Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chicken Tacos

In an effort to keep my husband, WD, from setting up residence at any of the numerous taco trucks around town, I decided to venture away from the Old El Paso taco kits that I usually buy and make my own chicken tacos. The corn tortillas and toppings were a no brainer--the simpler, the better. Just a little onion, some monterey jack cheese, sliced avocado and a little cilantro. But I needed a recipe for some really flavorful chicken.

After searching around online I found the perfect recipe for shredded chicken at For the Love of Cooking. Pam has such great recipes including one for Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup that I'd love to try. And if you're looking for cookie recipes, she has many of those to choose from too, and they all look delicious. I'm so glad I found her blog. Now, I just need to find a recipe for Tacos al Pastor and WD can break his addiction to taco trucks for good!

Shredded Chicken (from For the Love of Cooking)

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cups chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and boil for 20 minutes (or longer--I've let it boil for an hour before which I blame on Twilight). Shred chicken with 2 forks after they've cooled.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Michelle Obama's Shortbread Cookies

Ever since the first Presidential Cookie Bake-Off in 1992, the winner of the bake-off has gone on to win the election. There was Hillary Clinton (with my favorite chocolate chip cookies) in '92 and '96. Then Laura Bush in '00 and '04. But 2008 was different. Cindy McCain won the contest with her recipe for Oatmeal Butterscotch cookies but she didn't make it to the White House. That honor went to the Obamas. And personally, I think Michelle should have won the bake-off, too. Her shortbread cookies are dense, full of citrusy flavor, and perfect with a cup of hot tea.

Michelle Obama's Shortbread Cookies (Bake-Off results are here)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (of course, I used salted butter)
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbs sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tbs Amaretto (I used 1 tsp almond extract)
1 tsp each orange and lemon zest
3 cups cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 beaten egg white
chopped nuts or dried fruit, optional (I used chopped pecans)

1. Heat oven to 325°F. Line a 17 x 12 x 1-inch baking pan with nonstick foil. In large bowl, cream together butter and 1-1/2 cups of the sugar.
2. Slowly add egg yolks, and beat well until smooth. Beat in Amaretto and zest.
3. Stir in flour and salt until combined.
4. Spread dough evenly into prepared pan, flattening as smoothly as possible.
5. Brush top of dough with egg white; sprinkle with nuts or fruit (if using) and with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
6. Bake at 325°F for 25 minutes or until brown, turn off oven and allow cookies to sit in oven (with door ajar) for 15 minutes. Cut while slightly warm.

VERDICT: Yum! My mom liked them so much that she made a batch for herself earlier this week. The dough is kind of thick, you won't think that you'll be able to spread it all out in a 17 x 12 pan, but it can happen. The original recipe says that it makes 6 dozen cookies. No way it makes that many. I got around 2 dozen, as did my mom.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Honey Chicken Stir-Fry

The Year of the Ox is upon us (January 26) so I decided to share the only Asian inspired dish I know how to make. It's sweet, savory, spicy, nutty, satisfying, and super easy.

Did you know I'm an Ox? Yep. I am. If you were born in 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, or 1997 you are an Ox too. We are patient, speak little, and inspire confidence in others. We also bring great sorrow and ruin to those who cross us. So you might want to think twice about cutting me off in traffic. Just sayin'.

Honey Chicken Stir-Fry

2-3 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 bunch broccoli
2 TBS honey
1/4 cup stir-fry sauce
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup cashews, divided use
1 box (13.25 oz) whole wheat angel hair pasta

Cut up broccoli--just the florets--and put in a microwave safe bowl. Add 1/4 cup water, cover, and nuke for 6 minutes; drain.Cook chicken in a skillet over medium heat until done. Add stir-fry sauce, water, honey, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil then add broccoli and 1/4 cup cashews. Stir together then serve over cooked pasta. Top with remaining cashews. Enjoy!Oh, wait! Make this the second Asian inspired dish I know how to make--I forgot about my Peanut Sauce!