Friday, December 30, 2011

Eggnog Custard Pie





I used to be an eggnog fiend when I was younger. I couldn't get enough of the stuff. Then as I got older and had kids it just seemed like I was the only person in the crowd that was interested so I stopped buying it. This year Kevin told me he really likes eggnog. How do I not know these things??? So immediately so many eggnog ideas ran through my head. I literally made a list;

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Standing Rib Roast with Rosemary and Garlic

I don't know about you but in my family rib roast was something we couldn't afford for a long time. Once we were able to make the splurge, rib roast was reserved for the New Year's Day dinner. We rang in the new year with yummy roast and lots of champagne (New Year's Eve I was allowed to have a glass of champagne with the family, I felt so grown up!!).

Friday, December 16, 2011

Candied Sweet Potatoes with Rum Sauce





Hmmm I am sensing a theme here. The holiday's...well yes, of course! What would the other one be....hhmmmm.....aahhh yes, RUM!! Seriously though, I am not hooked on rum. I do love the way it tastes in certain foods and around the holidays it just seems to come out in abundance, rum soaked cakes, cupcakes, balls, so it isn't just me!

Actually this recipe was taken from one that used bourbon, but it was just too bitter for me. Plus I liked some of the aspects of the old family recipe. So I smooshed them together and WALA made one awesome recipe! Don't take my word for it, ask the family. They get excited for the holidays because I make them. This year I played around with the idea of NOT making them. WOW you should have seen the looks on their faces. You would have thought I told them we were eating road kill or something. OK that was dramatic I know, but pretty much sums up the looks I got.

I have made this recipe with yams as well as sweet potatoes, and you are more than welcome to substitute them. However, with trying to make things a bit healthier I chose sweet potatoes because they are lower in calories and have a lower glycemic load. I also reduce the amount of marshmallows I use. I wanted to try it with out them completely but the family threatened to boycott Thanksgiving if I did!!


Candied Sweet Potatoes with Rum Sauce

  • 8 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8ths
  • 3 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 1 stick butter, cut into pieces
  • Marshmallows 



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large heavy pot, combine the potatoes, sugar, water, orange juice, vanilla, orange zest, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Lower the heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Strain the potatoes out of the sauce and place in a casserole dish. Return the sauce to the pan.
Add the rum to the sauce and continue to cook until syrup is thickened, about another 15 minutes. Pour the syrup over the potatoes. Add the pieces of butter and the marshmallows (as many as you like). Place in the oven. Bake until the marshmallows are browned, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Roasted Turkey with Lemon and Sage Compound Butter



With Thanksgiving  past and Christmas on the horizon I was a bit shocked when Kevin suggested we make a turkey this week. We were just wandering around the grocery store picking up a few items when we stumbled upon the turkeys and they were on sale. He looked at me and said, "Do you want to make a turkey?". I don't know why it seemed strange to me at first to make a turkey at any other time of year besides the holidays, but the foodie in me kicked in and my response was "Heck ya!". I knew it would give me the opportunity to try a new way of roasting my turkey.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rachael Ray Wednesday - Reuben Mac and Cheese

Hello and Happy Wednesday to you my foodie friends! With everything that has been going on lately my schedule has gotten all flubbed up and there hasn't been a Rachael Ray Wednesday or a Food Star Friday in what seems like forever! So I sat down and put on my thinking cap to figure out what recipe I wanted to make.

Last weekend I had a houseful with Kevin, Seth, Dylan, and Dylan's girlfriend. I knew I wanted to make something that would fill them up but also reheat well for leftovers. So I decided on one of Rachael's many mac and cheese recipes.

I personally love mac and cheese and there isn't much I wouldn't like mixed in really, but this one is one of my favorites. I know the first time I mentioned this combination to my family there were a few faces that looked a bit skeptical. Not after I made it. It was eaten in one night! And trust me this recipe can feed quite a few. I always know when it is a pasta recipe that Rachael says will feed 6 there will easily be enough to feed 10....or MORE! I remember one time my father said, "Feeds 6 what? Linebackers?".

Speaking of my father, as you know from my past posts he could be a very picky eater. Well not picky so much as he was from Iowa farm country so he liked meat and potatoes, not foo foo fancy stuff. Well he shocked me because he really liked this mac and cheese. So that was another reason I knew I wanted to make this one again.

Another great thing about this recipe is how simple it is to put together. Bing bam boom you've got dinner on the table!


Reuben Mac and Cheese

  • Salt
  • 1 pound cavatappi, hallow corkscrew shaped pasta or, other short cut
  • 2 slices rye bread
  • 3 tablespoons butter plus some for buttering toast
  • A handful fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup spicy brown deli mustard (recommended: Gulden's)
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere
  • 1 cup shredded yellow Cheddar
  • 3/4 pound good quality deli corned beef, sliced as thick as bacon, chopped
  • 1 pound sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt water and cook pasta to al dente.
While pasta cooks, toast rye bread in toaster then butter hot bread. Coarsely chop bread and place in a food processor. Add parsley and paprika to bread and process into bread crumbs, reserve.
Heat a sauce pot over medium heat. Add butter to pot and melt, whisk in flour 1 minute then milk. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, thicken sauce 5 to 6 minutes then stir in mustard. Melt 2/3 of the combined cheeses into the sauce.
Preheat broiler.
Drain pasta and return to hot pot. Toss hot pasta with chopped meat and sauerkraut to combine, stir in cheese sauce and coat. Transfer mac n cheese to casserole and top with bread crumbs and remaining cheese. Brown under broiler 3 to 4 minutes, serve.



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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Rum Soaked Craisins



Christmas is my favorite time of year. Oh, I know you hear that all of the time, but seriously I could be one of those crazy people that stay decorated for Christmas year round. As soon as Halloween is over I am chomping at the bit to put up my Christmas goodies and the rest of the family have to hold me back until Thanksgiving. But that is as far as it gets! The day after Thanksgiving my tree goes up and the festivities begin!! I mean, I really get into it! Here is just a "taste" of how I roll!






My kids and I have always made cookies at Christmas together and now that they are young adults, those memories bring me so much happiness and joy! I guess you could say I can't think about Christmas without cookies. They just go hand in hand. Even above the whole Christmas dinner, cookies are the first thing I think of in my kitchen at Christmas.

So it just seemed a natural direction for me to go when I found out about the White Christmas Challenge through Very Good Recipes. If I think of a snowy white Christmas, I think of being warm and toasty inside with my kids and the wonderful smells of freshly baked cookies wafting through the air! I can close my eyes and picture it right now!!

This recipe is one that I have made for years, but this year I brought it up a "notch" by soaking the Craisins in rum. You don't have to use the rum. You could soak them in apple cider or even cranberry juice if you like. But I will say that if you try them this way you will be hooked. The rum adds just a touch of a bite to the cookies and soaking the Craisins make them softer and chewier. Either way though, I hope you give these a try. Hopefully they will end up on your "Must have for Christmas" list.


White Chocolate Chip Cookies with Rum Soaked Craisins 

1 1/2 to 2 cups Craisins
2 cups rum, regular or spiced 
1 cup butter flavored shortening, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups unsifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups white chocolate chips

Place Craisins in a bowl and pour the rum over them, making sure they are all covered by the liquid. Allow to soak overnight. Drain and set aside.

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla extract and beat well. Blend in flour mixture a little at a time until completely incorporated. Add the white chocolate chips and the rum soaked Craisins and combine.

Drop by teaspoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes




Beef Stroganoff Over Buttered Egg Noddles with Herbs



Last night I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with things. Christmas, my father's passing, just having a hard time getting my body and my mind motivated to get up and do anything but stress and worry. Then in the middle of all that the light bulb I have in my head went BING and the little voice said, "Psssssttttt hey....you.......ya YOU......get up off of your butt and get in the kitchen! You know it will make you feel better." Ya know, that little voice is so frickin' smart sometimes it is scary!

So I drug myself to the grocery store and what do ya know? I started feeling better! Weird how that works for foodies huh? For some reason Beef Stroganoff just popped into my head and I knew I had to make it so I was on a mission. Through the store I scurried looking for my ingredients, excited about getting home and cooking. It was so cold outside and I knew everyone would love some nice creamy Stroganoff over some buttery egg noodles yummmmm!

This recipe takes a while but it is not labor intensive. You chop and drop and then let the food and stove do all of the work for you. Once it is over your reward for a few hours of drooling due to the wonderful smells coming from your kitchen is a fantastically warm, filling dinner that is like a big hug for your tummy!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Apple Blackberry Pie




I think I mentioned in one of my posts before Thanksgiving that I wanted to make something different this year for dessert VS the traditional pumpkin pie. Of course I couldn't decide on just one thing so I compromised. I made the Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting to satisfy my pumpkin tooth, and then to fulfill the pie opening in the line up I decided on an Apple Blackberry Pie.

Now, I had never made pie before so I was quite nervous about this undertaking. I chose to make Apple Blackberry Pie because I wanted apple and Kevin prefers blackberry so WALA simple choice to me was to throw them in to party together, seemed logical to me.

I was surprised how simple the process really was. I was expecting to stress out and struggle but it all went quite smoothly. Now I am excited to bake more pies! I hope the neighbors are ready!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My 1K Giveaway!!



WOW Wow wow.....that is all I can say. Thank you so much to all my fabulous foodie friends for putting me over 1000 Facebook fans!

When I started my food blogging journey a few short months ago I never dreamed that people would really be reading my blog. Oh well maybe a few I thought. Then a friend suggested a create a Facebook fan page. I can remember seriously laughing out loud. "Ya right" I thought, but I went ahead and gave it a shot. I am so thankful to her for suggesting it!

I want you to know that it isn't just about the numbers. Yes, I am not going to lie, seeing that 1000 come up on my page made me jump up and dance around the room like a lunatic. But the best part of this whole journey is the people that I have found, or rather who have found me. If it wasn't for this blog and Facebook I would have never "met" you. I look forward to signing on each day and seeing the comments and posts.

So many of you have been with me through the tough times of the last year, and have been supportive and helpful in ways you may not know. So this is my thank you to you all!


My 1K Giveaway Prizes


A rapid beverage chiller. Perfect for the holidays or any time you want that bottle of beer or wine cold right NOW!


An adorable Christmas cooking apron. No the matching tablecloth doesn't go with it LOL


Baking set with oven mitts, rolling pin, large rubber spatula, whisk, and wooden spoon.


Chef Pals Oinking Pig Meat Thermometer






This is how you will get entries into the giveaway;

Leave a comment on this post letting me know what prize you are hoping for and why.
"Like" Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen on Facebook if you don't already. 
Follow this blog via GFC (Google Friend Connect) or Networked Blogs
Follow me on Twitter
Send out a Tweet about the giveaway (this can be done daily for extra entries)
Post about the giveaway on your Facebook page (this can be done daily for extra entries)

All winners will be decided by Rafftlecopter

GOOD LUCK!!!





Monday, December 5, 2011

Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings



I love chicken wings. They are one of my all time favorite football munchies. I used to fool myself that they really weren't that bad for me. I mean
chicken = protein,
celery = vegetable,
Ranch dressing = uummm dairy, ya that's it, dairy.

But once I really started to pay attention to calories and all that fun stuff (plus watching The Biggest Loser), I realized that one serving of 10 buffalo wings could run as much as 1590 calories and 107 grams of fat!!! Which breaks down into 159 calories each! YIKES!!! I sadly walked away from my beloved buffalo wings thinking that I would never return again.

Then I began my cooking adventures. I started taking old recipes that I loved, or comfort foods I treasured, and trying to make them even just a bit more healthy. Why I never thought of changing things up with my wonderful tangy buffalo wings I have no idea. I am a little slow at times, but I get there eventually.

Now these wings still have a bit of butter in them, but by bypassing the deep frying process we are saving a ton, and I mean a TON of calories and fat. Wanna know how much? We cut that figure in half!! 10 baked wings? 786 calories BooYaaaa!! OK, no, they still aren't the healthiest things under the sun, and I don't recommend eating them every week. But it is nice to know that we can indulge once in a while without feeling like you have to sacrifice your whole entire days worth of calories just to eat 10 little buffalo wings right?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting




I have been a hard core pumpkin pie traditionalist for many years when it came to Thanksgiving. I mean in my head you had to have pumpkin pie, right? For some reason I felt Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie was unimaginable.

This year, for whatever reason, that pumpkin pie obsession turned loose of my little brain. When it did it seemed like a million ideas came flooding in. I think I went on and on for about a week, talking everyone's ears off, about what desserts I would make for Thanksgiving. For the most part they all looked at me like I had lost my mind. It is a look I am quite used to receiving so no big deal.

Once my mind came back from it's little trip I decided I still wanted to do something pumpkin, just not a pie. Hmmmm what to make? A pumpkin roll? Cupcakes? How about whoopie pies? But then I remembered my mother's cake she used to make when I was young. She used a spiced cake mix from the box and added canned pumpkin to it, then topped it with a spiced whipped cream frosting. Yummmmm right? SO I began digging through my piles of cookbooks, notes, and magazines. (*Mental note* I REALLY need to organize my stuff!!) I came back from my digging empty handed. I have no idea what happened to her recipe. So I figured I would look online and see if I could find something close. I could NOT believe how many recipes I found for pumpkin cake in varies forms and sizes.

I finally found a recipe I liked on Just Putzing Around The Kitchen and with a slight bit of change decided I had my cake. I will tell you that I had to be supervised when I made the frosting because I could have eaten it straight out of the bowl!

The family loved the cake and no pumpkin pie withdrawal was observed!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

O Olive Oil Product Review



I was so excited to be one of the eight bloggers chosen to participate in the O Olive Oil and eRecipeCards recipe challenge and product review. Being as passionate as I am about quality foods and fantastic flavors, the fact that O Olive Oils are all organic made me happy. They use only certified organic fruit from small family owned California farms. Then I began to read more about their crushing process and I was very excited to try their product!

O Olive Oil is the original maker of citrus crushed olive oils. They have been making their olive oils since 1995 and their barrel aged wine vinegars since 1997. I couldn't believe I hadn't heard of them before! Bad foodie, bad bad foodie!! I can tell you now that I have found them I will never let them go!

The difference between their crushed olive oil and infused or flavored olive oils is downright amazing. I have to admit, I was sure they would be good but I was not prepared for just how good they would be. Most infused or flavored olive oils have left me less than happy. I used to cook with them awhile back and just realized it was better to use the actual ingredient + the olive oil VS the infused or flavored oil.

Then I received my beautiful little bottle of Tahitian Lime Olive Oil. As soon as I uncorked it the smell of lime wafted up from the bottle and made my mouth water. I couldn't wait to taste it. I had planned a family tasting so I could get multiple opinions, and I did do that, but I couldn't wait for everyone else. I grabbed some bread and drizzled a bit of the heavenly smelling oil on it. WOW now THAT'S lime I thought. I couldn't believe it, I had to taste it again. It was like lime juice with a slightly buttery flavor. At that point I couldn't wait to cook with it.

The quality of their products made my little foodie brain go on tilt and by the time I was at the grocery store I had three different proteins in mind. Pacing the butcher block I couldn't decide so I bought all three. I figured I would not only have the family do a tasting of the oil, but also allow them to be the deciding factor when it came to which recipe I posted. It was a close call but the Cilantro Lime Cod with Sherry Vinegar Reduction won. I used the same recipe for salmon and chicken so you could substitute those for the cod if you like. They ALL are fantastic.

The only downside to the whole process is that I used all of my oil. What little I had leftover from cooking the entire family devoured with the bread! Thank goodness the wonderful people at O Olive Oil are offering a 20% discount on ANY order exclusive to users of eRecipeCards.com. PLUS free shipping on orders over $60 (after discount). Just use the promo code: e-recipecards when you check out.

I can tell you that with that offer I am not only stocking up myself but the foodies in my life will be getting something yummy under their Christmas tree from me!


Disclosure: I received a selection of products to sample but was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Cilantro Lime Cod with Sherry Vinegar Reduction

When I was chosen as one of eight bloggers from eRecipeCards to participate in the O Olive Oil recipe challenge I was so excited. Being fairly new to the food blog community, it was such an honor to be chosen to compete. I could hardly wait for my box of product to get here and the ideas for recipes bounced around in my head like ping pong balls. I talked about it non stop to family and friends and even though Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, I couldn't wait for it to pass so I could get down to the business of making my dish.

Then, on November 26th, my father passed away. My world was a blur. I didn't know which end was up or down, let alone how to write this recipe, or even if I wanted to do it. The idea of being a part of this without one of my greatest fans and supporters was mind numbing. But then it struck me. He would have been so upset if I didn't do what I love because of him. I realized that even if he isn't physically standing beside me he is with me and cheering me on. So this is dedicated to my father.

When I received my products I immediately opened the box so I could try them. I had originally said I would wait for the whole family so we could try them together and I could get their impressions along with mine. Well, that idea just fell by the wayside once I had that box in my hands. I ripped into it like a kid at Christmas!  As soon as I tasted the O Tahitian Lime Olive Oil I knew I wanted to do something with cilantro and lime together. The second thing that popped into my head was fish. I am a fish addict so it is not surprising that my mind went there that quickly.

The Sherry Vinegar threw me for a loop a bit though. I knew I didn't want to just make a vinaigrette. I wanted something that would show the quality of the ingredient better than that. I had made red wine and white wine reductions in the past, so why not a sherry reduction? I was so excited to put this all together. I was so excited actually that when we went to the store to buy the ingredients I ended up buying salmon, chicken, AND cod! I think it was because I had 3 other people with me giving me their opinions, at least that is what I am going to blame it on.

I can tell you that all 3 dishes were amazing and the whole family said they would want them again (I hinted that I needed more O Olive Oil for Christmas) but the cod won out by an ever so small margin.


Cilantro Lime Cod with Sherry Vinegar Reduction

4 6-ounce fillets of Cod (can substitute salmon or chicken here)
1/4 cup O Tahitian Lime Olive Oil, plus 1 tablespoon for cooking
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
1 cup couscous ( I used sun dried tomato with spinach couscous)

Lay your fish out and check for bones. Salt and pepper the fillets. In a large plastic zipper bag, add the 1/4 cup O Tahitian Lime Olive Oil, cilantro, and garlic. Using your fingers combine the ingredients in the bag and then add the fish fillets. Make sure to coat each piece of fish. Place in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to meld at least 1 hour, but longer will add more flavor.

In a small sauce pan, over high heat, bring the cup of O Sherry Vinegar to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and allow to simmer until it reduces by half. Remove from heat.

Heat a large skillet or grill pan to medium high. Coat the pan with 1 tablespoon of the O Tahitian Lime Olive Oil. Add the cod and cook for about 4 minutes, carefully turn the fish over and cook until the fish is fully opaque.

While the fish is cooking prepare the couscous as the package instructs.

Place 1/2 cup of couscous in the center of the plate and top with a portion of cod. Drizzle with the O Sherry Vinegar reduction.

ENJOY!!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rachael Ray Wednesday - Veal Scallopine with Dijon Sauce, Asparagus, and Avocados

OK, I actually made this on the 14th. It was my daughters birthday and as usual I asked her what she wanted for her birthday dinner. That is the routine with my kids, and has been for years. She surprised me by telling me that whatever I wanted to cook was fine with her. She even told me to try the veal recipe if I wanted. I was shocked! She was really kinda nervous about trying veal. Like I said she is my Miss Picky. But I pointed out to her that she likes lamb so she agreed to try veal.


The first thing that surprised me when I started prepping to cook the recipe was, when I removed the the veal scallopine I bought from it's packaging it was in thin strips. I have never cooked veal scallopine before, but I was expecting something more along the line of thin steak shaped pieces of meat, or rounds. That was just odd to me, but I kept on prepping. I was really surprised at how easy this was to make. The name makes it sound so, well, complicated I guess. Fancy name = lots of work, right? Nope, not true. Once I started cooking my biggest fear was overcooking the meat and making it tough but I cooked it just as is says in the recipe and it was perfect. 


I followed the recipe to the letter, like a good girl, and everything came out just as it was supposed to. I wasn't sure how to place it on the plate so I did the best I could with Rachael's instruction. Hopefully I was right. You can let me know how the picture looks.


As for the reviews, Jessi disliked it immediately. I think that could have been mostly in her head. She got herself psyched up that it she wouldn't like it, I am not sure. Kevin and I were both on the fence with it. I liked the veal, but wasn't jumping up and down about it. Kevin said he didn't like it. He did love the sauce with the avocados and asparagus though. I kind of thought this was a weird combo when I was making it, but really when you eat it all together it really was good. I am thinking about playing around with this sauce and the avocados and some other meats. 


If you like veal you will love this recipe. Rachael says "this dish is one buttery, delicious, edible ode to spring" and it really was very buttery. Like I said, I liked it but just that, liked it, wasn't head over heals in love with it. 



Veal Scallopine with Dijon Sauce, Asparagus, and Avocados

Ingredients

 Coarse salt
1 lemon
1 pound very thin asparagus tips
2 ripe Haas avocados
EVOO for drizzling, plus 2 tablespoons
1 1/4 pounds veal scallopine
Coarse black pepper
1 tablespoon all purpose flour, plus more for dredging
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup cream or half and half
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


In a large saucepan, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Salt the water. Add a couple of curls of rind from the lemon and the asparagus tips. Cook the tips for 3 minutes, then drain and reserve.


Cut into and around the pits of the avocados. Scoop the flesh from the avocados, and slice. Dress the slices with a little lemon juice, a drizzle of EVOO, and a pinch of salt, reserve.


Preheat your largest skillet over medium heat. Season the veal with salt and pepper on both sides. Dredge the scallopine in a little flour. Add the two tablespoons of the EVOO and the two tablespoons of the butter to the hot skillet. WHen the butter melts into the oil, add the veal and cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until evenly light golden in color. Place the veal on a platter under a loose tent of foil.


Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and the tablespoon of flour to the skillet. Cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the wine and scrape up the pans drippings. Whisk the stock into the wine and add the thyme, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir in the cream, then remove from the heat.


Arrange the asparagus and sliced avocados over the veal and pour a line of sauce over the top. Garnish the dinner plates or platter with chopped chives and serve.


Serves 4


Monday, November 21, 2011

Green Beans with Caramelized Onions

If you are anything like me, the good old green beans casserole is one of the Thanksgiving side dishes you have had every Thanksgiving since you can remember. My Grandmother and then my Mother made the Campbell's cream of mushroom soup green beans every year. As a kid I loved it, especially the fried onions that went on top. I always hogged them and loved them so very much.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Roasted Tomato Salsa Roja



I have been so busy working on Thanksgiving side dishes and coming up with what I want to bake that I decided to take a little break and make something out of the realm. I mean Thanksgiving is about football too right? Well for some of us it is and you can't just eat leftovers, you need some good tasty munchies to go with those turkey sandwiches.

When I am planning munchie type foods I always fall back on my love of Mexican food. There is a little hole in the wall restaurant in Chula Vista, CA that I have been going to since I was about 15 years old. They have a hot sauce (salsa roja) that I just adore and miss soooooo much. So I decided to try my hand on making some of my own. Even though I didn't nail their hot sauce just right, I did come up with a flavorful substitute that my family just loved. Well those of us that enjoy salsa loved it at least.

This recipe is a very easy one and can be changed around to suit your taste. Want more roasted tomato flavor and less heat? Subsitute a few more tomatoes for some of the Serrano peppers. Like it hotter? Add a few more Serannos or maybe use Jalapenos for that roasted pepper flavor with a bit less heat. Super simple and SUPER good!



Halve your tomatoes and drizzle them with olive oil. Sprinkle them with kosher salt.



Cut the tops off of your Serrano peppers, halve your onions, and peel the outer skin aay from the garlic cloves. Scatter them on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.



Cook at 375 degrees F for about 45 minutes (until the peppers start to look charred and the tomatoes are slumping a bit)



Puree everything in a blender or use and immersion blender. You will have to work in a couple of batches.


The result, a creamy, roasted, spicy sauce perfect for chips or any of your Mexican favorites!

Roasted Tomato Salsa Roja  


20 Roma tomatoes, halved
10 Serrano peppers, tops cut off
2 or 3 large onions, halved
10 large cloves of garlic, outer skin peeled but individual cloves still unpealed
1 bunch fresh cilantro
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Scatter tomatoes, peppers, onions, and garlic cloves on two baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until the peppers look charred and the tomatoes are slumping up. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Remove the garlic from it's skin and place it along with the tomatoes, onions, peppers, and cilantro in a blender (you can use and immersion blender as well). Working in batches puree all of the ingredients until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in a container and refrigerate for at least an hour. The flavors will develop more the longer it sits. 

ENJOY!!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Creamed Corn the Healthy Way


I look forward to Thanksgiving for so many reasons but the food is of course one of those reasons. There are certain foods that we just associate with the holidays. This creamed corn is one of those foods. Don't ask me why I seem to only make this at the holidays though. It is a simple recipe that tastes oh so good. My daughter always gets excited when she knows I am making it.

One of the things I love so much about this recipe is that the corn comes out so creamy and sweet but there is no, yes I said NO heavy cream in it and trust me, you will never miss it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sauteed Broccoli with Garlic

With Thanksgiving coming up I have been on the search for tasty side dishes that might be not the traditional foods we are used to. We all love broccoli here, something I never thought I would say (thank goodness for developing pallets as the kids got older) so my thoughts of course jumped to this versatile veggie.

I wanted to make sure it was flavorful but easy to make. I mean who wants to be slaving away in the kitchen all day on Thanksgiving when everyone else is enjoying some wine and being social right? I like to come up with sides that you can either make ahead and reheat right before the meal or, ones that will take just a few moments to whip up at the last minute. This recipe is simple and easy to make but fits that bill. You will be able to enjoy the day AND get a meal on the table that everyone will love!

We enjoy a lot of garlic here, if you prefer you can reduce the amount of garlic to suit your families tastes.


Sauteed Broccoli with Garlic

  • 1 pound broccoli
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large pinch dried red chili flakes, or to taste
  • Kosher salt to taste

Cut the broccoli into 1 1/2-inch florets. In a large pot of salted water, cook the broccoli until tender about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and refresh the broccoli under cold running water.
When ready to serve, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until golden, about 3 minutes. Add the chili flakes and saute for 30 seconds more. Add the broccoli and saute over high heat, tossing until heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt. Serve immediately

Serves 4

What could be any easier than that?
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Monday, November 14, 2011

Super Mashers with Steak and Pepper Hash

Since I missed my Rachael Ray Wednesday due to this lingering yuck I have, I went in search of a meal to fill that gap and found this one. I really liked the sound of this recipe. I mean it has peppers in it and I LOVE peppers! Any heat in a recipe is just a huge plus for me, actually for most in this house not just me. If you add mashed potatoes to the mix you will please the whole family. My Dad has been known to, on numerous occasions, make a meal out of just mashed potatoes! 


I know it seems that I am obsessed with peppers, but for some reason later in my life I have developed a love for them. Maybe part of it is that I read the spicier the food, the more calories your body burns. So bring on the heat as far as I am concerned! 


I was a little nervous because, as I have mentioned before, Kevin is VERY picky when it comes to red meat. If it isn't rib eye he doesn't want it...PERIOD! But I have been breaking him in slowly with the main reason being that who can afford to cook rib eye for every steak meal you make? This one calls for thinly sliced sirloin. When I was at the grocery store I saw a package of thinly sliced beef and it said "great for stir fry" on it. I asked the butcher if it was comparable to the sliced sirloin my recipe called for and she told me yes. So I grabbed three packages (the recipe calls for 1 1/3 pounds but I just grabbed a little over 1 1/2 pounds). I grabbed all my yummy peppers and away I went.


Now I get ready to cook and as I am reading down the recipe I realize that, once again, my ADD obviously kicked in and I somehow overlooked 2 items on the ingredient list! ARG!! I am going to have to make sure and read the ingredient lists three times each just to make sure I don't do this anymore. Maybe I can blame this one on my Nyquil clouded brain? I can try right? 


To be honest I was worried about the meat being tough. While you are cooking the recipe instructs you to slide the beef off to one side of the pan and cook the veggies on the other side. I stole a bit of the meat to take a taste and it was really chewy. I was so bummed. I knew that would get a less than favorable review. But I went back to the business of cooking the whole meal  before I passed judgement.


After the veggies cook a bit it calls for you to mix the meat and veggies and cook for a few more minutes "like a stir fry". Evidently the amount of cooking that took place between sliding the meat to the side and stir frying was the perfect amount. The meat was just right! I was so happy, and relieved.


I missed the scallions and the lime on the recipe so I used a little bit of lemon juice to add some citrus flavor and just had to do without the scallions. I will say the potatoes were good and I think the scallions would have made them even better. I couldn't taste the lemon juice, but again I agree it would have been better with the lime. All that aside, this really was a good meal. The mix of peppers gave it a sweet/spicy thing going on, and eating it with potatoes in the same bite really just set everything off. I of course reserved my opinion until I heard from the other diners. Kevin immediately said he really liked it. Color me shocked!! My response to that was "Really?". I was just completely prepared for him to hate it he really caught me off guard. Ok, now I am waiting for Miss Picky Pants to weigh in. She of course didn't eat the peppers, but the steak still had the pepper flavor, and there is a bit of Franks Red Hot in it to boot. She said SHE loved it. WOW what a pleasant surprise. It went from a recipe, in my mind, that no one would want a repeat of, to one that can get marked down as a keeper. Nice!!


Oh, a small side note, I went ahead and mixed the cheese in with the mashed potatoes rather than sprinkling it on top. Just a personal preference for me. Also, the recipe calls for 10 ounces of shredded cheddar. Well, it comes in 8 ounce bags so I only used the 8 ounces and it tasted just fine.



Super Masher with Steak and Pepper Hash

Ingredients

4 large starchy potatoes, such as Idaho
coarse salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tables spoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 1/3 pound 1 inch thick beef sirloin, trimmed and thinly sliced
coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
2 Anaheim or poblano chilies (Anaheim are a bit hotter), seeded and thinly sliced
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
several drops of hot sauce, such as Franks Red Hot, to taste (I add a couple of tablespoons!)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk depending on how soft you like your mashers.
10 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Peel the taters and cut them into small chunks. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Uncover, add salt to season, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.

In a small pot over medium low heat, add about 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil. Add the butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the garlic. Saute the garlic for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the scallions and remove the pan from the heat. Reserve.

Heat a large non stick skillet over high heat. Season the sliced steak with salt and pepper, then heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil. The oil will smoke--don't freak out, just add the meat and start searing it up. Brown the strip on all sides, hit with some Worcestershire sauce, then push it off to one side of the pan and add the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the peppers, chilies, and onions, season with salt and pepper, then toss them around, searing all the edges, for another minute or two before combining all the meat and veggies together. Add the thyme and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, keeping everything moving around like a stir-fry. Turn off the heat and drizzle some hot sauce and the lime juice over the steak and veggies. Adjust the seasoning.

Drain the potatoes, then return them to the hot pot to evaporate some of the water content. Add the reserved garlic and scallion mixture to the potatoes along with the sour cream and start smashing away with a masher. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk if needed. Season the super mashers with salt and pepper.

Pile up one fourth of the potatoes on each plate. Top with a generous handful of cheddar cheese. Pile up meat and veggies on top of the super mashers and serve. The heat of the meat and veggies will melt the cheese.

Serves 4