"It's the company, not the cooking, that makes the meal!" ~Perilee 
(Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fresh Okra and Tomatoes

We got okra in our Bountiful Basket this week and it sent me on a search for a recipe. Most okra I have had has been fried, but this one is cooked on the stovetop and healthier than fried for sure. Another added bonus was it helped use up some off the fresh tomatoes that my neighbors gave me. I was surprised that my kids like the okra as much as they did. The recipe didn't have a recommendation of what to serve with it so I chose pasta so that if it wasn't a hit with the kids that they would have something to fill their tummies.

Okra and Tomatoes

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2006

1 pound okra, rinsed and trimmed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups finely chopped red onion (I used sweet onion as usual.)

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 cups peeled and chopped tomato

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise* or black pepper (I used the black pepper)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom (I don't have cardamom so I used 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon)


Cut each okra pod in half lengthwise and set aside. If there are any pods longer than 4 inches, cut them in half crosswise and then lengthwise.

Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions along with the salt and cook until they begin to turn golden, approximately 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and add the ginger, pepper, cardamom and okra. Stir to combine. Cook, uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Serve immediately.

*Cook's Note: Grains of Paradise are available online and in specialty spice markets. They have a zesty flavor reminiscent of pepper, coriander, and cardamom.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Our Sweet Bun Fresh Out of the Oven

Picture of our boys coming to pick Daisy up from the hospital.

40 weeks and 5 days later (Sept. 17, 2010) our little sweet bun in the oven decided to make her grand entrance. We are enjoy her and want to gobble her up she is so sweet. We are so grateful for the generous meals from other families kitchens. We still have a pile of recipes that were on our menu for the month that we hope to try. As I get around to cooking again and have a free minute to post our keepers I will, but it isn't going to be a huge priority right now. I am trying to enjoy every minute of this little piece of heaven that has been granted to us.

Breaded Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce

This dish was delicious! I found it on realmomskitchen.com who took it from foodonthetable.com. It was a hit with my family. We loved the sauce over pasta too. If you like things extra saucy you may want to double the sauce recipe. We served it with angel hair pasta--how could you go wrong in the eyes of kids and pasta lovers. We will make this again, but it was great to use our garden fresh basil. If you don't have fresh substitute 1 Tablespoon dried Basil in the sauce. Hope you get to please your pallet with this tasty dish.

Breaded Chicken with Basil Cream Sauce (foodonthetable.com)
4-6 chicken breasts (I would recommend pounding them into thin cutlets or buying cutlets)
flour (about 1/2 cup)
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
black pepper
3 Tablespoon butter (can use 1 Tbsp more if needed)

1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 (4.0 ounce jar) sliced pimento peppers, drained
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or 1 Tbsp. dried)
black pepper

Place eggs in a shallow bowl. Place flour in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine both bread crumbs with salt and pepper to taste.
Coat chicken with flour. Then dip in egg, then coat with breadcrumb mixture.
In a skillet over medium heat, fry chicken in butter, on both sides, until the juices run clear, about 15 minutes. Remove from skillet and keep warm.
Add the broth to the skillet; bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir and scrape to loosen browned bits from pan.
Stir in the cream and pimentos (If using dried basil add this now); boil and stir for one minute. Reduce heat; add the Parmesan cheese, basil and black pepper to taste. Simmer and stir until heated through. To serve, pour the sauce over the chicken.

Macaroni Grill Bread

Macaroni Grill Bread (Jamie Cooks it Up-blog)

Yield: 2 loaves

Time: 1 1/2 hours start to finish

1 1/2 t active dry yeast

1 C warm water

3 T olive oil

1/4 t sugar

2 1/2 C flour

1 1/2 t salt

1/4 t McCormick Italian Seasoning Grinder

1/4 t cracked black pepper

3/4 T fresh rosemary, snipped

1 egg

butter and salt

1. In the bottom of your mixer combine water, yeast and sugar. Mix it around a bit with a spoon and let it sit for 5 minutes.

2. Add the salt, oil and 1 C flour. Mix for 30 seconds to incorporate.

3. Add the rest of the flour about 1/2 C at a time, while the mixer continues to mix.

4. When all of the flour is incorporated mix on high for about 7 minutes.

5. While your mixer is doing it's fine work, get your herbs and seasonings ready to go. I like to snip rosemary with scissors. You don't want to eat any of the thick stem that rosemary comes on, only the little needles.

6. When your dough is done mixing add the rosemary, pepper and Italian seasoning. Mix just until incorporated.

7. Cover your mixing bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rise for about 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.

8. Divide the dough into 2 parts. Shape into balls and place on a sprayed cookie sheet, or a cooking stone with a bit of olive oil on it.

9. Spray a sharp knife with cooking spray and cut 2 slits in the top of the bread.

10. In a small bowl whisk an egg until frothy. Brush the egg all over the top of the loaf and into the cracks.

11. Place the loaves into a warm oven. (I set mine to 170) Let them rise until doubled in size, about 15 minutes.

12. Turn your oven up to 370 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

13. When the loaves come out of the oven, place them on a cooling rack. Brush butter over the tops and sprinkle a little bit of salt over the top of the butter. Be careful to not get too much. I always use freshly cracked salt. You can buy both salt and pepper crackers at Costco these days. Look on the spice aisle.

The end....hope you enjoy!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Orange Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry

I got this recipe from a blog called Jamiecooksitup. My family loved it. I used 9 chicken tenders when I tried it and Jack said there needed to be more meat in the dish. The kids and adults gobbled it down so I guess it was a hit. I passed the recipe on to my sister-in-law two doors down and her family had the same response. So Thank You Jamie-who ever you are- for this creation and for sharing it with us.

Orange Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry


Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Recipe created by Jamie Cooks It Up!

4 chicken breasts

3/4 C flour

1/4 t salt

2 T olive oil

5 large carrots

1 onion

2 bell peppers (red, green or orange...you choose)

6 stalks celery (I will use a little less next time my kids weren't crazy about it)

salt and pepper to taste (again with the "you choose")


3/4 C fresh orange juice (I use from concentrate and it works fine)

1/4 C soy sauce

1/2 t ginger

2 t rice vinegar

1/2 C brown sugar

1/2 t sesame oil

pinch red pepper flakes (Optional if you don't like the kick! Jack and I like it; kids not so much.)

2 T corn starch

1 C chicken broth

Cut those chicken breasts up into 2 inch cubes.

Combine the flour and the 1/4 t salt in a small bowl, and toss until coated.

Heat up a large skillet. When it's nice and hot add 1 T oil and put your

floured chicken into it. Toss the chicken in gently, now.

Cook your chicken until it is golden all over. (About 10 minutes)

While your chicken is cooking up, chop up your veggies. Make sure they are about the same size.

When your chicken is pretty and golden, take it out of the pan and place it on a nice plate.

Add another T of oil into the hot skillet. Add your veggies and cook over medium high heat

until crisp tender...about another 10 minutes.

While your veggies cook add all sauce ingredients to a medium sized sauce pan.
Whisk them together until they are all combined nicely. Bring to a boil. Once it boils it should thicken up nicely for you.

When your veggies are crisp tender add your thickened sauce and chicken into the pan.

Serve over a bed of rice.