Thursday, January 19, 2012

Smoked Paprika Hummus

I had a bag of dried garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) in my pantry and really wanted to use them up. I love hummus but have always been a little nervous trying my own for some odd reason. It is actually fairly easy and there are so many recipes and ways to make it but this is what I came up with and everyone that's tried it, really likes it.Canned garbanzo beans work just as well with this recipe but if you go with dry garbanzo beans, they need to soak in cool water overnight or about 8 hours. Drain. Use 4 cups of water to every 1 cup of beans. Add a pinch of salt and boil for an hour or until tender. Drain. 
Smoked Paprika Hummus
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1 teaspoon tahini
1 Tablespoon crushed garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Throw everything into a blender or food processor, adding a little water to reach your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. 
It always comes out YUMMY!

If you have extra cooked beans, try making, Espinacas con Garbanzos 
They also freeze well for your next batch of hummus!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blackened Seasoning Mix

I always have a ton of spices on hand but when I looked up a recipe for Tilapia, I saw it required blackened seasoning which I ran out of. But when looking at what it's made of, I realized I have everything and got to work.  I have a little mortar and pestle which I just love and haven't had the chance to use it (or forget I have it) but this was a perfect chance to put it to good use.  

The key to this recipe will be smoked paprika. That stuff is amazing!  I added it to Alfredo sauce and gave a little zing to my tastebuds and turned it a light pink color. 

If you live near an international food store, check that place out for spices. It's usually a TON cheaper than McCormick :) Also, the international isle in your local grocery store should have spices in packages which will be cheaper.   We have a few bulk food stores which sell spices and herbs for a fraction of the price. If you cook with lots of spices, keep your eyes pealed for places like that.

For the recipe, I eyeballed it, which is safe if you're willing to wet your finger and sample it as you go along but it's not the most pleasant tasting stuff around, so I'll do my best to give you the measurements.

Blackened Seasoning Mix ( for 4 fish or chicken fillets)
2 TBSP. smoked paprika
1 TBSP. sweet paprika
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes OR 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp. flor blanca coarse salt  OR 1 1/2 tsp. table salt

Crush well and store in a sealed container until ready to use.

I posted a dinner idea of Tilapia, Rice Pilaf and Cucumber Salad. Maybe you want to check it out for a dinner idea!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Veggie Trio & Kielbasa Pasta Dish

I had kielbasa, green peppers, tomatoes and bow-tie pasta in my kitchen and just knew there would be a fabulous way to bring these ingredients together.  I did a recipe search and then tweaked it and it became my very own creation. My little family LOVED it!  I served it with large NY bagels since that was the only bread I had laying around. But it was the perfect side for this simple summer evening meal.

Veggie Trio & Kielbasa Pasta Dish
serves 6

1 (12 oz) box farfalle (bow-tie) pasta 
2 TBSP. butter
1 TBSP. minced garlic

2 green peppers, chopped
3 tomatoes; blanched, peeled and chopped
1 onion, minced
1 (16 oz) kielbasa sausage ring, cut into 1/4-inch diagonal slices
1 TBSP. dried basil/ sage/ parsley
1 tsp. black pepper
2 TBSP. olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to box directions. Drain and set aside.  Melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and onions. Cook until onions are soft. Add kielbasa and green peppers, basil, sage, parsley and black pepper. Cook until green peppers are soft.  Add cooked pasta, chopped tomatoes and olive oil. stir just until mixed. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Addicted to My Summertime Salad

I picked up what was left of the local strawberries. They were SO juicy that they practically melted in my mouth! Next spring I hope to be more in tune with the short strawberry season and actually go pick some and turn it into freezer jam. But with the few I had I used on a bed of fresh baby spinach from my mom's garden! What a treat!

I toasted chopped pecans, sliced strawberries and crumbled feta cheese. I looked up a recipe for a raspberry vinaigrette only to find out this recipe called for raspberry syrup, something you find in the international isle of the store. Well, I wasn't about to run to the store so I threw in some raspberry jam into my vinaigrette instead. JUST AS DELICIOUS!  Here's the recipe-

Baby spinach or a spring mix
feta cheese
chopped,toasted pecans

1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 Tablespoon raspberry jam
pinch of salt & pepper

Blend until smooth- Drizzle onto salad quickly. The dressing seemed to separate very fast.  Serve with a smile and get ready to reload that salad plate!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Secret to a Chewy Cookie

I have always looked for the perfect cookie recipe and tried to keep them chewy by pulling them out of the oven right before they're fully baked and eat them while hot before they turn crunchy.  But while in Taiwan, a stateside friend mailed a box of homemade chocolate chip cookies to a teammate and they were CHEWY even after the long trip overseas! What was the secret? Vanilla pudding mix!! Maybe you already knew this, but this was a revelation for me and I couldn't wait to get back to the states where I can buy vanilla pudding mix and try it out! 
Here is a recipe I found that works very well.  It makes around 4 dozen. The best way to serve them is warm with a glass of milk, so why not refrigerate your dough until guests come over?!

The Chewiest Chocolate Chipiest Cookies
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •   3cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Mix together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
In your mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. 
Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My First Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I keep driving past small produce stands with signs that read, "Rhubarb"and "Local Strawberries". I really like rhubarb when others use it in cobbler or pie, but I personally have never cooked with it. 

This morning, I finally bought some and headed home for a new adventure. My little girl appreciated the juicy strawberries as a snack while I worked on the pie.

I found a recipe that was very easy to follow; "Pucker Up for That Strawberry Rhubarb Pie."  Instead of making my own pie crust I bought two frozen ones, thawed them, rolled them together on waxed paper and placed it in my deep dish pie pan.

Check out her site and have fun! It didn't take me as long as I thought it would. From start to oven it was right around 45 minutes.

My hubby stated he didn't really like rhubarb but would try it anyway. Well, guess what happened? He's a believer!

It is delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

I took a few shortcuts in making these cupcakes but since I had extra time from the shortcuts, I played around with homemade frosting and drizzled chocolate decor!

I bought a box of chocolate cake mix and while mixing it added 1/3 cup raspberry jam and a little extra cocoa powder; maybe 1/4 cup.  They baked nicely.

For the frosting, I followed this recipe from the Food Network:

  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream ( I threw in some leftover cool whip with this)
Once this was mixed, I added raspberry jam to the bowl, 1 TBSP at a time, mixing thoroughly. A total of 4 TBSP went into the batch. It was such a gorgeous color! And licking the spoon was heavenly! I couldn't wait to top the cupcake with this frosting!

While the cupcakes were baking, I melting a little chocolate in the microwave and using a knife, I drizzled it onto waxed paper. I really had no idea how this was going to turn out so I just did circles and swirls. It all dried within minutes right there on the counter and I could easily peel them off. The outcome was perfect! It was Mother's Day, so I gave one to our our upstairs neighbor who is a mom and grandma and shared them with a friends over dinner together.  Who knew "gourmet" cupcakes could be so easy!?!?!