Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Roasted Chicken and Spinach Pesto Focaccia Sandwiches

This is kind of a last minute recipe....I didn't really think it would become a blog recipe but it is just so delicious I had to share! I made them with my Dragon's Blood Soup.

Focaccia Bread, I made my gluten free recipe and made 6 pieces)
Roasted Chicken, I made up 2 leg quarters this morning, it was just  perfect for 6 sandwiches
Cheese, I used pepper jack
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Banana Peppers

Spinach Pesto...super easy nut-less recipe:
4 cups baby spinach leaves
1 TB lemon juice
1 clove garlic
2 TB basil leaves(2 tsp dried is fine if you dont have fresh)
2 TB fresh grated parmesan cheese
3 TB olive oil
salt to taste

In a blender or food processor place spinach, lemon juice, garlic, basil parm cheese and 1 TB oil. Process until the leaves are chopped well.....slowly drizzle in the remaining olive oil and process until very smooth add salt to taste.

slice your focaccia bread and spread half with pesto , add chicken sun dried tomatoes and banana peppers, top with cheese and place under a hot broiler until the cheese is melty and the chicken in heated through.
Spread the remaining side with mayo and top....put it back under the broiler for a bit to toast that top bread.

Slice and enjoy!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Flax Granola Bars

My husband and son are going on a road trip to a Taekwon Do referee course so I wanted to pack some road snacks for them. Nature's Path Pumpkin Flax Granola is on sale at Costco so I decided to use that for some good bars!

1/2 cup butter (or coconut oil would be good too!)
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup oatmeal
4 cups Nature's Path Pumpkin Flax Granola( you don't HAVE to use that kind, any kind would really be good)
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup raisins

Melt butter, honey and brown sugar over medium heat.

Cook and stir until the sugar is fully melted.
Stir in peanut butter until smooth, remove from heat.

While the butter mixture is cooking mix oatmeal, granola, almonds , chocolate chips and raisins in a large bowl.

Pour butter mixture over the granola mixture and toss well(the chocolate chips will melt quite a bit, if you would rather them be more whole, dont put them in until the very end of mixing )

Line a 13x 9 pan with parchment paper.
 Pour the granola mixture into the pan and press it in evenly.

Refridgerate for an hour, then remove and slice into your desired shapes

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Irish Tacos

I had some leftovers from my homemade Corned Beef so I decided to make a new meal!!

Amounts are pretty much as you please or how many leftovers you have...

Taco Shells(homemade or store bought)
Corned Beef, chopped
Red Potatoes, (cooked) chopped
Cabbage(cooked or uncooked or even premade sauerkraut if you like) , shredded
Shredded Cheese, I used Gouda, Swiss would be great but whatever kind you like!

Irish Mustard Sauce:
1/2 cup sour cream
1 TB grainy mustard
1-2 tsp horseradish

Mix mustard sauce ingredients , allow to mingle for 20-30 minutes

Chop and mix corned beef and potatoes, heat through either on stove top or microwave(or you can do baked tacos like in the above link)

 Place in warmed taco shells and add cheese, sauerkraut/cabbage and a some Irish Mustard sauce.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

7 Days to Homemade Nitrate Free Corned Beef

No nitrates or preservatives....just yummy goodness for St Patrick's day.
This takes 1 week to prepare!

Be aware that with the absence of nitrates (usually in the form of Saltpeter) the meat will NOT be pink like store bought stuff.

3-4 lbs bottom round roast(I prefer this cut, you can use brisket if you like)

Dry Brine:
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 TB cracked peppercorns
1 TB dry mustard seed
1/2 TB coriander seeds
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger

Mix dry brine together

Place into a gallon size ziplock bag.

With a sharp knife spear the roast at least 20 times per side.

Place speared roast into the bag and seal well. Shake and rub the mixture into the roast very well.

Press out as much air as possible from the bag.

Place the entire bag in a dish. Then place a heavy pan on top of the roast and add weight such as a brick or water bottles or heavy cans.

Place in fridge for 7 days, turning and removing any excess air daily, you will see the moisture being drawn out of the meat and creating its own marinade, do not remove the liquid.

 Day 1

Day 3

Day 5

 Day 7

On the morning of the 7th day(St Patrick's Day in my case) remove from the bag

 Rinse well and set in a pan an cover completely with cold water. Soak for 2-3 hours, changing the water once half way through.(store in fridge between water changes) This is an important step or you will have a VERY salty meal!

Drain well and cook in your favorite recipe.....or here is mine:

Corned Beef(this recipe is good for a 2-4 lb roast)

2 stalks celery, sliced
3 big carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
6 red potatoes, halved
12 oz Guinness stout
1 TB pickling spice*
water to cover

1 head cabbage, cut into 6 wedges

In the bottom of a slow cooker place the celery, carrots, onion and potatoes.

Place beef on top of the veggies, pour ale over the top and add pickling spice. Add enough water to cover the roast.

Cook on low 6-7 hours.

Increase heat to high, add cabbage on the top and cook 20-30 minutes until the cabbage is tender but still slightly crispy.

 Remove meat and slice, serve with veggies....

*Pickling Spice:
1 TB whole mustard seed
1 TB whole allspice
1/2 TB Peppercorns, coarsely cracked
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf, crumbled

Combine all and mix well...I run it through a coffee or spice grinder, just for a few seconds, to break it up slightly.

Serve with grainy mustard or horseradish sauce:
This one is fantastic!!

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup drained prepared horseradish
dash hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Whip cream to soft peaks and then fold in sour cream and horseradish, to taste. Season with salt, pepper and a dash of hot sauce.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sweet N Spicy Chicken Pizza

I wanted something different for a pizza tonight, everything just sounded so plain and boring....I came across a pizza place website and was reading their menu and I came across something the I knew I could build from!!

As usual with my pizza recipes, unless specified, amounts are to taste, but don't overload your pizza!

1 pre-baked pizza crust (homemade, store bought, GF or whatever you like)

1/2 cup Roasted Pineapple and Habenero Sauce*
1/4 cup pizza sauce(homemade or store bought)
(if this is too much or not enough sauce for your preference, just do a 2:1 ratio)

*You can find this at Costco, made by Rothschild Farms, however I highly recommend you make THIS RECIPE it is EXCELLENT and totally worth the effort, and trust me you will use it up is good on chicken, pork, beef, fish, a dip with tortilla chips, mixed with cream cheese on a bagel....endless possibilities!!

Buffalo Chicken Breast Nuggets, homemade or store bought
Pineapple,(fresh is best of course, but canned works just as well, crushed or small chunks),
Tomato, sliced thin
Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
Shredded Smoked Provolone Cheese
Bacon, cooked and crumbled
Jalapeno slices

Cook your breast nuggets according to directions (either homemade or store bought packaging).
Allow to cool and slice thinly.

Mix the Habenero Sauce with the pizza sauce and spread on your pre cooked crust.

Add on chicken, pineapple, tomatoes and jalapenos if using

Top with cheeses and sprinkle on bacon if using.

Bake in 350 oven until the cheese is well melted and bubbly.

Allow to set a few minutes before slicing.

Pizza Sauce

I use pizza sauce in so many recipe (and of course for pizzas) so I figured it would be best to put this basic sauce on here solo so I can just link it as needed... You can adjust the seasonings to your own preferences.

2 cups (approx 1-15 ounce can) tomato sauce
3/4 cup(approx 1-6 oz can) tomato paste
3/4 cup water
2 TB dried oregano
1 TB dried basil leaves
1 TB dried parsley
1 bay leaf
2 tsp garlic powder*
1 tsp onion powder*
1 tsp seasoning salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 TB sugar
1 bay leaf
Combine all and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minuets or longer if you prefer thicker sauce. Discard bay leaf, Cool and use as needed.

This makes a good amount of sauce so I freeze it in 1/2 cup blocks(muffin tins work great , or into small ziplock bags) for easy pull out for full pizzas and in an ice cube tray for pull outs for individual pizzas

* you can omit these and use fresh onion and garlic if you like, heat 1 TB olive oil and add about 1/4 cup chopped onion and 1-2 cloves minced garlic, cook it until it is tender and fragrant, then add the remaining ingredients.....this gives it alot of extra flavor!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I have had several requests to get this one up. It turned out SO delicious!!! Great use for leftover chicken and stuffing or make it all up fresh.

2-4 cups cooked and shredded chicken
approx 1/2 lb thin sliced ham, torn up slightly
4 oz  swiss cheese, shredded or torn
1 TB olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 TB yellow onion, minced
2 TB white wine(sub chicken broth if you like)
1 can cream of chicken soup(link for homemade)
1 cup sour cream
2 oz cream cheese
1 TB parsley
salt and pepper to taste
2-4 cups stuffing *

* If you are not using leftover you can use your favorite recipe, regular bread stuffing, corn bread stuffing, GF bread stuffing or even a boxed mix if you like. For this one I went very basic and used THIS one with gluten free bread.  I just reduced the final addition of liquid by half and used it somewhat "dry" and I didn't bake it first. It is a pretty plain jane when it comes to stuffing, but it was very tasty used here.

Preheat oven to 350

Grease a 9 x 13 pan and layer the chicken, then layer the ham, then sprinkle the cheese.

In a sauce pan heat oil over medium heat, add garlic and onion and cook until tender and fragrant.

Add wine, chicken soup, sour cream and cream cheese, cook stirring gently until well combined. Add parsley, salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Pour mixture over the casserole

Top with stuffing.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes until bubbly and the stuffing is well browned.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

No Flour Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

So easy my kids made them themselves......

2 cups peanut butter*
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup chocolate chips

* I recommend a brand with no added sweeteners like Adam's but it needs to be NO STIR variety.....natural does work, but it is ALOT messier to work with, we prefer chunky style for cookies too

Preheat oven to 325 and lightly grease 2 cookie sheets

Mix the peanut butter, sugars, eggs , vanilla , soda and salt.

Beat on high for 1 minute.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Roll into 1 inch balls and place on greased sheet. Make gentle criss cross patterns pressing lightly on each ball.

Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on sheets for 3 minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.