Friday, October 24, 2014

Pizza Pasta


Dinner was easy tonight...had been wanting to try a Pizza Pasta Casserole recipe that I had seen...so with a few changes that's what happened!
Everything that I had seen made TOO much or had different ingredients than those that I had on hand.

Paula's Pizza Pasta

1 lb. Sweet Italian Sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
8 oz. Rotini Pasta, cooked al dente
2 cans Hunt's Dinner Starters (Pizza)
2 cups Italian blend cheese (Mozzarella, Romano, Provolone, Asiago & Parmesan)
4 oz. sliced pepperoni

In large skillet, swaute Italian sausage until cooked through. Add chopped onion & continue to cook for 8-10 minutes. Add cooked & drained pasta, Hunt's sauce. Preheat oven to 350. Pour Pasta mixture into 13x9 casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese & place pepperoni over cheese. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes.




Added a side salad and an easy & tasty dinner was on the table in such a short time!
Salad dressing was Homemade 1000 Island tonight.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

French Onion Soup from start to finish!

I began with a recipe from my dear friend, Becky Turner, sadly Becky left this walk of life a couple of years ago...however, she left us with a wealth of information when it came to decorating tablescapes with her Art Deco collections of Fiesta, etc. She also held a vast knowledge of culinary creations, gardening and was always willing to share!

Caramelised (Becky's spelling) Onions

1 stick butter
3 lbs. sweet onions such as Vidalias

Place stick of butter in Crock Pot or Slow Cooker. Peel and slice onions in 1/4" strips. Cover & cook on low until a dark mahogany color. Normally 12-14 hours.

Optional:
I also added 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper and 3 sprigs of thyme to my onions while cooking. Removed stems prior to finishing for French Onion Soup.



The next morning...I added 2 bay leaves, 1/2 cup Red Moscato wine, 3 cups beef broth and simmered on low for 6 hours. Remove bay leaves.

Finishing touches...made 1" thick pieces of garlic toast from French bread to top the bowl of soup. Top with  2 slices of  Swiss cheese and place under broiler until melted and bubbly.



Just waiting for the garlic toast & cheese before going under the broiler!

Enjoy!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

OCTOBER 2014 NEWSLETTER




FOOD FOR THOUGHT:Your Mother's Love...

From the moment I learned of the life I carried within me...
I already knew I'd love you,
Even before I knew if a little boy or little girl is coming into my life.
Before I even met you, my heart was stirred; you had your Mother's love...
Knowing I had been blessed to carry and give birth to a little one.
From the moment you were born, you stole my heart,
you'd always know your Mother's love.
There may have been some long nights, as you were unsure about this place!
Yet, there were many moments...a smile, a coo...even that sparkle in your eyes...
And I knew, even in those earlier days, you'd always know your Mother's love.
Childhood, adolescence, young adult, even becoming a wife...I knew there would be
Trying times, times of training and discipline;
yet all were given with your Mother's love.
I'm sure as the years have passed, and, now that
you're a young adult, these things are seen more clearly.
Wherever life made lead you...although sometimes, not easy, nothing will change!
And should the path we're given take one of us from this earthly walk...
You'll Always Have My Love, from the moment you were conceived,
You've had Your Mother's Love!

Paula
August 2011



SOUP'S ON...

Chicken Pot Pie Soup with Puff Pastry Croutons
from Splendid Soups and Spectacular Sides

4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup quartered button mushrooms ( I used Baby Bellas)
1/2 cup diced carrot
2 tsp minced garlic (I used 4 large cloves, minced)
1 1/2 cups diced red potatoes (I used, unpeeled red potatoes)
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp dry sherry (I used 1/2 cup Dry Vermouth)
5 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
( I cut and sautéed 3 chicken breasts in 2 Tbsp. Olive oil,
seasoned with salt and pepper)
2 Tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dry)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup frozen green peas
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (or 1 Tbsp. dry)
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt & pepper, to taste (I didn't find it necessary to add any more salt or pepper)
Puff Pastry Croutons

Melt butter over medium high heat in the pot you will use to make the soup.
Sauté onion, celery, mushrooms, carrot and garlic for about 4 minutes.
Add potatoes and cook about 3 minutes more. Whisk in the flour and
cook a couple of minutes to
get rid of the raw taste. Deglaze pan with sherry. Stir in broth, chicken,
thyme, bay leaf, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil,
then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until potatoes are cooked through
and the mixture has slightly thickened. Stir in the corn, peas, parsley
and lemon juice.
Taste and adjust seasonings. Ladle into bowls and top with croutons.

*********************************************************************************************************

Grandma's Lab-Tested Chicken Soup
Allergies, sinus infections galore! Pulmonary infections!
This really does help! Not only does it help, it is delicious!

Found this recipe several years ago in Reader's Digest.
It had been lab tested by pulmonoligists and said to be effective in
pulmonary infections. I have made it several times and it honestly does help!
Not sure of the combo of nutritional values but it does work!

Grandma's Lab-Tested Chicken Soup
1 2-1/2-3 lb. chicken
2 lbs.chicken wings, extra
3 large onions, peeled and diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
3 parsnips, peeled and diced
2 turnips, peeled and diced
11 to 12 carrots, peeled and diced
5 to 6 sticks celery, sliced
1 bunch parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1.Put cleaned chicken in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to boil.
2.Add chicken wings, onions, sweet potato, parsnips, turnips and carrots.
3.Boil for 1 1/2 hours, removing fat from surface as it accumulates.
4.Add celery, parsley, salt and pepper, cook for 45 minutes,
then remove chicken and skin, bone and dice.
5.Remove vegetables, process 1/2 of veggies in food processor until smooth.
Return with chicken.

********************************************************************************************************

White Chicken Chili
Makes 12 servings


4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon ground chipotle chile pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup chopped poblano pepper
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 bay leaves
1 quart chicken broth
2 (4-ounce) cans diced green chiles
2 (19-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained
2 (16-ounce) cans navy beans, drained
4 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup sour cream


In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. A
dd chicken, ground chipotle chile pepper, cumin, salt, coriander, and red pepper.
Cook, stirring constantly, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until chicken is browned.
Remove chicken to a bowl. In same Dutch oven, heat remaining 2 tablespoons
olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, poblano pepper, jalapeño peppers,
garlic, and bay leaves. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until tender.
Add chicken, chicken broth, and green chiles. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer,
and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans;
cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard bay leaves.
Add cheese and sour cream, stirring just until cheese is melted.

**********************************************************************************************************

Saw a version of this recipe in Sunday's paper...so, naturally,
I had to try it (change it up, as usual)...rolls eyes! haha

Chicken Tortilla Soup

4 b/s chicken breasts, cut in bite size strips
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1-1/2 cup chopped onions
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1 (28 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes in juice
2 cans seasoned black beans, undrained
2 cans Chipotle corn, drained
2 qts chicken broth (or 3Tbsp. chicken base & 2 qts. water)

For serving:
Tortilla Chips
Sour Cream
Shredded Cheddar
Avocado
Chopped Green Onions
Lime Wedges

Heat olive oil in Dutch oven. Toss chicken strips with chili powder and salt.
Add to hot oil and cook until chicken is cooked through.
Add onions and cook 5 minutes longer, add garlic and cook 1 minute longer.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Place tortilla chips in bowl and ladle soup over.
Can add additional toppings of sour cream, shredded cheddar,
diced avocado, chopped green onions; if desired.
Add a lime wedge to be squeezed over individual servings.


CHOCOLATE MOCHA CAKE
INA GARTEN

Ingredients

2 cups cold heavy cream
12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 (8-ounce) packages chocolate chip cookies
Shaved semisweet chocolate, for garnish

Directions

n the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment,
combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, coffee liqueur,
cocoa powder, espresso powder, and vanilla.
Mix on low speed to combine and then slowly raise the speed,
until it forms firm peaks.

To assemble the cake, arrange chocolate chip cookies
flat in an 8-inch springform pan, covering the bottom as much as possible.
(I break some cookies to fill in the spaces.)
Spread a fifth of the mocha whipped cream evenly over the cookies.
Place another layer of cookies on top, lying flat and touching,
followed by another fifth of the cream.
Continue layering cookies and cream until there are 5 layers of each,
ending with a layer of cream. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap,
and refrigerate overnight.

Run a small sharp knife around the outside of the cake
and remove the sides of the pan.
Sprinkle the top with the chocolate, cut in wedges, and serve cold.



Thursday, September 11, 2014

SEPTEMBER 2014 NEWLETTER


Good Morning, Everyone!

September is already here and for many that means fun times cheering for your favorite football team! War Eagle from our household!
Hope this finds all well and enjoying this last major holiday of summer! Happy Labor Day!
The recipes are seafood appetizers. Enjoy!

Hugs,
Paula

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
When life gets a little rocky, please remember...
Without the rain, there would be no rainbows...
Without the winter, there would be no spring...
Every trial carries within it the potential for triumph..
waiting to be brought forth, by YOU.
                     Linda Lee Elrod

Oysters with Prosecco Granita
Anne Burrell
Ingredients

2 cups Prosecco
1/2 cup Champagne vinegar
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups rock salt for plating (optional)
12 oysters, freshest and your favorite variety or a mix- whatever you like

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients, except the oysters, in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir until all of the sugar and salt have dissolved.

Pour the mixture into a wide flat dish and put it in the freezer. As the mixture begins freeze, drag a fork through it to break up the ice crystals. Repeat this process every 15 minutes or so until the mixture is completely frozen. When done it will look like ice shards, kind of slushy but a bit more frozen.

Scrub the outside of the oysters to remove any sand and grit. If using, spread the rock salt out on a serving dish. Shuck the oysters and lay them on the rock salt. Top each oyster with the granita and serve immediately.

This is a flavor explosion in your mouth!!!!!

*******************************************************************************
From one of my foodie friends!

~ Shrimp Scampi Dip ~

One of the best (and easiest) dips I've ever had, baked to absolute creamy, cheesy perfection!

INGREDIENTS ~

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled, de-veined and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
1/4 cup white wine*
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

INSTRUCTIONS ~

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9-inch baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shrimp, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pink, about 2 minutes. Stir in wine and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Bring to a simmer; remove from heat and stir in cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, parsley, 1/4 cup mozzarella and Parmesan.
Spread mixture into the prepared baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella. Place into oven and bake until bubbly and golden, about 10-12 minutes.
Serve immediately.

************************************************************************

Paula's Smoked Salmon Spread
Paula George Smith

1 lb. flaked smoked salmon (Alaskan Smoked Salmon, preferred)
1 lb. cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp. dried dill
1 tsp. hot sauce
1 tsp. worcestershire
2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish (or more)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
Delish, served with flatbread, crudite tray or "good" crackers to spread it on.

*************************************************************************

Hot Crab Meat Appetizer

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups flaked, drained crabmeat
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon cream style horseradish
1/4 tsp. salt
several turns of fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup sliced almnds, toasted

Combine all ingredients except for almonds. Mix until well blended; spoon mixture into 9 inch pie plate.
Sprinkle with nuts. Bake in 375 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes. Serve with crackers or crostini.

*************************************************************************

Creme a la Maison

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
dash of salt
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Apricot Wine sauce (recipe follows)

Soften gelatin in cold water; stir over low heat until dissolved. Combine softened cream cheese, sugar,
vanilla & salt; mixing until well blended. Gradually add milk & gelatin, mix thoroughly. Chill until
slightly thickened. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into a lightly oiled 1 quart mold;
chill until firm. UN-mold. Serve with:

Apricot Wine Sauce

1 (10 oz.) jar Apricot preserves
1/3 cup dry white wine

Combine ingredients; mix well. Chill

6-8 servings

Bonus Kitchen Tip:

Need cake flour for a recipe?

2 cups cake flour (you can make cake flour by using 2 cups of all-purpose flour,
removing 4 tablespoons of the flour,
adding 4 tablespoons of cornstarch, and sifting)

or: 2 Tablespoons cornstarch per 1 cup of all-purpose flour

Monday, July 28, 2014

Treasures from Becky aka Decolady


I know this is early for my August newsletter but I am writing it to honor my dear friend Becky that left this walk of life on July 29, 2011. It's hard to imagine sometimes that it has been 3 years. Anyone who knew Becky in real life or the cyber world knows what a vibrant, loving, fun-loving person she was...so full of life and embracing each day with passion! Always sharing her love of cooking, gardening, decorating and anything artsy!  She was truly a rare and "Beautiful Gem" .We sure do miss you, Girlfriend, but each of us are SO thankful for having you crossed our pathways in this walk of life!

Hugs,


Paula Smith
mecookin1951paula@aol.com

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Beautiful Gems

Thank You, Great Spirit, for the beautiful gems You've placed in my pathway.
Family, friends, all of nature to brighten my life each day.
Thank You, Great Spirit, for the varied ingredients You've provided to compile life's recipe.
Family, friends, all of nature; unique, yet pertinent, compiled to reveal a life of beauty.
Thank You, Great Spirit, for Your Love and Guidance, that You shower upon us each day.
Family, friends, all of nature; leaving a glimpse of You while crossing my pathway.
                                     Paula 2003





FOOD FOR THE BODY:
Recipes shared by Becky aka Decolady

Grown Up Mac and Cheese Sep 12, 2008 at 7:45pm
Post by decolady on Sep 12, 2008 at 7:45pm




I've been wanting to try this recipe for a while now, but the other people in my household don't care for bleu cheeses. So tonight we had this with some variations (posted below). To start out, we've got the pasta and cheeses:


Now the pasta/cheese mixture is just waiting to be topped with breadcrumbs before putting in the oven:


Here is the Mac & Cheese out of the oven. It got left in a little too long as my Mike and Tori went to fill up our cars due to the gas rationing we have because of Hurricane Ike.



NOTES:
1. I cooked the bacon in a cast iron skillet on top of the stove as I didn't want to have to deal with grease splatters in the oven.

2. In place of
4 oz Gruyere cheese, grated
3 oz extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
2 oz blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
I used
4 oz Hoop Cheddar cheese, grated
3 oz Gouda cheese, grated
2 oz Sage Derby cheese, crumbled

3. For the pasta I subbed the one in the photo. I'd gotten it a while back at a gourmet food store and thought it was time to use it.

4. We did not have any white bread, so the crumbs were made from whole wheat.

5. Because of using the Sage Derby cheese, I chose not to add nutmeg and I used some fresh sage instead of basil in the breadcrumb mixture.

My review of the recipe as I made it.
I was wondering if the Sage Derby would turn the mixture green, but that did not happen. And I baked this in a shamrock Fiesta pedestal bowl, instead of individual bakers. All that worked out really well. All of us thought this recipe tasted too salty. And I have to say, this is the first of Ina's recipes where that has ever happened to me. Like Ina, I use Diamond Crystal Kosher salt, which by volume has less sodium than other salts. I attribute the excess saltiness to the cheeses I used. DD nor I really cared for the addition of bacon, but we lean toward being vegetarian.

Bottom line, I would definitely make this again with the cheeses and pasta I used tonight, but I would leave out the bacon and the salt. All in all, a keeper recipe.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Green Goddess Shrimp Avocado Salad
serves 2
This recipe originally came from Southern California Cooking from The Cottage.. I changed it a little from the one in the book. It is a wonderful summer meal. Mike and I love it and it's a regular on our menu.

Romaine lettuce, enough to give a good base to the salad in 2 soup plates (I like to pick from the garden, and usually get less than one head)
24-36 medium shrimp, cooked & peeled
1 avocado, peeled, pitted & sliced
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
Green Goddess Dressing* see recipe below
lemon wedges, to serve

Tear romaine and line the two salad bowls with a good layer. Sprinkle tomatoes over the lettuce. Arrange avocado slices around the edges of the bowl and place shrimp in the centre. Save 6 shrimp for garnish. Dollop dressing on top of shrimp and artfully place 3 shrimp on top of dressing in each bowl. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.


Green Goddess Dressing
1/2 cup sour cream (I use lowfat.)
1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise (I use Hellmann's light.)
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 small onion (I like red or Vidalia onion.)
1 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
1 or 2 tsp anchovy paste
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh tarragon
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice

Put all together in food processor and blend till smooth.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Tomatoes Provençal
Madalene Hill and Gwen Barclay of Hilltop Herb Farm in Texas used to do herb classes and seminars. Some 25ish years ago they did a one day cooking school in Huntsville that I attended. This is one of the recipes they prepared. I went home and made it for supper that night and it's been one of our favourites ever since. The recipe can be found in their book, Southern Herb Growing. Sadly Madalene Hill passed away recently, but she left a wonderful legacy.

4 firm, ripe tomatoes
1 sweet onion (I use Vidalia)
1 Tbsp wine vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped lemon thyme
salt & freshly ground black pepper
extra sprigs of lemon thyme for garnish

Trim tomatoes on both ends, then cut into 1/2" slices. Cut onion into 1/4" slices. Arrange on serving plate alternating tomato and onion. Sprinkle the vinegar over, then the lemon thyme, salt and pepper. Chill before serving and garnish with sprigs of lemon thyme.

They note: If you don't have a sweet onion, slice the onion and soak it for at least an hour in sugar water (1 Tbsp sugar to 1/2 cup water). Other thymes may be substituted for the lemon thyme.

My notes:
1. As tomatoes & onions vary greatly in size, I adjust the number to match each other.
2. I've used different wine vinegars, depending what I have on hand. The only thing I would note, is that champagne vinegar seems a little mild for this dish.
3. While any thymes can be used, I really like the flavour of the lemon. If I only have plain thyme, I will also sprinkle on a little lemon zest.
4. Mike loves leftovers on turkey sandwiches.

-----------------------------------------------------

Tomato Caramelised Onion Tart(s)
This recipe originally came from Sara Moulton's show, Cooking Live. I have made this recipe many times over the years and it is always a hit. It can be served at brunch, as an appetizer, as a side, or for a vegetarian main dish. I also like that it is great either warm or at room temperature. Makes it easy if you need to take food somewhere (potluck, funeral, etc.). During the summer when I have fresh heirloom tomatoes, I like to alternate colours of the tomato slices. They look beautiful that way. You can make one large tart or individual tarts. It's really versatile. Most often I make it in my rectangular tart pan. ~ Becky


Tart Dough:
2 sticks butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1 2/3 cups unbleached flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup ice water, or as needed

Caramelised onion:
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil

Melted butter
Finely ground cornmeal
8 medium-sized round tomatoes
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 cup shredded cheddar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large egg white, for egg wash
Basil, sliced thinly, plus extra for garnish


Make tart dough: Put in the work bowl of a food processor, the flour, butter, salt and sugar. Pulse quickly until the butter is the size of peas. Add very cold, ice water in a small stream until the dough just comes together. Empty the work bowl out onto waxed paper and shape into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until ready for use.

Make caramelised onion: In a skillet heat the olive oil until hot and cook the onions, stirring constantly, until golden. Remove from heat and let cool, set aside.

To assemble tarts: The tart can be made in 8 individual pie pans, two smaller tart pans, or one large tart pan. The pan(s) should be brushed with melted butter and liberally sprinkled with corn meal.

Divide dough into equal pieces if using more than one pan. Keep unused dough in the refrigerator (must be kept cold). Roll out the dough into shape suitable for pan. This is a rustic-style tart, so the edges don't have to be perfect. Make the dough large enough so the edges of the dough will fold over the top of the tart an inch or so. Crust will be thick; you don't want it too thin or the tomatoes will bleed through bottom. Place crust in tin. Repeat until all are done and place tins on baking sheets.

Preheat oven on to 375°F. Brush bottoms of dough shell with mustard. In the following order place into shell: cheddar cheese, caramelised onion, sliced tomato, salt and pepper, basil, and olive oil. If using more than one tin, divide ingredients equally between them. Fold in the tops of extra dough around the tomatoes and brush dough with egg whites. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Right before serving, garnish with more slivered basil if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

NOTES:
1. This same dough is also suitable for fruit tarts. I've made used it with plums, blueberries and peaches.
2. Dough can be placed in tins ahead of time and frozen.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Country Cornbread
Many people think it is sacrilege to put any flour into cornbread. This is my family recipe and we have always added a little.

1 cup cornmeal
3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp oil
1 cup milk

Combine dry ingredients. Add eggs, oil and milk. Pour into a 6" hot iron skillet which has been well oiled after heating. Bake at 425ºF for 15-20 minutes.

Note:
1. I normally double this recipe and bake in a 9" iron skillet.
2. This recipe is easy to vary by adding some grated cheese, chopped chiles, etc.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
 
Mike’s Fresh Blueberry Pie
A few years ago Mike was wanting a blueberry pie. Now I never had blueberry pie, but he described to me the ones his Mom used to make. I made this one up for him and he said it looked and tasted like a deluxe version of the ones his Mom made. I had never made a baked blueberry pie before, but it has become a regular menu item. Most of the time I use a solid top crust, but will sometimes make a lattice if time permits.

6-7 cups fresh blueberries
½-1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest (just according to how much you like lemon - I use the whole tsp.)
1½ cups sugar
4 Tbsp + 1½ tsp cornstarch
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 recipe for a 10” double crust pie (this is the size pie pan I have)
3 Tbsp butter
cream or half-n-half
sugar (granulated or roughly crushed cubes)


Preheat oven to 425°F.

Place the blueberries and lemon zest in a large bowl.

In another bowl, mix 1½ cups sugar, cornstarch, salt, & cinnamon. Fold into blueberries.

Roll out half of the dough to make bottom crust and line the pie plate. Pour berry mixture into crust and dot with butter. Either roll out the remaining pastry to make a solid top crust or cut in strips and make a lattice top. Crimp & flute edges. If using a solid top crust, pierce in a few places to allow steam to escape.

Brush pastry with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake pie on lower shelf in oven for 40-50 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

JULY 2014 NEWSLETTER

Good Morning Everyone!

Happy July from a hot and muggy Alabama! Hope this finds all doing well and enjoying their summer.
Sadly, this past month, we lost a dear friend that will SO miss being a part of the upcoming football season. God's Speed, Dearest Betty.

This month's recipes are just some simple dips, salsas, appetizers and desserts.

Paula Smith
mecookin1951paula@aol.com
***************************************************************************************************************************
Reflecting Independence
by Paula George
June 26, 2006

As Independence Day approaches, many thoughts and memories travel through my
mind and heart.

Thoughts of the freedoms, others have sacrificed home and lives for bringing us
to this point in time.

Families divided, others brought closer as they faced enemies seeking to destroy
these freedoms.

Goodbyes said as loved ones shipped to foreign lands, never to return, yet;
giving their lives to protect their homeland.

Unfortunate the divisions in our own homeland, families divided, others
reunited...infiltrated within by...

Outsiders...taking advantage of our freedoms and government, unwilling to accept
our land according to the laws it was founded upon.

Only taking of the opportunities...unwilling to become an intricate part of the
Independence we have because of lives sacrificed.

Reflections still remain that I have the opportunity to live in "freedom" and I
am a "citizen" of the "Land of Independence".

Reflections of those who serve in our military forces...those near and
far...those past and present...those willing to sacrifice home and family to
protect our freedom and homeland..."Reflecting Independence".

**********************************************************************************************************

Applebee's Spicy Queso Blanco

1 tablespoon refined coconut oil (or other neutral oil)
1 small onion, divided
1 medium roasted poblano pepper, seeded, de-veined, and minced
(divided)
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into chunks
4 ounces white cheddar cheese, cut into chunks
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro, divided
1 Roma tomato, de-seeded and diced

Cut onion in half and mince one half. Set aside.

Warm oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 2/3 of minced
poblano and grate 1/2 onion into pan. Stir to coat and cook for 3-5
minutes until tender. Add cream and bring to a bubble. Add cheese a
little at a time, stir until cheese is melted. Stir in 1 tablespoon
cilantro.

To create a simple pico de gallo: Combine chopped onion, tomato,
1/2 tablespoon cilantro, and remaining poblano in a bowl.

Pour queso blanco into a medium size serving bowl (2 1/2 cup or
larger). Top with pico de gallo. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 2 Cups

**********************************************************************************

Blueberry Salsa
per Grit Magazine

1 cup fresh blueberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
2 green onions, finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
A pinch of sugar
A dash of hot sauce (optional for additional heat)

In medium bowl, combine ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
Salsa will keep in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Yields approximately 1 cup.

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Black-eyed Pea Croquettes

Unusual, but surprisingly tasty!

Servings:

6-8


2 (15 ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup self rising flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons season salt

Directions:

1
Slightly mash black-eyed peas in large bowl.
2
Stir in remaining ingredients, except oil, until well blended.
3
In a large deep skillet on medium-high heat the oil.
4
Drop bean mixture into oil by 1/4-cupfuls (I use an ice cream scoop), flattening slightly.
5
Cook croquettes, 7 minutes, turning once or until golden brown.
6
Drain on paper towels.
7
Keep warm while cooking remaining croquettes.




for the mango chutney

    1 tablespoon oil
    2 spring onions, or 1 small regular onion
    1 ripe mango
    2 tablespoons vinegar
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1-2 jalapeno peppers, de-seeded and sliced
    dash of salt and pepper
    pinch cinnamon
    pinch allspice
    pinch cardamom
    pinch coriander powder

Mango Jalapeno Chutney
Directions:
To make the mango chutney:

    Slice the spring onions in small rings.
    saute in a small sauce pan with the oil
    Peel the mango and de-seed.
    Cut the mango in small pieces and add to the onions.
    Add the vinegar, sugar and spices.
    De-seed and chop the jalapeno in small pieces.
    Add the jalapeno pieces to the cooking mango chutney.
    Keep at a low simmer until the liquid has cooked off and it is a well blended mixture.
    Season to taste with additional seasonings or salt and pepper.

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Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta w/HOney Glazed Apricots

DELICIOUS!!!



    1 envelope unflavored gelatin (2 1/4 teaspoons)
    2 tablespoons cold water
    1 cup heavy cream
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
    One 17.6-ounce tub of Greek yogurt, such as Fage Total brand (2 cups)
    1 cup dried apricots
    1 cup semi-dry white wine,
    1/4 cup honey


    In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water; let stand until softened, 5 minutes.
In a small saucepan, bring the cream, sugar and vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer. Off the heat,
stir in the gelatin until melted. In a bowl, whisk the yogurt until smooth.
Gradually whisk in the vanilla cream; remove the vanilla bean.
Pour the mixture into six 1/2-cup ramekins and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, simmer the apricots in the white wine over moderately low heat
until the apricots are plump and the wine has reduced by half, about 20 minutes.
Stir in the honey and simmer the syrup until thickened, about 5 minutes; let cool.
    Run a knife around the inside of each ramekin. Set a plate on each ramekin and
invert each panna cotta onto a plate; you may have to tap and shake the ramekins to loosen the panna cottas.
Slice the apricots and spoon them on top of the panna cottas. Drizzle with some of the honey syrup and serve.

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Momma's Chocolate Pie
from my kitchen

Made this with Stevia last night for Rick and he said it was perfect!

Pastry:
1 9" deep dish pie pastry, baked until golden

Filling:
5 egg yolks
1-1/2 cups Stevia
1/2 cup dry cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 cups milk (I used skim)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. butter

In heavy saucepan, whisk together dry ingredients. Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes and whisk in egg yolks. Continue cooking and whisking over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and extract. Pour into baked pie shell. Prepare meringue, spread over and bake in 350 oven until top is golden.

Meringue:

5 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 cup Stevia

Beat egg whites, extract and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add Stevia and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spread over pie filling, sealing to edges of crust. Bake until golden.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

JUNE 2014 Newsletter

Food For Thought:
 "I Wish For You"
I wish for you,
Moments of peace, serenity, and commitment;
Filling the depths of your heart & soul.
I wish for you,
Days of health, wealth, and happiness;
Growing daily as you travel life's pathway.
I wish for you,
Years of life, love and laughter;
Seeking the pathway to make you whole.
I wish for you,
A lifetime of giving, receiving and knowing
Blessings overflowing at completion of each day.
                       Paula 2003

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Food For Nourishment:



Angel Hair Shrimp Scampi
COOK:
8 oz. dry angel hair pasta
CRISP:
1 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced
set aside
1-1/2 lb. jumbo shrimp, peeled and
deveined
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
DEGLAZE:
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
ADD:
1 cup seeded and diced Roma
tomatoes
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
Minced zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste
Olive oil
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted
water according to package directions; drain.
Crisp prosciutto in a sauté pan over medium
heat, then transfer to a plate.
Sauté shrimp, garlic, and pepper flakes in 2
Tbsp. oil for 2 minutes; remove shrimp from
the pan.
Deglaze pan with wine and lemon juice,
scraping up any browned bits, and cook until
reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
Add tomatoes, scallions, rosemary, and zest;
cook 1 minute. Return shrimp to pan and
cook until firm, 1–2 minutes. Add pasta and
parsley and toss to combine; season with salt
and black pepper.
Divide pasta, shrimp, and sauce among
serving plates; drizzle with olive oil. Garnish
each serving with prosciutto.
Per serving: 455 cal; 11g total fat (1g sat); 220mg chol;
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Grilled Lemon-Herb shrimp
Paula George

2-3 lbs. Peeled/De-Veined Shrimp with Tail On (I used 16-20 count)
2 tsp. Herbs de Provence
1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning (will use 2 tsp. next time)
1 heaping tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. koher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (next time I'll use 1/2 tsp.)
Juice of 3 lemons
1/2 cup EVOO
Mix all ingredients for marinade. Add shrimp. Cover and marinate in fridge for 30 minutes.
Place in grill basket. Grill over hot coals, 4 minutes per side.
Serve with garlic butter for dipping.
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Capital Grille Prosciutto-Wrapped Mozzarella
Ingredients:
■1 pound large fresh mozzarella balls
■15 paper thin slices prosciutto
■10 ounces large or cherry heirloom tomatoes (mix of yellow and red)
■1 teaspoon kosher salt
■1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
■6 slices pain rustique bread, cut in 1/4-inch thick slices on the bias (see note)
■1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot clarified butter (divided)
■1/2 cup finely grated Grana Padano cheese (see note)
■1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
■3/4 ounce chiffonade cut basil leaves plus 3 sprigs fresh basil for
■garnish
■2 tablespoons 12-year-old balsamic vinegar
Preparation:
■Slice the balls of mozzarella cheese into about 1/2-inch-thick slices weighing about 1 1/4 ounces each.
■Individually wrap the slices of mozzarella with slices of prosciutto, making certain to completely cover the cheese.
■Place the wrapped mozzarella on parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
■Core tomatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Halve or quarter smaller heirlooms tomatoes and place in a mixing bowl. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Let tomatoes rest.
■Brush slices of bread on both sides with the 1/4 cup hot clarified butter and sprinkle both sides liberally with the grated cheese. Press cheese gently into the bread. Toast in a panini press over medium-high heat or in a hot sauté pan that has been coated with clarified butter, turning once, until golden brown and crisp on each side. This will take 1 to 2 minutes per side. If using a skillet, cook slices in batches; do not crowd pan.
■Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
■Place remaining 2 tablespoons clarified butter in a hot skillet. Gently set pieces of wrapped mozzarella in the skillet and sauté 2 minutes per side or until exterior is crisp. Place seared mozzarella balls on a cookie sheet then transfer to oven. Cook until cheese starts to melt and is hot, about 5 minutes.
■Meanwhile toss tomatoes with olive oil, the chiffonade of basil and the balsamic.
■To assemble: Mound a spoonful of the tomato salad in the centers of three large, warmed dinner plates. Arrange the grilled mozzarella, leaning it against the tomato salad, around the front and side edges of the plate. Lean two croutons on the backside of the plates. Place a sprig of basil in the center of the tomatoes and serve immediately.
Notes: Pain rustique has a thick crust similar to Italian bread.
Grana Padano cheese is available specialty food stores.
Parmigiano-Reggiano could be substituted.
Source: Jeff Beale, executive chef, The Capital Grille, Wisconsin
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Penne Rustica
from my kitchen!
4 links Andouille sausage links, sliced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in strips
3 cups McKenzie's frozen seasoning blend
1/2 lb. 21-25 shrimp, deveined, tail on
1 tsp. Mediterranean spiced sea salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup red wine, such as cabernet, merlot
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes with basil, organo and garlic
8 oz. penne pasta, cooked aldente and drained
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, divided into 6 portions
Season chicken strips with the Mediterranean spiced sea salt. In large saute pan, saute sausage and chicken over med high heat until chicken is cooked through. Add seasoning blend, red & black peppers. Saute 5 minutes. Deglaze with wine. Cooking down for a couple of minutes. Add diced tomatoes and bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and add drained pasta, add 1/2 lb. raw shrimp with tail on.Stir and simmer additional 5 minutes.
Pour into serving bowl and top with dollops of mozzarella, cover with plastic and allow mozzarella to melt. Serve.

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NEVER FAIL CARAMEL ICING
Printed from COOKS.COM
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5 tbsp. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. milk
Cook 3 minutes. Let cool and add:
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar
Beat until right consistency and spread.
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Southern Jam Cake
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Ingredients:
    3 cups sifted flour
    1 teaspoon soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon ground allspice
    1 teaspoon ground cloves
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1 cup chopped pecans
    1 cup raisins or chopped dates, optional
    1 cup butter
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    3 eggs, beaten
    1 cup blackberry jam
    1 cup buttermilk
Preparation:
Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, soda, salt, and spices.
Sift a little of the flour mixture over the nuts and raisins or dates.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter; gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs and blackberry jam. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk.
Beat until smooth after each addition. Fold in nuts and raisins or dates.
Pour into three 9-inch layer cake pans and bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes.
Spread a buttercream, cream cheese or the No-fail frosting above...between layers and on top of cake.