Thursday, December 15, 2011

"One Skillet, No Skill"

That's what the description of the recipe we saw in the Sunday paper said. Michelle noticed the picture and thought it would be a good addition to our menu, and I agreed. I don't have a problem with quick and easy! Once it got on her plate, she was a bit surprised that it wasn't pasta, but it was still delicious. Give it a try; it makes a great "December is a busy month" meal!
Tortilla Skillet

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 can tomato soup
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup water
6 (6") tortillas, cut in 1" pieces
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Brown the ground beef and onion, or make it even more quick and easy and pull a package of wheat/meat from the freezer, thaw it in the microwave for one minute and toss it in the skillet. Stir in the tomato soup (undiluted), salsa and water. Add the tortillas (ours were 8" so I used four; the pizza cutter works great for cutting them into pieces). Heat through, then top with cheese and serve. I also added some sliced olives because they were handy, and served it with a dollop of sour cream.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday Dinner

"That was good. You should go write down what you did. And you should post it on your blog." So I will, particularly since I looked at about three or four recipes and took bits and pieces from each. On the way to church Michelle wondered what was for dinner. I said I had thawed chicken thighs and was trying to figure that out, but probably something with rice. She suggested Teriyaki Chicken, and after some discussion (which included the possibility - quickly vetoed - of Mexican Molé), I told her I'd see if I could come up with something teriyaki-ish. This was the result.
Teriyaki Mushroom Chicken

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 chicken thighs
4 oz can of mushrooms, undrained
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Heat the oil in a frying pan; add the chicken and brown on both sides. Salt and pepper to taste Combine the mushrooms, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and garlic. Pour over chicken and simmer until done (about 35-45 minutes). Combine cornstarch and water, stir into sauce and cook until thickened. Serve over hot cooked rice.
Notes: The basic sauce was a marinade recipe I had for broiled chicken breasts. We didn't have time to marinade the chicken, but cooking it in the sauce infused it with flavor. I added the mushrooms because the original recipe called for sherry, and for years I've used the liquid from canned mushrooms as a substitute for that when cooking dinner. Besides, one of the other recipes I looked at was Giant Teriyaki Meatballs, and that sauce contained mushrooms.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Omelet Quesadilla

I saw the idea for this recipe in an old Taste of Home magazine. The contributor said she invented it after her family complained that breakfast burritos were too messy. I don't particularly care for breakfast burritos either, so wanted to give this a try. It was delicious, even if I didn't follow her instructions exactly.Omelet Quesadilla

Actually, this is more of a process than a recipe. Scramble some eggs, but be sure to include some yummy add-ins. This time around we did bacon, mushrooms and onions. Heat the griddle. Place a tortilla on the griddle; spread some cheese on top. We used 1/2 mozarella and 1/2 cheddar. Top with a spoonful of the cooked egg mixture. Then you have your choice of folding the tortilla over (which is what we did) or placing another on top. After a couple of minutes flip the quesadilla, and cook until the cheese melts. Cut in wedges if desired and serve with salsa and/or sour cream. Yummy!

Saucy Pork Chops

Pork Chops were on the menu the other day, and I found two recipes that looked intriguing. Since I couldn't choose between the two, I decided to combine them into my own. Here's the result:Saucy Pork Chops

1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 cups chopped onion
1-2 cups chopped celery
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 pork chops
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Sauté the onions, celery and garlic in the olive oil until softened. Scoot to the side and add the pork chops, browning on both sides. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the chops. Spoon the vegetables back on top. Cover and simmer until the pork is done, turning over occasionally if needed. Serves 8.

Note: These were fairly thick chops. I think it might have been fun to "stuff" them with the onion mixture, but there wasn't enough time before company arrived to add that step. Maybe another time.

Cheesy Potato Bake

Here's another successful, tried-and-true, Taste of Home recipe. I doubled it, cooked it a bit longer (45 minutes instead of 30), and our company loved it.Cheddar Potato Strips

3 large potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon minced parsley

Arrange potatoes in a greased 9x13" pan. Pour milk over potatoes and dot with butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and bake at 425° for 30 minutes, or until tender. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley. Bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes longer. Serves 4.

Old-Fashioned Cheesecake

Wayne first made this recipe in 1988, long before the days of this blog! So when Michelle requested "just an ordinary cheesecake" (I guess she wasn't quite in the mood for Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake), this is the one we had. I put off her request for several weeks because I figured it would be expensive and time-consuming. I was wrong, and it won't be years before we have cheesecake again!
Company Cheesecake

1 1/4 cups graham crack crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
19 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream

Combine cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar and butter and press into bottom of a 9 springform pan. (Note: my choice was 8 1/2" or 9 1/2" - I went with the 9 1/2". Next time I'll try the smaller one, because this was kind of a short cheesecake.) Bake at 350° for 7-8 minutes. Cool.

Beat cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating until fluffy. Add lemon peel and vanilla. Then beat in eggs, one at a time. Pour mixture over crust. Bake about 45 minutes at 300°. (Note: the original recipe said to bake for 60 minutes; that was too long.) Cool to room temperature.

Spread with sour cream and chill for at least 3 hours. Remove side of pan before serving. Serves 12.

Variations: Top with cherry pie filling or strawberry glaze instead of sour cream. (Note: we chose to top it with hot fudge sauce this time, and with melted raspberry jam another. With 12 servings, we had it for dessert a few different times. It freezes well!)

Deliciousness, but still Mistakes

Rather than buying Almond Roca and Turtles this year, I decided to try making them. Maybe practice makes perfect, but I have a LOT of practicing to do. The toffee was under-cooked and the caramel for the turtles was over-cooked. And I even used a candy thermometer!!!

Oh, well, here are the recipes. I'm open to any advice and/or tricks you may have to make these turn out properly every time!

Mom's Turtles

pecan halves (about 8 oz.)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
6 tablespoons, unsalted butter, divided
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (1/2 cup chips)
3 oz. cup milk chocolate (1/2 cup chips)

Oil 2-3 baking sheets (or use silicone mats). Place pecan halves in clusters of 4 at even intervals, about 12 per sheet. (Note: the recipe called for 24 clusters, but I used 36.)

Combine sugars, cream, corn syrup, 3 tablespoons of the butter, and vanilla in a large pan. Heat over high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until candy thermometer reads 245° (firm ball stage).

Pour (spoon) a generous tablespoon of caramel over each pecan cluster. When caramel is warm but not set, mold clusters into turtle shapes. Let stand until completely cool and firm. Transfer to wire racks over baking sheets.

Melt remaining butter and chocolates together. Spoon over turtles, spreading with spatula to completely cover. Cool to room temperature. Store covered in an air-tight tin, or refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

Note: The original recipe said to cook for five minutes after it reached 245°. I didn't do that, but immediately started using the caramel. Even so, as soon as I finished spooning it on and went to "mold" the clusters, the caramel was already hardened. So, I'm assuming even the 245° was too high. And for some reason my chocolate wasn't smooth and creamy. I had to spread it on like frosting. Sigh. Fortunately, these candies are still delicious, and I have an excuse to try the recipe again.

CEO's Almond Chocolate Toffee

1 cup almond slivers, divided
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 cup chocolate chips

Line a 9x13" pan with foil, extending over the edges. Sprinkle half the almonds on the bottom.

Melt butter over low heat in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Stir in sugar, water, and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium-high heat to boiling. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thermometer reads 290° (soft-crack stage). Watch carefully after mixture reaches 280°. Remove pan from heat. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan. Let stand 3 minutes, until surface is firm.

Sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Let stand a couple minutes until chocolate is glossy and soft. Spread evenly over candy. Sprinkle with remaining almonds.

Chill until firm. Lift candy out of pan with foil; break into pieces. Makes about 1 1/2 pounds.

Note: On this recipe I took the "watch carefully" warning seriously, because I didn't want it to burn. I think I pulled it off the heat closer to 285° and I shouldn't have. Still delicious, but not the dark golden color that toffee ought to be. Guess I get to try this one again as well! (Or maybe I'll try the recipe from last year.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Stuffing Casserole

After having this for dinner the other day, Wayne suggested I needed to start a new blog and call it Food Chain. I'm not ready to do that, but I think it's a great title for a post, and even for a series on this blog! What is a food chain? According to him, it's taking an ingredient from one meal and serving it in a different form at another meal. The "food chain" ingredient in this recipe is Cody's Sausage Stuffing. Her recipe (which we tried last week) made a good 12-16 servings. There are only three of us at home now, and you can only serve stuffing as a side dish a limited number of times. So, when I saw this recipe in an old Friend, I had to give it a try. I loved it (remember my favorite dish as a child was Shepherd's Pie) and I thoroughly enjoyed these leftovers for lunch the next couple of days.
Stuffing Casserole

2 cups chopped cooked turkey or chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup green beans
2 cups prepared stuffing
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 cup grated cheese

Mix the turkey and soup in a bowl, seasoning it with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Layer the green beans, stuffing, and mashed potatoes on top of the turkey. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until heated through. Remove from the oven and sprinkle cheese on top. Return to the oven until cheese is melted. Serves 4-6.
Now you all have an idea for a way to serve your Thanksgiving leftovers!

Roasted Corn Chowder

This recipe was inspired by the soup I had on our anniversary dinner at Sinclair's Ocean Grill. When I went internet-searching for something similar, I found a recipe at "The Ungourmet" and they in turn were inspired by "A Blog About Food." Just want to give everyone the credit they deserve :) Here's my version:
Roasted Corn Chowder

2 cups fresh corn tossed with 1 tablespoon olive oil
4 pieces of bacon, chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups diced potatoes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 can salmon, drained
1/2 cup cream
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425°. Spread the oiled corn on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake/roast for 15-30 minutes until begins to brown. Meanwhile, sauté the bacon and onion until the bacon is crisp. Add the broth, potatoes and herbs. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Remove 1/2 of the chowder and blend until smooth. (Be careful that it doesn't squirt out the top.) Return to pot. Stir in the corn, salmon, cream, and milk. Heat through. Add salt and pepper as desired.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cody's Family's Stuffing

I wanted to try Cody's traditional Thanksgiving stuffing, and decided not to wait until Thanksgiving to do so. We liked it (at least, those of us who actually like stuffing). Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Sausage Chestnut Stuffing (Thanksgiving)

6 Tbs. butter
1 ½ c. chopped onion
1 c. diced celery
1 ½ tsp. thyme
2 tsp. sage
12 c. dried bread cubes
1 can water chestnuts, drained & chopped
12-16 oz. Jimmie Dean sausage, cooked
2 ½ - 3 c. chicken bouillon

Sauté onion and celery in butter. Add thyme and sage. Mix with bread cubes, sausage and water chestnuts. Pour bouillon over top and mix in enough to wet bread without making it soggy. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake uncovered in a 13”x9” pan at 350° for about 30 minutes.
I also read somewhere about baking stuffing in a bundt/ring pan, so tried that new tip as well. It made the presentation a little more fancy, and that was kind of neat. Just be sure to grease the baking dish really well!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Favorite Holiday Recipes

We took a little survey this week and here are our family's favorite holiday recipes. I thought it would be a good idea to have all the links in one place.
For October:
Broccoli Cheese Soup
Hot Caramel Apple Cider
Caramel Apples
Pumpkin Bars
(I'll work on adding the ones that aren't posted yet!)

Candy Corn Cookies

The original idea is at "Our Best Bites" over here, and they look a LOT prettier, but this is to show that we tried Elizabeth's suggestion :) For some reason our dough was just too sticky to work with easily, but the cookies tasted just fine.Take your sugar cookie dough and tint 1/3 yellow and 1/3 orange, leaving the last third white. Layer in a loaf pan and chill.
Slice 1/4" thick. (You can trim the edges if you want.) Then cut into triangles and place on the cookie sheet.
Sprinkle with sugar and bake. We did 9 minutes at 350°.
Cute little cookies - much better than real candy corn (at least in my opinion)!

Pretzel Treats

I'm not seeing that this has been posted, so here you go. This is one of our family's favorite holiday treats. We've made them often, but apparently they disappear immediately, because Dad has never tried one before! I guess there are some advantages to sending all your boys off to college.Layer pretzels on a baking sheet. (We like to use the square Butter Snaps.) Top with an unwrapped Rolo candy. Bake at 300° for 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and gently press an M&M or pecan onto the candy to "squish" it into the pretzel. Delicious!!

Deep-Fried Turkey

Wayne wants to deep-fry a turkey for Thanksgiving this year. Since it's been a while, he decided it would be a good idea to make sure everything still works. We're pleased to report that it does! If you haven't ever tried turkey cooked this way, do so. It's fabulous - moist and flavorful.Follow the instructions that come with the fryer you're using, but basically you bring 3 1/2 gallons of oil to 350°, drop in a turkey that's been seasoned (we tried injecting it this time with a basic vinaigrette), fry for 3 minutes per pound, remove and carve. It was the perfect accompaniment for the Dutch oven broccoli casserole that he also made.
I'm not posting the recipe (although you can always ask for it) because it wasn't my favorite way to eat broccoli, but it was still good. He combined broccoli, eggs, milk and cheese and then baked it until it was done. Pretty simple!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chicken Ranch Pizza

Chicken Pizza

1/2 cup Ranch dressing
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup chopped cooked chicken
1 ready-to-eat (12") pizza crust [which just means I made our regular crust and pre-baked it a few minutes before adding the toppings]
1/2 cup roasted red pepper strips, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
1/4 cup chopped green onions (omitted this time)
1-2 cups mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 450°. Combine salad dressing, cream cheese and tomato paste; stir in chicken. Spread mixture on pizza crust. Arrange peppers, olives and onions on top; sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 2 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 cups chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars together. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients, then add chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for about 10 minutes. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

First tried in April 1995 - Delicious! Great texture!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ground Steak Patties

We had another yummy dinner on Saturday. The recipe said it served 4, but really it should have served 6, or even 8. I guess it depends on your size and appetite!

Anyway, start with 2 pounds of ground steak. Chop up one onion and one green pepper and mix it all together, along with about 1/4 cup of flour. Then form it into four patties and place in your Dutch oven. Next time we'll add some salt and pepper at this point as well.
Brown the patties on both sides and then dollop on a can of undiluted cream of mushroom soup.Cover and bake (more coals on top than on bottom) for about 30 minutes.
Check to make sure they're not pink in the middle.
And then serve them!

Potatoes Romanoff

Somewhere I came across a recipe for Potatoes Romanoff, and it looked so similar to our favorite potato casserole that I had to give it a try. I just wrote down ingredients, not measurements, because I knew it would be a forgiving recipe. However, I'll try to add amounts for you!Potatoes Romanoff

4-6 potatoes, baked in foil and chilled overnight, then peeled and grated
2-4 tablespoons, scallions or green onions, chopped
1-2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1-2 cups sour cream
lots of salt and pepper

Combine everything and put into a greased casserole dish. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

That's it! It was very good. I think we'll stick with our regular recipe, though, because it adds butter and cream of mushroom soup, which is just more deliciousness, and cuts down on the tang of the sour cream. Also, I've always boiled my potatoes before grating them; it was nice to learn that this casserole works just fine with baked potatoes as well.

Monday, September 12, 2011

White Lasagna

We first tried this recipe 15 years ago, and unfortunately I have no idea who gave it to me. But since I didn't follow the recipe exactly, now it's mine. Feel free to make whatever changes YOU want to it!
White Lasagna - the 2011 version

1/4 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
1/3 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon parsley
1 can (4 oz.) mushrooms, undrained
12-16 oz. cottage cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
12 ounces lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
1-2 cups diced cooked chicken
1-2 cups diced cooked ham
12-16 oz. grated Mozzarella cheese

Sauté onion in butter. Stir in flour, then chicken broth and milk. Bring to a boil to thicken, stirring frequently. Add salt, pepper, parsley and mushrooms and set sauce aside. In a small bowl, combine cottage cheese, egg and Parmesan cheese. Place 1/3 of the lasagna noodles in a greased 9x13" baking dish. Top with 1/2 the cottage cheese mixture, 1/2 the chicken and ham, and 1/3 of the Mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers and top with remaining lasagna. Pour sauce over it all. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with last 1/3 of Mozarella cheese and bake for 10-15 more minutes.

Note: For those of you who care, the original recipe didn't call for the cottage cheese mixture or mushrooms, but since it did call for some white wine, and I use the mushroom liquid as a white wine substitute, I figured the mushrooms themselves would be delicious in this recipe, and they were. (How's that for a run-on sentence?)

Lime Philly Freeze

Time to try a new recipe! This one was in an old Kraft magazine and turned out quite nicely, although I did have to tweak the recipe a bit.
Lime Philly Freeze

20 Oreo cookies, crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese
1 can (12 oz.) frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip, divided
2 teaspoons grated lime peel (didn't use)

Combine cookie crumbs and butter and press into foil-lined 9" square pan. (Note: the original recipe called for 12 cookies, but that wasn't nearly enough for the amount of butter and the pan size.) Beat cream cheese until creamy and and limeade. Stir in 2 1/2 cups of the whipped topping and spoon into crust. Freeze for 3 hours or until firm. When ready to serve, lift from pan and cut into squares. Top with remaining whipped topping and sprinkle with lime peel. (We used an Oreo garnish instead.) Makes 12 servings.

Note: This was quite tart. I noticed on the recipe link that now Kraft suggests using a 6 oz. can of limeade. That would probably be better. They also suggest trying different flavors of juice concentrate, including raspberry, lemonade, fruit punch or grape. We just might do that, because in spite of the tartness it was a delicious dessert!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mississippi Mud Pie

Here's another recipe that has been sitting in the "drafts" folder for years, and that's because I haven't ever gotten around to making it, so don't have any pictures of the finished product. Maybe it's because I don't have any chocolate extract. However, I know it's a good one - the recipe was given to me by my daughter-in-law - and so I'll just post it without pictures. Maybe that will help motivate me to buy some of that extract and try it myself sometime!

Mississippi Mud Pie

Pie Dough:

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1-3 Tbsp. cold water

• Sift the flour and cocoa into a mixing bowl.
• Rub in the butter with fingertips/pastry cutter until mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
• Stir in sugar and enough cold water to mix into a soft dough.
• Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let chill in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
• Roll out dough on a floured counter and use to line a 9-inch ceramic pie dish.
• Line with parchment paper and fill with dried beans.
• Bake in oven for 15 minutes.
• Remove from oven and take out the paper and beans.
• Bake for an additional 10 minutes.


3/4 cup butter
1 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup cocoa, sifted
5 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (about 7/8 cup)
1 1/4 cups light cream (or 5/8 cup heavy cream and 5/8 cup skim milk)
1 teaspoon chocolate extract

• Beat the sugar and butter together in a bowl.
• Gradually beat in the eggs and cocoa.
• Melt the chocolate chips.
• Beat melted chocolate, cream, and chocolate extract into the mixture.
• Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
• Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake for 45 minutes, or until the filling has set.

To Decorate:

2 cups whipped cream
Chocolate flakes and curls

• Let the mud pie cool completely.
• Transfer it to a serving plate.
• Cover with whipped cream.
• Decorate pie with chocolate flakes and curls.
• Chill until ready to serve.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Four Cheese Stuffed Shells

We found another recipe that our "picky eater" loves!

Four Cheese Stuffed Shells

1 package jumbo shells

2 cups cottage cheese

2 cups ricotta cheese

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 jar spaghetti sauce

Cook shells according to package directions; drain. Rince in cold water; drain again and set aside.

Mix together the four cheeses, eggs and parsley. Pour 1/3 of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish. Stuff each shell with a heaping spoonful of cheese mixture. Sit upright on top of sauce. When all shells are filled, pour remaining sauce over shells. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese if desired. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes.

Note: this is an excellent recipe to freeze before baking. Thaw and follow regular baking instructions.

Pork Tenderloin with Gravy

Here was the Mother's Day meal for this year, and it turned out very nicely. The original recipe came from a Taste of Home magazine, in their "Cooking for One or Two" section, so we doubled it. A few years ago we would have had to quadruple it! And it was a little on the salty side, so be aware of that. It's also good to note that if this has to sit on the stove on "warm" for 40 minutes while you talk to your missionary son the quality is not affected.

Pork Tenderloin with Gravy

1 envelope brown gravy mix

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

1 pork tenderloin (about 3/4 pound), cut into 1/2 inch slices

1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil (no way does it need this much!)

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings

In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients until blended; set aside. In a large skillet, brown poik in oil on all sides. Stir in the gravy mixture, mushrooms and onion. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve over hot rice. 2-3 servings

Warm Black Bean Dip

I forgot to take a picture before serving this recipe. However, it turned out to be so delicious, that others told me I needed to post it on the blog. In order to do that, I need a picture! Sorry it's of a dirty plate, but there was only one bite left. We'll definitely be having it again, so someday there will be a prettier picture. Warm Black Bean Dip

1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup diced fresh tomato
1/3 cup picante sauce/salsa
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend cheese
(1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley) - we don't like cilantro, so we omitted this
1 tablespoon lime juice

Saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add the beans; mash gently. Stir in the tomato, salsa, cumin and chili powder and cook just until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

The prettier picture:

Cheesy Ham Braid

Here'a another recipe Michelle picked. And we even followed the directions exactly and bought a hot roll mix instead of making our own dough! Okay, I made one substitution, using orange pepper instead of green pepper because we already had some handy, but I did do the egg wash, a step I usually skip. It turned out deliciously, and was extra good dipped in broccoli soup.

Cheesy Ham Braid

1 package (16 oz) hot roll mix
1 cup warm water
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 cups chopped cooked ham
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 egg white
1 tablespoon cold water

In a large bowl, combine the hot roll mix and contents of yeast packet. Stir in the warm water, egg and 1 tablespoon butter. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead for 5 minutes. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a skillet, sauté onion and green pepper in remaining butter until tender. Remove from heat; stir in ham, cheese and parsley. On a greased baking sheet, roll the dough into a 15x10 inch rectangle. Spoon ham mixture lengthwise down the center. On each long side, cut 1-inch wide strips into the center. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across the filling. Pinch ends to seal. cover and let rise in a warm place for about 15 minutes. In a small bowl, beat egg white and cold water; brush over dough. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Stuffed Crust Pizza

Here's another recipe Michelle chose and made. It was absolutely delicious. (Because it was on the plan to have in our "camping" house, we used all the prescribed shortcuts - pizza dough in a can and pizza sauce in a bottle - something that never would have happened a few years ago!)

Pizza with Stuffed Crust

2 teaspoons cornmeal
2 tubes (10 ounces each) refrigerated pizza crust
8 ounces string cheese
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 can (8 ounces) pizza sauce
1 package (3 1/2 ounces) sliced pepperoni
1 can (4 ounces) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 can (2 1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Sprinkle cornmeal evenly over a greased 15x10" baking pan. Unroll pizza dough and place on pan. (The original recipe said to let it drape over the edges, but ours didn't even reach the edges, so we skipped that part.) Pinch center seam to seal. Place pieces of string cheese around edges of dough. Fold dough over cheese; pinch to seal. Brush the crust with butter; sprinkle with basil. Bake at 425° for 5 minutes. Spread sauce over crust. Place 2/3 of the pepperoni in a single layer over sauce. Sprinkle with mushrooms, olives, and cheese. Top with remaining pepperoni. Bake for 10-12 minutes more, or until crust and cheese are lightly browned. Serves 6.

Pork (or Turkey) Egg Rolls

As part of our Personal Progress goals, Michelle and I worked together on a two-week menu. It was actually kind of fun having her pick the recipes. Here's one of the recipes she chose. Then we went shopping and made it and she learned how I adapt recipes. To begin with, we decided that instead of buying ground pork, we'd use some cooked turkey we already had; and instead of buying shrimp, we'd use the crab in the freezer. Next she decided she didn't like bean sprouts and water chestnuts, so we could omit those; we added extra cabbage instead. We definitely didn't use 3 tablespoons of oil for the stir-fry; it was whatever was left in the bottle of sesame oil, maybe 1 teaspoon, and that was plenty. Finally, we didn't really measure any of the filling ingredients, and we had enough to use all 21 of the wrappers that came in the egg roll package! Oh, and we only used 1/4" of oil in a cast iron frying pan; even that was a concession to the recipe, because normally I bake egg rolls. (That post also has pictures of the rolling process.) What this all means, is that it's probably impossible to duplicate our finished product, but you could definitely try! And whatever you came up with would be delicious.

Pork Egg Rolls

1/2 pound ground pork
2/3 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 green onions, sliced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup salad shrimp
1/2 cup water chestnuts, chopped
1/2 cup bean sprouts, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
8 refrigerated egg roll wrappers
oil for frying

Cook pork in a large skillet until no longer pink; drain. Remove pork and set aside. In same skillet, stir-fry cabbage, celery and onions in oil until crisp-tender. Add shrimp, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, garlic, soy sauce, sugar and reserved pork; stir-fry 4 minutes longer or until liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat. (Sorry, I didn't think about taking pictures of these first steps.)

Position egg roll wrappers with a corner facing you. Spoon 1/3 cup pork mixture on the bottom third of each wrapper. Fold a bottom corner over filling; fold sides over filling toward center. Moisten top corner with water; roll up tightly to seal. In an electric skillet, heat 1 inch of oil to 375°. Fry egg rolls for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve with sweet and sour sauce.