Saturday, October 29, 2011

Oven fried Chicken Thighs

This a quick weeknight dinner fix.  I got the recipe from an online blog called "The Cookbook Junkie".  The breading is crunchy and it looks very much liked "fried chicken", but it is oven baked.
  • 8 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • 1 C. cornmeal mix
  • 1 T. kosher salt
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • ½ t. cayenne pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place bacon on paper towels and microwave for 45 seconds
  3. Season the chicken with salt and Creole seasoning
  4. Wrap the bacon around the chicken thigh, securing with toothpicks
  5. In a medium bowl, mix the cornmeal mix, salt, paprika, and cayenne
  6. Roll the chicken thighs in the cornmeal seasoning mixture
  7. Place thighs on a baking rack that has been sprayed with cooking spray
  8. Place the baking rack on a cookie sheet
  9. Bake for 45 minutes
  10. Serve immediately
 Tips and Tricks:
  • I buy boneless, skinless, chicken thighs at Sam’s.  They are packed with 5 in each pack.
  • The bacon should not be cooked through or crispy.  Watch it carefully, you want it to start to change color slightly, but still be pliable.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crab Dip

Everyone LOVES this dip.  It is so easy to make! My friend Melissa shared this recipe with me. She makes it for a Christmas party she and Paula have each year.  Now you can make it for your Christmas party or any other occasion, too.

  • 1 lb. of lump crabmeat
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 t. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 2 (8 oz.) cream cheese
  • 2 T. Crystal hot sauce
  1. In a skillet, on medium heat, sauté the onions and green onions in butter, until limp
  2. Add the Tony’s, then add the cream cheese and stir until fully melted
  3. Add the crabmeat, then the hot sauce and mix will
  4. Serve in a chafing dish or shallow crock pot
Tips and Tricks:
  • This can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. 
  • I use 1/3 less fat cream cheese, when I make this dip.
  • I serve this with crackers.  Flaky buttery crackers like Club or Ritz are good.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sesame Sugar Snap Peas

This is so easy.  The sesame oil enriches the flavor of the sugar snap peas.  
  • 1 (12oz.) bag of sugar snap peas
  • 1 t. sesame oil
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • ½ t. black pepper
  1. Snap the end off of each of the snap peas and pull the string out
  2. In a medium sauce pan, boil water
  3. In a medium sized bowl, cover ice with water
  4. When the water starts to boil, place the peas in the boiling water for 5 minutes
  5. Strain the peas and quickly place them in the ice bath
  6. Strain and toss the peas with the sesame oil, salt and pepper
  7. Serve at room temperature
 Tips and Tricks:
  • Sesame oil goes bad quickly.  If you have sesame oil in your kitchen, check it to make sure it is OK.  If it doesn’t smell nutty and fragrant it probably isn’t good.  It should not smell oily.   I store mine in the refrigerator and that will extend the life of the oil. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wedge Salad

I love to order a wedge salad when we go out to eat.  My favorite is a deconstructed wedge salad that is served at Ruth's Chris.  I tried to make mine like that one, but for presentation sake it remains a wedge.  
  • 1 head of Iceberg lettuce
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 4 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 2 green onions, chopped fine
  • 1 can French’s French Fried Onions
  • 4 oz. of Blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 C. of Chunky Blue Cheese salad dressing
  1. Remove the heart of the head of lettuce by firmly pounding it into the counter
  2. Fill the head of lettuce with water and allow to drain
  3. Cut the lettuce in half , then into fourths
  4. Place each wedge on a plate
  5. Pour ¼ C. of salad dressing over each wedge
  6. Sprinkle each with green onions
  7. Next add the following to each wedge: 1 strip of bacon, ½ of a tomato, 1 oz. of blue cheese, and ¼ can of French Fried Onions
  8. Serve with salt and pepper
Tips and Tricks:
  • I like to drizzle some Balsamic vinegar over my wedge also.
  • This makes a great presentation for a dinner party.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pickled Eggs

Now that I've learned how to pickle things, I am willing to try my hand at more than just cucumbers.  I like hard boiled eggs and I like pickles, so pickled eggs.  They are a nice snack and not as involved to make as pickles.  I created this recipe through trial and error.  
  • 1 dozen large eggs
  • 1 C. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ C. sugar
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • ½ T. mustard seed
  • ½ t. celery seed
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 t. ground turmeric
  • 2 T. Crystal hot sauce
  • 1 T. red pepper flakes
  • 1 T. kosher salt
  • ¼ C. jalapeño slices
  • ¼ C. jalapeño juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. The first thing you need to do is prepare a quart-size jar using the dishwasher
  2. The jar, top, and seal must be sanitized, but your dishwasher set on high temperature wash will do this
  3. Boil eggs in a pot where each egg has room to move
  4. As soon a the water begins to boil, turn off the heat and cover the pot
  5. Allow to sit for 15 minutes
  6. Drain the hot water and fill pot with cool water and ice
  7. Allow eggs to cool quickly, then peel
  8. In a small pot, over medium-high heat, combine all the ingredients, except the eggs
  9. Mix well and bring to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes
  10. Cut the heat and begin filling the jar, that is still warm from the dishwasher, with the eggs, pack them in tight
  11. Ladle the pickling brine into each jar
  12. Cover the jars and refrigerate for 4 weeks, then enjoy
Tips and Tricks:
  • This recipe ONLY makes 1 quart-size jar of eggs.  If you like them, like I do, you will want to double, or triple this recipe.  I’m told if you triple it, the eggs will fill a large pickle jar.
  • This is not a canning recipe; therefore the eggs MUST stay refrigerated.  You can go through the process of canning them with a waterbath, but this recipe did not call for that step.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Slow cooked Pot Roast

This is a very easy recipe and you will be amazed at how good it tastes.  My sister-in-law Donna cooks roast this way and now you can, too.
  • 3 lbs. of rump or chuck roast
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 4 T. of butter
  • 1 envelope of Lipton Onion soup mix
  • 1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 can of beef consomme
  • 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt/pepper/Tony Chachere’s/Garlic powder/flour
  1. Stuff the roast with garlic cloves
  2. Sprinkle with salt/pepper/Tony Chachere’s/Garlic powder/flour
  3. In a Dutch oven, on medium high heat, melt the butter and brown the roast on all sides, about 4 minutes per side
  4. Place soup, soup mix, Worcestershire sauce and water in a crock pot
  5. Place the roast in the crock pot and cook for 4 - 5 hours on high heat, or 8 – 10 hours on low
Tips and Tricks:
  • You can prepare this the night before and let it cook on low for 10 hours.
  • It’s ok if the roast has some fat on the edges or even running through it.  It gives the roast flavor, but it cooks off and you won’t even see it when it is served.
  • You can use any Cream of …..  soup for this recipe. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sloppy Joes

I'm a big fan of Saturday Night Live and I can't eat a Sloppy Joe without singing the "Sloppy Joe" song that Adam Sandler used to sing.  I don't think these Sloppy Joes are like the ones he was eating in the cafeteria at school. This is a Guy Fieri recipe.  It is spicy and flavorful.  Enjoy.
  • ¼ C. vegetable oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • ¼ C. red wine
  • ¼ C. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. dry mustard
  • 1 T. paprika
  • 3 T. brown sugar
  • 1 (6oz.) tomato paste
  • 1 ½ C. tomato sauce
  • ¼ C. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T. kosher salt
  • ½ T. black pepper
  1. In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat the veggie oil on medium-high heat and sauté the onions and peppers for 5 minutes
  2. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute
  3. Add the chuck and pork and cook thoroughly, breaking up the meat as it browns
  4. Drain the meat, then add the red wine and the vinegar and deglaze the pan
  5. Add the meat back to the pan and add all the other ingredients to the skillet, stirring as you add each
  6. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently
  7. Serve on buns
Tips and Tricks:
  • Open your favorite beer when you start to make this recipe.  Take a few sips, and when the Sloppy Joes are simmering, add a splash or two to loosen up the mixture.  The recipe called for water, but I was drinking a beer, while I was cooking and thought the beer wouldn't hurt.  It doesn't.  I think it makes it taste better.
  • This can be served on traditional hamburger buns or as sliders on White Mountain, or sweet Hawaiian rolls.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cream Cheese Brownies

This is my mother-in-law, Dotty's recipe.  It is one of Donald's favorites.  They are rich and sweet.  The pan makes 32 brownies.
  • 1 box Duncan Hines Family Size Creamy Fudge Brownies
  • ¼ C. water
  • ½ C. vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
Cream Cheese mixture:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 5 T. butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. flour
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 C. sugar
  • 3 T. butter
  • 2 T. Cocoa
  • 2 T. milk
  • 1 ½ C. powdered sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray a 13x9x2 baking pan with cooking spray
  3. Mix the cream cheese and the butter in a medium size bowl with a mixer
  4. Add the flour, sugar, eggs, and vanilla
  5. Beat until smooth and set aside
  6. In a large bowl, mix the brownie mix with the water, veggie oil, and eggs
  7. Beat until smooth
  8. Pour half of the brownie batter in the baking pan
  9. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the brownie mixture a spread until flat
  10. Spoon the remaining brownie batter on top of the cream cheese mixture and swirl the two together
  11. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and is removed clean
  12. While the brownies are cooling, whisk the ingredients for the icing in a small pot
  13. Heat until the icing has a creamy consistency and becomes shiny
  14. Pour the icing over the brownies and allow the icing to harden
  15. Cut into squares
Tips and Tricks:
  • If you are using a non-stick pan or a dark baking pan, the box recommends you reduce the temperature on the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Donald likes brownies with nuts, I add 1 C. of chopped walnuts to the brownie batter when I’m making these for him. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Spicy Bread and Butter Pickles

This is a recipe from a recipe blog called "The Screwed up Texan".  She says they like things spicy in Texas, I didn't think the recipe was spicy enough, so I adjusted it slightly.  Guess I'm the Screwed up Louisianian.   If you make these, you will be pleased.  They are AWESOME!
  • 25 cucumbers (see tips and tricks)
  • 1 yellow, 1 red, and 1 orange bell pepper
  • 2 large Vidalia or sweet onions
  • 10 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • ½ C. salt
  • 3 C. apple cider vinegar
  • 5 C. sugar
  • 2 T. mustard seed
  • 1 ½ t. celery seed
  • ½ t. whole cloves
  • 1 T. ground turmeric
  • ½ t. cayenne pepper
  • 1 t. red pepper flakes
  1. Cut the cucumbers into slices, (it’s your choice how thin or thick), cut the onions into thin circles, cut the peppers into strips, and smash the garlic
  2. Place the veggies in a small cooler, like an igloo, and sprinkle salt and ice over the veggies
  3. Allow the veggies to draw water for 4 hours, drain off excess water each hour
  4. While that is working, prepare the jars using the dishwasher
  5. The jars, tops, and seals must be sanitized, but your dishwasher set on high temperature wash will do this
  6. After 4 hours, fill the cooler with water and rinse the veggies
  7. Pour the veggies in a colander and rinse them again under running water
  8. In a large stock pot, over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, cloves, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and pepper flakes
  9. Mix well and bring to a boil
  10. Add the veggies and stir with a wooden spoon
  11. Allow to return to a boil, about 15 minutes
  12. Cut the heat and begin filling the jars, that are still warm from the dishwasher, with the veggies, pack them in tight
  13. Ladle the pickling brine into each jar
  14. Cover the jars and refrigerate for 24 hours, then enjoy
Tips and Tricks:
  • I used 48 mini cucumbers (4 packs) that I get at Sam’s, for this recipe.
  • When you put the cucumbers, onions, garlic, and peppers in the pickling brine, it will look like there is not enough brine.  There IS enough, you just need to give it time to heat up and the brine will cover all of the vegetables.
  • This is not a canning recipe; therefore the pickles MUST stay refrigerated.  You can go through the process of canning them with a waterbath, but this recipe did not call for that step.
  • This recipe makes 10 - 12 pints of pickles.
  • The onions and the bell peppers are just as good as the pickles.  I put everything in the jars.  If you want just pickles, then only jar the cucumbers.