Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chipotle Chicken Pumpkin Ale Chili

Autumn has officially arrived.  The weather has been cooler, I'm all stocked up on fall-scented candles, and I bought a 6-pack of Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale.  I'm all set.  A bottle of said pumpkin ale makes an appearance in this chicken chili.

I found this recipe on the blog Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch, and have modified it very slightly.

You'll need:

2 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 chicken breasts, cubed
2 tbs chili powder
1 tbs cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs adobo sauce, from peppers
12 oz. pumpkin ale (I used Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale)
4 cups chicken broth
2 whole sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large bell pepper, diced (any color, though orange, yellow, or red would be preferable)
Plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream) & shredded cheese, for garnish

In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute the onion in olive oil until it starts to caramelize a bit.  I used my Dutch oven.  Then add the chipotle peppers and garlic.  Saute until fragrant.

Add the chicken and all of the spices, including the adobo sauce and salt.  Stir around, and saute for a few minutes.

Add the beer and chicken broth.  Also add the sweet potatoes, beans, and bell pepper.  Bring to a simmer, then turn heat to low and cover.  Cook for at least 2 more hours.  

Garnish your bowl with a dollop of Greek yogurt and some shredded cheese.  Enjoy! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Slutty Brownies & {Happy birthday, Matt!}

We're in Ohio for the weekend, visiting our friends Matt and Adrienne (along with a bunch of others!).  Matt's birthday is today, and he requested these brownies as a birthday treat.  So happy birthday, Matt!!

Though variations of this recipe can be found all over the internet, I found this one on the blog Handle the Heat.

You'll need:

For the brownie layer
10 tbs (1 1/4 sticks) of butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour

For the Oreo layer
16 Oreos

For the cookie layer
16 tbs (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 9x9 or 8x8 pan with foil and spray the foil with cooking spray.  Set aside.

For the brownie layer: Melt the butter, either in a medium saucepan or in the microwave in 30-second increments.  Remove it from the heat, and combine it with the sugar and cocoa powder.  Whisk to combine.  Add the salt, vanilla, and eggs.  Mix to combine those too.  Add the flour and mix until just combined.  This batter will be pretty thick and fudgey, so not to worry.  Set aside.

For the cookie layer: Cream the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until it's light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined.  Add flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and mix on low until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Hang onto this, because you'll need it in just a second.

To assemble: Press half of the cookie dough into the bottom of the pan.  You can hang onto the other half (will keep in the fridge for ~2 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months, when kept in an airtight container) or just go ahead and bake some cookies.

Press the 16 Oreos into the cookie dough in an even layer.

Pour all of the brownie batter over top of the Oreos.  Spread evenly with a spatula.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife comes out cleanly when inserted into the middle.

Slice those bad boys up and dig in!  They are decadent and delicious.  Just make them.  Do it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dressed Up Ramen Noodles

Fair warning: This is, by no means, gourmet cuisine.  It's food for when you want something  fast, not necessarily good for you, and reminiscent of your college days.  I had been debating whether or not to share this one with you, but ultimately decided that I couldn't help myself, and had to blog about it.

I saw this on Pinterest somewhere, and didn't pin or bookmark it.  So, my bad.

You'll need:

2 cups water
1 package Ramen Noodles & enclosed seasoning, preferably chicken flavor (although the Oriental flavor works out well, too)
2 tbs peanut butter, smooth or chunky will work
1 tbs soy sauce
hot sauce, to taste

Bring the water to a boil in a small pot.  Add the noodles and allow to boil for 3 minutes.  Remove the pot from the heat and add the enclosed seasoning packet.  Let this sit for 1 minute.

While this is going on, put the peanut butter, soy sauce, and hot sauce in a bowl and zap it in the microwave for about 15 seconds.  This will make it easier to stir up.

After the noodles have sat in the seasoning for a minute, drain off most of the liquid.  Add the peanut sauce to the noodles and stir to combine.  

Depending on how much liquid you left in the pot, your noodles might be a bit soupy.  It's perfectly delicious like this, with a bit of peanutty broth.  If you let it sit for a bit, the noodles will absorb this broth again, and things will be less soupy.

Garnish with some green onions (or not, as in my case), and dig in!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lynchburg Lemonade

It's time for another installment of Thirsty Thursday posts!  This week I'm bringing you a drink called Lynchburg Lemonade.  It's sweet and tart, can be made in large quantities and served in a pitcher, and goes down a bit too easily.

I found this recipe on Food & Wine's website.

You'll need:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup orange juice
2 1/2 cups lemon juice
2 cups Jack Daniel's
2 lemons, cut into thick slices, for garnish
sprigs of mint, for garnish

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir occasionally, until it boils.  Let it boil for a minute or two, then take it off the heat and set aside to cool.  Now you have simple syrup.

In a pitcher, combine the pineapple, orange, and lemon juice, with the Jack Daniel's.  Once the simple syrup is cool, add it to the mixture.  Stir to combine.

Pour into glasses over ice.  Garnish with lemon slices (I forgot them here) and mint.  Enjoy!  Preferably with good company.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Gardening Update: Trees and peppers

A couple of months ago, Sean bought me a Dwarf Avocado Tree for my birthday!!  This is definitely one of the coolest birthday gifts I've ever received.  Though it hasn't flowered yet (I'll have to wait until next spring for this, most likely), the tree itself has grown quite a bit.  It's taller, and has plenty of new leaves.

The lemon tree has grown quite a bit, as well!  Even Maeby took an interest in it today.

I'm also pleased to report that after basically the entire summer, my bell pepper plants are beginning to produce fruit! 
Those pictures were taken a few weeks ago.  Check out how they're doing now!!

It must have been the cooler weather (and by "cooler" I mean high 80's-low 90's as opposed to triple digit temperatures) that prompted the growth of these peppers. 

It hasn't been a complete success story around here, however.  My Better Bush tomatoes have essentially crapped out, the cilantro bit the dust months ago, and the Zebra Green tomato plant my dad gave me has never produced fruit.  It's covered with flowers, but they shrivel and fall off, stem and all, before fruit can set.  You can't win 'em all, I suppose.

Anyway, that's how things are going around here.  Has anyone else been doing any gardening this summer?  How have your plants fared?   

Monday, September 3, 2012

Baba Ghanoush

So, this is baba ghanoush.  Strange name.  Delicious dip.  Let's talk about it, shall we?

On a recent trip to PA, my dad gave us vegetables from his garden that is currently overflowing with produce.  We received some beautiful, and delicious, heirloom tomatoes, as well as two eggplants.
Yeah, this is an eggplant.  As if you didn't already know.   I just got a little camera-happy.
We were invited to a Labor Day cookout, and I wanted to bring a little something.  Since we had the eggplants lying around, I opted for baba ghanoush (in addition to a cocktail that you'll be seeing later this week!).

Adapted from a recipe on Food Network's website.

You'll need:

2 small-medium eggplants
olive oil
salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Cut the tops (stem and whatnot) off of the eggplants, and then slice them in half lengthwise.  Drizzle them with some olive oil, and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Place them cut-side down on a baking sheet.

Put the garlic cloves on a small square of foil.  Add a sprinkle of salt and a bit of olive oil.  Seal the foil into a little bundle.  Put this on the baking sheet, too.  

Bake everything for 30-40 minutes, or until the eggplant can be easily pierced with a fork.  Set it aside to cool.

Once the eggplant is cool enough to handle, remove the flesh from the skin, and discard the skin.  Place the flesh of the eggplant, roasted garlic, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, and some of the chopped parsley into to food processor.  Process until smooth.

Garnish with another drizzle of olive oil and the remaining chopped parsley.  Serve with pitas, pita chips, vegetables, or whatever else you'd like.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Mexican Chicken Soup

This is one of Sean's and my favorite recipes.  I first made this soup about 3 years ago, and it was an instant hit.  Even though it's particularly good on a fall or winter day, Sean requested that I make it this week.  It was blazing hot outside, but this soup still hit the spot.

Adapted from Ina Garten's recipe.

You'll need:

~ 1 lb chicken breasts or tenders

Kosher salt and black pepper

3 tbs olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts chicken broth
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 tsp cumin
1 tbs salt (or less depending on how salty your chicken broth was)
1 tsp black pepper

for serving:
tortilla chips
shredded cheddar cheese

Season your raw chicken with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven until cooked through.  Set it aside until it is cool enough to handle, then shred with two forks.  You could also make things a little easier on yourself by using a rotisserie chicken here.

While things are cooking and/or cooling, heat the olive oil in a large pot.  Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic.  Cook over medium-low heat until the onions begin to become translucent.  Add the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, diced jalapenos, frozen corn, cumin, salt, and pepper.  Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and allow the soup to simmer.  Add the shredded chicken.  Allow everything to warm through.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with crushed tortilla chips (these are our favorite) and shredded cheddar.   

Of course, you can top your soup with whatever you'd like.  Some sour cream, avocado, or cilantro would be nice, too.  Adding black beans to the mix is very good as well.  I just omit them because Sean is, unfortunately, anti-bean.

This recipe makes quite a lot of soup.  In case you aren't feeding many people, this recipe freezes very well.  Enjoy!!