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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sweet & Spicy Asian Wings


I love Asian flavors.  I love wings.  Most of all, I love the two together!  The sauce for these wings is kind of like a "kitchen sink" of a recipe.  I just kept throwing things in that I thought would add to the many layers of flavor.  Result, BAM!  Big flavor!  Now, some of you may like the extra crispy texture of wings that are deep fried.  If that is the case then by all means, fry them!  The wings in this recipe are baked.  They are not quite as crispy as fried but they are healthier and taste just as delicious!  I am going to make up a couple of batches of these for the Super Bowl this Sunday!  Go Pats!

Sweet & Spicy Asian Wings


Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs of chicken wings, split in half, tips cut off and discarded
  • 1/2 C apricot jam
  • 1/4 C hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 C soy sauce
  • 1/4 C rice vinegar
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 TBSP crushed red pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 TBSP freshly minced garlic
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • dash of sesame oil
  • 1 TBSP chopped cilantro
  • 1 TBSP green onion
  • 1 TBSP toasted sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Pat chicken wings dry with paper towels and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. (I baked the wings on foil the first time and the chicken skin stuck to the foil, even with lots of oil.)  Spray wings well on both sides with a non-stick cooking oil spray.
  3. Bake in the oven until golden brown and crispy (about 45-50 minutes) turning halfway through.
  4. While the chicken is baking, make the sauce.  In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, combine jam, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, fresh ginger, crushed red pepper, fresh garlic, lime zest, lime juice and sesame oil.  Mix together well and cook until thickened (about 15 minutes).
  5. Keep the sauce warm on the stove on low heat until the wings are done baking.  When the wings are done baking, pour the sauce into a large bowl.  Add the wings and toss to coat.  
  6. Transfer the coated wings to a serving platter.  Garnish with cilantro, green onion and toasted sesame seeds.

Enjoy, and Go Pats!



Hot Cheesy Bacon Dip



It's no secret that I am a total foodie.  I am also a huge football fan!  So, the week before the Super Bowl is a pretty big deal to me.  To say that I am excited about this year's Super Bowl is a total understatement.  My team, the New England Patriots are playing the Seattle Seahawks. There are a whole lot of Seahawks fans here in Idaho so I've been receiving a whole lotta smack talk about "Deflategate" lately.  I am so over it all and just want to watch some football!  I won't be hosting a party on Super Bowl Sunday this year because if I invite friends over they might actually talk to me during the game!  :)  I will have a few friends over who know better than to do that.  I came up with this yummy, hot, ooey, gooey, cheesy bacon dip to serve up for them during half time.  I tried it out on some friends last night and it was a huge hit!  Here is the recipe...

Hot Cheesy Bacon Dip

serves 4-6




Ingredients:

  • 8 oz package of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 1/2 C sour cream
  • 2 1/2 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 lb bacon, cooked to crispy and chopped up
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced small (leave the seeds and ribs in if you like it spicy!)
  • 6 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 dash of worcestershire sauce
  • bread, crackers, chips or veggies for dipping

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sour cream on low with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy (1 to 2 minutes)
  3. Add the shredded cheese, cooked and chopped bacon, green onions, jalapeno, and dash of worcestershire sauce and mix well with a rubber spatula.
  4. Put the dip into a 1 quart oven-safe baking dish and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted throughout. 
  5. Serve immediately with bread, crackers, chips or veggies.

If you live in the Boise area, tune into Good Morning Idaho at 6:40 a.m. on Channel 6 or at 7:20 a.m. on Channel 9 to watch me make this recipe LIVE!  

Enjoy, and GO PATS!



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Creamy Pumpkin Penne Pasta

  1. Hey, hey, hey, it's Pumpkin Week this week on Good Morning Idaho.  I'm honored to be asked to cook something up for my third year.  I wanted to come up with a savory pumpkin dish that was on the healthy side.  I made this dish with whole grain pasta which is high in protein.  Pumpkin fruit is one of the widely grown vegetables that is incredibly rich in vital antioxidants, and vitamins.  Pumpkin seeds have many health benefits.  You can read all about them here.  This is a very quick and easy recipe for a healthy weeknight meal.  Not to mention delicious!  Tune in to Good Morning Idaho Channel 6 at around 6:40 a.m. tomorrow!

Creamy Pumpkin Penne Pasta

serves 6


Ingredients:



  • 1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

  • 1 pound whole grain penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese or cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives
  • freshly grated nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°.  Spread the pepitas in a pie plate and toast for about 5 minutes.  
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente.  Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the starchy cooking water.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, add the olive oil and melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the shallots, garlic and thyme and cook over medium heat until the shallots are softened, about 5 minutes.  
  4. Add the pumpkin puree into the pot and cook over medium heat until hot.  Mix in the mascarpone (You could substitute regular cream cheese or ricotta cheese) and the 1/4 cup of grated cheese.  Add the pasta and the reserved cooking water and toss to coat thoroughly and heat through.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer the pasta to bowls,  sprinkle the pepitas, parmigiano and chives on top then grate a little fresh nutmeg as well (trust me, use the fresh stuff!) and serve.
Enjoy!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I'll be making this delicious soup on Good Morning Idaho tomorrow morning.  I love fall, I love soup and I especially love butternut squash soup.  Butternut squash can be quite a pain to peel and cut but with this recipe there is no peeling necessary.  You can roast the squash with the peel on and then scoop out the flesh to make this soup.  How easy is that?

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

(serves 6-8)



Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized butternut squash
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 medium sized granny smith apple
  • 1/2 of a sweet onion (Walla Walla or Vidalia)
  • 8-10 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 C chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 C water
  • 1/3 C heavy cream
  • goat cheese crumbles and pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Roasting the squash:
  1. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and clean out the seeds.
  2. Melt 1 TBSP of the butter and brush it on the squash.
  3. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for 60 to 70 minutes at 425 degrees



Making the soup:
  1. Peel and medium dice the apple and the onion.  Finely chop the sage leaves.
  2. Melt the remaining TBSP of butter in a dutch oven or medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the apples, onions and sage. 
  3. Saute for about 8-10 minutes.  Set aside until the squash is done.
  4. When the squash is done, scoop out the flesh and add it to the apples, onions and sage.
  5. Add the broth and water and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
  6. Add the cream and then blend the soup well with an immersion blender until smooth.  You can use a regular blender as well.  Just be sure to do it in batches and do not blend while it is boiling hot.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve hot and garnish with crumbled goat cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds (optional).



Enjoy!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Easy No-Bake Greek Yogurt Cheesecake

Easy No-Bake Greek Yogurt Cheesecake



I spend almost everyday in the kitchen baking.  Even in the dog days of summer.  Most of you probably try to avoid baking in the summer at all costs!

I love cheesecake.  I love it's versatility... different crusts, flavors and toppings galore.  I prefer the traditional vanilla flavored with lots of fresh strawberries and whipped cream!

I recently found this recipe online for a no-bake cheesecake made with Greek yogurt.  Greek yogurt?  So it's even gotta be healthy right?  ;-)

I tweaked the recipe just the bit.  I made it in a pie form and in standard sized cupcakes.  It is light, creamy and delicious!


Ingredients for crust:

  • 1 C graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 C (1/2 stick) unsalted butter (melted)

Ingredients for cheesecake:

  • 1 1/2 C vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese
  • 1/3 C sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Ingredients for strawberry topping:

  • 2 C sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Directions:

  1. For the crust, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter.  Press into a 9 inch pie plate or a spring form pan.  Chill in the refrigerator while making the filling.
  2. For the filling, with a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat together the cream cheese, yogurt and sweetened condensed milk on medium speed, for about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy.  
  3. Add the vanilla and salt and mix well.  
  4. Pour the filling onto the crust and smooth out the top.  Chill in the refrigerator overnight or for about 12 hours.  
  5. For the strawberry topping, sprinkle the sugar over the sliced strawberries.  Stir well.  Stir in lemon zest and juice.  Let strawberries sit and macerate for about an hour.  Spoon strawberry topping over sliced cheesecake just before serving.  Add a dollop of whipped cream if you like!
Serves 8.  Adapted from a recipe by Jessica Merchant.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Frittata Frenzy!

When I first made a frittata for my family a few years ago, you would have thought that I parted the Red Sea.  My boys were so impressed.  A frittata sounds, looks and tastes kind of fancy but honestly, it is super simple, healthy, and delicious.  What I love most about it is you can put just about anything in it, including whatever crazy random leftovers you have hanging out in the fridge!  Another thing I love is the fact that it is a dish that is totally suitable for breakfast, lunch, brunch dinner or in my house, the ultimate midnight snack!  You can serve it warm or at room temp.

Now, understand that this is a dish that I don't really have an actual "recipe" for because I make it a different way every time.  Sometimes totally on the stove top, sometimes totally in the oven, sometimes a little of both.  Also, each time I make it I put in different veggies, cheese, or occasionally meat.  Recently I saw Chef Mario Batali throw leftover spaghetti in a frittata on The Chew!  Brilliant!

I will share with you my favorite way to make and eat a frittata.  I prefer a Mediterranean medley of flavors.  Italian cheeses, fresh herbs... yum!

Mediterranean Frittata

Serves 6-8   (or 3-4 in the Renn house)

Ingredients:

  • One dozen large eggs
  • 3-4 TBSP whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 C diced onion (red or sweet)
  • 1/2 C diced raw mushrooms
  • 3 C fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 C diced sweet grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 C crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 C grated asiago cheese
  • 1/4 C grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh herbs (such as basil or Italian parsley) for garnish. (Optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk together.  Add salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. In a large non-stick oven-proof skillet over medium heat, melt the butter then add the olive oil.
  3. Add the onion and mushrooms and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. While the onion and mushrooms are cooking, microwave the spinach in a bowl for 2 minutes then drain all liquid out of it by squeezing it in a clean kitchen towel.  Let cool then finely chop and add to onions and mushrooms. Stir well.
  5. Add the grape tomatoes, stir, then add the egg mixture.
  6. Cook, over medium heat, occasionally stirring for about 7 - 10 minutes or until the mixture is just about 3/4 solid, 1/4 liquid.  
  7. Stir in all of the cheeses.
  8. Place the skillet in the oven under the broiler (about 4 inches from flame) for about 3 minutes to finish cooking the eggs.
  9. Let cool slightly then turn the finished frittata onto a large plate and slice into 6-8 servings.
  10. Serve each slice with some fresh herbs and a little additional shredded cheese for garnish.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Foolproof Steak Marinade


Here is a recipe for a foolproof steak marinade.  It will make even inexpensive cuts of meat taste delicious.  I usually use this marinade for top sirloin or petite sirloin steaks.  This recipe makes enough for about four 1/2 pound steaks

Foolproof Steak Marinade

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 C soy sauce
  • 1/3 C vegetable oil
  • 1/3 C worcestershire sauce
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 4-6 cloves of fresh garlic (minced fine)
  • 2 TBSP finely chopped chives or green onions
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients together well in a medium bowl with a whisk.  
2.  Pour mixture into a one gallon sized zip top bag.
3.  Score steaks on the diagonal at one inch intervals on both sides.
4.  Put steaks into the bag with the marinade and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 6 hours.
5.  Let the steaks come to room temperature for about 15 minutes before cooking.  
6.  Take the steaks out of the marinade and let the excess drip off.  Pat dry with paper towels then grill, broil or cook on the stovetop in an iron skillet to desired doneness.  Here is a temperature chart to follow:

Meat Temperature Chart
(Fahrenheit)
Beef
Rare
Medium-rare
Medium
Medium-well
Well done

120° - 125°
130° - 135°
140° - 145°
150° - 155°
160° and above


Never check doneness of any meat by cutting into it.  Doing this will make all of the juices run out and leave you with a dry piece of meat.  Instead, always use a thermometer. The temperature will rise about another 5 degrees after you remove it from the heat source.  Allow meat to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing into it.  This allows time for the juices in the meat to coagulate.  If you really want a rich tasting piece of steak, melt a pat of butter on top while the steak is resting.  That is what all of the restaurants do!  It gives it a carmelized, nutty flavor.  Yum!  

Enjoy!