Sunday, October 25, 2009

Grilled Basil Shrimp

Jim got some shrimp from the meal deal at HEB the other week and we were having a BBQ yesterday, so he looked up a recipe himself and made a marinade. (The shrimp he bought were unpeeled, so he had to do that himself and it did smell up the kitchen, but the end result was worth it.)

Here is the recipe:

We didn't change anything from the recipe except that we didn't have white pepper, so we just used black. I haven't bought much shrimp to make at home because I'm never sure just how to cook it, but this was yummy and certainly something we will do again.

4 stars

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Best Baklava

I saw someone post a recipe link on here for Baklava, and thought I would share my recipe. I've oohed many people with this, and although it might *look* complicated, it really isn't too bad. Just make sure to read through the directions completely before starting. This is my FAVORITE dessert/treat during the holidays!

Ingredients you will need:
1 lb walnuts - Finely Chopped (I used pecans, they taste WAY better, but a bit more expensive. Then, I put them in my food processor and chop until they basically turn into nut dust.)
1/2 C. Sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon
1.5 C. Butter (3 sticks), Melted
1 Package Frozen Phyllo Dough (16 oz) Thawed
1 C. Sugar
1 C. Water
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice (I never have this stuff on hand, so I don't use it)
1 C. Honey (Net weight 12 oz.)
1/2 tsp Vanilla

The steps:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Combine and set aside walnuts, 1/2 cup sugar, and cinnamon
Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the bottom and sides of a 10x14" (about 1-2" deep) pan with melted butter.
Open the phyllo dough and layer 6 whole leafs (or 12 half leafs) in the pan, buttering each layer as you go. (The edges will extend over the side.)
Spread 1 cup of the walnut mixture.
If your phyllo dough comes in full sheets, cut the remaining phyllo dough in half.
Layer 8 half sheets -- butter each layer. Each sheet will be an inch or so short, so stagger the sheets from corner to corner to cover the whole pan. I use a pattern so I don't forget how many layers I've put down, but it's even easier if you have a friend help!
Spread 1 cup of the walnut mixture.
Repeat 8 sheets and walnut mixture twice. You will end up with 4 layers of nuts.
Layer the remaining half sheets on top -- butter each layer.
Brush the top with the remaining butter.
Trim the edges off.
Cut halfway through the layers, into small pieces, usually cut into triangles or slanted rectangle shapes. This is done now since it will be very fragile after it's been baked. Go here to see a diagram of how to cut it.

Bake 1 hour or until golden brown.
15 minutes before the baklava should be done, mix 1 cup sugar, water, and lemon juice in a sauce pan.
Cook sauce over a medium heat, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat, add the honey and vanilla, and stir until well blended.
Remove the baklava from the oven and finish cutting through the layers.
Pour the sauce over the hot baklava.
Cool. Let it sit for at least 24 hours (lightly covered -- but not in the refrigerator)

A nice way to serve individual pieces is to put each one into a muffin cup that has been partially flattened.

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

Some of you may remember me making these (like all the time) when I lived up there! I have been making these and packaging them into snack size zip bags and putting into the freezer to make preparing school lunched cheaper and quicker.

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

1 c. margarine
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3 c. old fashioned oats
1 c. nuts or raisins (optional)

Beat together margarine and sugars until creamy.
add eggs and vanilla, beat well.
Mix in flour and baking soda.
Stir in oats and raisins/nuts; mix well.

Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Yields approx. 4 dozen

*Cookies will look flat, don't worry, that's how they are "chewy". Also you can use butter, although I've found that turn out differently, still good though.

Syrup-less Waffles

My solution to less mess breakfast before school:


3 eggs
1 TB vanilla
1 TB baking powder
1/2 c. sugar (only 2 tsp. if you're eating with syrup)
1 c. milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 c. flour
1/2 bag mini chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together and cook in heated waffle iron. I like to dust the top with powdered sugar, my kids don't though.

For Chocolate dessert waffles: add 1 oz. melted chocolate and nuts if desired

7-Layer dip or Taco Casserole

My friend makes this and serves for dinner. I never thought of 7-layer dip as a maindish, but it was fabulous!

7-layer dip:

1 lb ground beef
1/2 package taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
1 c. sour cream
8 oz. cream cheese
1 can diced tomatoes
salsa (I replaced the tomatoes and salsa with a can of Rotel)
1 container guacamole (I make mine homemade)
black olives
Tortilla chips or wraps

Brown 1 lb ground beef and drain.
Add about 1/2 pkg taco seasoning (no water, though).
Meanwhile, spread 1 can refried beans into 9x13 pan.
Ground beef goes on top of that.
Mix together 1 c. sour cream with 8 oz cream cheese and then spread on top.
Next goes on 1 can diced tomatoes (drained) plus some salsa (as desired).
Then 1 container of guacamole
Top with mozzarella and sliced olives.

Bake 350 for 30min.

I like to serve with Hint of Lime chips, but my hubby likes to scoop his out into a tortilla for a burrito.

White Chicken Chili

1 lb. chicken, cubed
1 med onion chopped
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 T. vegetable oil
3 cans great northern beans
1 can chicken broth -regular small size can
1-2 small cans diced green chilis
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. black pepper
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. whipping cream

Place vegetable oil in cooking pot. Add chicken and chopped onion and cook until chicken is no longer pink. Drain and rinse beans and add to pot. Add all other ingredients to pan except for sour cream and whipping cream. Bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Add sour cream and whipping cream and serve.(Can use canned chicken for the chicken and omit the first step.)

For the beans I couldn't find canned, so I bought dried (which are cheaper anyway) and then cooked them on my own, according to package directions. It takes about half a small bag of beans, and they take about 2 hours to cook on the stove.

*Top with cheese, tortilla chips or avacodo. I served along side cornbread.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Frozen Peaches

I know peach season is technically over, but I thought I would share one of our favorite ways to preserve peaches!

4 c sugar
2quarts water
a can of frozen lemonade
a can of frozen orange juice

mix all together and add your peeled, sliced peaches. Then scoop into baggies and freeze.

This year I cut the sugar in half. Obviously, it's not as sweet, but we still love them! So, give it a shot. Next year. When there are actually peaches to can.

Pesto Pizza w/ Pinenuts and Feta

I finally made a pizza that wasn't a total disaster! I think part of it is that I always make pizzas on a cookie sheet and they always get kind of soggy. Whatever : )

This was seriously the best pizza I've ever made, and possibly the best one I've ever eaten!

1 batch pizza dough
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken (I used the Lemon Garlic Chicken)
4 oz feta cheese
1/2 red onion, cut in slivers
1-2 large tomatoes sliced (I used grape tomatoes cut in half)
Shredded mozzarella (to your liking)
Toasted pine nuts (to your liking)

Preheat pizza stone (I preheat my oven and pizza stone at 475 degrees for at least 45 minutes before baking the pizza so the stone is nice and hot). Roll out prepared pizza dough and place on pizza peel (or on pizza pan if you aren't baking it on a pizza stone). Top pizza dough with the pesto, spreading liberally to outer edges of dough. Layer on additional toppings to your liking (I like to reserve some of the toppings and put them on top of the final layer of cheese) and bake for 8-10 minutes until nicely browned.

I have no pizza stone, so I baked on a cookie sheet for like 13 minutes and used this crust recipe!

3 cups flour, more or less
1 tablespoon honey, heaping
1 tablespoon oil, heaping
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. (If using a pizza stone, let stone heat for at least 30 minutes in the oven before baking pizza.) Mix all pizza dough ingredients together, except the flour. Add flour and knead for a bit then put into pan (or use a pizza peel and pizza stone). If baking in a sheet pan, bake for about 12 minutes (checking often) until crust is browned and cheese is golden and bubbly. If baking on the preheated pizza stone, slide pizza onto stone and bake for about 8 minutes. Makes 1 large pizza.