Thursday, November 30, 2006

Taco Salad

1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 - 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1-2 tomatoes, diced
1-2 avocado, diced
1 can black olives, drained and sliced
Dorito Original taco chips, broken
Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing

Over medium heat, brown ground beef in frying pan; drain fat and return meat to stove.

Add taco seasonings and 3 Tbsp. water (just enough to moisten); mix well and continue cooking for a couple of minutes.

Remove from heat and allow meat to cool.

In a large serving bowl, combine meat with all remaining ingredients.

Garnish with extra unbroken taco chips.


I use homemade Ranch Dressing. I think it tastes better than the dressing in a bottle. I also prefer to use the original buttermilk mix to make the dressing.

All amounts may be increased or decreased (or omitted) depending on your personal preference. Chopped green onions make a nice garnish. Pinto or black beans (drained and rinsed) can be added to the meat mixture. Shredded cooked chicken or turkey may be substituted for the ground beef.

I like to serve this as a cold salad, so I chill the cooked meat in the refrigerator before tossing with the remaining ingredients. I toss the salad with a generous amount of the Ranch dressing, but we usually wind up adding more!

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Almond-Bacon-Cheese Crostini

1 French baguette
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 Tbsp. green onions, chopped
Garnish: toasted sliced almonds

Slice baguette into 36 (1/4- to 1/2-inch) slices; place, cut side down, on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.

Bake at 400° for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

Combine bacon and next 4 ingredients; spread on browned bread slices.

Bake at 400° for 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish, if desired, and serve immediately.

Yield: 3 dozen

Note: The original recipe calls for 1/4 tsp. salt, but I leave it out since the bacon's already pretty salty. Also, I tend to throw in extra bacon and almonds. The bacon-almond-cheese mixture can be made up ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.

Adapted from Southern Living recipe

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Kingly Salmon


2-3 tsp. dried dill
¼ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 salmon filets (or 3-4 pound tail section, boned and butterflied)

Combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Just before grilling, spoon half the rub on each filet, spreading mixture out to cover entire piece of fish. Gently press mixture into fish (don’t worry about the sides or the skin side).

Grill, skin side down on medium heat (grill lid closed) for approx. 10-12 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. Turn fish over so rub side is down and grill for 1-2 more minutes, careful not to burn.

Adapted from Smoke & Spice Cookbook

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Adirondack Margaritas

1 ½ cups tequila
3 cups apple juice
½ cup orange juice
½ cup Triple Sec
¼ cup lime juice

Mix all ingredients together in a 4-quart pitcher until thoroughly blended. Chill until ready to serve.

Serve over ice with a slice of lime garnish.


Linda Thomas' White Chili

7 oz. chopped green chilies
1 med. onion, diced
1 Tbsp. butter
3 cans chicken broth
3 cans of Great Northern beans (undrained)
3 tsp. oregano
2-3 tsp. chili powder
3 tsp. cumin
4 cups cooked, diced chicken (3-4 chicken breasts, roasted as directed here)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated

In a large Dutch oven, sauté green chilies and onion in melted butter.

Set aside 1/2 of the chicken broth; add remaining broth, spices, chicken, and beans to green chilies & onions in Dutch oven. Simmer for half an hour.

Mix reserved chicken broth with sour cream; add to soup, stirring until well-incorporated; add grated cheese and cook another half hour.

Serve with crusty bread.

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Grilled Flank Steak with Rosemary

½ cup soy sauce
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup honey
6 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried
1 ½ tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 ½ pounds flank steak

Mix all ingredients except steak in 12x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Add steak and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours, turning occasionally.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat) or preheat broiler. Remove meat from marinade; discard marinade. Grill steak to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. DO NOT OVERCOOK!

Transfer steak to work surface. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut across grain into thin strips. Arrange on platter and serve.

6 servings

Bon Appétit (September 1995)

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Meat Loaf

Not the most beautiful-looking entrée, but it's quite tasty and extremely easy.

1 and 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 cup fine bread crumbs
1 cup milk
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 eggs
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.
Place in 4.5" x 8.5" loaf pan (sprayed with PAM).
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Optional Sauce:

1/4 cup ketchup
1-2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Combine all sauce ingredients and spread over uncooked meat loaf.


Since I prefer to use 80% lean ground beef for a more flavorful meatloaf, I like to use this pan with its removable insert which helps keep the excess fat away from the bottom of the meatloaf.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Peanut Butter Cookies

8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
Dry-roasted, salted peanuts, for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, peanut butter, and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix on medium speed until well combined.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift the flour and baking soda together. Add to the butter mixture, and beat just to combine.

Scoop out 2 tablespoons of dough, shape into a ball, and place on one of the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough, placing scoops 3" apart. Dip the tines of a fork in warm water; press the dough balls lightly with the back of the fork to flatten them slightly (dip the fork back in the water for each dough ball, to prevent sticking). Sprinkle with a few peanuts, if desired.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown, rotating the cookie sheets between the oven racks halfway through baking. Cool on wire racks and store in airtight container up to one week.

Note: These cookies can also be made with chunky peanut butter.

Makes 2 dozen

Recipe from Martha Stewart's Favorite Comfort Food cookbook.

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Marble Square Brownies

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened at room temperature
2 and 1/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cups water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 (6 oz.) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine softened cream cheese with 1/3 cup sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix at medium speed until well-blended. Add one egg and blend until smooth.

In a saucepan over medium heat combine water, butter and chocolate squares. Cook until all has melted. Bring to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 2 cups sugar, mixing well.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt and baking soda. Add sugary/chocolate mixture and stir with wooden spoon until thoroughly incorporated. Add remaining 2 eggs and sour cream and continue to stir until all is blended into a smooth batter.

Pour batter into a greased and floured 9" x 13" cake pan.

Spoon cream cheese mixture on top of cake and cut through mixture with a butter knife several times for a marble effect.

Sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Cool in pan on cookie rack and cut when ready to serve.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and cut-up (or shredded) into bite-size pieces
1 pint (16 oz.) of sour cream
1 1/2 cans of Cream of Chicken soup
4-5 green onions, chopped with tops
1 can chopped green chiles (optional)
8 oz. each Cheddar (medium) and Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1 dozen corn tortillas

Mix sour cream, soup, chilies and onions together.

Spray 9x13 pan with Pam.

Steam tortillas (6 at a time) in damp paper towel in microwave for 40

Spread some of the sour cream mixture on one side of a tortilla.

Add some chicken and cheese and roll up. Place in pan, seam side down.


Cover rolled-up enchiladas with remaining sour cream mixture. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30-45 minutes until bubbly. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Chicken Parmesan

3-4 cups of your favorite tomato sauce (homemade or from a jar - I use Prego Traditional)
1 large egg
1 cup dry bread crumbs (I use Italian-flavored)
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup grated mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
8 oz. spaghetti (I prefer angel hair)

Heat sauce in a small saucepan.

Begin heating the water for the pasta.

Beat the egg in a large pie plate or shallow dish. Place bread crumbs in another pie plate and season to taste with salt, freshly ground pepper and a dash of garlic powder.

Rinse chicken under warm water; pat dry with paper towels. One at a time, place between plastic wrap and pound flat using the smooth side of a meat tenderizing mallet. Try to make them as thin as possible without tearing the meat.

Working with one at a time, dip both sides of each chicken cutlet in the beaten egg, then in the bread crumb mixture. Set aside on a plate.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Heat olive oil over medium-high head in a 12-inch skillet. When the oil begins to shimmer, add cutlets and saute until golden brown on each side, about 5 to 6 minutes total. Place the cooked chicken on a cookie rack placed over a baking sheet. Sprinkle with equal portions of Mozzarella and Parmesan and broil for a couple of minutes. The cheese should bubble and have a few brown spots. Remove chicken from the oven.

Serve topped with a dollop of heated sauce and next to a serving of cooked pasta.


I make this all the time without the cheese (skipping the broiling step). I just add a few more minutes to the frying time to ensure the chicken is cooked through.

Japanese Panko bread crumbs can be substituted for the dry bread crumbs.

Any leftover chicken is delicious sliced up in a Caesar salad!

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, September 1998

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