Sunday, November 28, 2010

Herbed Smashed Potatoes

These were pretty good. Very flavorful. We had with Salisbury Steak.

Herbed Smashed Potatoes

4 Servings

1 pound New Potatoes
1/3 Cup Half-and-Half
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Mixed Herbs (D used 2 teaspoons of Italian Seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder, 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder)
1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Boil potatoes for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain.
Mash with a potato masher.
Add in the rest of the ingredients.

Calories: 132
Fat: 5.4 g
Sodium: 257 mg

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

So D made this in about 30 minutes. It was good, but nothing great. The gravy tasted a little to wine-y. To be honest with you, I think Quick and Easy Salisbury Steak is better.

We had with broccoli and Herbed Mashed Potatoes.

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

Other Time: 40 minutes minutes
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 steak and about 1/4 cup gravy)

1/3 cup grated onion, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground sirloin
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1. Combine 1/4 cup onion, pepper, salt, garlic, and beef. Shape into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) patties. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add patties; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned.

2. Melt butter in pan. Add mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes. Stir in wine and remaining onion; cook 2 minutes. Combine broth and flour; add to pan, and bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until thick. Add patties and vinegar to pan; cook 2 minutes.

CALORIES 192 ; FAT 7.9g (sat 3.8g,mono 2.7g,poly 0.7g); CHOLESTEROL 68mg; CALCIUM 20mg; CARBOHYDRATE 6g; SODIUM 380mg; PROTEIN 24.9g; FIBER 0.7g; IRON 2.3mg

Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2010

Smoked Baby Back Ribs with Spicy Creole Barbecue Sauce

So this recipe needs lots of tweaking. We had it for Thanksgiving. I don't like salt all that much, but D loves it. My dad broke his nose at an earlier phase of life, so everything has to be overspiced for him. Both of them thought it was too salty. Dad even went so far to rinse one of his ribs. D knew there could be a problem when making the Creole Seasoning, and the salt made it too light. So if we make this again, we will half the salt. Really, it overpowered any spice there might have been.

I can't say anything about the actual smoking of the ribs. D smokes ribs all the time, and like most batches he makes, these were tender and fall off the bone.

I was not a fan of the BBQ Sauce on its own. D did some baste or something with one of the racks and that was good. But on its own, all I could taste was Tabasco. It was also too thin. Now that we know, we would not use sauce, or use Stubbs (the orange stuff) if we had guests.

So I believe this recipe has potential. But the spices need to be kicked up/salt knocked back. And perhaps just not make the BBQ sauce. And like I said, I don't know how D smokes ribs, so I can't tell you if he followed this recipe or not. I do know he used spare ribs and not baby back.

D's Notes (after reading mine): Can easily be fixed. Do not need all the suace, would definitely half the sauce and only use it as a baste. Half the salt and add a tablespoon of thyme to the rub. I never use the water pan when smoking, it adds steam and I do not like my ribs to get that soft. Like ribs that pull more than fall off the bone

Smoked Baby Back Ribs with Spicy Creole Barbecue Sauce

Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 14 hours

4 whole racks baby back pork ribs (about 8 pounds total)
Creole Seasoning (see below)
Charcoal briquettes
2 cups hickory wood chips, soaked in water 1 hour, drained
Disposable 9x6x1-inch aluminum broiler pans
Spicy Creole Barbecue Sauce (see below)

Sprinkle ribs generously with Creole Seasoning. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours or overnight.
Mound charcoal briquettes in barbecue and burn until light gray. Using tongs, carefully divide hot briquettes into 2 piles, 1 pile at each side of barbecue. Place empty disposable broiler pan between piles; fill pan with water. Sprinkle each pile with generous 1/2 cup hickory chips. Position grill at least 6 inches above briquettes. Position vents on barbecue so that chips smoke and briquettes burn but do not flame and temperature registers 350 degrees F.

Place ribs on rack over broiler pan. Cook until meat is very tender and pulls back from ends of bones, adding briquettes and wood chips to each pile, and water to broiler pan as needed, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Brush both sides of ribs with 1 cup Spicy Creole Barbecue Sauce and cook 15 minutes longer.

Transfer ribs to platter. Serve ribs, passing remaining sauce separately.

CHEF'S NOTES: It's very easy to turn your grill into a smoker. Preheat grill and let coals become hot. Add wood and turn heat to low. Add a small pan of water to coals. This helps ribs to stay moist. Adjust temperature when needed. If you don't have a temperature gauge on your smoker or grill, use a fryer thermometer. Also add wood when needed. If flare ups occur, place a small sheet pan over coals to catch fat drippings. I like to soak the wood so it will smolder, not just burn. My favorite woods are apple, pecan and hickory.

Take the time and completely cook your ribs until tender. It takes a while, so plan in advance.

Creole Seasoning

Active Time: 5 Minutes
Total Time: 5 Minutes
Yield: Makes 1 1/2 cups
This seasoning powder gives jambalaya, ribs and chicken a spicy kick. Store in a glass jar or airtight container. It will keep indefinitely.

1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon (about) cayenne pepper
1/4 cup paprika

Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Store in glass jar or plastic container. Will keep indefinitely.

Recipe created exclusively for by Jamie Shannon, Executive Chef of Commander's Palace and co-author of Commander's Kitchen.

Serving size = 1/2 tablespoon

Spicy Creole Barbecue Sauce

Active Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 40 Minutes
Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

1 tablespoon butter
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 medium bell peppers, coarsely chopped
20 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
8 ounces fresh ginger, peeled, coarsely chopped
1 cup mild-flavored molasses or honey
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
One 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup (about) hot pepper sauce
1 1/2 cups beer
cayenne pepper, optional

Melt butter in large heavy-duty saucepot over medium-high heat just until brown, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add onions, peppers and garlic. Saute until very brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in vinegar and ginger. Bring to boil. Stir in molasses, brown sugar, tomato paste and hot pepper sauce; bring to boil. Add beer; bring to boil. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

Puree sauce with hand blender or bar blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Thin sauce with more beer or water if too thick. Cover and simmer for flavors to blend, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Don’t over season your barbecue sauce. Remember that ribs are also seasoned heavily. Sauce will last up to 3 months stored in air-tight container in refrigerator. It’s best at a couple of weeks, and goes great on all meats and game.

Recipe created exclusively for by Jamie Shannon, Executive Chef of Commander's Palace and co-author of Commander's Kitchen.

Serving size = 1/4 cup

Bacon Popcorn

I'm rather undecided by this, which means that I won't have it again. I heard about this recipe a few years ago on the radio, and then my coworker gave me the recipe. It was easy, but I didn't find anything remarkable about it. I tasted no difference in the popcorn. So eh...

Bacon Popcorn

4-5 pieces of bacon
Bacon Grease
1/3 Cup of unpopped popcorn
Salt (if you want it).

Fry up the bacon, and save about 3 TBSP of grease. Set aside the bacon. Put the 3 TBSP of bacon grease into a pot and add 4 kernels and cover. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the popcorn and cover. Cut the bacon into bits while popcorn is popping. When the popcorn is done, add half to a large bowl, add half bacon and your salt and mix. Add the rest and do the same.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Southern Comfort Caramel Apple Pie

I got this recipe from EzraPoundCake. I suggest if you want to make it, to copy into Word and then print.

First I don't make pie crust. I love to bake, but don't find making crust enjoyable. And this beautiful company named Pillsbury does the job fine for me. So that was my only change to the recipe.

D and I had no clue about the apples. We found Braeburns at Kroghetto. Upon tasting, I could've bought Granny Smith. No big deal.

I felt the topping was harder to make than the filling. This was user issues... my cutting board was fresh out of the dishwasher, so the butter melted. The brown sugar stayed packed in the food processor. Still it came out ok. I toasted the pecans in a pan, because the oven was in use.

The filling was simple to make. Because my pie plate was in use, I used a disposable pie plate, and had to double it up. I still didn't trust the weight of the pie, so I put it on a pizza pan when I put it in the oven. Good thing, because it overflowed.

D doesn't like apple pie. He liked this one. My dad liked it. I don't know if my brother liked it. But when I went to bed, there was 5 pieces left. This morning when I woke up there were 2. So I'd say success!

Southern Comfort Caramel Apple Pie

Adapted from Rebecca Rather’s “The Pastry Queen”

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Basic Pie Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup (11 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water


  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


  • 5 to 6 medium-size tart apples, such as Braeburn, Cortland or Winesap
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup Southern Comfort liqueur
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Garnishes (optional):

  • Vanilla or cinnamon ice cream
  • Whipped cream
  • Caramel sauce

1. To Make the Crust: Using a food processor, pulse to combine the flour, salt and sugar. Add butter; pulse until the mixture looks crumbly. Add 4 tablespoons ice water, and pulse until the dough begins to form a ball. If it doesn’t, add the additional 1 tablespoon water, and pulse. Gently mold the dough into a disk,; wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

2. Clean your food processor (you can just wipe it out) to make the topping.

3. To Make the Topping: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer, and toast them in the oven for about 7 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic. Coarsely chop the nuts.

4. In a food processor, process both sugars, the cinnamon, salt and flour for about 1 minute. Add butter; pulse 10 to 15 times, until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the pecans. Refrigerate the topping, covered, in a a medium bowl until ready to use.

5. Transfer the unwrapped pie dough to a lightly floured flat surface. Roll it into a 1/8-inch-thick circle large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. (To keep the dough from sticking, gently pick it up every once in a while and rotate it in place, adding more flour underneath if necessary.)

6. Wrap the dough lightly over the rolling pin, and set it in the ungreased pie plate. Press it into place, and crimp the outside edges with your finger or a fork.

7. To Make the Filling: Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Peel, core and cut the apples into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

8. When the butter starts to foam, add the apples and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes.

9. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle it on the apples, and reduce the heat under the skillet to medium-low. Simmer the apples for about 1 minute.

10. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples from the skillet to a large baking sheet, and arrange them in a single layer. (If you heap them in a pile, the hot apples will steam and get soggy.)

11. Pour the Southern Comfort into the butter-sugar mixture in the skillet. Simmer the mixture over medium heat at least 5 minutes, until the alcohol burns off. Add the cream, and continue cooking about 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture is thick as pourable caramel. Return the apples to the skillet.

12. Pour the apple filling into the unbaked pie crust, and sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the topping is brown. Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with ice cream, whipped cream or caramel sauce.

Jalapeno Popper Dip

So someone from WeWa gave me this recipe. Obviously, this person and I are forever WeWa buddies (I find the most fattening recipes from these women!!!!). Then I found it on Both times it was missing a key ingredient...meat. After sharing the recipe with some other women, bacon was suggested. So I made bacon. I was only going to add half a pound, but D and I had a miscommunication, and he added the whole pound.

The result? OMG, I couldn't keep my hands out of this stuff. It was so good, spicy, creamy. Damn, just thinking about it, I want it again. I believe my father and D liked it as well. I know my bro like it because he had as much as I did.


Jalapeno Popper Dip
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (used 1/3 fat Cream Cheese, it is creamier)
1 cup mayonnaise (used Hellman's Light, bc that's what we have)
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained (didn't drain)
2 ounces canned diced jalapeno peppers, drained (used 4 oz, because what am I going to do with 2 extra oz)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (used Italian blend, because that's what we had)
1 pound of bacon, cut up

Put everything in the crockpot and heat up (about an hour). Serve with fritos.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Easy Coq au Vin

D made this. He wasn't sure what made it easy. Well he said it was easy, but tedious.

Except for the pearl onions it was very good. You couldn't taste the bacon. The sauce was thin, but very rich. D said he omitted oil, but added butter and flour to that. We had with rotini pasta.

A very good Sunday dinner on a cold evening.

Easy Coq au Vin

Serve with noodles, rice, or boiled potatoes

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 thigh, 1 drumstick, and about 1 cup sauce)

4 applewood-smoked bacon slices, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 chicken drumsticks, skinned
4 chicken thighs, skinned

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (750-milliliter) bottle red wine (we used a Cab)
2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
6 ounces frozen pearl onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Cook bacon in a large, deep skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings in pan. Sprinkle chicken with salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken to drippings in pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan.

2. Add onion and next 5 ingredients (through bay leaves); cook 5 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute. Stir in wine; bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until reduced by half, stirring occasionally. Return chicken to pan. Add broth; bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 35 minutes or until chicken is done, turning after 20 minutes. Remove chicken from pan; cover.

3. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add button mushrooms and pearl onions; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

4. Place chicken cooking liquid over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half (about 10 minutes). Discard bay leaves. Stir in mushroom mixture. Return chicken to pan; simmer 5 minutes or until heated. Sprinkle with parsley and bacon.

CALORIES 319 ; FAT 13.2g (sat 3.6g,mono 4.1g,poly 1.8g); CHOLESTEROL 115mg; CALCIUM 78mg; CARBOHYDRATE 16.1g; SODIUM 727mg; PROTEIN 33.9g; FIBER 2.7g; IRON 3.2mg

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2010

Smoky Slow Cooker Chili

So D is not a slow cooker fan. He doesn't like the way the meat shreds or the way it tastes (he says everything ends up tasting pot roast-y). I think it is a texture thing. So when I showed him this recipe, I was a little shocked he went for it.

It was pretty easy, I guess. He made it and then we went out (to a chili cookoff of all things). I think our crock pot is broken, because it boiled over while we were gone. No biggie.

It was pretty good overall (no, it wouldn't have won the cookoff). No chiles in it, which is unusual for us, so we were surprised there was a little kick (but not like most of our chilies, just enough). But there was plenty of meat and it was chunky not shred-dy.

We both decided this was one that we could do for days we go out like a noon football game.

We had with elbow macaroni.

Smoky Slow Cooker Chili

Photo by ALB

Pork shoulder is usually sold in weights greater than a pound. Ask your butcher to trim off the amount you need, or look for pork shoulder steaks. Serve with corn bread.

8 servings

Cooking spray
1 pound ground pork
1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cups chopped onion
1 3/4 cups chopped green bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup lager-style beer (such as Budweiser)---we used a Red Stripe
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tomatillos, quartered
2 bay leaves
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans plum tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added pinto beans, drained
1 (7 3/4-ounce) can Mexican hot-style tomato sauce (such as El Paso) --we used Rotel
1 smoked ham hock (about 8 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled queso fresco -- we used Sharp Cheddar
8 lime wedges

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add ground pork to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to slightly crumble. Drain well. Transfer pork to an electric slow cooker.
2. Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add pork shoulder; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned, turning occasionally. Transfer pork to slow cooker.
3. Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in beer; cook 1 minute. Transfer onion mixture to slow cooker. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, chili powder, and next 9 ingredients (through ham hock) to slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 5 hours or until meat is tender. Remove bay leaves and ham hock; discard. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and sugar. Ladle about 1 1/3 cups chili into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon cilantro, 1 tablespoon green onions, and 1 tablespoon cheese. Serve each serving with 1 lime wedge.

Note: You can also cook the chili in a slow cooker on LOW for 8 hours. For cooking chili on the stovetop, use a total of 12 ounces beer and simmer, covered, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the pork shoulder is tender.

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 354 (0.0% from fat); FAT 14.2g (sat 5.1g,mono 5.9g,poly 1.4g); IRON 3.8mg; CHOLESTEROL 82mg; CALCIUM 108mg; CARBOHYDRATE 26.4g; SODIUM 645mg; PROTEIN 28.5g; FIBER 6.8g

Cooking Light, JANUARY 2009

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Southwestern Cobb Salad

So I made this. It was really easy to make and very flavorful. Of course I changed things.

Due to my turkey allergy, I used chicken. I added Penzey's Southwest Seasoning to the chicken. I forgot to add oil to the vinagrette. And I used Mexican Cheese in place of Queso Fresco, because I had Mexi Cheese and didn't feel like buying Queso Fresco.

I also made the pico de gallo...2 Roma Tomatoes chopped, 3 slices of red onion, chopped, 4 sprigs of cilantro chopped, 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped, and some lime juice, all thrown in a bowl.

Southwestern Cobb Salad

Other Time: 20 minutes minutes
Yield: 4 servings

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil (forgot)

3 slices center-cut bacon
Cooking spray
8 ounces skinless, boneless turkey breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (used chicken breast)
1/4 teaspoon salt (forgot, but used Penzey's Southwest Seasoning...didn't measure)
8 cups torn romaine lettuce
1/2 cup refrigerated fresh pico de gallo
1/2 cup diced avocado
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled queso fresco (used Mexican Blend Cheese)
1/4 cup chopped green onions (forgot)
1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained

1. To prepare vinaigrette, combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk (missed this part of the recipe when I made it); set aside.

2. To prepare salad, cook bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Wipe pan clean with paper towels. Increase heat to medium-high. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle turkey with salt. Add turkey to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until done.

3. Arrange 2 cups lettuce on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with about 2 teaspoons bacon, 5 tablespoons turkey, 2 tablespoons pico de gallo, 2 tablespoons avocado, 2 tablespoons queso fresco, 1 tablespoon onions, and about 1/3 cup beans. Drizzle vinaigrette evenly over salads.

CALORIES 293 ; FAT 13.6g (sat 2.5g,mono 7.2g,poly 3g); CHOLESTEROL 44mg; CALCIUM 117mg; CARBOHYDRATE 19.9g; SODIUM 455mg; PROTEIN 22.4g; FIBER 6.6g; IRON 3.1mg

Cooking Light, JULY 2010