Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

Olive Oil 1/2 lb lean ground turkey breast 1 cup chopped onions 1 heaping tbsp of homemade taco seasoning (or you can use the packaged type if you like) 2 cups of cooked rice (any type you like – I like brown) 3-4 organic bell peppers, halved and seeds removed 1 can of black beans, drained & rinsed ½ cup of organic frozen corn 1 (15 -16 ounce) jar of salsa (my favorite is mango peach) Shredded Cheddar Cheese Toppings: fresh cilantro sour cream sliced avocado Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat the peppers with olive oil and roast in a baking dish about 20-25 minutes just until cooked thru. Remove the peppers from the oven and allow to cool until you can handle them. *****Note – make sure you cook your turkey ahead of time that way you do not have to worry about it later. Also, I sauteed the onions until cooked thru, I then added in my cooked rice, black beans and corn.

Salsa Chicken

Ingredients: 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts 1 can cream of chicken soup 1 cup salsa 1 package (1 TBSP) taco seasoning 1 cup sour cream cilantro, for serving (optional) (I also added a little shredded cheddar-jack, black beans and scallion on top) Directions: Put chicken, soup, and salsa in slow cooker. Sprinkle taco seasoning over everything. Cook on low for 6 hours. If shredding the chicken, pull the breasts out and shred; return back to slow cooker. Stir in sour cream and heat just until everything is combined.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Ingredients: 8 ounces uncooked linguine (I used Dreamfields) 1 pound chicken breast strips 1-2 tsp Cajun seasoning (or to taste) 1 tbsp olive oil 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced 1 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced 1/2 red onion, sliced 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 medium tomatoes, diced 1 cup fat free low sodium chicken broth 1/3 cup skim milk 1 tbsp flour 3 tbsp light cream cheese fresh cracked pepper 2 scallions, chopped salt to taste Smart Balance cooking spray Directions: Prep all your vegetables. In a small blender make a slurry by combining milk, flour and cream cheese. Set aside. Season chicken generously with Cajun seasoning, garlic powder and salt. Prepare pasta in salted water according to package directions. Heat a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; spray with cooking spray and add half of the chicken. Sauté 5 to 6 minutes or until done, set aside on a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken. Set aside. Add olive oil to the skillet and reduce to medium; add bell peppers, onions, and garlic to skillet, sauté 3-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and tomatoes and sauté 3-4 more minutes or until vegetables are tender. Season with 1/4 tsp salt, garlic powder and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium-low; add chicken broth and pour in slurry stirring about 2 minutes. Return chicken to skillet; adjust salt and Cajun seasoning to taste, cook another minute or two until hot, then add linguine; toss well to coat. Top with chopped scallions and enjoy!

Homemade Mushroom Soup

Ingredients: 2 cups fresh mushrooms - cleaned and chopped finely (I used a mix of swiss brown and white button) 1 tbsp olive oil 3 cloves garlic - chopped 1 tbsp butter 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 - 2 bay leaf 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock 1 tbsp flour dissolved in 1 tbsp water Salt to taste 1/2 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup milk Dash of nutmeg Freshly ground black pepper to taste Fresh parsley or thyme for garnish Method: 1. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan. Add butter and lightly sauté garlic on medium heat. 2. Add in mushrooms, thyme, bay leaf and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the moisture from the mushrooms disappears. 3. Add in chicken broth. Stir occasionally until broth boils, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. 4 Add diluted flour in, and stir constantly (while simmering) until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and nutmeg. Taste and adjust seasoning. 5. Finally, add milk and heavy cream, and bring to a simmer. Turn heat off. 6. Serve hot in your soup bowl. Add freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley or thyme if you have them on hand. And warm up this holiday season! Notes: - You can thicken the soup by adding in another tablespoon of flour or cut down on the broth, for use in pasta or your Christmas casserole dishes.

Friday, July 6, 2012


Raspberry Crumb Pie Crust (makes two single pie crusts) 4 cups all purpose flour 3 Tablespoons sugar 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 3/4 cup cold shortening, diced 1/2 cup cold water 1 large egg 1 large egg mixed with 1 Tablespoon water (for the egg wash) Filling 4 1/2 cups raspberries 1 cup sugar 1/3 cup flour 1/2 cup sour cream 2 large eggs 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract Crumb Topping 2 1/2 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar 2 Tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon pinch ground nutmeg 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted 1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 Tablespoons all purpose flour In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and kosher salt. Put the bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes. It’s important that the ingredients for the pie crust are very cold. Dice the shortening and also place it in the freezer for 5 minutes. Take the bowl out of the freezer and add in the shortening. Using a fork, cut the shortening into the flour. The mixture should resemble small peas. Mix together 1/2 cup very cold water (I put the water in the freezer) and 1 large cold egg. Add it to the bowl and mix the ingredients together with a fork. Put the dough onto a floured counter and form it into a large circle. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and take off 3/4 of the dough. I always use a little more so it’s easier to roll out. You can reserve the extra dough you don’t use for another pie. Flour the counter, rolling pin and the dough. Roll it out into a large circle. Then roll the dough onto your rolling pin. Roll the dough over the pie plate (a 9 inch pie plate) and press it into the insides of the pie plate. Crimp the edges of the pie or if you can just take a fork and crimp the edges. Place the pie in the refrigerator while you work on the filling. In a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and flour. Add in the sour cream, eggs and vanilla extract and mix on medium speed until combined. Take the pie crust out of the refrigerator and put the raspberries on the bottom of the crust. Pour the filling over the raspberries and spread it out. Now make the crumb topping. Mix together the sugar, brown sugar, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Pour the melted unsalted butter into the bowl and mix everything together. Add in the flour and mix until the ingredients form a crumble topping. Crumble the crumb topping over the pie. Mix together 1 large egg and 1 Tablespoon of water and brush over the edge of the crust. You won’t use all of the egg wash. Bake the pie at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10-15 minutes. (the pie is done when the filling is somewhat firm) Let the pie cool for at least 1 hour on a cooling rack before cutting into slices. The filling will set when the pie cools. Then enjoy!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dr. Pepper Roast

This is a recipe that CAN be canned for food storage... but I've always just made it in the crock pot. Ingredients: Roast (approx. 1.5 lbs roast per quart sized jar) 1 can Campbell's cream of mushroom soup 2 cans Campbell's cream of potato soup 2 cups Dr. Pepper (we joke that the caffeine cooks out...but, you can opt to use caffeine free) 1 package Lipton onion soup mix 1/2 - 1 tsp. Tony's Creole Seasoning (depending on how spicy you want it) If you were to cook this in your crock pot, you simply add all ingredients and cook on high for 4-6 hours. Serve over mashed potatoes. Directions for canning: Cut Roast into chunks (or buy stew meat, which is already cubed for you) Put chunks of roast into clean pint or quart size jars (depending on the size of your family) In pitcher, mix all remaining ingredients. (Multiply gravy mixture as needed for amount of roast you are canning. One batch of gravy mixture will fill approximately three quart sized jars.) Pour gravy mixture over top of roast. Use handle end of a plastic spatula and run it down the insides of the jar all the way around. This will allow the gravy to settle in around the roast . Add more gravy until the jar is full, leaving approximately one inch headspace. In small pan, boil flat lids for three minutes. While lids are boiling, use damp cloth and wipe down rims of jars. Place flat lids on jars, screw bands on. Cook at 15 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes. Store and enjoy! youcancan.blogspot.com

Creamy Shrimp Rolls

Ingredients 1/4 cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice kosher salt and pepper 1 1/2 pounds cooked medium shrimp, cut in half crosswise 2 stalks celery, chopped 1/4 cup sliced chives (optional) 4 hot dog buns 1 small head butter lettuce, torn into pieces 1 5-ounce bag potato chips Directions In a medium bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Fold in the shrimp, celery, and chives, if desired. Line the buns with the lettuce and fill with the shrimp mixture. Serve with the potato chips.

A Different White Chili

Have ready: 2 cups chicken, cooked and cubed. 2 cans of great northern or white kidney (canellini?) beans OR 1 1/2 cups dry beans that you’ve soaked overnight and then cooked on low in the crockpot since breakfast. (Pour off extra water, but leave some for the soup base — you can always add more later, but it takes a long time to simmer off extra liquid.) Saute 1 onion (chopped) and 3+ cloves garlic (minced) in some butter and oil ’till soft and sweet. Add the beans to the pot of sauteing onion/garlic, or the onion/garlic to the crockpot. Add chicken and chicken soup base or bullion cubes to taste. (I don’t use chicken stock because it’s more expensive, and also, if you add the water and the seasonings separately, you can adjust the flavor easily). Add 2 cans of (mild) diced green chili peppers. Add cumin, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, add 1/2 cup (or more) heavy cream and 1/2 cup (or more) sour cream. (Don’t boil after adding the dairy). Toppings : fresh cilantro, sharp cheddar (or Monterey Jack) cheese, Fritos, and diced tomatoes.

Ultimate Peanut Butter Cookies

1 ¼ cup flour ¾ tsp baking soda ½ tsp baking powder ¼ salt ½ cup butter, softened 1 cup peanut butter ¾ cup sugar ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar 1 large egg 1 Tbsp milk 1 tsp vanilla ½ cup peanut butter chips ½ cup chocolate chips Sugar in a bowl for dipping Preheat oven 350 degrees In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, and the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter chips and chocolate chips. Drop Tbsp size rounded cookie dough into bowl of sugar to coat. Place on ungreased cookie sheet leaving several inches between for expansion. Slightly flatten cookies with back of spatula. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The cookies will look underdone. Cool for 1 minute on pan then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Baked Ziti with Sausage

Ingredients: 1 lb. italian sausage 2 cloves garlic, minced 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes 15 oz. can diced tomatoes 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper 2 Tbsp. basil, minced 1/2 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. sugar 8 oz. mozzarella, shredded (2 cups)* 1/4 cup Parmesan, shredded 1 lb. ziti pasta Instructions: Cook pasta according to package instructions, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water before draining. Cook 1 lb. italian sausage in skillet, casings removed. Drain sausage and set aside, reserving 1 Tbsp. oil in the pan. Add minced garlic, and stir until fragrant. Add tomatoes with juices, crushed red pepper and sausage. Simmer 15 minutes, until thickened and flavorful. Remove from heat and add basil, salt and sugar. Pour pasta back into pot and add sausage mixture. If sauce seems too thick, add reserved cooking water (I usually do this because it makes for better leftovers). Spray 9x13 pan lightly with Pam. Put half of pasta mixture into pan. Cover with half of both cheeses. Repeat. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. * NOTE: It's worth the extra dollars to buy fresh mozzarella on this recipe. It makes the dish creamy good.

Garlic Chicken with Bow Tie Pasta

1 Tb olive oil 1 lb boneless/skinless chicken breast, sliced crosswise 1 tsp salt 1 Tb olive oil 6-8 cloves garlic, crushed (1 rounded Tb) 1/2 lb mushrooms, quartered 1/2 c green onions, sliced 3/4 c red or orange sweet peppers 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (undrained) 1/2 c chicken broth 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper 1/2 tsp cornstarch 1/2 tsp salt 2 cups dry bow tie pasta – cook as directed 1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped (may use fresh parsley) parmesan cheese, grated 1. Fry chicken in oil over medium heat until done. Sprinkle with salt and remove from skillet. Keep warm. 2.Cook garlic in oil until golden. Add mushrooms, green onions and peppers – cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth, red pepper, cornstarch and salt. Heat to boiling then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. 3. Combine chicken, hot mixture, pasta and cilantro. Sprinkle with fresh parmesan to your liking

Good for you Creamy Tomato Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil 1 onion, chopped 2 carrots, peeled and chopped 3 cloves garlic, chopped 2 (14 ounce) cans Italian style diced tomatoes, undrained 2 cups chicken broth or stock pinch of red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar 1 teaspoon honey 3/4 cup evaporated skim milk, or 4 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese chopped fresh basil or parsley for serving In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add oniion and carrots and saute for five minutes. Stir in garlic and saute an additional minute. Add tomatoes, broth, red pepper flakes, vinegar, and honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender. For a creamy soup, transfer to blender and blend, or use an immersion blender directly in the pot. (Immersion blenders are a must have for soup lovers!) Soup can be made up to 2 days ahead of time to this point. Just before serving, add evaporated skim milk (or cream cheese of half and half) to pot. Warm through, but do not boil. Serve immediately with basil or parsley, and hopefully some warm focaccia. Rosemary Focaccia Estimated Cost: $3.50 for 12 wedges Notes: My favorite yeast is SAF, which many professional bakeries use. It may not be available at your store, so ask your supermarket baker which yeast they use behind the counter and buy that one. If you get a truly reliable yeast, and you make sure your water isn't too hot, you almost can't fail. 2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast 1 teaspoon sugar 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (think baby bottle warm) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, chopped, or 1 tablespoon fresh 3 cups flour (I use half whole wheat) For Top: 2-6 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 cup to 3/4 cup parmesan cheese additional chopped dried or fresh rosemary black pepper In a large bowl, combine yeast, sugar, water, olive oil, pepper, salt, rosemary and half of the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. (Alternately, if you have a free standing mixer, put in all of the flour and let the machine do the work.) Work in the remaining flour, using your hands and kneading when necessary. Knead dough for five minutes. Cover and let rise for one hour. (The dough can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Cover with saran wrap and store in fridge.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Press dough into a 12 inch circle. Don't worry about being perfect; you're going for rustic Italian here. Press the dough all over with your fingertips to make indentations. Cover dough with olive oil, cheese, rosemary and black pepper. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve. Any leftovers make a killer sandwich for the next day.

Refried Beans

1 tsp olive oil 2 tbsp sweet yellow onion, diced finely 1/4 jalapeno, diced finely 1 clove of garlic, minced 2 cans of pinto beans Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste, Pinch of dried cumin Cotija cheese, finely grated Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced onion and jalapeno. Sauté until tender and golden, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir constantly for 60 seconds. Add one can of beans with liquid and mash with a potato masher or fork until thoroughly mushed. Drain the second can of beans and add to the mushed beans. Mix and mush to your desired consistency. Cook on low for 5 minutes. Serve topped with cotija cheese.

Green Chili

10-12 tomatillos 5 garlic cloves, not peeled 1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, chopped 1 Pasilla chile, cored, seeded and flattened 1 bunch cilantro leaves, cleaned and chopped 1 1/2 to 2 lbs of pork loin (or shoulder), trimmed of excess fat and cut into to 2-inch cubes Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste Olive oil 2 yellow onions 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped 2 Tbsp of chopped fresh oregano or 1 Tbsp of dried oregano 2 1/2 cups chicken stock Position the oven rack close to the broiler. Cover a baking sheet with tin foil (for easier clean up). Remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse well. Cut in half and place cut side down, along with 5 unpeeled garlic cloves and the cored, seeded and flattened chile pepper, skin side up on a baking sheet. Broil in the oven until the tomatillos, garlic and chile are blackened – about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the chile pepper to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let cool for 7-10 minutes. Once the pepper is cool enough to handle, carefully remove the blackened skin. Place tomatillos, skins included, into food processor or blender. Remove the now roasted garlic cloves from their skins then add them to the processor. Add the chopped jalapeno pepper, the chile, any extra juice from the roasting tray and cilantro then pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed. Season the pork cubes generously with sea salt, freshly cracked pepper and oregano, to taste. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat then brown pork chunks on all sides. Remove pork from Dutch oven and set aside. I had just a little grease in the pan so I didn’t add olive oil but if you have no grease, add a bit of olive oil. Place the onions in the Dutch oven and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 60 seconds. Add the pork to the onion mixture then pour your chile verde sauce on top. Add enough chicken stock to cover the meat. Taste and re-season with salt, pepper and oregano to taste. Be careful not to add too much because the chile verde will continue to cook down and concentrate a bit. Bring to a boil and reduce to a slight simmer. Cook for 2-3 hours uncovered or until the pork is fork tender. Other ingredients: Flour or corn tortillas Cilantro and Lime Sour Cream (recipe below) Cotija cheese Fresh cilantro, chopped finely (garnish) Cilantro and Lime Sour Cream: 1/2 cup of sour cream (I use fat free) 1/2 tbsp sweet yellow onion, finely chopped 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped Juice of half a lime 1/2 clove of garlic, minced Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste Place the meat and sauce inside a warmed flour or corn tortilla then add a bit of cotija cheese. Roll into a burrito or taco, cover with more verde sauce. Enjoy.

Sesame Chicken and Asparagus Pasta

8 oz linguine 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 Tbs red wine vinegar 1 Tbs brown sugar 6 Tbs chunky peanut butter (¼ c. plus 2 T.) ¼ cup soy sauce scant ¼ cup sesame oil ½ – 1 Tbs hot chili oil (depending on how hot your chili oil is. I add the whole Tb.) 2 ½ boneless and skinless cooked chicken breast halves 5 Tbs sesame seeds, toasted ¾ lb to 1 lb thin asparagus, trimmed 3 scallions, white bulb and 3 inches green, cut into 2-inch julienne 1 small cucumber, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch dice Cook chicken. (Many options here – put frozen breasts in microwave at 50% power, or boil in water, or cook for a few hours in the crockpot with a cup of water…) Trim asparagus; set aside. *see note below Toast sesame seeds, set aside. (Two options: toast in the microwave, stirring every minute or so, or toast in a dry skillet on medium, stirring frequently. They are done when they turn brown. Takes 5-10 minutes.) Cut scallions and cucumber as directed in ingredients. Set aside. Prepare sauce: Place the garlic, vinegar, brown sugar, peanut butter, and soy sauce in a food processor. Process for 1 minute. With the motor running, slowly add the sesame and hot chili oils through the feed tube, and process until well blended. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the linguine, and cook at a rolling boil until just tender. Drain, rinse under cold water, drain again, and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Shred the chicken into 2-inch julienne, and toss with the linguine. Add the sauce and 4 Tbs of the sesame seeds, and toss to coat well. Cut the asparagus on the diagonal into 1-inch lengths. Blanch in a saucepan of boiling water for 2-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus. They will be done when you can easily insert a thin-bladed knife or skewer into them. Drain, rinse under cold water, and pat dry. **see note below Place the linguine and chicken in a large flat serving bowl, and arrange the asparagus on top. Sprinkle with the scallions, cucumber, and remaining 1 Tbs sesame seeds. Number Of Servings:6 * Trimming the asparagus – This is a very important step. Snap the ends off by bending the bottoms until they snap. They will snap off above the white part, and some of the green will snap off too. This is the safest way to trim asparagus. It seems like you are wasting a lot of asparagus, but don’t be deceived! When I was new at cooking I tried cutting off just the white part, or just 1 inch off the bottoms, and would live to regret it! The bottom part of asparagus spears are very fibrous. If you don’t cut enough off the bottom, you will feel like you are trying to chew on a piece of bamboo. It’s horrible. My trusty cookbook by Mark Bittman says, “Snap off the bottom of each stalk; they will usually separate naturally right where the woody part ends.” Take it from the pro. **Also, I combine the steps of blanching the asparagus and cooking the linguine. 4-5 minutes before linguine is done, I add the asparagus. Then I drain it all when the asparagus is done. I drain the noodles and asparagus once, then add the sauce, chicken, and some sesame seeds and toss. Then I add the scallions, cucumber and remaining sesame seeds on top and lightly toss a bit. I’ve learned to combine steps to make this a faster recipe.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Restaurant Salsa

Ingredients1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can Rotelle tomatoes
½ onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ lime, juiced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1-2 green onions, chopped
1 jalepeno, chopped, with most of the seeds removed (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend on low to desired consistency.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Baked Lemon Pasta

1 pound Thin Spaghetti - - PREFERABLY CAMPANELLE noodles or FUSILLI or even BOWTIES or something similarly sized/shaped
4 Tablespoons Salted Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 whole Lemon, Juiced And Zested
2 cups Sour Cream - - or split it 1 cup sour cream 1 cup plain yogurt
½ teaspoons Kosher Salt, Or More To Taste
Plenty Of Grated Parmesan Cheese
Flat-leaf Parsley, Chopped
Extra Lemon Juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook spaghetti until al dente. In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over LOW HEAT. When butter is melted, add minced garlic. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan. Turn off heat. Add sour cream and stir mixture together. Add lemon zest and salt. Taste, then add more salt if necessary. Pour mixture over drained spaghetti and stir together, then pour spaghetti into an oven safe dish. Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. (Don’t bake too long or the pasta will dry out.) When you remove it from the oven, squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top. Top generously with Parmesan cheese, then chopped parsley. Give it a final squeeze of lemon juice at the end or feel free to add as much as you like.

Queso Dip

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 30 fluid ounces
  • 1 1/4 (1.25) lb block White American Cheese (Land O'Lakes brand preferred), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup diced green chiles
  • 2 pickled jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 ounce pickled jalapeno juice
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • pinch of cumin (optional)
Toss all ingredients into a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 5 minutes, stopping to stir after every minute. The mixture might seem watery during the first few stirs, but should come together as a nice runny dip after all the cheese is melted.
Serve immediately as a dip with tortilla chips or as a sauce over your favorite Mexican dish.
*Recipe Note: White American cheese is found at most deli counters in your local grocery store.
*Reheat Instructions: Store any leftover cheese dip in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until creamy and hot.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pink Lemonade Pie

Lemonade Pie

2 sleeves of Ritz Crackers, crushed
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted

Mix cracker crumbs and powdered sugar together until well blended. Add melted
butter and stir until mixture is crumbly and sticks together. Press 2/3 of it in
the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Set the remaining 1/3 of the crumb mixture

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (6 oz) pink lemonade concentrate, thawed ... (you can use any concentrate
1 (12 oz) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
red food coloring (optional if you want it more pink)
Combine sweetened condensed milk and lemonade, whisk together. Fold in whipped
topping and food coloring. Pour into prepared Ritz crust. Spread evenly. Top
with crumb mixture. Freeze for a couple of hours.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Strawberry Sour Cream Pie

Pie Crust Ingredients: (or you can use an unbaked, prepared crust)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup cold lard (non-hydrogenated if available)*
1/2 cup cold butter, chopped
3-4 tablespoons ice cold water
1 egg and 1 teaspoon heavy cream for egg wash
*you can substitute vegetable shortening here if you wish, but I highly recommend the lard!

Filling Ingredients:
1 quart fresh strawberries
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cup sugar, reserve 1 tablespoon
Dash salt
1 cup sour cream (not fat-free)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. To make the crust, pulse flour and salt together to combine. Add scoops of lard and pulse into the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Add in chunks of butter and pulse until butter pieces are no larger than small peas, about 10 pulses. Add minimum amount of water and pulse on low. If dough remains crumbly and doesn’t come together, add another tablespoon of water. Add as little as is required to enable the dough to be rolled into a ball. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 20-30.

Roll disk of dough out to around 2 inches larger than your pie plate and transfer it, situating it in the plate. Fold the excess dough around the edges and crimp, trimming where necessary.

Hull and wash the strawberries and slice them in half. Set aside. Sift flour, sugar, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add sour cream, blending until creamy. Gently fold in the berries without overmixing. Pour fruit into pie shell and spread to edges without packing down — there should be spaces throughout the filling. Sprinkle the top with the last 1 tablespoon sugar.

Bake the pie for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F (I leave the oven door open a minute during this period to let the temperature drop a little) and bake an additional 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Broil the pie for 2-3 minutes to brown up the top. Allow to cool completely before cutting, and serve with fresh whipped cream or ice cream.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Skinny Enchiladas

Cook time: 20 mins
Serves: 6
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 16 oz. fresh salsa
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup water (optional)
  • 12 small corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup crema (see notes)
  • fresh cilantro, Cotija cheese for topping
  1. Put the first 6 ingredients in a crockpot. If your salsa is not very saucy, be sure to include the 1/4 cup water or more if necessary. Cook on high for about 3 hours (or longer on the low setting) until chicken is cooked through. You can also cut the chicken breasts into halves to help them cook faster. Use 2 forks to shred the chicken and mix everything together.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Soften the corn tortillas in the microwave, 3 at a time, for about 25 seconds. Fill them with a few tablespoons of filling, roll once, and place seam-side down in a large baking dish (I did 2 smaller baking dishes). Continue until all tortillas have been filled, rolled and placed in dish. Be sure to pack them in tightly next to each other so that they don’t come apart.
  3. Sprinkle evenly with the shredded cheese and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly and everything is heated through.
  4. Remove from oven and drizzle with crema. Sprinkle with avocado pieces, fresh cilantro, and Cotija cheese crumbles.
The corn tortillas will start to break apart on the top during baking if you don’t warm them up enough prior to baking.
For the crema, I just made a fake-out version with about 3 tbs. sour cream and 2 tbs. cream. I whisked it together until it was smooth, creamy, and drizzle-able. Also, I used part yellow corn and part shoepeg corn, which made the texture more interesting.
Serving size for the nutrition facts is 2 enchiladas.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Candied Spiced Almonds


5 cups sliced almonds, or a 1 pound package*
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin*
1-1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika* - some smoked paprikas are quite hot, if you don't like "hot", just use 1 teaspoon and they will be mildly spiced.
1 teaspoon vanilla
sea salt
*The cumin and the smoked paprika give just a hint of mysterious, delicious flavor - even though these are savory spices, these almonds are still wonderful served with sweets like ice cream or yogurt.

1. Place a large sheet of foil on a work surface. Spray with cooking spray or rub a teaspoon of oil over foil with a paper towel.

2.  Place sugar in a large non-stick sauté pan and heat over medium heat , occasionally tipping and swirling the sugar until it is all melted into a pale golden syrup.

3. Lower heat immediately and add butter, cinnamon, smoked paprika and vanilla. Stir until well combined and all butter is incorporated into the sugar syrup.

4. Add the nuts and stir gently to coat. Don't worry if you have some clumps of caramelized sugar - they will melt as you continute to sauté the almonds. Cover and continue to cook on low, stirring every minute or so until almonds are a delicious golden brown. Watch very carefully as they can go from beautiful to burned very quickly! Turn out onto prepared foil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Spread out on foil to cool. 

*If you have a Costco membership, they recently started carrying 2 pound bags of beautiful sliced almonds for $7.99 - a great deal as nuts have become extremely expensive! Get some fun little jars or containers and at this price, you could give a nice-sized gift (about a quarter pound) of these yummy, addictive almonds for
just slightly more than a dollar!

Cranberry-Avocado Salad with Candied Spiced Almonds and Sweet White Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients for the dressing:
⅓ cup sugar
1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds
1 ½ tablespoons sesame seeds
½ teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons dried mustard
1 tablespoon minced sweet onion
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup white balsamic vinegar
⅓ cup vegetable oii
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for the salad:
12 ounces baby spinach, arugula, field greens
1 small bunch cilantro, washed and dried, leaves removed whole from stems
2 medium avocados, peeled and halved
¾ cup dried cranberries
¾ cup Candied Spiced Almonds

1. For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a pint sized glass jar and shake well to dissolve sugar.

2. For the salad, place greens and cilantro leaves in a large bowl. Add avocado and dried cranberries and about 1/4 cup of the dressing and toss gently. Scatter candied almonds over salad and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pass extra dressing at the table.

6 dinner size salads, 8 side salads

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Skillet Baked Ziti

1 T. olive oil
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1 jar spaghetti sauce
3 cups water
12 ounces ziti- 3 3/4 cups (I used penne)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1 cup shredded mozzarella

1. Heat Oven: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees.
2. Simmer Ziti: Combine oil and red pepper flakes in 12 inch ovensafe nonstick skillet and saute over medium high heat about 30 seconds. Add spaghetti sauce, water, and ziti. Cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat as needed to maintain vigorous simmer, until ziti is almost tender, 15 to 18 minutes.
3. Add Cheese and Bake: Stir in cream, parmesan and basil. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over ziti. Transfer skillet to oven (or if your skillet isn't ovenproof, transfer to a baking dish) and bake until cheese has melted and browned, about 10 minutes.

French Dip Sandwiches

French Dip Sandwiches

1 3-lb. beef roast
2 T. olive oil
S & P
1 packet lipton onion soup mix
2 C. water
2 cans beef broth
ciabatta rolls
sliced provolone or swiss cheese

Season roast well with salt and pepper. Sear in oil in large pan over med-high heat, just a couple minutes on each side. Place roast in crockpot, add soup mix, water and broth. Cover and cook for about 10 hours on low. When sufficiently tender, shred beef. Arrange shredded beef on rolls and top with cheese. Broil in oven for just a minute or two- you can't watch too carefully. Ladle juices into small cups for dipping.

Mini Smores

Mini S'mores
Golden Grahams
mini marshmallows
chocolate chips
votive candle

FHE Treats AND activity? DONE.

Caprese Bites

The next appetizer I need to take somewhere, I'm making these...

Shells can be found at IKEA.

To assemble, you'll need:

one pack of Hors D'oeuvres shells
one pkg. grape tomatoes
basil leaves
one package mini mozzarella balls (bocconcini- mine from Fresh and Easy)

Halve the tomatoes and mozzarella balls. Remove the basil leaves from their stems and halve if neccesary. Fill shells with a little of each ingredient.

Cream Cheese Chicken and Pasta

1-2 lbs. chicken breasts or chicken tenders
2 pats of butter
1 packet Italian dressing mix
6 oz. cream cheese
1 can cream o chicken soup
1 can of milk

Cook chicken, butter and Italian dressing mix in crock-pot for 2-3 hours (depending on whether you've used chicken breasts or tenders). Shred the chicken using two forks then add cream cheese, cream of chicken soup and milk. Cook until everything is well combined and creamy. Serve over your favorite cooked pasta.

Asian Spinach and Chicken Salad


1 bag of spinach
2 C. cooked cubed chicken
8 oz. cooked and drained bowtie pasta
2 oranges
1 avocado
1 C. chow mein noodles
1 T. sesame seeds

2 T. rice wine vinegar
2 T. brown sugar
1 1/2 T. soy sauce
1 1/2 t. grated fresh ginger

Combine above dressing ingredients, then drizzle in 1/4 C. veg. oil while whisking. Season with 1 tsp. salt.

Toss spinach, chicken and pasta with dressing. Top with slice avocado, orange segments, chow mein noodles and sesame seeds.

Cut off each end of the oranges, trim off all the peel, slice it into rounds, then quarter each round.

Teriyaki Chicken Burgers with Pineapple

Will definitely have to try these for one of our summer BBQ/Pool parties this year!

4 chicken breasts
1 C. teriyaki sauce
4 slices pineapple
4 slices tomato
4 leaves lettuce
4 T. mayonnaise

Marinate the chicken in the teriyaki sauce in the fridge for a few hours. Grill the chicken and pineapple. Assemble sandwiches.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

2 large sweet potatoes
1 T olive oil
1 T minced garlic
1 small jalapeno minced (seeded)
1 can rinsed black beans (I used two cans)
1 can diced tomatoes (I used petite diced with green chilies)
1 T chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of your favorite salsa
8 large flour tortillas (I filled 10 and still had plenty of filling left to layer on top)

Peel your sweet potatoes and dice into chunks, spread out on a baking sheet with a little olive oil and salt, bake at 400 until soft.

Saute your garlic and jalapeno in the olive oil, add black beans, tomatoes, chili powder, and sweet potatoes. Mix everything really well and let cook for a few minutes.

Spread 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups of salsa on the bottom of a casserole pan. Fill tortillas with the bean and sweet potato mixture, roll tightly, and place in pan. When finished top with remaining salsa and filling. You can also top with cheese if you would like. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Serve with lettuce, olives, avocado, and a little sour cream.

Hot Spinach Dip

Hot Spinach Dip

Makes 3 cups

2 tsp olive oil, plus more for baking dish
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds spinach, cleaned, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
1/2 C. milk
6 oz. cream cheese
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Baguette slices, breadsticks, or crackers, for serving

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat oil over medium.
Add spinach in two additions, letting the first batch wilt before adding the next; add garlic; cook until spinach is completely wilted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander; drain, pressing to release all excess liquid.
In the same pot, warm milk over high heat. Whisk in cream cheese until melted, about 3 minutes. Add spinach, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and 1/4 cup mozzarella; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a lightly oiled 1 1/2-quart shallow baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.
Bake until bubbly and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot with bread and crackers.

Green Beans

Green Beans with Almonds and Parsley
1/4 C. slivered almonds
1 lb. green beans, washed and ends trimmed
1/3 c. water
2 tsp. butter, plus 2 more tsp.
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. grated lemon zest
2 T. chopped flat-leaf parsley
gresh ground black pepper

Heat a pot with lid over medium low heat. Add almonds and toast, stirring til golden brown and fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside. In the same pot add green beans, 1/3 cup water, 2 tsp butter, and salt and cover with lid. Increase heat to med-high, and steam for about 5 minutes until beans are bright green and just tender. Remove lid and continue to cook until water evaporates and beans start to saute, 2 minutes longer. Turn off heat, stir in toasted almonds, lemon zest, parsley, remaining 2 tsp. butter, and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Biscuits and Gravy

Cream Biscuits
2 C. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. heavy cream

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups cream and stir with a wooden spoon until dough forms, about 30 seconds. Trasnfer the dough to the countertop, leaving all dry, floury bits behind in the bowl. In 1 T. increments, add up to 1/4 C. cream to the dry bits in the bowl, mixing until moistened. Add these moistened bits to the rest of the dough and knead by hand just until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pat into a flat, 3/4 inch tall circle, and using a round drinking glass, cut out 8-10 biscuits and place on baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Sausage Gravy

1 pound ground pork sausage
3 T. flour
3 C. milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Brown sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a spatula. Set sausage aside, leaving the drippings in the skillet (add a T. of butter if sausage didn't render enough fat). Reduce heat to medium, add flour to the drippings, and stir constantly until mixture just turns golden brown. Gradually whisk milk into skillet. When the mixture is smooth, thickened, and begins to bubble, return the sausage to skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mini Caramel Apples

Genius!  I love caramel apples but avoid them like the plague because they're hard to eat/super messy - - this is the perfect solution making them bite size!!!

4-inch lollipop sticks
Melon baller
Granny Smith apples (one apple makes about 8 mini apples)
Butterscotch or peanut butter chips
Chopped nuts, nonpareils, sprinkles, shredded coconut (optional)
Small paper candy cups
1- First, cut the lollipop sticks in half at an angle (the pointy end will go into the apple pieces easier). With the melon baller, scoop little balls out of the apple. Each ball should have a section of apple peel. Push half of a lollipop stick into the peel of each ball. Pat the apple pieces dry.
2- Melt the chips according to the package directions. Dip and swirl the mini apples in the melted chips, then roll the apples in nuts, sprinkles, nonpareils, or coconut, if desired. Place the mini apples in paper candy cups to set..

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Creamy Chicken & Pasta Bake


I love me some broccoli. Got to try this.
1-1/2 cups multigrain rotini pasta, uncooked
1 small  bunch broccoli, cut into florets (about 3 cups)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup  fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 oz. (1/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese, cubed
1 cup  KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
HEAT oven to 375ºF. Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, adding broccoli for the last 3 min.
MEANWHILE, heat large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 min. or until no longer pink, stirring frequently. Stir in broth; simmer 3 min. or until chicken is done. Add cream cheese; cook and stir on low heat 1 min. or until cream cheese is melted. Stir in 1/2 cup mozzarella.
DRAIN pasta and broccoli. Add to chicken mixture; mix lightly. Spoon into 8-inch sq. baking dish; cover.
BAKE 15 min. or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake, uncovered, 3 min. or until melted. Let stand 5 min.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Multi-grain bread

1 1/4 cup (6 1/4 ounces) seven-grain hot cereal mix
2 1/2 cups boiling water
3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour (not bread flour)
1 1/2 cups (8 1/4 oz) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled*
2 1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 tablespoon salt
Optional (I omitted): 3/4 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats
*If you’re using salted butter, just decrease the additional salt by just a bit.
Place cereal mix in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook and pour boiling water over it; let stand, stirring occasionally, until mixture cools to 100 degrees and resembles thick porridge, about 1 hour.  Whisk flours together in separate bowl.
Once grain mixture has cooled, add honey, butter, and yeast and mix on low speed until combined.  Add flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, and knead until cohesive mass starts to form, 1 1/2-2 minutes; cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 20 minutes.  Add salt and knead on medium-low speed until dough clears sides of bowl, 3-4 minutes (if it does not clear sides, add 2-3 tablespoons additional all-purpose flour and knead until it does.  Don’t add more!) continue to knead dough for 5 more minutes.  Add seeds (if using) and knead for another 15 seconds.  Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand until seeds are dispersed evenly and dough forms smooth, round ball.  Place dough in large, lightly greased bowl; cover tightly with plastic and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 45-60 minutes.
Grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.  Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and divide in half.  Press 1 piece of dough into 9×6 inch rectangle, with short side facing you.  Roll dough toward you into firm cylinder, keeping roll taut by tucking it under itself as you go.  Turn loaf seam side up and pinch it closed.  Repeat with second piece of dough.  Spray loaves lightly with water or vegetable il spray.  Roll each loaf in oats to coat evenly and place seam side down in prepared pans, pressing gently into corners.  Cover loaves loosely with greased plastic and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size 30-40 minutes.  Dough should barely spring back when poked with knuckle.
Thirty minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake until loaves register 200 degrees, 35-40 minutes.  Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.  Remove loaves from pans, return to rack, and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, before slicing and serving.
Storage: Bread can be wrapped in double layer of plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.  Wrapped with additional layer of foil, bread can be frozen for up to a month.