Mmm… Baked Beans

20160626_121423(1600x1200)I just love these hotel pans, also known as steam table pans.  This one is a 4 inch deep, half-sized pan.  It measures, roughly, 12 inches by 10 inches.  There is more info on the sizes available at the link.

Back to the beans:  It doesn’t hurt to use canned “pork ‘n beans” of whichever brand you like as a base.  They are probably going to be navy beans in a tomato-y type of sauce.  I have a couple of cans of the house brand beans in the pan along with great northern beans, dark red kidney beans, and a bean that looks like a pinto bean but isn’t (I forgot to write the name down – it’s the pink-ish bean right next to the white northern beans).20160626_123156(1600x1200)Add in plenty of chopped onions, and peppers of some kind, I have been using my jalapenos from the patio garden.  I added smoked pork to my beans this time but bacon works fine, even ground beef.  You can get creative with the sauce – ketchup, brown sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, and a favorite bbq sauce are in this one.20160626_123335(1600x1200)Stir everything together and place it into a 350 oven, uncovered, and bake it for about 2 hours, checking every half hour or so.  I keep a crust from forming on the sides and bottom with a flat wooden scraper.20160626_150518(1600x1200)It wants to be a tad loose still when you take it out, it will tend to firm up as it cools and you don’t want the beans to be too dry.  You can eat them hot or cold and they are a great side dish for just about any meal.20160626_164853(1600x1200)We fried some fish for dinner today and they were perfect with the slaw and potato salad.  I experimented with the tartar sauce, it had sweet relish, lemon, horseradish, and dill in the mayo base.  I wiped the little dish clean with the last bite of fish.

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Black “Forbidden” Rice

Pineapple riceI love rice. It’s a staple in my diet. I especially like brown rice and was very excited when brown jasmine and brown basmati were available at my local store. I make a big batch and refrigerate it for the week. It’s easy to warm it for a simple side. It also makes a quick lunch – heat it up, add some nuts, ponzu sauce, or butter, maybe leftover veggies and yum.

While rice is usually considered a side dish, I love it as a main course. That’s what most of tonight’s recipes are, including the featured recipe, which was inspired by a bag of black rice given to me by a friend. She wasn’t sure what to do with it and thought for sure I would. I didn’t, but had some fun experimenting.

To start off, pictured above is my Pineapple Rice Bowl, the complete dinner menu, recipes and shopping list are here.

Then there is Wash Day Beans and Rice, recipe here.

JeffreyW gives a great review on his Rice Cooker, click here and then uses it to make Fried Rice, recipe here.

What’s on your menu for the weekend? We have great weather right now, but snow is coming. Don’t forget to share your recipes, rice or otherwise, I’m always looking for something new.

Black rice 2a

Tonight’s featured recipe was inspired by a bag of black rice, also know as Emperor or Forbidden Rice, in my pantry. It’s a heritage grain and it has a complex flavor – it’s deep, nutty, savory, earthy. I had never even heard of it, much less tasted it. I cooked up a cup of it and it was love at first bite. But what to pair it with – it easily overwhelmed chicken and pork, and the flavors did not balance with beef. I did use it with some crumbled Spicy Italian sausage and that worked, the balance was right. What I thought it really needed was a citrus or vinegar pairing, some veggies, I wasn’t sure about nuts. Time to experiment.

Limes were on sale this week, so I settled on a citrus vinaigrette and fresh veggies paired with the rice (pictured above) for last night’s dinner and I think it worked out very well.  Walnuts worked well, cashews were overwhelmed by the rice. I served it warm, but it was good cold today.

Black “Forbidden”Rice with Citrus Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup black rice, rinsed
  • 1-3/4 cups water
  • snow peas (or veggie of your choice)
  • tomatoes (grape tomatoes work well)
  • toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup fresh limejuice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • dash of orange juice
  • pinch of lime zest
  • dash of ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • honey to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

saucepan, serving bowl

In the saucepan, add rice and water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and let simmer on low until all water is absorbed, about 40 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Cut snow peas into about four pieces each, half the grape tomatoes, and lightly chop the walnuts. (You’ll notice I had to settle for ripe on the vine tomatoes yesterday – no grapes to be found).

For the vinaigrette, whisk juices, vinegar, ginger and honey together. Drizzle in oil, whisking constantly. Give it a quick taste and add more ginger and honey as desired.

Toss rice and veggie mixture with vinaigrette and serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold.

That’s it for this week. Next week pull out your favorite Super Bowl snack recipes and we’ll focus on those for the recipe exchange. Have a good weekend – TaMara

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Brought To You By Butter

Mmm, Dinner FinalTonight friends are coming over for dinner, so this will be a modified recipe exchange featuring the recipes from tonight’s menu. When I was putting together the shopping list I realized butter was making an appearance in a big way. I usually go through about a pound of butter every two or more months. I cook mostly with olive oil and unless I’m baking sweets the butter languishes in the freezer. Tonight I anticipate going through almost three-quarters of a pound. No one said it was going to be a low-cal night.

Skillet Cookies

As promised, here is a photo of the cute little skillet cookies. I had to make a test batch for cooking times. Sometimes the trickiest part of a dinner party is timing everything out. They are going to be warm from the oven for cookie sundaes. It’s a good thing I tested – needed to double the amount of cookie dough per pan and additional baking time.

Cookie sundae

I think the sundaes will be a hit. I’m not gonna lie, the test sundae was yummy.

Pictured at the top of the post is fairly close to the rest of what I am planning tonight.  Here are the recipes:

Buttered Potato Pie – click here (and there is an entire menu, recipes and shopping list at that link)

Roasted Asparagus (still debating on adding the cheese or not) – click here.

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookiesclick here

The appetizer is going to be fresh baked bread with a variety of dips, including roasted garlic, which is in the oven right now and making the house smell delicious, and there will be a side salad.

If you’ve been around a while, you’ll notice these are recipes I’ve made on several other occasions. I wanted tonight to be pretty casual, so items I’m very familiar with and can make without ever consulting the recipes, means I can spend more time with friends and less time stressing about presentation. Also, each recipe is a favorite of one person or another, so added bonus.

Ok, you’re on your own tonight. What’s on the menu? Are you prepared for the Halloween onslaught? I dread the leftover candy, how about you?

I almost forgot, there was a Bixby update this week for the pet lovers.

Finally, here is the main dish of the evening. It’s usually served over buttered noodles, but the potatoes are a favorite and worked well the last time I paired them with the chicken, so I didn’t hesitate to do it again. Rules? We don’t need no stinkin’ rules.

Tonight’s feature recipe:

Chicken Piccata

  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp basil, crushed
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded flat
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, sliced into very thin slices*
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp fresh snipped parsley
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

bowl, skillet

Combine breadcrumbs, basil, zest, and pepper in bowl. Mix ½ tbsp oil and garlic together. Coat both sides of chicken with oil/garlic and dredge in breadcrumbs. Over medium-high heat 1 tbsp ea. of butter and oil in skillet, add chicken and cook 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove chicken – keep warm – add lemon slices to pan, sauté 30 seconds, add water, parsley and juice, boil for 1 minute, spoon over chicken.

*Scrub well before slicing.

Just for fun, JeffreyW has a bit more traditional take on this recipe here.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, stay safe and don’t let the goblins get you – TaMara

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Lemon Garlic Sticky Chicken

DSC_9180 (1600x1060)I could have easily called it lemon garlic ginger honey sticky chicken because all of those played a role in the dish.  This started with boneless thighs and a couple of lemons and evolved from there.  I started thinking sticky chicken because I have done that and had good luck.  Mix the juice from two lemons, the zest of one lemon, a couple good squeezes of honey, grated fresh ginger root, grated garlic, some brown sugar, and a slug of soy sauce and use it as a marinade for the chicken.  I chopped the chicken into one inch pieces but it would be fine to leave them whole.  Let it marinate for an hour then array the chicken on a foil lined baking tray and let it brown in a 400 degree oven, about 30 minutes.  Turn once to brown both sides.

While the chicken is cooking, add more lemon juice, honey, and soy sauce to the remaining marinade in a small sauce pan, heat to boiling, turn down to a simmer, and thicken with a cornstarch slurry.  I added a couple tablespoons of chili garlic paste to add some zing.  When the chicken is nicely browned toss with the thickened sauce and serve over rice.  I added steamed broccoli for this dish but it can be served on the side.

Italian Lentil Salad

From FoodNetwork.com

From FoodNetwork.com

Italian Lentil Salad

Adapted from Food Network

Salad:

  • 1 pound green lentils
  • 2 green onions, chopped (including greens)
  • 1 cup halved seedless green grapes
  • 1 cup halved seedless red grapes
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • Crumbled feta

Instead of boiling the lentils and getting watery, mushy lentils, baking them preserves their flavor and texture. First, cover lentils with water and 1 tsp salt. Soak for 1 hour, then drain well. In a large covered casserole dish or oven proof saucepan, add lentils, cover with water, 1/2 tsp of salt, cover and bake at 325 degrees for 40-60 minutes until tender.  Drain and toss with remaining ingredients, except feta and toss with vinaigrette. Refrigerate to chill. Sprinkle with feta just before serving.

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Place the lemon juice in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste

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Tangy Lemon Pie with Lemony Crust

Lemon Pie plates_Snapseed1

The original recipe is a quick one:

Tangy Lemon Pie

  • 12 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp lemon juice
  • 9 inch graham cracker pie crust (or Lemony Crust, recipe below)
  • 4 oz whipped topping

Combine milk, yolks with mixer or blender until well mixed. Add 6 tbsp lemon juice, mix well. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 250° for 20 minutes. When pie is cool, top with whipped cream and refrigerate. Decorate with lemon slices if you like and serve.

If you have time, I made a perfect crust to go with it that really enhanced the lemon flavor and was a big favorite with everyone.

Lemony Crust

  • 2 cups of crushed lemon sandwich cookies ( I actually used a mix of lemon sandwich cookies and frosted lemon cookies)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 9-inch pie plate

It took about 1/2 package of the sandwich cookies and a handful of the lemon frosted cookies to make 2 cups of crumbs.  Combine with butter, mix well and press into and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes and let cool thoroughly before adding pie filling.  Bake as directed above.

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Garlic Chicken

Photo by JeffreyW

Photo by JeffreyW

This has to be quick tonight. It’s been a crazy, busy week and I almost forgot put this up today. Tis the season – work and fun. It was a toss-up tonight between the garlic chicken recipes and a great slow-cooker recipe one of the guys at the office told me about this week. I decided on saving that for next week, after I have a chance to test it out.

For tonight I chose Jeffrey’s Lemon Garlic Chicken, which is the picture at the top and the recipe is here. (Recipe links are working again.)

I’m going for my favorite, fun recipe, Garlic, Garlic Chicken (recipe below) that always surprises me how good it is. I’ve featured it before, but it was several years ago, so I thought it was time to revisit it.  It’s quick and easy to prepare.

How are your holiday plans coming? Anyone have a special recipe they are doing this year? I’m not sure where Christmas Eve is going to be, my house or a friend’s, either way, we’ll be cooking, we just don’t know what yet. What’s on your holiday menu?

Now for our featured presentation:

This recipe is surprising in its flavors. The garlic is sweet and nutty, making a great dipping sauce for bread. The chicken is infused with flavor, but not overpowered by garlic. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread and a salad with a variety of greens and a light, tangy dressing to compliment the sweetness of the main course.

Garlic, Garlic Chicken

  • 5 lb roasting chicken
  • 1 cup of wine
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth,
  • salt & pepper
  • 40 cloves of garlic (unpeeled).

Roast in a cooking bag for about an hour. The garlic can be squeezed out of the skins at the table onto fresh bread. Or, you can take the broth from the cooking reduce it and then add the peeled garlic into that. It makes a very nutty, garlicy kind of gravy.