Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Some of my Favorite Dips

Just spent the weekend with friends on the beautiful White River in Northwest Arkansas.  We stayed at Stetsons Resort in a great cabin just feet from the River.  As we didn't intend on leaving the cabin we brought all our food along.  (and frosty beverages too!)  I made a couple of my favorite dips to snack on while we fishing for rainbow trout.  This is one of my favorite dip recipes.  I added a can of lump crabmeat to this basic artichoke recipe.

Artichoke Dip

2 Cans Artichoke hearts
1/2 cup of mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Packages of Cream cheese softened
2 Cups shredded  White Cheddar cheese
1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper
2 Tlbs of diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup chipped green onions
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 to 1/2 cup white cheddar cheese to sprinkle on after taking out of oven.

Drain and chop artichoke hearts.(make sure that the artichoke hearts are not the marinated kind.)  Mix with all other ingredients, except paprika.  Pour into pam spayed pan (8x8) or thereabouts.  Sprinkle paprika on top.  Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until mixture is hot and bubbly.  You may have to drain a little oil off of the top when done. Sprinkle additional cheese on top
My better half with the catch of the day!  

Artichoke Dip

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cheeseburger Pie

This is a very old recipe given to me by a high school friend.  Her mother-in-law got the recipe from her mother.  It is a little different than most of the versions out there, but it is fabulous!!  Use a homemade pie crust if possible.  

1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 Cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 Cup green pepper diced

Brown meat; drain.  Stir in other ingredients.  Pour into pastry-lined pie pan and pour cheese topping over. --TOPPING:-- 1 egg 1/4 Cup. milk 1/2 tsp. prepared mustard 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 2 Cups. cheese, shredded  Beat egg and milk.  Stir in seasonings and cheese.  Pour over meat.  Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Mother Lode Brownie

The Mother Lode.  I think I must have made over 5000 of these brownies in my restaurant days.  Of course I didn't do the 9X9 size, we did the full sheet size, usually 4 full sheets at a time.  Lots of Mother Lode in these brownies!!

1 package Duncan Hines Brownie Mix
1 can Nestle La Lechera Dulce de Leche, found in mexican foods
1 1/2 cups miniature chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup macadamia nut, chopped
1 cup pecans, chopped

Mix brownies accd to package directions.  Spread into 9x9 inch pan that the bottom has been sprayed with pam.  Bake according to package directions.  Remove from oven and cool.  Spread the can of La Lechera on top of the brownies.  Then sprinkle the rest of the toppings over evenly.  Gently press them into the caramel topping.  Let sit at least for 2 hours before cutting.

Notes: If you want to make your Dulce de Leche, which we did, take sweetened condensed milk and put in a pot of boiling water making sure that there is always over an inch of water above the cans.  Continue to boil for three hours.  Remove carefully. and let sit until cool.  Voila, instant Dulce de Leche!!  Yummmmmm.

You can also substitute the pecans and macadamia for nuts of your choice, and you can also use whatever kind of chips you like.  Just make sure they are good quality!  Enjoy!!!

Friday, October 25, 2013

My Go to Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala is an Italian dish made from chicken cutlets, mushrooms, and Marsala wine. The chicken is coated in flour, briefly sauteed, and then removed from the pan, which is then used to make a Marsala reduction sauce.

Marsala wine is Italy's most famous version of fortified wine, hailing from Italy’s sunny southern region, Marsala is an ancient city on the coast of Sicily. Like its other fortified cousins - Port, Sherry and Madeira, Marsala is a higher alcohol fortified wine (usually around 17- 20%) that is available in both sweet or dry variations. While Marsala wine is often recognized more for its use in various cooking and culinary combinations than its sipping status, this has not always been the case

Though there are other ingredients that you can substitute for Marsala wine in this dish to achieve something similar, it is impossible to really replicate the taste without using real Marsala wine. If that is hard to find in your area, you could substitute sherry or even just use dry white wine and chicken broth. The dish won't be Chicken Marsala, but you can create something delicious nonetheless. The version of Chicken Marsala that I made uses Marsala wine, butter and chicken stock to create a delicious sauce. However, you can also add a little heavy cream to the sauce if you wish to make it even creamier and more decadent.

This is an alternative to pounding out your chicken breasts.  Using a very sharp knife cut the chicken breast in half.  Some grocery stores carry thin chicken breasts although they cost more per pound.  Most butchers will  cut your chicken breasts for you.   I sometime use chicken tenders and put them in a ziploc bag and gently pound them with a meat mallet until they are thin.

I add my seasonings directly to my flour and mix well.  Pat your chicken dry
and dredge in the flour mixture.

Using a combination of EEOV and butter help the chicken to brown nicely.

I like Baby Bella mushrooms, but use what you like.  Some people use shallot instead of onion,
 but I prefer the taste of  the sweet yellow onion in this dish.  And of course garlic.
 Feel free to add more or less according to your taste

This is a sweet Marsala.  It is amber in color.  Some chefs will tell you that you should not use anything but
an imported Marsala for this dish because the only place that the grapes are grown for Marsala are in Sicily.  I'm not sure if that is right or wrong.  Some of my research said that the grapes were brought here in the 1800's when Americans became taken with Marsala, Port and Brandy.  I think it is a matter of taste.  The imported Marsala Lombordi has a much darker color and fuller body.  Cost wise is only a few dollars more a bottle.  Make sure you let the alcohol cook off the sauce before adding the broth.  The easiest way to do this is to smell!  Yes, just give it a whiff! (and about 2 minutes)

This is my secret weapon to finishing my sauce to give it that smoothness and thickening.   Using a fork incorporate 1 T of flour in 2 T of  softened butter,  When sauce is finished and you have removed the chicken, take the pan off the heat and add butter mixture, whisking until smooth.
Your sauce will be fantastic!!

The finished dish.  The chicken just falls apart!!  This is my go to Chicken Marsala.
 Easy, delicious and stunning enough to serve for company!

My Go To Chicken Marsala

Serves 4-


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts  Pounded to 1/4 inch thick  (see my note above)
 Rosemary Sea Salt about 2 tsp or to taste
Fresh ground pepper - 1 tsp or to taste
1 tsp oregano
1 1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
6 ounces baby bella mushrooms sliced
1 Tablespoons of minced garlic
1/2 cup finely minced onion
1/2 cup Marsala wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter softened with 1 T of flour
2 tablespoons of fresh snipped parsley

Pound the chicken out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Season with salt, pepper and oregano.
Put the flour on a plate. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pan over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, just until the chicken is golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and put on a plate. Cover to keep warm.
Saute onion and mushrooms and garlic, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated. Add Marsala and cook mixture, stirring, until Marsala is almost evaporated  (about 2 minutes).  Be sure to scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan so you get all the flavor in your sauce.  Add broth and chicken with any juices that have accumulated on plate and simmer, turning chicken once, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken with tongs to a platter.

 Remove skillet from heat and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter that has been incorporated with the flour  stirring until butter is just incorporated  This process finishes the sauce with a glossy and smooth texture. Spoon mushroom sauce around chicken and sprinkle with parsley.
Serve hot with pasta.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ex Cuzin June's Better Cheddar

No I don't have an ex cousin twice removed by that name, nor did the person who shared this recipe with me nearly 30 years ago.  There are several variations of this recipe, but mine is different.  When I had my restaurant and catering business a few years ago I did a monthly talk radio show.  Every time I was on the air we always had callers asking me what the secret ingredient in this cheese appetizer was.  Now that I'm out of the "biz" I am sharing with all of you!

 You can shape this into a ring and spoon strawberry preserves on top or in the middle of the ring.  At Christmas we shaped them into Christmas trees and topped with preserves and garnished with sliced almonds.  You can also make a ball and then gently push a well into the middle of the ball and spoon the preserves in.   This is a wonderful appetizer and always gets raves.

The secret ingredient is LIQUID SMOKE!

Ex Cuzin June's Better Cheddar

1- 8 oz package cheddar cheese
1 -8 oz package Monterrey jack cheese
1- 8 oz package extra sharp  chedda cheese
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
3 bunches green onions -sliced thin using green and whites
1 cup of sliced almonds plus some to garnish with if desired
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 teaspoons of worschestershire sauce
1&1/2 to 2 cusp real mayonnaise

Grate all cheeses. If you buy already grated cheese then you might have to adjust the mayo.  See notes below.   Add other ingredients. Mix well.  At this point you can shape into balls or logs.  Makes three good size balls or 2 large cheese logs.  Shape and refrigerate for several hours.   Top with your choice of preserves, and serve with Wheatsworth, Triscuits, or Ritz crackers.   You can also use peach preserves for a different flavor.

Notes: For weddings or showers, you can shape mixture into a heart, or at Christmas you can shape into a Christmas tree.  Let the creative juices flow!!  We usually topped this with strawberry preserves and garnished with fanned strawberries and sliced almonds.  Be sure and use heavy mayo, and add the mayo 1 cup at a time and stir.  You want the cheese ball to hold together well, but do not want it to be to mushy.  2 cups is usually the right amount, however depending on the quality of cheese sometimes I adjust a little.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mexican Goulash

Easy Peasy, that's what I like.  Especially when it's late, hungry granddaughter, hungry husband and a long day of remodeling.  Probably not the most healthy dish, but it's sure to please.

1 pound ground chuck,
1 med yellow onion diced
1 can of rotel tomatoes
1 small can of green chilies
1 small can of sliced black olived ( optional)
8 ounces of penne regatta cooked accd to package directions- drained
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 - tsp of salt
1 pound of Velveeta cheese, cubed into small pieces
1 cup grated jack/colby cheese
Sour Cream, green onions for garnish.

Brown ground beef with onion, drain.  Add tomatoes, chilies, olives, and seasonings.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Fold in velveeta and cooked pasta.  Stir on low unitl Velveeta melts.  Plate and top with grated cheese and garnish of choice!  Enjoy!!!!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chicken Cannelloni

I had forgotten how much I loved this dish.  The recipe came from the 1972 Southern Living Party Cookbook.  I was only in my mid-twenties when I decided I was going to tackle this Italian dinner for 8!.  Well it was quite the challenge for this young mother of two, not to mention how expensive the ingredients were.  I kept thinking to myself, what if I mess this up, I have no grocery money left!

The first attempt was fairly good, although I didn't cook my flour long enough to "cook the flour taste" out! But boy was I proud of myself!  I have fixed it many many times since then I am proud to say that it turns out beautifully every time.  I love to serve extra sauce with the cannelloni even though it so rich you don't need much!  The ham in in the filling makes this dish so don't scrimp!

1 - 4- 41/2 pound hen  Cooked and de-boned
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
4 T green onions chopped
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
4 large slices of cooked ham, fat trimmed, Italian prosciutto preferably
1 stick butter (no substitutes)
8-10 tbsp flour
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup half and half
3 cups grated Swiss cheese
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
2 pgs large egg roll wrappers or pasta wraps
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Mushroom Sauce:  Heat butter in heavy dutch oven.  Add the green onions and saute a few minutes, stirring all the while.  add mushrooms and continue cooking and stirring for 2 minutes.  Add flour.  Cook and stir for five minutes.  Gradually add broth,  and half and half, stirring until smooth.  Add cream and cook until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in cheese, salt and pepper. Reserve 1-1 1/2cup of sauce for the filling

 Filling: Boil chicken until done and tender.  Run the chicken and ham through the food processor.  Add 1 cup of the mushroom sauce.  The mixture should be moist though not runny.  Add more sauce if needed and check seasonings. Add nutmeg and parsley.  Check seasonings.

To assemble the dish: Spoon about 1/3 of remaining mushroom sauce in bottom of 13x9 casserole. Then spoon about 2 Tablespoons of the filling on each of the large egg roll or won ton wrappers square along bottom edge, then roll as tightly as possible and lay seam side down in a single layer in sauce. Cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with grated mozzerella and grated parmesan.  Bake 350 for 30-45 minutes.