Monday, September 28, 2009

Sweet Pumpkin Dip

16 oz Cream Cheese
1 15 ounce can pumpkin
2 C powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger

Whisk the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and ginger, mixing until well blended. Put a lid on the dip and refrigerate until chilled. Serve with apple slices, ginger snap cookies, or small pretzels. Can also serve dip in a small, hollowed out pumpkin shell.

Carmel Glazed Apple Cake

1 C packed light brown sugar
1 C granulated sugar
1 1/2 C vegetable oil
3 eggs
3 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
5 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/4 C chopped pecans or walnuts
2 1/4 tsp vanilla

Carmel Glaze:
4 T butter
1/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 C light brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 C heavy cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch pan. Beat both sugars together with oil until very well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Sift together dry ingredients and gradually add to egg mixture. Stir in apples, nuts, and vanilla. Pour into pan. Bake for 50-75 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Prepare the glaze - melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Stir in sugars and salt. Cook over medium hat for 2 minutes. Add cream, bring to boil, and continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Poke holes in the cake with a toothpick or skewer. Pour glaze over cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This tasted especially good with some vanilla ice cream!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Rotisserie" Chicken

1 whole chicken, small enough to fit in your slow cooker
Salt-based seasoning (Seasoning salt, Cajun seasoning, lemon pepper with salt in it, etc. Just make sure salt is one of the first ingredients on the label.)
Whole garlic cloves, peeled
Fresh herbs

Make 3 balls of aluminum foil and place them in the bottom of your slow cooker. These hold the chicken off the bottom so the hot air can circulate all around the chicken and so it's not stewing in its own juices.

Rinse chicken, including the cavity, and pat dry with paper towels. Place the chicken on its back so the breast is facing up and the legs are on the plate. If you want (and I actually strongly recommend that you do UNLESS you're looking for a neutral flavor), pull the skin up all around the chicken. This does involve sticking your hand between the skin and the breast. Oooh, sounds dirty. Slice a few garlic cloves in half lengthwise and stick them under the skin. You can also arrange a couple sprigs of fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and/or sage under the skin. This makes a very pretty chicken when it's all cooked and adds a lot of flavor.

Rub salt-based seasoning VERY liberally onto the skin of the chicken. Place chicken breast-up on the foil in the slow cooker, cover, turn heat to low, and leave it alone for 7-8 hours.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Steak and Mango Salad

1lb flank steak
1 head romaine or red-leaf lettuce
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 mangoes, sliced
1 large, or 2 small avocados sliced
cilantro sprigs for garnish
1/2 C caramelized macadamia nuts
(recipe at bottom for these)

Dressing & Marinade

1/2 C fresh squeezed orange juice
6 T fresh lime juice
6 T soy sauce
1/2 C brown sugar
1 1/2 T fresh grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 C olive oil

In a bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Continue whisking while slowly drizzling in the olive oil until combined. Reserve about 3/4 C* and place the rest of the mixture in a zip-lock bag.
*Make sure when you're pouring out the 3/4 C you are constantly whisking the mixture to assure even distribution of ingredients

Lightly score the flank steak in a diagonal pattern on both sides. Place steak in the zip-lock bag with marinade and leave in fridge for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

Caramelize the macadamia nuts.

2 T brown sugar

1/2 T light corn syrup
1/2 T butter
1/2 C nuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a non-stick skillet on the stove top. Set heat to medium or medium-high. Stir the mixture as it comes together until it bubbles. Let it simmer like that for about 20 seconds and then add your nuts. It will be sticky and clumpy, but just keep stirring with a rubber spatula (so you can smoosh and stir) until all of the nuts are well-coated. Transfer nuts to a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking sheet, (or foil or parchment). Cook for about 3 or 4 minutes until you see the sugar mixture start to melt and bubble. Take the pan out of the oven and stir the nuts around with your spatula and then return to oven. Cook for 1-2 minutes longer, or until they reach a darker amber color. Remove from oven and give them one last stir. Then take them off the pan to cool on parchment, foil, or a plate.

Remove steak from fridge about 30 minutes prior to cooking and leave at room temperature. You'll want to let the dressing portion to sit at room temp during this time as well. Heat outdoor grill to med-high heat. If an outdoor grill is not available, use the broiler, or an indoor grill pan. Remove steak from bag and let any excess marinade drip off. Cook steak for about 5-8 minutes on each side or until done. In order to stay tender, flank steak should still be pink in the middle, but nicely seared on the outside. When done, remove from grill and wait at least 5 minutes before cutting to let the juices redistribute. Then slice into thin slices.

Now comes the salad assembly.
Divide lettuce onto plates and top with slices of mango, avocado, and red onion. Add steak slices and drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle macadamia nuts on top and garnish with cilantro.

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

1 pound cubed beef stew meat
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed
golden mushroom soup
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1/4 cup water
4 ounces cream cheese

1. In a slow cooker, combine the meat, soup, onion, Worcestershire sauce and water.
2. Cook on Low setting for 8 hours, or on High setting for about 5 hours. Stir in cream cheese just before serving. Serve over egg noodles.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Crock Pot Southwest Beef or Pork Wraps

1 onion, chopped
2 1/2-ish lb. beef roast, trimmed of fat but left whole or pork roast
1 heaping tsp. chili powder
1 heaping tsp. garlic powder
1 heaping tsp. cumin
1 heaping tsp. Kosher salt
2 bell peppers (you can use 2 green bell peppers or mix it up a little with red, yellow, or orange; just make sure one is green), chopped
1 14 1/2 oz. can Mexican-style diced tomatoes OR 1 can of Rotel tomatoes (regular or mild, depending on your preference)
Small flour tortillas (click here to make your own!)
Desired toppings: salsa or pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, etc.

Place chopped onion in the bottom of the slow cooker. Combine seasonings in a small bowl and then rub seasoning mixture all over the roast. Place roast over onions, top with chopped peppers, and then pour the canned tomatoes on top of everything.
Cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 8-9 hours OR start this in the morning, cook it on high until things start to boil and then cook on low until dinnertime and the meat shreds easily with two forks.