Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Garlic Spaghetti


Let's face it.  I don't think that side dishes get the attention that they deserve.

I mean, they aren't the main attraction for day to day meals. More of an after thought on what to serve on the side.  At least at my house, I tend to throw my side dishes together.  I do try to compliment my main dish in theme or flavor though but I tend to rotate the same dishes.

Today's recipe is not your ho-hum side dish.  This Garlic Spaghetti will knock your socks off!

The flavors, the simplicity, the ease of cooking this dish!  Oh my!  (need I say more?)



A few days ago I posted a recipe for Chicken Pomodoro.  It's a wonderful Italian style chicken dish that I found in a Cuisine at Home magazine (which I love!).  Along with this chicken dish they suggested this simple side dish of pasta laced with garlic and a little lemon.  It sounded like the perfect accompaniment since it didn't have a sauce but a light coating of flavor infused olive oil.  

I thought that this would keep the whole dish light, and I was right.  The pasta was just lightly coated and was perfect as a side dish.  You could even turn this into a main dish by adding some grilled lemon or garlic chicken cut in small pieces.  It's heaven either way.

Simple to make, but BIG on flavor!



Give this dish a try with or without the Chicken Pomodoro.  It will soon become one of your favorite ways to dress pasta!

Enjoy!



Garlic Spaghetti

Ricotta salata is a salty, mild-flavored cheese with a crumbly texture similar to feta.

Makes: 4 servings; Total time: 25 minutes

8 oz. dry spaghetti
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. minced lemon zest
Salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
1⁄2 cup crumbled ricotta salata

Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Reserve 1⁄2 cup pasta water; drain remaining water.

Heat oil in same pot over medium-high. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Stir in pasta water, parsley, zest, and spaghetti; toss to coat. Season spaghetti with salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes, then stir in ricotta salata.

source:  Cuisine at Home.com



Sunday, December 27, 2015

Chicken Pomodoro


The other day I was surfing through one of my favorite magazines, Cuisine at Home. Have you heard of them?

The word "favorite" is an understatement.  It's more like "obsessed"!  I subscribe to their main magazine but I'm also know to buy every single special issue that they produce.  It's a problem, I know.  But I just LOVE their style of cooking along with the fact that there are no ads in this magazine. 

Basically it's a mini cookbook, and I am also obsessed with cookbooks!  So now you know my dirty little secret.  Lover of cookbooks and obsessed Cuisine at Home magazines.



Where was I?  Oh yea, I was surfing through one of my magazines and found a wonderful recipe that jumped off the page and said "Make me NOW!".  It really spoke to me.  I love Italian flavors and the dishes are usually quite simple to make. The thing about Cuisine at Home recipes is that they put a twist on a know dish to give it a slight variation but the result is outstanding.  Trust me, they really know how to put together flavors to pack a punch and create recipes that are solid and easy to follow.

Chicken Pomodoro is just one of those dishes.  Sauted Chicken is coated in a creamy sauce that contains cherry tomatoes. This is a light dish but it's perfect year round since cherry tomatoes are always available. 

If you have 30 minutes and want a fresh light dinner or lunch try this wonderful chicken dish.  I served it with the Garlic Spaghetti that was suggested (click here for the recipe) which made a perfect compliment.  Add a salad or a piece of crusty bread to round it out if you like.  



I can't brag enough about Cuisine at Home.  If you get a change check out their site, and subscribe if you want.  They also have free eRecipes you can sign up for as well, plus they sell special edition cookbooks online as well.  I'm sure you'll love them as I do.

Enjoy!




Chicken Pomodoro

If you don't like to cook with alcohol or don't have it on hand, you can replace the vodka with an equal amount of chicken broth.

Makes: 4 servings; Total time: 30 minutes

SEASON:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved, pounded to ¼-inch thick (8 oz. each)
Salt and black pepper
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil

OFF HEAT, DEGLAZE:
1⁄4 cup vodka
1⁄2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1⁄4 cup heavy cream
1 cup halved heirloom cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1⁄4 cup minced scallions

Season cutlets with salt and pepper, then dust with flour. Coat a large sauté pan with nonstick spray. Add oil and heat over medium-high.

Sauté cutlets until brown, 2–3 minutes per side. Transfer cutlets to a plate.

Off heat, deglaze pan with vodka and cook until liquid evaporates. Add broth and cream and reduce until thick, 2–3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Return cutlets to pan and cook to warm through, 1 minute per side.

Serve cutlets with sauce and garnish with scallions.


source:  Cuisine at Home.com




Saturday, December 26, 2015

One Pot Dish: Cilantro Lime Chicken with Rice and Beans


I have found that MGG loves simple meals that involve rice. Whether is be a rice bowl of some sort, a grilled meat served over rice or a one pot meal involving rice he's a happy camper.

You see he grew up in a Persian household and their staple is rice.  Most of their dishes are stew-like in nature with lots of veggies and spices thrown in with meat...but all served with or over rice. One of MGG's best qualities is that he loves all types of food.  All ethnicities, all styles.  He's lucky like that. He doesn't have a picky bone in his body.


That makes it really easy for me to please him.  Just serve something with rice!! HaHa!!

Knowing this, I came across a one pot meat on Pinterest from Jaclyn of Cooking Classy that I thought we would both enjoy.  By the way, great blog that you need to check out right away!  The dish has Latin flavors, YUM!  We just love the combination of lime and cilantro combined with chicken and black beans...and yes rice!  Winner in both our books!


We tried this the other night after some holiday shopping.  It was easy to throw together in one large skillet.  The clean up was a breeze (love that!) and the food was outstanding. I contains the perfect combination of flavors. The whole family will love this one and you'll have dinner on the table in no time.  Leftovers can be placed in a tortilla to make a wonderful wrap.

Enjoy!





One Pan Cilantro-Lime Chicken and Rice with Black Beans
Serves: 4

Ingredients 

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch cubes
1 Tbsp canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
2 tsp lime zest
3 Tbsp lime juice
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and well drained
2 cups minute white rice (don't use regular rice!)
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Directions 

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot add chicken, season with salt and pepper, and saute until cooked through, about 6 minutes, add in garlic at last 1 minute of cooking. Stir in broth, green chilies, lime zest, lime juice, black beans and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a boil, add rice, fully immerse rice in broth (make sure all the rice is submersed!), and allow to boil 20 seconds, then remove from heat and immediately cover with a lid. Let rest 5 - 6 minutes. 

If needed, return pan to medium heat and cook and toss 1 minute to allow rice to absorb excess moisture. Remove from heat, toss in cilantro and let rest uncovered 3 minutes.

slightly adapted from:  Cooking Classy


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies


It's Christmas Eve!

As a kid I was always so excited for Christmas Eve.  There was always a traditional spaghetti dinner and then we always opened our gifts that night.  Christmas morning was all about Santa and his gifts.

It was also the time when mom and I got in the kitchen and made Santa his cookies. We usually made sugar cookies using old copper cookie cutters and sprinkled them with different colored jimmies and sugars.  It was always something I looked forward to each year.  

We would set out a plate of cookies and milk before I went to bed that night and Santa would always take a bite out of a cookie for me to see in the morning.  I love these traditions.


So if you are like our family and wait to make Santa's cookie until Christmas Eve I have a great new cookie for you.

Who doesn't love chocolate?  I know Santa does and I'm sure that chocolate chip cookies are a favorite of his!  This cookie is easy to put together using a little help from Betty Crocker.  The best part is dipping half the cookie in melted chocolate and decorating it with Christmas sprinkles.  So pretty!  Plus, they taste even better. These cookies bake up nice and tender, moist and a little "cakey".  They are the perfect cookie to serve to Santa!

Kitchen Tip:  Make sure to chill your dough for at least 2 hours.  The cookies will bake up much better and will not spread as much if you chill the dough prior to baking.


See how pretty they are?  And they taste even better.  I hope you enjoy these cookies.  I know that Santa will!





Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies


serves: 16 cookies

1 1 lb 1.5 oz pouch of Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
white jimmies
red sugar

Add cookie mix, butter, and egg to a large bowl.  Stir until completely combined.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Set aside.  Scoop cookie dough using a 2 Tablespoon cookie scoop, or free form with your hands to form 16 cookie balls.   (Optional Step) I placed several dark chocolate chips strategically on top of each cookie.  Place each ball on the prepared pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the cookies among the baking sheets.  I baked 8 cookies per sheet.  Bake 8-12 minutes or until edges are set and golden brown.  Allow to cool 30 minutes.  

Once cookies are cool add chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl and heat on 50% power for 1 minute.  Stir and continue to heat on 50% power in 30 second intervals until completely smooth.  

Dip each cooking halfway into the chocolate using a spoon to assist.  Place the cookies back onto the parchment lined baking tray.  Decorate with white jimmies and red sugar and allow to set up for about 1 1/2 hours.  



adapted from Chocolate Dipped - Chocolate Chip Cookies


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Arugula Spinach Salad with Feta, Cranberries & Pecans


The holiday season is here and I'm sure you've been planning some special meals.

I try to make several new dishes each year at Thanksgiving and Christmas to go along with our family favorites to add something new and special to the mix.

This year this salad will be one of the stars.  It's a perfect winter salad that will accompany any choice of meat you are having.  Whether it be turkey, ham or beef, this will be perfect as a starter.  It's also a great choice for vegetarian meals as well, and you can certainly leave out the dairy if you choose.


I love this salad for it's flavor combination of sweet and salty. You have the slightly peppery arugula and the ever steady spinach.  The sweet plump cranberries (reconstituting dried cranberries is easy!) and the salty bite from the feta.  Add more crunch with toasted pecans, and some coolness from some Persian cucumbers and you have one awesome salad!

Now the real treat is in the dressing.  The pomegranate vinegar lends another tart fruity flavor to the salad which goes just perfectly with these simple ingredients.  


Trust me, everyone who has ever eaten this salad has asked for the recipe.  So now I'm sharing it with you!  Hope you serve this at your holiday dinner this year.

Enjoy!




Arugula Spinach Salad with Feta, Cranberries & Pecans

serves 8-10

3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups boiling water
3 Tablespoons orange juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons pomegranate vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
6 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
salt & pepper
5 oz baby arugula (1/2 package)
5 oz fresh spinach (1/2 package)
3 Persian cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 cup pecan halves, toasted
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Place the boiling water in a liquid measuring glass, and add the cranberries.  Let them soak for 10 minutes, then drain.

In a small bowl or jar add the orange juice, vinegar, and mustard.  Add the oil and whisk or shake until blended.  Add the parsley to the vinaigrette and stir or shake once more. 
Season with salt & pepper to taste.  

Place the arugula and spinach in a large bowl.  Add the cranberries, cucumbers, pecans, and feta cheese.  Toss with vinaigrette, or serve on the side.  

Monday, December 21, 2015

Sauteed Shredded Brussels Sprouts


Christmas is coming up and I wanted to bring you a couple of wonderful side dishes that I'll be serving this year.

One of my favorite celebrity cooks is Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.

I have seen her in person at book signings and talks several times, and own several of her cookbooks. I just love her style of cooking.  She takes simple food and makes them fabulous.  Plus, her recipes are so well thought out and accurate that you can't go wrong with them!


A perfect example of taking something simple and making it fabulous is this wonderful side dish of Brussels spouts.  I saw her cooking on the Food Network the other day with Bobby Flay (another favorite) and they were mixing their two styles for a Thanksgiving feast.  Ina threw together this side dish in a matter of minutes on top of the stove.  Who doesn't love cooking something on the stove when all the prime real estate in the oven is taken?  

Back to the recipe...it has 5 ingredients.  Yep! 5 INGREDIENTS of which salt/pepper, oil, and butter are three of them.  This dish couldn't be easier.  But yet, it tasted spectacular!  Shredded Brussels sprouts are sauteed in a skillet in oil and butter, then seasoned and drizzled with a syrupy balsamic vinegar.  That's it!  SIMPLE!  Oh!  and you can make start them the day before.  I love make ahead dishes.  It save you so much time during the main event! (See my Kitchen Tip below.)


Kitchen Tip: MAKE AHEAD IDEA - You can shred the Brussels sprouts a day ahead and place them in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel.

You might be saying "Oh, I don't like Brussels sprouts!"  Well let me tell you, these will convert anybody into a Brussels sprouts lover.

Enjoy!



Sauteed Shredded Brussels Sprouts

source:  Ina Garten via FoodNetwork.com

serves 6


2 (12 ounce) packages Brussels sprouts, ends and brown leaves trimmed
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon syrupy balsamic vinegar

Place the Brussels sprouts in the feed tube of the food processor fitted with a large slicing disc.  (There is no need to core them.)  Process the Brussels sprouts until they're all sliced.

Place the butter and olive oil in a large (12 inch) saute pan and heat it over medium heat.  Add the Brussels sprouts, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and saute them, stirring frequently, for about 4 to 5 minutes, until tender but still bright green.  Stir in the balsamic vinegar, season to taste and serve hot.

Cook's Note:  Because you're shredding the Brussels sprouts, there's no need to core them.  Place the shredded Brussels sprouts in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel for up to a day.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Honey and Graham Snack Mix


Every evening when MGG comes home he immediately starts snacking.

He looks around the kitchen for little bites of something, not really anything in particular to snack on.  It could be some crackers, a piece of chocolate, or some hummus.  Really anything.

They guy has no control when it comes to snacking.  I'll go in the other room and come back and find he's eaten a LOT of something.  This has been a problem that I've had to tackle for quite some time.  On top of the fact that he doesn't seem to gain weight (I hate that!) with all this eating it does force me to be creative by keeping healthful snacks around. Grapes are always good.  However, sometimes you just want a little sweet/salty something.


This led me to make on of our favorite snack mixes.  I make a big batch of this cereal based mix and keep it in a big storage container for easy grabbing, cause I know when he walks through that door all bets are off and the snacking is on!

Cereal is a really good choice for snacking.  I'm sure you do it too.  This particular mix has a couple of our favorites. Fiber One makes a great Honey Clusters which provides you with extra fiber.  The Golden Grahams is more savory and blends well. I added a sweet salty nut and some raisins this time around.  Dried cranberries are another favorite to substitute for the raisins.  Make it your own.  It's all good.

So I feel better now that his snacking is a little healthier than before.  No cooking involved with this one, which is a plus!  


We both enjoy this cereal type "trail mix".  I'm sure you will enjoy it too!

Happy snacking!



Honey and Graham Snack Mix

serves 16

3 cups Fiber One Honey Clusters cereal
3 cups Golden Graham cereal
1 1/2 cup honey-roasted peanuts
3/4 golden raisins
additional options:  dried cranberries, mini chocolate chips, raisins, dried cherries, yogurt chips, M&Ms, yogurt covered raisins.

In large bowl mix ingredients.  Store tightly covered in a plastic container or storage bag.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup


I'm having a long term relationship with a rabbit.

Mind you, I love rabbits, and would love to be involved with a fluffy, furry creature for the long haul, but this one is not furry. Or fluffy for that matter.  It's manly.  Yes, I said manly.  How so?  Well it's my better half, Mr MGG himself that is the rabbit.  Or more accurately, he EATS like a rabbit!

I've never met a man you enjoys soup and salad way more than beef and potatoes, or chicken, or pork!  Almost every time (almost) we go out to eat for dinner, I order something hot and hearty, like steak, chicken, tacos, or a wonderful pasta dish and what does he order? Salad, and possibly soup.   I think the stereotypical roles of men and woman's eating habits are reversed here!  What is going on???  


I'm used to it now (almost...ummm, not) but I always feel funny ordering this hearty meal and he gets the light, healthy salad.  But I'm not giving up my treat to have a steak.  So what to do?

Join them I guess!  So since he is such a soup fanatic, I myself was craving a hot hearty chicken soup.  During the chilly evenings I love to have soup and crusty bread for dinner. Reminds me of my mom making her Vegetable Beef Soup. Yum!  The best memories.  So I decided to make us a pot of soup last night, substituting the noodles for wild rice.  I just love rice in soup, don't you?

Nothing beats the flavor of chicken soup, and if you are under the weather a little, this soup will fix you right up.


Simple, quick, and tasty.  That's what this dish is all about. You can have this done in under 1 hour (about 45 minutes) By dicing the vegetables into a smaller dice they will cook quicker.

It's MGG approved, so that means your family will love it as well.  He at 2 big bowls and complimented it all the way. Then he leaned over and kissed my cheek and did the dishes... I guess living with a rabbit isn't so bad!


Enjoy a hot bowl of chicken and wild rice soup tonight.  



Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

serves 4-5

2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1/2 large onion, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
salt & pepper
10 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon of dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 cup wild and long grain rice mix

In a medium pot add water (enough to cover the chicken breasts) and bring it to a boil.  Add the chicken breasts and poach for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile to a medium stock pot, add oil and heat over medium heat.  Add onions and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add carrots and celery and cook about 8 minutes until softened.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  

Add the chicken broth, parsley, garlic powder, and thyme and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes.  
Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid and allow to cool slightly and cut the chicken into chunks or shred if you prefer.  Add the chicken to the stockpot.  Add the rice and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Serve.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Spicy Tomato Cream Sauce with Spaghetti


Yum


Sometimes we need a little pasta sauce in our lives.

Me?  I actually crave a good red sauce, so whether it is served over pasta, or a fabulous chicken dish, I've gotta have it!

The other day we went out to dinner at a local Italian restaurant.  I was all set to get something with a delicious red sauce to soothe my craving.  Little did I know that I'd end up with a chef's special that was too tempting to resist.  The only down side was that there wasn't any 'red sauce' in sight. 



Although the dish was wonderful and had an outstanding sauce of lemon, wine, and artichokes I started to have that familiar craving a few days later.  I need something with 'red sauce!  Do you ever get those cravings?  I know, a little strange, but it's really calling me.

Into the kitchen I went to prepare our dinner.  Something quick.  Something using pantry items.  Something that features a 'red sauce'...and spice...and cream.



The result was a quick and easy creamy, yet spicy, red sauce served over spaghetti.  Using your favorite jarred sauce makes things easier and definitely quicker for a weeknight meal.  Red pepper flakes amp up the heat a little while the cream adds thickness and comfort to the dish.

Cravings are gone!  My tummy is satisfied until the next craving comes along.  

Enjoy!



Spicy Tomato Cream Sauce with Spaghetti

serves 4

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (24 oz) jar of spaghetti sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
1 lb thin spaghetti

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the spaghetti sauce, basil, thyme, red pepper flakes, and black pepper.  Stir to combine.  Add the cream and stir.  Simmer about 10 minutes until sauce has thickened and is heated through.

Meanwhile in another large pot, cook your pasta in salted boiling water according to the package directions.  Drain. Add to the saucepan and toss to coat.  Serve.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Streusel Apple Pie Pancakes


My Sundays are lazy...

They are for making a great breakfast and doing things at your own pace at home.  I've been seeing so many different Bananas Foster variations around Pinterest and on all the blogs.  Have you seen them?  There's french toast, ice cream, parfaits, smoothies, and even pies.  So all these yummy dishes gave me inspiration to take a favorite dessert of mine and turn it into something different. 

Like pancakes.


Not just any pancakes, but some worthy of the season, and a lazy Sunday.  

One of my favorite desserts for this time of year is Apple Crisp.  I love the tartness of the apples along with the streusel crumble crust.  A match made in heaven for me!  So why not turn this into some scrumptious pancakes.  Let's do it!

These pancakes are bursting with apples and one side is topped with a traditional streusel filled with brown sugar, oatmeal and butter.  This can't be beat!  Once you top on side of the cooking pancakes with the topping and then flip it over to cook....oh my!  You get a crunchy caramelized side to your pancake.  It's just perfect!


These are pancakes the whole family will love.

Enjoy your lazy Sunday!


Streusel Apple Pie Pancakes 

Streusel Topping
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
3 tablespoons cold butter

Basic Pancakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 large apple, cored, peeled and diced
3 Tablespoons butter

In medium bowl, mix your topping brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in butter using pastry blender or fork until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

In large bowl, stir all pancake ingredients up to the butter, until well blended. Heat a nonstick griddle or large skillet over medium-high heat. 

Once heated add 1 Tablespoon of butter and swirl around to coat the pan.  Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan to form a pancake.  Continue making 3 or 4 pancakes at a time. 

Sprinkle each pancake evenly with about 2 Tablespoons of the topping. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbly on top and dry around edges. Flip and cook the streusel side until light golden brown around edges about 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds. 

Add additional butter between batches of pancakes. Continue with additional batches of pancakes.  

Serve streusel side up with warm syrup and butter.

 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Slow Cooker Meal: Rustic Beef Stew


Yum



I'm loving the fall weather!  We finally got a break in Los Angeles, and the weather has turned cooler.  70's is cooler to us!

When the weather changes I crave soups and stews.  My favorite soup is one that Mom always made. A hearty vegetable beef soup that full of potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, and tomatoes, slow cooked with stew meat to make a warming soup.  Here's her recipe.  Today I feel like something more stew-like but with similar flavors.  

Browsing though my "to make" Pinterest folder I came across this pin that just fit my needs.  Do you all know Christy Jordan?  She has a wonderful blog called Southern Plate and also is the author of a great cookbook by the same name.  I found this recipe on her website and adapted it slightly to fit my taste, but pretty much followed her lead.  



One item that she used and I ended up purchasing was Dale's Seasoning.    Dale's Seasoning is a savory blend of exotic spices that enhance the flavor of beef, pork, lamb, poultry, fish, wild game and vegetables.   Sold mostly in the South, but you can buy it online here.  I was intrigued by this sauce enough to want to purchase it, but you can leave it out or just add a little worcestershire and soy sauce instead or use Kitchen Bouquet.

This was a very easy stew to put together and we left for the day and came home to a wonderful, hearty dinner.  I dare say it was "fabulous"!  this will be my go to slow cooker beef stew recipe from now on. 



You must try this out soon....there's nothing better than a delicious stew during the cold evenings.
Enjoy!




Rustic Beef Stew

serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 1/2 lbs  stew meat
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 c flour
3 large baking potatoes, peeled and chopped
3/4 medium onion, sliced
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
32 ounces beef broth
1/4 cup Dale's low sodium seasoning
1 tablespoon thyme

Instructions

Season the stew meat with pepper and add to a plate.  Pour flour over and stir to coat.  In a large skillet add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add meat and cook just long enough to brown.  Turn meat to brown all sides.  

Add potatoes, onion, carrots to the slow cooker.  Place meat on top and add broth, Dale's marinade and thyme.  Cook on low 7-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.  





Monday, November 30, 2015

Pumpkin Cranberry Scones - Product Review: King Arthur Flour Harvest Pumpkin Whole Grain Scone Mix


I love having girl time with old friends.

There is just something about a test of time friend that comforts you.  You may not have seen each other for a while but when  you come together it's as if a day hasn't passed. Do you have friends like that?  Someone that you can just be girls with.  Laugh, be silly, and have fun!

Plus, they know you.  My friend Andrea is like that.  We've been friends for years.  Lately, we haven't been able to get together too often.  Life is busy.  The other day she called and we made a date to meet for brunch at a great spot down in Santa Monica, facing the beach.


We laughed and reminisced about our antics in the past. Watch out, Lucy and Ethel are together again!  We had so much fun that I didn't want the afternoon to end.  It's always such a joy to be with good friends.  And this good friend came baring gifts!

In she came with a pretty bag containing several King Arthur Flour mixes.  Ahhhh, she knows me! I adored the gift and her for thinking of me.


So this weekend I broke out one of the mixes and whipped up a batch of Pumpkin Cranberry Scones using King Arthur Flour's Harvest Pumpkin Whole Grain Scone Mix.  It was very easy to follow and only needed several ingredients such as butter, eggs, salt and milk.  I added dried cranberries because I love the flavor combination. I'm glad I did, because they came out GREAT!

The whole grains provided a nutty flavor, and it was bursting with pumpkin and spices.  They were very tender and moist and with the addition of the cranberries, WOW!  These are the perfect fall breakfast, brunch, or snack time bite.  MGG inhaled one down right off the bat.  He said these were a winner, and please can I make them again.  SOLD!

The package gives you instructions for drop scones, which is what I did as well.  It's just easier than rolling them out and they come out with that rustic look.  I got 9 pretty large scones out of the mix, and the box states you'll get 8 using a 1/3 cup measure.  I used a scoop so that would account for the extra piece of heaven!


Overall these were a hit.  I would certainly recommend this mix to anyone that wants a shortcut from making them completely from scratch.  In my opinion King Arthur has some of the best quality products out there.  I use their flour religiously, so it's no wonder that their scone mix is a winner.

You can purchase this mix here.




Pumpkin Cranberry Scones

1 17oz box of King Arthur's Harvest Pumpkin Whole Grain Scone Mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup dried cranberries

1. preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment paper.

2. stir together scone mix and salt, then work in butter with a pastry blender, mixing until everything is crumbly. In a separate bowl, stir together egg and milk. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Fold in cranberries. (If dough is too dry add a splash of milk)

3. scoop dough onto the baking sheet, using a large scoop for each scone.  Space by 2" between them. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until they're a light golden brown. Remove from oven, wait 5 minutes and serve warm.

adapted from King Arthur's Harvest Pumpkin Whole Grain Scone Mix box instructions.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey Tex-Mex Quesadilla


Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with loved ones.

Now, what are you gonna do with all that leftover turkey?  Well you could have the classic leftover Thanksgiving sandwich!  Or you can make my Turkey and Havarti sandwich, or how about some Turkey and Wild Rice Soup?

Each of these dishes are perfect for using up that turkey, but today I have a new version.  A Tex-Mex version of a quesadilla.  I wanted some spice in my life so I opted for a little spicy jack cheese, some green chiles and a whole lot of turkey and refried beans!

This was the perfect quick meal.  Of course you could use chicken in this dish but once you spice up the turkey meat, you or your kids would never know that you are eating turkey...again!

That's the beauty of using your leftovers in completely different flavor profiles.  It gives your ingredients a whole new perspective, plus it tastes sooooo good!


Hope you enjoy this variation on a quesadilla.  It's easy to prepare and your meal will be on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Enjoy!




Turkey Tex-Mex Quesadilla

serves 1-2
1/4 - 1/3 cup refried beans, zesty jalapeno (from a 16 oz can)
2 Tablespoons of green chiles (from a 4 oz can)
1/2 cup cooked turkey meat, shredded
1 1/2 Tablespoons of taco seasoning
1/4 cup water
2  flour tortillas, fajita size
1/4 cup of jalapeno jack cheese
1/4 cup of cheddar cheese

In a small sauce pan over low heat add the refried beans. Add the green chilies and stir.  Cook 2-3 minutes until heated through.  (Can also use the microwave for this step).  In a medium skillet over medium heat add the turkey and sprinkle with the taco seasoning.  Stir about 4 minutes to heat through and incorporated the spices. Add water and continue to stir about 3 minutes until sauce is formed and water evaporates.

To assemble:  On one flour tortilla spread the refried bean mixture.  Top with the turkey meat.  Top with both cheeses and then place another flour tortilla on top.  In a clean skillet over medium heat place the quesadilla.  Cook covered for 1-2 minutes per side.  Remove to a cutting board and cut into triangles.  Serve with sour cream and a dollop of salsa if desired.


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