Friday, August 29, 2014

Chili-Cheese Casserole

This casserole is terrific for breakfast, lunch, or dinner; it also reheats well in the microwave. Summer and fall are a great time to make this casserole if roasted chiles are available in your local farmers' market. In fact, use this casserole as an excuse for buying extra chiles and freezing them.

Chile-Cheese  Casserole
Serves 8

2 7-ounce cans Ortega whole green chiles, drained 
1 pound reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, grated 
2 green onions, thinly sliced 
1 ¼-ounce can sliced black olives, drained 
6 eggs 
1 13-ounce can evaporated skim milk 
Salt and pepper to taste 
½ pound reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, grated

Slit chiles and remove their seeds. It may help to rinse chiles in running water and then pat chiles dry with paper towels.
Spread half of chiles on bottom of lightly buttered 9x13-inch glass baking dish.  Cover chiles with half of Monterey Jack cheese.  Top with remaining chiles.  Sprinkle with green onions and olives.

In bowl, beat eggs well.  Add evaporated milk, salt, and pepper to beaten eggs and beat.  Pour egg mixture over casserole.  Sprinkle Cheddar cheese over the top of the casserole.  Bake uncovered in 325°F. oven just until set, about 1 hour. Let sit five to 10 minutes before serving.

- Use fresh roasted chiles if available. Peel and de-stem them before using. 
Or canned diced chiles may be used.  

- You may buy 10 or so olives at an olive bar and slice those rather than using canned or bottled olives.  
- Good served with corn or cornbread. However, adding corn to the casserole makes it too sweet for my taste.
- Recommend serving with room-temperature salsa. Sliced avocados are a nice accompaniment as well.

Karate Kickin' Chicken

With few ingredients and little preparation or cooking time, few main dishes are easier.

Karate  Kickin’  Chicken
Serves 4

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon hot-pepper sauce or more to taste
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 4-ounce skinned and boned chicken breast halves
Vegetable oil

Combine soy sauce, honey, hot-pepper sauce, sesame seeds, ginger, and garlic; set aside.

Flatten chicken evenly to about ¼-inch thick.

Coat a broiler pan or an outdoor-grill rack with a thin layer of vegetable oil.  Over medium heat, grill chicken 2 to 4 minutes on each side, basting frequently with soy-sauce mixture.

NOTE: May be garnished with strips of green onion on top. Chicken may be served on top of curly leaf lettuce.
*Quite sure I made these by broiling them rather than grilling them.

Pecan Pancakes

Enjoyed this new recipe for lunch today. My sweet tooth is in remission, so I'm happy to eat pancakes with real butter and no syrup. However, if you or yours enjoy syrup on your pancakes, please make sure it's the real McCoy—you know, maple syrup from trees—and warm it before you put it on the hot pancakes.

Pecan  Pancakes
Serves 6

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

In large bowl, whisk eggs well.  Add buttermilk and milk to eggs. Whisk well.  Add oil and whisk well.  Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk well.
Add whole-wheat flour and, using a wooden spoon, stir until partially combined.  Add pecans and stir until well-combined. 
Cook batter in lightly greased skillet over medium heat, turning once.

NOTE: Haven’t tried these as waffles but could be worth trying. If doing waffles, consider separating eggs. Then beat egg whites and fold them in as a last step before cooking the batter.

Sunset's Versatile Cornbread

Sunset Magazine's  Versatile Cornbread
Serves 6

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons to 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

In a bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar to taste, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, beat eggs.  Add buttermilk and melted butter to eggs and beat well.

Pour liquid mixture into flour mixture and stir just until batter is evenly moistened.

Bake batter in buttered 8-inch square pan in a 400°F. oven until bread springs back when lightly pressed in the center and it begins to pull from the pan’s sides, about 25 minutes.

Cut bread into 9 squares. Lift from pan with a slender spatula. Serve hot or cool.

Yogurt may not be substituted for buttermilk here.
May use 6 mini-loaf pans instead of square pan.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Wendy's Oatmeal Cookies

I like my oatmeal cookies chewy and without raisins. These have no spices and no nuts. They are simple and delicious. Consider making a double batch so that you have plenty to share. By the way, I use insulated baking sheets, so, if you don't, you may have to reduce the baking time by a minute.

Wendy’s Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 3 dozen

1 cup butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar 

1 egg 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
¼ teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
2¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats

Cream butter in medium-large mixing bowl.
2    Gradually stir in granulated sugar and then brown sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
3    Add egg and beat well.
4    Beat in baking soda, salt, and vanilla.
      Stir in flour just until it can’t be seen.
      Stir in oatmeal, one-half at a time.
      Drop rounded tablespoons of dough on an ungreased baking sheet, flattening dough slightly with palm of hand.
      Bake in 375°F. oven for 9 minutes. Leave cookies on baking sheet for 1 minute before removing to wire rack to cool. Store cookies tightly sealed.

NOTE: Try substituting 2 tablespoons or more whole-wheat flour for an equal amount of the all-purpose flour.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Slow Cooker Taco Soup

This soup is super easy and has become a family favorite!  It's a recipe I got from my neighbor/best friend, with whom I've been meal planning, cooking and eating for several months now.  All the kids love it, which is a challenge when you're feeding two families including five kids of varying ages and tastes.  This one is a winner!

(picture soon!)

Taco Soup
(double if serving more than 4-6 people)

1 pound ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning

2 cans tomatoes
2 cans pinto beans, drained
1 can black olives, drained

tortilla chips

sour cream
grated cheese
diced tomatoes
diced onions

Brown ground beef, stir in taco seasoning and place in slow cooker.  Add tomatoes, beans & olives, stir to combine.  Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours, until heated through.  While soup is cooking, prep toppings as desired.

Stir again before serving.

To serve:  Crush tortilla chips in a bowl.  Top with taco soup, and any toppings you wish.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Roasted Marinara

This is easy and quick to make, requiring no seeding or fine chopping. Use sauce for lasagna or other pasta. May want to make a double batch, using two baking sheets.

Roasted  Marinara

12 to 15 Roma tomatoes, quartered
Half head of garlic
1 sweet yellow onion, cut into large chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
Dried basil, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly, coarsely ground pepper, to taste

1.    Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and then coat the foil with a light layer of olive oil.

2.    Place the quartered tomatoes and the chunks of onion on the foil.

3.    Place individual cloves of garlic on the baking sheet. Do NOT remove skin from garlic cloves.

4.    Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables on the baking sheet.

5.    Sprinkle basil, oregano, sea salt, and pepper over top.

6.    Place in 375°F. oven and roast for about 40 minutes or until vegetables are really soft and the tomatoes are still juicy.

7.    Peel the skin from the cloves of garlic and discard.

8.    Place roasted vegetables and juices into a bowl or pan.

9.    Using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables until smooth. Or puree with a traditional blender.
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