Monday, October 17, 2011

Prize Winning Chili

At least... it's won prizes for Wayne and Becky... but never us!  It's still really yummy though- and perfect for this time of year!  It's over at Becky's blog here.

Meaty Mushroom Chili
1 pound Italian sausage (cubed or ground)
1 pound beef (cubed or ground)
1 cup chopped onion
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can (46 oz) V8 or tomato juice
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
2 cans (16 oz) kidney beans
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cook sausage, beef and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for one hour. Garnish with sour cream and cheddar cheese if desired. Serves 8.

You can also easily adjust this to a crockpot or dutch oven and cook it all day and let the delicious-ness of it fill your house.  Mmmmhhmmmm.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Arugula Rice With Chicken Sausage

I invented this tonight!  And so, it probably tasted even yummier to me because I was so proud of myself, but everyone else here liked it, too.

1 1/2 C. rice (I did half white, half brown)
2 C. chicken stock
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, minced
12 oz. Chicken Sausage (I used sun-dried tomato and Asiago cheese variety), sliced thin
3 potatoes, cooked, cubed and salt/peppered to taste
1 large or 2 small bell peppers of any color, sliced
Handful of arugula

Cook the rice using the chicken stock as the liquid.

When the rice is almost done, saute garlic and onion and brown the sausage all together over med-high heat.  When the onions and garlic are soft and translucent, add in the cooked potatoes.  When the rice finishes cooking, open the lid and toss in the arugula and peppers, then cover again and let sit for a few minutes to wilt the arugula and soften the peppers.

To the sausage mixture, add some fresh basil, dried marjoram, dried oregano, and a dash of ground paprika.

Combine the two mixtures.  Stir really well to evenly distribute the arugula, as it tends to clump together.  If you don't like arugula, you could substitute spinach, but I loved the flavor the arugula added.  Lastly, I sprinkled some grated cheese similar to Parmesan, but from goat's milk.  However, I don't think it really needed this at all.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Zucchini: Use 142

I've come to realize that Zucchini is just one of those garden veges that is bountiful and somehow no matter if you have enough from your own seem to find more on your car after church from anonymous donors....0bviously, they simply don't know just how many uses there are.....

Zucchini French Fries

2-3 med to large size zucchini  (skins removed, seeds removed, and sliced into french fry shape.  This is very easy if you already have a french fry making tool....but even if you don't...its worth cutting them)

Put cut zucchini sticks into plastic bag.  Add 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil, salt, pepper, and any other spice that you like....we added a variety of stuff.  Shake (with bag closed of course.....or if your in the mood to clean up, keep the bag open.)

Pour out on to a cookie sheet.  Place in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for around 25 min...(please check this because I don't know your oven personally, and it might have a slightly warmer personality then my oven does and it could cook those babies faster..or slower, don't blame me....I'm just sayin')

Anyhow, add Ketchup to a plate..and enjoy them.  I mean really enjoy them...they are not potatoes and they came out of your garden for goodness eat them knowing you are really doing your best to be a good steward of the harvest you've been given.

Um....okay....yeah, ...enjoy!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mel's 1st place Dutch Oven Blackberry Cobler

Hi ya'll.  I won first place last week at our ward campout with my Blackberry cobbler.  So, here it is for all to enjoy..


3 cups blackberries.  (Mine were freshly picked, but I'm sure store bought is just a great.  They key here with fresh or store bought is to wash and freeze them individually on a cookie sheet.  The Frozen state of the blackberries is very important in the cooking process.)

1-2 white cake mixes (depends on how much of this stuff you if its just for the family use only one cake mix)

1 can Cream Soda

1 Stick butter

1/4 cup sugar  (um  yeah, it's's not really healthy, but it won FIRST PLACE!!!!)

Okay, take the stick of butter and grease the bottom and sides of the dutch oven.  Place frozen blackberries on the bottom of the oven.  Cover with dry cake mix.  Pour the can of cream soda over the cake mix(s).  Slice the remaining butter and put that over the cake mix in slices.  Sprinkle the sugar over the top.

Cover oven with lid. and cook with charcoal bouquets ( 8-10 on bottom and 12-14 on top...for my large dutch could vary by size so be careful and check often) until brown on top and bubbly. 

Really Yummy folks!.....and did I happen to mention it took FIRST PLACE?!!!!!  :)...I'm pretty proud of that.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Naan Bread

2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1 C. warm water
1/4 C. sugar
3 T. milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp. salt
4 1/2 C. bread flour (less if you use all-purpose, or whole wheat flour)
2 tsp. minced garlic (optional)
1/4 C. butter, melted

Dissolve yeast in the warm water, sprinkle sugar over and let sit for 10 min.  Stir in milk, egg, salt, and 3 C. flour.  Gradually add remaining flour, stopping when you have a soft dough.  Knead 6-8 minutes, until smooth.  Let rise in oiled bowl covered with a damp cloth for 1 hour, or until doubled.  Punch down and knead in garlic if desired.  Pinch golf ball-sized pieces of dough, roll into balls and place on a tray.  Cover with a towel and let rise 30 min, or until double..

Heat a grill to high heat.  At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle.  Lightly oil grill.  Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned.  Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over.  Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes.  Remove from grill and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.

I've been known to do half white, half whole wheat and they still turn out delicious.  Also, I always cook them on my George Foreman grill.  Way easier.  These are seriously SO yummy!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Refrigerator Pickles

3 C. cold water
1 C. vinegar
2 T. salt

1 sliced onion
2 T peppercorns
4 cloves garlic, sliced
Crushed red pepper, to taste
Dill, to taste
Small whole cucumbers, or sliced larger cucumbers

Stir brine to dissolve really well.  Layer the solids in 2-3 quart-size jars.  Pour brine over.  I combined a few recipes, so I don't know exactly how to do it.  I let them sit on the counter, loosely covered for several hours and then stuck them in the fridge.  They were way yummier and more flavorful the first time around, so I'd say go heavy on the seasonings and flavor.

Good luck!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Rice Vegetable Soup

10 C water
1 large onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 small white potatoes, diced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 medium summer squash, sliced
1/2 C rice, long-grain
2 bay leaves
2 cans tomato sauce
2 TB beef boullion
1/4 tsp ground thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
2 tsp Italian seasoning

Place onion, garlic, carrots into pot.  Cook until onion is translucent.  Add water, beef boullion, potatoes, rice, bay leaves, tomato sauce, thyme, and Italian seasoning.  Simmer for 20 min. or until rice and vegetables are done.  Add zucchini and summer squash, cook for an additional 5-10 min.
I made this recipe up a few days ago when I needed to take dinner to someone.  (I know, I know, great time to make something up...but I didn't have may ingredients on hand, I refused to go shopping, and I needed to use my squash and zucchini from my garden.)  Cheryl helped me a bit with the recipe (thanks Cheryl!!)  And it ended up tasting so good that I thought I'd post it here.  I was thinking that the next time I made it, I might add celery and/or barley.  If you make it, let me know what you think-even if you don't like it.  Thanks!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Whole-Wheat Bread

There are about a million reasons why I love this recipe.  The directions are clear.  You can't mess this up.  The bread is so tasty and good for you.  The dough is fun to work with- not a sticky mess.  The bread is moist and sticks together- you can actually slice it thin and it will work with you.  And despite the length of the recipe, it's actually not at all time-intensive like other yeast breads.  Oh... it's just perfect.

makes two 1-pound loaves

1 cup (4.25 oz) coarse whole-wheat flour or other coarsely ground whole grains (oats, corn, barley, rye)
3/4 cup (6 oz) water, at room temperature

Whole-wheat Poolish
1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) high protein whole-wheat flour
1/4 tsp. instant yeast
3/4 cup (6 oz) water, at room temperature

2 cups high protein whole-wheat flour
1 1/3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant yeast
2 T honey
1 T vegetable oil (optional)
1 large egg, slightly beaten (optional)
2 T sesame seeds, poppy seeds, quick oats, or what bran for garnish (optional)

Note: The use of oil and/or egg is offered as an option to tenderize the bread.  If you use either of them, you will need to add additional flour during the final mixing.  Let the dough determine how much flour to add, as you knead it to a firm, slightly tacky consistency.  Another way to tenderize the dough is to use milk or buttermilk instead of water when making the poolish.

1. The day before makeing the bread, make the soaker and the poolish. For the soaker, mix together to coarse whole-wheat flour and the water in a bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and leave it at room temperature until the next day.  For the poolish, mix together to whole-wheat flour and yeast, then stir in the water to make a thick paste.  Sir only until all the four is hydrated, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to ferment at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours, or until it just begins to bubble.  Then put it in the refrigerator overnight.

2. The next day remove the poolish from the refrigerator  1 hour before making the dough to take off the chill.  In a mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), stir together the whole-wheat flour, salt, and yeast.  Then add the poolish and the soaker, as well as the honey, oil, and egg.  Stir with a large metal spoon (or mix on low speed for about 1 minute with the paddle attachment) until the dough forms a ball, adding more water or flour if needed.

3. Sprinlkle whole-wheat flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter and begin kneading (or mix on medium speed iwth the dough hook).  Add flour if necessary and knead until the dough forms a firt, supple dough.  This will take 10 to 15 minutes by hand, slightly less by machine.  The dough should be tacky but not sticky.  it should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly oil a large bowl and ransfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. 

4.  Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

5. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces (they should weigh about 18 oz each).  Shape them into sandwich loaves, as shown here.  Lightly oil two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pans and place the loaves in the pans.  Mist the tops with spray oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap.

6. Proof at room temperature for about 90 minutes, or until the dough nearly doubles in size and is cresting above the lip of the pans.
7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack in the middle of the the oven.  Just before baking you may choose to garnish the loaves by misting the tops with water and sprinkling sesame seeds.

8. Bake the loaves for about 30 minutes, then rotate them 180 degrees, if necessary, for even backing.  (Mine is usually done after 30 minutes... so I recommend checking now to see if it is done.) Continue baking for 15 to 30 minutes longer.  The finished bread whould register between 185 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit at the center and should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.  The loaves should be golden brown all around and firm on the sides as well as on the top and bottom.  If they are soft and squishy on the sides, return them to the pans and continue baking until done.

9. When the loaves have finished baking, remove them immediately from the pans and cool on a rack for at least 1 hour, preferably 2 hours, before slicing or serving.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Healing Cabbage Soup

I talked about this cabbage soup recipe at the reunion.  It's a great tasting way to use up that cabbage you get from your co-op or CSA.  My kids really liked it too. 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 quarts water
  • 4 teaspoons chicken bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 head cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes, drained and diced
  1. In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic; cook until onion is transparent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in water, bouillon, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then stir in cabbage. Simmer until cabbage wilts, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomatoes. Return to a boil, then simmer 15 to 30 minutes, stirring often.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Apricot Lemonade

So... I have a really awesome friend (she was my birth class instructor) and she has a really awesome food  blog.  I really recommend it. 

It has a simply scrumptious recipe for Apricot Lemonade.  I am drinking it right now and I just might die of happiness.  Yum.

1 3/4 cups Sugar
1 cup Water
5 cups Water and Ice Cubes
1 1/2 cups Lemon Juice (~ 6-8 Lemons)
20 whole Apricots

Boil sugar in 1 cup of water until dissolved.
Add syrup to the ice/water mixture to cool and stir to mix.
Juice lemons.
Halve and pit apricots.
Add 1/half of the syrup mixture, ½ of the lemon juice, and ½ of the apricot halves, and about 6-8 ice cubes to the blender. Blend on high until a smooth consistency. Mix the other halves of the ingredients with some more ice cubes for the second batch.
Makes two 8 cup batches; 16 cups total.

Note: Wes and I quartered the recipe and it barely all fit in our blender... but maybe we have a small one?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Strawberry Bread

This is the bread I brought to the Parley P. Jensen reunion in Chesterfield.

2 C fresh strawberries
3 1/8 C all-purpose flour
2 C white sugar
1 TB ground cinnamon
1tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 C vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 C chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Butter and flour two 9x5 in loaf pans.

Slice strawberries, and place in medium-sized bowl.  Sprinkle lightly wiht sugar, and set aside while preparing bread mixture.

Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in large bowl.  Mix well.  Blend oil and eggs  into strawberries.  Add strawberry mixture to flour mixture, blending until dry ingredients are just moistened.  Stir in pecans.  Divide batter into pans.

Bake for 45 - 50 minutes, or until tester instertedcomes out clean.  Let cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Turn loaves out, and cool completely.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Blueberry Rolls

These are DELICOUS!  Go make them.  Now.  You won't regret it. :)

Blueberry Rolls

From the 1939 Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book
Prep: 25 minutes Bake: 20 minutes
Oven: 425 degrees F Makes: 9 servings

1 16 1/2 oz can blueberries
1 recipe Rich Shortcake (see below)
1 T butter or margarine, melted
2 T sugar
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 C sugar
2 T all-purpose flour
2 t lemon juice
Vanilla ice cream (optional)

1. Drain blueberries, reserving juice; set aside.  Grease a 2-quart square baking dish; set aside.  Prepare Rich Shortcake dough.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 11x9 inch rectangle.  Brush dough with melted butter.  Combine the 2 T sugar with the cinnamon; sprinkle over dough.  Sprinkle 1 C of the drained blueberries over dough.  Roll up, starting from a short side; pinch to seal seam.  Set aside.

2. In a small saucepan combine the 1/4 C sugar and the flour.  Add remaining blueberries and reserved juice.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubble.  Remove tfrom heat; stir in lemon jice.  Pour blueberry mixture into prepared dish.  Cut roll into 9 equal slices.  Place slices, cut side down, on top of blueberry mixture.  Bake in a 425 oven for 20 minutes or until rolls are golden.  If desired, serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Rich shortcake: In a medium mixing bowl combine 2 C all-purpose flour, 4 t baking powder, 1 T sugar, and 1/2 t salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut in 1/3 cup shortening until mixture resembles course crumbs.  Make a well in the center of mixture.  Add 2/3 cup milk and 1 beaten egg all at once.  Stir just until dough clings together.  On a heavily floured surface, coat the dough lightly with flour.  Knead the dough gently for 10-12 strokes.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Blake's Super Amazing Mother's Day Chicken

1 C. oil
1 (10 oz.) bottle Worcestershire Sauce
3 T Italian seasoning
3 T garlic powder
1 T salt
1 T white pepper

Combine all ingredients.  Marinate chicken breasts in it overnight, or for several hours.  Grill to perfection.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Homemade Sauces and Seasonings

Italian Seasoning

3 T. basil
3 T. oregano
3 T. parsley
1 T. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. rosemary
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Mix everything together and store in a sealed container.  I love this so much more than the Italian Seasoning you buy already prepared.  Way more flavor!

Taco Seasoning

1 T. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 T flour

Combine everything and store in a sealed container.  To use:  Mix 1-2 T with 1/2-1 C. water (depending on how strong a flavor you like).  This is a mild seasoning because my family cannot handle anything remotely spicy.  Feel free to liven yours up a bit, if you have that luxury!

Paula Deen's House Seasoning

1 C. salt
1/4 C. black pepper
1/4 C. garlic powder

Mix and seal.  This can be substituted for any recipe calling for seasoned salt.  My favorite ways to use it though, are when grilling chicken to go in a garden salad.  It makes it so flavorful, the chicken barely makes it to the salad before we eat it all up.  I also love putting it on potatoes.  Mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, grilled potatoes--yummy!

Teriyaki Sauce

1/4 C. soy sauce
1 C. water
1/2 tsp. grated ginger
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
5 T brown sugar
1-2 T honey
2 T cornstarch
1/4 C. cold water

Mix everything but cornstarch and cold water in a saucepan.  Heat.  In a separate bowl, mix cornstarch and water to dissolve.  Add to sauce in pan.  Heat to desired thickness.

Chili Sauce

1 small can tomato sauce
1/4 C. brown sugar
2 T vinegar
1/4 tsp. onion
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. chili powder

Mix in small sauce pan.  Heat through.

*I'm currently in search of the perfect homemade barbecue sauce recipe.  I'll let you know when I find it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Potato, Broccoli and Cheese soup!

Oh my, this soup has been the FAVORITE soup of all times according to the girls. My friend Andrea made it for me after surgery in Seattle and it was so good I had to have the recipe.
Last time I made it Elena gave it 100 Thumbs up!

2 cups chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 pounds peeled and cubed potatoes
5 cups boiling water
4 cubes chicken bouillon
3 cups fresh broccoli, cooked and drained
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (I use SHARP)
  1. In a large stock pot saute onion in butter. Add potatoes, water and bouillon cubes. Cover, bring to boil and then reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minute
  2. Remove tough outer skin of broccoli stems and cook broccoli. Once cooked add to soup.
  3. In a blender or food processor puree half of the soup and return to stock pot. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add cheese and heat soup through until cheese is melted. Serve warm

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chocolate Dream Cookies

1 c butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2t vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 c cocoa
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 c white chocolate chips and/or macadamia nuts, optional

In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix.  In a separate bowl combine flour, coca, soda, and salt.  Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix until combined.  Add white chocolate chips/nuts.  Roll into 1" balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 350 degrees 8-9 minutes (do not overbake... They will be soft).  Let cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack. 

For something different try a mint sandwich cookie, here is the frosting recipe...
Mint Frosting:
1/2 c butter, softened
2 T milk
1 t peppermint extract
3 drops green food coloring
3- 3 1/2 c powdered sugar

Cream butter and 1 c powdered sugar.  Add milk and extract and food coloring and whip.  Add the rest of the powdered sugar until desired consistency.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Crockpot Roast

So a celebrity visited our Relief Society meeting this past Wednesday- the Food Nanny!  I think she and Mom could be best friends.  If you haven't heard from her, just check her out on byutv.  She's awesome!

Wes and I were watching one of her shows and she taught a Daddy this yummy crockpot recipe, so I just had to try it out.  It was DELICIOUS.  The best crockpot roast and potatoes and carrots I've ever had.  Honest.


1/3 c. brown sugar
1 T soy sauce
1 T worchestershire sauce
3 T cider vinegar
1 c. beef broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg onion soup mix

Pour over potatoes, carrots, onions, and roast (cross-rib was on sale so we had that but I don't really think it matters what you use) and cook for 4-6 hours.  The sauce makes a super yum gravy too.  It's divine.

You've GOTTA try this one!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Balsamic Black Bean Salsa

*serves 6-8 as an appetizer
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed well
1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained well
½ medium onion finely diced (about 1/3 c)
½ c finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 (7 oz.) can salsa verde (I used Hernandez brand)
Juice of 1 lime
½ tsp cumin
½ c. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap  Let the salsa marinate for a few hours (or overnight) before serving.  Drain most of the liquid from the salsa before serving.  Serve with tortilla chips.

I sampled this at girl's night out last evening and it was fantastic!  Enjoy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tuna Patties with Creamy Dill Sauce

This is NOT a gourmet food--and most of the recipes here are for more gourmet food--but if you're like me and trying to find new ways to use that cheaper food storage tuna in recipes, then this is definitely a tasty recipe.  I have really picky kids and they all ate this and said it was good!  Oh and I got this from

To make 8 patties:
4 cans tuna
4 egg whites (I just used the whole eggs, even though it's not as healthy)
1-2 C whole wheat bread crumbs
2 TB dried parsley flakes (I used half fresh parsley and half dried)
1/2 C finely chopped onion
1 1/2 TB lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon peel (I didn't have this, didn't miss it)
1 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp pepper
olive or canola oil

Dill Sauce:
1 C mayo (I used plain yogurt because it's healthier and it tasted good)
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon peel (again, didn't have it and didn't miss it)
1 tsp dill weed

The original recipe also calls for 1 C pureed parsnips to take the place of some of the bread crumbs.  I didn't have parsnips on hand, thought about doing carrots instead, but really didn't want to take the time and go to all that trouble, but I'm sure it would be a tasty way of including more veggies in this recipe.

In a bowl combine bread crumbs, eggs, onion, parsley, lemon juice and peel, dill, and pepper.  Add tuna and mix well.
Shape into 8 large patties or 16 smaller patties (they will be soft).  In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Cook patties for 5-6 min on each side or until lightley browned. 
Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl; serve with tuna patties.

My kids really liked the sauce with the patties.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Peanut Thai Chicken

1/4 C. water
3 T. creamy peanut butter
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. lime juice
1 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger (I think if you use the powder stuff, you probably want to decrease this depending on how much you like the flavor and spice of ginger)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. salt
1 T. oil
1 1/2 lb. chicken, sliced in 1/4" strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
Stir Fry Vegetables (I think the recipe called for snow peas and shallots.  I used a bag of asparagus stir fry from Walmart.)
1/4 C. Peanuts, chopped
1 T. chopped cilantro (I used WAY more than 1 T.)
1/2 tsp. curry (I added this to the recipe, but we really liked the addition)

Combine water, peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, ginger, red pepper, and salt.

Heat oil on high.  Add chicken and cook 3 minutes.  Add garlic for 2 min.  Add veggies and stir fry.  Add sauce.

Top with peanuts and cilantro.

We ate it served over rice, but you could do noodles too, if you prefer.

Monday, February 28, 2011

tomato, mushroom, and olive penne

10 penne pasta
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 TB olive oil
1/2 C fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes (or you can use fresh tomatoes diced too)
1 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 TB fresh basil
1 TB fresh parsley
1/2 can olives, sliced in halves

Cook and drain pasta according to package directions. Set aside. Heat olive oil in large skillet. Add onions, garlic, and mushrooms and saute until onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes, garlic salt, pepper, basil, and parsley and simmer for 5-10 min. Add the olives and the pasta, stir together. Serve immediately. Super yummy!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Peas with Lemon, Tarragon, and Shallots

This is the first time I've ever used shallots and I am in love!  They are definitely worth the extra price... at least every once in a while.

1 T butter
1 T olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 c. peas (fresh or frozen)
2 t finely chopped fresh parsley
1 T chopped fresh tarragon
1 t finely chopped lemon zest
11/2-2 t fresh lemon juice

Heat the butter and olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  When the butter has melted, saute the shallots until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.  Add the peas, 2 T water, parsley, tarragon, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and salt to taste.  Cook until the peas are heated through, 3-5 minutes.  Serve at once.

Grilled T-Bone with Garlic Butter

Weston and I had an AMAZING Valentine's dinner last week.  So I wanted to post the recipes.  All of them come from the Williams Sonoma Bride and Groom Cookbook.  But also, all of them kinda cost a lot for the ingredients.  So these are definitely "special occasion" recipes.


Garlic Butter
(Let 1/2 c. salted butter come to room temperature.  Use a fork to blend in 1 T minces fresh thyme, 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 or 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce, and 1 or 2 dashes of Tobasco sauce.  Roll into a log using waxed paper and set aside.)
4 T-bone steaks, 10 oz each
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh thyme (we used normal dried thyme)
1 1/2 t kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 T chopped fresh parsely

Make the Garlic Butter.

Season the staks by rubbing them with the olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper to taste.  Prepare grill.  Place the steaks on the grill and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side for medium-rare, or until they reach the desired doneness.  Press the center of a stake to guage its doneness; it will still have some give for medium-rare, more firmness for medium.  Remove the steaks from the grill and place them on a platter.

Place a pat or two of the flavored butter on each steak along with a sprinkling of parsley.  Let rest for 3-5 minutes, then serve.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cauliflower Soup

So, to give credit where credit is due--this recipe is from The Pioneer Woman.  I have made several of her recipes and almost all of them have been major hits with the whole family.  Or at least, 3 out of 4 family members (the 5th hasn't been eating solids long enough to be a part of the statistics).  But I've made a few tweaks to make it a little healthier.

Cauliflower Soup (from Pioneer Woman)

2-3 T. olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
2-3 carrots, finely diced
1-2 celery stalks, finely diced
1-2 heads cauliflower, roughly chopped
2 T. chopped parsley
2 quarts chicken broth
4 T. butter
1 C. milk
6 T. flour
2 C. fat free half & half
2-4 tsp. salt
1 C. sour cream, room temp.

Heat oil in large pot.  Add onion and cook to brown.  Add carrots and celery.  Cook a few minutes.  Add cauliflower and parsley.  Cover and cook over very low heat 15 min.  Pour in chicken broth.  Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer.

In medium saucepan, melt 4 T. butter.  Stir in flour and salt.  Slowly add milk and whisk to combine.  Remove from heat and stir in 2 C. half & half.  Do this slowly, or you'll have lumps.  Lumps are no good.  Add mixture to simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15-20 min.  Check seasoning and add  more salt and pepper if necessary.

Place small amount of sour cream in each bowl and add the soup.

I usually forget the sour cream and Blake has decided he likes it better that way, so try live it up and try it both ways!

Monday, February 7, 2011

I'm Not Just A Pizza Dough any more..........

Well, I think by now all of you have realized the no hassle pizza dough recipe I posted a while back is REALLY EASY..and REALLY GOOD. Well, I'm here to tell you that it is also very versatile and solves some major time issues in the kitchen for mommy's like me who never seem to have time to do anything as I would like....

Ryan and I recently tweaked this recipe again, and had really amazing results. Here is what we have made....and the best part....NO RISE TIME AT's just make and bake and its good.


Simply take the dough recipe and Add 1 extra tsp sugar or honey to the yeast mixture in the beginning. Omit spices. Make, pinch balls of dough, place on oiled (or cooking spray) cookie sheet or pan. Bake same amount of time until golden brown.

These were really great. I'm always starting the rolls too really takes a total of 20 min from start to yummy soft roll goodness. Try it.

No Hassle Cinnamon Rolls--

Okay, so how many times have we gotten up in the morning and wanted the goodness of cinnamon rolls but don't have 1hr for rise time and such? My poor family has suffered from a lack of cinnamon rolls for years just because of my lack of time and planning. Well, no more.

Take the dough recipe and add 2 extra tsp of sugar or honey to the yeast mixture. Omit spices. Make dough. Add whatever you like to your cinnamon rolls. I personally like to use brown sugar instead of white because it seems to hold the dough together better and doesn't tend to fall out or burn as easily. Cut out, place on sprayed cookie sheet or pan, don't worry about letting them rise...just stick them in the oven for 10-15 min and there you go. Top with some glaze and seriously you'll wonder why you ever used a dough that made you wait again.

I hope this helps you guys! Don't forget, you can use whole wheat in this recipe for pizza, rolls, or Cinnamon rolls and it still works fantastic! We do it all the time.



Friday, February 4, 2011

Peach Crunch cake

This recipe is by non other than Bakerella and my family LOVES it!
It is so easy, yummy and you probably have everything in your pantry. Great for unexpected guests.

Try it and let me know if you like it.

Peach Crunch Cake
24.5 oz jar of sliced peaches in light syrup
1 package yellow cake mix
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), cut into 16 pieces
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Layer ingredients in a 13 X 9 dish, in order starting with the peaches.
Bake for about 40 minutes.
Serve warm or cold… with or without ice cream.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Don't Fear The Sprouts, Man!

So, I'm trying to eat locally and in season.  A bit of a challenge for someone who likes to plan way in advance for meals, like me.  But kind of fun, too.  Anyway, most recently this lead me to brussel sprouts.  They are apparently in season right now.  Or so I've been told.  Here is a recipe that even the kids will tolerate.  A little.

Bacon Brussels

15-20 fresh brussel sprouts
3 slices bacon (I like center cut because it's way less fatty)
olive oil
fresh ground pepper
Splash or two of Balsamic Vinegar

Cut the bottoms off of the brussel sprouts.  Hang onto the leaves that fall off in the process.  Put the rest of the bulbs in a food processor and pulse briefly.  I have a small processor, so I had to do this in several batches.  But the idea is to just chop it up a little.  You'll  have a lot that's pretty shredded, but then still some big chunks, and the leaves that you set aside earlier.  While you're doing this, throw the bacon on a large skillet and cook it to whatever level you like your bacon.  Remove to cool.  When you're done, put  all the sprout pieces in the skillet.  If you used normal bacon you can either drain the grease first and then use olive oil, or you can cook the sprouts in the bacon grease.  My bacon didn't really leave any grease in the pan, so I poured a little olive oil over the brussel sprouts and tossed the mixture.  Saute all this for 5-8 minutes.  You want them to stay tender crisp.  Meanwhile, chop the bacon.  Then salt and pepper the brussel sprouts to taste, splash in the vinegar, and finally top with the bacon.

I think it would also be yummy with Parmesan cheese and/or toasted pine nuts. But I haven't tried either yet.

Give The Gift of Granola

So, someone at my house thinks it's weird to give granola as a gift.  But every time I've gifted this granola, the receiver asks for the recipe.  You decide.

Great Gift Giving Granola

4 C. old-fashioned oats (very important!  Don't use quick oats!)
1 C. wheat germ
4 T. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. Nuts & Seeds (I used sunflower seeds, pepitos, and ground flax)
1 C. Dried fruit (I used sweet cherries, wild blueberries, and orange cranberries)
1/4 C. maple syrup
1/4 C. honey
6 T. Canola oil
2 T. water
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract

Combine oats, wheat germ, brown sugar, salt, and seeds in a large bowl.  Set aside.
Combine syrup, honey, oil, water, and almond extract in a small saucepan.  Heat to a simmer over medium heat.  Stir really well, then pour over dry ingredients.  Combine the two mixtures thoroughly.
Pour into two 9x13 pans (I think it bakes better in glass than metal pans) sprayed with cooking spray.  Place in 275 degree oven and bake for 35 min.  Add dried fruit, stir, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until it's browning.  It will crisp up a little more as it cools, so don't over bake it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chiles Rellenos Casserole

I don't know if this is cheating, but Weston and I just made a DELICIOUS recipe from his mom's blog. You can click here or just paste the following into your browser for the recipe: