16 December 2009

Brickle

I got this recipe from my mom, who got it on the internet. It's ridiculously simple, and everyone who takes a bite immediately says, "Wow, I need this recipe!" It's been my contribution to three different Christmas get-togethers so far!

Ingredients:
1 tube saltine crackers
1 lb salted butter (don't substitute)
1 C brown sugar
12 oz. pkg chocolate chips
5 Heath bars chopped up, or 1 bag Heath bits

Preheat the oven to 350.

Get a cookie sheet with a rim and line it with tin foil. BEFORE you finish this recipe, check to make sure it will fit in your freezer! (My biggest mistake...)

Then, lay the crackers out on the foil. They should pretty much cover it perfectly, but you may need a few more. Don't overlap; lay them all flat.

Melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the brown sugar. When the mixture starts to bubble, turn the heat to medium-low and stir constantly for three minutes. The mixture will be runny, but definitely caramel. Pour the caramel over the crackers.

Put the crackers with caramel in the oven for about ten minutes, or until the caramel is well-spread and bubbly.

Take out the pan and sprinkle the chocolate chips over it. Leave it alone for about five minutes until the chocolate chips melt. Then get a spatula and spread the chocolate out evenly.

Sprinkle the Heath bits on top of the chocolate.

Put the pan in the freezer and leave it for 4+ hours.

When you're ready to eat it, peel the tin foil off the back of the brickle. Then break the brickle into irregular pieces. (I used the edge of a plate for this.) Enjoy! FYI: This keeps best in the fridge or freezer so it doesn't get sticky.

14 December 2009

peppermint cupcakes

Number 42 of 50 ... I'm closing in on the end, and it's a darn good thing because we're pretty much at the end of the year! We're going out of town in a week, and I still have 8 recipes to go!

Peppermint cupcakes

I made these as a test-run for Mindy's wedding on the 29th. The only change I made was that I put in 3/4 tsp of peppermint extract instead of 1/2. The flavor was barely there with the lesser amount, and I liked it a bit stronger. I took them to playgroup, and the whole batch was eaten right up. The other moms gave this a thumb's up and wanted the recipe too.

10 December 2009

chocolate pretzels

This isn't in my count because we've made them before, but I thought this recipe would be fun for others who might want to try it for Christmas. We put them also in the box to Adam's brother. They're SO GOOD, especially with egg nog! Note that they're not chocolate-covered regular pretzels ... but soft-dough pretzels that are chocolate and sprinkled with sugar.

Oh, these are from a cookie cookbook that just has the title, "Cookies."

1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup superfine sugar (put regular granulated sugar in the blender, then pulse it so you don't burn out your motor, until the sugar is like dust. It's different from powdered sugar, and really makes a difference in the texture.)
1 egg

1 egg white
raw sugar sprinkles

1. Sift together flour, salt, cocoa powder.
2. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and egg. Add the flour mix and combine.
3. Roll the dough into a ball, wrap in wax paper, chill for 1 hour or freeze for 30 min.
4. Grease cookie sheets, preheat oven to 375.
5. When the dough is chilled, roll into small balls. (Recipe estimate is 28 - when we make bigger pretzels, it makes only about a dozen.)
6. Roll out each ball into a rope, then loop around to make a pretzel shape. Put on greased cookie sheets.
7. Brush the pretzels with the egg white and sprinkle with the raw sugar.
8. Bake 10-12 minutes, cool on wire rack.

The first time we made these, it was to give them away. We had to make a 2nd batch, because we ate the entire first batch within 30 minutes of them coming out of the oven.

09 December 2009

Doomsday cookies

Number 41 ... we made these to go in a Christmas box sent to Adam's brother in Iraq. I overcooked them a bit because they were pretty hard at first, but they got better after they'd been in the cookie jar with other cookies for a day or two.

The recipe is in the book Chicken Soup for the Soul Cookbook, and called "doomsday cookies" because the story that goes with it says that the author's mom said that she would make enough "to last until Doomsday."

1 1/4 cup canola oil
1 3/4 brown sugar, packed firmly
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour (the recipe says whole wheat, I used white)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
chocolate chips
chopped pecans or walnuts (I used pecans)
3 cups rolled oats oatmeal

Cream together oil, brown sugar, and egg
Add vanilla, then flour, salt, soda, and powder.

Add chocolate chips and pecans.

Add oatmeal - the recipe calls for 3 cups. I added one at a time and mixed as I went, and stopped at 2 cups. I think they'd be WAY too dry with that 3rd cup. If necessary, add a little bit of water to moisten after the oatmeal is added.

Spray a cookie sheet with no-stick spray, and drop batter in mounds - I used a large soup spoon for this. They'll spread to be pretty flat so leave some room between them.

Bake at 350 for 10 to 13 minutes. Do NOT leave them in the oven past 13 minutes, even if they seem like they're not done. Any longer will strip what's left of the moisture, and you'll have nothing but crumbs when you try to move them to a cooling rack with a spatula. Yes, I learned that the hard way.

03 December 2009

banana cream pie from scratch

Number 40 was a banana cream pie from scratch. Last year, I got pretty turned off by the "banana cream pie" made from a box of vanilla instant pudding so I wanted to try it from scratch this year for Thanksgiving. I actually did this as a test-run a couple of weeks before for a couple of the missionaries who were transferring the next day. It turned out great! We're never going back to the boxed instant pudding junk for this!

Old fashioned banana cream pie


Some notes ...

1. The recipe says to scald the milk - I looked it up and basically, you heat the milk in a saucepan stirring constantly until just before it boils, and immediately remove it from the stove.

2. I mixed an entire banana mashed into the filling before pouring it over the sliced bananas in the crust. This was suggested in the comments, and it added to the banana flavor.

3. I put it in a regular pie crust. We think it would be better in a graham cracker crust.

4. If you have shallow pie plates, this makes enough filling for 2 pies.

02 December 2009

chocolate zucchini bread

We had the missionaries over for dinner for Thanksgiving, and they came over the day before to help with some of the prep work. Elder Davies had apparently never cooked anything at all before (how is he surviving out here?), so we made him make the chocolate zucchini bread. With heavy supervision ... he almost added a tablespoon of salt instead of teaspoon. Eeww!

He used this recipe. He forgot the chocolate chips, which made the bread REALLY dark tasting. It wasn't too good straight out of the oven, but it was much better after it sat for a day. Then it reminded me of the Hershey's special dark chocolate bars - if you like those, this recipe would be good for you.

01 December 2009

My Mother's Turkey Stuffing

Use Pepperidge Farm dry stuffing--8 oz. equals approximately 4 cups (a large turkey uses about 24 oz. stuffing). Empty into large bowl. Melt 1/4 lb margarine or butter in 1 cup of hot water. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, Bell's Poultry Seasoning (sage), 1 tsp. salt, pepper, and 2 Tbsp chopped celery to stuffing mix.

Mix thoroughly; add water and melted butter and mix again. Let cool somewhat for the next step. Add 1 beaten egg to mix and stir again (if the stuffing is too warm during this step the egg will cook into lumps). Stuff turkey (after cleaning it of course).

23 November 2009

one of many versions of "dirty rice"

I made dirty rice to go with baked fish a la New Orleans. The dirty rice is #39 (the fish was #6). Be aware that with adding all the extras to the rice, it makes quite a lot. If you're making this for just a couple of people, cut the recipe at least in half, if not more.

Greek style shrimp

Number 38 of my 50 was Greek style shrimp found here.

We skipped the suggested salad and served it with rice. We also substituted the white wine with white grape juice.

22 November 2009

pork and mushroom ragout

Number 27, from my book called Secrets of Slow Cooking.

a boneless pork loin roast - about 1 1/2 pounds

1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes, divided
2 tbl cornstarch
2 tsp. savory
sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
8 oz. package sliced mushrooms
1 large onion, sliced
black pepper

cooked egg noodles or some other pasta.

Brown pork roast on all sides in a skillet with cooking spray or a little bit of oil.

Put half of tomatoes in crockpot with cornstarch, savory, and sun-dried tomatoes. Mix it up.

Put mushrooms, onion, and roast in crockpot. Pour the rest of the tomatoes over the roast and sprinkle with pepper.

Cook on low 4-6 hours until roast reaches internal temp of 165.

Put the roast on a cutting board and cover with foil. Let stand 10-15 minutes, then slice and serve with noodles. Pour sauce from crockpot over the plated food.

21 November 2009

pasta with chicken and sun-dried tomato

This is #36 - I have no idea where it came from. I just had this list of ingredients stashed in a note on my other blog.

bowtie pasta cooked like usual

chicken breast cut into bite-size pieces and cooked in a skillet, then set aside while the vegetables are being cooked

2 tbl. olive oil to cook the following:
1/2 cup sun-dried tomato
1 zucchini, diced
1 summer squash, diced (not sliced)
1-2 garlic cloves minced or crushed
1-2 tsp rosemary
1-2 tsp basil

Toss all together with pasta and chicken. Add a little more olive oil if it's too dry for you until it's how you like it. There's not a sauce with this.

pasta with sausage and fennel

Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm REALLY behind on this blog ... I'm going to blame my lack of posting on pregnancy exhaustion. I'm finally coming out of it - hooray! I have 5 recipes to post for my 50-challenge, including a couple I did all the way back in July, bringing me up to 40. So I have 10 more to do in the next 6 weeks to get all the way to 50 within the calendar year.

Anyway, so here's #35 - pasta with sausage and fennel. It's from a book we have called "The Working Stiff Cookbook" by Bob Sloan.

1 tbl. olive oil
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
1/2 pound hamburger
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium bulb fennel, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine or beef broth (our substitute for red wine is apple juice - we've never had a problem with it)
1 28-0z. can of crushed tomatoes
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp basil
salt and pepper

Heat the oil first, and cook the sausage and hamburger in it. Break up the meat as it cooks so it's in small pieces. When it's done, use a slotted spoon to remove it from the pan, then pour out the excess grease from the pan.

Put skillet on medium heat and cook onion, fennel, and garlic until softened.

Add meat to pan with vegetables, pour in wine/broth, and cook for about a minute until the liquid reduces.

Add tomatoes and herbs, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until sauce is the thickness you like.

Serve with cooked pasta - regular thickness spaghetti or linguini are best. It's a pretty hearty sauce, so you don't want to use a delicate pasta.

28 October 2009

Zucchini Medly and Fritters

Two successful zucchini dishes for dinner tonight. I liked that they were similar enough that I could prep and cook both at the same time without too much of a hassle, but the final dishes tasted different enough that it wasn't boring. Hooray for eating vegetables!

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Corn-and-Zucchini-Melody/Detail.aspx
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/The-Best-Zucchini-Fritters-Ever/Detail.aspx

27 October 2009

cake truffles

Tanya posted about these on her personal blog here - I think they're really cute and wanted to get the info out for everyone in case someone wants to make something similar this weekend. They'd also be really cute at Christmas in other colors to be little ornaments or something.

The original idea is from bakerella.com and I just spent a little while going through that site. Click on the "cake pops" option in the top left corner, and you will get TONS of ideas on what to do with these things for pretty much every single holiday!

21 October 2009

Red Beans and Rice

This is one of our favorite cold-weather foods!

1 lb dried red beans
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp cajun or creole seasoning (we use Tony Chachere's)
kielbasa
rice (about 1 cup per serving)

Rinse the red beans, then put them in a pot of water to soak overnight.
Drain the water, cover the beans with water again, then put them on to boil. Once the beans are boiling, turn down to a simmer.
Add the onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and seasoning to the pot early on so it can cook down. (You can also add celery and/or a bell pepper.) Cook the mixture for about an hour to an hour and a half. Slice the kielbasa and add it about 15 minutes before the beans are done.

Meanwhile, cook the rice in a separate pot.

Serve the beans over the rice, and drop on a few drops of Tabasco sauce.
It takes a while to make, but it's worth it, and we usually have leftovers for days!

13 October 2009

Brownie Muffins

I realize that there is no such thing as "guilt free" treats - espeshally brownies - but these have very little guilt - taste amazing - and are SOOOO easy!

http://www.recipezaar.com/Ww-Brownie-Muffins-the-Longmeadow-Farm-281279

12 October 2009

Tomato Bisque

I found this one on Recipezaar (#49957). Yummy and great with grilled cheese sandwiches! My hubby, who HATES tomato soup, loved this and requested I make it again.


Tomato Bisque

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a medium pot, heat the oil.
  2. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until tender and lightly browned on the edges, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and thyme; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes, broth, honey, salt, and pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  6. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until reduced by a quarter and thickened, about 15 minutes.
  7. Using a standard or immersion blender, puree about half the soup; it will still be chunky and thick.
  8. Return it to the pot and stir in the cream.
  9. Heat gently and adjust the seasonings.
  10. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with the parsley if using, and serve immediately.

11 October 2009

Southewest - chicken, black bean soup

Who would have guessed cinnamon would be so yummy in soup - but it is AMAZING!

http://www.recipezaar.com/Southwest-Chicken-Black-Bean-Soup-43728

20 September 2009

Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops

Okay, I have to say these were the BEST pork chops I have ever had in my life. Easy to make and very delicious. Also, I didn't have any dried apple slices so we used 2 fresh braeburn apples cut up instead. Perfect. We paired this with unsweetened gravenstein applesauce, mashed potatoes and steamed cauliflower and broccoli (my kids favorite). Really super fantastic. Try it, you will not regret it. YUM.


Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2006


Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 8 hr 0 min
Cook Time: 6 hr 20 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients


2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, slightly crushed
1 pound ice
4 (1 to 1 1/2-inch thick) bone-in pork chops
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 ounces dried apple slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, julienned
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Directions


Combine the vegetable broth, 1/2 cup kosher salt, brown sugar and peppercorns in a medium saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Cook just until the salt and sugar dissolve, then remove from the heat and add the ice. Place the pork chops into a 2-gallon zip-top bag along with the mixture and seal. Place in a plastic container and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the chops from the brine, rinse, and pat dry. Season on both sides with the kosher salt and set aside

Place the apples in the slow cooker.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 12-inch stainless steel saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute the pork chops on both sides until golden brown, approximately 5 to 6 minutes per side. Once browned, place the pork chops into the slow cooker atop the apples.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan followed by the onions and saute until they begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth to the pan to deglaze. Add the black pepper and thyme and stir to combine. Transfer this to the slow cooker, set to high, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Decrease the heat to low and continue cooking for another 4 hours and 30 minutes or until the pork is tender and falling away from the bone.

02 September 2009

grilled chicken with rosemary and lemon

Number 34 - grilled chicken with rosemary and lemon from AllRecipes.

Marinate 6 chicken breasts in the following:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh rosemary (or 2 Tbl. dried)
3 cloves garlic
zest from an entire lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Mix the marinade.
Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken breasts, and brush half of the marinade over them.
Refrigerate for 3 hours.
Grill the chicken while brushing with the rest of the marinade.

We cut chicken into strips and put it on sandwiches.

The original recipe called for butter instead of olive oil in the marinade. I don't know what idiot decided that BUTTER is a good ingredient for marinade. I melted it so it would be a liquid, but it congealed right back up as soon as the lemon hit it not to mention when I tried to brush it on the cold chicken. It all tasted fine, which is why I'm posting the recipe in the count, but making it was a mess. I also couldn't separate out part of it for the original marinade and part for basting later on the grill. Dumb.

summer harvest bake

Number 33 of 50. This is from the Chicken Soup for the Soul Cookbook, and with a story about Native Americans. It's apparently an variation of a Navajo dish.

2 Tbl. vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin

2 large zucchini or yellow summer squash (or combination), chopped into small (but not too small) cubes
1 green bell pepper, cut in thin strips
1 cup corn

2 large tomatoes, sliced
grated Longhorn cheese

1. Saute the onion in the oil with the herbs.
2. Combine the squash, bell pepper, and corn in a shallow baking dish. Top with the onion mixture and bake for 1 hour or until the squash is starting to soften.
3. Put the sliced tomatoes and cheese over the top of everything, and bake for another 20 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Watch your proportions. I had WAY too much squash compared to everything else. But it was still good!

01 September 2009

Greek pasta salad

I'm baaack ... back to working on my 50 recipes. Actually, numbers 32, 33, and 34 were made about 2 months ago - I just never got around to posting them even though I've had a note sitting here at the computer all this time. But now I am here, and I will start posting again. And - ahem - I will start cooking again too. I'm really happy I have an awesome husband who lets me have lag times for a few weeks at a time when I just can't wrap my brain around cooking, and he takes over.

For 32, I got this Greek pasta salad here on AllRecipes - I did NOT make the dressing that they have listed with the recipe, so I can't vouch for that part of it and you'll have to click on the link to get that part of their recipe. I used the Greek vinaigrette I already had from the Greek quesadillas. It's a totally different dressing - it has spicy mustard in it. Yum!

cooked spiral pasta (penne would work too)
mushrooms, sliced
cherry tomatoes, halved
red bell pepper, chopped
crumbled feta cheese
scallions, chopped
Kalamata or some other Greek olives

Mix together, toss with the dressing, chill, eat!

The recipe also called for pepperoni sausage, cut into chunks. I don't think I added that because we don't usually have that around.

28 August 2009

Baked Brie

Note: I have not actually made this recipe, but definitely plan to. Trina and I ate it together at a friend's house, and she urged me to post it.
Ingredients:
round brie, still in the wax
1 pkg Pillsbury frozen puff pastry
raspberry jam
slivered walnuts
1 egg, beaten
Allow the puff pastry to thaw. Spread raspberry jam in the center of the puff pastry and sprinkle with almonds. Place the brie in the center. Wrap the brie in the pastry. Paint the top with the egg. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

16 August 2009

Buttercream Icing

This icing recipe has a history...it was the frosting for my parents' wedding cake, and my mother liked it so much at the time she got the recipe. It has been on every cake or cookie we ever made growing up (no canned frosting for us!), and how I define icing. It is easy to make, easy to use, and (in the case of the ice cream cake below) freezes well.
Ingredients:
16 oz. powdered sugar
3/4 C Crisco
1/4 Tbsp salt
1/2 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 C water
1/2 Tbsp cream of tartar
milk
Beat all ingredients except milk together on low speed, then beat for two minutes on high speed. Add milk, 1 Tbsp at a time, until your icing reaches the desired consistency. Color as desired.

Ice Cream Cake

This is a ridiculously simple recipe that I picked up from a friend, and I made it as the birthday cake for Jeff this year. It was very tasty, and well-received...you'll look REALLY capable if you make this one! :)

Ingredients:
carton of ice cream of choice
box of cake mix of choice (and the stuff to make it)
buttercream icing (net post)
wax paper

Put the ice cream in a bowl and let it completely thaw -- as in, soup. Line the pan you will use to bake the cake in with wax paper. (I used saran wrap, and it was REALLY hard to get the saran wrap off after the ice cream re-froze. I haven't actually tried the wax paper, but I hear it's what you're actually supposed to have.) Pour the ice cream into the pan and spread it flat. Re-freeze the ice cream.

Lift the ice cream layer out of the pan by the wax paper, and put it back in the freezer. Make the cake mix as directed, baking it in two layers. When the layers have totally cooled, remove them from the pans and freeze them on wax paper.

When everything is totally frozen, stack the cakes and ice cream in layers. (I used a paper plate as a base and toothpicks to hold it all together.) Put the entire thing back in the freezer to get nice and solid.

















Make the buttercream icing. Frost the cake, then allow the icing to freeze.












Mix up the colored icing you want, decorate the cake, then (you guessed it) refreeze.

This cake takes about 2 full days to make just because of all the freezing, so plan accordingly. Also, it ends up being very tall (3X the height of one of your cake pans), so make sure you have freezer space! Last thing...if putting in candles, be aware that they might be hard to get through the icing layer.

06 August 2009

Creamy Chickpea Curry

Another recipezaar success! This is AMAZING! I love Indian food, but no matter what I try it is never as good as you can get at a real Indian restaurant. This one really is! In fact it is so good that I ate it for 5 meals in a row last week and still wasn't tired of it!

I am not going to retype it here- just check out the link: http://www.recipezaar.com/Creamy-Chickpea-Curry-205289

So easy, so yummy, and nice to not have a meat centered dish once in a while!

04 August 2009

salads a la Charlottesville

When we were in Charlottesville VA for the past couple of weeks, we tried to eat at the local restaurants rather than the big chains like Applebee's. (Plus, there's the fact that I've read the Eat This, Not That website, and because of that, just the thought of Applebee's makes me want to hurl.)

We found one little local frozen yogurt place just down the street from our hotel called Arch's, and they also had sandwiches and salads. Here's their menu with the different ingredients right there on it, to give you some ideas. We didn't have any of the sandwiches. We had the Roasted Rotunda salad with sundried tomato dressing, and the Cowboy Baby. We didn't like the Cowboy one nearly as much, but the first one was excellent. I need to find a recipe to make sundried tomato dressing now - that was really good.

Also of note, here are the Build the Perfect Salad guidelines from "Eat this, not that." Very informative! And I'm happy to say that the salads we make at home are in the good category! We don't need to change anything!

Something new and made up

So, sometimes, when I don't have all the ingredients for something I want, or I just don't want anything I know how to make, I start experimenting. The following is one of those things, that turned out really well. I just don't know what to call it. Mushroom goulash? Hamburger Shells? What do you think?

1 lb. Box small shells
1 family size can cream of mushroom soup
1 c. milk
1/2 -1 lb ground beef, browned
2 cups shredded cheese ( I use colby jack, but I am sure you could use any thing)

Cook noodles according to directions. In the meantime, mix the cream of mushroom soup and milk, and heat over medium heat until bubbly. Add the cheese. When the cheese has melted, add the cooked ground beef. When the noodles are done, drain, and add the sauce. Mix well, then serve.

My family is adding this recipe to our favorites. I am not really sure how much meat I actually use, but I know I try to stretch it as much as possible right now.

And, as I said, I am not sure what to call it in my cookbook. Any ideas?

03 August 2009

Creamy Penne Pasta


This isn't the healthiest recipe, but it sure is yummy! The original recipe calls it a creamy pasta, but it's basically an alfredo sauce and penne.


Ingredients

* 2 cups penne pasta, uncooked
* 1 tablespoons butter
* 4 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
* salt, to taste
* 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
* crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
* 3/8 cup half-and-half (I used half heavy cream and half 1%milk)
* 1/4 cup chicken broth
* 2 tablespoons water
* 3/8 cup parmesan cheese, grated
* 2 tablespoons sour cream


Directions

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter.

3. Stir in the oil, flour, garlic and seasonings until blended.

4. Gradually add the half and half, broth and water.

5. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.

6. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and sour cream.

7. Drain pasta and toss with the sauce.


I added chicken and broccoli and it was a big hit with my picky family.

30 July 2009

Blueberry Corn Muffins Recipe




These grainy muffins are just the right amount of sweet. We split them and grill them in a dab of light olive oil until they turn golden and sizzling around the edges. The warmth brings out the taste of the blueberries.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-muffin cupcake pan.

Whisk together the dry ingredients:

3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup millet or buckwheat
3/4 cup sorghum or brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca or potato starch (not potato flour), or cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
3/4 cup organic light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add:

1/4 cup light olive oil
1 tablespoon honey or raw agave nectar
2 teaspoon bourbon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon light tasting vinegar
1 tablespoon Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 1/4 cup warm water (or 2 large eggs)

Beat well to form a smooth sticky batter. If the batter seems a tad dry or stiff, add 1 to 2 tablespoons more warm water.

Stir in:

1 rounded cup fresh blueberries

Plop the batter into twelve muffin cups and using wet fingers smooth the tops a bit. I like to add 2 or 3 extra blueberries to the muffin tops.

Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes- depending upon your oven and altitude.

Cool the pan on a wire rack for five minutes then remove the muffins from the pan and cool them directly on the rack (this keeps the bottoms from getting soggy).

Wrap extras in foil and freeze for easy on-the-go gluten-free treats (I've been known to sneak my gluten-free muffin into Starbucks- but don't tell.)

Makes one dozen muffins.

29 July 2009

Brownie Time

Hey Treen - Just in case your were wondering, here are the brownies you at when we saw you last. They are from the Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book I bough back in our college days.

I usually triple it so that I can put it into a cookie sheet. We all love them, and I make them way too often for our own good!

EASY FUDGE BROWNIES

1/2 c. butter
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped (but I don't chop it. I am lazy that way)
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c all purpose flour
1/2 c chopped nuts (I don't usually add those)

Grease an 8x8x2 inch pan; set aside. In a medium saucepan melt butter and chocolate over low heat.(Try not to let it boil. They turn out better.) Remove from heat. Stir in sugar eggs and vanilla. ( make sure it has cooled a little bit so that the egg whites don't cook a little) Using a wooden spoon, lightly beat the mixture just until combined - don't over-beat of the brownies will rise too high then fall. Stir in flour and chopped nuts. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Brickle bars: Prepare as above, except omit the nuts. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and sprinkle 3/4 cup almond brickle pieces and 1/2 c miniature semisweet chocolate pieces evenly over top of batter. Bake. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

21 July 2009

101 Simple Salads for the Season

Trina, you asked for summer dishes and the NY Times provided an answer. You do have to sign up, but it is free. Just follow this link for some fabulous ideas. YUM!

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/22/dining/22mlist.html?_r=5




FRESH AND FRESHER Clockwise, from top left: tuna, egg, green beans (No. 56); carrots, blueberries, sunflower seeds (7); croutons, tomatoes, mozzarella (42); walnuts, blue cheese, raspberries (49); couscous, oranges, honey (95); strawberries, tomatoes, Parmesan (13).

Butternut Mac and cheese

This is a Rachael Ray recipe and it was so yummy that I had to share it. We made it last night and the kids ate it up!

  • 1 butternut squash, halved and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 box of pasta - I used Whole Wheat Shells
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk - I used Rice Milk, could also use Chicken Stock to make it even healthier
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • 5 to 6 sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • I also sprinkled a bit of Parmesan Cheese on top
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Place squash halves on a baking sheet and drizzle them with 1 tablespoon EVOO, salt and pepper. Place them cut side down and transfer to the oven. Roast until tender, about an hour. Remove from oven and cool.

Once cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the squash and transfer it to a food processor. Process until smooth.

Place a pot of water over high heat for the pasta. Once at a boil, add some salt and the pasta, and cook to al dente according to package directions. Drain the cooked pasta and return it to the pot it was cooked in.

While the pasta water is heating up, place a small skillet over medium-high heat with the butter. Once melted, add the flour and cook about a minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until the liquids come up to a bubble and the sauce thickens, 2-3 minutes. Add the squash puree, nutmeg, cinnamon and sage, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the sauce to the pot with the reserved cooked pasta and toss to coat. Turn everything out into a baking dish and sprinkle the top with cheeses. Transfer to the oven and bake until the cheese is brown and bubbly, 10-15 minutes.

06 July 2009

Zucchini Bread

I had a few pieces of zucchini and I didn't feel like cooking them the "boring" way, so I found this recipe that I used to love when I was little and growing up with Baptist picnics on the grounds, but which I haven't had since.

Jeff walked in as I was making it and asked what it was. I answered that it was zucchini bread, but then made him promise to try it before he wrinkled his nose. He said it was awesome...and Maddie loves it too. Very sweet and cinnamon-y!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
1 C sugar
1 C freshly shredded zicchini, with skin (about 1/2 a zucchini, but I doubled the recipe and used a whole one, since a single recipe only makes one loaf)
1/4 C cooking oil
1/2 C chopped walnuts or pecans
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Grease the bottom and sides of a loaf pan.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg. Make a well in the center of the mixture; set aside.
4. In another medium bowl, combine egg, sugar, zucchini, and oil.
5. Add zucchini mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Batter will be lumpy. Fold in nuts.
6. Spoon into loaf pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Ritz Cracker Baked Chicken

I had a package of chicken leg quarters that I had to use, so I dug this recipe out of my tried-and-true wedding gift "Better Homes and Gardens" cookbook. It was simple and delicious...Jeffery said I had hit the jackpot and to definitely make it again.
Ingredients:
1 egg, beaten
3 Tbsp milk
1 1/4 C crushed Ritz crackers
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted
2 1/2 to 3 lb chicken pieces, skinned
1. Preheat oven to 375
2. In a small bowl, combione egg and milk.
3. In a shallow dish, combine crushed crackers, thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper; stir in melted butter.
4. Dip chicken pieces, one at a time, in egg mixture, then coat with crumb mixture.
5. In a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan, arrange chicken, bone side down, so the pieces aren't touching. Sprinkle chicken pieces with any remaining crumb mixture.
6. Bake, uncovered, for 45 to 55 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
P.S. I served this with sweet corn on the cob, and it felt like an at-home cook-out!

01 July 2009

penne with mushrooms

Number 30 was Lauren's baked beef ziti, which tasted a lot like lasagna to me. My notes are on that blog post.

Number 31 - penne with mushrooms from AllRecipes.com.
  • (8 ounce) package dry penne pasta
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to box directions, drain.
Heat olive oil in skillet, cook garlic and mushrooms until tender. Season with salt and pepper, then mix in the butter.
Toss the pasta (a little at a time) with the mushrooms/garlic. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and parsley.

I used 2 cloves of garlic, crushed. I used dried parsley. I sprinkled in the parm and the parsley until it was the way I wanted it - I didn't measure either thing.

I added a little bit more olive oil when I was tossing it, because I had twice as much pasta as it called for (I made the full 1-pound box of penne). The proportions weren't off with the mushrooms, so it was fine. I also added the pasta only a little at a time to make sure it all went together okay.

I love mushrooms, so I really liked this. We had it with steamed broccoli.

30 June 2009

Basil Mint Parsley “Pesto” Sauce Recipe

This garden fresh sauce is so light and delicate, unburdened by cheese or nuts. It tastes herbal and green. Like summer.

1 cup washed, loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
1/4 to 1/2 cup good tasting extra virgin olive oil, as needed
Sea salt, to taste

Combine the basil, mint, parsley and garlic in a food processor bowl; pulse and process the mixture until it is chopped very fine. Slowly add extra virgin olive oil in a steady drizzle as you pulse the processor on and off. Process until it becomes a smooth, light paste. Add enough olive oil to keep it moist and spreadable. Season with sea salt, to taste. Cover and store chilled for at least an hour to saturate the flavors. If storing overnight I pour a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil over the top of the pesto to help keep it bright green. Makes roughly a rounded cup.

Spread it around:

· Serve on cooked spaghetti (shown is Tinkyada's gluten-free White Rice Spaghetti), or other pasta shapes.
· Spread on warm Herbed Flatbread or a pizza crust.
· Use in a summer vegetable gratin dish, such as my Pesto Zucchini Tomato Gratin.
· Toss fresh grilled veggies in this sauce.
· Use it instead of butter on fresh corn on the cob.
· Spoon it on cooked wild salmon, chicken breasts or grilled veggie burgers. Use it in quesadillas, burritos, and grilled sandwiches.

Two Potato Salad - with Sweet Potatoes

This isn't my recipe (wish I could take credit) but it is really delicious. If you are interested in glutten, vegan, dairy free recipes that all taste fabulous I recommend a look at:

http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/



This is a fun and spunky little potato salad recipe. Pairing tender orange sweet potatoes with sturdy gold potatoes makes this salad not only flavorful but lower in carbs.
Pairing tender orange sweet potatoes with sturdy gold potatoes makes this salad not only flavorful but lower in carbs.
It's blissfully dairy, mayo and egg-free.

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, diced
2-3 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, diced
Sea salt
Cracked pepper, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
Apple cider vinegar, to taste (use a clean, light vinegar- not too strong)
2-3 teaspoons dillSliced or chopped red or purple onion, to taste

Place the cut potatoes into a pot of fresh salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender- about 20 minutes. Drain well.
Season with sea salt and cracked pepper. Sprinkle with apple cider vinegar. Drizzle with olive oil. Add the dill and onion. Toss gently to combine.
Taste test:
Keep adding vinegar, sea salt and olive oil a sprinkle at a time; and toss; until the salad achieves the flavor you prefer.
Note- I add a lot of vinegar because I love the combination of vinegar, sea salt and potatoes. So I add more than I expect to usually, based on tasting. That's why it's so important to taste test while you're seasoning.
A recipe is only a blueprint. You have to engage your own senses.One flavor tip I've learned from experience- it's better to season assertively when it comes to potato salad- especially if you're going to chill it before serving. Chilling dulls the flavors. You'll often need more than you think.
Serve this two potato salad warm- I love it still warm. Or cover and chill it for serving later. It's also good cold.
Serves 4-5.

25 June 2009

"darn good chocolate cake"

This is from the Cake Doctor cookbook - I made it last year for my friend Jackie, and today for Adam's birthday. Everyone who has had this LOVES it - so moist and rich!

1 box of chocolate fudge cake mix
1 small box (3.9 ounces) of chocolate instant pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
semisweet chocolate chips

powdered sugar

Mix all the ingredients except the chocolate chips and powdered sugar. Be careful with your hand mixer because this is REALLY thick. I think I may have started to burn out the motor on my mixer with this.

Fold in the chocolate chips just before you put it in the pan.

The recipe says to make this in a bundt pan - I did it that way with Jackie. Today I made it with 2 8-inch rounds, which also worked fine. It wasn't as pretty as the bundt, because I don't frost it so you could see the split between the layers in the side. But whatever. No one commented on it. I don't know that anyone even noticed, let alone cared. Anyway ...

Grease and flour the pan, bake at 350. If you use a bundt, bake for 45 minutes. The 8-inch rounds took 30 minutes.

Cool for 20 minutes in the pan, then another 20 minutes on a wire rack. Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar, and eat! It's really great warm!

Greek vinaigrette

#29 - used on the Greek quesadillas, and from Recipezaar.

2 tbl. red wine vinegar
2 tbl. lemon juice
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

Put everything except the olive oil into the blender, and mix it up a little bit.

Take the opening out of the lid of the blender, and while the blender is turned on, pour the oil slowly into the mix. (You'll want to block the opening with your hand, or you'll get splattered.) Keep the blender running until it's completely blended.

Greek quesadillas

Number 28! We had this for dinner with homemade Greek vinaigrette dressing (which is number 29 and will be posted in a sec), and YUM! I'm not a huge fan of cucumbers, and Greek recipes tend to have a lot of cucumber. I'm okay with them if they're chopped small ... but wow, they just fit right in with all of this! The original recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens. I just did a Google search for a Greek dressing, since this called for a store-bought dressing. I didn't think we'd eat enough to justify having a whole bottle of it around.

flour tortillas (or you could use pita bread for this salad mix as well
  • grilled chicken - I did 2 chicken breasts on our little Foreman grill, and then shredded it
  • feta cheese
  • red onion - thin slices
  • cucumber - chopped fairly small
  • tomato - either cherry tomatoes cut in half or small dice of a larger tomato
  • Greek olives - the recipe called for kalamata olives which were pretty expensive at the store, so I just got black Greek olives. I had to pit them, but it was fine.
  • parsley and oregano - I used regular dried stuff, and just sprinkled it on.
  • Greek vinaigrette dressing
Spray one side of a tortilla with cooking spray, and then flip it so it's spray-side down. Put all the ingredients on one half of the tortilla, then fold it over. Cook it in a skillet until it's a little browned and the edges turn crispy. Then cut it into 3 pieces and eat.

Yum yum yum! This is definitely on the repeat list!

beef cabbage hash

This is number 27, which I got off AllRecipes and varied it a bit. It's more of a winter dish than summer, but I needed to use both potatoes and cabbage, and this took care of both.
  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 1 onion, chopped - I used about half an onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • potatoes - chopped into bite sized pieces, and I microwaved them first to soften them.
  • shredded cabbage - the original called for an entire head. I think I used about a third of the head. It does cook down quite a bit, but it was still plenty in the balance of the whole thing.
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 beef bullion cube - or you could use vegetable
  • Worcestershire sauce - to taste
  • salt and pepper
Brown the hamburger with the onion and garlic in a large skillet. Drain any excess grease out of the pan. Add the rest of the ingredients, and keep mixing it around to cook it through. Then eat!

If you don't precook the potatoes to soften them, it will take FOREVER to cook and the cabbage will be completely obliterated. I added the cabbage at handful at a time - there just wasn't room in the skillet for everything all at once, and it did wilt down fairly quickly while waiting for the potatoes to get done. We were surprised at how much we liked it, and the cabbage had a sweet taste to it that we weren't expecting. I'm putting this on file to make again when the weather cools off.

22 June 2009

grilled pork chops and chili slaw

This was recipe #26, and I made it exactly as the webpage said (all the way down to grilling the fresh pineapple slices as well), so I won't retype it all. Here's the link where I got it from Better Homes and Gardens:

grilled pork chops and pineapple with chili slaw


I was surprised at how good it was! I was a bit hesitant to try the slaw since I'm not a huge fan of it normally - it has too much mayo. I thought I'd give this a shot because it had no mayo, but even then, the vinegar smell was a little strong. Once I drained off the extra dressing that had pooled in the bottom of the bowl (after mixing everything up), it wasn't as bad.

Adam and I both definitely preferred to eat the slaw in the same bite with the pork. The slaw was okay by itself, and really good with the pork! I plated it with the pork in the center of the plate and the slaw directly on top of it, and the pineapple on the side.

That was our Father's Day dinner. For breakfast, we had these crepes with strawberries, blueberries, banana slices, and fresh whipped cream. Adam didn't get them in bed, because he was taking care of the whipped cream and doing other things while I was making the crepes. But he did get one of his favorites without having to make it himself!

And now I have to find another recipe to use the rest of the cabbage - I think this is the second time I've bought cabbage ever so I have no idea what to do with it. The other time was cabbage rolls with rice and meat in them, but that was a winter meal. I need something light right now.

15 June 2009

broiled chicken with pesto

#25 of 50 - the halfway point! I got this out of a book called "Quick and Easy" - it was easy, but not very quick. The cooking time took half an hour instead of 15 minutes. Adam really liked it and said it's a repeat, which kind of surprised me. He's usually much more indifferent when he says something is fine.

chicken thighs with bone and skin
olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes, strained (I put it in the pasta strainer and let a bunch of the juice drain off)
green pesto sauce (you can buy this in little jars in the Italian section at the grocery store)
French bread
parmesan cheese
pine nuts or almonds

1. Put the chicken thighs in a dish that can go in the broiler, and brush the skin with a thin layer of olive oil. Cook them for 15-20 minutes, turning over occasionally, until the skin starts to turn golden. Make sure the chicken is cooked all the way, especially around the bone. I had to cook our's for 30 or 40 minutes before the red was all the way out of the meat from the bone.

Note: You could remove the skin from the chicken if you want, but it did keep the whole thing very moist. I cooked it with the skin on the chicken, but we didn't eat it. If you get chicken thighs with no bone, your cooking time will go down, so adjust accordingly.

2. Towards the end of the chicken cooking, heat in a saucepan the strained tomatoes mixed with some of the pesto. Use a balance that you like for that - I didn't measure it.

3. When the chicken is cooked through, remove from the oven and drain the excess fat out of the dish. Then put the tomato/pesto mix over the chicken, and put back in the broiler for a few more minutes until it's all heated through.

4. While the chicken is cooking, cut the French bread into slices, and spread the pesto on the slices. Sprinkle with parm cheese and the pine nuts (we skipped the nuts because we had neither) and toast in the broiler at the same time as the chicken until it's golden and crispy.

5. Serve the chicken and bread with salad greens. Adam made little sandwiches with his bread and chicken, but I ate it with a fork. It was good - I liked the pesto on the bread.

pizza pasta salad

Woo hoo! I did make it to 25 by the end of the week! Halfway there!

Number 23 was the herb penne with chicken and tomatoes posted by April. I used the Italian seasoning mix instead of just basil, and Adam added some chicken broth to the sauce. It turned out fine, and the missionaries liked it (they had dinner with us that night).

24 is from my friend Tiana back in DC - she brought this pasta salad to her son's birthday party last summer, and I liked it a lot. I didn't replicate it quite right because it tasted different ... could have been that I used a different dressing, and whole grain pasta. I'm not really liking whole grain pasta in pasta salads ... Anyway, I call it "pizza pasta salad" because it has pepperoni in it.
  • pasta - I used spiral
  • cubes of motzarella cheese (and/or pepperjack)
  • pepperoni - use the thicker stuff you can cut into cubes, it works better than the thin sliced stuff you put on pizza
  • olives
  • diced tomato or cherry tomatoes
  • green pepper
  • whatever other pizza toppings you like
  • Italian dressing - Tiana used creamy Italian, and I used Tuscan something or other

09 June 2009

Baked Beef Ziti

This is a Weight Watchers recipe (5 points per serving) and a huge favorite at our house. I especially like it because it's very flavorful without being full of bad-for-you ingredients; the spices really shine through! Thought I'd share:
Ingredients:
12 oz ziti (although I have used both penne and macaroni; whole-wheat is great in this recipe because it makes it even more filling)
1/2 lean lb ground beef (turkey also works well)
2 Tbps olive oil (I just eyeball it)
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
28 oz. crushed tomatos
1 C shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
1. Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain. While the pasta cooks, preheat oven to 350.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet; when it's hot, add the garlic and cook until savory-smelling.
3. Add the ground beef and cook until done, then add all spices and cook until savory-smelling.
4. Add tomatos and bring to a boil.
5. Spoon just enough of the tomato-and-meat mixture into a 9x13 pan to cover the bottom.
6. Layer 1/2 the macaroni, 1/2 the remaining sauce, and 1/2 the cheese, then repeat.
7. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

08 June 2009

garden pasta salad

For recipe #21, I made Stewie's peanut butter granola bars - my variation is in the comments on that post. Sadly for Adam, he didn't really like them because he doesn't like baked oatmeal or peanut butter in things. But that's good for me! I liked them and I'll make them again!

For #22, I made this garden pasta salad that I found on AllRecipes. The original recipe gives measurements for everything, which I did not follow. I just chopped up the veggies and threw them in - these are the approximate amounts that I used.
  • 1 box tri-color spiral pasta, cooked like usual
  • baby carrots, julienned
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • half of a cucumber, chopped in cubes (that seemed to be better than slices)
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • a couple of full slices off an onion, chopped small
  • Parmesan cheese
  • motzarella cheese, cubed
  • Italian dressing - I used Kraft Tuscan house Italian dressing. We'd never had it before, and I liked it.
You don't cook the vegetables - just chop them and toss everything together with the cooled pasta. Yum! Especially when it's really hot outside.

I may hit #25 by the end of this week - definitely by the end of next week. Halfway to another 50! Go me!

brand name tomatoes

I thought I'd pass on this observation ... I was grocery shopping for tomato sauce and tomato paste this morning at the Super Walmart and started reading the sides of the cans. I was totally surprised. Not only is the Walmart brand half the cost of Hunts or Del Monte, it also has half the sodium and no extra sweeteners. Hunts has corn syrup and over 400 grams of sodium per can. The Walmart brand has no sweeteners at all (just tomatoes) and about 250 grams of sodium. Check the side of the can on canned diced tomatoes - the Walmart brand is better there as well.

The brand of tomato paste that you get at Costco - the name escapes me at the moment - is a bad one as well with sodium and sweeteners. Go with Walmart for tomato paste.

I'm completely shocked by this - I was expecting the exact opposite.

03 June 2009

Yummy Smoothies

When it's too hot outside to even consider flipping pancakes, I like a cold breakfast. I serve a smoothie with a piece of toast, and you get a nice, balanced meal!

Throw all this into a blender (for 2 servings):
1/2 C yogurt (vanilla or plain for any flavor, or go with peach, strawberry, etc. for specific ones)
2 Tbsp flax seeds
1/2 C ice
1/2 to 1 C fruit -- I like bananas, frozen berries, or pineapple
enough milk or orange juice to make the mixture liquid as you blend it

To make it a bit richer, you can add chocolate syrup...my very favorite is bananas, strawberries, and chocolate sauce!

(I also like to make these as breakfasts on the run...subliminally, it feels like I'm getting a milkshake for breakfast, if I drink it with a straw!)

02 June 2009

seeding tomatoes

Lauren B. asked this question in the comments and I forgot about it until now. Sorry ...

Seeding a tomato is removing all the juice and seeds from the middle of it, so you're left with just the firmer fruit sections. How I do it is cut the tomato into wedges instead of slices. Then I run my thumb along the inside edge of the fruit to loosen the seeds and juice and pour it off. If I need the juice/seeds, I pour it off into the bowl I'm using. If I don't, I just dump it down the sink.

Let me know if that doesn't make sense, and I'll take pictures of it or something.

flaxseed?

Random question: I've seen a few recipes with this in it. What is it? What's the nutritional value/benefit? Where do I find it at the store?

Thanks!

01 June 2009

Summer Chicken Salad

I could have sworn I'd already posted this since it's my favorite entree salad EVER, but I guess not. It's perfect for those hot days and tastes even better for leftovers from the fridge the next day.

Summer Chicken Salad

2 cups (or three large breasts if that's easier) cubed cooked chicken (I grill them on an indoor grill and season with seasoning salt)
3 celery ribs, diced
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1 cup raisins
1 cup + 2 T. mayonnaise
1 t. salt
1 T. pepper
1 cup chopped pecans

In a bowl, combine the chicken, celery, grapes, and raisins. Add mayo, salt and pepper; mix well. Stir in pecans. Can serve on lettuce and garnish with tomato slices.

Roast, potatoes, fruit slaw and tuiled cookie napoleons

You can buy all the ingrediants for under $20. Hard to do for such a delicious dinner! Bring on the gread spring ingrediants!

Here is a full and somewhat typical LDS Sunday meal (with a twist)

TEXAS STYLE MARINATED RUMP ROAST

2 pounds beef rump roast
½ cup garlic Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves fresh garlic – crushed
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar

Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Place in a Ziploc bag and add the roast. Marinate overnight, turning 2-3 times. Remove the roast from the marinade and put on a spit, cooking it at medium heat on the barbeque (325 deg) for approximately 25 minutes per pound. Baste occasionally with the leftover marinade. Let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Prep Time: 10 min
Read in: 24 hours
Serves: 4


PARSLEY BOILED RED POTATOES

2 pounds red potatoes – washed and quartered (or for fun use an apple corer)
3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup Italian parsley – chopped
¼ teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper – to taste

In a large pot, cover the potatoes with water. Add about 1 tablespoon salt and place a lid on the pot. Bring to a boil and remove the lid. Let cook until just for tender, about 40 minutes. Drain and transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently until the butter has melted and the potatoes are coated evenly.

Prep Time: 5 min
Ready in: 55 min
Serves: 4


FRUITED SLAW

3 cups green cabbage leaves, shredded
2 navel oranges – peeled and sectioned
1 cup cherries – halved and pitted
1 cup seedless grapes – halved
1 Granny Smith apple – cored and diced
½ cup celery – thinly sliced
½ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon poppy seed
¼ cup sunflower seeds
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon blue agave nectar

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients up to the sunflower seeds. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Add the dressing to the fruit and toss to coat thoroughly.

Prep time: 30 min
Ready in: 40 min
Serves: 8

TUILE COOKIE NAPOLEONS
TUILES:

1 ¾ cups sliced almonds
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons orange zest
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
5 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon vanilla

NAPOLEON:

¼ cup whipped cream – sweetened
1 cup fresh berries

For the cookies: preheat the oven to 350 deg. Line a cookie sheet with baking parchment or a silicone-baking mat. Pulse the almonds in a food processor until fine. Stir together the almonds, flour, zest, and salt in a large bowl. Place the sugar, cream, corn syrup, and butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla. Stir into the almond mixture and mix until just combined. Let cool until it is easily handled. Form into 1 teaspoon balls and place 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet. You will only be able to fit 6 on a pan. Bake about 10 minutes until almost completely browned. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes. Remove the cookies to a cooling rack with a thin bladed spatula. To assemble, just put a few dollops of cream on a cook and intersperse with berries.

Prep time: 1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour
Serves: 4

(here is an image for the tuiles for ideas on how to decorate if you've never made them - super easy)

Panzanella Salad


Panzanella Salad (tuscan salad)


Salad:
1 Head Romaine Hearts
½ Pound Ciliegine Mozzarella
1 Whole English Cucumber
½ Pint Grape Tomatoes – halved
½ Medium Red Onion – julienned
12 ounces croutons (I don’t add these but family loves them)
Balsamic Vinaigrette – light drizzle
Piave Cheese – grated for garnish

Vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon dry basil leaves
1 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
4 cups extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt (I prefer maldon or a French grade)
1 teaspoon ground white pepper

For the vinaigrette combine all ingredients except for oil, salt and pepper. Stir with wire wisk and slowly add olive oil to create an emulsion. Finish with salt and add pepper. For the salad remove outer leaves, stock and leafy greens from top of romaine. Thoroughly rinse leaves and pat dry. Stack 4 to 5 leaves on salad plates. Drain mozzarella balls to remove all brine and arrange on plates. Rinse cucumber and slice in half lengthwise and then cut on a bias and arrange on salad plates. Remove outer skin of red onion and rinse. Split in half and julienne against the grain of the onion and arrange on the salad plates. Soak croutons in vinaigrette for fifteen minutes and arrange on salad plates. Drizzle salads with balsamic vinaigrette. Finish by sprinkling with the grated Piave cheese.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Ready in: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

This is an absolutely fantastic salad. Great for spring and summer. This recipe came from an executive chef friend and has never failed. I hate vinegar, but this is perfect! Make. Eat. Enjoy!

(the picture I have here is not what I made … forgot to take a picture). This salad is really good with cornbread or ciabatta and some people like to make this Tuscan salad with some roasted assorted bell pepper and summer squash

beef stroganoff

Okay, I'm really behind on this, but Abby (the one in the "contributor" sidebar over there) posted these two things on her personal blog about beef stroganoff. You should read them. First, because she's hilarious and a fantastically snarky writer. Second, it's a good recipe for beef stroganoff. Sadly, I was raised on the "fake" beef stroganoff and am not fond of it. (No finger-pointing at my mom, though. With 8 kids, there was never steak in our house. I think the first time I actually ate steak, I was an adult.) I'm delighted to discover the correct way to make beef stroganoff because I had no idea there was another way to do it.

By the way, Abby, thank you for posting this blog in your comments, but at the same time, I'm offended that you didn't think yourself to cross-post those posts here. This is, after all, where we promote good eatin' and eliminating the junk from our kitchens. Including junk recipes, apparently.

the initial rant about fake vs. real beef stroganoff

a second post
about how Abby makes the real beef stroganoff - make sure to read the comments as well.

31 May 2009

chocolate pudding pops

#20 of 50 was found in a Kraft food flyer ... I don't know if it's possible to do this dairy-free because of the pudding. Is Cool Whip dairy free?

1. One 6-oz. box of instant chocolate pudding made according to the directions on the box
2. A little less than half of an 8-oz container of Cool Whip
3. As many crushed Oreos as you want

Mix those all together. Put it in small paper cups (it doesn't seem like plastic would work nearly as well), stick popsicle sticks into them, and put them in the freezer for at least 2-3 hours. The original directions said 5 hours - we pulled them out at about 2 hours because Summer was getting impatient. They were pretty soft still, but firm enough to eat on the stick.

Cooking blogs normally have pictures so I might as well get my butt in gear with that ... the girls were more than happy to sample the pudding pops in front of the camera.

ready to go into the freezer

We love chocolate! La la la!

gotta bite it because of the cookie chunks

the chocolate goatee

All done! And so yummy!

27 May 2009

Tuna Pasta Salad

I like this recipe because it is nice and cool, and filling as well. Great for the heat of summer!

1 lb pasta
2 cans tuna
1 cucumber
1 onion
1 bell pepper, any color
1 head of broccoli
salad dressing of choice ( I use Ranch, and have used Italian in the past)
shredded cheese

Cook, drain, and cool the pasta. I usually run cool water through it when I am draining it and that does the trick. Open and drain the tuna, then add to the pasta. Chop all vegetables, and add to the pasta. Add salad dressing to taste. I like to have a medium coating on it. Serve chilled with shredded cheese on top.

17 May 2009

peanut butter granola bars

We love baked oatmeal and all things peanut butter in this house ... this is a wonderful mishmash of the two. Got it here.

Peanut Butter Granola Squares

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup whole wheat flour (or another kind of flour if you prefer)
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (optional)

1 cup butter*
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter (preferably organic PB with no sugar added)

Directions:
Combine oats through salt in a large bowl. Stir to combine.

Heat butter through peanut butter in a sauce pan until all are melted. Add melted mixture to the dry ingredients in the bowl. Stir to make sure oats are completely covered.

Spread the mixture into a 13 x 9 baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes. Let cool and cut into squares. Enjoy!

*****
Comments: I used 1/2 c butter (well, dairy free margarine) and 3/4 c applesauce, and added about 1/2 c craisins. They were done at about 27 minutes. I used regular white flour (because I'm a dork and my wheat flour has gone bad).

The pan lasted for more than 2 days as it's very filling and we all could only eat one at a time, and they're portable and healthy, triple score! I'm actually eating the last one right now (because I work nights and need something to get me through). Kiddo loved them for breakfast, and even ate the craisins. lol. Hubby loved them, too, grabbing one in the morning as soon as he got home from work. They are soft to begin with but if you forget to cover them, they harden up a bit. We did take a couple squares in baggies while we were out and those were softer as well.

I would give them 5 stars because even if I wouldn't take them to a dinner party, I would serve them to house guests for breakfast.