Monday, May 31, 2010


Paella 4 I know Cinco de Mayo was a while ago, but it got me inspired to make Paella for the first time!  Yes, that’s right, I’ve never made Paella before.  Usually, when I’m making a somewhat traditional dish that is a first try for me, I’ll dive into my Fannie Farmer Cookbook.  This cookbook is great for that sort of thing!

The sous chef and I discovered that we aren’t big fans of clams, so…we ended up removing those little guys and tossing them.  Otherwise, this dish was TERRIFIC!  We had plenty of leftovers and ate them all!!!  The recipe I’m posting below is the halved version of the recipe as I just can’t imagine needing the full recipe that the cookbook lists.  As it is, we had to use our largest tupperware dish to save the leftovers!

adapted from Fannie Farmer Cookbook

1/16 teaspoon of saffron
2 cups chicken broth
2-3 chicken breasts
freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
6 thin slices spicy Spanish sausage (Chorizo)
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup short grain rice
1/2 pound shrimp, cooked, shelled, and deveined
1/2 package frozen tiny peas, or 3/4 cup fresh peas
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp salt


Put the Saffron to soak in 1 Tbsp of the chicken broth.  Rinse the chicken, pat it dry, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the chicken and brown well on all sides.  Add 2 tbsp of water and the oregano.  Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until the chicken is done.  Remove the chicken and set aside.

Lightly brown the sausage slices; remove and set aside.   Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.  Melt the butter in the pan and stir in the rice, saffron, and about half a teaspoon of salt, cooking for 5 minutes.  Add the remaining chicken broth, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a shallow 4-quart casserole, arrange the rice, chicken, shrimp and sausage so that some of each shows on the top.  Paella Heat in the oven about 15-20 minutes.  Meanwhile either pour boiling water over frozen peas or blanch frozen peas 2 minutes.  Scatter over casserole, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.Paella 3

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Soup Recently, a friend of mine had to make a trip to the hospital after a horrible food poisoning case.  It was no fun for her, for sure.  I thought some chicken soup might help once she was back at home and able to eat little by little.

I took some help from Annie’s Eats recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup which she got from Cooks Illustrated.  I definitely didn’t have the time on hand that day to make her recipe in full, so I did take some shortcuts.  Below is the adapted form of her recipe that I made, although I know, if you have the time, making it Annie’s way will produce and healthy rich-tasting soup :)

1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts
1 Tbsp olive oil
5 cups chicken stock
3 tbsp. cornstarch
¼ cup cold water
1 cup thinly sliced onion
½ cup celery, cut into ½-inch pieces

1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 cup (4 oz.) egg noodles
1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley

1 tsp Cumin

Put 1 Tbsp olive oil and chicken breast in crock pot and cook on high for 3-4 hours.  When chicken is cooked through, place chicken in medium bowl and shred chicken with 2 forks.

Fill Dutch oven/large pot on the stove with 5 cups of chicken stock.  Heat over medium-high heat.  In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water; whisk together until a smooth slurry forms.  Stir the mixture into the stock and bring to a gentle boil.  Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook 10-15 minutes.  Add the egg noodles and continue to cook until vegetables are tender and the noodles are cooked, about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken and parsley to the soup.  Cook just until heated through, about 2 minutes.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and cumin, and serve.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Zucchini Casserole

So sorry for my disappearance!  I did not schedule my time very well before my trip recently and did not have posts set up to keep you intrigued while I was away.  So sorry!Krista Kooks Zucchini Casserole Here’s a yummy dish that a friend of mine made recently from Gina’s WW blog.  The sous chef and I thought this was a great recipe as a side dish.  I’m not so sure that this could be the only thing I ate for dinner at night, but I suppose it could be if weren’t too hungry one evening.  Either way, it’s a yummy dish!

4 cups grated zucchini
1 cup bisquick
1 small onion, grated
3 egg whites, 1 whole egg
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp parsley

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix everything together in a bowl. Spray a pie dish or a casserole with Pam and pour mixture. Bake approximately 45 minutes, until golden brown. Put a toothpick in the center to test if it is done. If it comes out clean, it is ready. Divide into 12 equal parts.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Whole Chicken with Spice Rub in the Crock Pot

Krista Kooks Spice Rubbed Chicken in Crockpot 4 So easy!!!  Anything in a slow cooker is usually easy though :)  I was browsing The Foodie Blogroll for some ideas on crockpot recipes and found The Cooking Husband’s blog.  I’m trying to do more crockpot recipes, perhaps trying one twice or four times a month.  Anyway, I thought The Cooking Husband’s whole chicken approach was quite similar to how I prepare my Mexican flavored chicken that I use for anything I need shredded chicken for; however, his, as I said, uses a whole chicken!  The sous chef and I simply prepared some rice to eat with this.  I prepared the rice similar to the way Chipotle’s rice is done.  Instead of lime and cilantro, I used lemon juice and grated lemon peel.

Source: Whole Chicken with Spice Rub in the Crock Pot

4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 onion, chopped

In a small bowl, combine the above minus the onion.

Rub spice rub onto the chicken.  Put chopped onion in bottom of the crock pot.  Add chicken to the crock pot and add no liquid at all! Krista Kooks Spice Rubbed Chicken in Crockpot The chicken will make it’s own juices.  Put the lid on the crock pot and cook for 8 hours on LOW.Krista Kooks Spice Rubbed Chicken in Crockpot 2Krista Kooks Spice Rubbed Chicken in Crockpot 3

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sugar Cookies

Krista Kooks Stori's Sugar Cookies

So, the last time I made sugar cookies, I was proud of myself, but I definitely saw room for improvement.  After reading multiple posts over the last year and recognizing where I went wrong in the past, I decided to give these sugar cookies another try.

My B.F.F. and ‘adopted sister’ K was celebrating her 27th birthday and had recently had a baby.  Additionally, another of the sous chef and I’s friend’s had a baby as well shortly after K.  I thought each of them was HIGHLY deserving a sweet treat delivered by their postman.  Getting packages in the mail is FUN!

After a good deal of planning and thinking out how I would get these cookies to these sweet girls, I moved forward in my execution of the project :)

I decided on making Ella’s White Sugar Cookies which I found on  Annie’s Eats


1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ t. almond extract
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
2 ½ c. sifted flour


Cream butter.  Add powdered sugar.  Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour.  Chill dough until firm.  Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface.  Cut with cookie cutters.  Place on greased cookie sheets.  Bake at 375° for 8-10 min.  Cookies should not brown.  Frost and decorate when cool.  Yields ~40 cookies.

I also used Annie’s terrific tutorial on decorating with royal icing.  I still have some perfecting to do, but I was decently proud of myself for what I was able to accomplish :)Krista Kooks Sugar CookiesKrista Kooks Sugar Cookies 2 Krista Kooks Sugar Cookies 4Krista Kooks Sugar Cookies 5 The tricky part was getting ready to ship these cookies off to other states and trusting USPS with them!  I didn’t spend 2 days on these delicious and beautiful cookies only for them to break, right?!  So I packaged them VERY well and wrapped each cookie in a baggie.Krista Kooks Sugar Cookies 6  Our friends in Louisiana received them in OK condition as the picture at the top of this posts displays.

My B.F.F. K received her cookies in great condition, too!  See below.Krista Kooks Kelly's Sugar Cookies I’m looking forward to making more of these delicious cookies!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Surf and Turf Salad

Krista Kooks Surf N' Turf Salad
Trying to eat light is a much more frequent thing in our household.  Sure you’ll still see me make sweets, but we are making an effort to eat less meat and increase the amount of veggies and fruits that we eat.  Spotting this recipe in Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Get Real Meals was perfect to add to my shopping list!  We both truly enjoyed this recipe and the salad dressing is really great!


2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and minced or grated
3 tablespoons Tamari (dark aged soy sauce)
1 teaspoon ground coriander (1/3 palmful)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon grill seasoning, such as McCormick brand Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 lemon, zested
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for drizzling
1 1/2-2 pounds flank steak
1 bunch scallions
16 medium shrimp, peeled, tails removed and deveined
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 hearts of Romaine, chopped
4 ounces baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley (a couple handfuls), chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped

1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Salt and pepper

Pre-heat a tabletop grill, grill pan, or outdoor grill to high.

Combine the first 10 ingredients in a shallow dish. Coat flank steak in mixture and reserve for 10-15 minutes.

Trim ends and one inch of tops off of the scallions. Drizzle EVOO over both the scallions and the shrimp and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Grill scallions and shrimp for two minutes on each side. Remove from grill and reserve.

Place flank steak on grill pan and cook 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the meat to a plate, tent with foil, and let juices settle for five minutes.

Combine greens, red onion and parsley leaves on a large platter or individual plates. Cut reserved scallions into 1-inch pieces. Scatter over greens and then evenly distribute the grilled shrimp over the greens.  In a small bowl mix the lemon juice, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce and whisk in three tablespoons EVOO. Season the dressing with salt and pepper and drizzle it back and forth over the arranged greens and scallions and shrimp. Slice the steak very thinly against the grain on an angle with a sharp knife and arrange it over the salad.Krista Kooks Surf N' Turf Salad 3

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mother’s Day 2010

It’s time to honor Mom!  How are you planning to dine with Mom this Sunday?  Is this your first reminder that Mother’s Day is THIS weekend?  If so, I hope I can help you get ready :)  Here’s some ideas from Krista Kooks to help you enjoy time with Mom at home.  Click on any of the pictures to be directed to the original blog post.Krista Kooks Blueberry Delight 4 Blueberry Delight-Great for breakfast or brunch with Mom.Memorial Day 09 007 Bacon Quiche Biscuit Cups- Also great for breakfast or brunch.

Krista Kooks Fish Oreganata 4Fish Oreganata- Perfect main dish for a light lunch with Mom.Krista Kooks Roasted Broccoli 4Roasted Vegetables-Use this preparation method for your favorite vegetable.

Paprika Parsley PotatoesParsley-Paprika Potatoes- Delicious compliment to the 2 above.Ziti    Spring Summer Ziti-Just make a simple pasta to share with Mom.June 2009 013Fruit Cookie Pizza- Help Mom keep it light for dessert with this fruit cookie pizza!

Whatever you do, I hope you have a great Mother’s Day with Mom!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chipotle-Glazed Chicken Breast and Grilled Chopped Veggie Salad

Krista Kooks Chipotle Glazed Chicken Breasts and Grilled Chopped Veggie Salad 3
I’ve actually made this recipe once before, but it was pre-Krista Kooks time.  I was actually in college when I made this.  In fact, the first time I made this recipe, it was not NEARLY as good or as pretty :)  As I prepared this recipe the 2nd time around, I kept asking myself, “What were you doing when you made this before?”  Haha!  I kept remembering how silly I was before in how I prepared it.

Nonetheless, we loved the slight spice this chicken has against the very fresh tasting salad.  Best of all, this is a great good-for-you recipe!  Here’s another Rachael Ray Get Real meal!P3271214 Ingredients

5 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus some for drizzling
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons honey
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1 medium zucchini sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices
1 medium yellow squash, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices

1 red bell pepper, cut in half, cored, and seeded
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced into 1/2 inch rings
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 ounces each)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 16-ounce sack of coleslaw mix (on the produce aisle)
2 rounded tablespoons honey mustard, such as Guilden's Spicy Honey Mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (half a palmful)
2 rounded tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt

Preheat a grill pan or charcoal grill to high.

To make the chipotle glaze, in a small saucepot heat about 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and garlic; cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the tomato paste, honey, chipotles, and 1/4 cup cider vinegar, and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and cook for 10 minutes, or until glaze has thickened. Reserve the sauce on low heat.

While the chipotle glaze is cooking, season the sliced veggies, apple, and chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a generous amount of vegetable oil. Place the veggies, apple, and chicken on the grill. The veggies should be cooked in 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until they are well marked by the grill, then remove to cook slightly. The chicken should be cooked for 6 minutes per side. For the last 2 minutes of cooking time, baste the chicken using a pastry brush with the thickened chipotle glaze. Both sides of the chicken should be well coated with the glaze. Remove the chicken from the grill to rest while you put the rest of the grilled chopped veggie salad together.

Chop the cooled veggies into bite-size pieces and transfer to a salad bowl.  Add the coleslaw mix. In a small bowl whisk together the honey mustard, cumin, and the remaining 3 tablespoons of cider vinegar; stream in the remaining 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil while you continue to whisk the dressing. Stir in the sour cream or yogurt. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the veggies and toss to coat.

Slice the chicken breasts on an angle and serve them on top of a mound of the salad.Krista Kooks Chipotle Glazed Chicken Breasts and Grilled Chopped Veggie Salad 2


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