Deedles Dish in a Nutshell

I am a Midwestern girl from a long line of cooks who doesn't think cooking needs to be complicated. Enjoy the recipes!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Penne Leonardo with Sweet Onion Focaccia

Well, here it is folks! The recipe I mentioned earlier this week in all of it's glory.  If anyone has ever had Pasta DaVinci from The Cheesecake Factory, this recipe is a close second.  I would rate it at an intermediate skill level.  It took a lot of time and attention but it was totally worth it in the end.  The key is in finding the right wine.  Make sure it is a red Madeira and ask the wine specialist at the liquor store for their recommendation.  The wrong wine will ruin the dish.

The "focaccia" is not homemade so I apologize if I was misleading.  It is however, so easy and so good! I can't wait to make it again.

I often find that cooking is therapeutic for me and this dish was a good example.  I've been in sort of a funk this week and making this dish allowed me to zone out and focus on something else for a little while.  And then, in the end, I got to be really proud of myself for this excellent meal that I had prepared.  Double win!

Here's a look at the final product, hot and ready to eat:

Penne Leonardo

So now the pasta recipe.  I would say this serves 4-5 good servings so it would be good for a family meal or couples night, although I am enjoying the leftovers as we speak and they are pretty damn good.

2 cups penne pasta cooked al dente
1/4 cup red onion-chopped (You guessed it, using the Vidalia Onion Chopper)
1 cup crimini mushrooms sliced (Use whatever mushrooms you doesn't matter.)
2 tsp garlic-minced (I used the cheese grater method again)
1/2 lb chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
4 tbsp butter, halved
2 tsp salt
1 cup red Madeira wine
1/2 water
2 tbsp heavy cream
Pepper to taste

So there is kind of a lot going on in this dish and it's best to have everything chopped, diced, sliced, poured and whatever else before you start, that way you're ready when the recipe calls for it.  This is what my table looked like before I even turned on the oven:

1. Cook pasta in salted water with a dash of olive oil according to directions on the box for "al dente" pasta. Putting olive oil in the water when cooking any pasta is a tip I learned from my friend and study abroad alum Ali Cannoni.  This keeps the pasta from sticking together when you are ready to serve!
2. Saute onions, mushrooms and garlic in 2 tbsp of butter until tender. Add salt. Remove and set aside for later.

3. In the same pan, cook the chicken until cooked through, stirring frequently.  I had to add some olive oil here so the chicken didn't stick.
4. Remove chicken and set aside.
5. In the same pan, add 2 tbsp butter and melt over a low-medium heat.
6. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and stir to make a roux.
7. Slowly add in the wine, water and heavy cream, stirring constantly.
8. Cook over a medium-high heat until thickened, stirring often to keep from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Taste often during this step.  If you can taste the alcohol flavor or if it tastes really sweet, keep cooking the liquid down.  You can also smell the steam and if it smells like alcohol, keep cooking.  I would say I probably let the liquid simmer and thicken for about 10-15 minutes.
9. Add the chicken, muschrooms, garlic and onions back in and simmer for a few more minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.
10. Toss the pasta with the sauce mixture and top with Parmesan cheese.

Sweet Onion Focaccia

This focaccia is a great and easy side dish for any pasta dish, in my opinion.  I adapted it from a recipe in Taste of Home and it is so amazing.  I actually plan on making it again tomorrow evening to serve with lasagna. :)

1 small Boboli crust
1/2 sliced small yellow onion
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Brush the bottom of the pizza crust with olive oil and cook until crisp in the oven or on the grill.  If cooking in the oven, heat to 400 degrees.  Remove crust once crisp and set aside.  Cook the onions in the oil and butter in a medium skillet.  Add sugar and cook until soft and onions are golden brown.  Top the pizza crust with onions.

Top with parmesan cheese and bake until golden brown.  About 5-8 minutes.  Watch closely so the crust doesn't burn.  Cut into 8 small triangles and serve.
I was, fittingly, watching Hell's Kitchen while this making this delicious meal.  I love me some Gordon Ramsey.

Good eatin',


Monday, July 25, 2011

Hannah Banana Bread

The title of this recipe is obvious.  There is, however, a special meaning there as well.  My oldest brother, Jeremy, has always called me Hannah Banana which was often shortened to just Banana.  I didn't embrace it at first, but as we have gotten older and see each other less often, I welcome the term of endearment from Gorpy (yet another's a common theme in our family.)

You'll probably find that I don't do much "baking."  I prefer cooking to baking for several reasons.  Savory flavors appeal to me more than sweet in general and I like to cook what I like to eat. :) Also, baking requires being very exact and precise with measurements and following directions.  While those of you who know me know that I am quite a Type A personality, I prefer to be more fluid in the kitchen.  A pinch here, a dash there...taste...add again.  That is much more my style.

Every once in a while, though, I get the urge to bake.  It was easier this time, considering I had three bananas that were about to be thrown out.  Sometimes convenience is the only push we need.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 butter, melted
3 bananas, mashed

1. Grease and flour a bread pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. In one bowl, whisk together flour, soda, salt and sugar.  Mix in slightly beaten eggs, melted butter and mashed bananas.  Pour into pan.
3. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Nutritional Info:
Servings per recipe: 16
Amount per serving:
Calories: 145
Carbohydrates: 26.54 g
Cholesterol: 34.06 mg
Dietary Fiber: 0.89 g
Fat: 3.69 g
Protein: 2.27 g
Sodium: 180.97 mg

So there it is, folks! A delicious and super easy banana bread recipe.  I love this for breakfast but it is also a great afternoon snack.

Good eatin',


Sassy Menefee Chicken Wraps

Hey everyone!!! This post is dedicated to my cousin, Mallory Menefee, who stayed with me for a month in the spring of 2010.  She is one sassy woman and this wrap is aptly named after her.  She was shadowing me for an internship opportunity and we had a great time together!!! While she was here, she introduced me to this quick and easy meal.  I've tweaked a few things but the basics are still there and it is delicious!!! Here is a picture of the wrap in all its glory before it's rolled up.

I mean, come on, isn't that amazing???

Okay, so here is how you make this delicious treat.

1 Mission sundried tomato and basil wrap (their spinach and whole wheat wraps are delish as well)
1 chicken breast cooked and chopped
2 slices of bacon, cooked (optional)
1/4 shredded lettuce
1/4 fresh spinach
1 tbsp diced red onion (optional)
Shredded cheddar cheese
Ranch dressing to taste
Sriracha sauce to taste

I generally make 3 or 4 chicken breasts at a time so I can enjoy this meal for a few weeks.  I marinate them in Lawry's garlic and herb marinade or Italian dressing. Since I haven't had a grill, I bake the chicken breasts on 350 until they are cooked through but they would be great grilled as well.  Before putting everything together, heat the wrap for 20 seconds in the microwave.  The wrap is easier to manage when it's warm.  Reheat chicken breasts in microwave if needed.  Put everything together in the center of the wrap and and drizzle the dressings over top.  Wrap.  I tend to use more ranch than Sriracha but that is totally dependent upon how spicy you want it to be.  I like to balance the spice with grapes or something sweet on the side.

I enjoyed this tasty treat while watching a marathon of Project Runway.  I do love that Tim Gunn.  Make it work!

Good eatin',


Monday, July 11, 2011

Mongolian Beef and Homemade Egg Rolls

Hello everyone! It's been awhile since my last post but I haven't had much time for homemade meals what with my family in town for the 4th of July holiday! It was great to have them all with me and to spend some time with friends as well.  With my family gone, I like to surround myself with friends and part of that means cooking.  I, like my mother and grandmother(s), show my love through cooking and food.  So on a girls night in for fright night (Scream 2 and 3), Mongolian beef and homemade egg rolls were on the menu!

Lets start with the egg rolls! I have had this recipe for years and was always too nervous to try them.  They sound so intimidating! This evening with the girls was a great motivator and they were delish and way easier than I expected.  Here's the recipe:

Homemade Egg Rolls
1 pack of egg roll skins (got them at Safeway and saw them at Sunflower Market...ask if you can't find)
1 lb ground turkey
2 jalapeno peppers
1/2 bell pepper (I used red for the color contrast but it's up to your preference)
1/2 yellow onion
1 bunch green onion
2 cups spinach leaves
1/2 cup shredded carrots
Bean sprouts
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Ground ginger
Salt and pepper to taste

I once again used my Vidalia Onion Chopper for the veggies. 
Brown ground turkey with all ingredients.  Add soy sauce, ground ginger, salt and pepper to taste.  Drain pan if needed.  Add enough green onion, spinach and bean sprouts to spread throughout mixutre or to personal liking.  I am not a  huge fan of bean sprouts so I bought one bag from the store and ended up using about 3/4 of the bag.  Look how yummy the filling is!

Follow directions on egg roll skins package to roll egg rolls.  Fill each egg roll with one or two spoonfuls of mixture.  Roll tightly so filling will not fall out when frying.

Heat a deep frying pan to medium/high heat with vegetable oil or use an electric fryer.  If pan frying, do not over fill with oil and turn each egg roll to cook on all sides. I used a deep fryer in order to ensure that they cooked evenly. Drop a few egg rolls in at a time and cook until brown.  Drain on paper towels.

And now the main dish!!! Mongolian beef is always a fave when I eat out at Chinese restaurants and I had no idea how easy it is to make at home! Once you have the ingredients, you are good to make this recipe over and over again and it has always been a crowd pleaser.  I have even passed it on to my mom and dad who have made it for family.  Yummy!

Mongolian Beef
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground
1 teaspoon garlic, ground
As mentioned in a previous blog, I do both the ginger and garlic on a cheese grater.
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
1 lb steak for stir fry or flank steak that would need to be cut up
1 bunch green onions cut into one inch strips

I marinate the meat in the marinade recipe from the Fried Rice blog.

Cook one cup of white or brown rice to serve with meat.  Heat the vegetable oil for frying in a large skillet and brown meat until no pink is showing.  Meat will cook through when liquid mixture is added.  Drain.

To make the sauce:
Add 2 tsp oil with the ginger and garlic to a small saucepan over medium/low heat.  Heat until fragrant but do not let the ginger and garlic scorch.  Add the soy sauce immediately to avoid burning the garlic.  Add the water and soy sauce.  Dissolve brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until it thickens.

Add the sauce to the meat pan and cook for a few minutes on low heat.  Add the green onions and cook, covered, for another two minutes.  Serve!

Once you find the courage to try Asian cooking at home, you won't be able to stop! It is so easy and so delicious. 

As a side note, I was enjoying a Harry Potter marathon while making these delicious treats!

Good eatin',