Thursday, October 30, 2008

Texas Original Beer-Can Chicken

Texas Original Beer-Can Chicken
Courtesy of: H-E-B Showtime
6 Servings

1 Large Whole Chicken (about 3 1/2 lbs.)
2 teaspoons Chicken Fajita Seasoning
1 can (12 oz.) Beer (we actually use other liquids instead of the beer, but this is the original)
1 cup chopped Onion
1 Garlic Clove, chopped
1/2 cup Juice from Jalapeño Peppers

1. Season the chicken inside and out with the fajita seasoning and set aside.

2. Empty out one half of the beer. Fill the beer can with the chopped onion and garlic. Add the pickled jalapeño pepper's juice into the beer can with the onion mixture.

3. Place the filled beer can into a pan or a special beer-can chicken rack. Set the chicken, cavity side down, on top of beer can. Cover chicken with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until ready to grill.

4. Prepare charcoal or gas grill for cooking (350°F). Place the prepared chicken on beer can holder over the indirect heat side of the grill. Grill the chicken for 2 hours or until fully cooked with an internal temperature from the thickest part of the thigh of 180°F. Carefully remove the chicken and can holder from the grill and allow to set for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the can and place on a cutting surface and cut into 6 or 8 portions. Empty the can contents, onions and juice, over the cut chicken pieces.
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mexican Appetizer Rollups

Mexican Appetizer Rollups
Courtesy of: Mission Foods - slightly adapted

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese softened
3/4 cup Thick and Chunky Picante Sauce
8 to 10 6-inch flour tortillas
2 cups Cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese

1. Mix cream cheese, picante sauce and 1 cup of the grated cheese until creamy. Place one tortilla on serving dish and spread with a layer of the mixture. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

2. Cut into pinwheels to serve.

If desired, add sour cream, guacamole, or extra picante sauce to the mixture.
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Spinach-Feta Bites

Spinach-Feta Bites
Courtesy of: American Dairy Association
Ready in 30 minutes or less
Yield: 12 servings

1/2 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach (thawed)
6 ounces feta cheese (crumbled or divided)
1/4 cup reduced-fat ricotta or cottage cheese
2 tablespoons green onions (finely chopped)
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
1 egg
24 mini pastry shells

1. Drain spinach well and mix with 4 oz. feta, ricotta, onions and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Stir in egg.

2. Fill pastry shells with mixture; sprinkle with remaining feta cheese.

3. Bake on cookie sheet at 325 degrees until browned, about 20 minutes.

Nutrition Facts:
96 calories
5.6g total fat
24g carbohydrate
4.3g protein

Filling can be made a day in advance.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Buttermilk Pecan Chicken

I bought some of this ready made at HEB a week or so ago, and it was pretty good. We are in the process of figuring out some ways to make it a lower fat/calorie version and keep it in our regular menu items.

Buttermilk Pecan Chicken
Courtesy of H-E-B Cooking Connections
Yield: 2 servings

1/2 pound chicken breasts for milanesa, cut 1/4-inch thick
3/8 cup low fat buttermilk
1/2 egg
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 tablespoon butter

3/8 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

1. Whisk buttermilk with egg in a shallow bowl. Combine breading ingredients on a separate
plate or sheet of wax paper.

2. Dip chicken in buttermilk mixture, then place in breading; turn to coat both sides.

3. Heat oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; tilt skillet to coat
bottom. Add chicken and cook 3 to 5 minutes per side or until browned and crusty.

4. Remove from skillet when internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees. Serve

Nutrition Facts:
394 calories
22g total fat
129mg cholesterol
555mg sodium
13g carbohydrate
2g fiber
35g protein
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Memaw's Caramel Iced Cookies

This is hands down, John's favorite thing his grandmother used to make every year for Christmas. Now that she's 92 - she doesn't make them anymore, but John once again has mastered the art of recreating the original. (Okay, really he got the recipe from Memaw, but they really are good!)

Memaw's Caramel Iced Cookies
Courtesy of John's grandmother

¾ cup butter
2 cups flour
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons evaporated milk
¼ teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients together and roll into a log. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour. Slice the roll into cookies and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-16 minutes on 350°F.

20 pieces (1/4 pound) of caramel candy
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans

Melt caramel candy and evaporated milk in the microwave – heating for 1 minute at a time until melted (stir between heatings). After melted, add butter, vanilla, powder sugar and chopped pecans. Mix thoroughly and spoon onto cookies.

Allow cookies to cool overnight before transferring off cookie sheet. (On this step we usually move them into several large Tupperware dishes so that they don't get stale. It is important to not stack the cookies because the icing will cause them to stick together... I've experienced this SEVERAL times!)
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John’s Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

We are big fans of Red Lobster's stuffed mushrooms, but adapted this recipe while we were doing a low carb diet several years ago... so it then became John's creation. It tastes very similar though, and was a big staple in my early solid food stages after having weight loss surgery.

John’s Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
Courtesy of my wonderful husband

½ Pound Fresh Mushrooms (~16-20)
2 Tbsp. Celery – finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Onion – finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Red Bell Pepper – finely chopped
¼ Pound Crab Meat (canned is fine)
3 Wasaba Sesame Crackers (scrape of excess sesame)
¼ Cup Cheddar Cheese – shredded
¼ Tsp. Garlic Powder
¼ Tsp. Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning
¼ Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
¼ Tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Egg – beat & measure out of a measuring cup
¼ Cup Water
White Cheddar Cheese Slices – to taste

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Sauté celery, onion and red pepper in 1 Tbsp. Butter for 2 minutes, transfer to a plate and cool in the refrigerator.

While the vegetables cool, wash mushrooms and remove stems. Set caps to the side and finely chop half of the stems. Discard the other half of the stems or use elsewhere.

Combine the sautéed vegetables, chopped mushroom stems and all other ingredients (except White Cheddar Cheese Slices) and mix well.

Place mushroom caps in individual buttered casseroles or baking dishes (about 8 caps each).

Spoon 1 Tsp. of stuffing into each mushroom. (we use a small cookie scoop, and actually mush one scoop into the cap of the mushroom - and place a second rounded one on top so that the presentation looks nice.)

Cover entire casseroles with White Cheddar Cheese Slices and bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.

Yields two servings of 8-10 mushrooms each. (We usually cook one batch and save the other batch for the next day, but it depends on the group you're serving.)

I have also used this recipe and made crab cakes - instead of baking in the casseroles - you just fry them in a saute pan with a little butter. You would skip the white cheddar cheese in this preparation as well.
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Pappadeaux Greek Salad

Pappadeaux Greek Salad
Courtesy of the internet - I've had this recipe for a while - so I don't know exactly where to give the credit.

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons dried Oregano
Freshly cracked Pepper
1 clove Garlic, finely minced (optional)

3 cups torn assorted salad greens such as romaine, escarole, or frisée
4 small ripe Tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into wedges
1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings
2 small green bell peppers, seeded, deribbed and thinly sliced crosswise into rings
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced across the stalk
1/2 lb Feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
20 Kalamata olives
Capers (optional)
6-10 large shrimp, boiled and peeled (typically the restaurant puts two per salad)

To make the dressing, in a bowl, stir together the Olive oil, lemon juice, Oregano, cracked Pepper to taste, and the Garlic, if using. Set aside.

In a large salad bowl, combine the greens, Tomatoes, cucumber, celery, onion and bell peppers. Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss gently to mix.

Sprinkle the Feta cheese, capers and olives over the top and serve. (I mix the Feta and Olives in before I toss so that everything is coated in the dressing.)
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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Another favorite of mine has always been fried cheese - so this is a healthier version of those too. You can serve them with your favorite marinara sauce for dipping.

Baked Mozzarella Sticks
Courtesy of
Yield: 6 servings

12 ounces cheese, mozzarella, string, sticks, reduced fat, low moisture
1 egg
1 teaspoon dry italian seasoning
4 ounces bread crumbs, white, very low sodium (or panko)

Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Remove cheese from packaging and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk egg until foamy. In small nonstick skillet, mix italian seasoning with bread crumbs and place over medium heat. Cook and stir bread crumbs until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Dip one piece of string cheese in egg until coated and then into toasted bread crumbs, coating completely. Redip the string cheese in egg and again into bread crumbs, if desired. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining string cheese and place on baking sheet 1 1/2 inches apart. Spray string cheese lightly with cooking spray.

Bake 5-6 minutes or until heated through.

Nutritional Info: (makes 6 servings)
Calories: 169.6
Total Carbs: 7g
Dietary Fiber: .2g
Sugars: .4g
Total Fat: 7.9g
Saturated Fat: 4.4g
Unsaturated Fat: 3.5g
Potassium: 21.3mg
Protein: 17.9g
Sodium: 500mg
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Kensington Club Marinade

Steak & Ale Kensington Club Marinade
Courtesy of a Google Search

This is a marinade that can makes beef and or chicken taste great. (I'd put it on just about anything!!) This recipe is very close to the original-try granulated garlic instead offresh- a lot easier and in original recipe. The main reason this steak isdifficult to duplicate in flavor is because Steak & Ale marinates its Kensington Club steak and chicken for 36 hours before grilling. That'sright, 3 days! But its worth the wait.

3.5 cups Pineapple Juice
1 cup Soy Sauce
1 cup Dry White Wine
1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
3/4 cup Sugar
2 tsp. Garlic, minced fine

Simply mix all together. You can let the meat sit in here for up to 24 hours. I would highly suggest a grilling.
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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Crock-Pot Pork Tenderloin

Crock-Pot Pork Tenderloin
Courtesy of
Yield: 2-3 (I don't think this is right though - because we couldn't eat 3 pounds of tenderloin in 3 servings!)

Before we get into the actual recipe - here are some pictures of the cooking process. Enjoy!

3 pounds pork tenderloin - you could use a regular beef roast as well
3-4 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 ribs of celery, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced
pinch of cumin
1 packet dry onion soup mix
2 cups of water
1 cup of V8 juice

*Add other vegetables as desired - we added baby carrots and mushrooms to ours.

We seared the tenderloin before putting in the crock-pot, but it is not required. Put everything into the crock-pot, veggies first, then pork tenderloin on top - we opted to put the smaller veggies and potatoes on the top because they cook more quickly.

Pour onion soup mix and water over everything. Cook on low for 10 hours. Meat is so tender it falls apart!
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