Sunday, July 26, 2015

Apple Crisp

I very much enjoy apple crisp.  Baked apples have always been one of my favorite treats and add a crust... yum!!  This crisp is super easy.  I used granny smith apples, sliced thinly and did not even bother peeling.  I reduced the sugar on the apples to probably 1/3 cup, just sprinkled it all over the apples and called it a day.  One cup seems WAY TOO much. I did not make any changes to the crust.  I wondered if the shortening would be "boring" compared to using butter but nope, it was fantastic!  This crisp is great on its own, warmed up for breakfast or served with vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Meat Sauce for Lasagna and Spaghetti

I make lasagna and spaghetti a couple of times a month.  This is my favorite meat sauce.  I add a pound of hot Italian sausage (and enough water so it can simmer down for 2 or more hours) and otherwise, it is perfect!  This makes enough for one 8" x 8" pan of lasagna and a couple servings of spaghetti. I use half for lasagna and then freeze the other half for spaghetti in the future.

For the lasagna, I use The Pioneer Woman's recipe for the cheese layers and assembly. 


June 14, 2015

We gathered at Mary's for a Mediterranean Meal!


 
 

We started with Spinach Puffs and spinach dip as prepared by Angie and HEB.  I put both eggs in the filling rather than use an egg wash.  I also added lemon zest and juice into the filling as suggested by recipe reviewers.










Mary concocted our Cucumber Basil Lime Gimlet cocktail and it was light and refreshing.  There is something about a cucumber cocktail that makes me feel like I'm at the spa waiting for a massage.  I need to feel that more often!





Our main dish was Mediterranean Style Beef Tips with Tzatziki Sauce.  The beef is marinated with oregano and the yogurt dip was cooling and creamy. 











We prepared the Mediterranean Style Cauliflower together.  This was a delicious way to prepare cauliflower with bright fresh flavors from the basil and tomatoes and a little bit of naughtiness with the Parmesan cheese garnish.





Tonya made a Greek Couscous Salad sans the olives.  I love couscous and this was a way to serve it with crunchy bell peppers and cucumbers.  The feta cheese adds saltiness and bottled salad dressing simplifies the recipe.






We ended our feast with a creamy Vanilla and Almond Fresh Fruit Tart.  These started with frozen pie crusts that taste like homemade when baked and are then filled with a delicious cream and topped with fresh berries.   I could have eaten several of these delicious little pies!

Monday, June 15, 2015

May 3, 2015

We met at Tonya's for a pre-Cinco De Mayo celebration!



We started off with Tonya's Margarita Slushes and Angelica's Seven Layer Dip.  The slushes were delicious and made it way too easy to consume large amounts of tequila!  The seven layer dip was fresh and bright with all the vegetables:  tomato, bell pepper, green onions, avocado and olives.  Very tasty, filling and almost guilt free!


7 Layer Taco Dip

1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
1 large tomato, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch chopped green onions
1 large avocado
1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, blend the taco seasoning mix and refried beans. Spread the mixture onto a large serving platter.
2. Mix the sour cream and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Spread over the refried beans.
3. Top the layers with salsa. Place a layer of tomato, green bell pepper, green onions and avocado over the salsa, and top with Cheddar cheese. Garnish with black olives


Eat with Chips or favorite vegetable.


Our salad was a unique one called Avocado, Tomato and Cotija Cheese and was perfect for a Cinco de Mayo dinner!  It had a sweet dressing that paired well with the salty cheese and creamy avocado.

Chili and Cheese Rice was a Spanish Rice with a cheesy twist.  It finishes in the oven to melt the cheese and make a slight crust.  

Pinto Beans without jalapenos was our other side dish.  The beans were creamy and perfectly seasoned.





The main dish was Sauteed Potatoes with Chorizo.  Tonya had all the toppings which were displayed in the cutest serving platter.  The pork was served in flour or corn tortillas and these tacos were delicious! The potatoes were perfectly cooked, creamy in the middle with crunchy outsides and the chorizo gave a nice kick.  These would also be excellent with egg as a breakfast taco too.  
























I prepared the desert, and it was a failure.  I used pastry flour instead of cake flour.  Who knew there was a difference?!  NOT ME.  Isn't cake technically pastry?  The icing was nice and I do agree with recipe reviewers that you should add some mango to the cake.  You may also want to follow the reviewers and cut back the sugar.  But for heaven's sake, do not use the wrong flour!!!



Saturday, May 23, 2015

April 19, 2015

We met at my house on a dark and stormy night.  We even had hail.  Yikes!




We started  off with  two dips with crudites.  Pioneer Woman's Crudite with Spinach Dip and Barefoot Contessa's Crudite with Herb Dip. I forgot to take a picture, so here is a picture from Food Network.   Please don't sue me.  

I enjoyed both dips and they lasted the entire week.  A relatively healthy snack to eat with fresh vegetables.

The cocktail was a Honey Poloma using my new favorite alcohol, honey whiskey.

Honey Poloma

  Ingredients

1 Part Jim Beam® Honey Bourbon & Liqueur
Grapefruit Soda

Preparation

Fill with grapefruit soda. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Easter Crudite Basket with Spinach Dip


 


Our main dish was Vegetable Lasagna. I lightened this up by using half and half rather than cream.  I also simplified the recipe by using ready to bake lasagna noodles.  I really liked this lasagna.  It was hearty and creamy yet still had lots of vegetables with the spinach and mushrooms. 








Our sides were Garlic Bread as prepared by Angelica and Green Bean and Asparagus Salad as prepared by Tonya.  The garlic bread was different than I had prepared before - it had a melted butter and herb/cheese concoction that was made into a paste and spread on the bread.  The salad was a warm salad and featured my favorite vegetable:  asparagus.  The tomatoes burst when roasted and added a fresh, summery taste to the salad.






For dessert, Mary brought an Italian Cream Cake from the House of Pies.  The first rule of cooking club is your presence matters more than your making of a homemade dish.  Second rule is that you are allowed to leave early if you have a pressing engagement.   Third rule is that there are no rules in cooking club.















Tuesday, April 14, 2015

March 22, 2015

On March 22, 2015 we met at Mary's house, along with Mary's friend and neighbor, Carol.



 Orange mamosarita ( Mary original recipe)
 
 
1-1 1/2 quarts fresh squeezed orange juice
1  12 oz can pineapple nectar
1   cup of tequila
1   cup margarita mix
1   bottle dry champagne







Appetizers of mango salsa and guacamole



A banana leaf wrapped pork roast,  Cochinita Pibil   It was full of flavor and very tender.  And who can resist BANANA LEAVES?!


For the side dish of Mexican Rice we combined two recipes.  We used one that had a puree of tomato and onions and then cooked it on the stove.  The salad was a Mexican Slaw with mangoes and avocado. 


 



Margarita Pie with Pretzel Crust

Tonya increased the tequila (double at least) and you still could not taste it in the pie. She also beat in about 2 oz of cream cheese with the condensed milk so the pie would not be too runny. More cream cheese and tequila could be added to make the pie even more delicious!



Sunday, March 15, 2015

February 15, 2015

We met at Tonya's house on February 15, 2015. 

Cocktail - Tonya, X Rated Fusion Liqueur Cocktail
Appetizer - Angie, Crock Pot Skinny Parmesan Spinach Dip
Salad - Angie, Kale Salad with Root Vegetables and Apple
Main Dish - Authentic Louisiana Red Beans and Rice
Dessert - Mary, Sweet Potato Pie with Praline Topping

Tonya kicked off the evening with a cocktail containing X Rated Fusion Liqueur and Prosecco.  It was lightly sweet and went down very smooth.  And fast.  Perhaps this is where the "X Rated" in the name comes from.




Our appetizer was Skinny Parmesan Spinach Dip with tortilla and pita chips.  This dip was easy to mix together and cook in the crock pot and then of course, the added bonus is it will stay creamy and warm.  I think I will use this method to make dips in the future because there is nothing worse than a warm dip getting cold and congealed.




Kale Salad with Root Vegetables and Apple was the salad that I prepared.  It is a winter salad with the root vegetables and hearty kale.  I have never handled rutabagas before and this ingredient turned out to not be intimidating at all.  I used honey in the dressing rather than agave syrup. 





For our main dish, we prepared together Authentic Louisiana Red Beans and Rice in Tonya's pressure cooker.  I am happy to report that there were neither injuries nor explosions DESPITE Tonya releasing the pressure a couple of  times to test the beans.  I really enjoyed this dish and the pressure cooker makes it simple and quick to prepare.  The beans were tender, the sausage perfectly cooked and the white rice (cooked separately in a rice cooker) cut the spicy heat. 





To complete our meal, Mary served  Sweet Potato Pie with Praline Topping. This pie was outstanding!  I see now why some prefer it over pumpkin pie.  The filling was sweet and smooth and the topping was crunchy with the candied pecans.  I think I will add this to my Thanksgiving menu.