Monday, December 7, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
|Linguini with Red Clam Sauce, plus a few bay scallops!|
1/4 c. dry red wine
Friday, November 6, 2009
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
2 T. chili powder
2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
Cook all of the above together in a deep pot or dutch oven, until beef is crumbled and cooked through.
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 14 oz. can Rotel original tomatoes and green chilies
6 oz. beer (you'll have to drink the other half, DARN!)
4 T. chili powder
1 - 2 tsp. hot sauce (we like Tapatio or Frank's)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)
a dash of apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt + a few grindings fresh black pepper
a pinch of cinnamon (optional, to taste-- adds a little depth to the chili)
Bring this to a boil, turn down the heat to simmer and cook it for at least one hour, stirring occasionally.
1 can drained light red kidney beans
1 can drained dark red kidney beans
1 can drained black beans
1 6 oz. can tomato paste (you may omit this if you like a "looser" chili)
Stir it all together well and bring the chili back to a boil. Turn it down and let cook at least another 30 minutes.
Will feed at least 6 - 8. Freezes well. When I serve it to company, I serve it w/light sour cream, 4 cheese shredded Mexican blend, saltine crackers and chopped green onions.
4 large boneless chicken breasts or 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed
3 16 oz. cans Great Northern Beans (you can use white kidney beans if you can't find Great Northern)
1 14 oz. jar Salsa (your favorite, "medium" heat is recommended)
2 cups chicken broth
1 8 - 10 oz. block Monterey "Pepper Jack" Cheese
If using breasts, boil the chicken 'til tender. Once cool, pull it apart with a fork. If using a rotisserie chicken, remove the skin and discard. Take off all the meat from the carcass and cut into bite sized pieces. (I like this better w/ a rotisserie chicken, I think the texture is a little better.)
Combine beans, salsa, broth and chicken in a large saucepan or crock pot. Heat on low to med. heat for at least 45 minutes, if using a saucepan. 1 - 2 hours on med/high in a crock pot. Make sure it is heated though and bubbly, before adding cheese.
Cut cheese into small chunks and add to mixture. Stir well. Reduce heat to low, and let it simmer. It should cook at least another hour in a saucepan, 2 -3 hours on low in a crock pot. Stir now and then, to distribute the cheese evenly. Don't let it get to a rolling boil after the cheese goes in -- just simmer it!
The longer this cooks, the better it gets!
Makes at least 8 bowls of chili.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
2 8 oz. pkg. corn muffin mix
2 c. milk
1/2 c. veg. oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 large onion, grated (I use a food processor or food mill for this)
2 T. sugar
1 8 oz. can cream style corn
1/2 c. seeded and chopped chili peppers ( I use a combo of the canned chopped green chilies and some hot ones)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix everything together until just blended. Divide batter between 3 greased 9" pans or use one greased 13 X 9" pan.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes.
Very moist and flavorful! You can control the "heat" by choosing the peppers your family likes.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Herb Roasted Pork
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 T. Worcestershire Sauce, for gravy
Water or beef broth, for gravy
Put the roasting pan (uncovered) into your preheated oven. Set the timer for 10 minutes. When the timer sounds, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and cover your roast. Set the timer for 1 hour and 30 minutes. The internal temp. should be 180 degrees. Remove the roast and let rest 10 - 20 minutes before carving. Occupy your time making gravy, while you wait for the roast to cool.
Here's how I make gravy: To the drippings in the pan, stir in a 1/4 c. flour (a scant 1/4 c., not packed, just lightly spooned), and mix that into the juices with a wire whisk, being sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan, getting up all the brown bits and onion.
Make sure all of the flour is absorbed by the juices, that way you won't get lumpy gravy. Put the roasting pan on the stove --you may need to "straddle" it over 2 burners, depending on your stove and your pan -- and turn the burner(s) on low. Pour in 2 1/2 c. water or beef broth if desired, and continue to whisk, making sure your flour is dissolving and the gravy is blending well, continuing to scrape the bottom and sides of the roasting pan. Add the Worcestershire sauce, it gives great flavor and color. Turn up the heat, and keep going until it starts to boil This takes about 10 min. but you can do this while your meat is cooling. . Add a little salt and pepper, after tasting, if necessary.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
In the meantime, get your Julia fix by checking out the pbs site on all things Julia:
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Mix together everything except the red onion. Let this mixture marinate in the frig at least 30 minutes, up to over night. Over a large cookie sheet, thread your chicken pieces on to a skewer (bamboo or metal, but be sure to soak the bamboo first in water if that's what you use) alternately with a piece of red onion. This is a very messy procedure! Be sure to wash your hands well after handling raw chicken and clean any surface that it touches. Preheat your outside grill or get a grill pan nice and hot. Lay your chicken skewer on the grill, turn the heat down a little and let it alone for about 5 minutes. Turn it once and grill a few more minutes till the onion starts to brown and the chicken is cooked through -- about 8 - 10 minutes total. Serve with rice or pita bread.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
We love bruschetta, and when you are drowning in tomatoes, what could be better? The basil in my garden is lush and green, and the pairing of tomatoes and basil is simply classic, simply delicious.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
|Our Nathan, age 19, about a year before he died.|
Friday, June 5, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 - 45 minutes.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Several years ago, I went to a covered dish luncheon and had a super taco salad made by one of our group members. The recipe is quick and easy, can be made mostly ahead of time and is family friendly in every way. It also "holds" well at room temperature, if you are having one of those days when everyone eats when they can, in between ball games, social events and running around playing taxi service. I first made this exactly as she wrote it, but have since "lightened" it up quite a bit, so I could make it and eat it without feeling guilty. I also added more seasoning to the meat, to suit our palates. You could make it bolder or simpler, to suit your family and their tastes.
Let me say that teenagers love this salad! I have made it many times for my sons and their friends and the bowl is always cleaned out. I mix everything together except the taco chips, and leave it out on the counter (in the a.c.) and let them help themselves. It's always a hit!
1 lb. lean ground beef (93% lean)
1 T. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
Brown above ingredients, crumbling hamburger.
1 c. shredded 2% (lowfat) cheddar cheese ( I like Cracker Barrel)
1 head iceberg lettuce torn into pieces or 1 bag romaine hearts (your preference)
2 tomatoes, diced, or 12 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
4 green onions, white and green parts, sliced thinly
about 20 black olives, cut in half
1/2 bag baked Nacho Cheese Doritos, crushed
1/4 c. light mayo
1/4 c. light sour cream
1/2 c. taco sauce or salsa (your favorite kind)
1/4 c. catsup
Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Salsa will make a chunkier dressing, taco sauce a smoother one. Don't leave out the catsup, though, it makes a difference.
After browning meat and seasonings, drain off any grease and cool to room temperature. Mix lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onions and olives in a large bowl (the "top" of a tupperware cake server is just the right size and you can use it to take along for a picnic or covered dish supper). Add meat to lettuce mixture. Add the dressing and crushed taco chips right before serving.
If you need to "hold" this salad, simply prepare all the ingredients and keep them separate to fix when you need to eat it. Keep your greens cool, the meat at room temperature for up to an hour or 2, and the dressing on ice. Always add the chips at the very last minute so they stay crunchy.
The baked Doritos can sometimes be hard to find, so when I see them, I buy them and hide them in the pantry for use in this salad. It cuts way down on the fat and calories. The original recipe did not call for light sour cream, and used all mayo. Again, one ingredient can make a big difference in the fat and calorie count, and I actually prefer the taste the way I do it.
Makes 6 main dish sized portions, or 10 side salads.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
freshly ground black pepper
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Beth's Chicken Enchilada Casserole
2 cups cooked chicken, diced, skin removed
6 corn tortillas
1 c. shredded cracker barrel 2% milk low fat sharp cheddar cheese
1 c. shredded monterey jack cheese
1 can chopped green chilies, divided use 1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken or mushroom soup
1/3 c. light sour cream
1/4 c. salsa verde
1 green onion, sliced, green and white parts
6 black olives, halved (optional)
First make your sauce: In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 of the canned chilies, soup, sour cream and salsa verde. Remove 1/2 c. of this mixture and in another bowl, mix it with the chicken, the remaining green chilies and the sliced green onion.
Cut your tortillas into four pieces. Spray an 8X8" square baking dish with cooking spray. Take 3 of the tortillas (12 pieces) and layer them in a single layer on the bottom of the dish. Dump in the chicken mixture and spread it evenly over the tortillas. Add the two cheeses. Cover this with the remaining 12 pieces of tortillas. Spread all of the remaining sauce over the top of this as evenly as you can. Sprinkle with the halved black olives if desired. Bake it covered with foil, low and slow, about 325 degrees for 50 minutes to 1 hour until it is hot and bubbly. Let it cool at least 10 minutes before you cut it, to give it a chance to come back together. Makes 6 big pieces. We like to serve it with fat free refried bean from the can, gussied up with a few spoonfuls of our favorite salsa and topped with some shredded lettuce. My son insists I serve guacamole with it too, but he's a growing boy and can take the calories better than his old mom!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Making dough from scratch can be intimidating, and I am not really sure why. Maybe it's the chemistry involved...will it rise? Can I make it into something worth eating? I don't know the answer to the anxiety, but I can provide you with an almost foolproof recipe for perfect pizza crust -- not too thin, not too thick, and just chewy enough.
Believe me, it's not as hard as you think it is!!
Pizza Crust Dough
2 level tsp. dry yeast or 1 package (I buy it by the jar and keep it in the frig)
2/3 c. warm water (105 - 115 degrees)
2 c. all purpose flour, divided
1 T. cornmeal
1 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
vegetable cooking spray
Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large, heat proof bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 1 3/4 c. flour, cornmeal, oil and salt, to form a soft dough.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes), adding enough of the remaining flour to prevent dough from sticking to your hands or the surface.
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray. Spray top of dough. Cover, and let ride in a warm place (~85 degrees), free from drafts, about 40 minutes, until doubled in bulk.
STOP!! What? How warm is 85 degrees? What does "doubled" mean? How will I know? How can I tell if the water was warm enough? Was it too warm? Will it kill the yeast? This is too hard for me.....
Your body temp is 98.6. Water that is 105 - 115 degrees will feel warm to your fingers, but not burning hot.
In my kitchen, I have under cabinet lights that illuminate the countertops. If I put the covered bowl right under these lights and leave it about 40 minutes, I can clearly see that the dough has grown much larger. Try that. Or, put it into your oven (unheated) with just the oven light on. Again, our body temp. is 98.6, so 85 degrees is a little cooler than we are. If either of these spots feels "hot" to you, then it is warmer than you are, so a little too warm for the dough! See, it's not so mysterious, after all!!
Next, punch dough down and roll into a 15" wide circle. Spray the pizza pan of your choice with cooking spray. If you have a dough mat, like you make pie crust on, it really helps here. I find it easier to put the dough in the middle of your pizza pan, and simply pat it into place, just like you do with the packaged dough. Top with your favorites and bake according to recipe directions. I recommend that you cook it at about 400 degress for 15 - 20 minutes. Less time with less toppings, more time with heavier toppings.
Now, go for it! You CAN do this! It's easy, and really good too.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
In our mild Virginia climate, I've now had my thyme and garlic chives "become" perennials. They do die back a little in the coldest part of the winter, but after I cut them back in the early spring, they start "greening" up. This is not technical talk, I don't know if anything can "become" perennial, it's just what's happened in my garden. The garlic chives I've had now for about 7 years, and unless it's below freezing, I can cut them almost year round. They make a pretty garnish, snipped over potato dishes and add real flavor to roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Fresh thyme is nice too, and a little goes a long way.
Rosemary is a true perennial, and will become a bush if you let it. Mine is now about 9 years old. I brought it to this house from my last home, in a big pot. I use it all year round, and when I cut it back, I keep the stems and put them in the chiminea for a wonderful, aromatic experience outside on the patio. Fresh rosemary is a real taste treat on roasted chicken, in stew or roasted veggies. It's easy to grow and looks great in your landscape or garden.
For pretty summer color all season long, try planting Cosmos. They are an old-fashioned, annual flower, with dainty fern like foliage and multi-colored flowers. You will often see pink, lavender, deep rose, white and burgundy all on the same plant! They are drought resistant and can stand up to the elements. I often put them out by my mailbox, which is in a sunny, hot spot right next to the road, and they do beautifully. They make good cut flowers too. You won't often find cosmos in a cell pack at the garden center, so you've got to try seeds if you want them.
Let me say, that I believe the secret to success in my garden at least, is dehydrated, composted cow manure. I always spread several bags over the garden after I dig it up each spring. It's only a few dollars a bag, and you will reap big rewards for spreading a little...uh.....manure.
Good luck and get gardening! It's fun, it's tasty and it's exercise, too! It's a win-win situation!
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
4 slices bacon, slowly cooked in a frying pan until crispy
1 med. red onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
2 T. olive oil
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 c. cider vinegar
10 strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 hard boiled eggs
2 T. bleu cheese crumbles or goat cheese crumbles
1 pkg. (bag or clear plastic box) triple washed baby spinach
Salt and pepper
Begin by cooking your bacon slowly to extract all of the bacon fat. Remove the rashers and save the fat. Add the sliced red onion and garlic to the pan, along with the 2 T. olive oil. Saute this while you prepare the rest of the salad. Sort the spinach, removing any longish stems or browned pieces and put it in a shallow, heat tolerant bowl (i.e. not plastic). Chop the eggs and scatter them over the spinach. Crumble your bacon and add that, too. At this point, the onions and garlic should be softened. Stir in the sugar and continue to cook a little longer, over medium heat to slightly carmelize the onions and garlic mixture. Pour this over the spinach in the bowl, add the strawberries and cheese, and toss the salad to mix thoroughly. Pour the vinegar over all of this, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and mix again. Voila, fresh tasty spinach salad. Easily serves 6 as a generous side salad, or 4 great big main dish salads.
This salad is very versatile and forgiving. If you don't have or can't get strawberries, use a chopped apple (we prefer Granny Smith) or a small can of drained mandarin oranges. Don't like fruit in your salad? I originally made this with sliced white button mushrooms. Wine vinegar will work in place of cider, or even balsamic, but it will be a little different if you use the balsamic.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Korean Style Beef Lettuce Wraps
3/4 lb. flank steak, trimmed
1/2 c. green onions, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 T. sugar
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. minced garlic
1 T. sesame oil
1-2 T. canola oil (divided)
1 T. toasted sesame seeds, optional
3 c. hot cooked rice leaf lettuce for wrapping, washed and dried, separated into individual leaves Asian Cole Slaw (recipe follows)
Cut steak across the grain into 1/4" slices and then cut them in half ( it helps to put the steak into the freezer for about 5 minutes before slicing -- this firms it up just a little). Combine steak, onions, sugar, soy sauce, garlic and sesame oil in a large bowl. Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add 1/2 - 1 T. canola oil, swirling to coat (you can use less oil if you use a nonstick pan, just make sure it's deep enough). Add half of steak mixture and stir fry until browned. Remove to a clean bowl. Add a little more canola oil and stir fry the rest of your beef/onion mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
Asian Cole Slaw
2 cups slaw mix ( I like the angel hair cut, but any will work) 1 green onion, thinly sliced 1 small cucumber, seeded, peeled and cut into "matchstick" pieces dressing mixture Make your dressing first: 1 tsp. sesame oil 1 tsp. canola oil 1. T. brown sugar 1/4 c. rice wine vinegar pinch of salt Combine those ingredients in a jar or small bowl and shake or whisk to combine. Pour over the vegetables and toss it all around, then let it sit for while at room temp. Stir it now and then to distribute dressing and coat the veggies.
To Assemble Wraps: Separate your lettuce leaves. Take one leaf, and spoon about 2 T. rice down the middle. Top with about 2 T. beef mixture and a spoonful or 2 of slaw, if desired. Roll your leaf and enjoy it. Makes about 8 filled lettuce leaves. 2 main dish servings or 4 appetizer servings. Each "leaf" contains approx. 100 cal. (without the slaw), 3 grams of fat and less than 1 gram of fiber.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Roasted Chicken with Vegetables
8 pieces skinless, bone in chicken -- I usually make 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs and 2 wings
(Don't bother trying to skin the wings, and just do the best you can w/the legs!)
5 small white potatoes, cut in half
3 medium size yellow squash, halved and then cut into 2" slices
1 large onion, thickly sliced, and separated into rings
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into 1" pieces
8-10 med. mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
5 garlic cloves, smashed and halved
1 T. herbes de provence
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. rosemary
2 T. flour
1 c. white wine or fat free chicken broth
salt and fresh ground black pepper
cooking spray or olive oil
In a small bowl, mix together the herb de provence, thyme, rosemary and 2 T. flour. Lightly grease or spray a 13X9 in baking dish. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay your chicken in the pan and sprinkle with about half of your herb/flour mixture. Top the chicken with the cut up veggies and garlic, putting the onion on last, so it's on the top. Sprinkle the vegetables with the rest of the herb/flour mixture. Pour the chicken broth in carefully, around the sides of the dish so the herbs stay on the food. Sprinkle the top with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spray it with a little cooking spray, or lightly drizzle with olive oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and let cook about 10 more minutes. (Test your potatoes for doneness before removing the dish from oven. Sometimes it may take a few more minutes.)
This is a great one dish meal. The flour thickens the broth, so it's almost like gravy, but much lower in fat than traditionally is found. Feel free to substitute any vegetable your family likes, but keep the onion, it flavors the other veggies. I made this last night with chicken broth, since I did not have any open white wine, and it really was just as good. Serve it with some rolls -- we like the low fat crescent ones with this.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
A relative from California read my blog and sent me the following dressing recipe and a slightly different method that she uses for her roasted vegetables. She roasts hers on a wok on the grill. It's always nice to have options, don't you think?
Balsamic Vinaigrette for Roasted Vegetables
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
3/4 c. oil, olive or canola
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
5 dashed "Maggi" seasoning*
1 T. sugar
Toss the vegetables of your choice in the vinaigrette and roast them on the grill for about 15 minutes, stirring once midway through the cooking time.
*Maggi seasoning is a swiss condiment, similar to soy sauce. I think it's made by Knorr but I am sure you can find it on most international food aisles in any large grocery store. We used it all the time when I was growing up -- my mom discovered it when we lived in Germany.
Cheese Lovers Roasted Garlic Pizza
One 10 oz. refrigerated pizza crust or make your own (using 1-2 T. olive oil only!)
8 garlic cloves, roasted (method to follow)
3 oz. shredded part skim mozarella cheese
3 oz. shredded fontina or provolone cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil or 2 T. shredded fresh basil
3 large plum tomatoes, sliced
2 T. good grated parmesan cheese
First, prepare your roasted garlic. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place the whole cloves on a square of aluminum foil. Drizzle them with a little olive oil, just enough to wet them. Wrap the foil around them, sealing it up so the oil doesn't leak out. Roast them for 20 minutes, until soft and lightly browned. Now, on with the pizza. Raise your oven temp. to 425 degress F.Spray your pie pan (12" round or 13 X 9" cookie sheet) with cooking spray (use the olive oil kind if you have it). Unroll your pizza dough and press into the prepared pan. Take your roasted garlic out of it pouch, and using your fingers, press out the cloves from their skins. Place them on the dough, evenly spacing them so there is about one for every slice of pizza. Mash them slightly with the back of a spoon. Add your tomatoes, basil and cheese. Bake until cheese is bubbly, about 12 - 15 minutes.
NOTE: If you put the cheese on the very top, it will get a little brown. If you want "softer cheese" put the tomatoes on the top and add some more "free food" VEGGIES! Try mushrooms, peppers or onions for very few calories and more great taste! I like roasted red peppers and (I must confess!) canned mushrooms.
If you use the refrigerated crust and cut it into 8 slices, each slice is approx. 206 calories, with 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of fiber. Your homemade crust may be slightly more, but should still be ok if you keep to the suggested 1-2 T. olive oil.
Enjoy! And in the words of our favorite and first TV chef, Bon Appetit!