Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shredded Pork With Black Beans

This is one of those recipes that came about because I had made my Margarita Pork Roast and had a bunch left over. I started opening my cupboards to see what kind of inspiration I could find in there and this is what I came up with. I cooked the leftover pork in a skillet to crisp it up and then added a few simple ingredients. I actually made this into a burrito for my son and I just ate it as is. Either way, it's pretty darn good and another super easy recipe to make using leftovers.

Shredded Pork with Black Beans
3-4 cups leftover Margarita Pork (recipe below) or any leftover pork roast
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 Teaspoon pepper
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles (or a can of plain diced tomatoes will do)
1 14 oz. can black beans, drained

In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir. Add pork. Cook, stirring often, until pork is heated through and somewhat crisp (about 5 minutes). Stir in salt, cumin, pepper, tomatoes and black beans and cook until well heated. Serve with cheese, sour cream, cilantro and tortillas.

Everyone knows of my passion for all foods Mexican. I made this up when I wanted to do something other than the usual 'rubbed' pork roast. The tequila and lime help to tenderize the meat and the margarita mix adds a little sweetness.

Margarita Pork Roast
3-4 lb boneless pork roast
2 Teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup tequila
1/2 cup margarita mix
Juice of 1 lime

Rinse and pat dry the pork roast. Rub the salt onto the roast. In a skillet, heat the oil. Brown the roast on all sides. Place in a crockpot. Pour over the margarita mix, lime juice and tequila, in that order. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Shred and use for tostadas, tacos or in burritos.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Easy Cookies

Next week Thursday is St. Joseph's day, and the Italian Club I belong to (even though I am not Italian. Don't ask. It has to do with wine, and the common colors of our flags) is hosting a St. Joseph's table. I never heard of a St. Joseph's table that was a sweet table before, but, whatever, I can roll with the punches. Unfortunately I don't want to roll out any cookie dough. I plan on using this cookie recipe, which I have used in the past. It is really easy, and it tastes great!

Easybake Cakemix Cookie Recipe

1 package (approximately 18 ounces) yellow cake mix, the size you can bake in a 9 inch by 13 inch cake pan (I used Betty Crocker)

2 cups of Cool Whip (measure, my 18 ounce tub had about 3 cups in it)
1 large beaten egg
½ cup of powdered sugar (I did not use this because my mom is a diabetic and there is more than enough sugar for her in a box of cake mix)
Hershey Kisses
Marishino cherries.
Combine dry cake mix, Cool Whip, and beaten egg in a large bowl. Stir until it is mixed well.

Drop by teaspoon into the bowl of powdered sugar and roll to coat the cookie dough.

Place the coated cookie on a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, 12 cookies to a sheet.

Bake the cookies at 350 degrees F for10 minutes. Place one Hershey Kiss in the middle of some, one Marishino cherry in the middle of others. Let then cool on the cookie sheets for 2 minutes or so, and then move them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield 4 dozen cookies.

Tip: I have used chocolate cake mix as well. This year I want to try lemon cake mix and see how that turns out.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lemon and Basil Roast Chicken

OK, it actually has some orange in there also. And garlic. But that makes for a long recipe title. Fact is, this is just some darn good chicken. It's lemony-basily-orangy-garlicy and very moist. I actually take the leftovers (if there are any) and make chicken salad sandwiches the next day. Yeah - this is a two-fer.

I'll let you in on a little secret of how I get it so moist. I brine it. I know, that probably seems like a lot of work for a little chicken, but that's how they turn out the best and when I cook, I want the best bang for my buck. That's just how I roll. If you don't want to go to all the trouble of making the brine and soaking the chicken overnight, you can put the thawed chicken in an ice water bath for a few hours and it will help to re-hydrate the chicken. Yes, unless you are independently wealthy and can afford fresh (which I cannot), then your frozen little bird is going to be a bit dehydrated. Give it a shot, what do you have to lose.

Lemon and Basil Roast Chicken
1 whole chicken, 3-4 lbs
1 lemon
1 orange
1/4 c semi-dry white wine
3 cloves garlic,quartered
1 bunch fresh basil (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons butter (not margarine)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Rinse chicken well (remove all gizzards), pat dry and place in a roasting pan breast side up.

Quarter orange and halve lemon. Squeeze most of the orange juice into a bowl and the juice of half the lemon. Reserve orange. Slice the other half of the lemon. To the juice add white wine and stir.

With your fingers, very carefully separate the skin from the breast meat. Place 2 slices of lemon between skin and meat on each side of breast. Stuff the chicken (loosely) with a few reserved orange quarters, lemon quarters, basil, garlic and butter. Pour juice / wine mixture over chicken, getting some under the skin and in the cavity. Salt and pepper the skin.

Bake at 325° for approximately 1-1/2 to 2 hours (basting at least once half-way through the baking time) or until a meat thermometer reads 165°. If the chicken skin becomes too brown, cover with foil for remainder of baking time.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Chicken and Asparagus with White Wine Sauce

If you've never cooked with wine for one reason or another, you really should expand your horizons and give it a try. It may be intimidating at first, trying to figure out what kind of or white, Cabernet or Merlot? Pinot Gris or Chardonnay? While I prefer drinking reds over whites, I do more cooking with whites. Probably because I use it with chicken, soups, sauces and it works well with those.

This dish is super easy and you'll be amazed at how good it tastes. This takes maybe a half hour to prepare and uses just a few ingredients. So this is great for working moms/wives/bloggers like me who some days just don't want to slave for hours in the kitchen.

I like to use a nice Sauvignon Blanc for this. Chardonnay is too buttery/oakey/dry (do I sound like a wine-snob or what?) for this recipe, and so I go for the $8-$9 bottle of SB, they are usually pretty decent in that range. Lucky for me, I live in the proverbial 'wine belt' of the United States and the selection is pretty darn good.

Chicken and Asparagus with White Wine Sauce

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
3-4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 lb. Asparagus, rinsed, dried and ends trimmed
Parmesan cheese

In a bowl, combine flour, salt, paprika and pepper. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge chicken in flour mixture and add to hot oil. Cover and cook approximately 7 minutes. Turn chicken, cover and continue cooking until cooked through - approximately 7 more minutes and each side is brown and crispy. Remove chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Keep skillet over heat and with a spoon, scrape up bits from the bottom of the skillet and add wine and chicken broth stirring well. Add asparagus. Cover and cook until asparagus is slightly crisp, about 5 minutes. Uncover and grate some Parmesan over the asparagus and let cook for another minute.

On individual plates, put one chicken breast, asparagus and spoon over some of the wine sauce from the pan. Top with additional grated Parmesan cheese. Fabulous.