Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Alton Brown's Baked Macaroni

Image and recipe taken from Food Network.

Alton Brown, once again you are my hero... This is by far the best Macaroni recipe ever. The Panko bread crumbs make all of the difference. Enjoy, and do try to save some, as Alton suggests at the bottom of the recipe.

This one is a classic, and the only competition that comes close is Sunny Anderson's Spicy Macaroni and Cheese.

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter (for topping)
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (for topping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

Remember to save leftovers for fried Macaroni and Cheese.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Image and recipe taken from Food Network.

This recipe belongs to Tyler Florence of Food Network's Tyler's Ultimate TV show. This lives up to the name Ultimate Chicken Cordon Bleu. Also, the Microplane worked out very well for us. It was much easier to pack the cheese when it was grated with that, instead of a standard cheese grater. I had no idea how I was going to fit a full 1/2 pound of cheese into 4 chicken breasts...

Also, I know the Gruyere is pricey, but it is well worth it!

  • 4 chicken breasts skinless and boneless
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
  • 1/2 pound Gruyere, grated
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lay the chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. Remove the top sheet of plastic and lay 2 slices of prosciutto neatly over the top to cover the breast and sprinkle a quarter of the cheese over the prosciutto. Tuck in the sides of the breast and roll up tight like a jellyroll inside the plastic wrap. Squeeze the log gently to seal and twist both ends tight to form a nice log. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Season the flour with salt and pepper. Mix the bread crumbs with thyme, garlic and kosher salt, pepper, and melted butter. The butter will help the crust brown. Beat together the eggs and season so the flour, the eggs and the crumbs are all seasoned.

Remove the plastic wrap. Lightly dust the chicken with flour, dip in the egg mixture and gently coat in the bread crumbs. Lightly coat a baking pan with olive oil and carefully transfer the roulades onto it. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until browned and cooked through.

Cut into pinwheels and serve on top of Brussels Sprout Hash with Chicken Jus and Cranberry Chutney, if desired. (or not)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Zesty Chicken

Image taken by me (hence the poor quality), recipe taken from MyRecipes.com.

This one was one of my favorites. I know there is a lot of chicken on the tables of America, so it was very nice to find a recipe that brought some variety to our mundane routines!

Sautéed green beans with red bell pepper strips make a colorful accompaniment to this dish.


  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 skinned and boned chicken breast halves
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Hot cooked couscous
  • Garnish: chopped green onions

Combine first 10 ingredients in a shallow dish or large heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; add chicken. Cover or seal, and chill 30 minutes, turning chicken occasionally.

Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade.

Cook chicken in hot oil in a large skillet over high heat 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; turn, and cook 10 minutes or until done. Serve with hot cooked couscous. Garnish, if desired.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Perfect Potstickers

Image and recipe taken from Food Network.

Very special thanks to Alton Brown, from Food Network's Good Eats, for providing the basis of this recipe, Perfect Pot Stickers. His instructions for cooking the potstickers are flawless. If I had the time to follow his instructions to the 'T', I would have. So what, I made some modification.. Where Alton says 'Combine the first 11 ingredients', I say 'Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage'!

Yes. Breakfast sausage. I stole that idea from a friend's mom. Although, next time I'll stay true to the ingredients.

If you want to feel like a pro while you cook, this is a fun recipe. It's very high maintenance, and isn't too hard to follow.

We served this one with white rice and a frozen Asian vegetable bag.

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 35 to 40 small wonton wrappers
  • Water, for sealing wontons
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 1/3 cups chicken stock, divided

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Combine the first 11 ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl (pork through cayenne). Set aside.

To form the dumplings, remove 1 wonton wrapper from the package, covering the others with a damp cloth. Brush 2 of the edges of the wrapper lightly with water. Place 1/2 rounded teaspoon of the pork mixture in the center of the wrapper. Fold over, seal edges, and shape as desired. Set on a sheet pan and cover with a damp cloth. Repeat procedure until all of the filling is gone.

Heat a 12-inch saute pan over medium heat. Brush with vegetable oil once hot. Add 8 to 10 potstickers at a time to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, without touching. Once the 2 minutes are up, gently add 1/3 cup chicken stock to the pan, turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove wontons to a heatproof platter and place in the warm oven. Clean the pan in between batches by pouring in water and allowing the pan to deglaze. Repeat until all the wontons are cooked. Serve immediately.

A fellow food blogger?

I found another blogger who writes about his interesting food adventures. Seems pretty cool. His blog is The Traveling Hungryboy. Go check it out!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chicken Kiev

Recipe taken from here. Image taken from here.

This one was delicious. And, if you've got the right tools, it's incredibly easy to make. It does require a decent meat tenderizer, which I picked up from my local grocery store since I didn't want to make a second trip. ;)

During dinner, we decided that there would be no easy way of making this recipe any healthier without sacrificing the unique taste the butter puts into the chicken. I'd recommend finding an alternative if you're worried about the large amount of butter, or maybe just save it for a special occasion!

We served this with corn and white rice cooked in chicken stock.


  • 4 chicken breast halves, deboned
  • 1/4 c. butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 c. dry bread crumbs
  • Butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly butter 8 inch square baking dish. Pound chicken to 1/4 inch thickness. Combine 1/4 cup butter and tarragon in small bowl and blend well. Place equal portions of butter mixture in center of chicken breasts. Fold ends over and tuck in sides, securing with toothpicks, if necessary. Roll chicken in flour. Dip in eggs, then coat with bread crumbs, covering completely. Arrange in prepared baking dish. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala

Image and recipe taken from here.

But, ours looked more like this. This recipe is from our friend Megan, who made her own alterations to what I've got below the images. We tripled the servings to accommodate the number of people we were feeding.

If you like spicy Indian food, then this is a good recipe to try! It went over very well.

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 long skewers
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat a grill for high heat.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers, and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side.
  4. Melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Italian Sausage Manicotti

Image and recipe taken from here.

This recipe stemmed from my need to get rid of some Italian Sausage the we bought on Manager's Special at King Soopers a while back, and was taking up space in my refrigerator. We already had the manicotti in the pantry, and I was wondering why Shawn had wanted the ricotta cheese....


  • 1 (1 lb.) roll of ground Italian sausage

  • 1 box of manicotti pasta

  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tbl olive oil

  • 1 pack fresh basil, rinsed and chopped

  • 1 15oz. container ricotta cheese

  • 2 eggs

  • dash of salt

  • 1 jar alfredo sauce (4 cheese is great)

  • 1 jar marinara or other tomato based sauce(I like fire roasted tomato and garlic)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  2. Cook the manicotti according to package.

  3. Hint: I put a little bit of olive oil in my water to keep pasta from sticking

  4. While manicotti is cooking, heat olive oil in pan and add garlic

  5. Once garlic is slightly golden in color, add sausage and cook thoroughly

  6. Once manicotti is finished, drain and dry.

  7. For the manicotti filling, place the ricotta in a large bowl.

  8. Add eggs and mix thoroughly

  9. Mix in basil and salt

  10. Once sausage is cooked, mix in with ricotta mixture

  11. Fill manicotti with cheese/sausage mix

  12. Place manicotti in a 9x13 baking pan.

  13. Cover manicotti with alfredo sauch and then with a small amount of tomato sauce.

  14. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes

  15. Uncover and bake for 5 more minutes

Friday, October 9, 2009

Intros and Explanations

Aimless Omnivores is the story of the foods my friends, family, or I choose to try. I'll be posting recipes that range from the simple to the extravagant!