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January 29, 2011

Rib Dry Rub

This is NOT my famous "tri-tip/put on everything" dry rub.
This is a new rub for pork spareribs.
This makes enough for approximately 3 racks of ribs (13-15lbs)

6 Tbsp kosher salt
6 Tbsp paprika (smoked preferred)
3 Tbsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp chili powder (I use a mixed blend of New Mexico, California & Pasilla/Ancho.)
3 Tbsp brown sugar

  • Mix all together, store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Peach BBQ Sauce

This sauce is so yummy on ribs....or chicken.

2 diced shallots
6 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 Tbsp butter

3 cans of Kerns Peach Nectar (34ish oz)
2 bottles of ketchup (4 cups)
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
4 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 lemon (juiced)
3 Tbsp of reserved dry rub
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Melt butter in a large non-stick pot on the stove, add shallots & garlic. Sautee till softened. 
  • Add reserved dry rub & sautee a bit more.
  • Add ketchup, nectar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, lemon juice & vinegar. 
  • Season to taste with salt & pepper.
  • Boil for 30-45 minutes....or "keep warm/low" in crock-pot overnight/up to 24ish hours. 
(an adaptation of Neelys' Peach BBQ Sauce)

January 19, 2011

White Lasagna

My oldest daughter tends to not like lasagna with red sauce...or I guess its actually a dislike of cooked tomatoes in general. She eats them raw by the bucket load, but when it comes to cooked tomatoes she prefers another sauce option. Don't get me wrong, shes not picky. She'll eat what is set before her, but she would rather have Alfredo or Bechamel sauce on pasta.

When I said I'd be making lasagna with white sauce today she was sort of iffy about the idea. I've made it before, but its been a while & last time it was all veggie. This time I decided to go meat, cheese, spinach & white sauce. Don't judge....its not something you eat every week. Its pretty darn rich & a whole 9x13 pan will last us (a family of 5) for 3 meals at least.

You can make this easier for yourself or harder. Neither is really that hard...but the oven ready noodles take more moisture to cook & takes longer baking time to get the noodles nice & soft. You pick which is harder or easier for yourself.

This is amazing with a simple green salad & French bread!

1 box lasagna noodles (oven ready or pre-boiled normal)
8-10 cups of Alfredo or Bechamel  sauce (thats 3 jars of bottled sauce if you use it, plus 2 jars of water if doing oven ready noodles)
1 large bag of cut frozen spinach
1 (15oz) container of ricotta
1 (12oz) container of cottage cheese
1lb ground beef (80/20)
1lb ground sausage (mild)
8-10 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1-2 tsp salt
2 tsp red pepper flakes
4-6 cups of grated cheese (Any mixed white cheeses: jack, mozzarella, pecorino-romano, Parmesan.)
2 cups of Italian seasoned bread crumbs

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees (400 if convection).
  • Put entire bag of frozen spinach into a bowl & microwave on high for 8-10 minutes.
  • Drain spinach in a colander, pressing to get all excess water out.
  • Brown beef & sausage in a non-stick pan.
  • Add garlic, salt, red pepper flakes towards the end & brown a bit more.
  • In a large mixing bowl (Kitchen Aid) put all the meat, spinach, ricotta & cottage cheese. 
  • Blend all until well mixed.
  • In the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish place a heavy layer of sauce.
  • Then layer in the following order...noodles, sauce, filling, cheese, light sauce, noodles, sauce, filling, cheese, light sauce, noodles, sauce, filling, cheese, light sauce....followed by noodles, heavy sauce, cheese & bread crumbs. 
  • Place casserole dish onto a baking sheet. Cover casserole with foil. 
  • Bake covered for 30 minutes & then uncovered for 30 minutes. (This is the timing for uncooked/oven ready. It only takes about 30-40 for pre-boiled noodles.)
  • Shut off the oven & let the lasagna sit inside for 30-40 minutes. If you cut the lasagna straight out of the oven it will turn into a lasagna puddle on your plate. This lets the cheese re-firm up a bit & everything will not ooze out. 

January 12, 2011

15 Bean Cajun Soup

This is a mostly crock pot meal!!!
I hate soaking beans overnight & typically do a "fast soak" the way I describe below.
This feeds our family of 5 for 2+ meals.

15 Bean Cajun Soup:
1 Kielbasa Sausage (1st cut into rounds, then cut the rounds into 1/4's)
1 medium onion (diced, optional)
2 Chicken Breasts (chopped)
1 bag of 15 bean soup mix (down the bean aisle...typically contains a cajun season packet)
hot water
2 cans of cut green beans (drained)
Spices: garlic powder, salt, chili powder, cayenne

  • Put the kielbasa, chicken, onions & cajun season packet into the crockpot. Turn on high & cover.
  • Pour beans into a small seperate pot, cover with water, bring to a boil on the stove-top.
  • Once beans boil, strain them & rinse them.
  • Add boiled, rinsed beans to the crock-pot.
  • Add hot water till the crock-pot is 3/4 full.
  • Let cook at least 1 hour.
  • Check to make sure the chicken it cooked.
  • Add green beans.
  • Add extra spices to taste. (I add about 3Tbsp chili powder, 3Tbsp garlic, & 1-2tsp of cayenne...plus salt to taste.)

January 11, 2011

Apple Berry Crisp

Last nights dessert!
I served ours with homemade whipped ricotta cream....it just melted over the top of the warm crisp.
If you are craving something that screams summer, then whip up this sweet treat.

Apple Berry Crisp:
4 c. raspberries (I used frozen raspberries that I bought this summer.)
2 c. diced tart apples (I used 2 peeled, cored & diced Granny Smith apples.)
(Technically you just need 6 cups of fruit...fresh, not too juicy.)
1/4 c. granulated sugar (not necessary...can be reduced or eliminated)
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Crisp Topping:
1 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) cold butter (cut into small pieces)
pinch of salt (if using salted butter do not add this!)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter an 9x13 casserole dish. (This size pan results in a thin crisp. You can use an 8x8 but it will start very full until the fruit cooks down. You can use a pie plate or quiche/tart/gratin dish, but they will seem fuller to start also.)
  3. Gently combine berries, apples, sugar, flour & cinnamon.
  4. Pour fruit mix into prepared pan.
  5. Prepare the crisp topping by mixing all ingredients in a separate bowl. Using a pastry blender...or 2 knives work in the butter until the topping resembles a coarse meal. Sprinkle topping over the berries. Mound in on top if using a smaller pan.
  6. Place it into the preheated oven & bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until crips topping is nice 7 golden brown. (If using a smaller pan, you might want to place a cookie sheet underneath.)
  7. Remove to a rack to cool a few minutes. 
  8. Serve in dessert bowls with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

January 7, 2011

Fondue Night

Tonight we had fondue night with the kids.

My hubby & I love fondue. We've been to a REALLY nice fondue restaurant a few times. But the "really nice" also implies "really expensive". We don't usually do expensive with the kids....at least the first time they have something. Did I mention that we also don't have the $ to do expensive right now??? Well we don't. We weren't so sure about the kids liking fondue yet. None of them are picky. But really, who doesn't like dipping things in ooey gooey cheese & chocolate??? Not at the same time people!!!

So our dinner was Swiss Fondue!

  • Swiss cheese
  • Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 packet of dry onion soup powder
  • water
  • grated nutmeg
  • garlic powder
  • corn starch slurry 
Served with:
  • seasoned grilled chicken
  • lightly steamed broccoli
  • lightly steamed green beans
  • French baguette
  • & green apple
All items cut to bite sized pieces & then dipped into cheesy yumminess. 

Dessert was Semi-sweet Chocolate Fondue!
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • heavy whipping cream
  • heated & stirred until thick & creamy
Served with:
  • mini marshmallows
  • green apples (cut into slices)
  • bananas (cut into 1" chunks)
  • whole strawberries
Fondue...FUNdue night was an amazing success!!!
The kids ate everything!!!
Oh and it was SO good.