20120917

EASY APPLE DUMPLINGS for National Apple Dumpling Day

 
HAPPY NATIONAL APPLE DUMPLING DAY!
 
Here's a recipe I found and tweaked a bit using Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and - get this - Mountain Dew! It sounded to weird I had to try it.  Now I keep the ingredients around all the time for an easy and delicious dessert!  It's amazing! Whoever thought of this recipe is a food genius, lol.
 
EASY APPLE DUMPLING RECIPE
 
INGREDIENTS
2 Good Baking Apples*
2 - 8 Oz. Cans of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
2 Sticks of Butter
1-1/2 Cups Sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. Nutmeg
1 - 12 Oz. Can Mountain Dew Soda
 
TOOLS:
Measuring Spoons, Medium Saucepan, 9x3 Baking Dish
DIRECTIONS:
Peel and core your apples then cut into 8 even slices.
Roll each apple slice in a Crescent Roll and place in your baking dish.
Melt your butter in a saucepan then add the sugar and stir slightly.
Add the vanilla, stir then pour this mixture over the apple "dumplings".
Pour the Mountain Dew around the dumplings in the pan.
Sprinkle on your nutmeg and cinnamon.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
 
*I did this recipe with Gala Apples because that's what I had on hand. Feel free to use whatever baking apple you prefer!
 
Now, head over to The Martini Diva Blog for my APPLE DUMPLING MARTINI RECIPE!
 

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20120913

POACHED TROPICAL FISH with ORANGE COCONUT CURRY SAUCE


A lot of my recipes come from what is hanging out in my larder and my fridge. This is one of them.  I had a taste for some nice fish that wasn't heavy or fried and I wanted something a little sweet.  I happened to have some coconut cream in my bar fridge, coconut milk and about a cup or so of some Sunny Delight plus my frozen Tilapia fillets, Basmati rice and my spice rack so I was off and cooking.

Because I'm not cooking for a family, I always buy fish in individually vacuum sealed frozen packets so I can take out one or two for a meal.  The nice thing about that is that you can quickly defrost the fillets simply by putting them in some warm water and you'll be ready to go in less than half an hour or so.  Yes, I buy frozen fish because true fresh fish is pretty hard to come by in desert areas, plus I like to have a variety of fish available for the whim of my palate.  I also stock up when varieties are on sale or in season. 

Feel free to use the fish of your choice - I would have done this one with catfish (which I love) but I didn't have any so next time I might have to call it POACHED BOTTOM FEEDER FISH, lol.

POACHED TROPICAL FISH
with ORANGE COCONUT CURRY SAUCE

POACHING LIQUID - SAUCE
1 Cup Sunny Delight Original Juice
1/4 Cup Cream of Coconut
1 Tablespoon Curry Powder
1/4 Tsp. Fresh Ginger
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
Dash or Two of Chipotle Hot Sauce
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt

DIRECTIONS: Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook on low until it coats the back of a metal spoon. Keep an eye on this and stir often so it will not reduce too much and/or burn.

POACHED TROPICAL FISH:
2 Mild White Fish Fillets
(I used Tilapia)
Butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

DIRECTIONS:
Saute fillets over a medium heat in a combination of EVOO and butter until lightly brown on the surface. Pour in the poaching liquid/sauce. Reduce the heat to low and allow the sauce to continue to reduce as the fillets poach in the liquid.

CONFETTI RICE
1/2 C. Basmati Rice
1 C. Coconut Water
Dried Cranberries
Dried Apricots, Diced
Toasted Pistachios, Chopped
Toasted Sunflower Seeds
Fleur du Sel

DIRECTIONS: Bring coconut water, salt and rice to a boil then immediately reduce heat to low and simmer according to the package instructions. When the rice is fully cooked add in your cranberries, apricots, pistachios and sunflower seeds, mix in and fluff rice.

 
Bon App├ętit
 

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20120907

SMOKIN' GOOD MEXICAN LASAGNA with HOMEMADE ENCHILADA SAUCE

 
I had a huge bag of tortilla chips that were going stale and I hate to waste food so I decided I would use them in a Mexican Lasagna Recipe.  Normally I use regular corn tortillas as the "noodles" for the lasagna but hey, tortilla chips are tortillas just crispier and salted, right?  Feel free to use regular tortillas as your noodles if you choose!
 
 I didn't have any canned enchilada sauce though and I almost abandoned this whole idea until it dawned on me I might be able to make my own!  So I Googled for some Enchilada Sauce Recipes and went from there.  I rarely use a recipe as is, I am always putting my own little twist to it.  In the case of my Smokin' Sweet Enchilada Sauce I changed up the spices (a lot!) and added some agave syrup.  I never make marinara sauce or any tomato sauce without added a little bit of sugar or sweetness of some kind to balance the acid in the tomatoes so here I used agave syrup!  BTW, you can make enchilada sauce without any tomatoes or tomato sauce at all but I like the added body it lends to the finished sauce.

I also added Italian Sausage instead of just using ground sirloin/hamburger because I love that in this recipe for the best Taco Salad ever!

Smokin' Good Mexican Lasagna

1 Large Bag of Corn Tortilla Chips*
1 Lb. Sweet Italian Sausage
1/2 Lb. 80% or higher Hamburger/Ground Sirloin
1 Can of Black Beans
1 Medium Onion, Diced
2 Anaheim Chilies, Spit and Seeded, Roasted, Diced
1 Pint Low Fat Cottage Cheese (or Ricotta!)
8 Oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
8 Slices Smoked Gouda Cheese
Smokin' Enchilada Sauce*

TOOLS: Large Non-Stick Saute Pan, Baking Sheet, Measuring Spoons, Large Baking Dish

CREATE YOUR SMOKIN' GOOD MEXICAN LASAGNA 

Here's exactly the steps I took in order to create my Smokin' Good Mexican Lasagna:
  • Grease your Baking Dish and set aside.
  • Split and seed the Anaheim Chilies then place them in the oven on a baking sheet at 450° to roast while you prepare the Smokin' Sweet Enchilada Sauce - Recipe Below* and cook your meats.
  • Put the hamburger (sirloin) and the Italian Sausage into a very large non-stick skillet.  Brown to get a nice bit of caramelization on the meat then reduce heat and cook through. You don't need to add any oils here as the meats will produce their own fat.
  • Remove the cooked meat and set aside in the fridge, leaving the drippings in the pan.
  • Add your diced onion and sweat down in the savory fat from the meats, then scoop out the onions and set those aside with the meat.
YOUR SMOKIN' ENCHILADA SAUCE IS READY, RIGHT?
  • Pour a third of the sauce into the greased baking dish.
  • Crush your bag of tortilla chips into fairly large chunks and layer half of the bag on top of the first sauce layer.
  • Then LAYER in half the cooked meats, black beans and onions.
  • Then all the cottage cheese (or ricotta) and all the Anaheim Chilies.
  • Then another third of the sauce.
  • Then layer on the slices of smoked Gouda.
  • Then the rest of the crushed chips.
  • The rest of the meats, beans and onions go next.
  • Then the whole package of shredded cheddar.
  • Top the whole thing off with the remainder of the enchilada sauce and set in the refrigerator to "marinate" and to allow sauce to soak in.
Bake at 350° for an hour and serve with a nice green salad and some of my Tangerine Salsa or Pico de Gallo, Avocado, Sour Cream and bowls of additional toppings like chopped Jalapenos, Sliced Olives, Extra Shredded Cheese and whatever else you can think of to dress it up.
 
 
*Smokin' Sweet Enchilada Sauce

2 - 14 Oz. Cans Tomato Sauce
2 Cans Water
6 Tbsp. Chili Powder
2 Tbsp. Smoked Paprika
2 Tsp. Garlic Powder
2 Tsp. Onion Powder
2 Tsp. Cumin
1 Tsp. Marjoram
1 Tsp Coriander
4 Tbsp. Flour
2 Tsp. Sea Salt
Black Pepper to Taste
2 Tbsp. Agave Syrup
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil*
 
 MAKE THE SMOKIN' SWEET ENCHILADA SAUCE 
  • by adding the 4 tablespoons of flour to the meat drippings in the skillet. *I added only 1 extra tablespoon of olive oil here because the drippings were about a tablespoon of fat. Blend the flour into the oils until smooth.
  • Add in all your spices and blend into the roue of flour/fat.
  • Add in your can of tomato sauce, stir in.
  • Fill tomato can with water and stir that in.
  • Heat this together over a medium heat until all is well blended and smooth.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes on lo, stirring occasionally.
Your Anaheim chilies should be nicely roasted by now with a nice bit of char on them so remove from the oven and chop in to chunks about 1/4" in size. (I tossed mine into a Bullet blender and gave them a couple of pulses, shaking in between each pulse)

VIVA EL CASSEROLE!


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