Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Quick Bruschetta

1 15oz can of diced petite tomatoes, drained
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
6-8 fresh basil leaves, rolled together and sliced (chiffonade)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve with either a toasted baguette or as I did with toasted focaccia with parmesan cheese.

Marinated Mozzarella

1 8oz conatiner of mozzarella fresca, fresh mozzarella balls
3 Tbsp. extra light olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2  tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Combine all ingredients and chill for one hour before serving. Serve along with your favorite olives and peppers.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Grilled Corn with Cilantro Lime Butter

Use enough ears of corn to feed your family. (This butter recipe feeds a family of 4-5 twice. Leftovers can also be used to top off grilled steak or tequila lime chicken.)
1 cup of softened butter
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. of fresh lime juice
a pinch of cayenne pepper

In a mixing bowl, cream butter. Mix in cilantro, lime juice, and cayenne pepper. Place butter on to a sheet of non stick wrap and roll it into a log shape. Chill for one hour and top off grilled corn with sliced rounds of the butter. While butter is chilling prepare the corn.

Carefully peel back husks from corn to within 1 in. of bottom and remove silk. Soak in cold water for 20 minutes then drain. Grill corn, covered, over medium heat for 20-25 minutes or until tender, turning often.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Iowa Pork Patty

Here's one of my entries to the Sutter Home Build A Better Burger Contest. This is the original recipe but I may have to tweak it just a touch. The breakfast sausage was strong but did give it a unique flavor. I may reduce the amount of it or omit it completely since the seasoning almost duplicates it. I'd love your feedback on this if you should decide to make it. Word to the wise, use thinner sourdough :) Even with my big mouth I had to use a fork and knife!

For the burger:
3/4 lb. ground pork
1/4 lb. ground breakfast sausage
1 egg
1 tsp. dried rubbed sage
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 celery stalk finely minced
1/4 cup homemade bread crumbs*
* 1 cup of cubed seasoned stuffing mashed into fine crumbs. I used a rolling pin to mash them in a Ziplock bag.

Grill patties over low heat 12 min. each side. Top with Brie cheese and cover for 2 additional min.

For the cheese:
1  8oz. brie wheel quartered and rind removed

For the bread:
8 slices of buttered and grilled sourdough.

The topping:
2 green apples, cored, peeled and sliced thin
1 white onion, sliced thin
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup Sutter Home Sauvignon Blanc
a pinch of salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large skillet and cook over med. heat 30-40 min.

For the spread:
1 cup of whole berry cranberry sauce
2 tsp. dijon mustard
pinch of salt and pepper

I served the burger topped with apple/onion mixture and placed them onto the sourdough with the cranberry spread.

Creamy Potato and Egg Salad

5 large red potatoes
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced in an egg slicer
2 cups of light mayo
1-2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 celery stalk, chopped thin
2 tsp. fresh chives, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

I slice my potatoes before boiling them and cook for roughly 15 min. or until fork tender. Drain and rinse in cold water. In a small bowl combine mayo, dijon, vinegar, celery, chives, shallot, salt and pepper. Whisk until well blended. In a large mixing bowl combine potatoes, eggs and dressing. Lightly toss to not mash the potatoes. Chill for one hour and serve.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Absolut Relief Cocktail

A refreshing way to kick off the weekend!

2 parts Absolut Mandarin Vodka
1 part fresh blood orange juice
1 part cranberry juice
1 part raspberry liqueur

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a blood orange slice.

Recipe courtesy of Absolut Vodka http://www.absolut.com/us

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Texas Caviar

I have to say I never heard of this dip until I moved here to Iowa. A neighbor introduced it to me this past Christmas which we all enjoyed. It's a nice alternative to your everyday salsa. You could also play around with the ingredients to suite your taste. I think for my next batch I will add corn since the fresh sweet corn will be ready soon! Serve with your favorite tortilla chips and enjoy!

1/2 red onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 (8 ounce) bottle zesty Italian dressing
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients with dressing and chill for one hour before serving.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spicy Garden Tortellini

1 small pkg. of spinach and cheese tortellini
1 green zucchini
1 yellow zucchini
1 sweet onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can of Rotel, hot with habanero peppers
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. sea salt
black pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan cook pasta according to pkg. directions. While pasta is boiling, saute olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a deep skillet over med. high heat for 2 min. Then add zucchini, onion, and Rotel. Cook until pasta is ready and add drained pasta to the skillet. Cover and cook on low for 15-20 min. This can be served as a main dish or as a side.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pina Colada Cupcakes

So with Mother's Day this coming Sunday, I will be taking the day off. The day off from cleaning, errands, and yes..even cooking! I wanted to find a treat that I ( all of us ) would love for dessert. I knew I wanted to incorporate pineapple somehow and hit the web. Then pineapple lead me to pina coladas, coincidentally...I think not :) and I ended up at this recipe from  bettycrocker.com. It's easy enough for my husband and fun for the kids too! What mom wouldn't love to see her husband and kids in the kitchen working on a special treat for her?! So to all you mom's out there, Happy Mother's Day and take a much deserved break! It doesn't matter if your a mom to one or several, furry children (love my pets) or like a mom to someone you care about. I wish you all the joy in the world.. for it's YOU who brings it to so many!

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup water

1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained

3 eggs

1 teaspoon coconut extract

2 teaspoons rum extract, 1 for batter and 1 for frosting

1 container (12 oz) Betty Crocker® Whipped vanilla frosting

3/4 cup shredded coconut

1. Heat oven to 375°F (350°F for dark or nonstick pan). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. In large bowl, beat cake mix, oil, water, 1 teaspoon rum extract, the pineapple and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

2. Bake 14 to 19 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

3. Stir coconut extract and 1 teaspoon rum extract into frosting. Spread frosting on cupcakes. Dip tops of frosted cupcakes in coconut. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Make 30 cupcakes.

* recipe courtesy of  Betty Crocker

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Orange Roughy with Fruit Salsa

1 orange roughy fillet
1 orange, sliced in rounds
1 lemon, sliced in rounds
cooking spray
salt & pepper to taste

Arrange alternating slices of oranges and lemons on heavy duty foil sprayed with cooking spray. Place the seasoned (salt & pepper) fish on top and layer the remaining oranges and lemons.

Next, fold foil around the fish to make a pouch and grill on low heat for 25-30 minutes.

I topped the fish with my fruit salsa, cucumber salad, both recipes can be found on here. Then added rice pilaf to the plate as well.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Louisiana Cattiatore

Here's a new twist to an Italian favorite. We enjoyed the sauce so much that next time I might blend it and turn into soup! (Something you may want to try with the remaining sauce.) I froze what I had left and now I'll have a quick delicious meal in no time!

5 chicken thighs, or as many you need to feed your family. The sauce makes enough to coat 10-12.
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 handful of fresh thyme
2-3 dried bay leaves
1 cup of beef broth, you can use chicken but this is what I had on hand and it works well with dark meat.
1/2 cup dry white wine, I used Pinot Grigio
8 or so dashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce
6 or so dashes of worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. butter
2Tbsp. tomato paste
1-2 Tbsp. of flour, just to thicken the sauce
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil, to coat skillet

Remove skin from chicken thighs and season well with salt and pepper. Add about 2 Tbsp. or so of oil to coat a deep skillet. Brown both sides of chicken on med. high heat but don't cook through. Remove chicken and rest on paper towels. In the same skillet add butter to the oil and drippings. Add peppers, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, hot sauce, worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Stir for 1-2 min. Add wine and stock and then sprinkle with flour. Cook over med. heat for 5 min. Then add the chicken thighs back to the skillet, cover and cook on low for an additional 20-25 min. Serve over your favorite rice.