Friday, October 10, 2014

Spanish Rice

Here is my favorite recipe for Spanish Rice.  Once you make this, you will never go back to buying the canned or boxed version.  Trust me, this is easy and delicious!  Added bonus:  this freezes great!  Cook up a double batch and freeze half . . .then thaw out at a later date.  Totally worth it.  Ole!

Spanish Rice
Serves 4-6

1 Tablespoon Butter
1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
1/8 Cup Chopped Green Pepper
14 oz Can Diced Tomatoes
3/4 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Uncooked Minute Rice
1/4 Cup Chili Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Celery Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Brown Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
1/4 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

In a large saucepan, add the butter and saute the onion and green pepper until fragrant and translucent (do not let it get brown).  Stir in the remaining ingredients except for the cheese.  Simmer on low and uncovered until thick - about 35 minutes.  Check frequently and stir occasionally to make sure it isn't sticking to the pan.  To serve, sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Close your eyes and set the way-back-machine to 1996.  Alanis Morissette, 2Pac, Coolio, Oasis . . .baggy sweaters, clunky loafers, tall socks and CKOne.  Good times my friends, good times . . .and that's where I first learned about these amazing Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas.  I was in college and a friend-of-a-friend used to make these enchiladas along with Spanish rice on the side.  

This recipe is pure nostalgia for me . . but the I love the flavors.  They are not spicy, but creamy and oh-so very flavorful.  Yum.

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
Serves 4-6

1 (12-count) Package of Flour Tortillas, 6-inch size
4 oz Can of Green Chiles
2 Cups Shredded Chicken (cooked)
1 Cup Diced Onion
1/2 Cup Diced Green Bell Pepper
5 TB Butter, divided
1/4 Cup Flour
1 and 1/2 Cups Shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese
1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Sour Cream
2 and 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth

Step 1:  Prepare a 9x13 baking dish by greasing it or spraying with non-stick spray.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2:  In a large bowl, combine the chicken and green chiles.  Set aside.  

Step 3:  In a large sauce pan, add 2 Tablespoons of butter and the onion and green pepper.  Saute until tender.  Add to the onion/pepper mixture to the bowl with the chicken.  Set aside.

Step 4:  In the same (now empty) sauce pan, melt the remaining butter (3 TB).  Stir in the flour, coriander and salt. It will form a thick paste.  This is good and this is what you want! 

Step 5:  Slowly add in the chicken broth to the flour paste you just made by adding a little broth at a time and stirring until well combined.  Cook over medium heat until slightly thickened.  This should only take a few minutes.  Once thickened, stir in the sour cream and 1/2 cup of the cheese.

Step 6:  Take 1/2 cup of the sauce you created and add it to the chicken mixture.  Stir to combine.

Step 7:  Time to assemble!!  Take one tortilla and place approximately 1/4 cup of the chicken filling on top of it and then roll it up.  Place it in the baking pan and repeat until all the tortillas are filled.  

Step 8:  Pour the sauce over filled tortillas and then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes (until heated through, hot and bubbly).  

Serve it up with some Spanish Rice and you will be patting yourself on the back and waiting for more!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Oysters Rockefeller

Talk about a real treat!  This past weekend we made Oysters Rockefeller.  And OMG.  They were amazing.  And let me tell you, oysters are far easier to open/shuck than clams.  If you love seafood, this is a very easy one to prepare at home.  Fresh, succulent oysters topped with a warm, garlicky, gooey yet slightly crunchy topping.  Oh my gosh . . . now I want them right now!  The original recipe I used is here.  However, I just had to make it my own . .. and here it is:

Oysters Rockefeller
Creates 12 Oysters 

1 dozen oysters, shucked
2 TB Butter
1 Large Teaspoon of Chopped Garlic
1/3 Cup Breadcrumbs
1/4  Cup Spinach (frozen, crumbled - not the kind frozen in a block)
2-3 Green Onions, sliced
1-2 Dashes of Tabasco
2 Tablespoons Parsley, chopped
1/4 Teaspoon Tarragon
1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Step 1:  Shuck the oysters keep the oyster on the half shell. You can discard the other half of the shell.  Place shells with oysters on them on a large baking sheet.

Step 2:  In a saucepan, melt the butter over low.  Add in the garlic, spinach, green onion and tarragon.  Saute until the spinach is hot.

Step 3:  Next, add the parsley, Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs to the spinach mixture.  Stir to combine and remove from heat.

Step 4:  Top each oyster with a heaping spoonful of the mixture.  Be sure to use up all the mixture.

Step 5:  Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Made these recently as I was craving chocolate chip cookies.   Every time we went to Grandma and Grandpa's house, you could count on there being chocolate chip cookies to be eaten.  

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield:  6-7 dozen cookies

1 Cup Shortening
2/3 Cup Cup White Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 and 1/3 Cup Flour
1 Cup Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Chopped Nuts (optional)

Step 1:  Cream together the sugars, shortening, eggs and vanilla thoroughly.
Step 2:  Spoon flour into dry measuring cup.  Level off and pour measured flour onto waxed paper.  
Step 3:  To the flour, add the baking soda and salt.  Stir thoroughly.
Step 4:  Add the dry ingredients mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well.
Step 5:  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Step 6:  Drop by teaspoon fulls onto greased baking sheet.
Step 7:  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Please note, adjust the bake time as necessary for your oven.  15 minutes was a little long for me.  I ended up baking them for about 10 minutes per sheet.

Friday, September 12, 2014

SOS: Cheeseburger Edition

Desperation meals . . .fueling creativity since the beginning of time.  I especially love SOS.  Not familiar?  Let's just say I'm not going to define the acronym here . . but you can look it up sometime.  Comfort food at it's finest!

SOS:  Cheeseburger Edition
Serves 6-8

1 lb Ground Beef (cooked and drained)
6-8 Slices of Bread
6-8 Slices of Cheese
Chopped Onions

Step 1:  Toast your bread.
Step 2:  Preheat your broiler.
Step 3:  Place toast in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Step 4:  Divide the cooked (and still warm) ground beef evenly among the slices of toast.
Step 5:  Drizzle each SOS with ketchup and mustard.
Step 6:  Top them with some chopped onion.
Step 7:  Finally, lay a slice of cheese on top of each SOS.
Step 8:  Put into oven and broil until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Serve immediately with a side of pickles.

Note:  I often brown/cook large amounts of ground beef at one time.  Once cooled, I split into 1 pound portions, place in a freezer bag, and then freeze for later.  It can be used for spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, SOS etc.  For this recipe, I just pulled out a frozen bag and defrosted the contents in a fry pan and reheated.  Super simple time saving tip.

Friday, September 5, 2014

White Russian Cake

Check out this yummy recipe . . which packs a small punch.  It's made with Kahula, but please note - it's kid friendly.  The booze will actually bake out of it.  This is a sweet, moist cake with a coffee flavor that will knock your socks off.  Top with a nice vanilla glaze and viola!  Gives new meaning to coffeecake.

Originally, I googled 'white russian cake'.  Google came back to me with all these chocolate cake recipes with Kahlua in them.  I thought to myself, "Self, White Russian's do not have chocolate in them."

Then I googled 'black russian cake'.  Silly me, I forgot that White Russian's contain cream and Black Russian's do not.  Still, neither contain chocolate.  True story.  Check out the links below in case you don't believe me.

Now, granted, all those recipes I googled did look delicious . . .but not kid friendly.  I'm all about drenching cakes with booze - but I wanted a simple family-friendly cake.  So here it is, my version of a White Russian Cake.

White Russian Cake
1 Box White Cake Mix + Ingredients to Prepare It
1 Cup Kahlua
Vanilla Glaze (1.5 Cups Powdered Sugar, 1/4 Cup Half and Half, 1 Teaspoon Vanilla)

To prepare the cake, follow the box instructions except omit the water and substitute Kahlua.  Bake as directed.  Let cool completely.

Once the cake has cooled, prepare the glaze by combining all the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl.  Mix together thoroughly and then pour over the cake.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Peanut Butter Mousse Brownies

This one.  Yes.  This one.  This is the one that whispers to you late at night while everyone else is sleeping.  Did you hear that?  That soft, dark velvety voice . . ."Pssssst.  I'm in the fridge waiting.....  no one will mind if you have just one little nibble."  And then BAM!  A whole piece is gone.  True Story.

Who doesn't love another great brownie recipe?  Peanut butter and chocolate unite in this decadent treat!  Don't be shy . . .it is super simps and very impressive.  Don't let the voices get to you.

Peanut Butter Mousse Brownies

1 Box Brownie Mix + Ingredients to Make It
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1 pkg Vanilla Pudding
1 and 1/4 Cup Milk
4 oz Cool Whip

Prepare brownies as directed on the box.  I made mine in an 8x8 pan, which resulted in a thick and decadent brownie.  Let Cool.

While brownies are cooling, prepare the mousse!  In a mixing bowl, add the pudding powder and the milk. I used the whip attachment on my mixer and whipped it on medium for 1 minute.  Add the peanut butter to the bowl and continue to whip for 3-4 minutes, until the peanut butter is fully incorporated.   Now, fold in the Cool Whip (by hand with a spatula or spoon) until just combined.  Gently spread the mixture over the cooled brownies.  To store, cover them and keep them in the fridge.