Thursday, August 26, 2010

Buttermilk Baked Chicken

I had some leftover buttermilk from the CEiMB Mixed Berry Cobber recipe and thought I might give buttermilk fried chicken a try. Except I didn't actually want to fry anything, so I figured I'd try a buttermilk baked chicken recipe. I saw a few different recipes online, but decided to wing it since I didn't have a lot of the listed ingredients.

While I preheated my oven to 375F, I prepped the chicken by pounding it to an even thickness (even thickness = more even cooking). Then it was time for the coating. I used Italian seasoned bread crumbs, since I had them and was too lazy to make my own, and added in some grated Parmesan cheese.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again--mmmmm, cheese. Before the chicken could mingle with the crunch coating, it had to take a bath first. A bath of buttermilk and tabasco, not something I'd recommend for a person. After dipping the chicken in the bath, I then moved it into the breadcrumbs, then onto a baking sheet I sprayed with cooking spray.

The chicken cooked pretty quickly. After putting it into the oven, I didn't do much other than flipping it after ten minutes. I definitely overcooked the chicken--I guess all the news reports of salmonella eggs made me a bit of a fraidy cat cook. Luckily it was still edible and even tasty, just a tad on the dry side. If I made this again, I'd definitely whip up some kind of dipping sauce.

I'm going to be playing around with the blog formatting for the next few posts to see what works and looks best for me. But I'll still be cooking, and eating!

Bacon Shrimp Pasta

I promised my husband I would cook dinner, but I didn't feel like making anything complex or involved me going to the grocery store. I looked in my kitchen and saw that I had turkey bacon, shrimp, pasta, and a can of diced tomatoes. Hmm, I told myself, this could work out.

I started off by cooking up the turkey bacon while I boiled water for pasta. As you can see from the picture, some of the bacon got a little extra heat love from the pan. Definitely still good enough to use.

In the former bacon pan, I added in a can of diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and shrimp.

After the shrimp cooked until pink and added in about half of the turkey bacon, which I crumbled after it cooled. I then drained my pasta and added it into the pan.

To serve, I topped the pasta off with more bacon crumbles and freshly grated parmesan cheese. It turned out pretty well. Even though it pains me to say it, the dish could have used some more vegetables. I think spinach would have been pretty good here, but I'm sure there's some other veggie out there just waiting for me to try it out.

CEiMB--Mixed Berry Cobbler

As much as I love baked goods and desserts, I don't make them often. This week's recipe for Craving Ellie in My Belly, hosted by Pam at Cookies With Boys, was Mixed Berry Cobbler. I don't know much about cobbler except that it usually involves fruit and not a lot of cake-like carbs. Definitely not the first thing I'm choosing from the dessert buffet. Between me not giving cobblers a chance and not baking often, this was the perfect recipe to change things up.

I started off with the fruit portion of the cobbler. The recipe calls for two 12 ounce bags of frozen mixed berries. For some reason, my grocery store only had 10 ounce bags, so I bought three bags and only used two and a half of them. So maybe I used 25 ounces of mixed berries. It's extra berrylicious. To the berries, which I thawed during the day, I added the zest of one orange. Zest looks funny, like a stuffed animal started shedding on my fruit.

Then it was time for snow! By snow, I mean whole wheat flour and sugar. After combining the flour, sugar, and fruit, I added the mixture to a 8x8 pan sprayed with cooking spray.

Now on to the topping. It starts with whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. The directions say to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until small "pebbles" are formed. I vaguely remember reading something about making sure the butter is super cold, so I put it in the freezer for a short bit.

To be honest, I have no idea if I reached the pebble stage. It seemed like all the butter was incorporated into the flour mixture with no big butter chunks standing. It was getting late, so I shrugged it off and moved on to the next step--combining buttermilk and oil together and adding the mix into the dry "pebbles." My grocery store only had nonfat buttermilk rather than the low-fat buttermilk the recipe calls for. Again, I shrugged it off and combined the wet and dry ingredients.

I gently mixed everything together, careful not to overmix. Don't want the mixing police to write me a ticket. Once combined, I spooned the topping over the fruit in six blobs. I believe Ellie calls them mounds, but mine were definitely blobs.

I topped everything thing off with a bit more sugar, then into the oven for a half hour. Time to relax, or start working all the dishes I dirtied during the process.

After the thirty minutes was up, I took the cobbler out of the oven. The fruit was bubbling and the blobs were a nice golden brown. At least until I cut into them, then they looked a little bit uncooked. Whoops.

I decided to try mine with a little bit of vanilla ice cream. I must have used way too much orange zest because that's all I could taste. My husband seemed to like it, so it wasn't a total fail. We have quite a bit leftover, so I will try it again after reheating it in the oven.

I will definitely try making another cobbler, but I will definitely skip the orange zest (or use much less) and spread my cobbler topping across the fruit to help it bake more evenly. I did like the whole wheat flour and will definitely be using that again.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Break time over...almost

Apologies to the lack of posts. I've been a bit lazy in the kitchen, but will be back in the CEiMB swing of things on Thursday with the Mixed Berry Cobbler. I'm also looking forward to a lot of the upcoming recipes, so expect to see posts more often!

My parents were in town this weekend and it was great to see them. We didn't do too many tourist-y things since I've been in the DC area for so long, but we saw a few sites and enjoyed our time together. Even though it was Restaurant Week in DC, we kept things low-key with dinner one night at Red, Hot, & Blue. RH&B is actually a chain of BBQ restaurants that I really enjoy. I'm far from a BBQ connoisseur, so I can't tell you if it's authentic, but I do enjoy their pulled pork, ribs, hush puppies, and fried onion loaf. Definitely not healthy, but inexpensive and tasty. The following night, my mom and I made dinner at home. We were headed to a concert, so it was a quick bolognese with rigatoni served with fresh bread dipped in olive oil. For the bolognese, we browned a mix of ground beef, pork, and veal along with some minced garlic. After the meat was browned and drained, we added in a jar of tomato sauce (we used Bertolli roasted tomato and cabernet sauvignon), salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and a bit of red wine. We let that simmer while we chatted and boiled water for the pasta. It all came together very quickly. I wish we would have added in some diced tomatoes and mushrooms, but it was still very good. The leftovers were surprisingly good--sometimes leftover pasta is sort of bleh--dry and tasteless. This pasta didn't dry out after being reheated in the microwave, but the 2% mozzarella I added on top probably helped!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pasta with Portobello Mushrooms

Here in the DC area, we have quite a few farmers markets. However, sometimes I just don't have to the time or energy to fight the crowds and heat for fresh produce. Luckily, there's an alternative in the Washington Green Grocer. The Green Grocer delivers fresh fruits and vegetables weekly to your home. Since I liked what was in last week's box, I decided to order up. The box included portobello mushrooms, which I cooked up that night with some pasta based on a recipe found at, Easy Portobello Mushroom Saute. It was quick and tasty.

I somehow managed to convince C2 to clean the mushrooms, then I took over by cutting the mushrooms into bite size pieces and adding in some minced garlic.

I added some olive oil and butter to a pan and cooked up the mushrooms and garlic, along with some salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

The pan looks pretty empty with just the mushrooms, but the bow tie pasta fills it up quickly. soon! After adding in the pasta, I also added a bit more olive oil and butter. It wasn't necessary, but I didn't realize that until I was already eating it.

After everything was combined in the pan, it was time to eat! I topped off the mushroom pasta with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Because cheese makes everything better, though maybe not healthier.

Mmmmmm cheesey pasta goodness!

I really enjoyed this, though I wish I would have used less olive oil and butter. I also wish we had received more mushrooms, or that I was better at figuring out how much pasta to cook for a better mushroom to pasta ratio. I'm pretty sure I'll be making this again the next time I get portobellos!

4 portobello mushroom caps, cleaned and cut into pieces
2 cloves garlic
Olive oil
Red Pepper Flakes
Pasta of your choice (I'm not even going to pretend I know how much to use)
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Boil water for pasta while you prep your other ingredients. Heat up 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large pan over medium heat. Season mushrooms with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to suit your tastes. Add mushrooms and garlic to the pan, stirring occasionally while cooking for about 10 minutes. If you are feeling sassy, add in a little more olive oil and/or butter. If you are feeling healthy, add 1/4 cup of the pasta water to the mushroom mixture and cook down. Drain pasta and add to mushrooms in the pan. Mix together and top with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Frosting Impaired

In DC, we have quite a few cupcake stores and even cupcake food trucks that go around selling tasty cakes. One of these trucks recently began selling a Raspberry Lemonade cupcake. It sounded delicious, but they always sold out by the time the truck reached my area! Since my birthday was last week, I decided to make myself some rasberry lemonade cupcakes. Sadly, I have no pictures of the cupcakes (too much multitasking going on when I made and frosted them), but they were well received.

Due to time constraints, and pre-birthday laziness, I decided to use a boxed lemon cake mix for the actual cupcakes. I did substitute milk for the required water, a trick my friend passed on from her mother. While the cupcakes cooked, I worked on the frosting. Again, due to time constraints/laziness, I took another semi-homemade liberty and used seedless raspberry jam instead of fresh raspberries. I didn't think about it at the time, but it definitely contributed to the sweetness of the frosting and I should have used lemon to cut down on it (I would have used some lemon juice, but apparently all the lemons in my fridge decided to die at the same time). I've only made buttercream frosting once before and it turned out just okay. This time wasn't any better. The icing recipe I found online called for butter, confectioners sugar, and raspberry jam. The icing tasted fine, if not too sweet, but I did not like the consistency. It was very flat and not fluffy at all. Did I use too much sugar? Not enough butter? Didn't mix/whip it enough? I will have to check out some tips and tricks for a better frosting.

Raspberry Frosting (from Honey and Jam)

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
6-8 cups powdered sugar

Place butter and jam in a mixing bowl and mix together to cream.

Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until you reach desired consistency. Don't be like me--check for consistency after about 3 cups.

Tandoori Chicken

There's an Indian place in the food court near work that has delicious chicken tandoori. They cook pieces of chicken breast on a skewer for an almost crunchy, red outside but tender, juicy inside. Since chicken was on sale and I had some leftover plain yogurt, I decided to try making chicken tandoori on my own. I pulled a recipe from that was pretty well-received. The recipe itself was simple enough--marinate the chicken in a yogurt-spice mixture, grill, then serve.

After gathering all my supplies, I mixed up the marinade. It consisted of yogurt, garam masala, garlic, onion, cayenne pepper, and ginger. Fun fact: I had never cooked with actual ginger root before. I left out the food coloring because I was somewhat curious what color it would turn out on its own.

After mixing everything together, I poured it over the chicken breasts and put everything in my fridge for about 8 hours. I will be honest, it was kind of funny prepping dinner in my PJs before even having coffee! But it was very nice to have everything set to go in the evening.

Since I don't really have access to a grill, I decided to follow one reviewer's method of cooking the chicken breasts in the oven. I considered using the broiler (looking back, I wish I had), but instead went with cooking the breasts at 350F for about 45 minutes. I flipped the breasts over halfway through. I used my digital thermometer to check for internal temperature, which would have worked out great if I hadn't left the chicken breasts in "for just a few more minutes" while I cooked the rice and corn to serve with the chicken.

Overall, it turned out okay. If I ever made it again, I would definitely let the chicken marinate for closer to 24 hours and either find a grill or use the broiler to crisp up the outside. I'm also wondering if I was supposed to scrape off the excess marinade from the chicken before cooking, and if that would have helped with the outside.

Tandoori Chicken (from


  • 2 pounds chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 1/4 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon yellow food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon red food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges


Remove skin from chicken pieces, and cut slits into them lengthwise. Place in a shallow dish. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and lemon juice. Set aside 20 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, onion, garlic, ginger, garam masala, and cayenne pepper. Mix until smooth. Stir in yellow and red food coloring. Spread yogurt mixture over chicken. Cover, and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours (the longer the better).

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium high heat, and lightly oil grate.

Cook chicken on grill until no longer pink and juices run clear. Garnish with cilantro and lemon wedges.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

CEiMB -- Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Spinach

This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe is Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Spinach. Thank you, Jennifer at The Rookie Baker, for such a great pick! The husband and I both really enjoyed the dish. It was also pretty easy to go prepare.

Now on to the show. May I present to you this week's cast of characters:

We have wine, spinach, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, red chili pepper, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, and linguine (in place of whole wheat spaghetti). There's also shrimp, but it was thawing in the sink.

To start off, I cooked up the onion and garlic--lots of garlic--in olive oil. Then I added in most of the remaining ingredients.

It looks oily, but it smelled quite delicious. After that cooked up for a bit, it was time for for the stars--shrimp and spinach.

Almost time to add the pasta!

And the finished product:
Mmmm. I do wish I had used more spinach because it wilted down significantly. I might try this recipe again actually using whole wheat pasta. The husband isn't a fan of whole wheat pasta but there was enough flavor and heat where he may not notice as much.