Monday, August 20, 2012

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers~SRC Day!

Today is reveal day for The Secret Recipe Club and this month I was so lucky to be assigned the blog, Inquiring Chef. The blog is written by Jess, an American living in Bangkok with her husband Frank. Please stop by and see all her mouthwatering recipes and interesting posts about her amazing life! I was thrilled to see a recipe for southwestern food, as I dearly love the flavors and scents. Just yesterday I was at the grocery, and I realized that there was an incredible aroma in the air, and I was still in the parking lot!! As I walked closer to the store, I realized that the employees were roasting New Mexico Hatch Chili Peppers out in front of the store. Oh my goodness, there is nothing better. My nose was in heaven, and I didn't want to go in to the store. The peppers had just arrived, and the store will roast them for free, if you purchase a case. Unfortunately, I can not use an entire case, but I am glad a lot of people can, because I got the benefit of that satisfying, comforting scent that stayed with me all day, and just made me sigh with pleasure. Oh, so good! 

Anyway, back to this incredibly, wonderful Southwestern Style Stuffed Peppers recipe!
You must make this! You will love it! I am giving you the recipe amounts as Jess wrote it. I cut it in half when I made it, as there were only two of us eating, and we ate every bit of it. I did add corn to the recipe and I left out the cilantro. I served them with a steak for my husband and a chicken breast for me. Yum!
Southwestern Stuffed Peppers
4 medium Bell Peppers (any color)
1 1/4 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
2 cups Cooked Rice (brown or white)
3/4 cup Black Beans
1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup Salsa
1/2 small Onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup Cooked Corn
3 tablespoon Cilantro, chopped (more for garnish)
Sour Cream (optional for serving)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Thie first thing I did was make my beans from dried ones. 
I don't eat much salt, and canned beans have salt.
You have to start your beans the day before for best results!
 Fill a bowl with water, and pour your beans in.
Rinse the beans thoroughly to remove dirt..
Sort them to get rid of any bad beans or possibly stones.
I sort them as I place them in the pot I will be cooking them in.
Add 3-4 cups of cold water for every 1/2 lb of beans.
Let the beans soak overnight, or at least for 6-8 hours.
Then drain the water, rinse again, and add 6 cups of hot water
to the beans. Simmer the beans until desired tenderness is
achieved, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You should lid your pot,
but leave a little escape for the steam. You can't see
mine, but it is on the side.
Slice your peppers in half, lengthwise.
Scrape out the core and remove the seeds.
Set 1/4 cup of the cheese aside.
In a large bowl, combine the 1 cup of cheese and the cooked rice.
Add the black beans.
Also add in the chili powder, cumin, salt, salsa,
corn and onion. Add the cilantro also.
Mix all the ingredients together.
Doesn't it look so gorgeous?
Gotta love the colors!!
Spray your baking dish with pan spray, and then
arrange the peppers in the dish.
Place the rice mixture into the peppers. Pack it
gently to compress  it to get in all the
nook and crannys of the peppers.
Bake the peppers until the rice starts to turn
golden and crisp on the top, and the peppers soften,
15-20 minutes.
Remember that 1/4 cup of cheese we
set aside in the beginning of the recipe? 
Sprinkle that cheese over the peppers and continue
baking the peppers until it melts, about 3-4 minutes.
Remove the peppers and place them on the plate.
Serve immediately, topping with sour cream if desired.
Enjoy!
Thanks for joining me!

Thanks Jess, for a wonderful recipe that I will make again and again!



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chicken Fajita Pocket Appetizers

Today is reveal day for the Improv Cooking Challenge, and this months ingredients are tomatoes and peppers! I love those two ingredients, don't you? They just say summer and freshness and yum! This month I made Chicken Fajita Pocket Appetizers. I know, a mouthful, right?  But, what a taste sensation, and the perfect, perfect  party food. I used these little whole wheat pita pockets, and stuffed them so full with chicken, tomatoes, peppers, onions, sour cream and guacamole. They are tasty and wonderful,  and you can just savor that summer freshness! What a treat!!
Chicken Fajitas Pocket Appetizers
1 Chicken Breast
Garlic Powder
1 Roma Tomato
1 small Onion
1 each Mini Red, Yellow, and Orange Peppers
Lettuce
Avocado
Sour Cream
Kangaroo Itsy Bitsy Whole Wheat Pockets
Pan fry, or grill if you prefer, the chicken breast, 
sprinkled with garlic powder.
While your chicken is cooking, cut your peppers,
and take the seeds out. 
Cut the peppers into small, thin strips. The peppers
have to fit in the mini pockets, so they should be small in length,
but they will shrink some while cooking.
Cut your onions the same way as the peppers.
Chop your tomatoes.
Make your guacamole, by smashing your avocado....
add a 1-2 tablespoons of sour cream, 
and a few of your chopped tomatoes.
Add some garlic powder. Mix well.
Finish cooking your chicken.
Sautee your peppers and onions in a pan.
Shred lettuce, and place in the bottom of the mini pocket.
Top with a couple pieces of chicken.
Add peppers, onions,
tomatoes,
sour cream,
and avocado.
Serve to all your friends! They will love them!

Check out what everyone else made:

The Freshman Cook is partying at the following fun spots:
Church Supper
Nifty Thrifty Sunday


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sugar Cookie Thongs!

I know I am showing my age here now, but when I was a little girl, flip flops used to be called thongs. Do you remember that? Of course now, flip flops and thongs are definitely 2 very different things. However, I still have a tendency to slip up once in a while and call my flip flops "thongs" and although I try to catch myself before I say it out loud, this is forever a source of humor for my husband. (So glad to be available for his amusement!)
Never the less, it is Cookie Journey Thursday and we are making sugar cookie flip flops! I have this cute little container that I think would make such a great gift if it was filled with matching flip flop cookies. So today I made two of the designs. I hope they make you smile!
Flip Flop Cookies
Outline the pink and the green cookie.
I used Americolor Soft Pink
and Americolor Electric Green
I also used a Wilton tip #2.
Fill in the pink flip flip and .....
the green one.
I made a little flower cookie for the center of the pink cookie.
Outline and fill in with Americolor Orange.
Use Americolor Electric Blue and a #2 tip to make
 a strap for your flip flop.
Attach the flower to the center top of the strap.
Freehand some white, 5 petal flowers of your green flip flop.
Place a small pink dot in the center of each flower.
Make the straps for the flip flop in the same pink as your dots.
Thanks for joining me as I continue to work on 
improving my cookie decorating skills. I am still a long way
from where I want to be, but I am closer than I was.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
That seems to be the major key.
If you are practicing with me let me know!



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

S'mores Cheesecake!

Although it is as hot as hot can be here in the desert, I love a roaring campfire and roasting marshmallows after the sun sets. As I thought about all the other things I love about summer, you know s'mores had to be on the list!  It's Crazy Cooking Challenge day and this month we are making cheesecake! I don't know about you, but I love a good cheesecake too! So, what could be better than S'mores Cheesecake! That's all of my summer loves rolled into one! Yum!
S'mores Cheesecake
(adapted from  Cheesecake Extraordinaire
 by Mary Crownover)
Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/4 cup finely crushed Graham Crackers
1/4 cup melted Butter

Cheesecake Filling
24 ounces softened Cream Cheese
2/3 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Whipping Cream
5 teaspoons Cornstarch
4 Eggs
1 Egg Yolk
1/4 cup Vanilla Flavored Syrup(Torani)
2 teaspoons Vanilla
8 oz. Milk Chocolate(Callebaut)
3-4 oz. Whipping Cream
Mini Marshmallows

This is my "go to" cheesecake recipe. Well, it is if you stop 
after the Vanilla in the ingredient list. I used it to create this 
s'mores recipe by making a few tasty additions.  But, if you are
in the mood for a really good, creamy, vanilla cheesecake
make this. You won't be disappointed. Oh, yeah, change the 
graham crackers to nilla wafers. So good!!
Combine the cream cheese, sugar, whipping cream
and cornstarch. Beat with an electric mixer till smooth.
Add eggs and the egg yolk, one at a time, beating well after
each addition.
Beat in vanilla flavoring and vanilla.
Mix together your graham crackers and butter.
Press the mixture into the bottom of your 
springform pan. Set aside.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler set up.
Add the cream a little at a time until a desired 
smooth consistency is achieved.
Fill your springform pan with your cheesecake filling.
Leave a little room at the top for the chocolate to be added.
 Add about 3-4 spoon fulls of the melted chocolate
to your filling.
Swirl around for a pretty effect.
 Place some of the chocolate on top of the cheesecake.
Top with mini marshmallows all over.
Using a kitchen torch, roast the marshmallows.
You can roast them as much or as little as you wish.
Happy Roasting!

Thanks for joining me today!
Let's see what everyone else made:
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