Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Time Constraints

I'm uploading these photos fast, but no time for recipes right now. I'll probably post some of the recipes later, and some I won't bother with.
I've made a version of Laura's apple dumplings a couple of times. They're my new favorite now. Ridiculously fast and easy and delicious. There's not a lot of sauce with them so we eat them like little hand-held apple pies. Soooo good. And a great way to use up apples that are not being eaten.

These Sweet Potato Quesadillas were pretty good. You have to like the taste of sweet and salty together to enjoy them though (which my husband does not). I like that these bake in the oven too, instead of frying them.
Peter's birthday somehow snuck up on me this Monday. It's been over a week since I did our bimonthly shopping trip, so supplies were low. But I successfully managed to make my first from-scratch cake with the help of my Kitchen Aid. The cake turned out pretty good. For a dairy-free icing, I used a powdered sugar icing that simply consisted of powdered sugar, cocoa (unsweetened) and rice milk. It's a drizzle frosting, as you might be able to tell.
Oops...crooked...I don't feel like fixing it!

And this cinnamon bread was delicious. I was happy to have a yeast bread turn out successfully. I will post the recipe to this when I get a chance. It smells great baking in the oven.

Cream Soda-Toffee Cupcakes

I haven't made cupcakes since I was a little kid. Boy, I was missing out! These are really good. I found this recipe was in this months Better Homes and Gardens magazine.


2 cups all-purpose flour

1½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ cup butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup packed brown sugar

3 eggs

1 tbsp. molasses

1½ tsp. vanilla

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup cream soda (not diet)

¾ cup toffee pieces

1 recipe Brown Butter Frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line 18 2½-inch muffin cups with paper bake ups; set aside
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and ¼ teaspoon salt; set aside.
  3. In large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add sugars; beat until well combine. Beat in eggs, one at a time, on low until combined. Beat in molasses and vanilla.
  4. Alternately add flour mixture, butter milk, and cream soda to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until combined. Stir in ½ cup of the toffee.
  5. Fill cups ¾ full. Bake about 18 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched.
  6. Cool in pans on racks 5 minutes, remove from pans; cool.
  7. Frost; top with the remaining toffee.

Brown butter frosting
½ butter, divided
2 cups powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
dash of salt
2 tbsp. buttermilk

In a sauce pan heat ¼ cup butter over medium-low heat until lightly brown, about 8 minutes; let cool. In a bowl, beat ¼ cup of softened butter on medium for 30 seconds. Add cooled brown butter; beat until combined. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Beat in the buttermilk until spread able. Use immediately.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Pork, Beans and Rice....Cuban Style

I've been trying to cook out of my comfort zone lately, since we aren't eating out anymore. This is the perfect example of something different, yet easy to cook. This is a great recipe to entertain with, because it does make a lot (about 6 servings) or you can just enjoy it a couple more times (like we did).

There are a couple things (the Adobo seasoning and the Mojo Criollo) I could not find in my local grocery, so I had to get them on the Internet. So if you decide to make this, look for the spices about a week before you want to, so you have time to order them if need be.

I got this recipe from another cooking blog, but for the life of me I can not find it again! So if by chance the fellow blogger reads this, I want to give you credit for this recipe.

4-5 pound Pork Rump Roast
Adobo Seasoning (Goya Brand)
3/4 cup Mojo Criollo marinade
  1. Preheat over to 350
  2. Generously season meat with Adobo Seasoning. Place in a dutch oven(or oven safe large pot with lid) along with the mojo criollo.
  3. Cover and cook about 25 minutes per pound. Until the pork reaches 140 degrees internal temperature.
1 package Vigo Yellow Rice (16 oz.)
mojo criollo
  1. Cook according to the package, but instead of using only water, use 1/2 water and 1/2 Mojo criollo.
**The package doesn't tell you to stir the rice at all. You need to stir it 2 or 3 times during it's cooking process.

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minces
2 tablespoons cumin
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup mojo criollo
  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, saute onions in olive oil for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Add cumin, and stir.
  3. Add beans, bay leaves and mojo criollo.
  4. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until beans are soft and warmed through.
**You will need to buy 3 bottles of the mojo criollo for this entire meal.

And there you have it! It's very good with a couple shakes of the hot sauce as well. If you think this is a lot of pork, I have a recipe coming to use the leftovers. :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Indian-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

These take no time at all and you have a healthy snack. I bet kids would like them too and they wouldn't even know they're eating healthy. I forgot to toss them halfway through and it didn't make one bit of difference. Man these are good..

Indian-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas
Serves 4

2 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 F. Combine chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, sugar, spices and salt in a large bowl; toss well. Spread on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast, tossing halfway through for 20-25 minutes or until chickpeas are dark brown in spots. Let cool.

Crunchy Beef Wraps

This is a great quick weeknight dinner. It has some off the wall ingredients, but in the end they all work together. It takes about 20- 25 minutes to make! I got this recipe from my favorite book, Fast fix, family food by BHG. Of course, I tweaked it a bit.

8 8inch flour tortillas
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped red or green onion (I used red)
2 cups packages shredded cabbage with carrots (coleslaw mix)
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Barbecue sauce (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stack tortillas and wrap in foil. Heat in the oven for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook ground beef and onion over medium heat until meat is brown. Drain well.
  3. Stir in cabbage mix and corn. Cover; cook about 4 minutes or until vegetable are tender, stirring once.
  4. Stir in barbecue sauce and sesame oil. Cook and stir until heated through.
  5. Spoon 1/2 cup filling onto each tortilla.
  6. If desired, serve with additional barbecue sauce. (I didn't do this)
* I had some leftover black beans, so I put in about 1/2 cup on them in at the same time as the corn. It was good, I may continue to add them.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Grilled Chicken Fettuccine

I've always thought regular Alfredo sauce was a little plain tasting. Here's a new twist on Fettuccine Alfredo. You add some chicken and some jarred pesto and Voila! This homemade sauce is so good, you'll never go back to the jarred stuff again. This recipe is from Better Homes and Garden's New Grilling Book.

With the gorgeous weather we're getting, it's a great time to do some springtime grilling (you can cook you chicken on the stove as well). I usually make this with the cherry tomatoes, but they didn't look very good the store last week.

Servings: 6

1 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
12oz. dried fettuccine
1/4 cup purchased pesto
Dash black pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
Toasted pine nuts (optional)
Snipped fresh basil (optional)

  1. In a small saucepan, heat whipping cream and butter until butter melts. Gradually add Parmesan cheese, stirring until combines. Cover and keep warm over low heat.
  2. Salt and pepper the chicken; grill for 12 to 15 minutes or until no longer pink.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.
  4. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. In a medium bowl, toss chicken with 1 tablespoon of the pesto.
  5. Add remaining pesto and Parmesan mixture to the hot cooked fettuccine. Add tomatoes.
  6. Arrange fettuccine on a serving platter; sprinkle with pepper. Top with grilled chicken. If Desired sprinkle with pine nut and/or basil.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Peanut Buttery Goodness

While everyone else was having babies this weekend, I decided to make cookies.  Since it was Laetare Sunday and the Solemnity of the Annunciation is this Wednesday, I decided it was a good time to try a new recipe -- eat a few while baking to make sure they were okay, and then take the rest into work on Wednesday!

Recipe courtesy of Jamieann at The Sweetest Kitchen (and she got them from Bon Appetit and Taste of Home)

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned style or freshly ground)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter, peanut butter and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Beat in both sugars. Scrape down sides of bowl. Stir half of dry ingredients into mixture. Add eggs 1 at a time, stirring well after each addition. Mix in remaining dry ingredients.

For each cookie, roll 1 heaping tablespoonful of dough into 1 3/4-inch-diameter ball. Arrange dough balls 2 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Using back of fork, flatten dough balls and form crosshatch design on tops. Bake cookies until dry on top and golden brown on bottom, about 14 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Using metal spatula, transfer cookies to racks and cool completely.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie Filling
Adapted from 
The Taste of Home Cookbook

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 -6 tablespoons milk

In a large mixing bowl, beat the peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and enough milk to achieve spreading consistency.  Spread filling on half of the cookies and top with another cookie.

They're fantastic!!  Really peanut-buttery!  I'm taking Jamieann's advice and refrigerating the cookies with filling since the filling has milk in it.  (It also has the added benefit of softening up the otherwise kind-of-hard cookies.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What to do with corned beef leftovers???

Since you have probably just made a corned beef this week for Saint Patrick's Day, here's a new way to use leftover corned beef. It's a Reuben pizza! We made if last night and was oh so good. My husband doesn't like sauerkraut, so we didn't put that on. But it was still good!

1 refrigerated pizza dough (we used thin crust)
2/3 cup Thousand Island salad dressing
8 thin slices of cooked corned beef, cut in fourths
1 can (14 oz) sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
3 cups of shredded Swiss cheese

  1. Place the crust on a cookie sheet; spread with salad dressing.
  2. Layer with corned beef and sauerkraut; sprinkle with cheese.
  3. Bake according to your pizza crust package. Mine was 400 degrees for 13 minutes.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

So I'm figuring that everyone has a recipe for this, but I thought it might be nice to have on the blog in case you can't find your recipe or are looking for something different. I got this recipe from a Taste of Home magazine last year.

1 medium onion, cut into wedges
4 large red potatoes, quartered
1 pound baby carrots
3 cups water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 corned beef brisket with spice packet (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), cut in half
1 small head of cabbage, cut into wedges

  1. Places onion, potatoes and carrots in a 5-qt. slow cooker.
  2. Combine the water, garlic, bay leaf, sugar, vinegar, pepper, and contents of spice packet; pour over vegetables.
  3. Top with brisket and cabbage.
  4. Cover and cook on low from 8-9 hours or until meat and vegetable are tender. Remove bay leaf before serving.
6-8 servings

Brown Soda Bread

Here is a variation of traditional Irish soda bread. My husband and I both really enjoyed it with our corned beef and cabbage. It was a nice change from a white bread. I couldn't find currants here in Missouri, so I put in a dried cranberry, golden raisin, and raisin mix. I got the recipe from a bargain book from Borders, Irish food & cooking.

Makes 1 loaf

4 cups of whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of currants (I used about 1 1/2 cups of my cranberry-raisin mixture)
2-2 1/2 cups buttermilk

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, and grease a baking sheet.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir in enough buttermilk to make a fairly soft dough. (Mine used the full 2 1/2 cups)
  3. Turn on to a work surface dusted with whole wheat flour and knead lightly until smooth.
  4. Form the dough into a circle, about 1 1/2 inches thick. Lay on the baking sheet and mark a deep cross in the top with a floured knife.
  5. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the bread is browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the base.
  6. Cool on a wire rack.
*After baking this, I probably would have done a light egg wash on the top of the bread so it would have browned better.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Guinness Stew for St. Paddy's

Top o'th mornin' to ya! I made this slow-cooker stew in honor of St. Patrick's Day. I used to never care a whiff about this feast day, mostly because it's little more now than an excuse for college kids to get drunk, and I just don't dig that scene. But once I married a man named Patrick, it became a lot more meaningful to me.

So now I raise a pint each year to me hubby's patron saint and pray me Irish blessings like a good lass. Erin Go Bragh! Or whatever.
  • 1-2lbs. cubed stew meat (I used beef, but lamb would be scrumptious too - and very traditional)
  • 2 cans of tomato soup + 1 soup can of water
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 1/2 bag of frozen peas
  • 1 pkg dry onion soup mix
  • 1 14oz. can of Guinness
Grease bottom of your slow cooker, place meat on the bottom. Pour onion soup on top of the meat, followed by the tomato soup and water. Next layer the carrots on top of the soup, and pour the Guinness all over everything. (Actually I used about 3/4 of the can; Patrick drank the rest of it with his breakfast.) Slow cook on LOW for 7-8 hours. During the last hour of cooking, dump in the peas and give the stew a stir. You can also shred the meat with two forks at this point, if you like.

I served this over mashed potatoes, so it was kind of like shepherd's pie as well as stew. Wow it was good. Very comforting! But you could also cube some potatoes and throw them into the stew along with the carrots and I bet that would be good too. Enjoy!

Healthy, Meatless Meal

Does anyone else get pure joy and pleasure from watching their kids eat good and healthy meals? Is it a mother thing? I love it when Charles eats and enjoys meal that are nothing but good for him. I feel like I'm doing my job, I guess. It's nice when I like it, too!

This is a meatless meal from my Gooseberry Patch cookbook called What's for Dinner? I made it Friday. And then added leftover cooked chicken to this meal's leftovers just to pack even more punch! I adapted the recipe slightly...for example I prefer all of my veggies diced, but you can just chop them any size you want.

Rice, Lentils, & Veggies
1 T oil
1 c carrots, diced
2-3 celery stalks, diced
1 onion, diced
1 c long-cooking rice, uncooked
1 c dried lentils, rinsed
2 cans 10 3/4 oz vegetable broth
15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t basil
2 cloves garlic minced
pepper to taste
2 T catsup
1 can tomatoes
10 oz package frozen spinach

Heat oil in skillet; add carrots, celery, onion, rice and lentils. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until veggies are softening. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 30 -45 minutes or until everything is tender. Serves 8-10.

Note: Watch the liquid. I think I used 3 cups broth and it worked out nicely for me, but add more as needed to softened everything up. Also this makes a ton of food!!! Just so you know! Oh yes, and I definitely added salt to taste when eating it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bean & Beef Enchilada Casserole

This is from one of my favorite cookbooks, "Fast Fix family food" by BHG. I've been making this ever since it was in the magazine. It's basically a Mexican lasagna and you use corn tortillas instead of pasta.


1 pound of lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 15oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 4oz. can diced green chile peppers, undrained
1 8oz. carton sour cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
10-12 6-inch corn tortillas
1 10oz. can enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

chopped tomatoes (optional)
sliced green onions (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  1. In a large skillet, cook the ground beef, and onion over medium heat until onion is tender and the meat is no longer pink. Drain off the fat.
  2. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, drained pinto beans and undrained chile peppers; set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, flour and garlic powder;set aside.
  4. Place half of the tortillas in the bottom of a lightly greased 2-quart rectangular baking dish; cut to fit if necessary. Top with half the meat mixture, half the sour cream mixture, half the enchilada sauce, and 1 cup of cheese. Repeat the layers, except the remaining cheese.
  5. Cover the dish with foil; bake 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with the reserved cup of cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 5 minutes more or until cheese melts.
  6. If desired, top with tomato and sliced green onions. (I just used the tomato)
Serves 6.

*Sorry for the messy plate, I was back for seconds. YUM! :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Version of the Santa Fe Salad

I attempted to copy a salad from The Cheesecake Factory menu called Santa Fe Salad. I had it in December and it was always in the back of my mind, saying "you can make this". So here is my version. Obviously, if you don't like something on here, don't put it on. I'm sure it will still taste delicious.

*This list of ingredients will make about 4 dinner plate size salads.*
1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 pound of chicken (I used chicken tenderloins, but breasts are fine too)
spicy ranch dressing (It's not really spicy, but you can use plain ranch if you would like)
1 small red onion, chopped
3 small tomatoes, chopped
1 can of corn, drained
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, chopped
2 limes

  1. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken, cook it a skillet. .
  2. Assemble your salad. Here is the order I used: lettuce, spicy ranch dressing, red onion, tomatoes, corn, black beans, avocado (I used about a fourth of one for each salad), chicken, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime (a little less than half of a lime each salad).

*Any leftover avocado, squeeze the rest of your lime juice on it to keep it from oxidizing.

**Some things I didn't put on it, but were on the restaurant salad are shredded cheddar cheese and tortilla strips.