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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Southern Delights. That's Where My Love of Sauces Lie!

Most people, when they think BBQ sauces, they think of the red and bold sauces like KC or other sauces. Now don't get me wrong, but they are all fine and dandy. But I have to admit, the the south has prevailed to be true contenders.
During my many travels, I have had different styles and flavors of BBQ sauces. But nothing has ever embedded itself in my memories and tastebuds, than a white BBQ sauce. It has stolen my heart for good.
Since then, I have made this sauce more times than I can remember and still not be tired of it.

White BBQ Sauce

2 c. Mayonnaise
1 c. Apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. Lemon juice
3 tbsp. Black pepper
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a processor and pulse until well blended. The chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours before grilling. Brush on chicken, turkey, or pork  lightly.
This sauce is also an excellent dipping sauce too, so be sure to make enough to set on the table. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Doing The Hula With Kahlua!

I have used Kahlua or Bailey's Irish creme liquor in many of my pie and cheesecake recipes, as well as in different drinks and other types of desserts.
But when making pies and Cheesecakes, they are my favorite ingredients.
Today I introduce to you, an easy way of making Kahlua cream pie. No oven is needed, no hard work is needed. 15-20 minutes is needed to prepare and put the pie together. Then three hours later, pie heaven!

Easy No Bake Kahlua Cream Pie

44 chocolate Oreo cookies, creme removed, divided
8 tbsp. Butter, melted
2 tbsp. Sugar, do iced
Pinch of salt
8 oz. Bittersweet chocolate, chopped into pieces
3/4 tsp. Powdered gelatin
7 tbsp. Kahlua
3 1/3 c. Heavy cream, chilled, divided

Ground 36 cookies until finely ground. Place crumbs in a bowl and stir in the melted butter, 1 teaspoon sugar and 2 teaspoons of water until thoroughly moistened. Firmly press into the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie pan. Then finely ground the remaining cookies and set aside.
Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt chocolate over a simmering pan of water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.
In another bowl, add 1 teaspoon water and sprinkle gelatin on the top. Let sit for 5 minutes to soften. Then heat in the microwave to melt, about 10-20 seconds.
Whisk 6 tablespoons of Kahlua into the melted chocolate. Then add the gelatin. Whisk until thoroughly combined and smooth.
Whip 2 1/3 cups of the heavy cream with 1 tablespoon sugar to medium peaks. Fold cream into the chocolate mixture in 3 separate batches until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the remaining cookie crumbs that was set aside. Pour into pie shell and chill to set, about 3 hours
Whip remaining cup of heavy cream with remaining sugar to soft peaks. Fold in remaining Kahlua. Serve a dollop on each slice of pie. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Healthy Snacks: Mom Approved

How often do we hear our children say, "I'm hungry"?. But nowadays we are more concerned with healthy snacks, but how healthy are the ones we buy in the stores? Sure the packages say " natural", "healthy", but are they really? If you was to check out the labels on these " healthy" snacks, you will still see that chemicals have been added. Preservatives is one of the biggest chemical that is added in every prepackaged foods.
The two snacks in which I'm about to introduce to you, are completely 100% healthy, 100% chemical free. But most of all, 100% delicious and mom approved.

Strawberry Dumplings

4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
20 strawberries, whole or halved
1/2 c. Flour
1/2 c. Breadcrumbs
7 tbsp. Sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Boil potatoes until tender, drain and let cool. When cool enough, mash it into a puree. Mix with beaten eggs, flour and salt. Thoroughly knead the dough to combine the ingredients.
Roll dough out flat to desired thickness and cut into squares about 3X3 inch squares. In each square, coat with sugar and place strawberry in the centers. If you are using canned fruit, it is not necessary to add sugar. But I have a sweet tooth so I add the sugar.
Now bring up the edges neatly. Turn them over and give them a little crush to finally close them up.
Now melt butter, add sugar and breadcrumbs. Cook until browned.
In a separate pot, add water and bring to a boil. Let boil on low heat. You can then toss in 5-6 dumplings at a time. As soon as they emerged to the top, cook for 5 minutes and remove. Continue this method until all the dumplings are cook. 
As you take the dumplings out of the water, drain excess water and the roll them immediately in the breadcrumbs with the sugar and butter.
Serve and enjoy.
Chef's note: For the filling, you can use any fresh or canned fruit you desire.


Spiced Apple Chips

Spiced apple chips are easy and quick to make. It is also far more healthier than store bought snacks. It is even healthier and better than the store's version of the apple chips.

Here is all you need:

Apples, doesn't matter what kind or how many
Cinnamon, enough to coat the chip
Nutmeg, just a dusting on each chip will do

Preheat oven to 220. Line 2 large cooking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a knife or a slicer (a mandolin works wee), slice the apples as thin as you can get them, remember they are chips. Lay them out side by side, don't overlap the.
Gently and carefully sprinkle a thin coating of cinnamon on each chip and then lightly dust with the nutmeg.
Bake for 1 hour, flip them over and bake for another hour. Remove and place on cooling rack. Chips will crisp as they cool.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Oh Sweetie Pie! I Sure Do Love You!

Bet you're wondering who or what I'm calling a sweetie pie huh? Well there is a special lady in my eyes, but that's another story, but for today we will talk pies or cakes. Depending how you prepare it.
Melopita is a delicious dessert from Greece. It is also known as a Honey pie.
It is part custard and part cheesecake. Some call it Honey pie. But I call it yummy for my tummy. It is so versatile, that you will be finding yourself trying it in many ways. Whether it's like a pie, with top and bottom crusts, or as a tart (like this recipe), or using a springform pan like a cheesecake. Either way you make it, it is still DELICIOUS!
Traditionally in Greece, it is made using Myzithra cheese, but you can substitute using ricotta cheese.

Melopita (Honey Pie)

1 lb. Myzithra or ricotta cheese
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c. Honey
Zest of one lemon
3 tbsp. Flour
1/4 c. Sugar
Cinnamon and extra honey for garnish

For crust: you can use a prepared pie shell here as well

1 1/4 c. Flour
1/3 c. Sugar
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tbsp. Brandy
2 tbsp. Iced water
8 tbsp. Chilled butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 350.

To make the crust: Add flourflour, sugar and salt to the processor, pulse a few times to mix well. Add chilled butter pieces and pulse until crumbly (it will look like wet sand). Then add egg yolk, vanilla, brandy and 1 tablespoon of iced water. Pulse until dough pulls together and forms a ball away from the sides. Add additional iced water, if it looks too dry. Turn out your dough on to a lightly floured surface and flatten into a disk. Chill the dough as you make your filling.

To make the filling: In a medium sized bowl, add the cheese, eggs, honey, zest, flour and sugar. Mix until well combined and smooth.

Roll out your dough to the size of your pie pan.

Lightly grease the pan's bottom and sides. Your dough should be large enough to push up ththe sides of your pan. Press dough into the sides and bottom of the pan. Add the filling and bake until the filling sets and it begins to turn a golden brown in color. Times are depending on your pan size. A 10 inch pan about 40 minutes. A deeper 9 inch could take about 50 minutes. Just check on your pie after baking for 35 minutes just to be safe.

Serve on a plate drizzled with honey and cinnamon.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Flaming Chicken!

I'm writing this, without the benefit of having a kitchen at the moment. But with past experiences, I know that this recipe is doable.
I was sitting and munching on some flaming cheetos the other day, and it got me to thinking. What would this taste like on meats. Now, I figured that this recipe can be great on chicken or pork chops.
You can even replace the cheetos, with funyons, doritos or any other potato chips. It is that versatile.
But I do have one request, if anyone should happen to try this recipe, to please send me your opinions and photos. It would be greatly appreciated. Now for the recipe.

Flaming Cheetos Chicken

4 boneless chicken breasts
3 c. Crunchy Flaming Cheetos, crushed
2 tbsp. Panko or breadcrumbs
1/8 tsp. Garlic powder
1/8 tsp. Onion powder
1/4 tsp. Black pepper
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 c. Ranch dressing

Preheat oven to 400.
Place Cheetos in a gallon sized ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin or you could use a processor and put the crumbs in the bag. Add the breadcrumbs and seasonings to the Cheetos.
Put the ranch dressing in a bowl. Dip your chicken into the dressing and than in the bag of Cheetos mixture. Shake until the chicken is well coated.
Place the chicken on a parchment paper lined cooking sheet pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until chicken reaches 165 temperature.
Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fall Is Coming!

Yes, fall is coming!
I love fall season more than any other season. It's not too hot and not too cold. But most of all, I love the colors.
With fall, I think of Halloween and Thanksgiving. I think of candy apples and caramel apples. Hot chocolate and many more wonderful delights.
But today, while thinking of fall, it came to mind that I need to come up with a delicious treat for my readers. Well, I did just that. I went and combined the flavor of baked apples, caramel apples and hot cider into one delicious and sinful delight!

Hot Caramel Apple Cider

6 apples, to make into apple glasses
3 c. Apple juice
1 c. Orange juice
3 tbsp. Caramel topping, ice cream topping works well
1 tbsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Allspice
6 cinnamon sticks, for garnish

Preheat oven to 325.
Slice tops off the apples. Scrape out the core of each apple (a meal n baller works great here), being careful not to go thru the bottom of the apples.. Place the apples cut side up in a 9X13 inch pan and bake for 10 minutes. Allow apples to cool completely.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring to boil, the juices, caramel, cinnamon and allspice. Serve in the apple glasses and drizzle with caramel and garnish with cinnamon sticks. Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

My Story; My Life

Today, I've decided to not write about food or showcase my dishes. Today, I decided to tell you all about me, my life in the past 18 months after the passing of my wife. I feel that everyone needs to know what I went through and what I have accomplished.
My wife of 28 years, passed away in December of 2012. She had suffered several massive strokes within a matter of 24 hours. But they weren't her first. Easter 2002, she suffered a stroke that had left her completely disabled.
After her death, I had thought that I was strong enough to move on and continue with life. Boy was I ever wrong. By June 2013, six months after her death, I decided to just fill my van with what I wanted and leave York for North Platte. Once in North Platte, my depression had started to have a stranglehold on me. I couldn't concentrate on my work, ended up living in a homeless shelter there until September. I then decided to see if I can get back into life and returned to York. Boy was I wrong. For then the depression really started choking the life out of me. I was sleeping in my van and eating food out of cans. In November, I decided to go to the People's City Mission in Lincoln. Was there until January of this year. I had the opportunity to return back to my old job at the college in York. But again, my depression grew even darker. On a very cold early morning 2-3 in the morning to be exact, I found myself wondering the streets in just my boxers. In the snow and ice, no shoes or socks. How I was never caught and arrested is beyond me.
It was then that I realized that I needed help. So back to Lincoln I went and back to the shelter. I'm now receiving counseling for my depression. Finally getting proper medical care for my Parkinson's and lupus. But I still have a very long ways to go. Just recently, I've been told of my approval of disability from SSA and that I will be having my own place to call home once again.
So now you all know what I have been thru and where I'm going from here. Thank you all for your years of reading my blogs, and I will continue to entertain you all with my adventures soon again.