Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Strawberry Cobbler (sugar free!)

Spring is the season for fresh, juicy, delicious strawberries.  It's also the season for Easter candy, chocolate bunnies and rich desserts.  If you need to watch your sugar intake for health sake or just to cut a few calories here and there, try this easy Strawberry Cobbler.

4 cups chopped strawberries
1 cup Nonfat Skim Milk
1 cup Self-Rising Flour
1 cup Splenda
8 t. Buttery Spread

Mix Splenda, milk, flour in 2 quart baking  dish. Drop fruit into mixture.  Do not stir.

Cut butter into fruit and lay on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes until cobbler doesn't move and is gold and bubbly.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mediterranean Chicken Salad

So today was a busy day spent with my daughter who will have twin girls any day!  I cooked supper at their house with every intention of making just regular, plain, non-exciting chicken salad when I got home.  But while looking in the fridge for pickle relish, I spied the capers, which led to the kalamata olives, which led to the jar of sun dried tomatoes.  You get the idea.  A new recipe was born and I'm sure it will be even better tomorrow.

3 large chicken breasts, poached, cooled and shredded
3 boiled eggs, finely chopped
2 T. capers, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes in oil
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
2 T. chopped oregano

Place all these ingredients in a large mixing bowl. 

3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 - 3 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. sugar

Whisk the dressing ingredients together until smooth and creamy and gently fold into the above listed ingredients.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Top with lemon zest.

Gateau au Chocolat Grand-Mere (Grandmother's Chocolate Cake)

My daughter in law requested that I try this recipe. My son referred to this cake as "a brownie on crack." This is a special treat for special occasions! My advice would be to slice very thin slices. It's super rich. From the Paris Sweets Cookbook.

2 stick unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup all purpose flour
Optional toppings:  whipped cream, creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter an 8 inch square pan and line it with aluminum foil. Have ready a larger pan that can hold the cake pan and water.

Put the butter in a heavy medium saucepan, then add the chocolate and the sugar. Place the pan over medium low heat and, stirring almost constantly, heat until the butter, chocolate and sugar are melted and well blended. Remove the pan from the heat and set it on the counter for 3 minutes.

One by one, stir the eggs into the chocolate mixture, using a whisk. Sift the flour over the mixture and stir it in as well. Rap the saucepan on the counter to deflate any air bubbles and pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Put the cake into the larger pan, fill the larger pan with enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan and place both pans into the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is set on top and a knife inserted in the center comes out streaky, but not wet.

Lift the cake pan out of the water bath and place it on a rack to cool to room temperature.  Chill the cake for at least 1 hour before unmolding.

When the cake is cold, gently turn it over onto a serving platter, lift off the pan and carefully remove the foil. The cake is meant to be served upside down, with its sleeker side facing the world. Top with desired toppings, but it's perfect just as is. Enjoy!

Sizzling Shrimp served over Ginger Infused Rice with Red & Green Peppers

This is a very fast cooking dish that is perfect for hectic weeknights!

2 Tablespoon olive oil
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into thin strips
1 Anaheim chile, seeded, cut into thin strips
1/2 jalapeno, cut lengthwise, seeded and cut into thin strips
1/2 small onion, cut into thin strips
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper
Chopped cilantro

Heat oil in wok or large skillet over high heat until almost smoking.  Add shrimp and stir constantly for 3 minutes.  Add peppers and onion and continue cooking until shrimp are cooked through and peppers are slightly charred, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and garnish with cilantro.

Lime-Scented Rice
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup rice
2 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
6 springs of cilantro (tied together with kitchen string)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Bring all to a boil in a small saucepan.  Reduce heat to low and, cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Discard cilantro before serving.

Azi Salad (Persian Cucumber & Tomato Salad)

This is a lovely salad with light and fresh flavors to accompany a spicy dish.

2 large tomatoes, diced
2 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium serving dish, toss the tomatoes, cucumbers and onion with lemon juice and salt.

Chinese style street noodles in peanut sauce

I made this one a month or so ago, but it's just now making it's appearance on the blog. Received this recipe via email from Kitchen Daily.com. Sweet Harold loves peanuts and/or peanut butter in any shape, form or fashion. He loved this. It's amazing how a simple bowl of noodles can be this delicious!

If possible, use fresh wheat noodles from a Chinese market. If those aren't available to you, spaghetti is an acceptable second choice. For this dish, the cooked noodles should be served at room temperature, not chilled.

2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sesame oil (reserve 2 teaspoons for noodles)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons chile oil or red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup warm freshly brewed black tea or warm water
Salt to taste
12 ounces spaghetti
1 cup chopped cucumber
2/3 cup cilantro leaves
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (optional but desirable)

In a large bowl, blend the peanut butter with the garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, chile oil, and sugar. Stir in the warm tea or water a little at a time to make a fairly smooth sauce with the consistency of pudding. Taste and add salt, if needed.

Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water according to the directions on the package, usually just over 10 minutes. Drain in a colander, rinse under cold water, and return to the cooled pot. Toss with the reserved 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Pour the spaghetti into the peanut sauce and toss well.

Divide between 4 bowls and serve at once. Pass bowls of cucumber, cilantro, scallions, and chicken separately and let diners add what they wish.

Triple Lemon Pound Cake

If you like the fresh, tart taste of lemon, this is the pound cake for you. For best results, let the butter and eggs reach room temperature before making.

3 sticks butter, softened
2 1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
3 1/2 cup flour
1/2 t. salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 t. baking soda, dissolved in 1 T. hot water
1 T. lemon extract
1 T. fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon

Generously grease tube pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cream butter until light fluffy.  Gradually add sugar and cream well until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour and salt together. Dissolve soda in hot water and add to buttermilk. Alternatively, add flour and milk to butter mixture; blend well. Add lemon extract, lemon juice and zest and blend.

Pour mixture evenly into tube pan. Shake pan to even it further. Place in preheated oven and bake undisturbed for 1 hour. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then place on cake plate. 

A glaze can be made of lemon juice and confectioner's sugar and drizzled over cake while it is still warm.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rustic Pasta with Italian Sausage and Garden Vegetables

Super healthy dish with loads of fresh vegetables. Use whole grain pasta to up the nutrition value. 

1 box multi-grain, rotini pasta
1 pound bulk Italian sausage (sweet or hot)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small yellow squash, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
½ cup mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 (14.4 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1/4 t. thyme, minced
4 or 5 basil leaves, chopped
1 T. oregano, chopped
½ t. red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese

While the pasta is cooking, remove the sausage from the casings, brown the sausage, stirring to crumble, in a skillet over medium heat.

Remove sausage using a slotted spoon, leaving drippings in the pan. Cook and stir the onion and garlic in the sausage drippings until the onions are softened. Return the sausage to the pan. Stir in the bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, carrot and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook another 5 – 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, thyme, basil, and oregano. Add a little water if desired. Simmer for another 15 – 20 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, 14 to 16 minutes, then drain.

Combine the drained pasta with the sauce mixture in a large bowl. Top with Parmesan cheese to serve.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Church Potluck Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole

If you've spent any time in the South, you've been introduced to the pot luck casserole.  Required ingredients will include a can of cream of "fill in the blank", sour cream or mayo and some sort of shredded cheese.  Here's tonight's version:

1 6 oz. package long grain and wild rice mix
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 14 1/2 oz. can French style green beans, drained
1 can condensed cream of celery soup
1 8 oz. can diced water chestnuts, drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise or sour cream
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 4 oz. jar diced pimentos, drained
1 t. lemon juice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare rice according to package directions.  Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, combine chicken, green beans, celery soup, water chestnuts, mayo or sour cream, onions, pimentos and lemon juice.  Stir in cooked rice. 

Spoon into greased 13 x 9 baking dish.  Bake, covered, for 30 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake about 5 more minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cornbread Waffles topped with Creamy Chicken and Vegetables

I love to make chicken pot pies. They are one of my son's favorites, but this time instead of the pie crust variety, I went outside the pie plate so to speak. The crunchy outside of the cornbread is the perfect part for me, so I thought...why not cook the cornbread in a waffle iron and have crunchiness all around? It worked deliciously well. Here we go:

Cornbread Batter:
4 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
2 1/2 cup buttermilk
3 T. melted bacon grease

Mix well and heat waffle iron.  Pretend you're making sweet waffles.  (insert smile)  As each batch is cooked, place on baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while the others cook.

Creamy Chicken and Vegetables:
4 - 6 cups water
1 T. chicken base
1 T. freshly ground black pepper
a few sprigs of thyme
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup with herbs
8 oz. sour cream
8 oz. frozen mixed vegetables
1 T. Worcestershire sauce

Bring water, chicken base, pepper to a boil. Add chicken breasts and thyme. Lower heat and poach chicken until cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate and when cooled, shred into large pieces.

Add mixed vegetables to poaching water and cook for 3 - 4 minutes. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid. Add the soup, sour cream, chicken, vegetables, poaching liquid and Worcestershire back into the pot and let cook for 10 - 12 minutes over low heat. If the mixture is too thin, mix a few spoonfuls of cornstarch into a few spoonfuls of cool water and add to the simmering liquid. It should thicken up nicely.

Spoon over cooked waffles and garnish with a fresh thyme sprig. Sit back and enjoy the happy smiles of your diners and accept compliments graciously.