Friday, June 7, 2013

Strawberry Basil Margaritas

Happy Friday! Looking like skies will clear and a good-weather weekend is in forecast for us here. How about some refreshing Strawberry Basil Margaritas to begin the weekend? This recipe is so simple and tastes delish!!
I served these last week at a dinner party and they were a big hit! 
This recipe was found over at Knead To Cook
I modified it a bit for my liking.
Ingredients:
  • 3 (12 ounces) frozen limeade concentrate cans
  • 9 c of fresh, water
  • 10 strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 2 Cups Golden Tequilla

Directions:

Into a large beverage dispenser, empty all of the limeade cans into your dispenser followed by 9 cups of cold water. Add the tequila and stir to blend. Next add the strawberries and basil. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Serve over ice and enjoy!
Cheers!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fresh Corn and Roasted Poblano Salsa

 
I made grilled shrimp tacos the other night and wanted to serve them with some type of salsa. I decided on trying a fresh corn salsa in stead of traditional tomato salsa. It's early in the season for us to find good fresh corn on the cobb but I was able to find some fresh white corn on the cobb at the grocery store. The corn was amazingly sweet and crunch and made great salsa.




I came across a few corn recipes and most seemed to be quit similar in ingredients. This is how I made it. 

Ingredients:
  • 1 poblano chile pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 medium ears of corn (should yield 2 cups)
  • 1-2  small jalapeno peppers, diced small
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 1 fresh lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. Preheat a grill to medium high.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook corn for two minutes.  Remove from water and drain well.
  3. Brush the poblano pepper with olive oil and place on pre-heated grill and grill turning as each side chars for appox 5-7 minutes. In the meantime, add ears of corn and and jalapeƱos to grill and turn to lightly char on each side.
  4. Remove poblano pepper and jalapeƱos from grill and allow to cool slightly
    Peel poblano and remove seeds and stem.  Slice and chop into small pieces
  5. Cut corn from co
     In a medium bowl. add corn, peppers, onion and cilantro and toss ingredients
    Stir in the olive oil, lime juice, and salt and pepper and mix well. 
  6. Taste for seasonings and serve with tortilla chips or corn chips
~Enjoy


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cauliflower Pizza Crust - Pepperoni Pizza



I had to try it ....cauliflower pizza crust! It has been popping up all over Pinterest, Facebook, blogs, cooking shows, etc. I admit this one had me fooled. I would have never guessed it would taste like pizza. I've tried many recipes using cauliflower in place of other ingredients (such as chicken, potatoes) and every time it still tastes like cauliflower. This time I was fooled and my family was fooled even more so. They had no idea. My daughter said it was the BEST homemade pizza ever. It was delicious!

I found The Lucky Penny had the best recipe and instructions on how to make it. I made some slight adjustments to her recipe but pretty much followed her instructions. Hop over to see her Best Cauliflower Pizza Crust recipe and great instructions or follow mine below. 


Pre-bake the cauliflower crust:



Top the crust with your favorite toppings:
 
Bake..and then dig into your yummy pizza:

Ingredients:
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (you really need the salt) 
Directions:

  1. Place a pizza stone place (or baking sheet) into a preheated 450 degree oven.
  2. Rice the cauliflower in a food processor (pulse about 30 seconds until pieces are size of rice). A small to medium head of cauliflower should make 2-3 cups. I feel 3 cups makes the perfect size crust.
  3. Place the riced cauliflower in a microwave safe dish, cover and microwave for 4 minutes or until cooked.
  4. Place the cauliflower in a tea towel. Let cool enough so you can handle it and then wrap it up in the tea towel and squeeze as much moisture out as you can. Very important step - squeeze, squeeze! :)
  5. Mix the cauliflower, egg, mozzarella, oregano, basil, salt, press the mixture onto parchment paper or a baking mat. Pat it down and make sure it's tight and no holes. The crust should be about 1/4 thick. Pat it do It will feel wet and you will think there is no way this will turn into a crust. It will, trust me. Now slide the parchment/baking mat onto your hot pizza stone or baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 10 minutes. (you may need more or less time, bake until it starts to brown). Remove from oven.
  6. Add sauce, cheese and toppings. Use your judgement on the amount of sauce, cheese, etc. I used a heaping 1/4 cup of pizza sauce, and a few handle fulls of mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni for my toppings.
Enjoy!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Wing Cupcakes

 


Over the weekend I was really in the mood to make salad for dinner but that doesn't always fly with my kids. So I needed something to go with the salad but would be tasty and interesting for the kids to eat. They love junk food - Buffalo chicken wings being an all time favorite of everyone's. But that wasn't really my plan. I have made Enchilada Cupcakes and Lasagna Cupcakes in the past so I thought heck, let's try the Buffalo Wing Cupcakes. I have have read several recipes online so I just went with what basically what all others have done. I did make my own Buffalo Wing Sauce - it's a low-fat sauce and you don't need to use much to make these and it  is delicious. These Buffalo Wing Cupcakes are somewhat guilt free if being compared the fried Buffalo Wings from the local tavern.

Here's the recipe. Give it try. These are great for dinner, as an appetizer or to bring to a party. They taste good right out of the oven or warm temperature. I placed a little shredded lettuce and dollop of blue dressing on mine - yum!

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced
  • ½ cup hot wing sauce (recipe below, or use your favorite bottled sauce)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (2 ounces) - for blue cheese lovers, double this! For those that don't like blue cheese, you can omit. :)
  • 16 wonton wrappers
  • 4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
Directions:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray an 8 cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken and wing sauce. Stir to combine until fully mixed.
  3. Begin layering your cupcakes. Start by laying a wonton wrapper into the bottom of each muffin cup. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of chicken mixture in each cup, sprinkle 1/2 the cheddar cheese over the top of each cup. Top each cup with another wonton wrapper (press down a bit), spoon another layer of chicken mixture into each cup and tip with remaining cheddar cheese and sprinkle a bit of blue cheese on top.
  4.  Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from muffin tin. Note: You may use a knife to loosen the edges to help remove the cupcakes from the pan.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with with shredded lettuce and some blue dressing (optional).
Hot Wing Sauce

This is a low-fat hot wing sauce that I use on chicken wings, dips, and now on Hot Wing Cupcakes. 

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup Frank's red hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup I Can't Believe It's Not Butter® Spread
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried celery flake
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce 
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Directions:

In a small saucepan over low heat, mix together all ingredients. Let this mixture simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
~Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chocolate Cream Cake Topped with Ganache

 Yep, I needed a chocolate fix...

 
 
 
No complaint here with this delicious Chocolate Cream Cake Topped with Ganache for dessert tonight. We never have dessert like this in the middle of the week. But oh, I couldn't resist. I have been searching for a week for the perfect 16th birthday cake for my son and pinning my favorites over here. I found a couple chocolate cream cakes, but chocolate is not a favorite of my son's (what's wrong with him?), but that rolled up chocolate cake filled with a delightful cream was bringing my back to my childhood does when mom would treat us with a box of Hostess Ho-Hos!. It just was calling my name for days. So I made this cake today (yes, two days before my son's birthday. I guess we will two cakes this week). I made this using a combination of different recipes to make it my own. Later this week I'll post the 16th Birthday Cake he decided on.

A note to the recipe is I did not use all of the chocolate ganache (it would have been too much, in my opinion). I  drizzled a little more than half of the ganache onto the cake, and then kept the remaining to be used for dipping strawberrie, bananas, pretzels. etc.

Ingredients:

Cake
  • 4 oz. each semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2/3 cup brewed coffee
Filling
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 oz of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
Chocolate Ganache
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
Directions: 


MICROWAVE 4 oz. chocolate chips and butter in medium microwaveable bowl on High 1-1/2 to 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add granulated sugar; mix well. Beat eggs in large bowl with mixer on high speed 3 min. or until thickened. Blend in chocolate mixture. Add 1/4 cup flour and baking soda; beat just until blended. Add remaining flour alternately with water, beating well after each addition. Spread evenly into prepared pan.

BAKE 15 min. or until top of cake springs back when touched; sprinkle with 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Immediately invert cake onto clean towel; remove pan. Carefully peel off paper. Starting at one short side, roll up cake and towel together; cool completely on wire rack.

BEAT cream cheese and sugar in a medium mixing bowl until fluffy. Add cream and whip until soft peaks form.

UNROLL cake carefully; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture onto cake, completely covering top of cake. Roll up cake; place, seam-side down, on platter.

COOK the chocolate chips, heavy cream, in the top of a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.

DRIZZLE Chocolate Ganache over cake. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. Note: I did not use all of the ganache - so use what is to your liking.


Enjoy! 


This post is linked with The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck

Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Snickerdoodles Cookies

 

Happy Easter everyone! Traditionally on Good Friday, we color Easter Eggs but this year we have some other plans and will doing eggs tomorrow. But I felt the need to make something Easter-y this morning. I decided on making cookies. I didn't want anything with chocolate since I'm sure baskets will be filled with delicious chocolates on Sunday and wanted something cheerful and colorful and yummy. So I went with Snickerdoodles. I used spring colored sugar in place of white sugar mixed with the cinnamon. Oh Sooo Yummmy ... especially when they are still warm.


 

Easter Snickerdoodles ...

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • For pink cookies:  2 Tbls pink sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 
  • For yellow cookies:  2 Tbls yellow sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • For blue cookies:  2 Tbls blue sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together sugar and butter, add eggs and mix well.
  4. Blend dry ingredients into to butter mixture.
  5. Shape dough into 1 inch balls.
  6. Roll each ball  in the sugar-cinnamon mixture.
  7. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. (I like to use parchment paper to avoid the sugar from sticking to the pan or browning too much)
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.
Happy Easter!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Texas Oven Baked Pork Ribs


A chilly winter Sunday evening here for us and I had a hankering for some summer-time food for dinner (really,  just out of ideas and I got these ribs on sale and thought they'd make a great Sunday dinner).

Ingredients:
  • 6 pounds baby back pork ribs
  • 1 1/2 cups White sugar
  • 1/4 cup Salt
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. Ground black pepper
  • 3 - 4 Tbsp Sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp chili powder
Directions:

1.  Clean the ribs, and trim away any excess fat. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, 1/4 cup salt, ground black pepper, paprika, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Coat ribs liberally with spice mix. Place the ribs a large dish, laying ribs next to each other in the dish. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. (Had success with the dry rub marinated for 4 hours.)

2. Remove ribs from the refrigerator. Wrap each rack of ribs in heavy duty foil (2x). Very important to wrap tightly so it doesn't drip while cooking.

3. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Bake uncovered for 3 to 4 hours, or until the ribs are tender and nearly fall apart.  We like the top of the ribs to be a bit crispy so I placed each foil package of ribs on a cookie sheet and opened each foil pack so the ribs were exposed and baked another hour. Serve as is or with your favorite BBQ sauce. We like them both ways (dry or brushed with BBQ sauce).



 Dry Rub Ingredients: 
Sugar, Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Garlic Powder, and Cayenne

Place Dry Rub on Ribs. Wrap in foil and place in fridge for 4 to 8 hours or overnight. Note: They do get messy when they bake in the oven so I like to place foil on the bottom of my baking dish/cookie sheet.

 Ribs out of the oven after 4 hours .. meat is so tender and juicy. yum!

 

 Dinner is served with skillet potatoes (sliced potatoes cooked with a bit of butter, onion, salt & pepper), corn on the cob and grapes. Made for a nice summer-like dinner during the winter!

Give this recipe a try. Real easy to make as long as you have the 4 hours of cook time. :)

Enjoy!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Puff Pancake


 
Ok, it's only been a couple days since I said I was going to start cooking light. Well, a house full of teens for breakfast this morning changed things a bit. But I did serve fruit and low-fat, low-salt bacon for the girls. However the puff pancake with a 1/4 cup of butter brought us over the edge (just a bit - It was shared amongst 6 people, so not too bad).  This was my first time making a puff pancake, and hands down it was a winner! It's kind of like french toast, and it's kind of like pancake.This is a keeper for us.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup butter
Directions:
  1. Place butter in a baking dish and pop into a 200C/400F oven.
  2. Whisk eggs and add milk, sugar, flour and vanilla extract.
  3. Remove baking dish from oven and swirl to coat sides with butter. Pour batter into it and return to oven.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until puffed up and golden. Serve immediately as it will deflate once out of the oven.
Sleepover Breakfast!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Split Pea Soup with Ham

It's the new year and once again I am going to try to eat healthier. As you know, I love to cook so I'm going to work real hard on cooking healthier foods and plan to share some healthy recipes with you.

My family is extremely busy with after school activities, sports, etc. so it can be hard to keep on track with healthy meals during the week. So I'm trying! Tonight we will be having Turkey Sandwiches on Oat Bread, Spinach Salad, and Split Pea Soup. I am pretty sure I'll be the only one eating the soup. Hoping I'm wrong, but we will see. I absolutely LOVE pea soup .. even when I was a kid. My mom usually made it when it was just her and I for dinner. This was on her "soul food" lists of foods that her and I much enjoyed when I was growing up.  She always served her pea soup with red onions. Not sure why, but I had a thing for the 'purple onions' when I was kid - always thought they were 'cool'. So I'm keeping with the tradition. And I'm pretty sure her recipe pretty much goes like this:

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onions
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cups medium-diced carrots (2 to 3 carrots)
  • 1 lb of ham hock (or leftover ham bone)
  • 1 pound dried split green peas
  • 8 cups water or chicken stock
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • sliced or diced red onion for garnish
Directions:

In a 4-quart stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the carrots, 1 pound of split peas, and water or chicken stock (I used 8 cups of water and 2 chicken boullion cubes). Add ham bone or ham hock. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Skim off the foam while cooking. Remove ham hock (or ham bone) from the soup. Cut the ham off the bone and chop into bite size pieces. Add the chopped ham back to the soup and continue to simmer for another 40 minutes, or until all the peas are soft. I simmer until the peas turn very soft and almost a smooth consistency. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot garnished with thinly sliced red onions.




 Enjoy!