Tuesday, February 17, 2009

White man's Guacamole

I grew up in Western New York. That makes me a Yankee. A very white Yankee, at that. The first time I ate enchiladas, it was prepared by my mother in law, before she was my mother in law, and I wasn't quite old enough to know what a Corona tasted like. The first time I ate at a real Mexican restaurant (and no, Taco Bell doesn't count) was after moving to Oregon. So there is a little irony in the fact that I'll post a Mexican recipe, and hence should require the additional title of "White-man's".

White Man's Guacamole

2 firm but ripe medium avocados, peeled and pitted. Save one pit.
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Roses Sweetened Lime Juice
2 green onions chopped
1/4 c cilantro.
1/2 tsp Garlic Salt and Pepper blend (ingr - salt, powdered garlic, black pepper, sugar)

Blend with immersion blender. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving, keeping the pit in the airtight container to keep the guac from turning brown.

I attempted a similar recipe from Betty Crocker around Christmas time and spent the evening adding a little of this, a little of that, because it just wasn't right. Tonight's concoction was a complete experiment surprising both Shane and I. I don't want to forget how I made it next time I try, so really this post is completely self-serving, but maybe you'll enjoy it to.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sweet Potato Fries!

You can do this with regular potatoes, but it is definitely better with a sweet potato or yam.

2 large sweet potatoes
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 cup baby rice cereal
1 tbs seasoning salt
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Slice the potatoes lengthwise. Cut down until your pieces are about 1 inch wide by 1/2 inch thick by 3 inches long (approximately). In a large mixing bowl, toss potatoes in olive oil and coat well. In separate bowl, combine corn meal, baby cereal and seasoning salt. Pour half of the breading mix over the potatoes and toss to coat. Add remaining breading mix and toss to coat evenly. Spread potatoes across a baking sheet (I use the bottom of the broiler pan). Lightly spray top with cooking spray. Cook on oven rack approximately 4-6 inches from heat, at 450 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Potatoes will be lightly crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the outside. No need for condiments. :-)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Turkey and wild rice

2 cups cooked turkey meat, diced
approx 10 cups turkey broth
2 tbs butter
3 cloves minced garlic
1 medium leek sliced and rinsed
3 medium carrots chopped
4 cups sliced white mushrooms
2 cups frozen corn
1 tsp oregano
1 tbs basil
1 tbs onion soup mix
1 cup wild rice mix

Melt butter in stock pot. Sautee garlic, leek, carrots and mushrooms until tender. Add corn, spices, meat and broth. Heat to a boil, reduce to simmer for 45 minutes. Add rice and cook for additional 45 minutes. Salt and pepper as needed.

Cheesy Broccoli Soup

1/2 cup butter
3 cloves garlic minced
1 large leek, split lengthwise and slice, rinse in bath and drain to remove dirt
2 stalks of celery including leaves, sliced
2 tbs flour
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup shredded swiss
4 oz velveeta
2 cups fresh broccoli - stems removed and freshly steamed
Extra shredded cheese to garnish

In stock pot, melt butter. Sautee garlic, leeks and celery. Stir in flour, coating vegetables and incorporating flour and butter well. Add stock and milk. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer. Add cheese, and stir until melted and combined. If the heat is too high, it will scald. Add broccoli, stir to combine. Garnish cheese on top. Place lid on stock pot. Keep over low heat for at least 5 minutes or until ready to serve.


1 jar of tomato sauce (ragu or the like)
1 can tomato paste
Meat (I used a package of cheddar brats)
fresh mushrooms
2 green onions
Raw Zucchini - about 4-5 medium
1 cup cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup mozzarella
Salt, Pepper (other seasoning if you want - keep it simple - sauce prolly has seasoning already)

Combine the sauce and tomato paste (when the Zucchini cooks - it'll release moisture - so you want your sauce to be pretty dense to start out.) Set aside. I use my handy-dandy Cuisinart Food processor (which I ABSOLUTELY LOVE!)...slice the meat, mushrooms and green onions. Sauteed for a bout 5 minutes till the meat is warmed (since I was using a pre-cooked braut - if you are using a raw meat - make sure it's thoroughly cooked - of course!) and the mushrooms are tender. Set aside. slice the zucchini. Set aside. In separate bowl, whisk eggs, salt and pepper. Stir in cottage cheese and all except 2 tbs of the Parmesan.
In casserole dish (I used a oval corning wear dish), pour a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce on the bottom. Layer across the bottom Zucchini, then 1/3 of cottage cheese mixture. Sprinkle generously with mozzarella. A few spoonfuls of meat / mushrooms. Then sauce, Zucchini, cheese, mozzarella, meat, Zucchini, Cheese... etc. I had enough that I could finish the top with zucchini, sauce and a mix of Parmesan and mozzarella.
Baked covered at 400 degrees for 40 min - 10 min uncovered - rest 10 min before serving.
(May want to bake on a cookie sheet - my boiled over a bit)

Yummy with bread - of course!

Chicken and Pasta Salad

2 cups pasta (macaroni / shells) cooked in salted water, rinsed and chilled
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts - cooked, diced, chilled.
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup chopped celery (I like the leafy tops)
1 apple cored and diced
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup mayo
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tbs dill weed
6 leaves of romaine (or leaf lettuce)
1 shredded carrot
2 tomatoes sliced

Combine noodles, chicken, onion, celery, apple, cheddar. In separate bowl combine seasonings and cottage cheese and mayo. Toss noodle mix with mayo mix to combine throughly. Break lettuce and line platter with lettuce and carrots. Pile pasta on top of lettuce. Put sliced tomatoes on top. I garnished with "McComrick Grinders" Tellcherry Black Peppercorns and
Roasted Garlic and Sea Salt.

Chill and serve.

Easy Shephards Pie

2 tbs oil
1/2 white onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 green onions
1 carrot sliced
1/2 lb ground Italian sausage
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup left over spaghetti sauce
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cups left over mashed potatoes
1/4 c butter
1/2 c sour cream
1 tbs ranch mix
1 cup frozen peas
1 egg yoke
1/2 c warm water.

Start sweet potato to boil in water. Cook the onion, garlic, green onion, carrot in oil till tender. Add meat, cook through. Add spaghetti sauce. Removed from heat.

When sweet potatoes are tender, drain water, add butter, ranch mix and sour cream. Mash. Add left over mashed potatoes and combine.

Pour meat into casserole dish. Spread peas across top of meat. Spread potatoes on top. Beat egg yoke, add warm water and whisk to combine. Pour over top of potatoes (makes crunchy top).

Put under preheated broiler for 3-4 minutes until top gets crispy.

Original post with credits here

Tomato Florentine

1/2 lb boneless chicken, cut up.
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs rosemary
1 tbs ground mustard
2 tbs lemon juice
2 cups water

Cook in small sauce pan, till tender or falling apart, reserve liquid. (You can use any pre-cooked chicken, its a great way to use up some leftovers. I like the seasoning combination added, even if using leftovers)

1 tbs oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 box frozen, diced spinach, thawed, drained, pat dry with paper towel.
2 cans diced tomatoes, don't drain
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup seasoned spaghetti sauce (Prego)
1 tsp dry oregano
1 tsp dry basil
2 cups pasta (I like small shells)

In stockpot, sautee onion and garlic in oil. Drain oil. Add chicken, tomato, reserved chicken water, broth, spaghetti sauce, and spices. Heat to boil, reduce to simmer, cook for one hour. Add pasta noddles, cook 15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally to keep noodles from sticking to the bottom. Garnish with grated parmesean and crispy warm bread.

If you want to make it to freeze, don't add the noodles until you are ready to serve.

Extraneous soup lesson extra: any time you have a meat on a bone, make broth. about 6 weeks ago, we had a large amount of fried chicken left over from church event. I stripped off the meat, which went to the freezer, and took all the skins and bones and tossed it in the crock pot for 4-5 hours. I strained out the chunks and froze the rich and tasty broth. The last time I made tomato florentine, the chicken and broth both came from that batch.

Original post here

Sarah's Wedding Soup

Oil for sauteeing
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
1 tbs celery salt
1 large onion chopped
3-4 stalks of celery chopped
3-4 carrots sliced
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1- 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 box frozen spinach - thawed, drained and patted dry w/paper towel
6 cups chicken broth
Meatballs ***

In a large stock pot, saute garlic, onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms, seasoned with celery salt for about 5-7 minutes or until the veggies are mostly tender. Add tomatoes, spinach and chicken broth. Heat to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook at a simmer for at least 1 hour. Add meatballs***, cook for another 20 minutes. Serve with Parmesean cheese garnish. It can be served immediately, but I have found that the flavors are more well mingled when you finish cooking and chill over night before serving. Either works.

You can buy the pre-made meatballs and use them if you'd like. I personally enjoy the flavor of the soup when combined with the homemade meatballs. I have also been known to make a large batch of these meatballs and freezing them to be served with pasta at a later time.

1 to 1 1/2 lbs ground Italian Sausage
1 medium diced onion
2 cloves diced garlic
1 extra large (or 2 med) eggs, beaten
1 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1 tbs dry parsley
salt and pepper

I take off my rings and mix the ingredients with my fingers.... kinda cool and icky feeling, but the easiest way to mix it. Although, you will see in the picture below that I used the cuisinart to mix it and a pampered chef scoop to drop the balls. I still think hand mixing is my preference.

Heat oil in a fry pan over medium heat... if it gets too hot, it'll burn without cooking through and the oil and fat from the sausage will spit and probably burn your hands. Form 1 inch balls and cook in oil, turning occasionally until cooked through. Don't put too many in the pan at once, they will stick together. Drain on a paper towel.

For other yummy soup recipes - check out Tiffany's "Soup's On Saturday"

Olive Garden's Pasta Fagioli Soup

1 lb ground beef
1/2 diced white onion
1 large carrot slivered
2 stalks celery diced
6 diced fresh tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups beef broth from granules
1 tsp dry oregano
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 c fresh parsley chopped
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
3 cups prepared spaghetti sauce
3 cups of cooked macaroni noodles

Cook beef. Add onion, carrots, celery and cook till tender. Add tomatoes, saute for 2-3 min more. Add beans, broth, seasonings and spaghetti sauce. Simmer for 45 minutes. Add noodles, cook for 5 minutes more. Serve with Parmesan / Romano cheese on top and crusty bread on the side.

See original post with credits here

Ham N Clam Chowder

1/2 stick butter
3 leeks, thinly sliced (rinse in tub of cold water to remove dirt between the layers)
1 medium or large onion, chopped
1 small banana pepper minced
1 cup diced cooked ham
2 small (6 oz) cans of minced clams (reserve clam broth)
6 - 8 red potatoes, thinly sliced (no need to peel)
4 cups chicken broth (or enough to barely cover potatoes)
1 cup heavy cream
salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat then add onions, leeks and banana pepper. Cook, stirring, until onions are limp and just slightly brown. Add Ham, Clams and clam broth. Add sliced potatoes to saucepan then pour in enough chicken broth to just barely cover the potatoes. Continue cooking over medium heat until potatoes are tender. Using a potato masher, mash and stir potatoes until desired consistency is reached. As you mash the potatoes and the soup thickens, turn down heat and stir frequently with a large spoon to prevent scorching on the bottom. Add one cup of heavy cream (or more if you desire) and salt and black pepper to taste. Cook 15 minutes more over low heat, stirring frequently, then remove from heat and serve.

See original post with credits here

Pumpkin Pie Lattes at home

8 oz fresh brewed coffee
2 tbs Toriani Pumpkin Pie syrup (or 4 pumps)
1/4 cup steamed milk (milk heated in shallow sauce pan, stirring while heated until just barely boiling)

Hazelnut Pumpkin Cheesecake

originally part of the fallish feast

(adapted from Cooking Pleasures Magazine - Nov 2006 Pumpkin-Praline Cheesecake)

Cook 2 small pie pumpkins, and puree pulp (2-3 cup yield) / 1 can Libby's Pumpkin. Can be done in advance and refrigerated.

2 cups crushed Vanilla Wafer cookies
1 cup chopped and toasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
Combine ingredients and press into the bottom of buttered spring form pan. Cook at 350 degrees for 10 minute. Cool on rack


3-8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
2-3 cups pureed pumpkin.
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 eggs

Wrap bottom of spring form pan with heavy duty foil. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Either process ingredients in food processor or use mixer. Blend cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg and blend thoroughly. Add two eggs at a time and blend till combined. Pour over cooled crust. Place spring form pan in shallow baking dish and fill pan with enough hot water to cover the bottom half of the cheesecake pan. Bake 60-75 minutes until edges are puffed and top is dry to the touch. Center will move slightly but not ripple. Remove cake from water bath, remove foil. Cook on wire rack for 1 hour.

1/2 cup packed brown sugar.
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts

Heat brown sugar and cream in small saucepan over medium heat until dissolved, stirring constantly lead. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 5 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat, stir in nuts. Pour over cheesecake. Move Cheesecake to refrigerator for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Cranberry Chicken

2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken
1/4 Cup butter
1 medium onion julienned
1/2 cup sugar
1 bag fresh cranberries, pick through to remove flawed and spoiled berries

Arrange chicken in baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook onions in butter until soft and starting to brown. Add sugar and cranberries. Cook over medium-high heat until sauce begins to gel. Pour over chicken. Cook at 400 degrees until done - about 30-45 minutes.

Originally part of the fallish feast

Apple Butternut Squash Soup

from Cornell Dining (thank you DAD) - originally posted with a fallish feast
1/4 cup butter (or oil)
1 medium onion, diced
2 tsp curry powder
1 butternut squash
1 Granny Smith Apple
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 cups water
3 cups fresh apple cider

Sautee onions in butter and curry powder. Peel, deseed and chunk squash and apple and add to onions. Add enough water to cover, boil for 30 minutes or until tender. Puree with immersion blender. Return to pot, add apple cider. Heat and serve. Garnish with Candied Walnuts if you like.

Bon Appetite Cheese Ball

2-8oz packages of Cream Cheese softened
6 green onions, chopped
1 tbs McCormicks "Bon Apettite" Seasoning
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/4 cup dry sweet cranberries
Combine cream cheese, onions, Bon Apettite and mustard with hand mixer. Use spatula to form ball in bowl. Lay out a sheet of saran wrap or wax paper, lay out almonds and cranberries in even layer on wrap. Place ball on top and roll cheese to coat. Can be formed into a ball or a log. Refridgerate for at least 3 hours before serving

Strawberry Daquaris

A dozen ice cubes
2 cups whole frozen strawberries
1/4 cup limade concentrate
1/3 cup spiced rum

Blend and enjoy

Mango Peach Sorbet

See the original post with photos here

I peeled 2 large mangoes and 4 very large peaches with my magnificent Cutco Veggie Peeler. Pureed in the blender with 1/2 cup sugar. Fruit puree transferred to a sauce pan, added 1 can frozen limeade concentrate, 1/2 can water, 1 package of unflavored gelatin. Cooked over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, just enough time to allow everything to dissolve and mix thoroughly. Transferred to metal 9 x 13 pan and put into the freezer.

After 2 hours, pulled out the pan and stirred with a spatula.

Return to the freezer for 2 hours more.

Removed pan and scraped out with an ice cream scoop.

Found taste testers who review this as "a yummy special desert."