Archive for September, 2013


Apple Crisp

This is a dessert that always takes me right back to my childhood.  It was my absolute favorite.  My dad loved apples and we always had them in the house, so at least once a week I would ask my mom to make us some apple crisp.  I was ecstatic when I learned to make it myself around the age of 10.  That’s how easy it is.

I like to add twists to most of my recipes, usually.  Updating or tweaking when the mood strikes me, but in this case I kept it basic and simple.  I do not believe something as sacred as apple crisp should be tampered with.  But, if you see fit, add whatever twists or flavors you like to this.  I wont mind…much.  😛

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What you will need:

5 medium baking apples

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup orange juice

pinch of salt

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar (white or brown)

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup melted butter

pinch of nutmeg

Method:

  1.  preheat oven to 350 f
  2. Core and slice up the apples.  Peeling them is up to you, I prefer leaving the skins on for added nutrients.  Place them in a bowl with the orange juice.  Generally lemon juice is used to keep the apples from browning, but I was out of lemons, and this worked great.
  3. toss the apples with the cinnamon and flour and a pinch of salt and place in a prepared baking dish.
  4. Mix together the flour, sugar, oats, nutmeg and melted butter until a crumble like texture is reached.  Sprinkle evenly over the apples.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes until the tops is slightly browned and the apples are bubbling underneath.  Let cool slightly before serving.

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This would be great served up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, some whipped cream, or even just a splash of milk.  Its tangy as well as sweet and is the perfect dessert for a cool fall night.  I hope you enjoy 🙂

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*Disclaimer:  This is by no means your traditional Shepard’s Pie.  Because I used leftover pulled pork, I am officially calling this “Farmer’s Pie”.  The thought process being that farmers raise pigs, not cows or lamb which are used in Shepard’s Pie and Cottage Pie.

It’s the last day of the leftover pulled pork from https://pixieinthekitchen.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/perfect-pulled-pork/.

I had been thinking about making a Sheppard’s for a while now.  Lamb is not easy to come by where I live, and there is just not enough flavor for me in ground beef.  Thankfully, I still had some pulled pork laying around in the fridge from Sunday’s dinner.

As I have said this is by no means traditional, but it is scrumptious! Instead of peas for the veg, I made a cremini mushroom and onion gravy, which added a ton of earthy flavor and paired nicely with the bbq flavor in the pork.

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 Get a big pot of water on the stove to boil.  Peel and cut 5 medium sized potatoes.  Boil until cooked through.  Mash with a bit of butter and milk and set aside.

While your potatoes are cooking, slice up the mushrooms and onions and sautee in a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Add in salt and pepper, and a bit of thyme.  When the veg is tender, add a couple tablespoons of flour to the pan and cook for another minute.  Slowly stir in some chicken or beef stock to form a gravy.

Add your meat (whatever you have used), already cooked to a pie plate.  Top with the mushroom gravy.  Spread the mashed potatoes on top.  Bake in a preheated 400 f oven for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are brown and crispy on top.

Serve and enjoy!

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What you will need:

2 cups pulled pork (or any other cooked beef or lamb that you have as leftovers)

5 medium potatoes, peeled

1 large onion

1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms

1 cup chicken (or beef) stock

2 tablespoons of flour

1 teaspoon thyme

2 tablespoons of olive oil

salt and pepper

Perfect Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is one of my favorite things to eat, but something I have never attempted to make myself.  Until now.  I found some really nice pork butt (my step daughter was giggling uncontrollably when we bought it.) at a local market and decided on a whim to try out this dish at home.  I was surprised at how simple it was to prepare.  It takes some planning, and a little care, but it is so worth it.

As I have seen done on tv, I let my pork sit overnight in a spice rub I made up myself.  Then cooked it slowly in a low oven the next day.  I really did just fall apart when I touched it with a fork.  So flavorful and moist.  I was in Heaven!

I encourage you to try this one out.  So much cheaper than buying it at a restaurant, and so much better, as you can add the flavors you want.  And lots of leftovers!

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What you will need:

1 tblspn cumin

1 tblspn coriander

1 tblspn garlic powder

1 tblspn onion powder

1 tblspn instant coffee

1/4 tspn cayenne pepper

1 tspn paprika

1 tblspn thyme

1 tspn cinnamon

1/4 cup brown sugar

salt and pepper

3 lbs pork butt (shoulder)

1 large onion

3 cloves garlic

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tblspn tomato paste

1 bay leaf

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Instructions:

Blend all of your spices together in a spice grinder to make a nice powder.  Use half the spice blend on the pork the night before.  Rub it all over thoroughly, wrap the meat in cling wrap and set in the fridge for about 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 f.

Place the onion cut into quarters (skin on) and the garlic cloves in a deep sided metal baking tray.  Set the pork on top of the veg.  Pour in the apple cider vinegar, and enough water to come up the roast about half way.  Add in the rest of the spice rub mix and the tomato paste.

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Cover the pan tightly with tin foil and cook for 4-6 hours (mine took about 5) until the meat is literally falling apart when touched.

Remove the meat, strain the liquid and place it in a medium saucepan over med high heat to reduce, tasting and adjusting as needed.  Then pour the sauce over the meat after you have “pulled” it apart using two forks.

There are many ways you can serve this.  Traditionally it is in a sandwich with some kind of slaw.  I served mine over homemade super sized buttermilk biscuits with some pickled carrots from a previous recipe.  I think the  leftovers are going to be in a sandwich for today’s lunch .  The possibilities are endless!

*Side note:  I generally like to take a photo of the finished product, but in my excitement to  serve it up and eat, I just plain forgot 😦

Pickled Carrots

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Carrots, again.  Having made yet another batch of carrot muffins, and more glazed carrots, I am desperate to find new and interesting ways to serve up carrots.

I am serving pulled pork for dinner tonight, and I know that slaw is a common pairing with the rich, smoky meat.  I am out of cabbage, so I started thinking that a sweet and tangy pickled carrot would compliment my pork nicely.  I used the same vinegar and spices in my pickling liquid as I did for the broth i am cooking the pork in.

What you will need:

2 large carrots, julienned

1 large clove of garlic, smashed

1 cup water

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 stick of cinnamon

1 teaspoon each of coriander seed, cumin seed, onion powder

1 bay leaf salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions:

Place all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Let it boil, slightly covered for 7-9 minutes, until carrots are tender but still crispy.  remove from heat and pour into a  glass container with a tightly fitting lid.  Place in fridge for several hours or overnight before serving.

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I have been experimenting all day with a new gluten free flour blend.  It performed beautifully in my  carrot cake recipe, so I was curious to find out if it would works just as well in a roux.  I had planned a pork roast for dinner so, some scalloped potatoes would go just great with that.  Sunday dinner on a Thursday. 

It’s a fool proof recipe and so versatile.  Feel free to mix in whatever flavors you like to the bechemel sauce, I was going for a southwestern meal theme, so i added some smoked paprika, sharp cheddar and a pinch of cayenne. 

 

Recipe:

5 medium potatoes, washed, sliced thin

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons gluten free flour blend

2-3 cups milk

tspn each garlic and onion powder

2 tspn smoked paprika

pinch of cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups shredded old cheddar

Method:

Wash and slice the potatoes using a mandolin or food processor.  Place in cold water and set aside.

Heat a saucepan on medium high heat and melt the butter.  Whisk in flour and cook for about a minute, until a thick paste forms.  Slowly add in milk, whisking well.  When the desired consistency is reached, stir in 1 cup of the cheese, and the spices.  Cook over low heat until thickened.

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Grease a square baking dish and place a layer of the sliced potatoes.  Top with a big spoonful of the cheese sauce.  Continue layering until all potatoes are used.  Pour the remaining sauce over top and  sprinkle on the rest of the grated cheese.

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Bake in a 400 f oven for about an hour, until potatoes are tender and cheese is bubbly and brown on top.  Let cool slightly before serving.

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I have missed baking. It has been so hot lately that the idea of having the oven on was not appealing. Also, I have recently discovered that a side effect of my fibromyalgia is gluten intolerance. As a result I am trying (not always successfully) to maintain a gluten free diet when possible. Thanks to a very dear friend of mine, I am now in possession of some very nice gluten free flour, and I can get to baking!

As I have mentioned in a previous post, we have an abundance of carrots in our pantry. I am also not a fan of the orange root veggie. As a result I am trying to find and create recipes to use them all up. Carrot cake is by no means a new recipe, but, this was my first attempt at baking with a pre made gluten free flour blend. I was indeed nervous. I used my basic carrot cake recipe I have had for years, but tweaked it just a tad for a healthier twist.

I hate to brag, but this was by far the best carrot cake I have ever had, let alone made. Let it never be said that being adventurous in the kitchen does not pay off.

Ingredients:

4 eggs

1 cup veg oil

1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

2 cups brown sugar

2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups gluten free flour blend

2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

zest of one orange, finely grated

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated

3 cups grated carrots

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 f. Grease a 9×13 cake pan
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, orange juice, sugar, vanilla, orange zest and ginger. Mix in flour and other dry ingredients. Stir in carrots. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack and cool.
  4. Dust with icing sugar and ground cinnamon.

*A quick side note: I could not find my 9×13 pan i would normally use, so I used a layer cake pan, which was just a bit too small. All of the batter just fit into the pan, coming to the very top. As a result, I had to bake this about 1/2 hour longer, but it turned out great.

I spent a good amount of time this morning fretting over what to make for dinner.  My fridge was getting low and my pantry failed to inspire me.  I decided to head out to the grocery store in the hopes of finding some inspiration there.  Chicken was on sale for a change.  Then I passed through the ethnic foods isle and saw cans of enchilada sauce, BINGO! (I did not buy the canned sauce, however, as it is so easy to make from scratch.)

Mexican it is.

enchilada

In a small saucepan, heat some tomato puree (I still have an abundance of tomatoes from my garden so I made this myself), add 2 tablespoons of chili powder, a teaspoon of ground cumin, a tablespoon each of garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper.  Leave it on medium low heat to warm through.

enchiladasauce

Meanwhile, cut 2 good sized chicken breasts into small chunks, and heat in a skillet with a small amount of olive oil, over medium high heat, until cooked through.  Add 1/4 of the sauce (above) and a handful of shredded cheddar cheese.  Simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

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Now to put it all together.  You will need 6 large flour tortillas (corn works well here too and adds a bit of flavor.)  Dip each tortilla in the warm enchilada sauce to coat.  Place about 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture in the center, and roll it up.

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Place the rolled enchiladas into a glass baking dish just big enough to hold them all snugly. Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with cheddar cheese.  Bake at 400 f for 10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and golden on top.  Let cool.

 

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Serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole or whatever you like 🙂

What you will need:

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • olive oil
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 large flour (or corn) tortillas
  • tomato puree

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It was a comfort food kind of day today in my home.  With fall weather peeking its head around the corner, I felt like a meal my mom used to cook for us, only updated a tad.

I am not the biggest fan of carrots, in fact, they are one of my least favorite vegetables, but my hubby came home from the grocery store with 10 pounds and now I have to get creative.  I could eat these glazed carrots by the bowlful!  Simply the best carrots I have ever had.

Taking the extra step to roast the garlic before adding it to the mashed potatoes gives it a warmer, less pungent  garlic taste, and just feels like comfort food.  And roasted garlic has the added bonus of making your home smell amazing.

I kept the meatloaf recipe pretty basic this time, as I had some pretty bold flavors in the sides.  For once, I think the protein on this dish is not the star, and I am okay with that.

Meatloaf:

1 lb lean ground beed

1 small onion, diced

1 tspn oregano

1 tspn garlic powder

1 tspn smoked paprika

salt and pepper to taste

1 egg, beaten

1/4 breadcrumbs soaked in some milk (just enough to moisten the crumbs)

Glaze for the meatloaf:  Mix together a bit of ketchup & mustard, a dash of hot sauce, about 2 tblspn of brown sugar and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.  Brush some over the meatloaf at the beginning of the cooking process and halfway through. 

Preheat oven to 400 f.

Mix together all the meatloaf ingredients and form  it into a log.  Wrap tightly with cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Unwrap and  bake in a deep baking tray for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown on top.  ( I never do my loaf in a loaf pan, as it sits in it’s own fat for too long.)

Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

 

Roasted Garlic Mash: 

Chop the top off of one whole head of garlic, ad place it in some tinfoil.  Top it with a small amount of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Wrap it tightly and bake it for 45 minutes at 350 f.

Boil 4 medium sized potatoes, cut into chunks until tender. (I don’t peel my potatoes, as the skin holds so many nutrients and flavor, but that’s up to you.) Drain the potatoes and season with salt & pepper.  Add 1/4 cup of butter and a splash of milk, and the roasted garlic. (no a whole head is not too much, it’s very mild when its roasted.)  Mash well, to your preferred texture.

 

Glazed Carrots:

Wash and slice (on the bias) 4 large carrots into medallions.  Boil for about 10 minutes, or until just cooked but not crunchy.

Drain.  Season with salt and pepper and return them to the pot.  To the pot, add 1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 tblspn of butter (or a tad more, i didn’t measure)  Simmer over medium high heat until the extra liquid evaporates and the carrots look nice and sticky/shiny.  Don’t walk away from the pot, butter and sugar can burn very quickly.  let cool slightly before serving.

 

 

 

 

Buffalo Chicken Caesar Salad

ImageIf you’re anything like me, you have a tough time thinking of new and creative things do with chicken.  While thinking of what to make for dinner, I found myself staring blankly at a couple of chicken breasts thawing on the counter.  How on earth am I going to make these exciting and new?  I had  been thinking about also making a Caesar salad to accompany whatever entree I prepared and suddenly I thought of buffalo wings, minus the wing.  The two dishes have always been favorites of mine back in my pub crawling days, so why not combine them into a light, easy meal?   I’m so glad I did!  There is not a leftover in sight tonight.

Recipe:

Dressing:
  • ½ cup olive oil (extra virgin)
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh grated parmigiana reggiano (Parmesan cheese)
  • 1½ tbsp anchovy paste (optional, but adds a more authentic taste)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Instructions
  1. In a glass bowl whisk together all the ingredients except the olive oil, until smooth and creamy.

2. Slowly drizzle the olive oil, while whisking. Do not pour the oil too quickly, but instead make sure that it has emulsified           into the rest of the ingredients before pouring in more. Continue to drizzle and whisk until all the oil has been added.

Buffalo Sauce:
1/4 your favorite hot sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
2 tblspn melted butter
Instructions:  Mix together the sauce and butter and keep warm over low heat.
Salad Instructions:  Season 2 chicken breasts with salt and pepper and cook in a 350 f oven until cooked through.  You can also use the bbq here, which will add a nice smokey flavor.  While the chicken is cooking prepare the dressing and buffalo sauce as above.  Set aside.  When the chicken is cooked allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes.  (this keeps your chicken nice and juicy).  Slice it lengthwise and cut into chunks.  Toss the chicken in the buffalo sauce.
Tear up 1 large head of romaine lettuce and wash and dry it well.  Pour just enough dressing on to dress it but not drown it.  (The remaining dressing will keep in the fridge up to a week.)  Top the salad with croutons, bacon bits (homemade if you can) and the buffalo chicken.
Serve and enjoy!

Zucchini Muffins

ImageAs i mentioned in a previous post, I took up gardening as a new hobby this year.  I was absolutely astonished by how much zucchini those 4 little plants gave me.  I was also amazed at how much I enjoyed the muffins that resulted from such a plentiful harvest.  I wan’t sure I would like zucchini muffins, I only remember the ones I had as a child, which were dry and tasted like vegetables.  These were the polar opposite; moist and savory with the addition of olive oil instead of butter.  Great for a quick weekday breakfast.

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Recipe:

  • 3 cups grated fresh zucchini
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)

METHOD

You don’t need a mixer for this recipe.

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini and then the olive oil. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir these dry ingredients into the zucchini mixture.

2 Coat each muffin cup in your muffin pan with a little butter or vegetable oil spray. Use a spoon to distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups, filling the cups up completely. Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown, and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press on them, about 25 to 30 minutes. Test with a long toothpick or a thin bamboo skewer to make sure the center of the muffins are done. Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin let cool another 20 minutes.

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