Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just J's Quick Chili Verde

Just J's Quick Chili Verde
  • 2 Lb Pork or Chicken Breasts, cubed (I use thick cut pork loin chops)
  • 1 cup mirepoix* diced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 large green pepper diced
  • 1 small can (4 oz.) diced green chiles
  • 1 small can (7 oz.) salsa verde
  • 1 tbs cumin
  • 1 tbs chili powder (or hot sauce)
Sear the meat in a large dutch oven, then remove and deglaze the pan with the mirepoix & chicken broth. Add the chiles and green pepper and simmer for 15 minutes. Add back in the meat and add the spices. Let simmer for 15 to 30 minutes with lid on. After simmering, bring to a boil and reduce liquid by a third.

Alternative method: Sear off meat, add all ingredients and place in a 250 degree oven for a minimum of 4 hours. Remove from oven and bring to boil on the stovetop to reduce liquid by a third.

*1/3rd a cup each celery, onions & carrots.  
Cross Posted @ Music For A Mid-Life Geek

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jays Baked Margarita Corn Chips

I am always trying to figure out quick gluten free recipes. After a little experimentation at home, I have come up with this low fat, gluten free chip.
Jays Baked Margarita Corn Chips
What you will need:
  • Juice from 4 small limes
  • Juice from 1 medium lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup Tequila
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of ice cubes
  • 1/8 cup sea salt
  • 20 to 30 white corn tortillas

In a small sauce pan bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add 1/8 cup of sea salt. Stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
Add ice cubes and tequila to complete cooling.
Pour the lemon and lime juice into a baking pan. Add zest, then slow whisk the water & tequila mixture.
Cut tortillas into eighths.
Separate and layer chips in to the pan. Let soak for no more than 60 minutes, depending on the salt content and flavor you like. 30 minutes makes a nice mild chip, where 60 minutes is pretty strong.

After soaking, remove chips from liquid and place on cooling rack to dry. Let dry for 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray and place a single layer of chips on the pan. Use cooking spray to spray the chips. Place in oven and cook for 14 to 18 minutes, rotating the sheet pan halfway through the baking cycle. or until golden brown (and delicious). Remove chips and place in a large mixing bowl to cool. Feel free to add some salt while the chips are still hot to make saltier chip.

You will need to cook the chips in several batches. Once cool, place in a paper towel or wax paper lined freezer bag. The chips should be good for up to two weeks. Makes 160 to 240 chips.

Dianes Pine Nut Pilaf

In Wyoming, when ever the temperature climbs above 40° F (4.44 ° C), we see this as time to get out the grill, put on some shorts and start some outdoor living! Now, the weather typically isn't cooperative until mid May, and even then, you can go from 70° to 32° & snow in a blink of an eye.

I would like to think we have turned the corner, but if we haven't, our dinner on Friday the 13th sure felt like a summer meal. It would have even soothed the most friggatriskaidekaphobic of us. The meal was made up of simple grilled New York strip steaks, chilled watermelon chunks, the always delicious Grilled Corn Salad and Dianes Pine Nut Pilaf, a new recipe that is very very nommy.
It was whats for dinner
Dianes Pine Nut Pilaf
1 c cooked Jasmine Rice
1 c cooked Long Grain White Rice
3 Tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp fluer de sel salt
2 tsp Curry Powder (we used a mild blend we got at the World Market, but use whatever you want or, try making your own)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup green onion, finely chopped

This was really created to use up some leftover rice in the refrigerator!
Heat frying pan with 1 Tbs olive oil. Add rice and begin to heat through. Add onions, garlic and the remaining olive oil.
When heated, add salt, curry powder and pine nuts and heat for 5 minutes longer. Spices can be altered to taste.

Here's to many more spring and summer meals out on the deck!

Cross Posted at Music For A Mid-Life Geek

Grilled Corn Salad

I love to cook. In fact, had I not chosen to be a career nerd boy, I would have gone to culinary school. I spend a lot of time learning new techniques, cooking for friends and developing recipes. About two years ago, my wife and I decided to make our eating more healthy and green. Less meat and potatoes, more (sustainable) fish and veggies.

It has been a very creative time for me, trying to figure out low sodium, low fat meals. Flavor can be hard to come by when you cut down on salt and fat (isn't that BUTTER?! om nom nom). By picking up a few new cooking techniques, I am proud to say my recipe box is slowly filling up with some good recipes. Since everyone wants to eat healthy, so I have decided to start sharing some of them. Today's recipe is brand new and hot off the grill! This recipe is inspired by both classic Mexican salsa's and Italian ensalada's.
Grilled Corn Salad
  • Two ears of sweet corn
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1/8 cup basic lemon vinaigrette
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Fresh Cilantro
Shuck and clean the corn. Rub with a little olive oil and place on a hot grill (350 degrees+). Rotate corn until it is slightly golden. Remove corn and allow to cool.

Mince garlic and mix with the vinaigrette. Dice tomatoes and toss with the vinaigrette. Mince 1/8 cup fresh Cilantro.

Once the corn is cool, slice the kernels off of the cob. Toss with vinaigrette and tomatoes. Add in the cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste. Server chilled & garnish with more cilantro. Serves 4.

Variations: If you like a little spice, add some Tabasco or other hot sauce to your vinaigrette. If you want to make more of meal of it, try adding some diced buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto. This can also be used a salsa. Try it on fish taco's!

Basic Lemon Vinaigrette:
Add the juice of one lemon to a mixing bowl, with a pinch of kosher or sea salt. Whisk while slowly adding 1/4 of a cup  extra virgin olive oil. Whisk until emulsified.

Cross Posted At Music For A Mid-Life Geek

Monday, December 14, 2009

Easy-peasy on the Fly Holiday Buffet

Some folks have to entertain more than once over the holidays. Here is a very easy to put together holiday buffet, from appetizer to dessert, that won't leave you stressed out. Relax, be jolly and merry with your friends and family instead.

Cider Cheese Fondue

Makes 2 2/3 cups

-3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
-2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese (recommended: Cabot Hunters Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese)
-1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese (recommended: Amish Swiss Cheese, if you can get it. I found that smoked swiss or gruyere is nice too)
-1 tablespoon cornstarch
-1/8 teaspoon black pepper
-1 loaf crusty french bread, cut into cubes
-1 small tray of apple and pear wedges

In a large saucepan, bring cider to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low. Toss the cheeses with cornstarch and pepper; stir into cider. Cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted. Transfer to a small ceramic fondue pot or slow-cooker; keep warm. Serve with bread cubes and fruit wedges.

Honey-Mustard Turkey Breast

Makes 10-12 servings

-1 bone-in turkey breast
-1/2 cup honey mustard (or mix 1/4 cup honey with 1/4 cup brown mustard)
-3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Place the turkey breast in a shallow roasting pan. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Spoon over turkey. Bake uncovered, at 325 degrees for 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 hours or until meat thermometer reads 170 degrees (take it out at 160 degrees and let set for 10-15 minutes and it will be 170 degrees). Basting every 30 minutes.

Feta Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Makes 6 servings

-5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, (about 1 1/2 pounds) unpeeled and cubed
-4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled
-1 package (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place the potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain and transfer to mixing bowl; mash. Add feta cheese, cream, salt, and pepper; beat until fluffy.

Broccoli Casserole

Makes 6-8 servings

-2 packages (16 ounces each) frozen broccoli florets
-1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
-1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
-1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
-1 can (6 ounces) french-fried onions, divided (I recommend using extra onions)

Cook broccoli according to package directions; drain well( I have found that cooking the broccoli just until it is not frozen is better, it is less mushy that way). In a large saucepan combine soup, sour cream and 1 cup of cheese and 1 1/4 cup onions. Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until heated through. Stir in the broccoli.

Pour into a greased 2 quart baking dish. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and onions. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Herbed Biscuit Knots

Makes 20 rolls

-1 tube (12 ounces) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
-1/4 cup olive oil
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning

Cut each biscuit in half. Roll each portion into a small rope and tie in a loose knot. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. In a small bowl, combine the oil and seasonings; immediately brush over warm knots, then brush again.

Tip: these can be baked then frozen for up to 2 months. Reheat in a 350 degree oven for 6 minutes.

Red-Hot Gelatin Salad

Makes 6 servings

-1 package cherry Jello
-1 1/2 cups boiling water, divided
-1/4 cup red hot candies
-1/4 cups plus 1 1/2 teaspoons cold water
-1 cup chopped Granny Smith apple
-1 cup chopped celery
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a small bowl, dissolve gelatin in 1 cup boiling water. In another bowl, dissolve red-hots in remaining water; stir into gelatin. Stir in cold water. Refrigerate until slightly thickened, about 1 hour.

Fold in apple, celery, and walnuts. Pour into a 4 cup mold coated with non-stick cooking spray. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

Almond-Cherry Fudge

Makes 1 pound

-2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
-1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
-1/2 cup chopped almonds
-1/2 cup red candied cherries, chopped
-1 teaspoon almond extract

Line an 8 inch square pan with foil and grease the foil; set aside. In a microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and milk. Cover and microwave 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until chips are melted; stir until smooth. Stir in almonds, cherries and extract. Cover and chill for 2 hours or until firm.

Using foil, lift fudge out of pan. Discard foil; cut fudge into 1 inch squares. Store in refrigerator.

Tip: This is also a quick and easy edible gift for foodie friends. Prepare and place in a nice tin or other gifty container and give.

Cranberry Pear Tart

Makes 8-10 servings

-1 sheet refrigerated pie pastry
-4 cups sliced, peeled fresh pears (about 4 medium)
-1/3 cup dried cranberries
-1/3 cup apple juice concentrate
-1 teaspoon apple pie spice

Press pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom; trim edges. Generously prick the bottom with a fork; set aside.

In a large skillet, cook the pears, cranberries, apple juice concentrate and apple pie spice over medium heat until pears are tender. Pour into crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Retro Recipe Redux Part 1 : Chicken a La King

This is the time of year people dig through their recipe boxes for old, warm, comfort foods. But seriously, it is time to give them a 21st century update. Taste is not sacrificed, but enhanced while making these old favorites healthier and updated.

Legend has it that this recipe was first invented at the famed New York City restaurant Delmonico's in the late 1800's. Traditionally it is served on toast or inside pastry shells, this version is on egg noodles.

Makes 4 servings

-1 teaspoon olive oil
-1 medium onion
-1 (8oz) package sliced button mushrooms
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 cup low-fat or non-fat milk
-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-8 ounces egg noodles
-1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
-1 tablespoon dry sherry
-1 teaspoon dried thyme
-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breasts
-1 cup frozen peas, thawed
-1/4 cup whipping cream

1) Heat oil in a large non-stick or seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, mushrooms and salt; cook and stir for 5 minutes or until onion is tender and mushrooms have released their juices.

2) Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together milk and flour until smooth. Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions; drain.

3) Pour broth, sherry, thyme and pepper into skillet with vegetables; bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up and incorporate the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add milk mixture; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add chicken, peas and cream; cook until heated through, stirring occasionally. Serve over noodles.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Have a warm and cozy Sip-able Sweet Party

This is a fun and more than slightly impressive way to get friends and family together for a party in the wintertime that does not require a holiday. There is something for everyone and it’s rather easy on the host or hostess as well.

It’s fun to send wacky invitations to those you’d like to gather with by mail or email. You can require that those attending all wear their ugliest or wildest sweater or hat or , *teehee* leg warmers.

The Recipes:

Rich and Thick Hot Chocolate with 3 variations
makes 4 cups (eight 1/2 cup servings) *get real, make a bit more, it’s a party*

-2 teaspoons cornstarch
-4 cups milk, divided
-2 (3.5 oz) dark chocolate bars (at least 70% cacao), chopped *for the love of God, do not use hershey bars*
-1/3 cup honey
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-Pinch of salt (tip: do not omit the salt. It enhances the rich, smooth taste of the chocolate while buffering the naturally occurring bitterness.)
-Marshmallow whipped cream (recipe to follow) or Whipped party spoons (recipe to follow)

1) Whisk together cornstarch and 1/2 cup milk until smooth.
2) Cook remaining 3 1/2 cups milk over medium heat until bubbles appear around edge of saucepan (about 4 minutes; do NOT boil). Whisk in chocolate, honey, vanilla extract and salt until blended and smooth. Whisk in cornstarch mixture.
3) Bring milk mixture to light boil, whisking frequently (about 4 minutes). Remove from heat. Let cool just slightly. (mixture will thicken as it cools) Serve immediately with marshmallow whipped topping or whipped party spoons, if desired.


Mexican Rich and Thick Hot Chocolate

Prepare recipe as directed through step 2, whisking in 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder with chocolate. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Orange Almond Rich and Thick Hot Chocolate
Prepare recipe as directed up to step 2, whisking in 3 tablespoons orange juice and 2 tablespoons almond liqueur with chocolate. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Grown-Up Rich and Thick Hot Chocolate
Prepare recipe as directed up too step 2, whisking in 1/2 cup Southern Comfort with chocolate. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Marshmallow Whipped Cream
makes about 1 1/2 cups

*maximum make-ahead time is 2 hours*

-1/2 cup whipping cream
-1 tablespoon powdered sugar
-1/2 cup miniature marshmallows

1) Beat whipping cream at medium high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Fold in marshmallows. Serve immediately, or cover and chill for up to 2 hours.

Everyday Hot Chocolate
makes about 4 1/2 cups

Kids will love to add stir-ins to theirs, while the adults may want to go fancier. Offer Whipped Topping Dollops on Spoons to add to theirs.

-4 cups milk
-2/3 cup chocolate syrup
-3 tablespoons hot fudge topping
-Pinch of salt
-Stir-ins: crushed hard peppermint candies, chopped thin creme de menthe chocolate mints, miniature marshmallows, milk chocolate kisses, cherry cordial creme kisses
-Whipped Party Spoons

1) Cook milk in a large non-aluminum saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, 6 to 8 minutes or until thoroughly heated (do NOT boil). Whisk in chocolate syrup, fudge topping, and salt, whisking vigorously until chocolate is well blended and mixture is frothy. Serve immediately with desired stir-ins, if desired, or Whipped Party Spoons.

Whipped Party Spoons
makes 8 dollops

-parchment paper
-1 cup thawed frozen whipped topping
-1/4 cup desired topping (chopped toffee bars, shaved white chocolate, ground cinnamon and nutmeg, finely chopped crystallized ginger, chocolate covered coffee beans)

1) Line jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Place 8 spoons on pan, and freeze 15 minutes.
2) Spoon whipped topping into a 1 quart zip top plastic freezer bag. (do not seal) Snip corner of bag to make a 1/2 inch hole. Pipe dollops onto spoon. Freeze 5 minutes.
3) Sprinkle each dollop with about 1 1/2 teaspoon of desired topping. Freeze dollops 45 minutes. Serve immediately on a tray. Or, transfer to a 13x9 inch baking pan; cover tightly and freeze up to 2 days.