Monday, April 24, 2017

Lime Curd

Lime curd. Mmmmm. I could eat it straight from the jar. I use it for so many things. Great on pavlova, in between layers of a cake, cupcake filling, tart filling, lime bars, or just a dab on a graham cracker makes a good snack. This is my own recipe. You can pretty much switch out lime for any type of citrus -- try grapefruit or tangerine -- it's seriously good too.

This curd brings back memories of eating key lime pie with Eden and Claire.  It was one of our favorite Sunday afternoon desserts.  

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cut into 8 slices
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 tspfinely grated lime peel (i use a micro - plane grater)
1/8 tsp salt
5 large egg yolks

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until well blended.
Whisk in lime juice, zest and salt.

Place the mixture in a heavy saucepan over low heat and stir fast and constantly with a wooden spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture has thickened until it is creamy in texture like a sauce.

Add the butter one tablespoon at a time until melted and the mixture becomes smooth.  The curd is done when it coats the back of a spoon.

Strain the curd through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl or jar to remove zest pieces and any clumps.

Tightly seal bowl with over or cling wrap and place in the refrigerator until completely cooled.

Tips: Make sure you keep the temperature on the stove medium low or the eggs will scramble and you end up with chunks in your curd.  Don't use key limes or you will kill yourself squeezing 1/2 cup juice.  I use the bigger ones.  Depending on the season and quality of limes, it takes about six  to get 1/2 cup of juice.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Orzo and Spinach Salad with Orange Vinegarette

 I serve this salad at my Heber House retreat weekends. I first had it at a church luncheon around 2005. Two of my amazing friends Kristi and Bobette made it for over 200 women.  It's a crowd pleaser.  I had to make this from memory, but I think it comes pretty close!

This recipe serves 10.

1 box Orzo pasta cooked and drained. 
1 large bag or carton of pre-washed baby spinach
3 cups chopped chicken
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup toasted pine nuts (you can also used chopped pecans or pistachios)
6 green onion, chopped fine (white part only)
1 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped Basil

3/4 cup avocado oil
2 oranges, juice and zest the skin with a microphone grater
2 cloves garlic, grate with a micro plane grater
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

Place all of the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with half of the dressing. Add more to your liking. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Asian Orange & Ginger Salad Dressing

I love Chinese chicken salad.  I keep cut up vegetables in the refrigerator along with lettuce, spinach and home made dressings.   Homemade dressings are so easy to make, and much better tasting that bottled stuff.  Give it a try and see for yourself.

3/4 cup avocado oil (I buy it at Costco)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1 clove garlic, chopped very fine (I use a micro plane to grate)
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (use the micro plane, it's your best friend in the kitchen)
1 teaspoon grated ginger -- yep, the micro plane

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine all of the above ingredients.  Tighten the lid and shake until well combined.  Can be refrigerated for up to 6 weeks.

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla soup made it's first appearance in my neck of the woods back in 1998 when the women at my church published a cook book.  A woman named Loree Brewerton shared a recipe that was delicious.  I think the entire neighborhood made soup for months.  It's still one of my family's favorites.  I changed the recipe a bit and added a secret ingredient -- mango salsa.  Pineapple salsa works too if you can't find Mango.  Costco usually sells one or the other.  I usually make a double batch of this soup and freeze half so I always have "go to" meals in the freezer.

3 cups prepared chicken, shredded
1 48-oz. can chicken stock
1 48-oz. container of Santa Barbara Mango Peach Salsa
1 11-oz. can white corn
1 15-oz. can black beans
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
juice of 1 fresh lemon

Over medium, heat the olive oil a large stock pot, add the onions, bell pepper and garlic.  Saute until the onion is transparent, about 4 minutes.   Add the remaining ingredients (except the chicken) and cook over medium low heat for 20 minutes for the flavors  to combine.  Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes more.

Serve hot with:

Tortilla chips
Shredded cheese
Sour cream
A squeeze of lime (this really makes it).

Friday, September 25, 2015

White Bean Chicken Chili

I first had this chili at my wedding shower back in 1993.  My friends Jodi Ream and Tracy Walton served it to all the guests and became a big hit among our friends.   It's since become a winter staple at our house.  I make a double batch and portion it out into gallon zip lock freezer bags.  I know that my family of four eats approximately 7 cups at a meal.  So that's what goes into a zip lock bag -- 7 cups.  Try doubling your favorite recipes, and freezing half.  In time, you will have a freezer full of delicious meals.  You end up only having to cook maybe twice a week.

Tip:  If you double this recipe, make sure to use two pots.

3 15 oz. cans great northern beans
8 cups chicken broth
4 cloves garlic, (use a microplane to grate or chop very fine)
2 teaspoons Oregano
4 teaspoons Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 teaspoons chicken flavor Better Than Bullion
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 7 oz. cans mild green chiles, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped fine
4 cups chicken, chopped into 1/2 pieces
1 _ oz. carton sour cream
3 1/2 cups Jack cheese, grated

For garnish:
chopped tomato
chopped green onions
diced avacado
tortilla chips

Heat the olive oil a large stock pot, over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, garlic, bullion, chili's cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt, pepper and beans, and simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the chicken, sour cream and cheese and simmer until everything is melted and heated through.

Serve with the above garnishes.

Serves 8.

Chicken Pot Pie

Who doesn't love chicken pot pie!  This is a family favorite for sure.  I make a double or  triple batch of filling so I only have to cook once, and freeze the rest in zip lock freezer bags.  It's my motto:  "cook once, eat thrice."  I do this with any recipe that freezes well -- double or triple the recipe.  Then I have a freezer full of ready made meals on days I'm too busy to cook.  When using the freezer meal, I defrost one of the bags in the refrigerator the day I want to made chicken pot pie. I also make double batches of pie crust and freeze half, or buy ready made pie crusts, which is the easiest way to go.  If you are gluten intolerant, there are lots of bakeries that sell ready made gluten free crusts.  Instead of thickening the gravy with flour, use arrowroot powder or corn starch.

My family loves this pie with a simple salad and our favorite dressing.  By the way, I NEVER buy dressing.  I make my own.  Check out some of the dressing recipes in the Salad section!  They are so easy, and free of preservatives!!!

One more tip, when I'm making a casserole or chicken pot pie, I buy roasted whole chickens from Costco for $4.99.  I shred the meat and keep it in the freezer.  So much you can do if you have chicken on hand!  You can also throw the bones in a pot and make your own stock.  I do this once a month and make soup with the stock (check out the recipes for tortilla soup and white bean chicken chili).  Super budget friendly, and homemade meals as opposed to take out or processed food.

This recipe makes two pies:

4 cups chicken, diced into 1/2 inch squares (I buy a roasted chicken from Costco)
4 stalks celery, diced
1 large onion, diced fine
2 carrots, diced fine
2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil (I buy at Costco)
1 11oz. can white corn, or 1 ear of fresh corn, cobbed
1/2 small bag frozen petite peas (don't add if your kids won't eat )
1 potato, diced into 1/2 inch squares
2 15oz. cans chicken stock
2 teaspoons chicken flavor Better Than Bullion
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/3 cup cream
3/4 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
two pie crusts for a 10-inch pie (a top and bottom)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the potato in a microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic.  Microwave on high for 3 minutes.  Let cool, then drain off any water.

In a medium saute pan, over medium high heat, add the olive oil.
Add the carrots, celery, onion and half the salt and pepper, and saute until translucent.  Add the potato, peas and corn, and stir to combine.  Cook for 1 minute more.  Remove from heat.  Set aside.

In a large sauce pan, over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the flour and whisk to combine.  Whisk for about 1 minute until the flour is light brown.  Add the chicken stock, all the seasonings, bullion, and cream and turn the heat to high.  Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens so it is the consistency of gravy. Add all of the vegetables and the chicken to the gravy mixture and stir to combine.   Remove from heat. Taste, and add more seasoning to your liking.

Place one of the prepared pie crusts in a 9 or 10 inch pie pan.  (I use a glass pan I bought from Walmart).  Add 1/2 of the chicken filling.  (Once the remainder of the filling is cool, put it in a gallon size zip lock freezer bag and freeze for another day.)  Top the pie with another crust and seal the edges.  Cut a few slits in the top of the crust to vent.   Place the pie on a baking sheet lined with tin foil.  Place a thin strip of foil around the edge of the crust so as not to burn.   Place the baking sheet on the center rack of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.  Remove the foil from around the edge of the pie and bake 5-10 minutes more, until the crust is golden brown all over.   Make sure it's done or the pie will be doughy instead of flaky.

Remove the pie from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 6-8

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

My own recipe made up on the fly for one of my retreat weekends. There are so many food issues now its really hard to cook for a crowd. I find this vinaigrette to be something the gluten free, dairy free, whole 30 crowd can enjoy.

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 jalapeno
1 tomatillo, quartered 
1/2 bunch cilantro
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup white wine vinegar 
4 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
3/4 cup grape seed oil (I buy at Costco)

Put all the ingredients except the oil into a blender. Process until smooth. With the motor running on low speed, add the oil and blend until emulsified. Taste and add more sweetener or oil to your liking.