Spicy Oyster Crackers

2/3 c. canola oil
2 small pkgs. Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1 t. dill weed
1/2 t. lemon pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
1 lg. pkg. oyster crackers (what are they?)

Mix together oil, dressing mix, lemon pepper, dill and garlic powder. Place crackers in large baking dish. Pour mixture over top and stir until they are completely coated.

Cook in 200 degree oven for 20 minutes. Keep in an airtight container. Stays fresh for weeks. Goes wonderfully with a fresh soup or just as a snack!

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Sweet Potato Chili

This recipe comes from Rebecca in The Siesta Fiesta Cookbook.  It is a unique and tasty twist on chili, which I believe you will LOVE. The rest of this month, we will be highlighting recipes from this wonderful cookbook–only 33 left!

1 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (3/4 t.)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped
1 – 15 oz. can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
1 c. chicken stock
2 1/2 c. cold water
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 6 cups)
2 t. crushed red chili flakes
1 t. cumin
2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
2 oz. diced green chilies (or 1 fresh jalapeño pepper, minced)
1 bunch scallions, minced

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, red pepper and garlic until firm-tender.  Add the chicken breast and sauté for two minutes, until opaque. Add the beans, stock, water, potatoes, red chili flakes, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper and chilies.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes (or until the potatoes are tender).  Garnish with chopped scallions.  Top the chili with a dollop of sour cream, if desired. Serves 6-8.

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Shrimp Scampi

The first time we made this, it was my Chris’ birthday.  He loved it!!  As did we all.  It was spicy and rich.  The presentation and the flavor make this a hit in our home.

3 T. butter
2 T. minced garlic
1 1/2 pounds peeled, de-veined shrimp
1/4 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. tomato sauce
1 1/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 t. basil
1/2 t. oregano
1/8 t. thyme
1 1/8 t. Italian hot pepper flakes (for children or spicy-sensitive folks, you may want to cut this in half)
2 egg yolks
salt to taste
white pepper to taste
2 T. finely minced parsley (optional)
12 oz. angel hair pasta (plus 2 more T. butter for pasta)

Melt butter in skillet. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add shrimp and cook for one minute over medium-high heat, tossing with a wide spatula, until shrimp are bright pink all over. Do not overcook shrimp (makes them chewy).

Add white wine and tomato sauce (still med-high heat) for one minute.

Turn heat down to medium-low. Add 1 cup of cream, basil, oregano, thyme and hot pepper flakes. Beat egg yolks with remaining cream and add to sauce., stirring until sauce is thickened. Do not boil. Add salt and white pepper to taste.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Then drain and add 2 T. butter and stir.

Pour sauce over pasta and enjoy! Serves 4-6.

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