Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bacon Green Beans With Pine Nuts

It's hard to come up with a new way to flavor vegetables.  I decided to try a few additions to green beans and I liked how it turned out.  I've used bacon before (with pears) so I wanted to try that again but this time with toasted pine nuts.  The pine nuts are so good on their own that I might try making a snack mix with them sometime.

Bacon Green Beans With Pine Nuts

1# green beans, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces, cooked and drained
1 tbsp butter
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook green beans in salted water.  Drain, toss in butter, bacon, pine nuts and seasonings.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Coca~Cola Shredded Pork Chops

These are awesome.  No other way to describe it.  I did not intend for them to fall apart on their own but I'm glad they did.  It would have only been better if I had toasted some buns, placed the meat on top and then poured a little juice over it before serving.  Next time I make these, I'm going to try using Dr Pepper.

Coca~Cola Shredded Pork Chops

4 sirloin pork chops
1 cup Coca~Cola
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Place pork chops at the bottom of your crock pot.  Season with salt and pepper.  In a bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients.  Pour over the top of the pork chops.  Cook on medium heat for 4 hours and then turn down to low for 3-4 hours.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Blackberry Pear Jelly Roll Cake

The temperature is finally heading up and my windows are open and there's the sounds of a lawn mower and birds...Spring has officially arrived.  Again.  I'm in the process of Spring cleaning and that meant the freezers also.  I happened on some of last years freezer jam and decided I wanted to make a jelly roll cake.  It's a nice, light sponge cake that you fill with your favorite jam or jelly.  My jam choice was a blackberry pear jam that I created a few years ago but I loved it so much it's a yearly must make in my kitchen.  The recipe for my blackberry Pear Jam can be found here ~ Blackberry Pear Jam

Blackberry Pear Jelly Roll Cake

3 eggs at room temperature, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cream of tartar
1/3 cup cold water
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup of your favorite jam/jelly

Start off by greasing your jelly roll pan.  Place a layer of wax or parchment paper down (cut to size) at the bottom of the pan and grease that also.  

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks with vanilla until thick (at least 3 minutes) and then beat in the sugar.  In a larger bowl, whip the egg whites until they form a soft peak.    

Gently fold in the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites.  Gradually add in the flour, baking powder and cream of tartar.  You don't want to over mix but make sure the flour isn't hiding into any little air pockets.  Spread out over jelly roll pan.  Bake for 10-12 minutes (it's done when you can touch the middle and it doesn't indent) at 375°.  Gently cut along edges to make sure it doesn't stick to the pan.

Cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel.  Hold towel tight across and turn over.  Carefully remove the wax/parchment paper.  Roll up the cake in the towel and allow to cool completely on a rack.

When cool, carefully unroll the cake.  Cut off any dried edges.  Spread the cake with your favorite jam/jelly.  Re-roll the cake and you can sprinkle some powdered sugar on if you'd like.  Cut into slices approximately 1/2 to 3/4" thick.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Pear Upside Down Cake

Pears, cinnamon and caramel.  Yes, I am a fan.  And eating this warm and fresh from the oven (well, after the 15 minute waiting time) is truly a treat.  Doesn't need whipped or ice cream.  Tasting the hint of molasses from the dark brown sugar is enough.  The juice from the pears release and meld into the topping.  Hungry yet?  Here's the recipe ~

Pear Upside Down Cake

Bottom layer ~

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup dark brown sugar

Pour the melted butter in a lightly greased 9" springform pan or a 9" square pan.  Sprinkle dark brown sugar evenly over the butter.  Add slices of 2 pears evenly over the brown sugar.

Cake layer ~

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk

In a medium bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar.  Add in cinnamon, egg, vanilla and milk.  Fold in flour, baking powder and salt.  Evenly spread cake mixture gently over the pears.  Bake in a 350° for 45 minutes.  Place a piece of aluminum foil under pan because it might leak pear juice during baking.  Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes before carefully turning over onto a serving plate.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Raspberry Bacon Jam

So we've all seen it.  Some have even tried it.  I was one of those that had not.  I decided to pick up an extra pound of bacon this week to try my hand at it and since my favorite vinegar is a Raspberry Wine on.  And it will be a good game time snack tonight while watching the Wild game.  The only thing I would change is to add a little bit more of the crushed red pepper flakes.  Sweet & heat always works for me.  I cooked it in a crock pot but you can easily make it in a pan on top of the stove.

Raspberry Bacon Jam

1 pound thick-sliced bacon
1/2 cup onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp Ancho Chili Pepper
1/3 cup Raspberry Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Slice bacon into 1/2" pieces (I just cut through the entire pound instead of individual slices).  Cook until the fat has been rendered off over medium heat.  Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.  I cooked in two batches.  Place in your crock pot with the dark brown sugar and Raspberry Wine vinegar.  Drain all except 2 tbsp. of bacon grease in your frying pan.  Cook the onions until translucent and then add in the minced garlic and cook for another minute.  Add into the crock pot.  Stir in the spices and allow to cook for a couple hours over medium heat.  You can leave this chunky or pulse a few times in your food processor.  Refrigerate the bacon jam.  You can heat it to serve or it tastes fine cold too.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Molasses Bread

You know the bread that you get served at steak houses?  Yeah, this is it.  It's a cross between a regular yeast dough and a quick bread because it rises but the dough is soft and requires no kneading.  I did have one of those moments of oh crap when I discovered I had no bread flour but I used regular all purpose and it turned out well.

Molasses Bread

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup honey
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 1/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup molasses
1 tbsp olive oil

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add in warm water, molasses, honey and olive oil.  Stir with a wooden spoon until completely mixed.  Pour into a greased bread pan and allow to rise until the dough reaches the top of the pan (about two hours).  Preheat oven to 350°.  When the oven is ready, place the bread pan in and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and spread 1 tbsp softened butter on top.  Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Cracker Pork Chops

The weather is finally beautiful for a couple days and instead of grilling, I opted to stain the decks so they are already for the warm months ahead.  I also managed to turn a nice shade of pink so spending time outside grilling wasn't appealing because the nice pink would turn to red, even with sunscreen.  For this recipe, I actually used one butterflied thick pork chop.  I cut it into 4 pieces and pounded it thin.  Perfect portion size that way.  Or you can use 4 pork chops, although you might have enough crumb and egg mixture for up to 6 chops.  You'll notice I only added 1/4 tsp of salt.  This is because the crackers are salty and adding more might be too much for some people.  You'll love using the plastic bag and aluminum foil lined pan.  It makes clean up very, very easy.

Cracker Pork Chops

4-6 pork chops
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp parsley
1 pinch cayenne

1 large egg
1 tsp water

In a quart size zippered plastic bag, crush the crackers. Add in the spices, seal and shake until it's all evenly mixed.  Whisk the egg and water together in a bowl that you can dip the pork chops in.  Dip both sides of each pork chop one at a time.  Place in the plastic bag, seal top and shake.  Place in an aluminum foil lined pan.  Add a little extra of the cracker mixture to the top of each chop.  Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350°.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pearl Sugar Scrub

This isn't a normal recipe even if some of the ingredients are found in your pantry.  I found this really useful the other day after I tried wearing a new pair of shoes to work.  They lasted only a few hours but I was reminded of them with every step so this scrub was great after the work day for helping to revive my sore toes.  Plus you can make this and give as a gift to friends and loved ones.  If you are new to using essential oils, my friend is starting a website and she has lots of informational blogs coming up showing their benefits and how to use them ~ Always Oiling

Peppermint Sugar Foot Scrub

1 cup Swedish Pearl Sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
24 drops peppermint essential oil

Mix together coconut and peppermint essential oils in a bowl.  Fold in Swedish Pearl Sugar.  Place in a decorative glass jar for gift giving.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Taco Baked Potatoes

Finally a nice Spring day and I had planned to grill hamburgers outside but the wind gusting up to 28 mph and Fire Weather Warnings convinced me that wasn't a good idea.  Instead, I made something I had ordered at a restaurant on Monday and enjoyed.  It's easy and makes 4 servings so you could bake the potatoes in the microwave and have a quick weeknight meal.  I doubled the taco seasoning recipe so I have enough for next time I need it already made.

Taco Baked Potatoes

4 medium russet potatoes (or 2 large that you can cut in half)
1# extra lean ground beef
1/4 onion, minced
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Taco seasoning
1/4 cup water

Taco Seasoning Recipe ~

1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp  oregano
1 tsp pepper, freshly ground
1/2 tsp salt

Place in a sealable plastic bag or container that's airtight and mix well.

Wash the potatoes.  Poke holes into skin with a fork and bake under fork tender.  The length of baking time will depend on the size and type of the potatoes.  When the potatoes are almost ready, brown the ground beef.  When almost done, add in the onions.  When both are cooked, stir in the water and taco seasoning.   Remove the potatoes from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Cut down the center and open wide for the toppings.  Top with the taco meat and cheese.  Here's some additional toppings you might want to add ~

Sour cream
Diced tomatoes
Black Olives

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter ~

I hope everyone has a wonderful and fun-filled day.  No recipes today but I will share with you some greeting cards & gift tags I made for the holiday.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Crock Pot Potatoes

Need a recipe to make potatoes for a crowd?  This is enough for at least 6 but you can add in extra potatoes and there is enough herbs and spices to cover it.

Crock Pot Potatoes

6 potatoes (I used Yukon Gold), pared & diced
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Italian Seasonings
1 tsp parsley

Place the chicken broth at the bottom of your crock pot.  Place diced potatoes in there next.  In a small bowl, mix together all of the spices.  Sprinkle evenly over the top.  Turn the crock pot to medium.  Stir a couple times while cooking.  The potatoes should be ready in 3-4 hours.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Parmesan Buttermilk Biscuits

Thanks to my food processor, I've become a biscuit baker.  I think I tried once and failed before I discovered how to use the food processor to do all the hard work making them.  This time I wanted to add in some spices and Parmesan.

Parmesan Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 sticks of cold butter

Combine all the dry ingredients and Parmesan cheese in the food processor and give it a couple pulses to mix them up.  Add in the butter, one tbsp. at a time and the egg.  Pour in milk and pulse until it combines and forms a ball.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Pat out dough until it's 1" thick and cut into rounds.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes at 450°.  Pull the biscuits from the oven and brush with buttermilk.  Return to the oven for another minute.

Makes 24 biscuits