Sunday, January 24, 2010

Muffins to start the year off with!

As Alex and I were planning our wedding I was your typical bride, buying up every wedding magazine known to woman.  I could look at wedding dresses ALL DAY LONG and many times I did.  Through all the magazine whoring I did, I found a FABULOUS magazine called Modern Bride Beauty & Fitness.  It has all the requisite make up and hair stuff, workout tips, but more importantly, it had a food section! 

I LOVE muffins.  Blueberry muffins were the only thing I craved while I was pregnant.  Sadly, I had misplaced this magazine and couldn't make my FAVORITE muffins.  But one of the benefits of moving is that displaced items have a way of becoming placed again.  :)  I should mention, when I was pregnant I didn't just crave blueberry muffins.  I craved blueberry muffins with streusel on top.  But those muffins will give you a muffin top!  These babies only have 162 calories each!  Well, maybe a little more because it doesn't take into consideration the frozen blueberries I add...but their fruit, they can't be that bad.

Granola-Streusel Muffins
1 cup unbleached all purpose-flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup reduced-fat (2%) milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons all-natural chunky applesauce

Streausel Topping
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespooons instant oils

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.   In a large mixing bowl, sift together first 5 ingredients.  make a well in the center and pour in next 4 ingredients.  fold ingredients together just until combined; don't overmix or the muffins will be dense.  Evenly divide batter among muffing cups.  For topping:  In a small bowl, whisk together oil, flour and sugar until smooth.  Drizzle on muffins then sprinkle with oats.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Again, I added frozen blueberries to these muffins for the added fruit bonus.  I also added an extra tablespoon of flour to the struesel topping because I don't like it all runny.  You're going to DIG these muffins!  Naturally, I LOVE these muffins so much, I ate them before I realized I didn't get a picture of the finished product...that happens a lot around here.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Macaroni Grill Knock off Recipe

I was so pleased by the Cafe Rio knock off receip I found that I decided to look for other resturant knock off recipes.  I found  a blog that had a GREAT recipe for a Rustic Grilled Chicken Penne Pasta.  I have never had this dish at Macaroni Grill, but will definitely look into it the next time I am there.  This dish ROCKED! 

User BEWARE: This recipe makes a SILLY amount of food.  I halfed the recipe and had enough for SEVERAL left-overs.  The blog I got this from is done by a Mormon lady who takes this dish to her ailing neighbors.  Having been raised mormon, this made me giggle.  They are DEFINITELY all about their casserole dishes and this recipe totally fits that bill.  Don't let that scare you...this is a GREAT recipe...even if it is pretty rich.

12 oz. grilled chicken breast (marinate in olive oil and garlic salt overnight, then grill on barbecue for best flavor) - We just cooked the chicken in a skillet on the stove top.  It came out VERY tender!!!

½ pack thick bacon
48 oz. (3 boxes) penne pasta
2 large red bell peppers- diced
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
½ tsp paprika

Gratinata Sauce:
2 tsp butter
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 cup marsala wine OR 1/3 cup apple juice + 2 tbsp red wine vinegar +enough chicken broth to equal 1 cup
1 tsp dijon or dry mustard
1 tsp salt1 tsp chopped rosemary
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
8 cups heavy cream

Sauté garlic in butter in large pan. Add marsala wine, mustard, salt, rosemary, cayenne pepper, and heavy cream.Cook pasta according to directions.

Cook bacon.

Slice chicken into medium-bite size pieces.

Combine sauce, cooked pasta, diced chicken, cooked bacon, bell peppers, parmesan cheese, and paprika and mix thoroughly. Spread in pans. Top with chopped rosemary and mozzarella cheese.

Bake @ 475 for 10 minutes. If frozen, thaw in refrigerator the day of. Cover with foil and bake @ 375 for 1 hour. Remove foil during the last 15 minutes.

This recipe was honestly so fabulous, I forgot to take a picture of the cooked product because I jumped right into it!

Cafe Rio.....WHERE ARE YOU?!

I remember the first Cafe Rio they opened in Salt Lake City.  It is on Fort Union right by Target.  That place was where the 'Cool' people ate.  I used to ALWAYS order their chile con queso and their PORK SALAD.  Oh....that pork salad.  I DREAM about that pork salad.  Their 'Salad' is comprised of a a torilla at the bottom of a bowl with a little melted cheese on top, your choice of black or pinto beans, rice, lettuce and the most heavenly pork!  But let's not forget the tomatillo dressing.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it. 

I am broken there are no Cafe Rio's in the Colorado Springs area.  What do I do in a pinch?  I find a knock off recipe online and compare.

Cafe Rio Knock Off Pork Salad Recipe:

2 Tbsp. oil
4 c. long grain rice (6 c. water)
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
juice of 2 limes
2 tsp. crushed garlic

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add rice, cilantro, and garlic. Saute 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add water and lime juice and bring to boil. Then reduce heat and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed by the rice (about 20 minutes). You can also use a rice cooker if you have one.

This rice is hideous! DON'T MAKE IT!  UG!  There is nothing more to say...JUST DON'T make it!

pork roast
1 (16 oz.) bottle of salsa
1 can coke
2 c. brown sugar

Place pork in crock-pot and fill it half way up with water. Cook roast on high for 5 hours. Drain off water. Cut pork in thirds. Mix together ingredients (salsa, coke, brown sugar) and put on top of pork. Cook an additional 3 hours on high. Shred pork with forks. Leave it on low until ready to serve.

I have to admit, the pork was pretty impressive. The meat was falling to pieces! However, next time I make this, I will not use the salsa. It gave the pork a pot roast sort of taste that it just didn't need. It took away from the sweetness of the meat. I also don't recall there being salsa in the Cafe Rio version.

1 packet hidden valley ranch buttermilk dressing
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. mayo or sour cream
2-3 tomatillas (peel off outer leaf/shell)
1 tsp. crushed garlic
¾ bunch fresh cilantro
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
juice from 1 lime (about 2 tsp.)
salt & pepper

Blend all ingredients in the blender. Refrigerate.

I wasn't sure anyone would be able to duplicate the Cafe Rio dressing, but this came REALLY close.  It was altogether WAY too runny.  You could half the buttermilk and I think it would resolve the runny issue.  Otherwise, the taste on this dressing is RIGHT ON!!!!  I used this dressing for a lot of things besides this pork.  I dipped quesadilla's in it, put in on other salads...HEAVEN!!!!

Alex and I opted not to make salads out of this recipe and unded up just making tacos and using the dressing to 'dress the tacos'.  YUM!!!  I got my Cafe Rio fix long distance. :)