Recipes for Busy Teachers

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Jalepeno Poppers!

Ingredients:
6-8 Large Jalepeno Peppers
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 pkg dry Ranch Dressing mix
1 lb bacon
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Directions:
1. Cut peppers in half and remove seed (plastic gloves are recommended).
2. Combine cream cheese and dry Ranch Dressing mix until well blended then fold in cheddar cheese.  
3. Stuff pepper halves with cheese mixture.
4. Wrap a slice of bacon around each pepper. 
5. Place on foil lined, lightly oiled baking sheet.
6. Top each with about 1 tsp breadcrumbs.
7. Bake 325 degrees for 45-60 mins. When bacon is cooked and cheese starts to run, you know their ready. 


Easy Cake Balls


Ingredients:
1 box cake mix - any kind
1 can frosting (any kind)

Directions:
1. Bake cake in a 9 x 13 pan according to package directions.
2. let cool for abou 15 minutes
3. Dump cake into a large bowl
4. Add all but about 3 tablespoons of the frosting
5. Mix well (using your hands works best)
6. Form mixture into 1" or 2" balls
7. Arrange on plate
8. Heat remaining frosting in microwave just a few seconds to get loose enough to drizzle.
9. Dot each ball and then drizzle 
10. Place in freeze for about 20 minutes to set up.

Variations:
The possibilities are endless for delicious cake balls. I used a yellow cake mixed w/vanilla frosting and topped with some chocolate I had left over from a previous baking spree.


New Year's Day Pork and Sauerkraut

Ingredients:
1 4lb pork loin - boneless
2 cans sauerkraut
2 can water
2 large apples
1 sliced onion
2 tsp caraway seeds
Salt and Pepper

Directions:
Place pork loin on a rack in a large roasting pan
Salt and pepper to taste ( I use a lot of fresh ground pepper)
Roast at 325 degrees for 2 - 2 1/2 hours
Add sauerkraut, apples, onion, and caraway. Cover with water. Continue cooking for 30-45 more minutes.
Allow pork to rest 10-15 minutes before slicing.
A blend of Pennsylvania Dutch and the South: Pork and Sauerkraut with black-eyed peas will  be sure and bring you all the good luck you need for the new year!



Cinnamon Scones
My daughter made these some amazing cinnamon scones today using one of her favorite vegan cookbooks:



She used the "Scones" recipe from page 42 and modified it slightly. I have listed the recipe with her modifications:



Ingredients:
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar, plus an extra teaspoon for sprinkling the tops
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup flax milk (recipe calls for soy cream, soy milk, or rice milk)
3/4 cup flax milk plus 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Rebekah's additions:
1 tsp  vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
2. Lightly grease cookie sheets.
3. In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 4. Add the oil, flax milk (or soy cream), and flax milk with vinegar and vanilla.
5. Mix until just combined; the dough should be clumpy and not sticky. Even if there is still a slight dusting of flour, that's ok.
6. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto greased cookie sheets and pat the tops just a bit to round them out.
7. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar.
8. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until slightly browned on the bottom and firm on the top.
9. Serve with apple butter.



2 Ingredient Chocolate Cupcakes


Ingredients:
1 box chocolate cake mix - any type, any brand
1 large can 100% pure pumpkin

Combine cake mix and pumpkin until smooth. Spoon in to cupcake liners. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes (they take longer than regular cupcakes because they are so dense).  remove from oven, cool, and top with buttercream frosting! So easy!

Buttermilk Pie
My husband loves this pie. It's his grandmother's recipe - sweet, custardy, and comforting.


Ingredients
1 1/4 c. sugar
3 tbsp. flour
3 eggs
1 stick margarine melted
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 unbaked pie shell

Directions
Combine margarine, sugar, and eggs. Add other ingredients. Beat well. Pour into unbaked pie shell

Bake 400 degrees 10 minutes
Reduce to 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes.


I got the idea for this crust from Pinterest. I cut out small circles and placed  them around the edge of the pie.
It turned out cute!
 


Individual Beef Wellington
My husband and I celebrated our anniversary with his sister and her husband. They prepared these fabulous individual Beef Wellington's. It couldn't believe how easy it was and SO delicious. Liver pate' is the traditional filling, but we thought that caramelized onions and mushrooms with bleu cheese would also be good. My sister-in-law learned how to make it from the chef on the Queen Elizabeth II when they sailed through the Panama Canal recently. The layer of prosciutto helps keep the pastry from becoming soggy.

Ingredients:
Pre-packaged sheets of puff pastry
2lb Beef tenderloin cut into 4 pieces
Thinly sliced prosciutto
liver pate'

Directions:
1.  Quickly sear meat on each side in a preheated pan with melted butter.  Sear longer if you want the meat more well done - set aside 
2.  divide puff pastry into 4 pieces and roll out  
3.  lay slices of prosciutto in a single layer on pastry
4.  spread liver pate' over prosciutto
5.  place tenderloin in middle of pastry and fold over and seal. Decorate top with remaining pastry

6.  Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

7. Let stand for about 5-10 minutes before serving.



Appetizers!

sliced figs with goat cheese
Whole figs
spreadable goat cheese

cut figs in half and spread goat cheese on them

Zuchinni tomato appetizers
Stack the following ingredients:
Zucchini - 1/4" slices
cherry tomatoes - cut in half
fresh or dried basil
Parmesan or mozzarella cheese


Bake in 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes






Rat Traps!

We recently learned that the state tree of Texas is the pecan tree.   We also read a story in our reader about pecans called "A Nutty State".  Seeing the pictures of the pecans reminded me of a recipe for a yummy treat called Rat Traps.  Here is how you make them:
Ingredients:

square pretzels, Rolos,  and pecan halves
Directions:
1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Lay the pretzels on a baking sheet lined with foil or baking paper
3.  Unwrap the Rolos and put one on top of each pretzel

4.  Put in oven for 3 or 4 minutes - not any longer than that!


5.  Take out of oven and press a pecan half on top

6.  Cool in refrigerator

7.  enjoy!


Paula Deen's VEGAN Blueberry Pie
This light and refreshing vegan version of a recipe found in Paula Deen's magazine.
Paula Deen's recipe with our revisions in red.
Ingredients:
1 pie shell
5 cups frozen blueberries thawed
3/4 sugar (Splenda - for the diabetic dad)
3 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp water
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 cup sour cream (Tofutti Milk Free Sour cream)

Directions
1)Bake pie shell and let cool.

2)  Place blueberries and sugar in large pan and cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves. 

3)  Make a slurry with the cornstarch and water and add to blueberries. 
4)  Bring to a boil and cook for a minute or until thickened.  
5)  Remove from heat. 
6)  Cool to room temp.  
7)  Add lemon juice/zest and sour cream.  

8)  Pour into cooled pie shell and chill for 4 hours or until firm.


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Fresh Black-Eyed Peas (vegan & gluten free)
On our recent trip to the Dallas Farmer's Market I bought 2 pints of FRESH black-eyed peas. That's right, FRESH - which means that pre-soaking is not required.  I put them in the freezer the day I bought them and pulled them out today to go with our dinner. Black-eyed peas remind me of my husband's grandmother, BawBaw.  She loved when fresh black-eyed peas were in season and always bought enough to freeze so she would have them throughout the year.  She didn't like to buy them already shelled because she liked to do that herself and leave a few of the pods to cook with the peas. I remember visiting several produce stands one summer looking for unshelled peas but I could never find them for her.  Every time I make a pot of peas, I think of her hot little kitchen on the north side of Fort Worth where some of the most delicious and comforting food was produced with love!


Since I have two vegetarians (one of which is vegan) in the household, It's always a challenge to figure out how to make my old recipes work for them.  Obviously, I didn't use bacon!  Instead, I used olive oil and some Bestlife dairy-free spread which added the little bit of fattiness that the peas (and I) need. They turned out great!  So simple and comforting! Here's to you BawBaw!

My secret ingredients.  We ate them up before I could take a picture of the finished product!


Ingredients: (serves about 8)
2 pints fresh black-eyed peas shelled and rinsed
1 whole onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
2 small jalepeno peppers seeded and chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dairy free spread (like Bestlife)
2-3 vegetable bouillon cubes (I use Knorr)
about 6 cups water
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
1) In a large pot, saute onions, garlic, and pepper in the olive oil until soft
2) Add the "buttery spread" and stir until melted
3) Add peas, water, and bouillon cubes
4) Bring to boil
5) Reduce heat and simmer for about an hour or until peas are tender (add more water as needed)
6) Salt and pepper to taste

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Our visit to The Dallas Farmer's Market yielded to some great fresh vegetables. Tonight for dinner, I made a Jicama Slaw with pulled barbecue chicken sandwiches.  I had never made this slaw before so I used Bobby Flay's recipe as my starting point, and then tweeked it a bit.  I love the crunchiness of the jicama - it was perfect on top of the barbecue chicken! My 2 daughters are vegetarian so they ate it with some beans. 

Jicama Slaw (vegan & gluten free)


Ingredients
1 large jicama peeled and shredded
1/2 head cabbage shredded
2 large or 4 small carrots peeled and shredded
1 stalk brocolli (without tops) peeled and shredded
1/4 c finely chopped onion (optional)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2-3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp chili powder (got mine from Spice & Tea Exchange)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped cilantro
Combine shredded vegetables and onion in large bowl.  Combine oil, vinegar, lime juice, sugar, chili powder, salt and pepper and whisk together until well blended.  pour over vegetables and toss.  fold in chopped cilantro.
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Due to budget cuts in education, there are are a record number of teacher retirements this year.  Therefore there are a record number of teacher retirement parties.  After 19 years, one of the best Special Ed teachers in Texas is retiring to spend more time with her family and traveling...good for her!  I was in charge of the punch.  Here is my recipe for a delicious cran-raspberry-lime punch.  It can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled to meet your crowd requirements:


Cran-Raspberry-Lime Punch
Ingredients (makes 1 large punch bowl - about 12 servings):
1/4 can frozen limeade
3 cups water
1 pint raspberry sherbet
2 liters lemon/lime or ginger ale soda
fresh lime slices
Spirits optional if party is held off-campus ;-)

Directions:
1)  Combine juices and water in a large pitcher and refrigerate until ready to use.
2)  When ready to serve, pour juice mixture into large punch bowl, add sherbet and soda, stir to combine. 
3)  Float lime slices on top.
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When I think of comfort food, the first thing that pops into my head is my MOM'S POTATO SALAD.  It's so simple, but oh so delicious.  It's slightly sweet and a little tangy. As a tribute to my mom for Mother's Day, I am sharing her recipe:
Mom's Potato Salad
Ingredients (serves about 6-8)
8 large whole unpeeled potatoes scrubbed
6 hard boiled eggs
1 medium onion finely chopped
3 stalks celery finely chopped
1 cup salad dressing
1 tsp yellow mustard
1/4 c sugar
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp paprika
salt & pepper to taste

Directions
1)  Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, bring to boil, and allow to cook for about 20 minutes.  Check with a fork or sharp knife for doneness.  You don't want them to be mushy - they should be slightly firm.
2)  Place eggs in a small pan, cover with water, bring to boil and cook for 8 minutes.   Remove from heat and cover for 8 minutes.  Drain, run under cold water, crack, and peel eggs.

3)  Finely chop onions and celery.
4)  When potatoes are done drain and allow to cool before handling.  You can make the dressing while the potatoes are cooling.
6)  When potatoes are cool, peel with a paring knife.  Skins will easily peel off.
7)  Cut potatoes into 1/2" cubes.

8)  Combine potatoes, onions, and celery in a bowl.  Add chopped eggs and dressing.
9) Toss ingredients together and refrigerate a few hours before serving.

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A crowd pleaser in my family is MEXICAN CASSEROLE.  Since we have a vegetarian in the house, I have included recipes for the chicken version and the vegetarian version:
MEXICAN CHICKEN CASSEROLE

 Ingredients (makes about 10-12 servings)
1 whole chicken or 4-5 chicken breasts cooked and cut up
Olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
1tbsp taco seasoning
1 cup picante sauce
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
about 12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese


Directions:
1)  Saute onions, peppers, and garlic in olive oil until soft
2)  add taco seasoning and picante sauce

3)  Combine soups and onion mixture in a mixing bowl
4) Spray large casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray

5) spread about 1/3 of the mixture on bottom of dish
6) Cut tortillas into 1/8 pieces and place a layer over mixture
7)  place half of the chicken evenly over tortillas
8)  Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese
9) Spread 1/3 of the mixture on top of cheese
 10) repeat with tortillas, chicken, mixture, and top with cheese
11) Bake at 350 degrees covered for 30 minutes.  Uncover and cook for another 15 minutes until golden brown.  Serve with salad, chips, sour cream, salsa and MANGO SALSA (see below).

VEGETARIAN MEXICAN CASSEROLE
One of my daughters is a vegetarian so I always try to make a meatless version of what we are eating.  Here is a smaller version of the above recipe using black beans and corn instead of chicken.  This recipe includes dairy products.
Ingredients (serves about 4)
Olive oil
1/2 c onion chopped
1/2 c bell pepper chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
1 tsp taco seasoning
1/4 cup picante sauce
1 can beans (black, pinto, kidney, or red)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c frozen corn thawed
4 corn tortillas cut into 1/8 pieces
1 cup shredded cheese

Directions:
1)  Saute onion, pepper, and garlic in olive oil until soft
2) add taco seasoning and picante sauce
3) combine onion mixture and soup in a bowl
4) drain beans and combine with corn
5) Spray small casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray
6) spread 1/3 of mixture on bottom of dish
7) Layer tortilla pieces on top of mixture
8)  Spread half of the black beans and corn
9)  Sprinkle with cheese
10) spread 1/3 of mixture on top of cheese, repeat with tortillas, beans/corn, remaining mixture, and cheese
11)  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes covered.  Uncover and cook for another 10 minutes until golden brown.

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I bought all of the makings for MANGO SALSA at Albertson's for under $4.00 so I thought I would share the recipe.  I love mango salsa because it's sweet and spicy - my two favorite flavor combinations! You can serve as a dip for chips or as a topping on fish, chicken, or pork.  It's a prefect compliment!
MANGO SALSA (VEGAN)

Ingredients
4 ripe mangos
1 onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 jalepeno pepper
2 limes
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:
1)  Chop onions and jalepeno pepper using food processor or chopper.  Chop as finely as possible without being mushy.  

2)  Finely mince or press garlic. 2 garlic cloves should be enough unless they are small.

3)  Peel mango.  Cut away soft fleshy skin from tough center.  Chop in small, uniform, cubes.

4) Add the juice of 2 limes.
5) Remove cilantro from stems as much as possible and chop finely.
6)  Add salt and toss together. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to marry.

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Hmmm....What to do with all of that inexpensive ground turkey from Albertson's?  How about some easy meatballs with pasta and sauce?  I like to fix this when I have about 30-45 minutes to prepare a meal.    



Meatballs with Pasta and Sauce


Ingredients (makes 4 servings)
1 lb ground turkey (or beef)
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
Olive oil
1/4 cup bread crumbs (seasoned or unseasoned)
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp black pepper
1lb cooked pasta
1 jar prepared pasta sauce
grated Parmesan cheese (as garnish)


Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 and start boiling the water for your pasta
2.  Saute onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes in olive oil until soft
3.  In a mixing bowl combine turkey, sauted onions, bread crumbs, salt and pepper, and seasonings

4.  Divide mixture into 8 equal balls
5.  Heat Olive oil in a skillet large enough for the meatballs. Oil should be hot but not smoking.
6.  Place meatballs in hot oil and brown on all sides
7.  Transfer meatballs to a lightly greased baking sheet and place in oven for 20 minutes
8.  While meatballs are cooking, cook pasta according to package directions, drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil
9.  Heat Prepared pasta sauce in the same pan you cooked the pasta
10.  Add cooked pasta and heat through
11.  To serve place pasta in bowls, top with 2 meatballs, garnish with Parmesan cheese.



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