Sunday, December 7, 2014

Easy Oven Pulled Pork

With the weather turning colder, being able to go outside and enjoy the deliciousness of pulled pork on our smoker gets more difficult. The long hours outside keeping watch on the meat, adjusting the settings to account for the colder air, and, frankly, spending all day working on a meal when you really have other things you need to be doing. So what do you do when you want the tender pulled pork you enjoy in the summer months without all the hassle? You make Easy Oven Pulled Pork.
This recipe combines many of the flavors my husband and I love in our favorite pulled pork recipes. There is a sweetness from the brown sugar, a tanginess from the vinegar, a spice from the chipotles in adobo, and a unique pepperiness from the hoppy India Pale Ale. Unlike when you are working with a smoker, the oven provides a consistent temperature without adjustment while the use of the heavy Dutch oven traps in all the moisture, creating a decadent pan sauce for spooning over the final product. Even if you do not think you like chipotles, you must try this recipe. It is so perfectly balanced that the spice is not an issue. Serve this on dinner size sweet Hawaiian rolls for a festive finger food at your holiday party. Your guests will be pleasantly surprised!
4 Pound Pork Blade Shoulder Roast
1 Cup India Pale Ale*
6 Cloves Garlic, Peeled
1/4 Large Onion, Peeled and Halved
1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
3 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar, Packed
1 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 Cup Water
3 Tablespoons Barbecue Rub
1. Combine the IPA, garlic, onion, liquid smoke, sugar, salt, vinegar and water in a large Dutch Oven.
2. Coat the outside of the blade roast with your choice of barbecue rubs. I used on that contained coffee and sugar along with garlic, onion powder, and the other usual ingredients. I would recommend using one that has a slight sweetness.
3. Place the coated roast in the Dutch oven.
4. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 2.5 hours or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the meat reads 205 degrees.
5. Remove from the oven and allow to sit, covered, for 15 minutes. Carefully remove from the pan and place on a large cutting board.
6. Using two forks, shred the meat. It will pull very easily.
7. Serve on your favorite rolls.

Note: If desired, you make place the meat in a container with some of the residual pan juices to retain moisture during storing. Just make sure to skim some of the excess fat from the top of the liquid first.

*For this recipe, Hoopyum from Foothills Brewery in Winston-Salem, NC was used.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Broccoli Cheddar Cornbread

A few weeks back, my husband and I were at a group tailgate for our alma mater. It was a cold day and the first snowfall of the season was happening. In order to stay warm, we were all huddled together enjoying our favorite cold weather foods. One of the ladies we were with brought a slow cooker full of chili beans and a dish of broccoli cornbread. "Broccoli cornbread?" I was astonished. I had never heard of such. However, once I took the first bite, I was in love. I immediately gave a piece to my husband, who, reluctantly, took his first bite; I could tell by the look on his face that he was shocked! I had to have this recipe.
Once I got home, I began thinking about how I could make the recipe my own. The lady who brought it used a store bought boxed cornbread mix as the base. While I have nothing against using these products, I always have cornmeal on hand and did not want to spend money to purchase something unnecessary. As I stirred  up the first batch, I was a little skeptical. However, I pushed through and, to my delight, it turned out perfectly.
This delicious, unexpected bread comes out tender and moist but with a crisp crust. The flavor combination is that of a wonderful cornbread muffin and broccoli cheddar soup. This recipe is definitely a keeper!
1 Stick Butter
1/3 Cup Finely Diced Onion
4 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
6 Ounces Frozen Broccoli
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Cups Mild Cheddar Cheese
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 Cups Self-Rising Cornmeal
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1. Place the stick of butter into a 8 inch cast iron skillet. While the oven is preheating, set the pan inside to allow the butter to melt and the pan to get hot.
2. While the oven comes to temperature, prepare the rest of the batter. In a large mixing bowl, combine the onion, egg, and broccoli. Sprinkle with salt and stir. Add the cheese and sugar. Mix to completely coat.
3. Add the self-rising corn meal to the wet ingredients. Stir until combined.
4. Once the butter is melted, carefully pour the melted butter into the batter. Add the oil to the pan and return to the oven for 3 minutes.
5. While the oil gets hot, stir the batter until the butter is incorporated. The batter will be VERY thick. Do not panic. This is how it is supposed to be at this stage. As the batter cooks, the moisture from the broccoli and the cheese will create perfection.
6. Remove the pan from the oven. Carefully add the batter to the pan. Using a spatula or your fingers, press the batter into an even layer.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees until dark golden brown on top.
8. Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes before turning out onto the serving dish.
9. Slice and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Absolute Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

One day last week, after a long, hectic day, my husband calls me right before I am heading home from work. He had just found out that his department was having an afternoon gathering the next day and was expected to bring a dessert. When he asked me if I could throw something together, I of course said yes, but in the back of my mind I was panicked. I was tired! I had no time to go to the store to get special ingredients! What was I going to do?!?! As I rushed home, I thought about what was stocked in my pantry. I knew I had plenty of quick cook oats as well as brown sugar. Hmm...a husband loves tender, chewy oatmeal raisin cookies; that would be simple enough! Sure enough, these were a huge hit. We even made a batch for the weekend tailgate and they were frequented by all in attendance. The sugary crust on top gives an extra crunch while the silicon baking mat creates the perfect cookie bottom.
2 Sticks Margarine, Softened
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
3 Cups Quick Cook Oats
1 Cup Raisins
2 Tablespoons Sugar, Reserved
2 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
Yield: 3 Dozen
1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Use a whisk to remove any lumps. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a large mixer, whip the margarine and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time; beat until combined. Add the vanilla to the creamed mixture.
3. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix until just combined, scraping the sides of the bowl.
4. Add the oats. Stir to combine.
5. Add the raisins. Stir to combine.
6. Place walnut-size balls of  dough on a cookie sheet lined with a silicon baking mat, leaving at least 2 inches between each cookie.
7. Dip a fork in the reserved sugar. Gently press the top of each cookie to flatten.
8. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.
9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Jalapeno Lime Rice

It is well documented that I love vegetables and I love taking advantage of the bounty harvested from my garden. This year, my husband and I decided to plant hot pepper plants. Throughout the last two months, we have been harvesting a handful of peppers everyday. While this is a blessing, it is also a curse. How, you ask? Well, imagine an entire refrigerator crisper drawer filled with jalapeno and habanero peppers....what do you do? Instead of panicking, I have decided to embrace it and create some new recipes. I have pickled peppers, made spicy burgers, and even spicy barbecue sauce, however, I still have a full drawer. On this particular day, I was looking for something to serve as a filling lunch item for my back-to-school lunchbox that was quick, easy, tasty, and healthy. The result was Jalapeno Lime Rice. The refreshing lime juice paired with the black beans, tender rice, and spicy jalapeno were the perfect combination. If you do not want as much spice, you can always seeded both peppers, but for me, I like the kick! This is also the perfect addition to any meal, Tex-Mex or not.
2 Cups Cooked Long Grain Rice
15.5 Ounce Canned Black Beans, Drained and Rinsed
1 Cup Frozen Corn Kernels, Thawed
1 Whole Jalapeno, Minced 
1 Seeded Jalapeno, Minced
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, Chopped
2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
1 pinch Salt
1. While the rice is still warm, combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Toss to completely coat all ingredients with the lime juice.
3. Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Monkey Treats

As a general grocery item in our house, bananas are always on hand. Usually we can eat them all before they ripen too much, but last week, we were left with three bananas that needed to be made into something before they went too far. I did not want to make banana bread, so I decided to figure out something new for these sweet, but very ripe, bananas. This recipe was developed to satisfy my craving for a cookie but with nutrition in mind. Are these "healthy" cookies? No, not really, but they are healthier than some of their relatives. Another great thing is that they stay moist and soft, making them almost like a tiny cake! Why call them Monkey Treats??? The bananas, of course!
 1/2 Cup Butter, Softened
1/2 Cup Vegetable Shortening
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
3 Ripe Bananas, Peeled
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Oats
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Yield: 5 dozen
1. In the bowl of a large mixer, cream the butter, shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add the peanut butter and bananas. Mix until completely smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing until combined.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
3. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients, 1 cup at a time, mixing completely between each addition.
4. Stir the chocolate chips into the batter.
5. Place the 1 tablespoon scoops of batter on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch between each cookie.
6. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 12-15 minutes until lightly brown.
7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan for 1 minutes. Then immediately remove to a cooling rack.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Summer Squash and Zucchini Bake

The abundance of zucchini and summer squash in our garden is still overwhelming. This is the longest we have ever had plants to continue to produce; we are blessed this year. However, this also means that I have to find new ways to use the vegetables in order to avoid burnout. While I love our traditional methods, this recipe allowed me to focus on the natural flavors of the squash in a healthier method. Unlike squash casserole, there is no cream or large amounts of cheese in this recipe.....although I do enjoy squash casserole! I also threw in some jalapenos for a little spice, and, in full disclosure, I needed to use up some of the dozens of jalapenos coming from our garden. Try this recipe. You will be pleasantly surprised!
1.5 Pounds Yellow Squash, Thinly Sliced
1.5 Pounds Zucchini, Thinly Sliced
1/4 Cup Canola Oil
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
2 Jalapenos, Minced
1/2 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1. Toss the squash, zucchini, oil, garlic, and jalapenos in a large bowl.
2. Stack the slices tightly in a casserole dish. Pour any residual oil and jalapeno or garlic over the slices.
3. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, salt and pepper.
4. Liberally cover the top of the slices with the breadcrumb mixture.
5. Tightly cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 90 minutes.
6. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the top is golden.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Zucchini Chips

The zucchini recipe trend is continuing. I am working to find more and more inventive ways to use this wonderful vegetable. When I am making "fried" zucchini, I normally use my Southern Summer Squash recipe, simply swapping the zucchini in for the yellow squash, for a delicious un-fried zucchini. While this is wonderful and easy, I wanted to branch out a little more last week and find a new way to make baked zucchini resulting in a crisper zucchini chip. This recipe uses panko to make a crisp outer coating without a heavy batter. These chips were fantastic! Crisp, light, delicately seasoned and the flavor of the fresh zucchini came shining through. Perfection!

1-2 Zucchini
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 Eggs
1 Tablespoon Water
1 1/4 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
5 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1. Slice the zucchini into 1/8"-1/4" thick slices.
2. Prepare your dredging bowls. Fill the first bowl with flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. The second bowl with the egg and water. The final bowl with panko crumbs. Make sure the first two bowls have their contents thoroughly combined.
3. Prepare the baking pans. You will need large baking sheets. Depending on the size and number of baking sheets used, the amount of vegetable oil will vary. You want a thin coating over the entire pan.
4. Dredge each zucchini slice through the flour, shaking off the excess. Then dip in the egg wash and panko. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
5. When all of the chips have been coated, place in a preheated 375 degree oven. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, and then bake for an additional 15 minutes. When you remove the chips from the oven to flip halfway through, if the pan looks a little dry, add a little more oil for the second half of baking.
6. When deep brown, remove from the oven and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Best Zucchini Bread

Our garden is in full production mode right now. The peppers, tomatoes, corn, and squash are abundant. As we began gathering from our bounty this year, the first vegetables to ripen were the zucchini, and, just like always, when they start coming in, they come in! We only grow 2 plants because they always produce so abundantly. Everyday, we are getting 2-3 mature zucchini from the plants. For 2 people, that is a lot of zucchini! While we love grilled and baked zucchini, my husband asked me to develop a zucchini bread recipe, as he had never tried it before and had always heard of it. I was shocked! How could you grow up here and never have tried zucchini bread? Now, for those of you that are not from the South and have never eaten zucchini bread, please do not think that it is some bread that tastes like zucchini, because you would be sorely mistaken. This bread is moist and tender, filled with cinnamon flavor. For you mothers out there, this is also a great way to work some vegetables into your children's diets.

4 Cup Zucchini, Grated
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
3 Eggs
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Cinnamon Apple Sauce
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use a whisk to thoroughly combine and sift the ingredients.
2. Combine the wet ingredients in a large measuring cup. Whisk to combine.
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, using the whisk to combine.
4. Mix the grated zucchini into the batter.
5. Prepare 2 standard size loaf pans with shortening and flour. Pour half of the batter into each prepared pan.
6. Place in a preheated 325-degree oven. Bake for 55 minutes. The bread should be golden brown and produce a clean toothpick when tested.
7. Place the pans on a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes before turning out.
8. Slice and enjoy.
9. Store leftovers tightly wrapped and in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Southwestern Beans

With the Fourth of July just a few days away, we are all preparing for family gatherings and backyard barbecues to celebrate our independence. While we all expect something delicious to be coming from the grill, getting creative with the side items is always fun.
Here in the South, baked beans are a standard at any backyard gathering. The sweet, sticky, and bacon covered beans are fantastic. However, I love baked beans so much that I make several varieties throughout the year to enjoy as a meal. This recipe was inspired as a hybrid of my Mexican Campfire Beans and traditional Southern Picnic Beans. These beans are spicy! However, the heat is well rounded with the deep flavor of the chipotle powder and the sweetness of the brown sugar.
So, as you prepare for your gathering this week, consider spicing up the cookout with these Southwestern Beans.
1 Pound Ground Beef
1/2 Cup Minced Yellow Onion
3-15 ounce Cans Pork-N-Beans
1 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
1 Cup Ketchup
2 Tablespoons Mustard
12 ounces Pale Ale
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Pepper Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1. Brown the ground beef with the minced onion over medium heat, breaking the meat into smaller pieces. Cook until completely browned, approximately 5 minutes.
2. While the meat is cooking, place the remaining ingredients into the slow cooker.
3. Add the beef and onions, with cooking juices, to the slow cooker.
4. Stir to thoroughly combine.
5. Cover and set to LOW.
6. Cook for at least 5 hours or up to 8 hours.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Perfect Grilling Marinade

Part of perfect grilling is in the preparation. The coals of the charcoal grill have to be at the perfect temperature and properly stacked to maintain heat throughout the entire cooking time. Your timing has to be on point. You don't want your side dish coming off the grill when the main course is still only partially cooked. However, sometimes, even with perfect planning, the meat comes out dry, a little tough, or just under-seasoned. The key to solving this problem is in the perfect grilling marinade.
This marinade combines the flavors of Asian cuisine with the classic American grill. While I used it for chicken and pork, you can marinade shrimp and beef in this same marinade with amazing results. Simply grill until the proper internal temperature for your meat is reached and enjoy with a nice side of fresh summer vegetables.
1/3 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1/3 Cup Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
2 Cloves Garlic, Sliced
4 Green Onions, Chopped
Combine all of the ingredients in a large measuring cup. Place the meat in a shallow baking dish or resealable bag. Pour the marinade over the meat, making sure to thoroughly coat all pieces. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before grilling. Discard the used marinade.

***Note: Before grilling, allow the meat to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will help the meat to remain tender. After grilling, allow the meat to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Confetti Salsa

I absolutely LOVE fresh vegetables. When the spring air becomes reminiscent of early summer days, all I can think about is enjoying the harvest. This salsa was a creation of my desire for something light, refreshing, and crisp. The lime juice adds a Caribbean flavor to the dish while the colors are so festive that they scream confetti. I make this salsa every weekend and keep it in the refrigerator for a quick, filling, and delicious after work snack, however, I have been known to simply eat it with a spoon for lunch. It is my new favorite go-to treat! In fact, I love this dish so much that I could not resist eating the salsa when I took the picture before finishing this post. Keep this recipe on hand for all those summer gatherings!
15 oz Canned Black Beans
15 oz Canned Yellow Corn
1 Red Bell Pepper
3 Green Onions, Chopped
1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped
1/4 Cup Lime Juice
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1. Place the red bell pepper on the grill or under the broiler to roast. When the skin is blistered, remove to a bowl and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Allow to steam for 5 minutes before removing the skin and seeds. Dice the roasted pepper flesh into small pieces.
2. Place the beans and corn into a fine mesh strainer. Rinse with cold water. Shake dry and move to a large bowl.
3. Add the roasted pepper, onion, and parsley to the bowl.
4. In a small cup, whisk the lime juice, oil, salt and pepper to form a dressing.
5. Pour the dressing over the vegetables. Stir to combine.
6. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, stirring well before serving.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Baked Apple Sauce Donuts with Maple Glaze

On Sunday evening, I was in the mood for something sweet and delicious. As I searched through the cabinets, nothing really seemed to catch my interest. Then, I remembered I had applesauce in the refrigerator and maple flavoring in the cabinet; the perfect solution was to create an applesauce donut with all of the flavors and spice of the old fashioned applesauce cake my grandmother made during my childhood. Another great thing about these donut is the maple glaze. The flavors scream breakfast with a subtle caramel undertone. On top of everything else, these are baked, not fried. So, in the world of donut consumption, they are basically guilt free! (Do you like my rationalization there???) No worries; with one bite of these delicious cake donuts, you will forget about an resolutions you may have made. Enjoy!

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Cinnamon Apple Sauce
1/4 Cup Milk
2 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 Tablespoon Butter, Melted

1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Maple Extract
5 teaspoons Milk

Yield:18 donuts
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
2. Combine the applesauce, milk, eggs, vanilla and butter.
3. Slowly pour into the dry ingredients. Beat until well combined and it forms a smooth batter.
4. Thoroughly grease a donut pan.
5. Spoon 2 Tablespoons of batter into each donut ring. (Your measurements may vary depending on your pan. You want to fill the rings until half full.)
6. Bake the donuts in a 325 degree oven for 15 minutes.
7. Remove donuts from the oven. Carefully lift from the pans. Place on a wire rack to cool.
8. Using a wire whisk, combine the glaze ingredients, adding the milk 1 teaspoon at a time until a thick but smooth glaze forms.
9. Dip one side of the donuts into the glaze, turning them over to cool on the rack while the glaze sets.
9. Enjoy while warm or allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Chipotle Grilled Chicken Wings

It seems like when the days get longer and the sun gets warmer, the grill is the place to be. Why heat up your house cooking for hours when the grill can do all the work while you enjoy the great outdoors. These chicken wings are perfect for parties, tailgating, or just for a night on the couch watching the big game. The utilization of chipotle powder adds a nice warmth to the wings without being overly spicy. If you have the time, you can allow the wings to marinade in the rub, but it is not necessary. I could see preparing them in the rub and packing them in a cooler for a weekend camping trip. YUM!!!
36 Chicken Wings/Drummettes
2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Mustard Powder
1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Powder
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 teaspoons Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil, for oiling the grill
1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Place the chicken wings/drummettes in a large, resealable bag.
3. Sprinkle with the dry rub. Press all of the air out of the bag and seal. Use your hands to massage the rub over the chicken, completely covering every piece.
4. Heat the grill over MEDIUM heat.
5. Coat a paper towel in vegetable oil. Using a set of grilling tongs, coat the grates with the oil to help prevent sticking.
6. Place the coated wings on the grill.
7. Reduce the heat to LOW. Close the grill.
8. Allow to cook for 15 minutes without disturbing. However, if you see smoke, you know your grill is TOO HOT!
9. Turn the wings. Allow the wings to continue to cook for another 15 minutes.
10. Move the wings around on the grill to allow each wing to become completely cooked.
11. Continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes on MEDIUM LOW heat, moving often, to allow the skin to crisp.
12. Remove from the grill and enjoy!

NOTE: Depending on your grill and the size of your wings, cooking times will vary. The wings should cook slowly and not burn. Understanding your grill is key!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Picnic Beans

As summer approaches, picnic and cookout season begins to crank into full swing. Here in the South, no matter if you are grilling chicken, burgers, or even having a pig-picking, a large pot of sweet baked beans is a must. This weekend, I wanted to create a variation on the classic baked bean and create a simple, slow-cooked version that was less sweet and more savory. These beans turned out wonderful! The pale ale adds a subtle undertone in the background without overpowering the savory flavor. The ease of this recipe also allows you to set the slow cooker to low and leave it without worries.

1 Pound Ground Beef
1/4 Cup Green Pepper, Chopped
1/2 Cup Yellow Onion, Chopped
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
30 Ounces Pork-N-Beans
3/4 Cup Pale Ale
6 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Mustard
3 Tablespoons Ketchup
1. Brown the beef over medium heat with the green pepper, onion, and garlic.
2. Once browned, transfer to a slow cooker.
3. Add the remaining ingredients.
4. Cook on LOW for 4 hours with the lid on the cooker.
5. Remove the lid and simmer for 1 hour on HIGH or until it reaches the desired thickness. Stir occasionally. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cream Cheese Lemon Pound Cake

With Spring in the air, everything is starting to come to life. During this time of year, the farm fresh products are beginning to be available. We are lucky enough to have farm fresh eggs available to us at various times during the year. The only issue is that some weeks you end up with an overabundance and have to figure out something to do with them. This week's solution was a glorious Cream Cheese Lemon Pound Cake.
As you already know, pound cake is a Southern staple and a favorite on the site. My grandmother made the absolute best pound cake and I have used her recipe to develop several different varieties. The lemon pound cake was developed for my husband who prefers a little tart flavor in this Southern treat. The cream cheese was a last minute switch for me. I was afraid the normal stick of butter addition would overwhelm the lemon flavor, so I opted instead for the use of cream cheese. The result was a delicious, moist pound cake with a crisp lemon finish, perfect for a Spring or Summer dessert.
1 Cup Vegetable Shortening
3 Cups Sugar
8 Ounces Cream Cheese, Softened
5 Eggs
2 teaspoon Pure Lemon Extract
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Whole Milk
1. Spray your bundt pan with non-cooking spray with flour. I prefer to use the floured spray rather than the shortening and flour technique because of the intricate detail of my bundt pan. I tend to have better luck with a clean release. However, it is key to be liberal with your coating, no matter which technique you choose. The last thing you want is a delicious cake held captive in a sticky pan!
2. Cream the cream cheese, shortening and sugar in a stand mixer. Allow the mixture to become fluffy. This step is very important for setting up the texture of the cake.
3. Add the 5 eggs, one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl periodically.
4. Combine the milk and lemon extract. Set aside.
5. Sift together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
5. Beginning with one-third of the dry ingredients, alternate dry ingredients and milk, allowing each step to become incorporated before alternating. You will do three alternating cycles, ending with the dry ingredients.
6. Pour into the prepared bundt pan.
7. Bake the cake at 325 degrees for 75 minutes. After 60 minutes, check the cake. The finished cake should be completely browned on top, firm to the touch, and yield a clean toothpick when tested.
8. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan.
9. Invert the cake onto your serving dish. If you coated the pan well, the cake will release with no problem and you will be left with a steaming, beautiful cake.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Apple Nut Oatmeal Muffins

So several people have asked me since I began the Modern Southern Cook for a muffin recipe that reduces the oil and fat without bananas. Of course. the reasonable substitute is apple sauce. This recipe uses apple sauce both as a substitute for oil as well as a flavoring ingredient. The addition of oats also adds a great texture to the muffin. For an added benefit, while these tender, delicious muffins are in the oven, your house will smell of apple pie, which is never a bad thing! Give these muffins a try; they are absolutely so moist that you would never guess they are a lighter version of something so hearty.

1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Oats
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ginger
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1 pinch Salt
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Cup Cinnamon Apple Sauce
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 Cup Chopped Pecans
2 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
Yield: 6 Jumbo Muffins
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.
3. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a large measuring cup.
4. Slowly stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. The batter will be thick.
5. Evenly distribute the batter into the prepared muffin pan.
6. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the top of the batter.
7. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and the spring back to the touch. You can test with a toothpick for doneness if you are not sure.
8. Remove from the oven and carefully run a knife around the edges of the muffins. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before inverting from the pan.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Oatmeal Muffins

When trying to decide what to make for breakfast this week, I wanted to experiment with a new muffin recipe. By replacing some of the flour with oats, the fiber content of these muffins is bumped up. Additionally, the oil is replaced by a mashed bananas, adding a little sweetness, creaminess, and additional nutrients. This oatmeal muffin has all of the flavor profile of a traditional banana nut without all the guilt....if you feel guilty about things such as that. More than anything, this recipe gives you an extra muffin recipe to add to your archives. Plus, you will have an easy and portable oatmeal breakfast for those rushed weekday mornings!
1 Cup Oats
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Pecans
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ginger
1 pinch Salt
1 Banana, mashed
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 Tablespoon Light Brown Sugar
1. Place the oats into a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until the oats are the consistency of flour.
2. Place the processed oats, flour, brown sugar, pecans, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt into the bowl of a large mixer. Stir to combine.
3. Add the mashed banana. Mix for 1 minute to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
4. Add the milk, egg, and vanilla to the mixer. Mix the ingredients for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl to combine.
5. Prepare a large muffin tin by spraying with non-stick cooking spray.
6. Evenly divide the batter between the six muffins.
7. Sprinkle the reserved brown sugar on top of the muffins.
8. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.
9. Allow the muffins to cool at room temperature for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.