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.
Related Posts with Thumbnails