Thursday, September 27, 2007

McDreamy and some McChicken ;)

Last night I came home with a plan. My husband had to work late, so I decided to make a nice dinner he could have when he got home. Plus, I was pretty hungry and didn't just want a sandwich. I decided to make Balsamic Grilled Chicken and Herb Roasted Potatoes with a cilantro dipping sauce. I made good use of my time and went for a run/walk around the neighborhood while the chicken was marinating. I suggest at least 30 minutes of marinating, but longer is ok too. This meal sort of cooks itself, once the prep is done, so you'll have time to do other things like empty and load the dishwasher. Or if you are like me, you can get everything ready to watch the season premier of Grey's Anatomy. Yeah, McDreamy.....anyway, more about the food. :)

Following are the recipes from last night's dinner. I just kind of threw together the idea of the marinade. The potatoes are a take on Rachel Ray's oven fries. The cilantro dipping sauce is from a cilantro potato salad I recently made and loved. I thought just making it as a sauce would be great on the herb roasted potatoes. Honestly, it wasn't as good as I thought it would be. I'd just as soon have ranch dressing. But if you really like cilantro, you should try it.

Balsamic Grilled Chicken

3 boneless chicken breasts

2 TBSP balsamic vinegar

2 cloves pressed garlic

½ TBSP onion powder

½ TBSP ground ginger

2 dashes cayenne pepper

½ TBSP fresh chopped basil

1 tsp sea salt

4 TBSP olive oil (or any other light colored oil you have in the cabinet)

Mix vinegar and all the spices/herbs together in a medium sized bowl. Whisk in oil. Add chicken breasts and turn several times to make sure they are covered well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let marinate at least 30 minutes. Then grill until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

Herb Roasted Potatoes

2 large red potatoes, sliced

1 - 1 ½ TBSP toasted sesame oil (you could also use olive oil, I just like the nutty flavor sesame oil adds)

Rosemary (dried)

Dill (dried)

Thyme (dried)

Sea salt

Black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sliced potatoes on cookie sheet. I prefer one with a lip so that things don’t go sliding off when I remove it from the oven. (Yes, I am accident prone when I cook) Drizzle the toasted sesame oil over the potatoes and use your hands to toss. Make sure the potatoes are well covered in the oil. Sprinkle the dried herbs, salt and pepper over the potatoes. I didn’t put amounts in the recipe because you just make it to your liking. I am pretty liberal with mine because I like a lot of herb flavor on the potatoes. Toss the potatoes again to make sure they have herbs on all sides, then spread out on the cookie sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes (depending on how thick you sliced your potatoes) turning the potatoes ½ way through cooking.

Cilantro Dipping Sauce

1 TBSP sour cream

1 TBSP mayonnaise

1 handful fresh cilantro

1 tsp salt

1 dash of cayenne pepper (you can add more if you like things spicy. My husband does not)

Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until everything is incorporated and the cilantro is finely chopped.

This ended up being a really great dinner. I started cooking around 6:45 and was done eating in time to watch Grey's at 8:00. Not bad, huh? In honor of last night's premier, I will leave you with a quote from the first episode of Grey's Anatomy Season 4.

"Change; we don’t like it, we fear it, but we can't stop it from coming. We either adapt to change or we get left behind. And it hurts to grow, anybody who tells you it doesn’t is lying. But heres the truth: the more things change, the more they stay the same. And sometimes, oh, sometimes change is good. Oh, sometimes, change is ... everything." - Grey's Anatomy

Health Nuts Look Elsewhere...

If you are looking for healthy recipes, don't read this blog. You won't find them here. People say I am a picky eater. But that really isn't true. I like all different kinds of food and will try almost anything. But I don't like vegetables. It's not really the taste I don't like, it's more about texture. Example: I like the taste onions give things, but I won't eat them unless they are grated or chopped really small in whatever dish they are in. I don't like the crunch or the feel of them on my tongue. Weird I know. I love salsa! But only the pureed kind you get at mexican restaurants. Have you ever noticed how you can't really find that kind in the store? I will be posting my awesome recipe for homemade salsa soon. But I digress. Do you see a trend here? I'm just not that into veggies. I do however ingest a few "vegetables" in their natural form: potatoes, corn, broccoli and cauliflower. Most people would say these are starches (except for the broccoli) but I call them vegetables because they are all I have. They are the only side dishes that stem from a garden that ever make it onto my plate.

All of that to say that most people consider what I cook to be unhealthy because dinners at my house consist mainly of meat and potatoes. Oh, you'll get a side of corn here and there and my husband might want some green beans every once in a while, but more often than not you will have what my sister refers to as "a meal without color." Hey, I like the colors red and green as much as the next person, just not as part of my meal.

This is just a warning to those of you who might be expecting something other than food cooked by a "picky eater." Don't say I didn't warn you. :)

"Everything I eat has been proved by some doctor or other to be a deadly poison, and everything I don't eat has been proved to be indispensable for life. But I go marching on." ~George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Just like Grandma Makes It

So this is the dish that inspired me to start this blog. I forgot to take a picture until it was almost gone! Yesterday I had a huge craving for apple cobbler. And not the pie kind, but the “thick crust that soaks up all the juices and rises to the top” kind. I searched all over the web for a recipe, and finally found one on a blog. Hers was made with peaches, but I figured it was easy enough to substitute apples. So, if you don’t like apples or would just rather have peaches, feel free to make the substitution.

If you know me, you know that baking an apple cobbler is quite an accomplishment. I DO NOT bake. Ever. I have tried a few times and the sad looking cupcakes and runny icing that resulted were not pleasant. I was so upset the last time, I swore to never bake again. My husband was a big fan of this since when my baking efforts go awry I get more than a little upset and annoyed.

But with this recipe, you too can make apple cobbler just like Memaw. (I’m in Alabama and I don’t know many people who actually call their grandmother “grandma”) The little things I changed or added are noted with *’s.

Thanks to Culinary Concoctions by Peabody for this great recipe!

Southern Apple Cobbler

½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup plus 3TBSP granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP baking powder
¾ cup milk
2 cups of sliced, peeled apples (I cubed them)

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.
Place butter into a pan. Let melt. Place melted butter into an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
In a small bowl, mix together 3 TBSP sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon.
In a medium bowl, mix together granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon sugar mixture, baking powder and milk. Pour this on top of the butter and do not stir just leave it be. Place the sliced apples evenly on top of the batter. Sprinkle brown sugar on top of the apples. *Place baking dish on cookie sheet to prevent any spillage.* (I did not do this and a small mess resulted)
Bake for 40 minutes or until the top turns golden brown.*Mine needed about 50 minutes*

Serve warm or at room temperature. *Also reheats wonderfully*

As you can see, it was all gone!