Saturday, December 24, 2011

Spiced Chicken with couscous Salad

I took this picture after we had already started eating, so it didn't really turn out as good as I wanted. Stacy, Bodie, and Nicholas had dinner with us and all the adults declared it a winner.  Everytime I have couscous, I realize how much I like it.  I don't know why I don't make it more often. Maybe I 'll do better about making it in 2012.

Printable Version:
3 tablespoons olive oil
4-6oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 cup couscous
3/4 pound cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
1/4 pound snap peas, thinly sliced crosswise (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup torn fresh basil
1 lemon zested
juice of 1 lemon
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken with the paprika, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook until browned on both sides and cooked through, 6-7 minutes on each side. Transfer to a cutting board.
Meanwhile, place the couscous in a large bowl, Add 1 cup hot tap water, (I warm chicken stock on the stovetop and then add the couscous)Let sit for 5 minutes; fluff with a fork. Add the tomatoes, snap peas, basil, lemon zest and juice. and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss to combine. 
Slice the chicken and serve on top of the couscous.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Pretzel Treats

I made these treats with Anthony the other night when I was in Austin, but I didn't have my recipe and put it in a 350 degree oven. I noticed that the pretzels burned, even though I only left them in the oven long enough to melt the chocolate. When I got home, I noticed that it was suppose to be in 170 degree oven.  They are also much more festive if you buy some hugs Kisses. They are the white chocolate ones.I couldn't find them, so I bought some mini-reases chocolates. These were all I had left, when I thought to take a picture.
Printable Recipe:

bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels
Hershey's Kiss and/or Hershey's Hug
M & M candies

1. Heat the oven to 170 degrees. Set a number of bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels (one for each treat) in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then top each pretzel with an unwrapped Hershey's Kiss or Hershey's hug.

2. Bake for 4-6 minutes (the white chocolate will melt more quickly), until the chocolates feel soft when touched with a wooden spoon. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and quickly press an M & M candy into the center of each Kiss.

3. Allow the treats to cool for a few minutes, then place them in the refrigerator to set, about 10 minutes. Place handfuls of the candies in clear plastic bgs and tie on colorful ribbons for a nice gift.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Beef Brisket

Jud loves brisket and I forgot to take a picture until the next day.  This was big enough for 3 nice meals.  This is the picture of the second day.  The last day, we had beef brisket tacos.  I love it when I get 3 meals out of one preparation.

Printable Recipe:

1-2 1/2 pounds flat-cut beef brisket, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1-1/4 teaspoon salt,divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup water
4 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups pale ale
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1-2 potatoes cut in chunks (I added this)
5-7 carrots cut in chunks
6 ribs of celery cut in chunks
1 onion - quartered
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine cumin, paprika, and thyme in a small bowl; stir in 1 teaspoon salt. Rub spice mixture evenly over both sides of the brisket. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add brisket; saute 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove brisket from pan. Add beer; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add broth and garlic; return to a boil. At this point, I added the brisket and juices from the Dutch oven to a crock pot and cooked it about 7 hours on low. About 3 hours before ready to serve, I added the potatoes, carrots, and celery.   Return brisket to pan. Cover and cook at 325 degrees for 2 hours. Turn brisket over; cook an additional 2 hours. Turn brisket over, add carrots, celery, and onion; cook an additional 1 hour or until brisket is very tender..
Remove brisket and vegetables from pan using a slotted spoon. Skim fat from cooking liquid; discard fat. Bring cooking liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Place flour in a small bowl; stir in 1/2 cup water. Add flour mixture to pan, stirring until smooth; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Serve the sauce with beef and vegetables. When ready to serve, I took out about a cup of liquid and added it to a pan with 1 tablespoon of flour.  Whisk constantly until smooth. Add more liquid if needed for the consistency that you like.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

New Orleans Bean Soup

I have no idea why this is called New Orleans Bean Soup, and I don't remember where I got the recipe, but it is a winner.  Hearty and you can double or even tripple the recipe very easily.  I had made a big pot of beans last week and had some left-over. I also had about 3 cups of turkey meat left-over from Thanksgiving. I took it out of the freezer, added the onion, beans, bell pepper, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Yum!

Printable Recipe:

1 chicken
1 - 1pound can tomatoes
2 cups uncooked pinto beans
1 tablespoon salt
1 onion - quartered
1 large bell pepper
1 lemon
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Soak the bean overnight in a large pot of hot water to cut the cooking time.
In a large add 2-quarts of water along with the whole chicken, onions, and beans.  When the beans are tender add salt, green peppers, tomatoes, lemon, garlic powder, and pepper.  Simmer 40 minutes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Ultimate Oatmeal Cookie

I made 1/2 of the cookie recipe without raisins or nuts and 1/2 with nuts and cranberries. The picture is the ones with nuts and cranberries.  I have a great recipe for trail mix that I got from Claire Robinson's who hosts the show 5 Ingredient Fix. I made a big batch and used the nuts and fruit from that concoction.  This is adapted from Betty Crocker's Cookie Book.

Printable Version:

11/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 cups quick-cooking or old--fashioned oats
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup raisins, if desired -I don't like raisins in my cookies, but if you do--Go for it.

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat all ingredients except oats, flour, and raisins in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed. Stir in oats, flour, and raisins.
2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.Bake 9-11 minutes or until light brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.
When I made the Pumpkin Seed Dried Cherry Trail Mix, I didn't have enough maple syrup so the mix did not stick together like it usually does after I baked it. I probably wouldn't use this in my cookies if I had all 6 Tablespoons of the maple syrup.

Sesame Beef Stir-Fry

I just love meals that can be ready if 15 minutes.  Jud has been sick for a week and this is the first meal that he said he could actually taste something.  Serve it with some rice and another vegetable and you have a great meal.  November 2011 - Cooking Light

Printable Version:


1 tablespoon bottled minced ginger - I used fresh
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic - I used fresh
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 pound presliced stir-fry meat (I found it in a package at H.E.B. already ready to cook)
4 cups bagged baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl.
2. Heat a wok or skillet over high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 1/2 of the beef to pan, and cook for 3 minutes or until browned. Remove beef from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining beef. Add onions; cook for 1 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture; cook 1 minute. Return beef to pan; cook 1 minute. Stir in spinach, and cook 30 seconds. Top with sesame seeds.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Homemade Salami

I have been making this homemade salami for over 20 years. It is a tradition at our house.  I'm not a big fan of salami, but this homemade version is a winner. Makes great sandwiches or for an appetizer with crackers and cheese. It is so easy! You will certainly make it a family tradition if you ever try it.  The Tender Quick is a little hard to find.  Our H.E.B. doesn't carry it.  I had to get a friend in Houston buy it for me at a Kroger.

Printable Version:
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup water
2 tablespoons Tender Quick
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
Mix with hands in a large bowl and leave in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, shape into 4 loaves and bake 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees.  It doesn't get much easier than that.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Crispy Pork Medallions

When I cut into the meat, it wasn't done, so I cooked it another 8 minutes.  I am going to write the recipe like it says, but I would cook it for 16-20 minutes depending on how done you like your pork. Next time I will probably cook it closer to 20 minutes. I really liked the crispyness of the pork cooked this way.  Recipe from November 2011 - Cooking Light

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 (1pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 8 medallions.
As you can see by the picture, I didn't do this. Maybe it would have been done in 8 minutes if I had done this. 
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Rub mustard evenly over pork medallions. Combine panko, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Dredge pork in panko mixture. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oilto pan; swirl to coat. Add pork; saute 2 minutes or until golden brown. Turn pork. Place skillet in oven; bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes or until pork reaches 145 degrees. Let stand 3 minutes.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Simple, Perfect Enchiladas!

This is a really good enchilada recipe.  When I made my grocery list for the week, I forgot to put Enchilada red sauce.  I bought green sauce. It was delecious. I can't imagine the red being any better, but I will try it next time to see which I like better.  Jud was the tortilla chef. He cooked them in oil and dipped them in sauce and then I wrapped them and put them in the baking dish.  Delecious. But then, I have never made anything bad that the Pioneer Woman cooked.  This is from August 2009 - Ree Drummond- The Pioneer Woman
Printable Version:

Ingredients for the Sauce:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 can (28 oz) enchilada or red sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
For the Meat:
1-1/2 pound ground beef- I only used 1 lb. and I had some left-over for something else another night.
1 whole medium onion, finely diced I used 1/2 onion
2 can (4oz) diced green chilies I didn't use this since I used green enchilada sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Tortillas:
10 whole corn tortillas-Since is just Jud and me I used 8.
1/2 cups canola oil
To Assemble:
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped black olives
1 cup chopped green onions I didn't have any green onions. I used them all last night
1/2 cups chopped cilantro
Step #1 - The Sauce
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and flour. Whisk together to make a rough, cooking for 1 minute. Pour in the red sauce, chicken broth, cilantro, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes.
Step #2 - The Meat
Brown the meat with onions in a skillet. Drain off fat. Stir in 2 cans diced green chilies and seasoned salt. Set aside.
Step #3 - Tortillas
Heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. One by one, using tongs, fry tortillas in oil until soft, not crisp - about 10 seconds on each side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat until all tortillas have been fried.
Step #4 - Assembly
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1/2 cup of red sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Spread to even out. Dip each tortilla into red sauce, then remove to work surface. Spoon meat, a little grated cheese, a little black olives, and green onions in the center of tortilla. Roll up and place, seam down, in baking pan. Repeat until pan is filled. Pour extra red sauce over enchiladas. Top with remaining cheddar cheese. Bake 20 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle cilantro over enchiladas before serving.
Since Jud was my sou chef, I had him fry and dip the tortillas, and then I filled and wrapped them. They were a little hot to work with so frying and dipping them all like Pioneer Woman says is probably a good idea.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling

I love the lettuce wraps at P.F. Changs and so I was excited to try these from I love her blog and cook from it fairly often.  If you like lettuce wraps you must try these. It made 6 nice-size wraps for Jud and me.

Printable Version:
1 T. peanut oil or vegetable oil
2 T. minced red onion or shallots
2 T. minced garlic
2 T. grated ginger root
1-1/2pound ground turkey I used 1 pound
4 T. soy sauce
1 T. Chile Garlic Sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce (I didn't use this)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup chopped peanuts
1 head of Boston Lettuce or butter lettuce

Chop onions and set aside. Peel ginger root, then grate with the large side of a cheese grater, and chop garlic. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet, add onions and saute about 2 minutes, then add garlic and ginger root and saute about 1 minute longer.

Add ground turkey to skillet and break apart and spread out with turner, then add soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, and fish sauce. Cook until the turkey is brown and crumbling apart, and the sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. I browned the meat first and then added the soy sauce, and chili garlic sauce.

While turkey cooks, wash and chop fresh cilantro to make 1 cup. Remove the core end from lettuce, separate leaves, and wash in salad spinner and spin dry. Chop peanuts and put in a small bowl to serve at the table.

When turkey is done, add chopped cilantro and cook 1-2 minutes more. Serve filling and lettuce leaves in separate bowls, with chopped peanuts in another small bowl. Each person takes a lettuce leaf, fills with desired amount of turkey mixture, adds chopped peanuts, and then eats the mixture from the lettuce cup. She folds the lettuce cup over when she eats it, so it's kind of taco-shaped, but some people like to wrap the lettuce clear around the filling.

Cajun Shrimp and Pasta

Jud really liked this dish, but I just thought it was o.k. I probably won't make it again.
Found this in the Express News from Jan Tilley's book, Healthy Meals for Hurried Families

6 oz. whole-wheat angel hair pasta
1/4 cup butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 chopped green onion
1 1/2 teaspoons Tony Chachere's Spicy Creole Seasoning, or to taste (Next time I will probably only use 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon cracked fresh black pepper
1 cup white wine
1 cup diced plum tomatoes
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup baby spinach
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, cook for 5 minutes until almost al dente; drain.
Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic and green onion. Season with Cajun seasoning and pepper, and cook about 2 minutes. Stir in wine, tomatoes and shrimp.
Continue to cook and stir until shrimp are opaque. Mix in pasta and spinach, cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until pasta is al dente and spinach is wilted.