Sunday, July 11, 2010

Yum yum eat 'em up

This was a much-used phrase in our house growing up but for the life of me, I can't remember where it originated. Any thoughts?

Anyhoo, I've been taking advantage of my vacation from work (glorious, by the way) to spend some time cooking. I love to cook and cook much, much more than I did when I first moved out on my own. The extent of my cooking expertise then was Tuna Helper, spaghetti, and the like. I haven't taken those out of the rotation, mind you, but I've branched out a bit. I still don't like washing dishes, but I'm accepting that as a necessary evil when cooking. Here are some things I've recently whipped up...

Roasted Chickpeas
1 can chickpeas
olive oil
garlic powder

1. Drain chickpeas in a colander and rinse the bean sludge off.
2. Mix in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and garlic powder (to taste...I like an awful lot of it). Toss to coat thoroughly.
3. Dump in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes. Check one before you pull 'em out to make sure they're crunchy.
*These are a great substitute for chips or salty, crunchy snacks. I think they'd be really good with other spices, too...lemon pepper, cajun seasoning, chili powder, any kind of Mrs. Dash...the possibilities are endless!*

Key Lime Pie (from July's Southern Living)
14 oz. can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
3/4 c. egg substitute (Egg substitute inexplicably gives me the heebs, and I refuse to buy it. I subsituted 3/4 cup eggs, but next time I may just make it 3/4 cup egg yolks. Depends on my mood.)
1/2 c. fresh Key lime juice (regular lime juice works fine)
2 tsp. Key lime zest (zest those regular limes before you squeeze the heck out of them)
1 ready-made graham cracker crust (I used a Nilla wafer crust and it was phenomenal)
1 8 oz. container fat-free whipped topping (I forgot to buy this, but it tasted great without it)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Whisk together first 4 ingredients until well blended. Pour mixture into pie crust; place on baking sheet.
2. Bake for about 15 minutes or until pie is set. Remove from oven and place on wire rack; let cool completely (about 1 hour).
3. Chill in fridge 3-24 hours. Top with whipped topping just before serving (unless you're me, and your Cool Whip is still in the freezer case at the store).

Corn-and-Okra Maque Choux (also from July's Southern Living)
*I will absolutely be making this again. So, so good! FYI-Use a big skillet because everything is going in there.*

1/4 lb. spicy smoked sausage, diced (I used Conecuh Spicy & Hot sausage...way tasty)
1/2 c. chopped sweet onion
1/2 c. chopped green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 c. fresh corn kernels
1 c. sliced fresh okra
1 c. seeded and diced tomato
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook sausage over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until browned.
2. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic; cook for 5 minutes. Don't cook the veggies to a mush...they still have 10 more minutes of cook time!
3. Add corn, okra, and tomato. Cook 10 minutes, stirring often.
4. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
5. Remind yourself that you're an adult with some self-control and don't need to eat the entire pan in one sitting.

Fresh Corn and Avocado Salsa (Pioneer Woman's recipe)
*This was so incredibly delicious. Quite honestly, though, it didn't age very well. I think it would work better when you're making it for a crowd and it will all be eaten within a day of making it. After about 2 days, the avocado and the cilantro start to get kinda weird. I think my avocados were way too ripe to begin with. Just sharing what I learned...make it and then get lots of help to eat it up fast!

4 ears sweet corn (use more if yours are small)
2 whole very firm avocados, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
juice of 1 lime
lots of chopped cilantro
salt to taste
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. sugar (PW says optional...I think it's necessary...balances out the vinegar and brings out the taste of the lime juice)

1. Slice kernels off corn cobs.
2. Combine with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until cold.
3. Serve with tortilla chips, in tacos, or on top of baked chicken (my choice...yum).

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