Saturday, October 11, 2008

I'm Hooked and I'm Going to Try This!

I recently discovered the food blogs and I'm hooked. I enjoy the photos, the recipes, the stories. Then I thought - I'm a good cook, I like to take photos, I like to write a little and tell my story. So here it goes, the first post.

I started cooking when I was 9 years old. I experimented with a Betty Crocker Cookbook my mom had in the cabinet. It had color photos and was better than the "encyclopedia" type cookbooks she got for a wedding present in 1964. Now I would dive into those "encyclopedia" type books for some great recipes from times past.

But back to Betty and her early guidence...

My parents would buy a side of beef and store it in a large freezer in the utility room. So it was like a trip to the butcher just opening the door. All those white wrapped packages with purple stamps that labled ground beef, round steak, T-bone steak, chuck roast... Oh for the days of great beef in the freezer... I don't know what they paid for a side of beef back then, but I'm sure it was about the price we currently pay for a rib-eye!

Betty had a recipe for Swiss Steak and that was what I made most of the time. But I remember it never looked like the picture. Betty also had a good cornbread recipe that mom still uses.

I would come home from school, read Betty and then check to see if we had all the ingredients in the pantry. Usually we didn't. This is how I learned to improvize and create my own recipes.

Today I enjoy the same process. I read several recipes and combine them to create my own.

For my first post I wanted to feature something I already had a picture of and that is my own version of Chopped BBQ Chicken Salad.

Chopped BBQ Chicken Salad

12 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4" strips
1 Bottle Ranch salad dressing
1 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp fresh minced basil
BBQ Chicken
4 5 ounce boneless skinless chicken breast
1 bottle KC Masterpiece Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce
salt and pepper

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, 1/8" strips
1/2 head romaine lettuce, 1/8" strips
12 large basil leaves, 1/8 strips
1 large jicama, 1/4"x1/4"x3/4" sticks
2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can sweet white corn kernals, drained and rinsed
3 Tbs cilantro, chopped
2 lbs Roma tomato, chopped
1/4 cup green onion, thinly sliced

In a frying pan, fry tortilla strips until crispy. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the salad dressing. Refrigerate.
Salt and pepper the chicken breasts. Cover with BBQ sauce. Bake in the oven until done. Dice chicken into 1/4" cubes. Place in a bowl with remaining BBQ sauce.

Prepare salad ingredients as described above. Toss with salad dressing. Place on a large platter. Cover with Tortilla strips and top with the BBQ chicken.

I hope you enjoy - I'm looking forward to reading your comments.
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