What I’ve Cooked Lately

(Disclaimer: Sorry about the spacing in this post.  WordPress hates me.)

While writing my second London post, I went off on a tangent about food I’ve made lately, which made me realize I’d like to share some of the dishes I’ve cooked since I’ve been here!  I won’t be doing step-by-step instructions like I did here with the delicious fruit pizza but instead, just listing some of the recipes I use!

Like I’ve mentioned before, I rarely eat at restaurants here.  I actually got some street food (socca and a crepe) the other day and also got a snack with some friends at a restaurant the next day, and I felt bad about it!  I enjoy cooking and it’s so much less expensive to eat at home, especially here, that I prefer eating at my own apartment or at a friend’s.  While I do eat a lot of simple salads with lardons or mashed potatoes with corn (my favorite: MMM!), I also often cook big dishes that I can eat for several days.

Here is a list of some of the food I’ve made lately: if the name of the dish sounds good to you, click it, and it will either take you to the website where I got the recipe, or will jump you down to the written-out recipe in this post!

Lemon chicken

Dumpling stew

Bruschetta

Fried potatoes and onions

Cheeseburger macaroni (Last time, I made this with kidney beans instead of hamburger and a mixture of mimolette and edam cheese because cheddar doesn’t exist here.  It was delicious!)

Crispy sweet potato fries (I like to leave the skins on, since that’s where a lot of the nutrients are, but I cut out any bad or stringy parts)

Stuffed green peppers

Southwest chicken (AMAZING shredded and in a cheese quesadilla)

Taco seasoning (a little spicy for me; I need to get my mom’s recipe!)

Apple crisp

French silk pie

Cutout cookies (my family’s favorite recipe)

Frosting

Wow, looking at this list, it looks like I eat terribly.  I swear I eat fruits and vegetables, I just don’t use recipes for them!

Lemon Chicken

2 chicken cutlets, 1/4 lb each
3 T flour
1 t margarine
1 t olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 C sliced mushrooms
1/2 c chicken broth
2 T lemon juice
2 T dry white table wine
1 t chopped parsley

Cut chicken breasts in strips and dredge in flour, reserving remaining flour.  In a 10” nonstick skillet combine margarine and oil and heat until the margarine is melted; add chicken and cook over high heat, turning, until lightly browned. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.  In the same skillet combine mushrooms and garlic and sauté over medium heat, until mushrooms are softened, 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved flour and stir quickly to combine; stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and flavors blend, 3-4 minutes. Return chicken to skillet and cook until heated through, 1-2 minutes.  I usually double or triple this recipe, and then double the sauce ingredients as well!

Dumpling Stew
(This isn’t an exact recipe; I make it differently every time!)
Stew beef
Vegetable oil
Onion
Carrots
Salt and pepper
Beef broth
Canned green beans
Canned corn
Tomato puree, paste, or soup
Cut 1 lb. stew beef into small chunks; brown with oil and half an onion in a large pot.  Add carrots, salt, and pepper; add beef broth, juice from canned vegetables, and tomato puree/paste/soup.  Add water and beef stock as needed.  Simmer; add corn and green beans.
Dumplings:
2 eggs
1 1/2 t salt
1/6 t baking powder
2 T milk
~1 1/2 c flour
Beat dumpling ingredients together; should form one large lump.

Boil stew; drop dumplings in.  Let cook ~1/2 hour or until tender.  Can serve over cut up boiled potatoes!

Stuffed Green Peppers
6 large green bell peppers
2 1/2 c uncooked rice
2 lbs ground beef
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 10 oz. can Rotel diced tomatoes and chiles
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
16 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese (~4 cups)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 t pepper
1 t salt
Cut bell peppers in half top of bottom; remove seeds and ribs.  In medium saucepan, cook rice according to package directions.  In medium skillet, brown ground beef, onion, and garlic.  Drain the meat.  In medium saucepan, bring tomatoes to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, rice, tomatoes, salt, and pepper.  In  a 9×13 pan, place the peppers and evenly divide the beef mixture amount them.  Cover pan in aluminum foil and bake 40 minutes.  Remove foil, sprinkle cheese on top; bake uncovered 5 min.  To reduce cooking time, wilt the pepper halves in boiling water for ~5 minutes.  Reduces cooking time from 45 to 15 minutes.This recipe can really be customized however you like.  I usually make half a batch, sometimes mix cheese in with the mixture as well, use Mexican rice, add taco seasoning, or use beans instead of hamburger.
Southwest Chicken
2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 t chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t salt
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
Combine all ingredients.  Marinate at least one hour or overnight, then grill or bake.  Use in burritos, tacos, salad, or quesadillas!
Apple Crisp
4 cups tart apples (about 4 medium) Jonathan or Golden Delicious work great
2/3 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c flour
1/2 c oats
1 T + 3/4 t ground cinnamon
3/4 t ground nutmeg
2 T corn starch
1/3 c butter, softened
Heat oven to 375.  Peel and thinly slice apples, putting cut apples in water and lemon juice or Fruit Fresh mixture to prevent browning.  Drain apples and mix with 1/2 c sugar, 2 T corn starch, and 1 T cinnamon.  Arrange apple mixture in greased 8×8 pan.  Mix brown sugar, flour, oats, remaining 3/4 t cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter; sprinkle over apples.  Bake until topping is golden brown and apples are tender, about 30 minutes.  Makes 6 servings.
French Silk Pie (not French)
Many thanks to my cousin Katie for this recipe!!
1 c sugar
3/4 c butter
3 squares (3 oz.) unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
1 1/2 t vanilla
3 eggs
Readymade pie crust
Bake pie crust according to directions and let cool.  In a small mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until light.  Mix in cooled chocolate and vanilla.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating on medium speed of electric mixer for two minutes after each addition.  Spoon into baked pastry shell.  Chill several hours or overnight.  Serve with whipped cream!
Cutout Cookies
These are my family’s favorite!
1 c softened butter
1 c sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 t almond extract
1 t vanilla
2 1/2 c flour
1 t salt
Cream butter and sugar.  Add egg and extracts; beat until light and fluffy.  Combine flour and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Chill one hour.  Roll dough on floured surface to 1/4″ thick.  Place on greased baking sheets.  Bake at 375 for 7-9 minutes.  Yields 6 dozen 2 1/2 inch cutout cookies.
Frosting
3 c powdered sugar
6 T softened butter
1 t vanilla
2-4 T milk
Beat sugar, butter, vanilla, and milk until creamy.  Add food coloring if desired.  Spread over cutout cookies!
So that’s what I’ve been eating here!  I made Mom’s cutout cookies with a French friend this week and she said next time, we were going to cook French food, so that should be a fun experience!  But it has been nice having good American food here in the strange, strange land.
If you have a favorite recipe, feel free to share it!  Oh and if you’re interested in more recipes with step-by-step directions, check out my friend Jennie’s blog!  She makes a lot of healthy vegetarian main dishes and some not-so-healthy-but-delicious fancy baked goods.
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