Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Basic Pizza Crust

I know it's quite convenient to just pick up a pizza on the way home and enjoy with your family.  However, sometime you just want to spend some quality time with your children or simply add all of those toppings you want on your pizza.  Whatever the reason, if you just want to make your own pizza, this recipe is great for a basic pizza crust.  It's quick and yummy.  Enjoy!
-2 1/4 cups flour
-1 tsp sugar
-1 tsp salt
-2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
-1 cup HOT water
-2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
In food processor bowl with metal blade, combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast.  Process for 5 seconds.  With the machine running, pour hot water and oil through feed tube.  Process until dough forms a ball.
Carefully remove the dough and place in a greased bowl.  Cover well and let it rise in warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Punch down the dough to remove all air bubbles.  Divide dough into desired portions and place on greased pans.  Bake for about 5 minutes.
Remove from oven, top with desired toppings and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

I love, love, love this recipe.  It's quick to throw into your slow cooker and simply delicious.  It definitely has a kick to it, which makes me love it even more.  If you do not want the heat, then use simple diced tomatoes instead of the ones with jalapenos and cut down the chili powder to just 1 tsp instead of 2.  Or you could leave it as is and top with with shredded cheese and sour cream to take down the heat.  However you prefer it, try this soup.  It is delicious and on the healthy side.  Enjoy!
-1 Tbs vegetable oil
-1 medium onion, finely chopped
-2 tsp chili powder
-2 tsp ground cumin
-2 tsp garlic powder
-1 lb lean pork loin, cut into chunks
-1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with zesty jalapenos
-1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
-10 cups chicken broth
-4 oz tortilla chips
-1 (15 oz) can sweet corn, drained
-cilantro, to top
-extra tortilla chips, crushed, to top
-optional, shredded cheese and sour cream, to top
Heat oil in large skillet.  Add onion and cook until softened, about 6 minutes.  Add chili powder, cumin and garlic.  Stir well and cook 1 minute.
Transfer mixture to slow cooker.  Add pork, tomatoes, chilies, broth and tortilla chips.  Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.  Stir in corn.
Ladle into bowl and top with cilantro and other garnishes you desire.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Sweet and Hot Shrimp Tacos

This dish is such a real treat.   Not only is it quick to put together; the taste is absolutely divine!  I didn't want to stop eating this!  The sweet chili sauce can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store, or at Costco.  Enjoy!
-3/4 cup sweet chili sauce
-2 Tbs honey
-1 lb raw shrimp, deveined with tails-off
-corn tortillas
-shredded cheese (Cheddar, Mexican-blend, your choice)
-lettuce, broken into small pieced
-tomatoes, cut into chunks
Mix chili sauce and honey in a large skillet.  Cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the shrimp and cook until no longer pink.
Meanwhile, in another large non-stick skillet, add a couple of corn tortillas at a time.  Season with a little salt and let them get golden brown on both sides.
To serve, top each tortilla with some shrimp, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe found here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Slow Cooker Super Creamy Mashed Potatoes

I normally like to make my own mashies, but they can be time consuming when you've had a full day.  The peeling, cutting, boiling can take a while.  This is a nice alternative of sprucing up the store bought ones AND having them ready, waiting for you at the end of a long day.  They are very creamy, velvety and oh, so delicious.  Enjoy!
-nonstick cooking spray
-3 (20-24 oz each) containers refrigerated (not frozen) original mashed potatoes
-1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, cut into cubes
-1 cup sour cream
-3 Tbs chives, chopped
-1/4 tsp garlic powder
Coat slow cooker with cooking spray.  Add two of the mashed potatoes packages.  Top with cream cheese cubes, sour cream, chives and garlic powder.  Add the last container of mashed potatoes.  Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
Stir well before serving.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Baked Potato Soup

This is another great soup for a cold, winter day.  It's thick and packed with so much flavor from the baked potatoes, green onions, cheese and, of course, bacon.  Enjoy!
-4 large baking potatoes
-4 slices bacon
-6 cups milk
-1/2 cup flour
-4 green onions, sliced
-1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
-3/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1 cup sour cream
Poke potatoes with fork and wrap in paper towels (each potato, individually).  Microwave on HIGH for 7 1/2 minutes.  Flip over and microwave for 7 1/2 more minutes.  Unwrap and cool slightly.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large non-stick pot until crisp.  Drain on paper towels, crumble and set aside.
In the same pot, add the milk and flour.  Blend well.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until bubbly and thickened, stirring frequently.
Cut baked potatoes in half.  Scoop out the potato from skins.  You can either drop the chunks into the milk mixture and use your immersion blender to mash them.  Or, you can put the potato chunks into a large bowl, mash them well and add them to the milk mixture.
Add bacon, green onions, 1 cup of the cheese, salt and pepper.  Cook until cheese is melted.   Add the sour cream and cook for a couple more minutes.
Ladle into bowl and top with some sliced green onions and remaining cheese.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Slow Cooker Pork Ribs in Raspberry-Chipotle Sauce

If you want to "wow" your family and guests, then this is the recipe to use.  The ribs fall off the bone, while the sauce is so good that I could drink it by itself!  Great, great recipe!  And even better, it's in the crockpot!  So, you let it cook all day and you come home to goodness awaiting you.  Enjoy!
-1 large onion, halved and sliced
-3 lbs country-style pork ribs
-1 (18 oz) jar seedless raspberry preserves
-1 canned chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce
-1/3 cup apple cider or apple juice
-2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Place onions on bottom of slow cooker.  Top with the ribs.
In a blender, combine the rest of the ingredients.  Cover and blend until smooth.  Reserve 1 1/4 cups of the sauce.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Pour remaining sauce over ribs in the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
About 10-15 minutes before ribs are done, bring the reserved sauce to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes.
Using tongs, transfer ribs and onions to a serving plates.  Discard the cooking liquid.  Spoon  sauce over ribs.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe found in "The ultimate slow cooker book".

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fluffy Pancakes

These pancakes are fluffy, indeed.  :)  They're super quick, delicious, and a much better alternative to the store-bought mix.  This recipe makes 8 small pancakes or 4 big ones, so double it if you have a big family.  Enjoy!
-3/4 cup milk
-2 Tbs white vinegar
-1 egg
-2 Tbs butter, melted
-1 cup flour
-2 Tbs sugar
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine milk and vinegar in a medium bowl.  Set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".
Whisk the egg and melted butter into "soured" milk mixture.  Add the rest of the ingredient.  Mix until all the lumps are gone.  Let it sit for 10 minutes.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over low-medium heat.  Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet (I did 2 at a time).  Cook for 2-3 minutes per side.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Easy Corn Chowder

This chowder is quite a treat!  The flavors are just amazing and I really love the sweetness of the corn.  Great chowder!  Enjoy!
-2 (15 oz each) cans sweet corn, undrained
-1 small onion, chopped
-2 medium potatoes, cubed
-2/3 cups water
-2 chicken bouillon cubes
-3 1/2 cups milk
-2 Tbs margarine/ butter
-4 Tbs flour
In a large saucepan, combine corn with the liquid, onion, potatoes, water and bouillon.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in 3 cups of milk and the margarine.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 milk and the flour until smooth.  Add the flour mixture to chowder.  Cook and stir until bubbly and thickened.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Flaky Layered Biscuits

Quick, simple and delicious; these biscuits are the perfect accompaniment to delicious soups and chowders during this cold winter.  Enjoy!
-2 cups flour
-2 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-5 Tbs butter, cut into small pieces
-3/4 cup buttermilk
-3 Tbs honey
Preheat oven to 400 F.
In your food processor, combine dry ingredients.  Add the butter chunks and mix until it looks like the texture of cornmeal.
In a small bowl, combine buttermilk and honey.  Mix well.  Add this to the flour mixture.  Combine well.
Flour a small counter surface.  Place the dough and stretch.  Fold dough into thirds, as if folding a letter.  Re-roll dough.  Dust top lightly with flour.  For the second time, fold dough into thirds.  Roll to 3/4 inch thickness.  Cut dough with biscuit cutter or into squares.  Place on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon and Pork

I made this for New Year's, as it is a tradition in our family to eat black-eyed peas before the change of the year.  However, this can be enjoyed any day, any time, any season.  This is absolutely delicious, the flavors combine beautifully and there's a little kick to it as well.  Enjoy!
-1 lb dried black-eyed peas
-2 Tbs vegetable oil
-6 oz pork shoulder, diced into little chunks
-4 strips thick sliced bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
-1 medium onion, finely diced
-4 garlic cloves, sliced
-1 1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
-1 tsp garlic powder
-4 cups chicken stock
-2 cups water
-3 bay leaves
Place the peas in a large pot.  Cover with water and bring them to a boil.  Boil for only 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat, cover the pot, and let them soak for 1 hour.  Drain and rinse the peas, and set aside.
Heat oil in a large pot.  Add the pork and sear until browned on all sides, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the bacon, onion and garlic.  Stir and cook for about 6 minutes, or until the onion and garlic are lightly browned. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne and garlic powder.  Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring well.  Pour in the stock  and water.  Drop the bay leaves.  Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 30 minutes.
Add the prepared peas to the pot.  Simmer, uncovered for 1 to 1/2 hours or until most liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently.
Pour mixture into serving bowl.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe courtesy of The Neelys.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Slow Cooker Super-Simple Barbecue Chicken

This is quick, easy and finger-licking good!  It's one of those perfect meals that you throw in the slow cooker in the morning and find it waiting for you to devour it at the end of the day.  Enjoy!
-about 7 chicken drumsticks
-4 chicken thighs, skin-on, bone-in, cut int half
-3/4 cup barbecue sauce ( I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
-1/4 cup ketchup
-1/3 cup apricot-pineapple preserves
-2 tsp yellow mustard
Place chicken on bottom of slow cooker.  Mix all the other ingredients into a medium bowl and pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw

My awesome, awesome hubby got me a nice food processor for Christmas.  I was dying to try it!  Sadly, the one he got me was defective, but he was able to exchange it for a working one.:)  Yes, I was one happy momma. And what better way to try it than by making a nice coleslaw.  This is seriously the best coleslaw I've ever had.  The flavors are absolutely amazing!  You so have to try this one.  Enjoy!
-2 lbs green cabbage
-3-4 carrots
-1 small red onion
-1/2 cup mayonnaise
-1/4 cup yellow mustard
-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
-1 cup sugar
-1 tsp black pepper
-1/2 tsp cayenne
-salt and pepper, to taste
Cut cabbage in quarters and remove core.  Peel carrots and onion.  Quarter the onion.  Fit food processor with the large-holed grater attachment.  Shred the cabbage, carrots and onion.  Toss all the veggies together in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, mix the mayo, mustard, vinegar, sugar, pepper and cayenne.  Pour over veggies and mix very well.  Season with salt and pepper, to your liking.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from a recipe courtesy of The Neelys

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sour Cream Butter Biscuits

Three ingredients and 30 minutes is all you need to make these absolutely delicious biscuits!  Thank you, Paula Deen, for saving the dinner again. :)  I mean, you seriously cannot get an easier recipe than this.  These biscuits are light, fluffy, buttery, and delicious.  Enjoy!
-2 cups self-rising flour
-1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
-1 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Mix the flour and butter together.  Add the sour cream and blend well.  Drop by spoonfuls on prepared sheets. 
Bake in preheated oven for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Buche de Noel/ Yule Log

Oh my!  What a treat this is!  I made this for Christmas, but it can be enjoyed any time of year or during the winter celebrations.  I was scared to make it as I am not very good at decorating and it looked a bit tricky.  But it really isn't that hard to make.  It takes patience and a little time, but it is well worth it.  It truly is a decadent dessert.  Even better, this is a flourless cake!  It is very light and fluffy.  Make sure to not skip beating the eggs as required, as that is the key to the fluffiness. You can go wild with the decorating.  I sprinkled some sweetened shredded coconut on the serving platter to resemble the snow.  I also made mushrooms by sticking a mini marshmallow and a chocolate kiss on a toothpick, then made dots out of red food gel.  You could also rool out gumdrops to make holly leaves.  You could also use a fork to make the frosting look like tree bark.  Oh, the possibilities are endless.  However you choose to decorate it, it is worth is and is delicious.  Enjoy!
For the cake:
-6 eggs, yolks and whites divided
-1/2 cup sugar + 1/4 cup sugar
-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/8 tsp salt
For the filling:
-2 cups heavy cream
-1/2 cup powdered sugar
-1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 tsp vanilla extract
For the chocolate buttercream frosting:
-1/3 cup butter, softened
-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-3-4 Tbs 2% milk
Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line a 10x15 inch jellyrool pan ( a regular cookie sheet) with parchment paper.  Coat parchment paper with non stick cooking spray.  Set aside.
First, make the frosting.  In a large bowl, whip all the ingredients until thick and stiff.  Refrigerate.
Now let's make the cake.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until thick and pale.  This means that you will run the mixer on high for at least 5 minutes.  This is very important as it would make the cake nice and fluffy.  Turn the mixer to low and add 1/3 cup cocoa, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla and the salt.  Mix well.
In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, whip egg whites to soft peaks.  Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, and beat until whites form stiff peaks.  Immediately fold the whites mixture into the yolks mixture.  Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until cake springs back when lighly touched. 
Dust a large piece of wax paper with powdered sugar.  Be generous.  Set aside.
Let the baked cake cool for 10 minutes.  Gently turn it over onto the prepared wax paper.  Gently roll it with the paper.  Let it cool like that for 30 minutes. 
While it's cooling, beat the frosting ingredients until smooth.  Add more milk, if necessary, to make it spreadable.
Once the cake cooled, unroll it.  Spread filling within 1 inch  of the edge.  Gently roll it back, without the wax paper this time.  Frost and decorate as desired.  Refrigerate until ready to serve,  It it better if you make it a day ahead and let it sit inthe fridge for 24 hours.  Slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fish Soup with Tomatoes

This soup is easy, quick, light and very filling.  You can use any kind of white fish you'd like (I used tilapia), or completely leave it out and make it a vegetarian soup.  Serve it with some nice hot rolls and bread.  Enjoy!
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1 small onion, diced
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
-4 cups chicken broth
-1/2 cup uncooked rice
-2 (6 oz each) tilapia files, cut into chunks
-2 tsp dried parsley leaves
Heat oil in large saucepan.  Add the onion and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and broth.  Simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add the rice, cover and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until rice is cooked through, stirring occasionally.  Add the fish, salt, pepper, and parsley.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!


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