Thursday, April 29, 2010

Taco Soup

This is a total quick-fix dinner from Paula Deen. Plus it is really good. It's more of a chili, and I add some tomato sauce to make it a little more soupy. We skip the green olives and I add my own black olives--hubby no likey. The sour cream and jalapenos are usually skipped as well--just cause there is so much they aren't needed. The fritos are a must. MMMM. This makes a huge batch. I have to pull out my stock pot and usually have lots of left overs. It also freezes well.

Taco Soup

2 pounds ground beef
2 cups diced onions
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional
1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional
1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
Corn chips, for serving
Sour cream, for garnish
Grated cheese, for garnish
Chopped green onions, for garnish
Pickled jalapenos, for garnish

Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pan Roasted Cowboy Ribeye with Creamed Swiss Chard

We stumbled upon this recipe. We got our swiss chard in our basket. Don't make swiss chard much. Needed to find a recipe. After perusing the Food Network webpage, my husband stumbled across this Tyler Florence recipe. We both thought it sounded a bit unlike anything we would make, but the reviews were glowing. So we decided to try it out. It was sooooo good. It is even good layered the way the recipe says. I am a food no touchy kind of girl, but even I liked it together. Everything was very flavorful. It wasn't overly complicated and makes a great fancy dinner.

Pan Roasted Cowboy Ribeye with Creamed Swiss Chard

2 large (16 to 18-ounce) bone-in rib-eye steaks

1 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Bread crumb topping:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 to 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
2 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed
About 1 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Creamed rainbow chard:
1 large bunch Swiss chard, leafs removed from the stem and leaves chopped
2 cups heavy cream
2 fresh bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled
Freshly grated Parmesan, to taste
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 lemon, juiced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Take a cast iron pan and set over medium-high heat. Add a 2-count of olive oil and add rosemary and thyme. The herbs will begin to crackle as the oil heats up and the oil will be infused with the flavor. Remove the herbs from the pan and place onto a paper towel lined plate. Season the rib eyes well with salt and pepper and add to pan and brown for approximately 4 minutes. Turn the rib eye over and place the whole pan into the preheated oven, on the bottom shelf, for another 12 minutes for medium-rare. Add another 2 minutes for medium.

Place a saute pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic, thyme and rosemary leaves, and the panko and stir to combine. Once the bread crumbs are toasted, season with salt and pepper.

Place a saucepan of cream with bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and garlic over medium heat and simmer until reduced and thick. Blanch leaves in some salted boiling water until wilted. Remove the Swiss chard from the water and allow it to drain in a strainer. Push any excess water out of the Swiss chard using some paper towels. Set aside to dry at room temperature.

When ready, remove herbs and garlic from cream and fold in the Swiss chard. Add Parmesan, to taste, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Once steaks are done, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve on a plate and top steak with creamed Swiss chard. Garnish with the toasted bread crumbs, lemon juice, and season with salt.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Trifle is an awesome dessert. It can be as easy or as complicated as you want to make it. Essentially it is layers of cake, whipped cream, custard/pudding and fruit/cookies/candy. You can make it by scratch or buy it premade. You can use whatever flavors you want. And you can make it pretty in a trifle bowl if you have one. I used chocolate cake, vanilla pudding, strawberries, whipped cream and some peanuts on top.


Cake (angel food, pound cake, chocolate cake)
Pudding or custard
Fruit/cookies/candy (berries, bananas, oreos, heath bars)
Whipped Cream

Cut cake into cubes and layer bottom of bowl. Spread half the custard or pudding on cake. Layer fruit, cookies or candy next. Then spread whipped cream. Repeat. Sprinkle top with more crushed cookies, candy or nuts.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Asparagus with Sesame Citrus Sauce

I love asparagus. I ususally cook it on a baking sheet with olive oil and salt and pepper. Sometimes you need to shake things up a little. This was just as easy and pretty good--from Food Network's Paula Deen. It has a nice balance of sesame and citrus.

Asparagus with Sesame Citrus Sauce

1 bunch asparagus
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus a splash
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Prepare the asparagus. Snap off bases of spears and discard. Bring a small amount of salted water to boil in a saucepan, add a splash of lemon; add asparagus and cook until tender. Remove asparagus and shock in an ice bath to stop the cooking and to keep its bright green color.

Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon sesame seeds and cook, stirring 2 to 3 minutes over moderate heat, until lightly browned. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons orange juice, drizzle with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Whisk to make sure it's fully emulsified. Add salt, to taste. Add asparagus to sauce, and toss until coated. Serve hot and garnish with extra sesame seeds, if desired.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Santa Fe Chicken Casserole

I told my husband that he needed to find a recipe for our leftover rotisserie chicken. He found this recipe. I thought it was very good despite the sour cream.

Santa Fe Chicken Casserole

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
9 oz. pkg. frozen fully cooked diced chicken
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
24 oz. jar thick and chunky salsa
1 cup taco sauce
8 corn tortillas
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded Cojack cheese

In medium microwave safe bowl, cook onion and garlic in olive oil on HIGH for 2-3 minutes until tender. Stir in frozen chicken, black beans and salsa. (If freezing, cool onion and garlic mixture before adding frozen chicken.)

In 2 quart glass baking dish, pour taco sauce. Lay four corn tortillas over sauce. Top with half of chicken mixture. Spoon on half of sour cream in small dollops. Sprinkle with half of cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, chicken mixture, sour cream and cheese. Cover with foil. At this point, you can wrap the casserole well and freeze up to 3 months.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes until bubbly. Uncover and bake 5-10 minutes longer until cheese is melted. If frozen, thaw casserole overnight in refrigerator, then bake covered at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until bubbly; uncover and bake 5-10 minutes longer until cheese melts. Serves 6


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cheese Ravioli with Toasted Walnuts

This is a really easy dish and it is very tasty. It's from Cooking Light magazine. It's also really easy to change it to your own taste. I used mushroom and cheese ravioli and sage instead of parsley. You can pick your favorite pasta, nuts or herbs.

Cheese Ravioli with Toasted Walnuts

1 14- to 16-ounce package cheese ravioli (frozen or fresh)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 cup (2 ounces) walnuts, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Cook the ravioli according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of the cooking water.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and walnuts. Cook, stirring, until the nuts are lightly toasted and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the parsley, and the reserved cooking water. Add the ravioli and toss to coat. Divide among individual plates and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Vegan Strawberry Shortcake

I made my favorite sister some vegan strawberry shortcake for her birthday. Of course I was having trouble finding vegan soygurt at my area grocery stores. My Frys has vegan cream cheese, sour cream, etc. --but no soygurt. Even the soygurt I found at the Super Target had milk cultures in it. So I didn't use my sister's yougurt pound cake recipe. I found a new one. It was okay. A little sweet. Of course, somebody left it at home and it had to be delivered the next day so she was the only one to taste the dessert in it's entirety. My husband was a sweetie and helped me out since I was sick. He made the whipped cream. He also didn't check to make sure it was sweet enough. Oops. I assume everyone knows how to make the strawberry part. Slice your strawberries. Add sugar to taste (sugar creates juice, so make sure you use it if you like the strawberries juicy). So I can't judge the finished product, but my sister said that as a whole it was really good.

Vegan Pound Cake

1/2 cup vegan butter, softened (I like Earth Balance)

1 1/2 cups granulated or raw sugar (I use granulated)
6 ounces (one half of a box) plain or low fat Silken firm tofu (blending or processing first assures no lumps)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 5 x 9" loaf pan. Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in tofu until well combined. Add 1 cup flour and, with mixer on low, mix just until incorporated. Add water and extracts and do the same. End with remaining cup of flour and baking powder. Increase speed to medium and beat for 1-2 minutes. Spoon mixture into pan and lightly smooth the top. Place on the center rack of the oven and bake for 55 minutes.

Source: The Blooming Platter

Whipped Coconut Cream

1 cans worth of coconut cream- the white part, not the clear- chilled for a couple of hours.
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 tsp powdered sugar

Freeze mixing bowl and whisk attachment prior to adding in coconut cream. Beat on highest setting until soft peaks are formed- usually about 6 minutes. The colder the temperature of the cream and the utensils, the better the chances of forming these nice peaks. ( As this is a first attempt at whipping coconut cream, mine turned a bit soft as I neglected to pay too much attention to the whipping process. But, I threw it in the freezer for a few minutes and then in the fridge, and the taste and texture is pretty darn similar to the animal variety. But I won’t lie, mine came out more the consistency of regular whipped cream left to sit out a bit too long. I could hardly even notice the coconut flavor though)

Once peaks have formed, add other ingredients and immediately chill in refrigerator.

Source: Manifest Vegan