Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mexican Monday....on a Tuesday

HELLO!!!!!  Trying to get back in the swing of things so let's start with a recipe!

I made some refried beans to go along with our lunch on Sunday so I grabbed a few quick snaps with my phone as I was cooking.  So, not the best most beautiful pictures in the world or the most sexy of dishes but it's a great staple that's fast and easy to cook and I thought I would share my recipe for refried beans. I apologize in advance, this is another one of my recipes where I don't have any measurements for the liquid portion so just bear with me and let's make something simple and good.

I've never been crazy about the refried beans we have around here in the grocery store, especially the canned ones.  They usually look like some sort of gross paste and taste even worse.  I used to make just rice or pico to go along with our Mexican dishes but really wanted to make some beans one night.  After a quick google I found a recipe that looked about right and about 20 minutes later had a great quick new side dish.  Hope you enjoy!

Simply Delicious Homemade Refried Beans

1 sixteen ounce can Pinto Beans washed and drained
1 heaping teaspoon of chopped garlic 
1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or if you want to be bad - bacon grease)
1 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

In a small skillet heat your oil of choice and saute your garlic for a few minutes. 

Add the drained and rinsed pinto beans and toss or stir to coat and saute for a few moments. 

To this add your chicken stock and just enough water to cover the beans about 1/2 inch and simmer for around 15 to 20 minutes.  

The way you know the beans are ready is that they will start to split and be nice and soft (aka mushy).  As you simmer the liquid will cook down so you may need to add a little more water as you cookJust keep an eye on things and make sure you have plenty of cooking liquid at all times. 

When the beans are ready, take a potato masher or a fork and mash until the beans are smooth and creamy.  If they are too runny simmer for a few minutes more making sure to use a low heat and stir often so they don't stick.  If they are too thick add a little more water or chicken stock.  Salt and pepper to taste and garnish with a good Mexican cheese, or if you live where that's not available like me use a little shredded mozzarella.  

Presto! I normally put my beans on to simmer before I start making my tacos or whatever it is we are cooking so when my main dish is done all I have to do is mash up my beans and everything gets done about the same time.     

Like I said not the best pictures, not the more interesting dish, but definitely a cheap, filling staple.  Enjoy!

As always let me know what you think!  If you try this and have any suggestions let me know.  Later my lovelies!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Getting organized. Getting motivated.

Hey there my lovelies!  Long time no post, huh?  Life has been crazy lately with travel, spending as much time outside as possible before summer ends, and just generally being unmotivated to spend time in front of a computer.  My evenings have been spent lately planning some sewing projects, which I do intend to share, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with Allie, and honestly going to bed a little early some nights.


I do not want to neglect this space and have so many pictures and stories that just need to be typed.  I mean I have pictures from January that are edited but the text to go with them still just needs a little polish.

Thanks for hanging in there with me!  

Friday, August 8, 2014

Some Friday night dulcimer music...

It could definitely be smoother, but what I'm most proud of is that I had a bobble and kept on going!  Usually when I bobble I really bumble and get all flustered. Still having fun with this dulcimer. Happy weekend!

Foodie Fridays - Low-fat Chicken Alfredo

Happy Friday my loves!  I've got a quick recipe for you and it will help you use some of this wonderful abundant produce we have here as summer ends and it's a little lighter than usual as far as alfredo sauce goes.  The creaminess from this dish comes from an unexpected source: plain yogurt.

I know, I know.  You're all looking at me saying, "WHAT?!?"

I used to be like that about plain yogurt too and then I made tzatziki a few years ago and it's just been downhill from there.  I now use it to make biscuits, pizza dough, as an alternative for sour cream, and I even use it in corn salad using half mayo and half yogurt.  I promise you'll never know the difference.  It helps cut calories but still tastes pretty awesome.  That's why the other night when I got an intense craving for alfredo pasta I wondered about making a lower fat sauce and I saw a recipe from www.floridamilk.com.  You can see their recipe HERE.  I used this as a starting point and of course went my own way from there.  This recipe is loaded with veggies and honestly I only used about 4 large chicken tenders so it's very economical and if you're of the vegetarian persuasion just load up on the veggies, leave the chicken out, and you're good to go.  My little girl loved it and I have to admit this is probably how I will be making alfredo sauce from now on.  Bye bye expensive little packets of powder!

The sauce starts much like my sausage gravy recipe, so for some step by step pictures check out that post HERE.    If you can make a bechamel sauce, also known as white sauce, then you're good to go because that's basically what this is with some yogurt and Parmesan cheese thrown in.  I ran the ingredients through calorie count which lets you type in your ingredients, number or portions, and give you some nutritional data.  My recipe came out to be 341 calories per serving with 9.1 total grams of fat with 4.2 grams being saturated fat.  Not too bad.  Try it and let me know what you think!  I also love calorie count because if you cook at home at lot it's hard sometimes to know just how bad or good a recipe is for you.

Low-fat Chicken Alfredo 

Serves 4 (or more)

1 cup boneless chicken breast or chicken tenders cubed (could also use rotisserie chicken)
3/4 cup chopped zucchini 
3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup frozen/fresh broccoli
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup low fat or reduced fat milk 
8 ounces of rotini pasta but you could use penne or fettuccine cooked  
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup low fat chicken broth
1/4 to 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and saute cubed chicken seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder until done and no pink remains. Remove from the pan and set aside.  In the same pan saute the onion until translucent and then add zucchini and mushrooms and cook until zucchini is soft and season with a little salt and pepper.  When vegetables are done to your liking remove from pan and reserve along with the chicken. 

To cook the broccoli I normally just bring my pasta water to a boil, cook my broccoli for a few minutes, remove, and then cook my pasta in the same water.   

In the still hot pan melt your two tbsp of butter.  Once melted add your flour whisking around until combined well and it resembles this....

To this add your chicken broth.  If you read my sausage gravy post remember it's going to look like you've messed up but keep whisking!  It might look like this...

But add in your milk and keep whisking until everything is combined and smooth.  

Keep working with it and it will soon look like this.....

Now, hard part over!  Time to add in our seasoning.  First add the yogurt and whisk until combined and smooth and repeat with the Parmesan cheese.  Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.  Once the sauce is to your liking add all the ingredients back to the pot:  chicken, veggies, and hot pasta!  If you're sauce looks a little thick add just a little hot pasta water and that will take care of everything.  

It's seriously good.  Seriously.  Like I wouldn't lie to you good.  I know in my picture the sauce looks a little thin, but I promise as it cools it will thicken up.  This keeps well in the fridge and heats up the next day like a dream.  Hope you enjoy!  
Like it?  Hate it?  Let me know.  :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Hot Mess Monday

The face of sciatic nerve pain on a Monday brought to you on a Wednesday.  

Hopefully my stupid back is better and I can you know actually sit down when I get home in the afternoons and ya know do something computery.  Love ya lovelies!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Foodie Fridays - Black-eyed Pea Dip aka Southern Caviar

foodie fridays at hickory ridge studio

I'm back!  Did you miss me?  Awe you did!  I missed you too.

All that mushy stuff out of the way let's get to the recipe.

foodie fridays at hickory ridge studio southern caviar

We're in the tail end of summer and you know what?  I still don't want to cook.  I don't want to turn my oven on for much and I'd just as soon have a BLT for supper most nights.  My tomatoes are finally coming in and that's all I really care about right now.  But you do need a side from time to time and here's another great way to use up some of those extra tomatoes you may have lying around.  I love to make this with grape tomatoes as I have those coming out of my ears!  This is a recipe adapted from Paula Deen's cookbook Paula Deen Celebrates!  I've had it several years and it has many recipes that are sooo good but this is one I turn to time and again in the summer when I get asked to bring a dish or an appetizer to an event.  It makes a _TON_ so you might want to cut the recipe in half, but it will keep for several days in the fridge.  Serve it with tortilla chips as an appetizer or as a side.  It works great either way.  It's definitely a recipe I get asked for again and again.  Hope you enjoy!

Black-eyed Pea Dip aka Southern Caviar 

2 fifteen ounce cans black-eyed peas - drained
1 fifteen ounce can whole kernel corn - drained (I prefer shoe-peg corn)
1 can Rotel tomatoes drained or 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh jalapeno pepper
1 four ounce jar chopped pimentos drained

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup olive oil

Combine all your ingredients in a large bowl, whisk together your dressing ingredients, pour over your black-eyed pea mixture, and refrigerate until ready to use.  I usually make this the night before serving to give all the ingredients and flavors time to meld and get super yummy.  

Serve with tortilla chips, I like scoops, or as a side for anything from sandwiches to chicken.  

foodie fridays at hickory ridge studio southern caviar

Hope you enjoy!