Monday, January 28, 2008

Navajo Tacos

What can I say I love these. Everytime we go to a fair I'm always scouting around looking for the Navajo taco booth. Honestly these rank right up there on my all time favorite food list.

1 qt. buttermilk, warm

2 tbsp. sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. soda

2 tbsp. yeast softened in 3/4 c. buttermilk
2 tbsp. oil
3 tsp. baking powder
6-8 c. flour
Mix ingredients. Let raise once. Fry in deep or shallow, hot grease.
To make the taco:
Add heated chili mixture or bean mixture to scone.
Cover with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and salsa. You can also add sour cream.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hawaiian Haystacks

These are a big hit in my state although I still haven't found the appeal of these. I can see how they are great for using up leftover veggies in the house. My kids seem to like the chicken mixture. You can adapt the recipe to your preferences easily. Here is a basic recipe for the haystacks taken from Angel Shannon's recipe she used on Good Things Utah:

10 to 12 chicken tenders (chuck into chunks)

1 cup chicken broth

2 cans (10 3/4 oz each) cream of chicken soup, condensed

1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk

6 cups cooked rice

Place chicken in greased 3 1/2 to 5 quart slow cooker. Combine all remaining ingredients except rice and pour over chicken. Cover and cook on high heat 3 - 4 hours or on low heat 6 - 8 hours.

Serve over hot rice with a variety of cold toppings that could include grated cheese, peas, pineapple tidbits, shredded coconut, raisins. Chinese noodles, olives, diced tomatoes, diced green peppers, sliced green onions, and other family favorites.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Pasta E Fagiloi

I love this soup and am constantly looking for the perfect recipe. This one comes pretty close and has been my favorite one I've made so far. I took the recipe from America's Test Kitchen cookbook. I added parmesan cheese rind to the soup during the simmering stage. I also used dried beans that I'd cooked and frozen previously instead of canned beans. It was very quick to make and easy too. This recipe can be made in advanced and even frozen, which is very nice.
4 ounces bacon (about 4 slices), chopped medium
1 onion, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 15.5 ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed (I used 3 cups cooked dried northern beans)
3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 cups watersalt8 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) small shaped pasta like ditalini, orzo and stellini
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 ounces parmesan cheese, grated
I also added 2 small chunks of parmesan rind to the cooking soup
Cook the bacon in a large dutch over over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Stir in the onion, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, beans, broth, water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. This is where I added the rind.
Stir in the pasta and cook until just slightly underdone. Off heat, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle individual bowls with grated parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil before serving.
This soup can be prepared through step 1, cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month. Reheat over low heat before proceeding with step 2.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Apricot Chicken with Snappy Pea Pods

Again I'm stating the fact I'm not a fan of fruity flavored meat. For some reason its just not something I like the flavor of. However I did like this recipe. I could not really taste the fruity flavor or it was the right combination of flavor for me. Everyone liked the chicken in my family. The snap peas I did not like. I don't know what I didn't like about them but I was the only one who didn't like the peas. I found both of the recipes in Taste of Home's Simple and Delicious magazine. Both recipes were easy and didn't take long to make.
Apricot Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
6 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
1 cup biscuit/baking mix
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons orange juice
Flatten chicken to 1/4 inch thickness; set aside. Pour 5 tablespoons butter into a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine biscuit mix and parsley. Dip chicken in butter, then coat with biscuit mixture.
In a large skillet, cook chicken in oil and remaining butter over medium heat for 9-10 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.
Meanwhile, in a small microwave safe bowl, combine preserves and orange juice. Cover and microwave on high for 30-40 seconds or until preserves are melted; stir until combined. Drizzle over chicken; cook for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.
Snappy Pea Pods
1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3/4 pound fresh or frozen sugar snap peas
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a large skillet, saute mushrooms and onion in oil until crisp tender. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer for 2-4 minutes or until peas are crisp tender. Serve with a slotted spoon.

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Parmesan Fettuccine, Steaks with Peppery Onions, and Sweet Sour Spinach Salad

I found this in Taste of Home's Simple and Delicious magazine. Everything was really simple to make. I really liked the spinach salad. I'd say it took me about 40 minutes to make everything from start to finish. The Parmesan Fettuccine was just as easy to make as those side dish boxes of pasta with the added benefit of no chemicals. And it tasted better than the box dishes.
Parmesan Fettuccine
8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
1/3 cup butter, cubed
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Cook fettuccine according to package directions; drain.
In a large skillet, melt butter over lower heat. Add fettuccine and stir until coated. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and pepper; toss to coat.
Steaks with Peppery Onions
3 medium onions, sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 boneless rib eye steaks
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the onions, garlic, salt and pepper in oil and butter for 15-20 minutes or until the onions are golden brown, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile, broil steaks 3-4 inches from the heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until the meat reaches desired doneness. Serve with onion mixture.
Sweet-Sour Spinach Salad
1 package (about 9 ounces) fresh spinach torn
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
In a large salad bowl, combine the spinach, cranberries, and onions. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the oil, sugar, vinegar, mustard, and celery seed; shake well. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

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Chicken Paprikash

I love love love this dish. Don does not like it so much. I could eat this once a week and never tire of it. I prefer to serve it with homemade tiny dumplings but Don does not like them so I use store bought egg dumpling noodles. You can make tiny dumplings by making your usually batch of dumplings and dropping very tiny balls of dough into boiling water. When they float to the top they are done. Chicken paprikash sounds like a hard dish to make but its actually quite easy. Added bonus only a few ingredients to make to this delicious dish. I found this recipe on You can easily adjust this recipe to your preferences. I prefer having my onions sliced thin not chopped. I also use a little more paprika. You can serve this with rice or wide noodles too.
4 lbs chicken
2 small onions, chopped
1 tablespoon butter or oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 cup sour cream
In a stock pot or Dutch oven sauté onions in butter until tender.
Add water until pot is 1/3 full. Add chicken, garlic powder, salt, pepper and paprika. Make sure water is covering the chicken, if not add more until it just covers. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 90 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg, beaten
Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until combined. Make a well in the center and drop in the egg and about 1/4 cup water. Stir and add more water by the tablespoon until you have a sticky dough that just leaves the side of the bowl.
In a separate large pot, boil water. Drop dumpling mixture by the teaspoon into the boiling water. (I use a regular teaspoon from my flatware, not a measuring spoon.) If dumpling mix is too sticky to drop from spoon, then dip the spoon into the boiling water, the dumpling should slide right off.
When dumplings start floating on top, remove them with a slotted spoon or drain them. You may have to reduce the heat to see when they are floating. About 30 minutes before chicken should be done, add the dumplings to the pot with the chicken. Add the paprika.
After 30 minutes, you should have a delicious dish: the chicken should be tender enough that it is falling off of the bone and the dumplings should have made a thicker sauce out of the liquid the chicken was cooking in. Before serving, add 1 cup sour cream.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008


I've never been a fan of calzones. I love the concept but have never been impressed with the actual calzone. The other day I wanted something different so I set about making calzones for dinner. Along the way I discovered that there are lots of ways to make calzones and disagreements with how a calzone should be made. Some say you shouldn't put sauce in with the calzone and some say you should. I decided to take a little bit of sauce in the calzone. I also used fresh mushrooms, pepperoni, and onions along with mozzarella cheese. I found the recipe both for the dough and the pizza sauce on

Recipe for the dough
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the oil, sugar and salt; mix in 1 cup of the flour until smooth. Gradually stir in the rest of the flour, until dough is smooth and workable. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, or until it is elastic. Lay dough in a bowl containing 1 teaspoon olive oil, then flip the dough, cover and let rise for 40 minutes, or until almost doubled.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
When dough is ready, punch it down and separate it into 2 equal parts. Roll parts out into thin circles on a lightly floured surface. Fill each circle with 1/2 of the cheese/meat filling and fold over, securing edges by folding in and pressing with a fork. Brush the top of each calzone with egg and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Pizza Sauce

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
6 fluid ounces warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
salt to taste

In a small bowl, combine tomato paste, water, Parmesan cheese, garlic, honey, anchovy paste, onion powder, oregano, marjoram, basil, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and salt; mix together, breaking up any clumps of cheese.
Sauce should sit for 30 minutes to blend flavors; spread over pizza dough and prepare pizza as desired.

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Greek Dinner

We love eating at University Broiler and I've been trying to find a recipe that comes close to their food. I found the rice and chicken recipe on Kayln's kitchen blog (I have a link on the right side of my blog) and the potato and salad dressing recipe on Allrecipes. The chicken was good, Don thought the chicken was great as did they boys who ate all that was given to them, but I thought it was not quite what I wanted. But then I don't like lemon on my chicken much although I do love the University Broiler's. The rice was perfect. I really really like the rice and although it didn't taste just like the UB I thought it was better. The potatoes were good but missing something. I did add a little of the salad dressing to them as I served them but they were still missing something. The salad dressing is great. Made just like the recipe on allrecipes its a little bitter so I added some sugar to mask the bitter taste. You may like it with the bitter taste so I'm leaving the recipe as it is on allrecipes.

Very Greek Grilled Chicken
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp. powdered lemon peel
1 tsp. Greek seasoning
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. dried oregano
black pepper to taste
Trim all visible fat and membranes from chicken breasts, I like to make small crosswise slits about 1/2 inch apart down the length of each chicken breast to help the marinade penetrate the meat. Put chicken in single layer in zip-loc bag. Combine marinade ingredients and pour over. Marinate in refrigerator 6-8 hours or all day if desired. (If you don't have that long to marinate I recommend increasing the lemon juice a little.) Preheat grill to medium-hot and grill chicken 20-25 minutes, or until well browned and firm but not hard to the touch. (This could also be cooked on a stove-top grill pan, or broiled.)
Georgette's Really Lemony Greek Pilafi
1 cup Uncle Ben's Converted Rice (not instant)
2 T olive oil (or 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil)
1 tsp. salt3 T lemon juice (or more)
3 C chicken stock
Use a heavy pan with a tight fitting lid. Saute rice in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add salt and lemon juice and saute 1 minute more. Add chicken stock carefully so it doesn't splash up on you, let it come to a boil, reduce heat to the lowest you can get it and still keep the liquid boiling and cook 30 minutes without peeking at all.After 30 minutes you are allowed to peek to see if all the liquid is absorbed. If not cook a few more minutes until it has. I find it usually takes 35 minutes, but I can't keep myself from peeking after 30 minutes.
Absolutely Fabulous Greek/House Dressing
1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 cup and 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

In a very large container, mix together the olive oil, garlic powder, oregano, basil, pepper, salt, onion powder, and Dijon-style mustard. Pour in the vinegar, and mix vigorously until well blended. Store tightly covered at room temperature.
Greek Style Potatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 cubes chicken bouillon
ground black pepper to taste
6 potatoes, peeled and quartered

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a small bowl, mix olive oil, water, garlic, lemon juice, thyme, rosemary, bouillon cubes and pepper.
Arrange potatoes evenly in the bottom of a medium baking dish. Pour the olive oil mixture over the potatoes. Cover, and bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours in the preheated oven, turning occasionally, until tender but firm.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cranberry Vanilla Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I made this loaf of bread for Christmas gifts for neighbors and friends. I found this in a King Arthur Baking Companion magazine. I'm sure I stated before I really prefer King Arthur flour for my baking needs. The picture doesn't do this bread justice. Its a very tender bread that just tastes great. I had every person who received this bread from me contact me for the recipe. If your not a fan or cranberries (I'm not but this really tasted good) you can sub raisins for the cranberries or leave them out.
1 1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons unsalted butter soft
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Baker's Special dry milk or nonfat dry milk
1/4 cup potato flour
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons instant clearjel or cornstarch
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
1 cup chopped dried cranberries or raisins, optional
Vanilla Glaze
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
2 tablespoons milk
To make the dough
Combine all of the dough ingredients by hand, mixer, or bread machine, mixing and kneading to form a soft, smooth dough. Place in a covered bowl and allow to rise until double (45 minutes to 1 hour).
To make the swirl
Combine the cinnamon, sugars, and clearjel; set aside. When you're ready to shape the loaf, whisk in the milk and vanilla paste or extract.
To assemble
After the dough's first rise, grease your hands (the dough will be soft and a bit sticky) and pat the dough out on a greased surface to a 7 x 20 inch rectangle (the longer the rectangle, the more spirals you'll get). Spread the surface with the swirl mixture, and sprinkle with dried fruit. Starting with a short end, roll up into a log, pinch the seam together, and place in a greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Cover with a piece of greased plastic wrap and let rise until the bread is an inch above the rim of the pan; about 30 to 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When the dough has risen, place the bread in the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the center measures 190 degrees on an instant read thermometer, and the bottom sounds hollow when you tap it. Remove the bread from the oven and its pan, and place on a rack to cool thoroughly before glazing.
To make the glaze
Combine all the ingredients to make a pourable glaze; spread over the top of the cooled bread.

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Shepard's Pie

Can you believe my husband has never had Shepard's Pie? You'd think after almost 10 years of marriage I would have realized this or made this dish before last night. I'll admit its not one of my favorite dishes in the world but its a great cheap meal if you use leftovers. I'm not a fan of mashed potatoes which is probably the best reason why I don't love this dish. The best thing about Shepard's pie is you can adjust the ingredients to what you have on hand. Plus its a quick to fix dinner if you have leftover mashed potatoes or those instant potatoes (BTW I find these to be even more disgusting than mashed potatoes but I realize some people like them). Here is how I made my Shepard's pie the other night:
In a cast iron skillet over medium high heat I placed-
1 pound ground beef
And cooked until it was losing the pink color. I then added
1 onion chopped
3 garlic cloves minced (I love garlic but if your not a fan don't use as much or don't use at all)
After the ground beef was cooked and the onion soft I made gravy in the pan with the cooked ingredients:
1 1/2 cups water
1 beef bouillon cube crushed
2 tablespoons cornstarch
black pepper to taste
I let the gracy thicken then I added about 1 1/2 cups frozen vegetable soup mix to the mixture. Mixed until all the ingredients were combined then spread mashed potatoes over the top. I placed the cast iron skillet in the oven at 375 degrees and cooked for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes I added some cheddar cheese to the top of the potatoes and cooked for another 5 minutes which is about how long it took the cheese to melt.
It ended up tasting great and it was all done in one dish so less cleanup. Remember you can use whatever ingredients you want in this to customize it for you and your family. And you don't have to use ground beef you can use ground chicken or turkey.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Knock off of Quizno's Honey Bacon Club

I love Quizno's Honey Bacon club. Since my goal is to cut down on the unhealthy foods in the world we have chosen not to eat out as much this year I've resorted to trying to make knock offs of my favorite meals. On the actual Quizno's sandwich they put the bun, honey, turkey, bacon, cheese, red onions, tomato, lettuce, and a french type dressing. On my remake of their sandwich I left off the turkey as I always ask them to leave off the turkey when I order. I made my own french dressing as I'm not using bottled salad dressing anymore. I will include the recipe at the end of the sandwich.
Ingredients needed:
Deli ham amount depends on how many you are making, thinly sliced
Hoagie rolls again depends on how many you are making
Sliced cheese, Provolone or swiss work best
Bacon, cooked but not crispy
Shredded lettuce
sliced red onion
sliced tomato
French salad dressing

Set oven to broil.

On a cookie sheet place one hoagie bun cut in half. Spread French salad dressing on both sides of the bun. Place cheese (I used on piece cut in half but you can use as many slices as you'd like), for the cheese I used provolone but swiss would also work, on one side and on the other side place deli ham (we use nitrate free, sliced thin). On top of the cheese place three slices of bacon (hint don't cook crispy as it will crisp up in the oven) and place the red onion on top of the ham. Place in oven to broil. Watch closely and remove when toasted.

Once it is out place shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes. Add more dressing if you prefer. Cut in half and serve.

French dressing:

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon grated onion
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (or more to taste)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Add all ingredients except mayonnaise to lidded container and shake vigorously until combined. Whisk dressing and mayonnaise together in bowl until combined. (Dressing can be refrigerated in airtight container for 1 week.)

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Beef Stir Fry with Ginger Sauce

3/4 pound beef cut in small strips
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry

Vegetable Categories: Use any combination from each of the four batch categories below for a total of 1 1/2 pounds)
carrots , cauliflower, onions, or peppers (first batch)
asparagus , green beans, broccoli, or butternut squash (second batch)
cabbage , celery, chard, fennel, mushrooms, peas, sugar snap peas, summer squash, or zucchini (third batch)
scallions , fresh herbs, tender greens, or tomatoes (fourth batch)

Remaining Ingredients
2 tablespoons chopped scallions , white part only
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 - 4 tablespoons canola oil or peanut oil

3 tablespoons soy sauce, light style if available
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
2 scallions , minced
2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth
1. Toss meat with soy sauce and sherry in medium bowl; set aside. Combine all sauce ingredients in a second small bowl. Divide vegetables into two or three batches according to ingredient list.
2. Heat 12- or 14-inch nonstick skillet over high heat, 4 minutes (pan should be so hot, you can hold your outstretched hand 1 inch above its surface for no more than 3 seconds); add 1 tablespoon oil (add 2 tablespoons for tofu or fish) and rotate pan so that bottom is evenly coated. Let oil heat until it just starts to shimmer and smoke. Check heat with hand. Drain meat, seafood, or tofu, then add to pan and stir-fry until seared and about three-quarters cooked (about 20 seconds for fish, 60 seconds for meat, 2 minutes for tofu, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes for chicken). Spoon cooked meat or seafood into serving dish. Cover and keep warm.
3. Let pan come back up to temperature, 1 or 2 minutes. When hot, drizzle in 2 teaspoons of oil, and when oil just starts to smoke, add vegetables from first category. Stir-fry until vegetables are just tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Leaving first batch in pan, repeat with remaining vegetables, cooking each set of vegetables until tender-crisp, or for fourth category, wilted. Add about a teaspoon of oil for each new batch (amount of oil will depend on skillet you are using—nonstick pans require about a teaspoon; other pans may require 2 teaspoons). Clear center of pan and add garlic, ginger, and scallions. Drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon of oil. Mash into pan with back of a spatula. Cook for 10 seconds. Remove pan from heat and stir garlic/ginger mixture into vegetables for 20 seconds.
4. Return pan to heat and add cooked meat, seafood, or tofu. Stir in sauce and stir-fry to coat all ingredients, about 1 minute. Serve immediately with rice.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Que Pasta Mac 'n' cheese

We really loved this recipe. The kids wouldn't touch it but I think they were having an off night when it came to eating. From Rachel Rays November 2007 magazine.

4 poblano chiles
1 pound farfalle (bowtie) pasta or whole wheat penne rigate pasta
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (1/2 palmful)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander (1/2 palmful)
2 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend or a mix of cheddar and queso fresco cheeses
2 small vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 avocado, cut into small cubes
4 scallions, chopped
Juice of 1 lime

1. Preheat the broiler to high. Broil the poblanos on a pan until charred on all sides, 12 to 15 minutes. Place in a paper bag and let cool for 10 minutes. Peel, seed and chop.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente.
3. While the pasta is working, in a medium saucepan, heat the EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the butter and stir to melt. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken broth, then the milk, and bring to a simmer. Season with the cumin, coriander and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the cheese and cook, stirring, until melted.
4. Toss the pasta with the sauce and reserved poblanos. Serve in shallow bowls; top with the tomatoes, avocado and scallions and drizzle with the lime juice.

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Mexican Pizza

12 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (3 cups)
4 ounces monterey jack cheese, shredded (1 cup)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
12 small flour tortillas
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
Two 15.5-ounce cans red kidney beans, rinsed
Salt and pepper
One 8-ounce jar taco sauce
One 4.5-ounce can chopped green chiles
One 3 1/2-ounce package cooked chorizo sausage, thinly sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups cheddar with the monterey jack and set aside.
2. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Arrange 6 tortillas on the sheet so that the surface is covered, overlapping as needed. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese evenly over the tortillas, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides; cover with the remaining 6 tortillas, overlapping as needed. Prick the top layer with a fork and bake until the tortillas begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until golden-brown, about 10 minutes. Add the beans and 1/4 cup water and mash until the beans are soft and the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Spread the bean mixture over the tortillas, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with the taco sauce, chiles, chorizo and reserved cheese mixture. Bake until the cheese is melted, 25 to 30 minutes.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Pita Bread

I have not tried this yet but since I did set up this blog to track recipes I've tried or want to try I'm posting this. Hopefully I'll get these made in the next few days and have a picture to post. I found this on a thread on the MDC boards.

Update: We made these for a greek dinner I served. I didn't roll them out thin enough as they were quite thick. The taste though was better than any store bought pita bread. I think these are perfect for sandwiches but they were a little too puffy to serve with the greek dinner I made.

2 cups warm water
3 tsp. yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. honey
3 cups bread flour
2 cups wheat flour (I used graham)
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. onion powder

Put the warm water into a mixing bowl. Whisk in the yeast, sugar, and honey. Let stand for 10 minutes until very foamy.

Meanwhile, sift together the bread flour & wheat flour with the salt & onion powder. When yeast mixture is ready, add 2 cups of the flour mixture and mix with paddle attachment until smooth. Gradually mix in the rest of the flour. Once it's all incorporated, beat for 3 minutes on medium speed, then switch to a dough hook (or turn out onto a board to do it by hand.)

Add up to another cup of bread flour, a tiny bit at a time, mixing with the dough hook, until the dough cleans the side of the bowl. Knead for another 5 minutes, then turn dough onto a board.

Roll dough into a ball. Cut into eight pieces and set aside to rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 500°F and dust a baking sheet with cornmeal. (I don't recommend a baking stone for this; you want it as hot as possible.

Dust your work surface with flour and roll each piece of dough into a nice round. They should look something like this:

Place rounds on baking sheet and put in oven on the lowest rack possible. Shut the door and do not open for three minutes, no matter what! If you peek, they won't "poof." You can check after 3 minutes, then continue baking to desired color is reached (the darker, the crispier; if you like your pitas softer, bake them for less time, obviously.) Cool on racks. Fill with your favorite goodies & enjoy!

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Apple Slab Pie

8 Granny Smith apples (about 3 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, and sliced thin
8 Golden Delicious apples (about 3 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, and sliced thin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups animal crackers
2 (15-ounce) boxes Pillsbury Ready to Roll Pie Crust
4 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled
6 tablespoons Minute Tapioca
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 cup reserved apple juice ( from filling)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter , softened
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

1. For the pie: Combine apples, 1 cup sugar, and salt in colander set over large bowl. Let sit, tossing occasionally, until apples release their juices, about 30 minutes. Press gently on apples to extract liquid and reserve 3/4 cup juice.
2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse crackers and remaining sugar in food processor until finely ground. Dust work surface with cracker mixture, brush half of one pie round with water, overlap with second pie round, and dust top with cracker mixture. Roll out dough to 19 by 14 inches and transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Brush dough with butter and refrigerate; roll out top crust in the same way.
3. Toss drained apples with tapioca, cinnamon, and lemon juice and arrange evenly over bottom crust, pressing lightly to flatten. Brush edges of bottom crust with water, and arrange top crust on pie. Press crusts together and use a paring knife to trim any excess dough. Use fork to crimp and seal outside edge of pie, then to pierce top of pie at 2-inch intervals. Bake until pie is golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 1 hour.
4. For the glaze: While pie is cooling, simmer reserved apple juice in saucepan over medium heat until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and butter and let cool to room temperature. Whisk in confectioners' sugar and brush glaze evenly over warm pie. Let pie cool completely, at least 1 hour longer. Serve.
Make Ahead: The pie can be made up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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Easier Chicken and Dumplings

5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 carrots , peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 large onion , chopped fine
1 teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves , minced
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dry sherry
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
4 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups heavy cream

1. For the stew: Bring broth to simmer in Dutch oven over high heat. Add chicken and return to simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Transfer broth to large bowl.
2. Return empty Dutch oven to medium-high heat and melt butter. Add carrots, onion, and salt and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Stir in sherry, scraping up browned bits. Stir in reserved broth, cream, thyme, bay leaves, and pepper and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until stew thickens, about 20 minutes.
3. For the dumplings: Stir flour, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Stir in cream until incorporated (dough will be very thick and shaggy).
4. To finish: Discard bay leaves and return stew to rapid simmer. Shred reserved chicken and add to stew along with any accumulated juices, peas, and 3 tablespoons parsley. Using 2 large soup spoons or small ice cream scoop, drop golf ball-sized dumplings onto stew about 1/4 inch apart (you should have 16 to 18 dumplings). Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until dumplings have doubled in size, 15 to 18 minutes. Garnish with remaining parsley. Serve.
Make Ahead: Follow recipe through step 2, refrigerating stew and chicken in separate airtight containers up to 24 hours ahead. When ready to proceed, warm stew in Dutch oven and proceed with step 3.

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Salisbury Steak

1/2 cup milk
7 tablespoons instant potato flakes
1 pound 90-percent lean ground beef
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, halved and sliced thin
1 pound white mushrooms , sliced thin
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups low-sodium beef broth
1/4 cup ruby port

1. Whisk milk and potato flakes in large bowl. Add beef, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and knead until combined. Shape into four 1/2-inch-thick oval patties and transfer to parchment-lined plate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook patties until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.
3. Add onion and remaining butter to empty skillet and cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and flour and cook until browned, about 2 minutes. Slowly stir in broth and port and bring to simmer. Return patties to skillet, cover, and simmer over medium-low heat until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Serve.

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Crispy Garlic Chicken Cutlets

These were very yummy. Even my picky kids ate this meal. My husband was the only one complaining and his issue was it tasted too garlicy.

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves , minced, plus 6 cloves peeled and smashed
6 thin-cut, boneless, skinless chicken cutlets (about 1 1/4 pounds), trimmed
3 slices hearty white sandwich bread , torn into large pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons cornstarch
Salt and pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Combine 3 tablespoons oil, minced garlic, and cutlets in zipper-lock bag and refrigerate while preparing remaining ingredients. Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground. Bake bread crumbs on baking sheet until dry, about 20 minutes.
2. Spread flour in shallow dish. In another shallow dish, whisk egg whites until foamy. Combine bread crumbs, garlic powder, and cornstarch in third shallow dish. Remove cutlets from bag and season with salt and pepper. One at a time, coat cutlets lightly with flour, dip in egg whites, and dredge in crumbs, pressing to adhere. Place cutlets on wire rack set over baking sheet and let dry 5 minutes.
3. Heat 1/2 cup oil and 3 smashed garlic cloves in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until garlic is lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Discard garlic and fry 3 cutlets until crisp and deep golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate and place in warm oven. Discard oil, wipe out skillet, and repeat with remaining oil, garlic cloves, and cutlets. Serve.

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Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

Turkey Broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 onions , chopped
1 celery rib , chopped
1 leftover turkey carcass , chopped into 4 pieces
3 cups white wine
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup wild rice
2 carrots , peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups chopped cooked turkey
Salt and pepper

1. For the turkey broth: Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onions, celery, and turkey carcass until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add wine and chicken broth and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 hour. Strain broth, discarding solids.
2. For the soup: Wipe out Dutch oven and toast rice over medium heat until rice begins to pop, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in turkey broth, carrots, thyme, and baking soda and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until rice is tender, about 1 hour.
3. Whisk flour and cream in bowl until smooth. Slowly whisk flour mixture into soup. Add turkey and simmer until soup is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

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Herb Butter Roasted Turkey and Gravy

From Cook's County. I tried this recipe for a turkey dinner I made in early December. I really like the flavor of the turkey. Even my three kids ate the turkey. I saved leftovers for a soup and I'll post the recipe.

1 (12- to 14-pound) frozen turkey, thawed
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons dried herbs de Provence
4 garlic cloves , minced
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
1 teaspoon pepper
2 onions, chopped
1 carrot , peeled and chopped
1 celery rib , chopped
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup white wine

Herb Gravy
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper

1. For the turkey: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Pat turkey dry inside and out with paper towels. Using fork, beat butter, herbs, garlic, zest, bouillon, and pepper until combined.
2. Spoon half of butter mixture under skin of turkey. Rub remaining butter mixture over outside of turkey and inside of cavity.
3. Scatter vegetables in bottom of large roasting pan, then add broth and wine. Tuck wings behind back and arrange turkey on V-rack set inside roasting pan. Roast until internal temperature of breast registers 165 degrees and thigh registers 170 to 175 degrees, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Transfer turkey to cutting board and let rest 30 minutes.
4. For the gravy: Carefully strain contents of pan into large measuring cup. Let liquid settle so that fat separates, then skim (if necessary, add enough water to measure 4 cups). Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk constantly until honey-colored, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in strained juices. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in herbs and season with salt and pepper. Carve turkey and serve with herb gravy.

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Beef Barley Soup

Love this soup. It has good flavor and just tastes great. I do not make it in the crock pot though. I've had my concern about lead in crock pots for awhile now and just don't use them anymore. I do this recipe on the stove top with a dutch oven. I cook it for about 3-4 hours on medium low heat and keep an eye on the soup.

3 pounds boneless beef chuck stew meat , trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions , chopped
2 carrots , peeled and chopped
6 garlic cloves , minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
8 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup pearl barley
2 beef marrow bones
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1. Pat beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown half of beef, about 8 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker and repeat with additional 2 teaspoons oil and remaining beef.
2. Add remaining oil, onions, and carrots to skillet and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Cook garlic, thyme, and tomato paste until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in wine, using wooden spoon to scrape up browned bits. Transfer to slow cooker.
3. Add broth, tomatoes, barley, and bones to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until meat is tender, 7 to 9 hours (or cook on high 4 to 5 hours). Skim fat from surface and discard bones. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Serve.
Make Ahead: You can prepare the recipe through step 2 the night before the ingredients go into the slow cooker. Refrigerate the browned beef and the vegetable mixture in separate containers. In the morning, transfer the beef and vegetable mixture to the slow cooker and proceed with step 3. Cooking time will be on the high end of the ranges given.

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Cauliflower Soup with Bacon Toasts

I'm usually not a fan of cauliflower soup but this was good.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large or 2 small heads cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds), cored and finely chopped
5 cups chicken broth
4 bacon strips, cut in half
1/2 loaf Italian bread
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1. Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the cauliflower is softened, about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp; drain on a paper towel lined plate. (Do not clean the skillet.) Cut the bread on the diagonal into four 1-inch-thick slices. Place the bread in the skillet and cook until golden on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and top each slice with 2 pieces of bacon and a handful of cheese. Cover until the cheese melts, about 1 minute.
3. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and serve with the bacon toasts.

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Meat Goulash with Macaroni

1 pound short pasta, such as macaroni, ziti rigate or gemelli
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 slices lean bacon, chopped
1 pound ground meat (a mixture of beef, pork and veal)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped

2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
Freshly ground pepper
3 large jarred roasted red peppers, drained
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup sour cream
Flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (a generous handful)
Fresh dill, chopped (a generous handful

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.
2. While the pasta cooks, heat the EVOO, 1/2 turn of the pan, in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 3 minutes, then move the bacon to the side of the pan and add the ground meat, crumbling it. Brown the meat for 3 to 4 minutes, then add the garlic and onion; season with the paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
3. In a food processor, puree the peppers until smooth and stir into the meat. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in the beef broth and simmer for a couple of minutes. Stir in the sour cream and cooked pasta. Top with the parsley and dill.

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Bacon Stuffed Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower

Everyone but Don liked this recipe. But then the reason he didn't like it was the bacon. I found it in Rachel Ray's magazine, October 2006.

1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed and patted dry
6 bacon strips
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into bite-size florets (about 6 cups)
1 head garlic, cloves peeled (about 12 cloves)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Loosen the skin of the chicken breast with your fingers and slide the bacon underneath. Season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, toss the cauliflower, garlic and oil together in a bowl and season to taste. After the chicken has cooked for 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 400º and add the vegetables to the pan. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the cauliflower is tender, about 30 minutes. Tent the chicken with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

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Jamaican-Style Vegetable Turnovers

We loved these. So much so that I make a bunch and freeze them. This recipe came from a Rachel Ray magazine.

1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cutinto 1/3-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
teaspoon ground turmeric
One 10-ounce bag frozen mixed carrots, peas and corn, not thawed
One 15-ounce box Pillsbury Just Unroll piecrusts (two 9-inch piecrust rounds)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a saucepan, cover the potato with cold water, bring to a simmer and cook until fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, garlic, jalapeño, allspice and turmeric and cook until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the cooked potatoes and the frozen mixed vegetables and let cool.
3. Preheat the oven to 425º. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the piecrusts one at a time and cut three 6-inch rounds from each. Combine the scraps, roll out and cut out 2 more rounds.
4. Place 1/4 cup filling in the center of each round; season with salt and pepper. Moisten the edges with water, fold the dough over to form half moons and crimp the edges with a fork. Transfer the turnovers to a baking sheet and bake until golden, about 20 minutes.

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Wild Rice, Mushroom, and Sausage Soup

5 cups chicken broth
1 cup wild rice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces smoked pork or chicken sausage,cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 medium onion, chopped

1 celery rib, chopped
4 ounces cremini or white mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the broth and wild rice, cover partially and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, celery and mushrooms and cook until the onions are softened, about 3 minutes.
3. Add the cooked wild rice and its broth to the sausage and vegetables and simmer, uncovered, until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Add the cream and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Beef Stew with Buttered Egg Noodles

From Rachel Ray's magazine. Different type of stew than what I am use to. I'd have to say it wasn't really a stew more like meat and gravy over noodles. Overall we liked it and I actually got the kids to eat the stew, which they normally don't.

2 1/2 to 3 pounds beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshlly ground pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
2 cups beef broth
8 ounces egg noodles

1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Place the meat in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the flour and toss to coat. In a large Dutch oven or ovenproof pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat until the butter stops foaming. Add a quarter of the meat to the Dutch oven and brown, about 6 minutes; transfer with a slotted spoon to a platter. Cook the remaining meat in 3 batches, adding 1 more tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon butter to the Dutch oven for each batch.
2. Add the onion, garlic and thyme to the Dutch oven and cook until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the browned beef, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, cocoa powder, paprika, cinnamon, bay leaf and beef broth and bring to a simmer. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook until the beef is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
3. About 20 minutes before the stew is done, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the egg noodles until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain and toss with the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons butter. Serve the stew over the noodles.

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White Bean, Sausage and Kale Stew

From Rachel Ray's magazine. I was looking for a way to use up some kale I bought and this turned out pretty good.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 pound precooked pork sausage, such as kielbasa, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Three 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 cups chicken broth
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
1 small bunch kale, leaves stripped from stems and coarsely chopped (about 4 packed cups)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 6 minutes. Add the beans and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf and kale and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and the cheese.

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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Flaky Cheddar Scones

3 cups flour
2 Tbs. baking powder
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 oz. unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into small pieces
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, or coat with cooking spray.
Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, pepper and salt in large bowl. Rub butter into flour mixture with fingers or use two knives to cut into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in yogurt and cheese. Shape dough into ball on lightly floured work surface.
Roll out dough to 3/4-inch thickness, and cut into 18 to 20 circles with round cookie cutter or glass. Place scones 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to cooling rack or serving platter.

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Upside Down Pear Gingerbread

1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt Pear Topping
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3 pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise

Preheat oven to 350F. Brush 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 8x8-inch glass baking dish with butter.
To make Gingerbread: Whisk flours, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Beat egg, sugar and molasses with electric mixer 3 minutes. Add applesauce and oil, and beat until blended. Fold in flour mixture and yogurt.
To make Pear Topping: Press brown sugar over bottom of prepared skillet. Sprinkle with nuts. Arrange pear slices in circles over nuts. Pour batter over pears.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Loosen edges with knife. Invert cake onto platter

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Cornmeal Waffles with warm peach sauce

Tried these and I liked them. No one else did. The boys, though, did eat the waffles with maple syrup so it must have been the peach topping.

Peach Sauce
2 cups frozen sliced peaches
1 1/2 cups peach nectar
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar Cornmeal Waffles
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
3 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
3 Tbs. vegetable oil, divided
1 Tbs. grated orange zest

To make Peach Sauce: Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 20 to 25 minutes, or until peaches are very tender and sauce is syrupy. Break up peaches with spoon to make sauce chunky. Transfer to bowl.
To make Cornmeal Waffles: Preheat waffle iron to medium high. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Stir in buttermilk, egg, 2 Tbs. oil and orange zest.
Brush waffle iron with remaining oil. Spoon batter onto waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions. Cook 6 minutes, or until waffle is crisp. Repeat with remaining batter. Spoon Peach Sauce over waffles, and serve.

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Macaroni and cheese

Quick and easy. Almost as fast as a boxed macaroni and cheese. Found in vegetarian times magazine.

10 oz. medium elbow macaroni (about 3 cups)
2 Tbs. unsalted butter plus more for brushing pan
2 Tbs. unbleached white flour
2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
2 1/4 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, divided (about 5 oz.)

Preheat oven to 400F.
Cook macaroni according to package directions until al dente. Drain.
Melt 2 Tbs. butter in saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, and cook 1 minute. Add milk, and cook 6 minutes, or until thickened, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat; stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over noodles, and combine.
Transfer to 9x13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake 45 minutes, or until top is crisp and beginning to brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving

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Vegan Snickernoodles

Found this in vegetarian times magazine and tried them. Can't tell they are vegan.

13/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp. baking powder
1 stick (4 oz.) vegan margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vanilla soymilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cinnamon Sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbs. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.
To make Cookie Dough: Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and baking powder in bowl. Beat margarine in separate bowl with electric mixer until soft. Add sugar, and beat until fluffy. Beat in soymilk and vanilla extract 30 seconds or until smooth. Add flour mixture, and beat 30 seconds or until smooth.
To make Cinnamon Sugar: Combine sugar and cinnamon on large plate.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in Cinnamon Sugar, and place 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until cookies look dry on tops and are lightly browned on bottoms. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Store in airtight container.

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Pasta Primavera Salad

Yummy. We really like this dish. The boys really like this dish.

1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots)
2 cups diced yellow squash (2 small squash)
2 cups small broccoli florets
1 cup diced red bell pepper
2 cups halved sugar snap peas
8 oz. penne or rotini pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbs. lemon juice
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots (2 shallots)
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare large ice water bath. Add carrots to water, and simmer 2 minutes. Add squash, and cook 2 minutes more. Add broccoli and bell pepper, and cook 2 minutes more. Add sugar snap peas, and cook 2 minutes more.
Scoop vegetables from simmering water with strainer. Transfer to ice water bath. Drain when cool, and pat dry.
Bring pot of water to a rolling boil. Add pasta, and cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain, and rinse under cold water to cool.
Meanwhile, whisk together olive oil and lemon juice in large serving bowl. Stir in shallots and garlic. Add pasta, blanched vegetables, tomatoes, and cheese, and toss to coat with dressing. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

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Rainbow Pizza

Fun pizza that even the boys liked. Found in vegetarian times magazine.
4 tsp. plus 1 Tbs. olive oil, divided
2 1-lb. pkgs. refrigerated pizza dough
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
1 4-oz. log goat cheese
3 cups shredded fontina cheese
2 zucchini, cut into 1/8-inch rounds (8 oz.)
1 1/2 cups yellow and red cherry tomatoes, sliced (8 oz.)
1 yellow squash, cut into 1/8-inch rounds (4 oz.)
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 small orange bell pepper, diced (1/2 cup)
Red pepper flakes, optional

Preheat oven to 475°F. Coat 17- x 12-inch baking sheet with 2 tsp. oil or line with parchment paper. Press doughs together to form ball. Spread and press dough to 1/4-inch thickness on prepared baking sheet, leaving dough in free-form shape. Mix garlic and 2 tsp. oil in bowl. Brush garlic mixture over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border.
Crumble goat cheese over dough, then sprinkle with fontina cheese. Arrange zucchini, tomatoes, and yellow squash over pizza. Brush with remaining 1 Tbs. oil.
Scatter onion and bell pepper over vegetables. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired, and season with salt and pepper. Bake 30 minutes, or until puffed and deep brown at edges. Cool 10 minutes, then cut into squares.

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Sephardic Stuffed Cabbage

This is an interesting dish. I haven't decided if I like it or not. Change of pace from the cabbage rolls I normally make. Found this in Vegetarian times magazine.

14 large savoy cabbage leaves
1/2 lb. tempeh
1/2 lb. cremini mushrooms
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups finely diced onions
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 14-oz. can plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Herbed Tomato Sauce
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro

To make Stuffed Cabbage: Preheat oven to 350°F. Blanch cabbage leaves in large pot of boiling water 2 minutes, or until softened. Drain, and rinse under cold water. Remove tough white vein at base of each leaf, and pat dry.
Pulse tempeh and mushrooms in food processor until coarsely ground. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions, and sauté 7 minutes. Add garlic, paprika, cumin, and tempeh mixture, and sauté 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, and cook 10 minutes more. Stir in cayenne pepper, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
To make Herbed Tomato Sauce: Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, cumin, and paprika, and cook 2 minutes, or until garlic browns. Stir in tomato sauce and 1 cup water. Simmer 10 minutes, then add parsley and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, and pour into 9- x 13-inch baking dish.
Spoon 2 Tbs. tempeh mixture on base of each cabbage leaf. Fold sides around filling, and roll. Place seam-side down in baking dish. Bake 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling.

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Mexican Polenta

Found this recipe in Vegetarian times magazine. It's actually quite tasty and both Don and I liked it.
1 18-oz. tube polenta, cut into 12 1/2-inch slices
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, diced (1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 Tbs. lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. Mexican or Cajun spice seasoning (or make your own- 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/4 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. paprika, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, and 1/4 tsp. salt)
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
1 tsp. grated lime zest
1 15.5-oz. can low-sodium red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with jalapeños
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco (2 oz.) or feta cheese
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
1/2 cup sour cream, optional

Position broiling pan, or rack if using electric oven, 3 inches from heat, and turn broiler to high. Spray polenta slices with cooking spray, and place on broiling pan or baking sheet. Broil 5 minutes per side, or until browned.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook 4 minutes, or until softened. Stir in lime juice, spice seasoning, garlic, and lime zest. Cook 4 minutes, or until onion is lightly browned. Add kidney beans and tomatoes; simmer 5 minutes, or until heated through.
Place 3 polenta slices on each plate, ladle bean mixture over top, and sprinkle with queso fresco and cilantro. Serve with sour cream, if desired.

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Saturday, January 5, 2008

Iowa Skinnies

Saw this recipe in the Cook's Country magazine and knew Don would love this.

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound), cut into four equal pieces and pounded into cutlets
salt and pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise, plus extra for serving
3 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into rough pieces
16 saltines
1 cup vegetable oil
4 soft hamburger buns
1/4 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 medium tomato, sliced

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Pat pork cutlets dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

Place flour in shallow dish. Beat eggs and 1/4 cup mayonnise in second shallow bowl. Combine bread and saltines in food processor and pulse to fine crumbs, transfer to third shallow bowl.

Coat cutlets in flour, shaking off excess. Dip both sides in egg mixture, then dredge in crumbs, pressing on crumbs to adhere. Place cutlets on wire rack set over baking sheet and let dry 5 minutes (or refrigerate for up to one hour).

Heat 1/2 cup oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Lay two cutlets in skillet and fry until crisp and deep golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to large paper towel lined plate and place in warm oven. Discard oil, wipe out skillet, and repeat with remaining oil and cutlets. Place one cutlet on each bun and top with lettuce, tomato, an dmayonnaise. Serve.

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Chinese Sticky Ribs

Another rib recipe. These are pretty tasty and the boys really like them. I'm not a huge fan of them but I've been outvoted.

2 racks pork ribs (2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds each), preferably St. Louis cut or baby back ribs
1 cup hoisin sauce
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 (6-inch) piece ginger , peeled and sliced into rounds
6 garlic cloves, smashed
strips of orange peel from 1 orange
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
30 sprigs fresh cilantro leaves , stems chopped coarse (reserve leaves for glaze)
8 scallions , white parts cut into 1-inch pieces (reserve green parts for garnish)

1 (10-ounce) jar hot red pepper jelly
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Minced scallion greens greens

1. For the ribs: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. With tip of paring knife, loosen membrane on underside of each rack of ribs. Grab membrane with paper towel and pull it off slowly in single piece. Combine remaining ingredients in large roasting pan. Add spareribs to pan, turning to coat both sides, and arrange meaty side down. Cover pan tightly with foil and cook until just tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Transfer ribs to large plate.
2. For the glaze: Strain 3 cups cooking liquid from roasting pan into large nonstick skillet (do not wash roasting pan) and discard solids and remaining liquid. Using wide spoon, skim fat from liquid. Stir in jelly and vinegar. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat and cook until syrupy and reduced to 2 cups, 15 to 20 minutes. Off heat, stir in cilantro and cayenne.
3. Heat broiler (do not raise oven rack). Pour enough water into roasting pan to cover bottom and fit pan with flat roasting rack. Reserve 1/2 cup glaze for serving. Arrange ribs on rack meaty side down and brush with glaze. Place roasting pan back on middle rack in oven and broil until beginning to brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip ribs over, brush with more glaze, then broil, brushing ribs with glaze every 2 to 4 minutes, until ribs are deep mahogany color, 9 to 12 minutes (watch broiler carefully). Transfer ribs to cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes. Slice between bones, transfer ribs to platter, and brush with reserved glaze. Sprinkle with scallions. Serve.

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Cincinnati Chili

Very different type of chili than I am use to but we did like it. We've only made this once but even the boys ate the chili, which says alot because my boys are so freaking picky.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 onions , chopped fine
1 clove garlic , minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups tomato sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef

1. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook onions until soft and browned around edges, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and allspice and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth, tomato sauce, vinegar, and sugar.
2. Add beef and stir to break up meat. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until chili is deep brown and slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and serve. (Chili can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.)

5 ways to Cincinnati chili

TWO-WAY CHILI: Served over spaghetti.
THREE-WAY CHILI: Served over spaghetti and topped with cheese.
FOUR-WAY CHILI: Served over spaghetti and topped with onions and cheese.
FIVE-WAY CHILI: Served over spaghetti and topped with onions, beans, and cheese.

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Crunchy Potato Wedges

I love eating these at a resturant or the deli of the grocery store or the local gas station. I found a very tasty recipe in the Feb/March 2007 Cook's Country magazine that makes it so I can make them at home anytime. My kids love these too.

4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 large russet potatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds), scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
1/4 cup vegetable oil or peanut oil, plus 3 quarts for frying
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Combine salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders, cayenne, and oregano in small bowl.
2. Toss potato wedges with 4 teaspoons spice mixture and 1_4 cup oil in large microwave-safe bowl; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high until potatoes are tender but not falling apart, 7 to 9 minutes, shaking bowl (without removing plastic) to redistribute potatoes halfway through cooking. Slowly remove plastic wrap from bowl (be careful of steam) and drain potatoes. Arrange potatoes on rimmed baking sheet and cool until potatoes firm up, about 10 minutes. (Potatoes can be held at room temperature for up to 2 hours.)
3. Heat remaining 3 quarts oil in large Dutch oven over high heat to 340 degrees. Meanwhile, combine flour and cornstarch in medium bowl and whisk buttermilk and baking soda in large bowl. Working in 2 batches, dredge potato wedges in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Dip in buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip back into bowl, then coat again in flour mixture. Shake off excess and place on wire rack. (Potatoes can be coated up to 30 minutes in advance.)
4. When oil is ready, add half the coated wedges and fry until deep golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer wedges to large bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon spice mixture. Drain wedges on baking sheet lined with paper towels. Return oil to 340 degrees and repeat with second batch of wedges. Serve with extra seasoning on side.
Make Ahead: Our Crunchy Potato Wedges freeze very well. Follow steps 1 through 4, frying each batch of wedges until they are light golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Do not toss with seasoning, and drain and cool potatoes completely on baking sheet lined with paper towels. Freeze wedges on baking sheet until completely frozen, about 2 hours, then transfer potatoes to zipper-lock storage bag for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, heat 3 quarts oil to 340 degrees and cook in 2 batches until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes. Toss with seasonings, drain, and serve.

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Corn Dodgers

These are cute little things that my boys will gobble up. Sometimes I serve them with fried chicken or chili or just by themselves with honey butter.

Corn Dodgers
1 tablespoon corn oil (or vegetable oil)
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups water , plus extra for forming dodgers
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 large egg

Honey Butter
8 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
1/4 cup honey
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. For the corn dodgers: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread oil on rimmed baking sheet.
2. Whisk cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Heat water, buttermilk, and butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat until just simmering. In slow, steady stream, whisk cornmeal mixture into liquid. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until mixture begins to bubble, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and cool until warm, about 10 minutes.
3. Whisk baking powder and egg in small bowl, then stir into cornmeal mixture. Fill medium bowl with tap water. Scoop out 1/4 cup mixture and, using wet hands, form into 4 by 1 1/2-inch loaf shape. Place on prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining mixture, spacing dodgers about 1/2 inch apart. Bake until deep brown on bottom and golden brown on top, rotating pan halfway through baking, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer corn dodgers to rack to cool.
4. For the honey butter: Meanwhile, mix all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth. Serve corn dodgers, split open, with honey butter. (Corn dodgers can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; reheat on baking sheet in 350-degree oven.)

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Maryland Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy

This is a favorite meal in our house. Everyone will eat it which means we make it often.

Fried Chicken

4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups peanut oil or vegetable shortening
Old Bay seasoning

Cream Gravy
1/4 cup pan drippings (from frying chicken)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. For the chicken: Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Combine mustard, garlic powder, and salt in small bowl and sprinkle evenly over chicken. Combine flour and baking powder in shallow dish and, working one piece at a time, dredge chicken parts until well coated, shaking off excess. Refrigerate on plate for 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours).
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. Arrange half of chicken in pot, skin side down, cover, and cook until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Lower temperature to medium, adjusting burner as necessary to maintain oil temperature between 300 and 325 degrees. Cook uncovered, turning chicken as necessary, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. (Internal temperature should register 160 degrees for white meat and 175 degrees for dark meat.) Transfer chicken to wire rack set over baking sheet, season with Old Bay, and transfer to oven. Bring oil back to 375 degrees and repeat with remaining chicken.
3. For the gravy: Pour off all but 1/4 cup oil in pot. Stir in flour and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in broth, cream, and pepper. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and serve with chicken.

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Joe Froggers

These are very yummy cookies. They don't last much past the day I bake them in our house. Joe froggers date back more than 200 years to Black Joe's Tavern in Marblehead, Mass., a seaside town about 25 miles north of Boston. The original recipe called for local seawater, which gave the cookies their distinctly salty flavor. From Cook's Country Feb/March 2007

Place only 6 cookies on each baking sheet—they will spread. If you don't own a 3 1/2-inch cookie cutter, use a drinking glass. Use regular (not robust) molasses. Make sure to chill the dough for a full 8 hours or it will be too hard to roll out.

1/3 cup dark rum
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
8 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened but still cool
1 cup sugar

1. Stir rum, water, and salt in small bowl until salt dissolves. Whisk flour, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves in medium bowl. Stir molasses and baking soda in large measuring cup (mixture will begin to bubble) and let sit until doubled in volume, about 15 minutes.
2. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually beat in rum mixture. Add one-third of flour mixture, beating on medium-low until just incorporated, followed by half of molasses mixture, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add half of remaining flour mixture, followed by remaining molasses mixture, and finally remaining flour mixture. Using rubber spatula, give dough final stir (dough will be extremely sticky). Cover bowl containing dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate until stiff, at least 8 hours or up to 3 days.
3. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with half of dough at a time on a heavily floured work surface, roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Using 3 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out 12 cookies. Transfer 6 cookies to each baking sheet, spacing cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are set and just beginning to crack, about 8 minutes, rotating rack position and direction of baking sheets halfway through baking time. Cool cookies on sheets 10 minutes, then transfer cookies to rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough. (Cookies may be stored in airtight container for up to 1 week.)

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Chicken Tikka Masala

This was an interesting first step into Indian food for me. I've never had Indian food at a restaurant or ever before but this was a pretty tasty meal. Even my boys at the chicken. I served it over brown basmati rice.

Chicken Tikka
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Masala Sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chile , ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.
2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.
4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

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Quicker Beef Vegetable Soup

We love soup especially during the winter. This one is a great recipe. Not a real quick recipe but not an all day long one. My boys eat this if I drain the liquid from the soup.

1 pound sirloin tip steaks , trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pound cremini mushrooms , stems trimmed, caps wiped clean and quartered
1 large onion, chopped medium (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 medium garlic clove , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup red wine
4 cups beef broth
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 medium carrots , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
2 medium ribs celery , cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin (powdered)
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
Table salt and ground black pepper

1. Combine beef and soy sauce in medium bowl; set aside for 15 minutes.
2. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add mushrooms and onion; cook, stirring frequently, until onion pieces are brown and dark bits form on pan bottom, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer vegetables to bowl.
3. Add beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and meat starts to brown, 6 to 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add red wine, scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, and cook until syrupy, 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Add beef broth, chicken broth, carrots, celery, bay leaf, and browned mushrooms and onion; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until vegetables and meat are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. While soup is simmering, sprinkle gelatin over cold water and let stand.
5. When soup is finished, turn off heat. Remove bay leaf. Add gelatin mixture and stir until completely dissolved. Stir in parsley; adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, and serve.

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Friday, January 4, 2008

Skillet Barbecued Pork Chops

I'm not a big fan of pork chops. I don't know why I just don't like them. However I married someone who loves pork chops. I think he could survive on them on a daily basis. I also have two kids who love pork chops. This recipe is actually quite good and even me who dislikes pork chops really likes this recipe.

Pork Chops
1/2 cup table salt
4 bone-in pork rib chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick (8 to 10 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat, sides slit
4 teaspoons vegetable oil

Spice Rub
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons light molasses
2 tablespoons grated onion
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1. FOR THE PORK CHOPS: Dissolve salt in 2 quarts water in large bowl or container. Submerge chops in brine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. FOR THE SPICE RUB: Combine ingredients in small bowl. Measure 2 teaspoons mixture into medium bowl and set aside for sauce. Transfer remaining spice rub to pie plate or large plate.
3. FOR THE SAUCE: Whisk ingredients in bowl with reserved spice mixture; set aside.
4. TO COOK CHOPS: Remove chops from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Coat both sides of chops with spice rub, pressing gently so rub adheres. Pat chops to remove excess rub; discard excess rub.
5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Following illustration below, place chops in skillet in pinwheel formation; cook until charred in spots, 5 to 8 minutes. Flip chops and continue to cook until second side is browned and charred and center of chop registers 130 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 4 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer chops to clean plate or baking sheet. Lightly brush top side of each chop with 2 teaspoons sauce.
6. Wipe out pan with paper towels and return to medium heat. Add remaining teaspoon oil and heat until just smoking. Add chops to pan, sauce-side down, and cook without moving until sauce has caramelized and charred in spots, about 1 minute. While cooking, lightly brush top side of each chop with 2 teaspoons sauce. Turn chops and cook until second side is charred and caramelized and center of chops registers 140 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
7. Transfer chops back to plate or baking sheet, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Internal temperature should rise to about 145 degrees. Meanwhile, add remaining sauce to pan and cook, scraping pan bottom, until thickened to ketchup-like consistency and reduced to 2/3 cup, about 3 minutes. Brush each chop with 1 tablespoon reduced sauce and serve immediately, passing remaining sauce at table.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Fresh Tomato Soup With Basil

So much better than the canned stuff.

5 pounds ripe beefsteak or plum tomatoes , cored and quartered; plus 1 pound, cored and diced medium
2 onions , chopped
8 garlic cloves , peeled and left whole; plus 1 clove, minced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped fresh basil

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine quartered tomatoes, onions, whole garlic cloves, oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon sugar in large roasting pan. Roast, stirring once or twice, until tomatoes are brown in spots, about 11/2 hours. Let cool 5 minutes. Working in two batches, process roasted tomato mixture in food processor until smooth. (Pureed mixture can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.)
2. When ready to serve, combine diced tomatoes, minced garlic, basil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in bowl and marinate for 30 minutes. Transfer to large saucepan, add pureed tomato mixture, and simmer over medium heat until diced tomatoes are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and sugar to taste. Serve.

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Teriyaki Chicken Salad

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into one inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
3 cups shredded leftover teriyaki chicken
1 15 oz can pineapple chunks drained
6 radishes chopped coarse
6 scallions sliced thin
1-2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons teriyaki glaze (saved from the day before)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon lime juice

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. Cook asparagus and red pepper until lightly browned and just tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cool about 10 minutes. Add chicken, pineapple, radishes, scallions, and jalapeno to bowl and toss to combine.

Whisk teriyaki glaze, lime juice and ginger in a small bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine. Serve.

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Grilled Chicken Teriyaki

I love teriyaki anything and I'm always looking for a way to make it at home. I hate the bottled sauce so anytime I find a recipe that doesn't call for the bottled I give it a try. Everyone in the family loved this chicken and leftovers are great in a teriyaki chicken salad.
Cook's Country Sept. 2007

2/3 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup mirin
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic , minced
8 split bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 7 pounds total), trimmed, skin pricked several times with paring knife
6 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1. Combine soy sauce, water, mirin, ginger, and garlic in saucepan. Toss chicken with 1/2 cup soy sauce mixture in large bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day. Meanwhile, whisk sugar and cornstarch into remaining soy sauce mixture in saucepan. Simmer over medium-high heat until thickened and reduced to 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes. (Glaze can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.)
2. Heat all burners on high for 15 minutes, then turn all burners to medium-low. (For charcoal grill, light 50 coals; when covered with fine gray ash, spread in even layer. Set cooking grate in place and heat, covered, for 5 minutes.) Scrape and oil cooking grate. Grill chicken skin-side up, covered, until well browned on bottom and internal temperature of meat registers 120 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes. Flip chicken skin-side down and grill, covered, until skin is rendered and deep brown and meat registers 160 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes. Brush chicken with 1/4 cup glaze and grill, covered, until glaze is caramelized, about 5 minutes.
3. Transfer chicken to serving platter and brush with 1/4 cup glaze. Let rest 10 minutes. Serve, passing remaining glaze at table.

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Orzo with everything

Again from Cook's Country September 2007 issue. This was something very different from what I've ever made. I couldn't get any of my kids to eat it and I wasn't too thrilled with the results. My husband loved the salad though.

1 tablespoon salt
1 pound orzo pasta
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, rinsed, patted dry, and minced
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1 small head radicchio, cored and chopped fine
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves minced
5 tablespoons evvo
salt and pepper

For the salad:
Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add salt and orzo to boiling water and cook until just al dente. Drain pasta and let cool to room temperature. Combine cooled orzo, tomatoes, olives, radicchio, parmesan, pine nuts, and basil in a large bow.

For the dressing:
Combine the vinegar and garlic in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. Salad can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

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Summer Crunch Salad

Different type of salad then we are use to but I liked it. I even got Zachary to try it. If your looking for something new in a salad try this recipe.

From Cook's country September 2007 issue:

1 large jicama , peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 cup frozen corn , thawed
1 red bell pepper , seeded and chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes , halved
3/4 cup pecans , toasted and chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 cups baby spinach

2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. For the salad: Toss jicama, corn, bell pepper, tomatoes, pecans, cilantro, and spinach in large bowl.
2. For the dressing: Combine lime juice, honey, mustard, and cumin in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

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