Thursday, May 31, 2012

Easy Peasy Chicken Fahitas

Chicken Fajitas
A great way to use leftover grilled chicken for a "new" meal.  

4-6 grilled chicken breasts (any marinade works), sliced thin
1 can re fried beans
Garlic & Lime Salsa (or your choice) 2 jars
Shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese blend, 8 oz
sour cream (I use light)
fajita size tortillas

Spray a large baking dish with Pam.  Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Lay a out a tortilla, spread about 2 Tablespoons of re fried beans down the center.  Top with chicken strips.  Top with about 2 Tablespoons of salsa, 1-2 Tablespoons of shredded cheese, and a small dollop of sour cream.  Roll up, and place in dish, seam down.  Repeat steps till you have 6 fajitas.  Cover with all additional salsa, sprinkle with extra cheese.  Cover with foil, and bake in 350 oven for about 30 minutes.  I serve these with Zatarain's red or black beans and rice, and maybe glazed carrots or a sauteed zucchini and vidalia onion (liven it up with a splash of balsamic vinegar, and a dusting of Romano cheese).  Great for lunch leftovers, too!

Maple Glazed Salmon

Maple Glazed Salmon is one of my favorites, especially this time of year, when Wegman's gets Sockeye Salmon fresh from Alaska!  This is a great grill recipe, but since I rarely get out to the grill, I've adapted it for indoor use.

4-6 nicely sized salmon fillets (rinsed, patted dry)
Wegman's pan searing flour (I love this stuff- so versatile)
1/3 cup of pure maple syrup (not fake....don't go there)
2 Tablespoons of reduced sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

Dust fillets with pan searing flour.  Season with pepper as desired.  Melt butter (not alot - maybe 1-2 Tablespoons) in an electric skillet till bubbly and just slightly browning.  Add fillets, sear for a few minutes, then turn.  Sear that side, then whisk all other ingredients together and pour over the fillets. Lower heat, cover, and simmer till fish is cooked through.  Baste with sauce.  I served this with a grains side dish with pecans and garlic seasoning, fresh green beans, and salad.  The fresh salmon is SO GOOD!  Enjoy while it is in season. Use a leftover fillet (if there are any) to top a green salad for a delicious lunch the next day.  Add sliced oranges for extra color and a pop of flavor.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi is not a difficult dish to make.  With only a few ingredients, it is so important that each one is fresh, and that the shrimp are wild caught, not the smaller, farm raised shrimp found in many stores.  Splurge on your ingredients - you won't be sorry!  Better to have this dish only a few times a year, and be truly satisfied with it, than to scrimp and be sorry for a mediocre dinner.

2 pounds large fresh shrimp (I prefer USA wild caught)
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup of olive oil (I use Carapelli extra light for cooking)
1/4 cup of chopped, fresh Italian style parsley
1 small shallot, chopped fine, or 1 Tablespoon of chopped fresh scallions (green onions)
3 cloves of garlic, minced fine or pressed (invest in a quality garlic press like a Zyliss - worth every penny)
juice from one fresh lemon - no seeds!
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Rinse shrimp, peel and de-vein, and blot dry with paper towels.  Combine melted butter, olive oil, parsley, shallot or scallions, garlic, and lemon juice in a large, shallow dish (that is oven safe).  Add shrimp, and toss to coat.  Marinate about 30 minutes.  Preheat broiler setting on oven, and broil about 4-6 inches from heat in the dish.  They will cook quickly, about 3 minutes, turn or flip the shrimp, and cook another 3-4 minutes.  DO NOT OVERCOOK!  Shrimp will turn a nice shade of pink when done.  If you cook them too long, even the highest quality shrimp get rubbery.  Top with freshly ground black pepper, and Parmesan or Romano cheese.  I served mine over Barilla Plus (mulitgrain pasta with ALA Omega 3 and protein) angel hair pasta.  I like this dish with angel hair because it takes the buttery sauce well.  I also rounded out my dinner with Italian Green Beans (posted earlier) and a spinach salad with fresh cherries, candied pecans, sliced carrots, grape tomatoes, fresh radish slices, and fresh tangerine pieces.   I used a lite raspberry walnut dressing by Ken's. (my favorite lately)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

FunFetti Cookies!

Funfetti Cookies!

1 Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs

1 can Funtetti frosting

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  In large bowl, combine mix, oil, and eggs.  Add the sprinkles.  When blended, roll into 1 inch balls.  I use a melon baller to help shape the cookies.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Flatten to about 1/4 inch with a glass dipped in flour. Keep dipping and flattening, or they will stick. Bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes.  Cook 1 minute on the sheet, remove and cool on racks.  When warm (not hot) frost with the icing and sprinkles.  Yum.  David was eating these as fast as I could frost them!

BBQ Beef Brisket

1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp paprika
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin

3 pounds of brisket (Trim all fat!)
1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke
2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 cups of BBQ sauce of choice (I used Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce - awesome!)

Mix all dry ingredients together for rub.  Trim the brisket of all visible fat - yes, that means that big slab on the top, ugh!  Rub roast with liquid smoke, then dry spice rub.  Pour Worcestershire sauce and BBQ sauce in a slow cooker.  Place seasoned brisket on top.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Can cook on high for 5-6 hours.  I shred the meat, mix it back in with the sauce, and serve it on rolls like a pulled pork sandwich.  You can also slice it and serve it with the sauce.  This is SO good, and got rave reviews from the whole family!  I served it with seasoned roasted sweet potatoes, and regular potatoes and a salad. For the potatoes - peel and slice about 2 pounds of white and sweet potatoes.  Toss with 1/4 cup olive oil mixed with Lipton Recipe Secrets Savory Herb and Garlic soup mix.  Bake at 450 degrees about 30 - 40 min, turning potatoes every 10 minutes.

Italian Wedding Soup

Makes 8 servings.  If using a Slow-Cooker, 6 hours on Low.  On stove, Simmer about 1/2 hour.

1 egg, beaten
1 lb. 95% lean ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3 Tablespoons Italian bread crumbs
3 Tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (split)
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, or 1 Tablespoon dried (split)
3/4 teasp salt, or to taste
1/2 teasp. pepper
8 - 10 cups low sodium, low fat chicken broth
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small head of escarole (8 oz) washed, trimmed, and sliced into 1/2 inch strips
1 1/2 teaspoons of dried oregano
1 1/4 cup of acini di pepe pasta

Mix egg, beef, onion, crumbs, 1 Tbsp parmesan, 1 Tbsp parsley, 1/4 teasp each salt & pepper.  Form into 1 inch meatballs (I use a melon baller!) and place on a baking sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Next, combine broth, carrots, escarole and oregano in either a slow cooker, or a large pot on the stove.  On stove, boil, then simmer for about 1/2 hour, add meatballs, and cooked pasta.  (I cook pasta, drain and rinse before adding to the soup).  If slow cooker, put all in, and for last 20 minutes add pasta. Sprinkle extra parsley and cheese on top before serving.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Banana Bread (Daddy's favorite)

Daddy's Favorite Banana Bread (no nuts!)

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening (Crisco)
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs beaten

1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 very ripe)
several dashes of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the shortening, add sugar gradually, and beat well.  Add the eggs, and beat until light and fluffy.  Add the bananas.  Add all the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour the batter into a well greased (or spray with PAM) 9 x 5 loaf pan.  Bake in a 350 oven for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.  Makes 1 loaf. Your father likes to slice this and top it with homemade strawberry jam at breakfast time. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lemon Poppyseed Bread

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 lg eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, softened
zest from one lemon
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 Tablespoons poppy seeds


1/2 Tbsp. softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
few drops lemon extract
fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. cream

Preheat oven to 350.  Cream butter, sugar, add eggs, extract, and zest.  Add buttermilk, then all dry ingrediants.  Mix well, fold in poppy seeds.  Bake at 350 in greased bread loaf pan for about 1 hour.  Glaze while warm.