Maybe I’ve been watching too much Pride and Prejudice lately. All the fancy dresses….The English accents…..The snootiness of Mr. Darcy. It all gets me in the mood for a nice cup of tea. The only difference is that I’m in Texas in 2013 where it’s 80 degrees and not in England back in the 18th century, so my tea is gonna be iced!!!!
This could definitely be a fancy tea that they might’ve been served back in the Pride and Prejudice times. Elizabeth Bennett would approve!!!! And don’t think I’m not gonna drink it with my pinkie finger sticking up! I definitely will be! That goes without saying!!
3 family-sized tea bags
30 mint leaves, divided
1 large orange, divided
3/4 – 1 c. sugar, depending on preference (optional)
*makes one large pitcher of tea
Bring approximately 10 cups of water to a rolling boil.
While the water is coming to a boil, slice the orange into about 8 pieces.
Turn off the boiling water, and place 15 mint leaves, half of the orange slices, and the tea bags into the pot. Let steep for at least 30 minutes. (The longer it steeps, the more flavor is released from the orange and mint leaves. )
Remove the wilted orange slices, tea bags and mint leaves from the tea.
Place sugar into your pitcher.
Pour in the steeped tea and stir.
Add 8 cups or so of cold water – enough to basically fill your pitcher to nearly the top. Stir again.
In the cooled pitcher of tea, add the rest of the mint and orange slices.
Serve over ice – with or without the mint and oranges in your glass. :)
This tea is better the second day. You can leave the mint and orange slices overnight because it greatly enhances the flavor, but then remove them the next day or your tea will become bitter.
Maybe it’s because I don’t make them very often since they’re pretty time consuming – but DEFINITELY worth the time. Just never eat a huge amount of the poppers on an empty stomach! I’m not going to cross over into the TMI zone. I promise! Well, I promise THIS time anyways. Just heed my advise!
Meatloaf! Back to meatloaf! How does this relate to meatloaf? Well, sometimes I have some ingredients leftover since it’s kinda hard to determine just how much cream cheese you’ll need to fill 50 poppers. AND cream chesse is just so darn good, you can’t let that go to waste!
So, in the midst of my obsession with jalapeno poppers comes the next best thing – I present you Jalapeno Popper Meatloaf!
Prepare the meatloaf and fill with the jalapenos and cream cheese. Cover up the holes with some hamburger meat. Top with leftover jalapenos that do not fit inside.
**Note – You could just cut up the jalapenos and cream cheese into small pieces and drop into a meatloaf hole if you are in a hurry. I think I just coined a new term! Meatloaf hole!! Yes, I know I am totally weird!
Lay strips of bacon across the meatloaf and tuck the ends under the edge of the meatloaf. Bake for 65 minutes at 380 degrees.
P.S. I even use some of the drippings to make gravy if I’m serving it with mashed potatoes. It gives you a salty smokiness from the bacon and a little bit of jalapeno flavor. Works for me!!!
2 lbs. hamburger meat
1/2 of a medium sized onion, grated or finely chopped
2 finely grated carrots
1 dry onion soup packet (or some onion and garlic powder)
1/2 c. breadcrumbs
8-10 slices of bacon
10 fresh jalapenos
1 box of Philadelphia cream cheese
What to do:
- Preheat the oven to 380 degrees.
- Spray your dish with non-stick spray.
- Prepare the jalapenos by cutting longways and removing seeds from the inside. If you want a spicier meatloaf, leave the white membrane that runs along the wall of the jalapeno.
- Fill the inside of the jalapeno with cream cheese. Do this with all jalapenos. Then cut into 1/2 inch chunks. Set aside.
- Mix meat, onion, carrots, seasonings, eggs, and breadcrumbs and place them into a pan on top of a few bread slices (if you want to absorb some of the extra grease as it cooks.) Shape into a loaf.
- Make holes like you are about to plant a seed. Place a piece of the jalapeno/cream cheese inside the hole, and cover up the hole with some hamburger meat. Do this sporatically all over the meatloaf.
- Any pieces that do not fit inside the meatloaf, pile on the top.
- Lay strips of bacon across the meatloaf and tuck the ends under the edge of the meatloaf.
- Bake for 65 minutes at 380 degrees.
You could definitely use a store-bought graham cracker crust, however, I highly recommend making your own if possible. To crush the graham crackers, you can either put them in a zipper bag and use something to crush them….OR you can put 5 or 6 graham crackers at a time in a blender and pulse. Shake the blender a little if needed and continue pulsing til they are finely ground. A food processor also gets the job done.
Graham Cracker Crust:
- 1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter or margarine, and cinnamon until well blended . Press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate.
- Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 7 minutes. Cool.
- 1 1/2 cups cream
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
- 2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 (8 inch) prepared graham cracker crust (store bought or homemade)
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan until small bubbles appear around edges. Remove from heat and stir sugar into the cream until it dissolves. Allow to cool.
- In a medium size bowl, blend the avocado and cream cheese until smooth. Add the lime juice and blend.
- Add the cooled cream mixture to the avocado mixture and blend until it is incorporated.
- Spoon into the prepared pie crust. Lightly tap the pie plate against the countertop to release trapped air bubbles. Freeze at least 2 hours before serving.
This recipe is adapted from Allrecipes.
- Approx. 1 cup of roughly chopped (rinsed and patted dry) carrotgreens
- 1/2 c. or so of roughly chopped parsley
- 1 whole head of roasted garlic (garlic pods removed of course) ****See tip below
- 1/2 c. toasted walnuts
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 c. Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese (quality works best in this recipe!)
Place all ingredients in the blender or food processor. If using the blender, place the olive oil in the bottom first. Blend. If it seems like it’s not blending all the way, stir and then add a little olive oil while the motor is running. Use or place in the freezer til you need it.
**Tip of roasted garlic – Next time your baking something, just wrap up a whole garlic head and slather with a little olive oil and cook while you’ve already got your oven on. You can throw it in the freezer til you need it. Click the link above for roasting directions.
I have a confession to make! This was not supposed be the main picture for this posting. I had planned on placing the roasted chicken on a cute platter and snapping a few photos. Well, this bird had other plans for me. But, I can’t complain because the end product was definitely worth it. After cooking the chicken in my crockpot all day, it was so moist and tender that it just fell right off the bones while I was trying to take it out. Now, I know my photos are not the greatest, most professional looking pictures. I use an iphone and not some fancy, expensive camera with fancy, expensive software…. but that’s okay with me. I hope I show that cooking is not rocket science, and anybody can re-create most of what I post in their own homes. It doesn’t always have to take hours on end to produce something really delicious – like this rosemary chicken.
My brother has given me the nickname of “Crockpot Queen” and so I guess I’m living up to it by posting two crockpot posts back to back. Just wait until I get to desserts and oatmeal! Oatmeal in the crockpot is one of my favs….but that is another posting for another time. SO….on the the bird.
A weekend or two ago, I went to see my mother who has a quaint garden in her backyard, and she sent me home with these cute little carrots. I simply placed them on the bottom of the crockpot, salted the inside of the chicken, seasoned the outside of the chicken and threw in a few sprigs of rosemary on top. Let it cook on low for 6-8 hours and THAT’S IT!!! You don’t have to put in the carrots or any other type of veggie, but it helps keep the chicken from sitting in its own juices for too long. If you work, this could even be done the night before and placed in the refrigerator. In the morning, all you would have to do is turn it on. I do want to mention that you could easily skip the rosemary and just do a plain chicken that could easily be shredded for chicken tacos, nachos etc. Stop buying those grocery store rotisserie chickens and give your crockpot 5 minutes of your time. (Don’t forget to save the chicken juices for cornbread dressing or chicken and dumplings!)
What you need:
One whole chicken
spices of your choice
Carrots or potatoes – cut into large chunks
- Place your chunks of veggies on the bottom of the crockpot
- Salt the inside of your bird. Place approximately 1 teaspoon of salt in your hand and rub the inside of your bird all around, then place it on top of your veggies.
- Season the outside of the chicken. I chose garlic salt and a little Tony Chachere’s cajun seasoning. Something with paprika will give it a good color.
- Throw a couple of rosemary sprigs on top of the chicken.
- Cook in the crockpot on low for 6-8 hours, depending on how large your chicken is. **Tip** I always look at the legs of the chicken. If the meat has started to shrink up from the bone on the legs, it is ready!