Friday, December 31, 2010

Red Beans and Rice

This is my favorite way to cook beans (and the last catch-up post!). I used these beans for beans and rice, but I also use them for well, everything else. I have stopped buying canned beans (including refried beans), and using the results of this wonderful recipe as a replacement. I got this recipe with the users manual that came with our crockpot. I stick to the recipe, but I also add different spices too (salsa, jalapeño, and chili powder, to name a few).

Red Beans and Rice

1 lb. dried red (or any other type) beans
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 c. broth of your choice (I usually do chicken)
2 c. water
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
3 c. cooked rice

In a large pot, cover the beans with three times their volume of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 mins. and then remove from heat. Cover and let stand for an hour then drain. Combine all of the ingredients in the crockpot (except rice). Cover and cook on low for 10 hours, or on high for 6. You can either serve over hot rice (I like to use cilantro as a garnish and to round of the taste for beans and rice.), or freeze in bags (about 2 cups per bag) for later use.

Curried Pumpkin Soup

I made my own pumpkin puree this year, and I made LOTS of it. I wanted to try to use pumpkin in other ways besides bread and desserts. Here is something we tried and liked. I got the idea from a recipe on, and added a couple of my own ideas. Here's the finished product:

3-5 potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 c. chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you have it)
2 tablespoons curry powder (more or less, depending on personal preference)
4 cups of your own pumpkin puree or one large can of pumpkin
1 cups milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon white sugar
salt and pepper to taste
(I can't remember, but I think I may have added a little dried parsley)

Boil potatoes in broth until soft enough to mash. Remove from heat and mash the potatoes with a potato masher (keep them in the pot and don't worry if there seems to be too much water). Stir in pumpkin, curry, milk, and sour cream. Stir until smooth. Add soy sauce, sugar, and salt and pepper (and parsley). Season with soy sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Thicken with a roux or corn starch if desired. Remove from heat. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds.

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

I found this in the Better Homes and Gardens magazine and I thought it sounded good. A bit of a different twist on an old favorite. We liked it, and would have liked it more if I had 1) bought the right size of noodles, 2) had the chips to go on top, and (this was probably the worst offender) 3) had enough chicken...I guess I was having a bad shopping day. Or maybe it was Heather that was having the bad shopping day. I don't remember...

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

1 12 oz. pkg. jumbo shell macaroni
3 large green and/or red peppers, chopped
1 1/2 c. chopped red onion
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 c. chopped cooked chicken
1 16 oz. can refried beans (or make your own)
3 Tbs. taco seasoning
2 10oz. cans enchilada sauce
8 oz. shredded mexican-style cheese blend
1 c. sliced green onions
2 c. nacho cheese-flavored tortilla chips, crushed
Avocado dip and/or sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain.
2. In skillet cook peppers, onion, jalapeño and 1/4 tsp. salt in hot oil over med. heat until tender. Stir in chicken, beans, seasoning mix, and 1/2 cup enchilada sauce. Cook 5 mins. Stir in 1/2 cup each of the cheese and green onions.
3. Divide filling among shells. Spread 1 cup of the remaining enchilada sauce in 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Arrange shells atop sauce. Drizzle with remaining enchilada sauce.
4. Bake, covered, 30 mins. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5 mins. or until cheese melts. Sprinkle with chips and remaining green onions. Serve with avocado dip and sour cream. Makes 8-10 servings.

As I mentioned above, I was missing a couple of things from this recipe. I would change the last two, but I honestly think it might be ok having this meal as more of a casserole like we did (an accident). I am willing to try the jumbo noodles, but the small shells worked well too. :)

Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream Cake

I made this for our Anniversary (way back in August...yeah, if you can't tell I'm trying to catch up with the blog posts...I didn't make all this food for the holidays. I promise!) It was delicious, but super rich.

Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream Cake
1/2 gal vanilla ice cream
24 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies
5 tbsp butter -- melted
29 chocolate-dipped wafer cookies
2/3 c peanut butter (not reduced fat)
1/4 c honey
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 c bottled hot fudge sauce

Remove ice cream from freezer 30 minutes before using. Place chocolate sandwich cookies in food processor. Whirl until crumbed. (I did it the old fashioned way and smashed them in a bag with a rolling pin.) Add butter. Whirl until combined.

Stand wafer cookies around inside edge of 9-inch springform pan (I used a 9x9(?) square pan, and didn't attempt to remove the cake). Reserve 3/4 cup of chocolate crumb mixture. Spoon remaiing crumb mixture into pan; press evenly over bottom.

Stir peanut butter, honey and oil in small dish until blended. Place softened ice cream in large bowl. Drizzle about half of peanut butter mixture onto ice cream; fold together to swirl.

Spoon half of the ice cream mixture into the prepared pan; spread level. Sprinkle evenly with remaining chocolate cookie crumb mixture, pressing mixture down with back of spoon.

Spoon on remaining ice cream; spread level. Place the cake on a baking sheet and place in freezer. Freeze until cake is solid, at least 6 hours or overnight.

To serve, stir fudge sauce in glass measure to loosen, but do not warm. Spoon remaining peanut butter in blobs over top of cake along with blobs of fudge topping. Swirl together with the tip of a knife. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Slice cake into wedges.

Lemon Crumb Muffins

I made these to use up some extra lemon I had. These are great! I got the recipe from the Taste of Home magazine from the May 2008 issue. The original recipe makes 4 batches of muffins. I didn't want that many muffins so I halved it. It also calls for a glaze, but I didn't think they needed a glaze or they would have to be a dessert and not a sweet breakfast food. :)

Lemon Crumb Muffins

3 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1 c. melted butter
1 1/2 Tbs. grated lemon peel
1 Tbs. lemon juice

Streusel (this is not halved, and I used all of it):
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. cold butter

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, sour cream, butter, lemon peel and juice.  Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened. Fill prepared muffin cups 3/4 full. In a small bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 for 20-25 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 mins before removing from pans to wire racks. Enjoy!

Egg Nog

Daniel and I LOVE egg nog. Since egg nog is relatively expensive, we thought we would try making our own (which could end up being just as expensive if you don't already have the ingredients). It was a success!  I combined Delightful Country Cookin's recipe with Alton Brown's recipe. Here's what I came up with:

4 egg yolks *wash the eggs before you crack them...I explain later*  (keep the whites for later)
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 t. ground allspice
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
2-3 t. rum extract

 Place the egg yolks and sugar in a blender and blend until the mixture turns light yellow.  Meanwhile, heat the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat.  Once the eggs are combined, and while the blender is still going add a few generous tablespoons of the milk mixture into the yolks, and then whisk all of the yolk mixture into the milk.  Heat over medium-low, whisking constantly, until the mixture slightly thickens.  Remove from heat and add rum flavoring. Transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate until cold. *If you would prefer not to have raw egg in your egg nog (the egg whites) stop here and serve. (More about this later.)*

Once the egg yolk mixture is completely cool,  beat egg whites with 1 Tbls. sugar until soft peaks form. Fold the egg white into the yolk mixture. Serve. Makes about 6 servings.

About raw eggs: I have done some research in the raw egg area. Mainly because of the salmonella (or other food born illness) risk involved. I have found several sources (including Food Network Kitchens, and several other cooking sites) that suggest being cautious when consuming raw eggs, but that there is only a slight risk involved. In order to play it safe, use fresh, refrigerated grade A or AA eggs. Many of the sources I read suggest that it is not the egg itself which is the carrier for illness, but the shell (I think this makes total sense. Just think of all the places that shell has been...). To get around this, I wash the eggs before I crack them (just as I would a vegetable or fruit). I also try to avoid contact between the raw eggs and the shell.

Hope it turns out well for you too!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread

This is a recipe I created by combining Michele's Chocolate Zucchini Bread recipe, and a pumpkin bread recipe from my mom. It turned out really well. I was surprised at how moist it was. Especially since I used whole wheat flour. Anyway, here it is:

WARNING: this recipe makes 4 loaves. I used my own pumpkin puree for this recipe. I froze them in bags of 4 cups each, and I didn't want extra puree sitting in my fridge. We like pumpkin bread at our house and I usually freeze some to keep for later so this is not a problem, but you may want to half it.

4 c. (or two 15 oz cans) pumpkin puree
6 eggs
2 c. brown sugar
2 c. sugar
2/3 c. canola oil
4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. sour cream
3 1/2 c. whole wheat flour (made from red wheat)
4 c. white whole wheat flour (made from white wheat)
2 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
2/3 c. cocoa
2 c. chocolate chips
Cranberries, to taste (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 4 loaf pans with PAM and set aside.

Place flour, spices, soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a large bowl and whisk to combine. (Because it is all whole wheat flour, it is important to make sure that it is whisked well so that the bread will not be super dense.)

In a large bowl, beat oil, sugars, and eggs until combined and slightly fluffy with an electric mixer (1-2 minutes). Add vanilla, pumpkin, and sour cream and mix until combined.

In a small bowl combine chocolate chips and cranberries. Take a spoonful of the flour mixture and stir in with the chocolate chips and cranberries (that will help keep them evenly distributed. Something I didn't know. Thanks Michele!)

Stir remaining flour mixture into batter and mix just until combined. Add chocolate chips and stir to combine. (When making any quick bread, be careful not to stir the batter too much or it will be tough, and not turn out light and fluffy.)Divide the batter between the pans.

Bake in your preheated oven 50-60 minutes, checking for doneness after 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and let it cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes and then remove from pans. (Many people...(mom)...don't let their bread cool a little before they try to take it from the pan. When they try to remove it immediately, it cracks and they are extremely lucky if they get a loaf in one piece. So...let it sit there for about 8 mins. and viola! you get a whole, perfect loaf.)

The recipe turned out great! I do think next time I will add a little more spice and chocolate though.

Decadent Peanut Butter Pie

We love this pie! Just a warning, it is WAY rich. One small piece is plenty (although I promise you will want more). :)

Decadent Peanut Butter Pie

1 c. creamy peanut butter, plus 2 Tbs., divided
1 (8oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1 (12oz) container (4 1/2 c.) whipped cream, divided
1 prepared chocolate pie crust
1 jar hot fudge ice cream topping, divided

1. beat together 1 c. peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Fold in 3 cups whipped cream. (I think this is a little too much cream. I like a stronger peanut butter/cream cheese taste. 2 to 2 1/2 cups is probably sufficient.) Spoon into crust and smooth to the edges with a spatula.
2. Reserve 2 Tbs. of hot fudge topping in the corner of a resealable food storage bag; set aside. Microwave remaining topping on high for 1 minute. Stir. Spread topping over pie, covering entire peanut butter layer. Refrigerate until set. Spread remaining whipped topping (1 1/2 cups, or to taste) over hot fudge layer. Be careful not to mix the two layers.
3. Cut a small corner from bag containing topping. Squeeze bag to drizzle topping over pie. Place remaining 2 Tbs. peanut butter in a resealable food storage bag; cut bag corner and squeeze to drizzle in opposite direction from topping. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Best Doughnuts

The name of the recipe says it all! They were great!

Best Doughnuts
Prep: 30 min.
Chill: 2 hours
Cook: 2 min per batch
Source: Better Homes and Gardens Magazine
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/3 c. milk
1/2 c butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
2/3 c. sugar
Vegetable oil for frying 
Cinnamon-Sugar or sifted powdered sugar

1. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Set aside. In another bowl combine milk and melted butter. In a large mixing bowl combine eggs and sugar, beat with electric mixer until thick (about 5 mins). Add milk mixture. Stir with wooden spoon to combine. Add flour mixture and stir with wooden spoon until smooth. Cover dough, chill 2 hours (dough will remain slightly sticky).
2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut dough with a floured 2 1/2 inch round cutter use a 1 1/4 inch futter to cut the hole for the doughnut. (You can also use a standard doughnut cutter.)
3. Fry 2 or 3 doughnuts at a time in deep hot fat (375*F) for 2 to 2 1/2 mins or until brown, turning halfway through with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining doughnuts and doughnut holes.
4. Shake warm (and still slightly wet) doughnuts in a bag with Cinnamon-Sugar or powdered sugar. Serve warm (or reheat each doughnut 8-10 seconds in microwave on high)

Makes about 15 doughnuts plus holes.
Each doughnut=382 calories (!)

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

This is a casserole that has been around forever, it's yummy, easy, and kids like it.  I can never remember it or find the recipe when I am looking for it. So...I'm adding it to the blog. :)

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/3 c. water (or chicken broth)
3/4 c. uncooked rice
2 c. veggies (your choice)
4 pieces of whatever raw chicken you have. (Breasts, drumsticks, thighs, etc) Thawed.
1/2 c. shredded cheese

Stir the soup, water, rice, and vegetables in a 13x9 baking dish. Top with chicken. Season chicken as desired. Cover with foil. Bake at 375*F for 45 mins or until chicken is done. Top with cheese.

*I usually add a lot more spices to the rice mix than this recipe calls for. Examples: dried parsley, salt, pepper, etc. (It depends on what you like.)

Black Bean 'n' Pumpkin Chili

This year I made my own pumpkin puree. We have lots and lots of pumpkin in our freezer and this was a great way to use it up!

Black Bean 'n' Pumpkin Chili
1 med. onion, chopped
1 med. yellow pepper (I used green)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs. olive oil
3 c. chicken broth
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (I used beans that I had cook previously)
2 1/2 c. cubed cooked turkey ( I added extra beans and didn't add meat)
1 can (15 oz) solid pack pumpkin (Or 2 cups of your own)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large skillet, saute the onion, yellow pepper and garlic in oil until tender. Transfer to a 5 qt. slow cooker, stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated through.

Source: Adapted from Taste of Home

Pasta with Cream Sauce

We like this dish because it is fast and yummy! It could be used for a side or as the main dish.

Pasta with Cream Sauce
1pk (12-16oz) bow tie pasta
1 sm. red onion, chopped
4 lg. garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh basil (I used dried, but it is always better fresh!)
1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh oregano (again, I used dried)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 c. heavy whipping cream

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in the broth, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cook until reduced by about half. Stir in cream. Cook, uncovered, 8-10 mins until sauce is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups.

Drain pasta, toss with sauce.

Yum! I sometimes add veggies and mix it all together. Also, I like mine to be a little spicy, so I put red pepper flakes either on my own plate or in the sauce. We also like to sprinkle Parmesan cheese over it.

Source: Taste of Home Magazine

Monday, June 21, 2010

Poppy Seed Dressing

I can't get enough of this! It's delicious!

Combine in Blender:

1 c. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. wet dijon mustard
2/3 c. apple cider vinegar( can also use white vinegar)
3 Tbls. Onion finely chopped

Mix well in blender. Slowly add 2 cups salad oil and blend until thick. Stir in 1-3 Tble. poppy seeds. Store in fridge for 3-4 wks. Makes 3 1/2-4c.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Recipe courtesy of my mom:
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. shortening
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg
2 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. salt
granulated sugar to roll cookies in

Heat oven to 350 F. In large bowl combine first four ingredients. Beat at med. speed until well blended. Add dry ingredients. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms (it'll be pretty thick) shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-12 minutes until set. Cool completely before storing (if they last that long). Makes 3 dozen.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

BYU Mint Brownies

A few weeks ago, Michele posted this recipe on her blog. I was so excited about it! I made a pan and they are delicious...even better than the real BYU brownies. Maybe it is because of the freshness, maybe it is because I took the time to make them, or maybe it is because I made the mistake of quadrupling the chocolate (I probably should explain... Michele cut her recipe in half and said she doubled the chocolate. At first I thought that she had just doubled the chocolate on her own and didn't put it in the recipe on her blog (I don't know why I thought that). So I decided to double the chocolate too...I realized too late that I had doubled her doubled chocolate. Oh was a mistake I might make again). I was going to take a picture, but we ate them all before I got around to it. :)Here's the recipe:

For the brownie:
1 cup butter (or margarine)
1 cup cocoa (this is doubled...not quadrupled)
2 Tbsp. honey
4 eggs
2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Melt butter and mix in cocoa. Allow to cool. Add honey, eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Pour batter into a greased 9x13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool. Frost with mint icing and place in fridge or freezer for a few minutes to stiffen it up. Then frost with chocolate frosting.

For the mint icing:
4 Tbsp. butter
dash of salt
3-4 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
2 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
3(ish) drops green food coloring

Soften butter. Add salt, corn syrup, and powdered sugar. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Add mint extract and food coloring. Mix. Add milk gradually until the consistency is a little thinner than cake frosting.

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Frosting:
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup Hershey's cocoa
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp. milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.

SOURCE: Michele. By way of: The Girl Who Ate Everything, originally from BYU Dining.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Baja Fish Tacos

I have never had fish tacos before so I was a little skeptical about trying this recipe. I wanted to do something different from our typical fish and rice meal. It. was. delicious!!

Here's the recipe (from

Prep Time: 20 Min
Cook Time: 10 Min
Ready In: 35 Min

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package ORTEGA® Taco Seasoning Mix, divided
  • 1 pound cod or other white fish fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • *red pepper flakes to taste (my addition)
  • 1 package (12) ORTEGA® Taco Shells, warmed
  • Toppings: shredded cabbage, chopped tomato, lime juice, ORTEGA® Thick & Smooth Taco Sauce
  1. COMBINE sour cream, mayonnaise, cilantro and 2 tablespoons seasoning mix in small bowl.
  2. COMBINE cod, vegetable oil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and remaining seasoning mix in medium bowl; pour into large skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with fork.
  3. FILL taco shells with fish mixture. Top with cabbage, tomato and sour cream mixture, lime juice and taco sauce.
Nutritional Information

Makes 6 servings

Amount Per Serving Calories: 427 | Total Fat: 29.2g | Cholesterol: 51mg

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Salt and Vinegar Chips

I got this recipe from Elly Says Opa. These were great! I think they could have used a little more vinegar though.

Serves 4
Marth Stewart

1 lb. potatoes, cut into 1/4″ slices
2 cups white vinegar (or enough to cover potatoes)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
coarse salt and pepper

Make sure vinegar covers potatoes in a medium saucepan, and then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until just fork tender, about 5 minutes. Let potatoes cool in the vinegar for 30 minutes. Drain well.

Preheat the broiler. Toss the potatoes with oil, salt and pepper. and place in one layer on a broiler-safe pan. Broil until crispy and browned on top, just a few minutes, rotating the pan if necessary. Sprinkle with additional coarse salt before serving.