bcmom's kitchen

bcmom's kitchen

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Mushroom Florentine Pasta

We had this for dinner recently. Yum!  Seriously, all these flavors are so good together.  There's just something about mushrooms and spinach, and creamy pasta sauce.

Mushroom Florentine Pasta
from she wears many hats

  • 8 ounces linguine pasta (or equal amount of another pasta)
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, shredded (if you don't have smoke Gouda, plain will be fine, or use Gruyere)
  • 4 cups (or more) spinach leaves
  1. Begin cooking pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Whisk together flour, chicken broth, milk, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté for 6 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes, until garlic just begins to brown.
  4. Whisk flour, chicken broth, milk, salt and pepper mixture into mushrooms and garlic. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add shredded cheese and stir until cheese has melted.
  6. Mix in spinach; stir and cook until wilted.
  7. Add a ladle or two of pasta water to skillet, then drain pasta and add to skillet; toss to coat.

We had some grilled chicken with this and topped it with some fresh ground pepper. It was absolutely perfect. I will definitely be making this again.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sweet Chili Sauce

The dressing for the Sesame Peanut Noodle Salad I made recently called for sweet chili sauce.  I didn't have any sweet chili sauce and wasn't sure I wanted to buy a whole jar of it.  So, I went looking for a recipe to make some myself.  I found a recipe on food.com - which I cannot find now.  I removed the link from my Sesame Peanut Noodles recipe, because I was going to post the chili sauce recipe separately.  And then I forgot to actually start this post and save the link here.

I have searched food.com repeatedly, and there are lots of sweet chili sauce recipes, but I just can't find this one.

Sweet Chili Sauce
adapted from a recipe on food.com

  • 1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 T cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash cloves
  • dash allspice
  • dash salt
  1. In small saucepan, mix all ingredients.
  2. Simmer over low heat until thickened.
  3. Store in glass jar in refrigerator.

The original recipe did not call for any chili flakes - which seemed weird since it's called sweet chili sauce - so I added some.  Since I've never actually had sweet chili sauce, I'm not sure if this tastes like the kind you'd buy in the store or not, but it is a nice flavorful sauce, and it worked really well in my noodle salad - both times I made it. (so far)

Now, what else can I use this sauce for?  Because, even though I did not buy a whole jar just to make the Sesame Peanut Noodles, I do have quite a bit of yummy sauce. 

I recently saw an ad for Papa Murphy's Thai Chicken Pizza that I'm going to try making real soon - even though I haven't tried the 'real' thing yet.  I'm not sure what else.  Any ideas?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sesame Peanut Noodles

It's time again for Secret Recipe Club reveal!  My secret blog assignment this month was Trisha's blog My Hobbie Lobbie. Trisha loves to bake, and she's married to her best friend - we have that in common.  She's also into crafting and crocheting, and uses her blog to keep track of recipes and crochet patterns.  I never did learn to crochet, but I am amazed by people who can.

I started scrolling through Trisha's list of recipes and found a bunch I'd like to try - and I hadn't even made it down to the baked goods.  Here are just a few that sounded yummy:

Trisha lives in Australia, where it's winter right now, so she's making soups and trying to stay warm.  I may have to go back and look at some of her soups when winter comes to our part of the world, but for now I thought something cool would be better.  Or something to use the produce that's coming out of the garden; I'm getting lots of jalapenos and zucchini.
I ended up choosing this Sesame Peanut Noodle Salad because it's both - cool, and it uses lots of veggies. As Trisha said - "You can pretty much alter this salad to accommodate the salad veggies that you have at hand."  Perfect!  The recipe reflects the veggies I used this time, but pretty much any combination or amount would work.

Sesame Peanut Noodles
adapted from My Hobbie Lobbie

  • 8 oz. angel hair pasta
  • a handful of bean sprouts (I forgot to put these in)
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage (or more)
  • 2 T chopped cilantro
  • 1 T sesame seeds
for the dressing:
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 2 T sweet chili sauce
  • 3 T peanut butter 
  1. Break pasta in half and cook according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Toss pasta and remaining salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Mix dressing; add to salad and toss well, making sure everything is coated.
  4. Serve with additional cilantro and sesame seeds to garnish.  Refrigerate leftovers.

 My husband and I had this salad for lunch one day last week, and we both really enjoyed it.  The dressing has a really good flavor, and the combination of soft pasta and crunchy vegetables is excellent.  I will definitely be making this again.  I'm thinking some zucchini would be a nice addition...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mimi's Ginger Beer

I saw this in the weekend Parade magazine awhile back, and I thought it sounded quite interesting - so I had to try it. It took me a while to remember to buy some more fresh ginger, but I finally got a chance to make some this week. I wasn't really sure what to expect, because I've never had ginger beer, but I figured it couldn't be bad with all these ingredients.

Mimi's Ginger Beer
from Parade magazine

  • ¼ lb fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 quart boiling water
  • ½ cup honey
  • 5 -8 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
  • Grated zest of a lime or lemon
  • Ice, citrus fruit juice and/or dark rum, for serving, optional
  1. Put ginger in a food processor, adding just enough cold water to puree it. Scrape pureed ginger into a large, heatproof glass or ceramic bowl or pitcher and add boiling water, honey, cloves, cinnamon stick, zest and juice. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and keep mixture in a warm place for about 4 hours, stir occasionally as mixture cools and skim foam off the surface occasionally if necessary.
  2. Stir in 1 quart cold water and taste for sweetness, adding more honey or lemon or lime juice as needed. Use a fine mesh strainer to strain ginger beer and pour it into ceramic or glass bottles. Cap tightly and store in the refrigerator. 
  3. Serve as soon as it is chilled, or wait 2-3 days for it to ferment and start to fizz slightly. Dilute with ice, more cold water, citrus juice—or, for an extra jolt, dark rum. Chill, covered, for up to 1 week.

Since I've never had ginger beer, I'm not sure if this tastes like that or not, but it is a very refreshing drink - all citrusy with that kick of ginger, and I've been enjoying it.  I usually just put it over ice and add a little water to dilute it slightly.  I haven't noticed any fermenting or fizzing, even though it's been several days since I've made it.

I've  been reading through some other articles and recipes (on Epicurious and Food.com to name a couple), and several of them call for yeast to encourage the fermentation, so I might try one of these next time. Or leave it out for a few days to start it.  I am enjoying it enough that I definitely want to try this again.  I'd love to hear any tips you have if you've ever made it.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Homemade Pancake Syrup

I used to buy pancake syrup all the time - usually the large 2 pack of Mrs. Butterworth's from Sam's club.  When the kids were at home, we went through quite a bit of that.  I made a lot of waffles.  Nowadays I'm (usually) avoiding buying anything that contains high fructose corn syrup, so I've started making my own syrup.  Seriously, it's really easy, and it tastes just as good.  It's probably cheaper, too.

It's really just sugar and water with some maple flavoring, so I'm not claiming it's actually healthy, but there is definitely no high fructose corn syrup.  I'm sure some real maple syrup would be better - but this is good if you don't have any of that.

Homemade Pancake Syrup
recipe from the back of the maple flavoring

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. maple flavoring
  1. Bring water to boil
  2. Stir in sugars; cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved
  3. Remove from heat and stir in flavoring.  Serve warm.  Or cold.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

It's even better if you find one of these cute syrup dispensers to put your syrup in.  We picked one up recently, and I love it.

My mom always used to make our syrup when I was growing up. I never thought to ask her about her recipe.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Peach BBQ Pulled Chicken

This is one of the recipes I almost made for the Secret Recipe Club a couple months ago.  There are always so many recipes to choose from, and it's practically impossible to choose just one.  And, of course, there's nothing that says I can't make them all, right?  I ended up making these yummy Frozen Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter and Banana Bites for the SRC Reveal, but I had to go back and make this Peach BBQ Pulled Chicken, too.

This BBQ sauce is sweetened with canned peaches instead of sugar, so it's even quite healthy.  It's definitely tasty!

Peach BBQ Pulled Chicken
adapted from Not Enough Cinnamon

for BBQ Sauce:
  • 1 28-oz. can peaches in juice (NOT syrup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 T spicy mustard
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
for Chicken:
  • 2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth 
  • water to cover
  1. Combine all the sauce ingredients (including juice from the peaches) in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for one hour. Transfer sauce to a blender or a food processor and pulse until the sauce reaches a very smooth consistency. Return to pot and set aside.
  2. While the sauce is cooking, place chicken breast in another pot.  Add chicken broth and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is very tender and no longer pink inside. Transfer cooked chicken to a cutting board and shred it using two forks (use one fork to hold the chicken steady and the other one to tear it apart).  Save cooking broth for another use.
  3. Add shredded chicken to the prepared sauce and mix well to coat. Serve on buns.

Note: You can use all broth or all water to cook the chicken if you want. I just had 1 cup of broth and only needed half of it for the sauce so I figured I'd use it for the chicken, too.

We added some sweet bread & butter pickles and shredded cabbage for a bit of tangyness and crunch, and it was perfect.  I will definitely be making this again.  The chicken also freezes well.  Just pull it out, thaw, and heat, for a quick and simple meal.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Secret to a Crispy Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I recently tried making pizza with a cauliflower crust.  The flavor was really good, but the crust turned out a bit soggy.  Not a huge deal - we just ate it with a fork.  But, I wanted to see if I could get it a bit crisper and make a cauliflower crust that could actually be picked up.

Yes, it is possible.  Here are three things that I think made all the difference:
  1. Be sure to remove as much moisture from the cauliflower as possible.
    Steaming the cauliflower works better than boiling it, because there isn't as much water in the cauliflower to begin with.  Whichever way you cook it, be sure to drain it thoroughly and then use a cotton towel or several paper towels and squeeze as much liquid out of the cooked cauliflower as you can get.
  2. Use a pizza stone.
    The bottom crisps up better, and the crust seems to cook faster.  On the baking sheet, I think we should have cooked it longer than 15 minutes to brown better before we added the toppings.  On the pizza stone, it only needed about 12 minutes.  You will need to pat the crust out onto parchment paper so you can slide it onto the hot pizza stone in the oven, and so you can easily slide it out when it's time to add the toppings and remove the cooked pizza.
  3. Cool on a wire rack.
    This might be the most important one.  When you slide the pizza out of the oven and off the pizza stone, it will be nicely browned and crisp.  However, if you leave your pizza on a cutting board to cool slightly before cutting, it will begin to steam and get soggy in the middle.  I noticed mine was doing this and actually slid it back onto my hot pizza stone to crisp back up, then I put it onto a wire rack to cool, still on the parchment.  All that moisture then went down through the rack and onto the counter underneath, and my pizza was not sitting in it.
The result?  Nice crispy crust that we could pick up!

I was just going to have you visit my first cauliflower crust pizza post to get the recipe, but it will be easier just to have it here.  I updated it to reflect the changes.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza
adapted from Dancing Veggies

  • 2 cups cauliflower florets, steamed, drained, and mashed
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1-1/2 tsp. oregano
  1. Preheat oven to 450° F
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the mashed cauliflower, egg, and cheeses. Add the garlic and oregano and stir well. Pat out on parchment paper to desired size and thickness.  Transfer to pizza stone and bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden.
  3. Remove the crust from the oven and top with your favorite toppings and cheese.  We used a simple homemade pizza sauce, grilled chicken, onion, red pepper, feta, spinach, and mozzarella. 
  4. Brush or spray the edges of the crust with olive oil and then bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the cheese and crust are nicely browned.
  5. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Cut and enjoy!

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