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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Hearty Chicken, Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili

Fall is my favorite time of year, especially so because I can get back to cooking.  With the weather finally cooling off, this is also the time of year I start thinking about making soups and chili.  And for the past 4 years, October has also been Soup Month here at HowDoYouCook.com.

For each of those 4 years my family and I would create 31 new soup, stew and chili recipes during the month of October.  So far we've compiled a pretty good archive of yummy recipes.  This year however, since my schedule has not allowed me the time to create a new soup each day, we are going to keep the soup tradition going with at least one or two new soups each week throughout the fall and winter months.  So fear not, the soup, stew and chili recipes will keep coming, just not all in one month! lol  Yes, I admit, I love soup!

To get us started we made a Hearty Chicken, Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili that brings several healthy ingredients together in one pot.  But before you think pumpkin = pumpkin pie, wait!  This is a savory pumpkin chili, no cloves or cinnamon at all.  Many people do not realize the delicious flavor of a savory pumpkin dish, so this is a great way to try this tasty squash in a different way.  And to make things even easier, this chili is made in the crock pot and the recipe is super simple!

The pumpkin creates a creamy, but healthy background for this soup,  then the chicken, black beans and vegetables add the heartiness of a chili.  All of this comes together for a great meal.  Enjoy!!

3 cups  Chicken Stock
1  medium  White Onion, chopped
1  large Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
2 TB  Olive Oil
3 cloves  Minced Garlic
2 cans  Black Beans, rinsed and drained
2-1/2 cups  Cooked Chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can  Solid-Pack Pumpkin
1 can  Petite Diced Tomatoes
2 tsp  Dried Parsley
2 tsp  Chili Powder
1-1/2 tsp  Dried Oregano
1-1/2 tsp  Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp  Salt

In a medium skillet saute the onion and yellow pepper in the olive oil over medium heat until just tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic to the skillet and saute 1 minute longer.

Transfer the vegetables to a 5-quart slow cooker, add all of the remaining ingredients, cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Asian Wings with Chili-Garlic Sauce

When it comes to chicken wings, many people think the hotter and spicier the better.  But that doesn't work for everyone!  My kids are the perfect example.  The oldest likes foods on the mild side, the middle child loves spicy foods and the youngest?  Well, she's one picky eater, so it's always up in the air whether she will like a new food or not.  But guess what?  All three of them loved these wings!

Full of sweet chili and garlic flavor, these Asian inspired wings are sure to be the favorite for people who don't like hot and spicy.

Instead of deep frying, the wings are lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, coated with a bit of oil and baked until golden brown.  The wings are then coated in a bold chili and garlic sauce that has just a hint of sesame oil and a Korean chili powder, both of which add a bright flavor to the wings.

If you do like foods that are on the spicy side, you can easily increase the heat in the sauce by increasing the chili powder to 1 tablespoon or by adding a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.

All of these seasonings can be found in the Asian section of your local market, so they are not difficult to find.  We served these wings with steamed edamame and fried rice.  Enjoy!!

3 lbs  Chicken Wings (about 12), tips discarded and wings split
2 TB  Lee Kum Kee Chili Garlic Sauce
2 tsp  Korean Chili Powder (or regular chili powder)
1 TB  Sugar
1-1/2 tsp  Dark Sesame Oil
2 tsp  Water
1 tsp  Rice Vinegar
1 TB  Soy Sauce
1 tsp  Minced Ginger
2 tsp  Minced Garlic

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Line a large baking sheets with heavy duty foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the wings, canola oil and salt and pepper.  Toss the wings to evenly coat, then transfer the wings to the foil lined baking sheet, placing them skin side up.  Bake the wings for 40 - 45 minutes, turning once, until golden brown and crispy.

In a medium glass bowl, whisk all of the sauce ingredients together, then set aside.

Add the cooked wings to the chili garlic sauce and stir to evenly coat the chicken.  Transfer the wings to a platter, sprinkle with chopped green onions and serve.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July 4th Foods

The 4th of July is a great day to kick back with a cool drink, throw a few burgers on the grill and just relax!  But maybe this year you would like to cook something different, not just burgers.  Maybe kabobs would be a tasty change, or a giant pot of Low Country Boil, or try a new side dish like Grilled Tomatoes with Mozzarella Cheese and Fresh Basil or Chipotle Slaw to add a spicy kick to your meal.

Whether your day includes lounging by the pool or staying inside and out of the heat, fix yourself a cool Caribbean Blue Iced Tea and enjoy this mid-summer holiday.

Here are some other cool menu suggestions for your July 4th feast.
Smoked Chicken Quarters

Country Style Pork Ribs with Mustard and Dry Rub Marinade

Low Country Boil with Crab Legs, Shrimp, Red Potatoes and Corn on the Cob
A Low Country Boil is an easy one-pot meal
Smoked Pork Butt 
Caribbean Blue Iced Tea

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sonoma Chicken Salad

It's finally summertime here in Florida and if the last few weeks are any indication, it's going to be a very hot season.  With temperatures reaching the upper 90's, we were looking forward to something cool and refreshing for dinner, and this recipe was the perfect solution.

With a combination of poached chicken breast, crunchy pecans and sweet juicy grapes, a tangy honey and mayonnaise dressing was the perfect finish to this dinner salad.  Serve with a glass of light, fruity chardonnay, sauvignon blanc or a bright, juicy riesling wine.

To save time, the dressing can be made several hours ahead of serving time.  Enjoy!!

1 cup Light or Regular Mayonnaise
2 tsp  Dijon Mustard
4 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
5 tsp Honey
1 or 2 tsp Poppy Seeds, to taste
Salt and Ground Black Pepper, to taste

3  boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts, thinly slices horizontally to create 6 pieces
1 cup  Pecan Pieces, chopped
2 cups Red Seedless Grapes, rinsed
3 stalks Celery, thinly sliced
Chopped Romaine or Mixed Greens

Prepare the dressing by mixing the mayo, mustard, vinegar, honey, poppy seeds and salt and pepper in a bowl. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before you are ready to dress the salad.

Place the chicken breasts in one layer in a large skillet and season generously with salt and pepper.  Add 2 cups water to the pan and bring the chicken to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and place on a platter to cool for 20 minutes.  Refrigerate the chicken for about 30 minutes or until chilled.

Cut the cooled chicken into bite-sized pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the pecans, grapes, celery and dressing, adding salt or pepper, if needed.  Place 2 cups of chopped romaine on a plate and top with 2 cups of the salad mixture.  Serve about 6.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lemon Lime Shrimp Fajitas

Fajitas are a quick and easy meal to prepare, especially on a busy weeknight, and Chicken Fajitas are a family favorite at our house.  But this time, we wanted to try something a bit different and make seafood fajitas.

Using sliced green peppers and onions and a little cilantro, all we needed was a simple marinade for the shrimp and we were ready to cook.  And get this, the cooking time was only about 7 minutes!

For the marinade we combined a lemon ponzu sauce, which is actually an Asian lemon-accented soy sauce, and lime juice to create a simple citrus mix that was a bit salty, sweet and tangy all at the same time.

Once the fajita mixture was ready to serve we tried several different toppings to find the ones we liked the most.  By far the overall favorite was the addition of crumbled queso fresco cheese, with the  salty cheese really adding a nice texture to the shrimp and vegetables.  We also liked sour cream and Homemade Guacamole on the fajitas, both of which can be added to the fajitas or served on the side.

However you choose to build your own favorite Shrimp Fajita, it will quickly become you favorite quick and easy weeknight meal.  Enjoy!!

2 lbs  Medium Raw Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 TB  Minced Garlic
1 large  Onion, thinly sliced
2 large  Green Peppers, thinly sliced
2 TB  Canola Oil
1 cup lightly packed  Cilantro Leaves
1 cup  Lemon Ponzu Sauce
2/3 cup  Lime Juice
12  Flour Tortillas
Garnishes:  Queso Fresco Cheese, Sour Cream, Guacamole

In a medium glass bowl combine the shrimp, garlic, Ponzu and lime juice.  Stir to combine and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and peppers to the skillet and saute for 4 minutes, or until tender.  Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp are pink.  Add the cilantro and stir, then spoon the mixture into warm tortillas.

Garnish with crumbled queso fresco cheese, sour cream or guacamole.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Banana Mama Cocktail

If you've ever been to the Caribbean, you probably know that pretty pastel-colored cocktails with little umbrellas are quite popular, and nearly impossible to resist.  So while many people are still recovering from a very cold and snowy winter, here is a tropical treat to get you in the mood for those warm summer days ahead.

This tasty cocktail was inspired by the classic Bahama Mama.  With two varieties of rum, plus pineapple and orange juice, the final touch is a dash of banana liqueur and some grenadine for that tropical color.  Happy Weekend ... Enjoy!!

2 oz  Pineapple Juice
2 oz  Orange Juice
1-1/4 oz  Malibu Coconut Rum
1 oz  Bacardi White Rum
1/2 oz  Jacquin's Banana Liqueur
1/2 oz  Grenadine Syrup

Fill a tall glass with ice and add all ingredients.  Shake or stir and serve.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Vinegar-Braised Chicken Thighs with Onion and Peas

Braising meats is a great way to get maximum flavor into a dish, and this method of cooking works especially well with chicken.  By starting the dish on the stove top, then finishing the cooking process in the oven, the flavors are allowed to develop while keeping the chicken moist and tender.

For this dish we used balsamic vinegar for acidity and balanced it with a broth of chicken stock and sour cream.  Tender white onions, sweet baby peas and a few herbs create a delicious sauce that tastes wonderful over rice or noodles.

This is an easy one-pot meal that can be ready to serve in about an hour and the leftovers make a great lunch the next day.  Enjoy!!

3 TB  Butter
3 TB  Olive Oil
8  Skin-on Bone-in Chicken Thighs
Ground Black Pepper
1 large  White Onion, thinly sliced
1 cup  Chicken Broth
1/4 cup  Balsamic Vinegar
1 10-oz pkg  Frozen Peas, thawed
1-1/2 tsp  Dried Tarragon
1-1/2 tsp  Dried Parsley
1/2 cup  Sour Cream
Cooked Rice or Noodles

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large deep pot, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and place in the pot, skin side up.  Cook over medium-high heat until browned, about 7 minutes, then turn the chicken over and cook 5 minutes longer.

Remove the chicken from the pot and place on a platter; cover to keep warm.  Add the sliced onion to the pot and cook for 2 minutes, then add the broth and vinegar to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.  (Skim off some of the chicken fat at this point, if desired.)  Season with salt and pepper and stir in the peas and sour cream, stirring to combine, then return the chicken to the pot, skin side up.

Place the pot in the oven and cook for about 30 - 35 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear.  Taste test and adjust the salt and pepper, if needed.  Serve over prepared rice or noodles.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

NuWave Oven Cuban-Style Pork Roast

Using a NuWave Oven can be a huge time saver, but it's also a great way to cook dinner without heating up the kitchen.  Here in Florida, keeping the kitchen cool is really important in the summer months, so I'm working on more recipes to use during those warmer upcoming days.

This is one recipe that I couldn't wait to rework.  Cuban Sandwiches are a favorite for my family and this recipe is a delicious twist on our original Grilled Cuban Sandwich recipe.

The "original" Cuban sandwich was said to have been created near Tampa, Florida, but there seems to be several variations of the "original".   The sandwich usually consists of sliced pork, deli ham, Swiss cheese, and sliced dill pickles.  These 4 ingredients are layered onto sliced Cuban bread and topped with a generous squirt of yellow mustard.  The sandwich is then grilled on a panini press, or similar type of grill, and toasted until the bread is crunchy, and it is a most delicious sandwich!

So here is where the NuWave Oven comes in.  I've always baked a pork loin roast for this sandwich instead of the traditional pork shoulder roast for two reasons.  First, it's much quicker to cook a pork loin than a 4 or 5 pound pork shoulder.  That is a big chunk of meat and it takes quite a while to cook.   Secondly, and most important to me, the pork loin is a leaner cut of meat.  It roasts beautifully, it's easy to slice and you save a lot of fat and calories.  So for us the loin works better and look however beautiful the crust is when cooked in the NuWave.

For this recipe we used orange juice and lime juice in the pork marinade, both of which are frequently used in Cuban cooking.  (The juices are what give the pork that nice crispy, caramelized crust.)

So here is the finished sandwich.  Moist pork loin layered with the ham, Swiss cheese and pickles, then grilled to perfection.  A few crunchy chips and pickled beets on the side make a delicious Cuban-style dinner.  Enjoy!!

3/4 cup  Orange Juice
1/4 cup  Lime Juice
1/2 tsp  Cumin
1/2 tsp  Oregano
1/2 tsp  Onion Powder
1 tsp  Sea Salt
1/2 tsp  Ground Black Pepper

1-1/2 lb  Lean Pork Loin Roast

Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a large zip lock bag, then place the pork roast in the bag.   Place the roast in the refrigerator and marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight, turning several times.

Prepare the NuWave cooking tray by lining the bottom tray with heavy duty foil.  (This will make cleanup quick and easy.)

Remove the roast from the bag and reserve the marinade.  Place the roast on the 4-inch rack of the NuWave Oven, set the power level to 7 and the timer to 20 minutes.  While the roast is cooking, heat the marinade in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, then remove the marinade from the heat.

When the 20-minute timer beeps, turn the roast over and drizzle with several spoons of the marinade.  Set the timer for 10 minutes, drizzle the marinade over the roast again and set the timer for a final 10 minutes.  Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the roast and add a few more minutes if needed.  If the roast is up to the desired temperature, remove the roast to a platter, cover and keep warm for about 10 minutes, before thinly slicing the pork.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fruit Kabobs with Orange Marshmallow Dip

Oh, busy days!  The last several weeks have been super busy and even though I have managed to cook up a few new recipes, getting those recipes posted was another matter entirely!  So here is the first new recipe to get us started for the year, (even though it's almost March, lol), and it is one of my favorites.

Serving fruit is a great idea for any party as it offers your guests something a little healthy, but a little sweet, too.  Fruit kabobs, served on bamboo skewers make a simple assortment of fruit into something a bit more elegant.  These are the perfect addition to your buffet for baby or bridal showers, or even a Christmas party buffet.

I've been making this creamy Orange Marshmallow Dip for many years, but it's such a simple recipe I never bothered to write it down.  So here it is in all of its glory.  This recipe can easily be cut in half if you need a smaller batch, but it does store well in the refrigerator for several days.  Enjoy!!

14 oz Sour Cream (regular or light)
16 oz jar Marshmallow Creme
1/3 cup Orange Juice
Assorted Fresh Fruits, cut into bite-sized pieces

Heat the Marshmallow Creme in the microwave for 20 - 25 seconds until softened, then stir until smooth.

Stir the sour cream into the marshmallow creme, add 3 tablespoons of orange juice and mix well.  Add additional orange juice about 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture is the desired consistency, then chill the dip for 1 hour before serving.

Serve with a tray of mixed fresh fruits cut into bite-sized pieces or thread various fruits onto bamboo skewers as shown above and place on a serving tray.  Include fruits that hold up well when exposed to the air, such as honeydew, cantaloupe, strawberries and blueberries, red and green seedless grapes, pineapple chunks, kiwi and watermelon. Avoid bananas and apples which will turn brown quickly.

 Serve the Orange Marshmallow Dip in shot glasses or in small ramekin dishes.