Monday, November 17, 2014

Basic Chicken Stock


  • Carcass from a roast chicken or about 2 pounds chicken bone, chopped into pieces
  • 3 large carrots, peeled
  • 1 parsnip, peeled
  • 1 large leek, washed
  • 2 onions
  • 1 stalk celery, trimmed
  • Small bunch of parsley
  • Sprig of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 8 cups boiling water


  1. Put the carcass into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  2. Roughly chop all the vegetables and add to the pan together with the herbs and peppercorns.
  3. Pour in the water, bring to a boil, and then remove all the surface sediment with a slotted spoon.
  4. Half cover the pan and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours or until the liquid is reduced by half.
  5. Allow to cool, then leave in the fridge overnight.
  6. Remove any congealed fat from the top in the morning.
  7. Strain the chicken and vegetables to make the stock.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cinnamon Crumb Muffins

2 c. plus ⅓ c. flour, divided
⅔ c. plus ¼ c. sugar, divided
1 ½ t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
¼ t. ground nutmeg
1 c. chunky applesauce
¼ c. milk
¼ c. vegetable oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 t. cinnamon extract
¼ c. butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper baking cups. Set aside. Mix 2 cups flour, ⅔ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg in large bowl. Mix applesauce, milk, oil, egg and cinnamon extract in medium bowl. Add to flour mixture; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  2. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each cup ⅔ full. Mix remaining ⅓ cup flour, remaining ¼ cup sugar and butter. Sprinkle over batter.
  3. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of muffins comes out clean. Serve warm.

Chocolate-Peppermint Layer Cake

1 (18 ¼ -oz.) package dark-chocolate fudge-cake mix
1¼ c. water
½ c. light mayonnaise
¾ c. fat-free egg substitute
¾ t. peppermint extract

2 (12-oz.) container frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Spray 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with nonstick spray.
  2. With an electric mixer on low speed, beat the cake mix, water, mayonnaise, egg substitute, and peppermint extract in a large bowl until blended, about 1 minute.  With the mixer on medium-high speed, beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Spread the batter evenly in the pans.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, 25-30 minutes.  Cool in the pans on a rack 15 minutes.  Remove from the pans and cool completely on the rack.
  3. With a large serrated knife, slice each cake in half horizontally to make a total of 4 layers.
  4. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on a serving plate.  Spread the top with 1 cup of the whipped topping.  Repeat with the remaining 3 layers and whipped topping.

Serves 16

Sunday, August 3, 2014

7UP Biscuits

This is a recipe that has been floating around Facebook.  I ran out of Bisquick and didn't have extra for kneading.  I opted to make drop biscuits instead of cut biscuits.

4 c. Bisquick
1 c. sour cream
1 c. 7UP
1/2 c. melted butter


  1. Mix Bisquick, sour cream and 7UP, dough will be very soft
  2. Knead and fold dough until coated with your baking mix
  3. Pat dough out and cut biscuits using a round biscuit/cookie cutter 
  4. Melt butter in bottom of cookie sheet pan or 9x13 casserole dish
  5. Place biscuits on top of melted butter and bake @ 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until brown

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Tortellini and Zucchini

1 c. uncooked tortellini
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove minced garlic
3 small, or 2 medium zucchini, sliced thin
6 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced thin (optional)
1 - 8oz. can tomato sauce
2 t. Mrs. Dash original seasoning

Cook tortellini according to package directions.
While tortellini is cooking, spray pan with cooking spray and begin cooking onion and garlic over medium heat.
Add sliced zucchini and sprinkle with Mrs. Dash seasoning.
If using mushrooms, add them now.
Stir and continue cooking until vegetables are cooked through, slightly browned.
Add can of tomato sauce and simmer.
Add cooked tortellini and toss until covered with sauce.

I often add diced bell peppers if I have them on hand.
If I am out of Mrs. Dash, I will add Italian Seasoning, Basil, and Oregano.  I don't have exact measurements as I usually just sprinkle them in.

Chicken Zucchini Casserole

1 package (6 oz.) stuffing mix
3/4 c. butter, melted
3 c. diced zucchini
2 c. cubed cooked chicken breast
1 can (10-3/4 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. sour cream

  1. In a large bowl, combine stuffing mix and butter. 
  2. Set aside 1/2 cup for topping. 
  3. Add the zucchini, chicken, soup, carrot, onion and sour cream to the remaining stuffing mixture.
  4. Transfer to a greased 2-qt. baking dish. 
  5. Sprinkle with reserved stuffing mixture. 
  6. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. 
Serves 6

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pork Tamales

Before tackling tamales, keep in mind that they are NOT hard to make, they are TIME CONSUMING.  The process takes hours. That said, they are well worth it.

5 lbs. of pork shoulder/pork butt
2 bay leaves
1 bag of corn husks
1 bag chilies (the green bag @ Fry's seem to be the best)
2-3 cloves garlic
1 t. salt
6 c. Maseca
6 c. chicken broth
2 c. vegetable oil
3 t. baking powder
3 t. salt
Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (optional)
Jalapenos, sliced (optional)

Cooking the Pork:

  1. Put the pork in the crock pot with bay leaves.  
  2. Cook on high, overnight the night before you plan on making your tamales.
  3. The pork is ready when it shreds easily; you should be able to pull the bone out easily.

Soak the Corn Husks:

  1. Fill one side of your clean kitchen sink with cold water.
  2. Clean off any corn silk from the husks and separate them (try not to tear them as you separate them)
  3. Put the corn husks in the cold water.
  4. The husks will tend to float.  I usually weigh them down with a glass measuring cup.  This is not necessary, just a tip I use.
  5. Soak for 30-40 minutes.

Make the Chili Sauce:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Remove the stem from each individual chili and sake out the seeds from the inside.
  3. Once the stems and seeds are removed, put the chilies in the boiling pot of water.
  4. Boil the chilies until they are soft and a bright pink, about 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer the chilies to the blender, add 2-3 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and some of the chili water.
  6. Blend the chili mixture.
  7. Add more chili water if needed.  The goal is to have a nice consistency that is not too thick, yet not too runny.
  8. Pour the chili mixture into a strainer and strain into a bowl.  You may need to take the back of a spoon and force the liquid through.  Straining is not required, but I like my chili sauce smooth and free of the "skin" particles.

Make the Masa Mixture

  1. In a large bowl, mix Maseca, chicken broth, vegetable oil, baking powder, and 3 teaspoons salt.
  2. Stir until everything is well blended.  It should be a nice consistency, not too thin, but not too pasty.  Add more oil if your mixture needs more moisture.

Drain the Corn Husks
  1. Remove the corn husks from the water and shake off any excess water.
  2. Place them on a cookie sheet.

Assemble the Tamales

  1. Line up all of your components:  corn husks, masa mixutre, meat, chili sauce, cheese/jalapenos
  2. Open a single husk with the wide end at the top.  Spread masa on the husk, about 1/4" thick.  There is no need to spread masa all the way down to the point as this will be folded up.
  3. Lay a fair amount of pork along the center (top to bottom) of the masa covered husk.
  4. Spoon 2 or 3 spoonfuls of chili sauce on top of the meat.
  5. Sprinkle a small amount of cheese along the sauce/meat (if using).
  6. Place jalapenos on top of the cheese (if using).  I make about half with jalapenos and half without.  I make sure to put 1 - 2 slices very near the top so the ones with jalapenos are very distinguishable.
  7. Fold the left side over about 2/3 of the way.
  8. Fold the right side over about 2/3 of the way, the masa will help act as a glue to help hold it together.
  9. Fold the bottom up.
  10. Place the folded tamale open end up in your steamer basket.  Note:  initially you may need to place a bowl or something else in your steamer basket to help support the tamales until you have wrapped up enough of them to support each other.  You may also find a way to position your pot and steamer basket at an angle (generally, I have not added any water to the pot at this point).  You do not want the tamales to slide down and lose the contents.
  11. Do not put too many tamales into the steamer basket or they will not cook properly.
  12. Add water to the steamer pot and place it on the stove.
  13. Cover the pot and steamer basket and turn it on high.
  14. Once a good steam is being generated, turn the heat down to medium-low.
  15. Continue steaming for 1 1/2 to 2 hour.
  16. The tamales are done when you open one up and the masa has hardened.  If the masa is still too soft, continue steaming.