ORZO WITH GARDEN-FRESH VEGETABLES IN GARLIC/ OLIVE OIL

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     Want a quick yet delicious way to use up your garden-fresh vegetables?  Cook them with Orzo Pasta, add some cheese and it’s ready for the table in about fifteen minutes.  I put the tomatoes on last as part of the garnish for additional color and freshest taste. Have some leftover turkey, chicken, or bacon?  That would be perfect! 

INGREDIENTS:

4 TBSP butter

3 TBSP olive oil

1 medium onion, sliced vertically

1 small yellow squash, chunked

1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

4 large cloves garlic

1 cup uncooked orzo pasta

1 cup water

1/2 cup white wine

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup fresh parsley

¼ tsp crushed red pepper

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese

1/3 cup freshly grated Romano Pecorino cheese

¾ cup Chopped fresh tomatoes

½ cup Mozzarella, grated for garnish

OPTIONAL:  cooked crumbled bacon, leftover diced turkey or chicken

PREPARATION:

In a large skillet, melt butter and olive oil over low heat.  Add the onion, squash, mushrooms, and garlic.  Cook until vegetables are tender.

Mix in the Orzo, and sauté until the pasta takes on a golden color.  It will only take a few minutes.

Add the water and white wine.  When mixture comes to a simmer, season with salt, pepper, parsley, and crushed red pepper.  Cover and simmer about 8 minutes or until Orzo is cooked to your liking.

Add Parmesan and Romano cheeses, stirring until melted.  Add mozzarella, cover and give it a minute or two to melt.

Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle chopped tomatoes on top.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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CRAB AND SHRIMP ALFREDO

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      Having company and need something that will impress your guests?  Want to treat family to a restaurant-worthy seafood dinner?  Make this outstanding seafood and pasta dish that you can prepare ahead of time. 

 INGREDIENTS:  YIELDS 6 servings 

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

3 large King Crab Legs, meat removed from shells

4 TBSP butter

¼ cup olive oil

6  cloves garlic, chopped (1 ½ TBSP)

1/3 cup Chardonnay

1 cup chicken broth

3 TBSP flour

3 ½ cups half and half

½ tsp white pepper

1 tsp Parsley

¾ cup Italian blend grated cheese

½ cup fresh grated Parmesan

½ cup fresh grated Romano

Extra cheese for garnish

Pasta:  Linguine, Fettuccini, Angel hair 

PREPARATION: 

Preheat a large pan of salted water and cook your pasta while preparing the seafood.

Place olive oil and butter in the bottom of a large skilled.  Sauté garlic on low heat for 1 minute.  Add shrimp and saute for about 3-4 minutes until shrimp turns pink.  Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Reserve liquid in pan.

Add Chardonnay, chicken broth, and flour, stirring continuously until flour is well incorporated and sauce begins to thicken a bit.

Add white pepper, Parsley, slowly add the half and half.  When mixture comes to a very slow simmer, slowly add the grated cheeses, stirring until cheese is melted.  (Do not let it come to a full boil.)  Let it continue cooking for a few minutes.

Add crab meat and shrimp, stir well and wait until mixture returns to a simmer.  (No need to cook the crab, it is always pre-cooked.  You only need to warm it).  Plate and sprinkle with a little extra grated cheese for garnish.

NOTE:  Top secret tip.  We’ve all done this, so beware.  Adding the cheese to a very hot mixture will most likely cause it to curdle.  Slowly adding the cheese while whisking will prevent this.

Everything can be cooked ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to serve.  All you need to do is warm it and plate.

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PICKLED CORN, EASY

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     While visiting our friends Jindra and Philip in Kentucky, Bob was able to try pickled corn for the first time. He was just crazy about it. I was able to get the recipe from another friend who made the corn he tried. Carolyn tells me that she and her mother have used this simple recipe for years and they do batches of 10 – 12 dozen ears of corn at a time. Southerners love it, and it is a staple in most Southern homes. Carolyn and her mother Roxie give lots of it away as gifts.

     As much as I cook, I am a freezer. I’ve never canned or pickled anything. This process is simple and needs no pressure cooker or hot water bath. It uses fermentation to preserve it.

     We were very happy with the results and will be making a lot more next summer. Thank you Carolyn!!

INGREDIENTS:

Fresh corn on the cob

1 pint sterilized Mason Jars

Pickling salt or Kosher salt

Distilled or Spring Water

PREPARATION:

Peel and desilk the corn.  Boil until just tender.  I cooked it for 5 minutes.  Plunge the corn in iced water to stop the cooking process.

When cool enough to handle, slice the corn off the cobs and pack tightly in jars.  Clean and dry the lip of the jars.

Place a rounded Tablespoon of salt on top of the corn, then fill with water only to the bottom ring on the lip of the jar.  (You need to leave a little air space for the fermentation to work).  Put a new flat lid on each jar, and then tighten the ring.

Store in a cool place for approximately 6 weeks, although Carolyn tells me you can give it a taste after 2 or 3 weeks.

NOTE:  No hot water bath or pressure cook is necessary with this process.

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STACKED POTATOES WITH BACON, ONIONS AND SWEET PEPPERS

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     How many ways are there to fix potatoes?  Mashed, baked, Latkes, twice backed, and sometimes even French fries get old.  I’ve seen pictures of these here and there, but never made them until this week.  They were SOOOOOOO good!  The top and sides ended up being crisp while the insides were tender and infused with flavor.  

Here’s how I did it:

INGREDIENTS:  6-8 Servings

5 cups potatoes, sliced

3 mini sweet peppers or bell peppers, sliced

1 medium onion, sliced into rings

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 TBSP Parmesan cheese, grated – OR – ¾ cup grated cheddar

Black pepper to taste

½ tsp salt

1 tsp dried thyme

1 TBSP Olive oil

1 TBSP melted butter

Paprika

(extra butter to grease tins)

6 slices bacon, cooked and cut in half

 

PREPARATION:

In large bowl, add potatoes, peppers, onion, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, pepper, salt, thyme, Olive oil and butter.  Stir to mix.

In a 12 cup muffin tin, take a paper towel and put a gob of butter on it.  Use it to grease tins.  Fill each tin halfway up, add ½ slice bacon, finish filling tin. The potatoes can be higher than the tin.

Sprinkle with paprika and bake at 375° F for 55 – 60 minutes.   The potatoes will be tender and golden brown when finished.

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BLUEBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE COOKIES

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If you’ve been following me for a while you may remember when I made these awesome cookies before. I did something different this time. I used dehydrated blueberries. Look how pretty! And of course, they’re still delicious whether you use dehydrated, fresh or frozen blueberries. If you went berry picking this summer, here’s a great recipe to try.

A delicious soft cookie with a subtle taste of lemon.

YIELD: 18 COOKIES
INGREDIENTS
• 6 Tablespoons salted butter, softened
• 2 ½ ounces cream cheese, softened (use markings on side of package for easy measuring)
• ½ rounded cup granulated sugar
• 1 Egg
• ½ Teaspoon vanilla extract
• ½ Teaspoon lemon extract
• 1 ½ Teaspoons lemon juice
• 1 Teaspoon lemon zest
• ¼ Teaspoon salt
• 1 cup + 1 TBSP all-purpose flour
• ½ cup white chocolate chips
• ½ cup dehydrated, fresh or frozen blueberries (Craisins or raspberries are fantastic too!)

PREPARATION
Use a stoneware baking sheet if you have one. Otherwise, line two baking sheets or a half baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone sheets, and set aside.

Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add sugar and beat about 2 min.

Add egg, lemon zest, salt, lemon juice, both extracts, and beat well.

Add flour and beat on low speed until just incorporated.

Fold in white chocolate until combined. Add frozen blueberries, which will be partially thawed by now. (NOTE: If you prefer the cookies to be swirled, don’t be so gentle with them. (I wanted them left whole).

Preheat oven now to 350*

Using a medium cookie dough scoop or two tablespoons place cookie dough balls on prepared baking sheets. I left them in a rounded mound because it was near impossible to shape them. They will flatten and take on a cookie shape as they bake. Bake cookies for about 15 minutes or until tops are firm.

Cool in pan for 2 -3 min then place on cooling racks.

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ITALIAN SAUSAGE & PEPPERS

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     How delicious does this look?  It was!  I wish you could have tasted it.  Bob bought a big link of Hot Italian sausage from our local butcher and he planned on grilling it.  (It’s pictured below)  OK, great.  But I wanted a patty, so he cut a hunk off the sausage and removed the skin.  Then he formed it into a patty.  Just look at this sandwich!!  

     We topped it with Colby and Jack cheese, then orange and red bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes from our garden.  Whatever cheese sounds good to you, go ahead and try it.  Some suggestions would be Provolone, Mozzarella, Cheddar, American, or whatever you have on hand.  

     If you sauté the peppers and onions with a little garlic until they’re soft, then add the diced tomatoes and a shake of Italian seasoning you’re good to go.

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CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES,CHEWY BROWNED BUTTER

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     There’s something homey and comforting about Chocolate Chip Cookies. Everyone loves them, and for good reason. They’re delicious. For years though, I was plagued by flat cookies. You know the ones I mean. They’re beautiful when they come out of the oven, but as they cooled, they became flatter than a fritter. What was wrong that it happened time and time again? Time to put my thinking cap on to figure this out.

     It had to be the recipe on the bag. Something or some things needed serious adjustments. I decided that browned butter was the first place to start. Eureka! It made all the difference. The texture is wonderful, the cookies are chewy, and the best part is they stay soft for days. And the flavor? Delish!! So here is my all-new recipe and how I did it. (Yes, of course I had to change almost everything. You know me too well.)

     The cookies will remain soft for days if kept in a covered plastic or glass container. Of course, that’s providing they last that long.

INGREDIENTS: YIELDS 30 LARGE COOKIES

1 ½ sticks salted butter, roughly chunked

¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed

½ cup granulated sugar

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 eggs

1 – 1 ½ tsp Saigon Cinnamon

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 cups AP flour

1 rounded cup chocolate chips, I like semi-sweet

OPTIONAL: Pecans, walnuts, raisins, dates, coconut. Bob doesn’t like coconut and I love it. I sometimes bake one normal tray and save a bit of dough for me, to which I add 1/3 – ½ cup coconut before baking.

PREPARATION:

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium/low heat. It will begin to foam, and that is due to the moisture escaping. Swirl the pan every minute or so. The color will change from yellow to light brown. You will also notice a difference in the scent. Some people say it smells nutty when it’s done. I can’t say that I smell nuts, but the scent definitely changes to something much richer. To me, it smells like brown sugar. Sediment will begin to form at the bottom. Either strain that out or leave as much as possible in the pan. Set aside to cool, and then refrigerate for about an hour.  Remember, starting with hot ingredients will make your cookies spread.

Add the browned butter to your mixer bowl and beat for about a minute. Then add the sugars and beat until the batter is smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat again. Add cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, giving it a quick mix to incorporate. Add the flour and beat on low speed only until incorporated. Add chocolate chips and nuts. Chill dough for an hour.

NOTE: Chilling the dough and baking at a lower temperature along with using the browned butter keeps the cookies from spreading into a flat cookie.

Preheat oven to 350° F. It’s always best to use a stoneware baking sheet, but if you don’t have one, use a silicone mat or parchment paper. I make large cookies and they need to bake about 14 minutes or until edges are set.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’re using regular baking sheets instead of stoneware, always make sure your baking sheets are cool before you drop a new batch of dough on them, even if you used silicone or parchment paper. Otherwise the dough will get hot and begin to spread before you put the sheet in the oven. This will mess with baking time, and possibly give you flat cookies.

WHY BROWN THE BUTTER? When butter melts, the water evaporates and the milk solids are exposed to heat and start to turn brown. They will sink to the bottom of the pan and begin to brown. You should see dark bits in the bottom. While you’re busy messing with Mother Nature’s perfect butter, it is taking on not only color, but flavor and aroma! It smells SO good!!

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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NO-BAKE COOKIES, FOOLPROOF

  no-bakes-4 Twice recently, it came to my attention that people are having issues with these cookies.  That’s just not right!  They are so delicious that they need to be the best they can be.  As a young girl I was introduced to these cookies at school bake sales and I was in love.  I had no idea what they were or how to make them.  They sold for 25 cents apiece.  

     When I was around 20, I lucked out and had a friend that had the recipe.  She shared.  (Still love her!)   I altered the technique, of course, ‘cause that’s just what I do.  I also increased the oatmeal a bit because it  gives me  a firmer, taller cookie instead of a pancake.  

     Here is how I do it, including all my secrets in making these delightful fudgy, peanutbuttery, oatmeal laden deliciousness.  Feel free to 1 ½ or double the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:   YIELDS ABOUT 25 COOKIES

2 cups sugar

1 stick butter

4 TBSP Hershey’s cocoa

½ cup milk

2 cups + 2 TBSP quick-cook oatmeal

½ cup peanut butter

Salt (about ½ tsp)

2 tsp vanilla extract

PREPARATION: 

Place oatmeal and peanut butter in a large bowl and set aside.  You’ll thank me later. * 

Mix sugar, butter, cocoa and milk in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly over low heat.  Let it boil for ONE MINUTE ONLY, and don’t stir at this stage.

Remove from heat and add oatmeal and peanut butter.  Stir well.  Add the vanilla.

Let mixture sit for about 5 minutes, and then try dropping one cookie on waxed paper.  If it spreads too much, stir again, and let the mixture sit another 5 minutes.  Test another cookie.  When you get the thickness you want, drop all the cookies on the waxed paper.  I always turn the spoon as the cookie is dropping off, and that will give you a nice round cookie.

After 30 minutes to 60 minutes, the cookies will be set up nicely.  I turn them all upside down to give the bottoms a chance to “cure”.

   BIG HINT:  Make sure to leave a big amount of mixture in the pan so you can sit down with your wooden spoon and clean it up.  It’s best to do this in a darkened room while hiding in your closet or under your bed.

NOTE:   *If you didn’t premeasure the oatmeal and peanut butter, the mixture is rapidly cooling down while you’re doing it.  You need the high temp so the oatmeal will cook sufficiently.

I spent about an hour researching these cookies today.  I see that many recipes call for up to 3 ½ cups of oatmeal.  If you’re having an issue, possibly that’s why.  I’ve never used that much and think you’d end up with too much oatmeal and too chewy of a cookie.

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SALSA, GARDEN FRESH

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Salsa is great, but when you make it from your own garden produce, it’s that much better!

INGREDIENTS:

5 or 6 fresh large tomatoes, diced
2 medium bell peppers, 1 red and 1 orange
1 medium green bell pepper
2 TBSP minced garlic
1 large onion, diced
Juice of 1 fresh lime (lemon works if you don’t have lime)
3 TBSP vinegar
Jalapenos, chopped (to taste)
Seasonings to taste: Cumin, Cilantro, Chipotle Chili Powder, Salt and Pepper

PREPARATION:

The tomatoes do not need to be peeled or seeded, but feel free to do so if you’d like. Dice them and place into a large bowl. Seed and dice as much bell pepper as you want, and add that to tomatoes. Add garlic and diced tomato, lime juice, vinegar, chopped Jalapenos and begin adding the seasonings. Start with ½ tsp of each and then begin tasting. Remember that it will grow hotter as it sits, so don’t overdo on the Chipotle Chili Powder or Jalapenos.

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HALUSKI

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     If you are of Eastern Europe heritage, I’m sure you know and love Haluski. This dish is a popular, inexpensive favorite in Polish, Slovakian, Ukranian, Russian, and Czechoslovakian homes.   If you live near a Polish or Ukranian church, you may have been lucky enough to have tasted this dish at one of their neighborhood fund-raisers.  It is so flavorful, as well as being simple.  We went to a Polish festival a few weeks ago and tried Haluski for the first time.   I was determined to find a great recipe so I could make it at home.  Yes, of course I modified everything, but the basics and technique are unchanged. 

 

     First of all, I have fried cabbage in a little grease and love the added flavor.  I cut down on the butter and added a scant two tablespoons bacon grease to the cabbage, onions, and garlic while sautéing them.  I did see a few recipes that included crumbled bacon, so naturally I added some.  I didn’t see any recipes that called for garlic, and what we tasted recently had the distinct flavor of garlic, so my recipe will include it.  Here’s how I made it:

INGREDIENTS:

One 12 oz bag medium egg noodles

1 ¾ stick butter

1 large onion, halved and sliced

1 medium head cabbage, rough chopped

4 large cloves garlic minced

Salt

Pepper

4 strips bacon, cut into thin strips and fried crisp

PREPARATION:

Cook egg noodles in boiling water for 5 min, drain well and set aside.  While noodles are cooking, get out your largest skilled and melt butter.  Add onions and garlic, and cook over medium heat until limp and translucent.  Add cabbage and cook another 10 minutes.  Salt and Pepper to taste.

In a small skillet, cook bacon pieces until crisp.  Drain, adding 2 TBSP of grease to cabbage/onion mixture.

Get out your most beautiful baking dish and add cabbage/onion mixture, drained noodles, and cooked bacon.  Mix to incorporate.  Bake at 300° F for 30- 40 minutes, or until golden brown.

Eastern Europe map:  https://www.google.com/maps/place/Europe/@43.8525872,-12.8611109,3z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x46ed8886cfadda85:0x72ef99e6b3fcf079!8m2!3d54.5259614!4d15.2551187

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