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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rice Salad with Tuna & Shrimp in Tomato Cups

1 cup rice
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 lb medium shrimp
6 oz tuna, cooked and cut into chunks
1 small cucumber, seeded, diced
1 1/2 tbs capers
1/4 cup mayo
2 tbs lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp basil
10 black olives, chopped
Cherry tomatoes

Cook rice. Add oil. Set aside. Steam shrimp and cut into small chunks. Combine rice, shrimp, cucumber, tuna and capers. In a small bowl, combine mayo, lemon juice, garlic, basil, black olives and salt & pepper to taste. **Toss the dressing and the rice mixture to mix.
Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the insides with a small measuring spoon. Lightly salt the inside of the tomatoes and place upside down on paper towels. By the time you finish with this process, you can start stuffing the first you cut. Serve cold or at room temp.
**Taste the dressing before you pour it in the rice mixture and adjust your seasonings.
You can always change this up... you could cut up the tomatoes and add them to the salad and serve as an entree...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pimento-less Cheese

I found out a long time ago that I cannot eat bell peppers of any kind. Even the smell brings on a level of heartburn that is miserable. I do however, love the flavor of a lot of the dishes that contain them. I have had to re-invent recipes to satisfy my craving for these dishes. Lately, I've seen many recipes for pimento cheese and read the raves on the wonderful tastes. So... I decided to make a pimento-less or 'mock' pimento cheese spread. I think it turned out really well! However, if you are a die hard pimento fan... add it in and you'll be very pleased!

2 cups cheddar cheese
8oz cream cheese
2 T sour cream
1 tsp lemon juice
4 cloves roasted garlic
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt

Cream cheese goes in...
This recipe gave me a chance to use my new Cruisinart
PowerBlend Duet... "free" from the Pig!
"Free" means they made me pay the taxes on it :-(

The roasted garlic left over from
the chicken night before last.

Add the garlic, cheese, sour cream, lemon and seasonings...

Process until well combined...

I toasted it and made a sandwich!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chicken and Baby Red Potatoes with Roasted Garlic

So... I had finally gotten straight in my head what I wanted to say in the blog today, and the power goes out for 2 hours! Replaced in my head was: How am I going to get all this stuff done today, and I can't even take a shower? Well, the power came back on and I'm only short two hours. I did manage to check and answer my emails and putter around doing little things here and there. Unfortunately, the golden nuggets of wisdom that were supposed to pour out onto the page this morning are apparently gone forever. Alas all I have for you are a few tips and the recipe... Enjoy!

This recipe feeds a large family... or 5 hungry large men :-)

5 lb pkg Chicken leg quarters (10 pieces)
2 lbs (or 10) baby red potatoes, quartered
3 heads of garlic*, halved
1 pkg pearl onions, or a large onion rough chopped
1 stick butter
garlic powder
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
I used a large buffet pan so I don't crowd the chicken; and it browns well. If you don't have one, just use two large casserole dishes. Loosen the skin on the leg quarters and insert a couple of pats of butter under the skin. This allows the skin to 'fry' in the butter and get very crispy and golden brown. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss in the onion and potatoes, but try to place them to the sides of the chicken so the skin can brown. Bake for about an hour.

*Use whole garlic heads, not cloves. Halve them and throw them in the pan. The cloves will roast nicely and the skins will fall away. They are easy to discard. Toast some nice french bread and spread with the roasted garlic as a wonderful side to this hearty meal.

You can also add any vegetables you want... mushrooms, carrots, squash. What ever you have available. Also if the dish sounds a little fatty, add a few splashes of lemon juice to lighten and brighten the flavors. As always, these are more like suggestions than recipes... Go Wild!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vanilla Mousse Cheesecake

Another yummy and oh so easy cheesecake!

3 - 8oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 graham cracker pie crust

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs one at a time. Pour over crust. Bake for 50 - 55 minutes or until center is almost set. Let cool completely.

Vanilla Topping:
1 - 8oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 - 8oz whipped topping

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over cooled cheesecake and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Pizza Pasta

This is a wonderful dish to serve to a crowd. It goes a long way and is very filling. It's also a good way to get the kids to eat pasta. By adding the pepperoni and cheese, the kids will recognize that great pizza flavor. As with all my recipes, the choices are endless. Add your favorite pizza toppings and make it a Supreme Pizza Pasta! Serve it with a side salad of your choice and a big chunk of garlic bread! Yum!

1 lb rotini pasta
1 1/2 lbs ground chuck
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 28oz jars spaghetti sauce (your favorite brand)
1 pkg pepperoni
2 cups mozzarella cheese
parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook Pasta. Brown hamburger with onion and pepperoni and drain. Combine beef mixture, pasta and sauce. Pour into a casserole dish. Top with mozzarella and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cheeseburger Soup... Version II

If you have been following my blog here on Southern With A Twist, you know that I don't always follow recipes to the letter. I don't even make the same recipe the same way each time. I like to experiment and see if I can make a good recipe better. Well, last night, I got a thumbs up on the recipe I came up with last week... Cheeseburger Soup! I not only got a thumbs up, but I got "I like this one better than the one last week!" This recipe gives you a little more volume to the soup also.
So I decided to give you the updated version, and you decide which one you like best!

2 T butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups beef stock
1 cup milk
16 oz Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 lb hamburger
2-3 T flour
lettuce & tomato, largely chopped

Saute the onions in butter until translucent. Add 2 cups beef stock and 1 cup milk. Add cubed Velveeta and stir until melted. Cook hamburger. Add about 2 - 3 tablespoons of flour to the hamburger. (This will make a slurry when the flour combines with the fat off of the hamburger.) Add the hamburger mixture to the soup. Bring soup up to a high simmer. If the soup is too thick, add a little more stock. When ready to serve, throw a handful of lettuce and tomato in a bowl and top with several spoonfuls of soup. Cheeseburger in a bowl!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cheeseburger Soup

I was watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and saw Guy Fieri ask the owner/cook at Grover's Bar and Grill in East Amherst, N.Y. to show him how they make their Cheeseburger Soup. Of course, they walk you though it very quickly and don't give you all the measurements. I'm not even sure they give you the entire recipe. I was determined to try and replicate the dish and see if it is as Guy said, "Liquid Cheeseburger in a Bowl"!
This is the note I quickly scribbled
while watching the show...

It is so easy and so simple. I thought, "This can't taste THAT good!" Boy, oh boy! It really is "liquid cheeseburger in a bowl"! So, here's the recipe!

2 T butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups beef stock
16 oz Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 lb hamburger, cooked and drained
lettuce & tomato, largely chopped

Saute the onions in butter until translucent. Add 2 cups beef stock. Add cubed Velveeta and stir until melted. Add hamburger. When ready to serve, throw a handful of lettuce and tomato in a bowl and top with several spoonfuls of soup. Cheeseburger in a bowl!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mama's Coconut Cake

Deluxe Yellow Cake Mix, prepared
in 3 cake pans for 3 layer cake
Coconut Amaretto

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup flaked, sweetened coconut

1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 (8-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.

Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Divide batter between the 3 pans. Bake at 350 for recommended time. While cake is baking, prepare filling. Stir together sugar, sour cream, milk, and coconut in a bowl until well blended.

When done remove cake from pans and cool on wire racks. Trim tops of 2 of the layers to flatten. These are the bottom and middle of the cake. Before assembling, sprinkle the cake tops with Coconut Amaretto.

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).

To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with filling. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and spread with filling. top with the third layer and frost the top and the sided. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.

Sauteed Mushrooms

If you like the steakhouse side of sauteed mushrooms,
you'll love these even more!!!

Start out with about a half pound of your favorite mushrooms.
Remember that they cook down. If you want a lot, use a pound!

Clean them with a damp cloth and slice thin.

All sliced!

What you need:
1/2 pound mushrooms
1 or 2 T of butter
fresh garlic or garlic powder to taste
a few shakes of soy sauce or to taste
couple of shakes of pepper... no salt!!!

Melt butter and toss in mushrooms and garlic...

Add in a few shakes of soy sauce and let the
mushrooms cook down until they get a little color.
Ta - Da!!! Very Yummy! Take that Logan's!!!

I baked some pork chops in a little oil and coated them
with a mixture of ranch and greek seasonings.

I took the pan drippings and made a sauce. I made a rue
of 1 T each of butter and flour; added the drippings, a few
shakes of lemon and some water, then reduced it a little.
To finish the sauce, I added another teaspoon of butter.

Added the chops back to soak up some sauce.

Made some taters to go along with the chops. These were
boiled in a brine of salt, pepper and some spices.

Finished plate... chops with sauce and topped with
Sauteed Mushrooms and a potato with a pat of
butter along side!
I apologize that the pictures are too yellow. My camera is still on the fritz! I hope to have it back soon!!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Beef Enchiladas

This is another recipe that I changed up for my son. He doesn't like the corn tortillas, so I use the flour tortillas. Technically, these are burritos in enchilada sauce. You can correct the recipe and use corn tortillas if you like.

1 pkg 10-inch flour tortillas
1 1/2 lb hamburger
1 med. onion, chopped
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
1 (4 oz.) can chopped mild green chiles
1 (8 oz.) pkg (2 cups) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded Colby cheese
2 cups milk
2 tsp cornstarch
1 (10 oz.) can mild enchilada sauce

Wrap the tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave on a plate for about 30 seconds or until it will bend and not break. Cook ground beef and onion, drain. Add refried beans, green chiles with liquid, and 1 cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Heat until blended, remove from heat. Spoon about 1/3 cup meat mixture in lengthwise strip on center of each tortilla; roll up jelly roll fashion, place seam side down in large baking pan. Stir milk and cornstarch until smooth. Pour into a medium sauce pan. Cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens slightly. Add enchilada sauce and remaining 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese. Cook, stirring until smooth. Pour over tortillas, sprinkle yellow cheese over top and bake at 350 degrees approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with garnishes of tomato dices, shredded lettuce, olives and sour cream.

Pork Chop Scallopini

This is another one of those recipes that you can play with. Traditionally, this is made with veal, but you can make it with pork, chicken, turkey or venison. Basically it can be done with any meat or poultry that can be pounded thin. You can also play with the spices. I love garlic so I add garlic powder to the flour. I also like some lemon incorporated, so I substitute lemon pepper for the pepper. I also add a touch of lemon to the sauce. If you have followed my blog or read some of my recipe posts. You know that I never follow recipes to the letter and I hardly ever cook something the same each time. Recipes are suggestions! So, play with your food today!!!

2 boneless pork chops
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

Flatten cutlets to 1/8-in. thickness.
In a resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Add chops; seal bag and shake to coat evenly. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons butter and oil. Add chops; cook over medium heat for about 1 minute on each side or until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm.

Add mushrooms to skillet; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Spoon over chops. Stir broth into skillet, stirring up any browned bits. Add parsley and remaining butter; cook and stir 2 minutes longer or until slightly thickened. Pour over chops and mushrooms.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

BBQ Pork Ribs

Everyone does bar-b-que different. For that matter, everyone spells... BBQ different. If you want some good bbq, but you don't have a big fancy smoker or grill, you can make some good bbq in the oven. In the recipe I use pork spare ribs, but you can use Boston butts, baby back ribs or even a pork loin. Just watch your cooking times and check the internal temperature of the meat.

2 lbs pork spare ribs
liquid smoke
apple cider vinegar
garlic powder
salt & pepper
bbq sauce of your choice

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Coat ribs with a few shakes of liquid smoke and vinegar. Sprinkle garlic, salt and pepper on all sides of the ribs. Place in a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for about 3 hours. Remove foil and cook for about 20 or 30 minutes or until the ribs are golden brown. Slather with sauce and recover with foil and cook another 20 to 30 minutes. Be sure to watch and not let the ribs burn once you put the sauce on them. Most bbq sauces have a good amount of sugar in them and have a tendency to burn if left too long. (I've even burnt bbq sauce in a crock pot and I didn't think that was possible!!!)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cheese Straws

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
In a food processor, add the butter, cheese, flour, salt and cayenne and process until a smooth dough is formed. Scoop it into a cookie press, fitted with a large star tip. Pipe the dough in 2-inch strips onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. If I am making a lot for a catered even, I pipe out long running lines and cut them to the size I want. (Alternatively, refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes and roll on a lightly floured surface into a 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut into smaller rectangles, about 2 by 3-inches, with a pizza wheel or sharp knife.) Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to racks to cool.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Minis or Bars?

These are so easy and so yummy! They are good made into mini cakes or into bars pictured here. I've made them many ways and they are all sooo good. Kids like the idea of having their own 'whole pie'! I like the idea of guests being able to grab a bar and continue to mull about the party. However you like them... give these a try!

2- 8oz pkgs Cream Cheese
2/3 cup Sugar
8oz Whipped Topping
1 cup mini chocolate chips
2 pkgs (6 each) Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crusts

Set cream cheese out until it reaches room temperature. Combine cream cheese and sugar. Beat until smooth. Add whipped topping. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon into a plastic freezer bag and snip one corner with scissors. Pipe into pie crusts. Freeze or refrigerate until firm. Decorate with shaved chocolate, fudge or caramel syrup, if desired.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Southern Whole Hog BBQ

Step one: Build a big fire for everyone to stand around and stare at... This one started out about 7 feet high!

Get a fire going in the barrel to produce the coals...

The Pit

The Pit from a side view

Add more coals to keep the temp right...

A shovel full of coals

Spreading out more coals...

Loosening the meat to pour the sauce in...

Pouring on the sauce...