Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cowboy Hot Pot

I can't believe this is my 200th post! I am so excited to still have people regularly read the blog and leave me comments. I still enjoy doing this blog so much.

I am going to post a delicious meal that can easily be made vegetarian that I must admit was one of my favorite things I have made in a very long time.

1 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
3 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
4 ounces green beans, chopped
1 can (14 oz) baked beans
1 can (7 ounces) corn, undrained
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
4 ounces smoked cheese, cubed
1 pound potatoes, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter, melted
salt and pepper

1. Saute the onion, red pepper, and carrots gently in the oil until softened, not browned.

2. Add the green beans, baked beans, corn with liquid, tomato paste and seasoned salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes.

3. Transfer the vegetables to a shallow ovenproof casserole dish, and scatter the cubed cheese on top.

4. Cover the vegetable and cheese mixture with the sliced potatoes, brush with melted butter, season with salt and pepper and bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes, until potatoes are cooked and golden brown on top.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and lets get started.

You need some baked beans (get vegetarian if you want this to be meat free), smoked cheese or whatever cheese you like, corn, onion, pepper, potatoes, seasoned salt, tomato paste and some butter. You also need salt and pepper. The recipe also calls for carrot and green beans but I just didn't have any!

First thing you want to do is chop your veggies and then saute the peppers, onion, and carrot until they are softened.

While those saute, cube up the cheese. I used Monterey Jack.

Slice your potatoes.

After the veggies have softened add in the beans, corn, tomato paste and some seasoned salt.

Bring it to boil then drop the heat and let it simmer for five minutes.

After it has simmered, pour it into an oven safe casserole dish. I am using my Pyrex butterfly gold dish.

Add the cubed cheese on the top.

Melt some butter and grab a brush.

Layer the potatoes on the top of the casserole and brush it with the butter. Season with salt and pepper and pop it in the oven for 35-40 minutes.

My potatoes were not layered well enough, they were too far apart, and sort of sunk into the rest of the dish, but I wasn't too worried. It smelled so good I knew it was going to be delicious.

As you can see it was gooey and just bursting with different tastes and textures. I absolutely loved the flavors in this and it is very versatile. You can really add or remove any vegetables you would like to this. I will be making this again very soon.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Red and Gold Sweet and Sour Chicken

I think I have said before how much I love my slow cooker but I don't use it a lot because it is hard to cut the ingredients down to single servings. When I saw this recipe I realized that I could do a lot of variations on the leftovers so I just made the whole thing. The recipe is from the Mabel Hoffman Crockery Cookery cook book.

I did a lot of the prep work the night before so that I could just throw everything in the slow cooker the next morning.

You need a nice ripe mango, they should be slightly soft to the touch but not mushy.

If you don't know how to cut mango, here is a link to a great Youtube video that shows you a couple of techniques.

I cut the two sides around the seed.

Then cut almost to the the skin into even cubes.

Then flip it inside out and cut off the delicious mango flesh. It is so simple!

You will also need a red pepper. Chop it into bite sized pieces.

You will need an onion.

Slice it up as well into whatever size you like. I love onion so I don't mind large pieces.

The recipe calls for jicama, but I had apples on hand so I used those instead.

Cut them into nice match sticks. I put all of those prepped veggies in the fridge and went to bed.

The next day I got the remaining ingredients. Hoisin sauce, which is a sweet asian BBQ sauce. Corn Starch, chicken broth, brown sugar and some red wine vinegar.

I then got out my chicken, you will need about one whole chicken's worth of meat, but I used just thighs. I also got out my prepped onions from the night before. Both are looking stylish in my Butterfly Gold refrigerator dishes.

Combine the broth, sugar, vinegar, hoisin and some salt in a bowl.

Put the Onions and the chicken in the slow cooker.

Pour the liquid mixture over the chicken and onions and put the lid on the slow cooker and set it on low. You are now free to go about your business for the next 5 hours. Go read a book, play with your dogs, or do whatever it is that makes you happy. Do not do housework or anything stressful or it could seriously effect the outcome of the food. Really.

After the 5 hours is up it is time to thicken it up and add some more ingredients. Turn the slow cooker to the High setting and dissolve the cornstarch in some water. Stir that in and add in the red peppers. Put the lid back on and let it cook for 15 minutes. I also put some water on to boil so that I could cook up some egg noodles to serve this over.

When the 15 minutes is up, add in the jicama or apples and the mango. Let it cook for about 5 minutes more. Get your noodles in the water if you are serving with pasta.

Drain the noodles when they are done and serve with the delicious sweet and sour chicken. The flavors of the sweet fruit with the savory chicken and sauce was a perfect complement. After it had cooled I stripped the meat from the remaining chicken and made some stir fries with the remaining veggies and some rice. It is a great dish with a lot of leftover potential.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Grilled Bison Steak with Warm Shallot Vinaigrette

I really enjoy bison steaks and I traditionally eat them with just some salt, but I love shallots so I thought I would try this recipe. You can make this with regular old beef steak as well.

Preheat your grill and lets gather some ingredients.

You will need some Apple Cider Vinegar, shallots, mustard, parsley, Olive Oil, salt, pepper and a nice steak.

Slice the shallots and drop them in a small sauce pan with some olive oil.

Cook them on low for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Get your steak on the grill and then we can make the vinaigrette.

Pour them into a food processor or blender and let it cool for a few minutes and while it cools, flip your steak. Give it a whirl to combine into a nice puree.

Add in the parsley, salt, pepper and the vinegar and give it another spin.

I plated the steak over some romaine lettuce leaves and then smeared it up with the vinaigrette. It was a very nice change from my usual steak topping and I think it complemented the steak instead of overpowering it, like I had feared. I didn't do a great job on presentation because I was darn hungry after smelling that steak grilling and with as rare as I make my steak I wanted to be sure it didn't get back up and run away! I hope your weather is nice enough to try this soon. Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wine Poached Salmon Done in the Microwave

This recipe came from the Betty Crocker Cooking for Two cookbook. It is actually made in the microwave and ended up tasting great. I was a little nervous as I have never cooked fish in the nuker before, but it turned out really well and dinner was ready in no time!

You will need some salmon, or any fish filet would probably work. White wine, water, lemon, salt and pepper, thyme and tarragon. I also got out some asparagus that I steamed in a pan of water on the stove and flavored with a bit of olive oil and some lemon.

Ok this is too easy. Put it in a dish, sprinkle with the wine, water, salt, pepper and herbs. Slice the lemon and place the slices on the fish. Cover with wax paper and microwave for 3-5 minutes. You are DONE!

Plate it up with a side and you have dinner in 10 minutes. How easy is that?? I will be trying this with other fish as well.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dilled Fettucine with Whisky-Crab Sauce

My husband is definitely not a food lover, but he does love his Scotch. When I saw this recipe for pasta with a whisky-crab sauce, I knew I'd have some good whisky to choose from.

The recipe comes from Betty Crocker Cooking for Two. First things first, get some water boiling for the pasta.


You will need some pasta, dill, artichoke hearts, cream, green onion, butter, crab and some whisky. If you don't have whisky or bourbon, you can use some chicken stock. I used some Speyburn, which is a pretty inexpensive but tasty Scotch.

Chop up your artichokes, green onion and get your crab ready. Measure out your cream and your whisky so you are all ready to start cooking.

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan.

Get your pasta in the boiling water.

Save a handful of green onions to garnish and add the rest to the melted butter and cook for 3 minute.

Stir in the dill, whisky and some salt and pepper. cook for about 3 more minutes or until half the liquid has evaporated.

Stir in the cream and keep stirring for about 3 minutes.

Stir in the crab and artichokes and heat through.

Drain the pasta and drop it in with the sauce and toss it to combine.

This is the first time I have cooked with canned crab and I didn't think it would be all that good, but it was surprisingly tasty. The sauce on this would actually make a delicious dip if you stirred in some cream cheese as well. I really liked this and was grateful to my hubby for sacrificing some of his whisky for my meal.