Welcome to my kitchen! This is a blog that is evolving as my life does. I like food, but I don't have all the time in the world to cook. So lately, I'm going with simple, easy recipes. I may switch that up occassionally and post something time-intensive, but that isn't what I'm about these days. If that sounds like you - I hope you enjoy some of these recipes.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Hummus was invented to make me happy, I think.  It's so simple yet can have so many different flavors and versions.  That makes it a fantastic snack or appetizer.  And it's fairly healthy too!  Woot!  This is by far the best hummus I've had and Jeff agreed.  It's soooo good!  Slightly sweet, a little spicy, mmm mmmm.  And I love the color.  It makes a festive addition to any meal.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
source: Allrecipes.com, slightly adapted by Amy's New Kitchen
serves: 6-8

1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained-reserving the juice
4 oz roasted red peppers
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 Tbsp tahini
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt

In a food processor combine all ingredients and pulse/blend until smooth.  Add some of the reserved garbanzo bean juice if necessary to acquire the consistency you desire.  (I probably used 3-4 Tbsp)  Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure all ingredients are well blended.  Serve immediately or store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Butter Chicken

I love Indian food.  Why?  Because it almost always involves chicken and rice!  I have never tried Butter Chicken at a restaurant before but I thought it sounded interesting so I went ahead and tried it even though I had no idea what I was in store for.  It was good.  I wouldn't say I loved it but Jeff did!  So I am posting it anyway because I know this recipe is capable of people loving it and maybe that person is you! 

Indian Butter Chicken
source: Joelen of What's Cookin', Chicago?, slightly adapted by Amy's New Kitchen
serves: 6


1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 white onion, chopped
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp ginger, finely grated
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 bay leaf
2 cups tomato puree
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pinch salt
1 pinch black pepper
1/4 cup finely ground cashews

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken and season with 1/2 tsp garam masala and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper.  Cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by heating 1 Tbsp oil in a large saucepan on medium high heat.  Saute onion until soft and translucent.  Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf.  Cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Add tomato puree and jalapeno and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.   Stir in cream, yogurt and cilantro.  Reduce heat to low, and add the browned chicken.  Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Just before serving, add the ground cashews and stir.  

Serve over steamed basmati rice.

 Does that not look awesome?  We had this with pita and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus!  More on that later! 

I made some slight changes to the amounts of ingredients from Joelen's version of this recipe.  There was a little too much garam masala for my taste so I halved it in my recipe.  I also added a jalapeno pepper because I think it would've added a little kick and really put this dish over the top!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mexican Rice

What can I say?  I'm making another rice recipe.  :)  My dad makes the best Mexican food ever.  Maybe I'm a little biased but who cares-I love it and that's all that matters.  Ha!  But if you would like to know what it tastes like too, here is his 'recipe' (I use that term loosely as the man never measures-he just eyeballs amounts of ingredients) and I hope you like it too!

Mexican Rice
serves: 5

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup long grain rice
1 (4oz) can Mexican flavors tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 tsp camino (cumin)
1/2 white onion, sliced
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and quartered lengthwise

Heat oil in a skillet and add rice and salt.  Stir frequently on medium heat until the rice grains become larger and start to look a little whiter.  About 5 minutes or so.  Add tomato sauce, water, garlic, pepper, and camino then stir until combined.  Place the onions and the jalapenos on top of the rice.  Cover and simmer on medium to low heat for 18-20 minutes.  Fluff with fork and serve.

You can choose to eat the vegetables or discard them if the pieces of peppers are too hot or that much onion flavor isn't your thing.  I leave them in and cut them up on my plate and mix them right back into the rice!  So tasty and reminds me of growing up.  This recipe isn't exactly how my dad used to make it but I am working on it.  One day I hope to perfect it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Shredded Chicken

Tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, nachos, taco salad, and burritos are just a few things that I can think of that this chicken would be perfect for.  This was a really fresh dish since it uses fresh vegetables for flavor and not just a packet of taco seasoning mix to go with it.  We used the meat to make chicken tacos but there was so much leftover that we saved some for lunches the next day and froze some so that I can make chicken enchiladas when the weather starts to turn cooler.  And the chicken was so tasty I can't wait for those enchiladas!

Shredded Chicken
source: Food.com, slightly adapted by Amy's New Kitchen
servings: depends on what you're making with it.  About 8-10 servings.

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts  
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves,  smashed
  • Tbsp sea salt 
  •  water
  • Tbsp butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
  •  3/4 green bell pepper, diced 
  • 1 jalapeno, diced (seeded if you prefer less heat)
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly grated black pepper
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce 
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • chicken broth (reserved) 
Place chicken, onion slices, garlic cloves and add just enough water to cover the chicken in a large pot.  Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat to a simmer.  Continue cooking for 25 minutes.

Remove chicken from broth, let cool, then shred.  Reserve the broth for later.

Meanwhile, while the chicken is cooling saute the butter, garlic clove, onion, tomato, bell pepper, jalapeno, pepper, cilantro, and cumin for 10 minutes.  Stir in shredded chicken then briefly saute.  Add tomato sauce, salt and 1/2 cup of chicken broth at a time until the chicken is as juicy as you like.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Simple Caprese Salad

It's summertime and my mom's homegrown tomatoes are rockin'!  I wanted to use them in a simple, fresh way since I don't always get delicious homegrown tomatoes.  Since I already had mozzarella - caprese salad was the obvious choice!

Caprese Salad
Serves 8

1 cucumber
4 medium tomatoes
12 oz fresh mozzarella
fresh basil
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Peel the cucumber and slice into 1/4 inch slices.  Remove stems and slice the tomatoes and the mozzarella.  Take the fresh leaves from the basil and add all those ingredients together in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 

Place on a platter in individual portions, stacked with the cucumber on the bottom, tomato, mozzarella and a basil leaf on top. 

This is a light, tasty appetizer or side dish to add to any Italian or summertime dish.  I love the fresh basil and the fresh vegetables.  It doesn't get much better.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bow-tie Lasagna

Everyone who loves lasagna knows the only thing that could make it better would be to be able to make it quicker!  :)  Well, this is a great solution to that problem.  It's not exactly like lasagna, but you get the idea from the flavors in the dish.

Bow-tie Lasagna
Source: Tasty Kitchen
Serves 6

1 lb ground chuck
5 cups bow tie pasta
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp garlic powder (I used about 1 1/2 tsp)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sour cream

Fry ground chuck in small pan. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions.

After noodles are cooked, drain and drizzle with olive oil. Mix in the spaghetti sauce.

Add the meat, salt, garlic powder cheese, and sour cream. Mix together until combined and cheese is melted.  Serve immediately.

We served this with a simple caprese salad and some roasted garlic bread and it was perfect for a quick weeknight meal.  It really does taste like lasagna and makes great leftovers.  I'm a fan of this dish, a big one.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Wheat Buttermilk Waffles

I'm becoming a huge Alton Brown fan.  Every recipe that I've tried of his is delicious.  And this one really makes me happy.  It's so good, so easy and the batter doesn't stick to the waffle iron.  Bonus!

Basic Waffles
source: Alton Brown, Food Network
servings: 5 Belgian waffles

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
3 Tbsp sugar
3 whole eggs, beaten
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature

Preheat waffle iron.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flours, soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In another bowl beat together eggs and melted butter, and add the buttermilk last.  Combine the wet ingredients with the dry and stir until combined.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

I like to spray some oil onto the iron using my oil pump filled with olive oil.  Ladle the recommended amount of waffle batter onto the iron according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Close and cook until the waffle is golden on both sides and is easily removed from iron. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve. 

These waffles are nice and crunchy on the outside, and soft and fluffy in the middle.  I think I would rather stay in and cook these waffles than eat out at most breakfast places.  Alton Brown-you're my hero.