Blend

Spicy Black Bean Dip

As the sunshine shows up again this spring, so are  backyard barbecues . A great hostess is always looking for  yummy appetizers and sides for her guests as they wait for the entree to come off the grill. This black bean dip is the perfect third in a trio with garden salsa and guacamole. All the ingredients are economical and make it a great choice for a gathering in your own home or to carry with you to a potluck. Ingredients

3c.  cooked black beans

1/4t. oregano

2 canned chipotle peppers (in adobo sauce)

11/2 c. chopped onion

1T. balsamic vinegar

1/3 c. chopped cilantro

Blend beans (with liquid), chipotle peppers and balsamic vinegar in the blender and blend until smooth. Add chopped onion and cilantro.

The smokey flavor of chipotle makes this dish fabulous  with chips or raw vegetables. If you like,  use it as a sandwich spread or on your favorite wrap.

If you're concerned about calories, fat grams or carbs, it's also a healthy alternative to a sour cream or mayo based dip.

Simply Strawberry Valentine Cupcakes

If you're looking for a "hit" at home, work or party, this recipe is it! People will beg for you to share your secret. The following recipe is a shortened version from Cupcakes from the Cake Doctor by Anne Byrn. Mix the following ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Blend with an electric mixer and pour 1/3c. batter  into cupcake liner and bake for 20-25 min. @ 350.

  • 1 pkg. (18.25 oz) plain white cake mix
  • 1 pkg. (3 oz) strawberry gelatin
  • 1 c. finely chopped fresh strawberries with juice, from 11/2c. whole berries
  • 3/4c. milk
  • 3/4c. vegetable oil
  • 4 large  eggs

Prepare Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 3 ½ cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • ¾ cup fresh ripe strawberries, rinsed, capped, and mashed to make ½ cup, then drained well
  • ½ cup frozen unsweetened grated coconut, thawed
  • ½ cup of chopped pecans

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on low speed for about 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add the sugar and drained strawberries.  Blend the frosting on low until the sugar has been incorporated.  Then raise the speed to medium and mix the frosting another minute or until the frosting lightens and is well combined.

Frost those pink babies and enjoy!!

Pretty in Pink Strawberry Cupcakes

In keeping breast cancer awareness in the forefront this month, the BEST strawberry cupcakes are a must. The following recipe is a shortened version from Cupcakes from the Cake Doctor by Anne Byrn. Mix the following ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Blend with an electric mixer and pour 1/3c. batter  into cupcake liner and bake for 20-25 min. @ 350.

  • 1 pkg. (18.25 oz) plain white cake mix
  • 1 pkg. (3 oz) strawberry gelatin
  • 1 c. finely chopped fresh strawberries with juice, from 11/2c. whole berries
  • 3/4c. milk
  • 3/4c. vegetable oil
  • 4 large  eggs

Prepare Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 3 ½ cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • ¾ cup fresh ripe strawberries, rinsed, capped, and mashed to make ½ cup, then drained well
  • ½ cup frozen unsweetened grated coconut, thawed
  • ½ cup of chopped pecans

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on low speed for about 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add the sugar and drained strawberries.  Blend the frosting on low until the sugar has been incorporated.  Then raise the speed to medium and mix the frosting another minute or until the frosting lightens and is well combined.

Frost those pink babies and enjoy!!

I thought it wold be interesting to find  out how many cookbooks have been created to fund cancer research. Here are a few links. There are great recipes and heart-warming back-stories connected to each.

http://www.bhg.com/bhg/store/product.jsp?catid=cat120006&prodid=prod3920005

http://3chiliesandabean.com/index.htm

http://www.breastfriends.ca

Crabmeat Au Gratin

My family lived in New Orleans for several years, and we fell in love with Cajun food.  One dish we especially liked was Crabmeat Au Gratin.  The recipe that I use comes from  my favorite cookbook, Manna From Westwego Assembly of God Church.  It was written by the women of the church, some of the greatest cooks in all New Orleans.  Enjoy.

1 stalk of chopped celery

1/4 lb butter

1 large can evaporated milk.  (I use skim or 2%)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 egg yolks

1/2 tsp. red pepper  (I substitute Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning for desired spice)

1 lb. white crabmeat  (Imitation crabmeat may be substituted)

Saute' onions and celery in butter until wilted.  Blend flour in well with this mixture. Pour in the milk gradually, stirring constantly.  Add egg yolks, salt, black pepper and/or Creole Seasoning.  Cook for 5 minutes.

Place the crabmeat in a bowl and pour the cooked sauce over it.  Blend well and then transfer into a lightly greased casserole and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until cheese has melted and lightly browned.  Serves 6.

Note:  The secret to the sauce is adding enough milk to obtain the consistency that you prefer.  A little more milk added keeps it from being dry while it is being baked.

Serving suggestions:  Serve with a baked potato, steamed broccoli, and salad.