Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pineapple Wassail (Non-alcoholic)

Makes 2 Quarts

4 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
1 (12 oz) can apricot nectar
2 cups apple cider
1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
3 (6-inch) cinnamon sticks, broken

Garnishes: orange wedges, whole cinnamon sticks

Bring first 6 ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Pour through a wire-mesh strainer, discarding spices. Serve hot. Garnish, if desired.

Spiced Mocha Melt (Non-alcoholic)

I've never made this, but it sounds good so I thought I'd post it.

Makes 4 cups

1 (4 oz.) sweet dark chocolate bar, chopped
3/4 to 1 cup milk
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
4 cups coffee ice cream

Cook first 6 ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until chocolate melts. Cool.

Process ice cream and chocolate mixture in a blender until smooth. Serve immediately in chilled glasses.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shrimp, Lemon, and Spinach Whole-Grain Pasta Salad

This is one of my favorite meals to make!

12 oz. whole-grain rotini, rotelle, or fusilli pasta
1 lb. (30 to 35 per lb.) peeled deveined shrimp, talis removed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
About 3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. red chile flakes
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas (garbanzos), drained and rinsed
1 3/4 cups low-fat plain Greek-style yogurt (or whole-milk plain yogurt)
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

(I add Italian Seasoning to taste, usually the kind you grind. It adds a really nice flavor.)

1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender to bite, 9-12 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, toss shrimp with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, onion, garlic, 3/4 tsp. salt, chile flakes and cumin; marinate at room temperature 10 minutes. Preheat a medium frying pan over medium heat, then add shrimp and marinade. Cook, stirring often, until shrimp are pink and firm, 3-4 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, toss together pasta, shrimp mixture, spinach, chickpeas, yogurt, mint, lemon juice, remaining oil, and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt. Serve warm or room temperature.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Creamy Nog Punch (Non-alcoholic)

I have other punch recipes I can share but this is the only one I've made. Once I made it, no one in my family wanted me to make anything else!

1 gallon vanilla ice cream
1/2 gallon eggnog
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (16-oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Scoop ice cream into a punch bowl. Pour eggnog over ice cream and sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon; stir in whipped topping. Serve immediately. Stir as needed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chunky Tomato 'n' Grilled Corn Bisque

4 Tbsp. butter, divided
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
1 (28-oz.) can peeled whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. Mediterranean basil leaves
2 (14-oz.) cans chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup whipping cream, divided
3 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
3 ears fresh corn, husks removed (I use canned corn to quicken this meal)

1. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter with oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat; add shallots, and saute 3 to 5 minutes or until shallots are tender. Stir in garlic and tomato paste, and saute 1 minute. Add tomatoes, sugar, and basil; saute 3 minutes.

2. Add chicken broth, salt, and pepper; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; uncover and simmer, stirring often, 30 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup whipping cream and simmer, stirring often, 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine crumbled blue cheese and remaining 3 Tbsp. butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 25 seconds or until cheese melts. Whisk until well blended. Brush mixture evenly onto corn.

4. Coat a cold cooking grate with cooking spray and place on grill over medium-high heat (350 to 400 degrees). Arrange corn on cooking grate and grill 12 minutes, turning every 3 minutes or until done. Let stand 5 minutes. Hold each grilled cob upright on a cutting board and carefully cut kernels off of the cob, adding to soup mixture.

Serve with basil sprigs as a garnish.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Garlic and Artichoke Pizza

This is one of my favorite things to make for lunch!

1 unbaked pizza crust (I like Boboli, it comes with a good pizza sauce too)
3/4 cup spaghetti sauce
1 (6 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained, liquid reserved
1 medium tomato, cut in half and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound, (I use 2 cups) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare pizza crust according to recipe or package directions. Place on pizza pan.

2. Pour liquid from the artichoke hearts into a small skillet and bring to a boil over medium heat until the liquid is almost gone. Add garlic, stirring it in remaining liquid and cook for less than a minute. Add artichoke hearts, stir to coat with garlic flavor, then remove from heat and set aside.

3. Spread spaghetti, (or pizza), sauce over the prepared pizza crust. Sprinkle with cheese. Place artichoke hearts and garlic mixture over the cheese. Arrange tomato slices evenly over the top.

4. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven until crust is puffed and golden or until cheese is melted.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pecan Pie (This is not your typical Pecan Pie)

I do not like Pecan Pie, I never have. It's always been way to rich and sweet for my taste. I'm more of a Pumpkin Pie girl, (which reminds me, if anyone has a recipe that is good that is NOT off of the canned pumpkin label, I'd love to have it! E-mail it to the address at the top of the page and I'll post it. PLEASE?!), but this recipe is hands down the best recipe I've ever seen or tasted for Pecan Pie. I got it from Southern Living magazine and I get requests all year long for this pie!

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie

1/2 (15-oz) package refrigerated piecrusts (I just buy 9-inch deep dish frozen piecrusts because I hate making pie crust.)
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Unfold 1 piecrust, and roll to press out fold lines. Fit into a 9-inch pieplate according to package directions; fold edges under and crimp.

Whisk together eggs and next 6 ingredients in a saucepan over low heat until well blended. Pour into piecrust; sprinkle with pecans.

Bake at 350 degrees on lower rack 30 minutes* or until pie is set.
*Again, I'm at a higher altitude and I've had to double the baking time. Just keep sliding it around in the oven until it doesn't jiggle anymore but keep an eye on it! :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Green Beans With Ham and Potatoes

I don't like green bean casserole, so I make this instead and it's a hit! I think it was a Southern Living magazine I got it from.

Makes 12-16 servings

1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 1/2 cups diced smoked ham, (I use ham if I make one anyway, otherwise I use turkey ham.)
2 large sweet onions, diced
3 (1-pound) packages frozen cut green beans, thawed (I use the equivalent in canned green beans because I have picky eaters in my family.)
2 cups chicken broth
1 pound small new potatoes, (I use red potatoes and omit the last ingredient because I don't like red peppers. I also only use 4-5 red potatoes.)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 small red bell pepper, diced

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add ham, and saute 5 minutes. Add onion, and saute 5 minutes. Add green beans and next 4 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring in bell pepper during the last 2-3 minutes.

I like this so much it could be a meal for me!

Fancy Schmancy Mac-N-Cheese

Seriously this is the best ever!!! ~Shelly

Fancy Schmancy Mac-N-Cheese


8 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for dish (1 stick)
6 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces ((good quality))
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste 4
1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 18 oz.)
2 cups grated Gruyere (about 8 oz.)
grated pecorino romano cheese (about 5 oz.)
1 lb elbow macaroni


1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place the bread in a medium bowl.
3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp butter.
4. Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss; set the bread crumbs aside.
5. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat the milk.
6 .Melt remaining 6 Tbsp. butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour.
7. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. While whisking, slowly our in hot milk.
8. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
9. Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cup cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1 cup Pecorino Romano; set cheese sauce aside. Fill a large saucepan with water; bring to a boil.
10. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 min. less than manufacturer's directions, until the outside of the pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.
11. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce. Pour mixture into prepared dish.
12. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and bread crumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, 30-60 minutes.
13. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 min.; serve.

Recipe compliments of Jennifer Smith.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Red Chili Meat

This is from Vicki Taylor ~ I Love this, and she is such a good cook!

1 Beef Roast (Cross Rib Roast is the best, as it shreds well.)
1 Package New Mexico Chili Powder (not the Hot one.) This is the key ingredient for the key flavor. Other Chili Powders are not the same. Look in the Mexican Spice area of the store.
Garlic Powder to taste
Flour and Water to thicken
2-4C. Beef Broth (enough to almost cover roast)
Salt to taste

Cook Beef Roast in a crock pot until tender.— Shred the beef and add to a large fry pan. The original recipes calls for a table spoon of bacon grease, but I usually omit this.
Add the Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, and Flour with some broth. Bring to a boil to thicken. This is when I taste it to see if I have added enough Garlic Powder. It makes all the difference in the world if there is not enough. Serve in fresh, warm tortillas.

Spice-rubbed Roast Turkey and Savory Gravy

It's that time of year so I'm going to post recipes for entertaining for the next few weeks, or months, whichever. ;)

This turkey recipe is extremely good! But the real key to a good turkey, I have found, is obsessively basting it. The more you baste it, the more tender it turns out.

This recipe is for a 14-23 lb. turkey. You will want to adjust cooking times according to the turkey wrapping directions. This recipe has 5 recipes for different rubs. I have only used the Chinese Five-Spice Rub but there is also a recipe for; Jamaican Jerk Rub, Provencal Rub, Red Curry Rub, and Southwest Chili Rub. If you want any of these other rub recipes, please post as a comment and I'll post the recipe as a comment.

Chinese Five-Spice Rub
In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon crushed anise or fennel seed, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves. (Or use 2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice blend.)

1 turkey (14-23 lb.)
1/4 cup of olive or salad oil
2 tablespoons of one of the rubs listed above
Salt and pepper

1. Remove and discard leg truss from turkey. Pull off and discard any lumps of fat. Remove giblets and neck; save for Savory Gravy. Rinse turkey inside and out and pat dry. Rub all over with oil. Rub spice mixture evenly over skin and inside neck and body cavities.

2. Place turkey, breast up, on a V-shaped rack in a 12x17 inch roasting pan.

3. Roast in a 325 degree regular or convection oven until a thermometer inserted through thickest part of breast to bone registers 160 degrees. This is where the wrapping on the turkey is helpful in cook times. I'm at a high altitude and I have to cook my turkey quite longer than this recipe specifies. Check thigh joints to make sure they move loosely and are no longer pink.

4. Transfer turkey to a platter. Let rest, uncovered, ina warm place at least 30 minutes, then carve.

Savory Gravy
Prep and cook time: About 2.5 hours.

Notes: If preparing through step 4 up to a day ahead, cover and chill. After turkey roasts, continue with step 5.

Giblets and neck from a 14-23 lb. turkey
2 onions, (12 oz.) peeled and quartered
2 carrots, (8 oz.) peeled and cut into chunks
3/4 cup sliced celery
1 1/2 quarts of fat skimmed chicken broth
1/2 cup cornstarch
roast turkey

1. Rinse giblets and neck (chill liver airtight to add later, save for other uses, or discard). In a 5-6 quart pan, combine giblets, neck, onions, carrots, celery and 1 cup of water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover and stir often over high heat until liquid has evaporated and giblets and vegetables are browned and begin to stick to pan, 12-15 minutes longer.

2. Add 1 quart broth and pepper; stir to scrape browned bits free. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until gizzard is tender when pierced, 1-1 1/2 hours. If desired, add liver; cook 10 minutes longer.

3. Pour broth through a fine strainer into a bowl. Measure and, if needed, add water to make 1 quart. Discard vegetables. If desired for gravy, pull meat off neck and finely chop, along with giblets and liver; otherwise discard neck, giblets, and liver.

4. In the 5-6 quart pan (no need to wash), blend cornstarch with 1/3 cup of water until smooth. Add the 1 quart broth, plus the chopped neck meat, giblets, and liver if using. Stir over high heat until boiling, 3 to 5 minutes.

5. When turkey is done, remove rack and bird from pan; skim off and discard fat from pan juices. *Add remaining 2 cups broth to roasting pan and stir over low heat, scarping browned bits free. Add mixture to gravy and stir over high heat until boiling. Ad salt to taste.

*Diluting the gravy made it too watery for my taste and I had to add more cornstarch to get the thickness I wanted. So you can do that or skip step #5 altogether.

Wine Gravy. Follow recipe for Savory Gravy, but in step #5 replace the last 2 cups of broth with 2 cups Chardonnay or other dry white wine, tawny port, dry sherry, or dry madeira.

~Courtesy of Sunset magazine

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


~One of my personal favorites.~ I actually got this recipe from Rachel Ray, she claims this dish is why her husband married her.

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound pasta, such as penne
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ pound pancetta (Italian bacon),
chopped1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup dry white wine
2 large egg yolks
Freshly grated Romano cheeseParsley, for garnish
1. Put a large saucepot of water on to boil. Add a liberal amount of salt and the pasta. Cook to al dente (usually 8-10 minutes).

2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and pancetta. Brown pancetta 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes more. Add wine and stir up all the pan drippings.

3. In a separate bowl, beat yolks, then add 1 large ladleful (about ½ cup) of the pasta cooking water. This tempers the eggs and keeps them from scrambling when added to the pasta.

4. Drain pasta well and add it directly to the skillet with pancetta and oil. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta. Toss rapidly to coat the pasta without cooking the egg. Remove pan from heat and add a big handful of cheese, lots of pepper, and a little salt. Continue to toss and turn the pasta until it soaks up the egg mixture and thickens, 1-2 minutes. Garnish with parsley and extra grated Romano.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Guinness-Braised Beef Brisket

I work with Jennifer S. and she had a recipe she would like to contribute so I told her that I'd post it.

This is one of John and I's favs. Easy to make and delicious! And it usually lasts for two meals for us.

Guinness-Braised Beef Brisket
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup Guinness stout
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh or 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can low-salt beef broth
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 (3-pound) cured corned beef brisket, trimmed


Combine first 11 ingredients in a large electric slow cooker, stirring until well blended; top with beef. Cover and cook on HIGH 8 hours or until beef is tender. Remove beef; cut diagonally across grain into 1/4-inch slices. Discard broth mixture.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Chili Relleno Bake

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound chorizo or pork sausage*
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 (4 oz.) cans of whole green chilies, drained and seeded, divided
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
4 eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, unsifted
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Hot pepper sauce to taste

*Charlie's Meats in Payson has the best chorizo. There is usually no fat in the pan after I make it and it's very mild.

In a large skillet, crumble together the beef and chorizo or sausage. Cook over medium heat, stirring until meat is browned. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is limp. Drain off fat.

Line a 9-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish with half the chilies; top with 1-1/2 cups of the cheese. Add the meat mixture and top with remaining chilies; set aside.

Beat together eggs and flour until smooth; add milk, salt, and hot pepper sauce. Blend well. Pour the egg mixture over casserole.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until knife inserted off-center comes out clean. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Yield: 5-6 servings