Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pork Carnitas Tacos

·           1 ½  lbs. pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 1 ½  inch pieces
·           1 tsp. salt
·           2 tsp. black pepper
·           2 tsp. dried oregano
·           ½ large onion, cut into 4 pieces
·           2 garlic cloves
·           ½ tsp. ground cumin
·           1 or 2 avocados, halved, pitted, sliced
·           Fresh cilantro sprigs
·           Corn tortillas
·           Tomatillo salsa
·           Lime wedges to garnish

1.    Toss pork in bowl of slow cooker with salt, pepper, dried oregano and cumin.  Place onion pieces and garlic cloves on top of the pork.  Cover slow cooker and cook on low setting for 6 hours or until meat is very tender and falling apart.
2.     Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to cutting board.  Discard onion and garlic pieces.  Using fingers or fork, shred pork; transfer pork to platter.  Wrap corn tortillas in a damp kitchen towel; microwave until warm, about 1 minute.
3.    Serve carnitas wrapped in warm tortillas; top with avocado slices, cilantro sprigs and tomatillo salsa.  Use lime wedges to garnish.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Spinach Artichoke Dip

2 cups parmesan cheese
1 (10 oz.) box frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup cream cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 t. garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix together Parmesan cheese, spinach & artichoke hearts.  Combine remaining ingredients and mix with spinach mixture.  Bake 20 – 30 minutes.

Spinach & Pine Nut Couscous

1 T. olive oil
Salt & black pepper
1 10-oz. box couscous
1 garlic clove (recipe calls for 2 but I was happy with 1) thinly sliced
¼ cup pine nuts
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese (1 oz)
2 T. fresh lemon juice

Cook the couscous according to the package directions.  (I made with chicken broth and added an extra 1/8 – ¼ cup of broth).  Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté the garlic and pine nuts until golden, 2 – 3 minutes.  When the couscous is done (about 5 minutes), fold in the spinach, feta, lemon juice, pine nuts & garlic, and ½ t. each salt & pepper. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Confectioner's sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth.  Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil.  Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.

To make the muffins, preheat the over to 350 degrees.  Line muffin pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda; whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree, and oil.  Mix on medium-low speed until blended.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend.  Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.  Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons).  Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces.  Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well.  Divided the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely.  Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Buttercream Icing

3 sticks butter, softened
2 lbs. powdered sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Whipping cream or half & half

Beat butter in mixer on medium high for 2-3 minutes or until pale and creamy. Reduce speed to medium and add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Beat well after each addition increasing speed to high after all sugar is added.

Add vanilla and food coloring if desired. Beat until buttercream is smooth. Can be refrigerated for several days if covered. If refrigerating, bring to room temperature before using and beat on low until smooth.

I made this for Tyler and Claire's birthday cakes and it was delicious!  I used it on a Duncan Hines Golden Butter cake mix and it was a yummy combo!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Buddy Dip

16 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. Hellman or mayo
1/3 c. grated parmesan
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 c. green onion

Mix well and serve with party crackers.  Add more dressing, Hellman's or mayo, if you want it creamier.

Creamy Crawfish Tortellini

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound fresh crawfish tails
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (1/4 cup plus ¼ cup)
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 cup whipping cream
¼ cup dry sherry
9 ounces tortellini pasta, cooked al dente
Cayenne pepper

Melt butter in a large skillet.  Add onions and garlic.  Sauté until translucent.  Add crawfish and cook 5 minutes.  Add ¼ cup Parmesan, parley, whipping cream and sherry.  Simmer until thickened.  Fold tortellini into crawfish mixture.  Season with salt and cayenne pepper.  Serve with remaining ¼ cup Parmesan.

I had this at a 2011 Cotton Bowl party.  It was delicious but you could also use shrimp if that your preference.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Wayne's Spicy Wings

1/4 cup oil
2 T. red pepper flakes
Envelope of dry ranch dressing
lots of drumette wings
Tony Chachere's (optional)

Mix oil, pepper flakes and ranch dressing.  If you want a little extra kick, sprinkle drumettes with Tony's.  Coat wings with oil mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  After 25 minutes, flip the wings.  Eat wtih cold ranch dressing.

Wayne made these for his kids at school and he said they were a hit.

Garlic Shrimp

2 dozen large fresh shrimp
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. dried crushed red pepper
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup French breadcrumbs (homemade) toasted
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Peel shrimp and devein.  Arrange in a 11 x 7 inch baking dish; pour oil over shrimp.  Combine parsley and next 3 ingredients; sprinkle over shrimp.  Cover and bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes.

Turn shrimp over; drizzle with butter, and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese.  Bake, uncovered 5 to 10 minutes.

Ann says these are easy and yummy.  The dish also froze very well.

Dainty Butter Cookies

1 cup butter
5 T. powdered sugar
2 cups flour
1 T. water
1 t. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
pinch of salt

Mix ingredients and drip from a spoon onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. 

1 cup powdered sugar
2 T. cream
2 T. melted butter
1/2 t. vanilla

Frost cooled cookies and sprinkle with Christmas sugar.  Grandma always makes these at Christmas time and don't know why they didn't get into the original cookbook.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Paula Deen Monster Cookies

1/4 cup raisins, optional
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup multi-colored chocolate candies
1 stick butter, softened
1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
4 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

In a very large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars.  Mix well.  Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter.  Mix well.  Stir in the chocolate candies, chocolate chips, raisins, baking soda, and oatmeal.  Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart on to the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Do not overbake.  Let stand for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.  When cool, store in large resealable plastic bags.

Note:  I made these cookies around Christmas and they got rave reviews from everyone that had one!