Sunday, June 21, 2015

Chuy's Salsa Fresca

I'm making Tex-Mex for Father's Day lunch for my son and his family.  King Ranch Casserole, Guacamole, Rice and Beans.  A local Tex-Mex chain, Chuy's makes great salsa.  I've also made their Jalapeno Ranch Sauce too before.  I think the red sauce will go well with today's meal.

CHUY'S SALSA FRESCA

10-12 Roma tomatoes
1 to 1-1/2 jalapeno peppers, seeds removed, deveined, and chopped
1/2 cup chopped white onion
2-3 tablespoons cilantro chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt to taste, about 1 teaspoon
Juice of 1 lime

In a food processor, blend onion, cilantro, and jalapeno.  Cut ends off tomatoes and rough chop.  Add to food processor.  Blend well.  Add lime juice, garlic powder, and salt.  Chill.  Serve with chips.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding With Vanilla Sauce

I made bread pudding for a potluck dinner last weekend.  I had not made this in a long time.  Hoping to live up to expectations of a moist bread pudding, I think this was received with lots of compliments.

OLD-FASHIONED BREAD PUDDING WITH VANILLA SAUCE

1 pound bread, torn into pieces (I used Oro-Wheat Italian Bread)
4 cups half and half
1 cup light brown sugar
4 eggs

1/2 stick melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup chopped pecans

SAUCE

1 cup half and half or milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9 x 13 baking pan with butter.  In a mixing bowl mix the eggs and sugar for 3 to 4 minutes at medium speed.  Add half and half, vanilla and melted butter and mix well.  Tear bread into 1 inch pieces and place in prepared pan.  Sprinkle raisins and pecans over bread. Pour wet ingredients over and let sit for 30 minutes until bread has soaked up the milk mixture.  Bake in oven for 45 minutes until middle is set, using a toothpick to test.

To make sauce, combine milk, butter, sugar and flour and cook to boiling until thick.  Add vanilla.  You can add rum or whiskey or even some maple syrup to this sauce if you like.  You can either pour the sauce over, or have it on the side.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Natchitoches Meat Pies

Natchitoches is a town in northern Louisiana that is most famous for being the site for filming Steel Magnolias.  My cousin and I visited there last December for the Christmas Festival and had one of the best meat pies.  Since then we said we were going to try our hand at them and this past weekend we did just that for a potluck dinner.  They are usually deep fried, but we baked these.  They were really delicious and not too hard to make.   I've also included a few photos below from our trip.  It is a sweet little town and it was a fun trip. 

NATCHITOCHES MEAT PIES

MEAT FILLING

1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 green onions including tops, chopped fine
1/2 medium bell pepper, chopped fine
2 ribs celery, chopped fine
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock or broth
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 

In a large skillet, cook the beef and pork until browned.  Add the onion, green onion, bell pepper, celery, salt, pepper, cayenne, pepper flakes and cook until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes.  Stir in the flour and stock.  Cook until thickened.  Cool.

DOUGH

3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
3/4 cup milk

In a mixer, stir together the flour, salt and baking powder.  Cut in the shortening.  Combine the milk and egg together and add to flour.  Stir until dough comes together. 

We made small empanada size pies.  Cut the dough in desired size circle and put filling inside just in the middle to allow for crimping the sides.  Mix one egg with 2 tablespoons water or milk.  Brush the crimped crusts with egg wash.  Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 375 degrees for 23 minutes until lightly browned.  These can also be deep fried in a deep fryer at 375.

NATCHITOCHES, LOUISIANA




 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

One Pan Cheesy Pasta Bolognese

Main dish for the birthday celebration yesterday was this recipe I found on Instagram at 'Cooking With Mimi'.  I think it is a keeper.  One pan meals work for me. Serve with crusty garlic bread and a salad and call it done. 

ONE-PAN CHEESY PASTA BOLOGNESE

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion chopped fine
3/4 cup grated carrots
1 pound ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)
1 cup water
12 oz. pasta (I used Penne)
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded (divided)

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up into small pieces with a spoon, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add in dried oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes. Next, add the red wine and stir to combine. Add Worcestershire and canned tomatoes, stirring to combine. Pour in the heavy cream. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper.
Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Add pasta, stir well. Cover pan and cook until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.When pasta is tender, gently stir in grated Parmesan and ½ cup of mozzarella cheese. Scatter the remaining mozzarella evenly over top. Turn off the heat. Place lid over skillet and allow mozzarella to melt, 2-3 minutes.

White Texas Sheet Cake

A birthday celebration yesterday.  Since I was a teen I have been making the chocolate version of Texas Sheet Cake.  I've had the vanilla/white version in my files to try for a while now.  This cake is traditionally made in a jelly roll pan, making the ratio of icing and cake about even.  I don't care for it that way and most always make it in a 9 x 13 pan.  This is a very moist cake and gets better each day.

WHITE TEXAS SHEET CAKE

2 sticks of butter

1 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a small saucepan, bring the butter and water to a boil.  Remove from heat.  In a large bowl mix together sugar, flour salt, baking soda.  Pour the water and butter mixture and stir.  Add sour cream and eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  No need to use a mixer, just a whisk or wooden spoon will work.  Pour into a 9 x 13 pan that has been sprayed with Pam or Baker's Joy.  Can also use a 10 x 15 jelly roll pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 22-25 minutes until done.

ICING

1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup half and half or milk
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Boil the butter and milk.  Remove from heat and pour over powdered sugar.  Add vanilla.  Mix with mixer until smooth.  Spread over cake. Can add pecans or coconut if desired for a different twist.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Neverending Chocolate Cake


I wanted to take a dessert for a recent crawfish boil.  I found this recipe from Taste of Home.  I used to subscribe to this Reiman publication over the years and always found good recipes.  I don't usually use box mixes, but this type of cake really starts with that.  With the addition of buttermilk it is a super moist cake and really packs the chocolate.

NEVERENDING CHOCOLATE CAKE

1 devil's food cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Chocolate Fudge)
1 small package instant chocolate pudding mix (I used Hershey brand)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
4 eggs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, milk, oil, syrup, and eggs. Beat on low speed to blend, then beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Gently stir in chocolate chips and pour batter into greased and floured 12-cup Bundt cake pan.

Bake for 55 minute to 1 hour or until cake tester comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto cooling rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar for garnish or drizzle with glaze.  I just used a powdered sugar glaze.  You can melt some chocolate chips also if you wanted more chocolate.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Lemon and Pecan Buttermilk Bread

Using more of that good lemon juice I froze from my friend's trees last summer, I found this recipe on Cooks.com.  Pretty yummy stuff with a nice cup of coffee.

LEMON AND PECAN BUTTERMILK BREAD

1 stick butter, softened
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 inch loaf pan with Pam or Bakers Joy.  Beat butter and sugar for 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each one. Beat in vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice. Whisk together the flour and dry ingredients. With a wooden spoon, stir in half the dry ingredients.  Add half of the buttermilk.  Repeat and mix thoroughly with spoon until smooth.  Add pecans.  Pour into loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes until tested done.  Glaze with a mixture of 2 tablespoons lemon juice mixed with 1 cup powdered sugar.  Pour over loaf.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Lemony Cream Butter Cake

I haven't blogged in so long. I've had this recipe forever in my files to try and finally gave a try.  I found the recipe on this blog Blackjack Bake House when browsing through blogs.  A friend of mine had a bumper crop of lemons and I froze lots of juice.  Lemon is one of my favorite flavors.  I've made a lot of lemon desserts lately it seems.

LEMONY BUTTER CAKE

For the cake:

2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 eggs
1 Tablespoons lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest


Cream cheese filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease or spray a 9" springform pan with vegetable spray.
Make the filling -- In a large bowl beat the cream cheese on medium-high to high speed for about 5 minutes, until smooth and creamy.  Add powdered' sugar and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg and beat until completely combined, about 1 minute. Add butter, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla.  Beat until completely combined, about 1 minute. Set aside.

Make the cake -- In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk in melted butter, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla extract and lemon zest until combined. Do not overmix.

Pour batter evenly into springform pan. Carefully pour filling mixture evenly over the cake batter to within about 1/2 inch of the edge of the pan. (The filling should cover all but the outer 1/2 inch, at which point the cake batter will be visible.)  Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake has puffed up and toothpick inserted near edge of cake comes out clean.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Ken Jackson's Rice Dressing

I recently went to stay with my cousin. We were attending a pot luck gathering in the evening.  The theme for the pot luck was Thanksgiving so my cousin's husband, Ken Jackson made his 'famous' rice dressing or dirty rice.  I was born in Louisiana but raised in Texas.  I grew up on cornbread dressing.  In Louisiana it is traditional to have rice dressing or dirty rice.  Ken showed me his recipe so I am going to share here on my blog.

RICE DRESSING

2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 12 oz. package PictSweet Seasoning Blend (onions, red and green peppers, celery)
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
Slap Ya Mama seasoning to taste
2 16 oz. tubs Savoie's Rice Dressing Mix
1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken broth
2-1/2 cups Minute Rice

In a large dutch oven (he used the fabulous Magnalite brand which is also a Louisiana tradition), melt the butter and sweat the seasoning blend until translucent.  Add the ground beef and ground pork and cook until no longer pink.  Season with Slap Ya Mama seasoning to taste.  This adds a nice little kick.  Add the tubs of dressing mix and mix well.  Add dry Minute Rice and chicken broth and stir until all moisture is absorbed.  This is some good stuff!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Chicken and Rice

CREAMY CHICKEN AND RICE

I found this recipe on Pinterest.  I was to have someone come for lunch and thought I would try it out.  Unfortunately the lunch plans got cancelled so I made it for a weekend meal.  The recipe was posted Natasha's Kitchen.   It is an easy one-pot meal and goes together really quick.  I've listed the ingredients and steps that I used.  I would make this again.  Yummy.


1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 large onion, finely diced
About 1 cup shredded carrots
3 large boneless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces.
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
1 cup Chardonnay white wine
4 cups hot reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups Jasmine rice
1 head garlic
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, more for serving
Parsley (I didn't have any so I just chopped a little cilantro)

Using a Dutch oven, saute the onion and carrots in the olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter until soft. Add the chicken pieces and cook until no longer pink.  Add the wine and turn up to high and cook off the wine.  Pour in the hot chicken broth and rice.  Bring to a boil.  Cut the ends off the head of garlic and place down in the center of the pot.  Place a lid on top and simmer for 20 minutes until rice is tender.  Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and stir.  You can squeeze the garlic out of the head and add if you like.  Sprinkle the parsley and more cheese on top and serve. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

S'Mores Cupcakes

I can't believe it has been 3 months since I posted to my blog.  Not much new baking going on in my kitchen.  I recently took a cupcake class and we made these S'Mores Cupcakes.  I took them to work for a breakfast and they went over well.

S'MORES CUPCAKES

Use your favorite recipe for chocolate cake, either from scratch or from a box.  Hollow out the middle of the cupcakes and fill with marshmallow cream.  Here in Texas we have a store named HEB that carries toasted marshmallow cream and I used that.  Make your favorite recipe for buttercream frosting.  Frost the cupcakes.  We learned how to use a piping bag, but my skills are still lacking there so just frosted with a spatula.  Sprinkle the frosting with graham cracker crumbs and put some marshmallows around.  You can toast the marshmallows if you have a torch, but it is hard not to burn them so I just put mini-marshmallows around.  Top with a Teddy Graham or a piece of graham cracker and there you go.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Cranberry/Orange Scones

On my recent trip to Washougal, WA we had a tea party.  Among the goodies we had were these scones.  I learned on this trip that the proper pronunciation of the word is "scahns" not scones that rhymes with bones.  It just doesn't sound right to me, so I'll probably still rhyme them with bones!


CRANBERRY/ORANGE SCONES


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 stick butter cut into pieces
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup heavy cream.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a bowl mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest.  Cut the cold butter into 1/2 inch pieces.  Cut butter into flour until it resembles small peas.  Add the dried cranberries and stir.  Pour cream and mix together just until moistened.  Pour onto floured board and pat down to about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut with a biscuit cutter or a cookie cutter in a shape you like.  You can also form it into a circle and cut into wedges.  Place scones on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Brush cream over tops and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 425 degrees for 13-17 minutes until golden brown.

Trip to Washougal, WA

It has been quite a while since I posted to my little blog.  Most things I have baked have been things that are already on my blog, so need to post those.

I recently got to escape the heat here on the Texas Gulf Coast for a visit with one of my best friends and her husband who live in Washougal, WA, just across the river from Portland, OR.  Oh, what a beautiful spot on this earth it is.  If I lived in a perfect world with the ability to live there, I do believe I would choose this place.  It is so peaceful and beautiful.

From my friend's home on a clear day you can see Mt. Hood.  What a grand mountain that can be seen whenever you are out and about on the roads.

The day after I arrived we took a day trip to Timberline Lodge which is at the summit of the mountain.  What a beautiful, historic lodge.  We had a delicious lunch there and enjoyed looking out at the mountaintop.


My friend's aunt owns a cabin near the mountain.  Her back porch overlooks this beautiful stream.  The sound of this stream is so beautiful with the water rushing by.  I could listen to that sound all the time.  Just so peaceful and beautiful.  

My friend has a Tea Party business, Timeless Teacup where she rents all you would need for a beautiful tea party.  She invited her mom and a friend and we had a tea party.  Her things are so beautiful.  I will post some recipes of some things we had.  So fun.

On my friend's deck are two blueberry plants.  What a treat to be able to pick fresh berries right on your deck.  It doesn't get much easier than that!

Lacamas Lake is nearby.  I can never get enough of these beautiful trees. The lake is so peaceful and serene.

The beautiful Columbia River.  My friend's home overlooks this river.  Everywhere you go you see this river from different vantage points.  It is just the best.

Cottonwood Beach.  This beach beats the Gulf of Mexico on any given day!  Just beautiful and peaceful.  A bit colder than we have here though!

My last night there I saw a beautiful rainbow.  What a nice way to say goodbye!












Sunday, March 16, 2014

French Toast Casserole

A breakfast for a coworker recently at work who is changing offices.  I got this recipe from a message board I have read for years.  The ladies on there share some really good recipes.  This is one of those overnight casseroles that is so easy for a morning when you have things to do while it bakes.  A friend of mine and his wife sent me some wonderful genuine New York Maple Syrup.  Although this is sweet enough without, it was a great addition for those who wanted a little something extra.

FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE

1 loaf cinnamon bread ( I used Sara Lee) with or without raisins
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

TOPPING:
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup nuts (I used pecans)

Spray a 9x13 pan with Pam.  Tear up the bread. Mix the eggs, milk, 1/2 and 1/2, vanilla and cinnamon together.  Pour over bread and press down to get break soaked. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, mix the topping ingredients until they crumb.  Sprinkle over the casserole. Bake 350 for 40 minutes until golden brown.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Key Lime Babycakes

I needed to make a dessert for a dinner party this past weekend.  I had searched for a key lime pie recipe and did some research and found recipes for not only key lime pie but key lime cheesecake.  My version is below.

KEY LIME BABYCAKES

Crust:
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 Tablespoons sugar
3/4 stick of butter, melted (6 tablespoons)
1/4 cup pecans, chopped very fine

Filling:
3 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
7 egg yolks
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup key lime juice (this took about 12 key limes)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place a 9 x 13 pan on bottom rack of oven with boiling water half-way up.  Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

To prepare crust, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter until well combined and crumbly.  Put about a tablespoon of mixture in the bottom of each muffin cup, pressing down with fingertips.

In a mixing bowl mix cream cheese until creamy.  Add egg yolks one at a time, blending well.  Add sugar, condensed milk, and lime juice and mix until light and creamy.  Pour mixture into muffin cups just to the top.  Bake at 325 degrees for 24 minutes or until set.  Chill and serve with Cool Whip and graham cracker crumbs on top.