Monday, November 7, 2011

Turtle Bread

*My 5 year old brought me her recipe book one Sunday morning and begged me to help her make this--who can resist such a request?  The bread was delicious!  We all loved it.  You could easily just shape this into a simple loaf or make into other animal shapes if desired--say maybe a bear.  This would go great with any meal, the bread's flavor was wonderful.

2 1/2-3 cups flour
1 package quick-acting active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 t bread machine yeast)
1 T sugar
1 t salt
1/2 c water
1/3 c milk
1 T margarine/butter
1 egg
2 raisins

1.  Mix 1 1/2 cu flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
2.  Heat water, milk, and margarine to 125-130 degrees (or just until little bubbles are forming, but yet boiling); stir into yeast mixture.  Stir in egg.  Stir in enough or remaining flour to make the dough easy to handle.
3.  Sprinkle a surface lightly with flour.  Turn the dough onto the surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Cover and let rise 20 minutes.
4.  Lightly grease a cookie sheet.  Shape a 2-inch piece of dough into a ball for head.  Shape 4 walnut-size pieces of dough into balls for feet.  Shape 1 walnut-size piece of dough into tail.  Shape remaining dough into a ball for body; place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly.  Attach head, feet and tail by placing 2 end of each under edge of body to secure.  Press raisins into head for eyes.  Cover and let rise 30 minutes.
5.  Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Make crisscross cuts in body, 1/4 inch deep, to look like a turtle's shell.  Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
Makes 1 turtle bread.

Golden Oven Omelet

Adapted from Allrecipes

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
18 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1 t salt
1 t dry mustard

Pour butter into a 13 inch x 9 inch baking dish.  In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, milk, sour cream, and salt until smooth.  Pour into pan.  Bake, uncovered at 325 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Let stand 5 minutes.

*This is a simple eggs dish.  I actually cut the ingredients in half, cooked in a smaller pan, added leftover potatoes, ham, and green pepper.  This served 6.  Use the ingredients as a guideline and make whatever kind of omelet you'd like.

Egg and Potato Casserole

*My husband first had this at a work celebration and brought home the recipe.  It has been a treat for us ever since.

Use a 9x13 pan that has been sprayed with Pam on the bottom

1 ½ pkgs. (24 oz) Shredded has browns (thawed)
1/3 c melted butter
2 c medium cheddar cheese, grated
2 c Swiss cheese, grated (may use mixed cheese or mozzarella)
2 c diced him (if you want to do sausage, you can cook Jimmy Dean sausage and add to recipe)
1 c milk
6 eggs, beaten
½ tsp season salt

Press hash browns in bottom of pan forming a crust.  Brush melted butter on top of hash browns. Alternated ham and cheese, sprinkle with season salt.  Mix milk, eggs, and pour over mixture.  Let stand overnight and bake 350 degrees in oven for 40 minutes to 1 hour.  Serves 12-15 people.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

White Chicken Chili

*The first time I had this was at an Enrichment meeting.  The look of it wasn't too exciting, but it tasted so good!  I've been waiting for a cool fall evening to make this soup.  However, I used reduced fat sour cream and half and half.  Of course I should have known that real cream and real sour cream probably makes the soup.  Also, it tasted pretty spicy for my family.  I'll leave out the cayenne pepper next time.

2-3 cans chunk chicken breast
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic (or 1 1/2 t garlic powder)
2 cans great northern (or cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced green chilies
1 t salt
1/4 t cayenne, optional
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t black pepper
1 can (or 2 cups) chicken broth
1/2 cup cream or half & half
1 cup sour cream
3 t fresh oregano (or 1 t dried)

1.  Saute chicken, onion, and garlic in 1 T cooking oil until onions are translucent.
2.  Add beans, chilies, salt, cayenne, cumin, pepper, and broth.  Stir and bring to a boil, then reduced heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  
3.  Add cream or half and half.  Stir to combine and then set simmer for another minute or two.  Remove from heat and add 1 cup sour cream and oregano.  Stir until sour cream has melted into your chili.  Serve immediately.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

*Not bad for a casserole.  Of course, Swiss cheese makes everything good.  This would be easy to make ahead and comes together fast (especially if you have leftover chicken or cooked, frozen chicken), but it won't be a regular at our house.

1 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 T Dijon mustard
1/4 t ground black pepper
1 1/2 c instant rice, uncooked
3 grilled chicken breasts (I used my George to cook these, with just a touch of Italian dressing for flavor)
4 1/2 oz sliced smoked ham, cut into pieces
6 oz Swiss cheese, cut into pieces
1 cup frozen peas, optional
1 c corn flakes, crushed
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
2 T butter, melted

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.  Whisk together sour cream, chicken broth, Dijon mustard and black pepper in a large bowl until smooth.  Add rice, chicken, ham, Swiss cheese, and frozen peas; stir to combine.
3.  Pour mixture into a 13x9 inch baking dish and spread evenly (I used an 11 1/2 x8 inch dish).
4.  Mix together crushed corn flakes, Parmesan cheese and melted butter in a small bowl.  Sprinkle evenly over top of the casserole.
5.  Bake uncovered on center oven roack for 25 minutes until heated through and topping is golden brown.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Triple Berry Crisp

From Allrecipes

1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
4 tablespoons white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, gently toss together blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and white sugar; set aside.
In a separate large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press half of mixture in the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Cover with berries. Sprinkle remaining crumble mixture over the berries.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown.

*I used strawberries and raspberries from my garden and frozen blueberries.  I loved having the crust on both top and bottom!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I found this recipe on my friends family site, It's All About the Food

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used sour cream--not a healthy substitute, but what I had on hand)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, oil, yogurt and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in bananas and chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Rosemary Potatoes

6 to 8 large Yukon gold potatoes or Red potatoes, cut into large chunks
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
kosher salt and ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil or Italian Herb Oil
1/4 c grated Parmesan

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Put potatoes on baking sheet.  De-stem and roughly chop the rosemary leaves and scatter over the potatoes; season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Toss the potatoes well to mix all the flavors, spread out on pan, and put them in the oven.  Remove after 30 minutes and toss.  Continue to roast them until they are browned and cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes more.  While hot, top with Parmesan.  Serve immediately.

Variations:  With Parmesan, add 6 strips of bacon, fried and crumbled and 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted.

*We make these often, the rosemary smells so good cooking.  

Breaded Garlic Chicken in Lemon-Butter Sauce

Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
*This was a different way to prepare chicken and was a big hit at our table!  The chicken was so juicy and tender.  I would suggest making more sauce if serving with pasta.

4 chicken breasts
1 cup seasoned flour (1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper)
5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon parsley flakes or 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from about 1 lemon
1 cup chicken broth
3 eggs
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 tablespoons butter

Place the seasoned flour in a large gallon-size ziploc bag. Set aside. In a shallow pie plate, beat the eggs until mixed and add the Parmesan cheese. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

In a large skillet, melt one tablespoon butter and one tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Let it begin to heat and sizzle while you prepare the chicken but be careful not to let the butter burn and turn brown.

Put the four chicken breasts in the bag with the seasoned flour, close the bag, and shake to coat the chicken in the flour. One by one, take the chicken out of the bag and dip into the egg/Parmesan mixture. Place the chicken carefully in the skillet with the hot oil/butter.  Repeat with the other chicken breasts.  Let the chicken cook on the first side, without moving or flipping the chicken, for 1-2 minutes until a nice, golden crust has formed. Carefully, using a wide spatula, flip the chicken and let it continue to cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side until it is golden brown. The chicken will flip easiest if it has had time to sizzle and cook to form a nice crust.

Remove the chicken to a 9X13-inch pan. Set aside while you make the sauce.

In the same skillet that you browned the chicken, melt the remaining four tablespoons butter. Add the minced garlic, lemon juice, broth, and parsley. Simmer the sauce for 1-2 minutes, stirring and scraping up any browned bits that were on the bottom of the skillet.

Pour the sauce evenly over the chicken breasts and bake for 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Serve over noodles, rice or potatoes.

Apple Butter

Yields about 3 pints

4 pounds apples (about 16 medium)
4 cups sugar
2 t cinnamon
1/4 t cloves

To Prepare Pulp:  Wash apples.  Core, peel and quarter apples.  Combine apples and 2 cps water in a large saucepot.  Simmer until apples are soft.  Puree using a food processor or food mill, being careful not to liquefy.  Measure 2 quarts apple pulp.

To Make Butter:  Combine apple pulp, sugar and spices in a large saucepot.  Cook slowly until thick enough to round up on a spoon.  As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking.  Ladle hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles.  Adjust two-piece caps.  Process 20 minutes (for 3001-6000 feet altitude) in a boiling-water canner.

Note:  If butter becomes too thick, add water or apple juice for desire consistency.

Peach Butter

*Peach freezer jam is my absolute fav, fav, favorite!  I guess it only makes sense that I would love this, too.  As a plus, it uses only about 1/2 the sugar.  Use it in place of jam--on toast, pancakes, biscuits, sandwiches.  I love it!

Yield: 4 cups

4 pounds peaches (about 18 peaches)
1 cup water
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Juice of one lemon

Without a food mill: Cut a small “x” in the bottom of each peach. Dip each into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, and then into a bowl of cold water for a minute. The peels should slide right off. [If you have a food mill, skip the peeling step and I'll tell you where to use it in a moment.]

Halve your peaches and remove the pits, then cut each half into quarters (i.e. 8 chunks from each peach). Place peach chunks and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until peaches are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure they cook evenly. If you have a food mill, run them through it to puree them and remove the skins. If you don’t have a food mill — i.e. you already peeled your peaches — you can puree in a food processor, blender or with an immersion blender. I like my peach butter very smooth, but feel free to leave any amount of texture you prefer.

Return the peaches to the large pot, add the sugar and lemon juice and bring the mixture to a good strong simmer/gentle boil, cooking them at this level for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally in the beginning and more often near the end, as it thickens up and the fruit masses risk scorching on the bottom of the pot.

There are several methods to test for doneness: You can drizzle a ribbon of sauce across the surface; when that ribbon holds its shape before dissolve into the pot, it is done. Some people use cold or frozen plates; dollop a spoonful in the middle of one and if no water forms a ring around it in a couple minutes, it is done. Others use a spoon; if the butter remains rounded on a spoon for two minutes, it is done. You can also check the pot itself; the butter is usually done when a wooden spoon leaves a clear train when scraped across the bottom.

Let peach butter cool (unless you’re canning it, in which, follow the directions below). If you’re not canning it, keep it in an airtight container in the fridge. It should be good for at least two weeks.

To can your peach butter: First, sterilize your jars, either by boiling them in a large, deep pot of water (which should cover the jars completely) for 10 minutes or washing them in lots of hot soapy water, rinsing and drying the parts well and then place the jars only in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes. Then, divide your hot piping hot peach butter between your jars, leaving a little room at the top. Wipe the rims clean with a dry towel and cover the jars with their lids. Submerge the jars in a large, deep pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, either in a removable basket or using tongs to dip and remove them. Let cool completely on towels, a process that can take overnight. If canned properly, the peach butter should last indefinitely at room temperature.

Pesto Sauce

5 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 c Italian Dressing (I used Ken's Light Italian)

1.  Puree basil and garlic in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Add Paresan cheese, processing just to blend.  In a slow steady stream, add dressing through feed tube of food processor or lid of blender while machine is running.  Pour pesto into ice cube trays and freeze until firm. Then, pop the frozen pesto out of the trays, place in freezer-weight resealable plastic bags and store in the freezer until ready to use. Thaw in refrigerator before using.

*I was able to fill one tray of ice cubes with this recipe plus have about 1/4 cup leftover to serve with dinner.  Simply tossed with cooked pasta and added cherry tomatoes.  My kids loved it!

Herb Oil

*I got this recipe/idea from an Enrichment meeting earlier this summer.  I loved it!  Such a great way to use your fresh herbs and so versatile!  Use it to roast veggies (especially potatoes), salad dressings, cooking, or as a table condiment.  These notes come from Catherine.

Favorite herbs and/or spices:  Suggestions--rosemary, thyme, basil, tarragon, summer savory, oregano, cilantro, marjoram, chervil, chives, dill, mint, parsley, bay leaf
Sunflower, safflower, or extra-virgin olive oil

Wash and dry your choice of herb branches and lightly bruise them to release flavor.  Place them in a clean glass bottle, cover with warmed oil (about 180 degrees), and seal tightly.  Leave in a cool dark place to infuse about two weeks.  Taste.  If not strong enough, add more fresh herbs and let stand another week.  you can either strain the oil or leave the herbs in.  If you do not strain the herbs out, the flavor will become stronger as it stands.

Less strongly-flavored oils like sunflower oil and safflower oil work best to give a more prominent herb flavor.  However, extra-virgin olive oil is also a good choice.  If you begin with a monounsaturated oil such as olive oil or peanut oil, the infused oils should be refrigerated.

Use the oils within 2 months.  

Italian Herb Infused Olive Oil:
6 leaves fresh basil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh oregano
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
Place basil, thyme, rosemary, and oregano in a 12 ounce bottle.  Using a funnel, pour oil into bottle.  See other notes above.

*I love this!  It looks so pretty in the bottle.  My favorite way to use it is in cooking.  Try using it with scrambled eggs or sprinkle of roasting potatoes.  If using often enough, I store it in my pantry (so I don't have to wait for it to liquefy).

Gooey Cinnamon Biscuits

From This Week for Dinner


Original recipe uses cinnamon chips. I didn't have any, but Jane from This Week for Dinner provided an
alternative method.
Ingredients needed for both versions:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar, divided
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups heavy cream, divided
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additional ingredients when using cinnamon chips:
- 1/2 cup cinnamon chips, divided
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Additional ingredients when NOT using cinnamon chips:
- 3 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into tiny cubes
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar, not packed but loose
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided into 1/4 and 3/4 teaspoons

Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, baking powder, 1
teaspoon of cinnamon, and salt. Pour in 1 1/2 cups of the cream and mix just until combined.
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into rectangle, about 16″ x 8″.
Cut the rectangle into 8 equally-sized squares. Lay four of the squares in the prepared baking
CINNAMON CHIP DIRECTIONS: Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon,
and 1/4 cup of the cinnamon chips over the squares. Place the remaining biscuit dough
squares on top. Top the biscuits with the remaining cinnamon chips.
NON-CINNAMON CHIP DIRECTIONS: Evenly spread 2 Tablespoons of the cubed cold butter
over the squares. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar and 3/4 tsp cinnamon. Place 4
remaining biscuit squares on top. Spread evenly with the remainder of the butter (1 Tbsp.),brown sugar (1 Tbsp.) and cinnamon (3/4 tsp).
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the biscuits are slightly golden brown on the outside and just cooked
through. Remove from the oven. Use a knife to spread and smear the hot cinnamon chips on
top of the biscuits, if using.
Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup cream, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla extract.
Lightly drizzle the biscuits with glaze. Serve immediately.

Sweet Rolls

Combine and set aside for 5 min
  ¼ c warm water
  2 T yeast
  2 T sugar

Mix together, then add yeast mixture
  1 cube margarine
  2 c warm water
  1 ½-2 tsp salt
  2 eggs

Add 5 cups of flour, and then if dough is too sticky, add 1 c more. Let rise for 1 hour on cupboard. Then more dough to fridge for at least 1 hour (or overnight if preferred).

Using ½ of the dough roll out to the size of a cookie sheet (using lots of flour). Cover the dough with 1 cube melted margarine (1/2 cube for each halve of dough). Sprinkle dough with about ½ c brown sugar and ½ c raisins. Sprinkle with cinnamon all over top (I always just do what looks right, it maybe a little more than this).  Let rise ½ hour.

Bake at 350 for 10-14 min, until light golden brown.

For topping, melt ½ cube margarine, grate skin of orange and cut orange I half and squeeze juice in then add about 1 ¼ cup powder sugar. Place 1 T frosting on each roll.

*These are so good, if I make these I'm sure to be on my husband's good side!  I also like to switch up the frosting sometimes, may I suggest the frosting from this recipe?

Spaghetti Pie

*Jeff emailed me this recipe that he got from one of his co-workers and wife. I love when he gives me suggestions and this seemed pretty easy so I went for it. I would call this a kid favorite--a cross between spaghetti, pizza, and lasagna. Nothing fancy, but an easy dinner that will have kids asking for seconds--or even thirds.

½ pound spaghetti, cooked
2 eggs
¼ c. Parmesan cheese
½ tsp. salt
¼ lb. pepperoni
2 c. mozzarella cheese (I used a combination of cheddar, mozzarella, and monterey jack)
2 c. spaghetti sauce

Combine spaghetti, eggs, parmesan cheese, and salt. Mix thoroughly. Grease 9 x 13 baking dish and place half the mixture in bottom. Layer top with half of pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. Then layer remaining spaghetti mixture. Add remaining pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Cut into squares and serve topped with sauce.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Uncle Tony's Pizza Crust

From This Week for Dinner


3 C flour
1 t salt
1 T or 1 pkg yeast dissolved in 1/4 C warm water
1 T sugar
1 C cold water plus 1 T olive oil, mixed

In mixer, blend altogether. Let rest for 20 min. Knead and roll out and let rise again for 10 min.  Spread with oil or sauce, toppings, cheese.  Bake 425 for 25 min.  Cover pizza dish with sprinkled cornmeal before spreading out dough.  A little tip: the stickier the dough the crispier the crust.

*I one and 1/2'd this recipe and it was perfect for 2 large pizzas.

Italian Chicken Panini Pizza

From This Week for Dinner

*This was a great idea for pizza--dressing for the sauce.  I really liked it--Jeff liked it better than the pepperoni I made for the kids, but after the first piece, I caught him pulling off the spinach (daddies and their veggies!).

Uncle Tony's Pizza Crust or anther pizza crust that you like
Light Italian Dressing (I used Ken's)
1-2 grilled chicken breasts, sliced (marinated in Italian dressing before grilling and seasoned with salt & pepper)
1-2 tomatoes, sliced (I actually used a handful of cherry tomatoes sliced)
couple handfuls of fresh spinach
mozzarella cheese (or a combination of monterey jack cheese & Parmesan)

1.  Prepare crust.  Spread 2-3 T of Italian dressing on crust.  Top with spinach, chicken, tomatoes, and cheese.

2.  Bake in the oven on a pizza stone with your oven at 500 degrees, about 8-10 minutes or until crust browns and cheese is bubbly.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Peach Cobbler

Adapted from Allrecipes

Cobbler mix:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
6 T unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water

3 T white sugar
1 t ground cinnamon

I used these frozen peaches plus 1 t cornstarch and 1/4 t ground cinnamon
or use:
8 fresh peaches; peeled, pitted and sliced
1/4 c while sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t ground nutmeg
1 t fresh lemon juice
2 t cornstarch

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2.  In a large bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly, and pour into a 2 quart baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips, or a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.
4. Remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Sprinkle entire cobbler with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.

*I just used the cobbler mix and cooked it on some peaches I had frozen in juice. It seems so good cooking! Jeff said it was his favorite!

Andy's Spicy Green Chile Pork

From Allrecipes

1 white onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder roast
1 (16 ounce) jar green salsa
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Serrano chile peppers, or to taste (I used some banana peppers from my garden)

1.  Layer the chopped onion into the bottom of a slow cooker.  Season the pork shoulder with salt and pepper; place atop the chopped onion.  Pour the green salsa over the pork.  Sprinkle the cilantro over the salsa and pork.  Drop the Serrano chile peppers into the slow cooker.
2.  Cook on low until the meal falls apart easily, about 8 hours.  Gently remove the pork to a cutting board.  Strain and discard about half the remaining liquid from the slow cooker, reserving the rest.  Discard the onions, peppers, and cilantro if desired.
3.  Shred the pork shoulder with a pair of forks.  Mix the pork with the reserved liquid from the slow cooker to serve.

*This was tasty and simple.  A good one to add to the rotation.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Directions here

I only used one kind of apple, golden delicious (which I think has a very high-content of water).  Jacob loved it!

Chicken Divan

2-3 chicken breasts cooked and shredded
½ frozen bag of broccoli (can use fresh), cooked slightly
1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup grated cheese
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 Tbs melted butter
2 Tbs lemon juice

Arrange chicken in bottom of greased 8 x 8 pan.  Place broccoli on top of chicken. Combine soup, mayo, cheese, lemon juice and heat until cheese melts and everything is smooth. Pour over chicken and broccoli.  Mix melted butter and bread crumbs together. Sprinkle over the top. Bake, covered with tinfoil at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

*I had some leftover grilled chicken from the other night and a bunch of fresh broccoli that I wanted to use so we thought we'd give this a try.  It was simple and easy--at first my 6 year old wasn't too eager to try it, but with the first bite in his mouth he said, "Yummmm."  This went together fast.  The only change I would make is less bread crumbs--maybe 1/4 of a cup.  Be sure to serve with potatoes and fruit or another filler to offset the richness of this meal.  I didn't cook the broccoli beforehand or cover with tinfoil and it turned out just fine.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Adapted from This Week for Dinner

*These were good, but not as simple as the other Chicken Enchiladas I've made.  Great with Cilantro Lime Rice.

2 C chicken, cooked & shredded
2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic crushed
8 oz tomato sauce
1/4 t salt
3 C heavy cream (I used half and half, less calories)
5 bouillon cubes – chicken
8 tortillas
1 1/2 C monterey jack grated cheese
1 large onion
1/4 t sugar

1.  Sautee onion in 2 T oil until translucent. Stir in garlic, tomato sauce, salt, sugar and chicken. Cover and simmer 5 mins. In a large saucepan heat cream. Dissolve bouillon in cream – don’t heat too hot. Set aside. 2.  Dip tortilla in cream mixture, add about 1/4 c chicken mixture and roll up. Place rolled tortilla seam side down in 9X13 baking dish.
3.  Pour any remaining sauce over enchiladas. Cover with grated cheese. Bake 350 25-30 mins.

Fish Tacos with Creamy Cilantro & Green Chile Sauce

From Cookin' Canuck

*I thought these were so good, though better the second day.  The corn tortillas doubled-up were a bit much for me, but if you fry them for just a few minutes and use only 1 instead of 2, they are a perfect compliment to the delicate fish.  Honestly, my kids didn't really go for the tacos, but they ate the fish!  I really liked the creamy sauce...I must.

  • Sauce:
    1/3 cup light mayonnaise
    1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
    2 tbsp skim milk
    2 oz. canned diced green chiles
    2 tbsp fresh lime juice
    1/2 tsp ground cumin
    1/4 tsp kosher salt
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    3/4 tsp chili powder
    3/4 tsp ground cumin
    1/4 tsp kosher salt
    4 fillets (4 oz. each) firm white fish, such as Mahi Mahi or halibut
    1 tbsp canola oil
    16 corn tortillas
    3 oz. Cotija or queso fresco cheese, crumbled
    1/2 small green cabbage, cut into shreds
    2 medium tomatoes, diced
    In the bowl of a food processor, puree mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, diced chiles, lime juice, cumin and salt until smooth. Add cilantro and pulse until just combined.
    In a small bowl, mix chili powder, cumin and salt. Pat the fish fillets with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Rub both sides of each fish fillet with spice mixture.
    Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add fish fillets and cook on both sides until fish is just opaque. The time will vary depending on thickness of the fillets.  The halibut fillets I used took about 4 minutes per side.
    Remove fish from skillet, let cool slightly and gently pull apart with your hands to form strips.
    Wrap tortillas in foil and warm on lowest setting of the oven. Using 2 corn tortillas for each taco, fill with fish, cheese, cabbage, tomato and desired amount of sauce. Serve.
    Makes 8 tacos (2 per person).

Orange Pecan French Toast

From Allrecipes

*Yummm, like sticky buns.  I used a baguette that was a day too old and I didn't let it soak in the eggs as long as suggested, but it was still good.  Make sure you balance the sweetness with some protein or fruit.

1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
    2 tablespoons light corn syrup
    1/3 cup chopped pecans (I used walnuts)
    12 (3/4 inch thick) slices French bread
    1 teaspoon grated orange zest
    1 cup fresh orange juice
    1/2 cup 2% milk
    3 tablespoons white sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3 egg whites
    2 eggs
    1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar for dusting

    1. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, melted butter, and corn syrup. Pour into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish, and spread evenly. Sprinkle pecans over the sugar mixture. Arrange the bread slices in the bottom of the dish so they are in a snug single layer.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the orange zest, orange juice, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, egg whites, and eggs. Pour this mixture over the bread, pressing on the bread slices to help absorb the liquid. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight.
    3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the cover from the baking dish, and let stand for 20 minutes at room temperature.
    4. Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.

Tomatillo Chicken Filling

*This recipe came from a friend's blog--I don't think I can express the same love and devotion for this meal that she did (sometimes crock pot chicken is just too...soft), but it was good.  My kids finished their first tacos before I even got started.  I personally liked it better the next day after I heated it up on the stove.  Still a good meal and who can resist just how cute tomatillos are?  What beautiful little fruits!

2 chicken breast halves
3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
8-10 medium tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed well and halved
1 red onion, diced
1 jalapeno chile, halved lengthwise, stemmed and seeded and chopped coarsely
1 poblano chile, stemmed and seeded and chopped coarsely (I used some banana peppers from my garden and a few green chiles)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano (fresh)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
2 tsp lime juice

Makes 6-7 servings

1. Thaw chicken, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Place in slow cooker.
2. Combine onion, chiles, garlic, oregano, cumin and oil in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 4-5 minutes, stirring every minute until onion is soft. Transfer to slow cooker. Add in the tomatillos.
3. Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.
4. Remove chicken and shred with 2 forks.
5. Strain the liquid in the slow cooker into a bowl. Puree the strained solids in a blender. Add puree into the chicken. Add more cumin, salt and pepper to taste and 2 tsp fresh lime juice. If needed, add in some of the strained liquid.
6. Serve the filling wrapped up in tortillas with sour cream, cilantro, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and other toppings of your choice.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sauteed Apples

Adapted from Allrecipes

1/4 cup butter
4 large tart apples--peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 t cornstarch
1/2 c cold water
1/2 c brown sugar
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg

1.  In a large skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add apples.  Cook, stirring constantly, until apples are almost tender, about 6 to 7 minutes.
2.  Dissolve cornstarch in water; add to skillet.  Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and serve warm.

*Very good.  We ate them as a pancake topping, but these would also be delicious on ice cream or served as a sweet side.

French Dip

*I used to make French Dip often, but it's been a while.  My husband requested them for dinner one night (I love getting requests).  This recipe came from my friend Amy, and as I trust her cooking, I wasn't disappointed!  We also liked it with a little bit of Swiss cheese.  I will say it was a bit on the salty side, next time I'll try garlic powder instead of salt and less beef bullion

4 lb chuck roast
1/2 cup lite sodium soy sauce
1 bay leaf
3-4 peppercorns
1 tsp thyme (I used 1 sprig fresh thyme)
1 tsp rosemary (again, 1 fresh sprig)
1 tsp garlic salt or garlic powder
beef broth - enough to almost cover the roast (I used 2 t beef bullion granules and 2 c water)

Put all ingredients in the crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours or until done. When done, shred meat and place on rolls. Use juice for dipping.

Kitchen-Sink Quesadillas

*I served these for lunch one day when my husband was working from home.  I had to laugh when he sat down and said, "Man, you've got everything but the kitchen-sink in these quesadillas!"  That's why they are named that (even though we didn't have the privilege to christening this treat).  Very filling lunch with easy ingredients.  I love the idea of cooking the quesadillas all together--makes it so simple.
1 15.5-ounce can black beans, drained (I used kidney beans because that's what I had)
1 11-ounce can corn kernels, drained (maybe a little less is better, 1/2 can of a regular size)
3/4 cup salsa, drained
1 8-count package large flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack
1 small red onion, thinly sliced, optional
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Juice of 1 to 2 limes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 head romaine lettuce, sliced 1 inch thick

1.  Heat oven to 400° F. In a medium bowl, combine the beans, corn, and salsa.
2.  Place 4 tortillas on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with half the cheese.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the black bean mixture on top of the cheese.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and sandwich with the remaining tortillas. 
3.  Bake until the cheese has melted, 5 to 7 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the onion, cilantro, salt, pepper, lime juice, and oil. Add the lettuce and toss.
4.  Transfer the quesadillas to a cutting board. Cut each into wedges. Serve with the salad. 
Yield: Makes 4 servings.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Tower of Pieces

This is a humorous post more than a recipe.  Last Saturday afternoon, my husband and 4 year old daughter surprised me with a specially made "snack."  I was greeted with the following:
"Madame, we would like to serve you a special snack.  May we tell you about it?  This is the Tower of Pieces served with a side of apple for your dining pleasure."
The recipe is as follows:
Stack 3 or 4 chocolate covered pretzels on a plate, add Reese's Pieces to the holes in the pretzels
Cut a banana in half and divide
Stand banana pieces around pretzels and top each slice with an additional Reese's Pieces
Slice apple, set to side of tower

I just love that this cooking blog is rubbing off!  They even took their own picture.

Grilled Marinated Salmon

*Just plain good.  Love how easy it is to cook salmon on the grill.

From Allrecipes

1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
2 T white sugar
1 T vegetable oil
1 t mustard powder
1 t ground ginger
1 t ground black pepper
2 lbs salmon fillets

1.  In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, oil, mustard powder, ginger and ground black pepper.
2.  Place the salmon in a shallow, nonporous dish and pour the marinade over the salmon.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, turning occasionally.
3.  Preheat an outdoor grill for medium high heat and lightly oil grate.
4..  Grill the fish for about 3 to 4 minutes per side, or to desired doneness.

Grilled Potatoes and Onion

From Allrecipes
*Not a bad way to cook potatoes in the summer time!  I love the idea of using foil packets on the grill--much better than using the oven that heats up your home.  This is a very adaptable recipe and can be easily adjusted to your likes.  I chose to use just olive oil instead of butter, but do whatever you like.

4 potatoes, sliced
1 onion, sliced (I used a yellow onion, but a red onion would have been nice)
1 t salt
1 t ground black pepper
butter/olive oil

1.  Preheat grill for medium heat.
2.  For each packet, measure out 2 or 3 squares of aluminum foil large enough to easily wrap the vegetables, and layer one on top of the other. Light oil the foil. Place some of the potatoes and onion in the center, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and dot with butter. Wrap into a flattened square, and seal the edges. Repeat with remaining potatoes and onion.
3. Place aluminum wrapped package over indirect heat, and cover. Cook for approximately 30 minutes, turning once. Serve hot off the grill.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pretzel Bars

From Two Peas and Their Pod taken from Food and Wine

I have to admit, I love the sweet-salty combination and I was expecting a little more from this recipe then I got, but I post it here because I think I might want to give it another shot.  I only had the pretzel sticks, next time, I'll try the pretzel twists; I think they would break up better and make for a better distribution in the cookie.  Also, I just used semi-sweet chocolate chips and I have a feeling I would have liked the bittersweet more.  My kids called them brownie-cookies (they aren't used to the bar formation!).  Baking all the dough in one batch likes this made for less time in the kitchen!

2 cups flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 c light brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
2 large eggs
2 t pure vanilla extract
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 c mini pretzels, coarsely chopped.
2 T chocolate sprinkles

1.  Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 9-by-13-inch pan with cooking spray.
2.  In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt. Using a mixer, beat the butter with both sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. On low, beat in the dry ingredients, just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and pretzel pieces.
3.  Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Press the batter down with a spatula. If you want to use the sprinkles, sprinkle them on top of the batter. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. The middle might be a little gooey but that is ok, the bars will set up. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely.
4.  Use a knife to go around the side of the pan to loosen the bars. Cut the bars in squares and serve.

Lime Chicken Soft Tacos

This was one of those days--my husband volunteered to grill up some brats and hot dogs on the grill when he got home for dinner and I thought I was set...until I realized my kids had those dreadful frozen corn dogs for lunch...I just couldn't justify letting them have hot dogs for dinner.  That's when I did a quick inventory of the fridge and found this recipe for dinner.  My husband said these were the best chicken tacos he had ever had.  I loved them, too!  Bonus, except for maybe the limes, I usually have all of these ingredients on hand.  Great recipe, cooks up fast, and very delicious served with homemade salsa.

Adapted from Allrecipes

1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast meat, cubed
1/8 c red wine vinegar
1 lime, juiced
1 t white 
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
approx 2 T chopped cilantro
flour tortillas

1.  Saute chicken over medium heat for about 20 minutes.  Add vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic.  Simmer for extra 10 minutes, adding cilantro at the end.
2.  Warm tortillas in skillet one at a time.  Serve lime chicken mixture in warm tortillas topped with whatever taco fillings you like.

Grilled Chicken with Rosemary and Bacon

Adapted from Allrecipes

This quick and easy recipe was a cinch to put together for a quick meal.  Everyone at the table cleaned their plates clean!  Any time I can use the fresh herbs from my garden it makes me feel good.

2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper to taste
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 thick slices bacon

1.  Preheat outdoor grill for medium-high heat.
2.  Spread garlic onto chicken breasts (or use garlic powder if desired) and season with salt and pepper.  Lay one rosemary sprig on the chicken breast.  Wrap the bacon around the chicken to hold the rosemary on.  Secure the bacon with a toothpick or an additional thick rosemary stem.
3.  Lightly oil the grill grate.  Cook the chicken breasts until no longer pick in the center and juices run clear, about 6-8 minutes per side (165 degrees in center of meat).  Remove chicken from grill and cover with tinfoil.  Let stand for about 5 minutes for juices to absorb.

Oatmeal Waffles

Adapted from Allrecipes

I was a little cranky today...I swear, can my belly get any larger?  I still have more than 3 months until my baby's due date and I don't think I can grow any more.  Something hit me today and I was just plain tired...which unfortunately made me a little too snappy with my 6 year old.  How was I going to remedy that?...waffles for lunch.  Since hubby was at work, there was no reason not to try a more healthy reason.  These made a good lunch with a little butter and syrup on top.  Not very sweet, but light considering the extra fiber from the oats and whole wheat.

2 eggs, separate whites and yokes
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup oats (I used regular oats though the recipe called for quick oats and I was happy with the results)
1 T molasses
1 T vegetable oil
1 t vanilla
1 c whole wheat flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder

1.  Beat egg whites until still peaks form, set aside.
2.  Mix eggs and buttermilk in large bowl.  Add oats and mix well.  Stir in molasses, vanilla, and oil.
3.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; stir into the wet mixture.  Fold in egg whites.
4.  Cook batter as waffles or as pancakes.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Snickerdoodle Muffins

From Tasty Kitchen (this is a great site for step-by-step instructions)

1 cup Butter, Softened
1 cup Sugar
2 whole Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2-¼ cups Flour
¾ teaspoons Baking Powder
¾ teaspoons Baking Soda
¾ teaspoons Cream Of Tartar
½ teaspoons Salt
1 cup Sour Cream
¼ cups Buttermilk (or about 1/4 milk with 1/4 t lemon juice, let sit for 5 minutes)
1/2 cup Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare a muffin tin with liners.

In a mixer, combine the butter and sugar and cream until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and combine.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the sour cream and buttermilk and mix to combine. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon for the topping.

Use scooper and plop a scoop of batter into the bowl with the sugar and cinnamon. Gently roll the batter in the sugar and cinnamon. Place the ball into the muffin liner.

When you have completed all of the muffins, sprinkle the leftover cinnamon sugar onto the tops of all of the muffins.

Bake the muffins at 350ºF for about 15-18 minutes or until they are golden on top and just baked through.

*The original recipe states that this makes 12 muffins, but the batter overwhelmed my muffin tins!  I should have made them into 16 muffins.  Very filling and very tasty.  Also, I decreased the amount of sugar and cinnamon for the topping.

Caprese Paninis and Garlic-Basil Mayo

*I've made these a half a dozen times since I discovered this recipe.  So good I almost convinced myself that I need a panini maker--and then I remembered I owned a George Forman!  It works great.  Love it--any way you make it.

Panini bread or any delicious sliced bread
Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
Fresh basil
Tomatoes, sliced
Olive Oil and/or Balsamic Vinegar and/or Garlic Basil Mayo (recipe below)
Salt & Pepper

Place your sliced mozzarella cheese, basil and tomatoes on a slice of bread. Sprinkle some salt and pepper, then drizzle with a bit of olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar, or spread the bread with Garlic Basil Mayo before putting ingredients on the bread. Top sandwich with second slice of bread and cook in a panini maker or on the stove in a skillet with another skillet on top over medium heat. When side 1 is lightly browned, flip and cook until side 2 is browned and the cheese is melted.

Garlic Basil Mayonnaise
From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
- Mayonnaise
- Salt and Pepper
- Fresh garlic clove
- Fresh chopped basil, a few leaves worth
For three good-sized paninis, I simply scooped out about three spoonfuls of mayonnaise into a bowl. I threw in some basil, two shakes of salt, two shakes of pepper, and 1/2 of a garlic clove pushed through a garlic press. Mix together and spread on bread for Caprese Paninis.

Kneaders French Toast

*On one of those rare mornings when the TV was on, but it wasn't a kids show, I saw this recipe featured on "Good Things Utah" and knew it would be a hit.  Very decadent, plus I love being able to make this ahead of time and then just put it in the oven before dinner (yes, we love breakfast for dinner at our house).  I will say that I couldn't really fit 8 slices of the bread into a 9x13" pan--so if you have a larger deep pan, use that, otherwise, just eat the extras!

1 loaf Kneaders Chunky Cinnamon bread, sliced in 8 pieces
8 eggs
1 T brown sugar
1 T vanilla
3 c milk
3/4 t salt
2 T butter

Butter a glass baking dish generously (9x13" or larger).  Place the bread in the baking dish.  Set the butter aside.  Mix all remaining ingredients and pour over the bread.  Cut butter into small pieces and dot over the top.  Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.  Uncover, bake 45 -50 minutes at 350 degrees.  Serves 6 to 8.

Tomato and Feta Pasta with Shrimp

Adapted from Allrecipes
1 pound linguine pasta
2 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 chopped roma tomatoes
2 T chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup crumbled sun-dried tomato and basil feta cheese

1.  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
2.  While pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the shrimp, and cook until opaque, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and heat through.  Season with basil, salt and pepper.
3.  Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce, and sprinkle with crumbled feta to serve.

*I made this one night when my husband had to work late (he's not a huge tomato or feta cheese fan).  The kids and I loved it!  So simple to make and can be whipped up in minutes.  To my surprise, my husband polished off all the was leftover and he really liked it, too (so sorry I didn't get them for lunch the next day, but I'm glad he's coming around to these wonderful flavors).