Fun: Cooking Music Playlist

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Cooking Music PlaylistTwo of my favorite things are cooking and music.  I find it difficult to focus in the kitchen without music in my ears.  I usually throw together a random cooking playlist or load a previous evenings culinary musical selection.

I got to thinking about the music I choose and if it had any correlation to the type of food I was preparing.  I quickly came to realize there is either no correlation, or to find said connection would require some
Dr. Ian Malcolm level mathematics.  Since Dr. Malcolm has yet to answer any of my fanboy email I’m going with an absence of any attractors, strange or otherwise.

I thought I might share a short list of some of the more common songs that echo through the hallowed halls of my kitchen when I am gettin’ my culinary thang on.  I’d really be interested in what some of you folks listen to.  I’ve always found the best way to new music is through the recommendation of friends, so please share your playlists!   So onto my list…

Madness – Muse
Steal My Sunshine – Len
South Side – Moby & Gwen Stefani
Still Alive – Portal closing credits song (Jonathon Coulton)
Humpty Dance – Digital Underground

Mike’s comments:

What have you been listening to in your kitchen this week?


Recipe: One Skillet Cheesy Lasagna

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One Skillet Cheesy LasagnaEstimated Cost:  $12.00

Prep Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time:  30 minutes

Serves:  6

This one skillet meal is a yummy lasagna adaptation.  Using some frozen vegetables, prepared sauce, and shredded cheese this recipe couldn’t be easier to prepare or cleanup!

1/2 lb. bulk Italian pork sausage
1/2 lb. ground beef
2 cups water
1 bag (16 oz.) pepper stir-fry frozen vegetables, thawed and drained
1 can (18 oz.) Progresso Recipe Starters creamy three cheese cooking sauce
3 cups uncooked malfada pasta (mini lasagna) OR extra wide egg noodles
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning OR oregano
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
chopped fresh or whole basil leaves, if desired

1. In a large sauté pan, cook sausage and ground beef over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink; drain.

2. Stir in water, stir-fry veggies, sauce, pasta, and Italian seasoning. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.

3. Reduce heat to medium; simmer uncovered about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender. Remove from heat; sprinkle with cheese. Cover, let stand 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish with basil if desired.

Mike’s comments:

Sometimes I want to make One Skillet Cheesy Lasagna and only have the sausage or the ground beef. You can easily use 1 pound of either of the meats as opposed to a 1/2 pound of each, I’ve had this recipe both ways. If you use 1 pound of ground beef, increase the Italian seasoning (or oregano) to 3 teaspoons.

Homemade garlic bread goes really well with this one skillet meal. My favorite: Easy Homemade Cheesy Garlic Bread.

If you’d rather pair this dish with a salad, try: Hostess Salad Bowl with Tangy Tomato Dressing.

Or, if you’re like me, serve all three!

Recipe: One Skillet Easy Chicken Puttanesca

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Easy Chicken PuttanescaEstimated Cost:  $15.00

Prep Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time:  25 minutes

Serves:  4

Puttanesca is a tomato based cooking sauce, flavored  with garlic, anchovies, capers, and olives.  Its etymology is quite interesting.  Originally from the Italian puttanesca (“like a prostitute”) whose root word was puttana (“prostitute”).  We are using its modern English derivative in this super easy, incredibly tasty, and extremely elegant one-skillet dish.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/4 lb.s skinless, boneless breast halves
3 cloves garlic, minced (how to)
1 can (10.5 oz.) condensed French onion soup
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, cut in half
3 Tbs. capers, rinsed and drained
1/8 tsp. cayenne (crushed red pepper)
2 tsp. anchovy paste

1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan, over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 8-10 minutes, until well browned on both sides. Remove the chicken from the skillet and drain on paper towel.

2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the soup, tomatoes (with liquid), olives, capers, red pepper and anchovy paste, and heat to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes.

3. Return the chicken to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Mike’s comments:

If you have leftovers, simply cube up the chicken, reheat, and serve over white rice, or my favorite, linguine.

Original Recipe Source: Campbell’s Kitchen

Recipe: Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken

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Slow Cooker Teriyaki ChickenEstimated Cost:  $12.00

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Slow Cooker Time:  4 hours

Serves:  4

Classic teriyaki is a cooking technique used in Japanese cuisine in which foods are broiled or grilled while being basted in a marinade based on soy sauce, mirin, and sugar.   In North America, any dish made with a teriyaki-like sauce is described as teriyaki.  Sesame and garlic, ingredients not generally found in Japanese teriyaki, have found their way into our westernized mutations.  The wonderful flavor of teriyaki is combined with the ease of crock pot cookery in this delicious recipe.

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
4 1/2 Tbs. cider vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced (how to)
1 tsp. fresh ginger, finely grated (how to)
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/4 cup sesame seeds
prepared white rice

1. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic, ginger, and pepper; whisk to combine.

2. Arrange chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour sauce over chicken and cook on LOW for 4 hours or HIGH for two hours.

3. In a medium sauté pan. toast the sesame seeds over medium heat until they are lightly browned and fragrant.

4. Remove chicken from slow cooker and roll in toasted sesame seeds. Serve over rice.

Mike’s comments:

Although Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken is delish served over rice, I like it even better over prepared cellophane noodles.

Major culinary inspiration from: Rachel Schultz: Food, Décor, Books, and Quirkiness

Recipe: Slow Cooker Sauerbraten

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Slow Cooker SauerbratenEstimated Cost:  $14.00

Prep Time:  30 minutes

Slow Cooker Time:  8 hours

Marination Time:  2 days

Serves:  8

German for, I think, “sour roast”, Sauerbraten is essentially a German pot roast.  Sauerbraten can be prepared from a variety of meats, including beef (most commonly), venison, lamb, mutton, and pork.   In my opinion, Sauerbraten’s secret is that it is marinated for several days in a mixture of vinegar and/or wine, water, herbs, spices, and seasonings.  Far be it for a simple Irishman to know the secret of what is considered one of the national dishes of Germany. I can tell you, however, that it is delicious, and this recipe makes it oh-so-easy to prepare.

2 cups water
1 cup red wine
1 cup cider vinegar
1 lemon, sliced
1 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (how to)
10 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
2 Tbs. salt
1 tsp. whole peppercorns
4 lb. boneless beef chuck roast
2 cups onions, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, sliced
8 gingersnap cookies, crushed

1. In a large saucepan, heat water, wine, vinegar, lemon, 1/2 cup of the onion, garlic, cloves, bay leaves, sugar, salt, and peppercorns, over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Allow mixture to cool and pour into a large resealable plastic bag. Add beef roast, coat with marinade, squeeze out excess air, and seal bag. Marinate in the refrigerator 2 to 3 days, turning every 12 hours or so.

2. Place remaining 1/2 cup of onions, carrots, and celery in the slow cooker. Remove roast from marinade and place on top of the vegetables in the crock.

3. In a large bowl, strain the marinade from the plastic bag; discard the strained bits, retaining the juice. Pour 2 1/2 cups of the juice over roast; refrigerate and reserve remaining juice.

4. Cover and cook roast on LOW for 8 hours. Turn slow cooker off. Transfer roast to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil. Strain cooking liquid from the slow cooker back into the large bowl with the remaining juice you reserved in step #3. Return the strained vegetables to the slow cooker.

5. In a large saucepan, heat about 3 cups of the reserved juice and the gingersnaps over medium heat, adding reserved juice as needed, until gravy is thickened, about 10 minutes.

Mike’s comments:

Don’t let the multiple stages of straining intimidate you. The actual work-time in the kitchen for this recipe isn’t that great. Although it takes a few days to make, the majority of that time is spent in the fridge marinating or in the crock pot slow cooking.

Serve Sauerbraten with the same type sides you would any pot roast. Mashed potatoes or spätzle are two of my favorites.

Recipe: Chicken & Shrimp Jambalaya

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Chicken & Shrimp JambalayaEstimated Cost:  $14.00

Prep Time:  25 minutes

Cooking Time:  55 minutes

Serves:  6

I wore the photographs off my original “Campbell’s Soup Cook Book”.  It was one of those soft-cover jobs strategically placed just inches from your fingertips at the grocery checkout, daring you not to pick them up when you are at your hungriest.  Well I picked it up and am really glad I did.   Since before the advent of the Internet, Campbell’s has been committed to supporting their customers with recipes that are affordable, quick, and delicious.   With only minor modification, I lifted this gem off their excellent library of online recipes.

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/4 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lg. onion, diced
1 med. green pepper, diced
2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced (how to)
1 can (10.75 oz.) Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup
2 cups water
1 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
1/2 lb. fresh OR thawed frozen medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lg. tomato, chopped, if desired
chopped fresh parsley, if desired

1. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until well browned, stirring occasionally.

2. Stir the onion, pepper, Cajun seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic in the sauté pan and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Stir the tomato soup, water and rice in the sauté pan and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through and the rice is tender. Stir in the tomato and parsley, if desired. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Mike’s comments:

I really enjoy blending my own Cajun seasoning but that doesn’t mean you have to. There are many, really good, Cajun blends on the market, such as Slap Ya’ Mama Cajun seasoning and Zatarain’s Creole seasoning.

Major Recipe Inspiration Source: Campbell’s Kitchen

Recipe: Salsa Verde Corn & Bean Salad

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Salsa Verde Corn and Bean SaladEstimated Cost:  $8.00

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Chill Time:  2 hours (optional)

Serves:  5

Salsa Verde,  a green sauce of tomatillos, chili peppers, cilantro, garlic, and onion, is one of my favorite things in the world.  Whether I am using it as an ingredient in a flavorful recipe such as Salsa Verde Corn & Bean Salad, pouring it over my enchiladas (Simple Green Enchiladas), or just using it as a dip for my tortilla chips, it always makes my tummy smile.  This is a simple, affordable, and delicious summer salad and Salsa Verde gives it culinary soul.

1 1/4 cups garlic and lime salsa Verde
1 cup red pepper, diced
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed and drained
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced
2 Tbs. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

1. In a medium bowl, combine the salsa, pepper, corn, beans, mango and cilantro; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Mike’s comments:

It is very important to make sure the corn and black beans are well drained in this recipe. Failure to do so leaves you with more of a dip, then a salad (speaking from experience).

If you are having troubles finding garlic and lime salsa Verde at your grocery store you can substitute the same amount of regular Salsa Verde, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1 tablespoon of lime juice.

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