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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Thai-Style Stir-Fried Noodles (and others)

Does anybody still look at this? I reference it all the time, but haven't added anything in awhile, so I thought I'd share some new favorites I've found. My friend, Chelsea, started a food blog as a place to store and organize all her recipes. She is trying new stuff all the time and if it makes it to her blog, you know it's good. Here are some of my favorites that I've tried. I've been trying to make more ethnic food lately to change things up so that's why they are all Eastern dishes.

Chicken Tikka Masala - If you like Indian food, this is a must. I left out the jalepeno and cayenne pepper so my kids would eat it. I made naan using this recipe to go with it. Super easy and so delicious.

Asian Chicken Strips - Quick, easy, crowd pleaser.  Made this last night and my kids loved it. This is a simple meal that can be dressed up with vegetables and/or a salad.

This one isn't on her blog, but was given to me by the same friend. I was complaining about having bought fish oil for a new recipe (that was not a winner) and not knowing what else to do with it, so she gave me this recipe. It uses a few strange ingredients (fish oil, oyster sauce, rice noodles), but you can find them all in the asian section and they aren't terribly expensive. I actually didn't bother with the chili vinegar and it was still amazing.


Thai-Style Stir-Fried Noodles

Chili Vinegar

  • 1/3 C white vinegar
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
Stir Fry
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut against the grain into 1/4 in thick slices
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 8 oz 1/4 in wide rice noodles
  • 1/4 C veggie oil
  • 1/4 C oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar (or just regular brown sugar works fine too)
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 10 oz broccolini, florets cut into one inch pieces stalks in 1/2 in pieces (or way more and different variety of veggies - I used carrots, bean sprouts, red peppers, regular broccoli)
1. For chili vinegar: Combine vinegar and serrano in bowl. Let stand at room temp for at least 15 minutes.
2. Combine chicken with 2 Tbsp water and baking soda in bowl. Let sit at room temp for 15 mins. Rinse chicken in cold water and drain well.
3. Bring 6 C water to boil. Place noodles in large bowl. Pour boiling water over noodles, Stir, then soak until noodles are almost tender, about 8 mins, stirring once halfway through soak. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well and toss with 2 tsp oil.
4. Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, molasses, and fish sauce together in bowl.
5. Heat 2 tsp oil and garlic in 12-in nonstick skillet over hight heat, stirring occasionally until, until garlic is deep golden brown 1-2 mins. Add chicken and 2 tbsp sauce mixture, toss to coat, and spread chicken into even layer. Cook, without stirring, until chicken begins to brown, 1 to 1 1/2 mins. Push chicken to 1 side of skillet. Add 2 tsp oil to cleared side of skillet. Add eggs to clearing. Using rubber spatula, stir eggs gently and cook until set but still wet. Stir eggs into chicken and continue to cook, breaking up large pieces of egg, until eggs are fully cooked, 30-60 seconds. Transfer chicken mixture to bowl.
6. Heat 2 tsp oil in a now-empty skillet until smoking. Add broccolini and 2 Tbsp sauce and toss to coat. (Here is where you can throw in other veggies either veggies that take the same amount of time to cook or you may want to start with veggies that take longest and add in other in order of what takes longest to shortest time to soften) Cover skillet and cook for 2 mins, stirring once halfway through cooking. Remove lid and continue to cook until broccolini is crisp and very brown in spots, 2-3 mins, stirring once halfway through cooking. Transfer broccolini to bowl with chicken mixture.
7. Heat 2 tsp oil in now-empty skillet until smoking. Add half noodles and 2 Tbsp sauce and toss to coat. Cook until noodles are starting to brown in spots, about 2 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Transfer noodles to bowl with chicken mixture. Repeat with remaining 2 tsp oil, noodles and sauce. When second batch of noodles is cooked, add contents of bowl back to skillet and toss to combine. cook, without stirring until everything is warmed through, 1-1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to platter and serve, passing chile vinegar separately.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Banana Bread

This was a great version of banana bread that I don't want to forget.

Directions

  1. Grease 1 large loaf pan.
  2. Cream margarine, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
  3. Add dry ingredients, then bananas, nuts and sour cream.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 1 hour.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Jamba Juice Mango-A-Go-Go Copycat Smoothie

Jamba Juice Mango-A-Go-Go Copycat
Ingredients
  • 2 cups natural orange juice (or you can do 2 cups water and 1 orange peeled)
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 cups organic frozen mango chunks
Instructions

In a Vitamix blender, add ingredients in order listed. Blend on high until smooth and slushy.

Caribbean Passion Smoothie

HEALTHIER CARIBBEAN PASSION SMOOTHIE (JAMBA JUICE COPYCAT)
 
Author: 
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups Orange Juice
  • 2 cups frozen peaches
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 frozen banana
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
NOTES
If you use fresh strawberries or peaches instead of frozen add ice. But be sure to use a frozen banana!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

My favorite green smoothie!



This is a good one. My kids even love it.

I use the Wide jar with my Blendtec for the recipe and it makes 2 XL glasses and 3 mini ones for the kids. Feeds the whole fam! :)

Stuff blender with LOTS and LOTS of greens. All the way full! I buy bags at Costco and put them in the freezer so they don't go bad.

This part is key...it hides the taste of the greens and there is awesome health benefits to eating ginger and lemon.
Add a few cups of water
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 T. fresh ginger
1 dropper of stevia

BLEND very well!

Add:

Frozen Banana
Frozen Strawberries
Frozen Pineapple

Vu-alla!

Variations:

Substitute banana with half a can of coconut milk

or
Substitute pineapple with an orange

Robyn's Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie



1 1/2 cups coconut water (fresh or canned/boxed)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large carrot, halved
1/2 medium raw beet, peeled
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup chopped dates (or 4 – 5 large, pitted dates)
1 tbsp. protein powder (optional)
12 frozen strawberries

Place all ingredients in blender and run on High speed for 50 seconds (“Whole Juice” cycle with a Blendtec).  Additional blending time is fine if strawberries aren’t completely incorporated into the smoothie.

Blueberry-Orange Smoothie



This is a great smoothie for people starting out with greens in their smoothies. Even though I'm not starting out, I have it all the time because it's my personal favorite!


- big handful of spinach
-2-3 peeled oranges
-1 peeled banana
-approx a cup of frozen blueberries
-1 small container of blueberry (or plain) greek yogurt
-water/ice to get the consistency you would like

*BLEND & ENJOY.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Penne Pasta Bake

This dish is crazy easy and devoured by all.

1 box of penne
1 jar of marinara sauce
1 jar of a quality Alfredo  sauce - I have found that all Alfredo sauce is not created equal. Skip the value brands and go for a good quality sauce. I like new the Newmans brand.
2 cups of mozzarella cheese-divided
Parmesan to top

Cook the pasta as directed on the box. In a large bowl mix marinara and alfredo, add the hot pasta and combine. Add 1.5 cups of cheese and stir it until the cheese is evenly distributed. Pour into a 9X13 baking dish and top with the remaining cheese and grated Parmesan. Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted and bubbly, maybe 20-30 minutes but I really don't know the exact. I just watch it.


Creamy Tomato Soup




Ingredients:
2 quarts of canned tomatoes (diced or whole)
1 garlic clove
1/4 onion
2 1/2 t. Knorr Caldo con sabor de Pollo (Chicken Flavor Bouillon) (this can be found in the mexican section of most grocery stores, Walmart and Costco) I am sure you can use chicken bouillon cubes as well.
1-2 quarts of milk
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
basil, oregano, pepper to taste

Instructions: 

There is no exactness to this - you have to do it to taste, desired thickness, and desired amount - it can be easily halved. This amount easily serves 10 people.

Place tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil, oregano, and chicken bouillon in blender on high. Allow to run for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy bottomed pan on med-high. Add flour and mix, making a nice roux. This may need more or less flour. You want a thick paste (almost too thick) consistency. While stirring, allow to cook for a few minutes, taking care not to burn. Place sieve over pan, and pour tomato mixture into roux, straining out all seeds. Quickly stir into roux, making sure to
eliminate any lumps. Continue stirring until entire mixture is smooth, heated, and on the brink of 
boiling. Add milk (once again - to taste and desired thickness), stirring constantly. Heat stirring constantly, but do not bring to a boil (this will curdle the milk) and serve. Season with pepper and fresh basil to taste. 

You can garnish with Parmesan or mozzarella cheese or I like to serve this with mozzarella grilled cheese sandwiches. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A few of my favorite "challenge" recipes

Here are the recipes I told those doing the "challenge" that I would post for you... some of my favorites!

CHEWY GRANOLA BARS:
1 cup peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, or your favorite nut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup flaxseed (you can omit this and do 1 cup of coconut instead of 1/2)
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, optional (if you're doing the challenge make sure you use a "challenge worthy" chocolate chip)

In a medium pot set over medium-low heat, melt together nut butter, honey, and coconut oil, stirring until smooth. Remove from stove and stir in oats, coconut and flaxseed. Pour mixture into a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Spread into an even layer, sprinkle with mini chocolate chips, and firmly press down with the back of a spatula or clean hands. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Slice into squares or bars (I like to cut 3 rows of 6 bars each) and remove from pan. Store in refrigerator.


HONEY "CARAMEL" POPCORN
6 cups natural popcorn, popped
1/8 c coconut oil
1/8 c honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Pop popcorn.  Melt oil and honey together, then add vanilla and salt.  Coat popcorn with mixture.

PEANUT SAUCE STIR FRY
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 box wheat linguini
16 oz bag stir fry vegetables
1/4-1/2 cup chicken broth
Cooked cubed chicken (if desired)

Melt together peanut butter, milk, soy sauce, honey, lime juice, and garlic.  Spray large pan and dump veggies in.  Cover and cook on med-hi for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, cook linguini.  Once veggies are tender, add prepared peanut sauce and then broth slowly (stop when you reach desired consistency of sauce).  Add chicken, if desired.  Turn heat to low and cook until warms through.  Toss in linguini.

BLACK BEAN SALAD
2 tomatoes, diced
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
2 chopped avocados
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Toss all together in a bowl and enjoy!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Southwest Rice and Bean Salad


 Let me tell you, this stuff is AMAZING! My sister in law made it for me when I had Jonah. I was eating it and thought I must have had five days of hospital food because this stuff is unreal. But I have made it again and again and it just really is that good. Anyone I make it for raves and chows it down. As one of the missionaries said the other day, "I thought I thought I was going to  hate that but it was like the best thing I've ever had". Have I convinced you yet, let me finish by saying it comes together really fast and easy, make great for left over and did I mention it is delish! 

:side note, it is called salad, yet its a warm dish, you figure that one out:

Ingredients
    Salad:
  • 5 cups cooked rice, warm or at room temperature (white, brown, wild rice or a combination!)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
  • 1 (12-oz.) can corn, drained
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 4 pickled jalepeno pepper rounds (found in the glass jars next to the olives, usually)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
Directions
  1. Combine all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Combine dressing ingredients in blender until peppers are finely minced. Toss with salad. Serve warm or at room temperature.
    Now this is the strange ingredient of the batch. But don't be afraid and skip it. They are not hot and adds a great flavor. And trust me, once you make this, you will have not problem using up the whole jar. Fun fact: this company is a client of Jons-true story.

    I think all my current favorite recipes include this beauty.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pasta Al Forno

As mentioned this is a great go-to dish when making meals for someone. I often double it, or just freeze half so I have a meal for another day...Marianne made this for me after I had Raleigh, she was given the recipe by Natalie Paul. This is my version, I believe Natalie makes her own marinara so the original is a bit different.

PASTA AL FORNO


1 jar of your fav. marinara (I use Newman's Own Marinara)
1 box penne pasta
1/2 lb ground beef
fresh mozzarella

White sauce:
1/4 c butter
1/4 c flour
2 1/4 c milk
pinch nutmeg
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)

Start water boiling for penne, then make white sauce in separate pan: Melt butter. Then add milk, and flour. Whisk constantly until boiling. Once boiling turn temp. down to simmer for 20 min, stirring occasionally. Let cool 10 min.

Cook penne and drain. Brown meat and drain, then mix in marinara sauce w/ meat.

In a 9X13 casserole dish layer penne, white sauce, a couple handfuls mozzarella, then marinara/meat and mix all together. Top with mozzarella (I always put a little shredded parmesan on top too!) and cook uncovered 25 min @ 350 or until a bit crispy on top and heated all the way through.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Milk conversion chart


I found this on line when I needed whole milk and only had skim and half and half. Ridiculously handy, I would say!!! 
Add the following to 1 cup of skim milk to approximate 1 cup of
1.5t heavy cream= 1% milk
1T heavy cream= 2% milk
2T heavy cream= whole milk
5T 1t heavy cream= half-&-half
9T heavy cream= light cream
1T light cream= 1% milk
1T 2t light cream= 2% milk
3T light cream= whole milk
5 oz light cream= half-&-half
2T half & half= 1% milk
3T half & half= 2% milk
4T half & half= whole milk

Friday, October 25, 2013

Death by Chocolate Cheesecake

My sister-in-law introduced me to this cheesecake. It is super, super rich so make at your own risk! I used dark chocolate cocoa powder, but I don't know that it would change the flavor that much.
 
Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake
 
Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake
Yield: Serves 8-10
Note: This cheesecake needs to be chilled overnight so plan ahead! The good news is this cheesecake can be made all the way through the topping, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving. It is preferable to let the cheesecake stand at room temperature 1-2 hours before serving.

Ingredients
    Crust:
  • 9-ounce package of chocolate cookies (such as chocolate wafers, graham crackers or teddy grahams)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  •  
    Filling:
  • 10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (use the best quality you can afford – I love the Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chips and I’m not ashamed to admit I buy them in bulk, often, at Sam’s Club)
  • 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 large eggs
  •  
    Topping:
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Chocolate curls for garnish (I use this method)
Directions
  1. For crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan with 3-inch-high sides (or use a 10-inch springform pan with 2-inch sides). Process the chocolate cookies in a food processor (or the old-fashioned way with a bag and a rolling pin) until they are finely ground. Transfer them to a small bowl and mix in the sugar. Add the melted butter and mix until well combined. Press the crumbs evenly onto the bottom only of the prepared pan. Bake just until set, about 5 minutes. Cool while preparing filling. Keep the oven heated at 350 degrees.
  2. For filling: Melt the 10 ounces of chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler until melted and smooth. Cool the chocolate until lukewarm but ensure that it is still warm enough to be pourable. In a large bowl (or with a stand mixer), blend cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Mix in lukewarm chocolate. Pour the cheesecake filling over the crust; smooth the top. Bake until the center is just set and just appears dry, about 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of cake to loosen. Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
  3. For topping: One hour before serving (or up to 3 days ahead of time), stir cream, 6 ounces chocolate, and sugar in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly. Pour over the center of the cheesecake, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edge and filling any cracks. Chill until the topping is set, about 1 hour.
  4. When ready to serve, release the springform pan sides. Transfer the cheesecake to a platter. Top with chocolate curls. It is preferable to let the cheesecake stand at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving.
Original source: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2010/10/decadent-chocolate-cheesecake.html

Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash & Quinoa


I found this on Pinterest and made it for the first time a few weeks ago. It was so good I've already made it again! It's got all the elements for comfort food, but is low in calories so you don't have to feel guilty eating it. I am not an olive fan, so I left those out, but here is the original recipe.



Serves 6
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded & chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup pitted and quartered kalamata olives
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
Instructions
  1. Steam the butternut squash until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Remove half of the squash pieces and set aside.
  2. Steam the remaining squash until very tender, an additional 4 to 6 minutes. Mash this squash with the back of a fork. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring the chicken broth to a simmer.
  4. Add chicken thighs, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer the chicken thighs to a plate and allow to cool. Pour broth into a medium-sized bowl.
  6. Return the saucepan to the stovetop and lower heat to medium. Add olive oil.
  7. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is starting to turn brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. Add the salt, minced garlic and oregano. Cook, stirring, for 1 additional minute.
  9. To the saucepan, add tomatoes, butternut squash pieces, mashed butternut squash. Stir to combine.
  10. Stir in reserved chicken broth and quinoa. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa turns translucent, about 15 minutes.
  11. Shred the chicken with your fingers or a fork.
  12. Stir the chicken, olives and pepper into the stew and simmer, uncovered, to heat, about 5 minutes.
  13. Stir in parsley and serve.
Original source: http://www.cookincanuck.com/2011/11/hearty-chicken-stew-with-butternut-squash-quinoa-recipe/

Notes
Calories 329 / Total Fat 14.1g / Saturated Fat 1.0 / Cholesterol 15.2mg / Sodium 1209mg / Total Carbohydrates 32.8g / Fiber 5.4g / Sugars 3.0g / Protein 19.4g / WW (Old Points) 7 / WW (Points+) 9

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Broccoli Bites w/ dipping sauce





This is a new way to eat broccoli and I love it. Don't skip the sauce...it's the best part! 
*From the Unconventional Kitchen. 


Ingredients:

1 lb broccoli, chopped in small bit- sized pieces
1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded (I used mozzarella)
1/2 c. parmesan cheese, shredded 
3 eggs
1 c. almond flour
1 t. oregano
salt & pepper to taste   

Method:
Preheat oven to 375F. Mix all ingredients except for the broccoli in a medium sized bowl.

Next toss in the broccoli. It helps to use your hands to roll the pieces of broccoli in the mixture into little bite sized balls. Place balls on lightly greased parchment paper.

Put them in the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes, or until brown. Serve with the tasty Maple-Dijon Dipping Sauce.
Sauce:

6 T sour cream
2 T pure maple syrup
1 T Dijon mustard
1 T fresh lemon juice
salt to taste

 

Method:

Simply whisk all the ingredients together and you have yourself an awesome sauce. Kids love dipping so that is what makes this sauce extra fun. 



Monday, April 15, 2013

Chicken Spaghetti

 

This is a kid favorite. I remember eating it often at my aunts house. I loved it then and now that I have the recipe from her, my kids gobble it up as well. It makes a lot. You could easily split it or it is one of those good left over meals.

1 Cube Butter
8 Tablespoons Flour
4 Cubes or 4 Teaspoons of Chicken Bouillon- Dissolved in 2 Cups of Water
2 Cups of Milk
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
5-6 Chicken Breasts-cooked and shredded

Melt the butter in a pot, whisk in flour. Add boullion water and milk. Cook until thick, like alfredo consistency. Finish be adding garlic powder and chicken. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over spaghetti. 3/4-1 box is about how much you need for that much sauce.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Kale & Craisin Salad with Feta

Don't discount this because of the name. Kale is awful tasting, trust me, I've tried to talk myself into eating it raw because it is CRAZY good for you. If it is not hidden in something is pure torture to eat(I think so anyways) That is what is so great about this recipe. It is raw kale that actually tastes good. My sister in law made it and I went back for seconds.....then thirds.......then finally just grabbed the big bowl when everyone else was finished and cleaned it out.

INGREDIENTS:
1 bunch kale
3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt or sea salt
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup dried cranberries/craisins
3/4 cup small-diced apple
1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds(I don't think these were in the one I had, so it or leave it)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup crumbled Feta cheese
DIRECTIONS:
Wash the kale and pat it dry. Slice off the stiff stems below the leaves and continue slicing the stem away from the leaf until you have cut a thin v-shape into the kale leaf and removed the tough stem all the way up. Stack the kale leaves two or three at a time, roll them up, and slice the leaves into thin ribbons.
Place the kale ribbons in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and massage it into the kale with your hands for two minutes. You’ll notice the kale start to turn a darker green and the texture of the kale will begin to soften a bit.
Toss in the red onions, craisins, apples, and sunflower seeds. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and sugar. Pour over the salad and toss. Sprinkle feta cheese over the top and serve. The salad can be refrigerated for up to a day before serving (if doing this, I would suggest refrigerating the salted kale separately from the other ingredients and tossing the salad together an hour or two before serving).

Monday, March 4, 2013

Creamy Tomato Tortellini Soup

ALL of my kids ate this without one complaint which pretty much means it's a winner...

Ingredients:
2 whole large cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 10 3/4 oz cans of condensed tomato soup
1/4 c sundried tomatoes, chopped or 2 Tbsp of Sun Dried Tomato Paste (this is what I used but I only used about 4 tsp)
2 c half and half (I just used 1 c whipping cream mixed with 1 c water)
2 c chicken stock
1 tsp onion powder or dried onions
1 Tbsp Italian Seasonig
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 9 oz pkg cheese filled tortellini (I used dried tortellini and just boiled it according to pkg directions before I
added it. I think the refrigerated kind would taste better though.)
1/2 c shreded parmesan cheese, for garnish


Directions:

Saute garlic with oil in large soup pot over medium heat until golden brown. Watch closely. Add all other ingredients except cheese and tortellini. Bring to a simmer. Once simmering, drop tortellini into soup. (If using refrigerated tortellini follow package directions until fully cooked.) If using dry tortellini, cook fully, drain, then add to soup. Serve with cheese sprinkled on top.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Black Bean Soup

I also have a cupboard full of beans, but only because I have recently come to appreciate them. I used to hate beans, but now I love them. I found this recipe in a magazine and like it for several reasons (cheap, low cal, tasty).

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chili powder (less if you don't want a kick)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper
6 tablespoons low-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. Warm oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, bell pepper, carrots and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 12 minutes. Add chili powder and cumin. Sauté for about 3 minutes.

2. Stir in broth and beans, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove 2 cups of soup and puree in a blender. Stir pureed soup back into pot and cook 5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Spoon soup into bowls, top with yogurt and cilantro and serve.

The less healthy version uses sour cream instead of yogurt, which I usually substitute just because it's what I have on hand and I don't think a dollop of sour cream every so often is going to kill ya.

Other bean favorites:
  • This is a pretty good chili recipe: http://eclecticrecipes.com/everything-chili.
  • I second the cowboy caviar from Nichole.
  • We often eat beans as a side with Mexican meals.
  • I like adding beans to salads. (Cafe Rio pork salad, perhaps?)

Beans-- Just for you Becky

Besides Chili, my favorite recipe with beans is Cowboy Caviar
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1/2 can corn
1/2 jalapeno pepper
A couple green onions
2 or 3 tomatoes
1 ripe avocado
Juice from one lime
Cumin to taste
Eat it with tortilla chips

I love white Chili too

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/01/simple-hearty-white-chili/


My mom loves Mango-quinoa salad

http://www.ourbestbites.com/2011/05/mango-quinoa-salad/


We always put beans in our quesadillas or fajitas

http://www.ourbestbites.com/2010/10/cowboy-quesadillas/


And just incase you need some more ideas

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/?s=beans&submit=

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan

I like good food, but I am kind of a lazy cook.  I prefer things that taste good, but didn't take me a long time to make.  Usually when I find something that is labor intensive, even if it's good, I won't make it again because the final product wasn't SO good that it justifies how long it took to make.  
This is different.  This is totally worth it.
 
Eggplant Parmesan
1 lb. eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Peel and slice the eggplant. I prefer to peel mine, but you don't have to. The skin is edible, it's just a little tough for my taste. Place in layers in a colander and sprinkle each layer with salt.  Place over an empty bowl.  Let stand for 30-45 minutes until the eggplant has released at least 1 tablespoon liquid.  The eggplant will change color, but it's fine. Rinse the slices, lay on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Press firmly to release as much liquid as possible.  This process prevents the eggplant from becoming mushy.
After about 20 minutes, place a cookie sheet in the oven and heat to 425.
Meanwhile mix together:
1 cup bread crumbs (I use Italian flavor, but you don't have to)
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated fresh or in the can, doesn't matter)
pinch of salt
Set aside
Beat three large eggs and put in a bowl.  Then combine 3/4 cup flour with 1/4 tsp. pepper in a large zip-loc bag.  Add the drained and dried eggplant and shake.  Then dip the eggplant slices in the egg and
bread crumb mixture.  Set aside.
Remove the cookie sheet.  Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to the sheet and tilt to coat.  Place the eggplant slices on the cookie sheet and place back in the oven for 30 minutes (turning once at 20 minutes).
While the slices are baking, you make the sauce.
Sauce
2 cans diced tomatoes (or 30 oz. fresh chopped tomatoes)
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste (if you use fresh tomatoes, you'll need more salt)
Blend half the tomatoes until smooth.  Add pepper, garlic, onion and olive oil to a skillet and saute over medium heat 3-5 minutes.  Then add the pureed tomatoes and chopped tomatoes and increase heat to bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.  Add chopped basil and salt and pepper. 

Spray a 2 qt. casserole dish, or lasagne pan with Pam.  Pour in some of the prepared sauce.  Add eggplant in layers, putting sauce and mozzarella cheese between each.  You should have two layers, with a few slices making a third.  Top with remaining sauce and more cheese.  Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and dish is bubbling.     
 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Spinach Tortellini in a Creamy Lemon Sauce


 

For this recipe, you need tortellini, which are little pastas that come with cheese or veggies stuffed inside. If you've never worked with them before, they are wonderful. They can be found in the dry pasta aisle.  If you've got access to a WinCo foods, they can be found with the bulk items, which is much cheaper than buying a pre-packaged bag by the dry pasta.

12 oz. Tortellini
4 oz. bacon (about 4 strips)
3 cloves garlic
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped onion
2 T. flour
2 C. milk
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. red pepper (optional)
1 medium lemon
2 C. roughly chopped, packed spinach
1 C. Mozzarella cheese, grated
1 C. Parmesan cheese, grated

Cooke tortellini according to package directions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bacon in a skillet and cook until crisp.  Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel.  Reserve two tablespoons bacon drippings and discard the rest.  Add garlic and onion to pan and saute 1-3 minutes. Add flour and stir with a whisk to make a roux.  Slowly add milk and continue to stir until smooth. Add salt, peppers, basil and bring to a simmer
While sauce is simmering, zest the lemon to produce 2 tsp. zest.  Cut the lemon in half and juice.  Add zest and 1 T. juice to the sauce and simmer additional 2-3 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat.  Drain tortellini and add the bacon and sauce to the pasta.  Then add the spinach and cheese.  Place in a 9X9 baking dish and bake (covered) for 25-30 minutes.  You can reserve some of the cheese to place on top, if desired. Let sit approx. 10 minutes before serving.    

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cream of Mushroom Soup

I'm not a good soup photographer, so you don't get a picture of this.  I got the recipe from this blog and she is a good soup photographer.  She's even got some pictures of mushrooms on there, just in case you don't know what mushrooms look like.  However, don't follow her recipe. There's way too much of some things and not enough of other things.  I've improved upon it, after making it once, being disappointed and trying to fix it.  

Cream of Mushroom Soup
2-3 cups roughly chopped mushrooms
1/2 a medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 cups chicken stock (or two chicken bullion cubes with 2 cups of water)
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. black pepper (or a little more to taste, I'm not a huge fan of pepper)
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. flour
3 T. water
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk

Heat the oil and butter in a saucepan.  Add the onion, mushrooms and garlic and saute about 5 minutes.  Add the thyme, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, dissolve the flour in the water.  Stir into soup until it thickens.  Add the milk and cream. Stir for a few minutes to blend and thicken.  We've made this with the chicken meatballs below and it's a nice combination.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chicken Feta Meatballs

I found some ground chicken at the store really, really cheap.  So I bought it having no idea what I'd do with it and it sat in my freezer for a few months.  One day I was taking inventory of the freezer and decided it was time to use it, so I made up this recipe and it ended up being really good.

1 lb. ground chicken
1 egg
2/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
1/2 a medium onion
1/2 cup loosely packed spinach
1 cup (approx) Feta Cheese

Mince the onion, garlic and mushrooms.  If you have a food processor or a good blender, throw them in and make them into a paste.  Finely chop the spinach. Mix the meat, egg and bread crumbs.  Add the mushroom, garlic, onion and spinach and mix well.  Take a bit of the meat mixture and flatten.  Put a few feta crumbles in the middle and form into a ball (about golf ball sized).  Cover and bake for 30-45 minutes.

 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sweet&Simple Granola



14 C. Oatmeal
1-2 C. of any 3 of these things: 
Sliced Almonds, Sliced Cashews, Sunflower Seeds, Sliced Coconut, Sesame Seeds (or whatever you want:)
¾ C. Olive Oil 
¾ C. Honey 
¾ C. Maple Syrup 
½ t. vanilla 
½ t. salt 

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. Blend wet ingredients and salt in a blender and pour over dry ingredients. Mix and spread out over 2 large cookies sheets. Cook at 275 for 15 minutes. Stir, cook another 15 minutes. Continue for ~1.5 hours. Freezes well.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Cinnamon Baked French Toast

This is a recipe from The Pioneer Woman, however I have always had a beef with her blog. The first thing I look for in recipe is "what do I need to make this" If you have ever read her blog you know why am have a beef. The ingredients are all the way at the bottom and that would not be a huge deal if she didn't photograph every step along the way, all 52 of them. But as frustrated as I get, I keep going back because dang, can that chick cook! If you need to know what 8 eggs cracked in a bowl looks like, or which line is the 1 cup mark on you measuring cup, well here is her link..... Otherwise here is the good old fashion delicious recipe.


FRENCH TOAST
1 loaf Crusty Sourdough Or French Bread
8 whole Eggs
2 cups Whole Milk
1/2 cup Whipping (heavy) Cream
3/4 cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
Topping
1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 stick Cold Butter, Cut Into Pieces
Fresh Fruit (optional)



Grease 9 x 13-inch baking pan with butter. Tear bread into chunks (or cut into cubes) and evenly distribute in the pan.

Mix together eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over bread. Cover tightly and store in the fridge several hours or overnight.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add nutmeg if desired. Add butter pieces and but into the dry mixture until mixture resembles fine pebbles. Store in a Ziploc in the fridge.

When you're ready to bake the casserole, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove casserole from fridge and sprinkle crumb mixture over the top. (If you're using fruit, sprinkle on before the crumb mixture.) Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture. Bake 1 hour or more for a firmer, less liquid texture.

Scoop out individual portions. Top with butter and drizzle with maple syrup.

I just might make this all too often. My favorite part is that you make it ahead of time so there is no messing up the kitchen first thing in the morning.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sweet Tooth Fairy-- Black and White Chocolate Cupcakes


Black and White Chocolate Cupcakes

By Megan Faulkner Brown (’02), Sweet Tooth Fairy Owner and Cupcake Wars Winner
http://www.thesweettoothfairy.com/

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup and 2 tablespoons dark chocolate cocoa
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup sour cream 
3 eggs
¾ cup ready-to-eat chocolate pudding 
½ cup butter, melted 
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake pan cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds until well combined.

Add wet ingredients and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl and resume mixing on medium speed for an additional minute. Stop mixer and fold in chocolate chips.

Fill the prepared cupcake liners with batter 3/4 full. Bake about 15-18 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.


White Chocolate Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened 
¼ cup butter, softened 
1 cup white chocolate chips or 6 ounces white chocolate, melted 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2⅓ cups powdered sugar 

To make the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute. Add melted chocolate and vanilla; mix for an additional minute. Add powdered sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy after each addition.

Spread the frosting on the chocolate cupcakes. Garnish with fresh raspberries, mini chocolate chips, or chocolate sprinkles.