Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hog In The New Year!

So traditon has it in our family to have some type of pork on New Year's Day. Something that started back with my husband's grandma. Grandma Rose said you had to hog in the new year and hopefully it will be properous for you. Sometimes I must admit we took the easy way out and just had some bacon for breakfast. This year I would like to share a new recipe I just tried out and happen to love. All you slow cooker fans will love this one!

1 center cut pork roast, trim excess fat
1 can of whole berry cranberry sauce
1 can of mandarin oranges, soup can size include the juice from the can
2 cups of orange juice
1 tsp. each of salt, garlic powder and onion powder
black pepper to taste

Place roast in slow cooker and add all ingrediants. Make sure some of the oranges and cranberry sauce gets on the top of the pork. Cook on high for 1 hour and then turn to low. Continue to heat on low for at least 3 hours. You can slice the roast or it can also be shredded for a great pork sandwich.

I hope 2010 brings you much happiness, health and good company. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"These are a few of my favorite things!"

Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens....Maybe for Julie Andrews but for me my tune is more like,
Spatulas, whisks and my pizzelle maker,
More of a cook than I am a baker,
Snitzel with noodle not really my thing,
But angle hair with clam sauce could make me sing.

Ok, you get the idea and I'll spare you from my attempt at being clever. I do have a couple of things that really are my favorite in the kitchen and thought I'd share them with you. Lately my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, which is my favorite color orange has been working over time. While most of us use a mixer for baking, mine does double duty. I've made meatballs for the masses and meatloaf for crowds. It saves time versus hand or spoon mixing and gets the job done lickety split! It's great for mashed potatoes, creamed turnip and well, I could go on and on.
Another tool I can't live without is my heat resistant spatula. It comes in handy of course for bowl scraping but I love that it doesn't damage my cookware. Yes, I am in love with my cookware set too. I started out with a hodge podge of eclectic pieces but bought my first "real" set a few years back. It's the Bialetti Italian Ultimate 13 pc. set. Can't beat the results for the money.
I also love my flexible cutting boards. I have 3 color coded ones for meat, fish and veggies. Just chop, fold the sides and pour into your dish! They take up no room in the dishwasher or for storage. One of these days if I should be so lucky, I will have my butcher block counter. In the meantime though, these inexpensive cutting boards are great.
While these are just a few of my favorite things, there are many more I could mention. Do you have a handy kitchen item you can't live without? I'd love to hear about it or any other gadgets that help you prepare you're favorite dish.
So I'll end with a recipe that is put together in no time with my Kitchen Aid mixer. Hope you like it!

Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

4-5 large russet potatoes(Yukon Gold are great too)

1 stick of butter

¾ cup of sour cream

Approx. ¾ cup of milk

1 tube of wasabi paste, about 1.5 ounces

Garlic salt, about 1-2 tsp.

Black pepper to taste

Peel and boil potatoes until fork tender. Drain and add back to the pot or place into mixing bowl. Mix in butter, milk, wasabi, salt and pepper. If they still seem dry add milk accordingly. I mix everything together in my stand mixer but a hand mixer or potato masher gets the job done too! Goes great with meatloaf or steak

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Shhhhh…Secret Salsa

I don't know why it took me so long to share one of my favorite recipes. Finally my friends convinced me to give it up and so I did. Many have made it and have the recipe but if you lost it or need it again here you go:

3 cans of crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup or so of chopped garlic, from jar/container =saves time, use less if using fresh, about 1 -2 Tbsp.

1 large white onion

2 large jalapenos

4 Serrano peppers

2 bunches of cilantro

Juice from 1-2 limes

1 packet of Splenda

Lots of salt, maybe 2 tablespoons or so

2tsp. pepper

Pour canned tomatoes into a large bowl. Mix in garlic. In a food processor combine onion, cilantro and jalapenos. Mix until very fine. Add to tomato mixture. Squeeze lime juice into the bowl and add sugar packet. Add salt and black pepper. Pretty easy huh?

Feast of the Seven Fishes

Festa dei sette pesci or Feast of the Seven Dishes is an Italian Amercian tradtion celebrating Christmas Eve with a variety of fish dishes. I thought this recipe would be a nice evening appetizer which could be served in a chilled martini glass. It's flavorful, fun and plays into the colors of Christmas with the green honey dew and red watermelon.

Shrimp and Melon Salad

1 pound shrimp, cooked-peeled and deveined : directions for cooking follow

1 lemon, juiced

3 pounds seedless watermelon, rind removed, cut into chunks

1 honeydew, rind removed, cut into chunks

1/2 red onion, sliced thin

1 jalapeno, chopped


Honey-Lime Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon honey

4 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Boil water in a medium saucepan. Add a dash of salt and lemon juice. When water boils, add shrimp, until they turn an opaque pink color. Remove shrimp from pan and shock in cold water to stop the cooking.

In a large bowl, combine watermelon, honeydew, onion and jalapeno.

In a separate bowl mix together: lime juice, honey, olive oil and dash of salt and pepper

Drizzle over melon salad and toss to combine.

Serve in your favorite glassware.

Spice Up Your Side Dishes!

This will compliment your holiday ham or any meat/fish you will be serving. It's fresh, light and has a nice little kick to it.

Orzo salad

1 lb orzo

1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

4 roma tomatoes chopped

1 shallot sliced thin

2 jalapenos finely chopped

1 can sliced black olives

Juice from 2 lemons

Extra Light olive oil, to coat

1 tsp. or to taste of garlic salt

Black pepper, to taste

Cook orzo according to directions. Drain and rinse in cold water. Add tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, olives and shallots. I chop everything in a food processor. A blender could also be used or just chop by hand. Coat well with oil and add lemon juice. Use as much garlic salt and pepper as you like. Chill for an hour and serve.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Festive Dessert

Frozen Strawberry Margarita Squares

Prep time 10 min freeze time 8 hours

2 cups frozen unsweetened whole strawberries, halved

1/4 cup lime juice

2 Tbsp tequila

2 Tbsp Triple Sec or other orange flavored liqueur

6 cups vanilla ice cream, use light or non fat, softened

Vegetable cooking spray

20 unsalted pretzel sticks crushed, might want to try salted too

Combine 1st 4 ingredients and fold into ice cream. Coat 8" baking dish w/ cooking spray and spread in mixture. Sprinkle w/ pretzels. Cover and freeze until firm. Cut into squares. Serves 9.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Spinach Con Queso

Here is an early recipe debut. I wanted to begin in the new year but thought this could be a great appetizer for one of your holiday parties. It's quick, simple and so delicious! I dedicate this to all my friends at CWE who enjoyed this :)

1 container, 16 oz. of premade spinch dip, any brand
1 can of Frito Lay's Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese
1 jar of Herdez Medium Salsa

Mix all ingrediants in a microwave safe container for 5 minutes or until heated through. I often find my mini crock pot comes in handy for this warm appetizer too. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips. This also makes a great baked potato topping.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Family, Friends, & Food.

Ah, the 3 things I love most. In fact it's the very thing that has lead me here today starting this blog. One way or another we all have a knack. Whether it be a skill, trade or even hobby. I just happen to love cooking, well and of course eating too :) I enjoy it so much I often share by hosting get togethers, catering parties or even cooking for someone in need. This is just one way for me to further my desire to share good food for all to enjoy. I finally became confident in my decison to create a recipe blog with the encouragement of several friends, and yes, they have all eaten my food :) In fact I've even have made a few "beginner" cook books since I was asked to share some of my secrets. Somehow my friends even manage to get my secret salsa recipe out me! What good is it though if it can't be shared right? So that leads me to where we are now. Sharing my recipes, short cuts and any other advice to make to the daunting question, "What's For Dinner?", not so scary anymore. I love to experiment and would love to hear any ideas or suggestions that you may have as well. While I'm only in the inital stage with my new "baby" I can't wait to share what I can with you. To me there is no greater satisfaction that hearing the delighted reviews from family & friends of what a wonderful meal it was! Since the holiday season is in full swing, my recipe debut will be the 1st week in January. I hope you enjoy making these meals for your loved ones as much as I have. So until then, Season's Greetings and  Happy Eating!