Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ginger Bread

This is a great tasting recipe. Follow it to the 'T' if you like hard ginger bread. For softer ginger bread bake it for less time.

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
4 ½ - 5 cups flour

Cream 1 cup butter and one cup sugar;
set aside. Heat the molasses and vinegar
to a boil; cool. Combine with the butter
and sugar. Mix in remaining ingredients.
Roll out. Bake at 350* for 8-10 minutes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Nuts & Chews Chocolates

I found this recipe in Taste of Home magazine and after I dipped it in dark chocolate it reminded me of See's Candies Nuts & Chews - which is a good thing in my book. I made quite a few changes with regards to the nuts I used - and I also added the chocolate part (not sure why it was ever omitted)

** Recipe called for walnuts, pecans, and Brazil nuts) **

  • 2 cups peanuts
  • 2 cups cashew pieces
  • 2 cups walnut pieces (raw, because that's what I had)
  • 2 cups almonds (raw, because that's what I had)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • Chocolate for dipping (I used dark chocolate)
Place the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 4-8 minutes or until toasted and golden brown, stirring once. Cool on a wire rack. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil, grease the foil with butter and set aside.

In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, cream and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in toasted nuts. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 238 (soft-ball stage). Remove from heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until creamy and thickened. Quickly spread into prepared pan; cool. Cover, refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Using foil, lift candy out of pan, discard foil. Cut candy into squares. Dip bottom half into chocolate. Set on wax paper to cool. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

January's Tortilla Soup

This is probably my family's all-time favorite soup!

Bake in a 350 degree oven about 30 mins. or boil in 4 qts. water with salt, pepper, and 2 bay leaves, 4 chicken breasts or use about 2 cups cooked chicken, cool and dice or shred

3 - 4 quarts water
8-10 chicken bouillon cubes
4 cups carrots peeled and sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
10-12 stalks celery, cleaned, and sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
1 large or two medium onions, diced in large pieces
1 bunch cilantro, (leaves only is best) cleaned and chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 to 2 T. cumin (or more if you love it like I do)
salt, pepper, garlic salt to taste

While chicken cooks, in a large pot boil water 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 1/2 the cilantro and cook for 5 minutes more. Check for flavor, add chicken, heat through and serve.

Garnish with any or all of the following:

fried tortilla strips (or tortilla chips if you prefer)
grated cheese
diced tomatoes
diced avocado
sliced green onions
or your favorite salsa if you're in a hurry!

La Madeleine's Tomato Basil Soup

This was in the Fort-Worth Star Telegram several years ago. Yummy!

4 cups (8-10) tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped
OR 4 cups canned whole tomtoes, crushed (can't you use diced?)
4 cups tomato or V-8 juice OR part juice and part vegetable or chicken stock
12-14 washed fresh basil leaves
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 lb. butter (it says to use unsalted but you have salted butter so just add less salt to taste!)
salt to taste
1/4 t. cracked black pepper

Combine tomatoes, juice or juice/stock in saucepan. Simmer 20 minutes. In blender or food processor, puree mixture with basil leaves added in small batches. Return to saucepan. Over low heat, stir in cream and butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with your favorite bread.

As is, 248 calories per cup--83% of calories are from fat! You could substitute 1/2 and 1/2 or even milk for the cream but it won't taste as rich!

Orange Cranberry Bread

Melissa gave me this recipe as a gift in about 3rd grade. It had a cover the shape of a loaf of bread and she had colored in cranberries all over it. It was so cute and the recipe so good! I love it toasted for breakfast!

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 t. grated fresh orange peel
1 1/2 Craisins or 2 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (very tart!)
3/4 cup orange juice

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut butter into mixture. Add remaining ingredients. Mix just until moist. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.
Great for gift giving at Thanksgiving or Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tortilla Soup

This is a recipe from my Mom and it's SO good! Make sure you have the avocado, cilantro and tomato - because that's what makes it GOOD! The soup alone isn't anything special - but when you add the toppings - YUMMY!

Cook together in oil for 2-3 minutes:
½ c. green onions
2 t. garlic

Add to below mixture:
3 c. cooked rice
1 ½ c. chicken – cut up
1 can chopped green chilies
6 c. chicken broth

Cook for 10 minutes.

Serve with lime juice, salt n pepper, tomatoes, cilantro, avocados and tortilla chips.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cream of Tomato Soup

1/4 cup olive oil (I use about half that)
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely sliced (I leave this out as I don't typically have celery and don't want to buy a huge bunch for one rib)
2 28oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 T tomato paste
1 T sugar
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 T dried basil
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream (I use about 1/3 this amount)
Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in large stock pot and add onions, garlic and celery. Cover and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Uncover and cook another 5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar and cook 5 minutes. Add broth and seasonings and cook 10 minutes. Puree soup in a blender or with a hand held submersible blender. (If you use a blender, only fill it about half-way. The hot liquid will expand and explode out the top if the blender is too full.) Add cream and heat through. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Chicken Chowder with Chipotle

This is a recipe from Cooking Light. A bit labor intensive, but well worth the effort!!!

1 7 oz can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (found in the Mexican foods section)
1 Tbsp EVOO
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
6 garlic cloves, crushed
6 cups fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast
2 medium red potatoes (approx 12 oz)
1 (15.5 oz) can white or golden hominy, rinsed & drained (found in the Mexican foods section)
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup chopped seeded roma tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
8 lime wedges

Remove 1 chile and 1 tsp adobo sauce from can; reserve remaining chiles and sauce for another use. Finely chop chile, set chile and sauce aside separately.

Heat oil in a large stock pot (or dutch oven) over medium heat. Add chopped chile, onion, and next 6 ingredients (through the garlic), cook 7 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Stir in broth, bring to a boil. Add chicken, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 minutes or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken and cool slightly. Shred chicken with 2 forks, cover and keep warm.

Remove pan from heat, let stand 5 minutes. Place one-third of broth mixture in a blender, process until smooth. Pour pureed broth mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure in two more batches with remaining broth mixture. Return pureed broth mixture to pan. Stir in potatoes and hominy, bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in chicken and cream, simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in reserved adobo sauce, tomato, cilantro and salt. Serve with lime wedges. Serves 8 (1 1/3 cup servings)

Best Part: Only 246 Calories!!!

I've also put chopped avocados, mini tortilla strips and pepper jack cheese on the table if people want "add-ins".

Friday, December 7, 2007

Brownie (Batter)

1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
6 T cocoa (January only uses 4)
1 t salt
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
2 t vanilla

Mix everything together on medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour into a 9x13" greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (That's assuming it makes it to the pan. This is so good as batter, Strattons have been know to make just brownie batter for dessert. It does make delicious brownies as well.)

For mint brownies: Make frosting, but use mint flavoring instead of almond flavoring. Color it green (great for St. Patrick's Day) if you want. Spread over cooled brownies. In a sealed Ziploc baggie, melt chocolate chips in the microwave. Cut off a very small corner of the baggie, squeeze chocolate over the mint frosting. For a fun, festive Christmas brownie, use peppermint flavoring, color the frosting pink and sprinkle crushed candy canes over the top.

For cream cheese brownies: Frost brownies with cream cheese frosting. Drizzle chocolate over in the same fashion as above. You can color the frosting pink and it make a delicious Valentine's Day treat.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hello Kitty Cookies (Oatmeal Cookies)

My sister-in-law called me yesterday to get my recipe for "Hello Kitty" cookies. A couple of years ago, my niece and nephew came to my house to make cookies. We made Hello Kitty and Spiderman cookies. They are oatmeal cookies with craisins and white chocolate chips (Hello Kitty) or chocolate chips (Spiderman). I just made a batch of oatmeal cookies, divided the dough in half and gave each of them their own bowl to stir in the extras. They thought it was great, and obviously my niece still remembers the fun we had. So, here's to helping you become the favorite aunt or the best mom on the block.

1 cup butter softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups oats
your favorite mix-ins: craisins, white chocolate chips, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, dries blueberries, raisins, nuts. Any combination totalling 1 1/2 to 2 cups (depending on how much stuff you like)

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add soda, salt and flour. Stir in oats. Add whatever mix-ins you want, or just make plain oatmeal. Give them a fun name kids will love, based on your chosen mix-ins! Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.

Let us know what fun names you come up with for your cookies!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Chicken Piccata

This is from the Barefoot Contessa, with a few modifications . . . I served it with the Lemon Linguine.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
1 extra large egg
1/2 Tbsp water
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
3 Tbsp butter, divided
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), save the lemons after juicing.
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used white grape juice)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pound each breast to 1/4 inch thickness. Season lightly with salt & pepper.

Mix flour, 1/2 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate beat the egg and 1//2 Tbsp water together. Place bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip breasts in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs.

Heat 1 Tbsp Olive Oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Place them on a cookie sheet and let them bake for 5-10 minutes until you get the sauce made!

Wipe out the saute pan. Melt 1 Tbsp butter and then add lemon juice, wine, reserved lemon rinds, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced by half. Discard lemon rinds. Spoon sauce over breasts.

Lemon Linguine

This is a really fresh tasting change for linguine. I think it would also be good over angel hair. I served this with Chicken Piccata.

1 8 oz pkg linguine
1/4 cup finely minced shallots (or onions)
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 8 oz carton sour cream (I used light sour cream and it was just great)
4 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan, divided
1 Tbsp milk
1 3/4 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (1/2 medium lemon)
1 whole lemon, zested
2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley (flat leaf)
2 Tbsp freshly chopped chives

Cook linguine according to package directions. Drain & keep warm.

In a skilled cook shallots & garlic in butter until tender. Stir in sour cream, half Parmesan, milk, lemon-pepper, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over linguine. Toss and add parsley, chives and remaining Parmesan. This recipe comes mostly courtesy of Paula Deen

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Grandma Weld's Cookies

I'm not a fan of butter cookies, so these weren't my favorite... but I'd imagine if you like butter cookies you'll love these!!

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup miniature chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then beat in flour, almond extract to taste, and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
Heat oven to 300. Shape 1/2 tablespoon amounts of dough into 1 1/2 -inch-long "fingers" and place them on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake cookies 1 sheet at a time in middle of oven for 20 to 25 minutes, watching carefully and breaking open a couple of cookies to check for doneness. The cookies should be firm to the touch and cooked through, but not brown; the bottoms should only be golden. Cook cookies on racks and store them in an an airtight container, where they will keep for 2 weeks but will vanish long before that!

from Wonder time magazine; December/January 2008

MaGiC Pretzels

1 cup corn or canola oil {The 2 times I've made them I've used only 3/4 and then down to 1/2 cup and they still taste YUMMY - cut down the unhealthy any way I can!}
1 envelope (1 ounce) dried ranch salad-dressing mix
1/2 of a 1 ounce envelope dried garlic-flavored salad dressing mix {I couldn't find any so I just used some garlic powder and garlic & herb seasoning}
1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 pound hard sourdough "beer" pretzels, broken into pieces

Put oil, salad-dressing mixes, lemon-pepper seasoning, and dill into a gallon size ziplock bag, seal it, then sake hard to mix {Ava loved doing this!}. Add pretzels and toss until they're completely coat. Allow the pretzels to "marinate" for at least 1 hour, giving them a shake whenever you think of it.

Heat oven to 300. Spread pretzels and their flavorings on a large, rimmed cookie sheet lined with foil and baked, stirring every 10 minutes, for 30 minutes.

Let pretzels cool completely, while stirring often. Store them in an airtight container (they'll keep for 4 to 6 weeks).

From Wonder time December/January 2008 magazine