Thursday, December 30, 2010

Beef Stew


Since I have been under the weather these last few days I wanted to make something easy and a little soupy in hopes of helping my throat.  Didn't really help my throat but it was sure tastey!  I will definately make this again!  Had a hint of tangyness from the cranberry sauce and vinegar and a little heat from the chipotle seasoning.  A real comfort food to warm you up on a cold wintery night.

1 1/2 lbs stew meat
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper, diveded
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 large onion sliced, seperated
oil for browning
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
4 cups water
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 15 oz can cranberry sauce
3 whole bay leaves
2 large carrots, sliced
3 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

1. Heat about 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy duty stockpot.  Brown onions for about 5 minutes, set aside.  Add more oil if needed.

2.  Combine flour, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and garlic in a bowl.  Coat stew meat well, shaking off excess flour.  Brown on all sides in heated oil in small batches.  Set aside on a plate when done.  Add vinegar and water to pan scraping the bits off of the bottom.  Add meat onions, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, cranberry sauce, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer for 1 hour.

3.  Add carrots and potatoes and let simmer for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender.  Serve hot with fresh bread or crackers and enjoy!

Photo from Real Epicurean

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Peppermint Almond Toffee



This is so addicting and dangerous to have around the house...I am trying to lose weight, and this is not helping me! 

1 cup unblanched (skin on) whole almonds

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 (12 oz.) package milk chocolate chips (2 cups)
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

1. Toast almonds by spreading them in a single layer on a plate and microwaving on high for 2-3 minutes (stir after each minute).

2. On foil-lined baking sheet, arrange almonds in a single layer over an area measuring approx. 13x9 inches.

3. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Cook over med-high heat, stirring constantly with a clean, dry wooden spoon till butter is melted. Continue cooking and stirring for approx. 7-10 min. till candy is the color of the brown skin of the almonds; it will start smoking slightly. Immediately pour candy, without scraping pan, over almonds, covering all nuts.  Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the hot candy.  Wait 1 minute and spread the melted chocolate until it is smooth.  Sprinkle with pecans.  Let cool and break into pieces.  Store in a tightly covered container in cool place or refrigerator and as always, enjoy! (Just not too much!)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes


Once again, my weakness...potatoes!  This was very simple too make and it added so much to these lovely spuds.  Great alone, great with gravy, and great for leftovers or to add to your next dish.  Potatoes are very versatile.  They are tough and durable, store well, and have an impressive nutritional content including being a rich source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C.  Like other fruits and vegetables, potatoes are a low calorie food and are free of fat, cholesterol, and sodium, now that is my potato!

1 garlic bulb, end removed
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil
10 potatoes, peeled and quartered
water for boiling
1/4 cup butter
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon Johnny's Seasoning salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Season the chopped off end of your garlic with salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle on olive oil.  Wrap bulb in foil and keep cut end up.  Bake for 30-45 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  When cool enough remove garlic from it's skin.

2.  While garlic is cooking boil potatoes in enough water to cover them.  Boil for 30 minutes and drain. 

3. Melt butter in saucepan, add potatoes, garlic cloves, cream cheese, milk, salt, pepper, and Johnny's Seasoning salt.  Mix with hand held mixer until smooth.  Serve just as is or with gravy over the top for a great accompaniment to any meal, and as always, enjoy!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Crab & Herb Stuffed Mushrooms


Most people cringe at the mention of fungi.  Not me, oh how I love mushrooms, raw, sauteed, in soups, and especially stuffed!  My kids are big mushrooms fans too.  So this was a must for our Christmas dinner, if no one else will eat them, I will be happy to oblige!  Now my husband argues with me that there is no nutritional value in a mushroom, well actually I get that from almost anyone who doesn't care to eat them...sorry for the length of this next part, just proving a point!

* Mushrooms have very less calories and contain approximately 80 to 90 percent water. At the same time, they have low sodium, carbohydrate and fat content and high fiber content. This is the reason why mushrooms are considered good for those aiming for weight loss.

* Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium. In fact, it is said that there is more potassium in a mushroom than a banana. Since potassium helps lower blood pressure and diminished the risk of stroke, mushrooms are recommended to people suffering from hypertension.

* Mushrooms are rich in copper, a mineral that has cardio-protective properties. A single serving of mushrooms is said to provide about 20 to 40 percent of the daily needs of copper.

* Mushrooms are believed to help fight against cancer. They are an excellent source of selenium, an antioxidant that works with vitamin E to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals.

* Researches have suggested that white button mushrooms can reduce the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer. In fact, extract of white button mushrooms has been found to help in diminishing cell proliferation as well as tumor size.

* Shiitake mushrooms comprise of Lentinan, a beta-glucan that has been associated with stimulation of the immune system and thus, is believed to be helpful in fighting against AIDS. It also helps fight infection and exhibits anti-tumor activity.

* Being rich in fiber, protein and Vitamin B, mushrooms help maintain a healthy metabolism.

* It has been found that mushroom extract helps stop migraine headaches and is beneficial for people suffering from mental illnesses, like obsessive-compulsive disorder.

* Oyster mushrooms are said to be useful in strengthening of veins and relaxation of the tendons.
 
So they are not a waste of food after all!  Onto the recipe now...
 
24 white button mushrooms (24 mushroom caps and 1 cup stems, chopped)
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
4 oz softened cream cheese
5 tablespoons imitation (or fresh) crab
3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Wipe the mushrooms clean. Carefully remove the stems from the caps. If the stems break and leave only a small space inside the cap use the end of a spoon to dig out a bit more space. Toss the mushroom caps with 1 tablespoon melted butter and set aside in a large glass baking dish.

2. In a deep saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add the cup of chopped mushroom stems and the minced shallot, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the splash of vinegar, and then add the breadcrumbs, herbs, reserving some for garnish, zest, salt and pepper, cream cheese, and crab and cook for another 3-5 minutes until the breadcrumbs are soft and buttery.

3. Using a small spoon, fill the caps with stuffing. Press the stuffing in with a small spoon. Arrange the stuffed mushrooms on a baking dish, sprinkle each mushroom with a little bit of cheese and bake for 20 minutes, until the juices start to bubble out of the mushrooms. Garnish with herbs, serve and enjoy!

Cheesy Broccoli Gratin


This is pure melt in your mouth goodness!!!  I was so happy how this turned out.  I love broccoli so I may be a little bias...

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon thyme
8 oz cheddar cheese
24 oz frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 400°F.

2.  Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour and cook for a minute or two to get the raw taste out of the flour.  Slowly add milk and whisk till smooth stirring in nutmeg and thyme. Turn off heat and add your shredded cheese stirring till melted. 

3.  Place your broccoli florets in your baking dish and pour cheese sauce over the top.  Sprinkle with panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. 

4.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bacon Cheddar & Chive Mashed Potatoes



Talk about mashed potato heaven...this was sooooo good last night with the Chicken Cordon Bleu we had.  They were creamy and dripped of flavor!  Kinda like a twice baked potato but even better. 

3 lb russet potatoes

5 slices bacon
4 oz cream cheese
1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon dried chives
1 1⁄2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch chunks.  Place in a large saucepan, and add enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and reduce to a simmer.  Cook until tender and easily pierced with a paring knife, about 20 minutes.  Transfer to a colander to drain; return to pan, cover, and set aside.


2.  Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add bacon, and cook until crisp and browned, turning once.  Transfer to paper towels to drain; let cool, and crumble into pieces.

3.  Using a fork, mash the potatoes in pan until light and fluffy.  Add the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream, and stir until combined and smooth.  Add chives, 2 cups cheese, half the bacon, salt, and pepper.  Stir until well combined.

4.  Transfer to a buttered 3-quart baking dish.  Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.  Bake until top is slightly golden and potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven; garnish with remaining bacon. Serve immediately and enjoy immensely!

Photo and recipe addapted from Sippitysup.

Chicken Cordon Bleu


Mmmmm, have made this only one other time before and I am not sure why!  It is fairly easy to prepare and tastes oh so wonderful!  I added some spinach to it this time for a little twist!  Although my daughter turned her nose up at it for that reason!  Someday I will make something with spinach in it that she loves, until they I will have her extra piece of chicken...he he he. 

4 large chicken breasts, deboned and skin removed
4-8 slices of ham (depending on the size)
2 cups steamed spinach
4-8 slices Mozzarella
1 cup flour seasoned with salt & pepper
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1. First of all, you need to flatten your chicken. I find it best to slice the chicken horizontally in half without cutting all the way through when flattening. Place your left hand on the chicken breast and slowly move through the chicken breast with a sharp knife until you’ve butterflied the breast. Remember not to cut all the way through. If you are scared of doing this, you can flatten the entire chicken breast but it’s a bit harder that way.

2.  Now, place your chicken breast in between 2 pieces of cling wrap and pound it with anything you can get your hands on.  Flatten the breast until it’s about 1/2 a cm thick. Set aside.

3.  After steaming the spinach, allow it to cool completely and then lay them out and pat them dry with some kitchen towel.

4.  Place the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs all in separate bowls suitable for dipping and covering. ( For the breadcrumbs and flour a normal dinner plate would also work.)

5.  Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a frying pan and preheat the oven to 375°F.

6.  Now take your chicken breast and place a piece of ham (or 2 if the ham slices are smaller), followed by some Spinach leaves on top. Season the spinach and then place the mozzarella on top. Now carefully roll the chicken breast up.  I secured mine with toothpicks until the were partly fried.

7.  Dip the chicken in the seasoned flour, then the beaten egg and finally the breadcrumbs.

8.  Carefully place the chicken in the hot oil (seam side down) and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a suitable oven dish and pop into the oven for 15-20 minutes.

9.  Personally I like mine with just a squeeze of lemon but you could serve it with any sauce of your choice.  Enjoy!!!

Recipe and photo from Simply Delicious.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Garlic Potato Fries



My husband agrees with me, these are the BEST fries ever!  Baked not fried, so I don't feel so bad eating them, and they use garlic infused olive oil. So yummy!  Definitely will be a most used recipe in my kitchen!  Hope you give it a try soon.

8 garlic cloves, minced
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 russet potatoes (about 8oz each), each cut into 12 wedges
3 tbsp cornstarch/cornflour
1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
 
1. Preheat oven to 440° F.

2. Combine the garlic and oil in a large bowl, warming it until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Transfer 5 tablespoons of the oil (leaving the garlic in the bowl) to the baking dish, coating it well.

4. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the garlic mixture and toss to coat. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and microwave on high power until the potatoes are translucent around the edges, 3 to 6 minutes, shaking the bowl to redistribute the potatoes halfway through cooking.

5. Combine the cornstarch, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the hot potatoes and toss well to coat.

6. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake, turning once, until deep golden brown and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes.

7. Serve with ketchup, mayo or sour cream and enjoy!

Recipe and photo from The Purple Foodie.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dilled Pickle Rolls

These are so yummy I can't get enough of them!  Could be that I absolutely love cream cheese, might have a little part in it...I figured since I was using a dill pickle I would add a little twist to it and add some dill weed to the cream cheese, I am glad I did.  I may even add some garlic powder to it next time and maybe use a different kind of meat instead of the same old ham I always use.  Definitely a nice little appetizer or addition to your Christmas Dinner.

24 slices of honey ham (or your favorite deli meat)
1 (8 oz) of cream cheese, softened
6 pickles, quartered lengthwise
2 teaspoons dill weed

1.  Combine the cream cheese and dill weed well. 

2.  Lay your meat out on a cutting board, spread 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture on each slice.  Place a pickle at the edge of the meat and roll up.  For smaller rolls slice in half.  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Creamy Eggnog


So my daughter and I are avid eggnog fans.  I thought we would try to make our own this Christmas season and I am so glad we did.  Not only are we not getting all those extra preservatives, but we are having fun making it!  At that makes it taste so much better!  My husband doesn't like eggnog but he had a few glasses of this.  Instead of rum I used imitation rum extract and was very pleased with the results.  It is easy to make and well worth the effort and time put into it.

4 eggs
1/3 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon rum extract
ground nutmeg for garnish
cinnamon sticks for garnish

1. In a pan gently beat your eggs adding 1/3 cup sugar and salt.  Gradually stir in milk.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture reaches 160 F or until it coasts the back of a metal spoon. (If you cook it higher you will curdle your mixture.)  Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.  Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.

2. In a large bowl beat the heavy cream and 1 tablespoon till soft peaks form.  Fold into chilled custard.  Stir in rum extract.  Serve garnishing with nutmeg and cinnamon sticks.  Enjoy but don't drink too much!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Creamy Turkey Pot Pie

I cooked a turkey earlier on in the week and have to do something with the left overs, so I made a pot pie.  For a change I added some heavy cream to it and am sure glad I did.  I know it adds so many extra calories, but it was well worth it!  I will definitely be making my pot pies this way again!  Had it with some garlic bread and should have served a salad with it, but I have been eating salad every day for over a week, I was kinda greened out!

2 cups left over turkey, chopped
2 cups turkey gravy
1 zucchini, chopped
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 carrot sliced
4 oz button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 frozen corn
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon garlic granules
2 pie crusts

1.  Preheat oven to 400 F.

2.  Combine all ingredients, mixing well. 

3.  Spoon mixture into pie shell.  Top with remaining shell.  Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Cool slightly before serving and as always, enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pad Thai


Oh how I love Pad Thai.  I was very pleased with how this turned out.  I didn't make it very spicy because of the kids but next time will add a little more heat to it after I take out their portions.  I also made the hoisin sauce from scratch and will post that recipe at the bottom.  It was very yummy.  Way better than the store bought brands.  The one thing I did was use wide rice noodles and because of that I didn't take any pictures, wide rice noodles aren't very pretty!  So next time I will make it with the thinner kind.  Hope you enjoy!

8 oz dried rice noodles
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

3/4 lb shrimp, pork, or chicken
2 tablespoons to 1/4 c vegetable oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon of chili sauce (sriracha)
2 eggs, beaten
4 green onions, thinly sliced
10 oz fresh bean sprouts
3/4 cup ground unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
lime wedges

1. Soak noodles in hot water according to the package directions. Drain.

2. Slice chicken or pork across the grain into thin strips.  Mix fish sauce, sugar, vinegar, and hoisin sauce in a bowl; stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

3. Heat a wok over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil, garlic, and chili. Stir fry until golden. Add meat (not shrimp), and stir fry 2 minutes. Add noodles and toss lightly to coat with oil. Push noodles to one side, and add more oil if necessary. Add eggs; cook until slightly set, then break up into pieces and toss with noodles. Add shrimp if desired, most of the bean sprouts, the green onions, and 1/4 cup of peanuts. Stir fry until shrimp just turns pink - 1-2 minutes. Add sauce and toss to coat.

4. Remove to a serving platter and top with cilantro and remaining peanuts. Garnish with bean sprouts and lime wedges. Serve immediately.


Hoisin sauce

4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey, molasses, or brown sugar
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sweet chile sauce
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Mix together until well blended.

Recipe and photo for Pad Thai from KoKoCooks.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Avocado Fries


When I was making these fries my husband and children, all excited, asked what I was making...when I told them avocado fries they all turned up their noses.  When it came time for diner, my husband who very much dislikes those "green slimy things" tried them and wanted more off of my plate!  Now if I can make something he dislikes into something he wants...now that is an accomplishment!  I thought they were great dipped in ranch.  Although I would think anything with avocado in it is a little taste of heaven...I know some may think I am weird.  Maybe I am. but I am just following my taste buds.  They are creamy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.  I added a little Parmesan cheese before serving.  Sigh... :)  Onto the recipe so you can make this yummy goodness!

Canola oil for frying

1/4 cup flour
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 1/4 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 firm-ripe medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced into 1/2-in. wedges
Grated Parmesan for serving (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 200°. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 in. oil until it registers 375° on a deep-fry thermometer.

2. Meanwhile, mix flour with 1/2 tsp. salt in a shallow plate. Put eggs and panko in separate shallow plates.

3. Sprinkle the avocado slices with the remaining ½ tsp salt. Dip each slice in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, then panko to coat. Set on 2 plates in a single layer.

3. Fry a quarter of avocado slices at a time until deep golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer slices to a plate lined with paper towels. Keep warm in oven while cooking remaining avocados. Sprinkle with salt and a little grated Parmesan.

Recipe from Circle B Kitchen

Chewy Cashew Bars


If you like pecan pie, you will love these.  They are very fast and easy to make.  A great treat for the holidays if you want more than just pie.  But beware, they will go fast!  The recipe I followed called for pecans, but having none and an abundance of cashews I thought I would give it a shot.  I am glad I did.  So is my husband as he just took 5 or 6 bars upstairs, (after already sneaking one earlier!) 

Crust:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 jellyroll pan with aluminum foil.

2. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut the cold butter into cubes and add to flour mixture. Toss and use a pastry blender to cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles crumbs the size of peas. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press into a smooth crust. Poke several holes in the crust with tines of a fork. Bake about 18-20 minutes until light golden brown.

Filling:
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 T unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

3. In a large bowl, beat eggs and add sugar, corn syrup, butter, and vanilla. Whisk together until smooth. Stir in cashews (I reserve a handful to sprinkle on top after it has started to set.)
 
4. Pour filling into pre-baked crust. Return to oven to bake for about 20 minutes until filling is set. Cool on a wire rack until completely cool. Use foil to lift bars out of pan and cut into squares.

Zuppa Toscana


We don't have an Olive Garden here in Anaconda or even anywhere near us so I do miss having this wonderful soup.  It is actually the only thing I eat when I go there.  I am sure they have other good food, I just can't get past this mouth watering soup!  Maybe someday I will try something else on their menu.  My husband is not a soup man, you may have seen me write that before but I think if he tried this soup, he would like it.  I don't think a conversion would happen towards soup, I just think he wouldn't grumble if he knew I was making it!

I have never been one to buy kale, but I did and am so glad for it.  I have been eating about 75-80% raw foods and bought it to put in my salads to try something different.  Can't really taste it in my salads cause I load it down with a bunch of veggies, spinach, tomato, smoked sun dried tomato, sunflower seeds, cucumber, mushrooms, carrots, pumpkin seeds, cilantro, and I am probably missing about 5 or 6 other veggies...but I definitely taste it in this tantalizing soup.  It was so hard not to go back and get a second bowl...

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage
1 onion, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2  cups kale, chopped
6  cups water
3 teaspoons better than bullion, vegetable flavor
1 cup heavy cream

1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat and add the sausage, using a wooden spoon to break the meat into small chunks. Cook the sausage until it’s nice a brown on all sides.  Once browned, remove the sausage from the pot using a slotted spoon and set aside.

2.  With the pot still over medium heat, add the onion and saute until translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper to the pan and cook for a minute more, just until fragrant. Stir in half a cup of water and make sure to scrape up all the brown bits for extra flavor.

3.  Return the sausage to the pot and add the potatoes, kale, water, and better than bullion flavoring. Increase the heat to medium-high to bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Finally, stir in the heavy cream and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Grab a BIG bowl and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from  The Martin Blog

Sunday, December 12, 2010

New York Style Cheesecake


Cheesecake, cheesecake, cheesecake, who doesn't love cheesecake? So yummy and very easy to make. You will definitely enjoy this one!  I made it last month for Thanksgiving and added 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree.  Everyone loved it!  So this is definitely a crowd pleaser and something you can make during this holiday season!


15 graham crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 (8 oz) packaged of cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch spring form pan.

2. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of spring form pan.

3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and them mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving.

Photo courtesy of Chef John at Food Wishes

Friday, December 10, 2010

The BEST turkey rub this side of...well anywhere!


I made this from two recipes that I really liked but couldn't decide on!  So I made the decision to blend and I am sooooo glad I did.  I have never tasted a more flavorful turkey and the gravy was out of this world!  If you have a spare turkey just lying around, you should really try this...or go buy one and try it!  You will thank me for it.  All spices are dried spices, if you want to use fresh use 1/3 of the amount listed.  This amount should be more than enough for a whole turkey under and on the skin.

3 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons pepper
3 teaspoon thyme
3 teaspoons rosemary
6 tablespoons Chef John's Dry Rub
6 tablespoons brown sugar
3 cups water
6 tablespoons lime juice

Mix all ingredients well until there are no clumps.  Left up skin on the turkey breast and any other area you would like the seasoning under the skin.  Then sprinkle on top of the skin generously.  Bake according the directions on the turkey.  When done use your drippings for gravy and enjoy immensely!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Queso Blanco with Hatch Green Chile's and Cilantro


This was my fist attempt at making cheese and I think I am hooked!  It was so easy, fun, and out of this world delicious!  The actually work was so minimal, easier than cooking lunch or dinner is.  So, if you are willing, you will get great results from this.  I am a lover of Mexican food so this is what I wanted to start with.  I flavored it with Green Hatch Chile's from New Mexico, and some dried cilantro, and some salt.  Had it on some nachos for lunch and just got a lot of pleased comments from it.  I think I will try this maybe with an Italian twist as well soon.

1 gallon of whole milk
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1. Start with 1 Gallon of Milk heated slowly to 185F with occasional stirring.  Once the temp is reached add 1/4 cup of White Vinegar while stirring. Add this in 3 equal additions.  You should notice the curds beginning to form and the whey separating as a greenish yellow liquid. Let rest for 5 minutes.  Once the curds begin to form well, stir to keep from matting for another 5 minutes.

2. Spread a sanitized piece of cheesecloth over a colander which is placed over a pan to collect the whey.  Pour the curds and whey into this cloth. Add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt. (You can use the whey to make other cheese such as ricotta cheese.)  Chopped Chile's, spices or herbs can be mixed in also at this point.  Stir the curds gently to increase whey drainage and mix the salt.

3. Tie the four ends of the cheese cloth together and hang for a 5 to 6 hours.  If you have a cheese press hang the cheese for 20-30 minutes and then press with 10 pound for 20 minutes and then press with 25 pounds for 2 to 5 hours depending on how dry you want your cheese.  Your cheese can now be wrapped in waxed paper and refrigerated.  It is now ready to eat!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Rosemary Cashew Biscotti


If you can fall in love with bread...that is what I have done!  My mother-in-law made this biscotti and I can't get enough of it!  I have had rosemary in herbed breads, but never something semi sweet.  Wow is the best word I can say, at least the best I can think of at this second.  I am sure there are many more wonderful words I can use that would describe this delectable treat!  I am not a coffee person so I have been eating these by themselves, but bought some hot chocolate today to try them with.  It has been getting colder here in Santa Fe, so I need something to warm me up.  I think a cup of hot chocolate, biscotti, a blazing fire, and a good book sound like a wonderful idea very soon! 

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons dried rosemary, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
4 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole cashew nuts (or almonds)

1. In a food processor combine flour, sugar, baking powder,dried rosemary and cracked black pepper; process briefly.  With processor running add eggs and vanilla extract; process until dough forms a ball.  Transfer to a large bowl and add cashew nuts blending well.

2. Shape dough into two flat 3 inch wide logs on a large greased cookie sheet or baking pan.  Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.  Remove the rosemary cashew biscotti from the oven.  When cool enough to handle slice logs into 1/2 inch diagonal pieces; place cut side down on cookie sheet.  Bake an additional 15 minutes  or until golden brown.  Cool on racks and store in tins up to 1 month or more.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Creamy Spinach Dip


For the love of something creamy!  If it is full of cream cheese and Parmesan cheese you can never go wrong!  I was asked to make this a month ago, but alas, I forgot.  Now I am going to my ladies bible study at the church and I am bringing the goods!   This is a stove top version of this wonderful recipe.  I wanted something quick and easy to make but that did not lack in flavor, this is definitely it. 

1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed dry of excess water

1 8 0z can water chestnuts
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
splash of olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
3 large cloves crushed garlic
1/2 cup milk
1/4 mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt
lots of fresh cracked black pepper to taste
crusty bread or crackers

1. Over medium heat, heat up large saucepan, then add oil, onions and garlic. Saute until fragrant and light golden brown.

2. Add spinach and water chestnuts and continue to saute till spinach cook together with onions and garlic. Add salt and pepper

3. Add cream cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, mayo and milk. When cheese melts, turn down heat to low.

4. Continue stirring and allow dip to simmer until cheese and rest of ingredients are blended well together.

5. Add additional salt/pepper to personal taste.  Serve warm with bread and/or crackers.

Recipe adapted from WORC

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


So, being close to Thanksgiving I wanted to make some holiday goodies.  Actually I put my daughter Skye to work in the kitchen to make the first batch of these delightful cookies!  I first came across these when my cousin cooked them and gave me some.  I was in heaven!  They are so fluffy and delicious. I love the texture and above all the taste.  Since my kids love chocolate I decided to add some chocolate chips to the batter.  The kids loved them and so do I, that could be dangerous!  I hope you will try these soon.

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 applesauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
(Possible additional 1/3 cup flour depending on thickness)
1. Preheat oven to 365°F.
2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl then mix in the wet ingredients. Add additional flour (up to 1/3 cup) as needed for thickness. *
3.Drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
*You may add chocolate chips or nuts if desired.

Recipe courtesy of Heather McCorkle

Call for venison recipies


Since I now have a freezer full of deer meat I need some recipes!  Of course I know you can always substitute venison for beef, but I am curious if any of you have any yummy recipes that you make with venison only.  So far I have made meatballs, taco's, backstrap steaks (yumm!) and spaghetti.  Please let me know what you would make with it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Venison Meatballs


My husband got a 4 point deer the other day so now my freezer is stocked with venison!  Yeah!  Now to figure out what to cook with it!  I made these delicious meatballs for a potluck tonight.  made about 50 and came home with 5, the only reason they weren't gone was the last person to take some couldn't fit the rest into his container!  So needless to say, they were good.  I was a little concerned when I was cooking them because they didn't smell too wonderful, but after they had been cooking in the slow cooker for a couple hours the aroma was very tantalizing!   So if your caveman has come home with some wild game, don't hesitate to try these.

Meatballs:
1 1/2 lbs ground venison
1/2 c cheese
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon basil
1 1/2 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Sauce:
1 (18 oz) jar grape jelly
1 (12 oz) jar chili sauce
1 (12 oz) jar cranberry sauce

1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.

2. Combine the meat, cheese, egg, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes and bread crumbs till thoroughly mixed and shape into balls.

3. Bake meatballs for 20-25 minutes.  While baking combine jelly, chili sauce, and cranberry sauce with a whisk.  Pour sauce into a slow cooker and turn heat to low.  When meatballs are done cooking in the oven transfer them to the slow cooker and let cook for 4-5 hours on low heat.  Serve warm and enjoy! 



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Herb Encrusted Braided Bread


Saw this recipe on foodgawker and had to try it out.  I am such a lover of bread...sigh...the recipe I came across did not top it with herbs, but since I am also a spice lover, I topped it with a bunch, oh and some garlic.  All of that is optional, but boy did it make the house smell wonderful!  I would make it again just for that lovely aroma.

Apparently everyone else liked it as well cause it is early the next morning and sadly to say...it is all gone!  Guess I will just have to make some more!  This is excellent as sandwich bread, which I made some yummy cranberry chicken spread to go with it.  My daughter hates cranberries so I was surprised that she loved that!  Even wanted more!  It is also great as toast.  I had some this morning with jalapeno jelly, would have been wonderful with cream cheese and jalapeno jelly, but alas, I have none.  But maybe that is a good thing cause I am trying to lose weight!

This bread is a two day process, but well worth the weight I mean wait...

Sponge:

1 cup cool water, about 65°F
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

Dough:

1/2 cup cool water, about 65°F
2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water

1. The Sponge: Combine all of the sponge ingredients, mixing just till a cohesive dough forms. Allow it to rest, covered, for 12 to 16 hours at room temperature. (I put it in my oven with the light on.)  When the sponge is ready, it will be filled with large holes and bubbles.

2.  The Dough: Add the water to the sponge, and mix till smooth. Add the flour, yeast and salt, and knead the dough till it’s fairly smooth but not necessarily elastic, about 3 minutes by machine, or 5 minutes by hand. (The gluten will continue to develop as the dough rises, so you don’t want to develop it fully during the kneading process.)

3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours. To help develop the gluten and distribute the yeast’s food, turn the dough twice during the rising time: gently fold all four sides into the middle, and turn the dough over.

4. Divide dough in thirds, and roll each third into a 20-inch-long rope. Braid ropes. Set the braid on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until just puffy.

5. Preheat oven to 345°F. Gently brush the braid with the beaten egg white mixture and sprinkle generously with your choice of herbs. Place a pan of water in the bottom of the oven and bake bread for 25 to 35 minutes. If you want a crispy crust spray your loaf with water 2 to 3 times while it cooks.  Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Once cool, slice and enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Fake Ginger

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sweet Lemon Drops


We were out of sweets and the girls were craving something so I made them some myself.  I would have preferred "sour" but I didn't have any citric acid on hand but will get some for next time!  Had to try two times because the first time I didn't use my candy thermometer...those turned out to be crystallized sugar.  Second time worked like a charm.

1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon lemon juice (or citric acid if you want sour drops)

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Combine the water, sugar, corn syrup and cream of tartar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture begins to bubble. Wash down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in hot water if sugar crystals have formed on the sides. Clip a candy thermometer to the pan and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 300°F.


2. Remove the pan from the heat. Sprinkle the lemon juice into the sugar syrup and stir to combine. When the bubbling has subsided, use an oiled teaspoon to drop teaspoonfuls of the sugar syrup onto the prepared sheets 2 inches apart to allow room for spreading.


3. To store candies, wrap them in sheets of parchment paper, making sure the candies don’t touch, as they will stick together.

Recipe adapted from The Family Kitchen

Monday, November 8, 2010

Smokin Deviled Eggs


I love eggs, but oh how I love deviled eggs!  All that mayo may not be the best for you calorie wise, but there is just something about that creamy filling that makes me want more and more!  The holidays are coming up and this is definitely going to make the rounds at our table.  This is a very simple and easy recipe for a very simple and easy side dish.

12 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced in half, yolks removed
8 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
Salt & pepper to taste
dash liquid smoke
Smoked Paprika to garnish
Sliced scallions to garnish

1. Mix together egg yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, and liquid smoke till smooth.

2. Place mixture in a zip lock sandwich bag, cutting the tip off of one bottom corner.  Squeeze filling into empty egg shells evenly.  Sprinkle with smoked paprika, if you haven't yet tried smoked paprika I highly recommend you go out and get some, if has such a wonderful taste to it.  Top with scallions, or green onions and chill to time to serve.  Enjoy! 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Blissfull Oatmeal Cookies


Ok so these were so yummy I had to make these twice!  Well...I did tell someone I would bring them some and we ate all of our first batch so I kinda had to make another.  These are very simple and your taste buds will thank you for their wonderful sweetness.  Have alone or with a tall glass of cold milk. 

2/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour

1. Heat oven to 375° F. 

2. Beat all ingredients except oats and flour in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed.  Stir in oats and flour.

3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until light brown.  Remove from oven and let cool 2 minutes then place on a wire rack to cool.  Pour a nice tall glass of cold milk and enjoy!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Truffled Potato Gratin


Now if you are a lover of mushrooms...you will highly enjoy this dish!  I couldn't stop eating it!!!  The combination of potatoes, cream and mushrooms...is out of this world!  OK enough with the exclamation marks, just goes to show you how much I love this side dish!!!!!!  Ok really, I am done with them...I must say that when I say truffles, I don't mean the chocolate things you can never put down after just one, I mean those delectable fungi called truffles. You don't need a lot of them to make it thanks to another wonderful cheese called sottocenere.  If you can't find it at your local store in the specialty cheese section go to a cheese shop and if they don't have it, I am sure they can get some for you. Sottocenere cheese is a semi-soft cheese that is studded with the goodness of truffles.  Now if you want to use truffle mushrooms you can or any wild mushrooms like morel, porcini, chanterelle,  or lobster.  If you can't use those it will still be good with a regular supermarket mushroom.

2 tbsp butter, divided

1 tbsp olive oil
5 cups sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
5 medium russet potatoes, sliced thin
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
6 oz sottocenere cheese, grated
2 cups cream
1 cup chicken broth

1. Slice up your mushrooms.  Heat 1 tablespoon butter and your olive oil a large saute pan on medium high heat.  Saute mushrooms for 15-20 minutes until they are all nicely browned.

2. Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Slice your potatoes very thin, using a vegetable slicer if you have one, so they are of the same thickness.

3. In the bottom of your casserole dish spread with 1 tablespoon of butter and your clove of minced garlic.  Layer with 1/3 of the potatoes, sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme leaves, half your mushrooms, just about half of your cheese, save a little for the top, repeat with another layer, then top with potatoes.

4.  Poor in a cup of chicken stock and 2 cups of heavy cream.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and a bit more thyme.  Top with the remaining cheese.

5. Cover very loosely with foil making sure it is not touching the potatoes.  Bake for 45 minutes, remove foil and continue baking another 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly.  Cool slightly before serving, and enjoy!

Please let me know what you thought of it! A few more exclamations are needed!!!!!

Recipe courtesy of Chef John from Food Wishes.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Asian BBQ Chicken


This is a delicious and totally unique dish. Think of it as Chicken Teriyaki with a South Asian flair...or India meets the other flavors of Asia. Tempted?

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (you'll need 2-3 limes)
11/2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon Garam Masala
3 cloves garlic, minced
11/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated*
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use more or less depending on how much heat you like)
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 scallions (light and dark green parts only), thinly sliced

1. In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients except for chicken and scallions. Set 1/4 cup of the marinade aside and cover (you'll use this later for the sauce), then place the rest in a zip-lock freezer bag with the chicken thighs. Be sure chicken is evenly coated, then place bag in refrigerator (in a bowl in case of leakage); let marinate for 3-4 hours.

2. Preheat grill to high heat.

3. Grease grill. (Lightly dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil; then, using tongs, carefully rub over grates several times until glossy and coated - repeat as necessary.) Place chicken on the grill; cover and cook 3-5 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned and done. Place chicken on serving platter, then top with reserved marinade and sliced scallions. Serve hot.

Recipe and photo credits to Once Upon A Chef.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Yummy Yakisoba


It's important to know, first of all, that making yakisoba is done in three steps.

1. Frying the meat
2. Steaming the veggies, and
3. Frying the noodles.

Most recipes that I've read would have you preparing everything all in one pan. Sure, eventually it all ends up in one pan but the preparation is really done in three stages.

1 lb chicken (or beef, or any other kind of meat you have)
5 slices bacon, chopped small
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 onion, sliced thickly and separated
2 cups cabbage, chopped
2 carrots, sliced thin
1/2 cup sweet mini peppers, sliced
2-3 Green onions, white parts, sliced
Canola oil for frying
1 package Yakisoba noodles
Yakisoba sauce to taste

1.  Fry bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium heat, when browned add your sliced chicken pieces and cook till golden brown and slightly crispy.  Remove meat and set aside. Leave the grease in your pan.

2.  Cook noodles according to package directions.  (If you can not find yakisoba noodles I have used top ramen noodles before with great results.)  While noodles are cooking steam your vegetables excluding the green onions, You want them slightly crispy and not mushy.  When done drain noodles.

3.  In your large skillet, or wok if you are blessed to have one, add a little canola oil to the bacon grease left in the pan and heat to medium high heat.  Add drained noodles and green onions and begin to fry them, tossing gently. Add yakisoba sauce to taste, making sure to coat the noodles but don't drench them!   Add your meat and steamed veggies, mix and heat through.  Serve warm and enjoy!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Bread That Will Melt In Your Mouth!


I was craving something sweet, and wanted to put something different in my hubby's lunch, after searching the cupboard I came across a can of pumpkin puree and my gears started turning!  This bread is so moist and yummy and sweet, not overly sweet, but just the right amount.  I hope you make this soon and enjoy it as much as I did!

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 15 oz can pumpkin

1. Preheat your oven to 350º F, grease two loaf pans and set aside.

2. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a bowl.  Mix well and set aside.

3. In a large bowl cream your butter and sugar with an electric mixer until blended.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Continue beating until very light and fluffy.  Beat in pumpkin till combined.

4. On low beat in flour mixture, pour batter into pans and bake 65-75 minutes.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool on a wire wrack completely.  Serve and let it melt in your mouth...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kung Pao Chicken

Maybe I am just on an Asian cuisine kick, but I can't get enough of it lately!  Today is a post from a blog that I follow Food Wishes.  It is a video recipes blog that I really like and suggest you to check out!  I will make this for dinner tonight and am expecting great things! 

I will probably have to make it pretty mild for my kids, then I will add a little more heat for my husband and myself!  I just love Asian food.  I plan on sauteing up some additional veggies on the side because you can never get enough of those!  Thanks, and enjoy!




1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts. cut into 1-inch cubes
For the marinade:
1 tablespoon white wine (substitute with white grape juice if you don't use wine)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
white parts from 3-4 green onions, chopped
For the sauce mixture:
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons white wine (substitute with white grape juice if you don't use wine)
1 tablespoon soy sauce, or to taste
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon Asian chili paste (sambal), or more to taste
2 teaspoons ketchup
4 cloves minced garlic
Other ingredients:
2 tablespoons peanut vegetable oil for frying
2 cups cubed zucchini
1 cup cubed red bell pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoon water
1/4 cup green onion tops, chopped
handful roasted, salted peanut halves
4 cups cooked white rice

Photo's and recipe courtesy of Food Wishes

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Steak Egg Rolls


Made these along with cream cheese & mushroom won tons for dinner last night.  Everyone went nuts over them, my husband even thinks I have perfected them!  It feels so good when you make something that everyone at the table loves.  I just wish I would have made more cause the leftovers are already gone!  My lovely daughter helped in assembling these which was a big help, thank you Skye.

1 lb sirloin steak, finely diced
2 tablespoons oil, divided
2 cups cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 package of egg roll wrappers
Oil for frying

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in skillet on medium-high, saute steak till well browned.  Remove from pan. Add remaining oil and saute cabbage, carrot, and green onion.  Add seasoning and oyster sauce and combine well.  Add to meat mixture and let cool.

2. Working with one egg roll wrapper at a time place your wraps on a clean surface so that the points are up and down and left and right (should appear as a diamond, not a square).  Place 2 tablespoons of the filling onto the rolls.  Take the bottom point of your wrap and fold it over top of the filling. Fold the sides in towards the middle and roll the filling towards the top point of the wrapper.  To prevent the egg roll from unwrapping in the deep fryer you need to seal the seams, this also prevents oil from filling the inside of the egg roll.  Place some water in a small dish or bowl.  Dip your finger into the water and use this as glue to seal the top point of your wrap and any openings where you feel the wrap needs to be glued together.

3. Heat oil for frying in a large pot om high heat.  Fry egg rolls 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve with chili sauce of soy sauce and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Buttery Flaky Pie Crust


My no fail recipe for pie crust.  I usually use this to make chicken pot pie, apple pie, or my occasional berry pie! 

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
1/4 cup ice water
(double recipe to make top crust)

1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.


2. Roll dough out to fit a 9 inch pie plate.  Place crust in pie plate.  Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Smoky Chicken and Tortilla Soup


It is one of those cold days that calls for soup!  It is definitely fall here and soon to be winter with lots of snow and freezing weather!  So I think this soup is fitting for the weather!

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 green onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken broth
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 bag frozen corn
1 large chicken breast
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 lime (one extra for garnish)
1 handful cilantro, chopped
4-5 corn tortillas, cut into strips
1 avocado, diced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
cheddar or jack cheese, shredded
sour cream

1. Sautee onion in olive oil until soft, then add garlic, green onions, cayenne, chili powder, and cumin. Sautee until fragrant (a minute or two). Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Add tomatoes, corn, black beans.


2. Grill up chicken spiced with cayenne, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. (You can also pan-fry it, but it won’t add the smokiness that the bbq does). Cut up or shred chicken and add it to the soup. Try the soup and add more seasonings according to taste, if needed. Add lime juice, cilantro, and avocado.

3. In large fry pan over medium-high heat, crisp up tortilla strips. Add salt. You may do this with oil or cooking spray.

4. Serve soup garnished with cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips, fresh cilantro, and a lime wedge. Enjoy!

Photo credits Vittle Ante recipe adapted from This Week For Dinner

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Oven Roasted Cauliflower with Asiago Cheese


I always thought my family didn't like cauliflower, that is until I roasted it.  I love it and didn't make a whole lot because I figured I would be the only one eating it!  But boy did my portion get way smaller when I served this!  The kids and my hubby gobbled this up quicker than anything else on the table!  I guess this is how I will be making this vegetable from now on.   

1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 ½ pounds), cut into florets
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons grated Asiago cheese
A few sprigs fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

1. Set rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, combine cauliflower florets with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.

3. Roast cauliflower florets on baking sheet until tender and golden brown, about 20-30 minutes, stirring a few times to promote even browning . (Keep an eye on it; you want the florets to develop deep golden spots. If it looks like they're getting too dark, turn oven down to 425 degrees.) Sprinkle with grated cheese, then taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Transfer to serving dish and garnish with parsley. Serve and enjoy!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Apple Toffe Dip


I had a sweet tooth, but at the same time wanted to be good...so I combined the two together!  The kids loved it!  I am a big cream cheese fan so I really wanted to try out this recipe and I am glad I did.  The sweetness of the dip and the crunch of the apple and toffee bits went together very well.  I also sprinkled some sea salt on my apples first to give it the sweet and salty taste so many people love.  This is great for a fall treat for the kids or even at a party. 

8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz toffee bits
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the cream cheese, brown sugar, white sugar and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until well blended.  Stir in the toffee bits.  Slice up your favorite apples and dip away! Granny Smith’s are my favorite…the sour with the sweet is simply delicious!

Photo and recipe courtesy of This Week For Dinner

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Veal Stew-Blanquette de Veau


I bought some veal for the first time from the store the other day.  Wasn't quiet sure what to do with it, searched the internet and found this recipe, tweeked it a little and come up with this WONDERFUL dish!  If you don't have veal and you only have regular stew meat, go ahead and try it anyways!  You won't regret it!

2 lbs veal, cut into 2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 onion, chopped largely
1 clove
1/2 lb mushrooms, quartered
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon parsley
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 whole cloves of garlic, sauteed
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons beef bullion granules
4 cups water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat, sauteed whole garlic cloves, remove and brown veal on all sides.  Add water, onion, clove, mushrooms, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, pepper, salt, garlic cloves, Worcestershire sauce, and beef bullion.  Combine and simmer for 45 minutes.

2. Strain meat, onions, and mushrooms and set aside, reserving liquid.

3. Place liquid back in the dutch oven.  Add heavy cream and lemon juice.  Combine cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water.  Whisk into the stew sauce and stir till thickened.  Serve over veal, with mashed potatoes, fresh bread, and sauteed carrots for a delicious meal!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuna Stuffed Shells

To make your tuna sing, follow this amazing recipe!  Don't be intimidated by the list of ingredients, most of it I am sure you already have! 

For the sauce:

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups cold milk
pinch cayenne
pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese (if you don't have try with Gouda or Provolone)
20 cooked jumbo pasta shells

For the filling:
1 tablespoon reserved olive oil from tuna jar
1/2 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/2 cup green peas
*1 jar Tonnino Ventresca Tuna in Olive Oil, drained
2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese (if you don't have try with Gouda or Provolone)
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
pinch of cayenne
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. To start your sauce, combine your butter & flour over medium till it forms a paste, cook for 3 minutes.  Whisk in the cold milk, add cayenne, nutmeg, and salt to taste.  Bring to a simmer.  When it starts to bubble, turn off, whisk in oregano and Fontina cheese, stir in and set aside.

3. Boil 20 jumbo shells according the the directions on the package. Drain, rinse, and set aside. 

4. Drain your tuna, but keep the olive oil!!!  Use that oil to saute your onions.  Once they are soft add garlic, diced red pepper, and saute till soft. 

5. Place peas in a bowl and add the onion, garlic, and pepper mixture.  Add tuna to this, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and Fontina cheese, beaten egg, and whole milk ricotta cheese.  Add cayenne and mix well. 

6. Use a nice rounded tablespoon full and fill your shells with the filling. 

7. Take 1/3 of your sauce and coat the bottom of your pan with it.  Lay you shells in and top with the rest of the sauce.  Dust with Parmesan and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve with some warm bread and a green salad and enjoy!

Recipe and photo courtesy of Chef John at Food Wishes

Friday, October 1, 2010

Chicken French

This is another delicious way to dress up some chicken breast.  It is very moist and full of flavor!  A must try soon at your table!

Ingredients for about 4-6 portions:
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
4 eggs, plus 2 tablespoon milk, beaten
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
cayenne to taste
2 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon butter for sautéing

For the sauce:
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup good cooking wine  (or chicken stock)
1 cup vegetable broth or chicken stock
4 tablespoon cold butter, cut in cubes
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

1. In a dish season your flour with the salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.  Mix and set aside.  In another bowl whisk your eggs and milk together and set aside.

2. Fillet or pound thin your chicken breast pieces.  Dredge your chicken in the seasoned flour very well on both sides.  Dip in the egg mixture and coat well.

3. Melt you 2 tablespoons of butter and olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.  Once the butter melts, place the chicken in the pan and cook on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on how think your chicken is sliced.  Let brown but not too brown or the egg coating will become bitter.  Remove chicken and set aside.

4. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into pan, add cooking wine or vegetable/chicken stock.  Reduce sauce by half by eye.  When it is reduced, turn the heat off and toss in your butter.  Keep moving it till the butter melts.  Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste.  Place chicken back in sauce to heat through about 1-2 minutes.

Recipe and photo from Food Wishes

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Aunt Ellie's Potato Salad

4 large potatoes
4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dill relish
1 tablespoon hot sauce
Green onions to garnish

1. Scrub potatoes and boil till tender.  Drain and let cool. 

2.  Combine mayonnaise, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, dill relish, and hot sauce in a large bowl.  Add potatoes and eggs to mixture and add more seasoning to taste if desired.  Top with green onions and refrigerate overnight.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hush Puppies

2 cups corn meal
3/4 cup self rising flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon chipotle seasoning
1 teaspoon pepper
1 onion, minced
1 habenero pepper, minced
1 pablano pepper, minced
1 carrot, minced
1/2 zuchinni, minced
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
5 dashes Tabasco Sauce
4-6 cups oil for frying

1. Heat oil in a deep fryer or a large skillet to 350 degrees or medium-high.

2. Combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, chipotle seasoning, pepper, onion, habenero, pablano, carrot, and zuchinni. Toss well.

3. Whisk together the egg, milk, and tabasco sauce and stir into cornmeal mixture.

4. Drop by the tablespoonful into the hot oil.

5. Fry until golden brown on all sides, remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

6. Serve HOT! (Don't worry, it is not spicy!)

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