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!