A few of the local restaurants have begun serving jalapeño margaritas. They have a great flavor and just warm you up from the inside out. It just so happened that I had an abundance of jalapeños this summer in my little garden! Infusing your own liquor is beyond easy. Just add fruit or, in this case, jalapeños and let it sit for a few days.
I will warn you though! I forgot about one of the jars and went to mix up a batch of margaritas for the guys during a football game the other day. The jar had been sitting with jalepeños in it for a month. It was hotter than anyone could tolerate. And we're pretty tough! So if you don't plan to drink it for a while, just remove the jalepeños after a few days and discard. You'll still have some of the flavor and warmth but it won't set you on fire.
Listen up my friends! Are you buying store bought hummus? If so you have got to try this!
First of all, this is so ridiculously easy. You cannot go wrong. Also, this is so fresh and tasty you will never go back to buying store bought. The secret to fresh homemade hummus is this:
Tahini. It is a sesame paste that resembles the texture of a thinned out peanut butter. You can find it in whole foods stores, or organic sections of most stores. Do you have a local health food store in your rural area? I bet they have it. Once you have this, the rest is easy as pie.
You will need:
One can of garbanzo beans (chick peas) (reserve 2 Tablespoons of fluid)
1/3 cup of tahini
2 cloves, garlic
1 tsp. salt (to taste)
1/3 cup of lemon juice
Process in your food processor. Boom. You're done.
Use the reserved liquid if you need to thin out the hummus. Sometimes you need it- sometimes you don't. Just use your best judgement.
This basic recipe has a lemony zing and garlic zest that you do not quite get in the store bought variety of hummus. That is why this is better. If you want to add other toppings be my guest! You can drizzle infused olive oils on top, you can add fire roasted peppers, toasted pine nuts, pesto, etc. The options are endless.
Enjoy with fresh cut veggies, sea salt pita chips, or my favorite toasted pita bread.
To toast pita bread just cut into bit size wedges, brush with olive oil and warm in the oven.
For my friends who haven't tried hummus.. go try it!
This smoothie is so easy to make and has protein and fiber and is good for you
I know what you're thinking! Yuck. Right? Before you judge though hear me out.
These bananas are frozen. This idea came from my friend Kim, who is full of good ideas and has the sweetest southern drawl you've ever heard.
Every idea Kim has given me so far has turned out to be great.
We go through a lot of bananas and up until recently I'd been throwing out bananas that turned brown and spotty too fast. It's one of the things that bugs me. I buy green bananas and within a couple of days they're bad.
Kim asked me if I was freezing them and I said no. She told me that I am completely missing out! She said to freeze them then when you make a smoothie you've got a nice flavorful frozen banana.
Peeling is easy, she says, if you just run it under warm tap water for a second.
My daughter and I made smoothies yesterday with our frozen bananas. I'm not going to give specific measurements because it really doesn't matter- you can't go wrong. We added skim milk, 2 frozen bananas, a spoon full of peanut butter, a little bit of ice, and blend!
We also added one scoop of vanilla flavored Muscle Milk powder and it was yummy, but if you don't have any protein powder it's not that big of a deal. It will still be great.
So start freezing those nanners instead of throwing them out. And stop feeling guilty for not making banana bread with them.
This is definitely laid back and refreshing! (And good for you!)
Aussie Bites are little muffin looking/cookie tasting treats that are loaded with fiber. They are deceivingly good. They don't look all that appetizing but you would be shocked to know that after you eat one you have a hard time stopping. You think "I'll just eat one" and then before you know it you're reaching for your second, and third muffin.
I bought my first box at Costco with Carrie last weekend in Dallas. I knew if I wanted to have any of these again I needed to figure out this recipe fast since the nearest Costco is either in Kansas City or Dallas and I'm stuck in the middle in Oklahoma.
Here's a photo of the real stuff. As Carrie put two boxes in her cart I was thinking "Really?!" That a box for her and a box for her husband. I certainly didn't want to miss out on something that was that good.
Flash forward a day, and our box is half empty. I was thinking I should have gotten two as well! That's when I knew I had to get to work on replicating these things.
They list the ingredients on the label so you have a basic idea of what's in them. Then I did a google search for existing copycat recipes. They sound similar, but the photo doesn't look like the Aussie bites in the box. Bigger, fluffier, etc.. One of the recipes called for eggs. Eggs? I went back to the box. I decided I was going to try to make them without.
So I went to our local store, and was standing at the back by the little food dispensers getting little bags of dried fruit and nuts. The young employee came by eventually.. "Can I help you ma'am?" In that way that made me wonder if he thought I was standing back there eating. He might has well have said "This isn't a feeding trough ma'am." But I forged ahead. I came away with about 8 little baggies of goodies and came home and started working on these before I even put away all of the other groceries.
Here's what I used:
2 cups of oats
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1/4 cup of flax seed
2/3 cup of brown sugar
3 oz. of coconut
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
1/4 cup of honey
1 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp baking soda
2 T. water
** 1 cup dried fruit
For the fruit I used dried Apricots (that's a must), dried cherries, raisins, dates, apples, figs, or cranberries.
I chopped up the fruit in the food processor and then measured a cup full after they were chopped.
Mix all of the ingredients really well. Place small melon ball sized balls in a mini muffin pan and press into pan. Cook at 350 for 12 minutes. Let cool.
That's it! Super Super easy!!! And my husband said he preferred my Aussie bites to the original. He always says stuff like that to me but this time I really think he meant it. I liked them too and I'm a pretty tough critic.
Cyclone Anaya's is a favorite restaurant of my friends Carrie and Winston. They took us there when we went to market in Dallas. It's named after a famous Mexican wrestler. The restaurant is just as unique as his story. In the Oaklawn section of Dallas, this place is entertaining and the food is great. What I love most about this place, aside from the food, is that it has a customer base that is mostly gay and I love the gay atmosphere. Very friendly and fun. Halloween was a hoot. And that's about all I can say about that. You'll just have to go!
While eating, Carrie and I were having a discussion about Mexican food- what else? We also talked about our favorite dishes. The Chardonnay sauce came up and I fully accepted the challenge of making it. Even though she didn't challenge me. I'm like that. I make up personal challenges.
So back home and one Google search later I came across the very thing I was looking for! An article from a Houston food magazine with Cyclone Anaya's famed chardonnay sauce that goes with the lobster enchiladas. I'm not a fan of lobster, so that didn't matter much to me. But I'll go ahead and re-post the recipe just in case someone out there in cyberspace loves lobster.
I made mine with chicken, cheese, cilantro, and jalapenos . I had planned to make it with shrimp but the grocery store checker forgot to send it home with me. grrr.. As my other friend Kari had suggested spinach would also be a great enchilada combination with this sauce. This sauce is very mild so don't be afraid to kick up the heat on the enchilada filling.
I also wanted to tell you that this recipe calls for 2 cups of Chardonnay. I would tell you to use a bottle that is NOT the cheapest. I generally cook with something I would drink. This bottle was nice. Not too "oaky" or strong. It had a nice mild flavor and was great in the enchiladas. I polished off the rest of the bottle while I was cooking so I would know. haha..
Besides seeing the ingredients you got a nice view of my kitchen counter than is my catch all place. :)
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cups chardonnay wine
2 tablespoons of corn starch
2 tablespoons of water
4 cups of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of salt. (I added more to taste later)
Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook until sweated and lightly browned (about 10 minutes)
Next add the chardonnay and let simmer for 5-10 minutes until the wine is reduced by half.
At this point I was forgetting to take a picture so you'll just have to imagine me sipping wine and stirring and paying no mind to future blogging. Wine drinking and blogging isn't probably a great idea.
Mix the water and cornstarch and set aside for now.
After your wine has reduced by half add the 4 cups of heavy cream. Bring this to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. You'll want to stir or whisk really well during this step. It will begin to thicken slightly.
When the sauce begins to thicken a little add the cornstarch and water mixture and stir well. Continue to cook over low-medium heat until sauce thickens (about 5 minutes) and remove from heat.
As always, grease your pan and pour some of the sauce into the bottom of the pan before you place your enchiladas in the pan. Place enchiladas seam side down and pour remaining mixture over the top. Sprinkle with cheese and green onions to garnish. I added pine nuts (can you see them?) I also like to sprinkle paprika on my enchiladas for a little colorful garnish.
This was yummy! Now for the lobster enchilada filling...
6 T. unsalted butter
2 1/4 lbs of lobster meat
6 garlic cloves
pinch of kosher salt
2 1/4 cups of chardonnay sauce (from above)
12 8" flour tortillas
2 1/4 cup of Mexican grated cheese (I just used extra sharp cheddar mixed with jack)
3 green onions, finely chopped
3 tsp of pine nuts
3/4 cup of cojita cheese, grated (I couldn't find this in my store)
Heat butter in skillet, add lobster and pinch of salt. Cook for 4 minutes and then add 1/2 cup of chardonnay sauce. Remove from heat.
Heat tortilla on flat iron grill and set aside.
Add 1/4 cup of filling to tortilla, roll and place seam side down in pan.
Cover with chardonnay sauce and sprinkle with Mexican white cheese.
Place under broiler until cheese melts.
Sprinkle with green onions, pine nuts, and cojita cheese.
Happy Happy Happy Cooking!
Life is good!
This is another Rib Crib inspired meal.
It is great for a crowd as an appetizer, a quick and easy meal, or a way to use leftovers.
This can be made with chicken, pulled pork, or brisket. For this particular batch I used chicken that I had smoked and had lots of leftover meat.
The ingredients are basically the same as in the bar-t-rito.
Ranch style beans
Sliced jalepeno (in a jar)
Line a cooking sheet with foil and get busy layering!
Heat until melted.
This drink is pure perfection. It is frozen margarita and sangria. I've spent many years working on researching this. (Ie. drinking swirls in restaurants whenever I can.)
One of the reasons I love this combination is that the red wine cuts the sweetness and tartness of the margarita. It just works.
In most places when you order a swirl it comes out of a machine and the sangria has the same frozen slushy consistency as the frozen margarita. I've discovered you really don't need for the sangria to be frozen in order to make the perfect swirl.
Here are the ingredients:
Tequila of your choice
Frozen limeaid concentrate
In a blender add the entire can of the frozen limeaid concentrate.
Then fill the can with tequila and add to blender.
Fill the can halfway with Grand Marnier and then top off can with triple sec.
Then add ice to blender and mix away!
The rest is easy! Just add sangria to the bottom of your glass. Then pour in your frozen margarita.
I just want to tell you that I firmly believe the liquor you choose will make 100% of the difference in the outcome.
I am a tequila snob but when it comes to frozen margaritas expensive does not mean better. Cuervo Gold is my choice for frozen margaritas. I also believe this sangria is the best. Cruz Garcia imported from Spain is the best in my book.
This sangria packs a punch but doesn't taste as if its loaded with liquor. You'll have to try this! I wouldn't lead you astray!!!
Life is good!!!
This is my new favorite side dish. It doesn't get any easier than this semi- homemade recipe. It all starts with a couscous box mix. They come in several different flavors and you can use any of them.
Start by making the couscous according to the directions on the box.
After it is cooked add an addition tablespoon of butter and some olive oil. I just used 1-2 tablespoons. Add the juice of one lemon. Then add the following chopped vegetables:
Chopped onions ( I used green onions)
Sliced grape tomatoes
Serve hot or cold
This was the perfect side dish for our smoked chicken. I see this being made frequently in the future! It tastes fresh and literally took minutes to make. Come on summer! I'm ready for you!
A few weeks ago my husband and I went to a restaurant in Joplin called Mythos and we had their feta dip as an appetizer. I'd never had feta dip before. It was so good. We really could have just eaten that alone for dinner. We were dissecting the dip trying to figure out what was in it. My first attempt to make it at home resulted in a dip so tangy it was like sucking on a lemon. It was practically inedible. This was my second attempt at the dip and I do believe I struck gold. I normally don't post recipes I have tried and tested several times but I really don't see how this could be improved upon. I think you all will love this. Even if you aren't sure you love feta cheese. It's that good.
16 oz. of feta cheese
8 oz. of cream cheese
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon of ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon of ground oregano
1 teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes
(I also added about 2 teaspoons of tabasco later to add more heat)
2 tablespoons of peperoncini
1-2 fire roasted red bell peppers (I used the kind in a jar)
fresh ground pepper
I would have used fresh herbs if I had some that were in season in my yard. But I have no problem using ground spices when fresh isn't readily available.
I used my food processor to blend. I added the garlic first then the cream cheese and blended it until smooth, then added the feta and spices. I added the peperoncini peppers and roasted bell peppers last.
The mistake I'd made the first time I made this was adding too many peperoncinis to my mix and also adding lemon juice. The feta is already tangy so I overdid it on the other tangy ingredients. This time I went slow adding ingredients and made sure it was the right amount since you can't go backwards! When the mixture became thick in the food processor I added olive oil a little at a time to help it blend. I probably didn't add more than 1/4 of a cup.
When serving you can drizzle olive oil on top of the dip- I used garlic infused olive oil.
Serve with either pita bread that has been warmed or toasted or toasted bread. I toasted bruschetta.
A few grape tomatoes sliced are the perfect thing to add for a little extra flavor and pop of color.
Now, go make this quick! I promise you'll love it.
This was a pantry creation. This was basically my first day back cooking after being down with the flu. I haven't been to the store, haven't felt like eating- much less cooking until now.
Now? I'm hungry.
So, we had one of our familiar conversations tonight "Should we go get something and bring it home? Or we could have.... (opening pantry door) something with chicken, and.. cornbread, and.... beans, annnnndddddd....... enchilada sauce."
Our kids went back to college today and I got the idea my sweet husband wasn't keen on leaving the house again. And I sure can't go out. I'm a mess girlfriend. No makeup worn for 5 days. No hair style. I'm clean but looking pretty plain.
I figured if I screwed up dinner we still could make a pbj or grilled cheese.
So my hunny chopped and sautéed onions while I scrambled to get out the other ingredients: a can of black beans, cut up cooked chicken meat,a can of enchilada sauce, and a can of cheese soup. (I have no idea why it's in the pantry). And of course the box of Jiffy Cornbread mix.
We turned the oven on 350 because this was going to be a stovetop to oven kind of meal.
I prepared the cornbread mix according to directions & got everything ready so that when the onions finished sautéing I could add it to the pan.
And you can see from this picture that I've done just that. ;)
I gave it a quick stir
Then poured the cornbread mix over the top. Not worrying about completely covering the ingredients or how pretty it would be. What did I teach you before?!?
If its ugly you call it RUSTIC. And a cobbler in a cast iron skillet qualifies as a rustic meal.
It was bubbling and the cornbread was golden so I gave it a test poke to see if it was set. It was!!!
Dinner was done in about 30 minutes. It turned out to be delicious too. Of course you can customize this.
I would have loved a side salad with this. Ill try to get to the grocery store soon!
Just wanted to share! I know a couple of my friends who would like this.
Life on the lake is laid back. When we cook it's far from being fancy affair. It's all about relaxing with friends and family and enjoying comfort food. More often than not it's not all that healthy but boy it sure is good!!!