Monday, December 5, 2011

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
from smittenkitchen.com
serves 4-6 

3/4 Stick of Butter (6 Tablespoons), Melted
5 Cups Day Old Bread, Cut Into 1-Inch Cubes (I used French Bread)
1 1/2 Cups Milk or Half-and-Half (I used skim)
3 Eggs
3/4 Cups Canned Pumpkin
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the butter by putting it in an 8 x 8 baking pan and stick it in the oven while it is preheating.  When the butter is melted, toss the cubed bread in the melted butter, set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, pumpkin, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.  Pour mixture over bread and bake for 25-30 minutes until custard is set.

Pumpkin pie meets french toast... pumpkin bread pudding is an obvious winner!  The hardest thing about this recipe is waiting for it to come out of the oven.  I realize that pumpkin season is basically over, but I sometimes live dangerously.  That is if dangerously means that you eat pumpkin when it is almost Christmas.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Apples

I did half mushrooms for us non-mushroom fans.. but I wish I had did all mushrooms because the mushrooms were actually edible!

Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Apples
from thepioneerwoman.com
serves 16

12 Cups of Bread Cut Into 1 Inch Cubes(I used 2 baking mixes of corn bread and 1 loaf of day-old Jimmy John's bread)
32 Oz. White Button Mushrooms
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
4 Tablespoons Canola Oil
1/2 Pound Italian Sausage
2 Cups Diced Onion
5 Whole Tart Apples, Such as Granny Smith or Pink Lady
5 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Cup White Wine
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
32 Oz. Low-Sodium Chicken Stalk
1 Teaspoon Ground Thyme
1 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric
Salt and Pepper, To Taste
Fresh Parsley, Chopped

Prepare bread.  Arrange on a baking sheet and let sit out for a few hours or over night.  For the mushrooms, rinse with water and pat dry.  Toss the mushrooms with the canola oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Place them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and roast at 500 degrees for 20 minutes.  Mushrooms will be very dark.  Set aside.  In a large skillet or pot (I used my dutch oven) crumble and brown the sausage over medium high heat.  Remove sausage and set aside.  With out cleaning the skillet, brown onions for 5 minutes.  Increase heat to high and add apples and brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Cook 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown.   Decrease heat to medium and pour in wine (use caution if cooking with an open flame).  Stir and cook to reduce liquid by half, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Pour apple/onion mixture into a bowl and set aside.  Return skillet to medium heat and add stock, thyme, rosemary, turmeric, and salt and pepper.  Heat for a few minutes and set aside.  To assemble, add bread to a large bowl, then add browned sausage, apple mixture and any juice that may have accumulated.  Next, add broth mixture gradually as you toss the ingredients, being prepared not to use all the liquid according to your taste.  Pour into a large baking dish and bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden on top.  Garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm next to turkey and mashed potatoes.

As I was standing in line at Target ready to purchase all the ingredients that go into this dressing, a box of Stouffer's stuffing caught my eye. The $2.04 price tag was tempting but I held strong.  I new that this would be labor intensive and normally I put little to no effort into my side dishes, but since all I had to make for Thanksgiving was stuffing, I thought I should go all out.  And I knew it would be good because Pioneer Woman does not disappoint!


Baby single serving stuffing.  I had to make sure it tasted good!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup
from Chef Mommy
serves 6 as a main course

1 Cup Diced Carrots
1 Cup Diced Celery
1 Pound Raw Chicken Breasts
1 Package of Rice-A-Roni Long Grain and Wild Rice
4 Cups Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
2 Cups Water
1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Butter
3/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
2 Cups Half-and-Half

In a dutch oven, combine carrots, celery, chicken, rice (and seasoning packet), stock, and water.  Cover and cook on medium-low for about an hour, until chicken and rice are cooked.  Take the chicken out and shred with two forks, then place back in the soup.  Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  In a small bowl, combine flour, salt and pepper.  Whisk in the flour by the tablespoon to form a roux.  Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth.  Stir cream mixture into soup and cook on low for an additional 15 minutes.  Dish up and enjoy!

I've never been much of a fan of chicken wild rice soup, but when I found this recipe on pinterest, I thought I would give it a shot.  And I hated it.  Just kidding.  It was awesome!  The roux adds a 'gravy' flavor that makes it very comforting and perfect for a chilly night. This dish would also be perfect to use up some leftover Turkey from Thanksgiving instead of the chicken!  Next time I think I'll add some diced onion and a nice woodsy herb like rosemary to step it up a notch.  You can also prepare this in the slow cooker, just combine the first 6 ingredients in your slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours.  Happy Thanksgiving! 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Skinny White Bean Tuna Melt

Skinny White Bean Tuna Melt
adapted from bhg.com
makes 4 sandwiches

1 Can Tuna (Packed In Water), Drained
1 (15 Oz.) Can White Kidney Beans, Drained and Rinsed
1 Shallot, Minced
1 Clove of Garlic, Minced
1 Celery Stalk, Chopped
1/4 Cup Mayo
Salt and Pepper, To Taste
Olive Oil
8 Slices of Sandwich Bread
Spinach

In a medium bowl, stir together tuna, beans, shallot, garlic and celery.  Stir in the mayo and salt and pepper.  Set aside.  Drizzle a little bit of olive oil in a pan and heat to medium-low.  To assemble, spread tuna mixture onto one slice of bread, top with a handful of spinach and place in the skillet.  Cook for a few minutes per side until bread is golden brown.

Ok, well technically this isn't a melt because there is no cheese involved.  But if that is the only crime committed, then lock me up.  M and I are hopefully taking a cruise in the near future so I thought I would take the next couple of weeks and work on my beach bod by eating healthier than I usually do.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Stuffed French Toast

Pumpkin Stuffed French Toast
adapted from  Cookin' Canuck
serves 1

2-3 Tablespoons Cream Cheese, Softened
1 Big Spoonful Pumpkin Puree
1/2 Spoonful Sugar
Dash of Pumpkin Pie Spice
Splash of Vanilla Extract
2 Slices White Sandwich Bread
1 Egg
Splash of Milk
Dash of Cinnamon

In a small bowl, mix cream cheese, pumpkin puree, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla extract.  Spread mixture onto one slice of bread and top with the other slice.  In a shallow bowl, whisk egg, milk and cinnamon together.  Soak the bread in the egg mixture, turn bread and get the other side soaked, about 1 minute per side.  Meanwhile, spray a skillet with non-stick spray and heat over medium heat.  Transfer the sandwich to the skillet and cook until the bread is golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.  Serve with butter and maple syrup.

This french toast has my name all over it.  I love regular french toast to already, then you add cream cheese and pumpkin and I am a slave to the french toast.  Yup, pumpkin stuffed french toast I'm a slave 4 u.... Yes, I did just make a Britney Spears reference.  No, I will not do it again.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Penne With Chicken Thighs

Penne With Chicken Thighs
from thepioneerwoman.com
serves 4

1 Pound Chicken Thighs, Bone-In, Skin On
Salt and Pepper
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Small Onion, Diced
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 (24 Oz.) Jar Marinara Sauce
8 Oz. Penne

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Sprinkle thighs with salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Brown chicken on both sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.  Remove to a separate plate.  Add onions and garlic to pan and stir around to cook, about 2 - 3 minutes.  Pour in marinara sauce to heat.  Add chicken thighs back into sauce.  Cover and place into the oven for 1 1/2 hours or simmer on the stovetop on the lowest heat setting.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Serve one chicken thigh with sauce over pasta.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

This is another one of those recipes that will be in my busy soccer mom recipe rotation. I could see children really enjoying this dish and it is a great substitute for boring spaghetti and meatballs. This recipe is very simple and easy to put together.  Even though it takes a while to cook, the end result is definitely worth the wait!  The chicken is so tender it practically falls off the bone.  For some extra veg, I think this would be really good with some zucchini and red bell peppers!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cookies

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cookies
from tastykitchen.com
makes 36 small or 18 large cookies

2 1/4 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 Teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Butter, Softened
1 Cup White Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 Cups White Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, cream butter and white and brown sugars together.  Add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla and combine thoroughly.  Add the dry ingredients in 3 or 4 batches.  Stir in the white chocolate chips.  Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool for a couple of minutes on the cookie sheet then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

These delicious fall cookies are much different then the pumpkin spice cookies I posted last fall.  They are more dense then the regular PSCs and the pumpkin is very subtle, it almost tastes like gingerbread cookies if you didn't know it was pumpkin.  White chocolate pumpkin spice cookies were fast and easy to make and they were scrumptious!  A fun fall substitute for classic chocolate chip cookies.  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Soup Week: Chunky Veg Soup

Chunky Veg Soup
from butterflyfoodie.com
serves 4


1/2 Teaspoon Olive Oil
1 Small Onion, Chopped
1 Stalk Celery, Chopped
2 Carrots, Chopped
1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper, To Taste
1 Can Chopped Tomatoes
3 Cups Chicken Stock
1 Can White Beans, Drained and Rinsed
1/2 Cup Dried Pasta

In a large sauce pan over medium heat add oil, onion, carrots, celery, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper and cook until just soft.  Add tomatoes, beans and stock and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add pasta and cook for an another 8-10 minutes.

This soup is very versatile.  You can add or subtract veggies and seasonings to taste.  I think it would be really good with tortellini and a handful of spinach thrown in at the end of cooking.  I expected it to have more tomato flavor based in the picture from the original recipe, so I think that a tablespoon of tomato paste added in would go a long way.  The leftovers absorbed a lot of the liquid, so keep some chicken stock handy to add to the soup.    

Friday, October 14, 2011

Soup Week: Stuffed Green Pepper Soup

Stuffed Green Pepper Soup
Sent To Me From My Aunt Sheila
Serves 4

1 Pound Ground Beef, Browned and Drained
1 10 3/4 Oz. Can Condensed Tomato Soup
14. 5 Can Diced Tomatoes, Undrained
1 Cup Green Pepper, Diced (About 1 Pepper)
1/2 Cup Onion, Diced (About 1/2 Small Onion)
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
Salt and Pepper, Garlic Powder, and Chipotle Powder, To Taste
3 Cups Beef Broth
1 Cup Cooked Rice

Add all ingredients except rice into a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low setting for 4-6 hours or until pepper and onion are tender.  About 15 minutes before serving, stir in rice and heat through.

I did not follow directions carefully on this recipe... I forgot the tomatoes and cooked the soup on high instead of low!  Whoops!  The soup forgave me and it was delicious!  Next time I think I'll add some corn and a can of beans to stretch this dish a little farther.  This would also be a great recipe that you can prep ahead of time and freeze till you're ready to cook.  Brown the beef and chop the veggies and put it in the freezer.  Have the rest of the ingredients ready to go in your pantry and you've got a really easy meal for a busy day!  Thanks for the great recipe, Aunt Sheila!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Soup Week: Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup
serves 2
adapted from allrecipes.com

1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 Small Onion, Chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Medium-Sized Carrot, Peeled and Thinly Sliced
1 15 oz.Can Black Beans, Rinsed and Drained
1 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth or Vegetable Broth
1/4 Teaspoon Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper, To Taste
Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice, Optional
Sour Cream
Chives, Chopped


In a large pot heat vegetable oil over medium heat.  Add onion, red pepper, and carrot and cook for 5 minutes, until tender.  Mix in black beans and chicken broth.  Take off the heat and puree with an immersion blender or a stand blender until smooth.  Bring the soup back to the heat and turn up to high until it begins to boil.  Add spices and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.  Ladle soup into bowls and squeeze lime juice on top, if using.  Garnish with sour cream and chives.  Serve with nachos!

I've never had black bean soup before, so I was curious to try it.  I loved the flavor and felt good about eating healthy (except for the nachos... it balances out, right??)   It's not the prettiest soup out there, so garnishing is a must!  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Soup Week: Pumpkin Soup with Sage and Ham

Pumpkin Soup with Sage and Ham
serves 4
from foodandwine.com

3 Tablespoons Butter
1 Onion, Chopped
1 Carrot, Chopped
1 Rib Celery, Chopped
1/2 Tart Apple (Such As Granny Smith) Peeled, Cored, and Cut into 1/2-Inch Dice
2 Cups Canned Pumpkin Puree
1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
1 Tablespoon Dried Sage
1 Bay Leaf
3 1/2 Cups Water
2 1/2 Cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
1 1/2 Pound Piece of Ham, Cut into 1/4-Inch Dice

In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, and apple, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent.  Stir in the pumpkin puree, wine, sage and bay leaf.    Add the water, chicken broth, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes.  Add the ham and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes longer.  Remove the bay leaf and serve.

When I was shopping for the ingredients, Target was out of regular pumpkin so I substituted pumpkin pie puree.  So what was suppose to be a very savory soup turned out sweet!  I still really enjoyed it though.  It might be my favorite soup so far this week!  And I didn't crave dessert afterwards since my sweet tooth was already satisfied.  I will have to try it next time with regular pumpkin, I'm sure it will be just as good!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Soup Week: Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato Basil Soup
serves 6
adapted from allrecipes.com

1 28 oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 11.5 oz. Can Vegetable-Juice Cocktail
1 14.5 oz. Can Chicken Broth
1/2 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
20 Fresh Basil Leaves
1 Cup Half-And-Half
1/4 Cup Butter or Margarine
Salt and Pepper, To Taste

In a large saucepan, combine tomatoes, vegetable juice, chicken broth and Italian seasoning.  Bring to a boil, cook for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the basil and using an immersion blender or a blender carefully blend the basil leaves to desired consistency.  Add the cream and butter; return to medium-low heat and stir until butter is melted.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately with grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.

This is a stepped up version of regular tomato soup, which I am already a huge fan of.  Add basil and cream and I am a happy little clam.  :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Soup Week: Baked Potato Soup

Baked Potato Soup
serves 5
from skinnytaste.com

2 Russet Potatoes, Washed and Dried
2 Cups Cauliflower, Stems Removed and Cut into Florets, Fresh or Frozen
1 1/2 Cups Low-Sodium Fat-Free Chicken Broth
1 1/2 Cups Skim Milk
Salt and Pepper
1/2 Cup Light Sour Cream
6 Tablespoons Chopped Chives, Divided
10 Tablespoons Reduced-Fat Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Divided
3 Slices of Bacon, Cooked and Crumbled

Pierce potatoes with a fork.  Microwave potatoes on high for 5 minutes turn over then microwave an additional 3-5 minutes until potatoes are tender.  Let potatoes cool and peel (if desired).  Meanwhile, steam cauliflower with water in a large covered pot until tender if using fresh.  If using frozen, cook according to package directions.  Once the cauliflower is tender, place in a large pot with potatoes, chicken broth and milk.  Puree until smooth using an immersion blender or a stand blender.  Add sour cream, half the chives, salt and pepper, and cook on medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  To serve, ladle into bowls and top with cheese, bacon and remaining chives.

Growing up, my mom would occasionally make us loaded baked potatoes for dinner with bacon, cheese sauce, steamed broccoli, butter and sour cream.  That was definitely one of my favorite meals, although sometimes I piled my potato so high with toppings that I wasn't able to finish it all.  I was eager to try this recipe because it tastes just like a baked potato but you can better control the portions.  And it's 'skinny'!
On a side note, I served this as a main course and only got a little more than 3 servings out of the recipe, even though it says 5 servings!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Soup Week


Fall is here.  Time to curl up with a bowl of steaming hot soup to warm your soul.  This week BD will be featuring all soup recipes!  Click here to see all of my soup recipes.


P.S.  I purchased an immersion blender in preparation for soup week. :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Passion for Pumpkin

I'm craving pumpkin right now.  Like, I'll be thinking of pumpkin all day, craving.  Here's a list of 10 pumpkin recipes I'm dreaming about.

1.  Pumpkin Bread Pudding                               6.  Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

2.  Pumpkin Scones                                              7.  Pumpkin Spice Cookies

3.  Pumpkin Cheesecake                                     8.  Pumpkin Waffles

4.  Susan's Pumpkin Bars                                     9.  Pumpkin Pancakes

5.  Pumpkin Soup with Ham and Sage           10.  Pumpkin Chili


What fall flavors are you longing for?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Eggs in a Cup

Eggs in a Cup
serves 1
adapted from cookincanuck.com

2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Water
2 Slices Deli Ham, Finely Chopped
Salt and Pepper
1 Tablespoon Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Spray a 12 ounce microwave-safe mug with non-stick cooking spray.  Crack the eggs in the mug, add water and whisk with a fork to combine.  Stir in ham and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Place the mug in the microwave and cook on high for 1 minute.  Stir egg mixture then microwave for an additional 60-90 seconds until egg is almost set.  Sprinkle cheese.

I love this recipe.  It's perfect for a quick breakfast or an easy lunch.  Use whatever deli meat you have handy and you could add a small handful of veggies for a switch up.  I made this for both lunch and dinner yesterday!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chicken Souvlaki Pita with Tzatziki Sauce

Chicken Souvlaki Pita with Tzatziki Sauce
Serves 5
from Tasty Kitchen

1 Pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
4 Teaspoons Cavendar's All Purpose Greek Seasoning
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
12 Ounces Plain Greek Yogurt
1 Whole Cucumber, Chopped
1/2 Whole Yellow Onion, Chopped
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper
Pitas

Place chicken in a gallon size zip-lock bag.  Add Greek seasoning and olive oil to bag and massage to coat chicken.  Refrigerate to let marinate for up to 12 hours.  Just before cooking the chicken, prepare the tzatziki sauce by combining yogurt, cucumber, onion and lemon in a medium size bowl.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.  Grill chicken on a counter-top grill or on an outdoor grill for 3 minutes per side or until the juices run clear.  Let set for a minute then cut into strips.  Place grilled chicken strips and tzatziki in warmed pitas folded in half. Serve with roasted, seasoned potatoes.


This is a really fun recipe, definitely a break from the everyday!  So flavorful and easy!  This recipe along with the Cavendar's seasoning makes a cute little bridal shower gift.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Zucchini, Black Bean and Rice Skillet

Zucchini, Black Bean and Rice Skillet
serves 4
adapted from readyseteat.com

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/2 Cups Zucchini, Quartered Lengthwise, Sliced
1/2 Cups Diced Green Bell Pepper
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1 15 oz. Can Black Beans, Rinsed and Drained
1 14.5 oz. Can Fire-Roasted Diced Tomatoes, Undrained
2 Large Carrots, Grated
1 Cup Rice, Cooked
1/2 Cup Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese
Chives or Scallions, Sliced, for Garnish

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add zucchini, bell pepper and chili powder cook for 5 minutes.  Add beans, tomatoes and carrots, cook till beans and tomatoes are heated through, about 5 minutes.  Add cooked rice, stir.  Sprinkle cheese on top and let melt.  Garnish and serve.

Have you heard of Pinterest?  I was obsessed with it for about a week.  I made a button board and for one whole day all I could think about was how cute buttons are and how I could use them for crafts.  And I'm not one bit crafty.  I also saw this recipe on Pinterest and decided that it was something I actually could make.  It reminded me of a Tex-Mex dish my mom use to make, except healthier.  I wish I had added a can of corn, because I love corn.  Next time I make this I will add corn.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Few Things Checked Off My Wish List...


M and I moved into our new townhouse almost a month ago.  It's a nice change from apartment living and it's nice to be in our own place after living in a hotel and with friends and family all summer!  With our new place came a few of the things that I've been waiting to check off my wish list!

1.  Dishwasher.  CHECK!  I'm happy, my empty sink is happy, my dishes are happy.  I don't know if I can ever go back to not having a dishwasher.




2.  Garbage Disposal.  CHECK!  So far so good.  Except I may have almost clogged it when I was dumping a failed batch of solidified Hollandaise sauce.  I guess I'll have to be more careful!


3.  Herb Garden.  Still no herb garden.  This one might have to wait till our next move because  our lawn is tiny and not really our's since we're renting. 


4.  Outdoor Grill.  No grill yet.  We almost bought one a few weeks ago when they were on clearance at Target.  But, like our lawn, our outdoor living space is tiny.  Additionally we're not looking forward to storing a grill during the winter and moving it whenever our next move may be.


5.  Patio. This one is a no check.   


6.  Deep Freezer.  No check.  My husband tells me we have no outlets in our garage.  I'm not sure I believe this... but even if we did I'm not sure we'd have room for a deep freezer.  This is another item that will have to wait till we get either a) a bigger garage or b) a basement.
Also, still not toaster oven, which is alright because I barely had room for all of our kitchen essentials as it is.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chicken Burgers with Garlic-Rosemary Mayo

Chicken Burgers with Garlic-Rosemary Mayo
serves 4
from A Taste of Home Cooking

Mayo:
1 Cup Mayo
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Rosemary Leaves
1 Clove Garlic, Minced

Burgers:
1 Pound Ground Chicken
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
4 Sandwich Rolls or Burger Buns
1 Cup Spinach, Divided

For the mayo, mix together mayo, rosemary, and garlic in a small bowl.  Set aside.

For the burgers, in a large bowl mix together chicken, salt, pepper, and half of the mayo mixture.  Using clean hands, combine the mixture and form into 4 patties.  Cook the patties in a pan over medium-high heat for 7 minutes per side.  To serve, spread mayo on both sides of the bun.  Place the chicken burgers on the bottom halves of the buns and top with 1/4 cup of spinach and finish with the top half of the bun.

During the summer when I was a hotel wife, I came across this recipe and I knew that I wanted to make it as soon as I got my own kitchen.  Last night was the first opportunity to make dinner and I remembered I had this recipe saved and highlighted and underlined to make ASAP.  Let me tell you... so much deliciousness!  I did have a little trouble keeping them together in the pan, but if you leave them alone until they need to flip you can get a good sear and that should help keep them together.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Roasted Green Beans

Roasted Green Beans

1/2 Pound Green Beans or String Beans
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper To Taste
Optional: Rosemary, Garlic Powder, Dill, Seasoning Blend, etc.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.  Trim ends on beans and rinse under water.  In a bowl, toss green beans with olive oil till well coated and season.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange beans so they do not overlap. Cook for 15 minutes.  Boom. Roasted.

Along with salt and pepper, my sister and I used rosemary, garlic powder... and on the second batch dill weed, seasoned salt, and rosemary.  Let your heart and your spice rack be your guide.  My sister's veggie-hating fiance said they were the best beans he's ever had!  Beans were served with Creamy Chicken Parmesan and Garlic Toast.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Root Beer Floats


Besides reheating leftovers, this root beer float is the only thing I've made in the past 5 weeks.  There are many crucial factors in making a root beer float.  First, you need quality ingredients.  Barq's is, with out a doubt, the best root beer ever. Don't even get me started about my love affair with Haagen-Daaz.  We have been serious for quite a while now.  If you've got these two ingredients stocked, you're well on your way to a rockin' root beer float.  Next important factor is the vanilla ice cream to root beer ratio.  I suggest you take your glass, or frosted mug if you'r really serious, and fill it half full with ice cream.  Too little ice cream and you got yourself ice cream flavored root beer and too much ice cream gives you root beer flavored ice cream, so you imagine how vital this is.  Once you've got the ice cream in the glass, slowly pour the root beer over the ice cream.  As you can see, it gets quite foamy and if you pour to fast you will have root beer float all over your counter, which makes you a sad panda.  And nobody wants that.

Friday, June 17, 2011

What I've Been Up To

Hello friends,
My husband and I are neck-deep in moving boxes.  We start our 6 weeks of hotel living on Monday.  I'm so excited I get to be a hotel-wife!  Anyway, during the 3 week span of eat-everything-that's-edible-in-you're-cabinets-until-there's-nothing-left I rediscovered one of my favorite food combos of all time.... pickles and pizza, together in harmony, right there in the same salty, savory bite.  Try it sometime, it will change your life!



Thursday, May 12, 2011

Summer Strawberries

I love strawberries.  But sometimes when I buy them, they come home and live out the rest of their lives in the refrigerator. I'm not always exactly sure what to do with them.  So for times where you find yourself in a similar situation, I've got a few ideas for you.

Last December I gave you balsamic strawberries.  If you haven't tried this yet, you haven't really lived.


For a light breakfast or an easy dessert, chop fresh strawberries and let them marinade in a little sugar for 1/2 hour, then serve with yogurt and granola.  I just recently found some awesome granola called 'Bear Naked'.  It took me two months before the name clicked and I realized how naughty the name is.  Two months!


For another simple dessert, marinade strawberries in sugar and serve with a box mix angle food cake and a dollop of cool whip... so good!



And finally, switch up your breakfast by toasting some bagel thins (or regular bagels), smear on some regular cream cheese and top with sliced strawberries.




There you have it!  Four easy and delicious ways to enjoy strawberries.  If you have any other easy strawberry concoctions, let me know!  If you've got more time on your hands and more determination, the Pioneer Woman just had a post on different ways to use strawberries. 


I forgot to include these gems that I made way back in the beginning of BD - Strawberry Brown Sugar Gratin

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Updated Wish List

I recently had an epiphany.  It was a couple of days ago when I was in the kitchen trying to figure out what to eat for lunch.  At the bottom of the fridge sat a sad, half eaten turkey sandwich that was getting soggier by the second.  Sigh.  Even in it's sad state, the sandwich had potential.  I thought to myself that I could throw it in the microwave for a minute, to get the cheese melted and attempt to bring it back to life.  But that would only worsen the soggy-ness.  The oven!  Of course!  But, I didn't  have time to heat an oven; I had to be to work in 20 minutes.  What to do?  If only there was a small appliance that could heat like an oven in the time of a microwave.  Then the light bulb above my head lit up.  I knew what had been lacking in my life.  A toaster oven!  I felt like I had discovered the secret to life. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

BS Sandwich

BS Sandwich
serves 1

2 Slices of White Bread, Toasted
3 Slices of Bacon
Spinach
Mayo

Fry bacon on the stove top or cook in the microwave.  Toast bread.  Spread mayo on one slice or bread.  Layer cook bacon then a small handful of fresh baby spinach leaves and top with the other slice of toasted bread.  Enjoy with a bowl of tomato soup.

This is my take on a BLT.  I'm not the biggest fan of the 'T' and spinach is a much healthier alternative to the 'L'.... healthy spinach to balance out the not-so-healthy bacon.  I've already discussed my preferred method of cooking bacon here.  Microwaving bacon creates a happy, stress-free, lunchtime. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Egg Nest Cookies

Easter Egg Nest Cookies

2/3 Cup Flour
5 Cups Flaked Coconut (Or (1) 14.5 oz. Package)
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Food Coloring in a Variety of Easter Colors
1 Package Candy Coated Chocolate Egg Candies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour, coconut, and salt in a medium bowl.  Add condensed milk and vanilla.  Divide coconut mixture into separate small bowls (with separate spoons) depending on how many colors you wish to use.  (i.e. 4 colours = 4 bowls).  Add a couple of drops of coloring in each bowl and stir to mix.  Spoon tablespoon-full drops onto a greased baking sheet then use the spoon and a clean finger to shape into nest shapes.  Bake 12-15 minutes.  Let cookies cool and press eggs into nests. 

I finally found my camera charger.... just in time for Easter!  Earlier this afternoon I impulsively decided to make these cookies after I saw a similar recipe online, then called my mother for her recipe.  When I went to the store to pick up the ingredients, they were practically sold out of all Easter candy.  I even went to a different store... same story.  So I settled for some foil wrapped chocolate eggs, not ideal but they'll have to do!  In other news, M just accepted a job.  We are both very excited!  In June we will be moving into a hotel for 6 weeks while he does training.  So I will be either doing a 'Microwave Month' or most likely not doing any cooking during our stay there.  In the meantime, I hope to catch up on some of the things I made over the last month!

Friday, March 25, 2011

How to Use Less Dishes


Since I don't have a dishwasher, I've figured out some ways to use less dishes.  Less dishes = happier me. 


Serve food in the thing you cooked it in.  The pot is already dirty, so why bust out a clean serving dish?  However, be aware that anything you leave in a hot pot continues to cook.


If a recipe calls for 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup cream and a couple of eggs, use just the 1/4 cup measuring cup to measure all the ingredients (so, 4 scoops flour, 2 scoops sugar and 1 scoop cream)  and crack the eggs into the measuring cup as well since they can't be added straight to the mix anyway.  Measure dry ingredients first, then the liquids so the dry don't stick to the cup when it's wet. 

Prep ingredients.  This step requires some planning.  If you have your weekly menu planned out you can chop all the veggies you need for that week at the same time, saving dishes and time during the week!  If you're really ahead of the game you can get some cooking out of the way as well.

Reuse disposable cups.  Every time that I work at Starbucks, I bring home a Venti ice water and use it through out the night so I don't have to dirty another cup.  When I'm finished with the cup I often use it to house sloppy leftovers that are headed for the trash (see 'no garbage disposal post').  So next time you're getting coffee or fast food, ask for a water glass and reuse!

I'm always open for more suggestions on how to save on dishes!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

3 Ingredient, 10 Minute Dinner


Three ingredients, ten minutes, one delicious meal!  Here's the line up:
1.  Tortellini
2.  Pre-cooked Chicken (the secret weapon)
3.  Jarred Pasta Sauce

Bring a pot of water to boil.  When that's ready, cook tortellini.  Meanwhile heat up chicken and sauce in a medium sauce pan.  When pasta is done, drain and return to pot and add heated sauce mixture.  That's all folks!




Fun Fact:  My salad also has three ingredients.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Feta Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Burger Sliders

Feta Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Burger Sliders
makes about 12 sliders

2 Tablspoons Olive Oil
1 Pound Ground Turkey
1/2 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
1/4 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Jarred In Olive Oil, Chopped
1/2 Cup Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves, Chopped
Salt and Pepper
Slider Rolls

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Place turkey, feta, tomatoes, spinach and salt and pepper to taste in a medium mixing bowl.  Mix until just combined.  Form 1/4 cup little patties and cook 3-4 minutes per side in the skillet.  Serve in a slider roll with spinach and mayo.

I accidently made my sliders a little bit to small, so they turned out like meatballs (which isn't the worst thing in the world!)  These savory little gems were juicy and succulent, and you can feel good about them since the recipe calls for turkey instead of beef!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Breakfast Week: Cinnamon Bread

Cinnamon Bread
from the pioneerwoman.com

 1 Cup Milk
6 Tablespoons Butter
2 1/2 Teaspoons Active Yeast
2 Eggs (Room Temperature)
1/2 Cup Sugar
3 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/3 Cup Sugar
2 Tablespoon Cinnamon

Melt butter with milk.  Heat until very warm, but do not boil.  Allow to cool until still warm, but not hot.  Sprinkle the yeast on top, stir gently, and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine flour and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix sugar and eggs with a paddle attachment until combined.  Pour in the milk/butter/yeast mixture and stir till combined.  Add half the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until combined.  Add the other half and mix until combined.  Switch to the dough hook attachment and beat/knead on medium speed for 10 minutes.  If the dough is overly stick, add 1/4 cup flour and beat for an additional 5 minutes.  Heat a medal or glass bowl so it's warm.  Drizzle a little vegetable oil and toss the dough in the oil to coat.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for at least 2 hours.  Turn dough out onto a work surface and roll into a neat rectangle no wider than the loaf pan you are going to use and about 18-24 inches long.  Smear with 2 tablespoons melted butter.  Mix cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle evenly over the butter-smeared dough.  Starting at the far end, roll the dough toward you, keeping it tight and contained.  Pinch seam to seal.  Smear loaf pan with softened butter.  Place dough, seam side down, it pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix a little egg with milk, and smear a little over the top.  Bake for 40 minutes in a middle/lower rack in the oven.  Remove from pan and allow to cool. 

This isn't a recipe that you can whip up in the morning since it takes close to 5 hours all together.  I had to wait for a day off to make this.  It's a very simple recipe, just lots of work involved!  And now I know that I can do it and yeast isn't that scary :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Breakfast Week: Breakfast Pizza

Breakfast Pizza
from smittenkitchen.com

1 Pizza Crust (Recipe Follows)
2 Cups Grated Mozzarella

4 Strips of Bacon, Cooked and Crumbled
1 Shallot, Minced

4 Large Eggs
2 Tablespoons Chives, Minced
2 Green Onions, Thinly Sliced

Pat the pizza dough into a circle or square on a lightly floured surface.  Gently transfer the dough to a baking sheet or pizza stone.  Top the pizza dough with mozzarella, bacon, shallot, and then crack the eggs right on top.  Bake at 500 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.  Sprinkle chives and green onions on top when the pizza is done baking. 

Bacon sizzling in a skillet scares me.  With all that grease flying everywhere someone is bound to be injured!  I use to get bacon that was specially made to cook in the microwave, till one time when I was purchasing it the cashier called it "lazy bacon" and I was self-conscious about buying "lazy bacon" ever since.  Then I found out that you can cook bacon in the oven.... genius!  However, the grease still flies everywhere... all over your oven.  So I didn't eat bacon for a while.  Then when I found this recipe, I was back in the bacon aisle.  I almost went back to "lazy bacon" (which is apparently way more expensive than regular bacon) when I turned over the package and read that you can cook any bacon in the microwave!  Success!  So that's what I did for this pizza, cheaper "lazy bacon".  I don't know what it is, bacon still better hot out of the skillet, but it's wherever your priorities lie.  I was already going above and beyond with the homemade pizza crust, which is amazing BTW!  Yeast is not as scary as you would think, I promise.  Definitely not as scary as bacon in a skillet.  

Pizza Crust
from the Pioneer Woman's Cookbook

1/2 Teaspoon Active Dry or Instant Yeast
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/6 Cup Olive Oil

Sprinkle the yeast over 3/4 cup warm (not hot) water.  Then in a mixer combine flour and salt.  With the mixer running on low speed, with a paddle attachment, drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour.  Next pour yeast/water mixture and mix till just combined.  Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball.  Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm, non drafty area for 1-2 hours.  Then you're ready to make pizza!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Breakfast Week: Quiche

Quiche
adapted from allrecipes.com

1/2 Cup Bacon, Cooked and Crumbled
1/2 Cup Green Pepper, Minced
1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 (9-inch) Deep Dish Frozen Pie Crust
4 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
1 Cup Half-and-Half
Salt and Pepper, To Taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Put the pie crust on a cookie sheet.  Place bacon, green pepper, and cheese in the frozen pie crust.  In a bowl, mix together the eggs, cream, and salt and pepper.  Pour the egg mixture in the crust over the cheese mixture.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 35 minutes until top of quiche begins to turn brown. 

This quiche recipe was very simple.  I even cooked the bacon and chopped the pepper ahead of time so it came together very quickly.  I love this recipe because it's so versatile.  You can literally dump whatever veggies, meat, and cheese that are sitting in your fridge into the pie crust.  This would be amazing with some diced ham, chopped onion, sliced asparagus... anything!  Let your imagination (and your leftovers) be your guide!  Also, I did an experiment and found that real men DO eat quiche!  And they love it!  And they love you!  And they love you for making it for them!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Breakfast Week: Apricot Scones

Apricot Scones
makes 8 scones
from my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Sugar
4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/3 Cup Butter, Cold, Cut into Pieces
2 Beaten Eggs
3/4 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 Cup Dried Apricots, Chopped
Milk
Sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium bowl combine flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside.  In a separate medium bowl, combine eggs, whipping cream, and apricots.  Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture.  Using a fork, stir until just moistened.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead dough by folding and gently pressing dough for 10 to 12 strokes or until dough is nearly smooth.  Pat or lightly roll dough into an 8-inch circle cut into 8 wedges.  Place wedges 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Brush wedges with milk and sprinkle with additional sugar.  Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden.  Remove scones from baking sheet;  serve warm.

The easiest way to cut a circle into 8 equal parts is just to make an 'X' than a '+'.  Ta-da!  No 5th grade thinking involved there.  I love these little gems on a weekday early afternoon with a cup of coffee (with some of the leftover whipping cream). 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Breakfast Week: Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal
serves 9

1/2 Cup Applesauce
3/4 Cup White Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Cup Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
3 Cups Quick Cooking Oats
1/2 Cup Craisins
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Beat together applesauce and sugar.  Mix in eggs, milk, salt, baking powder, and oatmeal.  Beat well then stir in craisins.  Pour into a lightly greased pie pan.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Refrigerate overnight.  The next morning preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until firm.  Serve hot with a splash of milk.

Oatmeal is one of my favorite foods, I eat it all of the time.  I'm also addicted to craisins.  Obviously nothing can go wrong here!  But I guess if there was some catastrophic world shortage of craisins, you could substitute raisins, dried apricots, or any other dried fruit.  One more thing, if you're overly protective of your bake-ware, you can put the oatmeal in a cold oven and then turn to preheat when you bake it in the morning.  I'd hate to be responsible for a broken pie plate and oatmeal all over the bottom of your oven. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Breakfast Week: Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict
serves 1
from thepioneerwoman.com

1/2 of an English Muffin
1 Slices Deli Sliced Ham
1 Whole Egg Plus 1 1/2 Egg Yokes
1 Stick of Butter
Juice of 1/2 Lemon

Begin by preparing the poached eggs. (Click HERE for poaching eggs)  Meanwhile, toast English muffin and heat up the ham in a skillet over medium-low heat.  While all of that is going on, prepare the Hollandaise sauce.  Melt butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave, being sure not to burn the butter.  In a blender, beat the yokes on low, then very slowly pour in the hot butter while the blender is on.  Keep pouring until the butter is gone, then immediately add the lemon.   To plate, begin with the English muffin, then layer the ham, followed by the poached egg and top with Hollandaise sauce. 

I've never had Eggs Benedict before.  Shocking, right?  But remember, I just started eating poached eggs.  And let's be honest here, Eggs Benedict are a little bit intimidating... lots of multi-tasking going on.  However, if you're organized and not serving a huge crowd, it's not so bad.  If the eggs are done before everything else, set them on a plate with a paper towel and when you're getting close to being ready to serve, put them back in the hot water that you cooked them in for a few minutes till you're ready.  Ready to enjoy that luscious sauce, runny yoke, juicy ham.... mmmmm.... :)  One more thing, traditionally these are made with Canadian bacon rather than deli ham.  But I like things simple, especially when making breakfast. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Breakfast Week

Breakfast Week

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  I've got a handful of breakfast recipes on  BD already, but it's time for breakfast explosion!  I recently went through a cream of wheat phase.  I had it almost every morning.  I loved cream of wheat when I was younger, my mom would make it for me on a cold winter morning and I'd spoon on extra brown sugar when she wasn't looking.  

 

Braised Short Ribs

Braised Short Ribs
serves 4
from thepioneerwoman.com

8 Whole Beef Short Ribs
Salt and Pepper To Taste
1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Pound Turkey Bacon
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Whole Medium Onion, Diced
3 Whole Carrots, Diced (Or Half A Bag Of Baby Carrots)
2 Whole Shallots, Peeled And Finely Minced
2 Cups Red or White Wine (I used Chardonnay)
1 Can Beef Or Chicken Broth
1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
1 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary

Salt and pepper the ribs, then dredge in flour.  Set aside.  In a large dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy and the fat is rendered.  Remove bacon and set aside.  Do not remove grease.  Add olive oil to pan with grease and raise heat to high.  Brown ribs on all sides, about 45 seconds per side.  Remove ribs and set aside, turn heat to medium.  Add carrots, onions, and shallots to pan and cook for 2 minutes.  Pour in wine and scrape bottom of pan.  Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.  Add broth, 1 teaspoon salt, and a generous amount of pepper.  Add ribs to liquid (they should be almost completely submerged).  Add rosemary and thyme to to liquid.  Put on the lid and place in the oven.  Cook at 350 degrees for 2 hours, then reduce the heat to 325 and cook an additional 30-45 minutes.  Ribs should be fork tender and falling off the bone.  Remove pan from oven and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, lid on, before serving. 


These ribs are not low-maintenance.  They require patience and a lot of time.  But they are so deliciously savory.  The original recipe uses pancetta instead of bacon.  I actually used turkey bacon, which I wouldn't recommend.  First of all, I burned the turkey bacon and in the final product the bacon seamed fairly rubbery.  I'd suggest regular bacon or omitting it all together... the ribs really didn't need it.  The original recipe also suggests serving the ribs on mashed potatoes, which to me mashed potatoes seem like a lot of work (I've never attempted them).  So I diced some red potatoes and drizzled them with olive oil and salt and pepper and dried onion soup mix and stuck them in the oven.  I realized later that I could have just thrown the potatoes in the pot with everything else and saved a dish.  Maybe next time I'll attempt the mashed potatoes because you NEED something to soak up all the succulent juices and a bun didn't really cut it.  This was my first time trying a recipe that requires a dutch oven, and overall it was a huge success!  (Although my arteries might not agree)