Archive for February, 2012


Look what I’ve got!!!

Our karate club celebrates birthdays with awful singing and low-calorie (haha!) treats. When it’s my birthday, one of the guys makes my treats, which is fun for me. I’m all about the chocolate, and luckily that’s what they make. One year Will made French Silk pies, and one time Sean made Oreo Truffles for my birthday. I’d seen a post from Sean over the weekend that he and his daughter were making truffles, but had no idea they were for me! When I asked for the recipe, Sean also sent along a recipe for a chocolate mint version and these Nutter Butter Truffles. Click for recipe.

I love these!

I was amazed to find there were so few ingredients in them! How could that be? Surely something that tastes so good must have a long list of ingredients. The secret? Starting with Nutter Butter cookies.

Peterbilt anticipating the singing…

Last week we celebrated Peterbilt’s birthday after our karate workout. Peterbilt’s choice was these peanut butter treats. As much as I hate dipping things in chocolate, these are SO worth it! It’s been awhile since I made them, and  I forgot how much I like them. The creamy peanut butter filling is SO good! Sean said he’s even used the peanut butter mixture as cake filling or topping, which is something I will keep in mind.

I made these in the food processor. Actually, I think I killed my food processor with these, but that was only because it’s time for a new one. I’ve done these a couple of other times in my food processor without trouble, so don’t let that scare you off. In retrospect, I can’t remember when I bought it, so that tells me it was a long time ago. Now I’m in the market for a new one, so any future batches will be on hold until then.

Check out this simple, but delish recipe and see what you think!

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Maybe the best thing about The Pretty One going to college is that he learned to eat spicy food. He’s much more fun to cook for now!

I always cooked fairly bland food for the family because I had a child who didn’t explore foods and didn’t enjoy spice. Having been raised by parents in the food service industry he was used to eating in restaurants too often and choosing his meals from boring kids menus, as opposed to eating a variety of food served at home. Not a smart way to raise a gourmet, but nevertheless, that’s how it was. The Pretty One was an expert at ordering chicken fingers, cheeseburgers and baby back ribs. That all changed with a Mexican Meatloaf!

One year he spent spring break in Tulsa with his roommate’s family. Being a guest at someone’s home means eating what they serve, so there was no way to avoid the spicy meatloaf, peppers and all. And there the love affair with “flavor that kicks me in the mouth” began! I was shocked one evening to hear that the meal I served needed more spice. Who was this child?

I’d been wanting to try a Mexican Meatloaf. This recipe looked good and pretty easy, so the next time I wanted to send dinner home with The Pretty One, I surprised him with my version of a Mexican Meatloaf. The recipe calls for ground beef, but I used part ground beef and part ground pork. I think you could use any combination of ground meats that you want. If I was making it for myself, I’d probably use ground turkey. I think I’ll give it a bit more zip next time by using fresh jalapeno peppers instead of canned green chilies. Click for recipe.

The Pretty One stopped by tonight to pick up a batch of chili. And some money, of course.  😉  It was the first chance I had to ask what he thought about the Mexican Meatloaf. Rave reviews! He loved it!

He especially liked the picante sauce on top, and said he ate it all in 2 meals. Sheesh – a whole meatloaf in 2 meals? I guess he did like it!

So like chili (his favorite) and the Chicken Alfredo & Rice Casserole, I’ll be adding this to the Mama Love rotation.

Mama Love: Mexican Meatloaf

From Food.com

Stuff you need:
1 1/2 pounds ground beef [or any combination of ground meats. I used 1# ground beef + 1/2# ground pork.]
3/4 cup mild picante sauce [I used medium. Use whatever spiciness you prefer.]
1 (4 ounce) cans diced green chilies, drained [Next time I’ll use fresh jalapeno peppers for more heat.]
1/2 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 -2 teaspoons chili powder (to your preference)
1 teaspoon salt

Picante sauce [Whatever spice level you prefer.]
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese or 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese [I used a shredded Mexican blend]

Garnishes
Sour cream
Chopped cilantro
Additional picante sauce

Now what?
Combine first 9 ingredients and place in lightly greased loaf pan.
Bake at 375 for 40 minutes or until done.
During last 10 minutes of baking, spoon desired amount of picante sauce over loaf and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until meatloaf is done.
Garnish with sour cream, cilantro or picante sauce, if desired.

 

Let’s see… Chocolate chips, pretzels and peanut butter chips all smooshed together in a bar cookie? Yep, I’ve gotta try it!

Easy to make and even easier to eat, these bars are basically a variation on a blondie. They’re not too sweet, so you can easily eat more than one. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, so you decide for yourself! For me, they were more of a subtle addiction than an immediate obsession.

You can easily kick up the chocolate chip quantity in this recipe, stir in some peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, or chopped nuts if you want to. The more stuff you add, the chubbier the hubby, I think! Someone suggested we should skip the Chubby Hubby name and call them Fat Boys instead. Try them and see which name works best for your household! Click for recipe.

These don’t take much time to throw together, and will travel well if you’re going on a road trip or to pot luck.

I made this soup in response to cravings for a hearty vegetable soup. I know I’m not usually a veggie advocate, but I do like a good vegetable-based soup.

The flavor of this soup was just what I was looking for – hearty, tomato based, and well-balanced with the spices in it. I made this while I was trying to cut my meat consumption, so I cut the meat in half and doubled the beans. You could easily add more vegetables such as green beans for even more veggie goodness. Click for recipe.

A sprinkling of parmesan cheese tops this off nicely. Serve it with some crusty bread from the bakery department at the grocery store, and it’s a nice, hearty meal on a chilly day!

Honey Peach Pecan Pork Roast

I was so excited to make this pork roast for my family, and it did not disappoint!

Pork is mild and lends itself well to a wide range of accompanying flavors from subtle to bold, sweet to spicy. Fruits, especially peaches, are a great complement to pork, and the Peach Jalapeno Sauce adds just enough heat to keep the sweetness from being overwhelming.

This is a wonderfully tender pork roast that is fancy enough for a special meal, yet easy enough for a “regular” dinner.  After pulling it out of the oven, my son-in-law asked for a knife to slice it — only to find that the meat was so tender it shredded with very little effort!

It doesn’t require many ingredients, and I thought it was easy to make. Pop it in the crock pot for 3-4 hours, put it in a roasting pan, spread on the preserve mixture and bake. While the roast is in the oven, heat up the Peach Jalapeno Sauce to serve on the side. Click for recipe.

We had some leftovers but not much, and The Pretty One quickly claimed those to take back to school. If I want leftovers next time, I’ll either use a larger roast or invite fewer people! I’ll also make a zippier sauce by adding more jalapenos. Or, since I love fresh ginger so much, I might sub freshly grated ginger for the jalapenos. Yep, Ginger Peach Sauce sounds like a winner!

 

Honey Peach Pecan Pork Roast

Adapted from CopyKat Recipes

Stuff you need:
1 medium to large pork roast or tenderloin [I used a 4 pound pork roast.]
4 C water (or enough to just cover meat) plus 1 chicken bouillon cube per cup of water OR 4 cups chicken broth
1/2 large onion (or 1 whole small onion)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp thyme
2 C peach preserves, divided
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. Real Lemon juice
1/2 C chopped pecans
1 Tablespoon chopped jalapenos or freshly grated ginger (optional)

Now what?
Place pork roast in crock pot and add enough water + bouillon or chicken stock to just cover meat.

Peel and chop garlic and onion and add to broth. Add thyme.

Set crock pot to high and allow to cook for no less than 3 hours (longer if meat is still frozen).

Remove meat to appropriately-sized baking dish. Add approximately 1/4 inch of broth. Keep the rest to serve on the side and use a little to keep the leftovers moist in the frig. Mix the honey, 1 cup peach preserves and lemon juice and cover top of meat using a basting brush. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until glaze begins to crystallize, being careful not to overcook. Since the roast is fully cooked in the crock pot, only bake until the glaze begins to form a crust.

Remove from oven, let rest for 10-15 minutes, then slice. [My roast was so tender it shredded instead of sliced!]

Serve with Peach Jalapeno sauce or make gravy with the leftover broth.

Peach Jalapeno Sauce
Simmer 1 cup peach preserves with 1 Tablespoon chopped jalapenos. Stir often for 3-5 minutes. Taste and add more jalapenos for more heat. [I used jarred jalapenos but think fresh would have more of a kick.]

 

 

The Pretty One wants an ice cream cake for his birthday and I don’t have any room in the freezer. So…it’s time to clean it out. The choice was bananas or blueberries – I have way too much of both in there.

I toss aging bananas in the freezer. I simply can’t throw them away. I have no idea how many are in there; I just know that I must keep them for later use! In fact, right now there’s a banana on my desk that should be perfect for freezing when I get back to the office. I can’t wait.   

Yesterday I ran across a recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies. Click for recipe. I’ve made banana bars, banana bread, banana muffins and banana cheesecake but I’ve never made or eaten banana cookies, so that swayed my decision to clean some bananas out of the freezer.  

These cookies are addictive! Trust me, I’ve had several – but all in the interests of taste testing, of course.  The banana flavor is present but not overpowering. The cookies are very moist, and the texture is soft, light and pillowy. They’d make as good a breakfast as dessert  — think oatmeal, bananas and nuts, but easier to eat while driving.

I took most of the batch to the dojo this morning because I was afraid I’d eat them all myself! Someone described them as “like little banana muffins” and someone else told me to put them away so he wouldn’t eat any more. All who tasted them had good things to say, so I’m calling them a success!

My freezer is still too full. I’ve got more bananas hiding in there, but maybe tomorrow I’ll clean out some of those blueberries.

This mama loves her boy and loves to cook for him! I’m lucky he lives close enough to stop by once or twice a week; it keeps me from missing him too much.

I like to send The Pretty One back to school with things he can heat up for dinner. He cooks for himself, but as a student athlete he doesn’t have the time or the desire to experiment a lot. Without cooking experience it’s difficult to branch out too much, so his menu is fairly limited. He’s trying, though and I think he’ll end up being a pretty good cook. He was raised by professional cooks, so maybe a little of that rubbed off.

I make things he can’t or won’t make for himself, and things that have a different flavor profile from his usual repertoire. Translation: I don’t make burgers, brats or spaghetti for him.

The Pretty One loves Alfredo sauce, rice and peas, so when I found this recipe I couldn’t wait to make it for him. It does require some prep work — it calls for cooked chicken and cooked rice — but that can be done in advance. I cooked the chicken and rice in the morning, then threw the casserole together and baked it in the evening. Click for recipe.

Ready for the oven!

Like most entrees, this recipe can be adjusted to your taste. I left the peppers and nuts out of the original recipe because I didn’t think they’d be welcome. I didn’t have any basil (What? I love basil!) so I used Italian seasoning. We like peas, but you could substitute broccoli or some other veggie if you prefer. I used brown rice but white or wild rice could also be used. Instead of breadcrumbs on the top, I used crushed corn flakes for a little crunch and topped that with minced garlic for extra pop. I really like ham, peas and Alfredo sauce together so next time I’m going to substitute ham for the chicken.

How did it turn out? I asked The Pretty One tonight. He had a complaint — there wasn’t enough. He wants more. He said it was really good and he ate it within 24 hours. I agree – it did taste good! I had to try a spoonful myself. How else would I know if it was any good? And I had to break into the casserole so I could show you what it looked like, right?

This dish is a keeper. I’ll be making it again, but it sounds like I’ll be doubling the recipe next time!