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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Caramelized Onion Dip

I think few recipes are more useful than a dip that goes with just about anything. A good, versatile dip will go with chips, veggies, crackers or any other socially acceptable method of spooning it into your mouth.

It would probably not be wise to only use your fingers to eat this dip…well in public anyway. At midnight, alone and in front of your fridge while the dog goes outside to pee? Sure, why not! Not that I have ANY experience with that scenario. Ever. 

Caramelized Onion Dip


* Makes 2 ½ cups

What you need:
-          16oz Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogurt
-          1 large red onion
-          1 large yellow onion
-          3 tablespoons butter*
-          1 teaspoon garlic powder
-          1.5 teaspoons onion powder
-          1 teaspoon soy sauce
-          1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
-          Black pepper
-          Salt
-          Scallions, optional as a garnish
-          Chips or veggies for serving
*more if needed

What you’ll do:
  1. In a large sauté pan melt the butter over medium-low heat. Slice the onions evenly and add to the pan. Cover and simmer 25-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If the pan gets too dry, add more butter as needed.
  2. Once the onions are completely caramelized, remove from heat. Drain off any excess butter and allow to cool completely.  
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine sour cream, garlic powder, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in onions and let sit in the refrigerator for approx 4 hours.
  4. When ready to serve, stir dip and taste for flavor. Add salt and pepper if needed. 
Enjoy!

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Raspberry Cheesecake

Is it just me or did we skip from winter right into summer? The high this week is going to be 87 degrees. April is usually one of the best weather months in Tampa with highs in the upper 70’s to low 80’s, but upper 80’s? Ugh.

This cheesecake is perfect for spring and summer. It gets a lovely raspberry flavor from not only fresh raspberries but raspberry liquor as well. (Booze makes everything better!) The overall flavor isn’t too sweet and doesn’t wallop you over the head. It has just the right balance of sweet, tart and cream.


Raspberry Cheesecake
*Serves 8-10

Ingredients:
Crust -
-          2 ½ cups crushed graham crackers
-          6 tablespoons butter, melted
-          2 teaspoons sugar

Filling –
-          3 8oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
-          1 teaspoon vanilla
-          ½ cup sugar
-          ½ cup sour cream
-          ½ cup raspberry liquor (such as Chambord or razzmatazz)
-          4 large eggs
-          ½ cup whipping cream
-          6oz raspberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  1. In a medium bowl combine crushed graham crackers, sugar and melted butter. Mix together until cracker crumbs absorb the butter and are moist. Press into the bottom of a 9” or 10” springform pan and up the sides about ¾ the way up. Bake for 10 minutes and then set aside.
  1. Puree raspberries in a blender or food processor then run through a strainer to remove seeds. Set aside.
  1. In a large bowl mix together cream cheese and vanilla. Beat with a mixer until smooth and creamy. Next add sugar, sour cream, liquor and mix well. Then add eggs one at a time and mix slowly until just fully incorporated. Finally stir in cream and raspberry puree.
  1. Pour filling into crust and bake for 40-55 minutes or until center still slightly jiggles. Remove from oven and let come to room temperature, then refrigerate until fully chilled. About 4-5 hours.
  1. Once cheesecake is fully chilled run a knife around the edge to loosen, then remove springform pan and serve.
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Huevos Rancheros - A Breakfast Splurge

A couple of days ago I showed you a healthy start to the day with my favorite breakfast smoothie. Today I’m going to share with you a breakfast for when you need to indulge a bit. A breakfast for a rainy Saturday morning or that Sunday morning when you’re paying for all the fun you had on Saturday night.


It would go beautifully with a Tequila Sunrise or Bloody Mary. Just saying!

As much as I love Mexican and Tex-Mex, I do not claim to be an authority on it we’ll call this my New England Girl’s version of Huevos Rancheros. It’s simple to make because let’s face it - weekend breakfasts should be easy to make!

I’ve listed several options for toppings so please pick and choose which you prefer. I also think it would be so much fun to do a Huevos Rancheros Toppings Bar for a fun at-home brunch with friends. Cinco de Mayo is less than a month away AND on a Sunday this year.

In fact, I’m making a mental note of that idea right now.

One small FYI: I used flour tortillas today because that’s what I had on hand but corn tortillas are more common. I like them both – the choice is yours!

Huevos Rancheros
*Makes 4

Ingredients:
-          4 eggs
-          4 tortillas, flour or corn
-          1 cup shredded pepper jack, Monterey jack or cheddar cheese
-          1 1/3 cups refried beans
-          2 teaspoons oil, divided
-          Butter

Suggested Toppings:
-          Enchilada sauce
-          Salsa, red or green
-          Avocado
-          Guacamole
-          Diced tomato
-          Diced onion
-          Pico de Gallo
-          Sour cream
-          Hot sauce
-          Cilantro
-          Scallions
-          Jarred jalapeños

Directions:

  1. Start by warming the refried beans in a small pan or in the microwave. Next heat ½ teaspoon canola oil in a pan over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add one four tortilla and brown it on both sides. About 1-2 minutes per side. Repeat until done adding additional oil as needed.
  1. Place tortillas on a baking sheet and spread each tortilla with 1/3 cup of refried beans each. Then sprinkle ¼ cup of cheese on each. Place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  1. While cheese is melting start preparing your eggs. Fried or sunny side up are the most common but you can serve them with scrambled eggs as well. For fried or sunny side up egg, use a small sauté pan and bring to medium high heat. Melt a small amount of butter – just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Crack the egg and place it in the center of the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes for a runny egg. Flip once if you want it over easy. Repeat for all 4 eggs.
  1. Place one egg on each tortilla. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with salsa or enchilada sauce as well as any additional toppings you prefer. Serve immediately.


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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Berry Green Breakfast Smoothie - Start your day with one!

About 5 years ago I became pretty obsessed with yogurt. I started eating it every day for breakfast and haven’t stopped since. I do change it up to keep from getting bored though. Some weeks I eat flavored yogurt and other weeks I’ll use plain yogurt and mix in fresh fruit and granola. And then there are other weeks when I make smoothies.


I think the smoothies are my favorite.

Smoothies have gotten a bit of a bad rap over the last couple of years. I view them like I do any other meal or dish – if you make it at home it will be better for you. Most chains use loads of sugar in their smoothies, and I’m not sure why because fruit is pretty sweet by itself to me.

I personally believe that there is nothing “bad” for me in this smoothie. The ingredients are healthy and have loads of nutritional benefits. This recipe is my go-to smoothie in the morning, and you probably can’t tell by the color but it has spinach in it. I also promise you that you can’t taste the spinach either. Don’t let the oats or flaxseed scare you either! The oats grind up and all that’s left are little bits here and there no bigger than the seeds from the berries. And they really make the smoothie much thicker and filling if you ask me.

One little tip about the berries. I have a firm belief that if you’re adding fruit to a smoothie then you should never need ice cubes, so go ahead and buy fresh whole frozen berries. They are just as good for you as fresh and cheaper usually. Just be sure that the only ingredient is the fruit and no added sugar. If you do buy fresh, prep them by washing and cutting the larger berries in half. Then freeze them on a cookie sheet in a single layer before tossing them in a freezer bag. This will keep them from sticking together once frozen. 

Berry Green Breakfast Smoothie
*Serves 1

Ingredients:
-          heaping ½ cup mixed frozen berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries
-          ¼ cup uncooked old fashioned whole grain oats
-          ¾ cup low fat milk (1% in cow’s milk)
-          5-6oz Greek 0% fat yogurt, vanilla or  plain*
-          1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
-          ½ cup packed fresh baby spinach

*Most single servings of yogurt are between 5 and 6oz, mine for example is 5.3oz.  Choose plain or vanilla based on your desire for sweetness. You could also use plain yogurt and add a squeeze of honey too.

Directions:

  1. In a blender layer the ingredients in this order: spinach, yogurt, flaxseed, oats, milk, and berries. If using a machine where the cup is inverted (such as a magic bullet) reverse the order. When you start to blend you want the heavier items (the berries) on top and the lightest (the spinach) on the bottom at the blades.
  1. Blend together for 1-2 minutes or until mixture is smooth and berries are fully blended. Enjoy immediately.

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Crispy Stuffed Pork Chops with Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes

When I first started cooking I struggled with new ideas for pork recipes. That doesn't seem to be the case anymore.


I made this a few weeks back when it was still cold-ish (for Florida) and I wanted something warm and cozy for dinner. Now that Spring is officially here, I probably won’t be making it for a few months. Especially since I just spent the last two days hemming and hawing over several new bikinis online…

Is it overkill to buy 4 new ones every year? In my defense I tossed about 5 of my old ones a few months ago. I’d really just be replacing those.

So this recipe is delicious and I suggest you make it now before it REALLY is bikini time and you won’t want something that is fried a little and filled with a tasty cheesy center.

Spinach and Sun-dried Tomato Stuffed Pork Chops
*Makes 4

Ingredients:
-          4 6oz boneless pork chops
-          2 cups frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed (about 1 cup)
-          ½ cup ricotta cheese
-          3 tablespoons boursin herb and garlic cheese
-          ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
-          2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
-          3 -4 tablespoons minced sun-dried tomatoes
-          1 egg
-          ¼ cup flour
-          1 ¼ cup bread crumbs
-          3 tablespoons canola oil
-          Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  1. In a small bowl combine spinach, ricotta, boursin, mozzarella, parmesan and sun-dried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
  1. Take each pork chop and pound out to ¼ inch thickness. Spread an equal amount of mixture all over chops leaving a small border around the edges. Roll each chop up and secure with toothpicks at the bottom.
  1. Prepare the coating by beating the egg in a shallow dish. Using a separate plate for both the flour and bread crumbs season each with salt and pepper. Dredge each pork chop on all sides through each. Start with the flour, then egg and finally the bread crumbs.
  1. Use a large sauté pan and heat oil over medium high heat. Sear all sides of each pork chop until golden brown. Start with the bottom first and brown the sides as well. About 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer to a sheet pan and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Once pork is cooked through, remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before removing toothpicks and serving.
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