Everyone needs a few easy weekend night meals to pull out of their hat. Here is a wonderful Classic Black Beans & Rice recipe that is truly a faithful friend. If you want to add meat then either add chicken or fish. Shrimp is a good choice for a homespun Cajun night.
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3/4 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
1/2 Cup Chopped Green or Red Bell Pepper
3 Minced Garlic Cloves
2 Cups Cooked Black Beans (Undrained)
3/4 Cup Water
1 Teaspoon Oregano
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Vinegar
In a medium size saucepan heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the onions, peppers and garlic. Cook for 8 minutes until they are nice and tender. Stir in the beans, water, oregano, chili powder and vinegar. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve over hot white or brown rice. Serves 4
Why go to Hooters for hot wings when you can make them at home. Never mind…I just realized that’s not why someone would go to Hooters. Make my Hot Hot Wings at home and you’ll be a happy camper.
3 Pounds Chicken Wings
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Ground Cayenne
3 Minced Garlic Cloves
1 Cup Chili Sauce (I Use Sriracha Chili Sauce)
1/4 Cup Honey
3 Tablespoons Malt Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Brandy
Dried Parsley For Garnish
Split the chicken wings at the joints and remove the tips. Place the wings in a large zip lock bag. Sprinkle the chili powder, oregano and kosher salt into the zip lock bag, zip up the bag and give a good shake. Place in the fridge for 2 hours. If you need to use two bags then use two bags. Remove from the fridge when you are ready to prepare. Preheat your oven to 375º F. Spread the chicken wings on 2 baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Drizzle with the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until they are pretty crisp. While the wings are baking prepare the wing sauce in a medium size pan. Add the remaining olive oil and the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute over a medium heat. Add the chili sauce, cayenne, malt vinegar, honey, soy sauce and brandy. Bring the sauce to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes while stirring occasionally. Turn the heat off and put a lid on the pan and let sit until ready to use. When the wings are done remove from the oven and place into a large bowl. Pour the chili sauce over the wings and dredge until all wings are completely coated. Transfer to a serving platter. Serves 6
Sunday Morning Cake Donuts
Cake doughnuts don’t take nearly as much time as raised doughnuts. If you want a two bite treat just remove the doughnut holes from the cutter and fry them up for tasty little snacks.
4 Cups Unbleached Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 1/4 Cups Sugar
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2/3 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Melted Butter
Vegetable Oil For Frying
Powdered Sugar, Granulated Sugar, Chocolate Glaze Or Powdered Sugar Icing
In a medium size bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large size bowl combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Beat for 4 minutes until thick. In a small size bowl combine the milk and melted butter. Add the flour mixture and the milk mixture alternately to the egg mixture. Beat after each addition just until combined so make sure not to overbeat. Cover and put in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours. On a floured surface roll the dough to a 1/2 inch thickness. Make sure not to stir in the additional flour. Cut the dough with a floured 2 1/2 inch doughnut cutter. Reroll the dough as needed. Fry 2 or 3 doughnuts at a time in a deep hot oil for 3 minutes or until the doughnuts are golden born. Turn once. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain the doughnuts on paper towels. Repeat until you have fried all of the doughnuts. Cool the doughnuts slightly and coat with powdered sugar, granulated sugar, chocolate glaze or powdered sugar icing. Or you can leave them plain if you want to. Do the same with the doughnut holes. Makes about 16 doughnuts and holes.
This is one of my favorite salads. Quite the guilty pleasure as it does have quite a bit of sugar. Sometimes I like to mix it with a green salad just to change it up a bit. My Four Bean Salad is great for a barbeque, picnic or potluck dinner.
2/3 Cup Sugar
1/8 Teaspoon Celery Salt
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 Cup Cider Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Minced Garlic Clove
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
16 Ounces Drained Canned Garbanzo Beans
32 Ounces Drained Canned Green Beans
16 Ounces Drained Yellow Wax Beans
16 Ounces Drained Canned Red Kidney Beans
1 Diced Red Bell Pepper
1/2 Diced Red Onion
In a medium size bowl combine the sugar, celery salt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside. In a separate large bowl combine the garbanzo beans, green beans, yellow wax beans and red kidney beans. The beans should be well drained. Add the diced red bell pepper and diced red onion. Toss to combine the ingredients well. Pour the dressing over the beans and place in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours. This salad needs to marinate. Serves 8
I allow myself the treat of eating onion rings about once a year. They are so naughty, but so good. Here is a great basic onion ring recipe. I made them with grilled burgers this evening.
3/4 Cup Unbleached Flour
2/3 Cup Milk
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
4 Sliced Medium Yellow or White Onions
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
Deep Fryer or Large Skillet Filled With Vegetable Oil
To make the batter combine the flour, milk, egg and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a medium size bowl. Whisk the batter until it is nice and smooth. In a large skillet or deep fryer heat the oil to 375° F. Slice the onions into 1/4 inch thick slices and separate into rings. Using tongs or a fork, dip the onion rings into the batter. Drain off the excess batter. Fry the onion rings in the hot oil for 3 minutes. Be careful to fry only a few at a time so that you do not crowd the pan. You will want the onion rings to be golden brown. Stir once with a fork to make sure the rings stay separate. Remove the onion rings from the oil make sure to drain on a paper towel. Transfer to a serving platter and salt with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Serves 6
These ribs are delicious and easy to make. They make a great Sunday dinner and the great thing is that you don’t even need a grill to make them. Just pop them into the oven and dinner is ready. I always like to get pork ribs with the bone-in rather than the boneless. I think the bone gives more flavor.
3 Pounds Bone-In Pork Ribs
5 Tablespoons Apricot Preserves
1/3 Cup Ketchup
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Teaspoons Grated Fresh Ginger
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
Preheat your oven to 350° F. If the ribs need cutting so they are serving size pieces then do so now. Put the ribs into a large Dutch oven. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Drain the water and set the ribs aside while you prepare the sauce. For the sauce you will need to put the preserves into a medium size bowl. Cut up any large pieces of apricots and stir the preserves. Add the ketchup, garlic, ginger and soy sauce. Stir until well combined. Brush both sides of the ribs with some of the sauce and then put the ribs, bone side down, on a shallow roasting pan. Put in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. The ribs should be glazed and heated through. If you need to bake the ribs for longer than go ahead and do so. Remove from the oven. Before serving brush the ribs with the sauce that you have left. Serves 4
When it’s this hot and muggy out no one wants the oven heating up their house or apartment. Besides I am usually not in the mood for a heavy meal when the weather is so oppressive. Here is a great idea for an easy, but flavorful lunch or dinner.
14 Ounces Chicken or Beef Broth
1/2 Cup Bottled Peanut Sauce
2 Cups Stir Fry Vegetables of Your Choice
6 Ounces Ramen Noodles
In a large size pan combine the peanut sauce and chicken or beef broth. Bring to a boil and stir in the vegetables and noodles. If you are using the flavored ramen noodles throw away the spice packet. You may use either frozen or fresh vegetables. Cover and simmer for 4 minutes or until the noodles and vegetables are tender. Portion out the noodles and broth between four serving bowls. Serves 4
Make It Your Own Noodle Bowl
Here are options to “make it your own.”
Tofu-Sesame: Stir in 1/4 cup hoisin sauce (instead of the peanut sauce), 1/4 cup water, 1 Teaspoon toasted sesame oil, 1 cup diced tofu. Heat through and top with toasted sesame seeds.
Shrimp: Stir in 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger to the broth mixture and peanut sauce. Stir in cooked shrimp and heat through.
Sweet & Sour: Use sweet & sour sauce instead of the peanut sauce. Stir in breaded chicken strips and heat through.
Alfredo: Use Alfredo sauce, instead of peanut sauce. Use chicken broth and frozen peas. Stir in cooked & diced chicken. Heat through.
Southwest: Use salsa instead of peanut sauce. Add frozen sweet peppers and onions for the vegetables. Top with corn chips.
Teriyaki: Use 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce and 1/4 cup water instead of the peanut sauce. Top with cashews.
Mexican: Use salsa instead of peanut sauce. Stir in cooked chorizo sausage and heat through.
Italian: Use pasta sauce instead of peanut sauce. Add chopped zucchini, fresh spinach and green beans. Stir in cooked meatballs. Heat through.
Beef & Broccoli: Use beef broth, peanut sauce and broccoli. Stir in cooked roast beef strips or leftover steak strips and heat through.
Thai Curry Vegetable: Add 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk, peanut sauce and 1 teaspoon curry powder to the broth. Add vegetables of your choice. Top with Peanuts.
Last night I made fried chicken, potato salad and a green salad for dinner. I always eat at the table with a place setting and all that. I do think that food should be eaten sitting down and with the television turned off, but last night I felt like breaking my own rule. I brought my dinner out to the living room and had the best time watching the Olympics. Here is my recipe for great fried chicken.
2 Lightly Beaten Eggs
3 Tablespoons Cream
3 Cups Unbleached Flour
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
3 Pounds Meaty Chicken Pieces
Preheat your oven to 350° F. In a small bowl combine the egg and the cream. In a shallow bowl combine the flour, thyme, kosher salt, paprika and pepper. Dip the chicken pieces, one at a time, in the egg mixture. Then coat the chicken with the flour mixture. Dip back into the egg mixture and coat again with the flour mixture. The secret is double coating. In a very large skillet brown the chicken in the hot olive oil over a medium heat for 15 minutes. Turn occasionally. Drain and place onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Put into the oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving plate. Season if you like. Serves 6
I love cooking this chicken on a charcoal grill. You can use a gas grill or cook in the oven if you like. Cooking time should be between 1 to 2 hours depending on the size of your chicken and how hot your grill is. Be careful not to spill the HOT beer and burn yourself!
1 Large Organic Whole Chicken
1/3 Cup Victoria’s Dry Rub or Your Favorite Spices
2 Fresh Limes
12 Garlic Cloves
4 Ounces Butter
1/2 Can of Beer
Wash and pat dry your whole chicken. Remove any giblets from the cavity. Pour out half of the contents the beer. You can drink it if you’re thirsty and don’t like to waste good beer! Place the chicken over the half full beer can that you placed in the rack. You can get these beer can chicken racks at hardware stores or online. These racks are about $5 in the hardware stores. Williams Sonoma has one for $30 which is a bit much I think. Stuff the neck cavity with the 12 garlic cloves so that you seal in the vapors. Slice two limes and squeeze the lime juice all over the skin. Mix your spices with the butter and smear all over the bird. Place on a prepared grill and cook, covered, for 1 to 2 hours.The juices should run clear. Remove from the grill and transfer to a serving platter. Let sit for 10 minutes and then serve. The one that I made last night was incredibly moist and full of flavor. Serves 4
If you cook in the oven place the chicken on the rack in a pie pan with a cup of water added to the pie pan. Cook at 350° F for 1 to 2 hours. Use a meat thermometer checking the thigh to make sure that the temperature reaches 180° F. When done use tongs and a long fork to carefully transfer the entire rack in its upright position to a serving platter. Let stand for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the chicken from the rack.