Monday, December 28, 2009

Parsley-Paprika Potatoes

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! I'm still playing some catch up on all the recipes I've made this month. These mashed potatoes were a fabulous side dish to our dinner early this month (the main dish is next to come).

This recipe, once again, comes from Rachael Ray's Big Orange Book. We thought these potatoes were fabulous! We liked the spice of the hot sauce and the flavor of the sweet paprika all at once.


4 pounds baby red-skinned or baby Yukon gold potatoes, halved if large
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, a couple of handfuls, finely chopped
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon sweet paprika, a palmful
Black Pepper
Place the potatoes in a deep pot and cover with water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water boils, salt the water and cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return to the hot pot. Add the butter, stock, parsley, hot sauce, and paprika and smash the potatoes to the desired consistency. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Elsa's Baked Ziti

Believe it or not, even without a real oven, I was able to make this delicious ziti recipe for lunch one day! It was extremely easy and quick. The original recipe is for 4-6 people, but I halved the recipe. I think what makes this ziti recipe so different than the others is the McCormick's grill seasoning. While it sounds odd to add grill seasoning to your pasta, it's actually quite tasty against the ricotta texture!


1 pound ziti rigate (with ridges) or rigatoni
2 cups ricotta cheese
Grill Seasoning, such as McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning
A couple of handfuls of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tablespoon EVOO (extra-virgin-olive-oil)
1 to 2 garlic cloves, chopped
Crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
A few fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water, add the pasta, and cook to al dente.

Drain the ricotta cheese in a strainer or a colander lined with paper towels. Place the drained ricotta in a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish and season with some grill seasoning and a few handfuls of Parm Cheese.

While the pasta cooks, heat the EVOO in a small pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and a pinch or two of red pepper flakes and sauté for minute or two, then stir in the tomatoes and basil. Reduce the heat to low.

Drain the pasta and toss with the cheese mixture. Add the tomato sauce, top the pasta with more Parm, and bake until the cheese browns, about 15 minutes.

This is an easy dinner meal or an easy one to prepare for to go lunches for the week!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Recipes Not Requiring an Oven or a Stove

Are you going through a kitchen remodel? Has your stove quit on you? Did the oven bake itself and die? Haha! If you are out of your stove or your oven, hopefully the few recipes I've shared here will be able to help you. I'm not sure if you've noticed, but I actually added a 'No-Stove' and 'No-Oven' tag to the tags of my blog. Each recipe I post, I tag them if they do not require an oven, a stove, or both.

So, if you are looking for a recipe that doesn't require and oven, look to the right and click on the 'No-Oven' tab. Your search results will provide you with recipes not requiring you to "set the oven to 350." :) The same applies to any recipes that you would like to find that do not require a stove/cooktop. Some of them don't require either!

I hope this helps you in making it though without one of your major kitchen appliances! The KristaKooks kitchen is currently making it through without an oven. I'm in your shoes!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Devilish Sesame Chicken with Green Beans and Scallion Rice

I did not start eating Chinese food until college, I think, simply because I never knew I liked it! I don't remember the first time I had it, but now I love it! When I read through this recipe, I was confident I would love this recipe. Although, as I prepared the meal, I had my doubts. I need not have had those doubts because this is an absolutely delicious meal. My sous chef and I gobbled this one up!

This recipe comes from Rachael Ray's Big Orange book, but it is apparently also found in her Everyday Magazine. The portions of this recipe that I will list are those that come from her Big Orange Book, which is part of the 'Meals for One' chapter. Thus, the recipe listed below is meant for one, but the clickable recipe above is the portions for 4 servings.

1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup white rice
3/4 cup chicken stock

2 scallions, finely chopped
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 rounded teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon tamari (aged soy sauce)
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

In a small skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the rice and toast for a minute or two, then add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock. Stir and reduce the heat to low, cover the pan with a small plate or aluminum foil, and cook until the rice is tender, about 17 minutes. Add the scallions to the rice in the last minute of cooking time.

Bring 1 inch of water to to a boil in a second small pan and salt it. Add the beans and cook for 2 minutes, then drain them and run them under cold water to set the green color. Set aside.

When the rice has cooked for about 8 minutes, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over high heat until it ripples. Add the chicken and cook until it is lightly golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the hot sauce, mustard, tamari, honey, and the remaining 1/4 cup chicken stock.

Add the green beans to the chicken and peppers and toss for 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables and toss for a minutes or two to heat through. Remove from the heat and drizzle the sesame oil over the chicken.

Fluff the rice with a fork and transfer to a shallow bowl. Top with the chicken and garnish with the sesame seeds.

We were very impressed with the taste of freshness, the flavor filled rice, and the overall impressive taste of this recipe!


Monday, December 7, 2009

Creamy Chicken and Rigatoni

Can I just say, OMG DELICIOUS!!!! I am telling you right now, you have no reason not to make this meal...unless your stove is out. That's the only reason I'll allow. We thought this was one of the best pastas we have ever eaten.

I resorted to an older cookbook of mine for this pasta. The cookbook is an oldie but goodie. I actually used it for the Italian Sausage Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Cream post.

2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) dice tomatoes, well drained
1 cup whipping (heavy) cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper
1 1/3 cups uncooked rigatoni pasta (4 ounces)
1/2 bag (16-0unce size) frozen broccoli, red pepper, onions and mushrooms, thawed and well drained
Shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired

Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, garlic, basil and oregano in oil about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until chicken is no longer pink in center.

Stir in tomatoes, whipping cream, salt, pepper and red pepper. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered about 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Stir pasta and vegetables into chicken mixture; cook until hot. Serve with cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

If you are making this for a family of 4, I would suggest doubling the recipe. I made the full recipe for the 2 of us, and we only had one serving left for leftovers.

Again, we were completely surprised as how flavorful and tasty this pasta tasted, and I'm already thinking about when I need to make it again. Note: I rarely make anything twice.

Baby Red Potato Salad

It's been a while ago, but one night I decided I would make a healthier 'meat and potatoes' dish for my sous chef. When I think healthy, I think Gina. :) Thus, I decided to try her Baby Red Potato Salad as a side for our steaks.

You should definitely have a look at her posting of this salad as I let our potatoes cook too long, thus mine have a mushier texture. Personally, I like potatoes that way, even in potato salad, so it wasn't a problem for us. However, I can imagine that most people would probably like them much better as Gina made them since they weren't so mushy.

That said, these were a yummy and refreshing side!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sautéed Zucchini with Plum Tomatoes

When I made the Mac N' Seafood the other night, I wanted a great side to go with it. Thus, I check out Gina's blog once more. I love what she cooks up! I decided upon this fresh and tasy side: Sautéed Zucchini with Plum Tomatoes. Don't be discouraged by the Herbs de Provence though; I highly suggest making these types of spice blends on your own. I used Emeril's recipe for Herbs De Provence to make my own blend. I went to Bed Bath & Beyond to buy a few of these to make my spice blends. They are magnetic and are affixed to our refrigerator.

We really loved the fresh taste of this recipe since it's basically all fresh ingredients! It's also a very quick side dish.
Here's the side dish accompanying the Mac N' Seafood!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mac N' Seafood

Several weeks ago, I was very eager to make something with scallops. My intrigue was sparked by the weekly grocery ads as they were supposedly on sale. Little did I know that the nearest 2 HEB stores (a grocery store in Texas) to me did not have seafood counters! I didn't know that was even possible! I then ventured to our nearest Kroger (yes, that would be my third trip to a grocery store just to find scallops), and even they didn't have fresh scallops. I had buy them in the bag. Not the worst thing in the world, but it still wasn't what I set out to buy.

Nonetheless, I had my sights set on making Rachael Ray's Milk Mac N' Seafood. (Note: It's only called Milk Mac N' Seafood because, that week, she was gearing up for the Oscars and chose to highlight each movie up for film of the year with it's own recipe.)


1 bulb garlic
1 tablespoon EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus additional for drizzling
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1/4 cup (about a handful) flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Salt and ground black pepper
1 pound macaroni or small shells
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup white wine or sherry
1 1/2 cups milk
A few grates fresh nutmeg
1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
1 pound bay scallops


Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Slice 1/4 of an inch off the top of the garlic bulb, exposing the top of all cloves. Place garlic onto a small piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with EVOO. Enclose garlic in a small pouch and roast in oven until cloves are deep golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Squeeze roasted garlic cloves out of bulb and into a medium mixing bowl. Mash into a paste with a fork. Add breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, some salt and pepper to bowl, and stir to combine. Reserve.

Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil water. When water comes up to a full boil, season with salt. Drop macaroni and cook to al dente according to package directions. Drain cooked pasta and reserve in pot it was cooked in.

Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat with the butter. When the butter has melted, sprinkle the flour over top and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the white wine, milk, nutmeg, some salt and pepper into the sauce and bring up to a bubble. Simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Yields: 4-6 servings
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Slice 1/4 of an inch off the top of the garlic bulb, exposing the top of all cloves. Place garlic onto a small piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with EVOO. Enclose garlic in a small pouch and roast in oven until cloves are deep golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
Squeeze roasted garlic cloves out of bulb and into a medium mixing bowl. Mash into a paste with a fork. Add breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, some salt and pepper to bowl, and stir to combine. Reserve.

Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil water. When water comes up to a full boil, season with salt. Drop macaroni and cook to al dente according to package directions. Drain cooked pasta and reserve in pot it was cooked in.

Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat with the butter. When the butter has melted, sprinkle the flour over top and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the white wine, milk, nutmeg, some salt and pepper into the sauce and bring up to a bubble. Simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Remove the sauce from heat and stir in bay scallops, 1 cup Parmigiano (eyeball it) and Gruyere, reserving a handful of Gruyere for the tops. Stir to melt cheeses then toss sauce with cooked pasta. Transfer mac to six ramekins and top with the reserved breadcrumb mixture and the reserved cheese.
Arrange ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until tops are golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.
I absolutely loved this dish! While mac n' cheese is good, it can sometimes make you feel sluggish. This recipe was not the normal mac n' cheese and tasted very fresh! I think you could even make this with shrimp also if you wanted.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

As you may have read, my sous chef and I have a new kitchen! Sadly, the oven in our new kitchen is in need of a funeral and a new one is on the 'need' list. In this time, I'm taking a lot of help from my crockpot, the grocery store, and my 'No-Oven' tag.

Our first meal in our new home was this taco meal. Whenever I ask my sous chef to take care of dinner, his first response is a higher pitched, 12 year old like, question of "TACOS?!" It's kinda cute ;) Anyway, in honor of him, I decided to make him some slow cooked chicken for soft tacos.

As you might recall from my Chicken Enchiladas post, I made a Mexican Spice Blend. I still have that blend on hand, and I chose to use this blend for this slow-cooked chicken. I took 2 chicken breasts, added a couple of teaspoons of olive oil, and added about 2 teaspoons of the spice blend to the crockpot. You can cook this chicken to the time you need, but I would suggest putting your chicken in frozen if you plan to cook it for longer than 6 hours.

I took some additional help from the grocery store in purchasing some fresh salsa and fresh pico de gallo. We added shredded cheese and sour cream, as well. We had a terrific and delicious simple meal at home and it tasted so fresh! Hope this helps you for dinner on a night when you need something easy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crockpot 3 Bean Turkey Chili

I made another one of Gina's fabulous recipes! My sous chef and I were about to move, and I wanted something that wouldn't require a lot of effort to reheat for leftovers if needed.

I love this chili recipe because it got me eating things I'd never eaten before, like chickpeas! Plus, it was a super easy recipe, just like my last post. All I had to do was cook up the turkey and onion, then toss it in the crockpot with all the other ingredients!
If you like Frito's with your chili, like my sous chef, don't forget to pick some up at the store when you shop for these ingredients :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Baked Chicken with Dijon and Lime

If you follow along, you've probably seen me make a few of Gina's recipes from Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes. For lunch one day, I just had to make another one of her delicious looking recipes!

Let me just say that I don't know of a homemade recipe that could be any easier?! That's a good thing! It makes this recipe that much more worth it.

The recipe creates a coating that goes all into one bowl, then you cover the chicken in the sauce. That's it! Here's the chicken before they went in the oven!
And look how delicious when they come out!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fried Dill Pickles

We're chuggin' along at the 75th post :) Any suggestions for 100? I've been thinking about it since 50, but I just don't know what I want to do to celebrate 100.

Anyway, for the 75th, I made one of my sous chef's FAVORITE appetizers. He and I have made them before when we were in college, but the batch we made then just wasn't right. It was way too salty. We still ate them, but they weren't our favorite.
This time around, I stumbled upon the perfect recipe as these were better than any I have ever tasted in a restaurant before. This recipe from was fabulous!Ingredients
1 pint sliced dill pickles, undrained
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons ground red pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
Vegetable oil

Drain pickles, reserving 2/3-cup pickle juice. Press pickles between paper towels. Combine 2/3 cup pickle juice, egg, 1 tablespoon flour, and hot sauce. Stir well and set aside.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour with ground red pepper, garlic powder, salt, and paprika. Blend well. Dip pickles in egg mixture, then dredge in flour mixture. Fry coated pickles in 375-degree oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Yes, these aren't the healthiest things in the world, but they make great finger foods for a party where hopefully each person only eats a few :) This is by far the best fried pickle recipe I have ever had. Grab some fat free ranch at the store, too, for your fried pickle dipping sauce.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chicken "Divine"

It's been a long time, I know, but as you can tell from my previous post, we've moved! My sous chef and I have a new place to cook! Not much baking will be going on because the oven in our new abode is useless, but that's ok. That handy 'No-Oven' tag on the right will help me cook in our new kitchen!

This recipe is one from nearly a month ago, but that doesn't change how delicious it is! This is the first recipe that I've made from my Bride & Groom cookbook that we got as a wedding gift.Ingredients
4 cups fresh broccoli florets, or 2 packages (10 oz. each) frozen broccoli florets, thawed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay
1 jar (16 oz.) Alfredo sauce, such as Classico
2 cups (4 oz.) grated smoked Gouda or Edam cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 cups cooked penne, macaroni or orecchiette (about 3 cups dried)
2 cups shredded roast chicken, home cooked or purchased
1/4 cup dry Italian-style bread crumbs
Paprika for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

If using fresh broccoli, cook the florets in a steamer until tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking and drain thoroughly. If using thawed frozen broccoli, squeeze out the excess liquid. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, thyme, kosher salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, increase the heat to high, and cook until the liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the Alfredo sauce, 1/2 cup of the cheese, the milk, and nutmeg. Then stir in the cooked pasta, broccoli, and chicken and mix thoroughly.

Transfer to an 8 or 9-inch square baking dish.
Top with the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese and the bread crumbs. Sprinkle with paprika, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more.
Tip: This casserole can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated. It can also be assembled and then frozen. If the casserole was frozen, thaw in the refrigerator and bake as directed.

Yum! This dish was an absolute hit for both myself and my sous chef. It also tastes great as leftovers, and, yes, you will have leftovers. I would take some help from the grocery store, if I was you. Most grocery store are now selling roasted chickens, which is what I used. Yes, you could roast your own chicken, but that will definitely take longer. However you decide to make this recipe, it will certainly be delicious! Enjoy :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Krista Kooks is getting a new kitchen and dining room!

Sorry all! I definitely have recipes to share with you, but I'm so swamped right now.

That said, I'm so excited about having a dining room for people to come over and have dinner with my sous chef and I! I am really trying to make it appealing, and I'm looking for your help :)

Anyone have any suggestions for dining room colors? I'd love to hear your opinions!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Slow-Cooked Pulled BBQ (Bar-B-Que) Chicken

Work was crazy. You’re exhausted. You don’t feel like preparing a meal when you get home. Fortunately, you walk in the door and the smell of BBQ hits your nose and you remember, “Oh yeah! I put BBQ chicken in the crockpot this morning!” It’s your lucky day :)

Oh yes, this stuff is yummy and virtually effortless. From my trusty Crockpot cookbookHere’s the recipe:

1 small white or yellow onion, chopped
1 small clove of garlic, minced
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 c. ketchup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
hamburger buns (or Texas Toast like KristaKooks used)

Sprinkle onion and garlic over bottom of the crock and arrange the chicken thighs on top.

In a small bowl, stir together the ketchup, cider vinegar, brown sugar, oil, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, chipotle chili powder, and salt; pour over chicken thighs. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours, until chicken is fork-tender and pulls apart easily.

Remove the chicken from the slow cooker. With two forks, pull apart the meat into shredded chunks; return to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and leave on the KEEP WARM setting until ready to serve. Spoon onto warm hamburger buns.My sous chef and I are big fans of this recipe! The only problem that I have with this recipe is that the BBQ is all sweet. If you are a sweet only person when it comes to BBQ sauce, then this will be no problem for you. However, I wanted mine to have some more spice. Thus, next time, I think I'd like to add pepper, cayenne pepper, more chipotle pepper, or something else to give it some heat. I like the sweet taste, but I want to taste some spice, too.

This is a crazy easy recipe and totally delicious! find your busiest week this week and get this meal prepared for it :) You'll be glad you did!


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