Sunday, July 28, 2013

Baked Stuffed Eight-ball Zucchini

Baked Eight-ball Zucchini Squash

1/2 lb. hamburger (or other favorite ground meat)
Scallions, chopped
Onion, diced
Green Bell Pepper, diced
1 Jalapeno, seeded and diced
salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning
1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup pepper Jack cheese, shredded,
fresh parsley, chopped
fresh tomato, chopped

Brown ground meat, saute green peppers and onions, drain and set aside.
Boil whole Eight-Ball Zucchini in water for about 10 minutes.
Set aside to cool.

Cut top (stem) of Squash, and hollow out any seeds and soft pulpy material.
Season lightly.
Chop tomato and place into meat.

Place cooled meat mixture into bowl and stir in shredded cheeses, blending lightly.
Stuff into squash.
Wrap in foil and seal tightly.
Place in oven at 350 for about 15 minutes
(just long enough to warm meat & melt cheese)
Garnish to taste.
The Zucchini will be very tender.

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Jack's Easy Green Bean Casserole

Jack's easy Green Bean Casserole

1 pound Green Beans
8 oz of shredded extra sharp cheese
16 oz sour cream
1/8 stick of butter
1 egg yoke
3 or 4 scallions, chopped
Paprika, salt, white pepper to season
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Melt cheese, sour cream, butter and seasoning in pot. Add egg yoke.
Steam beans, put in 9x11 or round baking dish, pour on cheese sauce…
sprinkle on bread crumbs and chopped up scallions.
Bake a 325 for 1/2 hour.

Smothered Pork Medallions with Sage and Apples

Smothered Pork Medallions with Sage and Apples
From Food Network Kitchens (photo from Jack's kitchen)
Cook Time: 22 min
Level:  Easy
Serves:  4 servings
  • 4 (6-ounce) boneless center-cut pork medallions
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 cooking apple, like Rome, Gravenstein, or Golden Delicious, peeled, halved, cored, and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
Heat a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Dry the pork medallions well and season with salt and pepper. Add the oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. Lay the pork in the pan and cook until browned on the first side, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook until the second side is browned, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the pork to a plate, and cover loosely with foil.
Add the onions to the skillet, stir and season with salt and pepper. Cover, and reduce heat to medium and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the cider vinegar and stir, scraping up the browned bits that cling to the skillet. Add the onions to the pork.
Add butter to skillet, raise heat to medium-high. Add the apples and sage; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the broth and mustard, and simmer until the apples soften, about 2 minutes. Return the onions and any accumulated juices from the pork to the skillet. Simmer to thicken slightly, about 2 minutes. Nestle the pork in the onions and heat until the meat is warmed through.
Divide the pork medallions among 4 plates and smother them with apples and onions. Serve.

Apple Cake

Apple Cake

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups butter or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (more if your family enjoys it)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups sliced peeled apples (Granny Smith are our favorites)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
(NOTE: If you don't enjoy baking from scratch, try using your favorite yellow cake mix with 1 1/2 cups of butter/oil and no water)
  1. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and butter. 
  2. In separate bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients and briefly mix with whisk or fingers. Then add to wet ingredients (batter will be very thick). Fold in apples and nuts.
  3. Pour into a greased 10-in. fluted tube pan (bundt pan). Bake at 325° for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
  4. For a glazed appearance, melt a little butter on the top of the cake to make it shiny.
  5. If desired, drizzle a honey glaze or powdered sugar glaze for more sweetness.
Honey Glaze
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup powdered sugar 
2 tablespoons water or milk (add gradually to mixture)
Drizzle atop cake


Old Fashioned Apple Pie

Old Fashioned Apple Pie
(photos from Jack's kitchen)

To qualify as a great apple pie, the mixture of apples should create a combined sweet-tart flavor balance. Serve slightly warm with vanilla ice cream or with a wedge of cheddar cheese.
Quote is from the book "Mad Hungry," by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Artisan Books).
To view a video with tips for creating delicious apple pies and crusts click here:
This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s “Old-Fashioned Apple Pie”.

2 tbsp all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 pie crusts
12 apples sliced, peeled, cored (we prefer mixing tart with sweet apples)
3/4 cup sugar, pllus additional for pie top
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1.5 tsp cinnamon (we used 1 tbsp + 1tsp cinnamon)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large egg, beaten

Heat oven to 375F. Create two 1/8-inch thick, 11-inch pie crusts. Press one crust into pie plate. Place the other on waxed paper and cover with plastic wrap. Chill all pastry until firm, about 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine apples, sugar, lemon zest and juice, spices, and flour. Toss well. Spoon apples into pie pan. Dot with butter, and cover with remaining crust. Cut several steam vents across the top crust. Seal by crimping edges as desired. Brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with additional cinnamon sugar (or just plain sugar).
Bake until crust is brown and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour. Let cool on wire rack before serving.

Pie Crust also from
2 single 10 inch pie crusts:
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into mall pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water.
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
  2. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or stick; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tbsp at a time. 
  3. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.

Fast and Easy Peanut Butter Pie

A fast and easy recipe for the whole family.
To make it even healthier, try using all natural peanut butter for extra flavor!

Just click on the picture for it to become bigger!

Roasting Peppers

Roasting Red Bell Peppers (or any other peppers)

Roasted red bell peppers enhance everything! Side dishes, eggs, salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, antipasto platters. The list goes on and on! Make them fresh each time, or keep a ready store of them canned or frozen. 

To roast, start by washing the peppers and removing the stickers. Char them on high heat on a gas range stove by placing them directly onto the grates, use the Barbeque, or roast them in the oven. We marinade ours adhead of time in a plastic baggy. Use tongs to turn the pepper to blacken on all sides (or char to your taste). If roasting in the oven, preheat to 450F. Arrange the peppers on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven, turning every 15 minutes until done (about 30 minutes). 

However the peppers have been blackened, once they are done place in a covered bowl or brown paper bag. The steam from the peppers makes the skin easier to peel off.

Once the peppers have cooled, carefully peel off the blackened skin and discard. This can be done with fingers or a sharp knife. Pull or cut off the top of the pepper and squeeze gently to remove the seeds. 

Rinsing the peppers will diminish the smoky flavor. When the skins and seeds have been removed, cover the peppers in oil, adding garlic slices or herbs if desired, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Or Coarsely chop  peppers into chunks, or slice the peppers depending on how you would like the finished meal to look, and set aside.

Chile Relleno Casserole (peppers)

Jack’s Chile Relleno Casserole (yum!) 
Adapted from Cook-Eat-Share
Egg Mixture Ingredients:
12 fresh roasted Anaheim peppers (or Pablanos or your favorite chili peppers if Anaheims are not available).
6 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
6 tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups shredded Jack Cheese
1.5 cups shredded sharp cheddar
Sauce Ingredients:
1 can of tomatoes
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
fresh oregano 1/4 cup
salt, pepper
fresh cilantro 1/4 cup
fresh parsley (small bunch)
fresh basil (small bunch)
fresh thyme (a few sprigs)
1/4 cup olive oil
How to roast peppers: see our post "Roasting Peppers" for “how-to” here. Or view the "labels" in the right column.

How to make Jack’s easy sauce:
Place all ingredients in blender and mix until desired consistency. Pour into sauce pan on stove and cook at low heat until sauce is ready.
Devein peppers and strip of all seeds (unless you like it REALLY hot!), and set aside on paper towels to cool and dry. 
Lightly grease bottom of baking dish with favorite oil. Layer peppers on bottom of casserole dish to create a solid bottom. Sprinkle a layer of cheese mix. Then add another layer of  peppers, and more cheese.

In large bowl, beat egg whites until they softly peak and set aside. In another bowl, mix  the milk, flour, and egg yolks. Salt and pepper as desired. Slowly blend the milk mixture with the egg whites, being careful to not over beat. 

Pour egg mixture over the layers of peppers and cheeses. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Leaving the oven on, remove casserole from oven. 

Spoon the sauce evenly over the top and bake for another 30 minutes. 

Remove from oven. If desired, sprinkle with shredded sharp cheddar. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
As a lunch or supper dish, try serving with Mexican Rice, Salsa, and beans.

As a breakfast entree, serve with delicious fruits like strawberries or cantaloup.

This was served with a Chorizo-Rice mixture.