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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Taco Seasoning




Copyright 2014 Rekaya Gibson, Photo Credit

As I prepared to cook the other day, I realized that I had forgotten the taco seasoning. What was a girl to do? Make her own. I found a recipe for Taco Potion #19 on the Food Network's website and it had great reviews. I had to try it, but I omitted the cornstarch and the kosher salt. I added garlic powder. I put all the ingredients in a Rajtan, an IKEA spice jar. Like some of the reviewers said, the cumin overpowered the others. They also mentioned that the mixture was too salty. I didn't have that problem, but I would have loved some salt in mine. I use little or none these days for dietary reasons.  I mixed one tablespoon of seasoning in one pound of ground meat and I added a half-a-cup of water. Perfect! Most reviewers liked this recipe. I concur. I'm never buying taco seasoning again. Enjoy!

What's your most popular seasoning that you use?

Taco Seasoning
Adapted from Taco Potion #19 | Alton Brown, Food Network

Ingredients
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 smoked paprika
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. garlic powder

Instructions
1. Put all ingredients in a small jar.
2. Shake until combined.
3. Store in an airtight container. 



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ginger Snap Cookie Balls



  
Copyright 2014 Rekaya Gibson, Photo Credit

Copyright 2014 Rekaya Gibson, Photo Credit 

Copyright 2014 Rekaya Gibson, Photo Credit

I discovered the Ginger Snap Cookie Balls recipe in a Kraft pamphlet, "Make Celebrating Simple," that I picked up at the grocery store three weeks ago. The balls tasted delightful. I loved the smooth cream cheese texture and the hint of ginger flavor. The chocolate gave it a sweet hard shell that left me satisfied. I used my blender to crush the small ginger snaps and I rolled the mixture by hand. Dipping the cookies challenged me, but I managed by placing the goodies in the melting pot and spooning chocolate over them. Though I preferred a stronger ginger bite, I highly recommend this recipe. Enjoy!

What's your favorite brand of ginger snaps? 

I like Nabisco; however, I didn't use them for this recipe. They tend to be a little pricey.

Ginger Snap Cookie Balls by Kraft

Ingredients
1 pkg (8 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened)
40 gingersnaps, finely crushed (about 2-1/4 cups), divided
4 pkg (4oz.)Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate, broken into pieces, melted

Instructions
1. In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese and 2 cups of gingersnap crumbs until well blended.
2. Shape into 30 (1-inch balls) and place in single layer in shallow pan. 
3. Freeze 10 minutes.
4. Dip in chocolate.
5. Place in single layer in shallow waxed paper-lined pan. 
6. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs.

* Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator. 


Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chicken Trottole Soup





Copyright 2014 Rekaya Gibson, Photo Credit


I made my first soup for the fall season, chicken trottole soup. I used what I had in the cupboard and the refrigerator. The picture above shows the outcome. I enjoyed this soup and I shared it with a sick person. "It hit the spot," he said. I thought the broth had a smooth garlic flavor with a hint of lemon; I could have sipped it by itself. Yes, it was that good. I'm glad that I used a fun pasta instead of the traditional noddle. It gave it a twist - no pun intended. You would be pleased too. Enjoy!

What kind of soup do you like?


Chicken Trottole Soup

Ingredients

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion (chopped)
3 carrots (chopped)
3 celery stalks (chopped)
6 garlic cloves (chopped)
2 1/2 (32 oz.) Simple Truth Organic Chicken Broth (low sodium, free range)
1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breast (cubed)
1 tbsp. lemon pepper
1 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. rosemary
1 c. Trottole

Instructions
1. In large pot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium temperature.
2. Add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic.
3. Stir vegetables until they turn translucent.
4. Add broth.
5. In a large skillet, add 2 tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium temperature.
6. Season chicken with pepper, garlic powder, and rosemary.
7. Add chicken to the skillet and stir. Cook until no longer pink.
8. Pour chicken into the broth.
9. Bring pot to a boil and add the trottole.
10. Cook pasta according to package. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Two Sweet Potato Pies




Copyright 2014 Rekaya Gibson, Photo Credit

I love sweet potato pie and this is my favorite time of year to make it. Matter of fact, I wrote a children's book about it, My Mama's Sweet Potato Pie/ El Pay de Camote di mi Mama, a coloring book. In addition, I included a recipe for sweet potato pie in the back of the book.

What's better than one sweet potato pie? Two sweet potato pies. I like experimenting with the ingredients to this recipe and you can too. I sometimes add 1/2 cup of white and 1/2 light brown sugar.  I overheard an elderly woman say that her secret ingredient was lemon extract; it adds an interesting taste to the pie. Also, I like substituting sugar with condensed evaporated milk. Whatever your fancy, enjoy a slice of sweet potato pie for me this holiday season. Thank you.

Who has inspired you to cook?


Two Sweet Potato Pies

Ingredients
4 c. or 4 large, cooked sweet potatoes (mashed)
2 eggs (large)
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. evaporated milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 unbaked ready pie crusts

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. 
3. Mix well with a hand mixer. 
4. Pour into pie crusts.
5. Bake for about 40-45 minutes. 
6. Serve warm or cool and serve.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Chocolate Graham Cracker Toffee



Copyright 2014 Rekaya Gibson, Photo Credit

Copyright 2014 Rekaya Gibson, Photo Credit

Copyright 2014 Rekaya Gibson, Photo Credit


Copyright 2014 Rekaya Gibson, Photo Credit

Let's get down to business: this recipe is "the bombdiggity." It's everything! Okay, I needed to say that first. Apparently, grandmothers all over the world have been making cracker toffee for ages. I have never heard of it until I started seeing it on other food blogs. Some people use saltines or plain graham crackers. Of course, I had to do something a little different: chocolate graham crackers. It's quick, easy, and delicious. The smooth toffee taste complements the chocolate nicely. The cracker gives it texture, crunch, and double shot of chocolate. Next time, I might try it without the chocolate chips. Perhaps I shouldn't mess with perfection. Anyway, I have been in a chocolate coma for two days and I plan to go back soon. This Chocolate Graham Cracker Toffee recipe comes highly recommended. Enjoy!

What's your favorite kind of graham cracker?

Chocolate Graham Cracker Toffee
Adapted from Chef in Training | Graham Cracker Toffee

Ingredients
16 chocolate graham cracker sheets
½ c. brown sugar
1 c. butter
1/2 c. chopped pecans
8 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line cookie sheet with aluminium foil and spray with cooking spray.
3. Place graham crackers on cookie sheet.
4. In saucepan, bring brown sugar and butter to a boil over medium heat. Boil for four minutes stirring constantly. 
5. Pour mixture over graham crackers and bake for 8 minutes.
6. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of graham cracker and let sit for about two minutes. 
8. Spread chocolate with a knife. 
9. Sprinkle nuts on top of crackers.
10. Let sit for about two hours and them cut and serve. 




Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”