Monday, August 31, 2009

Corny Polenta

Food Network's Rachel Ray

2 ears of fresh corn on the cob or 1 cup frozen kernels of corn, defrosted
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3-4 scallions finely chopped
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons hot sauce (or to taste)
Kosher salt
Scrap the corn from the cob using a sharp knife ( I put my corn in the middle of a bunt cake pan and allow the kernels to fall into the pan)
Heat the extra virgin olive oil to medium/high heat in a medium size sauce pan. Heat the corn until it starts to brown on the edges (3-4 min.) Add the scallions and cook 1 min. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and cook until thick. (2-3 min.) Stir in the butter and hot sauce to taste. Transfer to serving bowl and serve or place in a 12" X 13" pan and place in refrigerator to get solid. Cut into squares and fry in butter when ready to use. I like to serve mine with marinara sauce.

Chicken with Mustard and Garlic-Butter Sauce

This recipe came from The New Best Recipe by Cook's Illustrated

2 chicken breasts
1 beaten egg
bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil and 2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Salt and pepper the chicken breast. Make 3 separate pans with the following 3 ingredients. 1) flour 2) 1 beaten egg 3) bread crumbs. First, place the chicken breast in the pan with flour and dust both sides. Remove from flour pan and place the chicken in the beaten egg mixture. Remove from pan and place in the bread crumbs. Remove from bread crumbs. Heat the olive oil and butter to medium/high heat in a non-stick skillet. Place the chicken breast in the skillet and cook 4-5 min. on each side. Remove from skillet to a warm plate. I zested a whole lemon over the top of each chicken breast. It just added a bit of freshness that I really liked. Keep warm in a 200 degree oven tented with foil or serve immediately.
Mustard-Garlic Butter with Thyme
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
ground black pepper
Mash all of the ingredients, inclucing pepper to taste, together in a small bowl. Serve over chicken. A side of polenta with marinara sauce is what I will serve with this dish. Recipe for polenta will follow.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chocolate Pie

When we lived in Houston and were just starting Heritage Park Baptist Church, we were meeting with First Baptist Friendswood until our building was finished.  I met a sweet lady who gave me this recipe. I have used it for 35 years because I have never found a chocolate pie recipe that I like better.

Chocolate Pie
3 Tablespoons cocoa
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
6 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cook above ingredients in a double boiler and stir constantly until thick.
Pour 1/2 of this mixture in a bowl and add 1 beaten egg, 2 Tablespoons butter, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Mix well. Pour back in double boiler and cook 2 min. Pour in a cooked pie shell. Cool and top with whipped topping.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hawaiian Kabobs

Tonight I will have Jud cook some hamburger patties along with the chicken kabobs. When Jud grills, I usually have him grill for another meal at the same time. No need to start the grill twice when once will do. I put the pork tenderloin in a marinade this morning. When we get ready to grill we don't do it like the recipe says. We found that if we put things on the skewer that have similar cooking times it works best. Before putting the vegetables on the skewers, coat with extra virgin olive oil. Then put the meat on one, the tomatoes, pineapple, and mushrooms on another, the peppers and onions on the last. I am serving roasted potatoes and some fried okra for the side dishes.
Hawaiian Kabobs
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1/4 cup oil
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast cut in cubes
1 cup unsweet pineapple chunks
1 green pepper cut in cubes
12 medium mushrooms
12 cherry tomatoes
onion cut in chunks
Combine 1st 8 ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 min. let cool. Pour mixture into a shallow dish and add chicken cubes. Marinate 1 hour. Put last 5 ingredients on a skewer and grill 20 min. or until veg. or soft.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mixed Greens with Hearts of Palm and More

Tonight, I'm bringing back the Chicken Casserole and serving it in the puff pastry shells for the main dish.

Mixed greens for 4
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, quartered
1/2 cup Hearts of Palm, sliced
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons basil, fresh, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Dressing: Add vinegar and garlic to the fod processor or blender. With the processor running, drizzle in the oil. Add the basil, salt, and pepper. Pulse a few times.
Salad: Arrange the greens on a medium platter. Place the artichokes and hearts of palm on the salad. Ladle on the dressing. Garnish wth the toasted pine nuts.

Roasted Asparagus:
This is a favorite of ours. Bend the asparagus at the end to tell how much of the stem you need to cut-off. At a farmers market in Oregon this Summer, I talked to a man who grew asparagus. He said that he only cuts off about 1/8 inch of the asparagus and peels the bottom 1/4 of the asparagus. He likes to eat all of it. I have tried this, and I prefer to pop off the large end of the asparagus.

Place the asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle on extra virgin olive oil and use your hands to make sure all of the asparagus is covered. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and peper. Bake 400 degrees for abot 15 min.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Quick Focaccia

Jud is such a sucker for cupons. He was looking through the coupons for Costco and found a tomato basil soup that was already made and there was a coupon for $2.00 off. We bought it and I made this focaccia bread to go with it for lunch yesterday. It is a wonderful recipe. You can use almost any herbs that you have on hand. I didn't have any parmesan cheese and it worked fine with the soup.

3/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 quarter ounce package (2 1/2 teaspoons) yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
1 Tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons chopped fresh romemary leaves
Coarse salt to taste
Lightly grease a baking pan, 13" X 9". In a bowl stir together water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 min. In another bowl stir together flour and table salt. Gradually stir into yeast mixture until mixture forms a soft dough. On a lightly floured work surface with floured hands, knead dough 5 min. or until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball. Invert bowl over dough and let rest 10 min. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 13" X 9" rectangle and transfer to the baking pan, pressing into corners. Let dough rise, covered loosely with clean towel, in a warm place 30 min.. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle dough with parmesan, rosemary, coarse salt, and pepper to taste. Press indentations about 1/4 inch deep and 1 inch apart all over the dough with lightly oiled fingertips ( I use olive oil) and bake focaccia in middle of oven 20 min. or until golden. Cool focaccia in pan on a rack.

Today (Nov.13,2009) I used the focaccia bread to make a chicken/pesto pizza.  After baking the focaccia bread , I let it cool a little and then spread it with pesto sauce and topped with baked chicken and mozorella cheese. It was awesome.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Chicken Casserole

6 chicken breasts (I'm using a whole chicken)
1 medium onion
1 medium jar mushrooms, chopped (I'm using fresh)
1/4 stick butter
2 cans cream of chicken or mushroom soup (I'm using one can)
3/4 can evaporated milk (I will use the whole can or enough to make it the consistency I want)
1/2 pound cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon tobasco sauce
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
1 jar pimientos
1/2 cup chopped almonds
Boil chicken and debone. Saute onion and mushrooms in butter. Add remaining ingredients except almonds. Simmer until cheese melts: Pour over chicken in a 9" X 13" casserole pan. Top with almonds. Bake 350 degrees until warm. Serve in Patty shells or over rice. I will probably do it one way tonight and the other way later in the week. It will make plenty.

The best Blueberry Muffins

I am going with my hiking budies for an outing next week and decided to make these wonderful blueberry muffins for breakfast or snacking. I found blueberries on sale, and couldn't resist.
Didn't have a picture the first time I made them, but this time, in Oregon where the blueberries are plentiful, I snapped a picture. 

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar, or slightly less depending on tartness of blueberries
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups blueberries (mash 1/2 cut with a fork)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 12 regular muffin cups, including the area between each cup, or use foil baking cups. (I spray my baking cups with cooking spray)
In a medium-size bowl, beat butter until creamy. Beat in the sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla,baking powder, and salt. Mix mashed berries into batter.
Fold in 1/2 the flour with a spatula, then 1/2 the milk. Add remaining flour and milk. Fold in remaining blueberries. Scoop batter into muffin cups. Sprinkle with nutmeg sugar and bake 25-30 min. or until golden brown. Let muffins cool at least 30 min. in the pan before removing.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lip Smackin' Trail Mix

I make this as a granola w/o the dried fruit. I serve it with flavored yogurt for breakfast. When I need a trail mix for my hikking buddies, I add the dried fruit.

Everytime I make anything with sunflower seeds, I think of my mom. One day she was making a slaw recipe that my sister-in-law gave her. Yes, you guessed it, she added the whole sunflower in the shell. She sent it with my grandmother for one of her Eastern Star occasions. Grandma reported that almost no one took any and those that did were pushing the sunflower seeds out. She tasted it and knew why, but she still didn't know what she did wrong. We never left her forget to only use the meat. I still like that story. It makes me remember that my mom didn't mind laughing at herself. She told the story as often as we did.
2 cups granola
3/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 (3 1/2 ounce) can flaked coconut (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (meat only)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 (14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup canola or veg. oil

If as a trail mix
1 cup banana chips
1/2 cup dark or golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the banana chips, raisins, cherries, and apricots. Mix well. Spread evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Bake 40-45 minutes stirring every 15 min. Remove from oven and stir in dried fruit if making trail mix. Cool and store.

Orange Yogurt
4 cups plain yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 good honey
1 orange, zested
1/2 to 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Place yogurt in a medium bowl and stir in vanilla, honey, and orange zest. Thin with orange juice until it is the desired consistency. Serve over granola for breakfast.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Chili-Cheese Beef Steak

3 Tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup diced onion
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 pounds round steak
1/4 cup canola oil
14 oz. cheddar cheese
1 can tomatoes
Combine flour, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Coat meat with this mixture and brown on both sides. Remove meat. Saute onions and stir in remaining flour mixture. In a casserole dish, spoon in onion mixture and arrange meat on top. Add diced tomatoes. Cover with foil and bake 350 degrees 1 1/2 hour. Sprinkle wth chesses and bake 5 min. longer to melt the cheese.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hazelnut Crunch Cake w/ Mascarpone and Chocolate

We had quiche left-over so no need to cook tonight. So I decided to make this fairly labor intensive cake. Hope it is worth the calories and labor. I'll let you know after dinner. Oh, my gosh, this is so worth the calories. This may well become my favorite cake until I try a new one.
Ingredients: Cake
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 (8") cake pans. Prepare the cake mix according to package instructions. Divide the batter between the 2 cake pans and bake according to package instructions. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
For the Crunch:
Place the toasted nuts close together in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir the sugar mixture until dissolved. Bring to a boil and let cook until the sugar is light brown, about 8 min. Let the bubbles subside then pour the caramelized sugar over the nuts. Place the baking sheet in he refrigerator and let the sugar/nut mixture cool until hard, about 30 min. When the sugar nut mixture is hard and cool, top with another piece of parchment paper and pound into small pieces, or place the sugar/nut mixture on a cutting board and cut into small pieces. Set aside.
For the filling:
Put the mascarpone cheese, cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla into a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer whip the cream mixture to soft peaks. Fold the crunch mixture into the whipped cream.
For the topping:
Place the chocolate chips, sugar, and zest in a blender or food processor. Process the mixture until the chocolate is finely ground.
To assemble the cake:
Put first layer on a serving plate. Top with 1 inch of whipped cream/crunch mixture. Top with second layer of cake and continue frosting the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream/crunch mixture. Sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with the ground chocolate.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


This recipe is so versatile.  I make this often because you can pretty-much use any meet or cheese that you like.  This is from Dan Rivers Cookbook
1 1/2 cups milk (I used some cream and milk because I had it)
2 eggs
8 oz. cheddar cheese (I used mozorella and cheddar because I had it) use what you have
1 pound cooked ground meat
chopped bacon
ground sausage
chopped ham
or broccoli and corn
Mix together and bake 400 degrees 1 hour. Take it out of the oven and cool for 15 min. so it will set. I used ham today and put some asparagus in strips around the pie. It was pretty and tasted wonderful.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Spicy Shrimp Over Rice

2 pounds raw shrimp (cleaned, deveined, and head removed)

1 bunch of green onions

small amount cilantro

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 stick butter (Paula would be proud)

1/2 cup picante sauce

1 Tablespoon milk

Saute onions and garlic, in butter, add cilantro, add picante sauce, and milk. Mix well over medium heat. Add shrimp, cover and cook until shrimp is done ( about 5 min) Serve over rice.  We had some left over so the next day, I toasted some kaiser rolls with olive oil and made sandwiches out of the shrimp.  I took some of the bread out of each side of the roll to make an indention for the spicy shrimp and sauce. Delecious.

Almost Famous Frozen Yogurt

Jud and I have gotten hooked on the Orange Cup out at La Cantara. It is pretty expensive so I made a mock version that I found in the Express News of San Antonio.

2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
2 cups plain nonfat or reduced-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup superfine sugar
3 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup orange juice
Whisk both yogurts, the sugar, corn syrup, and orange juice in a bowl until combined. Pour into an ice cream maker and freezer according to manufacturer's instructions.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Holiday Pork Chops

1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground sage
4 boneless pork chops (1"thick)
3 Tablespoons dried steak seasoning
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Melt butter in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and celery. Saute' 10 minutes until vegetables are tender and liquid evaporates. Remove from heat. Stir in breadcrumbs, cranberries, and next 5 ingredients. Let stand 10 min. Pour mixture in plastic bag after 10 min. or another container. Wipe skillet clean. Cut a pocket in one side of each chop, cutting to but not through other side to form a pocket. If you put the mixture in a bag, snip one corner of the bag, and pipe breadcrumb mixture evenly into slits in port. You can also just spoon it from another container into the pocket. Sprinkle both sides of stuffed chopes with steak seasoning. Cook chops in hot oil in ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat 2-3 min. on each side or until chops are browned on both sides. Cover skillet with lid or aluminum foil and bake 350 degrees for 20-25 min or until thermometer inserted in port registers 155 degrees. Remove from oven, and let stand 5 min. or until thermometer registers 160 degrees.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Corn Omelet with Smoked Mozzarella and Basil

1 ear of corn, grilled or raw, the kernels sliced off the cob
2 eggs, beaten with 1 Tablespoon of water
a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 oz. grated low-fat smoked mozzarella cheese
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
If you are using new corn, put it in a small skillet with a few Tablespoons of water and simmer until tender and heated through. Drain, then add it to the beaten eggs and season with salt and pepper and basil. Stir in cheese. Whipe out the skillet you cooked corn in and add the olive oil. When it foams, pour in the eggs and give them a couple of quick stire around the pan. Cover with the plate you plan to eat from (it will warm it), lower the heat, and cook the eggs until pale gold on the bottom. Slide the omplet onto the plate, invert the pan over it, grasp the whole unit, and flip it over. Slide the omelet back into the pan and cook the second side just until it sets, about a min. Tip it onto your plate, and add a sliced tomato salad and serve.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

If you give a mouse a cookie

Juanita and I are taking Anthony to see "If you give a Mouse a Cookie" at Majik Theatre in San Antonio. I made these cookies to for this occasion. This is from Top Secret Recipes and is a version of Nabisco Oreo Cookies.

1 18.25 package of chocolate fudge cake mix
3 Tablespoons shortening, melted
1/2 cup cake flour, measured and sifted
1 egg
3 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons brown paste food coloring (optional)*
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 Tablespoons hot water
1. Combine the cookie ingredients in a large bowl. Add the water a little at a time until the dough forms. Cover and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
2. Prehead oven to 350 degrees
3. On a lightly floured surface roll out a portion of the dough to just under 1/16 " thick. To cut, use a lid from a spice container with a 1 1/2 " diameter. Arrange the cut dough rounds on a cookie sheet that is sprayed with a non-stick spray. Bake for 10 min. Remove wafers from the oven and cool completely.
4. As the cookies bake, make the filling by combining the filling ingredients with an electric mixer.
5. When the cookies have cooled, roll a small portion (1/4 teaspoon) of the filling into a vall (just over1/4 inch in diameter) and press it between two of the cookies. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
*If you do not use the food coloring be sure to change the amount of water added to the wafer cookies from 3 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup. The food coloring gives the cookies the dark brown, almost black color. The coloring can be found with cake decorating supplies at craft stores. I just used black food coloring from the grocery store

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Grilled Chicken and Avocado Napoleons

Lunch today was from "At Home with Giada" from the Food Network. It is delecious, but it is a 3-napkin sandwich.

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry (cut each of the 3 sections in 1/2 for two people)
kosher salt
olive oil, for drizzling
3 Tablespoons reduced fat mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
baby spinach leaves or any greens you have
I used one tomato

Place oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the pastry on the prepared baking sheets. Using the tines of a fork, prick the top of the pastry all over. Cover the pastry with parchment paper and place another baking sheet on top. Bake for 25 min. until golden brown. Remove the top baking sheets and parchment paper. Set aside to cool.
I used chicken that we had grilled the night before, but if you need to grill your chicken, then season with salt, pepper, and olive oil.. Grill chicken until it is cooked through, about 5-6 min on each side. Set aside.

In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise and cayenne pepper.

To assemble the Napoleons: Place the first pastry on a plate and put a little of the mayonnaise on the pastry. Slice the chicken breast thin.  Giada suggests cutting it diagonally into 6 slices. Place 3 slices of chicken breast on each piece of pastry. Place greens and an avocado on top. Place another puff pastry on top and repeat the layers. Top with the final piece of pastry. Enjoy!

Quiche Muffins from Guenther House

I'm not sure where I got this recipe, but it says they are from the Guenther House so I assume that it came from the Express News of San Antonio.
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2/3 cup unsalted butter
3 cups bisquick
2 1/2 cups diced ham
2 cups shredded zucchini
3/4 cup chopped green onion (with green tops)
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
3/4 cup grated swiss cheese
3/4 cup grated provolone cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (spray muffin cups or use liners sprayed with cooking spray)
2. Stir eggs, milk, butter and biscuit mix in a bowl.
3. Stir in remaining ingredients, blending throughly (batter may be refrigerated overnight in an air-tight container)
4. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups
5. Bake 25- 30 min.
6. Remove from oven; allow to cool slightly before removing from pan