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Colleen’s cranberry salad

Giving thanks to the Lord, our family and our friends. Be safe and be kind. 

If you follow my recipes at all you know I am always reinventing the wheel so to speak. Again, I have altered an old recipe to make it even better…..I think anyway. Super easy and you probably already have this stuff on hand for Thanksgivings dinner. I am even thinking of making this throughout the year, it is light and full of flavor. 

  • 1 bag cranberries, washed and drained
  • 2 oranges cut out the pulp, no rind or skin: BUT save one sliver of rind.
  • 2 stalks celery finely chopped
  • 1 honeycrisp Apple finely chopped
  • 1 small can crushed pineapple drained ( I had hunks and blended it for a minute)
  • 11/2 cup of sugar

In a processor of your choice chop cranberries and orange pieces INCLUDING THE LITTLE RIND PIECE. Add sugar mix well. Place in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Stir and boil 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. In a large mixing bowl add chopped celery and apple then pinapple. Mix well. When the cranberry mixture is cool add to the celery and apples, mix  again then put into your serving container, refrigerator over night. 

I am thinking you might get away with a cup of sugar but not sure if it will set up as well. You can add finely chopped walnuts if desired. 

As always enjoy……..and happy Thanksgiving to you all. 

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Moroccan vegetables

I love spices and vegetables, but do not like to make the same thing over and over again. Usually I use only spinach and Moroccan seasoning. Today was a bit different. I had      a refrigerator full of miscellaneous produce and needed to use them up. So this is what I came up with. 

  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 sticks celery chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 1/3 bell pepper chopped
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves thin sliced garlic
  • 1 good teaspoon salt ( as opposed to a bad teaspoon)
  • 1 sliced zucchini
  • 1 sliced yellow squash
  • 1 teaspoon Moroccan spice
  • 4 small tomatoes quartered 
  • Kale ( I had small leaves from the garden I used about 10, choice is yours on how much do to size)
  • 1 can chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 lemon

Heat a shallow pan then add olive oil, onions, carrots and celery, bell pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, add garlic, salt, squashes and seasoning stir and place a lid on it for ten minutes. Add broth, stir in. Place tomatoes and kale on the top cover and cook ten more minutes. 

I added Klamata olives, I did not care for them too much in this dish. I also added some slow cooked venison which was awesome. You could add a protein to make it a complete dish. 

After cooking and once served up squeeze the lemon on top. 

I served this once with couscous and once with pre cook lasagna noodles sprinkled with parimisian cheese, olive oil and baked. Both where awesome. 

As always we hope you enjoy.

Moroccan vegetables

I love spices and vegetables, but do not like to make the same thing over and over again. Usually I use only spinach and Moroccan seasoning. Today was a bit different. I had a refrigerator full of miscellaneous produce and needed to use them up. So this is what I came up with. 

  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 sticks celery chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 1/3 bell pepper chopped
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves thin sliced garlic
  • 1 good teaspoon salt ( as opposed to a bad teaspoon)
  • 1 sliced zucchini
  • 1 sliced yellow squash
  • 1 teaspoon Moroccan spice
  • 4 small tomatoes quartered 
  • Kale ( I had small leaves from the garden I used about 10, choice is yours on how much do to size)
  • 1 can chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 lemon

Heat a shallow pan then add olive oil, onions, carrots and celery, bell pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, add garlic, salt, squashes and seasoning stir and place a lid on it for ten minutes. Add broth, stir in. Place tomatoes and kale on the top cover and cook ten more minutes. 

I added Klamata olives, I did not care for them too much in this dish. I also added some slow cooked venison which was awesome. You could add a protein to make it a complete dish. 

After cooking and once served up squeeze the lemon on top. 

I served this once with couscous and once with pre cook lasagna noodles sprinkled with parimisian cheese, olive oil and baked. Both where awesome. 

As always we hope you enjoy.

Pumpkin spice for breakfast

This year all the craze seems to be pumpkin spice. Not sure I would like it, just sounds, well….strange. We should eat pumpkin pie not drink it right? Have to say I am a changed person. While shopping I saw our favorite milk company had a small pumpkin spice drink ” for a limited time”. I got suckered in and bought some. All I can say is yum. John and I both hand a small glass. At 250 calories per cup…..I think this needs to be rationed. 

Well this morning I poured John an orange juice and said “hey, what about a pumpkin orange drink”? Using half oj and half pumpkin spice milk drink I mixed in a small glass and stirred. Sipped……and Shazam …..tastes like a 50 50 bar with a hit of pumpkin spice. 

Just thought I would share. 

As always we hope you enjoy. 

Fresh beet salad

Beets are a vegetable you either love or not. It is hard to hide in a dish because of the beautiful color. Yes, there are yellow beets however the red, brilliantly bright colored one works great for this salad. It just pops with the green leaves, burgundy red colors and soft flavor of the dressing. Vegans will love this dish as well. Heck my husband loved it and I will be making it again tonight. 

Beets seem to come in bunches of three; I used one beet and half the beets greens for a batch. It was more than enough for a nice side salad with our meal. I am thinking you could use all the greens, and all the beets to make a larger batch, having left overs for a few days to come. The small amount we had left was excellent the next day. 

  • 1 bunch of beets ( three beets with greens attached)
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seed oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce 

When you bring the beets home wash the beets and leaves, then cut the tops off the beet bulb and place stems with leaves in a flower vase type container with water. Put in the refrigerator. Pat dry the beets and store the beets in a bag until you are ready to use. 

Dressing: mix the vinegar, oil and salt in a high sided bowl. ( so you do not spill while whipping) with a whisk beat until the oil gets cloudy. Add soy sauce and beet some more, set aside. 

When you are ready to make the salad cut or tear the beet greens into a bowl, you can use some of the stems as well. Peel the beet to remove the outer skin. Then grate the beet on the normal grater side until all the beet is used up. Add to the torn greens, toss with the dressing. I did not use all the dressing, only until coated. I refrigerated the salad while prepping the rest of the dinner. Toss again before serving. 

The remainder was excellent the next day too. The greens were not limp and the flavors held up great. 

As always we hope you enjoy. 

Refreshing iced tea

Iced tea is not just for summer……unless you live in the New England states. John visited this May and found iced tea was coming back on the menu to be served. Being from California and now Texas that is totally bazar to us, iced tea is a year long drink in these western states.

Figures that close to the end of summer I have come up with a new combination of tea bags, making a refreshing flavorful drink. No sugar is needed but if you desire you can add some. 

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 large family size tea bags ( I use Luzianne) 
  • 1 regular size lemon/ginger flavor bag
  • Cool water to fill pitcher

I heat water in a sauce pan, when it boils I remove from the heat and add the bags. Push down so they get thoroughly soaked. Let sit for thirty minutes. Pour cool water into pitcher, remove teabags from pan and squeeze out. Pour seeped liquid into the pitcher. Add ice to a glass and serve. The lemon ginger adds just a nice hint of freshness for a better than normal cool refreshing glass.

As always we hope you enjoy. 

Green posole

We love stuff with tomatillos. Salsas, chile verde, and sauces. I had never made green posole before, in fact I did not even have a name for it until a high school student said, “oh you’re talking about green posole”. So, I guess it has been made before. This is an easy, tasty dish. Perfect for the upcoming cooler weather; Or even a football night. Just a few ingrediants are needed. But it takes a few hours to cook. 

  • 1/2 bag posole about 1-1 1/2 cups (soak overnight in some salt water) or use the package directions to prep it
  • 8-10 tomatillos 
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • Cilantro, chopped onion, Jalisco cheese, limes: all for toppers and/or garnish
  • 6 corn tortillas cut into thin strips 
  • Hand blender or regular blender

The night before or in the morning soak the posole in salted water. This will soften it up before cooking begins. Toss that water before using.

Remove outer leafy layer on the tomatillo, quarter them and place in a large sauce pan. Add salt and water, cover and cook over medium to medium high until soft. About 30 minutes. Meanwhile in a medium to large stock style pot add the chicken stock/broth and the posole, turn up the heat to get it to boil, this way it will start to cook. Brown ground pork with cumin. When finished drain and add to posole mixture. Tomatillos should be soft at this point. If you have a wand blender use that to cream the tomatillos, careful it is hot. If not let cool just a bit and place in a blender to cream. Add to posole and pork mixture.Stir then cover and simmer for a few hours or until posole is tender. 

Before serving chop cilantro, onions and break up cheese. Slice the lime for squeezing. Cut the tortillas in thin strips, using your broiler option on the oven place on a cookie sheet then under the broiler tossing with tongs every couple of minutes until nice and golden brown. 

As always we hope you enjoy 

Chipotle pork fingers

I am in a keno group, once a month I try and come up with something different. Having this can of cipotle peppers has been killing me…..since they are not too hot the ladies should like the flavor and not be blown away. (Texans have whimpy mouths). I had ground pork from the pig we had processed, filo dough and frozen spinach. Filo and spinach are always a great base for finger food. So, I came up with this tasty treat. Pretty easy to make especially if you do some prep work earlier in the day or the night before. 

  • 1. 5 pounds ground pork
  • 1 can chipotle peppers
  • 1 package frozen spinach
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package filo dough
  • Butter,  pastry brush
  • Small crockpot
  • Dipping sauce if desired  ( I used a yogurt based avocado, cilantro dressing, store bought)

To speed things up for the evening I was going to assemble I prepped the fillings earlier. The frozen spinach I thawed, opened, placed in a colander, then in a bowl. Leaving this in the refrigerator over night helped drain the water out. You will still need to squeeze the spinach in some paper towels or dish cloth to remove excess water before assembly. The pork I quickly browned that morning, grease and all I placed in the crockpot with the can of chipotle peppers and salt. Mix well and cook low for the day. This way all the flavors are blending together. Put filo dough in refrigerator the night before as well. 

To assemble drain water out of spinach. Break apart with a fork or your fingers so it is loose and easy to grab. The colander you used earlier for the spinach you can rinse and use now for the pork. You’ll need another bowl to rest the colander on. Using a  fork squish the peppers that are whole in the crockpot, if there are a few pieces that’s okay, no large ones though. Then with a slotted spoon scoop out pork mixture into colander and drain. You might need a back of a spoon to press on the meat to drain. Prepare filo dough according to package. Oven temp, care of dough, etc. You will need melted butter and a pastry brush. I used five sheets per assembly, buttering each in between. Cut into fourths or sixth, block shape. Scoop a spoonful of meat out (about 1  tablespoon) and place on dough then a good pinch ( 2 teaspoons in size) of spinach. Roll up tight by folding the ends and making it look like a burrito or egg roll. Place on cookie sheet. Brush outsides with butter.  Continue doing this until all meat is used, or you run out of something else. Bake according to package directions, until golden brown. 

These were good without sauce or with. 

As always we hope you enjoy. 

Chicken stuffed jalapeños 

Sometimes you just need a snack. We were in some intense game playing of backgammon and I did not want to break to make something large for dinner. Plus we had these beautiful peppers…..so I came up with this easy to make treat. 

  • 6 jalapeño peppers cut lengthwise seeded and viened
  • 1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 can chicken drained
  • 1 tablespoon mayo
  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease ( I keep a jar in the refrigerator ) 
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced roasted garlic 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Penzey’s Northwoods seasoning ( or something of your favorite spice) 

Heat oven to 400. Add everything but peppers in a bowl. With the back of a folk mush together until thoroughly blended and creamy like. Arrange pepper halves on cookie sheet. Take chicken mixture and shape pepper cavity size, filling each half, packing it in. Use all the mixture for the twelves pieces. Bake for 20 minutes. Move to broiler area and broil for 5-10 minutes until brown on top. 

That’s it. Serve plain or if you must with a dipping sauce. 

As always we hope you enjoy. 

Tropical rice

You would think the way I have been cooking lately I need a vacation. If you can not get there we can at least eat like we are there. We love rice, I made a fish dish ( in future post) and it needed a side. This turned out wonderful. It has a beautiful light flavor with natural sweetness. 

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 large can hunk pineapple plus the juice
  • 1 can coconut milk

In tall sauce pan mix all ingrediants together. Turn heat up pretty high until it starts to bubble. Stir, cover and reduce heat to medium low, cook 35-45 minutes. About halfway through gently stir rice mixture. Rice will be creamy and light. 

As always we hope you enjoy