Thursday, June 30, 2011

Baby Back Ribs

**Update**
I posted this recipe for baby back ribs last year. They are so darn good I'm thinking they need to be revisited. I'm preparing them tonight to cook tomorrow for my mom, Nana, and her bestie. As usual when making ribs Mr.Perfect requested that they not be falling off the bone but tender. I took a deep breath, rolled my eyes and made an ugly face at that... as usual.
**Update Complete**

I've made ribs dozens of times and therefore Mr.Perfect has become quite particular about them. He likes them to be tender but not falling off the bone. He wants to bite into them and not have the whole thing fall apart. He's a pain... right?! I like them just fine falling off the bone. Anyhow...this is how I make ribs for Mr.Perfect.

What you need:
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt or season salt
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder or garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper, I like freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili powder (depending on how hot you want them)
  • 4-5 lbs baby back ribs
  • BBQ sauce
What you do:
The night before you cook these...
Combine the first 5 ingredients to make the rub.

Remove the membrane...yuck! I really hate having to touch raw meat any more than I have to but please remove this slimy weirdness, it's totally worth it. Once you can grasp the membrane, pull it off with a paper towel. The paper towel helps with the sliminess.

Place each slab of ribs on a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil and rub the ribs well with rub.

Wrap up the ribs in the foil (I wrap them in 3 layers of foil) and let them spend the night in the refrigerator.

Please forgive me, I got distracted by the wonderful rib smell and forgot to take pictures. Place the foil wrapped ribs in a 275 degree preheated oven. Put them on a cookie sheet just in case there's any leaking. Cook ribs for 2 ½ - 3 hours. Baste both sides of ribs with barbecue sauce and grill or broil 5 to 7 minutes per side. (This caramelizes the BBQ sauce and makes them really, really good!) 
Enjoy & Happy 4th Of July!
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mango Salsa

We recently took a Caribbean vacation and... I really miss being on vacation. We spent some time in Puerto Rico where mangos grow like weeds, well not really but you get the picture, they are everywhere. So because I miss being on vacation and all, I'm making mango salsa.

What you need:
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (seed that baby if you don't like it hot)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt to taste
What you do:
Toss all of the ingredients in a bowl. Scoop it up with tortilla chips & enjoy!
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Make Your Own Taco Seasoning

I think I was in high school when I realized I could make my own taco seasoning instead of relying on the pre-made packets sold at the grocery store. Yep... I was totally weird and loved to cook when I was in high school. Go figure.

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
What you do:
Combine the chili powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.
I like to add the taco seasoning to 1 pound of cooked ground beef along with 1/2 cup water, a chopped clove of garlic and some diced onion. I let the mixture simmer a bit and presto, we've got tacos!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dad, we're NUTS about you!

Both my husband and father are very simple men. Give them a big jar of salty nuts and a bucket of beer on a hot summer day by the pool and they are completely happy. So that's just what I'll do.

Happy Father's Day Guys!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dill Tilapia

This recipe came about because my mom has an abundance of fresh dill in her garden (which I love) and I haven't made Mr.Perfect fish in ages.
What you need:
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • zest from one lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
Place tilapia in a baking dish or foil lined pan.

Combine remaining ingredients and spread evenly over the fish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily.
Did I mention that I love dill!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Zucchini & Tomato Casserole

My parents always seem to have a lot of luck in their garden with zucchini, which I love... so I receive a lot of zucchini. My garden has been producing lots of tomatoes...which I also love. This recipe features both veggies with cheese (which I adore) in a casserole.

What you need:
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (I used white cheddar)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 zucchinis, sliced thin
  • 1 cup tomatoes, sliced thin
  • olive oil
What you do:
Combine cheddar, Parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, garlic and salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a greased pan, arrange half of the zucchini. Sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese mixture over zucchini. Arange half of the tomatoes, and top with 1/4 of the cheese mixture. Repeat.

Drizzle a little olive oil over the top of the casserole.

Cover loosely with foil, bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15-20 more minutes.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mini Meatloaves

Meet mini meatloaves. These little guys are so versatile. They can be made with a Mexican, Italian or BBQ flair (the sky is the limit). I also love these because they are covered in cheese... Trouble will eat anything covered in cheese and so will I.
What you need:
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 cup dry bread cubes (I used a sprouted wheat bread in an attempt to be healthy)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning (any seasoning will do, chili powder, garlic powder, taco seasoning...)
  • 1/2 cup pasta sauce (any sauce will do, salsa, bbq sauce, green chilis...)
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (any cheese will do, jack, feta, cheddar, American)

What you do:

Mix beef with bread, water and seasoning.

Press meat mixture into about 8 greased muffin tins. Make a small indentation on the top of each meatloaf.


Fill the indentation with sauce.

Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Top with cheese, let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

They're like meat cupcakes.. only mini meatloaves sounds so much better!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fruit Dip

Since I'm on a watermelon kick I thought I'd share an easy recipe for fruit dip. Ok so there's no actual fruit in the dip but it's great to dip watermelon and other fruit in... just ask Trouble.

What you need:
  • cream cheese
  • marshmallow fluff
  • a splash of Maraschino cherry juice (or lemon juice, or orange juice etc...)
What you do:
Beat equal parts cream cheese and marshmallo fluff with a hand mixer.

Beat in a splash of cherry juice.


Serve with fruit to hungry child.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Watermelon Salad

So what, who cares... I'm on a watermelon kick.
About a year ago I was hanging out at the pool when a friend pulled out a watermelon, feta and olive bruschetta (don't you just love friends like that). It was totally yummy and I've been thinking that it would make a great salad.

What you need:
  • 1/4 cup thin sliced red onion
  • juice of a lime
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups of one inch cubed watermelon
  • 4 oz. feta cubed
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup torn arugala
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
Place onion, lime juice and olive oil in a small bowl, set aside.

In a salad bowl add watermelon, feta, olives, mint and arugala. Pour the onion mixture over the salad and add a little pepper. Serve immediately.
I just love having another way to use up all of the watermelon in the fridge!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Watermelon Salsa

I always have a hard time figuring out what to do with a whole watermelon. Our family of three can only eat so much. I decided to use the watermelon like tomatoes and make some salsa.


What you need:
  • 3 cups chopped watermelon
  • juice from a lime
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onion
  • 1 chopped jalapeno pepper (remove seeds to cut the heat)
  • salt to taste

In a bowl combine all ingredients.

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.
Yep, it's that easy!