Monday, January 28, 2013

Beef Chili (Pressure Cooker)

I had fun again this year trying a new chili recipe for our church's fundraiser for the teen ministry.  While this chili recipe was a winner, the real winners are our teens who are raising money to go on a mission trip.

1 TBS vegetable oil
2 1/2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 1" cubes
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBS vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 TBS ancho chile powder
2 tsp Spanish paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chipolte chile powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers (do not drain)
1 TBS tomato paste (my addition)
1 1/4 cups water
1 TBS Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (my addition)
1 (16 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (my addition)
1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1/8 cup chopped green onions (optional)
sour cream (optional)

Heat 1 TBS oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Season beef generously with salt and black pepper; place meat in the skillet and cook until brown on all sides, 5-10 minutes.  (You may need to do this in 2 or 3 batches depending on the size of your skillet.)  Transfer meat to the pressure cooker.

Heat 1 TBS oil over medium-low heat in the same pan you browned the beef in.  Stir onion and garlic into the skillet; cook until almost translucent, 4-5 minutes (do not burn garlic).  Stir in ancho chile powder, paprika, cumin, black pepper, chipolte chile powder, cayenne pepper and oregano; cook until fragrant, 2 minutes.  Add the onion mixture to the meat in the pressure cooker.  Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste and water to the meat; stir together. 

Lock the lid of the pressure cooker.  Set the cooker to high and cook for 20 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before quick releasing any remaining pressure and safely removing lid. 

Stir beans and 1 TBS Jiffy Corn Muffin mix into the chili.  Cook on high for 5-8 minutes (not under pressure) or until beans are tender and heated through.

Garnish with sour cream, cilantro and green onions if desired.

Makes 6 servings



Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jalapeno Popper Dip

I love jalapeno poppers so I knew I would like this dip.

2 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles, drained
1 (4 oz) can diced jalapeno peppers, drained (I would use 2 cans next time)
1/2 cup shredded Mexican style cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 375.  In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, green chiles, jalapenos and shredded cheeses.  Mix thoroughly with a spatula until smooth and evenly combined.  Spread the mixture into a baking dish (approx. 9" x 9").

In a second bowl, combine the Panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and stir with a fork until combined.  Sprinkle over the cream cheese mixture in the baking dish.  Spray lightly with cooking spray.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and the topping is golden.  Serve warm with baguette slices, crackers, corn chips or vegetables.



Penne Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

I like this recipe because it uses low-fat milk instead of cream.  You could add grilled chicken breast to this pasta.

2 cups (8 oz.) dry penne pasta
8 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 can (12 oz.) Evaporated Low-Fat 2% Milk
2 cups (8 oz. pkg.) shredded Italian-style four-cheese blend
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Prepare pasta according to package directions, adding sun-dried tomatoes to boiling pasta water for last two minutes of cooking time; drain.

While pasta is cooking, combine evaporated milk, cheese, basil, garlic powder and pepper in medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted and slightly thickened.  Remove from heat.

Add pasta and sun-dried tomatoes to cheese sauce; stir until combined.

Makes 7 (1/2 cup) servings


Pork Loin with Apples & Pears (Pressure Cooker)

This pork was so tender and moist.  The pears and apples were delicious in the sauce.

1 (2 1/2 lb) boneless pork loin, rolled and tied
salt and black pepper
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 TBS olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 pears, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup apple cider
1 to 2 TBS brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Pre-heat the pressure cooker using the brown (or high) setting.

Season the pork well with salt , pepper and rosemary.  Add the olive oil to the pressure cooker and brown the pork loin on all sides.  Remove the browned pork to a plate and set aside.

Add the onion, apples, pears and thyme to the cooker and cook for a minute or two.  Add the cider and stock and return the pork loin to the cooker.  Season with salt and pepper and lock the lid in pace.

Pressure cook on High for 30 minutes.  Let the pressure release naturally and carefully remove the lid.

Transfer the pork to a resting plate and loosely tent with foil, letting the pork rest for at least 10 minutes.  While the pork rests, add the brown sugar to the fruit in the cooker and simmer the sauce using the brown (or high) setting until it has reduced in quantity and thickened slightly.  The fruit should break down to help thicken the sauce.  Season to taste with black pepper.  Stir in parsley and spoon the sauce over the sliced pork loin with a slotted spoon.

Makes 4-6 servings

Source:  Comfortable under Pressure - Meredith Laurence


Carnitas (Pressure Cooker)

The peppers in this recipe add a delicious but not too spicy flavor to this dish.  The pork filling is perfect for tacos, enchiladas or burritos. 

3 TBS canola oil
3 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 fresh poblano peppers, roughly chopped, or more to taste
3 jalapeno peppers, roughly chopped, or more to taste
1 serrano pepper, roughly chopped, or more to taste
1 large onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
3 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 cups beef broth

Place the oil into a pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Brown the pork cubes on all sides in the hot oil, and stir in the poblano, jalapeno, and serrano peppers, onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, and beef broth. (I prefer to brown my meat in a large skillet on the stove rather than in the pressure cooker.)

Lock the lid onto the pressure cooker.  Set the cooker to high and cook for 60 minutes.  Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before quick releasing any remaining pressure and safely removing lid.

Before serving, I put the pork meat in a shallow baking dish and browned it under the broiler for just a couple of minutes.

I served the carnitas with corn tortillas, rice and pinto beans.

Makes 12 servings



Pistachio Cake

I brought this cake to a Christmas luncheon.  Everyone loved it.  It is so light and'll want a second piece!

1 package white cake mix (regular size)
1 package (3.4 oz) instant pistachio  pudding mix
1 cup lemon-lime soda
1 cup canola oil
3 eggs
1 cup chopped walnuts

1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 package (3.4 oz) instant pistachio pudding mix
1 carton (8 oz) Cool Whip, thawed
1/2 cup pistachios, toasted
Whole red shell pistachios and fresh mint, optional

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients; beat on low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on medium for 2 minutes; stir in walnuts.

Pour into a greased 9x13 baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.
Garnish with whole pistachios and mint if desired.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Makes 12-15 servings

For frosting, in a large bowl, beat milk and pudding mix on low speed for 2 minutes.  Fold in Cool Whip. Spread over cake.  Sprinkle with pistachios.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before cutting.

Source:  Taste of Home - 2012


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Baked Ziti (Ziti al Forno)

I saw Lidia Bostianich make this Baked Ziti on television.  It looked heavenly!  My Mom apparently thought the same thing and called me that night and said, "Did you see what Lidia made today?  We have to make that!"  It was very good. 

kosher salt
1 lb ziti (or penne)
1 lb ricotta
9 fresh basil leaves (I omitted because I added spinach)
1 10oz pkg frozen chopped spinach, cooked and squeeze dried (my addition)
1 lb low-moisture mozzarella, shredded
1 cup shredded provola (I just used additional mozzarella instead)
5 cups Marinara sauce (or spaghetti sauce)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add ziti.  Cook the ziti until just al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes, drain.

Meanwhile, bring the marinara sauce to simmer in a large skillet.  Stir in the ricotta and basil leaves.

Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.  Layer half of the ziti on top of the sauce.  Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella and half of the provola.  If you are adding spinach, sprinkle half of the spinach on top of the cheese.  Pour 2 cups of the sauce over the spinach, and spread in an even layer.  Top with the rest of the pasta, the rest of the spinach and spread 2 cups sauce over that layer.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheeses.  Dollop with the remaining 1/2 cup of sauce.

Place the dish in the oven and bake, uncovered, until browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes.  Let rest 5 minutes before cutting.  (If you want to assemble this ahead of time, bake for 15 minutes covered with foil, then, when ready to serve, uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes)

* I found that is was not nearly hot enough after 30 minutes in the oven.  Next time I would microwave first until almost hot enough and then place in the oven until browned and bubbly.

* Since I omitted the basil from the recipe because I added spinach, I sprinkled a little dried oregano on one of the middle layers and on the very top before baking.

* If you wish, you could add cooked sausage or ground chuck.  I chose to serve this with a Mild Johnsonville Italian Sausage with a little spaghetti sauce poured on top of the sausage.

Serves 6-8

Source:  Lidia's Italy in America


Monday, January 21, 2013

Spaghetti Sauce

I tweaked the spaghetti sauce recipe that I have been making and I like this so much better.  I saw a tip on the internet to add balsamic vinegar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.  I also used chicken broth instead of water.  This is definitely going to be my go-to spaghetti sauce recipe.  I made a quadruple batch and froze it in quart Ziploc bags. 

3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 TBS olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

In a large saucepan, cook onion in oil until tender.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer for 40-50 minutes.

* Occasionally taste while this is simmering to see if you need to add more oregano and basil.

Yields approximately 4 1/2 cups of sauce


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Granola Bars

I was watching Ree Drummond make these granola bars on her show this week. I thought they looked absolutely delicious. Boy, was I right! You may add any variations of nuts or dried fruit that you wish.

6 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
1/4 cup canola oil
4 TBS butter, melted, plus more for greasing
1 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup molasses
3 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups rice cereal
1 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup roughly chopped almonds (I used about 1/3 cup)
8 ounces milk chocolate, melted (I used dark chocolate chips)

I also added:

1 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup cashews
1/3 cup sunflower seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, toss the oats with the canola oil, melted butter and salt. Spread the mixture out on 2 baking sheets and toast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, shaking the pan twice and making sure they don't burn. Remove from the oven and set aside. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, honey, apple juice and molasses. Heat the mixture slowly, stirring until all combined. Stir in the vanilla and remove from the heat.

Toss together the toasted oats, rice cereal, wheat germ, pecans and almonds (and any other fruit or nuts). Pour in the sugar mixture, stirring as you pour. Toss to combine; it will be sticky.

Press into a 10x15 baking sheet (throughly greased with butter) and bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut pieces with a sharp knife and remove from the pan. You can cut them while they're still warm if that's easier.

Dip the cooled granola bars straight into the melted chocolate so that the top is plain and the bottom is chocolate covered. Set on parchment until set, sticking in the fridge to hasten this along if necessary.

These would also be good with dates or dried cranberries.

Source: Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman, Food Network


Monday, January 14, 2013

Corn Bake

This is my sister Ada's recipe.  It went very well with our Thanksgiving dinner.  I also like to serve this as a side when we have a Mexican meal.

1 lb frozen corn, thawed and drained
1 can creamed corn
1 TBS sugar
1 stick of melted butter
1 cup sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
1 Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup cooked bacon, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together, however do not over mix.  Cover with foil.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

After removing the foil, you may sprinkle with additional shredded cheddar cheese if you wish.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut butter and chocolate are a wonderful combination. These are one of my favorite cookies.  I make them every Christmas, however, they are great any time of the year. 

1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 TBS milk
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Mix butter and peanut butter together until creamy.  Add brown sugar and white sugar.  Mix well.  Add eggs, vanilla and milk.  Stir together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add to creamed mixture.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls.  Place a 1/2 cup of white sugar in a bowl.  Roll the balls of dough in the sugar.  Place 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Check on the cookies after about 8 minutes.

Immediately after removing from the oven, press a Hershey's kiss in the center of each cookie.  Place the cookies on a rack to cool.

Makes 48 cookies


Refrigerator Dessert

My Mom made this dessert for a wedding shower many many years ago...before I was born.  Now I have been making it for parties and showers as well.  It is a versatile dessert because you can use any canned pie filling that you wish.  Many times I make half of the dessert with cherries and the other half with blueberries.  The dessert pictured he was made with blueberries.

3 cups graham cracker crumbs (a little more than 2 pkgs)
3/4 cup melted butter
2 - 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
4 TBS milk
2 envelopes of Dream Whip made according to the package (or sweetened Whipped Cream)
2 cans of pie filling (cherry, strawberry, raspberry or blueberry)

Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter.  Press mixture onto the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch cake pan.  Chill in the refrigerator until firm.  After the crust has chilled, cut around the edges of the pan before putting the next layer on top.  This makes it easier to remove the dessert from the pan.

Beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and milk until blended and smooth.  Spread over the crust.  Chill again until set.

Spread the pie filling over the cream cheese layer.  Spread Dream Whip (or Whipped Cream) on top of pie filling.

Chill overnight. 

Source:  My wonderful Mom


Avocado and Cilantro Deviled Eggs

I love avocados, cilantro and deviled eggs, so I knew I would enjoy this recipe.  It's healthier than regular deviled eggs because there is no mayonnaise. 

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1 ripe avocado
1/2 tsp lime juice
1 TBS finely minced red onion (I omitted)
1 TBS finely chopped cilantro
A few dashes of Tabasco sauce (I added more than just a few!)
A few grinds of pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Cut eggs in half lengthwise.  Carefully scoop out the yolks and put into a medium bowl.  Put egg halves on to a platter and put into the fridge.

With a fork, crumble up the egg yolks.  Or, for a smoother filling, press yolks through a fine sieve.  Cut avocado in half and remove the pit.  Scoop out the avocado flesh and add it to the egg yolks.  With a spoon, mix well, until the yolks and avocado are creamy.  Add lime juice and mix well.  Add red onion, cilantro, Tabasco, pepper and salt.  Mix well to combine.

Remove egg halves from the fridge.  Using a small cookie scoop or a piping bag, fill the avocado yolk mixture into the egg halves.  Garnish with a single cilantro leaf.  Serve immediately, or before the avocado turns brown.

I placed my avocados in the fridge in a covered container.  I first sprinkled them with lime juice and placed the avocado pit in the container as well.  My avocado eggs did not turn brown.



Mushroom Spinach Pinwheels

I clipped this contest winning recipe out of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  I thought it would be perfect to bring to a get-together at a friend's house.  Everyone loved them.  Spinach and mushrooms are a great flavor combination.

1 8-oz pkg reduced fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), softened
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS flour
1 10-oz pkg frozen chopped spinach
2 TBS butter
2 1/2 cups finely chopped fresh mushrooms
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup grated nonfat Parmesan cheese
1 egg white
1 TBS water

In a large bowl beat together cream cheese and the 2/3 cup butter.  Add 2 cups flour; beat well.  Divide dough into two balls; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 30-60 minutes or until pastry is easy to handle.  

For the filling, cook spinach according to package directions; drain.  Squeeze out excess liquid; set aside.

In a large skillet melt the 2 TBS butter.  Add mushrooms and onion.  Cook and stir over medium heat for 3 minutes or until onion is tender.  Add spinach, remaining 1 TBS flour, oregano, salt, lemon juice and garlic powder.  Cook and stir until mixture thickens.  Stir in Parmesan cheese.  Set aside to cool.

On floured surface roll one of the pastry balls into a 12x7 inch rectangle.  Spread with half the spinach mixture all the way to the edges.  Starting with a short side, roll up dough and filling, jelly-roll style.  Moisten the edges with water; pinch to seal.  Cover; chill for 1 hour.  Repeat with remaining pastry. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the egg white and water.  Slice logs into 1/2 inch thick slices (15 slices per log).  Place on ungreased baking sheets; brush with egg mixture.  Bake 20 minutes or until golden.  Remove to wire racks; cool.

Makes 30

For a head start on these appetizers, freeze the unbaked slices up to 3 months; bake as directed.

Source:  Better Homes and Gardens