Ingredient Smack Down

A reader on my website had a great idea. She suggested that Lisa and I take an out of the ordinary ingredient and then have a little challenge to see what we each come up with. In her comment she suggested Tater-Tots. So this week, Lisa and I will be on a mission to each create a recipe using Tater-Tots.

Now we want a suggestion for next week. Make sure it's something uncommon, or out of the ordinary but do keep it reigned in a little, remember we are making food that people actually want, and no one wants an anchovy or sardine cheese burger right?

So lets have it, what is your best suggestion for next weeks Smack Down?

Slow Cooked Three Bean Turkey Chili

2 1/2 pounds ground turkey or beef
1-15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1-15 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1-15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
3-14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes with jalapenos
1 large onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

1. In a skillet, cook turkey or beef with onions, garlic and bell pepper. Cook over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain excess fat.
2. Transfer to a slow cooker. Stir in beans, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.
3. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4 hours. Serve topped with cheddar cheese, onions, sour cream, tortilla chips or your favorite toppings.

NOTE: This is not spicy. Too kick it up add some cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper.


We want YOU to help

If you have noticed our posting slow down it is because we have run out of things to try. Lately we find ourselves making the same ole thing which makes it hard to post on here, because you don't want to see the same thing twenty different times. It is obvious that Lisa has run out of things to cook for dinner which is why she is drowning her sorrows in sugary sweets. And since my waist line can't handle anymore of her uber sweet recipes and I just plane have cookers blog over here we need some ideas. Is there something you would like us to make? Do you have a favorite recipe that you would like us to make and post on here? Are you looking for an event specific meal? ANYTHING. Really give us anything and we will make it, or figure out how, or burn it, or...well either way you will get photos and some laughs right?

Starting now please submit any and all requests. Then Lisa and I can argue over who makes what!

Mexican Lasagna

I stumbled upon this recipe on Eat Better America. I didn't have everything they listed so I made up my own version. Mine is as follows.

1 pound boneless skinless chicken cut in pieces
1 large white onion chopped
3 Cloves garlic chopped
2 cups sour cream
3 tbsp green chili sauce
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
3 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp Tapatio (or other favorite hot sauce)
2 cups salsa
8 crunchy tostada shells
2 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Heat skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Add chicken and stir until no longer pink (about 5 minutes). Add chicken to a medium bowl. Wipe skillet and spray with cooking spray. Add in onions and cook until the color begins to fade. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Add onions and garlic into bowl with chicken.

In small bowl combine sour cream chili sauce, hot sauce and seasonings. Stir to combine, taste for flavor, add more of something if you prefer a stronger flavor.

In bottom of baking dish spread about 1/4 cup salsa. Place tostada shell on top, then add 1/4 sour cream mixture followed by 1/4 chicken mixture. Top with cheese. Add a second tostada shell and repeat the process. When you reach the top place your final shell, with remaining sour cream mixture and cheese on top. Place dish in oven and cook uncovered for 30 minutes. If cheese browns too quickly cover with foil. Allow dish to cool, cut and then serve.

**In a pinch you can sub tortilla shells for the tostata shells. You could also use any variety of shredded cheese that you prefer.**

(Please note, the sour cream will separate some in cooking, this is normal. Do not panic. It should look that way. I promise!)

Apple Strudel Muffins

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
2 medium apples, one shredded one chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter, softened

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a large bowl, beat together butter, white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar and eggs until smooth. Mix in vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in apples, and gradually blend in the flour mixture. Spoon the mixture into the muffin pan.
4. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle a spoonful over the tops of the muffins.
5. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.


Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

2 cups peanut butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
36 peanut butter cup candies

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl combine the peanut butter, sugar and eggs. Form a spoonful into a ball. Bake for 10 minutes.
3. Remove from oven and press peanut butter cup candy into the center. Let cool.


Peanut Butter Chocolate Fondue

24 ounces milk chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup hot water

1. In a fondue pot or saucepan, melt the chocolate with the heavy cream. Mix in the peanut butter, vanilla, sugar, and water. Continue to heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is smooth. Serve warm with your favorite goodies.


Lobster Tails

2 lobster tails
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1. Preheat the broiler.
2. With kitchen shears cut the top side of the lobster shells. Pull apart shells slightly, and season meat with butter, paprika, salt, and pepper.
3. Broil lobster tails 10 to 15 minutes, or until butter is melted and lightly browned, and lobster meat is fully cooked.


Double Cheese Bacon Burgers

1 pound ground beef
4 ounces mozzarella cheese
4 slices cheddar cheese
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
garlic powder
hamburger buns
favorite burger toppings

1. Put the ground beef into a large bowl. Mix in crumbled bacon. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
2. Slice mozzarella cheese into small chunks.
3. Form ground beef into 8 patties. Put a spoonful of mozzarella in between two patties and form into a single patty.
4. Season each patty with salt, pepper and garlic and grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until desired doneness. In the last minute of cooking, top each with a slice of cheddar cheese. Cover the grill and let the cheese melt.
5. Serve with all your favorite hamburger toppings.


White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs
6 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
10 ounces frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
3-8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 6 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let fully cool.
3. In a saucepan, combine raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until sauce is thick.
4. In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth.
5. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate.
6. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 4 tablespoons raspberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into pan, and again spoon 4 tablespoons raspberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.
7. Wrap foil around the bottom of the spring form pan. Place on a cookie sheet then fill the cookie sheet with water. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Turn off the heat and crack the oven door. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven for another hour. This will allow the cheesecake to not sink. Cover and refrigerate the cheesecake for 8 hours. Serve topped with remaining raspberry sauce.


Heavenly Coconut Bars

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1-14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups flaked coconut
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray. Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar. Mix and press into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes.
3. Top graham cracker crust with coconut flakes then pour the sweetened condensed milk over the top of the coconut. Bake for 15 minutes.
4. Sprinkle the top with the chocolate chips and bake 2 minutes just to allow the chocolate to melt. Spread the chocolate evenly over the top. Allow to fully cool before cutting into squares and serving.