Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fusilli alla Caprese

Another great recipe from Giada. I love how fresh everything is!

Fusilli alla Caprese
  • 1 pound fusilli pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 1 1/2 pints)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced (about 1 1/4 cups)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

In a medium skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. As the tomatoes cook and soften, smash them with a fork. Continue to cook until the tomatoes make a chunky style sauce, about 4 minutes. Transfer the tomato sauce to the bowl with the pasta. Toss to combine. Add the basil leaves and mozzarella. Stir to combine. Add the reserved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, until the pasta is moist. Serve.

*picture from here

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mexican Rice

I love the rice you get at Mexican restaurant and finally found a make-at-home recipe that rivals them. It was really easy and turned out perfectly, even though I'm afraid of making rice on the stove and usually use my trusty rice cooker. 

Mexican Rice

3 T vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked rice (not instant)
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden. While rice is cooking, sprinkle with salt and cumin.  Stir in onions and cook until tender. Stir in tomato sauce and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Trust me on this one. So chocolatey, and soooo good.

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup (3 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder*
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350*F and line muffin tin with baking cups.

Melt butter, chocolate, and cocoa together in a bowl in the microwave, stirring often, and allow to cool slightly. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another large bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla together by hand until uniform. Slowly whisk in the sugar until combined, and then slowly whisk in cooled chocolate mixture until combined. Sift about 1/3 of the flour mixture over the batter and whisk in. Whisk in sour cream, then sift remaining flour mixture over batter and whisk until completely incorporated. Stir to make sure batter is fully combined.

Place a level ¼ cup of batter into each muffin tin (I actually use a measuring cup for this and level it off; if you don’t, the cupcakes will run over and the edges will bake together.)

Bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Rotate tins halfway through to ensure even baking. Cool in tins for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Yield: 24 cupcakes

NOTE: You can also bake this in a 13”x9” baking pan for 30-35 minutes.

*Heaven knows why, but I have a devil of a time finding Dutch-processed cocoa around here. I substituted Hershey’s Special Dark with good results.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cool Cucumber Salad

Easy, easy, easy!

3 cukes, sliced in thin rounds
1 cup vinegar
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt

Heat all ingredients, except cukes, until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour over sliced cukes and refrigerate.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Chicken and Rice Burritos

This is really simple but we all love it. Use leftover chicken and leftover rice and it only takes 10 minutes!

2 1/2 c. shredded chicken
1-2 c. cooked rice
1 3/4 c. water
1 package taco seasoning
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
1 large tomato diced
1/3 c. sliced green onions
8 burrito size tortillas

Optional extras
Shredded cheese
Sour cream

Heat chicken, rice, water, taco seasoning, and tomato sauce until warm and thick. Add tomato and green onions. Spread desired amount and filling and extras on tortilla, roll up burrito style.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Idaho Cookie Salad-YUM YUM YUM!!!!!

Large instant vanilla pudding
2 C buttermilk

16 oz cool whip

1 large can pineapple tidbits

2 cans of mandarin oranges

3-4 bananas

fudge stripe cookies

Mix pudding and buttermilk together

Stir in cool whip

Mix in the pineapple and mandarin oranges

Mix in bananas and cookies before serving

This makes a lot you may want to cut it in half!!

I also like to add more fruit even though my husband hates it.

Zucchini and Corn Quesadillas

*photo and recipe (adapted) from here

3-4T olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 onion, diced
1-2 medium zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
1 can sweet corn (if you have fresh, I think it would be so much better)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 t cumin
lots of chopped cilantro (depending on your tastes)
salt & pepper
8 whole wheat tortillas
1 cup shredded cheese (I used pepper jack, but any cheese you love would work)

Preheat over to 400 degrees.

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook one minute more. Add zucchini (and corn if you're using fresh) and cook until it begin to soften, about 5 minutes more. Add corn and beans and cook until heated through. Season with cumin, salt, pepper and cilantro.

Spread one side of tortillas with olive oil. On a cookie sheet place one tortilla, oil side down, fill with zucchini mixture and top with cheese (more or less depending on your tastes). Place remaining tortillas on top, oiled side up. Bake until cheese is melted and the tortillas begin to get crispy, about 10 minutes (you can also place under the broiler if you want it even crispier). Cut into wedges and serve immediately. I served mine with raspberry-chipotle salsa and it was fantastic.

**Only make the number of quesadillas you need for the meal. Save remaining filling to make additional quesadillas for lunch the next day. Or, just eat the yummy filling alone (like I did)