Chicken Pot Pie

I’m finally at 50 posts!!

I honestly can’t believe I even know how to cook 50 different things. Hopefully by this time next year I’ll have at least another 100 posts.  Might be a lofty goal, but I’m sure going to try!

Anyways, I started looking through my posts today to come up with something for the big five-oh.  I thought about doing something really fancy but, the truth is I don’t eat a lot of fancy food.  My boyfriend, Logan, and I were having this exact conversation last night.  The most important thing about food for both of us is that it tastes good and it’s even better if it’s made with good, natural ingredients.  And sure, I want my food to look nice but it doesn’t have to be meticulously plated or be garnished with herbs or a lemon twist. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a skillfully plated ahi tuna tower from time to time… I just don’t cook like that at home.

Here’s a good example. A couple of days ago, Logan invited one of his friends over for dinner.  When I was thinking about what to make my first thought was, “What dish would make someone feel at home? What’s something comforting and nourishing that works for a casual atmosphere?” I know that might sound like a strange thought process but it always takes me a while to plan a menu when I’m cooking for someone.  Cooking is really one of the biggest ways I show people I care.  I can’t really help you fix your car or do your math homework, but I sure as heck can feed you!

Keep reading, and you’ll see what I eventually landed on.

Ok, back to the point , as I was browsing through my posts I realized that I had never posted my chicken pot pie recipe. I was shocked! It’s like the epitome of everything that’s good about food.  Warm, comforting, creamy, (could be) healthy, all wrapped up in a flaky, buttery pie crust.   Whether I’m just craving something warm and buttery or I’ve had a bad day, chicken pot pie is the answer to everything.  You might think I’m exaggerating but I can assure you I mean business when it come to pot pies.

The recipe started out as a replica of the Pioneer Woman’s chicken pot pie but it gradually morphed into my own recipe after I tried about ten different versions.  I’ve made pie crust from scratch and used frozen ones, experimented with different herb combos, and even cooked the chicken different ways. This recipe is my absolute favorite.  I’ll also give you tips for changing up your own pot pie recipe.  It’s always good to try new things!

Here we go…

You will need:

2 frozen, whole wheat pie shells (thaw for about 30 min)

5-6 boneless, skinless chicken strips (or 2-3 chicken breasts)

2 stalks celery, diced

3 carrots, diced

1/2 large onion, diced

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 c low sodium chicken broth

1/2 c milk

3 TBS flour

1/2 tbs fresh parsley, minced

1 tsp basil (plus extra to season the chicken)

1 tsp oregano (plus a little extra)

1/2 tsp garlic salt

salt and pepper to taste

1 egg beaten with 1/2 tbs water

 

First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and set out the pie crusts so they can start to thaw.

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Then drizzle a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven.  I used my dutch oven and it was great.  It almost makes chicken pot pie a one pot meal! Minimal cleanup = happy chef. Place the dutch oven on the stove over medium high heat.  Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of oregano and basil.

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Sear the outside of the chicken so that it gets a nice brown crust on the outside.  It’ll probably take a minute and a half on each side.  Then pour in enough of the chicken broth to cover the chicken half way.  Reduce the heat to medium , put a lid on the dutch oven, and let the chicken cook all the way through. It should take 4-6 more minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken.

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When the chicken is done take it out and set it aside on a plate.  Then add all of the veggies, garlic, and herbs to the pot and let them cook until they are tender.  I honestly didn’t keep track of the time but I bet they were done in about 8 minutes.

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Then sprinkle in the flour and stir the veggies so that everything gets an even coating of flour.  Let that cook for a minute to get rid of the raw flour taste.

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After that, pour in the rest of the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil.  Stir it continuously for another minute and wait for the broth to thicken.  Finally, take the pot off the heat and add the milk.

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Shred the chicken into small and medium pieces and add that to the pot.  There’s your delicious, creamy filling!

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Now all you have to do is pour it into the crust, which will become a butter, flakey vessel to house all of the comforting chicken and veggies.  Then take the second pie crust and place it on top of the pie. Flatten it out and trim the excess crust from the sides.  Cut a few slits in the middle so that steam can escape while the pot pie is cooking.

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Last, beat together one egg and 1/2 tbs water.  Brush that all over the top of the pie in a thin layer so that the crust will get golden brown and a little crunchy. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.

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That’s perfection right there.

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Here a few variations on the recipe in case you want to change things up:

-You can always make your own pie crust.  I like using an all butter recipe for maximum flakiness.  I personally like to save some time when I’m making dinner and use a store bought crust.  But, the ONLY one I ever use  is an organic whole wheat crust.  The whole wheat adds a hearty texture and a nutty taste that I think is best in savory dishes.

-You could also forgo the bottom crust and just add a top one.  Go crazy and try out puff pastry on the top. I’ve even poured the filling into a baking dish and topped it with biscuits.  Whoever came up with that originally was seriously on to something.

-Switch up your veggies and meat.  Think about adding peas, pearl onions, or maybe even some mushrooms.  Go for an all veggie pie or swap the chicken for turkey. Turkey mixes well with most of the herbs and spices that chicken does so it’s an easy substitute.

-Try adding thyme, rosemary, or even some turmeric to your herb mixture.  Thyme and rosemary give an earthy taste and turmeric gives your filling a pretty golden color.  Liquid gold right there.

-If you want something extra decadent, use cream instead of milk to thicken the filling.  You could even add in a few tablespoons of cream cheese.  Shhhh…  I won’t tell on you 🙂

Hopefully I’ve inspired you to create your very own pot pie recipe! Or at least try mine 🙂

 

Happy Cooking Everyone!

 

Follow me at CatysCorner on Pinterest and Twitter!

 

 

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Fish Tacos with a Spicy Aioli

Looks like seafood is making the blog again! But this time we’re switching from Italian to Mexican.  This recipe is a little different from the average fish taco because the fish isn’t breaded or fried.  Yay for healthy AND yummy! Honestly, I think the fish has better flavor when it’s sautéed or grilled because the seasoning doesn’t have to compete with the breading. Sometimes it’s hard to pick up flavor when something has a thick coat of fried batter around it.

You can use any white fish you want for this recipe.  I used tilapia but cod or halibut are some other great options!  I also made a spicy aioli sauce to go with it.  Sounds fancy, but aioli is just mayonnaise with a few things added to change up the flavor. Obviously your friends don’t need to know that when you make it for them though 😉

Here’s the lineup:

4 Flour (or corn) tortillas

4 tilapia filets

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tbs cumin

1/2 tbs chili powder

1/2 tsp paprika

pinch cayenne (optional)

anything else you want on your tacos (lettuce, cabbage, shredded carrots, black beans, guacamole, etc.)

Aioli:

1/4 c mayonnaise

1/4 c greek yogurt

1 tsp fresh lime juice

1/2 -1 tsp cumin

1/2 -1 tsp chili powder

 

If you need a side dish my “refried” black beans are quick and easy!  You can see the recipe here in my quesadilla post.

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Here it goes:

Go ahead and make the aioli first.  That way you aren’t rushing to put it together while the tacos are getting cold. Just mix the mayo and yogurt together with the lime juice and spices until everything is incorporated.  You may need an extra squeeze of lime juice to get it to the right consistency.  Pretty easy for a fancy sounding sauce!

Then, get all of your toppings ready in separate bowls so everyone can make their tacos how they like!  I used shredded lettuce, shredded carrot, and a layer of refried black beans.

If you want to warm up your tortillas stack them and cover them with a damp paper towel.  Then stick them in the oven on the warm setting (about 200-250 degrees) until the fish is ready.

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Next, season the fish.  Mix the garlic salt, paprika, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne together in a bowl and then sprinkle it on both sides of the tilapia.

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It’s up to you how heavy you want to go on seasoning but I usually cover the fish pretty well.  The mixture has some heat but it’s not all that spicy!  If you really don’t like spicy I would leave out the cayenne and use just a pinch of paprika.  Chili powder and cumin aren’t spicy.  They just add that warm flavor you think of whenever you think of Mexican food.

After that, heat a saute pan over medium heat and coat the bottom with a tablespoon of olive oil.  Cook the fish for about 3-4 min on each side.  Then, take the tortillas out of the oven and get to taco makin’!

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Serve them up with the black beans or some spanish rice and you’ve got a great meal any night of the week!

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Happy Cooking Everyone!

 

You can check out my recipes on Twitter and Pinterest too! @Catyscorner

Pasta Surprise

One of my favorite things to eat is pasta, especially if its smothered in a cream sauce.  I think most of you would share this love of creamy pasta, right?

When I was younger I was a really picky eater.  For a while everything I ate had to be pretty much plain… cheese burgers with just meat, cheese, and bread, pasta with red sauce, no mustard on my sandwiches, and ABSOLUTELY NO mushrooms or onions could be detected in any meal.

There was ONE exception though.  My mom had a great “fancy” pasta recipe that I would beg her to make all the time.  It’s basically fetucinni alfredo with shrimp.  I asked her what it was called the first time she made it and she said, “it’s pasta with shrimp.” Upset that it didn’t have a fun name, I decided to name it “Pasta Surprise.”  I think the idea was that the shrimp were like little surprises all tangled up in the fetucinni noodles. Anyways, the name still sticks 14 years later 🙂

It’s funny to think that I thought that the recipe was so fancy because it’s actually really easy to make.  While the pasta is cooking you can make the sauce and shrimp and have dinner on the table in about 15 minutes.  Pretty easy, huh?

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 box fetucinni

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

3 tbs butter

1 tbs flour

1/2 c milk

1/2 c heavy cream

1/3 c parmesan cheese, grated

2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste.

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First, put a pot of water on to boil.  While you’re waiting on that peel and devein the shrimp if they aren’t already.  Once they are all cleaned up, put some olive oil in a saute pan and let it heat up over medium heat.  Toss in the shrimp and let them cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side.  When they are pink and opaque in the middle you’ll know they are done.  Set them aside on a plate and start on the sauce.

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(At some point between these two stages add the pasta to the boiling water and cook it according to the box directions.)

In the same pan you made the shrimp in, melt the 2 tbs of butter.

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Then whisk in the flour and let it cook for about a minute.  Any time you add flour to thicken a sauce you want to let it cook for at least a minute so that you don’t pick up any of the raw flour taste.  After that, add the milk, heavy cream, and parmesan.  Stir constantly and bring the sauce to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper and let it simmer very softly for another 2 minutes.  Then, toss the shrimp and any juices from the plate into the sauce.

Last, just drain the pasta, combine it with the sauce and garnish with some fresh chopped parsley.

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Now that’s an awesome dish in no time at all! Who say’s you can’t eat well during a busy week?  No excuses now 🙂

Happy Cooking Everyone!

Remember to follow me @Catyscorner on Twitter and Pinterest!

Shrimp Richmond

A month or so ago I got a cookbook as a graduation present from my Godmother filled with tons of southern comfort food dishes.  I’m usually experimenting with Mediterranean recipes or desserts so it was great to get back to my southern roots!  Besides, who doesn’t love comfort food? I know I do.

This recipe may seem a little daunting with all of the ingredients but it comes together quickly.  The ingredients start with wine and butter…WINE AND BUTTER PEOPLE!  As soon as I saw that in the cookbook I was pretty much sold. White wine sauces sound fancy but they’re so easy to make!  This was my first experience with a wine sauce and I didn’t have any problems at all.  My only advice is to never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink on its own.  Besides, after you use it in the sauce you have the rest of the bottle to share at dinner.  It’s like a two for one deal 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need:

3 tbs butter

1/2 c white wine

1 c seafood stock

1 1/2 lbs shrimp (fresh or frozen), peeled and deveined

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

2 large leeks, thinly slice the white and pale green parts

1 cup carrots, chopped

1/4 c onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1 sprig fresh thyme

1/4 c flour

1/8 tsp cayenne

1 tbs fresh parsley, chopped

1/2-1 c panko (bread crumbs)

1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese

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**How cute is this mini wine bottle?! They come in a pack of four and are great for cooking! I poured one into a wine glass to sip on while I was hard at work in the kitchen.

 

Ok, here’s how to create this masterpiece…

Set your oven to broil, or 500 degrees.

First, get everything prepped so that you can just throw things in the pan and not have to worry about timing things perfectly.  Peel and devein the shrimp, chop the veggies and garlic, open cans, and get all your spices lined up.  Once everything is ready throw the shrimp in a large pan with some olive oil and let them cook for about 2-3 min on each side. Medium heat will do. You’ll know their done when they are light pink and the middles are no longer translucent.  Then, remove them from the pan and set them aside on a dish.

Add the butter to the same pan and saute the leeks, onion, and garlic.  When those have started to get some nice color add the carrots.

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Once the carrots start to get tender (about 4-5 min) sift the flour into the pan and stir to make sure it coats everything.  Then, deglaze the pan with the white wine.  Get ready for one of the greatest smells ever.  Wine cooking together with butter is almost intoxicating.  And if it smells that good just imagine how good it tastes!

Let the wine cook down for a minute or so and then add the can of tomatoes and all of the spices, minus the parsley.

Next, comes the seafood stock.  Add it in about 1/4 c at a time until the mixture gets creamy, almost like mac and cheese.  You may need the whole cup or you may not, so add it slowly and stir in between.  After that just stir occasionally and wait until the all the veggies are tender.

At the very end toss the shrimp back in the pan and stir everything up.  Then, pour everything into a baking dish and top it with the parmesan and the panko bread crumbs.

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Put it in the oven and watch it very carefully.  You just want the top to get golden brown and for the cheese to melt a little.  When you take it out of the oven garnish with some chopped fresh parsley for a bright, fresh flavor.

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When that’s done it’s time to eat! Pour yourself a glass from the leftover white wine and enjoy 🙂

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Remember to follow me @Catyscorner on Pinterest and Twitter!

Happy Cooking Everyone!

Pumped up Quesadillas

First of all, I just want to say that I’m super excited to be back to writing again!  It’s been over a month since I last posted and I’ve really started to miss it.  About six weeks ago I started my first real job with Target and I’ve been in training for a management position.  It takes up A LOT of time (which is why I haven’t posted) but it’s been a great experience so far and I’m ready to start at my new store assignment tomorrow! I mean, who wouldn’t love working at place you already love to shop at? 🙂

Anyways, back to the food!  My new cooking routine has kind of turned into dinners that can be prepped in advance or something that’s fast but still delicious.  Quesadillas definitely fit the bill for the second one.  Now, I know it’s easy to just sprinkle a bunch of cheese between two tortillas but how boring is that?  For an extra fifteen minutes of (easy) work you can make a seriously killer quesadilla.  Fifteen minutes even gives you some time to make some refried  black beans as a side dish. You could probably fool someone into thinking you picked up take out from a Mexican restaurant with this recipe. The key is using a generous amount of spices.  Cumin is the big one here because it is always used in Mexican dishes and it really gives the chicken that taste you think of when you go out to eat. If you opt to do a veggie version use all the same spices for cooking the veggies.  No spices = bland quesadillas and that is definitely not what we are going for here!

Here’s what you’ll need for 2 servings:

4 flour tortillas (white or whole wheat)

1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 c shredded gouda cheese (or just tear up some slices like I did)

1/2 onion, sliced

1/2 green bell pepper, sliced

1 1/2 c chicken, cooked and shredded

1 c spinach, cooked (optional)

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

pinch of paprika or cayenne (depending on how spicy you like things)

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 c chicken broth

2 tbs olive oil

1 can black beans

1 small can diced green chiles

 

**You can also swap out any of the cheese for another variety.  Pepper jack or Monterrey jack always works well! And you can of course use steak instead of chicken or make an all veggie version and add some corn or zucchini!

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The easiest way to do this is to prep all of the fillings first and then assemble the quesadillas.  First, get a skillet  with about at tbs of olive oil going over medium heat on the stove.  Then, season the chicken with the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, and salt and pepper.  Place the chicken in the skillet and let it cook for about 2 minutes on the first side.  Then flip it over and let it go for another two minutes on that side.  Add a splash or two of chicken broth to the skillet and cover it with a lid to let the chicken finish cooking (about four more minutes).  The broth and lid will keep the chicken from drying out  and keep it nice and juicy.  When that’s done set the chicken on a plate. When it’s had a little time to cool just pull it apart with your hands or two forks.

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Start on the veggies using the same skillet you cooked the chicken in and add a little extra olive oil.  Toss in the sliced onion, season it with salt and pepper, and let it cook on medium heat for about five minutes.  Then add the bell pepper and let the veggies go for another five minutes or so.  You want the onion to start to caramelize a little and for the bell pepper to be tender. If you’re making a veggie version and want some spinach just add it in for the last minute or so of cooking.  Spinach wilts in no time!

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**I could have sworn I used bell pepper when I made this but I guess I forgot!  Usually I do so just pretend that you see them in this picture 😉

In the meantime, you can work on the “refried” black beans.  The black beans will be the consistency of refried beans but much easier to make and healthier!  Just dump the can of beans in a pot over medium heat.  Then drain the can of green chiles and add about half of them.  Once it’s all heated up just take a potato masher and mash them up until they look like refried beans.  Then turn up the heat and let them thicken a little.  That’s it!  You could add in some cumin and a little garlic salt if you want to bump up the flavor even more.

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After all of the fillings are done you can start building your perfect quesadilla! Spray some cooking spray in a skillet (cast iron is best if you have it)  over medium heat.  Then place a flour tortilla in the pan, sprinkle on some cheese, load in the veggies and chicken, sprinkle on some more cheese, and place another tortilla on top. Once the bottom tortilla is nice and brown and crispy flip the quesadilla over and let the other side get crispy and wait for the cheese to get all melty and yummy.

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Now all that’s left to do is serve up  some black beans and chow down!  I also fully support a frozen margarita or two with dinner 🙂

 

I’ll be posting more often so stay tuned!

 

Happy Cooking Everyone!

 

Remember to follow me @Catyscorner on Twitter and Pinterest!

 

BBQ Chicken and Potato Salad

Memorial Day is coming up quick so I’d say it’s about time for a BBQ post!  We just got a new grill so we decided to try it out and have a cookout with some friends last Saturday.  I was in charge of the chicken and potato salad which were both relatively easy. And definitely easy to make for a crowd!

The hardest decision for me was deciding how to flavor the chicken.  Obviously I needed to use BBQ flavors like brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, etc. but I wasn’t sure if a rub or a marinade would be better for the grill.  But, I’ve watched my fair share of BBQ Pit Masters with my dad so I decided to look around their website to come up with a rub from a few of their recipes.  Those guys know what they’re doing so I figured that was my best bet.

Here’s the rub recipe:  (It also works on pork too)

2 tbs paprika

1 tbs brown sugar

1 tsp  pepper

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp dry mustard (i just had mustard seeds so I crushed them up)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tbs salt

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All you have to do is get some chicken breasts, mix up the rub, and coat the chicken liberally on both sides.  Then line them up on a sheet pan and cover them with plastic wrap.  Let them sit in the fridge for at least an hour and take them out about 30 minutes before you’re ready to grill.  They’ll cook more evenly if they get to room temp before they hit the hot grill.

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Then oil the grill and put the chicken on.  Cooking time will vary depending on how thick the chicken breasts are so I would say to use a meat thermometer and wait until the internal temp registers at 165 degrees.  Then take them off, cover them with foil and let them rest for about 10 minutes so all the juices stay inside when you cut into them.

I have to say this is one of my new favorite chicken recipes.  It’s so flavorful and really easy to make!  It also got devoured by everyone before I got to take a picture of the finished product.  I guess I was a little eager to try it too because I didn’t even take a picture of my plate 😮

 

Now for the potato salad:

1 lb red potatoes

4 eggs, hard boiled and chopped

2 stalks celery, diced

1/3 c plain greek yogurt

2 tbs mayonnaise

2 tbs yellow or dijon mustard (or one of each)

1 tsp dried dill

1 tbs chives, chopped

sprinkle of garlic salt

salt and pepper to taste

First, put the potatoes on to boil. You can put the eggs in with the potatoes as long as you take them out about 12 minutes after the water starts to boil.  Then put them in ice cold water to stop the cooking and peel and chop them when they are cooled.

While the potatoes are on the stove, start mixing up the yogurt, mayo, mustard, and seasonings.  Then add the diced celery and the chopped eggs when they are cool.

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After the potatoes are done, run cold water on them until they cool down and then chop them up and add them to the mix.  Stir everything up and taste to make sure you like how the potato salad is seasoned.  After that just cover it with plastic wrap and stick it in fridge for a few hours to chill and let all the flavors marry together.

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I looked through a few different potato salad recipes online and you could also add diced red onion, pickles, relish, or a little bit of vinegar for a more tangy taste if you’d like!  For a more mellow and creamy salad just add some more mayo 🙂

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Happy Barbecuing Everyone!

 

Remember to follow me @CatysCorner on Pinterest and Twitter!

 

 

Coconut Shrimp

I’m finally all moved in to my new house and I figured today would be a good day for a new blog post before I get busy with graduation this weekend.  I’m making a big dinner for my friends and family tomorrow night so that’ll make for a great post next week!  The new kitchen has taken some getting used to because I went from an electric stove to coils, and let me tell you those things get HOT!  But, I’ve got it all figured out now and guess what….. my new house has TWO OVENS.  Yes, two ovens! One is updated and the other one is old General Electric oven that was here when the house was first built in the ’60s.  Both of them work which is awesome and makes for easy entertaining!

The recipe for today is baked coconut shrimp.  You could always fry the shrimp but I wanted to keep the recipe a little easier and healthier.  Honestly, if you bake them at the right temperature and keep a close eye on them you’ll forget you’re not eating fried shrimp.  I also used all unsweetened coconut flakes in the batter but next time I’m going to add just a couple pinches of sweetened coconut flakes so the sugar will caramelize and make the batter even crunchier.

You will need:

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 c panko crumbs

1/2 c unsweetened coconut flakes

3 tbs sweetened coconut flakes

3 tbs flour

1 egg, beaten

1 tbs honey

pinch red pepper flakes

salt and pepper

 

First preheat the oven to 400 degrees, rinse, peel, and devein the shrimp.  Set them aside in a colander to drain and mix up the batter.  Beat the egg and the honey together and pour it into bowl or small baking dish.  Then combine all of the dry ingredients (panko, coconut, etc.) and spices and put them in a separate dish.

Get a sheet tray out and spray it all over with cooking spray.  You don’t want the shrimp to stick because the batter will come right off when you try to take the shrimp off.

Pat the shrimp dry and one by one dip each shrimp into the egg and honey, shake off the excess, and then coat each side with the batter mixture.  Press the shrimp down into the dish to make sure it really sticks to both sides.  Then place the shrimp on the baking dish and keep going until all the shrimp are done.  Then give them a quick spray on top with some more cooking spray to help them get brown, not burnt, on top.

Stick them in the oven for about 4 minutes and then flip them over so the other side can get crunchy.  After another 3 or 4 minutes take them out of the oven.  And you’re done! Shrimp always cooks really fast which is one reason I make it so much.  Then serve the shrimp with whatever dipping sauce you want.  Ketchup or cocktail sauce are always good options but I went a different route and used some thai chili sauce.  It’s spicy and sweet and delicious!

 

Happy Cooking Everyone!

 

Remember to follow me @Catyscorner on Pinterest and Twitter!

 

Giant Skillet Cookie

Let’s just start off with this…

 

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Behold the giant skillet cookie.

This thing is like a little slice of heaven right in your own kitchen.  What’s better than warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven?  UMMM…A GIANT ONE!

I won’t bore you with any long explanations before I get to the recipe because lets face it, I know you’ve already jumped off the couch to either start making this or are rushing to the store to get the ingredients 🙂

All you need is a skillet and a whisk or spoon.  No extra bowls required!  I used the tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe for this with just a couple variations.

Makes 2 skillet cookies:

1 stick of butter

1/2 c coconut oil (or another stick of butter)

2 eggs

1 1/4 c all purpose flour

1 c whole wheat flour

3/4 c brown sugar

3/4 granulated sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

dash salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp amaretto (optional)

2 c chocolate chips

 

First, place the skillet over medium high heat and put the butter in the skillet so it can melt and brown.  Browned butter has a rich, caramel flavor that’s great for baked goods.  Bring the butter to a slow simmer and whisk constantly until is turns a golden color.  Then take it off the heat immediately.  You want browned butter, not burnt butter!  Then add the coconut oil to the skillet and let it melt.

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Let the butter and coconut oil mixture cool for about 5 minutes so that you can add the egg without cooking it and the dough isn’t too runny.  In the meantime, get out the other ingredients.

Next, add the sugars, egg, vanilla, and the amaretto if you want.  Whisk it all together until its smooth.

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Then, add all of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, etc.) and stir it all up.  Last, gently fold in the chocolate chips.  They might start to melt a little but they won’t turn into mush.

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Then, just press the dough flat in the pan and stick it in the oven for about 25 minutes.  I would give or take 5 minutes depending on the size of your cast iron skillet and how accurate your oven is.  Once you can stick a toothpick in the middle and it comes out (almost) clean you’re good to go!  You want the cookie to still be a little gooey in the middle.

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Then top it off with some vanilla ice cream and eat it straight from the skillet if you want!  Or you could always cut your own slice but it’s much more fun to share the skillet with a few people 🙂

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 HEAVEN.

 

Here are a few substitutions/add ins you can try for a nice twist on the traditional tollhouse cookie:

-I replaced half of the white flour with whole wheat flour.  It adds a nice nutty flavor and chewier texture to the cookie.

-Add 1/2 tsp amaretto.  Seriously it’s the secret ingredient to make any baked good or pie filling even better.

-Replace 1/4 c of the flour with almond flour.  Again, nutty flavor and chewier texture.

-Add 1/4 c wheat bran.  Mostly just for health benefits 🙂 you won’t even know it’s there.

-Replace half of the butter with coconut oil.  Another health benefit that doesn’t change the flavor.

-And then you could always add in nuts, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, whatever you like!

 

Happy Baking Everyone!

 

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Lemon Pepper Tilapia

If you’re reading this post today is your lucky day! Instead of just posting one recipe today I have a whole meal for you!  All the recipes are super simple and easily come together in 30 minutes.  So, no excuses for a fast food run when you have this!

It’s also a great time for a fish recipe if you are someone who follows the “no meat on Fridays” rule during Lent.  But really, I think it’s great all the time.  I love seafood but it  has to have big flavor.  White fish like tilapia, cod, flounder, etc. can turn out pretty bland if you don’t spice it up a little.  Luckily, I’m pretty good at that 🙂

I picked tilapia because it’s a relatively inexpensive fish that’s good whether you buy it fresh or frozen and it has a light, delicate taste — no fishy taste at all.  It also cooks really fast in a skillet or under the broiler and fast dinners are always a plus for me.

I have to confess that I decided to add this to the blog after everything was already cooked so I don’t have as many pictures as usual. But, here’s how to make it all!

 

You will need:

4 tilapia fillets (thaw if frozen)

lemon pepper

paprika

salt

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First, drizzle some olive oil in a non-stick skillet and let it heat up while you’re getting the fish ready.  Then pat the fish dry on both sides and season one side with the lemon pepper, paprika, and salt.  Just a pinch of each will do.  When the oil is hot place the tilapia in the skillet and let the first side cook for about 2 minutes.  Don’t move it around in the pan or peek because you want it to get a nice crust on the outside. Season the second side of the fillets in the pan and then flip them over.  Let them cook until the fish is opaque all the way through and flakes easily with a fork, about a minute or so.  Quick and easy right?

So, in the spirit of being healthy, I decided to serve this with a grain for some good carbs and a green veggie because…..well, because they’re always good for you.  Couscous steamed asparagus it is!  Here’s what you’ll need for that.

First the asparagus.  All you need to do is cut off the bottom part of the stalks (they’re too crunchy even when they’re cooked) and rinse them off.  Then place them in a large pan and put in enough water to cover them half way.  Put a lid on and let them steam on the stove over medium high heat until they are bright green and still a little al dente.  If you let them go too long you’ll end up with some very limp and mushy asparagus. When they’re done drain them in a colander and add a little pat of butter if you want some extra flavor.

**If you want to time everything so your sides are done at the same time as the fish I would actually cook the fish last.  I put the asparagus on first, then the couscous about 5 minutes later, and cooked the fish at the last minute.

 

Now for the couscous (serves 3-4 as a side)

3/4 cup couscous, dry (use your favorite brand from a box or the bulk food section)

1/4 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

5 or 6 large button mushrooms, chopped

1/2 c green peas, frozen

chicken stock

water

salt and pepper

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Heat up some olive oil in a pan and add the onion.  Let it sauté for about 2 minutes and then throw in the mushrooms and the garlic.  Season with salt and pepper and let the mushrooms cook for another 3 or 4 minutes.  When those are done, add the peas and remove the pan from the heat.  Put a lid on the pan so the peas can warm up while the couscous is cooking.

Cook the couscous according to the directions on your box.  The directions will most likely say to just use water but replace half of the water with chicken stock.  It’s an easy way to boost the flavor.

When the couscous is ready add the mushroom and pea mixture and season with a little more salt and pepper.

 

Now start serving everything up and enjoy a nice healthy meal 🙂

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Happy Cooking Everyone!  Remember to follow me @CatysCorner on Pinterest and Twitter!

 

 

 

 

Pot Roast

Pot roast is one of those comfort foods that seems to bring families together on the weekends, usually Sundays.  I’ve heard all kinds of stories from friends about their mom or grandma’s “famous pot roast” they used to eat all the time when they were younger.  But what happens when we go to college and we aren’t home for Sunday pot roast?  Well, we just have to learn to make our own!  Luckily, it’s not too hard to make.  This was the first time I had ever made it before.  And, yes I actually made it for Sunday dinner with my boy 🙂  It may not be up to mom status but I promise this recipe is good enough to tide you over in the meantime!

You will need:

2 lbs chuck or top round roast

1 onion, quartered

3 cloves garlic, chopped in half

1 can beef broth (I like low sodium)

1/2 c water

1 tbs worcestershire

2 sprigs fresh thyme

salt and pepper

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First,  preheat the oven to 300 degrees, add a little bit of olive oil to a dutch oven and let the oil get really hot.  Then, season the roast on all sides very liberally with salt and pepper.  When the oil is nice and hot place the roast in the pot and let it sear on the first side.  Once the roast is in place don’t move it around the pot.  It’s important that the oil is hot and stays in its spot so that a nice crust forms on the outside.  This helps to seal in moisture so the meat will be tender and falling apart by the time it’s done.  Make sure to sear the roast on every side, about 10 minutes total.

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Remove the roast and set it aside on a plate.  Then throw in the onion and garlic and let them get nice and brown on the outside.  You’ll use the onion again later but take the garlic out after its started to brown because it will burn and get bitter if you keep cooking it with the roast later.  You just want to use it to infuse some garlic flavor into the oil.

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Set the onion aside on the plate and deglaze the pan with the can of beef broth.  Make sure to scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan because that’s where all the flavor is.  I know it just looks like burnt stuff but it’s actually super concentrated flavor that the broth will loosen from the bottom of the pan.  Then, add the water and worcestershire sauce and let the liquid come to a simmer.  Return the roast and onion to the pan and add two sprigs of fresh thyme.  You could use dry herbs too but the fresh really makes a difference.  In that case, you would want about a tablespoon of dried thyme.

Then pop the lid on the dutch oven and stick the whole thing in the oven for about 2 1/2 hours.  If you have a bigger roast I would start out with an hour in the oven per pound and then go from there.  You’ll know when its done though because it will fall apart when you put a fork to it!

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If that doesn’t say Sunday dinner then I don’t know what does!

 

Now, I know many of you out there are gravy lovers so I thought I’d share the easiest gravy recipe in the world.  Seriously, it takes like three minutes and minimum effort.  Use a ladle to put some of the juice from the roast in a small sauce pan and warm it over medium heat on the stove top.  In a separate bowl, mix a little bit of the broth with about 1-2 tbs of flour.  Whisk it together to get all the lumps out and add it to the broth on the stove.  You could even drizzle in a little heavy cream if you wanted to make it extra rich. Increase the heat and let the mixture start to simmer.  Then, whisk it constantly until it gets to your desired thickness, usually about a minute or two.  If it’s too thick, add more broth and if it’s too thin, add more flour.  How easy is that?

 

Happy Sunday cooking everyone!

 

Send me some of your favorite family recipes to post and remember to follow me @CatysCorner on Twitter and Pinterest 🙂