Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pumpkin Roll

We're having a little New Year's gathering tonight (I don't think we can even call it party). I have corned beef and red potatoes in the crock pot and some other goodies but the one thing I made that I never have before is a pumpkin roll. I've wanted to make one for some time but never got around to it. I used Barb's recipe at Bless Us Oh Lord and it came out perfect. Happy New Year to all!

T. G. I. Friday's Broccoli-Cheese Soup

I received a copy-cat cookbook from a lady at work for Christmas, and I couldn't wait to use it. My husband had been asking for a broccoli-cheese soup for about a month now. This one is super easy and quick! It's definitely a keeper in our house. YUM!

Ingredients
4 cups water
2 cups potato, peeled and diced
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 cup diced onion
2-10oz. packages frozen chopped broccoli
2-10.75oz. cans cream of chicken soup
1 pound Velveeta, cubed

Directions
1. Combine the water, potato, bouillon cubes, onion and broccoli in a large heave saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until the potato and broccoli are tender.

2. Add the canned soup and the cheese, stirring until the cheese is melted and smooth. Simmer for 15 minutes; the soup should thicken.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Spiced Pecans

Ingredients
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
3 cups pecan halves
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a small bowl beat the egg white with the water. Stir in the pecans, mixing until well moistened.
In a small bowl, mix together sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Sprinkle over the moistened nuts. Spread nuts on prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Be careful not to overcook and burn the nuts.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Cookie Two


Yesterday's venture: snowball cookies!
I'm not sure if I'll get to any baking today - we're having a guest all day - much better than baking!!


Sloppy Joes

Dan had a hankering for Sloppy Joes last night. We didn't have a can so I looked in my cookbook and there was a homemade recipe for it. I thought it would turn out gross as I normally don't care for this sandwich but it was good. I would definitely make this over buying a the canned stuff.

Ingredients:
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
8-oz can tomato sauce
2 tbls water
1 to 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic salt
Dash of hot sauce (I omitted but Dan put on his)

Directions:
In a large skillet cook ground beef, onion, and sweet pepper until meat is brown and vegetables are tender. Drain off fat. Stir in tomato sauce, water, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes. Serve on rolls, buns, or bread.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Moving Back Towards the Kitchen

Well this poor little cooking blog has been QUITE dead lately.  I've been doing nothing to help either!  I am pregnant with our third (which I never really announced here) and slowly moving into the second trimester.  Which means that I'm also slowly moving back into the kitchen.   
Up first?
Why, Christmas baking of course!  Though you probably can't really call these baking...but they are delicious!

Spread out some pretzels on a cookie sheet.  Unwrap Rolos candy and place on top.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes.



Immediately place an M&M on each one.  If you use half a walnut, they taste just like those turtle candies.



Yum!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Use

Here's my pretty china and silverware I used for the first time since our weddin'. I'm thoroughly a girly girl in this area. I enjoyed using it and even washing it. Until next time beloved pretty plates...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Compiling a Chocolate Cake

I couldn't find a WHOLE recipe that I liked, so I used the cake recipe from the Brother Juniper Cafe cookbook, and a filling/ganache recipe from The Baking Bible put out by Tollhouse. I've jumbled it up a bit, mostly because *I* work best with step by step instructions, but I've put the ingredients (plus special directives, like the sifting and SIFTING of the flour) in bold for easy reference.

Susan's Old-Fashioned Moist Chocolate Cake from the Brother Juniper Cookbook

Preheat oven to 350, grease 2 9 in pans, line with parchment, grease parchment, and dust with flour.

1 3/4 c. flour, sift and re-measure into 1 3/4 c. Return excess to bag/jar. Sift twice more, and add
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Dutch Process or European Style cocoa powder.
Whisk together, then sift twice. Set aside.

Cream
1/4 lb sweet butter, room temperature. Add
1 tsp vanilla extract,
1 3/4 c white sugar and blend together until smooth.
Add, one at a time, beating in between,
4 large eggs, room temperature.

Measure out
1 1/4 c buttermilk or soured milk, and, beaters on low speed, incorporate 1/3 dry mix, and half the buttermilk, until just blended. Repeat with another third of the dry mix, and the last half of the buttermilk, beating until just blended, and the remaining third of the dry mix, just blended.

Spread in layer pans, and bake 30-35 minutes.

Let sit five minutes, then remove from pans, and place right side up on cooling rack (I put a cookie sheet under mine, just in case of drips from this next step, which is from The Baking Bible).

Melt
3 tbs seedless raspberry preserves in a small saucepan.

Using a skewer or a fork, poke holes in the tops of the cakes, trying not to pierce all the way through, and spread the preserves evenly on both cakes. Let cool completely.

Filling and Ganache, both from The Baking Bible

Filling:
2/3 c sweetened condensed milk, combined in heavy saucepan with
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 tbs butter


Cook over low heat until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Ganache:
Place in a medium bowl:
1 1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips.

In a saucepan, combine:
3/4 c heavy cream
1 tbs butter
1 tbs granulated sugar


Bring to a boil over high heat, stir until sugar dissolves. Pour over chocolate chips, let stand five minutes. Stir until smooth, let stand fifteen minutes, or until ganache reaches desired consistency. (It will thicken as it cools.)

Place bottom layer on cake plate, spread with filling. Let harden slightly, place top layer in place. Frost top and sides with ganache.

Serve and enjoy!

It seems labor intensive, but I was surprised how easy it was, and of course the finished product is completely worth it. A moist, rich cake without being too overpowering, with the most delightful hint of raspberry.

Birthday Bash

We had a big birthday in these parts, so I kind of went a little nuts with the dessert making. I was so excited to order some specialty cupcakes, but then I started to wonder whether *I* could make some interesting variation on my own, so I gave it a shot. We haven't started Eddie on tree nuts, yet, so instead of doing a "peanut butter and jelly" cupcake I once saw somewhere in the web, I did my own twist on the jelly-filled cupcake. I wanted to call it The Jelly Donut, but then I figured I'd have to use powdered sugar instead of frosting, so I changed the name at the last minute. Also, the recipe for the frosting came from an OLD edition of the Farm Country Cookbook I found in a thrift store years ago.

I give you:

Vanilla Lemon SURPRISE! Cupcakes

I cheated a little on this one, and used a box mix but I *did* make the chocolate-raspberry-ganache cake completely from scratch, so I feel redeemed. :) (And I'll post that recipe/method next!)

Here goes:

1 Box vanilla cake mix, baked according to package directions. Makes 24 cupcakes.

When cupcakes are cool, use a sharp knife, held at an angle, to cut an inverted cone out of the top of the cupcake. Cut the point off the cone, so that there will be a cavity in the cake. Fill that cavity with a teaspoonful of berry jam (we used strawberry). I had to use the knife to enlarge the hole a couple of times...no big deal in the long run. The jam is the SURPRISE!

When all the cupcakes are filled and re-capped, blend together:

3/4 c. soft butter and
5 cups sifted confectioners sugar

Stir in:

1/4 c. light cream (I don't know what that is, so I used half and half) and
1 tsp lemon extract.

Spread a thin layer of frosting on each cupcake, just enough to "seal" the tops in place. Let harden, then frost more generously, as befits a festive cupcake.

Serve and enjoy!

(Pictures to come as soon as I can upload them from my camera!)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Peanut Cole Slaw (non mayonnaise based)

There is a restaurant in downtown Chicago that makes this peanut cole slaw. I don't like cole slaw, but I gobble this stuff down and so does my mom. I found a recreation of it online and made it for my mom to surprise her. Success! (by the way, the restaurant is called Bandera)

The recipe did not say how many servings it makes, but it made A LOT, so I'd recommend cutting this in half the first time unless you're serving more than 2 people. Also, I don't like cilantro, but I still love this recipe!

Peanut Cole Slaw
1/2 head green cabbage, sliced in thin strips
1/4 head purple cabbage, sliced in thin strips
1/2 jicama sliced in thin strips
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped (depending on your preference)
1/4 to 1/2 cup roasted peanuts

Mix all ingredients above and toss with vinaigrette. Let sit for one hour.

For the vinaigrettte:
Add all the ingredients in a food processor and grind.

1/2 cup peanut oil. If peanut oil flavor is not strong, add 1/4 cup roasted peanuts to the vinaigrette mix before grinding. Do not use sesame oil
Juice of 1/2 lime or 1/4 lemon
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp sugar
1 green onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsely depending on preference
1/2 tsp salt

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mike's Granola Bars

{I'm alive! Sorry I haven't posted in over a month...I started a new job and just haven't had very much free time to just...blog.}

I started making these granola bars for my husband about 6 months ago, and I've been tweaking it ever since. I think we've finally came to a combination that suits him well. He says they are more filling than most store bought granola bars and just taste "fresher". I've just nibbled on a few here and there but every bit I do get is tasty!

Servings: 8 big bars (or 16 regular sized ones)
Adapted from Alton Brown



Ingredients
2 cups old fashion rolled oats
1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup peanuts

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 oz chopped dried fruit, any combination*

*I used welch's mixed fruit and I found it in my baking aisle by the chocolate chips.

Directions
1. Spray a 7x 11 glass baking dish with Pam. Preheat over to 350 degrees F.

2. Spread the oats, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and wheat germ onto a sheet pan. Place in the oven and toast for 5 minutes, stir, and toast for 5 more minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine the honey, brown, sugar, butter, extract, and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until the brown sugar is dissolved.

4. Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the over and reduce the heat to 300 degrees. Immediately add the oat mixture to the liquid mixture, add dried fruit, and stir to combine. Turn mixture out into the prepared baking dish and press down (I used wax paper on top of the mixture and my peanut butter jar to press). Place in the oven and back for 25 minutes.

5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely and store in airtight container.

Note: When buying the wheat germ, I've found toasted and untoasted. If you can only find toasted, don't toast it in the oven with the oats and nuts. Just add it in when you add the dried fruit.

Enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Grandma Pat's Beef Barley Stew

I'm not sure if any of you other Mamas are having difficulties introducing solids to your wee one(s). Eddie wouldn't eat anything but breastmilk until he was ten months old, and then I tried being all crunchy and making him baby food out of our food, but he wouldn't touch it. He *loved* OTHER babies' homemade baby food (and storebought baby food, and cookies, and crackers and cheese...all that stuff we're not supposed to give him right away, of course!) but not mine.

But then I made that Tortilla Soup, and gave him a taste (PRE-hot sauce), and he LOVED it. I froze a bunch of it in an ice cube tray, and it's still a hit. I finally broke down and BOUGHT jarred baby food (sob :P) and he, of course, loved that too. The best laid plans of Mamas and wives, I tell you.

Also, he doesn't like the same thing twice in a row. If we had mango-peach-oatmeal for breakfast one morning, we'd BETTER have something different the following morning, or ELSE.

All this to say that I was so sad that I couldn't make food for my baby like I'd hoped and that I was afraid I was doomed to feed him pre-made food until he finally grew enough teeth to eat steak and green beans with us. UNTIL. We went to visit DH's parents and Grandma made her Beef Barley Stew, and I thought it was delicious and gave Eddie a bite, and then another, and the next thing I knew, he'd eaten half my bowl! :P Then he ate it for lunch the next day, and dinner, AND lunch the following day! So I had to get the recipe, and now that I've made it again, I'm sharing it here!


Beef Barley Stew

1/2 lb lean round steak, chopped in cubes
4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1/4" slices
1 c chopped yellow onion
1/2 c green bell peppers, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 lb fresh button mushrooms, quartered
3/4 c dry pearl barley
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dry thyme
1/2 tsp dry sweet basil
1 bay leaf
5 c beef broth

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low, 9-10 hours.

NOTE: I forgot to ask DH to unpack my slow cooker, and since I don't know where it is myself, I decided to brown the meat with the onions and garlic and throw it, along with everything else, in a heavy stew pot, and I've had it simmering for about half an hour now. I'll let it go until the meat is cooked through, and the carrots are tender. Then we'll store it for lunches and Eddie's meals! (DH isn't a big stew guy. :P)

Update: The stew simmered for about three hours before I was happy with the thickness and the taste.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our first Turkish cooking experience!

Well, we just tried this recipe out last night and it was really delicious. Richie (my husband) had the stew all put together and simmering when I got home from work, which really made my night. All I had to do was keep an eye on it for the next hour and a half. Its so delicious, and we just finished having the rest for leftovers tonight!

Eggplant Stew (aka Patlicanli Kebap)

Ingredients:

4 small eggplants
1 red and 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into chuncks
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and ground black pepper
1 Tbsp tomato paste
parsley sprigs, to garnish
1lb mutton (lamb is the main meat choice in Turkish cooking, but if you can't find any, beef should do the trick)
2 1/2 cups meat stock or water


1. Cut each eggplant lengthwise into four pieces and soak in salted water for 20 minutes. Drain them and squeeze a bit to extract some of the excess water.

2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant lightly, in batches. (I always find that eggplant soaks up every bit of oil in a pan, and the recommended amount doesn't seem to be enough. I'm not sure what to do about this, so I usually add a bit extra, just to make sure they don't stick to a dry pan.) Set aside when done.

3. In the same oil (again, heat up a bit more if its all been soaked up by your eggplant), fry onion, bell peppers and meat. I usually make sure the meat is browned a bit on all sides, but you don't need to cook it too much. Drain and set aside.

4. Melt margarine or butter in an ovenproof casserole or big pot, stir in tomato paste, then pour in the stock. Bring to a boil, add meat and vegetables, and season to taste. Cover and cook over low heat for 1.5 hours (or alternatively, in a preheated 350 F oven). Serve hot and garnish with parsley sprigs.

Its great served with a bit of crusty bread, and maybe some olives.

Afiyet olsun! (Turkish for bon appetite!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Incredibly Easy Chicken and Noodles

I've never made this recipe and was taking it to a family in need from church so I had Dan try a bowl and it was a hit. It's cheap. It's makes a lot. And it's GOOD! I served it up with a slotted spoon for the more traditional gravy-ish chicken and noodle instead of soupy. This is definitely going on our go-to meals list! A great find as the winter weather draws near.

INGREDIENTS
1 (26 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
2 cups diced, cooked chicken breast meat
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 (9 ounce) packages frozen egg noodles


DIRECTIONS
In a large pot, mix the cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth, and chicken meat. Season with onion powder, seasoning salt, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil, and stir in the noodles. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Amazing Soup!

I wasn't going to post this recipe yet when I first tasted it. At first, I thought that I wanted to mess around with it a bit more, make it a bit better. But then I had three cups for lunch. And a bowl for breakfast. And it's the first thing I went for as a snack today. So I decided it must be pretty good as is. I got the recipe here. And the following is how I made it, pretty similar. If you like beans, this stuff is absolutely amazing. Dip a French baguette in it and you almost feel like you're treating yourself to Panera.

Pureed Black Bean Soup
Ingredients:
1 small onion, finely chopped
½ cup bacon bits (the original calls for ham or bacon slices)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 – 1 1/2 cups water
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili
pepper to taste
1 can 14.5 oz diced tomatoes
2 - 14.5 oz cans black beans


Cook onion and bacon in small amount of oil. Add garlic, then water and bouillon cube (or broth) and spices. Puree tomatoes and beans in blender and add to soup. Bring to boil and simmer about 5 minutes. Serve with French bread. (I'm sure it'd be great with sour cream or cheese and tortilla chips as originally suggested.)

Next time I may try puree just 3/4 of the beans and smashing the rest to make it a bit thicker...or maybe I'll just put a little bit less water. Regardless it's delicious!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spinach-Cheese Swirls

I'm not going to type this recipe out because it's already in cyber space, right here, but I did want to point them out to you because they are a delicious way to use up that remaining sheet of the puff pastry that you bought for the chocolate croissants. And since I didn't buy the right kind of puff pastry (i.e. all butter) the spinach cheese swirls actually tasted better than the chocolate croissants. I didn't realize anything could taste better than chocolate! ;o)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Zesty Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

This recipe is adapted from The Gooseberry Patch What's For Dinner? cookbook. When I told my mom what I was making for dinner, she said that's the same sort of dressing she's been using all summer for a new warm potato salad she's been serving. Once she told me that, I knew we'd like dinner because that potato salad is delish! And we did like dinner. I think we'll like it better when I follow the note below.

I hope you all try this. It's so yummy!!

Zesty Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
1 lb. potatoes, cut into about 1 inch cubes
1/3 c mayo
3 T Dijon mustard
1/8 t pepper
2 large cloves garlic, minced

Grease a cookie sheet. Place chicken and potatoes on cookie sheet. Blend remain ingredients together and brush over chicken and potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender.

*I wrote the directions as I made it tonight, but next time I'm going to cube the chicken also and then toss all the chicken and the potatoes in a bowl with the coating to get it covered better. Brushing it on top was not enough. I think I'd give the potatoes a 15 minute headstart and then throw the cubed chicken in too. I'm not sure how long the chicken would take to cook in such small pieces, so I can't give any specific directions. But man this stuff is tasty!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

These were delicious! They were also easy (if involved) and cute. And I even took a picture. Totally a make-ahead-and-bake-whenever kind of meal.

Spinach Lasagna Rolls
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, cooked and well drained
2 c cottage cheese
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 beaten egg
1/8 t nutmeg
8 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained

Spray 2 qt rectangular baking dish with nonstick spray. For filling, in a bowl stir together all ingredients, except the noodles. Spread about 1/3 c of filling on each noodle. Roll up, jelly-roll style, beginning at the short end. Place seam side down in dish, cover with foil, and cook at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Sauce
1 large onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
14.5 oz canned tomatoes, undrained
1/2 t dried basil
8 oz can of tomato sauce
1/2 t sugar

Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer.

The sauce was okay, but I might save myself the trouble next time and just use my favorite spaghetti sauce (which is and always will be Prego).

More Chicken

I ought to have at least tried to take a picture of this one for you all because it really is a pretty dish, but my food pictures always turn out really poorly. I don't have a photographer's touch unfortunately.

I made Chicken and Penne with Basil Sauce from the new book last night. We all liked it, even Charles (it's dairy-free!), but I will still do things differently next time. I might skip the sauce all together and just throw the basil in with the chicken and vegggies. I don't like the taste or texture of so much cornstarch. Can you substitute flour for cornstarch? Will it thicken in the same way?

Also the recipe cautions not to replace the fresh basil called for with dried basil. It apparently will not taste as good.

Chicken and Penne with Basil Sauce
from Better Homes and Gardens New Dieter's Cookbook
1 1/4 c chicken broth
4 t cornstarch
1/8 t black pepper
2 c dried penne pasta
1 medium red sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium green sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T oil
12 oz chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 c lightly packed fresh basil leaves, cut into thin shreds
2 T Parmesan cheese
garnish - fresh basil

1. Stir together chicken brother, cornstarch, and black pepper. Set aside
2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Cover; keep warm.
3. Meanwhile, spray an unheated large skillet with nonstick spray. Preheat over medium heat. Add sweet peppers and garlic. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until crisp-tender. Remove from skillet. Add oil, increase heat to med-high. Add chicken; cook 3-4 minutes until no longer pink. Stir broth mixture and add to skillet. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Return peppers to skillet; add basil shreds. Cook and stir for 2 more minutes. Toss with hot pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan and garnish with additional basil as desired.
4 servings

Tonight's dinner: Spinach Lasagna Rolls from the same book. I'll let you know.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Broccoli-Sausage Sauce


When my husband and I moved from Indiana to Missouri almost a year ago, I couldn't pack up all my food magazines; there were just too many. So I went through them all and torn out the recipes I liked. They were supposed to be organized neatly in a binder, but they still lay in a stack. I finally got around to looking through them and I found this recipe.

It's a pretty simple sauce, but delicious. The amount of sauce it makes is enough for 1 pound of pasta. I used rotini shaped pasta, but any short pasta will do - bow tie, shells, penne, etc.


Source: Family Circle - September 2004
Servings: 8

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (28 oz.) can of diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bunch of broccolli or broccoli, cut in 1-inch pieces

Directions
1. Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions and cook 5 minutes over medium heat stirring occasionally. Add garlic, sausage and mushrooms; cook 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add wine; cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, paste, salt, oregano, nutmeg, pepper. Bring to boil. Lower heat to low and cooked, covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broccoli during the last 5 minutes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Anne's Favorite Pizza Sauce

Well, I did it. I found my new favorite pizza sauce. I've been working on perfecting a homemade pizza for our family because just like nearly everyone else, we really enjoy eating pizza but aren't so excited to spend the money on it. I'm sure we'll still order out here and there, but it's nice to know I can put pizza on our weekly menu if I feel so inclined.

While I was looking for the perfect sauce, I tried one that was way too spicy for me and one that was a little bit too sweet for me. I took a few ingredients from each recipe and came up with this one. And it was perfect for me. The best part is that Peter really liked it, too!

If you haven't found your own favorite pizza sauce, give this one a try.

Anne's Favorite Pizza Sauce
28 oz can tomato puree
3 T olive oil
1 T sugar
1 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t dried marjoram
1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 t salt
4 cloves garlic, minced

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. (You might want to cover it because mine start splattering all over the place!) Reduce to a simmer. Simmer probably at least 15 minutes or so.
Makes enough for 3 or 4 14-inch pizzas. So you can just freeze whatever you don't use and use it next week. Your pizza will be that much quicker to make.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Yummy Breakfast Link

I've recently declared Saturday to be Make-A-Fun-And-Delicious-Breakfast Day. I've got my shopping list ready to go, except I hadn't planned for anything fun on Saturday yet. Then I noticed these. That's what I'm hoping to put on my table on Saturday. Puff pastry and dark chocolate pieces have been added to my list now!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Some tasty wholemeal soda bread

Hi everyone. This is my first post, obviously, but I'm really excited to be a part of this blog. I'm moving from Ireland to Istanbul, Turkey in a few days, and can't take all my cookbooks, so it will be great to check out your recipes to keep me going while I'm there. Here's a great Irish soda bread recipe that I love. Its quick and easy and I like it better than other soda breads I've tried to make. Oh, and sorry, its in metric and I don't have time to convert it at the moment. If you have a scale you'll be fine.

Ingredients:

400g fine wholemeal flour
130g plain white flour
50g wheatgerm
30g pinhead (nibbed/kibbled) oats- use more jumbo oats if unavailable
30g jumbo oats
1tsp bread soda (heaped)
1tsp salt (heaped)
70ml sunflower oil (I've never tried it, but regular vegetable oil might work too)
550ml buttermilk (if you want to make this vegan or dairy-free, replace buttermilk with 275ml water & 275ml soymilk curdled with a squeeze of lemon juice)
A handful of toppings: oats/pinhead oats/pumpkin seeds/sesame seeds

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Brush baking tray with oil. Into a large mixing bowl, sift the brown and white flour and the bread soda. Add the wheatgerm, nibbed oats, jumbo oats and salt and combine thoroughly. Next, stir in the oil and distribute evenly.

Now make a well in the centre of the dry mix. If using buttermilk, pour it into the well. If using soymilk, first curdle the milk with lemon juice and the pour it, along with the water, into the well. Use your hand to gently fold the milk into the flour. It is important not to over-mix your soda bread, so use as little mixing as possible to bring everything together. It will be of quite a sloppy consistency.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and gently knead it into a round loaf. Use a knife to score a criss-cross shape across the top of the bread. Transfer to the flat baking tray and dust with a little flour. Pake in the centre of the oven for 45-60 minutes, until well-risen and browned on top. Turn it out onto a wire rack. Tap the base of the loaf with your fingers. If it makes a hollow sound, the loaf is cooked. Cover with a tea towel and leave on the rack to cool completely before slicing, quarter by quarter.

This recipe is from 'Cornucopia at home: The Cookbook' a collection of recipes from Dublin's Cornucopia Restaurant.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

New Book, New Recipe

While I was staying with my parents' last week, I found a new-to-me cookbook in their pantry: New Dieter's Cookbook. I browsed through it while I was there and it's full of fabulous pictures and fast, appealing recipes. I borrowed it. But my sister wanted to borrow it, too. So I promised her I would post each recipe as I made it.

The first recipe I tried was Chicken with Potatoes and Peppers. It was good, not great, but maybe you'll like it better than me. It appealed to me because I like nearly all the ingredients in it, and it was a new way to eat them. The dish looks really beautiful (not necessarily in my picture), but I think maybe the herbs are a wee bit intense for me or something. Anyway, here it is as I made it. You can alter it further to fit your appetite.

Chicken with Potatoes and Peppers
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
nonstick cooking spray
2 c diced potatoes
1/2 c chicken broth
1 1/2 - 2 roasted red sweet peppers from a jar, diced
1 1/2 t dried basil (I will use less next time)
1 1/2 t dried oregano (less next time)
1/8 t salt
1/8 t pepper
(The orginal recipe suggestions 2 T olives; I do not like olives.)

Spray large skillet with cooking spray. Preheat. Add chicken. Cook and stir 4 or 5 minutes until tender and no longer pink. Remove and set aside.
Add uncooked potatoes, sweet peppers, broth, herbs and spices to the skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer covered until potatoes are tender (10+ minutes). Stir in chicken (and olives). Heat through. Garnish with fresh oregano if desired.
Makes four servings.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sludge

Our neighbors introduced us to "Slush" which we immediately renamed (with much affection) "Sludge." It's amazing.

-mandarin oranges
-pineapple
-banana
-7up (pomegranate or cherry is best.)

I can't remember all my measurements, but I think I bought 5 cans each of pineapple and oranges, and just kept dumping them in until it looked like an even amount. I drained the oranges, not the pineapple. I used about half a banana because I think bananas are gross. So gross, in fact, that the second time I made it (with just one can each of pineapple and mandarin oranges) I left out the banana entirely.

So you dump all these in a freezeable container or a metal baking dish or something like that (depending on how much you want to make) and you mash it until it's mostly small chunks and juice. Then you freeze it. When it's time to consume, you cut it up into little chunks, put them in your glass, and drip some 7up over it. Mash it up with a spoon in your cup a little bit and it'll turn into a delicious slushie. You may need to keep your 7up with you so you can pour a little more in every few minutes. Don't make the mistake I first made, which was to put WAAAAY too much 7up in and so it was just like a fruited soft drink instead of a slushie. That was lame of me.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Overnight Coffee Cake

This morning I was surprised to find that I haven't posted this coffee cake recipe yet. I've made it a handful of times, and each time Peter and I think it's really good. The recipe calls for it to sit overnight, but if you decide to make it last minute you can skip that step. I often do. Also I have substituted oil for the melted butter and rice milk with 1 T of lemon juice for the buttermilk. It still tastes great. Who wouldn't love to wake up, stick a pan in the oven, and have a warm homemade coffee cake early in the morning without all the work and clean up?!

Overnight Coffee Cake
from Gooseberry Patch Sweet and Simple
by Cathy Lemoyne of Ontario, Canada

1 c flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar, divided
2 t cinnamon, divided
1 c buttermilk
2/3 c butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 c chopped pecans, toasted (or not)

Combine first 5 ingredients, 1/2 c bornw sugar and one teaspoon cinnamon in a large mixing bowl; add buttermilk, butter, and eggs. Blend on low speed until moistened; increase speed to medium and blend 3 more minutes. Spoon battter into a greased and floured 13x9 baking pan; set aside. Mix remaining brown sugar, cinnamon and pecan togethers; sprinkle over batter. Cover; refrigerate overnight. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 12 servings.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Baklava

Joe, Crystal and Miss Austin are due in town tomorrow. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it so I headed to the kitchen to make something special for them. It's a recipe I've been sitting on waiting to use it for the right occasion. Dan tried one for me and said it was good. Opa!

INGREDIENTS
1 lb Filo (thaw at room temp.)
1 lb walnuts, chopped fine
½ to 1 cup sugar (I used ½)
½ to 1 lb butter (the more, the better), melted
½ to 1 tsp cinnamon

DIRECTIONS
Mix together nuts, cinnamon and sugar. Grease pan or line with parchment paper (I used a large cookie sheet). Lay 6 sheets of filo – butter between each layer. Spread a thin layer of nut mixture on top of 6th layer. Repeat using one sheet at a time, buttering each of the following sheets before spreading the nut mixture on it. Do this until the nut mixture is gone.

Be sure to reserve 6 sheets for the top, buttering between each of those as well. Cut into diamond shaped pieces ( I cut into squares), placing a clove in the middle of each. Pour any remaining butter over the top layer.

Bake 1 ½ to 2 hours at 300 degrees until nicely browned*. Remove from oven and pour hot syrup over immediately.

Syrup:
2 cups sugar, ¾ TBSP honey and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes only.

*Watch very closely, it’s very easy to over or undercook. Look at top, bottom and middle to assure proper cooking.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

No-Bake Cookies

Here's your post Anne! The trick to making good No-Bake's is to start timing when the mixture reaches a full rolling boil. If you boil too long the cookies will be dry and crumbly. If you don't boil long enough, the cookies won't form properly.

INGREDIENTS
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (I use smooth)
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool until hardened.

Enjoy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stuffed Pork Chops

I made these for dinner last night. I don't usually think of making pork; unless it's BBQ in the crockpot. My attempts in the past of making pork chops gave me tough, chewy, not-very-appetizing results. But this recipe isn't bad. I made a little pan gravy with the juices in the skillet, and poured it over the pork chops and some mashed potatoes.

It was so yummy, I almost didn't even notice the three crying children in the background. Almost.

Stuffed Pork Chops

3-4 thick-cut pork chops

for the stuffing:
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. white sugar
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp. dried parsley
4 tbsp. melted butter

1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp. butter

Combine stuffing ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Cut slits in the side of the pork chops to make a pocket. Stuff the pork chops and use a toothpick as a skewer to keep closed.

Melt 2 tbsp. of butter in a skillet. Brown chops at med. heat for 5-6 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned. Add the beef broth, turn heat to med-low and simmer for 30 minutes, turning them once.

When the pork chops are cooked through, remove from the skillet.

Pan gravy:
1 packet of McCormicks pork gravy mix
1 cup water
2 tbsp. butter
pan juices

Pour pan juices into a pyrex mixing cup to allow the fats to rise to the top. Once they do, use a spoon to skim off the fat and leave the good stuff behind. Turn heat to med. and melt 2 tbsp. of butter in the skillet. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, thoroughly dissolve the pork gravy mix with the cup of water. Pour gravy mix into the skillet, whisking constantly. When the gravy starts to boil, reduce to a simmer and slowly pour the juices into the gravy, whisking all the while.

Serve over pork chops and yummy mashed potatoes.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Tamale Pie

My husband had a tradition in his house that all the kids had a special meal that they made for the family, and they would make them once or twice a month. Well, this is my husbands meal. He's adapted it so far off the original, that it's a recipe of it's own. The only thing that stuck was the name, tamale pie. Funny thing is, there are no tamales and it's not pie shaped - I really have no idea why it was called this. But what I do know, is that it's a favorite of this new family. I probably crave it more than my husband. :) I hope it becomes a family favorite for you as well.

Note: I know a lot of you ladies have little ones, so this may be too spicy for them. So if you want to substitute canned diced tomatoes (with onion and garlic) for the Rotel, it will be just fine. But I definitely recommend the Rotel, it adds so much flavor.


Ingredients
2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium onion or 2 teaspoons minced onion
28 oz. Rotel original
5 or 6 flour tortillas
4 cups shredded Monterrey and Colby Jack Cheese blend
2 small cans of sliced black olives, drained


Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
1. Cook the ground beef in a large skillet; Drain. Add the garlic powder, chili powder, salt, black pepper, onion, and Rotel. Mix together and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered.
2. Meanwhile, spray a 9 x 13 baking pan liberally with non stick spray. Place one layer of flour tortillas in the bottom, being sure to go up the edge of the pan as well.
3. Place half the meat & tomato mixture (and the juice) on top of the tortillas. Layer about 1 1/2 cups of the cheese next.
4. Place another layer of tortillas, the rest of the meat & tomato mixture, and the rest of the cheese.
5. Bake for 25 minutes. Top with black olives and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

The leftovers are delicious as well!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pineapple Glazed Grilled Pork Chops


We made this about a week ago and just couldn't get enough of it. The whole mustard/pineapple combination was great and complimented the pork perfectly. You can make as many pork chops as you like, but there is enough sauce and pineapple rings to do 8 chops. We made all 8 and had 3 meals and a couple lunches out of it.

Makes 8 pork chops
Source: Cooks.com


Ingredients
8 medium sized pork chops, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
1 (20oz.) can pineapple rings, drained (reserve juice)
1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
enough water to bring reserved juice to 1 cup

Directions
1. Drain pineapple and reserve juice. Sal and pepper pork chops to taste.
2. In a small sauce pan, combined pineapple juice, water brown sugar and mustard and bring to a light boil.
3. Reduce heat ans stir in lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and cornstarch mixture. Simmer for 3 minutes until thick, stirring constantly.
4. Brush sauce on pork chops and place on a prepared grill. Brown chops for 2 minutes on each side, brush on more sauce and top with the pineapple rings. Cook for 2 more minutes and turn so pineapple rings are on the grill surface and get the nice grill marks and cook for 2 more minutes.
5. Flip once more, baste with sauce. Allow to rest for 5 minutes and serve.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Get-You-a-Husband Apple Pie"

We love this pie. The cookbook was a gift from my dear friend Linda, Memories of a Midwestern Farmer. The author states:

“The two most common mistakes people make with apple pie are using too much sugar and overwhelming the subtle flavor of the apples with spices. A dash of lemon juice helps to eliminate the syrupy taste that ruins a pie. As much as I like sweet spices, nutmeg, clove, and allspice have no place in an apple pie. Cinnamon is enough. Taste your filling as you are making it – apples vary in sweetness. Skinny pies always look sad to me, so I pour the apples into the crust and use my hands to gently pile up as much fruit as I can”

Double-Crust (I use the crust recipe from BH&G)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter
8-11 tbls cold water

1. Stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until pieces are pea-size.

2. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl. Repeat, using 1 tablespoon water at a time, until all the dough is moistened. Divide in half. Form each half into a ball. (I skip the last two parts because I do a crumb topping and Dan likes his crust thick)

3. On lightly floured surface, flatten dough ball. Roll from center to edges into 12-inch circle.

4. To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin; unroll into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Transfer filling to pastry-lined pie plate. Trim pastry even with rim of pie plate

Filling
Peel and core 7 medium apples, each cut into eighths. Add 1 cup of sugar, 3 rounded tablespoons of flour, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Toss to miss well. Line the bottom of a deep dish 9-inch pie pan with an unbaked pie crust.

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 flour
3 tbls butter
Cut in butter until it's mixed well and butter is pea-size. Pour on top of filling

Bake at 400 degree for 1 hour. Put aluminum foil around the edges during the first 40minutes.

It's the best pie I've ever had. Try it! And I recommend the cookbook too. I'm pretty sure with the link above you can browse through the entire book.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Grilled Flank Steak with a Red Wine Sauce

Normally when we marinade/season meat for the grill, I can faintly taste it's flavor. Well, not with this recipe. I love the taste of this marinade and the herbs really (surprisingly) stuck through the grilling process. And the sauce is amazing! It compliments the steak perfectly. It's pretty simple as well - we only had to buy 2 of the ingredients and the meat!

One of the great things about this recipe is you could buy a large about of flank steak or a little. It works great for any family.

Source: cooks.com

Ingredients
Flank steak
Soy sauce
Salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme

SAUCE:
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 1/4 cup red wine
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Directions
1. Brush flank steak with soy sauce and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper to taste, and the thyme. Let stand for 1 hour.
2. Brush again with soy sauce; grill for 3 - 4 minutes per side. Carve thin slices on the diagonal.

Sauce: Combine green onions and wine. Bring just to a boiling. Add butter; stir until melted. Add parsley. Spoon sauce over steak slices.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

You Don't Know It Yet... but you can't live without this soup!

AnnLaura's Carrot Soup

Shared with thoughts of my sister-in-law who gave me the recipe, who just gave birth a few hours ago to her second baby boy!

*note: all measurements are approximate

6 carrots, peeled & chopped
1/2 an onion
1tsp garlic
2 celery stalks, chopped (I don't usually put this in because I don't often have it on hand)
7c chicken broth
3 potatoes, peeled, chopped
1 c milk
salt and pepper to taste

IN A BIG POT:
1. Sautee the onion, garlic and carrots in some oil or butter until carrots are tender and onions are transluscent.

2. Add celery and chicken broth. Bring to a rolling boil.

3. Add potatoes. Boil until potatoes are soft.

4. Put everything into a food processor or a blender, or use your hand blender. (*I don't do any of this. I use my potato masher and mash it all up by hand.)

5. Simmer for awhile. Let cool for awhile. When it's time to eat it, warm it back up and add the milk.

And that's it!! It's that easy!! The last time I made this soup I ate the entire pot by myself. I shared a little bit with Anja, but she doesn't eat much.... and Martin doesn't like it because he's a nerd.... so over 3 days I ate an entire pot of soup by myself. Also, it's advertised to be a yummy chilled soup, though I have never tried it that way.

Oh, and it's recommended that you read The Tawny Scrawny Lion at some point during production or consumption of this soup.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tortilla Soup

This is from California Herb Cookery, which is the cookbook put out by The Ranch House in Ojai, CA. My husband worked there for a time, and it remains one of our favorite restaurants.

He's been missing this soup ever since we moved away, and although we've been back often, they never seem to be serving the soup on the evening we're having dinner there! So I've decided to finally give it a try, and surprise, surprise, it was easier than I'd feared. I assembled the soup during Eddie's morning nap, and, since he is afraid of the blender, I will have to blend it after Matt gets home and can play with the baby while I'm making horrifying noises in the kitchen. :)

Saute until clear:

2 onions, chopped fine
4 ounces butter
2 teaspoons garlic, minced.

In a separate pan, simmer until tender, not mushy:
6 zucchini, coarsely chopped
2 quarts chicken broth

Then add:
3 vegetable bouillon cubes
10 corn tortillas

Combine all the above ingredients and blend until smooth, adding:
Salt to taste
Hot sauce to desired zip.

Serve hot with;
Chopped tomatoes
Sour cream
Crushed tortilla chips

And it's a GREAT use for ALL. THAT. ZUCCHINI that people are giving away these days! :P

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Dippity-Doo-Da

This month's issue of Real Simple has a great dip recipe on its back page. I cut it out and promptly lost it, but I was able to recreate it from memory: it's THAT easy!

Peel, slice and dice one whole biggish cucumber
Open and drain one (12 oz) can of corn kernels
Mince several stalks of fresh mint
Open and crumble one 8 oz package of goat cheese

Mix together, et voila!

The recipe they had called for pre-spooning this mixture into Tortilla brand Scoops! chips, but I saved myself that aggravation by just serving the bowl of Scoops! next to the bowl of "dip". :P

A very big hit at our last barbecue!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Nun's Puffs

"How these light, tender morsels were named is a mystery - but they are heavenly."

1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
3/4 cup flour
4 eggs
Sugar
Honey (optional)

1. Generously grease twelve muffin cups, including the edge and around the top of each cup; set aside. In a medium saucepan melt butter; add milk. Bring to boiling. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball that does not separate. Remove from heat; cool for 5 minutes.

2. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating for 1 minute with a wooden soon after each addition or until smooth. Divide dough evenly among muffin cups, filling cups about two-thirds full; sprinkle with sugar.

3. Bake in a 375 degree oven about 30 minutes or until golden brown and puffy. Remove from pan. If desired, serve with honey.

I have nothing more to add from what the original recipes says besides maybe next time I'll add a bacon/spinach combo to make individual breakfast souffle sort of things

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cake

Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cake

Shared via AddThis

I'm posting this here, so I don't forget about it. It may be the perfect cake for Charles. It includes a homemade "buttercream" frosting recipe that's dairy-free!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Get your bookmarks ready, girls, because I do I have a site for you...

I've been a fan of The Pioneer Woman for a long time. Well, since I discovered her this spring. But it's been such a wonderful few months, I feel like we're BFFs.

Seriously, this woman is amazing. Not only does she homeschool her four kids on a million acres of a working ranch with her husband ("Marlboro Man"), she keeps five blogs at the same time. Well, it's one blog, but it's divided into five sections (Confessions, Cooking, Photography, Home and Garden, and Homeschooling) which are all updated regularly... pretty much daily. With humor. And detail. And gorgeous pictures to boot.

How does this woman have time to do laundry??

Today, she topped it all. She now has an additional website, Tasty Kitchen, that features recipes from her readers. It's a gorgeous site, and I've already found tons of recipes I want to try.

Click at your own risk.

You'll fall in love with Ree.

PS She also has incredible give-aways, so watch her site for chances to win Kitchen Aid mixers, Nikon cameras, Photoshop, Amazon gift certificates... Just be prepared to compete with her 10,000 other readers. (note: that is not an exaggeration of numbers!)

Blueberry Coffeecake Scones

I am a big scone lover. They were the first thing I baked from scratch after moving out of my parents house. (Isn't it funny how you remember things like that?)

I'm having some girlfriends coming to visit from home in a couple weeks, so I knew I wanted to make a batch of scones while they're here. Since I haven't made this version before, I wanted to do a test run - and they turned out great!

The 'dough' mixture is really a thick batter (very wet & sticky). The best way to describe it is a free form coffeecake cut into wedges. So it's probably not technically a 'scone' but still good.

Makes: 8 wedges
Source: Simply Scones

Ingredients
For the Scones:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed, drained frozen blueberries (I used fresh)

For the crumb topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Light butter an 11-inch diameter circle in the center of a baking sheet. (I used a baking stone)

1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and distribute them over the flour mixture. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (I was lazy and just put it in the kitchen aid mixer.)

2. In a small bowl, stir together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and lemon peel. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine. The dough will be sticky. Gently stir in the blueberries.

3. With lightly floured hands and board, knead a couple times (I used almost 1/2 cup of flour when kneading) and pat the dough into a 9-inch diameter circle in the center of the prepared baking sheet.

4. To prepare the topping: in a small bowl stir together the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and distribute them over the flour mixture. With a pastry blender, cut the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping mixture evenly over the dough to cover. Press crumb topping lightly into the dough.

5. Cut the circle into 8 wedges (but do not separate them). Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the scone comes out clean.

6. Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool. Re-cut into wedges, if necessary. Serve warm, or cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cheesy Potato Casserole

I'm breaking the silence! :)

This recipe is super simple and you probably have most, if not all the ingredients in you pantry. It is a large amount of food to make for a side dish, so I froze half of it.


Ingredients
1 (2 lbs.) package of hash browns, thawed (I used fresh potatoes, shredded and drained)
1 stick of butter, melted
16 oz. sour cream
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
16 oz. (4 cups) shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Directions
Preheat oven at 300 degrees.

1. Mix all ingredients together except 2 cups of cheddar cheese.
2. Place the mixture in a 9 x 13 inch pan and bake for 50 minutes.
3. Top with remaining cheddar cheese and bake for 10 minutes.

Source: cooks.com
Next to my BBQ chicken

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Silence

Well, our page appears to be dead lately. And sadly I have nothing to add to it at the moment.

Hey Kristi, where are you and what are you doing?! ;o)

I just got our mom all set up to start posting her delicious recipes, so hopefully she'll be joining us soon.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Shortcake Drop Biscuits!

I just made strawberry shortcake with our farmer's market strawberries. Does any dessert say summer like strawberry shortcake? Reminds me of summers as a kid when Mom would make the best strawberry shortcake ever, often with strawberries from our very own garden. Mom used the Bisquick recipe though, and I've long since stopped buy Bisquick. So I altered a regular biscuit recipe to come up with this!

Shortcake Drop Biscuits for Strawberry Shortcake
3 c flour
4 t baking powder
heaping 1/2 t salt
5-6 T sugar
3/4 c butter
1 c milk of your choice
Mix flour, powder, salt and sugar together. Cut in butter with pastry blender. Make a well in the flour mixture, add milk all at once. Stir with fork until just moistened. Drop by spoonfuls (or forkfuls) onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Makes 10-12 biscuits. Top with sweetened strawberries and their syrup and whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Sadly we had no whipped cream or ice cream tonight, but these were still delicious! And if you run out of strawberries just drizzle some honey on top. Sooooo good!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Strawberry Spinach Salad

This recipe is from my cousin Elaine and it's always been a big hit so I thought I'd give it a shot for a reunion we have going on today.

For Salad:
1 lb fresh spinach (2-10 oz bags)
1 pint strawberries slice
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans (I like sliced almonds)

For Dressing:
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp poppy seed
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp powdered onion

To prepare:
Combine all dressing ingredients EXCEPT poppy in a blend until thickened slightly. Add poppy. Just before serving, pour dressing over the mixture of spinach, strawberries, and pecans.

***My [her] personal preference is to pour the dressing over the salad at least an hour before and let it soak in. This really doesn't serve too well the next day after sitting in the dressing and this is a very big recipe. Don't make more than you can eat the same day.***

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Copy That! - Olive Garden Salad

This salad is so good!

I now live in a place where there are no Olive Gardens (I know, hard to believe)
, and my favorite part of going there was the salad. So I was very excited when I saw this recipe in the newest Food Network magazine (June/July 2009). My husband and I both really liked the homemade version, but he thought it tasted like the real deal, and I thought it was so close but something was missing. Either way, it's a great summer salad!

Serves 4.

Ingredients

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Miracle Whip
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

For the salad:

  • 1 10-ounce bag American salad blend (I actually just used Romaine)
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 small pickled peppers, such as pepperoncini (I used sliced,mild banana peppers, chopped)
  • 1 small vine-ripened tomato, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons sliced black olives (I used about 10 whole black olives, but I REALLY like black olives)
  • 1/2 cup large croutons
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Combine all the dressing ingredients and 1 to 2 tablespoons water in a blender or food processor; puree until smooth.

Place the salad blend in a large bowl and top with the remaining salad ingredients. Drizzle with the dressing, and toss.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Smart Shopper

If you've ever ran back and forth across the grocery store because your list isn't in any order (like I used to), then you NEED this. It's the smart shopper. I got this as a birthday gift from my husband, and loved it, so I figured I would share it with you. It may sound like a boring gift, but I asked for it for Christmas and didn't get it, so I was very excited when I opened it!

You speak into it what you want to add to your list. You can even change the amount, like 5 apples and 1/2 lb. ground beef. It categorizes your list and you print it off. You can even add items that aren't already programed into it, which it comes with 2500 items pre-programed. You can also put errands on your list as well, like going to the dentist, get gas, etc. You can mount it to your kitchen wall or it's magnetic, so just hang it on your refrigerator!


Here it is!

And Voila! You have your shopping list.

It really makes my grocery shopping experience a lot easier and faster.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pretty Salsa

I like my salsa chucked full of goodies. It makes it look pretty too!

Ingredients:
3 small to medium tomatoes - chopped
1 can black beans - rinsed and drained
1/2 can corn - drained
1 jalapeno pepper - seeded and chopped
1 small red onion - chopped (I didn't have red so I used a sweet onion)
1 to 2 tsp Cumin
1/4 cup lime juice

Mix all together and enjoy.


Tiramisu

The Italians are geniuses! They figured out a way to have their dessert, coffee and nightcap all on one plate; and it's delicious! Most of you don't know me, but I am Italian, my last name is not, but my grandmothers maiden name is Galardi, okay..... :)

I love, love, love this recipe!! I only really make it a couple times a year, but I should make it more often. It's great for company or a crowd. I know most Tiramisu recipes have raw egg in it, but this one does not. It can also be halved very easily, I just never have. Enjoy!!


Servings: 12-15 servings
Source: adapted from "Young and Hungry" by David Lieberman

Ingredients
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound (16 oz.) mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup superfine sugar
3-4 cups very strong brewed coffee, cooled
2 packages of ladyfingers (it's about 48 to 50 ladyfingers)
3-5 tablespoons white rum
cinnamon
unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions
  1. Beat the heavy cream, mascarpone, vanilla extract, and sugar in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until mixture holds soft peaks.
  2. Dip ladyfingers in the coffee for a second or two, just enough to moisten them, but not enough to soak them. Line the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch pan with them.
  3. Using a pastry brush, dab each ladyfinger with some rum.
  4. Spoon half of the mascarpone mixture on top of the ladyfingers and smooth out in a even layer.
  5. Sprinkle with cinnamon and a generous layer of cocoa powder.
  6. Make another layer of ladyfingers, dab them with rum. Spoon the rest of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers and sprinkle with cinnamon and cocoa powder.
  7. Make up to a day in advance (but at least 4 hours) and keep in the fridge.
  8. Serve cold right from the pan.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Lemon-Thyme Cornmeal Quick Bread

My sister-in-law evidently is addicted to participating in online surveys, and for doing them she often gets magazine subscriptions, so she and her sister and I are all signed up for the same magazines. One of them is Cooking Light. This is a recipe from the June 2009 issue.

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal (the recommend not using stone-ground because it is too coarse)
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup egg substitute (I think that's gross; I used 3 eggs)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 T canola oil
1 T fresh thyme
1 T grated lemon rind (I omitted this)
2 T lemon juice
2 T pine nuts (I omitted them)
1 T butter, melted

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, mix it up, set aside.

In an electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar and oil until well blended. Add thyme, rind and juice; beat until well combined. Add flour mixture; beat until just combined. Chop 1 T of nuts, stir into the batter.

Grease a loaf pan and pour in batter. Sprinkle top with remaining pine nuts. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes. Remove pan and drizzle melted butter over batter. Return to oven for 20 more minutes, or until it looks right.

It was great! I'm not sure if it's supposed to be this way, but all of my kosher salt seemed to sink to the bottom. So the top of the loaf was butter (delicious), the middle of the loaf was sweet and lemony with a hint of savory thyme (delicious), and the bottom of the loaf was salty (delicious.) It was so good! And quick and easy, which of course makes it extra awesome. The only downside is that the cornmeal consistency gets stuck in your teeth! Yikes!

Cowboy Beans

Martin learned about this style of beans from a janitor at Central Catholic.

-1 can (or however many cans you want) baked beans
-1/2lb (or however much you want) ground beef
-a good sprinkling of any spices you desire--I use Tony Chachere's cajun spice

Cook up the ground beef in a big pan, add the beans, add the spices, stir until hot. You could probably add onions as well, and probably jalepenos too. I've never tried either, but they seem like they might fit, I dunno.

Today we made a HUGE pan of this, and it was our lunch! And it filled us up so much, we didn't feel like eating dinner!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Small & Simple Discoveries

I recently discovered some things in the kitchen that everyone else probably already knows about. But just in case and so I don't forget and because this blog is all about food:

My mom put together this simple non-lettuce salad for me last summer when she was here, helping us get settled. It is so good, easy and nutrious:
Cut up one cucumber. Thinly slice some onion, just a bit for the flavor. Chop half a red pepper. Combine in a bowl. Drizzle with just enough olive oil to coat and squeeze half a lemon over veggies. Add some salt and pepper if you want. Yummy. I also substitute tomato for the red peppers when they're not on sale because those things are expensive.

I also realized recently how changing one part of a meal can spice things up considerably. For example having a regular sandwich at lunch time but using pita bread instead of regular bread is exciting enough to pretend that I'm eating out. I usually buy two loaves of bread at my biweekly shopping trip but for the summer months I think I'll buy one loaf and then a different bread item for sandwiches: pita bread, bagels, croissants. All those are breads that I usually only get when I go out to eat! What kind of bread do you use for sandwiches?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Grilled Chicken and Red Onion Quesadillas

Here's just a heads up for everyone: My husband LOVES to grill. We tend to grill out about 2 or 3 times a week during the summer, so I may be posting a lot of grilling and side recipes this summer season. :)

I think I may have found my favorite chicken marinade with this recipe. As I said in an earlier post, I am loving cilantro more and more. I know it's an odd flavor and it's not for everyone, but if you like it, you'll love this. There is a jalapeno in the marinade as well; and since it was my first time making this recipe, I seeded it. In doing that, it wasn't spicy and we just got the flavor of the pepper.


Marinating time:
3 to 4 hours
Grilling time: 20 to 25 minutes

Ingredients

For the Paste:
2 large garlic cloves
1 jalapeno chile pepper, stem removed
1 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


3 boneless, skinless chicken breast, about 8 oz. each, halved
1 large red onion, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
extra virgin olive oil
4 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (I used a Colby and Monterey Jack blend)
6 flour tortillas (10 inches)
tomato salsa

Directions
  1. To make the paste: In the food processor, mince the garlic and jalapeno. Add the remaining paste ingredients and process until smooth. Coat the chicken breasts on all sides with the paste and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Lightly brush or spray the onion slices with oil. Grill the chicken and onions over direct medium heat until the chicken in opaque in the center and the onions are tender, 8 to 12 minutes, turning once. Remove the chicken and onions from the grill and allow to cool. Cut the chicken crosswise into 1/8-inch slices and onions into 1/4-inch pieces.
  3. Evenly divide the chicken, onions, and cheese over half of each tortilla. Fold the empty half of each tortilla over the filling, creating a half circle, and press down firmly. Grill the quesadillas over direct medium heat until well marked and the cheese has melted, 4 to 6 minutes, turning carefully once. Allow the quesadillas to cook for a minute or 2 before cutting into wedges. Serve with salsa.
Makes 6 servings
Source: Weber's Real Grilling

Friday, May 29, 2009

Peanut Butter Pie

I have been making this recipe for a couple years now for gatherings. So I decided to make it last weekend for Memorial Day festivities. This is always a crowd pleaser, and it makes 2 pies! You can take both to the get together or take one and then have another one at home just for your family. Enjoy!

Source: Taste of Home

Servings: 2 pies (6-8 servings each).

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 cups Domino® or C&H® Pure Cane Powdered Sugar
  • 1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 2 graham cracker crust (9 inches)
  • Dry roasted peanuts (optional; I didn't do this)

Directions:

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and milk until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into crusts. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Sprinkle with peanuts.


*Sorry no pictures this time!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Spring Time Deliciousness

I made this for lunch today after a friend made it for me last week. It's pretty darn good and healthy too.

The veggies I used:
Zucchini
Red Pepper
Yellow Pepper
Cherry Tomatoes
Mushrooms
Carrots
Cabbage
Red Onion
and Chicken

Drizzle a little olive oil, add some S&P, cover, and put over medium-low heat until everything is soft. Then Stuffed it in a warm wheat pita and you have yourself a delightful lunch (or dinner)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Chicken Cacciatore

Cacciatore is Italian for "hunter." Food prepared hunter-style traditionally includes mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and herbs.

This is a pretty good recipe. I think it's something you can make year round. Yes it's a warm meal, but the sauce is thin, so it's not a heavy dish. My husband and I are just crazy about cooked fresh mushrooms, so it was right up our alley.

I got this recipe from annie's eats.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 slices turkey bacon, chopped (I used regular bacon)
2 chicken breasts, butterflied in half (4 pieces total)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
12 oz. white button mushrooms, cleaned and halved
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 sprigs fresh oregano (I used dried)
3 sprigs fresh thyme (I used dried)
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes with garlic and herbs

Directions:
In a deep saute pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and crisp, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon; set aside.

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan and brown on both sides, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a platter. Add the onion to the pan and cook until tender and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the bacon, chicken, mushrooms, garlic, oregano, thyme, red wine, chicken broth, and tomatoes (including juices) to the pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Source: adapted from Williams Sonoma

**I may try and add some cornstarch next time to the sauce so it's just a tad thicker.