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.


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