Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Spice-Roasted Pork Tenderloin

PREP :10 MIN .     TOTAL  TIME : 1 HR .  10  MIN.          SERVES: 8
4            pork tenderloins (about 4 pounds)
 2           teaspoons smoked paprika (pimenton)
 2           teaspoons ground cumin 
1            teaspoon garlic powder 
1            teaspoon dried oregano 
1/2         teaspoon cinnamon
 2           tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°. Set the tenderloins on a large rimmed baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix the smoked paprika with the cumin, garlic powder, oregano and cinnamon. Rub the pork with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the spice mixture all over the pork. Roast the tenderloins for about 25 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the centers registers 145°. Transfer the tenderloins to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice the tenderloins 1/2 inch thick and serve.
For smaller families  the recipe  can be cut in half  ... can be frozen up to 2 months ... make sandwiches  or  in salads instead of ham or chicken .
TIP : 
 Slice 2 of the tenderloins and reserve the rest for making Pork Tenderloin Tacos with Avocado Salsa on a busy weeknight. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Double Crust Chicken Pie

1  homemade pie crust*     Optional :    (Two 9-inch frozen (and then thawed) store-bought pie crusts are just fine instead of homemade. Puff pastry works too.)

1          pound skinless boneless chicken breast, cubed
1          cup sliced carrots (about 2 carrots)
1/2       cup sliced celery (about 1 stalk)
1/3       cup unsalted butter
1/3       cup chopped onion
1          teaspoon minced garlic
1/3       cup all-purpose flour
1           teaspoon salt
1/2        teaspoon black pepper
1/2        teaspoon dried thyme
1- 3/4      cups chicken broth
2/3        cup half-and-half*
1           cup frozen peas
1           large egg, beaten
sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish, optional

1           Prepare the pie crust as directed in my recipe, including chilling for at least 2 hours. I usually make the crust the night before. The pie crust recipe makes 2 crusts and you'll be using both crusts.
2            In a large saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 12 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
3            In a large skillet, cook the butter, onions, and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the onions are translucent and the butter is lightly browning. Whisk in the flour, salt, black pepper, thyme, chicken broth, and half-and-half. Cook and whisk until no flour lumps remain, then simmer over medium-low heat until thick. I simmer mine for 10 minutes. You want it to be a very thick gravy; simmer longer if necessary. Taste and add more seasonings if you prefer. Sometimes I add more thyme. Remove from heat and set aside.
4             Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C).
5             After the pie dough has chilled: On a floured work surface, roll out 1 half of the chilled pie dough. Turn the pie crust dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9-inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. With a small and sharp knife, trim the extra overhang of dough and discard. Place the chicken mixture on top. Top with frozen peas. Pour gravy over top. Roll out 2nd half of pie crust dough just as you did the first. Cover the pie with the 2nd crust and trim the extra overhang off the sides. Seal the edges by crimping with a fork or your fingers. With a small and sharp knife, slice a few small slits in the top crust for steam to escape. Using a pastry brush, brush crust and edges with beaten egg.
6                Bake for 32 - 38 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. I use a pie crust shield to protect the edges from browning too much too soon. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Makes amazing leftovers-- the filling is so thick on the next day! Reheat as desired. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
7               Make ahead tip: Filling and gravy can be prepared 1 day in advance, cover and chill in the refrigerator. Assemble, fill, and bake the next day as directed. The pie crust dough can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using. The unbaked OR baked pot pie freezes well for up to 2-3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed or bake to warm through.
Heavy cream or whole milk works instead of half-and-half to make an extra rich filling. I wouldn't use lower fat milks; the gravy will be too thin.

This is a wonderful recipe if you have extra meat or leftover veggies to use up. Turkey works wonderfully instead of chicken. You can use precooked meat. Simply skip the boiling and cook the carrots and celery with the onion and butter. Add some corn (frozen or fresh) when you add the peas. Feel free to add 1-2 Yukon gold potatoes, diced. You can cook them until soft with the onion and butter. Mushrooms are great too; you can add 1 cup sliced mushrooms when you cook the onion and butter. I wouldn't add ALL of these veggies though; you will weigh down the pie.

Feel free to add fresh chopped parsley, a pinch of celery seed, or even a little rosemary. As long as there is salt and pepper (definitely thyme too), the extra seasoning in the pot pie is up to you. Taste and season how you like!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Ranch Chicken Casserole

 Prep  :     15 Minutes        Cook  :  10  Minutes
Bake  :  35 Minutes            Makes 8 servings
For an easy, satisfying, and healthy chicken casserole dinner, check out this lightened up version of  chicken dishes of all time.

1              large onion, chopped 
1             large green bell pepper, chopped 
Vegetable cooking spray 
2            cups chopped cooked chicken breasts
 1           (10-ounce) can fat-free cream of chicken soup, undiluted 
1             (10-ounce) can fat-free cream of mushroom soup, undiluted 
1             (10-ounce) can diced tomato and green chiles 
1             teaspoon chili powder 
1/2          teaspoon pepper
 1/4         teaspoon garlic powder 
12          (6-inch) corn tortillas 
1            (8-ounce) block reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, shredded

 1            Sauté onion and bell pepper in a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender.

2               Stir in chicken and next 6 ingredients; remove from heat.

 3             Tear tortillas into 1-inch pieces; layer one-third tortilla pieces in bottom of a 13- x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with one-third chicken mixture and one-third cheese. Repeat layers twice.

 4             Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly.

 5              Serve with a veggie-loaded salad and vinaigrette. For added Southwest flavor, whisk a few dashes of hot sauce into the dressing.

 TIP : : Freeze casserole up to 1 month, if desired. Thaw in refrigerator overnight, and bake as directed.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Monday, February 12, 2018

Hummingbird Bundt Cake

Prep time : 20 minutes --- Total time : --3 hours -45 minutes -- Makes 12 servings
1 - 1/2               cups chopped pecans
3                        cups all-purpose flour
2                        cups sugar
1                        teaspoon baking soda
1                        teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2                     teaspoon salt
3                        large eggs , lightly beaten
1 -3/4                 cups mashed ripen bananas (about 4 large)
1                        (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
3/4                      cup canola oil
1 -1/2                   teaspoons vanilla extract
1 to 2                  tablespoons milk .

1)            Preheat oven to 350*F . Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant , stirring halfway through .
2)           Prepare Batter : Stir together flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl ; stir in eggs and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl , stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened . Sprinkle 1 cup toasted pecans into a greased and floured 14-cup Bundt pan . Spoon batter over pecans . Spoon batter over pecans .
3)            Bake at 350*F for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a long wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean . Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes ; remove from pan to wire rack , and cool completely (about 2 hours).
4                       ounces cream cheese , cubed and softened
2                       cups sifted powdered sugar
1                       teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2               tablespoons milk

Prepare glaze ; Process cream cheese , powdered sugar , vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk in food processor until well blended . Add remaining 1 tablespoon milk --- 1 teaspoon at a time , processing until smooth . Immediately pour glaze over cooled cake and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup toasted pecans .

Saturday, February 10, 2018

My Back Yard


Possibly coywolf tracks down by my stream. They come into my yard at night and eat the bird seed and dig up my dog's bones. My dog Mika gets very upset.

My dog Mika ( held by Jake) with soapsuds on her head

Friday, February 9, 2018

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Southern Lemon Meringue Pie

Prep time : 45 minutes      Chill time :  15 minutes 
Cook time :  35 minutes      Makes 8 servings
1 -1/3                           cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1/4                               teaspoon salt
1/4                               cup chilled vegetable shortening
2 to 3                           tablespoons cold water
1                                  cup sugar
1/4                              cup cornstarch
1/4                              teaspoon salt
1 -1/2                          cups cold water
3                                 egg yolks , lightly beaten
2                                 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2                              cup lemon juice
1                                 tablespoon butter or margarine
3                                 tablespoons pasteurized dried egg whites
6                                 tablespoon warm water
1/3                              cup sugar
1)                FOR the CRUST :In a large bowl , combine flour and salt . Using a pastry blender , cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal . Sprinkle with water , 1 tablespoon at a time , folking until dough holds together . Shape into a ball , flatten slightly , wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 15 to 30 minutes .
2)               Preheat oven to 475*F . On a lightly floured work surface , roll pastry from the center out to form an 11-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick . Wrap pastry around rolling pin and ease into a 9-inch pie pan . Trim overhang to 1-inch , roll under and crimp , making a high fluted edge . Prick bottom and sides with a folk .
3)                  Cover crust loosely with foil . Weight with dried beans or baking weights and bake for 8 to 10 minutes ; remove foil and beans and bake until crust is golden ---5 minutes more . Reduce heat to 350*F . Remove to a rack and cool to room temperature .
4)                   For the FILLINGS: In a medium-size saucepan , combine sugar , cornstarch and salt . Gradually blend in water , set over moderate heat and cook , stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens --- about 3 minutes . Remove from heat , blend a little of the hot mixture into beaten egg yolks , then stir back into pan . Stir in lemon zest and juice and butter . Pour hot filling into the pie shell .
5)                   For the MERINGUE : In the bowl of an electric mixer , sprinkle egg whited over water and beat until foamy . With the mixer running , add sugar , 1 tablespoon at a time , then continue beating until soft peaks form.
6)                 Spoon meringue onto hot filling , swirling it into peaks and making sure it touches the crust all around . Bake until meringue is lightly tipped with brown -- 10 to 15 minutes . Remove to a rack ; cool to room temperature .
TIP : 
Traditionally , meringue on pies is made from the whites of separated eggs beaten stiff with about 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar , then it is piled high while the pie is still hot .
It's best made with dried pasteurized egg whites because of concerns of raw eggs . The meringue topping does not remain in the oven long enough to actually cook through .

Saturday, February 3, 2018



Thursday, February 1, 2018

Black Bean -and - Pork Chili -----------Slow Cooker

Hands-on Time   20 Mins      Total Time   7  Hours 20 Mins       Makes 6 to 8 servings
Fresh tomatillos look like small green tomatoes wrapped in thin papery skin. Remove skin, and rinse before chopping. If you can't find fresh, look for canned on the Latin aisle at the grocery.

3            tablespoons all-purpose flour 
2           teaspoons ground black pepper
 1-1/2   teaspoons ground cumin
 4-1/2   teaspoons kosher salt, divided 
3          pounds boneless country-style pork ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces
 1/4     cup vegetable oil, divided 
9         medium tomatillos, diced
 3        cups chopped poblano peppers
 2        cups diced white onion
 3/4     cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
 1-1/2    tablespoons dried oregano 
1-1/2     tablespoons chili powder 
3           garlic cloves, minced
 2         (15-oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
 2         tablespoons plain cornmeal
 Chipotle Cream Garnishes: corn chips, lime wedges, fresh cilantro

1            Stir together first 3 ingredients and 2 1/2 tsp. salt in a large bowl; toss with pork. Sauté half of pork in 2 Tbsp. hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 10 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a 7-qt. slow cooker. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and pork.

 2            Stir tomatillos, next 7 ingredients, and remaining 2 tsp. salt into pork mixture. Cover and cook on LOW 8 hours.

3            Uncover and stir in cornmeal. Cover and cook on LOW 1 hour. Serve with Chipotle Cream. ( or your favorite garnishes)