Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Spahgetti with Cherry Tomatoes, Chicken, and Parsley

What do you do when you have leftovers, but no food in the house? Mix them all together of course! Looking at my pictures... I really want to learn to take better photos. I'll work on that.

1 left over fully cooked chicken breast
3 cups left over spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Garlic salt to taste
Publish Post

  1. Cut chicken breast in thin slices and saute until warmed through in a little cooking spray.
  2. Add olive oil, pasta, tomatoes, and garlic salt cook for 10 minutes or until everything is hot.
  3. Eat and pat yourself on the back for coming up with something so yummy so quickly.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

That's a lot of Rum Cake

To finish my Caribbean dinner, I made a rum cake with more rum and butter than any other cake in my life, but it was worth it. A few tips I can give you are, I didn't have a bunt cake pan, so I used a 10 or 12 inch spring form pan, and I would also suggest making it the day before so the flavors can mellow out a little unless you just reallllly love rum.


Rum Cake
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
1/2 cup dark rum
1/4 cup banana liqueur*
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup whipping cream
Rum Syrup
Powdered Sugar

Rum Syrup
10 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup banana liqueur*


Rum Cake

  1. Beat butter and granulated sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla, beating until blended. Add lemon rind, beating until blended. Gradually add rum and banana liqueur, beating until blended. (Batter will look curdled.)

  2. Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients; add to batter alternately with whipping cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat batter at low speed just until blended after each addition. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch Bundt pan.

  3. Bake at 350° for 55 to 60 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

  4. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Pierce cake multiple times using a metal or wooden skewer. Pour Rum Syrup (recipe Below) evenly over cake. Let stand 45 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar before serving.
*1/4 cup dark rum may be substituted for banana liqueur.

Rum Syrup

  1. Melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat; stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring often; reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, and cool 10 minutes.
*1/4 cup dark rum may be substituted for banana liqueur.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Jen's Quick Coconut Rice

When I made the spiced chicken, I made some coconut rice to go with it. I understand that in theory when you have very few ingredients in a recipe, you should use the best ingredients you can find. Then, there's life where you need dinner on the table in 30 minutes and there just isn't enough of you to make several time consuming recipes at once. I chose to use 5-minute rice, and it was delicious!


2 Cups White 5-Minute Rice
1 Cup Lite Coconut Milk (found in the Asian food aisle)
1 Cup Water
1 Tbsp sugar
Salt - to taste

  1. In a sauce pan bring milk and water, sugar, and salt to a boil.

  2. Remove from heat and add rice.

  3. Let stand for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. I usually add it back to the cooling eye to cook off more of the liquid if there is some left over in the rice.

Yeilds 4 servings.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Grilled Spiced Chicken with Citrus Mango Sauce

This weekend I was in the mood to try all new recipes, and being that my best friend's husband lived in Jamaica for a while, I went with a Caribbean theme. There'll be three new recipes this week, but I'm starting with the main course. The recipe called for it to marinate for only 20-30 minutes, but I did it for 3 hours. I liked this, but it was interesting to get used to cinnamon on chicken. Next time, I think I'll leave that out, but everyone else really liked it.

EDIT: I really could have used this video the other day! How to Cut a Mango.


Chicken Rub
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground anise seed
1 dash cayenne pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

Citrus Mango Sauce
1 mango - peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons dark rum


  1. In a medium bowl, mix the ginger, cinnamon, cumin, anise, and cayenne pepper. Rub the chicken with the spice mixture, and place in the bowl. Cover, and refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes.

  2. In a small saucepan, mix the mango, orange juice, lime juice, and honey. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a small cup, mix cornstarch with 1 1/2 tablespoons of water until cornstarch is dissolved. Stir into mango mixture, and simmer one minute, or until sauce has thickened slightly. Stir in dark rum.

  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat. When grill is hot, brush the grate with oil.

  4. Grill chicken 6 to 8 minutes per side, until no longer pink and juices run clear. Serve over the cooked rice, and top with the mango sauce.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tortas Ahogadas/Drowned Sandwiches

I participated in a Recipe Exchange for the first time and the theme was "Regional". I sent off Granny's Quick Cobbler and received in exchange (ha, get it?) the recipe for Tortas Ahogadas. Let me just tell you, me and these sandwiches are cursed, but I am stubborn and would NOT give up. Being that this is a Tex-Mex recipe, I had some trouble finding the peppers. Of course, once I DID find them at a local Tienda de Mexicana, I got home only to find that I had bought TWO of the same types of peppers instead of the two different ones I thought I'd picked up. I will do this post a little differently than others and very much in the style of The Pioneer Woman Cooks.


3 Anaheim Chiles, dry…cleaned of seeds & membrane
3 Pasilla Chiles, dry…cleaned
1 Kilo (2-3 lb.) beef roast
1 onion, coarsely chopped
4-6 cloves of garlic
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Teaspoon of oregano
10 sun-dried tomatoes
1-3 canned chipotle chilies to taste

Now see... in Tennessee, we don't really have access to a lot of peppers in our area. The ONLY place I had any luck was at the Mexican Market. Unfortunately, I ended up with 2 bags of Pasilla Chiles, which are actually sweet and not spicy by the way, so I added 5 Pasilla Chiles instead to make up for not having any Anaheims.

You know what else is hard to find in Tennessee? Sun-dried tomatoes. I went to several stores looking for these as well, but settled for roasted red peppers instead. Oh, and don't even plan on finding Bolillo rolls. I went with a Keisar roll, but it really wasn't a great choice. The bread is too airy and becomes like mush with the gravy. So you, you try something different. Maybe a sub roll would work nicely.

The night before I planed on making these, I put all of the above ingredients (minus the chipotles) in the crock pot and let it cook while I slept. Now THAT's my kind of cooking! The next morning I just put the removable pot in the fridge and heated it up on the stove when I got home from work for about 20-30 minutes.

Now, let's get to the fun part! The pictures.

You see this? DON'T DO THAT! I learned a very valuable lesson. Don't add too much hot liquid to your blender, and whatever you do, DO. NOT. USE. PULSE! The blend function on your blender is there for a reason. After that fiasco...yes... twice...I finally got smart.

Do this instead! This is when you should add the chipotle peppers. I am a wimp, so I only added one chipotle, cleaned of seeds and membrane.

MMMM....beef. ROAST beef. Start your assembly by pilling up as much beef as you think you can eat on one side of your bread.

And that gravy you made in the blender that you DIDN'T get all over your house, car, cat, and that little spot on your back that's just out of reach, pour that all over the beef. Don't be shy. These aren't called drowned sandwiches for nothing!

Now, you'll want to add some avocado. Go ahead, it's the good kind of fat. You can have all you want.

Okay, something ELSE I couldn't find...okay I lied. What I really meant to say is I forgot to buy the crema. I hear it's a lot like sour cream, so I used that instead like the recipe suggested. Now drizzle that sauce over your avocado. Are you ready for the next step? Are you sure you can handle it?

Put the lid on and eat. And eat. And eat. And then debate with yourself about making another one for you to eat. Go on... You don't have to watch what you eat everyday....

These were delicious and definitely worth all the frustration of looking for ingredients. I consider it a scavenger hunt! Now, the OP said to not even attempt picking these up, but Dave is a rebel and ate with his hands. I'm too sophisticated for that, I really did need a fork and a knife...and then I might have licked my plate...just don't tell anyone!

"This recipe originally came from close family friends of ours who are from Mexico but it has become a family favorite for us too! My mom made it all the time growing up and now I have carried on the tradition. They are so delicious but don't be afraid of a little "kick"! I am from Texas and I think these represent the strong Tex-Mex culture that exists there. So many of my favorite foods are thanks to the Mexican influence so I thought this a fitting tribute!"

Tortas Ahogadas (Drowned Sandwiches)

3 Anaheim Chiles (dry…cleaned of seeds & membrane)
3 Pasilla Chiles (dry…cleaned)
1 Kilo (2-3 lb.) beef roast
1 onion (coarsely chopped)
4-6 cloves of garlic
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
Teaspoon of oregano
10 sun-dried tomatoes (you can use dry or packed in oil…I use dry)

2-3 canned chipotle chilies (depending on the amount of spice that you like) to add to broth, after meat has been stewed

Cook the above ingredients in 2 liters of water until meat is tender (I use slow cooker on low for about 8 hours)…take out the meat and shred with two forks (so that the pieces aren't too big for the sandwiches)…cool for a while before proceeding with the next step so that you don't burn yourself…add the chipotle chilies to the broth (with meat still removed) and process either in small batches in food processor/blender…or use immersion blender. The mixture should be thick, like a gravy.

½ litre of Crema Fresca (or sour cream works too)
3 Tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 Teaspoon of mustard (roughly)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Avocado (slices to go on sandwiches)
Bolillo Rolls

Assembly: Lay out a roll and place meat on one side. Then ladle some of the sauce over the top of the meat and top with avocado and Crema. These are fork & knife sandwiches…don't even think about trying to eat with your hands! Enjoy!