Saturday, August 9, 2014

My New Gadget - Victorio Food Strainer

It's canning season again!  Last year I taught myself how to can - I loved it but quickly realized how much work it is!  When tomato season hit, I took the time to blanch the tomatoes, skin them and run them through a small food mill.  It was very time consuming!

This year I thought I would step out and purchase a food strainer.  I found this Victorio food strainer on Amazon for about $60.
It was super easy to put together as well!
I had about 5 pounds of tomatoes.  I washed and quartered them, making sure to remove the stems as well.  After they had been quartered, I put them in the large funnel and turned the crank.  Simple, easy and fast!
The skin and seeds come out one end and the juice and pulp come out the other.  I went through 5 pounds of tomatoes in about 5 minutes!  If you are into canning then I highly recommend this gadget!
Happy canning!

Pineapple Soaked in Amaretto!

 Two simple friend Dawn came over last week and showed me an easy, delicious and fun treat! 
Simply soak the pineapple in the Amaretto.  Refrigerate for a few hours and enjoy! This is a refreshing treat on a hot summer day!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Brown Sugar Bundt Cake

Looking for an easy dessert?  This is it - it is easy to quickly put together when company is coming over. 

Here are the ingredients:

2 sticks butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup Heath Toffee Bits
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

In your mixer, cream together the butter and sugars.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt.  Add, one cup at a time, to the butter/sugar mixture.  Alternate by adding the milk, a little at a time.

Remove the cake mixture from the mixer.  Stir in the Heath toffee bits and 1/2 cup pecans.

Spray your bundt cake with Pam or smear butter on the pan.  Sprinkle some flour in the pan to avoid the cake from sticking.  Add the mixture into the pan.
Bake the cake in a pre-heated oven, 350 degrees.  Bake at that temperature for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees.  Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.

When you remove the cake from the oven, let it cool slightly before removing the cake from the pan.  Put your cake pan on top of the bundt pan and turn it over.  The cake should slide right out.
There is Sierra, photo bombing my blog!

As the cake cools, start the glaze.  Here are the ingredients:

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat up the milk and sugar, stirring constantly.  Melt the butter and remove from the heat.  Stir in the vanilla.  Spoon the glaze over the cake.

Mom's tip:  My mother was watching me spoon the glaze the cake and she told me that back in the day, when people made brown sugar cake, they would poke holes in the cake before spooning the glaze.  That way, the glaze gets into the cake!
Sprinkle the remaining pecans onto the cake.

South of the Border Salad

Salads are not a normal meal in our home, but when I make one, I tend to make this.  I didn't take a lot of pictures while making the salad, but it is easy enough to make without the pics!  The best thing about this salad is that you can add anything you want!

1-2 large chicken breast, boneless
Chipotle rub
1 can black beans, rinsed
2 ears of corn, grilled or 1 can corn
1 bag of lettuce mix
1/4 red onion, sliced
1 tomato sliced
1/2 bag shredded cheddar cheese
1 bottle of southwest ranch salad dressing
Small bag of taco chips

Possible Additional ingredients:
Red/Yellow/Green Pepper

First up - sprinkle the chipotle rub on the chicken and grill until the meat registers 165 degrees.  Let the chicken rest while you assemble the salad.

If you don't want to grill the corn, you can easily open up a can! Assemble all ingredients into the salad and toss with the salad dressing.  Chop up the chicken and add to the salad.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper!

My Pinterest Project!

Moving into the new house is exciting!  Soon enough, though, I had to decide what I was going to do with my blank walls.  Pinterest to the rescue!

In the kitchen I have this huge wall, with not a lot of walk through space between the wall and the cooking island.  My sister Karrie insists I tear the wall out, but I'm not that brave!  Instead I decided to get a little creative and go outside my comfort zone.

I found this great chalk board shelf at Hoods.  Then I went to Home Depot and bought a cheap rectangle trellis.  After spray painting the trellis a soft yellow, Joe hung both up.

 After that, Joe inserted hooks and shelves onto the trellis.  I have lightweight things in the baskets, like measuring cups and spoons.  The hooks allowed me to hang up kitchen utensils.  I added a picture and another shelving unit on the sides.
 What do you think?  I know have extra room in my drawers!  It's different, unique and I can add or adjust anything I want!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Grilled Italiano Burgers

Mmmmm...............this meal is simple and delicious!  A simple twist of the American burger transforms this burger into an Italian classic!  Here are the ingredients:

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground Italian sausage
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt and Pepper
Meat Sauce (see link for recipe)
Provolone cheese
Hamburger buns

Simply mix the first 7 ingredients together and form into hamburgers.  Grill.  Melt cheese on the burger.  Before plating add a tablespoon of sauce on top of the burger.  Place burger on bun.  SIMPLE!!!!!

Seriously, this recipe is easy.  Anyone can do it!  A great meal for your entire family!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mediterranean Chicken

Before my surgery I wanted to create a dish with some of my favorite ingredients - inspired by Mediterranean flavors.  Here are the ingredients:

4 chicken cutlets, pounded thin
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
Olive Oil
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 lemons, juiced and zested
1 tomato, diced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
1/2 cup chicken broth

Pound the chicken out thin.  Salt and pepper the chicken.  Coat in olive oil.  Combine the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Coat the chicken in bread crumbs.

In a sauce pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter and olive oil.  Brown each side of the chicken.  Remove from heat and keep warm.

Add mushrooms, and garlic.  Saute on medium heat 2-3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, 1/2 cup chicken broth, lemon juice and zest.  Add basil and oregano, salt and pepper.  Saute another 2-3 minutes. 
Pour over the chicken.  Add olives and feta.
I served my Mediterranean chicken with couscous.  Enjoy!