"Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding". Prov.3:13 (NKJV)

June 30, 2016

Strawberry Watermelon Lemonade

This is a yummy beverage to use up any leftover watermelon during the summer holidays. You can easily swap out the ingredients to your liking.


Strawberry Watermelon Lemonade

Ingredients:
8 cups seedless watermelon (cubed)
1 cup strawberries halved or sliced
1/2-3/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup white sugar plus 1 cup water (see directions)
2 cups cold water

Directions:
Start out by making some simple sugar syrup by boiling 1 cup of water with the sugar for a minute (you just want to get the sugar to dissolve not let the water boil out). Let that sit to the side and cool off. Next in a blender blend the lemon juice, watermelon, and strawberries (may have to do in 2 batches) until pureed. Pour this mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a big pitcher. After all the liquid falls through you can discard the pulp or do like I did and put into a container to use up in a smoothie. It's best to put into ice cube trays to freeze then pop out and keep in a Ziploc bag. Use as many cubes in your smoothie as you like. Now it's time to add the sugar water and the cold water and stir. This is really good for drinking in the summer time and holidays like Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day.

Note: You can leave out the strawberries or add another type of fruit. It's a very versatile recipe.

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June 21, 2016

Chicken Stir Fry

 
Chicken Stir Fry

Ingredients:

Cooked rice (1 cup rice cooked in 2 cups water or broth)
1 lb. boneless chicken cut into bite size cubes
3 Tbsp oil (divided)
1 yellow or white onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup frozen peas and carrots (or use frozen mixed veggies like I sometimes do)
2 eggs, whisked
2 Tbsp soy sauce (or fish sauce)
2 tsp sriracha (optional)
1-2 Tbsp. oyster sauce (optional)

Tips:
* It's best to use cold cooked rice for making this. You can make it hours ahead of time or the day before. 
* You'll want to have all of your ingredients prepped in different little bowls and ready near your cooking area to add for each step so that you don't overcook anything. 
* You can use beef or pork with this instead of chicken or you can leave it out for a meatless meal. Pineapple chunks taste good in this too.
* If you use the oyster sauce wait until the end when everything is cooked before adding in. This is important to keep from having everything stick to the pan/skillet since it's a sweet sauce.

Directions:
Heat 1-2 Tbsp. oil in a large frying pan/skillet over medium-high heat (I use my large cast iron skillet for this). Cook the chicken until no longer pink on the outside. Now add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until it becomes translucent. Next add in the peas and carrots and cook until they begin to thaw; approximately 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Use a spatula to move meat and vegetables to one side of the pan. Add your eggs to the other side and scramble until they are cooked through. Finally add your cooked rice, soy sauce and sriracha and stir everything together. Cook for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in oyster sauce if using. It's now ready to serve.
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June 10, 2016

Drop Biscuits


Drop Biscuits

Ingredients:
2 cups of white (or  wheat flour)
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) soft but still cold butter
2 tablespoons honey (can use regular but pure raw honey is best)
1 cup of milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a medium or large bowl mix all of the dry ingredients together. Cut butter into dry ingredients. Add honey and milk. Mix all together with a spoon or spatula until soft but sticky dough forms. Remember we are making drop biscuits, so the batter is not meant to be kneaded or rolled.
Use a tablespoon and butter knife to gather some of the dough, and drop it onto an ungreased cookie/baking sheet. This should give you 12-16 biscuits. I cooked mine in two batches using a regular size baking sheet or use two of them to cook all at once :-)

Bake for 8 minutes at 425-450 degrees. Depending on your oven I suggest cooking them at 425 your first time doing this to keep them from burning too quickly. Serve with softened butter and jelly if you desire.


Note: I like that this recipe is so versatile. You can add 2 tsp. ground cinnamon to make Cinnamon Drop Biscuits like in my pic or add other spices to make sweet or savory flavors to your liking.

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June 9, 2016

Steak and Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

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Steak or Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

Ingredients:
1 lb. boneless beef (cheap cut) or chicken breasts (see note below)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, sliced thin
2 bell peppers (use 2 different colors of your choice) sliced into thin strips
1 clove garlic, minced
Fajita seasoning (homemade or use a store bought packet if you want)
2 Tbsp. lime juice
8 Burrito size tortillas
shredded Mexican Taco blend cheese
Optional toppings: sour cream, salsa, guacamole

Directions:
Wash meat of your choice and drain. Cut steak or chicken into small strips. In a skillet heat 1 Tbsp. oil on med. high heat. Cook meat until no longer red/pink. Remove meat and let sit aside while you cook veggies. In same skillet heat the rest of the oil. Add more if you think you need it. Saute peppers, onion, and garlic to your desired doneness. Add meat back to skillet and season with your choice of Fajita seasoning. Cook 5 minutes. Stir in lime juice and turn off heat. Now it’s time to build your quesadillas. On a sprayed heated griddle or clean skillet place a tortilla in. Sprinkle some cheese on top. You don’t need much. This is just to help it hold together. Next spoon some Fajita mixture on top. Don’t over fill or spread to the edges. Keep it all towards the middle with 1” left around the sides. Sprinkle on more cheese (as much as you like) and top with another tortilla. Cook 3-5 minutes then carefully flip to other side to cook 3-5 more minutes. You’ll know it’s done when it has browned a little. Keep repeating these steps until you have used up your filling. Cut into wedges (fourths) to serve. Serve with optional toppings of your choice. I also like to serve with it a simple green salad and sweet corn with butter, a little sprinkle of chili powder, cumin, and lime.

Note: My hubby loves to use the Steak-umms that you find in the freezer section when beef is too pricey for our budget. It works just as well. He uses about four pieces which divides into 8 thin pieces. As it cooks just break apart so it looks shredded. In his words “this stuff is the bomb!” If you like both chicken and beef you could use 1/2 lb. of each in this versatile recipe which I know most men like my man would like ;-)


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June 6, 2016

Chicken Salad

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Chicken Salad (w/fruit and nuts)

Ingredients:
4 cups cooked and shredded chicken (or 2 cans of chunk chicken breasts)
1 cup of red or green grapes cut in half (or diced apples)
1/4 cup onion finely chopped
1-2 stalks celery finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or nut of choice but can be omitted)
3/4 cup of Mayo (or your choice of a creamy replacement like Greek yogurt)
2 Tbsp. plain yogurt or sour cream (see note below)
salt and pepper to taste (or use curry powder)

Directions:
If you are using canned chicken, drain and break up the chunks in a medium sized bowl. Cut grapes in half, and add to bowl. Chop onion and celery. Add in bowl along with the remaining ingredients. Stir together and pour into another container with a lid. Let chill for a few hours if using this to make sandwiches or use right away if you want to eat it with lettuce as a salad. I love eating it on croissants.

Note: I’ve used Kraft Cole Slaw dressing in place of the yogurt or sour cream and it tasted just as good.

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June 3, 2016

Homemade Breakfast Sausage

One day I needed a way to use up some ground beef before it went bad so I decided to make some sausage for breakfast. I have made these many times using ground pork (for pork sausage), beef (for beef sausage), and turkey (for turkey sausage). They all come out tasty and much cheaper than buying name brand sausage filled with MSG and other unhealthy additives. Once you see how easy this is to make you’ll wonder why you haven’t tried this before.

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Homemade Breakfast Sausage

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground pork, turkey, beef, or chicken (can use any ground meat of your liking)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. ground sage
3/4 tsp. thyme
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. ground fennel seed
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (use more to make extra spicy if you’d like)
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. olive oil

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Directions:
Combine ingredients in a medium bowl. Make this a few hours and chill before cooking or cover and refrigerate overnight. Shape into 8 patties and cook in a little olive oil heated in skillet about 4 minutes per side or until done. Serve with your breakfast or freeze cooked sausage in Ziploc bags for later use. These are good in biscuits!

Note: Other things you can add to the mix are 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup (for a little sweetness), 1 tsp. smoky paprika, 1/4 tsp. allspice, and 1/4 tsp. marjoram.

*Other ways to use this is to make breakfast burritos, casseroles, scrambled eggs and sausage, sausage gravy, pizza, or anything you like using sausage in.


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June 2, 2016

Complete Steak Dinner in a Crockpot

One day I was busy, short on time, and needed a quick dinner idea in a hurry. This did the trick and we were all pleased with the end result.

complete steak dinner


steak dinner Complete Steak Dinner in a Crockpot

Ingredients:
Boneless steak of choice (enough to feed 4)
1/2 Steak Seasoning packet
1 medium onion cut in wedges
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Italian dressing (I used the roasted red pepper kind) or broth
6-8 red skin potatoes (small to medium size)
Olive oil
veggie of choice (corn on cob, asparagus, ect.)
foil

Directions:
I sprayed the inside of a 6 qt. crockpot (mine is oval shaped) with cooking spray. I placed the onion first in the bottom of the crockpot. I seasoned both sides with 1/2 pkg. of the seasoning that came with my box of steak (you can use steak ~n~ chop seasoning or salt and pepper to your desired taste). I put that on top of the onion. Next I poured the Worcestershire sauce and dressing on top of the meat. I washed and scrubbed the potatoes. I rubbed all over the outside of them with oil. I pricked the sides with a fork and sprinkle sea salt on skin. I pulled off a BIG piece of foil. I set all the potatoes in middle and close forming a big packet (like when you grill veggies). I placed the packet on top of steaks.

cooked red potatoes
This is the potatoes already done.

If you are using corn on cob, cut pieces of foil for each ear to be wrapped in. Set corn on foil pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Now cut thin slices of butter to put in each. Close tight and fit each piece around or on top of potato packet. Put top on crockpot and cook on LOW 6-8 hours or High 4 hours.

*If you are using something like asparagus, make a packet similar to the potato one (using less foil), drizzle on olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Toss and seal closed. Do not add this packet until the last hour of cooking time. Place on top of potato packet and cover.

**Note: In my picture I had already added the steak w/seasoning and onion so they didn’t make the picture. I used up the rest of my salad dressing so that’s why the bottle was empty. I ended up making green beans instead of the asparagus. As I mentioned in the beginning I was kinda busy so I didn’t get around to adding them. This is a meal I would love to make at least once a month or maybe more using chicken breasts, or any other boneless meat.


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June 1, 2016

Memphis BBQ Rub

I searched online for Memphis BBQ rub. For the past 8 years I have used this rub to season meats before we grill/BBQ them. This stuff is good on ribs, chicken, beef, and other pork. It’s the only season I use. I use BBQ sauce as well not just the rub. My go to sauce is the Kraft BBQ sauce but sometimes I use other brands. Let's take a look at the rub recipe:

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Ingredients:
3 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. onion salt
1 Tbsp. garlic salt
1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
1.5 Tbsp. dried basil
1/2 Tbsp. ground mustard powder

Directions:

Mix ingredients together and use to season meat of choice. Just sprinkle desired amount on there. For ribs or steak just rub into meat before grilling. Add BBQ sauce the way you normally do. We cook ours with some sauce on it. I mix some Kraft original BBQ sauce with some honey. Sometimes I add a few drops of Tabasco for an extra kick.

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