Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sweet Honey Corn Bread

Corn bread goes great with any Mexican meal or with chili.  I served this warm with a little sprinkle of sugar on top. 

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 to 2/3 cup honey (or you may use sugar)
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray or lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, salt and baking powder.  Stir in honey, egg, milk and vegetable oil until well combined. 

Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Serves 6

Source:  The Taylor House


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This Chicken Enchilada Casserole is easy and delicious.  If you buy a rotisserie chicken or have chicken already shredded and in the freezer, this dish can be on the table in no time at all.  It's great for a busy weeknight dinner.  The chilies in this recipe are not hot at all.  They add a mild Mexican flavor to the dish.

Vegetable oil spray
6  7-inch flour tortillas (I used Chi-Chi's brand 'Flour and Corn Enchilada Style Tortillas')
2 10-ounce cans enchilada sauce, such as Old El Paso
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
1 4.5 oz can mild chopped green chilies, drained
3 cups cooked and shredded chicken
3 cups (12 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Garnish with any or all of the following:
sliced black olives
green onions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a skillet with vegetable oil spray and heat over medium-high heat.  One at a time, add the tortillas to the skillet and cook, turning them every 30 to 40 seconds, until they are well toasted.  Using tongs, transfer them to a cutting board to cool.  When cool enough to handle, slice them into strips 1 to 2 inches wide.  I also cut each strip into thirds.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the enchilada sauce, the sour cream and green chilies.  Stir in the shredded chicken.

Spread a thin layer of the remaining enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.  Add a single layer of the tortilla strips to completely cover the bottom of the pan, followed by half of the chicken mixture and one third of the Jack cheese.  Repeat layering with the tortilla strips, chicken, enchilada sauce, Jack cheese, tortilla strips and ending with the cheese on top.  

Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake until the cheese is bubbling, 5 to 10 more minutes.  Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with desired garnishes before serving.

Serves:  6 to 8

Source:  In The Kitchen With David - David Venable


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

I was at an Amish bakery and found a pan of day-old cinnamon rolls on special.  I knew right away that I needed them to make this delicious recipe. 

Bread Pudding

5 to 6 cups of Cinnamon Rolls cut into 1 1/2" pieces.  

Place cinnamon roll cubes in an 8 x 8 inch greased baking dish.

Whisk together:

1 cup whipping cream
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1 TBS vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the mixture evenly over the cinnamon roll cubes, pressing down slightly to make sure all the cubes are soaked.  Let stand for a half hour for the custard to fully absorb.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45-50 minutes until the custard is set and no longer liquid in the center. Let the bread pudding stand for about 20 minutes before serving. Serve with a generous drizzle of homemade caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce:

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup butter, cut into small cubes
4 TBS water
1 cup whipping cream
Mix the sugar and water in a large saucepan. NOTE: I use a large saucepan of about 3 quarts or larger because the sugar foams up when you add the butter and cream so make sure you have a large enough pot.
Boil the sugar and water over medium heat until the mixture begins to turn a light to medium amber color. The real skill in making caramel sauce does come with experience and knowing the point at which the color is perfect. Good advice for beginners is that it is better to be a little too light in color rather than a little too dark because too dark a caramel can often taste a little burnt. It is very easy to burn this mixture which can happen very quickly once the proper color is achieved, so have your butter and cream at the ready, as timing is crucial for this recipe.
Do not stir the boiling sugar, this can cause it to crystallize. If you find the sugar starts to crystallize, use a pastry brush to brush water around the inside edge of the pot as it boils. You may have to do this several times. Carefully swirling the pan occasionally is also helpful to avoid crystallization of the sugar.
When the color is right, quickly add the butter and stir quickly until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat immediately and pour in the whipping cream, stirring constantly until the sauce is uniformly smooth. Cool completely. Store in an airtight plastic container or in a mason jar. This sauce is fantastic with almost any apple dessert or for great caramel sundaes.

You will want to prepare the ingredients and have them at the ready. Timing is very important in a good caramel sauce, so having the butter and cream ready at the crucial point is critical to the success of your sauce. You will also want to be very careful when preparing caramel sauce; when the sugar syrup hits the right stage to add the butter and cream it will be over 300 degrees so it is important to take particular care. It is also very important to use a proper sized pot. Although the recipe only makes about 2 cups, you will need a 2 1/2 to 3 quart heavy bottomed saucepan because the sugar syrup will foam up considerably and produce a considerable amount of steam when the butter is added and again when the cream is added. 

Makes 3 cups of caramel sauce

Serves: 6 to 8 

Mexican Breakfast Burritos

These burritos are a handy for a breakfast on the go.  I freeze these burritos and reheat them in the microwave for a quick breakfast. Black beans are a good source of low-fat protein, so you need fewer eggs and less cheese.  The fiber in the beans keeps you full longer, too.  Only 9.6 grams of fat and 243 calories in each burrito.

1 (15 oz) can unsalted black beans, drained
2 tsp fresh lime juice
Cooking spray
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 cup refrigerated fresh salsa
2 oz crumbled cotija cheese (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup cilantro (optional)
Lime wedges (optional)

Place beans and lime juice in a small bowl; mash with the back of a spoon until almost smooth.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat with cooking spray.  Add eggs to pan.  Cook, without stirring, until mixture sets on bottom.  Draw a spatula across pan to form curds.

Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until egg is thickened but still moist.  Remove from pan immediately.

Heat skillet over medium heat.  Coast pan with cooking spray.  Add 1 tortilla to pan.  Heat 20 seconds on each side or just until soft.  Remove from pan and keep warm.  Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas.

Spoon 2 tablespoons bean mixture, 2 1/2 tablespoons egg, 2 tablespoons salsa, 1 tablespoon cheese down center of each tortilla and cilantro (if using).  Roll up.  Re-coat skillet with cooking spray. Place burritos in pan, and cook over medium heat 4 minutes or until lightly browned, turning occasionally. 

Garnish with lime wedges, if desired.

Serves 8

Source:  Cooking Light, Comfort Food Favorites


Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake

I have been making this cake for years. It is a great cake to take to a big gathering since it serves a lot. Who doesn't love chocolate cake with chocolate icing?

Cake Ingredients:
2 sticks butter
5 TBS cocoa
1 cup water
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla

Combine butter, cocoa and water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium-low heat; stirring constantly.  Add flour, sugar, salt and baking soda to chocolate mixture.  Mix well to combine.

Beat eggs, sour cream and vanilla together and add to cake mixture. Stir to combine.

Pour cake batter into a greased 10x15 pan.  Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Icing Ingredients:
1 stick butter
4-5 TBS cocoa
6 TBS milk
Dash of salt
1 tsp Vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

While the cake is baking, combine the butter, cocoa, milk and salt in a sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat until the butter has melted; stir constantly.  Do not boil.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and powdered sugar.  Ice the cake as soon as you remove it from the oven.  Sprinkle with pecans if using.


"Fire" Crackers

I made these "fire" crackers for our Independence Day picnic.  They were delicious and a bit addicting.  You can add as much or as little of the hot pepper flakes as you prefer.  I like them nice and spicy!

1 cup canola oil
1 pkg ranch dressing mix
2 - 3 TBS red pepper flakes
3-4 sleeves of saltine crackers
Mix the oil, ranch dressing mix and pepper flakes together in a mixing bowl.  Add the crackers and gently toss for about 5 minutes to get them thoroughly coated.
Place crackers on a cookie sheet and drizzle any of the remaining spice mix over the crackers. Bake at 250 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.  Toss about halfway through. Let them cool and then store in a bag.  These crackers taste great alone or with some cheese slices!

Chocolate Mint Fudge

My niece made this creamy fudge for Christmas last year. It was absolutely delicious. I hope she makes it every year!

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup mint Andi-Candies
Dash of salt
14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix the first four ingredients together and melt on low until smooth.  Add marshmallows and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour into foil lined 9x9 sprayed with cooking spray and let set for 2-4 hours.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

20 Minute Perfect Poached Chicken

This method of poaching chicken is so easy.  The chicken turns out very moist and delicious.   I like to chop or shred the chicken and keep some in the freezer.  When I want to make a chicken salad, chicken enchiladas, or any recipe that calls for chicken, its all cooked and ready!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
water or chicken broth
Salt, pepper or your favorite herbs

Place the chicken in a single layer in a large sauté pan and cover with water or chicken broth.  If you wish, you may add salt and pepper or herbs.  Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

After the water has come to a boil, cover the pan, turn off the heat, and let the chicken sit for 20 minutes.  Keep the lid on the chicken.  After 20 minutes, transfer the chicken to a plate.  Shred or chop as desired.

Makes about 3 cups

Source:  Eat What You Love - Marlene Koch


Caramel Toffee Fruit Dip

When my niece stayed overnight at my house, I made her this fruit dip for a snack. She really enjoyed this dip with apple slices.

1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
5 TBS toffee bits
1 TBS toffee bits

Combine the yogurt, sour cream, brown sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Stir in 5 TBS toffee bits.  Place dip into serving container and top with additional 1 TBS toffee bits.

Serves 12 (serving size: about 2 TBS)

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine - December 2013


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Simple Red Wine Mushroom Sauce

Steak and mushrooms...a perfect combination!

2 dozen (1 1/2 lbs) oyster or button mushrooms, sliced
1 TBS olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in sauté pan.  Add mushrooms.

Cook on high heat for about 6 to 8 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Add red wine.  Cover and let wine and mushrooms simmer for about 10 minutes or so until the wine is no longer red and turns brown and the mushrooms are tender.

Add heavy cream, stir well and cook on low for 2 to 5 minutes to infuse the flavors.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve 6

Source:  Food Network


Easy Spicy Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles

I was at the farmer's market and bought some really nice pickling cucumbers.  I absolutely love garlic and dill so I thought I would give this recipe a try.  I like that this makes a small batch.

4 - 5 small pickling cucumbers, quartered - do not peel them.  (Pickling cucumbers are the ones with the poky little things on the skin)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp dill weed
1 tsp red pepper flakes (these pickles are quite spicy, use less or omit if you do not want them spicy)

1 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1 TBS salt
2 TBS granulated sugar

Sterilize a quart canning jar.

Place crushed garlic, dill and red pepper flakes in the jar.

Quarter 4 to 5 small pickling cucumbers and place in the jar until filled, but not too tightly.  Allow room for the vinegar mixture to soak in.

In a small pot over medium heat, stir water, vinegar, salt and sugar until completely dissolved.

Pour vinegar mixture over the pickles.

Allow to cool, cover with band and lid and refrigerate.  Let sit in refrigerator for at least 48 hours before eating so the garlic and dill have time to flavor the pickles.

Since these pickles are not sealed, they must be kept in the refrigerator and not on the pantry shelf.

Makes 1 quart



Monday, September 1, 2014

Cabbage with Parsley and Lemon

If the sulfur smell of cooked cabbage turns you off, soak the cabbage in cold water for about three minutes prior to cooking it.  Your house will not smell like cabbage.  I was amazed that this worked!  If you don't believe me, try it out on this easy and tasty recipe.

1 small head green cabbage (1 1/4 lbs), cored and sliced thin crosswise
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 onion, halved and sliced thin
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Soak cabbage in cold water for 3 minutes in a large bowl or salad spinner.  Drain well, but do not spin dry,  Set aside.  Heat 1 TBS oil in a 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add onion and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, about 6 to 7 minutes.  Transfer the onions to a small bowl.

Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add cabbage and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Cover and cook without stirring until cabbage is wilted and lightly browned on bottom, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Uncover and stir cabbage.  Continue cooking uncovered until cabbage is evenly tender-crisp about four minutes more, stirring only once halfway through cooking.  If cabbage is insufficiently browned when stirred, increase the heat to high for the last 2 minutes of cooking time.  Remove pan from the heat.  Add onion, parsley and lemon juice and toss until evenly combined. 

Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6

Source:  Cook's Country Magazine


Toffee Almond Squares

It looks like this recipe is complicated but it really is not.  It goes together rather quickly.  I like the idea of drizzling bittersweet chocolate on top as regular sweetened chocolate would be too sweet.  These bars had the perfect amount of sweetness to them.  They were delicious!

1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
8 TBS unsalted butter, melted
1 TBS water

Toffee Layer:
6 TBS unsalted butter
1 cup Heath Toffee Bits (Make sure you purchase the bits that do not have the chocolate on them)
6 TBS granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup whole raw, unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

For the crust:  Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Make a foil sling for a 9x13 pan by folding 2 long sheets of aluminum foil; first sheet should be 13 inches long and second sheet should be 9 inches long.  Lay the sheets of foil in the pan perpendicular to each other, with extra foil handing over the edges of the pan.  Push foil into the corners and up the sides of the pan, smoothing foil flush to the pan.  Spray lightly with vegetable oil spray.

Process flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar and salt in a food processor until combined, about 3 seconds  With processor running, slowly pour in melted butter and water and process until dough resembles wet sand, about 20 seconds.

Transfer dough to prepared pan and press into an even layer with your fingers or the bottom of a measuring cup.  Bake until just golden around the edges, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.  Transfer to a wire rack.

For the toffee layer:  Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add toffee, sugar and salt and cook, whisking frequently, until toffee pieces are melted and mixture comes together, about 3 minutes.  It may appear separated at first but it will come together though constant whisking.  Pour toffee mixture over the crust and spread evenly with the back of a metal spoon.  Sprinkle chopped almonds evenly over the top.  Bake until the toffee bubbles in the center, about 12 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Cool bars on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours.

Using foil overhang, lift the bars from the pan and place onto a cutting board; discard the foil.  Microwave chocolate in a bowl at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until melted, 1 to 2 minutes.  Using a fork, drizzle chocolate over the toffee bars and let sit until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.  Cut into 24 pieces to serve.  (Toffee bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days)

**Instead of drizzling the chocolate over the bars with a fork, I spooned the chocolate into a Ziploc bag and snipped a small piece of the corner of the bag.  That worked much better. 

Because these are rather sweet, I cut my bars smaller into 32 squares instead of 24.

Makes 24 - 32 squares

Source:  Cooks Country Magazine



This coleslaw is a great side to serve with a burger or Sloppy Joes.  It is so easy to make and tastes delicious. Why buy it at a deli when homemade is so much better?  

2 - 16 oz bags of tri-color coleslaw (red and green cabbage with carrots)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk (or add 1 tsp lemon juice to 1/4 cup milk, let sit a few minutes until slightly curdled)
2 TBS maple syrup
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp celery seed, optional
Whisk dressing ingredients together until well blended.  Place coleslaw into a serving bowl and add dressing until you reach a desired consistency.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serves 6
Source: Nigella Lawson