Sunday, August 25, 2013

Almond Poppyseed Bread

I literally threw all the ingredients into my stand mixer and then hit the "on" button.
I know I probably should have mixed the liquids and then added the dry ingredients in batches.
However, I was doing a science experiment just for you.
Actually it was for me, because I was tired, and I wanted to go to bed, and I wanted to get that bread DONE that evening.
And... it was a success.  I love forgiving recipes.
You have my permission to whomp out an easy batch of this bread and impress  your buddies at work with a treat the next day.
 (I forgot to picture the eggs and vanilla)

Makes 2 large loaves

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
2-3 Tbsp poppy seeds (I used 2, but I wish I had used 3)
2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp butter, melted 

1/2 cup Sliced almond, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Mix all of the ingredients together. 
Pour into greased and floured baking pans. 
Makes 2 large loaves. Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick.  It should come out with only a couple moist crumbs on it.

To make the glaze, pour all ingredients into a small saucepan and let cook on stove on medium heat until sugar dissolves. Pour glaze over warm bread while they are still in the pans. Top with toasted almonds and let cool completely.

Here's a platter to take to a party, work or maybe a bake sale.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Salty Chihuahua

Salty Chihuahua.... isn't that funny?
Do you get it?
Okay, here's some help, a Salty Dog is a vodka and grapefruit cocktail.  
Pretty basic, good enough, but basic.
A Salty Chihuahua?
Tequila and Pink Grapefruit juice... add some Triple Sec or other citrus liqueur, a little grenadine for color.
Cute, funny and delicious.
So refreshing, you might need a little sweater because you might start shivering with delight.

Serves 1

Coarse salt, (optional)

1 jigger tequila
1/2 jiggers orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau
3/4 cup pink grapefruit juice
1 grapefruit slice, for garnish

Wet the rims of a glass and coat with coarse salt (if desired); fill the glass with ice. 
Pour in 1 ounce tequila and 1/2 ounce liqueur. Top with 3/4 cup grapefruit juice and stir. Add a tsp or so of grenadine. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit.

Serve with some snacks, like chips, salsa and easy Cumin Roasted Artichoke Dip.

Artichoke and Roasted Cumin Dip

Finally, a dip that you may always have the ingredients on hand to whip up in a jiffy.
Not the prettiest dip...
My picture isn't that good either.
A thousand apologies, and all that. 
However, it was delicious.  
I may even like this better than hummus.
Plus, I made it in about the time it took my husband to fill a bowl with chips, and get the salsa from the fridge to pour in a bowl. Nice... everyone likes a warm, flavorful dip, which happens to be pretty low calorie on a crunchy chip with a Salty Chihuahua on the deck as the sun starts to set, don't they?

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 can drained canned artichoke hearts (not marinated)
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp cumin, roasted
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
salt and pepper

Saute garlic, cumin, cayenne and olive oil in a medium heat pan for about 4-5 minutes, until the garlic has started to soften.  Drain artichokes, add to a food processor, or blender.  Add in the sauteed mixture with the artichokes. Blend until smooth, serve at once with chips and salsa.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Guacomole Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I bought a new panini maker.  
Not because I really needed one, but heck, why not? The price was right.
It sounds kind of bad that I bought one to make this sandwich, but really, this is what I had on my mind when I did it. I was making this sandwich within 60 minutes of buying it.  That's how I roll.

I was intrigued to take a traditional grilled cheese sandwich and add the typical ingredients that you add to guacamole. Slices of cheese, avocado, tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro and some spices.  Yum!  Crisp cooked bacon also makes a nice addition, if you are in to that kind of thing. 

A couple of things made this sandwich work... 1) use cheese on both sides, it helps to "cement" the whole sandwich together, 2) Salt and pepper your sliced tomatoes and avocados, 3) sprinkle with spices.  I didn't use any butter or oil to grill the sandwich, I like it without, but you can do what ever you want*. 

This sandwich works great in a panini maker, or a traditional frying pan.
Use what you got..

Makes 1 sandwich


2 slices whole wheat bread
4 slices cheddar cheese, or pepper jack, slices
1/2 avocado, sliced
2 big, or 4 small slices of tomato
1 jalapeno, sliced very thin lengthwise
1 bunch of cilantro leaves, torn from their stems
A sprinkle of ground cumin
A sprinkle of granulated garlic
Generous salt and pepper on your tomatoes and avocado slices

Here's some other things you could add... if you wanted:
  • 2 couple thin slices or red onions
  • 2-3 slices of pre-cooked crispy bacon
  • mayo with a little added lime juice and lime zest 

Assemble the sandwich, adding seasoning.  Carefully put the two sides together, and grill over medium low heat for about 2-3 minutes per side.About 5-6 minutes total, until the cheese is all melted. Serve with salsa dipping sauce on the side

*"Do what you want" are my favorite words to hear. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Lazy Girl Crockpot Sesame Chicken

That was easy.
I saw some really sweet recipes online... not like "Sweet"... more like too much honey!
So I had a go at this popular Pinterest recipe myself.  1 1/2 hours in the crock pot, with another 30 minutes to finish the sauce.  
Can't get much more lazy than that. 

I'm not even going to write many instructions...
- slice chicken into strips, or chunks, of roughly equal size
- Add chicken pieces and all the rest of the ingredients (NOT the water and cornstarch yet...)
- Set crockpot on high for 90 minutes, stir every 30 minutes.
- Add the cornstarch/water mixture, stir every 10 minutes
- Serve over rice, garnished with sesame seeds and green onions, if desired.

Serves 4

3 large chicken breasts, cut into pieces (approx 1 1/2 lbs)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup hoisin sauce (Ketchup might work as a substitute
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced or 1-2 tsp ground garlic
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 onion chopped, or 2 Tbsp dried minced onions

After 1 1/2 hours cooking, add: 
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 Tbsp water
- Mix it together to make a "slurry" and stir the whole mixture to combine.
Stir every 10 minutes, for another total of 30 minutes.

Serve over rice, and sprinkle with:
  • Sesame seeds
  • Green Onions, sliced 
 Here's the instructions (in case you missed it above)...
- slice chicken into strips, or chunks, of roughly equal size
- Add chicken pieces and all the rest of the ingredients (NOT the water and cornstarch yet...)
- Set crockpot on high for 90 minutes, stir every 30 minutes.
- Add the cornstarch/water mixture, stir every 10 minutes
- Serve over rice, garnished with sesame seeds and green onions, if desired.

Here's some more Lazy Girl Crockpot ideas:
40 Clove Garlic Chicken
Black Bean Chili
Mamacita's Mexican Chicken and Dumplings
Tuscan Pot Roast
All Veggie (Vegan) Chili
Chicken with Coconut, Lime & Peanut Sauce
Greek Pork and Garbanzo Stew
Hot Links, Red Beans and Rice
Salsa Chicken

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

I had to go to a work demonstration of an espresso maker.... I know, I know, hard work, huh?
Anyway, since I knew we would be sip, sip, sipping lots of coffee, I figured we needed something to go with it.  Seems like biscotti was in order.

I did a couple searches for some recipes, as I was looking for pistachio and dried cherry biscotti.  I didn't find any, but found another from Martha.  Gotta say, her recipes rarely disappoint me, and this one is no exception.  

About those cherries, I mentioned to a couple people that I had wanted to add dried cherries... and everyone slowly shook their head and said no.  Apparently adding fruit and nuts to the cookies made it too close to fruitcake or something.

Thank you Martha

Makes about 60 cookies
6 Tbsp butter, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for baking sheet
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used mini chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat until well combined, scraping down sides of bowl if necessary. Add flour mixture, and stir to form a stiff dough. Stir in pistachios and chocolate chips.

Transfer dough to a buttered baking sheet; form into a slightly flattened log, about 12 by 4 inches (I did two small ones). Bake until slightly firm, about 25 minutes. Cool about 5 minutes. Reduce oven to 300 degrees.

On a cutting board, using a sharp serrated knife, cut biscotti diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices. Arrange biscotti, cut sides down, on baking sheet, and bake until crisp but still slightly soft in the center, about 8 minutes.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

One Pan Pasta with Chicken & Hot Links

It all started with a "one pan pasta" recipe from Martha Stewart.
Hmmm, I'm game. Almost sounds like Hamburger Helper, Martha!
I found something new that I like about you.

OK... I know some of you could go all snobby on me, and all that, for this type of recipe.
But, really who hasn't wanted to just slam dinner on the table occasionally and make all those people stop whining.  
Well, maybe this is your new "go to" recipe. 
I think you could customize it depending on what you have on hand. 
I just happened to have a whole bunch of Hot Links on hand (somebody went to Costco...) and some cooked chicken (thank you again Costco rotisserie chicken).  
So, of course, that is what my recipe includes.

I'm thinking you could have any number of things on hand that would make a good version; ham, shrimp (frozen), pork chops (cut up), chicken (raw, but cut small), shredded beef... or dare I say it, cooked hamburger?
Ummm.... not altogether, OK folks?

Sprinkle something green on top (like green onions, or chives) and call it a balanced dinner.

Serves about 4

1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1-2 Tbsp olive oil 
2 cups chicken stock
1 can tomatoes, diced, with juices
2 hot links, diced
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
8 oz (1/2 package) small pasta, like orecchiette, macaroni or penne
Salt and Pepper, or other favorite spices, like basil, oregano or thyme

Saute the onions and garlic over medium heat in some olive oil in a large saucepan.. If using raw meat, or sausage (like the hotlinks), go ahead and add them too.  Cook until onions are soft (and meat is mostly cooked) about 3-4 minutes.

Add the tomatoes (with juice), the chicken stock, any spices (add salt and pepper later) and the pasta.  Stir until well combined.  Turn up heat and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer, uncovered, until the pasta is cooked.  It will probably take about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of your pasta.  Stir often so it doesn't stick. 

Adjust seasoning by adding salt and pepper.  You will find that the pasta has thickened the sauce and made a complete dinner.  Serve and eat.

Later on, wash up the one pan.  Or better yet, have someone else wash up that pan.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Edamame Succotash

Sufferin' succotash
Now, don't you feel better?
Try it again... with a lisp.
I love that!

But, mention LIMA BEANS and people are not very happy.
Really? I can't remember the last time someone served me a lima bean...?
Mom?  Are you out there?
However, I almost always have frozen edamame in the freezer for a variety of recipes like- Asian Noodle Salad, or Asian Veggie Salad.  SO why not use edamame in the Southern classic Succotash, which is usually corn and lima beans?

This was easy and delicious and frankly, you could even do it with frozen corn instead of fresh corn.  One other thing... I don't use shallots very often, so if you don't have any... use red onions, minced or skip them altogether, using green onions and parsley adds a lot of flavor too.

I'm going to have to rustle up some Lima beans and give them another try, really, I bet they are pretty good.

Serves 4-6

3 ears of fresh corn, cut off the cob, or about 2 cups kernels
2 cups edamame, frozen and shelled
1 garlic, minced
2 shallot, sliced
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1-2 Tbsp fresh parsley
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Saute the shallots (or red onions) and garlic in the butter and olive oil over medium high heat, just until they start to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add the frozen edamame and fresh corn (or frozen) and heat thoroughly, about another 3-4 minutes. Add the parsley and green onions stir for another 1-2 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.  Add more butter, if desired, when serving.

Like Edamame and need some more ideas?

Asian Whole Wheat Noodle Salad with Edamame
Southwestern Edamame Salad 
Marinated Tofu and edamame Salad

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Honeydew, Cucumber, Mint and Feta Salad

Yep, another salad with melon and feta.
I love feta, so I couldn't resist another, even though it wasn't too long ago that I posted Arugula Watermelon & Feta Salad.  

I saw a photo of this in a recent Better Homes and Gardens magazine, but they didn't have the recipe anywhere in the magazine, which is kinda weird. So, I Googled it, and found the recipe on the BHG site, but you can't "view" the recipe without signing in, signing up and giving up your first born, so I gave up.  How hard could it be to wing it on my own? "Wing it" is my middle name.

I learned a new trick, something you need to know!
I love red onions, but someone in my house, thinks they are "too strong".  Which is kinda crazy from a guy who eats habenero peppers, putrid shark and any number of weird things.  Anyway, I digress...
The trick IS, dice the onions and RINSE THEM!  
Wow, how easy is that?  And it really does take the strong bite off of the onions.  
I will never be the same...

Serves 4

1/2 honeydew melon, peeled and cubed
3-4 small Persian cucumbers, diced
1/4 red onion, diced (and rinsed)
1 Tbsp fresh mint, minced
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1/2 tsp lime zest (optional, but recommended)
1/2 lime, juiced
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
2 oz feta, crumbled, or cubed

Add to a bowl,
Chop the melon and cucumbers into bite size cubes.  
Dice the red onion and rinse under cold water for a minute.  Drain. 
Mince the fresh mint and parsley. 
Zest the lime over the bowl, squeeze one half of lime over the melon and cucumbers.
Add the olive oil,salt and pepper and toss the whole mixture.
Top with feta cheese, or toss again with the cheese.
Serve at once, but this is also good the next day too!