Thursday, February 28, 2013

White Turkey and Sausage Chili

Looking for a use for that leftover turkey/chicken?  Here ya go!  Another wonderful Publix Apron's recipe.  So simple.  If you have turkey or chicken, it's likely you'll have most of the rest of the ingredients on hand.  Delicious.  Serve with a green salad and some crusty bread.  Perfect dinner for a cool, rainy night.

WHITE TURKEY and SAUSAGE CHILI (Serves 4)

2 cups cooked turkey breast, coarsely chopped
12 oz Italian chicken sausage, cashing removed
2 small/1 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped
2 small/1 large poblano pepper, coarsely chopped
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 (15 oz) cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp ground cumin
1 cup whole milk
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat large stockpot on medium-high for 2-3 minutes.  Place oil in pan, then add peppers and onions, cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until tender.

Reduce heat to medium.  Remove casing from sausage and add sausage, cook about 5 minutes, stirring to crumble meat, or until sausage is brown and no pink remains.

Stir in cumin, chili powder, oregano, pepper, then beans and broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cook and stir 10-12 minutes or until thickened.

Stir in turkey and milk, cook 2-3 minutes to blend flavors.  Top with cheese and serve.  


Monday, February 25, 2013

Quinoa Salad with Shrimp and (fill-in-the-blank)

I found this recipe on a recipe contest on QVC's David Venable's blog asking readers to submit their favorite quinoa dish.  I love quinoa and am always looking for a new idea.  This is a great one because it is so versatile.....you can add whatever you like, from vegetables to seasonings.

This ingredient list below is simply a guide.  Use what you have or love.  I served this with a delicious ham and leek soup and those wonderful Rosemary Salt rolls from Fresh Market.

QUINOA SALAD WITH SHRIMP and (any green vegetable you like)  Serves 4-6

1 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup  uncooked quinoa
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 medium bell pepper, diced (any color)
1 cup chopped green vegetable (zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, )
1 cup thinly-sliced mushrooms
2 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp fresh ginger
S&P to taste
1 lb medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 Tbsp EVOO
Juice of 1 medium lemon
3/4 cup whole grape tomatoes, halved
any seasonings you like: Southwestern, Greek, etc, if you'd like

Bring broth to a boil, add quinoa.  Simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand until remaining liquid is absorbed.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and saute the garlic, onion, and bell pepper until softened, being careful not to burn the garlic.

Add the green vegetable, mushrooms, tomatoes, and ginger.  Saute until tender.

Add the shrimp to the vegetables and saute until the shrimp are pink and opaque, about 5-6 minutes.

Mix the lemon juice into the quinoa.  Then toss the quinoa into the vegetable and shrimp.  Adjust S&P and any seasonings to your taste.

 Recipe Source:  QVC David Venable's Blog by Judy Foodie (1-20-13 at 1:21 p.m., Post #76)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Grilled Chicken Dijon

Here is your basic eat-as-is or use in a dish calling for grilled chicken.   This is my basic go-to marinated grilled chicken recipe that I have been using for over 15 years.  It comes from the previous edition of "Joy of Cooking" but, sadly, is not in the current edition.  Go figure.

I have used this chicken in so many ways.  If you have a really stunning side dish but need some protein on the side, this is the way to go.  It makes terrific chicken salad or just about any dish that calls for cooked chicken.  Make this a basic in your recipe repertoire.

GRILLED CHICKEN DIJON

3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds chicken parts
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup strained fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2-3 tsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

 Mix all ingredients except the chicken in a large bowl.  Add the chicken to the marinade and turn to coat well.   (I use a large ziplock bag so I can keep squishy and turning it around).  Cover and refrigerate for 2-24 hours.

Heat your gas, charcoal, or electric grill.  Cover and cook (turning as needed) until chicken is no longer pink inside.  

Freeze any leftovers for future use (there'll always be a use!!!)


Friday, February 22, 2013

Chicken Artichoke Casserole

I believe if you're ever looking for a "comfort food," all you have to do is look through a local church-ladies cookbook.  In this case, the recipe came from a local cookbook written by a local social matriarch first published in January 1970.  It's a bit more up-scale than the local church cookbook as this woman came from one of the founding families of Chattanooga.  But even being over 40-years-old, this book has some really wonderful regional recipes.

This photo doesn't do this dish justice, but if you love mushrooms and artichokes as much as I do, I hope you'll try this recipe.  I substantially cut down the recipe.....I'll post it as I found it, but put the amounts I used in parenthesis which resulted in two nice servings.  Also, this recipe calls for chicken consumme.  Now I've seen beef consomme in the Campbell's Soup section of the grocery store, but have never seen chicken consomme.  I did look on-line for a recipe (which you could make separately making double the work), but it's basically a heartier version of a chicken stock.  I simply used a chicken broth and boiled it down a bit.  This recipe does not list how many servings it makes.

CHICKEN ARTICHOKE CASSEROLE

3 pound fryer, cut in pieces (I used 6 oz of tenderloins)
1/2 tsp paprika (I sprinkled some smoked paprika)
1/4 tsp pepper (to taste)
6 Tbsp butter (1 Tbsp)
1/4 pound mushrooms, cut in large pieces (about 8-10 baby bellas, quartered)
1 can artichoke hearts (3-4 artichoke bottoms, cubed)
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
2 Tbsp flour (3 tsp)
3/4 cup chicken consomme (1/4 cup chicken stock/broth)
3 Tbsp dry sherry (1 Tbsp)

Season the chicken pieces with S&P and paprika.  Brown in the butter and place in a large casserole dish.  Saute mushrooms in a bit more butter.  Sprinkle flour over the mushrooms and add consomme and sherry.  Arrange artichokes between chicken pieces, and pour the mushroom sherry sauce in.  Cover the casserole and bake at 375 for 40 minutes (30 for a smaller portion).

This can be made in the morning or even the day before serving.

Recipe Source:  Chattanooga Cookbook by Helen Exum (recipe submitted by Mrs. Rupert Colmore III)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Luscious Triple Layer Lemon Cake

I made this cake for Jim for Valentine's Day.  He loves anything citrus and this was a wonderful choice.  The cake layers are lemon-flavored, there is a lemon filling, and, of course, a lemon cream frosting.  The recipe may seem daunting, but each of the three parts can be made ahead and then assembled in a snap.  You could make the three cakes and wrap in plastic wrap the day ahead or even freeze and the filling and frosting could easily be made a few days ahead and just kept covered.  Easy-peasy.

LUSCIOUS TRIPLE LAYER LEMON CAKE

Lemon Cake:

1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
4 eggs
2 1/3 cups AP flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
2 tsp lemon peel
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup buttermilk

Butter and eggs should sit at room temp for 30 minutes.  In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In stand mixer (hand mixer will work, too), beat butter until fluffy.  Add sugar, lemon peel/juice until combined.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined.  Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately.  Pour batter equally into three 9" cake pans.  Bake 25-30 minutes at 350F.  Cool in pans 10 minutes, then remove to racks to cool completely.

Lemon Filling:

1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp lemon peel (I use a rasp....all lemon peel in recipe should be finely shredded)
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp water
3 beaten egg yolks in small separate bowl
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed

In a small saucepan, stir sugar, cornstarch, lemon peel, lemon juice, and water.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thick.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Then slowly add half of the lemon mixture to the egg mixture.  This tempers the eggs to avoid cooking them before incorporating.  

Return to heat and cook on medium until it boils.  Cook for two minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add butter.  Let filling cool before putting on cake.  If storing filling in refrigerator, place plastic wrap directly on top of filling to avoid a film build-up.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 tsp lemon peel
8 oz cream cheese, softened (fat-free not recommended)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp lemon juice
4 3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar (may need more depending on consistency of icing)

In stand mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, and lemon juice until fluffy.  Gradually add powdered sugar.  Stir in lemon peel.

Cake Assembly:

Place lemon filling between layers, and ice top and outside of cake with frosting.      

To: OUTTA TOWN STRANGE

Dear OTS:

I don't know if you read my comment on the "Jambalaya" posting, but I do have the most wonderful  and easy gumbo recipe.  Sorry I couldn't respond to your comment, I'm not very computer-savvy (I'm lucky to get this blog up!). Anyhoo.....the gumbo recipe was posted on 9/30/12.  Look on the right-hand side of this post and you'll see the different years and then months.  Scroll to September 2012 and then look at the 30th.  Any questions, just let me know.

And if anyone can give this techno-phobe easy tips to put a "Search Recipes" link on this blog, I'll be most appreciative and promise to pay you back.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Girls

OK, this blog is AFTERALL about The Fulton Girls.  And here is our current family.  The sweet joys of our life.  Top photo, left to right:  Scooter, Nellie, Lindie, and Muffin (on top).  Second photo, left to right: Lindie, Muffin, Scooter, and Nellie.  Each and everyone is so different and we love each of them.  What joy a dog (or cat) can bring to a person's life.  We are blessed.

Grilled Southern Fish Tacos w/Cabbage Slaw

I love Shrimp/Fish tacos and never make them the same way twice (except, of course, for the double shells!)  I found this recipe on The Food Network/The Neelys.  Served it with my favorite "Joy of Cooking" Spanish rice. I altered the recipe slightly using both hard and soft-shelled tortillas and using refried black beans to "glue" the two shells together.  Delish!!!!!

GRILLED SOUTHERN FISH TACOS with CABBAGE SLAW (4-6 servings)

1 cup buttermilk
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 tsp smoked paprika (makes all the difference!)
Juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 pounds halibut (I used tilapia), skinless
S&P
Hard shell corn tortillas
Soft shell corn tortillas
Cabbage slaw, recipe follows
Lime wedges, for serving
Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
Refried black backs (or regular refried beans) to spread on soft-shelled tortillas to "glue" to the hard-shelled tortillas

Add buttermilk, jalapeno, smoked paprika, 1/2 the lime juice, S&P, to a large ziplock bag.  Add the fish and let marinade for 30 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Once hot, brush the grill grate with some olive oil or spray with "Grill" Pam.  Remove the fish from the marinade and grill the fish 4 minutes per side, about 10 minutes per inch of thickness, splitting the time on each side of the fish.  Remove to a plate and break the fish into chunks.  Sprinkle with lime juice and a touch more salt.

I microwave the soft-shelled tortillas until warm and keep the hard-shelled tortillas in oven until warm.

To assemble the tacos, brush the soft-shelled tortillas with the refried beans and place a warmed hard-shelled taco inside, and kind of "glue" them together.  Place a spoonful of fish onto the center of the taco.  Top with the Cabbage Slaw.  Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro leaves.

CABBAGE SLAW

1/2 small head green cabbage, cored (I used a half a bag of broccoli slaw)
1/4 red onion
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 cup sour cream
1 chipotle, packed in adobo, finely chopped (I used 1/2 of a chipotle to lessen the heat)
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 Tbsp honey or agave
S&P

Shred cabbage and red onion.  Add to a large serving bowl with the chopped cilantro.

Mix the sour cream, chipotle, lime juice, honey or agave, S&P in a separate bowl.

Add the dressing to the slaw.  Allow the mixture to marinate for at least 20 minutes and up to 8 hours before serving.   

Monday, February 18, 2013

Zuppa de Farro

OK, you know that farro is my mostest favorite grain.  I love it.  So chewy.  Thanks to my friend, Donna, she has me stocked up in farro for about the next decade.  And I'm always looking for a new way to use it.  Not only is it delicious and chewy, it is incredibly versatile.  This soup proves it.  

Find farro at a natural food store (here in Chattanooga, EarthFare or Village Market) or in Texas, Central Market.  Or in any place, look for a Whole Foods or natural food store (Trader Joe's probably has it).  You can always buy it on-line.  A ginormous plus.....it is so good for you!!!!

ZUPPA de FARRO  (Serves 6)

1 1/8 cups uncooked farro (pearled barley in a pinch)
4 oz pancetta or deli ham, chopped
1 small onion, sliced
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried thyme leaves, crushed
4 cups chicken broth
2 medium plum tomatoes, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh basil leaves
1/4 tsp black pepper
Parmesan cheese (optional.....NOT!!!!)

Place the farro in a large bowl.  Add water to cover and let soak for 1 hour.  Drain the farro in a strainer.

Place the farro and 8 cups of water in a 6-quart saucepot and heat over medium-high heat to to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low.  Cover and cook for 30 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

Add the pancetta or ham, onion, garlic, and thyme to the saucepot and cook over medium cheat for 10 minutes or until the pancetta (or ham) is well browned.  Add the farro, broth, tomatoes, basil, and pepper and heat to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Serve with the cheese (if desired????)  

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

I'm not a big strawberry fan, but thought I'd make these for Jim's office for Valentine's Day.  And I gotta say.....they turned out wonderfully.  These are so easy to make and really do taste like a strawberry cheesecake.  Keep this in mind for the summer when you need a quick and delicious dessert.

CHEESECAKE STUFFED STRAWBERRIES  (The stuffing in this recipe will make double for the amount of strawberries called for.  So either half the filling recipe, or double the amount of strawberries)

1 (or 2) pounds strawberries (is that about the quart-sized plastic container in the produce department?)
8 oz light cream cheese
1/3 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

Remove the tops of all the strawberries and cut out a cone-shape from the inside the middle of each strawberry with a paring knife, a little well to be filled with cream cheese mixture.  While preparing cream cheese mixture, turn the strawberries upside down on a paper towel to "drain."  Mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.  

Fill a ziplock bag with the cream cheese mixture, filling it into one of the corners (I found it easier to use a grapefruit spoon to fill in the strawberries).  Twist the top of the bag and snip the corner of the bag with the filling.  Squeeze filling into each strawberry and sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ham Salad

Leftover ham?  Make this wonderful simple ham salad with diced ham, hard-boiled eggs, sweet pickle relish, mayo, onion, celery, bell pepper, and mustard.  Serve it on a croissant, bagel, bread, or by itself on a bed of lettuce.

P. S.  Makes a great breakfast!

HAM SALAD (Makes enough for about 4-6 sandwiches)

2 cups finely diced ham
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish (I used dill relish and highly recommend this choice!)
1/4 cup mayo
2 Tbsp minced onion
2 Tbsp minced celery
2 Tbsp minced red bell pepper
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
pinch of cayenne (optional)
S&P to taste

Mix everything but the salt, pepper, and cayenne in a large bowl.  Taste and add cayenne, S&P to taste.  Serve chilled.

Recipe Source: www.simplyrecipes.com

NOTE:  Serve straight, or mixed in with macaroni, or in a sandwich in a hamburger bun, a Kaiser roll, regular bread, in a pita, or as a wrap.  Good with lemonade on a hot day.   

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mardi Gras Shooter

Oh my!  These are just the best little appetizers!  Although these appeared as made especially for Mardi Gras, they would be a great addition to any Cajun-inspired meal.  The base is grits, topped with a mixture of shrimp, andouille sausage, and seasonings.

I used shot glasses for these, and sprayed the inside with cooking spray so they would slide out of the glass.  I'm afraid I can't tell you how many shooters this recipe made.....I made six and ended up just eating the leftovers!  But I would guess this recipe would probably make about a dozen shooters.

Bottoms up!!!

MARDI GRAS SHOOTERS (makes approximately 12 shooters)

Shrimp & Sausage:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb andouille sausage, finely chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2-3 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp cayenne, optional (the sausage was hot enough for us without the cayenne)
2 tsp dried tarragon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 lb raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and finely chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped (optional garnish)

Grits:
1 1/4 cups milk
2/3 cup chicken broth
2 tsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup quick-cooking grits

To prepare the shrimp and sausage, heat the olive oiil over medium heat in a medium-sized saute pan.  Add the sausage and onions and saute for 4 minnutes.  Add the garlic, cayenne pepper, tarragon, S&P, and shrimp.  Toss to coat evenly and saute until the shrimp is fully cooked, about 5 minutes.  Turn off the burner, add the parsley, toss, and set the pan aside.

To prepare the grits, place the milk, chicken broth, butter, S&P into a medium-sized saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and slowly addin the grits, whisking constantly.  Cook, uncovered for 4-6 minutes, or until the grits are tender and creamy.

To assemble the shooters, immediately fill the small, appetizer-sized glasses halfway with the grits.  Top with the shrimp and sausage mixture and garnish each glass with fresh chives, if desired.  

Recipe Source:  QVC: David Venable's Recipes

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mexican-Style Quinoa

Whenever I prepare a Mexican entree, I generally serve Spanish rice and refried beans.  And while I really like these, sometimes you just need something different.

I love using different grains in lieu of rice with dishes and quinoa is one of my favorites.  So when I made the cornmeal crepe taco enchiladas the other night, I decided to try this as a new side dish.  No recipe, really, I simply tossed these things together:

Cooked quinoa
cumin
chili powder
black beans
corn 
cilantro
shredded cheese

It was delicious and will definitely be taking the place of rice frequently with our Mexican meals.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Taco Cornmeal Crepe Enchiladas

These were so fun to make.  Years ago, I used to make crepes and haven't made them in the longest time.  When I ran across this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to try them.  Instead of using corn tortillas, you make crepes using flour and cornmeal.

I halved the recipe and it still made 8 crepes, plenty enough for two meals for us, so the leftovers went in the freezer.  Simply for presentation purposes (my food stylist was off last night, as you can tell by my photo), I think I'll pour a little enchilada sauce over the thawed leftovers before baking.  These were really so much fun to make and assemble, I look forward to getting back into making crepes.

TACO CORNMEAL CREPE ENCHILADAS (Makes about 16 crepes, serving about 8)

Cornmeal Crepes:
1 1/3 cups AP flour
2/3 cups yellow or white cornmeal
4 large eggs
1/4 tsp sal
2 cups milk (any: skim, 1%, 2%, whole)

Taco Meat:
3/4 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced fine (optional)
2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

Garnishes:
1 can black olives, drained and sliced
sour cream
salsa

For the crepes, combine all of the crepe ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  Spray a 10" nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat until the skillet is very hot.  Give the crepe batter a quick stir with a wooden spoon.  Measure out 1/4 cup batter and pour into the hot skillet, tilting the pan to coat the bottom evenly.  The skillet should be hot enough that you should hear a sizzle when the batter hits the pan but not so hot that it burns the crepes.  Cook for about a minute and then loosen the edge of the crepe with a rubber spatula and flip, cooking for another 30-60 seconds or so.  Transfer the crepe to distribute the cornmeal and lightly spray the skillet with cooking spray when needed.  Stack the cooked crepes on top of each other.  The crepes can be made up to 2 days in advance.  Cool the crepes completely before storing in the refrigerator, enclosed in a ziplock bag or covered in plastic wrap.

For the taco meat, cook the onion, ground meat, garlic, S&P in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently to break the meat into bite-sized pieces, until the meat is cooking through, 5-7 minutes.  Drain the excess grease.  Stir in the chili powder, cumin, coriander, tomato sauce and jalapeno (is using).  Simmer over medium heat for 8-10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Lightly coat a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray (I used parchment paper and then sprayed the paper for easier cleanup).  Lay a crepe flat on a clean work surface or plate.  Place about 1/4 to 1/3 cup meat mixture on each crepe, sprinkle with a tablespoon or so of cheese and roll up.  Lay seam side down on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining crepes, meat, and cheese.  Sprinkle the top of the crepes with remaining cheese.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is golden and the crepes are heated through.  Serve the crepes with the olives, sour creme, salsa, and any other garnishes you prefer.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Toll House Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

I try to always post new and different recipes on this blog.  But sometimes, there is nothing much better than the tried and true.  This is a take-off on the traditional Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies, simply using their Dark Chocolate Chips instead of the semi-sweet chips.  It's the same recipe, just using dark chocolate.  I used walnuts in these cookies, simply because I had more on hand.  Generally, I would use pecans.  Also, I make the dough the day before and bake the next day.

Always good, tried and true.

TOLL HOUSE DARK CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (makes about 4 1/2 dozen)

2 1/4 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (I use kosher, would reduce to 1/2 tsp if using table salt)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups (10 oz pkg) dark chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped nuts

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Beat butter, sugars and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each additional.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in morsels and nuts.  Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets (I used parchment paper and a Silpat on my two baking sheets....makes clean-up effortless).  

Bake for 9-11 minutes (mine: 9 minutes) or until golden brown.  Cool on baking sheets.  Remove to wire racks. 

 

 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Glazed Mini Meatloaves

I don't know how many meatloaves I've ever made in my lifetime, but this is definitely in the Top Three.  This is one terrific meatloaf.  Now, I have never made a meatloaf the same way twice in my lifetime, but here's a terrific basic recipe from which to start.  Now generally, a true meatloaf is made of three basic portions:  1/3 ground chuck, 1/3 ground pork, and 1/3 ground veal.  I will never, ever use ground veal.  EVER.  So I generally use whatever ground meat I have in the freezer (once again, on a crusade to use up some freezer stock).  This time I used ground chicken, ground chuck, and a bit of breakfast sausage.

And I generally make a larger loaf instead of individual loaves.  But I gotta tell you, this came out so good I think I'll be making this again.  Also, I made four individual loaves (plenty for each of us and several bites for the girls), so two of them went into the freezer.

GLAZED MINI MEATLOAVES (Makes 4-5 meatloaves)

17-20 saltine crackers, crushed fine (about 2/3 cup)
1/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt (WAY too much for me....I'd start with 1/4 tsp)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground meat
2 tsp vegetable oil

GLAZE:
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tsp cider vinegar

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425F.  Stir cracker crumbs, milk, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, egg, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, 1 tsp salt (or 1/4) and 1/2 tsp pepper together in a large bowl.  Add ground meat and combine until uniform.  Shape mixture into oval loaves.

Heat oil in an 12" nonstick skillet over medium heat until the oil is rippling.   Add meatloaves (without letting them touch sides) and brown well one one side, 3-5 minutes.  Carefully flip loaves over and tidy up edges using a spatula (I didn't need to do this-my meatloaves managed to hold their shape really well).  Brown on this side for another 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix glaze ingredients together until smooth.  Transfer mini meatloaves to a foil-lined baking pan and spoon the glaze over the top of each meatloaf.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the center of the loaf registers 160F degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

UPDATE:  I froze two of the uncooked mini loaves and about a month later, thawed them, and then baked them as directions indicated.  I made the glaze for the thawed loaves and let me tell you!!!!!  These were just as good as the originals.  I think I'll double the recipe next time to have more than one meal on hand at a minutes notice.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Easy Ravioli Bake

Once again on a mission to use up things in my freezer, I found this Super Simple recipe for some raviolis and pasta sauce.  Basically, this is a four ingredient recipe, although you can up-it by adding sliced mushrooms, sliced pepperoni (regular or turkey), or spinach.  Since there are just the two of us, I cut the recipe in half and there is still plenty for lunch the next day.  Serve it with a Caesar salad and some crusty bread and dinner is served!

EASY RAVIOLI BAKE (8 servings)

1 jar (26-28 oz) tomato pasta sauce (any variety)
1 package (25-27 1/2 oz) frozen ravioli, meat or cheese
2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350F.  Spray bottom and sides of rectangular 13x9x2 baking with cooking spray.

Spread 3/4 cup of the pasta sauce in the baking dish.  Arrange half of the frozen ravioli in single layer over sauce; top with half of the remaining pasta sauce and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese.  Repeat layers once, starting with ravioli.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake 40 minutes.  Remove foil; bake uncovered 15-20 minutes longer or until bubbly and hot in center.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

NOTE:  To make this super-easy recipe ahead of time, layer the ingredients in the baking dish, cover lightly with foil and refrigerate up to 24 hours.  Bake as directed.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

This was the Grand Prize winner in last month's "Taste of Home" magazine.  One great comfort food, and a recipe that, if you're like me, is most likely to have everything on hand.

This recipe makes little pie crusts to top the soup with, but I'd just bought a neat mini waffle maker and had some leftover, uncooked cornbread sage dressing in the freezer from Christmas, so thought I'd try making some mini waffles using the dressing.  They came out great and were a great complement to the soup.

This makes plenty.  I could have cut the recipe in half, but now I've got another dinner in the freezer.  Pretty sweet, huh?

CHICKEN POT PIE SOUP (serves 6-8)

2 cup AP flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
5-6 Tbsp 2% milk

2 Tbsp butter
1 cup cubed peeled potatoes
1 cup chopped sweet onion
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 cans (14 1/2 oz each) chicken broth
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn

In a large bowl, mix flour and salt; cut in shortening until crumbly.  Gradually add milk, tossing with a fork until dough holds together when pressed.  Shape into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8" thickness.  Using a floured 2 1/2" heart-shaped or round cutter, cut 18 shapes.  Place 1" apart on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 425 for 8-11 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.

For soup, in a Dutch oven, heat butter over medium heat.  Add the potatoes, onion, celery, and carrots; cook and stir for 5-7 minutes or until onion is tender.

Stir in the flour, S&P until blended; gradually whisk in broth.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Stir in remaining ingredients; heat through.  Serve with pastries.

NOTE:  I just reheated some of this and thought.....hmmmm....how about adding some grated cheddar cheese!  What a wonderful idea!      

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sweet Chili Chicken Salad

A great Asian-inspired salad that is quick to pick together and good any time of the year.  I served this with that wonderful Chicken Wonton Soup.

SWEET CHILI CHICKEN SALAD (4 servings)

2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
4 cups lettuce, sliced
2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 red pepper, sliced thinly
1/2 cup carrot, sliced thinly
1 cup cucumber, sliced
2 green onions, sliced
cilantro to taste, torn (optional)
mint to taste, torn (optional)
basil to taste, torn (optional)
peanuts to taste, chopped
1/4 cup sweet chili dressing (see below)

Toss everything together and enjoy!

THAI SWEET CHILI DRESSING (makes 1 cup)

1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp ginger, grated or finely minced

Simmer everything in a sauce pan over medium heat until the peanut butter has melted.  Let cool.  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Crispy Baked Onion Rings

I love onion rings.....good onion rings.  Not those greasy, stringy nearly onion-less rings at fast food restarurants.  And although some good sit-down restaurants might have some pretty good hand-breaded rings, they are generally so exorbitantly expensive I just can't justify the cost.  And when it gets right down to it, not exactly the healthiest item on the menu.

Here is the solution to all of the problems listed above.  These came out exactly as I like my rings: crispy, thick (very thick....I want to taste the onion) slices of sweet onions, seasoned to your liking.  Two things I insist on when making my own:  I MUST use sweet onions (Vidalias, Texas 10/20s, Walla Wallas, etc) and I use two layers of rings, instead of separating the individual layers.

I'm listing the recipe as I found it, but one thing I will change......step 3 of the dipping says to dredge each battered ring into the breadcrumbs.  Problem with this is after dipping several, you'll start to get clumps of breadcrumbs which will cling to the rings.  Instead, I'm going to try sprinkling each ring with the breadcrumbs so each ring has a smooth coating of crumbs.

CRISPY BAKED ONION RINGS (Serves 4)

2 large onions, sliced thickly
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup buttermilk, milk, or beer
1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute), lightly beaten
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (no substitutes)
1 tsp creole seasoning, or to taste, or another type of seasoning if you like
S&P to taste

Place half of the flour in a wide shallow bowl, mix the remaining flour with the buttermilk (or milk or beer) and egg and place it in a wide, shallow bowl and mix the Panko breadcrumbs and any seasonings and place them in a third wide, shallow bowl.

Dredge the onion slices in the flour, dip them in the batter mixture and dredge them in the breadcrumbs.

Place the onion slices on a wire rack on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 425F oven until golden brown, about 12-18 minutes (18 minutes if you double-up the layers of rings like I do). 

Recipe Source:  www.closetcookings.com
  

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Limeades

This last week with the flu has just about made me sick of water!  I tried a few Ginger Ales, but they were just too sweet.  I decided to see if I could figure out a good recipe for a childhood favorite....the Limeade.  Now I come from the heart of the "Limeade Belt."  The best limeade you will ever have comes from the Braum's Ice Cream chain in the OK/TX area.  No one does them better.

I think the few other fast-food chains that make them simply use a 7-Up type soda and squeeze a few limes in it.  But a true southern Limeade has four simple ingredients:

Crushed ice
Simple syrup
Club soda or seltzer
Fresh limes

Simple syrup is made by combining 2 parts sugar and 1 part water.  Whisk and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally.  Take off of heat once it has come to a boil, stir again, and let come to room temperature.

Combine the ingredients to suit your taste, depending on if you like it sweeter or tarter.  for a low calorie syrup, use Spenda in place of sugar.  Stir well and enjoy! 

NOTE:  Although I'm a purist when it comes to Limeades, you can easily make this a cherry limeade by adding a maraschino cherry and a bit of the juice to change the color.