Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tropical Taco Salad

Grilled chicken (I brushed mine with olive oil and a little taco seasoning), about 2 cups cut into bite size pieces
Green leaf or boston bibb lettuce
Grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Avocado
2 cups black beans
2 ears roasted corn, cut off the cob
Grilled mango
Orange bell pepper

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 cup light sour cream
2 tbs salsa (you choose how hot)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika (use smoked or leave it out, regular will not give you the same flavor)
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste

First grill your chicken, corn and mango. Use a little olive oil on the corn.
Chop your chicken, mango, pepper, and avacado into bite size pieces, and cut the corn off the cobb.
Combine the lettuce, veggies, chicken, beans and mango together. Make your dressing and toss together.

For the dressing, I combined everything in a food processor.

This salad was absolutely delicious! Could be a main salad or a side salad.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"The Doctor is in" spare ribs

We haven't had ribs in a long time and really enjoyed these! This is an easy one too. I know some of the ingredients sound like a strange mix, but we loved them. Let me know what you think.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup taco seasoning
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 rack pork spareribs, fat trimmed
3/4 cup Dr. Pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon prepared brown mustard
bbq sauce

Preheat the oven to 250.
Mix the sugar, taco seasoning, paprika in a bowl. Rub both sides of the spare ribs with the mixture. Use a large baking sheet and cover with foil.


In a seperate bowl combine the Dr. Pepper, garlic, honey, worcestershire, and mustard. Stir well.
Place the ribs on top, then take another sheet of foil (or 2) and wrap the foil tightly around the ribs, but leave an opening in the center. Pour the liquid mixture on top of the ribs.
Place in the oven for about 3 1/2-4 hours.
Remove the foil from the ribs and brush just a little bit of bbq sauce on top. Place under the broiler in your oven to carmelize.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Baked Beans

Here's a great simple baked beans recipe. It really is easy to make them from scratch. Okay, not as easy as opening a can... but well worth it!!!

4 ounces sliced bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 onion, chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound dried navy beans, soaked in water over night and drained
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
1 Tablespoons cider vinegar

Heat oven to 300 o F. Cook the bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until nearly crisp, 5-7 minutes. Add the onion, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes more.

Add the beans, molasses, ketchup, sugar, mustard and 5 cups water to the pot and stir to combine, bring to a boil.

Cover the pot and transfer to oven. Bake until the liquid is reduced by half, about 2-1/2 hours. Uncover and bake, stirring once, until the cooking liquid is thickened, 1 to 1-1/4 hours more. Stir in the vinegar and serve.

Tomato Salad

Tomatoes are one of my favorite things, especially home grown. There is nothing like them!
Here's a simple yet elegant way to enjoy them.

1 large tomato
6 fresh basil leaves
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar

Slice the tomato. Sprinkle fresh basil* and parmesan cheese over top. Mix the oil and vinegar together and drizzle over the top. You'll want about 3 parts Olive Oil to 1 part Vinegar. I mix them together before topping the salad.

*Tip for slicing basil. Lay your basil leaves on top of each other, then roll them up and carefully slice.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cake Pops

Have you tried Cake Pops yet? They are alot of fun and pretty simple. I did these for the 4th of July, but the things you can do with these pops are endless. Starbucks has them too... probably a little more gourmet looking than my patriotic festive pops, but that's for another occasion.
You will need:

Your favorite cake recipe (be it box or home made)
about 6 oz of frosting (again, store or home made)
candy melts or chocolate chips.
lollipop sticks
styrofoam blocks (floral styrofoam works great)

1. Bake the cake and let it cool

2. Crumble the cake to fine crumbs using your hands or a food processor

3. Add frosting and mix in with your hands until a nice dough forms

4. Roll pieces of dough into small balls.

5. prepare your melts/chocolate. Dip the sticks into the melt and then into the ball. Set it up into the styrofoam. Once they are all done you can start dipping the pops.

6. Dip the pops. You may want to spoon the chocolate over the pops and let the excess drip off. Otherwise you will sometimes lose your cake ball.

7. Decorate!

The timing for the decorating I found to be key. If you add your sprinkles too soon, they drip off with the excess melt. If you wait too long they don't stick. I found this to work: Dip the pop, set in styrofoam. Dip the next one, set in foam and go back to the first one and add sprinkles. If you were to drizzle chocolate or colored frosting, you could just wait until everything is completely set up.