New URL

September 24, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Dear Friends

I’m pleased to announce I have a new URL.

Not a big change, but it simply drops the wordpress and simplifies it to:

http://www.highlandsranchfoodie.com

My apologies for any inconvience, but I’m afraid you’ll have to visit the new URL and resubscribe to my blog.

I’ve just posted a new entry. It’s about an Elk watching trip to Estes Park, and the Posole soup that came along.

I value all of my readers so much and hope you’ll take the time to continue with me in my food journies.

Lea Ann

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Fried Pickles, Tru Pickles and On a Stick Cookbook

September 18, 2011 at 7:54 am | Posted in Appetizers | 35 Comments
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What’s your favorite thing to eat on a stick?

I think mine has always been corn dogs, but after reading through the newest addition to my cookbook collection, corn dog status has officially become threatened. Let’s take a small peek into Matt Armendariz’s first cookbook On a Stick.  I don’t think I need to tell anyone that Matt is a rock star blogger, a professional food photographer and now a published cookbook author.

Matt’s photo from On a Stick cookbook. (I was given permission from the publisher to print this photo.)

My photo and the recipe I made from On a Stick cookbook.

Note to self:  find a blue weathered piece of wood.

I’m killing three pigs with one bird in this post. (Yes, I’ve been playing way too many games of Angry Birds on my I-Phone).

  1. Fried pickles has been on my list of things to make for a long time.
  2. A couple of months ago I uncharacteristically wildly waved my hand to receive a free copy of Matt Armendariz, or Matt Bites, new cookbook. As a “condition” of receiving the cookbook they asked me to talk about it on my blog.  I am gladly obliging.
  3. This gives me the opportunity to talk about a great local product; Tru Kosher Dill Pickles. And they’re jarred right here in my backyard in Littleton, CO.

Fried Pickles With Ranch Dressing:  I must say, I was taken with this tasty dish. This is the first time I’ve had them and I loved the warm, crunchy, flavor packed appetizer. Truly a treat for the palate. Matt’s recipe in the book called for pairing sweet gherkins with cocktail onions and dill pickle chips. The trio is then skewered on a stick for great little presentation. For the dipping sauce, I used a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing. It’s been years since I’ve bought it and I had forgotten how good it is.

Fried Pickles With Ranch Dressing, On a Stick Cookbook

  • 8 wooden cocktail picks
  • 1 qt. vegetable oil
  • 1/3 C. all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. buttermilk
  • 1 T. dill, minced
  • 1-1/2 C. seasoned bread crumbs
  • 8 gherkins
  • 8 cocktail onions
  • 8 dill pickle chips (I used sliced Tru Kosher Dill Pickles)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 C. store-bought ranch dressing

Preheat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat.

Mix flour and cayenne pepper in a shallow dish. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, and dill. Place bread crumbs in a second shallow bowl.

Thread 1 gherkin, 1 cocktail onion, and 1 pickle chip on each cocktail pick. Once oil reached 350 degrees F., toss skewers in flour mixture, shaking off excess; dip in egg and then dredge in bread crumbs until fully coated.

Drop skewers gently into oil and fry 4 – 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Serve with ranch dressing.

On a Stick cookbook.  I’m glad I wildly waved that hand to receive a copy of this book. Chock full of fun recipes and great photos, it’s a welcome addition to my collection. With a line of foods that you’d expect to serve on a stick, like corn dogs and satays, he also throws us some curves with fun ideas for deep-fried mac and cheese, pizza skewers and potato chips on a stick. And are you ready for this one…Spaghetti and Meatballs on a stick. Also offered is an extensive dessert section with cinnamon rolls on a stick and deep-fried candy bars. FUN stuff folks. And of course, each recipe partners with a beautiful photo to entice you into hunger.

I’ve already got several recipes bookmarked and look forward to making many of these fun dishes. Thanks for a great cookbook Matt.

Tru Pickles.  As I mentioned above, these pickles are bottled not literally in my backyard, but in Littleton, CO. That means I’ve got a “neighbor” turning out some delicious pickles. They say “You’ve never tasted a dill pickle like this”. They’re very good and packed to the gill with crazy good flavor and yes, I’ve never tasted a pickle like this. Grape leaves are packaged in each jar for crispness and a unique flavor experience. I love that they’re a local product, I love how crunchy they are, and they are the most flavorful pickle I’ve ever eaten. They are sold nationally, so take a look at their web-site, Tru Pickles to find out where you can pick up a jar.

So with all that said, whether it be a pickle or spaghetti, get out your skewers and eat something On A Stick.

Fried Pickles…They’re What’s for an Appetizer.

Three Cheese Chicken Lasagna

September 10, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Posted in Pasta | 42 Comments
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Here’s what we like about this:

  • It’s a pasta and ooey-gooey cheese combination.
  • The sweet and fresh picked home-grown tomatoes turn this dish into a star.
  • With ground chicken breast and a cream sauce, you’ve got a great summer version of lasagna.
  • The ground garlic cheese croutons added a crunchy little au gratin topping goodness to the whole thing.
  • One teaspoon of cayenne pepper brightens the tomato sauce and brings this dish to an unexpected level of excitement.

What we didn’t like:

  • This is one of these dishes where will power and common sense becomes nonexistent.  Somewhere during your third helping, you realize you can’t stop eating it.

I only make this dish each summer when fresh tomatoes from my garden are rolling around on my kitchen counter.  That beautiful fresh tomato flavor truly shines when paired with the three mild cheeses and the ground chicken. Creamy in flavor, and served simply with a tossed salad it’s a wonderful meal. Let’s take a look.

Three Cheese Chicken Lasagna:

  • 1 package lasagna noodles
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken breast
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t. cayenne pepper
  • 3 pounds fresh garden tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 T. fresh basil
  • 2 C. ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 C. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 C. milk
  • 1/4 C. chicken broth
  • Handful garlic cheese croutons, ground in a mini-chopper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until almost tender, according to package directions. Drain.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Oil a lasagna baking dish.

In a frying pan heat oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned. Add the onion and red pepper and saute until softened, about two minutes. Stir in the garlic and cayenne pepper and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the chopped tomatoes and basil, stir well and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes, adding the milk and chicken broth to maintain a thick soupy consistency. The amount will depend on how juicy the tomatoes are. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

In a bowl combine ricotta, Parmesan and egg and mix well. Stir in the parsley.

Line the bottom of the baking dish with about 1/4 of the lasagna noodles. Spread with 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella, and then spoon on 1/4 of the sauce. Repeat the layering two more times, using up all the ricotta mixture and the mozzarella.  Top with the remaining noodles and finally the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with ground up croutons.

Cover and bake until heated through and the sauce is bubbling. About 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes. Uncover and cut into squares to serve.

Three Cheese Chicken Lasagna…It’s What’s For Dinner

Braised Chicken with Lemon, Potatoes and Olives

September 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Posted in Chicken | 45 Comments
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We love braised chicken dishes at our house and with my cast iron skillet as my partner, I can’t go wrong. It perfectly and quickly places a crispy brown crust on the chicken skin.Then it’s high sides snuggle ingredients and sauces together to simmer the flavors into a delicious savory goodness.

Let’s take a look at some of the braised chicken dishes I’ve blogged about:

Chicken Marengo:  Flavored with raisins, carrots, tomatoes, black olives in a sweet tangy basil and rosemary sauce. Exciting.

Tarragon Chicken: Simply a tarragon tomato sauce.  Savory.

Sticky Lips Chicken: White wine, scallions in a veal demi glace. Omg.

And Chicken Galliano:  Mushrooms and goat cheese and simmered in a anise flavored liqueur.  Divine.

Thanks to Martha for our latest braised chicken dinner. The chicken soaks up and delivers soft lemony goodness. Accompanied with a bite of briny olives, smooth potato cubes, and topped with fresh sprigs of thyme, it’s a delicious one-skillet meal.

Martha Stewart’s Braised Chicken with Lemon, Potatoes and Olives:

  • 2 1/4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 12 ounces baby fingerling potatoes or halved small potatoes
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 cup green olives, such as Cerignola, pitted if desired
  • 1 small lemon, washed well, cut into wedges
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Season chicken with salt. Heat a large, heavy ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Swirl in oil. Cook chicken, skin side down, until browned, about 5 minutes. Flip chicken, and push to side of skillet. Add 1 cup stock and  1/2 teaspoon salt. Add potatoes to liquid. Bring to a boil. Add garlic, olives, lemon wedges, and thyme to liquid. Return to a boil.
  2. Transfer skillet to oven. Roast, stirring potatoes halfway through, until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  3. Return skillet to stove. Mix cornstarch with remaining  1/4 cup stock, and stir into pan. Bring to a boil to thicken sauce. Serve immediately.

Braised Chicken with Lemon, Potatoes and Olives…It’s What’s For Dinner.

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