Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Prep

I should've done this earlier - but better late than never - right??

Bell peppers
Cucumber slices
Black olives
Blue cheese stuffed green olives
Artichoke dip & chips
*We usually also do asparagus wrapped in ham - but I dropped the ball

Sweet Broccoli Salad
My Mom's Famous Rolls
Ham Sauce 
Decadent Mashed Potatoes (usually we have Funeral Potatoes but we just had them last week & the kids are craving my mash)

December 23

Sweet Salad Dressing for the Broccoli Salad: My dressing is usually pink by the time I dress the salad bc of the purple onion in it - but I didn't feel like cutting onions today. This dressing just gets better the longer it sits - no brainer!
 Ham Sauce: Game changer people. So glad I found this. Also gets better the longer it sits.
Artichoke Dip: add all ingredients and combine thoroughly, put in a 9x13" casserole dish, cover w plastic wrap and put in your refrigerator. Christmas Day, bring it out of the fridge about an hour before you want to cook it (I generally take it out after breakfast so we can munch on it in the afternoon) then bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, bread chunks, celery sticks, carrots - whatever!!

December 24
Decadent Mashed Potatoes make and refrigerate instead of putting in the oven. Pull out after breakfast so it has time to come up to room temperature before putting it in the oven.
Sweet Broccoli Salad - make and dress

December 25
Mis en place (cutting/prep) for apps


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dill Pickles

Dill Pickles
2 large cucumbers (or 4-6 pickling cucumbers), cut into spears or sliced

16 sprigs fresh dill, divided

4 garlic cloves, smashed, divided

4 tsp black peppercorns, divided

4 pinches red pepper flakes, divided

For the Brine:
4 cups water
8 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons kosher salt

Add 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 teaspoon of peppercorns, 1 pinch of red pepper flakes and 2 springs of dill to the bottom of four pint-size canning jars.

Add the cut cucumbers to the jars, packing them tightly and adding as many as you can without forcing them into the jars.

In a 4-cup measuring cup or small bowl, stir together the water, vinegar and salt until the salt has completely dissolved. Pour the brine mixture into each jar, completely covering the cucumbers. Add 2 additional sprigs of dill to each jar and affix the lids.

Refrigerate for at least 12 hours, but preferably up to 2 days before eating (this allows the flavors to fully absorb). If you remember, give the jars a gentle shake every now and then during this initial chilling time. The pickles will last up to 2 months in the refrigerator.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bread and Butter Pickles

I decided that I wanted to show my girls how to make pickles - but I've never made them before. I did a little research and came up with these - and man o man are they delicious!!

Bread and Butter Pickles
5½ c (about 1½ pounds) thinly sliced pickling cucumbers

1½ T kosher salt

1 c thinly sliced sweet onion

1 c granulated sugar

1 c white vinegar

½ c apple cider vinegar

¼ c light brown sugar

2 tsp Ball mixed pickling spice

Combine cucumbers and salt in a large, shallow bowl; cover and chill 1½ hours. Move cucumbers into a colander and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Drain well, and return cucumbers to bowl. Add onion to the bowl and toss with the cucumbers.

Combine the granulated sugar, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and Ball mixed pickling spice in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture; let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hamburger Soup

Mr. Man is getting so big. I have encouraged my kids to cook and experiment since they were old enough to dump cans of beans into a crock pot. He has really taken an interest in cooking and for the last year or so has talked about being a chef and having his own restaurant. 

He is in our local Boy Scout program and a friend of mine organized a way for the Scouts to earn their cooking badge in 4 classes this summer - love that I have such amazing friends!! 

One of the things the Scouts made in one of their classes was Hamburger Soup. They sent homework home with him and he had to meal plan for 3 meals a day for 3 days. One of the dinners he wrote down was Hamburger Soup. 

We turned the page after he had completed the menu plans and DOH! Read that he had to make a breakfast, lunch and dinner from the menu plan he just created. SOOOOO… Hamburger soup...

Hamburger Soup
2 1/2 lbs lean ground hamburger
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
14 oz can diced tomatoes
3 c beef broth
4 whole carrots, peeled and sliced
5 whole red potatoes, chunked
3 T tomato paste
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t black pepper
2 t dried parsley flakes
1/2 t ground oregano
1/4 t cayenne pepper

Brown hamburger, onion, and garlic. Add the rest. Stir all together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

*My family bumped up the salt and pepper quite a bit. My husband, daughter and I also added a little hot sauce to ours. A great meal to feed a large group - and mild enough for all palettes. That's where the extra seasoning comes in if you're so inclined...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Freeze Extra Zucchini

You may have noticed that I'm posting a lot about summer squash, zucchini, etc. My garden this year is EXPLODING!! My husband & his friends are a little bugged about it taking over our horse shoe pit :)

We have pumpkins, watermelon, zucchini, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, acorn squash and another squash that I haven't figured out what type it is. 

In this box we did herbs, peppers and tomatoes. 9 herbs, peppers, jalapeño and 6 different types of heirloom tomatoes. So my posts will continue to revolve around these ingredients for a few more months. I'll be sure to pepper in other recipes - but if you have a garden - check here often for different ideas and preparations.

Which brings me to this: what do you do when you have squash coming out of your ears? We really try to eat most of what we grow. The kids really enjoy going out into the garden to get the ingredients, herbs, etc and then also love washing, prep work and cooking. It's a source of pride for all of us! 

This year is the first time that I am going to try to freeze zucchini (or any kind of squash you have) - to be used in Sept/Oct.

Then we give it away to neighbors, friends.

Get your zucchini, squash, pumpkin, whatever and dice them into rustic chunks. I did it in batches for a couple hours one day. I separated the zucchini from the squash, since I have a few different squashes - I separate them from each other too.

When the water comes to a boil, add your cut vegetables to the pot and begin timing. You're going for crunchy al dente. For small wedges like those shown here, test them after a minute. For larger rounds, it will take more like 1-2 minutes.

Scoop the vegetables out of the water and transfer them immediately to the water bath to stop the cooking and then drain. 

Put them in a freeze tight bag - label the front with what it is "Zucchini 8.01"

Then when we get a little fall snap - you know that you've got all that delicious stuff just waiting to comfort you!!

Summer Squash Gratin

I asked for recipes for squash and zucchini from friends on fb and this is one response I got. It's from HERE She calls it "Summer Squash Gratin with Salsa Verde" Having lived in New Mexico for the last 6 years, I have been SCHOOLED in the ways and of the importance of Salsa Verde. Salsa Verde - this is not - not even close. 

I've made a few changes and liked what I came up with! 

Summer Squash Gratin
2 pounds summer squash (or zucchini - whatever you have!)
1 1/2 c panko
3 Tbsp butter
3/4 c thinly sliced shallots
1 c grated gruyere cheese (I always add more cheese)
1/4 c dressing (below)
Salt & pepper

1 T thyme leaves
1 t oregano leaves
1/4 c coarsely chopped mint leaves
1 c coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 small cloves garlic
1 salt-packed anchovy, rinsed and bones removed (or 2 t anchovy paste)
1 T capers, drained
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 lemon, or more to taste

Heat your oven to 400°F. 

Place breadcrumbs in a small bowl. In a small skillet or saucepan, melt butter and keep cooking it over medium heat until it browns and smells nutty. Carefully pour (in a small drizzle at first) over breadcrumbs and be sure to scrape out any brown bits from the pot. Toss crumbs to evenly coat.

Make the dressing by blending the herbs in a food processor or blender with garlic, anchovy and capers until it forms a paste, scraping down as needed. With the machine running, stream in the olive oil in a drizzle. Season with salt and black pepper. Add lemon juice to taste.

Add shallots, gruyere, half the breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup dressing and some freshly ground black pepper to the bowl with the summer squash and toss. Transfer to a 9×9-inch baking dish. Scatter remaining breadcrumbs over the top and bake 35 to 40 minutes, until the squash is tender and the crumbs are crisp.

Garlic Herbed Butter

Flavored butter!! Yum! I eat this on toast, on salmon, with ciabatta and I just read that one of my culinary idols, Tom Colicchio, uses herbed butter on his turkey!! Give it a whirl!

Garlic Herbed Butter
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp fresh parsley
2 Tbsp fresh chives
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 c butter, softened

Combine ingredients in food processor and pulse. Place onto a piece of wax paper and form into a log. Wrap in wax paper and twist ends. Refrigerate.

Green Goddess Mayonnaise

I saw a recipe for a Green Goddess Sandwich on Pinterest here. I plan to make a sandwich very similar to that one this week - but tonight - I already planned to have hamburgers - so I decided to make Green Goddess hamburgers!!

They were so delicious. I used our family's favorite beef patty, cheddar, havarti, avocado and tomato - so good!

Green Goddess Mayonnaise
1 c mayonnaise
1/3 c chopped chives
1/3 c chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp anchovy paste or 2 anchovy filets
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients with your immersion blender. Chill in the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fried Zucchini and Dipping Sauce

We planted a garden this year - we have zucchini, summer squash, butternut squash, calabacita squash, pumpkins, watermelons, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeños and herbs coming out of our ears.

I've come up with some pretty creative ways to eat these items - and yesterday I broke down and bought a deep fryer. A deep fryer. I know. When my husband saw it he said "uh. We really don't eat deep fried food - what are you going to use that for?" hahaha. We'll see how this kitchen accessory fares here.

Most of my recipes are a combination of at least 2 recipes or have been inspired by something I read or saw. I saw this recipe on the Food Network "Neely's Fried Zucchini"but had to make changes bc of our egg and peanut allergies. I also make the dipping sauce - which was good but not fantastic - still on the search for a perfect compliment to this fried zucchini...

Fried Zucchini
Canola oil, for frying
3 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 c milk
1/2 c sour cream

Dipping Sauce
Ranch dressing
1 cup sour cream
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.

Measure flour into a pie plate. In another pie plate combine panko, Parmesan, parsley, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper, to taste. In a third plate add sour cream and milk. Whisk the sour cream and milk together to get a good consistency (this is where you would normally use eggs). Dredge the zucchini in the flour, followed by the milk and finally in the panko.

Working in batches, place the breaded zucchini slices in the hot oil and fry until golden brown, 2 minutes. Drain on a paper towel lined sheet tray and immediately season with salt and pepper.

For the sauce:

Add all the ingredients into a serving bowl and mix until incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and let flavors marinate for at least 1 hour.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Watermelon and Halloumi

I have been LOVING watermelon salads this summer. I found this recipe in the July/August issue of Food Network Magazine - it's a good one from Michael Symon.

He uses Halloumi (a Mediterranean/ Greek cheese) and I couldn't find that here at my local grocery - but I did find Queso Panaela (a Mexican cheese) here and that is a good substitute. They both can be heated to high temperatures without melting…

Watermelon and Halloumi
1 tsp minced shallot
1 tsp minced garlic
Kosher salt
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1 T honey
1/2 c plus 1 T evoo
2 T sliced almonds, toasted
2 T chopped fresh mint
8 small wedges seedless watermelon (I did big steaks)
8 oz Halloumi or Queso Panela cheese, cut into 8 slices

Place shallot and garlic in a mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt. Add the vinegar and honey and whisk. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil, then add the almonds and mint.

Place the watermelon in a shallow dish. Pour the dressing on top, cover and let marinate 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the remaining oil. Sear the cheese 1 minute per side, them remove from the pan. Top each with a piece of marinated watermelon.

*I didn't add the almonds to the marinade - I like them crunchy. I also put the cheese on top - super delicious!!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Jack's Pizza Pie

I could talk non stop for years about my only son's redeeming qualities, talents, funny quips, ideas, etc. See I'm already on a roll! We make pizza quite often around here - the kids love when we do pizza night - they love the freedom they have in making their own mini pizzas THEIR own way.

A few weeks ago on pizza night, I was making strawberry pie for dessert while the kids were assembling their pizzas. I saw Jack's face light up. "Mom - what if we made a 'pizza pie'!" I told him that was a great idea - and they do make pizza pies - but they are called calzones. We talked about the ingredients he'd like to have in his and asked when we could make those marvelous pizza pies.

A few days later - I took him shopping with me and let him decide on the ingredients he wanted to include. While we have made pizza dough, my fall back is our local pizzeria. They sell dough for a large pizza for $3. We take it home, cut it into 4 pieces and let the kids go nuts.

You can brush the top of the calzones with a little egg wash to make them nice and brown - I don't do that bc of food allergies in our house...

Jack's Pizza Pie
Pizza dough
Ricotta cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Ground sausage, cooked
Pepperoni slices
Green peppers
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
Corn meal

No measurements - bc you can do it to your liking - the sky is the limit! Put your filling toward one side of a rectangular piece of pizza dough. Try to keep in in a nice circular pile. Fold the rectangular side without the filling over the top and pinch the envelope closed.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes - delicious!!

Yocum's Italian Pasta Salad

My husbands cousin brought over this life changing pasta salad for a family party several years ago. We couldn't stop eating it. I've made it several times since - but just recently realized I'd never posted the recipe! Shame on me :)

I made it again for a 4th of July BBQ we had - and as usual - it was a hit!

Yocum's Italian Pasta Salad
16 oz pasta (I like the tricolored spirals)
Italian dressing (your favorite - mine is Paul Newman Garlic Italian Parmesan)
Sun dried tomatoes (+some of the oil from the jar), diced
Tomato and basil feta, crumbled
Salami or summer sausage, diced
Bell peppers (all 4 colors), diced
Italian herb seasoning (I get the blend from Costco)
Garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta as directed on package. Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until serving - the longer the better!!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms

These are AMAZING!!! My husband picked up some stuffed mushrooms at our local grocery store a few days ago. They were so good - they were the first thing gone - and the favorite of the night. Considering we had both chicken and steak kabobs with onions and assorted peppers along side roasted potatoes - that is really saying something.

I made these a few days later and the kids couldn't get enough. Next time I am going to use big portabella mushrooms and serve them like steaks… drooling…

Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms

1 medium prepackaged container of baby bella mushrooms
Fresh spinach, roughly chopped
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Wipe mushrooms with a damp towel. Add spinach to each mushroom. Top with mozzarella, sprinkle with salt, pepper & garlic powder. Grill on medium heat for about 15 minutes - until the cheese is all melty and the mushroom gives when you pick it up with tongs.

*You can also cook these in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Aunt Leah's Zucchini Bread

I didn't grow up eating zucchini bread. I didn't grow up with a garden - my thumb was BLACK until just a few years ago when I did the research and figured things out through trial and error.

My Mother In Law grew up gardening. Her father taught ALL THIRTEEN of his children the art of gardening, planting flowers - the whole she-bang. Now - if I had 13 kids - you better believe we would be living on a farm just to feed all those kids!

My husbands Grandpa passed away before he was born so he never had the chance to get to know him (obviously neither did I) but his traditions have been passed down and that is something I really love.

My husbands Aunt Leah makes the most AMAZING zucchini bread on the planet. She shared her simple recipe with me and I've been making it for the last 17+ years. 
Aunt Leah's Zucchini Bread
3 eggs
1 c nuts
3 c flour
1 c sugar
1 t salt
1 c oil
2 t cinnamon
2 c grated zucchini
1 t baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1 T vanilla extract

Grease the inside of 2 pans and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs with electric mixer, then stir in sugar, oil, zucchini and vanilla. Combine flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. Add to wet mixture and mis well. stir in nuts. Bake for about 1 hour.

* I just throw everything willy nilly into my mixer and let it do the work for me. Also, bc I have a child that has a peanut and tree nut allergy - so I eliminate the nuts. Serve with a pat of cold butter and you'll be in heaven.

Eggless Zucchini Bread

We planted a garden this year - it has been so fun watching everything grow! I'll post pictures of it soon. We planted a few varieties of squash, zucchini and pumpkins. Lots of herbs and of course tomatoes.

The first to grow were the zucchinis!! Some of them great big! One of my kids is allergic to eggs, so I searched for a recipe that didn't include eggs - found one!

Eggless Zucchini Bread
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups granulated white sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini (peeled or unpeeled)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp each baking powder, baking soda, and salt
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Combine all ingredients in order in large mixing bowl. (If desired, add in 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips coated with flour to prevent sinking.) Pour into 2 large greased loaf pans. Bake 45 to 50 minutes in 375 degree oven. Cool 10 minutes in pan then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

I saw this on Pinterest - of course - I've made a few variations of quinoa salad many times - we love it. See my regulars HERE & HERE but I haven't tried it this way yet!

Just before I took this picture - this raggedy little 6 year old said "Mom - I luuuuv quinoa!"

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
3 cups cooked quinoa
1 (4-ounce) can green chiles
1 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup petite diced tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 bell peppers, tops cut, stemmed and seeded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine quinoa, green chiles, corn, beans, tomatoes, cheese, cilantro, cumin, garlic, onion and chili powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
Spoon the filling each each bell pepper cavity. Place on prepared baking dish, cavity side up, and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through, about 25-30 minutes.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Kid Friendly Pasta Salad

I got this recipe from the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond and only changed it a bit. I didn't have tomatoes on hand and I actually ran out of Cheddar cheese (GASP!) so I used Colby Jack - really any cheese will do - this would be good with mozzarella or swiss too.

Kid Friendly Pasta Salad
12 ounces fun-shaped pasta, such as radiator
8 slices thin bacon
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup whole milk (I used 2%)
4 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
10 ounces grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/2 pound Cheddar, cut into small cubes
3 green onions, thinly sliced
Ground black pepper

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Then drain and rinse in cold water until cool. Set aside.

Cut the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces and throw into a large skillet. Saute until slightly crisp, and then remove to a paper-towel-lined-plate.

For the dressing, mix the mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, salt, and sugar in a small bowl.

Stir together the pasta, dressing, tomatoes, bacon, cheese and green onions in a large mixing bowl. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed.

Asian Salad with Peanut Dressing

I saw a similar salad on the Food Network site. I adapted both the dressing and the salad to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand. It was so good! Fresh and crunchy with a little heat.

Asian Salad with Peanut Dressing
1/2 head of Napa Cabbage
Shredded carrots
4 green onions, diced
Mandarine oranges
Peanuts (crushed into small bits)

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
Few drops of Sriracha to taste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup canola oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

You know what to do…

Let the dressing marry in the refrigerator for at least an hour before dressing the salad. Top with crushed peanuts and serve immediately.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Eating Healthy: Restaurant Menu Guide

I saw this on Pinterest - it's a good one to share!! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Grilled Caesar Salad

As I said - my husbands favorite meal includes Caesar Salad. I wanted to do a spin on it - and this is what I came up with…

Kind of a "wedge salad" idea. He loved it! Make this delicious Caesar Dressing with it!! 

I love the Tanimura & Antle Artisan Romain lettuce heads - I find them at Costco - the package they come in actually inspired me to grill the lettuce!! 

Grilled Caesar Salad
2 romaine heads of lettuce cut in half length wise 
Parmesan Romano (I like the shredded kind - not the powdery stuff)
Caesar Dressing

Heat up the grill on Med/High for a couple minutes (or wait until you take the meat you are grilling off to rest and put the Romaine heads on).

Prepare the lettuce by drizzling both sides of the wedge with olive oil. My favorite is the "Mediterranean Blend Oil" they sell at Costco (I feel like I should be getting paid for all these Costco references - haha) It is a blend of Canola, Olive and Grape seed oils. It is absolutely FANTASTIC!

Grill for about 45 seconds per side.

Drizzle with Caesar dressing. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan Romano. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the asiago and add those too. 

Serve with croutons (sorry they aren't pictured). YUMMY!!!

Caesar Dressing

My husbands favorite meal is steak, potatoes and Caesar Salad. 

6 or 7 years ago, I stopped buying bottled dressing and have been making dressing from scratch. As a friend of mine said - the thing that really takes a salad over the top is the dressing! I've made this a few times recently to perfect it and it is so delicious!!

I got this recipe off the Food Network site - it's a Pioneer Woman recipe.

Caesar Dressing

4 whole anchovy fillets

2 1/2 T Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar (balsamic makes it nice and rich)

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled

1/2 whole lemon, juiced

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Freshly ground black pepper

Place the anchovies into a blender or food processor. Throw in the Dijon mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, garlic and lemon juice. Pulse the processor or blend on low speed for several seconds. Scrape down the sides.

With the food processor or blender on, drizzle the olive oil into the mixture in a small stream. Scrape down the sides. Add the Parmesan and a generous grind of black pepper. Pulse the whole thing together and mix until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate the dressing for a few hours (it just gets better!) before using it on the salad.

*Note that I didn't add salt. The anchovies are salty enough for this dressing.

Jack's Favorite Salsa

My son loves to cook. He has been saying that he wants to be a chef and own his own restaurant for several years now. He is 11 and is quite the cook!!

He is always trying to think of new combinations and new recipes.

He took an after school class last semester called "cooking and baking" that was taught by my good friend Lisa Hatch, and upped his game. His Dad is currently teaching him how to use the grill. He grilled hot dogs for us the other night and they were perfect!

Anyway… this is his go to salsa recipe - he got it from his teacher! Its a good "go to" because there isn't a lot of prep work involved.

Jack's Favorite Salsa
2 14.5 cans Del Monte Stewed Tomatoes with jalapeño, cumin and garlic *important ingredient!!
4 green onions, coarsely chopped (if we don't have green we use 1 med yellow, diced)
1 handful of cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 T lime juice
Pepper to taste

Put all ingredients into a blender. Blend for 5-10 seconds or until slightly chunky.

Sometimes (like this time) he adds 1 can of green chilis
and sometimes he adds a few pinches of sugar.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Roasted Cabbage Steaks

Yes people, this is a thing - and they will blow your mind. My kids aged 11, 9, 6 and 2 AND my husband all LOVED these and asked for more. 

4 ingredients to a delicious, inexpensive, delicious meal - or side...
Roasted Cabbage Steaks
Olive oil

Cut the cabbage in one inch slices with the root side down.

Use a basting brush to evenly distribute the olive oil on every piece of cabbage. Salt and pepper one side. Carefully turn (I used good tongs) to flip the steaks over. Then, I brushed olive oil on the other side, seasoned the second side with garlic powder (bc I wanted the kids to eat it) salt and pepper.

Cook at 400 degrees for 60 minutes - carefully turning 30 minutes in. I used my trusty tongs to do the job.

We generally eat "meat free" bc my husband travels so much and he is the "meat eater" but he is in town this week and he LOVED our meat free meal. I served these "steaks" with our favorite salad - Patty's Beet Salad and I used goat cheese tonight bc that is what I had on hand. My kids eat roasted beets like candy. When I tell them I'm making this salad they all cheer!!!  http://breakingthereciperut.blogspot.com/2009/05/pattys-beet-salad.html

Friday, May 9, 2014

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

It's teacher appreciation week this week - it's important to me that my kids make their own gifts for their teachers - we did this same idea a few years ago. 

I ask each child to tell me about their teacher - type it up, print it out and frame it for them. Maisie did this in Kinder (she is now in 3rd) and her K teacher still has Maisie's hanging up next to her desk :)

The other thing we did this year was make Brown Sugar Body Scrub to pamper their teachers. I found these cute jars at the dollar store - the ribbon was there too!!

Brown Sugar Scrub
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Enchilada Suiza

My husband and I went on a little vacation to San Diego recently without the kids!!! It was amazing for so many different reasons - one of which was eating at La Fiesta in the Gaslamp Quarter. Every time we go to a mexican restaurant I order chicken chimichangas. This restaurant didn't offer chimichangas on the menu - so I was forced out of my comfort zone. What happens when I am forced out of my comfort zone? Usually something AMAZING!! In this case INCREDIBLE. Here is the description from the menu: 

Corn tortillas in green tomatillo sauce and stuffed with shredded chicken, topped with melted cheese and sour cream. Served with refried beans and rice. 

I asked for them to be prepared with flour tortillas instead of corn - which was pure genius.

I've been craving them ever since. I didn't have exactly what I needed to replicate their recipe - but I found an easy version that satisfied my craving AND fit the bill for Cinco de Mayo...

Enchilada Suiza
5 flour tortillas (or corn if you prefer)
1 c Herdes salsa verde
1 lb ground beef (or shredded chicken or shredded pork)
1 c Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 c Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 c heavy cream

Garnish with
Sour cream
Diced tomatoes
Diced green onion

Cook ground beef, chicken or pork your favorite way. I used ground beef and added taco seasoning to it for some kick. Rotisserie chicken would be fab in this.

In a 9x13 pan, use 1/4 cup Salsa Verde to coat the bottom of the pan. Take each tortilla, fill with about 2 T of cheese blend and meat.. Roll up and set in casserole seam side down. Cover evenly with heavy cream, excess cheese and more salsa verde. Since I was serving my kids - I just used a little Salsa verde on top - then served some on the side for me.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Then - bc I love browned cheesy bits - I turned the broiler on and let it sit under it for a couple of minutes. Holy yum.

Just thinking about it makes me want to make them again tonight - but with chicken!!

Watermelon and Mint Salad

I posted another Watermelon Salad recipe HERE a few years ago - watermelon is so crisp and refreshing - I love pairing it with savory elements and enjoying it all summer long.

This is another take on watermelon salad - super delicious!!

Watermelon and Mint Salad
5 lb watermelon
1/2 vidalia onion (or red onion) finely diced
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/2 c evoo
2 T chopped fresh mint leaves
4 oz feta, crumbled
Salt & pepper to taste

Cut the flesh from the melon and cut into bite size pieces, removing and discarding the seeds, and set aside. Add diced onion.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, and whisk until salt is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, a few drops at a time. Add in the chopped mint, taste, and adjust seasonings.

In a large bowl, combine the melon, onion, and feta. Pour the dressing over the melon mixture and toss gently until everything is coated and evenly mixed. 

Serve cold.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

French Breakfast Casserole

I've been craving breakfast casserole for a few weeks. I've made several different versions, today I made this version with what I had on hand and I'll tell you what - IT WAS AMAZING. 

I decided to call this "French" Breakfast Casserole for my own purposes - to differentiate it in my mind from others I've made. "French" bc of the croissants...

French Breakfast Casserole
6 whole croissants
1/2 c Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
1 c Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 stick butter
10 whole eggs
2 cups milk
1 t chopped chives
½ t dry mustard
½ t salt
1/2 t cayenne pepper

PAM an 9×13 baking dish.
Tear croissants into chunks and place them in the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle with cheeses. Cut butter into pats and place over the top.
Whisk remaining ingredients and pour evenly over the top of the dish.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes - until set and golden. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving - try not to drool while you wait…

*Although unmentioned in the recipe - I'm certain I used cream cheese & bacon - you can actually see it in the photo. I make so many versions of breakfast casserole I can't keep track… sorry!!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Best Corn on the Cob EVER

I forgot to take a picture of mine - and they were gobbled up so fast I didn't have much of a chance.

This isn't a "recipe" per say - but an awesome idea. I served the corn without butter or salt and it was the best corn on the cob we've ever had. EVER.
Fill a pot with water. Add a stick of butter (if unsalted - add a couple pinches of salt) and a cup of milk. Bring to a boil. Add corn cobs and boil them for 5-8 minutes. Then prepare to be smacked - because this corn is so good - it's slap your Mama good!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Maple Glazed Carrots

I made these tonight for dinner and they were gobbled up in no time. Simple, easy side dish.

Maple Glazed Carrots
2 lbs carrots, peeled and sliced on a bias
1 T evoo
1/2 c chicken stock
2 T Maple syrup
1 T butter

Put the sliced carrots and evoo in a sautee pan and cook for about 8 minutes - you want the carrots to get a bit of color on the edges. Then add chicken stock and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. After it comes to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes.* Remove lid and turn up the heat so the excess liquid evaporates.

Add maple syrup and butter. Salt and pepper to taste.

*I actually had to pick up my daughter for ballet while the carrots were simmering - I was probably gone 15 minutes and they turned out great!!

Ham Sauce

I saw this on Pinterest and was curious. The original post is HERE - she also has an idea how to baste your ham - but I skipped that and went straight for the Ham Sauce - 

Good golly this really kicked our Easter ham up a notch!!

Ham Sauce
1 egg
5 Tablespoons water
5 Tablespoons vinegar
 Then add:
 ¼ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon of flour
1 Tablespoon of dry mustard
¼ teaspoon (or to taste) celery seed
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Cook and stir on LOW heat until mixture thickens.
Cool completely to room temperature, covering with saucepan lid.
Whip ½ cup whipping cream

When cool, fold in whipped cream.


Related Posts with Thumbnails