Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Breakfast for Dinner

I know you think that I have abandoned the kitchen for better things, I can assure you that is not the case. Life sometimes gets in the way of other things and with many things going on I have found it hard to make full dinners.  We have been eating a lot of things that we freeze from previous meals, like the other night we had beef vegetable soup that was made at some point and frozen.

Here is what I made tonight.  Keeping it simple and delicious.

A 2 egg omelet with tomato and mozzarella cheese.  I have a small pan that I use to cook my eggs in.  Cut the tomato into slices and then pull the seeds out of it, diced into small bites.  Add the diced tomato to a medium hot pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray or a little bit of olive oil.  Cook the tomatoes slightly, you want them to warm up but not become mushy. Take 2 eggs and crack them into a small bowl or measuring cup, beat and add about 1 teaspoon of water, beat.  Add egg to the pan.  Once egg is in the pan use a rubber spatula to move the egg around the edges of the pan, like scraping it.  I like to flip my eggs before I add filling.  Flip the eggs once the eggs have set (they aren't runny anymore) and add your filling, this is where I add the cheese.  Slide the omelet onto a plate and use the pan to flip the other half over the top of the omelet.

We like to cook our bacon in the microwave, it is fast and easy clean up.  All you need to do is have a microwave safe platter, line platter with paper towels (a fair amount since this will be soaking up the grease) and then line the paper towel with your slices of bacon.  Add more paper towels over top of the bacon.  Place in microwave.  Now our microwave only takes about 3 minutes for 5 slices of bacon.  Remove bacon to another platter, add more paper towels as needed and cook the rest of the bacon.

My husband enjoys his eggs over easy.  For me the pan needs to be heated on medium high, sprayed with cooking spray.  Add eggs and cook until the whites are just about cooked and you are able to flip them.  Flip them and remove from heat.  They will be cooked perfect.

I apologize for the pictures, they are not my best photos.
Served with buttered wheat toast and some tomato slices.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pasta with Sausage Meatballs

I don't know what the deal is but the last couple of days I have not felt like cooking at all.  We have been eating dishes that we had frozen.  Tonight was still like that, earlier in the day the normal question was asked, "what do you want for dinner?" I had no ideas at all and couldn't even begin to think about food early in the day or what I wanted to have for dinner.  So my husband suggested spaghetti.  So we pulled some pork sausage from the freezer to that out.  I figured at that point I would just make a simple meat sauce.  I got into the kitchen and decided to make meatballs and to use a shaped pasta instead of spaghetti.

I took 1 pound of pork sausage, add 2 eggs and some bread crumbs and some dried oregano; mix.  Just add enough bread crumbs to make the sausage and eggs stick together (you don't want them to be dry).  I used a small scoop to scoop my sausage mixture out with.  I wanted the meatballs small so that they wouldn't take long to cook. I dropped the meatballs into a hot skillet that I added extra virgin olive oil (about 2 tablespoons).  Cook the meatballs, turning often, until done in the middle and browned on the outside.

The sauce was actual a pre-made sauce in a jar.  I heated it and then added it to the cooked pasta.  Add the meatballs and then a couple of slices of sun dried tomatoes.  Add some fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

The meal was served with garlic bread and a side salad.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Poached Salmon

We purchased salmon and some other fish from a company called SeaBear.  I found this recipe on their website.  The salmon we purchased was Wild Alaskan Coho salmon, coho salmon has a meaty texture and has wonderful flavor, not to mention is high in omega 3.  (Based on a 2ox serving it contains 83 calories, 12 grams of protein, 3 grams of fat, 26 milligrams of sodium, 25 milligrams of cholesterol and 623 milligrams of Omega3)

Poached Salmon in Orange, Honey and Wine
Grated rind of 1 orange
juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used a 2008 Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough region of New Zealand, from Nobilo Icon - which is what we served along with the salmon)
salmon filets
Combine rind, juice, honey and wine in a large frying pan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Add salmon and cook over low heat until fish is tender and beginning to flake when tested, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove fish with slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, keep warm.  Bring poaching liquid to a boil over high hear and cook until slightly reduced and thickened.  Spoon a small amount over fish and serve.

The fish was served with a Teriyaki rice.  The rice was a packet that I bought from my local woman's club.  They did rice packets to help with the Tsunami relief in Japan.  The rice packet contained rice, brown sugar, garlic powder, ginger, teriyaki sauce, and chicken broth.  Also included was a side salad.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Crock Pot Oatmeal

I want to apologize for not posting anything in the last couple of days.  We have been eating leftovers from meals we have frozen.  A friend of mine posted one morning about making oatmeal in a crock pot and I thought this was perfect.  I love oatmeal and having to take the time in the morning to cook it wasn't how I would like to spend my mornings.

Here is what I did:
1 cup old fashioned oatmeal (not instant)
4 cups water

In a crock pot add a little bit of foil to the bottom of the crock.  You want to crinkle it some.  The point of the foil is that you don't want to have the inside bowl directly touching the bottom of the crock pot.  You want to use a bowl (I used a 4 cup liquid measure) that will fit inside your crock pot with room on the sides.  To the bowl add the water and oatmeal.  Place bowl inside of the crock pot.  Add water to the crock pot bowl making sure you don't put any water into your oatmeal bowl.  Add enough water until the water is to about the same height as the oatmeal water line.  Cover the crock pot with lid and turn the crock pot onto low.  Do all of this just before you go to bed, that way you will have oatmeal when you wake the next morning.

Here is what the cooked oatmeal looks like in the crock pot.

The bowl I used was okay but the oatmeal come right to the top so try to use a bowl that is a little larger than 4 cups.  Also, the next time I make this I will use steel cut oatmeal instead of the old fashioned.  The old fashioned oatmeal came out a little mushy for my taste and I think the steel cut will have a little more texture.
Spoon the oatmeal into a bowl and add whatever toppings you like.  I added brown sugar, dried cranberries and pecans.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Baked Ham with Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potatoes

We get this really wonderful tasting hams from our local co-op.  The hams (which are applewood smoked and uncured) are from Niman Ranch.  They are great and you can do anything with them, tonight was no exception.

Take the 1 can of sliced pineapple added a couple of slices of pineapple to the bottom of a baking dish, add the remainder of pineapple on top and around the ham.  Add all of the juice and place the dish into the oven.  Cover the dish with foil and place it in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 1-1/2 hours.

For the sweet potatoes:  peel, cut them into cubes, place them into a pot of water and bring water to a boil.  Cook until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.  While the potatoes are cooking in another small pan add 1/2 cup of heavy cream, 1/8 of a cup of maple syrup and about 1/8 to 1/4 of cayenne pepper (use more or less depending on your taste), heat the cream (do not let it boil).  Drain potatoes, add back to hot pan (this will remove any excess water).  Add potatoes to a bowl.  Smash the potatoes with a potato masher and add a little bit of the cream mixture.  I used a small handheld mixer to mix my potatoes once they were smashed.  Continue to add cream until you reach the consistency you want.

The meal was served with cooked frozen spinach.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Smoked Pork Barbecue

On Sunday when we smoked the beef brisket we also smoked a pork loin roast.  We rubbed the pork roast with a barbecue spice rub and then placed it on the smoker with mesquite wood and smoked it for about 6-1/2 hours.

Barbecue Spice Rub
1/2 cup chili powder
3 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons paprika
Mix all ingredients together.

We took the smoked roast and shredded it.  We placed the shredded meat in a crock pot and covered with leftover brisket sauce.  Let the meat cook in a crockpot set on low for about 2-3 hours.  Serve the pork on buns with sauce.  Serve coleslaw on the side.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Smoked Beef Brisket with all the fixings

Really wanted to do some meat on the smoker for today for dinner.  It is also a super easy meal if you want to have friends over.  Here is what we did...

Barbecue Texas Style Beef Brisket

1 whole beef brisket (not the corned beef kind)
2-1/2 cups ketchup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 cups chili sauce
1-1/2 cups white wine vinegar
1-1/2 cups water
3/4 can or bottle of beer
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard
1 tablespoon celery seed
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I used tamari)
2 garlic cloves minced
Dash of bottled hot pepper sauce
Ground black pepper to taste

Use for to make holes in brisket.  Place brisket in a large pan.  Combine and blend well all ingredients and pour over brisket.  Place in refrigerator and marinade overnight, turning meat several times.  Remove the brisket from sauce/marinade (reserving the sauce) and place brisket in hot smoker, fat side up.  Smoke until meat is pink in the center.  For best results use meat thermometer 170 degrees for medium.  Smoke time is approximately 1 hour per pound.  Place sauce in a pan and bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes approximately.

Slice brisket very thinly across the grain at an angle.  Pour sauce over brisket slices and serve.

This recipe is something I have had for a while and it gets its name from due to the pickling process of the dressing, it really will last nine days, though it won't last that long (we will eat it before that).

Nine Day Coleslaw
1 head of cabbage
1 green pepper, diced
2 Spanish onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1 cup white vinegar
1-3/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup celery seeds
3/4 teaspoon black pepper

Shred the cabbage, chopping into very small thin pieces.  (I used a Cuisinart for chopping up the cabbage, onions and green pepper).  Place cabbage in a large bowl, adding pepper and onions, then sprinkle with salt and toss the cabbage and vegetables.  Place oil, vinegar, sugar, celery seeds in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then pour immediately over the cabbage, peppers and onions.  Sprinkle on the freshly ground pepper and stir to combine well.  Set aside for at least 2 hours at room temperature.  If making ahead, you may wish to refrigerate, but it is not necessary.

Along with this meal we served ranch style beans/chili beans (you can find them in the grocery store), sliced onion and bread.

Coconut Pound Cake

We are having some friends over this afternoon for dinner and I thought well you can't have dinner without dessert.  I opted for a pound cake.  They are simple, easy and oh so delicious.  There is a lot of things that you can do with this recipe by changing the flavor by switching out the vanilla with another flavoring.

1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, at room temperature
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
6 ounces flaked coconut

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs 1 at a time.  Add the flour, baking soda, salt, sour cream and vanilla; mix well.  Stir in the coconut.  Spoon into a greased and floured tube pan.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1-1/4 hours.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Remove cake to a wire rack to cook completely.

Breakfast Muffin Sandwich

This is my version of  a breakfast muffin sandwich.

Cook an egg in a small skillet.  To keep the egg round I use a small cookie cutter.  Spray the pan with a non stick spray and the cookie cutter.  Place the cookie cutter in the pan so that it warms up along with the pan.  Add the egg to the inside of the cookie cutter, don't touch it.  Let the egg cook until it looks like the top is about set.  Use a turner to turn over the egg along with the cookie cutter.  Remove the cookie cutter and cook the egg a little bit more.  You may have to adjust the heat as you are cooking so that your egg doesn't burn.

Add egg to a toasted English muffin.  Top with cheese (I used Swiss) and some thinly sliced ham.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup with Smoked Salmon

I found this recipe in the Yukon - North of Ordinary magazine that I subscribe to, it was in the winter 2011 issue.  I love this magazine as it is always filled with wonderful articles and great recipes (even though this is the first one I have ever actually made).

I have to tell you something funny that happened in the kitchen as I was preparing to make this recipe.  As you read through this recipe you will see that it calls for chipotle peppers in adobe sauce.  I keep the peppers in stock in my kitchen because so many recipes actually call for it.  So I pulled a can from my pantry, I noticed that the top of the can had a little sauce or yuck from what is inside the can.  My first thought was "well maybe in the store one of the cans leaked and ended up on this can".  I knew better than that...so I thought the seal on this can isn't that good and the sauce leaked out so I decided that it was a good idea to push on the seal on the top of the can to test, yes I said test, the strength of the can by applying pressure to the seal.  Well you guessed it, the seal was not sealed, or I have the strength of a super body builder, and as I pushed on the can the contents, which of course is under pressure decided to let loose if you will all over myself and my husband who happened to be standing close.  I had chipotle pepper sauce all over me, thankfully I wear an apron in the kitchen so the majority of the sauce was on it.  I think the part that un-nerves me is that some of that sauce went into my mouth.  Now I realize at this point that the can is no good.  The can went into the garbage.  Thankfully I had another can available for this dish.

Here is the recipe:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery (I did not actually use celery in my recipe because I am allergic)
1 cup chopped carrot
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 pounds peeled, chopped sweet potato
1/2 of a chipotle pepper in adobe sauce
6 cups chicken broth (I use homemade broth)
2 ounces of smoked salmon

Sour Cream
Roasted peppers, chopped

Melt oil and butter in a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic; reduce heat to medium low and saute until onion is translucent.  Add the sweet potato,  Stir well so that every piece is coated in oil and butter, and then add the broth and the chipotle pepper.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 25-30 minutes or until sweet potato is completely soft.  Blend soup in a food processor, immersion blender or press through a strainer.  I used my vitamix blender.  Return soup to the pot and add salt to taste.  Keep warm.  Dice the salmon into 1/2 inch pieces.  When you're ready to serve, pour soup into bowls and pile a small mound of smoked salmon in the center of each bowl.  Add sour cream and peppers.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Veggie Pizza

I wanted to make this pizza yesterday but that didn't happen.  So I decided to make it today.

Here is what I did:

Pizza Crust
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cup warm water (105 to 115 degree Fahrenheit)
1-2/3 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

In a 2 cup liquid measure, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.  Let stand until foamy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  I used my Cuisinart to mix the dough.  Using the metal blade add flour and salt to work bowl.  Mix. With machine running slowly add the yeast while pouring it through the feed tube.  Process until the dough forms a ball and no longer sticks to the sides.  In a large bowl, add olive oil.  Add dough to the bowl and move the dough ball around so that all sides of the dough are coated with oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm location for about 45 minutes.  The dough will rise to about double its size.  Turn dough out onto a floured surface and punch down.  Roll into desired crust size.  Place dough onto a pizza peel slightly covered with corn meal (this will prevent the dough from sticking to the board as you place it into the oven).  Let dough rest for about 10 minutes while you prepare the ingredients for the toppings.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Ricotta Cheese
Mozzarella Cheese, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
Dried Oregano
Dried Basil
Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
Orange Bell Pepper, sliced thin
Can of Artichoke hearts, quartered and drained (you can buy them in the can already quartered)
Black olives, cut into quarters
Tomato, cut into thin slices
Sliced Banana Peppers
Here is what I did to start off.  Brush olive oil onto the crust.  Add ricotta cheese (add the amount that works) by spreading it around the crust.  The the other ingredients in whatever order you would like.  I layered the cheese in between the toppings.

Slide pizza onto a baking stone that has been preheated in a 450 degree Fahrenheit oven.  Bake pizza for about 30 minutes.

Along with the pizza we had side salads, which consisted of green leaf lettuce, tomato, carrots, some leftover artichokes, pepper, banana peppers and black olives.  The salad was served with homemade french dressing.

I want to hear from you.  What are your favorite toppings on a pizza?  Leave a comment below.  Thanks!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Gluten Free Brown Butter Brownies

Okay, before you make a face about the fact that this is a gluten free recipe, don't!  This is the best brownie recipe I have ever made.  I am all about using regular flour but I needed to find a recipe a while ago that was gluten free.  I found this recipe from a blog called Fire and Salt.  This recipe is so simple that there is no reason to ever use a brownie mix from a box.

Gluten Free Brown Butter Brownies
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Wilbur Dutch Processed Cocoa - this is the best cocoa I have found on the market and having a good cocoa will make all the difference in the taste of the brownies)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Gluten Free Flour Mix (see recipe below)
1/2 to 1 cup of walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 325 degree Fahrenheit.  Line a 8 inch by 8 inch square pan with foil, lightly coat foil with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, mix in sugar, cocoa powder and salt.  Set aside.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  After the butter melts it becomes a golden yellow and will begin to foam.  Continue to stir.  After 4-5 minutes the butter will start to getting darker and browning.  The smell of the butter will change to a nutty smell as the butter begins to brown.  Just make sure that you continue to stir it so that it doesn't burn.  Once the butter reaches a nice deep brown color remove from heat.  Add the butter to the sugar mixture.  Add vanilla and water.  Stir the mixture well.  The mixture will be grainy (don't worry).  Let this mixture cool for about 5 minutes.  After cooling add eggs one at a time.  Stir until the mixture is totally incorporated.  The mixture will become smooth and shiny.  Add the flour and mix thoroughly, about 60 to 70 strokes.  Add nuts if you wish.  I did not add nuts this time.
Pour the batter into the pan and place in oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean with a few crumbs on it.  Cool the brownies in the pan placed on a rack.  Once cooled you should be able to lift the brownies out of the pan by the foil.

Gluten Free Flour Mix
6 parts White Rice Flour
2 parts Potato Starch (not potato flour)
1 part Tapioca Starch/Flour
I mix this up in a large bowl and store it so that I have it ready to go when I want it.

Decided to add a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream and a chocolate sauce over the brownie.  The chocolate sauce came from a friend who picked it up while he was in Canada.  It is a Dark Chocolate Sauce with Merlot.  It is made by Holt Renfrew.  I knew when I popped the lid to the jar I just had to make brownies for the sauce to be drizzled over.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Horseradish Cheese Dip and Spinach Artichoke Dip

I had a meeting tonight where I was responsible for snacks.  I made both of these for that meeting.

Horseradish Cheese Dip
1/4 cup stout or lager beer (I used Yuengling since this is what I had available)
1/4 cup soft tofu
1/4 pound of cream cheese
3/4 pound of cheddar cheese, cubed
1/4 cup horseradish
2 tablespoons diced red onion
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
I did this recipe in my vitamix blender.  I think that if you shred the cheese really fine, and made sure that the cream cheese is warm that you can mix this up in a regular blender.

Spinach Artichoke Dip
I made it in my Vitamix blender but you could easily mix this in a regular blender.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 slice lemon, peeled, seeded
1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled (if using a regular blender I would crush it)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

Place all ingredients into blender except artichoke hearts.  Blend until slightly smooth but still chunky, add artichokes and blend a little bit more.  Pour into dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly.

I apologize that I did not photograph the artichoke dip.  Here is the link to where I have made it before which contains a picture.  Spinach Artichoke Dip

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Honey Glazed Chicken with Rice

I dug for a chicken recipe out of my many cookbooks for tonight's dinner.  I knew I wanted something quick, easy and something that can be baked in an oven.

I pulled this recipe from The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook.  Here is the recipe:

3/4 cup flour **
1-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt **
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 3-5 pound pastured chicken, cut up **
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce (I use wheat free, reduced sodium tamari)
1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit
Combine flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Rinse the chicken, pat dry with paper towels, and then dip the chicken into the flour mixture, turning until they are thoroughly coated.  Place on a rack, and set aside.
Pour the melted butter into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  Add the chicken pieces, turning until they are coated with the butter.  Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. **
Mix together the brown sugar, honey, lemon juice, soy sauce, and curry powder.  Pour over chicken, and bake for 45 minutes longer **, basting occasionally with the pan drippings.

**  Here are my notes for this recipe.  I used boneless pastured chicken breasts instead of the whole cut up chicken.  Because I was using just chicken breasts I didn't need as much flour and knew that I didn't need nearly that much salt.  So adjust the salt and flour to suit your tastes.  In regard to baking the chicken I did the first bake for 20 minutes and then for 25 minutes after the sauce was poured on.   The flavor of the sauce is wonderful and I could almost spoon out what was left and eat it by itself.  I think the next time I make this recipe I am going to add pineapple slices to the bottom of the pan.  I believe that the flavors in the sauce will compliment the pineapple.

I served the chicken with a side of basmati rice.  For 2-3 servings you need
1/2 cup rice, 3/4 cup water and 1-1/2 teaspoons of butter.  Combine rice, water and butter in a pot with tight fitting lid.  Bring to a boil.  Stir once.  Cover with lid.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, let stand in covered pot for 10 minutes.  Fluff with fork and serve.

 I also served this with a salad which was our main vegetable for the meal.  The salad was greens, tomato, green peppers, carrots and dried cranberries.  It was served with a balsamic vinegar, olive oil dressing.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Everything but the Chicken Chicken Soup

I have the feeling that I am coming down with a cold so I thought a bowl of chicken soup was in order.  Instead of going all out on full blown chicken noodle soup I improvised.  I keep homemade chicken broth in the freezer so I pulled 2 quart jars out of the freezer to thaw.

Once they were partially thawed I dumped both jars into a large saucepan.  Brought the broth to a boil and added the following:
1/2 of a vidalia onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper
8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup frozen corn
Add vegetables to the broth and cook until vegetables are soft.  Bring the broth with vegetables to a boil and add about 1 cup of fusilli pasta.  Add some salt and pepper to taste.  I also added a sprig of fresh thyme and let it cook in the broth.  Remove the thyme before serving.