all sorts of recipes, from me to you

all sorts of recipes, from me to you…

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mashed Cauliflower


If you’re a carb watcher, here’s a great alternative to mashed potatoes!




We like cauliflower and eat it fairly often.  A friend gave me this recipe a while back, and I just got around to making it recently.  You know ~ so many recipes, so little time…


Now that I’ve made it, and know how delicious it is, it will be on our dinner table often.  The low calorie cheese is a perfect blend, and the caraway seeds add a distinctly sweet but tangy flavor. If you don’t care for caraway seeds, substitute dill, or omit it altogether.    This is our new favorite side dish now!



Mashed Cauliflower

Ingredients:

4 cups cauliflower, fresh or frozen
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon seasoned pepper
½ teaspoon garlic, minced
½ teaspoon caraway seed
4 ounce package Alouette Light Garlic & Herb Cheese
½ teaspoon chopped chives, for garnish (I forgot)

Method:

Steam cauliflower until very tender.
Add remaining ingredients, except chives.
Mash with a potato masher.
Sprinkle chives over top for garnish and serve.



This was a hit for us and is “waist-friendly” too!



Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips on Tuesday’s and good and easy recipes every Friday!






Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Pause for Memorial Day’s “National Moment of Remembrance”


To many of us Americans, Memorial Day is the kickoff to a fun-filled summer.  It means it’s time to fire the grill up; and hot dogs, baseball, and a three-day weekend.  For some, it’s an emotional time as they watch uniformed veterans marching, or riding in antique cars, along the parade route down Main Street. 



Arlington National Cemetery



Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have lost their lives in our nation's service. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed by General John Logan on May 5, 1868 and was observed later that month, on May 30, when flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers, who were buried at Arlington Cemetery.

Therefore, as we contemplate our welfare and the blessings of our lives, it’s time to remember those members of the Armed Forces who stood up for our country and died while defending our nation:

In honor of them all, and in accordance with the “National Moment of Remembrance,” we are to pause for one minute, at 3:00 p.m., on Memorial Day.  It can be as simple as placing your hand over your heart, saying a prayer, or bowing your head ~ it’s an act of national unity, for us Americans, in which we honor those who died for our freedom…




Here's wishing you all a safe, happy Memorial Day!





Thursday, May 24, 2012

Spicy Jicama Chips

It’s a “Mexican potato” that is in season year-round, looks like a turnip; has either tan, brown or gray skin, with a  crisp juicy, refreshing, slightly white, flesh on the inside, resembling an apple.  It’s as easy as a potato to peel and I’ve discovered, it’s just as good roasted as it is raw.  It’s jicama ~ Spanish: hee-kah-mah.


Photo credit:  Cooking Light

Jicama is traditionally served raw, dunked in chili powder, lime and salt to boost its mild flavor; or in a salsa or salad.  I’ve only had jicama raw, in a salsa, so I had a big surprise when I bit into a slice of roasted jicama!


A friend, Yvonne, gave me this recipe and I’m glad she did.   Jicama is quick and easy to roast, and retains its crispy crunch and sweetness when it comes out of the oven.  Thinly slice it, dredge with a spicy mixture and roast it to a crunchy chip-like texture.  Roasted jicama is a great substitute for potato chips!  





Here are some jicama tips:


Choose jicama with smooth, thin unblemished skins, a slight shine is an indication of freshness.

Select small or medium tubers’ very large ones are often woody and bland and may have a fibrous layer under the skin that will have to be removed when peeling.

Refrigerate jicama in a paper bag (never in plastic) for up to 2 weeks.

Grate jicama to add to slaws, salsas, sandwiches and tacos.

Jicama is not loaded with nutrients, but is high in fiber, low in calories and sodium, and packed with Vitamin C and rich in potassium.

Diced jicama is excellent steamed or sautéed with other vegetables or added to soups, stews, and such.

Serve chunks of raw jicama with tropical fruits like mango, papaya and pineapple.

Jicama is considered as one of the four elements that are used for the “festival of dead”, which is celebrated by Mexicans on November 1st every year. During this festival, “jicama dolls” are constructed from paper.





Here’s the recipe:



Spicy Jicama Chips

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Peel 2 small jicamas and cut into paper-thin slices with a sharp knife.
Blot well with paper towel.





In a small bowl, mix together:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon seasoned pepper
¼ teaspoon salt

Dredge jicama with chili powder mixture.
Spread evenly in baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.
Roast until edges are browned and crisp, about 20-25 minutes.
Serve with your favorite salsa.



ENJOY!!!


Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind ofCooking for great tips on Tuesday’s and good and easy recipes every Friday!



Monday, May 21, 2012

Bolivian-style Corn Pie

What is it ~~~ it’s tough and fairly cheap, doesn’t have a famous chef’s name emblazoned on it; when treated with tender loving care, it will last just about forever, and performs perfectly every time?


I’m talking about my favorite skillets, cast iron skillets!  I was lucky to “inherit” my mothers’ 12” and 10” skillets, which were passed down to her by an “aunt.”  Over the years, I’ve added to the collection with a smaller skillet, a Dutch oven and a couple of corn stick pans.   Cast iron is heavy and holds heat well and distributes it evenly.  The skillets go smoothly from cook-top to oven and when properly seasoned and cared for, will last for generations; plus, the cookware adds iron to your diet.

You can cook a plethora of foods in cast iron ~ from breakfast to lunch to dinner.  Smokey bacon and eggs, crispy hash browns, savory cornbread, frittatas, blackened fish, smothered pork chops, pineapple upside-down cake, fried chicken like Grandma used to make, and this delicious corn pie:






This Bolivian-style Corn Pie recipe was in the Chicago Tribune a few weeks ago and sounded very appetizing to me.  The article states that… “The recipe is from Luna Maya, a Bolivian-Mexican restaurant in Norfolk, VA and is adapted from “The World in a Skillet.”  The international flavors evoke the New South, but cooked in the traditional Southern skillet.  The restaurant finishes the casserole in a baking pan, but the food staff at the Chicago Tribune used the same 12-inch cast-iron skillet throughout.” So did I.

In the recipe, you will see chorizo sausage, chicken, and plenty of piquant spices from ground ancho chili to chipotle pepper; ground allspice, cloves and thyme to sweet paprika, all blended together with corn and milk and topped with a mild cheese.  It is a dish of truly unique flavors and textures and is hard to describe.  I just know it’s delicious, and I hope you try it!













Bolivian-Style Corn Pie
Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound Mexican pork chorizo, skins removed
1 white onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground ancho chili
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1 yellow onion, chopped
8 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs (or 5 cups frozen)
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces mild cheese, such as Chihuahua or Oaxaca cheese or your favorite

Method:

 1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Crumble in chorizo. Cook, stirring often, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer chorizo to a bowl, leaving fat in the skillet.

2. Add the white onion, garlic, ancho, paprika, cumin, chipotle, thyme, allspice, cloves and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the skillet; stir. Cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, 5-8 minutes.

3. Stir in the chicken; cook, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through, 15 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; transfer contents to a bowl. Stir in the reserved chorizo, cilantro and lime juice.

4. Wipe skillet clean; heat 2 teaspoons oil in skillet over medium heat. Add the yellow onion; cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, 5-8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Combine onion with the corn and milk in a food processor; purée until smooth. Return skillet to medium heat; add corn mixture. Cook, stirring, until the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the black pepper. Remove skillet from heat.

5. Transfer corn mixture to a bowl. Spread the chicken-chorizo mixture in the skillet. Spread the corn mixture over the meat. Bake 30 minutes. Remove dish from oven; turn on the broiler. Spread the cheese over the casserole. Broil until cheese melts and begins to brown, 3-5 minutes.

Nutrition information:
Per serving: 631 calories, 37 g fat, 15 g saturated fat, 145 mg cholesterol, 26 g carbohydrates, 47 g protein, 1,232 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.



This is a great tasty dish, and now that I’ve made it, I’m looking forward to when the farmers markets will open in the area with all their fresh veggies and fruit!  I have to wait a few more weeks…



Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog, @My Kind Of Cooking.  She has useful tips on Tuesdays and yummy recipes every Friday!






Thursday, May 17, 2012

Barbecue Pulled Chicken Sliders and “Thanks” to an Italian Cook



Isn’t miniature food the greatest? 

If you like pulled pork, you’ll really like this pulled chicken!  It’s a quick way to cook a dish that’s traditionally slow-cooked.  I especially like the fact that they’re sliders, on mini buns; the perfect size and not so messy to eat.  





Use boneless chicken breasts that have been simmered in salted water, cooled and shredded.  Or, for a simple, readily available solution, cut up a rotisserie chicken from the market to speed up the process.


I’m not big on sweet sauces, so this tangy sauce with a tablespoon of brown sugar, cider vinegar, spices, and a little ketchup, hits the spot.  Bill thinks this is the best barbecue sauce ever and I concur! 


Switching gears, I want to take time to thank Claudia @What’s Cookin’ Italian Style.  A short while ago, she had a giveaway for 2 photography books:  Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson and The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Great Photography by Shawn Frederick and Bill Gutman.






I knew I could benefit from these, so entered the contest and was the lucky one winner!  These are two excellent books for anyone who finds the concept of photography confusing, like I do.  The information takes the mystery out of picture taking, by offering great tips in achieving better photos.  I am studying the books and am happy to be learning more about photography! 

Please ~ go over for a visit at Claudia’s blog:  What’s Cookin’ Italian Style!  She has fantastic Italian recipes that will make your mouth water.  She occasionally talks about her Italian family and makes you wish you were seated around her dinner table for her friendliness and her great cooking ~ just like her mother’s, I imagine!

If you like your cooking “heart healthy,” she has another terrific blog with good and healthy recipes, plus info for you @Blogs Got Heart.

Thanks so much, Claudia, for the photography books and your excellent blogs!

Now, here’s the chicken slider recipe:





Barbecue Pulled Chicken Sliders

Ingredients:

½ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cups cooked shredded chicken breast
8 sliders mini buns (I used Pepperidge Farm)
8 Vlasic dill pickle ovals

Method:

Combine first 8 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally.
Add chicken to ketchup mixture; combine well.
Cook 2 minutes or until chicken is heated thoroughly. 
Spoon 3 tablespoons chicken mixture on each bottom half of bun, top with pickle and top bun half.
4 servings (2 sandwiches each serving)


Yum!!!  Excellent barbecue sauce for sliders!



Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog, @My Kind Of Cooking.  She has unique tips on Tuesdays and yummy recipes every Friday!









Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lemony Parmesan Broccoli


Whenever Aunt Lucy was at my house for dinner, I was sure to serve a broccoli dish.  If I didn’t serve a dark green veggie, especially broccoli, I would’ve heard, “Green veggies, Pam, green!”  With Dad’s gardens, there was an abundance of fresh vegetables when I was growing up, and Dad was also a firm believer in the power of fresh vegetables.




Here’s why broccoli on your dinner table is healthy and beneficial for you and your family: 


Broccoli provides a high amount of vitamin C, which aids iron absorption in the body, prevents the development of cataracts, and also eases the symptoms of the common cold.
 
The potassium in broccoli aids those battling high blood pressure, while a large amount of calcium helps combat osteoporosis.

The vegetable is also fiber-rich, which enhances the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, as well as aims to reduce blood cholesterol levels.

Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, which with the body processes into the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane. This compound rids the body H. pylori, a bacterium found to highly increase the risk of gastric cancer. Furthermore, broccoli contains indole-3-carbinol, a powerful antioxidant compound and anti-carcinogen found to not only hinder the growth of breast, cervical and prostate cancer, but also boosts liver function.

Additionally, the health benefits of broccoli have been linked to preventing and controlling the following medical concerns: Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, calcium deficiencies, stomach and colon cancer, malignant tumors, lung cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and even the aging process.

Broccoli is rich in skin vitamins that gives glow and shine to your skin and hair. It also helps repair skin damage and revives skin tissues so you can have smooth skin all over.

I’ve always liked broccoli, whether raw, steamed, boiled or stir-fried.  This recipe is simple, but big on taste with the tang of lemon and the nutty flavor of Parmesan to compliment the broccoli.  Aunt Lucy was right all those years ago ~ broccoli is probably one of the healthiest foods in the world and it’s packed with flavor too!  So, eat your broccoli!!!




Lemony Parmesan Broccoli

Ingredients:

12 ounces broccoli florets (5 cups raw)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons shaved fresh Parmesan

Method:

Boil broccoli in salted water until crisp-tender, about 5-7 minutes.
Place in a large bowl.
Pour olive oil into a small skillet over medium-high heat.
Add shallot and garlic; cook 2 minutes.
Add oil mixture, rind, juice and salt and pepper to broccoli; toss well.
Sprinkle broccoli with cheese.


ENJOY!


Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips on Tuesday’s and good and easy recipes every Friday!






Thursday, May 3, 2012

Black Bottoms






Vinegar in cupcakes ~~~ you say, why?


Baking soda makes cupcakes rise; however, it only starts to work when it comes in contact with an acidic ingredient, such as buttermilk, lemon juice or vinegar.  Baking soda reacts with acidic ingredients to make bubbles that help the cake to rise.  It gives these cupcakes a deep flavor and you will not notice a hint of vinegar after they are baked.  






The sinful top of these cupcakes is so mouthwatering delicious that I’d actually just like to forget about the bottoms.  These little gems are made of a creamy cheesecake top layer filled with chocolate chips and a bottom chocolate cake-like layer ~ nice and rich and gooey when baked together!  



Half covered with that great top


They lack frosting which makes them great to carry since they won’t stick to anything and become messy.  Black bottoms are rich, moist and cheesy, what could taste better in a cupcake?




Black Bottoms

Ingredients for the cream cheese topping:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 large egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini-chocolate chips

Ingredients for the cupcake bottom:
1½ cups flour
1 cup sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
½ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vinegar          
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Method:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Line mini-muffin tins with paper liners.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, egg, 1/3 cup of the sugar and ¼ teaspoon of salt in a large bowl until creamy.
Stir in chocolate chips.

In a second large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, remaining cup of sugar and ½ teaspoon salt.  Add the oil, vinegar, vanilla and 1 cup water, and mix until fully incorporated.

Spoon enough of the chocolate batter into each cup so that they are filled halfway (about 2 level teaspoons each).  Top each with a rounded teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture, gently spreading it over the chocolate.

Bake until the cupcakes are puffed and barely golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
Makes 5 dozen


 They are over-the-top and bottom delicious!



Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips on Tuesday’s and good and easy recipes every Friday!