Mushroom Goat Cheese Tart

I’m excited to share an original recipe! Well I’m sure a savory vegetable and chicken tart is not really that original, but I did create this without following any recipes and had fun in the kitchen! IMG_2202I went a little overboard at the grocery store when mushrooms were on sale and I needed to figure out what to do with 16 oz of white mushrooms… if you don’t like mushrooms, that’s totally okay- this recipe is versatile and you can put almost any of your favorite combination of toppings on a puff pastry sheet and you’ll get a delicious savory tart!  IMG_2199For this tart I used…

  • about 10 oz mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons of crumbled goat cheese (my fridge is constantly stocked with Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup of diced grilled chicken breast
  • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, prepare as directed on package
  • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

Tools you will need:

  • pastry brush
  • measuring cup
  • measuring spoons
  • small pan
  • fork
  • cookie sheet
  • parchment paper or a silicone mat

IMG_2180Pre-heat your oven to 400ºF.

Start by lightly cooking the chopped mushrooms in a pan with a little bit of olive oil at medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until mushrooms are soft, about 3-4 minutes.

Remove from heat and let it cool while you prep the pastry sheet. IMG_2182Gently roll out the thawed pastry sheet on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

Fold in each side about 1/2 inch in to give it a border. If you want to get fancy, you can press the tines into the edges to create a pattern. Totally optional! IMG_2184This next part is not optional, but really important for the puff pastry to not puff up in the middle. Take the fork and poke holes evenly through the center. IMG_2187Now take the cooked mushrooms and spread it evenly on the pastry sheet. IMG_2188For the next part, if you have ever built your own pizza this is not that different. Pile on other toppings in whatever pattern you want to create.

I laid down strips of bell pepper in alternating colors over the mushrooms and sprinkled spoons of crumbled goat cheese and spread the grill chicken pieces over the whole thing.IMG_2191For the final touch, dip a pastry brush into the egg and cover the edges with a light egg wash. IMG_2192IMG_2194The puff pastry box said to bake this for 20-22 minutes, but I needed to bake it for a total of 30 minutes until the edges looked golden brown and the goat cheese had a slightly toasted tinge to ensure that the whole tart was fully baked. IMG_2200Let the tart cool for about 10 minutes and cut with a knife or a pizza cutter. Serve warm with a nice side salad. IMG_2203The puff pastry was flaky and crispy along the edges and the creamy goat cheese balanced out the sweet bell peppers and the umami of the mushrooms. As a meal entree, the chicken definitely helped give it some more fullness.

I always have a pastry sheets stored in the freeze just in case I want to whip up another tart!

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Healthier Creamy Wild Rice Chicken Soup

IMG_2140 Has anyone ever made a whole recipe just because of one ingredient? I do that all the time, even when it seems impractical or counterproductive. I made this delicious, creamy hearty wild rice and chicken soup for two reasons:

  1. it’s freaking delicious
  2. because I had a container of sour cream

Seems silly just for sour cream, but I had all the other ingredients and a lot of free time. I loosely followed this Cream of Turkey & Wild Rice Soup from Eating WellIMG_2130Step 1. First things first, let’s cook the wild rice. This will take almost 40 minutes, so best to let it cook while we put everything else together. Prepare the rice as the package instructs. You will need about 1 – 1 1/2 cup cooked wild rice. I never realized how expensive wild rice was until I bought it for the first time I made this recipe. The bag I bought was about $12. Yikes! Definitely a grocery splurge. But so worth it if you consider that wild rice tastes great and has a nutty flavor but fills you up with lots of fiber and essential minerals like zinc and folate.

Step 2. You will need:

  • a small pot
  • measuring cup
  • measuring spoon
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 cups of sliced mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrots (I had to make due with baby carrots and extra shredded carrots)

IMG_2131Heat up the olive oil over medium heat in the pot. Add in all the vegetables and cook until softened, for about 5 minutes. IMG_2132Step 2. You will need:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • pepper

Add in the flour and coat the cooked vegetables until browned. Sprinkle salt and pepper in for flavor. Cook everything for about 2 minutes. IMG_2133Step 3. Add in:

  • 32 oz of reduced sodium chicken broth (4 cups)

Bring the broth to boil and lower the heat to simmer. IMG_2134Step 4. Add in:

  • 3 cups of shredded chicken (or turkey if you’d like)
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat or fat-free sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley or dried parsley

Add in the chicken and stir. IMG_2136Step 5. Add in the sour cream and parsley and stir until all ingredients are combined.       Once the soup is heated through, lower the heat enough to just keep the pot warm. Your wild rice should be done soon. Once the rice is ready, add 1 to 1 1/2 cups to the soup and mix well. IMG_2139

IMG_2141Just in time for a rainy day (on the third day of summer, of course, Seattle!)…that’s okay, I got my Netflix and a bowl of this yummy warm soup!

Basil Cream Chicken

This recipe for Basil Cream Chicken is fast and easy, but looks and tastes fancy-pants-y. Great way to make a tasty meal from boring old chicken breasts. Be warned though, definitely not one of those light, healthy recipes! For this recipe you will need:

  • 4 chicken breasts (skinless and boneless)
  • 1/4 cup milk (or plain soy milk)
  • 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs (I got a bag from Trader Joe’s -great buy!)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 4oz jar of pimento peppers, drained (optional)

Start by placing the milk and bread crumbs in two separate shallow bowls.

Dip and cover the chicken breasts in the milk then the coat with bread crumbs evenly.

Heat the butter with medium heat in a shallow pan and pan fry the chicken, flipping it occasionally on each side. Depending on the thickness of the chicken it may take 10-20 mins.

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Remove the chicken and to keep warm I kept them covered with a glass pot cover. Immediately pour 1/2 cup of chicken broth into the pan and heat up. Stir to loosen the leftover bits in the pan.

When it comes to a boil, turn down the heat and add in the heavy cream (and pimentos if you’d like to add those). Stir for 1 minute and turn down the heat to low just enough to keep it warm.

2013-05-22 19.51.21Add in the parmesan cheese, chopped basil, and black pepper. Stir and sniff that wonderful rich smell from the cheese and fresh basil- *sniff* ahhh.

2013-05-22 19.53.44I served the chicken with a side of bowtie pasta – the sauce makes it a perfect combo! And a generous side of steam broccoli to balance out the rich cream sauce, gotta the greens in.

2013-05-22 20.09.23Dinner is served!

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A Sweet Thanksgiving

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Last night’s pre-Thanksgiving home made meal: Chicken with Mushroom and White Wine Sauce (Epicurious), Broccolini, Garlicky Red Mash Potatoes (Allrecipes). There was Pumpkin Creme Brulee (William-Sanoma) that followed.

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Yes the two of us ate all four of them….no shame.

A Sweet Thanksgiving

So thankful for my followers and readers! Hope you all have a warm, wonderful Turkey Day full of yummy food and good people.

I made some Delicious Pumpkin Bread last night for tonight’s festivities.

Happy 2013 + Honey Garlic Chicken!

HAPPY 2013  readers!

 May this year be full of good intentions, good people and good food!

My not-so-pro picture of fireworks at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Jan.1, 2013

Fireworks at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Jan.1, 2013

While I decided to try something new this year and NOT make resolutions, if I did…it would be to try more new recipes!! I’ve been itchin’ to try out my new slow cooker that I got for Christmas! From what I’ve heard- this baby is multi-talented! After perusing through tons of drool-worthy slow cooker recipes, I chose to try Honey Garlic Chicken from Lovin’ From the Oven. Just a few simple ingredients and a few simple steps, seemed pretty easy to start off my slow cooker venture!

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cheap and perfect portions from the Target grocery section

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I’m embarrassed to say that I actually had to go out and buy all these ingredients! Who doesn’t have ketchup at home?!

  • 3-4 chicken breast fillets (frozen/ thawed or fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey

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Mix well until it becomes a lovely glaze and pour evenly over fillets that are placed flatly at the bottom of the stoneware.

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 And it’s ready to sllllllooowwwwlllyyyyyy cook for 6 hours. By hour 1 my whole apartment started smelling so amazing, I kept taking peeks through the glass lid, wondering “Is it done yet?!”

So after washing some dishes, watching TV, purging my closet, cleaning my room, crafting a DIY T-shirt, napping, and seeing some friends = 6 hours later:

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 VOILA! Honey Garlic Slow-cooked Chicken on a bed of Trader Joe’s multigrain pilaf and steamed veggies.

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The sauce tasted very sweet and tangy, I would’ve preferred more honey flavor than ketchup flavor. The flavor penetrated into the fillet for about 2 millimeters and the rest of the chicken did not get a lot of the honey-garlic flavor, I would try to marinate it first or even cut the meat into smaller pieces, maybe?

DSCN3165 This was a great first slow cooker experience, I can not wait to try more….me thinks pork chops!

Soup + Cheddar Biscuits Lunch

I am known to only bake at night, but on this nice lazy Sunday I manage to try some new recipes while the sun is still out!

When I make something, it’s usually brought about by a “recipe of opportunity” as I like to call it. I rarely actually have something in mind I want to make. It’s not “oh I want to make *this* I will go by the specific ingredients” it’s usually more like, “oh I have some  _______ left over, what can I make with this?” and this is where Allrecipes.com‘s ingredient search flies in to the rescue.

I had some buttermilk left over from my Zombie Cupcake recipe and some celery, broccoli, and potatoes I got from work (Poor social worker….don’t judge me.)

Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

Ready..set…go!

adding buttermilk to the dry mix

being the kitchen noob that I am I had no idea what a “biscuit cutter” is…I used a knife- it worked.

This was a easy, quick recipe- with simple ingredients you can find at home, the only thing I needed to buy was the sharp cheddar cheese. I did omit the cayenne pepper because I did not have any on hand.

Fluffy cheddar biscuits!

This was my first try making savory biscuits and they turned out quite tasty, I lost track of how many I was nibbling on while I was making the soup!

I actually find cooking a lot more challenging than baking sweets, but I’ve eased into the cooking realm with soups and chili. Finding a decent recipe for celery was surprisingly hard. What the hell do you do with celery (besides eat it raw with peanut butter?!)

Peanut Butter Vegetable Chicken Soup 

This was a great healthy recipe with loads of every kind of veggie you can think of and no need to add butter or oil! The peanut butter gives it a southeast/Thai-style flavor, slightly sweet and nutty.

Round 2! (Yes that is my laptop sitting on top of the toaster oven.)

veggies galore!

the final product

Soup + Biscuits = delicious light lunch