March 26, 2010

Beef and Zucchini Casserole

This zucchini and ground beef casserole is layered like lasagna, with ground beef and rice, zucchini, and ricotta cheese.

* 4 cups thinly sliced zucchini
* salt
* 2 tablespoons oil
* 1/2 cup chopped onion
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 pound lean ground beef
* 1/2 teaspoon oregano
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 1 cup cooked rice
* 1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
* 1 cup ricotta cheese
* 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
* 1 egg


Toss zucchini with 1 teaspoon salt and let stand 20 minutes; drain. Place half of the zucchini in a buttered 2-quart casserole. Heat oil in skillet; sauté onion and garlic until tender; add ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain off excess fat; add oregano, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste. Stir in rice and tomato sauce. Spread over zucchini in casserole. Combine ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, and egg; spoon over meat mixture. Top with remaining zucchini and sprinkle with remaining Cheddar cheese. Bake in preheated 350° oven 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly.
Serves 4 to 6

Beef Enchilada Casserole

* 1 pound lean ground beef
* 1 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper
* 1 1/3 cup chopped onion, divided
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1 can (8 ounces) tomato juice
* 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
* 1 can (10 ounces) chopped tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
* 1/2 teaspoon sugar
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* dash pepper
* 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
* 1 tablespoon water
* 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded cheese - mixture of mild Cheddar and Monterey Jack or Mexican blend
* 1 dozen 6-inch corn tortillas

Cook ground beef in a large skillet until no longer pink, stirring to crumble. Drain and set aside. Sauté jalapeno pepper and 1/3 cup of the chopped onion in hot oil until tender. Add tomato sauce and next 5 ingredients; stir well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring a few times.

Combine flour with water; stir into the tomato mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, or until thickened.

Combine 3 cups of the shredded cheese with remaining onion; set aside remaining 1 cup of cheese for topping.

Using tongs, dip a tortilla into the hot tomato mixture; sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of ground beef and 1/4 cup of cheese mixture down the center of a tortilla. Roll up jelly roll style and place, seam side down, in a lightly greased 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Spoon remaining tomato sauce
over tortilla rolls; cover pan tightly and bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with reserved 1 cup cheese and continue to bake beef enchilada casserole, uncovered, for 5 minutes longer, or until cheese melts.
Beef Enchilada Casserole serves 6.

Chili Corn Bread Salad

* 12 Servings
* Prep: 20 min. + chilling Bake: 20 min. + cooling

Ingredients

* 1 package (8-1/2 ounces) corn bread/muffin mix
* 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, undrained
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
* Pinch rubbed sage
* 1 cup mayonnaise
* 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
* 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
* 2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
* 2 cans (15-1/4 ounces each) whole kernel corn, drained
* 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
* 1 cup chopped green pepper
* 1 cup chopped green onions
* 10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
* 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

* Prepare corn bread batter according to package directions. Stir in chilies, cumin, oregano and sage. Spread in a greased 8-in. square baking pan. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool.
* In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream and dressing mix; set aside. Crumble half of the corn bread into a 13-in. x 9-in. dish. Layer with half of the beans, mayonnaise mixture, corn, tomatoes, green pepper, onions, bacon and cheese. Repeat layers (dish will be very full). Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Yield: 12 servings.
this was emailed to me, from someone

Cornbread Salad

1 1/2 cups prepared cornbread (this is great for using up leftover cornbread)
3 slices of bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled after cooling
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 medium jalapeno chile pepper, deveined and seeds removed then chopped fine
1 large ripe tomato, diced
2 eggs, hard boiled, peeled and chopped fine
2 medium dill pickles finely chopped
1 tablespoon pimiento, diced*
1/4 cup mayonnaise, small amount more can be added if salad is too dry
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon dry parsley flakes
1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

* Pimientos are roasted sweet red peppers that have been preserved in oil. TIP: After opening and using part of a jar of pimientos, to prolong life of remaining pimientos, add a teaspoon of white vinegar and refrigerate.

In a large bowl, crumble the cornbread until pieces are about pea sized or smaller. Add the bacon, onion, jalapeno chile pepper, tomato, eggs, dill pickle, and pimiento; mix together thoroughly. Add the mayonnaise, and combine well. NOTE: Mixing the dry ingredients before adding in the mayonnaise helps to disperse the ingredients evenly throughout the salad.

If the salad seems to dry, add 1 teaspoon mayonnaise at a time until it is well coating. Remember, the cornbread is going to absorb some of the liquid from the tomatoes and the mayonnaise, so it will not be as dry when you are ready to serve it, as it seems when mixing it.

Add the garlic salt, parsley, and black pepper, tasting to make sure it is to your liking. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Makes approximately 6 servings.

Cornbread Salad

4 1/2 cups cornbread mix, use an 8.5 oz package
- 1 package (.4 oz) envelope of dry ranch style salad dressing
- 1 cup sour cream, light or regular
- 1 cup mayonnaise, light or regular
- 16 ounces black beans or pinto beans, drained
- 3/4 cup sweet onion, chopped fine
- 1 cup sweet green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup sweet red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 large red ripe tomatoes, cut into pieces
- 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
- 12 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Servings: 8

Container: 9 x 13 serving dish or 3 quart container
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Prepare cornbread according to directions on package or on any cornbread recipe for an 8 inch square of cornbread. Bake, cool and crumble, using approximately 4 1/2 cups for the recipe.
In a small bowl, mix together dry salad dressing mix, mayonnaise and sour cream. Set aside.
Chop and cut tomatoes into medium-sized chunks.

In a large bowl, combine beans, fresh cooked canned or frozen corn, onion, green pepper, red pepper, and tomatoes.

Crumble cornbread into small bits. In serving dish, or serving container, begin by layer 1/2 of cornbread over bottom of dish. Then layer 1/2 of vegetables mixture, 1/2 of the shredded cheese, and 1/2 of bacon. Spread 1/2 of dressing evenly over ingredients.

Repeat layering with the second half of all ingredients, finishing with dressing and spreading evenly over the dish. Garnish top with shredded cheese and bits of bacon.

Cover tightly and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. When the flavors are allowed to blend overnight, the salad becomes more moist and flavorful.

Cornbread Salad

1 8.5-ounce package cornbread mix
1 envelope ranch-style dressing mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup sweet red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1 16-ounce can pinto beans, drained
2 cups fresh, or frozen, corn
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
10 slices cooked bacon, crumbled


Bake cornbread mix according to package instructions and crumble. Combine ranch-style dressing mix, sour cream and mayonnaise in a small bowl. In another bowl, mix together peppers, onion, tomatoes, pinto beans and corn. In a 3-quart salad bowl, layer 1/2 of the cornbread, 1/2 of the vegetables, 1/2 of the cheese, 1/2 of the bacon and 1/2 of the dressing. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients. Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

CHEESECAKE BROWNIES

Brownie Layer:

2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped nuts

Cheesecake layer:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 tablespoon flour

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust rack to bottom 1/3 of oven.

Line a 9 x 9-inch pan with a square of aluminum foil. Using 1 tablespoon of butter, grease the pan.

Brownie Layer:

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. Whisk in sugar and vanilla. Remove pan from heat and beat in eggs one at at a time. Add flour and stir well, then add chopped nuts.

Turn batter into pan and level with the back of a spoon.

Chocolate Cheesecake Layer:

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese until soft. Add sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla. Add flour and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Pour cheesecake batter over brownie layer. Smooth top. Marbelize the batter by inserting a knife almost to the bottom of one corner of the pan and cutting through the batter in an S pattern.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Refrigerate until firm.

To remove and cut brownies.

Cover top of pan with a sheet of wax paper, then a cookie sheet. Invert onto cookie sheet and peel away foil that was underneath. Invert again right side up. The cheesecake layer will now be on top. Cut into 32 bars or triangles, cleaning blade after each cut.

Serve cold.

TATER TOT CASSEROLE

1 (32 oz.) package frozen potato rounds
1 (16 oz.) container sour cream
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (10-3/4 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (6 oz.) can French-fried onions

Preheat oven to 350°F. (175°C.). Grease a 9x13 inch-baking dish. Arrange tater tots in the prepared baking dish. In a mixing bowl, combine sour cream, cheese, and mushroom soup.

Pour this mixture over the tater tots. Sprinkle onions over the top of the casserole.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes.

MONTERREY JACK CHEESECAKE

This cheesecake is not meant for dessert, but may be used as a main dish or an accompaniment.

Crust:

3 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup cracker crumbs, crushed
5 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated

Crush crackers; mix with cheese and stir in melted butter. Save 2 or 3 tablespoons of the crust for sprinkling over the cheesecake later on.

Line the inside of a spring-form pan with the cracker crust.

Filling:

2 lbs. cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 cups dry Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 cup Gruyere or Parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cup chives, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced jalapenos (optional)
1/4 tsp. freshly cracked peppercorns

Preheat oven to 300°F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat all ingredients (except cheese, herbs and spices) on medium speed for 5 minutes or until smooth.

Stir in cheese, herbs and spices. Spread mixture in the spring-form pan. Sprinkle with the reserved cracker crumbs from the crust.

Bake for about 90 minutes, reduce temperature to 200°F and continue baking for another 30 minutes. Allow to cool 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

This savory cheesecake makes a wonderful dish when served with baked ham or ham steaks.

Submitted by: CM

PUMPKIN TOFFEE CHEESECAKE

This fabulous combination of cream cheese and pumpkin topped with crushed toffee candies is more than a bit 'over the top'; it is the top! Serve it for dessert or for a special treat anytime.

CRUST:

1 3/4 cups (about 14 to 16) shortbread cookies, crushed
1 tablespoon butter, melted

PREHEAT oven to 350°F.

COMBINE cookie crumbs and butter in small bowl. Press onto bottom and 1-inch up side of 9-inch springform pan.

BAKE for 6 to 8 minutes (do not allow to brown). Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

CHEESECAKE:

3 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
2/3 cup (5 fl.-oz. can) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (about 25 to 30) crushed toffee candies

BEAT cream cheese and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, cornstarch and cinnamon; beat well. Pour into crust.

BAKE for 60 to 65 minutes or until edge is set but center still moves slightly. Remove from oven; top with toffee candy pieces.

TOPPING:

1 container (8 oz.) sour cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Caramel ice cream topping

COMBINE sour cream, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in small bowl; mix well. Spread over warm cheesecake.

BAKE for 8 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove side of springform pan. Drizzle with caramel topping before serving.

Estimated Times: Preparation - 30 minutes; Cooking - 1 hour 15 minutes; Cooling Time - 3 hours refrigerating.

Yields 16 servings.

AMARETTO CHEESECAKE WITH NUT CRUST

2/3 c. flour
3 tbsp. sugar
2/3 c. ground almonds
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 tbsp. butter, in bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In food processor or with a pastry blender, blend ingredients until consistency of fine crumbs. Press into bottom and sides of a 9 inch spring form pan. Bake 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.

2 lbs. cream cheese
1 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 c. sour cream
4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. amaretto
1/4 c. cognac or brandy
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and beat until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, then add remaining ingredients and mix just to combine. Pour filling into crust and bake 2 hours and 15 minutes. Remove from oven and run knife around edges to depth of 1/2 inch to loosen the cheesecake. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate 6 hours overnight.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Whisk together 1 1/2 cups sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla - if you want a chocolate topping add 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa and an additional 2 tablespoons sugar. Spread evenly over cheesecake in pan and bake for 7 minutes, watching carefully to make sure topping doesn't brown (harder if its chocolate!). Cool at least 2 hours before serving

SALSA CORN MUFFINS

1 cup yellow or blue corn meal
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Chi-chi's salsa verde
1/4 cup vegetable oil, Crisco or butter
2 teaspoon honey
1 egg
1/2 cup cream style corn
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapenos (seeded)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Grease 12 small muffin cups or use cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, mix corn meal, flour, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat together milk, salsa verde, oil, honey, and egg. Stir liquid ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing only enough to combine. Stir in jalapenos and corn.

Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Variations:

Substitute frozen or canned whole kernel corn for cream style corn. Add 1/2 cup of 3/4" cheese cubes. Add 1/4 chopped red bell peppers.

HONEY NUT BRAN MUFFINS

1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups bran
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon DeKuyper's Butterscotch Schnapps
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1 egg
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped (or chopped fruit)

Sift together flour, soda and salt. Combine with the bran. Add remaining ingredients. Do not overmix.

Pour batter into greased and lightly floured muffin pans and bake at 425°F for 25-30 minutes or until done.

About 1 dozen large muffins depending on pan size.

Substitutions: Vanilla, dark rum or maple walnut extract may be used in place of schnapps; molasses can be omitted or substituted with brown sugar. Pecans can be omitted; chopped or dehydrated fruits can be added instead, such as chopped apples, Craisins, chopped raisins or dates. Yogurt or buttermilk can be used in place of or combined with milk.

CRANBERRY MUFFINS

Preheat oven to 400°F.

1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk few drops vanilla or almond extract, or rum
1/4 cup melted butter or shortening
1 cup chopped raw cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel (optional)

Generously butter a (or spray with non-stick spray) 12 large or 16 medium muffins pan.

Combine chopped cranberries with 1/2 cup sugar.

Whisk or sift together (sifting will make for lighter muffins), flour, baking powder, salt, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Beat egg, add milk and beat well. Add melted butter or shortening. Stir quickly into dry ingredients, mixing well just until dry ingredients are moistened, some lumps will remain.

Stir in cranberries, chopped nuts (optional), and orange peel (optional).

Bake at 400°F. for 20 or 25 minutes.

Remove from oven; brush muffin tops with melted butter. Sprinkle with coarse sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired.

STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB MUFFINS

1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
3/4 c. milk
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 c. oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 c. minced rhubarb
1/2 c. sliced strawberries

TOPPING:

2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
6 strawberries, halved

Combine egg, milk, oil, vanilla and cinnamon in small bowl. Add to flour, sugar, powder mixed in large bowl. Fold in fruits. Fill greased tins. Sprinkle mixed topping over each muffin, gently place one strawberry half on each muffin. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. 12 servings.

Mexican Taco Casserole

1 lb. ground beef (extra lean)
1 lb. Jimmy Dean- Hot Sausage
1 Med. onion, chopped (1/4 inch dices)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup water
3/4 cup Taco Sauce - Medium
6 ounces Diced Green Chile's
2 can (2.25 oz.) sliced ripe olives, drained, divided
1 package Taco Seasoning Mix - Regular
1 package (4.5 oz) Taco Shells (12 ct), broken (try Doritos Nacho Chips!!)
2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1/8 cup sliced green onions


Preheat oven to 375° F.
Cook beef, onion and garlic until beef is browned; drain.
Stir in water, taco sauce, chiles, 1/4 cup olives and seasoning mix.
Cook over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
Layer half of broken taco shells on bottom of greased 12 x 8-inch baking dish.
Cover with half of meat sauce; sprinkle with 1 cup cheese.
Repeat with remaining shells, meat sauce and cheese.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.
Top with remaining olives, tomatoes and green onions.

Serving Size: 4

Frito Pie Casserole

1 lb. ground bee
1 lb. Jimmy Dean- Hot Sausage
2 tbsp. flour
1 can tomato sauce
2 cans water
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cumin powder
16 oz. grated cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
1 lg. bag Frito's
1 can refried beans
Lettuce, chopped with tomato
Chopped onion, Pace picante

Brown ground beef, salt and pepper and drain. Add flour, stir into meat. Add all remaining ingredients stirring often until thickened.

Heat in small pan refried beans thinned with water. Pour meat mix over layer of chips, layer of beans. Add salad, grated cheddar cheese, chopped onion. Top with Pace Picante sauce. Prepare on individual plate.

Double Fudge Kahlua Brownies

Batter:
4 (1 ounce) squares
unsweetened chocolate
1 cup butter
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup Kahlua
1 1/3 cups sifted all
purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking
powder

Prep Time: 40 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes

Ready In: 2 Hours 5 Minutes
Servings: 30

"Rich frosted chocolate brownies with walnuts have 2 secret ingredients--black pepper and Kahlua."

1 cup chopped walnuts or
sliced toasted almonds

Kahlua Quick Fudge
Frosting:
2 (1 ounce) squares
unsweetened chocolate
1 (1 ounce) square semi
-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons Kahlua
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups sifted powdered
sugar


1. Conventional method: Line bottom of 13x9 inch baking pan with cooking parchment.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. Melt chocolate and butter with pepper over low heat. Leave to cool.
4. Beat eggs with sugar and vanilla until blended. Stir in cooled chocolate mixture, then Kahlua.
5. Re-sift flour, salt and baking powder into mixture and stir well until blended and then add nuts and turn into baking pan.
6. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake.
7. Leave in pan to cool.
8. Prepare Kahlua Quick Fudge Frosting: Melt chocolates with butter over a low heat.
9. Heat Kahlua and heavy cream together.
10. Combine chocolate and Kahlua mixtures with powdered sugar and beat until well blended and thick. If necessary, beat in a little extra powdered sugar for good spreading consistency.
11. Frost brownies immediately as mixture stiffens upon cooling. Sprinkle with additional nuts, if desired.
12. Cut in about 30 squares or bars.

Submitted By: Kahlua

Pork Ribs & Sauce

Pork ribs are a barbecue staple, and this recipe is the simplest way to try them yourself.
1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
3 pounds pork spareribs

1. Grill the whole rib rack over low heat for one to one and a half hours.

2. Brush with the barbecue sauce during the last fifteen minutes, taking care not to let the sauce burn.

3. Cut the ribs into three-rib portions.
Southern Pulled Pork

This is a southern specialty and is the center of many summer parties. It's usually served on buns with coleslaw piled on top and lots of hot vinegar sauce.
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 boneless pork shoulder roast, 4 to 5 pounds

1. Combine all the spices to form a dry rub and press into all surfaces of the pork roast.

2. Grill over low heat for two and half to three hours. It should be about 170 degrees in the center. Let stand for ten minutes after you remove it from the grill.

3. Shred the pork into pieces with two forks. This is called pulling the pork, which is where it gets its name.

4. Mix in plenty of the vinegar sauce. The recipe for that is below.
Hot Vinegar Sauce for Pulled Pork
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Salt and pepper

Ranchero Chicken Stroganoff

* 6 chicken breast halves, boned and skinned
* 4 tablespoons margarine
* ½ cup chopped onion
* ½ pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
* ¼ cup white wine
* 1 cup Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix, prepared
* 2 ounces diced pimientos, drained
* Salt and pepper


In a skillet, sauté chicken breasts in 2 tablespoons margarine about 4-5 minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through. Transfer chicken to a serving platter.

In same skillet, sauté onion in chicken drippings and remaining 2 tablespoons margarine for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and sauté 3 minutes. Increase heat to high, add wine and cook 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in prepared dressing and pimientos. Cook until heated through.

Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over chicken breasts.

serves 6

Macaroni Salad

Serves 6-8

You will need:

* 2 cups uncooked dried elbow macaroni
* 1/2 cup mayonnaise
* 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
* 2 teaspoons creole seasoning
* 1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
* 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
* 1 tablespoon diced dill pickle
* 1/2 cup minced onion
* 1 cup diced celery
* 1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced olives
* 3 hard boiled eggs, diced
* kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

1. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Run under cold water for about 30 seconds to cool. Allow macaroni to cool while you are preparing the rest of the salad.
2. In a large bowl whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, creole seasoning, hot sauce (if using), sweet pickle relish and dill pickle.
3. Fold in cool macaroni and remaining ingredients.
4. Chill for 30 minutes.
5. Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Serve.

Deep Fried Pickles

Serves 2

You will need:

* 15-20 round pickle slices
* 1 egg
* 1/2 cup milk
* hot sauce
* 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire
* 1/2 cup flour, divided
* 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
* kosher salt
* oil for frying, such as canola or vegetable

1. Lay pickle slices on a paper towel and pat dry.
2. In bowl whisk together egg, milk, a couple drops of hot sauce, Worcestershire and 1/4 cup flour.
3. In another bowl mix together remaining 1/4 cup flour, panko bread crumbs, garlic powder and ground pepper.
4. Dip a dried pickle into batter then dredge into panko mixture to coat completely. Transfer to a plate, repeat with remaining pickles. Allow to sit while the oil heats.
5. Heat 1 inch of oil in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer, sprinkle in a pinch of flour. If it sizzles the oil is hot enough. Fry pickles in batches until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Voodoo Drunken Zombie Cake Recipe

This is from My Great Aunt Lena in Louisiana, on My Mother's side of the Family, which is Cajun. down close to the Bayou. My Mother's side is Cajun French. Make this a few days ahead to be able to enjoy all the wonderful flavors.

Chocolate Voodoo Cake
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup Myers dark rum
1/2 pound plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
(2 tablespoons melted)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-ounce pieces
1 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

*Mocha Rum Mousse*
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-ounce pieces
1/4 cup brewed full-strength coffee
2 tablespoons Myers dark rum
1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg whites
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

*Blackened Molasses Glaze*
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons black strap molasses
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-ounce pieces

*Chocolate Caramel Voodoo Needles*
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 ounce semisweet chocolate

Directions
Measuring cup, measuring spoons, small nonstick pan, 1-quart plastic container with tight-fitting lid, pastry brush, two 9 x 1-1/2 inch round cake pans, parchment paper, sifter, wax paper, double boiler, plastic wrap, whisk, electric mixer with paddle and balloon whip, rubber spatula, toothpick, 2 cardboard cake circles, 5-quart stainless steel bowl, 1-1/2 quart saucepan, cake spatula, 3-quart stainless steel bowl, 4 nonstick baking sheets, plastic container with lid, serrated slicer.

*Why We Call It Drunken*
Combine 1 cup raisins and 1/2 cup dark rum in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Allow to stand at room temperature for 6 hours or overnight.

*Make the Drunken Zombie Cake*
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lightly coat the insides of two 9 x 1-1/2 inch cake pans with melted butter. Line each pan with parchment paper, then lightly coat the parchment paper with more melted butter. Set aside.
Combine together in a sifter 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup cocoa, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon allspice and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Sift onto wax paper and set aside.
Heat 1 inch of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over medium heat. Place 10 ounces semisweet chocolate in the top half of the double boiler. Tightly cover the top with plastic wrap. Allow to heat for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Keep at room temperature until ready to use.
Place the remaining 1/2 pound butter and 1 cup brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat on high for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the 4 eggs, one at a time, beating on medium for 30 seconds and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat on high for 30 seconds. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium for 30 seconds. Operate the mixer on low while gradually adding the sifted dry ingredients. Once all the dry ingredients have been incorporated, turn off the mixer, add the rum-infused raisins, and mix on medium for 30 seconds (at this point, the aromas wafting up from the mixing bowl are quite extraordinary). Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the batter until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Immediately divide the cake batter between the prepared pans, spreading evenly. Bake on the center rack in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 32 to 35 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool in the pans for 15 minutes at room temperature. Invert the cakes onto cake circles. Carefully remove the parchment paper. Place the cakes in the freezer for 1 hour or in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (the cakes must be thoroughly cooled before adding the mousse, as described later).

*Make the Mocha Rum Mousse*
Heat 1 inch of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over medium heat. Place 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, 1/4 cup coffee, and 2 tablespoons dark rum in the top half of the double boiler. Tightly cover the top with plastic wrap. Allow to heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a 5-quart stainless steel bowl and keep at room temperature until ready to use.

Place 1 cup heavy cream in the well-chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a well-chilled balloon whip. Whisk on high for 1 minute until peaks form. Set aside for a few moments.
Whisk 3 egg whites in a 3 -quart stainless steel bowl until soft peaks form, about 2-1/2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to quickly fold one third of the whisked egg whites into the melted chocolate. Then place the whipped cream and the remaining egg whites on top of the chocolate and use a rubber spatula to fold together until smooth and completely combined. Refrigerate the mocha rum mousse for 30 to 45 minutes (the mousse must be refrigerated until slightly firm before beginning to assemble the cake).

*Begin Assembling The Cake*
Remove the cake layers from the freezer or refrigerator and the mousse from the refrigerator. Reserve 1 cup of mousse and set aside in the refrigerator for a few moments. Spoon the remaining mousse onto one of the inverted cake layers, using a cake spatula to spread evenly to the edges. Place the other inverted cake layer on top of the mousse and press gently into place. Use a cake spatula to coat the top and sides of the cake with the reserved cup of mousse. Place the cake in the freezer while preparing the blackened molasses glaze and the voodoo needles.

*Prepare The Blackened Molasses Glaze*
Heat 3/4 cup heavy cream, 3 tablespoons butter, and 2 tablespoons molasses in a 1-1/2-quart saucepan. Stir to dissolve the molasses, then bring to a boil. Place 6 ounces semisweet chocolate in a 3-quart stainless steel bowl. Pour the boiling cream mixture over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Keep the glaze at room temperature forl hour before using (the glaze will thicken to the desired texture during that time period).

*Prepare The Chocolate Caramel Voodoo Needles*
Combine 1 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice in a 1-1/2 -quart saucepan. Stir with a whisk to combine (the sugar will resemble moist sand). Caramelize the sugar for 5-1/2 to 6 minutes over medium high heat, stirring constantly with a whisk to break up any lumps (the sugar will first turn clear as it liquefies, then light brown as it caramelizes). Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the chocolate, and stir to dissolve. Dip a wire whisk into the chocolate caramel and drizzle the hot caramel, in long thin lines, onto 4 nonstick baking sheets, one sheet at a time (move the whisk back and forth over the length of the baking sheets). Continue drizzling—making an effort to create as many individual long, thin, and separate chocolate caramel strips as possible—until all the caramel is used. Allow the strips to harden at room temperature, about 15 minutes. Break the strips into the desired size voodoo needles (3- to 4-inch needles make for delightful sticking). The voodoo needles may be stored in a tightly sealed plastic container in the freezer until needed (which may be sooner than you think, especially if an intruder sticks a finger into the glaze).

*Finish Assembling The Cake*
Remove the cake from the freezer. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake. Use a cake spatula to spread a smooth coating of glaze over the top and sides of the voodoo cake. Refrigerate the cake for 1 hour to set the glaze.

*To Serve*
Heat the blade of a serrated slicer under hot running water and wipe the blade dry before cutting each slice. Place a piece of Chocolate Voodoo Cake in the center of each serving plate. Randomly stick the chocolate caramel voodoo needles into the cake slices (avoid thinking about your enemies at this time, if at all possible). Dispatch immediately.

Aunt Lena says:
There is no witchcraft going on here, just a little fun. We tried to catch the spirit of the islands with this confection by using lots of rum, molasses, spices, and chocolate.
Although other brands of dark rum may be used, I prefer Myer's dark, with its no-nonsense, straightforward flavor that lives on beyond the baking of the cake—especially if you accompany each slice with a glass of this smooth island beverage.

The black strap molasses of choice for the glaze is Plantation "The Original" Brand. The rap on black strap is that it comes from the dregs of the barrel, its bitter flavor better suited for non confectionery use. Not so with Plantation brand. this turbid syrup has a refined and specific taste that gives a subtle finish to the completed dessert. Failing to locate this particular brand, I would suggest choosing another flavorful but not overpowering molasses.

Chocolate Voodoo Cake may be produced over a period of two to three days, rather than all in one day. The chocolate caramel voodoo needles may be prepared several days in advance, cool the needles thoroughly and store in a tightly sealed plastic container in the freezer (you never know when you may need them). The Chocolate Voodoo Cake may be baked one to two days in advance. Wrap the baked and cooled layers in plastic wrap and refrigerate until assembly.
After assembly, you may refrigerate this cake for two to three days before serving.