Friday, December 30, 2011

Ham and Bean Soup

I finally wrote down and measured everything I do for this ham and bean soup so I don't forget the recipe! It is SO good. I made it for the full-time missionaries from my church, and they said it was one of the best soups they have had. Which, to me, is a compliment because there are a lot of good cooks in my church.

Ham and Bean Soup 1 lb. white beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 ham hock
2 c. frozen corn
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. parsley
1 tsp. garlic powder
6 c. chicken broth
2 tsp. chili powder (or to taste)
4 dashes Tabasco sauce

Throw it all in the crock pot, and cook on low for 6 hours. About 30 mins. before serving, take the ham hock out and let cool a little. Separate the meat from the bone. Throw out the bone, and put in the meat. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

We have an annual soup night with all of our ASL friends after finals in December. For the last two years one of our friends has been bringing this too.die.for cauliflower soup. Problem? No recipe. He just knows the ingredients. So, I finally got a list of his ingredients, and added some of mine and came up with this. Of course, it is not his soup, but it is really good, and was perfect for the cauliflower in my fridge that was getting those icky brown spots on it. My husband said it was a little more chunky then his (probably because I added potatoes), but the flavor is there. Anyway... give it a go. You wont regret it!

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 lb. bacon, crumbled (I used Hormel's Real Crumbled Bacon, but I would have used real bacon if I had it!)
3 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 c. chicken broth (or water with 4 bouillon cubes)
1 head cauliflower
2 c. half and half
1/4 c. butter or margerine
1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1 tsp. pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 c. cheese, or to taste (use whatever cheese you have. I used a blend of provolone, mozzarella, and cheddar.)

In a dutch oven, cook onion in oil on medium heat, about 2 mins. Add crumbled bacon. (Note: if you are using raw bacon, no need to cook it beforehand then crumble it. Just chop it up in small pieces and add it here. Cook until the bacon is done, then continue.) Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil over hi heat. Simmer over medium heat until potatoes are al dente, or give just a little pressure when poked with a fork. Add the cauliflower. Bring to a boil again. Turn temp to med heat, and simmer for another 5 mins or until cauliflower is cooked through.

Meanwhile (while the soup is simmering), in a separate sauce pan, over med-hi heat melt butter. Add flour and whisk (like crazy) to combine. Add the milk small amounts at a time so that you can maintain a smooth consistency. Boil until nice and thick.

With a potato masher, give a few good mashes to the soup, (if you like a chunkier soup, only a few, if you like a smoother soup you will need to mash it quite a bit) Add half and half and salt and pepper to the soup. Bring back to a boil. Add roux to the soup (the butter, flour, milk mixture). Bring back to a boil and let simmer until soup has reached desired consistency. Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir well to combine. Serve.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cranberry Orange Relish

I love this fresh, yummy relish. Forget about canned cranberry sauce (who likes it anyway?), and make this instead!

Cranberry Orange Relish

1 pkg. cranberries
1 lg. orange, pealed and quartered
orange zest
1/2 -3/4 c. sugar

Add cranberries and orange slices to the food processor or blender. Blend until slightly chunky (like the photo above) Add zest from the orange and 1/2 -3/4 c. of sugar. Blend again. Enjoy!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili

I don't know where I got this recipe. I think it may have been in a local magazine. Either way, this chili is awesome! We had it for Halloween night. It definitely hit the spot. I did make some changes, so here is my rendition.

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1-3 tsp. red pepper flakes (depending on personal heat tolerance)
2 cans of black beans (or make your own and put them in. I actually used pinto the first time, and black the second.)
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 Tbs. chili powder
1 Tbs. cumin
1 Tbs. dried oregano
1 small butternut squash (about 3 cups), peeled, seeded, and chopped into bite size pieces.
Salt and pepper

Throw it all in the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours.

Let me tell you a secret: The leftovers are pretty much better than the fresh. Just sayin'...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Zucchini Pancakes

Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, I love me some GOOD savory pancakes. These were delicious, and a great way to use up zucchini. (I know it's way past summer, but I am just now getting around to posting this recipe...I am just doing my part to prepare you for next summer!)

Zucchini Pancakes

2 medium zucchini (about 3/4 pound) (I used a zucchini and a summer squash)
2 tablespoons grated red onion
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
6 to 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Unsalted butter and vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Grate the zucchini into a bowl using the large grating side of a box grater. Immediately stir in the onion and eggs. Stir in 6 tablespoons of the flour, the baking powder, salt, and pepper. (If the batter gets too thin from the liquid in the zucchini, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour.)

Heat a large (10 to 12-inch) saute pan over medium heat and melt 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon oil together in the pan. When the butter is hot but not smoking, lower the heat to medium-low and drop heaping soup spoons of batter into the pan. Cook the pancakes about 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place the pancakes on a sheet pan and keep warm in the oven.  The pancakes can stay warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Serve hot.

I served the pancakes two ways. One with left over marinara sauce, and one with ricotta and dill. Both were delicious!

Source: Food (Ina Garten)

Monday, November 28, 2011

How to make baby food

This post is dedicated to my sister who will be starting solids with her baby soon.

Did you know you can make your own baby food? Did you know you can do this for at least 1/3 the price as store bought baby food? Did you know that the food tastes, looks, and smells better this way? If your answer was no to any of these questions you need to read this post.

First, start off with the veggies you want to cook. Here I have broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas, green beans, and butternut squash.

Next step, prepare and cook the veggies.

Next, blend! Make sure to vent the lid. (You don't want hot vegetables flying in your face if the lid pops off because of the pressure!) You may need to add a little water. I like to add the water the food was cooked in because some of the nutrients boil out when you cook it.

Make a nice smooth puree.
Pour into ice cube trays and freeze!

Now you have single servings of baby food! Put the frozen cubes into a freezer bag. When you need to feed the baby, warm the cube up and mix it with some cereal (if you want). It takes about a minute in our microwave. 

I love making my own baby food. I know exactly what goes into it (no preservatives), and I know I'm saving us some money in the process. Hope this helped!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ham and Pasta Skillet Dinner

I got this recipe from my sister in law. It is SO delicious. It is quick, easy, and every one likes it. No complaints.

Ham and Pasta Skillet Dinner

1 12 oz box small tube or shell pasta
3 T olive oil
3 cups fully cooked ham, diced
1 large sweet red pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley (I just sprinkled on some dried.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions - only cooking until al dente since pasta will continue to cook and soak up liquid when added to the skillet. While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, olive oil over medium heat. Add pepper, onion, and garlic and cook until vegetables are tender, about 4-6 minutes. Add ham, basil and oregano and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 2-3 minutes. Stir in broth and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Stir drained pasta into ham and vegetable mixture. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and toss. Sprinkle parsley and remaining Parmesan cheese over the top of the pasta. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Apple Dip

We really enjoy this quick, sweet, and oh-so-delicious treat in the fall.
Apple Dip

1 10 oz. tub of soft cream cheese or 1 8 oz. block softened
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 pkg of a 8 oz. bag of SKOR English Toffee Bits
6-9 Granny Smith Apples cut into wedges for dipping

Mix together with a spoon until smooth – cream cheese, sugars and vanilla.  Fold in toffee bits just before serving so they don’t get soggy.  (soggy is yummy too!)  I cut the apples just before serving to prevent them turning brown.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken

This is such a yummy comfort food! Eat in moderation though, it is NOT fat free!

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken

3 lbs chicken pieces
1 (2/3 ounce) package Italian salad dressing mix
4 tablespoons melted butter ( divided)
1 small onions, chopped
1 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (10 1/2 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup chicken broth

Place chicken pieces in crock pot and sprinkle Italian seasoning over chicken. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a sauce pan and saute onion and garlic. Add Cream of Chicken Soup, cream cheese, and chicken broth. Stir until smooth. Add this mixture to crock pot and cook on low for an additional hour. Serve over rice or noodles.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lemon Gelato

We had an Italian themed date night this last weekend. We all dressed up, and my husband made and served us bow tie lasagna. After the kiddos were in bed, we had this awesome lemon gelato as we watched Life is Beautiful. Such a good/sad movie! The gelato was rich, creamy, and very fresh. We loved it!

Lemon Gelato

    1 cup milk
    1 cup sugar
    5 egg yolks, lightly beaten
    3 tablespoons grated lemon peel
    3/4 cup lemon juice
    2 cups heavy whipping cream

    In a small heavy saucepan, heat milk to 175°; stir in sugar until
    dissolved. Whisk a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks.
    Return all to the pan, whisking constantly. Add lemon peel. Cook and
    stir over low heat until mixture reaches at least 160° and coats
    the back of a metal spoon.
    Remove from the heat; strain. Stir in lemon juice. Cool quickly by
    placing pan in a bowl of ice water; stir for 2 minutes. Stir in
    cream. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
    Fill cylinder of ice cream freezer two-thirds full; freeze according
    to manufacturer's directions. Refrigerate remaining mixture until
    ready to freeze. Transfer to a freezer container; freeze for 2-4
    hours before serving. Yield: 1-1/2 quarts. 

Source: Taste of Home

Monday, October 17, 2011

Honey Lime Enchiladas

Oh my! These are to die for! We had the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over for dinner that night, and they said that they get served enchiladas a lot, but these were the best they had tasted! Now, I will never know if they say this to all the other people that serve them enchiladas, but I certainly agree with them.  

Honey Lime Enchiladas
3 1/2 tablespoons honey
Juice from 1 large lime
1/2 tablespoons chili powder (I put in a bit more)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (a bit more)

2 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
4 flour tortillas
12 oz. monterey jack cheese, shredded
1/2 onion, cut into strips and caramelized
rice, to taste
beans, to taste
10 ounces green enchilada sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream

Mix the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken. Let it
marinate for at least 1/2 hour. Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on
the bottom of a 8x8 baking pan. Fill flour tortillas with chicken and
shredded cheese, saving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of
enchiladas. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream and
leftover marinade. Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with
cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on

Oh, and I also added some olives on the top for a garnish, but that was only because they had been sitting in the fridge for a while and needed used...

Source: my friend, Lara M.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Marshmallow/toffee/chocolate fondue

This is a mixture of about 3 recipes I found online. It was very rich, but very good! Again, I ate way too much...
1 c marshmallow fluff
1 1/2 c semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. heath bits
1/3c. heavy cream
1 tsp. almond extract

Melt about 90 mins in mini slow cooker or on the stove/microwave and keep warm. Serve with cake squares, cookies, marshmallows, fruit...the possibilities are endless! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Non-alcoholic Cheese Fondue

Cheese Fondue3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 T flour
1/8 t pepper

In a large saucepan, bring cider to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Toss the cheeses with flour and pepper; stir into cider. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted. Transfer to a small ceramic fondue pot or slow cooker; keep warm. If it starts getting clumpy try adding more cider.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cheesy Pizza Fondue

We recently had a fondue night. It was a lot of fun! I can tell you right now, I at WAY too much!

Cheesy Pizza Fondue
1 cup pizza or spaghetti sauce
1 t Italian seasoning
about 10 pepperoni slices, chopped
1 cup shredded mozzerellla cheese tossed with about 1 T flour

Combine pizza sauce, Italian seasoning, and chopped pepperoni in a small saucepan. Warm sauce over medium heat. Add cheese and stir contiunously until melted, about 3-4 minutes. Keep warm in a mini crock pot or fondue pot.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cream of Celery Soup

I know...celery soup? What? That's what my husband thought anyway. I had some celery that needed used up quick. It wasn't just a couple sticks, it was almost a whole bunch. I remember seeing a Campbell's cream of celery soup, so I thought I'd try. I found this recipe on via Google recipe search.  It was actually pretty good! My husband was very skeptical going into it, but this was his response: "I was pleasantly surprised." He took some to work for lunches too, so he must have liked it.

Cream of Celery Soup
    1 lb fresh celery or celery root
    1 medium Russet (or other starchy) potato
    2 Tbsp unsalted butter
    1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
    1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
    1/4 c. white wine vinegar mixed with 1/4 c. water and 1 Tbs. sugar(the original recipe called for 1/2 c. white wine)
    1 qt vegetable stock or chicken stock
    Kosher salt, to taste
    Ground white pepper, to taste
    I threw some cream of chicken soup in there because I wanted it a little thicker/creamier kind of as an after thought. If I had thought of it before, I would have made a roux and added it at the very end.

Cut celery into (roughly) same-sized pieces, about ½ inch to 1 inch thick, depending on diameter. Don't worry about precision — the soup is going to be puréed anyway. We just want the pieces to be of uniform size so that they cook evenly. Peel the potato and cut it into pieces about the same size as the celery.

In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat the butter over low-to-medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and celery and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is slightly translucent, stirring more or less continuously. Add the vinegar mixture and cook for another minute or two or until the wine seems to have reduced by about half.  Add the stock and the potato. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the celery and potatoes are soft enough that they can easily be pierced with a knife. Don't let them get mushy, though.

 Remove from heat and purée in a blender, working in batches if necessary. (Please vent the don't want to have celery soup all over your kitchen because the heat makes the lid pop off...It happened to me...I was venting the lid, but not enough)
Return puréed soup to pot and bring to a simmer again, adding more broth or stock to adjust the thickness if necessary. (This is where I would add the roux, if doing it again.)

Season to taste with Kosher salt and white pepper.

Garnish with a toasted crouton and serve right away.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cauliflower Soup

Please excuse my oh so fancy dinnerware...
Ah, it's Autumn time! That means it's time to start soup season! I love soup, but I just can't bring myself to make it often in our sweltering Iowa summers. However, during the frigid autumn and winter months, I could make it everyday! I recently tried this recipe and really liked it. I have only had cauliflower soup on other time, and I loved it! I still need to get that recipe, but this one came in pretty close to what I remember the other one tasting like.

Cauliflower Soup

    1 stick Butter, Divided
    ½ whole Onion, Finely Diced
    1 whole Carrot Finely Diced
    1 stalk Celery, Finely Diced
    1 whole (to 2 Whole) Cauliflower Heads (roughly Chopped)
    2 Tablespoons Fresh Or Dried Parsley (chopped)
    2 quarts Low-sodium Chicken Broth Or Stock
    6 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
    2 cups Whole Milk
    1 cup Half-and-half
    2 teaspoons To 4 Teaspoons Salt, To Taste
    1 cup (heaping) Sour Cream, Room Temperature

In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown.

Add the carrots and celery and cook an additional couple of minutes. Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine.

Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.

In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix the flour with the milk and whisk to combine. Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup half-and-half. Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.

Just before serving, place the sour cream in a serving bowl or soup tureen. Add two to three ladles of hot soup into the tureen and stir to combine with the sour cream. Pour in remaining soup and stir.

Serve immediately.

Source: The Pioneer Woman

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

General Tsao's Chicken

It was one of those nights. You know the ones, the time just slipped away from you, you realize your husband is going to be home in 30 minutes and you haven't even thought about making dinner. The kids are both screaming, one didn't get a nap, the other one...well, he just screams all the time. Then you go into panic mode. You need something quick and easy. (I'm assuming you know what I'm talking about...but if you don't just imagine that I wrote I's and me's in stead of you's.) Well, that's what it was like for me the other night. I found this recipe and I got it on the table in 25 minutes. And my husband didn't even know about the panic I had when I glanced at the clock at 5. For all he knew I could have been slaving all day on this meal. Yes, it was that good.

The only thing I did differently was I dredged the chicken in some flour and paprika before cooking it. I also added a little sesame seed oil as well as some sesame seeds.

General Tsao's Chicken

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tsp. peanut or canola oil
2 cloves garlic
3/4 c. chicken broth
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp. corn starch
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 servings cooked brown rice for serving

Combine garlic, chicken broth, corn starch, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet, and add the chicken. Cook until the chicken is browned. Pour in the broth mixture and bring to a boil to thicken. Simmer until chicken is cooked all the way through. (You may need to add a little more broth/water if it gets too thick.) Serve over brown rice with veggies on the side. (Or, you could always make it a stir fry and put the veggies in the sauce, your choice.)

Source: Spark way of Google Recipe search

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chicken Stroganoff

We really love pasta at our house. Like, really. Especially my husband. This was a nice hearty dish, and totally has "comfort food" written all over it! The original recipe calls for canned mushrooms, but I used raw/fresh mushrooms, it was so much better! So, if you can, use fresh mushrooms. I have made it both ways, and it was good with canned mushrooms too. :)

Chicken Stroganoff

4 bacon strips, diced
1 lb. chicken, cubed
1 med. onion, chopped
8 oz. sliced mushrooms (more or less depending on personal preference)
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
Pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. all purpose flour
1 c. sour cream
Hot cooked noodles
Additional paprika, optional

In a skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels. Drain, and reserve two Tbs. drippings.

In the drippings, cook the chicken, onion, and mushrooms until the chicken is no longer pink, and the mushrooms are tender. Add the broth, garlic, salt, paprika, pepper, and bacon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Combine flour and sour cream until smooth; add to the skillet. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve over noddles. Sprinkle with paprika if desired.

Source: Adapted from Taste of Home

Monday, September 19, 2011

French Bread

I made french bread! And it turned out good! (I feel like doing a little jig!) I am never buying french bread from the store again...well, at least not in the near future. But this was so crispy on the outside and soft and delectable on the inside, it makes it worth it to plan ahead a little.

French Bread
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast and salt. Stir in 2 cups warm water, and beat until well blended using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Knead for about 8 to 10 minutes total. Shape into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn once. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
Punch dough down, and divide in half. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover, and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each half into large rectangle. Roll up, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends.
Grease a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Place loaves, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water, and brush on. Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until nearly doubled, 35 to 40 minutes.
With a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep across top of each loaf. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 20 minutes. Brush again with egg white mixture. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until bread tests done. If necessary, cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning. Remove from baking sheet, and cool on a wire rack.

Source: All recipes

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cranberry Orange Scones

Well, now that I know how easy scones are, I kinda want to have them every week! Probably not a good life choice if I want to loose weight. These ones are easy and super yummy! Try to restrain yourself though...

Cranberry Orange Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
10 teaspoons sugar, divided
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup cold butter
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup half-and-half cream
1 egg

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 7 teaspoons sugar, orange peel, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the cranberries, orange juice, cream and egg. Add to flour mixture and stir until a soft dough forms.

On a floured surface, gently knead 6-8 times. Pat dough into an 8-in. circle. Cut into 10 wedges. Separate wedges and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush with milk; sprinkle with remaining sugar.

Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack. Combine glaze ingredients if desired; drizzle over scones. Combine orange butter ingredients; serve with warm scones. Yield: 10 scones.

Source: Taste of Home

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

BLT Salad

Yet another nice and refreshing salad.  I really liked the creamy dressing for the salad. Heather even ate the salad a little bit. Delish!

...and sorry, no photo...oops.

BLT Salad
6 c. torn lettuce
1 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes (you could also use regular tomatoes)
3/4 c. mozzerella cheese, shredded
3/4. cheddar cheese, shredded
10 bacon strips, crumbled
1/2  chopped green pepper
1/2 c. chopped red onion
1/2 chopped cucumber


1 c. plain  yogurt
2/3 c. mayonnaise
1/8 c. sugar
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. garlic powder

In a large salad bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Just before serving, whisk the dressing ingredients. Pour over salad. Toss to coat.

Source: Adapted from Taste of Home

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fish Burgers

Umm...yum! That's all I gotta say. Everyone loved these. We fought over the last one... ok, not really. Perfect for a summer meal!

Fish Burgers

1 lb. fresh or frozen fish (If frozen, thawed)
3/4 c. bread crumbs
2 green onions, sliced
2 Tbs. Cilantro, snipped
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 recipe Lime Mayonnaise
Sandwich buns and lettuce

Coarsely grind or chop fish into small chunks. Add the next 8 ingredients. Combine.

Line a tray with foil, divide into four 1in patties. Place on tray and refrigerate for 30mins -8hrs. (Don't skip this step! It helps to hold it all together.)

Heat oil in skillet over med-hi heat. Add patties. Cook 4-6 mins per side until cooked through. Serve with lime mayonnaise on buns with lettuce.

Lime Mayonnaise

In a bowl stir together 1/4 c. mayonnaise, 2 Tbs. minced red onion, and 2 tsp. lime juice. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Meatless Mexican Lasagna

Mmmm...we had this meal during our vegetarian week (yep, I'm just now writing it, I don't have a photo). We shared with the missionaries. It was delicious. Everyone had seconds. The leftovers were even good! I mean, they were better than the average leftover.

2 c. frozen corn, thawed
1 can (or 2 c.) black beans
1 can Italian or Mexican style diced tomatoes
1 can chopped green chilies (4 oz, or 1/2 c. if you chop your own)
3 green onions, sliced
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 corn tortillas (6 inches)
1 1/2 c. shredded cheese
Plain yogurt or sour cream

Combine the first seven ingredients. Place two tortillas in an 11x7x2in baking dish coated in cooking spray. Spread with half or the corn mixture, sprinkle with cheese. Repeat layers. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 5 mins. Garnish with yogurt or sour cream. Makes 6 servings (291 cals each).

Source: Taste of Home

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chocolate bowls

What better to have homemade ice cream in than chocolate bowls! Daniel and I made these for our date last weekend. The instructions call for a small balloon. We had what we thought were small balloons, but the bowls were a lot bigger than we were expecting. Yep, we filled the larger bowls... Probably water balloon size would work best.

Chocolate Bowls

Melt whatever chocolate you want to use in the microwave 30 seconds at a time until melted. (We used  semi-sweet chocolate chips.) Let cool to room temperature. Using the back of a spoon, put chocolate onto the bottom of a blown up balloonto make a bowl shape. Make it thick enough for a bowl, but watch out! They get a little top heavy. Put a dollop of chocolate on some wax paper. Place the chocolate covered balloon on the dollop. Let sit until hardened. If you are impatient (we were) put it (carefully) into the fridge to harden. When the bowl is hardened, slowly let the air out of the balloon. And there you have it, a perfect ice cream bowl.

Monday, September 5, 2011

(Fresh) Peppermint Ice Cream

Well, we tried to grow a garden this year. We got about 5 peas, 15 green beans, and 25 carrots, about 2 c. spinach, and a small mint plant. Everything else was eaten by something...grr. I have been wanting to try this ice cream all spring as I watched my mint sprout and develop, and grow. I finally had enough mint to make it the other day! So, I tried it, we fed it to friends, and the consensus was: it was delicious. I feel so awesome when I can use fresh things to make what could be made with an extract or something. Oh, and it totally tastes fresh and crisp (is that the right word?). Give it a try:

Peppermint Ice Cream

1 c. whole milk
1 1/2 c. packed fresh mint leaves
3/4 c. sugar
pinch salt
2 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. peppermint patties, torn (10-12 patties)

In a med. saucepan set over med-low heat, bring the milk just to a boil. Remove from heat and add the mint leaves; let steep for 20-30 minutes. Blend the milk and leaves. (If you want a mild mint flavor pour the milk through a strainer. Keep the milk, discard the leaves.)
Add the sugar and salt to the milk mixture. Use a whisk to combine until sugar has dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate, 1-2 hours (longer is totally fine).
Freeze according to manufacturers directions. Five minutes before frozen, add the patties. This ice cream turns out more like soft serve. If you would like a harder ice cream, freeze it for about 2 hours. You may need to remove the ice cream about 15 mins before serving to let it soften a bit.

Source: Adapted from Cuisinart

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lemon Poppy seed Scones

These were hot, so the lemon curd melted a bit, but still delicious!
 For some reason I've been needing a lot of comfort food lately. I am stressed out for some reason. Maybe it's because I am letting Josh cry it out...and I hate it just as much as he does...but you know, a 18.5 lb 5 1/2 month old does not need fed 3-5 times a night. I am graciously getting up once with him, but that's it! So maybe that's why I am stressed. Maybe I'm tired...Maybe I...It doesn't matter. For some reason I've been craving comfort food, and this just happened to hit the spot. Yum!

I have always been afraid of making scones for some reason...I don't know why. Maybe the name implies hard work? I dunno. It wasn't until this morning that I realized they were just like making biscuits, but you add a couple extra ingredients. Why have I been so afraid? These were so easy, so delicious, and quick to put together. The only long part was the baking (for the scones) and the lemon curd took a while to thicken, but I'd say a pretty easy meal. Awesome!

Lemon Poppy seed Scones

    2 eggs
    1 cup sugar
    6 tablespoons butter, melted
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    2 tablespoons grated lemon peel

    2 cups all-purpose flour (I added more just seemed a little too sticky. Maybe it was more humid today than normal?)
    1/4 cup sugar
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1 tablespoon poppy seeds
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/3 cup cold butter
    3/4 cup milk
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1/4 - 1/2 tsp. almond extract (My addition. I just love the flavor it adds)
    Additional sugar


    In a heavy saucepan or top of a double boiler, beat eggs and sugar.
    Stir in butter, lemon juice and peel. Cook and stir over low heat or
    simmering water for 15 minutes or until mixture reaches 160° and
    is thickened. Cover and refrigerate until chilled (may be stored in
     the refrigerator for up to 1 week).
    For scones, combine the flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder,
    baking soda and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter until mixture
    resembles fine crumbs. Combine milk and lemon juice; stir into crumb
    mixture just until blended (dough will be soft).
    Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead gently six times. Shape into
    a ball. Pat dough into an 8-in. circle; cut into eight wedges.
    Separate wedges and place 1 in. apart on a greased baking sheet.
    Sprinkle with additional sugar.
    Bake at 425° for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove
    from pan to wire rack. Serve warm with the lemon curd. Yield: 8

Source: Taste of Home

By the way...These are NOT low in calories. 419 calories a piece!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Carol's (Quick) Easy Pita Bread

I usually like my pita bread whole wheat, but we were out, and I didn't have time to grind some, so I searched on google recipes (If you haven't tried google recipes, you need too!) and found this one.  We had these with our Chicken Waldorf Salad. YUM!

2 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoons quick-rising yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups hot water ( but not boiling)
1 -1 1/2 cup flour

Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl. Beat well about 1 minute. Then mix in the remaining flour, using just enough to make a soft, sticky dough. Turn out on floured board and continue to knead for 5 minutes. Divide into 8 balls. Roll out each one to about 1/4 inch thick and 6 inches in diameter.
Place on very lightly greased cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal (although cornmeal is really not necessary if you don't have it). Let rise in warm place for 25-35 minutes . Bake at 450 for 4 min, and then turn over for 4 more minutes or until lightly browned. Wrap immediately in a dishtowel for 3 or 4 minutes.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Chicken Waldorf Salad

We needed a fast, light, refreshing, and cool dinner the other night. Mmm, mmm. I love me this salad! We had ours with pita bread, but you could have it with just about anything. This salad comes together really quickly, especially if you use leftover chicken.

Chicken Waldorf Salad 

    1 medium apple, unpeeled, chopped
    Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
    2 cups diced cooked chicken (about 1 large breast)
    1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
    1 stalk celery, finely chopped
    1/4 cup craisins
    1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
    1/4 - 1/2 c. red onion, chopped

    3/4 cup yogurt (preferably Greek non-fat)
    Juice of 1/2 orange (about 1/4 cup)
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    Paprika, to taste

Mix the ingredients for the salad, set aside. Mix the ingredients for the dressing, add to salad. Chill. Voilà! You have a nice, cool, refreshing salad! Serve with pretty much anything. :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pepper Stromboli

This last week we had an experimental vegetarian week. I counts for my "cook with something you have never cooked with before" goal, by the way.  It is so easy for me to make, and eat vegetarian, and this week was to prove to Daniel that vegetarian can be "good." You know what? He didn't complain...but I don't think either of us will ever give up meat. We had a lot of good recipes, but I think this one was my favorite. It's delicious!

Pepper Stromboli

    3 medium  red, yellow, and/or green sweet peppers, chopped (3 cups)
    1 tablespoon  minced garlic (6 cloves)
    1 tablespoon  butter
    1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon  crushed red pepper
    3/4 cup  shredded mozzarella cheese (3 oz.)
    1/2 cup  ricotta cheese
    2 tablespoons  snipped fresh basil
    1 10-ounce package  refrigerated pizza dough (I just made my own)
    1   egg, slightly beaten


Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper; grease foil and set aside. In a large skillet cook sweet peppers and garlic in hot butter over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in the crushed red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl stir together the mozzarella, ricotta, and basil. Stir pepper mixture into cheese mixture until well combined; set aside. On a lightly floured surface roll out pizza dough to a 16x10-inch rectangle. Cut into two 8x10-inch rectangles. Spoon half of the pepper mixture along one of the long sides of one dough rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border along the long side and a 1/2-inch border along the short sides. Spread pepper mixture to a width of about 3 inches. Fold one long side over the pepper mixture. Seal seam and ends, tucking seam under the loaf. Carefully place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

With a sharp knife cut 4 diagonal slits in the top of each loaf. Brush loaves with egg. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes. Slice each in half and serve warm. Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Creamy Strawberry and (leftover) Cream Cheese Frosting Ice Cream

Do you ever have cream cheese frosting leftover? I did recently. I had a bunch of frosting leftover from the cake I made for our anniversary. I didn't really know what to do with it. (I could have always made another cake...but I didn't think that was a good idea.)We are having a bunch of friends over tonight, and what is better than ice cream on a hot summer night? Nothing. So, I thought I would use the frosting in the ice cream. After looking at several recipes, and not finding one that would work,  (You see, none called for leftover frosting.) I tried my hand at making my own (awesome) recipe. So here goes...

Creamy Strawberry and (leftover) Cream Cheese Frosting Ice Cream

1/2 recipe of cream cheese frosting
1/2 lb. strawberries, hulled and cut in half
1 c. milk
2 c. heavy cream (you could do less, it would probably just take longer to mix...and not be as creamy)
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt

In a blender, combine strawberries and 1/2  milk. Blend to desired consistency. (I like mine a little chunky.) Set aside. In medium sized bowl (I actually just use the container I will be storing the ice cream in...saves dishes, and I'm all about saving dishes...ask Daniel), combine frosting with leftover milk until smooth. Add strawberries, vanilla, and salt, stir until smooth. Stir in cream. Freeze according to manufacturers directions.

Go ahead...indulge yourself!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Broccoli Cauliflower Bake

No deception needed, this was delicious! Heather had several servings, and enjoyed it for lunch too! We all loved this recipe, and I will be making it again soon. I thought just the broccoli and cauliflower would not be as substantial as I would like for dinner, so I made some rice to go with it. Yum!

Oh, and once again, sorry about the gross looking photo. What you see pictured there, is the leftovers. I promise it is much better than it looks in the photo. Someday I'll get my act together...

Broccoli Cauliflower Bake

4 c. broccoli florets
3 c. cauliflower florets
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 Tbs. butter
1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
3 oz American cheese, torn
1/4 c. milk
1/2 tsp. dried basil, thyme, or marjoram, crushed
3/4 c. bread crumbs
1 Tbs. butter, melted

In large saucepan cook broccoli and cauliflower (you can use the frozen broccoli/cauliflower mix). Drain Well. Remove from saucepan and set aside. In the same saucepan cook onion in 1 Tbs butter. Stir in soup, cheese, milk, and basil. Cook and stir over med. heat until cheese is melted. Add the broccoli and cauliflower. Stir, and transfer mixture to a 13x9 pan. Toss bread crumbs with melted butter, sprinkle over vegetable mixture. Bake, uncovered, in a 375° oven for 20 mins.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken and Pizza

 I made this pizza a LONG time ago, and found the recipe the other day. I guess I never blogged about it. I guess I didn't take a picture least, I can't find it. Oh well...better late than never. We love pizza over here, and this one is definitely going into the rotation. It's delicious, and easy.  Perfect.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Serves 3-4

1 large bone-in skin-on chicken breast (about 12 ounces)
1 teaspoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup Frank’s hot sauce
½ teaspoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
pinch of sugar
pinch of garlic powder
2 ounces (½ cup) mozzarella, shredded
1 ounce (¼ cup) blue cheese, crumbled
¼ cup red onion or scallions, diced very fine
12-16 ounces pizza dough stretched out to 9-12 inches

For the chicken and buffalo sauce: Throw the chicken, butter, sugar, hot sauce, and vinegar in the crockpot. Cook on low for 5 hours or until chicken is done. Shred the chicken with a fork. Keep the sauce. 

For the white sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the  yogurt, mayonnaise, sugar, garlic powder, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

Assemble the pizza: Spread the white sauce evenly on the pizza dough; top with the chicken, then the cheeses, and finally the onions.
Bake the pizza for 8-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is browned. Let the pizza rest about 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Source: Definitely adapted from: The way the cookie crumbles

Friday, August 19, 2011

Vegan Banana Oatmeal Cookies

I had three bananas to use up. Because Daniel and I have been making more of an effort to eat healthier, I didn't want to make sugary banana bread/muffins. So, I found something similar to this recipe on, and this is what I came up with. You can really add just about anything to these cookies, bruised apples, chocolate chips, nuts, the sky's the limit!

Vegan Banana Oatmeal Cookies

3 bananas, mashed
2 c. oats
1/3 c. craisins (I would have added more, but that's all I had)
1/2 c. raisins
1/3 c. applesauce (the original recipe used oil)
1 tsp. cinnamon, maybe more
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients, let sit for 15 mins. Drop by rounded teaspoonfulls onto a greased baking sheet. Flatten. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 13-15 mins. Or until slightly brown.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tossed Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

I know the photo looks gross, but this salad was delicious! I forgot to take the picture the day we had it, so I took it of my leftovers (I had it for lunch, and it was still good...albeit a little soggy. I fixed that problem by adding more croutons.) I love having a nice light salad, on a hot summers day. We all liked it, and will definitely be adding this to our salad repertoire (is that the right word?). This recipe makes a lot, so I did about a third of it.

Tossed Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette 

1 bunch romaine, torn
1 med head iceberg lettuce, torn
10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 c. slivered almonds
1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 c. salad croutons


3 Tbs. lemon juice (I used more)
3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2/3 c. olive oil (I used less)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Salmon with Polenta

We absolutely loved this dish! It made us feel so authentic! ;) 

Salmon with Polenta

2 celery ribs, chopped
2 med. onion, chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1/4 c. minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. pepper
6 c. water
2 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
6 salmon fillets (I used tilapia)

In a dutch oven, saute celery and onion in 1 Tbs. oil until tender. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, parsley, 1/2 tsp. salt, Italian seasoning, thyme, basil and pepper. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

In a large heavy saucepan, bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to a gently boil; slowly whisk in cornmeal. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon for 15-20 mins. or until polenta is thickened and pulls away cleanly from the sides of the pan

Place flour in a large shallow bowl, coat salmon on both sides. In a large skillet, brown salmon in remaining oil. Transfer salmon to tomato mixture; cook, uncovered, for 3-5 mins or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve salmon and sauce with polenta.

Source: Taste of Home

Friday, August 12, 2011

Alton Brown's Homemade Soft Pretzels

Some of you know I was on a sugar fast for about two weeks recently. Daniel and I traditionally have dessert on date night, but since I couldn't eat sugar, we decided to make pretzels. These hit the spot!  Salt is good, but we also tried garlic seasoning, and cajun seasoning. Those ones were also good. I think I liked the cajun the best.

Homemade Soft Pretzels

1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Pretzel salt

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Peanut Butter Trifle

I just had to make this picture magnify the goodness
I made this delicious and very rich Peanut Butter Trifle for Daniel's birthday/Father's day. I was going to make it on Daniel's birthday, but he wasn't feeling well, so I made it on Father's day. We just celebrated our dad that whole week, I guess. :) (He certainly deserves to be celebrated more than that.) And there is no better way to celebrate Daniel than peanut butter and chocolate, but this peanut butterie, chocolatey, amazing dessert out does them all!

Peanut Butter Cup Trifle

1 (9x13) pan of baked brownies, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 (5.1 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
3 cups milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 (8 ounce) container thawed Cool Whip, divided
20 peanut butter cups, crumbled (or more if you're using minis)
6-8 peanut butter cups to garnish.

Mix pudding according to package directions. With a whisk or beaters, beat in peanut butter until fully incorporated. Fold in 2 cups cool whip.

Layer in trifle dish 1/2 the brownies, 1/2 the crumbled peanut butter cups, ½ the pudding mixture. Repeat. Top with cool whip and peanut butter cups. Chill at least four hours before serving.

Source: Sweet Luvin' in the Kitchen

Friday, August 5, 2011


I made these for Daniel's birthday. He LOVES crepes and I thought he would be ecstatic, and I think he was, but he wasn't feeling well so he only ate like three (the ones pictured above). I will not disclose how many I ate...but suffice it to say that I am pretty sure I made up the difference. The ones shown here are bananas and nutella (a special treat at our house), peaches and cream, and strawberries and chocolate.

Basic Crepes
Recipe by Our Best Bites
2 eggs
2 Tbs canola oil
3 Tbs sugar (omit if making savory crepes)
1 C flour
1 1/3 C milk
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on low speed until combined, or whisk by hand until there are no lumps.
Heat a non-stick skillet to medium-high heat.  Hold pan with one hand while you pour the batter with the other hand.  Twirl the pan in a circular motion pouring just enough batter to coat the bottom of the pan.   Place on cooking surface and cook until edges are set and you can easily run a rubber spatula around the edge of the pan, 30 seconds.   Flip crepe and cook an additional 15-20 seconds.  Remove crepe from pan and either keep warm in the oven or cool to room temperature.
Fill with your choice of savory (meat, cheese, vegetable) or sweet (pudding, mousse, pastry cream, fruit) filling.  Top sweet crepes with  with Strawberry Sauce, Buttermilk Caramel Syrup, Hot Fudge, or just a dusting of powdered sugar and sweetened whipped cream.
Unfilled crepes can be stacked between sheets of waxed paper and refrigerated or frozen.  To thaw, leave at room temperature.  

Makes 12-14 8″ crepes

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lemon Sour Cream Pie

So...I made this recipe the day before Josh was born. It was pi day.  I made chicken pot pie, and this deliciously amazing pie. I am pretty sure making both pies (along with a 3.14 mile walk) was what put me in labor. I was actually a little disappointed that I only got to enjoy one slice before I went to the hospital.'s awesome!

Lemon Sour Cream Pie

1 c. sugar
1/4 c. corn starch
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
3 egg yolds, beaten
1/4 c. butter, cubed
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon peel


3 egg whites
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
6 Tbs. sugar
1 c. sour cream
1 pastry shell (9 inches), baked

Lemon peel strips, optional

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt; gradually stir in the milk. Cook and stir over med-hi heat until thickened and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Gradually stir 1/2 c. into egg yolks, return all to the pan. Bring to a gentle boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes. remove from heat; stir in butter, lemon juice and peel. Set aside.

For meringue, beat egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form; set aside.

Fold sour cream into the lemon mixture; pour into pastry shell. cover with meringue, sealing to the edges of the pastry. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Garnish with lemon peel strips if desired. Cool completely. Store in the fridge.

Source: Taste of Home

Monday, July 25, 2011

Marinated Ratatouille Heroes! These things were delicious! Light, yet satisfying; savory, yet sweet, and perfect for a HOT summer day! Eggplant, where have you been all my life?

Marinated Ratatouille Heroes
3 c. peeled eggplant (1/2 lb.)
1 med. green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 med. zucchini or yellow summer squash, cut lengthwise in half, then sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
1/3 c. balsamic vinaigrette dressing (or use 1/2 of the recipe to follow)
4 crusty Italian or French rolls, split horizontally
4 oz. chevre (goat) cheese with herbs (you can also use cream cheese with chives)
1 lg. tomato, thinly sliced

In large bowl mix eggplant, pepper, squash, and onion. Toss with dressing. Let stand 20 mins.

Transfer vegetables with dressing into 3qt. saucepan. Cook over med-high heat about 10 mins, sturring frequently, until vegetables are tender.

Toast rolls lightly, if desired (you want to). Spread bottom halves of rolls with cheese. Top with tomato slices and eggplant mixture. Top with top halves of rolls, secure with toothpicks. (I didn't, but they still tasted yummy!)

Emeril Lagasse's Balsamic Vinaigrette (I halved this recipe for the marinade, and used it all. Even though it's more than 1/3 cup)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar, optional*
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

Beat the vinegar in a bowl with the optional sugar, garlic, salt and pepper until sugar and salt dissolves. Then beat in the oil by droplets, whisking constantly. (Or place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine.) Taste and adjust the seasonings.

If not using dressing right away, cover and refrigerate, whisking or shaking again before use.

*If using a good quality balsamic vinegar you should not need the sugar, but if using a lesser quality you might want the sugar to round out the dressing.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Eggplant Parmigiana

If you remember from before, I am trying to cook with new ingredients at least once a month. This month's ingredient was eggplant. I found this recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook, and we all fell in love! Daniel couldn't stop raving about how good it was, and that "wow, there's no meat or noodles in here, at all?" My favorite quote was "almost you persuade me to be a vegetarian." Anyway...this was super good!

Eggplant Parmigiana

2 c. Tomato pasta sauce (I just poured tomato sauce on and then sprinkled marjoram, basil and oregano on top of it)
2 sm. unpeeled eggplants (about 1 lb. each)
1 egg
2 Tbs. water
2/3 c. dry bread crumbs
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. olive or vegetable oil
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Cut eggplants into 1/4 in. slices. In shallow dish mix egg and water. In another shallow dish, mix bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Dip eggplant into egg mixture, then coat with bread crumb mixture.

In 12-in skillet, heat oil over med. heat. Cook half of the eggplant at a time in oil about 5 mins, turning once, until light brown; drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining eggplant, adding 1-2 Tbs. oil as needed.

In ungreased 11x7 glass baking dish, place half of the eggplant, overlapping slices slightly. Spoon half of the sauce over the eggplant. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce and cheese.

Bake at 350° for about 25 mins or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is light brown.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Strawberries 'n' cream Muffins

We needed to used up some sour cream. I figured since it would be a busy week, it might be nice to have some muffins on hand. I found this recipe in my Taste of Home cookbook. It was originally a quick bread recipe, but it works for muffins too. It's delicious!

Strawberries 'n' Cream Muffins

1/2 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 c. fresh strawberries, chopped
2/3 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Prepare muffin tin. In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream and vanilla, mix well. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stir into creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in strawberries and walnuts. Spoon into muffin tin and bake for 18-20 mins.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Creamy Lime Sherbet

Ok. I would not go as far as to say this is a sherbet. It is definitely more ice creamy to me. But that's what the recipe is named. I also think that you could forgo the cool whip altogether (I tasted's good), but the cool whip adds amazing creaminess. This is perfect for a hot summer's day. Nice and light (not in calories) and refreshing. Yum!

Creamy Lime Sherbet

2 c. milk
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. grated lime peel
2-3 drops green food coloring (optional)
1 8oz. carton Cool Whip, thawed

Warm milk in microwave for about a minute or until milk is warmed through. Pour over sugar. Stir. Put in fridge until chilled.
Stir in lime juice and peel. Freeze according to manufacturer's directions.
Transfer to a 2 1/2 qt. container. Fold in Cool Whip (May need to soften the lime mix a little first). Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving. Serve with graham cracker crumbs on top!
Source: Adapted from Taste of Home.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fast Whole Wheat Pita Bread

I got this recipe from a friend of mine, and I have been wanting to try it for a while. 

Pita Bread

2 tsp. yeast
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (I used half freshly ground white wheat, and half red wheat)

1 tsp. salt

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add flour and salt and stir to make a soft dough. Knead well, adding a little flour if needed. Place in greased bowl. Cover and let rise 15 minutes. Divide dough into 8 balls. Cover and let rise 10 minutes. Flatten each ball and use rolling pin to roll into a thin circle (about 1/4-inch thick). Place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 500 for 4 to 6 minutes until puffed and lightly browned.

Result? Delish!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Greek Pasta Salad

Ahem...we may or may not have liked this salad so much that we had it twice in a two-week period...This pasta salad is amazing! Everyone loved it. Even HB. I made a simple Caesar Dressing to go with it. Recipe follows:

Greek Pasta Salad

1 1/2 c. uncooked penne pasta
1/2 c. cubed cooked turkey or chicken
1 can sliced ripe olives, drained
1/4 c. chopped green pepper
1/4 c. chopped sweet red pepper
1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese
1/3 c. Caesar salad dressing

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a serving bowl, combine the pasta, turkey, olives, peppers and feta cheese. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Source: Taste of Home

Caesar Dressing
6 cloves garlic, mashed and minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Vinegar
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup olive oil
Lemon juice

Combine garlic, mustard, vinegar and two pinches of salt in a blender and mix thoroughly. Add mayonnaise and blend together to form a thick base. In a slow stream add olive oil through hole in lid. Scrape dressing with spatula into a bowl and season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Source: Food Network

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chow Mein Chicken Salad

Mmm...nice, light salad for a hot summer day. This was a simple salad to make, and to eat, but it was delicious!

 Chow Mein Chicken Salad

4 c. shredded lettuce
1 c. chow mein noodles
2/3 c. cubed cooked chicken
2 green onions, chopped
4 tsp. sliced almonds, toasted
4 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted

1/4 c. vegetable oil
4 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. salt

In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce, chow mein noodles, chicken, onions, almonds and sesame seeds.

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients; shake well. Drizzle over salad; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Spinach Salad with Japanese Ginger Dressing

We have been enjoying our salads this hot, humid summer. We liked this one a lot. We also added nuts and some Chinese noodles for crunch.

 Spinach Salad with Japanese Ginger Dressing

3 tablespoons minced onion
3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
10 ounces fresh spinach, (see Note)
1 large carrot, grated
1 medium red bell pepper, very thinly sliced

Combine onion, oil, vinegar, ginger, ketchup, soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender. Process until combined
Toss spinach, carrot and bell pepper with the dressing in a large bowl until evenly coated.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Asian Cabbage Salad

We liked this salad, but we both felt that it was a little one dimensional in taste, and it would be a lot better as a side than a meal (which is what we did). The cilantro helped with the one dimensional taste, but we also added craisins to help it along. That being said, I really liked the use if jicama in this dish. It was nice and refreshing.

Asian Cabbage Salad

1 recipe Peanut Butter Dressing
6 c. shredded cabbage
1 c. fresh sugar snap peas, trimmed and thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 c. coarsely shredded, peeled jicama
1/4 c. thinly sliced green onions
1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted
Fresh cilantro

Prepare Peanut Butter Dressing. Toss shredded cabbage, peas, jicama, and green onions in with the dressing. Cover andn chill for 30-60 mins. Just before serving, sprinkle with tiasted almonds and cilantro.

Peanut Butter Dressing:

In large bowl combine 1/3 c. peanut butter, 1 tsp. curry powder, 1/2 tsp. each of salt, garlic powder, and ground ginger. Gradually whisk in 1/3 c. water, 2 Tbs. lemon juice, and 2 Tbs. olive oil until smooth.
Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Ensalada de Jicama

I recently made a goal to try to cook with an ingredient I have never used before at least once a month. So this month it was Jicama (hick-a-ma). I made a "traditional" jicama salad. I'll just say this: It wasn't amazing, but I could get used to it. It was nice and fresh and juicy, but very starchy. I read that the smaller the Jicama, the better (I guess they are supposed to be more sweet and less starchy). I got the smallest at the store, but it was still pretty big. wasn't bad, but it is just something that I need to acquire a taste for. 

8 oz. Jicama, peeled and cubed (1 1/2 c.)
1 lg. cucumber, sliced
1 orange, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp. lemon juice
3/4 tsp. chili powder
I also added some red onion 

In large bowl, combine Jicama, cucumber, and orange. Sprinkle with lemon juice and chili powder; toss to coat. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. Just before serving, sprinkle lightly with salt; toss. Sprinkle lightly with additional chili powder, if desired. Makes 6 servings.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sweet Potato Biscuits

 I'd be dishonest if I said that I made these. Actually, my husband has made them twice, and they have been great! He is the biscuit maker in the family, and has it down to an art. I can't say I mind that one bit. :)

Sweet Potato Biscuits

2 3/4 c. flour
4 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 c. cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (you can use pumpkin as well)
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. melted butter
1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 450°F. In medium mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate mixing bowl combine sweet potatoes, sugar, melted butter, and vanilla. Combine wet mixture with dry ingredients. You can either do it the easy way and make drop biscuits, or you can kneed it 4-5 times, roll out, and cut with a biscuit cutter. Bake at 450 for 12 mins.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mango Coconut Ice cream

We had a mango and some cream that needed used. I thought of the perfect way to use them both: why not make ice cream (I know...we eat a lot of it! Daniel got me the ice cream maker for Christmas, and it has been my new favorite toy ever since.) What you see pictured here, is more coconut mango ice cream. I would have preferred to have two mangoes instead of one. But this is what it's made of:

Mango Coconut Ice Cream

2 tsp. lime juice
2 large mangoes, cubed
13 oz. can coconut milk
1/2 c. sugar
pinch salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. heavy cream

Put all but the vanilla and heavy cream in a blender, and blend until smooth. Add the vanilla and heavy cream and stir. Cool for about an hour. Follow the manufactures directions for freezing. Freeze the leftovers in the freezer. You will need to set it out to soften for about 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake Oatmeal

So after trying out that key lime oatmeal, I decided I could try to be a little more creative on my own. We had strawberries in the fridge and I thought of strawberry shortcake. This is what I came up with:

Strawberry Shortcake Oatmeal

3 lg strawberries, sliced, and separated
1 Tbs. strawberry jam
1 Tbs. honey
2/3 c. oatmeal
2/3 c. milk
1/2-1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all of the ingredients (except one of the strawberries) together in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 min. Stir, microwave for another minute. Garnish with leftover strawberries.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oriental Cabbage Salad

Like I have mentioned earlier, we are trying to eat less meat, and this is one salad that I love! I love the crunchiness of the cabbage, paired with the sweetness of the fruit, and the spiciness of the dressing.  If you want, you can add chicken to the mix. I have tried several dressings to go over it, but this one I came up with, and I like it the best...duh! :) Once again...sorry no picture.

Oriental Cabbage Salad

1/2 large head of cabbage
craisins, to taste
mandarine oranges, to taste
nuts, to taste
1 pkg. ramen noodles, crushed
green onions, chopped, and to taste


1/4 c. oil
2 1/2 Tbs. Rice Vinegar
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. sugar
ramen seasoning packet
dash of salt
cayenne pepper, to taste
fresh grated ginger, to taste

Mix the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. In a smaller container mix the dressing ingredients together. Pour the dressing over the salad, mix well. Serve!

Monday, May 23, 2011

S'mores Ice Cream

This ice cream is delicious! We loved it. The recipe says that it is a soft and creamy ice cream, but we preferred it after it had been in the freezer for a while.

S'mores Ice Cream
Makes about 6 cups.

1/2 c. cocoa powder, sifted
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
pinch salt
2/3 c. whole milk (you can use another kind, you will just need to freeze it longer)
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. marshmallow cream
2 sheets of graham crackers
2 oz. milk chocolate (1/3 c. chocolate chips), melted and at room temperature

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugars, and salt. Add the milk and beat until the sugars are dissolved. Stir in the cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours, or overnight. Freeze according to manufactures directions. About five minutes before the ice cream is done, add the marshmallow cream one scoop at a time, then add the chocolate and graham crackers, one at a time, and let mix in completely. Serve right away, or put it in the freezer for later.