Friday, March 30, 2012

Pepper Turns Up The Heat

When I think of pepper, my first thought is of ground black pepper found in salt and pepper shakers, but did you know there are dozens of varieties of pepper and pepper-blends to explore? Here's a short list of my favorite types and how to use each one...

Black Peppercorn (Black Pepper)- Black peppercorn is a dried, unripened berry and the most common and versatile. Used in flavoring savory dishes, it has a mild flavor, but is strong enough to add a bit of heat to a dish. One of my favorite fried round steak recipes lists 3 teaspoons of ground black pepper.

Green Peppercorns- Turn up the heat a bit more with green peppercorns. Harvested very early and then brined, or quick-dried, the flavor works great in salsas, cream sauces, and vegetables.

Long Pepper (Piper Longum)- Similar to black peppercorns but with a stronger flavor. Often used in Indian cuisine, and international spice blends.

Pink Peppercorns- These rose-hued berries are unique; they are used in both sweet and savory dishes. Known for their attractive color, they have a sweet and fruity taste. They make a flavorful addition to sauces, meat, and fish dishes; also used in ice cream, and chocolate desserts.

Red Pepper (Cayenne)- This is one of my favorite peppers. Made from a pickled ripe pepper, red pepper is pungent and hot, with a slightly sweet taste. Try red pepper when you want to turn up the heat in mexican dishes, chili, stew, pot roast, jambalaya, and tomato-based sauces.

White Peppercorn- White peppercorns are black peppercorns left to ripen fully. The berry turns white when dried. It is slightly milder than the black variety and is used in light-colored sauces, soups, and marinades. Also good paired with fish and chicken.

Lemon Pepper- A lemony blend of black and white peppercorns, lemon zest, and additional spices. Delicious sprinkled on seafood, steaks, pork, chicken, and salads. Also a pleasing addition to oil and vinegar salad dressing.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dripping Roast Beef Sandwiches Recipe

I'm usually a little skeptical about new recipes that I see in women's magazines. For me, the results are hit and miss, but this recipe from Campbell's looked so good and easy, I thought I'd give it a taste test.

These roast beef sandwiches are a hit with my family. Hubby says these are just as good as the French Dip sandwiches he orders at the steak house. I love that they're made with sliced deli roast beef. Easy!

Dripping Roast Beef Sandwiches
Prep: 5 min, Cook: 5 min, Bake: 3 min, Makes: 4 sandwiches

1 can (10.5 oz.) condensed French Onion soup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 pound deli roast beef, thinly sliced
4 hoagie rolls
4 slices deli provolone cheese, cut in half
1/4 cup, banana pepper rings, drained

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat soup and Worcestershire sauce in 2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil. Add beef and heat through, stirring occasionally. Divide beef among rolls. Top beef with cheese slices.
Place sandwiches on a baking sheet covered with foil, to catch drippings.
Bake 3 minutes or until cheese is melted, and sandwiches are toasted. Spoon 2 teaspoons of soup mixture into each sandwich. Top each sandwich with pepper rings. Use remaining soup mixture for dipping.
Result: Lots of drippy, happy smiles!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

One Pan Spaghetti

True or false- Can you make spaghetti using one pan? Yes, you can! No more boiling noodles separately- no more lugging water, sink to stove, and back again. Added bonus- less dishes to wash.

The noodles are cooked in the spaghetti sauce- easy peasy. The addition of chopped onion and green pepper gives a full, robust flavor. I tweaked this recipe a bit from one I found on the Johnsonville Sausage site. Try it- I think you'll like it. *smile*

One Pan Spaghetti

1 package (19 oz.) mild, ground Italian sausage
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 jar (26 oz.) pasta sauce
3 cups water
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken in half

In a large skillet or dutch oven, add the sausage, pinching it into bite-size pieces with your fingers. Add the chopped onion and chopped green pepper. Cook over medium heat until meat is browned and no longer pink- drain.

Add the pasta sauce and water- bring to a boil. Carefully stir in the uncooked spaghetti- moving it around a bit. Simmer, uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes or until spaghetti is tender, stirring often. Serves 5.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mexican Casserole Recipe

In the mood for Mexican tonight? Here’s a quick and easy, layered Mexican casserole recipe that’s sure to please. No fancy ingredients are required; most likely they are stocked in your pantry. My hubby gives this one two yums up. *smile*

Mexican Casserole

1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
3/4 cup water
1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
1 can (10 ounces) Rotel, original flavor
6 flour tortillas (6 inches)
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 can (2.25 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, optional

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in taco seasoning and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a microwave-safe bowl, combine refried beans and Rotel.
Cover and microwave for 1 minute or until spreadable.

Place three tortillas in the bottom of a greased round 2-1/2-qt. baking dish.
Layer with half of the beef, refried bean mixture, corn, ripe olives, and cheese. Repeat layer.

Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven. Let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Recipe for Pot Roast with Vegetables

Ahhh...Pot Roast, the perfect Sunday dinner. Just saying the words "Pot Roast" makes me feel all comfy inside. Say it everybody...P-O-T  R-O-A-S-T... ahhh...are you feeling that feeling? Here's the recipe:

Recipe for Pot Roast with Vegetables
1 boneless beef chuck roast (about 3 pounds)
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided
3 cups hot water
2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
1 medium onion, quartered
1 celery rib, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
4 medium potatoes, cut into large chunks

Sprinkle both sides of the roast with 1 tablespoon of flour. Press in lightly to coat the meat. In a Dutch oven, brown the roast on both sides in 3 tablespoons of the melted butter. Add the water, bouillon, onion, celery, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add carrots and potatoes; cover and simmer an additional hour or until meat is tender and pulls apart easily with a fork. Remove meat and vegetables to a serving platter; keep warm.

For Gravy: Strain the remaining cooking juices with a sieve; set aside. In the same Dutch oven, melt remaining butter. Stir in the remaining flour; cook and stir until bubbly. Add 2 cups of the cooking juices; blend until smooth. Cook and stir just until thickened; add additional cooking juices until gravy is the desired consistency. Serves 6 to 8.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Easy Belgian Waffles Recipe

Have you ever tried the Belgian waffles at a Best Western Plus breakfast bar? Talk about delicious! They are light and airy; the maple syrup and butter soak right in making a delectable and slightly naughty calorie-wise, morning treat.
I say, what are vacations for if not to gain a few pounds?

After staying at a Best Western Plus hotel in Texas and enjoying these waffles I was determined to hunt down the recipe or at least find one that was a close cousin. I can't recall where I found this easy Belgian waffles recipe but it is THE BEST waffle recipe I have found in my 40 years of cooking. *smile*

Best Waffles
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together flour, salt, sugar and baking soda. Blend together buttermilk, egg, butter and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry. Mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into a pre-heated belgian waffle iron.
Cook per waffle iron instructions. Makes 1 large waffle.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Recipe for Goulash with Ground Beef

Here's an easy-to-do hamburger goulash recipe; ground beef, noodles, tomatoes, onions, and green pepper make a filling main dish perfect for cold winter evenings. It also makes a delicious addition to a game day buffet.

Hamburger Goulash Recipe

8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked and drained

1 pound ground beef
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup water

Boil macaroni, set aside. Brown ground beef with onion and green pepper; drain off liquid. Add the remaining ingredients except for the macaroni. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 3-4 minutes or until mixture is heated through. Stir in macaroni. Dinner is served! Serves 6.