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Published: Tuesday, 5/2/2006

Mint Julep

1 sprig plus 5 leaves fresh mint

1 tablespoon simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water boiled

together until a clear syrup is formed)

2 ounces premium bourbon

Place syrup in bottom of chilled julep cup or highball glass. Fill with crushed ice. Place 5 fresh mint leaves on top of ice. Bruise mint with back of spoon. Fill glass with 2 ounces bourbon. Stir. Garnish with sprig of mint.

Yield: 1 serving

4 squares semisweet chocolate

2 tablespoons margarine or butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup light or dark corn syrup

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups pecan halves

1 unbaked pastry shell (9-inch)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Microwave chocolate and margarine in large microwavable bowl on high for 2 minutes or until margarine is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar, corn syrup, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. Stir in pecans. Pour into pastry shell. Bake 55 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and edges comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Yield: 8 servings

2 tablespoons oil

2 medium onions, chopped

1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 pounds lean ground beef

2 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes, with their juice, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne, optional or to taste

1/2 teaspoon cumin

2 16-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Sour cream (optional)

Chopped scallions (optional)

Grated cheddar cheese (optional)

In a large saucepan or medium pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat until just shimmering. Add onions and bell pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables just begin to brown.

Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add ground beef and cook, breaking the meat up with wooden spoon or long-handled fork as it browns, for about 5 minutes or until it begins to lose pinkness. Add tomatoes with their juice, chili powder, salt, cayenne, and cumin and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until meat is cooked through and flavors have blended.

Add kidney beans and cook a few minutes to heat through. Serve topped with sour cream, scallions, or Cheddar, as desired.

Yield: 8 servings

Source: The Family Kitchen by Debra Ponzek



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