Purple Kitchen Treats

Over the past few years, I have been working on a cookbook. During this time, I took time off to finish my Master's Degree. Now that I have accomplished that, I am working again on my cookbook, slowly but surely.

However, over the past few months, something interesting has happened...I have received multiple requests for baked goods, particularly my cookies. I am also receiving multiple requests for granola. So, with all these requests in mind, I have started to make my cookies for sale, along with my granola.

My official web site is available, but will be undergoing a significant redesign. Be sure to visit my "official" web site at: http://www.susanshonk.com and watch for some exciting changes.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Healthier Recipe - Sausage & Egg "Muffins"

As y'all may know, I recently had the opportunity to speak at a special meeting for people who are very health conscious.  In fact, it was a group of individuals who were considering or have had weight loss surgery.  I had such a wonderful time with them.  

In keeping with a promise I made to them and myself, Here is a new recipe that is simply wonderful, tasty and very figure friendly.

Makes 12 "muffins

Preheat oven to 350' F                  '
1 pound of ground turkey breast
1 1/2 teaspoons of rubbed sage
1/2 heaping teaspoon of dried thyme
1/2 heaping teaspoon of anise seed
1/4 teaspoon each of salt & pepper
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, if you like
Mix all these ingredients together and cook in a non-stick skillet until done
Drain off any liquid

1 quart of your favorite egg substitute, I personally prefer EggBeaters
12 tablespoons of  low fat shredded cheddar cheese

Spray a standard muffin tin generously with your favorite cooking spray
Divide the sausage evenly between the 12 muffin tins
Divide the egg substitute evenly between the 12 muffin tins

Bake for approx. 20 to 30 minutes, or until the egg substitute is no longer "jiggly".
Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the cheese and serve hot.

These will freeze beautifully.  When reheating these little gems, let them defrost and then cover with a damp paper towel and heat on 50% power in the microwave until hot.  This will take a few extra minutes, but they are well worth it.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Simple Quesadilla - when time and ingredients are in short supply

Lately, I have been working some pretty long hours at my full time job.  I also began singing in the church choir, which has between 500 & 600 members.  Yes, ladies and gents....that is not a typo.....and......our church has greater than 30,000 members spread amongst 3 campuses.  So, my time has been in short supply.

I came home from work late and was really hungry.  So, I was rooting around in the fridge and found everything in very short supply.  But, what I did have was flour tortillas, onions, jalapenos and cheese.  So, I sliced the onion and 2 jalapenos and sauteed them in a little olive oil with salt & pepper.  I laid out a couple of tortillas, put some shredded cheese on the tortillas (a combination of pepper jack, cheddar and mozzarella) and piled on the onions and jalapenos.  Folded the tortillas in half and cooked them until golden brown on medium-low heat in a cast iron pan.  They came out wonderfully and only took about 15 minutes to prepare.....talk about fast food!!!

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,


Monday, February 13, 2012

Culinary Confusion - A different kind of Chicken Enchilada

Hi Everyone!!!

Sometimes, I can't decide what culture I am going to cook from.  Sometimes it is on purpose, and sometimes, it is because of necessity.  I think by now, y'all know that my favorite foods are from the desert southwest and Mexico.  Don't get me wrong, I fully enjoy other flavors and cultural foods as well.  But there is something so comforting to me about the desert southwest.  The first time that I stepped off of a plane in Albuquerque in 1995, I was "home".  I can't fully describe the pull that this part of the country has for me.....but some day, I am going to live in New Mexico.  Jason and I adore Albuquerque and the surrounding area, Santa Fe and Taos.  Plus, it gets us that much closer to Sedona, which is only about 4 1/2 hours from Albuquerque.

Well, that was a little bit of a tangent, but we'll get back on track.  A few days ago, I promised Jason that I would make chicken enchiladas.  I had everything in the house, or so I thought.  I had a bunch of Hatch chiles in the freezer that had been roasted and peeled, so I defrosted them in a bowl and threw them and the liquor in the blender with a little salt and pepper and processed them until they were smooth.  I used about 6 cups of chiles to end up with about 4 cups of sauce. This is my version of a very simple and straight-forward enchilada verde sauce.

The filling for these enchiladas is:
2 1/2 to 3 pound rotisserie chicken, skinned, boned and the meat shredded
1 medium onion, chopped and sauteed in a little olive oil until browned
4 cloves of garlic, minced and added to the onion after it is browned
4 Hatch chiles, roasted, peeled and diced
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3 cups of shredded cheese (1cup each of cheddar, pepper jack and mozzarella), reserve some for the topping

Once the onion and garlic have been cooked, add the black beans, cilantro, chiles and cumin and heat through.  Remove from the heat and let cool.  Once cool, add the cheese and mix well.

Take your tortillas......this is the point in the evening when you realize, something is missing and it is a main ingredient for your meal.  As I frantically searched the refrigerator and freezer, all I can find are left-over cooked and frozen giant pasta shells from making stuffed shells a few weeks ago.  So, I put 1 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of 2 baking dishes, defrosted the shells, stuffed them with the filling, lined them up in the baking dishes, poured over the remainder of the sauce, sprinkled them with more cheese and baked them at 350' for about an hour, until they are nicely browned on the top.

They came out amazing and as soon as I can get the picture downloaded from my iPhone, I will add that to this post.

This recipe will make 26 stuffed shells.  In honor of this wonderful meal, I am going to don a sombrero and sing, "That's Amore"......

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Simple Baked Potato

How many times have we baked potatoes?  If you are anything like me, it been hundreds of times.  But, how many people wrap the potato in tin foil and then put them in the oven?

I grew up with potatoes baking in the oven, but never wrapped in tin foil.  My mom simply scrubbed the potatoes, poked them with a fork in a couple of places and baked them directly on the rack at 350' (F) for at least 90 minutes.  The potato skins were always crispy and wonderful.  She would then cut them in half, scoop out the potato into a bowl, add butter, salt & pepper and mix.  While the potato skins were still hot, she would put a pat of butter in each half and let the butter melt.  The potato skins were served along side of the buttered mashed potato.  When we would bite into the potato skins, the butter would end up dripping out onto our plates.

I made baked potatoes tonite to go with dinner (brined and sauteed pork chops with roasted asparagus) and fixed them this way.  My husband ate all of his before he ate anything else on his plate.

If you have never tried potatoes baked this way, I think you will be surprised at how good they are.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Adapting Recipes for a Healthier Lifestyle

I am always looking for ways to change or update recipes to enhance flavor.  One thing that I have given lots of thought to is how do I keep all the flavor of my recipes but reduce sugar, fat and carbohydrate content.  

Tonight, I had the honor and pleasure of speaking with a group of people that is very focused on improving their health using multiple tools and methods.  In preparing for this engagement, I took several of my existing recipes and modified them for a healthier lifestyle and created a booklet to hand out to the group.

I made a pot of my sausage soup, but with much less fat.  When I tasted it, it had all of the flavor of the original version.  I did add rice, but one of the participants in the meeting suggested that I use white beans instead of rice.....what a great suggestion to decrease quick burning carbs and boost nutritional value and fiber!!  

I also made a few great connections with meeting participants and look forward to developing friendships with these lovely ladies.

While we can eat anything that we want any time we want, the question is....should we?  What are we doing to ourselves when we make these choices?   

I would love to hear your suggestions and requests for recipes.  If you have come up with any great recipes, I would love to hear about them.  

All this to say that I will be adding healthier versions of my recipes to this blog and will devote time to this important need.  

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,