Monday, February 12, 2018

homemade enchilada sauce

I made some delicious Cuban pork last night for a Mexican buffet and decided to put together a casserole for tonight.  I decided to try to make an enchilada sauce and I love how it turned out.  So easy to make!  Below is a double batch which makes 4 cups.  I figure I will always need at least 4 cups.

homemade enchilada sauce (Cookie and Kate)
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons flour (I used whole wheat)
2 tablespoons ground chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken broth)
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

This sauce comes together quickly once you get started so measure the dry ingredients into a small bowl and place it near the stove.  Place the tomato paste and broth near the stove as well.
In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, warm the oil until it's hot. Pour in the flour and spice mixture.  While whisking constantly, cook until fragrant and slightly deepened in color, about 1 minute.  Whisk the tomato paste into the mixture, then slowly pour in the broth while whisking constantly to remove any lumps.
Raise heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.  Cook, whisking often, for about 5-7 minutes, until the sauce has thickened a bit.
Remove from heat then whisk in the vinegar and season to taste with a generous amount of ground black pepper.  Add more salt if necessary.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

santa rosa chicken and rice salad

What the heck- I can't get this this photo the right way and this salad is Hall of Fame.  It's so simple and fresh and tasty.  I think it's the avocados.  And the dressing.  And the quinoa and brown rice blend.  And the red peppers.  And the sugar snap peas.  Everything just tastes soooo good together.

santa rosa chicken salad (adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe)
1 box Near East Quinoa and Brown Rice bland, cooked as directed then cooled
2 big chicken breasts, cooked and shredded then cooled (I cooked mine in a slow cooker)
1 large avocado, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup sugar snap peas, sliced into small pieces

1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
sprinkle of pepper

Put all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Put all the dressing ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid and shake until thoroughly mixed.  Pour half the dressing over the salad and stir gently to combine.  If you need more dressing, use it- I didn't think it needed any more.  Serve right away or refrigerate.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

slow cooker tender greek pork

I LOVE this recipe.  The pork turned out so flavorful and delicious.  My favorite toppings only made it that much more fresh, flavorful and delicious.  HUGE hit with my entire family.  I even added a little hummus to my sandwich.
Note to self:  I thought the pitas were too fluffy.  That may sound strange but it's true.

slow cooker tender greek pork (Mel's Kitchen Cafe)
3-4 pounds pork roast, cut into 2-3" chunks
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Put pork in slow cooker.  Whisk together the other ingredients and pour over the top.  Cook on low 8-9 hours or on high 4-5 hours.  
Serve with pitas and all the toppings.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

chicken and brown rice soup

Perfect for a rainy day.  I wasn't sure how I was going to like the herbs de Provence but this soup is delicious.  In fact, my kids didn't wait for dinner because it was hot on the stove when they got home from school so they'll enjoy it twice.

chicken and brown rice soup (mel's kitchen cafe)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
6 cups chicken broth
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup brown jasmine rice
2 teaspoons herbs de Provence (I found mine at Trader Joes)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4-5 cups chopped kale
3 cups cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)

Heat oil in a soup pot.  Add onion, carrots and celery.  Cook 2-3 minutes until vegetables soften.  Add broth tomatoes, rice, herbs and pepper.  Simmer and cook 40-45 minutes.  Stir in kale and chicken.  Season if necessary.  May serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese over the top and with crusty bread.

Friday, January 12, 2018

lasagna casserole

As I was thumbing through my SIL's ward favorites cookbook I saw this recipe and it caught my eye because it was a twist on the classic lasagna so of course I had to try it.  I liked it!  Furthermore, I didn't expect my kids to like it and they did!  Even my son ate it although he literally spit out an olive onto his plate.  It was one of those moments when you catch yourself staring with your mouth wide open. 

lasagna casserole (La Canada ward "favorites" cookbook)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 (28 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 (4 ounce) can mushrooms, drained
1 (4 ounce) can sliced olives, drained
2 teaspoons oregano
1 pound leanest ground beef
lasagna noodles (I like the flat sheets that are whole wheat)
2 cups shredded cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I used Campbell's Healthy Request)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, saute onion and green peppers in a couple tablespoons water until tender.  Add tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, oregano and ground beef.  Cook until ground beef is no longer pink.   Simmer uncovered 10 minutes.  Place 2 cups of sauce in a greased 9x13.  Sprinkle with a cup of shredded cheese.  Place flat lasagna noodles over the shredded cheese.  Repeat:  2 cups sauce, cheese, lasagna noodles.  Then add the last two cups of sauce and mix the can of soup with the milk until smooth.  Pour over the top.  Top with grated Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 for an hour.

homemade baked doughnut

I thought doughnut making would be a fun after school activity and it was!  The kids and I made some very traditional looking and tasting donuts.  My husband grabbed all sorts of interesting things from the pantry to make voo-doo type doughnuts.  These baked doughnuts aren't the same as fried but they're totally fun to make and a lot healthier.
Note:  I made a double batch so that's the recipe you'll find below.  It made 3 dozen doughnuts in Wilton donut pans.
Update 1/24/18:  My daughter and I made these for the treat bucket for Activity Days.  We omitted the nutmeg and used 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract instead.  We added 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips to the batter.  For the vanilla glaze we added some lemon extract and everyone agrees they were much better!

homemade baked doughnuts (King Arthur
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I may put use lemon extract instead next time)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly grease doughnut pans.  In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars until smooth.  Add the eggs, beating to combine.  Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla.  Stir the flour into the batter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
Spoon the batter into the lightly greased doughnut pans, filling the wells to about 1/4" shy of the rim.
Bake for 9 minutes.  Remove them from the oven, and wait 5-7 minutes before turning them out of the pans and onto a rack.  Dip into a glaze and decorate with toppings of your choice.

easy vanilla glaze
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons melted butter
4 tablespoons milk or water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix until nice and smooth.

chocolate glaze
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt in a small sauce pan on low heat until nice and smooth.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

store bought favorite: party hawaiian meatballs

Earlier this week my daughter got into the car after teaching piano lessons and told me the family she taught was having meatballs for dinner and she got to sample them.  She said they were so delicious I just had to get the recipe.  I texted my friend Mandy and asked for the recipe and she said that she grabs the party size mini meatballs at Trader Joes along with the Hawaiian soy sauce and throws it in the slow cooker and cooks them on low all day. This is going to be our little secret.  Teenagers are hard to impress...but not this time! :)  
Thank you Trader Joes!

store bought favorite: party hawaiian meatballs (my friend Mandy)
2 bags party size mini meatballs from Trader Joes
1 bottle Island Soyaki from Trader Joes

I threw the meatballs into my slow cooker and poured half the bottle of Soyaki over the top and set the slow cooker on low.  I plan to serve the meatballs over rice.