Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Specialties

Peanuts characters are © Charles M. Schulz


I am whipping up a few of my favorites for Thanksgiving Dinner today. Thought I would share the recipes with you. These are super easy ways to make the ordinary a little more extraordinary. On today, I am happy to say, I am so thankful for my friends - who are my family - because without you, I would not be as courageous as a I am. If you decide to make one of these recipes, please know that you don't have to follow it specifically. For example, no sausage - that's fine just add the veggies or no spiced cider, just use regular. Enjoy your special day!

1 bag Fresh Cranberries (12oz)
1 cup Spiced Cider
1 cup Sugar

Add all ingredients to a pot, heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Once they are bubbling, simmer until most have popped open, approx 5-10 minutes. Pour into a dish and cool.

1 large box Stuffing w/ seasonings
1 Onion
3 sprigs Celery
2 Apples
1 package sausage
4 Tbsp Butter
2 Cups Chicken or Turkey Stock
4 Eggs
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cook sausage in pan breaking up into small pieces. Once cooked thoroughly, remove with a slotted spoon into a bowl and set aside. Chop Onions, Celery and start to sautee in pan that you cooked sausage in. Add salt & Pepper to taste. Chop Apple and add to pan. Continue to sautee until soft, approx 2 more minutes. Add all of this mixture to the bowl with sausage. Add bread from stuffing mix to same bowl and begin to mix. In a separate bowl mix 2 cups stock with 4 eggs. Slowly start pouring liquid and seasonings mixture into bread mixture a little at a time. Continue to mix so that all of the stuffing is lightly wet and not soggy. Now pour all ingredients into a well buttered casserole dish. Cover casserole dish and bake at 350' for approx 30 minutes. Remove cover, dot top with butter and cook until golden brown, approx 15 minutes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Crock Pot Chili-Lite

It has been getting chilly for Southern Cal... down into the 40's at night. Burr! This winter weather has me hankering for a slow cooked warm meal in my crock pot. I am not a bean connoisseur, but I am a healthy meal and leftovers connoisseur... My kids will eat up anything that has beans in it, so making a meal full of beans not only uses what I already have in my cupboards, but gives me a meal that seriously will last all week if I want it to. Here's how I made it and there are a few different ways to serve it up!

2lb. can Pinto Beans
14oz. can Black Beans
14oz. can chopped tomatoes
4oz. can tomato paste
1 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots peeled & diced
1 brown onion diced
1/2 Green Bell Pepper seeded & diced
1/2 Red Bell Pepper seeded & diced
1/2 Anaheim Chili seeded & diced (more to preferred spice)
1/2lb lean ground turkey
4oz. Gimme Lean Ground Sausage (vegetarian)
1 Chili seasoning packet
Salt & pepper to taste

Seed, peel & chop all veggies. Start cooking in a pan over medium heat by sauteeing onion, diced peppers, ground turkey and sausage in 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add a dash of salt & pepper as well as some of the chili spices. Cook until meat is not pink.

Rinse beans and drain. Add beans, meat mixture and the rest of the ingredients to the crock pot. Add more or less water as needed. Note, I use a half of the small can of tomato paste. This chili is mild - so my kids would eat it, if you like it spicy add the seeds from the peppers (the seeds are what hold the majority of the spice) and include the whole Anaheim chili and additional 1-2 jalapeno peppers can be diced and added if you like to really turn up the heat.

Turn the crock pot on Medium. Thoroughly mix all ingredients. Cover the crock pot and leave it set for 4-6 hours. Since the meat is pre-cooked, you can technically eat at anytime, it just tastes better if all the ingredients are given some time to melt into eachother.

Chili over Baked Potatoes
Chili Hot Dogs
Chili 'n Mac 'n Cheese
Chili & Grilled Cheese

Not only did this recipe warm my home, but it also warmed all of our bellies many times over. Bonus, I felt like a good mama since there was not really any added fat and we all got an extra serving of veggies in the form of the peppers & carrots. My kids had no idea. And it reminded me, I need to make some split pea soup again because it's a similar idea and they devour their veggies like there is no tomorrow!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tacos de Pescado

When I visit San Felipe, I crave Fish Tacos! There is something about being on the coast in Mexico that requires me to eat Fish Tacos and lots of them. Unfortunately, there are very few restaurants locally where they will serve you up such a delicious fresh treat. Rubio's has made it's mark on the Fish Taco. Many try to duplicate it, but for a fast food chain - they know what they are doing with their fish!

From time to time, I have been offered fresh fish and have no idea what I'm going to do with it. It used to sit in my freezer until I felt like creating some delicious fish dish. Quite frankly, I strongly believe most fresh fish should be grilled the same day it's been plucked out of the ocean. However, that is not always an option.

Wondering what to do with this fresh fish someone gifted us, I happened to stumble across a recipe that I was compelled to attempt. Some of it was a bit much for me, but the basics really make this dish. This gets to be quite messy with all the different ingredients and steps. But I swear when you are done, you will not be satisfied with just two tacos.

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup beer (dark Mexican beer)

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried dill weed
1 jalapeno pepper, minced (optional)
1 teaspoon minced capers (optional)

1 quart oil for frying
1 pound cod fillets (or other fish), cut into 2 to 3 ounce portions
1 (12 oz) package corn tortillas (warmed)
1/2 medium head cabbage, finely shredded
lime, cut in wedges


Beer batter: In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Blend egg and beer, then quickly stir into the flour mixture.

White sauce: In a medium bowl, mix together yogurt and mayonnaise. Gradually stir in fresh lime juice until consistency is slightly runny. Season with cayenne, cumin, oregano and dill (optional: minced jalapeno and capers).

Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). If you don't have a deep-fryer, simply heat 2-3 inches of oil on medium high in a deep pan on your stovetop.

Dust fish pieces lightly with flour. Dip into beer batter, and fry until crisp and golden brown. Approximately 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Warm tortillas and place fried fish in a tortilla, top with white sauce and shredded cabbage. Serve with a wedge of lime, salsa of your preference and diced avocados if you so desire.