Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wicked Autumn Sangria

I usually prefer sangrias with red wine, but this one was great!
It really tastes appropriate for the cooler fall weather, sitting outside with a fire going.
Wicked Autumn Sangria
recipe from South Your Mouth
1 cup vanilla vodka
1 cup sugar
2 cups apple cider
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 honeycrisp apples
2 pears
1 large orange
2 bottles pinot grigio (I used Cupcake Vineyards)

Combine vanilla vodka, sugar, apple cider and pumpkin pie spice in a gallon pitcher and stir until sugar is dissolved. Chop apples, pears and orange into small pieces and add to vodka mixture. Refrigerate mixture and let sit for 2-4 hours. When ready to serve, add chilled pinot grigio and stir to combine.
I like to serve on ice. If you like a little carbonation in your sangria, like I do, top it off with a little ginger ale (diet, of course, so it's not too sweet). Very easy to cut the recipe in half, too.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Coconut Chicken with Apricot Sauce

You may notice....... I'm posting several things at once... Catching up on recipes I've tried over the last few months.

I first made this several months ago and have made it a couple of times since then. It is really very easy and so super-delicious!

Follow the link over to Seeded at the Table for a more beautiful picture and the recipe.
Tip: I heated the apricot preserves and Dijon mustard in the microwave for about 30 seconds for easier mixing.
I served with Zatarain's Caribbean rice mix (has pineapple and coconut), the flavors go very well with this chicken dish.

Smoked Sausage with Pimiento Cheese Grits

This is a recipe found on Southern Bite.
I followed this one pretty much as written.
I only changed the amounts to make 2 servings instead of 4 or 5.
I diced up roasted red peppers from a jar since I had them on hand, instead of buying jarred diced pimientos.
We had this for breakfast and really enjoyed it. Seems to me this would also be good as "breakfast for dinner"!

Nectarine and Blue Cheese Salad

I altered a Peach and Blue Cheese Salad by Michael Simon I found on CookingChannel.
My changes to the recipe:
I used nectarines instead of peaches.
I sauteed them in a pan instead of grilling.
I used sliced almonds (those that come in a pouch in the produce section) instead of Marcona almonds.
I did make the dressing as instructed and used arugula for the first time ever.
Arugula is a kind of weird, a little bitter type green, but the dressing offset (or covered) the bitter flavor quite nicely.

Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

I altered a recipe found on Real Mom Kitchen to make Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas.
My changes to the recipe:
I used a metal baking sheet instead of 13x9 glass dish.
I did not use the tomatoes with green chiles at all.
I kept the chicken and vegetables separate for seasoning.
I placed all the chicken on the pan first so that it would brown more, then veggies on top.
I served it in fajita size flour tortillas, with a little guacamole spread on the tortilla first and then topped with Mexican Queso Fresco. I served with black beans.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Buffalo Cauliflower

original recipe from Persnickey Plates
The pictures there are prettier than mine, you may want to take a look!
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into pieces

For the batter:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup water
dash of your favorite Buffalo style hot sauce or wing sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon dried onion powder

For the sauce:
1/4 cup of your favorite Buffalo style hot sauce or wing sauce
3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the batter ingredients. It will be fairly thick.

Dip each piece of cauliflower into the batter until fully and evenly coated. Place onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake for about 15 minutes until the batter just hardens.

In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients.

After 15 minutes, remove from the oven and brush each cauliflower piece with the buffalo sauce. Fully and evenly coat each piece.

Put back into the oven and bake for about 10 more minutes, until the sauce has mostly dried and the cauliflower is crispy.  You may want to brush with sauce one more time after removing from the oven.

Let cool slightly before taking a bite. Hot cauliflower can be dangersous! I enjoyed these with blue cheese dressing.

The original recipe called for the entire head of cauliflower, but I don't think there was enough batter for that, but there was more than I needed for half a head. So, maybe use 3/4 head of cauliflower.......

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Bacon and Rosemary

I have a rosemary plant in my garden. When I bought it I wasn't sure I would ever use it in a recipe. I just usually don't care for it. But I saw this recipe and thought it sounded really good. I also purchase some rosemary and olive oil bread to go with it.
original recipe from Picture-Perfect Meals
6 ounces bacon, diced
 1 cup diced onion
salt and pepper
 2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
 2 quarts chicken stock/broth
 3 (14.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
 2 bay leaves
 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
 1 sprig fresh thyme or oregano
 1/4 cup heavy cream
 grated Parmesan cheese
Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat; add the bacon and cook until lightly browned and crispy, about 7 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain. Set aside.
Add the onions to the hot oil, season with some salt and pepper and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add one cup of the stock to the pan, scraping up any browned bits.
Add the remaining stock, beans, bay leaves, rosemary and thyme(or oregano). Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Fish out the bay leaves and herb stems; add in the cream  and cook until soup starts to thicken slightly, about 5 minutes more.
Top each serving with grated Parmesan and bacon pieces.
Changes from original recipe:
The original called for pancetta and I wanted to use that, but my grocery store didn't have it. The bacon was a fine substitute.
I used 2 cans of beans, but have decided it will be better with 3 cans next time. I will also puree about half a can of beans to thicken the soup.
I used fresh oregano instead of thyme because I had that in my garden and it was great.
I'll probably use Great Northern beans next time because I just prefer them.

Refrigerator Pickled Banana Peppers

Banana peppers, tomatoes and basil from my garden.

The following picture borrowed from Cucina Kristina.

original recipe from Cucina Kristina
1/2 pound banana peppers, sliced into rings and seeded
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 to 3 tablespoons sugar (based on your taste, I like them sweeter)
a couple pinches red pepper flakes (optional)
In a saucepan, heat the vinegar, water, salt, sugar and pepper flakes (if using). Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for 3 to 5 minutes to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat.
Add banana pepper rings to the pot and stir to make sure all are in the liquid. (They will still be crisp!) Allow to rest and come to room temperature.
Carefully spoon peppers into a jar and then top with enough liquid to fill the jar.
Refrigerate. Ready to eat by the next day. These will keep in the refrigerator for approximately two months.

Mozzarella Basil Bites

Eventually I'll use up those wonton wrappers!!
I have at least one more recipe to try.
original recipe from Reclaiming Your Castle
with some changes and some direct quotes
Go there to see more beautiful pictures
 and detailed instructional photos.
fresh mozzarella, teaspoon size pieces
1 egg plus 1 tablespoon of water for egg wash
fresh basil leaves
fresh wonton wrappers
extra virgin olive oil
your favorite warm tomato sauce
Determine how many 'bites' you want to make. That's how many wonton wrappers and mozzarella pieces you will need.
Whisk the egg and water together with a fork. 
Stack a few basil leaves together…roll them together into a little parcel, cut them length wise into little strips …this is called a chiffonade…very fancy term that means “cut into little strips”.
On top of each wonton, place a piece of mozzarella. Sprinkle a few shreds of basil on top. Brush the outside of the wonton with the egg wash. Press ends together, making a triangle first and tuck the ends underneath. Let rest for about a minute. This is to seal the little parcels.
You are not deep frying, but you want the entire bottom of the pan covered with oil. Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium-high heat (on my stovetop, I was on 7 out of 10). Place the little parcels in the pan and cook. Cook until golden brown on each side, about a minute per side. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Serve immediately with your favorite warm tomato sauce.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Reuben Rangoons

I was inspired by a photo on Pinterest of Reuben Eggrolls.
corned beef or pastrami, chopped
sauerkraut, well drained
Thousand Island dressing
wonton wrappers
I mixed the first three ingredients and baked just like the Crab Rangoons previously posted.
Sorry...... Very lazy today!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bacon, Avocado and Corn Salad

You know me.... and my shortcuts...
For the original (more complex) recipe that inspired me, go see Recipe Girl.
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained well
vegetable or canola oil
bacon pieces (from the little pouch)
1 avocado
Feta cheese
fresh cilantro
lime juice
salt and pepper
Brown the corn kernels in a little oil in a skillet on the stove. Let them sit for a few minutes, stir, let them sit a few more. This way they get toasted/roasted and brown. Make them as brown as you like. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, microwave a little handful of bacon pieces wrapped in paper towels for about 30 seconds until crispy.
Dice the avocado. Crumble the Feta cheese. Finely chop the cilantro. 
Carefully mix the previous ingredients as you add lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
This makes 2-4 servings.

Buffalo Chicken Wontons

I still had wonton wrappers that I had to use!

chopped or shredded chicken (I used a 12 ounce can premium white chicken)
crumbled blue cheese
Frank's Red Hot sauce or other Buffalo wing sauce
about 15 3"x 3" wonton wrappers
vegetable or canola oil
Mix chicken, blue cheese and hot sauce in proportions that you like. (Just remember, hot sauce is hot and blue cheese is strong.)
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Place about 2 teaspoons chicken mixture onto wonton wrapper. Brush a little water on the wrapper, then fold wrapper in half to form a triangle, pressing to secure the edges. Brush a little oil on top.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes until lightly browned. You can turn them about halfway through cooking if you like. Serve with blue cheese dressing for dipping.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Easy Crab Rangoons

4 ounces crabmeat, chopped or shredded (I used imitation crabmeat)
3 ounces soft cream cheese
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
chopped green onions or chives, to taste
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
10-12 3" x 3" wonton wrappers
Mix all ingredients except wonton wrappers. Spray a mni-muffin pan with non-stick spray. Lay wontons across each space and push down inside. Add almost a tablespoon of the crab mixture to each wrapper. Pinch the wrapper whatever way you like (or leave open).
Bake at 425 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.