12.29.2011

chicken taco soup

This is my absolute favorite. So much so that I double this already large recipe and eat leftovers of it throughout the week for lunches. It never gets old.

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 can Mexican style stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 can chicken broth
1 can corn, undrained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 - 3 chicken breasts, cooked and cut up*

*I use a rotisserie chicken. They can be found at Smiths for $4.99 or at Walmart for $3.49. For one recipe it'd take about 1/2 of the chicken, but I usually double it (it'll take a really big pot) and use the whole chicken.)

In a medium to large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, onions, cumin and chili powder. Saute for 3 minutes. Add the rest of ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with sour cream, cheese, olives and avocado (give or take what you like). Our favorite topping is shredded Mozzarella cheese. It melts into the soup so yummily. Serve with rolls for a perfect warm and cozy meal.


*recipe via Lizzy Writes

12.07.2011

Santa Hat Brownies

I found these adorable little brownies while I was on Pinterest and I thought they looked so fun! Plus I have never posted on our cooking blog so I'd say it's about time I did.

Ingredients:
1 pan of your favorite brownies, cooled and cut into desired size and shape (I used a round cutter)
12-16 small strawberries, cleaned and hulled
vanilla-mascarpone buttercream (recipe below)

Mascarpone Buttercream
Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2-1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Method:
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and mascarpone cheese until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract and salt. Add 2-1/2 cups of sugar, half a cup at a time and continue beating until smooth. Add more sugar, if needed to reach desired consistency and sweetness.

To assemble, pipe a ring of vanilla buttercream on top of each brownie. Cut off the base of a strawberry so it is flat and place it upside down on each brownie, pushing slightly to secure in place. Top the tip of the strawberry with a dot of buttercream to finish the santa hat.

11.09.2011

Creamy Potato Soup


I feel like a real chef because I made this soup up. Well, sort of. I looked at a few different potato soup recipes and then came up with this. And guess what! It's really good! 

CREAMY POTATO SOUP

Ingredients:
8 strips of bacon
2 cups chopped onion
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup chicken broth
3-4 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 1/2 cups milk or cream
1 cup corn
shredded cheddar cheese (1/2-3/4 cup)
salt (1/2 tsp) & pepper (to taste)
hot sauce (to taste)

Directions: 
Cut strips of bacon into bite sized pieces and cook for a couple of minutes (don’t make them crispy) then add chopped onion. Cook together until onion is soft and translucent. Add minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add butter and flour. Stir together then pour in chicken broth. Stir continuously until things have thickened slightly. Add milk/cream and potatoes and bring to SIMMER (don’t boil!). Simmer for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Add corn and shredded cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and corn is warm. Add salt, pepper and hot sauce. Enjoy. 

Serves 6-8

11.08.2011

Grilled Sandwiches

While browsing through Pinterest I keep seeing these delicious looking veggie grilled sandwiches. These are nice because you can change the ingredients all the time depending on what you have on hand. The ones I just made had pesto, avocado, tomato, and pepperjack cheese on whole wheat bread. Delicious. I can't wait to try things like sprouts, spinach, and different cheeses - I might even throw on a slab of ham if I feel like it.

I need to put more effort into taking better pictures of my food, but...meh.



Note: I normally don't like my bread so grilled/burnt/black. I'm still learning to pay attention to the time I leave it on the stove.

11.04.2011

Sopapilla Cheesecake Pie

So after I returned home last night quite late from a meeting and put on my cozy robe, I decided to check my email right before bed. Cierra's Spanish teacher had sent out an email to all of the parents saying she hoped our student informed us of the "Celebration of Cultures" party the following morning, and would we please remember to send something from the culture our students are studying to share with the class. Seriously? It was 11:00 and the following morning I had an entire day of meetings starting quite early. I immediately Xed out of my email and went to allrecipes.com to find the simplest mexican recipe I could find. I looked at the very first recipe that had a lot of stars next to the title (even though I really didn't care if it tasted good or not), printed it out, got dressed, ran to the store and went to straight to bed when I got home. I made this recipe before Cierra left for school at 7:30 a.m. and then... oh.. my.. yum! This dessert was divine and so easy!
Bad for you? Of course it is. Why else would I label it divine?

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. Mexican vanilla
2 (8 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent rolls
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup honey

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Beat the cream cheese with 1 cup of sugar and the vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth.
3. Unroll the cans of crescent roll dough, and use a rolling pin to shape each package so that you have TWO 9x13 rectangles. Press one of the rectangles into the bottom of the baking dish. Evenly spread the cream cheese mixture over the dough, then cover with the remaining piece of crescent dough. Stir together 3/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Dot the mixture over the top of the cheesecake.
4. Bake in the preheated oven until the crescent dough has puffed and turned golden brown, about 30 min. Remove from oven and drizzle with honey. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.



11.02.2011

Gourmet Ham & Cheese Sliders



Another Pinterest recipe. This website is making me domestic. I used light/low fat/low sodium/whatever ingredients and they were delicious, but you can use the fatty stuff if you want, I guess.

Ham and Cheese Sliders

24 good white dinner rolls (I used Rhodes Rolls)
24 pieces good honey ham
24 small slices Swiss cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup miracle whip

Poppy seed sauce
1 Tablespoon poppyseeds
1 1/2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 Tablespoon minced onion
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise and miracle whip. Spread onto both sides of the center of each roll. Place a slice of ham and a slice of Swiss inside of each roll. Close rolls and place them into a large baking dish or heavy cookie sheet. Place very close together.

In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the poppy seed sauce ingredients. Pour evenly over all of the sandwiches. Let sit 10 minutes or until butter sets slightly. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for 2 additional minutes. Serve warm.

** sandwiches can be assembled a day ahead and kept in the fridge ready to bake.

These are how mine turned out.

10.22.2011

Grilled Turkey and Swiss Sandwich



Matthew and I LOVE this quick and insanely delicious sandwich, not to mention filling because you can make as many as you'd like. I found it back in the spring and we have decided we love these sandwiches any month and for any meal. I don't have any photos of our sandwiches because we eat ours the moment they are done. So, for more photos and a step by step you can check out the recipe at, Jamie Cooks It Up!

My advice: The sauce is awesome and you should go with making it strong, but the sandwich can stand on it's own two feet if you decide to go a bit more mellow. I also guesstimate on all the measurements because you can't go wrong with making it how you like it. Load up everything how you like and you will have a filling and amazing tasting sandwich.

INGREDIENTS

1 loaf french bread
soft butter
1 1/2 - 2  pounds thinly sliced turkey
1 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese
2 - 3 tomatoes

Sauce:
1 C mayonnaise
1 1/2 T stone ground mustard (you can use plain mustard if that is all you have)
1 1/2 T red onion, chopped fine (if you want more add more)
1 t dried thyme (1/2 tsp ground thyme works too)
 
How To

1. Stir all ingredients for sauce together in a bowl
2. Butter one side of bread, plop it in a small skillet pan, spread on the sauce, cheese, tomatoes, turkey and then butter and sauce up the other piece of bread and place it on top. (Make it like you were making a grilled cheese sandwich- EASY)
3. I sometimes cover the pan with a lid if my cheese is a bit thicker and needs help melting, but you don't need to use a lid.
4. Flip it over and cook the other side
5. Cut it diagonally (it tastes better). 
 
ENJOY!

10.10.2011

Creamy green chile chicken enchiladas

Holy cow, these are awesome. Sky said they were the best enchiladas he's ever had. I got the recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I followed the recipe exactly except for the cilantro. We don't do cilantro over here.


Filling:
3 cups cooked, chopped chicken
2 (4 oz.) cans of green chiles, lightly drained
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, cubed
1 can white or black beans, rinsed and drained (you can really use any type of bean you prefer here)
Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup chicken broth
¼ cup milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 can (7 ounce) green chile enchilada sauce
½ cup sour cream
8 ounces (about 2 cups) Monterey jack cheese, shredded
8 medium (soft taco size) flour tortillas
Handful of chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and green chiles. Mix well. Add the chicken and black beans. Mix to combine. Set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and starts to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and milk. As you whisk and the mixture cooks, the flour will get less lumpy around the onions and the mixture will become smooth. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is bubbling and has thickened, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the enchilada sauce and sour cream.
Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish. Spread about 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the dish. Fill each tortilla with about ½ cup of the chicken/cream cheese filling. Top with a small handful of shredded cheese, a couple tablespoonfuls for each enchilada. Save at least 1/2 cup cheese for the top of the enchiladas. Roll the tortillas up and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Continue filling enchiladas until the dish is full.
Pour the white sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the enchiladas are bubbling, hot and lightly browned. Sprinkle fresh cilantro over the top and serve.

10.06.2011

Creamy Chicken Soup

Yesterday was the first cold and stormy day of Fall so of course last night I broke out the soup recipes. I like this one because it's super fast to make and a comfort food to boot. Since I have left overs, my one and only EVER love of my life (to whom I've been married to for 32! years today) and myself are going to take this soup up to the mountains and have lunch while we watch the snow fall. A beautiful life.

2-3 Chicken Breasts or 1 Rotisserie Chicken (I just use however much of it I'd like)
1/2 Cup each of diced Celery and Carrots (I add way more carrots)
1 medium Onion chopped (about 1 cup)
2- 14 oz. cans Chicken Broth
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Cup Half & Half
8oz. package of Wide Egg or Homestyle Noodles

Simmer celery, carrots and onions in chicken broth until barely tender.
While vegetables are cooking, cook noodles and set aside.
Add the cans of Cream of Chicken Soup to the veggies. Add Half & Half and stir carefully with wire whisk. Add chicken and noodles. Serves 6



9.30.2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I was 14 when I first tried Velveeta. I spit it out onto the counter. Needless to say, it's not my thing. So I was thrilled to find a broccoli cheese soup that actually uses real cheese. Hooray for real food! Anyway, it was delicious.

*1 can chicken broth (~2 cups)
*1 small onion, diced
*1/3 cup flour
*1/4 cup butter
*1/2 tsp. ground pepper
*2 cups milk
*1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
*1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
*2 1/2 - 3 cups finely chopped, lightly steamed or blanched broccoli (you can stick the broccoli in a glass bowl, covered with plastic wrap and microwave for 3-4 minutes. it's easy. do what you please.)

Simmer chicken broth and diced onion in a small saucepan for 15-20 minutes, or until onions are tender. Heat milk in microwave for 1-2 minutes. In separate medium-sized stockpot, melt butter than add flour and pepper. Cook together for a couple of minutes, then whisk in warmed milk. Stir and heat together on medium-high heat until soup starts to thicken. Next add chicken broth and onion and continue to stir until well blended. Add cheeses and steamed broccoli. Serve immediately.

9.25.2011

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I found this via my roommate's Pinterest page who got it from Skinny Taste. It's a low-fat dish I made last night and I thought it was delicious (Cierra even likes it, and that says something).

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Servings: 15 • Serving Size: 1/4 cup • Calories: 73.3 • Fat: 4.4 g
• Carb: 3.4 g • Fiber: 0.9 g • Protein: 5.2 g • Sugar: 0.6 g
Sodium: 244.7 g

Ingredients:
13.75 oz artichoke hearts packed in water, drained
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
2/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano (turns out this is just parmesan cheese, I had no idea)
4 oz shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
salt and fresh pepper to taste
olive oil spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a small food processor, coarsely chop the artichoke hearts with the garlic and shallots.

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Place in an oven-proof dish and bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes, until hot and cheese is melted. Serve right away.

Can be made one day in advance and stored in the refrigerator before baking. Makes about 3 3/4 cups.

Aaaannnnnddddd, my crappy, low-quality picture.

9.22.2011

Chicken Stuffed with Garlic and Goat Cheese

I'm finally back posting. Honestly I've been cooking a lot lately, trying all kinds of new recipes. Unfortunately I've had a string of ho-hum dishes unworthy of sharing. But here is my latest discovery, it is so good and much simpler than it sounds.

1 whole head of garlic
1/3 cup goat cheese with herbs (3 ounces), left at room temperature to soften
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts halves (I did 3 large ones)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoons olive oil

Roast the garlic earlier in the day (for an awesome step-by-step guide, check out this link How to Roast Garlic from a fabulous cook in my ward here).

Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl combine garlic pulp and goat cheese, set aside.

Make a horizontal cut into the thickest part of the chicken breast to form a sort of "pocket" and stuff 3-4 teaspoons of cheese into each breast. (I stuffed all the cheese mixture into my 3 pieces of chicken, more is better I think). Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large skillet, add chicken and cook 3 minutes, until browned. Turn chicken over and put skillet in the oven. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 160. Cover and let rest for 5-10 minutes, serve warm.
Link

9.17.2011

Crusty White Bread

Instead of posting the recipe on here, I'm just going to post the link to the recipe. If you want to boost your self esteem, you should make this bread. 
Can you believe I made that? Nor can I. It looks so fancy and bakery-ish! And it tastes that way too. 

http://www.honeyandjam.com/2010/01/crusty-white-bread.html

9.08.2011

CHILI!!!!

Hey All! I'm posting!

Matthew has been begging for "The Chili" since we got to St. Louis, but the 102 degree weather has been less than ideal. The last couple of days have been "quite cool" (movie quote) and so I busted out the chili along with Katie's rolls receipe.

 (This photo shows the tomatoes chopped, don't bother. The food processor is easier and makes it taste better)

The CHILI

1 lb. Ground Beef - cooked and in pieces
1 - 14 oz. can tomato sauce
1 - 14 oz. can kidney beans (with liquid)
1 - 14 oz. can pinto beans (with liquid)
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced green chiles (hatch's canned diced chiles)
2 med. tomatoes, (just toss them into the food processor)
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 Tb. chili powder (I put in about 1/2 Tb. more when making it for just us, we like the kick)
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 cup water
 
I cook the beef, and then just dump all of the stuff into a crock pot on low, and let it cook for a couple hours. 

 These rolls went perfectly with our meal.

8.20.2011

Zucchini Bread

Delish!

Zucchini Bread:
*2 1/4 cups flour
*2 tsp. cinnamon
*1/8 tsp. ground cloves (didn't have them - omitted them)
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
*1/2 cup canola oil
*3/4 cup white sugar
*1/2 cup brown sugar
*3 eggs
*2 tsp. vanilla
*zest from one large orange (wasn't interested in this, so again, omitted it)
*1/2 cup sour cream
*3 cups grated zucchini (I did this in my food processor and it was so fast)

Topping:
*2 tbsp. white sugar
*2 tbsp. brown sugar
*1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans and set aside.

Combine flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.

Beat eggs, oil, sugars and vanilla for 30 seconds. Add sour cream and orange zest and beat to combine. Mix in zucchini.

Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Divide batter between 2 pans. Sprinkle topping evenly over tops. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean. 

Make sure to let the loaf rest on a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes before trying to get it out of the pan or it will come out in chunks. Enjoy.

Recipe from Our Best Bites. 

8.13.2011

Banoffee Pie

Seeing as I'm off of sugar 1/2 - 3/4 of the year, I hardly ever make desserts (sorry, Sky). But when I do, they have to be incredible. Banoffee pie is incredible. I first tasted it in London and fell in love instantly. I have no clue why America doesn't have this flavor. So it's rather simple: banana and toffee. Pronounced buh-nof-fee. Ah, incredible.

Pie Crust:
*9 oz. graham crackers - about 1 1/2 packages (or if you happen to have digestives from the UK, that would be even better!)
*1/2 cup butter, melted

Filling:
*1/2 cup brown sugar
*3 tbsp. water
*1 can sweetened condensed milk
*1/2 cup butter
*2-3 bananas
*1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream

To make crust, blend graham crackers in food processor until finely ground. Pour melted butter over crumbs and process to blend well. The crumbs should stick together when pressed. Press crumbs into a pie pan or springform pan. Put in freezer while you make the filling.

To make toffee filling, put the brown sugar and water into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until it has turned a deep amber color, occasionally swirling the pan and brushing down the sides, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the condensed milk and butter. Continue stirring for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Remove toffee sauce and spread into graham cracker crust. Let sit in refrigerator for at least an hour to allow the toffee to become semi-firm.

Right before serving, slice bananas into very thin slices and place on top of semi-firm toffee.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream in a mixing bowl until thick and very soft billowy peaks form. Spoon on top of banana slices. I also dusted the top with some extra graham cracker crumbs. You could sprinkle with cinnamon as well. Enjoy.
Recipe source: adapted slightly from Curtis Stone (the hot Aussie chef).

8.12.2011

Pesto Chicken

This a one of our family standby's. Super fast and really good.

4 large or 6 small chicken breasts
1 cup prepared pesto
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1-1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray. Trim chicken breasts and place in pan. In a bowl, mix pesto and mustard then spoon over chicken. Sprinkle with desired amount of cheese. Bake in oven until center of chicken reaches 160 degrees, about 20-25 minutes.

I made this tonight for dinner but forgot to snap a picture. For those of you not too familiar with pesto, it looks a little like green barf but don't let that turn you off to it. Note to Katie - I made this a few years ago when at home and Skyler hated it even though he was too kind to actually tell me so (I'm not sure he actually tried it, but he didn't eat it). Maybe he'll be less afraid now, maybe not.

8.11.2011

Salsa

These are two of my favorite salsa recipes. The first one I got from Syl. Although I chop most of my ingredients by hand, Syl does most everything in a food processor. It looks a mess but is much faster! Serve both recipes with Fritos Scoops or tortilla chips.

6-8 chopped Roma Tomatoes
2 Lg. chopped Avocados
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
1 bunch Green Onions
1 - 15 oz. can White Hominy drained
1 - 15 oz. Black Beans
Sm. bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing. (Use only as much as you like. The recipe calls for almost a full bottle but I only used half.)

Corn Salsa
1 can corn drained
1 can black eyed peas or garbanzo beans, drained
2-3 chopped tomatoes
1 bunch green onion chopped
1 bunch cilantro chopped
1 avocado cubed
1-2 chopped yellow, green or orange peppers
1 pkg. Good Season Salad dressing mix OR Fat Free Zesty Italian mix.


8.10.2011

Blueberry Muffins

These are the most amazing muffins. Whitney can testify of their awesomeness. While we can't finish all 12 in one sitting, my kids will eat one for breakfast, one for lunch, one for snack...you get the point.

Wisk in a medium mixing bowl and set aside:

- 2 Cups Flour

- 1Tbsp. Baking Powder

- ½ tsp. Salt

In another medium mixing bowl whisk:

- 1 egg (for about 20 seconds)... add

- 1 Cup Sugar (whisk vigorously until thick about 30 seconds)... add

- 4 Tbsp. melted (slightly cooled) butter (whisk until mixed well)... add

- 1¼ Cups Sour Cream (whisk in 2 or 3 additions 20-30 seconds)

Add 1½ Cup Frozen Blueberries to dry mixture and toss them making sure they are all well covered with flour.

Pour wet ingredients over the dry and fold together making sure all batter is nice and moist (this takes another 30 seconds or so).

Bake in muffin tins at 350° for about 25-30 min (until golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean). When out of the oven and cool enough to handle, brush tops with melted butter and dip into granulated sugar. Enjoy!

8.06.2011

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

These are not healthy. Sorry. But not that sorry.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

*1 1/2 cups flour
*3 tbsp. sugar
*1/2 tsp. salt
*4 tsp. baking powder
*1 tbsp. cinnamon
*2 eggs
*1 cup milk
*2 tbsp. corn syrup
*1/4 cup butter, melted
*1 tbsp. vanilla

In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Whisk together well.

In separate large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, corn syrup, butter and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium/low heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto griddle. Brown on both sides. Top with maple butter icing.

Maple Butter Icing

*1 cup powdered sugar
*1/4 cup butter, melted
*dash of salt
*1 tbsp. maple syrup
*1/4 cup milk, more if needed

Combine all ingredients. Enjoy.

8.05.2011

Low-fat layered bean dip



I found this in one of Mom's cookbooks YEARS ago and it has been our go-to date night dip ever since. Despite all the chopping involved in this, it can be thrown together in less than 20 minutes.

1 can kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
1/4 cup salsa
Fat- free plain yogurt (I use Greek yogurt, much more sour cream-ish)
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped green onions
Sliced olives

In a blender, or using a thunderstick, blend together beans and salsa. Spread in a 9x9 (or slightly smaller) pan. Spread a thin layer of yogurt on top, just enough to cover the beans. Top with cheese, tomatoes, green onions and olives. Served with baked tortilla chips.

This doesn't make a lot, Neil and I polished this off ourselves. Double it if serving more than three people.

8.03.2011

Whole Wheat Waffles

One of my aspirations in life (next to playing the violin and speaking French), is to have children that are used to eating a cooked/home-made breakfast every morning. We try to avoid cereal as much as possible. I admit I've been slacking lately though. So in efforts to get my breakfast thang back on, my next few posts will be devoted to breakfast.

I'm beginning to shun Bisquik (gasp!). Costs waaay too much with waaaay too many mystery ingredients. So for waffles, we whip out this baby...

1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
3/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
3 Tbsp. Oil

Mix together with an egg beater.

8.01.2011

Angel Hair Pasta Salad

This salad is delicious. It's not particularly masculine, but really, when is a salad masculine? Once again, this recipe comes from Mels Kitchen Cafe.

Angel Hair Pasta Salad:

*1 pound angel hair pasta
*1/2 cup olive oil
*5 cloves garlic, minced
*1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese (sometimes I sub mozz when that's all I've got - works great)
*2-3 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
*handful of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
*coarse salt
optional: toasted pine nuts

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and put in serving bowl. While pasta is boiling, saute garlic in olive oil until lightly browned. Pour garlic and olive oil over pasta and toss together. Sprinkle 1 tsp. salt and 1 cup of cheese over the pasta. Toss again. Let pasta cool slightly. Right before serving top pasta with the rest of the cheese, tomatoes, basil and pine nuts. Enjoy.

7.29.2011

Easy Italian Summer Vegetables

I promise this is the last Sweet Pea recipe for a while. I found this recipe last fall and held onto it waiting for all the veggies to come into season. It was SO worth it, I've made this three times in the past two weeks, once just for me. I hope you enjoy.

4-5 cups diced vegetables (I used about 2 ears of corn, straight off the cob--no need to boil, 2 yellow squash, and a zucchini, but you can use cucumber, sweet peas or even thawed frozen green beans)
1/4 cup sliced red onion
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup mozzarella, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (or apple cider or rice wine)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Combine vegetables, onion, basil and mozzarella in a medium or large bowl.

Add the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir well.

Let sit for at least one hour before serving. The vinegar in the dressing "cooks" the vegetables a bit and they are soft to eat.

Serves 4-6.


I used all the veggies and the vinegar it called for, not the suggested substitutions. I also made this once without the red onion because I was in a hurry, very regrettable decision. It was still good, but not great. I also never had fresh basil but I'm sure that would make this stupendous. It's hard to win me over with vegetables but this may be a first.

7.27.2011

Pizza Sauce

Some of you may have this recipe already from me, but I wanted to share it with those who don't. Every Saturday night at our house is homemade pizza night. When I shop during the week, I go to the bakery counter and ask for a loaf of french bread dough (because I'm domestic like that). It freezes just fine until I'm ready to use it.

Pizza sauce from a bottle is really expensive and to be honest, too sweet for my liking. The following oh-so-simple recipe came from Kimball's family and is the only way to go for us around here.

1 - 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. Oregano

Combine in saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. TaDa!

7.23.2011

Crescent Rolls

These are the rolls I made for our family campout. The key to these is the butter. Butter! Not margarine. Butter! Again, not margarine. Butter! Anyway, they do use yeast, so factor in about an hour and a half of rising time. I got this recipe from a Betty Crocker cookbook.

Crescent Rolls:

*3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
*1/4 cup sugar
*1/4 cup butter, softened
*1 tsp. salt
*1 package regular or dry-active yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
*1/2 cup very warm water (120 to 130 F)
*1/2 cup very warm milk (120 to 130 F. I used to warm this up on the stove, but then I realized that it's much easier in the microwave. Do what you please.)
*1 large egg
*More butter, melted

In large bowl, stir 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, 1/4 cup softened butter, salt and yeast until well mixed. Add warm water, warm milk and egg. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.

Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead about 5 minutes or until dough it smooth and springy. Grease large bowl with shortening or cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place about 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.

Grease cookie sheet with shortening or cooking spray. Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 12-inch circle on floured surface. Spread with softened butter. Cute each circle into 16 wedges. Roll up each wedge, beginning at rounded edge. Place rolls, with points underneath, on cookie sheet and curve slightly. Brush with butter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place about 30 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.



Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Brush warm rolls with more butter. Makes 32 rolls.

7.21.2011

Saucy Stuffed Shells

We had this baby for dinner last night, but I forgot to take a picture. It is one of our favorites and the meal that I always make when I am taking dinner to someone. The original recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, but I have made a few modifications.

12 dried jumbo shell macaroni (I always do 15 because some break)
12 ounces ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 - 26 oz. can meatless spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain again.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook ground meat, onion, green pepper, and garlic until meat is brown. Drain.

In a medium bowl combine egg, bread crumbs, fennel seeds, salt, and black pepper. Add the meat mixture and 1 cup of the spaghetti sauce; mix well. (At this point I usually drop in a teaspoonful or two of minced garlic). Spoon about 2 tablespoons of meat mixture into each macaroni shell. Arrange the filled shells in a 2-quart square baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce over the filled shells. Cover the dish with foil.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving.

7.20.2011

Honey Lime Enchiladas

So. It's no secret that I love limes. No seriously... lllove them. I love them in almost ANYTHING.. main dishes, salads, sauces, drinks and desserts. I even love them straight. Oh... and don't even get me started about how they smell! So when my sister Lisa told me she had a good honey LIME enchilada recipe?... I was all over it! Not only was a hit with the fam, I served it with, what else?... the Limonada drink that I posted last week of course. I'm all a pucker!

6 Tbsp. Honey
5 Tbsp. fresh squeezed Lime Juice
1 small can, diced Green Chili's
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1 lb. Chicken (about 2 large chicken breasts) cooked and shredded.
8-19 Flour Tortillas (I prefer the uncooked kind.)
1/2 lb. Monterey Jack Cheese (shredded)
1/2 lb. Mexican Style Cheese (shredded)
1- 14 oz. can Green Enchilada Sauce
1 cup Salsa Verde
1 cup Heavy Cream
Fresh Cilantro (chopped)

Mix the first five ingredients and toss with the shredded chicken. Put in a Ziplock bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or longer if preferred.
Pour about 1/2 cup of the salsa verde on the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Fill each flour tortilla with chicken and the Monterey Jack shredded cheese. Roll them up and place in baking pan.
Mix the Green Enchilada Sauce, and the remaining 1/2 cup Salsa Verde with the cream.
Pour the sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with the Mexican Style Cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until brown and crispy on top. Top with fresh Cilantro.

* You can also add black beans to the chicken mixture.

7.17.2011

Southwest Rice and Bean Salad

This is one of those recipes that I would NEVER choose to make if it hadn't been recommended to me by someone I trust (aka my sis). But it is awesome. We probably eat it too much.

This recipe comes from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. It serves 8-10.

Salad:
*5 cups cooked rice, warm or at room temp (that's about 2 cups uncooked. ish. sort of.)
*2 teaspoons salt
*1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
*1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
*2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
*1 (12 oz.) can corn, drained
*4 green onions, chopped

Dressing:
*1/4 cup fresh lime juice (I've used fresh lemon juice and it tastes just as good)
*2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
*2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
*2/3 cup canola oil
*2 teaspoons chili powder
*1 teaspoon cumin

Combine all salad ingredients in large bowl. Combine dressing ingredients together and pour over salad. Mix well to combine. Serve warm or room temp ( I prefer warm, Sky prefers cold).

7.15.2011

Cilantro Lime Empanadas

This is another winner from Sweat Pea. I love that I get to hide vegetables in a fun package, even though hope to some day not have to. I've only made this with taco seasoning, but if I can find the Penzey's spice I'm getting it. I highly recommend the salsa, sour cream with a little fresh cilantro dip at the end. These are very hot when they first come out so be careful.

Easy Cilantro Lime Empanadas

1 package frozen filo, thawed (they usually come with two separate rolls, you will only need one)
1 -12 oz package frozen pureed butternut squash
1 - 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Arizona Dreaming seasoning (a new Penzeys spice mixture, or you can use taco seasoning)
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of one lime
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Roll out the filo on a counter and cut it in half lengthwise and be sure to cover with a barely damp cloth when you are not working with it.

In a medium bowl, mix the squash, black beans, salt and seasoning. With a pastry blender or the back of a large fork, smash the mixture together, breaking up the beans a bit while you do so. Add the cream cheese, cilantro and lime, and mix well until everything is fully incorporated.

Take 2-3 sheets of the filo and place 2 tablespoons of the cilantro lime mixture at one end like this:


Fold in triangles, much like you would fold a flag, like this:


Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat liner:


Brush with a bit of oil or spray with cooking spray. Repeat until the filling is gone.

Bake 15-18 minutes or until slightly browned.

Makes about 18.

Serve with sour cream, salsa and a touch more cilantro:

7.14.2011

Mayberry's Italian Wrap

This morning while going through the books in mom and dad's basement I pulled out a few bookmarks that were in the ones I took. It was cool to see some of these little gems that they used to save their places while they were reading and I actually saved a couple of them.



Like the ticket stubs from Hong Kong to San Fransisco and from Charlotte to Cincinatti. I wish I had noted which books I took them from so I could see what Dad was reading on the plane. There's a piece of hotel paper from the Commerce Casino Crowne Plaza in Los Angeles; a Shirley's bakery punchcard with only one punch, and a receipt from Trade Secret. Apparently Mom bought some Kenra Volume Spray in 2001 and it was only $12.95 - it's $21.39 now! Geez, look at that inflation over the past decade.

There was also a recipe for Mayberry's Italian Wrap. I have no idea where it came from as there's no source or cookbook noted on it - but it looks delicious. I haven't even made them yet but I thought I'd share. Maybe one of you guys could make them and then invite me over for dinner...m'kay?


Mayberry's Italian Wrap

Spread (mix well):
1 c. chopped sun-dried tomatoes
16 oz. cream cheese
1 c. mayonnaise

Layer the following:
spinach leaves
sliced salami
provolone cheese slices
tomato slices
sliced olives
sliced artichoke hearts

Refreshing Summer Drinks

We're in the middle of July and YIKES, it's hot! Since we are having so many cookouts, I thought you might enjoy these refreshing drink recipes courtesy of my sissy Lisa. I have not made the Limonada, but Leese says that one is great with Mexican dishes.

Limonada

1 - 12 oz. can frozen Minute Maid Limeade
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 of a 2-liter bottle of Club Soda

Rasperry Lime Sprite

1/2 gallon raspberry drink (Cream 'O Weber, found at Walmart)
1/2 - 12 oz. can frozen Minute Maid Limeade
2 liters of Sprite

Lemonade/Orange Fizz

1 - 12 oz. can frozen Minute Maid Pink or Raspberry Lemonade
1 - 16 oz. can frozen Orange Juice
2 liters of Ginger Ale

Add ice right before serving.

7.13.2011

Kalua Pork

Oh Crockpot, how I adore thee. You make my life so happy. So little work and yet when people walk in my house in the middle of the day, they think I've been working my little tail off. Keep up the good work.

1 Pork Roast (3-4 lbs)
1 Can of Chicken Stock/Broth (14-15 oz.)
1 Stick of Butter
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Pepper
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tsp Liquid Smoke
1 Tsp Olive Oil

Heat olive oil in frying pan. Brown roast on each side. Place all remaining ingredients in the crockpot (it may help to cut up the butter). Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Shred and enjoy! We serve this over rice sometimes, or on buns for sandwiches. Both are so good, although I think I prefer it with rice.

I'm pretty sure Kimball got this recipe from Uncle Dave.

7.12.2011

Grilled Pizza

Sorry I didn't post on Saturday. I was in St. George getting a sunburn bad enough to cause my face to swell. Lovely.

Anyway, even though the resemblance between an Avatar and me right now is uncanny, I still have a delicious recipe for you. Last night we grilled 3 pizzas. They. were. awesome. Way better than cooking them in the oven. Unless you have a fancy pants brick oven. Then it might be debatable. But probably not even then.

So there are some essential things for this pizza. The first is the dough. Here is the recipe for the best pizza dough:



1 1/4 cups warm water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
*****makes 2 medium pizzas or one extra large pizza

Make the dough the night before or early the morning on the day you want to make the pizza. In a large mixing bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer), mix the water, yeast, sugar, honey and oil. (If using active dry yeast, increase the amount of yeast to 2 3/4 teaspoons and proof the yeast in the water until foamy before mixing in the sugar, honey and oil.) Then mix in 1 cup flour and the salt. Continue mixing in all the remaining flour until you get a nice, soft dough. Knead until dough is soft and smooth, about 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes with a stand mixer.
Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl and cover tightly (with a lid or plastic wrap). Place the dough in the refrigerator to slowly rise until three hours before baking. Three hours before baking, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, keeping it lightly covered.
The next thing you need is great toppings. We did 3 pizzas: one pepperoni, one BBQ chicken(use barbecue sauce on the bottom and top with bite size pieces of chicken coated with barbecue sauce, finely sliced red onions, slices of fresh mozz and cilantro) and one margherita (tomato sauce, slices of fresh mozz and fresh basil). The fresh mozzarella is so important. Totally worth the extra money. Even though it's convenient to buy pre shredded cheese, there is a huge difference between it and fresh cheese that you shred yourself. Also worth the extra effort. The pre shredded stuff doesn't melt as well or as quickly, plus it doesn't taste as good. Last night I was cramming for time so I ended up using some store bought tomato sauce and adding some oregano, basil and crushed red pepper flakes, but next time I will definitely make my own tomato sauce. Cheaper and tastier. 

Alright, now I'm going to link you to the blog that I got this recipe from. It gives a great tutorial on the actual grilling of the pizzas. Plus it has lots of pictures and helpful hints. I'd follow all of the instructions diligently. Grill on. 

7.09.2011

Rice, Chicken, and Veggie dish

If someone can come up with a better name for this, do tell.

This is something I put together last night inspired by a meal I had a while ago that was delish, but didn't know how to get the recipe. When we dived into it last night it was actually surprising how similar it tasted. I don't know if I'd be able to tell the difference accept that I put way more veggies in it that the original dish had.

As you can tell by the ingredients, there is nothing new or special about this. This is one of those things you can make when you haven't been to the store in forever but you need to make something! These are all ingredients that most of us have on hand at any given time, so this can just be a back-up plan recipe for those of you who aren't fans of casseroles.

Ingredients:

About 2 cups (uncooked) Rice
Shredded Chicken
About 1/2 bag of frozen mixed veggies (peas, corns, beans)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
3/4 cup Milk
Corn Flakes
Shredded Cheese (optional)

Cook the rice in 4 cups water. In the meantime, cook the chicken and shred, and steam the veggies. Once all are done, mix together and put in large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine cream of chicken soup and milk.. whisk well, then add the mixture to the large bowl of ingredients.
Spread in large casserole dish (9x13 works great).
Layer top with crushed corn flakes.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or so.

(If you want to add shredded cheese, do so under the cornflakes or mix into the rice mixture).


Fresh Side Salad Idea:

Sliced apricots
Sliced bananas
Sliced cherries
Blueberries
Grapes

... mix and serve in side bowl. It was a great combination and looked pretty, too.

We loved this meal and stuffed our faces big time.. and we still have a 1/2 a dish or more left of leftovers, which we are looking forward to. (Especially me.)

Don't be afraid to try things out- most of us have cooked enough to know what combinations will taste good together and it's nice not to have to follow a recipe sometimes. You know what your family will eat, so why not slosh it all together in a pot and serve? :)

7.08.2011

Vegetable camoflauge

In my ongoing effort to get more vegetables into me and my family, I found this little trick online. Shred a yellow summer squash and cook it up in your scrambled eggs. Yesterday I did 5 eggs and 1 cup shredded squash with a little bit of milk. No one was the wiser and the kids scarfed it down. Next time, I'm adding more squash.


Does that look like vegetables? I don't think so.

7.07.2011

Chipotle Chicken Rolls with Avocado Dipping Sauce

This recipe is from Rachael Ray. I have to admit, I don't make too many of her recipes mainly because there seems to be some mystery ingredient I have never heard of, let alone know where to go to find it. I also have to admit that every time I do get lucky and find all of the ingredients to make the meal, I end up loving it. I know that some of you do not like cilantro in the least, so you can leave it out. Rachael's recipes are always packed with enough flavors.

I don't know the purpose of the olive oil. I would prefer to leave it out next time or even mix the dipping sauce with some ranch dressing, but it can stand on it's own! Make sure you read the whole recipe before you begin. I know it's wordy, but it makes it so easy. Dad loved these.
I doubled it and it served 6 for dinner. I think it's written to serve as a starter dish but they were easy, fast, and actually fun to make.

Chipotle Chicken Rolls with Avocado Dipping Sauce:

1 package (1 1/3 pounds) ground chicken breast (the meat department in your local grocery store will grind it for you)
6 scallions, thinly sliced, then chopped
1 1/2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese
1 garlic clove
1 Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce finely chopped (sold in jars in international foods isle), or 3 tablespoons of a chipotle flavored
salsa
Salt and freshly ground Pepper
6 sheets frozen Phyllo dough, defrosted
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Dipping Sauce:

1 ripe Hass Avocado
Juice of 3 limes
A handful of fresh cilantro leaves (2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon course salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO... eyeball it)

Bibb lettuce, to serve rolls on

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl, combine the ground chicken, scallions, Cheddar cheese, garlic, and chipotles, and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a sealable plastic bag. To turn the ziplock into a homemade pastry bag, trim 1 1/2 inches off one of the bottom corners of the bag. Push the chicken mixture to the cut corner without pushing it through the hole. Reserve while you prepare the phyllo.

Arrange 1 sheet of phyllo dough with the long side closest to you on your kitchen counter, brush liberally from edge to edge with the melted butter, and season with salt and pepper.
Place another sheet of phyllo on top, again brush liberally with butter, and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the third layer of phyllo.

Place the trimmed end of the pastry bag 1/2 inch in from the left side and 1/2 inch up from the bottom of the phyllo sheet. Squeeze half of the chicken mixture from the bag while moving along in a straight line from left to right. Roll the front edge of the phyllo sheet away from you, encasing the chicken mixture. Continue until you have completed a long roll. Tuck the ends in and then brush the entire outside of the phyllo log with more melted butter. Transfer the first log to a rimmed cookie sheet, putting the seam side down. Repeat this process to make the second log with the remaining half of the chicken mixture. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the logs feel firm to the touch.

While the phyllo-wrapped chicken is in the oven, cut the avocado in half lengthwise, cutting around the pit. Separate the halves and scoop out the pit with a spoon, then use the spoon to scoop the avocado from the skin. Place the avocado in a food processor bowl and combine with the lime juice, cilantro, course salt, and about 3 tablespoons of water. Process until the avocado mixture is smooth, then stream the EVOO into the dressing. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Once the chipotle chicken rolls are cooked, remove from the oven and let then cool just enough
to handle. Cut each roll in half then cut each half into 3 equal pieces. Serve 3 chicken rolls per person on a bed of Bibb lettuce with a small bowl of the dipping sauce.

4 servings

Recipe from: Rachael Ray 365 : No Repeats

7.06.2011

Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Pasta

It has taken me 27 years to acknowledge that I am a picky eater. I get comfortable with food and see no need to branch out. I always order the same things when I go out to eat, and the majority of my cooking stems from Mom's and Grandma's mad skills. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
That being said, I must say I was quite surprised that not only did this recipe turn out fabulous, it made it into my top 3 favorite meals of all time. In our house, we have a special name for this dish...

"Hey Love, what do you want for dinner this week?"

"Awesome Pasta."

Enough said.

This is another recipe from Rookie-Cookie, but I have a couple of suggestions.
-It calls for Parmesan Cheese, but I know first-hand the the creator of this recipe is not the biggest fan of cheese. That is why she chose Parmesan. I always use shredded Mozzarella. It's cheaper and tastes so good.
-I always half this recipe because it makes quite a bit.
-It would be unwise to try to use dried basil instead of fresh. The fresh basil is one thing that adds so much flavor and makes it look so pretty. So to all my peeps, I planted two basil plants this year, just because I love this dish. Call me, I'll hook you up.

1 lb penne pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 7¼ oz jar roasted red bell peppers, chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 Tbsp butter
½ tsp crushed red pepper
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta until al dente and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil runs quickly in the pan, add garlic and saute until slightly browned. Add salt, tomatoes, peppers, cream, butter and crushed red pepper. Simmer over medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir in ½ cup basil and simmer for 1 minute longer. Add pasta to sauce and add the cheese and remaining basil.

Yields 6 servings.

7.04.2011

Meal in a spoon!

This is one of my favs, Skyler converted me, now I can't enough of this!

1 spoonful JIF peanut butter
18-24 milk chocolate chocolate chips
(you may sub butterscotch chips but they're not as good, it's a last resort)
2 pints milk (4 cups)


7.02.2011

Creamy Pesto Pasta

This is actually two recipes in one. The creamy pesto is made by simply adding pesto to a great alfredo sauce.

Alfredo Sauce:

2 cups low-fat milk
3 oz cream cheese
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Put the milk, cream cheese, flour and salt in a blender and process until smooth. Set aside.

Heat butter in sauce pan and add garlic. Saute garlic for about 30 seconds, making sure not to let it burn and become bitter.

Add milk mixture to the pan, stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes and bring it to a simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a couple more minutes. It should be much thicker now.

When it's thickened, remove from heat and stir in cheese. Cover immediately and let sit for at least 10 minutes more to continue thickening before using. Enjoy over pasta and/or grilled chicken.

Creamy Pesto Pasta:

1/2 batch alfredo sauce
1/2 lb. farfalle pasta
1/3 cup pesto (I just bought a jar at the store, but by all means, if you're feeling up to it and have loads of fresh basil to use up, make it for yourself! Also, even though the recipe calls for his much, I only use about 3-4 tbsp.)
salt
pepper
parmesan cheese
optional:
roasted tomatoes
roasted mushrooms
roasted red peppers
toasted pine nuts

Make alfredo sauce. Set aside.

Cook pasta as directed on package.

Combine alfredo sauce and pesto and toss with pasta. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Sprinkle with cheese. Again, grilled chicken is awesome with this as are roasted vegetables. Enjoy!

Recipe from Our Best Bites.

7.01.2011

Falafel with Yogurt Tahini Sauce

I got this recipe off of one of my favorite food blogs (Sweet Pea), it was completely outside the realm of things I've ever made before. I burned the first couple, I'm still trying to master pan-frying, but the rest were really good. The kids were afraid but Neil and I both really liked them.



Falafel:
2 - 15 oz cans of garbanzo beans or chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
vegetable oil

In a food processor, combine all ingredients except the flour. Pulse until the mixture is chopped (you may have to scrape the sides of the food processor a few times to help) into small pieces.

Add a few tablespoons of flour and pulse again. You want the mixture to resemble very coarse sand or small pebbles and to be able to be formed into small patties. If necessary, add a couple more tablespoons of flour.

Shape into 10-12 individual 2 inch wide disks (think slider burger size). If cooking immediately, set in the fridge for a few minutes or you can store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to use. They can be made up to 2 days in advance.

Heat a large skillet to high. Pour in enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan about 1/4 inch high. Add the falafel patties and cook for 4-5 minutes. Flip, repeat.

Serve in a pita with yogurt tahini sauce (see recipe below) or hummus, tzatziki or just lettuce and sliced tomatoes.



Mmmm...delish!

Serves 4

Yogurt Tahini Sauce:
1 cup fat free plain greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini*
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups.