A bit of a two recipes review #3 and a product review for the first recipe

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Not long ago, Diane, of indianeskitchen.com     featured a recipe for “Taco Baked Potatoes”, on her very fine blog,     https://indianeskitchen.com            So, I thought I would share how I prepared my version of her very nice recipe. I say “my” version because I used somewhat different ingredients than she did, and I prepared it a little bit differently than she did. Here is a link to her original recipe       https://indianeskitchen.com/2017/11/09/taco-baked-potato/         So, on to my version of the recipe…

Taco Baked Potatoes

Ingredients:

  1. 6 small red potatoes
  2. 1 1/2 cups gardein the ultimate beefless ground
  3. 1/2 cup water
  4. 1 1/2 Tbsps taco seasoning mix
  5. 2 oz. shredded Mexican mix cheese
  6. 1 sliced fresh green onion sprig
  7. 2 Tbsps sour cream
  8. 1 smallish tomato, chopped
  9. 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Wash and cut out the “eyes” and bad bits from the potatoes and then pierce each potato at least to the middle. Then place the potatoes on a microwave safe plate and cook them on High for 10 minutes or until when stabbed with a fork they are determined to be tender all the way through. Set aside
  2. Place the 1 1/2 cups of the gardein the ultimate beefless ground, in a frying pan on medium heat.
  3. Mix the taco seasoning into the 1/2 cup water and then pour that over the “beefless” ground in the frying pan. Simmer that mixture for at least four minutes or until the mixture is less soupy looking or reduced somewhat. You don’t want the mixture dripping wet when you spoon it over the cooked potatoes. It took about 10 minutes to reduce the mixture.
  4. Slice the top half of the cooked potatoes lengthwise and then crosswise part way through. Then squeeze the potatoes open with your clean fingers and fluff the innards with a fork and leave the potato skin as intact as you can, it will help hold everything together.
  5. Spoon the reduced taco “meatless” mixture, at least 2 good tablespoons per serving, over the fluffed potatoes.
  6. Top with at least 2 tablespoons of the cheese per serving. The heat from the “meatless” taco mixture and the potato should melt the cheese. If more melty-ness is wanted, place the taco-fied potatoes, on a microwave safe plate and place in the microwave and warm on a low setting just long enough to melt the cheese. A piece of waxed paper draped over the plate will help protect your microwave from splatters.
  7. Add a good dollop of the sour cream and a goodly amount of the diced tomato – at least 2 tablespoons worth. Then sprinkle the green onion slices on top. Serve and enjoy!
  8. Options for added toppings: several slices of fresh avocado, chopped black olives, several spoons of cooked pinto beans or black beans, a spoonful or 2 of cooked corn kernels, a shake or two of dried cilantro or a small amount of fresh chopped cilantro leaves, dried or fresh parsley…pretty much whatever your favorite taco toppings happen to be, you can use to top these taco potatoes.

Here are some more of the prep pictures:20190411_160207 (2)Here are the potatoes, above, washed, the bad bits and “eyes” cut out, and pierced and ready for the microwave.20190411_162145 (2)Here, above, is what the “meatless” ground looks like straight out of the bag.20190411_164037 (4)Here, above, is what the “meatless” ground looks like after the taco seasoning, the water and the one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil have been mixed in.20190411_164919 (2)Here, above, are three of the cooked small red potatoes, squeezed open with the “meatless” taco mixture spooned on top. 20190411_165429 (2)Here, above, is how it looks with the cheese and sour cream dollop.20190411_165811 (2)And here, above, is the whole shebang, some of the chopped tomatoes, some of the sliced green onions and as an optional topper, some sliced black olives. My husband sprinkled some of the dried cilantro and some dried parsley flakes on top and then proceeded to wolf it all down! The amounts of ingredients I used were enough to make three good servings, as in a serving is three of the small potatoes as the base for the fixings. My husband had these for two nights and then I put the third serving worth of the taco mixture into a freezer bag and froze it for another day. On the yummy meter of from 1 to 5, with 1 being so-so, and 5 being WOW!, my husband, the official taste tester, says these “Taco Potatoes”, are a triple 5, as in WOW!, WOW!, WOW!!!!! He really likes them and wants me to add them to our regular lineup of meals that I make for him.

And now for the product review: 20190414_192429 (2)For the Taco Potato recipe I prepared, instead of ground beef, I used “gardein, the ultimate beefless ground”. This is a soy based ground beef alternative, as in no animal had to die for these taco potatoes. You can use this product in many of the dishes you would use crumbled hamburger in, as a healthy and cruelty-free alternative to meat. My husband thinks this product actually tastes better than hamburger and that is really saying something coming from a life long carnivore. 20190414_192707 (2)Here, above, is the nutrition info…20190414_192745 (2)And here, above, is what the back of the bag  looks like. My husband actually asked me to add this review to this post so people could see that there is an alternative to using hamburger for making this recipe for the taco potatoes and some other recipes which call for hamburger meat. Pizza would taste good with this product, I think. He says this “meatless” ground is so good that he would even eat it warmed up straight, just by itself! So, my husband gives this “gardein the ultimate beefless ground” a 10! That would be as in, on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the least liked and 10 being the most liked. So, we will be using this product on a regular basis!

Now for the second recipe…20190411_172025 (2)During this past March, in between four visits to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned, have a cracked tooth fixed and be fitted for a new bite-guard,( I had chewed the old one to pieces), I caught a bad cold. My husband had it first, so of course then I caught it. ourlittleredhouseblog  very kindly posted a Simple Salsa recipe in my comments, for me to try, that is healthy and full of vitamins and all kinds of goodness to help bust cold germs. So, as many Mexican restaurants serve salsa with meals, I thought I would include the Simple Salsa recipe to go along with the Taco Potatoes. And it really is a simple and easy to fix recipe…

Simple Salsa

Ingredients:

  1.  1 can whole peeled tomatoes, diced, I didn’t have that so I used a whole fresh tomato and what was left of the tomato I didn’t use for the taco potatoes
  2. 1 bundle of green onions, chopped, I ended up using four sprigs of the onions cause I was making a small amount of the salsa.
  3. 1 small can of tomato sauce
  4.  1 bundle of fresh cilantro, chopped, I used 1 teaspoon of dried cilantro and then my husband added a little more to adjust the salsa to get it to taste the way he wanted it to.
  5. Optional: Dried Parsley to taste, Pink Salt to taste, Fresh Cracked Black Pepper to taste. 1 yellow pepper and 1 jalapeno pepper, both chopped and boiled slightly to soften.

Directions: Mix all the main ingredients and your choice of the optional ingredients in a medium size bowl, I used a two-cup size glass measuring cup, until well mixed. Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy! It will last about a week stored in the fridge. 20190411_173258 (2)I had a bag of tortilla chips to show with the salsa but my husband ate them before I could get a picture taken. So, he really likes this Simple Salsa and rates it a 5 on the yummy meter, where 1 is so-so, and 5 is WOW!!!! And that is my fault, not the fault of the recipe.  I made the salsa without the peppers, and he thinks he would have rated the salsa higher if it had a little bit a kick to it. So, we are still experimenting to see what pepper varieties  give a little bit of a kick but don’t set his head on fire. And he really liked that I didn’t chop the tomatoes and green onions up hyper small, he likes salsa that is chunky. So, we are still experimenting with this Simple Salsa to get it to the just right level of chunky but not too hot. And here is a link to:

https://ourlittleredhouseblog.wordpress.com

Check out her blog, she makes all kinds of really neat projects! Plus, she is SUPER NICE!!!!

So, there you go! Two recipes and a product review! The Taco Potatoes are very easy to fix and don’t take very long at all to prepare. Even a young person with some parental supervision for cutting the potatoes and slicing the tomatoes and green onions, could prepare this recipe! It’s not hard at all! And the Simple Salsa really is easy to fix! Have a GREAT DAY!!!! and HAPPY COOKING!!!!!

 

 

A bit of a recipe review # 2

20190408_211738 (2)A while ago, Diane, from indianeskitchen.com , featured a recipe for Cherry Pie Quesadillas on her blog. I thought it looked really good, so I started gathering the ingredients. It took a while, finding stuff without bad additives is getting to be harder and harder. So, I finally got everything I needed and set to work.20190408_214122 (2)In her recipe, it calls for melting the butter and then spreading it all over the tortilla shell. I used a butter knife and spread a thin layer of unmelted butter on both sides of the tortilla shell and it worked out fine. I then spooned a good amount of the cherry pie filling onto the tortilla half, making sure to keep an uncovered margin along the edge. And as you can see from my picture, I cooked these in a ceramic fry pan.20190408_214633 (2)I sprinkled less than half the amount of the cinnamon-sugar the recipe called for on top of the shell cause I was making this a single serving size fold over quesadilla. I browned it on the one side and then I used two spatula flippers to turn the quesadilla over and then I sprinkled the rest of the cinnamon-sugar on the top and let it brown some and then flipped it back over once more to caramelize the sugar mixture on both sides.20190408_221114 (2)And here is the finished single serving size, fold over, Cherry Pie Quesadilla! My husband, the official recipe taster, says the caramelized cinnamon-sugar topping makes this extra SUPER GREAT!!!!! He’s already looking forward to trying other flavors of pie toppings in these. This is a very easy recipe to make and doesn’t take very long at all to fix and cook.  Here is a link to Diane’s blog for the official recipe and directions       https://indianeskitchen.com/2017/08/07/cherry-pie-quesadilla/

Now, because I was only making a single serving size for this recipe, I used less of the ingredients than what were called for in Diane’s recipe. So, here is my shortened down, ingredient wise version of her recipe.

Cherry Pie Quesadilla, single serving size

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 half cup cherry pie filling
  • 1 flour tortilla, I used a medium size one
  • 1 teaspoon Butter
  • 1/2 Tblsp. Sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. Cinnamon

Directions

  1. Lay a tortilla on a large plate and with a butter knife, spread a very thin layer of butter on both sides of the tortilla.
  2. Place the buttered tortilla shell in the frying pan and spoon the cherry pie filling on to half the tortilla, leaving an uncovered margin all along the edge. Carefully fold the uncovered side of the tortilla over the pie filling covered side and press the edges together to help seal them together a little bit to help keep the filling from oozing out.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle half the sugar-cinnamon mixture over the top of the folded over tortilla shell.
  4. Fry the folded over quesadilla until lightly browned on the bottom and then carefully flip it over and sprinkle it with the remaining sugar-cinnamon mixture. Brown the bottom lightly and then flip back over to caramelize the sugar on both sides of the folded over quesadilla. Be sure and watch the quesadilla closely to help prevent burning.
  5. Carefully slide the finished quesadilla onto a plate, let cool a little and then serve. For a variation, a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt could be placed on top of the quesadilla. Or some whipped cream can be spooned onto the quesadilla.

So, there you go! As I said earlier, these are very easy to make and very quick to fix. They’re even faster if you’re not stopping every few minutes to take pictures. On rating these on the yummy scale with 1  being so, so and 5 being WOW!!!! My husband rates this recipe as a triple 5 as in, WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! THESE ARE SO GOOD!!!!  Be sure and check out Diane’s blog, she has all kinds of great recipes on there! Have a GREAT DAY!!!! HAPPY COOKING!!!!! HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!!!

Behold the literary… Rutabagas!

20190328_073438 (3)I call them literary rutabagas because they are mentioned in Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” book series. Though, in the books they are called “neeps”. More about that in a little while, be patient with me.proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg-Outlander#3 Several years ago I read through Diana’s very fine books from the first, “Outlander”, through , “Written In My Own Heart’s Blood”, and I enjoyed them all very much.proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg-Outlander#2When Claire and Jamie were living on Fraser’s Ridge, in the North Carolina mountains, in one of their meals, they were eating a pot of “neeps”. I turned to my husband, who is part Scottish and asked, “Yo, you of  Scottish ancestry, what are ‘neeps’?” He gave me a blank face and mumbled that he had never heard of them. So I looked it up on Duckduckgo.com  and they listed ‘neeps’ under rutabagas.     So here is a link that tells some interesting rutabaga, aka ‘neep’ facts  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rutabaga      I thought all the information was very interesting!

When I read various books and they mention different foods in the story, I like to sometimes make those foods to add to the enjoyment of the story. For instance, when I read “Dracula”, by Bram Stoker, …proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg-Dracula#1 while I was in high school, I fixed Hungarian Goulash, as it was mentioned in the story, with lots of paprika and garlic, to help keep the vampires away. That was back when I still ate meat.Film Title: To Kill A Mockingbird

When, much more recently, I read “Cold Mountain”, by Charles Frazier, which is set in North Carolina, during the Civil War…proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg-Cold Mountain#2I fixed hoe-cakes and boiled peanuts, which added to the enjoyment of the story. You know, eating along with the characters.

So, back to the rutabagas. I tracked down an interesting and simple rutabaga recipe in my trusty go-to vegetarian cookbook…20190328_071330 (2)Deborah Madison seriously knows her way around vegetarian cooking! As I was looking for recipes for rutabagas, I came across one that looked promising, “Rutabaga Fries”, on page 436, down towards the bottom of the page. Cooked in the oven, instead of the fryer, so much healthier than fried potatoes. So, rutabagas, not exactly cooked like in the “Outlander” stories, but still very good. So, here is Deborah’s version of the recipe, when I prepared these, I used extra virgin olive oil and I didn’t use the rosemary and they turned out just fine.

Rutabaga Fries

Ingredients:

  • Rutabagas
  • A big bowl of cold water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sea salt
  • Finely minced fresh rosemary
  • Freshly cracked pepper

20190328_073525 (3)(I showed the ingredients I used for my version of these) Peel and slice the rutabagas into long batons or French fries. Soak them in water for 30 minutes, …20190328_071001 (2)then drain and towel-dry. Toss with vegetable oil to coat lightly and add a few pinches of salt. Spread them on a sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees…20190328_072303 (3)  turning occasionally, until golden and tender, 30 to 40 minutes. When done, toss them with a little finely minced rosemary, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper.20190328_090339 (2)Though, when I cook these in my little Cuisinart oven, they take longer to cook, more like 50 minutes. And, you really have to watch them, they scorch real easy, as you can see in my picture above. I ate the over-done ones and gave the nice ones to my husband, he declared them very tasty! I like them too, and we now eat these regularly. I would say though, that cutting rutabagas is not something I would let children attempt, they are almost as difficult to cut into as pumpkins. You need a very sharp knife and you really have to pay attention to what you’re doing so you don’t slip and cut yourself. But these “fries”, are well worth the effort, they are very, very tasty! I even came up with a bit of a, not strict to form haiku, about rutabagas…

Oh rutabaga

why oh so hard to carve

but oh so tasty

So, there you go! A little rutabaga info, me rambling a little about some books I’ve read and foods they inspired me to try, a rutabaga fries recipe, and even a somewhat tortured rutabaga haiku by me. Not something you see everyday! Maybe you too, might be inspired to try an interesting food you’ve read about in a story you’re reading or have read! The ‘Outlander”, book image, the Claire and Jamie image, the “Dracula”, book image, and the “Dracula”, movie still, and the “Cold Mountain”, book image, all came from Duckduckgo.com  free images. All the books I showed are available on amazon.com  and the rest of the pictures are ones I took. I hope you all have a SUPER GREAT NEW WEEK!!!!! HAPPY READING!!!! HAPPY COOKING!!!! HAPPY CRAFTING!!!!

 

A Bit of A Recipe Review #1

20190214_024341 (2)Lil’ Mo– “One for me and one for you… ”             B.B. Jo—“How are we going to get the honey out of the honey bear? We are very small and we don’t have thumbs.”

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!! There is still time to make something nice for the ones you love and this biscuit recipe is quick and easy to fix!

MENNONITE BUTTERMILK BISCUITS!

Several weeks ago, Diane, of  https://indianeskitchen.com   featured these biscuits–Mennonite Buttermilk Biscuits–    https://indianeskitchen.com/2019/01/16/mennonite-buttermilk-biscuits/   on her blog and I thought I would give them a try.

The recipe calls for shortening, and for health reasons, I don’t use shortening, mainly because all the shortening brands carried at the stores in my area are totally hydrogenated. Very bad for your health! So, I researched online to see what I could substitute for the shortening and not have the the recipe affected too much. I settled on butter, which can be substituted for the same amount as the shortening called for in the recipe. When using butter in baked goods instead of shortening, you need to drop the called for temperature, in this recipe, of 450 degrees, down to 425 degrees, to avoid over-browning, butter browns up really fast. And extend the cooking time a little bit, I ended up baking them for 17 minutes, and watch your biscuits like a hawk so they don’t brown too much! I ended up putting a piece of tin foil over the biscuits through the last part of the cooking time to help keep them from burning. So, I had all my ingredients gathered, I followed along in the instructions, I mixed the dry ingredients first and then cut in the butter. So, good so far. Then I mixed in the buttermilk and lightly blended and then turned the dough out on to a well floured piece of freezer paper. The dough was kind of wet, maybe because of the butter…but I sprinkled flour on it and proceeded to knead it for the 30 seconds as per the instructions. Then, I flattened it out and because I didn’t have a biscuit cutter, I used a glass to cut out the biscuits, and I ended up with eleven to bake. I placed them in my preheated oven and crossed my fingers and started counting the minutes while I watched the biscuits cooking. Part way through, I placed the tin foil piece over them to help prevent over-browning. When the time was up and they were a nice brown, I pulled them out of the oven and spread butter on the tops and let it sit for a minute, per the instructions. Then the moment of truth, my husband, the official taste tester, split one of the biscuits open and slathered it with butter and drizzled it with honey and took a bite. His verdict…..”This is GREAT! Tell Diane this is a SUPER BISCUIT RECIPE!!!! I will definitely want these on a regular basis!”

So, there you go! My husband gives this biscuit recipe 5 stars! And so do I, it was very easy to fix and gave very good results and the instructions are very easy to understand! The bears give the biscuits 5 paws up!

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Here, in the above picture, is a close up view of the finished biscuits. So, follow the links I provided above and you too can try this great biscuit recipe! So, I hope my recipe review is helpful and maybe inspires someone to try these biscuits and check out Diane’s blog, she has all kinds of great recipes on there! I hope you have a GREAT DAY!!!!! HAPPY BAKING and HAPPY CRAFTING!!!! HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!