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Monday, December 31, 2012

Southwestern Hoppin' John

It has long been a tradition in the south to start the new year with Hoppin' John. Eating it on New year's Day brings luck and prosperity. Here is a recipe with a slightly Arizona touch.



                                      Hoppin' John

1# dried black eyed peas, soaked overnight and rinsed.
1 tbl spoon olive oil
1 small ham hock (Six strips of bacon can be substituted)
1 small onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1 tblspoon garlic, minced
1 green pepper, diced
1 Serrano chili, minced (If you like more heat, add a second Serrano, but be careful!)
1 qt. chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsps. Old Bay or Creole seasoning
salt. black pepper to taste

1/2 cup diced prickly pear paddles (Can be found in Southwestern section of grocery store. Saute in 1 tblspoon butter and add to rice as it cooks)


In a heavy sauce pan, heat oil then sear ham hock. If you substitute bacon, no oil is needed. Cook bacon until done. Add diced onion, celery, peppers, and garlic. Saute for 4 minutes. Add chicken stock, soaked black eyed peas, bay leaf, thyme and Creole seasoning or Old Bay. bring to a boil, then reduced to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and adding liquid as needed. Peas should be nice and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve over cooked white rice.

Have a glorious and prosperous New Year. Party on, but don't drink and drive.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cheesy Bacon Quiche

Breakfast is the first meal of the day. Why not make it the best meal of the day as well? Quiche is simple, quick and easy. Eggs, bacon and cheese - how can you go wrong with that combination?


                                                           Cheesy Bacon Quiche


1 - 9# pie crust in buttered pan
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream  (Milk can be used for lighter quiche, but cream is rich)
2 cups chopped baby spinach  (Blanched sliced asparagus can be a good substitute)
1# bacon, cooked and crumbled (Drain grease on paper towel)
1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese (Substitute Cheddar or Gruyere is you like)
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried thyme
salt/pepper to taste



In a 9# pie crust, layer crumbled bacon evenly, and then layer chopped spinach, followed by cheese. In a large bowl, mix eggs, cream, herbs, salt and pepper. Pour over mixture slowly. Bake in 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.

Slice and serve. This meal is so good, it even makes a great dinner.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lentil Soup with Andouille Sausage

Cold weather is soup time. If you're tired of boring chicken soup or vegetable soup, try this quick, easy recipe. It's hearty and delicious.


                                               Lentil Soup with Andouille Sausage

1# green lentils
1/4 cup olive oil
3 white onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
5-6 celery stalks, diced
5-6 carrots, diced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried cumin
2 tsps. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 qts. chicken stock
1# Andouille sausage, sliced.
3-4 shakes of Louisiana Hot Sauce. (Optional)

In a bowl, pour boiling water over lentils. Let stand 15 minutes, then drain.
In a stock pot or large heavy pot, add olive oil to pan over medium heat. Add garlic, onions, salt, pepper, cumin, and thyme. Saute 15 minutes until onions are translucent. Add carrots, celery and tomato paste. Saute 10 more minutes. Add stock, lentils and sausage. Simmer for 1 hour on low heat. Check for seasoning. More salt may be necessary depending on type of stock.

Add hot sauce for more heat. Serve with shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Slow Cooker BBQ Beef

A crock pot is an easy, efficient method of slow cooking meats. In some parts of the country (Not Tucson) it's getting too cold to grill outside and oven roasting can overheat the house. This quick and easy recipe calls for BBQ beef, but a pork loin can be substituted.



                                                    Slow Cooker BBQ Beef


3# chuck roast or bottom round
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 Tbl spoon Lee and Perrins  or Worcestershire Sauce
5-6 garlic cloves crushed
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp black pepper



Place beef in slow cooker set on low. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and pour over beef. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, then high for 2 hours. (If you are out, cook on low for 8-9 hours)

When beef pulls apart easily, remove from pot, and shred. replace in slow cooker, spooning liquid over meat. Serve on a bun with fries and a side of slaw or baked beans. Sauce can be thickened by reducing over med heat in a saute pan.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Herb Roasted Pork Loin

In honor of the javalinas descending on my front lawn and destryoing everything, here is a great recipe for pork. You could substitute javalina, but don't get caught.


                          Herb Roasted Pork Loin

1- 4# Pork loin, trimmed
10 small red potatoes, quartered.
2 white onions, peeled and quartered (Leave one end intact to hold together)
5 carrots, peeled, halved (large end), and sliced into 1-inch pieces
4 tbl spoons olive oil
2 tsps dried thyme
2 tsps garlic powder
2 tsps onion powder
2 tsps cumin powder
salt/pepper

In a small bowl, toss onion, potatoes, and carrots with 2 tbl spoons olive oil, and half the
herbs. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Rub pork loin with remainign 2 tbl spoons olive oil, then pat on dry herbs and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

In a preheated 350 degree over, place pork loin on a rack in a shallow baking pan. Cook 45-50 minutes. Place vegetables around pork loin and cook 45-50 additional minutes (Internal temperature 140-145 degrees). Remove from heat, cover with foil, and let rest 15 minutes for juices to settle before slicing.

Serves 8

In Arizona or Texas, eat on back deck and pretend you're eating obnoxious javalinas.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Warm-Me-Up-Meal: Adobo Chicken

As the weather grows colder, a good, spicy meal serves to warm you up. Southwestern is perfect for this. This complete meal is quick and easy.


                                                      
                                                                   Adobo Chicken

4 boneless chicken breasts
1 lime, juiced
2 Tbl spoons Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika

In a bowl, mix all ingredients except chicken. Divide mixture and spread over breasts skin side. sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for 6 minutes per side or bake in 425 degree oven for twenty minutes.


                                                          Adobo Jack Mashed Potatoes

8 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (Precooked microwave mashed potatoes or even instant         potatoes can be used, but fresh potatoes have more flavor)
1/4 stick butter
1 Tbl spoon Adobo sauce (More if you like heat)
1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
S/P

Cover potatoes with water and cook for 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain. Mash, stir in butter, Adobo sauce, and cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.


                                                                        Arizona Corn

4 cups frozen corn
1 tbl spoon butter
1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 Tbl spoons small diced red peppers
1 tsp dried oregano
s/p

Place corn in microwaveable dish, add other ingredients and cook for 6-7 minutes, stopping and stirring every couple of minutes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Devil Made Me Do It Eggs

For picnics, Sunday lunches, and holidays, Deviled eggs have always been a favorite treat. Everyone has their own recipe. This recipe is spicy, tangy and delicious.


                           The Devil Made Me Do It Eggs

12 eggs, boiled, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise

2 tbl spoons mayonnaise
1 tbl spoon Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Chinese dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 small shallot, minced
2 small sweet Gherkin pickles, minced
pinch salt and pepper

1/4 tsp paprika for garnish
24 small parsley leaves for garnish.


Cooking Eggs. Cover eggs with water in saucepan. Add 1 tsp vinegar to water. Bring to a boil. remove from heat and cover. Let sit 10 minutes. Immediately run under cold water or plunge in ice bath. Peel. Carefully slice in half lengthwise, remove yolk and place yolk in bowl.


Mixture.  In a bowl, mix mayo, both mustards, cayenne, salt, pepper, shallots and pickles. Mix thoroughly. Combine with yolks. If not creamy enough to pipe, add a touch more mayonnaise. (Important: taste mixture for heat level. These eggs have a little kick. Heat level can be raised or lowered by use of dry mustard. Adjusted it here). Place in piping bag or a plastic baggie with one corner cut off. Squeeze into halved eggs. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika and a parsley leaf.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Scallops with Fettucine in a Spicy Cream Sauce

Scallops are delicious shellfish, especially served with pasta. Add a few veggies and you have a winner. This dish has just a touch of heat, but the sweetness of the scallops and the cream sauce calm it to a faint memory.


         Scallops with Fettuccine in a Spicy Cream Sauce

1# U-10 count scallops, cleaned and dried
1/4 cup chopped bacon
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and diced into 1-inch pieces
1 cup sliced shitaki mushrooms
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 small shallot, diced
1 Tbl spoon chopped parsley
4 Tbl spoons butter
2 Tbl spoons olive oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt/pepper to taste


In a saute pan at medium heat, add olive oil and bacon. Cook until done, add garlic and shallot and cook 1 minute longer. Set aside. Reheat pan, add butter. Saute scallops and cook until somewhat firm, about 3 minutes per side. Should be white inside. Don't overcook or they will turn rubbery. remove from heat. Add mushrooms and asparagus and saute until done. De-glaze with white wine. Reduce by half. Add pepper flakes, salt, black pepper and Old Bay Seasoning. Add cream and reduce. Add saved bacon and garlic mixture and scallops and toss a few times until heated.

Remove scallops. Pour sauce and veggies over cooked fettuccine and place scallops on top, four per serving. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve with buttered and toasted slices of Italian bread.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Spicey Shrimp Alfredo

One of my all-time favorite comfort dishes is pasta. Sometimes a heavy red sauce or meat sauce is just too much, especially on a hot summer's day. This recipe is perfect - just a little bite of heat but light and filling.  This is a recipe for two people.


                                   Spicy Shrimp Alfredo

1# 24ct shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 oz. fettuccine pasta, dried  (If you use fresh fettuccine, add after sauce to saute pan)
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/cup butter
1 cup half and half
1 cup heavy cream (You can substitute more half and half for lighter sauce)
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
s/p to taste


                                           Alfredo Sauce
In a sauce pan, heat half and half, heavy cream and butter until light boil, reduce to low and whip in egg and add Parmesan cheese. Cook until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste.


To cook pasta, bring 2 quarts water to a boil (1 quart per 4 oz dried pasta is best). Add 4 pinches salt and 1 tsp olive oil to season and to keep pasta from sticking. Cook approx. 12 minutes or until al dente, just done. Do not overcook!

To cook shrimp, add 2 tsps. olive oil to saute pan on medium heat-high, add onion, pepper, garlic and cook about 1 minute. Add shrimp, red pepper flakes, pinch of salt and black pepper, and cook 2 minutes, tossing a few times until shrimp just turns pink. Add cooked pasta, toss to mix, then add Alfredo sauce. (Do not drench pasta. Add enough sauce to coat pasta with a little left over) Cook on medium heat for another minute to heat sauce.

Serve with a good garlic butter Italian bread and a glass of Pinot Grigio or your choice of beverage.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Plum Glazed Salmon with Saffron Rice

Seafood is delicious, low calorie and good for you. This easy recipe delivers a mixture of Occidental-Oriental flavors to please the taste bud.


                                  Plum Glazed Salmon

4 pieces center-cut salmon fillets
4 tbl spoons olive oil
1 tsp lime juice
4 tbl spoons plum preserves
1 tsp dried thyme
Kosher salt
Pepper


Heat broiler. Oil broiler pan. Mix plum preserves, lime juice and thyme. Salt and pepper fish to taste, then brush fish with plum preserve mixture. Place fish skin side down on broiler. Cook 5-6 minutes until brown.


                                         Saffron Rice

1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp minced onion
1 pinch saffron threads  (More if golden color desired)
Salt to taste

Add butter to pan on medium heat. Saute onions. Add rice and coat with butter mixture. Add stock. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Turn of heat and set aside.



                                   Shitake Mushrooms

1# Shitake mushrooms, cleaned
1/4 cup butter
1 tbl spoon Oyster Sauce
Kosher Salt
White pepper

In a saute pan, melt butter on medium heat, add mushroom and saute until almost tender. Add Oyster sauce, salt and white pepper to taste. Toss and serve with Salmon and rice.


Let me know how this works for you. Of course, any good mushroom will work - crimini, button, Enoki, straw or a mixture.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Chicken-Chorizo Quesadillas

Like Mexican food with a twist? Try these quick and easy quesadillas for a meal or a party snack.


                                            Chicken-Chorizo Quesadillas


6 flour tortillas
2 boneless chicken breasts
1/2# chorizo sausage
1 cup shredded Manchego cheese, or any good queso blanco
1 can black beans
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 small red onion, small dice
1-2 jalapenos, minced (Remove seeds and ribs for milder temp)
1 small tomato, small dice
1 small papaya or mango, small dice
1 tbl spoon lime juice
1 tsp olive oil
8 oz. sour cream
salt/pepper

Rub chili powder into chicken breast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill or bake. Slice into thin strips.
Saute chorizo over over medium heat. Drain.
Add cumin and garlic powder to black beans. Heat black beans on stove top or microwave for 4 minutes.

Heat tortillas slightly in saute pan on medium heat to make pliable. Add spoonful of chorizo, 3-4 strips of chicken, and a spoonful of black beans (Use slotted spoon for beans). Sprinkle with cheese, fold and heat in saute pan until tortilla browns a little and cheese melts, or about 2 minutes. Flip and do the same on other side.
Slice quesadilla into 4 wedge-shaped slices by cutting in half, then halving each half. Top with a little salsa and a dollop of sour cream.
                                                              
                                                          
                                                             Salsa

Mix onion, jalapeno, tomato,and papaya or mango in small bowl. Add lime juice and olive oil. Season with salt/pepper. Let set for 30 minutes before serving.


For a complete meal, add a side of black beans and rice, or just snack while watching TV.
To add more heat, splash a little Chalula hot sauce or your favorite hot sauce in bean mixture or salsa.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Seared Scallop Salad

In summer heat, quick and easy salads make great meals. Here's one that's sure to please everyone. Scallops are delicious and healthy for you.

                                                    
                                                      Seared Scallop Salad

12 large scallops, cleaned
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsps. lemon juice
1 tsp chopped fresh dill

1 bag mixed greens
1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
1/4 red onion, French cut
1/2 cucumber, peeled, shredded
1 cup Italian Dressing

Mix olive oil, rice wine vinegar and Dijon mustard. Marinate scallops in mixture and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove from marinade and sautee over medium heat 4 minutes on one side. Add lemon juice and dill, mix contents of pan, and sautee other side of scallops 4 minutes until done. Be careful not to overcook. Add salt/pepper to taste.

Place a handful of mixed greens on plate. Add some carrots, cucumber and onion. Sprinkle with Italian Dressing. Place 4 scallops per plate. Serve with buttered toast points or toasted sliced Frech Bread.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bonnie's Breakfast Casserole

Here's a great brunch or breakfast casserole for company. The recipe is from my great Atlanta frined, Bonnie. Thanks Bonnie. It's the way I like my Rice Krispies - with sausage and cheese!


Bonnie's Breakfast Casserole


2 lbs sausage – 1 mild, 1 hot (pork or turkey)

6 cups Rice Krispies

1 medium onion – chopped

16 oz Cheddar Cheese – grated

4 eggs – slightly beaten

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of celery soup

1/4 cup milk


      1.     Whisk eggs, soup and milk together until smooth – set aside

2.     Brown sausage and onion together; drain

3.     Arrange in layers in a 9x13 dish as follows:

                    1/2 sausage

                    3 cups Rice Krispies

                    1/2 cheese; then,

                    1/2 sausage

                    3 cups Rice Krispies

                    1/2 cheese

4.     Pour egg mixture over top

Bake uncovered in a 350o oven for 45 min – 1 hour
Serves 8-10
Can be made a day ahead and cooked before serving.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mexican Enchiladas

Good Mexican food is always great but sometimes hard to find. Here in Tucson, we're very lucky. It's everywhere. You can make delicious Mexican food at home.

                                             Mexican Enchiladas



2# ground beef
1 med. onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tbl spoons chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tbl spoon chopped fresh cilantro (Reserve 1 tbl spoon for finished dish as garnish)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
12 corn tortillas


Sauce

1 cup shortening
1 cup flour
6 cups water
2 tbl spoons chili powder
1 tsp any good Mexican hot sauce
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups good Mexican cheese (Cheddar if no Mexican cheeses available)


In saute pan, melt shortening. Add flour and mix to a paste. Add chili powder and garlic powder. Slowly add 6 cups water, stirring. Heat until thickens.


In saute pan, add ground beef. Saute five minutes. Add onions and jalapenos, add herbs. Cook until brown. Drain most of the grease.

Dip tortillas in sauce (Microwaving tortillas for 15 seconds before dipping will make them more pliable). Spoon in ground beef mixture and roll. Place in greased shallow baking dish. Spoon some of the sauce over them, them cheese. Bake in 350 degree-oven for about 20 minutes. Pour remainder of sauce over it, sprinkle with cheese and a little chopped cilantro.

Serve with Spanish rice. Add 1/2 cup salsa to rice as it is cooking for a little punch.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Grilled Salmon with Charred Corn Salad

Summertime and the grilling is easy. Keep the heat out of the house - use your backyard grill this summer. Here are two quick and easy recipes sure to please the most discerning palate.

                                                        
                                                         Grilled Salmon


4 salmon filets, skinned
1 tsp lemmon pepper
2 tsps Kosher or Sea salt
3 tbl spoons lime juice
3 tbl spoons cooking oil

Heat grill to medium. Brush fish with oil, sprinkle with lemmon pepper and salt, drizzle with lime juice. Grill for 6-7 minutes per side until meat is flaky.


                                                     
                                                       Charred Corn Salsa


6 ears fresh corn, husked
1 red onion, cut in half lengthwise and thin sliced
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup loose shredded basil leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup lime juice
1/3 cup olive oil

Coat corn with oil. Cook on medium grill turning often for 12-15 minutes until charred and kernels are soft. Allow to cool and slice kernels from cob. In a bowl, add corn, sliced red onion, diced tomatoes, basil, thyme, salt, pepper and lime juice. Mix thoroughly. Can be made ahead of time. Cook corn before Salmon.

Grilled salmon, Charred Corn Salad, a cold beer or beverage of your choice - sit back, eat and enjoy.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Slow Grilled BBQ Chicken and Grilled Veggie Salad

Summer is for grilling, on the beach, at the lake or in the backyard. This recipe is quick and easy and a crowd pleaser, low-fat and delicious.

                                                    Grilled BBQ Chicken

4 chicken breasts, with skin and breast bone
1 red onion, sliced
2 yellow squash, sliced
2 zucchini, sliced
2 cucumber, peeled, 1/4 inch slices
2 tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup Italian dressing
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (Your favorite)
salt
black pepper
1/4tsp BBQ powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Place dry marinade of BBQ powder, onion powder, garlic powder, a pinch each of salt and black pepper in a large plastic bag. Place chicken in bag and shake until covered. Place chicken skin side down on a medium pre-heated grill (325 degrees) away from direct heat. Cook slowly for 20 minutes. Bast with BBQ sauce and turn. Bast skin side and cook 10 more minutes. Just before removing, bast a second time.

While chicken cooks, take vegetables, salt pepper and Italian dressing and place in plastic bag. Shake and cover veggies thoroughly. Place on low-heat side of grill, Cook 6-7 minutes per side. Set aside to cool.

Remove chicken from grill. While it sits to redistribute juices, dice vegetables and mix into a salad. Serve with chicken. Rice or baked potato is a good starch.

 Cooking chicken slowly allows BBQ sauce to penetrate meat without forcing natural juices out.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

Chicken soup is good for the soul, while stew is a rich, hearty meal. This dish combines both for a heart healthy, delicious meal.

                                                         Slow Cooker Chicken Stew


1 Pkg. boneless chicken thighs
2 carrots, sliced in 2 inch chunks.
1 large potato, skin on (washed) sliced into large 1 inch cubes
2 stalks celery, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 white onion, diced into 1 inch pieces.
1/2 cup frozen English peas
1 cup chicken stock
Cornstarch slurry with 3/4 Tbl. spoon cornstarch and just enough water to make a slurry
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
salt/pepper
2-3 dashes hot sauce

In a crock pot, add chicken and vegetables except for peas. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Add peas and chicken stock. Cook 1 1/2 to 2 hours longer until chicken breaks apart easily. Season with oregano, thyme, 2-3 dashes hot sauce, salt/pepper to taste. Slowly add cornstarch slurry to thicken stock. Use spoon to break chicken into smaller pieces.

Eats like a hearty stew, tastes like mom's chicken soup.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Grilled Mongolian Pork Chops

Summer is upon us. Time to break out the backyard grill and do some cooking. Forget burgers and hot dogs. Shoot for something different.

                                   Grilled Mongolian Pork Chops with Grilled Veggies

4 thick-cut pork chops

1/2 cup Hoisin sauce
4-5 garlic cloves minced
2 tbl spoons Soy sauce
1 tbl spoon freshly grated ginger
2 tbl spoons rice wine vinegar
2 tbl spoons sugar
2 tsps hot sauce or 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (More if like like heat)
1/2 tsp black or white pepper

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Bring to a boil to melt sugar. Let cool for 30 minutes.  Place chops in a Ziploc bag, add marinate and place in refrigerator overnight. (At least a few hours)

Heat grill to high, wipe down with oiled rag, and place chops on grill. Cook 4 minutes per side, then place on indirect med. heat (Higher rack or to the side) for 15 minutes until done.

                                 Grilled Veggies

1 bunch asparagus  
2-4 Heirloom or any variety tomato, thick sliced.

Brush lightly with Italian dressing and place on high grill. Sprinkle with Kosher or Sea salt and black pepper. For asparagus, cook 2-3 minutes per side.
For tomatoes, when skin begins to wrinkle around the edges, turn once for 1 minute. Longer and it might get mushy.

Spicy Mongolian Pork Chops with grilled veggies makes a great meal.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Halibut Picatta with Mushroom Risotto

If, like me, you love seafood and love Italian food, this dish hits both head on.

                                         
                                              Halibut Picatta with Mushroom Risotto

1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup white wine
3 tbl spoons lemon juice
2 tbl spoons capers, drained
1 1/2 # halibut
olive oil
salt/pepper

For the sauce. In a saute pan at med. heat,  add tbl spoon olive oil and garlic. Cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add wine, capers and lemon juice. bring to a boil and reduce to 1/2 cup. Keep warm.

In saute pan, heat 2 tbl spoons olive oil on med. high heat. Salt and pepper both sides halibut. Saute both sides in oil 2 minutes per side.  Place pan and fish in preheated 375 degree oven for 8 minutes. Fish should be slightly spongy and flaky when done.


Risotto.

1 Vidalia onion diced
2 portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 cup sliced shitake mushrooms
chicken stock as needed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbl spoons olive oil
1 large pat butter
2 cups risotto
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (basil, tarragon, Italian parsley)

In large heavy pot, heat oil. Saute onion until clear, 3 minutes. Add garlic and butter. Cook another minute or so. Add risotto. Stir and cook until grains are well coated. Add mushrooms. Add 1/4 cup stock and stir constantly until almost dry. Continue to add stock and stir to avoid sticking fro 20 minutes. Risotto should be creamy. Add cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh herbs.

You can prepare fish while cooking risotto but watch the risotto carefully. Do not let it get dry or it will stick and burn. This makes a wonderful Italian dish.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Slow Cooker Mediterranean Chicken

Easy is good. Delicious and easy is better. Mediterranean Chicken will satisfy everyone.

1 whole onion, sliced
2 carrots, diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can Garbanzo beans, drained

1 can chopped tomatoes with juice

1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp Kosher or sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp curry powder (Optional)

4 boneless chicken breast or thighs

In a covered crock pot, add chicken and first 6 ingredients. Combine spices and add to crock pot, then add tomatoes. Cook on low for 8-9 hours or high for 4 1/2 hours until chicken falls off the bone.

Serve over Basmati rice.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Savory Slow Cooker Beef Ragout

Sometimes finding time to prepare and cook a meal is difficult. Slow cooker ssolve this problem by allowing you to prepare a meal, let it cook for hours and serve it when needed. Today's savory beef ragout is wholesome and delicious.

                        Savory Slow Cooker Beef Ragout

1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (Double if you like heat)
1/4 tsp black pepper  (Fresh ground is best)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1# lean beef, cubed
2 tbl olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 white onion diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1# mushrooms, any type (Porcini and morel are heartier)
1 cup, peeled and diced tomatoes
1 can(8oz) tomatoes sauce
4 cups beef broth
2 tbl chopped fresh basil
1 tbl chopped fresh thyme
1 tbl chopped fresh oregano (If dried herbs are used, halve amounts)
Optional: 1/2 cup red wine

Place seasoned flour in plastic baggy. Add beef in small amounts and shake until coated. Set aside until all beef is coated. Add 2 tbl olive oil to skillet over medium heat. Sear beef until brown. Deglaze with wine or some of the beef broth to get all the flavor. Add to slow cooker.

Add vegetables, beef broth, wine, tomato sauce and herbs to cooker. Canned veggies can be substituted but remember canned goods are saltier. Discard liquid in cans. Set cooker on high and cook about 6 hours until tender and sauce is thickened. Serve as a stew or over a bed of rice. Savory, hearty and delicious - a real winner. Your family will love it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Zesty Cuban Pork Sandwich with Coleslaw

The Pope is visiting Cuba. In his honor, why not try this easy recipe for a killer diller pork sandwich.

                          Zesty Cuban Pork Sandwich with Cole Slaw 

1 foot-long piece Cuban bread or French Bread

1 pork tenderloin, sliced into 8 pieces, pounded thin
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
salt
pepper

Dressing for Cole Slaw

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. sugar

Slaw

1/4 head cabbage
2 tbsp. chopped raisins
2-3 slices red onion, cut into strips

Dressing for sandwich

4 tbsp. mayo
1 tsp lime juice
1/8 tsp chili powder

First: Thin slice 1 cup cabbage. Sprinkle with salt, place in colander and set aside to drain while preparing pork. This will slightly wilt cabbage.
Second: In a bowl, mix lime zest, garlic, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper. Rub into pork slices. In a hot skillet, add olive oil and quickly cook pork - about 2 minutes per side. While pork is cooking, mix ingredients for slaw dressing and add to cabbage with raisins and onion.

Third: Slice 2, six-inch portions of bread in half along length. Spread both sides with sandwich dressing (Mayo, lime juice, chili powder). In same hot skillet used to cook pork (or on griddle top), quickly sear dressing side of bread.

Last: Add pork slices to bread (Four per sandwich), top with a liberal amount of Cole Slaw, close up sandwich and chow down.  Accompany with a good Cuban beer or a Dos Equis.  

Cole Slaw adds a bit of crunch and spicy sweetness to sandwich. As with any spicy dish, add the heat to your particular taste.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Southwestern Salad with spicy Chicken

                               Southwestern Salad with Spicy Chicken

With today's fast paced lifestyle, meals can be a problem. This quick and easy recipe avoids the hassles of preparing and cooking a meal.

1 chicken breast
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 cup mixed greens
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
½ red onion, sliced into small half rings
½ red pepper, sliced into 2” long slivers
½ yellow pepper, the same
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ roasted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup Italian dressing
½ ancho chili with Adobo sauce, minced
Salt/pepper


Take Italian dressing and half the ancho chili and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

Take remainder of ancho chili, minced jalapeno, salt and pepper and rub onto chicken breast. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes until done. While chicken is cooking, you can prepare other ingredients for salad.

Place greens and other ingredients in a bowl and mix. Slice cooled chicken breast and place on top, cover with spicy Italian dressing.
Serves 2. Makes a simple, quick and hearty meal.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Southwestern Chicken Pot Pie

Comfort food rules! Try this slightly different take on your grandmother's classic.

                                         Southwestern Chicken Pot Pie

2 chicken breasts, diced
1 whole carrot, peeled and sliced
1/2 onion, diced
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 jalapeno, seeded and fine diced
4 whole potatoes, peeled and diced
1/3 cup All Purpose flour
1stick butter
salt
pepper
1/2 Ancho chili in Adobo sauce
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk

In sauce pan over med-hi heat, boil potatoes until done. Remove, set aside half and mash the other half with ancho chilies, 1/4 stick butter, 1/2 cup milk and salt and pepper.

In same pan, add more water, chicken, carrots, celery, peas and jalapeno. Cook on med-hi 15 minutes until done, drain and set aside.

In same pan, heat remaining butter, add onions and cook until translucent. Add flour and stir. Add broth and cooked chicken and vegetables, included reserved half of cooked potatoes. Cook until sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cumin.

In greased casserole dish, add pot pie mixture. Spread ancho-mashed potatoes over dish. Cook in 425 oven for 30 minutes until potatoes are lightly browned.

Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley and serve.

If this doesn't make you want to leave your snow-bound home and move to Arizona, nothing will.







Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Southwestern Casserole

An easy family dish that everyone will love.
                      
Southwestern Ground Beef Casserole.


2# ground beef
1 red pepper, small dice
1 small red onion, small dice
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
4 corn tortillas, cut into strips
1/4 cup cheddar or Mexican cheese
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried sage
Salt/pepper
2 diced jalapenos (More for more heat)

In a skillet over med. heat, saute ground beef, onion and red and jalapeno peppers. Add cumin powder, garlic powder, sage and salt and pepper. Drain, add corn and black beans and mix.
Grease a casserole dish, pour mixture inside. Top with tortilla strips and cheese. Cover and bake 45 min. at 350 degrees.

Hint: Leave off tortilla strips and this dish becomes a great party dip.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Baked Parmesean Ratatouille and Italian Sausage

If you love Italian food, and who doesn't, this tasty quick and easy one dish meal will delight your tastebuds.

                              Baked Parmesean Ratatouille with Italian Sausage


4 Spicey Italian sausages, sliced on the bias about 1/4 inch thich. (If semi-frozen they are much  easier to slice.)
1/2 med. white onion, 1/2 inch pieces
1 large zucchini, peeled and diced in 1/2 inch cubes
1 large yellow squash, peeled and diced in 1/2 inch cubes
3-4 Plum tomatoes, blanched and peeled, diced in 1/2 inch cubes
1 medium eggplant, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes. (Japanese eggplant is very tasty. Place in strainer after peeling and dicing and add salt. Let sit 1 hour to drain juice.)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed.
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil(EVOO)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesean cheese, grated
1/2 tsp. dried oregano (1Tablespoon if fresh chopped)
1/2 tsp. dried basil (same as oregano if fresh)
Salt/Pepper to taste  

In saute pan, heat 1/4 cup EVOO at meduim heat. Cook sausage until done (About 15 minutes). Remove sausage and drain. Add more oil and add onions. Cook until transparent. Add remaining veggies and garlic. Cook 30 minutes until soft. Add cooked Italian sausage, half the parmesean cheese and breadcrumbs and mix with veggies. Add herbs and S/P. Top with remaining breadcrumbs, then remaining parmesean cheese. Place in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes are until browned. (Watch carefully! Ovens vary.)

Serve with garlic buttered Italian bread and a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Slow Cooker Asian Lime Chicken

I love spicey Asian food and I love chicken. This recipe is the best of both worlds and easy to boot.

2# skinless chicken thighs (can substitute breasts)
1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbls. lime juice (Fresh if possible)
5 garlic cloves, peeled but whole
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp white pepper
3 diced Roma tomatoes
1 small can water chestnuts, drained
1-2 small Asian chili peppers or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (To taste for heat)

Dredge chicken in flour and place in bottom of crock pot at low temp.

Combine other ingredients and add to crock pot. Cover and cook for 4-5 hours depending on crock pot or until meat peels from bone. If sauce is not thick enough, add a cornatrch slurry. Serve over rice with butter-sauteed snow peas and carrots. Enough to make a Thai prince's mouth water.

Serves 4 (Unless you really love it)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cajun Blackened Tilapia with Black Beans and Corn

  I lived for two years way down at the mouth of the Mississippi River and travelled to New Orleans as often as I could to eat at K. Paul's, Galatoires, Emeril's Delmonico, Brennan's and even some of the little dives few people hear about. One thing was common to all - the food was Cajun. That doesn't just mean spicy and hot. Cajun cooking layers seasonings so that they produce different levels of flavor. Blackening is another favorite of mine. Here the seasonings are seared deep into the food. Try this favorite dish of mine and see what you think.


                                                     Cajun Blackening Seasoning

2 tsps. smoked paprika
4 tsps. dried thyme
2 tsps. onion powder
2 tsps. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (Can be reduced to cut heat)
2 tsps. salt
2 tsps. black pepper

Mix and store in a sealed container for longer shelf life.

4 pieces Tilapia, fresh or frozen. If frozen, thaw and pat dry. Rub blackening mix onto one side of fish. Heat butter or oil in med-high skillet until smoking. Sear fish 2-3 minutes on each side. As a good side, I recommend black beans. canned are fine but ad a little salt, pepper, and cumin to liven them up. Another great side is corn. Add butter, 1/4 tsp.dried oregano, fine diced red peppers, 2-3 slices of fine diced jalapeno s/p to taste. Fried potatoes or rice are an excellent starch.

Blackening seasoning can also be rubbed onto steaks or chicken before grilling. Eat and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Savory Meatloaf with Basil Mashers

Good comfort food is quick and easy. This recipe is a slight twist on traditional meatloaf and mash potatoes.

                                                                Savory Meatloaf
 
2 stalks celery, diced
1 med white onion, diced
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
1 tsp dried oregano
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
1# ground beef, 80/20
1# Italian sausage, mild or hot
s/p

Saute onion and celery for 5 minutes until soft. Let cool. Mix sausage, ground beef, and remaining ingredients, including onion and celery, thoroughly and pat into a loaf. Place on sheet pan or baking pan and place in a 375 degree preheated oven.  Bake 50-55 minutes until done. Save drippings.

                                                                  Pan Brown Gravy

Place drippings in same pan used for onion and celery. Heat, add 3 tbl. spoons flour. Cook until light brown, then add 2 cups beef stock or water. Reduce until thick. Add s/p.

                                                                 
                                                                  Basil Mashers

2# Yukon gold potatoes, do not peel
2 cups fresh basil
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 stick butter
1/2 cup Asiago cheese
s/p

In a large pot, add potatoes and bring to a boil.  Cook 20-30 minutes until fork breaks potatoes easily. In a separate pan, heat heavy cream and basil mixture. Reduce by 1/3. (Boils over easily, so watch!) Puree in a blender or food processor.
Mash potatoes but leave chunky. Add basil cream and butter. Mix until creamy with chunks. Add Asiago and then S/P to taste.

Slice meatloaf with side of potatoes and ladle gravy over both. Mmm! Good!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Teriyaki Chicken with Rice

As a former professional chef, I have accumulated many recipes over the years. I have decided to share some of these easy recipes with you. Even an amateur can create delicious, appetizing meals.

                                             Stir Fry Teriyaki Chicken with Rice

2 chicken breasts - cubed
15-20 Snow peas
2 carrots - thin slice on a bias
White or crimini mushrooms - depending on size, half or quarter
1/4 head purple cabbage - cut into 1" pieces
8 ribs Nappa Cabbage - shred leaf, slice stems
1 can water chestnuts- drained
1 stalk broccoli - cut into small florets
4 stalks celery - sliced

1/4 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Cornstarch slurry (Cornstarch and water)
White pepper - 1/4 teaspoon
Five Spice - 1/4 teaspoon

Add 2 teaspoons oil to saute pan (Or Wok) over med heat. Add chicken. Saute until almost done (5-6 minutes). Add carrots, water chestnuts, mushrooms, purple cabbage and cook 2-3 minutes. Add remainder of vegetables. Season with Five Spice and whiter pepper. Add teriyaki sauce and soy sauce. Toss ingredients in pan to mix thoroughly. Reduce liquid by half. Add chicken stock. When boiling, add cornstarch slurry slowly while stirring until sauce begins to thicken and remove from heat. Serve over white or brown rice. 1 cup rice per serving. Makes 4 servings.