Rachael Ray Look + Cook Giveaway Winner!

Congrats to Joan, the winner of the signed Rachael Ray cookbook!

Here was Joan’s inspiration:

“I think I got into it because so many of my close relatives also love to cook.. my Mom, Dad, both Grandmas and several Aunts and an Uncle. It just came natural I guess.”

Family is great inspiration!

Joan, you’ll be recieving an email from me shortly.

Didn’t win? I’ve got another giveaway (with another signed cookbook) coming up later today!

Chipotle Chicken Chili with Flaming Tequila-Pepper Salsa and Avocado Ranch Dressing + Rachael Ray Signed Cookbook Giveaway!

I’ve mentioned before that my first cookbook was a Rachael Ray cookbook and I have a soft spot for her because of it. She was the first cook that made things feel accessible enough for me to try them out myself.

I bought a few of her cookbooks early on but I’d since abandoned them. Except for a few pages in t he middle, they didn’t have any pictures and I came to realize that I’m much more likely to cook something if I know how it’s supposed to look finished.

A few weeks ago, Rachael was at my local bookstore signing copies of her newest cookbook, Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook. I decided the opportunity to meet her was worth the price of another cookbook for the shelf. Rachael was really nice and I was pleasantly surprised to see a good chunk of the book had color pictures.

Mark picked this recipe out of the book to try and I was a little hesitant about it for a weeknight dinner because it seemed like it had so many elements. Everything came together quickly, though, and it produced a very nice meal with less effort than I anticipated. Definitely a keeper.

Chipotle Chicken Chili with Flaming Tequila-Pepper Salsa and Avocado Ranch Dressing
(from Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook, also available on her website)

4 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
6 slices smoky bacon, chopped
2 pounds ground chicken breast
2-3 T. pureed chipotle in adobo, depending on preferred heat level
1 T. ground cumin
1 T. ground coriander
1 T. smoked sweet paprika
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
3 T. tomato paste
4 c. chicken stock (32 ounces)
Salt and pepper
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
4 shots of tequila
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 c. cilantro leaves, chopped
1 avocado, pitted
Juice of 1 lemon
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. fresh chives, finely chopped Crushed tortilla chips, for garnish

Place a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the bacon to the pan and brown, about 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken to the pot and brown, 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the lumps. Add the pureed chipotle, cumin, coriander and smoked paprika, then stir for 1 minute. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and cook until tender, 5 minutes more. Add the tomato paste and chicken stock and some salt and pepper to the pot and bring the liquids up to a bubble. Reduce the heat to a simmer.

While the chili is simmering, place a medium size skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the bell peppers, red onion and jalapeños to the skillet and cook until tender, 4-5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the tequila. Return the skillet to the heat and flame the tequila to burn off most of the alcohol. Add the lime juice, cilantro and some salt to the salsa.

To a food processor bowl add the avocado, chives, lemon juice and buttermilk. Process until smooth and then season with salt and pepper.

Serve up the chili with some of the tequila-pepper salsa and avocado ranch dressing. Garnish with tortilla chips.


While I was at the book signing, I got another copy of Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook signed for a lucky reader.  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment letting me know who or what inspired you to cook.

For an additional entry, subscribe via email (in the right-hand column) and leave me a seperate comment letting me know. Already an email subscriber? Leave me a seperate comment letting me know that too and you’ll get your second entry.

Comments can be made until midnight EST on December 10, 2010. I’ll announce a winner December 11.

Good luck!

Michael Chiarello Cookbook Giveaway Winner!

Congrats to Samantha, the winner of the signed Michael Chiarello cookbook and lemon-pepper panko, courtesy of MyBlogSpark and General Mills!

These are her plans for the panko:

“I have been playing a lot with our steamer basket lately, and would make these wonderful mini chicken meatballs, then roll them in toasted panko before serving…guilt free “fried” flavor!!”

Sounds great! One of my favorite thing about panko is creating the fried flavor without actually frying.

Samantha, you’ll be recieving an email from me shortly.

Didn’t win? I’ve got another giveaway (with another signed cookbook) coming up later today!

Lemon Pepper Chicken & Signed Michael Chiarello Cookbook Giveaway

General Mills, in conjunction with MyBlogSpark, recently sent me a package of Progresso’s Lemon Pepper Panko to try out. I’ve used panko before to make chicken so I decided to try this out with chicken too so it would be easy to compare.

The Lemon Pepper Panko was good – and would probably be really good with fish. It’s a great way to add some flavor quickly and without much thought. The one drawback of buying pre-seasoned breadcrumbs is that you don’t have as much flexibility with it. Still, this was good and I would definitely consider buying it again.

Lemon-Pepper Panko Chicken Nuggets
(Method from back of box)

2 chicken breasts
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c. flour
1 c. Progresso Lemon-Pepper Panko

Cut chicken into chicken nugget-sized pieces. Rinse and pat dry.  Place egg, flour and panko in three separate bowls.

Dip each piece of chicken into flour, then egg, then panko and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken. Bake at 350F degrees for 20 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 165F degrees. Broil for an additional minute to crisp up panko.

For crisper chicken, I place the chicken on a cooling rack on top of the baking sheet – raising it slightly keeps it from sitting in any juices released.


General Mills and MyBlogSpark is providing a pack like the one they sent me to one lucky reader. It includes a package of Lemon Pepper Panko to try out and a copy of Michael Chiarello’s Bottega with a signed book-plate. The cookbook is beautiful and would be a great addition to any cook’s library.

To win, just leave a comment letting me know what you’d like to make with the panko breadcrumbs. For an additional entry, subscribe via email (in the right hand column) and leave a comment letting me know. (If you’re already a subscriber, just leave a comment letting me know for your second entry.) Comments can be made until midnight EST December 3, 2010. I’ll announce the winner December 4.

Additionally, be sure to check out the Progresso’s Wine & Dine with Chef Michael Chiarello Sweepstakes. Now through December 31st, participants can enter for the chance to win a trip for two to Napa Valley to attend the Spring Bud Break Party, an annual dinner and wine tasting event taking place on May 7, 2011. In addition to two tickets to the party, the grand prize also includes roundtrip airfare and hotel accommodations. Visit www.progressobroth.com for the sweepstakes rules and entry form.

Good luck!

Baking Pack Giveaway Winner!

Congrats to Tyler, who was the winner of the Baking Pack Giveaway!

She said her favorite holiday treat was:

“Christmas morning Cinnamon rolls and peppermint hot chocolate!”

Sounds delish to me!

Tyler, you’ll be receiving an email from me shortly!

Didn’t win? Don’t worry – I’ve got another great giveaway coming up later today!

Crescent Layer Bars & Baking Pack Giveaway

Last weekend I hosted a Holiday Entertaining Recipe Swap featuring Pillsbury Crescents. As part of the party, Pillsbury sent a few recipes using Crescents to try out. I’m a big fan of Crescents but I always thought of them as a savoy so I was surprised to see this recipe in the pile.

It’s also the hands down favorite of the day. I loved the chewiness the Crescents gave the crust and these would be easy to adapt with anything you have handy in the pantry.

Crescent Layer Bars
(from Pillsbury)

1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cashew halves and pieces
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

Unroll dough sheet and press into a 9″x13″ pan making the dough go 1/2″ up the sides of the pan. Bake for 5 minutes at 375F degrees.
Remove partially baked crust from oven. Sprinkle white chocolate chips, chocolate chips, almonds and cashews evenly over crust. Pour condensed milk evenly over top.
Return to oven; bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of pan. Cool 1 hour. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until chocolate is set.
Giveaway! – NOW CLOSED

Pillsbury sent me a hostess set for the get together and I’ve gotten permission from them to pass it along to a lucky reader. The prize pack includes a baking pan, spatula, oven mit, recipe cards and coupons for Pillsbury Crescents.
To enter, just leave a comment letting me know what your favorite holiday recipe is and be sure to include your email or another way I can contact you. You can leave a comment until midnight EST on November 26, 2010. I’ll announce the winner November 27.
Good luck!
This post was featured as part of Eat at Home’s Sweetened Condensed Milk Ingredient Spotlight.

Want Some New Kitchen Tools?

On my personal blog I’m currently running a giveaway for a $45 CSN Stores Giftcard.

CSN has a great selection of kitchen items so this is a great opportunity to get something fun for yourself. Enter by midnight ET tonight – the winner will be announced tomorrow.

Click here to enter!