Saturday, August 21, 2010

Crazy Chocolate Brownies

Sorry for no picture. But really, these look like every other chocolate brownie out there. So use your imagination!

I know what you're thinking. "Crazy?" The Essential Food Storage Cookbook by Tami Girsberger and Carol Peterson, the cookbook this recipe comes from, said that they are called "crazy" because they don't need any butter, milk, or eggs because it is made with everyday ingredients you can find in your FOOD STORAGE! I found that these brownies tasted better the next day. I also added a basic chocolate buttercream frosting on top once the brownies cooled, and I think it was a smart move. The brownies are pretty dense and more cake-like, and I feel like the frosting helped add moisture back into the brownies. I also found that 30 minutes was not long enough to get my brownies cooked all the way, so keep checking them (you know, use a toothpick in the middle). I ended up baking mine for 50 minutes, but I will try 45 minutes next time because I think they were slightly overcooked.

Crazy Chocolate Brownies

1/2 cup cocoa

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1-1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup oil

1 cup water

1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350* F. In a large bowl, stir first 5 ingredients. Add vanilla, oil and water. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into greased 9x13" pan (make sure it is greased really well). Bake for 30 minutes, or until done. (Mine took about 45-50 minutes to completely bake)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brown Stir-Fry Sauce

I first had this recipe when I was visiting my mom a while ago. I am always a sucker for Chinese food, and this quickly made its way to the top of my home-cooked Chinese favorite dishes. I will be making this quite often! The recipe comes from Blog Chef and the picture is from the time I had the dish at my mom's (I've made it recently, but I forgot the picture!). You can also make the whole dish to your own taste. For example, we sauteed garden fresh vegetables and chicken, added the sauce and then served it over rice. But you could use any combination of meat and veggies that sounds good. This would also be a great clean-the-fridge-out dish!

Basic Stir Fry Sauce (Chinese Brown Sauce)

3 garlic cloves (minced)

4 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 ½ cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon oil

Step 1: In a bowl mix soy sauce, brown sugar, chicken broth and corn starch. Make sure the mixture is well combined and set aside.

Step 2: Add 1 teaspoon of oil to a wok or saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and stir fry for 10 seconds. Add the chicken broth mixture and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce becomes thickened and bubbly.

Pasta with Beef, Broccoli, and Tomatoes

This recipe came from the Betty Crocker Sunday Dinner Cookbook, and it was yummy! It was fun to incorporate beef steak and everyone seemed to like the flavor of the dish. My only complaint was that the sauce didn't thicken as much as I wanted it to, so next time I think I will add 3 or 4 tablespoons of cornstarch instead of just the 2. And the instructions didn't originally state to season with salt and pepper to taste at the end of cooking, but it's a must!
Pasta with Beef, Broccoli and Tomatoes

3/4 lb boneless sirloin beef steak
3 cups (9 oz.) uncooked radiatore pasta (I couldn't find it at the store so I used rotini)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 pkg (16 oz.) frozen broccoli cuts, thawed
1 (14-1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes with roasted garlic, undrained (I used Italian diced tomatoes)
1 (14-1/2 oz.) beef broth (or about 2 cups beef broth)
2 Tbl cornstarch
2 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper, to taste

Trim the fat from the steak and cut it into 1/4 inch strips.

Cook and drain the pasta according to package instructions. Spray a 12-inch skillet with cooking spray and heat ofer medium-high heat. Add beef to skillet. Sprinkle with pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until brown.

Stir in broccoli, tomatoes and broth. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occassionally, until broccoli is crisp-tender.

Mix cornstarch and worcestershire sauce. Stir into the beef mixture. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Toss beef mixture and pasta.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Creamed Peas and New Potatoes

My family and I moved in with my in-laws while we are looking for a job. That means that I take turn cookings with my mother-in-law. Well last night, she made this side dish, and it was delicious! I loved how the sauce was so creamy, plus it is an excellent alternative to the normal mashed potatoes. But don't mind my picture... it's not that great and I was too hungry to play around with my camera to get a better picture! :)

Creamed Peas and New Potatoes

from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

1-1/2 pounds (about 15) tiny new potatoes (we used russetts, just peel and dice them)

1 to 1-1/2 cups fresh peas (we used frozen peas; this would also equate to about 1 or 1-1/2 pounds shelled peas)

3 Tbl sliced green onion (we left this out)

4 tsp butter or margarine (we prefer butter)

4 tsp flour

1 cup milk

(salt and pepper to taste)

Scrub potatoes; pare off narrow strip of peel around center of each. Cook in boiling salted water 15 to 20 minutes; drain. Meanwhile, cook peas and onion in small amount of boiling salted water 8 to 15 minutes; drain. Make a white sauce of butter, flour, dash salt, and milk. Combine vegtetabes and sauce (and season with salt and pepper to taste). Serves 4 to 6.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Crepes, or french pancakes, are a delicious alternative to the regular pancake or waffle. They are also versatile, as you can fill them with anything you want. My favorite is to put a little butter, some cut up strawberries and fresh whipped cream on top. This time we had them with butter, cinnamon sugar, and sweetened whipped cream. My picture shows them folded and topped, but if you prefer, you could fill them and then roll them like a burrito. These are also very easy. Each crepe cooks quickly, which is great news since it means less time until you can each a delicate, but delicious breakfast! This recipe comes from the ward cookbook my mom gave me and was submitted by Shannon Carlson.


1 Tbl sugar
1-1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cup milk (I used 2/3 cup powdered milk and 2 cups water)
2 whole eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbl butter or margarine, melted (I used canola oil)

Beat all ingredients together with a rotary beater (or hand-held electric beater). For each crepe, lightly butter an 8 inch skillet; heat over medium heat until butter is bubbly. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into skillet. Rotate pan until buatter covers bottom. Cook until it bubbles (the edges will also start to brown); flip once. Cook until golden brown. Fill with desired filling.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Honey Lime Fruit Salad

Another winner from Melanie at My Kitchen Cafe, this salad was a perfect compliment to the BBQ chicken and steak we had with a group of friends. I have a hard time with the texture of canned madarin oranges, so I actually opted to use fresh fruit instead of canned. It did make it more expensive, but I didn't mind. To me, there is nothing better than fresh fruit during the summer! Yum!

Honey Lime Fruit Salad

1 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained well (I used one small fresh pineapple, peeled and diced)

1 can mandarin oranges, drained well (I used 2 fresh oranges, peeled and diced)

2-3 ripe kiwi, peeled and sliced into thick half moons

1 cup green grapes, halved

1 cup strawberries, quartered

Zest from one lime (I also added a squeeze or two of fresh lime juice)

about 1 tablespoon2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon poppy seeds (optional- I left them out)

Combine the fruit in a medium-large serving bowl. Add the lime zest and poppy seeds, if using, and gently toss. Drizzle the honey over the fruit and again, gently mix until the fruit is evenly coated with the honey. Serve.

**Note: This fruit salad is best served right away (or at least within an hour of making) because the strawberries tend to stain the light colored fruit. It doesn't affect the taste at all but is a slight bummer for presentation.
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