February 26, 2009

Cranberry Spinach Salad

Cranberry Spinach Salad

  • 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 pound spinach, rinsed & dried
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, well drained & cut in halves
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium saucepan cook and stir almonds over medium heat until lightly browned, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Remove from heat, and let cool. Repeat with sesame seeds.
  2. Add spinach, cranberries, oranges, and cooled almonds to a large bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, and olive oil.
  4. Pour dressing over spinach mixture just before serving; toss to coat evenly.

February 25, 2009

Pineapple Pork Tenderloin Crock Pot

Pineapple Pork Tenderloin

Taken and adapted slightly from A Year of Crock-Potting

3 pound pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Italian Dressing (seasoning packet)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup apple juice – use a juice box or Capri Sun 100% juice if you have them lying around!
20 oz can crushed pineapple (I only used about 14 oz, & reserved the juices for the couscous – see below)

Directions.
Combine meat, sugar, spices, cornstarch and a little bit of the apple juice (just enough to make mixing easier) in a plastic zipper bag.  Seal and shake well to coat.  Pour contents of bag into crockpot.  Add garlic and peppers.  Pour in soy sauce, remaining apple juice, and pineapple.

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 4-6.

I served this over couscous with buttered yams on the side.

Tips:

  • Since so many recipes call for Italian seasoning I just keep an Italian Dressing mix in a zipper baggy to use as I need it.
  • I used some of the reserved pineapple juices from the can to cook the couscous in to add a little extra flavor – just cook according to directions, replacing some of the water with juice.

February 24, 2009

Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Artichokes & Lemon

Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Artichokes & Lemon

Taken and varied slightly from For the Love of Cooking

  • 3 tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of any fat
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Dried basil, to taste
  • 2 cans artichoke hearts, drained and sliced in half
  • 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced lengthwise
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 lemons
  • 2 tbsp chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (garnish)
  • paprika (garnish)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a pot of water till boiling.  Add potatoes to par cook for 6-7 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Add the garlic, lemon zest (from one lemon), lemon slices (from second lemon), artichoke hearts and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, set aside.

Season the trimmed chicken thighs with salt, pepper and basil to taste. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in an skillet over medium high heat. Once VERY HOT add the chicken thighs and cook until golden brown. Turn the chicken over and cook until golden brown and juices run clear.

Remove chicken from pan and place in baking dish.  Add the potato and artichoke heart mixture. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix 1 tablespoon of olive oil, juice of (third) lemon and 2 tablespoons of chicken broth in a bowl. Season with basil, salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from oven and pour the lemon juice mixture over the top of everything. Let the chicken rest for 3-4 minutes before cutting.  Lightly sprinkle with paprika and parsley as garnish.

Tip:

To get a caramelized look to the food, turn on broiler for just a minute or two near the end of cook time.

February 21, 2009

Sausage Chili

Sausage Chili

1 lb. hamburger
1 lb. Hillshire Farms beef sausage, chopped into bite size pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic minced
1 14 oz. can tomatoes & chilies
1 large tomato chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced
14 oz. ketchup
1 pkg. chili seasoning mix
1 can Pinto beans, drained
2 cans kidney beans, drained
Mexi style shredded cheese
sour cream

Brown hamburger, sausage and onion & drain fat. 
Add the rest of the ingredients saving cheese and sour cream for toppings.   Using the can from the tomatoes, fill with water and add to pan (I added another couple ounces to make it saucier).
Bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour, covered.
What’s a hot bowl of chili without Easy Cornbread to sop it up with?

February 18, 2009

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Chicken Fettucinie Alfredo
  • 10 chicken tenderloins
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 2 tablespoons dry Italian dressing (packet)
  • 1 pound fettuccini pasta
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 (8 ounce) package sliced mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

DIRECTIONS

1.  In a large skillet over medium heat combine chicken, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 the garlic, and Italian dressing mix.  Cook until chicken is no longer pink inside.  While still in skillet using your spatula, break the meat apart into bite size pieces. Remove from skillet and set aside. 

2.  Cook pasta according to directions; drain.

3.  Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in the skillet.  Sauté onion, 1/2 of the minced garlic and mushrooms until onions are transparent. Stir in flour, salt and pepper; cook 2 minutes. Slowly add milk and half-and-half, stirring until just under a simmer on medium heat.  Stir in Parmesan and Colby-Monterey Jack cheeses; stir until cheese is melted. Stir in chicken mixture, tomatoes and sour cream.  Pour fettuccine into the skillet with chicken mixture, toss gently and serve.

February 2, 2009

Party Pinwheels

Party Pinwheels

I made these for a Super Bowl party and they were a hit!  I considered using a flavored tortilla thinking plain wouldn’t be flavorful enough.  I think a flavored tortilla would have detracted from the flavor of the Ranch dressing – the plain flour was perfect!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 2 (1 ounce) packages ranch dressing mix
  • 4 green onions, minced
  • 30 (12 inch) flour tortillas, room temperature
  • 2 red bell peppers, finely diced
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 1/2 cans (6 oz.) sliced black olives

DIRECTIONS

      1.  In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, and green onions. Spread this mixture down the center of each tortilla (if you leave the sides ‘naked’ you won’t have wasted the cream cheese mixture when it comes time to cut off the ends).

2.  Sprinkle the red & yellow peppers, celery, and black olives over the cream cheese mixture.

3.  Roll up the tortillas tightly (at room temperature, tortillas roll up much easier), placing each tortilla side by side on a foil lined cookie sheet (no clean up!).  Once the sheet is full, cover tightly with foil to prevent the tortillas from drying out in the fridge.

4.  Chill 2 hours or overnight - this allows the cream cheese to reset and makes cutting easier.

5.  Cut off each end of the rolls, and slice the chilled rolls into 1 inch slices.