Thursday, March 31, 2011

Southwestern Cobb Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

I like my salad from the bottom of the bowl--that's where all the good stuff is! That could be one reason I love a good Cobb Salad. The lettuce is not the star of the show. This Southwestern Cobb salad had rows of tomato, red pepper, purple onion, grilled chicken, bacon, black beans and avocado. A few crispy tortilla strips and a yummy Chili Lime Dressing turned this salad into a 5 star meal. This salad was inspired by a recipe in a Taste of Home Southwestern Cooking Magazine.

Southwestern Cobb Salad
2 heads of romaine, (tough ribs removed) sliced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 chopped tomato
1 diced red pepper
1 1/2 cups diced grilled chicken
1 avocado, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Arrange ingredients on a large platter, in rows, I like the diagonal look. Top with crisp tortilla strips. Serve with
Chili-Lime Dressing
1  small can whole green chiles, drained and chopped
2/3 cup sour cream, low fat
2/3 cup mayo
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, our new favorite is Cholula--they sell larger bottles at Costco!
Mix ingredients in a food processor or an immersion blender until blended. Cover and chill.

About Cobb Salads. They look like a lot of work--and they are! But this salad was made over a few days. I made the dressing and let it chill for a couple of days. The chicken was left over from yesterdays dinner. I cooked a large pan of bacon in the oven for BLTs earlier this week. Most veggies can be chopped early in the day or the night before. When it is time to eat dice the tomato and avocado and  assemble the prepared ingredients.
If you want to really speed preparations use--
--a rotisserie chicken or precooked chicken tenders
--precooked bacon or bacon bits
--packaged romaine
--bottled salad dressing, Litehouse has some fun flavors
--some produce departments have diced onion, celery, peppers etc.
--these options save time but often cost more money (funny how that works)
Another yummy Cobb salad includes shrimp, celery, cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, boiled eggs and Thousand Island Dressing.
How about a Greek inspired Cobb salad with feta cheese, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, red onion, romaine, English cucumber, grilled chicken. So many possibilities.
Make a Cobb salad today--your way!

This post is linked to TidyMom
                                 Sistersand Sundays

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

TWD Pecan Powder Puffs

Tia at Buttercream Barbie is our host this week. I can always count on a fun comment from Tia when I post. She has a great blog, fun photography etc., etc. Can you tell I really like Tia! Check her blog for all the info.
I was asked to make 6 dozen of these yummy treats for a Christmas Party at our church. Six dozen of anything is a big project! They were a delicious melt in your mouth confection. Just don't make 6 dozen--that is a lot of powered sugar rolling.
Can't wait to try the chocolate version--maybe with almonds. Yum!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Muddy Buddies

I often refer to Max as my 'newborn', he is the youngest of our six children. The 'newborn' is now 22 years old, six feet and 200 pounds. He never really was a baby, he entered this life weighing 9 pounds and 8 ounces. I think he went from size newborn clothes to nine months in under 2 weeks. He was a big boy!
What does this have to do with Muddy Buddies? Max was first introduced to Muddy Buddies at an early age. I'm sure one of his older sisters was bored one Sunday afternoon and wanted to make a treat. Chex cereal was a staple in our house as was butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips. The cooking rule for my girls was--by all means make a treat, just clean up the mess. So they did.
Max was in grade school, I think it was love at first bite. He would often beg his sisters to make his favorite treat. They were happy to. Max was worried that the recipe for Muddy Buddies might not always be printed on the box. So he got a recipe card and proceeded to write the recipe, it was now safe.

Chex Muddy Buddies
9 cups Rice Chex
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Microwave chocolate chips, butter and peanut butter for 1 minute, stir, cook for 30 more seconds or longer until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stir until evenly coated. Pour into large plastic food storage bag. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on wax paper to cool.
Muddy Buddies continues to be one of Max's favorite treats. When he was a missionary in Texas Muddy Buddies were often included in care packages. Life is good when a simple treat like this can make someones day!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring-Gorgonzola Pasta

It may be snowing in Utah but spring must be somewhere because beautiful asparagus is at the supermarket! It's fresh and delicious and is only here for a short time.
Asparagus cooks in minutes, is good hot, cold or roasted. It is especially good in this yummy light pasta. Gorgonzola and Parmesan cheese combine to make a delicious sauce. Served with chicken, bacon, spinach and asparagus this is one great pasta dish.
This recipe is a bit labor intensive but you can easily cook the bacon, chicken and asparagus in the morning. With this prep work done it comes together quickly. Enough ramble. Here is the recipe!

Spring Gorgonzola Pasta
12 ounces uncooked linguine
1 pound asparagus cut in 1 inch pieces
2 Tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups 1% milk
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
5 ounces baby spinach, rough chopped
2 medium size chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
10 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

Steam asparagus for 3 minutes then plunge in ice water to stop cooking. Set aside.
Cook linguine according to package directions. Drain.
Melt butter, add flour and cook for a minute. Whisk in milk and bring to a gentle boil reduce heat.
Stir in cheeses, add salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in spinach, linguine, asparagus, chicken and half of the bacon.
Serve in a large bowl, garnish with remaining bacon.
This serves 6 adults and is great warmed up with a few drops of milk to loosen sauce.
I adapted this recipe from Picky Palate

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Extra Tasty Enchiladas

2 cups shredded pork
1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
2 green onions, sliced
1 cup sliced olives
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Pour 1/2 cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of 9x13 pan.  Wrap 10 corn tortillas in a wet paper towel and microwave 60-90 seconds.  Spoon a small amount of filling into the middle of a tortilla, roll, and place in pan. Top with more Enchilada Sauce and shredded cheese, I like a mixture of extra sharp and pepper jack. Baked covered with foil about 30 minutes, remove foil and continue to cook another 5-10 minutes. Serve with sliced olives, green onion, cilantro and sour cream.

Slow Cooked Pork Roast

I don't care for sweet pork and hubby doesn't like the smell of pork cooking with liquid smoke. I have made a few pork recipes we just didn't love. But I do enjoy good slow cooked shredded pork, it is versatile. Top it with slaw for a yummy sandwich, use it to make enchiladas, tacos, tostadas etc. I was happy to find this Slow Cooked Pork recipe on For the Love of  Cooking, it is one great recipe.

Slow Cooked Pork Roast
 Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy pan add a pork shoulder roast that has been seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, coriander and dried oregano. Brown on all sides. Add 2 cups chicken broth, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 6 pressed garlic cloves and 1 small can green chili peppers. Bake covered at 300 for 5-6 hours. Turn roast half way through. Roast is done when meat is tender and easily shreds.
Drain drippings, remove fat, discard. Drizzle drippings over shredded pork. It is so good. At this point the meat can be made into a sandwich or used for enchiladas, tostadas etc. It can also be frozen in 1 or 2 cup portions.

Red Enchilada Sauce

Why is it that I want to try a new enchilada sauce recipe when I have two perfectly good enchilada sauce recipes? I guess it just drives cooks to refine recipes and find the best. So I tried a new recipe and we liked it! Another recipe from For the Love of Cooking. This recipe was unique in that it did not use a thickener and broth. It used whole tomatoes, seasonings and was pureed with an immersion blender.

Red Enchilada Sauce:
1 tbsp canola oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 14 oz can of whole tomatoes
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
 salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp honey
Saute the onion in oil and cook until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and coriander, stir constantly for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and juice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, add the honey; cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Blend the sauce with an immersion blender (or regular blender) until smooth. Taste and correct seasonings. Enjoy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Beautiful Day

My children are spread over many states. They would love to come home for all family events, but life sometimes gets in the way. My brother and his sweet wife lived next door. How fun it is for cousins to grow up together! Jeff and Lynne's only daughter Lacy was married today. Here are a few photos--enjoy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

TWD Sunshine Citrus Muffins--with Dates

The first recipe I made from Dories cookbook was Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins. When I rubbed sugar and citrus zest together it was a life changing experience!
So if a recipe starts with rubbing sugar and zest together I know it will be a winner. And it was. What a perfect recipe to bring some sunshine in my kitchen. I think this recipe was a taste of Spring. It contained orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice and lemon extract. I used dates instead of currants--delicious.
This is a recipe you will want to make often; next time I think I will make mini muffins. Whatever size they are excellent. Check Lauryn's blog Bella Baker for the complete recipe.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Beefy Macaroni Skillet

   If I ask my Hubby what he wants for dinner the answer is often Beefy Macaroni Skillet. This is  comfort food plain and simple. Mom made it when we were children, it was called goulash. I've updated it, cut the recipe down so it no longer feeds a small army and added a few extra touches to make it mine. Hubby also enjoys the leftovers for lunch. So it is a win/win!

Beefy Macaroni Skillet
1/2 pound ground beef
1 small onion diced
1 small can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water or tomato juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup small elbow pasta, I like ditalini
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup grated cheese
Brown ground beef and onion, add tomatoes, water or juice, salt and pepper, bring to a simmer
Add pasta bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes till pasta is tender, stir often. Add corn, heat through. Top with shredded cheese and serve.

Quick dinner tips.
Brown a pound or two of ground beef with onions, season. Freeze in usable portions. This will give you a jump start on many meals.

Start Beefy Macaroni Skillet in the morning, or the night before. Brown meat and onion add seasonings, tomatoes and liquid. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Heat to a simmer add pasta and finish cooking.

I enjoy the convenience of pre-shredded cheese but not the taste. So I shred a small block of my favorite Tillimok Extra Sharp Cheese. I shred it on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Now I have my own tasty shredded cheese. Perfect for tacos, pizza, quesadillas, grilled cheese sandwiches etc. It keeps a week or more and tastes great.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New York Crumb Cake

This recipe is all over blog land right now, it comes from the cookbook Baked Explorations. This is an ultra rich recipe with 3 1/2 cubes of butter and over a cup of sour cream. How can it not be wonderful? It was good, but altitude played its mean tricks. The sides seem to rise faster than the middle. That resulted in high sides with little crumb and a dense middle with a lot of crumb. It's not bad--just not the beautiful evenly risen cake I wanted. I did try decreasing the leavening a bit--I guess not enough. There are many 'fixes' for high altitude baking but nothing that works every time.
So, if you live at sea level I think this cake would be amazing. If you live over 5000 feet you have challenges. I think I just need to purchase a 'mile high' baking book. Off to check out Amazon--don't you just love 1 click shopping. It's dangerous.
If you want the recipe just Google New York Crumb Cake--you will see several recipes and some great photos.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Corn Chowder

It is still soup weather in Utah, actually I like soup all year round. I can't wait to try this soup when corn on the cob is at its peak. Fresh corn is so delish.
 This dish was adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe--she has great taste! This soup could be a 30 minute meal with a little planning. I purchased a rotisserie chicken from Costco--I sure get a lot of bang for my buck when I purchase one. We had sandwiches twice and enough chicken for this soup. Yes, we have a very small family but it works. I also made chicken broth from the carcass. There is an easy recipe on Our Best Bites--it tastes so good.
So try this soup, homemade broth is really not necessary. Canned works fine. It is necessary to use a jalapeno and very soft cream cheese. Enjoy!

Chicken Corn Chowder

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeno, finely chopped, seeds and membrane removed
1/4 cup cooked ham, diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 quart chicken broth (I used homemade from a rotisserie chicken)
3 tablespoons flour
3 ears of fresh corn kernels or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or 2-3 cups rotisserie chicken, diced
4 oz. cream cheese--very soft
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

 Saute celery, bell pepper, onion and jalapeno in olive oil until just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ham; cook for another minute. Whisk the flour into the broth and add to veggies. Stir in the corn. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat. Whisk together the very soft cream cheese and milk until very smooth. Whisk the cream cheese/milk mixture into the soup along with the chicken, salt, pepper and cheddar cheese. Simmer on low until ready to serve.

This recipe linked to Around My Family Table
This recipe linked to Creationsbykara

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

TWD Corniest Corn Muffins

Jill is our hostess this week. She will have the complete recipe for the Corniest Corn Muffins on her blog. Check out her blog header, it's awesome.
I enjoy corn bread and muffins so I was excited to try a recipe with 'real' corn in it. As expected this was a dense muffin, there was a lot of corn goodness going on here. I made them to eat with chili when my kids were here. Everyone ate one--but the reviews were mixed. I thought they were quite tasty however some just couldn't get used to 'chewy' muffins! I would like to try them in the fall with fresh corn.
I am anxious to see what other TWD bakers thought of the Corniest Corn Muffins.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chicken and Rice with Coconut Milk and Pistachios

I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Mels Kitchen Cafe. I changed it a little using chicken tenders, they cook up so quickly. I used the fun scale I won on Mels blog to weigh the chicken. Real people do win blog give aways!

This is a fun recipe using one of my favorite spices--garam masala. Prep your ingredients and this recipe comes together in about 30 minutes. Now that is a good thing! Enjoy

1 to 1 1/4 pounds chicken tenders
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped pistachios, lightly toasted
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves

 Season chicken tenders with salt and pepper. Dredge each chicken tender in the flour, shaking off excess.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Cook the chicken until browned on both sides and cooked through about 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Tent with foil to keep warm.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Add the onion, garam masala, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the chicken broth and coconut milk, scraping up any browned bits. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook about 20 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender. Stir occasionally as rice cooks

Off the heat, sprinkle the peas over the rice, cover, and let warm through, about 2 minutes. Add the pistachios and cilantro and gently fold into the rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with the chicken.