Friday, March 29, 2013

Recipe Swap: Philly Fluff Cake


 
 It's Blogger's Choice time again - my favorite Recipe Swap hosted by A Taste of Home Cooking. I was given a blog that I'm very familiar with, I Was Born to Cook, so I knew I'd have a hard time deciding. Melissa, the blog's author, has a ton of great recipes, from apps, pasta, and main dishes to a huge index of sweets.
 
Once again, I chose to bake something for the Swap. My friend's birthday was last weekend, and I was going to be cooking dinner for her, so I thought baking a cake would be a nice surprise, especially since my friend is always the one doing the baking! Unfortunately we had to change her plans and we couldn't get together, but I still made the cake in her honor.
I looked through the list of sweets on Melissa's blog, and what a list it is! It was so hard to choose, but then I saw a cake that I had never heard of - a Philly Fluff Cake. It looked delicious, sounded like something I could handle, and I already had most of the ingredients on hand.  
 
My favorite thing about this cake was the layer of swirled chocolate. It looked so pretty when I cut into the cake, and it added another level of sweetness to an already delicious cake.

One note on the recipe and a little mistake I made - I bought a block of cream cheese, but when I started to get my ingredients together I realized the recipe called for 10 oz of cream cheese, and a block is only 8 oz. I went ahead with it anyway, and the cake was still incredibly moist and delicious. I can only imagine that it would just be better with the correct amount of cream cheese.


Jon, our daughter, my parents, and a few people at work ate this cake and loved it! (Jenny, I'm sorry you missed it but I will make it for you another time!!) I'm so happy that I was able to bake a delicious cake from scratch, and that I now have a cake that I can make for parties and holidays (I know, I know, it's not that hard, but baking hasn't been my thing!). My recent successes are even making me think about investing in a Kitchen Aid Mixer!


Just one more picture before I share the recipe. I was taking pictures when all of the sudden I saw a little hand reaching for the slice of cake. I caught her!!!



Philly Fluff Cake
Source: I Was Born to Cook

Ingredients
  • 10 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Butter and flour a bundt pan.
  • Beat cream cheese, butter and shortening together until light and fluffy.
  • Add flour, baking powder and salt. Beat on low until combined. Batter will be thick.
  • Gradually add 1 cup sugar and eggs, one at a time, beating completely between each one.
  • Add vanilla and remaining sugar. Continue beating until batter is smooth, scraping sides of bowl a few times.
  • Pour half the mixture into prepared pan.
  • Add chocolate and swirl the batter with a knife to spread chocolate through.
  • Top with remaining batter and bake for about 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of center clean.
  • Cool for about 15 minutes then invert carefully onto cake platter to cool completely. Before serving, sprinkle with a generous amount of confectioners’ sugar.

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Check out the other recipes that were part of this Blogger's Choice Recipe Swap:  
 




Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lemon Romano Chicken

 
I'm a little addicted to Pinterest. Besides being fun to look at, it's such a great way to find new blogs and recipes, like this one that I first saw on Pinterest. When looking at recipes pinned to Pinterest, I always click through to get back to the source so I can make sure the link works, read the recipe, and determine if it's something I'd want to make. Sure, the picture may look good, but you never know what you are going to discover once you go to the source. Luckily this one took me to the blog Cooking Classy.

Just one more note about Pinterest before I move on to the recipe - when you see a recipe, it's not a "Pinterest" recipe. The recipe had to come from somewhere, so give those bloggers some traffic, due credit, and make sure you click through to their site!

I love crispy, baked chicken, and the picture on this blog had my mouth watering. I read through the recipe and knew right away that I would make it.

The original recipe used mozzarella, Romano, and provolone cheeses. I omitted the provolone, mostly because I didn't see shredded provolone on my quick run through the market and didn't feel like going all the way back to the deli (Wegman's is too bit to run back for just one more thing!). Instead I used Parmesan. I also didn't fry the chicken before baking it. Using Panko and turning on the broiler at the end makes it plenty crispy, and also keeps it a bit healthier. 



We both loved this chicken. The addition of lemon zest, oregano, Parmesan, and Romano cheeses to the breading gave it such great flavor - fresh and bright. I used basil for the picture, but then also chopped it up and enjoyed it with the chicken which went so well with the lemon. I served this chicken with simple roasted asparagus and Pasta with Butter, Parmesan, and Black Pepper.

Lemon Romano Chicken
Adapted from: Cooking Classy

Ingredients
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 c Panko breadcrumbs
  • Shredded cheeses: mozzarella, Parmesan, and Romano
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Lemon wedges for serving
  • Fresh basil for serving
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees; spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper; set aside
  • Beat egg and add flour; in a second bowl, mix the Panko with approximately 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp Romano cheese, lemon zest, oregano, and just a pinch each of salt and pepper
  • One at a time, dip the chicken breasts in the egg/flour mixture, and then in the Panko mixture. Place in the baking dish.
  • Bake at first for approximately 10 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, mix approximately 1 tbsp of each of the cheeses in a small bowl. After the chicken has cooked for 10 minutes, top each breast with some of the cheese. Continue to cook for approximately 8 more minutes, or until the intrnal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees, turning on the broiler for the last 2 minutes of cooking. (total chicken cooking time is approximately 18 minutes)
  • Garnish with lemon wedges and basil. Before eating, squeeze lemon juice onto the chicken.




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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hello Spring! Let's get grilling - Grilled Chicken and Romaine



Spring has sprung! Well, according to the calendar it has, but it's not feeling much like spring here in the Northeast right now. We did have a little taste of it about a week ago though - what a tease!

Before I knew we were going to have such nice weather I had planned on roasting chicken, but then I saw that it was going to be 65 and sunny and I immediately told Jon he was grilling. Now, we grill year round, but there is something special about the first time you can grill on a nice, spring like day. You can  actually stand outside and tend to your grill instead of running in as soon as you get things going. Even better, our little one was beyond excited to run around outside while her daddy was grilling. This summer is going to be so much fun with her!

The warmer weather makes me want to eat lighter, so I chose chicken and romaine lettuce to go on the grill - if you haven't tried grilled romaine lettuce, you must! It's my favorite way to eat it. I thought about making this Grilled Romaine with Bacon Balsamic Vinaigrette and Blue Cheese but then found this recipe for Chicken Skewers with Grilled Romaine on the Food Network web site. It looked easy, light, and I liked that you made a dressing that was used as both the marinade for the chicken and the dressing for the romaine. Besides the time Jon spent on the grill, I think I only spent 10 minutes between trimming the chicken, mixing the dressing, and prepping the romaine.

Instead of making chicken skewers we just grilled chicken breasts. Jon grilled them perfectly, and they really held a lot of flavor from the marinade. The grilled romaine was wilted and charred just enough - smoky and charred but still with some crunch. I'll be putting this one back on the menu again when we're looking for something light, quick, and easy. I think it would even be great to make some extra and chop it up for salads to enjoy for lunch the next day.


Grilled Chicken and Romaine
Source: Adapted from The Food Network
Ingredients

  • 1/3 c olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 heads of Romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Directions
    • Mix the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, shallot, garlic, red pepper flake, and a pinch of Kosher salt
    • Place chicken in a Ziploc bag or shallow dish. Pour half of the dressing over the chicken, making sure it is all covered, and let it sit, covered, in the fridge for several hours (the longer the better).
    • Drizzle the romaine lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Pour the remaining dressing (note - NOT the dressing that was mixed in with the chicken, but the other half of the dressing you did not use) over the romaine.
    • Heat your grill, add the chicken and grill until the internal temperature reaches 170. When you are grilling the chicken, don't flip it around too much. Start it on one side, flip once, then flip to each side just one more time. When the chicken is done, remove it from the grill and tent with foil.
    • Add the romaine to the grill and cook 3-4 minutes until wilted and charred.
    • Before serving, sprinkle the romaine with the Parmesan cheese.
     
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    Monday, March 18, 2013

    Cauliflower-Broccoli Gratin with Mustard-Sage Cornbread Crumbs



    When I make a simple main, such as something on the grill, I like to make an interesting side... something that takes a little longer, has a longer list of ingredients, and combines several flavors.
     
    Last weekend Jon marinated and grilled pork tenderloin that was absolutely fabulous (recipe coming soon!) so I spent a little more time on a veggie side. I had a small head of cauliflower to use. I considered this Cauliflower Gratin until I came across this Cauliflower Gratin with Mustard-Sage Cornbread Crumbs on Epicurious.com. Interesting, right?
     
    From reading the recipe I could tell it wound have a nice mix of sweet and savory, tang from the mustard, and earthiness from the sage. I was intrigued so immediately put it on the menu.
     
    I baked cornbread muffins the day before I was going to make this dish (just a boxed mix), and used 3 muffins to make the crumbs. Also, the head of cauliflower I had was pretty small, so I added in some blanched broccoli florets. It added another flavor, but also another color - I love color on my plate!
     
    This was such an interesting dish! I loved the creaminess, the sweet-tangy crunch on top, and the zestiness from the mustard and lemon peel. I think that this would be a great way to get someone who may not like cauliflower to give it a try. It would also make a great Thanksgiving side.
     
     
     
     
    Cauliflower-Broccoli Gratin with Mustard Sage Cornbread Crumbs
    Source: Slightly adapted from Epicurious.com
     
    Ingredients

    • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
    • 1 cup chopped shallots
    • 1 small head of cauliflower cut into florets
    • 1 small head of broccoli cut into florets
    • 1 1/4 cups low-salt chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
    • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1 teaspoon plus 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    • 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
    • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
    • 1 1/2 cups coarsely crumbled cornbread; I used 3 muffins, crumbled

    Directions
    • Preheat oven to 375°F.
    • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sauté until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add cauliflower. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Add broth. Cover and steam until cauliflower is just tender, 5-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cauliflower to bowl. Do not discard shallot/broth mixture.
    • In the meantime, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add broccoli and cook for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the bowl with the cauliflower. Alternatively, you could cook the broccoli with the cauliflower, however you will need a little more broth, and I would add the broccoli 2 minutes before the cauliflower is done. This will save you a pot.
    • To the shallot/broth mixture, add cream, 1 teaspoon mustard, 1 teaspoon sage, flour, and lemon peel over medium high heat. Boil until sauce is thick, whisking, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
    • Toss in cauliflower and broccoli, mix to coat.
    • Pour into a glass baking dish.
    • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Whisk in 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard and 1 tablespoon sage. Add cornbread crumbs; toss to coat. Spoon crumbs over cauliflower-broccoli mixture. Bake until topping is golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
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    Friday, March 15, 2013

    White Chip Chocolate Cookies



    I think my recent interest in baking is from becoming a mom. Seeing my little girl's excitement when I ask her to help me do something in the kitchen makes me so happy. She runs over to a chair, pushes it up to the counter, and then climbs on up and jumps right in. And when you are two-and-a-half, what's more fun to make than cookies? She especially loves sneaking some of the ingredients while looking at me out of the corner of her eye!


    We made these cookies together, and I picked the recipe because I had leftover white chocolate chips from making chocolate covered pretzels.

    These cookies were richer than regular chocolate chip cookies, and not as sugary sweet - I like that and so did everyone who tried them. I'll definitely be putting these on my list for the holidays next year.

    White Chip Chocolate Cookies
    Source: Very Best Baking

    Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg) white chocolate chips

  • Directions
    • Preheat oven to 350° F
    • Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
    • Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels.
    • Drop by well-rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
    • Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until centers are set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013

    Creamy Asparagus Soup with Thyme and Lemon




    Before I get into this soup recipe, if you are looking at this in Reader, come on over and check out my new blog design! I love the new look, and hope you will find the new Recipe Index page easy to navigate and helpful! Special thanks to Derrick C. Lee for my logo, his awesome ideas and vision, and all of the time he spent working with me, and to Lynsey at Shiny Magic Design for the web design.

    And now, this amazing soup. Sometimes I'll make a new soup recipe and think that it would make the perfect soup course for a dinner party- like this Onion Barley Soup with Swiss Cheese Flans, or this Creamy Carrot and Potato Soup with Dijon or Dill. Last week I made a new recipe that falls into the dinner party category.

    I know asparagus isn't in season here yet, but I found some really nice looking asparagus at the produce store last week. I bought it not sure if it would become part of a dinner, salad, or something else, but it was lucky and became the star ingredient in this great recipe for Creamy Asparagus Soup on the Simply Recipes web site.



     



    To make it even better, this is a super simple recipe that comes together quickly with just a few ingredients. I made a few minor changes to the recipe, including omitting the vermouth at the end. I didn't know if my little one would be eating it so I didn't want to add alcohol since it wouldn't have the chance to cook off.  I honestly didn't miss it - I think the lemon at the end added the perfect brightness.



    Creamy Asparagus Soup
    Source: Simply Recipes 

    Ingredients

    • 2 lbs asparagus, woody ends snapped off
    • 1 large yellow onion, chopped (1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped)
    • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
    • 4 cups chicken stock (I used vegetable broth)
    • 1 cup water
    • Leaves of 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
    • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (I omitted this)
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream (I used light cream)
    • 1 Tbsp dry vermouth (I omitted this)
    • A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
    • Salt and pepper
    Directions
    • Cut tips from the asparagus, and cut remaining stalks into 1/4 inch rounds
    • Melt butter in a large saucepan
    • Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
    • Add the chopped asparagus stalks (not the spear tips), sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook 5 minutes.
    • In the meantime, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus tips and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the pot and place in a bowl of ice water. Set aside for garnish.
    • Add the broth and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until the asparagus is tender, about 10 minutes.
    • Remove from the heat and puree with a handheld immersion blender (or transfer to a blender and puree in batches).
    • Stir in the cream and gently reheat. Stir in the lemon juice and adjust salt and pepper, if needed.
    • Serve garnished with asparagus tips.


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    Monday, March 11, 2013

    Chorizo and White Bean Stew with Baby Spinach



    By Friday night, we are all usually so exhausted and done with the week that we just grab a pizza. Luckily we found a local spot that has the best pizza we have been able to find in our area, so we do look forward to it. But every now and then I'll get a burst of energy - maybe I'm excited it's finally the weekend - and I decide to cook.

    This past Friday I got that burst of energy and really felt like trying something new. I browsed through a few recipes on Epicurious.com and came across this recipe for Chorizo and White Bean Stew.

    It was in the quick meals category, and upon further reading, I noticed that it was also a one-pot meal. I think that makes it a perfect Friday night meal, or any weeknight, for that matter.

    Although the ingredients don't stew for long, this dish really developed some great layers of flavor. Spicy chorizo, herby thyme, hearty beans, and fresh spinach all came together to make a stew that I will definitely make again.

    I followed the recipe almost exactly, changing only one ingredient - I used small white beans and canellini beans just so I'd have 2 different sized beans - and one step, letting the chorizo simmer a in the stew just a bit longer than directed.

    The only thing missing from our meal was a big hunk of crusty bread. When you make this, be sure to have some!






    Chorizo and White Bean Stew
    Source: Epicurious.com


    Ingredients
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
    • 1 pound fresh Mexican chorizo or Italian sausage links
    • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
    • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1 sprig thyme
    • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
    • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
    • 5 ounces baby spinach (about 10 cups)
    • Smoked paprika (optional)
    Directions
    • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Transfer sausage to a plate.
    • Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add onion, garlic, and thyme sprig. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5-8 minutes.
    • Add beans and broth and cook, crushing a few beans with the back of a spoon to thicken sauce, until slightly thickened, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
    • Add spinach by handfuls and cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes.
    • Slice chorizo and fold into stew (I added the chorizo back into the stew a bit earlier and let it simmer for a bit); add water to thin, if desired. Divide stew among bowls; drizzle with oil and sprinkle with paprika, if desired.



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    Friday, March 8, 2013

    Cinnamon French Toast Casserole


    A few years ago I went to brunch at a friend's house, and amongst all of the other delicious things she served was a French Toast Casserole that I just could not get enough of! Since that time I had always wanted to make it, and finally got around to it for Christmas last year.

    In addition to being delicious, I love that this breakfast or brunch dish can be prepared the night before, leaving you free to do other things in the morning while it bakes. It makes a ton - I made the recipe as directed for just 4 people when it probably would have served 10!

    So if you are looking for a weekend breakfast dish, or the perfect addition to your brunch menu, give this one a try!

    French Toast Casserole
    Source: Campbell's Kitchen

    Ingredients
    • 1 loaf of Pepperidge Farm® Cinnamon Swirl Bread, cut into cubes (about 8 cups)
    • 6 eggs
    • 3 cups milk (I used whole milk, and recommend using about 2.5 cups instead of 3)
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • Confectioners' sugar
    • Maple syrup (optional)
    Directions
    • Place cubed bread in a large baking dish
    • Beat eggs, milk, and vanilla extract in a bowl.
    • Pour the mixture over the bread. Stir gently so everything is covered, and press the mixture down into the bread. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.
    • When ready to cook, heat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Bake, uncovered, for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
    • Top with confectioners' sugar and serve with maple syrup.

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    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    Cabbage Soup with Tomatoes and Basil




    After working from home for 5 years, I'm back to working out of the home and take lunch with me daily. So every Sunday I have been making a big pot of soup, and as soon as it cools, I dish it into 5 single-serving sized Tupperware containers. Lunches for the week - done! And this goes right along with my new mission to do as much cooking ahead of time as I can to save as much time as I can!

    I try to make a different soup every week, and this Cabbage Soup with Tomatoes and Basil has to be my most recent favorite. It's healthy, so that's always a plus, but it's also so flavorful and hearty, making it a nice, filling lunch.

    I used my original Cabbage Soup as inspiration, and took it a bit further with these additions and changes. I used beef broth instead of chicken broth - it's so much richer in flavor - as well as some vegetable broth. I added tomatoes for flavor and color, and then I also decided to add fresh basil a fresh, herby flavor.

    Cabbage Soup with Tomatoes and Basil
    Source: Original Creation

    Ingredients
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/2 large yellow or white onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • Carrots, diced (I used about 6 baby carrots)
    • 1/2 head green cabbage, chopped
    • Tomatoes, chopped (I used about 10 grape tomatoes)
    • Salt and pepper
    • 4 large basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
    • 2 c beef broth (or all vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
    • 2 c vegetable broth

    Directions
    • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat
    • Add onions, garlic,and carrots; saute 3-4 minutes.
    • Add the cabbage; cooking, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
    • Add the tomatoes, basil, and salt and pepper to taste.
    • Add the broth and bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes.
    • Adjust seasonings if necessary.



    Monday, March 4, 2013

    Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta Bake


    One of my favorite chicken dishes to make and eat is my Chicken Cordon Bleu. Sure, it's a dish that has probably been on the menu of almost restaurant at some point in time and is often referred to as old fashioned, but I think that my recipe really brings it up to date. From the use of the thyme, dijon and garlic, to the fantastic sauce that I serve with it, it's one of our favorites, and is the only chicken dish that Jon will ask for over and over.

    When menu planning a few weeks ago, I was craving the flavors in my chicken cordon bleu, but wanted to do something different with it. I decided to deconstruct it and turn it into a creamy baked pasta dish. I referred back to my chicken cordon bleu recipe and came up with this awesome pasta dish.

    It had all of the flavors that I love about the dish and totally satisfied my craving. It was really easy, too, and is another one of those dishes that you could toss together quickly if you cook your chicken ahead of time - like I said in my last post, I'm all about prepping ahead of times these days!

    Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta Bake
    Source: Original creation

    Ingredients
    • 2 chicken breasts
    • 3 cups of water and/or chicken broth
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1/4 tsp dried thyme, plus an additional 1/4 tsp
    • 1/4 tsp dried mustard
    • 1/2 lb pasta - pick a small shape with some texture so it holds onto the sauce. I chose Rotini.
    • 2 tbsp butter
    • 1 tbsp flour
    • 1/4 c dry white wine
    • 1.5 c light cream 
    • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    • 1/2 c freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
    • 5-6 slices of ham, diced (I used a deli tavern ham)
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Bread crumbs
    Directions
    • Place the chicken in a pot, cover with the water/broth, and add the garlic, 1/4 tsp thyme, and dried mustard. Bring to a simmer, and cook until internal temp of the chicken reaches 160 degrees. Remove from the water and let rest 5-10 minutes. Chop into bite-sized chunks or shred. Set aside.
    • Cook pasta, drain and set aside.
    • Heat oven to 400 degrees.
    • Heat butter in a large oven-safe saute pan. Add the butter and melt, then add the flour, whisking constantly to form a roux.
    • Add the wine and whisk, letting it come to a simmer.
    • Add the cream, Dijon mustard, and the rest of the thyme. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes.
    • Add the cheese, stirring until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.
    • Add the ham, chicken, and toss with the pasta.
    • Top with some more cheese, and finally bread crumbs (just a thin layer).
    • Cook for 15 minutes on 400 degrees, or until hot and bubbly. Turn on the broiler for 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

    Friday, March 1, 2013

    Recipe Swap: Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Potatoes


    I have had cravings for buffalo chicken a few times over the past few months, most recently when I made these Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas. So when I was given the blog Cheese Curd in Paradise in this Blogger's Choice Recipe Swap hosted by A Taste of Home Cooking, I was excited to see this recipe for Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Potatoes.

    This is an easy recipe if you have some leftover shredded chicken to use, or even leftover Buffalo Chicken Dip - it could come together in just the time it takes to bake the potatoes (quickly in the microwave), stuff them with the chicken dip, and then finish them off in the oven.



    I made all of the components, including fresh chicken, all at once so it took me a little longer, but the original recipe actually calls for canned chicken so if you are ok with that you could save a lot of time.

     
    Lately I have been trying to prep 2 days of meals at once, and this recipe gives you the chance to do that quite easily. First, make some extra chicken - if you shred it all, you have chicken to simmer in some salsa for tacos the next day. Or just cube it up and the next day throw it into soup or a pot pie, or even a pasta casserole. Also, when you scoop out the potatoes, you'll have a nice bowl of already cooked potatoes, perfect for either breakfast the next day, or even some potato pancakes for dinner the next night. I love meals and prep work that can be repurposed for another meal on another day - it makes me feel like I'm saving so much time.
     
    I really enjoyed these stuffed potatoes - thanks for sharing them, Ashley! Stuffing them with chicken was something I had never done before, and add all that creamy, cheesy goodness on top of the Buffalo flavor and I was in heaven. Delicious!
     
     
     
    Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Potatoes
    (slightly adapted to use fresh instead of canned chicken, and quantities lowered for 2 potatoes)
     
    Ingredients
    • 2 chicken breasts, poached in liquid (I used some water, chicken broth, garlic powder, and onion powder) and shredded with 2 forks.
    • 6 oz cream cheese
    • 1/4 c wing sauce; I used Frank's Red Hot
    • 2 tbsp ranch dressing
    • 1/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese
    • 2 large baking potatoes
    • 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1/3 c blue cheese crumbles
    Directions
    • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
    • Bake the potatoes; I do this in the microwave and it takes about 6 minutes for 2. Be sure to pierce them with a fork a few times before cooking. When they are done, cut off the top and gently scoop out the insides.
    • Mix the shredded chicken, cream cheese, ranch, and hot sauce. I also threw in a bit of the blue cheese.
    • Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and spoon the chicken mixture into the potato. Top with the cheddar cheese and finally the blue cheese crumbles.
    • Bake on 375 for about 20 minutes. Turn on the broiler for the last 2-3 minutes to brown the tops, making sure not to burn the potatoes.
    Enjoy!!

       
      Here are the other recipes featured in this swap: