molasses
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
Lg. pinch red pepper flakes

Place pork in crock-pot. Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl, and then pour over meat. Cook on high for 4 hours then switch to low for 4-6 more hours.

When done, remove meat from crock pot, reserving liquid. Shred meat with a forks in extra large bowl. Add 1-2 cups liquid into bowl with meat and mix. Allow to set a little to absorb sauce

***I found this recipe had entirely too much liquid in it.  I substituted 1 small can tomato paste, the Dr. Pepper provides A LOT of liquid, plus what the meat puts out itself.  You could even cut back on the Dr. Pepper to 1 1/2 -2 cups. 
Lime Rice
I prepared this in a rice cooker, if you cook on the stove, you will need a little additional liquid.

1/2 stick butter
2 1/2 C (uncooked) rice
3 1/2 C chicken broth
3/4 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
Zest and Juice 2 limes
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp cumin or a few drops of sriracha sauce

Rinse rice in colander until water runs clear and then put into bowl of rice cooker. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Set rice cooker on "white rice" setting. This takes approx. 30 minutes.

Creamy Cilantro Dressing

1 16 oz jar of green tomatillo based salsa or enchilada sauce
1 pkg buttermilk ranch dressing (dry)
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 C mayonnaise
1/2 C buttermilk(or milk mixed with 2 tsp. lime juice and "curdled")
1 C fresh cilantro
2 cloves pressed garlic
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 C sugar
A few drops of Sriracha
Blend all ingredients together in blender until smooth and creamy.

Black Beans

2 cloves pressed garlic
1 15 oz. can black beans rinsed and drained
1 22 oz. can Bush's Steakhouse Beans

Bring all ingredients in saucepan to a boil, cover and let simmer about 5 minutes. Mash with potato masher until desired consistency. Serve on tortillas with shredded pork and rice.