Friday, August 31, 2012

Peanuts.....get yer, uhhh.....umm...

  If you've been looking for a Friday night nibbley snack or something to take with you to those Friday night football games - you've come to the right place.  This week's Free Recipe Friday may look like roasted peanuts, but instead are roasted, toasted Garbanzo beans or Chickpeas.  Garbanzo beans you say?!?  Yes, don't be scared - they are yummy and oh so cheap, so no excuses.  You can find them on the canned bean aisle in most any grocery store.  Buy organic, name brand or whatever floats your boat.
  Although Garbanzo beans are larger and hail from the Mediterranean region, and Chickpeas are smaller and hail from the Middle East, they are similar enough to be used interchangeably.  Which is why people may treat them as the very same legume.   Garbanzo beans/Chickpeas are one of the main ingredients in Hummus, which happens to be the Arabic word for Chickpeas.  Hummus is a yummy dipping snack that's growing more and more in popularity.
  What makes this week's roasted recipe so great is the seasoning possibilities - the sky is the limit!  I stumbled upon Roasted & Toasted Garbanzo Beans a while back on the website, A Bachelor and His Grill.  Amazing food with amazing pics.  Check it out!  In the meantime, you should toast and roast some Garbanzo beans yourself, really.

2 cans Garbanzo Beans
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
Salt & Black Pepper to taste
(appx. 1 teaspoon of each)

Rinse and drain beans in a colander
and lay out on paper towels to dry a bit
for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place beans along with all other ingredients
in a freezer style baggie and shake!
Once the beans are thoroughly covered
with spices, spread beans out
onto a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.

Roast in the oven 50 minutes to 1 hour,
stirring often.
Let rest for several minutes.  Yummy!
Once they are completely cool,
you can store them in a large size baggie
or good seal-able container.

Take these little yummies on your next road trip
or sit and enjoy them on a comfy couch!

Friday, August 17, 2012

What a Tart!

Finally, a bit of rain this morning! 
What an awesome way to start out a Friday.
Especially if you were able to sleep in!!!!
So jealous if you did!

This week's recipe, Caramelized Onion Tart with Swiss,
is such a rich, yummy treat...
it just confirms my love for
almost anything in a crust.
It's a rustic type, as we used
only a baking sheet, no tart pan required.
There are sooo many variations to this,
just like a quiche,
you can throw in most anything
and voila, you have a tart!

Some of you may not believe it,
but I am all about easy and quick meals.
The hardest part about this recipe
is probably slicing all of those onions.
This week's Free Recipe Friday certainly
falls under the easy category...
ESPECIALLY if you BAKE the onions
to caramelize them
instead of cooking them in a stockpot.
Either way is fine.
Just make it easy on yourself!


- 1 uncooked pie crust
(store bought or homemade)
- 2 cups caramelized onions
(we used about 4 medium onions)
- 8-10 oz. Gruyere cheese (or Swiss)
- 1 egg, beaten with a bit of milk/cream
(for the egg wash)
- salt/pepper

Preheat the oven to 350.
Peel, slice and saute onions on a low/medium heat
along with a few pinches of salt
in a bit of olive oil for about 30-45 minutes
or until golden - stirring frequently.
You can also bake onions and get the same outcome.
Getting onions to the caramelized state takes patience.
It is very easy, but can't be rushed.
Now, roll out pie dough into a circle measuring
appx. 14-16 inches.

Sprinkle half of the cheese onto the pie dough
leaving almost a 2 inch border free and clear.
Spread your onions over cheese and sprinkle
with a bit of salt and pepper.
Sprinkle remaining cheese over onions
and begin to crimp or pinch the dough
around the onions to form a crust.
Brush the entire crust with the egg wash.

 Bake for 30-40 minutes or until ooey, gooey and golden.
Cut into wedges and serve.

It can be served hot or at room temperature.
It is very rich, but makes a great meal
with just a side salad.
Imagine that, a meatless meal!
It would also be great for a brunch or
breakfast-ey supper with a side of
scrambled eggs and a bit of fruit.
It's amazing.
Caramelized onions are amazing as well.
I could eat them plain.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Pie vs. Pie

Really you say?!  Pie versus pie?  That's just crazy talk right there...especially when we all know that ALL the pies of the world are winners!  And I'm not just saying that to avoid hurting all the pies feelings.  They are all good eatin' for sure! 

Now, even though all pies are winners, we still decided to team up our old family recipe, Chess Pie, against what we know to be a newcomer, Chocolate Chess Pie.  To our surprise, they both held their ground very well.  I was very surprised that the Chocolate Chess Pie had the same crunchy top as my all time favorite, the Chess.  That yummy crunchy top covering up the buttery, custardy, sugary goodness underneath, is what has always made the Chess Pie my favorite.  Good job Chess.  Enjoy the Free Recipe and you be the judge.  For me, the original Chess, is always where it's at.

Chess Pie
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk all ingredients together in a medium size bowl
until well combined
and pour into an unbaked pie shell
at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes,
reduce heat to 300 and bake
for about 30 more minutes
Let cool before slicing

Chocolate Chess Pie
4 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoon all purpose flour

 Mix together in a medium size bowl with a whisk,
then add:

2 cups sugar
1 stick of melted butter
1 tsp of vanilla extract
 1 cup of milk

Pour into an unbaked pie shell,
homemade or frozen.
Bake at 350 for about an hour.
Let cool completely before slicing.

FYI - this Chocolate one
makes a larger pie than the Chess Pie.
If using a pre-made pie crust
in a small-ish aluminum pan,
it will most likely not all fit. 
Be forewarned.

I hope you will try one or both of these pies
they are sooo easy and delicious!
By the way, the reviews in this household
were split down the middle
with half for the Chess and half for the Chocolate.
Now you can decide.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Bacon, will you marry me?

Warning: if you're not a fan of bacon, turn away NOW.  The rest of you may need to step back so you don't eat your screen.  This week's Free Recipe Friday not only involves bacon, it wraps it's lovely self around a nice little chicken breast that's been stuffed with cream cheese and diced jalapenos.  Let me tell ya, not much conversation took place when we ate these little jewels.  We just savored every bite and oohed and ahhed about it's goodness.

These little stuffed chickens can be grilled or baked.  We baked.  And then we broiled a bit to get the bacon to our liking.  You can also adjust the hotness of this recipe.  The original recipe said to stuff a jalapeno with cream cheese, then wrap the chicken around it, and finish up by wrapping it in bacon.  The females in this house decided we didn't want to deal with that much jalapeno (wimps) so I just mixed some diced jalapeno into the cream cheese before stuffing into the chicken breasts.  Make sense!?  Good.

4 chicken breasts - boneless, skinless
1/2 lb. bacon - sliced
1, 8 oz. pkg cream cheese - softened
appx. 1 tablespoon diced jalapenos
(we used the pickled kind in a jar)
a smidgen of salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 or prepare your grill as desired.
Prepare the cream cheese filling by mixing your diced
jalapenos and a pinch of salt and pepper into
the softened cream cheese.  Mix well.
On a cutting board or inside a gallon size
freezer bag, pound out your chicken a bit.
You can use the flat side of an actual meat
tenderizer or a large rolling pin.
Flatten out the chicken breasts a bit -
this will make the filling and wrapping
process a bit easier.
Do as I say, not as I do.
Because I skipped this step,
it made the wrap process a bit like
trying to thread a needle with your eyes closed.
Well, not actually that hard.  But close.
Despite my prep failure,
they still turned out great.
I really don't think you can mess these up.
We over stuffed ours, they weren't wrapped well,
cream cheese oozed out all in the pan,
and they were fantastic!
But if you are grilling, you may lose
a bit of that stuffed goodness
if you do not seal and wrap
your little chickies up tightly.

Once your chicken is pounded out a bit,
put about 1-2 tablespoons of
cream cheese mixture in the middle of
each chicken breast.
Fold the chicken in half to conceal
the filling.  Grab one slice of
bacon and begin to wrap around the chicken.
Have fun with this.  It's exciting.
We didn't bother using a toothpick
or string - just wrap the bacon
tightly and as it cooks it will shrink up
and hold everything together even better.

After filling and wrapping up the chicken,
sprinkle a little black pepper on each and
place in a casserole dish sprayed
with non-stick spray and bake for about 30 min.

If you are grilling, cook per
manufacturers instructions.

Once cooked to your liking, remove
and let rest for about 10 minutes
or you will be scalded for life.

Serve alongside a small baked potato
and how about some sauteed lemon broccoli?!?
Yes, please!

I hope you ENJOY!