Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cinnamon Pancakes with Apples and Bacon

I'm getting a little bored with bacon, eggs and toast every Sunday morning, so today I wanted to try something different. Here's what I've come up with...

Pancake Batter:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated suger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
In a medium sized bowl mix the egg, milk and vegetable oil with a whisk. Using a flour sifter, slowly mix the dry ingredients, whisking as you go to avoid lumps. Pour about 1/4 cups of batter for each pancake into a hot, oiled pan. Turn when the edges start to get golden brown and bubbles start to appear throughout the batter.

Apple bacon topping: (My family is crazy and I'm the only one who wants the topping. If your family is not nuts, use more ingredients for a larger yield.)

  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, then add brown sugar and apples. Saute until soft, about  five minutes.

Then add crumbled bacon.

Serve pancakes hot, with the apple topping and maybe some maple syrup (The real stuff!!). Also, mimosas are a great compliment to this dish! :) These are VERY rich, but so yummy! Enjoy!

*For vegetarian, just eliminate the bacon. It's still yummy!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Marshmallow Fruity Pebble Treats

Soooo not my recipe, but so yummy I had to share!
1/2 stick of butter
10.5 oz pk of mini marshmallows
11 oz pk fruity pebbles (About 8 cups)

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over low heat. When the butter has melted, add the marshmallows. Stir until melted. Remove from heat and add cereal, 2 cups at a time. When it's all mixed together, put the mixture into a greased 13x9 dish. Use a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper to press it down. Let it cool, then cut into squares and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mushroom Risotto

I LOVE mushroom risotto! This is a labor of love, but so worth it.

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
sm yellow onion, diced
8 cloves of garlic, minced
32 oz chicken broth, keep this warm in a pot while cooking the rice. (For vegetarian use vegetable broth)
1 cup arborio rice
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Parmesan cheese
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup dry white wine

Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add 2 tbsp olive oil. Saute diced onion and garlic for about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes or until the mushrooms release their juices. Add wine and let the alcohol cook off, about 3 minutes. Add 1 cup of arborio rice, stir for about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of warm broth. Reduce the heat to low. This must be stirred every few minutes while cooking. Continue cooking until broth has been absorbed, then add another cup of broth. Continue to add broth as it absorbs. When you are down to about 2 cups of broth, start to taste it. You will know if it needs to cook more by the texture. I also keep a back up of chicken broth at the ready in case it needs more liquid, or you could always just use more wine. :) When it's ready, the texture will be nice and soft. It should also spread when it hits the plate. If it's too stiff you needed to add more liquid.

I posted a bit pre-maturely. Pics will be added later. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops and Pears

I'm trying something a little different with pork chops tonight and hoping it's yummy...
4 boneless pork chops
olive oil
2 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp crushed rosemary
1/2 tsp hot sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot)
Salt and pepper

In a large, non-stick skillet, heat some oil over medium heat, then place pork chops into pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper on chops and turn to do the other side. Brown both sides, but don't cook them all the way. Transfer them to a plate. 

Add more oil to the pan if you need a little more. Add the pears and toss them frequently until they start to get browned and crispy. Add vinegar, brown sugar, rosemary and hot sauce and bring to a boil. The sauce will get a bit syrupy.

Return the chops to the pan and cook until cooked throughout. 

I served this with honey glazed carrots and steamed baby Yukon potatoes with parsley. Also, I only put three chops back into the pan because my dad hates vinegar. His pork chop was a bit plain, but he still really likes it. My hubby was a bit concerned because the vinegar had such a strong smell, but he really liked the flavor, so I will make these again. I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Berry Crumb Pie

Berries were on sale at Safeway this weekend, so I figured I'd make a pie...

Start with a store bought pie crust. I still haven't even tried to make a homemade pie crust, but these are so easy, it's hard to find the motivation to try. Pre-heat oven to 375.

Pie filling...
2 6oz pkgs of black raspberries
1 16oz pkg of strawberries ,tops removed and cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar

In a large bowl combine the berries and granulated sugar. Stir to coat the berries with the sugar and set aside.

Place chilled pie crust into a pie plate and set it in the fridge until you're ready to assemble the pie.

Crumb Topping...

1/2 cup of butter, softened
1/2 cup of brown sugar, packed 
1 cup of sifted flour

Mix the topping ingredients together in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer until crumbs start to form.

Put the filling into the pie shell and top with crumb topping. Bake for about 40 minutes. Allow pie to cool before cutting.

I'm better at putting a pie together than I am at cutting it and putting it on a plate. This looks like a total mess, but it's really quite yummy!
I think next time I will pre-bake the pie shell a little, then add the filling and crumb topping. This was really good, it was just really wet. Maybe if I bake the filling less it won't get so juicy. It's still a good pie! Enjoy!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lemon Thyme Chicken

I was going to make something I found for the crock pot, but I got sidetracked this morning, so here's my stove top version...

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 lemon
1 shallot, sliced thin
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp dried thyme
olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper on one side of chicken breasts. When olive oil is hot, place chicken, salt and pepper side down, in the pan to brown. Move the chicken around a bit to make sure it doesn't stick. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the side that's up. When it's browned on one side, flip the chicken. When both sides are nicely browned, remove from pan and set aside on a plate. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to pan, then add shallots. Stir these occasionally, scraping any meat that's stuck to the bottom of the pan. When shallots are starting to soften, add the garlic. Cook until the shallots start to caramelize a bit, then add the wine. Let the alcohol cook off a bit, for about 5 minutes, then add the juice and zest from the lemon and the thyme. Return the chicken to the pan and any juices from the plate. After a few minutes add 1 cup of chicken broth. When this cooks down a bit, add the rest of the broth. Continue cooking until chicken is cooked throughout and liquids have reduced to a nice sauce.

I served this with roasted red potatoes and random veggies from my freezer.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Spicy Buffalo Chicken Dip

My version of buffalo chicken dip...
2 boneless chicken breasts, diced into small pieces12oz bottle of Frank's Redhot (I put that s#*t on everything!)
Cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4oz pkg of crumbled blue cheese

My crock pot is in use right now, so I'm trying something a little different with this. I want the chicken to cook slowly and stay moist, so I put it in a pot on the stove on low heat and added the hot sauce. Stir this often! You don't want it to burn. Okay, so this step only took about 45 minutes. So much for slow cooking on the stove top!
Once this has cooked for about an hour, use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the sauce and shred using two forks. Set the shredded chicken aside in a bowl as you work. When it's all shredded, put the chicken back in the pot with the hot sauce.I had about 6oz of cream cheese in an 8oz tub, so I added that next. Let the cheese start to melt into the chicken mixture, stirring every five minutes or so.
Once the cream cheese was well incorporated, I decided it needed to be thicker and cheesier, so I added about a cup of shredded cheddar cheese. I turned the heat up to medium and stirred every five minutes until it was all warm and bubbly.
It's hours before game time, so I went ahead and put the dip into a small Pyrex dish. When it cooled I put it in the fridge for a few hours. When you're about a half an hour from serving, top the whole thing with crumbled blue cheese. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. When the oven reaches temp, put the dip in the oven for about 20 minutes. Serve with celery sticks and tortilla chips.

Crock Pot Ribs

Here's another one that I'm making up as I go...

1/2 a large yellow onion, diced
2-3 racks of pork spare ribs, cut into individual sections (I only have one rack. I didn't really know how much was there because it was given to me, already wrapped and frozen. This will make a nice Superbowl snack,)
Salt and pepper
1 lemon, cut into 8 sections
Apple juice
BBQ sauce

Place diced onion in the bottom of the ceramic insert. Place individual ribs on top of the diced onion. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Add lemon wedges. Cover everything with apple juice and set the cooker on low. Cook on low for eight hours.
 When eight hours have past, using a slotted spoon, remove ribs from cooker. Dump liquid, lemons and onions out of the pot. Put the ribs back in the bottom of the pot. Pour on your favorite bbq sauce with about 1/2-1 cup of water. Put back in cooker for about an hour.
 And the finished product...
Not even close to staying on the bones.

*Extra tip:
I only used about half the bottle of apple juice, and since I know I won't use the rest before it goes bad, I poured the remaining juice into ice cube trays and froze it for future use. I do this with all kinds of liquids. Wine, stocks and broths, juices. Anything that you know won't get used, but you don't want to waste.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Shredded Beef Tacos in the Crock Pot

I love my crock pot! It's so nice to toss everything in in the morning and come home to dinner! I made this on Tuesday and it was so good!

3lb brisket, cut into several pieces
half a large yellow onion, diced
1 cup water
taco seasoning (I made my own! The recipe is at the end.)
1 small can of diced green chilies
taco shells or tortillas
lettuce, shredded
tomatoes, diced
red onion, diced
shredded cheese
sour cream
taco sauce
cholula or your favorite hot sauce

I started by dicing half a yellow onion. I put half of the diced onion in the bottom of the crock pot, put the meat on top of it, then put the rest of the onion on top of the meat. I dumped in the can of diced green chilies, then mixed the taco seasoning with the cup of water and put that in. I turned my crock pot on to low, then I went to work! The meat was frozen and too large to fit in the crock pot as it was, so I chopped it into five smaller pieces and shoved it in.

When I got home the whole house smelled great, and this is what the meat looked like...
I turned the crock to warm, and started chopping the lettuce, tomato and red onion for serving. When I was done with that, I started shredding the beef. There was a big sheet of fat on one side of the meat, so as I took each piece out of the pot to shred, I scraped the fat off and discarded it...
That's the fat on the left of the pic. Gross!

As I shredded each hunk of beef, I placed it in another pan on the stove to keep it all warm...
I also spooned the liquid over the beef to keep it moist.

I warmed up some hard taco shells in the oven and served the meat and shells with an assortment of toppings...
Here's the finished product...
And my dad chose to make a taco salad...

These were a little harder to eat than regular ground beef tacos. The meat tended to pull out of the bottom of the shell as we ate them, but they were so yummy! I think next time I need to cut the brisket into smaller hunks before I start cooking it. I also think it needed a bit more chili powder in the seasoning.

There was some leftover meat, so I'm going to freeze it and use it for enchiladas or burritos some time soon.

Taco seasoning recipe:
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Braised Pork Chops with Mushrooms, Shallots and Garlic

This is something I came up with based on my Braised Chicken and Mushrooms recipe. It's really just about the same thing, but with pork chops and the addition of shallots.

3-4 boneless pork chops
1 lg shallot, diced
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb sliced mushrooms
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup (ish) of dry white wine
olive oil
salt and pepper

Sprinkle one side of pork chops with salt and pepper. Get a regular pan nice and hot, about medium on your dial. (Not non-stick) Put about 2 tbsp of olive oil in pan. When it's hot, put pork chops, salt and pepper side down into pan. Move them around a little to make sure they don't stick. Sprinkle the exposed side with salt and pepper. Don't fully cook the chops. You just want a nice golden brown color on each side. Set chops aside on a plate when both sides are nicely browned.

Add mushrooms to the pan and cook until the juices release. Scrape any meat that's stuck to the bottom of the pan to incorporate it into the sauce. When the mushrooms release their juices add the garlic and shallots. (When I prep stuff in advance I always put a little olive oil in with the garlic so it doesn't stick to the cup) Once the garlic and shallots soften add the wine.

When the wine cooks off a bit add a cup of the broth, then put the chops back in the pan with any juices from the plate. Raise the heat to medium-high. Turn the chops every five minutes. Add the rest of the broth when it cooks down some. Continue cooking until a nice sauce forms and the chops are fully cooked. Serve! :)