Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sunshine Upside Down Muffins

I just found a great blog called Eat 80/20; it's run by a dietician who recommends eating healthy 80% of the time and allowing yourself to indulge for the remaining 20%.  (This one is an 80-ish recipe.)  I can't wait to try more of her recipes, but these muffins looked so good that I made them over the weekend with just a couple of changes.

This recipe makes 12 muffins or 6 muffin tops; I know I've already professed my love for my muffin top pans.  I opted for the muffin tops here, which ended up making the whole family happy. 

Buck loves pineapple and breakfast breads and muffins, so I knew these would be right up his alley.  Little did I know that these are also right up Teak's alley.  While I was changing the sheets on the bed in the other room, Teak's Go-Go-Gadget-tongue managed to reach one of these huge muffin tops off the cooling rack on the kitchen counter.  Let it be known that these were not close to the edge of the counter.  Apparently the old adage is true: where there's a will, there's a way.

Sunshine Upside Down Muffins

1 (8oz) can crushed pineapple, drained and divided
1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1 egg
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (all-purpose would be fine)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1 large carrot, grated

Preheat oven to 350.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Add brown sugar and 3/4 can of pineapple.  Continue to heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, as the rest of the muffin batter is prepared.

In a mixing bowl, combine remaining pineapple, applesauce, egg, vanilla, and white sugar.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and pecans.  Fold flour mixture into wet mixture until just moistened.  Gently stir in grated carrot.   

Spray the cups of a muffin tin generously with cooking spray (without flour).  Spoon about one tablespoon of the warm pineapple mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup, spreading evenly.  Spoon muffin batter on top of pineapple mixture, filling each cup about 2/3 full.  Bake muffins for 18-20 minutes on middle rack or until toothpick comes out clean. 

Remove from oven and use a sharp knife to run around the edges of each muffin.  While muffins are still warm, turn tin over onto cooling rack to release muffins. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cilantro Cream Sauce

This is delicious!  We used it as the dipping sauce for these Southwestern Eggrolls, but I loved just dipping chips in it.  It would also be a great sauce for anything--chicken, pork, shrimp, whatever.  It was so quick and easy to put together, and it really is great.  We'll definitely make this again!
Cilantro Cream Sauce

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp sour cream
1 (7 oz) jar of tomatilla salsa (salsa verde)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 bunch cilantro
1 Tbsp lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  Place in serving bowl.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Southwestern Egg Rolls

Happy hour is a regular occurrence for us, but with this beautiful weather we're already having, we're about to change our HH location from a restaurant to our back porch.  We've found that these egg rolls are very good with a cold drink after a long day at work.  They're really good!  We'll be making these often.

The recipe below makes 6 egg rolls, but you could easily double or triple it for your crowd.  I used cilantro instead of parsley.  To make it easy on yourself, use rotisserie chicken or Crock Pot Salsa chicken; I bet you could even use canned chicken.  If you wanted a meatless recipe, you could leave out the chicken and use more black beans for protein.

Southwestern Egg Rolls

1 Tbsp vegetable oil6 (6 inch) flour tortillas
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half, cooked and shredded
2 Tbsp minced green onion
2 Tbsp minced red bell pepper
1/3 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp diced jalapeno peppers
1/2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley or cilantro
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/3 tsp salt
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 450. 

Heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in green onion and red pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until tender. Add shredded chicken into the pan with onion and red pepper. Mix in corn, black beans, jalapeno peppers, parsley, cumin, chili powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, until well blended and tender. Remove from heat and stir in Monterey Jack cheese so that it melts.

Wrap tortillas with a clean, lightly moist cloth. Microwave on high approximately 1 minute, or until hot and pliable. Spoon even amounts of mixture into each tortilla.  Fold ends of tortillas, then roll tightly around mixture. Secure with toothpicks.

Place egg rolls on baking sheets sparyed with cooking spray.  Bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven, turning tortillas after 8 minutes for even browning.  Cut diagonally, and serve warm.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Teak Dog Tuesday!

Here's Teak taking one of his last naps with his long, curly hair.  Such extreme warm weather so early in the year means it's time for a haircut.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas

Yum!  Everyone loves enchiladas, and these will not disappoint!  It calls for 3 cups of cooked chicken for 8 enchiladas, and I completely recommend making all 8 enchiladas, even if you're only cooking for 2 (like I am).  They make awesome lunch leftovers.  As a shortcut, you could use rotisserie chicken or Crock Pot Salsa Chicken. 

I had all the ingredients in my refrigerator already (which only attests to my love for Mexican food), but I bet you have at least some of them, too.  You should definitely try these!

Chicken Enchiladas

3 cups chopped cooked chicken
8 (8-inch) tortillas
8 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese with peppers
1/4 cup jalapeno peppers, diced
8 oz sour cream
1/2 cup salsa
Cooking spray
Toppings: diced tomatoes, chopped avocado, chopped green onions, etc.

Combine chicken, cheese, jalapenos, and 1/2 cup sour cream.  Spoon chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla, and roll up.  Arrange seam-side-down in a lightly greased 9"x13" baking dish.  Coat tortillas with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden.  Stir together salsa and remaining sour cream, and spoon over hot enchiladas.  Sprinkle with desire toppings.  Yields 4 servings.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Baked Fish with Parmesan-Sour Cream Sauce

This meal took all of 5 minutes to assemble, using ingredients I already had, before putting it in the oven.  Also, it tasted so good!  We'll make this again.

We used defrosted tilapia filets, and Southern Living says that flounder, orange roughy, or any other white fish works well in this recipe.  Obviously, the better the fish, the better it will taste.  We used 3 fillets, but I'd use the same amounts for the Parmesan-Sour Cream sauce for 4 fillets; if you change the amounts up or down, they're easily adjustable. 

(A note on the word "fillet" - it's spelled with one L when talking about beef, and two Ls with fish.  How strange!)

This recipe couldn't be easier.  I hope you try it!

3 tilapia filets
4 oz sour cream
2 heaping Tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp bread crumbs

Place fillets in a single layer in a lightly grased 13"x9" baking dish.  Stir together sour cream, Parmesan, paprika, salt, and pepper; spread mixture evenly over fillets.  Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pioneer Woman Green Bean Casserole

As with everything that comes from the Pioneer Woman, this was excellent.  I scaled it down for just the two of us, and I used canned green beans instead of fresh just because it was easier, and we both really liked it. 

She made it as an alternative to the green bean casserole made with cream of mushroom soup and French fried onions on top.  We loved the addition of red bell pepper and all of the typical goodness of bacon and onion and breadcrumbs.  Delightful!

Pioneer Woman Green Bean Casserole

2 cans Italian cut green beans
2 slices bacon, cut into 1/4" pieces
1/4 sweet onion, diced
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
1/4 - 1/2 cup Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 roasted red bell pepper, diced
1/4 - 1/2 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350.  Drain and rinse canned green beans and set aside. 

Add bacon pieces to a skillet over medium heat.  Cook for two minutes, and then add onion, and cook for additional 3-5 minutes, or until bacon is done and onions are golden brown.  Remove from skillet.

Add butter to skillet and melt over medium heat.  Sprinkle flour in, and whisk immediately for 2 minutes.  Add in milk, whisking for 2-3 minutes, or until mixture is thickened.  Add salt, pepper, cayenne, and Cheddar.  Stir while cheese melts; turn off heat. 

Add bell pepper to pan, and then add bacon/onion mixture.  Stir gently to combine.  Top with bread crumbs, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bacon Jam Crescents

Back to the Bacon Jam from last week.  This couldn't get much easier.  If you went to the trouble of making the bacon jam, just smear a spoonful in crescent roll dough, and then bake them.  That's it. 

As with everything related to the bacon jam, you won't be sorry.

Bacon Jam Crescents

1 Tube crescent rolls
Bacon jam

Unroll crescent roll dough, and put spoonful of bacon jam on each crescent.  Roll up, and bake according to package directions.  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Chicken Mediterranean

We liked this, and it was easy enough to make on a weeknight.  To be honest, I took out the most Mediterranean aspect out of this by leaving out the 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives it calls for.  We're not olive people, but if you are (like most people are), then add them with the tomatoes. 

You can use any short pasta; the original Southern Living recipe called for penne, but I had some rigatoni that I needed to use.  The feta on top never really melts, but when it gets soft and warm, it's just so good. 

Hope you like it!

Chicken Mediterranean

1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken tenders
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/3 cup crumbled feta
4 ounces short pasta, cooked

Combine chicken, garlic, and olive oil in a zip-top bag.  Seal and marinate at least 2 hours.  When ready, cook chicken mixture in a large skillet over medium-high for 8 minutes or until chicken is done; remove from skillet.  Add tomoatoes and Italian seasoning to skillet.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often for about 7 minutes.

Return chicken to skillet.  Sprinkle with feta cheese, and remove from heat.  Cover and let stand 5 minutes.  Serve immediately over hot cooked pasta.  Yield: 2 servings.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Teak Dog Tuesday!

Here is Teak, asleep near the coffee table, under which he left his bone standing up perfectly after chewing on it. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bacon Jam

That's right; I said it.  Bacon Jam.  It's a real thing.

It's easy to put together, and then it's completely hands-off once it goes in the slow cooker.   Your not-so-hard work will be rewarded with a decadent spread for toast or biscuits in the morning or on hamburger buns at dinner.  

It will also make your dog's eyes shine with hope in a way they haven't shone before.

As you could imagine, a little bit goes a long way.  After seeing the amount of bacon that went into the recipe to produce such a small amout of jam, I decided to go easy on it with breakfast, but the small amount I had was amazing. 

I found this recipe on Ezra Pound Cake, which she adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.  The full recipe makes 3 cups of jam, but I cut it in half and got 1 1/2 cups. The full recipe is below. 

Once it's finished, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.  When you're ready to have some, you might have to let it sit at room temperature for a couple of minutes before it will spread easily.  It gets a paste-like consistency after being chilled. 

Bacon Jam

1 1/2 lbs sliced bacon, cut into 1" pieces
2 medium yellow onions, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup brewed coffee

In a large, cast-iron skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered, about 20 minutes.  Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain, and pour off all but one tablespoon of bacon grease from skillet; add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are soft, about 6 minutes. 

Add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and coffee.  Bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up browned bits from the skillet, about 2 minutes.  Add bacon, and stir to combine. 

Transfer mixture into slow cooker, and cook on high, uncovered, for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, or until liquid is syrupy.  Transfer to a food processor, and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Let cool, and refrigerate in airtight containers for up to 4 weeks.