Aug 6, 2017

Mexican Haystacks

Many of you may have tried Hawaiian Haystacks, but here's a Mexican version. I tried this dish for the first time yesterday, and I can tell already that it's going to be a favorite that I will make again and again. This recipe would be great for a family or even a large group. I think it would appeal to both adults and children. And like many recipes on this blog, it's very easy to make. You can find the original recipe here. Give it a try!

1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium beef broth (if using regular broth, cut down the salt in the recipe)
8-ounce can tomato sauce
15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn kernels (no need to thaw)
Lime wedges, for serving (optional)
Hot, cooked rice or quinoa for serving
Taco toppings of your choice: lettuce, sour cream, cheese, salsa, olives, diced tomatoes, green onions, Fritoes, avocado, etc

In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef or turkey, salt and pepper, and cook, breaking the meat into small pieces, until cooked through. Drain excess grease, if needed.
Stir in the paprika, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, oregano, garlic powder and flour. The mixture will be crumbly. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the meat and spices are fragrant and sizzling. Whisking quickly and constantly, slowly add the beef broth and tomato sauce about 1/2 cup at a time, letting the mixture thicken and bubble between additions before adding more. Stir in the black beans and corn. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook 5-7 minutes until thickened.
Serve the sauce over rice (or quinoa) with lime wedges and taco toppings.

Quick and Easy Blender Salsa

I've had this recipe on one of my Pinterest boards for a long time, but never got around to trying it until my niece Cate made this for one of our family reunion activities. I was impressed by how good it was. I like the recipe because it is quick, because you can make the salsa year round since it uses canned tomatoes, and because it tastes quite fresh. You can find the original recipe here.

1- 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1- 10 oz can original Ro-tel
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2-1 jalapeno, seeded or not (depends the degree of spiciness you prefer; I actually omitted this)
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
small to medium size handful of cilantro, washed
juice of one lime

Put all the ingredients in the base of a food processor or good blender (I used a stick blender) and pulse to combine for 30 seconds or so until all the ingredients are finely chopped and salsa is desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste. Serve with chips or over tacos.

May 7, 2017

Make-Ahead Refrigerator Bran Muffins

I've been looking for a good bran muffin recipe for a long time now. My mom had a recipe I liked when I was growing up, but it requires bran products that don't match what you can buy in stores anymore. And Provo Bakery has a honey bran muffin recipe that I love, but they won't divulge the recipe. So I was very happy to find this recipe at Mel's Kitchen Cafe. Like my mother's recipe, the batter can be stored in the fridge and baked as needed, which is convenient for a quick breakfast or dinner item once you've made the batter. These muffins are high in fiber, not too sweet, and they have a fairly delicate texture. Plus they are delicious!

4 cups wheat bran flakes or plain wheat bran
2 cups bran buds (these look like little pebbles) or all-bran (these look like little twigs
2 cups boiling water
4 cups buttermilk
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl with a tight fitting lid (needed if you aren't baking the muffin batter right away), add the wheat bran flakes or wheat bran and bran buds or all-bran. Pour boiling water over the top, and mix well. Stir every couple of minutes while mixture cools to room temperature. The mixture will be  thick and sticky. After the mixture cools to warm room temperature, add the buttermilk, melted butter, applesauce, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir until ingredients are combined. 
The batter can be baked right away or stored in the refrigerator, covered well, for up to a month to bake as needed. Give the batter a good stir before using if it has been refrigerated. 

To bake, scoop the batter into greased or lined muffin tins, filling 3/4 full. Bake at 375 degrees (350 degrees for dark coated muffin tins) for about 14-16 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Makes about 4 dozen muffins.