Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away....

Fall weather certainly brings to mind Apple are a few favorites, that I have made over the years and shared with others!

Skillet Apple Pie with my variations
Cook's Illustrated
Serves 6 to 8.  
If your skillet is not heatproof, precook the apples and stir in the cider mixture as instructed, then transfer the apples to a 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Roll out the dough to a 13- by 9-inch rectangle and bake it as instructed. If you do not have apple cider, reduced apple juice may be used as a substitute—simmer 1 cup apple juice in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 10 minutes). Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Use a combination of  apples such as Golden Delicious, Cortland, Gala, etc.
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5 ounces), plus more for dusting work surface
1 tablespoon sugar 
1/2 teaspoon table salt 
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening , chilled
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter , cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3–4 tablespoons ice water 
1/2 cup apple cider (see note)
1/3 cup maple syrup 
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons cornstarch 
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
2 1/2 pounds sweet apples and tart apples (about 5 medium), peeled, cored, halved, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges 

1 egg white , lightly beaten
2 teaspoons sugar 
1. FOR THE CRUST: Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in food processor until combined. Add shortening and process until mixture has texture of coarse sand, about ten 1-second pulses. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture and process until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about ten 1-second pulses. Transfer mixture to medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons ice water over mixture. With blade of rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix. Press down on dough with broad side of spatula until dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more ice water if dough does not come
together. Turn dough out onto sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into 4-inch disk. Wrap dough and refrigerate 30 minutes, or up to 2 days, before rolling out. (If dough is refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable.)
3. FOR THE FILLING: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (between 7 and 9 inches from heating element) and heat oven to 500 degrees. Whisk cider, syrup, lemon juice, cornstarch, and cinnamon (if using) together in medium bowl until smooth. Heat butter in 12-inch heatproof skillet over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add apples and cook, stirring 2 or 3 times until apples begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. (Do not fully cook apples.) Remove pan from heat, add cider mixture, and gently stir until apples are well coated. Set aside to cool slightly.
4. TO ASSEMBLE AND BAKE: Roll out dough on lightly floured work surface, or between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap, to 11-inch circle. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over apple filling. Brush dough with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. With sharp knife, gently cut dough into 6 pieces by making 1 vertical cut followed by 2 evenly spaced horizontal cuts (perpendicular to first cut). Bake until apples are tender and crust is a deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes; serve.

It's called Naked as it doesn't have a prepared crust.
Naked Apple Pie
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. dark rum
1/2 cup flour
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 apples, pared and sliced
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
Sift flour with baking powder. Put all ingredients into a bowl and
mix well. Spread mixture into a greased 9-inch pie plate and bake at
350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Apple Dumplin's
adapted by Paula George from recipe on Southern
These remind me of the ones served by Wendy's YEARS ago!
2 to 2 1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk
6 Granny Smith or other cooking apples, cored, peeled
sugar, approximately 1/2 cup, for sprinkling apples
butter, cut in small pieces
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup margarine melted
heavy cream or ice cream, optional
Combine flour, baking powder and salt; cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add milk, stirring to make a soft dough. Roll dough into a 1/8" thick rectangle on a lightly floured surface; cut into 8-inch squares.
Place 1 cored, peeled apple on each square. Sprinkle each with 2 teaspoons sugar and a sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg to taste;
dot with butter. Moisten edges of each dumpling with water; bring corners to center, pinching edges to seal.
Place dumplings 1 inch apart in a lightly greased shallow baking dish. Combine 2 cups sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg,
2 cups hot water and 1/4 cup butter or margarine; stir to dissolve sugar. Pour syrup over dumplings.
Bake at 375° for 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve hot with cream or ice cream.
Makes about 1/2 dozen apple dumplings.
p.s. I bake mine in a cast iron skillet

Bon Appetit!

Monday, September 19, 2011

CHILI...Three Ways

First bit of cool weather had me wanting chili! SO this weekend, I made chili! Here's 3 of my favorite recipes that I use!

Rick's Chili

Rick Smith

2 lbs. ground chuck, browned & drained
2 large yellow onions, diced
2 large green bell peppers, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 Tbsp. Minced garlic
3-4 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. Mexican oregano
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 packet beef bouillon
7 bay leaves
1/4 cup dark brown sugar or Splenda blend
2 cans Van Camp's Dark red kidney beans, undrained
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/2 can tomato paste

1 stick salted butter

Combine all ingredients except butter in crockpot. Cover and cook on low 8 hours. Cut butter in pieces and add to chili last 15 minutes of cooking.

The next one is a recipe or guess I should say my copycat version of McAlister's Vegetarian Chili...a food board member asked me to try it and see if I could recreate it; this is the result of my tasting!

Copycat McAlister's Chili
By "George" (pun intended) I think I've got it!
copycat Vegetarian Chili
1 large onion, diced
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped red roasted peppers (I used jarred)
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles (mild)
1 can navy beans, undrained
1 can red beans, undrained
1 can pinto/northern bean mix, undrained
1 can light red kidney beans, undrained
1 28 oz. petite diced tomatoes
2 heaping Tablespoons tomato paste (about 1/2 of a 6 oz. can)
1 28 oz. can Enchilada sauce (mild) (I used El Pato)
1 cup water
2 heaping Tbsp. ground cumin
3 heaping Tbsp. Mexene Chili Powder
1 heaping Tbsp. Mexican oregano
1 cone piloncillo (or use 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and 2 Tbsp. molasses)
1 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
In Dutch oven, saute onions, garlic and carrots; using 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Saute for 5 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
I didn't add any salt as most of the canned products contain salt other than the tomato paste,
I chose lower sodium count products where available.
If you desire additional heat...add a couple of diced jalapenos or chipotle peppers in adobe sauce.

And the third one, my daddy's recipe for Sand Crab Chili...don't let the name scare you. There are no sand crabs in the chili...Daddy was from Pensacola, FL and felt it was just a fun name for it!

One more family recipe. My Dad's "Sand Crab Chili"...our hometown: Pensacola, FL
Gene George

Brown 2 lb. round steak, cut in cubes, coated with seasoned 3 Tbsp. olive oil
Be sure to start with large stockpot
Add 2 large onions, chopped
2 large green bell peppers, chopped
Saute for 5 minutes.
Add: 3 qts. water
2 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste
3 cans Van Camp's New Orleans Style kidney beans, undrained
1 -2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 (1 oz.) jar Mexene chili powder
1 tsp. salt
Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook covered for 1 hour.
Add: 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar.
Remove from heat.
Serve cooked white rice, your favorite toppings or with crackers.

Enjoy! I know there are numerous chili recipes out there...these are just a few of my favorites! And, there's always White Chicken Chili...but that's another story! ;)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chicken Chilaquiles and King Ranch Chicken

Some common ingredients but some very different and delightful tastes! The easy step is beginning with a Rotisserie Chicken!

One of my previous Hispanic co-workers used to make Chicken Chilaquiles for us at work. Many times we ate them over scrambled eggs for a tasty breakfast. We served in-house Salsa Verde so this is what he used when making them.

Chicken with Chilaquiles and Salsa Verde
1 cup sour cream
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
1 3/4 cups Mexican salsa verde  (sometimes called tomatillo sauce; from a 16-oz jar)
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (14 fl oz)
2 1/2 to 3 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken (from a 2-lb rotisserie chicken, skin removed)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups coarsely crushed tortilla chips (not low-fat, baked, or flavored; from a 16-oz bag) plus broken chips remaining in bag (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup crumbled feta (2 oz)
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Stir together sour cream and just enough milk to get a thick pourable consistency.
Bring salsa and broth to a boil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat.
Add chicken, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until chicken is heated through, 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in 6 cups tortilla chips and cook until chips are softened (but not mushy), about 1 minute.
Transfer chilaquiles to a large platter.
Sprinkle with feta, cheddar ,cilantro, and 1 cup broken chips and serve immediately, with thinned sour cream on the side.

King Ranch Chicken
1 chicken, cooked and deboned (use a purchased Rotisserie Chicken)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilies, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 can chopped green chiles
1 can Chipotle Corn, drained
1 package (10-12 count) corn tortillas
1/2 lb. cheddar cheese, grated
Cut tortillas into strips. Dip in chicken broth to soften. Combine chicken, onion, and pepper. Mix soups and Rotel tomatoes,green chiles and Chipotle corn; add chicken mixture. In a 13 x 9 x 2 inch buttered casserole dish, alternately layer the tortillas, chicken soup mixture, and grated cheese. Repeat, ending with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. May be prepared ahead of time and frozen or refrigerated.

Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Chicken-Broccoli Fettucine Alfredo

For years, this has been a family favorite! With a few revisions, we also serve this at the restaurant...a favorite of many lady told me she could just drink a bowl of sauce! haha There are so many variations that can be used in this combo. Saute chicken pieces or breast strips...blanched broccoli florets...use leftovers of chicken & broccoli...OH, several years ago I was on Sara's Secrets with Sara Moulton's live phone call. We were discussing leftovers and this is the recipe that I was talking about. They aired my picture as Sara was talking with me. I also told her that my family has always called leftovers, "re-runs" and many times they were incorporated to a totally different realm, whether entree, side dish or soup!

Nana's Alfredo Sauce
Paula George

1 stick butter 1/2 cup
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1 /s tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. oregano leaves
2 tsp. parsley flakes
1 tsp. basil leaves
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
2 cups heavy cream
3 cups milk
1 cup shredded Provolone
1 cup shredded Parmesan

Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Do not brown. Add seasonings, heavy cream & milk. Heat over med heat until hot, reduce heat to low and whisk in cheeses until melted. Adding 1/2 of each at a time makes it easier to melt.Sauteed Chicken Breast strips and blanched broccoli can be added to sauce or plated on fettucine pouring the sauce over last. Garnish with a sprinkling of Shredded Parmesan and Parsley. Serve with a salad and crusty bread!

Serve over fettucine cooked al dente...I normally serve with sauteed chicken breasts and steamed broccoli (or "trees" as my children called them)  florets.

There are so many variations, can be served as a one dish meal, plated meal...vegetarian meal, use other added veggies...but, the richness of the sauce will be a compliment to however you decide to use it! Enjoy!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Soup, Sandwich and Salad!!!

Thought I would post another favorite meal...simple, tasty...yet hearty for the end of summer!
Another favorite Comfort Meal of mine! Creamy Tomato Basil Soup...Triple Grilled Cheese...and  a Mandarin/Strawberry Mixed Green Salad!

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
Paula George
4 Tbsp. butter
1 med onion, chopped
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 tsp. minced garlic
4 Tbsp. flour
28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 qt. chicken broth
1/2-1 tsp. crushed red pepper
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup julienned, fine basil leaves
1 cup heavy cream or culinary cream, if available
In stockpot, melt butter. Saute onion, celery, carrots for 5 minutes. Add garlic
and cook 1 more minute. add flour and cook 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients
except basil and heavy cream, bring to slow boil and simmer for 30 minutes. With
immersion blender. puree. Stir in heavy cream and basil and heat through (about
5 minutes). Do not boil.

Triple Grilled Cheese
Two slices wheatberry bread
softened cream cheese
2 slices Swiss cheese
2 slices Colby or Cheddar cheese
sliced purple onion
sliced tomatoes
salt & pepper
Butter both sides of bread. Place on hot grill pan and brown. Turn and spread softened cream cheese on grilled side of bread. Top with onions, tomatoes, salt & pepper and remaining cheeses. Put sandwich together and grill remaining buttered sides until sandwich is browned and cheeses are melted.
Optional: Can also add ham or bacon to make them heartier!

Mandarin/Strawberry Mixed Green Salad
2 cups torn mixed salad greens
1/2 cup mandarin oranges,drained
1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon minced gingerroot
1 garlic clove, minced
Place greens on two serving plates; top with oranges, strawberries and walnuts.
In a blender, combine the vinaigrette ingredients; cover and process until blended.
Drizzle over salads.

Know there are those that "have" to have dessert and I have made this one twice this past week. I actually even tasted it! haha

Peach Gallette

1 refrigerated pie crust
8 oz. cream cheese at room temp
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
4 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1 egg, separated
2 cups peeled, sliced peaches or fruit of your choice (Nectarines, Apricots, Berries)
2 Tbsp. sugar for sprinkling (I used Splenda)

Roll pie crust to form 13" circle. Place on baking sheet.
Cream together cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, 2 Tbsp. corn starch, 1 tsp. extract and egg yolk. Spread on crust leaving 2" edge. Toss together fruit, 2 Tbsp. cornstarch and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Spread over cream cheese mixture. Fold edges of crust up toward center in rustic manner. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until golden.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Comfort Food!

...comes to mind with all the rain that passed through leaving us with cooler temps! Just LOVE it!!!

That being I opted for a Veg-All Casserole with a Chopped Steak and Sauteed Onions for dinner!

Veg-All Casserole

29 oz. can Veg-All, Drained
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1- 14.75 oz. can Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cups Taco seasoned shredded cheese
1 cup crushed wheat crackers (I used Breton)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour drained veg-all in casserole dish. Add chopped onion and stir lightly. Combine Mayonnaise and Cream of Chicken soup. Spread over veggies. Top with shredded cheese and then crushed crackers. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes until bubbly.

Another favorite that Jill and I were talking about last if we hadn't already had enough to eat with Momma's Shrimp Creole, Rice, Garlic Toast, Lemon Icebox Cake and Chocolate Cobbler!

Mrs. Ezma's Mexican Corn Casserole
Ezma Whitaker

1 package saffron yellow rice (I have also used Zatarain's yellow rice)
1 stick butter, melted
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 cans Mexicorn, drained
1/4 cup diced onion
1 cup cheddar cheese

Cook the package of saffron yellow rice according to directions, omit butter.  Combine in casserole dish with melted butter, soup, drained Mexicorn and diced onion. Top with 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes until bubbly.

Enjoy these yummy side dishes with the approaching fall weather! Both of these...spell "C O M F O R T" to me!

Paula...or better known as "mecookin"

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Orange Rolls...Yum!

Ahhh, Memories! I worked next door to the Original All Steak Restaurant for 6 years in the early 1980's...
I am not much of a sweet eater, but these orange rolls are to die for!
Three different versions given below, hope you enjoy!

Orange Rolls a la All Steak Restaurant
my kopykat version
Paula George

1 pkg, frozen bread dough, thawed, let rest through first rising
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup orange marmalade

2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp. grated orange zest

Roll dough out into thin rectangle. Spread with softened butter. Sprinkle with sugar, and spread with orange mamalade.
Roll jelly roll style. Cut 1" thick and place in large buttered baking pan.
Allow to rise until double. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Cool slightly, frost with icing. Serve immediately while still slightly warm!
************************************************** **

Elaine's Orange Rolls (Bitty Buns) Recipe courtesy Elaine Hyatt
Show: Calling All Cooks
Episode: Moroccan Couscous/Bitty Buns
All Steak Restaurant
Cullman, AL

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, softened (1 teaspoon per biscuit)
1 cup and 2 tablespoons orange marmalade (1 1/2 tablespoons per biscuit)
1/4 cup brown sugar (1 teaspoon brown sugar)
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon butter, softened
2 tablespoons cream cheese
Dash salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons orange zest

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
For Biscuits: Combine dry ingredients for biscuit. Cut shortening into dry mixture. Add buttermilk and blend. Roll out biscuit dough on floured waxed paper until about 3/4 of an inch thick. Cut with a round biscuit cutter as if you were making biscuits. You'll get approximately 10 to 12 biscuits. Roll out each individual biscuit until it is 5 inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick.
On each biscuit, layer butter, marmalade and brown sugar. Roll up each biscuit and slice into 3 pinwheels of equal size. Place rolls in 2 (7 by 7-inch) baking pans. (You can also use other dimensions of pans. The key is to keep the rolls close together). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before icing.
For Icing: Mix powdered sugar, orange juice, margarine, cream cheese, salt, vanilla, and orange zest until smooth. Drizzle over rolls.

These rolls have been served as part of the bread "basket" for as long as I can remember...and that's a looonnnggg time!
Personally, I prefer the yeast dough but the filling/icing that she gave are similar and
I like to intertwine the two recipes and use the icing she gave sometimes...
The "Wallace's", Elaine's grandparents were the original owners of the restaurant.
I worked next door (1980's), prior to their moving to the current location above Wachovia Bank.
These are a "classic"...even my mom remembered having them as a young woman "YEARS" ago circa 1940's!