Monday, April 30, 2012

Cheap Eats >> Asian Orange-Glazed Drumsticks

Cheap Eats >>
Asian Orange-Glazed Drumsticks

Hands-On Time: 7 minutes
Total Time:  40 minutes

1/2  Cup  Orange Marmalade
1  teaspoon  Chili-Garlic Sauce (found in the Asian section of the grocery)
1  Dozen  Chicken Drumsticks, skin on
Salt and Black Pepper

Heat oven to 400*.  In a small bowl, mix the Marmalade and Chili-Garlic Sauce.

Season the Drumsticks with Salt and Pepper.  Roast on a foil-lined baking sheet for 20 minutes.  Baste with half of the Marmalade/Chili-Garlic Sauce.  Continue roasting until Drumsticks are cooked through, about 20 minutes longer.  Top with the remaining Marmalade mixture the last 5 minutes of roasting.

Serve with Green Beans and Cornbread Muffins.

Serves 6.

Don't balk at purchasing a bottle of the Chili-Garlic sauce when only 1 teaspoon is needed--stir it into BBQ sauces to jazz them up a bit, or add to your soy-based marinades, or top your broiled Salmon with it, or, or, well, there's a lot of ways to use it up!

I fixed this Friday night for supper.  When the Little One ran in to take her place at the table and saw this, she exclaimed, "Oh, CHICKEN BONES!"  At her age I guess that she thinks that she "has arrived" when she is the one who gets to have the bone on her plate--the ultimate status symbol!  She ate two drumsticks--more than me.  If you'd like this to be a little spicier, you can add more Chili-Garlic to the Marmalade or skin the Drumsticks before roasting.

Adapted from Real Simple magazine, October 2009.

Friday, April 27, 2012

100th Post: Shrimp & Grits

Wow!  I can't believe that this is my 100th post!  I think I started posting last May, so that makes an average of about 2 posts per week.  Just a few questions for you:

How many of these recipes have you actually prepared?

Did you enjoy them?  Or not so much?

Were they easy to follow: too detailed? or not detailed enough?

How did you find this site?  Do you follow regularly by email or do you just pop by occasionally?

And finally:  Have you shared this site or any recipes with your friends?

I know that there are a lot of people from all over the world who read this--Would you mind leaving a comment answering a question or two with your first name and country?
I have to admit that I'm awfully curious about my reader base and if this blog has been valuable to you--maybe it is just providing me with a method "stress relief"!  :)

Shrimp & Grits

For the Shrimp:
1/2  lb  thick-cut Bacon Slices, in 1/2-inch dice, fried until crispy, fat reserved
2  lb  large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 to 4  Tablespoons  Flour
1/3  lb  White Mushrooms, sliced  (You know I don't like mushrooms--I substitute with more Bell Pepper or a mix of Bell Pepper and finely diced Celery and White Onion, about 1/2 to 3/4 Cup)
1/3  Cup  Bell Pepper
3  Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4  Cup  sliced Green Onions, white and light green portions
2 to 3  Roma Tomatoes, diced
1/3  Cup  Chicken Broth
2  Tablespoons  Fresh Lemon Juice
1 1/2  teaspoons  Tabasco Sauce

Fry the Bacon in a large pan, drain off and reserve fat; set Bacon aside until later.

Pat the Shrimp Dry, place in a medium work bowl.  Season Shrimp with Salt and Pepper and toss with Flour, using just enough to coat evenly.

Return 2 Tablespoons Bacon fat to the fry pan.  Over medium heat, working in batches, brown Shrimp until almost cooked through, about two minutes per batch.  Use additional Bacon fat as needed.  Transfer Shrimps to plate and cover.

Return pan to medium-high heat; heat 2  Tablespoons Bacon fat.  Add Mushrooms, Bell Pepper, Garlic, Salt, and Pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Add Shrimp and any juices and all remaining ingredients.  Cook, stirring frequently, until Shrimp are opaque, 2 to 3 minutes.

Divide the Grits among 6 bowls; top with Shrimp mixture.  Serve immediately to 6 hungry people.

For the Cheese Grits:
2  Cups  Chicken Broth
1  Cup  Milk
2  Cups  Grits
1-2  Cups  Sharp Cheddar Cheese, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste

In a 4-qt pan, heat the Chicken Broth to almost boiling.  Stir in the Milk.  Slowly and carefully pour in the Grits in a steady stream, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to medium/medium-low and cook, stirring often, until the Grits are softened, between 5 to 10 minutes.  You may need to add in up to 1 Cup Broth more to reach desired consistency (we like our Grits on the creamier side).  Remove from heat, stir in Cheddar Cheese to taste.  Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.  Portion into 6 bowls and top with Shrimp mixture.

This has to be the Ultimate Southern Comfort food--creamy, spicy, yummy!  If you don't mind doing a little prep work, this makes a very easy dinner for Sunday after Church.  On Saturday, peel the Shrimp, cover and refrigerate it; dice the Bacon and Veggies and store in little covered bowls or zip-top baggies in the fridge.  If the prep work is done ahead, this can be on the table in about 30 minutes.  I'll admit, though, that I don't usually get the prep work done ahead of time.  I'll usually tell the family what the menu is on the way home from Church and assign everyone their jobs:  the Girls set the Table, the Boys and Daddy peel the Shrimp, and I'll dice the Veggies.  This is such a favorite (and we don't have it too often, so it's extra-special) that everyone doesn't mind pitching in.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cream Sauce for Steak with Garlic and Blue Cheese

Cream Sauce for Steak
with Garlic and Blue Cheese

Last Saturday my Husband got our gas grill going and I've been having fun learning how to grill with gas instead of charcoal.  We very rarely have steak, but I had found some 'reduced-for-quick-sale' New York Steak at Target a while back and had put them in the freezer, longing for warmer weather.

(As an aside--I really like the beef at Target.  It is Angus beef; we think it has a much better flavor than that at, ahem, the discount grocery I usually shop at.  Whenever I'm in Target I'll blitz through the grocery section looking for any meat which has been marked down.  Pop it in the freezer and presto! a tasty meal at a much cheaper cost.  End of aside.)

Anyway, back on track now:  I grilled the Steak with Carl's Prime Rib & Roast Seasoning and Black Pepper.  Love that Carl's stuff--I primarily use it on Chuck Roast and Tri-Tip and find that I don't need to add anything else to it.

We topped the Steak with this yummy Cream Sauce.  I found the recipe in a Simple & Delicious, May-June 2006 and modified it slightly.  Enjoy!

Cream Sauce for Steak

4  oz.  Cream Cheese, softened
1/4  Cup  Milk
2  Tablespoons  Butter, softened
1/4  teaspoon  Black Pepper
Tiny Dash  Cayenne Pepper
1/4  Cup  crumbled Blue Cheese
3 to 6  Garlic Cloves, crushed, use to taste

Using a hand mixer or immersion blender, blend together the Cream Cheese, Milk, Butter, and Peppers until smooth.  Stir in Blue Cheese and Garlic.  Serve over hot Steak.  Makes about 3/4 Cup.

Not everyone here likes Blue Cheese and Garlic, so I place them in little bowls and we each add what we want to the top of our Steak.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sherry Cake

Sherry Cake

1  16-oz box  Yellow Cake Mix
1  3.4-oz box  Instant Vanilla Pudding
4  Eggs
3/4  Cup  Sherry Wine
3/4  Cup  Canola Oil
1  teaspoon  Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350*.  Mix all ingredients together for 5 minutes.  Pour into a well-greased Bundt pan.  Bake for 45-55 minutes or until cake tests done.  Cool for 5 minutes, invert onto serving plate.  Dust with Powdered Sugar.  Serves 16.

An old recipe, but still a good recipe!  So yummy with the first juicy Strawberries of Spring and a big dollop of Whipped Cream.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Colorful Kielbasa

This is a quick and easy skillet meal.  I clipped it from a Quick Cooking magazine more than six years ago.  It is ready in about 40 minutes and serves 4 to 6 adults.

Colorful Kielbasa

1  10 3/4-oz.  Cream of Celery Soup
1 1/2  Cups  Water
1  Tablespoon  Butter
1  14-16 oz pkg.  Kielbasa, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1  10-oz. pkg.  Frozen Peas
1  4.5-oz jar  Sliced Mushrooms, drained
1  Cup  Shredded Cheddar Cheese
3/4  Cup  Long Grain Rice, uncooked

In a large skillet, combine undiluted Cream of Celery Soup, Water, and Butter; bring to a boil.  Add Kielbasa and Rice; stir.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 18 to 20 minutes or until Rice is almost tender.  Stir in Peas and Mushrooms.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until Rice is tender and Peas are cooked through.  Sprinkle with Cheddar Cheese; cover and let stand until Cheese is melted.  Serve to a hungry family.

As you know, I don't like mushrooms.  I omit them and use a 1-lb. bag of frozen Peas or Peas & Carrots.  Yummy!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sour Cream Lemon Pie

Sour Cream Lemon Pie

1  baked  Pie Shell
1  Cup  Sugar
3 1/2  Tablespoons  Cornstarch
1/2  Cup  Lemon Juice
3  Egg Yolks, slightly beaten
1  Cup  Milk
1/4  Cup  Butter
1  Cup  Sour Cream
1  Cup  Whipping Cream, whipped
Lemon Slices or Zest for garnish

Cook Sugar, Cornstarch, Lemon Juice, Egg Yolks, and Milk in heavy saucepan over medium heat until thick.  Stir in Butter, then cool to room temperature.  Beat in Sour Cream well, pour into baked Pie Shell.  Top with Whipped Cream.  Garnish with Lemon Slices or Zest.  Serves 8.  Refrigerate leftovers, if there are any.  This freezes well; just top with Whipped Cream after thawing.

This is my go-to pie.  It's quick and easy and I usually have all the ingredients on hand.  From the "Bountiful Blessings" cookbook.

Here is my favorite Pie Crust Recipe.  I adapted it from Williams-Sonoma "Pies & Tarts" cookbook.

For a 9-inch Double-Crust Pie:
2 1/4  Cups  Flour
3/4  teaspoon  Salt
1/2  Cup  Vegetable Shortening
1/4  Cup  Butter, softened
6-7  Tablespoons  Cold Water, more or less

Combine the Flour and Salt in a mixing bowl and toss together.  Drop in the Shortening and Butter.  With your fingertips, two knives, or a pastry blender, blend everything together, working quickly, until you have a mixture of tiny, irregular flakes and bits about the size of coarse bread crumbs.  Sprinkle in the Water, one tablespoon at a time, stirring gently until a rough mass forms.  Use only enough water to make to dough clump together; you may not need it all or you may need more, depending on the humidity of the day.  With floured hands, pat the dough into two smooth cakes, one slightly larger than the other.  The dough is now ready to be rolled out for use--it is not necessary to chill this dough.  You may also tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two days.

When making a pre-baked Pie Shell, I bake at 425* for 8-12 minutes.  I have found that letting the formed, unbaked shell rest on the counter for an hour or so before baking helps to reduce shrinking.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Tart with Mixed Fruit

Spring Tart
with Mixed Fruit

This is a lovely fresh dessert for Spring; however, it takes a bit of planning ahead.  I'll give you the instructions in four steps:  Making the Frozen Bananas, Baking the Puff Pastry, Assembling the Tart base, and Serving it; read through the instructions completely before beginning.  One of the best things about this Tart is that steps One through Three can be completed up to a week before serving--it is stored in the freezer until Serving!

For the Frozen Banana "Ice Cream" you will need:
6 to 7  Bananas
1  teaspoon  Vanilla

Slice the Bananas into coins and freeze until firm; one to two hours or overnight.  When the Bananas are firm,  blend the Bananas in a food processor, working in two batches if necessary (keep Bananas frozen until you are ready to use).  Blending these Bananas is a unique experience--you will quite literally think "This is not working!!!"  Perseverance, my friend.  Here's how you'll do it:  Fit your food processor with the sharp lower blade and turn it on.  Then, drop the frozen Bananas through the feed tube in the top.  The Bananas with process to very small granules.  Add in the Vanilla.  At this point you will need to remove the lid, pack the Bananas firmly onto the bottom of the processor, and blend it again.  Repeat this several times until the Bananas finally clump together into a mass of mock "Ice Cream" or whipped Bananas.  It may take up to 10 minutes of blending, packing, and repeating--if your Bananas are not firmly frozen it could take longer.  For a photo tutorial of this, click on this link from the kitchn.

For the Puff Pastry you will need:
1  16- to 17-oz. box  Frozen Puff Pastry (I used Pepperidge Farms brand)
1  large  Egg, beaten and thinned with 1 Tablespoon Water
3  Tablespoons  Raw Sugar

Thaw Puff Pastry according to package directions.
Heat oven to 375*.  Gently unfold the Puff Pastry onto two pieces of parchment paper.  Roll each Puff Pastry into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle; transfer on parchment to baking sheets.
Using the tip of a knife, score a 1-inch border around the outer edges of each Pastry, taking care not to cut completely through the Pastry.  Brush the border with Beaten Egg and sprinkle with Raw Sugar.  Bake until golden and puffed, 18 to 22 minutes.
Cool Puff Pastry for 5 minutes, then re-score the border.  Gently flatten down the center portion of the pastry.  Cool completely.

To Assemble:
Gently spread the Banana "Ice Cream" into the center of the Puff Pastries.  Store on baking sheets in the freezer for up to one week.

To Serve:
Combine your favorite diced Mixed Fruit; I used Strawberries, Kiwi, Mango, and Blackberries.
Cut each Puff Pastry into 8 pieces.  Plate the Pastry and top with mixed fruit. Dust with Powdered Sugar and serve.
Serves 16. 

Now, if you don't have a food processor to make the Banana "Ice Cream" in, here is a recipe for a Cream Cheese base to use as a substitute.  This filling is not overly sweet; it really lets the Mixed Fruit shine.  I have not tried to freeze this filling--have only assembled and served it.  If you freeze it successfully, let me know.

Cream Cheese Filling
8  oz  Cream Cheese
1/2  Cup  Heavy Whipping Cream--NO SUBSTITUTES!!
1/4  Cup  Powdered Sugar
1  teaspoon  Lemon Zest.

Beat the Cream Cheese until smooth.  Add in remaining ingredients, beat until smooth.  Spoon into the center of the Spring Tart, top with Mixed Fruit, cut and serve.

Recipe for the Cream Cheese Filling from Real Simple.