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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Jan 28, 2016

Pinto Bean Stew

I find soaking to be optional - sort the beans well.  If you do soak the beans, KEEP the water you soak them in and use it as part of the 6 cups in the recipe.  

1 Pound Dry Pinto Beans
6 Cups water
2 Tbl Minced Scallion
1 Cup Bell Pepper, diced
3/4 Cup Sliced Carrot
2 Cups Frozen Corn, thawed
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tbl Chili Powder
2 Tsp Cumin
2 Tbl Lime Juice
1 1/2 Tsp Salt

Combine all ingredients except juice and salt in a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker.  Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.  Keep an eye on the liquid and add HOT water if the liquid drops below the beans.  Half an hour before serving, add lime juice.  Taste.  Add salt if necessary.

Jan 27, 2016

Blueberry Lime Pie

No bake with added frozen blueberries - good to make as you dream of summer.  You can use lime or key lime pudding mix.

9 Inch Graham Craker Crust
8 Ounces Cream Cheese, softened
14 Ounces Sweetend Condensed Milk
1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
3.4 Ounce Lime Pudding Mix
1 Medium Lime, tested and juiced
21 Ounce Premium Blueberry Pie Filling
1 Cup Blueberries (thawed if frozen)

Combine cream cheese, condensed milk and powdered sugar in a large bowl until smooth.  Add pudding mix, juice and zest - mix until well blended.

Mix blueberries and 1/2 cup pie filling - spread into the bottom of the pie crust.  Top with pudding mixture.  Spoon remaining pie filling on top.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Jan 23, 2016

2016 Blizzard Breakfast

Cinnamon Bun French Toast Casserole.....surprisingly not as sweet as you would expect.  Tastes just like cinnamon french toast.

4 Tbl Butter
2 Tubes Refrigerated Cinnamon Rolls
4 Large Eggs
1/3 Cup Milk
2 Tsp Vanilla
2 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Nutmeg

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt butter and pour into the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan.  Tilt pan to coat the bottom.

Take cinnamon rolls from tubes, set frosting aside for later.  Cut cinnamon rolls into 8 pieces and drop into pan.

Whisk together Eggs, Milk, Vanilla, Cinnamon and Nutmeg.  Pour over cinnamon buns.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.  Remove from oven.

Put Frosting in a zip top bag.  Snip off corner and squeeze onto cinnamon buns.  Serve hot - maple syrup is optional.

Jan 22, 2016

Sweet Potato Quesadilla

Quesadillas - so many options.

1/2 Tsp Olive Oil
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1 Sweet Potato, peeled and grated
1 Small Package Frozen Spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained (i.e., squeezed in a towel)
1 Tsp Canned Chipotle Chili in Adobo, mashed
1 Small Jalepeno, seeded and finely chopped
15 Ounce Can Navy Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Avocado
2 Tbl Lime Juice
4 Sprigs Cilantro, chopped
8 Corn Tortillas

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add the sweet potato and spinach, season with salt and pepper.  Add Chipotle and Jalapeno and cook until the potato is soft.  Add beans and mash with a potato masher.  Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Mash avocado and stir together with lime juice and cilantro.

Transfer sweet potato mixture to a bowl, wipe out skillet and place over medium heat.    Lay a tortilla flat in the pan, spoon 1/8 of the mixture one side of the tortilla and fold over.  Cook about 2 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Jan 21, 2016

Jerk Roasted Chicken

I know it's cold out - who cares!  Get your grill going - that will keep you warm.  What is spatchcocking?  It is cutting the backbone out of a chicken (best done with kitchen shears) so it can lay flat for cooking.

1 Chicken - giblets removed and spatchcocked
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Tsp Dried Thyme
1 Medium Orange
2 Tsp Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
1/2 Tsp Allspice
1/4 Tsp Nutmeg

Lay chicken in a large baking dish, set aside.  Zest and Juice the orange, combine that with all other spices.  Rub spice mixture all over the chicken and let sit at least 20 minutes.

While chicken marinades, heat your grill  to 350 to 400 degrees.  When ready, place chicken skin side down on the grill and cook, with grill covered, until it's golden (about 10 minutes).  Turn chicken and grill until the internal temperature is 160 degrees - about 35 minutes.

If you like, get 4 small sweet potatoes, price them with a fork, wrap in foil and place them on the grill with the chicken.

Jan 20, 2016

Burrito Bowls

You an eat this with a fork or you can wrap it in a tortilla - whatever you fancy on that day.

2 Tbl Olive Oil
1 Cup Basmati Rice
3 Cloves Garlic
31 Ounces Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tsp Chili Powder
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
2 Tbl Lime Juice
1 1/2 Cups Corn

Warm 1 Tbl oil in a medium saucepan.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute or so, then add rice and cook, stirring, until fragrant, another 1 to 2 minutes.  Add 1 1/2 Cup Water and 1/2 Tsp Salt, bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until water is absorbed (about 15 minutes).

Heat remaining oil in a skillet.   Add cumin and chili powder - cook lightly for 1 minute.  Add water and beans, stir  Cook 5 to 7 minutes until most liquid has evaporated.  Stir in Corn to heat through.

Mash together
avocado and lime juice.

Layer the rice and bean mixture into 4 bowls, top with avocado and serve.

Jan 14, 2016

Ham and Cheese Muffins

Need a quick breakfast to eat on the go?  Try these.  If you are using powdered buttermilk, put powder in dry ingredients and add water to liquids.

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Pepper
2 Large Eggs
1 1/3 Cup Buttermilk
1/3 Cup Canola Oil
1 Cup Finely Chopped Fully Cooked Ham
4 Ounces Shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients.  In another bowl, mix liquids.  Add liquids to dry ingredients, stir until just moistened.  For in ham, cheese and garlic.

Fill greased or foil lined muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake about 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan to cooling racks.

Makes 20 muffins.

Jan 13, 2016

Italian Chicken Rolls

All the flavor of manicotti, no pasta to stuff.  The bell pepper can be any colors you choose.  If you like, serve over pasta or just enjoy with a salad.

1 Cup Bell Pepper, Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tbl Vegetable Oil
6 Ounces Tomato Paste
15 Ounces Diced Tomatoes
2 Tsp Italian Seasoning
6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Halves, pounded to 1/4 inch thick
1 Cup Ricotta
1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan
1/2 Cup Mozzarella
1/4 Tsp Pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 pan and set aside.  In a large saucepan, heat oil.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minutes the add pepper and cook until they just begin to soften.  Add tomato paste, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Combine cheeses and pepper.  Divide evenly between chicken breasts.  Roll up.  Place a little sauce in the bottom of the pan and then place chicken seam side down in the prepared pan.  Pour remaining sauce over the chicken and bake 45 to 60 minutes - chicken should be 165 degrees.

Jan 9, 2016

Black Eyed Pea Stew

Slow cooker soups - made ahead for a daily lunch makes a nice warm lunch.

1 1/4 Lb Hot Italian Sausage
3 Cloves Minced Garlic
14.5 Ounces Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 Quart Chicken Stock
1 Lb Dried Black Eyed Peas
4 Cups Cold Water
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Pepper

In a large stock pot or dutch oven, brown the sausage.  Cook through, drain.  Add garlic to the pan and cook for a minute or two or until fragrant.  Return sausage to the pan and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a simmer and simmer for 1 hour.  Transfer to a slow cooker and cook on high for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until peas are softened.

Jan 8, 2016

Coconut Chicken

Baked, crispy and delicious.  I used the Spicy Mango Chutney, but you may use what you prefer.  However, the spicy chutney I used did not live up to 'spicy' - in my taste, but everyone's taste is different.

3/4 Cup Crushed Multigrain Club Crackers
1/2 Cup Flaked Coconut
9 Ounces mango Chutney
4 Tbl Lime Juice
1 Tsp Curry Powder
4 Chicken Thighs
2 Cups Frozen Peas
1 Cup Cooked Brown Rice

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Line shallow pan with non stick foil.

Place crackers in a large zip top bag and crush.  Add coconut and mix well.  

In a small bowl, combine the chutney, juice and curry powder.  Remove 1/4 cup of the chutney mixture and set aside.  Dip the chicken, one piece at a time, in the remaining chutney mixture then place in bag with the crumbs.  Repeat with the remaining chicken, seal the bag and shake to coat.  

Place chicken on pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until they are done.  Watch for the last 15 minutes and cover with foil if it starts to get too dark.

Cook peas and rice per directions, stir together and then stir in remaining chutney.  

Jan 7, 2016

Country Casserole

Heat up the house again with this comforting casserole - and have leftovers for lunch.

8 Ounces Whole Wheat Noodles, cooked to package directions
1 Lb Ground Beef
1/2 Lb Hot Italian Sausage
15 Ounce Tomato Sauce
1 1/4 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
3/4 Cup Bell Pepper, Diced
8 Ounces Cream Cheese
1 1/2 Cups Cottage Cheese
1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a large casserole dish and set aside.

Brown meats, drain.  Add tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, peppers and garlic.  Let simmer for 10 minutes.

Combine cheeses and sour cream in a large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and stir together.  Pour into a large casserole dish.  Bake of 30 to 45 minutes.

Jan 6, 2016

Fish Packet with Broccoli

Another benefit of making this in the winter - toasty warm house.

1 1/2 Pounds Broccoli
6 Slices Pepper Jack Cheese
2 Lb Haddock
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a pan with a piece of non stick foil large enough to fold in half and seal over the fish.

While oven heats, steam broccoli until par-cooked (half the normal steaming time).  Place fish on foil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Top with broccoli.  Place cheese slices over broccoli.  Wrap foil around all to make a packet. 

Place in heated oven for 20 to 30 minutes until fish flakes with a fork.

Jan 5, 2016

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Cold mornings call for a warm breakfast.  Add a small slice of this as a side to scrambled eggs or crumble into oatmeal - treat yourself while staying healthy.  The Blueberries can be fresh or frozen.  If frozen, thaw first.

1/2 Cup Butter, softened
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Egg, room temp
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Wheat Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Salt
2 Cups Blueberries
1/2 Cup Buttermilk

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 inch baking pan, set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla, bet until combined.  In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to batter a little at time, alternating with buttermilk (if Using buttermilk powder, put powder in with dry ingredients and alternate dry ingredients with the water for the buttermilk).  Fold in blueberries.

Pour into pan, bake for 35 to 45 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Jan 4, 2016

Marinated Mozzarella

Make this and keep it in your refrigerator - add to salads, have with crackers for a snack...or take as an appetizer to a party.  Can be served with bread or crackers, but not necessary.

2 Lb Mozzarella, cut into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes
12 Ounces Roasted Red Peppers, drained and lightly chopped
8 Fresh Thyme Sprigs
3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
2 Cups Olive Oil
2 Tbl Minced Fresh Rosemary
1 Tbl Italian Seasoning
1/2 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

In a large bowl, layer 1/4 cheese, peppers and thyme.  Repeat layers three times.

In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients.  Pour over cheese.  Cover tightly and refrigerate at least over night, stirring several times.

Jan 3, 2016

Italian Soup

When you choose the sausage, use what you like in any  mix you like.  I used a pound each of hot Italian and Chorizo.

2 Lb Sausage
1 Cup Green Pepper, Diced
4 Tsp Oregano
2 Tsp Thyme
2 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Onion Powder
2 - 14.5 Ounces Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic
28 Ounces Tomato Sauce
16 Ounces Frozen Broccoli/Cauliflower/Carrot Mix

Brown meat, drain.  Add pepper to pan and sauté until just beginning to soften.  Stir in remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes.

Jan 2, 2016

Cranberry-Chili Cream Cheese

How easy can it get?  Stir together, pour over cream cheese....Trust me, this may sound odd, but it is wonderful.

16 Ounces Cream Cheese
14 Ounce Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
4 Ounces Chopped Green Chilies
2 Tbl Lime Juice
1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Tsp Chili Powder
Assorted Crackers

Place cream cheese on a large plate.  Stir together cranberry sauce, chilies, lime juice, cayenne pepper and chili powder.  Pour over cream cheese.  Serve with crackers.

Jan 1, 2016

Taco Stuffed Peppers

I made these with spicy taco seasoning, but you can obviously use whatever you prefer :)  If you have leftover stuffing, set it aside.  Later in the week steam some broccoli and top the broccoli with the mixture.

4 to 8 Large Bell Peppers
Cook in Bag Southwest Rice
1 Lb Ground Beef
14.5 Ounce Black Beans, rinsed and drained
14.5 Ounce Diced Tomatoes
14.5 Ounce Corn, drained
1 packt taco seasoning
Shredded Cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tops off of the peppers, remove the seeds and stand in a baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes.

While baking, microwave the rice.  Brown the ground beef, drain and return to pan.  Stir in seasoning, rice, beans, tomatoes and corn.

When timer is done on the peppers, remove from the oven but don't turn it off.  Put a little cheese in the bottom of each pepper, stuff with beef mixture and top with a little more cheese.  Return to the oven for another 15 minutes.  Enjoy!