Thursday, March 29, 2007

Strawberry Cream Cake

So last night was the annual "Dinner and Silent Auction" Fundraiser for the YM/YW in my ward. I signed up to bring a dessert....this is the first time I have made this cake as a layer cake, but I think it looks pretty good this way when you're going for presentation.

1 yellow cake mix
1 8oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
1 pint heavy whipping cream + 2T sugar
1 pkg. Danish dessert (or the pre-made gel filling for a strawberry pie)
1 lb. strawberries (if making a layer cake, save some large whole ones for decorating)

Make cake according to package directions. Bake as 2 9" rounds or 1 9x13". Dump out onto serving tray and cool completely. (An over-turned jelly roll pan works great for this if you are making the 9x13" version.) A couple of hours before serving, whip cream with sugar to form stiff peaks. Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth and incorporated. (This will be very stiff at first) Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Slice strawberries and mix with the Danish dessert (made according to package instructions) or the strawberry pie filling.

For the 9x13" cake: Frost with all the cream cheese/whipped cream mixture. Top with the strawberries and sauce. Refrigerate until it is time to eat.

For the 9" round cake: Pipe about a two inch wide and one inch high layer of the cream cheese/whipped cream mixture on the top edge of the bottom layer. Fill in the center with your strawberry mixture. Place second layer on top of bottom layer. Frost entire cake with remaining cream cheese/whipped cream mixture. You can either top with the strawberry/glaze mixture or top with several large whole strawberries to achieve the look in the photos. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

This cake does not save well. If you are not going to use all of it in one sitting, you can create individual servings (this works best with a 9x13"). Do not frost the entire cake. Simply cut the cake into individual pieces, top with the cream cheese/whipped cream mixture and some of the strawberries and sauce. For some reason, when they are not all assembled, the individual components of this cake save better.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Caramel Crunch Apple Pie

I found this recipe online a few months ago. I was a little bit skeptical of the topping at first, but it turned out really, really well.

(PS - This is the last one for today. I have actual work to do, honest.)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 cups peeled, sliced baking apples (I've had good luck with Fuji apples in this recipe)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell (save yourself some trouble and buy one of the Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts; they're rolled in a red box and they work!)

28 caramels
1 can (5 oz) evaporated milk

Combine flour, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Spread into an ungreased baking dish (I think glass works best.) Bake at 400 F for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Crumble and set aside.

Sprinkle apple with lemon juice. Combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon, and toss with apples. Place apples in pie shell. Cut a circle of foil to cover apples but not the edge of the pastry; place over pie. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 F; bake for 35 minutes more or until apples are tender.

Meanwhile, melt caramels with evaporated milk in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove foil from pie. Pour caramel mixture over spples. Sprinkle with topping; return to oven for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Herbed Salmon Steaks

Personally, I don't like fish, but the spouse loves this one. Far be it for me to deny him or anyone else.

1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 salmon steaks, each 3/4 in thick
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Lemon wedges
Parsley sprigs or chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400F. Heat butter and lemon juice in 8"x8"x2" pan in oven until butter is melted. (If using a metal pan, line with foil first.) Place salmon steaks in pan; turn to coat both sides with butter. Sprinkle with onion salt, thyme, and pepper. Bake uncovered for 25-35 minutes until salmon flakes easily with a fork. Sprinkle with paprika; garnish with lemon & parsley.

Buttery Crescent Rolls

Love these!

1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110F to 115F)
1/2 cup warm milk (110F to 115F)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 - 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
additional butter, melted

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, butter, sugar, egg, salt, and 2 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in enough remaining floure to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth & elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down; turn out onto floured surface. Divide dough in half, cover, and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Roll each portion of dough into a 12-inch circle; cut each circle into 12 wedges. Roll up wedges from the wide end and place pointed end down, 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Curve ends to form crescents. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375F for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Brush with melted butter and remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Frozen Chocolate Creme Pie

Easy, easy, easy, and it turns out great every single time!

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
5 tablespoons milk
1 package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
3 cups whipped topping (Cool Whip)
2 tablespoons sugar

For crust, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter or margarine. Press into 9-inch pie plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

For filling, melt chocolate chips with 2 tablespoons milk; stir until smooth and blended. Beat cream cheese and sugar until incorporated. Stir in melted chocolate and remaining 3 tablespoons milk. Beat until smooth. Gently fold in whipped topping. Spread filling into pie crust and freeze for at least 4 hours. If desired, garnish with more whipped toppin and chocolate chips.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten

In a food processor or large bowl, combine whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to flour mixture. Process or cut into mixture until it has a sand-like consistency. Combine eggs and buttermilk; pur into dry mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Cook on a skillet or griddle.

Cheesy Beans and Rice

1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 can (16 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 large onion, chopped
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes & green chilies, undrained
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Cook rice according to package directions. Remove from heat; stir in beans. In a nonstick skillet, saute onion in oil for 4-5 minutes or until tender. Stir in tomatoes, chili powder, and salt. Layer 1/2 rice mixture, 1/2 cup cheese, and 1/2 tomato mixture in a 2-qt baking dish coated with nonstick spray. Repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and bake 5-10 minutes more until cheese is melted.

Chocolate Cheesecake

I've been on a cheesecake kick lately, and this one is good. Chocolately but not too rich. You could just use a chocolate graham cracker crust instead of the recipe below, but I find that using baking cocoa gives it a nice flavor. If you'd like, you can top each slice with a small amount of slivered almonds.

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
6 tablespoons butter, melted

3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon honey

For crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cocoa; stir in butter. Press into the bottom and 1-inch up the side of a greased 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

Beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in melted chocolate, almond extract, and vanilla extract just until blended. Pour into crust. Bake at 350 F for 45-50 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen; allow to cool for 1 hour longer. Then refrigerate until completely cooled.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate chips with whipping cream and honey; stir constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Remove sides of springform pan and pour topping over cheesecake. Chill for at least 4 hours until topping is set. Refrigerate leftovers.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Pasta Melissa

After much waiting and anticipation, the recipe that is long overdue, here it finally is:

1 lb bow tie pasta
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stick butter
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 pint half-and-half
6 oz. Parmesan cheese
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
handful pine nuts
salt & pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking. cook chicken in 1 T olive oil. Remove. Cook mushrooms in other 1 T olive oil with the garlic. When pasta is cooked, drain and return to pot. Put on stove over low heat. Add butter, when melted add chicken and mushroom/garlic mixture. Add half-and-half to get the consistency of a creamy Alfredo sauce (you will need most of the half-and-half). Stir in the tomatoes, pine nuts and cheese; heat through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

*This is similar to Pasta Milano at Macaroni Grill, hence the name.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

January's Enchiladas

1 doz. tortillas-corn or small flour tortillas
1 lb. hamburger, browned and drained
1/2 diced onion cooked with hamburger (optional)
2 cups Pace or other favorite salsa
1 cup (small can) tomato sauce
lots of grated cheese

In a small saucepan, stir and warm the salsa and tomato sauce.
The best way is to fry the tortillas in oil for a few seconds on each side, remove and dip in the salsa or spoon salsa on the tortilla on a plate and fill with 2 T. meat, lots of cheese, roll up and place seam-side down in a 9" x 13" pan spayed with Pam and the bottom covered with a thin layer of salsa mixture. When they are all in the pan, spoon the rest of the salsa over the tops (if not enough salsa, make some more it may really take 3 cups and a 15 oz. can of tomato sauce because I never only made 12 and never measured!). I like each enchilada covered in sauce and then sprinkle more cheese over the salsa. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted, about 15-20 minutes. Check them so they don't dry out, but if they do, spoon a little more warmed up salsa over the top. Leave out the meat and you have great cheese enchiladas. Serve with diced tomatoes and thin-sliced lettuce and diced avacados or guacamole and sour cream if you like.

Or, warm the tortillas in the oven and fill each one with the meat and cheese and so forth. It saves a few calories but they don't hold together as well. They still taste fine, though.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Stuffed Mushrooms

I'm just going to say I was a little doubtful about this one, but it's actually really easy and incredibly tasty! In fact, someone once proposed to me because they are so good!

24 medium mushrooms, about 1 pound
6 tablespoons reduced-fat stick margarine
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (3-ounce) package low-fat cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, or 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 cup packaged herb-seasoned stuffing croutons
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove stems from mushrooms. Chop enough stems to make 1 cup. Melt 2 tablespoons margarine in saucepan. Brush mushroom cap tops with margarine, place top side down in shallow baking pan and brush undersides of caps. Heat remaining margarine in same saucepan. Add chopped mushroom stems, onion and garlic and cook until tender. Stir in cream cheese, combining with fork if necessary. Add Parmesan cheese, parsley and herb seasoned stuffing. Mix thoroughly. Spoon about 1 tablespoon stuffing mixture into each mushroom cap. Bake until heated through.
Tip: To make ahead, prepare as directed but do not bake. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Bake as directed.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

3 8-oz pkg cream cheese
¾ c. sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2/3 c. canned pumpkin puree
¼ c. brown sugar
1 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
Beat cream cheese and sugar 3 min. until creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time, and 2 tsp. vanilla until smooth. Pour 1 ½ c. batter into bowl. Into remaining amt, blend pumpkin puree, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Pour half of plain batter into crust; spoon half the pumpkin batter in puddles over the plain batter. Repeat layers. Swirl batters with knife for marble effect. Place pan in large roasting pan; fill halfway with boiling water. Bake at 325 for 65 min. until cake has puffed slightly and center is still jiggly. Refrigerate on a rack uncovered about 4 hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
*This is NOT an easy recipe and it kinda takes some planning, but it's really good for Thanksgiving!

Beef Stew

2 lbs stew meat, cut into cubes
¼ c. flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 ½ c. beef broth
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. paprika
4 carrots, sliced
3 potatoes, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced
Put meat in stoneware or pan. Mix flour, salt, and pepper and pour over meat; stir to coat meat w/ flour. Add remaining ingredients and stir to mix well. Cover and cook on low 10-12 hours or high 4-6 hours. Stir stew thoroughly before serving.
*If you just cook this on the stovetop in a big pan, it usually takes about 2-3 hours.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

½ c. butter
Garlic salt
1 c. saltine crackers (crushed)
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. parsley
½ tsp. pepper
Chicken breasts (6-10)
Sliced ham (deli thin sliced works best)
Swiss cheeseIn one bowl, melt the butter and mix in the garlic salt. In another bowl mix the crushed crackers, parmesan cheese, parsley and pepper together. Use a meat tenderizer to flatten the chicken breasts. Take a chicken breast and coat it with the butter mixture. Then dip it into the cracker mixture. Make sure it is evenly covered. Lay it on a piece of wax paper. Place one slice of ham and one slice of Swiss cheese on the chicken. Roll the chicken up (like a jelly roll) and put into a pan. Repeat this for all the chicken breasts. Cover with foil and cook in oven at 375° for about an hour (check it after 45 min.).

Friday, March 16, 2007

Indoor S'mores

Matt's friend from high school made this for a BBQ at Kristin's house last May when we were in Idaho. I just found the recipe in my planner and thought I'd share the wealth:

5 T. butter
1 pkg milk chocolate chips
2/3 cup Karo
6 cups mini marshmallows
1 tsp vanilla
8 cups Golden Grahams

Melt the butter, chocolate chips and Karo in a saucepan; add 3 cups of the marshmallows. Bring almost to a boil. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and pour over Golden Grahams. Stir in the rest of the marshmallows. Pour into greased 9x13 pan and allow to cool.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Pineapple Angel Cake

We had this tonight for the first time and it was awesome. Nice and light and fruity! I meant to take a picture of this before we ate it so I could post it, but I completely forgot. Hopefully the recipe is enticing enough without a picture!

1 10 oz round angel food cake
1 pkg vanilla instant pudding & pie filling (4-serving size)
1 20 oz can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1 cup thawed Cool Whip
10 fresh strawberries

Mix dry pudding mix and pineapple (& juice) in bowl. Mix in Cool Whip and let stand 5 minutes until thickened. Cut angel food cake into 3 horizontal layers. Top bottom layer with a little over 1 cup of the pineapple mixture. Repeat with other two layers. Refrigerate for at least one hour. When ready to serve, arrange the fresh strawberries on the top layer of the cake.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pineapple Salsa

Perfect for those summer BBQ's that are right around the corner!!

1 cup freshly chopped pineapple
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup pineapple preserves
1 Tbsp chopped jalapeno
1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp black pepper

Chill and serve with tortilla chips or it's also great with grilled shrimp.

Carrot Cookies

Hey, don't skip past this recipe because it combines carrots and cookies!!! These are really scrumptious and the orange icing makes them irresistible!

1 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup mashed cooked carrots
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
2 tsp baking pwd
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour

Cream shortening and sugar. Add carrots, egg, lemon juice and vanilla. Sift (I never really sift, but if you want to you can . . .) flour with baking pwd and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 until light brown (very light brown).

Juice of one orange
Grated rind from orange
Enough powdered sugar to make spreading consistency

Spread on HOT cookies. These freeze well . . . Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

K3 Burritos

This is so easy it's barely even a recipe. When I lived in Kensington #3 (hence K3) my friend Cameron came over one Sunday with a bag full of groceries and proceeded to make me dinner. For how easy it is, it is delish!

1 box Zataran's Spanish Rice & 1 can diced tomatoes prepared according to box
1 can refried beans, warmed in microwave or heated on stove
diced tomatoes
ranch dressing
whole wheat tortillas (these taste the best!)

Basically, make the rice and beans and then put as much or as little of everything you want wrapped in a tortilla. I also like to put corn and avocado in them. The ranch dressing and Spanish rice are so good together. If you're in Provo, the Reduced Fat Ranch from the BYU Creamery is the best. And, of course, warming the tortilla makes it even better.

3 Bean Dip

This is the perfect March Madness (or Super Bowl) snack. I could eat the whole bowl myself! This recipe comes from either Mel or Michelle (I can't remember who) and it's one of my favorites.

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
½ green pepper, diced small
½ red onion, diced small
1 tomato, diced small
½ to ¾ cup Catalina dressing
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Serve with Fritos scoops.

Garlic Pull Aparts

Yet another Michelle recipe. This one goes great with any pasta or Italian dish. I notoriously have problems getting the dough to roll out to the right size, but this is generally really easy and tasty.

1 pkg yeast
1 ½ cup warm water
2 T sugar
½ tsp salt
3 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Mix rest of ingredients and knead. Rise 10 minutes. Melt ½ cup margarine and pour in 9x13 pan. Roll dough to fit pan. Flip flop dough in margarine. Score dough. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Rise 10 minutes. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

Lattice-top Chicken

This is another recipe of Michelle's. (If she's not going to join and post her recipes, the rest of us will just do it for her!) She has great recipes and the leftovers are always perfect to take for lunch the next day.

2 cans potato soup
1 cup milk
½ tsp salt
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup Durkee’s onions
1 pkg crescent rolls

Mix soup, milk, salt, chicken, ½ cup cheese, and ½ cup onion rings. Pour into greased 9x13 pan. Cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes until bubbling. Press out crescent rolls and pinch where perforated. Slice rolls and place in lattice-top design. Bake 15 more minutes, uncovered. Sprinkle on remaining cheese and onions. Bake another 5 minutes.

Neiman-Marcus cookies

NEIMAN-MARCUS COOKIES (Recipe may be halved)
2 cups butter
24 oz. chocolate chips
4 cups flour
2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
1 8 oz. Hershey Bar (grated
)5 cups blended oatmeal
4 eggs2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)

Measure oatmeal, and blend in a blender to a fine powder. Cream thebutter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mix together with flour,oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, HersheyBar, and nuts. R oll into balls, and place two inches apart on a cookiesheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Better than Canadian Sex

Credit for this dessert must go to Stef. When we lived together, it seemed like we had different versions of recipes with the same name. To make it easier, we started calling anything of Stef's 'Canadian'. This is one of my favorites:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 stick melted butter
Press in bottom of 9x13 pan; bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Let cool

8 oz cream cheese
1 cup Cool Whip
1 cup powdered sugar
Spread over cooled crust.

2 small packages chocolate pudding
3 cups milk
Spread over cream cheese mixture

Top with Cool Whip. I like to refrigerate the dessert for at least an hour before serving to let it set.

Mozzarella Chicken

This recipe is courtesy of my friend, Erin. It's a great recipe, and I like to tell myself it's relatively healthy.

1 c. ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 chicken breasts
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 T extra virigin olive oil
1 c. crushed tomatoes
4 slices mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta with oregano, salt & pepper. Set aside. Heat oil in large skillet. Rub chicken with garlic powder. Cook chicken for 12 minutes per side. Place breasts in baking dish. Cool. Spoon 1/4 cup of the ricotta mixture and 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes on each breast. Top each with 1 slice mozzarella. Bake 20 minutes.

Brownie Bites

This is a Kotter family specialty. They're really easy to make, but so tasty!

Make one Betty Crockery Brownie Mix according to the directions on the box. Pour in mini muffin tins and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. When they are done baking, take them out of the oven and press the top in with your thumb to make room for the filling. Let cool.

2 cubes Bakers white chocolate
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup Cool Whip
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Melt the Bakers chocolate and add all other ingredients, mixing well. Scoop into an icing bag and dispense into each mini muffin. Enjoy!


1 box rotini noodles, cooked
1 lb sausage, cooked
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 pkg pepperoni, quartered
4 oz sliced mushrooms
24 oz mozzarella
2 15oz cans Mexican stewed tomatoes

Cook macaroni. Cook together the sausage, beef, onions, and pepper. Mix with remaining ingredients except 12 oz of cheese. Spread remaining cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Another one from Michelle, she has the best recipes! Kids love this one too.

Chicken Corn Chowder

¼ cup butter
2 med onions
5 potatoes,peeled and diced
2 stalks celery sliced
4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups water
1 chicken bullion cube
5 cups milk
2 12 oz. cans corn
1/2 tsp thyme
1 pound creamed corn
1 cup light cream (evaporated milk)
1/2 tsp paprika
3 cups cooked chicken

Sauté onions in butter until transparent. Add potatoes, celery, salt, pepper, water and bullion. Cook covered 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add milk and rest of ingredients. Heat through.

Compliments of Michelle! Mel used to make this tons, and the leftovers are just as good as the day of stuff.

Tortilla Soup

4 chicken breasts, without skin or bones is easiest but works either way

2-3 bay leaves

6 chicken bouillon cubes

8-10 carrots, peeled and diced large

10-12 stalks of celery, cleaned and sliced ½

1 or 2 large Spanish or white onions, diced large

1 bunch of cilantro, leaves only is best, chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed

1 T cumin

salt, pepper, garlic salt to taste

Boil the chicken in 6 quarts of water with salt, pepper, 2 or 3 bay leaves, until cooked through about 20 minutes. Remove and cool chicken and dice or shred. In the same pan, bring the water back to boil and add bouillon cubes and carrots and cook 5-8 minutes then add celery and onions and cook for 15-20 minutes. Add seasonings and ½ the cilantro and cook for 5 minutes more. Check for flavor, add chicken and rest of the cilantro and serve.

Garnish with:

fried tortilla strips, sliced green onions, grated cheese, diced avocado, diced tomatoes

This is compliments of January! A family fave.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Tomatillo Burritos

3-5 lb. pork loin/roast
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. salsa
1 c. Dr. Pepper (optional – makes it a little sweeter)
Cook in crockpot on low for 7+ hours.
Shred when done.

1 c. rice
1 t. butter
2 cloves of garlic
1 t. grated lime zest
1 can chicken broth
¾ c. water
Cook 15-20 minutes or in a rice cooker.
MIX and pour over rice when done.
2 T. lime juice
2 t. sugar
3 T. fresh cilantro

2 cloves garlic
1 t. cumin
2 T. olive oil
1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1/3 c. tomato juice
½ t. salt
Simmer over the stove until heated through.
2 T. fresh cilantro (add just before serving)

1 c. sour cream
½ fiesta ranch packet
1 ranch packet
6 tomatillos husked and halved
1 clove garlic
2 limes juiced
¼ c. cilantro
In a blender mix.

Serve on tortillas with pork, rice, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and drizzle tomatillo sauce over.

This is a lot of steps, but can totally be simplified. I usually cook the meat and mix up the sauce as is... but the rest I simplify. For the rice I throw all that in a rice cooker, and then I just heat up a can of black beans seasoned with a little cumin and garlic powder. You still get the overall jist an yumminess of the recipe, but not all the work. The tomatillo sauce alone provides enough flavor!

P.s. The meat and sauce makes a lot, so if you're feeding a small family (even for Shayne and I who eat A LOT) I half the sauce and the meat. Though the meat freezes really well. The sauce is also REAL good for taco salads also.

Balsamic Chicken w/ Pesto Gravy

2 chicken breasts
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 bunches arugula, thoroughly washed (I use spinach)
Juice of 1/2 lemonParmigiano Reggiano shavings
2 T. butter
1 T. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. chicken stock
1/3 c. heavy cream or half-and-half
1/4 c. homemade or store-bought pesto
Thin spaghetti pasta (I use whole-grain pasta)

  1. Heat a large skillet over high heat with a little drizzle of EVOO. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over top of chicken and season with a little salt and pepper.
  2. Transfer the chicken to the hot sauté pan, seasoned-side down, and cook on each side for about 2 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, combine the arugula/spinach, with the juice of half a lemon, a drizzle of EVOO and a little bit of salt in a bowl. Remove chicken from the skillet and reserve on a plate while you make the sauce.
  4. To the sauté pan add butter and melt. Add flour and cook for about a minute or so. Whisk in chicken stock and cream and bring up to a simmer to thicken. Remove from heat and add the pesto to the skillet. Stir to combine. Pour pesto gravy over the chicken and then top with the arugula/spinach. With a peeler shave some Parmigiano over the greens, season with a little salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Yields 4 servings

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Amish Baked Oatmeal

1 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp salt

Combine and put in a greased 9" square pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Serve as you would regular oatmeal.

I love mine with blueberries and a little milk. But it is also yummy with a little brown sugar and milk. This is one of my most favorite breakfasts, especially on chilly mornings. You can refrigerate any leftovers and then just heat up individual servings in the microwave the next morning.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Request: Homemade Alfredo and Marinara Sauces

Just looking for some great homemade options for Alfredo and Marinara sauces. I usually have scads of tomatoes, peppers and onions in the garden during the summer and thought it would be fun to find some marinara recipes that use fresh ingredients. My stepson is also a huge Alfredo sauce fan and I'm bored with my current recipe. Any ideas???

I'm loving all the recipes coming in. I've tried three of them already and my family is really enjoying the variety! Thank you!

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

I love this recipe! It takes a little bit of prep, but I have done it the night before, put everything in the fridge and then popped it in the crock pot on my way out of the house in the morning.

1 1/2 pounds beef sirloin (or stew meat -- but the sirloin is so tender!)
You can cut it into 1 inch cubes or strips -- whatever your preference
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 4 oz can sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp dried minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced or 1/4 tsp garlic powder (Go for the fresh stuff!)
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/3 cup dry cooking sherry
1 8 oz carton dairy sour cream
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup water
4 cups hot noodles or rice

In a large skillet, brown beef in hot oil, drain off fat.

In Crock Pot, combine beef, mushrooms (drained), onion, garlic, oregano, salt pepper, thyme and bay leaf. Pour in beef broth and cooking sherry. Cover, cook on low 8-10 hours or on High 4-5 hours. Discard bay leaf.

If using low heat, turn to high. Mix together sour cream, flour & water. Stir about 1 cup of hot liquid into sour cream mixture. Return to cooker, stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Serve over noodles or rice. (Makes about 6 servings, unless it's harvest time and your husband hasn't eaten all day -- then it makes 2 servings!)

Cranberry Pork Roast

I can't take credit for this yummy dish (Thanks Michelle), but it is dang tasty!

Cranberry Pork Roast

2-3 lbs. boneless rolled pork loin
1 can jellied cranberry sauce
1 cup sugar
1 cup cranberry juice

1 tsp dry mustard
2 T corn starch
2 T cold water

Place pork loin in crock pot. In bowl, mash cranberry sauce, sugar, juice and mustard. Pour over pork. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until meat is tender.
After pork is cooked, measure 2 cups of liquid, heat and add combined cornstarch and water. Cook until thickened. Season with a little salt. Serve with meat. (This is great with mashed potatoes!!)

Simple BBQ Sauce (Amy)

2 cups ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
1 medium onion sliced
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp paprika
½ tsp salt

Mix all together. Pour over 4 to 8 chicken breasts in a crock pot. Cook for 6 hours on low. Serve over rice or shred the meat and serve as BBQ chicken sandwiches. (This is also fantastic with pork, I use the shoulder, and served with Hawaiian rolls)

Three Bean and Pork Crock Pot Chili (Amy)

1 chopped onion
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder, medium-hot
1 tsp dried oregano
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
½ teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds lean pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch chunks
15 oz canned black beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed
29 oz canned diced tomatoes, with green pepper, celery and onion, undrained
6 oz canned tomato paste

Combine onion, garlic, carrots, chili powder, oregano, chilies, salt and pepper in a 5-quart (or larger) slow cooker. Stir. Add remaining ingredients. Stir again. Cover and cook at HIGH setting for 6 to 8 hours. Yields about 1 cup per serving. (Note: Start the chili at a HIGH setting so the ingredients quickly reach a safe temperature. You can reduce the heat to LOW after 3 to 4 hours, if you prefer.)

Ribs (Emily)

Sprinkle with salt & pepper and then put them on a rack under the broiler for 4 to 5 minutes on each side (so they’re browned.) Put them in a crock pot and slather them with whatever BBQ sauce you like and let them cook all day. If you have 9 hours, start them on high heat for the first 3 or 4 hours, then reduce to low heat for the remaining time. If you only have 6 hours, cook them on high heat the entire time. Turn the pieces a couple of times in the crock pot.

Pot Roast

1 3 lb boneless chuck roast
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 bay leaves
3 or 4 beef bullion cubes, crushed
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (10 ¾ ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
½ cup Chardonnay

Sprinkle roast on all sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Using a skillet over high heat, sear roast until brown in oil. Place roast in a crock pot and layer onions, bay leaves, crushed bullion cubes, garlic and cream of mushroom soup. Add the Chardonnay and cover with enough water to cover all the ingredients. Cook on low setting for 8 hours.

Request: Crock Pot Meals

The post I did for specific recipes didn't work quite as I had hoped. Kristin is the only one who commented with specific requests. Maybe this is a better way to do it: title your post 'Request:' with what you're looking for. Hopefully someone(s) will post with a recipe in response. Let's try this out ...

I'm looking for good Crock Pot recipes. Matt started his new job today, which means we both work in offices now and I don't have the luxury of calling him and asking him to defrost the chicken so it will be ready when I get home. If we want to have real meals at home, I think our best bet is to get an arsenal of Crock Pot recipes that can cook all day while we're working. Do you guys have anything you can share?


1 ½ cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
½ cup molasses
2 eggs
4 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt

Beat oil, sugar, molasses and eggs. Add remaining ingredients. Roll into balls and coat in raw sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 7 to 8 minutes for soft cookies, 9 minutes for crisp cookies. DO NOT DOUBLE (trust me, I know from tragic experience this is not a good idea....also it is very damaging to the ego of an 11 year old) The baked version of this cookie freezes extremely well.

OK, so most of you know these as molasses cookies and feel free to call them that. However, Stratton's will forever know these delicious morsels as malaskas. My niece Brookie is quite the munchkin chef. She loves to cook and is actually quite good at it. I (along with most of my siblings at one time or another) lived with my brother. Since these are my favorite cookies, I would often make them and freeze the majority of them. I noticed they would dwindle at quite a rapid pace because both my niece and nephew loved "Mel's frozen cookies." Well, as 4 year olds often are apt to do, she could not quite remember the name of these cookies and would always ask me if we could make "malaskas." So now, Brookie's and my favorite cookies are malaskas. And that is the official story of how molasses cookies came to be know simply as malaskas.

Cheesy Chicken and Brown Rice

I got this recipe from the Kraft Food and Family website but wanted to try it out before posting. I changed a couple things and this is what we ended up with. Matt and I both really liked it and the leftovers are perfect to take to work for lunch.

1/2 cup Zesty Italian dressing
4 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups brown rice, cooked
3/4 cups chicken broth
2 cups small broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup shredded fiesta blend cheese

Heat dressing on medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add broth, cooked rice, and broccoli. Bring to boil, then cover and continue to simmer until chicken is cooked through and liquid has mostly gone, around 7-10 minutes. Add tomatoes and cheese; stir until blended.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Homemade Oreos

1 box Devil's food cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 can whipped cream cheese frosting

Combine cake mix, eggs and oil. Roll into balls about 1" in diameter. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. When cooled assemble into sandwiches with lots of cream cheese frosting (no frosting Nazi's here!)

These are also great with the following combinations:
white or yellow cake mix and chocolate frosting (Uh-oh Oreos)
strawberry cake mix and strawberry frosting (these are very pink and very sugary sweet but young girls love them--very Valentine's day)

You can also color the frosting for special if you were cheering for the Indianapolis Colts at the Super Bowl, orange for Halloween.

I have also seen the chocolate variety "sandwiched" with strawberry ice cream for a bridal shower (ah, Amazo)

Be creative and let us know your great ideas.

**if you find that the white or yellow dough is too thin, add flour 1T at a time to make it the right consistency.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Fat Tuesday (or Friday)

Seriously, I'm loving this blog!! I do however, believe I am getting fat just being a contributor. I don't know when I will ever have the time to try all of the deliciousness that is this blog. Keep all the good stuff coming. I'm just going to have to log extra miles each week to eat all this great stuff!!

Pancheri Cornbread

You can serve this with Matt's Taco Soup! This cornbread is super moist and the pan is usually consumed in a single setting. We grind our own cornmeal and for this recipe we dry down sweet corn instead of regular grain corn and it gives is a really sweet taste. It's great with regular cornmeal, too. (If you are ever in Nampa, we'll grind you some of the good stuff!)

3 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
1 c. butter, melted

3 c. bisquick
1/2 c. cornmeal
1 c. sugar
3/4 T. Baking pwd

Combine all liquid ingredients in one bowl and all dry ingredients in another bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour liquid into the well. Stir until smooth. Pour into a grease 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, or until the center is set. Our family is divided on how to eat the cornbread. Half of us enjoy it with more butter and some honey, while the other half enjoy it with maple syrup!

Taco Soup

1# hamburger
1 medium onion
1 qt. whole tomatoes or 2 cans
2 cans of kidney beans
1 can of chili
½ pkg. of taco seasoning

Brown hamburger with onion and add other ingredients. Simmer for 30 minutes. Serve over tortilla chips. Add grated cheese and sour cream on top.

Chicken Enchiladas

5-6 chicken breasts (cooked & boned)
12 small flour tortillas
4 oz. can of chopped green chilies
2 cups sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can of sliced olives
1 onion chopped fine
3/4# grated cheddar
3/4# grated Monterey jack cheese

Combine all ingredients except chicken using about ¾ of the mixed cheese. Set aside 1 ½ c. of this mixture. Add chicken to remaining mixture. Put 2 medium scoops on each flour tortilla. Roll and place in a 9x13 pan. Spread the reserved 1 ½ cups mixture over the top of the tortillas in the pan and top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle with paprika and bake @ 350 degrees about 45 minutes until heated through. Can prepare the day ahead.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


This site is getting off to a nice little start. I'm so excited for all the recipes and can't wait to try them! I know some of you think you don't have any recipes to share, so I thought this little place for requests might be nice. Go ahead and comment with a specific recipe you would like posted by one of our 'chefs'. I'll start:

Stef's cheesecake
Lisa's stromboli
Matt's beef dip and chicken enchiladas
Mel's Pasta Melissa & San Francisco Melts & malaskas
Mom's enchiladas and tortilla soup
CJ's broccoli cheese soup

The rest of you: I'm not familiar with any of your specific recipes, but I know you have more to share!

Starbucks-esque Hot Chocolate

I found this recipe a few months ago and now I'd rather make this than any other kind of hot chocolate. I know it's past hot chocolate time for us in Texas (it's been up to 80 this week!) but I hear the Utahns are still firmly entrenched in winter. Without further ado:

1/4 cup water
2 T. cocoa
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine water, cocoa & sugar in 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well to create chocolate syrup. Add milk to the mixture {I also add 4 starlight mints for peppermint hot chocolate} and microwave for 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract {and fish out the leftover peppermint} and pour into a 16-oz. mug. Serve with whipped cream {and crushed peppermint pieces}.