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Ginger Lime Dressing


I am looking for some great ways to spruce up lettuce, since I am eating 2 cups of veggies at lunch and dinner.  I have recently discovered how inexpensive fresh ginger is and how wonderful it tastes and smells.  Yesterday, I was searching for a recipe with ginger and lime since I had both of those in the refrigerator.   Recipe after recipe called for oil, honey or mayonnaise.  I was looking for a low fat and light dressing.  I threw caution to the wind and went to the lab (aka kitchen) and put together a dressing hoping it would turn out!

Ingredients:

1 lime

Fresh Ginger ( I used about 1 inch)

2 tbls of rice vinegar

3 cloves of raw garlic

black pepper

3 tbls of water

Agave Nectar (to taste)

I mixed all of the above together, mixed on a salad with green leaf lettuce, red peppers, yellow peppers and shredded carrots.  The results?  THE dressing was FABULOUS!!!!  I hated lettuce the day before.  I am now in love with it again.  My 11 and 7 year old both enjoyed it.  Play with the ingredients.  Taste as you go along to decide how much more you need.  The garlic gave it a nice spice, but could be toned down if desired.

Jar of Deliciousness!


My daughter loves my cooking.  She often states that she wishes I could jar up my deliciousness and we would have our first million.  All the home chefs would just add the jar to anything and it would taste spectacular!  While I wish that it could be that easy I did make a jar of deliciousness today that would be good on certain things (ice cream, waffles, hot chocolate, coffee, brownies and other sweet things).

I had some goat’s milk in my refrigerator and was planning on trying my hand at making Feta Cheese.  I read a few recipes and was not really getting motivated to make the cheese.  I searched for Goat’s Milk Recipes and found a recipe for Cajeta. Cajeta is a milk caramel sauce.  I did not know this 3 hours ago.  I had all the ingredients on hand, I was cold, and curious so I made Cajeta.  What does cold have to do with it?  You have to stand in front of your stove for 45 minutes stirring the milk to prevent it from burning or boiling over. Trust me it can boil over very easily!

oops.... boiled over!

Despite the time this takes and the mess on my stove, this is so worth it!

OH!

MY!

WORD!


I am reluctant to rave about this caramel because sometimes things do not live up to their hype.  Regardless, I am going to rave.  This is so delicious!  This is almost good enough to lick off the floor. It is lick the spoon clean and hope there is more.  It has so many layers of flavors.  So tasty.  So rich.  Very indulgent.

Cajeta (found here)

Ingredients:

4 cups goat milk

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp baking soda

(the original recipe calls for corn starch to make it thicker, it was optional so I left it out)

The Method:

Dissolve the baking soda in a smaller amount of milk.  Pour the remaining milk into large sauce pan and add sugar.  Turn the heat onto medium, allowing it to heat slowly to not scald the milk.  Once sugar is dissolved, add the baking soda milk.  I did this about 2 minutes into cooking.  Allow the milk to boil and continue on a soft boil while stirring the whole time.  I used a non-stick sauce pan with a silicone whisk.  Keep stirring.  It will start to change colors from white to tan to a darker tan.  I kept adjusting the heat up and down to maintain the boil without letting it boil over (a second time).

yum.

I have some good news!  You can try to make this with cow’s milk, if you do not have any goat’s milk.   Enjoy!

A Rachel Ray recipe


I watched 30 Minute Meals with Rachel Ray and she made a Monte Cristo Frittata. It looked so yummy and simple. I was thinking about when I would get the ingredients for the recipe when I realized I had all the necessary ingredients! We had made ham for my parents on Easter Sunday and had quite a bit leftover. This recipe was super easy to make and good one to get the kids involved!  They can crack the eggs, beat them and older ones can dice the turkey and ham.

The underside, so nice and brown

Monte Cristo Frittata adapted from Rachel Ray
Ingredients:
9 eggs
Cooked ham
Cooked turkey
Green onions
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for pan
2 tbsp milk
Shredded cheese – whatever you have on hand that will compliment and melt
Skillet that is oven safe (I used a 15 inch skillet)

look at the eggs bubbling

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees f. Pre-heat pan and add oil. Dice ham and turkey. Add to skillet. Dice onions and add to pan. Meanwhile, crack eggs into bowl and whip with a splash of milk, salt and pepper to taste. Add eggs to skillet and cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes till set on sides. Place skillet in oven and cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake for another 5 minutes or till cheese is melted.  I am also happy to report that leftovers heated in the microwave for 30-45 seconds is quite tasty! :)

Nice Slice

I am uber excited to know how to make a frittata.  I see me making one at least once a month, with onions, spinach, tomatoes, eggplant, red peppers, sausages or more, you get the idea.  Thank you Rachel Ray!!!

Pop Tarts @ Home


I made pop tarts at home.

I got the idea from Meg (which I am assuming her name is Meg, since her blog is called Meg’s Everyday Indulgence).I hoped it would be a fun project to make with my kids and I also thought I could make the dough with the same recipe I used in my Hamantaschen cookies. Well, my kids thought it was okay. The younger one enjoyed adding the filling and pinching the sides, but it took a long time between that to roll the dough thin.  It was a serious work out for my arms. However, they came out very tasty.  A little on the doughy side despite us rolling the dough thin, but it reminding me of a pop tart even though it has been years since I ate one.

Making rectangles

Meg’s dough recipe might be easier to roll out, try both and see which one you like better.

Mascarpone and Pecan Filling

POP TARTS FROM SCRATCH

Dough from Chabad.org 

Ingredients: (could cut this recipe in half)

4 cups flour
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup margarine, softened
1 Tbsp. Orange juice (I had a carton, so used that)
2 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. Orange rind ( I used lemon zest)

Grease cookie sheets or use silpat.

Place all ingredients in a large mixer bowl and beat together. You may add a drop more juice or flour, depending on consistency of dough. Roll dough into a ball. Divide into four parts.  Roll dough thin.  Really thin…no thinner.  Phew.  Make a 9 x 12 rectangle and cut 3 x6 rectangles and place on cookie sheet.

Jelly Filling

Jelly Filling:

3/4 cup raspberry jam (any flavor will work)
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. water

Mix the water and cornstarch together and then add jelly and heat in small saucepan on stove till it boils.  Simmer for 2 minutes and remove from heat and allow to cool.

Pecan Mascarpone Filling:

1/4 c Pecans grounded (use a food processor or place in bag and beat with mallet)
2 Tbls of brown sugar (mix the nuts and sugar together)
5 Tbls of Mascarpone

Once you have several rectangles on your cookie sheet you can add the filling.  The nice thing about this dough is that it does not spread out much, so you can squeeze many tarts onto one sheet.

For the jelly filling we added about 1 tablespoon per tart keeping it in the middle.  For the pecan filling we smeared the cheese on the bottom and then sprinkled nuts on top.

Place another rectangle on top and smoosh the sides together and press with a fork. Repeat a few times to ensure it will stick.  Then prick* the top of tart a few times.Bake at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes. Since there is no butter in the dough, they will not brown up. The next morning we placed them in the toaster just like the store-bought ones.  The jelly ones were terrific, but the mascarpone filled were disappointing.  I think a frosting with mascarpone would be much better.

YUM!

*In hindsight, wish we had made a different pattern on top of the jelly ones because it was challenging to tell the difference once they were baked.

For my readers who have gluten allergies, but think this could be a fun project I found this recipe.  The author states it is also free of nuts, dairy, soy, potato, and corn. The photos of her pop tarts are so pretty.

Four Step Side Dish ~ Roasted Tomatoes


not garden fresh, but might tasty

Roasted Tomatoes in 4 easy steps:

Slicing tomatoes

Arranged on pan

tomatoes with herbs and cheese

Roasty and Toasty!

1.Pour olive oil on jelly roll pan to just cover.

2.Slice tomatoes and arrange on pan in single layer

3. Sprinkle with herbs of choice, smashed garlic and cheese (Mozzarella, Parmesan, Asiago, etc)

4. Bake in 375 degree F oven for 15 minutes, then broil for 4-8 minutes watching closely till tomatoes are just toasty.

Chicken Enchiladas


I made chicken enchiladas with chicken thighs.  I am so happy to have discovered chicken thighs.  The meat is very inexpensive, tasty and quite simple to make.  I buy packages with bones and skin.

Chicken Thighs and Enchilada Sauce in the crock pot...kind of nasty looking.

Chicken Enchiladas with Toasty Cheese

Chicken Enchiladas (serves 4 heaping portions, made about 10 enchiladas)

1 -2 pounds of chicken thighs

1 can of enchilada sauce

1 can of diced green chilis

10-12 corn tortillas

1/4 c of sour cream or plain yogurt (I used Chobani)

2 c of shredded mexi- cheese

Directions:

Cook the chicken thighs and enchilada sauce on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours till meat is cooked and literally falling off the bone. Once chicken is cooked separate the meat from bones and skin.  Shred the meat and mix in green chiles and sour cream.  Place corn tortillas in a microwave safe dish with lid and 1-2 tsp of water and heat for about 30 seconds. Grease a 9×12 pan.  Fill each corn tortilla with the meat mixture and fold over.  Hopefully the tortilla is soft enough to not tear while folding.  Place in dish and repeat till full of stuffed tortillas.  Cover with foil and bake on 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Add cheese over the top and cook for another 5-8 minutes till cheese is nice and melted.  I actually turn the oven to broil and toast the top because I love love love toasty cheese.

I served this with corn and a salad.  I dipped my enchilada in Sriracha.  You could just add it to the meat mixture, but my daughters would object.

I put the leftover bones and skin back into the crock pot and let it simmer for another hour or so.  I am thinking (hoping) it will be a nice base for soup.

Shrimp Foil Packet


Several weeks ago I learned to make shrimp en papillote (cooked in paper) at my cooking class.  I came home and attempted to recreate the recipe.  It was an EPIC fail. We were all so sad, because the pockets were so beautiful and colorful, but the shrimp was raw and we tried to cook it more but it just did not work out.  Shortly after that I was reading my Daring Kitchen challenge and learning about ceviche.  Ceviche dishes are not cooked with heat, the acidity of the citrus foods cook the protein (source) I then realized why my shrimp did not work!  In our class, we prepared the packets of shrimp, veggies and added lemon.  The packets then sat for about 20 minutes while we prepared another dish.  Finally, we baked the packets for about 8 minutes.  The lemon juice was starting to “cook” the shrimp and I did not do that at home.  I made the pockets and immediately placed them in the oven.  Once I made this connection, I was eager to try making packets again, but I am lazy and did not want to mess with 4 individual parchment paper packets, so I made one large foil packet.  I allowed it to sit for about 15 minutes with lots of lemon juice squeezed on the shrimps.  I baked them at 400 degrees for 12 minutes and guess what??!!!  They were perfect!  So tasty.

Ingredients:

Shelled Shrimp (about 6-8 per person)

1-2 Garlic cloves smashed

1 tbls butter

pepper

red pepper cut into strips (or any veggie that you like)

2 lemons (for about 40 shrimp)

Basil to taste

Directions:

Place peppers on large sheet of foil, place shrimp on top.  Sprinkle garlic all over.  Season to preference (pepper, Mrs. Dash, Onions, etc).  Dice butter and place in 4 -5 spots along shrimp. Squeeze lemons along the shrimp and place lemon on top.  Seal foil tightly around all ingredients and place on cookie sheet or pan with sides.  Let sit for 10-30 minutes (no more than 4 hours).  Bake in oven for 8-12 minutes on 400 degrees.  You can serve with rice or noodles.

Stuffed Cabbage


I bought my kids the Laptop Lunch Box system at our local grocery store.  I was perusing the web looking for more fun ideas on what to pack the kids for lunch in these fun colorful boxes and found JustBento.com, which lead me to making Cabbage Rolls.  I knew this would be a time-consuming recipe and wanted to research a few recipes before finally cooking.  I choose the recipe at Smitten Kitchen.

For some reason, while making this recipe I felt like it was a lot of work.  In reality, it is not the most complicated or time-consuming recipe I have ever made.  I am not certain why I felt like that, perhaps I was anxious about the cabbage being able to wrap around the meat or I was confused about not browning the meat or pre-cooking the rice. Regardless, I will make again in the fall.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Cabbage Rolls

Uncooked Rolls

Simmering in Tomatoes

Ingredients:

Napa Cabbage (Not sure this was the best cabbage to use, not very big leaves for wrapping)

1 pound Ground Turkey burger

Pepper and Salt to taste

1 small onion diced

1 c shredded carrots

1 tsp Celery Seed

2 tbsp Roasted Red Pepper puree

1/2 c of UNCOOKED brown rice

32 oz can Roma Tomatoes

Directions:

PER Smitten Kitchen, Core the cabbage and place in bowl.  Cover with clean boiling water and let the cabbage soak.  Meanwhile, saute the onions and carrots till tender. Add salt and pepper if desired.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  In a bowl, add raw ground meat, rice, red pepper puree.  Add salt and pepper if desired.  Add carrots and onions and mix well.

Drain the cabbage and remove part of the chunky stem.  Heat tomatoes and allow to simmer in same pan you cooked the carrots.  Place a spoonful of meat mixture on leaf and wrap as best as you can without tearing the leaf or overstuffing.  Once all wrapped place rolls carefully into simmering tomato sauce and place lid over the pan.  Simmer for about 45 minutes.  I had too many (of course!) to fit in my pan so I also steamed a few.  The steamed rolls tasted fine, but needed to cook in sauce for more flavor.  I even had leftover meat mixture so when we were done eating I made them into meatballs and cooked in leftover tomatoes and simmered with lid on to make sure the rice would soften.  This made a ton of food, about 18 rolls and 18 meatballs.

Several of the recipes I read said this freezes really well, but I am not sure.  I ate some leftovers and removed the cabbage off.  I did not like the texture.  Perhaps, I should try them cold or reheating in the oven. The recipe has been requested to be a regular at our house.  I would like to try a teriyaki version.  Do you have a favorite non-traditional stuffed cabbage roll recipe?  Let me know.  I would love to try it.

Spicy-ish Dressing


My palate has changed (for the better) in the past few weeks dramatically. Food overall tastes better to me. I am eating better than I have ever eaten in my ENTIRE LIFE. I won’t bore you with the details of what I eat each day. Recently, I have discovered that I enjoy a little spice in my food (and I used to be pretty wimpy). I bought a bottle of  Sriracha and in less than 4 days I had made a dent in the bottle.  Sriracha is also known as Rooster Sauce.  It is made with chili peppers and it is tasty and spicy.
I made a salad dressing with Sriracha.

Italian Dressing:
I used the store-bought packet of Italian Dressing that came with a great cruet to make it in.
Ingredients:
Rice Vinegar
Italian Dressing Packet
Olive Oil
Water
Sriracha

The cruet had nice hash marks to fill up with vinegar, water and oil. However, I usually go 1 part vinegar 1 part oil.  I added about 1 tablespoons of the Sriracha, more can be added if you want more fire.

Spicy Dressing

This made an excellent dressing and when we finished it, I used balsamic dressing.  The packet of seasonings could be omitted.

The dressing ingredients

Easy recipe for Chicken Thighs


Raise your hand if you want an easy recipe. So easy, it does not even need pictures (I write that sheepishly since I forgot to take pictures)?  It is almost like I am breaking a blog rule.

Well, it is too simple and too tasty to not share. So, if you make it, send me photos and I will post yours!
Oh and it is also inexpensive!

BBQ Chicken Thighs 

Ingredients:

1 -2 pounds of chicken thighs (Thighs….I know, this was the first time I EVER cooked them!)

3/4 of jar of your favorite BBQ sauce (I used Bone Suckin’ Sauce)

Place chicken thighs (skin and all) into crock pot and pour sauce on top.  Cook for 3-4 hours on high or 5-6 on low.  Serve with cornbread, salad, green beans or anything your heart desires.  The chicken will fall off the bone.  It is so moist and tender.  I have always avoided chicken thighs, but NO MORE!  They are a fraction of the cost and TASTY!

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