Monday, February 23, 2009

Italian Herb Bread

We got a bread machine for a wedding gift and I've wanted to make fresh baked bread since we got it but could never find the time. I made my first loaf this past week when my sister was here visiting. It turned out perfectly. I can't believe how easy it is too. You just put everything in, turn it on and a couple hours later, you've got yourself homemade fresh bread!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Puff Pastry Pudding Cup

I made this for dessert on Valentine's Day. It's a very simple and inexpensive dessert. It reminded me of a custard pie we had on our honeymoon in Dublin.

puff pastry shells
french vanilla instant pudding
fresh fruit-I used strawberries, blackberries and kiwi

  1. Bake puff pastry shells according to the package; let them cool.
  2. Prepare instant pudding according to the package.
  3. Pipe the pudding in to each shell; I used a zip lock bag for this.
  4. Cut up the fruit, and place on the pudding and on the plate.

*Each package of puff pastry shells contain 6 shells, but you can bake as many as you need. One package of pudding will fill all 6 shells.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

To Market, To Market

So I'm (going to be) in the market (when we have extra cash, ha) for a new slow cooker. I'm looking for one that cooks evenly across the whole pot and one with a low temperature that is low enough to keep things from sorching. I also prefer the automatic kind that you can set and that will switch to a warm setting when it's finished cooking.

So if you like your slow cooker, please leave it's make and model in the comments section. Oh and, please let me know if there's anything particular that you like about it! Thank you.

Perfect Macaroni and Cheese

Recipe from: The Old Farmer's Everyday Cookbook Almanac

I normally detest homemade mac and cheese and love the box kind. Well then pregnancy cravings hit and I changed my mind. I still like the box kind but I really wanted the homemade kind tonight so I tried it and it turned out really yummy.

1 pound uncooked macaroni

1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups (1 pound) shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat over to 350 F. Grease a 3-quart casserole dish (I used a 2 1/2-quart dish).

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.

For topping: In small skillet, melt the butter, add the bread crumbs, and saute for 1-2 minutes. Remove and set aside.

For sauce: In small skillet (I used the same skillet as above to save on dishes, aka we are a no dishwasher household), melt butter over low heat. Stir in the flour with a whisk and cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally. In a separate saucepan, heat the milk to almost boiling, and add to it the butter and flour mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Put one-third of macaroni in bottom of casserole dish. Cover it with one-third of cheese, then pour one-third of the sauce over the cheese. Repeat, making two more layers. Spoon buttered bread crumbs over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Tips after making: I didn't not use a whole pound of macaroni. I'll make half the pasta next time, the whole amount of sauce the recipe calls for, and then half of the shredded cheddar cheese.

For Anne

So she won't feel alone in the world of cooking failures...

Shortly after Joshua and I were married, I really wanted tacos for dinner. (I may have been pregnant with Karol at this point as I craved hot spicy foods with him.) We didn't have much in the pantry and it wasn't close to shopping day yet, so I got creative. I knew we had a can of corned beef hash in the pantry and some cheese, salsa and sour cream in the fridge along with a few tortilla shells.

Joshua still reminds me of how I ruined corned beef hash. In my defense, I did find a similar recipe on line and modified it slightly.

Sharing a Failure

And this was a big failure. But it was the recipe's fault. Classic Beef and Noodles is the recipe. One for the slow cooker. And I honestly think it would be really good if I had followed the recipe appropriately. The amount of liquid was enough to not burn in my slow cooker (but it was finished between 5-6 hours instead of the 8-10 recommended), the sauce thickened up quite nicely (though it took mine more like 40-45 minutes rather than 30), and the meat was nice and tender.

My mistake was attempting to use coconut cream instead of sour cream. I was going for dairy-free. But I failed. This stuff was gross! Indeed it was inedible. On the positive side at least now I know what coconut cream tastes like. It is not for a meaty dish. I stole the general idea from Sarah. But she used coconut yogurt, and I couldn't find any of that.

And then I really didn't want to waste a whole pound of good tender beef. So I put it in the colander, rinsed all the sauce of it, and threw it in the black beans and rice that I had made earlier where it tastes delicious, thank you very much. :o)

Don't forget to share your failings with us, so I don't feel like the only one!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Chicken and Noodles

I found this on allrecipes, and love it! It tastes like it's completely from scratch and cooked all day, but didn't.

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
4 cups diced, cooked chicken breast meat (about 3 chicken breasts)
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 (9 ounce) packages frozen egg noodles

To roast the chicken:

  1. Pre Heat you oven to 350°F.
  2. Use bone-in, skin-on chicken breast. (Trust me, it's super moist)
  3. Place the chicken on a baking sheet.
  4. Drizzle olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Place the chicken in the oven, for 40-45 minutes.


  1. 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.
  2. Bring to a boil, and stir in the noodles.
  3. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

Servings: 6

Friday, February 6, 2009

Amazingly Delicious & Easy Brownie Fudge Pie

So this recipe originally came from my Gooseberry Patch What's for Dinner? However I have tweaked it quite a bit. These brownies are fabuloso!

Originally titled Brownie-Fudge Pie
Get out your favorite electric mixer (you can use a wooden spoon if you want to). Dump in a cup of sugar (I didn't say they were healthy) and 1/2 cup oil. Mix well. Add two eggs and mix. Add 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix and add 1 teaspoon vanilla (if you have it. I couldn't find mine one time and they turned out just fine). Grease and flour a 9 inch pie plate. Pour the brownie mixture in. This cooks perfectly in my oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. The brownies are dense and really do taste similiar to fudge. This is Peter's new favorite brownie, too.

- PS: I am starting to add "dairy-free" label to any of my recipes that are dairy free just to help myself out. Feel free to do the same if you remember and feel so inclined!

Good Fries

I've been wanting to jot these two posts down for awhile now. So finally here we go!

This is how to make delicious oven baked fries!

Cut the potato in half lengthwise. Hold each half up on it's side and cut it in half again, so you have four flat(ish) pieces of potato. Cut each quarter into 3-4 four slices (they should look like sticks) or you can make really thin fries and cut more. Place in large tupperware with lid. Drizzle with olive oil. Add some salt and pepper. Put lid on and shake. Spray a cooking sheet. Then cook the fries for 10 minutes at a time at 400 degrees, stirring or flipping fries every 10 minutes - takes about a total of 30 minutes.

Yummy! And you don't have to mess with frying in hot oil (I'm so bad at that)! Next post will have to wait. The baby is calling...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New England Clam Chowder

4 slices bacon
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/2 stick of butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup bottled clam juice
1 cup half-and-half*
2 (6 ounce) cans minced clams; one drained, and one not
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (I didn't do this)


  1. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, fry the bacon until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels, reserving the bacon fat in the pan, crumble and set aside.
  2. In the same saucepan with the bacon fat, saute the onion and potatoes until onions are tender and translucent. Sprinkle with the flour and stir well to coat.
  3. Pour in the clam juice and the juice of one of the clam cans, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  4. In a separate small saucepan, make a roux by melting a 1/2 stick of butter and cooking the flour in it for about 5-7 minutes. Wisk the half-and-half in with the roux. Let it thinken, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the half-and-half roux mixture, minced clams and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Garnish with the parsley and crumbled bacon.

*Instead of using half and half, I used heavy whipping cream, and it was really good.