Have you missed me? I moved!

18 06 2010

You might have noticed that this blog has been a little quiet. Well, that’s because…

I moved to a self-hosted WordPress! You can find me here: http://www.theniftyfoodie.com/food/

Not to worry. I can catch you up in pictures of some things you might have missed!

Kiwi Pineapple Sorbet

Garlic Lemon Chicken Kabobs w/ Grilled Vegetables

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte

Louisiana Strawberry Jam

So, won’t you come join me at The Nifty Foodie? I miss my readers!





Announcing: The New Blog

7 04 2010

Hi everyone! I have been absent with posting because I’ve been working on a new food blog. My blog will no longer be considered Skinny Food by Amy, but rather, The Nifty Foodie.

All new posts (along with your old favorites) will be on there from now on, so feel free to update your readers to this link!

http://www.theniftyfoodie.com/food

While you’re at it, feel free to become a fan of The Nifty Foodie (click on the Facebook button on the new page) or add me to Twitter! :)

I’m very excited about this new change, and hope you all stick with me as I make this move!!





Nifty Trick: Tomato Paste

16 03 2010

I”m going to start featuring some nifty tricks that I’ve learned in the kitchen to save money and time.

One of the things with cooking is a lot of recipes call for a little bit of this, when the smallest can isn’t so little. I feel horrible wasting food, so I try to save food, even if it’s, in this case, a few ounces of tomato paste.

I know there are tubes of tomato paste out there, but why spend $3 on a small tube when you can buy a small can for less than 50 cents!

A recipe I made for crawfish pie called for 1 tbsp. of tomato paste, so I had a lot of paste leftover, which I know I would eventually use for other recipes.

So, I took the rest of the can, and scooped out tablespoon portions on top of an inside-out freezer bag.

After you do that, pop the bag in the freezer for a couple of hours so the tablespoon shapes set, and then flip the bag inside out again (so it is able to zip) and freeze until you need them! Nifty, right?

If you have some nifty tricks to share, please feel free to comment and share! I might even feature your nifty trick!! :)





Crockpot Steak Fajitas

15 03 2010

We’ve had some skirt steak sitting in the freezer for a couple of months, so I decided to try my hand at making fajitas with this stuff. The meat can tend to be a little tough, so I figured the crockpot would help. I kind of made this recipe up in my head, so it was a big experimen! Luckily, these were very flavorful, and while the meat wasn’t super tender, it was much better than just cooking it on a skillet and serving it!

Crockpot Steak Fajitas

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. skirt steak, cut into strips
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil (divided)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Add 1 tbsp. oil to a skillet on medium-high and allow it to heat up. Add steak pieces in with the taco seasoning and brown them. Don’t fully cook the pieces, but give it a little sear.
  2. In a 2 qt. crockpot, add the water, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Add the seared steak and leftover oil.
  3. Cook on low for 2.5 – 3 hours.
  4. After the meat is cooked, add oil and a tsp. each of salt and pepper to a skillet and cook down onions and bell peppers on medium-high.
  5. Toss in meat with 3 tbsp. seasoned liquid from the crockpot and cook the mixture for another 2-3 minutes or until the majority of the liquid has cooked off.
  6. Serve with warmed soft tortillas and other toppings! Enjoy!




Boeuf Bourguignon

8 03 2010

Like so many food bloggers, I watched Julie and Julia. I will admit, as a child, I hated when my mom watched Julia Child. I couldn’t understand a word she was saying, and heck, there was Nickelodeon to watch!

After watching this movie, I was inspired and knew I had to make this dish. I’ve been making it for a while now, but one of my blogger friends asked me to make this and show it step-by-step. Please realize that there is NO natural light in my kitchen, just in the dining area, so I did my best on the step-by step pictures!

I used a version found on Joelen’s Culinary Adventures, because it was done in steps, which made it way easier! Thanks Joelen!

Oh, and yes, this stuff is amazing. If you have time and a devoted dish washer (yes, this uses a LOT of dishes), definitely make this!

Boeuf Bourguignon
Source: found on Joelen’s Culinary Adventures, originally by Julia Child, mildly adapted by me

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces bacon
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef , cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 sliced large onion
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 3 cups full-bodied, young red wine , such as a Chianti (used Merlot)
  • 2 to 3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • Bay leaf
  • Chopped parsley for garnish

For onions:

  • 18 to 24 small white onions (white pearl onions)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup wine (same type used in beef)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tsp. parsley

For mushrooms:

  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Sauté the bacon in a dutch oven (no oil) over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. (The bacon will render and give off enough fat to cook with.) Remove the bacon from the pot and place in a bowl; set aside.

Dry the stewing beef in paper towels – it will not brown if it is damp. Add the beef, a few pieces at a time, to the dutch oven to cook in the rendered bacon fat. Sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Remove the beef from the pot and add it to the bacon in the bowl; set aside.


If the bacon fat has been absorbed by sauteing the beef at this point, feel free to add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. In the pot, brown the carrots and onions.

Return the beef and bacon to the pot and toss with the salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the flour over the meat in the pot and toss everything in the pot to coat the beef lightly with the flour. On the stovetop, heat the pot for about 2-3 minutes to lightly cook off some of the flour.

To the pot, stir in the wine along with the stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to simmer on top of the stove.

Then cover the pot and set in lower third of preheated oven. Allow the pot to braise very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

I decided to stop here for the evening and let the beef cool for an hour or so out of the oven and then refrigerate overnight. It’s a good stopping point and you can resume with the onions or mushrooms. OR, if you are ambitious, do these vegetables while the beef is in the oven. :)
For the onions – place the peeled onions in a skillet with the butter and sear them until they start to brown, move to a medium saucepan, adding the wine, water and herbs. Saute on low for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For the mushrooms –  place butter in the same skillet used to prepare the onions. Saute the mushrooms in the butter until they start to brown. Remove from the skillet and set them aside to cool.

After the meat is braised in the oven or brought back up to temperature on a stovetop, remove and strain the beef and vegetables from the pot with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl; set aside. With the remaining sauce left in the pot, allow it to simmer. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down rapidly to reduce and thicken. If it’s too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning.

At this point, return the beef and vegetables to the thickened sauce, along with the caramelized pearl onions and mushrooms. Gently heat everything over a medium low heat and then serve with egg noodles, rice or potatoes. Garnish with chopped parsley.





Cookie Cutters Aren’t Everything..

5 03 2010

Crawfish cookies don’t seem to be as popular as Christmas tree cookies or Teddy bear shaped ones, so finding a cookie cutter for these just did not happen. I was sad, but I had my paring knife on me and went to town.

I found a print out of a decent crawfish and generalized it for cutting purposes. I was going to pipe the details instead. :)

This took me about an hour to cut out 16 crawfish shaped cookies, but the overall shape looked good to me, so I baked them up.

Hilariously, these cookies are the two WORST colors to make on icing. Red and black are hard colors to get, and you have to use almost 1/3 of the bottle to attain the color. (Note: If you need to make red icing, buy no taste red or you’ll end up with bitter icing.) Just remember, let the icing sit a little after dying it. Lighter colors get richer when they sit!

At this point of piping and filling, the hubs pointed out that they look like ants. Great…

However, after the details were put in, they looked pretty much like cutesy crawfish! :) So, if you can’t find the cutter you are looking for, definitely consider getting a template and cutting from there!

In case you are wondering how to decorate cookies and what recipes I use, click here.





Chicken Enchiladas

4 03 2010

Ok, so I’m gonna give you all a crawfish break today. I just HAD to share this recipe ASAP, because it’s just awesome.

This is a different recipe than the enchiladas I am used to (the ones with red sauce), but I had some leftover crockpot chicken that we used for tacos the night before (which I didn’t photograph, but I will share the recipe) and wanted to make sure that I used up the leftovers. I found this recipe on AllRecipes and thought that it sounded pretty interesting. So, I decided to give it a try!

This recipe is very easy to put together, and was so yummy. My husband absolutely loved these, so I’m definitely going to have to make them again!

Chicken Enchiladas
Source: AllRecipes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast meat (used shredded leftover chicken taco meat. Recipe below)
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 6 (12 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1/4 cup milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking dish.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and saute the green onion until tender (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the garlic powder, then stir in the green chiles, cream of mushroom soup and sour cream. Mix well. Reserve 3/4 of this sauce and set aside. To the remaining 1/4 of the sauce in the saucepan, add the chicken and 1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese. Stir together.
  3. Fill each flour tortilla with the chicken mixture and roll up. Place seam side down in the prepared baking dish.
  4. In a small bowl combine the reserved 3/4 of the sauce with the milk. Spoon this mixture over the rolled tortillas and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

Crockpot Chicken Tacos
Source: The Nest (Houston Nesties board)

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken taco seasoning packet
  • 2-3 frozen chicken breasts
  • Fresh pico de gallo (12-16 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle the seasoning packet all over the bottom of the crockpot. Lay the frozen chicken breasts on top.
  2. Pour the pico de gallo on top and add the olive oil and water. Do not stir!
  3. Allow the chicken to cook in the crockpot for 4-6 hours on low. Remove chicken and shred with a fork, then add back in the crockpot, stir the sauce and let it cook for 30 more minutes on low.







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