Showing posts from August, 2011

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo is the ultimate side and/ or condiment. Salsa has become one of the top American condiments and dips. If you like any jarred salsa, then you just have to try this easy Pico, which is an uncooked salsa. Lately i've gone a little crazy with it, topping not just tortilla chips but burgers and dogs, pizza, and even mixing it into tuna and chicken salad. It will add freshness, some texture, a little (or a lot of heat), and most of all, great taste! Please note that while i use plumb tomatoes in my recipe, your favorite tomato is just fine. I like the plumb tomatoes because the meat is firm, they are easy to prep, and they seem to hold up to the lime juice without breaking down too quickly. Also Any onion can be used, and purple onions work well also. This is a large quantity recipe, can be halved easily enough to try. 1 Lime 1 Tsp Sugar 2-3 Jalapenos - diced about 3-4 tbsp. Seeds optional for heat 8-10 Plumb Tomatoes 1 Vidalia Onion, Large, Diced to preference. Fres

Dark Chocolate Pudding Pie w/ Cookie Crumb Topping

     This is the easiest dessert to make short of opening a pint of Ben & Jerry's, but anything with pudding just has to be delicious. There are lots of pudding flavors, and another trick is to do two separate layers, separated by cookie crumbs, like the chocolate and vanilla ice cream separated by the Carvel Crunchies in the middle. This was just a straight forward chocolate, the classics always hold up. 2 5.9 oz packs Instant Chocolate Pudding 2 tbsp Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder 4 cups Milk - Low Fat is fine 1 Chocolate Graham Cookie Pie Shell 8-12 of your favorite cookies, broken into big crumbs    Whisk the cocoa powder into the milk well before adding the pudding. Sometimes they have dark chocolate pudding available, but not always, and the cocoa powder boosts the yummy regular chocolate even more. Whisk the pudding at least 2 minutes into the milk for complete blend. Please note that the Package calls for 3 cups of milk per package, i have cut down to two cups per, for a

Chili with Black Beans

Chili with Black Beans      Before the Food Police come out to my home again, I KNOW this is not "authentic So and So Chili" and "real competition Chile doesn't have beans" etc. The only competition i am in is for my family's taste buds, and yours as well hopefully. (My nephew, who had never made chili before, did win a Chili Cook Off among 25 or so friends doctoring this base with some ground Portuguese blade meat.)      The following is a very basic chili base that you can doctor to your preferences in any number of ways such as more onions, fresh bell pepper or serrano pepper (really nice actually when they are available), but it is delicious just as it is. Depending on your heat tolerances, this is a medium heat by my family's thermometer, but we like spicy food here. 1 1/2 lb Ground Hamburg - 80/20 is very tasty and budget friendly here, but lean works fine 3/4 cup Onion, diced - approximately 1 medium onion 2-3 tbsp minced fresh jalapeno -

American Chop Suey

     Nothing Chinese here, no soy, no rice noodles, but the lunch lady, my mom, and everyone else's mom in my neighborhood called it American Chop Suey. My friend from Minnesota insists its just Macaroni Hot Pot, and i have been accused of not knowing how to make a real bolognese, but no matter what you call it, this dish is fast, budget friendly, and tasty American Chop Suey 1 1/4 lb lean Hamburg or Ground Turkey 2 24oz jars favorite brand Pasta Sauce or 6 cups homemade, less chunky = more kid friendly 1 medium Onion - diced fine Olive Oil Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Dry Basil to taste      Pre-heat large skillet or medium sauce pan over medium heat with a couple tbsp olive oil to aid browning. Brown meat & onions together, or start onions first if you prefer closer to caramelized. Depending on your sauce or your family's tastes, season here with salt, pepper, extra basil or garlic powder. When meat is well browned, a little char helps flavor, slowl

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs      Like i said in the meatball recipe , i'm no one's Italian grandmother, and i didn't learn from one.(i really would have loved to have had an Italian grandmother, a Nona.) There is no 7 generations of tradition in my sauce. That being said, its still pretty darn good, or my family & friends have all been lying to me just to make me feel good. The following makes enough sauce for a pound of pasta, 2 dozen meatballs, 8 sausage, leftovers, and 2 quart containers to be frozen for later use. I usually freeze 1/2  of the 2 dozen meatballs in a freezer bag for another spaghetti dinner or to slice into a lasagna. 2 29 oz. cans Ground Peeled Tomato 1 29 oz. can Crushed Tomato 1 29 oz can Tomato Puree 1 large Onion, diced fine - I love Vidalia 1/4 lb bacon -about 4-6 slices diced 1 cup Red Wine - Your Favorite Will Do 1/2 cup Romano or Parmesan Cheese, grated 2-3 tbsp olive oil. 1 tsp - 1 tbsp Minced Fresh Garlic - Garlic can be a very

Dad's Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs      My family is just crazy about pasta, but especially spaghetti and meatballs. Unfortunately, I never had an Italian grandmother, and while my own Nana, made tremendous blintzes, knishes, and home made bagels, tomato sauce and Italian food just weren't on the menu. My mother did make meatballs and sauce, but it was jar sauce and tough meatballs. The following recipe has been tweaked over the last twenty plus years to deliver tremendous flavor and a pillow soft, juicy texture. I don't pretend that they are authentic in any sense, but i have been making them since long before i had cable TV, or Food Network. There is a good dose of Betty Crocker in there, thanks to my wife's well used copy, and if you never buy any other cook book, that's a great place to start. 2 1/4 lbs. ground meat - I use 93/7 turkey & ground pork (80/20 best guess) 2 eggs - I like jumbo when available 1 cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs 1/2 cup Milk - low fat

Vegetable Soup

    Auntie was nice enough to bring me a football sized zucchini the other day, and I have been wondering what to do. Well a gloomy, overcast day just begs for soup. This is a mix of fresh and frozen ingredients, and of course you can make your own subs where you see fit. that's the beauty of soups, their flexibility to taste and available ingredients. 2 cups Chicken Stock 2 cups Tomato puree or basic sauce 3 cups fresh Zucchini, seeded and diced about 3/4 inch 1 cup frozen corn 1 cup frozen cut green beans 3 cloves minced garlic 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, option for richness. 1 tsp Italian Seasoning Salt and Pepper to taste      We make chicken stock on a regular basis, but a good quality low sodium store brand works fine too. Heat the stock and tomato puree together on medium low heat to a simmer, NOT a rolling boil. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer, covered, until zucchini is desired tenderness. I prefer it a little firm, about 45 minutes, but you may wi

Why Haven't I Cooked All Week?

     It's Tuesday, and I am just settling into my normal routine after a 4 day trip to the White Mountains of New Hampshire . Prior to the trip, we cleaned up a couple of days of leftovers, and i was lucky enough to either eat out or enjoy my Mother in Law's treats in the motel room(always go for the kitchenette at least.)      I won't mention the motel or inn as they call themselves, it was just OK, could have been nicer for the price, even considering that I got one night free thanks to Groupon . So Please believe me when I recommend some attractions, shops, or restaurants. I might even sneak in a recipe.      For me, the best restaurant was Gordi's Fish and Steak House . I had one of the best prime rib dinners I have ever had the pleasure to taste. It was still mooing as requested, seasoned just right with salt and pepper, and served with a good pilaf and some minced horseradish. This was fantastic vs. the usual horseradish mayo that many serve. The meat was juicy

Mean Green Pasta

Mean Green Pasta Gladly, I am a better cook than photographer. Pic here doesn't do justice to the name or the dish. But Please, try this if you love a nice spicy change in your pasta. It  began as a Robin Miller recipe , that my wife and i did not pay close enough attention too, and its been tweaked and changed quite bit. (the ingredients were for two separate preparations, not one sauce. More proof that you can't be afraid to make mistakes) Very easy prep, and a super versatile sauce in general. Makes a great dish by itself, or as a side with shrimp, steaks, lamb chops, etc. I have used this sauce as a marinade and a flavor base for rice as well, subbing for 1/2 the cooking liquid. 2 whole jalapenos ¾ cup soy sauce ½ cup honey 1 tbsp pickled ginger ¼ cup orange juice ¼ cup olive oil Handful fresh cilantro 2 whole garlic clove dash sesame oil 1 tsp black pepper 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds Scallions 1 lb favorite pasta Take the stems off ja

Meatloaf for Kids Who Hate Veggies

Meatloaf has always been one of my favorites. My son, possibly the world's pickiest eater, even likes it, as long as he can't find any veggies to pick out. I have diced as fine as possible, food processed, sauteed, even tried my mom's trick of using a can of condensed vegetable soup, and he still tears it apart or refuses to eat if he even thinks they're in there, so i worked the recipe to be moist & flavorful even without the veg. He actually will ask for meatloaf on occasion, and at the very least, gobbles it up with gravy, mashed and some peas or corn on the cob on the side. For extra flavor, please feel free to mix in cooled sauteed veg, any mix of onion, carrot, celery & bell pepper. For the Meatloaf.... 2-2 1/2 lbs of ground meat. I use 93/7 turkey & ground pork for taste & value, lower fat 2 Large Eggs 1/2 cup Milk - 1% works just fine here 1 cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs 2 tbsp Grill Seasoning (1 tbsp each of Salt & Pepper works ok) 2 tb

Chicken Chili

Chicken Chili This recipe comes from a need to lighten beef chili when we were trying to shed some pounds. My wife actually prefers the chicken now, and it is a very lean indulgence when dieting, but there is nothing light about the taste. 1 1/2 - 2lbs Chicken, cubed about 1 inch This is about 3-4 boneless, skinless breast halves, or chicken tenders work great. What's on Sale? 1 Onion, medium sized (baseball), diced 1 16oz can Petite Diced Tomato NOT DRAINED- the tomato w/ jalapeno or mild chilies work great here 1 16 oz can Black Beans - NOT DRAINED & RINSED - low sodium works well or your favorite bean 1 cup corn - frozen, or 1 can drained, or leftover corn on the cob is awesome Dad's Rub - recipe click here 2-3 Chipotle peppers diced fine or 2 - 3 fresh Jalapenos. the Chipotle adds a nice smoke element to flavor Salt to Taste Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil to Saute 4- 6 slices Bacon, Optional for flavor Sharp Cheddar Shredded - Optional, to melt over chil