Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Elsa's Beef and Burgundy

I was up for a challenge this week in my culinary adventures, so I decide to select a recipe from the longer-than-30-minutes section of my Big Orange Book cookbook.
This recipe is one of Rachael Ray's mother's recipe, and my sous chef and I really liked it. Although, because I cooked therefore he has to clean, my sous chef was not impressed with the cleanup process. Haha! I will say there are a lot of dishes involved in this recipe. If you visit the recipe link, you'll see there is a video of Rachel making this recipe on her daytime show. I noticed a couple of things wrong with the process and order when she did it on the show, but it's not that big of a deal. Just make sure you follow the recipe as you make this tasty dish. I would also suggest halving the recipe, as I did. There's just too much in a whole recipe. Even with halving this recipe, we had enough for two bowls full each and leftovers!
Once the dish was prepared, here's the yummy presentation to the table! Oh, and I am no wine connoisseur, so I used a Pinot Noir in this recipe. I think it works well, but you can tell me what you think when you make this.
My sous chef said he liked the sweet and sour taste of this recipe..."kind of like Chinese," he said. Haha!
If you're up for a challenge and make this, let me know what you think and how it works for you!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cheddar Soup with Tortilla Crunchies

Last week, my sous chef was down for the count with a cold, and he actually had to stay home from work one day because he was lacking that much energy. That's not typical or normal for him. Thus, I felt bad and wanted to make him a terrific soup, but I don't make soups! I had no go-to recipes for soup because I am just not a soup eater. Then I remembered that the only thing I really know as soup is Campbell's. I think that's why I don't know good homemade soup and how wonderful it tastes.

Well, guess where I turned? Well where else have I turned in the past few weeks?!

Haha, yes, of course. So, I had narrowed it down to two soups and thought for sure, if given the choice, my sous chef would choose the soup with chorizo in it. To my surprise, he didn't. He was confident in his decision to select the cheddar soup! "Alright," I said, and I headed off to the grocery store while he snoozed away his cold.

This recipe from the Big Orange Book was delicious! I must say my ailing assistant made a great selection. Look at the delicious peppers and onions in this tasty soup!
Just after the cream and stock are added to the garlic and peppers and the soup begins to simmer! Mmmmm....
Add some chunky salsa, some crunched up blue corn tortilla chips, and dig in! You know you want to :)
Also, there's a new widget at the end of each of KristaKooks posts! If you'd like to share any one of these posts/recipes with anyone, it's now much easier. Click below to share on Facebook, Email, Twitter and more! Hope this helps you in your effort to enjoy Krista Kooks!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Krista Kooks' Kitchen

Well, I don't know what the perception has been, up until now, of what type of kitchen I might be cooking in, but I'm here to show's small, not technologically advanced, and overall pretty simple. I say that to encourage anyone who doesn't think they have what it takes to make anything exciting or fancy in their kitchen. You might be able to tell that the sous chef and I are actually in an apartment!

I show this next photo to show you just some of the spices that we have. I laugh at just how many we have as there is a rack here on the wall as well as spinning rack in the pantry.
You'll also notice from pictures above that I keep the front of the fridge free of clutter :) That said, you'll notice that what normal people put on the front of their fridge, I put on the sides. LOL! Of course, you can also see my favorite kitchen appliance in this picture; my Kitchen Aid Mixer.
I just like the following picture because of the Bistro sign :)
See our pantry below! It's super tiny, but it's really all we need. I like it because it makes me realize exactly what I have and doesn't allow me to buy too much thus causing me to forget about some things that I've purchased.

Voila! Below are all of my cookbooks! You can see the bog orange book sticking out like a sore thumb, and that is the one I've been making a lot of recipes from in the last few weeks.

Well, that's where the magic of Krista Kooks happens folks! I don't know what you might have expected, but, my hope is that you are surprised and that it comes as an encouragement for you to get into your kitchen and get to cooking or baking :)

What do you think?!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Country French Chicken Breasts

Well, it definitely doesn't take much for this easy recipe, but that's why I wanted to try it :) It's a recipe with only 6 ingredients for the whole dinner (or lunch)! You can find the recipe here from Liption Secrets. It uses one of the soup mixes to create a tasty chicken dinner.


2 Tbsp. I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!® Spread (or other butter you already have)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 envelope Lipton® Recipe Secrets® Savory Herb with Garlic Soup Mix
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Hot cooked rice
4 lemon slices (optional)

Melt Spread in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and brown chicken. Stir in Lipton® Recipe Secrets® Savory Herb with Garlic Soup Mix blended with water and lemon juice.

Reduce heat to low and simmer covered 10 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened and chicken is thoroughly cooked.

To serve, arrange chicken over hot rice and spoon sauce over chicken. Garnish, if desired, with lemon slices.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pasta, Peas and Ricotta Fake-Bake

I know it's not a huge landmark just yet, but this is my 60th post! I'm looking forward to 100 and wondering what I should make to celebrate :)

I was getting ready to make (er, possibly go get) lunch the other day, and I persuaded myself into staying home and making lunch here. Smart move, right?! I already purchased the ingredients to make this recipe, so why not make it? This recipe came from Rachel Ray's Big Orange Book, and I thought it was really really tasty. I haven't been 'wowingly' impressed by each and every recipe in this cookbook, but this recipe was definitely WOW! So yummy!

1/4 lb penne or rigatoni or whole wheat pasta
1 tablespoon EVOO
1 tablespoon butter
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup frozen peas
black pepper
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, 3 to 4 springs, finely chopped
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water, add in the pasta, and cook to al dente. Reserve 1/3 cup of the pasta cooking liquid before you drain the pasta.

Preheat the broiler.

Heat the EVOO and butter in a small or medium skillet. Add the scallions and garlic and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, then add in the peas and cook for 2 minutes to heat through. Season with salt, pepper, the lemon zest, and thyme. Add in the drained pasta and reserved cooking water to the skillet along with the ricotta and toss to combine; adjust the seasonings. Top the pasta with the grated cheese, and place the skillet under the broiler to brown 3 minutes.

This is a great meal for one, but I actually doubled the recipe when I made mine because I wanted some left over for my sous chef to take to work. Hopefully he's enjoying some right now! This recipe tastes great leftover, and you can definitely make this easily for yourself. Let me know what you think if you make this!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Potato Bundles

As promised, I'm providing you the recipe for those potato bundles you saw paired with my flank steak I made a while back. I originally saw these posted by Melissa, but, as you'll be able to tell, she originally got them from Pioneer Woman, who is coming out with a cookbook! Melissa slightly, not a lot, changed it from Pioneer Woman, and I think I changed it even more. I was really just looking for something that could be created from things we had in the kitchen :)

Here's what I did to adjust this for just the 2 of us:

Potato Bundles
Serves 2
2 whole Red Potatoes, diced small (1 per person)
1/4 to 1/3 of a Red Onion, diced small
2 Tbsp Butter (1 per bundle)
Splash of Heavy Cream for each bundle
Kosher Salt To Taste
Paprika To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
1/2 teaspoon of your preferred herb (I think we used cilantro)

Pile potatoes and onions on a square of foil. Add tablespoons butter to each foil packet. Splash on cream. Then sprinkle on salt, paprika, and black pepper. Sprinkle minced parsley over the top.
Wrap bundles tightly and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until extremely tender. Serve bundles right on the dinner plate.

These were delicious and a 'man-favorite!' Super easy and tasty.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Golden Chicken Nuggets

Are you seeing the similarity to these and Chick Fila?! I am! These are wonderfully delicious, kid-friendly and easy to make. There's only 4 ingredients! As I'm trying to clear out our pantry/fridge/freezer, I decide to used up more of our Lipton Recipe Secrets packs. Right on the box, you'll find the recipe for these easy to make chicken nuggets, but here is the recipe as well so that you can prepare for your trip to the grocery store.
I only needed about 3 chicken breasts to complete this recipe. If you do 4 chicken breasts, you might need a little more bread crumbs. And, speaking of bread crumbs, I decided to go somewhat healthier on my creations and use whole wheat bread crumbs! That's right; I put a healthy spin on these reputationally bad nuggets. I don't think they are so bad because these were baked chicken nuggets and not fried. Here they are all coated and about to go in the oven.
Oh, and how delicious they look after 15 minutes of baking! Dig-in for some homemade chicken nuggets. Oh...and these are husband friendly, too :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Spring-Summer Ziti

It's cleaning out the pantry time in the Krista Kooks household! I had some frozen peas, asparagus, and lemons that I could stand to use, so I thought this recipe would suit well. Yes, I did have to buy some ingredients, but it's all stuff that got used in this recipe. I resorted back to the Big Orange Book from Rachel Ray.
I didn't know until about 5 minutes ago that she has actually made this recipe on her daytime TV show! Thus, you can actually watch the video of her making this recipe to get a better idea of the recipe before you make it. However, when you are reading the recipe, I noticed she left out the lemon zest that appears in her cookbook. I think the lemon zest adds great flavor, and I would actually suggest more than appears in the recipe. It calls for 1 teaspoon of lemon zest to the mixture when it looks like this.

I think, personally, you should add 2 teaspoons, or even the zest of a whole lemon. It really adds a great tang to the ziti without being overpowering. For a baking pan, I would suggest you bake this recipe in a 9x13 pan because there is a large mass of food in this recipe; tasty food though :)

Enjoy this recipe because it is absolutely delicious! We ate it all!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Special Waffles

Homemade Waffles! Delicious and yum! I've made homemade waffles several times since the sous chef and I have been married, and I decided to make them again this Saturday since he was playing in a Golf Tournament that day.

For recipes like these, I often turn to one of my older cookbooks, which is the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. This time, I decided to make the Special Waffles.

2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups milk
4 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons sugar

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks well, and add the milk and butter. Combine the flour and yolk mixture and beat until smooth. Beat the egg whites until stuff, but not dry. Slowly add the sugar, beating constantly. Mix a third of the beaten whites gently into the batter, then fold in the remaining whites very carefully. Spread 1/2 cup of waffle batter in the hot waffle iron. Bake until golden. Serve with syrup, butter, or whatever toppings you prefer!

Now, I know many people probably have an excess of waffles after a Sunday morning breakfast. We ate 4 and had 5 or 6 left over. What am I to do with that many extra waffles? Freeze them! How do you freeze them properly? Do as follows. Layer the waffles between wax paper as show below.

Then, light tuck the excess wax paper on the sides away and wrap all of the waffles in wax paper into a foil pouch. Tuck them away into the freezer. Remove waffles one at a time as needed. The wax paper will help you pull them away easily.



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