Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Winner Winner...chicken...well, you know

So, picking the winner for the progresso give away was pretty easy, since only two people commented...and the winner was Miss Kate of Practice is Perfect.  So, Kate send me an email with your info and I'll get you the goods!  Congrats!

If you have never visited Kate's online home you should go right now!   She takes the most wonderful photographs and she is a brand new bride with a super cute new hubby!

Monday, November 8, 2010

menu plan monday - Now with a GIVEAWAY!!

Before we commence with the menu for next week, I'm going to ask you all to enter my very first giveaway right **HERE** to win a box of Progresso Lemon Pepper Panko and a very swanky cookbook by Chef Michael Chiarello.

 Okay, I won't keep you in suspense any longer.  Here's what's on the menu this week.....

Sunday - Hungarian Beef Stew - this is a new recipe for me.  It's a standard beef stew, but with lot of paprika added to make it a bit more exotic!!

Tuesday - Honey-Sesame Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Scallion Salad - After roasting a whole turkey breast last week this got bumped from the schedule, so it's making a reappearance here.

Thursday - Almost Hands-Free Spinach Risotto with Chicken, Leeks, and Garlic - A few weeks ago I made the Almost Hands-Free Spinach Risotto with Chicken and Herbs.  It was a huge hit!  I'm stretching the bounds a little, hopefully this one will go well enough that I can work up the courage to try the Almost Hands-Free Lemon Risotto with Chicken, Fennel, and Green Olives.  That's right!!  I'm a wild woman.....Don't mess with me!

Saturday - Chicken Nuggets - this was also on the menu for last week, but my hubby had to work on Saturday.  When Daddy works on Saturday Mommy buys pizza.  That's how we roll around here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

remember when....

Think of some of your favorite memories...I bet that at least a few of them had something to do with eating.  When I think back on some of my favorite moments almost all of the have some sort of food involved.  I don't know if this is because we have a tendency to gather our friends and families around a meal or if it's just because I spend too much time eating.  Either way, I've gotten it into my head to try to cook some of the foods associated with my favorite memories.

Today I'm going to talk cook up some Chickpea Chili.

But first, the memory.  When I was in college there was a little restaurant called Mad Mex about 1.1 miles from my dorm (thank you Google maps!).  This little place had half price food after 11pm (in retrospect the though of eating Mexican food after 11pm terrifies me, but I was young and reckless then).  They also had full priced, but enormous alcoholic beverages.  So, as you can imagine, this was a popular hangout for the sizable population of local college students. 

On this particular night, I was ensconced highly coveted large corner booth with  5 or 6 of my friends.  We were eating and drinking, I was pleasantly buzzed, it was a good night.  Suddenly two girls jumped up onto the bar and started dancing to the song jungle boogie.  Their hands hit the hanging lights and sent them swinging.  It was just one of those perfect moments that live up to everything you could have imagined.  I'm not sure, but I suspect that at that moment I felt the way popular people must feel.

Anyway, I was eating this Chickpea chili at that fateful moment.  In an attempt to regain that feeling of popularity in my own home I whipped up a fresh batch.  Here is the recipe:

Chickpea Chili

* 2 pounds fresh tomatillos, washed and peeled
* 2 jalapeno peppers, stems removed
* 1/2 cup roughly chopped Spanish onion (1/2-inch pieces)
* 4 cloves garlic
* 2 teaspoons kosher salt
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1 (32 ounces) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
* 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Heat the oven to 500 degrees.

Place the tomatillos in a heavy-duty ovenproof pan or pot with the jalapenos, onion, garlic, kosher salt and olive oil. Place the vegetables in the oven and roast until they are soft and lightly browned, for 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the tomatillo mixture from the oven, pour into a blender and puree until smooth. You might have to do this in 2 batches. Pour the pureed mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, and pour the strained mixture into a saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat. Add the chickpeas, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir in the pepper and cilantro.

Was it as good and I remembered....well, no.  I think that the atmosphere was a little lacking.   Or maybe it was the fact that I had to trade my Mad Mex Tequila Bulldog for a diet coke. 

Makes about 6 1/2 cups.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween, Panko and A Giveaway

It was Halloween a few days back.  In order to combat the impending post trick or treating sugar shock I like to make sure that my kids get a good dinner before they head out to beg for candy from out neighbors.  This year I decided to make a treat for myself and put together a super quick, but healthy meal. 

I received a package from MyBlogspark in the mail earlier in the week containing progresso's Lemon Pepper panko and a swanky cookbook from Chef Michael Chiarello.  Generally, I just dredge my fish in some flour and fry it up, but I decided to go a little was a holiday and all.  If you have never used panko before you are really missing out.  It is completely different from your standard breadcrumbs.  It fries up crispy and light and completely delicious.  So, here's what I did:

You'll need:
Fish - However much fish your family can put away...mine goes through about a pound and a half of fish for a standard dinner.  I used Talapia because my kids like it, but just about any fish will do. 
Flour - about a half of a cup, more for more fish.
eggs - say 2 or 3
Progresso Lemon Pepper Panko - like.....half a package.

1.  Dredge the fish in the flour, then the eggs and then in the panko.  I like to press the fish down a little so that I'm sure enough panko will stick.
2.  Heat up about 2 tbsp of oil in a nonstick pan.
3.  Toss the fish in.
4.  Wait about 3 or 4 minutes.  When you flip the fish over you will find that the panko has turned a lovely shade of brown.
5.  Wait another few minutes.  When the fish starts to flake apart it's done!

I served my fish with rice and broccoli.  The Progresso Lemon Pepper panko added a very nice flavor to the fish....I think I may even have detected some celery seed in there.  My kids loved it so much that my poor husband had to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner after the kids ate ALL   OF   IT!!

Since I know that you are just DYING to try this magical fish coating yourself I (with MyBlogSpark and Progresso) am giving one lucky reader a gift pack with a box of Progresso Lemon Pepper panko and that swanky cookbook inside!  Just comment below and tell me what you would coat with panko....I'll draw a winner in one week!  (That's Tuesday evening for the chronologically challenged amongst you.)  And while you're at it why not click for a chance to win a trip for two to the Napa valley with Progresso's Wine & Dine with Chef Michael Chiarello Sweepstakes.

And In case you needed more proof of the awsomness of panko:

Some Legal Stuff: I was provided the Panko and the cookbook and the giveaway by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.  The opinions regarding the product are my own.