Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cajun Spice Mix

I am reminded today how much I cherish this lovely rub for fish, chicken or any meat I want to "blacken". I gave the last jar to Marie Brooks and didn't replace it. As always....I will not take credit for something I did not personally create. This recipe comes to you from "Cooking Light Magazine". I have made it for over 3 years now. It's a great blackening recipe for salmon, ESPECIALLY Tuna, and any other meat you want to blacken...keep it in a 1/2 pint jar and take out and use as you please.

3 TBSP paprika
2 TBSP ground red pepper
2 TBSP thyme
2 TBSP oregano
2 TBSP onion powder
2 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP kosher salt
1 TBSP black pepper
1 TBSP sugar or 1/4 cup brown sugar

Combine all ingredients and keep in a sealed jar.

Swiss Cheese and Mushroom/Vegetable Strata-A Perfect Marriage

What to do with the little bit of leftovers from last nights Staff Christmas Party? Those veggies cooked in garlic, olive oil and butter was so delish, but I want a different take on eating the leftovers. My good friend from 25 years ago, Linda Garlington, gave me this fabulous recipe for a swiss cheese and mushroom strata. Most of the veggie ingredients called for in her recipe can be found in my Roasted Vegetables recipe (posted here earlier). So, I am combining the two recipes to serve to my school family tomorrow.

Roasted Vegetables
1 large can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
9 slices white bread (I used the thick Texas Toast like you would use for French Toast buttered on both sides)
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 lb. cubed swiss cheese 1" cubes

First Step:
Cook the Roasted Vegetables recipe posted here earlier. Save about 3 1/2 cups of the veggies after cooked and drain.

Second Step:
Butter 3 slices of bread on both sides, cube into approx. 1" pieces. Place in the bottom of a LARGE baking dish (Do NOT use your stoneware for this--it will break!), add 1/2 of the Roasted Vegetables and 1/2 of the cubed cheese on top. Place 3 more buttered and cubed slices of bread on top of the vegetables, and the remaining cheese and vegetables. Mix milk and eggs together well and pour over the top of the layers. Put on a lid or seal tightly and let sit in the fridge for 24 hours. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Take out of the oven and add 1 can cream of Mushroom Soup mixed with 1/2 can water. Bake uncovered for 30 more minutes. Allow to sit about 10 minutes before diving in.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Roasted Vegetables and Ramen Noodle Salad

Tonight is our annual staff Christmas Party. It's always a gala event that both Jim and I look forward to. Especially the crazy gift exchange. I refuse to get stuck with the edible underpants ever again. I love sampling all of my colleagues fares. Last year, Sandy Kowalski's husband had the most incredible recipe for a mushroom dish made of several varieties of mushrooms. This year I am taking two tried-and-true recipes I inherited from friends and family. My roasted vegetables recipe was given to me by my beautiful, talented and smart sister-in-law, Linda Blizzard. This dish can stand alone as the main entree or as a lovely side-dish at a potluck. It is ALWAYS a winner and every time I make it I am asked for the recipe.

1 large eggplant, diced into 1 1/2" cubes
1 pint pearl onions
1 pint small button mushrooms
1 lb. asparagus
1 red, yellow and green bell pepper cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup olive oil
3 TBSP minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly spray a large roasting pan with non-stick spray. Toss in all vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Combine butter, olive oil and garlic. Pour over veggies to coat and toss. Roast in the oven for 1 hour at 400.

Next up is a Ramen Noodle Salad recipe that I got from my friend Lauri Capps in Cloudcroft, NM. Who knew Ramen Noodles could be used in something other than soup? This is a do-ahead recipe that actually needs some time for the flavors to marry and the noodles to soften (yes, without cooking them!) The dressing must be made the day before you plan on serving it, and the salad is mixed with the dressing and needs to sit for a few more hours before serving.

The Dressing:
2/3 cups salad oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar (I used rice vinegar but I am sure you can choose)

The Salad:
1 pkg. coleslaw mix
2 bunches green onions, chopped or sliced thin (I also include some of the tops)
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup sunflower seeds, roasted and salted
2 pkg. Chicken Ramen Noodles (broken up with the seasoning packets)

Mix the dressing ingredients and let sit overnight. DO NOT REFRIGERATE THIS. The next day, mix all salad ingredients together, add dressing and toss. Let stand for a few hours before serving.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Moose Spaghetti

I am always up for a new recipe. I have to say that this one I kind of said....."I don't think so...." who thinks of celery and carrots and pasta....not me...but I grew up in the Southwest. A: We don't have moose B: Pasta should not be combined with celery and carrots C: What the heck is Montreal Steak Spice? This is a great addition to my recipes and I WILL use it again. If you don't have access to moose then ground venison will do. I will not take credit for what I did not create.....This recipe comes to you from GoodGrief3....whoever he or she is...ok...I fudged on a few things..Plus or minus on the seasonings...I included some Chipotle b/c I love the heat!

1 1/2 lbs. ground moose (or venison)
1/2 lb ground beef (I used ground pork)
3 cloves crushed garlic (I like more)
1 lg. onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 green bell pepper diced (I didn't have one and didn't miss it)
1 can mushrooms (Didn't provide a size, so I included two--I LIKE mushrooms)
1 can tomato paste (the small one)
1 large can of tomatoes crushed up (I used organic)
Montreal Steak Spice, parley, basil, oregano, salt, peper, chili peppers.

In a large pot, add a little oil cook onion, garlic, celery, bell, and carrots until soft. Remove from the pan. Add the meats and brown. Drain if you need Ad ushrooms, tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Allow to simmer for a few hours and serve over pasta topped with some great Parmesaean Romano Cheese.

**You know what? A tiny tin of anchovies diced and a teaspoon of capers would add a whole new dimension to this's great as it is, but play with it.

P.S....I served this up on Spinach Fettucinne and a herb salad with balsamic vinegar dressing (I truly LOVE dill weed in makes all the difference!)