Monday, July 21, 2014

Cookbook Review - The Banh Mi Handbook by Andrea Nguyen

I received a copy of The Banh Mi Handbook - Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches by Andrea Nguyen.  I thumbed through this cookbook while sitting in the truck waiting for my husband to get finished with his torture I mean physical therapy.  I was so intrigued by this cookbook I went back to page one and started reading through it page by page, I have never had an hour go by so fast.

Starting with the Banh Mi Pantry and going on to the bread, mayonnaise, sauces and pickles, to the cold cuts and the list goes on.  Who knew that the bread makes the sandwich and to have recipes and photos to make the bread in this book is fantastic.

Recipes that caught my eye: Sriracha Aioli, Citrusy Red Cabbage Pickle, Daikon and Carrot Pickle, Sri Lankan Black Curry Chicken, Shrimp in Caramel Sauce, Star Anise and Lemongrass Sloppy Joe and Crispy Drunken Chicken just to name a few.















Pros:  Beautifully written, informative, great photographs, variety, recipes that are easy to follow

Cons: None

I am a sandwich fan, check my Pinterest Sandwich Board out, no joke this cookbook was written for me.  I hope there will be a book 2 with more sandwich recipes.

I received The Banh Mi Handbook from Blogging for Books

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Review - Cocozia 100% Organic Coconut Water

I had the opportunity to taste and review Cocozia 100% Organic Coconut Water.  I have always been curious about coconut water and I am delighted to be able to do this review.

I was first impressed with packaging 12 nice 11.1 oz size boxes with their own straw.  I was pleasantly surprised with the flavor, especially since I am not a fan of sugary drinks.  It is a refreshing drink without being overpowering.  I can see drinking Cocozia Coconut Water after my workout.  My favorite way to use them is in my protein shakes and I am going to see what other recipes I can use Cocozia in.

When purchasing a product such as Cocozia 100% Organic Coconut Water what I am looking for is a healthy product for myself and my family.  I was impressed that Cocozia is 100% organic, contains a natural abundance of potassium and magnesium, as well as other electrolytes, NON GMO verified (which is very important to me) and for those special diets Gluten Free, Vegan and Kosher.























Cocozia 100% Oragnic Coconut Water can be purchased at Amazon by clicking this link also check out Cocozia at their website.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Maple Mustard Salmon

I have come to love salmon.  As a kid I despised it the only salmon I knew was in a can ground up with the bones, gross! It took years before I would even try a bite of salmon.  Baked, grilled or on a bagel I am down for salmon, it is so versatile with the marinades and how you can prepare it.

The Maple Mustard Salmon I prepared was the perfect amount of sweetness to go with the mustards and it came out moist and flakey.  The next time I make this it will be in a eggs benedict I think it will taste fantastic that way.


























Maple Mustard Salmon

1 to 1 1/2 pounds salmon
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons rosemary, minced
salt and fresh cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, place foil onto a baking sheet (for easy clean-up) drizzle with olive oil. Place salmon skin down and season with salt and pepper.  Whisk together maple syrup, mustards and rosemary, pour over salmon making sure it covers the whole salmon.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

If you want to cook on a cedar plank; rub down the plank with olive oil; follow directions above and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Corn Chowder with Smoked Pork Chops

I have been so busy.....I have my other blog My Blog - My Journey, I am working on 4 reviews that I need to get done this week, plus work on recipes for this blog.  Whew, I'm tired just thinking about it. 

I have been wanting to make a Corn Chowder and my Nueske's order for their Smoked Boneless Pork Chops arrived, so it was time to make that soup.  This is my first time making a corn chowder and I am very pleased with the way it came out.  I already got the first thumbs up when my husband was taking his bowl into the kitchen and he turned to me and said that was the best soup you have made yet.  

Satisfaction.....my work is done.


















Corn Chowder with Smoked Pork Chops

4 slices bacon, diced
2 smoked boneless pork chops, diced (I used Nueskes Smoked Boneless Pork Chops)
1 onion, diced
3 stocks celery, diced
1 large russet potato, diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
1 roasted poblano chili, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons flour
1 32oz box chicken stock low sodium
fresh corn from 4 or 5 ears
1 cup heavy cream


Heat a large dutch oven and add bacon, cook until crispy, remove and set aside.  Add diced pork chops, cook until lightly browned, remove and set aside.  Add onions, celery, bell pepper, potato and pepper, season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, sauté for 15 minutes; stirring often.  Sprinkle with flour and cook for 3 minutes.  Now add chicken stock; give it a good whisk to incorporate the floured veggies, add corn; cover and cook on low for 30 minutes. Add heavy cream and pork chops to dutch oven; cover and cook for 15 minutes; taste and season if needed.

Garnish:  Shredded white cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, greens onions or chives and tabasco.

Sharing the Love Jam Hands Recipe Sharing Monday #100 -- Fond Farewell Final Party and
Yesterfood



Friday, June 27, 2014

Cookbook Review: Haute Dogs - Russell Van Kraayenburg

I have the perfect cookbook to review for the upcoming Independence Day celebration.  Who doesn't love hot dogs?  I love them and they are the perfect summer food for both the kiddo's and adults.

Book:  Haute Dogs - Recipes for delicious Hot Dogs, Buns and Condiments

Author: Russell Van Kraayenburg



















Haute Dogs starts out giving you a history of the hot dog along with some educational history tidbits.  It then goes into "The Basics" from the ingredients, cooking methods and assembly.

You will find classic American hot dogs along with International favorites.  I love that there is a section just for the vessel "Buns" and a section for condiments.

Some of the Dogs you will find in this cookbook:

The New York Style Hot Dog

Texas BBQ Dog

Maxwell Street Polish

Loaded Guatemalan Meat Dog

German Three-In-A-Bun

There are over 40 different hot dogs, something for everyone.

Pros:  Very nicely written - Informative - Great photos (and hot dogs are not the easiest to photograph) - Variety

Cons:  Chili Base Recipe, I did make the chili recipe and it was too tomatoey, it tasted more like a pasta sauce than chili for a hot dog.  I'm not sure if the 8 oz of tomato paste was a typo or not.  Also the recipe said it was enough for 4 hot dogs I felt it was enough for at least 10 to 12 hot dogs.  I will using the leftover chili with pasta tomorrow night.




Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chambord Blackberry Sage Frozen Treats

We have all seen those gorgeous photos on Blogs and Pinterest of frozen treats, well this isn't one of those photos, how do they do it?  It is however a post that has a delicious recipe for adult frozen treats, yep save the popsicles for the kiddies and enjoy these Chambord Blackberry Sage Frozen Treats.










Chambord Blackberry Sage Frozen Treats

1 1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
15 good size sage leaves torn up
2 6oz containers fresh blackberries
1/2 cup Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur

In a sauce pan add water and sugar, bring to a boil while stirring, add sage leaves and remove from heat.  Remove sage leaves after 15 to 20 minutes, it's okay to leave some of the smaller pieces, intact I chop up some of the sage leaves real fine, I like the flavor.  Bring sage simple syrup to room temperature. Add Blackberries and smash leaving some whole, add Chambord Liqueur and pour into frozen treat molds, place in freezer for at least 8 hours or over night.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Italian Breakfast Sandwich

I am late this week on my breakfast recipe.  I needed to make some changes in my life regarding exercising and what I am eating.  I am not saying I'm dieting to me diets fail, I am making life style changes.  I will be posting more healthy recipes along with my regular recipes, after all my skinny husband could use some meat on his bones.  What I will try to do (not sure if I can do it for every recipe but I will try) is give ingredients both ways as I have done with the recipe below.

I have started a second blog with my journey if you would like to check it out and these recipes will show up there too now and then.  My Blog - My Journey This blog is being brutally honest and is not always viewer friendly, just a warning.

Italian Breakfast Sandwich



























8 slices prosciutto, thin sliced (I used Boar's Head Deli Slices)
5 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
a few cranks of fresh cracked pepper
4 tablespoons water (you can substitute milk)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion chopped small
4 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes with basil julienne cut, rough chop (I used Bella Sun Luci)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
fresh mozzarella, cut into 1 oz slices (more if you are not watching calories)
Fresh basil leaves
Good Italian Bread, sliced and lightly toasted (I used La Brea Bakery, roasted garlic)
English Muffins (if you are watching calories)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cover cookie sheet with foil and lay prosciutto slices flat. (If you are using an english muffin I put the prosciutto in round bundles.  Bake prosciutto for about 10 to 15 minutes, just until barely crisp. Since it is very thin keep an eye on it.

Heat olive oil in a skillet, sauté onions while you are preparing the other ingredients. Add sun dried tomatoes, garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes, stir with onions for about 2 to 3 minutes.  In a bowl whisk together eggs, salt, pepper and water.  Add to onions and gently fold eggs into the onions, cook until your doneness liking.  Remove from heat to assemble sandwiches.

Lightly toast bread/english muffins.  If you are not watching calories drizzle bread with some olive oil.  Take on half of the bread and add mozzarella cheese and place under broiler until melted. On the other bread add prosciutto, eggs, basil and top with the melted cheese bread. (note: if you are counting calories I scooped out approx 4 rounded tablespoons of egg, which is about 1 1/2 eggs.  Makes 4 sandwiches

Calories if using english muffin - 396

Sharing the Love at Jam Hands Recipe Sharing Monday #98



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes

You know you are in a rut when you start changing things, it might be the furniture in your bedroom, the pictures on your wall.  Well in my case it's my blog, first it was changing my blog's design and now I'm changing how I post.  Somethings might not work and some might be a perfect fit you never know until you try. 

My first change is themed months, doesn't that sound fun!  Once a week through the month of June I will be posting a Breakfast recipe.  To kick off the first week I made Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes.





























Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3/4 cup buttermilk (you can sub all milk if you don't have buttermilk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
9 pineapple rings
9 maraschino cherries
butter

In a large bowl mix together dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl whisk together wet ingredients.  Slowly add wet ingredients to the dry stirring at the same time until it's all incorporated.  Allow batter to rest 8 to 10 minutes while you are heating your griddle.

Butter griddle, add a pineapple ring and place a cherry inside the ring, top with batter so the pineapple is covered.  Cook on a medium low heat until the edges of the pancake are dry, flip and continue to cook on the other side until done. Serve with butter and syrup.  Makes 9 pancakes

Sharing the love over at:
Mixitup

Monday, June 2, 2014

Loaded Chicken Sandwiches

Since getting back from New York my daughter Anna has been working non-stop.  She decided to take some days off before starting a new adventure at her job.  She called me Friday telling me what she was planning and seeing if she could work it out.  Saturday afternoon I got a text message saying she was leaving....after a 7 hour drive she arrive in Utah around 11pm, we sat up talking until 2am.

While she was here she got to unwind and relax.  We did a little shopping in town, had lunch at our favorite pizza joint Centro Pizzeria, coffees at Starbucks.  Anna does not have a TV in her apartment she watches Hulu on her computer.  She loves Chopped so we watched a few episodes and we watched the new show Penny Dreadful.

Thursday came too fast, we got up early, made sure we filled her gas tank up.  We drove down to St George she wanted Cracker Barrel for breakfast and of course we did a little shopping in their General Store.  We then parted ways her heading back to Los Angeles and us heading home.

It had been almost a year since we saw her last and that visit and listening to her goals for her career got me inspired to kickstart my blog.  I have been feeling insecure about my blog, not sure what direction I wanted to go in and uninspired.  Now I'm excited to develop some new recipes and try some new ideas that I have been kicking around.

I hope you will follow me on my new adventure and see where this takes me.
























Loaded Chicken Sandwiches
makes 6 sandwiches

3 chicken breasts, sliced in half
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper, optional

Marinade

3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons seedless raspberry jelly
1/2 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1/4 cup whiskey
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 green onion, sliced

Other Ingredients Needed:

Rolls
Onions
Mushrooms
Bacon
Sliced Swiss Cheese (2 per sandwich)

In a small saucepan heat olive oil medium low heat add garlic and sauté 2 minutes.  Add raspberry jelly and horseradish, stir until melted, cook on low for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat add whiskey and butter.  Allow to cool, add cilantro and green onion.

Salt and pepper sliced chicken breasts, lightly sprinkle with cayenne pepper, rub into breasts and place in a ziploc bag.  Poor marinade over chicken, seal bag and squish around to make sure the chicken is covered by the marinade, refrigerate for two hours.

Place chicken on a hot grill cook for 4 minutes on each side or until done, no pink, assemble. (see below)

Toppings:  onion slices that have been grilled, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, raspberry mayonnaise* and swiss cheese.

Assemble: Slice your favorite rolls in half, I used onion rolls.  Spread some of the raspberry mayonnaise on the top and bottom of your rolls, add chicken,  grilled onion, bacon, top with a slice of swiss cheese,  mushrooms, a slice of swiss cheese.  Place under broiler until cheese has melted.  Top with the other bun and serve.

*Raspberry Mayonnaise: 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 1/2 tablespoons raspberry jelly, 1/2 tablespoon prepared horseradish, mix together and refrigerate 2 hours before using.



Monday, May 19, 2014

Grilled Chili and Lime Chicken

Our daughter just spent a week in New York City, her first trip to the Big Apple.  Even though it was a business trip she felt like it was a vacation.  I loved the text messages I got showing photos of Central Park, NYC Library, Bryant Park, Mood (we watch Project Runway), her cab, Lord & Taylor and where she was eating, yes I raised a foodie.  It is so refreshing to hear how much she loves her job and that she got to experience this adventure.

Schools are getting out, people are planning vacations, grills are being fired up.  I love this time of the year.  What better way to kick it off....to throw some chicken breasts on the grill.



























Grilled Chili and Lime Chicken

3 chicken breasts, sliced in half
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
fresh lime

Cut chicken breasts in half making 6  breasts.  Cover with extra virgin olive oil.  Mix together chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper, sprinkle on both sides of chicken and place on grill.  Cook 4 minutes on each side or until done.  Before serving squeeze lime juice on top of chicken.

Note:  These chicken breasts are also great on a salad, tacos, chicken sandwich, pasta with a cream sauce, it is very versatile. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Corn and Black Bean Salad

After a winter storm blew in on Mother's Day dropping a foot and a half of snow on us and dropped our temps down to a hard freeze warning we are finally starting to warm up.  My goal for this summer is to eat light meals using only fresh ingredients.  That doesn't mean I'm not going to enjoy grilling a steak or burgers.  The dishes I serve with that meal will be more vegetables, salads and cold soups.

I had some corn on the cob and decided to make a salad out of the leftovers.   To brighten and lighten up this salad I used fresh vegetables, citrus and extra virgin olive oil.  I served it with grilled chicken breasts (recipe for the chicken will be posted next week).  I couldn't be any happier with this spring dinner.
























Corn and Black Bean Salad

1 15oz can black beans, rinsed well
corn from two cobs, I used a white and yellow corn
1 1/2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 green onions, sliced whites and greens
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 serrano chili, minced
zest and juice from a lime
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I use California Ranch Olive Oil)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl combine all ingredients, refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.  Note: I cooked the corn the day before and then refrigerated overnight.  I put on the grill to get some char marks on 4 sides before cutting the corn off the cob (you can also use 1 1/4 cup of frozen corn)

Food for Thought:

Did you know that when you buy extra virgin olive oil that is produced outside of the United States you are not guaranteed that you are getting what you paid for?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lemon Bars

I had to take a short break from blogging.  I have been taking my husband to the doctor, lab work and to and from the hospital.  My husband had a total knee replacement on his right knee.  Last summer he had the left knee replaced which the doctor botched.  The new doctor suggested he get the right knee done and in a month or two he would go in and fix the left knee.

When I saw that our Baking Partners Group was doing Lemon Bars I was excited what a nice surprise for my husband when he got home from the hospital.  The filling is very tart which is the way we both like it and a simple recipe to follow.  I had just gotten a tart pan so I decided to bake the bars in it.  They came out perfect.  If you like lemon this is a must try recipe.





















Lemon Bars

Basic Short Crust Recipe

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Filling Recipe

3/4 sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
4 eggs
1 cup lemon juice (about 3 good size lemons)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
confectioner's sugar for dusting

To make crust

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and position rack in the center of the oven.  Butter a 9 inch square baking pan (or tart pan) and set aside.  Using a food processor mix flour, sugar and salt.  Add pieces of the butter and pulse 8 - 10 times until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Process until the mixture forms large clumps and holds together when pinched between fingers.  Press dough into the prepared pan and pat it into an even layer.  Using a fork prick the dough at one inch intervals. Bake the crust for 20 minutes until the edges become a golden brown.  Cool crust in the pan on a wire rack.

To make filling 

Using a food processor add sugar and lemon zest, pulse until sugar is fragrant. Beat eggs, whisk the sugar into the eggs until a pale yellow color. Add the condensed milk, lemon juice, flour and salt. Pour over cooled crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 18 - 20 minutes or until just set and firm to touch. Cool to room temperature then place in the refrigerator for at least one hour before cutting into squares. Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve.

Note for high altitude baking:  No change in recipe; however I did have to cook it about 15 minutes longer than the recipe calls for.  I would check it every 5 minutes after the first 18 minutes until the bars were set.















Monday, April 28, 2014

Taco Chili and Beans

We eat a lot of chili and beans and I always make it the same way.  After trying the Ortega Skillet Sauces I decided that I wanted to try a Mexican Chili and Beans and thought the Ortega Taco Skillet Sauce would be a nice base for my Taco Chili and Beans.

I started reminiscing of when I was in Girl Scouts and on our over-night camping trips we would fix chili and take the individual Fritos Corn Chips bags, pour chili in the bag for a hand held chili in a bag.  I really like the flavor and crunchy-ness of the Chili and Fritos together but instead I think I would rather use a bowl.   So here is my version of an old Girl Scout Classic.























Taco Chili and Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 jalapeños, minced (can substitute green bell pepper for the jalapeño)
1 pound extra lean ground beef (I used bison)
4 tablespoons Fiesta Quick Chili Mix (found in the Spice or Mexican section of the market)
2 tablespoons of chili powder
1 package of Ortega Taco Skillet Sauce
1/2 cup water
1 32oz can crush tomatoes
1 27oz can red kidney beans
1 27oz can chili beans
2 3.8 oz cans of sliced black olives
Fritos Corn Chips

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven, add onions and jalapeños (or green bell pepper), sauté for 5 minutes on a low heat.  Add ground beef, use a wooden spoon to break up, cook until browned. (If you use a lean ground beef you will not have to drain the fat, there will be just enough fat for flavor)

Add the Fiesta Quick Chili Mix and the Ortega Taco Skillet Sauce.  Put the water inside the Ortega pouch to get all that yummy sauce out of the bag and put in with the meat mixture.  Stir to mix everything together, cover and simmer on a low heat for 15 minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes, both beans and black olives.  Cover and simmer for 1 hour.  Place 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Fritos Corn Chips in a bowl top with the Taco Chili and Beans.  Serve with extra Fritos Corn Chips and your favorite chili toppings.

Chili Toppings:  Cheddar cheese, Mexico Fresco cheese, sour cream, fresh diced onions, salsa and guacamole.

For a thicker chili take 4 tablespoons of masa and almost a 1/4 cup of water mix together to make a slurry, add to chili after everything has been mixed together.

Note:  This is my own recipe I did not receive a "free" sample of the Ortega Taco Skillet Sauce from Ortega,  I purchased it myself from my local market. 


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Italian Red Sauce

I thought it was about time I posted my Italian Red Sauce I have already posted my Meat Sauce which can be found here.  I made sure I measured everything out for this recipe.  When I cook Italian I don't measure, I add and I taste.

When I make red sauce I don't use it for at least 3 days I like the flavors to marry in the fridge.  Use this sauce in your favorite Italian dish, over spaghetti or as a dipping sauce.  This sauce also freezes very well.

















Italian Red Sauce

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I like my sauce spicy I added 3+ teaspoons)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 to 3 teaspoons sugar (see Note)
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup dry red wine
2 - 32oz cans Italian whole tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chiffonade chopped

In a dutch oven heat olive oil on medium high heat, add onions, salt and pepper, stir.  Put flame on low and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and simmer for 3 minutes. (watch the garlic so it doesn't brown)  Add tomato paste, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and oregano, stir for 1 minutes then add red wine and sugar, simmer for 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes using your hands to gently break them up.  Cover and simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir the chiffonade basil leaves into the sauce, turn off heat and sit covered for 20 minutes.  Adjust seasoning to your taste.  Pour into mason jars and refrigerate until ready to use (at least 3 days).  If you are going to freeze, do not freeze in mason jars but in freezer containers.

Note: I like my sauce more on the non sweet side, I start with 1 teaspoon sugar and taste and adjust until I find my liking.
















Something tells me Grandma Concetta would approve


Sharing the love at The Country Cook: Weekend Potluck #115,  Jam Hands: Recipe Sharing Monday #92 and Treasure Box Tuesday 17

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday Cooking For Two

I'm trying something new Tuesday Cooking for Two.  I have always been the type of cook that cooks for an army.  At Thanksgiving and Christmas if I have 12 people over there was enough food for 30.  No one was going home hungry that was my motto.

Now that we have an empty nest I am trying to scale down some recipes and it is not easy.  Even though this is Tuesday Cooking for Two this recipe for Scalloped Potatoes is enough for 4 people or two nights of scalloped potatoes.  Don't get me wrong I love leftovers.  When I make chili, enchiladas, soup just to name a few dishes that I make in large quantities,  I make enough to freeze or have for the next 4 days.

This will be a learning experience for me and that is why I am only doing this once a week.

Scalloped Potatoes with Smoked Pork Chops and Peas





















2 thick cut smoked pork chops, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh sage, minced
1 1/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup white wine or pale beer (I used beer)

2 russet potatoes, sliced thin (1/8 inch)

Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
few splashes tabasco (optional)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (white or orange)
3/4 cup shredded asiago cheese

butter
shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter single serve dishes and set aside.  Heat olive oil in a skillet add diced pork chops, diced onions and sage, cook on medium heat until meat is slightly browned.  Add 1/4 cup of white wine or pale beer to deglaze pan, turn off heat and add peas.

In a medium sauce pan melt butter and add flour, cook stirring for 3 minutes.  Add cream, milk, salt, pepper and tabasco, whisking until it has started to thicken.  Add cheese a small amount at a time until it is incorporated.  Line baking dishes with first layer of thin cut potatoes, add some of the pork chop mixture, top with a layer of the sauce and repeat with potatoes, meat and sauce and another layers of potatoes and sauce.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese or asiago or a combination of the two.  Bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Serve with a side salad.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Johnsonville Italian Sausage Sandwich

If you have been following my blog you know we have water issues.  This is our no water weekend.  Friday's I make dishes for Saturday and Sunday so there is very little cooking and dirty dishes going on.

This weekend I made Johnsonville Italian Sausage Sandwiches, everything cooked up on Friday so all I had to do was heat it up, assemble and put until the broiler for the finishing touches.  This is a very hearty sandwich, which can be served with a side salad.






















Johnsonville Italian Sausage Sandwich

2 yellow bell peppers, sliced thin
2 orange bell peppers, sliced thin
1 large onion, sliced thin
2 jalapeños, seeded and sliced thin (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried italian herbs
5 cloves garlic, minced and divided
1 package of Johnsonville Sausages (I used hot sausage and I butterflied the sausages)
1 15oz can artichoke hearts, drained
6 medium crimini mushrooms, stem removed and sliced
additional olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup dry red wine
dijon mustard
fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
rolls

In a large skillet heat olive oil, add onions, over a medium low heat sauté for 10 minutes; stirring occasionally.  Add sausages, bell peppers, jalapeños, salt, pepper, italian herbs and half the garlic.  Sauté for 20 to 30 minutes until tender; stirring occasionally and cooking sausages on both sides.

Turn broiler on high; place bell pepper mixture into a baking dish, stir in the drained artichoke hearts, putting the sausages on the top of the mixture and place 6 to 8 inches under broiler.

In the same skillet add mushrooms and additional olive oil if needed, sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, add salt, pepper, garlic and wine; sauté for 10 minutes.  Remove peppers and sausage from oven.

Split rolls (not all the way through) brush both sides of the bread with dijon mustard, add sausage, pepper mixture and mushrooms, top with mozzarella cheese. (I sprinkled the cheese with dried italian herbs and red pepper flakes) Put sandwiches under broiler until cheese melts.

Note:  Sandwiches are also good omitting the sausages and adding salami slices or omitting the meat all together for a fantastic veggie sandwich.





Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Balsamic Vinegar Bacon Sandwich

One night I was going to roast some vegetables and decided to add bacon to the bottom of the pan and then add the vegetables on top of the bacon.  I drizzled balsamic vinegar over the vegetables and went on to roast the concoction.

Bill asked me what I did different to the bacon he said it was the best bacon he has ever had.  Who knew adding a little balsamic vinegar with take that bacon to the next level.  Since then I always add the balsamic vinegar.

Here is my spin on a BLT the Balsamic Vinegar Bacon Sandwich


















Balsamic Vinegar Bacon Sandwich

12 slices bacon
balsamic vinegar
8 slices Italian bread
hearty tomato, sliced (I used a red and yellow heirloom tomatoes)
fresh mozzarella cheese, cut thick
spring lettuce or basil leaves
pesto sauce

Cover a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil, add bacon and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  Using your fingers cover the balsamic vinegar over the bacon.  Place in a cold oven and turn oven on to 350 degrees.  (I think the bacon cooks more evenly when the bacon is cooking slow as the oven comes up to temperature)  After 20 minutes start checking the bacon cook until desired doneness.  Note: Bacon will get very dark from the caramelization of the vinegar.

Spread both slices of bread with the pesto, add cheese, tomato and bacon.  Place in a Panini Press or cook on the stove top like a grilled cheese, until the cheese melts.  Add lettuce or basil leaves and serve.

Linking up the Love at: The Country Cook - Weekend Pot-Luck #112

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Asian Pork Meatballs

I have been on a meatball and asian flavor kick so what would be the next step?  You got it, combining the two together.  This recipe is so versatile you can also use the pork mixture in dumplings and use the sauce for dipping.

You can make these meatballs as an appetizer or serve them in your favorite noodle dish.  I love that this is a quick fix and you can make 2 or 3 batches and freeze them for when you need them.





















Asian Pork Meatballs

Meatballs

1 lb ground pork
1 egg
1/3 cup panko crumbs
3 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup cilantro, minced

Sauce

2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons chili paste or to taste
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
salt to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  For meatballs mix all ingredients together and form into golf ball size meatballs.  Bake in oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until cooked through.  While the meatballs are baking in a small sauce pan heat olive oil on a medium low heat, add shallots, garlic and ginger, sauté for 5 minutes.  In a bowl whisk together soy sauce, dijon mustard, chili paste, rice vinegar and brown sugar.  Add to the saucepan and stir; cover and let reduce by half on a low heat.  Drizzle sauce over meatballs and sprinkle with some sliced green onions.  Makes approx 12 meatballs.

Sharing the Love with: The Wednesday Roundup Week 18 :: A Link Party and Weekend-Potluck #111 and Jam Hands - Recipe Sharing Monday #88


Monday, March 24, 2014

Salmon - Asian Inspired Flavors

We have a couple of steak houses here and when you go out to dinner Bill always gets salmon. I have been promising Bill for some time now to make salmon for dinner.  When I saw these beautiful piece of sock-eye salmon I knew it would be the perfect dinner for him.  I decided to go with Asian flavors and it was a big hit.  Here is the salmon right after taking it out of the oven.  It came out moist and flaky.





























Asian Salmon

1/2 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili sauce/paste
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 lbs salmon filet
4 green onions, sliced

Line a 8 x 12 baking dish with foil and then a second piece of foil to make a boat around the salmon. Place salmon skin side down.  Make sure you feel for any bones and remove them.  In a bowl whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, chili paste, fish sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic and ginger.  Pour marinade over the salmon and allow to sit for 15 minutes while oven is pre-heating to 475 degrees.  Before placing the salmon in the oven pull out the foil, you don't have to remove the foil just flatten it out so it's no longer a boat of marinade.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until down. After removing from the oven cover with foil for 10 to 15 minutes. Before serving sprinkle with fresh green onion slices.



Monday, March 17, 2014

Food Resources




























Today I thought I would talk about food resources on the internet.  We have all visited blogs, Food Network, Pinterest, Very Best Baking for recipes, tips and ideas.

One of my favorite resources is going straight to the source.  Food advisory boards and there is one for any type of food you can think of.

Wisconsin Cheese information from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board is a fantastic site for recipes, pairings, entertaining, events that are going and one of my favorites is the Grate Pair Share Online Magazine.  This website is full of useful information you will want to bookmark it.

Here are just a few Advisory Boards for you to check out:

California Wild Rice

California Artichoke Advisory Board

Mushroom Council

Delaware Beef Advisory Board

American Egg Board

California Strawberry Commission

California Cling Peaches

Vidalia Onions Committee

National Honey Board

National Onion Association

Virginia Apple Growers Association

California Pear Advisory Board

National Watermelon Promotion Board

California Cantaloupes

There are so many other sites you can google and get information on.  If you are a teacher, Girl Scout/4-H/FFA leader you can find educational material from these boards.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Artsy Fartsy Friday

I have had this blog now for almost 3 years and you really don't know too much about me.  First I need to work on my "About Me" page which I have been writing and re-writing.  I should have it done by April.

I am adding a new line-up to my blog Artsy Fartsy Fridays.  I love Arts and Crafts and it's been years since I had really sat down and got creative.  My first project is going to be cross-stitch.  I haven't done cross-stitching in over 25 years and I think it's time to jump back into it.

I'm starting with a simple cross-stitch pattern that I found on Etsy at FoxYouAreSoCrafty - Crafty Like A Fox Shop.  When I saw the squirrel and fox pattern I fell in love with these little guys.  Each Friday I will post my progress on my project.



























I would love to hear what your hobbies are and if you would like to join me with Artsy Fartsy Friday's I would love to hear what you are working on.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Red Beans and Rice

Mardi Gras is over and I didn't get a chance to fix my Red Beans and Rice, oh well, what's a few days, right?  I love the flavors in this recipe and I like a dish that can be a side or a meal by itself.

I usually serve this with white rice.  In my latest BeshBox I received a bag of Brown Jasmine Rice that tasted great with this dish.  The rice had a earthy richness that worked well with the red beans.































Red Beans and Rice

1 1/2 lbs of dried red beans
3 tablespoons bacon grease
1 large onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 large jalapeño, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
4 links andouille sausage, sliced
2 ham hocks
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending how you like your heat)
3 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1+ 32 oz box chicken stock
4 cups cooked white rice
chopped green onions for garnish

Sort and soak beans overnight.  In a large dutch oven heat bacon grease and add onions, celery, bell pepper and jalapeño and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring.  Add salt, pepper, sausage and ham hocks and stir for 5 minutes.  Add cayenne pepper, bay leaves, garlic and thyme, stir for 1 minutes, add 1 box (32 oz) of chicken stock and a 1/4 of a second box.  Bring to a boil, lower heat to a medium low simmer and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours uncovered until beans are tender, stirring occasionally, if the beans start to look dry add more of the chicken stock.  When beans are tended take the back of a wooden spoons and smash some of the beans, stir and cook for for an additional 30 minutes.  Serve over white rice and garnish with sliced green onions.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Blackberry Cobbler

One of my favorite go to desserts is cobblers.  You can make them year round with seasonal fruits, frozen fruits or canned fruit.  There are so many different toppings you can use, from a crumb topping to a pie crust or a biscuit topping, it is a easy dessert that takes no time putting together.

My favorite cobbler is Boysenberry but I have found it very hard to find boysenberries in any form here in Utah, instead I went with my next favorite the Blackberry.




Blackberry Cobbler

Blackberry Filling

1/3 cup Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 16oz bags frozen blackberries

Topping

4 cups Bisquick
8 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup white chocolate, chopped
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter the bottom and sides of a baking dish. In a large sauce pan over medium low heat add Grand Marnier and butter.  While the butter is melting dissolve the cornstarch in the water.  Add water mixture to sauce pan, add the sugar and cinnamon.  Stir for 2 minutes and add blackberries.  Turn the heat to a medium high setting and occasionally stirring until it just starts to come to a boil.

In a large bowl add Bisquick, sugar, white chocolate; mix together.  Add milk and melted butter; incorporate into the dry mixture.  Pour the berry mixture into the baking dish.  Gently pat out the topping to fit the top of the baking dish. If you want you can do this in sections.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until topping is set and starts to brown, top with ice cream; serve hot or cold.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Blackberry Sage Sauce

One of my favorite teas is Republic of Tea's Blackberry Sage.  I love this combination of flavors.  I had some blackberries and sage in the refrigerator and decided to make a sauce with them.  Not only is it fantastic on pancakes, it is also great over ice cream and even savory dishes like grilled chicken breasts or grilled pork chops.  I love sauces that can be used in many dishes.
















Blackberry Sage Sauce 

4 1/2 to 5 cups fresh blackberries
1 1/2 cup sugar (you can use a little less or a little more; to your liking)
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and on medium high heat bring to a boil; stirring occasionally.  Boil for 10 minutes until it has started to thicken.  Crush some of the berries with a potato masher or the back of your spoon.  Place in a bowl, I like to put it in the freezer for 10 minutes; then put on the counter to come to room temperature. Place in jars and keep refrigerated; use within 2 weeks.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Baked Onions with Swiss Cheese


My favorite soup is French Onion and I was thinking how good that French Onion Soup flavor with be in just the onion.  With just a few ingredients I was able to achieve those flavors.  The only problem I found (which is not a problem at all) when you try to pick up that onion it just falls apart it is that tender.



















Baked Onions with Swiss Cheese

4 large sweet onions
1 stick of butter
1 package Lipton Dry Onion Soup Mix
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, rough chop
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
4 thick slices of swiss cheese or 8 thin slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove skin from onion, make a cross cut in the onion without going through the whole onion.  In the middle add the bouillon cube.  Mix together the butter, soup mix, thyme and worcestershire sauce.  Divide the butter between the 4 onions, pushing the butter mixture into each of the cuts.  Wrap in 2 pieces of aluminum foil tightly and place in a baking dish.  Bake for 1 hour.  Take out of the oven and turn on the broiler, open foil back and place the cheese on top of the onion and return to the oven until the cheese has melted and lightly browned.

Post shared with Jam Hands Recipe Sharing Monday #85


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fontina Spinach

I know this isn't the greatest photo of the Fontina Spinach but it was the best one of the bunch and I really want to share this easy recipe with you.  My husband loves spinach and said I could make it this way from now on.

We had this last week along with my Spicy Mustard Maple Chicken.  I think I need to stop at the market today so I can fix the spinach again....this is making me hungry.































Fontina Spinach

1/2 cup of pancetta, diced
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 bunches or bags of fresh spinach
3/4 cup of fontina cheese, cut into cubes
salt and pepper to taste

In a dutch oven cook pancetta until just about crispy; half way through add red pepper flakes.  Add wine and allow the wine to cook down by half.  Add garlic; stir for 2 minutes.  Add spinach; stirring until the leaves are wilted but still large; salt and pepper to taste.  Spread spinach out so it is lining the bottom of the dutch oven and turn off heat.  Top the spinach with the fontina cheese; cover and let sit for 2 to 4 minutes until the cheese has melted.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My January BeshBox

I am a sucker for getting packages in the mail.

I am a sucker for the monthly boxes surprising you with goodies, you might or might not need.

I signed up for the BeshBox and could not be happier with the contents.  I know I'm late getting my post done for the January BeshBox but better late than never, right!

First what is a BeshBox....Chef John Besh has put together a culinary box of goodies from tools to food.

What I love about the BeshBox so much thought has gone into each box.  Here is what you will get:

Every box is a theme - I love that idea
Your box comes with recipes that go with the items in your box - How great is that!
There is a shopping list to go with those recipes - Makes my life easier
You also get a playlist of songs to listen to while you are cooking and dancing around the kitchen, it's like John has been watching me in my kitchen
Cocktail pairing to complete the dish - I always need help in that department
and one of my favorite things - John Besh donates proceeds from the boxes and gives you an overview of that months charity - January's charity was Drew Bree's The Brees Dream Foundation, improving the quality of life for cancer patients, and provide care, education and opportunities for children and families in need.

January - Game Day





















































Here is a list of the above items:

Dried Canellini Beans, a test-tube of Mexican Oregano, a wooden spoons, Arugula seeds, a football ice mold, a chefs towel, a jalapeño pepper corer and cornmeal.  Don't you love the astro-turf in the bottom of the box.

I will do better on my February box which is going out in the mail today.

February's Theme - Mardi Gras I just know I'm going to love that box.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Spicy Mustard Maple Chicken

Let's talk chicken...what is your favorite cut of chicken.  I like the white meat breasts the best, second would be the thighs, then the drumstick and I don't get the "wing thing" there is no meat on those things.

My husband's favorite is when I cut the breasts up into bite size chunks, cajun seasonings and sauté those nuggets up.  He is a creature of habit and could eat the same thing every night until he gets tired of it.  I like to mix things up.  So here I did the cajun seasonings but then took it a step further with dijon mustard, bread crumbs and maple syrup.
























Spicy Mustard Maple Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons cajun seasoning
3 or more tablespoons dijon mustard - enough to coat chicken
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (I used Progresso)
1/4 to 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
olive oil

After cutting cup chicken breasts place in a bowl and sprinkle with cajun seasoning.  Making sure all pieces have seasoning.  Allow chicken to sit for 4 minutes to make sure the seasoning adheres to the chicken.  Add dijon mustard use enough to make sure chicken cubes are covered on all sides.  Sprinkle with plain bread crumbs; again making sure all sides are covered.

Heat a skillet on a medium high heat and olive oil (about a 1/2 tablespoon), add chicken a small amount at a time, not over crowding.  Cook chicken in batches adding additional olive oil if needed.  Cook chicken about 4 minutes turn over and cook until just about done and has a nice crust.  After all the chicken is cooked place all the chicken back into the skillet; drizzle with the maple syrup; and stir.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day




























My Valentine's Day is the same every year.  My husband doesn't even say Happy Valentine's Day in-fact he says the same thing every year "I thought Valentine's Day didn't mean anything to you" my reply "it does it doesn't mean anything to you" and because of that I am in a funk the whole day.

Being romantic is not my husbands strong suit and I have known that for 37 years.  But what he is is a very good man, husband and father.  He would do anything for me and he has proven that year after year.

He might not give me flowers, candy, jewelry or a card for Valentine's Day but how many husbands out there clean the floors and bathrooms for their wives.....mine does and has since the day I got pregnant 26 years ago.  If there is a problem at Valentine's Day it is my problem.  I have a husband that loves me with all my flaws and I couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Super Fast and Easy French Dip Sandwiches

I joined a Ladies Bowling League last fall and bowl every Monday night unless I can't get to town due to snow (like a week ago).   I try to fix fast and easy dinners so I can clean up and get to bowling by 6pm and not feel as though I have rushed.

I love french dip sandwiches and my favorite is found in California at Philippes, The Original if you are ever in Los Angeles, this is a place you have to stop at and remember to order their pickles and pickled eggs to go with your sandwich.  Just a heads up the pork dip is the bomb! ?are they still using that expression?

This is my quick and tasty version of a French Dip Sandwich using deli meat, a great sandwich without spending hours of time slow cooking the roast beef.





















Super Fast & Easy French Dip Sandwiches

1/2 pound deli roast beef rare, sliced thin
1 can beef consommé (I used Campbell's)
1 can french onion soup (I used Campbell's)
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
4 french rolls
8 slices swiss cheese, thick slice
mustard or cream horseradish

In a sauce pan over medium heat, bring beef consommé, french onion soup and herbs to a light boil.  Add deli roast beef, cook until meat is heated through.  You can either cut your rolls in half or cut so you make a pocket.  Spread the inside of the roll with mustard and or cream horseradish.  (I like to take Dijon mustard and mix the cream horseradish together).  Take the beef broth and pour over the inside of the bread.  Take one slice of the swiss cheese cut in half and place on the side of the roll.  Stuff with roast beef, pour more of the broth the top of the meat and place another slice of swiss cheese.  Place under the broiler until the cheese has melted.  Serve with a side of dill pickles and extra broth for dipping.

Note: You want to use rare roast beef as it will cook in the beef broth

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lime Avocado Dip and Quesadilla's

Here is one more Super Bowl post.  Instead of guacamole I went with a avocado dip that can be used with chips, dressing for a taco salad, quesadilla's, nachos or fresh vegetables.  It is a fresh tasting dip where the lime flavor shines through.

I also made 3 different quesadilla's something for everyone.  I made a basic bean and cheese quesadilla to go with the avocado dip.  A brie and mushroom quesadilla and a cajun sausage with apple and pepper jack cheese.  You will score a touchdown with this line-up.

























Lime Avocado Dip

4 avocados
4 green onions, diced
1 large jalapeño, diced
1/2 cup cilantro
heaping 1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
zest and juice from 2 limes
1/2 teaspoon Tony Chachere Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
few dashes of Tabasco sauce
Salt to taste

Place all ingredients expect salt into a food processor; pulse until smooth.  Taste for seasoning; add salt if needed.  Cover with plastic wrap; making sure it is touching dip so no air gets in, this will keep the dip from discoloring.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.


Quesadilla's



















Basic Bean and Cheese

1 15oz can refried beans
mexican cheese blend, shredded
olives, sliced
onions, small diced
jarred jalapeño slices, optional
flour tortillas

Spread a thin lather of refried beans on the whole tortilla.  On one half add olives, onions, jalapeños and cheese.  Fold oven and place on a hot skillet until heated and crispy turn and heat the same.  Serve with salsa and the lime avocado dip.























Brie and Mushroom

Brie Cheese, sliced
cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
flour tortillas

In a skillet heat olive oil, add sliced mushrooms, salt, pepper and thyme, cook until mushrooms are cooked through about 4 minutes, add garlic and cook another minute. Slice brie and lay on one side or tortilla, top with mushrooms, fold over and place on a hot skillet, once cheese starts to melt flip over and heat through for 2 minutes.























Cajun Sausage, Apple with Pepper Jack Cheese

2 cajun sausages, cut thin
1 granny smith apple, grated
sliced pepper jack cheese
flour tortillas

In a skillet heat cajun sausage until it has a slight crunch around the edges.  Add the sliced pepper cheese on one side or the tortilla (I used two slices of cheese per tortilla) grate apple over the cheese and add cajun sausage slices.  Fold over and place on a hot skillet until cheese just starts to melt then flip over and heat until heated through about 2 minutes.








Monday, January 27, 2014

Cake Batter Pecan Cheesecake

This weekend was one of those lets see what I can concoct in the kitchen with ingredients I have on hand.  Every time I opened the refrigerator a package of cream cheese was front and center, there was my first ingredient.  Now do I want to go savory or sweet....sweet won since we were having chili for dinner.  I didn't have enough graham crackers to do a crust for a cheesecake but I did have a box of yellow cake mix, that will do.  Like a mad scientist I started putting it all together and what I came up with was a cake batter cheesecake.
































Cake Batter Pecan Cheesecake

Crust

1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup butter, melted

Filling

1 8oz package cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
reserved cake mixture
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup pecan pieces

Caramel Sauce

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Crust: for a 9 inch springform pan.  In a bowl add cake mix, graham cracker crumbs and melted butter mix together.  Remove a 1/2 cup of the mix and set aside.  Press the cake mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan.

Filling: With an electric mixer cream the cream cheese and sugar; add eggs one at a time making sure eggs is incorporated each time, add vanilla mix thoroughly.  Pour over the crust.  In a bowl mix the leftover cake mixture, brown sugar and pecan pieces.  Sprinkle on top of batter and take a knife and carefully swirl around.  Place in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until set.  Allow to cook 15 minutes then take a knife around the edge to loosen crust from pan.  Remove springform and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.  Drizzle with caramel sauce.






Friday, January 24, 2014

Caramelized Onion Cranberry Cornbread

Cornbread is a big family favorite in our house and something I fix often.  Cornbread is very versatile, plain with some butter and honey to throwing everything but the kitchen sink in it.  It can be sweet or savory and it goes with everything.  I will make cornbread from scratch and I will make it from a boxed mix.  Today I'm making it from a boxed mix and the only boxed mix I use is Jiffy.  What I love about Jiffy over the years it has stayed the same great taste and you can't beat the price.  If you are going to make the cornbread according to the directions on the box you only need two ingredients milk and a egg.  Personally I always double the recipe.








Caramelized Onion Cranberry Cornbread

1 large onion, cut in half and sliced thin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 boxes of Jiffy Cornbread mix
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Heat 10 inch skillet with olive oil and on a low heat sauté onion slices until you reach a deep caramelization about 30 to 45 minutes.  Remove onions from skillet allow to cool down while you make the cornbread.  Pour cornbread mix into a medium bowl, add milk, sage and eggs, stir until everything is incorporated.  Dust cranberries with the flour (this will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the skillet).  Add cranberries and onions to cornbread mixture and fold in.  Get your skillet hot on the stove top (use the same skillet you used for the onions) pour cornbread into skillet and place into the hot oven bake for 20 minutes.  You want it set and just starting to brown around the edges.  Serve warm with butter and honey.  Also good for making stuffing for poultry.


 
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