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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Orange Bread

Meet my favorite new bread recipe — orange bread. I've had this recipe set aside for awhile now — waiting for the perfect day to make it. Today was the day; it's cold and rainy outside and I thought we needed something warm and sweet.

This loaf may look tiny...and it is...I made three mini-loaves with the recipe. I kept one for us and gave the other two away. How's that for a diet plan? Giving, sharing, and being careful.

What You"ll Need

1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp orange zest (or more for more intense orange flavor)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup golden raisins, chopped
Optional Glaze
1 teaspoon lemon juice*
1 teaspoon orange juice
1/3 cup powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)

*If you happen to have Seville oranges, or sour oranges, use this juice instead of the lemon juice.

What To Do

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 4x8-inch loaf pan. To make it easier to remove the loaf from the pan, you may want to lay down a wide strip of parchment paper, along the length of the bottom of the loaf pan, and up the narrow sides. Butter this as well.
  2. Beat the butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes on high in an electric mixer. Add the sugar and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until completely incorporated after each addition. Beat in the orange zest.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  4. Add the yogurt and dry ingredients by thirds, starting with the yogurt, alternating the additions. Beat only until just incorporated. Mix in the golden raisins.
  5. Immediately pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Place in middle rack of 350°F oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes*, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool on a rack in the pan for 5 minutes. Then remove the loaf from the pan and cool for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. While loaf is cooling, prepare optional glaze if using. Whisk together the lemon juice, orange juice, and powdered sugar until smooth and there are no lumps. Place loaf on a serving plate. Use a toothpick or skinny skewer to poke holes in the top of the loaf and drizzle the glaze over the loaf.
*If you are using a 5x9 loaf pan, the loaf will be done earlier. Check at 40 minutes. You can use this recipe for muffins, in which case the cooking time should be 20-25 minutes.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Casserole Queen's Pot Pie

Lisa found this on the Food Network website after watching "Throw Down with Bobby Flay and shared it with me.  We LOVE this recipe and make this if we are ever in the mood for pot pie.  It isn't your normal pot pie, but this recipe will change your mind as to how you really want your pot pie to taste.  Overall this is a very easy recipe to assemble and cook.  Although it may look like a lot of ingredients and too much work, it really isn't.  Which is a plus for those busy moms trying to have a great dinner and not spending all afternoon slaving away in the kitchen.

2 sheet of frozen Puff Pastry (they come in a pack of two)-this is for the pie crust
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Roasted chicken, shredded
2 Tbsp Flour
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Dried Tarragon, crushed
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
2 c. Milk
1 c. Heavy Cream
1/3 c. Dry White Wine
1 1/2 c. Peas, blanched
1 1/2 c. Carrots, blanched
2 Potatoes, peeled/diced/boiled
1 egg plus 1 Tbsp Milk for egg wash, to brush on top of the pot pie

Melt the butter and add all rest of the ingredients together.  I simmer for about 10-15 minutes.  After the mixture is done, set that aside.  Take your puff pastry and lay them out.  I found it helpful to let them warm to room temperature a little bit.  That way I could roll out them out easier.  I roll out both sheets from the box.  Then I put one on the bottom and make a nice pie crust.  Then I place the other one on the top and seal the top & bottom together.  Cut a ventilation hole in the top before putting in to bake.  Bake at 425 for 30-45 minutes.  Enjoy!

My alterations:  I recently did not have a roasted chicken, so I used boneless, skinless chicken breast and shredded that.  I know Lisa says that the wine makes it, but I have yet to remember to get wine at the grocery store and have not added this to my recipe.  I can say that it is heavenly without it.  :-)  If you have mixed veggies, then put those in.  It is the flavor of all the spices that make this pot pie to die for.  Another note:  I found that 425 burned my pot pie.  So I cut the temperature back to 350 and that worked better.  I am still playing with the temperature/time and hoping to get it just right.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Pineapple and Jalapeno Chilies

Alright, so this wasn't the best or tastiest dish that I ever made. It didn't have nearly enough "kick" for my taste. Perhaps I don't know to buy jalapenos?

But, even with more sweet than spice, my husband and I both thought it was good enough to share. (If you try this and have success "taking it up a notch," please share a comment about how you did it!)

What you need:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
12-ounce package of fresh pineapple chunks (1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsps. chopped cilantro (not big fans at our house, so I omitted this)

Arrange chicken breasts in a single layer on work surface and cover with plastic wrap. Using a heavy skillet or rolling pin, pound them until flattened to about 1/2 inch thick.

In a shallow dish, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge both sides of each breast in the seasoned flour.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the oil and butter. Add the chicken breasts and cook until they are well browned on both sides and no longer pink at the center, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer them to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Do not clean the skillet.

While the chicken breasts are cooking, drain the juice from the pineapple into a measuring cup. Add enough orange juice to total 3/4 cup. Stir in the cornstarch, then set aside.

Return the skillet to the stove over medium-low. Add the drained pineapple and brown sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, until the pineapple begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chilies and garlic and stir until the garlic is beginning to color, 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in the reserved juice. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until thickened and reduced slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro, then serve, spooned over the chicken breasts.

Recipe from the February 17, 2010 Harrisburg Patriot-News.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mimi's Yeast Rolls

I was standing in line at grocery store and the magazine called "Taste of the South" caught my eye. Having been born and raised in the South, with family in New Orleans and Atlanta, I have grown up on real Southern cuisine. I am not sure how "southern" these rolls are, but they are kinda of biscuit-like, and that is good enough for me.

Mimi's Yeast Rolls

2 cups warm water
2 (.25-ounce) package of active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 tsp. salt
7 1/4 cups bread flour (not self-rising)
1/2 cup butter, divided

How to Make It:
1) In a large bowl combine yeast and water; add sugar. Let stand until yeast blooms, 3 to 4 minutes.
2) Add eggs, oil, and salt to yeast mixture, stirring to combine. Stir in 6 cups flour until just blended. Pat outside of dough with 1/4 cup flour. Cover with a cloth. Let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts*, until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
3) Measure out remaining 1 cup flour. Sprinkle some of flour onto a kneading surface, and turn out dough. Add half of remaining flour to dough, kneading 6 to 8 times until dough is no longer sticky. Add more of remaining flour if needed. (Do not add more than 1 cup.)
4) Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 9x13x2 baking dish. Pinch off 1 1/2 - 2-inch balls of dough**, and roll each ball in melted butter. Place rolls in prepared pan, being careful not to overcrowd pan. (If necessary, use an 8x8-inch pan for overflow, melting 2 additional tablespoons butter in pan.)
5) Cover pan with a cloth, and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, until rolls have doubled in size again, 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
6) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake rolls until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Check bottom of rolls for doneness; they should be a pale shade of gold, not doughy or white. While rolls are still very warm, rub tops with remaining 1/4 cup butter.

*Tips: baby burp cloths work well, so long as they are thin and gauze-like. If you don't have a thin cloth or dish towel you can spray plastic wrap with butter cooking spray so it doesn't stick to the bread or bowl.
**Dough can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator at this point for up to 1 week. Let rise for 2 1/2 hours. Baking time may also need to be increased.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Asian Coleslaw Salad

This recipe has as many different names as it does variations, but I think Asian Coleslaw Salad makes it sound more exotic. This particular version came from someone who brought us a meal after we had Raleigh last July. I can't even tell you how many times I've made it since then. Always a hit with the family, even if my 2-year old calls the almonds "bacon."

Asian Coleslaw Salad

1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 bunches green onions
1 bag of coleslaw mix
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 cup peanuts, unsalted
2 packages chicken-flavored ramen noodles, broken up with seasoning packets

How to Make It:
1) Mix the oil, sugar, and vinegar. Let it sit for at least 8 hours on the counter. (Do not refrigerate.)
2) In a large bowl mix together all the other ingredients. Stir the dressing, pour over ingredients and toss well. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour before serving.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oreo Ice Cream Dessert

When my extended family gets together for Christmas or Easter or - well - anything, this is the required dessert. Nothing else will do as the culmination for large dinners. My mother began this habit a number of years ago; and as we children grew up and as the grandchildren started arriving (and demanding this ice cream dessert), it became obvious that this tradition was here to stay.

What You Need
1 pkg. (15 oz.) Oreos
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened slightly
1 c. evaporated milk
2 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate
1/3 c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 or 3 c. cool whip
shaved chocolate curls to garnish

What You Do
Crush Oreos into crumbs and spread in the bottom of a 9 x 13 dish - or, if you're like me, a 10 x 15 dish (because when it comes to Oreos and ice cream and chocolate, more is definitely better). Spread softened ice cream over crumbs. Pop that into the freezer to harden while you make the chocolate layer by cooking together the evaporated milk, unsweetened chocolate, butter, and sugar. Cook that for 10 minutes. When cool, spread over ice cream. Put that back into the freezer to harden, and get your cool whip out to soften (to make it easier to spread). When the stuff that's supposed to be hard is hard, and the stuff that's supposed to be soft is soft, spread the cool whip over the chocolate layer, and then sprinkle chocolate curls on top. Put it back into the freezer until about 5 minutes before you're ready to serve it.

This dessert doesn't take long to make, but there are several steps that require some wait time. The last time I made it, I did the first two layers one evening and then finished it the next day. It's easy to divide up the tasks that way.

* This is our adaptation of Luscious Oreo Ice Cream Dessert from Mennonite Country-Style Recipes by Esther Shank, using the optional topping she suggests. When we were taking the two-bag challenge and packing our suitcases before we moved to Israel, I made room to take one cookbook...and this was it. Too bad this website didn't exist back then. ;)

Happy celebrating!

The recipe that is not shared will soon be forgotten,
but ones that are shared will be enjoyed by future generations.
~ from Country Home Cooking
by Marjorie Rohrer


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Orecchiette with Broccoli, Sausage, and Roasted Peppers

It seems like it should be super easy to just make something new and blog about it. Right? Not always. Inspiration can be lost on current events or something like the lack of necessary ingredients.

I thought I was out of fresh recipes to share — and then I found this! I didn't want to raid the "probably not" folder — the rejected recipes that didn't taste good or that didn't photograph well. I went straight to my trusted cookbook and had happy people around the dinner table.

This recipe definitely won't go into the rejected recipe file.

What You'll Need

table salt

1 pound orecchiette

4 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
9 medium cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press or minced (3 tablespoons)

1 cup roasted red peppers (8 ounces), cut into ½-inch squares

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 pounds broccoli, florets cut into bite-sized 1-inch pieces, stalks peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into ¼-inch thick pieces

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (2 ounces)

What to Do

1. Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil, covered, in stockpot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain and return to stockpot.

2. While pasta is cooking, cook sausage in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it into small pieces with spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, roasted peppers, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

3. Increase heat to high; add broccoli and 1/2 cup water, then cover and cook until broccoli begins to turn bright green, 1 to 2 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring frequently, until water has evaporated and broccoli is tender, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Add broccoli mixture, oil, and cheese to pasta in stockpot; toss to combine. Serve immediately.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Noodles & Hamburger Casserole

I give Grandma S. the credit on this one.  This was one she made many times over for her family of 7 boys and then when we came to visit.  It is one of those comfort foods and super easy to make.

6-12 oz. Noodles, cooked (Egg noodles)
1 lb. Hamburger, ground & browned
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1/4 c. Milk
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Cook noodles & hamburger.  Mix everything together except the cheddar cheese.  Once mix, put in a baking dish and top with Cheddar Cheese.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I love making soup. I love chopping the vegetables and stirring the simmering pot. I love the leftovers. So, even though spring is just around the corner, I'm still busy making and enjoying pots of soup!

What you need:
3/4 c. onion, finely chopped
3/4 c. butter
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
3 c. chicken broth (I used fat-free)
4 1/2 c. milk (I used 1%)
3 c. fresh broccoli, chopped and cooked (I steamed ours for about 10 minutes)
3/4 c. Cheddar cheese, shredded

In a saucepan, saute the onion in butter until tender. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir until smooth and bubbly (Mine never got smooth or bubbly at this stage!) Add broth and milk all at once. Cook and stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Add broccoli. Simmer, stirring constantly until heated through. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted.

Recipe from the Gooseberry Patch collection, "A Pinch of This, A Dash of That," attributed to Donna Nowicki.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Crispy french toast with raspberry sauce

A few weekends ago, my husband and I rose early, sneaked out of the house and high-tailed it out of the city. Not long after seven, we were taking a window seat at a cozy diner in a quaint suburb and telling the waitress to keep the coffee coming. We had free childcare, and we needed a date.

My breakfast that morning — a plate of french toast with raspberry sauce — was perfect. And because I can't sneak out of the house every Saturday morning, I challenged myself to recreate the recipe for home consumption, and I think it comes pretty close.

Aside from the thick, tangy raspberry sauce (which, in my opinion, is truly superior to tooth-achingly sweet syrups), the exciting twist in this recipe is the crunch.

Here's how you make this decidedly un-soggy breakfast dish:

Crispy french toast

1-2 Tbsp. butter
4 slices bread
1 cup corn flakes
4 eggs
3-4 Tbsp. milk

Place corn flakes in a ziploc bag and crush until the pieces are quite small, but not until they form a powder. Transfer to a shallow dish.
Beat eggs and milk in another shallow dish.
In a skillet, melt butter on medium-low heat.
Dip slices of bread first in the egg mixture, then in the corn flakes.
And fry that bread until it gets a nice golden color. Top with raspberry sauce and powdered sugar.

Raspberry sauce*

3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
12 oz. frozen raspberries, thawed

In a medium saucepan, dissolve cornstarch and sugar in water. Add raspberries and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Stir for one more minute (the sauce should turn from a pink to red as the cornstarch is activated) and remove from heat. It's done!

*Note: Since this is a breakfast dish, it's nice to have the sauce already prepared (I made it a day in advance, stored it in the fridge and warmed it up in the microwave while the french toast was cooking).


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies

Never again complain about peanut butter cookies being boring. Or dry! This recipe is from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. And yes, there are chocolate chip and peanut butter chips in the recipe.

Crisp on the outside and almost cakey in the inside — you'll wish you hadn't made them because you might want to eat them all. Or maybe I'm just projecting my experience on all of you. ;-)

You be the judge.

What You'll Need

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For sprinkling: 1 tablespoon sugar, regular or superfine

What to do

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips. 
  3. Place sprinkling sugar — the remaining tablespoon — on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a crisss-cross pattern (I didn't do this part — I used the bottom of a small glass and flattened them slightly), but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.
  4. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My mom's Cold Lettuce Salad

I don't even remember where my mom got this recipe, but this was made quite frequently in our house growing up.  It was a favorite of all of us.  Now my family enjoys this as well.

Cut up lettuce
Hard boil 3 eggs
Mash 1 egg in a small bowl
1 heaping Tbsp of Mayo
1 Tbsp Vinegar
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt

Mix to taste.  If there is too much of a vinegar taste, add sugar.  Too sweet, add vinegar.

Garnish with 2 eggs sliced and sprinkle with paprika.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Apple Corned Beef

It's St. Patrick's Day week which can mean only one thing -- time for corned beef!

This slow-cooker recipe is a favorite in our house. My husband grew up loving corned beef, and his family actually introduced it to me on my first visit to their home. I, too, became a fan.

We're leaving for vacation the day after St. Patty's, so I made this Irish treat a few days early so we can enjoy the leftovers throughout the week.

What you need:
8 new redskin potatoes
4 to 5 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks (I tossed in a bag of baby carrots instead)
1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
3-lb. corned beef brisket
4 c. apple juice
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 T. Dijon or honey mustard (I used Dijon)

Arrange potatoes, carrots, and onion wedges in a slower cooker; top with corned beef. Stir together apple juice, brown sugar, and mustard; pour over top. Cover and cook on low setting for 8-10 hours. Slice meat thinly across the grain. Serve with cooked vegetables. Makes 4 to 6 servings. (Side benefit: house smells amazing!)

Recipe from the Gooseberry Patch collection, "Slow-Cooker Recipes," and attributed to Mary Lauff-Thompson.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fruit Jewels

My oldest son, Josiah, who is 7 years old, has recently taken an interest in cooking. "Wonderful! The time has come," I thought, as I pulled out a cookbook that was given to me at my baby shower before he was born: Kids in the Kitchen by The Pampered Chef. He looked through it and made a list of 35(!) recipes he wanted to try. Fruit Jewels was one of them, and we served these yummy beauties at our monthly Friday evening fellowship potluck a few weeks ago.

Before I proceed with the recipe, let me just say this. Pampered Chef recipes are delicious, but they are so hard to read with all of the PC product info included in the directions. Josiah was slightly bewildered by all of the jargon. "Small Batter Bowl? Classic Scraper? Measure-All Cup? Deluxe Mini-Muffin Pan? What??" If you can wade through all of that, it's worth it though.

What You Need
2 packages (3 ounces each) gelatin dessert (you choose the flavors)
1 and 1/3 c. water
approximately 1 c. fruit

What You Do
Can I just ignore their directions and tell you what to do? Am I allowed to do that?
Get a muffin pan--a mini-muffin pan would be best, but I don't happen to have one of those so I just used a regular one.
Put a few pieces of fruit in each cup.
Mix up your jello.
Pour it over the fruit.
Put it in the frig and let it set up.

This is the kind of recipe that makes me think, "Why didn't it ever occur to me to do this?" It's so simple, but I tell ya--Josiah (and my next two sons) had a blast making this! They loved figuring out which fruit to put in which cup, and which flavor of jello to put over each one. Sometimes they matched color and flavor (mandarin oranges in orange jello), sometimes they matched color but not flavor (pineapple in lemon jello, blueberries in blue raspberry jello), sometimes they didn't match anything (purple grapes in lime jello). But they were in charge, they did the work, and they had a ball!

Happy creating!

All the fine compliments, all the good wishes,
will never replace help with the dishes.
~ from Country Home Cooking
by Marjorie Rohrer


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Irish Beef Stew

My husband and I were having a culinary discussion the other evening that centered around traditional Irish Stew (who does that?? he's cute!).  Anyway, so began my search for the perfect Irish Stew...because after you talk about it long enough you have to make it.  And given my fixation with both my crock-pot and quick & easy recipes, I took this recipe, which has great reviews by the way, and turned it into a slow cooker meal.

What You'll Need

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 large garlic cloves, minced
8 cups beef stock or canned beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 7 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled carrots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

What to Do

  1. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and sauté until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add beef stock, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in another large pot over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion and carrots. Sauté vegetables until golden, about 20 minutes. Add vegetables to beef stew. Simmer uncovered until vegetables and beef are very tender, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Tilt pan and spoon off fat. (Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving.) Transfer stew to serving bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

 **my changes: really, I just threw everything into the crock pot and cooked it on high for 1hr and then on low for 8hrs.

Adapted from


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cool Raspberry Soup

This is so refreshing and yummy!  My mom used to make this and I don't even remember where she got the recipe.  The kids enjoy this as well.  I had to make it the other week because I was craving it.

1 bag (20 oz) frozen raspberries, thawed
1 1/4 c. Water
1 c. Cran-raspberry Juice
1/2 c. Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
3 whole Cloves
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 carton (8 oz) Raspberry flavored yogurt
Cool Whip

Puree raspberries and water in a blender.  Transfer to a large saucepan.  Add everything but the last 3 ingredients.  Remove from heat, strain, and cool.  When soup is cool, whisk in the lemon juice, yogurt, and top with Coop Whip and serve.  And enjoy!


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Confession: I love macaroni and cheese.

I love it out of the blue box. I love it homemade. I've tried a few recipes but none that I love nearly as much as this one! And, it's "light!" You might find that hard to believe when you read over the ingredients. Maybe it's more appropriate to say, "it's lighter."

From experience, I offer this simple suggestion: it's really helpful to pre-measure all your ingredients and have everything ready to go when making this delicious dish.

What you need:
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups fat-free milk
1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup (8 oz.) fat-free sour cream
1/2 lb. reduced-fat process cheese (Velveeta), cubed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk and broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Reduce heat; stir in the sour cream, process cheese, Parmesan, mustard and pepper until smooth.

Drain macaroni; stir in cheddar cheese. Transfer to a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Add cream sauce and mix well. Bake uncovered, at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly.

Recipe from the Feb./March 2009 isssue of Healthy Cooking.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Classic Carbonara

This is originally from and has been altered quite a bit to my liking. Since I am not a fan of the saltiness of pancetta I used turkey bacon instead. You could use milk or half-n-half for some of the cream to reduce the amount of fat. The recipe below is how I made it, not as it appears on Allrecipes. You could do so much with this by alternating pastas or adding grilled chicken instead of bacon. Either way it's great to make for company as it's an impressive and rich dish!

Classic Carbonara

4 eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
16 oz penne pasta (I used 3 Cheese Tortellini)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup green onions
1/4 sweet onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
8 slices turkey bacon or 1/2 lb. sliced pancetta
dash of nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

How to Make It:
1) Whisk together eggs, cream, and 1 cup of the Parmesan in a bowl. Blend well and set aside.
2) Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to the directions. Drain, return to pot (off heat) and cover to keep warm.
3) Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and cook the onions, bacon/pancetta, nutmeg, and garlic until onions are soft.
4) Combine the pasta, onion and bacon mixture, salt, and pepper over low heat. Slowly stir in the egg-cream mixture, tossing gently so the eggs don't scramble. (I didn't use all the egg mixture because it would have been too soupy.) Cook until just heated through. Remove from heat and toss with parsley and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

French lamb stew

Spring is on its way. I know it doesn't feel like it yet, but that's exactly why we need nourishing soups with a touch of spring-y freshness to remind us spring is coming (and to keep us warm while we wait).

Sadly, I don't have a photo of the finished soup, but it's really the ingredients that I want to focus on here. Shallots, dill, and crème fraiche really make this dish. Lamb, to me, is a spring thing. Growing up, we always had it at Easter (my mom's really into symbolism). But with its strong flavor and texture, it's also hearty enough for a cold, cruel March evening.

If you can't get crème fraiche and I realize it's not available everywhere I am sorry. Truly, truly sorry. It is wonderfully light and creamy, with a slight tanginess to it, and it's oh-so-worth-it if you can find it. If not, try making a substitute from heavy cream and sour cream or buttermilk.

Here's the full cast of characters:

6 shallots (3 whole, 3, chopped)
3 whole cloves, stuck into shallots
2 celery stalks
1-2 whole carrots, washed, ends trimmed and left unpeeled (optional)
6 peppercorns
3 bay leaves
3 cups chicken stock
2 lbs. lamb, cubed
1 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 cup crème fraiche
Fresh dill as much as you want!
1 cup frozen corn or peas (optional)

Here's how it plays out:

1. Place three clove-studded shallots, carrots, celery, peppercorns, bay leaves, and stock in heavy saucepan. Simmer 10 minutes, add the lamb, and cook for two hours. (I start this dish during naptime!)

2. Reserve lamb and stock. In a saucepan on low heat, sauté three chopped shallots in butter. Stir in sugar and flour. Remove from heat, add reserved stock and stir.

3. Return to heat and stir constantly while adding crème fraiche. Fold in lamb cubes and chopped dill, along with corn or peas. Cook gently, just until the corn or peas are hot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with remaining sprigs of dill (and, if you're feeling really depressed about the weather, a dollop of crème fraiche) and enjoy!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

BBQ Chicken

This is one of my favorite go-to recipes. It takes about 10 minutes to get everything prepared and into the crock pot. Oh yes. The amazing crock pot! Now, I like to use Kansas City style sauce, but if you can't find that, Bull's Eye has a great variety of sauces depending on what BBQ flavoring you're wanting to achieve — whether it be Hickory Smoke or Sweet and Tangy — they've got you covered!

What You'll Need

6 chicken breast halves
1 12oz bottle BBQ sauce
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c submarine sandwich oil*
1 med onion chopped
1 TBS garlic powder
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce

*or you can substitute Italian salad dressing

What to do
  1. Place chicken in slow cooker.
  2. In a separate bowl mix BBQ sauce with brown sugar, sandwich oil, onion, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over chicken.
  3. Cover and cook low for 6-8hrs.
  4. Around the 5th hour take a fork and shred all the chicken...then let it cook for a couple more hours and soak up all the bbq goodness.

PS. this also makes great leftovers!!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Friendship Soup in a Jar

This is a great one to give as teacher gifts.  We gave it to both of my daughters teachers for Christmas. 

1/2 c. Dry Split Peas
1/3 c. Beef Bouillon Granules
1/4 c. Pearl Barley
1/2 c. Dry Lentils
1/4 c. Dried Onion Flakes
2 tsp. Dried Italian Seasoning
1/2 c. uncooked long grain white rice
2 Bay Leaves
1/2 c. uncooked alphabet pasta

If you want to layer it in a jar, do it in order from top to bottom.  Wrap the pasta in plastic wrap and place in the jar.  Attach the following to the jar:

Friendship Soup Additional Ingredients:  1 lb. browned ground beef, black pepper to taste, garlic powder to taste, 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes-undrained, 1 (16 oz.) can tomato paste, & 3 quarts of water.  To prepare soup: Remove pasta from top of the jar and set aside.  In a large pot over medium heat, brown beef with pepper & garlic; drain excess fat.  Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, & Soup mix.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Cover & simmer for 45 minutes.  Stir in pasta, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until pasta, peas, lentils, & barley are tender.


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