Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cheesy Potato Soup

One of my favorite songs of the season is "Baby, it's cold outside" and that's exactly how I felt all day yesterday while the hubby and I finished putting up the Christmas (Yes, I actually said Christmas, cause that's how I roll) decorations.

One of my favorite, favorite, favorite soups is Cheesy Potato Soup and it took me a few tries to perfect this recipe and now that I have it, I make it frequently; even in the blazing summer.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Apricot Glazed Pork Roast

So my family is really getting tired of pork because I've been on a pork roast kick lately.  I don't know why they don't like it as much as I do.  Oh well, I guess this week it'll have to be some beef and chicken for everyone.
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Here is the yummy pork roast recipe I served with the stuffing over the weekend while we had company for dinner.

Here's what you need:

3 lb. pork roast
2 Tbl. canola oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock

1 cup apricot jam
1-1/2 tsp. dried thyme (don't you just love thyme?  I do)
1 Tbl. Dijon mustard

Always bring meat out of the fridge 30 - 60 minutes before cooking so that it can come to room temperature and help obtain perfect cooking.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat oil in a dutch oven over med-high heat.  Pat roast dry and liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Sear the meat on both sides until brown, about 5 minutes each side.  The roast will lift free of the pan when it is ready to turn.  If you have to tug at it, leave it another minute or two.  Add chicken stock to pan.
Place pan in oven and bake 30 minutes, uncovered.

While the roast is in the oven, stir together the ingredients for the glaze and set aside.
Pour glaze over the top of the meat and continue baking an additional 30 - 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in the center reads 145 - 150 degrees.
Let rest 15 minutes so the juices can redistribute in the roast.

Leftover pan juices make a wonderful sauce on the side.
Ha!  You can tell I had stuffing on the brain when I took this picture. Oh well, the dinner was delish!

Serves 6 - 8



Here's the handy printable - Apricot Glazed Pork Roast

Cornbread Sourdough Stuffing

Well, I hope you've missed me as much as I've missed being here with you in my absence.  And boy have I missed sharing my recipes and what I'm up to with you too.   I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We did!  We spent the first four days in Disneyland with my brother and his family then we were off to my parents house in Scottsdale, Arizona.  We had a wonderful time and made some awesome food, which I will be sharing some of the recipes with you today.

Here is a little background for my stuffing recipe.  I have been married to my wonderful husband for 21-1/2 years now and when I met him I found out that he had always had cornbread stuffing because his grandparents and parents had come from Texas and that's the way they make it in Texas.  My mom had always made bread stuffing so I decided to give it a try and loved it so much that I have been making my stuffing with cornbread ever since.

Here's the thing......I like to try new twists on recipes and my hubby doesn't.  He always says "why did you change the recipe?  I liked it just the way it was."  Well, if it was up to him, we would eat the same 7 - 10 meals and never have anything new.  So me being me and doing what I want to anyway, I decided about three weeks ago to try something new with my stuffing recipe and I LOVED IT!  I made a blended recipe of cornbread and sourdough, with all the same ingredients as always.  The verdict.....He wanted to know why I changed the stuffing recipe and likes the plain cornbread one better, but I like the new one better and beings as I'm the cook in the house guess who gets their way???  I do hope you'll try this recipe too, even if you have one you love.  Please let me know what you think.

Here's what you need:

1 box cornbread mix, plus the ingredients to make it (I used Krusteaz Honey Cornbread) made and cubed
1 stick butter, unsalted
8 oz sourdough or french baguette, cubed (I use a wonderful baguette style french bread I find at Target in the produce section sealed in plastic)
1 yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups chicken stock
2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

First make the cornbread and set aside.  The day before is even better because it will have a chance to dry out a bit.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cube all the bread and cornbread and place in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.

In a medium skillet saute the onion and celery in 1/2 a stick (1/4 cup) butter until starting to soften, about 10 minutes on med-low.  Remove from heat and add to the bread cubes.
Pour the chicken stock over the bread cubes and mix well.  Add the rest of the butter (melted), the eggs, and the seasonings and mix well.  The mixture will be very wet looking (This keeps it moist)  Taste to check the seasonings (unless you are pregnant, because there are raw eggs in it).  It should taste perfect at this stage and will have the same flavor when it has finished cooking.
Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 or a 2 qt dish and bake for 45 minutes or until done.  The stuffing should be nice and toasty looking when done.
Yum, Yum, Yum.....Did I say Yum?  I've made this three times in the last three weeks and I'm not tired of it yet!

Serves 8 - 10



Here's the handy printable - Cornbread sourdough stuffing

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone had a wonderful day with family and friends.  I will be back to blogging over the weekend.  We just spent the week in Disneyland and at my parents in Arizona.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chocolate Mint Cookies

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Tonight's recipes are super easy and super yummy too.  I learned a cheater way of making really soft cookies from a friend at a scrap-booking event years ago.  She gave me the basic dough recipe and I have re-invented it over and over again through the years.  Hopefully you will try this recipe and let me know if you have ideas on other add-ins for the cookies.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oven BBQ Ribs

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Royce asked me tonight if all our meals are going to be on the internet and I said "No, of course not honey" but then got to thinking about how often I run up the stairs to share a new recipe or idea and might be changing my answer to "Hum, Maybe?"

Apricot BBQ Sauce

Here is the second barbecue sauce I adapted from a recipe I found tonight in one of my favorite cookbooks which you can get here.

Here's what you need:

1 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup your favorite barbecue sauce (I used Kraft Original)
1 Tbl. soy sauce
1 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbl. hot sauce (I used Cholula)
1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix all the ingredients in a 2 quart sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce and simmer 10 minutes until well combined.
Serve with ribs, chicken, pork, hamburgers, etc.

Serves - 1-3/4 cup approximately



 Here's the handy printable - Apricot BBQ Sauce
adapted from: Ribs, Chops, Steaks & Wings

Blue Ribbon BBQ Sauce

Here is one of the new barbecue sauces I found tonight and will be using from now on.  I found it in one of my favorite cookbooks found here.  It's a wonderful book and has many rubs that I use too.

Here's what you need:

1/4 cup Sugar In The Raw
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper
2/3 cup apple juice
2 cups your favorite barbecue sauce (I used Kraft Original)

Place all ingredients into a 2 quart sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes until well combined.
Serve with ribs, chicken, pork, hamburgers, etc.

Serves - 3 cups approximately



Here's the handy printable - Blue Ribbon BBQ Sauce

Parmesan Ranch Roasted Potatoes

Not much to say except I was looking for a side dish, wanted to make twice baked potatoes to go with the ribs I was cooking when I opened up the cupboard and the only potatoes in the basket were the baby Yukon gold.  I decided I wanted to try something new instead of the usual way I roast these and boy oh boy did these taste Yummy!  They actually taste like Parmesan bread, which was a good thing too because we were also out of French Bread!

Here's what you need:

2 Lbs. baby Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 cup butter, unsalted, melted
3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan (I buy this at Trader Joe's)
2 Tbl. Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Powder (I buy this in a huge bottle at Costco)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. fine ground pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.    Wash and quarter the potatoes and place into a bowl. Mix the rest of the ingredients and pour over the potatoes.  I found that the best way to coat the potatoes was to use my clean hands and smush (Love that word, very technical) the mixture onto the potatoes until they are all well coated.  Spread on a baking sheet.
 Bake for 30 minutes then turn the potatoes with a metal spatula.  Bake an additional 30 minutes or until they are fork tender.
Yummy, Parmesany, Crispy, Buttery, Goodness!

Serves - 4



Here's the handy printable - Parmesan Ranch Roasted Potatoes

Chicken/Stuffing/Gravy Panini

Oh my, I just ate the best Panini I've had in a looooooong time.  Back up for a minute and I'll tell you how I came about the ingredients and how I think this will be a perfect recipe for Thanksgiving leftovers.

This last weekend my niece was visiting with us and I went to the store and bought a Turkey Breast to cook for dinner on Saturday night, when all I really wanted was all the wonderful fixings that go with it.  When I was talking to my sister-in-law deciding what time and where we were going to meet to do the kid exchange (we live 1-1/2 hours apart) she told me that my brother had just won two turkeys in a shooting tournament and that they were going to cook one on Sunday.  So, me being the smarty that I am (and let's face it, I didn't really want to drive on Sunday, sorry Stacy) I invited them to dinner for Sunday and all they had to bring was the Turkey.  I told Stacy (sister-in-law) that I would do all the cooking and make all the fixings which I had planned on making on Saturday anyway for Sunday's dinner and they could pick up my niece at the same time.  What a deal!  They said sure and brought the Turkey and I made the stuffing, which was out of this world, sweet potato casserole, gravy (the best I've every made) and an apple pie.

So I have a few left overs in the fridge from Sunday's dinner, none being turkey, and some chicken breasts that I roasted last night.  It was lunchtime and I thought why not do a chicken, stuffing, gravy, and Swiss Panini but I had no rolls in the house either, unless you count the ones I've obtained from all the Hawaiian cookie tarts I've eaten in the last two days!  So me being me I decided what can go in between two pieces of bread can also go in a flour tortilla.  And there you have it, the birth of my new favorite Panini.  I hope you'll give it a try, especially with all the leftovers that are coming your way this holiday season.

Here's what you need:

1/4 chicken breast, roasted and sliced thinly
1/2 cup stuffing
1/4 cup gravy, approximate
1/4 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
1 large flour tortilla, I used the large burrito size

I re-heated in the microwave the stuffing and gravy for about 30 - 45 seconds just to take the chill off.  I never re-heat the meat for a Panini I think it sometimes changes the flavor so I just use it cold.  Pre-heat Panini press to 375 - 400 degrees.  If you don't have a Panini press you can use a hot skillet with another heavy pan on top to make the press.
Heat the tortilla directly on the gas burner for a few seconds, or if you've never done this, you can use a dry skillet or place it in a paper towel and microwave for about 10 seconds.  It just needs to be nice and pliable.
Layer the chicken, then stuffing, then cheese and gravy.  You may use as much or as little as you wish. The amounts I gave are just an approximate.  You could also add any leftover cranberry sauce if you like that too.
Fold both ends in and roll up until it is sealed. 
 Place seam side down on a pre-heated Panini press or hot skillet.  Close the press and cook for only about 2 - 3 minutes.  If you are using a skillet, place the tortilla seam side down and place another pan on top with something heavy inside to weigh it down.  Usually a 28oz can of anything will do the job.  If using a skillet you will have to turn it over and cook the other side after about 1 -1/2  - 2 minutes.
 The Panini will have pretty brown lines when done.  Hello Beautiful yumminess!

Serves - one - who would want to share all this yummy goodness????



Here's the handy printable - Chicken/Stuffing/Gravy Panini 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hawaiian Cookie Tarts

Yesterday while I was browsing the blogs I love I came across a recipe I wanted to try for Hawaiian Cookie Tarts here on Living the Gourmet and also on her daughter's site here at Il Dolce Bacio.  Both are wonderful sites and I would suggest you check them out.  While I was on Il Dolce Bacio I noticed that the original recipe came from a Pillsbury booklet, so I dug out the ones I have kept from the last 15 or so years and couldn't believe my eyes when I found the original recipe in the 1997 Bake-Off Cookies, Brownies, & Bars booklet.  I decided to adapt from the original only because I don't like to use apple sauce in the place of butter in my recipes because lets face it, butter is butter and why would I want to use anything less than the real stuff in a sinfully yummy treat; might as well just not eat them.  And eat them I did!  Current count is three!

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Here's what you need:

Tart shells:
1-3/4 cups flour, unbleached all-purpose
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbl. cornstarch
1 cup butter, unsalted at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup Apricot-Pineapple jam, only because I could not find straight Pineapple preserves, if you can, use them.
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1-1/2 cups coconut
1/2 cup Macadamia nuts, chopped (this amount is an approximate,  I just chopped as I went)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, mix the flour with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and cornstarch. Add the butter and vanilla.
With a spoon, stir until it forms a soft dough.  
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place one in each ungreased mini muffin tin.
Ok, here's me again harping on Pampered Chef gadgets, but really, who wants to form all those tiny little tarts with their fingers when all you need is a PC tart shaper for like $6.00 or so.  Anyway.....
First you dip the tart shaper or your fingers, whichever you prefer, in flour and if using the shaper just press and give it a little twist at the same time.  If using your fingers, press down and up the sides of each mini cup.

Spoon 1 tsp. of the apricot/pineapple jam (or Pineapple preserves in your neck of the woods if you can find any) into each dough lined cup.  
Sprinkle a few Macadamia pieces over the jam.
 In a small bowl, combine the sugar and egg; beat with a fork until well blended.  Stir in the coconut until well coated with the egg mixture.  
Spoon 1 tsp. of the coconut mixture over the nuts in each cup.  Bake for 25 - 28 minutes or until the cookie crusts are a light golden brown.
To release cookies from cups, hold muffin pan upside down at an angle over a wire rack.  Using the handle of a butter knife, firmly tap the bottom of each cup until the cookie releases.  (Now notice how I don't have any pictures of this?  I figured I might beat the hell out of my pretty tart pans if they didn't release so I just did it the old fashioned way and using the tip of a knife I inserted it between the tart shell and the side of the cup and jiggled and prayed.  Now you can imagine how many oops I got to eat.  Well I had to do something with them because I couldn't very well serve them to my family if they weren't perfect!)  Sorry, back to the directions....

Cool Completely.  Just before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Now for the Amazing pictures of all the Hawaiian yumminess that came out of the oven today.......


Oh Dear Lord I think they're calling me again.  Toodles, gotta run......

Serves - 3 dozen



Here's the handy printable - Hawaiian Cookie Tarts
adapted from Pillsbury