Monday, August 30, 2010

Macaroni Grill Bread

1 Tbs. Dry Yeast
1 Tbs. Sugar
1 c. warm water (105 - 115 degrees)
2 1/2 c. white flour
1 t. salt
2 Tbs. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tbs. canola oil, peanut oil or olive oil
nonstick cooking spray
2 T. butter

Place yeast, sugar and water in large bowl and allow mixture to become bubbly. Mix in 2 cups of flour and the salt. Add one tablespoon of the fresh chopped rosemary. Knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Add flour if necessary.

Put dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Let dough rise in a warm place for one hour until doubled.

Punch down dough and divide in half. Let dough rest about 5 – 10 minutes. Spray baking pan with cooking spray. Shape the dough into 2 small rounded oval loaves. Melt margarine or butter. Brush over the top of the loaves. Sprinkle remaining 1 Tablespoon of rosemary over the loaves and press lightly into the surface. Let loaves rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly sprinkle course salt over the loaves. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until lightly browned.

I received this recipe from my dear friend, Tiffany (with whom I've eaten many, many loaves of MG bread), but it is originally from Recipe Circus.

Of course this bread is incredible on its own, but I also like to use it to make Italian-herbed chicken avocado sandwiches. A-mazing!

Instead of making two loaves, make four, as shown below.

Then slice two raw chicken breasts depth wise, to make four flat chicken breasts. A bread knife works well for this. Place them in a deep plate filled with milk.

In another deep plate, make a breading by mixing flour, grated Parmesan (you can use fresh and the Kraft powder stuff--it's best with both, but if I don't have fresh, I'll just use the powder), thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and pretty much any other Italian seasoning you like. Sorry I don't have measurements; I just put a bunch of everything in, but more of what I like best (basil, thyme, and garlic).

Heat a frying pan on low with some olive oil. Dip, and thoroughly coat, chicken breasts with breading mixture. Place in frying pan in heated oil. Cook on both sides, only once each side, for a few minutes until done all the way through.

Place on bread with mayonnaise, lettuce, avocado, and anything else you like on your chicken sandwich. Enjoy!

Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken

Honey Mustard Marinade
1/2 c. Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
1/2 c. honey
1 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Whip with electric mixer for about 30 seconds.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Pour about 2/3 of marinade over chicken. Marinate, covered in refrigerator for about 2 hours. Chill the remaining marinade until later.

1 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 c. sliced mushrooms (10 to 12 mushrooms)
2 Tbs. butter
8 slices bacon, cooked
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375. Heat large frying pan over medium heat. Sear chicken for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until olden brown. Place chicken in baking dish.

Saute sliced mushrooms in butter. Brush seared chicken with reserved honey mustard marinade (save a little extra to serve on the side of the dish). Season chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika. Stack two pieces of bacon, sauteed mushrooms, 1/4 c. Monterey Jack cheese, and 1/4 c. Cheddar cheese on each chicken breast.
Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until cheese is thoroughly melted and starting to bubble. Sprinkle with parsley before serving. Serve extra honey mustard marinade on the side.

Compliments of A Treasury of Top Secret Recipes.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Cheesecake Factory Key Lime Cheesecake

1 3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
5 Tbs. butter, melted
1 Tbs. sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Combine ingredients, stir to coat all crumbs with butter. Press crumbs onto the bottom and about half way up the sides of an 8-inch springform pan. Bake for 5 minutes, then set aside.

3 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 5 limes)
3 eggs
Whipped cream

Combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Add lime juice and eggs; beat until smooth and creamy. Pour filling into pan. Bake 60 to 70 minutes. If the top of the cheesecake is turning light brown, it's done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

When the cheesecake has come to room temperature, put it in the refrigerator. When the cheesecake has chilled, remove the pan sides and cut. Serve with whipped cream on top.

Compliments of A Treasury of Top Secret Recipes.

Friday, August 27, 2010

California Pizza Kitchen Chicken Club Pizza

My favorite pizza at California Pizza Kitchen* is the Chicken Club. And the Thai Peanut Chicken. And the Jerk Chicken. And the Pear and Gorgonzola. And the Vegetarian with Japanese Eggplant. But for the purpose of this post, it's the Chicken Club, so here we go.

This is not actually a copy-cat recipe. It is one that I made up because I wanted this pizza but didn't want to go get it (see the footnote). So I'm sure it doesn't taste exactly like it, but it's yummy. So let's all pretend we can't tell the difference, shall we?

Your favorite pizza crust (I like this pizza with whole wheat)
garlic butter
ranch powder
1 chicken breast
2 roma tomatoes
6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
mozzerella cheese
1 head romaine lettuce
1/4 c mayo
1/4 c sour cream
2 avocados

Rub chicken breast with oil and ranch seasoning. Bake in 375 degree oven until cooked through. Dice into bite sized pieces.

Roll out pizza crust or pat into pizza pan. Precook dough according to recipe instructions. Remove from oven and slather generously with garlic butter. Top with sliced tomato, diced chicken, and crumbled bacon. Top with slices of mozzerella cheese until the entire pizza is covered. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10 - 12 minutes, or until cheese is golden.

Yes, in this picture I used cherry tomatoes. They are also good on this pizza.

Meanwhile, cut lettuce into strips and mix with mayo, sr cream, and salt and pepper to taste.

Place on top of cooked pizza. Top the entire concoction with fresh avocado slices. Season with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Done and done.

*It should be noted that I absolutely HATE, with a capitol H-A-T-E, California Pizza Kitchen. I have stepped foot into one of their establishments once in my life and I will never ever go back. It was so pretentious. And I hate that. And I also hate that frequenters of the restaurant refer to it as CPK. I don't know why, but that just really really bugs me. Like all you need is a blue tooth and some CPK to be the world's biggest D-Bag. But, I love their pizza. Sue me.

Chili's Southwestern Eggrolls

My in-laws request this at every superbowl / fantasy football draft / New Year's Eve / in any way sports oriented party. And they are right to do it. Because they are delicious. And super easy. I usually triple the batch to take it to parties. And there are never any leftovers. If you've ever eaten them, you know why.

1 chicken breast
1 T oil
2 T minced red bell pepper
2 T minced green onion
1/3 c frozen corn
1/4 c canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 T frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 T diced canned jalapenos
1/2 T minced fresh parsley
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t chili powder
1/4 t salt
dash cayenne
3/4 c shredded monterrey jack cheese
5 - 7" tortillas

Grill your chicken; let cool. Over medium high heat, saute red pepper and onion till tender; add diced cooked chicken; add corn, black beans, spinach, jalapeno, parsley, cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring well to separate and incorporate spinach. Remove pan from heat and add cheese; stir to melt.

Wrap tortillas in a moist cloth and microwave 1 minute or until hot and pliable. Spoon 1/5 of the mixture into the center of each tortilla. Fold in the ends and roll the tortilla tightly - hold with a toothpick. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze at least 4 hours.

Heat oil to 375 degrees and fry for 12-15 minutes each. Drain and cut on the bias.
Serve with avocado dill dip.

Avocado Dill Dip:

1/4 c smashed fresh avocado (about 1/2 an avocado)
1/4 c mayo
1/4 c sour cream
1 T buttermilk
1 1/2 t white vinegar
1/8 t salt
1/8 t dried parsley
1/8 t onion powder
1/8 t dried dill weed
dash garlic powder
dash pepper

Mix and chill for an hour or more to blend flavors.

Cafe Rio Dressing

I saw that a few weeks ago someone posted their recipe for the Cafe Rio Sweet Barbacoa Pork (greatest stuff ever), so I figured I'd add their dressing to the mix.

1 packet hidden valley ranch mix
1 c mayo
1/2 c milk
2 tomatillos
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno (ribbed and seeded, unless you want it extra spicy)
hot sauce
Use a food processor and blend all the ingredients but hot sauce. Add hot sauce at the end to taste.

In a pinch? Here's another version that cuts your work down for you:

Omit tomatillos and jalapeno, and cut cilantro down to 1/2 c. Add 1/4 c green salsa in its place.

Hidden Valley Ranch

Now I know this is not a restaurant copy cat, but it is a copy cat of sorts, so I'm posting it.

Ever wanted some ranch dressing only to find that you were out of the packets of powder? It's the worst! As a ranch eating family, we run in to this problem a lot. I hate premade ranch (gag), but I never seem to have enough powder in my pantry for more. I constantly underestimate how much of it we actually eat.

After much experimentation, I think I have finally found a way to make it at home with spices you have in your cabinet. Amazing, right? I know. You're welcome.

2 saltine crackers
1/4 c dried parsley flakes
2T minced onion (dried)
1 1/3 t dill weed
1 T onion salt
1 T onion powder
1 T garlic salt
1 T garlic powder
black pepper to taste (I like a lot)

Mix it all up in a food processor and store in an airtight container.

Mix 1 1/8 t with 1 c buttermilk.

*This will not work in use of recipes that use just the powder, as there are no buttermilk solids that give ranch its distinct flavor. It only tastes right when it's mixed with the buttermilk. But it makes a great dressing!

Winger's Sauce

I could drink this stuff. When I was pregnant with baby #2, this is all I wanted morning, noon, and night. If you've never eaten at wingers, get to one QUICK! Or make this yourself.

2 1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
3 T light corn syrup
1/3 c Frank's red hot
1 T apple cider vinegar
1/2 c hot water

Place brown sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and melt over medium heat until boiling. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly - it will burn, and quickly! Add hot water, pepper sauce, and vinegar. Stir all ingredients well and continue cooking at a low boil, stirring often until reduced to a syrupy consistency (about 15 minutes).

The sauce will thicken considerably as it cools.

Okay, I hestitate in posting this part, but if you don't have all this stuff in your pantry or you just don't have the time to do the full recipe above, you can get by with the following. But I warn you, it is not the same! Nor does it have anywhere near the right consistency. But, it is a good quick susbtitute if you're in a pinch:

1 c brown sugar
1 c frank's red hot

Mix, bring it to a boil, and let it cool.

Easy peasy, but not as good as the first.

Wingers uses this on all their wings (fry wings and toss them in the sauce directly out of the fryer). But it's also great on top of burgers, or as a dipping sauce for, well, really anything. Especially cheese quesadillas. And especially especially if you mix it with ranch dip. Yum.

Panda Express Orange Chicken

This recipe isn't totally exact, sorry. But it's still really good. So give it a try!

2 lbs chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 egg
1 1/2 t salt
white pepper
oil (for frying) - I like peanut oil for this
1/2 c cornstarch, plus
1 T cornstarch
1/4 c flour
1 T gingerroot, minced
1 t garlic, minced
1/2 t crushed red pepper
1/4 c green onion, chopped
1 T rice wine
1/4 c water
1/2 t sesame oil

1 1/2 T soy sauce
1 1/2 T water
5 T sugar
5 T white vinegar
1 orange, zest of and 1/4 juice from
mix all ingredients and set aside

Place chicken pieces in a large bowl. Stir in egg, salt, pepper and 1T oil, and mix well.
Stir 1/2 c cornstarch and flour together. Add chicken pieces, stirring to coat.
Heat oil for frying in a wok or deep fryer (to 375). Add chicken (in small batches) and fry until golden (about 3-4 minutes).
Remove chicken from oil and drain on paper towels.

Clean your wok and heat 15 seconds over high heat. And 1T oil. Add ginger and garlic and stir fry until fragrant (10 seconds). Add crushed pepper and green onions. Add rice wine and stir for 3 seconds. Add orange sauce and bring to a boil. Add cooked chicken and stir to coat. Stir water into remaining 1T cornstarch until smooth and add to chicken. Heat until sauce is thickened. Stir in sesame oil, and more zest / juice if desired.

Serves 4 - 6

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Denny's Moons Over My Hammy

from Top Secret Restaurant Recipes

The Egg McMuffin type breakfast sandwhich (minus the english muffin), we love these and often make them for dinner. So good & quick.
The recipe is here, but its pretty easy to just make them based on desired amounts of egg, cheese, etc.

Butter, softened
2 eggs beaten
2 oz deli sliced ham
2 slices sourdough bread
1-2 slices Swiss cheese
1-2 slices American cheese

Melt some butter in a skillet, scramble eggs. Salt to taste.

In a separate skillet, brown the ham stacked, without separating the slices. When browned a bit on both sides, remove from pan.

Butter one side of each slice of bread and place 1 slice in pan, buttered side down. Immediately stack Swiss, then heated ham, eggs, American cheese, then bread, buttered side up. Grill both sides until golden.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sweet Pork Burrito's (like Cafe Rio or Costa Vida) and Dressing

I didn't think the meat tasted exactly like the stuff you get from the restaurant but they were still pretty good and the people I served them to like them a lot. The dressing I thought was closer.  It makes a ton though so you might want to half it.

Meat mix:

6lb Pork Roast: Put in Crock Pot and cover halfway up with water and cook for at least 6 hours. Discard Water. Shred.

In separate bowl mix a 12oz can of salsa, 1 can Coke, and 2 cups brown sugar. Pour over meat. Cook an additional 3 hours.


In a blender combine:
1 Buttermilk Ranch Mix packet.
2 cups mayo
2 cups buttermilk (or 1 cup sour cream and 1 cup milk)
2 tomatillos
1 jalapeno, seeded
1/2 - 1 bunch cilantro
1 Tbs lime juice
1 clove garlic, crushed

Homemade Flour Tortilla's
I got this recipe out of the Worldwide Ward cookbook.  It is super easy and very good.

8 C. Flour
4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 C. oil
3 C boiling water

Stir together flour, salt and baking powder.  Mix in oil; there will be small lumps of oil in the dough.  Stir in boiling water (boiling water makes the dough a lot easier to roll out when it is finished).  The dough should be soft and pliable, but not sticky or stiff; you may have to add a little more flour or water to get the right consistency.  when the dough cools down, finish mixing it with your hands.  Some oil lumps will remain; don't over mix the dough trying to get rid of them.  Using a piece of dough about the size of a small apple, roll the dough out on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin.  Roll in one direction first, then pick up the dough, flip it over and around, and roll in the other direction.  Do that a couple of times.  Don't worry if the tortilla is not perfectly round.  Bake the tortilla over medium-low heat on a DRY pan-do not use oil.  When the tortilla bubbles up, flip it over and bake the other side for a few seconds.  Makes 15 tortillas.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

CPK Thai Chicken Pizza

California Pizza Kitchen
Thai Chicken Pizza

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. warm water
3/4 tsp. yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbs. olive oil

In a small bowl dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let it sit for 5 minutes until the surface of the mixture turns foamy. Sift the flour and salt together into a medium bowl. Made a depression in the flour and pour in the olive oil and yeast mixture. Use a fork to stir the liquid, gradually drawing in more flour as you stir, until all the ingredients are combined. When you can no longer stir with a fork, use your hands to form the dough into a ball. Knead dough until smooth (about 10 minutes). Form the dough into a ball, coat it with oil, and place in clean bowl covered with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for about 2 hours. Punch dough down, recover it, and place it in the fridge overnight. Take the dough out of the fridge 1 to 2 hours before building the pizza to allow it to warm to room temperature.

Peanut Sauce
1/4 cup cream peanut butter
2 Tbs. teriyaki sauce
2 Tbs. hoisin
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. brown sugar
2 Tbs. water
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. minced onion
1 tsp. minced gingerroot

Blend ingredients in a food processor for about 15 seconds. Pour into a small pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute.

1 chicken breast
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 1/4 cups grated mozzarella
1 to 2 green onions
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup julienned carrot
2 tsp. minced cilantro
1 Tbs. chopped peanuts

Slice chicken into bit-size chunks. Pour 1/3 of peanut sauce over chicken. Marinate for at least 2 hours. Heat 1 tsp. oil in small pan over medium/high heat. Cook marinated chicken for 3 to 4 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475*F. Roll out pizza crust and place on pizza pan. Spread remaining pizza sauce over crust. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella over sauce. Julienne green onions into 2-inch match stick strips. Spread onions over cheese. Arrange chicken on the pizza, then sprouts and carrots. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella on the center of the pizza and top with cilantro and nuts. Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

Compliments of A Treasury of Top Secret Recipes.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August is here!

I went through and cleared out the blog authors, so if I deleted your name and I shouldn't have, just email or leave a comment and I can go back and add you. I didn't recognize some of the names. Miriam, I don't know if you were ever added (I may not have recognized the name, you can send me an email so I can add you).

Theme for August- restaurant recipes made at home...
everyone seems to have some sort of copy cat recipe. If you have one you swear by, let's see it.