Monday, July 26, 2010

Blueberry Mojito Recipe

Matt "invented" this recipe while out in Vegas. The best part is when you get to the rum infused blueberries in the bottom of the glass.

I am just estimating the amounts.

1 shot light rum (we used Bacardi)
splash fresh lime juice
couple fresh mint leaves
small handful fresh blueberries
sugar to taste
club soda
Garnish: lime slice, mint leaves

Add everything to a tall glass (except soda). Muddle mixture. Top off with club soda. Garnish with lime slice and mint sprig.
Matt liked his with more sugar than I did.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d858/d381/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Club Sub Sandwiches with Mom's Pizza Dough Recipe

The other day my mom and I were discussing her pizza dough and what she does or doesn't put in it. I was surprised to find out that all she uses is flour, water and yeast. No salt, so sugar and no oil. I guess I always thought she used those ingredients for some reason.

Well, I am going to give that simple recipe a try here, in making the base for submarine club sandwiches.
These turned out perfect, just like Big Al's, the restaurant that inspired them.

Homemade Sub Buns
3 cups flour, plus extra for kneading
1 cup warm water, plus extra as needed
1 package active dry yeast
olive oil for bowl

Add flour to bowl of stand mixer and make a well. Add water and yeast. With dough hook, mix dough til it comes together into a ball, adding more water as needed.

Meanwhile, oil a large bowl lightly. Add dough and roll til covered with oil. Cover bowl with a towel and let rise in a warm place til doubled, about 1 hour.

Remove from bowl and knead a few times on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough in half and shape into two submarine shapes (whatever size you prefer). Cover and let rest about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven and pizza stone to 450°.

Bake subs about 10-15 minutes, or til golden brown. Cool and slice each in half lengthwise.

Club Sub Sandwiches
Homemade Sub Buns
sliced Black Forest ham
smoked turkey
crispy fried bacon
sliced Provolone cheese
lettuce and sliced red onion
Al's Sub Sauce (recipe follows)
Layer the cheese both sides of the bun, leaving it open faced. Bake or broil til cheese lightly melts.
Cool slightly and layer with remaining meats and your favorite condiments and serve with sub sauce and chips.

Al's Sub Sauce
Equal parts salad dressing and French dressing, plus Frank's Red Hot sauce to taste. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before using.

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M.'s Best Chicken Recipe

When M. posted this recipe, I just couldn't resist making it. I love cooking with yogurt, as yogurt adds great tangy flavor but also tenderizes the meat or chicken at the same time. And it works well here, the chicken just melts in your mouth.

This is my variation on M.'s recipe:

3-4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
fresh juice from 1 lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Spray a 9 x 13" baking pan with cooking spray. Add chicken and sprinkle all over with lemon juice and salt and pepper. Let sit 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine in a medium bowl:
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used Miracle Whip)
2 T Dijon mustard
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t each: garlic and onion powders
1/4 t cayenne pepper
pinch dried thyme

Combine and pour over chicken. Spread evenly. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, or til chicken is browned and cooked through.

Serve chicken with sauce over sauteed spinach or your favorite side dish.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d874/d369/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
For M.'s original recipe, click here: Best Chicken Recipe

Magic Cookie Bars Recipe

One of my favorite cookie bars of all!

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed Milk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 cups flaked sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat 13x9" baking pan with non stick cooking spray.

Combine vanilla wafer crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with a spatula.

Bake 25 minutes or til lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d804/d370/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Slow Cooker Authentic Beef Tacos with Three Kinds of Salsa Recipe

On Matt's last trip to Vegas, he brought home a kitchen full of authentic Mexican items, including almost a dozen Molcajetes, or salsa holders. I planned a dinner around those holders.

Some day soon, when it isn't quite so hot outside, we'll do a whole fiesta to include the other items. They ranged from a tamales pot, trays, toys (although I don't know what we'll do with those things), tortilla presses (I better find a good recipe first), pots and pans, tortilla steamers and a few other items.
The recipe for my Adobo seasoning can be found here: Adobo Seasoning

Tacos
1 lb lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T Ancho Mexican chili powder
1 t oregano
1 t Adobo seasoning (I used homemade)
water as needed (I think I used about 1 1/2 cups all told)
flour tortillas
lettuce, shredded
shredded Mexican blend cheese

Add beef and seasonings to the slow cooker. Cook on high 4 hours, keeping an eye on the water level, adding however much as you like. I like my tacos with a bit of sauce.

I served the tacos topped with Mexican cheese, lettuce and one had hottest and the other medium salsa.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d837/d370/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
Hottest Salsa
sliver of onion
1/2 garlic clove
sea salt to taste
1 chicken bouillon cube
fresh lime juice (to your taste)
2-3 fresh habaneros (or to your taste)
1 small can diced tomatoes
Add onion through habaneros to the blender, with juice from the tomatoes.
Add tomatoes and a little water (I just add a little to the tomato can, swish it around, and pour it in). Blend til just mixed, but still a little chunky.
Pour in to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil on high heat.  Reduce heat
and simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool. Cover tightly
and refrigerate at least an hour.
Medium Salsa
1 small can tomato sauce
2 t chili powder
1 t cumin
1/2 t hot pepper flakes or to taste
salt and black pepper to taste
Add everything to a small bowl and blend. Taste and adjust as desired. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least an hour.
Mild Salsa
1 small can diced tomatoes
1/2 jalapeno peppers, seeded
sliver of onion
1/2 garlic clove
fresh lime juice, to taste
fresh cilantro leaves, to taste
sea salt, to taste
Blend all ingredients in blender just til mixed; cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d838/d370/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Hot Dogs, Mac n Cheese and Shannon's Potato Salad Recipe

All the talk about potato salad yesterday made me hungry for it so I whipped up a big batch. It'll make a great lunch today. Just add some extra black pepper and I'm good to go.

The potato salad was really simple; it was hot yesterday and I didn't feel like doing too much chopping and fussing with it.

Measurements are approximate.

Potato Salad
6 potatoes, peeled, cooked and diced
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup dill pickle relish
3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl with a tight fitting cover, toss potatoes with remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d673/d371/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Cajun Shrimp Kabobs with Dirty Rice Recipe

If you're looking for a dirty rice recipe using chicken livers, you won't find it here. I substituted bacon. This household doesn't do the liver thing.

Shrimp
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup your favorite Cajun marinade (I used a prepared)

Preheat grill over medium high heat.

Marinade shrimp 1 hour. Drain well and discard marinade. Skewer shrimp http://media-files.gather.com/images/d62/d373/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
and grill a few minutes per side or til shrimp are cooked.

Serve shrimp with dirty rice.

Dirty Rice
olive oil
6 slices lean or center cut bacon
1 small onion, minced
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Cajun seasoning to taste
1 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
3 cups cooked white rice
In a large frying pan, heat a little oil over medium heat. Saute bacon til fat starts to render. Stir in onion, bell pepper and celery and cook til softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook a few seconds. Add seasoning.
Add the broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and heat through.
Discard bay leaf.
Serve shrimp with rice.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d61/d373/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Shannon's Mexican Chorizo Recipe

For this recipe, you can use fresh minced onion but I just wasn't in the mood for it, so I used onion powder.

Add everything to your personal taste. If you don't have Ancho chili powder, for instance, just use regular.

1 lb ground pork
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
1 T Ancho chili powder
1 t paprika
1 t onion powder
1 t cumin
1 t Adobo seasoning
1/2 t oregano, rubbed
1/2 t salt
splash or two hot sauce

Mix ingredients well and refrigerate 8 hours and up to overnight.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d437/d359/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
In a large frying pan over medium high heat, fry chorizo til lumps are gone and mixture is free of big meat chunks, about 40 minutes. If mixture appears too dry, add a bit of pinto bean cooking water or plain water. Taste and adjust as desired.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d436/d359/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
It is now ready to use in your favorite chorizo recipe.
For this particular batch, I made chorizo, pinto bean and egg tacos.
For the taco recipe: Chorizo Tacos
For the Adobo recipe: Adobo Seasoning

Chocolate Topped Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars Recipe

This an adaptation of the usual recipe for my chocolate chip cookie bars, however, I also went one better. I topped the warm bars with extra chocolate chips for an added layer of delicious semi sweet chocolate.

2 1/4 cups flour
1 t baking soda
pinch salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 t vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 (12 oz) package semi sweet chocolate chips plus about 1/2 cup extra for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a 13x9" baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (which makes the job easier), beat butter and sugars til creamy. Beat in eggs.

Gradually beat flour mixture into butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread mixture into prepared pan (I used moistened finger. It makes this part easier too). Bake 25-27 minutes or til golden brown. Sprinkle warm bars with remaining chocolate chips. Spread over the top with a small spatula.

Cool and slice.

I couldn't decide which way I liked better:
ooey gooey:
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d607/d360/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
or the next day:
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d606/d360/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Easy Manicotti Recipe

I love this recipe, as you don't even have to cook the manicotti pasta first before baking.

1 medium (15 oz) container ricotta cheese
8 oz (2 cups) mozzarella cheese, grated and divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
freshly grated nutmeg (to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
1 (8 oz) package manicotti, uncooked
1 large (18 oz) jar prepared pasta sauce (I used mushroom), divided
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d314/d362/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpgPreheat oven to 400°.
In a medium bowl, combine cheeses (using only half of mozzarella), egg, garlic, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Stuff uncooked manicotti with the cheese mixture, from both ends. (I used a ziploc bag that I had filled with the mixture and snipped a corner. MUCH easier than using a spoon).http://media-files.gather.com/images/d315/d362/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
Pour about half the sauce in the bottom of a 9x13" pan.
Arrange manicotti in a single layer on top of sauce. Pour remaining sauce over the top. I also added a bit of water to the sauce.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d310/d362/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
Cover tightly with foil.
Bake 40-45 minutes or til manicotti is hot and bubbling and pasta is al dente.
Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.
Bake uncovered for another 5 minutes, til cheese is melted. Let pasta rest a few minutes before serving.
I served the manicotti with cheesy garlic Texas toast.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d306/d362/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
Photos by Matt Bennett.

Slow Cooker Puerto Rican Beans and Rice Recipe

Many recipes call for a jarred sofrito, but I like to make my own from scratch for this recipe. It just had a little "extra" in it, since I don't remove the meats from the pan before adding the tomato sauce and spices. It really adds to the flavor of the whole dish.

canola or vegetable oil
3-4 pork butterfly chops, trimmed and cut into pieces
1 chicken thigh, cut into pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small can tomato sauce
2 t Adobo seasoning (I used homemade)
2 packets Sazon Goya (with or without cilantro), or to taste
1 t oregano
1 1/2 cups cooked red beans
1 potato, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup sliced green olives
hot cooked white rice
hot sauce (optional)

In a large Dutch oven drizzled with a little oil, brown pork chops and chicken. Stir in onion and green pepper. Sauté for a few minutes. Add garlic and sauté for a few seconds. Stir in tomato sauce, Adobo, sazon and oregano and bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust as desired.

Add beans and a little water and mix well. Pour mixture into slow cooker; cook on high 4-5 hours or low 6-8.
Stir in potato and olives during last hour or so, cooking til potatoes are tender.

I served the Puerto Rican dinner with plenty of hot sauce over the rice.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d609/d363/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Syrian Pita Bread Recipe

I found this recipe in one of the books that came with my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and I'm so glad I did. These were the best pitas I've ever made. Had I been making sandwiches of some kind, they would have been perfect; they all puffed up and had perfect pockets for filling with goodies.

3/4 cup warm water, plus additional as needed
3 3/8 t active dry yeast
6 cups flour
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 cup warm milk
olive oil, for the bowl

Preheat oven to 500°. Place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven.

In a small bowl, combine the water and yeast and let stand til frothy, about 10 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, blend flour and salt. Make a well; pour in the yeast mixture and then warm milk. Turn machine on medium speed and mix til dough forms a ball. http://media-files.gather.com/images/d688/d371/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg(Keep an eye on the dough, adding a bit more water if the dough looks dry). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times. Form the dough into a ball.
Lightly oil a bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and turn to coat; cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place til doubled, about 1 hour.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Punch down the dough and cut in half. Cut each half into 8 pieces and roll them into balls; flatten into 6" rounds. Arrange rounds on lightly floured baking pans; cover with towels or plastic wrap. Let rise til puffy, about 25-30 minutes.
Slide as many rounds as will fit onto the hot pizza stone (mine fit 3); bake for about 4-5 minutes, turn and bake 1 minute more or til pitas puff up. Keep pitas covered as you work.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d807/d364/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
Serve hot or warm.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d805/d364/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Authentic Syrian Chicken Thighs Recipe

This recipe may have a lot of ingredients, but it sure is an easy dish to prepare. It turned out excellent, just loaded with flavors.

1 t ground cumin
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground turmeric
1 t sea salt
1/2 t black pepper
1 lb skinless chicken thighs
olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2" fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 hot pepper flakes
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
½ t cumin seeds
1 pinch Saffron threads
pinch thyme
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 T honey
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Combine cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, pepper and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle generouly over chicken. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or heavy frying pan over medium high heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Stir in onions and cook 5 minutes. Add ginger, garlic and hot pepper flakes and cook for a few more minutes. Stir in tomatoes, cumin seeds, saffron, and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 10 minutes.

Stir in juice and zest, honey and a little water (about 1/2 cup). Recover and simmer another 10 minutes.

Uncover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or til chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened. Stir in cilantro.

Serve with rice, Syrian pita and plain yogurt. The recipe for the Syrian pita can be found here: Syrian Pita Bread.
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Syrian Chicken

Popeye's Style Fried Chicken Strips and Beans and Rice Recipe

I used my own previous recipes for both of these recipes, with a few minor changes. Even my own recipes can benefit from tweaking.

Popeye's Style Fried Chicken Strips


1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 t season salt (I used my homemade)
1/2 cup self rising flour
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/t t season salt
2 eggs
vegetable oil for frying

In a large ziploc bag add chicken, buttermilk and season salt. Turn bag several times to ensure everything is mixed. Marinate at least 2 hours and up to 8. Remove chicken from bag and drain well.
Meanwhile, in a large container with a tight fitting cover, combine flour, peppers and season salt. Set aside.

Add the eggs to a large bowl and beat til blended.

Dip each piece of drained chicken into the egg. Add chicken to flour container and shake well, til chicken is fully covered. Remove and set aside to rest at least 15 minutes. If resting longer, refrigerate.
Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet or frying pan over medium high heat til the oil is very hot. Place the chicken pieces in the hot oil, cooking til golden brown; turn and finish other side, cooking til meat is cooked through.

Remove chicken and place on a paper bag or paper towel to drain.

I served the chicken with beans and rice and buttered buttermilk cornbread.

Popeye's Beans and Rice
2 cups cooked red beans
couple smoked pork hocks
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
1/4 t cayenne (optional)
pinch of thyme
1/4 cup butter
salt and pepper to taste

Add everything to a Dutch oven and cook on low, covered, for one hour or so. Taste and adjust as desired
With a potato masher, lightly mash beans, leaving some beans whole.
Serve over white rice with plenty of hot sauce.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d56/d366/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

The recipe for my season salt can be found here: Season Salt Recipe
The recipe for my buttermilk cornbread can be found here: Buttermilk Cornbread Recipe

Rachael Ray's Creole Style Meatloaf with Trinity Gravy and Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes Recipe

I forgot to post this from the other night.

Rachael's original recipe calls for ground pork but I substituted ground beef. Ground pork never goes on sale. The recipe also originally called for mashed sweet potatoes but I substituted regular, as they sounded better for this particular adaptation.

1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into chinks
salt to taste
1 cup buttermilk
olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground beef
1 1/2 t sweet Hungarian paprika
pinch thyme, rubbed
black pepper, to taste
2 T cup grainy Creole mustard
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 T butter
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 T tomato paste
2 T flour
2 to 3 T hot sauce, to taste
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

In a large pot add water to cover potatoes; bring to a boil, cook 15 minutes or til potatoes are tender. Drain and return to hot pot; mash with buttermilk til smooth.
Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat a little olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat and add 1/4 of the onions and half the garlic to pan and cook to soften, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl to cool. To the bowl, stir in beef, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper, mustard, egg and breadcrumbs. Mix to combine and form 2 loaves about 2 inches thick. http://media-files.gather.com/images/d412/d354/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpgForm loaves on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake 35-40 minutes til cooked through.

To the same pan over medium heat, add butter and melt. Add remaining onion and garlic and celery and cook to soften about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook another minute. Sprinkle flour over the pan and whisk in for another minute. Whisk in broth and hot sauce. Simmer over medium low til sauce thickens.

I served the meatloaves and buttermilk mashed potatoes covered with trinity gravy.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d411/d354/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Mom's Hearty Black Bean Soup Recipe

When mom gave me this recipe, she told me that the soup was "awesome", her word exactly. Well, I thought the combination was interesting, as I've never added quite all those ingredients to a black bean soup before. It intrigued me enough to try it. Of course, mom was right. The soup was smoky, tangy and fully of veggie goodness.

This makes a small pot of soup.

1/2 cup dry black beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
4 cups chicken broth
1 smoky pork hock
olive oil
1 cup smoky diced ham
1/2 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped (for spicy soup, for mild soup, use 1/2 green pepper)
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t oregano, rubbed
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup diced tomato
hot sauce to taste
1 small handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
juice from 1 fresh lime

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, add beans, broth and pork hock and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover; reduce heat to medium low and simmer beans about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute ham, onion, celery and jalapeno til softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in spices and herbs and cook a few seconds. Add the veggie mixture to the soup pot and simmer another 30 minutes.

Add tomatoes, hot sauce and cilantro to pot and simmer 30 more minutes. About 5 minutes before serving, stir in corn.

Just before serving stir in lime juice. Discard pork hock.

I served the soup with buttered bread.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d307/d356/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Rhubarb Crisp Recipe

One of my favorite desserts of all of them. And it doesn't even have any chocolate in it.

My stand mixer really helped to mix the topping for this. The mixture gets quite thick.

1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup flour plus 1 1/2 T
1 cup walnut pieces
4 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8" square pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream brown sugar and butter. Mix in oats and 1/2 cup flour. Slowly add in nuts til mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

Add rhubarb to prepared pan. http://media-files.gather.com/images/d612/d356/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpgStir in 1 1/2 T flour.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d613/d356/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Dollop oat topping over rhubarb.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d614/d356/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Bake about 40 minutes or til topping is golden brown and rhubarb is bubbling. Let rest 10 minutes or so before serving. If you can wait that long.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d611/d356/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
Serve warm.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d615/d356/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Sambal Oelek Chicken Wings Recipe

Thanks to Robin (who sent me two huge bottles of Sambal Oelek), I was able to make these, my favorite hot wings ever.

*WARNING: These wings are super hot and not for the faint of heart*

2 lbs (1/2 of a 4 lb bag) frozen chicken wings
1/2 a large (18 oz) bottle sambal oelek

Preheat oven to 400°. Bake wings 30 minutes. Turn and bake another 30 minutes or til golden brown and crispy.

Pour sambal over the top of the baked wings. Stir til sauce covers all the wings. Bake another couple minutes, til sauce just bubbles.

Everything in the 'slaw is to your taste.

Broccoli Slaw
1 pkg broccoli slaw
rice vinegar (your favorite variety)
olive or sesame oil
sambal oelek
salt to taste
your favorite Asian seasonings (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil and sambal. Toss with slaw. Add salt and seasonings to taste and toss. Cover and refrigerate til needed.
I'm stuffed!
http://media-files.gather.com/images/d307/d357/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpghttp://media-files.gather.com/images/d308/d357/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Muffuletta Style Paninis with Olive Sauce Recipe

Mom made these on her George Foreman grill. I sure wish I had one.

fresh hoagie rolls
sliced salami
sliced ham
sliced provolone cheese
softened butter
pepperoncini peppers (optional)
Olive Sauce (recipe follows)

Preheat George Foreman grill.

Slice rolls lengthwise to open, leaving hinge. Layer salami, ham, and provolone inside rolls. Spread butter on first half. Grill in Foreman til golden brown. Spread butter on other half. Grill til cheese is melted. Open and top with peppers (if using) and spread with olive sauce.

Serve immediately.

Olive Sauce
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 black olives, sliced
2 T sliced green olives, sliced
black pepper to taste
splash vinegar to taste (optional)
In a small bowl, mix mayo and olives. Refrigerate til needed.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d604/d357/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Belizean Beans and Rice Recipe

My sister Shelley sent me this recipe. It came from her friend from Belize and Shel raved it about it. Of course, I had to have it!

The original recipe calls for sliced plantains, but Shel said try sliced bananas and I thought that sounded even better.

You could easily make this vegetarian or vegan by leaving out the pork.

1 cup (1/2 lb) dried black beans
2 smoked pork hocks
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 jalapenos (I only used one)
1/2 t thyme (or to your taste)
salt and pepper to taste
1 can coconut milk
hot cooked white rice
1 sliced green banana

Rinse beans with cold water, then soak beans for 4 hours using 6-8 cups of water. Drain and rinse again.
Over high heat in a big soup pot, boil beans with hock, onion, celery, garlic and jalapeno for 1 hour. Season beans with thyme, and salt and pepper. Taste and adjust as desired.

Add coconut milk. Stir and then let boil til beans are tender, about 30 more minutes. Remove pork.

I served the beans atop the white rice garnished with green banana. I also snuck on some ghost chile powder, but don't tell Shelley.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d486/d358/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Mexican Homemade Chorizo, Pinto Bean and Egg Taco Recipe

My sister Robin's friend made these tacos when I was at Robin's house last November and I've been wanting to make them myself ever since. Ground pork was finally on sale this week, so I knew that I could make the chorizo from scratch, and I had everything else I needed.

The recipe for the chorizo can be found here: Chorizo Filling

cooked chorizo
1/2 cup dried pinto beans, cooked and drained
4 eggs, beaten
flour tortillas
shredded cheese (I used habanero, but use your favorite variety)
hot sauce (or your favorite salsa)
sour cream (optional)

Stir cooked pinto beans into cooked chorizo; reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes more, adding more liquid as needed. Stir in eggs and cook til eggs are set, stirring often.

Warm tortillas (using your favorite method. I like to just microwave them). Fill tortillas with chorizo mixture, cheese and hot sauce. Serve with a side of sour cream.
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Lebanese Style Shish Taouk Rub Recipe

I used to buy this rub already made from a local Middle Eastern market, however, now that I know what Kamil uses, I make my own. I still however, get the sumac from him. It is optional if you don't have access to a market such as this one.

There are countless versions of this particular spice mixture. Feel free to adapt to your own tastes. I did.

1 t garlic powder
1/2 t sumac
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t black pepper
1/8 t allspice
1/8 t cayenne
Mix spices in a container with a tight fitting lid.

When getting ready to use, add about 1 t of spice blend to olive oil and fresh lemon juice as the base for a marinade. Taste and adjust as desired.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d783/d344/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Hummus Recipe

For some reason my hummus recipe from April 2007 is missing, so I am reposting it for Examiner.com.
Enjoy it once again!
2 cups cooked chickpeas, plus cooking liquid
1/4 cup tahini
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 t sea salt
olive oil
paprika (optional)
Combine first 5 ingredients in a blender or food processor til just combined. While running, blend in olive oil til mixture is smooth. If mixture appears dry, add a little cooking liquid til mixture is just the right consistency.

Scoop hummus onto a serving plate or into a bowl and sprinkle with paprika.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d596/d346/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Rachael Ray's Southwest Style Toasted Orzo Chicken Soup Recipe

Toasting the orzo added a whole new element to this soup. I would never have thought to do such a thing with pasta.
I made a great stock for this soup from a chicken that I simmered for about an hour with some chopped onion, garlic and homemade southwest seasoning.
4 cups chicken stock
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 T butter
1/2 cup orzo pasta
olive oil
1 carrot, finely chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
southwest seasoning to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
fresh lemon juice to taste
shredded habanero cheese (optional)
In a large saucepan, bring the chicken stock and chicken to a simmer. Lower the heat and poach the chicken for about 20 minutes. Remove chicken and shred. Return to pot.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the butter and melt. Add the orzo and cook, stirring, til deeply golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Add the oil to the same frying pan. Saute carrot, bell pepper, onion and garlic about 5 minutes. Stir in seasoning and salt and pepper. Stir in orzo.

Over high heat, bring the chicken and broth to a boil and add orzo mixture. Reduce heat to medium; simmer til the orzo is just tender, 5 minutes. Stir in corn the last few minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Serve immediately garnished with cheese, if using.
I served the soup with homemade Ciabatta garlic bread.
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Cinco de Mayo Recipe- Shannon's Refried Beans Recipe

While writing a recipe for Examiner.com I realized that I have never actually written out my recipe for refried beans. I have briefly referenced it, but never taken the time to make an article of it. What better timing than now, for Cinco de Mayo?

6 slices bacon, chopped fine
2 cups dried pinto beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T adobo powder (I use homemade)
salt and pepper to taste
shredded white Mexican or Mexican blend cheese

In a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, add bacon and render the fat a bit. Stir in onions cook a few minutes.  Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds more.  Stir in remaining ingredients (except cheese). Cover mixture by about 1 inch with cold water; increase heat to high. Bring beans to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook, covered, about 2 hours.
When beans are super tender, being to mash with a potato masher. Add additional water as needed. Taste and adjust as desired.
When beans reach the desired consistency, add a handful or two of cheese and stir til cheese is melted and well mixed in.
Variation: Add good lard and use that in place of the bacon. Use chicken broth instead of water. Add your favorite Mexican spices like cumin or chili powder.
Hey, I never said this was a healthy meal, just a delicious one.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d807/d348/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Shannon's Mexican Rice Recipe

This is my absolute favorite way to make Mexican rice. I never use any other method, other than not usually measuring anything.

Reposted for Examiner.com.

1 cup long grain white rice
drizzle of canola or vegetable oil
2 cups chicken broth

1 small (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 t cumin
salt and pepper to taste
In a large frying with a tight fitting lid, heat oil til very hot over medium heat. Saute rice in oil til it starts to brown (be careful not to burn). Add chicken broth and the rest. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 20-25 minutes.
Do not stir or lift the lid while rice cooks.
Remove pan from heat and let rice rest while cooking other dishes. Fluff and serve.
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Mother's Day Dinner Recipe: Grilled Adobo Chicken with Southwestern Bean and Corn Salad Recipe

When Mom called the other day and announced they would be in town tonight for an early Mother's day weekend celebration, she told me she had a new recipe that we just had to try. When she said it had kidney beans in it, I told her to stop right there. I knew I would like it.
The chicken was simply boneless skinless chicken breasts marinated for a couple hours in Goya Adobo seasoning that my parents brought for me, and then grilled.
Feel free to add and subtract to this salad as you like. Mom did.
Southwestern Bean and Corn Salad
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup your favorite salsa
taco seasoning mix, to your taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and well drained
1 can corn, rinsed and well drained
1 can green beans, drained well
1 large can sliced black olives, drained well
1/4 red onion, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
small handful fresh cilantro, minced (optional)
In a large bowl, blend sour cream, salsa, taco seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. In a separate large bowl, lightly mix veggies. Fold in to dressing ingredients. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
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Mother's Day Dessert Recipe: Better Homes and Garden's Pecan Caramel Rolls Recipe

I came across this recipe in a old edition of BH & G magazine at the doctor's office and knew it would make a great recipe for the next time my parents came for a visit.
Well, that time was today. My parents were in the area on business and we decided to celebrate Mother's Day early as well.
This was our dessert, and it was also the best cinnamon type rolls I have EVER eaten, without question. What was even better, was that my mother and I had made them together.
In our version, we increased the amount of brown sugar, honey and pecans in the topping. Caramel was everywhere! We were all dipping our rolls in it. So not only was this an amazing dessert, it was also fun.
Dough
1/4 cup warm water
1 pkg active dry yeast
3/4 cup milk (I used 2%)
6 T unsalted butter, cut up, plus more for bowl and plastic wrap
1/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
4 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 T salt
Topping
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
pinch salt
3 T water
1 cup pecan halves
Filling
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 t ground cinnamon
pinch salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Add water and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer; let stand til foamy.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d47/d351/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, add milk. Let it sit just til it begins to steam. Add the 6 T cut up butter and sour cream. Stir just til melted. Cool. http://media-files.gather.com/images/d48/d351/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
With mixer on low, stir milk mixture into yeast mixture along with eggs and 1 1/2 cups of flour. Add the sugar and salt. Mix 30 seconds more, scraping bowl, til mixture is smooth.

Gradually beat in the remaining 3 cups flour with mixer for 3 to 4 minutes or til dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl and is only lightly sticky.

Transfer dough to a buttered bowl. Cover surface of dough with buttered plastic wrap, then cover bowl with a folded towel. Let rise in a warm place til double in size (about 90 minutes).http://media-files.gather.com/images/d49/d351/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpghttp://media-files.gather.com/images/d50/d351/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

While dough is rising, butter the sides of a 9x13" baking pan or glass baking dish. Set aside.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d51/d351/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpghttp://media-files.gather.com/images/d52/d351/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
In a medium bowl, start the topping. Stir together the butter, the brown sugar, the honey and the salt til well combined. Stir in water. Pour topping in prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Scatter pecan halves over top.

Remove the dough from the bowl and gently roll out on a very lightly floured surface, to an 18x15" rectangle.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d53/d351/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

Spread the melted butter evenly over dough. In a small bowl start the filling. Combine the sugars, cinnamon and salt; sprinkle evenly over dough. Distribute chopped pecans over the dough. Tightly roll the dough beginning at one long side, keeping the roll as uniform as possible. Pinch the edges to seal. Using a serrated knife, trim both ends. Cut the roll in 12 even slices. Arrange rolls in the pan, evenly spacing them in 4 rows of 3 each. Gently press the rolls into the pecans. Cover dish loosely with buttered plastic wrap and let rolls rise til doubled (about 60 minutes).http://media-files.gather.com/images/d54/d351/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
Preheat oven to 375°.

Uncover rolls and bake about 35-40 minutes, rotating dish once halfway through and tenting loosely with foil if buns begin to brown too quickly. Let pecan rolls stand in dish on wire rack for 5 minutes. http://media-files.gather.com/images/d55/d351/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
Invert onto serving platter. http://media-files.gather.com/images/d58/d351/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg
Serve warm.http://media-files.gather.com/images/d56/d351/d746/d224/d96/f3/full.jpg

And gooey. And delicious.
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