Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring Break

It is 'Spring Break' in Utah. I should hear the sound of children playing outside, maybe the crack of a baseball bat at the park across the street.
But no, I hear a snow blower!!
These are not photos from my file. I took them about 15 minutes ago.
Even my new purse can't convince me it's Spring.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Waiting for Spring

It is cold and wet--almost snow.
My sweet hubby knew just what would cheer me up.
It is Spring--in a handbag!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fresh Salsa


Nothing completes a 'Mexican' meal better than Fresh Salsa. This recipe comes from a great cook and long time friend Mary Ann. If a recipe comes from Mary Ann you know it will be a keeper.
I have been making fresh salsa for years, tried many recipes but always come back to this one. It is simple, just six ingredients and can be made year round. I make it in my food processor so it is quick too.
Fresh Salsa
2 pounds Roma tomatoes (this is what the Roma was created for)
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 small white onion
1 jalapeno
juice from 2-3 limes
1 teaspoon salt
I quarter the onion and put it in the food processor along with the jalapeno and cilantro. Pulse it a few times--it smells wonderful. Core the tomato, cut it in half and squeeze out the juice (if you skip this step you will have very watery salsa). Put tomatoes in food processor and pulse a few times--don't over do it. Add salt and lime juice to taste, serve with chips (I like Tostitos Scoops) and it will disappear in minutes! It is that good.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mexican Meat Mix


This may not be the most photogenic recipe but is is delicious. It makes plenty, freezes well, and is very versatile. I use it in tacos, tostadas, burritos and chimichangas; pair it with Refried Beans and you have a hearty meal. It is a real 'man pleaser' at the Harris House.

MEXICAN MEAT MIX
(adapted from Make a Mix Cookbook)
2 1/2 to 3 lb. lean beef or pork roast
1 onion, chopped
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chilies
1 (7 oz.) can green-chili salsa
2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cumin

Place roast in a large roasting pan or stoneware baker. Do not add salt or water. Cover with a tight lid and roast at 275 degrees for 8 to 10 hours. Or cook with 1 cup water in pressure cooker 35 to 40 minutes. Drain meat and reserve juice. Cool meat and shred. Spray a large skillet with non-stick spray. Sauté onion and green chilies 1 minute. Add salsa, flour and seasonings. Reduce heat and cook 1 minute. Stir in reserved meat juices and meat. Cook 5 minutes or until thickened. Use in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chimichangas or taco salad. This is a yummy, versatile meat mix. Left-overs can be frozen.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Refried Beans and Enchilada Sauce

Refried beans is one of my most requested recipes. These little gems cook up as smooth and creamy as butter and are simply delicious.


Provident living is being stressed in many circles. Beans are cheap and packed full of protein and fiber. Please remember--always use fresh beans. Yes, I know dried beans keep for years. They are a great storage item. Buy fresh and use them up this year. Next year buy more fresh beans! Your family will thank you.


I was an unbeliever at first, I mean dried beans are dried--does age matter? So I made two identical batches of beans, one batch using fresh purchased beans, the other using beans that had been in my storage several years. The difference was more than slightly noticeable. The new beans whipped up creamy and smooth. The old beans cooked much longer and still had small hard spots. They whipped, but were not creamy. They were edible, but not delicious. Fresh is Best!



REFRIED BEANS

3 cups pinto beans
Beans need to soak before cooking. This can be done a couple different ways.
1. Rinse and soak overnight.
OR
2. Bring beans to a boil, boil 1 minute, cover and remove from heat and let sit for one hour.
After your beans have soaked, drain, rinse and cover with clear water.

Add:
3 bay leaves
1 whole clove of garlic
1 whole peeled onion
Pressure cook for 12 minutes, let pressure drop. Drain some of the liquid from beans (save for later use). Remove bay leaves, onion and garlic-discard.

To beans add:
4 tablespoons butter
1 can chopped green chilies
2 tablespoon chili powder
Salt
½ cup salsa

Beat till smooth, adding reserved liquid if needed. I use my food processor.

You now have the base for many quick and delicious meals. Refried beans can be frozen for about a month.
When a fresh pot of beans is made we often have bean burritos for dinner. Homemade enchilda sauce is essential!


ENCHILADA SAUCE

3 Tablespoons oil
2 Tablespoons flour
¼ cup mild chili powder
1 can chicken broth
2 cans tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Pampered Chef Southwestern Seasoning
Heat oil and stir in flour. Cook for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes.

Spread refried beans on a flour tortilla; add a spoonful of enchilada sauce and a sprinkle of cheese. Roll and heat in the microwave for a few seconds; serve with sour cream and guacamole.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Coconut Butter Thins or I Hope it is Tuesday Somewhere!!

Did you know that cornstarch works for diaper rash?

It does and that is the reason I'm a little tardy on my TWD post. My butter was soft, lime zested, flour measured just ready to add the cornstarch. It's gone!



Then I remember sweet Martha Ann who had spent two days in a car seat to visit Nana. We tried everything to calm her sore 'seat'. Finally my daughter suggested cornstarch--we filled a Pampered Chef shaker with the white powder and it worked. So Martha Ann was happy but Nana sent the cornstarch shaker back to El Paso--it is a long ride home!




So, back to Coconut Butter Thins chosen by Jayne , these could be one of the best cookies I have ever eaten--and I've eaten quite a few. I used 2T less butter, I'm cooking at an altitude over 4000 feet. It is interesting how a small adjustment in butter can affect the outcome of a recipe. The cookies were beautiful!

I love Dories method of rolling out the cookie--the gallon bag was perfect. I refrigerated my cookies overnight, removed the bag, put them on a cutting board and with the help of a ruler and pizza cutter I had perfect cookies! I will make these again!