Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cheesecake Pops!


This month's Daring Bakers Challenge was the fabulous Cheesecake Pops from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor. Our gracious hosts were Elle from Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah from Taste and Tell. I had so much fun with this month's challenge. I was a little worried at first, because Brad is not a big fan of cheesecake. So, I didn't know if I'd get a chance to make them. But luckily, 2 of my best friends gave me the perfect reasons to try them out!

Ashley's birthday was April 15th, and she LOVES cheesecake...so of course I made her a batch! Then, Jessica had her Bachelorette Party this month. Her wedding colors were purple and green, so I made a second batch to coordinate with her colors. I think they turned out really cute!

Cheesecake Pops
Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey

Makes 30 – 40 Pops

* 5   8-oz packages cream cheese at room temperature
* 2 cups sugar
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 5 large eggs
* 2 egg yolks
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* ¼ cup heavy cream
* Boiling water as needed
* Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
* 1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)
* 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
(Note: White chocolate is harder to use this way, but not impossible)
* Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) - Optional

Directions:
Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.

Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.

Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.

Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

**************************************************
TIPS:
By the last batch, I realized a few things:

1. If you chill the entire cheesecake in the freezer overnight, it makes it much easier to form it into balls the next day. The cheesecake never really got frozen all the way through, so it was still perfectly easy to work with.

2. If you lightly spray your hands with cooking spray (like Pam), it helps to keep your hands from getting too goopy during the ball-forming process. I did have to wash my hands several times and re-apply before the entire batch was formed into balls.

3. I think I heated the first batch of chocolate too quickly. I was more patient with the second batch, and it was much easier to dip. I also found that the chocolate morsels...instead of the chocolate blocks...made for easier dipping and prettier pops in the end.

For the second month in a row, I've posted my Daring Baker's Challenge late...I'm sorry! For some reason, I had it in my head that the last day of the month was the post day. I'll try to be on time next time!

I'm looking forward to next month's challenge...can't wait to see what it is!


Ashley's Birthday Pops...

An assortment....



Jessica's Wedding Pops...


Before dipping...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Herbed Chicken with Spring Vegetables


***You probably all know by now that I love Giada's recipes...this one is certainly no exception. I recently saw her make this on the "Spring Forward" episode of Everyday Italian. It's the perfect time of year for this dish - Spring! I especially liked using the smaller, boiler onions that this recipe calls for. I've never used them until now...I didn't even know they existed! I only wish that the grocery store had had bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts available...I had to use leg quarters. I think the chicken breasts would have been even better. Nonetheless, this dish looked really pretty on the platter and was absolutely delish! This is definitely a keeper.***


Ingredients:
1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 boneless, skin-on chicken breasts
3 bone-in, skin-on thighs (I used 2 bone-in, skin-on leg quarters)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
6 cipollini onions, trimmed and peeled
8 ounces baby carrots, peeled and trimmed, but leaving on a bit of green tip
1 cup chicken broth
6 ounces snap peas, trimmed
4 ounces morel mushrooms (I left off the mushrooms)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small bowl combine the thyme, parsley, garlic, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the chicken pieces on a work surface. Gently loosen the skin of the chicken and push the herb mixture under the skin. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the chicken in the pan, skin side down, when the oil is hot. Cook until the skin is crispy and golden, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook the same way on the other side. Turn the heat off the pan and reserve. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish, skin side up again, and finish cooking in the oven, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile return the same pan to medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter. When the butter has melted add the cipollini onions and carrots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until tender and golden in places, about 7 minutes. Add the chicken broth and scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the snap peas and mushrooms. Simmer over low heat until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary.

Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon the vegetables onto a serving platter along with the chicken. Spoon the sauce over the chicken. Serve immediately.

Source: Giada De Laurentiis - Everyday Italian

Monday, April 21, 2008

Classic Pizza Margherita


***Homemade pizza is one of those things that I've always meaned to try, but I've never gotten around to it. I guess it's always just been easier to call up Papa John's and order our large supreme with no black olives or mushrooms...lol. What can I say?...I recently got ambitious and put together what you see here. I figured it would be best to start with a classic....a simple pizza made with tomato, mozzarella, and basil to imitate the colors of the Italian flag. I must say, it was pretty yummy!***


Classic Pizza Margherita
(Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Pizza)

The following recipe is my modification from Lynne Rossetto Kasper's recipe found HERE .

Ingredients:
Store-bought Pizza Crust (I used the refrigerated one by Pillsbury)
Margherita Topping:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 sprig parsley, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dry oregano (I think I used a smidge more...just add to suit your taste)
3 - 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
4 - 5 fresh basil leaves
1 can tomato sauce
fresh mozzarella (in liquid), thinly sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper and salt

TO MAKE MARGHERITA TOPPING:
In a 10-inch skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium high. Sauté onion and parsley to golden, then stir in garlic and oregano for a few seconds. Add the tomato sauce. Boil, stirring, 5 minutes or until thick. Spread sauce over rolled out crust, sprinkle mozzarella, Roma tomatoes, basil leaves, and finally the oil. Finish with generous black pepper and a little salt. Bake as directed.

TO MAKE PIZZA CRUST:
Lightly oil a 14- to 16-inch pizza pan. Preheat oven to 500 degrees, setting rack as low as possible in oven. Roll out dough as thin as possible (no more than 1/16-inch thick). Spread over pan, rolling in edges to form a rim. Let rest 10 minutes. Bake dough for 8 - 10 minutes. Remove from oven and top as desired and bake 10 additional minutes. Cut and serve.

DID YOU KNOW?...
"Pizza Margherita is a pizza prepared according to a recipe of the Italian chef Raffaelle Esposito. The pizza was first made in 1899 when Queen Marghereta visited Napels to escape a cholera epidemic in the north of Italy. The ingredients used to make a Margherita pizza, tomatos, mozzarella cheese and basil, imitate the colors of the Italian flag. Queen Margherata liked the pizza so much that she wrote a thank you letter to Esposito, who decided to name the pizza after the Queen." - Source: http://www.recipepizza.com/toppings/margherita_pizza.htm

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Blogging with a Purpose


Jaime from Burnt Toast, has just made my day by giving me the "Blogging with a Purpose" award. I am truly flattered....thanks again, Jaime! =)

It's exciting to know that there are people like you that take the time to check out my blog. I started this blog mainly to be a place to save all my favorite recipes. I never guessed that there would be people who actually enjoyed reading it! I hope you keep coming back!

Now comes the fun part...I get to hand out this award to 5 other food bloggers!

1. Bethany at This Little Piggy Went to Market: Bethany always has wonderful stories to go along with her posts...I can't wait to try her chicken salad recipe from Food & Wine magazine.

2. Melanie at My Kitchen Cafe: Melanie makes delish desserts, among many other fabulous dishes! Just check out her "Solid Peanut Butter Cups" recipe...they look SO heavenly, and her "Dragon Birthday Cake" is super cute!

3. Katie at Good Things Catered: One word: Cake! Katie continuously impresses me with the things she makes...especially her cakes - they are beautiful!

4. The Way the Cookie Crumbles: This blog simply has beautiful photos and amazing recipes! Be sure to check this one out.

5. Sandi at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking: Yes, that's the one from the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes! I always love to see who wins Sandi's contest, Centerpiece of the Month.

Award-winners, here's what you should do:
1. nominate 5 blogs which haven't had this award before
2. each of the blogs must have a purpose
3.the nominated blogs must make a link back to this page
4. the logo from the award must be put on their blog and it must link back to this blog!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Herb-Crusted Pork Roast



***Here's yet another yummy recipe from Cooks Illustrated magazine. I used dried thyme and rosemary in place of fresh, and the roast came out delicious anyway.***

"Perfecting Herb-Crusted Pork Roast"
Cooks Illustrated magazine

Ingredients:
3 pound boneless center-cut pork loin roast
Kosher Salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 medium shallot, minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons olive oil
Ground black pepper
1/3 cup packed fresh parsley or basil leaves, minced (I used fresh basil)
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 large clove garlic, minced

Directions:
1. Lightly score fat cap on pork, making 1/4-inch crosshatch pattern. Cut pocket in roast. Dissolve 1/2 cup salt and sugar in 2 quarts water in large container; submerge roast, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Rinse roast under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.

2. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Place bread crumbs in a medium bowl and add 2 tablespoons Parmesan, shallot, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Using fork, toss mixture until crumbs are evenly coated with oil.

3. Add parsley, thyme, rosemary, garlic, remaining 6 tablespoons Parmesan, 3 tablespoons oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to food processor workbowl and process until smooth, about twelve 1-second pulses. Transfer herb paste to small bowl.

4. Spread 1/4 cup herb paste inside roast and tie. Season roast with pepper.

5. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add roast, fat side down, and brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes, lowering heat if fat begins to smoke. Transfer roast to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

6. Using scissors, snip and remove twine from roast; discard twine. Spread remaining herb paste over roast and top with bread crumb mixture. Transfer baking sheet with roast to oven and cook until thickest part of roast registers 145 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 50 to 75 minutes. Remove roast from oven and let rest 10 minutes. Internal temperature should rise to 150 degrees.

7. Using spatula and meat fork, transfer roast to carving board, taking care not to squeeze juices out of pocket in roast. Cut roast into 1/2-inch slices and serve immediately.

Source: Cooks Illustrated magazine - http://www.cooksillustrated.com/

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fresh Pico de Gallo w/Homemade Tortilla Chips



***Brad and I took our honeymoon in the Mayan Riviera. It was the most incredible place I've ever been to...from our beautiful resort, to the fabulous food. One thing that stands out was the yummy chips and pico de gallo. I swear, we could have eaten nothing but that and we would have been happy....LOL. This recipe for pico de gallo is as close to the real thing as I could probably ever get (short of taking a trip back to Mexico!). So, here it is!***


Pico de Gallo:
***I never measure things when making this recipe, so these amounts are just guesstimates....please feel free to adjust these amounts to your liking!***

Ingredients:
1 large tomato, diced into small pieces
1 small onion, diced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Fresh lime juice, to taste

Directions:
Mix all ingredients. Stir well and chill in the fridge. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips!

Homemade Tortilla Chips:
***I know, I know....buying a bag of store-bought tortilla chips is much easier. However, if you have the time, you've got to try this recipe at least once. You won't go back...I promise!***

Ingredients:
1 pkg corn tortillas
Canola Oil
Salt

Directions:
To make the tortilla chips, heat a saucepan of canola oil over medium-high heat. Cut each corn tortilla into 4 chip-sized wedges. Place wedges in hot oil and cook until desired crispness. Using tongs, carefully remove chips from oil and place on a paper towel to drain. Season with salt. Pretty simple, huh?

Authentic Beef Enchiladas




***Hola! Okay, this has officially made Brad's Top 5 list of favorites. It was one of those times when no left-overs were thrown away. To accompany this dish, I made fresh pico de gallo and homemade tortilla chips....in other words, we had a Mexican Fiesta!!! It was muy bien! I did substitute ground beef for the blade steaks. That cut the cook time down drastically, because the meat didn't have to simmer for the full 1.5 hours.***

Authentic Beef Enchiladas
Cooks Country magazine

Ingredients:
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tsp sugar
Salt
1 to 1.25 lbs blade or chuck steaks, trimmed to small pieces
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
½ cup water
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack or mild cheddar
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup canned japapenos, chopped fine
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, white or yellow
***If you have any of the meat mixture left over, it is great to use as a dip with the tortilla chips!***

Directions:
1. Combine garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, sugar, and 1 tsp salt in a small bowl. Pat the meat dry and sprinkle with salt. Heat oil in a dutch oven (or I used just a deep saucepan) over med high heat. Cook meat until browned on both sides. Transfer the meat to a plate. Add chopped onions to the pot and cook over medium heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic mixture and cook till fragrent, about 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and water, bring to a boil. Return meat and juices to the pot, cover, reduce heat to low, and gently simmer till meat is tender and can br broken apart with a wooden spoon or fork, about 1 ½ hours.
2. Adjust oven rack t the middle position and heat oven to 350. Strain the beef mixture over a medium bowl, breaking meat into small pieces, reserve the sauce. Transfer meat to a bowl and mix with the cilantro, jalapenos, and 1 cup of cheese.

3. Spread ¾ cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Microwave tortillas 6 at a time until soft, 1 minute. Spread 1/3 cup beef mixture down the center of each tortilla, roll the tortillas tightly, and set in the baking dish seam side down. Repeat with remaining tortillas and beef, you may have to fit a few down the sides of the pan. Pour the remaining sauce over enchiladas and spread to coat evenly. Sprinkle remaining cheese over, wrap with foil, and baked until heated through, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking till cheese browns slightly, 5 minutes. Serve with yellow rice, refried beans, and sour cream!
Source: Cooks Country magazine - http://www.cookscountry.com/

Tuscan-Style Chicken


***This was truly a beautiful dish when it was plated...so, if you're looking to impress someone with colors and presentation, this might be the one. It's also REALLY delish! The tomatoes and baby spinach added a fresh flavor, and the mozarella cheese made it savory. The tomatoes soaked in the flavor from the white wine, and were so good....we cleaned our plates! I served this chicken with the Italian Sauteed Beans below. These two things together were great - they both had a wonderful Italian flavor, without being a pasta dish.

I did prepare this dish a little differently from the recipe. Instead of cooking the chicken in the pan, I baked it in the oven. I simply drizzled the chicken with EVOO, seasoned it with Italian Seasoning, and baked it until it was cooked through. I prepared the tomato - spinach mixture in a pan, just as the recipe calls for. I then added the chicken back to the pan at the end and placed the mozarella on top to let it melt. I just felt that this way was a little healthier.***

Ingredients:
1 lb boneless chicken cutlets
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1 bag fresh baby spinach leaves (5–6 oz)
1 cup fresh pre-sliced mushrooms (rinsed)...I left the mushrooms out
1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes (undrained)
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese

Steps:
Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper (wash hands).

Place oil in pan; swirl to coat. Arrange chicken in pan (wash hands); cook 3–4 minutes on one side or until lightly browned.

Turn chicken and add remaining ingredients to pan (except cheese). Cover and cook 4–5 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165°F. Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness. Meanwhile, slice mozzarella thinly.

Remove pan from heat. Top chicken with cheese slices; cover and let stand 2–3 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve.

Source: Publix Apron's Simple Meals - http://www.publix.com/

Italian Sauteed Beans


Ingredients:
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
5 fresh garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 (19-ounce) cans cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 fresh basil leaves (rinsed)

Steps
Cut peppers into 1/4-inch slices. Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Chop garlic coarsely.

Place oil in pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic, peppers, and remaining ingredients (except basil); cook 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until beans are thoroughly heated. While beans cook, stack basil leaves and roll tightly; slice thinly into fine ribbons.

Stir in basil; cook 1–2 more minutes or until fragrant. Serve. (Makes 6 servings.)

Source: Publix Apron's Simple Meals - http://www.publix.com/

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Chicken Saltimbocca Done Right



Cooks Illustrated: "Chicken Saltimbocca Done Right"

From the mag:
"Buy cutlets that are approximately 5 to 6 inches long. If the tip is too thin, trim back 1 to 2 inches to make the cutlet of uniform thickness. If cutlets are unavailable, you can make your own with four (8-ounce) boneless, skinless breasts. Although whole sage leaves make a beautiful presentation, they are optional and can be left out of step 3. Make sure to buy prosciutto that is thinly sliced, not shaved; also avoid slices that are too thick, as they won’t stick to the chicken."

Ingredients:
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Ground black pepper
8 thin boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets (about 2 pounds), trimmed of ragged edges as necessary
1 TBSP minced fresh sage leaves
8 large whole leaves (optional)
8 thin slices of prosciutto, cut into 5- to 6-inch-long pieces to match cutlets (about 3 ounces)
4 TBSP olive oil
1 ¾ cups dry vermouth or white wine
2 tsp lemon juice
4 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
1 TBSP minced fresh parsley leaves
Table salt

Directions:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Place flour in shallow dish.
Pat cutlets dry with paper towels. Pepper the chicken breasts, then dredge in flour, shaking off any excess. Lay cutlets flat and sprinkle evenly with minced sage. Place 1 prosciutto slice on top of each cutlet, pressing lightly to adhere; set aside.

Heat 2 TBSP oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to shimmer. Add sage leaves (if using) and cook until leaves begin to change color and are fragrant, about 15 to 20 seconds. Using slotted spoon, remove sage to paper towel-lined plate; reserve. Add half of cutlets to pan, prosciutto side down, and cook until light brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook on other side until light golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to wire rack set on rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining 2 TBSP oil and cutlets, then transfer to oven to keep warm while preparing sauce.

Pour off excess fat from skillet. Stir in vermouth, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until reduced to about ⅓ cup, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Turn heat to low and whisk in butter, 1 TBSP at a time. Off heat, stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper. Remove chicken from oven and place on platter. Spoon sauce over cutlets before serving.

Source: Cooks Illustrated magazine - April 2008 issue - http://www.cooksillustrated.com/

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Emeril's Shredded Chicken Nachos

***Wow...these nachos were awesome! I don't watch Emeril on a regular basis, but I caught this as he was making it. I had to change the recipe a good bit, because I didn't have all the needed ingredients on-hand (and I didn't want to wait until I did...hah!). However, you can find the original recipe HERE. I also had no idea that tortilla chips were so easy to make at home. They were delicious.***

With cheese sauce added:

For the Chicken Mixture:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast diced into 3-inch strips
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups thinly sliced onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cups chicken stock
1 can diced tomatoes
1 pkg taco seasoning

Directions:
Set a wide-mouthed 3-quart saucepan with lid over medium-high heat and add the oil to the pan. Season the chicken pieces with salt & pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and sear for 3 minutes per side. Add the onions to the pan and saute for another 3 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes (with juices) and taco seasoning, stir well.

Pour the chicken stock over the chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low heat and cover. Continue to cook the chicken until very tender (30 min. - 1 hour), stir the chicken to shred it and continue to cook, covered, for another 30 minutes. Set aside as you prepare the nachos.

For the Nachos:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups grated sharp yellow Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pkg corn tortillas
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Dried parsley, to taste
3/4 cup sour cream, for garnishing (I left this off)
1/2 cup sliced pickled jalapenos, for garnishing (I left these off also)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnishing

Tortilla Chips:
To make the tortilla chips, heat a saucepan of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Cut each corn tortilla into 4 wedges. Place wedges in hot oil and cook until desired crispness. Remove chips from oil and place on a paper towel to drain. Season with salt.


Homemade tortilla chips....YUM!

Cheese Sauce:
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat and whisk in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not allow the flour to color. While whisking constantly, add the milk in a steady stream.

Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened and bubbly. Add the cheddar and monterey cheeses, salt, parsley and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Cover and remove from the heat.

To Finish:
Place tortilla chips on a large platter. Cover chips with chicken mixture, and top the chicken with the cheesy sauce. Garnish with the sour cream, pickled jalapenos and cilantro.

Source: Emeril Live - http://www.foodnetwork.com/

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Oven Roasted Balsamic Chicken


***Here's yet another simple and quick recipe. I added some dried rosemary and a sprinkling of sesame seeds to jazz it up a little bit.***

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. sesame seeds

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle E.V.O.O. all over top of chicken. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Arrange in an oven-safe baking dish.

In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, mustard, and rosemary. Brush mixture all over chicken. Sprinkle top of chicken with sesame seeds.

Bake for approximately 40 - 45 minutes, or until juices run clear and chicken is cooked through.
Source: Robin Miller - http://www.foodnetwork.com/