Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hawaiian Haystacks


I ran across this recipe on Pinterest.  Apparently it is a throwback to either the 60's, 70's, or 80's, depending on whom you speak with.  Not that it ever hit our house in Oklahoma way back then.  But I guess it was a staple in many homes and there were as many variations as, well, there were homes.

From what I understand, haystacks were made with a gravy consisting of cream of chicken soup, milk, sour cream, or some variation.  So when I found this re-vamped recipe making your own luscious creamy, garlic sauce, I decided to give it a try.  It is simple and quick to make and packed with flavor.  

HAWAIIAN HAYSTACKS (4-6 servings)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (or leftover cooked chicken, shredded or cubed)
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 onion (about 1/2 cup), finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced (I might add extra, depending on the size of the cloves)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk (I used 1%)
1 cup chicken broth

Cooked rice

Topping suggestions:
sliced black olives
chopped tomatoes
shredded cheese
green onions
mandarin oranges
chow mein noodles
sliced almonds
diced sweet peppers
pineapple tidbits
water chestnuts
celery

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onion and raw chicken (if using leftover cooked chicken, don't add it to the skillet now, you'll add it later).  Saute the onion and chicken, if using, until the onions are soft and translucent and the chicken is cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for about one more minute, stirring, until fragrant.

Sprinkle the flour over the onions and chicken and stir to combine.  Cook over medium heat for one minute, this helps get rid of the starchy, flour taste.  Slowly whisk in the milk and chicken broth.  Cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, and bring the sauce to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat.  Add the S&P.  If you are using leftover cooked chicken, add it now.  Continue simmering, stirring the sauce frequently, until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.

Serve the chicken sauce over rice with your choice of toppings. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Baked Brown Rice


I always cook my rice in a rice cooker.  Easy-peasy.  Throw in rice and water or stock to the proper line, turn it on and then ding, it's ready.

So I'm not really sure why I decided to follow these easy-peasy directions.  But it really impressed Jim.  Several times he said how good it was.  Rice?  Really?  I do love this starch staple but, well, it's rice!

So if you don't have a rice cooker or even if you do (and use it as often as I use mine), you gotta try this.  It's no-fail.

BAKED BROWN RICE (makes about 3 1/2 cups cooked rice)

Note: This recipe doubles beautifully for a 9X13-inch pan.

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water (if using water, add 1 teaspoon salt)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8X8-inch or 9X9-inch baking pan. Place the rice in the prepared pan and pour in the liquid. Stir to equally distribute the rice. Cover tightly with a double layer of aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

  • Remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes before removing the aluminum foil and fluffing with a fork. If your rice still has a bit of liquid on the bottom or conversely, if it is dried out, adjust the baking time up or down to make changes.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Shrimp and Pasta with Creamy Goat Cheese Sauce


I was doing a search the other day using some ingredients I had in the fridge that needed to be used.  I came across this one and what a find!!!

This wonderful concoction of shrimp, mushrooms, and luscious goat cheese came out better than I could have ever expected.  The original recipe says to use all goat cheese or a combination of goat cheese and cream cheese.  I was short a bit on the goat cheese so I did add a bit of cream cheese.  Since it was a pretty small amount, it really didn't lessen that wonderful flavor.  But if you are a goat cheese lover like myself, definitely use it as the primary flavoring.

SHRIMP and PASTA with CREAMY GOAT CHEESE SAUCE (6 servings)

1 lb pasta
2 Tbsp EVOO
16 oz sliced mushrooms
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp EVOO
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
pinch each of kosher salt and red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
4 oz goat cheese (or a combination of goat cheese and cream cheese)
1 Tbsp butter
chopped fresh basil, optional

Boil pasta in water until al dente.  Reserve some of the pasta water.

In a ziplock bag, combine shrimp through tomatoes and marinade in fridge for an hour.  

Heat 2 Tbsp of oil over medium-high heat in a saute pan and cook mushrooms until they release their liquid and are browned.  Set aside.  

In the now empty pan, turn heat to high and deglaze with wine, scraping up any browned bits.  Add chicken stock and reduce the liquids by half.  Slowly stir in the goat cheese until melted and smooth.  Add the butter at the end, and melt.  Add the mushrooms and shrimp back to the sauce and warm through.

When just about finished, add the drained pasta and basil (if using) and toss to combine.  Add a little of the reserved pasta water if the sauce is too thick or doesn't cling to the pasta.

Recipe Source: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/shrimp-and-pasta-with-creamy-goat-cheese-sauce-50028037

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Coconut Curry Pork (Crock Pot)


Oh My!!!  This turned out so good!  If you like a dish with coconut milk, curry, and lime, you'll do no wrong making this.

I had picked up a 3-pound pork loin a while ago when it was on sale.  Since there are just the two of us, I cut it into three 1-pound portions and put it in the freezer.  So for the recipe below, I used a 1-pound portion and then halved the rest of the recipe.

You could certainly substitute chicken, but you'd need to adjust the cooking time to get tender, shred-able meat.

I served this over rice with some roasted broccoli and sliced mango.  Perfect.

COCONUT CURRY PORK (Crock Pot) (6-8 servings)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds pork roast
  • 1 large red pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 14-ounce can light coconut milk
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (see note above)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Chopped, fresh cilantro

  • Spray the insert of a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Add the pork, red pepper, and onion. In a bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the coconut milk, garlic, brown sugar, curry powder, ginger, salt, and pepper. Pour the sauce into the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours (exact time will depend on the size of your pork roast).

  • When the pork is tender, use two forks and coarsely shred the pork in the slow cooker into pieces. Mix the cornstarch and lime juice together in a small bowl and stir into the slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker to high and cook for 10-15 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened.

  • Serve over cooked potatoes, rice or quinoa.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Kale Chips


OK, you may think I'm way behind on food trends but honestly, I really have tried this trendy treat some time ago with abysmal results.  I even ordered them in a restaurant with less than a stellar review.  So, quite frankly, I wrote these off as an aberration.  

And then a few weeks ago a ran across a new food blog (for me) in which one of the recipes was for kale chips.  I just so happened to have a bunch of kale which was going to be put down the garbage disposal so I decided to try them one more time.  And then I discovered the three major mistakes I had made:

1. Too much oil.
2. Too high of a temperature.
3. Too thick layering of the kale.

So this is what I did:

Bunch of kale (don't buy the chopped-up stuff.....buy the full bunch of kale).  Remove the thick spine, leaving only the leaves
EVOO
Kosher (or sea) salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Put the leaves in a large mixing bowl.  Lightly drizzle olive oil over the chips and then massage the oil into all the crooks and nannies of the leaves.  Sprinkle salt over leaves.

Layer the leaves single layer on a baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes and then rotate pan.  Bake another 10-13 minutes.  Remove tray from oven and let the chips stay on the hot pan for a few minutes to further crisp.

A few notes:  See the link below for a beef-up version of these chips.  Also, these will remarkably stay crisp in an airtight container (I use Lock&Locks).  This may be because when I made them before I used too much oil and stacked the leaves instead of laying them in a single layer.  BIG difference.

Recipe Source:  http://www.healthy-liv.com/perfectly-crispy-seasoned-kale-chips/

P.S.  These chips will leave little green bits twixt your teeth.  In other words, these are not good before first-date or job interview choices.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Memphis-Style Pulled Pork


This is a wonderful, easy slow-cooker recipe, good anytime of the year.  I mixed everything up in the crock pot the night before and then just threw the pork butt in the next morning.  I kinda adjusted the High/Low a few times since I had the roast in from about 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.  You'll know it's done when it falls off of the bone and shreds easily.  Or just stick with Publix' directions.

While this recipe calls for Memphis-style BBQ sauce, the demo they were doing that day used Publix brand original BBQ sauce (since it was on sale).  I'm not a BBQ sauce connoisseur so I think just about any sauce would have worked.  If you have a favorite, I'd go with that.

I served this on a French hamburger bun (a bit denser than a regular white-bread bun), but I'll use leftovers to make a taco'ish salad.  It will make a lot (especially if there is just one or two of you), but will freeze nicely.

MEMPHIS-STYLE PULLED PORK

1 medium onion
6 cloves fresh garlic
2 (14-oz) cans reduced-sodium beef broth
1 (18-oz) bottle Memphis-style barbecue sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 boneless Boston butt pork roast (about 3 1/2 lb)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
6 Bakery French (or regular) Hamburger Rolls, sliced open
Slice onion thickly; place in slow cooker with garlic cloves. Stir in broth, barbecue sauce, sugar, vinegar, and pepper; add pork roast gently (wash hands). Cover and cook on high 6-8 hours or until pork is fork tender.
Remove pork from slow cooker. Combine cornstarch and water until blended. Stir into sauce mixture in slow cooker; bring to a boil. Boil 4-5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Shred pork using two forks. Strain sauce; discard onions and garlic. Serve pork on rolls topped with sauce.
Shortcut Memphis-Style Pork
Shred 2 lb Publix Deli Mojo Pork (or cooked pork) with two forks; place in microwave-safe bowl. Combine 1 (18-oz) bottle Memphis-style barbecue sauce, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup cider vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir sauce into pork and cover; microwave on HIGH 7–8 minutes, stirring once, or until hot. Serve pork on Bakery French (or regular) hamburger rolls. Total Time: 15 minutes; Servings: 6

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Super Bean Burritos


Before I start with this wonderful recipe, I just gotta tell you.  If you have children who live for snow days, you need to move to Chattanooga, TN.  This is the woosiest city ever when it comes to school closings due to weather.  A two-hour delay today because it was cold this morning.  Tomorrow: closed.  Because of a chance of an inch or two of snow....mixing to rain (above freezing....no ice on the roads).  Holy Smokes!  What will these kids do when they become adults and have to go to work when it's below 40 degrees and a chance of rain?!!!!  Not like when I was in grade school and had to walk 6 miles in the snow and then 10 miles uphill to get back home.

Anywho......back to the recipe.  Have you ever had a "bad food" secret you kept to yourself?  You know, something you'd never admit to anyone you ever wanted to impress?  Well, (one of) mine goes back to my 20's when I was working and never, ever had time to fix breakfast and make it to work on time.  Back in the early days of the microwave (and the days of living paycheck-to-paycheck) I used to rely on those frozen 3 for $1 bean and cheese burritos (I think the beef and cheese were on the high-end, maybe 2 for $1).  I'd  zap one and then hop in the car on my way to work.  While maybe not the most nutritious, it satisfied my morning hunger and got me through until lunch, or at least morning break.

I guess because of this, I'd never made or even ordered a real burrito.  Really.  I guess I thought they were all 90% tortilla and 10% tasty glue.  But a year or  two ago I ran across this recipe for Freezer Burritos and it took me right back to 1980's OKC and my early days of adult employment.  Surely these must be more substantial (and tastier?) than those burritos of old.  Could it be?  Didn't know and really didn't want to try.  So I've sat on this recipe for almost two years.

What a waste!  They are wonderful.  We ate two of them last night and the other four are in the freezer waiting for that morning drive to the gym.  I can hardly wait to try the frozen version.

FYI:  I cut this recipe in half which should have made 8 burritos.  I don't know if I over-stuffed mine, but I only got 6 out of the recipe.  But let me tell you, these are six substantial burritos.  I only ate half of one at dinner and ate the other half at lunch the next day.

SUPER BEAN BURRITOS (16 servings)
  • 1 cup brown or white rice (or 2 cups already cooked rice)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and membrane removed, finely diced (can substitute 1 can of green chiles)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cans (15 oz. each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed (or use 1 can pinto beans, 1 can black beans)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (10 oz) package frozen corn or 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 6 green onions, white and green parts finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 16 burrito-sized (10-inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack chees

  • Cook rice; set aside. Meanwhile, heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, jalapeno and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and golden, being careful not to let the garlic burn. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

  • Add one can of beans and mash gently in the pan (a potato masher or fork works great here). Add the second can of beans and the water and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10-12 minutes, being careful not to let the mixture stick to the bottom of the pot. Add corn; cook to heat through, 2-3 minutes. Stir in onion and garlic powders. Remove from heat; stir in green onions and cooked rice.

  • Heat tortillas in microwave for about 30-45 seconds or until all are warmed through.

  • Fill each tortilla with about 2/3 cup bean and rice mixture and 1/4 cup cheese on one side of tortilla. Fold, and hold in sides. Starting from filled end, holding sides in as you work, tightly roll into a bundle. Place on a baking sheet, seam side down, and prepare remaining burritos.

  • Serve warm immediately, with salsa and sour cream if desired — or, to freeze for later consumption, put the baking sheet of burritos into the freezer for at least 30 minutes, or until very cold so that they don’t come apart in the wrapping process. Remove them from the freezer and wrap each burrito individually in plastic wrap and place all the wrapped burritos in a freezer-safe resealable bag and freeze up to three months.
NOTES
To reheat from frozen: Remove plastic wrap from the burrito. Poke holes in the top several times with a fork. Microwave on high for two minutes. Gently poke a few more holes in the burrito and microwave for another minute. Be careful as the burrito will be piping hot!

Recipe Source: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/super-bean-burritos/

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Turkey Stroganoff

I was looking for a way to use some ground turkey I got on sale.  I hadn't used any of my Marlene Koch "Eat What You Love" series of cookbooks lately and so I pulled them out to find a recipe using ground turkey.

I love all of her books and have not been disappointed in a single recipe....they're all geared towards recipes low in fat, sugar, and calories.  This recipe was no exception.  Delicious and guilt-free.  Oh, and easy, too.  Steam or roast some broccoli for a perfect weeknight dinner.

TURKEY STROGANOFF (4 servings)

1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 Tbsp coarse-ground mustard
1 tsp canola oil
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp dried thyme (I added a bit more)
2 Tbsp AP flour
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 cups cooked wide noodles (optional)

In a small bowl, stir together sour cream and mustard.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a very large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and crumble in the turkey.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, or just until browned.  Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add the onion to the hot pan and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Add the mushrooms, and crush the thyme in with your fingers.  Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion and mushrooms are soft.  Sprinkle with flour over the onion mixture, and stir.

Add the broth and cook, stirring, until the mixture bubbles and thickens.  Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in the turkey, black pepper and salt, and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the sour cream mixture.  Cook briefly until slightly thickened and hot, do not boil.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve over cooked noodles, if preferred.

Recipe Source:  Eat What You Love Everyday by Marlene Koch (2014), p. 261

Friday, January 15, 2016

Arugula Soup


I just love arugula.  The only problem is that the only way I can buy it is in large 5 oz plastic containers.  With just the two of us, we'd be eating arugula salads for a week (is that really such a bad thing?)  But preferring a variety in my weekly menus, I decided to search for an arugula soup recipe.

A found a recipe on Foodnetwork.com but made a few adjustments to suit my taste.  After reading the reviews, I omitted the lettuce and added more arugula.  I used onion and garlic in lieu of the shallot.  I used red potatoes instead of Yukon gold.  And I added less stock and substituted half-and-half for the cream.

A few reviews said they had substituted feta or mozzarella for the goat cheese.  Since I didn't have any goat cheese on hand, I was going to do this but since Jim was going to the grocery store, I asked him to pick some up.  Good thing!  While feta or mozz would have been fine, the goat cheese was fabulous!  It added such a wonderful creaminess.

This is very similar to a basic spinach soup.  I used 3 cups of arugula, but think I might increase it to 4 cups to get more of that arugula flavor (I'd start with 3 cups in cooking, then add more in the blender since it would wilt very quickly in the hot broth).

ARUGULA SOUP (makes about 4 cups or 2 bowls of soup)

EVOO
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
3/4# red potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 cups arugula (save a few leaves for garnish)
1/2 cup half-and-half
S&P to taste (I didn't use any....my stock was salty enough)
Goat cheese, crumbed or sliced

In a medium pot warm the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and stir until tender.  Add garlic and stir for about a minute.  Add potatoes and stock and bring to a simmer of high heat.  Lower heat, simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes depending on size of cubes.  Add arugula and simmer uncovered until leaves are tender, about 2 minutes.  Transfer everything to a blender.  Blend until smooth (be careful with soup sloshing out of the blender.  You may need to use a kitchen towel to put over the lid).

Return soup to pot and stir in cream.  Taste.  Add S&P to taste.  Ladle into soup cups/bowls.  Garnish with arugula leaves and cheese.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/creamy-arugula-and-lettuce-soup-with-goat-cheese-recipe.htm


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Coconut Red Lentil Peanut Soup


I've had so much fun going through previously-posted recipes, but there are just too many to re-post in a week or two.  So I've decided to pick out my favorites/most repeated recipes the first week of each month.

So I'm back to new recipes and this being soup-season (if you forget the awful 70 degrees Christmas period) I ran across this coconut milk-based soup which is like an African peanut/chicken soup/entree.  For me, if coconut milk is involved, I'm going to love it.

I'm posting this recipe as I found it, although I did make some changes (I made it last week and unfortunately lost my notes) of which I'll put, to the best of my recollection, my changes in parentheses.....I wanted to cut the recipe down so we wouldn't have so much. Also, I like a thicker soup so I cut down on some of the broth.

COCONUT RED LENTIL PEANUT SOUP (6 servings)

2 tsp EVOO
1 medium yellow onion, minced (1/2 sweet onion, diced)
2 bell peppers, diced (1 red pepper, diced)
2 medium carrots, diced (2 small carrots, diced)
1-2" piece ginger, minced (1")
3 garlic cloves, minced (2 tsp)
1-2 red chilies, minced (2 oz diced green chiles)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (1/4-1/2 tsp.....to taste, start with 1/4, add more if necessary)
1 tsp smoked paprika (1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp ground cumin (1/4 tsp)
1/2 tsp turmeric (1/4 tsp)
2 small yams, diced, about 2 cups (1 medium sweet potato)
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes (1 {14 oz} can)
4 cups stock (any kind) or water (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
1 cup red lentils (3/4 cup)
1/4 cup peanut butter (3-4 Tbsp)
1 (15 oz) can coconut milk (3/4 of a can of light coconut milk)
1/2 cup roughly chopped kale
Roasted peanuts for garnish, optional

Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is quite brown, about 10 minutes. Add the bell peppers, carrots, ginger and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the red chilies, cinnamon, smoked paprika, cumin and turmeric and let the spices cook for 1 minute.

Add the yams, diced tomatoes and the stock or water and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let the pot simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.  

Stir in the red lentil and peanut butter and let the soup cook until the lentils are soft, about 10 minutes.  

Blend half the soup using a blender or hand-held immersion blender. If using a blender, add the blended soup back to the pot. Stir in the coconut milk and kale and let the kale wilt. Season to taste with sea salt.  Garnish with roasted peanuts.

Recipe Source: http://www.theendlessmeal.com/coconut-red-lentil-peanut-soup/

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Rattlesnake Pasta


This recipe has the most views of any recipe on my blog.  And for good reason.  It is DEE-licious!!!  If you've ever eaten at a J. Alexander's restaurant you would have seen this on the menu, maybe even tried it.  In my opinion, this recipe is better than theirs and certainly much more affordable.  It's a great meal any time of the year. 




A neighbor made a copycat recipe of the Rattlesnake Pasta served at J. Alexander's restaurant. I have had theirs and believe you me, this recipe is even better and another Oh So Fast and Easy recipe.


For me, the secret that takes this pasta over the top is the cilantro. For the longest time I wouldn't go near cilantro. I discovered I wasn't the only one who thought it tasted like soap. In a cooking class at Central Market in San Antonio (check out their website, and if you are ever anywhere near DFW/Austin/San Antonio/Houston and if you're a true foodie, make a point to make a trip to this most incredible grocery store. It's even been featured on The Travel Channel. www.centralmarket.com ) Anywho..... I had a class with food scientist Shirley Corriher and she mentioned the Cilantro-Soap gene. Apparently, some people carry a gene which makes cilantro taste like soap to them. I was so glad I wasn't alone! But I kept trying and trying hoping I would develop a taste for it. And then I discovered if the cilantro is in any way processed (cooked), even just a bit, I can not only eat it, but love it. So, just a little FYI.

Something new in my local Publix market are these containers of small sweet peppers. When I've made this recipe before, I'd usually buy one red, one yellow, and one orange sweet pepper. With just the two of us, I'd rarely use all of them, so the leftovers would just go in the freezer for soups and chili. But this little package was just $3, about half the price of buying 3 peppers, and I'll have much less leftover. Win/win.

Also, you can certainly make your own alfredo sauce, but I just find a jar at the store, always the one with the lowest fat content. 

I hope you'll make this....it is one of my go-to meals and there is never any left over. This recipe would serve 2-3. I usually make an Italian salad (Romaine/Spring mix with pepperocini, fennel, kalamata olives, peppers, Italian vinaigrette) and a good baquette.


RATTLESNAKE PASTA
8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast meat, cubed about 1/2", I cut them when they are still partially frozen, so much easier), then seasoned with a bit of cayenne and seasoned salt
3 oz (3/4 cup) sweet peppers, finely julienned (I usually use red, yellow, and orange)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 tsp minced garlic
16 ounce jar (or 2 cups homemade) alfredo sauce
6 oz bow-tie pasta, or shape of your choice, cooked
Cook cubed chicken and garlic until almost done. Add peppers, onions, and cilantro. Cook until crisp-tender. Add alfredo sauce until heated. Add pasta. Heat throughout. Voila! A wonderful dinner!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Now I understand why professional bloggers always do a "Best of" recipes the first of the year.  While some of these are standards that show up regularly on our table, some are fabulous meals/treats that are reserved for special occasions or are simply forgotten.

So it is with the latter in this case....A dessert I made for Jim's office.  Even though it's been over four years, I remember this wonderful coffee cake.  And it's back on my list of things to make (as soon as the sweet stuff presently on the counter is gone).  This was originally posted on October 5 2011.




There is a new office favorite.  Jim took this in the other day and it won "The Best Office Treat" hands-down.  And it is mighty tasty.  The moist cake has that distinctive almond extract flavor.  Then the sweetened cream cheese, raspberry preserves, and an almond streusel topping.  What I wouldn't do for a piece of this coffeecake right now!

RASPBERRY CREAM CHEESE COFFEE CAKE

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar, divided
3/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9" or 10" springform pan.

In a large bowl combine the flour and 3/4 cup of the sugar.  Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Set aside 1 cup of the crumb mixture.

To the remaining crumb mixture, add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, sour cream, one of the eggs and the almond extract and blend well.  Spread the batter over the bottom and 2" up the sides of the prepared pan.  Batter should be about 1/4" thick on the sides.

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and the remaining egg blending well.  Pour over the batter in the pan.

Carefully spoon the preserves evenly over the cream cheese filling.

In a small bowl combine the one cup of reserved crumb mixture and the sliced almonds.   Sprinkle over the top.  Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the cream cheese filling is set and the crust is deep golden brown.  Cool 15 minutes and remove the sides of the pan.

Serve warm or cool, cut into wedges.  Refrigerate any leftovers.