Thursday, September 27, 2012

Spinach Apple Bacon Salad

Dressing: whisk the following ingredients together
1/4 c. water
3 T. vinegar
2 T. olive oil
2 T. honey
4 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 Royal Gala or Granny Smith apple, cut lengthwise into small slices
8 cups baby spinach
sliced red onion - to taste
sliced mushrooms
2 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp & broken into little pieces
1-2 tablespoons of feta cheese (to taste)

Place apple slices in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the dressing.  Add spinach, onions, mushrooms and remaining dressing; toss to coat.

Sprinkle crumbled bacon over the top of the salad.

Makes 4 servings
*From Smith's Grocery Store

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blueberry Coconut Cake with Lemon Sauce

I made this last night because I was craving something sweet that wasn't chocolate, with the promise to myself that I could eat a piece or two and give the rest away. It was tasty! And I brought the rest with me to work today to share with coworkers.

The only things I would do differently are add more coconut to the top, and make sure to not overcook it. Mine was a tad dry, but it was still delicious, especially with the lemon sauce.  

For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (unthawed)
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup flaked sweetened coconut
For the sauce:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch aluminum baking dish and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula just until moistened. Toss the fresh or frozen blueberries with the 2 tablespoons flour and fold them in very gently to the batter. Don't overmix or the batter will start take on a blue-ish tinge.

Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the coconut and bake for 18-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack.

For the sauce, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and grated lemon zest. Gradually whisk in the water until blended. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking often, and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes at a boil until the mixture is thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice. The sauce can be used warm or at room temperature.
Cut the cake into squares and drizzle each piece with the lemon sauce. Serve.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

I can see Rob and Lorena and Andrea really liking this pasta, okay, and Amy and John. Dad, probably wouldn't "care for it." It got rave reviews on Pinterest so I decided to give it a go. At first I thought it was kind of weird because I wasn't used to these flavors in pasta, but after a few bites I really, really liked it. It was different way to satisfy my Mexican food craving. The only thing I would change would be to add a dollop of sour cream on top, along with fresh tomatoes. The only toppings we had were avocados (definitely recommend) and olives. Green onions would be good, too. Anyway, it was easy and yummy and something totally new--give it a try!

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced (I left this out)
1 {4 oz.} can diced green chilies
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
2 {10 oz.} cans green chili enchilada sauce
2/3 cups red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cheese {I used colby & monterrey jack}
1 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
Penne pasta

Optional toppings
Green Onions
Black Olives
Sour Cream
Cook chicken, drain, and shred {or shred your rotisserie}.  Meanwhile boil pasta according to package and chop the veggies.

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet and cook onions for about 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic & red pepper and cook for another 3-5 minutes.

Add cooked chicken, green chiles, cumin, chili powder, salt, & enchilada sauces.  Let sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes.

Add cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and heated through.  Now toss in the sour cream, but whatever you do, DO NOT bring to a boil!  Cook on low heat or the sour cream will curdle.  Gross.

Stir until sour cream is well mixed and heated through.

Drain pasta & return to pot.  Pour sauce over pasta and mix well.  Serve and garnish with avocado, tomato, green onion, and a dollop of sour cream.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lamb Stew with Plums

Last night I hosted my book club, and we discussed the Hunger Games. I wasn't sure what kind of food to prepare for it, but luckily this book/movie is so trendy that there were Hunger Games-inspired recipes all over the internet.  Apparently Katniss (for those of you who have read the book) mentions that she could eat the Capital's lamb stew with plums by the bucketful. I concur.  This was so good, and it made so much, that some of the girls asked to take some home with them.  I sort of combined the original recipe with another one that had plums, so I'll add the modifications below.  I served with bread and honey butter and it was delicious! Also, just because I feel like typing still... I will tell you that I think lamb is one of my favorite meats.  It is always so tender.
1 1/2 pounds thickly sliced bacon, diced
6 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut
into 2 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup water
Mushrooms, chopped 
4 cups beef stock (I think I added a few cups more)
2 teaspoons white sugar
4 cups diced carrots
2 large onions, cut into bite-size pieces
3 potatoes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves 
1 cup dried plums, chopped (prunes) 
1 can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch

1. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside.
2. Put lamb, salt, pepper, and flour in large mixing bowl. Toss to coat meat evenly. Brown meat in frying pan with bacon fat.
3. Place meat into crock pot (leave 1/4 cup of fat in frying pan). Add the garlic and yellow onion and mushrooms and saute untill onion begins to become golden. Deglaze frying pan with 1/2 cup water and add the garlic-onion mixture to the crock pot with bacon pieces, beef stock, and sugar. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
4. Add carrots, onions, potatoes, plums thyme, bay leaves, brown sugar and tomato sauce to pot. Reduce heat, and simmer covered for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.  To thicken soup, mix cornstarch with 1 cup of the broth.  Enjoy!