Chipotle Candied Bacon

This simple recipe is perfect as a topper for salads, veggies or as a decadent indulgence. Be sure to line your baking pan; the drippings stick and burn. Substitute regular dried chile or add additional spices such as 1/2 tsp. dried Cumin and 1/2 tsp. dried Oregano for a more piquant taste.

9 Slices Thick Bacon
1/2 Cup lightly packed Brown Sugar
3 Tbsp. Dried Chipotle Powder

Toss chipotle chile powder and brown sugar in a bowl. Using a lined work surface (parchment paper or foil work great), lay out bacon with each strip touching so that there is no space between slices. Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture over bacon. Press sugar into the slices so more will stick.

Gently peel each slice away from the work surface, letting loose sugar fall back onto the lined area. Lay each slice, sugared-side down, onto a foil-lined cookie sheet topped with a cooling rack. Slices should be touching edges.

Shake leftover sugar from work surface back into bowl. Evenly sprinkle the second half of the sugar mixture over the top of the bacon. Gently press into slices.

Bake in a preheated 350ºF over for 20-30 minutes, until sugar is bubbling and fat on bacon is baked. Watch carefully starting at 15 minutes; the bacon will go from under-cooked to burned very quickly. Remove from oven and let completely cool. Remove and store with parchment lining between layers.

How To Turn 40 Apples Into Jelly, Pies, and Applesauce

When our neighbors told us they were heading to Taos for the weekend to pick apples at a family orchard, they asked if we might want a few apples. After a bit of chatting, we came upon a plan: they’d bring home a lot of apples, and I’d turn them all into jelly, applesauce and apple pies. A side bonus? Our house smells divine.

One batch of apples – three delights.

What can you make with around 40 medium apples? Depending on size, you can end up with about 18 jars of jelly, three quarts of applesauce, and three apple pies. Here’s how:

Making Piles of Apples: Pie and Jelly

Note: (If you use a gluten-free pie crust, all the recipes here are gluten-free.) Wash all apples, removing bad spots including severe bruises. For each apple, do the following in assembly-line fashion: over one large bowl, peel and core each apple, leaving a thick portion of apple attached to the peel. Over a second bowl, take the meat of each apple and slice into small slices.  The peeling and core will be boiled for the jelly and applesauce; the slices will become pies.

Apple Jelly

Apple Jelly

In a very large stock pot, add peeling and cores and 10 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil. (While it is boiling, you can begin work on pies.) Once the stock pot is at a boil, reduce heat to medium-high and slightly loosen lid. Continue to cook about 20 minutes until apples are soft. Once soft, turn off heat and let sit for five minutes.

Almost Applesauce

Scoop cooked apples and peels into a colander balanced over a large bowl, letting the juice collect in the bowl. DO NOT press the peels; just let it drip. When most of the juice is gone, drop cooked apples into an empty bowl. Repeat until all cooked apples have been strained. Set aside cooked apples for applesauce.

Simmering Jelly

Measure collected apple juice and pour 8 cups into an empty stock pot. (If you have enough, you can double this.) Add 6 cups sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil and add 1 package of Sure Jell. Stir until it is dissolved and then add to apple juice. Bring apple juice to a boil, stirring occasionally. (To test whether the jelly will thicken, remove a small amount on a spoon and slowly pour it back into the boiling juice. If it slightly holds to the spoon, it is ready.

Pour into clean glass jars, cover with new Kerr lids and rings, and invert for 5-10 minutes. Turn upright and let sit for 24 hours. Test lids to verify they have sealed. Jelly will store for several weeks in the fridge and for up to a year on a cool, dark shelf.

Apple Pie

Depending on the quality and size of your apples, you should be able to make between one and three deep-dish pies. If you want to freeze the filling for a later date, here is a cool trick – line your pie pan with plastic wrap, pour in filling, fold in plastic wrap to completely cover apple filling. Freeze until shaped; remove pan and slide plastic covered apple filling into a freezer bag. When you are ready to bake, the apples will already perfectly fit your pan.

Add 1 cup of sugar and 2 Tbsp. cinnamon to sliced apples; toss well. Pour into prepared pie crust; top with second layer of pie crust. Bake in 350F oven for 35-45 minutes, until crust is browned and apples are soft and bubbling. Remove and let sit for fifteen minutes before serving.

Applesauce

Straining Applesauce

Since we boiled our apple cores with the peels, the applesauce will be a lovely red. Using colander balanced over a large bowl, scoop small amounts of cooked apple peeling and cores into the colander. Using a colander press, vigorously press peeling against the sides to squeeze all the cooked apple into the bowl below. Discard squeezed peels. Either serve immediate (adding sugar to taste) or cook until heated. Pour into clean jars, covering with new lids and rings. Can in a water bath according to directions or store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

Red Applesauce

Spicy Sausage and Chicken with Roasted Green Chile and Peach Compote

Spicy Sausage and Chicken with Roasted Green Chile and Peach Compote


It is harvest season here in New Mexico … in our gardens and orchards. It is also one of our most favorite times of year when the aroma of fresh roasting green chile is present at grocers across the state. This recipe is a wonderful way to blend some fresh roasted green chile with peaches on the over-ripe side, as the more tender meat will produce more juice as the peaches are heated. The succulent, sweet fruit is the perfect counter-play to the heat of the fresh roasted green chile and spicy sausage. This dish is excellent over pasta.

6 spicy sausage links (cajun, andouille, or your favorite)
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed, and julienned
1 green bell pepper, seeded, stemmed and julienned
3 small or 2 large fresh tomatoes, stemmed and chopped into 1″ pieces
4 very ripe peaches, skinned, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped green chile
1/4 cup beef or chicken broth
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. raw sugar
1 tsp. ground oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. garlic salt

Slice sausages lengthwise and then each half lengthwise again. Cut each slice into three equal pieces. Set aside. (For gluten free, verify that your sausage is a gluten free variety.)

Slice chicken breasts lengthwise into 1/2″-wide strips. Chop strips into 1/2″ pieces. Set aside.

In a hot wok or deep non-stick pan or skillet over high heat, pour 2-3 tsp. drizzled olive oil. Add peppers, green chile, and spices. Toss and stir quickly to sear peppers until slight charred and soft. Pour in an additional 2-3 tsp. olive oil and add peaches, immediately tossing and stirring.

Turn heat to medium and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until peaches are soften and have begun to release juices. Add soy sauce and raw sugar. Gently stir, cover with lid and turn heat to low, simmering for an additional 5-7 minutes. Juice should be slightly thick and boiling. Remove fruit and pepper compote and pour into a heat-tolerant container.

Return skillet to stove on high heat and add 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add sausage and chicken, tossing to coat with oil and stirring to keep meat from sticking. Cooking thoroughly over medium to medium-high heat until sausage is browned and centers of chicken are completely white.

Add peach and pepper compote to meat mixture in skillet, gently tossing. Cook over low heat until thoroughly heated.

Serve with penne pasta, brown rice or over baked sweet potatoes. For gluten free, use brown rice pasta, but do not add the pasta to the skillet during the cooking process. Serve individually on plates and top with meat and fruit compote.

Substitutions: You may use frozen, sliced peppers and frozen chopped green chile, as well as frozen sliced peaches. Just allow for more cooking time and reduce heat to allow the additional liquid to somewhat evaporate. You may also use pre-packaged frozen chicken chunks or slices with the same defrosting allowances.

Fish Tacos With Spicy Aioli, Radicchio, and Avocado

 

Light and delicious, these tacos are delicious served up with black beans.

Fish Tacos with Aioli Sauce, Radicchio, & Avocado

Fish Tacos with Aioli Sauce, Radicchio, & Avocado

(makes 10 tacos)

10 fresh corn tortillas
1 1/2 lbs. Dover Sole or other white, flaky fish
2 1/2 Cups Salsa
1 Cup Fresh Cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 Cups Radicchio, coarsely chopped
3 Avocados, cubed
1 Cup Shredded Mexican Cheese
Aioli Sauce (see recipe below)

Prepare a 9X13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread fish evenly over the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle 2 Cups Salsa on fish. Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt (optional). Cover with foil. Bake at 350℉ for 30-45 minutes, or until fish flaked when pricked with a fork.

Remove fish from oven. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, strain fish and place in a medium mixing bowl. (You can pour the remaining sauce in the baking dish either into a container or in ice cube trays to use as broth in paella at a later date; freeze until ready to use.) Using two forks, gently flake fish.

Add Cilantro to fish.

Heat tortillas individually over the open flame of a gas stove, turning when each side is lightly browned, or in a very hot heavy skillet. Wrap heated tortillas in parchment paper or absorb moisture; wrap parchment paper in foil until ready to serve.

Evenly distribute fish over corn tortillas. Top with radicchio, avocado and cheese. Garnish with Aoili Sauce.

Aioli Sauce

This is the easiest sauce you’ll make and isn’t a “true” aoili sauce, but it is excellent on top of fish, chicken, potatoes, or pasta.

1 Cup Lowfat Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Salsa
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce

Puree ingredients in a food processor or blender. Return to refrigerator until ready to serve. Stores great in an empty condiment bottle.

Baked Chicken with fresh Apricots and Goat Cheese

(reposted from my Gluten-Free Culinarian Blog)

Once again, it’s that time of the year when complete strangers will come up and hand you a grocery bag full of fresh fruit or veggies, muttering something like, “We can’t let it go to waste. We planted the &*$#@ tree, but how is any one person supposed to eat that many apricots?” And the truly shameless drop them on your doorstep in the dead of night. If you’ve recently come into a fresh supply of apricots, this is a wonderful way to use the… shall I say more bruised among the lot? This is a subtly rich dish with a piquant after-bite that can be made ahead. Serve with roasted potatoes and a fresh veggie platter (the cheese topping is awesome scooped up with fresh celery).

Baked Chicken With Fresh Apricots & Goat Cheese

(serves 6)
3 Large Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 Cups Apricots, seeded and halved
1/2 Cup Goat Cheese, crumbled (spiced or plain)
1/2 Cup Cream Cheese, room temp

1/4 Cup Pimentos, drained (if you cannot find gluten-free pimentos, substitute chopped roasted red peppers)
1/4 Cup Chives, minced
1/4 Cup Pine Nuts, roasted (optional)
1 Tbsp. Gluten-free Soy Sauce
1 tsp. Ground Red Chile Powder

Prepare a 9X13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Slice chicken breasts lengthwise (so that you end up with 6 full-length, thin chicken breasts). Lay chicken breasts on the bottom of the baking dish.

In a medium bowl, blend soy sauce with cream cheese. Fold in all additional ingredients except for apricots. Spread cheese mixture evenly over raw chicken.

Lay fresh apricots skin-side up on top of the chicken and cheese layers.

Lay apricots skin-side up on top of cheese mixture. Can be made one day ahead; cover with plastic wrap and return to refrigerator until ready to bake.

Bake uncovered in 375℉ for 45 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked through the center.

Remove and serve immediately.

Low Fat Blueberry Muffins

Fresh blueberries are perfect for these delicious low fat muffins.

It’s fresh blueberry season, and the best part of using fresh blueberries in muffins is the wonderful juice released as the blueberries explode under the heat of the oven. Here is a recipe full of flavor but low in fat.

Fresh blueberries release their natural juices under the heat of baking, creating a delightful pattern on the tops of these muffins.

Low Fat Blueberry Muffins

Gently whisk together in a large bowl, adding in order from first to last:

1 cup orange juice
2/3 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup canola or other cooking oil
1 egg
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 heaping Tbsp. baking powder
pinch salt


Using a rubber spatula, gently fold into the batter in succession from first to last:

3 cups fresh blue berries (adjust for taste – 3 cups will create muffins chock full of berries; add less if you like more muffin and less berry)
2 cups whole wheat white flour (2 1/3 if using white flour)

Spoon into prepared muffin tins. Makes 17-18 muffins. To freeze for quick breakfasts, wrap each muffin individually in plastic wrap, place in a freezer zip bag and freeze.

 

 

Chorizo-Stuffed Chicken Breasts With Red Pepper Tapenade, Capers and Spiced Feta Cheese

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Bored with chicken enchiladas, tacos, and stir-fry? Here is a spicy, flavorful stuffed chicken to wow your palate. This dish is perfect paired with potatoes, rice or pasta.

Ingredients

4-6 large boneless chicken breasts
3-4 links chorizo sausage
1 small carton basil and tomato feta cheese
4 Tbsp. red pepper tapenade (oil reserved)
1 small jar large capers, drained
non-stick cooking spray
white thread

Preparation

Chorizo-stuffed Chicken With Red Pepper Tapenade, Capers and Spiced Feta Cheese

Use the flat, not jagged, end of a meat tenderizer to flatten chicken, beating the underneath side, not the tops.

Remove chorizo sausages from wrapping, break apart into a prepared, hot heavy skillet, stirring frequently. Chorizo cooks quickly, so don’t leave unattended. Cook for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned, scraping the bottom of the skillet frequently. Pour contents into a sieve balanced over a metal bowl. Retain drained oil.

In a small bowl, combine drained capers and finely crumbled feta cheese. Spoon tapenade into another sieve balanced over the chorizo oil, draining the tapenade oil into the same bowl with the reserved chorizo oil. Add drained tapenade to capers and cheese mixture.

On a cutting board or large flat surface, using the flat side of a meat tenderizer, beat chicken breasts until flat.

Allow chorizo to cool slightly before adding the sausage to the cheese mixture, or it will melt the cheese.

Once chicken is flattened, the chorizo should be cool enough to add to the cheese mixture. Spoon 2-3 Tbsp. cheese mixture into the center of each flattened piece of chicken.

Use white thread to hold the chicken breast in place during the browning process. Pretty is not the goal – just wrap it well enough to prevent the cheese mixture from leaking out into the skillet or during baking.

Wrap chicken completely around cheese mixture and roll several times with white string to hold chicken in place. DO NOT tie ends of string, just roll it around the chicken in several directions, pushing cheese mixture to center and covering as much as possible with chicken breast. It doesn’t need to be perfect or all that pretty – the goal is simply to not lose all of the cheese out into the baking pan during baking.

Re-heat heavy skillet, spooning in 2-3 tbsp. of reserved oil blend. Add rolled chicken to hot oil and brown on all sides, cooking each side for 2-3 minutes. Chicken will still be raw on ends, edges and in the middle. Add additional oil as needed during the browning process. Remove browned chicken and place in a 9 X 13 baking dish prepared with non-stick cooking spray.

Once chicken is cool enough to touch, find the end of the string, and carefully unravel until the string is removed from each piece of chicken. Set chicken in baking dish with seams facing downward.

Place seams down in the baking pan and sprinkle any leftover cheese mixture over the top. Cover with foil before baking.

Top with leftover cheese filling. Cover with foil.

(Either proceed directly to baking instructions or refrigerate for up to 24 hours; may also freeze at this point, wrapped individually in plastic wrap and stored in freezer bags for later use.)

Baking Instructions

Bake chicken in prepared 9 X 13 baking dish for 45 minutes at 325℉ or until done (carefully slice the center of one of the inner pieces of chicken to determine doneness before removing from oven). Remove from oven and let sit covered with foil for 10 minutes (this allows the juice in the dish to be absorbed by the chicken and will make your meat juicy). Slice in thin layers or serve whole.

(Leftovers are wonderful served cold atop salads, in pasta dishes, or as a base for soups, tacos or enchiladas.)