Showing posts with label main dish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label main dish. Show all posts

1/16/14

Spinach, Chicken and Bowtie Pasta Salad for 100





Salad for 100, anyone?
Last summer, I made this salad three times, in two months, for groups of 100 or more.
Spinach, Chicken and Bowtie Pasta Salad is one of my all-time favorite pasta salad recipes. Here's why:  It sits well at a gathering (no mayo in the dressing). Perfect for weddings, funerals, missionary farewells and homecomings, Girl's Camp, family reunions, church parties and school events.  It's easy to make in large quantities.  Even though it looks summery it can be made year-round. AND last, but not least, everyone loves it.
The original 12-15 serving recipe is posted here . I've had oodles of requests over the years for a large quantity recipe, so I decided it would be best to re-post the recipe with directions to feed 100.
Make sure to read my tips short story (below the recipe) for all of the info you'll ever need (or want) to make pasta salad for the masses.
Happy salad making, my friends.



Got Chicken?

First three layers. 

Starting to look like something I'm interested in eating...

This was taken at Girl's Camp. I think we served 300 with these salads.
It was like the loaves and fishes. Kind of. 




Spinach, Chicken and Bowtie Pasta Salad for 100
A Bountiful Kitchen, adapted from Favorites cookbook
print recipe

Pasta:
5 lbs Bowtie pasta

Salad dressing:
2 2/3 cups vegetable or canola oil
1 1/3 cups Veri Veri Teriyaki Sauce, shaken
2 2/3 cups cider vinegar
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper

Salad ingredients (veggies and fruit) :
4 Costco tubs of Spinach ( 1 lb each)
8- 8 oz cans water chestnuts, drained and chopped into matchstick pieces
6 bunches green onions, chopped
48 oz - (1 large bag) Craisins 
12 cans mandarin oranges, drained well
2 cups sesame seeds, toasted
48 oz honey roasted peanuts or cashews

15 lbs chicken breasts, marinated (ingredients below), cooked, cooled and sliced

Teriyaki marinade for chicken:
6 cups soy sauce
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon or about 4 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
1 Tablespoon pepper

Mix teriyaki marinade for chicken. 
Marinate chicken overnight, or at least 6 hours. Place the chicken in Ziplock bags and mix the marinade in a bowl, then pour into the bags over the chicken. The chicken may be taken directly from the freezer and set in the refrigerator in marinade for up to two days before cooking. 
After the chicken is marinated, place the drained chicken on baking sheets and broil the chicken for about 7-10 minutes (about 2-3 inches from element), or bake at 350 for about 45  minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.  Cool completely, trim off any fat and cut into slices. Set in refrigerator until ready to assemble salad. The chicken may be cooked up to three days before serving salad.
Discard any leftover marinade, DO NOT use the marinade in the salad dressing. 

Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain, rinse quickly with cold water and toss with a tablespoon olive or canola oil  or a little of the Veri Teriyaki sauce and place in refrigerator in covered containers (I use gallon Ziplock bags) until ready to assemble salad. May be cooked up to three days before serving.

Blend the salad dressing ingredients together using large bowl or blender. Mix well. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Assembly:
May be done early in the day, or the day before serving.
Using two large containers, layer the ingredients to the salad in the following order (see photos)
Pasta, chicken, spinach, chopped water chestnuts, chopped green onions and Craisins. Make sure the water chestnuts are drained well.
Cover and refrigerate.
When ready to serve, add the following to the top of salad:
Drained mandarin oranges, toasted sesame seeds, honey roasted peanuts.
Mix the prepared salad dressing well, pour about 2 cups onto each container of salad, tossing gently so the mandarin oranges do not break apart. Add more salad dressing, sparingly, as needed.
Serve individually onto plates, or in a salad bowl.
Sprinkle with additional sesame seeds and nuts if desired.

Tips:
-This salad may be prepared in advance. When I'm making salads in large quantities, I usually start the day (or two) ahead with any of the steps that can be done early. Read this recipe carefully for instruction on make ahead.
-If you are serving this with a main dish, say at a barbecue, you may leave out the chicken. Or half the chicken (and marinade).
-This salad is a hearty serving of a main dish salad. It will yield 100 generous lunch size portions of salad. If served with a roll and dessert, it should satisfy most appetites. If you are serving the salad on a buffet, with other salads or sides, this should serve up to 150 as a side dish. 
-For the chicken, I buy Costco 10 lb bags of frozen- boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Usually the Tyson or Foster Farms brands. They are generally trimmed of most fat so the prep work is minimal regarding trimming the chicken. I use the chicken right out of the freezer, no thawing needed.
If you are trying to cut costs, use less chicken. This recipe may be adjusted to serve 100 with 10 lbs of chicken (instead of 15). Cut the teriyaki marinade for the chicken in half as well.
-Teriyaki Sauce for dressing on the salad- I like  Soy-Vay "Veri Veri Teriyaki"  for this recipe. It is highly concentrated, so you will use less than when using another brand. It can usually be purchased at most grocery stores and Walmart or Costco. I've also seen it online at Amazon.  Make sure to shake the bottle before using.
- Purchase Honey Roasted Planters Peanuts at Walmart in large size containers compared to the containers sold at the grocery, they are quite a bit less expensive. I love this recipe made with honey roasted cashews, but they cost quite a bit more than peanuts, so I usually stick with peanuts when making a large quantity.
-Less is more with regard to salad dressing. Use less dressing than you think you need initially. Let it sit for a few minutes and see how much has soaked into the pasta, and how much has settled to the bottom of the serving bowl. Add more dressing if needed. I rarely use all of the dressing.
-Purchase sesame seeds in bulk at the grocery in the health food aisle or in the Asian section of the grocery. The cost is significantly less than if purchased in the spice section.
-Toss the peanuts and the sesame seeds last onto the salad to preserve the crunch of the nuts.

9/16/13

Southwest Slow Cooker Chicken


Have you heard? We're on a roll at A Bountiful Kitchen. Super simple. Quick and easy.  Last week I posted Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken, and Baked Taco Rollups.  This week, Southwest Slow Cooker Chicken.
It doesn't get easier than this. This is a dump-and-cook-in-the-crockpot recipe. You can serve it over rice, on tortilla chips, on a bed of lettuce, or in a taco (soft or hard shell). We usually eat it rolled up in a soft flour tortilla, with some lettuce and tomato. This is, by far, my favorite slow cooker recipe.
I'm betting it will be yours too.



Southwest Slow Cooker Chicken
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

4 frozen chicken breast halves
2-3 cups salsa (red or green) I prefer green
1- 15 oz can black beans, drained
1 small bag of frozen corn or 1-15 oz can corn, drained
salt and pepper
2 cups grated cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, pepper jack if you like it spicy)
4 oz cream cheese (regular or low fat)

Coat the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray.
Place the chicken in the cooker, salt and pepper generously.
Pour the salsa over the chicken.
Pour the drained black beans and corn on top of the chicken and salsa.
Cover with lid and cook on low for about 3 1/2 hours.
When the chicken is done, Spread the grated cheese over the top of the mixture in the slow cooker, and then top with 4 oz of cream cheese. Cover and let cook for another 1/2 hour.
Remove lid and gently break up the chicken. Spoon the mixture over tortilla chips, shredded lettuce or  taco shells.
Serves 6-8

Tips:
-The cooking time may vary, depending on the size of your slow cooker and how hot it cooks.
-Don't worry about thawing the chicken, it will cook up just fine!

9/9/13

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken




We are now two weeks into the new school year.
Adjustment time. As in- get my act together and figure out what I'm making for dinner before 6 pm.  I'm always looking for quick-fix dinner ideas. This recipe takes a little thought ahead of time, but you're set when the "What's for dinner??" question surfaces. It's simple and a complete meal when served with a dish of stir fried veggies.
The leftovers would be perfect for lunch served over some greens tossed with a little Balsamic dressing.
Lunch for Momma.
That's what I'm talking about.




Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken
Adapted from LDS Living Magazine online
print recipe

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, fresh or frozen*
1/2 cup honey
½ cup soy sauce
1 cup diced onion
¼ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
-------------------------------------
1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup water
Sesame seeds

In slow cooker, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic, pepper flakes and pepper. Place chicken in cooker, turn to cover with sauce. 
Cook on low 3 to 4 hours or just until chicken is cooked through. 
Remove chicken from slow cooker, leaving sauce in ceramic insert. 
Turn heat to high on slow cooker.
Whisk cornstarch into water and pour into slow cooker. Whisk to combine with sauce. Replace lid and cook sauce on high 10 more minutes or until slightly thickened.
Shred chicken, then return to pot and toss with sauce before serving. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired and serve with rice.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Tips:
-*I usually just throw chicken into the slow cooker frozen. It cooks in 3-4 hours on low. No thawing needed!


7/2/13

Baked Ziti (new and improved) and Girl's Camp 2013





Last week I joined 300+ young women and their leaders in the mountains above Heber City. Depending on the day, we had between 330-350 girls and leaders in attendance.
With a crew of 7 joyful, hardworking women, we planned, cooked, and served about 3300 meals in 5 days. Did you just go back and re read that? Me too. Our meals included some ABK favorites: Teriyaki Spinach Pasta Salad,  Southwest Salad with Cilantro Honey Lime Dressing, Sweet Baked Beans (click on links for recipes) , and our favorite pasta- Baked Ziti. Ziti for camp? You know how they say food always tastes better when you're camping? I never fell for that line, but it's true if you are eating Baked Ziti.
We also made some new favorites I'll post in the next few weeks:  Kash's Black Cherry Chocolate Dutch Oven Cobbler, Janis' Hot Fudge Sauce, Slow Cooked Roast for French Dip and Cooler Corn for 350.  
Here are a few pics of our adventures in the mountains  kitchen...
The kitchen crew: Janis,Jenny,Brenda, me, Michelle, Mims, Stephanie, Kash.
Amazing women. 

Remember when I first posted Cook's Illustrated Baked Ziti  back in 2009? After making the Cook's recipe several times, I decided it needed a little tweaking. The biggest issues I had with their recipe were:
1. It was a bit on the dry side, especially when heating up for leftovers. 
2.There were too many steps (dishes to pour in and out of and other unnecessary complications). The recipe needed to be streamlined. 
I set out to make a dish with more sauce and easy to create in about 30 minutes. 
The result-we love this dish. 
The girls loved this dish. 
All 300 of them. 





Baked Ziti
A Bountiful Kitchen, adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1 pound Ziti or other short, tubular pasta (it is usually easier for me to find Rigatoni)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves , minced
2-15 oz can tomato sauce
1-8 oz can tomato sauce
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper, about 1 teaspoon each
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves, divided
1 teaspoon sugar
Ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound whole milk cottage cheese or low fat  cottage cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)
8 ounces low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella cheese , cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)

Cook pasta for about 9 minutes. Drain and set aside. 
Place oil and garlic in large pan and sauté over medium heat just until fragrant. Add all of the tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes until thickened a bit. Turn off heat and add 1/2 cup of chopped basil. 
Pour heavy cream into a second large saucepan. While cream is cold, whisk in 1 teaspoon of cornstarch.  Simmer over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1lb of cottage cheese, 2 beaten eggs, 1 cup of the tomato sauce mixture, and half of the Parmesan and cubed mozzarella (reserving the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella for top of dish). Stir until combined (this mixture will now be a light red/pinkish color). 
Add the cooked pasta to the cream mixture. Stir until all of the pasta is coated. 
Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Pour remaining tomato mixture over the top and sprinkle the remaining cubed mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on top of the pasta in dish. Top dish with remaining chopped fresh basil ( I like to save a few leaves for after baking as well for color). 
Cover dish tightly with foil. Bake at 350 degrees on middle rack of oven for 30 minutes with foil, then remove foil for last 30 minutes. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving. 

Tips (longer than the recipe):
-We made 17x this recipe for the girls and divided it into 8 large (20 3/4 x 12 3/4x 3 inches deep-disposable foil steam table pans) The pans served about 35-40 each.
-We prepared the Ziti and covered each pan with foil until baking. The dish was prepared Saturday morning, and was baked Monday late afternoon. It was as good as if it were prepared on the same day.
-This dish may also be frozen after ingredients are poured into the pan.  About two hours before baking, remove from freezer and set on counter. When ready to bake, place in oven at 325 for 1 1/2 hours on middle rack.  After 1 1/2 hours, turn oven to 375, remove foil,  and bake an additional 15 minutes. Allow more time if multiple pans are being baked in the same oven (about 15  minutes per pan, while covered).
-If you don't have a basil plant, or enough basil to make this dish, I suggest a trip to Trader Joes, where you can buy (the biggest basil plant you have ever seen in your life) for $2.99 . That's right $2.99.  We used three trees plants to make 17 times this recipe, it was more than enough fresh basil for our Ziti-a-thon.
-When I first started making this dish as a child (jk) , I thought fresh mozzarella was always the best choice when following a recipe that called for mozzarella. Not so. It has way too much moisture for this dish. A firm mozzarella, that can easily be cut into cubes works best. It melts into the pasta dish without leaving water in the bottom of the dish.
-If you are making this recipe in large quantity, I found that the #10 cans found at Costco and other restaurant suppliers will cover 3x this recipe for the tomato sauce. So instead of: 2-15 oz cans and 1-8 oz can of tomato sauce for every three times this recipe, I used 1 #10 can of tomato sauce (approx 96 oz), and one additional 15 oz can of tomato sauce. If you 6x the recipe, use 2 #10 cans of tomato sauce and one #10 can of diced tomatoes.




3/1/13

Slow Cooked BBQ Ribs



Once in a blue moon, I attempt cooking ribs at home.
Master of the grill?
No.
The last time I cooked ribs, I threw them on the bbq, smothered them with sauce, started out on low heat, grew impatient after about an hour (surprising, I know) and turned the heat up. The result- a tough, sticky, chewy mess.
I had all but given up on cooking ribs at home until I saw this recipe on  Pinterest.



The recipe suggests that slow cooking the ribs, then broiling them for just a few minutes after they are cooked to add color and that little bit of caramelizing of the sauce is what makes them both moist and beautiful.
The ribs were tender beyond belief. The meat literally fell off the bone- so much, that there were a couple of bones sitting on the platter after I transferred them from the pan and Grant thought I had eaten a few before dinner started!
Don't let the length of the recipe scare you. Most of the time required for this recipe takes place in the oven, while you are off getting a pedi, having a root canal, going to church, driving carpool, working... you get the picture.
Perfect busy-day dish. I'm thinking baseball season. Want to know my resolve for this season? I know I tell you this (or a variation of this) every year. Here it is:  We will not eat licorice and sunflower seeds for dinner. We will not eat licorice and sunflower seeds for dinner. We will not eat licorice and sunflower seeds for dinner. Check back with me in a few weeks and I'll let you know how it's going...





Oh, one last thing. Once the weather warms up a bit, I'm going to try the final broiling step outside on the grill.
Maybe I'll become a Grill Master after all :)


Slow Cooked BBQ Ribs
adapted from America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution
and Heather at Mmm is for Mommy
yield 6-8 adult servings*
print recipe

4 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon each salt and pepper
8-9 lbs pork ribs* - leave the membrane on the ribs to help hold them together
2 cups barbecue sauce, home made is always best (recipe below), but bottled will work
Vegetable oil spray
foil to cover pan if you don't have a tight fitting lid

About 9 hours before serving start this process. Most of the time will be cooking.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, place rack in the middle of oven. You will be reducing the oven temperature right after placing the ribs in the oven.
In a small bowl, mix together paprika, brown sugar, cayenne, salt and pepper. Rub this mixture all over both sides of ribs. Good to do this with food handlers gloves on unless you enjoy a slightly orange colored hand for the rest of the day.

Arrange ribs in a large heavy pan with a lid*, fat side up. See note below if you do not have a lid to fit your large pan. Pour barbecue sauce over the ribs, cover tightly and place ribs in oven.

Reduce the temperature to 200 and cook ribs for 6-8 hours. Do not open oven door, do not lift the lid or foil off the pan.
After the ribs are cooked, remove the pan from the oven. Line a cookie sheet with foil and carefully place the ribs meat side up on the lined sheet. The ribs will be very tender and fall apart easily. I use a large spatula and some tongs. It is okay to cut the ribs a bit for easier handling. Set aside.
Pour the sauce remaining in the pan into a saucepan, skim off grease and discard.
Cook the remaining (de-fatted) sauce over medium high heat for about 10 minutes, until the sauce is reduced a bit.
Brush the sauce over the ribs in the lined pan.
Set the oven to broil and place the rack about eight to ten inches from the top of the oven.
Place the ribs into the oven, uncovered and broil just until the ribs are browned a bit, and the sauce caramelizes about 4-5 minutes.  The original recipe says to flip the ribs and continue on the other side, but we found the ribs to be perfect with broiling on one side. Or maybe we were just hungry and wanted to eat?
Remove from oven and serve with additional sauce on the side.


Fam Favorite bbq sauce
2 cups ketchup
1-cup brown sugar or honey
5-8 drops hot sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1 clove garlic (optional)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar, if you like it more tart
ground pepper
Heat all ingredients in pan on stove. Add more sugar, hot sauce or garlic according to your taste.


Tips:
Servings and cooking method:

Ribs come in many varieties. This recipe works well with Baby Back ribs or St Louis Cut ribs. I used St Louis Ribs. My package was almost 9 lbs, or generous servings for 8 adults, with salad, side veggie, bread, and potatoes. If you are serving mostly ribs, this will probably feed 6 adults.

This recipe was written originally to cook in a slow cooker or crock pot. Since we were cooking such a large amount of ribs, I used a roasting pan. The pan does not have a tight fitting lid, so I covered it with foil tightly, then to make sure the seal was tight and the steam would not escape the pan (which will cause you to have dried out meat) I placed a smaller cookie sheet on top of the pan and sealed the foil around the cookie sheet, which served as a lid. The Slow cooker time is about 6-7 hours on low. The oven conversion to this is 200 degrees for the same amount of time. The following link provides helpful info converting slow cooker recipes to your oven temperature.

http://homecooking.about.com/library/weekly/blcrocktips.htm slow cooking conversion to oven

Cuts of meat:
Everything you ever wanted to know about pork, especially ribs and other cuts regarding ribs is here: http://amazingribs.com/recipes/porknography/pork_cuts.html

1/4/13

Family Favorite Chicken Enchiladas

 



Years ago my dear friend Tessa gave me her recipe for Chicken Enchiladas.  It's been our family "go-to" recipe since. I promised to post this recipe last year when I made Cream Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas, and I'm just now getting around to it.
I've made these for everything from Sunday dinners to team dinners. One of those tried and true, never disappoint recipes. What makes these different from the hundreds of other enchilada recipes out there? The secret ingredient: coriander. It gives the sauce a distinct, but subtle flavor. Tessa's recipe comes out of the BH&G red checkered cookbook - you have one in your kitchen, right? 
This is a recipe that's sure to become your fam favorite too.
Stay warm and have a great weekend.





Family Favorite Chicken Enchiladas
adapted from Better Homes and Garden cookbook
print recipe

8 flour tortillas, regular, not burrito size* at room temperature
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup chopped onion, I like sweet onions such as Walla Walla or Vidalia
1 teaspoon coriander
2 cloves garlic, minced
ground pepper
3 tablespoons flour
8 oz sour cream regular or low or non fat
2 cups chicken broth
1-4 oz can chopped green chilies, not drained
3 cups grated colby-jack cheese, divided
3 cups chopped chicken
olives, mushrooms, tomatoes, green onion optional, for topping enchiladas

Prepare Sauce:
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Place onion and coriander to melted butter and cook for about 5 minutes or until onions are softened. Lower heat to medium and add minced garlic.  Cook for an additional minute until fragrant. Be careful to not burn garlic. Add pepper.
Stir flour into sour cream and add to onion mixture in pan. Stir in broth and green chilies and continue to cook until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup of grated cheese.

Filling and Assembly:
Put about 1/2 cup of sauce into a 9x13 greased pan, using a spatula spread sauce over bottom of pan.
Stir 1/2 cup of sauce into chopped chicken in bowl. Place about 1/4-1/3 cup filling onto each tortilla and spread filling to cover length of tortilla, sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of grated cheese. Roll up tortilla and place in prepared dish, seam side down. After all tortillas are filled and rolled, top with remaining sauce. Cover pan with foil and bake in 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
Remove pan from oven. Remove foil and top with remaining grated cheese.
Bake for about 5-10 additional minutes, or until heated through.
Let sit for 10 minutes before serving to allow cheese and sauce to set up.

Tips:
-Do not purchase no-fat tortillas. They will not roll well and will break apart in assembly.  It is best to have tortillas at room temperature and not refrigerated for easiest assembly.
-I have made this recipe using non-fat and low-fat sour cream with great results.
-I usually prepare the chicken the day before. I place seasoned (salt and pepper)  chicken breasts in a crock pot on low for 4 hours. Pour a bottle of  green chili salsa (about 8-10 oz) over the chicken before cooking. When I make the sauce for the enchiladas above, I use the juice from the cooked chicken breasts instead of the chicken broth called for in the recipe.
-If you double this recipe, it fits well into a jelly roll pan.
-This recipe also freezes well. Make up to the point of baking and freeze, covered tightly with foil. When ready to bake, do not thaw, bake at 325 for about 1 hour 15 minutes, covered in foil. Proceed with last step of removing foil and covering in additional cheese, bake for 5-10 minutes or until hot and bubbly.


10/24/12

Boy Scout Stew


Some days are made for stew. Yesterday was one of those days. It was the first snow here. Yikes. October 23. While I'm not a huge fan of eating stew, I do like to make it. Something about chopping, mixing and having the aroma slowly fill your house on a cold day.

This is a recipe I've had for years. I've tweaked it countless times, and it's pretty close to perfection.  I named it Boy Scout Stew because it seems like the Scouts always make (translation, the wife of the Scout Master makes) a variation of this to eat on their camp outs. Did I tell you Jake received his Eagle Scout award a few months back?



Hooray and thank you to leaders who have mentored, served and loved my kid.
You gave your time to countless campouts, hikes, bike rides, merit badge clinics, build snow caves (and then sleep in them) and fish among other activities. I can only imagine how the tents/cabins smell after the boys live in them for a week at scout camp- without a shower, brushing their teeth, or changing their underwear. Your patience and the lessons you have taught my kid will never be forgotten.
You're the best.





Boy Scout Stew
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe


3 lbs beef brisket or chuck,  cut into 2 inch cubes
2 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup flour
3-4 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
6 cups v-8 vegetable juice cocktail
2 cups water
2 Knorr beef homestyle stock cups (4.6 oz each), or 2-3 bullion cubes
3 cups celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 cups carrots, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces or baby carrots, whole
4 medium potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut into one inch cubes

Place meat in a medium bowl, season with thyme, salt and pepper. Toss with 1/2 cup flour.
Place the oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Heat to medium high.
Working in about three batches, cook the meat until it is browned on all sides, when the batch is browned, remove and set aside on plate. If there is flour left in the bowl, sprinkle it over the last batch of meat browning in the pan. Remove any remaining meat from pan, set aside.
Keeping heat on medium high, add a little more oil if needed. Place the onions and garlic into the pan on stove, cooking and stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes.
Return the meat to the pan with the onions and garlic. Add Worcestershire sauce. Cook for about 1 minute.  Add all remaining ingredients.
Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Serves 8-10

Tips:
-Knorr Homestyle Stock cups are sold in the soup section of most grocery stores. They come in a package with 4 cups enclosed. I like the flavor of the Knorr brand. You may use Swanson brand liquid flavoring, regular bullion cubes, or other types of stock flavoring if desired.
-Only purchase beef that is a lower quality cut, such as brisket or chuck. This will produce the best result when slow cooking.

4/10/12

Thai Chicken Pizza






Love this recipe for Thai Chicken Pizza. It's based off of the CPK restaurant recipe.  I love the flavors in this pizza. The original recipe calls for Thai Sate sauce only, but I like to mix it up a bit and add some other flavors.  If you love specialty pizza but have been afraid to try it at home, now is your chance to take a leap of faith! This recipe is really simple, and fun to make. It's just a matter of buying sauce, some fresh ingredients and chopping. The crust recipe comes from John Spottiswood of Cook, Eat, Share (a recipe website that connects bloggers, chefs and cooks together and catalogs all of their recipes in one location). The dough is perfect for traditional pizza or specialty pizza.  John's pizza dough really deserves a post of its own!
You're going to love this dish.
Promise.





Thai Chicken Pizza
adapted from California Pizza Kitchen
print recipe

Dough for pizza, recipe below- best prepared one day or at least 8 hours in advance

Pizza topping:
1 cups chicken, cooked, chopped
1 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup Thai Sate Sauce
1/4 cup Hoisin Sauce, optional
1/4 cup Chili Garlic sauce, optional
1 1/4 cups Mozzarella cheese, grated and divided
2 green onions, chopped
2-3 tablespoons chopped peanuts
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro, divided
1/3 cup bean sprouts, fresh, washed and patted dry
1/2 cup fresh chopped carrots

If you have a pizza stone, place in the oven on bottom rack.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Roll out one ball of dough into a 12-14 inch circle.  Place onto a 14 inch pizza pan that has been coated lightly with cornmeal or cooking spray. You should have two balls of dough remaining for future use.
Toss the chicken with one tablespoon of Thai Sate Sauce, if desired. Or you may skip this step. Set aside.
Mix the sauces together (Sate, Hoisin and Chili Garlic) and spread sauce on top of the rolled out dough.
Spread one cup of cheese evenly on top of sauce.
Sprinkle chicken, green onions, chopped peanuts, 1/4 cup of the cilantro,  sprout and carrots on top of the cheese.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.
Bake the pizza for about 8 minutes or until the pizza starts to set up. At this point, I use a pizza peel to slide the pizza directly onto the pizza stone. Cook for an additional 5-8 minutes or until the pizza is golden brown on the bottom. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of the fresh cilantro. Cut and serve immediately.
Serves 2-4


New York Style Pizza Dough
John Spottiswood, Cook, Eat, Share

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (1 package)
1 cup lukewarm water
1 1/4 cups ice cold water
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt or 1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
5 1/2 cups unbleached bread or high-gluten flour, plus flour for dusting


In a small bowl, stir the yeast into the lukewarm water with a fork. Set aside to let the yeast dissolve for about 5 minutes.
In another small bowl combine the cold water, sugar, salt, and olive oil. Stir to dissolve.
To make the dough by hand, place the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the flour and stir in the yeast and the cold water mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix the dough thoroughly. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until soft and elastic, about 10-12 minutes. It will still be tacky but should no longer stick to your hands.
To make the dough with a mixer (highly recommended), fit a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Place the flour in a large mixer bowl and add the yeast and cold water mixture. Mix on low speed for about 4 minutes. Push dough off the hook and let it rest for 2 minutes. Then mix again on low speed for about 6 more minutes. Push down the hook if dough rises too high and threatens to get in the motor. Turn the dough out onto a well floured board and and knead for a minute or two until it forms a smooth ball.
To prepare the dough for rising, cut the dough into thirds. With floured hands pick up one portion of dough and pull the opposite edges together, wrapping them underneath towards the center to form a tight ball. Pinch the edge to seal. Repeat with the other two sections. Place each portion in a 1 gallon Ziploc bag. Squeeze our any excess air and seal the bags. Refrigerate for at least 10 hours or up to 2 days (longer is better). Remove from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before using so the dough can come to room temperature.
This dough freezes well.
Yield 3- 14-16 inch thin crust or three medium thickness 12 inch crusts.

Tips:
- Pizza- I combined the three sauces mentioned, because I don't like the heavy peanut flavor of the Sate Sauce alone. I prefer a more tangy and sweet combo with a hint of the peanut flavor sauce. Experiment to see what you like best.
You may also make the pizza as directed leaving all of the veggies off until after baking, and then placing all on top of the sauce, chicken and cheese that has been baked. This produces more of a fresh looking and tasting pizza.
-Dough- I love this dough. I kept it in the fridge for about a week the first time I made it. Really wonderful texture. It freezes well. When ready to use, take out of freezer and place on counter for about 4 hours or until thawed and no longer cold. It rolls out easily and is very easy to work.

-For specialty pizzas (such as Thai Chicken, and BBQ Chicken), I prefer to roll the crust thin, so the toppings can be center stage.


3/21/12

Boneless Pork Ribs with Apple Cinnamon Barbecue Sauce





The convo tonight at the ballpark turned to important things. Number one on the list: What's for dinner?
If I don't plan early in the day, it's drive thru, or quesadillas, or grilled cheese with tomato soup. Again.
I came up with this dish last week. Served it with some rice I threw in the rice cooker and a salad.  My inspiration? Boneless ribs on sale for about $2.50 per pound.
Yum.






Boneless Pork Ribs with Apple Cinnamon Barbecue Sauce
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

2 1/2 lbs pork boneless ribs
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small apple, cored and chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup steak sauce ( I used HP)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cider vinegar

Set rack on lower half of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat heavy pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and ribs seasoned with salt and pepper.  Brown ribs on all sides quickly, remove from pan and set aside. Turn heat  down to medium and add apple and onion. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until softened. Turn off heat. Add garlic. Cook in hot pan for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients to pan. Stir until combined. Add ribs back to pan and turn to coat with sauce.
Cover pan with foil and lid. Place pan in preheated oven, shut oven door and reduce heat to 250 for 3 1/2- 5 hours.
Turn oven off and leave meat in oven until ready to serve. As long as meat is covered tightly, it may stay in the oven for 2-3 additional hours.

Tips:
-If you are in a hurry, skip the browning step, mix everything except the meat and olive oil together in a bowl. Place the meat in a lightly greased oven proof pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with sauce.  Cover pan with foil and a lid. Bake as directed.


3/15/12

Cream Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas


 One of our family favorites for dinner is chicken enchiladas. I've been making a tried-and-true recipe for years, but decided to give this recipe I found on Mel's Kitchen Cafe a whirl. The reviews ranged from "best enchiladas you've made" to absolutely no leftovers. The filling is a hard to resist combo of  chicken, cream cheese and black beans. Topped with Jack cheese and cilantro, this recipe includes several of my favorite ingredients.
I served this dish with a fun couscous dish that has a Mexican flair. Jake wasn't crazy about that, but what 15 year old boy loves couscous?







Cream Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas
adapted slightly from: Mel's Kitchen Cafe
print recipe


Filling:
3 cups cooked, chopped chicken* (about 3 breast halves)
1 (4 oz.) can of green chilies, lightly drained
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese**, cubed
1 can white or black beans, rinsed and drained or small white beans

Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 can (7 ounce) green chili enchilada sauce
½ cup sour cream**

8-10 ounces (about 2-3 cups) Monterey jack cheese, shredded
8 medium (soft taco size) flour tortillas
chopped fresh cilantro, tomatoes, olives for garnish

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and green chiles. Mix well. Add the chicken and black beans. Mix to combine. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and starts to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk. As you whisk and the mixture cooks, the flour will get less lumpy around the onions and the mixture will become smooth. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is bubbling and has thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the enchilada sauce and sour cream.

Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish. Spread about 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the dish. Fill each tortilla with about ½ cup of the chicken/cream cheese filling. Top with a small handful of shredded cheese, a couple tablespoonfuls for each enchilada. Save at least 1/2 cup cheese for the top of the enchiladas. Roll the tortillas up and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Continue filling enchiladas until the dish is full (I can easily fit 8 enchiladas in one pan).

Pour the sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the enchiladas are bubbling, hot and lightly browned. Just before serving, top with fresh chopped cilantro, tomatoes, olives, etc.

Tips:
-*You may cook chicken as you usually do for recipes that call for cooked chicken, here is my method: Place  4-6 boneless, skinless, trimmed chicken breast halves into the crock pot for about 4 hours on low. Add about 1/4 cup water, an undrained 4 oz can of chopped green chilies, garlic salt , pepper and a half of a chopped onion.  Or if I'm in a hurry, I season the chicken and dump some prepared green chili salsa over the top (about 1 cup).  If you are using frozen chicken, use the same method, and cook for about 5-6 hours on low. Every crock pot is different, mine cooks at a higher temperature than most, so I adjust the time on the lower side.  I have also used this method cooking in the oven at about 275 for 4 hours. When the chicken is done, shred with fork and add to recipe. I add a little of the juice as well. If you don't use the whole amount of chicken you have cooked, place in Ziplock bags, label and freeze for later use. 

-**On the second go around, I tried this dish using low fat sour cream and low fat cream cheese. The taste result was notably different. The texture of the dish did not change much. I would recommend using both regular sour cream and cream cheese in this dish. 

-Great make ahead dish- Make the filling and sauce the day before or assemble up to two days in advance. Cover dish with foil that has been sprayed with non stick spray on the side facing the enchiladas.  Refrigerate. When ready to bake, remove from refrigerator.  Bake for about 30 minutes at 375 covered, then remove foil and cook for additional 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbly.

3/5/12

Sheri's Creamy Southern Mac and Cheese




Mac and cheese. What comes to mind when you hear those words? If it's a pan filled with an unnatural yellow/orange color sauce coating macaroni, your world is about to change.
In a good way.
My SIL,  Sheri, is famous for making huge pans of luscious, creamy mac and cheese. She perfected the art of making an amazing pan of one of my favorite dishes when she lived in the South.
I love it when we have a family dinner that includes a pan of her mac and cheese. Love it for days after too. This dish re-heats beautifully.  Sheri's version includes lots of sauce,  coating the pasta generously,  so it doesn't become a thick, gluey mess when heated up for leftovers. This is mac and cheese heaven.
You're gonna love it.






Creamy Southern Macaroni and Cheese
print recipe

½ cup butter
3-4 tablespoons grated or crushed onion
1 cup flour
6 cups skim milk
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoon dried mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons pepper
5 cups sharp or combination of sharp and extra sharp cheese
1 ½ cups fresh grated Parmesan
1 pound macaroni

Boil macaroni until al dente. Set aside.
Melt butter. Sauté onion in butter until onion is translucent not brown. Add flour and cook for about two minutes. Add milk and stir with wire whisk. Cook until thickened. Add nutmeg, dried mustard, salt, and pepper. Turn off heat. Add 3 ½ - 4 c. sharp cheddar and 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan. Put in greased 9x13 pan and cover with 1 c. sharp cheddar and ½ c. Parmesan. Bake at 350˚ for 30 minutes until lightly browned.

Tips:
-You may add any of the following in the recipe above: sautéed mushrooms, diced tomatoes, diced jalapenos, chopped spinach, chopped broccoli, smoked chicken.
-Also, you may substitute Gouda, smoked Gouda, smoked Cheddar, Swiss, or any other type of cheese you like as part of the cheese. Mild cheddar is not recommended, as the flavor is too bland.
-This is also great as a make ahead dish. Prepare as directed, refrigerate and bake within two days.
-This dish also freezes well. To cook, remove from freezer and keep covered with foil. Bake at 325 for  about 1 hour. Remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking.
 

2/16/12

America's Test Kitchen Spaghetti and Meatballs



Who doesn't love a good spaghetti dinner?  The America's Test Kitchen  recipe for Spaghetti and Meatballs intrigued me because it calls for bread soaked in buttermilk, instead of the dried bread crumbs I use in my go-to recipe. The meatballs were extra tender, and the buttermilk added a bit of tang, as the Test Kitchen book promised. Yummy.
If you are looking for the perfect Sunday meal, (which in my opinion includes a good part of the meal prepared ahead) make these Saturday afternoon. After completely cooking the meatballs and preparing the sauce, let the meatballs bathe in the sauce overnight in the fridge.
Trust me, you'll want to double this recipe.
One step closer to the day of rest.





Spaghetti and Meatballs
adapted from America's Test Kitchen
print recipe

Meatballs
2 slices white bread (crusts discarded), torn into small cubes
1/2 cup buttermilk or 6 tablespoons plain yogurt thinned with 2 tablespoons sweet milk
3/4 pound ground beef  ( or 1 pound if omitting ground pork below)
1/4 pound ground pork (to be mixed with ground chuck)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 large egg yolk
1 small clove garlic , minced (1 teaspoon)
3/4 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for pan-frying

Simple Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste

1 pound spaghetti
grated Parmesan for topping pasta

For the meatballs: 
Combine bread and buttermilk in small bowl, mashing occasionally with fork, until smooth paste forms.
Mix all meatball ingredients, including bread mixture and pepper  in medium bowl. Lightly form 2 tablespoons of mixture into 1 1/2-inch round meatballs; repeat with remaining mixture to form approximately 18-20 meatballs. (Compacting them can make the meatballs dense and hard. Can be placed on large plate, covered loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerated for several hours.)
Meanwhile, heat  about two to three tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat in 10- or 11-inch non stick saute pan. When edge of meatball dipped in oil sizzles, add meatballs in single layer. Fry, turning several times, until nicely browned on all sides, about 10 minutes, regulating heat as needed to keep oil sizzling but not smoking. Transfer browned meatballs to paper towel--lined plate; set aside. Repeat, if necessary, with remaining meatballs.

For the sauce:
Discard oil in pan, leaving behind any browned bits. Add olive oil along with garlic; saute, scraping up any browned bits, just until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, bring to boil, and simmer gently until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in sugar and basil; add salt and pepper to taste. Add meatballs and simmer. Keep warm over low flame.


For pasta:
Heat 4 quarts of water to boiling in a large pot to cook pasta. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water. Follow package directions and cook until al dente, drain, and return to pot until serving. 

Tips:
-This recipe serves about 6 adults. 
- The longer the sauce simmers, the more flavorful the dish will be. Preparing the dish the day before allows for best flavor. This dish may be prepared up to five days before serving. On day of serving, cook pasta and heat up sauce on stove top over low to medium heat for about 45 minutes. 



11/28/11

Chicken and Cream Cheese Enchiladas with Homemade Corn Crepes



Jo Murdock is one of my favorite people in the world!  Jo met her husband Dave at Disneyland when she was17 on the Carnation dance floor by the castle Move over Cinderella. They were married when she was 18. She is the most devoted mother of 8 children (7 living, one passed at birth).  Her daughter Lindsay once told me, "She's awesome...the bestest friend a girl could ask for. I'm truly blessed to have her as my Mom....and her cooking is AMAZING!!"  I agree with Lindsay.  Besides being a great cook, awesome mom and grandmother, Jo is a great example to me. She's always serving others. A few years ago, she organized a neighborhood cookbook that contains 300 pages of tried and true recipes from some of my dearest friends. This book is a treasure, not only because of all of the great recipes contained in one book, but also all of the memories associated with people who submitted recipes. I pulled the book out a few weeks ago, and tried this recipe from Jo. You know how I love anything that resembles an enchilada. This one is exceptional! Corn Crepes replace the usual tortilla.
Oh. My. Goodness. You have to try these. If you have some leftover turkey sitting around in your fridge, they would be perfect for this recipe. I  subbed pork for the chicken, and the fam inhaled them. Wouldn't this make a fun entree for a Christmas party with a Mexican theme? A little Cranberry Salsa on the side?  Thanks Jo.



Chicken and Cream Cheese Enchiladas with Homemade Corn Crepes
Jo Murdock
print recipe

1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups cooked diced or shredded chicken, or pork*, or turkey
6 oz cream cheese, diced
salt and pepper to taste
12 corn crepes (recipe below)
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups grated Monterey Jack Cheese
lime wedges for garnish

Separate onions and saute in butter ever medium heat until beginning to brown about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add meat and cream cheese. Mix lightly and season. set aside.
Prepare crepes. Set aside.
To assemble enchiladas:
Divide the filling into 12 equal portions. Spoon each portion into the center of a crepe. Roll up. Place seam side down in greased casserole dish in a single layer. pour Cream down sides of crepes, about 1/2 inch deep. Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted. Serve with garnish of olives and lime wedges. Serves 6.


Corn Crepes:
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup Masa Harina flour, found in specialty section of grocery near Mexican foods
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
3/4 cup milk

Mix all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Heat a 6 inch skillet or crepe pan. Grease the pan with oil or butter. Pour 1/4 to 1/3 cup batter into the pan and swirl batter until it covers the bottom of the pan. Cook until lightly browned, and flip to cook other side. Set in a pan when cooked, and finish cooking rest of crepes. 

Tips:
-For a do-ahead recipe, you may make the crepes the day before and store in the fridge until ready to assemble. 
-*I had some boneless "Country Style  Pork Ribs" I  wanted to use. I cooked the ribs at 275 degrees for 3 1/2 to 4 hours in a dutch oven. I seasoned the ribs with salt, garlic salt and pepper, and added about 1/2 cup of water to the meat before tightly covering the pan. Before cooking, the ribs weighed about 4-5 lbs. There was enough meat for a double recipe of enchiladas. 


9/19/11

Cafe Rio-Style Sweet Pork Salad


If you live in the great state of Utah, or have visited here in the past ten years, you know about Cafe Rio. Or Costa Vida. Mexican food with a Southwest flair.
This recipe is a great option for feeding a crowd,  because there's something for everyone. Don't like meat? Have a meatless salad. Don't like meat or salads? Have a tortilla with cheese, rice, dressing, pico  and beans.  Everyone builds their own. It's worked for me when cooking for a crowd of 30-300.
There are loads of copycat recipes on the Internet for Cafe Rio/ Costa :  rice, beans, dressing and the fan favorite/flagship item-Sweet Pork.  I'm posting my family favorite copycat recipes this week. I know I'm a few years behind this trend, but it will save me jumping around from site to site, looking for the recipes, or searching for the crumpled pieces of paper with my scribbles written all over. They'll all be here, in one place.  Ole!


To Build a Cafe Rio style Sweet Pork salad:
print instructions/grocery list

Cafe Rio style Sweet Pork- find it here
Cafe Rio style Black Beans-find it here
Mexican Rice with Cilantro Dressing - find it here
Cafe Rio style Cilantro Dressing- find it here
Pico de Gallo - find it here
Our favorite Chunky Guacamole- find it here

Other items you will  need/want to make a Cafe Rio style salad:
Romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
Cheese, Mexican blend and/or Cotija (Mexican cheese) for sprinkling on top, if desired
Flour Tortillas, we like the type found in Costco in the refrigerated section, grill for a few minutes on each side at home, or you may use grilled corn or regular grocery store flour tortillas, warmed
corn tortillas and vegetable oil- cut the corn tortillas into strips, fry over medium high heat, drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt
Sour cream for topping salad
Fresh cilantro to top salad
lime slices, to top each salad
8 or 9" disposable foil tins found in baking section of grocery or the dollar store, or plates work too

Assembly:
Place all items on serving table in this order:
Tins or plates, tortillas, beans, rice, meat, lettuce, cheese, pico, guacamole, dressing, sour cream, tortilla strips, cilantro and lime slices.








Cafe Rio Sweet Pork for a crowd
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

For roasting meat:
13.5 lb Pork Shoulder* (yield approx 6 1/2 lbs cooked, fat removed, shredded pork)
2 teaspoon onion salt
fresh ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine or crushed
1 can or approx 12 oz Coke or Dr. Pepper, not Diet (see reader comment below by Bonnie)

For sauce after roasting:
3- 4 oz cans diced (mild to medium) green chilies
1-28 oz can red enchilada sauce
2 cups light brown sugar
2 cans or 24 oz Coke or Dr. Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rack in bottom third of oven.
If making a full recipe and using a piece of meat larger than 6 lbs, cut the meat into at least two or more  pieces to insure meat will be cooked through.
Season the pork with onion salt and ground pepper on all sides.  Rub the top of the pork with crushed garlic cloves.
Place the pork in a large heavy roasting pan or crock pot.  Pour Coke around the sides of roast.
Cover tightly with foil, so no steam escapes. Roast at 350 for 2 1/2 hours. Do not open oven. Turn oven to 200 roast for 2 more hours. Alternately, Place the pork into two large crock pots. Follow directions, except cook on low for about 10-12 hours.
After roasting, remove meat. Let cool for about 15 minutes, or cool enough to handle. Pull meat apart with hands, removing any visible fat remaining on meat. Discard fat and drain remaining liquid from pan.
Place meat back into roasting pan, shred with forks.
Prepare sauce by placing green chilies, enchilada sauce and brown sugar into a blender.  Blend until smooth. Add the Coke, stir with spoon. Pour the sauce over the meat, and heat the meat again before serving. Do not stir too much, this makes the meat a mushy mess. Visualize the icky barbecued meat in the frozen section at the grocery. I prefer to pour sauce on top and leave the meat alone :) Using tongs helps tremendously.
Yield: about 35 servings.

Tips:
-*Important: Make sure to buy Pork Shoulder or Pork (Boston) Butt.  Pork Roast or Pork Loin does not have enough fat to produce a product that will shred properly. I like Pork Shoulder best for this recipe. A large Pork Shoulder can be found at Costco for approximately $2.00 per pound.
-This recipe may also be used as a taco filling or for burritos.
-If preparing ahead, follow directions until meat has been shredded. Refrigerate or freeze meat at this point. When ready to serve, prepare sauce and pour over meat. Heat up in oven or on stove top at low heat.
-This recipe freezes well. When I have leftovers, I freeze the meat and drain off the sauce. When I want to use the frozen meat, I let it thaw in the fridge overnight; then place the meat in a pan on top of the stove. I make fresh sauce but only prepare 1/3 of the recipe above.
-If the sauce is too thick for your liking, you may add water, 1/4 cup at a time.
-If you are looking for a recipe that is scaled down to 6 servings, read this post at Family Favorite Recipes. The recipes are a bit different than mine, but the quantities are smaller for the pork. Fam Fav Recipes also does a great job of thoroughly explaining the assembly process in making the salad. 

9/7/11

Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Spinach



A few weeks ago, I received an email asking if I wanted to join a group of bloggers (about 50) to post mac and cheese recipes they find on the Internet. Same day, same time, random recipes. The only rule: the recipe had to be found on a blog.

Remember when I told you there were approx 40 THOUSAND food blogs out there?  I think almost every single one of those blogs has a mac and cheese post. How to find a special recipe? One worthy of a mac and cheese challenge? I turned to my cheese drawer, and my good friend Google. In the fridge,  I found some Baby Gouda (still in the wax) that Brookie brought me back from Henri Willig while in Amsterdam.  Also, some white cheddar,  yellow cheddar, and about 7 other types of cheese. Cause you never want to be without at least 10 varieties of cheese in your fridge, right? Just in case. Anyway.  I had eaten some of this special Gouda months ago, but was saving this round for a special occasion. Btw, if you are thinking whaaa? Didn't Brooke go to Europe last year? Answer, yes. But hard, low moisture cheese wrapped in wax stays good indefinitely, so no worries.  I googled Gouda Mac and Cheese and came up with a great little recipe from A Cozy Kitchen .
Result: move over children, this mac and cheese is for grownups.




Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Spinach
adapted from Chase Livengood, a Cozy Kitchen
print recipe


1 lb package short pasta (penne, elbow macaroni, etc) I used large macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted
5 cups milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
8-oz block sharp or regular white cheddar cheese, grated and divided (about 2 cups)
8-oz block smoked Gouda cheese, grated and divided (about 2 cups)
4-oz  medium cheddar cheese, grated and divided ( about 1 cup)
4 oz  regular Gouda cheese, grated and divided (about 1 cup)
2 cups fresh spinach, washed
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained


Cook the pasta about 7-8 minutes in boiling salted water, remove when pasta is al dente.  Set aside.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Continue whisking and cook for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Whisking constantly, cook for 5 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat to low and stir in salt, black pepper and most of the cheese, reserving about two cups of cheese. Stir in the fresh spinach and sun dried tomatoes. Remove from heat.

Pour the pasta in a lightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Spoon the cheese sauce over the pasta. 
Using a large spoon, evenly distribute the sauce without stirring. 
Sprinkle the top with the remaining cup of assorted cheeses.

Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from oven, let sit for about 5-10 minutes before serving.



Tips:

- This recipe is easy to half. I halved this recipe, and baked it in a 8 inch casserole. Perfect!
-You may use any combo of cheeses in this recipe, I would not suggest using more than 2 cups of smoked Gouda, the flavor is very distinct, and 2 cups of smoked Gouda goes a long way :)

linked to:






Photobucket



8/26/11

Tessa's Southwest Chicken Rollups







I've had this recipe in my files for years. Every once in a while I pull it out and make a batch. They usually disappear about as quickly as they come out of the oven. This week, I served them with Sheri's Simple Salsa. Great mid-week meal, with chips and fresh fruit or a salad.




Tessa's Southwest Chicken Roll ups
print recipe

3-4 cups cooked, chopped chicken breast meat
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 medium onion
1 1/2 cups corn (if in season, about 2 large cobs, cooked and cut off cob)
1-15.5 oz can black beans, washed and drained
1 1/2- 2 cups fresh spinach, washed
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups grated Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese, grated
14-16 10 inch tortillas, I prefer thin flour tortillas for this recipe
salt and pepper to taste

Place all filling ingredients together in a medium to large bowl.  Mix lightly.
Spread about 1/4 to 1/3 cup filling in the middle of each tortilla, depending on how thick or thin you want the rolls to be.  Roll tightly and place on a lightly greased or parchment lined cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Brush the top of the tortillas lightly with canola, vegetable or olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove and serve immediately or at room temperature with salsa, sour cream or guacamole.

Tips:
-Great as an appetizer or main dish.
-Great as a make ahead dish. Prepare, cover tightly with foil. Place in fridge until ready to bake and serve.  Remove foil before baking. Make up to 2 days ahead.
-This recipe was altered from Tessa's original recipe - her recipe called for most of the same main ingredients, I just increased the amounts of the ingredients, to make the recipe more user and family friendly. Instead of 1/4 cup of black beans, I altered it to include the whole can of black beans.