How to caramelize onions

My mom sent me this recipe that she had made a while ago. Brian doesn’t like onions, but has recently come around to liking caramelized onions. Probably because they are sweet…and he loves all things sweet. This batch was extra sweet, because I halved the recipe, except I forgot to half the sugar. Whoops. It got him to eat them though, with rave reviews.

Ingredients:

1 T. canola oil
2 large onions, sliced
1 T brown sugar
1/2 c. reduced-sodium beef broth
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 t salt
1/4 t. black pepper
 
Thinly slice onions.
 
 
Heat oil in large skillet over med. heat.  Add onions and brown sugar and cook, stirring often, until the onions are very tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
Add broth, vinegar, salt and pepper, cook, stirring until the liquid has almost evaporated. 
 
 
 
 
How will you use these delicious onions once made? I recommend on a bacon and egg sandwich with spinach and sharp cheddar. Oh yeah.
 
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Bbq chicken salad

I have been obsessed with this salad lately. I’ve eatten it at least 5 times this past week. It’s super simple, healthy and full of flavor.

I cooked some chicken breasts in the skillet and brushed them with bbq sauce while cooking them. Once slightly cooked, I cut them up.

Just throw together lettuce, about 1/4 cup of corn and black beans, diced tomato, red onion and red bell pepper and a little cheese. Put chicken on top and add another tablespoon bbq sauce instead of salad dressing. Oh and if you have some hint of lime chips, they go well with the salad.

Tangy butter bean salad

Butter beans are delightfully delicious. I’m not sure why they aren’t used more often. I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those foods that becomes trendy soon and there will be butter bean everything! Then, I will be very happy. In fact, I might start the butter bean revolution by making butter bean hummus. Yep, definitely doing that…but, I’m rambling. Back to the salad.

This salad came about by combining element’s of More Cheese More Chocolate’s butter bean recipe and Love Food Eat’s salad.

Rinse and drain one can of butter beans. Dump into bowl and set aside.

In a small dish combine the juice of 1/2 large lemon, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro and 1 tablespoon grated parmesan.

Pour dressing over beans and stir to combine. Let sit for minimum of 30 minutes to let the flavors combine. Serve chilled.

Huevos Cubanos

Huevos Cubanos are a spin-off of huevos rancheros. Brian was in need of a quick dinner the other night before heading out the door. I had some left over Cuban-style black beans so I created this dish.

Fry up a corn tortilla in a hot skillet by spraying each side with some olive oil cooking spray and cooking it one each side for about a minute. Heat up your left over Cuban-style black beans. Spread those on top of tortilla. I had some left over chicken breast so I chopped that up and threw it on there, too. Toss on a little shredded cheese. Then, I fried up an egg and laid it on top of the beans and chicken. Add a splash of hot sauce and you have a quick, easy and protein packed breakfast, lunch or dinner.

BeST BLT variation

Bacon. Egg. Spinach. Tomato. Guacamole.

Zing. Bam. Ka-pow! That’s what my taste buds were saying when I ate this sandwich for lunch. This needs to be on a menu somewhere, if it’s not already.

While my perfect sandwich bacon was cooking in the oven, I made a half batch of the best ever guacamole.

If you want to construct this sandwich, follow these very simple steps:

Start with a piece of bread. Spread a tablespoon or two of guacamole on it. Top guac with slices of a homegrown tomato.

Top the tomato with a fried egg(I leave my yoke runny) and bacon.

Toss some spinach on top of that.

Top with another piece of bread and devour!

Here’s the Points Plus breakdown: 2 slices of bread(2 points), 2 slices turkey bacon(2 points), 2 tablespoons guacamole(1 point), 1 egg cooked with cooking spray(2 points), spinach(0 points)= 7 points plus for one sandwich

Perfect bacon

Bacon is delicious, but I find it messy and obnoxious to cook in a skillet. So, I generally just go without bacon. I’ve been increasingly curious about cooking bacon in the oven, so I gave it a shot. It’s much less messy and super easy. It gives you perfectly flat pieces of bacon which work great on sandwiches.

Preheat your oven to 400F.

Place strips of bacon flat on baking sheet, so they are not overlapping. Then I sprinkled the slices with freshly cracked pepper for a richer flavor. I put aluminum foil on my baking sheet for minimal clean up. Work smarter not harder is what I always say.

Place sheet of bacon in oven 12-20 minutes depending on how crispy you like your bacon. If you are wondering why my bacon looks like cartoon clouds of bacon, it’s because it’s actually bacon’s healthier cousin, turkey bacon.

When it’s done to you liking, remove from oven and try to resist eating it all right away.

If you like to save for bacon grease for cooking other things this is probably not the method for you as it eliminates the puddle of bacon grease that you are left with from skillet cooking. If you like nice and neat bacon with no mess, then you will love oven bacon.

Weekend update

It’s been an great weekend.

It started Friday morning with this awesome purchase from Target for $1.00:

My brother and his wife are in town from Texas. Friday we went to the Cubs vs Cardinals game. Unfortunately, the Cardinals lost.

 My jungle of a garden loved Saturday morning’s thunderstorm.

My brother and I headed to the Glenwood art’s fest on Saturday where Brian was doing mini-paintings. At the fest, I nearly tripped over this giant banana in the street. I don’t know how much it was, but it almost became a Christmas present for my banana-loving dad.

 

Stuffed Cuban pork tenderloin

I love a good Cuban sandwich. This looked like a slightly healthier alternative. I would give this recipe a 6 out of 10. I blame myself for much of that. It’s only a 5 ingredient recipe, to which I thought I owned all of them. Well, when I went to the fridge, my cilantro was bad and the jar of bread and butter pickles went mysteriously missing. Oh, and that jar of dijon mustard that I was convinced was in the cupboard…Brian informed me that we’ve never owned any.

So………

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1/3 cup sweet relish (or diced bread and butter pickles)
  • 3 slices of swiss cheese
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 425F.

Cut a lengthwise slit down the center of the tenderloin two-thirds of the way through the meat. Open halves, laying tenderloin flat:

Place plastic wrap over pork loin and pound out meat to 1/2 inch thickness:

Spread mustard on top of meat:

Spread relish in a wide row on top of mustard:

Tear slices of swiss cheese in half and place over surface:

Roll the tenderloin up and tie  it up about every inch and a half:

Season the outside of the tenderloin with salt, pepper and the crushed coriander seeds. Brown the tenderloin on all sides in a hot skillet on the stove top.

Once browned on all sides, place on a lightly greased pan and place in the oven. Bake about 11 minutes on each side.

Once cooked all the way through, slice and serve with Cuban beans, or side of your choice.

Cuban-style black beans

These beans are a great and spicy side dish and left overs can be used in a modified huevos rancheros. Two meals out of one recipe and cleared out sinuses? Bonus.

I created these after looking over several recipes and not remembering exactly how a single one of them went, so I just went into the kitchen and did my best.

Start by sautéing 1/4 cup diced onion and 1 thinly sliced or minced clove of garlic. Saute until onion becomes translucent.

Then dump in a can of black beans(drained and rinsed) and a can of Rotel. If you can’t find this particular version of Rotel, then you will need to add in lime juice and cilantro at the end of the recipe. If you like to keep it simple(like me) then you will search far and wide for the Mexican Rotel.

Stir all ingredients together and let simmer over medium heat until most of the liquid cooks out, 20-25 minutes.

 Served as a side with a slice of Cuban pork tenderloin(recipe coming soon):

Move over Alton Brown: a granola recipe

What do you do when you Google search “best ever granola recipe” and the results yield Alton Brown’s granola recipe? Take it and make it better, of course.

Well, I can’t say I officially made it “better” because I never made the original recipe. I can almost for certain say that people with peanut allergies would disagree with me as well.  But I can say for certain, “It’s pretty darn tasty!” Oh, and extremely addictive.

Adapted from Alton Brown:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup natural almonds
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 250F.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine the honey, oil and peanut butter.  A super easy trick is to use the same measuring cup for the oil and the honey. Measure the oil first, then the honey. The little bit of oil left in the measuring cup will allow the honey to easily come out of the cup, saving you frustrating scraping. Heat in microwave at 20 second intervals until peanut butter is melted. Stir well to combine call components.

Pour over dry ingredients and mix well.

Spread granola evenly out on two large baking sheets. Bake in oven, stirring every 15 minutes for 1 hour and 15 minutes. This will allow the granola to brown evenly.

After 1 hour and 15 minutes, pour the granola into a bowl and combine with the dried fruits.

I then poured the granola back onto aluminum foil to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Fantastic on yogurt: