Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sautéed Cabbage With Smoked Sausage

It’s near the end of the month, so my pantry is looking a little bare. I challenged myself to create dinner from what was on hand: half of a cabbage, 2 links of Conecuh smoked sausage, 1 onion, 2 carrots,  and 1 apple. All of these ingredients are things we like and that pair well together individually. The combination really worked. Fennel and celery seeds and a splash of apple cider vinegar added just the right flavor notes. Enjoy!

Sautéed Cabbage With Smoked Sausage
1 onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
2 carrots, chopped
Olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 lb. smoked sausage
1/2 cabbage, thinly sliced
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 tsp. fennel seeds
2 tsp. celery seeds
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper

1. Cook onion and carrots in hot oil 10 minutes. Stir in sausage, and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until sausage is browned. Stir in cabbage and apple; cook 5 more minutes. Stir in fennel seeds, celery seeds, and vinegar. Cook, stirring regularly, 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sprinkled Vanilla Cupcakes

For our last Discovery Club meeting of the school year, we served homemade cupcakes for snack. This is a great recipe; the finished product tastes like scrumptious wedding cake. My friend Isabel came over to decorate the cupcakes with pastel-colored sprinkles. She and I had fun making them, and the children enjoyed eating them!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cinnamon-Pumpkin Scones

Andy loves scones, and I’ve recently begun to experiment with recipes. This one is from the Pioneer Woman. I made a few tweaks, such as omitting the cinnamon chips, adding pumpkin puree, and cutting them into bite-size triangles. The dough comes together easily in the food processor, and you can freeze unbaked scones for later use. Enjoy!

Cinnamon-Pumpkin Scones
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
5 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup butter
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup cream
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. cream

1. Combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar, and next 4 ingredients in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir together 3/4 cup cream and next 2 ingredients. Gradually add to flour mixture through food chute until dough forms.
2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into squares, and then then cut the squares in half to form triangles. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
3. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and next 2 ingredients; brush mixture over tops of scones.
4. Bake at 350° for 10 to 15 minutes or until done.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pinto Beans

Earlier this year, I became a convert to dried beans. They are so easy to make and so much creamier than canned ones—totally worth the extra time. This recipe is based on one from the Pioneer Woman’s blog. The beans are absolutely delicious. One batch makes a lot, so I froze the leftovers and we enjoyed them another night. If you’ve never tried dried beans before, please make this recipe. You’ll be glad you did!

Pinto Beans
1 lb. dried pinto beans, rinsed and sorted
4 thick slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. chile powder
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. cumin

1. Place beans in a Dutch oven, and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour. Drain beans, and return beans to Dutch oven.
2. Cover beans with 2 inches of water. Add in bacon, and bring beans to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 hours.
3. Stir in onion and next 2 ingredients. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 more hour. Stir in salt and remaining ingredients, and cook for 30 more minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, AC!

It is so hard to believe that our niece AC is turning 8 tomorrow! The cliché is true—time does fly. For dinner at our house, the birthday girl wanted “pancakes, butter, and syrup.” None of the adults in attendance wanted pancakes followed by cake and ice cream, so we had these delicious enchiladas, homemade tortilla chips, guacamole, pico de gallo, and pinto beans. As you can imagine, the table featured an eclectic cornucopia of food. We had such a great time celebrating with AC and her family!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Brown Sugar-Buttermilk Pound Cake

Pound cake is delicious when made by other, but I’ve never had a recipe that I really liked—until now. This recipe came about as I experimented with some of my favorite flavors and with guidance from several online versions. Brown sugar adds a caramelized depth to the cake, and buttermilk contributes tang and, most important, moistness. I like to cut the cake in fourths and freeze the sections individually wrapped in foil. This keeps us from eating too much at once. After all, pound cake is good for breakfast and dessert. Enjoy!

Brown Sugar-Buttermilk Pound Cake
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla extract*
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk

1. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add in flour alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Pour into a lightly greased Bundt pan.
2. Bake at 325° for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until done. Allow to cool in pan 10 minutes; invert cake onto a cooling rack, and cool completely.
*Substitute 1 tsp. almond extract and 2 tsp. vanilla extract.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Popcorn and Cheetos

This year we had the privilege of sharing the Christ with a group of second graders at the elementary school in our neighborhood through Discovery Clubs of Alabama. Because our club met right after school, we brought a snack for the children each week. One of the most popular was popcorn and Cheetos. Simply pop the corn on the stovetop, drizzle with melted butter, and sprinkle with a little salt. Then combine the popcorn with an equal amount of Cheetos—so easy but so delicious. Definitely try this snack!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad

Today we shared lunch with our house church. The menu theme was salads, and I made my version of cobb salad. Salad is not really a recipe—it’s about the components. Here are the ingredients in mine: green leaf lettuce, grilled chicken (sprinkled with Cajun seasoning), chopped tomatoes, chopped avocados, cooked and crumbled bacon, blue cheese, homemade ranch dressing (I use Penzey’s buttermilk ranch seasoning), and chopped boiled eggs. The trick for me was boiling the eggs. See, I don’t eat eggs. I want to like them, but I can’t get past the smell. For the salad, I followed a simple procedure for boiling the eggs, and they came out perfectly (no green around the yolk). Andy kindly peeled and chopped them for me. Sometimes a meal requires teamwork. Enjoy!

Boiled eggs: Place eggs in a saucepan, and cover with 1 inch of cold water. Bring water to a boil; remove from heat, cover, and let eggs stand 10 minutes. Place eggs in a bowl of ice water, and let stand 5 minutes. Peel and chop.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Grilled Steak Caesar Salad

Spring is in the air—and salad sounded like a fresh option for dinner. I made a basic Caesar salad—romaine lettuce, shaved Parmesan, homemade croutons, vinaigrette—and topped it with thinly sliced grilled steak. Very simple and delicious! This isn’t a classic Ceasar dressing (I forgot to buy anchovies), but it is tasty. Enjoy!

Caesar-Style Vinaigrette
Juice from 2 lemons
Dash of Worchestershire sauce
2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Whisk together lemon juice and next 5 ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Caesar salad.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Caramelized Onion-Sausage Pizza

Pizza, using this easy dough recipe, was on the menu tonight. The pantry was pretty bare—no pesto or tomato sauce. There was one onion left, so I chopped it up and cooked it till soft. Then I baked some Italian sausage, and thinly sliced it. For a unique taste, I topped the pizza with blue cheese and provolone slices. We’ll definitely have this again. Enjoy!

Caramelized Onion-Sausage Pizza
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 links Italian sausage
4 oz. crumbled blue cheese
6 provolone slices

1. Sauté onion in butter and oil over medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until onion is browned and softened.
2. Meanwhile, bake Italian sausage at 400° for 15 minutes or until sausage is cooked through. Allow to cool slightly, and thinly slice.
3. Roll out pizza dough. Spread onion mixture over dough, and top with sausage and cheeses.
4. Bake at 425° for 10 to 15 minutes.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Orange Vinaigrette

Because I haven’t been to the grocery store yet, we were running low on salad toppings. So for dinner tonight, I improvised. We had a salad composed of green leaf lettuce and orange sections, paired with this simple vinaigrette.  (Blue cheese would have been a good addition.) Substitute lemon or lime for the orange, if you prefer.

Orange Vinaigrette
Juice from 1 orange
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Whisk together orange juice and next 3 ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Chicken Cacciatore

We needed to have a quick dinner tonight, so I came up with this recipe. I’m not sure if it’s truly cacciatore, but it tastes good and has similar ingredients. We had ours with risotto, garlic bread, and fried cauliflower. Enjoy!

Chicken Cacciatore
1 lb. chicken breast tenderloins
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 lemon
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Cook in hot oil for 2 minutes on each side; remove chicken from pan. Add in additional olive oil, if needed, and sauté onions and next 2 ingredients for 10 minutes or until tender. Return chicken to pan, and stir in tomatoes, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is done.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Apple-Cranberry Crisp

It’s no secret that Andy and I love fruit crisps! What’s not to like about sweet fruit combined with a buttery topping? (Of course, we prefer ours with ice cream.) Feel free to substitute any fruit (such as plums, nectarines, or pears would also be good) you have on hand. Enjoy!

Apple-Cranberry Crisp
3 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into chunks
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
Pinch of salt

1. Stir together apples and next 4 ingredients; pour mixture into a baking dish. Combine oatmeal and next 4 ingredients; crumble over top of apple mixture.
2. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until fruit mixture is hot and bubbly and top is crisp.