Saturday, November 28, 2009

Baked Parmesan Dip

I love shopping at my local Safeway store, it is close, convenient, has my bank in it and fortunately recently remodeled! It has a bakery, florist, fresh fish counter and did I mention a bank, everything I need at one location.

I was looking for a special appetizer to take to my family's holiday get together, and made one of their suggested recipes, Baked Parmesan Dip. I have to admit my family devoured it within 20 minutes, they loved it and all wanted the recipe!

I plan to make it again at Christmas and every Holiday I can, the dip was delicious; flavorful, creamy, a bit of bite from the Parmesan and utterly devourable (is that a word?). Ohh, and it is really easy to make as well, it will be a crowd pleaser at your next party, give it a try, wont ya!

Here is how you make it!

1 package 10 oz frozen chopped spinach or 13.7 oz water packed artichoke hearts drained and chopped (I used spinach in mine)
1 cup reduced fat or regular Safeway select mayonnaise
1 package 3 ounce Lucerne Cream Cheese
1 onion, peeled and minced
1 garlic clove minced
1 cup plus 2 tbl Parmesan Cheese
1/8 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Paprika
2 Safeway Select Artisan Baguettes, thinly sliced

Squeeze spinach to remove liquid, with a mixer, beat spinach, mayonnaise, cream cheese, onion, garlic, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, and pepper until well combined

Mound mixture in a 3 to 4 cup baking dish, sprinkle evenly with 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese and the Paprika

Bake in a 350 oven until hot in the center and lightly browned on top, 25 to 30 minutes

Serve hot to spread on baguette slices

Monday, November 23, 2009

Savory Chicken Sausage Patties

I really enjoy making my own sausage by buying boneless, skinless chicken thighs when they are on sale and grinding them into sausage using my Kitchenaide Grinder Attachment. I really enjoy the Apple/Maple ones I make, but my husband wanted to try his hand, so I let him!

These are a bit spicy and savory, and you can adjust the seasonings to your liking. We normally get it seasoned and fry a very small patty to taste, then decide what we may need more of, if anything!

They are really good on the "fake" Egg McMuffin I make my husband each morning for breakfast. I use Egg Beaters and Fat Free Cheese, and one of these patties or whatever I have on hand, and it holds him nicely till lunch time!

1 family pack boneless, skinless thighs, ground into hamburger consistency
2 eggs, whipped
dried parsley
dried onion
smoked paprika
onion powder
garlic powder
celery salt
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
fresh cracked black pepper (alot, we use our extra coffee grinder to make a bunch)

**you can add bread crumbs if you wish, we chose not to***

Mix the above and shape into patties, fry in a bit of oil in a non-stick fry pan, enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Quick Weeknight Pasta Salad

I had some leftover Roast Beef from Sunday and decided to slice it thinly and make a rench Dip Sandwich. I thought it would be even better if I had a little pasta salad to go with it.

I remembered a tip I learned on the Cook's Country TV show, which was not to drain the pasta absolutely perfectly, leaving a bit of moisture on the pasta helps it not to instantly absorb your mayo mixture when you add it in, it worked, see how creamy the pasta looked!

I used what I had in the pantry and it turned out to be one of our favorites; simple, and tasty.

1/2 box of Pasta (I used the Piccolini Mini Farfalle)
1/2 container of grape or cherry tomatoes sliced in half
3-4 green onions, ends removed and diced
1 can of sliced olives drained
**You could use any combination you like**
1/2 cup low fat mayo
1/4 cup Dijonaise
fresh chives snipped
5/6 basil leaves chiffonade
Dash of hot sauce
1 Banana Pepper (optional, I just so happened to have one)

Cook your pasta according to package directions, rinse with cold water and drain (don't shake all the water off)

Place cooked pasta, olives, onions and tomatoes into your bowl

In a separate bowl mix the mayo, dijonaise, cheese, hot sauce, chives and enough buttermilk to make it a nice consistency
Mix well and fold in the cooked pasta

Chill if desired

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mini Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecakes

I have been wanting to make mini cheesecakes for quite some time and got the bug today. I used a graham cracker crust and added candied Ginger to the pumpkin mixture. They were really quite special, the Ginger gave it a bit of a kick and who doesn't like cute little things!

I would highly recommend a Silicone Mini Muffin pan, you can pick one up for about five bucks! They pop right out!

1 sleeve of Graham Crackers
1/2 stick of melted butter
1/2 tsp ground Ginger

Mix well and place about a tablespoon in the bottom of each mini muffin hole, find a glass or something that fits the opening and tamp the Graham Cracker mixture down

1 package cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup Pureed Pumpkin (canned)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 cup Candied Ginger minced well
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
Whipping cream if desired for topping (optional)
Nonpareils (optional)

Mix well (taste for seasonings I probably doubled the amount of spices as I like my pie very spicy) and pour into the muffin tin (I topped with Nonpareils)

Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes, until center is just done

Let cool for at least an hour and unmold the cheesecakes, serve with whippped cream if desired

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pumpkin Mousse Tarts

I started out with really good intentions when making these tarts. I was going to make it low fat, low carb, but I lost my way somewhere in the process. I found the original recipe on A Taste Of Home, but I have changed it so much, I am calling it mine now!

I did use sugar free instant pudding mix and fat free milk, but when I added in the fresh whipping cream I think I made it devilish!

1 graham cracker pie shell, or 12 mini graham cracker tart shells (this will make enough for almost both)
1 small box of sugar free instant butterscotch pudding mix
1 1/2 cup of cold fat free milk
1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 pint whipping cream (more if you want to make whipped cream for the topping, or use Reddi Whip)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar for whipping cream
1/4 cup of sugar for the pumpkin mixture

In a large bowl, mix the butterscotch pudding with 1 1/2 cups of milk for 2 minutes, let stand for an additional 2-5 minutes

In the meantime, place your whipping cream, sugar and vanilla in a separate bowl and whip until you have medium peaks (not soft, but a bit more)

Mix the pumpkin, spices and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until well blended

Add the pumpkin mixture and the whipping cream to the pudding, folding it in gently until well combined

Spoon into pie crusts and top with additional whipped cream if desired!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mexi Mac

I entered my first recipe contest and came up with the following recipe, which I must say ROCKED MY WORLD and my husbands too! (DANG it I did not win)

We both adore Mexican food of any kind, and I decided to incorporate it into my favorite comfort food using my favorite cheese, Tillamook Cheese! The Jalapenos give it a little bite and the Panko topping is crisp and delicious!

Don't forget for all of us poor folks who are constantly rejected on Foodgawker and Tastespotting, that you can submit to
Tastestopping and sooth your ego!

1 box Pipette Pasta
2 eggs beaten
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 cube melted Tillamook Butter
1/2 to 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper (depending on the level of heat you want)
1 tsp dried mustard
1.5 cups Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1.5 cups Tillamook Monterey Jack Cheese
1 Jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 Tomato's, de-seeded and diced
2 oz Cream Cheese
1 can sliced olives drained
Panko Crumbs
1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
Pam Pan Spray

Place water and a good bit of salt in a large pan and bring to a boil, add pasta and cook for 8 minutes, drain and set aside

Place your two eggs in a large bowl, along with your evaporated milk, melted butter, Cayenne, Mustard and garlic salt. Mix well

Add your hot pasta back in, the tomato, cream cheese, olives and cheeses

Mix well and pour into a buttered dish, top with a layer of Panko

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, remove and spray Panko with Pam Spray, bake an additional 30 minutes until bubbly.

If the top needs to be browner, broil for several minutes

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Smoked Brisket Sandwich & The Best Slaw EVAH!

We smoked a big old brisket this weekend, 10 hours of smoke and 2 in the oven and it was the most tender, moist brisket I have ever eaten. Kudos to my husband who woke up at 5:00 a.m. on a Sunday to get it on the smoker.

One of my favorite reasons to smoke a brisket is for the brisket sandwiches I make. In my book that must include Coleslaw, and I have a killer Coleslaw recipe.

Part of successful coleslaw that isn't drippy and wet is to salt the cabbage. It brings out the moisture and you can then rinse and dry the cabbage and it stays a perfect consistency in the slaw.

1 package Hoagie or similar roll
horseradish sauce (I use the Beaver brand)
barbecue sauce (use your favorite)
Sliced brisket

Split and toast your rolls, place mayonnaise on one side and the horseradish and barbecue sauce on the other side

Place layers of brisket and add the cole slaw on the top

Coleslaw recipe

1 package regular slaw
1 package broccoli slaw
several handfuls of Craisins

Place the slaw in a colander and sprinkle on 2 tbl salt, mix and let sit and wilt and drain for 4 hours

Rinse and dry the slaw, set aside (p.s. I drain by squeezing in a clean white dish towel)

Slaw Dressing

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup buttermilk (I just use 1/2 cup buttermilk and omit the regular milk)
1 1/2 tbl white vinegar
2 1/2 tbl fresh squeezed lemon juice

Mix the above ingredients till smooth and add your dried cabbage, brocolli slaw, and Craisins, mix well and refrigerate and be sure and add to your Brisket Sandwich

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chicken Meatball and Tortellini Noodle Soup

The title is a mouthful I know! We had roasted chicken last Sunday and being the obsessive twit I am, I had to make chicken stock from the leftovers. I remember seeing Tyler Florence (he is mine Donna, so stay away), make this amazing soup and I wanted to try it!

It is a bit labor intensive, but not so much if you have freshly made stock on hand, which I obviously did. I will give you the recipe as he wrote it just in case you are not an obsessive twit, who spends her days boiling chicken bones!

I doubled the meatballs, vegetables and tortellini and made a huge pot of this soup, and I had about a gallon and a half of chicken stock.

Ingredients: Chicken Meatballs

4 links organic chicken-apple sausage meat, or equivalent ground chicken meat
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (2 slices of fresh white bread ground up)
1/2 cup whole milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

Ingredients: Soup

3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 large carrots, cut into circles
1 medium onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
4 black peppercorns1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 lb cheese tortellini, store bought
kosher salt
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
grated Parmesan for top of soup

1 crusty baguette, to serve with the soup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Take a large mixing bowl and add loose ground chicken meat (discard cases if using sausages), breadcrumbs, milk, egg, parsley and 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan.

Season with salt and pepper then mix until fully combined.

Using an small scoop, make balls and set out on a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a little grated Parmesan.

Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and caramelised.

While the meatballs are cooking make the soup.

Set a large stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic and thyme and gently saut̩ until fragrant Рabout 2 minutes.

Add carrots, onion and celery, season with salt and cook for 5-7 minutes.

Pour in chicken broth and add peppercorns, parsley and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.

Once meatballs are cooked, scrape into the pot of chicken soup and add tortellini so everything is back in the pot.

Bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.

Give it a final season with salt and pepper and serve in shallow bowls with a small shower of parsley and grated Parmesan.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Enchiladas Dunkin Style!

My issue with Enchiladas both homemade and at many restaurants, is the fact that they are so bland. I think you need to season the meat before making your enchiladas. I have been working on this recipe for about 10 years now and it has certainly evolved into some damn tasty enchiladas over time.

I think the sauce is a big reason these are soo good, you should be able to find it in the Asian/Mexican food aisle. I make cheese/chicken and cheese/onion. It seems like a great deal of work but it really is worth it!

· Corn tortillas
· Monterey Jack Cheese
· Cheddar Cheese
· 2 chicken breasts
· Shredded Mexican Cheese and Cotija cheese (optional)
· I can sliced olives, drained
· I can diced roasted green chili’s (mild), drained as well as you can
· 4 small cans El Pato Salsa de Chili Fresco (or choose an authentic red sauce)
· 1 purple onion diced finely

**I use a 9X13 casserole coated with pan spray, and a 9X9 casserole coated with pan spray**

I poach my chicken in water for about 10 minutes, let cool and shred, using two forks

Add several dashes of cayenne powder, chili powder and garlic salt to your cooled meat, also about 5 tbl of the Enchilada sauce, you want to coat the meat but not have it runny. Mix well, set aside

I cut my cheese into logs to make it easier during assembly; you want half Cheddar and half Jack

You are ready to assemble...................

Pour a small amount of the red sauce into the bottom of the pans, spread around

I microwave about 5 tortillas at a time, 30 seconds or so, you want them warm enough to be pliable

For the chicken/cheese Enchiladas, place a dollop of chicken down the middle of the tortilla, a cheese log and roll and place seam side down into the pan.
Place the enchiladas tightly together. For the cheese/onion, please two to three cheese logs in the tortilla and the onion, roll and place seam side down.

I often use the smaller dish for cheese and onion and the larger for cheese/chicken

Keep making them until you run out of room in your pan or ingredients

Pour the red sauce over the Enchiladas coating them well

Spread the olives on next, and any extra onion you may have left, then the can of roasted chili’s

Next the Mexican blend cheese goes on top

Cook at 350 for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly

Serve with Sour Cream and lots of Cilantro (I added green onions and Cotija cheese). My side dish was Spanish Rice

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sweet Potato Home Fries

We eat at a local restaurant on occasion and for breakfast they serve fried potatoes; which consist of regular, sweet potato and purple potato. They are fairly good, but I knew we could do better and we did!

A trick I learned from my dad was to microwave the potatoes for 4-5 minutes, let them cool a bit, then cut them and fry them, takes less time and you don't end up cooking them for an hour and still have crunchy potatoes.

We used sweet potato and regular russets, and it is such a nice combination of sweet and savory, cooking them in bacon fat never hurts either!

1 large sweet potato, peeled
2 small russet potatoes, you can either peel or leave the skins on
2 tbl bacon fat or oil of your choice
1 tsp Emeril Essence
1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
Fresh cracked pepper

Peel and or/scrub your taters, place them on a plate and microwave for 5 minutes

Remove and let cool for a few minutes

Slice into cubes or slices, whatever you like

Cook until crispy, adding the Essence, Garlic Salt, and Pepper about half way thru cooking

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