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Merry Christmas and Early New Year

December 23, 2014

I had a grand plan this year, to bake mountains of cookies and pay really close attention and find one or two that were reliably good (read: that I could make without messing up). But then I got the flu, and all bets were off.

So in lieu of tons of Christmas cookies, I’m making an early new years resolution: to post at least once a week.

For now, here’s a link to a Christmas past – looking forward to sights similar to these in the next few days!

And, here are a few links to previous year’s recipes that would be good in a pinch, should you need last minute holiday appetizer ideas:

Fried Cheese with Lemon
Prosciutto Wrapped Greens
The Artichoke Appetizer

AND, here is a link to a great article by Frank Bruni. It’s about Thanksgiving, but is applies equally to Christmas, especially in my family. Thanks in advance Mom!

 

Food: Hot Chicken Salad

December 6, 2014

It should be criminal that I’ve had this blog for so long without mentioning my mom’s Hot Chicken Salad.  It’s a family favorite and, while it will never be considered “health food,” it is low in carbs/sugar and really delicious. It is best when topped with potato chips, but I didn’t have any on hand, so the below picture has some extra almonds sprinkled on top.

Hot Chicken Salad (serves 2-4) 4
Chicken Breasts (about 2 lbs)
3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup mayo (maybe more, depends on how you like your chicken salad)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tbsp tarragon
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup celery, chopped
Potato chips for topping (wavy chips are best)

Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken breasts in a shallow pot, pour in chicken broth (make sure all chicken breasts are covered) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, heat until chicken is just cooked (it’s going in the oven later), 5-10 minutes (depending on thickness). Remove chicken from broth, set aside to cool. In a large bowl, mix mayo, almonds, celery, lemon juice, tarragon, and 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese. Dice chicken breasts and add to bowl, mix to combine. Spoon mixture into a baking dish, top with remaining cheese, plus extra almonds or potato chips (if you’d like). Cover with aluminum foil, bake for 30-40 minutes until hot.

This goes surprisingly well with the sweet potatoes I posted about recently – and they make it decidedly more healthy.

*Edit* Mom has reminded me that if you top this with chips, do NOT cover it with foil when you bake it- if you do, the chips will wilt!

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Italian Christmas Cookies, Revisited

December 3, 2014

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It’s Christmas! I love the holidays, and all of the food that comes with it. You may not remember the Italian Christmas Cookies I posted about years ago, but I do. Mainly because they are one of the few cookies I’ve made that were not a disaster (see: every other post I’ve made about cookies). I made these again this year, following my recipe, and they tasted good again! Win!* These cookies are dense and chewy, a texture I prefer to crispy. The dough will last in the fridge for a week, and so will the icing.

*I may have set off the fire alarm in the new kitchen while making these, but NOT because I burnt the cookies. New kitchen’s oven might be nicer, but the fire alarms are REAL assholes.

Happy Thanksgiving! Now Go Make Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon

November 26, 2014

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Happy Thanksgiving! In case you (like me) always find yourself surprised that this holiday has actually arrived, here is a stupidly simple recipe that can be made in 30 minutes or less. As long as you have sweet potatoes, you already have the other ingredients in your house. Enjoy it, and make sure to save a plate for the empty seats this holiday season.

Ingredients:
Sweet potatoes – 1 lb per person (for the purposes of this recipe, 4 lbs)
1 cup whole milk (half and half or cream if you prefer)
1/2 cup room temperature butter, cut into pats (you can do this with less butter, but it’s Thanksgiving so chill out)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into chunks of about the same size. Put the chunks in a big pot of water, boil the water, then turn the water down to high but not boiling. It shouldn’t take more than 8-10 minutes for the potatoes to be fork tender. Once they are, drain the potatoes and return to the pot.  Add 1/2 cup of the milk and all of the butter, mix with a hand mixer or a masher (I prefer a hand mixer with the beaters) – I like it pretty smooth with a few chunks, which just takes 20 second or so of mixing. Add salt and cinnamon, mix just to combine, taste. If you want a thinner consistency, add the rest of the milk. Add more salt and cinnamon to your taste. Voila!

Back in the (New) Kitchen

November 25, 2014

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Happy almost Thanksgiving everyone!
Posts to this blog have been spotty at best over the past year (or more), so here’s a quick update/excuse:
Dave Copeland and I got married.
-I opened up the Whole Foods Market in Arlington, MA.
-We went on our honeymoon to Italy for 2 weeks (and ate our faces off).
-We bought a house, which MEANS we have a brand new kitchen for me to cook in!

In the foreground of today’s picture, you can see the table that my family had dinner on every night when my brother and I were growing up. The fact that it now lives in my house, and that I now get to serve dinner on it, is very special. Thanks to my mom and dad for keeping it in such good condition, and for giving it to us.

Here’s to many wonderful meals on our old table in our new kitchen!

 

Happy Halloween! (From, The Great Pumpkin)

October 30, 2014

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Chicken Tart and Apple Dumplings

October 9, 2014

I got this tart recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s “6 Ingredient” edition. It was ridiculously simple, even for those who are baking-challenged. You could substitute pretty much anything you want for the filling, use whatever you have in the pantry.

Chicken Tart – adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
1 raw pie crust (the kind you unroll from the plastic, they come in packs of 2)
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups chopped frozen spinach
1 wedge brie (or 1 block cheddar), cut into small cubes or shredded
2 cups cooked chicken (easiest way is to buy a cooked rotisserie chicken and pick it apart)
salt and pepper
optional: chopped walnuts or almonds

Put chicken broth, spinach, chicken, nuts (if you want) and half of however much cheese you choose in a microwave safe bowl, microwave for 45 seconds. Stir, add salt and pepper to taste. Lay out the pie crust on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Put filling in the center and crimp up the sides of the dough to contain the filling. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

Now, what do you do with the other roll of pie dough?

You make apple dumplings.

Apple Dumplings:
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored (or cut into quarters)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla (or more if you like more vanilla)
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp butter
whipped cream or ice cream for topping

Put vanilla, sugar, and butter in a small saucepan, heat slowly and stir until melted and combined. Remove from heat. Cut pie dough in half. (If you want to get fancy, you may want to then roll out the dough to make each piece a uniform circle, but you don’t have to.) Place each apple in the center of its half of pie dough. Spoon some of the sugar mixture on top of each apple until you have used about half of the sugar mixture. Roll the dough up around the apple and pinch it shut. Place dumplings in a pyrex dish or pan. Spoon remaining sugar mixture over top of dumplings. Cook at 350 for 40 minutes. Top with whipped cream or ice cream, or just eat plain.

chicken tart

dumplings

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