Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sweet Success

People seem to think that since I majored in culinary arts in college and enjoy cooking and still regularly cook, that we always have wonderful fabulous dinners. We don't. That's why I don't have a post every day! Unfortunately not all of the meals I plan, shop for and prepare are wonderful. Some turn out fine, but just aren't that great. Others sound good and should be good, but I mess up and have disasters once in a while too!

I used to make homemade pizza a lot, but hadn't made it in a while, so I thought I'd try it again with a new recipe. I also thought I would try and use my neglected pizza stone. So I made the dough and preheated my pizza stone. I even made the sauce grated the cheese myself. I stretched out my dough on a board with cornmeal underneath so it wouldn't stick and was ready to slide it into the super hot oven onto the pizza stone. Well it stuck. So all the dough, sauce and cheese mushed into a pile half on the pizza stone and quite a bit on the bottom of my 500 degree oven. Not success!

As the smoke detectors went off all over the house and my children covered their ears in fear, I fanned out the smoke and tried again. Luckily the dough was enough for 2 pizzas and luckily the 2nd one did not stick (but tasted a little smoky). My husband came home later and didn't even recognize the pizza had been made from scratch. He thought it was the kind from the grocery store wrapped in the plastic... But that's alright, I will try it again another week!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bean Burritos

This makes almost 20 burritos - so you will have some to freeze for lunches or snacks or whatever. Way healthier than the frozen ones from the store!

1 cup brown or white rice (or 2 cups already cooked rice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 jalapeno, seeds and membrane removed, finely diced (can substitute 1 can of green chiles)
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cans (15 oz. each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups water
1 (10 oz) package frozen corn or 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
6 green onions, white and green parts finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
16 burrito-sized (10-inch) flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1. Cook rice; set aside. Meanwhile, heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, jalapeno and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and golden, being careful not to let the garlic burn.

2. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring for 1 minute.Add one can of beans and mash gently in the pan (a potato masher or fork works great here). Add the second can of beans and the water and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10-12 minutes, being careful not to let the mixture stick to the bottom of the pot.

3. Add corn; cook to heat through, 2-3 minutes. Stir in onion and garlic powders. Remove from heat; stir in green onions and cooked rice.

4. Heat tortillas in microwave for about 30-45 seconds or until all are warmed through.Fill each tortilla with about 2/3 cup bean and rice mixture and 1/4 cup cheese on one side of tortilla. Fold, and hold in sides. Starting from filled end, holding sides in as you work, tightly roll into a bundle. Place on a baking sheet, seam side down, and prepare remaining burritos.

5. Serve warm immediately, with salsa and sour cream if desired -- or, to freeze for later consumption, put the baking sheet of burritos into the freezer for at least 30 minutes, or until very cold so that they don't come apart in the wrapping process. Remove them from the freezer and wrap each burrito individually in plastic wrap and place all the wrapped burritos in a freezer-safe resealable bag and freeze up to three months.

To reheat from frozen:Remove plastic wrap from the burrito. Poke holes in the top several times with a fork. Microwave on high for two minutes. Gently poke a few more holes in the burrito and microwave for another minute. Be careful as the burrito will be piping hot!

What I did: First of all, I used whole wheat tortillas. These usually are not as good as white ones, but at Sam's they sell some really good ones in a large package that is perfect for this recipe. They are Santa Fe Tortilla Company and they are whole wheat, but they are still soft and chewy like a white tortilla and pliable enought that I didn't have to preheat them for wrapping. So I recommend those if you can find them.
We had them for dinner and each made our own burritos with lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes, cilantro, hot sauce, whatever you want. Then I wrapped the leftovers with just the bean mixture and cheese and wrapped them up in plastic right away instead of putting them in the freezer for a while.
My husband was a little skeptical, but they do reheat really well and put a little sour cream & salsa on the side. I think next time I will definitely add a can of green chiles though.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Oatmeal Pancake Mix

My kids always want pancakes, but pancake mix is expensive for a little box and not very healthy. You can buy whole wheat mixes, but they cost even more. I've tried home-made mixes before and not been all that impressed, but this one is good and healthy (and is a great way to rotate through your food storage if you have it). My husband likes it better than Krusteaz, so I think that says a lot!

You do have to keep it in the fridge or freezer though b/c it has oil in it and to keep the nutritional value of the wheat flour if you are grinding it yourself.

*Makes 10 cups of dry mix

3 1/2 cups rolled (quick) oats
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup vegetable oil

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a mixer with a paddle (or by hand). With mixer on slow speed (or gently by hand), drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running. When all the oil has been added, stop the mixer and squeeze a clump of mix in your hand. If it stays together, it is just right. If it is still crumbly, add another tablespoon of oil at a time until the consistency is correct (I've never had to add additional oil).

Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer.

To make the pancakes: whisk together 1 cup of mix, 1 cup buttermilk (a combination of half plain yogurt and half milk will also work), and 1 egg. The mixture may seem thin at first but the oats will soak up the milk as it stands while the griddle preheats.

Heat a griddle and drop the batter onto it. When the edges look dry and bubbles come to the surface and don't break, turn the pancake over to finish cooking on the second side. As a sidenote, buttermilk can be frozen indefinitely for future batches of pancakes, so it's worth keeping it around!*

1 cup of mix will make about 6-7 4-inch pancakes.

What I do: Another way to make buttermilk is to put about 1 1/2 tsp of white or cider vinegar in a 1 cup measure, then fill it up with milk. Let it sit a couple of minutes and it'll be ready. I also always end up adding more than 1 cup mix (an extra 1/4 - 1/2 cup), otherwise its a bit too runny even if you give the oats time to soak up some of the liquid like she says.

Original recipe from (can you tell this is my new favorite food blog??)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Kalua Pork

This is super easy and smelled so good cooking all day that I was pretty much counting down the hours till it was done.

10-12 pounds pork shoulder butt roast (don't substitute a leaner cut of pork or it will be dry)
1 bottle liquid smoke (4oz)
2 tablespoons sea salt (or hula salt if you can find it)
1 1/2 cups water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Trim roast of large pockets of fat (but leave some fat on there to help the pork stay tender while cooking). Place pork in large roasting pan (the aluminum, deep roasting pans you can buy at the grocery store work great if you don't own a heavy-duty roasting pan).

Rub 2-3 tablespoons of sea salt into pork. Pour the bottle of liquid smoke over and around the pork. Pour the water around the pork.

Cover roasting pan TIGHTLY with two layers of aluminum foil.Bake for 5-7 hours (don't uncover while baking - let the steam and heat work it's magic!).

Shred with two forks and serve with rice.

What I did: I used a 4 lb roast and still had tons left over for freezing. I got a covered stoneware baker for Christmas so I cooked it in there. I used the stoneware lid, but still covered the seal with foil, just to be sure the steam stayed inside since that is the key to cooking this. Since my roast was smaller, I used only 3/4 cup water but I still ended up using almost the whole bottle of liquid smoke, and I cooked it at 325 for 5 hours instead of at 375. The recipe is going to be really forgiving, so don't stress about it too much if your roast is a different size. You could cook in in a crockpot too. I served it on rice with fresh pineapple on the side. My husband ate it on a sandwich with bbq sauce and took leftovers to work for lunch in a tortilla. Leftovers will freeze well for use later in pork tacos, sandwiches, enchiladas, whatever you like.

Original recipe:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Easiest Dinner Ever.

This is so easy. You don't have defrost anything, chop anything, saute anything or even stir anything to get it going.

2 cups frozen corn
2 frozen, boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 1/2 cups salsa

Layer ingredients in lightly greased slow cooker in order listed. Cook on low 6 hours. Take chicken out & shred it. Return to slow cooker & stir. Serve taco salad style on tortilla chips with lettuce, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, chopped tomatoes, green onions, whatever you feel like. Or serve on a taco shell or in a burrito.