Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chile Relleno Bake

Today's recipe uses the Mexican Style Shredded Beef that I posted yesterday.  I have also included instructions at the end of the recipe for using ground beef if you prefer.  

I can't stress enough to make sure that your shredded beef is drained well, so your dish isn't "soupy". I place the beef on a paper towel lined plate and place a couple more towels on top, press down to remove as much of the liquid as possible. 

I found this recipe in a community cookbook we found at my Nanny's house after she passed away. All through the margins of the cookbook are her notes on the various recipes, and I love to look at it. It makes me feel close to her.  The original recipe uses ground beef, but I enjoy it with the shredded as well.  I also added the garlic and the Frank's, because I don't make too many recipes that don't use these two ingredients!  
Chile Relleno Bake
1  pound shredded beef from Mexican Style Shredded Beef
2  cans (4 ounces, each) WHOLE green chilies, cut in half and seeded and drained on paper towels
2  cups (8 ounces) shredded Mexican Style Cheese or Pepper Jack Cheese, divided
4  eggs
1/4  cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1  teaspoon Frank's Hot Sauce
1/4  teaspoon garlic powder
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/4  teaspoon pepper

Cut green chilies in half and place half in a lightly greased 2-quart shallow baking dish.  I used a 11 x 7 inch dish. Add 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese.  Top with the shredded beef mixture and then layer the remaining chilies and set aside.

Beat together the eggs and flour until smooth.  Add the milk, Frank's, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Blend well and carefully pour the egg mixture over the casserole.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and place back in the oven for a few minutes until cheese is melted.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Cooks Notes:  You may also brown a pound of lean ground beef with 1 cup of chopped onion, season lightly with salt and pepper.  Use in place of the shredded beef.

We like to top the bake with diced tomatoes, green onions, sour cream and maybe a few sliced jalapenos.



Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mexican Style Shredded Beef

As many of you know, the Sunflower Supper Club is more than a blog, it is also a catering and meal delivery service.  Julie and I cook a lot of entrees in a month and then they are frozen and delivered to our clients in individual portions.  We also prepare casseroles and other “meal helpers” that can be frozen to give you a head start on dinner. It can be as simple as browning ground beef with onion, and seasoning it with salt and pepper for a quick throw together dish, such as our Cheeseburger Macaroni.  I love having the convenience of frozen meals and starters in my freezer for busy days when I can’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen. 

Today I’m sharing a recipe that is a staple in our home.  It is ridiculously easy to prepare and so yummy.  I like to buy the biggest roast I can find.  I figure if I’m cooking it why not have some leftover for another meal?  Take the leftovers and freeze them in 1 pound portions in freezer bags.  On a busy night you’ll be ready to whip up tacos or burritos for a family friendly dinner in a flash.  Tomorrow I will share another recipe that I like to use this leftover beef for.

If you want to spice things up a bit, add a couple of canned Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients.  

Mexican Style Shredded Beef
3 ½ - 4 pound chuck roast
1  (14 ½ ounce) can Beef Broth
1  (10 ounce) can Rotel
1  lime, juiced (3 tablespoons)
1  medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
2  cloves garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
2  tablespoons (heaping) Chili Powder
2  teaspoons cumin
½  teaspoons salt
1/2  teaspoon ground red pepper or chipotle chile powder
2-3 chipotle chiles, minced (optional)
For Serving:
Flour or Corn Tortillas, warmed
Shredded cheese
Sour Cream
Whatever your heart desires!

Trim excess fat from the chuck roast and cut into 4-5 large pieces. Place all of the ingredients except the chuck roast in a slow cooker and stir to combine.  Add the chuck roast to the slow cooker, roast should be almost covered with the liquid, add a little more beef broth if necessary.  Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Check the roast for doneness; it should fall apart when pulled with 2 forks.  When the roast is done cooking, remove from the slow cooker and let cool a few minutes.  When roast is cool enough to handle shred the meat with 2 forks removing any fat.  Return the meat to the cooking liquid until ready to serve.   This is a terrific dish to make the day ahead.  If making ahead, cool broth in liquid and place in fridge.  When ready to serve, remove the fat that has hardened on top and heat.



Monday, February 27, 2012

Hot Fudge Brownie Cake

Wanted:  Magazine Club

I belong to a book club, as I am sure many of you do.  We are to read 1 book per month.  I always start out the month with grand expectations of reading the book, having plenty of time to mull over the plot and sub plots and then maybe even move onto another book that I can then share with the group when we meet.

These expectations are never met.  I do well to read the chosen book for the month.  Reading another book never happens unless I am on vacation.  I used to worry about this – because so many in my book club read several books per month.  However, I worry no more.

See, I made a discovery in the last few weeks about myself.  As I was pondering why so many of my fellow book club members could read so much each month and I was doing well to finish the book club selection – it came to me - my real love is magazines!!!  Now, I am sure many of you spend time on facebook or pinterest or even watching TV – not me.  I’m admitting it – I still like magazines.  Now, not gossip or those Hollywood type magazines but food related ones.  My last count is I subscribe to 8 of them (don’t tell my husband).  I rationalize it as business research and development!!!  But, I do enjoy relaxing with a magazine and looking at it several times over.

I am sure you are wondering why I don’t just use the internet for new ideas –well, I do a little of that but I still feel you can find many great ideas in a magazine.  So, I decided I needed to start a Magazine Club!!!!  Anyone interested – it could be a nationwide phenomenon!!   Read the magazine – talk about all the recipes, hints and decorating ideas – have a glass of wine and some good food. Well, maybe there are only 2 other people that would feel this way.  But, just for the record – I still attend my book club and I still like magazines.

I found this wonderful little recipe in a MAGAZINE - one of my favorites – Southern Living.  Give this little chocolate cake recipe a try- you won’t be disappointed and it is just the kind of recipe that can be done quick and easy.

 Hot Fudge Brownie Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups sugar, divided
½ cup milk, room temperature
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 ½ cups boiling water

Heat oven to 350.  Stir together flour, next 3 ingredients and ¾ cup sugar in a large bowl.  Stir in milk, oil and vanilla.  Spread the batter in a lightly greased 8” square pan.

Combine the brown sugar, cocoa and remaining ½ cup sugar in a small bowl; sprinkle over the batter in pan.  Using a spoon, gently drizzle the boiling water over the batter spoon by spoon, being careful not to disturb the layers. (DO NOT STIR)  This is important so don’t try and hurry.  You want the dry mixture to stay a layer under the liquid.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until a cake layer forms on top and the layer springs back when touched.  Let cool on a wire rack for 20 – 30 minutes.  Serving it warm is ideal.  Adding a scoop of ice cream doesn’t hurt either!!

TIP:  You can substitute coffee for the boiling water and make a Mocha fudge cake – delicious too!!!

Hope you enjoy!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Beef Stroganoff

I have always loved the flavors in Beef Stroganoff.  It is a great family dinner, but is also special enough for company. Typically I serve it over buttered egg noodles, but it is also great over rice. 
Some recipes for Beef Stroganoff don't call for browning the meat.  Trust me, it is an important flavor step and well worth it.  After you brown the meat and saute your veggies,  you deglaze the pan with red wine and get all those yummy brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of you pot.  I know it is extra work, but it will pay off in the flavor of your dish I promise! 

My original recipe is a slow cooker one, but I adapted it for the oven.  After you brown the meat you could certainly throw everything in the slow cooker on low for several hours.  The slow cooker recipe said that when you add the flour and water mixture just turn the heat to high for 30 minutes to thicken.  I have not had good luck with this so I prefer to do it in the oven.  I'm sure Dan would love to tell you the story of when we were newly married and we had Beef Stroganoff paste over noodles because I couldn't get the dish to thicken so I just kept adding more flour to the slow cooker.  That seemed to me to be the logical cooking thing to do! You see that is why I prefer the oven for this particular recipe, bad memories, but I think the slow cooker would work as well.  I must be challenged that way!  If you do use your slow cooker I'd love to know how it turns out for you. 

Beef Stroganoff

3  tablespoons vegetable oil
2  pounds beef chuck roast, cubed
1  teaspoon kosher salt
1  teaspoon black pepper
4  tablespoons butter, divided
1  pound mushrooms, sliced
1  large onion, chopped (1 ½ cups)
2  cloves garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
½  teaspoon dried thyme
½  cup red wine
3  cups beef broth
¼ cup flour
¼ cup water
2  teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/3  cup heavy cream
1  pound egg noodles
Fresh Parsley, minced for garnish

Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch Oven over medium-high heat.  Brown the meat in 2 batches until it is browned; remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate.

Reduce heat to medium and melt 2 tablespoons butter in the Dutch Oven.  Add the mushrooms, onion, garlic and thyme; Sauté for 10 minutes. 

Add the red wine to the Dutch Oven to deglaze the pan.  Simmer for about 3 minutes until the wine has almost evaporated.  Add the beef broth to the pot and return the browned meat and any accumulated juices.  Cover the Dutch Oven and place in a 325 degree oven for 2 hours. 

After 2 hours check the beef for tenderness.  Place back in the oven for 30 more minutes if it is not tender.

In a glass jar with a lid, combine the flour and water, shake vigorously to combine.  Pour the mixture into the Dutch Oven and stir; cover the pot and return to the oven for 15 minutes to allow the Stroganoff to thicken slightly.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling salted water, drain and coat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.

Remove the meat from the oven, stir in the Dijon mustard and the heavy cream.  Let stand for a few minutes to thicken.

Divide noodles on plates and top with beef mixture. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired. 



Shared at the following great link parties:
Katherine Martinelli Beef Blog Hop
Love Bakes Good Cakes All My Bloggy Friends
Buns In My Oven What's Cookin Wednesday
Six Sisters' Stuff Strut Your Stuff Saturday Link Party

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chicken Verde Enchilada Bake

I don’t have much patience for rolling enchiladas; I’m kind of lazy that way.   I also don’t like cutting into their gooey layer of cheese after they bake. I always end up slicing one in half and then the filling spills out of the tortilla.  I know, I know, these are real problems.  
Well, several years back a little light bulb went off in my head.  Why not tear the tortillas and layer the dish like the ever popular King Ranch Chicken Casserole?  I tried it and I loved how it turned out so I’ve been doing it ever since!  A rotisserie chicken picked up on your way home from work would be perfect in this dish.  The sauce comes together pretty quick and you’ll have dinner on the table in a flash.  The dish also freezes well, and the recipe is easily doubled so you could have a dinner ready for another night.
For those of you who are on Pinterest, I would love for you to follow me here, you’ve probably seen the hint about shredding chicken in your Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  I tried it, and it works wonderfully.  Just put the warm cooked chicken in the bowl of your mixer, I did 2 breasts at a time, cut into thirds.  Turn your mixer on to about speed 2 and let it blend for about 2 minutes.  Don’t blend it too fast or you’ll end up with chicken paste and watch it for the consistency you prefer.   

Chicken Verde Enchilada Bake
2  pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, seasoned with salt and pepper, cooked and shredded
2  cups (8 ounces) shredded Queso Cheese or Monterey Jack Cheese
¼  cup vegetable oil
1  large onion, chopped (1 ½ cups)
4  cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons)
¼  cup flour
2  cups chicken broth
1  can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1  can (7 ounces) diced green chilies
1  teaspoon dried basil
1  teaspoon dried oregano
1  teaspoon cumin
½  teaspoon salt
½  teaspoon black pepper
¼  cup chopped fresh Cilantro
12  corn tortillas
1  cup (4 ounces) shredded Mexican Blend cheese (let’s be honest, I used a little more!)

Combine the shredded chicken and the Queso or Monterey Jack cheese in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat.  Add onion and sauté about 5 minutes until tender.  Add garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.  Add flour and continue cooking 1-2 minutes until bubbly.  Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, tomato sauce, green chilies, basil, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the ¼ cup of fresh cilantro. 
Spread about ½ cup of the Chili Verde Sauce in the bottom of a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.  Top with 6 corn tortillas torn into bite size pieces.  Layer with ½ of the chicken mixture, evenly spread about 1 ½  cups of the Chili Verde Sauce over the chicken.  Top with the remaining 6 corn tortillas torn into bite size pieces and the rest of the chicken mixture.  Spread the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with the cup of Mexican Blend Cheese.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes until bubbly.



I linked this recipe up to the Church Supper over at Everday Moms Meals.  Check it out for yummy recipes!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cheesy Corn and Bacon Bake

My brother is an awesome cook.  He is the kind of cook I wish I was.  He is able to just throw ingredients together and have it turn out delicious.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that all through high school and college he worked in the restaurant industry.  I can’t cook like that, or I choose not to.  As I've said before I didn't grow up cooking, I stared cooking when I got married.  I like having a book and specific instructions.  I always change up recipes or write my own, but I am meticulous about writing down every ingredient and the amount used.  If something turns out great I want to know exactly what was put into the dish. 
The last time my brother’s family was at our house for a visit, he whipped up a Creamy Corn Bake similar to this recipe.  There is a BBQ restaurant in Kansas City and they serve a dish like this.  I watched him throw everything together and of course took some notes on what he did.  What I’m sharing with you today is my version of the corn dish that he made for us.  I can’t wait for summer to try this with fresh corn.  My family inhaled it, which in my book is the sign of a great recipe.

 Cheesy Corn and Bacon Bake

4-5  slices thick cut bacon, diced
3  tablespoons butter
½  cup onion, chopped
½  cup red pepper, chopped
2  cloves garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
¼  cup flour
2  cups milk
4  ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into small pieces
1 ½  cups shredded cheese (6 ounces) Sharp Cheddar or Pepper Jack
1  teaspoon Frank’s hot sauce
2  (12 ounce) packages frozen corn, thawed (or equal amount of fresh, cut off the cob)
½  teaspoon salt
¼  teaspoon pepper
¼  cup sour cream

In a large sauce pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon.  Leave about 1  tablespoon bacon grease in pan and add butter.  Add the onion and red pepper and sauté about 5 minutes over medium heat until vegetables soften.  Add garlic and sauté 1 minute until fragrant.  Add flour and whisk 1-2 minutes until bubbly.  Add the milk and bring to a simmer.  Simmer a few minutes until mixture thickens slightly.  Remove from heat and add the cream cheese and the shredded cheese, stir until melted.  Add the Frank’s, corn, salt, pepper and sour cream and cooked bacon. Pour into a greased casserole dish.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. 



Linked to these fabulous blogs:
Gooseberry Patch Garden Goodies Link Party
Katherine Martinelli Cheese Blog Hop

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Easy Crescent Roll Breakfast Casserole

This breakfast casserole is a basic in our house.  It is one of about three of my go-to breakfast casseroles.  If you need a breakfast dish that is basic and easy, this is your dish.  I love a breakfast dish filled with eggs and veggies, but my kids just want simple.  I am not much of a breakfast cook except for on the weekends.  My kids love when their dad, who travels for work, is home on school mornings.  He grew up eating hot breakfasts most mornings and he loves to get up and make the kids some kind of a hot breakfast before they head off to school.  I have to say that I quite enjoy it as well, even though I am pretty much an “I’ll just have coffee” kind of a person in the morning.   Next time you need an easy casserole give this a try.

 Easy Breakfast Casserole
1 package (8 ounces) Crescent Rolls
2  cups (8 ounces) Shredded Cheese, your choice (My family likes Colby-Jack)
1  pound ground breakfast sausage or bacon, or use 2 cups diced ham
1  dozen eggs
1  cup milk
½  teaspoon ground mustard
½  teaspoon salt
¼  teaspoon pepper
Place the crescent rolls in the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 inch greased casserole dish.  Pinch seams together.  Evenly spread the cheese over the layer of crescent rolls followed by the sausage, bacon or ham (or maybe a combo!).  In a bowl whisk together the eggs and milk, add the ground mustard, salt and pepper.  Gently pour over the casserole.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes until set.
Cook’s Note:  I have never assembled this completely the night before.  I usually layer the rolls, cheese and sausage in the casserole dish and combine the eggs and the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl.  In the morning all you need to do is pour the eggs over the casserole and bake.



Thursday, February 16, 2012

Braised Coca-Cola Brisket with Parmesan Polenta

I love the kind of recipe that we are sharing with you today.  You do about 20 minutes of prep work early in the day, pop your dish in the oven and then basically forget about it for a few hours.  Right before you eat you throw together an easy side dish, add a salad and dinner is ready.  I put this in the oven before we left for church on Sunday and when we got home a couple of hours later the house smelled heavenly.

I’ve cooked a lot of briskets in my married life and I find it to be one of the most unpredictable dishes.  I can make a Brisket one day and it will turn out fantastic and the next time I make the same recipe it tastes like shoe leather!  Sometimes Dan will throw it on the Weber and smoke it, but most of the time I use my oven.  I will often leave it in the oven longer than I said in the recipe.  I think it just takes some briskets longer to get tender.  Just leave plenty of time for it to cook, it only gets better as it sits in the juices.  The secret is low and slow and hope for the best!  

Braised Coca-Cola Brisket with Parmesan Polenta

2  tablespoons Olive Oil
1  (3-4 pound)  Brisket, trimmed
1  teaspoon kosher salt
1  teaspoon black pepper
3  slices Thick Cut Bacon, minced
2  large onions, halved and thinly sliced
¼ cup red wine or beef broth, to deglaze pan
1  teaspoon minced garlic, about 2 cloves
1  (12 ounce) can Coke (Dr. Pepper would work as well)
1  (12 ounce) bottle Chili Sauce
¼  cup molasses
1  teaspoon liquid smoke

In a large Dutch Oven, heat the Olive Oil over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle both sides of the brisket with salt and pepper.  Cook about 2 minutes on each side to sear brisket.  Remove brisket from Dutch Oven and set aside.  Add the minced bacon to the Dutch Oven and cook over medium heat until brown.  When the bacon is brown, remove with a slotted spoon and place with the brisket.  Drain all but about 2 tablespoons of fat in the Dutch Oven.  Add the onions and cook over medium to medium low heat for about 15 minutes, until they are tender and beginning to brown.  Add the garlic and sauté for 1 -2 minutes until fragrant.  Add the red wine or the beef broth to the Dutch Oven to deglaze the pan.  Be sure to scrape all the browned bits off the bottom of the Dutch Oven.  They are full of flavor!  

Stir in the Coke, chili sauce, molasses and liquid smoke.  Return the Brisket and the bacon to the pan.  Cover and bake in a 325 degree oven for 3 1/2-4 hours or until tender.  After about 2 hours I like to remove the brisket from the oven and turn the brisket over.  When it has been in the oven for 3 ½ hours check the brisket with 2 forks.  When you pull it apart it should be very tender, if not, place back in the oven and keep checking it every 30 minutes until tender.  Let Brisket rest in pan for 15 minutes or so.  Remove the brisket from the pan and slice brisket across the grain and return to the cooking liquid. 

Parmesan Polenta

4  cups Chicken Broth
1  cup Instant Polenta
¼  cup whole milk or ½ and ½
3  tablespoons butter, softened
¾  cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Bring the Chicken Broth to a boil in a large saucepan.  Slowly whisk in the polenta and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook the Polenta for a few minutes, stirring until it thickens.  Remove from the heat and stir in the milk (or ½ and ½), butter and grated Parmesan Cheese. 
Serve with braised Brisket.



Linked to the following parties:
Our very own Weekend Potluck
Buns in My Oven What's Cookin Wednesday
Everyday Mom's Meals Church Supper
Addicted to Recipes Scrumptious Sunday Link Party

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cream of Spinach, Artichoke and Chicken Soup

 I will be the first to admit that I have been on a little bit of a soup kick this fall and winter.  I love a big bowl of soup for lunch when the weather turns colder.  Since we’ve had a few days of cooler temperatures I decided to make another pot of soup. Like I’ve said before, we love Spinach and Artichoke dip around here and this has similar flavors.  This soup has chicken in it, but you could certainly leave it out and use the soup as a first course. 

Cream of Spinach, Artichoke and Chicken Soup

2  tablespoons butter
2  tablespoons olive oil
1  medium onion, chopped  (1 cup)
¾  cup chopped celery
1  package (8 ounces) mushrooms, rough chopped
1/2  teaspoon kosher salt
1/2  teaspoon black pepper
4  cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons)
2  cans (15 ounces) Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped
½  cup dry white wine
¼  cup flour
6  cups Chicken Broth
½  teaspoon dried tarragon
½  teaspoon dried thyme
2  cups Heavy Cream
5  ounces fresh Baby Spinach, washed and chopped
1  pound Chicken Breasts, cooked and shredded
1  cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a Dutch Oven or large heavy pot melt butter and heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, mushrooms, salt and pepper.  Sauté for 8-10 minutes until vegetables are soft.  Add the chopped artichokes and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes.  Add the wine to deglaze the pan, be sure to scrape anything from the bottom of the pot.  Add the flour and continue cooking for 2 minutes.  Slowly add the Chicken Broth a little at a time.  Add the tarragon and thyme and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer.  Add the heavy cream a little at a time maintaining a simmer.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes until thickened.  Stir in the Spinach and the chicken, continue simmering for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan Cheese.  Salt and Pepper to taste.



Linked to the following parties:
Gooseberry Patch Soup and Stews Round Up

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Southwestern Hummus Topped with Black Bean and Corn Salsa Served with Flatbread Wedges

I love homemade hummus.  In my opinion, the best hummus recipe belongs to Ina Garten also known as The Barefoot Contessa.  You can find her recipe here.  It is a perfect base recipe for adding all kinds of different ingredients. I used her recipe as a base for my Southwestern Hummus.  Another favorite dish of mine is Corn and Black Bean Salsa. I was craving both of them last weekend and I had an epiphany.  It would be fantastic if I combined them into one layer dip.  It was so yummy, and not to mention healthy.  I have been spreading it on Wasa crackers for a quick lunch since Saturday.  I’ve also included my recipe for my Flatbread Wedges, they are so easy to make and will add a little something special to your appetizer. 

Southwestern Hummus
2 cans (15 ounce) Garbanzo Beans, drained and liquid reserved
1 ½  teaspoons kosher salt
2  teaspoons minced garlic
½  cup tahini
1  lemon, juiced (3 tablespoons)
1  lime, juiced (3 tablespoons)
2  tablespoons reserved liquid from the beans
½  teaspoon cumin
1  Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce, diced
1  tablespoon liquid from the can of Chipotle Chilies
1/3 cup fresh Cilantro, rough chopped
2  tablespoons Olive Oil, go around the bowl of the food processor a couple of times.

Drain both the cans of garbanzo beans reserving the liquid in a small bowl.  Place the beans in the bowl of a food processor.  Add the salt, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, lime juice, the 2 tablespoons of reserved liquid, cumin, the Chipotle Pepper, adobo sauce and the cilantro.  Pulse several times to blend.  Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Continue processing until the hummus is smooth.  If you need to you can add more or the reserved liquid or olive oil if it is not creamy enough. 

Black Bean and Corn Salsa
1 (15 ounce) can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1  cup fresh or frozen (thawed) corn
¾  cup green onions, sliced, green tops included (about 5-6)
1  small red bell pepper, diced
2  tablespoons olive oil
1  tablespoon red wine vinegar
1  clove garlic, minced (1/2 teaspoon)
½  teaspoon cumin
½  teaspoon dried oregano
½  teaspoon kosher salt
½  teaspoon Frank’s Hot Sauce
2  tablespoons minced Fresh Cilantro

Place the black beans, corn, green onion and red bell pepper in a medium size bowl.  Stir and add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, Frank’s Hot Sauce and Cilantro.  Gently mix.

Soft Flatbread Wedges
1 (12 ounce) package Flatbread, 5 pieces (I used Kangaroo brand I found at Dillons)
2  tablespoons olive oil
1  teaspoon dried oregano
¼  teaspoon salt
¼  teaspoon pepper

Cut each flatbread into 6 wedges and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  In a small bowl combine the olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper.  Brush the flatbread pieces with the oil mixture.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 7 to 8 minutes until golden brown.



To see what to do with that can of Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce you just opened go here.

I've linked this recipe to the Weekend Potluck hosted by The Country CookMeet Penny4 Little Fergusons and Baking Bad.  Check it out for a lot of delicious recipes!

I've also linked this recipe to the Fit and Fabulous link party hosted by Amee over at Amee's Savory Dish.  Check it out for a lot of yummy healthy recipes!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"Easy as Pie" Pie Crust

I love being in the kitchen, especially when I am baking something.  I find it a place of great peacefulness and a very relaxing time for me. 

Being in the kitchen, I have a lot of time to think.  I run the whole spectrum of things to think about – my family, my friends, chocolate, dreams I have or goals I want to accomplish, chocolate!!  Another subject  I often think about  is earlier times.  Like way earlier times . . . like late 1800’s or early 1900’s.  Thinking about the women of those days makes me very thankful I live in the era that I live in now.  Sometimes I hear people talk about earlier times – “Well, those were the good ‘ole days”.  Really?   Not by my kitchen standards. 

I think women at the turn of the century (if you didn’t have hired help) spent their days working to just feed and cloth their families.  Just think about it – no washing machine, no running water, no electric stove etc. etc. etc.!!!  That doesn’t seem like “the good ‘ole days” to me!!  So, being in my kitchen often makes me very, very thankful for the conveniences we now have and how they allow us to have the choice to decide how we spend our time!!  That is the luxury we are all given – CHOICES!!

Speaking of the modern conveniences, one I use a lot is the food processor.  One of my favorite desserts is a fresh peach pie (well, any fruit pie for that matter).  I grew up on a peach and apple orchard so I come by it naturally.  I have been making pie crusts since I was a little girl, but for 10 years or so I have been using the food processor and it is the most absolutely best and easiest way to make a pie crust. 

If you have a food processor give it a try this weekend – it is so easy.  I make several while I am making them and freeze them in disks to use later for either pies, quiches or little hand pastries.

“Easy as Pie” Pie Crust

For 1 pie crust – will need to do this twice for a top and bottom.  Do not double
the recipe – it does not work as well. Just make them back-to-back.  It does not take any time to make one, so don’t think making two is a problem!!

This is what you need (besides a food processor) for each pie crust:

1 cup flour
pinch salt
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 Tablespoon cream (or ½ and ½ or milk)

In the bowl of a food processor with the metal blade in place add the flour and salt.  Pulse for 3 to 5 seconds to stir together.  Cut the butter into 8 pieces and add to flour mixture.  Pulse until butter is incorporated and about the size of peas.  (6 – 8 times usually).  With the processor running, add the cream slowly through the feed tube.  Keep the processor running until the dough comes together in a ball and moves around the bowl of the processor.  Turn the processor off once it forms a ball.  You are done!!!

Little baking hints: 

Have the flour, butter and cream in the fridge until right before you use it.  Having things cold helps the flakiness of the pie crust. 

Once you have your ball of dough, make into a disk about 1 inch thick and 6” in diameter.  Then wrap in plastic wrap and put in fridge for 15-30 minutes. When you are ready to use let it sit out for 5 minutes or so before rolling.

When you have made the pie crust (like in the picture) put in the fridge for 20 – 30 minutes before baking.

All these hints add up to a flakier crust.  But, if you are in a rush, they do not have to be done.  I make pies both ways and nobody has ever turned down a slice!!!!

Happy Baking!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I have been under the weather this week and when I don’t feel well a creamy bowl of soup is the perfect comfort food.  Also, the weather here in Kansas finally turned colder so a pot of this soup just sounded ideal.  We even got a light dusting of snow this week!  It was a pretty snow, and the best part was it melted off the roads as it was falling, so just the trees and yards were covered.

I have a recipe for Chicken and Wild rice soup that I found a while back on the internet.  It uses a box of Uncle Ben’s rice and wild rice blend with the seasoning packet.  It is a wonderful recipe, but chalk full of sodium, chemicals and preservatives.  Since in the New Year we are trying to eliminate processed foods, I decided to come up with a new Chicken and Wild Rice Soup recipe.  I still used the Uncle Ben's blend of long grain and wild rice for ease because I had one on hand.  You could certainly cook some long grain and wild rice if you wanted to.  You want to end up with about 1 cup of cooked white rice and ½ cup cooked wild rice.

Also, I used the spice turmeric, which is similar to curry, in this soup.  I love the flavor that this spice gives a dish, but if you are not so sure you might start with just a ¼ teaspoon and see if that is enough for your taste.  You'll see once again I added Frank’s Hot Sauce to my recipe.  I think I should be getting some kick back from them!  I literally add Frank’s to just about everything.  We finally broke down and bought a gallon of the stuff at Sam's Club, and I can't believe how much we have already used.  It is not so hot that it is too spicy it just gives a really nice bite.  
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

7 cups chicken broth, divided
1 box Uncle Ben’s Long Grain and Wild Rice-Original Recipe
¼  cup unsalted butter
1  (8 ounce) package mushrooms, rough chopped
½  cup onion, chopped
½  cup celery, chopped
½  cup carrot, diced
1  teaspoon garlic, minced
½  teaspoon kosher salt
½  teaspoon black pepper
½  cup flour
1/2  teaspoon turmeric
½  teaspoon cumin
½  teaspoon thyme
¼  teaspoon tarragon
½  teaspoon Frank’s Hot Sauce
2  cups cooked and shredded Chicken
3  cups  ½ and ½
1  tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
2  tablespoons dry white wine or sherry
2  teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the Uncle Ben’s rice in two cups of chicken broth, omitting the butter and the seasoning packet per package directions.

Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat in a Dutch Oven or large soup pot.  Add mushrooms, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, salt and pepper.  Cook vegetables for about 10 to 12 minutes until mushrooms have released their liquid and vegetables are soft. 

Add the ½ cup flour and stir for about 2 minutes.  Slowly add the remaining 5 cups of chicken broth a little at a time.  Add the turmeric, cumin, thyme, tarragon and Frank’s Hot Sauce.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes.  Stirring frequently.

Stir in the cooked Uncle Ben’s rice, the cooked chicken, ½ and ½, fresh parsley, white wine, lemon juice. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until thoroughly heated. Salt and Pepper to taste.



I linked this recipe up over at the Weekend Potluck hosted by 4 Little FergusonsMeet Penny,Baking Bad and The Country Cook.  Check it out for tons of delicious recipes!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Swedish Meatballs

We love a good meatball in our family.  Usually I will make BBQ meatballs or our version of Moink Balls, but I thought I would change it up a little and try something my family hasn't had.  I figured with it being in meatball form the kids would be more willing to try it.  I have some other meatball recipes in the works that I am planning to test on my family.  They were a little hesitant a first, but this dish ended up going over very well in my family.   

Swedish Meatballs

1  cup fresh breadcrumbs
2/3  cup milk
3  tablespoons butter, divided
1  cup finely minced onion
3  slices thick cut bacon, minced
1 ½  teaspoons kosher salt
1  teaspoon black pepper
1  teaspoon brown sugar
1  teaspoon ground allspice
½  teaspoon ground nutmeg
2  pounds ground beef (or use a mix of beef and pork if you prefer)
3  tablespoons flour
2  cups beef broth
2  tablespoons sour cream
Hot cooked buttered egg noodles or parsley rice, for serving

Mix breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl.  Set aside and let soak for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Sauté onion for about 10 minutes until soft and light brown.  Transfer onion to the large bowl with the breadcrumbs and milk.

Add the minced bacon to your large skillet and cook until crisp. Remove cooked bacon with a slotted spoon and place in the large bowl with the breadcrumb mixture.  Reserve the bacon fat in the skillet.

To the large bowl with the bread crumbs add the salt, pepper, brown sugar, ground allspice and ground nutmeg; mix well.  Add the ground beef to the bowl and mix well.  Using a 1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) cookie scoop to measure beef mixture roll into meatballs and place on a broiler pan.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes until cooked through. 

While the meatballs are cooking melt 2 tablespoon butter in the large skillet with the reserved bacon fat.  Whisk in the flour and mix until a smooth paste formed.  Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes.  Slowly add the 2 cups beef broth and bring to a simmer, whisking often.  Add the cooked meatballs to the pan and cook until heated through.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream.  Stir to coat meatballs.  Serve over buttered noodles or parsley rice.

Cooks Note:  I like to cook meatballs on a broiler pan.  It is less messy and you use less fat to cook them this way. They will brown nicely and the fat will drain away. Line the bottom part of the broiler pan with foil for easy cleanup.

You can also use this recipe and make smaller meatballs (about 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture) and make this an appetizer.



Saturday, February 4, 2012

Beer Bread

I freely admit that I live under a rock.  My husband and kids can tell you (as well as a few friends), I love to snuggle in at home with my recorded shows on the DVR, a rented movie, a good book (usually a cookbook) or a magazine (usually a cooking magazine).  I enjoy being home with my family whether we are all playing a game, or just enjoying being home and not necessarily doing any organized activity.  Just being!  I like the feeling of being HOME.  So if you're wondering where I'm going with this, it is to show you that I really do live under a rock.  So maybe you have this recipe and have been making it for years.  Well I didn't.  I have spent a small fortune over the years purchasing a well known beer bread mix that I would bring home and mix with a can of my own beer.  So when I saw a dear friend post on Facebook that she had beer bread in the oven and the house smelled fantastic, naturally I asked her if it was this mix.  Well it wasn't!  She gave me this recipe and it changed my life.  Now I know that sounds shallow, but it really did.  It has also saved me some serious money.  If you are familiar with this yummy bread recipe I am happy for you, and if not you may be living under a rock like me!  

Those of you who have read some of my previous posts already know that I am not the baker in this partnership I have with Julie.  This is reason number two this recipe changed my life.  I love that I can now make bread that is delicious, that doesn't need to rise or have to be kneaded for several minutes.  My kind of bread recipe!  I can now say I am a bread baker, sort of.  On a side note, for those of you who are now worried about my lack of a social New Year's resolution was to make time with girlfriends.  I made it to Bunco in January and have plans to attend this month as well!  

Beer Bread

3  cups self-rising flour (Be sure to use self-rising, NOT all-purpose.)
1/2  cup sugar
1 (12 ounce) beer, you choose the flavor (minus a sip or two, I won't tell!)
2  tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl mix the self rising flour, sugar and beer.  The dough will be quite sticky.  Put the mixture in a well greased loaf pan.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 1 hour.  When there is about 10 minutes left begin basting the top of the bread with the melted butter.  I usually baste a couple of times.  



Thursday, February 2, 2012

Shrimp and Avocado Salsa

Shrimp, Avocado and Cilantro: now there are three of my favorite things to eat.  Think of all the dishes one can come up with these three things in mind!

I always love to find a recipe that can be used many ways, it just makes life easier if  you know what I mean.  Kind of like the old woodworking saying; measure twice – cut once.   But since I don’t do woodworking, I adopted it for us foodies and it reads like this; prepare once – make several dishes!

I started making this recipe as a dip with chips for party buffets for football games.  Then one summer evening I didn’t want to cook because of the heat so I made it and served it on a bed of lettuce with cantaloupe slices.  Then one time I didn’t seem to know what to fix for dinner and it was getting late and so I fixed the recipe and made quesadillas with it.  I think you are getting the picture!!! 

It is best to fix the recipe and let it sit for 4 to 6 hours, but it will do in a pinch to just make it up and eat it right then. ( You will note I have done this when I didn’t have dinner planned).  If I were describing the taste I think it would read:  Where shrimp cocktail meets lime cilantro with a kick!

It is a great recipe to tinker with – add a little of your own flair, take something out you don’t particularly care for or add some fun item in.  I’m flexible that way – life is too short to stick with the rules!!!   Give it a try sometime when you want something quick and easy . . . and yummy!

Shrimp and Avocado Salsa
1  pound small shrimp ( Like 60 – 70 to a lb. – already cooked)
3  avocados, chopped
4  small tomatoes, chopped
¾  cup fresh cilantro, chopped
5  green onions, chopped (green tops included)
Juice of 1 lime
½  teaspoon lime zest
1  teaspoon juice from pickled jalapeno’s
2  tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapeno’s
½  cup cocktail seafood sauce
¼  cup ketchup
Salt to taste ( I use about 1 teaspoon kosher salt, but adjust for yourself)

 Rinse and peel shrimp.  Drain well and then pat dry.  Place in medium bowl.  Add chopped avocados, tomatoes, green onions and cilantro.  Stir gently to combine.  In another bowl combine lime juice, lime zest, jalapeno juice, chopped jalapeno’s, salt, cocktail sauce and ketchup.  Stir until combined.  Add sauce to shrimp mixture and gently stir to combine.  Refrigerate and let sit to combine for 4 – 6 hours.  Of course, if you would like to ramp up the heat just increase the jalapeno’s to your desired preference.

Before serving drain any watery liquid that may have accumulated.  Add a little fresh chopped cilantro and green onion to the top for garnish.  Enjoy with chips or any other way you may prefer!!!

Happy eating!