Friday, January 21, 2011

Oven-roasted Tomato Salsa

Yield: 3 pints
6-7 lbs. fresh tomatoes, cut into wedges
4 anaheim peppers, quartered
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, halved and cut into wedges
1-2 serrano chiles, quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
2/3 cup chopped cilantro
3 limes
2 Tbs. cider vinegar
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. oregano

Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil.  Preheat oven to 400F.

Mix tomatoes, garlic, anaheim peppers, serrano chiles, and onion in a large bowl.  Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Remove to baking sheets using slotted spoon; reserve liquid.  Bake for 1 hour.  Let cool to the touch.

Add half of vegetables to a food processor and puree until mostly smooth.  Pour into a bowl and set aside.  Add remaining vegetables to food processor and pulse until it reaches desired consistency.

Pour reserved liquid into a large pot and bring to a boil.  Add cumin, brown sugar, oregano, lime juice, vinegar, and cilantro.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

Add both vegetable mixtures to pot.  Stir and heat through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Store in refrigerator.

- It's been a little while since I created this recipe, and so I don't remember if the version I wrote down was the one I actually made or the one I thought would be better.  If you're not very fond of spicy, only use 1 serrano chile, perhaps not even the whole thing.

Steak Rub / Marinade

Yield: 3 1/4 tsp. (dry)

1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. dry minced onion

3 tsp. lime juice
3 tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbs. orange juice

For dry rub, mix dry ingredients together and rub all over steak.

For marinade, mix dry ingredients with lime, lemon, and orange juice and add to a Ziplock bag.  Add steak and marinate at least 1 hour.

BBQ Chicken Marinade

1/4 cup Jack Daniels BBQ sauce
1 Tbs. cider vinegar
3 Tbs. brown sugar
3 Tbs. ketchup
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. (or dash) cayenne pepper
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dry minced onion
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 Tbs. canola oil

Mix all ingredients together.

To marinate chicken, place in a Ziplock bag.  Add 2 Tbs. marinade for each chicken breast or 1 Tbs. for each drumstick.  Seal bag, pushing out air, and place in a bowl.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Reserve 1/2 remaining marinade for serving.  Use the rest for basting chicken on the grill.

Shrimp Curry

From Grandma Wayman.

Prep: 5 min. / Cook: 15 min.
Yield: 4-6 servings
2 cans shrimp OR about 1/2 lb. fresh or frozen cooked shrimp
1 Tbs. chopped onion
1 Tbs. butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk (approx.)
1 Tbs. curry powder, or to taste

If necessary, thaw and devein shrimp.

Lightly brown onion in butter.  Add soup, milk, and curry powder.  Then add shrimp; heat through.

Serve over rice.

Optional toppings:
Golden raisins
Chopped, boiled egg
Green onion
Shredded coconut
Crisp, crumbled bacon

- I rehydrate about 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. dried minced onion in some hot water, then measure from there.
- My grandma's written recipe wasn't super specific on a lot of things (when you cook as long as she did, you just get a feel for things), so I make it with the measurements my mom guessed it (she doesn't measure things in this recipe either).
- The recipe my aunt wrote out also includes flour (add after onion browns) and dry mustard (add with curry powder)--no measurements specified.
- Do not overcook shrimp--it will turn rubbery!

Mesa Grill Pretzels

Adapted from Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries, and Shakes, page 33.

Yield: 20 pretzels
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 oz. yeast
2 tsp. light brown sugar
1 large egg
3-4 cloves roasted garlic, peeled and pureed
Kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
3 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
Cayenne pepper

Line 2 baking sheets with Silpat liners or parchment paper that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, and sprinkle with an even layer of the cornmeal over each.

Combine the water and yeast in a large bowl and mix together with your fingertips until the yeast has dissolved.  Whisk in the sugar, egg, and garlic until combined.  Add 2 tsp. salt, the pepper, 3 cups flour (add more if necessary to form a smooth dough), and poblanos; mix until combined.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth.  Place the dough in a lightly greased large bowl, cover the top with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide in half.  On a floured work surface, roll each half out into a 12x12" square.  Cut each square into 10 even strips.  Hold the dough by the ends; stretch it to the length of one of the baking sheets, keeping the shape as uniform as possible.  Place the pretzels on the baking sheets, spacing 1" apart.  Let rise, uncovered, in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Season the tops with a combination of kosher salt and cayenne pepper.  Bake until crisp and golden brown, 20-25 minutes.  Remove to baking racks and let cool.

Roasting Garlic
Preheat the oven to 300F.  Separate the cloves of a head of garlic, but do not peel.  Drizzle the cloves with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Wrap the garlic securely in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet.  Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until very soft.  Squeeze the pulp from the skins, discarding the skins.  Roasted garlic will keep covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  (If you're doing less than 1 head of garlic, you'll want to check it before the 45 minutes.)

Roasting Peppers and Chiles
Preheat the oven to 375F.  Brush the peppers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place in the oven on a rimmed baking sheet and rotate until charred on all sides, 15-20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place the roasted peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for 15 minutes to allow the skin to loosen.  Then peel, halve, and seed.  Treat chiles exactly the same way as the peppers.  Roasted peppers and chiles can be covered and stored for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

- The original recipe calles for 1 head of garlic, but that seemed like a bit much to me.  It also calls for jalapeno chile pepper, which I've never seen, so I used cayenne pepper.
- Bobby says to roll the dough out into a 12x12" square about 1" thick.  I honestly wonder if it was a misprint because I can't figure out how that would have been possible . . . unless my dough didn't rise nearly enough.  My squares were about 1/4" thick.

Banana Caramel Bars

From 365 Favorite Brand Name Cookie Recipes, page 125.

Prep: 20 min. / Cook: 35 min.
Yield: 24 bars
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup margarine, cubed
1 large egg, beaten
2 extra-ripe medium bananas, peeled
1/2 cup caramel topping

Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder in medium bowl.  Cut in margarine with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Slowly stir in egg, mixing with fork until crumbly.  Put half of mixture into 9x13 baking pan to form crust.

For filling, mash bananas (1 cup).  Blend bananas with caramel topping.  Pour over crust; spread evenly.

Sprinkle remaining crust mixture over filling.  Pat gently.  Bake in 375F oven 35 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire rack.  Cut into bars when cooled.

- Somehow I forgot to add the egg when I made these, but they still turned out yummy.  They're a lighter color than the picture in the book, and I'm sure they weren't quite as firm.  But they were good.

Slow-cooker Mashed Potatoes

From Quick Cooking (Dec. 2000), page 48.

Prep: 5 min. / Cook: 2-4 hours
Yield: 8-10 servings
1 pkg. (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
6 cups warm mashed potatoes (prepared without butter or milk)

In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, butter, salad dressing, and parsley; stir in potatoes.

Transfer to slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 2-4 hours.

Nutrition Facts:
1 serving (3/4 cup) = 199 calories, 10 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 30 mg cholesterol, 671 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 3 g protein

- I'm not sure what was with my potatoes, but they were extremely dry and I ended up adding milk to keep them from scorching.  My mom didn't have this problem when she made the potatoes, so perhaps it's my crock pot, which we already know is notorious for cooking things too quickly.
- I think I used neufchatel cheese (less fat than cream cheese) and light sour cream, which would help out a bit when it comes to the amounts of fat and cholesterol.  You could take things even further by replacing the sour cream with fat-free sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (I'm really into that right now).
- Because I didn't want so strong of a ranch flavor in the potatoes (this was for Thanksgiving), I probably only used about 1 Tbs. of ranch seasoning.  It was subtle, but I liked it.  Play around with the amounts depending on your taste--the less you use, the lower the sodium content will be.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sesame Shrimp and Rice

Adapted from Simple & Delicious (Aug./Sept. 2010), page 51.

Prep./Total Time: 10 min.
Yield: 4-5 servings

2 (8.8 oz) pkgs. ready-to-serve long grain rice
1 1/2 - 2 cups fresh or frozen snow peas, thawed
2 green onions, sliced
1 tsp. canola oil
1 lb. cooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 (8 oz) can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
1/3 cup sesame ginger salad dressing
3 Tbs. slivered almonds, toasted

Microwave rice according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet or wok, stir-fry snow peas and onions in oil for 1 minute.  Add the shrimp, pineapple, oranges, and salad dressing; cook until heated through and vegetables are crisp-tender.

- I debate whether I'd include the pineapple next time or not.  If I do, I think I'll use even less than I did this time--it just seemed to make it a little too sweet.
- Be careful not to overcook your shrimp or it will be rubbery.

Potluck Sloppy Joes

Adapted from Healthy Cooking (Aug./Sept. 2010), page 31.
Serves: 4-5

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 celery rib, chopped
1/4 medium onion, diced
2/3 large red pepper, diced
1/2 cups ketchup
2/3 (8 oz) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. cider vinegar
1 tsp. prepared mustard
Whole wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted

In a large nonstick skillet, cook the turkey, celery, onion, and pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.

Stir in ketchup, tomato sauce, flour, sugar, vinegar, and mustard.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until heated through.  Spoon 2/3 cup turkey mixture onto each bun.

Nutrition Facts:
1 sandwich = 360 calories, 11 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 90 mg cholesterol, 785 mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 24 g protein

- The nutrition facts are for the original recipe (from the magazine), which for the most part triples the amounts I've listed above, with a few exceptions (onions, bell pepper, tomato sauce).  I think the nutrition facts include the whole wheat bun, though I'm not sure how--it will vary depending on what brand and size you buy.
- You can make this even healthier by using no-salt-added or reduced-sodium ingredients whenever possible (look for ketchup--I have yet to find a mustard that qualifies, probably because salt is a large part of mustard).


Adapted from Mom Larsen.

1 1/2 lbs. ground lamb (or ground beef)
2 medium eggplants, peeled and ends trimmed off
2-3 potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 (8 oz) cans tomato paste
2 Tbs. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Cheese Sauce:
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash nutmeg
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten until frothy

Saute onion in butter until transparent.  Push to side of pan.  Add ground meat and minced garlic; cook until no longer pink, breaking up the meat as it cooks.  Add basil, oregano, cinnamon, and tomato paste; stir.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.  Simmer 10 minutes, then stir in bread crumbs.  Set aside.

Cut eggplants in half lengthwise, then slice crosswise into 1/2"-thick slices.  Brush both sides of eggplant slices and potato slices with olive oil.  Place on a baking sheet and bake at 425F for 20-25 minutes, turning slices once.  (Potato slices may need to be removed sooner than eggplant slices; check at 15 minutes.)

For cheese sauce: Melt butter in saucepan.  Add flour and cook 1 minute.  Gradually add milk and chicken broth to saucepan and cook, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat.  Add salt and nutmeg.  Stir in parmesan cheese.  Add a little sauce to eggs and stir, then carefully add eggs to sauce and mix well.

Spray 9x13" pan with cooking spray and line bottom with potatoes.  Layer 1/2 eggplant, 1/2 meat; repeat.  Pour cheese sauce over top.

Bake at 357F for 20-25 minutes.

- My mom's recipe doesn't call for the potatoes and uses melted butter instead of olive oil.
- This can be prepared ahead and kept in the refrigerator but will need to cook longer.

Makeover Taco Soup

Yield: 7 cups

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1/2 medium red onion, diced
8 oz. no-salt added-tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15 1/2 oz) can no-salt-added or low-sodium whole kernel corn, undrained
1 (15 1/2 oz) can no-salt-added or low-sodium kidney beans, undrained
3 1/2 Tbs. Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
1-2 cups water

Shredded cheese
Light or fat free sour cream OR plain, fat-free Greek yogurt

Brown turkey and onion; drain.  Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, corn, beans, taco seasoning, and water.  Cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Nutrition Facts:
1 cup (no garnishes) = 225 calories, 5.32 g fat (1.2 g saturated fat), 37 mg cholesterol, 304 mg sodium, 25.2 g carbohydrates, 7.3 g dietary fiber, 9 g sugar, 19 g protein

- The nutrition facts listed use no-salt-added corn and reduced sodium kidney beans.  Amounts will actually vary by brand.

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

Adapted from Healthy Cooking (April/May 2010), page 46.

Yield: about 1 cup

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup chili powder
3 Tbs. dried minced onion
1 Tbs. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground coriander

Combine all ingredients.  Use in place of packaged taco seasoning.  Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.

To prepare taco meat:
Cook ground meat (beef, turkey, etc.) over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.  Add 1/4 cup taco seasoning mix and 3/4 cup water.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Nutrition Facts:
1 Tbs. dry mix = 14 calories, 0.07 g fat (0.01 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 191.5 mg sodium, 2.5 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g dietary fiber, 0.4 g sugar, 0.3 g protein

- The original recipe called for 2 1/2 tsp. salt and 1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper.  Do what you want, but I thought it turned out great the way I made it!  It was just spicy enough for my taste, but if you like things a little milder consider cutting the cayenne to 1/2 or 3/4 tsp.
- You will save money and cut out a CRAZY amount of sodium from your diet if you use this recipe instead of the stuff you buy at the store.  I compared this to my bottle of Tone's taco seasoning; 2 tsp. (yes, 2 tsp.) of the Tone's contains 470 mg sodium!
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