Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ribs and Chicken

A few weeks ago I had the UDS fired up for some ribs and chicken, the ribs were for lunches and the chicken we had for dinner that night. As usual my UDS served up some great results and was an ease to cook on. The ribs are pork babyback's, they were slathered in mustard and sprinkled with Head Country before placing on the smoker. I cooked them for close to 6 hours before pulling them off the smoker, at which point I sauced them with honey and Three Little Pigs BBQ sauce. The final product was almost perfect, the meat was just shy of fall off the bone with a wonderful smoke ring and great flavore.

The smoker chugged along at 250 degrees F all day long and needed very little attention. It was a nice calm warm day and we spent most of the afternoon in the backyard playing. I cooked over Ace of Hearts lump charcoal and smoke was provided with chunks of hickory, probably my new favorite.
The chicken was rubbed down with the bbq rub I made at the festival and placed on the smoker. I cooked it four 5 hours and an internal thigh temp of 180 degrees F. I sauced it up with some Famous Daves Sweet and Sassy, then let in carmalize for about 10 minutes. The end result was delicious and the whole family loved it, so it's Tot approved!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gryo with Tatziki

It's time again for another recipe that takes me for a walk down memory lane. The time is roughly 12 years ago when I was in Colorado with a high adventure group, we were out there to fish, mountain climb, repel, and white water rafting. It was one of the funnest summers of my early teenage years. I wish I could remember all the towns we visited, but for a teenager that was such a small detail, especially when I was busy having fun. While we were on our way out to go fishing for the afternoon, we stopped for lunch in supplies in one of the local towns. We ate lunch at a sort of 50's style diner. At this diner they had Gyro's on the menu and I was persuaded to try one, probably one of the few times to give into peer pressure for a teenager. I'm thankful I did because it was absolutely delicious. Well fast forward to now. My wife has never had a Gyro, so I knew she needed to try one. I looked for several ways of trying to give her some sort of decent glimpse of how delicious they can be. I settled on a simple recipe that called for items I knew were a little more economical and easily obtainable. She really liked my attempt at making them, so I may have to attempt a little more accurate recipe with proper ingredients. The real fun of this recipe came when our little girl wanted in on the action of her food wrapped like Mom and Dad's. We took a leaf of lettuce and made her a small wrap with a little sauce and a few small bite size chunks of the meat, she loved it. So this recipe is Tot approved!
Meat Mixture
1 lb. ground lamb or beef (I used beef)
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
4 rounds of flat bread or pita
tomato; sliced

Tzatziki sauce
1 cup plain yogurt
4 garlic cloves; roasted and finely chopped
1/2 lemon; juiced
2 tsp. finely chopped mint
1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber without seeds
Salt to taste

1. Place whole, un-peeled garlic cloves in a small, un-oiled skillet over medium low heat and cook for about two minutes per side-until lightly browned. Peel and chop finely.
2. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
Allow the sauce to set in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to let the flavors mingle.

Meat Mixture
1. Thoroughly combine all ingredients in a bowl.
2. Divide into four equal portions and shape into oblong patties about 3" wide, 6" long, 1/2" thick. Refrigerate for an hour.
3. Grill patties over hot fire for 3-4 minutes per side.
4. Spread Tzatziki sauce down the center of a flat bread round, add a lettuce leaf, add some diced tomato. Add the patty, fold the bread over the meat and enjoy.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New BBQ Rub!

While attending the Festival of Smoke I had the fun opportunity to mix together a very basic all purpose KC Dry Rub. It's a sweet rub with a very subtle bite and salt making it great for pork and poultry, in my opinion. I used it the moment I got home on some pork chops I had set out for grilling that night. It gave them a real nice color and balanced well with the pork flavor. Now here's the funny thing, my little girl absolutely loved it! So I now have a BBQ Rub that has been Tot Approved! How cool is that?
My wife picked out these pork chops, I had no idea they sliced pork chops so thin. It looks like some one ran over it with steam roller.

I also tried something new with my mashed potato recipe, I added just 1 tsp of garlic powder to the mix and it came out wonderful!

3 tbsp superfine sugar
2 tsp seasoning salt
2 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp celery salt
2 tsp onion salt
4 tsp paprika
2 tsp chili powder, dark
1 tsp black pepper, table grind
1 tsp lemon pepper
pinch sage, ground
pinch dry mustard
pinch thyme ground
pinch cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients together and store in an airtight container until needed
Makes 1/2 cup.

Mashed Potatoes
5 lbs potatoes
butter 1 stick
milk, about 1/2 cup
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder

Peel and cube potatoes, place in large pot filled with water and boil until chunks are easily sliced with a kitchen table knife. Remove potatoes from the stove and drain water. Place Potatos in a mixer bowl with butter. Turn on mixer to stir and slowly begin adding milk till potatoes are creamy. when most of the chunks are mashed work the mixer up to high. Add the salt and garlic, allow to be well mixed and then serve.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kung pao chicken wrap

I have another Kraft recipe that was an excellent light lunch, which believe it or not is Tot Approved. Perhaps I need to start finding a rating system for such recipes, anyways I digress. This recipe is incredibly easy and would be a great one to take the ingredients to work and assemble right before lunch or wrap it up and take it on the go. There is one ingredient that you will want to use sparingly and that's the Kraft Hot and Spicy Flavored Mayonnaise, it's SPICY! Like the name didn't give that away. I would suggest if your not into a lot of spice, then mix it with some regular mayonnaise to cool it down a bit.

For our little girl we took and gave her all the ingredients in small pieces, as this is usually how she likes her sandwiches. Well she wanted in on the wrap action so we took a slice of cheese and made crude wrap with the chicken, lettuce, and shredded carrots which she really got a kick out of.
Make it
1 Whole wheat tortilla (8 inch)
1 tbsp. (or less, be sure to taste it first to know how much you will like) Kraft Sandwich Shop hot & Spicy Flavored Mayonnaise
1 slice Kraft Big Slice Mild cheddar Cheese, cut in half
2 oz. Oscar Mayer Carving Board Rotisserie Seasoned Chicken breast.
4 thi cucumber slices
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
2 tbsp. drained canned pineapple tidbits
2 tsp. chopped Planters Cocktail Peantus (this was ommitted because we have yet to test our little one for peanut allergies)


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Easy Tomato-Basil Pizza

Here's another Kraft recipe that is absolutely delicious and well worth putting into the rotation of recipes. It's loaded with flavor and just light enough you don't feel guilty eating pizza. Then there's the fact that you can be eating in almost 30 minutes, which makes this great for a weeknight quickie and our little girl loved it!

This is probably the third recipe I've done from the spring Kraft Foods and Family magazine and the third with the new cooking creme's. When I first saw this from Kraft I was a little skeptical, I've just never had a store bought creme or really new what it was. But I have to say they are really good and there seems to be a nice variety of flavors, so the next time your at the store it's definitely worth trying out.
1 ready-to-use baked pizza crust (12 inch)
1/2 cup Philadelphia Italian Cheese and Herb Cooking Creme
1 tomato, thinly sliced
8 fresh basil leaves, torn
1.2 cup Kraft Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Heat oven to 425ºF.
Spread pizza curst with cooking creme; top with remaining ingredients.
Place crust directly on middle oven rack.
Bake 10 to 12 min. or until cheese is melted.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Chocolate Cake (with beets)

After the unexpected set back with the Carrot Cake I was know back to searching for a fun new cake. My wife had set one parameter, it had to include a veggie. Thankfully I just received a free copy of Deceptively Delicious from an old friend and coworker. I knew the book contained a recipe that was worth a try and met my wife's request.

On the day I decided to make them I ran into one little hold up, I didn't purchase any butter milk. My wife in all her wisdom hopped on the computer and searched for a substitute. What she found called to use 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and enough low fat milk to make one cup when added to the vinegar, mix together and wait a few minutes. I reluctantly followed their directions and used the substitute. The final product was delicious, so this little substitute is going into my bag of tricks for sure! When it came time to serve up the cake I quietly informed a few guests that it had beets, I don't know of any allergies to beets but it's possible. After a few people had tried some I then informed everyone, a few noticed a different ingredient and thought they were cherries, but overall they loved the cake.
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
/4 cup canola or vegetable oil, or trans fat-free soft tub margarine spread
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup beet puree (I used canned beets and pureed in a food processor)
1/2 cup low-fat (1%) butter milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablesp0on pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar with the oil or margarine until creamy. Add the whole egg and egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the melted chocolate, beet puree, buttermilk, and vanilla.
3. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and beat until smooth.
4.pour the batter into the pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center, 35 to 40 minutes. Let the cake cool 5 minutes in the pan before turning it out onto a rack to cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese with the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla until smooth. Slice the cake in half horizontally. Spread the frosting over the top and between the layers of the cooled cake.
6. Refrigerate in in airtight container for up to 4 days.
Makes one cake.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This cake was actually a practice run for my daughters second birthday. The recipe and cake was delicious and well liked by everyone, everyone but my daughter that is. When I offered her a piece of the cake she just blankly looked at me with a puzzled look, here I was all excited about her trying the cake and she seemed to not understand why. I'm not sure why she wasn't crazy about it but I knew it was necessary to find another recipe.

Recipe from The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
Carrot Cake
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
2 cups finely shredded carrot
Cream Cheese Frosting

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
2. Coat 2 (8 inch) round cake pans with cooking spray, and dust with 1 tablespoon flour.
3. Lightly spoon 2 1/4 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 2 1/4 cups flour and next 5 ingredients, stirring well with a whisk. Beat granulated sugar and next 7 ingredients at medium speed of a mixer. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in carrot.
4. Pour batter into prepared pans. Sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 375º for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on wire racks; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.
5. Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 3/4 cup cream cheese frosting, and top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator. Yield: 16 servings

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup (4 ounces) block-style fat-free cream cheese, chilled
1/4 cup butter or stick margarine, softened
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed of a mixer until smooth. Gradually add sugar to butter mixture; beat at low speed just until blended (do not over beat). Yield 2 cups


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Holla Beef Enchiladas!

Happy Cinco De Mayo!!! I hope every one has a great day enjoying friends, family, good drinks, and most of all some good food. If you haven't decided on what to eat for dinner and want something really filling then I've got the recipe for you. I found this recipe from an episode of, yup you guessed it, Guy's Big Bite! Guy calls this dish Holla Beef Enchiladas, I guess because their so good they'll make ya' Holla! Which is true because we loved them!

This recipe was a great challenge for me because it required me to do two things I haven't done thus far; brazing and using my new dutch oven. I have to say the entire process went very smooth, but this is not a quick and easy meal so be sure to leave it for when you have plenty of time to be in the kitchen.
5 1/2 pounds chuck, trimmed and ut into 2 inch cubes
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
2 tbsp canola oil, plus more for frying
2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced in 10inch rounds
8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 cup low-sodium beef stock
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup warm water
Enchilada sauce, about 4 cups worth
16 corn tortillas(6 inch)
2 cups grated cheddar
2 cups grated pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives
1 cup sour cream, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Trim, cut, pat dry, and season the beef with salt and pepper. Coat the bottom of a large heavy Dutch oven with oil. heat the oil, over medium heat, and brown the beef, in batches, being careful to not crowd. Add 1 tbsp of oil, if needed, to finish the beef. As the beef browns, add it to a bowl and keep warm, Add 1 tbsp of canola oil to the pot over medium heat and add the onions; cook for 3 to 4o minutes. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute more, then stir in the stock to deglaze the pan. Add the browned beef, the vinegar and the water and cover tightly. Put the pot in the oven and after 45 minutes, give the beef a stir. Cover and cook for an additional 2 hours and 15 minutes, stirring every 30 to 45 minutes. remove from oven and let cool for 20 to 30 minutes. Shred with forks, incorporating the onions and garlic.

When ready to assemble, put 1/2 cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 13 by 9 inch baking pan. heat a medium saute pan over medium-high heat with just enough enchilada sauce to coat the bottom. Dip the tortillas, 1 at a time, into the sauce, and cook until tender, about 1 minute each. Combine the cheeses in a medium bowl. Remove the enchiladas to a flat surface. Fill each with some of the shredded meat and cheese, (reserve some cheese for the top of the baking pan). Roll and arrange them, seam side down, in the baking pan, packing the enchiladas tightly. Add additional sauce to come 1/3 up the sides of the enchiladas, then sprinkle a line of cheese, lengthwise, down the center of the pan. Garnish with green onions and black olives. Bake until bubbly, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, let sit for 5 minutes and then serve with sour cream
Serves 8

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mexican Pizza!

This recipe is my take on the Casey's Taco Pizza that I have come to really enjoy. If you don't live near a Casey's Gas Station, I'm sorry because your missing out on some really good pizza. Which is something I didn't realize till just a couple of years ago when I started working at a fire station that had a Casey's right across the street from it, I even lived about 6 blocks from one for a number years and still hadn't tried it. My take on this recipe used a lot healthier choices than their pizza, but it was every bit as good. The only down side was that it didn't make the tot approved list, my little girl didn't even want to touch it. But strangely she was good eating all the items like shredded cheese and low fat re-fried beans off her plate, she just didn't like them all cooked on a pizza I guess.
I used this recipe as a way to use up some left over taco's that were setting in my freezer making it even all that much better.

Pre-made pizza crust
Re-fried Beans
Shredded Mozzarella
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Taco Meat
Taco Sauce

1. Spread enough re-fried beans to cover the pizza crust, just like pizza sauce.
2. Spread a 1/4 cup of taco sauce over the top of the re-fried beans, just enough to create a thin layer. Then sprinkle with mozzarella, cheddar cheese, and taco meat to cover and place in the oven. Bake the pizza according to the pizza crust instructions or until the cheese is melted.
3. When pizza is finished baking and cheese is melted, remove from the oven and slice. Next take chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and any other favorite taco toppings and place on the pizza.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...