Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bacon & Cheese Stuffed Meatballs

A bacon cheeseburger and hold the bun...that's what these little gems are.  Moist meat with the surprise of melted cheese and bacon on the inside.  They are so tasty that no sauce is needed.  

Bacon & Cheese Stuffed Meatballs

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg slightly beaten
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp oregano
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup Cheddar Jack shredded cheese
2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces, cooked and drained
Mix all of the ingredients together until completely blended.  I chose to bake them.  I used a large scoop that was overflowing (3 tbsp), flattened the meat, added a large pinch of cheese and bacon pieces and then rolled the outer edges around the cheese and bacon. 

Makes 14 meatballs.  
Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Garlic Chicken

This heat wave leaves me not wanting to cook.  At all.  But since I ran out of proteins (I have lots of veggies), I was forced to turn on the oven last night for a short time.  And my favorite part about this - no pan to wash since you just pull out the aluminum foil, crumple and toss it away.

Garlic Chicken

2 chicken breasts, boneless
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

In a small saucepan, put in all the ingredients except the chicken and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.  In a baking pan, line with aluminum foil and spray with a non-stick coating.  Place the chicken breasts on it and then apply the brown sugar mixture evenly on top.  Bake uncovered at 350° until the internal temperature of the chicken reads 165°.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Peach Ham Glaze

The heat here is overwhelming so indoor cooking is the way to go and I'm trying not to use my oven.  I made this glaze a day before I used it on a ham steak I picked up and it tasted great.  It worked on pork chops too but you need to season them.

Peach Ham Glaze

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup peach nectar
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground ginder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup cold water
1 tsp cornstarch

Combine the top 7 ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  In a glass measuring cup whisk together the cold water and cornstarch and stir into nectar mixture.  Cook until thick.  You can refrigerate it if you're not using right away or brush it on a ham, ham steak or pork chops.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Bacon & Cotija Corn

It's finally corn season at my CSA which means it's also time to start making room in the freezer.  I did a quick look in my refrigerator to see how I could start off creating recipes to use with it and this is what I came up with.  This recipe is easy to figure out how to increase the amounts needed if you're cooking more than 2 ears of corn.  I chose to make it in the oven in an aluminum foil packet with a tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon of water to steam in.  I thought about the grill but when I opened the garage and got hit with a wall of heat, I quickly retreated back to central air.

Bacon & Cotija Corn

2 ears corn
2 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 tbsp Cotija cheese, grated
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I wanted to try mashed sweet potatoes again but this time making them the same way as I normally do with I bake them - with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.  

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Boil peeled and diced sweet potatoes until fork tender.  Drain and add in butter.  Mash and add in brown sugar and cinnamon.  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Cinnamon Apple Zucchini Bread

I'm ignoring the fact that it's 93 degrees out and climbing by baking a zucchini bread.  I went into my pantry and found some cinnamon chips and put this bread together shredding both zucchini and an apple.  It's a great way to hide zucchini because you can't see it after the bread is baked.

Cinnamon Apple Zucchini Bread

In a large bowl, mix together ~

2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla

Gradually add in ~

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup cinnamon chips

Fold in ~

1 cup zucchini, shredded
1 Granny Smith apple, shredded

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour at 350°.  Let cool in pan for 20 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chicken With Pepperoni & Cheese

There's no reason a plain chicken breast shouldn't have lots of flavor and what better way than to stuff it with your favorite pizza toppings.

Chicken With Pepperoni & Cheese

2 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
1 tbsp pepperoni minis (approx 16)
1 tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese
1/8 tsp oregano
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp paprika

Cut a pocket into the chicken breasts - be careful not to slice through.  Sprinkle the oregano on top of mozzarella before stuffing into the breast along with the pepperoni minis  Close pocket with toothpicks cut in half.  Whisk egg in a small flat bowl.  Combine the Panko, flour and seasonings in another small flat bowl.  Dip both sides of the chicken breasts into the egg and then the Panko mixture before putting into a heated frying pan with the olive oil.  Cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°.   Be sure to remove the toothpicks before serving.  I served it on a bed of linguine with some red pasta sauce.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Caramel Snack Mix

I love to nibble especially if it's buttery and sweet and this mix delivers on both.  I considered adding in Craisins or Reese's Pieces but it's delicious enough on it's own.

Caramel Snack Mix

3/4 cup popcorn, kernel measurement before being popped
6 cups Crispix
1 1/2 cups dry roasted peanuts
1 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Place popped corn, Crispix and peanuts in a greased, large roasting pan.  In a large saucepan, mix together melted butter, syrup, brown sugar and salt.  Bring to a boil and stir constantly for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and add int baking soda (it will foam the mixture).  Keep stirring and add in vanilla.  Pour over popcorn mixture and stir.  Place in a 250° oven for one hour and stir every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and stir occasionally as it cools so it doesn't stick.  Store in an airtight container.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Peach Syrup

There's a few items that are always in my home ~ fruit (usually berries), chocolate and peach nectar.  Since I like to pamper myself with a good Sunday morning breakfast, I made this on Saturday night so all I had to do was whip up a quick batch of waffles.  It was the perfect way to start the day.

Peach Syrup

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tbsp corn starch
1 cup peach nectar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Whisk the first five ingredients together in a large saucepan.  Bring to a light rolling boil, stirring occasionally until it starts to thicken.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the cinnamon.  Serve warm or cold.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Parmesan Roasted Carrots & Potatoes

My CSA is bringing us lots of carrots this year so I'm trying to find new ways to use them.  Today I made these and they are absolutely delicious!  

Parmesan Roasted Carrots & Potatoes

3 large carrots 
1 large potato
extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Slice carrots and potato in 1/4" slices.  Put in a large saucepan and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.  Drain and allow to cool enough to handle.  Place on a greased baking sheet (I used a spray olive oil on the pan).  Drizzle olive oil on top and add seasonings.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350°.  Remove from oven and sprinkle on Parmesan cheese.  Return to oven for a minute and place in a serving bowl.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pizza Bites

I can't believe school is starting here this week.  Summer is flying by and football is about to go from pre-season to a countdown to the super bowl.  These pizza bites are an easy to make treat that won't keep you from the game for long.

Pizza Bites

1 box of Mini Fillo Shells
Pizza sauce ~ recipe below
Mini pepperoni
Mozzarella cheese

Place cups in a baking dish (a pie pan works great).  Ladle in approximately 1/2 tsp of pizza sauce in each shell.  Top with 3 mini pepperoni.  Top with shredded mozzarella.  Sprinkle oregano on top.  Bake for 10 minutes at 350°.

Pizza Sauce ~ enough for 2 pizzas and freezable

1 - 6 oz tomato paste
6 oz water
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp Italian Seasonings
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
salt to taste

Mix together tomato paste and water in a medium sized pan.  Add in honey, garlic and spices and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chocolate Layer Dessert

Everyone needs a midweek escape from work and I made this dessert for my co-workers for a relaxing evening full of laughter and after work drinks.

Chocolate Layer Dessert

Bottom layer ~

2 1/2 cup fine Oreo crumbs (I found these at
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Middle layer ~

1 cup whipping cream
8 oz Mascarpone cheese
1 cup Nutella

Top layer ~

1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Melt butter and add the Oreo crumbs and powdered sugar in the same small saucepan.  Mix together well and tap down in the bottom of pint canning jars.  In a medium bowl, whipping cream until soft peaks form.  Add in mascarpone cheese and Nutella and whip until blended.  Spoon in (a cookie scoop works well) on top of Oreo crumbs mixture.  Tap jar against counter to get the Nutella layer to settle down flat in the jar.  Whip cream until soft peaks form and add in powdered sugar.  Spoon in on top of Nutella layer.  Top with mini chocolate chips or sprinkles.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Monterey Chicken Wrap

Looking for an easy mid-week meal?  These Monterey Chicken Wraps are easy to make and don't take much time.  

Monterey Chicken Wraps

1# chicken tenders, cooked
4 slices bacon, cooked and drained
Monterey/Cheese shredded cheese
1 tomato, diced
your favorite bbq sauce
4 flour tortillas

Lay down a flour torilla.  Place two warm tenders lengthwise in the center.  Top with bbq sauce (1 tbsp), shredded cheese, a bacon slice and diced tomatoes (optional).  Roll up and serve still warm.  Makes 4.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rice Pudding

So it was National Rice Pudding day last week and it had me craving the recipe that my mom makes.  She doubles the custard for an extra creamy pudding.

Rice Pudding

2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups whole milk, scalded (heated to 180°)
1 1/2 cups rice, cooked and cooled
1 cup raisins ~ I used golden this time because it's what I had on hand
1 tsp vanilla
1 dash nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon

In a large greased casserole, combine eggs, sugar and salt.  Gradually add in scalded milk (tempering).  Stir in rice and raisins.  Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg on top.  Set the casserole in a large pan and pour in hot water until it's 1" deep.  Bake at 325° for 90 minutes.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Breakfast Sausage & Gravy Biscuit Cups

I needed to use up an overstock of Grands biscuits in my refrigerator.  When I set out to make my peach monkey bread I wasn't sure how many it would take so I ended up with a couple extra cans.  This was a great way to use one of them plus I ended up with a tasty breakfast.

Breakfast Sausage & Gravy Biscuit Cups

1 pound breakfast sausage, cooked
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk, 2% works fine
salt and pepper to taste
1 can Grands buttermilk biscuits

Brown sausage.  When cooked, stir in flour until the sausage is coated.  Gradually stir in milk.  Let thicken and season to taste.

Using jumbo muffin tins, grease and press a Grands biscuit in each cup.  Fill cups with sausage gravy mixture.  Bake at350° for about 15 minutes.  Bake until the biscuits turn golden brown.  Remove from oven and sprinkle your favorite cheese on top.  I used a shredded cheddar.  

Makes 8 biscuit cups.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Asian Pork Chops

Juicy, tender and Asian-flavored tangy.  I made this marinade in minutes and let the pork chops rest in it for 6 hours before removing and grilling.  I only made two but there was enough sauce for four chops.

Asian Pork Chops

2-4 pork chops

Mix together in a gallon size plastic bag that can seal ~

1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
1 tbsp raspberry vinegar
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey

Mix together in the bag, add in pork chops, seal and put in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.  When ready to cook, remove from marinade and grill, bake or fry until the temperature reaches 145°.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

My mom bought cinnamon raisin bread often when I was growing up for the family.  I never appreciated it as a child as I should have but now I enjoy it plus the scent of cinnamon baking is always a win.  

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

3  cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 tsp quick rising active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 cup warm water

1/2 tbsp butter, softened
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

Put the top 6 ingredients together into your bread machine and put on dough setting.
When the cycle has completed,  roll out to at least 9 x 12 and place the 1/2 tbsp of softened butter on the dough.  Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture and then the raisins on top of the butter and roll up.  Place on in a greased bread pan.  Allow to raise again.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F  Brush 1 tbsp butter on top when it's done baking.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Casserole Steak

I know it goes by many names but in my family this round steak dish has always been known as casserole steak.  It's perfect for the crock pot so it can slowly cook all day in it's gravy and tenderize.  I always associate it with fall and served with squash and tomatoes.

Casserole Steak

1 pound round steak, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups water
1/2 cup ketchup

In a small bowl, combine flour and spices.  Dredge steak pieces and place in a heated frying pan with the olive oil.  Brown on both sides and place meat in the crock pot.  In the same frying pan with the leftover oil, whisk together water, leftover flour mixture and ketchup on the burner and season to taste.  Pour over steak and cover the crock pot and cook for 8 hours.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Butterfinger Banana Bread

I decided to take my family banana bread recipe and take it up a notch with crushed Butterfinger candy.  They add a little crunch and chocolate and that can never be a bad thing.

Butterfinger Banana Bread

1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 cups flour
3 ripe bananas, mashed
6 small Butterfinger candy bars, crushed

Cream butter and sugar.  Add in eggs and mashed bananas.  Gradually add in dry ingredients.  Fold in crushed Butterfingers.  Bake for 1 hour at 325°.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Spicy Sweet Corn Soup

This is a warm and comforting soup that is perfect for a rainy summer day.  The combined bursts of sweet corn and peppers are a treat for your taste buds.  I topped mine with some crispy pancetta.

Spicy Sweet Corn Soup

4 ears of sweet corn, kernels cut off 
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp green chilies

In a large saucepan, heat butter and olive oil.  Add in corn and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add in seasonings, green chilies, water and milk.  Allow to cook over medium low heat for a half hour.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Peach & Strawberry Jam

I've started filling my pantry with all the tastes of summer.  And what better way to start a cloudy morning with a little bit of sunshine on my plate with the sweet tastes of peaches and strawberries.

Peach & Strawberry Jam

6 peaches, peeled and chopped
3 cups strawberries, quartered and mashed
1 box fruit pectin
6 cups sugar

In a large saucepan, cook strawberries and peaches.  In a small pan, cook pectin in 3/4 cup water.  Bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute stirring constantly.  Add to fruit mixture and bring to a rolling boil, also for 1 minute.  Add in sugar and allow the heat to come back up to a rolling boil and you got it, for another minute.  Place in sterilized jelly jars.  Wipe rims to make sure no jam is on the glass.  Place lid and ring on tight.  Turn upside down for 5 minutes and then turn right side up.  As it cools, they should seal on their own.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Coca Cola Beans

It turned out to be a really nice day despite it looking like rain early this morning.  Perfect grilling weather so I decided to make a new bean recipe as a side in the crock pot early and spend most of the day outside.

Coca Cola Beans

1# ground beef
1/4 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tbsp mustard
3 tbsp molasses
1 - 12 oz can of Coca Cola
1 - 16 oz can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 - 16 oz can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 - 16 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 - 16 oz can butter beans, drained and rinsed4 pieces thick sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
Brown ground beef with the onions.  In your crock pot or baking dish, combine beans, molasses ketchup and mustard and Coke.  Add in ground beef, onions, bacon and seasonings.  Cook until heated all the way through.