Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope y'all have a wonderful Thanksgiving this year celebrating with your loved ones and remembering the many blessings in your lives.  Of course, we all need a feast on such a special day, so check out my recipes for this occasion.
Enjoy some of my appetizers, rolls, beverages, gravy, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce,  green been casseroles, side dishes, juicy and delicious turkey, and of course, my scrumptious pies.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Best Turkey Gravy

I love this gravy because is simply delicious.  It's made from the turkey drippings, which means that all of that yummy flavor from the seasoning comes with it.  It's a very simple, quick and very tasty gravy.  Enjoy!
-turkey drippings + 1/4 cup fat from the turkey pan
-1/4 cup flour
-salt and pepper, to taste.
Pour the turkey drippings (without the fat) into a large measuring cup (one of those glass ones).
Put 1/4 cup fat into a saucepan.  Add the flour and mix well. 
To the turkey drippings add enough water to make 2 cups of liquid.  Pour that over the flour mixture.  Cook, stirring frequently until thickened and bubbling.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Caldereta (Filipino Beef Stew)

This is a traditional, classic Filipino dish.  It is normally made with goat meat, but since that is hard to find, beef, pork or even chicken are good substitutes.  I chose beef for this one.  The dish is absolutely wonderful.  The meat melts in your mouth and all the flavors combine wonderfully.  It is a little soupy, but don't try top thicken it up.  Instead serve it on top of rice, which will absorb all that liquid.  Enjoy!
-1 cup vegetable oil
-4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
-3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
-2 lbs beef, cut into cubes
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 large onion, diced
-1 tsp red pepper flakes
-4 cups water
-1 cup tomato sauce
-1/2 cup liver spread (liverwurst)
-3 bay leaves
-2/3 cup green olives
-1 green bell pepper, sliced
-1 red or orange bell pepper, sliced
-salt and pepper, to taste
Heat the oil in large pot.  Add the potatoes and carrots.  Cook until lightly browned.  Remove onto plate.
Return pot to stove and add the beef.  Cook until browned on all sides.  Remove onto plate.
Return pot to stove and add the garlic and onion.  Cook for about 4 minutes.  Add the pepper flakes.  Give it a good stir.  Return the beef with all the accumulated juices to the pot.  Cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the water, tomato sauce, liver spread (make sure to break it up as much as possible) and bay leaves.  Stir to combine.  Bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Add the potatoes, carrots and green olives.  Simmer, uncovered for 5-6 minutes.  Add the bell peppers.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir well and cook for 2 more minutes.
Serve hot over rice.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Easy Shrimp Tacos with Roasted Corn Salsa

This dish can be put together in under 15 minutes!  Yes, you read that right!  Not only is it fast; it's also delicious and light, as in low in calories. :)  Win-win here!  Enjoy!
-1 cup fresh or frozen corn (NOT thawed)
-1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
-2 green onions, chopped
-3 Tbs lime juice, divided
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1 avocado, peeled and diced
-cooking spray
-14 oz medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails removed
-2 tsp honey
-1/4 cup sour cream
-6 inch corn tortillas, lightly toasted.
Preheat broiler to high.
On a baking sheet, toss the corn with the oil.  Spread evenly in single layer.  Broil for 6 minutes or until lightly browned.
Remove from the oven and place into a bowl.  Mix with the onions, 1 Tbs of the lime juice, salt, pepper and avocado.  Set aside.
In another bowl, combine the shrimp with 1 Tbs lime juice and the honey.  Mix well.
Coat a skillet with cooking spray and heat.  When hot, add the shrimp and cook until pink (about 2-3 minutes).  Remove from stove and set aside.
In another bowl, mix the sour cream with remaining Tbs of lime juice.
To assemble, fill each toasted tortilla with the corn salsa, then about 4 shrimp, then a little of the sour cream mixture.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Korean-Style Pork

This is a super delicious and easy way to cook pork!  The meat is nice and tender, full of flavor which is enhanced by the yummy and a little spicy sauce, as well as the sesame seeds.  Great dish!  I served ours with some broccoli rice and they worked perfect together.  Enjoy!
For marinade:
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-1 Tbs sugar
-2 tsp sesame oil
-5 green onions
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
For sauce:
-2 Tbs Sriracha hot chili sauce
-2 tsp sesame oil
-4 tsp honey
Remaining ingredients:
-1 1/2 lbs pork, boneless and trimmed of all visible fat
-1 Tbs vegetable oil
-2 Tbs toasted sesame seeds
Combine all marinade ingredients in large container and stir until well mixed.  Cut the pork into think strips.  Place in marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Remove pork from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine all sauce ingredients and set aside.
Heat the oil in large skillet.  With a slotted spoon, scoop the pork and veggies out of marinade and place in hot oil.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and nicely browned.
To serve, place pork on top of rice (either plain or flavored), then drizzle some sauce and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.  Enjoy hot!
Adapted from a Guy Fieri recipe.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli

Yes, Chinese food in the crockpot!  It doesn't get any easier than this!  And it's oh, so tasty!  You have to give this one a try.  Also, I love that the frozen broccoli is added at the very end and it keeps its crunchiness.  Super delicious!  Enjoy!
-1 cup beef broth
-1/2 cup soy sauce
-1/3 cup brown sugar
-1 Tbs sesame oil
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1 lb beef, cut into thin strips
-2 Tbs cornstarch
-14 oz frozen broccoli florets (kept frozen)
-cooked rice, for serving
In your slow cooker, combine the broth, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and garlic.  Mix well.  Add the beef and stir to coat evenly.  Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
Scoop up about 1 cup liquid from the crockpot and mix it with the cornstarch until smooth.  Add it to the beef.  Also add the frozen broccoli.  Give it a good stir, cover and cook on low for 30 minutes.
Serve over cooked rice.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Baked Reuben Casserole

This dish definitely qualifies as soul food!  It seriously comforts you!  I cannot express in words how delicious this is.  It's like a Reuben sandwich, but better.  You can use either corned beef or pastrami.  Both work just fine.  To that you add the rye bread, of course, and sauerkraut and pickles and cheese and the sauce.  Oh, delicious, delicious!  Enjoy!
-6 slices dark rye bread, divided
-12 oz thinly sliced corned beef or pastrami (or both combined)
-1 cup sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
-3/4 cup dill pickles, sliced
-1 lb Swiss cheese, shredded
-3 eggs
-1 cup milk
-1/4 cup yellow mustard
-1/4 cup creamy Thousand Island dressing
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Coat a 9x13 baking dish with butter flavored cooking spray.
Cut 4 slices of the bread into cubes and layer on bottom of baking dish.  Cover with half of the meat.  Top in the following order with sauerkraut, pickles, half the cheese, remaining meat and remaining cheese.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs.  Add the milk, mustard and dressing.  Mix very well, then pour all over casserole.
Using a food processor, process the remaining 2 slices of bread until fine crumbs result.  Sprinkle them all over casserole.
Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Green Beans with Roasted Almonds

I had a few frozen green beans that I needed to use.  I thought this would be a quick and tasty way to fix them.  We loved them!  Enjoy!
-1 cup frozen green beans
-salt and pepper
-1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
-2 Tbs roasted almonds
Bring some salted water to a boil.  Dump the green beans and cook for 4 minutes.  Drain.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss with the oil and almonds.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Roasted Marinated Rock Cornish Hens

Cooking Cornish hens has been on my list for a while now, but I always hesitated at the last second for some reason or another.  And I really don't know why, because you can find them in any grocery store and they're quite inexpensive.  So I didn't really have a reason.  Anyway, last week I finally picked up some from the store and I made them for our Sunday dinner.  This is an easy recipe, but you need to remember to defrost the hens a day in advance as they need to marinate for a while.  Enjoy!
-3 rock Cornish hens, split in half
-1/3 cup soy sauce
-1/4 cup vegetable oil
-3 cloves garlic, peeled
-2 Tbs toasted sesame seeds
-2 tsp ground ginger
-1 Tbs brown sugar
-3 Tbs lime juice
Poke the hen halves with the fork.  Place them in a resealable plastic bag.
Mix the remaining ingredients in a blender and combine until smooth.  Pour over hens, seal the bag and refrigerate for 6-24 hours, turning occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.  
Place the hen halves into baking dish.  Pour marinade on top.  Roast in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until beautifully browned, basting with the marinade occasionally.
Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Need I say more?  This is like pumpkin pie in a cupcake!  Super, extra delicious!  Enjoy!
For cupcakes (yields about 30 regular cupcakes):
-2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup brown sugar
-4 eggs
-2 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking soda
-2 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-3 cups flour
-1 cup milk
-15 oz canned pumpkin
For frosting:
-1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
-8 oz cream cheese, softened
-4 cups powder sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line your muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.
In your mixer's bowl, start making the cupcakes by creaming the butter with both sugars.  When nice and smooth, add the eggs, one at the time, mixing well after each of them.  Add the baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.  Mix well.  Add 1 1/2 cups flour and milk.  Mix well.  Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour.  Once well mixed, stir in the pumpkin.  Mix well.
Scoop batter into prepared pans, filling each liner about 2/3 full.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 15 minutes.  Remove onto wire racks and let cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the frosting by creaming the butter and cream cheese.  Add the powder sugar, one cup at a time.  Mix well.  Add the vanilla and cinnamon and mix well.  Frost the cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Slow Cooker Jambalaya and Meal Planning

I want to share my meal planning with you today, because I've been doing it for years and it works.  We are a large family and on a very tight budget.  I started doing this a long time ago, when my first child was a tiny little toddler.  I plan my meals weekly and make my shopping list, to which I stick.  It saves us a lot of money and we get to enjoy wonderful meals from scratch.  Of course we eat out once in a while too!  But it's usually fast food stuff which is not the healthiest and it costs a lot.  So here's an example of my meal calendar that I place on the fridge each week.  There's nothing fancy about it, but it works for us (sorry for my horrible hand writing).
Mu husband and kids get to choose some meals occasionally too, but they usually leave it up to me to choose, so I have fun experimenting. :)
Now I want you to tell me what works for you?  How do you plan your meals?  I'm excited to hear what you have to say about this.  Thanks in advance!
Now on to our recipe for today: jambalaya in the slow cooker!  Yum!  It's super easy and delicious.  I love how the flavors come together and basically zero effort on my part.  That's the kind of meal I love. :)  Make sure to have some cooked rice to serve it with.  Enjoy!
-1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, with the juice
-2 cups chicken broth
-1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
-2 green pepper, seeded and chopped
-1 onion, chopped
-5 garlic cloves, minced
-1 Tbs dried parsley flakes
-1 1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
-1 1/4 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
-1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
-2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut into chunks
-1 lb Polska Kielbasa, halved and sliced
-12 oz raw medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails removed
-cooked rice
Place tomatoes with their juice, broth and tomato paste in the slow cooker.  Mix until well combined.  Add the green pepper, onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt, cayenne and hot sauce.  Mix well.  Add the chicken and sausage.  Give it a good stir, cover and cook on low for 4 hours.  Stir in the shrimp and cook on low for 15-30 more minutes or until shrimp is nice and pink.
Serve over cooked rice.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cherry-Stuffed Grilled Chicken

The weather's been quite nice around here and I thought of getting one more use out of our grill. :)  Good thing, because I just made this last night, then we woke up to snow this morning!  Crazy weather!  Anyway, this recipe is simple and great because you can use frozen cherries instead of fresh ones and still get that nice sweetness.  The flavors are not overpowering, but they do blend quite nicely.  Enjoy!
-3/4 cup fresh or frozen cherries, pitted (and thawed, if frozen)
-2 Tbs chopped onion
-1/2 tsp rubbed sage (found in the spices isle)
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
-2 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless
-3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
-2 Tbs white wine vinegar
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
Roughly chop the cherries and combine with onion, sage, salt, and thyme.  Mix well.
Cut a pocket on the thicker side of each chicken breast.  Season lightly with some salt on both sides.  Stuff each pocket with the cherry mixture.  Close opening with toothpicks.  Place chicken in nonreactive pan.
In a small bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients. Mix very well, and pour over chicken.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove chicken from marinade and grill until cooked through.  Enjoy!


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