Sunday, April 19, 2009

Baked Flautas with Roasted Corn Salad

At my job, sometimes my producer/client will order lunch in. In a way it’s fun to get lunch free, and to try out dishes from restaurants. But, it’s a bit of a minefield for me because I try to eat somewhat healthy. At one restaurant, I got the Flautas, not knowing what they were really. I was a little bummed to discover they were fried. Don’t get me wrong, they were good, it’s just I try to not eat fried foods. So the other day while “blog surfing” I found a recipe for baked flautas. I had a pork roast in the freezer I could use up, and this seemed like a great meal to prepare on Friday, my day of recovering from my busy work week.

I’m also submitting this to a blogging event for Mexican inspired foods. Joelen does these great blogging events, you should check out her webpage for more info. Previously I submitted these Spicey Honey Brushed Chicken Thighs for a blogging event focusing on measuring tools. It’s a fun little thing to do, and it gets exposure to your blog!

Carnitas
adapted & inspired by David Lebowitz & All Recipes

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon Pampered Chef Chiptole Chile Rub (or ancho chili powder)
1 (4 pound) boneless pork shoulder roast
2 bay leaves
1-2 jalapenos, seeds & membrane removed
water

Rub the pieces of pork shoulder all over with salt. Refrigerate for 1- to 3-days. (You can skip this step if you want. Just be sure to salt the pork before searing the meat in the next step.)

Heat the oil in a skillet on the stovetop. Mix together salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, cinnamon, chili powder, and chipotle chili powder in a bowl. Coat pork with the spice mixture. Cook the pieces of pork shoulder in a single layer until very well-browned, turning them as little as possible so they get nice and dark before flipping them around.

Remove pork from pan and transfer to slow cooker. Pour a little water into the pan and swirl around to get the browned bits loosened. Add to slow cooker. Add enough water to almost cover the pork, but not quite. Layer sliced jalapenos on top. Cover and cook on high for 9-10 hours, or low for 4-5 hours.

Remove from slow cooker and shred with two forks, discarding excess fat.


Flautas
from foodstuff

10-12 flour tortillas (I used whole wheat, and they tasted great)
shredded carnitas (above)
2 cups shredded cheese
1 can black beans
1 cup salsa
1/2 onion, minced
Olive oil for brushing over tops

Preheat oven to 375. Warm tortillas in foil for 10 minutes in oven. Spread a little of each ingredient in a line down the middle of the tortilla and roll up as tight as possible. Place on greased cookie sheet, seam side down. Once, you’ve made them all, brush with olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve with salsa and guacamole.

Roasted Corn Salad
adapted from Recipezaar

4 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1/2 small red bell pepper, finely diced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
avocado (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix all ingrediants, except cilantro, together in a large bowl.

Spread ingredients onto a large cookie sheet in a thin layer. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes. If you are using frozen corn you will need to increase your roasting time by about 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool.  Garnish with avocado if desired.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Orange Bundt Cake

As Easter was approaching I began to daydream of a light and airy orange vanilla Bundt cake. (What you don’t daydream of cake? I do. Just ask my facebook friends about my recent status updates.) I wanted a cake that was free of super sweet frosting; something that screamed spring. I finally settled on this recipe from Taste of Home.

This was a pretty simple cake to make. I was most nervous about pouring the batter into the pan! I have a somewhat weak arm from breaking it three seperate times, plus my batter bowl is kind of heavy. I was afraid I’d slip up and pour it in the hole in the middle! But, I did a fine job. After pouring it into the pan I did my best to spread it around evenly, but next time, as I’ve learned, I’ll do a better job of pushing the batter up the sides of the pan. I’ve read that helps it bake evenly. Mine rose up the sides, but then did a lot of expanding in between the outer edge and the inner circle. So I ended up trimming the bottom so it would sit a little flatter. Now, mind you, this wasn’t a problem, because it allowed me to sample the cake!

I still need to get a hang of the whole glaze thing. I might of had it too thin as a lot ran off. What made me really happy about this cake was you can really enjoy the flavors of the cake itself, and the glaze was a light compliment. Sort of like the icing on the cake… (Now I see where that analogy came from.) I loved that this cake gave me the chance to use my Bundt pan, and microplane grater for the first time. They were purchases from a recent trip to a Williams Sonoma outlet.

I went ahead and juiced the orange I had zested so I could use the fresh juice in the glaze. I waited to glaze the cake until just before serving. I also added some extra orange zest to the glaze, because I couldn’t resist the lovely orange citrus aroma. Yum. This was a great cake, and I hope to make it again; maybe the next time I have that orange vanilla craving hit. It was the perfect spring cake.

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Orange Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

CAKE:
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk

GLAZE:
2 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons orange juice (I used freshly squeezed)

Directions:

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy; beat in the eggs, orange peel and extracts. Combine flour and baking powder; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.

Pour into a greased and floured 12-cup fluted tube pan. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool. For glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and juice until smooth. Spoon over cake. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Nutritional Info: (1 slice) Calories: 373 Fat: 13 g Saturated Fat: 8 g Cholesterol: 86 mg Sodium: 215 mg Carbohydrate: 59 g Fiber: 1 g Protein: 5 g

Nutritional Info: (1 slice) Calories: 373 Fat: 13 g Saturated Fat: 8 g Cholesterol: 86 mg Sodium: 215 mg Carbohydrate: 59 g Fiber: 1 g Protein: 5 g

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hot Broccoli Dip

This dip is my “go-to” recipe for throwing a party, or going to a potluck. It’s VERY simple to prepare; and you can even make it the night before. I love that it’s colorful. In case you haven’t noticed, I love color in my food! This was a dish served it at my very first Pampered Chef party. The host actually showed us how to make it as a demonstration. I can’t tell you how many guests burned their mouth on this that day! Haha… I think pretty much every person at the party requested the recipe.

After serving it at my party (in mid-November) that year I had to promise to make it for Thanksgiving. I made it again for my other Grandma’s Christmas (to appease THOSE relatives who came to my Pampered Chef party). I made it again for a bachelorette party. Again at my Sex & the City movie premiere party. And most recently for another bachelorette party/lingerie shower. These pics however are from when I made it for a Super Bowl party. I “misplaced” the USB card my pictures were on, and just recently discovered it. So I am very happy to share the recipe & fabulous pictures with you. The pictures are courtesy my friend, budding amateur photographer, Kristen Wiltse. Thanks Kristen!

The only altering I did to the original recipe, is that I use red onion instead of white. I love the orange cheese, the red onion (which we all know is really PURPLE), the red pepper, and the green broccoli. I always make this with light mayo, and light sour cream to save a few calories. This dip isn’t nearly as unhealthy as other party dips, so I never feel too guilty eating it. I prefer it with pita bread cut into triangles, but feel free to serve it with tortilla chips. If you can, go the extra mile and freshly grate the parmesan cheese yourself. Also, every time I’ve made this, I made it in the large Deep Dish Baker. So here is the recipe if you’re feeding a crowd. This is the recipe doubled, as that’s how I’ve always made it, but feel free to halve the recipe if you’re feeding fewer people.

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Hot Broccoli Dip

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1/4 cup red onion
2 Tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 garlic cloves
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream (I always buy light)
1 cup mayo (I always use light)
1/4 (or more!) ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Chop broccoli, onion and bell pepper; place in bowl. Grate Parmesan cheese; add 1/4 cup to vegetable mixture. Press garlic using garlic press, or mince; add to vegetables, along with remaining ingredients, mixing well. Spoon into baking dish. Bake 30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese over top and surround with pita chips, tortilla chips, or pita bread.

Nutritional info: (2 tablespoons dip): Calories 70, Total Fat 6 g, Saturated Fat 2.5 g, Cholesterol 15 mg, Carbohydrate 2 g, Protein 3 g, Sodium 135 mg, Fiber 0 g

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fluffy Fruit Dip

There are times in life, I ask myself, WWJD?

WWJD with this fruit tray? I knew we would be having a tray of fruit for my friend Krystal’s bachelorette party/lingerie shower. So I asked myself, WHAT WOULD JAMIE DO? hehehe… My friend Jamie is a great hostess. When some friends & I went over to her place after work one night (the night I brought these meringues), she had fresh fruit with this yummy wonderful dip. We devoured the dip. Because I knew how tasty it was, I knew I needed to make it for Krystal’s party. Sure enough it got devoured there too. Sorry I don’t have an amazing picture that lives up to the tastiness of this dip. I’ll definitely make it again and get a better picture, but I couldn’t wait any longer to share this. It’s so easy to whip up, and can be adapted for different flavors.

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Fluffy Fruit Dip

from my friend Jamie

Ingredients:

2/3 container of whipped topping, such as Cool Whip (I used HFCS-free TruWhip, learn more about it at the bottom of the post)
2/3 container marshmallow fluff
about 1/2 a packet of Jello Pudding (the small sized box), any flavor

Directions:

Combine whipped topping and marshmallow fluff. Stir until combined. Add in Jello pudding powder and stir well.

Feel free to use more or less whipped topping, marshmallow fluff, or pudding mix to your taste. I had a relatively small bowl to put it in, so that's why I didn't use the whole container. I used Coconut flavored pudding, because that's what I had on hand, but you could easily customize it to your liking. I know from experience that banana flavor is good, and I could imagine lemon, vanilla, or even cheesecake flavor tasting great as well! You could also easily substitute a sugar-free pudding flavor, and a lite or fat free whipped topping.

**My review of TruWhip: This stuff was awesome! In my opinion, it had MUCH better flavor than Cool Whip does. It has a subtly different sweetness. I DEFINITELY recommend it, especially if you are trying to cut out HFCS wherever you can. I picked mine up at Whole Foods.