Sunday, January 7, 2018

Collection of My Most Requested Recipes - 2018

Now, 6 years, 8,000 subscribers and almost 700,000 views later, I often receive emails requesting recipes I have previously posted.  In honor of our 6th anniversary and for the benefit of those arriving late to the party, I am making it an annual tradition to provide a complete list of links to all of the mouth-watering recipes I have previously posted. 

Appetizers and Hors d’oeuvres



§  Pot Roast
§  Tuna Melt

§  Arepas





Sunday, December 3, 2017

Beef Empanadas

When my niece, Jackie, married Omar I was happy that she chose such a fine young man.  What I didn’t know was that I was getting a fellow foodie, who was going to introduce me to foods from his family’s native country of Ecuador.  Recently, Omar came to my home to spend an afternoon cooking.  Together we made a year supply of his favorite recipe from my blog, to Cranberry-Pecan Cheese Crackers, and he filled my freezer with my favorite Ecuadorian Beef Empanadas.
The name comes from the Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Whether an alternative to a sandwich for lunch or a favorite appetizer for a party, this make ahead and freezer friendly recipe is always a crowd favorite.  Each time I defrost and warm one of Omar’s empanadas, I’m reminded of the fun day we had cooking together.  Some of my favorite food memories are cooking alongside friends, family and especially my mom. The connection over slicing, dicing and eating are much more authentic and intimate than going out to a restaurant.  The holiday season is the perfect time to create memories with your family or friends over a cutting board or a stove. Make sure and snap a few pictures, so you never forget.
§     1 package Empanada discs
§     1/2 lb ground beef
§     1/2 yellow onion - chopped
§     1/2 red pepper - chopped
§     1/4 cup tomato sauce
§     6 Spanish olives stuffed with pimentos
§     2 cloves garlic
§     1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
§     Goya Adobo all-purpose seasoning
§     1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
§     2 eggs hard boiled
§     Salt and pepper to taste

To hard boil eggs, place the eggs into a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt for easy peeling.  Cook uncovered over high heat until the water begins to boil.  Once the water is at a rolling boil, turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 12 minutes.  Run eggs over cool water, peel and set aside.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Sauté ground beef until browned.  Add chopped onions and red peppers and sautés until onion is translucent.  Season to taste with Goya Adobo. 

Stir in tomato sauce, olives, garlic, oregano, salt and black pepper.  Reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. 
Slice the hard-boiled eggs and add to the ground beef mixture while cooling. 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Fill empanada discs.  
Moisten edges with egg wash to close tightly and crimp edges.
Brush empanadas with egg wash (1 egg and 2 tablespoons of water).  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.  If you don’t have parchment paper or Silpat, be sure to grease the baking sheet so that empanadas do not stick.  

Place empanadas on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes rotating after 10 minutes for even browning.  

Remove from oven and serve warm.  For a printer friendly copy of the recipe go to Beef EmpanadasEnjoy!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Cornbread Dressing

Because I write a food/recipe blog, people believe I’m an expert.  One question I’m often asked is “What is the difference between stuffing and dressing.”  This one is easy.  The only difference between the two is how they are cooked.  If you cook the mixture in the cavity of the poultry, it’s stuffing.  If it’s prepared outside of the bird, then the proper name is dressing.  But go south of the Mason-Dixon line and everyone calls it dressing, regardless of its preparation, citing the term “stuffing” as unpleasant sounding.   

Each year, as Thanksgiving approaches, I get requests for my recipe for Cornbread Dressing.  Although I have shared it with many, I hesitated to post it.  I was embarrassed to admit that the base of my dressing comes from a store-bought bag from the grocery store. 

Having tried so many recipes, I always stick with the tried and true "store bag." Since everything is cooked before putting it in the casserole dish, feel free to prepare the mixture a day or two in advance and keep it in the refrigerator.

On Thanksgiving Day, bring to room temperature and put it in the oven when you remove the turkey.  By the time your turkey is rested and sliced, the dressing will be warm and ready to serve. 

For those of you who are new to my blog, there are several recipes I previously posted you may want to add to your Thanksgiving Menu.  If you typically serve soup at the beginning of the meal, try the Pumpkin Soup or Autumn Squash Soup

Instead of mashed potatoes or candied yams, try Mashed Sweet Potatoes, for Pumpkin Risotto with Goat Cheese and Dried Cranberries or better yet, Praline Sweet Potatoes which can be made a day in advance.  Actually, the Praline Sweet Potatoes taste even better as part of your Black Friday leftover lineup. 

Corn is always on our Thanksgiving table.  Creamed Corn and Corn Soufflé are the most requested.  

If you typically serve biscuits on Thanksgiving, try these Corn Muffins.  Although they are lightly sweetened, even the diehard southerners who would never eat cornbread with sugar find themselves coming back for another. 

Finally, Pumpkin Spice Cookies and  Pumpkin Mousse are light addition that fits well into my dessert table staples of pecan and fruit pies. 

§     4 tablespoon (1/2 stick) butter 
§     1 tablespoon vegetable oil (adding oil will prevent butter from burning) 
§     1 medium onion, chopped finely
§     4 stalks of celery, chopped finely
§     1 small container of fresh mushrooms or 1 can of mushrooms roughly chopped
§     1 14-ounce bag of Cornbread Stuffing
§     2 - 3 cups chicken broth
§     1 15ounce can of whole kernel corn (drained)
§     1 cup of dried cranberries
§     Salt and pepper to taste

In a large sauté pan, heat butter until melted.  Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the butter to prevent burning.
Add the chopped onion and sauté just until the onions are translucent, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the celery and stir.  Sauté for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the fresh mushrooms and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Add pepper to taste.  If using fresh mushrooms, sauté for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, mixing occasionally.  If using canned mushrooms, sauté until heated, 1 to 2 minutes.  

Add contents of the Cornbread Stuffing mix and 2 cups of chicken broth.  Add additional chicken broth until you get the consistency you prefer.  I like my dressing moist so I use additional broth.  Mix lightly.
Add the can of whole kernel corn (drained) and cup of dried cranberries and mix lightly.  Serve warm.
If you are preparing the Cornbread Dressing in advance, spray a casserole or baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, add the cornbread mixture and cool before covering and placing in the refrigerator.  To reheat and serve, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. (If you do not bring to room temperature prior to baking, bake for 45 minutes)  For a crisp top, bake uncovered for the final 15 minutes.  Serve warm.  For a printer friendly copy of this recipe go to Cornbread Dressing.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Crispy Peanut Butter Treats

If you live in a downtown condo and own an extra parking space, it's a common occurrence to be asked to borrow a parking space. From one night for a Preds game to an entire weekend for a visiting friend or family member, I am always more than happy to lend an unused spot.  One day I saw a post on my condo’s Facebook page from Ron, a resident, requesting a parking spot for his mother's upcoming visit.  Unfortunately for him, due to so many downtown events, there weren’t too many free spaces.  Ron's post began with "My mother is an excellent baker and will be happy to share some of her goodies, if someone would let her use their parking spot for the night."  As I had no plans to use any of my parking places, I offered mine and told him it was not necessary to give me baked goods.  I thought nothing more of it.

Well, one morning, as I walked through the lobby, the concierge told me there was a package waiting for me.  Along with several other cakes and cookies, Ron's mother made these addictive, Crispy Peanut Butter Treats.  My next post to the building Facebook page was "The next time Ron offers his mother's baked goods in exchange for a parking space, I suggest you move your car to the Pinnacle building across the street and give him yours."  Thank you, Ron, for getting your mother to share her recipe with me.

§     2 1/2 cups of peanut butter
§     1/2 cup butter, melted
§     1 teaspoon vanilla
§     2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
§     1/2 cup light brown sugar
§     1 cup Rice Krispies
§     Pinch of salt
§     1 1/2 cups semi sweet or milk chocolate (chips or finely chopped)
§     1 teaspoon shortening

Line a 9” x 13” pan with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix together the peanut butter, melted butter, vanilla, confectioners’ sugar and brown sugar.

When blended, add Rice Krispies.

Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.

Place 1 cup of the chopped chocolate into a medium sized microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds.  Remove and stir.  If chocolate is not thoroughly melted, microwave for another 20 seconds.  Repeat if necessary but do not overheat the chocolate.  Remove from the microwave and add the remaining 1/2 cup of room temperature chocolate to temper and cool the mixture. Add 1 teaspoon of shortening so the chocolate remains softer after it cools.

Spread the chocolate evenly over the peanut butter mixture.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before scoring the chocolate to make squares.

Let harden completely before serving.

I store these treats and prefer to eat them directly from the refrigerator.  For a printer friendly copy of this recipe, go to Crispy Peanut Butter TreatsEnjoy!