Monday, January 9, 2017

Slow Cooker Barbecued Spareribs

We signed up to be a recipe tester for America's Test Kitchen, and this was our first recipe we received and tested. It was a success!

3 Tbsp paprika
3 Tbsp packed brown sugar, divided
1 Tbsp pepper
2 tsp salt
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 racks (2 1/2- to 3-pound each) St. Louis-style spareribs, trimmed, cut in half crosswise*
1/2 cup ketchup
6 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke

  1. Combine paprika, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, pepper, salt, onion powder, granulated garlic, and cayenne in bowl. Pat spareribs dry with paper towels and rub with spice mixture.
  2. Arrange ribs vertically** in slow cooker with thick ends pointing down and meaty side against interior wall (ribs will overlap). Cover and cook until ribs are just tender, 7 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.
  3. Adjust oven rack 3 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set wire rack in aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and coat with vegetable oil spray. Transfer ribs meaty side up to prepared rack. Let ribs sit for 10 minutes to allow surface to dry out.
  4. Whisk ketchup, molasses, mustard, vinegar, liquid smoke, and remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar in bowl until sugar has dissolved. Brush ribs with half of sauce and broil until sauce is bubbling and beginning to char, about 4 minutes. Remove ribs from broiler and brush with remaining sauce. Tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut ribs in between bones to separate. Serve.
*We don't have a cleaver, so we are going to ask the butcher to cut them for us next time. First time out, we just laid the ribs in diagonally.

**Standing arrangement image below:

4-6 servings

America's Test Kitchen

Friday, December 30, 2016

Crockpot Italian Beef

After trying various recipes, we finally came up with a blend of all of them for this recipe that we really enjoy.

4-4.5 lb. boneless chuck, trimmed of fat, cut into large chunks
1 pkg zesty Italian salad dressing mix
1-1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 beer (or less)
10-12 oz. beef broth
2 cloves garlic minced
10 oz. whole pepperoncinis, with juice

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook 8 hours on low.

8-10 servings

Our own recipe

Spicy Pretzels

This recipe was shared with me by a friend. She made these for our girls' weekend, and I couldn't stop eating them!

3/4 cup olive oil
1 oz package dry Ranch dressing mix
3 Tbsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp dill weed
1 Tbsp lemon pepper
1 Tbsp Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic*
Cayenne pepper to your taste
15-16 oz bag of sourdough pretzel bites (or sourdough pretzels broken into bite-size pieces)

Mix the first 7 ingredients together in a large bowl. Add pretzels and stir to mix. Toss every 10 minutes for 1 hour. Spread pretzels onto cookie sheet and bake at 350° for 10 minutes.
*Substitute Garlic Garlic seasoning: 4 Tbsp dried minced garlic, 1 Tbsp dried minced onion, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp garlic power, 1/2 tsp dried chives, 1/2 tsp dried dill, 1/4 tsp dried basil


Mexican Wedding Cookies

We've traditionally made Matt's grandmother's Mexican Wedding Cakes recipe. This year I had lots of leftover pecans and saw this recipe and decided to try a different variation. We LOVED them! The little crunch from the pecans with the hint of spices were a great addition.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Additional powdered sugar (about 3/4 cup)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. In a Small Batter Bowl, combine the flour, pecans, cinnamon, and salt; mix well and set aside.
  2. In a Classic Batter Bowl, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy. Add the vanilla; beat well. Gradually add the flour to the butter mixture; beat on low speed just until dry ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Using a Small Scoop, drop level scoops of dough, 1" apart, onto a Rectangle Stone. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the cookies are set, but not brown. Remove the cookies to a Stackable Cooling Rack; cool 5 minutes. While the cookies are still warm, roll them in additional powdered sugar to coat. Cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.

4 dozen

Pampered Chef

Servings of 2 cookies. Calories 160, Total Fat 11 g, Saturated Fat 5 g, Cholesterol 20 mg, Carbohydrate 15 g, Protein 2 g, Sodium 100 mg, Fiber less than 1 g

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Best Bean Dip

My sister stumbled on this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything (sourced from Taste of Home). Definitely a keeper! It's creamy, spicy, and the perfect texture for dipping. Bring it to a friend’s house to watch the game and it’ll be a hit.

16 oz can refried beans
1 cup picante sauce
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin (or more to taste)
Tortilla chips

In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients; transfer to a small (1-1/2-qt) slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or until heated through, stirring intermittently. Serve with tortilla chips and salsa.

Optional ways of preparing: The slow cooker is ideal because it keeps the dip warm but you can also prepare this in the oven or even microwave. For the oven, bake dip at 350˚ for 20-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. In the microwave, heat in a microwave safe bowl for 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melted and smooth. Stir every couple of minutes.

36 servings (about 4-1/2 cups)

The Girl Who Ate Everything (sourced from Taste of Home)

2 Tbsp: 57 calories, 4g fat (2g saturated fat), 12mg cholesterol, 151mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 1g fiber), 2g protein