Monday, October 1, 2012

Cafe Rio Chicken

2 lbs chicken breasts
1/2 a small bottle of zesty Italian dressing
1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 pkt ranch dressing mix (mixed with 1/2 cup of water)
1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin
Place all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on High 5- 6 hours OR on Low 8 hours. 
Shred with fork and serve in salads, burritos, tacos…etc.
You can also double or triple this to make extras for freezing. Then simply thaw and reheat for a fast and delicious meal.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

I have learned a new method of preserving tomatoes that I absolutely love. Absolutely!

Last spring when I was planning my garden I did some internet searching for recipes and preserving techniques. I was thrilled to find one for oven roasting. It's so easy, no mess, not time consuming, and the results are delicious.
This works best with Roma tomatoes. Taking a leap of faith (because I hadn't tried this yet) I purchased and planted 8 Roma plants in the spring. You can tell which squares have tomatoes because they also have marigolds. (Click on the picture to see better)
The picture on the right shows my lovely tomatoes 3 months later. I have been so pleased with the tomato production this year. Already our yields have been tons better than other years.

Back to the reason I'm writing this post - oven roasted tomatoes. I have made 3 batches so far and am very pleased with how they've turned out.

Did I mentioned they were easy?  Oh, yeah! Just wash those babies, slice them in half, cut out the stem, and place, cut side up, on a oiled cookie sheet. I just brushed on a little olive oil. Stick a few garlic cloves among the tomatoes. I don't think this seasons the tomatoes but the roasted garlic is delicious. Then drizzle a little olive oil over the tops (about 2 tablespoons), sprinkle with salt and pepper, some fresh or dried herbs, according to your preferences. I've read that dried herbs will flavor the tomatoes more but I have fresh in the garden so that's what I used. Since I am going to be using the tomatoes in different recipes I don't want them to be seasoned strongly with herbs - I'll wait to season the dish.

I was making the second batch while Candleman was working at the kitchen table. He commented on the luscious smell of the fresh rosemary (I think it's one of my favorite smells, too) so when I had the pan filled I showed him how pretty it looked. He insisted on taking a picture. That man knows how to win my heart!

After all that work *smirk, smirk* you simply slide that cookie sheet into a 200 degree oven and let the roasting go for 8 - 11 hrs. Your house will smell divine - okay, not divine like when brownies are cooking, but mighty good in a homey, earthy sort of way.

When the tomatoes are roasted to your satisfaction, let them cool at room temperature before putting them in the freezer right on the pan. After an hour or so, put the tomatoes in a freezer bag. The pre-freezing makes it so you can pull out only as many tomatoes as you want to and refreeze the others.

My first meal using the oven roasted tomatoes was one Katie suggested. She had ordered Chicken Alfredo with Sun-Dried Tomatoes at a restaurant and was hoping we could duplicate it. We cooked the chicken, used store-bought Alfredo sauce and served it over noodles, but first we did a number on that bottle of alfredo sauce. We added roasted garlic (big, big help), seasoned it with some fresh basil and oregano, added fresh pepper and after it was warmed we added the roasted tomatoes. The sauce is a little pink after stirring in the tomatoes, but it was delicious! I can't wait to make it again this winter with some of those flavorful tomatoes from the freezer.

Another recipe I'm dying to try when it's colder - no rush, mind! - is Roasted Tomato Soup. If it's as good as it sounds I'll share that recipe.

In the meantime, if you have an abundance of tomatoes (I've read that you can use any variety) or can get your hands on some, you might want to try Oven Roasted Tomatoes. I wish I lived where there was a farmer's market cause I'd be putting up lots more. Here's to another month or two of good harvest.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tuxedo Brownies

This is a Pampered Chef recipe that I have made every summer for several years; sometimes 2 or 3 times.  It's the most delicious dessert ever.

    Tuxedo Brownies
    1 pkg (21-oz) brownie mix  (I like Betty Crocker Fudge)
    1/2 cup seedless (or not) raspberry jam
    2 cups fresh raspberries, or frozen whole raspberries without syrup, thawed & drained
    3 squares (1-oz each) white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
    2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese
    1/2 cup powdered sugar
    1/4 cup milk
    1 (8-oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
    Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray bottom of 9x13" pan with vegetable oil spray.  Prepare & bake brownie mix according to package directions.  Cool completely. 
    Spread jam onto brownie.  Arrange the raspberries evenly over jam. 
    Microwave white chocolate on HIGH for 1 minute; stir.  Microwave  an additional 30 seconds or until chocolate is completely melted when stirred; cool slightly. 
    Meanwhile, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar; mix well.  Gradually whisk in melted chocolate and milk.  Fold in whipped topping; spread carefully over raspberries.
    Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.    Store, covered, in the refrigerator.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Taco Soup

1 1/2 lb ground beef, browned
& drained
1 or 2 (14-oz) cans kidney beans w/juice
1 onion, chopped, cook with meat1 - 2 Cups water
Add:1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes w/juicesalt & pepper to taste
1 (17-oz) can whole corn w/juice
1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce

Simmer 15 minutes. Put tortilla chips in bowl, add soup, and top with sour cream, guacamole, grated cheese. Serve with extra chips.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Apples

32 ounces white button or crimini mushrooms1 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
4 Tbsp Canola oil1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp kosher salt32 ounces chicken broth
4 cups cornbread, cut in 1" cubes1 tsp ground thyme
4 cups french bread, cut into 1" cubes1/2 tsp turmeric
4 cups artisan/crusty bread, cut into 1" cubes2 tsp rosemary, minced
1/2 lbs Italian sausage1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups diced onionblack pepper
5 whole granny smith apples, large dice
5 Tbsp brown sugar

1. Allow diced bread to sit out on cookie sheets for several hours or overnight, until dried out. (I used about 15 cups of various dried, diced bread and seasoned dressing I had on hand.)
2.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
3.  Wash mushrooms thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.  Toss in a bowl with canola oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt.  Mushrooms will be very coated, but that's good!  Divide mushrooms between two sheet pans and roast in the upper half of the oven for at least 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through roasting.  Remove from oven when mushrooms are deep brown.  Set aside.
4.  In a large skillet, crumble and brown sausage over medium high heat.  Remove from skillet and set aside.
5.  Add diced onions to skillet and brown for 5 minutes.  Increase heat to high and add diced apples, brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Cook for 3-5 minutes or until deep golden brown.
6.  Decrease heat to medium and pour in wine (be careful if you're using an open flame).  Stir and cook to reduce liquid by half, about 2 or 3 minutes.  Pour apple/onion mixture over bread cubes.
7.  Return skillet to medium heat; combine chicken stock, thyme, turmeric, rosemary, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper.  Heat for a few minutes, then add some to bread cubes.  Stir in sausage and mushrooms.  Use enough liquid to desired moistness. 
8.  Pour dressing into a large baking dish and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on top.
I made and served this for Thanksgiving 2010 and it was the best dressing ever!  Another winner from The Pioneer Woman.

Corn with Wild Rice

1 1/3 cups wild rice6 Tbsp butter
4 cups chicken broth2 whole eggs, beaten
3-4 cups frozen corn1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream cayenne pepper to taste
1/2 milk, for thinning

1.  Cook the wild rice in chicken broth until almost done (30-45 min).  Drain rice and allow to cool.  This part of the recipe can be done the night before.
2.  Stir together corn, cream, softened butter, beaten eggs, salt and cayenne pepper.    Add in cooled wild rice.  Add 1/2 cup of milk so mixture is stir-able, but not overly juicy.
3.  Bake for 30-45 min, or until just turning golden brown on top and the mixture is somewhat set.
(*This recipe is from The Pioneer Woman.  I first served it at Thanksgiving 2010 and it was a big hit.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer Squash

I stumbled across this recipe a few years ago. Since then it's become a family favorite.

6-8 Cups sliced summer squash1 Cup shredded carrots
1/4 Cup chopped onion16-oz pkg stuffing mix
1 can cream of chicken soup1/2 Cup butter, melted
1 Cup sour cream

1.  In saucepan cook squash and onion until crisp tender.  Drain and set aside.
2.  In a large mixing bowl, combine stuffing and melted butter.  Add soup, sour cream and raw, shredded carrots.  Stir together.  Fold in drained squash & onions.
3.  Spread mixture into 13x9 inch baking pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.