Saturday, July 31, 2010

Burrito Pie

I've had this on my list of things to try because it's in the top 20 casseroles on allrecipes.com. I made a couple of changes after reading the reviews and we loved it. If you don't like spicy, use a plain can of diced tomatoes instead of the one with the green chilies.

Burrito Pie
adapted from allrecipes.com
1 pound ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 (2.25 oz) can black olives, sliced
1 (10.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1/2 cup taco sauce (I used Taco Bell brand)
1 (16 oz) can refried beans
6 (8 in) flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or colby jack

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the ground beef for 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic, and saute for 5 more minutes. Drain any excess fat, if desired. Mix in the olives, tomatoes, taco sauce, and refried beans. Stir mixture thoroughly, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Spread a thin layer of the meat mixture in the bottom of a 2-3 quart round casserole dish. Cover with 2 tortillas followed by 1/3 of meat mixture, then 1/2 cup of cheese. Repeat tortilla, meat, cheese pattern until all the tortillas are used, topping off with a layer of meat mixture and cheese.
4. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is slightly brown and bubbly.
Serves 4-6

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pasta Chicken Salad

This was one of my favorite things to eat growing up. It's a great summer meal!

Pasta Chicken Salad
1 cup shell macaroni, uncooked
2 cups chicken, cooked and diced
1 cup green grapes
1 cup red apples, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup canned pineapple chunks
3/4-1 cup mayo
1 tsp poultry seasoning
Sliced almonds, optional

Cook macaroni shells according to package directions and drain. Run cold water over to cool; drain. In large bowl combine pasta, chicken, grapes, apples, celery, and pineapple. In a small bowl stir together mayo and poultry seasoning. Add mayo mixture to ingredients in large bowl and stir until everything is evenly coated. Refrigerate until chilled.
Serve on a crisp lettuce leaf or melon ring topped with sliced almonds. Serves 8


I made this one with green apples and red grapes.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chocolate Salted-Caramel Mini Cupcakes

I found this on a blog and wanted to try it. I really like the sweet and salty mix, but had never had it in a cupcake. It was a little bit of work, but it was worth it! I have a couple of suggestions when making them. The first is go easy on the salt garnish or else they will end up too salty. Second, half the frosting...I ended up with tons leftover. Also, I didn't love the consistency, so I added a little more powdered sugar. I'm sure there are lots of shortcuts you could make with this recipe to cut down the prep time like a box mix and melted caramel candies.
Chocolate Salted-Caramel Mini Cupcakes
Martha Stewart via bakeorbreak.com
Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsps baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 TBSPs vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup warm water
sea salt, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°. Line mini muffin pans with paper liners.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and water. Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix until smooth.

Fill muffin pans about 2/3 full. Bake about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes to wire racks to let cool completely.

Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature or frozen in an airtight container for up to a month.

Salted Caramel Filling
2  1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1 TBSP light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 tsp sea salt

Heat sugar, water, and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over high heat. Stir occasionally until syrup is clear. Attach a candy thermometer to side of pan. Stop stirring, and cook until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush as needed.

Boil, gently swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is caramelized and temperature just reaches 360°.

Remove from heat. Slowly pour in cream and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in sea salt. Use immediately. If caramel begins to harden, reheat gently until pourable.

Use a paring knife, cut a cone-shaped piece, about 1/2-inch deep, from the center of each cupcake. Spoon 1-2 teaspoons of warm filling into each cupcake. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over filling.
  
Dark Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
2 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 pounds semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Combine cocoa and boiling water. Stir until cocoa has dissolved.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add melted and cooled chocolate. Beat until combined. Beat in cocoa mixture.

Frosting can be refrigerated up to 5 days or frozen up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature and beat on low speed until smooth before using.

Fit a pastry bag with a medium open-star tip (Wilton #18). Fill pastry bag with frosting. Pipe onto cupcakes, swirling tip and releasing as you pull up to form a peak. Garnish with a pinch of sea salt.

Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are filled and frosted. Store at room temperature in an air-tight container until ready to serve.

Makes about 56 mini cupcakes.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

This is a great summer salad! I've been making this salad for awhile, but only recently discovered that you can buy glazed pecans in the baking aisle. That makes this recipe a lot easier. I usually make my own glazed pecans by following this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Sugar-Coated-Pecans/Detail.aspx. I love the dressing too!

Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Salad
Fresh spinach (or you can substitute any other lettuce)
Strawberries, sliced
Feta Cheese, crumbled
Glazed Pecans

Dressing
adapted from Lion House
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp poppy seeds
4 TBSPs sugar
1 TBSP onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard

To prepare dressing, pour vinegar and oil in blender. Add poppy seeds, sugar, onion, salt, and dry mustard. Whirl for a few seconds to blend. Refrigerate. Flavor improves if made several hours in advance.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

New Oven!!

I got a new oven yesterday! My previous one was about 12 years old. I'm so excited! I can't wait to use it!

OLD

NEW

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Party Potatoes

I love to make these light and fluffy mashed potatoes when having people over, or even on Thanksgiving, because you can make them a day ahead and then bake them. Oh, and they taste good too. :)

Party Potatoes
3lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
8 TBSP unsalted butter softened, cut into 8 pieces
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Pepper to taste

1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, partially cover and cook until very tender 12-15 minutes. Drain and return to the pan.
2. Break up the potatoes with a hand-held mixer on low speed. Gradually drop in 6 TBSP of the butter and beat until it is absorbed. Refrigerate remaining 2 TBSP butter. Gradually add in cream cheese and sour cream, beating well after each addition. Add salt and gradually beat in the milk and eggs until fluffy and light. Season with pepper.
3. Spoon potatoes into a greased 3 quart or 9x13in. baking dish. Refrigerate tightly covered with plastic wrap for several hours of overnight.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut remaining 2 TBSP of butter into small pieces and scatter them over the top. Bake until potatoes are heated through and top is lightly golden, 45 min.-1 hour. Serve hot.
Makes 8-10 servings.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ritz Chicken

I love this recipe because it's not a whole lot of work, and it's just as good as chicken fried chicken. Plus you only need 3 ingredients...can't beat that!

Ritz Chicken
Boneless skinless chicken breasts
Butter, melted
Ritz crackers, crushed

1. Pound chicken with meat mallet/tenderizer until even in thickness.
2. Dip chicken in melted butter, coating both sides. Then dip in crushed crackers patting to coat both sides.
3. Spray baking dish with non stick cooking spray. Place chicken in baking dish; do not overlap. Cover with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook 10 more minutes.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Easy Brownie Shortcake

I made this for our 4th of July dessert. It turned out great! I did make a change to the original recipe. I found that there wasn't enough topping, and that it wasn't sweet enough with all the sour cream. So, I doubled the cool whip to 2 cups and the powdered sugar to 2 TBSP. Also, you can use whatever fruit you want on the top. The picture on kraftfoods.com shows strawberries and kiwi, which would be really good too.

Easy Brownie Shortcake
adapted from kraftfoods.com
1 pkg (19.5 oz.) brownie mix
1 container (16 oz.) sour cream, divided
2 cups thawed cool whip
2 TBSP powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups cut-up mixed strawberries and blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare brownie batter as directed on package; stir in 1/2 cup sour cream. Spoon into greased and floured 9-inch round cake pan.
2. Bake 45 min.; cool 10 min. Remove from pan to wire rack; cool completely.
3. Mix remaining sour cream, whipped topping, sugar and vanilla. Cut brownie horizontally in half. Place bottom half on plate; spread with half of the sour cream mixture. Cover with top of brownie, remaining sour cream mixture and fruit. Store in refrigerator.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes

I love these! I had them once at the Cheesecake Factory and afterward found a copycat recipe online. The original recipe has you make tomato salsa (or pico de gallo) and salsa verde from scratch, but it's so much easier to just buy them at the store.
Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes
adapted from topsecretrecipes.com
Southwestern Sauce
1/2 cup mayo
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp water
3/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp onion powder
dash salt
dash garlic powder

Tamale Cakes
1 1/2 cups corn, sweet frozen
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 TBSP sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup corn flour
2 TBSP all-purpose flour

Pico de gallo (found in the produce section)
1 small can or jar of salsa verde

Garnish
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 avocado, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, fresh chopped


1. Prepare southwestern sauce by combining all ingredients is a small bowl. Cover and chill.
2. For the tamale cakes coarsely puree 1 cup of the frozen corn in a food processor. Combine pureed corn with softened butter, sugar and salt. Blend well with electric mixer until smooth. Add corn flour and flour and blend well. Mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of frozen corn by hand.
3. Measure 1/2 cup portions and form into 3-inch patties. Arrange patties on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cakes are browned on the bottom. Carefully flip cakes with a spatula and bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until other side is browned.
4. While the cakes are baking, spoon some salsa verde onto a platter. Coat the plate with about 1/4 in of the salsa. When cakes are done, arrange them on the salsa verde. Spoon a dollop of sour cream onto each cake. Drizzle the southwestern sauce over the cakes. Spoon some pico de gallo over the cakes, followed by the chopped avocado. Finish off the plate by sprinkling the coarsely chopped cilantro leaves over the top.
Makes 4 cakes.