Monday, December 17, 2012

Pimento Cheese Dip

Ganked from Brigid on the Home on the Range blog.

1/2 package cream cheese (about 4 ounces)

1 cup grated sharp cheddar

1 cup grated Monterey Jack

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 to 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning (or mix of salt,pepper, garlic powder and a pinch of cayenne)

3 heaping tablespoons pimentos, smashed

splash of Worcestershire sauce

pinch of grated lemon zest

1 generous teaspoon finely diced sweet onion

Beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy with a small electric mixer.

Add all of the remaining ingredients and beat until well blended.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Manhattan Clam Chowder

8 pounds quahog or large cherrystone clams, scrubbed and rinsed, opened clams discarded
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
3/4 cup diced carrot

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (can be a little spicy, could cut to 1/4 tsp)

1 1/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 cup chicken stock
3 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes or
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, chopped and juices reserved
1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper (not really needed, with the red crushed pepper)


 In a large stockpot bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add clams, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, quickly stir clams well with a wooden spoon, and recover. Allow clams to cook 5 to 10 minutes longer (this will depend on the type and size of clams you are using), or until most of the clams are opened. Transfer clams to a large bowl or baking dish and strain broth through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl. (You should have about 6 cups of clam broth. If not, add enough water to bring the volume up to 6 cups.) When clams are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Set clams and broth aside. In a large heavy pot add bacon and render until golden and crispy. Pour off all fat except 4 tablespoons. Add onions, celery, bell pepper and carrots and cook for 10 minutes, until vegetables are softened. Do not allow to color. Add garlic, bay leaves, oregano, thyme and crushed red pepper and cook an additional 2 minutes. Increase heat to high and add potatoes, reserved clam broth, and chicken stock and bring to a boil, covered. Cook for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and the broth has thickened somewhat. Add tomatoes and continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add reserved clams and parsley and season with pepper and salt, if necessary. Allow chowder to sit for up to 1 hour to allow flavors to meld, then reheat slowly over low fire if necessary. Do not allow to boil.

Creamy Broccoli Soup

Ganked from the Kraft Velveeta Cheese box - copyright Kraft Foods 2012 1/4 cup chopped onions 1 tbs butter or margarine 1 tbs flour 2 cups milk 4 oz. cream cheese, cubed 1/2 lb Velveeta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 1 pkg (10 oz.) frozen chopped broccoli, cooked, drained 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 1/8 tsp pepper Cook & stir onions in butter in medium saucepan on medium-high heat 3 to 5 min. or until onions are crisp-tender. Whisk in flour until well blended. Add milk, cook and stir on medium heat 2 min., stirring occasionally. Add cream cheese, cook and stir 2 to 3 min. or until melted. Stir in remaining ingredients, cook 5 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally. This is absolutley delicious! One could improve it by using fresh steamed broccoli instead in my opinion, and perhaps a dash more pepper (I used white pepper to blend with the light color of the soup).

Monday, November 19, 2012


Ganked from
  1. Apple sauce for oil.  To lighten up a baked goods recipe, substitute 1 cup of applesauce for 1 cup of vegetable oil. The end product ends up very moist and you cannot detect the apple flavor.
  2. Sour milk for buttermilk.  Many times people don’t have buttermilk in the house when a recipe calls for it.  Instead of running to the store to buy buttermilk, try using 1 cup of sour milk in its place. You can make sour milk easily by mixing 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar with enough regular milk to make 1 cup.
  3. All-purpose flour and baking soda for self-rising flour.  Self-rising flour isn’t something that most people keep on hand, but if you find a recipe that calls for it you can substitute all-purpose flour mixed with baking soda.  For 1 cup of self-rising flour you will need to substitute 7/8 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder, and ½ teaspoon of salt.
  4. Milk plus butter for half and half.  Half and half is a rich cream and shows up in both sweet and savory dishes.  If you don’t have any half and half on hand you can substitute 7/8 cup of whole milk and 1 tablespoon of butter for 1 cup of half and half.
  5. Baking soda and cream of tartar for baking powder.  If you’ve run out of baking powder and you are wondering if you can just substitute straight baking soda the answer is no.  However, you can substitute cream of tartar mixed with baking soda for baking powder.  For 1 teaspoon of baking powder substitute ¼ teaspoon of baking soda and ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar.
  6. Plain yogurt in place of mayonnaise.  Another way to lighten up a dish is to substitute plain yogurt for mayonnaise.  The substitution is 1 for 1, 1 cup of plain yogurt for 1 cup of full fat mayonnaise.  You will lose a bit of the mayonnaise flavor, but the dish will be a lot healthier.  You can also substitute 1 cup of sour cream if you don’t have yogurt.
  7. Sour cream for yogurt.  Plain yogurt has a tangy flavor and shows up in a lot of lower calorie recipes, but what if you don’t have any yogurt and you still want to make the dish?  You can substitute sour cream in a 1:1 ratio for the yogurt.  The tangy flavor will be the same, but the fat content of the recipe will increase.  The recipe will also taste a lot richer with the sour cream over the yogurt.
  8. Cocoa and shortening for unsweetened chocolate.  If you come across a recipe that calls for unsweetened chocolate, but you don’t have any in the house, there is a solution.  For each ounce of unsweetened baking chocolate called for in the recipe you can substitute 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa and 1 tablespoon of shortening for vegetable oil.  Problem solved.
  9. Lemon juice for cream of tartar.  Not a lot of recipes call for cream of tartar, but when they do you really need it.  Many times cream of tartar is used to stabilize egg whites when you are beating them.  If you don’t have any cream of tartar you can substitute 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or vinegar for every teaspoon of cream of tartar that you need in the recipe.
  10. Mayonnaise for an egg.  Eggs are binders in recipes as a rule, so if you don’t have any eggs and you are looking for a substitution you can use mayonnaise.  For 1 egg you can substitute 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise or half a banana with ½ teaspoon of baking powder.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ranchero Sauce

•2 tablespoons cooking oil
•1/4 cup of chopped onion
•2 cloves of garlic, chopped
•1 serrano or jalapeno chile, seeded and diced
•3 cups diced tomatoes.
•1 tablespoon oregano
•1/2 teaspoon ground chile
1 tsp taco seasoning
•Salt to taste

Friday, August 3, 2012

Doomsday Peppers

Ganked from one of my blog forays...can't recall whom.

Doomsday Peppers are a mildly zesty cheese-stuffed pepper that makes a good side dish for a variety of grilled meats.

These are some colorful miniature sweet peppers. I washed them, cut off the tops, and yanked the seeds out.

The peppers are stuffed with white cheddar cheese coated with onion powder, chili powder and/or cayenne pepper, and chives. A variety of firm cheeses are good candidates for this recipe.

Baked in oven. 400 degrees. I'll have to say "until done" since I didn't time it, and I was making other food items at the same time. Items with bacon, so I was understandably distracted. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

15 oz garbanzo beans
6 oz roasted red pepper
1/4 C lemon juics
1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

In a small pan, cook beans over medium heat for 10 minutes. Place beans and all other ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy with crackers, cut vegetables or pita.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Roux proportions

1 tbsp oil/butter (2 oz.)
1 tbsp flour (2 oz.)
1 cup stock (8 oz.)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Baked Sausage Tip

During the years I spent in the restaurant business, I often had to prep large amounts of bacon or sausage links at one time. We would lay them out on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for varying amounts of time, depending on whether we needed them fully cooked, or merely blanched so that they would finish cooking more quickly for short orders.

At home, I use the same technique to cook bacon or sausage for breakfast. It's quick, reliable, doesn't leave grease spatters on my cooktop, and doesn't tie up a burner that I want to use while cooking eggs. There's some debate among purists about whether bacon tastes the same baked, as grilled or fried, and the only difference I can think of is that the sugar cure in bacon is more likely to get caramelized at high heat when frying it in a pan, thus the difference. But, I digress.

In the restaurants, we used unlined baking sheets, as we had dishwashers and potscrubbers to clean up the mess afterwards, but at home I have to clean the pans myself (or my lovely wife does), so I like to line the pan with a foil sheet before baking - just throw the foil away when you're done, and there's no baked-on gunk on the pan to scrub.

This works great for bacon, but for link sausage, the links often get stuck to the foil sheet. Just this morning, though, I finally tried a little trick - spraying the foil with Pam cooking spray before I put the links down on it.

It worked like a dream, the links didn't stick, and they came right off the foil when it was all cooked. Hope this tip is good for you, too.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tangy Ranch Chicken

Found this one in the newspaper coupon flyer, from French's (the mustard people), and tried it out. Really good.
2/3 c ranch dressing
1/3 cup French's classic yellow mustard (I used the fancier French's variety)
3 tbs brown sugar
6 oz. boneless chicken breasts (used two nice large breasts, I think 6 oz is a little low for dinner for two)
Mix: Salad dressing, mustard and sugar. Pour 1/2 cup sauce into serving bowl (two dipping cups worked well)
Coat chicken with remaining sauce in greased baking dish
Bake chicken at 350 for 25 min. until cooked.
Serve with reserved sauce.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

McGarvey's Sauerkraut Balls

Here, courtesy of Shelley Solomon Prueter (daughter of McGarvey's owner Eddie Solomon), is THE recipe for McGarvey's Famous Sauerkraut Balls.

½ lb Pork
½ lb Ham
½ lb Corned Beef
2 lbs Sauerkraut
1 tsp Dry Mustard
1 small Onion
1 pinch Parsley
2 cups Flour
2 cups of milk

Grind together meat, onion and parsley. Brown in a skillet.

Add flour, milk and mustard. Cook until fluffy. Cool.

Add sauerkraut, grind again. Roll in flour, then dip in egg and roll in fresh bread crumbs. Deep fry until dark brown.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Original Chex Party Mix

Ganked off of the Wheat Chex box:
3 cups Corn Chex
3 cups Rice Chex
3 cups Wheat Chex
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup bite-sized pretzels
1 cup bite-sized bagel chips (garlic flavor)
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

In large microwaveable bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips; set aside. In small microwaveable bowl, microwaver butter on high until melted. Stir in seasonings. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.
Microwave on high 5 to 6 minutes (or bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes), thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hot Buttered Rum Mix

1 stick butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of cloves
dash of vanilla extract

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Clam Dip by Faye Fowler

2 pkgs cream cheese
1 can minced clams
1 tbsp minced onion

Mix above ingredients - add garlic salt to taste. Mix with Mayonaisse until consistency desired. Serve with chips.

Creamy Potato Salad by Terry Mattison

6 medium potatos (2 lbs) biled for 25-30 minutes
1 cup thin-sliced celery
1/2 cup thin-sliced onion
1/3 cup chopped sweet pickles
1-1/4 cup may or salad dressing
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp celery seed
2 tsp vinegar
2 tsp prepared mustard
1-1/2 tsp salt
2 hard boiled eggs, coarsely chopped

Mix all ingredients and serve, makes 8 servings.

Mee Krob (Thai crisp fried noodles)

2 bundles rice vermicelli
Oil for deep frying
1 chopped onion
5 chopped garlic cloves
1/2 lb pork fillet, sliced
1 chicken breast, sliced into thin strips
6 shiitake mushrooms, soaked and sliced
2 fresh chilies, sliced
3 tbs soy sauce
juice from 2 limes
2 tbs rice vinegar
4 tbs brown sugar
3 tbs fish sauce
3tbs small shrimp
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup bean sprouts
6  green onions, finely choppped
4 tbs cilantro, chopped
optional: crab meat, bean curd, dried shrimp

Tear noodles into handfull-sized bunches (inside a large shopping bag to avoid a mess). Heat oil and fry the noodles in a wok until they puff up. Flip over for a few seconds. Do this by bunches and drain in bag.

Pour off oil, leaving 6 tbs in wok. Fry the onions and garlic lightly.

Add pork and cook it through. Add chicken and fry till it turns white. PUt in mushrooms and chilies and reduce heat. In a bowl, combine soy sauce, lime juice, vinegar, sugar and fish sauce. Add to wok and simmer until liquid is reduced by half and starting to turn syrupy. Add shrimp and cook for 1 minute. Push contents of wok to the sides and pour beaten egss into center of wok. Let set for aminute then stir and add the bean sprouts and drained noodles. Toss lightly (the noodles are fragile) to mix ingredients and then let heat through.
Transfer to serving platter and garnish with Cilantro and green onions.


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cup coarsely chopped onions
1/2 lb frozen bell pepper stir fry mix
4 garlic cloves
2 large bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil, crumbled
28 oz can crushed tomatos
2 15 oz jars chunky salsa
2 8 oz bottles clam juice
1 cup dry white wine
1 lb boned and skinned halibut, haddock or cod
1 lb shelled and deveined medium-sized shrimp and lump crab or sea scallops

Heat oil in large kettle over moderately high heat 2 minutes. Add onions, stir-fry mix, garlic, bay leaves, oregano and basil and cook, stirring often until onions are golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add tomatoes, salsa, clam juice, and wine, bring to simering, adjust heat so mixture bubbles gently, and cook uncovered about 20 minutes.
Add halibut and shrimp and cook uncovered until shrimp turn pink and fish almost flakes, about 5 minutes
Remove bay leaves, season to taste with salt & pepper, then serve with rough country bread.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Spaghetti alle Vongole - Parade Magazine April 10, 2011

48 Manila (or littleneck) clams
9 oz. spaghetti
2 garlic cloves
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of crushed red peppers
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tbsp fresh parsley, coarsely chopped

1. Wash clams carefully.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook about 8 minutes, until it's al dente. Drain but do not rinse.
3. In a large pan, saute garlic in 3 tbsp olive oil over medium high  heat until translucent. Add clams, season with salt and crushed red pepper.
4. Add white wine; cook over medium high heat about 5 minutes, or until clams steam open and liquid is reduced by half.
5. Add cherry tomatoes; cook until soft.
6. Gently toss with cooked pasta; add parsley and drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil.
Serve immediately.

Macaroni Salad - Parade magazine 4/17/11

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp pepper, divided
2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked
3 scallions, chopped fine
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
4 oz. smoked mozzarella, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 tsp dried or 1 tbsp fresh oregano

1. For dressing, combine oil, lemon juice, and half the salt & pepper in a small bowl. Whisk well, set aside.
2. In a large serving bowl, combine remaining ingredients; season with rest of salt & pepper.
3. Toss salad with dressing, serve cold or at room temperature.

Salmon Spread

3 oz. cream cheese
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp minced onion
1 tsp parsley
2 tbsp mayo
8 slices smoked salmon
optional - 1/2 tsp horseradish

Mix well. Serve with bread or crackers

Meatball Minestrone Soup

32 meatballs
6 cups chicken stock
19 oz can italian stewed tomatos
1 cup small pasta, cooked
1 large carrot, sliced
2 medium zuccini, sliced
1 cup peas
19 oz kidney beans, drained and rinsed
10 oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 tbsp italian seasoning

Combine stock and tomatoes with juice in large saucepan, break up tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add pasta and carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until pasta and vegetables are tender.

Carrot Chowder by Granny

1 lb ground beef
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup diced green pepper
4 cups tomato juice
1 1/2 cups water
2 cans cream of celery soup
2 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp garlic salt or 3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp ground marjoram
8-10 slices processed swiss cheese

In large soup pot, brown beef & drain fat. Add salt, celery, onion & green pepper. Cvoer and simmer over low heat about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add remaining ingredients excpet cheese. Heat & simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. To serve, place a slice of cheese in each soup bowl before spooning in soup.
Server 8-10.

Pennsylvania Dutch Salad by Helen Kramer

Drain #2 can of small peas and add one 2 oz. bottle of green stuffed olives, sliced. Make dressing of 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup vinegar. Bring to boil - add 1 tbsp flour mixed with 1 egg. Cook until thickened. Pour over peas and olives, 1/2 cup whole kernel corn and some red chopped pepper.

Pennsylvania Dutch Hot Potato Salad

Boil 5 medium sized potatoes. Mash and add one cube butter. Saute 1 med. chopped onion in 1 tbsp butter and 1/2 tsp salt. Add 1/2 cup water and heat. Add this mixture to potatoes and mix well. Pour into greased casserole and bake for 20 minutes in 250 degree oven.
Sliced cheese may be baked on top and diced celery may be added to mixture.

Shrimp Paella

4 tbsp olive oil
1 diced onion
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp leafy thyme
1 14 oz can diced tomatos
1 8 oz. bottle clam juice
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp paprika
1 bag arborio rice (12 oz.)
1 tsp leafy oregano
24 large shrimp, pre-cooked
2 scallions, diced

Heat 3 tbsp oil in large skillet. Saute onions, garlic and thyme 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, clam juice, stock, pepper, and paprika. Stir in rice and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook uncovered 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Saute shrimp in 1 tbsp oil and oregano 3 minutes. Place shrimp and scallions over rice and serve with salt & pepper.

Hawaiian Party Meatballs

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tbsp minced onion
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 can pineapple tidbits
1/3 cup chili sauce
2/3 cup currant jelly
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp corn starch
1/4 cup green onion, minced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, minced?

Mix first 9 ingredients in a bowl, then form approximately 40 meatballs. Brown meatballs in the oil, then simmer in a pot of water 10 minutes. Drain. Drain pineapple bits, set aside. Heat pineapple juice, chili sauce, currant jelly, soy sauce, and vinegar together in a heavy pot. Add cornstarch and whisk constantly to thicken. Add onion, pineapple, and bell pepper and pour over meatballs.

Greek Potatoes with Dipping Sauce

Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 white onion
1 small cucumber
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
6 potatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, minced
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Quarter potatoes and microwave for 2-3 minutes. Mix other ingredients in a bowl. Arrange potatoes evenly in a baking dish and pour mixture over potatoes. Bake until crispy edges form (about 20 minutes); then spray with spray oil and broil for 5 minutes. Serve with dipping sauce.

Lemon Basil Chicken

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
8 oz. mushrooms
1 lb boneless chicken breasts (chunked)
1 tsp each, salt & pepper
1/2 cup white grape juice
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
8 roma tomatos (chunked)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (chopped)
1/4 cup Asiago cheese (grated)
1 lb penne pasta

In a large skillet brown garlic and mushrooms in oil until golden brown. Add chicken chunks, salt and pepper and cook until done, about 10 minutes. Add grape juice and simmer 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and tomatoes. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chpped fresh basil. Serve over pasta and top with grated Asiago cheese.

Pepper Crusted Salmon

4 salmon fillets (4 oz each)
1 tbsp rosemary
1 tbsp crushed sea salt
2 sun dried tomatoes
1/4 cup italian style dry bread crumbs
3 tbsp dijon mustard
1/8 cup ground pepper
2 tbsp melted butter

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Mix rosemary, sea salt, sun-dried tomato, and italian bread crumbs together. Set aside. LIne a shallow glass baking dish with foil. Place salmon, skin down, on the foil. Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on the fillets. Top with bread crumb mixture and bake for 10 minutes. Remove salmon and add crushed pepper. Drizzle with butter and return to oven for 5 minutes or until fish is flaky.


4 cups fat free Greek yogurt, strained
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large cucumber, shredded, with juice squeezed out (very important, or it becomes watery)
3 oz. olive oil
1 1/2 oz wine vinegar
pinch of salt

Mix the ingredients in a bowl and let infuse for at least two hours, preferably overnight, before serving.
Serve this Greek condiment with grilled pita, sliced tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, peppers and pork chops.

Tacos Frescos

2 tbsp canola oil
6 corn tortillas
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1 yellow squash
1 butternut squash
1 zuccini squash
1 red pepper
1 gold pepper
1 roma tomato
1 bunch cilantro
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
3 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
2 oz cotija part skim crumbling cheese

Heat 1 tbsp canola oil in frying pan and braise the tortillas until golden, but not crisp. Gold over a wooden spoon handle and set aside. Chop all of the vegetables and reserve in bowls. Add onion to pan with 1 tbsp oil. Braise veggies except tomato and cilantro until edges are crips and browned. Salt and pepper to taste. Place a slice of cheese in each tortilla, then load the tortillas with crusted vegetables. Sprinkle with cotija, cilantro and tomatoes.

Monterey Artichoke Salad

1/4 cup pine nuts
8 cups spring mix lettuce
2 roma tomatos
18 kalamata olives
1/2 cup basil leaves, cut thin
1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette
7 1/2 oz. grilled, marinated, artichoke hearts

Heat a skillet over medium heat.
Add pine nuts and toast 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
Remove to a bowl to cool.
Place first six ingredients ina  large salad bowl, and toss to coat all leaves well with dressing. Add artichoke hearts.

Reuben Dip

1 cup mayo
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. shreded swiss cheese
2 pkg (2.5 oz.) corned beef, chopped
2 cups sauerkraut, drained and chopped

Mix mayo and cream cheese, add remaining ingredients.
Spray quiche dish with Pam. Add dip.
Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes until golden.
Serve with crackers.

Taco-Pasta Salad

4 oz. uncooked rotini pasta
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp taco seasoning mix
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp salsa
2 tbsp sour cream
2 tbsp cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Prepare pasta according to its package directions
2. While the pasta is cooking, brown ground beef in a medium skillet over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain and return to skillet.
3. Add water, taco seasoning and bell pepper, simmer until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.
4. While the beef is simmering, combine salsa and sour cream in a small bowl.
5. Portion out the salsa, top with ground beef mixture, and sprinkle with the cheese and sour cream mixture.
(optionally, mix it all together and bake topped with cheese long enough to melt the cheese)

Marsha's Quick Kosher Dills

Brine: 1 qt vinegar, 3 qts water, 1 cup-salt
Boil all brine ingredients together and keep hot.
Pack cucumbers in jars.
Add to each jar:
3 garlic cloves
1 red pepper
1/2 head fresh dill
Pour brine to cover, seal jars while hot. Can be water bath processed for 20 minutes.

Jon's Commentary: If I don't feel like messing with fresh garlic cloves, I just substitute a tablespoon of minced garlic from the jars like you get at Costco. You can use a tsp of crushed red peppers instead of the whole red pepper, or substitute a sliced up jalapeno for a little more bite. I also usually cram in an extra "head" or two of dill, just because I grow it myself, have plenty to spare, and love dill-y pickles.

If you end up with extra brine, just put it in a big jar in the fridge and save it for the next batch - add to the new brine you're boiling. Or, if you, like my family, just like to make sour cucumbers by soaking them in vinegar and water overnight, perhaps with a slice or two of onion thrown in, just let the brine cool and use it for that purpose.

Also, as soon as the jars are cool to the touch, if you put them in a refrigerator and keep them chilled, you'll get much crispier pickles. The fresher the cukes, the better.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gnaw on the bone BBQ Sauce

Ganked from Home on the Range

Gnaw on the Bone Barbecue Sauce. (click on the photos to enlarge)

The recipe can be halved for smaller households.

1 extra large Walla Walla sweet onion, minced
8 cloves garlic, minced (you can used the pre-minced in the jar)
1 and 1/2 cups Bourbon (I know you're just cooking with it, but use a good quality one)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup tomato paste
2/3 cup plus 4 tablespoons (not quite a cup total) apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons liquid smoke flavoring
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon Scoville Brothers Heavy Metal Heat Hot Sauce

Directions: In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onion until it caramelizes and just starts to turn golden brown (about 5 minutes). Add in garlic and bourbon and simmer on low 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix the remaining ingredients, turn up heat just past low, towards medium and just until it comes to a slow boil (careful not to scorch as it does have a high sugar content). Reduce heat back to low and simmer for 20 minutes, again stirring occasionally.

Let it set 24 hours before serving. (Right after cooking it will be too sweet, too smoky, but after it sits - oh my, it's get your fingers out of that!) This sauce gets its complexity over time and is awesome after sitting a day. It does well on a grill as the sugars in it do this mind meld thing when exposed to flame that will have you you going back for seconds. But for winter, pour it over some ribs or chicken in a crockpot and let it cook on low all day.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cheesy Ham and Potato Casserole

1 cup cream-style cottage cheese
6 oz. Cream cheese, softened
1 T snipped chives
1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
1/2 tsp paprika
3 cups frozen loose-pack hash brown potatoes, thawed
2 cups cooked ham or turkey ham, cubed
1 cup shredeed mozzarella cheese

In a medium bowl, combine cottage cheese, cream cheese, chives, basil and paprika until well blended. In an ungreased 10x6x2 inch baking dish, place half of the hash browns. Spread cream cheese mixture on top. Sprinkle ham cubes evenly over cheese layer. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella over ham. Top with the remaining hash browns. Bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until heated through. Top with remaining mozzarella; return to oven for 2-3 minutes or until cheese melts. Makes 6-8 servings.

Reuben Casserole

1 can (1 lb., 11 oz.) sauerkraut, drained
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons Thousand Island Dressing
8 oz. Sliced corned beef, shredded
8 oz. Shredded Swiss Cheese
1 can Pillsbury Refrigerated 6 Tenderflake
Baking Powder Biscuits
2 crisp rye crackers, crushed
1/2 teaspoon caraway seed

OVEN 425degrees
Spread sauerkraut in bottom of 12x8 inch or 9" square baking dish. Top with tomato slices; dot with dressing. Cover with corned beef; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove casserole from oven. Open biscuit can; separate dough into 6 biscuits. Separate each biscuit into 3 layers; slightly overlap layers on casserole to form 2 rows on 12x8 casserole; 3 rows on 9 inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with crackers and caraway seed.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes, until biscuits are golden brown.

Tips: If desired, 6 crisp rye crackers, crushed and blended with 2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 teaspoon caraway seed may be sprinkled over the cheese instead of the biscuit topping. Garnish with parsley. To shread corned beek, cut into thin strips with kitchen shears.

Catfish Parlor's Cole Slaw

(ganked from the Austin TX Catfish Parlor - by permission)
1 Green Cabbage, shredded
1/2 to 1 large onion, sliced
1/2 large bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Salt to taste, about 1-1/2 teaspoons
Pepper to taste
Sugar to taste, 1 teaspoon or more
1 clove garlic, minced
Chopped parsley for color
Remove wilted outer leaves of cabbage
Slice cabbage and onion in long, thin pieces.
Chop cabbage core and green pepper in food processor or grinder
Combine Cabbage, onion and green pepper in large bowl and toss.
Set aside.

In a blender, food processor or by hand, mince garlic.
Add red wine vinegar, oil, pepper and salt.
Blend and pour over slaw.
Toss well.
Add sugar to taste. Amount will vary with the season and the sweetness of the cabbage.
Add chopped parsley for color.
Store slaw covered in the refrigerator for up to three days. After that, it will start turning into sauerkraut.
Makes about 1 to 1-1/2 quarts.

Bourbon Chicken

4 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/8 cup (6 tablespoons) bourbon
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Place chicken breasts in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a small bowl, combine oil, ginger, soy sauce, onion, sugar, bourbon, Dijon mustard and garlic powder. Mix together and pour mixture over chicken. Cover dish and place in refrigerator. Marinate overnight, or at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove dish from refrigerator and remove cover. Bake, basting frequently, for 1 1/2 hours or until chicken is well browned and juices run clear.