Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Peppermint Surprise

This is one of my favorite holiday treats.

Peppermint Surprise

1 1/2 c. crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreo's)
1/4 c. butter or margarine, melted

Heat oven to 350. Mix cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press firmly against bottom and side of an ungreased pan or pie plate. Bake 10 minutes. Cool completely.

1 pt whipping cream, whip and sweeten with about 1 cup of sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.(or just use cool whip, it is much easier).
Fold the following into cream or cool whip:
2 large peppermint candy canes, crushed
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)
1/4 pkg. miniature marshmallows

Pour mixture on to the chocolate crust. Chill for at least 12 hours.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Scones and Honeybutter (Utah version)


2 teaspoons yeast
Pinch of sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup oil
2 cups water
4 cups, or more, all-purpose flour
Oil for deep frying

In a large bowl, combine yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup water. Let the mixture sit until bubbly. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar, salt, eggs, milk, oil and an additional 2 cups water. Slowly add in enough flour to make a soft, not sticky dough. Cover and let rise until double in size, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

In a large, deep pan or deep fryer, heat 1 to 2 inches of vegetable oil to 375 degrees F. (The oil should be deep enough so the dough will float.) Pull off a chunk of dough and stretch it into a flat disc about 8 inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. Place dough in hot oil. Deep fry until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn and cook on second side until golden. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Keep warm until ready to serve. Repeat process with remaining dough.

Source: Recipe Goldmine

Fluffy honey butter

1 Small Bottle Marshmallow Cream
1 cup Butter
1 cup Honey
1/4 cup Powdered Sugar

Melt the butter in the microwave and then mix all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

If you are having trouble getting all the ingredients to mix well you can heat the whole thing in the microwave for a bit to make it softer.

Serve as a dip for scones.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Almond Poppyseed Bread

Be warned, this bread is very addictive! The 1 1/8 cup of oil kind of scares me so I thought I would try the ol' bean trick. I replaced the oil with 1 1/8 c. Northern bean puree and had great results.

Almond Poppyseed Bread

3 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt

3 eggs
1 1/8 c. canola oil
2 1/2 c. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. butter flavoring
1 1/2 tsp. almond flavoring

1 1/2 c. milk
2 tsp. poppy seeds

3/4 c. white granulated sugar
1/4 c. orange juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. butter flavoring
1/2 tsp. almond flavoring

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, oil, sugar, and flavorings and beat for 2 minutes.

Alternate adding in flour mixture and milk and then mix until just combined. Add poppyseeds and mix until just combined. Pour into greased pans (I find the nonstick spray that is for baking works best) (5 mini pans or 2 regular loaf pans) and bake 35-40 minutes for mini pans, 1 hour for large pans; keep an eye on them.

When done, place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes and then remove from pans and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. While cooling, prepare glaze by combining all glaze ingredients. Drizzle over loaves and allow to harden.

Source: Our Best Bites


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chewy Chex Cereal Mix

I cannot believe I have not posted this recipe yet!! Probably because it is always gone before I can snap a picture. Be warned though, it is extremely addictive. I usually half the batch if I am just making it for my family. It will be gone before you know it.

Chewy Chex Cereal Mix

6 1/2 c. Rice Chex
4 1/2 c. Golden Grahams
1 c. sliced almonds
2 c. coconut
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) real butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. light Karo syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

In a VERY LARGE bowl, combine cereal, almonds, and coconut. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine butter, Karo syrup, and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for three minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. While the mixture is still hot, pour over the cereal mixture and stir well so the candy mixture coats the cereal.

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing

My son loves the story of the Gingerbread Man. He runs around the house saying "Ah uh, you can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man." I thought it would be fun to make our own Gingerbread Men. He loved it. 

Gingerbread Cookies
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. molasses
1 egg yolk
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Cream butter and sugar. Add molasses and egg yolk. In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Chill for at least an hour. It's a fairly sticky dough so you might need to chill it a little longer.
Preheat oven to 350. Roll dough to 1/4" thick and cut with cookie cutters. Place cookies 2" apart on a baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. If you bake them on the short end they will stay soft and chewy and if you bake them on the longer end they will be nice and crispy. 

Royal Icing 
This recipe makes a TON of frosting so I cut it down to a 1/3 recipe and it was plenty for a single recipe of Gingerbread Men.

3 egg whites
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tarter

1/3 recipe:
1 egg white
1 1/3 c. powdered sugar
1/6 tsp. cream of tarter

Beat all ingredients until stiff peaks form. Dries hard. 

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Caramel Corn

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Caramel Corn
1 3.3 oz. bag Kettle Corn popcorn, popped and all unpopped kernels removed
1 c. Reese's peanut butter chips (you are fine using generic too)
6 Tablespoons butter
3/4 Cup packed brown sugar
1/3 Cup corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place popped popcorn into a large bowl.

Place butter, peanut butter chips, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture comes to a light boil. Remove from heat and pour evenly over popcorn. Gently stir to coat. Place popcorn on a baking sheet that has been sprayed lightly with non stick cooking spray. Set aside while making the chocolate popcorn.

Chocolate Caramel Corn
1 3.3oz bag Kettle Corn popcorn, popped and all un-popped kernels removed
1 c. Cup semi sweet chocolate chips (I actually used some leftover Halloween candy. I just chopped up 1 cup of Crunch bars)
6 Tablespoons butter
3/4 Cup packed brown sugar
1/3 Cup corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt

Place popped popcorn into a large bowl.

Place chocolate chips, butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture comes to a light boil. Remove from heat and pour evenly over popcorn. Gently stir to coat. Bake in 250 oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

You can do both the peanut butter and the chocolate popcorn at the same time. Just don't put them on the same baking sheet.  After 15 minutes of baking switch the baking sheets from top rack to bottom and bottom rack to top.  Be careful not to over cook them. Do not go any longer than 30 minutes or your popcorn with be really tough and hard to chew.
Remove from oven and pour onto wax paper to cool. Break into pieces and serve.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Noodles

I love thick noodles in my chicken noodle soup. None of those tiny shoestring noodles here.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Noodles

1 precooked rotisserie chicken
2-3 Bay leaves
3-4 whole peppercorns
1 medium onion, quartered
2-3 Chicken bullion cubes
Carrots to your liking, chopped into small pieces
Celery to your liking, chopped into small pieces
Salt and Pepper

Remove all usable meat from your precooked rotisserie chicken and set aside. Discard any skin or fat. Place the chicken carcass/bones in a large stock pot. Fill pot with water until the whole carcass is covered. Add 1 medium onion that has been quartered, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Simmer for about 2 hours. Add 2-3 bullion cubes and let dissolve. Remove chicken carcass and pull off any usable meat that might still be attached. Strain broth into a large bowl. I strained mine a couple of times just to make sure I got everything out.

In a large skillet, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil or butter and precook your carrots/celery. You will want to get the vegetables to a semi tender stage which takes about 10 minutes. Add the vegetables and the shredded chicken that you removed before cooking the carcass to your pot of broth.  Bring to a simmer. Add noodles and cook until noodles are tender.

Homemade Egg Noodles

2 eggs, beaten
4 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 - 2 cups. flour

Combine egg, milk and salt. Add flour to make a stiff dough. Roll out thin on a lightly floured surface. Cut into strips with a pizza cutter.

Let dry about 2 hours, turning after 1 hour. Don't worry too much about letting them dry the full 2 hours. Just adjust the cooking time of the noodles. The longer they dry the longer they take to cook. Keep in mind that noodles expand and will soak up a lot of your liquid in the soup. Just add more water and a bullion cube or a can of chicken broth to even out the liquid to noodle ratio.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Candy Cane Cookies

My family has been making these cookies for as long as I can remember. They are a great Christmas treat!

Candy Cane Cookies
1/2 c. butter (no substitutes)
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. powdered sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 - 2 t. almond extract
1 t. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. salt
red or green food coloring

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix thoroughly: butter, shortening, powdered sugar, egg, almond extract, and vanilla. Blend in flour and salt. Divide dough in half; blend food coloring into one half.

On an non-floured surface, roll out one strip of white dough and one colored about 1/2 inch thick. Set side by side and twist together. Bend into a candy cane shape.

Bake for 8 to 9 minutes on an ungreased baking sheet. Don't cook any longer than 8-9 minutes unless you want crunchy cookies. If they start to turn brown on the edges they will be crunchy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Spinach Mandarin Poppyseed Salad

This salad is so addictive.  Just make sure you follow the directions exactly when making the dressing. If you add the oil with all the other ingredients it doesn't blend in well. Just drizzle a small stream of oil as the blender is going.

Spinach Mandarin Poppy Seed Salad

8 oz. (1/2 bag) of baby spinach
1/2-1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 thinly sliced medium red onion
1 large avocado, cubed
8 oz. mozzarella or Swiss cheese, shredded
1 12-oz. package bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 large can Mandarin oranges, drained
Combine all ingredients except dressing in a large bowl. When ready to serve, toss with desired amount of salad dressing and serve immediately. If you anticipate leftovers, just let your eaters dress their own salads because the dressing will make the greens wilt.

Poppy Seed Dressing

1/3 c. white vinegar
1 tsp. Kosher salt
A few turns of freshly ground black pepper
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. mustard
1 green onion, ends removed (both the "hairy" end and where the green part starts to get floppy)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. poppy seeds

In a blender, combine vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and mustard. While the blender is running, add the green onion. Continue running the blender and add the oil in a steady stream and is fully incorporated into the dressing.

Pour the dressing into a serving or storage container and whisk in poppy seeds. Serve over leafy greens.
Recipe source: Our Best Bites

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Classic Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

2 1/2 c. pecan halves, divided
4 large eggs
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. packed dark brown sugar
1 c. dark corn syrup
1/2 c. light corn syrup
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350. On a lightly floured board, roll out pastry to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Place in a 9-inch pie plate that has been set on a parchment lined baking sheet, and press into the bottom edges and along sides. Trim and crimp. Put in freezer until firm, about 15 minutes.

Coarsely  chop 1 1/4 c. pecans, set aside. Combine eggs, sugar and brown sugar. Whisk to combine. Add dark and light corn syrups, butter, vanilla and salt. Whisk until well combined. Add chopped pecans, and stir. Pour into prepared crust. Arrange remaining pecan halves decoratively over top of pie. Bake on parchment lined baking sheet until crust is golden brown, filling is firm, and cake tester comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool completely.

Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Pie

This was my first attempt at making a pie crust. I wouldn't say it was a complete failure but there is definitely  room for improvement.

Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Pie

The crust
1 1/3 cups of unbleached flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of fresh finely grated gingerroot
¼ teaspoon of allspice
½ cup of cold butter
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons of ice water, or a little more

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and spices until blended. Next, cut in the butter until you have a coarse crumbly dough. In a small bowl, whip the egg yolk and the water together then slowly pour it into the butter mix, while tossing with a fork, until the mixture forms into moist clumps. Add a little more water here, if the dough seems too dry. Form into a ball with your hands and put in a plastic bag in the fridge for 20 minutes to overnight. Then use how ever your want! It is good to microwave it for a few seconds before you work with it or it is hard as a rock! (You can also do this dough in the food processor. Put flour and spices into the processor and pulse a few times. Cut the butter into small cubes and toss in the flour mix. Pulse till crumbly. Whisk the egg yolk and water together then pour slowly into the processor while it is on until a ball of dough forms.)

The filling
1 15 oz can of pumpkin
1  cup heavy cream or half and half
½ cup of sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons of honey
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
½ teaspoon of ground ginger
¼ teaspoons of cloves
½ teaspoon of allspice
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
¼ teaspoon of salt

Roll out the dough to the size of a 9 inch pie plate between two pieces of wax paper. Place the crust in a pie pan and trim and flute the crust to your pleasure. Stick in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pie crust in the oven, filled with dried beans or pie weights and edges covered, to cook for about 10 minutes. Pour out the beans and cook for another 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool while you make the filling.

In a large bowl, blend together all the ingredients for the filling until frothy. Pour into the pie crust and bake 50 minutes or until the middle of the pie is still wiggly and the edges have set.

While your pie is baking, mix the the streusel topping. Sprinkle the streusel topping on it and bake for another 10 or 15 minutes until the streusel is golden brown.

The streusel
½ cup of unbleached flour
¼ cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
¼ cup of butter
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup crystallized ginger, chopped fine (optional)

In a bowl, whisk together the flour and spices. Cut the butter into small pieces and work into the flour until it is crumbly. (Or do it in the food processor!) Stir in the pecans and ginger, then sprinkle on the pie and bake as directed.

Recipe source: The Go Lightly Gourmet

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chicken and Vegetable Dumpling Soup

This was just the thing I needed on a cold day and feeling under the weather. It was a little more labor intensive but in the end it was worth it. Nothing like a hearty hot soup when you are sick. 

Chicken and Vegetable Dumpling Soup

*Serves 6

Chicken and Broth:
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
2-3 chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 large carrots (6-7 baby carrots), chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme or sage
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

In a large pot, boil the chicken broth, water and chicken breasts until the chicken is cooked through and tender (about 15 minutes). Remove the chicken from the pot, reserving the broth in the pot, and shred the chicken with two forks. Set the chicken aside and keep the broth warm on the stove.

While the chicken is boiling, in a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the celery, carrots and onions. Saute for about 6-7 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the vegetables to the hot broth in the pot after the chicken has been removed. Add salt, thyme and pepper to the vegetable/broth mixture and stir to combine. Heat the soup to a simmer.

In a small bowl, blend ½ cup cold water and 1/4 cup flour with a wire whisk until smooth. Whisking vigorously, slowly add the flour mixture into the hot vegetables and broth and whisk until well combined. Add ½ cup frozen peas and the reserved chicken and cook, stirring gently for one minute.
For the dumplings, in a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, milk and oil. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined (don’t overmix, it is ok if there are a few dry spots of flour here and there).

Heat the soup to boiling and drop teaspoonful amounts (the dumplings should be fairly small, they’ll expand while cooking) of dumpling dough into the boiling soup, covering the entire surface of the soup (don’t make more than one layer of dumplings). Reduce the heat to simmering, cover and let the dumplings cook for 15 minutes. Do not lift the lid of the pot while the dumplings cook.

When the dumplings have cooked fully, remove the lid and gently stir the dumplings to break them apart. Serve.

Source: My Kitchen Cafe

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vanilla Popcorn

Another oldie but goody.

Vanilla Popcorn

1 cube (1/2 cup) butter
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. light corn syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla (yes this is 1 Tbsp and not a tsp.)
Air-popped popcorn

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add sugar and corn syrup, and bring to a boil over medium heat. While stirring constantly, boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour over air-popped popcorn and stir well until all pieces are coated.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is a fall favorite in my family. In my opinion these are the best tasting pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I have eaten. They have a nice crisp bottom and soft moist top.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 c. pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 (12 oz.) bag chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Cream shortening and sugar together (about 2 minutes). Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together and add to mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts if using. Bake on lightly greased cookie sheet for 10 to 12 minutes. You will know they are done when they start to turn slightly brown around the edges.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies with Cinnamon Frosting

These are really good but the cookie part came out pretty thick as you can see in the picture. It was much more cake like than cookie like. I think next time I might try just halving the recipe and seeing if I get a thinner cookie layer.
Also, the original recipe for the frosting just included a small amount of cinnamon. It didn't have a strong enough taste for my liking so I altered it a little.

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies with Cinnamon Frosting

For the bars:
1 cup butter; room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin
6 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

For the frosting:
1/2 cup butter; room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbsp milk
food coloring (if desired)

For the bars:
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Add vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cardamom, and cloves. Stir the flour mixture with a whisk to combine. Add half of the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix just until combined. Then add the pumpkin puree, followed by the remaining flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Spread on a greased 13x18 inch baking pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10-20 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely and frost. (I had to cook these for at least 20 minutes but each oven is different, so check at 10 minutes then every couple minutes after that until they are slightly brown around the edges.)

For the frosting:
Combine butter and shortening until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and salt. Add powdered sugar in 1-2 cup increments alternately with milk until smooth and spreading consistency. Mix in cinnamon (and other spices if using) and mix until combined. Spread over cooled cookies.

*I added about 3/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 nutmeg, and 1/4 cloves to the frosting for a stronger spice flavor. 

Tip: To make your own Pumpkin Pie Spice, combine 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. Makes 2 teaspoons.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Little Italy Meatballs and Marinara

This recipe makes a lot so plan on having left overs. You can also freeze what you have left. 

Little Italy Meatballs and Marinara


Onion Mixture
1/4 cup olive oil
3 onions , chopped fine
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Easy Marinara
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup water
4 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaf

1 - 2 teaspoons sugar , as needed
4 slices hearty white sandwich bread
3/4 cup milk
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage , casings removed
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 large eggs
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck (80 percent lean)


  • 1. For the onion mixture: Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook onions until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer half of onion mixture to large bowl and set aside.

  • 2. For the marinara: Add tomato paste to remaining onion mixture in pot and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in water and tomatoes and simmer over low heat until sauce is no longer watery, 45 to 60 minutes. Stir in cheese and basil and adjust seasonings with salt and sugar.

  • 3. For the meatballs: Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Mash bread and milk in bowl with reserved onion mixture until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, except ground beef, to bowl and mash to combine. Add beef and knead with hands until well combined. Form mixture into 2 1/2-inch meatballs (you should have about 16 meatballs), place on rimmed baking sheet, and bake until well browned, about 20 minutes.

  • 4. Transfer meatballs to pot with sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve over pasta. (Meatballs and marinara can be frozen for up to 1 month.)

  • Technique

    A super-hot oven was all we needed to get a golden brown crust on these meatballs. Finally, a short dunk in the sauce allows the sauce to season the meat, and vice versa.
    1. For a great crust without the hassle of frying, bake the meatballs in a very hot oven.
    2. For the best flavor, let the meatballs sit in the simmering sauce for at least 15 minutes before serving.

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    Tortilla Lime Chicken Soup

    I got this recipe from a friend many many years ago. This was my introduction to cilantro. At the time I had no idea what it was. So thanks for introducing me to one of my favorite spices. You know who you are.

    Tortilla Lime Chicken Soup

    4 c. chicken broth
    1 1/2 c. chicken, cooked and shredded
    1/4 c. lime juice
    1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
    1 large can hominy
    2 c. lime flavored tortilla chips, broken

    In a large saucepan, simmer broth, 1 can water, chicken and juice for 2 minutes. Add cilantro, pinch of black pepper and hominy. Serve with crushed tortilla chips on top.

    *You may need to add a little salt depending on how many tortilla chips you have in your bowl.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

    I hope everyone had a great Halloween! I was lucky enough to spend my favorite holiday at the happiest place on earth....Disneyland!

    I am not a huge fan of red meat but this beef stroganoff is to die for!  The only problem is finding porcini mushrooms. They are difficult to come by but you can find them at natural food stores such as Sunflower market if you have one nearby. It is definitely worth the trouble.

    Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff

    1 1/2 c. low sodium beef broth
    1/4 c. dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed and patten dry
    2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
    2 onions, chopped fine
    2 Tbsp. tomato paste
    1/2 c. white wine (the kind you buy at the grocery store near the vinegar works just fine)
    1/3 c. soy sauce
    4 lbs. boneless beef chuck stew meat cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces (you can also buy a chuck roast and cut it yourself)
    1 lb. white mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
    6 Tbsp. all purpose flour
    1 1/2 c. sour cream
    2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
    Salt and pepper

    Combine 1/2 cup broth and porcini in bowl and microwave until steamy and mushrooms have softened, about 1 minute. Line fine mesh strainer with one paper towel and strain mushrooms, reserving liquid. Chop porcini fine and set aside.

    Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook onions and tomato paste, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in wine, soy sauce, remaining broth, chopped porcini, and reserved porcini liquid, scraping up any browned bits with wooden spoon. Bring broth mixture to a boil, then transfer to slow cooker. Add beef and white mushrooms to slow cooker, cover and cook on high until meat is tender, 6 to 7 hours (or cook on low for 9 to 10 hours).

    Set slow cooker to high, if necessary. Skim fat from surface. Transfer 2 cups sauce from slow cooker to large bowl and whisk in flour. Stir flour mixture into slow cooker and cook, covered until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in sour cream and dill and season with salt and pepper. Serve over buttered egg noodles or rice.

    Recipe source: Cook's Country Magazine Oct/Nov 2008

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Ham and Cheese Spiders

    I spun off my earlier post of Ham and Cheese Sliders and turned them into spiders. I used this recipe for French Bread Rolls to make the spider body and legs. I was in  a hurry to get these in the oven so they ended up looking like crabs. Next time I will spend more time making them look better.

    Ham and Cheese Spiders
    Makes 7-9 spiders

    1 recipe for French Bread Rolls or  if you are short on time you can use 1 (12 oz.) tube refrigerated flaky buttermilk biscuits, separated into 10 biscuits. Also use 1 (11 oz.) tube refrigerated bread sticks. separated into 12 bread sticks
    1 c. chopped fully cooked ham
    24 (about 1 cup) small slices of cheese (Swiss works great)
    2 tbsp. sliced olives

    For the sauce:
    1½ tbsp. yellow mustard
    8 tbsp. butter, melted
    1 tbsp. finely minced onion (or 2 tsp. dried minced onion)
    ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
    Poppy seeds, for sprinkling

    Preheat oven to 350. Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut 3 -3 1/2 inch circles. Place on greased baking sheets. Roll 8 legs for each spider about 1/2 inch thick. Press each leg into the dough circles on the baking sheet. Tuck 1/2 inch ball of foil under each leg so it stands up in the center.

    Add the ham and cheese to the middle of the dough circle. Top with another 3 1/2 inch circle of dough. Pinch edges to seal.

    In a small bowl combine the sauce ingredients. Brush over tops of spiders and legs, sprinkle with poppy seeds. Place 2 sliced olives to resemble eyes. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned.

    Saturday, October 23, 2010

    Monster Claws

    Another fun Halloween food.

    Monster Claws

    5 small red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/4 inch slices
    1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
    Salt and black pepper to taste

    Preheat oven to 425. Cut 2 wedges from end of each potato slice to resemble claw.

    Place oil in a 15x10x1 inch jelly roll pan; tilt to coat bottom evenly. Place potato slices evenly in prepared pan. Sprinkle slices with paprika, turn to coat with oil and sprinkle with paprika. Bake 5 minutes. Turn slices; bake 4 minutes longer or until just fork tender. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Baked Potato Soup - a lighter version

    I love when I find recipes that allow me to substitute full fat ingredients for reduced fat or reduced calorie. I love baked potato soup but because of the heavy creamy texture I don't make it very often. I found this recipe on Our Best Bites, one of my favorite blogs. It uses skim milk instead of whole, and light sour cream and you get very similar results...a very tasty soup.

    Baked Potato Soup

    2 Tbs butter
    2-3 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 C flour
    4 1/2 C low-fat or skim milk
    1 14oz can chicken broth
    4 medium baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds) baked*
    2 C grated cheddar (or sharp cheddar) cheese, divided
    1 1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. black pepper
    1 1/2 C  light sour cream, divided
    1/2 C chopped green onions, divided
    8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided

    *don't have time to bake potatoes in the oven?  Just pierce them with a fork a few times and then pop them in the microwave.  Cook in 5 minute intervals until a knife easily pierces through them.  It usually takes 5-10 minutes.  To bake in the oven, pierce each potato with a fork and place directly on oven rack.  Bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes.

    Melt butter in a stock pot over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.  Add flour to pan.  Slowly add milk a little at a time while whisking constantly to eliminate lumps.  Whisk until smooth and then add chicken broth.  Bring soup just to a simmer and heat until thickened, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

    Once soup is thickened, turn heat down to medium-low.  Cut potatoes in half length-wise and use a spoon to scoop out potato flesh into the pot.  Use a wooden spoon to smash potatoes, breaking up large clumps.  Add 1 1/2 C grated cheese and salt and pepper and stir until cheese is melted.  Remove pan from heat and stir in 3/4 C sour cream, 1/4 C green onions, and 4 strips of the crumbled bacon.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with each serving with the remaining sour cream, onions, cheese, and bacon.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Potluck Pan Rolls

    When I first started making bread this is the first recipe I used. It has remained my favorite roll recipe so far.

    Potluck Pan Rolls

    1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 tsp.)
    1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
    1-1/2 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
    1/2 cup butter, melted
    2 eggs
    1/4 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
    1-1/4 teaspoons salt
    5-1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour (I use half whole wheat flour and half all purpose)

    In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1/2 cup water. Add the butter, eggs, milk powder, salt, 3 cups flour and remaining sugar and water. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

    Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.

    Punch dough down. Divide into 27 pieces; shape into balls. Place 18 balls in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan and remaining balls in a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

    Bake at 375° for 17-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Yield: 27 rolls.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    Bloodshot Eyeballs

    Anyone that knows me knows how much I LOVE Halloween. I especially love to make fun and spooky food. I had fun making these eyeballs.

    Bloodshot Eyeballs

    2 c. confectioners sugar, divided
    1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
    3 Tbsp. butter, softened
    1/2 lb. white candy coating (Almond bark)
    24 Reese's pieces or M&M's
    1 Tbsp. water
    1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red food coloring

    In a small mixing bowl, combine 1 cup confectioners sugar, butter and peanut butter. Shape into 1 inch balls; place on a waxed paper lined pan. Chill for 30 minutes or until firm.

    In a microwave safe bowl, melt white candy coating; stir until smooth. Dip balls in coating and place on waxed paper. Immediately press a candy onto the top of each eyeball for pupil. Let stand for 30 minutes or until set.

    In a small bowl, combine the water, food coloring and remaining confectioners sugar. Transfer to a heavy duty resealable plastic bag; cut a small hole in a corner of bag. Pipe wavy lines downward from pupil, creating the look of bloodshot eyes. Store in an airtight container.  (You can use the store bought icing to get that dark red color since it is nearly impossible to get that color just by adding red food coloring.)

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Tomato Bisque with Parmesan Croutons

    While on a trip to the Pacific Northwest last year, I ate at a place called BJ's Brewhouse. I immediately fell in love with their food specifically their Tuscan Tomato Bisque in a Sourdough bread bowl.  BJ's is a national franchise but is not located in Utah. Becasue of this I had to try to recreate a copy cat dish at home. This is what I came up with:

    Tomato Bisque with Parmesan Croutons

    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 tablespoon minced bacon (about 1/2 ounce)
    1 Spanish onion, chopped
    1 carrot, chopped
    1 stalk celery, chopped
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    5 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
    1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes (with liquid), roughly chopped
    3 parsley sprigs
    3 fresh thyme sprigs
    1 bay leave
    1 cup heavy cream
    1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    Freshly ground black pepper

    Heat the butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp and most of the fat has rendered, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Lower the heat to medium, add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes.

    Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Pour in the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the pot. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

    When the soup base is cool, remove and discard the herb bundle. Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Using a sieve over a large bowl, strain the tomato puree. Return the puree to the pot and reheat over medium heat.

    Whisk the heavy cream and salt into the soup and season with pepper to taste. Divide among warm soup bowls and serve immediately.

    Recipe by: The Food Network

    Parmesan Croutons

    4 large slices of hearty bread (I used sourdough)
    1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
    olive oil to coat
    garlic salt

    Preheat oven to 300. Brush bread on one side with olive oil. Cut into cubes and spread out on an ungreased baking sheet, oiled side up. Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bread is crispy.

    *The final touch to recreate the BJ's version is to spread garlic butter on the lid of the bread bowl and broil it on low for about 4-5 minutes until slightly browned.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Pumpkin French Toast with Crunchy Cinnamon Crust

    The crunchy crust of this French toast really makes this dish so delicious!

    Pumpkin French Toast with Crunchy Cinnamon Crust

    2 large eggs
    1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
    1/4 cup whipping cream
    1/4 cup milk
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
    1 Tbs granulated sugar
    4 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, crushed
    Eight 3/4-inch thick slices of day-old French bread

    In a low-lying, flat bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, cream, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar.

    In another low-lying flat bowl, place crushed cereal.

    Heat skillet to medium-heat, brush with butter. Quickly dip bread on both sides into the egg mixture, then cover both sides of the bread with the crushed cereal. Place in hot skillet, reduce heat to low and cover with lid. Heat 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Repeat with remaining bread. Serve immediately.

    Servings: 4

    Yield: 2 slices per person

    This recipe really is best with French bread that is a day or two old- if it’s too soft, it will absorb too much of the liquid and turn out soggy.

    Do a quick dip into the liquid. You don’t want to soak the bread in it.

    You may leave off the crumbled cereal if you don’t wish to add crunch. (It’s good though!)

    Recipe Source:
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