Chicken Posole

I found this on WeightWatchers and made it my own.  The recipe on their site is a bit different than mine.  You could also throw in a crockpot.   That’s not my thing though. Simple and Delicious!

Chicken Posole
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Ingredients

1 pound, chicken thighs
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 celery, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
4 ounces pickled jalapeno peppers, mild variety, diced, drained
14 1/2 ounce canned Hominy
14 1/2 ounce canned diced tomatoes
1 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2  teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder

Directions

1.  Place 1 Tablespoon oil in dutch oven or soup pot.  Lightly salt and pepper one side of chicken thighs.  Brown both sides.  Remove from pot and cut into bite size pieces.  Set aside.
2.  Add celery, onions and green pepper to pot.  Saute until veggies are soft, 5-8 minutes.
3.  Add garlic and mix in with veggies until fragrant.  30 seconds.
4. Add rest of ingredients; pickled jalapeno peppers, diced tomatoes, chicken, water, seasonings.
5.  Cook at medium high until simmering. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes.

That’s it.  How easy is that.  Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Baked Jalapeno Poppers

Martin requested some Jalapeno Poppers.  I wanted to avoid a frying mess.  I found this recipe at Emerils.com and it ended up being a hit.  The first time I made them I did it according to the recipe.  The second time Martin requested the filling be less flavorful.  He liked both recipes.  The rest of us liked the first one.  Here it is;

Baked Jalapeno Peppers

IMG_5496Not a great pic. I should have been a bit more creative!

Ingredients

12 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise, stems, seeds and membranes removed
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese (I used MJ)
1/2 teaspoon cumin (I used 1 teaspoon.  Cumin is my favorite spice.)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste – I used 1/4 teaspoon)
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons milk
8 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
1 cup panko crumbs or fine dry breadcrumbs (I used panko)
1/2 cup all purpose flour

Directions

1.  Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a baking sheet, set aside.
2.  In a bowl, cream together cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, cumin and cayenne. Set aside.
3.  In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, milk and 2 teaspoons Cajun/creole seasoning.
4.  In a shallow dish, combine the panko crumbs and 4 teaspoons of Cajun/Creole seasoning.
5.  In a third bowl combine the flour and remaining 2 teaspoons Cajun/Creole seasoning.
6.  Spread 1 Tablespoon of the cheese mixture into the middle of each jalapeno half.
7.  One at a time, dredge in the flour, dip into the egg mixture, then dredge in panko crumbs, pressing to coat.  If necessary, repeat the process. (I did not repeat)
8.  Place the coated peppers, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet and bake until the filling is runny and the crust is golden, about 30-45 minutes.
9.  Remove from the oven and serve immediately with a cold beer!

The second round I did the following for the filling – 6 ounces cream cheese, 1 Tablespoon chopped chives, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper.

Enjoy this simple and delicious appetizer!!

 

Stuffed Peppers

I have been craving stuffed peppers.  My mom used to make these and I hated them.  I didn’t mind what was inside but did not like those peppers.  I guess my taste buds have changed – died due to the aging process 🙂 but I love peppers now.  I used green bell peppers today but I think next time I will use red, orange and yellow.  I also would like to try some other peppers besides the bell variety.  This recipe takes about 30 minutes to prepare and another 30 minutes to bake.   I found this recipe at  America’s Test Kitchen.  It reminds me of my mom’s recipe.  Here goes;

Classic Stuffed Peppers
(just like mom’s)

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4 green, red, yellow, orange bell peppers, 1/2 inch trimmed off tops, cores and seeds discarded (I used 6 green, they were small to medium size and on sale this week!)
1/2 cup long grain rice
1 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1# ground beef (or any ground meat.  If you don’t want meat add more veggies and/or rice)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14 1/2 ounce) diced tomatoes, drained – 1/4 cup juice set aside for later use
5 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 1/4 cup)
2 Tablespoons parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup ketchup
Salt and pepper

Directions

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1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Adjust oven rack to middle position.

2.  Bring 4 quarts water and 1 Tablespoon of salt to boil in large stockpot over high heat.  When water boils,  add your peppers.  02062014 006Cook until peppers begin to soften, 3-5 minutes and remove with slotted spoon.
3.  Set the peppers upside down on paper towels to drain water, then flip over as soon as drained.
4.  Return water to a boil, add 1/2 cup of rice and boil until tender or 12 minutes.  Drain rice into colander and transfer to a large bowl; set aside.
5.  While the rice is cooking heat a 12 inch heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat until hot, add oil and swirl to coat.  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and brown, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and cook, breaking into small pieces, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
6.  Transfer mixture to the bowl with rice, stir in tomatoes, 1 cup cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
7.  In a small bowl stir together the ketchup and remaining tomato juice.
8.  Place peppers cut side up in 9 inch square baking dish. 02062014 009 Fill each pepper with meat/rice mixture.  Spoon 2 Tablespoons of ketchup mixture over tope of each filled pepper, sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake until cheese is browned and filling is heated through, about 30 minutes.  Serve immediately.02062014 013

Don’t limit yourself to the classic stuffing.  You could use any kind of ground meat, different cheeses, grains, veggies.  The list is endless.  Hope you enjoy this simple and delicious comfort food meal!!

 

 

Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whoa.  That’s a long name.  I saw these in June’s Food Network Magazine.  I just can’t resist a lemon recipe, especially lemon cookies.  I may be watching what I eat but I can still have a cookie once in awhile.  Hmmm, maybe two.  These are simple and deeeelicious!

Lemon White Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks(12 Tablespoons)  butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon zest (I used zest of one lemon)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (or vanilla)
12 ounce bag white chocolate chips

Directions

  1.  Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt in medium bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Beat butter, sugar and lemon zest on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Beat in eggs, lemon juice and extract.
  5. Reduce to low and add flour mixture until combined.
  6. Add white chocolate chips and mix together until combined.
  7. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 4 minutes, turn baking sheet around, bake 4 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven, let cool and EAT!

Great summer cookie.  Enjoy!!

May – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Chocolate and peanut butter are my favorite flavors, separate or together.   The first time I posted this recipe was May 2014.  That was the last time I baked this delicious combination for a cheesecake.  Brought this into work today for our Spa Day.  We all enjoyed this and hope you will too!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
(compliments Food Network)

Ingredients

Be sure all your ingredients are room temperature before you start.  The ingredients will blend together much better that way.  Also, if you have a food processor it will mix together to a wonderful, creamy mixture – no lumps!

Base:

1/2 (14-ounce) box graham crackers (2 cups crumbs)
1/2 cup salted peanuts
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons soft unsalted butter

Filling:

2 (8-ounce) bars cream cheese
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Topping:

1 cup sour cream
1 cup milk chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Process the crackers, peanuts, bittersweet chocolate chips, and butter in a food processor. Once it comes together, turn it into a 9 inch springform pan and press into the bottom and up the sides to make the crunchy crust.
  3. Put it in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
  4. Add all the filling ingredients to a food processor and pulse until it becomes a smooth mixture.
  5. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 1 hour. The top, only, should feel set and dry.
  6. Take the cheesecake out of the oven and set aside while you make the topping.
  7. Warm the sour cream and milk chocolate with the brown sugar in a small saucepan over a low heat. Gently whisk to blend in the chocolate as it melts, then take the pan off the heat.  This takes 5-10 minutes.
  8. Spoon and spread the topping very gently over the top of the cheesecake.  Put it back in the oven for a final 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and cool.
  9. Slice and serve.  (I think it tastes better after being refrigerated at least 4-6 hours, overnight preferably.)

Enjoy!!

Veggie Dish – Simple and Delicious

One of the things my mother always said to me before I left Syracuse was “take care of YOURSELF!”  Now that she is gone I won’t have her to remind me.  I decided to take her advice.  I joined Weight Watchers (again) and am back to walking and yoga daily.  I will keep that promise to myself and to her.  I have to be around the next 30 years to give my kids random advice too!  Here is a dish I made this evening.  Simple, delicious, fast AND healthy.

Veggie Dish

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Ingredients

2 pieces bacon
1 teaspoon bacon grease
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, cut in 1/4 inch slices
1 yellow squash, cut in 1/4 inch slices
5 asparagus stalks, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper (I use coarse grind, you may want to use 1/4 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon Penzey’s Turkish Seasoning (or 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder OR whatever seasoning you desire)

Directions

  1.  Fry bacon until crisp in non-stick skillet (remove bacon from skillet and place on paper towel.  Drain grease in small bowl.  Wipe out frying pan.)
  2. Add 1 teaspoon bacon grease and 1 teaspoon olive oil in skillet. (You can use just bacon grease or olive oil.)
  3. Add onions and peppers, saute until onions opaque.
  4. Add rest of veggies, saute until done.  5-8 minutes.
  5. Add crumbled bacon, mix together and serve.

You can use any combination of vegetables you would like. Would love to hear your veggie combinations!  This was really delicious.  Could that be any simpler? IMG_5476 (2)

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

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I recently visited my mom in Syracuse.  She had fallen and broken her neck at the facility where she was staying.  She was there to begin with due to recent surgery on her leg.  I had 5 days in a row to visit with her and spend time with her.  My last day there she was in quite a bit of pain (my mom can take a lot of pain). She had a collar on her neck and was sitting in a straight back, upholstered chair.  I kept telling her through the week she should sit in the bed with it reclined.  She did NOT want to sit in that bed.  Finally, I was able to get her comfortable by sitting in her bed. We angled the bed so she could watch TV.  It took me 2 days to get my stubborn mom to accept the fact that lying in the bed, with it reclined, was much better for her.  Her last words to me that day as I was leaving were “Thank you, I feel much better”.  She even smiled.  I reminded her I would be back in June for her 90th birthday celebration and off I went!

When I got home from Syracuse I got a Mother’s Day card for her.  Finally mailed it out in a timely manner.  She would actually receive it before Mother’s Day.  However, when I was getting ready to mail the card I realized the verse would be too small for her to read.  I thought the verse in the card was perfect for how I feel about her.  I wanted her to be able to read it.  I ended up typing the verse on a separate piece of paper in large font and inserted that in the card.    Here it is:

‘Do you know what it means to be your daughter?
It means I always feel loved.
It means I have a true friend I can count on.
It means someone wise and wonderful believes in me and encourages my dreams.
It means I know how lucky I am because you are everything special a mom can be.’

This was definitely the perfect card.  Every single one of those statements are true.  I am a very lucky daughter.

Mom did not get to read my card.  She passed away in her sleep Thursday morning.

One thing for sure , she was my mother, sister, and best friend all in one.  I could tell her anything.  Anything and everything.  That one person in my life that never judged me – well, most of the time 😉   She definitely had her criticisms.  I mean, she is my mom!

She used to say to me “Honey, I love you more than you will ever know.”  Mom, I will miss you and will love you more than YOU will ever know.  Always and Forever.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom.

Lemon Pistachio Macaroons

Found this “Simple and Delicious” recipe in April’s Food Network Magazine. They went fast!

Lemon Pistachio Macaroons

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Ingredients

1/3 cup shelled unsalted pistachios (I did use salted)
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I used lemon extract)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 14 ounce package sweetened shredded coconut (about 3 packed cups)

Ingredients

  1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Pulse the pistachios in a food processor until finely ground but not powdery.  (you could finely chop if you do not have a food processor)
  3. Whisk the egg whites with the sugar, lemon zest, extract and salt in a large bowl until frothy.  Stir in the ground pistachios, then stir in the coconut until completely combined.
  4. Scoop heaping tablespoons of the coconut mixture onto the prepared baking pans.
  5. Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the macaroons are golden, 25-30 minutes.
  6. Let cool 10 minutes on the pans, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

All’Amatriciana – DELISH!

I had this dish at a restaurant recently.  I enjoyed it so much I wanted to try making it at home.  Didn’t take long to find a recipe online.  Simple and Delicious!

Bucatini All’Amatriciana

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Ingredients

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta or chopped unsmoked bacon (I used pancetta)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion (red or yellow)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can peeled tomatoes with juice, crushed by hand
Kosher salt
12 ounces dried bucatini or spaghetti (I like rotini so that is what I used.  Not a fan of longer noodles.  I blame that on my mom. She did not like spaghetti.)  🙂
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino (I used Pecorina Romano.  You could use Parmesan.  Please don’t use the green can.  Buy a chunk of the real thing.  It really makes a difference. You will thank me.)

Directions

  1.  Heat oil in large heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 4 minutes. (Be sure to constantly move around to avoid burning. Pancetta cooks fast.)
  2. Add pepper flakes and black pepper, stir for 10 seconds.
  3. Add onion and garlic, stirring often, until soft, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes (remember to crush with your hands), reduce heat to low, stir occasionally, until sauce thickens.  15-20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and make pasta per the directions. (Don’t overcook.  Cook to al dente instructions.)  Be sure to add salt. Reserve 1 cup pasta water. Drain in colander.
  6. Add pasta to sauce in skillet and toss. Add 1/2 cup pasta water and mix thoroughly until sauce coats pasta.  Add more pasta water if seems dry.  (1/2 cup was enough for me).
  7. Serve and ENJOY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lasagna – A Family Favorite

Lasagna has been a family favorite for years.  I have been making this lasagna recipe for 40 years. Yup, since I was 18 years old.  I think I got this one covered.  Guess it is time to share this recipe so my kids can make their own at their home.  For Eric’s birthday this year we had lasagna, meatballs with sauce (these meatballs were delicious.  Been making those a few years, too),  rosemary focaccia bread and Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Lasagna

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You start with:

Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 – 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 – 15oz can diced tomatoes (or tomato sauce.  Depends on my mood.)
1# sausage, removed from casing
1 small-medium red onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (if you don’t have fresh, use 1 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt (cheese is salty so taste, taste, taste!)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Directions

1.  Remove sausage from casing and add to frying pan.  Cook until no longer pink.  Remove from pan and put on paper towel lined plate for grease to drain. Set aside.
2.  Clean out fry pan with paper towels.  Add olive oil to sauce pan on medium heat.
3.  Add diced onions.  Cook onion on low to medium heat until opaque, about 4-5 minutes.  Add cloves of garlic and let cook 30 seconds.
4.  Add cans of tomatoes and let cook about 5 minutes until warm.
5.  Add rest of ingredients, including sausage and let simmer 30-60 minutes.  If you want you can simmer longer but it is not necessary.  Sauce does not have to take a long time.  Taste it, if you like it, then it is done.  I like it to cook down a bit so I usually go 45-60 minutes for a tomato sauce.

Next, prepare lasagna;

Ingredients

Lasagna Noodles (16 noodles work for me)
1 – 15 ounce container ricotta cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella
2 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

  1.  Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Lightly spray 13×9 inch baking dish.
  2. Cook lasagna noodles according to directions.  I use 16 noodles.
  3. Combine ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella, eggs, mix well.
  4. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of baking dish, top with 4 lasagna noodles, spread ricotta cheese mixture, 1 cup sauce, 1/4 cup parmesan.  Repeat layering. Last layer of noodles, top with sauce and 1 cup mozzarella.
  5. Cover, bake 45-50 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Uncover, and place under broiler for 2-3 minutes to brown mozzarella.  Let stand 15 minutes.  Cut and serve.

Makes awesome leftovers!