Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chocolate Peanut Butter Square

In my never ending quest to find the same chocolate peanut butter squares I remember from my school days I tried this recipe. While it comes close, much closer than previous tried recipes its still not right. Everyone it seems but me likes this one and thinks its pretty close. But I still think somethings is not right. Oh well, lucky for me I live close enough to the school districts cafe that I can buy them whenever I want.
1 cube butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. peanut butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanila
2 c. flour
2 c. oats
Cream the first 5 ingredients together. Add remaining ingredients. Spread on greased cookie sheet with your hands. Batter is thick. Bake at 325 for 15 minutes. Do not overbake. Frost with chocolate frosting while warm and cut.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Sweet and Sour Chicken

A friend (thanks Sherri!) posted this on the pinching your pennies site and since Nathan loves sweet and sour chicken I had to give it a try. Everyone but the twins at the chicken and loved it. It has good flavor and although not exactly like my favorite Chinese food place (plug here for Dragon Hill) good enough to make when I don't want to pay for takeout. This is a new favorite recipe in our house.

Coated Chicken (& marinade)
1 lb chicken (cubed)
1 tbs. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
Combine the soy sauce, salt, sugar, and chicken. Let marinate at least 15 min. – up to all day. Dredge chicken in cornstarch (put it in a ziploc baggie and shake to coat chicken). Cook in hot oil until cooked through. Drain well and set aside.
Sauce Ingredients
1/4 c. vinegar
1 tbs. ketchup
1 clove garlic
1/2 c. pineapple chunks – reserve the juice
1/2 c. green peppe
1/2 c. red pepper
1/2 c. celery
1/2 c. onion
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1 tbs. soy sauce
4 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 c. water
Heat 1 tbs. oil in a large pan. Stir fry garlic (30 seconds), add veggies & stir fry for about a minute. Add sugar, water, pineapple juice and vinegar and bring to a boil.Combine soy sauce, corn starch, and water. Add to boiling mixture. Stir until thick. Add pineapple and chicken until coated. Serve over a platter of rice.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

April's Co-op

Crossroads Urban Center in Utah offers a monthly food co-op that I feel is a good value for the money. They offer three types of shares each month plus at least 3 add on packages. This month I ordered the harvest package, which is a combination of fruits and vegetables. Along with extra virgin olive oil and breakfast sausage.
This month in the harvest share ($14):
3 avocados
6 tomatoes
3 yellow bell peppers
6 pears
one red leaf lettuce head
3 grapefruit
5 lb bag of potatoes
(they also had kiwi and eggplant but I traded with someone for an extra loaf of bread)
whole wheat bread
16 oz of either white or brown rice
I also purchased 2 packages of Colosimo's Amercian style skinless link breakfast sausage 12 oz for $2 each. And 3 bottles of 17 oz Aptera Extra virgin olive oil for $5 each.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Coq au vin

Again another recipe from my French cooking class.

3 to 4 oz lean bacon

2 1/2 to 3 pounds cut up frying chicken

oil and/or butter for sauteing/frying

1/4 cup brandy

3 cups red wine

chicken stock 1 to 2 cups

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cloves garlic mashed

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1 bay leaf

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms
12 to 24small white onions
Roux or Beurre Manie as needed
Cut bacon into 1 inch long sticks about 1/4 inch. Simmer for 10 minutes in 2 quarts of water, drain, rinse in cold water and dry. Saute slowly with oil or butter. When bacon is browned, remove to a side dish leaving the fat in the pan.
Dredge chicken in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a braising pan; brown chicken. Add the brandy and ignite. When the flame dies, add garlic, wine and stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the chicken is tender.
While the chicken is cooking drop the onions into boiling water, let boil for 1 minute. Drain and the skin should peel off easiy at this point. Heat butter/oil in a frying pan add onions and toss for several minutes until lightly browned (patchy brown). Add water halfway up onions and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover pan and simmer slowly for about 25-30 minutes.
Cut mushroom caps into quarters, heat butter/oil in fry pan saute until lightly brown.
Make a roux with3 tablespoons flour3 tablespoons butter
Remove chicken from the pan and adjust sauce consistency with a roux. Bring to a simmer stirring, and simmer for a minute or two until the sauce has thickened. Scrape onions and mushrooms into sauce and simmer for a minute or two to blend flavors. Adjust seasonings. Then add chicken for final reheating. (Chicken can now be set aside until cool, then covered and refrigerated for a day or two) Bring to a simmer basting chicken with sauce. Cover and simmer slowly for 4-5 minutes until chicken is hot.
Serve from a casserole or arrange on a hot platter and decorate with a spring of parsley.
Accompany with potatoes, rice, or noodles, a green salad and hot french bread.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

French Bread Rolls

So I found a new food blog, http://mykitchencafe.blogspot.com/, and she had a recipe for French bread rolls that called for simple ingredients. I have to say these rolls are delicious. They smell so good when cooking. I actually had a neighbor come and ask what I was cooking because it smelled so good. I usually try a recipe exactly the way it states the first time through but I ran out of white flour after 3 1/4 cups of flour so I added some of the amaranth flour that I had. These are a new go to roll recipe for this house.

1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt, and 2 cups flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 12-14 equal pieces, and form into round balls. Place on lightly greased baking sheets at least 2 inches apart. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth (or greased saran wrap), and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Bake for 12-13 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

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Pasta and Bean Soup

Very tasty soup that was quick and easy to make. I did not use hot sausage as I really am not a fan of spicy things. One thing I'd do different is to cook the sausage a little longer. I don't like the taste of sausage that is not almost overcooked. I found the recipe in the Cook's Country magazine.

2 (16-ounce) cans cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
8 ounces hot Italian sausage (about 2 links), casings removed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions , chopped fine
4 garlic cloves , minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 cup ditalini or other small pasta shape
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Puree half of beans and 2 cups broth in food processor or blender until smooth; set aside. Cook sausage in large pot over medium-high heat, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain sausage on paper towel-lined plate.

2. Add oil and onions to fat in pot and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, remaining whole beans, remaining broth, pureed bean mixture, cooked sausage, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until tomatoes and onions are very soft, about 15 minutes.

3. About 10 minutes before soup is done, bring 2 quarts water to boil in large saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon salt and pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, then add to soup. Stir in basil and Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Make Ahead: Soup can be refrigerated for 3 days, but do not add pasta. Store pasta and soup in separate containers and combine just prior to serving.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Steak Sauce

We ran out of steak sauce last month and I keep forgetting to buy more plus I'm challenging myself to eat only out of what I have on hand so I searched for a steak sauce recipe online. Dh prefers Heinz 57 but will eat A1 if I have it on hand. This recipe, that I found on allrecipes, tastes similar to Heinz 57. The best part, at least for me, is I was able to customize it and use organic products I had on hand and I made it quite cheaply. I think I won't be buying another bottle of Heinz 57. I did sample the sauce before serving it and added about 2 teaspoons of brown sugar, onion powder, and garlic powder.

1 1/4 cups ketchup
2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 drops hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, mix together the ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate until needed.

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Grilled London Broil

I'm really not a fan of this cut of meat because it always seems tough to me. However my father buys it because he finds it cheap sometimes and I end up with the meat. This recipe is the only way I prefer to eat london broil anymore. Dh feels the same way and the kids actually will eat this too. I thought it would be salty since the recipe calls for salt to be left on the meat but it does not taste salty. I prefer charcoal to gas in my grill so the recipe is for charcoal but I'm sure it adapts easily to gas.

2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 bottom round steak , 2 to 2 1/2 pounds and 1 1/2 inches thick
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Sprinkle both sides of steak evenly with salt; wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (steak can be salted and refrigerated for up to 24 hours).

2. Fill large pot or bucket with 1 gallon warm water (about 100 degrees). Place wrapped steak into zipper-lock plastic bag, squeeze out excess air, and seal bag tightly. Place steak in water, covering with plate or bowl to keep bag submerged. Set aside for 1 hour.

3. About 20 minutes before grilling, light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts, or about 100 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are covered in thin, gray ash, about 20 minutes. Empty coals into grill and build modified two-level fire by arranging coals to cover one-half of grill with other half empty. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat until hot, about 5 minutes; scrape grate clean with grill brush.

4. Remove steak from water and unwrap; brush both sides with oil (salt will have dissolved) and sprinkle evenly with pepper. Grill steak directly over coals, flipping steak with tongs once every minute, until dark brown crust forms on both sides, about 8 minutes. Move steak to cooler side of grill; cover grill and continue cooking until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of steak registers 120 degrees for rare to medium-rare, about 5 minutes, flipping steak halfway through cooking time.

5. Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest, tented with foil, about 10 minutes. Holding thin slicing knife at 45-degree angle to meat, slice very thinly and serve.

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Cheese Straws

These cheese straws are so tasty. They are easy to make and the kids love them. I don't twist them because I let the kids help me make them. These are nice as a snack or nice with a meal. They taste great when served with a tomato soup. I add some garlic powder and use garlic salt but then I love the taste of cheese and garlic.

1 sheet frozen puff pastry(1/2 box), thawed on counter for 10 minutes
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Adjust two oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Place puff pastry on sheet of parchment and sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese and 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place another sheet of parchment over cheese and, using rolling pin, press cheese into dough by gently rolling pin back and forth. Without removing parchment, carefully flip dough over, cheese side down. Remove top layer of parchment and sprinkle pastry with remaining cheese, salt, and pepper. Cover pastry with parchment and continue to roll out, if necessary, to form 10 1/2-inch square.

2. Remove top sheet of parchment and, using sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into fourteen 3/4-inch-wide strips. Holding each end, gently twist strips of dough in opposite direction and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing strips about 1 inch apart.

3. Bake immediately, until fully puffed and golden brown, about 10 minutes, reversing positions of baking sheets from top to bottom halfway through baking time. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes before serving.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Salad Verte with Vinaigrette

My sister and I signed up for a Classic French for the American Kitchen cooking class that was offered at the Davis Applied Technology College. I learned a few things I hadn't known before and really enjoyed the class. Now I'm working through the recipes we tried that night with my family.

To make crisp lettuce for your salad: Chop or tear your lettuce into bite sized pieces and place in a bowl of iced water with some salt. After about ten minutes lift the lettuce (don't drain) out and place in a salad spinner to remove extra water.


1 to 2 tablespoons excellent wine vinegar or a combination of vinegar and lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon salt

Optional- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard or dijon mustard

6 to 8 tablespoons olive oil or salad oil

fresh ground pepper

optional- 1 tablespoon shallots, minced, or scallions, or 1/4 teaspoon dried herbs such as tarragon or basil

Either make your dressing in your empty salad bowl; beat vinegar or vinegar/lemon juice, salt and optional mustard into the bowl to dissolve the salt. Then beat in your oil by droplet, and finally the optional shallots or scallions and any seasonings you might like......Or place in a covered jar and shake vigorously to blend, correct seasonings as necessary.
Garlic flavoring: Either rub the bowl hard with a cut clove of garlic before dressing the salad or rub one or several small pieces of stale toasted bread with cut garlic, toss with the salad
Salad Verte:
1/2 cup vinaigrette
2 1/2 quarts salad greens washed and dried
fresh herbs if available; parsley and chives, tarragon, chervil or basil
Just before serving add the dressing and greens to the bowl and lift and turn the greens to coat each leaf with dressing. Sprinkle with fresh herbs if you have them and serve as soon as possible.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008


I made strawberry pancake syrup on Thursday from some strawberries I bought and of course I just couldn't wait to try the syrup to see if I liked it. This recipe is really tasty. My boys who really only like to eat waffles ate these pancakes. Dh who really isn't a fan of pancakes asked for seconds. They taste alot like the good pancakes you buy at a resturant. I've never been a fan of boxed pancake mix anyway and this recipe didn't take long to make at all that I see never buying a box of pancake mix again. I found the recipe on http://www.allrecipes.com/ and they are called good old fashioned pancakes.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Crispy Parmesan-Pepper Pork Cutlets

I found some brown and serve pork chops in the freezer last week and decide to give this recipe a try. It was actually quite easy but taste was really good. Everyone in the family liked them. The recipe calls for a pork tenderloin that you cut and then pound thin but the brown and serve pork chops that our store sales are just a really thin pork chop cut and worked just as well.

3 slices hearty white sandwich bread , torn into pieces
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
5 teaspoons pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound), trimmed, cut into 4 pieces, and pounded 1/2-inch thick
1 cup vegetable oil
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground. Bake bread crumbs on rimmed baking sheet until dry, about 20 minutes. Transfer crumbs to shallow dish and stir in Parmesan and 1 teaspoon pepper. Spread flour in second shallow dish. Beat eggs in third shallow dish.
2. Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with salt. One cutlet at a time, coat lightly with flour, dip in egg, and dredge in bread crumb mixture, pressing to adhere.
3. Heat 1/2 cup oil and additional 2 teaspoons pepper in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Fry 2 cutlets until deep golden and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towel-lined plate and transfer to oven to keep warm. Discard oil, wipe out skillet, and repeat with remaining oil, pepper, and cutlets. Serve.

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Asian Boneless Pork Ribs

I was looking for something different to do with my boneless country-style ribs. These are different from the usual way I make ribs. The flavor was an interesting blend of flavors and the ribs tasted different then anything I've tried before.
2 pounds Boneless Country-Style Pork Ribs
2/3 cup Hoisin Sauce
1/4 cup Pineapple juice
2 tablespoons Soy sauce
2 tablespoons Rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon Fresh ginger, minced
1 each Garlic clove, minced
In small bowl, combine all glaze ingredients; blend well. Heat oven to 350F. Place ribs in 12x8-inch (2-quart) baking dish or 13x9-inch pan. Bake for 1 hour. Drain. Pour glaze over ribs, covering completely. Bake an additional 30-45 minutes or until ribs are tender, basting occasionally with glaze.

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Greek Salad

We made this salad for dinner last night. I really liked the salad but I think it was missing the lemon flavor that I associate with Greek food. I didn't have any kalmata olives in the pantry so I used just regular black olives. We ate this as a main dish as is but I think adding some lemon chicken to the salad would make a great addition. The flavors were great without being overpowering.

1 1/4 cups crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons plain whole-milk yogurt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove , minced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion , sliced thin
1 cucumber , peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin
1 pint cherry tomatoes , halved
3/4 cup pitted kalmata olives
2 romaine hearts , torn into bite-sized pieces (about 8 cups)
1. Process 1/4 cup feta, yogurt, oregano, garlic, vinegar, and oil in blender until smooth, about 30 seconds. Combine dressing and onion in large bowl and let sit 20 minutes.
2. Add remaining feta, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and romaine to bowl with dressing mixture and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

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