Monthly Archives: April 2010

Basic Taco Seasoning

I don’t know about you but I really don’t like to use the packaged seasoning mixes much anymore. They are too full of preservatives and secret ingredients that make me uneasy. So I’ve started to make my own. You will probably have these spices on hand anyway so might as well put them to good use! I’ve researched many recipes for this and came up with a good combination that I like the best. This recipe also makes about 2/3 cup of seasoning. This way you don’t have to keep making it every time you need it! It’ll be on hand and you will know exactly what is in it. Store it in an airtight container. You can even save the old spice bottles and use them. If you like hotter spice you can always add more of the chili powder or if you find it too hot, cut the amount of chili powder. It’s your choice! Have fun!

INGREDIENTS:

¼ cup chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons paprika

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 ½ tablespoons crushed sea salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a small bowl mix all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: About 2/3 cup


**Coming Next Sunday: Basic Chili Seasoning

Slow Cooker Party Meatballs

Who doesn’t like meatballs? Nobody that I know anyway! These party meatballs are one of the easiest recipes for a party! There is no real cooking involved other than turning on the slow cooker and stirring! If you feel the need to make your own little meatballs be my guest but using the frozen pre-made ones is so simple, especially for a party when prep-time is precious. There are only five ingredients so how hard can it be! They are so good and the guests will love them!

INGREDIENTS:

1 oz. brown gravy, dry mix

¼ cup whole berry cranberry sauce

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 ½ pounds of small frozen meatballs

¼ cup cream (you can leave this out if you like)


DIRECTIONS:

1. In a slow cooker, mix gravy according to package directions. Stir in cranberry sauce and mustard.

2. If using the cream, stir it in now. This adds a nice finish and mellows the flavor.

3. Add frozen meatballs and stir to coat.

4. Cook 3-4 hours on HIGH power or 6-8 hours on LOW.

5. At party time, lift meatballs from gravy and slotted spoon and serve in a dish with toothpicks. OR, for a more casual party, serve meatballs directly from slow cooker. (This is what I usually do as it keeps the meatballs hot.)

6. Eat!

Key Lime Pie Martini

Yes, we like martinis. You will be seeing many martini recipes in this blog. John is always looking for a new creation to try. This one is just so good you can’t drink just one! When we’ve made them in the past we didn’t rim the glasses with anything but you can definitely rim them with crushed graham cracker crumbs. These martinis go down so smoothly. Great for a warm humid day in the tropics. You can pretend! The recipe ingredients are listed in ‘parts’ so just make the ‘parts’ consistent. For example the recipe calls for 2 parts of one item and 1 part of another. You can make 1 part = 2 ounces, which is usually safest. A shot glass is usually 2 ounces. Just multiply the ingredients for how many drinks you’re making. So for one drink 2 parts = 4 ounces and 1 part = 2 ounces. We use those little Oxo measuring cups for our bar, they are the same as a shot glass but easier to pour and measure. So go check the liquor store for the key ingredient in this recipe and pretend you’re in Key West!

INGREDIENTS:

2 parts KeKe Beach Key Lime Cream Liqueur*

1 part vanilla vodka**

Splash of heavy cream***


DIRECTIONS:

1. Chill martini glasses in freezer or refrigerator beforehand. If you need to chill quickly or if no room in freezer or refrigerator just put some ice in the glasses and fill with water to chill. When ready to use wet glass edges with a lime and then rim glasses with graham cracker crumbs (if you want the crumbs.)

2. Fill a cocktail shaker about one-third with ice. Pour ingredients into shaker and shake vigorously so that a frothy white head forms when poured. Pour into prepared glasses and garnish with a lime!

3. Sit back and relax!!

*KeKe Beach Key Lime Cream Liqueur comes in a 750ml solid white bottle, usually found with the liqueurs.

**If you don’t have vanilla vodka use plain vodka, it comes out just as good.

***If you don’t have heavy cream you can use half-and-half. The cream is better though.

Crustless No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Pie

This recipe is one of John’s favorites. He likes to make it himself. We don’t use a crust with it because as anyone who knows John, carbs are a no-no for him. But feel free to use a prepared graham cracker crust if you like! When you don’t use the crust it’s also harder to have the cheesecake slices actually look like slices. So just be imaginative and pretend they are slices. They will actually be more like a creamy pudding like dessert. Either way it still tastes awesome and refreshing! We also use a sugar-substitute in this, sucralose (Splenda). You don’t have to. If you want to use real sugar the amounts are exactly the same. We also use light cream cheese, light sour cream and light or no sugar added whipped topping, but feel free to use the regular kind!

DIRECTIONS:

8 oz. light cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup sugar-substitute (we use sucralose)

1 cup light sour cream

2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

8 oz. prepared light whipped topping (Cool Whip, etc.)

1 lb. fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthwise


DIRECTIONS:

1. Beat the cream cheese until smooth with an electric mixer.  Gradually beat in the sugar. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla until just combined. Fold in the whipped topping. Scrape mixture into a round pie dish. Chill for at least 4 hours in refrigerator.

2. Once chilled arrange strawberry slices as you wish around the pie. You can fill the entire pie if you have enough strawberries. Serve!

Serves 8

** If you use all the fully loaded ingredients and a pie crust each slice would be about 450 calories and 26 grams of fat!! Our version still tastes great and with a lot fewer calories and fat!

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