Creamy Pesto Dressing

Creamy Pesto Dressing

Adapted from Savory Sweet Life

  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons prepared pesto

Add buttermilk, sour cream, mayo, and pesto to a bowl.  Whisk to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Parmesan Chicken Breasts

Parmesan Chicken Breasts

Adapted from Bon Appetit

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (5 to 7 ounces each)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan (use the good stuff here)
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (a herb infused olive oil is lovely for this)

Heat oven to 450 degrees and line a half sheet pan with foil.  Place chicken breasts on the prepared pan.  In a medium bowl, combine the parmesan, panko, salt, and olive oil. Pat the panko topping onto the chicken and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the topping has browned.

Flashback Friday – Shorted

The following post originally appeared on BAH on 19 August 2009.

Used to be that when a recipe called for 8 ounces of pasta, I could just measure out half a box and be done. Not anymore. Have you noticed how with many of the things we buy, like pasta, ice cream, and coffee, you don’t get as much as you used to? But you’re still paying the same price.

The packages haven’t changed so much that you notice you’re being shorted. But look closely. That box of Barilla Penne that I picked up at the store? It’s 14 ounces instead of 16. And your cup of yogurt, is it still 8 ounces or have they sold you 6 ounces for the same price?

The Washington Post recently mentioned this trend. For me, it’s an annoyance, an inconvenience. If I’m making a dish that needs a cup of yogurt I have to choose between buying a second container and having more than I need or possibly throwing the recipe off because I don’t have enough. My kitchen is small. I don’t have the room to store cans and jars and boxes that I wouldn’t need to buy if it weren’t for this shrinkage.

Why are we being forced to make this decision? Blame it on the companies for wanting to make more money. Blame it on the grocery stores for trying to find higher profit margins. Blame it on consumers for not noticing the changes. We’re all to blame. But it still feels sneaky.

How do you feel about it? Are you ok with products being downsized while still paying the same price or would you prefer to pay a little more to get the old “standard” sizes?

Bruce and Mark’s Honey Chicken

Bruce and Mark’s Honey Chicken

Adapted from Cooking Light The Complete Quick Cook

  • 6 to 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Heat the oven to 475 degrees and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.

While the oven heats, combine the chili powder, cumin, paprika, and salt in a small bowl.  Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl and coat completely with the spice mixture.  Transfer the thighs to the prepared baking pan.

Bake for 10 minutes then carefully turn the thighs over and cook on the other side for another to 10 minutes.

While the chicken cooks, combine the honey and vinegar in a small bowl.  After the chicken has cooked on both sides, baste with the honey mixture.  Cook for 5 minutes before turning the chicken over, basting with the remaining honey mixture and cooking for another 5 minutes

Pork with Apples and Shallots

Pork with Apples and Shallots

Adapted from Elizabeth Bard’s Lunch in Paris

  • 3 cups apple cider plus 1 cup apple cider
  • 3 cups ice
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 pounds pork loin, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 6 shallots, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons course ground mustard

Bring 3 cups of cider, salt, pepper, and coriander to a boil in a saucepan.  Remove from the heat, add the ice, and cool completely.  Transfer the brine to a large zip top bag, add the pork loin, and refrigerate for 8 hours.

30 to 45 minutes before you’re ready to cook, remove the pork from the brine, dry with paper towels, and let sit at room temperature.

When ready to cook, heat the oven to 375 degrees and melt the butter and oil over medium heat in a large oven safe frying pan or dutch oven.  Add the pork and brown it on all sides.  Transfer the pork to a platter and cook the shallots and apples for 5 to 10 minutes until they begin to brown lighly.

Return the pork to the pan, add the remaining 1 cup of apple cider, and cook until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center of the pork registers 155 degrees.  Transfer the pork to your serving platter and cover with foil for 10 minutes.

Return the pan to the stove top, add the bourbon (if using), and allow the sauce to reduce slightly.  Whisk in the mustard, add salt and pepper to taste, and thin with additional apple cider if desired.

Serve slices of the pork topped with the apple shallot sauce.

Flashback Friday – Hot Mess

The following post originally appeared on BAH on 17 August 2009.

SK Broccoli Slaw

I seem to have hit an all new low with regards to trashy reality television. Why? Because despite having way too many channels of programming to choose from, I found myself unable to look away from VH-1′s Charm School. Here’s how it happened. It was a Sunday afternoon and we had plans for later in the day right around supper time. Since dinner at home was out, we were going old school with supper. You know supper, that earlier version of dinner or later version of lunch.

I like supper to be easy and fuss free. Heck, I like most things to be easy and fuss free, this is just one example. Our menu was Bon Appetit’s Mustard Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli Slaw from Smitten Kitchen. The broccoli had been slawed and the shrimp was chilling in its mustard bath in the fridge. So I had at least an hour before I had to be back in the kitchen. Flipping through the tv guide, anything that looked promising had either already started or wasn’t on till after we’d leave. I know, I could have just picked up a book. Or folded laundry. Or scrubbed the toilet. Any of those would have been more productive and satisfying than the trainwreck that is Charm School.

The premise is to take a group of women who express a desire to change their lives for the better and put them to the task of doing so. Those who excel make the Dean’s List. Those who don’t go to Detention and may be Expelled. So they basically take a bunch of insecure women and put them in a group living situation with copious amounts of alcohol at their disposal. What do you think happens? People get ugly, petty. It’s every bad day you ever had in middle school only with tequila. That’s a hot mess.

And group dynamics take over. It’s like watching a pride of lions hunt prey as the dominant ones band together to single out the weaker ones. You want to look away as the weakling gets pulled away from the herd and slaughtered. Really, you do. But you can’t. It’s that powerful.

I’m all for self improvement. Sometimes all it takes is changing the channel.

Broccoli Slaw

Adapted from smittenkitchen

  • 1 bag broccoli slaw
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, well shaken
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot

Combine the broccoli with the cranberries and onion in a bowl. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a separate small bowl. Season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour approximately half of the dressing over the broccoli and mix to combine.  If the slaw is not moist enough, add additional dressing to taste.

Keeps for up to a week in the fridge.

{Printable Recipe}

Puff Pastry Quiche

Puff Pastry Quiche

Adapted from Pam Anderson’s Meatless Meals

BAH Note: Feel free to use just about any vegetable.  Pam suggests sliced mushrooms, halved cherry tomatoes, thin asparagus, diced leeks, or even thawed frozen spinach.

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 cup butter braised onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup grated cheese

Place oven racks in the top and bottom position and heat oven to 400 degrees.

Roll the puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface until it is just larger than a 1/4 sheet pan.  Transfer the puff pastry to the sheet pan, trimming off any overhang, and docking the pastry all over with a fork.

Spread the butter braised onions, or vegetable of your choice, into a single layer on the pastry.  Bake on the bottom oven rack for 10 to 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown.

While the puff pastry bakes, heat the evaporated milk until it is just warmed.  In a separate bowl, use a fork to beat together the eggs, salt, pepper, thyme, and sour cream.  Once the egg mixture is completely combined, stir in some of the warmed evaporated milk, about a tablespoon at a time, to temper the egg mixture.  Whisk the rest of the evaporated milk into the egg mixture before pouring the egg and milk mixture into the puff pastry and evenly sprinkling the cheese on top.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees and place the sheet pan on the top rack.  Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the egg filling is just set.  Then set the oven to broil and allow the top of the quiche to brown for about 2 minutes.

Allow the quiche to cool slightly before serving.