Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Grilled Pesto Cheese Bun

Pesto is so awesome; it must be food for the Gods. I did not try it until I was in my mid-twenties, and let me tell you – I was bummed to find out what a delicious treat I had been missing out on. I am also bummed to report that I still have not made fresh pesto, totally lame since I have a kick-butt food processor. But anyway, Christopher Ranch is probably happy about my lameness, since they are the only brand of Pesto I buy. :) If you have not checked out Christopher Ranch before, I would suggest you drop by their website and see the excellent variety of goods. (Nope, I did not get anything for saying all that – I just really like their products.)

The Grilled Cheese Bun was not an original idea, adding the pesto was. ;) My son ordered a grilled cheese sandwich at a burger joint and this is how it came. I thought it was a genius idea as soon as I saw it. So the first time I ran out of bread and had a “cheesy” craving, I busted out the hamburgers buns… and noticed the pesto while I was in the fridge – might as well grab that too. Haha

These are real easy. Just butter both buns on the inside and cook as you would a grilled cheese sandwich. I added pesto but next time I think I want to include some sliced meat, onions and tomato. I am hungry now. Enjoy!
 I also want to mention that I received my first Foodzie box... I am totally in love! What a great idea and what great products! I HAVE to share what I got in my Foodzie Box:

  • Dried Pineapple from Peeled Snacks
  • 2, Traditional Alfajores from Dulce Caramel Co.
  • Lemon Poppyseed and Almond Biscotti from Biscotti Bari
  • 2, Fresh Herb Sea Salts from Woody’s Gourmet
  • Pure Southern Iced Tea from Pluff Iced Tea
  • Classic Seaweed Snack from SeaSnax
I am completely satisfied and I can’t wait for next month’s box, it seriously feels a little like Christmas. Yay! :)
(Oh, and I did not get anything for saying all that about Foodzie either - I just really feel like sharing tonight.)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Clam Chowder

In my email today was something very exciting, a Save the Date for the 2011 Foodbuzz Festival. I don’t know what to say other than, “I am thrilled!!!!!” :) I read up on the 2010 Foodbuzz Festival and I wish I could have been there! However, I was 8 months pregnant at the time, so I doubt I would have shared the same enthusiasm I do now… haha. So anyway, I will keep everyone posted on my journey of getting to the festival. Wish me luck!!

In honor of the Foodbuzz Festival being held in San Francisco, I find it only fair to share my favorite New England Clam Chowder recipe. I have so many fond memories of being in San Francisco and getting a sourdough bowl of clam chowder at the Crab Station by pier 39.There is so much fresh cooked seafood there just waiting to be bought and devoured, super-duper yum.

This recipe was found at keyingredient.com while I was browsing through copy-cat recipes, it is suppose to duplicate Red Lobster's New England Clam Chowder. I have tried Red Lobster's Clam Chowder a few times and I have to admit this recipe is way better than what is served in the restaurant. I hope everyone enjoys this recipe as much as I do - it is 2 of the most wonderful things; easy & delicious. :)

• 2½ cups water
• 3 cans minced clams - (6½ oz ea) with their liquid
• ½ cup all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 bay leaf
• dash ground thyme
• 2 white or red potatoes peeled and diced (not russet or yellow potatoes)
• 1 cup heavy cream

1. Combine water and liquid drained from all 3 cans of clams in a large saucepan. Stir in flour, parsley, salt, bay leaf and thyme. Turn to medium heat.
2. When water begins to bubble, add the potatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir often to keep the potatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
3. Add the clams to the saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.
4. Add the cream and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Watch the pan carefully to be sure the chowder doesn’t bubble over. Turn down the heat if the soup begins to erupt.
5. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Grilled Pesto-Tomato Pork Steaks

Season pork steaks with grill seasoning. I used
Weber Kick’n Chicken Seasoning

Brown pork steaks in olive oil over medium-high heat for a couple minutes on each side

Top with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes

Grill Pesto side up until pork steaks are done, about 25 minutes. Enjoy!

We had these with garlic mashies (aka mashed potatoes), it was a hit – even with the toddler. Score!

Spicy Beef-Bean Taco Filling

• 1 pound ground beef
• 1 Jalapeno Pepper, sliced
• ¾ cup diced Onion
• 2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning
• 1 can Pinto Beans, drained

1. Sauté onions and jalapeno until tender, reserve for later
2. Brown ground beef, drain and return to pan
3. Add ½ cup water and taco seasoning with beef, mix well while bringing to boil. Lower heat, simmer and stir occasionally until liquid is nearly evaporated, add beans and onion-jalapeno mixture, stir well
4. Cook until thoroughly heated. Serve with tortillas and your favorite taco toppings
5. Enjoy

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tangy Tomato Dressing

Spice packets are awesome; you can make chili, spaghetti, stew, stroganoff, meat loaf, salad dressings, gravy, soup and more. I like cooking from packets… however, I love cooking from “scratch”. I love using fresh ingredients and taking several steps to create a taste, I feel much more accomplished at the end of preparing a meal. I also love saying that I made something. When I cook from a packet, I feel weird taking ownership of the meal. I don’t feel right saying, “Yes, I cooked that”. When really I didn’t, the only cooking I did was browning the beef, adding 1 can of beans, 1 can of tomatoes, a spice packet and my good ol' trusty Crock Pot did the rest. In my opinion the Crock Pot should get more credit than me in the making of that meal.

With that being said… I made some “packet-less” salad dressing; however it was not entirely from “scratch” either.

Which leads me to ponder something, is everyone on the same page as far as cooking from “scratch” is concerned? If I make a batch of chocolate chip cookies from raw ingredients, do I get the “from scratch” badge even though I bought the chocolate chips and did not make them myself? Just wondering what other people’s thoughts are. My definition of “from scratch” has changed over the years, and now it means: to start with nothing. Unfortunately with this definition, I do not make many things “from scratch”. I am bound to use a can or jarred item when preparing a meal – the most common being my jar of minced garlic in the fridge. Garlic=Yummy Love

Ok, back to the dressing. This is a copy-cat recipe I found here at Meemo's Kitchen. It is the Tangy Tomato Dressing from Outback Steakhouse. Although I am not a regular at Outback I have been there enough to know it is my favorite dressing there. This recipe is super easy to make and you will be thrilled with the results. :) I also used the dressing on some cheese quesadillas and it turned out amazing. Yum

• 1/2 Cup plus 1 tablespoon ketchup
• 1/3 Cup water
• 1/4 Cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 Cup white vinegar
• 2 Tablespoons olive oil
• 1/4 Teaspoon paprika
• 1/4 Teaspoon coarse black pepper
• 1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/4 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/8 Teaspoon onion powder
• Pinch thyme

1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Whisk often. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Cover the dressing until cool, then refrigerate it until well chilled.
2. Enjoy

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cracker Barrel Hash Brown Casserole

Comfort food, for me, consists of; fried foods, chocolate, cheese and most things salty. Although I would not do much for a Klondike Bar, I would do extreme things for deep-fried mozzarella sticks with ranch. Fried chicken, love it. Grilled cheese, love it. Dark chocolate truffles, LOVE them. I would probably weigh 500 pounds if I knew how to successfully make fried chicken and/or dark chocolate truffles. Recipes would be appreciated, without nutritional facts. Thanks :)

You don’t need to change a thing from this recipe and it will turn out awesome. I have never tried the Hash Brown Casserole from Cracker Barrel, but I imagine this must be a close comparison – I really can’t see it getting much better.
I wish I had more pictures of the preparation for this recipe, but it was prepared in my early earlier blogging days.

• 26 ounces bag frozen country-style hash browns
• 2 cups shredded Colby cheese
• 1/4 cup minced onion
• 1 cup milk
• 1/2 cup beef stock or canned broth
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 1 dash garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
2. Combine frozen hash browns, cheese, and onion in a large bowl
3. Combine the milk, beef stock, half the melted butter, the garlic powder, salt, and black pepper in another bowl. Mix until well blended, then pour the mixture over the hash browns and mix well
4. Heat the remaining butter in a large, ovenproof skillet (no plastic handle) over high heat
5. When the skillet is hot, spoon in the hash brown mixture. Cook the hash browns, stirring occasionally, until hot and all of the cheese has melted (about 7 minutes)
6. Put the skillet into the oven and bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until the surface of the hash browns is dark brown
7. Enjoy

Note: If you do not have an ovenproof skillet (such as myself), you can prepare the dish up to step 6, where you can then transfer the ingredients into a casserole dish and proceed to bake it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hungry Harps Macaroni & Cheese

When I started throwing this dish together I had no intentions of blogging about it, but as the recipe started coming together in my head I knew I was going to have to share it. Be brave, try it. :) We were surprised by how tasty it was and there were no leftovers.

• 1 pound Ground Beef
• 1 box Macaroni & Cheese (Just the plain one, nothing fancy)
• ½ cup chopped Broccoli
• 1 ½ cups cheese, shredded (I used Pepper Jack and Colby, mixed)
• ¼ cup Italian Breadcrumbs
• ¼ cup Garlic Compound Butter
• 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
• 2 tablespoons minced Garlic
• 1 tablespoon Worcestshire Sauce
• 1 tablespoon Fresh Dill
• Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Brown ground beef with garlic, worcestshire sauce and salt & pepper. Drain
2. Make macaroni & cheese as directed on package, substituting the margarine with garlic compound butter
3. I used frozen broccoli, so at this point I sautéed the broccoli just long enough to have any extra water evaporate. Mix with beef and dill
4. Layer in 8x8 baking dish;
• Macaroni & cheese
• Beef mixture
• Half of cheese
• Half of breadcrumbs
• Repeat one more time, topping with parmesan cheese
5. Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top
6. Enjoy

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Daddy's Delight #1 - Tamale Casserole

This is our very first Daddy’s Delight posting!
The original idea behind this segment of the blog was that Handy Harp would cook up one of the many recipes he knows and I would blog about it. Well, being the control freak I am in the kitchen, it turned out a little different. First I offered to do the preparing while he told me what to do… then I completely changed the recipe. I am laughing as I write this because I know it is totally true – I am a Kitchen Freak. It is kind of like a control freak, but just focused on the culinary aspect of life. So, this posting will still go under Daddy’s Delight because without his inspiration this dish would of never happened… I promise. . The original recipe did not involve onions or cheese and was not going to see an oven anytime in it’s lifetime. This dish is cheap, easy and is actually better than I thought it was going to be. I would say if you only have a few bucks and need some food, give this a try – you will most likely be surprised.

• 2 cans Hormel Chili with Beans
• 2 cans Hormel Beef Tamales
• 1 cup onions
• 1-1/2 cups cheese

1. Unwrap paper around tamales, reserve chili sauce of one tamale can
2. Mix one can of chili with reserved chili sauce
3. Layer in 9x13 baking dish: Chili, NOT mixed with chili sauce
½ cup onions
1/2 cup cheese

Chili mixed WITH chili sauce
½ cup onions
1 cup cheese
4. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes
5. Enjoy!