Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sweet and Tangy Meatballs

This is SOOOO easy!  It is the perfect fix it and forget it appetizer.  You can put these in the crock pot and leave them to be eaten for hours.  My friend, Karen shared this recipe with me.
  • 1 (3 lb.) bag of ½ ounce Italian meatballs, frozen
  • 2 (12 ounce) bottles of chili sauce
  • 1 (32 ounce) bottle of grape jelly or 2 C.
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Place the meatballs on a cookie sheet in a single layer
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until brown
  4. Remove from the cookie sheet and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil
  5. Place the grape jelly and the chili sauce in a pot or crock pot and heat until both are melted together
  6. Add the meatball and cook together for 1 hour on low heat
  7. Serve hot!
 Tips and Tricks:
  • The key to this recipe is to use equal parts chili sauce to grape jelly.  You can make more or less.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

ABC Salsa

Sitting in the teachers' lounge, I look across the table and see a wonderfully colorful bowl of goodness.  I left that school over 10 years ago and I did not stay in contact with Mrs. Coleman, but I did keep her recipe. I don't know what she called it, but I named it ABC salsa, because of the ingredients.  It's fresh, quick, and a big hit at get togethers. (even if they are only in a faculty lounge)
  • 2 Hass avocados
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of white corn
  • 1 can of Mexican Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 lime, freshly squeezed
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  1. Cut the avocado into small bite size pieces
  2. Drain the water from the corn and rinse the black beans
  3. In a medium bowl, with a cover, combine the avocado, corn, black beans, Rotel, lime juice and cilantro
  4. Stir all ingredients and refrigerate for several hours
  5. Serve with corn chips
 Tips and Tricks:
  • I serve this salsa with Tostitos Scoops or Fritos Scoops.
  • I run the can of Rotel through the food processor.  I don’t like the large chunks of tomatoes, but this step is NOT necessary.
  • Some people are not cilantro fans.  I LOVE cilantro and I think it brightens this salsa, but it is good with or without.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chex Mix

If you've been following this blog, you know that I have to add a little something to most of the recipes I try.  I like Chex Mix, but I always find it bland.  I have tinkered with the original recipe and amped it up a bit.  Hope you like it!
  • 3 C. Rice Chex Cereal
  • 3 C. Corn Chex Cereal
  • 3 C. Wheat Chex Cereal
  • 2 C. pretzel sticks
  • 2 C. mixed nuts
  • 2 C. Goldfish crackers
  • 1 stick of butter
  • ¼ C. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T. Crystal hot sauce
  • 2 t. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  2. Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl then and add Worcestershire, hot sauce and seasonings
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cereals, pretzels, nuts, and crackers
  4. Pour the liquid mixture over the Chex mix
  5. Combine all ingredients and toss well
  6. Pour onto a cookie sheet
  7. Bake for 1 hour, using a spatula to mix the Chex mix every 15 minutes
  8. Allow Chex Mix to cool for 30 minutes, then store in a air tight container

Tips and Tricks:
  • I used a mixed nuts with cashews, pistachios, and almonds.
  • This is great for a party, tailgating, or watching a game.  People love it and can’t stop eating it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mirliton Dressing with Shrimp and Ham

This is my Mom's recipe that everyone LOVES. It is a Thanksgiving and Christmas MUST!   It is labor intensive, but you won't mind spending the time making this dressing knowing that your family will love you for it.
  • 6 mirliton
  • ½ stick of butter, plus 2 T. for the top
  • 1 C. of chopped onions
  • ½ C. of chopped bell pepper
  • ½ C. of chopped celery
  • 4 cloves of mined garlic
  • ½ bunch of green onions finely chopped
  • ¼ C. of fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1 lb. of  shrimp, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 lb. of ham, cut into small chunks
  • 1 t. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ T. of salt
  • ½ T. of Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • ¼ t. cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ C. bread crumbs, more or less depending on the amount of liquid the shrimp draw, plus ¼ C. for the top
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. In a large pot, boil the mirlitons for one hour or until tender
  2. Drain and cut each in half, then carefully scoop out the seeds
  3. Chop the mirlitons into small pieces and reserve
  4. In a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven on medium heat, add onions, bell peppers, and celery and cook until limp about 20 minutes
  5. Add garlic for 1 minute
  6. Add shrimp and cook for 10 minutes
  7. Add ham and cook for 10 minutes
  8. Add mirliton, green onions, parsley, Worcestershire, salt, Creole Seasoning, and cayenne pepper
  9. Fold all ingredients together and cook for 5 minutes
  10. Add the bread crumbs a little at a time, when it gets difficult to stir and the dressing starts to thicken up, you have the correct amount of bread crumbs
  11. Cut the heat and allow the dressing to sit for 5 minutes
  12. Then add the beaten egg, fold into the dressing
  13. Transfer the dressing into a casserole dish
  14. Sprinkle with extra bread crumbs and dot with butter
  15. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes
Tips and Tricks:
·        When you are removing the seeds of the mirliton, it is important to get the membrane that surrounds the seed also,  It is filmy and should be removed.  The bottom of the mirliton is the toughest part.  Run you hand along the bottom edge, if it still feels tough and kind of prickly, cut it off as well.
·        If you make this ahead of time, you can place the dressing in the casserole dish you wish to serve it in and freeze it until you are ready to use it.  (Don’t add the extra bread crumbs or butter until after you defrost the dressing)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Spiced Baked Beans

Another tried and true recipe from my cookbook from Darlene.  We have these with most BBQ meats or with ham at Easter, Yum!
  • 2 cans of pork n beans
  • 1/3 C. firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ C. chopped onions
  • 2 T. ketchup
  • 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T. Creole mustard
  • 1 T. yellow mustard
  • 2 slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ t. ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine all ingredients, except bacon and mix well
  3. Pour into a baking dish, that has been sprayed with cooking spray
  4. Arrange the bacon over the beans
  5. Bake for 1 hour
 Tips and Tricks:
  • If you are using thin sliced bacon, you may need more than 2 slices. 
  • I do not recommend baking these beans in a disposable metal pan.  The pan is thin and the outside edges of the beans get really crispy.  I use my cast iron pot which distributes heat well.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Artichoke Balls

There is unrest in our family over how these are to be served.  Some members like them warm, out of the oven, some like them cold, out of the refrigerator, and some like them room temperature.  You decide how you like them!
  • 2 cans of artichoke hearts, drained and mashed
  • 1 C. Italian bread crumbs, plus ½ C. for rolling
  • 1 C. grated Romano, plus ¼ C. for rolling
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 C. olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  1. In a food processor, combine the ingredients, adding the bread crumbs last
  2. Using a 1 inch scoop, form balls and roll in the extra bread crumb/Romano mixture (skip to step 5 if you prefer them cold)
  3. Place the balls on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, if you like to serve them warm
  5. Refrigerate and serve cold
 Tips and Tricks:
  • When preparing the artichoke hearts, it is important to pick out any leaves that are hard.  They are usually on the outside of the artichoke heart and are darker in color.
  • Mincing the garlic before it goes in the food processor is an important step.  I have placed the whole cloves of garlic in there and it does not chop it into fine pieces.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Corn and Crab Soup

This is a "cheating" recipe.  You are cheating because of the canned soup, but it is a quick and easy soup and it tastes great.  I have my sister-in-law Donna to thank for this one.  It is a holiday favorite.
  • 1 lb. of lump crabmeat
  • 1 can of cream of onion soup
  • 1 can of cream of celery soup
  • 1 can of cream corn
  • 1 can of white corn
  • 3 C. whole milk
  • 1 pint of half and half
  • ½ stick of butter
  • ½ C. of green onions, chopped fine
  • ½ T. concentrated liquid crab boil
  1. In a Dutch oven, sauté green onions in butter, until limp
  2. Add each of the ingredients and cook on medium heat, DO NOT BOIL
  3. When the soup looks like it is to a boiling heat, reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 more minutes
Tips and Tricks:
  • You can use heavy cream in the place of the half and half if you want a thicker soup.
  • This is a great soup for the crock pot, low setting for a few hours.
  • The cream of “whatever” soup is your choice.  I have made this with lots of different varieties.  Cream of potato is nice, and then it acts more like chowder. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

White Trash

The first time I had this, I received it as a Christmas gift from a student.  It is yummy and easy to make.

  • 2 (11oz.) bags of Ghirardelli white chocolate chips
  • 3 C. Rice Chex Cereal
  • 3 C. Corn Chex Cereal
  • 3 C. Honeycomb Cereal
  • 2 C. pretzel sticks
  • 2 C. mixed nuts
  • 2 C. M and M’s chocolate candies
  1. Combine the cereals, pretzels, nuts, and M and M’s in a large bowl
  2. In a smaller bowl, melt the chocolate in the microwave by heating for 1 minute, then stir, continue to heat in 15 second intervals until the chocolate is fully melted
  3. Pour the chocolate over the mixture and toss until all ingredients are covered with chocolate
  4. Pour the mixture onto waxed paper and allow to set for 30 minutes
  5. Break into pieces and store in a air tight container
Tips and Tricks:
  • I used a big metal mixing bowl for this task and I sprayed the bowl with Pam before adding all the ingredients.  Clean up was easy!
  • I have seen this served in a small plastic or metal garbage pail.  (Just line the pail with parchment paper or tissue paper)  It makes a nice presentation, since it is called white trash.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Spinach Bread

This is another recipe from the cookbook my sister-in-law, Darlene made for me.  It's great served as an appetizer.  Crunchy bread with spicy spinach and ooey cheese, bring it on!
  • 1 loaf of French bread
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 ½ C. onions, finely chopped
  • 1 pk. Frozen chopped Spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
  • 1 ½ T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 t. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • ½ lb. Velveeta, cut into cubes
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 2 C. Mozzarella, shredded
  • ½ C. grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut the loaf of bread in half, spread ½ of the stick of butter on the bread
  3. Use the other ½ stick of butter to sauté the onions in a skillet over medium heat
  4. Add the spinach, Velveeta, Worcestershire, Creole Seasoning, and garlic powder
  5. Cook until the cheese is fully melted
  6. Spread over the bread
  7. Sprinkle with Mozzarella and Parmesan
  8. Bake for 10 minutes
  9. Cut bread into 2 inch slices and serve
Tips and Tricks:
  • Really SQUEEZE the water out of the spinach.  You don’t want the spinach mixture to get too watery because it doesn’t stay firm on the bread if it is.
  • I recommend using a cookie sheet to hold the bread, but be sure to line it with FOIL.  When the cheese melts, it makes a big mess and the foil makes for a much easier clean up.
  • I use Reising's Poor Boy bread.  It comes in a clear, plastic bag and can be found on the bread aisle at the grocery store.  I have used the bakery bread for this but it is really too dense.  A traditional Poor Boy French bread is what you need.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Italian Wedding Soup

My Mom and I used to love the Italian Wedding Soup at Bravo.  I found a Barefoot Contessa recipe and I made it myself.  It is good, perfect for a chilly night.
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • ½ lb. pork sausage, casing removed
  • 2/3 C. Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ C. Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • ¼ C. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ C.milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • ½ t. black pepper
  • ¼ C. olive oil
  • 1 C. onions, finely chopped
  • 1 C. carrots, chopped
  • 1 C. celery, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • ½ t. cayenne pepper
  • 12 C. chicken stock
  • ½ C. dry white wine
  • 1 C. small pasta like tubetini or Acini di pepe
  • ¼ C. chopped dill
  • 1 (6 oz.) bag of baby spinach, stems trimmed off, and cut into ¼
  • Grated Romano cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl (don’t over work the meat, just until everything is combined)
  3. Using a 1 inch scoop leveled, form a ball (don’t pat the meatball, allow them to be loose formed)
  4. Place the meatballs on a sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes
  5. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot and add chopped onions, celery, and carrots cooking until veggies are soft, about 10 minutes
  6. Add garlic for last minute
  7. Deglaze the pot with the white wine (this step is NOT in the cookbook)
  8. Add salt and cayenne pepper
  9. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil
  10. Add the pasta and cook simmering for 8 minutes
  11. Add the dill and the meatballs and cook for 2 minutes
  12. Add the spinach and cook for 1 minute
  13. Cut the heat
  14. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with grated Romano cheese
Tips and Tricks:
  • Making your own chicken stock for this recipe is cheaper and tastes better.  Follow my link to find out how I make mine.
  • This recipe called for ground chicken and chicken sausage.  I couldn’t find ground chicken, so I used ground pork and green onion pork sausage.  I liked it, so I changed the recipe.
  • This soup freezes great!