Wednesday, December 10, 2014

GLAZED CARROTS (LIKE CHEDDAR'S)


My 21 month old grandson is pretty much obsessed with carrots.  My daughter packs them in his lunch when he goes to MDO and there is never any left.  He really likes the carrots at Cheddar's restaurant  (probably because they are all sugared up).  Tonight, I was cooking and my daughter, son in law, and my grandson were coming over eat.  I decided I would attempt to make them like Cheddars.  He only ate the carrots so I think I got it! Ha!

It was the easiest thing ever.  I think the carrots got more compliments than the rest of the meal! Ha!  I am not a big carrot lover but I like these.  Sorry I did not get a picture of the finished dish but everyone came in to eat and I just forgot to take a picture.   When I make them next time, I will take a picture and post it to this blog post.

Carrots are full of vitamin A, vitamin K, Folate and that's just a few nutrients found in this vegetable. Glad to have a recipe that makes me WANT to eat carrots!  Try them and let me know what you think!

GLAZED CARROTS

1 - 16 ounce package of Baby Carrots
1/2 stick of Butter
1/2 cup of Brown Sugar
3 tablespoons Honey

Boil the carrots for 15 minutes in a medium saucepot

Drain the carrots and place back in the saucepot and over the fire at low heat.

Add the butter.

When butter is melted, add the brown sugar and honey.



Cook another 5 minutes and serve.

ENJOY!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

STRAWBERRY DIP





I love super-easy recipes.  This recipe wins the prize for being the tastiest and easiest!

I made it this past weekend for a bridal brunch for one of my daughter's dearest friends, Melissa.  She is a girl with a beautiful smile, beautiful heart and one of the most entertaining lives! Ha!  If anything is going to happen, it will always happen to Melissa and I love to hear her newest stories.  I am so happy that she has found her true soul mate.  She deserves every happiness and I cannot wait to see them begin their happily ever after in just a little under 3 weeks!! So excited!

Okay, back to the recipe.  I don't know where I got this recipe but I know I have made it a hundred times (I may be exaggerating a bit)! I have made it for showers, holidays, funerals, just about any time people gather together, this is a delightful thing to serve. Unless you are allergic to any of these ingredients, you will love it and it is totally a gluten-free dessert! Yep, it;s pretty much perfect! I mean, if you can work a mixer and you over the age of 5, you can make this recipe!  It has 2 ingredients...marshmallow creme and strawberry cream cheese.  How can you go wrong...I could eat either of these with a spoon by themselves but mixed together and dip a strawberry in it....ohhhhh myyyyy goshhhh!! Heavenly!

STRAWBERRY DIP

(2) 7 ounce jars of Marshmallow Creme
(1) 8 ounce container Strawberry Cream Cheese (fat-free is just as good)
Strawberries for dipping



Empty 2 jars of marshmallow creme into a medium sized bowl.

Add cream cheese.


Mix well using a hand mixer.




Pour into a bowl and serve with strawberries.




ENJOY!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

CRANBERRY SAUCE




My husband loves the canned cranberry sauce.  It's really the only thing he asks for at Thanksgiving. This year he didn't say specificallyyyyy he wanted canned cranberry sauce soooooo I decided to introduce him to something new....cranberry sauce from scratch!

It's really easy and I think it's really good and I hope he really likes it or I may be hearing about this for years to come!

I am going to make this a short blog because I am actually cooking Thanksgiving dinner today.  All my kiddos came up to the ranch and my daughter and her husband have to make it back home tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving with his parents.  So thankful that I can still spend holidays with all of my kids.

Anyway, here is the recipe.  You may want to double this as it only makes a little over a cup.  Let me know what you think and I will let you know what my husband thought!!  Deal? Deal!



CRANBERRY SAUCE

1 Bag of Cranberries
1 cup of Orange Juice
3 Cinnamon Sticks
6 Allspice
6 Whole Cloves
1 Cup of Brown Sugar

Place cranberries in a medium saucepan, over medium heat, and cover with orange juice.  Cook until cranberries pop, about 10 minutes.

Place the spices in gauze or a spice bag and place in saucepan.  (I didn't have anything so I just had to place them in and pick them out at the end.)

Add the brown sugar and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Spoon into a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate.

ENJOY!







Sunday, November 9, 2014

Italian Chicken




I sure have missed my blog.  Life has gotten hectic lately and some things got shuffled to the bottom of the to-do list.  I hate when that happens!

In addition to just being busy, I have been battling my health, as well.  Because I am stubborn and I do not like to take medicine, I have been trying to heal my body by changing my diet.  I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism last year...not fun...boo...hiss!  I told the doctor, that I went to for help, that I would like to try things like diet changes, supplements, and vitamins to try and get my levels back in order.  He told me he would give me 6 weeks to try all that but if my numbers did not show improvement and I still chose not to do the radioactive iodine therapy or take medicine (side effects are horrendous), then he would not see me.

So, I had a goal and something to prove!  I got busy eating differently.  I gave up gluten, soda, caffeine, and cut back on my sugar significantly.  I started adding more things to my diet that I thought my body could use to heal itself, such as fruit, vegetables, green, white and oolong tea, juicing, and new grains that I had never tried before, like quinoa.  By the end of the six weeks, all of my numbers were normal except one which was about 13 points away from being normal.  When I went back to the doctor, I was told that it was just a coincidence that my numbers were within normal range.  That was last year, at this exact same time, and I have never been back.

Bad news....when the holidays came around last year, I started going back to my old way of eating. By February, my hair was falling out and by June, all my symptoms were back.

Good news...I have a new doctor and I have gotten back on track again. I feel better than I have in months.  It took a while, but I know I do not want to feel like that again.  This time around, I am probably 95 percent gluten-free.  I have found that eating gluten is okay for me. It's just not okay to have a meal like spaghetti (gluten), meatballs (gluten in the binder), and garlic bread (super gluten) then cake or pie (super-duper gluten) to top it all off!  Excessive gluten makes me feel heavy and it causes my heart to palpitate and race like crazy! Soooo not worth it.!!  I am not saying that this would work for everyone and I am not telling anyone to not take medicine or have any procedure that their doctor has recommended.  I just wanted to share my experience with you.  Thanks for letting me!

Now what is this blog for? Cooking!!  So, let's get to it!!  This chicken is ah-maaa-zing!!!  For those of you who are gluten intolerant, I read that the Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix is no longer gluten-free...just FYI.  Didn't know that until I started typing this and decided to look it up! I just assumed it was gluten-free! Nevertheless, this recipe has great flavor and it leaves the chicken actually juicy. Baking chicken breasts can be tricky.  I cannot stand a dry, overcooked chicken breast so I have started using a food thermometer.  Chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees. Also, it seems like the chicken breasts have doubled in thickness these days, so I pound mine and cut them in half.  I don't want them really thin but I also don't want them really thick so, just somewhere in the middle!

I have served this chicken with different sides over the years.  It really goes with just about anything. This time I made creamy mashed potatoes and confetti salad.  So, when you are looking for something easy, quick, tasty, and healthy...try this recipe!  And...there is only 4 ingredients!! So much to like...I don't think you will be disappointed!



ITALIAN CHICKEN

1 package of Good Season Italian Dressing
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder (I add about 5 times this amount...just saying)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rinsed (approximately 2 lbs. or a little less)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the first 3 ingredients in something like a pie plate. 


Dredge the chicken in the mixture, pressing to make sure it adheres.
Wish I would have taken this picture from the side so you could see how thick it was.
Don't forget to rinse your chicken before you start.

Pound chicken to the thickness you desire

Leave the chicken wet and press the dry ingredients onto the chicken breast.

Place chicken on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until thermometer reaches 165 degrees. Of course, the baking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken breasts.

That's all there is to it!  


ENJOY!

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE RECIPE






Thursday, September 11, 2014

BRAISED KALE WITH BACON AND ONIONS


I didn't grown up eating Kale.  In fact, I only knew of kale as those pretty little decorative plants that you grew in a flower bed.  However, over the past few years, and maybe because of the popularity of Food Network, I hear of kale more and more.  It actually could be because of the health benefits of kale too, that so many people are choosing to add kale to their diet.

Last night was the first time I had ever cooked kale by itself...not in soup or as an added ingredient in dishes.  I must say I was pleasantly surprised at the flavor, the color, and the texture when cooked.  My husband and I both thought it reminded us of collard greens both in the way it looked and also in the flavor. I like most of my vegetables to be a little crunchy....not mushy.  I don't want them to just dissolve in my mouth.  When cooking kale, it reminded me of spinach because it shrinks as you cook it.  So, you may start out with what looks like a lot of leaves but they wilt quickly.

This dish was simple and I have added it to my favorite veggie list! I think it would really be good to add a little kick like crushed red pepper to the dish, but my 18 month old grandson was eating with us so that was a big NO-NO.  A little chow-chow or some pepper relish would be good added to it, as well....at least I think so!

This recipe came out of a Lodge Cast Iron cookbook.  I absolutely love cast iron but I only have one good skillet which is what I used for this dish.  Now that I think about it, this skillet came from my mother-in-law, Joy. You know, I think today I am going to change that and order some pieces.  I like to watch The Pioneer Woman and she has an entire collection.  Oh wow, boy have I diverted from what I was talking about.  Annnnnyway.....if you have a cast iron skillet, use it for this recipe.  If not, just use any skillet.  I don't really like non-stick pans.  I have one but I only use it for cooking eggs or pancakes. I just don't think they get things browned-up as well.  But if that is what you have...by all means use it....it will definitely work!

The good thing about this dish is that it will go with just about anything....especially cornbread!  It doesn't get much more Southern than that!


BRAISED KALE WITH BACON AND ONIONS

1 (16 ounce) bag of chopped Kale
5 slices of extra-thick-cut Bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 medium Onion, split lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 can of Chicken Broth, (I use Campbells)
Kosher or Fine Sea Salt and Freshly ground Black Pepper

Cook the bacon in a 10 inch cast iron skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until browned and fat is rendered, about 5-10 minutes.


Add the onion, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes.




Raise the heat to medium-high, and add about 1/4 cup of chicken broth and and handful of kale and toss until wilted. 


Continue adding chicken broth, a little at a time, to keep a good steam going, and add more kale.  Stir constantly and allowing each addition to wilt before adding more.


When all of the kale has been added and has been wilted down, add salt and pepper to taste.

It should be tender but still retain its lovely green color.

Serve immediately.


ENJOY!










Wednesday, September 10, 2014

OVEN SWISS STEAK




Well, this dish has received 5 Stars at my house!  My daughter declared this as her  new favorite dish and I think I am in agreement!

I was looking through an old magazine called "The Best of America's Test Kitchen" and found this recipe.  I used to make Oven Swiss Steak but I haven't made it in years....because I can't find my recipe! Ugh!  But I am glad now that I couldn't find it because this one is better!!  It literally cuts with a fork...no need for a knife.  It has a deep, rich flavor and it is perfect served over mashed potatoes.

The recipe called for a Top Blade Steak but I couldn't find it at either of my local grocery stores so I decided I would experiment with 2 different cuts of meat.  The first was  Boneless Heavy Beef Chuck Tender Steaks and the second was Thin Sliced Sirloin Steaks sliced in half.  I forgot to look at how much they weighed so I ended up with about 3 pounds of steak or 12 small pieces of steak.  This recipe calls for 3-1/2 - 4 lbs of meat so, I could have added 2 more steaks cut in half for a total of 16 pieces of meat.  I would say this recipe serves 6 to 8 people easily.  Oh...and I would use only the Sirloin Steaks next time.  They cooked up perfectly and had very little fat.

I decided to keep it simple tonight so I just made mashed potatoes and sauteed kale (I will blog that tomorrow...super easy).  It was just right.  I would have loved to have rolls, garlic toast, or some kind of bread but I am trying to limit my gluten right now sooooo no bread....Booooo!!  I love bread!!

I was so tempted to change up this recipe because that's just what I do but I decided, no matter what, I was going to follow the recipe perfectly.  I did mess up and I added the sun dried tomatoes too early but it didn't seem to make a difference.  Try it and let me know what you think!

OVEN SWISS STEAK


Preheat oven to 350 Degrees

1  (3-1/2 TO 4 pound) Boneless Top Blade Roast OR Thin Sliced Sirloin Steaks
     Garlic Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoons Canola Oil
1 large Onion, halved and sliced thin
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 tablespoon unbleached All-Purpose Flour
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 (14.5 ounce) can Diced Tomatoes
1-1/2 cups Chicken Broth (I use Campbells)
1 tablespoon Sun Dried Tomatoes, packed in oil, minced
1 tablespoon Fresh Parsley, finely chopped

Pat steaks dry with a paper towel and season with garlic salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Brown steaks in groups, making sure not to crowd the steaks, about 3 minutes per side (my stove took a little longer). 


Transfer the steaks to a plate and repeat with the remaining steaks and oil.

Add the onion to the empty pot and cook them until softened, about 5 minutes.  You may need to add a little oil if there is not enough to saute the onions.


Add the tomato paste, flour, garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.



Stir in the diced tomatoes and the broth and bring to a boil.


Return the steaks and any accumulated juice to the pot.  




Transfer the pot to the oven and braise, covered, until the steaks are fork-tender, about 1 hour at 350 degrees, decrease heat to 325 degrees for 30 minutes and then decrease heat to 300 degrees for the last 30 minutes.


Transfer steaks to a plate and tent with foil.  Let rest for 5 minutes.  Skim fat from the sauce. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.  Pour the sauce over the steaks and sprinkle with parsley.


Serve over or with mashed potatoes.



ENJOY!











Friday, August 1, 2014


STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS

Last week, I was trying to think of something new to cook.  I wanted something not too heavy and something that would satisfy my hunger for comfort food and lots of flavor.  

Cabbage rolls!!!  I don't know why but I have never made them before.  I started looking for a recipe and found several but Emeril's stood out.  I, of course, did not go by the recipe but it was a good base to begin with.  I used a spaghetti sauce that I make from time to time instead of his sauce recipe.  However, if you want to speed this meal up, I would suggest buying your favorite bottled spaghetti sauce.  Mine favorite is Rao's just in case you wanted to know.  The sauce recipe that follows is really, really good and simple in flavor so it does not conflict with the cabbage roll flavors.  Actually, I doubled this recipe and used half for the cabbage rolls and froze the rest for a later date! 

I made one HUGE error when I was cooking and it ended up taking me twice as long to finish.  My error?  I got all of my meat and seasonings mixed together and then I added uncooked rice to it....it is supposed to be cooked rice!!!  Ugh!  I had to start over.  Not a good moment!  

This recipe is getting added to my "favorites".  I will definitely be making this more often.  I loved it, my kids loved it and I had leftovers for the next day.  Perfect!

I made mashed potatoes, baby limas, and a new cornbread recipe....I will share that next because it is my new favorite....to go with the cabbage rolls.  So excited that I have 2 new favorite recipes to add to my others.  Hope you try them and hope you like them!  Let me hear from you...I enjoy that immensely!!





STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS


Sauce

1 cup Olive Oil
2 small Onions, chopped
8 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 - 12 ounce cans Tomato Paste
6 cans Water
3 teaspoons Salt (you can add more if you want)
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1/4 cup Brown Sugar

Halfway between low to medium heat, saute onion and garlic in oil for about 10 minutes (longer would be better but 10 minutes is enough), stirring occasionally.  Add tomato paste and water.  Stir well to combine.  Increase heat and add remaning ingredients.  When boiling, reduce to low and simmer 45 minutes to one hour.

Cabbage Rolls

1/2 pound Ground Sirloin
1/2 pound Ground Italian Sausage
1 tablespoons Butter
1 cups chopped Onion
1/2 cup chopped Bell Pepper
6-8 cloves minced Garlic
2 eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tablespoons Garlic Powder
2 teaspoon Steak Seasoning or Tony Chacheres
1 cup cooked long-grain Rice
1 head Cabbage, cored and scalded in hot water until leaves can be removed easily

Melt butter and add onion, bell pepper, and garlic.  Saute approximately 5 minutes.  In a large bowl, combine sirloin, sausage, eggs, garlic powder, seasonings, and sauteed vegetables.  Mix well and then gently add the rice until distributed evenly.

Cover the bottom of a 9 X 13 baking dish with about 1/2 to 3/4 cup sauce.

Place approximately 1/4 cup of meat mixture in each cabbage leaf, roll up and place into dish, seam side down.  Pour the rest of the sauce on top of the cabbage rolls.

Bake in 350 degree oven for an hour and then decrease the heat to 275 degrees and cook for an additional hour.

Mashed Potatoes is a great accompaniment to this dish!




ENJOY!