Monday, December 21, 2009

Baked Potato Soup

This baked potato soup is really rich and creamy, as well as very kid friendly. I'm not sure where the recipe comes from since it's one my mom gave to me, but we love it, especially on cold winter nights. The recipe called for bacon, which I have added in the past. When I made it this last time, I didn't have any bacon, so I used 2 Tbl melted butter for the bacon grease used in the flour paste mixture. I made a couple of other modifications as well, but those are notated in the recipe.

Baked Potato Soup

8 oz bacon, chopped
3 lbs. russet potatoes, scrubbed (I used about 9-10 small/medium)
1 large onion, chopped (I used 2 Tbl chopped dehydrated onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced (I used about 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
2 Tbl flour
4 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp dried thyme (if you don't have thyme or don't like it, rosemary would be a good substitute)
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used about 1-1/2 cups + extra for topping the soup)
1 cup sour cream
3 scallions, sliced thin

Cook bacon until crisp. Peel potatoes and cut into 3/4" pieces. Remove bacon from pot and add onion to fat, cooking over medium heat until golden. Stir in garlic and flour. Cook until fragrant (I cooked it until it was a thick, bubbly, paste). Gradually mix in broth and cream with a whisk. Stir in thyme and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook until potatoes are tender. Discard thyme, and transfer 2 cups potatoes to a bowl. Puree remaining mixture until smooth (you can do this however you want. I used my blender- if you use yours be sure to leave a vent for the hot air to escape so the blender doesn't explode all over you). Return to pot and warm over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, stir in cheese until melted, then whisk in sour cream. Return 2 cups potatoes back into pot and season soup with pepper. Garnish with bacon, scallions, cheese, and sour cream.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know there are a billion recipes for chocolate chip cookies out there, and mine isn't that earth shattering. However, everytime they have been made and taken to a get together or taken to a friend, they always get great reviews. And trust me, I've been making these puppies since I was in grade school and have had the recipe memorized since. For example, my husband had me make some of these cookies for one of his classes he was presenting in yesterday and he came home with none left! (Good thing I didn't give him all of them to take says I!) Anyways, this recipe is really similar to the recipes on the back of chocolate chip packages, but we tweak it a little. I have also included the instructions on how to make them chocolate chocolate chip cookies below.

Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt (if you use salted butter, you can decrease this amount to 1/2 tsp)
1 tsp baking soda
2-1/4 cups flour**
chocolate chips (I usually use a whole bag per full cookie recipe and our favorite is milk chocolate; you could also add nuts or even toffee pieces to the dough but I rarely do)

Combine wet ingredients in one bowl, and dry ingredients in a separate bowl leaving out the chocolate chips. Add dry ingredients to wet, stirring until well combined. Add chocolate chips and stir until distributed evenly through out dough. Chill the dough for 20 minutes (I never had to do this growing up, but with my oven now, if I don't, the butter melts too fast leaving an odd textured, but still delicious cookie. So I say better safe than sorry!) In the meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375* F. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes or until they are starting to turn golden brown (it may take a little longer than 10 minutes for some ovens, I just know my oven takes about 8-1/2 minutes).

**If you would like to make chocolate chocolate chip cookies just substitute 1/2 cup of the flour for 1/2 cup of powdered baking cocoa (so you'll use 1-3/4 cup flour + 1/2 cup cocoa powder).

Pumpkin Pankcakes with Cinnamon Buttermilk Syrup

I know pumpkin season is quickly coming to a close and I have meant to post this recipe for a couple of weeks since I made this yummy breakfast! It is definitely a recipe that you could make year round as the pancakes have a subtle pumpkin taste, it's just I know it gets harder to find canned pumpkin as we move past the holidays. Also, I would highly recommend making the syrup if you make the pancakes because the seasonings go so well together, but you could get by just using storebought syrup (although, you will definitely miss out!). Another wonderful thing is that this recipe only requires 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin, which means there is a lot leftover in the can to freeze and use for future breakfasts or meals. And this is an easy way to sneak in extra vegetables to your diet! This is a recipe we will be making frequently as even my 18-month old will easily gobble up 2 to 3 pancakes! Thanks goes to my mom for yet another wonderful recipe. Yummy!

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cup milk
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1/4 C. vegetable oil

In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and ginger. In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk, pumpkin, oil . Stir combined wet ingredients into dry ingredients until moistened. Scoop batter by 1/4 cups onto a preheated hot griddle sprayed with cooking spray. When bubbles begin to form, flip the pancake over. Cook until golden.

Cinnamon Buttermilk Syrup

1/2 Cup butter
1 Cup Sugar
2/3 C. buttermilk
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. Cinnamon**
1/2 t. baking soda.

Mix Butter, sugar and buttermilk together and boil 2 full minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla, cinnamon and baking soda.Serve over pancakes, waffles or french toast. Makes 2 cups of syrup.

**Omit the cinnamon for traditional buttermilk syrup

Teriyaki Rice

This dish was so delicious! It was my first time making brown rice, and while it took way longer than it was supposed to for it to cook (I'm sure due to my lack of ability), it was flavorful and well worth the wait! The teriyaki flavor was not overpowering at all. While I plan to keep practicing cooking brown rice, you can make this with long grain white rice and the cooking time will be about half as that of the brown rice. I also added 1 large chicken breast, cooked and diced, to the rice once it was done to make it a more substantial meal. Any other meat would work as well. I also added the whole red pepper into the rice because it would have gone to waste if I didn't. Next time, I'll still add the whole pepper, but I'll leave out the red pepper flakes. It was pretty spicy with both of these elements!

Teriyaki Rice
from Healthy Meals in Minutes

1 tsp vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced (I used about 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
1 tsp minced fresh ginger or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced (about 1/2 cup; I used the whole pepper for about 2/3 cup)
1 cup brown rice
2 cups chicken broth**
1 Tbl soy sauce
2 tsp packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp crushed hot red pepper flakes
chopped green onion for garnish

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 minute. Add red pepper; cook for 1 minute. Stir in brown rice and broth; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low.

Simmer rice until liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Add soy sauce mixture to rice mixture; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

Place rice in serving dish. Sprinkle green onion over rice. Serve immediately.

Variations: Add cooked chopped or shredded meat to the rice and heat through. I think it would also be good with some other vegetables mixed in, like broccoli.

**You can use white rice, it will just take around 20 minutes for the liquid to be absorbed instead of 40 minutes.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Italian Pasta Salad

I took this dish to a dinner we were invited to, and everyone seemed to like it. The recipe is mostly to taste and is completely versatile as it is easy to adjust it to your family's preferences. (Sorry the picture is a little blurry!)

Italian Pasta Salad

16 oz. small pasta (you could use elbow macaroni, rotini, pinwheels, etc.)
Chopped veggies of your choice (cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, red onion, etc.)
Pepperoni (either use the small pepperoni pieces, or cut larger slices into fourths)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese (we used about 1-1/2 cups)
Italian dressing (bottled or homemade is fine; we used about 1-1/2 cups)

Cook pasta according to directions on package. Allow to cool in refrigerator (if you coat the pasta with a little bit of either olive oil or the dressing, it will help it not stick together).
Once pasta is cooled, combine all ingredients and mix until well combined. Serve salad chilled.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oreo Cookies

These are my husband's favorite cookies, and I don't make them that often. And to be honest, I don't know where this recipe originally came from, but the recipe isn't new- it's been around for awhile. However, they are really easy and they taste great! The recipe's yield depends on how big or small you roll the dough balls before baking the cookies. I used a standard cookie scoop and I got around 16 cookie sandwiches. You can also make these even easier by just substituting a can of store bought cream cheese frosting for the filling recipe below. They'll still taste good, I just prefer to make my frosting from scratch. Try these next time you need a quick treat and maybe they'll become one of your favorites, too!

Oreo Cookies

1 box Devil's Food cake mix

2 eggs
3/4 cup shortening

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbl butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Mix cake mix, eggs, and shortening together. Roll dough into evenly sized balls and bake at 350*F for about 8 minutes. Cookies will still be soft or undercooked slightly, but they continue to bake while they are cooling so don't leave them in longer unless they are severely doughy.

While cookies are cooling, make the filling by combining the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla (I use a hand mixer when I make my frostings). Add powdered sugar until mixture is spreadable (sometimes I need a little more or less than 2 cups of the powdered sugar). If you add too much sugar and the frosting becomes thick, add milk 1 tsp at a time until it reaches the right consistency.

Once cookies are completely cooled, layer filling in between two cookies to make your oreo sandwich cookies. Enjoy!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Homemade "Hamburger Helper"

This recipe comes from Erin at $5 Dinners, however, her recipe lists ideas for making this dish dairy free and gluten free. If you are interested in these versions, check out her post here. This dish was really easy to make and we loved it! Yum!!!

Homemade "Hamburger Helper"

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped (I used 2 Tbl dehydrated chopped onion)
2 garlic cloves, crushed (I used about 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
3 Tbl butter or margarine
3 Tbl flour
3 cups milk (I used 3 cups water plus 3/4 cup powdered milk)
1 cup water
2 cups pasta (I used elbow macaroni, but any bite-sized pasta would work)
Salt & pepper, to taste
***I also added 1-1/2 cups shredded, cheddar cheese

In large skillet, brown ground beef with chopped onion and crushed garlic cloves. Season with pepper. Once fully cooked, drain and rinse ground beef. Do not return beef to the skillet. Yet.

In same skillet, add margarine or butter. Once melted, whisk in flour to form a paste. Quickly whisk in milk until no clumps remain. Cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, until sauce starts to bubble and thicken. Once sauce starts to thicken, add 1 cup of water and 2 cups of pasta. Stir through. Add 1 lb. of meat and mix together. Cover and cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes, or until pasta shells have cooked through. Stir often. (This is the point that I added the cheese. Just stir well to distribute and melt the cheese.) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Sauce will thicken slightly after removing from heat.

Variations (as notated by Erin on her website):
You could change this up a number of ways. Add cheese if you like. Or add taco seasoning with the water. Or both. Toss in some frozen vegetables while it’s cooking. This is really a basic meal that can be modified in many ways!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Oven Baked Omelet

I decided to make this for breakfast while I was visiting family in Boise this last week. The original recipe comes from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures. It was really easy and good as I made it with leftover ham from Thanksgiving and made sure there was plenty of cheese. This is definitely a breakfast I will be making more in the future. We did have some leftovers, and they seemed to keep ok, I would just use them the next day or two so the eggs don't dry out. You can also add your favorite omelet toppings during the same stage as when you add the ham.

Oven Baked Omelet
• 1 cup milk
• 1/4 cup cornstarch or flour
• 10 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used just under 1 tsp ground mustard powder)
• salt and ground pepper
• 3/4 cup cooked ham, sausage, or bacon
• 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of a jelly roll type pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on the two shorter sides. Grease parchment paper. Do not skip the parchment paper on this recipe. You need it to roll the omelet. (I thought maybe a silicon baking mat would work, but after making it with parchment paper, I can see that a silicon baking mat wouldn't hold the mixture completely together. So stick with parchment paper and make sure it hangs over on the sides!)

In a bowl, whisk together milk and cornstarch. Add eggs, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste...; whisk to combine. Pour into pan. Sprinkle meat over top in an even layer.(you could add any additional toppings at this point if desired)

Bake until edges of omelet are set, 15-18 minutes. Sprinkle with cheddar; bake until cheese has melted, 2 to 4 additional minutes.

Beginning at one shorter end, lift parchment, and roll up omelet tightly peeling back parchment as you go. peeling back parchment as you go.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Campbell's Cheesy Chicken Casserole

I'm not a usually a huge casserole person, but every once in a while I'll throw one together because they can save a ton of time and dishes! I tried this recipe last night, and it was good. I did 1.5x the recipe because we had company coming over and I wanted some leftovers for later in the week. It also took my casserole a little longer than 50 minutes to cook, I think it was closer to 60 minutes. Just make sure your chicken is cooked all the way through and that the rice is done, too.

Campbell's Cheesy Chicken Casserole

1 can (10 3/4 ounces)Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
1 1/3 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cup frozen mixed vegetables (I used frozen broccoli cuts)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat the oven to 375°F. Stir the soup, water, rice, onion powder, black pepper and vegetables in a 2-quart shallow baking dish.

Top with the chicken. Season the chicken as desired (I used salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and then topped the breasts with the cheese called for in the recipe rather than adding it later). Cover the baking dish.

Bake for 50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender. Top with the cheese. Let the casserole stand for 10 minutes. Stir the rice before serving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grandma King's 100% Whole Wheat Bread

This is another great bread recipe that has been made for a couple of generations in my family. I made it for the first time last week, and it seemed to take a lot less work than the traditional white bread that my Grandmommy used to make (if you don't count the work it took to grind my own wheat!). This is also a versatile bread- we used it for lots of different things, and all of them were yummy! (My favorite is toast that is broiled in the oven.) Do be careful with how much flour you put into the dough because too much will make the bread dry and tough after it's baked. The dough will be sticky, even after enough flour has been added! I forgot to do this, but you can spray your hands with pam or get them wet with water to help the dough not stick to your hands as much. One last note- my family is not used to eating 100% whole wheat, so I used 1/2 of my flour as regular white bread flour and it still was wonderful!

Grandma King's 100% Whole Wheat Bread

4 1/2 Cups of Hot Tap Water (really, it just needs to be warm enough to activate your yeast)
2/3 Cup Canola Oil
1 Cup honey
2 Tbl Salt
2 TBL Yeast dissolved with 1/2 Cup warm water
* Whole Wheat flour add enough flour until dough starts to pull away from the sides of your mixing bowl. (about 10 cups of flour and 1 cup of vital wheat gluten. See note below...)

Mix dough in your mixer for 10 minutes and then let then dough rest 10 minutes. Spray 4 loaf pans with pam and then shape dough into loafs and let rise until the dough reaches the lip of the bread pan. NOTE:
The dough will be slightly sticky so just spray you hands with Pam or water when forming the loaves. Bake at 350 * for 30 to 35 minutes.

*You will use more flour if using freshly ground wheat. The wheat gluten helps to keep the bread fresher longer as well as helping create a nice texture. My mom does not use the wheat gluten and her bread is amazing. (This note is from my mom, and I didn't use the wheat gluten, but she says it not only helps the quality of the bread, it helps it to stay fresher for longer amounts of time.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Simple Pan-Fried Pork Chops

This recipe comes from the Pioneer Woman, and it was delicious! I love to drool over her beautiful food pictures, but rarely do I make anything of hers. These pork chops were so delicious and not dry at all! I think the frying really helps to lock in the juices. I used regular pork chops that were boneless and not cut as thin as they should have been, but they still turned out well.

Simple, Pan-Fried Pork Chops
  • 7 pieces Or 8 Pieces Breakfast Chops (very Thin Bone-in Pork Chops)
  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper To Taste
  • ½ cups Canola Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • Extra Salt And Pepper, To Taste

Rinse pork chops. (Yes, I rinse my pork chops. Please don’t be hatin’.) Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops.

Combine all dry ingredients. Dredge each side of the pork chops in the flour mixture, then set aside on a plate.

Heat canola oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add butter. When butter is melted and butter/oil mixture is hot, cook 3 pork chops at a time, 2 to 3 minutes on the first side; 1 to 2 minutes on the other side. (Make sure no pink juices remain.) Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining porch chops.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hot Beef Sandwiches

Eating Hot Beef Sandwiches is my favorite way to eat leftover roast & fixings. It's an open faced sandwich and all you do is layer a piece of bread (or you could use rolls that have been split open) with leftover mashed potatoes topped with roast beef and gravy. Of course, you don't have to only eat this as leftovers, you can also make your roast, potatoes and gravy and purposely serve it this way. My husband, the one who dislikes roast, said this sandwich was even better than the roast itself!

Crock Pot Roast Beef

Sunday I made this wonderful dish (the picture doesn't do it justice!). It was very tender and not dry at all! The funny thing is that I didn't realize how much I was wanting roast until I ate it! My husband, who is a roast hater, said it was the best roast he's ever had and that he wouldn't mind eating it every once in a while. I felt like all of the ingredients seasoned the beef perfectly- we didn't need to add anything to it! And the juices make an excellent gravy, too! I have posted how I made my gravy just below the recipe. Also, I only made a 2.5 pound roast, so I cut everything in half and it worked beautifully. This recipe comes from The Sisters Dish.

Crock Pot Roast

5 pound boneless rump roast (any other cut will work, too)
1 Tbl garlic powder
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (I didn't have any, so I just sprinkled my roast with black pepper)
1/2 tsp oregano
1 onion, chopped (I left this out)
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
2 cups beef broth (I dissolved beef boullion- 1 cube per 1 cup water)

Put everything together in the crock pot. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours.

Note from The Sisters Dish: This is also great for French dip sandwiches. Shred your meat, place in on bread of your choice and dip in the juice. We like to butter crusty rolls, sprinkle on some parmesan cheese and place under the broiler for a couple of minutes(until the cheese melts) before we put our meat on them and then dip.

Simple Gravy

2 cups roast drippings (if you don't have 2 cups, add enough water to your drippings to make 2 cups)
2-3 Tbl cornstarch (the more cornstarch, the thicker your gravy)
1/2 cup cold water

Place drippings in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch and water. Once boiling, add cornstarch mixture to drippings. Whisk frequently until it returns to a boil. At this point, you can put it on simmer until it's time to eat and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Broccoli Quiche

I see poor Tari is stuck posting sweets, which I totally understand! I for once actually have a bunch of main dishes I've been meaning to put up, but always neglect. (Sweet things are ALWAYS what I'm trying out.)

Here's a recipe for broccoli quiche (amazing, I know, since that's the title of the post). I know some men wont eat quiche, so I suggest making it and telling them if they don't want it they can make their own dinner. My husband loves it!

1 onion, minced
1 t. garlic, minced (or 1/2 t. garlic powder)
2 c. chopped broccoli (or any kind of veggies, like mushroom and tomato in the pic above)
1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
4 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 c. milk
salt and pepper
1 T. melted butter
1 9-inch pie shell

Preheat to 350*

1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, sautee onion, garlic, and broccoli until broccoli is tender. Spoon veggies into pie shell and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over them all.

2. Combine eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in melted butter.

3. Pour egg mixture over the veggies and cheese in the pie shell. Bake for 30 minutes or until the center has set.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Easy Microwave Toffee

I know I've been posting a lot of recipes for desserts, but desserts are the easiest thing for me to want to try new recipes for! I'll do my best to start trying new main courses, breads, and side dishes! However, this toffee is really good! It's butter and crunchy, and the best part is you don't need a candy thermometer and it's all done in the microwave. You just have to make sure you keep a good eye on it so you don't burn the toffee. But even then, it's pretty easy to make this yummy treat! I did find the amount of chocolate called for was a little much, so next time I think I'll cut it in half. This recipe came from my parents' ward cookbook.

Easy Microwave Toffee
Courtesy of Yvonne Harman

1/2 cup butter (no substitutes)
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (if you use salted butter, leave this out!)
1/4 cup water
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (I left these out)

Line and 8"x8" baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside. Put the butter, sugar, salt, and water in a 2 quart microwave safe casserole dish. Do not stir. Put the dish in the microwave for 7 minutes. Check to see if the mixture has changed from yellow to a light tan color. If not, continue cooking a minute at a time (I think I had to do a total of 7 extra minutes, so be patient if it seems like it's taking forever). You need to watch it here to keep it from scorching and remember, don't stir. Once mixture has reached the light tan stage, pour into prepared baking dish. Let sit for one minute. Sprinkle semi-sweet morsels on top and let sit for one more minute, or until morsels have softened. Using a spatula, spread the morsels over the toffee. Top with chopped pecans. Place the baking dish into the refrigerator until the toffee has cooled completely. Lift out the aluminum foil and break the toffee into bite-sized pieces (I just used my hands).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

This is one of my favorite comfort foods my mom made growing up. I made a couple of changes to make it a little more economical, but trust me, it doesn't degrade the taste! I use the flakiest pie crust recipe I've posted previously for the crust to my pot pie. I was also able to get 2 whole pies out of this recipe, but if you have a larger pie plate, you might only get 1.

Chicken Pot Pie

1 cup chopped onion
1 bag frozen peas and carrots
2 cups diced potatoes, cooked until tender (I used 2 large baking potatoes)
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cup chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half (milk should work fine, too, but I'd use 2% or whole)
2 cups cooked, diced chicken
pie crusts (I was able to get 2 whole pies from this recipe, which means 4 crusts, or 2 double crusts)

Saute onions, peas and carrots in butter until tender. Add flouur and stir until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth and half-and-half. Cook, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly. Stir in chicken and potatoes.

Place 1 crust in pie dish and fill with chicken mixture. Place second crust on top and cut vents. Repeat with other crust. Bake at 375* covered, for 35 minutes then uncovered for 20 minutes.

Notes: You can use any vegetables you want, you should just have at least 4 cups total. My mom's original recipe called for 4 cups chicken- I cut it in half and substituted potatoes to make it less expensive. If you want to freeze the filling or a whole pie, do not use the potatoes in the filling. Use 4 cups of chicken for the potatoes and chicken.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chicken Croissants

This another recipe I remember my mom making when I was growing up, and I think it came from Pampered Chef. It is also a really easy dinner to pull together, especially if you cook your chicken ahead of time, cube it up, and then throw it in the freezer. It's also really kid friendly. If you notice from my picture, I didn't use the canned crescent rolls, I just made some of the Debbie's Roll dough that I have previously posted and used that instead. But I have used the canned crescent rolls before, I just find it cheaper and more filling to make my own dough.

Chicken Croissants

2 cups cooked chicken, cut into cubes
1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/8 tsp pepper
1 (4 oz) can mushrooms (these are optional, but I never use them)
2 cans crescent rolls

Stir cream cheese, butter and pepper together. Fold in cooked chicken and mushrooms. Roll out rolls (put two triangles into a square) and put a big glob of the mixture in each roll and seal (so you'll end up folding the rectangle you created with your triangles in half). Cook at 325*F for 20 minutes or until golden brown on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Caramel Apples

I'm sorry there haven't been very many posts lately. I've been dealing with a sick husband and a sick 16-month old, and when one gets better, the other gets sick! However, I have decided that I'm going to try to post 1-2 times a week via the scheduled post feature. So hopefully, there will be a more consistent selection of new recipes started.

I thought to start my new conviction to blogging, I would share a recipe that definitely makes me think of fall. These caramel apples are so yummy! I remember making them as a young women group and we gobbled them up. It does make quite a large batch (at least a large batch for just 2 people who can eat caramel apples), so if you don't want 12-15 apples, cut your recipe in half, or even better, make the whole thing and share with your neighbors. It's also a great time for these recipes because apples are in season, and you can get them at a great price! I thought I'd be creative and go back to when I made them in YW's and drizzle chocolate on them. But I learned a great lesson- if you want to do this, fine, but wait for the caramel to cool a little bit first. Otherwise you end up with a large pile of chocolate and caramel at the base of your apples. Mine didn't look very pretty, but they still tasted good!

Caramel Apples
Courtesy of Juilana Lookhart

1 cup butter (I used salted butter, and omitted the salt)
2-1/4 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup white corn syrup
1 cup sweetened condensed milk (this is a little less than a can, so measure it out!)
1 tsp. vanilla
12 to 15 Granny Smith apples, washed with stems and stickers removed (I used 15 small granny's and could have still done more. You could also use different apples. Granny Smith's are just tart and go well with the sweet caramel.)

Melt butter in large heavy pan. Add brown sugar and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until well mixed. Add corn syrup. Mix well. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Cook and stir to 115* C (or the soft ball stage). Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Sprinkle powdered sugar on a cookie sheet. Put sticks into apples and dip apples in caramel. Place apple on the cookie sheet. After dipping apples you can dip them in cookie crumbs, cinnamon, or any topping.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Libby's Pumpkin Pie

Ok, I know you can get this recipe just as easy by looking on the label of your canned pumpkin. However, I did make some substitutions to use powdered milk and I made my own pumpkin puree (I know it sounds crazy, but it was really easy, and it didn't have extra preservatives AND it was CHEAPER than buying a can of pumpkin). This was really good and it's nice to know I can make a yummy dessert using what I have in my pantry.

Libby's Pumpkin Pie
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust (if you are making your own crust, you can use a regular pie dish, just crimp your crust edges so that they are high and can hold the filling inside the pie)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15 ounce) can LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin (or 1-3/4 cup pumpkin puree)
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can NESTLE® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk (or 1-1/2 cups water + 1 cup powdered milk)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie shell.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 F.; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean (don't judge its doneness by if it wiggles or not- my pie was still a little jiggly, but it firmed up as it cools. Check it by the knife method). Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. (Do not freeze as this will cause the crust to separate from the filling.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

4 Ingredient Easy Cobbler

I made this after a foiled dessert recipe attempt (my ingredients were moldy- yuck!) This recipe came from Tasty Kitchen, the recipe search engine started by the Pioneer Woman. This is very versatile. Although it calls for sliced fruit, you could also use pie filling or frozen fruit (thawed of course), or you could even just use canned fruit, just drain the syrup/juice from the fruit. The left overs held up pretty well in the refrigerator, but I wouldn't suggest keeping leftovers (if you have any) for more than a day or two. The topping will just get soggy if you keep it longer. This is also really good served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!
4 Ingredient Easy Cobbler

6 whole Peaches Or Any Fruit- Peeled And Sliced
1 cup Flour
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 stick Butter

Peel and slice 6 to 8 peaches, apples or any other fruit, enough to cover the bottom of a 2 quart shallow baking dish. Combine the flour, brown sugar and stick of butter using a fork or pastry blender until it is well blended and crumbly. Cover the fruit with the mixture and bake at 375 deg. for 30 minutes.

Yummy Potatoes

This was a really yummy dish that I threw together one night. The leftovers even tasted great! Another name for this casserole is funeral potatoes and I got the recipe from the book Cooking for Two by Debbie G. Harman. I added 1 can of ham, shredded, so that it was more substantial of a meal. I also left out the cornflake topping and just used cheese because I didn't have any cornflakes. I also want to add a disclaimer that I will probably be posting a lot of potato recipes during the next couple of weeks due to the fact that it is harvest time in Idaho for potatoes, and potatoes keep showing up on my doorstep. Seriously, I have over 30 pounds of potatoes sitting in a box, some of them red potatoes and some of them russets! I'll do my best to not go overboard with recipes, but even when I don't have a surplus of potatoes as I do now, I know I have a hard time using up the last of the bag I bought from the store.

Yummy Potatoes

3 whole, unpeeled potatoes
1/4 cup chopped onions
4 Tbl butter
1/2 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 cup crushed corn flakes

Boil unpeeled potatoes for 15-20 minutes, or until tender, but firm. Remove from heat. Run under cold water. Allow to cool. Meanwhile, saute onions in 2 Tbl butter until the start to turn brown. Mix onions with soup, sour cream, and cheese in casserole dish and stir well (it should fit in a 9"x9" pan, but you can use a larger pan- it will just spread the mixture out more and it will probably cook faster in the oven). Peel and cut potatoes into small pieces. Stir potatoes into sauce. Saute corn flakes in remaining 2 Tbl butter. Sprinkle corn flakes over top of potatoes. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes (or until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Home-Style Potato Soup

This is really quick and easy, and pretty versatile. Sometimes I add broccoli and cheese, etc. Just play around with it.

about 14 oz of chicken broth
2 large potatoes, cut into large pieces
1 1/2 c. milk
2 medium green onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper

1. Heat chicken broth and potatoes to boiling in a 2-quart saucepan over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes).

2. Remove saucepan from heat, but don't drain. Break potatoes into smaller pieces with a masher or large fork. It should still be lumpy.

3. Stir in the milk, salt, pepper, and green onions into potatoes. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until hot but don't boil to prevent curdling.

If you're going to add frozen broccoli, add it with the milk, etc. If you're going to add cheese, add it after everything else has been heated and stir until melted.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chicken Lasagna

The original recipe came from Lynn and Lynn's Kitchen Adventures. But if you've noticed anything about how I cook, I never really follow a recipe to a "T". However, this was really good, and I'm sure Lynn's original version is just as delicious! I liked that I was able to sneak some veggies into the casserole, since my husband always promises to take some with his seconds, but always ends up too full! The only problem I came across is that I used oven ready lasagna noodles and my top layer of noodles didn't cook right. I'm sure this is because I didn't use enough sauce on top of the noodles, so if you are making this, make sure you cover the top of your lasagna with lots of sauce so the noodles cook right.

Chicken Lasagna

4 cups of cooked chicken (I used 3 cans of chicken from my food storage and seasoned it with a little bit of pepper)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 cup sour cream

1 cup grated parmesan cheese; this recipe calls for the stuff in the green can not the real stuff :) (I didn't have this, so it was left out :( )

1 can olives, 4 ½ ounce, chopped (left these out due to my husband's preference, but I did use about 1 to 1-1/2 cup of chopped broccoli to layer in the casserole)

½ tsp garlic salt

Mix all together and set aside.

You also need:

4 cups grated cheddar cheese

1 box of lasagna noodles, 10 ounces, cooked (I used oven ready and didn't cook them ahead of time)

In a 9×13 pan spread about ½ cup of chicken/cheese sauce. Then spread a layer of noodles and a layer or cheese and then sauce again (don't forget the broccoli or other vegetable if you are using it). Continue until you have three layers of noodles. Make sure to end with sauce and cheese on top.

Bake at 350 covered for 40 minutes then uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.

Swiss Chicken

This is a recipe my made frequently when I was growing up. It is really yummy! I've found that it doesn't really matter what type of cheese you use, even though the recipe calls for swiss cheese. I like swiss, but I never have it on hand due to budgeting. I've used cheddar, monterey jack cheddar, and mozzarella as substitutions and it's been delicious everytime. So give it a try with what you have on hand. You can even use shredded cheese if that's what you have. I promise you won't be disappointed!

Swiss Chicken

4 chicken breasts
4 slices of swiss cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk
1/2 box of chicken flavored stuffing mix
2 Tbl butter, melted

Place chicken in baking pan and cover with cheese. Mix soup and milk together and then pour on top of chicken. Top with stuffing mix. Drizzle butter over stuffing and bake at 375 F for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Chicken "G"

I found this recipe when I was entering a contest on Pioneer Woman. I don't know why I ever try, there are always thousands of people who enter before I even hear about the 1-day long contests. But her prizes are always so cool! Oh well, my kitchen isn't really big enough for lots of cool kitchen gadgets. Anyways, back to the recipe. It comes from the recipe search engine that PW started called Tasty Kitchen and it was really good! I've never made chicken cutlets before, but it was really easy and since the chicken is thin, it doesn't take very long to cook. The only thing I'll change for next time is to make more of a sauce by adding around 2 cans of tomato sauce. I served it over spaghetti and the pasta just needed a little more of a dressing than the original recipe made. I'll definitely be making this again!

Chicken "G"

  • 1 pound (2 Pieces) Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Halves
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ cups Chopped Onion
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • ½ teaspoons Lemon Pepper Seasoning (didn't use)
  • 1 cup Canned Diced Tomatoes, Any Flavor Or Brand (I used Italian Stewed tomatoes that I chopped)
  • 1 can (8 Oz. Can) Mushroom Pieces & Stems, Undrained (I chopped the mushrooms)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning (I didn't use since my tomatoes had it already)
  • ½ cups Halved Stuffed Green Olives (I didn't use these)

Place the chicken breast halves between sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Pound flat to a little more than 1/4 inch with the flat side of a meat mallet or heavy fry pan. (At this point, I cut each of the cutlets in 1/2 so I ended up with 4 smaller pieces of chicken)

In a large fry pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Sprinkle the chicken with the lemon-pepper seasoning. Saute quickly over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Remove to a plate and keep warm.

Add tomatoes, mushrooms, onion-garlic mixture, and Italian seasoning to pan. Warm through. Add chicken. Cover and cook over low heat until juices run clear, about 5-10 minutes.

Add the olives. Warm through. If the juices are too thin, make a slurry out of 1 tablespoon flour and 1/4 cup of water. Whisk in, and cook until thickened.

To complete this meal, serve with a salad and garlic bread.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Skillet Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

I am never disappointed when I visit My Kitchen Cafe. There is always something yummy posted on Melanie's blog. This dish was no exception. It appealed to me because my family loves homemade macaroni, but the version I make requires making a sauce and then combining the sauce with the noodles and then baking it. Which of course takes a ton of time and creates a lot of heat in my kitchen. So I gave this a whirl. It was great! I added frozen peas and carrots and ham (sorry I didn't take a picture- I was running late for taking my husband his lunch at work but if you really need to see one click the link above). I think you could easily add any cooked meat with any complimentary veggie to make a more complete meal, or you could easily just serve the macaroni plain. Also, when I made this dish, I cut down on the amount of cheese I used. Not only does this cut down on the calories, it also cuts down on the cost- but I promise, you won't miss the extra cheese! I'm sure it's even more delicious with all of the cheese, but what I'm saying is it is ok to cut down on the amount. So if you're looking for a last minute dinner idea, give this a try!

Skillet Macaroni and Cheese
adapted by My Kitchen Cafe from The Best Skillet Recipes

3 1/2 cups water, plus extra if needed
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk (I used reconstituted powdered milk. For instructions go here.)
12 ounces (about 3 cups) elbow macaroni
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (I left this out)
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (I also left this out)
6 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small chunks
Ground black pepper to taste

Bring 3 1/2 cups water, 1 cup of the evaporated milk, the macaroni, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat. Cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring often, until the macaroni is tender and the liquid has thickened, 9 to 12 minutes.

Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup evaporated milk, the cornstarch, mustard and hot sauce together in a small bowl, then stir into the skillet. Continue to simmer slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

Off the heat, stir in the cheddar and Monterey Jack, one handful at a time, adding water as needed to adjust the consistency of the sauce (I didn't need any additional water when I made it). Stir in the butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Ham and Pea Variation
Follow the recipe, adding 4 ounces deli-style baked ham, diced medium, and 1/2 cup frozen peas to the skillet with the cornstarch mixture in step 2.

Deliciously Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

First of all, what would you think if you opened a new box of butter and found this? I was a little irritated, but I quickly decided I'd just have to eye ball my measurements. Grrrrr....

This recipe came from the Sister's Cafe and they were the best homemade biscuit I've ever had. I love the honey as the sweetener because the finished biscuits taste like there is a little bit of honey drizzled on top! They were also really easy to make. The folding technique might seem unnecessary, but it's what makes them so flaky! It reminds me of when you bake Pillsbury Grands and they get really flaky. I'll definitely be making these more often! :)

Deliciously Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour (9 ounces)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup fat-free buttermilk
3 tablespoons honey

1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Chill 10 minutes.
3. Combine buttermilk and honey, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 4 times. Roll dough into a (1/2-inch-thick) 9 x 5–inch rectangle; dust top of dough with flour. Fold dough crosswise into thirds (as if folding a piece of paper to fit into an envelope). Reroll dough into a (1/2-inch-thick) 9 x 5–inch rectangle; dust top of dough with flour. Fold dough crosswise into thirds; gently roll or pat to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut dough with a 1 3/4-inch biscuit cutter to form 14 dough rounds. Place dough rounds, 1 inch apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan; cool 2 minutes on wire racks. Serve warm.

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Crunchy" French Bread

Even though french bread is pretty inexpensive, the homemade version is really easy and tastes so much better! You know how french bread from the store is really crunchy and sometimes hard to eat when it's toasted? The homemade version is not (don't let the name trick you)! Especially if you rub the top crust with butter like I did. I used my loaf to make french bread pizza and it was delicious! I'll definitely be making this bread again.

Crunchy French Bread

2 cups whole wheat flour (I used bread flour)
2 Tbl. dry yeast
2 Tbl. sugar
1 egg
2 Tbl. butter flavored shortening (I used vegetable oil)
1 tsp. salt
2 cups warm water (remember not too hot, not too cold, or else you'll ruin your yeast)
4 cups all-purpose flour (I used bread flour and only needed about 3-1/2 cups)

In a mixer bowl, blend together first six ingredients. Add warm water and mix well. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Let dough rest for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the flour and knead with dough hook for 10 minutes or by hand for 15 minutes.

Shape into 2 small loaves or 1 large loaf and make small slices diagonally across top of loaves. (I made 1 large loaf and it was HUGE. Seriously, I could barely fit it diagonally on my cookie sheet. So unless you need extra-large slices of bread, I'd stick with at least 2 loaves.) Allow to rise, covered, until doubled.

Sprinkle greased baking sheet with cornmeal to prevent loaves from sticking (I skipped this step, just make sure you spray or grease your pan). Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom rack in oven. Bake loaves on middle rack at 425 F for 15 minutes (I'd watch the color of your loaf during this step. If it's getting brown fast, allow it to brown until almost the right color and then continue onto the next step). Lower temperature to 375 and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped on the top and it is lightly golden brown.

This recipe also makes great pizza curst. Will make 2 large pizzas (I'd bet even more since my loaf turned out so big).

Homemade hamburger buns

I've been trying lately to make most of our bread products from scratch to save a little extra money. I'd like to say I make all of them, but nobody's perfect! These hamburger buns were really good and soft! Plus they were easy and didn't take too much time to make. They are a little dense, but that's because of the short rise time. The whole batch makes a lot- I quartered the batch since it looked like a lot and got 5 buns, so I'd assume a full batch would make around 20, depending on the size. I got this recipe from Wheat Cookin' Made Easy by Pam Crockett.

Quick & Easy Thirty Minute Hamburger Buns

3-1/2 cups warm tap water
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
6 Tbl yeast
1 Tbl salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
10-1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I used regular bread flour)

Combine water, sugar, oil and yeast. Mix well and set aside for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 F. Add remaining ingredients to yeast mixture and mix well. Shape into rolls or hamburger buns.

Place on a greased cookie sheet, about 12 to a sheet, and let rise for 10 to 12 minutes. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Devilled Eggs

I've been letting my recipes pile up on me! AAAAH! I'm really behind in blogging, so hopefully I'll be able to catch up over the next couple of days and then stay on track! :) I made these eggs for a church activity a couple of weeks ago and they were delicious! They are definitely going to be a go-to dish for an economical, yet crowd pleasing appetizer or side dish.

Devilled Eggs (from

6 eggs
1/4 tsp prepared mustard
1/8 tsp dill
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp salt
1-2 tsp milk

Boil your eggs however you like to do it. (I put my eggs in the bottom of a pot, cover them with water, let the water come to a boil over medium/high heat, cover the pot and remove the eggs from the heat. Let them sit for about 20 minutes and they'll be cooked perfectly!)

Peel under cold running water. Slice eggs in half. Place egg whites on a plate or serving tray rinsed and dried, and the egg yolks in a bowl.

Mash egg yolks with a fork and add remaining ingredients, except for paprika.

If desired, you can add more mayonnaise with a little bit of milk (small amounts at a time, as you can always add but not take out or you'll end up boiling another egg or two)

Fill each half about a teaspoon and sprinkle with paprika. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours before serving.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Apple Muffins

I've been trying to be better about actually cooking breakfast instead of having a bowl of cereal every morning. So I've been experimenting with different recipes. This one I found at and it came from Ellie Krieger (she's the one that does the dieting/healthful cooking shows). You can find the original recipe here, but as always, I made a couple of changes to the recipe and that is what I have posted. These were really moist and weren't like most "diet" muffins I've had. They weren't uber sweet, which I look for in a breakfast muffin (although, I must say that I am a sucker for chocolate chocolate chip muffins! :) ). They reminded me of a pumpkin muffin actually, not in taste but the smell was that of fall baking. And, they were really filling! My husband and I each ate 4, and were stuffed. Kiddos like them, too! My 1-year old son ate a whole one all by himself. I will be making these again.

Apple Muffins
adapted from the recipe by Ellie Krieger

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1-3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Golden Delicious Apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4" pieces (you could use any good baking apple; I used a Fuji apple since that is what I had)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 12-capacity muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and oil until combined. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in the applesauce and vanilla.

Whisk in the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Whisk just until combined. Gently stir in the apple chunks.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle with the pecan mixture. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of 1 of the muffins comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the muffins to loosen them and unmold. Cool completely on the rack.

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Ok, so this isn't really an actual recipe. It's more of an idea with some guidelines. This meal is one of our favorites because it's really low key, but it is delicious and can be dressed up as much or as little as you'd like.

For the meat, all you do is take the following:

1 pork roast (it can be whatever cut of meat you'd like, even tougher cuts of meat work well)
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (I like Kraft's spicy honey and you probably won't use the whole bottle, but you want to have enough for the meat)

Put it in the crockpot and cook on low until the pork is cooked. You can also cook the pork by itself until it is done and then add the sauce and let it sit on low for an hour. If you'd like you could also add some salt and pepper to the pork, but since you are adding sauce, I don't think you need it.

Then serve it on your favorite buns or rolls. I like to serve mine on jumbo rolls that I make from the Debbie's roll recipe I've posted before (I make 5-6 jumbo rolls per batch of dough). Then if you want to dress up your sandwich a little bit, add toppings. Here are a few I've either used before or that I think would taste good with the pork:

Cheese (I've only used cheddar before, but I'm curious if Swiss would taste good?)
Sliced green pepper
crisp lettuce leaves
tomato slices
red onion slices

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

White Bread

This recipe uses a different method for activating the yeast, and makes it so much easier. The bread is ultra soft with a nice thin crispy crust.
4 c. flour
2 T. yeast
1/3 c. sugar
1 T. salt
3 c. hot tap water (as hot as the tap will get it get; it should be too hot for you to keep your finger under)
1/4 c. oil

1. Mix flour, yeast, sugar, and salt together with fork.
2. Add the hot water and oil to the dry ingredients. Mix with a fork until thoroughly blended.
3. Add more flour (about a cup at a time) just until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It will still be quite sticky, so flour up your hands.

4. Turn the flour out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough, adding flour (this time by handfuls) until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. The key is kneading the dough as little as possible, to keep it from becoming too tough.
5. Add about 1 teaspoon of oil to a clean bowl, and make sure it spreads over the bottom of the bowl. Tuck the dough into a ball and set in the bowl. Allow dough to rise to double in size.
6. Cut in half and form each half into loaves. Set in greased pans and let rise until loaves reach the tops of the pans.
7. Bake in 375-400 degree oven for 1/2-hour.
8. While cooling, grease tops of bread with butter.


Meatloaf is one of those things that can be either expensive or inexpensive. The key to a cheaper meatloaf is obviously using ground beef that you purchased at a low price through either sales or bulk purchasing. As with all meats, don't be afraid to buy more than the amount of meat you will use if you find a good sale- you can always freeze your meat for later uses. I originally got a meatloaf recipe from my mom, but since I didn't have all of the ingredients her recipe called for, I played with it and came up with this version. It will fit in a single loaf pan, but will fill it up to the top. If you have a smaller family you could cut the recipe in 1/2 and just make a smaller meatloaf, or make a full batch and make 2 smaller meatloaves.


2 lbs. ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. milk
1 c. Italian bread crumbs (or you could substitute plain crumbs, just double the Italian seasoning)
1/2 c. diced onion (I used 2 Tbl. dehydrated chopped onion)
1/2 c. ketchup
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
brown sugar and ketchup for glaze

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients until evenly distributed. Fill loaf pans with meat mixture (you do not need to grease the pans). Bake in oven for 1 hour with pan on a cookie sheet. Then remove pan from oven and drain juices. Mix equal parts ketchup and brown sugar for glaze, and then spread on top of loaf. Bake for another 20 minutes. Let rest a couple of minutes before cutting.

***This recipe should freeze well, just freeze the meatloaf mixture before baking it or freeze it after cooking 1/2 of the time, and then defrost for 24 hours before cooking. I would also leave the glaze off of the loaf before freezing it and add it later when you cook it and serve it otherwise it will make a sticky mess on your freezing containers.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Salata de Beouff: Romanian Potato Salad

First of all, sorry for the picture. I know it isn't the greatest, but this dish is really hard to get a good picture of. :)

My husband served his mission in Romania and this was one of his favorite dishes to eat while he was there. I was fortunate enough to meet one of his friends that lives in Romania, and luckily for my husband, I was able to pick up a few Romanian recipes. I've made this potato type salad several times, and I'm yet to find someone who doesn't like it. It's a very rustic recipe, so there aren't any real measurements so you can make it suit your family's tastes. One disclaimer though- I've adapted the original recipe to fit my every day lifestyle. If you are interested in the full blown-out version, you can find the recipe on my other blog here. I've been told that the best way to serve this is with a great bread to scoop the salad up with. (I make a very simple pan bread to serve with it. Then we tear off chunks of bread and then scoop some of the salad onto the bread and eat it.) We can eat this version's yield for 2-3 meals between just me and my husband, so it does make a lot. However, like I mentioned earlier, this recipe is very forgiving and also very easy to reduce.

Salata de Beouff: Romanian Potato Salad

5-6 potatoes (I've used both reds and russets with good results- I prefer the russets though)
1 can (or about 2 cups) of sweet peas*** (I've used both canned and frozen/thawed)
1 whole dill pickle (I usually just use 2 dill pickle spears)
2-3 carrots***
2-3 chicken breasts
1 small jar mayonnaise
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Peel potatoes and carrots. In a large pot, boil potatoes, carrots and chicken until the chicken is cooked and the potatoes are fork tender (Note: don't overcook the potatoes or else dicing them will be impossible). Remove from the water and allow to cool. Dice the potatoes, carrots, chicken, and pickles into small, uniform pieces. Combine diced ingredients with peas and mayonnaise until desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill and serve with paine (a crusty bread).
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