Monday, February 28, 2011

Buttermilk Caramel Syrup

Once again, the picture isn't great. Sorry. :)

This is another recipe I got from Our Best Bites. And oh boy, is it good. I honestly felt a little guilty eating it for breakfast because it definitely tasted more like dessert. Of course, normal maple syrup is pretty sugary-sweet too, so it shouldn't have. Basically, it's like pouring caramel sauce on your French toast (or pancakes, or whatever). It was so good.

Buttermilk Caramel Syrup

3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) real butter (I cheated and used margarine and it still tasted divine)
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine buttermilk, sugar, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda in a large pot. (I used a huge 5 quart pot and it was a little bit too big. Make sure it's at least a 3 quart, though, I would say.) Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and cook, still stirring frequently, for 8-9 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Skim the foam off the top (optional - I just stirred it in really well) and serve.

Refrigerate any leftovers.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Creamy Chicken Taquitos

I just discovered the Our Best Bites website a couple of weeks ago. I'm in love. So is everyone else in the food blog kingdom, I think, because they're crazy popular. And I can see why. I tried this Creamy Chicken Taquitos recipe from their site and am seriously impressed. They're so, so good! The hubby and I both love frozen taquitos but they're expensive and let's face it... I really have no idea what really goes into those babies. This homemade version is actually quite healthy. And they don't taste healthy - the best part. :)

The only downer was that they do take a bit of time to make. Of course, I cooked and shredded my own chicken, so that may have been the problem. If you used canned chicken, it would probably be much easier.

Oh, and the corn tortillas? Total pain. Make sure you microwave them the whole 30 seconds AND use the paper towel method. Those babies will crumble if you don't.

Creamy Chicken Taquitos

1/3 cup (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 cup green salsa
1Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp granulated garlic, or garlic powder
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp sliced green onions
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup grated pepperjack cheese

small corn tortillas (the recipe says flour ones work good as well)
kosher salt
cooking spray
Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it's soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.

You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.

Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it. (30. Do 30... trust me on this.) If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or are coming unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.

Place 2-3 Tbsp of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges.
Then roll it up as tight as you can. Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.

Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

Great dipped in salsa, sour cream, or guacamole.

Red and White Pasta

This is another really easy throw-together dish from Real Mom Kitchen. And since it only requires five really simple ingredients, chances are good I'll have what I need in my pantry.

The only change I made from her original recipe was to use less cheese. Three cups total seemed like a lot to me (although I'm sure it would have been nice and gooey and cheesy). I reduced it to just dividing the two cups of mozzarella and it still turned out really good.

Red and White Pasta

4 cups penne (or similarly sized) noodles
1 (15 oz.) jar Alfredo sauce
1 (24 oz.) jar marinara sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
Fresh parsley (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook and drain pasta according to package directions.
3. Mix Alfredo and marinara sauces together in a large mixing bowl. (By the way, don't use a white plastic bowl for this... it stains big time. I may or may not speak from experience. :))
4. Add mozzarella cheese (I did about 1 1/2 cups) and combine. Add drained pasta
5. Pour into a 9x13 casserole dish and bake 25-30 minutes until bubbly. Sprinkle Parmesan (or the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella) on top and bake for another 5 minutes.
6. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ooey-Gooey Caramel Corn

I'm kinda picky when it comes to my caramel corn. The crunchy stuff just doesn't do it for me. It's probably because I grew up eating this recipe, which is about as ooey-gooey, sticky, and messy as you can get.

Basically, it's awesome.

(It also makes a ton. I have a giant mixing bowl that I use just for this that says it holds 32 cups. The bowl is about 3/4 full when it's finished, so you do the math. :) It might be good to half the recipe if you're just making it for a few people.)

Ooey-Gooey Caramel Corn

3/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernals*
1/2 cup butter
1 can evaporated milk
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup

Pop kernals in a popcorn popper, making sure you use your largest bowl; set aside.

In large saucepan, combine butter, evaporated milk, brown sugar, and corn syrup and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Let boil until mixture reaches soft-ball stage - about 235-245 degrees. (Or, if you don't have a candy thermometer - like me - just place drops of the liquid in a cup of cold water. If they form into any semblance of a soft little ball instead of just dissolving into the water, it's done.)

Drizzle over the popcorn, mixing well until kernals are coated.

Serve immediately. (It's definitely yummiest when it's fresh - still pretty good for a day or two after, though, if you keep it covered.)

*I have a hot-air popcorn popper that is perfect for this. However, if you don't have one of those, you could use another method or just microwave popcorn. You'll just need about 15-20 cups of unsalted, unbuttered popped popcorn.