Archive | June, 2012

Citrusy Corn Salad

23 Jun

Ah summer!  I love this season of picnics and barbeques.  In fact, we’re having a McG family celebration tomorrow, and I’ve been asked to bring my Mac & Cheese.  Some of you might find this recipe a bit heavy for a hot day.  Never fear!  I’ve got a refreshing, light dish for you.  This Citrusy Corn Salad is the perfect side to a burger or rack of ribs.  I also think it’s amazing served on top of grilled fish.

Citrusy Corn Salad (serves 2)

  • 2 ears of corn
  • 8-10 cherry/grape tomatoes
  • 1 lime (zest and juice)
  • 1 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Clean and cook 2 ears of corn in salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes.  I like a firmer kernel, so feel free to cook your corn a bit longer if need be.  Ta-da!  That’s it!  You are finished with the stove.  Take a knife and run it down the side of each cob to cut off the kernels.  You should have honey comb-like wedges as seen in the picture above.  Separate the kernels and transfer to a bowl. 

Next take out your trusty cutting board and chop 8-10 tomatoes into quarters.  You’ll probably feel like a giant, but I think this is the perfect size to give another texture and some color to the dish.  Afterwards, zest a lime and then add the juice.  Add the salt and pepper and stir. 

Here’s the point where I’ll lose some of you.  Wait-come back!  Just hear me out.  I love cilantro and think it’s the perfect accent to the fresh citrus of the lime and sweetness of the corn and tomatoes.  I recommend you add a tbs of chopped fresh cilantro to the salad to finish things off.  I recognize that cilantro can be a polarizing herb (sorry Dad and Apres), but I like it so go on and add it. 

Now transfer your corn salad to a brightly colored bowl and pop in the fridge.  This can sit in there for a few hours, and this will allow the flavors to blend.  Now go grab a beer and get back to your party!

Decadent Mac & Cheese

14 Jun

Is there anything more decadent than a rich, creamy, cheesy plate of Macaroni and Cheese?  Nope.  It’s perfect for a backyard barbecue, and in the dead of winter by a raging fire.  Little and big kids alike agree it’s the perfect food. 

I grew up making my own from the box or heating up the creamy Stouffers’ version as a side.  When I left for college, I realized I was the boss in my kitchen and upgraded to entree portions.  Here’s my take on this classic dish.  Feel free to have it your way, creamy or baked!

Macaroni and Cheese

  • 2 cups X-tra Sharp New York Cheddar Cheese from Trader Joes (1/2 cup extra for baked version)
  • 1 cup Cheddar and Gruyère Melange Cheese from Trader Joes
  • 2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 tbs butter
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • sprinkle of cayenne
  • 4 cups dry macaroni
  • crumbled bacon (optional but strongly encouraged)

Put a large pot of salted water on over medium high heat, and add the macaroni when it comes to a boil.  Cook pasta for 3-4 minutes and drain. 

In a large pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk until combined.  Continuously whisk the butter and flour mixture for about 5 mins, or until your rue becomes a pale brown and starts to bubble up. 

Turn heat to low and gradually whisk in the cream to your rue.  Once combined, turn up the heat to medium low, and whisk your mixture for about 5 more mins.  You should start to see the beginnings of a gorgeous, thick cream sauce.   Add in your ground mustard, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and a sprinkle of cayenne.  Once incorporated, turn up the heat to medium and whisk in a cup of your cheese.  After its combined, add in next cup of cheese.  Repeat with final cup of cheese.  Gradually whisking-in the cheese will give you a smoother sauce without the cheese clumps.

Isn’t that sauce gorgeous!  I love the pale orange color you get when mixing the two kinds of cheese.  This sauce is just dying to envelop those cute little macaroni noodles.  Stir your noodles into the gooey cheese sauce. 

You can choose to stop now if you are a creamy mac fan.  Or if you prefer the baked version, sprinkle a half cup more of the sharp cheddar on top and bake for 20-25 minutes in a 350 degree oven. 

I strongly recommend you make this now…and then top it with crumbled bacon!  For the bacon, cook 3-4 strips over medium high heat.  Then add to the top your macaroni and cheeseEnjoy, I know I did.

Take Two: Roasted Chicken Enchiladas

11 Jun

This is one of my new favorite take two recipes!  These recipes use my leftovers (yuck) and turn them into something new.  Earlier this week I feasted on delicious Roasted Lemon Herb Chicken.  In fact, I snacked on it for two and a half days!  I just couldn’t bring myself to eat any more of my beloved chicken by the third evening, so had to change things up. 

These Roasted Chicken Enchiladas are so quick.  You already did the hard part by cooking the chicken, now all you have to do is chop and assemble the ingredients.  You can put an exciting dinner on the table in only 20 minutes.

Roasted Chicken Enchiladas (serves 4)

  • 2 16 oz jars of Old El Paso Thick and Chunky Salsa (medium heat)
  • 1 1/2 cups Roasted Chicken
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt, plus sprinkle
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper, plus sprinkle
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 5-6 flour tortillas

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl pour 3/4 of first salsa jar.  Add onion, jalapeno, 1 tbs of chopped cilantro, pepper, salt and red pepper flakes.  Stir and add in leftover shredded Roasted Chicken.  Set aside.

Pour remaining 1/4 of first jar of salsa into a glass 9×13 baking dish.  This will keep the enchiladas from sticking to the bottom of  your dish.  Feel free to add a bit more from the second jar if need be. 

Take a tortilla and fill it with a palm-sized amount of your chicken filling.  Sprinkle a little shredded cheese (you will use a 1/2 cup inside your tortillas), and roll up tortilla.  Put your rolled up tortilla with the flap side down in the baking dish.  Repeat until you have used up all of your filling, approximately 5-6 tortillas.  If you have any leftover filling pour over the top of your enchiladas, and then pour the rest of the second jar of salsa on top of your enchiladas.  Spread around so all of the rolled tortillas are covered, this will ensure they do not get dry.  Transfer dish to the oven and cook uncovered for 10 mins.  I know this doesn’t seem like much time, but remember we are using previously cooked chicken!  This is mainly to combine the flavors and warm up the dish. 

Sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese over top of the enchiladas and bake for 5 more mins.  Remove from oven and garnish with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro to finish. 

Now all I need is a nice chilled margarita!  Who’s buying?

Roasted Lemon Herb Chicken

9 Jun

I don’t think there’s anything better than the smell of roasting chicken, which is saying a lot since I’m generally a baked goods girl.  The only smell that can top it in my book is  Roasted Lemon and Herb Chicken

You already know I’m not a fan of leftovers, but I can snack on a rotisserie or roasted chicken for days.  Things were busy again at work this past week, so that was exactly what I had in mind.  Here’s my quick and easy recipe for roasted, mouth-watering chicken that will feed you for days.

Roasted Lemon Herb Chicken

  • 4 1/2 lb roasting chicken
  • 1 1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 heads of garlic, cut in half
  • 2 lemons, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 lb carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tsp pepper, plus sprinkle
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, plus sprinkle
  • 2 tbs butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Peel and chop onion into small wedges.  I ended up having three sections for each half onion I chopped.  Next cut two unpeeled heads of garlic in half, the cut lemons into quarters.  Reserve two quarters of the lemon for inside the chicken.  Afterwards, peel and chop carrots into medium chunks, about 2 inches thick.  Transfer all of these ingredients into a roasting pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Remove all giblets from inside the chicken cavity.  Place your bird on top of the chopped ingredients.  Sprinkle the top of the bird and inside the cavity with 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.  Stuff remaining two lemon quarters, rosemary, and thyme inside chicken cavity.  Melt 2 tbs of butter in the microwave and spread evenly all over the chicken, making sure to get the legs and wings.

Cook in the oven at 425 degrees for 55-60 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 165 behind the chicken leg.  The juices should also run clear from the holes.  Let your chicken rest for 20 minutes before serving with roasted onions (yum) and carrots.  Behold my gorgeous bird!

Oh and I bet mashed potatoes would be the perfect accompaniment.  Stay tuned for a perfect take two recipe with my leftovers!