Welcome to HowDoYouCook.com

By learning about basic ingredients and how to use them, you can create simple, quick and delicious meals your family will love!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Baked Corn Pudding

For those occasions when you need a last minute potluck dish or an easy side dish for dinner, this will be your Go To recipe.  Simple, delish comfort food that can be served hot or cold;  this dish can also be easily doubled. 

Thank you to my nephew John and his wife Alicia for this yummy recipe and for inviting us over to their visit farm in paradise. Good food, good company and a beautiful day at John's farm/zoo.

1 can  Whole Kernel Corn, undrained
1 can  Creamed Corn
1 box  Corn Muffin Mix (Jiffy)
1 cup  Sour Cream
1  Egg, beaten

Spray bottom of a 9 x 9 casserole dish for a single batch, (or 13x9 for double batch)  with nonstick spray or coat the bottom of pan with butter.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to blend.  Add the beaten egg and stir.  Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.  Bake at 350 for 60-65min.

**Note:  I want to try this with diced green chilies or even jalapenos for an added zing, although the original recipe is tough to beat.  The possibilities for this one are endless!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Salt Crusted Whole Red Snapper

During our journey to the Gulf we picked up a beautiful Whole Red Snapper.  It's been years since I've cooked a whole fish and this was a bit of a science experiment, so I was a little nervous about the end result.  My main worry was the fish would be salty.  Alton Brown used this same method on Sea Bass so we thought it was worth a try.

When the fish is encased in salt, the mixture becomes a sort of hardened shell, like an adobe oven while it cooks.  This holds in all of the juices and flavors and delivers a moist and perfectly cooked fish, with no salty flavor.  I can't wait to try this with a larger fish.  The Sea Bass or even Salmon would be a great choice next time.

1 Whole Red Snapper, cleaned
1  Lemon, sliced
Lemon Pepper or other seasonings of your choice
Optional:  Fresh Herbs of Your Choice (dill, parsley, etc)
6 cups  Kosher Salt
3  Egg Whites
1/3 cup  Water

To prep the fish, sprinkle the inside cavity with lemon pepper and arrange the lemon slices and herbs so they fill the fish.  (We just used the lemon slices and the taste was amazing.)  Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the salt, egg whites and water.  Blend by hand until you have a mixture that holds together well.  You want a consistency that sticks together like a snowball of salt.

Place a 1/2 inch layer of the salt mixture on the bottom of a foil-lined pan, forming a bed for the fish.  Place the fish on top of the salt bed and scoop the remaining mixture onto the fish, pressing lightly to encase the whole fish, but not packing it.  Smooth the top of the salt to make sure there are no spaces for air to get in.

Bake at 450 for about 25 - 30 minutes depending on size and thickness of the fish.  Check for an internal temp of about 130, remove the fish from the oven and let rest 5 minutes.

Using a large spoon, tap on the outside of the salt crust and crack the shell.  The shell came off easily in 2 pieces.  Discard as many large salt pieces as you can, then brush off the fish using a pastry brush.  The skin peeled back easily to reveal a moist and juicy fillet.  Using a spatula, remove the top fillet to a plate, then the center bones can be removed in 1 long piece, then the remaining fish can be transferred to the plate. 

Served with clam shells and fresh steamed asparagus, this was an awesome piece of fish. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hendry Block 28 and Blocks 7 & 22 Wines

I always like to mention that I do not have any affiliation with this winery or any others.  But I do like to share a great find like this with my readers.

We recently purchased several bottles of Hendry 2007 Block 28 and 2007 Blocks 7 & 22 Zinfandel wine, and these have quickly become my favorites.  I'm not a wine expert by any means, but we do enjoy trying new varieties of wine, especially Old Vine Zinfandels.

The Block 28 is deep ruby red in color and will pair well with grilled beef, pork or lamb.  It was delicious with a grilled New York Strip steak and Grilled Tomatoes with Mozzarella.  It would also be great with a hearty winter stew. 

The Block 7 & 22, also a deep dark ruby shade, is slightly sweeter but has a great peppery spice that worked well with a roast pork loin. The flavor is so bright it would also be excellent with seafood.

The Hendry Winery is located in Napa Valley and they produce several red and white wines.  Be sure to check out their selections here.

How Do You Cook Swai Fillets?

Swai is the new fish in town. It has started to appear in markets throughout the country and is a great bargain at about $3 - $4 per pound. First, a little fishy info.

Swai (rhymes with "why") is also known by the names Basa, Panga, or iridescent shark, but it is not a shark at all. Swai is farm-raised catfish from Southeast Asia. It can be found as individually frozen boneless fillets in 2-pound packages, which makes it very convenient if you only need 1 or 2 fillets.

With a mild taste and texture, Swai can be cooked using similar methods used for Tilapia. It has no fishy smell and the fillets cook up solid, so it lends itself to many types of recipes. It can be pan-fried with blackened seasoning, oven-baked with panko crumbs for a healthier twist, or even grilled on a grill pan over a bed of fresh oregano. I'm also thinking it would be great in a chowder once the weather cools off.

The bonus to this yummy fish lies in the nutritional numbers. At just 90 calories for a 3 1/2 oz portion, it is low in cholesterol and high in protein at 13 grams.

So if you find this fish in your markets, buy some and experiment a little. The delicate flavor works great with stronger spices and seasonings, so use your imagination and enjoy!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Grilled Chicken with Red Pepper Sauce and Pasta

I love cooking with roasted red peppers! This brand of Piquillo peppers is packed in water and a bit of salt and no oil!  Low in calories and high in flavor, the pureed peppers are a nice change from regular tomato sauce and contain over 140% of your daily allowance of vitamin C.

2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, sliced horizontally into thin fillets
2 TB  Olive Oil
2 TB  Minced Garlic
Salt and Pepper
1  Large Jar (33 oz) Roasted Whole Red Peppers, marinade reserved
1 1/2 tsp  Dried Italian Seasoning
4  oz  Cream Cheese (regular or low-fat)
16 oz  Whole Wheat Pasta, cooked and drained
Fresh Basil Leaves (optional)
Grated Parmesan-Romano Cheese Blend for Garnish

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and saute until golden. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper, add to skillet and grill until cooked thru and juices run clear.

Using a blender, puree the roasted red peppers, along with 1/2 cup of the reserved marinade.  Blend until smooth, then add the Italian seasoning and cream cheese and blend again, adding more of the marinade if a thinner sauce is desired.

When chicken is cooked thru, pour the red pepper sauce over the chicken fillets and heat over a low to medium heat.  Tear basil leaves into small pieces and add to the sauce. Heat 3 - 5 minutes until basil has slightly wilted and sauce has warmed, but do not boil the sauce.

Place a serving of pasta on each plate, then slice a piece of chicken and place atop the pasta. Top with a generous ladle of sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan-romano cheese and a sprig of fresh basil.  Serve with a side salad and a glass of Chianti. Enjoy!

Serves about 6. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is quite versatile and can be made with regular or whole wheat pasta.  We have tried it many ways over the years and it's always a hit in the summertme. You can also mix and match the veggies with what you have on hand, such as adding blanched broccoli or asparagus.

1 lb Pasta (Use bow ties, penne, rotini, fusilli or shells;  regular or whole wheat)
1/2 lb Thick Cut Bacon, cut into small pieces
1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
6 - 8 Radishes, cleaned and thinly sliced
3  Hard-Boiled Eggs, chopped
1  16 oz bottle  Parmesan Vinaigrette Salad Dressing, chilled (or use caesar, buttermilk ranch, another favorite; vinaigrette flavors work great)
2 Green Onions, finely chopped

Cook pasta in a large pot according to package directions, cooking until just al dente.  You don't want the pasta fully cooked or mushy.

Drain the pasta in a colander and allow to cool; return the pot to the stove.  Add the bacon to the pot and cook until slightly crisp. Drain the bacon pieces on a paper towel and let cool.

Add the cooled pasta and bacon to a large bowl, and add the rest of the ingredients.  Combine gently with a spatula, sprinkle with a handful of fresh chopped green onions and chill 1 hour before serving.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mid-Summer Garden Harvest

Found a few goodies waiting for us when we arrived home from vacation.  We weren't sure if anything would survive these crazy hot temperatures, so these were a pleasant surprise.  The tomato plant was labeled as a Big Boy, but these appear to be heirlooms.  They are meaty and creased more like an heirloom.  Either way, they are delicious.  The peppers are Tam (mild) Jalapeno peppers and at about 3" long, they do pack a punch.

I'm thinking maybe a small batch of salsa and some Grilled Tomatoes with Basil are in our future.

Monday, June 6, 2011

What Would You Like for Your Birthday Dinner?

If you ask most kids this question, you would get a variety of answers from McDonald's to delivered pizza.  When I asked my daughter the same question, she replied "Let me go look at the website!".  At the ripe old age of 11, she is fortunate to have a "sophisticated palate".  She will gladly choose salads  or any type of seafood over burgers and pizza any day.  Which is exactly why her answer worried me.  I feared her answer might result in multiple trips around town to find ingredients that may or may not be available in our tiny town. So I silently hoped for something simple!


After a conference with her sisters, she announced her decision, Grilled Shrimp Po' Boy sandwiches.  YES!  Pretty simple and straightforward. But they didn't want the recipe on the website, they had something else in mind.  They wanted "Daddy's Shrimp" in the form of a Po' Boy, and with a guacamole-style sauce. Hmm.  Since my husband's shrimp recipe has been highly classified (until now), he was my co-chef for the night.

Shrimp and Marinade
1-1/2 lbs  Raw Shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 TB  Olive Oil
2 TB  Minced Garlic
1 tsp  Sriracha Sauce
1 tsp  Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp  Chopped Fresh Basil
1/4 tsp  Cayenne Pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

After cleaning and deveining the shrimp they went into the marinade for about 20 minutes.  Then we skewered and grilled them to perfection. 

The Guacamole sauce was pretty simple:

1 Avocado
1/2 cup  Mayo
1/2 to 1 tsp Chipotle Pepper (start with a/2 tsp and adjust to taste)
Juice of 1 Lime
1/4 tsp  Kosher Salt

Puree the sauce in a blender until smooth.  This is a very versatile sauce and would be great on a grilled chicken sandwich.

The grilled shrimp went onto sliced French baguettes and were topped with sliced tomatoes, romaine lettuce and a dollop of avocado sauce.  Truly yummy with a bit of spice, this will surely be a favorite for more birthdays to come.  Enjoy!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dry BBQ Rubs

A Rub is a mixture of herbs and spices that are rubbed onto a piece of meat before it is cooked or smoked.

Dry rubs add a wonderful flavor to meats or poultry and allow the spices to slowly blend with the meat.  These are perfect for slow-grilling or smoking meats.

Mesquite Rub

1 1/2 TB Chipotle Flavor Concentrate 
1 TB Light Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Celery Seed
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 TB Onion Powder
1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
1/4 tsp Salt
4 drops Mesquite Smoke Flavor

Combine all ingredients, blend well and store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Toss meats, vegetables or seafood with the rub, rubbing both sides before grilling or roasting.

Oriental Dry Rub

1 cup Chinese 5-Spice Seasoning
1/2 cup Mesquite Rub (recipe above)
1/3 cup Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Crushed Red Pepper

Blend all ingredients well. Great rub for chicken, pork or seafood.

Caribbean BBQ Dry Rub

1/2 cup Caribbean Seasoning Blend
1/2 Mesquite Rub (recipe above)
1 TB Thyme
1/3 cup Kosher Salt
1/3 cup Crushed Red Pepper

Blend well. Works very well with pork.

Southwestern BBQ Dry Rub

1 cup Mesquite Rub (recipe above)
1/2 cup Chili Powder
1/2 cup Dry Minced Onion
1/2 cup Dry Minced Garlic
1/2 cup Ground Cumin
1 TB Dry Mustard

Blend ingredients well. This rub works well on almost any meat and is delicious on veggies and salmon.

Grilled Tomatoes with Basil

These are a favorite with my family.  Thick sliced tomatoes with a few leaves of fresh basil are topped with mozzarella cheese and grilled until browned and bubbly.  Dried basil may be substituted, but fresh is sooo much better.  Enjoy!
1 Large Firm Tomato
3 -4 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped or whole
Mozzarella Cheese, grated or thinly sliced
Olive Oil

Using a 16" - 18" piece of foil, fold foil in half to create a "tray" for tomatoes. Fold up the sides and crimp corners and place foil on a cookie sheet. Pour a thin layer of olive oil into tray to coat evenly, and place tomatoes in olive oil. Place basil leaves on tomato slices and top with cheese. 

Slide foil tray off of cookie sheet and onto the upper grill shelf. Grill 8 - 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Buffalo-Style Baked Swai Fish and Chips

This is a spicy new twist to use with Swai, regular Catfish or it's even tasty on grilled salmon.  This is the same sauce we use for Buffalo Chicken Wings.
To Make the Buffalo Sauce
3/4 stick Salted Butter
3/4 cup Franks Red Hot Original Sauce
1 TB Red Pepper Flakes
3 TB Garlic Powder
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
1 TB White Vinegar

Melt butter in saucepan then add red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Heat and stir until you get a roux consistency. Add Franks Red Hot sauce and vinegar and heat to a low simmer. Continue to simmer for 10 - 15 minutes on low heat.

To Prepare the Fish Fillets
1 1/2 pounds Catfish Fillets
1 cup Buttermilk
1 cup Flour
3/4 cup Cornmeal
2 tsp Seasoned Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
Canola Oil, for frying

Place catfish fillets on a plate, pat dry with a paper towel and set aside.

Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper. Mix well and pour onto a large plate.

In a deep skillet, heat about 1/2 inch of canola oil until hot.

Using 2 shallow bowls, place the buttermilk in one bowl and the flour mixture in the other. Dip the pieces of catfish in the buttermilk then in the flour/cornmeal mixture and toss to coat. Gently place the fillets into the heated oil and fry the fish, in batches, about 3 - 4 minutes per side until evenly cooked through, turning only once. Transfer the catfish to a paper-towel lined plate and let drain briefly.

Place a fillet on the serving plate and use a pastry brush to apply a layer of the Buffalo Sauce to the top. If you prefer, use a thin layer of sauce and serve with a small dish of sauce on the side.

Serve with waffle-cut fries or cole claw and celery sticks.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Easy Irish Soda Bread

Baking a loaf of Irish Soda Bread is total culinary therapy!  The smell of fresh bread baking and the texture of that first bite are heavenly.  This recipe is a great way to teach kids about their Irish heritage and their ancestors, while also teaching them the art of breadmaking.  If you like raisins or caraway seeds in your Soda Bread add them to the dough along with the buttermilk.

4 cups All-Purpose Flour
4 TB White Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 TB Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Margarine, softened
1 cup Buttermilk
1 Egg
1/4 cup Butter, melted
1/4 cup Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly.

Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk and brush lightly onto loaf. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. If desired, continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes for a golden top crust.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pizza Crust

The next time you want a delicious pizza with toppings just the way you like them, make pizza at home. This recipe makes a large crust (15" x 10") plus about 6 breadsticks, or 2 large round crusts.

Top the crusts with your favorite toppings, your choice of spices and cheeses and enjoy pizza night at home.

1 1/2 cups Water
1 1/2 tsp Salt
3 TB Olive Oil
1 tsp  Garlic Powder
1 tsp  Dried Oregano
4 1/2 cups Bread Machine Flour
3 tsp  Bread Machine Yeast
1 8 oz can Tomato Sauce or you choice of sauce
Garlic Powder for the Crust

Optional Spices - Oregano, Basil, Chili Flakes
Meats - Pepperoni, Ham, Cooked Sausage, etc
Vegetables - Onions, Green Peppers, Black Olives, Sliced Tomatoes or Cherry Tomatoes, etc

Combine ingredients in your bread machine as outlined in your manual, using a french dough or regular dough setting.

Using a 15" x 10" cookie sheet (or 2 round pizza pans), coat the baking pan lightly with olive oil, coating the pan all the way to the edges.

When dough is finished, place 2/3 of the dough onto the coated cookie sheet and spread dough evenly on the baking pan. (The remaining 1/3 can be shaped into breadsticks and cooked on a separate sheet.) For 2 round pizzas split the dough in half.

Dust the edges of the pizza dough with garlic powder and lightly over the surface of the crust.

Bake at the crusts at 425 degrees for about 8 - 10 minutes until crust is lightly browned, but not completely cooked. Remove from oven and evenly coat surface with tomato sauce. Add seasonings to taste. Next add any meat or vegetable toppings, followed by grated cheese **.  Return pizza to oven and bake for 7 - 10 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.

** For a delicious flavor, use grated Mozzarella and Provolone cheeses plus a little grated Cheddar.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chicken Pesto Pizza

For a last minute dinner, our Chicken Pesto Pizza turned out really good.  We used store-bought (gasp!) Publix Pizza Dough, and I was totally impressed with the flavor and texture.  We will definitely use this again!

After smoothing out the dough with a little olive oil under the crust, we dusted the crust with garlic powder and baked for about 8 minutes, then removed from the oven.

Next added Buitoni Pesto with Basil, another store-bought find that saved a lot of time since my Basil is growing so slow this year. I followed that with a layer of grilled garlic chicken and grated Parmesan cheese, grated Mozzerella cheese and just a sprinkle of cheddar and baked for another 8 - 10 minutes, until the crust was brown and the bottom of the crust was crispy.

I would have loved to add some sun-dried tomatoes to this pizza, but in our gourmet-food-deprived college town, there were none to be found. Boo. Next time for sure!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Swai Chowder

This new soup creation was so yummy!  The clam juice and milk broth base are complimented by a seared fillet of Swai, then served over and around a scoop of creamy mashed potatoes. Delicious!


1 TB  Olive Oil
2 TB  Minced Garlic
1 tsp  Minced Onion
2 TB  Butter
4  Swai or Catfish fillets, cut in half (so you have 8 square pieces)
2  Bottles Clam Juice
6 - 7  Potatoes
1  can Minced Clams, undrained
6  Thick Cut Bacon Slices, cut into 1" pieces
2 tsp  Old Bay Seasoning
2 tsp  Salt
Ground Black Pepper, to taste
2 cups  Milk

In a large deep pot, heat oil and add the minced garlic and onion. Heat until slightly browned, then add the butter and melt over medium heat.  When the mixture begins to sizzle, add the fillets in a single layer. Brown for 3 minutes, turn and cook about 3 minutes longer or until both sides are seared. This will allow the fish to have a slightly crisp texture and it will absorb some of the garlic flavor.

In a second skillet, brown the bacon then drain the bacon pieces on a paper towel. Set aside.

Slice the potatoes and boil in a pot of water until slices are fork tender.  Drain the potatoes and mash, adding buter, milk and seasonings, if desired.

Now that the fish is slightly browned, add the clam juice, clams, milk, bacon pieces and seasonings to the pot.  The fish will gently poach in this liquid.  Do not boil!  When the soup begins to steam (but NOT boil), gently move the fish until it is opaque and flakes slightly with a fork.

Next, add about 1 cup of the mashed potatoes to the soup and stir gently as it becomes a more chowder-like thickness.  Lower the heat and keep warm.

Using medium sized soup bowls, add about 1/2 cup mashed potatoes to the center of each bowl.  Ladle the chowder around the potatoes and include 1 or 2 pieces of fish.  Top with a sprinkle of green onions and serve.

Serves about 6.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sarah's Super Bowl Nachos

Dinner for Super Bowl Sunday was all about building the perfect nachos.  It's so much fun to watch kids decorate and construct the perfect blend of toppings and then they get to eat it!  After heating some nacho cheese in the crock pot, and making a quick batch of taco ground beef, we had bowls of guacamole, green onions, black olives, tomatoes and sour cream ready to go. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

NuWave Oven Baked Chicken

This is my first experiment with my NuWave oven.  The chicken came out moist and juicy on the inside and crispy on the inside. I have to admit, I wasn't too sure if I would like the results that this oven promised, but now I am convinced!  Besides, it was kinda fun watching this cook..lol

1  Whole Chicken (I used about a 5 lb)
Seasoned Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Remove the giblets and rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry.  Season the chicken generously with seasoned salt and pepper and place chicken breast side down in the NuWave oven.  (I used a piece of heavy-duty foil on the bottom pan to catch any drippings and cleanup was a snap.)  Set the timer for the correct amount of time for the size of bird you are cooking (this was about 1 hour 15 minutes), and press start. About halfway thru the cooking time you will need to turn the chicken over to allow for the best overall browning. Although this sounds like a hassle, it was really easy using a serving fork and a set of tongs. Just flip the bird over and hit start again.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Egg Rolls

The best thing about making your own egg rolls is you can control the ingredients.  Using fresh cooked shrimp and fresh vegetables the flavor is so much better than you get from the local Chinese take-out place.  This recipe can be changed in many ways. Try using chicken or pork instead of shrimp, add Thai chilies or red pepper flakes for more heat or even add bean sprouts.  The possibilities are endless!  These egg rolls go great with Hot and Soup Soup.

1 TB  Peanut Oil
1 tsp  Grated Ginger
2  Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1  Green Onion, sliced thinly
1  Small Carrot, shredded
1  cup Green Cabbage, finely chopped
2  cups  Green Cabbage, sliced into thin ribbons
3 TB  Soy Sauce
1 TB  Sugar
1 tsp  Sesame Oil
8  Large Egg Roll Wrappers
10  Medium Shrimp, cooked, cooled and minced
Canola Oil

In a large skillet, heat the oil.  Add ginger, garlic and green onion and saute 3 minutes.  Add the carrot and cabbage mixture to the skillet, stir and saute 2 minutes.  Add the soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil, stir to combine and heat until the cabbage just begins to soften.  Add the shrimp and cook 2 minutes longer, then remove skillet from heat.

Allow the mixture to cool for about 15 minutes, so it is cool enough to work with.  Place an egg roll wrapper on a cutting board in a diamond shape and spoon about 3 tablespoons of the filling into the center.  Dab a little cold water around the edges of the wrapper, fold up the bottom corner, then the sides, then roll to seal.   Add another dab of water, if needed, to seal the edges, but not too much or the rolls will be soggy.

Using a heavy skillet, over medium-high heat add 1/4 inch of canola oil.  When the oil is hot, carefully add the egg rolls in a single layer, leaving space between the egg rolls.  Cook 4 minutes or until golden on the bottom, then turn, repeating as necessary to brown on all sides.  Remove egg rolls from pan when browned and place on paper towels to drain.  Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Egg Roll Sauce

1/4 cup  Soy Sauce
1/4 cup  Rice Vinegar
2 TB  Honey
1 tsp  Sesame Oil
1/4 tsp  Red Pepper Flakes

Combine in a bowl and serve.  To adjust the flavor, add a bit more honey for more sweetness or more red pepper flakes if you like more spice.

Friday, December 24, 2010

How Do You Cook a Standing Rib (Prime Rib) Roast?

Serving a Prime Rib Roast to your guests may seem overwhelming, but it is actually a very simple meal. When buying the roast, allow 1 rib per 2 people, so a 3-rib roast will serve 6 people and a 4-rib will serve 8. Don't buy smaller than the 3-rib roast for best results. 

Cook a Standing Rib (Prime Rib) Roast using a Searing Method

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roast should stand at room temperature for 1 to 1 1/2 hours if possible. In foil lined baking pan place roast rib side down. Season generously with Kosher salt and fresh black pepper. For extra flavor, rub roast with a cut fresh garlic clove before seasoning. Insert meat thermometer in center of roast without touching the bone. Do not cover and do not add liquid.

Roast, uncovered 25 minutes, then reduce heat to 300F. (To bring the temperature down quickly, leave oven down open slightly for a few minutes.) Continue roasting to desired doneness. The roast will continue to cook slightly after removing from the oven, so be careful not to overcook.

Transfer roast to a platter and let rest for 5 - 10 mintues. To carve, use a long, thin and very sharp knife to cut the roast away from the bones. Slice roast into steaks. The inside cuts will be most rare and end cuts will be more medium to well.  Serve with Au Jus and Horseradish Sauce.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Twist on Texas-Style Chili - No Beans, No Tomatoes

This is our version of classic Texas-style chili with a combination of both beef and pork, but no beans or tomatoes.  Due to a tomato allergy in the family, we have discovered that you can create an awesome pot of chili, full of spice and flavor, without a single tomato product.  This can be served over spaghetti or on its own. A handful of sharp cheddar cheese or chopped onion makes a great final touch. Enjoy!

3 to 3 1/2 pounds Beef Chuck or similar cut, cubed to 1/2 inch (we used bottom round for this batch)
1 pound  Pork Sausage
1 large  Onion, chopped
1/4 cup  Chopped Garlic
2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1 tsp  Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 TB  Garlic Powder
1 TB  Onion Powder
3 TB  Ground Cumin
1 TB  Mexican Oregano
1/3 cup  Chili Powder
4 cups  Beef Broth
1 cup  Red Wine (or water, but the wine will tenderize a cheaper cut of meat and add great flavor)
2 - 3 TB  Yellow Cornmeal, optional

In a large soup pot, brown off the pork sausage and drain.  Add the onions and garlic to the sausage and saute for about 5 minutes until onions are softened, but not browned.
Add the beef, salt and pepper and cook uncovered, stirring often, until meat is not longer pink, about 10 - 15 minutes.
When meat is browned, add the remaining ingredients, except the cornmeal.  Bring mixture to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1-1/2 hours, adding additional water if the chili becomes too dry.
Taste to adjust the seasonings, and cook 30 minutes longer, until the meat is very tender.
If you like your chili thicker, sprinkle a few tablespoons of cornmeal into the chili, stirring constantly.  Simmer 5 - 10 minutes longer and serve.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is a yummy soup for a cold weeknight dinner.  The prep time is only about 20 minutes using precooked chicken. The combination of chicken, chilies, black beans and spices create a filling but healthy soup.  
Just a side health note on black beans, which are sometimes called turtle beans, these little treasures are high in everything your body needs: folate, protein, fiber, magnesium and B1.  Black beans are also high in the antioxidant anthocyanins, which is also found in cranberries and grapes. 
3 cups  Chicken, cooked and diced or shredded
1 15 oz can  Diced Tomatoes
1 4.5 oz can  Diced Green Chilies
1  Green Pepper, diced
1  Red Pepper, diced
1 TB  Olive Oil
1  Large Onion, diced
4  Garlic Cloves, minced
1 TB  Chili Powder
1/2 tsp  Paprika
1 tsp  Garlic Powder
1 tsp  Onion Powder
1/2 tsp  Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 tsp  Dried Oregano
1 1/2 tsp  Ground Cumin
1 1/2 tsp  Kosher Salt
1 1/2 tsp  Freshly Ground Black Pepper
4 cups  Chicken Broth
12 oz  Frozen Corn
1 15 oz can  Black Beans, rinsed and drained

Optional Garnish Items
Grated Mexican Cheese
Sour Cream
Flour or Whole Wheat Tortilla Shells, cut into strips and baked lightly
Lime Wedges

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and peppers and saute for about 5 minutes, or until softened.  Add shredded chicken and all of the dry spices.  Stir to combine.  Add the chicken stock and simmer 5 minutes over low heat.

Next add corn and black beans, reduce heat to low and simmer partly covered for 45 minutes.

If using tortilla shells, cut tortillas with a pizza cutter into strips.  Place on a baking sheet and broil in the oven for 10 minutes or until crispy.

Ladle soup into bowls, add toppings of cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips or a squeeze of lime juice if desired.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chicken-Barley Soup with Veggies

2 tsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup minced Onion
1 1/2 tsp Garlic, minced
1 pound Boneless / Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp Dried Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
3 14 1/2-ounce cans Chicken Broth (or low-sodium version)
2/3 Quick-Cooking Barley
1/2 cup Frozen Corn
1/2 cup Frozen Peas
1 TB chopped Fresh Parsley
Salt and Ground Black Pepper
Green Onions Chopped

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. Add chicken and cook 3 minutes, until browned on all sides, stirring frequently. Toss in thyme and bay leaves and stir to coat chicken.

Add broth and barley and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes, or until barley is tender. Stir in corn and peas and simmer 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Before serving, sprinkle some chopped green onions on the soup.  Serves 4.

Note: This is a very versatile recipe. Instead of peas you can use a peas and carrots blend or you could eliminate the chicken and add extra veggies for a vegetarian soup. The barley will add a nutty flavor to the soup and is a great source of healthy good-for-you carbs.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

The birthday cake request this year from our youngest was for Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  This is one of my favorite cakes to make because it looks amazing and is super easy to make.  Enjoy!

1 box  Pineapple Cake Mix
1/2 cup Butter
3/4 cup  Brown Sugar
1 20 oz can  Pineapple Rings, drained
Maraschino Cherries for Garnish (about 6 cherries, sliced in half)

On the stovetop, using a large stainless skillet, melt the butter and add brown sugar, heating over low heat until blended and smooth.  Remove from heat.

Place about 6 - 7 pineapple rings in an even layer on the bottom of the skillet.  Place a cherry, sliced side up, inside of each ring.

Prepare cake mix according to package directions and pour batter over the pineapple rings.

Place skillet in oven and bake about 40 - 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Allow to cool 15 minutes. Using a small knife, carefully loosen the cake from the edges, if needed, and invert cake onto a serving tray (a round pizza pan works great for this).  Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rosemary Chicken

I found this recipe in Food Network magazine and could not wait to try it.  I did adjust the recipe (as usual) so we can get 5 servings out of it and being that we live in tiny-town...there were no cremini mushrooms in sight, so I had to settle for portobellos. 

The flavor of the garlic and lemon on the potatoes was wonderful, but I think next time I would leave out the mushrooms. (It might have better flavor with the creminis though.)  I served this with oven-roasted Garlic Asparagus, and all of the flavors blended really well. Very easy dinner for such an amazing taste.

8  Small Red Potatoes, halved
2  sprigs of Fresh Rosemary (actually had this in the garden)
2  cloves Garlic, smashed
1 tsp  Red Pepper Flakes
Juice of 2 Lemons (save the squeezed halves)
3 TB  Olive Oil
5  Skin-On and Bone-In Chicken Breasts
10 oz  Portobello Mushrooms (or creminis, if you can find them)

Preheat oven to 450.  Cover potatoes with water in medium saucepan, add 1/2 tsp salt and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat, about 10 minutes;  drain and set aside.
On a cutting board combine rosemary leaves from 1 spring, garlic, 2 tsp kosher salt and the red pepper flakes.  Mince well to combine. 
Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add the juice of 1 lemon plus 2 TB  olive oil. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat evenly.
Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken, skin-side down.  Cover and cook about 12 - 15 minutes until the skin side browns.  Turn the chicken and add the mushrooms and potatoes to the skillet and drizzle with the juice of the remaining lemon.  Add the rosemary springs and the squeezed lemon halves to the skillet.  Place the skillet in the oven and roast uncovered until the chicken is cooked thru and the skin is crisp about 25 - 30 minutes.