Category Archives: Condiments/Sauces

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

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Making your own taco seasoning mix is an easy way to cut chemicals and preservatives out of your food and save money at the same time. And it tastes so much better than any packaged mix. Make a large batch and then store in an airtight container. Use about 2 Tbs of the mix for a pound of ground beef to make regular tacos. You can adjust the amounts of spicier chilies to your family’s taste. Penzey’s (online or in person) is a great source for quality bulk spices.

Use this for more than just ground beef tacos. Try replacing spices in the following recipes with this taco seasoning mix:

Layered Chicken Taco Salad Bowls
Taco Cornbread Pie
Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas
Creamy Chicken Enchiladas Verdes
Baked Chicken Taquitos
Chicken and Black Bean Chili
Hearty Beef Chili
Fajitas
Marinades for grilled steak or chicken

RECIPE:

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Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix

1 ½ cups chili powder
4 Tbs paprika (Spanish smoked or regular)
2 Tbs kosher salt (coarse grain; use less for regular table salt)
2 Tbs black pepper
2 Tbs garlic powder
2 Tbs onion powder (not onion salt)
2 Tbs ground cumin
2 Tbs dried oregano
1 Tbs Ancho chili pepper
1 Tbs crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbs ground cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients and store at room temperature in an airtight container. Use about 2 Tbs of seasoning per pound of meat. Makes about 2 ½ cups.

Note: Adjust amount of crushed red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper to make milder or spicier

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Filed under Condiments/Sauces, Main Dishes, Tips and Tutorials

Pumpkin Oat Waffles with Cinnamon Syrup

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Happy Halloween!

It is not feeling much like Halloween here in western Pennsylvania. On Monday, in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy, school was cancelled (Tue) and delayed (Wed), trick-or-treating was moved to Saturday, and school Halloween parties and parades moved to Friday. Gratefully, we had much less of an impact from the storm than was predicted, so kids are back at school today (on time!). But with all of the Halloween activities for today postponed, it feels like just another wet, slushy Wednesday.

We were all prepared to wake up on Tuesday without power, but instead we had a great day at home together with nothing on the schedule! I love days like that. Days that can start with a great breakfast full of healthy things like pumpkin and oats and topped with unhealthy things like a thick homemade cinnamon syrup.

New at waffle making? Try these Tips for Making Great Waffles.

RECIPES:
PumpkinWaffles1
Pumpkin Oat Waffles

2 cups flour
¾ cup rolled oats
2 Tbs cornstarch
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

2 cups buttermilk
4 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup brown sugar

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Use a whisk to mix. Combine wet ingredients in a separate mixing bowl. Use a mixer to beat thoroughly. Beat in dry ingredients until just mixed. Do not stir batter after mixing.

Use a ladle or measuring cup to pour batter evenly into hot waffle maker (about 2 cups for the 4 small Belgian waffles in my waffle maker). Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or according to directions on your waffle maker. Remove waffles from waffle maker and place on a wire rack (not a plate). Serve immediately or keep warm in a warm oven (very low heat).

Makes about 5 large Belgian waffles (20 small squares)

Cinnamon Syrup

3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbs butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

 

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Filed under Breads, Breakfast/Brunch, Condiments/Sauces

Indian Samosa with Mint Cilantro Chutney

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Indian Samosa are delicious, but I find the homemade dough a little bit difficult to work with. So these are “Cheater Samosa” made with wonton wrappers. Be sure to use the small sized wrappers, about 4” squares.

Samosa are a fried Indian pastry, filled with everything from minced chicken or lamb, lentils, vegetables, or potatoes. The most common ones in the United States are Aloo Samosa, stuffed with a spiced potato and green pea filling.

The traditional triangular shape of samosa is easy to make when using wonton wrappers:

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Working with one wonton wrapper at a time (keep remaining wrappers covered or they will dry out and become brittle), place about 1 Tbs of potato filling in the center of the dough.

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Use your fingers to shape filling into a triangle shape.

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Use your finger to slightly dampen all of the edges of the wonton wrapper with water. Fold the bottom edge of the dough up over the filling (it should overlap the filling by about 1 cm).  3711 090-1

Fold the two sides of the dough down over the filling, creating a triangle (the top corners should meet, slightly overlapping, in the center of the bottom folded edge). The two sides should overlap about 2 mm in the center of the samosa and where they meet the bottom edge of the dough. Pinch corners to keep filling from leaking during cooking. Repeat with remaining wonton wrappers.

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Stand each samosa triangle up on their bottom edge and press down slightly so that the samosa are self-standing.

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To keep the samosa from sputtering while cooking and to help keep the edges sealed, let the water on the edges of the dough dry before cooking. This should only take 2-3 minutes. If you fry them in the order that you made them, the first samosa should be ready to cook by the time you have finished making the rest of the batch of samosa.

To cook, heat 1-2 inches of cooking oil in a skillet until hot. Reduce heat to medium and carefully place several samosa in the hot oil. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown, turning once.

Use tongs to remove cooked samosa from oil. To keep samosa from getting soggy while draining excess oil, place a wire baking rack (like you use to cool cookies) over a double layer of paper towels. Place samosa on the baking rack while cooking remaining samosa.

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Serve hot with mint or other flavored chutney.

Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of the samosa with the mint cilantro chutney, but you can see it HERE served with grilled chicken. Samosa are best eaten just after cooking, but they can be prepared ahead and reheated just before serving.

TO PREPARE AHEAD: Prepare and cook samosa as directed. Cool and refrigerate. Reheat in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes, or until hot. (You can also refry the cooked and refrigerated samosa for 1-2 minutes to reheat.)

RECIPE:

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Indian Samosa

2 potatoes, peeled and diced (about 1 cup diced potatoes)
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs oil
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp Ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp kasuri methi (fenugreek)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbs green peas
1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbs finely chopped cilantro (optional)
1 package small (about 4” square) wonton wrappers (12-18 squares)
Cooking oil
Mint Cilantro Chutney (or other flavored chutney), for serving

Cook diced potatoes in a small amount of salted water until cooked through. Drain.

In a small skillet, heat oil until hot. Sauté onion until soft. Stir ginger, Ancho chili powder, coriander, garam masala, kasuri methi, salt, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne pepper into onions in the skillet. Cook for 1 minute. Add cooked potatoes to the skillet. Use the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher to coarsely crush the potatoes. Mixture should be mashed enough to hold together, but not smooth. Stir in peas, lemon juice and cilantro. Remove pan from heat. If potato mixture is too dry to hold together, add about 1 Tbs of water and stir into the potatoes.

Working with one wonton wrapper at a time (keep remaining wrappers covered or they will dry out and become brittle), place about 1 Tbs of potato filling in the center of the dough. Use your fingers to shape filling into a triangle shape. Use your finger to slightly dampen all of the edges of the wonton wrapper with water. Fold the bottom edge of the dough up over the filling (it should overlap the filling by about 1 cm). Fold the two sides of the dough down over the filling, creating a triangle (the top corners should meet, slightly overlapping, in the center of the bottom folded edge). The two sides should overlap about 2 mm in the center of the samosa and where they meet the bottom edge of the dough. Pinch corners to keep filling from leaking during cooking. Repeat with remaining wonton wrappers. Stand each samosa triangle up on their bottom edge and press down slightly so that the samosa are self-standing. Let samosa sit for 2-3 minutes while heating cooking oil. This will allow the water to dry so that the samosa do not sputter when cooking.

Heat 1-2 inches of cooking oil in a skillet until hot. Reduce heat to medium and carefully place several samosa in the hot oil. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown, turning once.

Use tongs to remove samosa to a wire baking rack (placed over a layer of paper towels) after cooking. Serve hot with mint or other flavored chutney.

TO PREPARE AHEAD: Prepare and cook samosa as directed. Cool and refrigerate. Reheat in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes, or until hot. (You can also refry the cooked and refrigerated samosa for 1-2 minutes to reheat.)

Makes 12-18 Samosa

Mint Cilantro Chutney

1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 of a small onion
1/2 – 1 fresh hot chili pepper (remove seeds if desired)
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp fresh ground ginger
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground cumin (or 1 tsp whole cumin seeds)

Using a blender, food processor, or mortar & pestle, blend all ingredients until finely chopped. Add water 1 Tbs at a time (usually about 2-3 Tbs total) until chutney is desired consistency.

Makes about 1 cup chutney

 

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Grilled Chicken with Mint Chutney and Indian Spiced Cauliflower

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Most of my garden is finished now: just a few lingering tomatoes and herbs. And mint. Lots and lots of mint. Mint is an indestructible herb; plant it once, and it will be with you for life. Like it or not. Thanks to this mint chutney recipe, I really like the mint in my garden.

There are actually both mint and cilantro in this chutney, but the mint is definitely the star player here. Chutneys are an Indian condiment that are usually a combination of both sweet and spicy elements, and often preserved with vinegar. This chutney does not have a strong sweet component, as it uses mint and cilantro as the base instead of fruit, but it does have a slightly sour tang from lemon juice. The heat comes from onion and hot peppers. I make it pretty spicy, but you can tone it down by using less hot pepper.

Mint chutney is a great accompaniment to grilled chicken, or more traditional Indian foods, like Samosa, tandoori chicken,  or Naan.

I used THIS RECIPE for the grilled chicken, which is called “Spicy Grilled Chicken”, but really isn’t all that spicy. It has a little bit of mint in the marinade, so it pairs really well with the chutney. The Roasted Indian Spiced Cauliflower was also great eaten with the mint chutney.

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RECIPES:

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Mint Cilantro Chutney

1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 of a small onion
1/2 – 1 fresh hot chili pepper (remove seeds if desired)
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp fresh ground ginger
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground cumin (or 1 tsp whole cumin seeds)

Using a blender, food processor, or mortar & pestle, blend all ingredients until finely chopped. Add water 1 Tbs at a time (usually about 2-3 Tbs total) until chutney is desired consistency.

Serve with Grilled Chicken or roasted vegetables, or more traditional Indian foods, like Samosa, tandoori chicken, or Naan.

Makes about 1 cup chutney

Roasted Indian Spiced Cauliflower
———————-(adapted from Sassy Radish)

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a Ziploc bag, mix spices with the olive oil and lemon juice. Add cauliflower to bag. Mix well and allow the dressing to coat cauliflower evenly. Spread the cauliflower in a roasting dish (line with foil for easy cleanup) and bake for 20-30 minutes.

While cauliflower is cooking, prepare mint chutney or yogurt dip, and chill until serving time.

When cauliflower is crisp-tender, remove it from the oven, and serve immediately with chutney or yogurt dip on the side.

Yogurt Dip

1 cup plain yogurt (for a thicker dip, use Greek yogurt or strain yogurt in cheesecloth lined colander)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, or 1 tsp dried dill
1 Tbsp minced fresh mint (or use cilantro without the dill and mint)
½ tsp cumin (optional)
½ tsp salt

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

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Raspberry Cheesecake

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One of the treats that we made to go with our berry-picking haul was this raspberry topped cheesecake. A simple creamy vanilla cheesecake topped with fresh raspberries and a raspberry sauce. For me, dessert doesn’t get much better than this.

For a more in-depth look at cooking a cheesecake in a water bath, click HERE.

The leftover raspberry sauce (I made a double batch)  has been great on ice cream and homemade waffles.

RECIPE:

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Creamy Vanilla Cheesecake

Almond Shortbread Crust (or try this recipe for a graham cracker crust):
1 cup crushed shortbread cookies or Vanilla Wafer cookies
1 cup whole raw almonds
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter (omit salt if using salted butter)

Filling:
3 (8 oz each) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar or Stevia equivalent (about 1/4 tsp powdered or 3/4 tsp liquid)
2 Tbs flour
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs

Topping (optional):
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbs sugar or pinch Stevia
1/2 Tbs lemon juice (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract

For crust:
Combine cookies and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely ground. Add melted butter and pulse just until mixed. Press onto  the bottom of a 9″ springform pan. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Cool. Wrap springform pan in a double layer of foil, or one layer of foil and then place in an oven bag (like the kind used for turkeys) or a crock-pot liner. Place springform pan in a larger roasting pan.

For filling:
In a large mixing bowl, combine all filling ingredients except the eggs; beat with a mixer until smooth. Add eggs and beat again, just until smooth (do not overbeat). Pour filling over crust.  Fill roasting pan (not springform pan!) with very hot (almost boiling) water to about 2-inches deep.

Bake cheesecake in the water bath for about 60 minutes at 350°F. The cheesecake will have puffed significantly, and the middle will still be slightly jiggly. Remove pan from water bath and run a sharp knife around the sides, but do not remove ring.

For topping (sour cream topping is optional):
While cheesecake is baking, combine sour cream, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour over hot (cooked) cheesecake and let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes. Cover cheesecake pan (do not remove sides) with plastic wrap, taking care not to touch the surface of the cheesecake. Chill for at least four hours or overnight.

To serve:
Remove plastic wrap and remove the outer edge of the spring form pan. If desired, slide a sharp knife under the crust and slide the cheesecake off the spring form base and onto a cake stand or serving platter. Serve cheesecake alone, or topped with fresh berries or Raspberry Sauce.

Raspberry Sauce

12 oz raspberries, fresh or frozen (about 2 1/2 cups of not crushed fresh berries)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs ClearJel or cornstarch
2 Tbs cold water

In a heavy saucepan, combine raspberries, 1/2 cup water, sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, crushing berries slightly with the back of a spoon. For a seedless sauce: strain the berries through a fine sieve, pushing the pulp through the sieve with the back of a spoon. Return seedless puree to the saucepan (rinse saucepan first if there are seeds clinging to the sides). Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl; stir into puree in the saucepan. Return mixture to a boil; lower heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly thickened and no longer cloudy. Serve warm or cold. The sauce will thicken more as it cools.

Yield: 2 cups sauce (with seeds) or 1 3/4 cup sauce (without seeds)

To make a Raspberry Filling (for filling cakes/cupcakes/pastries): use 2-3 Tbs cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water to thicken puree. Chill filling until cold before using.

 

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Low-Sugar Seedless Raspberry Nectarine Jam

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One of the kids’ favorite jams from last year was this Raspberry Nectarine Freezer Jam. This year I played with the recipe a little, to reduce the sugar and to make it a regular canned jam (freezer space is precious!).
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Nectarines and raspberries are a great combination! Be sure to leave the nectarine peels on when cutting the nectarines. They help give the rich color to the jam. They will be strained out later with the raspberry seeds. Pressing pulp through a sieve to remove seeds is not my favorite thing to do. It is a lot of work, and it seems like such a waste to not use all of that good stuff. I don’t mind having raspberry seeds in things, so I save the seeds (and pulp that clings to them) in the fridge and add them to smoothies, or stir some into my oatmeal in the mornings. A little extra fiber is never a bad thing, right?!

RECIPE:

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Low-Sugar Seedless Raspberry Nectarine Jam

——————————–Yield: About 5 half-pint jars

3 cups chopped nectarines (do not peel)-about 4-5 nectarines
3 cups slightly crushed raspberries
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1 box no-sugar needed pectin
½ tsp powdered Stevia (or ¾ – 1 tsp liquid Stevia)**

Combine nectarines and raspberries in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Press through a fine sieve to remove seeds; discard seeds. Place fruit puree in a large saucepan with the lemon juice.

In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup sugar with pectin. Stir into fruit puree in the large saucepan. Bring to a hard boil (boiling doesn’t stop when stirred) over high heat. Stir in 1 C sugar and stevia. Return to hard boil; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/8” headspace. Wipe rims of jars. Place lids on jars.

Place in a boiling bath canner or steam canner. Return water to a gentle boil. Process 10 minutes. Cool on a towel on kitchen counter for 24 hours. Check seal.

**My favorite is 1 tsp of Sweet Leaf brand Vanilla Crème liquid stevia

 

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Berry Picking and Raspberry Jams

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It is raspberry picking season here in western PA, and Little A & J helped me take full advantage of it last week. While older kids were off at youth camps, we spent a few days picking berries and making jams. And eating lots of berries on things like This:

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And This:

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We also made three different raspberry jams, two regular raspberry ones that I will share today, and a seedless variety with nectarines for tomorrow’s post. The first jam is a low-sugar red raspberry jam. I love how the fresh fruit taste shines in low-sugar jams, but they do have more of a fruit-spread consistency than the jelled set of full sugar jams.

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I make most of my jams with stevia as a sweetener. I use a little bit of sugar to help with the consistency and “sheen”, but most of the sugar I trade out for stevia. Stevia comes in many brands and forms (liquid: plain and flavored, powdered extract, “spoonable”, packets, crushed leaves), so you will need to do a little experimenting (i.e. tasting) to get the amounts just right.

I use the Sweet Leaf brand most of the time. In the past I have always used the powdered extract, which I highly recommend. This year I tried using their Vanilla Crème flavored liquid variety, and I really liked it. When making low-sugar jams, be sure to use the “no-sugar needed” pectin. For the SureJell brand, this is the pink box.

071311 027-1The second jam we made uses red, black and yellow raspberries. Black raspberries are smaller than the other colors, and have more a few more seeds. Their flavor also seems more concentrated. They make for good finger-staining when you are picking them! And teeth staining when you eat them. I actually prefer their taste over the red ones.

I made jam from just the black raspberries a few years ago, and it came out extremely thick (hold the spoon upside-down thick). So now I combine them with the red and yellow berries to get a better consistency.

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I don’t mind seeds in my raspberry jam, but if you prefer to make it seedless, start with about 1/2 cup more berries, and press through a sieve before adding pectin. If you want to make full-sugar jams, use the same amount of berries, regular pectin and 7 cups sugar (some recipes call for as much as 8 1/2 cups sugar).

RECIPES:

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Low-Sugar Red Raspberry Jam

——————–Yield: 5-6 half-pint jars

5 cups slightly crushed raspberries
1 ¼ cups sugar, divided
1 box no-sugar needed pectin
½ tsp powdered Stevia (or ¾ – 1 tsp liquid Stevia)**

In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup sugar with pectin. Stir into raspberries in a large saucepan. Bring to a hard boil (boiling doesn’t stop when stirred) over high heat. Stir in 1 cup sugar and stevia. Return to hard boil; boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/8” headspace. Wipe rims of jars. Place lids on jars.

Place in a boiling bath canner or steam canner. Return water to a gentle boil. Process for 10 minutes. Cool on a towel on kitchen counter for 24 hours. Check seal.

**My favorite is 1 tsp of Sweet Leaf brand Vanilla Crème liquid stevia

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Low-Sugar Triple Raspberry Jam

————————-Yield: 5-6 half-pint jars

5 cups slightly crushed raspberries (3C red, 1C black, 1C yellow)
1 ¼ cups sugar, divided
1 box no-sugar needed pectin
½ tsp powdered Stevia (or ¾ – 1 tsp liquid Stevia)**

In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup sugar with pectin. Stir into raspberries in a large saucepan. Bring to a hard boil (boiling doesn’t stop when stirred) over high heat. Stir in 1 cup sugar and stevia. Return to hard boil; boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/8” headspace. Wipe rims of jars. Place lids on jars.

Place in a boiling bath canner or steam canner. Return water to a gentle boil. Process for 10 minutes. Cool on a towel on kitchen counter for 24 hours. Check seal.

**My favorite is 1 tsp of Sweet Leaf brand Vanilla Crème liquid stevia

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Baked Chicken Taquitos with Cilantro Ranch Dressing

041811 073-1Finger foods with dip are always popular around here. These chicken taquitos can be served with sour cream, salsa, guacamole, or our favorite is this creamy Cilantro Ranch Dressing. It is hard to say whether it is the chicken taquitos or the dip that is most popular. We use this dressing for all kinds of things: on taco salads or tostadas, for dipping quesadillas, as a regular salad dressing, over grilled chicken. Some little people around here have even been known to eat a vegetable or two if I serve this dip along side. It is also great as a dip for raw vegetables. The recipe below makes a dressing that is pourable, like a creamy salad dressing. If you want a thicker dip, substitute sour cream for half of the mayo, and use a little less buttermilk.

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I prefer to use flour tortillas for these, but you can also use corn tortillas. If you are using corn tortillas, place 2-3 tortillas between damp paper towels and microwave for 20-30 seconds to soften them before filling with chicken mixture. Corn tortillas tend to crack easily, so only work with a few at a time. Flour tortillas can be rolled easily at room temperature. Try to use the small fajita-sized tortillas; it is easier to get a tighter roll.

Brush the filled and tightly rolled tortillas with a small amount of olive or vegetable oil and then sprinkle lightly with a coarse salt (like kosher salt). Bake for 15-20 minutes and serve with your favorite dip.

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These make a great main dish or appetizer. Cut in half on an angle for a nice appetizer-sized portion.

RECIPES:

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Baked Chicken Taquitos
—————-(adapted from OurBestBites)

4 oz (1/2 pkg) cream cheese
1/4 C green salsa
1 lime, juiced (about 2 Tbs)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 green onions, sliced
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 1/2 cups grated Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese

12-18 small flour or corn tortillas
kosher salt
olive oil or vegetable oil

sour cream, salsa, guacamole or Cilantro Ranch Dressing (for dipping)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray (or use non-stick foil).

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds, until soft. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion and garlic powders. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well. (You can prepare this mixture ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to cook.)

If you are using corn tortillas: Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave between damp paper towels for about 20-30 seconds until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. Flour tortillas can be worked with at room temperature.

Place about 3 Tbs of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges. Roll it up as tightly as you can. Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other.

Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the uncooked taquitos lightly with oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake at 425°F for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends just begin to brown.

Serve whole, or cut taquitos in half on an angle (this is a nicer size for appetizers).

Serve with sour cream, salsa, guacamole or Cilantro Ranch Dressing for dipping.

Makes about 12-18 taquitos (using small flour tortillas); amount will vary depending on the size of the tortillas

Cilantro Ranch Dressing

1 package ranch dressing mix
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup kefir or buttermilk (or regular milk)
2 tomatillos** or 4 Tbs green salsa
½ bunch of cilantro (about 1 cup chopped)
2 cloves garlic
1 lime, juiced
1-2 jalapenos (with or without the seeds; with seeds=spicier)

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until well mixed. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving for optimal flavor.

**Optional: Roast tomatillos for 20 mins at 400°F before adding them to the blender. If you are using a spicy green salsa instead of the tomatillos, go easy on the jalapenos.

FOR A THICKER DIP: Use 1/2 cup mayo and 1/2 cup sour cream, and reduce the kefir/buttermilk to 1/4 cup.

 

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Triple Berry Syrup

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Triple Berry Syrup
————-(Adapted from Our Best Bites)

4 cups mixed frozen berries
1/3 cup raspberry jam (I used this homemade Raspberry Nectarine Jam)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 Tbs cornstarch

Combine berries, jam and sugar in a saucepan. Mix together water and cornstarch and mix into berries in pan. Over medium heat, cook sauce until thickened and just barely beginning to boil. Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate leftovers.

Makes about 3 cups syrup.

Serve over Waffles, Pancakes, Cheesecake, Ice Cream

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Blueberry Syrup

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Blueberry Syrup
————(from Simple Bites)

5 cups blueberries
3 cups water
1 cup sugar (Turbinado or regular white sugar)
1 whole lemon, washed

Using a sharp paring knife, peel three or four strips of lemon peel from the lemon. Skin should be about 1/2 inch wide and not have too much of the bitter pith or white part on it. Then juice the lemon, and set both zest and juice aside.

Place blueberries and 1 cup of the water in a medium pot. Don’t worry about stems or leaves; they will be strained out later. Using a potato masher, crush the berries. Over medium-high heat, bring the berries and water to a boil, then lower the temperature to medium-low. Simmer berries for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. They will darken considerably.

Remove pot from heat and ladle berries into a fine sieve set over a heat-proof bowl or measuring cup. Using the back of a  ladle, press on the berry solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard solids.

Wash out your pot, then add the remaining 2 cups of water, lemon peel(not juice yet), and the sugar. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly for about 15 minutes until the mixture thickens (or reaches 225°F). Add reserved blueberry juice and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and stir to combine. Boil another minute or two. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove lemon zest.

Using a funnel, pour syrup into clean jars. Top with lid and store in the refrigerator for up to six months. Or process in sterile canning jars with a boiling bath canner (Process half pints for 10 minutes; pints for 15 minutes).

Makes about 4 cups.

Serve over Cheesecake, Waffles, Pancakes, Ice Cream

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