Thursday, February 26, 2009

CALLING ALL PASTOR'S WIVES


I would like to start a series called "Feature Friday" where I would invite other pastor's wives, youth pastor's wives and missionary wives to post a favorite recipe on "Cooking With The Preacher's Wife." I regularly make and post new recipes, but thought it would be nice to hear from other pastor's wives as well.

If you are interested in having your favorite recipe featured, here is what you need to do:

1. Prepare your dish
2. Photograph your dish. Just a couple thoughts: Take a good close-up shot. If you have the Macro feature (for extremely close shots), you should use it. Be sure to use good lighting. Try a couple shots with the flash and then a couple without the flash, and choose the best one. A portion or a bite always photographs better and looks more appealing than the whole dish.
3. Type out the recipe and instructions.
4. Send both, the picture and the recipe to my email - Cookingwiththepreacherswife@gmail.com along with a little bit about yourself - particularly where you and your hubby serve the Lord, and for how long. If you have a blog or a website that you'd like people to visit, be sure to include that and I will link to it from here.
5. THAT'S IT! I'll take it from there! From the entries, I'll choose 1 a week to feature here on my blog.

Preacher's wives have some of the best recipe files I've ever seen! They collect recipes from all those fellowships they attend, and dinners they get invited to. I'm looking forward to hearing what your favorites are, and sharing them with my readers.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

CRUNCHY COATED FISH

We had a guest over the weekend. Sarah is a friend of my daughters, from Bible college. She is quite an industrious girl too! I must say, I've never had a guest that had so much initiative around the house or in the kitchen! She just jumped right in with both feet and helped with everything. I ended up relaxing in the living room. Which was nice, since I've been laid up with a bad back for almost a month now. Sarah insisted on making dinner one night, even though she claims to have never cooked a meal by herself before! When dinner was over, she helped clean up the dishes, mopped the floor, wiped down my garbage can and even cleaned my dog's place mat! For never having made a meal before, she sure picked a doozie for her first one! And I told her she had quite a lot of moxie fixing CATFISH for the king of fish frying (my Honey)! haha This crunchy coating could be used on any fish or even chicken. It was delicious. Hubby didn't care for the dijon mustard in one part of the dipping, but he said it was delicious over all. For that reason, I made the dijon mustard, optional. So to Sarah, goes a great big THANK YOU for a job well done!

CRUNCHY COATED FISH

1 lb fish filets
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1 Tblsp milk
3 Tblsp Dijon mustard (optional)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 cup coarsely crushed pretzels
2 Tblsp cooking oil
Thin lemon slices

Rinse fish filets and pat dry. In 3 separate containers, place the following: Container 1 - flour; container 2 - egg, milk, mustard and black pepper; Container 3 - crushed pretzels.
Heat oil to med - high. First roll fish filets in the flour, then dip them in the egg mixture, then coat them in the pretzel mixture. It is helpful to coat a panful at a time, so all the fish filets go in the skillet at the same time. Cook over med high heat for 3 - 4 minutes per side (depending on thickness of the filets), or until light golden brown. Carefully flip with spatula and cook on other side. If you are not familiar with cooking fish, you may want to check it with a fork. Stick the fork straight in and pull forward. If the fish "flakes" then it is done. If it is still tough and rubbery, it is not done. Once the fish is done, remove and drain on paper towels. Serve with lemon slices if desired.

Monday, February 23, 2009

FRESH SALSA AND HOMEMADE CHIPS

OK, OK I know it's easy to stop at the store and pick up a bag of Tostitos and a jar of Pace salsa, but come on! Where's your sense of adventure? There is NOTHING like the taste of FRESHLY made salsa! And what's better than serving something fresh to your family, that has absolutely no preservatives in it? There really is no trick to it. It's a cinch to make and you can make it as hot or mild as you like it. And the chips - they are just fun to make! And CRUNCHY? Wow! They are super good with the homemade salsa. Guacamole too!


FRESH SALSA

8 - 10 ripe Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 of a large sweet onion, diced
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles, with juice
3 - 4 Tblsp fresh Cilantro, chopped fine
1 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients, stir well and let it sit for about 30 minutes to marinate. Serve with homemade chips.


HOMEMADE CHIPS

1 pkg corn tortillas, cut into 1/4's
Canola oil
Salt

Line a platter or cake pan with paper towels, and set aside. In a heavy iron skillet, heat oil to at least 350. Separate cut tortillas and fry them about a dozen at a time. As soon as you get a dozen into the hot oil, start flipping them over, starting with the first one you placed in the oil. Let them fry on the 2nd side for about a minute. The longer you let them fry, the crispier they get. So after the first batch comes out, use your own judgement, on whether they need to fry longer or not. Use a "spider" or some other slotted untensil to remove the chips from the hot oil. Place them on the paper towel lined platter to drain. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat until all the chips have been fried.
Serve with Fresh Salsa or Guacamole.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rice pilaf with Macadamia nuts

Yesterday, we had the leftover Island pork that my daughters & daughter in law made for the banquet they catered on Friday night. It was yummy, but I was anxious to taste the sauce when it was freshly made. So tonight I made the chicken version! Island chicken. It's the same recipe as the Island pork, but you use chicken in place of the pork!

Here it is fresh out of the oven. I used leg & thigh quarters w/ skin on. I loved the taste of this! A couple of things I might change next time though are: to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, instead of skin on dark meat. I also might cut down on the brown sugar just a tad. If you like the sweet Asian dishes, then leave it just like it is. For me personally, I just thought it could have had a bit less of a sweet taste. I have to be honest and tell you that my "meat and potatoes" hubby said this is a "chick dish!" haha He ate 3 pieces, and even said it was good. But he more prefers the Szechuan style (hotter dishes) of Asian cooking, as opposed to the sweet dishes. Still a VERY YUMMY dish. I drizzled the sauce over the rice and WOWZERS was it ever good! I absolutely LOVED the crunch of the macadamia nuts in the rice!!


Rice Pilaf with Macadamia nuts


Ingredients
1/3 cup (1/6 lb.) butter or margarine
3/4 cup (4 oz.) salted roasted macadamia nuts, very coarsely chopped
1 onion (1/2 lb.), chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 2/3 cups short- or medium-grain white rice
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Procedure
1. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add the macadamia nuts and stir until slightly darker brown, about 3 minutes. Scrape from pan into small bowl and set aside.
2. Add remaining butter, onion, and garlic to pan. Stir often over medium-high heat until onion is limp, about 5 minutes.
3. Add rice and stir often until grains turn opaque, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the broth and pepper. Heat to a simmer. Pour the mixture into a shallow 2 1/2- to 3-quart casserole; cover tightly.
5. Bake in a 375° oven until rice is tender to bite, 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with nuts and parsley. Give it a stir and serve immediately.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

ISLAND PORK


I have Arlene to thank for this one!! I was scheduled to cater a sweetheart banquet this past weekend. I was so excited to have another event to cater! Then wouldn't you know it, I was laid up for 2 solid weeks with a sprained back! PAINFUL! So the task fell to my precious daughters and daughter in law. I sent my recipes and notes with them and didn't have a worry in the world that they wouldn't be able to accomplish it. And do you know, they didn't call me even ONE time to ask for help! The nerve! haha Anyway, I digress. I had posted a few months ago about an international dinner we had at our church. I hosted a Hawaiian table, and made all Hawaiian recipes. Arlene then wrote and told me about a delicious dish that her Pastor's wife from Japan used to make, called Island chicken. I made a mental note to try it sometime. As this banquet approached, I began putting the menu together. When I heard it was a Luau theme, I went back to my old post to read again and was reminded of Arlene's chicken recipe. I had found pork roast on sale for .99 / lb and purchased it ahead of time with the intention of making some sort of pulled pork. I began to roll around the idea of using pork in place of the chicken in the recipe. So I purchased the ingredients and sent the girls off with a brand new recipe that I hadn't even tried myself yet! Why do I do that to myself? It just sounded like a real winner! Nothing in it sounded weird or yucky. They all came back with rave reviews about it. And Arlene you were right - my son said, as soon as he walked into the building he could smell this wonderful Asian food aroma! They said it just wafted everywhere! I made them promise to bring back some left overs so I could try it. That's on the menu for Sunday dinner tomorrow!

ISLAND PORK

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. minced ginger
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 Tbs. vinegar
1 Tbs. oil
1 lg. can pineapple chunks, drained
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, sliced into strips
3 lbs. Pork roast

Mix first 7 ingredients together. Stir in fruit and veggies. Place pork in 13x9" dish. Pour sauce evenly over top. Cover and bake @ 375 for 1 1/2 - 3 hours; baste pork occasionally. You want the pork to fall away from the bone, so you can shred it. Serve over rice.

Remove meat from bones and shred with forks. Pour sauce over meat and keep warm until serving time. You can serve it immediately, but letting it sit for a while makes a world of difference!

TROPICAL DREAM CAKE

A friend gave me this recipe about 10 years ago and it has been a real "keeper!" This cake is SO moist! The pineapple syrup just sinks down into the holes in the cake and it soaks in and wow... you have to try it to believe it! It's kind of like a "poke" cake, but BETTER!

TROPICAL DREAM CAKE

1 white cake mix + ingredients to prepare it

1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple w/ juice
1 cup brown sugar
cinnamon

1 lg instant vanilla pudding + ingredients to prepare it
1 large Cool Whip
Optional: Shredded coconut

Bake white cake according to pkg directions. While cake bakes, make the syrup. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the crushed pineapple w/ juice, brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Cook over med heat until it boils. Simmer until it thickens a bit. Poke holes all over baked cake with handle of wooden spoon. Pour the pineapple syrup mixture slowly and evenly all over the top of the cake, making sure it sinks into the holes. Smooth it over evenly with the back of the spoon. Prepare instant vanilla pudding according to pkg directions. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to thicken a bit. Pour evenly over top of cake and spread smoothly with back of spoon. Chill completely in fridge. Spread Cool Whip evenly over entire cake. If desired, top with shredded coconut. If you aren't a fan of coconut, then garnish it with sprinkles of cinnamon.

CHOCOLATE or CARAMEL PECAN FONDUE

Have you ever done fondue? If you haven't, you are missing out!! It is an absolute BLAST!
We usually do it once a year with our family - my oldest daughter, Sarah, requests it for her birthday dinner. Usually we do all 3 courses, cheese, meat and chocolate or caramel (or both!)
Tonight we skipped the cheese fondue, and I made a couple of sides instead. Fondue is served in stages. You set out the cheese fondue, the bread chunks, the veggies, etc... then when all have had their fill of the cheese, you clear the table of all that, and bring out the preheated oil in an electric fry pot, raw meat, and several dipping sauces. When all have had their fill of that, you clear the table again and bring out the dessert fondue, fresh fruits, pretzels, pound cake, etc... It's not a "hurry up" type dinner. It's a sit and talk and laugh and spend time together type meal. This would be a lot of fun to do with a group of young married couples or college age singles even. Everybody could bring something to contribute to the fondue. That would ease the expense on the hostess. You can pick up fondue pots for next to nothing in your local Goodwill stores. Some of them are kept warm by a simple tea light candle. I use those kinds for the dessert fondues that don't require a lot of heat to keep them warm. But the pot we use to fry our meat, has an electric cord. You could also make up a dessert fondue platter and set it out at a fellowship or dinner in your home. People could casually come and go and get their dessert as they wish. It's just so unique and SO much fun! Not to mention YUMMY!! Promise me you'll put this on your "to do" list soon!

CARAMEL PECAN FONDUE (this one is our all time favorite!!)

*IF you have any leftovers, refrigerate them and use it as topping for your ice cream!* Mmm! Talk about YUMMO! Rachel Ray has nothing on this one! haha

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tsp. Rum flavoring
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Dippers: Bananas (the best!), apples, pears, frozen twinkies, brownies, pound cake, angel food cake... all cut in chunks - use your imagination

In a medium heavy bottom sauce pan, combine the sugar with the corn syrup & water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves (about 10 min). Increase the heat to med-high and simmer, brushing down the insides of the pan occasionally with a wet pastry brush. I keep a bowl of water with the brush in it, near the saucepan to do this. I do it several times throughout the cooking process. Cook until the syrup starts to turn golden. Gently swirl the pan and continue to simmer until a deep amber color forms - about 40 minutes total time. Remove from heat. Carefully stir in cream and butter, a little at a time, until melted and combined. Return to heat, bring to simmer. Remove from heat and stir in rum flavoring and chopped pecans. Let sit for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Pour into heatproof serving bowl or fondue pot set over low heat and serve with dippers.

* This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated. Rewarm gently over low heat.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

CHOCOLATE FONDUE

2 Tblsp sugar
1 cup heavy cream
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
4 oz milk chocolate
1 Tblsp butter

Dippers: Apples, oranges, pears, bananas, strawberries, cherries, marshmallows, pretzel rods, frozen cheesecake chunks, etc...

In a microwave safe bowl, mix the sugar, heavy cream, chocolate and butter together and microwave for 1 - 2 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave. Remove bowl from microwave and give it a quick whisk, making sure chocolate is melted and completely combined. Transfer to fondue pot with a flame underneath to keep warm. Serve with your favorite dippers.

*Can be made ahead and refrigerated. Can also use the leftovers as ice cream topping. Or..... top your ice cream with both fondues and have a turtle sundae!

Shhhh don't tell anyone this isn't WW friendly! This was a special occasion! ;-)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

HOT CHILI DIP

Just in time for the weekend! Here is a hot, hearty, and very addicting dip for your tortilla chips! This is great for your Friday night family movie or game night, or just to whip up for visitors.
My thanks to Colleen for this recipe. The original recipe called for shredded cheddar rather than the Velveeta. But I was helping to feed a group of teen girls last Friday night, and needed to make this dip s-t-r-e-t-c-h. It turned out FANTASTIC! The heat from the salsa cut the thick taste of the cheese. It really was just delicious! If you like things really hot, you could also add a small can of chopped green chilies, or use a hot salsa rather than medium. VERY yummy!

HOT CHILI DIP

1 lb ground meat
1 pkg taco seasoning
16 ounces (2 cups) salsa (I used Pace chunky salsa, medium heat)
8 ounces cream cheese - cubed
1 large loaf of Velveeta cheese - cubed
1/2 cup milk (add a little more if it gets too thick)
Optional: sour cream

Brown ground meat and drain the grease off. Return to pan and add taco seasoning (with water) and salsa and cook for about 7 minutes on medium. Remove from heat and add cream cheese cut into cubes (so it will melt in) and stir until it melts. Add Velveeta cheese cubes and stir until it is melted and mixed in. Make sure to keep a close eye on it and stir it frequently, the velveeta can quickly scorch if you're not careful. I usually just remove it from the heat when I stir in the Velveeta chunks. Stir in milk and *keep warm until ready to serve. If it gets too thick after you let it sit in the warmer, just add a little more milk.
Serve with warmed tortilla chips and a dollop of sour cream on top.

* I use a West Bend electric pot to keep it warm, sort of like a fry Daddy, but it is bigger. You could also use a crockpot to keep it warm.