Sunday, September 13, 2015

House Dressing-Secret Recipe Club

Who could resist a visit to a blog called “Smells Like Brownies.”  This was my assigned blog for this month’s Secret Recipe Club.  Melissa has been blogging since 2011 and is the stay-at-home mom of two little ones.

Of course, cookie lover that I am, I headed straight for the cookie index.  I wasn’t disappointed and found recipes for Brown Sugar Shortbread, Oatmeal Butterscotch Chip Cookies, Gooey Vanilla Bean Tea Cakes and Double Chocolate Buttermilk Cookies which my husband is currently stealing from the cookie jar.  I also found Spicy Tuna Burgers and Pecan Crusted Salmon.  Melissa doesn’t eat meat or poultry, so there are a lot of great veggie and fish recipes on the site also.

Now I was planning to post about one of the cookie recipes, but I came across a post that had a recipe that was so easy, so quick and so versatile that, after I made it,  I just knew that it had to be shared.  Melissa wrote about a dressing that she  loved which was served at a place called The Cheese Shop in Colonial Williamsburg.  Well, move over Ranch, I have a new love.

Now when I say I love this stuff, this is how I have already used it.

I had it on roasted cauliflower.

Then as a dip for chicken fingers.

With roasted potato slices.

And on zucchini patties.

Then actually as a dressing on a wedge of lettuce.
I have even been guilty of grabbing a spoon and taking a little bite directly from the jar.  From now on, I will always have this in my fridge.  If you like mustard at all, please give this wonderful recipe a try.

It is worth it to buy the mustard seeds for this if you don’t have them on hand.  The dressing does get more kick the longer you keep it.

Make this dressing/dip, then visit Smells Like Brownies, and get some great new cookie recipes.

“Cheese Shop” House Dressing
from It Smells Like Brownies

I c. high-quality regular or light mayonnaise (I used Best Foods)
1 T. high-quality Dijon mustard
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 large clove garlic, minced (I like garlic so may have used a bit more)
1 t. turbinado or light brown sugar (I  used the brown sugar)
pinch salt
pinch fresh ground black pepper
1 t. mustard seeds

Combine all ingredients except the mustard seeds in a food processor or blender.  (I used my mini food chopper).  Process until the garlic is smooth and the mixture is well blended.  Turn into a container with a lid.  Stir in the mustard seeds.  Chill several hours to allow flavors to blend.  Serve with crusty bread, raw or cooked veggies, chicken fingers, over lettuce, just wherever you want.  Makes a little over a cup.

If you would like to join in the fun of Secret Recipe Club, visit this page.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Greek Yogurt Chicken-Secret Recipe Club

Ellie, who writes The Hobo Kitchen, my assignment for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, was born in The Bahamas, but has lived in the United States for some time.  She currently lives in Hoboken, NJ, and her blog’s name is a nod to that fact.  Ellie has been blogging since 2008, and until last year, her bog was called The Bitchin’ Kitchen.  That blog is still available over at Blogspot, but Ellie transferred all the recipes from there to The Hobo Kitchen blog.

Ellie writes a series of posts called Living the Life about life in the big city which is fun for this life-long rural/small town gal to read.

Of course, there are lots of delicious sounding recipes, several which use Nutella, one of my favorite things.  I considered making the Nutella Donuts, but it has been very hot here still so I am reluctant to use the oven.  I also want to make the Bahamian Macaroni and the One Pot Cheeseburger Casserole.

We eat lots of chicken at our house so I finally decided to make the Greek Yogurt Chicken even though I would need to use the oven.  What could be easier than putting chicken pieces in a baking pan, mixing some yogurt, seasoning and cheese together, spreading it on the chicken and shoving it in the oven?  Not much.  I am so glad that I made this.  It was delicious and will be appearing on our table often.  Great for any day, but also elegant enough for company.

I made two slight changes.  I did not have a chunk of Parmesan cheese the day I decided to make this, so used an already shredded Parmesan/Romano cheese blend.  I also used smoked paprika for the paprika.  I had a large container of Greek yogurt on hand so used 1/3 cup which I figured should be about the same as a 5-ounce container.  The yogurt acts as a binder for the seasonings and cheese.  I think that you could use sour cream in a pinch, but then it wouldn't be Greek Yogurt Chicken.

This topping  is the thing here, and I think that it could easily be used on chicken thighs and pork chops.  Ellie also suggests salmon and vegetables.  I suspect that the topping might also be very good spread on sturdy crackers and baked briefly in the oven for a great appetizer.

Greek Yogurt Chicken
from the Hobo Kitchen
4 boneless chicken breasts (about 1.75 lbs.)
1 t. seasoning salt
1/2 t. black pepper (I used coarse ground)
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. paprika
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/3 cup or one 5 oz. container Greek yogurt
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese ( I used a Parmesan/Romano cheese blend)
extra cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a 7x11-inch pan with cooking spray and place chicken breasts in pan.  Measure the seasoning salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and oregano in small bowl.  Stir in the yogurt and cheese mixing until everything is incorporated.  Cover the chicken breasts evenly with the yogurt mixture.  Sprinkle some additional cheese over the yogurt mixture.  Bake, uncovered, about 45 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center.  Makes 4 servings.

A visit to The Hobo Kitchen will be well worth your time.

If you are interested in joining in the fun of SRC, vist this page to learn more.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Always-Ready Red Peppers

It is no secret that I put red peppers in just about every savory recipe I make.  Red peppers can add a lot of color and nutrition to a dish.  Here in my area red peppers sell at anywhere from $1.00 to $2.00 each.  This can make them somewhat expensive to use.  That is the bad news.  The good news is, that most summers, I can get them at produce stands for as little as .50 each.  That is when I stock up and freeze them.  Since we are in a drought situation this summer, I don’t know if I will be able to get red peppers for .50 this year, but I hope so.  If I can, I will be stocking up again.

Freezing red peppers is very easy and requires no additional work beyond chopping them up.  I chop mine into about 1/2-inch pieces, place the pieces on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and freeze them overnight.  I then transfer the pepper pieces to a zip-top bag and remove whatever amount I want for the dish I am making.  This makes it so quick and easy.  I even toss a handful of the frozen red pepper pieces into salads just before serving.  They will thaw just enough to remain crunchy when the salad is eaten.

If you have never tried freezing red peppers, give it a try.   Of course, you can freeze any other color of bell pepper this way, too.  I just happen to love the red ones.

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