Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hot Chicken Salad

There's a little place in our neighborhood that's a quintessential ladies lunch spot and they are know for their hot chicken salad. The last time I frequented this little gem, I swore I'd get a respectable ladies salad for lunch but who can resist this delectable salad? The owner did not divulge the recipe but I guess this is the next best thing. Served with some fresh fruit this is a would be a lovely dish to serve your ladies.

Hot Chicken and Rice Salad

2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 cup celery, diced
2 cups of cooked rice
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup fresh mushroom, sliced
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup corn flakes
1 (4 oz) pkg slice almonds

In a bowl combine chicken, celery, rice, mayonnaise, mushrooms, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cream of chicken soup. Mix ingredients until well combined.
Pour mixture into sprayed 9 x 13 inch dish and spread out evenly in the dish.
Combine corn flakes and butter until corn flakes are well coated with butter.
Spoon corn flake mixture evenly over chicken/rice mixture.
Place dish in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.
Remove dish from oven and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
Place dish back into oven for 5 more minutes. Serves 6-8.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cake

I made this many years ago for a dear friend's birthday and it was a memorable treat. Chocolate cake from a box? I can handle that. And peanut butter mousse? Sounds very chefy, right? If you cannot manage to properly frost a layer cake, try the parfait version below because your friends and family will love you either way. Your hips? Well, that's another story.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cake

1 (18.25-ounce) package devil's food cake mix without pudding
2 1/2 cups whipping cream, divided
1 (10-ounce) package peanut butter morsels
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
Garnish: chopped roasted peanuts

Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour into 2 lightly greased 8-inch round cakepans. Bake according to package directions. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely.

Combine 2/3 cup whipping cream and peanut butter morsels in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until morsels melt and mixture is smooth; remove saucepan from heat. Stir in vanilla extract, and cool 25 minutes.

Beat 1 1/3 cups whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Stir one-third whipped cream into peanut butter mixture. Fold into remaining whipped cream. Spread between cake layers; cover and chill.

Bring remaining 1/2 cup whipping cream and 1 tablespoon butter to a boil in a small saucepan. Add chocolate morsels; remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Stir until morsels melt and mixture is smooth.

Pour glaze over cake; garnish, if desired. Serve warm, or chill and serve at room temperature.

OR - if frosting a layer cake is just too much to take...

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mousse Parfaits: Cut cooled cake layers into cubes. Layer 8 Parfait glasses evenly with two-thirds peanut butter mixture, cake cubes, and half of chocolate mixture. Top with remaining peanut butter mixture and chocolate mixture; sprinkle each parfait with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Olive Cheese Bread

Get out those stretchy pants and pray for forgiveness because this bread is sinfully good. Salty, gooey, delicious and I may not be able to make this again for fear I'd eat the loaf. I made these over the holidays and sliced them as an appetizer since they are so filling.

Olive Cheese Bread

1 loaf French Bread
6 ounces, weight Pimiento-stuffed Green Olives
6 ounces, weight Black Olives
2 stalks Green Onions (scallions)
1 stick Butter, Room Temperature
½ cups Mayonnaise
¾ pounds Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated

Roughly chop both black olives and pimiento-stuffed green olives. Slice green onions into thin pieces. Combine butter, mayonnaise, cheese, olives and green onions in a mixing bowl. Stir together until thoroughly combined. Spread mixture onto French bread that has been sliced lengthwise. Bake at 325ºF for 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and browning.

Mixture can also be refrigerated up to two days if you're a work ahead gal like myself!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cuban Black Beans

Many many years ago, I hosted a large backyard party of mostly college friends. Being young and ambitious, I decided to tackle an entire Latin-inspired menu from a recent Bon Appetit issue. I'm just tired thinking about that party prep. After convincing my mom to buy me a juicer - and then having her help me juice about 329 limes for various recipes, I regretted not keeping it simple. On the bright side, these beans were a standout and I make them again and again. I love black beans so this is a flavorful side to accompany anything even remotely Latin in flavor.

Cuban Black Beans

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 15- to 16-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained
3/4 cup canned vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
print a shopping list for this recipe

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic and oregano and sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of beans to pan. Using back of fork, mash beans coarsely. Add remaining beans, broth and vinegar and simmer until mixture thickens and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Mix in sugar, if desired. Season beans to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Broiled Tilapia

After a giant run to Costco recently, I was staring at the frozen fish and trying to convince myself that I'd use up a gazillion pound bag of frozen fish fillets. My answer was sadly no but now that I have this recipe, I will gladly pick up tilapia on my next trip.

Broiled Tilapia

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
2 pounds tilapia fillets

Preheat your oven's broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.

In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.

Monday, March 1, 2010

BLT Pasta Salad

I admit, sometimes there's nothing better than a BLT sandwich. It's an iconic sandwich because as simple as all the components are, they just work together to make something divine. Well, this salad is a close cousin of the original. And because it's technically called a salad - I feel somewhat better about blissfully consuming bacon.

BLT Pasta Salad

12 ounces corkscrew-shaped pasta
1/2 cup milk
12 ounces lean bacon
3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons chopped chives or scallion greens
5 heads Bibb lettuce, quartered, or 5 cups chopped romaine hearts

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water as the label directs. Drain and toss with the milk in a large bowl; set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Discard all but 3 tablespoons drippings from the pan. Add the tomatoes, thyme and garlic to the pan and toss until warmed through; season with salt and pepper. Crumble the bacon into bite-size pieces; set aside 1/4 cup for garnish. Toss the remaining bacon and the tomato mixture with the pasta.

Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream and 3 tablespoons chives with the pasta until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lettuce; toss again to coat. Garnish with the reserved bacon and the remaining 1 tablespoon chives. Serve at room temperature.