Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cinnamon Grapefruitade

Because the Dork and the Mother Unit are planning on bringing back some rum from their Caribbean cruise I bring you this:

Cinnamon Grapefruitade
(Food Network Magazine)


1.5 cups sugar (for simple syrup)
1.5 cups water (for simple syrup)
4 cinnamon sticks (for simple syrup)
2 cups fresh grapefruit juice
2 cups water
Some raspberries


1. To make the simple syrup bring 1.5 cups of sugar, 1.5 cups water and 4 cinnamon sticks to a boil, stirring until dissolved. This will result in about 2 cups of simple syrup. Let it cool.
2. Take your 2 cups of cooled simple syrup, add 2 cups of grapefruit juice, 2 cups of water and raspberries for garnish.

When you get sick of lemonade during the summer this is a yummy alternative. It has a little unexpected bite from the cinnamon. The best part is that it is absolutely amazing spiked with RUM!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni and Cheese!

Since we ate all of the mushrooms from last nights chicken dish all we had left was a bunch of lightly lemony chicken which was just not acceptable. I decided to chop it up and make some buffalo-chicken macaroni and cheese with a poor young couple living in the city twist (read: I eliminated a bunch of the ingredients). The original recipe is amazing and delicious. I highly recommend making it without changing a single thing. I made it last spring for my roommates and there wasn't a lot left. It makes a TON so you might want to cut it in half.

Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni and Cheese 
(Food Network Magazine) 

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
Kosher salt
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank's)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 pound yellow sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

4. Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.

5. Put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

For our poor young couple living in the city version I used left over green onions instead of a real onion and italian seasoned bread crumbs instead of the panko (and the panko is essential!). I omitted the celery, half-and-half (used 2% milk instead), pepper jack cheese, sour cream, and blue cheese (the travesty!). It still tasted good but it didn't come close to the original in taste or creaminess for obvious reasons. I just pretended I was being all healthy by cutting the cheese, half-and-half, and sour cream. Mr. Lawyer was inhaling it until I told him about the cuts to which I received an anguished "But you could have included ONE of them!!!" The best part is that even though I cut the recipe in half (another cheapo sacrifice influenced by ingredients on hand) there's enough to feed us for three nights!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Very Mushroom Sunday

Sunday's theme was mushrooms! (Wait, I have themes?) Really I just had an overabundance of mushrooms. So for appetizers we had some stuffed mushrooms loosely based on a Giada recipe. I only had smoked gouda on hand and did not have any mint. If I had extra cheese I would have melted a little bit on top because I'm a cheese fiend. They were a hit! (read: I only managed to snag three of the eight before Mr. Lawyer devoured them)
Stuffed Mushrooms 
(By Giada, Food Network) 
1/2 cup Italian-style dried bread crumbs 
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano 
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves 
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
28 large (2 1/2-inch-diameter) white mushrooms, stemmed 
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Stir the bread crumbs, Pecorino Romano, garlic, parsley, mint, salt and pepper, to taste, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium bowl to blend. 
3. Drizzle a heavy large baking sheet with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, to coat. Spoon the filling into the mushroom cavities and arrange on the baking sheet, cavity side up. Drizzle remaining oil over the filling in each mushroom. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is heated through and golden on top, about 25 minutes.
Next up was a chicken recipe from my dear Mother Unit. It was nice a light, not overly lemony. There was not enough mushrooms to go around even though I doubled the amount. My only issue with this one involves my own semi-irrational fear of not cooking chicken enough and giving everyone salmonella. So I pulled a Grandma Nancy and microwaved the chicken at the end because I couldn't get the temperature high enough on my meat thermometer! No one ended up in the bathroom and it was a super yummy meal.

Lemon Chicken with Mushrooms
(From the Mother Unit)
4 boneless chicken breast halves, skin removed
1/3 cup flour
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms (doubled to 8oz)
4 green onions sliced
2 tablespoons dry Marsala wine or a dry Chardonnay
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
1. Place chicken breast halves between sheets of plastic wrap; gently pound to thin to an even thickness. Combine flour, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika in a plastic food storage bag. Add chicken and coat well; shake excess flour mixture off.
2. In large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Sauté chicken breasts for 3 to 4 minutes per side, turn and sprinkle with a little salt. Place on platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
3. Add mushrooms to the skillet with a little more butter, if needed. Sauté for 3 minutes, until browned and tender. Add green onions and sauté 1 minute longer. Add Marsala wine and lemon juice; simmer for 1 minute. Put chicken back in skillet; simmer for 1 minute longer.
4. Arrange chicken on platter; pour sauce and mushrooms over the chicken and garnish with a little chopped parsley.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Summertime Mojitos

In order to warm up I am dreaming of hot summer days when Jen and I made mojitos on our back porch using homegrown mint from my herb garden! We played around with things and created our own little recipe using agave syrup.
J&J’s Summertime Mojitos
1 serving
1.5 ounces of Rum
The juice of one lime (about 2 Tablespoons)
1 tablespoon Agave Nectar
4 mint leaves
Ice cubes
Club Soda
Mint for garnish
1. Muddle your mint!
2. Mix in sugar and lime juice
3. Add rum
4. Strain into glasses, add ice and club soda
5. Make it pretty with some mint!

We used the agave nectar instead of superfine sugar because we had some and decided what the heck, what else are we going to use this for? (Sidenote: it's a great sweetener for plain oatmeal) It didn’t taste as sweet as the ones you can get at restaurants but I hear sugarcane syrup is key to making mojitos super yummy. Overall it was a great drink for a scorching summer day.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Muffin Mania!

What to make on a cold, blustery December day?
Apple Strudel Muffins!
12-18 full size muffins
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup softened butter
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1¼ teaspoon vanilla
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups apples (half chopped, half shredded)
Strudel Topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon melted butter
Optional: Oatmeal
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease your muffin tin.
2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together.
3. In a second bowl mix butter, brown and white sugars, and eggs until smooth. Mix in vanilla and apples. Then combine with flour mixture.
4. Mix strudel topping ingredients in a different bowl.
5. Pour batter into muffin tin, top with strudel and bake for 20 minutes.

These work well as mini muffins too, just bake them for a few minutes less. If you’re feeling ambitious you can double the strudel mix and layer it into the middle of the muffin. The strudel is my favorite part so I always make a double batch and really layer it on. Mmmm gooey melty strudel. Mr. Lawyer loves these and I doubt they will last through the week.

Easy Appetizer

Pita Chips
(Adapted from
Olive Oil
Desired Seasonings (such as pepper, garlic, and basil)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
2. Cut the pitas into quarters or eighths using a pizza cutter, then separate the triangles. Divide them up into two piles, thinner and thicker slices.
3. Mix olive oil and seasoning.
4. Place one group of slices on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil mixture
5. Bake for approximately 7 minutes.
6. Repeat with second batch.
It’s not necessary to divide the triangles before baking but I like too because the thinner ones bake more quickly. I would recommend keeping an eye on them the whole time as they can burn very quickly. I used ¼ cup olive oil with ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon dried basil, and ½ teaspoon garlic powder the first time I made these. The second time I used Pino’s Press Tuscan Herb Olive Oil and sprinkled some red pepper flakes on some of them for a little kick. Feder's Fresh has the most amazing pitas that I can't get enough of and have been using for this recipe, delicious!

Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca)
From Everyday Food Magazine
2 medium Tomatoes
1 small Onion
1 Jalapeno
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon lime juice
Cilantro leaves for garnish
1. Chop everything up and let it sit for at least 15 minutes, add the cilantro before serving.

I made this using the left over produce I had from the Turkey Chili so it wasn’t a full batch. I was lacking the jalapeno and cilantro and had to substitute lemon juice for lime but it still yummy! Just not spicy.

Philly Chili

I do believe it’s finally time to start this blog up. New city, new start, new food! Our first official meal in our new place:

Turkey Chili!

The Turkey Chili is a crockpot recipe and therefore very simple. I got it out of a magazine left in the office a few years ago, not sure which one. It was aimed towards kids so it’s not too spicy.

1 pound ground turkey
½ cup chopped onion
1 can pork and beans
1 to 2 cans of chili beans (depending on your preferences)
1 can undrained diced tomatoes (or equivalent in fresh tomatoes)
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder (plus more to taste)

1. Brown onion and turkey. I like to add the chili powder here.
2. Throw everything in the crockpot on low and go about your day.

I have made this recipe several times and it always comes out wonderful. It’s a sweeter chili but that makes it flexible for everyone. Using fresh tomatoes makes it a touch sweeter but more yummy. You can add red pepper flakes, Tabasco, etc to each bowl depending on your tastes. It makes a large batch so I always end up freezing some for a chilly day when I don’t feel like cooking.