Friday, July 31, 2009

Pastel de Choclo (Chilean Corn and Beef Pie)

This recipe is similar to Shepard’s Pie, although more my style- spicy and topped with a corn crust rather than mashed potatoes. I think the cinnamon is what really jazzes this whole dish up.

I am not sure where I ever got this recipe.

1 T olive or canola oil
1 T butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 lb lean ground beef
salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup raisins (optional. I didn’t use them)
1/3 cup pitted green or black olives; chopped
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp ground cumin
3 eggs, hard boiled and sliced

Corn Topping
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1/2 cup milk
1 t cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 ½ t sugar
2 large eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large frying pan melt butter with olive oil over medium high heat until hot. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute or so. Add beef and cook, stirring constantly, until no longer pink. (Drain if meat is too fatty). Stir in salt, pepper, raisins, olives, paprika, basil and cumin. Remove from heat.

Spoon meat mixture into a 9-by-9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Top with sliced hard boiled eggs. Set aside.

Meanwhile, combine thawed corn, milk, cinnamon, sugar and salt in food processor; puree. Add pureed corn mixture to saucepan and cooking about 10 minutes til thick like mashed potatoes. Cool slightly and add beaten eggs.

Spoon corn mixture over hard boiled eggs. Bake until bubbly and nicely browned, 25-35 minutes. Let rest a few minutes; cut in to squares.

Serve with tomato sauce or salsa and parsley.


Thai Fish Soup

Galangal is a rhizome with culinary and medicinal uses, best known for its appearance in Southeast Asian cuisine. It resembles ginger in appearance. However, it tastes little like ginger; in its raw form, it has a soapy, earthy aroma and a pine-like flavor with a faint hint of citrus. It is available as a powder from vendors of Oriental spices and also available in whole, cut or powdered from vendors of herbs.

Lemon grassis widely used as an herb in Asian cooking. It has a citrous flavour and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. It is usually finely sliced and added to recipes or it may also be bruised and added whole as this releases the aromatic oils from the juice sacs in the stalk.

In my humble opinion, there are no sufficient substitutes for galangal or lemon grass in this recipe.

Measurements are approximate.

1 lb white fish (I used pollock)

olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon galangal, julienned
1 tablespoon lemon grass, thinly sliced
¼ cup cilantro leaves, divided
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons fish sauce
fresh lime juice from two limes

1 tomato, diced

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Add the galangal, lemon grass, cilantro, jalapeno, fish sauce and lime juice, and bring back to a simmer.

Meanwhile, heat a large pot on medium high. Add a little olive oil to coat. Add the fish to the pot, and cook for about five minutes per side. Add the broth and the coconut milk to the pot with the fish, and bring back to a gentle simmer, and cook for about five more minutes (or until fish is just cooked).

Garnish soup with additional cilantro and diced tomato if desired.

Information adapted from Wikipedia, recipe from my recipe box.

New York Style Cheesecake with a Walnut Crust

This recipe is an old stand by for cheesecake that I have had for years. Nothing fancy to it, and easy to prepare. I served this topped with strawberries and raspberries.

I recommend starting the crust first.


3 8-oz pkgs. cream cheese, softened

4 large eggs

1 C sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Mix cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Add eggs to cream cheese one at a time and mix with an electric mixer. It will be difficult to blend at first but will become easier as more eggs are added.

Once blended, add vanilla. Stir to incorporate vanilla. Pour into pan already lined with crust (see below for recipe).

Preheat oven to 325°. Bake one hour and 15 minutes (time may vary).

Make sure you test the center of the cheesecake with a knife. If the knife doesn't come out completely clean, bake a little while longer and then test again.

Cool in the oven for about a half hour. Take out of the oven and let cool for another 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen. Cover and place in the fridge to cool overnight.

Walnut Crust

¾ cup finely chopped walnuts

¾ cup crushed graham crackers

3 T melted butter

Mix crust ingredients, press in to bottom of 9 inch springform pan and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

"Neiman Marcus" Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is without a doubt my absolute favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Since it is extremely unhealthy, I only make these once or twice a year.

Because I received this recipe via email about 326 times over the past few years, I can’t tell you the actual source of it, as I have no idea.

Put the Hershey bar in the freezer before starting, it makes it easier to grate.

5 cups blended oatmeal

2 cups butter, softened

2 cups brown sugar

2 cups sugar

4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 t vanilla

4 cups flour

2 t soda

2 t baking powder

1 t. salt

24 oz bag semi sweet chocolate chips

1 8 oz Hershey Bar (grated)

3 cups chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Blend the oats. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. (I used an electric mixer).

Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.

In a separate large bowl, mix together flour, oatmeal, baking soda and powder and salt. Stir in chocolate chips, Hershey bar and nuts. Note: The dough is VERY thick.

Stir wet mixture into dry.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. (I used an ice cream scoop for this step).

Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool on pan for about five minutes then remove to a covered container.

Ooey gooey chocolatey goodness. Life is good.

Roast Chicken with a Cauliflower Gratin

I generally do not follow a recipe when roasting a chicken. I just mix some herbs and seasonings (garlic, sage, rosemary, etc. whatever I have on hand) with some vegetable oil or buttermilk and rub over the chicken. I let this rest for about four hours at a minimum.
I set the chicken on a tripod designed specifically for roasting a chicken, preventing it from sitting in the juices and fats. This results in crispier skin. I roast the chicken for one to one and a half hours depending on the size.

This recipe for the gratin is from my recipe box with a few adaptations. I needed to use up some pantry items such as the bread crumbs, and the rest of a head of cauliflower.

1 head cauliflower, broken into florets and stems discarded

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1 cup heavy cream or half and half

1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)

1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350°.

Steam cauliflower for about five minutes until crisp tender; drain well. Spray 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray. Add cauliflower. Pour cream over top and sprinkle salt and cheese over all. Mix lightly.

Combine 1/4 cup melted butter and 1/2 cup bread crumbs and sprinkle over top.

Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Mexican Feast!

I really looked forward to this meal, as Mexican is my favorite ethnic cuisine. The recipe for the tacos is the only one I use; the taco mixes from the store just don't cut it. The guacamole recipe is just a basic one I frequently use; I prefer guacamole without onion, tomatoes, etc. And of course, everything was topped off with my famous habanero salsa, using the recipe I posted a few months ago. In addition, when I cook Mexican food, I always use corn tortillas and fry them, some for the tacos and a huge bunch fried crisp for chips. Not healthy, but then I don't eat like this everyday!

Beef Tacos

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 t marjoram or oregano, rubbed
2 T chili powder
½ t salt
1 ½ t garlic powder
3/4 cup water

Brown ground beef. Drain well. Add spices and water. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

1 avocado, seed removed
1/2 lime, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Peel and mash avocados in a bowl. Stir in lime juice, salt and pepper. Cover tightly and chill for at least half an hour to blend flavors. Check for seasonings before serving.

Tortilla Chips
Cut corn tortillas in to quarters. Fry until crisp, drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with seasoned salt.

I served the tacos with 4 cheese Mexican blend, salsa, guacamole, crema and some tortilla chips.

Homemade Mexican Chorizo

I had a discussion regarding Chorizo with several members of Some are lucky enough to find good quality chorizo in their respective areas. Occasionally, I can find decent chorizo at Meijers, but I usually have to settle for the "paprika" kind, as Ted H. calls it.

But not anymore! I searched until I found a few recipes that sounded really tasty, and leaner than the stuff in the squeeze tube. I combined the best of all of them.

The best part of making it yourself is you can adjust the heat to your own personal taste. As many of you know, my motto is "the hotta, the betta!"

1/2 pound boned pork loin
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 t. cayenne
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced

Trim fat from pork. Combine pork and remaining ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until well-blended. Place mixture in a zip-top bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.

If cooking, place a medium skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add pork mixture; cook 5 minutes or until done, stirring to crumble.

If freezing, seal in tubes with a vacuum sealer of high quality freezer bags.

Variations: Use ancho chili powder in place of the regular. Add thyme.

Pork Adobo with a Sage/Cheddar Potato Gratin

This was the first time I have made either of these recipes. They were both delicious!

1-2 pounds pork sirloin chops, cubed

1 medium white onion, diced

4-6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 T dried oregano

2 T vinegar

1 T low sodium soy sauce

2 T oil (I used canola)

1 t dried chili flakes (or to your taste)

1/2 T salt or to taste

1 t pepper

1 cup chicken broth

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium high. Add pork and sear well. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about a minute. Add the rest of the ingredients, and turn up the heat to high. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or til pork is tender.

Sage/Cheddar Gratin
2 teaspoons Sage
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large onion, diced
1 package (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese (2 cups)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 13x9" baking pan with cooking spray.

Mix sage, salt and pepper in small bowl. Layer 1/3 of the potatoes and 1/2 of the onion in pan. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the sage mixture and 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining potatoes, sage mixture and cheese.

Whisk together broth and cream in a medium bowl til well blended. Pour evenly over potatoes.

Bake 1 hour or til potatoes are tender and top is golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Boneless Buffalo Chicken Strips

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast

1 cup buttermilk

1 T. + 1 t. garlic powder

vegetable oil


your favorite tabasco or hot sauce


bleu cheese dressing and celery sticks

Slice chicken breast in to chunks or long slices. Soak in buttermilk and 1 t. garlic powder for one hour minimum.

Mix about 1 cup flour with 1 T. garlic powder. Heat oil til nice and hot. Fry chicken pieces until nice and golden.

While chicken is frying mix hot sauce, some butter and addtional garlic powder if desired, in a covered microwaveable bowl. Heat in microwave til butter melts. Stir.

When chicken is cooked through, drain on paper bags or towels. Toss with hot sauce and butter mixture. Cover tightly and shake til all chicken is nice and covered.

Serve with celery and blue cheese dressing.

Variations: Marinate chicken with cajun seasoning. Mix flour with cajun seasoning. Mix chicken with habenero sauce for blazin' style. Serve with ranch dressing.

Bleu Cheese Bites

I LOVE bleu cheese on everything from salads to chicken dishes. This recipe is no exception.

1 pkg. refrigerated biscuits
1/2 cup butter
5 oz. crumbled bleu cheese

Quarter biscuits. Arrange in 2 (8 inch) round baking dishes. Melt butter and cheese. Drizzle over biscuits. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes.
Variations: Sprinkle crispy bacon or green onions over the top.

Pasta with Asparagus, Ham and Tomato Sauce

I wasn't sure what to make for dinner tonight, so I took stock of what I had available: ham, canned tomatoes, asparagus, white wine, and fresh garlic. Sounds like the makings of a great pasta dish to me! I ALWAYS have pasta on hand.

1 lb corkscrew pasta (or your favorite pasta)

1 bunch (about 1 lb) thin, tender asparagus, trimmed of ends

1 cup good smoked ham, diced

olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup white wine (or use chicken broth)

Fresh Parmesan cheese, grated and divided

Heat olive oil in large pan, saute ham til just starting to brown. Add garlic. Saute one minute more. Add tomatoes and wine. Simmer til reduced.

Meanwhile, trim 1 inch off the ends of the asparagus stalks. Cut the stalks into 1-inch lengths.

Start water boiling for pasta. Add the pasta to the boiling water, stirring, and cook about 4 minutes. Add the asparagus, bring the water back to a boil, and boil about 5 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the stalks. Cook until the asparagus is crisp-tender when tested and the pasta is cooked al dente. Drain in a colander, reserving a little pasta water to add to the tomato sauce. Return the pasta and asparagus to the pot and keep warm, covered.

Pour about a cup of the sauce over the capellini and asparagus and toss well to combine. Mix in about 1/4 cup parmesan and toss again.

Serve pasta, scooping rest of sauce over each serving.

Top with fresh parmesan.

Variations: Just toss in whatever you have on hand, black olives, onion, sausage, red wine, etc.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

After making a pumpkin roll, I now have extra pumpkin left. Today, I received this recipe from Taste of Home Newsletter, which I subscribe to. Sounds perfect! I cannot get enough of the pumpkin/cream cheese combo.

4 eggs
1-2/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Stir in nuts. Pour into an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, butter and vanilla in a small
mixing bowl. Add enough of the milk to achieve desired spreading
consistency. Spread over cooled bars.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mexican Style Meatloaf

This delicious recipe is from my recipe box, I have had it for years and have no idea where it orginally came from. It sure kicks up a regular meatloaf recipe.

1 small can black beans, drained
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper (I used Hungarian peppers)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1 tsp salt
1 T ground cumin
2 T chili powder
1/2 t pepper
handful tortilla chips, finely crushed (I used Doritoes)
1 egg
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup salsa (use your favorite. I used homemade)
shredded Mexican style cheese

Preheat oven to 375°. Coat large loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine beans and next 11 ingredients in a large bowl and stir til just blended.

Bake for 50 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over the top and bake 10 more minutes.

I served the meatloaf over cheesy garlic mashed potatoes with a dollop of salsa.

Variation: Top with sour cream and extra tortilla chips.

Fried Perch, Roasted Potatoes and Mac N Cheese

I didn't really follow a recipe for any of this, just tossing together what I like. When I asked my fiancé what sauce he wanted, he said he wanted mustard and sour cream. I made up a sauce with regular mustard, sour cream and some steak seasoning. It was very tasty and went well with the fish and potatoes.


1/2 cup plain flour

½ cup cornmeal

Cajun seasoning
1 egg, beaten lightly

½ cup buttermilk


fresh lemon juice

Mix buttermilk with lemon juice and Cajun seasoning. Marinate fillets one hour. Remove and dry on paper towels.

Mix the flour and cornmeal with Cajun seasoning in a wide flat bowl.

Mix one egg with a splash of milk.


1 lb. fish (I used fresh perch)

Heat 1/4-inch of oil in a large frying pan.

Dip fillets in egg wash, then in flour/cornmeal mixture. Fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side.

Drain on paper towel.

Roasted Potatoes

6 small new potatoes, halved

olive oil

your favorite seasonings (I used steak seasoning)

Toss potatoes and the rest. Bake at 375° for about 45 minutes until golden brown.

Mac N Cheese

2 cups cooked elbow macaroni

splash milk

3/4 cup Velveeta and ¼ cup cheddar cheese (or use your fave cheese combo)

splash Tabasco sauce

Mix cooked macaroni while still hot with milk and cheeses. Stir until all cheese is melted. Add Tabasco if using.

I topped my fish and mac n cheese with extra Tabasco sauce. Matt had the mustard sauce along with some Tabasco.

Mom's Fruit Cocktail Cake with Coconut-Walnut Topping

This is one of my all time favorite desserts- to this day I still can't make this as good as Mom does! Recipe is from Mom's recipe box. Easy!

2 c. flour

1 1/2 c. sugar

2 t. baking soda

dash salt

2 eggs, beaten

1 medium can fruit cocktail

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine dry ingredients. Add eggs and fruit cocktail. Blend well and pour into 9 x 13 pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 40 minutes.


1 stick butter

3/4 c. sugar

3/4 c. Pet milk

1/2 c. nuts (I prefer walnuts)

1/2 c. coconut

1 t. vanilla

Mix first three and boil 10 minutes. Add nuts and coconut. Mix and remove from heat. Stir once more. While still hot pour over cake.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Sausage Soup

Split pea is one of my favorite soups and this recipe jazzes the regular split pea up a bit.

1 pound dried split peas
10 cups water
1 pound smoked sausage of your choice, sliced
5 cubes chicken bouillon
1 1/2 cups chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 onion, chopped

In a 5 quart slow cooker, combine the peas, water, sausage, bouillon, carrot, celery, potatoes, garlic powder, oregano, bay leaves, and onion.

Cover, and cook on High for 4 to 5 hours. Remove bay leaves before ladling into bowls.

From ye olde recipe box

Pork Roast and Potatoes

I don't really have a recipe for this, I just tossed in a bunch of stuff like onion, garlic, cumin, potatoes, etc.

1 bone in pork roast

1 diced onion

3 minced garlic cloves

1 chopped hungarian pepper

1 can diced tomatoes

1 chicken bouillon

1/2 tomato can water

2 T. cumin

salt and pepper to taste

12 diced new potatoes

cheese (optional)

salsa (if desired)

Toss everything in to the slow cooker on high heat. Cook three hours, add potato and cook one more hour.

I sprinkled some cheese over mine and poured habanero salsa over all to serve.

Variations: Serve with sour cream. Garnish with cilantro.

Catfish with Remoulade Sauce

1 c. buttermilk
1 T. cajun seasoning (or to taste)
1 t. cajun mustard
1 T. hot sauce (optional)
1-2 lbs. catfish fillet
1 c. flour
1/2 - 1 c. corn meal
Vegetable oil

Remoulade (recipe follows)

Mix buttermilk, seasoning, mustard and hot sauce. Check for taste. Marinate fish 2-8 hours. Mix flour and corn meal. (You can also add more cajun seasoning to the breading if you like). Dredge fillets in flour mix and fry in oil til nice and crispy. Drain on a rack over paper towel. Serve with remoulade or hot sauce. Or both, as I do.


1 cup mayo
2 T green onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. horseradish
2 T. cajun mustard (or other spicy mustard)
3 T. ketchup
1 t. hot sauce
1 t. worcestershire
2 T. fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt and cayenne
1 T. oil

Blend all ingredients, let sit in the fridge at least an hour before serving. Taste and adjust as desired.

Served with coleslaw and cornbread. (I like it with homemade macaroni and cheese too). Yum!

Variation: you can use all flour if you do not like cornmeal.

Mom's Taco Pie

This recipe comes from my mother's recipe box, although she always called it "Impossible" taco pie. It takes over 45 minutes from prep to serving, so it is right on "edge" of being a minute meal.

Kid friendly too!

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 envelope (1 1/4 ounces) taco seasoning mix
1 small can chopped green chilies, drained
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup baking mix
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
Salsa, if desired
Sour cream, if desired

Preheat oven to 400°.

Spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Cook ground beef and onion in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, drain well. Stir in seasoning mix. Spoon into pie plate; spread top with chilies.

Stir milk, eggs and baking mix til blended. Pour into pie plate.

Bake about 25 minutes or til knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 8 to 10 minutes longer. Cool 5 minutes.

Garnish with salsa and sour cream.

Variations: Top with black olives or tomato. If you don't like green chilis, use your favorite salsa instead.

Making Mom's Cheesy Potatoes

My mom's cheesy potatoes are always requested at the holidays (we call them Cheesy Tades). She has never followed any recipe, just tossing everything in. It's always delicious, and very kid friendly.

Measurements are approximate.

1 can (10-3/4 oz.) cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup sour cream

¼ cup diced onion (optional)

1 pkg. (32 oz.) frozen hash browns, thawed

1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or Velveeta, cubed

2 T butter, softened (optional. I don't add it)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine soup and sour cream in large bowl. Add potatoes, butter and cheese; mix well.

Spoon mixture into 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake 60 minutes or til heated through.

Kerala Fish with Coconut Milk (Curry)

While cooking this, the fragrance of the curry and spices was out of this world!

2 T olive oil, divided
1 cup thinly sliced onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 t ginger
1 hot chili, (I used a cayenne. Serranos are good too)
1 t curry powder
1 t ground coriander
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t turmeric
1/4 t black pepper
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 t salt (or to taste)
1 1/2 lbs firm white fish fillets (I used frozen pollock)
1/2 can lite coconut milk
1/2 cup water (if needed. The fish generates a lot of moisture when cooking so you may not need it)

chicken bouillon
freshly chopped cilantro (to your taste)

1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and saute the onions, garlic, ginger, chile and curry leaves, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the ground spices, tomatoes, bouillon and salt and saute another 15 minutes until the tomatoes are soft. Stir in a couple leaves of cilantro.
2. Meanwhile, in a seperate large pot, heat olive oil til very hot. Lay the fish pieces in a single layer in the pan. Simmer 5 minutes. Combine the coconut milk with the water and pour over the fish. Pour in tomato mixture. Gently shake the pan to circulate the sauce, then cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, or more, until the fish is cooked. Remove from heat and add more cilantro. I used about 1/2 cup cilantro in total, as I love the stuff!

I served this over basmati rice. Easy, healthy and delicious! adapted from recipezaar

Blue Woo Woo Cocktail

This is one of my favorite cocktails.

4 oz tropical shnapps
2 oz blue curacao
1 oz light rum
6 oz pineapple juice

Mix alcohols, pour into glasses. Top with pineapple juice.

Recipe from my recipe box

Shrimp Po' Boy with Cumin Mayo

When my sister suggested this recipe to me a few years ago, my first thought was "ewww, who puts shrimp on a sandwich?"

Then I tried it. It is now my favorite way to eat shrimp (and I usually do not care for any kind of seafood).

1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp, tails removed

1 c. buttermilk

1/2 c. flour

1 T. cajun seasoning + 1 t.

1 c. mayo

1 T. cumin

1 minced garlic clove

splash of milk

splash fresh lemon juice

vegetable oil

1 loaf french bread, cut almost through

lettuce and tomato if desired

Marinate shrimp in buttermilk and 1 T. cajun seasoning. While shrimp is marinating, mix mayo, cumin, garlic, milk and lemon juice. Set aside.

Drain shrimp well. Mix flour and 1 t. cajun seasoning. Toss shrimp with flour mixture and let sit in fridge for about 15 minutes.

Heat oil in large frypan until hot. Fry shrimp until golden brown and drain on paper towel.

Spread cumin mayo on bread, top with shrimp and lettuce and tomato if using.

Serve with your favorite side: french fries, chips, etc.

Chorizo Soup

I created this recipe to use up chorizo sausage that I had, along with potatoes, and some leftover black beans and rice.

1 lb. chorizo

1 small onion, diced fine

1 minced garlic clove

1 small can diced tomatoes

1 chicken bouillon cube

6 small potatoes, diced

leftover black beans and white rice

olive oil

Pour oil in to pan. Turn up heat to medium high. When oil is almost smoking, add chorizo. When sausage is well browned, add onion. Cook about 5 minutes. Add garlic. While stirring, add potatoes, tomatoes, bouillon, and 1 can water. Bring to boil, add beans and rice. Turn heat to medium, and simmer soup 20-30 minutes.

Variations: Add your favorite beans. Add cilantro just before serving. Add leftover pork or chicken.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

BBQ Beef and Tangy Cole Slaw

My fiance and I stopped at a farmer's market yesterday to pick up pumpkins. They had some nice heads of cabbage too for only a dollar- so we picked one up. The following is my favorite recipe for cole slaw, and I turned the rest of the family on to it as well. The recipes are adapted from my cookbook "Art of the Grill".

BBQ Beef

1 beef roast, cubed

2 T. paprika

1 T. each chili powder, packed brown sugar, cumin and sugar

2 t. salt

1 1/2 t. black pepper

1/2 c. cider vinegar

1T. tabasco (or to your taste)

1 T. dijon mustard

Toss beef with first four: paprika through black pepper. Let rest 8 hours or overnight. Sear in oil. (I used leftover bacon grease. Yum!) Add rest. Simmer 1 1/2 hours or til tender enough to shred. Meanwhile, prepare cole slaw.

My Favorite 'slaw

1 head cabbage (red, green or a combination), shredded or sliced thin

1/4 c. cider vinegar

1 T. sugar

1 t. each celery seed and salt

1/2 t. black pepper

3/4 c. mayo

1 T. dijon mustard

Mix all ingredients except cabbage until well blended. Toss with cabbage. Refridgerate at least an hour.

Habanero Ale Cheese Dip

Another of my favorites! It doesn't get any better than combining three of these things I enjoy: cheese, beer and habanero peppers! Yum!

This recipe is from my recipe box, origins unknown.

1/2 lb sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded

½ lb cream cheese

2 minced habaneros (or to your taste)

1 t salt

1 cup pale ale

1 t fresh chives

1/3 cup cilantro

Combine cheeses. Pour ale over. Bake 15 minutes at 375°. Blend. Bake 15 minutes more. Mix in the rest.

Garnish with additional cilantro. Serve with assorted cocktail breads or crackers.

Delicious! This is a personal favorite, but not for the weak hearted!

Jazzed Up Shepards Pie

My fiance loves Shepards Pie, however, I have always found it rather bland. I came up with this "jazzed up" version to suit my tastes a little more than the traditional recipe.

1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
tomato juice
1 beef bouillon cube
frozen corn (or used canned)
Velveeta cheese
1 prepared pie crust

6 potatoes, diced and peeled
2 cloves garlic
milk or 1/2 and 1/2

Brown ground beef. Drain well. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes until onions are tender. Add garlic, cook for a couple minutes. Add tomato juice until mixture is the consistency of sloppy joes. Add bouillon and corn. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and add velveeta, stirring until cheese is melted.

While beef is browning, start water for potatoes. Cook potatoes and garlic until tender- about 15 minutes. Mash with milk and butter.

Spread beef mixture in crust. Top with mashed potatoes. Bake at 400° for about 25-30 minutes.

Variations: Add your favorite seasonings to ground beef.

Caramel Apple Pie

I baked this today, and will be putting it in the freezer to enjoy when my fiance gets home. Boy, did it smell wonderful while baking!

1 pastry crust for a 9" deep dish pie (I used store-bought)

1/2 cup sugar

3 T flour

1 t ground cinnamon

1/8 t salt

6 cups thinly sliced peeled apples (I used McIntosh)

1 recipe crumb topping (see below)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1/4 cup caramel topping

Crumb Topping

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup quick cook oats

1/2 cup butter

In a medium bowl stir together brown sugar, flour, rolled oats. Cut in 1/2 cup butter til topping is like course crumbs. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add apple slices and gently toss til coated. Transfer apple mixture to the pie. Sprinkle crumb topping over apple mixture. Place pie on a cookie sheet so the drippings don't drop into your oven. Cover edges of pie with aluminum foil. Bake in a preheated 375° oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and put back in for another 30 minutes without foil.

Remove from oven. Sprinkle pie with chopped pecans then drizzle with caramel on top.

Cool on a wire rack and serve warm or at room temperature.

Fish Tacos with Black Bean Southwestern Slaw

When I first heard of "fish tacos" I thought "What a way to ruin a good taco." But then I found this recipe while searching for healthy dishes, and thought it sounded fabulous. I was right. The ingredient list seems extensive, but these are actually quite easy to prepare and assemble.

For the best flavor, use only fresh and high quality ingredients where you can. This is one of those recipes where doing this really pays off.

2 lbs mahi mahi

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 T fresh lime juice
5 t chili powder
1 1/2 t each: ground cumin, ground coriander, minced garlic
salt to taste

flour or corn tortillas

Black Bean Southwestern Slaw (recipe follows)
Chipotle Pico de Gallo (recipe follows)
Mexican sour cream

Start the slaw at least two hours in advance:

2 cups green cabbage, shredded fine
1 small can black beans, rinsed and well drained
2 T minced red onion
2 t fresh lime juice
2 t honey
2 t minced jalapeños
2 t chopped cilantro
sea salt, to taste

Start the fish at least one hour in advance:

Thinly slice fish. Mix with remaining marinade ingredients.

Start the Pico de Gallo one hour in advance:

1 cup diced tomatoes
4 t minced red onion
1/2 t red wine vinegar
1/2 canned chipotle pepper, minced
sea salt to taste
1 T cilantro, chopped fine
1/2 cup Mexican sour cream
1/2 t finely grated lime zest
2 t fresh lime juice
salt to taste
Mexican cheese, if desired

Toss ingredients for slaw together, cover and refrigerate for two hours. Mix marinade ingredients, toss with fish and refrigerate one hour. Mix pico de gallo ingredients together, cover and refrigerate one hour. Mix the sour cream with the juice and zest of a lime.

Grill or broil fish til cooked through and flaky. To assemble: place fish slices in tortilla and top with slaw, pico, crema, and cheese if using.

If using fish for a taco doesn't appeal to you (even after seeing this recipe), feel free to substitute boneless skinless chicken breast cut into thin strips.

Rattlesnake Pasta

No, you won't find any rattlesnake in the following recipe. Nor would you ever find it in anything that I cook.

The other day someone was discussing this pasta dish which is served at Uno’s. It is my favorite item on their menu, and this is my personal version of it. I really have no idea why they would call it "rattlesnake", unless they are talking about the "bite" from the jalapeno peppers.

Please note that measurements are approximate.

1 small onion, diced


1 cup half and half or milk

fresh grated parmesan cheese

2 T flour

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup finely diced canned jalapeno peppers, well drained

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 cup chicken broth

1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced

1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded

2 oz Velveeta

Cooked penne pasta

Heat a large pot on medium, add a little butter. Saute onion in butter til softened, but do not brown. Remove from pan.

Saute chicken til well browned. Remove. Add additional butter and flour, stirring to make a light roux. While stirring, add broth, then half and half, parmesan, salt and pepper and heat very slowly till thickened. When sauce starts to bubble, add the velveeta, jalapenos, garlic and chicken and heat through. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese. When cheese is melted, serve over penne (or your favorite) pasta with additional parmesan.

This was absolutely delicious!

Buttermilk Shrimp

I couldn't find a good recipe for buttermilk shrimp ANYWHERE, so I made up my own.

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup buttermilk (I used low fat)

2 T cajun seasoning


onion, diced fine

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup (or so) good white wine

chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

cooked orzo

Blend buttermilk and seasoning. Marinate shrimp one hour. Heat butter in large frying pan. When sizzling add onions and saute until soft (don't brown). Add garlic and saute about a minute. Add wine and broth and simmer until reduced by half. Add shrimp and a little of the buttermilk mixture. Simmer til shrimp is just cooked. Add salt and pepper.

I served this over orzo, as this was what Matt had requested.

Variations: Add tarragon or dill. Use Old Bay in place of the cajun seasoning.

Chicken with Chipotle Sauce and Black Beans and Yellow Rice

Tonight is another dinner where I looked in the pantry to see what I had and what I could create. I had canned chipotles in adobo, cilantro, fresh limes and dry black beans. This is the recipe I came up with. (Measurements are approximate, since I didn't measure anything).

1/3 cup fresh lime juice
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 chipotle chiles in adobo
¼ cup minced cilantro, divided
pinch of salt
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut in to thin strips or dice

olive oil

For the sauce and marinade: Mix lime juice, garlic, chipotles in adobo sauce, a handful of cilantro and salt. Pour a little of the sauce over chicken and mix until well coated. Reserve the rest of the sauce. Marinate for 4 hours minimum. Remove chicken and drain off excess sauce. Heat a medium sized sauce pan coated with olive oil. When pan is hot, add chicken and sauté until golden brown. Add rest of sauce and simmer about 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Stir in cilantro and stir once more.

Yellow Rice

4 saffron threads, toasted and crushed
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup short grain rice (Valencia style) rinsed and drained
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 cup good dry white wine

Toast the saffron in a small dry skillet for a few minutes over medium heat. Smash the saffron with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the broth, saffron, salt, cilantro and the bay leaves. Cook covered for 15 minutes. Add wine, cook 10 minutes more. Remove bay leaf.

Black Beans

Since the rice and chicken would be so flavorful I just boiled the beans with salt, pepper and a bay leaf until tender.

I layered a scoop of rice, black beans and then chicken over the top of it all. Garnish was a sprinkling of Mexican blend cheese, a dollop of plain yogurt and some additional cilantro.

view all pho

Buffalo Chicken Soup

I saw a picture for Buffalo Chicken soup on google images today, and it sounded so good that I had to make it! I used my recipe for boneless buffalo chicken as a starting point and created this creamy and spicy soup.

2 bunches green onions, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

vegetable oil

1/4 cup flour

3/4 cup half and half or milk

3/4 cup chicken broth

2 cups diced chicken breast

1 cup hot sauce + 2 T butter

8 ounces Velveeta cheese, cut in to chunks

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 T butter

Bleu cheese dressing or crumbles

Saute onions and celery in oil until tender in a large pot. Remove from pan. Add chicken and cook til brown. Remove.

Add more oil to pan. When hot, stir in flour until smooth.

Slowly add half and half and broth.

Meanwhile, melt butter in hot sauce in the microwave (20 seconds or so).

Mix all ingredients (except velveeta) and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, add velveeta and stir until cheese has melted.

Serve topped with bleu cheese and additional chopped celery if desired.

Chorizo and Red Bean Pizza

I wanted to try something a little different with pizza; this is what I came up with.

12 oz. chorizo


poblano pepper (I used half)

red beans, drained (or use your favorite variety)

your favorite cheese (I used Mexican blend)

frozen pizza crust, thawed (or use your favorite)

corn meal

olive oil

Heat large frying pan on medium high heat. Add chorizo and brown. Drain well on paper towel and add back to pan. Add onion and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add beans and cook for about 5 minutes more.

While chorizo mixture is cooking, preheat oven to 450° and move a rack to bottom level in oven. Oil pizza pan and sprinkle on some cornmeal. Spread crust to edges.

Cool chorizo mixture til about room temperature.

Sprinkle cheese over crust. Spread chorizo mixture over cheese. Sprinkle on more cheese.

Bake for about 15 minutes.

I topped Matt's with plain yogurt and some crushed Doritoes. I added more beans and some extra cheese.

Delicious! You just never know what you might come up with when experimenting with food.

Chicken Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy

There are hundreds of recipes for fried chicken, and it is the center of more controversies than perhaps any other food item, other then chili. From the seasoning and coating to the fat and cooking time, discussions of "real" fried chicken can start some lively debates. Some people will tell you to remove the skin before battering, while others swear by double-dipping the chicken. Some fry in oil, butter, lard or bacon grease, or even a combination of these.

One recipe recommends browning before covering, then frying slowly and turning frequently. I have seen recipes that call for the chicken to be not dipped in milk, crumbs, or batter, just flour. Another recipe may require soaking in buttermilk (this is my particular favorite).

The one thing everyone seems to agree on are that the skillet has to be a well-seasoned black cast iron one. Thanks, Mom, for the gift of cast iron!

Biscuits, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, and corn on the cob are popular side dishes, and in some regions rice is served. Mashed potatoes with gravy is probably the overall favorite, and this is what we had tonight, along with corn.

1-2 lbs chicken pieces


1 cup buttermilk

3 cloves minced garlic

salt and pepper

hot sauce (optional. I use a LOT of it)

1 cup flour

1 t baking soda
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1/2 t salt
1 t paprika
1 t black pepper

peanut oil (or shortening, lard, etc.)

Mix marinade ingredients. Add chicken (I used boneless skinless thighs). Marinate overnight.

Begin heating oil.

Mix flour and the seasonings in a covered container large enough to shake with all the chicken pieces. When chicken is well covered, add to very hot oil. Cook until crispy and cooked thru, but only turn once.

Drain chicken on rack over paper towels or a paper bag.

Cream Gravy

After the chicken is removed from the skillet, pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of oil, keeping as much of the browned bits as possible in the pan. Heat the oil over medium heat until hot.

Sprinkle 3 tablespoons flour, using the left-over flour from the chicken, in to the hot oil, whisking quickly, to brown the flour.

Gradually stir in 3/4 cup cream mixed with 3/4 cup water, whisking constantly to prevent any lumps. Lower heat, and gravy will begin to thicken. Continue cooking and stirring a few minutes until gravy reaches desired consistency. Check seasonings and add more salt and pepper according to your taste.

Variation: I really like mushrooms in my gravy, although the recipe I used did not call for them. I just tossed them in with the cream.

Slow Cooker German Style Beef Ribs

This is a delicious German recipe that almost has a "barbecue" flavor to it when finished.

1 – 1 ½ lbs Country style beef ribs, trimmed and cut into cubes
2 T flour
1/2 t celery salt
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground black pepper
1 small can diced tomatoes
1 cup very thinly sliced carrots
2 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
1/4 cup sherry
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 cup beef broth

Place beef in slow cooker. In a bowl combine flour, celery salt, garlic powder, ground ginger, and pepper; sprinkle over beef. In another bowl, combine tomatoes, carrots, sherry, molasses, and water; pour over beef.

Cook on high for three hours. Add potatoes and cook one hour more, or til potatoes are tender.

Serve over buttered egg noodles with a dollop of sour cream, or your favorite pasta.

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry BBQ Sauce

I had one bag of cranberries and some apple cider left from Turkey Day, along with a pork tenderloin. This is what I came up with after much “tweaking”.

I have to admit, this is probably one of the best recipes I have come up with in a long time. My fiance Matt agreed that it was delicious!


1 - 1 1/4 lb pork tenderloin

1 T ground allspice

2 to 3 t black pepper

1 t salt

2 vegetable oil

Cranberry Marinade

1 T butter

1 small onion, thinly sliced

12 oz pkg fresh cranberries, divided

1 cup habanero jelly

1 cup orange marmalade

1 cup apple cider

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

3 T cider vinegar

1 t ground ginger

1 t curry powder

Cranberry Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows)

In a small bowl combine allspice, pepper, and salt; rub on all sides of tenderloin.

Add butter to a large saucepan. When hot add onion and cook about 5 minutes until soft. Add 1/2 the bag of cranberries, jelly, cider, brown sugar, vinegar, ginger, and curry powder to skillet. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until thickened to desired consistency and reduced to about 3 cups. Cool completely. Marinate tenderloin in mixture overnight (I marinated it in a plastic freezerbag).

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large frying pan, brown tenderloins in hot oil over medium heat, turning to brown all sides. Transfer to a jelly roll pan. Roast for about 30 minutes or until juices run clear. Remove from oven and cover with tin foil until ready to serve.

Slice pork and spoon some of the BBQ sauce over pork. Serve remaining on the side.

Cranberry-Barbecue Sauce: In a saucepan combine 1 cup apple cider, 1 cup bottled barbecue sauce (or use your favorite recipe) and remaining package of cranberries. Cook and stir over low heat until heated through. Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice, if desired.

I served the pork over parsley roasted new potatoes.

Chocolate Caramel Wow Cake

This recipe is from the side of the cake mix box and I just "tweaked" it a bit, replacing the original requirement of whipped topping (which I hate) with whipped cream (which I love).

1 package German Chocolate Cake Mix

3 eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 1/4 cups water

1 12 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 12.25 oz jar caramel topping

2 cups whipped cream

2 butterfinger candy bars, chopped in to small pieces

Prepare cake according to directions. Cool for five minutes. Poke holes all over with end of wooden spoon. In a small bowl, mix condensed milk and caramel topping. Reserve 1/2 cup and set aside. Pour remaining caramel mixture over cake. Cool completely. Place whipped topping in medium bowl and mix with reserved caramel mixture. Spread over cake. Sprinkle candy bar over top. Refrigerate until served.

Variations: Use hot fudge topping in place of caramel.