March 30, 2006

A Great Way to Start Off the Morning

I love breakfastt food, sometimes around my house we have breakfast for dinner. Breakfast to me is good anytime of the day...

This recipes comes from the great ConAgra website I posted about a couple of weeks ago. This site has photos of most every recipe on its database. I like photos because I think you can tell a lot from a photo, if you are going to like the recipe or not.

This recipe calls for Egg Beaters, but I like the real thing myself.

Breakfast Burritos

1 cup frozen Southern-Style Hash Brown
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup (8 ounces) Egg Beaters Egg Product
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
4 flour tortillas (8 inch), warmed
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

Spray medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add hash browns and onion; cook 9 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown, stirring frequently.

Add Egg Beaters and pepper; mix well. Cook 3 minutes, or until Egg Beaters are slightly set; stir. Cook an additional 6 minutes, or until Egg Beaters reach desired doneness, stirring occasionally. Combine tomato and basil; set aside. Spoon Egg Beaters mixture evenly down centers of tortillas; top evenly with cheese and the tomato mixture. Fold in opposite sides of each tortilla; roll up burrito-style.

March 29, 2006

Vote for Pet of the Month

It was last month that Rudy was up for Pet of the Month on the Purina website and thanks to all of you that voted, he won.

Now our little Lizzy is up for the title. Go and vote for her on the Purina website, she is the first puppy on the list (you can't miss her precious little face.)

And now for all you dog lovers I have a new dog treat recipe that I'm sure your pooches will love you for.

Peanut Butter Biscuits
1 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbs peanut butter
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese or any type of cheese
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg white
1 Tbs chicken broth

Mix flour and milk until lumpy. Add peanut butter and broth. Mix parmesan cheese with first 4 ingredients. Add egg white. Mix well or until it has the consistency of pancake batter. Add baking powder. Pour onto greased cookie sheet, making 2" drops. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool.

March 28, 2006

Chocolate Attack

This is a favorite dessert of mine that is actually very easy to make. It's very rich though so be careful on the size of portions.

Chocolate Raspberry Torte

1 pkg. (8 squares) Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
¾ c. (1 ½ sticks) butter
1 pkg. (4 serving size) Jell-O Raspberry Flavor Gelatin
½ c. sugar
3 eggs
1/3 c. flour
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool-Whip thawed

Preheat 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan, line with wax paper.

Microwave 4 squares of chocolate, stir after 1 minute.
Stir dry gelatin, mix sugar into chocolate and blend. Mix in eggs, stir in flour and pour onto prepared pan.

Bake 30 minutes, cool 5 minutes, then invert onto platter. Cool cake completely.

Meanwhile: Melt 4 squares chocolate, wait 1 minute, stir, then stir in whipped cream until smooth. Frost cake with mixture. Garnish with sugar coated raspberries and dried chocolate wedges.

Store in refrigerator.

March 27, 2006

Carrot Cake for Everyone

My favorite cake is any good carrot cake. I've been trying to develop my own recipe that will knock the socks off of any other recipe and I think I have it finally. This cake is great in the morning with a cup of coffee or served at any family party or office function.

The best part of carrot cake in my opinion is that you can acutally feel as though you are also eating healthy, while eating cake. Now how many desserts can make you feel that way. I mean it is a "Carrot" cake and it has actual carrots in it, so it is somewhat healthy right?

Carrot Cake My Way

2 c. sugar (half white, half brown if you want)
½ tsp. salt
3 c. ap flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. all-spice
2 c. grated carrots, packed
1 ½ c. vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
8-10 oz. crushed pineapple, mostly drained
1 c. chopped nuts, optional

Spray or grease and flour two nine-inch round cake pans or on 13x9-inch rectangular pan. Sift or toss the sugar, salt, flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and app-spice in a bowl. Then stir or toss in the carrots. Make a well in the mix and add the vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat that mix and then stir in the pineapple. If desired stir in the nuts, Scrape the mix into the pan or pans and bake at 350 degrees until done. For the round pans that is usually 30 minutes, rectangular pan will take 45 minutes to an hour. Rotate pans after 25 minutes.

Cream cheese frosting:

8 oz. Cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 lb. powder sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. Cinnamon

Soften the cream cheese and butter. Blend together in a mixer. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth, beat cinnamon into any remaining frosting and swirl on the cake for decorations. I like to take walnuts and garnish the top of the cake with them. I stack one round cake on a platter, then frost the top of it. I then place the second round cake on top of it and frost the entire cake.

March 23, 2006

A Dressing to Make Any Salad Special

Basic Vinaigrette

¼ c. fresh lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
1 tsp. honey
1 small shallot, minced
½ c. extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper

Whish together the lemon juice, honey and shallot in a small bowl. Slowly add the oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

March 21, 2006

Baking it My Way

Hashbrown Sausage Bake

6 eggs
¼ c milk
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 tbs. butter
¼ c. red bell pepper, chopped
¼ c. green onions with tops, sliced
1 lb. smoked sausage, cut into ½-inch pieces, divided
1 ½ c. (6 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 pkg. refrigerated hashbrowns

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Combined eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Microwave butter, pepper, and onion for 1 minute. Fold vegetables, ½ sausage, 1 c. cheese, and hashbrowns into egg mixture. Pour egg mixture into a square casserole. Press remaining sausage slices vertically, around edge of casserole, pressing down gently. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until eggs are set.

March 20, 2006

Too Good Chicken

My mother always made this chicken recipe for our family. It's as simple as 1, 2, 3....
The recipe comes from Stephenson's Restaurant in Kansas City. I suggest if you are ever in K.C. then you stop on by, it's right off I-70, exit 14.

Open Hearth Chicken

1 c ap flour
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cut-up chicken (skin off)
½ c. butter
1 1/2 c. hot water
½ c. nonfat dry milk

Dip chicken into water, then coat it with mixture of flour and seasonings.

Place chicken into a greased baking dish. Dot with butter (about ½ stick).

Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Take of oven.

Sprinkle the remaining mixture about the chicken in the dish. Mix water and powder milk and pour around the chicken and lightly cover dish with foil.

Bake for 1 hour or more.

March 16, 2006

Eggs My Way

Breakfast food is a staple meal around my house. It's quick, easy and healthy. When it comes to scrambled eggs I like fluffy eggs and I love to experiment with them every time. Here is an easy recipe for what I call "Perfect Scrambled Eggs."

Perfect Scrambled Eggs
8 eggs
2 heaping tlbs. sour cream
1 tbls. water
1 tbls. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 tbls. butter
3.4 c grated cheddar cheese

In a bowl, beat eggs, sour cream, water, salt and pepper until fluffy. Melt butter in nonstick pan and cook eggs over low heat, stirring. Stir in cheese. Cook until it to your desired doneness.

March 15, 2006

A Recipe Tradition in My Family

We all can remember those recipes that our great-grandmothers or grandmother made for as when we were young. You could always count on when you walk into your grandmother's kitchen the aromas in the air would be filled with whatever magical baked goods she would have cooling on the counter or baking in the oven.

Mmmmm...I can already smell this lovely cake in my Grandmother Pat's kitchen. This is one of my favorite cakes, and trust me I have many, but this recipe "takes the cake."

My mother recently gave me this recipe, that she was given by my grandmother many years ago when my parents married (39 years and going on strong.) You can tell that it is an old recipe because it calls for Oleo, which you will find is called for in many old farmer recipes. Don't worry though, Oleo is made from vegetable oil and is a substitute for butter.

Grandma Pat's Zucchini Delight

4 eggs
3 c. sugar
1 ½ c. salad oil
3 c. ground zucchini
3 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1.2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. raisins
1 c. nuts

Mix eggs, sugar, oil, and zucchini together. In a separate bowl sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon. Add raisins and nuts and mix all together.

Add to oblong pan and bake 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

1 stick oleo (room temp.) This is just butter or shortening whichever you prefer.
1 3 oz. cream cheese (room temp.)
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 1.2 vanilla

Beat until smooth. Heat 2 tbsp. milk and add to above ingredients. Add ½ c. coconut (I omit the coconut myself, not a fan of it) and 1/2 c. pecans and pour on cooled cake.

March 14, 2006

A Good Irish Stew Recipe for St. Patrick's Day

Looking for an Irish meal to serve during St. Patrick's Day? This classic dish is traditionally made with mutton or fatty, chewy cuts of lamb. We recommend using at least some neck or shoulder meat for better texture and flavor. There's an Irish saying that a stew boiled is a stew spoiled, so watch the pot closely as you bring the liquid to a simmer.

If you're not a lamb eater, then don't substitute meat for this dish. It's supposed to be made with lamb for the flavoring and texture. If youhavee never had lamb before then maybe this should be your first try at it.

3 lbs. trimmed boneless lamb stew meat (preferably from the neck and shoulder), cut into 1 inch chunks
2 lbs. (about 4) russet potatoes, peeled and cut crosswise into thirds
7 carrots, peeled, trimmed, and halved crosswise
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas

Preheat oven to 250°. Put the lamb, potatoes, carrots, onions, parsley, and 2 cups water into a large ovenproof pot with a tight fitting lid. Season to taste with salt and pepper and gently stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once the stew comes to a simmer, cover the pot and transfer to the oven to let cook until the lamb is just tender, about 2 hours. Remove the pot from the oven and gently stir in the peas.

Cover and return the pot to the oven. Continue cooking until lamb is fork tender, about 30 minutes more. Allow the stew to sit, covered, for 20 minutes, then spoon into bowls and serve hot.

March 10, 2006

Great Website for Those on the Go

ConAgra Foods has a great website for those of you that just don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen to put a healthy and delicious meal on your family's table. You can search for any type of meal you are in the mood for and also search the recipes for meals that take 10, 20, 30 minutes, or more than one hour to make.

I use this site every once in awhile to find a simple meal that looks appetizing to my taste buds. All of these recipes are tested in the ConAgra test kitchens and uses the company's own brands (as you will see by the ingredients list for each recipe.)

Hope this helps some of you out with those needed meal in a flash. Let me know if you find any really good recipes from the database.

Monkey Bread with a New Twist

Ever wonder where in the world Monkey Bread came from? Well I found out from this website.

Monkey bread dates back all the way to the Middle Ages, but it's name didn't come around till the 1980's.

This is the traditional bread, but made with refrigerated dinner rolls, with chocolate instead of the traditional cinnamon.

Chocolate Filled Monkey Bread

18 frozen white dinner rolls, thawed
1 ½ c. semi-sweet chocolate morsels
¼ c. butter, melted
½ c packed light brown sugar
½ c. butterscotch sauce, optional
Chocolateolate syrup, optional

Cut each roll in half. Press each half into 3-in. circle. Place 10 morsels in center of dough circle, shaping dough into a ball around morsels. Pinch dough to seal. Repeat with remaining rolls.

Dip each in melted butter and roll in sugar. Arrange dough balls in a greased bunt pan.

Cover; let rise in warn place for 40 minutes or until doubled in size. Bake in pan for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes. Loosen sides and invert onto serving platter. Drizzle with butterscotch sauce and chocolate syrup. Serve warm.

March 9, 2006

A Drink from Sammy

My father has recently been dabbling in being a bartender. Christmas he made special drinks for everyone and we all enjoyed them, although there were a couple that were not so good.

His favorite to mix though is this Sammy Hagar drink. This drink is strong, so watch out how many you have or you might stumbling to your bed early.

Sammy Hagar Waborita

Yield: 1 drink

2 shots Cabo Wabo tequila
1-ounce fresh lime juice
1-ounce Cointreau Splash of Grand Marnier

Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake several times, strain and pour into a salt-rimmed margarita or martini glass.

March 8, 2006

Who Let the Shrimp Out?

Yes, I know two recipes in a row the calls for shrimp. Like I said earlier I'm in the shrimp mood I guess. This casserole type meal is another easy and quick meal for all of you on the go. This has become a special meal that is made on certain holiday gatherings.

Rice and Shrimp Bake with Feta Crumb Topping

2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 1/4 cups long-grain white rice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp hot red-pepper flakes, or to taste
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 large red or green bell pepper
1 lb large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on

Feta Crumb Topping
3/4 cup soft fresh bread crumbs
3/4 cup crumbled feta
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Place stock and bay leaf in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add rice; return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is just tender. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Remove bay leaf. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic, oregano and hot-pepper flakes, stirring, for 4 minutes or until softened. Add tomatoes and red pepper; cook for 3 minutes until softened. Stir in rice and spread in a greased 10-cup shallow casserole dish. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bury shrimp in rice. Combine bread crumbs, feta and parsley in a bowl; spread over rice. Bake in oven for 25 to 30 minutes until shrimp are pink and topping is light golden.

March 7, 2006

I'm in the Mood for Shrimp

Do you ever get food cravings...of coarse you do. Like I've said many times before Italian is one of my favorite foods. When you add pasta, shrimp and pesto together you get this great meal. It's easy to whip up when you are in a hurry.

On a side note: Thanks to everyone who voted for RUDY as Purina's Pet of the Month. He won! You can view him on the website.

Cilantro Pesto Pasta with Shrimp and Scallops
16 oz Paste Penne
3 oz Cilantro Pesto*
4 tbsp Butter
8 oz medium Shrimp
8 oz Scallops
2 tbsp Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 sprigs Parsley

Sprinkle the shrimp and scallops with salt and pepper. In a 12-inch skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat, cook the seafood until just tender and lightly browned [about 5 minutes]. In a bowl mix together the [cooked] pasta and cilantro pesto. Serve the seafood on a bed of the pasta mixture, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and garnish with a sprig of parsley.*

Cilantro Pesto
1 Lb Fresh Cilantro
3 oz Macadamia nuts
4 oz Parmesan Cheese
2/3 cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Wash and cut the stems from the cilantro. Place the cilantro, Macadamia nuts and Parmesan cheese in the blender and liquefy. Gradually add olive oil until a paste forms. Set aside.

March 3, 2006

What is Red, Rich and Delicious?

When I think about a true southern dessert I think of red velvet cake. It is my absolute favorite dessert besides pecan pie. There are lots of recipes out there for this type of cake though. Most of the red velvet cakes I see don't have that really deep taste with a deep rich red color, which is what makes this cake so special.

You can see by the photo of a great way to really dress up this cake with pecans. If you don't want to use the pecans though, I also love to space cherry cordials around the bottom of the cake.

Southern-Style Red Velvet Cake

Vegetable oil for the pans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
Crushed pecans or cherry cordials, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour 3 (9 by 1 1/2-inch round) cake pans.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.

Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the side of the pans, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely.

Frost the cake. Place 1 layer, rounded-side down, in the middle of a rotating cake stand. Using a palette knife or offset spatula spread some of the cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake. (Spread enough frosting to make a 1/4 to 1/2-inch layer.) Carefully set another layer on top, rounded-side down, and repeat. Top with the remaining layer and cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle the top with the pecans.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, softened
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.)

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Yield: enough to frost a 3 layer (9-inch) cake

March 2, 2006

Vote for Pet of the Month

I couple of weeks ago I was doing some research on the Nestle Purina website and I saw that there was a "Pet of the Month" section. I thought to myself, "Wow, my little Rudy would be perfect for that." So, I entered him in the worldwide competition.

I found out today he has made it to the finals of the monthly competition. If Rudy wins he will be featured on the website and receive free dog treats.

Go to the website here and VOTE for RUDY. He has 35 votes thus far... Keep the votes coming everyone. I would appreciate your help.

March 1, 2006

Spice Up the Carrots

Spicy Nutmeg Butter with Carrots

2 tbls. butter, melted
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. garlic salt
1/8 tsp. red pepper
1 package (16 oz.) baby carrots

In a small bowl, mix butter and seasonings. Cook carrots as directed on package. Pour butter mixture over carrots, toss and coat. Serve.