Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa). I watched this grow in  popularity over the years until almost everyone has at least heard of it or tasted it. It has highly nutritive grain value and is one of the latest healthy foods crazes out there. It has an odd little beady ball consistency on your tongue and an earthy like flavor. I think you either love it or hate it but I'm here to share my recipe to help you love quinoa. The flavors of this recipe are not only really tasty but it is a healthy one as well. Quinoa love!                         

Quinoa Salad
  • 1 cup raw Quinoa
  • 1 15 oz. can black soy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 12 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/3 cup aged white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic from jar
  • freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • garnish with shredded Parmesan or crumbled fat free Feta
Cook Quinoa according to package directions and cool down. This will make about 4 cups of quinoa.

Add remaining ingredients and chill over night to let the flavors meld. Garnish with Feta or Parmesan just before serving. Enjoy!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Twice Baked Potatoes

  • 3 large baking potatoes
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine
  • ½  cup fat free sour cream
  • ½  tsp. salt
  • ¼  tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½  cup grated low fat cheddar cheese
  • ½  cup finely diced sweet yellow bell pepper
  • ½  cup spring onions sliced thin (green tops too)
Bake potatoes in microwave. Set aside and let cool for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Slice potatoes in half length wise. Scoop inside of potato out with a tablespoon leaving about ½ inch of potato layer on top of potato skin. Place the scooped out potato meat into a large bowl. After all potatoes are scooped out place potato shells in a 10 x 13 inch glass pyrex dish  sprayed with cooking spray.

To potato meat add butter and mash well with a large meat fork or potato masher. Then mix in sour cream, salt, & black pepper, mash & mix together well. Stir in cheese, yellow pepper, & spring onion until well blended. Divide potato mixture evenly into potato shells. Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes.

If you want a more buttery flavor to your twice bakes use a yellow meat potato, but cut baking time to 35 minutes. You may prepare these a few hours ahead and keep them covered and chilled in refrigerator until ready to bake. Makes 6 servings.

These are absolutely delicious. It is still very tasty with fat free sour cream and low fat cheese. I use  margarine that is heart healthy. If you are lactose intolerant I recommend grated cheddar soy cheese and plain yogurt instead of the sour cream and cheddar cheese. Use your imagination you can add bacon, crab meat, shrimp, etc. Refrigerate any leftovers, they microwave well. These are well worth the effort.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls = Love. I don't know what is better, the aroma of these sweet treaties baking or actually eating them. I take that back, eating them is better. The anticipation of their sweet aroma baking will make your mouth water and your tummy rumble, but eating them is heaven. This is a fairly easy recipe since you do not have to make the dough. I think that is the hard part. So whip up these sweet treaties for the special people in your life. Satisfy your sweet tooth.

Cinnamon Rolls
  • 1 lb. loaf frozen white bread dough
  • ¼ cup melted unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ cup raisins, optional
  • ½ cup pecan pieces, optional
  • 1 clean kitchen towel
About 12 hours in advance remove frozen dough from freezer and coat with cooking spray and place inside of a plastic bag overnight in refrigerator.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 170° F. Remove dough from fridge and roll out onto a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin into a 6" × 12" rectangle. Cover dough with melted butter on top of dough (I use a pastry brush), saving  a little butter for sealing the edges and basting the tops later.

Blend together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over top of dough, leaving a slight edge to seal, Then add raisins evenly over top of cinnamon sugar mixture, saving a little cinnamon and sugar for tops of rolls.

Roll up dough starting on the 12" side of dough and brush edges with butter, reserving some for the tops of the buns. Cut bread roll into 12 even slices and place in a greased 8" × 8" pyrex dish. Brush the tops of the rolls at this time with the rest of the butter.

Wet a kitchen towel and wring out excess water until it is damp but not dripping. Fold in half and cover buns. Place into the preheated oven along with a 2 cup measuring cup filled with boiling water. The dough loves a warm moist location to rise faster. Close oven door and turn off oven, after 30 minutes remove water and rolls, rolls should be doubled in size.

Remove rolls from oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile brush the tops of the rolls with the rest of the butter and sprinkle on the remaining sugar and cinnamon, now sprinkle the pecans on top. Cover up again with damp towel while the oven is preheating.

When oven is ready remove towel and bake rolls on center rack for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove form oven and immediately invert from pan onto a plate, then tip over onto another plate so the pecans are on top. Prepare icing below and spread immediately onto warm rolls.

                                                              Vanilla Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Bloody Mary

I love an occasional Bloody Mary. I'll tell you there sure is a wide variety of recipes, but this is my favorite version. I'm picky about my Bloody's and I have tasted them in many different places. The oddest one of all was in an Italian restaurant, as soon as I took one sip I knew something was off. Then I had my Stud Muffin taste it, he said it tasted fine. I took a few more taste testing little sips until I realized that there must be some rum in there. I approached the bartender and guess what, low and behold someone moved the rum to the vodka spot. I can see that happening because I used to tend bar and you never read each bottle, a good speedy bartender knows where every bottle is without looking. Trust me rum in a Bloody Mary is just plain old awful, so go for the vodka or the tequila, but, for this drink, avoid the rum like the Plague.

Bloody Mary
  • Martini shaker
  • mini skewer, the disposable kind
  • 1 large beer glass
  • 3 slices pepperoni
  • 1 grape tomato
  • 1 mozzarella string cheese stick, only using a 1 inch piece cut off
  • 1 lime wedge, room temp
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • ice
  • 2-3 oz. Belvedere Vodka
  • 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco, a few drops
  • dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • dash of celery seed
  • one 5.5 oz. can V-8 juice, regular or spicy hot flavor, chilled
  • 1 disposable straw, the bendable kind
Prepare skewer by alternating pepperoni slices, tomato and cheese, set aside. Slice a lime wedge and cut across the middle so that you can wet the rim of the glass with lime juice. After wetting glass rim you may now add some Old Bay to a bowl or small plate and dip the rim of glass into Old Bay, coating glass rim evenly like you would a Margarita glass with salt, set aside.

In a martini shaker add some ice, vodka, Worchestershire sauce, Tabasco, black pepper, celery seed and the whole can of V-8. Put the lid on and shake a few times to mix well.

Pour mixture into prepared beer glass and place on top a lime wedge and prepared skewer, then add the straw. Enjoy!

If you would like to drink a Bloody Maria just substitute tequila for vodka. Or how about a Bloody Virgin, just eliminate the alcohol.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chicken N Dumplings

Now this recipe is a stick-to-your-ribs comfort food that will warm you up from the inside out. These babies are the lightest, fluffiest, melt-in-your-mouth dumplings that you will ever eat. It's the best cure-all of a cold dreary Winter day. Give it a try and make your fat cells smile.

Chicken N Dumplings
  • 18 cups or 4 ½  qts. water
  • 1/2 cup chicken base
  • 1 Rotisserie chicken, whole
  • 1 ½  cup diced celery hearts
  • 1 ½  cup diced sweet onion
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper     
In a large 8 qt. soup pot add water and base. Mix well with a wire whisk breaking up base. Add chicken and bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes.

While chicken is simmering, dice celery and onion. After chicken has simmered for 15 minutes remove chicken from pot and place on platter and set aside to cool. Strain broth from soup pot through a fine wire mesh. Return broth back to a clean pot. Add diced celery, onion, & black pepper to pot. Bring to a boil and cover, reduce heat to simmer.

Meanwhile remove skin from chicken and discard. Pull chicken meat from bones and cut into bite size portions. Add chicken to soup pot and simmer for 30 minutes. Now prepare dumpling recipe below and add dumplings to soup pot.

  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 2/3 cup milk
Sift together dry ingredients. Add egg, melted butter, and milk to make a moist stiff batter. Drop by teaspoons  into boiling liquid. Cover and simmer for 18 minutes. Do not open lid or stir while dumplings are cooking.

This is a very old recipe for dumplings and they are called feather dumplings. They are the lightest and fluffiest dumpling that I have ever eaten and they will melt in your mouth.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Asian Steamed Dumplings

Steamed dumplings oh how I love thee. I used to make these many years ago and decided to dust off my old recipe to share. You know how you just get a craving for something.

Many moons ago I would go over to visit my friend Becki when her son Nathan was just a little guy. Without fail he would ask his Mom if Debra was bringing the dumplings. So I mastered this recipe many times over for the little guy. To this day I can not make or eat a dumpling without thinking of that little guy Nathan that stole my heart so many years ago (he's a young man now). My they grow up so fast. Enjoy!

Asian Steamed Dumplings
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef or ground turkey (93% lean)
  • 1 tsp. garlic (chopped in jar)
  • 1 tsp. freshly peeled and grated ginger root
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 green onion sliced thin (green top too)
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Teriyaki Sauce (Kikoman) and extra for dipping
  • 1 ten count pack Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits 7.5 oz. can

Mix above ingredients together well, except for biscuits and flour, set aside. Meanwhile roll out one pack of the biscuits on a lightly floured surface into 4 inch rounds.

Add 1 heaping Tbsp. of meat mixture to center of biscuit round. Moisten 1/2 of biscuit edge with water and fold in half then press down and seal edges with a fork. Now you will have a half circle. Refrigerate up to 4 hours in advance or you may steam immediately.

Place dumplings in a steamer basket sprayed with cooking spray above boiling water, cover and steam them for 20 minutes. Do not open lid. I like to use a stackable steamer, be careful not to let the dumplings touch or they will stick together.

After they are done remove immediately to a serving plate and use more Teriyaki sauce for dipping. Enjoy!

Fresh ginger is easier to grate if you keep it frozen. This makes 10 dumplings.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Norma's Brownies

When I was a little girl my Mom made these brownies for our family and it was my Mom's friend Norma that gave her this scrumptious recipe, hence the recipe's name. So this recipe came all the way from Oklahoma City, just a mere 5 decades ago. Oh how times flies! I cringed when my Mom first gave me this recipe because it called for Crisco in it. I thought this would be much better with butter, but trust me, butter does not work. So with an open mind try these babies. I'll tell you it spoiled me and I was never able to enjoy a brownie mix baked from the box. These brownies are moist and chocolatey in the center but with a light thin crisp of a top. Spoil yourself.

Norma's Brownies
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 10 Tbsp. powdered Hershey's cocoa
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup Crisco
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup nuts (optional) pecans, walnuts or macadamia nuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

With an electric mixer cream together Crisco, sugar and eggs. In a large bowl whisk together flour, salt and cocoa until mixed well. Then add to Crisco mixture along with the vanilla extract, mixing until well blended.

Spray a 13" x 9" x 2" Pyrex dish with cooking spray, evenly spread batter into dish (the batter will be thick) and bake for 30 minutes or until pick into center come out clean.

Let cool for one hour then you can cut into squares and store in an air tight container.

Do not use margarine or butter.