Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fiesta Lime Chicken

This is my favorite Copycat recipe EVER! I love Applebee's Fiesta Lime Chicken so much I had to search it out on the internet. I've used this recipe for over ten years and it's great. The Mexi-Ranch dressing is the best part.. I like to spoon extra over my rice and dip chips in it too. I could eat this once a week :)

1/3 c teriyaki sauce
1/2 lime, juiced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t liquid smoke
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground ginger
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast (or 12 tenderloins)
1/3 c mayo (not Miracle Whip)
1/3 c sour cream
2 T chunky salsa
1 t Old Bay Cajun Blackened Seasoning
1/4 t dried parsley
a few dashes Louisiana Hot Sauce
1/4 t dill weed
1/4 t cumin
1 c Colby Jack cheese, shredded
2 c tortilla chips, crumbled

For the marinade, combine first 6 ingredients in a one-cup glass measuring cup. Fill the cup the rest of the way with water. Pour over chicken in a large ziplock baggie and marinate 3-4 hours in refrigerator. 

For the Mexi-Ranch, combine the next 8 ingredients in a small bowl and chill until needed.

Heat grill to high and oil the grates. Remove chicken from marinade, blot with paper towels to dry and discard reserve marinade. Grill chicken until cooked through. If you use tenderloins they only take 2-3 minutes per side. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil. Remove chicken breast to baking pan, top with a couple of spoonfuls of sauce, then cheese. If using tenderloins, place three side by side and top with sauce and cheese.  Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve over crumbled tortilla chips with a lime wedge and some fresh pico de gallo (recipe follows). I usually serve it with Spanish Rice (Uncle Ben's ready pouches are a huge time-saver). Serves four. Enjoy!

Pico de Gallo:

2-3 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/4 c white onion, minced
1/2 fresh jalapeño, seeded and minced (or a few pickled rings, chopped)
sea salt to taste
a squeeze of lime juice

Combine ingredients in a small bowl, cover and chill until ready to use.

*The cost to make this dish is approximately $12

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs have a completely different flavor than Italian meatballs.. the seasonings are warm and nutty. It's a great winter-time meal. While these are not EXACTLY like the Köttbullar (pronounced "shot-bull-ar") I had in Sweden, they're pretty darn good! Don't hesitate to add the raspberry jam to the sauce.. it sweetens it a little and really completes the dish.

1/2 c onion, minced 
1 T butter
2 slices bread
1/4 c milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger
1 t pepper
1 lb ground beef
3 T butter
3 T flour
2 c beef broth
1/4 c sour cream
1-2 t raspberry jam (lingonberry if you have it)
egg noodles or mashed potatoes for serving

Sauté onion in 1 T butter about 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, tear bread into pieces and process in a small food processor with the milk. Allow it to sit for a few minutes. It will be goopy but that's what makes these meatballs really moist. If you don't have a food processor just make sure the pieces are very small. Add bread and onions to a large bowl. Stir in egg, salt, nutmeg, ginger and pepper to combine and then fold in the ground beef with your hands. Don't over-mix it or the meatballs will be tough. Roll mixture into 1 1/2" balls. I made about 18 meatballs with this amount.

Melt 3 T butter in a large skillet. Brown meatballs on all sides in batches. Be careful not to smash them (or overcrowd them) or they won't brown properly. You don't have to cook them through yet, just brown them and set aside. After all meatballs are browned and set aside add the flour to the skillet and cook over medium heat until the roux is the color of coffee with cream. Gradually whisk in the warm beef broth and stir until it's thickened a little. Salt and pepper to taste. Add in the meatballs and cover. Cook about ten minutes to finish the meatballs. Cook your egg noodles while the meatballs simmer. To finish the sauce, remove the meatballs with a slotted spoon (again) and stir in the sour cream and raspberry jelly. Add meatballs back into the sauce until ready to serve. Serves 2-3. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cornbread Dressing

Cornbread dressing is a family tradition for our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I can remember helping both my mom and dad make it on Christmas morning. These days, I make it the day before and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. It tastes just as good and saves time when you have other dishes to prepare for a big meal! It goes great with turkey, ham or chicken. I'm ready to eat!

4 8-inch skillets of yellow cornbread (I use Martha White)   
1/2 c butter                         
2 c onion, chopped                         
2 c celery, chopped
5 c chicken broth
Salt & pepper to taste 
Rubbed sage to taste
4 large eggs, beaten    

Prepare cornbread according to package instructions. You can use any cornbread recipe you like but I like to make four small skillets because there's lots of crusty edge to flavor the dressing. Allow the cornbread to cool, crumble it up and set aside. Sauté onions and celery in butter until tender. Combine sautéed vegetables, cornbread crumbles, broth and seasonings in a large bowl. For sage and pepper, adjust to your taste (I usually start with one teaspoon of salt, two teaspoons of pepper and three tablespoons of sage). Add the eggs in after you've achieved the flavor you want. Pour into greased 9x13 pan (it will be soupy, don't worry it will firm up) and bake 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. I like to turn on the broiler at the end to brown the top. Serves 8-10. Enjoy!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chicken Bryan

If you've never had Chicken Bryan from Carrabba's Italian Grill you are missing out! It's my favorite dish on the menu. I searched online for a copycat recipe and found a few to choose from. I've used different combinations of fresh basil, basil paste (tube of Gourmet Garden found in the veggie section), sliced sun-dried tomatoes or jarred (with herbs in olive oil). This is my favorite rendition:

6-8 chicken breast tenderloins
sea salt & pepper 
olive oil
2 T butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 onion, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 c white wine
8 T cold butter, cut into 1 T pats
1/2 jar julienne sun-dried tomatoes (California brand, 8oz jar)
2 T basil paste (only because it's winter and fresh isn't as available) 
sea salt & pepper to taste
3 oz goat cheese, softened to room temp (Capricorn brand, 6oz logs in the cheese case)

Season chicken with salt & pepper and brush lightly with olive oil. Grill over med-high heat about 3 minutes per side. Set aside to rest and keep warm while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, melt 2 T butter in skillet and sauté garlic and onion a couple of minutes. Stir in lemon juice and wine, reduce heat to med-low and simmer to reduce liquid by half. Whisk in one pat of butter at a time until it's all melted and frothy. Stir in the drained sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and salt & pepper.

To serve, top the chicken with a dollop of softened cheese on each piece. Spoon the butter sauce over the chicken. Serves two plus leftovers. Enjoy!

Christmas Wassail

One of my favorite things about going to Silver Dollar City during Christmastime is the Wassail booth. It's the only time of year they offer mugs of the hot, fruity, cinnamon goodness. Wassail SMELLS like Christmas! I serve it at my Christmas parties and love to keep a batch in the fridge to heat up by the mug. 

1 gallon apple cider
3 c orange juice
1 1/2 c pineapple juice
2 T brown sugar
1 t lemon juice
two handfuls cinnamon Redhot candies
a few dashes ground cloves

These are just the basic measurements. You can adjust them according to your taste! Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot and simmer over low for an hour. Serve hot. Makes about 16 servings. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I've been on a quest for the perfect broccoli cheese soup.. I think I've found it! The original recipe is from the Pioneer Woman but I modified it a little. It's packed with veggies and uses creamy Velveeta. I've tried it with cheddar cheese but wasn't happy with the texture. I've tried it with fresh veggies and frozen.. both are wonderful. You can leave the veggies chunky, purée all of it, or purée some of it like I do. The possibilities are endless!

1 stick butter
1/2 c onion, chopped
1/2 c celery, chopped
1/2 c carrot, chopped
1/3 c flour
4 c milk
2 c half & half
dash nutmeg
black pepper to taste
sea salt to taste
1 large crown of broccoli, chopped or 1 bag frozen, chopped
16 oz Velveeta cheese, cut into small pieces

Melt butter in a large stockpot. Add onion, celery and carrots and sauté about 3 minutes. Stir in flour and cook one minute. Slowly stir in milk and half & half, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in broccoli. Bring to simmer and cook on low 20-30 minutes until thickened slightly. Grab two mixing bowls and scoop about 4 cups of soup into each bowl. This will leave a couple of cups of chunky veggie soup in the pot. Use a blender to puree the smaller portions of soup to desired consistency and add it back to the pot. Stir in the Velveeta cheese until melted. Salt to taste. Serves 6 plus leftovers. Enjoy!