Saturday, August 17, 2019

MICROWAVE POTATO CHIPS

This recipe is just way too much fun. No, they aren't like Lay's Potato Chips, but they ARE very tasty and there are a million variations!!


You can season these chips with just kosher salt (like I did) or hit them with BBQ seasonings or whatever seasoning hits your fancy, get creative!!

The first step is to slice a potato VERY THIN. A mandoline slicer would work well here, but I don't have one, so I just sliced them as thin as I could (with my sharpest knife).


Spray a glass (microwave safe) plate (I used a glass pie plate) with cooking spray and arrange the potato slices next to each other (not overlapping). Spray with a little more cooking spray and then sprinkle with kosher salt (or favorite seasoning + salt).


The length of time you microwave the slices will depend on how thick you cut the potatoes plus how strong your microwave is (aim for 5 to 7 minutes). I have a 900 watt microwave and the chips were nice and crispy at 6 minutes. FLIP THE SLICES OVER HALF WAY THROUGH THE COOK TIME.


ENJOY !!!

Monday, August 12, 2019

PORK AND PINTOS IN GRAVY

This recipe is very easy, totally delicious and rated as pure comfort food in our house. Fork tender pork tenderloin with pinto beans in a delicious gravy AND it all goes together in the crockpot!!

I like to serve this over rice, but it is equally as tasty stuffed into warm flour tortillas, or over a bed of toasted tortilla chips and smothered with cheese, avocado and sour cream. The possibilities are ENDLESS which is a (very) good thing. 


I like to use a 2 pound pork tenderloin for this recipe because it is nice and lean, but any (lean) 2-3 pound pork roast will work.

My crockpot is a big oval one and it tends to run a little hot, so the beans in this recipe are cooked and the pork is "fall apart tender" in 5 hours on the low setting.

Depending on YOUR crockpot, it could take as many as 7 hours on low, but that is unlikely, just start checking for meat tenderness after 5 hours.



2 pounds pork tenderloin
1 1/2 cups DRY pinto beans (rinse, but DO NOT soak)

1 (4 ounce) can of mild green chilies (I use Ortega)
3 teaspoons chili powder (see notes below)
2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 clove garlic minced
1 cup chopped sweet onion
healthy pinch of dry red pepper flakes(optional) (see note below)


Brown the pork well and put it in the crockpot. Saute the onions and garlic in the same pan and then put them in the crockpot with the DRY beans, spices and canned chilies. Pour a little water over the meat and beans (just enough water to mostly cover everything) it should look like this:



Make sure the liquid gets under the meat as well.

After cooking everything on low for a few hours, check the liquid level in the crockpot and add a little more water if necessary,  but not TOO much. This broth makes the BEST-BEST-BEST gravy!!

After 4-6 hours (or when the pork gets fork tender), take it out of the crockpot. If you are using a pork roast, remove any fatty sections and bones. Pull the meat apart just a little.

Turn the crockpot to high and thicken the liquid in the crockpot with a slurry of cornstarch and water, then put the meat back in the thickened gravy.


IT's DINNER TIME !!!




NOTE: A word about the heat or spice level in this recipe. My hubby doesn't like a lot of (hates) "heat" in his food. He likes strong flavors, but he does not like "fire" as he calls it. In this recipe, I use a small pinch of dry red pepper flakes (OR 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne) in this recipe. If you like a little more "fire", just increase the dry red pepper flakes (OR cayenne).

NOTE: If you have any beans left over after dinner, they make outrageous refried beans. Just put them in the food processor with a little of the gravy. You will never buy refried beans in a can again!!


NOTE: If I make this for children, I back off on the chili powder to 2 teaspoons and omit the chili flakes.




ENJOY !!!


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

FRESH PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE

I'm not sure WHY I've never thought of making a pineapple upside-down cake with FRESH pineapple before. Maybe it is because ALL of my cookbooks suggest canned pineapple? Maybe it is because canned pineapple is always in the pantry? Maybe it is because I'm not very adventurous? 

Well, this cake came about due to the rare combination of... "I want to bake something" + "what can I do with this very ripe pineapple?" + "the perfect window of time". 

The end result was this pineapple upside-down cake made with FRESH pineapple and it was delicious!! The difference is like night and day!!

FRESH PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

Preheat your oven to 350 and cut a parchment paper liner for the bottom of a 9" round cake pan. Spray the pan and parchment paper with a light coating of cooking spray. The parchment paper is not absolutely necessary, but it helps if you have a "sticking" issue with the sweet pineapple glaze (you can use waxed paper in a pinch).

5 tablespoons of melted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar (packed)
3 cups fresh pineapple cut into 1" cubes (see note)
maraschino cherries cut in half
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup pineapple juice (or milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter extract
1/2 cup pecans chopped medium-small

Mix melted butter with brown sugar and spread evenly in prepared 9" round cake pan. Set aside.

Cut pineapple into 1" chunks and blot them dry between several thicknesses of paper towel (press on them a little to extract excess juice).

For the batter, cream the butter and sugar until it is really fluffy. Under-beating the butter at this stage will give you a poor quality cake. After it is nice and fluffy, add the eggs (one at a time) and extracts and beat until its fluffy again.

Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl and add it to the butter mixture in three parts, alternately with the pineapple juice (or milk) starting and ending with the flour. Set aside.

Assembly: Nestle the pineapple, pecans and cherry pieces down into the brown sugar mixture in the cake pan (arrange in pretty fashion because this will show). Pour the cake batter over the top and (very gently) spread it out.

Bake in 350 oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean (my electric oven takes exactly 45 minutes). Remove from oven and sit pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. 

After 15 minutes, run a thin bladed knife around the edge of the cake and invert onto a serving plate and peel off the parchment paper. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: Traditionally, pineapple upside-down cake has pretty rings of pineapple with red cherries in the center of each ring. However, when the cake is baked like that, it is hard to eat. You either get a big unmanageable hunk of pineapple on your piece of cake or no pineapple at all (does that make sense?). Instead, I cut the pineapple into very small pieces (almost a dice) and arrange the cherries randomly over the cake. It is much easier to cut, serve and eat (even if it ISN'T traditional). If you use this diced pineapple style, it only takes two cups of diced fruit instead of three.

ENJOY !!!