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Monday, November 25, 2013

A Short Break....And Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving!!

With all my photos gone, gone, gone... I really don't have anything to share with you this week, so I am going to take a short break and enjoy the holiday with no pressures of feeling that I MUST post something :)

I will hopefully be back after the holiday with some new and delicious recipes to share with you.... Until then...  here's wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving filled with family, love and most of all delicious food!!!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Kansas City Style Pork Back Ribs

(Image courtesy The Neely's - Food Network)

Another borrowed photo - sorry.  I am still so upset with myself for deleting so many photos off my camera.  I said it before.. it's heart breaking!!!  For the last two posts it hasn't been too big of a deal, as these were adapted recipes... but I had two posts for next week that were my own creations... THAT is the most upsetting!!  But alas, I guess there could be worse things that happened to me this week, right?  oh wait.. there just might be.. some of you may have noticed I haven't been commenting on your blogs much this week.. well, one more depressing thing - my internet connection is spotty.. if that.  I am having troubles even connecting to the internet, so don't think of me as rude, just know I will get back to commenting as soon as my issue is fixed... what a week, huh? :)

Anyway - these are ribs that I have made a couple of times and each time I've had a problem with the photo.. lol... this time, I said forget it.. I'll just politely borrow a photo and finally post this delicious recipe!!!

Kansas City Style Pork Back Ribs
Adapted from The Neely's, Food Network
Printable Recipe 
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 rack pork back ribs
For the Sauce -
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon molasses
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons water

Mix together the first 8 ingredients until well combined.  Sprinkle and rub into both sides of the rib.  Cover in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce, add all of the sauce ingredients into a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to low (stirring occasionally).  Allow to simmer for 8-10 minutes; stirring occasionally so nothing burns.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Remove ribs from the refrigerator about 30-45 minutes before you are ready to cook them.  Preheat grill to 275-300 degree F and set up for indirect cooking.  Remove the ribs from the plastic wrap and wrap in foil (I cut the rack in half to make it easier and I pour just a tiny bit of beer in the foil wrap too for added moisture).  Place ribs over indirect heat and grill (turning occasionally) for 1 hour.  Carefully remove ribs from foil and place over direct heat.  Continue to grill 15-20 minutes over direct heat.  Remove from grill and allow to rest before digging in.  Enjoy!!

One Year Ago:  Grilled Fish with Chinese BBQ Sauce
Two Years Ago:  Guest Blogger:  Cheese Cornbread
Three Years Ago:  Baked Tilapia w/Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thai Beef with Basil

(Picture Courtesy Bon Appetit)

I wish I could have shared the picture of what I actually made.. but silly me, I deleted ALL photos off of my camera.... Yep, you read that correctly... I deleted them ALL!  I had five meals on that card and they are all gone.... soooooo, unfortunately, what you see here is not what we actually had.  Oh, it was close, but yet not close.  I am heart broken and pissed off all at the same time.  I guess at least I have SOMETHING to share with you, right?

Per Bon Appetit - "what distinguishes this recipe from your typical weeknight ground beef dinner is the meat's wonderfully crisp fried texture".  And boy they are not lying.  Chris, who isn't always the fondest of stir-fry's, stated that this one a stir fry he could eat regularly.  It was flavorful and honestly different from anything else I've made with ground beef.  The crispy texture of the meat is a true surprise.   And, I'll be honest with you, I was a bit skeptical of that crispiness... but if you follow a few tips and are patient... it will work out perfectly.

The key is tart with beef that is 15 to 20 percent fat, so plenty of the fat will render.  Then, as the meat cooks, use the back of a wooden spoon or spatula to press it into the pan and up the sides a little, exposing it to as much heat as possible.   Simple as that :)

Thai Beef with Basil
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Printable Recipe 
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced or finely sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lb. ground beef (you want to use 85/15 or 80/20)
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 small-medium carrot, julienned or coarsely grated
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
3 Tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Steamed rice (for serving)

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring about 30 seconds.  Add the beef, seals with salt and pepper and cook, breaking up with a spoon and pressing down firmly to help brown, until cooked through and nicely crisped in spots, 8-10 minutes.  Add carrots, jalapeno and onions, cooking 1-2 minutes.  Add broth and basil and cook, stirring, until basil is welted.  About 1 to 2 minutes.

Mix soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar together until sugar dissolves.  Pour into hot skillet, stirring to combine.  Remove from heat.

To serve, top rice with beef mixture and enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Buffalo Chicken Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing
Two Years Ago:  Mustard Herb Sauce
Three Years Ago:  My Mom's Braciole

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Southwest Chicken Wraps

This is a super easy meal that is filling and will please everyone in the family!  I was silly and didn't cut my chicken as small as I should have, but otherwise, this was perfect.  I found the recipe for the spice for the chicken on Barefeet in the Kitchen (I LOVE Mary's site.. if you haven't been there.. go check it out now... well after you are done here that is!!)... but decided to go one step further and throw the chicken into a wrap.  Add a little rice, some cooked veggies and a yummy little sauce and have yourself some hand-held deliciousness!!!

Southwest Chicken Wraps
Adapted from Mary, Barefeet in the Kitchen
Printable Recipe 
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 teaspoon coconut oil (can use olive oil too)
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Ranch dressing
For the wraps -
Small to medium tortillas
Cooked rice mixed with chopped zucchini and red peppers (you can saute the veggies first if you would like)

In a small bowl, mix together the first 8 ingredients (chili powder through red pepper flakes) until well combined.  Remove 1 teaspoon of mix and set aside.  Place the chicken bites in a resealable bag or shallow dish and sprinkle remaining mixture over the chicken.  Toss to combine.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Meanwhile, mix together the mayo, ranch dressing and 1 teaspoon of spice mixture in a small bowl until well combined.  Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add the chicken and quickly saute until chicken is cooked through (about 5 minutes); stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.

Build the wraps by placing a nice big spoonful of rice in the middle of the tortilla, top with sauce and chicken and fold sides over.  Serve immediately and enjoy!!

One Year Ago:  Topolo Caesar Salad with Chicken
Two Years Ago:  Spicy Chipotle Shrimp Stir-Fry
Three Years Ago:  Ranch Chicken Pizza

Monday, November 11, 2013

Serrano Mayo Sauce

Before I share today's recipe, I just want to say thank you.. thank you to all the men and women who have and are still serving in this countries military.  Saying thank you doesn't even seem to be enough - but it is all this little humble girl from the Midwest can do.  I am honored to have known at least a few of you.... especially my dad!!  Each year I tell him how much I appreciate what he did while he served and this year I feel exactly the same.  I love and adore my father and know that he sacrificed a lot to serve this country.  So, thank you, first and foremost to my father (I love you dad!!!) and my new father-in-law, but of course, I send a huge thanks to all of you out there who have ever served!!

As for the recipe... well, my friends, it's a spicy little sauce that will go with just about any piece of chicken, fish or shrimp - this is yet another one you could literally just eat with a spoon!!!

Serrano Mayo Sauce
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Printable Recipe 
2 Serrano chiles, seeded and roughly chopped
5 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 teaspoons hot sauce (I used Frank's)

In a food processor, add the chiles and pulse until finely chopped.  Add the mayo, salt and hot sauce and pulse until everything is combined.  Pour into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Use with chicken, fish, shrimp or use as a spread on your next sandwich.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Cheese Frenchees
Two Years Ago:  Pomegranate Balsamic Pork Chops
Three Years Ago:  Potato and Chipotle Chowder

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bacon 'n' Egg Salad Dip - The 3rd Annual Nebraska vs. Michigan Recpie Exchange

It's that time of year again - FOOTBALL SEASON!!!  And with football season comes the 3rd annual Nebraska vs. Michigan recipe exchange between myself and Mary over at Food Floozie!  I am very excited to be able to do this for the third year in a row... I adore Mary and her blog and can't thank her enough for continuing on with our tradition!!  So, without further ado.........

Chazakah [hah-zah-KAH] is a Jewish tradition which dictates that the third instance of an activity makes something permanent. Well, Jenn and I have now made this a permanent gig, then, as this is our third annual swapping of recipes in honor of the Michigan-Nebraska game!

In past years, Jenn - who is amazing and wonderful, and a fabulous grillin' girl! - offered the decadent and delicious Nebraska classics Cheese Frenchees and Runza Bites in honor of her home team. I have played on the maize 'n' blue theme with cornbread, as a near-lifer in Ann Arbor who graduated from U of M. Neither team is in stellar form this season for Saturday's match-up ... well, we won't elaborate! It's not quite a "battle of the bottom-feeders," but it's not a Top 10 "Game of the Week," either! But that doesn't mean that Jenn and I are any less devoted! 

This year, I debated whether to offer Michigan-influenced dishes like Detroit-Style Pizza or Maurice Salad Subs. But I decided to go in a different direction, and simply give you some awesome football food for a tailgate, a viewing party, or just loafing on the sofa with your family. 

This Bacon 'n' Egg Salad Dip ... well, wow. Creamy, with tidbits of crunchiness. No redeeming nutritional value - what more could you want in football food??? And did I mention that it has BACON??? Well, 'nuff said, right? 

Hail to the victors valiant! Hail, hail to Michigan ... and to Jenn, who's a great friend - far more than a mere "blogging buddy" ... :) Thanks so much, Jenn, for letting me borrow some space on your blog to cheer on the Wolverines!!!  

Bacon 'n Egg Salad Dip 
(inspired by the Egg and Gribenes Spread in Michael Ruhlmann's Schmaltz)

4 hard-boiled eggs 
2 strips bacon 
1/4 cup finely diced red onion 
generous pinch kosher salt 
generous pinch freshly ground black pepper 
2 tablespoons finely minced green onion 
mayonnaise, to taste 
crackers or baguette slices, for serving 

Peel and chop the eggs, and place into a mixing bowl. 

Cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain the bacon, reserving the fat, and chop the bacon; add to the eggs. 

Sauté the red onion in the bacon fat over medium heat until softened; add the onion and the fat to the eggs, along with the salt and pepper and green onion. 

Stir in mayonnaise to taste - more if you want it creamier, less if you want it more solid. 

Serve at room temperature with crackers for dipping, or schmear it onto baguette slices. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Meatballs Florentine

There is truly something comforting about a big plate (or bowl) of spaghetti and meatballs.  It, of course, always reminds me of growing up.  My mom would make meatballs with homemade sauce quite often and I loved it.  Actually, I'll be honest, I loved when she made spaghetti and spicy sausage best, but the meatballs were a very, very close second!  So, of course, when I saw this recipe in Cook's Country magazine, I knew I was going to have to make it at some point.  I loved the twist it gave on the classic meatball.  And honestly, I don't know why I didn't think of doing this myself!!  It's a great way to get a little green in with all that meat :)

Meatballs Florentine
Adapted from Cook's Country Magazine
Printable Recipe 
1 lbs ground beef (or do half beef, half pork)
3 oz (3 cups) baby spinach, chopped
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
8-10 oz angel hair pasta
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Combine the beef, 1 cup spinach, panko, 1 garlic clove and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl and knead gently until incorporated.  From mixture into 1-inch meatballs.  Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just starting to smoke.  Cook meatballs until well browned all over, about 5 minutes; transfer to plate.

Add remaining garlic to the now empty skillet and cook about 30 seconds.  Deglaze pan with wine, making sure to scrap up all the good brown pieces.  Stir in the tomatoes.  (I added about 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes and pepper along with a little more red wine at this time, but that is totally optional).  Taste for seasoning.  Allow to simmer on low for about 5 minutes.  Add the meatballs and continue to simmer on low while the pasta cooks.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.  Remove the sauce and meatballs from the heat and stir in the 2 cups of spinach and basil.  Toss with pasta and serve.  Enjoy!

One Year Ago:  Chipotle Cheddar Corn Bread
Two Years Ago:  Chipotle Meatballs
Three Years Ago:  Greek Chicken Salad