Monday, April 24, 2006

Beef & Potato Quesadillas


1 1/2 c cube-style hash brown potatoes
1 T canola or vegetable oil
3/4 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 small can tomato paste
4 8” flour tortillas
2 c shredded cheddar or jack cheese

In a medium skillet, brown the hash browns in oil. Drain on paper towels. In same skillet, crumble and brown the ground beef; drain. Stir in tomato paste, mixing well. Stir in potatoes. On a hot griddle or large skillet, place two tortillas. Spoon some of ground beef-potato mixture onto one half of each tortilla; top with grated cheese. Fold tortilla over to make half-circles. Brown gently on each side. Serve with salsa. Feeds two hungry people.

Curried Rice Pilaf

1/4 c pine nuts
2 T butter
1/2 c chopped onion
1 t curry powder
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c converted rice
2 c chicken broth
2 T orange juice concentrate
1/3 c raisins, plumped in hot water and then drained

Toast pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes until golden. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and sauté onion until softened but not brown, about 4 minutes. Add curry powder and garlic to onion, and sauté another 30 seconds. Add rice, and continue to sauté about 3 more minutes, or until rice begins to appear translucent. Add chicken broth and orange juice concentrate; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer over very low heat until all liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Add raisins and pine nuts. Fluff with a fork and serve. 4 servings.

Chicken Satay

2 t lemon zest
2 med. shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t grated gingerroot
2 t ground coriander
2 t ground cumin
1 t turmeric
1 T brown sugar
1 1 t salt
1 T soy sauce
2 t sesame oil
4 boneless chicken thighs

In a processor, combine all ingredients except chicken. Whirl to a paste. Place chicken in a marinating dish or ziploc bag and spread with paste. Marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours, up to overnight.

Return meat to room tempearature before grilling. Skewer meat; preheat grill to high. Grill skewers 2-3 minutes on each side and serve with peanut sauce. (I didn’t skewer it this time–I just cooked it on my George Foreman grill.)

Peanut Sauce:
1/3 c creamy peanut butter
1/4 c chicken broth
2 T chili paste
2 T brown sugar
2 T soy sauce
1 t grated gingerroot
1 clove garlic, minced

Place peanut butter in heavy medium saucepan. Slowly add chicken broth, then all other ingredients. Stir over medium heat until smooth and thick, about 6 minutes. Can be stored in refrigerator 3 days until ready to use. Reheat before serving.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Rustic Apple Tart

1 unbaked 9" pie crust
3 large apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 c sugar or Splenda granular
1/4 c flour
2 T butter, cut in small pieces

Preheat oven to 350˚ Lay pie crust flat on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. Toss apples with cinnamon, nutmet, sugar/Splenda, and flour. Pour into a mound on the pie crust, and shape with your hands to leave 2-3" of pie crust all the way around the apples. Gently pull the edges of the pie crust up around the apples, leaving most of the center uncovered.

Dot apples with butter. Bake for about 40 minutes. Here's what it looks like cooked:

Hearty Italian Sandwiches

2 mild/sweet link Italian sausages
3/4 lb. lean ground beef
1 med. onion, thinly sliced
1 large green or red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large tomato diced (or about a cup of diced canned tomatoes)
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 t crushed red pepper
1 c burgundy or water
4 crusty sandwich rolls (you could use hoagie rolls, if you want)
1 c grated mozzarella cheese

Remove the sausage from its casings, and brown with the ground beef, breaking all the meat up into smaller bits. Layer half of the onion and bell pepper in the crockpot, then top with the meat. Put the rest of the onion and bell pepper on top of the meat, then the tomatoes. Sprinkle all with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook on low 6-7 hours, checking after 3-4 hours. If it appears to be drying out, add some of the wine or water.

Split the sandwich rolls, and divide the meat mixture evenly among them. Top each with 1/4 cup cheese. (I usually pop the completed sandwiches in a 350˚ oven for about 5 minutes to crisp up the rolls and melt the cheese, but it's not mandatory.
4 Servings.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Easy Pasta Salad


6 oz. rotini or elbow macaroni, cooked
1/2 of a cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/2 of a green or red bell pepper, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 c bottled Italian salad dressing

Combine all ingredients.

Baked Ham Sandwiches


1 T butter, softened
2 T mayonnaise
1 T mustard
1 T finely diced onion
2 t poppy seeds
3 hamburger buns or plain bagels (hmmm. some of the flavored bagels would be good, wouldn't they?)
3 slices cooked ham
3 slices Swiss cheese

In a small bowl, mix together the butter, mayonnaise, mustard, onion and poppy seeds. Spread on top and bottom of hamburger buns or bagels. Add a slice of ham and a slice of swiss to each, and wrap sandwiches in foil. Bake 15 minutes at 350˚. Serve hot. Makes 3

Broccoli Salad 2


2 crowns fresh broccoli, cut in bite-sized pieces
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 c seedless red grapes, sliced in half
1/4 c raisins
1/3 c diced purple onion
1/3 c pine nuts
1/3 c real bacon bits (or 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled)

1/2 c mayonnaise
1/4 c sugar or Splenda
1 T cider vinegar

Mix all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Mix dressing ingredients and toss with salad.

Cranberry-Barbecue Chicken


2-3 pounds chicken pieces (I used 3 chicken breasts)
1 can whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 c diced celery
1/2 c diced onion
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 c barbecue sauce (I used Bullseye)

Place chicken pieces in crockpot. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Cook on low 7-8 hours.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Zucchini Casserole


3 lbs. zucchini
1/4 c butter
1/2 c chopped onion
3 eggs, beaten
2 T cornstarch
5 oz. can evaporated milk
2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 T sugar or Splenda granular
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 425˚. Wash and slice zucchini and boil until tender, about 8 minutes. While squash is boiling, sauté the onion in the butter. Drain the squash well, slightly mash and mix with onion and remaining ingredients. Bake in a 12 x 7" baking dish 35-40 minutes. You could add a crumb topping of crushed Ritz crackers or saltines, mixed with a tablespoon of butter. I used 10 Ritz crackers and 1/4 cup of panko break crumbs, since that's all the crackers I had.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Breakfast Cookies


3/4 c white whole wheat flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2/3 c butter, softened
1/4 c Splenda
1/4 c Splenda brown sugar blend
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 regular oats, uncooked (can use quick-cooking, but not instant)
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c ground flaxseed
1/4 c oat bran
1/2 c real bacon bits

Combine flour, soda, and salt; mix well, and set aside. Cream butter and sugar; beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture, mixing well. Stir in oats, cheese, wheat germ, and bacon. Using hands, form dough into 1 1/2" balls. Slightly flatten them and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350F for 16-18 minutes. Cool 1 minutes on cookie sheets. Yield: 2 dozen

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Mom's Baked Beans

1 large can B & M or Bush's Boston-Style Baked Beans
1 T mustard
3 T brown sugar
2 T ketchup
1 T dried minced onion (yes, the dried stuff--if you use fresh, it doesn't cook enough and tastes too raw and onion-y)

Combine in a baking dish; cover tightly and cook at 350˚ for at least 30 minutes.

Mom's Potato Salad

1 very large russet potato or two medium ones
2 hard-boiled eggs,
3 T diced onion
4 sweet pickles, diced
2 T diced pimento
1/2 c Miracle Whip
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potato in its skin for about 25 minutes, or until knife inserted in potato goes through easily. Let cool. Peel and dice into a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir to mix. Makes about 4 servings.

Barbecue Brisket, Texas Style

Day 1: Sprinkle both sides of the brisket with garlic powder, onion powder, and celery salt. Place in a marinating dish, or a bag, or a Foodsaver marinating canister, and sprinkle with liquid smoke. This is a liquid sold under several different brand names. The one I have is called Wright's Hickory Seasoning Liquid Smoke, and comes in a 3.5 oz. bottle. Use about a third of the bottle for a 1.5 pound brisket, two thirds for a 3 pound brisket, and the whole bottle if you're doing a huge cut of meat. Seal bag or canister and marinate in the refrigerator at least overnight.

Day 2, early morning: Sprinkle brisket generously with Wocestershire sauce. For my 1.5 pound brisket, which is a small one, I used about 3 tablespoons. Place in a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for four hours at 275˚. Remove from oven, let cool for about an hour, and then place, still covered, in the refrigerator.

Day 2, 45 minutes before you want to eat: Remove brisket from pan and put on cutting board; slice thinly across the grain. It will seem tough, but it softens to a wonderful tenderness when it's reheated. Lift congealed grease from baking dish and discard. Put meat back in pan, and cover with about 1 cup of prepared barbecue sauce. I use either Bullseye or K.C. Masterpiece, since they don't have that raw sour taste that Kraft and Hunt's do. It's up to you.

Cover dish again with foil and bake at 325˚ for about 30-35 minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Mocha Cappuccino Pudding

4 t instant coffee or espresso granules
1 T very hot water
1 1/2 c cold skim milk
1 sm. pkg. sugar-free instant )
chocolate pudding mix
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 cup Sugar Free Cool Whip
additional Cool Whip
Oreo cookie crisps (optional)

Dissolve coffee granules in water; set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine milk, pudding mix and cinnamon. Beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Stir in coffee. Fold in Cool Whip. Spoon into serving dishes. Garnish with a dollop of Cool Whip and cookie crisps if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Chuck and Carol's Pluto Pie

3/4 lb. lean ground beef
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
3/4 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 c sliced green olives
1 6-oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained
3/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350˚.
Pack the ground beef into the bottom and up the sides of an ovenproof 10” skillet. (You might be able to use a pie pan for this, too.) Spread the tomato sauce on top of the beef, top with the cheddar cheese. Sprinkle the olives and mushrooms on top of the cheddar, and then top all with the mozzarella. Bake 40 minutes; let stand 5 minutes before cutting into wedges.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Fish and Shrimp Tacos

8 breaded fish sticks
8 medium pieces uncooked shrimp
3 T mayonnaise
3 T plain yogurt
1 t chipotle chili powder (I use McCormick's)
6 small corn tortillas (use 12 and double them if they're really thin)
grated cheddar cheese
diced tomato
shredded cabbage

Cook fish sticks according to package directions. Boil shrimp a couple minutes until pink. Remove tails and keep warm. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, and chili powder. Put corn tortilla on a hot griddle or skillet. Put cheddar cheese and two fish sticks or 4 pieces shrimp on each tortilla. Just as cheese melts, remove from griddle to a plate. (If you cook them too long, they get hard) Top each with a couple teaspoons of mayonnaise-yogurt mixture, some diced tomato, and some shredded cabbage. Fold in half to eat. Makes 4 fish tacos and 2 shrimp tacos.

Marilyn's Mushroom Quiche

1 T butter
1 1/2 c sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 c chopped onion
1/4 c chopped sweet red pepper
1/4 c chopped green bell pepper
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
1/3 c half & half
1 c shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
dash ground nutmeg
(optional) 4 oz. bulk breakfast sausage, crumbled, cooked, and drained
(optional) 1 9" uncooked pie crust

Preheat oven to 350˚. Sauté mushrooms, onion, and peppers in butter until tender. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in eggs and half & half Stir in cheeses, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Spray a 10" quiche dish with nonstick cooking spray. (Optional: use a pie crust) (Optional: sprinkle bottom of pie crust or quiche dish with cooked sausage). Pour egg mixture into dish. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Beef Burgundy

3/4 lb. round steak, cut in 3/4" pieces
1/2 c flour
3 T butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 c chopped onion
2 T chopped dried parsley
2 6-oz. cans mushrooms, drained
1 1/2 c burgundy
1 bay leaf

Shake round steak pieces in flour in a plastic or brown paper bag. Brown in two batches on all sides in butter in a large skillet. Add remaining ingredients. Turn heat to very low, cover, and simmer about an hour, stirring occasionally. It will thicken as it cooks; you might need to add water or more burgundy if it begins to dry out. Serve over hot rice.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Sweet Potato Planks

1 large or two small sweet potatoes or yams
2 T butter, melted
1/4 c dry roasted peanuts, chopped (Paula Deen uses honey-roasted peanuts, but I use regular ones)

Earlier in the day, boil the potato in a large pot of water for about 20 minutes. Drain and cool.
Preheat oven to 450˚. Peel cooled potato, and slice into 1/2-inch slices. Spray a baking sheet with butter-flavored cooking spray and place potato slices on baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Bake 15-20 minutes. Serves 2

Asian Chicken Thighs

1 6-oz. can pineapple juice
1/4 c soy sauce
1/2 t grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, pressed through garlic press
1/2 t red pepper flakes
4-6 boneless chicken thighs

Marinate chicken 2 hours or longer. Grill outside or on indoor grill.

Died and Went to Heaven Chocolate Cake

1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 cups SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
1/2 cup SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups lowfat buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup hot strong black coffee (I used hot water with instant espresso powder)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cake pan or bundt with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.
Blend flour, SPLENDA® Granulated Sweetener, SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt in a medium bowl.
Combine buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and coffee in a large mixing bowl.
Add flour to mixture, using an electric mixer on medium speed, mix until
Smooth (about 2 minutes). Whisk in coffee. The batter will seem thin, but it’s okay.
Pour batter into cake pan or bundt pan.
Bake for 35 minutes, until an inserted toothpick in center of cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes.

Note: I don’t usually have buttermilk in my refrigerator, so I use powdered buttermilk instead. You mix it in with the dry ingredients; and use the equivalent amount of water in the wet ingredients. Another option is to try this: stir 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice into 1 cup milk; let stand about 10 minutes. This is a common buttermilk substitute.