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Monday, October 31, 2011

Cheddar Cheese Stuffed Carmelized Onion Bacon Burgers on Pretzel Rolls

So my Blue Cheese Burgers With Bacon Jam were such a big success that I wanted to venture out this time. I made these Homemade Pretzel Rolls and added a variety of fun items to the burger to create this very long titled but tasty burger!! For some reason using a green tomato just felt right!! I think it was because of the sweetness of the caramelized onions and bacon, coupled with the spicy bite of chipotle mayo that made it all ok!! ;)

2 lbs ground beef
6 2x2x1/4" pieces of cheddar cheese
1 lg onion sliced thin, and caramelized
12 slices of cooked bacon
1 1/2 cups arugula
6 slices of green tomato
1/2 cup chipotle mayo (1/2 cup mayo with 1 mashed canned chipotle pepper mixed in)
6 pretzel rolls

Divide hamburger meat into 6 equally sized balls. Then divide each of the 6 burger balls in 1/2 and form patties. Top 6 of the '1/2' patties with the cheddar cheese and top with the other half of the burger patties. Press to seal the edges. Bake or grill until desired doneness.

Slice the pretzel buns in half and spread chipotle mayo on bottom bun. Place burger, caramelized onions, bacon, tomato, and arugula and top with bun. Eat and enjoy!!

Homemade Pretzels was late one night and I couldn't I was doing what I usually do when I can't sleep.....I was watching Food Network. ;) All time favorite channel!! Whoop whoop!!

K.....I'm done. Dine'rs, Drive-in's and Dive's was I LOVE that show!! I like it because you get to 'go' to such a wide variety of restaurants and semi-experience their menu all be it a still in some way experience it!! So there was this bar that had the raddest menu......yeah I said it.....RADDEST.....what??? I'm a product of the 80's and 90's.....I can't help it!! Their burgers looked u-mazing and variety was AWESOME!! (another 80's word) They served all their burgers on pretzel rolls that they made! So I said to myself......"self....if a bar can make pretzel can you" and I did!!

Now I know my salt doesn't look all pretty on the top, but that's cuz all I had was kosher :) With this recipe I made pretzels and rolls for my burgers that I will post next!!

2 tsp. active dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
2 Tbsp. canola oil
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Boiling solution:

2 Qts water
1 Tbsp. salt
4 Tbsp. baking soda

In the bowl of your stand mixer with dough hook  attachment mix in about half of the water (measure it, then just pour a bit into the bowl to make sure the yeast is active); let it sit for about 10 minutes. If it’s not foamy, toss it out and buy fresh yeast.

Add the rest of the water, milk and canola oil to the yeast, then add about 3 cups of flour and the salt. Turn mixer on low and mix about 2 min. Add about a cup more flour, and mix for another min. Once all the flour is incorporated mix on med speed for about 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover with a towel and let rest for an hour.

Cut the dough into 10 pieces and roll each into a ball, or a rope if you want to make pretzels. Cover the balls, or shape the pretzels, then let rest for 15 minutes while you bring 2 qts of water to a rolling boil with the salt and baking soda. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Boil about 3 at a time, so you don’t crowd the pot (they will swell) and bring the temperature down, and simmer for a minute per side. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Sprinkle with coarse salt as soon as they come out of the water, so that it sticks, and if you’re doing buns, cut Xs on their tops.

Bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Makes 10 pretzels or pretzel buns.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spinach & Swiss Stuffed Chicken Breasts w/ Marinara and Pasta

This was another one of those shot in the dark recipes. I used what I had available. I usually make marinara in big batches and freeze it so I have it on hand. This chicken actually came out sooooooo tender just by cooking it in the sauce!! I must say I was pleasantly surprised!!

We really enjoyed this meal....I hope you will too!!

4 lg boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half long ways and pounded thin (so it looks like one becomes two)
4 cups marinara
4 cups fresh spinach
8 slices swiss cheese, or whatever kind you want
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb of cooked pasta of your choice

Once chicken is pounded thin, place your slice of cheese and 1/2 cup spinach. Then roll chicken over to cover spinach and cheese, then fold each side over to close in spinach and cheese. Finally continue rolling chicken the rest of the way. You can insert toothpick to hold together. Continue with remaining chicken breasts. Once you have completed that, heat a large saute pan and add about 2 T of olive oil. Brown chicken breasts on all sides. Once that is done add marinara sauce. While these are cooking you can boil your pasta. The chicken should simmer on medium for about 20 minutes. Serve with sauce over pasta.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chicken Thigh, Kale, and Marinara topped Whole Wheat Pasta

This.......well this was just one of those nights. You know the night I'm talking about....where you defrosted chicken thighs.....but really had no plan for them. This was that night!! I looked in the frig and I saw pizza dough  and marinara sauce left over from the night before,  and half a bag of kale. So....I thought....I'll make bread sticks out of the dough and cook the chicken thighs in the sauce. Then for some greens I will throw in the kale!! And wha la.....a dish is born!!

6 Chicken thighs
3 cups marinara sauce
4 cloves garlic, grated on micro plane
2 cups kale
3 T olive oil
1 med onion diced

In a very large dutch oven heat olive oil. Add chicken thighs and brown on both sides. Add onion and saute while chicken is browning. Add marinara and simmer for about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. At the last 5 minutes add kale and grated garlic. Check for seasoning, but mine needed not salt because of the flavor in the marinara sauce. Serve over pasta and with bread sticks or garlic bread.

Mushroom Risotto

Well hello.......Ive missed you all!! Where have I been you ask........well......its been summer.....and gorgeous outside.....I've been in the sun, on the boat, at the lake, at bbq's, at friends houses, to Vegas, camping, and several other places that I can not recall!! But I must say Ive had an amazing summer!! I have been cooking, and taking snap shots.....just didn't have the time to sit down in front of my computer long enough to edit photos and blog!! Sorry!!

But......I'm here now, all though I am slightly overwhelmed with the amount of blog posts I have to do!! Hopefully through the winter I will stay on top of things considering it is just going to rain and rain and rain!! What else is there to do but cook and blog right???

Now for the topic of this really is a beautiful thing....creamy, warm, delicious, many possible adjectives!! I've only been making it less than a year now....but I'm addicted. This one is a mushroom risotto. I used button, crimini and good!! I think my favorite would have to be butternut squash, with pumpkin being a close runner up!!

Mushroom Risotto

1 c arborio rice
1/2 c good quality white wine
3-4 c heated chicken stock
2 c chopped mushrooms of your choice (or all one kind, whatever you like)
2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic grated on microplane
1 T chopped chives
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

In a separate small stock pot heat chicken stock and keep warming on burner. In a pan heat olive oil and add diced onion. Saute for about 5 minutes until translucent and tender. Add rice and saute for 3-5 minutes Stirring frequently. Add wine and stir well. Now add one cup of hot stock and stir. Let simmer until almost cooked out, then repeat steps until all stock is gone. When you add the last bit of stock add your garlic in. Once last bit of stock is absorbed add chives and Parmesan cheese. Serve. Should be very creamy!!