Friday, December 16, 2011

My Top 11 Recipes of 2011

I thought it would be fun to list the recipes from this past year that were my all-time favorites.  So... if you see any you haven't made already, get on it! In no particular order...

If you have made some of these, which has been your favorite?

"Homemade" Chicken Noodle Soup

Photo Credit: Pioneer Woman

I've been craving some hearty chicken noodle soup and I was all gung-ho about making homemade noodles until I saw this recipe on Pioneer Woman's site.  I had never seen frozen noodles, but sure enough they were in my Safeway's freezer case.  I also am not a "debone a cut up fryer chicken" kind of gal so I just used chicken breasts and chicken stock/water.  So, it's really not all that homemade but it tasted great :)

1 whole Cut Up Fryer Chicken
2 whole Carrots, Diced
2 stalks Celery, Diced
1/2 whole Medium Onion, Diced (optional)
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
1/4 teaspoon White Pepper (more To Taste)
1/4 teaspoon Ground Thyme
2 teaspoons Parsley Flakes
16 ounces, weight Frozen "homemade" Egg Noodles (I used the brand Reames)
3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour

Preparation Instructions
Cover chicken in 4 quarts water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove chicken from pot with a slotted spoon. With two forks, remove as much meat from the bones as you can, slightly shredding meat in the process. Return bones to broth and simmer on low, covered, for 45 minutes.
Remove bones from broth with a slotted spoon, making sure to get any small bones that might have detached.
Add the carrots and celery (and onions, if using) to the pot, followed by the herbs and spices. Stir to combine and simmer for ten minutes to meld flavors.
Increase heat and add frozen egg noodles and chicken. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
Mix flour and a little water. Stir until smooth. Pour into soup, stir to combine, and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until broth thickens a bit. Test and adjust seasonings as needed.

Tex-Mex Beef Brunch Quiche

I love quiche, I love mexican food.  Can't go wrong with this one.

Pastry dough for 1-crust 9-inch pie
1 pound Kirkland Signature lean ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
5 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups nacho or taco shredded cheese blend

Method of Tex Mex Beef Brunch Quiche Recipe
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry dough; set aside.

3. Sauté ground beef until browned; drain off fat. Remove from the heat and stir in salt, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, green onion and tomatoes.

4. Place eggs and water in a bowl and blend well.

5. Layer the ground beef mixture, egg mixture and cheese in the pie shell.

6. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until set. Makes 6-8 servings.

Crispy Prosciutto and Scallion Frittata

The pan I used for this recipe was too big, which means it was too thin, which means I over cooked it and it was dry.  But I still wanted to post it because I think it could be really good.  Just don't use a 12" skillet.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into 1-inch pieces
8 large eggs
3 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oven to 350° F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in an ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook, stirring, for 1 ½ minutes.
Add prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly crisp, 3 to 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, Parmesan, and pepper. Pour into the skillet and stir.
Bake until browned around the edges and puffed (a knife should come out clean), 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, divide the arugula among plates. Drizzle with the remaining oil, sprinkle with salt, and top with goat cheese.
Cut the frittata into triangles and serve with the salad.

Zucchini, Potato and Ham Soup

I didn't have any potatoes so I used gnocchi in my recipe.  Mark liked the gnocchi twist, I think I would have preferred potatoes better.

1 tablespoon butter
2 onions, chopped
2 large yellow-fleshed potatoes, such as Yukon gold (about 1 pound total), peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 zucchini (about 1 pound total), sliced 1/4 inch thick
One 32-ounce container (4 cups) chicken broth
Two 1/4-inch-thick slices cooked ham (about 8 ounces), finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
Pinch nutmeg

DIRECTIONS:In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Add the potatoes and zucchini and season with salt. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil; cover, lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Using a blender, partially puree the soup, leaving some chunks. Stir in the ham, dill and nutmeg and serve with bread.

Sweet Smothered Pork Enchiladas

I guess I've been on an Angela kick lately.  Another one of her great recipes.  Make this one for sure!

2 1/2 pounds pork, any cut
salt and pepper
garlic powder
flour tortillas (8-10 large or 15-20 small)
2 10 0z. cans mild green chilie enchilada sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar (I know it seems like a lot but it's not)
1 can black beans, rinsed and well drained
chopped cilantro
1 cup monteray jack cheese, grated

Cut pork into large cubes and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Place cubes in slow cooker and add 1/3 cup water.  Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8.  Remove from cooker, letting juices drain off.  Place meat in large bowl and shred.  Mix in 1/2 cup chilie sauce, brown sugar and black beans.  Stir until well combined.  This is your enchilada filling.

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.

Pour 1/2 cup chilie sauce in bottom of dish.  Working with one tortilla at a time, spoon meat mixture and chopped cilantro (to taste) in center and roll up.  Place seam side down in dish.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.  Pour the rest of chilie sauce over enchiladas and top with grated cheese.

Bake 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is fully melted and bubbly.  Broil for 1-2 minutes to add a little texture if you want.

Monster Cookies

I was introduced to this recipe in college and it's a definite love of mine.  I wish it was possible to live off these. They almost feel like they could be healthy because of the oats and peanut butter, but they so aren't. :)  It's not a coincidence that I gained 3 pounds the week I made these.  Dear baby Harper, sorry about all the M&Ms you've been digesting this week.  Love, Mom

6 eggs
3 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons corn syrup
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter
3 cups peanut butter
9 cups rolled oats
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups candy-coated milk chocolate pieces (M&Ms)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a very large bowl, beat the eggs.
Add the remaining ingredients in order, mixing well. (Mixing with hands in the end is usually necessary)
Use an ice cream scoop (or a 1/4 cup) to put on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Do NOT over bake!

Mexican Bubble Pizza

The name alone drew me to this recipe.

1 lb ground beef
1 package taco seasoning mix
3/4 c. water
1 can (10.75 oz) condensed tomato soup (I used a can of enchilada sauce)
1 can Grands Refrigerated biscuits
2 c. shredded Mexican cheese
2 c. shredded lettuce
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 c. salsa
1 (2.25 oz) can ripe olives, drained
sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large skillet brown the hamburger. Drain. Add taco seasoning, water and soup (or enchilada sauce) and mix well. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Separate the dough into 8 biscuits. Cut the biscuits into 8 pieces each. Add the pieces to the beef mixture and gently stir. Spoon into a greased 9x13 in. glass dish.

4. Bake in oven for 20-22 min or until the sauce is bubbly and biscuits are golden brown. Sprinkle with cheese and bake another 10 minutes longer, or until cheese is bubbly.

Top with remaining ingredients!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hawaiian Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Photo Credit: Food Network

Jaime made this recipe for one of our dinner swap meals and I was looking for an excuse to make it again!  I made a big batch for community group and it was a big hit.

1 packet teriyaki marinade (recommended: McCormick Grill Mates) (I found in the asian section)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup chili sauce
1 (6-ounce) can pineapple juice
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
8 hamburger rolls
2 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, chopped

In small bowl, combine teriyaki mix, paprika and pepper.
Coat the pork the with rub mixture, patting until all rub is used. Set aside.
In a bowl whisk together the chicken broth, brown sugar, soy sauce, chili sauce and pineapple juice. Set aside.
Put the chopped onions and carrots in a 5-quart slow cooker. Place the pork on top of the carrots and onions and pour half of the pineapple juice mixture over pork. Reserve remainder for Hawaiian sauce. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. The meat should fall apart easily. Remove the roast from the slow cooker to a cutting board. Using 2 forks carefully pull the meat into shreds. Serve the pork on rolls drizzled with the Hawaiian sauce or on the side for dipping. Reserve the remaining pulled pork for the Round 2 Recipes, Pulled Pork Pot Stickers and Hawaiian Pizza.
In a medium pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining pineapple juice mixture, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Vegetable and Navy Bean Soup

This recipe is perfect for fall- it's so comforting.  Thanks Ang for another great recipe!

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 small red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt to taste
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups water
10 ounces spinach
1 can nay beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp red-wine vinegar, optional

In a large nonstick skillet or heavy pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and potatoes; cook until onion is lightly crowned, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add mushrooms, thyme, and salt; cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste, and 2 cups water; cover, and cook until potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add half the spinach; cover, and cook until wilted, about 1 minute.  Add remaining spinach and beans; cook (covered) until heated through.  Stir in 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar if desired.  Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.

Chai Oatmeal

Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!  I thought the chai flavor would be super powerful because it is made with a chai concentrate but it was just the perfect amount of spicy sweetness.  I added a splash of milk at the end to make it creamier.

1.5 cups of Oregon Chai concentrate
2/3 cups rolled oats
1 T oat bran
1/4 cup oven toasted thinly sliced almonds

Place chai, rolled oats and oat bran in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Once the mixture is boiling, stir and turn off the burner.  Cover and let sit for at least 5 min in the saucepan.  Stir the oatmeal into bowls.  Sprinkle with toasted almonds.  Add a splash of milk.

Potato Chips

Jaime Green first served these when she had us over for dinner and I was so impressed that they were made in the microwave.  They are incredibly tasty and crispy.  We used our mandoline to cut them super thin.  The only downside of the recipe is that they are so tasty you will want a lot of them so your microwave will be running for a long time.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 potato, sliced paper thin (peel optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Pour the vegetable oil into a plastic bag. Add the potato slices, and shake to coat.
Coat a large dinner plate lightly with oil or cooking spray. Arrange potato slices in a single layer on the dish.
Cook in the microwave for 3 to 5 minutes, or until lightly browned (important- if not browned, they will not become crisp). Times will vary depending on the power of your microwave. Remove chips from plate, and toss with salt (or other seasonings). Let cool. Repeat process with the remaining potato slices. You will not need to keep oiling the plate.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Whole Wheat Walnut Muffins

Another great recipe from Angela!

1/4 cup butter or margarine, cut up
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or other nuts
1 Tbsp. sugar
Optional variation: Add 3/4 cup peeled, chopped apple

Preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until well mixed. Add egg, milk, and vanilla and blend. Add flour, baking powder, salt and nuts and mix until moistened.

Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin tins, filling them about three-fourths full. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on a rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Better Food Pictures Coming Soon!

My husband has been researching small point and shoots for months now.  A few weeks ago we settled on the Canon Powershot ELPH 300 HS because of it's phenomenal reviews on Cnet.  The thing I'm most excited about is it's ability to shoot in less-than-ideal lighting.  I take so many pictures of my kids (and food) inside and a flash just never looks as nice as natural lighting.  It also takes HD video! So, we were waiting for the black Friday deals to come out and as we looked through the paper yesterday, we quickly figured out that amazon had the best deal anyway.  The price is the same as the Black Friday sales ($149) but it comes with a free mini HDMI cable and a 4GB Memory Card.  Check out the deal HERE.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Coconut Chicken Tenders

I am so sad about it getting dark at 4:15pm now.  Not only is it just getting dark too early, but it also means no more natural light for food photos.  So, you'll have to just believe me when I tell you things are yummy that look terrible.  This recipe was great!  I made it right before heading out to see the newest Twilight movie with some girlfriends so I totally smelled like fry-ups for the whole night but it was worth it because these were so good!  Did I just admit to seeing Twilight movies in the theaters?   Don't judge.

2 lbs of chicken tenders
1 1/2 cups of panko bread crumbs (can be found in the Asian aisle of grocery stores)
1 cup of shredded sweetened coconut
1 egg
1/2 can of condensed milk
1/2 cup of orange juice
salt and pepper to taste
Peanut Oil for frying (I used veggie oil)

On a cookie sheet, season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside.  In a medium bowl, mix orange juice, condensed milk, and a beaten egg until your “wet” mixture is well incorporated.  In another bowl, mix coconut and panko crumbs.
Heat peanut oil in a medium pan or skillet on medium-high heat. Fill pan to about 1/2″ of oil. Dip and fully coat each tender in the egg mixture first and then the panko/coconut mix.
Set each coated chicken on a cookie cooling rack.
Fry each tender for 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Serve with Honey Mustard dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Honey Mustard:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice or juice from 1/2 lemon
Horseradish, to taste (I didn't use any)
2 tablespoons orange juice (more or less as needed)

Combine all ingredients except orange juice; stir well. Thin to pouring consistency for dressing or dipping consistency for dips with orange juice. Cover and chill for 2 or 3 hours.

Crockpot Indian Curry Recipe

Jackie passed along this yummy recipe.  The flavors were mild enough for the kids but I needed more dashes of Frank's hot sauce to kick it up a notch!

1 13.5 oz can of coconut milk (don't use the light, it doesn't taste as good. or use the light and then stir in heavy cream at the end.)
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
4-6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken thighs (I used 2 huge chicken breasts)
1 T tomato paste
2 T curry powder (not a typo, it's a lot, but it's good. Curry isn't spicy, just flavorful)
1 t ground coriander
1 t ground cumin
1 inch peeled and grated ginger
few dashes of hot sauce (I used Frank's)
1 yellow onion. chopped
2 or 3 cloves of smashed and chopped garlic
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped

Assemble all of your spices, coconut milk, tobasco sauce, and tomato paste. Combine the sauce ingredients in the bottom of your crockpot. The sauce will be a lovely yellow.

Add the chicken, flipping it over a few times to coat it nicely. Pour in the garbanzo beans.

Wash and chop all of the vegetables, and then add to the Crock-Pot. Don't worry about stirring them in the sauce. Let them sit on top of the chicken and steam away.

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 4-6. Stir carefully to mix flavors. If you stir too rough, the sweet potato will fall apart.

Pumpkin Pull-Apart Bread

This is a must make fall dessert.  Simply amazing.  It has a lot of steps (multiple rising steps) so be sure to do it on a day when you have time to be in the kitchen.  But... the buttery pumpkin gooey-ness is so worth it!

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour

1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Buttered Glaze
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp milk
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract


In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown 2 tablespoons of butter, letting it bubble up and turn a dark golden brown but being careful not to allow it burn (turn black). Once browned, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the milk, return to stove and heat through.**** Pour the milk and butter into the bowl of standing mixer (fitted with a dough hook) and allow to cool so it is no longer hot but also not cool (about 100-110 degrees F). Once it has reached a warm but not hot temperature add the yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar and allow to proof (this can take up to 8 minutes, the top will look foamy and the liquid cloudy). Then add the the pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Stir until combined then add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time and knead for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky. If the dough is too moist, add extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.

While dough is rising, brown another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well. Making sure sugar evenly absorbs the butter. Set aside. Next, grease and flour a 9x5 loaf pan and set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and flip out onto a clean floured surface and knead with hands for 1-2 minutes. Roll dough into a 20x12 inch rectangle.  Evenly sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar mixture and press into dough with palms of the hand. Cut the rectangle into 6 strips. Lay strips on top of each other and cut each strip into 6 even squares (cut in half then each half into thirds). Stack strips vertically into the loaf pan. Cover the pan with a clean towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat an oven to 350 degrees. After rising in the pan bake for 30-40 minutes (ours took almost an hour and required covering with foil half-way through so it wouldn't get too brown) or until top is a very deep golden brown.

To prepare the glaze, heat the butter, milk, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil then immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and powdered sugar.

**** Adding it cold to the butter can result in clumping. I heated the milk separately in the microwave before adding.

Lemon Chicken with Croutons

Angela passed on this recipe because she knows me so well and knew I would love it.  She also knows that I don't do "whole birds".  I'm totally a wimp when it comes meat with bones in it.  So my AMAZING hubby did all the removing of giblets, washing of the chicken, etc.  Ugh.  I'm gagging just writing those words.  But, it was so worth it because it was SO tasty as a finish product.

1 roasting chicken, at least 3 pounds
1 large onion, sliced
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
2 lemons, quartered
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup chicken broth
6 cups bread cubes (1 baguette cut up)
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Preheat oven to 425.

Wash chicken inside and out (remove giblets if they're still inside).  Toss the onion with a little olive oil in a small roasting pan.  Place the chicken on top and sprinkle the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper.  Place lemons inside chicken.  Pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels, brush it with the melter butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

Roast chicken for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh.  Check onions after 45min.-1 hour.  When they are getting crispy and really browned, add chicken broth.  Cover with foil and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan with 2 Tbsp of olive oil or until very hot.  Lower the heat to medium and saute the bread cubes, tossing frequently, until nicely browned, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add more olive oil, as needed, and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp garlic salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Remove croutons from heat.

Slice chicken (or just kinda piece it off the bone) and place it on a serving platter.  Put croutons on top of chicken, then pour juices and onions on top.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

BBQ Cabbage & Sausage Stuffed Sandwiches

Photo credit: The kitchn
Kristi passed along this recipe and it was AWESOME!  Mark was hesitant when he heard there was cabbage in them but after one bite was raving about how great they were.  He said, "I think this is one of the best meals we have made in awhile!"  Try them out- you won't be sorry.

1 pound sausage, either raw or smoked
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small white onion, diced (optional)
1 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 pound provolone cheese, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound bread dough or 8 to 16 premade dough rolls, thawed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Crumble the sausage into a large sauté pan and cook over medium-high heat until browned and completely cooked through. Drain the fat. Add the cabbage, garlic, and onion (if using) and cook over medium heat until wilted and soft. Add BBQ sauce and stir frequently until warm. Add the cheese to the pan and stir continuously so it doesn't stick or burn. When the cheese has just melted, remove pan from heat and set aside. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.
Preheat oven to 450°. Taking a small amount of dough (slightly larger than a clementine and smaller than a baseball) press it flat with your hands and pull gently on the sides — like you were making a mini pizza crust. Place dough in the palm of your hand or on a flat surface and spoon 1/4 cup of the mixture onto the dough. Working quickly pinch together the ends, folding them over gently to ensure they stay closed. Flip the ball over and rub gently on the counter in a small circular motion to regain its shape.
Lay each ball on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper that's been lightly floured. When tray is full, brush the tops with butter, sprinkle with salt and bake for 15 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
Allow to cool completely if freezing or refrigerating (otherwise the bread will get soggy) or enjoy while still warm!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Apple Pumpkin Oven Pancake

Thank you Beth Thompson for this delicious breakfast recipe!  Our pancake took about 40min to cook all the way through.  We served it for company and it was demolished by the four of us.

4 large eggs
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
2/3 cup whole milk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
4 tablespoons packed light brown sugar, divided
3 tablespoons butter, divided
4 large apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3/8-inch slices
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Heat the oven to 425 F. Place a large cast-iron skillet or a 10- or
11-inch round souffle or casserole dish in the oven to heat.

In a blender, combine the eggs, pumpkin, milk, flour, vanilla, salt, 1
teaspoon of the cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar. Blend
for a few seconds to just mix the ingredients. Scrape the sides and
blend again to incorporate. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the
butter. Add the apples and saute until just tender, about 5 to 7
minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and
1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Stir to coat the apples, then remove the
skillet from the heat.

Remove the cast-iron skillet from the oven and add the remaining 1
tablespoon of butter, tilting to coat the bottom.

Spoon the sauteed apples over the bottom of the cast-iron skillet.
Pour the batter over the hot apples, then bake until puffed and golden
brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve

Monday, November 14, 2011

Custom Cookbook Groupon

For the next 6 days, groupon is offering 60% off one or two custom cookbooks from Picaboo.  You can compile an original cookbook with a glossy hardcover.  What a wonderful Christmas gift idea!  For my 30th birthday, my husband had friends submit favorite recipes which he turned into a cookbook for me.  It was one of my favorite gifts ever!  Not only would it be perfect for any friend of family member for Christmas but it's also a very thoughtful gift for newlyweds!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Egg Nog French Toast

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE egg nog! We found this gem of a recipe on the side of the egg nog carton:

Melt 2T of butter in a pan.  Dredge 3 slices of bread in egg nog and then fry in pan on both sides until golden brown.  For the next three slices of bread, add another 2 T of butter.  The BIG kicker for us was using cinnamon chip bread.  AMAZING!

Apple-Cheddar-Squash Soup

Stephanie brought this recipe to Jaime's harvest party and I fell in love!  I wasn't sure Mark would go for it (in a true confession he told me he thought it was going to be gross) but he really enjoyed it!  Try it- it might surprise you too!

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 medium apples, thinly sliced
1 large white potato, diced
1 1/2 cups chopped peeled butternut squash, fresh or frozen
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup apple cider
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup milk
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into bite-size pieces (optional)
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
Chopped chives, for garnish (optional)
Crusty bread, for serving (optional)

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium-low heat and add the onion, apples, potato and squash. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sage and flour. Add the cider and cook over high heat, stirring, until thickened. Add the broth and milk, cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the potato is soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook until crisp, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Add the cheese to the soup and stir over medium-low heat until melted. Puree in a blender in batches until smooth; season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the prosciutto, more cheese and chives, if using. Serve with bread, if desired.

Greek Chicken Pitas

I used this recipe for the chicken and packed the rest of the pita with the veggies I wanted.

1 Lemon, Juiced
4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Cup White Wine
1/4 Cup Chicken Broth
1 tsp Dill
1 tsp Rosemary
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Whole Chicken, Broken into it's Respective Pieces (I used 2 LARGE boneless, skinless breasts)
Bell Peppers
Tzatziki Sauce

Add all the ingredients with the exception of the chicken to the marinade.

Mix up well.

Add in the chicken and coat all the pieces completely.

Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours.

Pack into pitas with veggies of your choice.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

What a fun fall recipe! So soft and chewy! Now what to do with these 3 cookies that are out for the picture...hmmmm...someone's got to eat them!

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup pure unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice

1. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter until fluffy. Add sugars and pumpkin puree and beat well. Mix in egg and vanilla, scraping down sides of the bowl to incorporate all of the ingredients.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon. Beat flour mixture into liquid mixture a little at a time just until incorporated.

3. Cover dough with plastic and chill at least an hour, or until dough becomes slightly firm.

4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (or spray with nonstick spray). Mix rolling sugar ingredients in a small bowl.

5. Remove cookie dough from refrigerator. Use a medium cookie scoop (1 1/2 Tablespoons) or a large spoon to scoop out dough and roll into balls. Use your hands to roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar and make sure they're coated really well. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use a glass with a nice, flat bottom to dip in sugar and flatten the balls.

6. Bake at 350°F. for 10 to 14 minutes, or until they are slightly firm to the touch. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes or so, then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

*Store in an airtight container. These cookies freeze well too. Place them in freezer zip bag and remove from freezer when the craving hits.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Cornbread

Another great recipe from Angela. Am I allowed to give a simple side dish 5 stars? I had to stop myself from eating the whole pan, so I guess so.  Please serve hot out of the oven! I served it with butter beans.

1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
4 oz. frozen chopped broccoli, slightly thawed (I chopped mine even more, making the pieces fairly small)
4 oz. small curd cottage cheese
2 eggs
6 Tbsp. butter, softened so it's just beginning to melt
1/4 tsp. onion salt

Mix everything together well in a large bowl.  Pour into a lightly greased square dish.  Cook at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

Cream Cheese Chicken and Vegetable Soup

This recipe is creamy, hearty and comforting.  I love the idea of adding cream cheese to a soup.  I'll keep that idea in mind for chowders in the future.  I thought it required lots of salt and pepper but that's how I like my soup!  I did 3 potatoes and 2 huge chicken breasts and it was enough soup to split into two and freeze half.

2 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup diced carrots (about 2 regular carrots or a handful of baby carrots)
3 cups chicken broth
2-3 potatoes, peeled and finely diced
1 cup milk (1% is my milk of choice)
4 tablespoons flour
1 (8 oz. package) regular or light cream cheese
2-3 (about 1 pound) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
salt and pepper (to taste)

In a large pot, melt the butter and add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Saute, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes, until the veggies are slightly tender and the onions are translucent. Add the chicken broth and potatoes. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. In a liquid measuring cup, vigorously whisk the flour and milk together until smooth. Whisk the mixture into the soup, stirring quickly, and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until the soup begins to thicken slightly. Stir often to ensure the soup doesn’t burn. Soften the cream cheese in the microwave until it is very soft/melty. I usually place the unwrapped cream cheese on a plate and microwave it for one minute at 30% power. I like it really, really soft so it doesn’t leave lumps in the soup. Add the cream cheese to the soup in small tablespoon-size pieces. Let the pieces sit in the soup and warm through then whisk or stir the soup until the cream cheese melts and mixes in well. Add the cooked chicken and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Chili

Jaime's pumpkin party is always an excuse to find a fun, new recipe.

2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
1 (46 fluid ounce) can tomato juice (I like my chili thick so I only used about half of this amount)
1 (28 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes with juice
1 15 oz. can canned pumpkin puree
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup chili powder
2 t. cumin
2 T. white sugar

In a large pot over medium heat, cook beef until brown; drain. Stir in onion and bell pepper and cook 5 minutes. Stir in beans, tomato juice, diced tomatoes and pumpkin puree. Season with pumpkin pie spice, chili powder and sugar. Simmer 1 hour.

Lebanese Chicken

Photo credit: Let's Eat

Angela and I challenged each other to make one of our own favorite fall meals.  This is the challenge she sent me. Our whole family devoured it but next time I will add more seasoning.  I felt like it needed a little paprika, thyme and cumin.

2 large chicken breasts, rubbed with salt and then cut in bite-sized chunks
4 medium potatoes, cut into 1'" cubes
4-5 roma tomatoes, cut into large chunks
1 med onion, cut in half and thinnly sliced
1/3 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-1 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 375.
Start by putting the potatoes in a 9x13 pyrex dish. Add the tomatoes and then onions on top.
Combine the lemon juice, apple juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Pour juice mixture on top of vegetables.
Bake for 25 minutes, uncovered.
Spread chicken on top of vegetables and spoon the juice over the chicken.
Bake for another 15-40 minutes - until potatoes are tender and chicken is done. (my oven is ghetto and cooks things VERY slowly so it took me another 40min to get the potatoes tender)
We liked it with pita wedges/chips, and hummus!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Shrimp Salad with Lime-Buttermilk Dressing

Loved this recipe! I was chopping it up really fine for the kids and had the idea to put it in a flatbread wrap.  I think I would have liked it better just as a salad.  So refreshing!

3/4 cup buttermilk
1 avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
1 tsp lime zest, plus 1/4 cup lime juice (from 2 limes)
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 hearts romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

In a blender, combine buttermilk, avocado, lime zest and juice, and 2 tablespoons water.  Blend until smooth, 20 seconds.  Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high.  Season shrimp with salt and pepper.  Cook until opaque throughout, about 3 minutes, flipping once.  In a large bowl, toss together romaine, pumpkin seeds, cilantro, shrimp, and 1 cup dressing until combined and serve immediately.

Dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days.

Flatbread Pizza with Feta, Caramelized Onions and Spinach

Simple and tasty! Next time I would try Naan.

Naan or other flat bread
Alfredo sauce (either store bought from a jar or home made, but you only need a tiny bit)
Fresh baby spinach leaves
Cooked chicken, rotisserie chicken, fauxtisserie chicken, pre-cooked frozen strips, baked, etc.
Caramelized onions*
Feta cheese

Layer the above ingredients on flatbread and cook in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  Slice and serve!

*To caramelizing onions, just thinly slice onions and saute them in a skillet on med-low heat with a couple of pats of butter.  After about 15 minutes when they’re nice and soft add a sprinkle of sugar (either brown or white) if you want to enhance the sweetness.  Continue cooking until they’re caramel colored.  It can take 20-30 minutes depending on the heat of your pan and the thickness of the onion.  You could make them ahead of time and just store them in the fridge.

Ode to the Red Plates

We've had our signature red plates since we've been married but unfortunately, it is time to part with them.  Apparently us, our kids or our dishwasher were too rough on them.  We could not stop chipping them!  So sad! So my gracious mother-in-law took the few plates that weren't chipped (she has the set as well) and gave me an entire set of bone china.  She says that they are really hard to chip.  We'll see how they fare in the Heaviland household.  R.I.P. Red Plates!

Plum Apple Muffins

My friend Carol gave me some delicious spiced plum butter and this recipe which was amazing.  If you don't have a fabulous friend who will make you plum butter, than you can make some using this recipe :)

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups natural bran
 2/3 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp each: baking powder, baking soda and ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup spiced plum butter
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup molasses
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped

1. Stir together flour, bran, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a bowl
2.  Stir the rest of the ingredients together in another bowl
3.  Stir liquid into dry ingredients just until moistened; do not over mix.
4.  Pour batter into a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 6 days, until ready to use.  To bake muffins:  spoon batter into lightly greased non-stick or paper-lined medium muffin tins.  Bake at 375 for 18 min. or until muffins are lightly browned and firm to touch, cool!

Peanut Butter Nutella Brownies

I better back off on  recipes like this before my gestational diabetes test later this month...

½ cups All-purpose Flour
½ cups Cocoa Powder
¼ teaspoons Baking Powder
1 pinch Salt
1 cup Sugar
1 stick Butter, Melted
2 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
¼ cups Peanut Butter
¼ cups Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.
Measure flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a small bowl and whisk to combine.
Stir the sugar into the melted butter. Beat in the eggs one at a time until each is combined. Then stir in the vanilla. Then add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Put the Nutella and Peanut Butter in a small bowl and microwave until runny (about 30 seconds). Fold into the brownie mix.
Pour batter into pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until top forms a crust. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes, then cut the size to your liking.

Turtle Brownies

Another brownie recipe anyone?

1 box (1 lb 2.4 oz) Betty Crocker® Original Supreme Premium brownie mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box
36 caramels, unwrapped (from 14 oz bag)
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chunks (from 11.5 oz bag)
2/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Spray bottom and sides 9-inch square pan with baking spray with flour. Make brownie batter as directed on box. Spread 1/2 of batter in pan. Bake 18 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in large microwavable bowl, microwave caramels and whipping cream uncovered on High 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until smooth.

3. Pour caramel over partially baked brownie; spread to within 1/4 inch of edges. Sprinkle with 2/3 cup of the chocolate chunks and 1/3 cup of the pecans. Drop remaining brownie batter by small spoonfuls onto caramel layer. Sprinkle with remaining 2/3 cup chocolate chunks and 1/3 cup pecans.

4. Bake 34 to 37 minutes longer or until center is almost set. Cool 1 hour at room temperature. Cover; refrigerate 1 hour before serving. For brownies, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered at room temperature.

Chocolate Cake

Back in the days, Costco used to sell an amazing chocolate bundt cake with white icing.  It was at the top of my store-bought dessert list.  For my birthday this year, Mark tried to recreate it (thought up the idea by himself) and came up with a cake even BETTER than Costco's version.  Woah, momma...this is good.  So here are the cake and frosting recipes.  Hot out of the oven is obviously amazing but otherwise, refrigerate it and eat it cold!

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate If desired, dust the cake with powdered sugar.

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water, combine chocolate chips, butter, and corn syrup. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, then add vanilla.
Spread warm glaze over top of cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.

Little Dipper CrockPot Chocolate Fondue

I wanted to plan a fondue home date for Mark and I put I couldn't find our fondue pot for the life of me.  Of course, the one time in 7 years I want to use it!  So, I borrowed my friend's little dipper and made this recipe.  It was sooooooooo yummy!

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet, dark, milk, or white. Your choice.)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

If you do not have a Little Dipper (psst. the holidays are coming...) you can put an oven-safe dish inside of a larger crockpot. Do not add water. There's no need to create a water bath for melting chocolate in the crockpot. It melts nice and slow. Or! you can quintuple the recipe and have a good ol' time.

Put chocolate chips in the crockpot. Add the heavy cream and teaspoon of vanilla. Cover. Plug in and cook on low (or the ON setting for the LD) for about an hour. Stir.

Serve with apple chunks, banana slices, cubes of pound cake, mini chocolate chip cookies, strawberries, or marshmallows.

Sweet Potato Foil Packet Tacos

Photo credit: Tasty Kitchen

Carol first brought this recipe for community group one night and I fell in love! So, I quadrupled the recipe and made it for my dinner swap!

½ pounds Ground Beef Or Turkey
2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning
½ cups Tomato Sauce
1 can (15 Oz. Can) Black, Kidney, Or Pinto Beans, Drained
6 cups Sweet Potatoes, Peeled And Cut Into 1/2-inch Cubes
2 Tablespoons Butter
½ teaspoons Salt
1-½ cup Chopped Fresh Spinach
1-½ cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream, Salsa, And/or Guacamole For Garnish

Preheat oven to 425ºF.
Brown ground meat in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in taco seasoning, tomato sauce, and beans. Set aside.
To assemble packets, spray the foil with non-stick spray. Place 1 cup sweet potato cubes in the center of each piece. Top with a small piece of butter (about 1 teaspoon) and a pinch or two of salt. Sprinkle some chopped spinach over the sweet potatoes, followed by about 1/3 cup of taco meat and a sprinkle of cheese. Fold the sides in, then bring the top and bottom ends of the foil together in the center and fold, sealing the packet.
Repeat with remaining ingredients, placing the packets on a rimmed cookie sheet. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender.
Serve with sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole.
Makes 6 servings.

Southwestern Cobb Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

My sister made this recipe for my birthday and it was AMAZING!

Chicken Marinade:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2-3 limes)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Black Bean Salsa:
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 sweet onion (I used vidalia), diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil

Yellow Pepper Salsa:
1 yellow pepper, seeded, and diced
1 tomato, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 can large olives, coarsely chopped
1/2 sweet onion (I used vidalia), diced

Avocado Salsa:
2 ripe avocados, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4-5 large eggs
6-8 slices thick-cut bacon (I used turkey bacon – it was delicious)
1 medium head romaine lettuce, washed, dried and torn into 1-inch pieces

For the chicken marinade, in a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup lime juice, olive oil, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and red pepper flakes. Place the chicken breasts in a ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the chicken. Close the bag and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight.

Heat a grill to medium-high heat (an indoor grill pan or skillet could be used also). Grill the chicken until it is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes per side. Cool the chicken completely then cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Cover and remove from the heat. Let the eggs sit for 13 minutes then rinse them under cold water until they are completely cooled. Peel and coarsely chop the eggs. Set aside.

Cook the bacon over medium heat until it is crisp. Drain on paper towels. When cool, crumble and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the yellow pepper, tomatoe, olives, and 1/2 of the sweet onion. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In another bowl, combine the black beans, 1/4 cup cilantro and onion. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In another bowl (don’t worry, we are almost done with the excess of bowls), combine the avocado, 1/4 cup cilantro, juice of 2 limes, cayenne pepper and 1/2 teaspoon cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

On a large platter (or large bowl), arrange the romaine lettuce. Arrange the chicken in a strip down the middle of the romaine. On either side, make piled strips of the eggs, bacon, yellow pepper mixture, black bean mixture and avocado mixture. Drizzle with dressing or serve it on the side. The easiest way to serve this on a platter is with a pair of tongs. If using a large bowl, gently toss to combine all the ingredients before serving.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Spinach Salad with Soy Ginger Dressing

Sometimes I eat salads because they are healthy.  Sometimes I eat them because they are delicious.  This is a delicious one.  Thank you Becky for passing along this great recipe!

Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 tsp dark sesame oil
2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp fresh ginger, finely minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
Juice of 1 orange
1 tsp honey

Combine all ingredients then whisk until well combined.

Baby spinach leaves
Mandarin oranges
Dried cranberries
Toasted almonds
Wonton strips, fried

Toast almonds in a dry pan for a few minutes until golden brown. Toss the spinach leaves with dressing to taste. Top the spinach with oranges, cranberries, almonds and wonton strips.

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

I doubled this recipe for community group and it was a huge hit! Most people went back for seconds.  Definitely a keeper.

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed or shredded
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4-ounce can diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 (10-oz) cans green chili enchilada sauce (I used mild)
2/3 cup red enchilada sauce (I used mild)
1 can large black olives, cut in half
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
16-20 oz. penne pasta (Depending on how “saucy” you want the pasta)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta until tender. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet and add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook for another 2 minutes, until pepper is barely tender. Add the cooked chicken, green chilies, spices, enchilada sauces and olives. Let the sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Add the sour cream and cheese and heat through, until the cheese is melted (but don’t boil!). Pour the sauce over the hot pasta. Garnish with extra sour cream, cheese, diced tomatoes, green onions or crushed tortilla chips.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Free Kindle Download of Cookbook

Click here for a free kindle download for the Everything Soup, Stew and Chili Cookbook.

And while I'm on the soup, stew and chili are 3 recipes to add to your fall dinner plans:

Caldo de Queso

Spinach, Beef and Barley Stew

BBQ Chili

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sloppy Joes

Yummy comfort food- just in time for fall!

1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
3/4 cup ketchup
3 teaspoons brown sugar
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, and green pepper; drain off liquids.
Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar; mix thoroughly. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Tenders

You will be so surprised at how much flavor this 4 ingredient recipe has!  Try it this week!

8 fresh sage leaves
8 chicken tenders (about 1 1/4 pounds)
8 slices bacon
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Place a sage leaf on each chicken tender, then wrap each with a bacon slice. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add tenders, sage side down, and cook until fat is rendered and bacon is browned, about 6 minutes. Flip and cook until tenders are cooked through, 6 minutes. With tongs, transfer to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet to drain.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mustard Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

We gobbled up this recipe so fast, I didn't have time to take a photo!  The combination of flavors was fantastic!  Using the meat thermometer was the key to keeping it moist and not over cooking it.

1/4 cup Italian seasoned panko crumbs
2 tbsp fresh parsley
1 ½ tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp fresh thyme, leaves only
1 1lb pork tenderloin, trimmed
Sea salt and freshly cracked, pepper, to taste
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 clove of garlic, minced
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with tin foil and spray it with cooking spray.

Pour the panko crumbs, parsley, cheese, and thyme onto a plate, mix until well combined. Remove the silver skin from the pork tenderloin. Pat dry then season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Mix the mustard, fennel seeds, and garlic together then rub evenly all over the pork tenderloin. Roll the pork tenderloin in the panko mixture until coated really well. Place the pork tenderloin on the baking sheet.

Place into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. Let the meat rest for 7-10 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mustard Greens with Chipotle and Bacon

Kids and Mark did not like this recipe but I thought it was a tasty side.

2 3/4 pounds curly mustard greens (2 to 3 bunches), stems and coarse ribs discarded
4 bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1/2 teaspoon salt

Coarsely chop greens, then cook in 2 batches in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water , uncovered, stirring occasionally, until wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of cold water to stop cooking. Drain greens in a colander, pressing gently to release excess moisture.

Cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, reserving fat in skillet. Add oil, chipotle, greens, and salt to fat and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with bacon.

Hush Puppies

A perfect side to chowder!

2 eggs, beaten
2 T white sugar
1/2 c onion, diced
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/3-1/2 c sauteed and chopped roasted green chilies
1-2 T milk (if needed for moistness)
1 quart oil for frying

In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, sugar, and onion. Blend in flour and cornmeal. Fold in chilies.
Heat 2 inches of oil to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C). Drop batter by rounded teaspoonfuls in hot oil, and fry until golden brown. Cook in small batches to maintain oil temperature. Drain briefly on paper towels. Serve hot.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Zucchini recipe? Check!  Dessert recipe?  Check! This one was made for a pregnant lady who has a neighbor who graciously delivers zucchini almost every day.

2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
3 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (coat in some flour first)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate until melted. Stir occasionally until chocolate is smooth.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil, grated zucchini, vanilla and chocolate; beat well. Stir in the flour baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.
Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean.

Crab Cake Mac N Cheese

My dad is in town visiting and bought a TON of fresh crab meat from pike place market.  After making crab/roasted green chili omelets and crab potato chowder, there was still enough crab meat left for this recipe.  Yum!

1 pound cavatappi or elbow pasta (I used penne)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons butter
3 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 small red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
About 2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme leaves, several sprigs (I used 1/2T dried)
About 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (I used 1T lemon juice)
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound fresh lump crabmeat, picked for shells and flaked
1 tablespoon Old Bay seafood seasoning (I used cajun seasoning)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste (I left this out)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I left this out)
1/3 pound, about 1 rounded cup grated sharp white Cheddar
1/3 pound, about 1 rounded cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese (I used monterey jack)
3 tablespoons hot sauce (recommended: Frank's Red Hot)
1 cup panko bread crumbs
A generous handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, a couple of handfuls

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat, then salt the water. Add the pasta and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, (it will be undercooked). Cool, drain well and add it to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium to medium-high heat. Add the celery, onion, red pepper, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, lemon zest, salt and pepper, to taste. Cook to tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the crabmeat to the vegetables and season liberally with seafood seasoning. Stir to combine, then remove from heat.

In a medium sauce pot, over low heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter and whisk in the flour. Cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk and bring to a bubble. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg, to taste, and cook for a few minutes, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Add the mustard and the cheese and stir in a figure 8 motion. Add the vegetables and crab, sauce to the bowl with the pasta and transfer the mixture to individual baking crocks or a large casserole dish. This can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

To complete the dish, melt a couple of tablespoons butter in a small skillet, over low heat and add 3 tablespoons hot sauce. Warm through, then add the panko crumbs and toss to evenly coat the crumbs in sauce mixture. Cool the crumbs, then toss in the parsley and 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano -Reggiano cheese. Top the mac n cheese with the spicy crumb mixture. Arrange individual crocks on a baking sheet or put the casserole on baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake until brown and heated through, about 10 minutes. If cooking from cold, the mac n cheese will take 40 to 45 minutes, but add the crumbs the last 10 minutes of baking.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

Yes, this is my 5th dessert recipe in a row.  Yes, I am pregnant.

3 egg yolks (beaten)
1/2 pint milk
1/2 pint double/heavy cream
1/2 csugar
2 cups of strawberries
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Take the strawberries and mash them in with half the sugar (ie. 2oz or 50g) in a bowl. Place in the refrigerator whilst making the rest of the recipe.

In a separate saucepan, mix the egg yolks with the milk, salt and the remaining sugar. Place over a medium heat just to boiling point (stirring all the time). DO NOT LET IT BOIL.

Transfer the mixture into a chilled bowl to cool. When cool place in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours, remembering to stir the mixture from time to time. When cool, stir into the mixture the cream and vanilla essence and then blend in the strawberry/sugar mixture.

Transfer the complete mixture into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Banana Sour Cream Bread

After reading Gladys Goes Out to Lunch, James had his heart set on making banana bread.  We had extra sour cream in the fridge, so we decided to try out this new recipe.  It was SO moist!!

2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 cups white sugar
1-1/2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup and 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (150 degrees C). Grease two large loaf pans. In a small bowl, stir together 2T white sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Dust pans lightly with cinnamon and sugar mixture. (Save some to dust the top of the bread as well)
In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Mix in eggs, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix in salt, baking soda and flour. Stir in nuts. Divide into prepared pans.
Bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

For Emilie's birthday I tried to re-create one of her favorite desserts- Trophy's Strawberry cream cheese cupcakes.  Although, they will never be quite good as trophy's, I think these were delightful!

1 box (3 packages of 9 crackers each) graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 sticks of butter (12 Tbs), room temperature
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup + 2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (I used sour cream)
4 large egg whites
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled & coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F and line 16-18 muffin tins with cupcake liners.  Mix one box of graham cracker crumbs with butter using a food processor.  The mixture should hold together when pressed with fingers, add more butter if needed.  Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the crushed graham cracker into the bottom of each prepared muffin tin.  Press down using fingers and bake for 3-5 minutes or until slightly browned.  Remove immediately from oven and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl beat the egg whites until stiff, glossy peaks appear, about 3-4 minutes, be careful not to overbeat.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder & salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter & sugar until light & fluffy and then add the vanilla & beat on a low-speed.  Then add half the flour mixture until incorporated then mix in the sour cream or yogurt.  Add remaining flour & mix until just blended.

Gently fold 1/3 of the egg into the batter until combined, do not over mix the egg whites or the cake will fall flat. Add remaining egg and fold in the chopped strawberries.  Fill each muffin tin about 3/4 of the way and bake for about 20 minutes depending on your oven.   You can test the doneness by sticking a toothpick through the center, if it comes out clean it is ready to take out!

1/4 C butter (room temperature)
1 8 oz package cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 C strawberries, mashed up in a food processor
3 to 4 C powdered sugar
Cream butter and cream cheese.
Mix in the strawberries.
Add the powdered sugar to the taste and consistency you prefer.
Add to your favorite cupcakes!


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