Friday, February 23, 2018

Baked Jalapeño Popper Wonton Cups

I LOVED these!!  They were pretty easy to make, too.  I used Neufchatel instead of full-fat cream cheese and they were fine.  We had these for our Un-Superbowl party.  (We don't like football so we just watched movies while we ate snacks.)  These were the most popular thing, except some brownies I made that I'll post later.  I also had a veggie tray and Tex-Mex 7-Layer Dip.  

You'll be tempted to use a mini muffin pan to make these, but don't.  It looks like the wonton wrapper is too small for a regular tin, but it's fine.  It works.  

Baked Jalapeño Popper Wonton Cups
adapted from Lemon Tree Dwelling
I doubled the recipe and did half w/out jalapeños
Original recipe makes 12

12 wonton wrappers (frozen or in produce section)
4 oz. light or regular cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sour cream
12 oz. bacon cooked & crumbled (reserve 2 Tbsp.)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese reserve 2 Tbsp.
3-4 jalapeños seeded and chopped (I used pickled)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.  Press one wonton wrapper into each muffin cup; bake 8 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.

2.  In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together cream cheese, sour cream, bacon, cheddar cheese, and chopped jalapeños.  Spoon filling into wonton cups, then sprinkle with reserved bacon and cheese.

3.  Return to oven and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, until wontons are golden brown and cheese is melted.
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Friday, February 16, 2018

Quick Chicken Curry

My whole family loves this quick chicken curry.  I actually made it three times in only a few weeks.  The second and third time, I doubled the sauce.  I did increase the chicken by a bit but there's no need to double it.  More sauce is what everyone wanted more of.  It's delicious.  I can't get light coconut milk here anymore, so I just used full-fat.  Probably why it was so delicious! 

I love making Indian food, but I wouldn't call this Indian.  It's Indian-inspired, though!  I like using Penzey's curry powder.  I have two from them; the Sweet one, and the Penzey's Now one.  I've used both in this.

Quick Chicken Curry
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
*I like to double the sauce- but I don't double the chicken

1 teaspoon oil (I used coconut or sunflower)
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can (13.6 ounce) lite or regular coconut milk
1/2 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Hot, cooked rice for serving

1.  In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds, until it starts to smell fragrant.
Sprinkle in the curry powder, coriander and cumin. Cook for another 30 seconds, stirring to prevent burning.

2.  Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes (it doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through quite yet).  Stir in the coconut milk, brown sugar, fish sauce, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

3.  If you would like the sauce a bit thicker, whisk together the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl. Once combined, stir the mixture into the simmering curry. Simmer, stirring constantly, for a minute or so until the sauce thickens a bit. (No need for this if using full-fat coconut milk).

4.  Stir in the cilantro- or, serve on the side at the table. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Serve the curry over hot, cooked rice.
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Friday, February 9, 2018

Chipotle Hummus

I made this recently to go with a veggie tray.  I love hummus, but forget about making it.  We bought it often last summer to take with us into the National Parks we toured- it's a great and healthy snack.  Making it yourself is super easy, and cheap.  I tried this variation from Penzey's recently.  It uses canned chipotles.  I found some chipotle paste in a tube on Amazon, and used that.  I loved the ease of it.  Use whatever you have.  I also added some chipotle powder.
Chipotle Hummus 
adapted from Penzey's

1 16-oz. can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
2 TB. tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 small cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 TB. olive oil (use more as desired)
1⁄2-1 tsp. ground black pepper, to taste
1-3 chipotle peppers canned in adobo sauce (I used chipotle paste)
1 tsp. ground cumin

1.  Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Mix until smooth. If the consistency is too thick for your liking, add a bit more olive oil and blend again. Repeat if necessary. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve with pita bread, pita chips, crackers, carrots or other vegetables. 

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Purple Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup

We were excited to find purple (and orange) cauliflower at one of our local stores.  We've been eating it a lot lately, mostly roasted.  I wanted to make it into a soup though, and I used my old stand-by recipe for broccoli cheese soup.  It worked out perfectly! I just changed a few things.  This soup was very good, and beautiful too.
Purple Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup
adapted from this recipe

1/4 cup butter
1 white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
1 head purple cauliflower, coarsely chopped
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 1% milk (unsweetened almond milk is also good)
8 ounces shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

1. Melt butter over medium heat in a stockpot. Cook onion in butter until softened. Add garlic and pepper; cook for 1 minute then stir in cauliflower, and stir in chicken broth. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer until broccoli is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk flour into milk until dissolved. Stir into soup, stirring frequently until thickened. Reduce heat, and stir in cheese until melted and heated through.

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Friday, February 2, 2018

"Smoked" Risotto

I like trying new risotto recipes.  I don't remember how I came across this one, but it's from an Italian recipe website.  I'm glad I tried it.  The recipes uses a smoked cheese, "scamorza", and smoked pancetta for the smoky flavor.  (You could use other smoked cheese.)  The pics are of leftover risotto, which never looks as nice.  But you can re-heat leftovers and make them creamy again by cooking slowly in a small non-stick saucepan and adding liquid, like milk or chicken stock.  It worked out perfectly.  Just stir and add the liquid- it will absorb it quickly and you may need more than you think.  This recipe is in grams.

The smoked cheese.

"Smoked" Risotto
adapted from Giallo Afferano

20 grams butter
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
50 grams smoked pancetta, diced
320 grams Carnaroli rice (or other risotto rice)
1 liter vegetable or chicken broth, plus 1-2 cups hot water
100 grams smoked Scamorza cheese, or other smoked cheese, cut into small cubes
black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste

1. In a medium saucepan, heat broth over medium-low until hot. Meanwhile, in a large pot, cook the onions with the olive oil and butter. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat, and then add the pancetta. Let it brown a few minutes.

2. Add the rice, toast it for a few minutes, stirring frequently to prevent it from sticking, then add 2-3 ladles of the hot broth. Continue cooking for 15 minutes, adding some broth every time the rice starts to dry out. When you run out of broth, you can use hot water. Cook until rice is creamy and tender. When the rice is tender enough for your liking, turn off the heat.

3. Add the cubed cheese to the risotto, add salt and pepper, then stir to mix all the ingredients. Your smoked risotto is ready: serve while hot.
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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Mom's Pumpkin Muffins

My mom has been making these ever since the 90's, and they make me feel nostalgic.  We recently visited my parents for Christmas, and she made a batch while we were there.  My kids loved them, and couldn't get enough.  I made them soon after returning home.  I made them twice, experimenting with lessening the oil amount each time.  (It calls for 1.5 cups of oil.)  The first time, I subbed in 1/2 cup of applesauce and used 1 cup of oil.  The next time, I used half oil, half applesauce, and they were just as good, so I'll do that from now on.  (So, 3/4 cup of each.)

Mom's Pumpkin Muffins
adapted from Taste of Home

4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1-1/2 cups canola oil (can use up to half applesauce)
3 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 400 F.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil until smooth. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full.

2.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Yield: about 2 dozen +

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Friday, January 26, 2018

Pics from Grand Teton 2017

We loved seeing Grand Teton National Park again last summer.  We saw so much beautiful scenery.  We also took a hike to Leigh Lake, which was serene and gorgeous.  We dipped our feet in the lake when we got there and relaxed.  We didn't really see any wildlife except birds and pronghorns.  Oh, we did see a herb of buffalo in the distance. 

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