Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chewy Ginger Snaps

These cookies just smell like Christmas to me! :)

2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg

Mix together first six ingredients. Cream sugar, shortening, molasses and egg. Add dry ingredients -- beat well. Form 1 inch balls, roll in granulated sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. (The cookies are going to look really puffy - but they will flatten a bit after you take them out of the oven. I let mine sit on the pan for another 5 minutes or so.)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Southwest Chicken Chili

I found this recipe on Picky Palate and was excited to make it because it requires NO dairy! Matt's not a fan of spicy food so I dialed down the heat, but it was still excellent and way easy to make.

4 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large bell pepper, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 14-oz cans chicken broth
1 can black beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can cannelini beans, drained
1 14-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 T Tabasco {I just did a few drops}
1 T fresh lime juice
2 T chili powder {I used about half}
2 T cumin
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Saute onion and bell pepper until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and shredded chicken; cook for 1 minute then stir in rest of ingredients. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes then reduce heat to low and simmer until ready to serve. You can top with cheese, sour cream, or whatever else you like. Serve with Pancheri Cornbread.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Romaine Lettuce & Strawberry Salad

2-3 heads of Romaine Lettuce
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced lengthwise
1 small red onion, sliced thin (or half a regular sized onion is enough)
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted*

1 cup Mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons Half & Half
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup raspberry vinaigrette
1 1/2 Tablespoons raspberry jam

Put all ingredients in blender and mix well. Good for two weeks in fridge.

*Toasted Almonds:
1 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup white sugar

Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until almonds turn brown. Spread on cookie sheet to cool.

2-3 heads of Romaine Lettuce
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced lengthwise
1 small red onion, sliced thin (or half a regular sized onion is enough)
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted*

1 cup Mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons Half & Half
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup raspberry vinaigrette
1 1/2 Tablespoons raspberry jam

Put all ingredients in blender and mix well. Good for two weeks in fridge.

*Toasted Almonds:
1 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup white sugar

Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until almonds turn brown. Spread on cookie sheet to cool.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Turkey Barley Soup

I found this on allrecipes when I was looking for something to use up my Thanksgiving leftovers. I was pleasantly surprised and will make this again when I have leftover chicken or pork to use. Bonus -- it's super easy!!

2 quarts chicken broth
1 1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup barley {I'll probably do 1/2 cup next time}
1 onion, diced
3/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp allspice
dash cayenne
2 cups cubed turkey {or chicken or pork}
1/4 cup parsley

Combine first 12 ingredients in large pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Add turkey and parsley. Heat through and serve.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Murph's Cheesecake

We (the Strattons) got this from our neighbor, Murph, in Texas. This is the best New York style cheesecake I think we've ever had. The crust is the best part!

1 pkg graham crackers, crushed
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cups of chopped nuts, optional
4 T melted butter
Mix together and press on bottom and slightly up the sides of a spring form pan.

2 8oz packages cream cheese
2 8oz cartons whipped cream cheese
2 cups sugar
1 t salt
2 pints sour cream
2 T cornstarch
6 Extra large eggs

Beat cheeses and sugar well then add other ingredients, except eggs. Add eggs one at a time. Pour into crust and bake 1 hour at 375. Turn oven off and leave cake in oven for 1 hour. No peeking except to cover with foil towards end of baking time to keep top from over browning.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Southern Cornbread Dressing for the Holidays

I made this dressing last year for the firs time and it was by far the best dressing I have ever tasted. Its a good old southern version of the cornbread variety but it does have some bread in it as well. I hope you love it as much as we do! (We don't actually stuff it in the bird since there are health issues with it not getting cooked enough and poultry juices running through it.)

Pan of cornbread (I doubled the recipe and made one that would fill a large rectangle casserole dish), crumble after its done and cooled

1 package of family sized stuffing mix (like stove top, the bread and the seasonings)
1 sleeve saltine crackers
8 tablespoons butter
2 cups celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
7 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sage (optional)
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning (optional)
5 eggs, beaten


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, dreid stuffing mix, and saltines; set aside.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and cook until transparent, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the vegetable mixture over cornbread mixture. Add the stock, mix well, taste, and add salt, pepper to taste, sage, and poultry seasoning. Add beaten eggs and mix well. Reserve 2 heaping tablespoons of this mixture for the giblet gravy. Pour mixture into a greased pan and bake until dressing is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Serve with turkey as a side dish.

Here is a cornbread recipe if you need one, but I think I used 2 package mixes last year

1 cup self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into a greased shallow baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
To serve, cut into desired squares and serve with butter. For stuffing above, crumble cornbread.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Friday, November 21, 2008

Florentine Frying Pan Pizzas

Another Rachael Ray from me, imagine that. This pizza's really good and smells amazing!! She made them in a frying pan for the deep dish approach. I just put the pizza dough on a flat baking sheet and called it good. I got a little confused because it was an "individual" but in on the show she put it in a small frying pan - but yet it's 4 to 6 servings. Not my idea of a slice of pizza. But then again, who ever just has one slice/one serving of pizza?! I spread out the whole Pillsbury pizza dough and it was enough for my whole family: 2 hefty eating adults and 2 hefty eating kids.

She also said that you can also feel good about eating it because of all the vitamins in it... well, I think all the fat in her cheese trumps the vitamins - so I cut way down on the cheese... and it still tasted real good.

4 tablespoons EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated (I used 1/4 c.)
A pinch of nutmeg
1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 store-bought pizza dough from your favorite pizzeria
1 1/2 cups fontina cheese, shredded (I used 1/2 c.)

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Preheat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons EVOO. Add the mushrooms and sauté until golden brown. Season them with salt and pepper then remove them to a plate.

In the same skillet the mushrooms where cooked in, melt the butter. Add the flour and garlic, and cook 1-2 minutes then whisk in the milk and cook until slightly thickened.

Add the mushrooms back to the skillet along with the cheese, nutmeg and spinach. Remove the Florentine mixture and let cool.

Cut the dough into quarters, reserving one for this recipe. Wrap up the rest in plastic wrap and freeze it for another time. Roll out the dough so it fits into a 6-inch skillet (use one that's oven-safe).

Before placing the dough into the skillet, drizzle about 1 to 2 tablespoons EVOO on the bottom of the skillet. Lay the dough into the skillet, pressing gently as you work the dough up the sides so it reaches the edge of the skillet. Fill the with the filling and sprinkle with fontina cheese. Pop in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, until the edges and bottom of the crust are golden brown.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Homestyle Potato Soup with Roasted Corn

I wanted a crockpot soup for after church so I snagged the idea of roasted corn from Mel's Roasted Corn Chowder and added it to a crockpot Homestyle Potato Soup recipe I had. The results were SUPER yummy. Between Shayne, I and the 2 kids we almost finished off the whole pot {i don't know if that should be overly embarrassing admitting how much we eat, but it's not!} It's a perfect Sunday meal, ready to eat in only 25 minutes after church.

1 (14 1/2 oz.) can fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
2 c. cubed red potatoes (about 4 lbs.)
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. thinly sliced celery
3/4 c. thinly sliced carrot
3 T. butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. 2% reduced-fat milk
4 c. frozen corn
1 3.4 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Place first 9 ingredients in crockpot; stir will. Cover with lid and cook on HIGH setting for 1 hour. Reduce to LOW setting and cook 4 to 5 hours or until vegetables are tender. Increase to HIGH setting.

Place flour in a bowl; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Stir into soup. Cook, uncovered 25 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently.

To roast the corn, heat the oven to 400. Place kernels on an oiled sheet pan (you only need about 1T to keep it from sticking). Roast corn for 17-20 minutes, until it just begins to brown and the sugars are released. When done, gently stir into soup.

Ladle into bowls; sprinkle with cheese and ground pepper.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chorizo Black Bean Soup

This is my new favorite black bean soup, it beat out my old favorite. It's really good and really cheap to make but totally filling - BONUS!

1 tablespoon EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pound cured chorizo, casing removed and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
2 serrano peppers, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Salt and ground black pepper
3 14-ounce cans black beans, drained
3/4 to 1 quart chicken stock, depending on desired thickness
2 ripe avocados
1/2 cup sour cream
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup (about a handful) flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, chopped

{{I did 4 cans of black beans and the full quart of chicken broth, and it was barely enough for 1 serving for 4 adults}}

Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. Add the chorizo to the pan and cook until crispy, 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve.

Add the onion, garlic, serrano peppers, smoked paprika, salt and ground black pepper to the pan, and cook until the onions are tender, 5-6 minutes.

Add the black beans and chicken stock to the pan, and bring the liquids up to a bubble. Ladle a couple of scoops of the soup into the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot and keep warm.

After pureeing the beans, rinse the food processor bowl out and return it to the base. Add avocados , sour cream, lime zest and juice and process until smooth.

Serve the soup topped with some avocado cream, reserved crispy chorizo and cilantro.

{{I served with Pancheri Cornbread}}

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Raw Apple Cake

This recipe is from my Grandfather Smith. I don't have the original recipe in his writing, but I'm sure it says to enjoy this with whipped cream and ice cream! Personally, I like it just plain.

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil
1 egg
3 large apples, peeled and grated
1 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup flour
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Beat egg. Add sugar and oil. Add dry ingredients. Stir in apples and nuts. Pour into a greased 8" square pan. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Shrek Shakes" a.k.a. Green Smoothie

My sister told me all about these Green Smoothies she makes. And after fighting with my kids each meal to eat their veggies, I was completely intrigued. I tried them, held my breath as my kids tried them and they were in love... which means I was in love too. I don't worry about them eating their veggies so much when they down one of these each morning. And since my kids love Shrek, we call them Shrek Shakes.

It's been 2 weeks of eating them everyday and they still love them and ask for them each morning (at least Ava does, Nolan still doesn't talk - so he grunts for it)! If you can brave gulping down something green, give it a whirl. They're really good - especially considering how good they are for you!

This is how we make our Shrek Shakes...
Put in your blender...
1-2 T.
flax seed
{{contain high levels of lignans and Omega-3 fatty acids. Lignans may benefit the heart, possess anti-cancer properties, may also lessen the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels. Benefits of flax seed as shown in many studies include lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) levels. Other benefits show that flax seed may also help lower blood triglyceride and blood pressure. It may also keep platelets from becoming sticky therefore reducing the risk of a heart attack.}}
1-2 bananas

(make sure it's ripe and not green... this should not be where the green comes from! ;)
2 handfuls of frozen strawberries
(probably 1 cup - like 6 or 8)

**blend these together first, smoothie will be creamy pink

huge handful of spinach
(1 1/2 to 2 cups)
{{rich source of iron and calcium; an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, and vitamin B6. It is a very good source of dietary fiber, copper, protein, phosphorous, zinc and vitamin E. In addition, it is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, niacin and selenium.}}
3-4 large kale leaves
{{considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties and is anti-inflammatory.[1] Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium}}
3-4 collard green leaves
{{good sources of vitamin C and soluble fiber and contain multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties.}}
**submerge and blend, smoothie turns green!
6 or 8 baby carrots
1 scoop of soy protein powder
then I add some ice to make it cold
**blend and Voila!!

How's that for some nutritional value before 9am?!?
And here it is from the original Green Smoothie Lady... GENIUS!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Southwest Chicken Salad

We had this at a ladies function at our church a few months ago and it was great! This is my friend and workout buddy Angie's recipe....

Southwest Chicken Salad Romaine

Heads of Lettuce 1-2 (depending on size)
2-4 Grilled Chicken Breast
3 Roma Tomatoes - chopped
1 Red, Orange and Yellow Bell Pepper - sliced or chopped
1/2 bunch Cilantro chopped (not too fine)
1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan cheese
1 can Black Beans - rinsed and drained
1 small bag Frozen Corn - thawedTortilla Strips - you can buy them or you can fry strips of flour or corn tortilla in oil
Southwestern Caesar Salad Dressing - Look for it at HEB/Grovery Store (you can also substitute with plain caesar dressing if you need to)

You can layer salad or toss all ingredients together just before serving. Tip--add romaine lettuce after tossing the other ingredients so that it will stay crisper.

She served this is a large clean bucket and it was so festive!

I hope you enjoy it! Its a great salad of those yummy salads with enough stuff it in so you feel like its a meal and not just rabbit food!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cream Soup Mix

I got this recipe from my Sister-in-law. It is SO much cheaper than buying creamed soups and takes up less room in your pantry too. (I haven't figured the exact price but I think I have about $5 into ingredients and made the equivalent of 27 cans of soup).

2 c. powdered milk
3/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 c. bouillon granules (chicken for cream of chicken, beef for cream of mushroom, etc)
2 T. onion flakes
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. pepper

Store in an airtight container. When ready to use combine 1/3c. of the mix with 1 c. water. Cook and stir until thick. Makes 1 can of soup.

Mix makes the equivalent of 9 cans of soup

Friday, October 24, 2008

Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin

I got this recipe from a ward cookbook my sister in law gave me from Houston. It was super easy, and tastes pretty good... but the best part - completely ready and waiting for you when you get home from church at 5pm!

4 lb. pork tenderloin
package fajita seasoning mix
ground pepper
2 red peppers, sliced
large onion, sliced in rings
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 medium or 4 small red potatoes, cut into bit size pieces
large zip lock bag

Put all ingredients into Ziploc bag, mix... then add the pork. Dump contents into a Pam sprayed crockpot and put 1/4 to 1/2 cup water in the bottom. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. The longer, the more tender the tenderloin.

It was good for how fast and easy it is! And for sure works when you want dinner as soon as you get home!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Meatball Subs

For some strange reason, I had a hankering for a meatball sub. I don't think I've ever eaten a meatball sub before, but the craving was still there. I turned to reliable old allrecipes and found a winner.

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/4 c. bread crumbs
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T chopped fresh parsley
1 T grated parmesan cheese {I left this out to make it non-dairy}
1/2 egg, beaten
1/2 French baguette {I used wheat sub rolls we had on hand}
1 1/2 tsp EVOO
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 pinch salt
7 oz. spaghetti sauce

Preheat the oven to 350*. In a medium bowl, mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, italian seasoning, garlic, parsley, parmesan cheese and egg by hand. Shape into 12 meatballs and place into a Pyrex pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through. Meanwhile, cut baguette in half lengthwise and scoop out some of the middle to make a well for the meatballs. Brush with olive oil and season with garlic powder and salt. Slip into the oven for the last five minutes of the meatballs' cooking time, until lightly toasted. Heat up spaghetti sauce in medium bowl in microwave. When meatballs are done, place them in bowl with sauce and mix lightly. Scoop meatballs into baguette. {I topped Matt's with shredded mozzarella cheese and put it back in the oven for a few minutes.} Enjoy!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Double Chocolate Muffins

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (no substitutions)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Let all ingredients come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease muffin cups or line with paper/foil cups. Melt unsweetened chocolate and let cool.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine buttermilk and vanilla. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy, about 30 seconds. Gradually add brown sugar, beating on high speed until lightened in color and texture, about 4 to 5 minutes. Beat in egg. Add melted chocolate and beat in until just blended.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat in thoroughly, then 1/2 of buttermilk mixture and beat in. Continue until all of flour mixture and buttermilk mixture have been fully incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide batter among muffin cups and bake 25-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted into one or two of the muffins comes out clean. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes in the pan before removing; serve at room temperature.

Chicken, Corn & Black Bean Stoup

2 T vegetable oil
2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 T ground cumin
1 1/2 T ground coriander
1 large onion, chopped
3 cups corn {I used frozen}
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 T. flour
1 quart chicken stock
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
hot sauce {Tabasco}

Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat with the vegetable oil. Add the chicken and season with salt, pepper, cumin and coriander. Cook the chicken until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onions, corn and red bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes. Dust the chicken and veggies with flour, stir, and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Turn up the heat to high and add the chicken stock. Bring the stew up to a simmer and then add the black beans. Simmer the stew for 15 minutes. Add the lime juice and cilantro and stir to combine. Add a little hot sauce {I used about 5 drops}. Serve garnished with sour cream, cilantro and/or cheese.

Also from 365: No Repeats

Honey Nut Chicken Sticks

2 pounds chicken tenders
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup flour
3 eggs
splash of milk
2 cups Honey Nut Corn Flakes {I used Honey Bunches of Oats}
1 cup bread crumbs
1 T paprika
1 T Montreal Chicken seasoning
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400*. Season the chicken tenders with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a large, shallow dish. Coat the chicken in the flour. Beat the eggs and milk in a shallow dish. Combine the cereal, bread crumbs, paprika, Montreal seasoning and oil in a food processor. Transfer the breading to a shallow dish. Place a nonstick baking sheet near the chicken breading station. In batches, dip the flour-coated chicken into the egg mixture and then in the breading mixture and place on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. May be served hot or cold.

Compliments of Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats.

Roasted Corn Chowder

1 T olive oil
1 T butter
8 ears corn, shucked and kernels removed from cobb (or 4 cups frozen corn)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 jalapenos, finely diced (remove the ribs and seeds if you don't want it too spicy)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups water
1/2 to 1 cup cream or half-n-half
2 T cumin
2 t salt
1 t pepper

To roast the corn, heat the oven to 400. Place kernels on an oiled sheet pan (you only need about 1T to keep it from sticking). Roast corn for 17-20 minutes, until it just begins to brown and the sugars are released.

In a large stock pot, heat oil and melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, jalapenos, pepper and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, until onion is translucent and veggies begin to soften. Add potatoes, corn, water and seasonings. Boil uncovered until potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Add cream or half-n-half and heat through. For thicker soup, you can add about 1 T cornstarch mixed with 2 T cold water (mix water and cornstarch until smooth and add to soup). Check seasoning.

*This is a recipe that I created in an attempt to use up a bunch of veggies from my CSA shares. If you find something wrong, or make your own changes, please let me know. Personally, I wanted a little more kick. I'll either add additional jalapeno (or include some seeds) or add 1/4 to 1/2 t cayenne pepper.

**For Mandy, you can do this soup non-dairy as well. Just leave out the dairy and substitute vegetable stock or chicken stock for the water.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Smoky Chicken Tortilla Soup

LOOOOOVVEEE the smokiness of this stuff!
3 cups chicken stock
1 pound chicken tenders
1 bay leaf, fresh if available
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
4 slices thick, smoky bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 chipotles in adobo, chopped, plus 2 tablespoons sauce {next time I'll just use the adobo sauce, no chipotles - it was too spicy for my kids to eat}
1 28-ounce can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
Salt to taste
4 cups corn tortilla chips, lightly crushed
3/4 pound (2 cups) shredded fresh smoked mozzarella or smoked sharp white cheddar cheese
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 red onion, chopped
Fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish

Bring broth to a simmer and add the chicken tenders. Poach them for 6-7 minutes with a bay leaf.

While the chicken poaches, heat EVOO in a medium soup pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook it until crisp then remove it with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain off the excess fat, leaving 2-3 tablespoons in the pan. Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and cook them for 5 minutes. Stir in chipotles and tomatoes.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid, dice it then add it to the tomatoes and chipotles. Pass the poaching liquid through a strainer then add it to the soup pot as well.

Place a pile of crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of each soup bowl. Cover it liberally with cheese then ladle the hot soup down over the top. Serve it with lime, raw onions and cilantro at the table.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Potato-Pumpkin Soup

1 8 to 10 lb. pumpkin
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 medium white or yellow onions, chopped
6 cups water
1/2 cup condensed milk, cream or half-n-half
1 t cardamom
1 t salt
1/2 t white pepper
1/2 t nutmeg
2 T minced fresh parsley, for garnish

Cut off the top 1/3 of the pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds and strings, saving the seeds. Using a sturdy spoon, scoop out the pumpkin flesh, leaving a 1-inch wall inside. Refrigerate the shell and top.
Combine the potatoes, onions, 2 cups pumpkin flesh and water in a large stockpot. Add the salt, white pepper, cardamom and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, cover and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are fork tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200. Put the pumpkin shell and top on a baking tray and place in the oven to warm.
Remove the vegetables and place in a food processor and puree until smooth, or mash by hand until no lumps remain. Return the puree to the cooking water. Stir in the milk, cream or half-n-half, adding more if necessary for a creamier consistency. Heat over low heat until hot.
To serve, place the pumpkin shell on a large serving tray. Pour in the hot soup and sprinkle with fresh parsley and toasted pumpkin seeds, if desired.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mean Green Tortilla Soup

This is a lot like my Mom's tortilla soup that I posted a while back... but Rachael Ray adds tomatillos to it... and I loved it!! It makes it greener, tangier and more flavorful. Next time I think I'll add some rice like in my Mom's recipe.

2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
3 ears of corn, kernels removed (reserve shaved corn cobs)
1 package corn tortillas, cut into strips
4 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 package (3 pieces) chicken thighs or breasts
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 teaspoon cumin
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
10 to 12 tomatillos, husks removed
2 cups cilantro, chopped
Zest and juice of 2 limes
2 cups jack cheese, shredded
3 avocados, chopped (optional)
{1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered lengthwise - I added}

Preheat oven 400°F.

In a large pot, bring the chicken stock and water to a bubble with the reserved corn cobs and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Place the corn tortilla strips onto a baking sheet and spray them with some cooking spray. Transfer to the oven and bake until crispy, 10 minutes.

Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat with some EVOO about 2 turns around the pan. Add the chicken, browning on all sides, then place into the oven for about 7-8 minutes, until juices run clear and no pink remains in the center. Once the chicken is done cooking, remove from oven and let rest before cutting into strips.

Preheat a heavy-bottomed pot with remaining 2 tablespoons of EVOO. Add the onion, garlic and cumin, and cook till soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the corn kernels along with the jalapeño.

While the veggies are cooking, puree the tomatillos in a food processor until somewhat smooth. Add the purée, stock and chicken to the pot along with the veggies.

Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and add in the cilantro, lime zest and juice, and serve it up garnished with a big handful of jack cheese, tortilla and avocado.

Pumpkin Bread

This is from one of my favorite cook books Aggies, Moms, and Apple Pie

I love every recipe that I have made in this book, and I have made a bunch!

Pumpkin Bread
by Martha Rutherford, Deep East Texas Mother's Club
3 cups of sugar
1 cup of vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup orange juice
1 (16 oz) can of pumpkin or pumpkin pie
3.5 cups of all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1.5 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
Optional ingredients:
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup of raisins
(I have made it with pecans and it is good. I don't do raisins...I think they are scary!)
Combine sugar and vegetable oil in a large mixing bowl; blend well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Add orange juice and pumpkin. Blend in flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in nuts and raisins if desired. Pour batter, evenly divided, into four 1 pound coffee cans that have been well greased and floured. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees F. Test for doneness with toothpick; longer baking is sometimes required. It is also a good mailer.
Now, I have never made it in the coffee cans, I have always used loaf pans. I would recommend the smaller loaf pans so that it gets done in the middle. I have made these as mini loaves and given them as Christmas gifts many times.
My husband would tell you to throw in some chocolate chips in the batter but I don't like my chocolate mixed with pumpkin...but some people love it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Blitz bread

I found this recipe here and they got it from another blog. I made it tonight and really liked it. It's actually a lot like garlic pull aparts, but I had much better luck with it. Also a plus for me? No dairy. It's harder than you might think to find recipes without milk of some incarnation. Anyway, this bread was ridiculously easy to make and really tasty.

1 1/2 cups warm water
3 T. olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
1 1/4 tsp. salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1 T. yeast
3 tsp. italian seasoning

Lightly grease a 9x13 pan and drizzle 1 to 2 T. olive oil in the bottom. Combine all of the ingredients together and beat at high speed for 60 seconds. {I used my Bosch and I actually put the yeast into the warm water with a bit of sugar to let the yeast get going before adding it to everything else.} {The original recipe also says you can add 1 cup crumbled feta cheese to the batter here, but I didn't try that.} Scoop the very sticky batter into the 9x13 pan, cover and let rise for an hour. Preheat the oven to 375*. Poke the dough all over with your index finger and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle more italian seasoning over the top. Bake the bread 35-40 minutes and enjoy!


Thanks to Megan for the new header! I just love the cupcakes! Jen mentioned that she wanted a button for her sidebar, so I asked Megan to make it happen. Once again, she came through for us!

**If any of you would like to add this to your sidebar, just go to your blog layout and add a picture. Use this URL for the picture {} and this URL as the link {}.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pasta with Arugula, Fresh Herbs, and Garlic

I found this recipe in a cooking magazine I subscribe to and tried it for the first time today. It has a pleasantly sharp sort of flavor from all the garlic, red pepper, and fresh herbs. All in all, very delicious. Bonus: from start to finish -- including prep -- this recipe took me less than 35 minutes!

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
7 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 pound pasta (campanelle, fusilli, or penne)
2 cups lightly packed baby arugula (or baby spinach)
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh parsley
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Boil pasta according to package directions until al dente. Meanwhile, heat oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large saucepan over medium-low heat just until garlic turns golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, cover, and keep warm.

Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water from pasta and drain pasta. Return to pot, add warm oil mixture, reserved cooking water, arugula, parsley, basil, and Parmesan, and toss just until greens wilt. Season with salt and pepper.

Fish Taco w/ Quick Slaw, Avocado Sauce and Green Rice

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus additional for drizzling
2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups rice
3 cups vegetable stock, divided
4 firm white fish filets, such as Mahi Mahi (about 8 ounces each)
Zest and juice of 3 limes, divided
1 tablespoon grill seasoning
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1/2 small head red cabbage, shredded
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
3/4 pound baby spinach
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 ripe avocados
1/2 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, grated
12 6 to 8-inch flour tortillas

Preheat broiler, grill or large, nonstick skillet – whichever you prefer.

Place a medium-size pot over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. Toss the jalapeños into the pan and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add in the rice and cook about a minute (you’re toasting it, so it's ready when it starts to smell nutty). Add in 2 1/2 cups stock and bring up to a bubble. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer the rice until tender, about 20 minutes.

While the rice is working, season the fish filets on both sides with the lime zest, grill seasoning, cumin and coriander. Lightly drizzle some EVOO over the filets and cook: If you're broiling, the fish should take about 6 minutes to cook (3 minutes per side); if you're grilling, the filets should take about 8 minutes to cook (4 minutes per side); if you're cooking them on the stovetop, they should take about 8 minutes to cook (4 minutes per side). Once the fish is cooked, transfer the filets to a plate and cover them with aluminum foil until you're ready – just don't let them sit too long here!

Once you've got the fish cooking, prepare the quick slaw by mixing together the juice of 2 limes, honey, hot sauce, some salt and freshly ground black pepper in a large bowl. Whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of EVOO. Add the cabbage and red onion, toss to combine and set aside.

Make the "green" part of the rice by pureeing together the baby spinach, cilantro and remaining vegetable stock (about 1/2 cup) in a food processor. Dump the mixture into a dish and reserve it until the rice is finished cooking. Rinse out the food processor bowl and make the avocado sauce by pureeing together the avocado, sour cream, garlic and the juice of the remaining lime. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and set aside.

When the rice has finished cooking, stir in the green sauce and transfer the rice to a serving bowl or platter.

Assemble the fish tacos by shredding the fish filets (each one should give you enough meat for 3 tacos) and place some meat into each tortilla. Top them off with a little of the quick slaw and some avocado sauce. Serve each person 3 tacos and some green rice, and enjoy!

Crockpot Beef Tortilla Wraps

round rump roast
Green Mexican Salsa (I use the La Costena brand)
shredded cheddar cheese

Put meat and salsa in crockpot for 4-6 hours on low. Shred. Place in tortillas, sprinkle with cheese and tomatoes. Super simple, super easy and super yummy! I serve with spicy creamed corn.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Monster Cookies

1 1/4 C. Shortening
1 1/2 C. Brown Sugar
1 C. Sugar
3 eggs
1 1/4 C. Peanut Butter
2 C. Oats
2 1/2 C. Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 C. Chocolate Chips
1 C. Butterscotch Chips

Bake at 350* for 9-10 minutes. Makes 8 dozen.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

I made this soup tonight...doesn't it look YUMMY!

This is a take off of Tyler Florence's Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup. This is what I did...
2 small onions diced ( I use sweet yellow onions, like walla walla, or 1015)
10 button mushrooms chopped coursley
1.5 cups of carrots chopped into rounds
3 boxes of low sodium chicken stock
3-4 cups of cooked chicken ( I use white meat)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon of Mrs Dash
1 small bag of cheese tortellini
1 cup of chopped up fresh spinach (frozen would work just fine)
2 Tablespoons of butter

Put butter in large soup pot and melt on high, when almost melted, add onions. Store onions until they are translucent and starting to caramelize on the edges, add carrots, stir and let them cook and caramelize a little as well. Add the mushrooms and stir. Add Salt. pepper, and Mrs. Dash. Add in chicken stock and set to high temperature so it will boil. Add in the chicken and spinach and stir. Once the soup is bubbling, add the tortellini and boil for about 10 minutes (or whatever package says). Add more salt & pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick, just add some water or broth until its the consistency you like. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes or however long you like. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!

I think adding some fresh herbs at the end would also be a nice touch, like some basil, but I didn't have any!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Spanish Frittata

This is such a pretty dish, and I wanted to make it something special. So when we had a brunch theme for my future sister in law's shower... I thought of this dish. It was awesome, and I got asked for the recipe many times.

"You can make this great meal in either a pie plate or a cake plate, whatever you've got lying around. If you want to entertain with this dish, line your pan with some heavy duty aluminum foil that hangs over all the edges, that way you can just lift it out when it's done baking and serve it on a nice cake stand or serving plate – so fancy!" ~Rachael Ray

1 tablespoon EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 pound pre-cooked chorizo, casing removed and meat chopped
1 jar whole roasted red peppers, drained
1 medium to large onion, chopped
2 cups frozen diced hash brown potatoes, defrosted
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
A few dashes hot sauce (add more if you like it spicy!)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (about a small handful) parsley, chopped
1 cup Manchego cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Place a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. Sauté the chorizo in the hot pan until it's crispy, 5-6 minutes. While the chorizo is cooking, prepare a pie plate by lining it with the roasted peppers -- if they're not already broken open, run a knife down the side of them to open up the pocket, just like you're butterflying a chicken breast. Slightly overlap the edges of the peppers so you don't see the bottom or sides of the pan. Put your pie plate onto a baking sheet so it's easier to move later on. When the chorizo is crispy, transfer it to the pepper-lined pie plate, spreading it out to evenly cover the bottom. Sprinkle the chopped onion and potatoes over the chorizo, spreading everything out evenly.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss the parsley into the egg mixture at the last minute, give it a quick stir, then pour the mixture slowly into the pie plate (it may take a second for the liquid to settle into all the nooks and crannies of everything already in the pie plate, so wait for it to settle before adding the rest of your egg mixture). Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top. Carefully transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake the frittata until the eggs are slightly wobbly in the middle and the cheese is golden brown, 30-35 minutes. Cut the finished frittata into 8 wedges and serve.

Santa Fe Wraps

REALLY good, and great for an appetizer or in limited portions. The cream cheese is too rich for me to have as a main course.

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 1/2-ounce) can chopped green chiles
1 (4 1/4-ounce) can chopped olives
1 cup (4-ounce) shredded pepper jack cheese
2 tablespoons salsa, plus salsa for dipping, optional
1/2 cup green onion tops, sliced
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
2 packages flour tortillas

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until creamy. Then add sour cream, green chiles, olives, pepper jack cheese, salsa, and onion tops. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer. Stir in spinach. Spread mixture evenly over the surface of each tortilla. Roll up tortillas tightly and cut each tortilla crosswise into 6 slices. Skewer each wrap with a wooden toothpick. Serve immediately or chill. Serve with salsa for dipping, if desired.

Paula Deen

i added some of those real bits of bacon, just because all things taste better with bacon

Raspberry Streusel Muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 cups flour, unsifted
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raspberries (fresh or drained frozen)

Blend w/pastry blender:
1/2 C flour
1/2 C quick oats
1/3 C sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

Cut in 6 tablespoons butter. Blend until coarse.

Prepare streusel topping. Set aside.

Grease 12 3-inch muffin pan cups.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In large bowl, w/electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat until well blended.

In medium bowl, combine flour and other dry ingredients.

In small bowl, combine milk, sour cream and vanilla.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk mixture, beating just until batter is combined.

Gently fold in raspberries.

Spoon batter into muffin cups; sprinkle tops generously with streusel topping.

Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes; sprinkle w/confectioners sugar.

Recipe from my Aunt Vicki... she's also done a variation by substituting the sour cream with raspberry yogurt.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Easy Breadsticks

I got this recipe from this site and tried them last night. They were easy and really tasty. Just start them an hour before you want to eat and they'll be hot and ready with the rest of your meal!

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 T. yeast
2 T. sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 T. butter

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar and let bubble for a few minutes. Add the salt and flour and knead for 3 minutes {I used my Bosch}. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Melt butter and pour most of it onto a cookie sheet and spread around evenly. Roll out dough. Cut to desired width {I used a pizza cutter} then twist and lay on cookie sheet. {You could also just lay them on flat.} Brush breadsticks with leftover melted butter then sprinkle with garlic salt and parmesan. Let raise for 10-20 minutes. Cook in 375* oven for 18-20 minutes. {Mine only needed 18.} Enjoy!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Easiest Mint Brownies EVER

One Brownie Mix
One bag of Andes Mint Chips
One stick of butter

Prepare the brownies according to the directions, in a 9 X 13” pan. Let them cool.

Put the butter and chips in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Spread on the brownies. Chill in the refrigerator until the topping has set. Serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Honey Dijon Chicken

1/4 cup melted butter (1/2 cube)
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon curry powder

Cover 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts with sauce. Bake at 350* F for 1 1/2 hours. Cover with foil.

This would go well with rice and fresh veggies.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Caramel Brownies

This recipe has been around for a while -- and for good reason. It's sooo good. I thought it would definitely have made its way on here by now, but since I can't find it I figured I'd post it. You're welcome.

50 caramels
2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided
1 package German chocolate cake mix
3/4 cup butter, melted
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Over low heat, melt caramels with 1/3 cup evaporated milk, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, beat cake mix, butter, and remaining evaporated milk until blended. Pour half of batter into a 9" x 13" pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350*F for 6 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over batter; pour caramel mixture evenly over chips, leaving 1/2" border around edges. Pour remaining batter over caramel mixture and spread to edges, making sure to seal border. (Yes, it can be a pain to spread brownie batter over melted caramels. Just go with it.) Bake 18 minutes more. Cool to room temperature; refrigerate to allow caramel to set before cutting.


This is an Irish dish I found in one of my vegetarian cookbooks. It is quite tasty. I served it with brats, but it would be good with any sausage.

1 lb. cabbage, quartered and sliced
4 lb potatoes, peeled and quartered
8 oz leeks
2 cups evaporated milk
2 t salt
1 t pepper
1/4 t nutmeg
4 T butter (I only used about 2T)

Put cabbage in 3 quart saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until very tender, about 45 minutes. Put potatoes in 4 quart saucepan, cover with water. bring to a boil and cook until very tender. (You will be mashing them) Meanwhile, cut the white parts of the leeks in half lengthwise and slice thinly. Put leeks in 2 quart saucepan and add evaporated milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Boil for 10 minutes, until leeks are tender. Heat oven to 350 and butter a 3 quart baking dish. Drain potatoes and mash. Add the leeks and milk, stir with a spoon. Drain cabbage and fold into potatoes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Put mixture in a baking dish. Dot with bits of butter. (This can be made to this point and refrigerated for several days) Bake 1 hour until heated through and golden on top. Serve hot.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Key Lime Cupcakes

I found this recipe in my bon appetit magazine and just about started salivating as I turned the page to this picture... These are AMAZING!!!

That little Atlanta bakery, Buttersweet Bakery, sure does know how to make a cupcake! If I ever go to Georgia, I will for sure be going there. I scanned in the picture from the magazine because I know no picture I took could do them justice - and I was right... but then I of course, found the recipe online with a picture... but to save you from one more click - here it is...

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
1/4 teaspoon neon-green food coloring
3/4 cup buttermilk

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin pan with 12 paper liners. Whisk both flours in medium bowl. Beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat to blend. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then next 3 ingredients (batter may look curdled). Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions. Spoon scant 1/3 cup batter into each liner.

Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool.

Beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth. Spread over cupcakes.

Ava and I call them "SHREKCAKES" because of the really cool green color.

Cumin Grilled Chicken Breasts

Cooking spray
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (5 to 6 ounces each) pounded to 1/2-inch thickness
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Spray a grill or grill pan with cooking spray and heat to medium-high heat. Rub chicken breasts with olive oil. Combine cumin, salt and pepper and rub spice mixture evenly onto chicken breasts. Grill until grill marks have formed and chicken is cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Remove from heat, let rest for 5 minutes, then slice into 1/2-inch thick slices. Serve over coleslaw, if desired.

In picture: Creamed Spinach with Caramelized Onions, Garlic and Fennel from Picky Palate - AMAZING!

an Ellie Krieger recipe from Food Network

Brazillian "Lemonade"

If you have ever been to Tucano's in Provo -- this is the recipe for their lemonade (really, it's a limeade) YUMMY!

3 fresh limes
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk

Quarter limes and place in blender (rind and all), add sugar and sweetened condensed milk and 4 cups chilled water. Blend until limes are chopped up. Strain. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Garlic Basil Shrimp

Dee-lish, fresh and totally healthy...
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp (20 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes, or more to taste
3/4 cup dry white wine (i used white grape juice)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté shrimp, turning over once, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.

Add garlic and red pepper flakes to the oil remaining in skillet and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add wine and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

Stir in basil and tomatoes and season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Return the shrimp to pan and cook just until heated through.

Serve with orzo pasta, rice or crusty bread.

Ellie Krieger from Food Network

Friday, August 15, 2008

My Chicken & Ham Favorite

{{this is one of my favorite childhood meals that my Mom made... such a comfort food for me.}}

chicken breasts
sliced ham
12 oz. can of cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. sour cream
cream cheese, about 4 oz. cut up into 1/2 inch cubes

Wrap each chicken breast with 1 slice of ham. Arrange in a 9x13 or 9x9 glass casserole dish - depending on how many breasts you're cooking. Mix soup and sour cream together and spread over wrapped chicken. Place the cream cheese cubes evenly over each chicken breast. Bake uncovered at 350 F for 1 1/2 hours. Serve chicken with brown rice on the side and remaining "gravy" over the top of rice and chicken.

Pumpkin Pancakes

1 c. flour
3 T. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 egg
1 c. plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 c. canned pumpkin puree
2 T. butter, melted and cooled, plus 1 T. for the skillet

1. Preheat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. In a bowl, stir together all dry ingredients.

2. In a large bowl, beat the egg for 30 seconds. Add yogurt, pumpkin puree, and 2 T. melted butter and beat well.

3. Stir in dry ingredients and beat just until combined.

4. Grease skillet lightly with butter. Pour 1/4 c. batter per pancake; flip with spatula when tops bubble and edges are slightly dry. Cook until other side is golden brown, 2 minutes per side.

Keep pancakes warm until ready to eat. I like to add chocolate chips if my kids have been good and if I've got the craving for chocolate - which is usually the case.

Yield: 4 servings
Parenting Magazine, October 2006

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mini Meatloaves with Tomato-Balsamic Gravy

This is one of my absolute favorite meals. It's a RR, and I serve it with mashed potatoes. It is seriously heavenly, and a huge step up from just plain ole meatloaf.

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground veal
2 cups breadcrumbs
3 sprigs sage,
leaves removed from stems and chopped
1 cup
(about 1 large handful) parsley, chopped
1/2 bunch scallions,
finely chopped on an angle
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pints grape tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO),
for drizzling
1/2 medium red onion, sliced

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 to 1 1/2 cups beef stock

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

In a large bowl, mix ground beef, pork, veal, breadcrumbs, sage, parsley, scallions, Worcestershire sauce, egg, salt and a palmful of freshly ground black pepper.

Using a 6-cup muffin pan, divide the meat mixture into 4 equal parts and scoop the portions into four of the muffin cups. Bake the mini meatloaves until cooked through and golden on top, about 30 minutes.

While the mini meatloaves are cooking, toss the grape tomatoes and onion slices onto a baking sheet along with a drizzle of EVOO, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Once the meatloaves have been in the oven for about 15 minutes, put the tray of veggies in and roast until the onions are caramelized and the tomatoes have burst open, about 15 minutes.

While the tomatoes and onion are roasting away, get the roux started: Melt the butter in a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the balsamic and stock to the pan, whisking to incorporate. Cook until thickened, then remove it from the heat and reserve.

Remove the mini meatloaves and the tomatoes from the oven and set the meat aside to rest for about 5 minutes.

Add the roasted tomatoes and onion to the sauce and break up the veggies with a potato masher. Serve one mini meatloaf per person with a hearty ladle of the tomato balsamic gravy.

Rachael Ray Yields 4 servings

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chicken Picante

{{This is good and fresh tasting... although not the most amazing chicken I've had - it's really easy and simple and uses ingredients that I usually have on hand. It's a great standby meal.}}

4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 c. salsa
1/4 c. Dijon mustard
2 T. fresh lime juice
1/4 c. sour cream
1 lime sliced into 4 wedges
chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix salsa, mustard and lime juice. Put chicken in pan and cover with salsa mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Place chicken on plate and top each breast with 1 T. sour cream, cilantro and lime wedge.

I sometimes serve with black bean, corn and avocado salsa.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tips for Better Whole Wheat Bread

Use white wheat rather than red. It has a milder flavor. I buy Prairie Gold from Wheat Montana Farm & Bakery 1-800-535-2798

I use a Nutrimill wheat grinder. It can be purchased at for $249.95.

Freeze any excess wheat that you grind so you do not lose any of the nutrition.

I make my dough in a bread maker. I bought the Sunbeam Programmable Breadmaker for $42.22 at Wal-Mart.

You can make dough for two loaves in a Kitchen Aid Mixer and six loaves in a Bosch Mixer.

Dough Enhancer really makes a difference in your bread. I use Blue Chip Baker Dough Enhancer that I bought online for $6.99. You can purchase it at

Use the recipe on the back of your dough enhancer. My recipe is:
1 1/3 cups warm tap water
2 tsp dough enhancer
3 Tbsp oats
2 Tbsp dry milk
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp gluten
3 cups whole wheat flour
2tsp yeast

Always start with water in a bread maker. Flour should be second last. Yeast is always last. This is important in a breadmaker.

Add 3 Tbsp of rolled or steel cut oats for added nutrition if you like. You can not taste it and is a way to use up some of that food storage.

Measure your honey after the oil to prevent sticking to your measuring spoon.

Mix the gluten with a cup of flour before adding it to your breadmaker. Gluten is what will keep your wheat bread from becoming crumbly. It also will make lumps of chewy spots if you do not mix it with some four. You can purchase gluten online at for $8.99.

Roll your dough out flat on a plastic cutting board to prevent sticking. I got mine at Sam’s Club for $10. Then roll dough into a loaf and place it in a loaf pan.

Let dough rise for 30 minutes covered with a towel.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes at 350°.

If your crust is too hard lower the temperature of the oven.

Bread bags can be bought online for easier storage at $7.50 for 100.

Warning: If you leave warm bread unattended, this could happen to you!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mel's Award Winning Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, after much persuasion, here it is. Yes, it is award winning (even if it was just a competition at work) and yes, this is the exact recipe. For best results, and a chance at your own award, follow exactly.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup butter flavored Crisco
2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 T vanilla (I only use real vanilla)
2 t salt
2 t baking soda
4 -5 cups flour
1 pkg. Hershey's milk chocolate chips (these are my favorite, although I understand Guittard is an excellent chip)
1 pkg. Hershey's special dark chips (again, you can use your favorite dark or semi-sweet chip)

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment (or the kneading hooks--that's what I use on my Bosch) cream all ingredients except flour. You want to mix this until it is just barely incorporated, in fact, you will still have a few lumps of butter. Add 4 cups of flour, mix. Continue to add flour 1/2 cup at a time until the right consistency is reached (this is all by feel for me). Add chocolate chips. Bake 340* for 7-9 minutes for soft, slightly undercooked cookies; 9-10 minutes for fully cooked (and still soft) cookies.

These are best fresh from the oven in my opinion. I use a cookie scoop to make my cookies. I will scoop and place the dough on a plate or cookie sheet and freeze them. You can then pull frozen, perfectly shaped, dough balls from the freezer and cook for fresh hot cookies anytime.

Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salsa

1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, well rinsed and drained
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
4 avocados, chopped
1 pkg. DRY Italian dressing seasoning (salad dressing isle)
1/4 c. oil, salad or olive
1/4 c . vinegar
2 T. water

Mix and serve. Good if you let it sit mix the flavors - if I do this, I just add the avocados in last so they don't brown.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Wontons or Egg Rolls

1 pound lean sausage (I use Jimmy Dean Regular)
1 egg
1 can (4 1/2 ounce) tiny shrimp
1 can (4 ounce) water chestnuts, finely chopped
3/4 cup celery, finely chopped
4 green onions, finely chipped
1 package wonton skins OR egg roll skins

Brown sausage. Drain off fat. Put in bowl. Mix in egg, tiny shrimp, water chestnuts, celery, and green onions. Put rounded teaspoon sausage mixture on each wonton skin. Wrap. Seal edges with moistened fingers, Deep gry in 365* oil (until golden brown). Remove with slotted spoon. Drain on paper towel in warm oven until ready to serve. You can fry ahead and heat in 450* oven.

Cranberry Meatballs

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law Melanie. When she first gave it too me I thought, "No way am I going to make that, it sounds too weird." But she made it and I tried it and it is GOOD! And, it is SO FAST and EASY, added bonus!!!

1 bag frozen meatballs
1 can cranberry sauce
2 c. spaghetti sauce

Mix together, heat through and serve over rice. Whala, dinner is served.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Vegetable Lasagna

6 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 onion, diced
1 c. (about 2 1/2 oz.) fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 med. zucchini, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. water
1 c. lowfat part skim ricotta or cottage cheese
1/2 c. shredded carrots
1 (9 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
2 egg whites
1 (14 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
3 oz. (3/4 c.) shredded lowfat part skim mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook lasagna noodles to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain; rinse with hot water.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray medium nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, mushrooms, zucchini and garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Add water; cover and cook 3-4 minutes until crisp tender.

In a small bowl combine ricotta cheese, carrot, spinach and egg whites; mix well. In an ungreased 12 x 8 inch (2 quart) baking dish, layer half of cooked noodles, half of sauce, half of mushroom mixture and half of ricotta cheese mixture; repeat layers. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Salmon Bake with Pecan Crunch Coating

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons butter, melted
5 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
3 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
6 (4 ounce) fillets salmon
salt and pepper to taste
6 lemon wedges

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, butter, and honey. In another bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, pecans, and parsley.

2. Season each salmon fillet with salt and pepper. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush with mustard-honey mixture. Cover the top of each fillet with bread crumb mixture.

3. Bake for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at thickest part, or until salmon just flakes when tested with a fork. Serve garnished with lemon wedges.

I served with brown rice and Pancetta Sauteed Haricot Vert with Cherry Tomatoes and Feta from Picky Palate. {though I used regular green beans, sun-dried tomatoes because that's what I had - yummy!}

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Harvest Veggie Whole Wheat Pasta

Really good, fresh taste - and good use of all the summer veggies. When I make this again... I think I'll roast some cherry tomatoes in with the veggies. And I didn't use the mint (to me, it belongs only in my desserts) or the ricotta cheese - and it was still "yum-o"!

1 pound whole wheat penne
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large or 4 small zucchini, chopped into bite-size chunks
1 yellow squash, chopped into bite-size chunks
1 red pepper, chopped into bite-size chunks
1 red onion, chopped into bite-size chunks
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
1/4 cup sliced almonds, blanched and toasted
1 cup basil
3/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup mint
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1 to 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring up to a boil to cook the pasta. Once at a boil, add some salt and the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Right before draining, remove and reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain pasta thoroughly, return to the pot and reserve.

While the pasta is cooking, place chopped zucchini, yellow squash, red pepper and onion on baking sheet. Drizzle the vegetables with 3 tablespoons EVOO, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes or until tender and golden brown.

While vegetables are roasting, place the almonds, herbs, garlic, some salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse the processor while drizzling in the 1/4 cup EVOO. Transfer the pesto to a large mixing bowl and mix in the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Add the cup of reserved pasta-cooking liquid to the bowl and mix it to combine. Add the pasta and the roasted veggies to the bowl and give it a good toss to coat everything with the pesto.

In a small mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

Spoon pasta into 6 dishes and top each dish with dollop of the peppery ricotta mixture.

I served with Garlic Pull Aparts.

Rachael Ray
Serving 6