Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fresh Corn on the Cob

This isn't as much a recipe as it is a new way (for me, at least) to cook corn on the cob.  We were lucky enough to get sweet corn still in the husk, and I had no idea you could cook it in the microwave!  It's fast, easy, and delicious!  You can serve the corn however you like: butter is always a good option, and this recipe with Parmesan cheese was great, too.

Fresh Corn on the Cob

Loosely wrap ears of corn, still in husks, on a damp paper towel.  Turn ears over and rearrange after half the cooking time. 

Cooking Time Table
1 ear - 1 1/2 minutes
2 ears - 3-4 minutes
3 ears - 5-6 minutes
4 ears - 7-8 minutes
5 ears - 8-9 minutes

When ears are hot to the touch, remove them and wrap in kitchen towel or foil.  Let stand for at least 5 minutes.  Remove husks and silk, and serve as desired.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies

I've tried a few cake mix cookies, but these are the best I've found.  I think the peanut butter adds so much flavor!  I used chunky peanut butter and mini-chocolate chips, so these cookies had a lot of texture.  They were definitely chewy cookies, not thin and crispy cookies.  I almost wanted to underbake them just a bit so they would be even chewier.  (The dough on its own is pretty darn good, too.)

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies

2 eggs
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1 (18.25 oz) pkg yellow cake mix
2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray cookie sheets with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, cream together the eggs, water, margarine, and peanut butter.  Stir in the cake mix, and blend well.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven.  Cool cookies on a wire rack.  Yields 2 1/2 dozen large cookies.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Pioneer Woman's Blueberry Cobbler

My family picked blueberries for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and we all enjoyed it (including my 15-month-old nephew, who liked picking up rocks from the gravel road a bit more than picking blueberries).  We couldn't wait to try this cobbler recipe from the Pioneer Woman.  She used blackberries in her recipe, but I think any fruit can be used; my mom has used peaches and gotten great results, too.  It is SO delicious!  I loved it, and I hope you'll try it!

The Pioneer Woman's Blueberry Cobbler

1 stick butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup milk
2 cups blueberries (or any frozen or fresh fruit)

Preheat oven to 350.  Melt the stick of butter in a microwaveable dish.  Pour one cup of sugar and flour into a mixing bowl, whisking in milk.  Mix well.  Pour in melted butter, and whisk it all well together.  Butter a baking dish.

Rinse and pat dry the blueberries.  Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish, and sprinkle berries over the top ofhe batter, distributing evenly.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over the top. 

Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly.  If you desire, sprinkle an additional teaspoon of sugar over the cobbler 10 minutes before it's done.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fried Pickles and Jalapenos with Blue Cheese Dip

These were absolutely delicious!  I adapted the recipe from this Paula Deen recipe I found a while back.  We ended up making two batches, just for the two of us! 

You can use fresh jalapenos like Paula Deen did, but I used sliced pickled jalapenos and bread and butter pickles.  Either way you do it, these will turn out great.  I didn't pour much oil in the skillet because I'm not used to frying things and because hot grease generally makes me nervous.  I only fried them for a minute or two per side, and that was enough. 

You have to assemble Fry Mix, and you should cut the recipe down or just be prepared to save some for later.  I'm sure it keeps in an airtight container for a couple of weeks.

The blue cheese dipping sauce is outstanding.  When we ran out of pickles and jalapenos, we moved on to Wheat Thins or anything else we could find.  I lightened it up by using fat-free Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and it was excellent. 

Fried Pickles and Jalapenos with Blue Cheese Dip

1 cup Fry Mix (Recipe below)
1/4 cup Pickled jalapeno slices
1/4 cup Bread and butter pickles
Canola oil, for frying (or peanut oil or vegetable oil)

Heat a small amount of oil in a deep skillet to 375.  While the oil heats up, coat the jalapeno slices and pickle slices in the fry mix.  Using a slotted spoon or tongs, carefully lower the jalapenos and pickles into the oil.  Fry for about 2 minutes, turning them to brown evenly.  Drain on a paper-towel lined plate, and season with salt.  Serve immediately with Blue Cheese Dip (recipe below).

Fry Mix

3 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup self-rising white cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed black pepper

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix.

Blue Cheese Dip

1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup low-fat mayonaisse
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup (2 oz) crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

Combine the yogurt, mayonaisse, salt, and pepper.  Fold in the blue cheese and green onions.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Strawberry and Spinach Salad

What a delicious salad!  It's hard not to like anything with strawberries and goat cheese--yum!  The salad dressing is divine, too.  If you don't have the sesame or poppy seeds, you can leave them out.  The mixture of oil, vinegar, and sugar is the main event.

You'll be SO glad you tried this.  Hope you love it!

Strawberry and Spinach Salad

2 bunches spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-sized pieces
4 cups sliced strawberries
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp poppy seeds

In a large bowl, toss together the spinach, strawberries, goat cheese, and almonds.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, paprika, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds.  Pour over the spinach and strawberries, and toss to coat.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Teak Dog Tuesday!

Teak is an excellent fisher-dog.  He's not freaked out by the crickets like I am.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Marinade for Grilled Chicken

This is so great because you probably already have all of these ingredients at your house already.   It's a quick, easy, and tasty marinade to throw together in the morning so the chicken can soak it up all day long before dinner.  The longer the chicken sits in it, the more flavorful it will be! 

I made enough for two large chicken breasts, but you can always adjust the amounts if you're feeding more people.  I also think apple cider vinegar would be a good substitute for the red wine vinegar. 

I grilled the chicken on my grill pan for about 6 minutes per side over medium heat, but feel free to light up the charcoal or even bake the chicken in the marinade.  Hope you like it!

Marinade for Grilled Chicken

1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp Worcestershire suace
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp and 1 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp finely minced fresh parsley

Mix together all ingredients in a large zip-top bag.  Add chicken to bag, and marinate in refrigerator for at least two hours. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mexican Rice

We served this Mexican rice with our Mexican chicken, and it was great.  Feel free to add some chili powder if you like spicier rice.

Mexican Rice

1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, diced
2/3 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 (10 oz) can Rotel tomatoes and green chiles, NOT drained
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp salt
Cilantro, for garnish

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Stir in onion, and saute until translucent.  Pour the rice into the pan, and stir to coat the grains with oil.  Mix in cumin, chili powder, tomatoes, salt, and chicken broth.  Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Cook at a simmer for 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender.  Garnish with cilantro and serve warm.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mexican Chicken

We love our Mexican food in this house, and this Mexican chicken was awesome!  This was so easy and delicious, and we had everything we needed at the house already.   I highly recommend this! 

Mexican Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
Montreal steak seasoning
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack, cheese
Cilantro, for garnish
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray 9"x13" dish with cooking spray.  Season chicken with steak seasoning, and place in baking dish.  Top each chicken breast with salsa, and bake for 35 minutes.  After 35 minutes, top chicken with shredded cheese, and return to oven for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Rattlesnake Bites (Beef-Stuffed Crescents)

I was so pleased with how these came out!  The recipe below shows how to make them fromm scratch, but I approached these with some leftover hamburger patties that had already been grilled.  For some reason, a leftover hamburger sounded awful, but transformed into these Rattlesnake Bites, they were awesome!  (I think they're called Rattlesnake Bites because of the good kick of heat that they have.  They're not too hot, but it's just enough to not be bland.  If you wanted to crank up the heat, you could add chopped jalapenos, too.) 

You can use regular-sized crescent rolls, and those would be great appetizers or finger food; just know with those, you'll only get about a tablespoon of the meat filling for each roll.  I used the jumbo rolls and put about 1/3 cup of filling per roll.  

Also, there wasn't any neat rolling going on.  As long as I got the seams pressed together, I was satisfied.  They tasted excellent whether or not they looked like crescents. 

Rattlesnake Bites

1 lb ground beef
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes and green chiles (I used original Rotel)
4 oz low fat cream cheese, softened and cut into cubes
Salt and pepper
2 tubes refrigerated jumbo crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 375.  In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until it is no longer pink; drain.  In a bowl, combine meat, tomatoes and chiles, cream cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. 

Separate crescent dough into triangles.  Divide the beef mixture evenly along the short end of each triangle; carefully roll up.  Place on greased cookie sheets.  Bake in preheated oven for 14-17 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm.