Saturday, January 24, 2009

Roasted Candied Pecans

Well it is never a surprise when I change a menu, actually the surprise would be to stay on task and complete the menu as described in the beginning stages. But reality is, that in the beginning it is more of an outline of options; than a finished and true menu.

So with that said, here is the real menu!

Double mushroom soup & Roasted tomato soup, these did not change. I wanted to have a soup course and thought it would be fun to try each. Also the leftovers will make great quick dinners later on.

Salad, this also did not change. But this morning I roasted some pecans to sprinkle over the salad.

Meatloaf with caramelized onions and sun dried tomatoes. Again this did not change.

Pork and Ham stew with cranberries and wine. This is a change. I have things in the pantry to make this with and again the leftovers will be put to good use. I am going to use the recipe from Noble Pig, I enjoy her blog. She is a great and artistic cook.

Oven roasted green beans, again not a change.

I want to make a batch of 5 minute artisan bread for the refrigerator. I will bake a pan of rolls to go with the soup/salad. Another change, but a good one!

Mashed potatoes, these will go great with both the meatloaf and the stew. Not a change, but I won't make rice and peas.

In place of the Orange glazed carrots, I will serve buttered peas. That way if the green beans are not a choice for everyone, there is another vegetable to choose from. And besides, 2 green vegetables is never wrong!

Lemon Meringue pie. I bought a bag of lemons just for this!

Chilled mint squares, another change. This is delicious, and a great frugal way to use up your Christmas candy canes, in a completely different way. I will share the recipe here.

I came home early from work on Friday, I felt the beginnings of a cold/virus coming on. This morning I am better, I will work at a slower pace for the rest of the weekend, but I am looking forward to this Sunday Cafe and starting out our family tradition for 2009.

Here is a very easy candied nut recipe. This is adapted from Everybody likes Sandwiches.

3 c pecan or walnut halves

2 T butter
2 T real maple syrup
2 T brown sugar

optional 1/8 - 1/4 t cayenne pepper

sea salt in a grinder (or add 1/4 t salt to the syrup mixture)

Spread the nuts in a 9X13 pan, warm and toast at 300 degrees for 15 minutes.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a small sauce pan, melt together and bring to a simmer on low heat. Remove pan form oven and drizzle the syrup over nuts, stir to coat all sides. Return to the oven and roast 10 minutes, stir and return for 10 minutes more. Remove from oven and spread out on a wax paper covered tray. If using salt in a grinder, salt the nuts while the syrup is still sticky. Let cool and enjoy.

You will have no trouble eating these. You can adjust the cayenne or not use it at all. These are wonderful chopped and sprinkled over a salad.

Enjoy your day!


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Stay the course, with an update

I got a start on 2009 in 2008.

We were watching a movie and the phone rang.

It was the bank. They had stayed late to make a few calls to their customers that had a high interest rate, that is high for our current financial outlook. Would there be an interest in refinancing the house at a lower rate? Why yes there would be, actually it was something I had an interest in, yet had not had the time to call my bank and inquire. So a conversation lasting about 15 minutes and we are almost 2 full interest points lower. YOO HOO!

Along with that, I plan on continuing on in my usual frugal style; with that said......

Chicken and bean roll ups enchilada style

2 c cooked chicken*
1 can pork and beans
1 can diced chilies
don't use corn tortillas, see below
cheddar cheese
homemade enchilada sauce
2 c grated cheddar cheese

Homemade enchilada sauce

1 T oil
3 T flour divided
1 t cocoa
1 t garlic salt
2 t oregano
3 c water
8 oz can tomato sauce
1 T dried minced onion (if using fresh increase to 1/4 c)

Use the oil and 1 T of the flour to
make a roux, cook over medium
low heat until deep golden brown, taking care not to let it overcook.

In a medium bowl, combine all remaining dry ingredients. Mix well to combine and mix in cocoa.

Add a small amount of water, and make a smooth thin paste. Add remaining water and tomato sauce, stir well to combine. Add to roux in saucepan and simmer until thickened. Stir in dried onion, set aside.

When ready to fill the tortillas, ladle 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of a large baking pan or 2 smaller pans. In the photo I have used a 11X15 pan, you could also use 2 8X8 pans.

Open pork and beans and pour off the top liquid. Combine the remaining beans, chicken and the roasted chilies.

Heat a medium fry pan over medium heat, heat the tortillas until soft, it will not take a long time and you will not need to use oil. Simply heat until warm, turn over and repeat, remove the tortilla to fill, adding another tortilla to the pan to heat.

Place about 3 T of the chicken mixture in center of the softened tortilla, and roll up. DO NOT OVER FILL THE TORTILLAS. Work quickly as the tortilla will cool and it will be difficult to roll the filling tightly.

Repeat the process until you have
used up the filling or the pan! If you run out of pan before using up the filling simply scatter the rest of the filling over the rolls in your pan.

You may find that the tortillas will split after they begin cooling
do not worry, remember you will cover with sauce and cheese.

Grate 4 oz of cheddar cheese, you
will have about 2 c of grated cheese.

Scatter the cheese evenly over the top of the pan(s)

Bake 350 degrees 25-30 minutes.

Serves 8-10

* you could cook a couple of chicken thighs or the chicken could be saved from another meal.

Thanks for stopping by,


update: We just finished our dinner, and this was tasty, but the texture of the corn tortillas was mushy and took away from the dish overall. I will make this again, but I will use flour tortillas of the same size, flour tortillas cook up better and retain a better consistency.