Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Green Chile Quiche

This recipe is from the National Park Cookbook. It was a huge hit with my hubby...yum!

1 uncooked pastry shell
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 4 oz. can chopped green chiles, drained
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash garlic powder

Prick bottom of pastry shell and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Cool.

Cook beef and onion until clear; drain. Sprinkle into pastry. Top with green chiles and cheese. Combine last 4 ingredients and pour into pie.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until set.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cracker-and-Parmesan-Crusted Fish Fillets

Another tasty fish recipe from Rachael Ray. Any white fish will do - I used flounder. I nixed the oyster crackers in this recipe and used all Ritz instead. I also used regular parmesan instead of parmigiano-reggiano. If you don't have the fresh herbs, don't fret - dried herbs will do! The ratio for using dried herbs to fresh is 1:3. There are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon :)

1 cup oyster crackers
1/3 cup Ritz crackers
3/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
2 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
Flour, for coating
2 large eggs, beaten
Splash heavy cream or half-and-half
EVOO, for frying
4 sole or tilapia fillets, rinsed and patted dry
Salt and pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving

Using a food processor, grind the oyster crackers, Ritz crackers, parmigiano-reggiano, parsley, chives, thyme, Old Bay seasoning and garlic powder. Transfer to a shallow bowl. Place the flour in another shallow bowl. In a third shallow bowl, beat the eggs and cream.

Fill a large skillet with enough EVOO to reach a depth of 1/4 inch and heat over medium-high heat. Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper. Coat the fish with the flour, shaking off any excess; coat with the egg mixture, then with the cracker crumbs. Working with 2 fillets at a time, fry the fish in the skillet, turning once, until deep golden, about 5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Recipe for Fried Rice

This is another Kipe family favorite! I have tweaked this recipe many times and now feel that it is perfect for our taste. You can use any combination of meat and/or veggies. I use the ingredients that we love - onion, garlic, chicken, bacon, eggs and peas. You better get out those chopsticks!

2 cups uncooked rice
3-4 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 eggs, beaten
6 oz. chicken breast meat
5 slices bacon
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 - 3/4 cup chicken stock
3 Tbsp. soy sauce

Cook the rice according to the package directions. Use the shortest cook time - you want the rice to be a bit crunchy. Allow the rice to cool completely. If you are in a hurry, spread it out on a baking sheet and put it in the fridge or freezer.

Cook and shred the chicken meat. Cook and cut the bacon slices into bite-size pieces.

Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat with 1 Tbsp. of the oil. Stir fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes. Add the eggs and scramble until cooked. Add the chicken, bacon and peas and stir fry until peas are heated through. Remove omelet mixture from wok or pan and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and heat again over medium-high heat until it is very hot. Add your cold rice and stir to coat every grain.

Slowly add the chicken stock to the rice. Stir fry until the rice has soaked up all of the liquid. Then add the omelet mixture back to the pan, along with the soy sauce. Heat through and serve!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How to: prepare red beets

Red beets are an odd vegetable. Never quite sure what to do with them. So when my grandparents gave me fresh red beets from their garden, I had to do a little research. Below are a few different recipes and ways to prepare beets. Be sure to wear gloves and an apron or you will have red hands and clothes! :)

Grilled Beets
6 beets, scrubbed
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.

Coat one side of a large piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray. Place beets and butter on foil; season with salt and pepper. Wrap foil over beets.

Place packet on the grill grate. Cook 30 minutes, or until beets are very tender. Allow beets to cool about 5 minutes before serving.

Microwave Beets
Peel beets and slice into 1/4-1/2 inch slices. Add beets and 2 Tbsp. water to a microwave-safe dish. Microwave for 10 minutes until fork-tender.

Baked Beets
3 medium beets
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Rinse the beets and trim off any leafy tops. Wrap completely in aluminum foil and place in the oven. Roast until tender and easily pierced with a knife, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and let cool.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel using a paring knife or by pushing the skin with your fingers. Slice the beets, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Oven-Baked Beet Chips
2 large red beets
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Peel the beets and cut as thinly as possible – trying for a uniform thickness. Toss in a bowl with olive oil and salt. Spread on baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake in oven 20 minutes. Turn all slices over and continue to bake another 20-25 minutes. Watch closely toward the end as the high sugar content makes these chips burn rather rapidly. Sprinkle with additional salt and serve immediately.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Polish Halupkie (a.k.a. Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)

If you have any Polish ancestry in your family, you definitely know about stuffed cabbage rolls. Growing up, one of my dad's favorite meals was his grandmother's halpukies. When she passed away, my mom continued to make them as a special treat for him and they became one of my favorites, too! Now, I have learned to make them and they have become one of my husband's favorite dishes. They are very simple to make and the ingredients cost little to nothing! Give them a whirl :)

1 head cabbage
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
Salt & pepper
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup rice, uncooked
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce

Gently separate cabbage leaves from the core. Scald leaves in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and cool slightly.
Saute onion and celery in oil. Mix together onion, celery, beef, rice, eggs, seasonings and tomato paste.

Place 1/2 cup of the meat mixture in the center of each cabbage leaf and roll (fold bottom first, then sides, then top).Lay prepared rolls, seam-side down, in a large pot. Add tomato sauce and any leftover tomato paste.

Cover rolls with water and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer for about one hour. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

White Chicken Chili

This past week/weekend, I have welcomed the cooler weather with open arms! We have had a very hot summer in PA (as well as most of the country). Fall is definitely my favorite season and I am very much looking forward to sweatshirt weather :) While you wait for the leaves to start changing, try this delicious recipe for white chicken chili (courtesy of my fabulous sister-in-law, Kara Kipe).

2 medium onions, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 - 4oz. cans green chilies, diced
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups cooked, diced chicken
3 cans Great Northern beans, rinsed & drained
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese

Saute onion in oil until tender. Stir in garlic, chilies and spices. Cook and stir 2 minutes.

Add broth, chicken and beans. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted.

Serve with homemade bread and salad.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ham, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Casserole

This casserole needs to be prepared the night before. In the morning, just pop this baby in the oven and prepare to enjoy a wonderful, homemade breakfast! Perfect for overnight guests.

8 slices of white bread
2 cups mild cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 lb. chipped ham
3/4 cup swiss cheese, cubed
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp. onion salt
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1-1/2 cups cornflakes, crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted

Grease a 9"x13" pan. Remove the crust from the bread. Cut each slice into 4 squares. Place half of the bread cubes in the bottom of the pan. Top the bread with the ham and cheeses. Cover with the rest of the bread cubes.

Mix eggs, milk and seasonings together and pour evenly over the casserole.

Cover and refrigerate overnight!

Right before baking, top the casserole with the crushed cornflakes mixed with the melted butter.

Bake casserole at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

My all-time favorite banana bread recipe. Make it yours :) A great way to use up your over-ripe bananas! If you can't get to your browning bananas in time, remove the peels and stick them in the freezer in a ziploc bag. Just thaw when you're ready! Recipe slightly modified from Better Homes & Gardens.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups mashed banana (5 medium)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil or melted butter or margarine
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 recipe Streusel Topping
Streusel Topping
In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup packed brown sugar and 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Using a pastry blender, cut in 2 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 1/3 cup chopped walnuts.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of one 9x5x3-inch or two 7-1/2x3-1/2x2-inch loaf pans; set aside.

In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

In a medium bowl combine eggs, banana, sugar, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). Sprinkle Streusel Topping over batter.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes for 9x5x3-inch pan or 40 to 45 minutes for 7-1/2x3-1/2x2-inch pans or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean (if necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 15 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning).

Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

How to: make polenta

What is polenta? My new favorite thing to cook with. Also called 'Corn Grits', polenta is simply coarsely ground bits of degerminated corn. Polenta has been a traditional staple of both northern Italy and the American South that is usually cooked and eaten as hot porridge or cooked, then slightly cooled until firm and sliced into squares. Polenta seems to be gaining popularity in the 'foodie' world, as recipes are popping up all over the place in food magazines, cookbooks, and on food/cooking channels. Look for polenta at your grocery store in one of two places: in the cereal aisle near the oatmeal or in the baking aisle near the flour and cornmeal. Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray.

1 1/2 cups water or chicken stock (chicken stock will give more flavor)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup quick cooking polenta

2 tablespoons butter 
1 cup shredded mild cheese (such as Gouda) or 1/2 cup shredded sharper cheese (such as parmesan)
Salt & pepper
Fresh herbs

1. In a medium sauce pan, bring water or chicken stock and milk to a boil, stirring occasionally.

2. Slowly, whisk in the polenta. Cook 2-3 minutes until thickened, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. **Be careful: The polenta will start to bubble and may spatter.

3. Stir in mix-ins (i.e. butter, cheese, herbs) and season with salt and pepper (to taste).

4. Serve by itself as a side dish (with mix-ins) or top with spaghetti sauce, chili or roasted vegetables for a complete meal!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Blackberry Peach Crisp

Fresh peaches are always ohhhh soo good at this time of year! I haven't been able to get enough of them. I found a recipe called 'Blueberry Peach Crisp' on cooks.com and made several changes. First, I substituted blackberries for blueberries (because I found them fresh at my farmer's market). You can use whatever seasonal fruit is available! Second, I used whole wheat flour instead of regular all-purpose flour. And third, I decreased the amount of sugar. A healthy treat that tastes pretty darn good :)

2 cups fresh peaches, sliced
2 cups fresh blackberries, whole
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup almonds (optional)
1/4 cup margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients; mix well (be gentle with the berries). Pour into a greased 8" square pan.

In another bowl, combine the flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, and almonds. Pour melted butter over topping mix. Stir until crumbly. Pour over filling in pan.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Serve with vanilla low-fat frozen yogurt or ice cream!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chicken Carbonara

One of my good friends suggested that I try this recipe... and I'm so glad I did! Quick (I'm talking 30 minutes), easy (who knew carbonara wasn't complicated?) & delicious (the leftovers are even better!) I used the meat from a rotisserie chicken and fresh herbs from my garden. You can find pancetta near the deli section at your grocery store (usually where they have the fancy/imported cheeses). Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis (Food Network).

2 tsp. olive oil
4 oz. thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
8 large egg yolks
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 lb. spaghetti
4 cups coarsely shredded chicken (from 1 roasted chicken)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon peel

Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and garlic and saute until it is brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, cheese, yolks, basil, and parsley to blend.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook until it is just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Drain.

Add the chicken to the pan with the pancetta and stir to combine. Next, add the spaghetti and the cream mixture and toss over medium-low heat until the chicken is heated through and the sauce coats the spaghetti thickly, about 4 minutes (do not boil or you might end up scrambling the eggs).

Season the pasta, to taste, with pepper and salt if needed (the pancetta will likely add all the salt you need). Transfer the pasta to a large wide serving bowl. Sprinkle the walnuts and lemon zest over, and serve.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fried Eggplant

Fried eggplant is one of our favorite summertime dinners. For those of you who are unfamiliar with these big purple vegetables, your farmer markets and local produce stands are loaded with them right now! This is a great recipe to start with...you will become hooked!

1 medium-size eggplant
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs (I used Panko)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp. canola oil

Heat oven to 300 degrees and line a large baking sheet with foil.

Wash and dry eggplant. Cut into 1/4-1/2 inch slices.

Place flour in shallow dish #1. Place eggs in dish #2. Combine the bread crumbs and cheese and place in dish #3.

Dredge each piece of eggplant in the flour, coating thoroughly and shaking to remove any excess. Then coat each piece with the egg and dredge in the bread crumb mixture, pressing to make the bread crumbs adhere.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-heat. Working in batches, fry each slice of eggplant for about 1 minute per side (or until golden brown). Keep batches warm in the oven until serving. Sprinkle each slice with salt, if desired.

How to: cook corn-on-the-cob

Corn-on-the-cob is a staple in our house at this time of year (thank you to all of the wonderful, local farmers!) Follow this recipe to see how I was taught to make the perfect ear of corn! The sugar adds a bit of sweetness and the cooking time is just right. The corn still has a bit of crunch, but is tender...not mushy!

corn-on-the-cob, husked & silk removed
1 tsp. sugar
butter, salt & pepper (optional)

Fill a large pot with 1 inch of water. Sprinkle the sugar in the water. Place corn in the pot (ears standing up vertically).

Bring the water (with the corn in it) to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove the ears of corn from the pot and serve with butter, salt & pepper (if desired).