Dec 31, 2012

Debbie's Chips and Salsa

My cousin Debbie invited my dad and me up to Salt Lake City yesterday for dinner. In addition to enjoying some wonderful family time, we had a delectable meal of chicken enchiladas, Mexican rice, refried beans, chips and salsa, and coconut cake. Though all the food was delicious, I thought the salsa was particularly good and unusual in that it had a slightly sweet taste to it. So I asked Debbie for the recipe. It doesn't require any fresh ingredients other than fresh cilantro, so it could be made any time of year.

2 cans diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dried minced garlic
2 mounded tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup lime juice, fresh or reconstituted

Combine ingredients in blender and pulse until the salsa reaches the desired consistency. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes. Just before serving, add 1 bunch finely chopped fresh cilantro. Serve with Tostitos Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips.

Dec 26, 2012

Shrimp and Cream Cheese Spread

This simple recipe is a long-time Clark family classic. We've never made it without our homemade chili sauce, but I assume that you could make do with a commercial version, if pressed.

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 to 1/2 cup chili sauce (this is a key source of the spread's flavor, and homemade chili sauce is by far the best; I haven't actually measured the exact amount, but there should be enough for there to be a thin layer over the cream cheese)
1 hard boiled egg, chopped
1 4-ounce can tiny shrimp, drained and crumbled
1/2 to 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Crackers (we usually use Ritz crackers or Wheat Thins)

Spread softened cream cheese on a flat platter, approximately 9 inches in diameter. Top with chili sauce and sprinkle with chopped, hard boiled egg and broken shrimp. Add parsley, if desired. Chill. Serve spread on crackers.

Chocolate Marshmallow Brownies

I've always loved this type of brownie. The pillowy marshmallow topping makes them a comfort food for me. This classic recipe, with very slight modifications, is from Six Sixters' Stuff blog.

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 (10 oz) package of miniature marshmallows

Soften butter and blend in sugar and cocoa. Beat together and add 4 eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one. Add flour, salt and vanilla and mix well.

Spread on large (10 x 15 x 1-inch) greased cookie sheet. Bake 22-25 minutes at 350. Remove from oven and cover entire top with 1 package of miniature marshmallows. Return to oven for 3 minutes, until marshmallows are soft and puffy. Cool and frost with chocolate frosting.

Chocolate Frosting:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), softened
1/4 cup milk
1-2 tsp vanilla (depending on your taste)
3 tablespoons of cocoa
2-3 cups of powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients with a hand mixer until smooth. Add more powdered sugar or milk until you reach desired consistency and spread on top of bars.

Dec 9, 2012

Bacon-Wrapped Pineapple Bites

Easy, easy appetizer. The salty, chewiness of the bacon makes a good combination with the sweetness of the pineapple and the brown sugar.

1 whole pineapple, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks (the original recipe called for canned pineapple, so that is an option, but fresh pineapple is so much better; actually, I used pre-cut fresh pineapple from Costco)
1 pound thin-sliced bacon, cut in half
3 to 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap each chunk of pineapple in a half strip of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place on a wire baking rack or lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with brown sugar. Preheat broiler. Place the pan under the broiler for a few minutes. Keep your eyes on the pineapple bites so they don't burn. Let cool slightly and serve. Makes 25 pineapple bites.