Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday Cooking For Two

I'm trying something new Tuesday Cooking for Two.  I have always been the type of cook that cooks for an army.  At Thanksgiving and Christmas if I have 12 people over there was enough food for 30.  No one was going home hungry that was my motto.

Now that we have an empty nest I am trying to scale down some recipes and it is not easy.  Even though this is Tuesday Cooking for Two this recipe for Scalloped Potatoes is enough for 4 people or two nights of scalloped potatoes.  Don't get me wrong I love leftovers.  When I make chili, enchiladas, soup just to name a few dishes that I make in large quantities,  I make enough to freeze or have for the next 4 days.

This will be a learning experience for me and that is why I am only doing this once a week.

Scalloped Potatoes with Smoked Pork Chops and Peas





















2 thick cut smoked pork chops, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh sage, minced
1 1/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup white wine or pale beer (I used beer)

2 russet potatoes, sliced thin (1/8 inch)

Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
few splashes tabasco (optional)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (white or orange)
3/4 cup shredded asiago cheese

butter
shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter single serve dishes and set aside.  Heat olive oil in a skillet add diced pork chops, diced onions and sage, cook on medium heat until meat is slightly browned.  Add 1/4 cup of white wine or pale beer to deglaze pan, turn off heat and add peas.

In a medium sauce pan melt butter and add flour, cook stirring for 3 minutes.  Add cream, milk, salt, pepper and tabasco, whisking until it has started to thicken.  Add cheese a small amount at a time until it is incorporated.  Line baking dishes with first layer of thin cut potatoes, add some of the pork chop mixture, top with a layer of the sauce and repeat with potatoes, meat and sauce and another layers of potatoes and sauce.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese or asiago or a combination of the two.  Bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Serve with a side salad.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Johnsonville Italian Sausage Sandwich

If you have been following my blog you know we have water issues.  This is our no water weekend.  Friday's I make dishes for Saturday and Sunday so there is very little cooking and dirty dishes going on.

This weekend I made Johnsonville Italian Sausage Sandwiches, everything cooked up on Friday so all I had to do was heat it up, assemble and put until the broiler for the finishing touches.  This is a very hearty sandwich, which can be served with a side salad.






















Johnsonville Italian Sausage Sandwich

2 yellow bell peppers, sliced thin
2 orange bell peppers, sliced thin
1 large onion, sliced thin
2 jalapeños, seeded and sliced thin (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried italian herbs
5 cloves garlic, minced and divided
1 package of Johnsonville Sausages (I used hot sausage and I butterflied the sausages)
1 15oz can artichoke hearts, drained
6 medium crimini mushrooms, stem removed and sliced
additional olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup dry red wine
dijon mustard
fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
rolls

In a large skillet heat olive oil, add onions, over a medium low heat sauté for 10 minutes; stirring occasionally.  Add sausages, bell peppers, jalapeños, salt, pepper, italian herbs and half the garlic.  Sauté for 20 to 30 minutes until tender; stirring occasionally and cooking sausages on both sides.

Turn broiler on high; place bell pepper mixture into a baking dish, stir in the drained artichoke hearts, putting the sausages on the top of the mixture and place 6 to 8 inches under broiler.

In the same skillet add mushrooms and additional olive oil if needed, sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, add salt, pepper, garlic and wine; sauté for 10 minutes.  Remove peppers and sausage from oven.

Split rolls (not all the way through) brush both sides of the bread with dijon mustard, add sausage, pepper mixture and mushrooms, top with mozzarella cheese. (I sprinkled the cheese with dried italian herbs and red pepper flakes) Put sandwiches under broiler until cheese melts.

Note:  Sandwiches are also good omitting the sausages and adding salami slices or omitting the meat all together for a fantastic veggie sandwich.





Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Balsamic Vinegar Bacon Sandwich

One night I was going to roast some vegetables and decided to add bacon to the bottom of the pan and then add the vegetables on top of the bacon.  I drizzled balsamic vinegar over the vegetables and went on to roast the concoction.

Bill asked me what I did different to the bacon he said it was the best bacon he has ever had.  Who knew adding a little balsamic vinegar with take that bacon to the next level.  Since then I always add the balsamic vinegar.

Here is my spin on a BLT the Balsamic Vinegar Bacon Sandwich


















Balsamic Vinegar Bacon Sandwich

12 slices bacon
balsamic vinegar
8 slices Italian bread
hearty tomato, sliced (I used a red and yellow heirloom tomatoes)
fresh mozzarella cheese, cut thick
spring lettuce or basil leaves
pesto sauce

Cover a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil, add bacon and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  Using your fingers cover the balsamic vinegar over the bacon.  Place in a cold oven and turn oven on to 350 degrees.  (I think the bacon cooks more evenly when the bacon is cooking slow as the oven comes up to temperature)  After 20 minutes start checking the bacon cook until desired doneness.  Note: Bacon will get very dark from the caramelization of the vinegar.

Spread both slices of bread with the pesto, add cheese, tomato and bacon.  Place in a Panini Press or cook on the stove top like a grilled cheese, until the cheese melts.  Add lettuce or basil leaves and serve.

Linking up the Love at: The Country Cook - Weekend Pot-Luck #112

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Asian Pork Meatballs

I have been on a meatball and asian flavor kick so what would be the next step?  You got it, combining the two together.  This recipe is so versatile you can also use the pork mixture in dumplings and use the sauce for dipping.

You can make these meatballs as an appetizer or serve them in your favorite noodle dish.  I love that this is a quick fix and you can make 2 or 3 batches and freeze them for when you need them.





















Asian Pork Meatballs

Meatballs

1 lb ground pork
1 egg
1/3 cup panko crumbs
3 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup cilantro, minced

Sauce

2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons chili paste or to taste
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
salt to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  For meatballs mix all ingredients together and form into golf ball size meatballs.  Bake in oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until cooked through.  While the meatballs are baking in a small sauce pan heat olive oil on a medium low heat, add shallots, garlic and ginger, sauté for 5 minutes.  In a bowl whisk together soy sauce, dijon mustard, chili paste, rice vinegar and brown sugar.  Add to the saucepan and stir; cover and let reduce by half on a low heat.  Drizzle sauce over meatballs and sprinkle with some sliced green onions.  Makes approx 12 meatballs.

Sharing the Love with: The Wednesday Roundup Week 18 :: A Link Party and Weekend-Potluck #111 and Jam Hands - Recipe Sharing Monday #88


Monday, March 24, 2014

Salmon - Asian Inspired Flavors

We have a couple of steak houses here and when you go out to dinner Bill always gets salmon. I have been promising Bill for some time now to make salmon for dinner.  When I saw these beautiful piece of sock-eye salmon I knew it would be the perfect dinner for him.  I decided to go with Asian flavors and it was a big hit.  Here is the salmon right after taking it out of the oven.  It came out moist and flaky.





























Asian Salmon

1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili sauce/paste
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 lbs salmon filet
4 green onions, sliced

Line a 8 x 12 baking dish with foil and then a second piece of foil to make a boat around the salmon. Place salmon skin side down.  Make sure you feel for any bones and remove them.  In a bowl whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, chili paste, fish sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic and ginger.  Pour marinade over the salmon and allow to sit for 15 minutes while oven is pre-heating to 475 degrees.  Before placing the salmon in the oven pull out the foil, you don't have to remove the foil just flatten it out so it's no longer a boat of marinade.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until down. After removing from the oven cover with foil for 10 to 15 minutes. Before serving sprinkle with fresh green onion slices.



Monday, March 17, 2014

Food Resources




























Today I thought I would talk about food resources on the internet.  We have all visited blogs, Food Network, Pinterest, Very Best Baking for recipes, tips and ideas.

One of my favorite resources is going straight to the source.  Food advisory boards and there is one for any type of food you can think of.

Wisconsin Cheese information from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board is a fantastic site for recipes, pairings, entertaining, events that are going and one of my favorites is the Grate Pair Share Online Magazine.  This website is full of useful information you will want to bookmark it.

Here are just a few Advisory Boards for you to check out:

California Wild Rice

California Artichoke Advisory Board

Mushroom Council

Delaware Beef Advisory Board

American Egg Board

California Strawberry Commission

California Cling Peaches

Vidalia Onions Committee

National Honey Board

National Onion Association

Virginia Apple Growers Association

California Pear Advisory Board

National Watermelon Promotion Board

California Cantaloupes

There are so many other sites you can google and get information on.  If you are a teacher, Girl Scout/4-H/FFA leader you can find educational material from these boards.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Artsy Fartsy Friday

I have had this blog now for almost 3 years and you really don't know too much about me.  First I need to work on my "About Me" page which I have been writing and re-writing.  I should have it done by April.

I am adding a new line-up to my blog Artsy Fartsy Fridays.  I love Arts and Crafts and it's been years since I had really sat down and got creative.  My first project is going to be cross-stitch.  I haven't done cross-stitching in over 25 years and I think it's time to jump back into it.

I'm starting with a simple cross-stitch pattern that I found on Etsy at FoxYouAreSoCrafty - Crafty Like A Fox Shop.  When I saw the squirrel and fox pattern I fell in love with these little guys.  Each Friday I will post my progress on my project.



























I would love to hear what your hobbies are and if you would like to join me with Artsy Fartsy Friday's I would love to hear what you are working on.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Red Beans and Rice

Mardi Gras is over and I didn't get a chance to fix my Red Beans and Rice, oh well, what's a few days, right?  I love the flavors in this recipe and I like a dish that can be a side or a meal by itself.

I usually serve this with white rice.  In my latest BeshBox I received a bag of Brown Jasmine Rice that tasted great with this dish.  The rice had a earthy richness that worked well with the red beans.































Red Beans and Rice

1 1/2 lbs of dried red beans
3 tablespoons bacon grease
1 large onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 large jalapeño, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
4 links andouille sausage, sliced
2 ham hocks
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending how you like your heat)
3 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1+ 32 oz box chicken stock
4 cups cooked white rice
chopped green onions for garnish

Sort and soak beans overnight.  In a large dutch oven heat bacon grease and add onions, celery, bell pepper and jalapeño and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring.  Add salt, pepper, sausage and ham hocks and stir for 5 minutes.  Add cayenne pepper, bay leaves, garlic and thyme, stir for 1 minutes, add 1 box (32 oz) of chicken stock and a 1/4 of a second box.  Bring to a boil, lower heat to a medium low simmer and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours uncovered until beans are tender, stirring occasionally, if the beans start to look dry add more of the chicken stock.  When beans are tended take the back of a wooden spoons and smash some of the beans, stir and cook for for an additional 30 minutes.  Serve over white rice and garnish with sliced green onions.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Blackberry Cobbler

One of my favorite go to desserts is cobblers.  You can make them year round with seasonal fruits, frozen fruits or canned fruit.  There are so many different toppings you can use, from a crumb topping to a pie crust or a biscuit topping, it is a easy dessert that takes no time putting together.

My favorite cobbler is Boysenberry but I have found it very hard to find boysenberries in any form here in Utah, instead I went with my next favorite the Blackberry.




Blackberry Cobbler

Blackberry Filling

1/3 cup Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 16oz bags frozen blackberries

Topping

4 cups Bisquick
8 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup white chocolate, chopped
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter the bottom and sides of a baking dish. In a large sauce pan over medium low heat add Grand Marnier and butter.  While the butter is melting dissolve the cornstarch in the water.  Add water mixture to sauce pan, add the sugar and cinnamon.  Stir for 2 minutes and add blackberries.  Turn the heat to a medium high setting and occasionally stirring until it just starts to come to a boil.

In a large bowl add Bisquick, sugar, white chocolate; mix together.  Add milk and melted butter; incorporate into the dry mixture.  Pour the berry mixture into the baking dish.  Gently pat out the topping to fit the top of the baking dish. If you want you can do this in sections.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until topping is set and starts to brown, top with ice cream; serve hot or cold.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Blackberry Sage Sauce

One of my favorite teas is Republic of Tea's Blackberry Sage.  I love this combination of flavors.  I had some blackberries and sage in the refrigerator and decided to make a sauce with them.  Not only is it fantastic on pancakes, it is also great over ice cream and even savory dishes like grilled chicken breasts or grilled pork chops.  I love sauces that can be used in many dishes.
















Blackberry Sage Sauce 

4 1/2 to 5 cups fresh blackberries
1 1/2 cup sugar (you can use a little less or a little more; to your liking)
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and on medium high heat bring to a boil; stirring occasionally.  Boil for 10 minutes until it has started to thicken.  Crush some of the berries with a potato masher or the back of your spoon.  Place in a bowl, I like to put it in the freezer for 10 minutes; then put on the counter to come to room temperature. Place in jars and keep refrigerated; use within 2 weeks.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Baked Onions with Swiss Cheese


My favorite soup is French Onion and I was thinking how good that French Onion Soup flavor with be in just the onion.  With just a few ingredients I was able to achieve those flavors.  The only problem I found (which is not a problem at all) when you try to pick up that onion it just falls apart it is that tender.



















Baked Onions with Swiss Cheese

4 large sweet onions
1 stick of butter
1 package Lipton Dry Onion Soup Mix
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, rough chop
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
4 thick slices of swiss cheese or 8 thin slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove skin from onion, make a cross cut in the onion without going through the whole onion.  In the middle add the bouillon cube.  Mix together the butter, soup mix, thyme and worcestershire sauce.  Divide the butter between the 4 onions, pushing the butter mixture into each of the cuts.  Wrap in 2 pieces of aluminum foil tightly and place in a baking dish.  Bake for 1 hour.  Take out of the oven and turn on the broiler, open foil back and place the cheese on top of the onion and return to the oven until the cheese has melted and lightly browned.

Post shared with Jam Hands Recipe Sharing Monday #85


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fontina Spinach

I know this isn't the greatest photo of the Fontina Spinach but it was the best one of the bunch and I really want to share this easy recipe with you.  My husband loves spinach and said I could make it this way from now on.

We had this last week along with my Spicy Mustard Maple Chicken.  I think I need to stop at the market today so I can fix the spinach again....this is making me hungry.































Fontina Spinach

1/2 cup of pancetta, diced
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 bunches or bags of fresh spinach
3/4 cup of fontina cheese, cut into cubes
salt and pepper to taste

In a dutch oven cook pancetta until just about crispy; half way through add red pepper flakes.  Add wine and allow the wine to cook down by half.  Add garlic; stir for 2 minutes.  Add spinach; stirring until the leaves are wilted but still large; salt and pepper to taste.  Spread spinach out so it is lining the bottom of the dutch oven and turn off heat.  Top the spinach with the fontina cheese; cover and let sit for 2 to 4 minutes until the cheese has melted.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My January BeshBox

I am a sucker for getting packages in the mail.

I am a sucker for the monthly boxes surprising you with goodies, you might or might not need.

I signed up for the BeshBox and could not be happier with the contents.  I know I'm late getting my post done for the January BeshBox but better late than never, right!

First what is a BeshBox....Chef John Besh has put together a culinary box of goodies from tools to food.

What I love about the BeshBox so much thought has gone into each box.  Here is what you will get:

Every box is a theme - I love that idea
Your box comes with recipes that go with the items in your box - How great is that!
There is a shopping list to go with those recipes - Makes my life easier
You also get a playlist of songs to listen to while you are cooking and dancing around the kitchen, it's like John has been watching me in my kitchen
Cocktail pairing to complete the dish - I always need help in that department
and one of my favorite things - John Besh donates proceeds from the boxes and gives you an overview of that months charity - January's charity was Drew Bree's The Brees Dream Foundation, improving the quality of life for cancer patients, and provide care, education and opportunities for children and families in need.

January - Game Day





















































Here is a list of the above items:

Dried Canellini Beans, a test-tube of Mexican Oregano, a wooden spoons, Arugula seeds, a football ice mold, a chefs towel, a jalapeño pepper corer and cornmeal.  Don't you love the astro-turf in the bottom of the box.

I will do better on my February box which is going out in the mail today.

February's Theme - Mardi Gras I just know I'm going to love that box.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Spicy Mustard Maple Chicken

Let's talk chicken...what is your favorite cut of chicken.  I like the white meat breasts the best, second would be the thighs, then the drumstick and I don't get the "wing thing" there is no meat on those things.

My husband's favorite is when I cut the breasts up into bite size chunks, cajun seasonings and sauté those nuggets up.  He is a creature of habit and could eat the same thing every night until he gets tired of it.  I like to mix things up.  So here I did the cajun seasonings but then took it a step further with dijon mustard, bread crumbs and maple syrup.
























Spicy Mustard Maple Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons cajun seasoning
3 or more tablespoons dijon mustard - enough to coat chicken
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (I used Progresso)
1/4 to 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
olive oil

After cutting cup chicken breasts place in a bowl and sprinkle with cajun seasoning.  Making sure all pieces have seasoning.  Allow chicken to sit for 4 minutes to make sure the seasoning adheres to the chicken.  Add dijon mustard use enough to make sure chicken cubes are covered on all sides.  Sprinkle with plain bread crumbs; again making sure all sides are covered.

Heat a skillet on a medium high heat and olive oil (about a 1/2 tablespoon), add chicken a small amount at a time, not over crowding.  Cook chicken in batches adding additional olive oil if needed.  Cook chicken about 4 minutes turn over and cook until just about done and has a nice crust.  After all the chicken is cooked place all the chicken back into the skillet; drizzle with the maple syrup; and stir.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day




























My Valentine's Day is the same every year.  My husband doesn't even say Happy Valentine's Day in-fact he says the same thing every year "I thought Valentine's Day didn't mean anything to you" my reply "it does it doesn't mean anything to you" and because of that I am in a funk the whole day.

Being romantic is not my husbands strong suit and I have known that for 37 years.  But what he is is a very good man, husband and father.  He would do anything for me and he has proven that year after year.

He might not give me flowers, candy, jewelry or a card for Valentine's Day but how many husbands out there clean the floors and bathrooms for their wives.....mine does and has since the day I got pregnant 26 years ago.  If there is a problem at Valentine's Day it is my problem.  I have a husband that loves me with all my flaws and I couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Super Fast and Easy French Dip Sandwiches

I joined a Ladies Bowling League last fall and bowl every Monday night unless I can't get to town due to snow (like a week ago).   I try to fix fast and easy dinners so I can clean up and get to bowling by 6pm and not feel as though I have rushed.

I love french dip sandwiches and my favorite is found in California at Philippes, The Original if you are ever in Los Angeles, this is a place you have to stop at and remember to order their pickles and pickled eggs to go with your sandwich.  Just a heads up the pork dip is the bomb! ?are they still using that expression?

This is my quick and tasty version of a French Dip Sandwich using deli meat, a great sandwich without spending hours of time slow cooking the roast beef.





















Super Fast & Easy French Dip Sandwiches

1/2 pound deli roast beef rare, sliced thin
1 can beef consommé (I used Campbell's)
1 can french onion soup (I used Campbell's)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
4 french rolls
8 slices swiss cheese, thick slice
mustard or cream horseradish

In a sauce pan over medium heat, bring beef consommé, french onion soup and herbs to a light boil.  Add deli roast beef, cook until meat is heated through.  You can either cut your rolls in half or cut so you make a pocket.  Spread the inside of the roll with mustard and or cream horseradish.  (I like to take Dijon mustard and mix the cream horseradish together).  Take the beef broth and pour over the inside of the bread.  Take one slice of the swiss cheese cut in half and place on the side of the roll.  Stuff with roast beef, pour more of the broth the top of the meat and place another slice of swiss cheese.  Place under the broiler until the cheese has melted.  Serve with a side of dill pickles and extra broth for dipping.

Note: You want to use rare roast beef as it will cook in the beef broth

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lime Avocado Dip and Quesadilla's

Here is one more Super Bowl post.  Instead of guacamole I went with a avocado dip that can be used with chips, dressing for a taco salad, quesadilla's, nachos or fresh vegetables.  It is a fresh tasting dip where the lime flavor shines through.

I also made 3 different quesadilla's something for everyone.  I made a basic bean and cheese quesadilla to go with the avocado dip.  A brie and mushroom quesadilla and a cajun sausage with apple and pepper jack cheese.  You will score a touchdown with this line-up.

























Lime Avocado Dip

4 avocados
4 green onions, diced
1 large jalapeño, diced
1/2 cup cilantro
heaping 1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
zest and juice from 2 limes
1/2 teaspoon Tony Chachere Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
few dashes of Tabasco sauce
Salt to taste

Place all ingredients expect salt into a food processor; pulse until smooth.  Taste for seasoning; add salt if needed.  Cover with plastic wrap; making sure it is touching dip so no air gets in, this will keep the dip from discoloring.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.


Quesadilla's



















Basic Bean and Cheese

1 15oz can refried beans
mexican cheese blend, shredded
olives, sliced
onions, small diced
jarred jalapeño slices, optional
flour tortillas

Spread a thin lather of refried beans on the whole tortilla.  On one half add olives, onions, jalapeños and cheese.  Fold oven and place on a hot skillet until heated and crispy turn and heat the same.  Serve with salsa and the lime avocado dip.























Brie and Mushroom

Brie Cheese, sliced
cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
flour tortillas

In a skillet heat olive oil, add sliced mushrooms, salt, pepper and thyme, cook until mushrooms are cooked through about 4 minutes, add garlic and cook another minute. Slice brie and lay on one side or tortilla, top with mushrooms, fold over and place on a hot skillet, once cheese starts to melt flip over and heat through for 2 minutes.























Cajun Sausage, Apple with Pepper Jack Cheese

2 cajun sausages, cut thin
1 granny smith apple, grated
sliced pepper jack cheese
flour tortillas

In a skillet heat cajun sausage until it has a slight crunch around the edges.  Add the sliced pepper cheese on one side or the tortilla (I used two slices of cheese per tortilla) grate apple over the cheese and add cajun sausage slices.  Fold over and place on a hot skillet until cheese just starts to melt then flip over and heat until heated through about 2 minutes.








Monday, January 27, 2014

Cake Batter Pecan Cheesecake

This weekend was one of those lets see what I can concoct in the kitchen with ingredients I have on hand.  Every time I opened the refrigerator a package of cream cheese was front and center, there was my first ingredient.  Now do I want to go savory or sweet....sweet won since we were having chili for dinner.  I didn't have enough graham crackers to do a crust for a cheesecake but I did have a box of yellow cake mix, that will do.  Like a mad scientist I started putting it all together and what I came up with was a cake batter cheesecake.
































Cake Batter Pecan Cheesecake

Crust

1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup butter, melted

Filling

1 8oz package cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
reserved cake mixture
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup pecan pieces

Caramel Sauce

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Crust: for a 9 inch springform pan.  In a bowl add cake mix, graham cracker crumbs and melted butter mix together.  Remove a 1/2 cup of the mix and set aside.  Press the cake mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan.

Filling: With an electric mixer cream the cream cheese and sugar; add eggs one at a time making sure eggs is incorporated each time, add vanilla mix thoroughly.  Pour over the crust.  In a bowl mix the leftover cake mixture, brown sugar and pecan pieces.  Sprinkle on top of batter and take a knife and carefully swirl around.  Place in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until set.  Allow to cook 15 minutes then take a knife around the edge to loosen crust from pan.  Remove springform and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.  Drizzle with caramel sauce.






Friday, January 24, 2014

Caramelized Onion Cranberry Cornbread

Cornbread is a big family favorite in our house and something I fix often.  Cornbread is very versatile, plain with some butter and honey to throwing everything but the kitchen sink in it.  It can be sweet or savory and it goes with everything.  I will make cornbread from scratch and I will make it from a boxed mix.  Today I'm making it from a boxed mix and the only boxed mix I use is Jiffy.  What I love about Jiffy over the years it has stayed the same great taste and you can't beat the price.  If you are going to make the cornbread according to the directions on the box you only need two ingredients milk and a egg.  Personally I always double the recipe.








Caramelized Onion Cranberry Cornbread

1 large onion, cut in half and sliced thin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 boxes of Jiffy Cornbread mix
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Heat 10 inch skillet with olive oil and on a low heat sauté onion slices until you reach a deep caramelization about 30 to 45 minutes.  Remove onions from skillet allow to cool down while you make the cornbread.  Pour cornbread mix into a medium bowl, add milk, sage and eggs, stir until everything is incorporated.  Dust cranberries with the flour (this will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the skillet).  Add cranberries and onions to cornbread mixture and fold in.  Get your skillet hot on the stove top (use the same skillet you used for the onions) pour cornbread into skillet and place into the hot oven bake for 20 minutes.  You want it set and just starting to brown around the edges.  Serve warm with butter and honey.  Also good for making stuffing for poultry.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ortega Fiesta Chicken Bowls and Giveaway

Last week while I was at the market I noticed the packages of Ortega's Skillet Sauces.  I knew that was something I needed to try.   I had an idea of what I wanted to make with the Ortega Cilantro and Green Chili Skillet Sauce.  Here is a fun dish that the whole family will love and it's ready in under 45 minutes and they make good burritos too.  Follow my blog to see what I do with the Ortega Taco Skillet Sauce and the Ortega Fajita Skillet Sauce.


Ortega Fiesta Chicken Bowls


















1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup uncooked rice
1 package Ortega Cilantro and Green Chili Skillet Sauce
chicken stock
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
2 16oz can refried beans (if making 12 or one can for 6)
Ortega Fiesta Flats - Flat bottom Taco Shells

Optional Garnish

black olives, sliced
shredded lettuce
cheese
salsa
avocado
sour cream

In a saucepan over medium heat sauté onion in olive oil for 5 minutes.  Add rice and cook for 5 minutes.  Place the Ortega Skillet Sauce in a 2 cup measuring cup add chicken stock to make a total of 2 cups of liquid, add to rice.  Bring to a boil, add corn and chicken, stir, cover and lower flame to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir and place a clean towel over the saucepan and replace lid, let sit for 5 minutes.

Heat up refried beans and divide into each of the Ortega Fiesta Flats, top with chicken rice mixture and your favorite garnish.



















Now for the giveaway...I love Ortega products so much I just had to share them with one lucky person.  You will get one package of each of the New Ortega Skillet Sauces, a package of the Ortega Fiesta Flats and a $50.00 Visa Gift Card.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 20, 2014

Italian Cheese Dip

Round 3 of Football Grub...My very best friend Jenny over at Mad Rantings of Andrew's Mom sent me two purple skillets that I am absolutely in love with.  I was dying to use them right away.  I have been wanting to make a hot cheese dip to serve while we were watching the football game.  I had an idea what I wanted to throw together and I happened to have everything on hand.  It only took about 10 minutes to make this dip and it is packed with flavor.  Don't let the anchovies scare you away from this dish, they give it a ton of flavor without the extra salt and you won't even know they are in there.

Italian Cheese Dip


2 anchovy filets, in oil
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup roasted peppers, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced
3 green onion whites, sliced
2 heaping tablespoons sun dried tomatoes
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 cup Mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup romano cheese, grated
sliced green onions
sliced baguette bread, sliced

In a saucepan or medium heat add olive oil and anchovy filets, sauté until the anchovy has melted.  Add cream cheese, peppers, olives, green onions, sun dried tomatoes and garlic.  Stir until cream cheese has melted.  Add mozzarella and romano cheese until melted.  Pour into a small skillet sprinkle with a little more romano cheese and place under the broiler until cheese has melted and starting to brown.  Sprinkle with the green onion slices and serve hot.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Frank's Red Hot Sauce Chicken Roll Ups

Round two of getting my football grub on.  Going with the finger foods that I can prepare early and enjoy the game with everyone else.  I love the flavor of chicken wings, but not a fan of the chicken wings.  I decided to make them into tortilla roll ups using a rotisserie chicken and when I saw the Frank's Red Hot BBQ Sauce I new I had to do some roll ups with that sauce.  Here is what I came up with.













Frank's Red Hot Sauce Chicken Roll Ups

1 pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, shredded and divided
1 8oz package cream cheese, room temperature, divided

Buffalo Chicken Roll Ups

1/2 cup Franks Red Hot Wing Sauce
4oz cream cheese (from above)
2 tablespoons blue cheese dressing
crumbled blue cheese
1 carrot, julienne cut
1 celery, julienne cut
red leaf lettuce
2 tortillas (I used one flour and one spinach)


BBQ Chicken Roll Ups

1/2 cup Franks Red Hot BBQ Sauce
4oz cream cheese (from above)
2 tablespoons Franks Red Hot BBQ Sauce
2 bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 small onion, sliced thin
1 tomato, seeded and diced
red leaf lettuce
2 tortillas (I used one flour and one sun dried tomato)

Shred chicken and divide into two bowls.  Add buffalo sauce to one and bbq sauce to the other bowl, set aside.

Mix together the cream cheese and blue cheese dressing in a small bowl.  Mix together the cream cheese and Frank's BBQ sauce in another bowl.

Buffalo Chicken - Assemble roll ups - Spread cream cheese mixture on tortilla's, sprinkle with blue cheese, alternating carrots and celery on top of tortilla, top with buffalo sauce chicken then lettuce.  Roll up tight with wax paper and place in refrigerator.

BBQ Chicken - Assemble roll ups - Spread cream cheese mixture on tortilla's, arrange bacon, tomatoes and onions on top of tortilla top with bbq sauce chicken then lettuce. Roll up tight with wax paper and place in refrigerator.

Refrigerate for at least one hour.  Cut the rolled tortillas into 3/4 inch slices.

Shared with Weekend Pot-Luck #101

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Baking and Cooking Groups - January

I am currently in 4 baking and cooking groups. (one of the groups does not start until February).  Instead of doing a blog post for each of the groups I decided to go with one blog post.  This way I am showing what I have been up to for the last month and 3 of those groups I will not be posting recipes.  The reason for not posting the recipes: Their cookbooks just came out and I don't have permission from the publisher to post the recipes.  This way if you like what you see you can purchase the cookbook without going into it blind.















The first recipe comes from Baking Partners: Group of Home Bakers We had our choice of baking a Traditional Dutch Apple Pie or Kofieebroodje (Dutch Coffee Buns).  I chose the Traditional Dutch Apple Pie.  This pie might look like a lot of work however, it is a very easy pie to make.



















Traditional Dutch Apple Pie

Crust:
300 grams all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
200 grams butter (cold)
150 grams packed brown sugar
1 large egg
zest from one lemon

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

To make the crust, in a bowl sift flour, baking powder and salt.  Add cold butter cut into chunks, using hands rub butter into flour until a crumbly dough has formed. Add brown sugar, egg and lemon zest.  Knead dough until everything is incorporated and forms a ball.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least a 1/2 hour.

Filling:

6 granny smith apples
1/2 lemon juice
1 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup rum (or apple cider)
75 grams brown sugar
1 tablespoon Speculass Spices *
2 tablespoons plain dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup apricot jam

Soak raisins in rum or cider while you prepare apple.  Peel and core apples and cut into chunks. Drizzle with lemon juice making sure all apple chunks are covered.  Drain raisins add to apples.  (do not discard rum/cider)  Add brown sugar, speculass spices to apples mix until coated.

Remove dough from refrigerator and cut 1/5th of the dough and set aside.  With the remaining dough press into and up sides of a 9" springform pan. Sprinkle bread crumbs in the bottom of the springform pan on top of the dough.  Add apples and raisins.  Take the dough you set to the side and roll into strips to make a lattice top.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 40 to 45 minutes.  10 minutes before pie is done in a small saucepan add apricot jam and reserved rum heat until melted.  After the pie is taken out of the oven brush the top with the apricot mixture.  Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing springform.  Cool to room temperature before slicing.

* Speculass Spice

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground mace
1/3 teaspoon ground ginger
1/5 teaspoon white pepper
1/5 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/5 teaspoon coriander
1/5 teaspoon anise seeds
1/5 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Next from Baking through Lick The Bowl Good we made the Banana Pecan Breakfast Cake, on page 151 of Monica Holland's cookbook Lick The Bowl Good: Classic Home-Style Desserts with a Twist which can be found on Amazon by clicking the link.   The coffee cake was moist and delicious and a nice change from the standard coffee cake and what a great way to use up the ripe bananas.


















Last but not least from Cooking from The New Midwestern Table by Food Network Star Amy Thielen on page 85, Best-Ever Beer Cheese Soup.  Serve this soup with a loaf of crusty bread and a beer and you are set for chilly night.  I love that you use a sharp white cheddar cheese which is one of my favorites.  You can purchase Amy's book The New Midwestern Table: 200 Heartland Recipes from Amazon.

If you would like to join any of these baking/cooking groups the links are above.  For February we are adding another baking group which is Baking through Wintersweet feel free to check us out.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Shrimp Salsa


Round one of football grub. Are you ready for a twist on your salsa? Add some chopped shrimp that has been sautéed with south of the boarder seasoning and a splash of tequila.  Your guests will 
    be shouting ole'.















Shrimp Salsa

1 to 2 lbs fresh shrimp, depending on how many shrimp you want to serve on the side
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipolte powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 cup tequila (optional)
5 tomatoes, (I used roma)
1 small onion, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
1/2 cup cilantro, rough chop
1 avocado, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lime, zest and juice
Salt to taste

Shell, devein, rinse and pat dry shrimp (it is up to you if you want to leave the tails on).  Mix together the chili powder, cumin, chipolte powder and salt.  Sprinkle on shrimp both sides.  Heat a skillet on medium high add olive oil, when hot add shrimp and cook approx. 2 to 3 minutes on each side.  Remove from heat add tequila stir to coat each shrimp.  Move to a bowl making sure you get all the olive oil mixture in the bowl and allow shrimp to cool completely.

Remove shrimp from bowl leaving all the goodies in the bottom of the bowl.  Chop up enough shrimp to make 3/4 cup and put back into the bowl, add onion, jalapeño, cilantro, avocado, garlic and lime, mix together, salt to taste.

Serve with tortilla chips and leftover shrimp.





Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 Has Been Postponed

When it comes to the new year like most everyone else I look forward to a fresh start and new beginnings.  

That has not happened at our house......

They say things happen in 3's

1.  New Years Eve.....I came down with a nasty cold (and still have it)

2.  January 2nd....Water pump went out in the truck (just got it back yesterday morning and we only have one vehicle)

3.  Yesterday our poor fur baby Olive was running in the snow below our house and got caught up in barbed wire.  The best way to explain what happened to her it was like skinning a buck with her injury. We rushed her to the vet, she got 10 stitches, and the doctor said she had no muscle damage.  She is doing well this morning although you can tell she is uncomfortable.

Please excuse me while I get Olive and myself back to being healthy.  Then I can start making 2014 the new beginnings like it is suppose to be.









Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year and Mexican Egg Bake

Happy New Year 














I was thinking back to 1999 and how the media was getting everyone in a frenzy thinking that it was the end of the world....or maybe just everything that was technical was going to fail.  That doesn't seem that long ago and fast forward here it is 2014.


Did you host a party or go to a party last night?  New Years Eve is one of those nights hubby and I stay home and enjoy each others company.  We watched TV and rang in the New Year with some Black-Eyed Peas and Cornbread.

This morning I made a Mexican Egg Bake something I could throw all together pop it in the oven and have it ready in time to watch the Rose Parade.  Today is an HGTV day my favorite part about New Years Day - Starting with the Rose Parade and Ending with the HGTV 2014 Dream Home.

Mexican Egg Bake

16 oz can refried beans
1/4 cup enchilada sauce
6 eggs
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, rough chop
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/4 cup jarred sliced jalapeño peppers (or canned diced mild green chilies)
2/3 cup shredded cheddar/jack cheese mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with vegetable spray.  Add refried beans spread evenly in baking dish.  Drizzle the top of the beans with the enchilada sauce and set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs and ricotta cheese.  Add onion, cilantro, olives, jalapeños, cheese, salt and pepper, stir well and pour over the refried beans.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until eggs are set.  Serve with warm tortillas, salsa, sour cream, avocados or guacamole.




Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

From my house to yours I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gearing up for the New Year

I chose not to participate in a bunch of Christmas posts for a couple of reasons.  One everyone is doing it and doing a wonderful job I enjoy reading everyone's holiday posts and two my biggest reason I'm still having a hard time adjusting to an empty nest.  My Christmas shopping has been done for 2 weeks now and has been shipped out and received which has taken a huge load off my shoulders.

Now I'm taking comfort in listening to Christmas music and planning a holiday dinner for my husband and myself and reflecting on how thankful I am that everyone I love is happy and in good health.  It's been pretty hard down sizing the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.  I am use to feeding armies of people.  When living in California we had all my husband's single friends over to share the holidays with us, my daughter's friends, we had an open door policy, I miss that.

Wow, I sound like a Debbie Downer and I didn't plan on that.  I'm sorry.  Time to change gears. (no offense to the Debbie's out there)

Between now and until the end of the year I am going to start planning out my short term and long term goals for 2014 and beyond.

Cooking Groups:

I am going to continue with the two Cooking Groups I'm in:

Baking Partners a group of home bakers working on expanding out of our comfort zone 

Cooking from The New Midwestern Table by Amy Thielen  Cooking through Food Network Star Amy Thielen's cookbook

A new Cooking Group that starts up in January:

Baking through Monica Holland's cookbook Lick The Bowl Good

Getting in touch with my creative side:

My husband and I are both going to be working on Art Journals.  I have bought each of us a bound sketch journal.  The plan is to use the two open pages to be creative, sketching, painting, doodling, or writing once a week through the whole year.

I plan to work on my writing skills in 2014.  I have two different writer's kit and will be setting aside time each day to do some writing.

I am going to read up on and take online classes in Photography.

I would like to start dabbling into home decorating - my 2014 project will be my bedroom

I am planning on officially opening my Ranch Delux Etsy Shop.  Which will have handmade and vintage gifts.

Enjoy these last few days leading up to Christmas

Sit down with a cup of tea and some of those holiday treats that friends gave to you or that you made yourself.  Watch a Christmas movie, listen to your favorite Christmas CD,  journal about blessings in your life and look forward to the new year and new beginnings.

















Monday, December 16, 2013

French Onion Soup

Two weeks ago we got 14 inches of snow, since that day our temps have been getting warmer everyday.  I'm enjoying the 40 and 50 degree temps, however, the snow isn't melting as fast as I would like.  When you are in the sun it is very comfortable but get in the shade with all this snow around you, it's pretty darn chilly.

I went for a walk around our property which was very nice until I got to areas that the sun doesn't hit and I had snow up to my knees.  That's a sight to see me trying to get out of the snow especially when Olive is attacking me. (Olive is our 2 year old English Bull Terrier, who loves the snow)

After flopping around in the snow I was glad I had a big pot of French Onion Soup sitting on the stove top simmering.  The moment I opened the door the aroma put a smile on my face.  There is nothing like warming up with a bowl of steaming soup.




French Onion Soup

1 stick of butter
4 to 5 onions, sliced thin
1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
3 to 4 fresh thyme sprigs
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
pinch red pepper flakes (because everything is good with red pepper flakes)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon, fresh ground pepper
2 heaping tablespoons flour
1 cup red wine (I used Purple Cowboy, Tenacious Red, tastes good too)
1 32oz box beef stock (low sodium)
Gruyere Cheese, shredded
lightly toasted baguette bread, sliced about an inch

In a large stock pot melt butter, add onions, rosemary, thyme, garlic, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Stir until everything has been coated by the butter.  Sauté on low for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle in flour and stir, cook down flour for 5 minutes, add wine, stir and reduce on low for 15 minutes.  Add beef stock, adjust salt and pepper to taste, cover and heat on medium low heat for 25 minutes.  Before serving remove bay leaves and thyme stems. Dish up soup in oven safe bowls, top with a slice of bread and a good amount of cheese.  Place under the broiler until cheese is melted and starts to brown.  Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.

Shared with Weekend Potluck #99

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Chef'n Banana Slicer

My favorite new kitchen gadget is the Chef'n Banana Slicer that I ordered from Williams-Sonoma $9.95 (I did get free shipping).  I know what your thinking just pull out a knife and slice it yourself.  But then I wouldn't get inform slices of banana.  The banana slices are perfect for cereal, banana cream pie and peanut butter banana sandwiches.  Makes a nice stocking stuffer or to threaten your husband.

Video from Chef'n


Then I find this very funny video about banana slicers.  I'm still standing behind my purchase.






Friday, December 13, 2013

Teriyaki Chicken and Vegetables

It is no secret that I make dinners around the vegetables I have in my refrigerator.  I very rarely put specific vegetable in a recipe.  It comes down to personal taste and what we have on hand.  I am lucky to have a family that loves vegetables so we have a little meat with our vegetables, when I make a stir-fry.  That is the beauty of a stir-fry you can put anything thing in this one dish meal.  Serve with a side of steamed rice and you are ready to go in minutes.



Teriyaki Chicken and Vegetables

3 chicken breasts, boneless skinless, cut into bite sized chunks
your favorite bottled teriyaki sauce
fresh ginger, approx. 2 inch knob peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 to 3 tablespoons sriracha
1 large garlic clove, minced
your favorite veggies, cut into bite size pieces
I used - carrots, celery, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, orange bell pepper, and snow peas 
8 oz can sliced water chestnuts
8 oz can sliced bamboo shoots
sesame seed oil
canola oil

Start by cutting chicken breasts into bite sized cubes and placing in a ziploc bag.  Pour enough of the teriyaki sauce  in to cover all the chicken along with the sliced ginger; refrigerate for at least two hours or over night.  In a small bowl or jar place 1 cup teriyaki sauce, sriracha, grated ginger and minced garlic; mix together well and refrigerate the same about of time as the chicken.

Cut vegetables into bite size pieces; if using carrots and celery cut thin on the diagonal, slice mushroom. (I used 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, half of a onion, 8 medium mushrooms, one medium orange bell pepper, cup of broccoli florets and a handful of uncut snow peas).  

Using a hot wok or large skillet add a small amount of sesame oil and canola oil (about 1/4 teaspoon of each) on high heat and cook the carrots, onions, broccoli, bell pepper and celery until just tender and remove to a plate, sauté the mushrooms; remove to plate, add chestnuts and bamboo shoots; cook until heated through; while cooking all the vegetables add additional oil if where needed. 

Add additional oil and cook chicken in small batches until it is done; which is about 6 minutes for each batch.  Add vegetables and the uncooked snow peas; pour teriyaki sriracha glaze over chicken and veggies; cook until heated through. Serve with steamed or fried rice.

Note:  If you would like the sauce to be a little thicker after the chicken is done cooking sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch and stir for 4 minutes; then add the vegetables and glaze.



Shared at
Yesterfood
 
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