Raspberry Lemon Sauce
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Raspberry Lemon Sauce
Pork was on sale at Kroger when I did my grocery shopping this week and Todd always likes pork chops so I bought a package. But I dont really like plain, old pork chops, so I needed a different way to use them. I had some peach-mango salsa in the fridge so I came up with this.
Peach Pork Chop Tacos
2 1" thick pork chops
1 cup peach-mango salsa
1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 red onion, diced
1 peach, diced
Fresh cilantro, chopped, to taste
Put pork chops and salsa in a plastic bag to marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pork chops on a baking pan and pour excess marinade over them. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until almost cooked through. Slice thinly and return to pan, sprinkle with cumin and chili powder and toss with marinade still on the pan, add more salsa if necessary. Return to oven for approximately 5 more minutes. Assemble tacos with 1/4 each of the pork and cheese and microwave to melt the cheese if desired. (Sorry I forgot to take another picture after this point.) Add 1/4 each of the onion and diced peaches and top with fresh cilantro.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Cinnamon rolls are one of those things in life that just make everything seem ok. A warm, gooey cinnamon roll is comfort food to me. I haven't tried to make them from scratch for 14 years; the last time I did it, I was in home economics class my freshman year of high school. I don't know why I waited so long. I was pretty intimidated, remembering it to be a long, difficult process. However, I was pleasantly surprised; first, because the rolls were pretty easy to make, and second, because they tasted so much better than the ones I had in high school. The addition of cream cheese in the dough made them so moist. If you haven't made cinnamon rolls before, this is definitely a recipe worth trying.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Cut chicken into small chunks. Add to a small skillet and cook a couple minutes. Add vinagrette and garlic salt and continue cooking until chicken is cooked through (approximately 5 minutes). Put a layer of chips on a plate, cover with 1/2 of black bean salsa, chicken and cheese. Add another layer of chips, and cover with remaining ingredients. Microwave for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
On Saturday, we had a few people over for the big Louisville vs. Kentucky football game. I decided a build your own taco bar would be an easy route for football food. I made a couple of salsas, a couple hot appetizers and a crockpot full of shredded chicken plus cake for dessert. It was all a big hit. Sorry for the lack of pictures.
Crockpot Taco Mix
(Serves 10 with plenty of leftovers)
5 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 green peppers
1 large white onion
1 1/2 cups chipotle marinade
1 T lime juice
2 T cumin
1 T garlic powder
1 cup water
Put chicken breasts, water and 1 cup marinade in crockpot. Cook on high for 3 hours. Do not open crock pot lid. Cut up peppers and onions and add remaining marinade to a plastic bag and refrigerate. Shred chicken with 2 forks and drain excess water from crockpot. Return chicken to crockpot, add peppers and onions, spices, and lime juice. Continue cooking on low for 1 additional hour. Serve on warm tortillas with desired toppings.
The leftovers made delicious quesadillas when we added 1/4 cup of cheese and some leftover black bean salsa.
3 peaches, peeled, pits removed
1 mango, peeled, core removed
1 plum tomato
Handful chopped cilantro
Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until desired consistency. Serve with cinnamon chips or tortilla chips.
(Serves 12, 2 per person)
8 corn tortillas
1 cup shredded chicken, cooked
1 cup cream of chicken soup (I used Healthy Request)
1/2 cup enchilada sauce (I like Old El Paso Hot)
1/2 cup shredded colby jack or Mexican blend cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut 2" circles out of tortilla shells (3 per shell). Warm tortilla rounds in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds and press each round into wells of a mini-muffin pan. Combine chicken, soup and enchilada sauce in a small pan and heat to bubbling. Spoon mixture equally into muffin cups. Top each with shredded cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown. Use a spoon to pop out bites.
Black Bean Baked Empenadas
(Serves 12, 2 per person)
1 pkg refrigerated pie crust
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes (I like the garlic and onion or zesty blend), drained
1/2 jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 cup roasted corn, removed from cob
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1-2 egg whites
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out pie crust and cut into 3" rounds. Put rounds onto a greased cookie sheet. Mix vegetables and spices together for filling, lightly mash beans. Put approx 1 T of filling onto each round. Fold over and seal edges with a fork. Brush tops with egg whites. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Bake in the oven for approx 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Todd and I had some delicious pumpkin ice cream at the apple orchard last weekend and I wanted to try making some. I found a recipe at Williams-Sonoma so I thought I would try it out. The original recipe can be found here.
Pumpkin Nut Ice Cream
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup brown sugar
5 egg yolks
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 T bourbon
1 1/2 cups half and half
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Combine pumpkin and vanilla, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. In a heavy sauce pan, combine 1 1/2 cups of cream and 1/2 cup brown sugar over medium heat. Cook until bubbles form around the edges but do not boil (approx. 5 min.)
While cream mixture is heating, combine egg yolks, spices and remaining cream and brown sugar. Whisk until smooth. Remove cream mixture from heat and gradually whisk in about 1/2 cup of the hot cream to temper the egg mixture. Pour egg mixture back into pan. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat, until thickened, about 4-6 minutes. Do not allow the custard to boil.
Pour the custard mixture back into a bowl, placing the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice water. Allow the mixture to cool and whisk in the pumpkin mixture. Cover and refrigerate the custard mixture at least 3 hours (I refrigerated mine overnight).
Transfer custard mixture to an ice cream mixture and pour in half and half and freeze according to mixer instructions. During the last minute of freezing add 1 tablespoon of bourbon and 1/2 cup pecans. Freeze at least 3 hours before serving.
Todd and I had Tres Leches cake multiple times while we were on our honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. Before that I hadn't had any since my brothers 8th birthday party when he insisted that his birthday cake be a "milk cake" - which my mother found at the local pasteleria. All I can remember is her saying how heavy the cake was. The cake is actually a really light, airy sponge cake but is soaked in 3 different milks to make a very moist and delicious cake. In the Dominican, the cake was always served with chocolate sauce or sliced strawberries but since I didnt have either on hand, I used cinnamon to garnish the top.
Recipe adapted from About.com.
Monday, September 14, 2009
The hubs is out of town for work this week, which means I'm making baked mac n'cheese. Unfortunately for me, my husband loves all types of cheese, yet the blue box is the only type of macaroni he will eat. I just dont get it, but it's what he was raised on so I'm not fighting it, I just make myself a nice batch when he's not here.
We have apples everywhere... Todd and I went to the apple orchard Saturday morning and picked tons of apples. We came home with over 50 pounds and 3 different varieties. This is less than half of them. Although its so fun to pick your own, those bags get heavy!
Although there will be lots of apple recipes coming up the first thing I did was make some homemade apple sauce. I love good old-fashioned, chunky, cinnamon apple sauce. Warmed up with a spoonful of whip cream or vanilla ice cream, it's like heaven in a bowl. So good. So Saturday I used about 20 pounds of apples and cooked and canned 6 quarts plus about another half a jar that I stuck in the fridge. I made it in 2 batches because I didnt have a big enough pan, so below is the recipe for half that amount.
Homemade Apple Sauce
(Makes about 3 quarts)
20 medium apples, peeled, cored, and chunked
3 T lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 T cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup water
Put chunked apples into a large stock pot with water, lemon zest and lemon juice over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. After about 10 minutes when apples are starting to break down, add cinnamon and sugar (the entire 1/4 cup might not be necessary depending on the sweetness of the apples). Cook about another 10 minutes and add ginger and nutmeg. Continue cooking until apples are cooked to the desired chunkiness. If you want a smooth sauce, you can blend in a food processor or strain the apple sauce.
To can the apple sauce, boil the jars and lids separately to sterilize. Transfer apple sauce to jars using a funnel, leaving 1/2" head space in each jar. Put on the lids and transfer to another stock pot of boiling water or pressure cooker. Make sure the water level is about 1" over the top of the jars. Place the jars on a rack or folded dish towel, not directly on the bottom of the pan. Process for about 20 minutes after the water comes to a gentle boil. Make sure each of the lids "pops" and doesnt spring back when you press down to ensure they are sealed.
If anyone has suggestions for what I should do with the other 30+ pounds of apples, please leave a comment. I have a few ideas but we have a LOT of apples.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Homemade pizza is one of life's great things, you control the quality of ingredients, the thickness of the crust, the amount of cheese. A good homemade pizza is one of my all time favorite meals. On a normal basis, I use frozen bread dough to make homemade pizza because I've never really done much with yeast and it sort of intimidated me. However, I decided I would try to make a whole wheat crust to make my pizza a little healthier so I figured it was time to experiment. I had saved a recipe earlier but in the end just went with the recipe on the back of the flour bag.
Whole wheat pizza crust
(Makes 1 large pizza or 2 medium pizzas)
1 cup water, heated to 110 degrees
1 pkg rapid-rise yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbs olive oil
Mix together the yeast and water and let it dissolve for about 5 minutes. Put the wheat flour, sugar, oil and 1 cup of the AP flour in a mixing bowl. Add the yeast water mixture and begin to mix. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour slowly as needed until the dough comes together. Knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put a little oil in a deep bowl, put in the dough and turn once to cover the top with oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise. (The recipe says 15 minutes but I left it for about an hour). I then wrapped it in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight although it could be used right away.
The next night I rolled the dough out onto a floured surface to make 1 large pizza. Next time I think I will add a little garlic powder and herbs to the dough just to give it a little more flavor. I brushed the top with a little olive oil, added some garlic powder, dried oregano, and paprika and baked it at 450 degrees for a few minutes until it started to crisp up.
Zesty Pizza Sauce (I used Ragu but added oregano and crushed red pepper flakes)
Spicy Italian Sausage
Put on all the toppings as desired and put the pizza back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes until the cheese begins to brown.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Cheese was the focus of tonight's dinner because it was fast, easy, and (despite all the cheese) relatively healthy.
Tortellini with Cheese Sauce
(Serves 4 - according to the package, 2 with a little leftover if you want it as your meal)
1 pkg whole wheat 3-cheese tortellini (I used Buitoni)
1 cup marinara sauce (I used Prego HeartSmart Traditional)
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 cups spinach (I used fresh baby spinach)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Cook tortellini acccording to package directions. Drain. In the now empty pan, add sauce, garlic, and cheese. Cook for a couple minutes until the cheese melts into the sauce. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Return tortellini to the pan and add seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir until evenly coated with sauce. Serve sprinkled with grated parmesiano cheese if desired.
Mexican Lasagna Bites? Layered Taco Cups? I have no idea what to call these things but they are very good. A quick and easy Mexican appetizer that's more substantial (and healthier - in the recipe below) than chips and queso or salsa, etc. Perfect for picky eaters because you can make each cup differently if you want. Plus they are just more fun than a taco.
Monday, September 7, 2009
So I thought I would make a nice, fall dessert for a Labor Day weekend party we went to last night. I found a recipe for carrot cake in my Best-Loved Recipes cookbook that looked super easy and I had all the ingredients I needed. It was my first attempt at a layer cake and it turned out pretty well but I learned a couple things too. Namely make sure the bottom layer is flat to stack them so that there isnt a large gap to fill with frosting. I forgot to take the camera to the party so I don't have a picture but it did get rave reviews and was pretty much gone at the end of the night.
Carrot Layer Cake
For the cake:
1 pkg Yellow Cake Mix (I used Pillsbury Moist Deluxe)
1/2 cup applesauce (original recipe calls for vegetable oil)
3 cups grated carrots
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg (I added this to the original)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour 2 9-inch round baking pans. Combine all ingredients and mix on low until moistened. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into pans and bake for 35-40 minutes. Let cool on wire racks.
For the frosting:
1 pkg cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
Beat butter, vanilla and cream cheese in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Add sugar gradually, beating until smooth. If frosting becomes too thick, add milk to thin as needed. (Mine worked just fine with these measurements).
Put a layer of frosting on the top of bottom layer. Stack the 2nd layer on top and put a thin layer of frosting around the sides and on top. Chill for frosting to set. Add more frosting as desired. (I had plenty left over).
Since Labor Day also marks the end of summer, I made another batch of homeade ice cream this week as well. I had leftover buttermilk from my scones I made last weekend so I found a vanilla buttermilk ice cream recipe on cooks.com. It was a very simple recipe with only 4 ingredients and no cooktime required so I figured I would try it. The ingredients were too much for my KA ice cream freezer so I had to cut back a little. Here's the original and below is my adaptation. I think its a little on the tangy side with all the buttermilk, so if I make it in the future, I'll reduce the buttermilk a little more. It is excellent with caramel sauce.
Buttermilk Ice Cream
1 pint heavy whipping cream
6 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
Combine all ingredients in ice cream freezer and blend per machine directions.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
I changed my tailgating menu a little bit after we decided to grill. Instead of the chicken, I made burgers at my husband's request. He named them "Todd's famous double stuffed bacon cheeseburgers" - not exactly a nickname and since it was the first time I've made them, I'm not sure they qualified as famous but they are now. They were a huge hit.
Todd's Famous Double Stuffed Bacon Cheeseburgers
2 pounds hamburger (I used 93/7)
1 pound ground turkey (again 93/7 - use any combination you like)
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Lawry's seasoning salt
1 tsp black pepper
6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 oz sharp cheddar cheese
8 slices pepper jack cheese
Mix the meat, egg, bread crumbs and spices. Form into 16 equal size patties, making the middles slightly thinner then the edges. On half the patties, place crumbled bacon and cheddar in the center. Top with the remaining patties and pinch the edges closed. Grill approximately 5 minutes on each side. Add the pepper jack slices to the top and cook until melted with the grill closed (about 1 minute). Do not press down on the burgers with the spatula while cooking or cheese is likely to squeeze out. Serve on fresh hamburger buns/rolls.
I also made crab dip for the game. It was very simple and easy to throw together at the last minute.
Spicy Crab Dip
1 package lump crab meat, diced
1 package cream cheese (I use FF)
1 cup sour cream (I use FF)
1/2 jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 jalepeno, seeded and diced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, if necessary
Blend softened cream cheese and sour cream until mixed. Stir in remaining ingredients. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
This weekend marks the beginning of college football season and I am so excited. I can't wait to cheer on my Hawkeyes and go to the Louisville games. My husband is a huge UofL Cardinals fan and since we live in town we have season tickets. I'm a diehard Hawks fan but live too far away to make it to many games and I dont think our schedule is going to allow for any visits this fall. But I'll be supporting via radio/television all season.
So this Saturday's UofL game is at 7:30 pm - perfect tailgating game time. Noon games make things difficult. So our plan is to tailgate all afternoon starting around 2 pm. Here's what I'm bringing to the party:
Crockpot BBQ chicken
3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs
1 8 oz bottle of BBQ sauce - I like to pick a hickory smoked sauce
3 T. Honey
2 oz. Bourbon (I use Makers Mark)
1/4 C. Brown Sugar
2 T. Frank's Red Hot Sauce
1 T. chili powder
Put the chicken in the crockpot, season with S&P, and add 1 C of water and cook on low for at 4 hours. Shred chicken with 2 forks and add the remaining ingredients, cook on low for at least 1 more hour.
Black Bean Salsa Dip
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans Ro-tel Original
1 can white shoepeg corn, drained
1 red onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup Italian dressing (I like the fat-free wishbone)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate. It can be served immediately but its better if it sits in the fridge for a few hours first. Serve with tortilla chips or Frito's corn chips. This is also really good on salads or in tacos.
Guacamole - see recipe here
Dessert - I'm thinking about making these cookie dough truffles from Macaroni and Cheesecake but shaping them like little footballs but I haven't decided for sure yet - it sort of depends on the weather and how much of a pain it would be to keep the chocolate from melting. I might have to save them for a cooler weather game.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 green bell pepper
1/2 large red onion
1 can diced tomatoes (I usually use Ro-tel but use plain if you prefer a milder flavor)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Flour or corn tortillas
Shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
Heat a large skillet over med-high heat and spray with cooking spray or add a small amount of oil (might not be necessary in a non-stick pan but I used my cast-iron grill pan). Cut the chicken into small chunks, season with half of the spices, and transfer to hot pan. Cook about 5 minutes. Slice the bell pepper and onion into thin strips and add to the pan. Cook about 3 minutes more, add the tomatoes and the remaining spices. Saute about 5 minutes more until chicken is cooked through and onions are translucent. Warm tortillas in the microwave or a separate pan and serve with shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, etc.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
When reading Brown Eyed Baker yesterday, her post about reasons to bake in September made me crave guacamole... seriously I think I just have to see the word guacamole to want Mexican food. Tortilla chips, guacamole and salsa could be my favorite snack. I think I could probably live on them. I had already started the prep for last night's dinner (see below) when I read the blog, so too late to take action on my craving. Tonight Todd's parents are taking us out to dinner in return for some plumbing work we helped them with this weekend and he chose Olive Garden as his restaurant of choice. (God help the guy, he loves chain restaurants - its the way he was raised but its hard to get him to go anywhere new.) Anyway, no Mexican satisfaction tonight either - and if I have it for lunch, I'll be falling asleep at my desk by 2 - so I thought I would share my simple guacamole and salsa recipes with you for now. Leave a comment with your recipe if you have one (and everybody always seems to.)
(Serves way more people if you go by what you're supposed to eat rather than what actually happens at my house)
3-4 ripe Haas avocados
Juice of 1 lime (you can use the bottled lime juice if that's all you have - about 1 T.)
Garlic salt seasoning to taste (I always use Lawry's and use about a 1/2 palm full)
1/4 red or white onion, finely chopped
1-2 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
Remove the pits from the avocados and scrape the insides into a bowl. Gently mash with a fork, add lime juice, garlic salt, and any optional ingredients and stir/mash together. You don't need to make it smooth - some lumps are good. Serve with tortilla chips and cold beer or margaritas!
(Makes about 5 quarts)
2 large cans of Ro-tel original
1 can of diced tomato, garlic and onion
1 large white onion, diced
2 green peppers, diced
2 small cans green chilies (find them in the Mexican food section at the grocery store)
3-5 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 T of ground cumin
2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
Cayenne pepper to taste (depending on how hot you want it and how hot the peppers are)
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
Combine all the ingredients except the cilantro and cayenne in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low, simmer for at least 1 hour - the longer you cook it, the hotter it gets. After an hour, test the flavor and add cayenne pepper if desired. Just before you remove from heat, add the cilantro. I usually bottle mine in quart sized Mason jars and share them with friends and family. If you plan to keep them for more than about a month, you should use a canning process or freeze.
Tip: I like to blend the tomatoes, 3/4 of the peppers, and 3/4 of the onion in batches in my food processor to make the salsa not as chunky before adding to the stock pot, the remaining peppers and onions I leave finely chopped for some chunkiness.
My parents found me an old dresser at an auction when I moved into my first apartment after college. It was well-made but had definitely been used for many years. The top especially was pretty beat up - lots of nicks and scratches and a good size water stain. The finish was a dark, heavy varnish that obscured the wood grain and just looked dated. The pulls were a lovely ornate brass shape. This isnt my dresser, but the style is similar and the handles were the same - the color of mine was a little darker.
Todd and I decided to attempt to refinish the dresser and bought some paint and varnish stripper, lots of sand paper and steel wool, and got to work. After the first 2 days it looked like this... We discovered that the dresser was actually made of beautiful cherry wood and was in excellent condition after sanding away all the old finish. We wanted to try to match it to Todd's armoire that we have in our bedroom and really love, so we needed a dark stain with warm red undertones. We ended up choosing Minwax Satin Brown Mahogony stain with polyurethane already mixed in. After we put the first coat on the top, we decided it would probably take 2-3 coats.We ended up putting on 1 coat and rubbing it off with rags. The 2nd coat we brushed on and just left it alone. I put a 3rd coat on the top as it was lighter than the rest of the dresser appeared to be and touched up a few places. We sanded in between each coat with fine grit steel wool. We replaced all the old drawer pulls with modern brushed nickel hardware.Sorry for the poor lighting - the dresser really turned out to be an exellent match for the armoire we already had. Also ignore the ugly TV - Todd won't let me get rid of it and there are too many clothes inside the armoire for it right now but when we move somewhere with more closet space, the TV will be going into the armoire. I'm so happy with how it turned out. I'm now in love with a piece of furniture I was ready to throw away and the total project only cost about $50 in supplies, including the new hardware.