Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 12 for 2012 ~ Cook Lisa Cook’s Favorite Recipes

Cook Lisa Cook 2012 year in review On my Moments with Maisie blog, each December 31st I do a year in review post of all the things that happened throughout the year.  It struck me that I should do a post of my favorite recipes from 2012, so here is my cooking year in review.

IMG_2438e2January ~  This was my busiest cooking month and there were many wonderful recipes but the one that I’m most thrilled with is my Pork Dumplings with Rice Wrappers.  My Maisie adores dumplings but when we found out that she was allergic to wheat, egg & dairy, she lost her favorite food.  So, when I finally thought to make dumplings using rice wrappers, and she loved them, well I was just thrilled beyond words.  I now make these in large batches and keep them in my freezer so that anytime she wants dumplings, she can have them.

IMG_3287e[4]February ~ There were quite a few recipes that I really loved, including my Baked Egg & Avocado and my Double Chocolate Meyer Lemon Mousse Cake but the recipe that I made over-and-over again the most, so I’m going to call it my favorite, was my Shrimp & Avocado Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing.

IMG_3672e[2]March ~ My Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole has to be my March favorite because it’s simple, it combines two favorites, loaded potatoes and buffalo chicken and I have been making this dish for years and we never tire of it.  This is one casserole that I always try to keep some portions in the freezer for when we get a craving.

IMG_3721e2April ~ My favorite recipe this month came from my Secret Recipe Club challenge where I made a Fruit, Nut & Poppy Seed Chicken Salad.  I loved the combination of the sweet and tangy fruit and the crunch of the nuts and poppy seeds and and the creamy sweet & tangy dressing.  What I loved even more was that it was a delicious and wonderful way to use some of my “Rotisserie” Chicken.

IMG_3994e[2]May ~ I did very little cooking this month but I did make an off the charts, Totally Outrageous Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich which no one could get enough of, always wanting more and again & again.

Lacy Cheese CrackersJune ~ I adore cheese and these one ingredient super simple Lacy Cheese Crackers were a huge hit and I have made them dozens of times since and with all sorts of different cheeses, all so delicious.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza July ~ I love pizza but I don’t love all the carbs & calories so I was thrilled to make Cauliflower Crust Pizza which is great tasting, a lot healthier and in my opinion, even better than the high carb & calorie pizza.  This now is my go-to pizza when I have the craving.

Mini Cheesecake Bites 1 August ~ These Mini Cheesecake Bites are a healthier version of the ones my Mom always made when I was growing up and they were always a favorite.  I love that my version are low carb, no added sugar, portion controlled and just as delicious.

Zucchini with Onion & Brown Sugar September ~ Though I did very little cooking, what I did do all included veggies from our garden.  All the recipes this month were wonderful but I’d have to say that, much to surprise, my favorite was one of my Improv Cooking Challenge recipes, Zucchini with Onion & Brown Sugar.  This was an amazingly delicious dish and a great way to use the bounty of zucchini that arrives each summer.

Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings October ~ As I mentioned in my March favorite, buffalo wings are a favorite in the Cook Lisa Cook home so when I made some fabulous Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings for my Secret Recipe Club assignment, they were a huge hit.  All the heat and flavor of the high fat, fried wings…just a little bit healthier.

Sweet Italian Sausage & Roasted Chestnut Stuffed Mushrooms November ~ I am not a stuffing lover but I do love stuffed mushrooms and my stand out recipe for November was my Sweet Italian Sausage & Roasted Chestnut Stuffed Mushrooms.  A perfect little appetizer and if you eat enough of them, a nice little meal.

Cranberry Almond Oat Breakfast Cookies December ~ My favorite recipe this month is actually the final recipe posted for the year, Cranberry Almond Oat Breakfast Cookies.  No added sugar or fat and they’re egg, flour & dairy free, such a delicious, healthy, easy, grab-and-go breakfast or snack.

It’s been a delicious year in the Cook Lisa Cook home, hope that it’s been the same in yours.  Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and delicious 2013.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cranberry Almond Oat Breakfast Cookies ~ no added sugar ~ egg, flour & dairy free!!

IMG_6446eIn the Cook Lisa Cook home we go through a lot of oats.  Not only do we all enjoy oatmeal for breakfast but I also use oats in all of the granola bars that I make for Maisie and in a number of my cookie bars too.  So when I was contacted by Foodie Blogroll* regarding participating in a promotion for Better Oats, I of course said yes! 

Once the Better Oats were in the house we were all excited to give them a try.  Eammon immediately went for the MMM...Muffins Blueberry and said that it was the best flavored oatmeal he had ever eaten.  Maisie opted for the Oat Revolution! Apples & Cinnamon as that’s her favorite flavor.  Maisie liked the oatmeal though she said, not as much as her regular one, but I think that’s because her regular one tastes much sweeter.  I enjoyed the MMM...Muffins Oatmeal Raisin Cookie which was tasty, not too sweet and had a great texture.  We also tried the RAW Pure & Simple Pomegranate with Flax which was interesting and different from what we generally eat.  I set aside the RAW Pure & Simple bare to be used in the recipe below but honestly any of the flavors would have worked in the cookies but I wanted to keep them no-added sugar so I opted for the plain oatmeal.

I saw a recipe for breakfast cookies and tailored that recipe to flavors which we enjoy.  What’s really nice though about using this basic recipe is that it can be made to fit any taste you enjoy.  Don’t like cranberries or they contain too much sugar, try raisins.  Allergic to almonds or don’t like nuts?  Just use ones you like or leave them out.  Not a fan of bananas, use mango pulp…what about mango pulp, apple sauce, dried mango bits and some unsweetened coconut with the oats…sure sounds delicious and still wheat, egg and dairy free!  So grab some Better Oats and use your imagination to make some delicious Oat Breakfast Cookies of your own, they’re delicious.

Better Oats

Better Oats offers 23 delicious flavors in several lines, including RAW Pure & Simple, Oat Revolution, and MMM...Muffins.

RAW Pure & Simple: RAW Pure & Simple is a better way to eat. We start with the finest quality 100% organic, whole grain oats blended with organic whole grains and seeds, like flax, barley and quinoa, for a wonderfully wholesome and nutritious breakfast. You'll love all four thick, hearty multigrain texture and natural, robust flavors. RAW Pure & Simple is naturally good, straight from Mother Earth.

Oat Revolution: Raise your spoon and join us for an Oat Revolution! It starts with all natural 100% whole grain oats. We then add antioxidants and flax, a good source of Omega-3, and top it all off with a bold shot of flavor. All combine to create delicious oatmeal that keeps its rich, robust flavor all the way to your bowl. Take one bite and start your Oat Revolution! 

MMM...Muffins: Everyone loves waking up to hot, fresh muffins for breakfast.
MMM...Muffins gives you that same delicious muffin taste you crave in healthy and nutritious 100% whole grain oatmeal. Our thick and hearty oatmeal is also a good source of fiber and omega-3, so it's better than good, it's good for you. Start your day off right with the indulgent taste of real muffin flavor in every bite...mmm.

IMG_6454eCranberry Almond Oat Breakfast Cookies  ~ no added sugar ~ egg, flour & dairy free!! (Adapted from here)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.  In a medium bowl mash the bananas.  Stir in the applesauce & almond extract.  Add the oats, dried cranberries and toasted almonds and mix well.  Allow the mixture to sit for about five minutes before proceeding.  With a large cookie scoop portion out the mixture making 12 cookies.  Flatten the cookies down a bit as they will not spread or puff as they bake.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden.  Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the pans before removing to a cooling rack.  Store in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

 

More about Better Oats: 

Better Oats instant oatmeal comes in many delicious varieties * 23 flavors in fact, including RAW Pure & Simple  *Pomegranate and MMM... Muffins  *Blueberry Muffin. Kids love Better Oats because it’s fun and delicious, and parents love it because it is not only nutritious, but also convenient. Better Oats uses up to 35 percent less packaging than traditional instant oatmeal boxes (so there’s more room on the pantry shelf), and the pouch doubles as a measuring cup!

Made with 100% whole grain oats and flax seeds, this complete line offers a simple and healthy option when it comes to instant oatmeal. But it's not only a great breakfast (or lunch... or snack...) but also a better ingredient to spice up a cookie or other baked goods.

You've got to try Better Oats. If you've been settling for ordinary oatmeal, then you're in for a treat because Better Oats is just... better! Try us and see for yourself.

Visit the Better Oats website!

* This sponsorship is brought to you by Foodie Blogroll who we have partnered with for this promotion.  I was provided with a box of products to sample.  This is a compensated post but all the views and opinions expressed are my own and based upon my experiences with Better Oats.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Steak au Poivre

IMG_6344eYears ago…well I should say decades ago as it was probably 20+ years ago, I remember enjoying one of the most wonderful steaks I’ve ever eaten.  It was steak au poivre, prepared tableside at a very upscale, now defunct, restaurant in Aruba called Chez Mathilde.  A number of times through the years I’ve made steak au poivre and though I could get the flavors where I wanted, the quality of the filet mignon was never quite as buttery and tender as the one I remembered.  So when I was asked by Certified Steak & Seafood* to sample and review their Prime Angus Filet Mignon, I knew immediately what recipe I wanted to make. 

IMG_6335eThe Certified Steak & Seafood Filet Mignon steaks arrived at my door individually vacuum sealed, frozen and packed in a styrofoam cooler with dry ice.  It was easy to just pop the steaks in the freezer to be used at a later date…but I couldn’t wait.  Instead of placing the steaks in the freezer I put them in the fridge and allowed them to defrost overnight.  Less than 24 hours after the steaks arrived I was cooking and we were enjoying them.  Finally!!  I found steaks as tender and buttery as I remember those from years ago at Chez Mathilde.  Not only were these Certified Steak & Seafood filets tender but the flavor was gorgeous, even without the amazing sauce that I prepared.  The Certified Steak & Seafood Prime Filet Mignon steaks were just wonderful and we’re looking forward to enjoying more in the near future along with some Chilean Sea Bass*.  Certified Steak & Seafood also sent samples of Chilean Sea Bass which I did pop into the freezer and am looking forward to trying very soon but with our busy schedule it will have to wait until after the holidays so please check back for that recipe and review.

For the home cook, finding and purchasing USDA prime beef, like these filets is often difficult but with Certified Steak & Seafood it’s easy to order online and what’s really nice is that they allow you the ability to choose up to 12 weeks out, the arrival date of your order.  Think about it, order now and have it delivered for New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day or any other special occasion.  Plus if you order now you can use coupon FBR125D on the Certified Steak & Seafood website to get $25 off your order.

What Certified Steak & Seafood says about their Buttery Prime Angus Filet Mignon

: Certified Steak & Seafood

"If there was ever a steak that you will believe can “melt in your mouth” the Certified Steak and Seafood Prime angus Filet Mignon is it. With a delectable almost sweet beef flavor, and a strong buttery undertone that only Prime angus offers, it has to be tasted to be believed.

Each Prime angus filet is slow aged,  custom cut and trimmed for consistency in color and quality. It is a flavor you will remember long after your meal is over. Great accompanied by grilled root vegetables and horseradish mashed potatoes.”

 Certified Steak & Seafood Visit the Certified Steak & Seafood website! Use coupon FBR125D to get $25 off your order.

IMG_6346eSteak au Poivre (very slightly adapted from here)

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 60 minutes prior to cooking. Make sure that the steaks are dry and sprinkle all sides with salt.

Coarsely crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, the bottom of a cast iron skillet, or using a mallet and pie pan. Spread the peppercorns evenly onto a plate. Press the fillets, on both sides, into the pepper until it coats the surface. Set aside.

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil. As soon as the butter and oil begin to turn golden and smoke, gently place the steaks in the pan.  Once placed, do not move them other than to turn them one time.  For medium-rare, cook for 4 minutes on each side. Once done, remove the steaks to a plate, tent with aluminum foil and set aside. Pour off any excess fat but do not wipe or scrape the pan clean.

Off of the heat, add the Cognac to the pan and carefully ignite the alcohol with a long match or utility lighter. Gently shake pan until the flames die. Return the pan to medium heat and add the cream. Bring the mixture to a boil and whisk until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt.  Add any of the accumulated juices from the steak resting plate back to the pan and stir to mix in.  Spoon some of the sauce onto the serving plate, top with the steak and drizzle a little more sauce over the top.  Serve immediately. 

Enjoy!

More about Certified Steak & Seafood:  “Our commitment to our customers is simple: Offer the highest quality products at the best price and back it with a 100% guarantee. We source directly with no 'middle man' making our supply chain the shortest in the industry. This allows us to maintain the highest quality standards all the way to your plate. On top of this, we sample all products at the moment of final packaging and have a world-renowned laboratory test for various types of adulteration or contamination. This ensures that the food you purchase from us is pure and safe.

Certified Steak and Seafood Company was formed by the three Frisch boys, Mark, Adam, and Steven; all of whom thought that everyone should be able to buy the highest quality steaks and seafood direct. The brothers experience comes from a three generation family owned wholesale company that is one of the largest seafood importers in America.

They have vast experience in sourcing and selling high quality seafood and meat products to the commercial trade — and bring you the same grade of products fine restaurants, resorts, hotels, and high-end retail stores demand – and at a direct price that gives you tremendous value for every purchase.”

Certified Steak & Seafood

Disclosures:

* This sponsorship is brought to you by Certified Steak & Seafood Company who we have partnered with for this promotion. I was provided with a box of products to sample.  This is a compensated post but all the views and opinions expressed are my own and based upon my experiences with Certified Steak & Seafood products.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

White Chocolate Marshmallow Cranberry Cashew Bark

IMG_6308e About a month ago I posted the following status on Facebook:  “The older I get, the less I enjoy, crave or even want chocolate. What's up with that?”   Most people commented that I must be sick or crazy and stated that they had the complete opposite problem.  I honestly don’t know what it is with me but I just haven’t been in a chocolate mood.  So when I saw that this month for the Improv Cooking Challenge our hostess Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker asked the participating bloggers to make any recipe of their choice using the two given ingredients of chocolate & marshmallows, I have to say, I was uninspired.  Though I could think of a way to use chocolate in a savory recipe, like my Fruit & Nut Turkey Chili, I just couldn’t work the marshmallows into anything savory.  I looked through dozens and dozens of sweet recipes and though lots of them looked interesting and good, they just left me cold and I couldn’t be bothered to make them. 

I almost decided to skip the challenge this month but I’ve been participating in the Improv Cooking Challenge for the past 14 months and I just didn’t want to break my streak.  In the end I decided to make a simple candy bark in flavors that Eammon would love and using ingredients that I had in the house.  Eammon adores both milk and white chocolate and as I had white in the house, that was the way I went.  I always keep marshmallows in the pantry as Maisie loves them as a little treat and as I was using white chocolate I decided to use the pretty pastel colored ones.  I also wanted something crunchy and chewy in the bark so after a raid on the panty, I chose to add some cashews and dried cranberries.  

IMG_6310eWhite Chocolate Marshmallow Cranberry Cashew Bark

Prepare a baking sheet, covered with either a Silpat, or aluminum foil.  Slowly and carefully melt the white chocolate either in a double boiler or in the microwave being careful not to scorch the chocolate.  Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, mix in the marshmallows, cranberries and cashews and immediately pour onto the prepared pan.  Spread and smooth the mixture as needed.  Refrigerate until the chocolate is set and then either cut or break into pieces.

Enjoy!

My previous Improv Cooking Challenge entries:

November 2012  Sweet Potatoes & honey: Sweet Potato Glass Noodles with Honey Garlic Lime Shrimp 
October 2012  Oatmeal & RaisinsS’mores Granola Bars   
September 2012  Zucchini & Brown Sugar:  Zucchini with Onion & Brown Sugar 
August 2012  Tomatoes & Peppers:  French Fries Hash Browns 
July 2012  Corn & Butter:  Fritos Crusted Pollock 
June 2012  Cherries & Almonds:  Dried Cherry Almond Tart 
May 2012  Strawberries & Cream:  Strawberry Soup 
April 2012  Peanut butter & Jelly:  Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars 
March 2012  Potato & Cheese:  Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole 
February 2012  Ginger & Carrots:  Shrimp & Avocado Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing 
January 2012 Lemon & Sour Cream:  Ponderosa Lemon & Sour Cream Tart 
December 2011 Eggnog & Cranberries:  Eggnog Popovers with Cranberry Butter 
November 2011 Pumpkin & Cream Cheese:  Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake
October 2011 Caramel & Apples:  Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Braised Beef Short Ribs

IMG_5173eBack in August  for my Secret Recipe Club assignment I was assigned Barbara’s blog, Barbara Bakes and I for my post I decided to make her Chicken Satay Noodle Salad but a number of her other recipes caught my eye including her Braised Beef Short Ribs.  I couldn’t get the rib recipe out of my mind but as our temps were in the high 90’s & 100’s I just couldn’t bring myself to run the oven for 2+ hours so I saved the recipe and tried to put it out of my mind.  As soon as the temps took a little dip though, my thoughts returned to her ribs and I just had to make them.

Even though the recipe takes two days to make, it’s not a lot of hands on time.  The  first day the ribs are browned and braised and then chilled overnight to not only allow the accumulated fat to congeal on the top so that it can easily be removed but also allowing the ribs to soak up all the wonderful flavors.  Then on the second day the ribs are cooked in the braising liquid on the stovetop as the liquid is reduced to a wonderful glaze. 

Barbara said that these ribs were fall off the bone delicious and we all agree but I would add the word “rich” to the description as well.  I didn’t make any ingredient changes to Barbara’s recipe but I did adjust my amounts slightly.  So were these ribs worth a two day cooking process…heck yes!!  I will be making these again and I’m thinking that next time I am going to make one addition to the recipe, I’ll add some fresh mushrooms because they would soak up the flavor of the sauce and be absolutely wonderful with the the beef.

IMG_5169e Braised Beef Short Ribs (adapted from here)

  • 5 lbs. beef short ribs, bone-in
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 750-ml bottle good dry red wine (I used a merlot)
  • 6 cups beef stock

Preheat oven to 350°F. Season ribs to taste with the salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed ovenproof pan over high heat. Add ribs and brown on all sides. Work in batches if you need to so that the ribs don’t get crowded (this will help with browning).

Transfer ribs to a plate. Pour off excess fat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots to the pan and sauté, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan, set aside. Then add the wine to the pan, deglazing the pan, scraping off any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the wine by three-quarters until thick and slightly syrupy, about 15 minutes.

Return the ribs to the pan, add the beef stock and enough water to cover the ribs. Bring to a boil, cover with the lid or foil and place in the oven. Braise, cooking in the oven until the meat is fork-tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. During the last 1/2 hour of cooking add back in the vegetables. Allow the ribs to cool in the liquid, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day remove the excess fat that has solidified at the top from the overnight chilling. Place the pan with the ribs and cooking liquid over medium heat, uncovered. Cook until the liquid has reduced by three-quarters, about 1 hour. Continue to cook, spooning the sauce over the ribs, until the sauce is thick and ribs are glazed. Take care not to burn the glaze; move the ribs around in the pan to keep them from burning.

Serve over saffron rice (Maisie’s request), mashed potatoes, noodles, or rice.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Crispy Oven Roasted Potatoes

IMG_6179e These are Eammon’s absolute favorite potatoes but because of the calories in them, I make them only for holidays or as a very special treat.  When I make these special potatoes I use a very special ingredient, FAT!!  Yes pure, delicious, culinary gold, saved fat from when I previously made either chicken, duck or even as a last resort, bacon.  I keep containers of rendered fat in my freezer for when I want to make these potatoes or other special recipes.  My favorite fat to use when making these potatoes is the fat skimmed from a pot of Cheaters Chicken Soup as it not only has the rich chicken fat flavor but also all the garlic, onion and other flavors from the “Rotisserie” Chicken and the soup so it gives these potatoes the most delicious flavor EVAAH!! {Sorry, I’m originally from Boston and the accent just comes out every once in a while.}  I have also used pure rendered chicken and duck fat and while not as flavorful, still off the charts delicious.  If you’re not into saving chicken fat, fry up some bacon and use that fat.  Once you try these potatoes you’ll find fried or oven potatoes made with oil…well just boring and bland.  These potatoes are a special treat and oh-so-very worth every.single-calorie!!

IMG_6181eCrispy Oven Roasted Potatoes

Pre-heat oven to 450F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with oil or cooking spray.  Cut each unpeeled potato into eight pieces or for large potatoes, ten pieces.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the potatoes.  Parboil the potatoes for five minutes, until just the outer edge of the potatoes are soft but the potatoes are still raw in the middle.  Pour the potatoes into a colander to drain and toss them around to get the edges roughed up.  Place some of the chicken fat into the now empty, still warm pot and allow it to melt.  Add the drained potatoes to the pot and toss to coat with the melted fat.  Pour the potatoes onto the prepared baking pan in a single layer and place them skin side down.  Roast for 30 minutes.  Toss the potatoes and cook another 10 minutes, toss one last time and cook for a final 10 minutes.  Season with salt & pepper and serve hot.

Enjoy!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cauliflower with Seared Peppers and Caramelized Onions & Garlic

IMG_6165e1Cauliflower was a recent loss leader at my local market so I’ve been on a cauliflower binge so get ready to see lots of recipes including cauliflower.  Also a recent loss leader were packages of red, yellow and orange bell peppers so they too have been making a showing in a lot of our meals lately.  

IMG_6159eI served this cauliflower dish at our Thanksgiving dinner this year along side the Spatchcocked Turkey.  As I said in previous posts, because we were only a small group, the three of us and my parents and that fact that Maisie, my Mom and I were all sick,  I went simple and easy with our meal and used only the ingredients I had in the house.  With this recipe, I knew what flavors and textures I wanted and I just made it up as I went along.  Thankfully it came out exactly as I envisioned and everyone loved the dish.

IMG_6163eThe dish includes sweet, caramelized onions and garlic, seared sweet peppers and seared and steamed cauliflower.  What really added an additional, phenomenal flavor, was that I used some chicken fat from my Cheaters Chicken soup as the oil/fat for the dish.  While I could have used any cooking oil, butter or even bacon grease, I just adore the flavor that the seasoned chicken fat added to the dish.

IMG_6166eCauliflower with Seared Peppers and Caramelized Onions & Garlic

  • 1 head fresh cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 large garlic cloves, sliced thinly 
  • 1 cup sliced red, yellow & orange peppers
  • rendered chicken fat, bacon grease or oil of your choice
  • sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat a thin layer of fat or oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-low heat.  Very slowly sauté the onion until it begins to caramelize.  Add the garlic and continue cooking until the onion and garlic is nicely caramelized.  Remove the onion & garlic from the pan, set aside, return the pan to the cook top and turn the heat to high.  Once the pan is really hot add the peppers and sear quickly so that they retain some of their crunch.  Remove the peppers to the dish with the onions & garlic and then add the cauliflower to the hot pan.  Allow the cauliflower to sear a little, stirring when necessary.  When the cauliflower has some toasted bits, add a cup of water to the pan and cover immediately.  Reduce the temperature to medium and allow the cauliflower to steam cook until tender but not mushy.  If there is any water left in the pan once the cauliflower is tender, just pour it off.  Add the cooked onions & peppers back into the pan with the cooked cauliflower and toss gently to mix.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Crockpot Baked Stuffed Apples

I know, here it is the last day of November and I’m still trying to get my Thanksgiving recipes posted and shoot, this isn’t even my last one.  Busyness, continued sickness and tiredness…well I’m just behind and maybe one day I’ll catch up…maybe by next Thanksgiving??  I mentioned both over on my Moments with Maisie and on this blog that this year with all the food restrictions and sickness, I went really simple with our dinner and especially with dessert.  I mean think about it, what do you make with the following restrictions?  Maisie can’t have wheat, egg or dairy, my Mom can’t have dairy, my Dad limits sugar, Eammon really doesn’t care for desserts which are too chocolaty and I’ve been avoiding flour & sugar and also, though I enjoy crisps, crumbles & some tarts, I generally don’t care for pies, the making or the eating.  

Dessert really was a dilemma until I saw a recipe for Crock-Pot Baked Apples on the blog, Skinny Chef.  The recipe was perfect as it it was the right seasonal flavors and it pretty much met everyone’s dietary restrictions.  Even better, it was simple to prepare and once it was put in the slow cooker no one had to think about it until dessert was served.  Even though the original recipe met most of our dietary restrictions I still tweaked it a bit by changing out the trans-fat free margarine called for in the original recipe, instead using coconut oil and I also decided to add dried cranberries, crystallized ginger and some additional spices to make the dish more my own. 

I loved the simplicity of the dish and the flavor of the filling and the apples.  The only thing I would do differently next time is to use less fat and that’s only because I didn’t care for the mouth feel but on that, I was the only one who complained.  We enjoyed these apples both hot and cold as leftovers.  These apples provided all of the flavors of the holiday without all the heaviness, calories, fat and work of pies and by having these apples I think we all felt a bit less stuffed and possibly…even a bit healthier!

IMG_6160eCrockpot Baked Stuffed Apples (adapted from here)

Using an apple corer and a serrated grapefruit spoon, core the apples, scooping out all the seeds and opening the cored hole a little wider at the top of the apple than the corer.  It’s okay if you go all the way through as the apples don’t move when they cook and if you carefully scoop them from underneath when serving, the filling stays in them without a problem. 

In a large bowl, mix the Whey Low Gold, walnuts, pecans, cranberries, coconut oil, cinnamon, ginger & ground clove.  Fill each apple with approximately 2 TBS. of the filling, packing it in, and place the filled apples in the crockpot. Pour in the apple cider and orange liquor.  Cover and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours on high heat until the apples are soft and begin to collapse.

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Favorite Fall Recipe - Savory Corn Crumble

Weather wise I am truly a summer person, always telling people that the happiest day of my life was the day I sold my snow blower and moved from Boston to Georgia, thus leaving the snow and super cold weather behind.  Fall though is my favorite time of year when it comes to cooking because I enjoy heating up the house making delicious smelling recipes which warm both the body and soul.  Soups, curries and casseroles are my favorites to make as they generally take little work, feed us for days and are the perfect comfort foods. 

butternut On my Moments with Maisie blog I have spoken numerous times about our garden and though we don’t plant a fall garden it’s late in the summer season is when we get our butternut squash harvest and some years it’s crazy huge so we’re always looking for delicious ways to enjoy the squash like in my Roasted & Curried Veggie Soup.  Ever since I was a little girl I have loved butternut squash so when I was asked by Foodie Blogroll to participate in their Favorite Fall Recipe promotion*** and that it was Savory Corn Crumble with Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta from Ivy of Kopiaste, well I just had to join in.  I hope that you’ll check out Ivy’s recipe, my easy Roasted & Curried Veggie Soup and though it doesn’t contain butternut squash, one of our favorite comfort food casseroles…just click on the casserole picture at the bottom of the post.  Oh and with our large butternut squash harvest, I’d love if you’d share some of your favorite butternut squash recipes, leave your recipe and or link in the comments. 

 

Savory Corn Crumble with Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta, recipe by Ivy Liacopoulou of Kopiaste…to Greek Hospitality

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Baking time: 1 hour

Serves: 1 baking dish (about 12 pieces)

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 2 lbs butternut Squash, grated
  • 1 lbs spinach, squeezed
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lbs feta, crumbled
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup fennel fronds, finely chopped
  • Salt (with caution) and freshly grated black pepper
  • A pinch of cumin

Crumble:

  • 1.5 lbs corn meal
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 200 ml Greek yogurt 2%
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp salt

Additional ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp margarine divided (to grease the baking tin and to add on top)

Directions:

  1. Grate the pumpkin and mix all the filling ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl add the crumble ingredients and mix using your hand until the ingredients are well blended to form the crumble. If you still see corn meal, add more olive oil, if necessary.
  3. Grease a 35 x 25 cm baking tin with 2 tbsp margarine. Add half of the crumble on the baking tin.
  4. Add the filling on top and sprinkle the remaining crumble on top of the filling.
  5. Add the remaining margarine in small pieces scattered all over the baking tin.
  6. Preheat oven to 180o C / 350o F and bake for about 1 hour or until the crumble is golden on top.

Serve as a main dish, a side dish or a snack.

Below is one of our favorite fall comfort foods though it doesn’t contain butternut squash it’s totally delicious!  Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole, click on the picture to be taken to the recipe.

 

***This sponsorship is brought to you by GLAM Media who we have partnered with for this promotion.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Roasted Spatchcocked Turkey

IMG_6169eWith everyone being sick this year at Thanksgiving, I just didn’t have it in me to make my usual Spiced Rubbed Turkey with Cognac Gravy and decided instead to make a simple Roasted Spatchcocked Turkey.  I’ve seen directions for making spatchcocked turkey all over the internet but I decided to just use one of my go-to easy and favorite poultry seasonings and not have to think about anything new.  Tuesday night before Thanksgiving, I split my turkey along the backbone and removed the bone and I also cracked the bird along the breast bone to make carving the bird later that much easier.  I prepared an aluminum foil lined baking sheet and added a rack on which the bird would sit. I rinsed and dried the turkey and spread it out, skin side down on the rack.  I seasoned the inside of the turkey then turned the turkey skin side up and seasoned the skin side.  I placed the turkey still skin side up, uncovered, into the refrigerator so that the skin could dry out a bit before cooking on Thursday.

Thursday, about an hour before I planned to put the turkey in the oven I removed the ready-to-go bird, already on it’s cooking pan from the fridge and let it warm up a bit on the counter.  The bird cooked perfectly in just shy of 1.5 hours and as you can see, all the skin was golden, crispy and delicious.  Making the bird this way doesn’t make for a beautiful whole bird presentation at the table but it sure makes carving the bird easy-peasy.  Because I had cracked the bird along the breast bone, once the turkey was cooked I easily used my poultry shears and just cut right up that center crease along the breast bone and moved the entire right half of the bird to my carving board.  I quickly cut off the wing and the thigh quarter and then separated the drum stick.  Next I removed the breast meat from the bone, giving me a gorgeous and moist boneless breast which was easily carved with a golden crisp piece of skin on each serving.  Because it was just the three of us and my parents, just half of the bird was all I needed for the serving platter.  All the turkey eaters heartily enjoyed the bird saying it was tender, juicy and delicious.   

IMG_6168eRoasted Spatchcocked Turkey

At least one day before cooking prepare the turkey.  Split the turkey along the backbone and removed it.  Save the removed backbone and use it either for making a stock for gravy or in soup.  Crack the bird along the breast bone to make carving the bird later that much easier.  Prepared an aluminum foil lined baking sheet and add a rack on which the bird will sit. Rinse and dry the turkey well and spread it out, skin side down on the rack.  I season the inside of the turkey with the sumac, garlic powder, salt & pepper and then turned the turkey skin side up and seasoned the skin side with the same.  Place the turkey still skin side up, uncovered, into the refrigerator so that the skin can dry out a bit before cooking.  When ready to cook, remove the bird from the refrigerator on it’s ready-to-go baking rack and pan about an hour before putting into the oven.  Preheat the oven to 450F and insert the probe of a programmable meat thermometer into the thickest part of the breast meat.  Roast the bird for 75-90 minutes or until a meat thermometer in the breast meat registers 160F.  Once the bird reaches temperature remove from the oven and allow the bird to sit for 10-15 minutes before carving. 

To carve the bird use cooking shears and cut right up that center crease along the breast bone.  Moved half of the bird to a carving board and remove the wing and thigh quarter and then separate the drum stick.  Next removed the breast meat from the bone.  Carve the now boneless breast so that a golden crisp piece of skin is on each serving

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Slow Cooker Ranch Mushrooms

IMG_6112e The market had mushrooms as a loss leader (1.5 lbs. for $0.99) and as Eammon adores mushrooms and I’m one to never pass up a good bargain, I picked up a couple of pounds.  I used some of the mushrooms in recipes like these Slow Cooker Ranch Mushrooms and some I sliced up, sautéed and froze in small FoodSaver packets so that I can easily pull them out and use in future recipes. 

This recipe is a super simple and made in a Crockpot.  The mushrooms can be used not only as an appetizer or side dish but they are wonderful over roasted chicken, a grilled steak or pork chop or even with a sautéed piece of white flakey fish.  I’m sure that once you make these you’ll find many, many ways to enjoy them.

IMG_6110eSlow Cooker Ranch Mushrooms

Combine all three ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for five hours.

Enjoy!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mom’s Curried Chicken Salad

IMG_5284eMy Mom has been making a curried chicken salad for years and as she’s been raving about how wonderful it is, I decided to give it a try…but of course I made a few little changes, but what else is new.  This Curried Chicken Salad is a little different from my Curried Grilled Thai Chicken Salad but just as delicious.  My Mom often makes this recipe with leftover turkey so perfect for your Thanksgiving leftovers.  This is just one of those recipes which can be tailored to what you have in hand or to your tastes.   

As I’ve been avoiding carbs lately, I’ve been enjoying this Curried Chicken Salad as pictured, atop a thick slice of fresh tomato and wrapped in a leaf of Romaine lettuce, so basically an awesome lettuce wrap…Delish!!

IMG_5288eMom’s Curried Chicken Salad

In a large bowl mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic powder, curry powder and cayenne.  Add the mustard, lemon juice and chutney and combine well.  Add the diced chicken, green onions, apple, almonds, celery & raisins and toss to mix.  Cover and refrigerate.  This is best made a day in advance so that all the flavors can come together.  Serve cold on a salad or in a sandwich.

Enjoy!

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