Thursday, October 30, 2008

Italian Mac and Cheese

One more Rachel Ray. (It's not healthy... but it's good)

1 lb. ziti rigate, penne rigate or cavatappi (ribbed, hollow corkscrews)

1 lb. Italian bulk sweet sausage

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1 T. butter

3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped

12 crimini mushrooms, sliced

salt and pepper

2 T. all-purpose flour

1 c. chicken stock

1 c. heavy cream

1 (10 oz.) sack, 2 1/12 c. shredded Italian 4 cheese blend, available on dairy aisle

1 can diced tomatoes, well drained

1 t. hot sauce (recommended; Tabasco), otional

½ c. Parmesan, a couple of handfuls

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and cook pasta to a chewy al dente, about 8 minutes.
In a nonstick skillet, brown and crumble the sausage. Drain cooked crumbles on paper towel lined plate. Return pan to heat and add extra-virgin olive oil, butter, garlic and mushrooms. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Saute 3 to 5 minutes, until mushrooms are lightly golden.
Preheat broiler to high.
To mushrooms, add flour and stir, cooking 2 minutes. Whisk in stock, then stir in cream. Bring cream to a bubble, then stir in 2 cups of 4 cheese blend. When cheese has melted into sauce, add tomatoes. When sauce comes to bubble, remove from heat and adjust seasonings, adding hot sauce if desired.

Combine cheese sauce with sausage and pasta, transfer to a baking dish, casserole or oven safe serving platter. Sprinkle remaining ½ c. of 4 cheese blend and the grated Parmesan over the top and brown under hot broiler.

Mean Green Tortilla Soup

I am not a huge fan of Rachel Ray, but I do love this recipe (link)!!

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

Preheat oven 400°F.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, October 24, 2008

Peanut Butter Cookies

This recipe is from a friend of mine named Judy Goold. You'll love these because they just melt in your mouth!

1/2 C. Oil

1/2 C. Smooth Peanut Butter

1/2 C. White Sugar

1/2 C. Brown Sugar

1 Egg

1/2 tsp. Vanilla

1 C. + 1 Tbsp. Flour

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

- Mix all the ingredients together in the order shown. Roll into balls and place on a greased baking sheet. Press the dough with a fork in a criss-cross pattern. Bake @325 degrees for 8-9 minutes or until golden around the edges. Makes 1 dozen

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cheese Soup

Sorry I don't have a picture, I like this recipe because I usually have these ingredients on hand!

6 c. water
6 t. chicken flavor (I use Wyler's Instant Bouillon Granules) or 6 bouillon cubes
4 c. cubed potatoes
veggies (I use frozen broccoli, but you could also do peas, cauliflower, carrots etc)
1/2 cube butter
4 c. milk
1/2 c. flour
4 c. grated cheddar cheese

Boil water & chicken flavor in large pot. Add veggies. While these cook melt butter then add milk in a separate pot. Slowly stir in flour (should look creamy and thick). Add cheese. Take off heat and combine in largest pot. Let thicken ~ 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Yummy Salad!

This has been our favorite dinner lately. Everyone probably has already come up with something like this, but I am going to post it anyway.
I use a mix of romaine, red leaf and fresh spinach
grilled chicken breast
shredded mozzarella cheese
quartered & separated red onion
diced cucumber
cherry tomatoes
The key is to not skimp on any of the mix-in's. Just go crazy and have just as much mix-in's as you have lettuce (or even more)!
This salad is very filling and we usually have it with bread and it definately fills us up!
Also, I love this salad with blue cheese or honey dijon dressing.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tomatoes, anyone?

Would anybody like some tomatoes? I've already made my year supply of salsa and then some and have no idea what I am going to do with all these tomatoes. There are at least this many again that will be ripe within a day or two. If you want some and will be down my way (Orem), let me know. Otherwise they will probably go into the compost pile when they go bad.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Apple crisp

Adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

5 cups sliced, peeled apples
2-4 T. white sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 cup butter

1. Thaw fruit, if frozen. Do not drain. Place fuit in a 2 qt. square baking dish. Sprinkle granulated sugar over top.

2. For topping, in a medium bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping over filling.

3. Bake crisp in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes (40 minutes for thawed fruit) or till fruit is tender and topping is golden. Makes 6 servings.

Whole Wheat Chicken Quesadilla

Mission Whole Wheat Tortillas
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Shredded chicken
1/4 c fat free mayo
2 tsp. canned minced jalepenos
2 tsp. juice from canned jalepenos
3/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Mix together all ingredients except tortillas, chicken and cheese. Spread a thin layer of sauce on one side of tortilla. Layer cheese and chicken on top of sauce and top with another lightly-sauce-coated tortilla. Cook on stove or skillet on both sides until cheese is melted.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Free to a Good Home

I have a little George Forman Grill that I need to get rid of. It still works great, we were just given a little bit bigger one. If you want it let me know stat or it is off to the DI.

Mimi's Cafe Corn Chowder

Unless I am going to Mimi's Cafe for breakfast, I always order their corn chowder and bread basket! SO YUMMY! And one of the best things that come with fall/winter is SOUP!

(Yields 2 1/2 quarts)

4 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 cups frozen corn, thawed
6 tablespoons onion, chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup celery, large dice
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups hot water
1 pinch white pepper
2 cups raw potato, peeled and cut in 1/2" cubes
3 tablespoons flour
1 quart Half & Half

On medium heat, melt butter, then simmer onion and celery for 5 minutes until soft, but not brown.Add water, potatoes, corn and seasonings. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are barely tender.Whisk the flour into 1 cup of the Half & Half, and stir into the soup. Add the remaining 3 cups of Half & Half. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the soup has thickened to a creamy consistency.Correct the seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed. In order to correct the consistency or the soup you may add a little milk to make it thinner. To make the soup thicker, simmer another 5-10 minutes.

Best Cooking Tip I Ever Received

The best cooking tip I ever got was from my mom (of course). She buys the $5-$6 pre-cooked rotisserie chickens that you see at every grocery store and shreds the meat off of them. Then you can freeze the shredded chicken and quickly defrost it to use in ANYTHING. I always use it in my chicken enchiladas, chicken croissant sandwiches, etc. It cuts out so much of the effort! Tonight I am trying some spicy chicken quesadillas using the chicken, if they turn out I'll post the recipe tomorrow. Bon appetite.