Orzo Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

I have been making this salad for quite a while, but with a different dressing.

Yesterday, I found a whole big bunch of cilantro in the fridge I needed to use before it went bad,

so I made a pesto like dressing for it instead.

It was a hit with the hubby and I like it too!

 

Orzo Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

 

Salad

2 cups uncooked orzo

1/2 yellow pepper

1/2 green pepper

1/2 orange pepper

1 small zucchini

2 large celery ribs

1 small yellow squash

half a medium onion

Can of whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed

 

 

Dressing

3 cups Cilantro

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup veg oil

1 jalapeno

Salt and pepper to taste

Put all in the blender and buzz it up til smooth

 

Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add the orzo and cook until done.

Strain and rinse with cold water. Put in a big bowl. Chop the vegetables and add to the bowl.

Add the corn. Stir together. Set aside. Make the Dressing. pour over salad and toss to combine.

 

 

Makes 16 cups

 

Serving Size – 1 cup – 145 calories

Marinara/Spaghetti Sauce

I have been making my own spaghetti sauce for years. It's way tastier and you know what's in it! The vegetables, especially the carrot and red pepper add sweetness, that's why there's no sugar in it. If you don't want to mess with(or can't find) fresh tomatoes, you can use canned, crushed tomatoes instead. 

2-lbs of roma tomatoes, peeled 
1 - tsp sea salt
5-7 garlic cloves, minced
a sweet red pepper, chopped
1/2 a small onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 - tsp oregano
1 - tsp basil
Red pepper flakes to taste, I usually start with 1 tsp

salt and pepper to taste

First, prepare the tomatoes. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer.
Meantime, fill a big bowl with water and ice
Plunge the tomatoes a few at a time into the boiling water, 
Let them cook for a few minutes until you see the skin beginning to blister and crack.
Take them out with a slotted spoon and put them in the ice water. 
Wait a few minutes and the skins should slip right off.
Cut the stem end out with a sharp knife.
Give them a rough chop and put in your strainer set over a bowl until you have them all done.
Put your oil in a big skillet and start getting it hot over medium heat.
Add all of the vegetables but the garlic, season. Cook and stir until the onions are translucent. 
Add the garlic and cook a few more minutes. Try not to burn the garlic.
Add tomatoes to the skillet. Adjust seasonings. 
Cook and stir intil everything is well cooked, like 15-20 minutes.
If you have too much liquid, cook it longer. 
I like chunky sauce, so I just have at it with a potato masher, but you can blend it if you like it smooth.
This makes a couple of quarts. I just put it in jars and store it in the fridge.

Chicken Tostadas

1 whole chicken, cooked and boned, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped 1. small onion, chopped
1. 12oz can of diced tomatoes with salsa seasoning
1. small can green chilies
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1/2 tub lite sour cream
2 avocados
2 tblsp chili powder
1 tblsp cumin
1 12oz can kidney beans
garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
big package white corn tortillas S
hredded cheese
Shredded lettuce
Salsa
Cooking Spray
In a wok, or wok pan or a big skillet saute onions and celery until fork tender.
Add half the can of drained tomatoes, chicken, green chilies.
Add 1 cup water and seasonings.
Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally until liquid is nearly gone.
While that is cooking, get your oven going at 400 degrees.
Spray both sides of a dozen tortillas with the cooking spray.
Put them in a single layer on a cooking sheet.
Bake for 5 minutes then turn and cook for 5 more.
Alternative to baking you can also do it on a dry griddle.
Cook til almost crisp.
Mash the avocado in a small bowl and add half the tub of sour cream and cilantro.
Season with salt and pepper.
Assembly: Spread 1 tblsp avocado mixture on a tortilla.
Top with meat mixture. Add lettuce, cheese, salsa, whatever you want.

Adventures in Sourdough Baking…

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So for the last few months I have been playing around with a sourdough starter that I made myself. She has had part of herself dried and flown across the country so my sister can make bread and other SD goodies and some went to my friend and daughter from another mother in another part of my state. I have learned all about the health benefits of sourdough and other fermented foods and have tried many recipes for pancakes, tortillas, frybread, biscuits, crackers, etc from the daily discard. Today, well the other day,  I adapted my recipe for half wheat, half white bakers yeast raised bread to a completely sourdough raised loaf.  I wanted to see how a long rise affected the rise and the taste. I started my sourdough bread baking adventure with THIS RECIPE from The Kitchn.  I have been a bread baker for years, but have been intimidated by sourdough for some reason. Well NO MORE, lol.   I will say here that I don’t use a scale. Mainly because I don’t have one, but also because I bake “by feel”.   So you may need more or less flour than this recipe calls for.

Oat-Wheat Everyday Sourdough Bread

Ingredients:
2 big spoonfuls of Sourdough Starter
4 cups of Filtered Water
3 1/2 cups of White Flour
2 1/2 cups of Wheat Flour
1TBS Salt
1/2 cup of Old Fashioned Oatmeal

Early Friday Afternoon- Noon-1pm
Levain(Sponge):
If you have been keeping your Starter in the fridge you’ll have to take it out a couple of days before you want to bake bread.
Feed it a couple times a day until it’s nice and active. If you keep it on the counter like I do, then you’re ready to start right now!
In a large bowl, put two big spoonfuls of Starter. Add 1/4 cup of filtered water and 1/2 cup of White flour.
Stir together to make a thick paste. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm place for a few hrs.
You’ll know it’s ready when a small amount dropped into some water will float.

Friday Evening- While making dinner
Dough:
When the Levain is ready, add 3 cups of water to it and gently stir to break up the Levain.
Stir in 3c. white flour and 2 1/2 cups of wheat flour, Stir to just incorporate flours.
Cover again with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to for an hour (Autolyse).
Mix 1 tbs salt, 3/4 cup of water and 1/2 cup of oatmeal. Set aside and Let soak.
After your dough has rested, pinch in your soaked salt/water/oatmeal mix.
Wet your hands and start a series of stretch and folds – 30 minutes between each.
Slash after the 3rd time to see if you have lots of bubbles forming.
If not, Stretch and fold some more.
When it’s ready, Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight(Bulk Fermentation).

Saturday Morning- While waiting for coffee
Check your dough, you don’t want it to overproof. Take it out of the bowl, divide in half and pre-shape into two loaf shapes.
Put back in the bowl. Cover and put back in the fridge.

Saturday Evening-
Check your dough, it’ll be puffy. Gently deflate your loaves and shape them up again
Put back in the bowl. Cover and put back in the fridge.

Sunday Morning Bake- Woo Hoo Fresh bread for breakfast!
Take out of the fridge, do your final shaping, put in greased loaf pans and let rise until puffy. This dough may not double.
Do the poke test if you aren’t sure. Poke your loaf with a finger, if it fills right in,
it’s not ready, if it stays open you’ve waited too long, reshape and try again. If it starts to fill in slowly, it’s perfect.

Get your oven good and hot – 450
Put a shallow pan on the bottom of the oven
When it’s ready, SLASH the tops of your loaves with a sharp knife, spritz a little water on top of them.
Put your loaves in and throw 6 ice cubes in the tray under them. Close the door and bake.
Add more ice if you need to in the first 15 minutes without opening the door too often.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until your internal temp is 190
Cool on a rack and try to resist cutting it until it has cooled at least an hour.

And that’s all she wrote!

Beans and Rice Salad

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I have been making this salad for a few summers now.

One thing that’s nice about this salad is that it holds up really well. I make up a big bowl of it and we’ll eat off it all week. It has lots of fiber and protein in it, so you can feel good about eating it too.

Beans and Rice Salad

 

3 cans of beans, your choice, strained and rinsed

1 can of whole kernel corn, strained and rinsed

2 cups of cooked and cooled brown rice

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 small purple onion, chopped

1 pepper any color, chopped

1 cucumber, chopped

A good fist full of chopped cilantro, to taste

1 or 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped

3  Roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped

This is by no means the complete list of ingredients.

You can add black olives, chopped pepperoncini,  cheese if you want

Cojita is nice) , but the salad won’t last as long.

Use whatever fresh vegs you want, just make sure you wash them well and leave the danged skins on!  They’re good for you.

Now let’s make the dressing :

Whisk together equal parts of lemon juice and oil. Shake in some garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir in a little lemon zest too. Make sure it’s all well combined, then pour onto the salad. I did not give you exact measurements for the dressing, because you’ll need more or less depending on the size of the salad and your own taste. A little goes a long way though and if you make too much, just keep it in the fridge.

Mix  salad well, stirring up a few times before serving. Chill for a couple hours. Serve with ANYTHING. We like to add hot sauce because we’re spicy like that.

Big Daddy Biscuits

I call these Big Daddies because they are supposed to be big biscuits!

You can make this up and cut small biscuits, but why would you?

Everyone loves a Big Daddy biscuit, straight out of the oven, slathered with butter and strawberry jam, YUM!

Big Daddy Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 cup milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
  3. Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead 15 to 20 times. Pat or roll dough out to 1 inch thick. Cut biscuits with a large cutter or juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the excess flour, and place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges begin to brown.

Pumpkin Pie

This is my basic recipe for pumpkin pie. I have been making it this way for years.

Pumpkin Pie

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz.) Pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) Evap Milk
  • unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell

MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

Pecan cheesecake pie

I have always been a fan of pecan Pie.   I used to have a slice for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving, every year, lol  I went to work as a baker recently and one of the pie recipes we use is this one. It’s our second best seller, right behind dutch apple pie.

Anyway, here’s the recipe, enjoy!

Pecan cheesecake pie

Ingredients

For the cheesecake layer

1 refrigerated pie crust (I use Pillsbury)

1 package cream cheese (8 oz.)

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

For the pecan layer

2/3 cup dark corn syrup

2 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 Tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pecans

Instructions

  1. Spray a 9 inch pie plate with non stick baking spray. Press the pie crust into the pie plate and crimp the edges. Set aside. (do not bake)
  2. Beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Add the egg and beat again. Spread in the bottom of the unbaked pie crust.
  3. Whisk together the dark corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Stir in the pecans. Gently spoon the mixture over the cheesecake layer. Cover the edges of the pie crust with strips of foil, so it doesn’t burn. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool 2-3 hours. It will be puffy when it comes out, but it will sink as it cools. Refrigerate until chilled all the way through. Cut into 12 slices.

Cornbread Stuffing

Where I grew up, there was only one kind of stuffing on Thanksgiving, my Dad’s Sage  Stuffing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful stuff and I have made it his way many times. When I moved across the country to the desert, I discovered cornbread stuffing.  It’s different, but just as good.

Cornbread Stuffing

2 pans sweet cornbread, crumbled up I use This Recipe

2 batches baking powder biscuits, crumbled up

1 big onion, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

4 eggs

1 c melted butter

2 tbs rubbed Sage

Salt and Pepper

1/2 gallon chicken broth

 

Put cornbread and biscuits in a big bowl, set aside.

Melt some butter in a big skillet, sautee onions and celery in the butter.

add in sage and salt and pepper, sautee a minute more.

Dump into the bowl of crumbs, stir in eggs  and add broth a little at a time until its the consistency you want.

Dump into a greased casserole, bake at 350 for 45 minutes