Thursday, April 30, 2009

Funky Ingredient of the Week....Mango! One of my favorite drinks in the world is a strawberry-mango margarita. And I adore the mango iced tea at the 99. While perusing cookbooks to make up this week's Menu, I came across a recipe for Curried Chicken with Mango Chutney. Hmmm...that sounds interesting! I've been trying to come up with some different ideas for dinner so we're not having the same stuff over and over. it required stewing the mango with dried apricots and apple juice, allspice, ground red pepper, fresh ginger and cider vinegar. I didn't have any apple juice or allspice, so I settled for V-8 Fusion in peach and mango and some cinnamon and nutmeg. I marinated the chicken in curry powder, lime juice and soy sauce. It came out really good, the chutney was spicy-sweet and the chicken was perfect off the grill. Make some white rice and that's dinner! The rice sopped up the sweet juice of the mangoes nicely.

Mango is kind of a pain to peel, you have to have a bit of patience. Plus, you really can't tell where the "pit" is, because it's more like a rectangle. I had a little bit of chopped mango left that I'll blend into a smoothie later with yogurt and strawberries. Maybe when I have tomato plants going I'll try another fruit salsa with mango this time!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Something Different.....

I've been leafing through some old cookbooks of mine and making lists of things that I want to make. This recipe caught my eye because it's just so...different! We love tacos in this house but I do get bored of just ground beef, salsa and cheese. They cooked up pretty quick for a weeknight dinner and even Will had some! However, we learned the hard way that a flour tortilla filled with stuff is much too big for his little hands, as a good chunk of it ended up on the floor. So if you're feeding this to a toddler, you might want to make it quesadilla-style.

Also, there is no cheese in the original recipe. To me, cheese on a taco is a must! Plus, I'm getting bad at checking the fridge before I go to the grocery store and I had three different kinds of shredded cheese in the refrigerator. I found that monterey jack or swiss cheese work great with this recipe, as I had one of each!

Chicken Soft Tacos with Sauteed Onions and Apples (courtesy of Cooking Light)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp butter
2 c. thinly sliced onion (I used sweet onion)
2 c. thinly-sliced, peeled Granny Smith apple (about two apples)
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt, nutmeg and pepper. Add chicken to pan, saute 7 minutes or until golden. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.

2. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add onion, cook 4 min or until tender, stirring frequently. Add apple, cook 6 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Add garlic, saute 30 seconds. Return chicken to pan, cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently.

3. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Arrange 1/2 c. of mixture over each tortilla. Yield: 4 servings.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Summer Syrup

Even though it's not quite summer yet (but feels like it!!), I had some strawberries that I needed to use up. So I dusted off one of my favorite syrup recipes. Well, it's the only kind of syrup I've ever made. It's good on anything from pancakes to ice cream, or even a dutch baby.

Simple Strawberry Syrup (courtesy of Cooking Light)

3 cups of sliced strawberries, divided.

1 c. sugar

3/4 c. water

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp grated lemon rind (optional in our house)

Combine 2 c. strawberries, sugar, water and lemon juice in medium saucepan (non-aluminum) Bring to a boil over med-high heat. Cook until reduced, approx. 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes, then stir in remaining cup of strawberries and lemon rind.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I re-learned an important lesson today. I was at the grocery store and was thrilled to find that eggs had little $.75 off! coupons on them. Of course there's a catch...they expire next Tuesday. But hey, you can get through a dozen eggs in a few days if you have some egg salad, scrambled eggs for breakfast maybe, and do some baking? Absolutely! can do that if you don't already have 18 eggs at home, and a dozen of them are set to expire on Monday!! Note to self: check out the fridge before you head out to the grocery store. I'm trying to make the best of it, having a breakfast casserole tomorrow, baking some cookies and maybe Joey will get a scrambly-egg treat. Oops.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lunch on the Fly

I was doing some errands at lunchtime today, and didn't have time to sit down for a real lunch. (That seems to happen these days, but oh well) Anyway, I stopped in a new chain restaurant called Chipotle with the intention of picking up something to-go that I could eat at my desk and still toil at my computer.

I walked in not expecting much. After all, Chipotle is in the same neighborhood as one of my favorite taco places, Moe's. Moe's is fabulous! It's a funky tex-mex joint where everyone that works there yells "Welcome to Moe's" when you walk in, and they have thick queso and fresh fried nacho chips to dip into it. But I was pleasantly surprised with Chipotle. Their menu is really simple: you pick a meat (or roasted veggies) and tell them if you want it made into quesadillas, fajitas, tacos or a bowl. I got a bowl of barbecoa (barbecued, shredded beef) over cilantro rice, pinto beans, roasted corn salsa and cheese. They also had steak, carnitas (pork) and chicken. It was really, really good! I asked for medium salsa, and it was pretty smoky with a fair amount of heat. And they have the chips and guacamole too. I'd definitely go back there, it was a pleasant Tex-Mex experience.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Not-So-Decorating Diva

I love to bake, but I'm terrible at decorating baked goods. My sugar cookies at Christmas usually look like I dumped frosting on them instead of like in the magazines, despite my best efforts. And I'm really not great at frosting cakes, either. I mean, I can get the frosting on there (duh!) but it's pretty sad-looking.

Enter this Month's Women's Day magazine. There's a great article called "Decorating Diva" that gives all sorts of tips on how to make nicely decorated stuff like cookies and cupcakes. Maybe I won't be needing "Remedial Cupcake Decorating" after all! :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thatsa Spicy

I forgot a biggie rule about freezing food: if you freeze something spicy, remember that it will be spicier when you defrost it! I made a batch of turkey chili and froze some for later. Boy, was I surprised! So, if you make something spicy and you intend on freezing it, adjust accordingly. Word to the Wise!