Friday, February 18, 2011

Little red jewels

This is a fun new twist on an old favorite. Pomegranate guacamole is a concept my lovely cousin Kristy introduced to me. I make it differently every time, according to what I have on hand, and you can do the same. You can add tomatoes, but I kind of like to let the pomegranate go solo. I just always make sure to include the coriander, because its fruity undertones complement the pomegranate nicely.


3 ripe avocados, mashed
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1-2 Tbsp. finely diced red onion
1 clove garlic, pressed (add another if you like spice)
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro leaves
Seeds from half a pomegranate*

Whip together thoroughly first six ingredients, then stir in cilantro and pomegranate seeds. Refrigerate about an hour so flavors can mix.

*Click here to learn how to seed a pomegranate without a mess.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cornmeal has a new job

This creamy soup is called cornmeal chicken chowder with sweet potatoes. Cook's Country came up with a unique thickening agent -- cornmeal batter. Our family really loved the flavor it added. We also loved the sweet potatoes.

Cornmeal thickener:

1 1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. flour
3 1/2 Tbsp. cornmeal
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt

Mix everything together in small bowl and set aside until ready for use in chowder. If you don't want to make your own thickener, you may use 1/2 cup of dry store-bought corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy) and combine it with the 1 1/2 cups milk.


1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. thyme or oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
4 c. chicken broth
2 chicken breast halves, cut into chunks*
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 c. shredded cheese
1 1/2 c. frozen corn

Make cornmeal thickener and set aside. Heat butter in pot, then add onion. Saute for a couple of minutes before adding garlic and spices. Saute one minute more, then add broth, along with raw chicken and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer about five minutes. Stir in cornmeal thickener, then bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer again -- this time about 10 minutes. Add cheese and corn and cook a couple of minutes more.

*In some recipes, I don't love the texture of boiled chicken. This was one of those. It was my only hang-up with the recipe. It didn't bother my husband. Even though it's convenient to just throw the chicken in, I might try cooking it first next time and stirring it in at the end. Or, it might be nice to use rotisserie chicken. I have made this recipe twice -- the first time with the boiled chicken and the second time without any chicken. You can do whatever suits your fancy.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I dare you to eat only one

Your life isn't complete if you don't know about these. They are Rolo pretzel bites, and I've never met a soul who didn't like them. Or one who ate fewer than 20 in a sitting. Our sister Joanne introduced us to these years ago, but we forgot about them for a long time. Never again.


Small pretzels
Unwrapped Rolo candies
Pecan halves*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pretzels on cookie sheet lined with foil. Place a Rolo on top of each pretzel. Put in oven for three minutes -- so the Rolos become melty but keep their shape. Mash a pecan half into the top of each Rolo. Eat them warm or let them cool on the foil. They will peel off easily after they have hardened.

*If you are allergic to nuts or just want a little color, replace the pecan halves with regular M&Ms.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Swirl of sweetness

This is some seriously good frosting. It's raspberry cream cheese frosting. Pile it onto your favorite sugar cookies for a fabulous Valentine's treat. Your loved ones, and your sweet tooth, will thank you.


1 8-ounce brick cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. raspberry extract
6 c. powdered sugar

Beat together first four ingredients, and then add powdered sugar. You should have a nice thick frosting, which is perfect for piping. Makes enough for about four dozen cookies.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Quick tip

Spaghetti is one of those fast and easy meals we often make when we are starving and short on time. Here's a quick tip to give a fresh approach to an old favorite: Melt a couple of ounces of cream cheese into your regular marinara. It gives the sauce a yummy twist.