Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Red Beans & Rice.....Slow Cooked in the Crockpot

No fuss cooked red beans and rice, just plop those babies in the crockpot and forget about them for 6 hours, total cook time is 8 hours. No soaking these little stinkers either. How cool is that! I love to cook in the crockpot when there is a chill in the air. Easy, inexpensive and tasty gets me every time. Get your bean fix here!




*1 16oz bag dry small red beans
*6 cups water
*1 bay leaf
*1 tsp. salt
*1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
*1 tsp. onion powder
*3 links Andouille sausage about 6 ' long, cut into slices
      ( I used AMYLU Andoullie chicken sausage )
*1 cup dry white or brown rice cooked according to package directions
*Hot Sauce, I used Cholula, original

I used a small 3 quart crockpot and added the first six ingredients, mix together well. Cover and cook on high for 6  hours ( cooking for a total of 8 hours), then add sausage to cook for the last 2 hours. Cook rice just before serving or use some leftover rice, minute rice or frozen rice if you do not want to cook any. Spoon some rice on your plate and top with the bean mixture with some drops of hot sauce to suit your taste. We also ate it without the rice and it was good that way too. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Reuben Grilled the Lighter Way

If you make make a grilled cheese then you can make a Reuben. Ta Da !!! My version is lower in fat and calories, so you can have your Reuben and eat it without the guilt. Make sure you get yourself a good quality rye bread and you will thank yourself with the first crispy bite of the golden brown deliciousness. I just love a good Reuben but don't like the high calories that come with it. So trick your fat cells into singing with delight with this one.
  • Turkey Pastrami, I used Castle Wood brand
  • New York Style Jewish Rye bread
  • Reduced fat Swiss Cheese, I used Jarlsburg 50% less fat
  • Sauerkraut
  • Walden Farms fat free, calorie free Thousand Island dressing
  • Mt Olive Relish, no sugar added
  • Smart Balance margarine, original
I am giving you directions for one sandwich but please make as many as you want. You will need 2 nonstick skillets for this sandwich, preheat skillets over medium heat. In a single layer at a time add 4 - 6 slices of pastrami evenly stacking on top of one another, flipping occasionally to heat evenly.

Meanwhile spread margarine over both slices of rye bread but only coating one side of the bread. Heat up about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of  sauerkraut but drain and squeeze out liquid first. Place in bowl and cover with a paper towel and microwave the kraut until heated through.

Place one rye bread slice in the skillet margarine side down, add 1 or 2 cheese slices, hot pastrami on top of the cheese, then top pastrami with sauerkraut, place last slice of rye on top with  margarine side up. Grill both sides until golden brown only flipping once, cooking it just like a grilled cheese sandwich.

Mix together some of the relish with the Thousand Island dressing and spread on the inside of the bread, cut sandwich in half and enjoy. Adding extra relish to the dressing gives it more pizzazz.
                                                                     



Friday, October 3, 2014

Beef Vegetable Soup

I'll tell you that this recipe is one of my family's favorites. Our son went off to college and went on a shopping spree to buy canned soup. I loved his way of thinking to try to get a good quick meal. Mind you the boy only ever had homemade here and thought it would be just as good. Well I received a call from Eric and he said the soup was just awful. I just chuckled and said oh Eric you're used to homemade soup and that canned stuff is horrible. He was spoiled by my cooking and did not even know it at the time.

Chilly Fall days here in Maryland scream for a nice hearty soup. It will fill you up and warm your chilly bones from the inside out. It a big batch of soup so share some with friend or neighbor or freeze some into individual size portions. Think big and eat great! Enjoy!
  • 2 ½ -3 lbs. sirloin or beef round top round steak                  
  • 18 cups or 4 1/2 quarts of water
  • 1/3 cup beef base *
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 16 oz. bag frozen Petite Peas
  • 1 16 oz. bag frozen Butter Beans or Lima's
  • 1 16 oz. bag frozen Sweet White Corn
  • 1 20 oz. bag frozen cut Green Beans
  • 2 cups diced raw potatoes diced w/ skin on
  • 1 cup  chopped fresh cabbage
  • 1 ½ cup diced fresh carrots
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
Preheat grill to high. Sear meat for 3 minutes on each side or you may brown meat in a large skillet inside if you do not have access to a gas grill. Set meat on platter and set aside.

In a large soup pot add beef base, water, & tomato paste. stir together well with a wire whisk making sure you break up base and tomato paste. Heat over medium heat. Then add the peas, butter beans, corn, green beans, potatoes, cabbage, salt , & pepper. Cut meat into bite size pieces and add to the soup pot.  Cover stirring occasionally until soup comes to a boil. Then lower heat and simmer for  2-3 hours.

*I buy chicken and beef base at the wholesale food clubs and they make the best broth for soups.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Green Pizza

Sometimes something is just so darn simple yet delicious that you are blown away. I'm here to tell you that this pizza will do exactly that. Not only that but it will make your fat cells sing! Quick & easy does not get any better. What's not to love here, between the delicious creamy cheese and the wonderful basil and garlic flavors in the pesto sauce. I just love a thin crust pizza too because in my mind I prefer the toppings with less dough.
  • 2 Pizza crusts, thin & crispy
  • 8 oz. Fontina cheese
  • 1 pkg Knorr Pesto sauce mix, .5oz.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup water
For testing purposes I used Mama Mary's thin & crispy pizza crusts and baked my pizza according to package directions. Call me crazy but I love Knorr Pesto sauce mix. If you don't want to use Knorr you may use a Pesto sauce of your choice and the same goes for the pizza crusts.

Preheat oven according to pizza crust instructions. Meanwhile prepare the Knorr pesto sauce according to package instructions. While sauce is simmering slice cheese with a cheese slicer, cutting cheese on the side until all is cut. Cheese slices should be pie shaped, this will fit well on your pizza later.

After oven is preheated prepare your pizza. You will need about 1/4 cup of pesto per pizza. When you add the cheese make sure it is not too close to the edge and cheese slices need space between, dividing the cheese in half. You will see as cheese cooks that it melts and it will spread out. I baked mine for 8 minutes, one at a time directly on my oven rack.

You will notice that this crust has tiny holes in it and the pesto may leak some. I have a silicone mat in my oven that catches spills but if you don't add foil or pan under the pizza so it will not make a mess of your oven. Also prepare pizza right before you place it into the oven to bake.
 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Grilled Romaine Lettuce

I saw these tiny compact Romaine heads in my local wholesale food club and I knew I needed to grill those babies up. It's like they were calling me...Grill Me...Grill Me. I was pleasantly surprised how tasty they were, the caramelized lettuce has a slightly sweet taste to it.  Feasty Fans be brave and grill up your next salad. Enjoy!

*Romaine lettuce, best using compact tight   lettuce 
*Olive Oil spray
*granulated garlic powder
*sea salt
*freshly ground black pepper

Dressing options of your choice but I recommend crumbled blue cheese and crisply cooked crumbled bacon








1 Prep the romaine heart by rinsing and pulling off any leafy leaves. Cut romaine in half lengthwise and shave off the browned part of the root end, leaving the root end intact so that the lettuce head stays together.

2 Prepare your grill for high, direct heat. Spray both halves with olive oil spray, granulated garlic powder, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
.
3 Grill the romaine hearts until browned and caramelized on all sides, turning after about 5 minutes on each side.
Serve immediately with your favorite salad dressing. I think the perfect choice is blue cheese crumbles with crisply cooked crumbled bacon.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Weenies

I have noticed a lot of bacon talk going around these days. America does have a love affair with bacon and this recipe should help you love it even more. You will notice that I used lower fat hot dogs, bacon and cheese in my recipe. Sorry! I can't help myself, I'm always trying to cut back on fat but not the flavor. To be honest my Stud Muffin gave a big approval on this one.
  • 1 package of Hebrew National 97% fat free franks
  • 8 slices of center cut bacon
  • 8 toothpicks, broke in half
  • 1 pack of Martin's hot dog potato rolls
Toppings optional:
  • pickled jalapeno slices
  • Sargento 1/3 less fat shredded sharp cheese
Wrap each hot dog with a bacon slice securing each end with toothpick halves. Place in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. This is hands on cooking and you will frequently need to turn the weenies with tongs for even browning and crispness of the bacon. Also a splatter screen is helpful too.


Towards the end of the cooking time (about last 5 minutes), I noticed the toothpicks were not letting me cook the bacon evenly so I removed them by holding down the weenies with a spatula and pulling out the toothpicks with the tongs. The bacon will stay in place at this time and has adhered to the weenie. These take about 20 minutes to fully cook, yes 20 minutes. When bacon is crispy and evenly browned they are fully cooked Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess bacon grease and serve immediately.



You get to pick your toppings, but our favorite was cheddar cheese with some jalapeno slices.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pepper Slaw

I just love this vinegar base slaw. There is a party going on with your taste buds when you try this one. The sweetness vs the tart of the vinegar is perfect. Another bonus about this one is that you don't have to worry about it going bad in the heat like a mayonnaise based slaw. My Pulled Pork Bar B Q screams to be served with it too. Also if you are watching your sugar intake it is still delicious when made with Splenda. Why buy slaw when it is so easy and inexpensive to make?
  • 1 medium head of cabbage grated
  • 1 medium sweet onion diced, about 1 ½ cup
  • 1 green pepper diced fine, about 1 cup
  • 6 stalks celery, diced fine
  • 2 cups sugar*
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard powder
Prepare first 4 ingredients and place in a very large bowl. Bring sugar, oil, vinegar, salt, black pepper, celery seed, and mustard powder to a boil, pour over vegetables while hot.
You may also microwave this. Refrigerate over night stirring occasionally. Volume of slaw will shrink down to about half size. Make ahead one day in advance. Chill overnight.

*sugar free option: use Splenda instead of sugar.