Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Santa Fe Appetizer Tart – New Year’s Eve fare- adapted from Taste of Home Magazine

Well, my house is actually kinda quiet this morning as I edit and send this post. I love the holidays, don’t get me wrong, but all the comings and goings, all the special events, all the pressure of being jolly…. It can be tiring. I thrive on the routine I guess. There’s just one more big event to go this year – New Year’s Eve. Are you hosting or attending a party? Take this Santa Fe Tart and truly impress your friends. I hope your Christmas or Hanukah was peaceful, relaxing, full of the comfort of family and friends.  

This is a good recipe for a big crowd. It’s easy and fancy. People will be impressed. I serve this with extra corn chips and crackers, but it’s substantial enough to stand on its own. Unfortunately, I think I over baked mine this time…like a regular cheese cake, you can leave the center just a bit soft. It will firm up nicely.

Here’s what you need:
1 C crushed tortilla chips
3 T butter, melted
2 x 8 oz packages lite cream cheese
2 eggs
2 C shredded cheese (Monterey Jack, cheddar, pepper jack, whatever seems a good go-with here)
1 4 oz can green chilis
Some pickled jalapenos, chopped, add them to taste. ( I used about 6 slices)
1 C sour cream
1 yellow pepper – chopped
Minced green onions
Chopped tomatoes

Here’s what you do:
Combine the tortilla chips and butter. Press into the bottom of a greased spring form pan. I used a tart pan today and had to adjust both the amount of chips and the baking time.

Bake for about 15 minutes at 325 degrees. You should always put your spring form and tart pans on baking sheets in case some buttery goodness wants to leak out in the oven.

Mix the cream cheese and the eggs well. Stir in the shredded cheese and chili peppers. Pour over crust and bake for another 30 minutes. I think mine was baked too long….. As long as the center is set, it’s done.

Spread sour cream over the top while still warm. Allow to cool completely before removing rim. Cool overnight in refrigerator.

Garnish with yellow pepper, minced green onion and lots of tomatoes. Serves an army with leftovers.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

What I have been doing since Thanksgiving

What have I been doing since Thanksgiving you might ask? Let me show you …..

Took a trip with my daughter to sunny Florida to visit my parents. We relaxed. We ate out. We slept in. We watched movies. We shopped.
Beautiful Ocala, Florida

My mom is an excellent cook - we were constantly eating. 
My parents' neighbor.

Celebrated my son’s 20th birthday…..let’s see, you’re thinking…. If she has a son who is 20 then she must be around _____ years old! (Yes! I am not a spring chicken anymore! I even have a kid who is older than that!)
Nice University of Michigan cake - Maize and Blue.

Helped organize a children’s Christmas pageant at our school. Those little lambies always get me in the Christmas spirit.

Hosted a Christmas party for my church choir…. Way too much rich and tasty food! 

I made this: Santa Fe Appetizer Tart - recipe to come soon. 

Went on a field trip with my students to the Frederick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan to see their outstanding display of Christmas trees and holiday traditions from around the world.
Don't know much about the Indian holiday Diwali, but I was totally impressed by this display. Beautifully made with all natural food items - lentils, beans, rice. 

There is an excellent train display - all the buildings in the surrounding village are actually modeled after real building in Grand Rapids. They are constructed with all natural materials. Twigs and acorns and such.

Last, but not least, I have used the crock pot. Again and again. But Christmas is on the horizon, so that means great food in the near future!

Merry Christmas to you! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cream of Chicken and Saffron Soup

(I have shared this soup over on "My Little Home and Garden" Sunshine Sunday Link-Up)

Lovely. Simple. Comforting. Those are words I would use to describe this soup. Oh, and easy. The most difficult part of this recipe is dealing with the price of saffron! If you know anything about saffron, then you know how expensive it is. And if you know anything else about saffron, you are jealously drooling over my plentiful heap - can you see it in the lower corner of the photo below? My daughter brought it directly from Spain. LUCKY ME.

Here’s what you need:
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 C chicken stock (use the good stuff – it makes a difference)
¾ C dry white wine (mine comes from a box )
Pinch of saffron threads
¾ C heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Here’s what you do:
Soften the onion and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil. Don’t let them brown, just let them get soft and tender. Cut the chicken in small bite-size pieces.

Add the broth, wine and chicken to the pot and allow to simmer until chicken is cooked through. The cookbook said about 5 minutes, but I let it go a bit longer.

Add the saffron and cream. Season to taste. Serve.

(printable recipe)