Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pot Roast or "Sunday Dinner"

I LOVE pot roast!! I have fond memories of my mom making a roast beef dinner every Sunday when I was little. The smell of it cooking when we would come home from church starving...YUM! Sometimes she would put the potatoes in with the roast to cook, and they would get that delicious roasty taste! Then she would let me run them through the potato ricer (I loved to help in the kitchen even back then). Sometimes we'd have mashed potatoes with them, and we ALWAYS had roasted carrots too. She would always make a 'Sunday Jello' to go with it which always consisted of strawberry jello with bananas in it and whipped cream on top. Sunday always felt special because we had a special dinner. My favorite part of the roast is the crispy edge... you know the one that sticks out of the juice and gets extra brown with all the seasonings still on it? YUM... I remember fighting with my siblings over the crispy pieces. YUM!!! I don't make pot roast too often, but when I do, I get that special "Sunday Dinner" feeling again.. Enjoy!

Pot Roast or "Sunday Dinner"

1 whole (4 To 5 Pounds) Chuck Roast (or any roast will do)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 whole Onion
6 to 8 whole Carrots, cut into large pieces
Salt To Taste (or if you prefer, you can use Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning)
Pepper To Taste
2 cups To 3 Cups Beef Stock or broth
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried Rosemary, or more to taste
1 bay leaf

2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Preparation Instructions:
First, choose a nicely marbled piece of meat. This will enhance the flavor of your pot roast like nothing else. Generously salt and pepper your roast. (I use Montreal Steak Seasoning sometimes because it has garlic in it, or sometimes I use garlic powder and onion powder along with Salt and Pepper)
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or you can do a butter/olive oil split).
Cut the onion in quarters and cut 6 to 8 carrots into 2-inch slices (you can peel them, but you don’t have to). When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking),  Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.
With the burner still on high, use beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that wonderful flavor up.
When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently deglazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef broth to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the onion and the carrots, and sprinkle the Thyme and Rosemary over the roast and veggies. Also add 1 bay leaf into the broth.
Put the lid on, then roast in a 275F oven for 3 hours (for a 3-pound roast). For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours.

When roast is done, remove from oven and let rest a few minutes; then remove the onions and carrots to another serving dish with a slotted spoon.

Remove roast from the juices to a serving platter and slice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices against the grain.
Thicken the juices by heating the pan back up to boiling. Mix about 2 Tablespoons cornstarch into 1/4 cup water, whisk to combine and remove lumps. Next, whisk the cornstarch mixture into your boiling broth. Cook for a couple of minutes to let thicken. Remove from heat. Taste your gravy and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
Serve with mashed potatoes!
 (see my hamburger gravy and  mashed potato post for mashed potatoe recipe.)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Di's Taco Pizza

Well, you know how I like to experiment with tacos, and pizza, and then I saw a Papa Murphy's pizza sign that they had their taco grande pizza back and I thought.... 'why not make that at home? I bet I could make mine better'! So I gave it a shot! It turned out awesome if I do say so myself !! Yum! I used my Pizza dough recipe from my Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza post, but you could use your favorite as well.

Di's Taco Pizza

1 pound hamburger
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 package McCormick or Lawry's taco seasoning
Salt and pepper
1 can original Ro-tel tomatoes with chili's (or you could use hot for more spice)drained, I discard the juice.
1 (14 ounce) can Rosarita re-fried beans
1 (8 ounce) can El Pato sauce (mexican tomatoe sauce)
2 cups grated cheese (or more)

1 recipe basic pizza dough
1 to 2 Tablespoons corn meal
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 avacado sliced, or guacamole

Prepare pizza crust dough and let raise. While it's raising do the following:
Drain ro-tel tomatoes and chili's and set aside.
Brown hamburger and diced onion in a large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle with a dash or two of salt and pepper. Once hamburger is browned, drain off grease. Mix taco seasoning like package directions say, and pour over hamburger and onion mixture in skillet; let cook for an additional 5 minutes or until water is evaporated.
While hamburger is cooking, mix the refried beans and el-pato sauce together in a large bowl (I think adding the sauce to the beans makes them spread easier and gives them a bit more flavor, you use this like the pizza sauce so you want to be able to spread around on the pizza dough.) Set aside.
Shred the lettuce and slice the avocado, or make quacamole, which ever you prefer, set aside.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees along with your pizza stone (if you are using one) or prepare your pizza pan by greasing and sprinkling with corn meal. (I like using cornmeal on the bottom of my pizza pan or when rolling out my pizza dough when making taco pizza, gives it just a bit more crunch)
Assemble pizza by placing dough that you 've rolled out into a circle to fit on your stone ahead of time, on your stone or prepared pan. Then spread as much of the re-fried bean mixture on the dough as you desire. (you probably will have some left over, save and use on nachos, Yum) Next, sprinkle on half of your grated cheese, then the rotel tomatoes and chilis. Next comes the hamburger, sprinkle that all around. Then bake for about 8 minutes, then top with remaining cheese, and bake for another 6 to 8 minutes until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
Remove from oven and cut into slices. Top each slice with shredded lettuce and slices of avacado or a spoonful of guacamole however you desire.
Enjoy!!! YUM!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spicy Chicken Tacos

I've been experimenting again. The other day I decided to try making chicken tacos inspired by the Shrimp Quesadillas that I have posted already. The Shrimp in that recipe marinades in El Pato Sauce (mexican tomato sauce). I think that used to be hotter than it is now... or else maybe my tastes have changed and I like spicier stuff. But I thought I've give it try marinating my chicken in that and then also making my Chippotle Coleslaw recipe but adding black beans and corn to it. These tacos turned out YUMMO if I do say so myself!! I ate 3!!! I'm going to have to turn up the exercising if I keep that up. But you ought to give them a try. You could serve with mexican rice and a steamed veggie or salad...... Enjoy!

Spicy Chicken Tacos

Corn Tortillas
4 or 5 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts halves, cut into bite size pieces
8 ounces, El Pato sauce (Mexican Tomatoe sauce in the yellow can in the Mexican food section)
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 of a Large Onion, diced
1 whole Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 whole Green Bell Pepper, diced
2 cups Cheese, Grated (Monterey Jack Is Best or a Mexican Blend is good too)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt To Taste

Chipotle Coleslaw ( will repost below adding Black beans and Corn)

Preparation Instructions:
Place cut up chicken breasts and garlic in a large bowl, add the El Pato sauce and toss to coat. Set aside.
Heat skillet over high heat and add olive oil. Cook vegetables over high heat until they start to get brown/black and are tender. Remove from skillet and set aside.
Return skillet to high heat, then dump in the chicken and garlic with the sauce. Cook, stirring only occasionally, until  chicken is cooked through and the sauce is mostly evaporated, should take about 8 to 10 minutes. Turn down the heat and add your cooked veggies, toss to combine.

You can prepare your taco shells either by spraying them individually with non-stick cooking spray, and laying them directly on the rack in a 350 degree oven. Cook 1 minute then turn over and cook another minute. Place in a covered dish lined with a dish cloth and cover to keep warm (if you have a tortilla warmer dish use that) or you can fry in about a 1/4 in deep oil in a skillet for about 45 seconds per side. Then fold in half and drain.
To assemble: Place a spoonful of the chicken mixture on your tortilla, then sprinkle on some cheese, then add a spoonful of the chipotle coleslaw, fold in half like a taco and ENJOY!! Bet you can't eat just one... I couldn't!

Chipotle Coleslaw
1/2 cup Best Foods Real Mayonaise
1 or 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (canned, I just use1 or 2 peppers and a spoonfull of sauce and keep the rest in the freezer) REMEMBER these are quite spicy
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

1 regular size bag of classic coleslaw mix
1/2 can corn, drained
1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained --add the corn and beans when using on  tacos

Mix all ingredients together in a blender until smooth except for cabbage mixture and corn and black beans. Put Classic coleslaw mix into a large bowl, pour Chipotle sauce over coleslaw mix and toss to coat. Cover and set aside in refrigerator 30 minutes or until ready to eat.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Beef and Veggie Noodle Bowls

I love eating out a Chinese Restaurants, and I expecially love noodle bowls or lo mein with the noodles. I was browsing on some of my favorite  recipe sites that I love to get ideas from when I found this original recipe for Beef Noodle Salad Bowls at it looked YUMMO! and looked like just what I was craving.... but as I read through the recipe, it was served cold and like a salad but with not many veggies in it. I wanted something warm and for a main dish, so I tweaked it a bit, and served it hot.  I added sugar snap peas and asparagus along with some chopped onion to it as well. I tried to make the sauce/dressing like she did, but I substituted with what I had in my pantry and  I doubled the sugar and added a Tablespoon of hoisin sauce. You could still serve it cold if desired, but YUM, this was good and just what I was craving. Enjoy!

Beef and Veggie Noodle Bowls
1 to 2 pounds Petite Sirloin Steak
Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning
¾ cups Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Pure Sesame Oil
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
1 or 2 teaspoons sriracha hot chile sauce (use the lesser amount if You Can't Handle Heat!)
2 cloves Garlic, Peeled And Minced Finely (or a teaspoon of the already minced stuff)
2 teaspoons Minced Fresh Ginger (remember those tubes of already minced ginger you can get in the produce department! easy to use!)
2 to 4 Tablespoons Packed Brown Sugar (start w/ 2 TBsps. and adjust to your taste)
1 Tablespoon Hoisin Sauce (optional)
2 teaspoons lemon juice (this just makes it taste fresher)Optional
1 Tablespoon minced Cilantro (again, I used the pre-chopped  tube) :o)

1 package Chow Mein Stir Fry Noodles(the kind you boil not the crunchy chow mein noodles (or you can use Thin Spaghetti)
1/2 large onion, diced
1 bunch of fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups (approx.) sugar snap peas, ends and strings removed
Optional garhishes: chopped green onions or sesame seeds

Preparation Instructions:
Season both sides of the sirloin steaks with Montreal steak seasoning. Grill on an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan until medium rare. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, olive oil, rice vinegar, hot chili sauce, garlic, ginger, brown sugar,  hoisin sauce, lemon juice and cilantro. Mix to combine, then taste and adjust flavors/seasonings to your taste. You can add more brown sugar if you like it just a bit sweeter, or more chili sauce for spicier sauce.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
In a medium skillet drizzle a little olive oil and heat over medium/high heat. When hot add the diced onions, saute for a couple of minutes, then add asparagus and sugar snap peas, and saute for a couple of minutes more or until veggies are crunchy tender.
Now slice the steak at an angle in thin slices and add along with the cooked noodles to your veggies in the skillet. Toss and cook over medium heat for a minute to heat the noodles through. Then add enough sauce to coat everything, (I think  I used about 3/4's of it. Save the rest for another stir fry or use as a salad dressing)
Garnish with sliced green onions or sesame seeds or a little more fresh cilantro.
You can serve this family style or serve in individual bowls, hence the name Beef and Veggie Noodle Bowls.
This also might be fun to try to eat  with chopsticks if you have them.

You’ll love this!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chicken Bacon Chipotle Ranch Pizza and The Best Basic Pizza Dough Recipe

Okay... You know how I love to experiment with tacos and what I can add to them or make instead of just regular hamburger.... well, I think I love to experiment with pizza next. Friday for lunch I went to Subway and got a Chicken Bacon Ranch sandwich with Chipotle sauce on it too, and you know how sometimes things just taste extra good, and you want to keep eating it even after it's gone? All afternoon I kept wondering what to have for dinner, and on Friday's I usually don't feel like cooking so we usually get Papa Murphy's. I thought tonight I want to make my own pizza....and why not see if I can create the chicken bacon Ranch sandwich I had for lunch (and Papa Murphy's has a chicken bacon ranch pizza) but I thought to shake it up a notch I would puree a chipotle pepper with adobo sauce in my ranch dressing...and guess what? It was to die for! I did things simple by buying already grilled chicken strips and pre-cooked bacon (that comes in handy at times) and added a few other things, and my-oh-my, this was my sandwich all over again and more!! I think I could have eaten the whole pizza if my stomach would have let me (as you can tell by my picture of it, I couldn't wait to taste before snapping my picture! Ha!). Plus I had found this basic pizza dough recipe that I had been wanting to try, and it's now my new favorite. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! YUMMO!

Best Basic Pizza Dough
This makes 2 12-inch pizzas or a single thicker crust 16 inch (that's what I made)

1 packet active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing bowl, dough ball and crust
1 teaspoon kosher salt (regular salt will be fine if you don't have this)
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
1 cup slighty warm water

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, pour the warm water in and sprinkle with yeast, and sugar. Whisk this to combine, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (HINT: do not use hot water or it will kill the yeast and your dough will not rise. I feel the temp on my wrist and if it's just slightly warm, that's what you want to use)
Add the oil, salt and a cup of the flour into yeast mixture.
With mixer on low, slowly add the rest of flour and mix until a dough ball forms. You may want to transfer to a floured work surface and knead by hand until a smooth ball comes together, but I let my mixer do the kneading and let it go about 5 minutes and I add a sprinkle of flour every now and then so the dough doesn't stick to the bowl.
Transfer the dough into a bowl that you've brushed with olive oil. After I put my dough ball into the bowl I turn it so the oil side is up or you can brush the top with a little more oil. Cover this with plastic wrap and place in a warm area for about an hour or until dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven and a pizza stone (if you have one) to 450 degrees. I you don't have a pizza stone, grease your pizza pan.
Punch down down and turn out onto lightly floured surface. You can either cut dough in half and make two smaller pizzas or just one large pizza. Place on hot stone or your prepared pizza pan and top with whatever toppings you desire. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is golden brown.

Chicken Bacon Chipotle Ranch Pizza
1 cup Ranch Dressing
1 or 2 Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (freeze the rest, I like to use in coleslaw and sandwiches)
1 can Original Rotel Tomatoes with Green chilies, (drained well)
1 small (4 oz) can sliced mushrooms
1/2 onion, sliced
8 slices pre-cooked bacon, chopped into bite size pieces
2 cups grilled chicken strips, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

While your pizza dough is raising, get your toppings prepared, so when the dough is ready you are ready to throw on the toppings and bake.
In a blender puree the Ranch Dressing with the Chipotle peppers and a spoonful of the adobo sauce. Set aside.
Drain the rotel tomatoes (you could use fresh tomatoes and a can of green chili's or banana peppers if you like, I just like the rotel) discard juice, and set the tomatoes aside. Also drain your mushrooms.
In a small skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil, saute your sliced onions over medium heat until translucent and beginning to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Dice your bacon and chicken.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees (and your pizza stone if you are going to use one)
When your dough is ready and on pizza stone or pan, spread the chipotle ranch on it so it's covered, then sprinkle with about a cup of the mozzarella cheese, then add the tomatoes, mushrooms, onion slices, bacon and chicken. You can brush the edge of the pizza with olive oil if you desire. Place in hot oven and bake for about 8 minutes. Then I add the other cup of mozzarella cheese and the 1/2 cup of cheddar. Continue to bake for another 5 -to 7 minutes or until the crust is browned around the edges and your cheese is melted and bubbly.

Cut into slices and enjoy!! YUMMM!!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Almost Famous Roadhouse Rolls

I love  Texas Roadhouse Rolls and have been wanting to make them for a really long time. I was surfing the Internet and just typed in Texas Roadhouse Roll recipe, a bunch of different ones came up, but this one was the most common, so I had to give it a try. They turned out great! Not quite as good as the ones at the restaurant but close. This recipe makes a lot! I was thinking of cutting the recipe in half next time I make them, but I'd still use the whole package of yeast. Also, one recipe suggested using 1/2 cup sugar AND 1/2 cup honey..... might give that a try next time. But these were good! I just rolled my dough out and cut into squares... be sure you leave the dough about an inch thick so you get poofier rolls. But you can make into any shape you want. I also found a recipe for the cinnamon butter. There were alot of different versions of it, but the one I used is posted below, and I thought it was pretty close to the real thing. YUMMO! I think I ate 4 while they were still warm!!
Almost Famous Roadhouse Rolls
1 pkg (envelope) of active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
6 to 7 cups all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 whole eggs
2 teaspoon salt

Soften yeast in warm water with a teaspoon of sugar. Scald milk; cool to lukewarm. Add yeast, sugar and enough flour (2 cups)t o make medium batter. Beat thoroughly. Let stand until light and foamy.
Add melted butter (which has been cooled), eggs, and salt. Beat well. Add enough flour to form soft dough. (I added 2 cups and then 1 cups of flour at a time till I got a good consistency) Sprinkle small amount of flour on counter and let dough rest.
Meanwhile, clean and dry bowl; grease clean surface of bowl. Knead dough until smooth and satiny. Put in greased bowl; turn over to grease top. Cover, let rise in warm place until double in bulk.
Punch down. Turn out on floured board. Divide into 4 portions for shaping; let rest 10 minutes.
Shape dough into desired forms.  (I rolled mine out like you do cinnamon rolls only leave it 1 inch thick. Then I cut with a pizza cutter into about 12 squares)
Place on greased baking sheets. Let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or unitl slightly browned on top. Brush with butter and eat while warm!! Makes 4 to 5 dozen depending on how big you make them.

Cinnamon Butter 
1 and 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon

Blend all ingredients in a mixer until combined. Scrape down bowl and beater, then whip on medium high speed of mixer for 2 to 3 minutes. Mixture should lighten and become fluffy. Serve on hot rolls! YUMMO!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Manicotti with White and Red Sauce

I love pasta, (as if you couldn't tell by some of the recipes I post) ...... I love to experiment with recipes, and I hadn't made stuffed Manicotti in quite awhile, so I thought, why not make some on mother's day and have my parents over for dinner. I like stuffed mushrooms with a hot sausage cream cheese filling so I thought, mmmmm I bet that would be good in Manicotti. I usually stuff it with ricotta cheese, so I thought I'd try adding Jimmy Dean's hot sausage to it and see how that turned out. And with the white and red sauce, have you ever had Olive Garden's Fried Lasagna for an appetizer? They do Alfredo sauce on the bottom, and drizzle marinara sauce on top. So there you go.... That's what I did here. Don't try to count calories with this one.... It was Mother's Day and thought I deserved a splurge. I served mine with grilled Chicken breasts(some men in my family think you need more meat for dinner if what I've cooked doesn't require a knife and fork to cut it) I had marinated that in an Garlic& Herb marinade. Also serve with bread sticks or french bread for soaking up the sauce, and a crispy green salad or steamed veggie. YUMMO!! (sorry this picture isn't very pretty, I forgot to take a picture until we had eaten some of it--oops)

Sausage and Cheese Stuffed Manicotti with White and Red Sauce

1 jar marinara sauce (or you can make your own, I've posted some recipes under sauces)
1 pound package Jimmy Dean Hot sausage
1 small (15 ounce) container Ricotta Cheese
2 whole eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons fresh Basil (remember the pre-chopped Basil in the tube found in Walmart's produce department is awesome)
1 clove minced garlic (a scant teaspoonful)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (divided)
2 Tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups Half-n-Half
1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1 box Manicotti Noodles, cooked according to directions on package, drain and rinsed in cold water
Mozzarella Cheese (1 to 2 cups to put on top)

For filling:
Cook Jimmy Dean sausage in medium skillet over medium heat, until browned, chop with your spatula as you cook it so it's in smaller pieces. It's better to not have large chunks in the filling when filling the Manicotti noodles.
When sausage is cooked remove from skillet onto a paper-towel lined plate, to drain the grease and cool.
In a medium size bowl combine ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and eggs. Stir in basil, garlic, salt, pepper and sausage until well combined. Set aside.
For white sauce:
In a medium saucepan, melt butter and whisk in flour and salt. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat. Stir this constantly so it doesn't burn. Whisk in the half-n-half, stirring while cooking until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and nutmeg. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
Spread white sauce in the bottom of a large casserole dish (about a 13x9) so it completely covers the bottom.
Spoon filling into a decorator bag without a tip, or in a large ziploc bag with one corner clipped. Fill your manicotti noodles from both ends by inserting the bag into one end and squeeze just until full, then fill from the other end so your whole noodle has been filled (don't over fill or it will split, but if it does just put the split side down and no one will notice) Place in casserole on top of white sauce. Repeat with remaining manicotti and filling.
Pour your marinara sauce evenly over the manicotti. Sprinkle with 1 to 2 cups of grated Mozzarella cheese--depending on how cheesy you like it.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until sauce is hot and bubbly and manicotti is heated through.

Serve with salad and hot crispy french bread.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Snickerdoodle Muffins

I love Snickerdoodle cookies, so the other day when I was browsing for a recipe I ran across this one at Goodness they looked sooooo Yummy I had to give them a try and take some to work on Friday in honor of the Mom's since it was Mother's day weekend! They were Yummo and go great with a cup of Hot Chocolate (perfect for these cold, rainy Spring mornings we've been having!) After dipping the dough in the cinnamon sugar, I had quite a bit leftover, so I added a little flour, brown sugar, and melted butter to it and made a streusel topping that I sprinkled over the tops of the muffins before baking. Who doesn't love a little extra crunch and cinnamon on a muffin?? Enjoy!

Snickerdoodle Muffins
1 cup Butter, Softened
1 cup Sugar
2 whole Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2-¼ cups Flour
¾ teaspoons Baking Powder
¾ teaspoons Baking Soda
¾ teaspoons Cream Of Tartar
½ teaspoons Salt
1 cup Sour Cream
¼ cups Buttermilk

⅔ cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
After dipping add:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons melted butter

Preparation Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare a muffin tin with liners. Or generously grease with Crisco... These muffins need a bit more than just non-stick cooking spray.
In a mixer, combine the butter and sugar and cream until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and combine.
In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the sour cream and buttermilk and mix to combine. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon for the topping.
Use scooper and plop a scoop of batter into the bowl with the sugar and cinnamon. Gently roll the batter in the sugar and cinnamon. Place the ball into the muffin liner.
When you have completed all of the muffins, combine the leftover cinnamon sugar mixture with the flour, brown sugar, and melted butter and stir with a fork to combine. This makes a streusel topping. Then sprinkle this mixture onto the tops of all of the muffins.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

I found this recipe on when I was looking for something different for cinco de mayo. I made shredded beef enchilada's and then we had this on top instead of  regular salsa. It was yummo! You can adjust the heat by using hotter Rotel tomatoes or by adding more chopped peppers like jalapeno's or a serano pepper. This is great just on chips too! Yum!

Black Bean and Corn Salsa
2 (8 ounce) cans Rotel tomatoes and chilies (I use "regular" as opposed to "mild" or "hot") I drained mine, and used the juice in my mexican rice.
1 (14 ounce) can corn, drained
1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (4 ounce) can green chilies
1/2 cup diced sweet onion (you can use more if you like)
garlic powder, to taste
chili powder, to taste (I used both regular chili powder and chipotle chili powder
cumin, to taste
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or dried cilantro, to taste (if you dont use fresh)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons Lime juice

 Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl, making sure spices are well blended in the veggies. I started out with a couple of shakes of each spice and tasted and added a little more of what it needed to suit my taste.You can make this hotter with a minced jalapeno pepper or serano pepper if desired or by using chipotle chile powder. It's up to you!
Cover and refrigerate, allowing flavors to blend.
Serve with chips, on baked potatoes, with grilled chicken, on tacos, burritos, and enchiladas,  or anyway you can think of!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Orecchiette Pasta with Hot sausage and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I LOVE pasta.....I think I could eat pasta any time of day and when I ran across this on I had to give it a try. It uses Orecchiette Pasta which I've always wanted to cook with but hadn't been able to find it until now!! It's at Walmart! woo hoo!  It's the pasta that resembles little ears!! Cute!! But you can use any kind of pasta that you want to with this dish and it would still be Yummo! I added hot sausage to mine, and I also added a can of tomatoe sauce along with some basil. I thought just using red peppers was on the bitter side, so I added this and that to mine. This turned out yummo!! I served mine with Focaccia Bread and steamed asparagus.

Orecchiette Pasta with Hot sausage and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
3 whole Red Bell Peppers (I used a whole jar of the already Roasted Red Peppers, drained, instead of roasting my own)
2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts (optional)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 package Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausage
½ whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 small package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 (8 ounce ) can tomatoe sauce
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon choppped fresh basil (remember-I love the pre-chopped stuff in the tube until I can grow my own!) or you can use a teaspoon of the dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
 fresh parsley, chopped (or about a Tablespoon dried)
½ cups Heavy Cream
Fresh Parmesan, Shaved Or Grated
1/2 cup mozerella cheese, grated
½ pounds (to 1 Pound) Pasta: Orecchiette, Penne, Fusilli, Etc.

Preparation Instructions:
Roast red peppers, and then place in a Ziploc bag to allow to sweat. Peel the charred skins from the peppers, then removed seeds. Set aside. (using the already roasted red peppers in the jar is easier!)
Lightly toast pine nuts in a skillet. Set aside.
Puree peppers with pine nuts. Set aside.
Slice the hot sausage links into bite size pieces.
In a large skillet over medium heat, drizzle in olive oil. Then add your hot sausage and cook over medium heat until browned. Remove sausage from pan and let drain on paper towel; set aside.  Add diced onions, mushrooms, and garlic to sausage oil and cook until soft. Pour in pepper puree, tomatoe sauce, sugar, basil, salt , pepper, and dried parsley (if using fresh parsley put in last for a garnish). Stir to combine. Add you hot sausage at this point as well, and let this cook together for about 15 minutes for the flavors to blend while you cook the pasta.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Turn heat down to medium low on your sauce and pour cream into it; stir to combine. Taste and add more salt, if necessary. Add cooked pasta, and then stir together.
Place pasta into a  serving bowl, top with  Mozzerella cheese, chopped parsley and plenty of shaved Parmesan.
Serve and enjoy!! YUMMMMO!!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sun Dried Tomato and Olive Focaccia Bread

I love Focaccia Bread, I've been searching for a recipe for a good Focaccia Bread for quite some time. We used to make it at the bakery I worked in when I was in my 20's, that was back when they still made most everything from scratch. They made the best onion Focaccia Bread there, and when it came out of the oven, you can bet we would purposely damage one loaf so we could eat it! YUM. I ran across this recipe on, she used straight olives in hers, but I had to tweak mine to my craving, and added sundried tomatoes, cheese, and sauteed onions... This goes great with a pasta dish, or on the side with a salad, or just by itself.... escpecially straight from the oven. Enjoy!!!

Sun Dried Tomato and Olive Focaccia Bread

1 envelope Active Dry Yeast
1-1/2 cup Warm water
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sliced sundried tomatoes (I used the dried kind, and sliced them with scissors, then let sit in the olive oil to re-hydrate a bit while I let the yeast bubble) or you can use the kind that comes already in olive oil.
1/2 cup sliced olives (or more if desired)
1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
1 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar, but any kind is good)
1 tablespoon sundried tomato pesto
Olive oil for drizzling
kosher salt for sprinkling

In bowl of mixer, place water with yeast (be careful that your water isn't too warm or it will kill the yeast, just about lukewarm is good) add the tablespoon of sugar, and whisk to combine. Let the yeast mixture rest for about 5 minutes or until it starts to bubble and gets foamy on the top.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. When yeast is foamy add half the flour, sundried tomato pesto, and grated cheese, mix to combine. Then add the rest of the flour, olive oil and sun dried tomatoes and mix on low until just combined and the dough comes together in a sticky mass.
Coat a large glass bowl with a thin layer of olive oil, and form your dough into a ball and place dough in the bowl, turn dough over once so the top has olive oil on it and cover tightly with plastic  wrap and set aside for about an hour, or until dough is doubled in size.
While dough is raising, saute your chopped onions in a little olive oil in a small skillet for about 5 minutes, or until translucent, then let cool.
To make your focaccia, blot the olives with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
Remove your dough from the bowl, and place on a lightly floured surface. Place chopped olives and onions on top of the dough, then very gently knead them into the dough.

 Don't over knead your dough, and don't worry if some of the olives and onions fall out of the dough, you can always place them on top of your focaccia when it's on the cookie sheets. Cut dough in half, and roll each half into a rectangle or oval shape. Place on separate cookies sheets that have been sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray.

Drizzle a little olive oil over the top of each rectangle. Cover with more plastic wrap and let raise for another 45 minutes to an hour (or until nice and poofy).
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Remove the plastic wrap from your focaccia dough, and using your fingertips, press dimples all over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt, and a little more cheese if desired. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the focaccia is golden brown.
Cut into pieces with a pizza cutter or sharp knife and serve immediately! MMMMMMMMM......

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Di's Key Lime Pie

I LOVE key lime flavored anything... I've been trying to figure out a good keylime pie recipe that I could use Yoplait's Key Lime Pie Yogurt in for a looooong time.... Love that flavor of yogurt. I have looked and looked for one, and I found quite a few different ones, but nothing like what I was imagining in my head I guess. There were pies that were made with lime juice, eggs, and sweetened condensed milk, and then they were baked in the oven. Those looked kind of flat, and not what I wanted. Then there were some that were mixed with cream cheese and baked like a cheese cake... still didn't look like what I was thinking of. Then I thought, why not make the sweetened condensed milk w/ lime juice and eggs, but cook like a pudding, then add it to some cream cheese mixed with my yogurt! That would make it creamier, right? So here is what I came up with..... YUMMO!!!

Di's Key Lime Pie

For the crust:
1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons melted butter

For the filling:
4 egg yolks
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice (I used about 3 Tablespoons lemon juice and then added the rest regular lime juice to make 1/2 cup, it gives it a little tangier flavor more like key limes)
1 (8-ounce)  package cream cheese, room temperature
2  (6-ounce) containers Yoplait's Thick n'Creamy Key Lime Pie Yogurt
1 or 2 drops of green food coloring (if desired)

1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 or 2 drops coconut extract (if desired)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the crust combine the cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter together in a medium bowl until well combined. Pour into a 9-inch pie plate, then using the side of a measuring cup press mixture firmly up the sides of the pie plate, then use the bottom of the cup to press the rest of the crumbs firmly on the bottom of the pie plate.
Next, bake the pie crust at 350 degrees for aboaut 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool on wire rack while you make the filling.

For the filling: Beat the egg yolks on high speed with an eletric mixer for about 2 minutes until light yellow. Add the sweetened condensed milk and beat again for 30 more seconds. Transfer this mixture into a medium size saucepan. Place on stove at medium/low heat and stir in the 1/2 cup of lime juice. Continue to cook over medium/low heat, stirring frequently until mixture starts to bubble and thicken. This takes about 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove from heat,  and stir in the food coloring if you are going to use it. Then let the mixture cool. (I placed mine in the fridge for about 1/2 hour.)

While filling is cooling, place cream cheese and yogurt in a medium size bowl, and cream together with an electric mixer until creamy and smooth.

Fold in the sweetened condensed milk and egg mixture into the cream cheese and yogurt mixture after it's cooled. Then pour into your graham cracker crust and chill for 3 to 4 hours or until set.

Make your whipped cream topping, but pouring the heavy whipping cream into a chilled mixing bowl (I place my mixer bowl and beaters in the freezer about 1/2 hour before I make my whipped cream so it's good and cold, this helps the whipping cream to whip up faster!)
Whip on high for about 2 -3minutes, keep an eye on this, you don't want to turn your whipping cream into butter. When it forms stiff peaks, add the powdered sugar and vanilla (and the drop of coconut extract if desired) and stir just to combine.
You can spread the whipped cream on your pie, but I like to put mine in a decorator bag with a large tip and swirl on the top of my pie, then I sprinkle just a few more graham cracker crumbs on top for a garnish. Slice into desired size piece and enjoy!  YUMMO!!!
Just what I had been craving!!!

Portabella Mushroom Tacos

I love tacos. My hubby and I thought it would be awesome to see if we could do a meatless Monday  and Portabella mushrooms have a grea...