Not just any old side dish

We had Baked Chicken for dinner last week and needed a side dish to go with it.  I had a can of sliced carrots and wanted to “jazz” them up a bit.  There’s nothing more bland than a can of sliced carrots, folks.

carrots

See these?  Man were they tasty.  (and I apologize if the lighting isn’t that great – I don’t claim to be a photographer! at all!) I drained all the juice from the can, put about teaspoon of butter in the skillet, added about a scant tablespoon of Splenda brown sugar, and about a scant tablespoon of (sugar free) Apricot Preserves along with about a teaspoon of chopped jalapeno pepper (seeds and all for a bit of heat)a pinch of salt and a dab of pepper in the skillet also.  I let this simmer on low heat to get everything melted together, added the drained carrots, and let them hang out a bit in the sauce to get the flavors all through the carrots.

Boy oh Boy.  Were these ever good.   Feeding the kiddos?  Just leave the seeds from the pepper out.  But put them in.  Adds a bit more flavor.  But you can leave them out all together.  And if you want, use orange marmalade.  Whatever flavor you have.   Hubby loved them and were diabetic friendly but not short on flavor.   Jazz your side dishes up next time you open a can.  Have a great rest of the week!

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Ribs – on the grill

It was hubby’s birthday so I grilled for his birthday supper.  He wanted ribs.  Here’s how mine are done – it may not be your method but it’s the way he likes his!  Fall off the bone tender, and oh so flavorful!  I did try a new method this time.  I usually dry rub mine and let the dry rub sit on them for a couple of hours prior to grilling.  This method, like a lot of grillers, called for a pre-marinade, and then dry rub for an hour or two.   For the marinade, you can use either apple cider or apple cider vinegar with the juice of one lemon (make sure you have trimmed your ribs of the silverskin and any loose pieces of bits) and make sure the ribs are just covered with liquid – let soak in refrigerator for 2-4 hours.  Then remove from marinade, and dry off with paper towels.   Apply dry rub of your choice and rub in – refrigerate for 1-2 hours.  Then grill! – our grill has a smoker tray of which I placed my soaked wood chips in – I cut all burners on high to heat the grill – when the wood chips started smoking, I cut off the side without the chips, and cut down the side with the chips to medium.  I placed the ribs  meat side down to begin with, on the side with no heat.  I then basted the ribs every thirty minutes with cider and rotated and turned the ribs for even cooking.  Mine cooked for 2 1/2 hours (this is determined by the size and meatiness of the ribs).  I then like to wrap my ribs in foil for another 30 minutes to 45 minutes to finish cooking and tenderizing.  If you like a bit of crispyness or plan on brushing on bbq sauce, just remove from foil, place on fire side (cut up flames if need be) and baste and turn over and baste again to get crisp sides. Hubby liked them cause he went back for seconds!

photo (2)

For my rub, I generally use:

couple teaspoons kosher salt

2 heaping Tbsp  splenda brown sugar

2 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

You can alter, add other ingredients, to the above, and adjust the amounts of the seasonings to your liking.   And there are a lot of already mixed rubs in the stores that are good.

I had some Chicken Kabobs for me and used the same seasoning on the chicken and it was so good!  So it is a very versatile rub.

I love using the grill in the hot summer months!  Let us know what you are grilling these days!

Pecan Praline Poke Cake

Oldest daughter found this cake recipe floating around somewhere and sent it to me.  Although the original was not a poke cake, and the sauce can be made to spoon over individual slices, I thought it much easier to poke holes while cake was hot and pour over cake and serve that way, letting the whole cake soak up that yumminess of the sauce.

However you make this, it would be the perfect Mother’s (or Father’s) Day dessert.  This cake is so easy and moist.  And yes, you do make the cake with the canned icing right in the cake batter.  What’s easier than that??!!!

Pecan Praline Poke Cake
For the cake:
1 box butter pecan cake mix

1 (16 oz) tub coconut pecan frosting

4 eggs

3/4 cup oil (canola or veg.)

1 cup water

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Sauce –

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

2 Tbsp butter

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9.13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2.  In bowl of mixer, mix all cake ingredients except 1/2 cup chopped pecans (and yes including the canned icing).

Once this is combined, stir in chopped pecans.  Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes.  (I think mine actually took 45 minutes).

For sauce:  In small pan melt 2 Tbsp butter.  Once just melted, add sweetened condensed milk and stir until just heated.  Remove from heat and stir in the 1/2 cup chopped pecans.  Poke holes in warm cake and slowly pour the sauce over the cake – if it runs down the sides that’s ok.   Let cake cool.  Cut and enjoy.

This cake was so moist.  So delicious.  Give it a try and see what you think.  Let us know if you served your sauce on the cake or on the side as a “sauce.”  Have a wonderful and blessed Mother’s Day.