Thursday, March 31, 2011

10 minute german sweet chocolate cream pie

This is the lightest, smoothest, yummiest pie. It's super easy so there's no excuses not to try this one!
Daughter #3 helped me make this pie. I let her lick the chocolate spoon then the spoon with whipped cream followed by the spoon with the chocolate and whipped cream combination. I said, "It's fun to cook, isn't it?" She replied, "It's fun to have whipped cream in your mouth!" You'll agree.

10 minute german sweet chocolate cream pie (my friend Erin K. who is probably packing this very minute)
1 package (4 ounces) baker's german sweet chocolate
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar, optional
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 cups or 1 (8 ounce) container cool whip
1 baked 8-inch graham cracker crumb crust, cooled

Heat chocolate and 2 tablespoons milk in the saucepan over low heat, stirring until chocolate is melted. Beat sugar into cream cheese, add remaining milk and chocolate mixture and beat until smooth. Fold chocolate mixture into whipped topping, blending until smooth. Spoon into crust. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours. Garnish with chocolate curls if desired. Store any leftover pie in freezer.

What I have to say- I only had 2 ounces of German sweet chocolate so I used a combination of German sweet chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. It worked!

italian style stuffed pork chops


These are really yummy. The filling reminds me of a really good spinach dip and I just happen to adore a good spinach dip.

italian style stuffed pork chops (adapted from blog: Andrea The Kitchen Witch)
makes 4 chops
4 thick cut boneless pork loin chops
4 ounces cream cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
handful of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
1/4 cup julienne cut sun dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
kosher salt and pepper
drizzle of oil

Preheat oven to 300F.
In a small bowl mix the cream cheese, Asiago, tomatoes, spinach, garlic, herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Divide this cheese mixture into thirds.
Create a pocket in the pork chops and stuff one portion of the cheese mixture in it. Sprinkle stuffed chops with salt and pepper.
Heat an oven safe skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil, once pan is hot add the chops. Sear chops on 1 side, once they're nicely browned flip and put pan in the oven, cook about 5-10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160 F. Remove from oven and hot pan, allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

mexican marinated carrots


I love these! They're a little bit sweet, spicy, tangy and salty. They're an excellent addition to any meal.

mexican marinated carrots (adapted from
1 package baby carrots
3 cups water
1/2 large onion, sliced thin
12 jalapeno rings from a jar
1/4 cup juice from jalapeno peppers jar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1-2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Cook carrots in the water for 10-15 minutes or until crisp tender. Do not overcook. Rinse with cold water. Drain. Add other ingredients to the carrots. Marinate.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

zucchini with lemon and thyme

The first time we tried this recipe I remember my husband said, "This is good for zucchini." Tonight as his plate sat with plastic wrap over the top I could hear him saying that over and over again in my mind. It was good and it was zucchini. Give it a try. We all need to eat more veggies.

zucchini with lemon and thyme (Everyday Food Magazine)
1 1/2 pounds zucchini (3 medium)
2 teaspoons olive oil
sea salt
ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Cut zucchini into large pieces. In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and toss to coat in oil. Season with sea salt and ground pepper and cook until golden brown in spots, about 4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves; season with salt and pepper. Serves 4.

Monday, March 28, 2011

authentic swedish tosca cake

Anytime I see a recipe that contains the word authentic I want to try it. I'm so glad I tried this recipe! I love the almond flavor and I enjoyed watching my daughter sink her teeth into a slice right after she came home and threw her backpack on the floor. I witnessed her big blue eyes close as she hummed,"Mmmmmm".

authentic swedish tosca cake (blog: Cucina di Harwood)
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup milk
1 2/3 cup flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon almond extract

Cream eggs and sugar for 5 minutes at medium speed in a mixer or with a hand held mixer. In a separate bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder. Add butter, milk, and flour mixture to egg mixture. Add each one individually and quickly mix them together. (If you mix the melted butter and the milk at the same time, it will make your butter harden.) Once all added, blend for 2 minutes. Pour into a 9x9 or 11x7 greased and floured pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.


1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 ounces chopped almonds
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Melt butter in saucepan; add milk, sugar, flour and almonds. Boil for 2 minutes- begin timing about as soon as you see bubbles. If you let it boil too long, it may make it stiff and could burn. Spread over cake; put under the broiler in the oven until it has a light brown color.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

garlic chicken


This is so simple and so tasty. Everyone in the family really enjoyed this dish. I, of course, had to add some spice so added lots of garlic chili sauce to my portion. I offered Soba noodles and steamed rice with this stir-fry and the noodles were the big hit.

garlic chicken (blog: You're Gonna Bake It After All)
boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
broccoli flowerettes
carrots, cut into match-sticks
mushrooms, optional
green onions with some tops, sliced
1 can water chestnuts, sliced (I used celery instead)
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon
2 teaspoons chopped or grated garlic
Note: any vegetables can be added to this such as snow pea pods or bamboo shoots. Amounts of chicken and each vegetable are up to your discretion.

1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons soy sauce

3 heaping teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Mix together cornstarch and soy sauce in a medium-sized bowl. Add chicken, stir, and set aside to marinate for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut vegetables and dissolve chicken bouillon into 1 cup hot water.
Saute chicken in 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Stir-fry until chicken is white. Add the chicken bouillon water, the carrots, and 2 teaspoons chopped garlic. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes.
Uncover and add the rest of the vegetables and a sauce made of 3 heaping teaspoons honey and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Stir-fry until done. Serve over cooked rice.

chocolate-chocolate pancakes

If you like pancakes, you'll fall in love with these. When you press on the pancakes while cooking, chocolate oozes out of the top. Amazing. Daughter #2 has been asking for these every Sunday for a while now so I decided this morning I'd surprise her with a big stack.

chocolate-chocolate pancakes (American Lifestyle Magazine)
1 2/3 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cups milk

Put the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the chocolate chips to the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs and vanilla together. Add melted butter, then milk and continue to blend. Pour the liquid mix over the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly. It should be about the consistency of a really good chocolate milkshake (and it smells divine!). Place a griddle or a large skillet over moderate heat and brush the surface with a little melted butter. Using a ladle, drop batter onto the griddle to make pancakes about 2-3 inches across. Cook until the edges begin to look dry and bubbles appear on the surface. Flip gently, and cook for another minute on the other side.
You can serve these with whatever you desire, although they really don't need anything on them. The recipe called for a raspberry compote but you could use blueberry. I pulled out some leftover cinnamon syrup and some slices of banana. If you want to keep it simple, you could simply dust some powdered sugar over the top or add a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

brazillian shrimp soup

This is a mild, delicious soup.

brazillian shrimp soup (blog: Delightful Bitefuls)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup long grain rice (instead, I threw in some cooked brown rice)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes
5 cups water
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and cut in half horizontally
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup cilantro or basil, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the rice, red pepper flakes, salt, crushed tomatoes, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 10 minutes or until the rice is almost tender. Stir in the coconut milk. Bring back to a simmer and then stir in the shrimp. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the black pepper, lemon juice and basil. Serve immediately.

What I hasve to say- Next time I will double the red pepper flakes.

almost-famous rosemary bread (macaroni grill knock-off)


Hall of Fame! This bread will have you thinking, "I made this? I made this in my very own kitchen?" Dim the lights and play some opera. You will think you are dining at the Macaroni Grill. Thank you Food Network Magazine!

almost-famous rosemary bread (Food Network Magazine, April 2011)
1 (1/4 ounce) packet active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing and serving
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

Stir the yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer). Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, the flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons rosemary, the fine salt and 3/4 cup warm water; stir with a wooden spoon (or with the dough hook if using a mixer) until a dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, dusting lightly with flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Or knead with the dough hook on medium-high speed, adding a little flour if the dough sticks to the bowl, about 8 minutes.)
Brush a large bowl with olive oil. Add the dough, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until more than doubled, about 2 hours.
Brush 2 baking sheets with olive oil. Generously flour a work surface; turn the dough out onto the flour and divide into 4 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, sprinkle some flour on the dough, then fold the top and bottom portions into the middle. Fold int he sides to make a free-form square. Use a spatula to turn the dough over, then tuck the corners under to form a ball. Place seam-side down on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with t he remaining dough, putting two balls on each baking sheet. Let stand, uncovered, until more than doubled, about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the loaves 20 minutes; brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with the kosher salt and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon rosemary. Continue baking until golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve with olive oil seasoned with pepper.

Friday, March 25, 2011

white castle burger knock-offs

I had never seen a white castle burger joint until I lived in St. Louis. I had lived there for a few years before my curiosity got the best of me when my sister was in town. The two of us (I'm sure my oldest was in the back seat) drove through the drive-through and got some of the teeniest tiniest little burgers I'd ever seen. Of course I ordered one for each of us and we laughed and laughed about those burgers.  These taste just like them.

white castle burger knock-offs (adapted from blog: or so she says)
2 eggs
3 tablespoons or more dried onion flakes
4 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup bread crumbs
2 pounds lean ground beef
rolls (Rhodes frozen rolls, for example)

Heat oven to 375 F. Beat eggs in a medium bowl. Add the onions, milk, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Stir. Add the breadcrumbs, then mix in the ground beef. Use your hands to squish the ingredients into the meat. Press the meat mixture onto a sheet pan and bake about 25 minutes, more or less, until the meat is cooked through. Cut into squares and place on a soft roll. Dip in ketchup.

easter basket cupcakes

My neighbor Morgane dropped these yummy cupcakes by when she brought her kids over for playtime, dinner and this fun dessert. Our kids have been trading off going here and there and have had so much fun doing that.

easter basket cupcakes
chocolate cupcakes, baked
chocolate icing
coconut, dyed
jelly beans
Twizzlers, of course (Morgane's husband works for Hershey)
tooth picks to secure the Twizzlers

cauliflower with cheese sauce

My 2nd daughter saw the cauliflower at the grocery store and immediately requested this recipe to go with our burgers tonight. I remember my mom making cheese sauce quite a lot and I never saw her use a recipe once. I can usually get away with not using one but decided to use one tonight.

cauliflower with cheese sauce (adapted from
1 head cauliflower or flowerets, cooked

I put the cauliflower in a glass bowl filled 1/3 full with water and microwave for 10 minutes until crisp-tender.

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
dash of salt and pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

In a saucepan, stir butter and flour together over medium heat and cook for a couple minutes. Add milk and cook until thickened. Add seasonings and cheese and continue to heat, stirring until cheese is melted.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

authentic enchurritos


These are the most authentic enchiladas I have ever made. When I taught kindergarten, one year I had two autistic boys in my classroom. They had an aide who helped them and helped me and her name was Mrs. Chavez. We became great friends and after I told her how much I love enchiladas she brought me a homemade enchilada and described how she made the sauce from scratch. It was the best enchilada I had ever tasted! When I saw this recipe years ago I realized this recipe is very close to the recipe she described. Although her enchiladas were better, this is a great recipe.

authentic enchurritos
2 tablespoons oil
3 pounds round steak, cut into 1/2" cubes or you can use ground beef
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 green bell pepper minced
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup oil
1 cup flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups or more mild cheddar cheese, grated

For the filling, heat oil in a large skillet over high heat and brown beef 8-10 minutes. Add onions and peppers and cook until soft. Stir in garlic powder, cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in
flour and then add tomato sauce and 1 1/2 cups water. Scrape up browned bits from bottom of pan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until meat is falling apart, 2-3 hours.
For the sauce, heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring until deep golden, 10-15 minutes. Add cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, tomato paste, and salt (I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons) and pepper (1/4 teaspoon) to taste. Gradually stir in 5 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and cook until thick, 25-30 minutes. Keep warm over low heat.
Note: The sauce smells divine, however when you taste it, you may think it lacks flavor at first. Don't lose heart. Assemble the enchurritos before you judge the flavor. Once they are assembled with melted cheese on top you'll realize they are very flavorful.
Roll up tortillas with filling. Pour sauce over the top and sprinkle cheese on top.

What I have to say- the more cheese on top the better!! If the cheese doesn't melt completely by the heat of the sauce then sometimes I slip it into the microwave for a few seconds. Top with Suzette's Taco Salsa.

suzette's taco salsa


This is the best salsa ever and it's time I share it even though salsa season isn't for a few months. This is the recipe that got me into canning which is something I didn't think I'd ever do. I could drink this stuff, and I do. So do my kids.

suzette's taco salsa (my friend Suzette who changed my life through this recipe)
10 large tomatoes, blanched and chopped
1/2 cup jalapenos, seeded and diced
1 small carrot, shredded
1/2 cups green chili, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons pickling salt, uniodized
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic salt
5-7 chili tepid seeds, crushed

Place all ingredients into a large pot and simmer for 1-1 1/2 hours stirring occasionally (until desired thickness). Use hand blender to mash even more if you like it less chunky. Pour into clean hot jars. Wipe tops of rings and process in steam canner for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

sophia loren's chicken


I am Frank's Red Hot's biggest fan. I love the stuff and have poured it over just about everything. If you happen to not be a fan, make the chicken anyway and do not pour Frank's over the top. I believe this is called Sophia Loren's Chicken because it's hot, spicy and Italian.
Tonight my kids ate the chicken this way (see above- chicken without sauce and chicken with sauce, one with potatoes and one with salad). To see how I ate mine, check out my buffalo chicken tacos. They were absolutely fantastic. Hall of Fame!

sophia loren's chicken (cookbook: 500 More Low-Carb Recipes)
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (you can use the cheap stuff in the shaker, I used the real thing this time)
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup Frank's hot sauce

Cut breasts into finger-sized pieces. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F.
Combine cheese and spices. Line a 9x13 casserole with tin foil.
Combine olive oil and garlic in a bowl. Dip each chicken piece in the oil then in the cheese/spice mix. Lay in casserole. Bake 45 minutes. Then pour 1 cup Frank's hot sauce over the chicken.

buffalo chicken tacos


Hall of Fame! These are to-die-for! As far as I'm concerned, no other chicken taco recipe can compete with this one. I can't believe I didn't think to use Sofia Loren's Chicken this way before!

buffalo chicken tacos
1 fresh batch of Sofia Loren's Chicken
8 corn tortillas, warmed
2 ounces blue cheese
3 tablespoons blue cheese or creamy Caesar dressing
4 cups shredded green-leaf lettuce
6 radishes, thinly sliced
2 carrots, shredded

While your Sophia Loren Chicken bakes, blend the blue cheese, dressing and 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Add the lettuce, radishes and carrots and toss to coat. When your chicken is ready, lay the tortillas on a work surface in a single layer. Divide the salad among them; top with the chicken and any juices.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

tex-mex cream of chicken soup


This soup is smooth and velvety with yummy chunks of all the good stuff- chicken, tomato, green chiles and cheese. I especially like the hint of spice. I found this recipe back in the day when blogs did not exist and folks were not as particular about noting sources.
tex-mex cream of chicken soup
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups milk
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese or Jalapeno Jack cheese

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, cook onion and garlic in a little bit of oil until onion is transparent. Stir in milk, cream, cream of chicken soup, chopped tomato, chiles, cilantro, and ground red pepper. Bring to boiling. Add chicken. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cheese; cook and stir until cheese melts. Garnish each serving with additional cilantro or parsley if desired. Makes 4 servings.

What I have to say- This recipe originally called for 1 (7 ounce) can of whole kernel corn with sweet peppers but I get tired of corn being thrown into every tex-mex dish so I usually omit.

Monday, March 21, 2011

strawberry coffee cake


I've always loved coffee cake. When I was in elementary school I'd go to my best friend Tammy's house and we'd each have a slice of bologna with mustard then we'd each unwrap and eat a 3-pack of Hostess coffee cakes. Those coffee cakes tasted sooo good!! We'd finish them off with a cup of milk in a plastic Tupperware cup then go outside and roller skate (1981). Those were the days.
This coffee cake is really good. A huge hit at our house. The kiddos had seconds and wanted thirds. This is dessert!

strawberry coffee cake (adapted from
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cold butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat the egg, milk and butter. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Pour into a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Top with strawberries.
For topping, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans if desired; sprinkle over strawberries.
Bake at 375 F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cut into squares; serve warm.

confetti meatloaf

My neighbor friend Melissa made this moist, flavorful and undoubtedly delicious meatloaf with greek potato salad for our meal swap tonight. I will be making it again and again.
Confession: I never liked meatloaf as a kid. I just couldn't get over the meat mixed with oatmeal and ketchup. Yuck! I distinctly remember gagging down many a meatloaf or hamburger patties and trying to get them down with a big gulp of milk. When I was a little older, probably in middle school, when I'd come home from school and ask what was for dinner my mom often times said "meatloaf". I'd then tell her I was going to make dinner instead and it wasn't going to be meatloaf. And I did. It didn't occur to me until much later on in life (adulthood) that she told me we were having meatloaf an awful lot and that she had been tricking me all those years. What a brilliant mother she was!

confetti meatloaf (my friend Melissa)
1 pound ground chicken
2 eggs
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
lemon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients well and place in a greased loaf pan. Bake for approximately 1 hour.

Serving suggestion: Pour your favorite salsa over the top.

greek potato salad with feta vinaigrette

My oldest got home from school and asked what we were going to have for dinner. I told her that Melissa was going to make us a meatloaf and potato salad. She asked, "What's potato salad?" She was serious. I then realized I have never made potato salad for her. Most likely because she and her sisters never liked potatoes until recently. Melissa made this terrific Greek potato salad to go with the confetti meatloaf she made for our meal swap. It's my new favorite potato salad! YUM!

greek potato salad with feta vinaigrette (my Greek friend Melissa found it at
2 pounds unpeeled potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dried oregano or 2 tablespoons fresh
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup halved pitted kalamata olives
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers (she excluded this time)
1 small green pepper, diced
1/2 cup tiny diced red onion
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Steam potatoes until very tender, 12-14 minutes (note from Melissa: steaming works bset, you don't want the potatoes to get too water-logged while cooking or they won't take up the dressing).
Meanwhile, in large bowl, make dressing by whisking together vinegar, olive oil, mustard, oregano, salt and pepper. When potatoes are still warm, toss them with the dressing and set aside until cool.
Stir in olives, cucumber, red and green peppers, onion, cheese and parsley.
Chill over night before serving.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

celery slaw

I wouldn't say celery and mushrooms are my most favorite vegetables but I love to try new things so I was excited to try this recipe. Of course celery and mushrooms are to be adored when paired with cheese and bacon!! It's absolutely delicious and I already look forward to having it again.

celery slaw (adapted from cookbook: Greene on Greens)
1 small bunch celery, trimmed (a stalk or two)
1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced (I used 1/2 pound)
1/4 pound Monterey Jack cheese, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 strips crisp-fried bacon, crumbled (I used some crumbled bacon from the deli salad bar)

Cut the celery into very thin strips, about 1-inch long; or cut into paper-thin slices crosswise. Place the celery in a large bowl with the mushrooms and cheese.
Combine the olive oil with the garlic, vinegar, and pepper in a small bowl. Pour this dressing over the celery mixture and toss well. Cover and let it stand in a cool place for 1 hour.
Add salt to taste, transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the crumbled bacon. Serves 4 to 6.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

lemon chicken


This dish was as good as it looks! The sauce was just right and the chicken had a nice crunch. Best of all, the chicken was baked so this is a healthy (and easy) version of take-out.

lemon chicken (blog: You're Going To Bake It After All)
3/4 cup finely crushed corn flakes cereal
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon pepper
salt to taste
1 egg white
1 teaspoon soy sauce
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ketchup
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 green onions, sliced

Line a baking sheet with foil; place in oven. Heat oven to 450 F.
Ina pie plate, combine crushed cereal, ginger, and pepper; mix well. In a small bowl, beat egg white, water and soy sauce until frothy. Lightly salt each chicken breast half as desired and dip in the egg white mixture. Place in pie pan; spoon cereal mixture over chicken to coat evenly.
Remove hot foil-lined baking sheet from oven; arrange coated chicken on sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until internal temperature of chicken reaches at least 165 F.
Meanwhile in a medium saucepan, combine broth and cornstarch; blend until smooth. Add honey, lemon juice, ketchup and garlic powder; mix well. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in lemon peel.
To serve, cut each chicken breast half crosswise into 6 or 7 pieces (or leave whole), arrange on 4 individual plates (over rice if desired). Spoon sauce over chicken; sprinkle with green onions.

What I have to say- next time I think I'll omit the green onions on top and instead sprinkle the top with roasted sesame seeds.

orange rolls

My husband described these as "light and fluffy with a citrus zest". Ever since he stayed with my friend Erin's parents in Portland and was served orange rolls I've had orange rolls on my mind. While this isn't the recipe he had on his trip, this is a great recipe. And hey- it's from Portland! I love the spirals. I baked some in muffin tins and some like a traditional cinnamon roll. Either way they are delicious.

orange rolls (blog: Home Based Mom)
2 packages yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup hot water
3 eggs, well beaten
1 cup flour
3 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. Dissolve and cool the sugar, shortening, salt and hot water. Mix eggs and 1 cup flour well and add to sugar mixture. Add yeast mixture and remaining flour. Cover and refrigerate overnight. About 4 hours before serving roll out like cinnamon rolls and spread with:
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
rind of 1 orange

Mix and spread on dough. Roll up dough and slice about 1 inch thick. Put in greased muffin tins and let rise 3-4 hours. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Spread with glaze made of jice of the orange and powdered sugar.

What I have to say- my "glaze" was a true glaze but next time I'll add more powdered sugar so it's more icing like just like Leigh Anne did at Home Based Mom. I was impatient and wanted to get eating! Also, I only let them rise for an hour. I think that was plenty. We were able to make 1 1/2 dozen.

sausage and cajun home-fried potatoes

This makes a nice, hearty breakfast. There's no need to add any extra oil or butter which I love about this dish! It's so flavorful!!

sausage and cajun home-fried potatoes
1 Hillshire Farms chicken kilbasa sausage, cut into rounds
2 white potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 white onion, sliced
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper

Cook sausage in a pan on medium-high heat until browned. Remove sausage from heat and keep warm. To the same pan, add potatoes and onions and seasonings with 1-2 tablespoons water. Fry and continue to fry adding a little bit of water as necessary until potatoes and are fully cooked.

Friday, March 18, 2011

pesto pea salad

This salad was really yummy. My neighbor friend Shannon came over since our kiddos weren't finished playing so she had some too. She's as fond of peas as I am. She commented that it would be a great salad with some cold pasta thrown in. It sure would be! This is a great summer salad and it sure felt like summer today! I had my salad with a spicy shredded chicken sandwich. Summer tastes so good!

pesto pea salad (adapted from cookbook- Barefoot Contessa at Home, Ina Garten)
1/4 pound baby spinach leaves
1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas, defrosted
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, optional

Wash the spinach leaves and spin them dry. Place the spinach and the peas in a large bowl. Add the pesto and Parmesan, then sprinkle with the salt. Toss well, sprinkle with pine nuts, and serve.

lemon coconut pixies

The weather is still absolutely beautiful and we are all so much happier for it (the winters in PA are sooooo long!). My kids ran around the neighborhood all day and I thought it would be fun to take something to the playground this afternoon to share. My kids and a couple of their friends sampled the cookies then immediately asked for more. I was looking for a light, refreshing cookie. I suppose I was looking for lemonade in cookie form. That's it- that's what they're like- tropical lemonade. The great thing about this recipe is that it gave me a chance to use up the extra coconut I had from the leprechaun burgers we made this week!

lemon coconut pixies (cookbook: HERSHEY'S)
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
powdered sugar

Heat oven to 300 F.
Beat butter, sugar, eggs and lemon peel in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to lemon mixture, beating until blended. Stir in coconut. Cover; refrigerate dough about 1 hour or until firm enough to handle. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in powdered sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Store in tightly covered container in a cool, dry place. Made 2 1/2 dozen.

What I have to say- You will want to dip the cookies into the powdered sugar again after they have been baked and cooled. One more thing. This recipe reminds me of something. Erin K.- you know what it's the coconut. Makes me laugh every time. I'll have to make those bunnies this year and write about it.

stuffed hot dogs

There are two purposes for this blog. The first is to compile all my favorite tried and true recipes as well as a lot of new favorites so at the end of the year I can print out a cookbook for myself and my kids. The second purpose which I didn't recognize until after I started this project is to record my current thoughts but most importantly, my memories. I do not like to write in a journal so here it is! This particular recipe dates back to my childhood. If we were to dig deeper, we would picture my mom at BYU with her roommates, taking turns making dinner for each other, this being one of their favorite recipes.
I can remember my mom telling me many times that when she and my dad were first married (they were so young!), they couldn't afford to buy a whole package of hot dogs so she bought them individually. That was back in the day when they could hardly "rub two pennies together" and were "poor as church mice".
My kids did not have school today because we had parent/teacher conferences. I had never made these for my family before and when I saw our new package of Oscar Meyer hot dogs in the fridge and the potatoes on the kitchen counter I just knew I had to make them. My kids LOVED them just as I LOVED them as a kid. What's not to love?

stuffed hot dogs (my mom)
Oscar Meyer hot dogs, cooked
homemade mashed potatoes
cheddar cheese, grated

Cut slits in each cooked hot dog. Stuff with mashed potatoes and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake or microwave until the cheese is melted.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

black forest reubens

I'll never forget my first Reuben. My family stopped at a little diner on the way to Visalia to visit my uncle, aunt and cousins. My dad saw Reubens on the menu and encouraged me to order one so I did. It was so rich and delicious. So rich and delicious and fattening that I had a belly ache for a good few hours. It was worth it, I remember. This recipe is big on taste but skips the mayonnaise based dressing that usually goes on the sandwich so you can feel good afterward. You may even be tempted to have another. This sandwich is magnificent.

black forest reubens (adapted from cookbook: Rachael Ray's Book of 10)
8 slices pumpernickel bread
4 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons dill pickle relish
1 green onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
4 tablespoons dijon mustard
16 deli slices Swiss cheese
3/4 pound deli-sliced corned beef
3/4 pound deli-sliced Black Forest ham
1 small jar sauerkraut

Spread one side of each bread slice with softened butter. In a small bowl, mix together the relish, green onion, capers and mustard. Build the sandwiches with buttered sides of the bread facing out: slather a liberal amount of the mustard mixture on 4 slices, then top with a slice of Swiss, one fourth of the corned beef, one fourth of the ham, a small mound of sauerkraut, another slice of cheese, and finally another slice of bread.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Toast the Reubens for 5 to 6 minutes on each side until the cheese melts. Cut the sandwiches in half and serve with pickles and gourmet potato chips.

What I have to say- Next time I think I'll add a little ketchup with the mustard sauce to sweeten up the sauce a little bit.

cucumber and lime spritzer

I needed something green to drink for St. Patty's Day but I'm not big on sweetened beverages so I opted for this. It's really refreshing and went perfect with my Reuben sandwich, which by the way was delicious!
P.S. I cannot believe the weather today- GORGEOUS! Weather like this calls for another spritzer this afternoon.

cucumber and lime spritzer (idea from Real Simple Magazine, July 2009)
club soda
fresh lime juice
English cucumber, thinly sliced
ice cubes

Since it would be unlikely for me to make a big pitcher full, for an individual serving I used 1 tablespoon lime juice, about 12 ounces of club soda and 3 slices of cucumber, halved.

leprechaun burgers

Happy St. Patrick's Day! When I taught kindergarten all the kindergartners at Amelia Earhart School, where I taught (and attended as a kid!!) were asked to construct leprechaun traps and bring them to school for show-and-tell. I was amazed how creative the parents were! Some of the teachers and kids made leprechaun burgers to try to entice the little leprechauns into their traps. In most cases, we'd find sparkly green leprechaun tracks leading up to the traps (green washable paint with glitter) but no leprechauns. Those little guys were sure sneaky!

leprechaun burgers
bun: Nilla wafers
patty: York peppremint patties (miniature)
lettuce: coconut dyed with green food coloring (shake together in a resealable bag)
sesame seeds:"glue" to the tops of the burgers with honey

You can serve these burgers with the little shoestring potato chips- they look like miniature french fries. This would also be a great surprise for April Fool's Day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

fluffy biscuits

I was in the mood to make biscuits. They ended up becoming a great after school snack. The kids loved them. GREAT recipe! Makes me think the "biscuits" in the refrigerator section aren't biscuits at all...

fluffy biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2/3 cup milk

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat egg with milk; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
Turn onto a well-floured surface; knead 20 times. Roll to 3/4-inch thickness; cut with a floured 2-1/2-inch biscuit cutter. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.