Monday, January 23, 2012

Chicken Italiano

Mmm... Italian food is such comfort food for me. This is an awesome recipe. It's so quick and easy to throw together, and it's a fun twist on Italian. I saw this idea over at The Daily Smash, and just adjusted a couple ingredients. Both Nate and I loved the zest that the Italian dressing gives the sauce, very very yummy!

4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing (I used fat-free)
2 cups marinara sauce (I used Prego brand light sauce)
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp. garlic bread seasoning

Place all ingredients into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve over pasta.

Pantry Pork Roast

This is such an easy and tasty recipe. It cooks in the crock pot and uses ingredients you most like have in your pantry at all times, hence the name pantry pork roast. I use pork roast that I buy at Costco. They come four to a pack and each roast is about two pounds. The smaller size works great for our small family and I've got some awesome leftovers to use later on in the week. I hope you enjoy!

1 (2 lb.) pork roast
1 envelope dry onion soup mix (I used Lipton's beefy onion soup mix)
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup water
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth (you could also use beef or chicken broth, whatever you have on hand)
pepper, to taste

Add pork roast to crock pot. Pour onion soup mix, soy sauce, water, broth, and garlic powder over top of roast. Flip roast a few time to get it evenly coated. Add some freshly cracked black pepper over top of roast. Cook on low for 4 hours. Let roast rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting. Strain remaining liquid and serve on the side like an au jus.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Baked Chicken Egg Rolls

As I'm sure you know by now that we are big fans of Chinese food at our house. We've also been much better at calorie counting and portion control the past little while. I think the recipe is a good marriage of both those things. These baked egg rolls are much lighter than traditional fried egg rolls, and they still have that nice crisp exterior. I hope you like them as much as we did!

I have a recipe posted for a chicken filling for lettuce wraps. This is the same filling I used for these egg rolls, I just added some green bell pepper.

1/2 lb. chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. Lawry's teriyaki marinade
1 carrot, julienned
1 green pepper, diced
2 cups cabbage, sliced into thin ribbons
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 onion, chopped
egg roll wrappers (this recipe made 14 egg rolls)

Marinate chicken in 1 cup Lawry's teriyaki marinade for 1 hour. Cook chicken in a skillet over medium-high heat. Halfway through cooking add the garlic and onion. Once finished cooking remove chicken, garlic, and onion. Let cool slightly and then shred. I left my chicken in fairly good sized pieces, I didn't want the chicken to get lost in the rest of the veggies. Add 1 Tbsp. teriyaki marinade, shredded chicken, garlic, onion, carrot, and cabbage to skillet and cook until evenly coated with sauce and the cabbage and carrots are slightly softened, but still have a slight crunch. Lay out an egg roll wrapper, turn it so that a point is towards you. Spoon some of the chicken and veggie mixture onto the bottom portion of the egg roll wrapper. Brush a tiny tiny amount of water on the two edges of the egg roll wrapper that are furthest from you. Take the point closest to you and start to roll up the egg roll. Roll part way, tuck in the sides, and then finish rolling up. Place rolled egg rolls seam side down on a baking sheet that has been lined with tin foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Enjoy warm!

Baked Breakfast Taquitos

I'm a bad wife. I never make Nate a nice breakfast. In fact, if I do make breakfast, it's because that's what we're having for dinner. We really enjoy breakfast for dinner at our house, we probably have it two or three times a month. This is a nice variation on breakfast.

8 small flour tortillas (I think I used the soft taco size)
8 eggs
1/2 pound turkey bacon (or any breakfast meat you like)
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
shredded cheese (optional, I don't like cheese and eggs mixed so I didn't add any)
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Cook bacon and then crumble into bite-sized pieces. Season eggs with salt and pepper, whisk, scramble, and cook. Heat a tbsp. of olive oil in a medium skillet and saute
pepper and onion until tender. I like to heat my tortillas slightly before using so that they are easier to work with. I just throw them in the microwave for 20 or so seconds. Into each tortilla, spoon some scrambled eggs, veggies, bacon, and cheese (if you like cheese). Keep it on the bottom third of the tortilla for easier rolling. Roll up tortillas and place seam side down on a lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes or until crisp and golden brown on the edges. Enjoy hot!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Zesty Turkey Meatballs

Okay, these are seriously amazing. I am so impressed with myself for coming up with this recipe. Scrumptious is the only way to describe it. Two of my favorite things, turkey and Italian food, this recipe is a top ten favorite of mine. Nate loved them too. I made a large batch so I could freeze half for another meal so you may want to halve the recipe if you have a small family. Oh, I am so excited to share this recipe with you, make it asap!

2 lbs. ground turkey
30 slices turkey pepperoni, finely chopped (I use the Hormel brand)
1/2 onion, minced
1 green pepper, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
2/3 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. garlic bread seasoning
1/2-1 tsp. crushed red pepper (depending on how much spice you like)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Be careful not to overmix or your meatballs will be a bit tough. Don't add too much salt because the Worcestershire sauce, garlic bread seasoning, and parmesan all have a bit of salt in them. I just did a nice sprinkling of kosher salt and it was perfect. Also, the amount of breadcrumbs is an estimate, I started slowly and then added what I needed to get the meatballs the right consistency, so if your mixture is really loose, you may want to add a bit more. Once mixture is well combined, use a cookie scooper to create evenly sized meatballs. If you like bigger meatballs, use two scoops and roll them together to get a nice big meatball. Place meatballs on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until cooked all the way through. If you are making big meatballs you will need to cook them longer. Serve the meatballs hot with pasta and marinara sauce. I made my meatballs mid afternoon so once they were done I threw them in a crock pot with some pasta sauce and just kept them on low until dinner. Enjoy!

This recipe makes about 50 medium meatballs.

My recipe was featured over at Fantastical Sharing of Recipes. I'm so flattered!

I linked up this recipe over at Six Sisters' Stuff, Mandy's Recipe Box, and Chef In Training.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Taco Pizza

Tonight we made dinner for Nate's grandparents, two aunts, two cousins, and sister. Quite the crowd. Nate's grandpa really likes those frozen taco pizzas so I thought I'd make that for dinner. I was a little worried about making a new recipe to serve to others, but I figured they're family, and they'd be okay being my guinea pigs. I have to say that this recipe was a hit! Everyone commented on how good it was, and most everybody had seconds. Success!

I used this dough recipe, I highly recommend it! But you can use your favorite recipe, or even a pre-made crust.

6 oz. tomato paste
6 oz. water (just use tomato paste can)
12 oz. mild salsa
8 oz. Rotel mild red sauce
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. parsley flakes

1/2 lb. beef, cooked and seasoned with taco seasoning (I used thinly sliced steak but you could use leftover roast or ground beef, whatever you've got)
refried beans
sliced olives
diced green pepper
slivered onions
shredded mozzarella cheese
diced tomatoes

Whisk together all the sauce ingredients. This makes quite a bit of sauce, you definitely will have leftovers, it would be great used as an enchilada sauce too.
Sprinkle a small amount of cornmeal on a pizza pan and stretch out pizza dough. Spread a layer of refried beans on the dough. Next add sauce on top of beans. Add meat on top of sauce layer. Top with shredded cheese, olives, green pepper, and onion. Bake pizza at 500 degrees for 8-12 minutes (or whatever is required for your dough recipe). Let set for a minute or two, add tomatoes if you like them, then slice and serve warm. Enjoy!

Sorry about the photo. I forgot to take a picture until halfway through dinner.

Amazing Pizza Dough - Freezer Friendly

Okay folks, I may have completed one of my goals for 2012 already! I was so so pleased with this pizza dough. I want to try it baked fresh (not frozen) before I call it the perfect pizza dough recipe. This dough is not too thick, not too thin, has a great texture. We made this pizza for a group of people tonight and everyone loved it and commented on how good the dough was. I found this idea over at Annie's Eats. I recommend reading her whole post, it has good information on pizza dough and how to freeze the dough successfully. Make this soon, it's so good!

-makes enough dough for 2 pizzas
½ cup warm water
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting*
1½ tsp. kosher salt
1¼ cup water, at room temperature
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.

Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball. (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.) Cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.

To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Shape the dough with lightly floured hands. Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil. Top as desired. Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.

*I required more flour. The amount varies on where you live, altitude, humidity, whatever. I need to add more flour to most every bread and pastry dough I try. I added about an extra cup to this recipe.

Freezer Instructions:
If you don’t plan on using your dough immediately, freeze it. To do this, mix up the dough as usual and let it rise as normal. After dividing the dough into two equal portions, wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and store inside a freezer-safe bag, and transfer to the freezer immediately. (Reuse these bags to avoid being wasteful!) The double layer is important here. Even after the dough is moved to the freezer, it will continue to rise a bit before the rise is completely suspended. It always, always pops through the plastic wrap so the extra layer of protection is needed to prevent exposure.

Freeze the dough until it is ready to be used. The day you plan to use the dough, transfer it to the refrigerator in the morning to thaw in time for dinner that evening. (If using the dough for lunch, transfer to the refrigerator the night before.) The dough that has been frozen tastes every bit as good as fresh, so it is incredibly convenient to have available for a quick, throw-together meal.

I’ve had many questions pertaining to the need to freeze the dough if you plan to use it the very next day. It seems logical that you could simply refrigerate it immediately after the rise and use it the following day. However, I have tried this and it didn’t go well. The refrigerator is not cold enough to stop the rise quickly and the result is an over-risen, crazy puffy monster dough.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

My Kitchen Goals for 2012

Okay, so like most people I set some goals and resolutions for this new year. A few of them revolve around cooking. I thought I'd share those with you and hopefully you'll be seeing the success stories on Durfee Family Recipes!

1. I want to try at least 50 new recipes this year. This shouldn't be a problem, I made more than that last year, but I like having it in writing.

2. Can my homemade salsa. I've only ever canned with my grandma, and that was years and years ago. I love my homemade salsa recipe and I'd love to have it readily available. And a bonus would be the ability to have hot and mild salsa to suit both Nate's and my taste. Alisha is a pro at canning salsa, and hopefully she'll be my canning mentor!

3. Try some freezer meals. In the past I've been against making freezer meals, I just doubted that they could be as good as a freshly made dinner. However, I would love to have a meal or two in my freezer for those super busy days or those nights I just don't feel like cooking. Next week I'm making some spicy turkey meatballs including some to freeze. Anyone want to try some with me?

4. Find the perfect pizza crust recipe. We love pizza in our house, and I've made some really good recipes that I've shared on the blog, but I want that perfect recipe. I'm trying another recipe tomorrow so we'll see how that goes.

5. Match my weekly menu to sales and coupons. I'm really good at planning a weekly menu, but I think I can save more money if I look at the sales and then plan my menu accordingly.

Alright there you have it! I think that all the goals are 100% achievable. I want to continue my passion for cooking and experimenting in the kitchen and I think these goals will help me do that. Happy 2012! Do you have any cooking goals for the new year?