Monday, November 30, 2009

Thai Beef Salad

Don loves this salad and given his years spent in Thailand loves Thai food. Me, I've sampled it a few times but I haven't really eaten it. I decided to give it a try and although Don had his doubts over my ability to make this dish it turned out pretty dang close to an original. Honestly you can make this as spicy or as mild as you like. I made it a little spicier than I would have preferred but it was so tasty. This will be a regular on our menu plan. I love how quickly it cooked and it was easy to make.

Thai Beef salad
adapted from here


1 lb beef. Any beef can be used.


1/4 cup sliced onions, separated
2 tomatoes, wedged
1/4 cup sliced cucumber
1/4 cup thinly sliced Thai chile peppers

1/4 cup fish sauce, I left this out and according to my husband you don't notice
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon sweet dark soy sauce
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons minced ginger
3 tablespoons chopped coriander/cilantro (including the roots)
1/4 cup chopped green onions (spring onions)
1/4 cup chopped shallots (small red or purple onions)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon Chili Garlic sauce

Barbeque the beef, and thinly slice it into bite sized pieces. Combine with the salad ingredients, and mix
the sauce and toss the whole.


Serve with sticky rice and lettuce.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

I was looking for a recipe to use potatoes in since I have close to 50 lbs right now. I have always loved potato soup so I knew soup was a great option. I stumbled across this recipe in Cook's Country magazine and thought why not give it a try. Yes this is a little more complicated then your basic potato soup but as always with CC it turned out great. The recipe actually calls for you to puree the majority of the soup but I prefer a chunky potato soup so I only pureed about 1/2 of the soup. Adjust it to your liking. The fried potato skins, make them if you want but honestly no one but me noticed they were in the soup.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Cook's Country Dec./Jan 2006 issue

8 ounces bacon, chopped
3 lbs russet potatoes, scrubbed
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 sprig fresh thyme
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus additional for garnish
1 cup sour cream, plus additional for garnish
ground black pepper
3 scallions, sliced thin
Cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. While bacon is cooking, use vegetable peeler to remove wide strips of potato peel; reserve peels. Cut peeled potatoes into 3/4-inch pieces. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to plate lined with paper towels. Add reserved potato skins to bacon fat in pot and cook until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer potato skins to plate with bacon.

Add onion to fat remaining in pot and cook over medium heat until golden, about 6 minutes. Stir in garlic and flour and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in broth and cream, stir in thyme and potatoes, and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and cook until potatoes are tender, about 7 minutes.

Discard thyme. Puree about one half of the soup, more if you want it less chunky and less if you want it more chunky. Return to pot and warm over medium-high heat. Off heat, stir in cheese until melted, then whisk in sour cream. Return reserved potatoes to pot and season soup with pepper. Ladle soup into bowls, garnishing with bacon, fried potato skins, scallions, cheese, and sour cream.

To reheat leftover portions, gently warm the soup in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Do not let the soup boil, which will cause the sour cream to separate.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are delicious. So delicious they were gone in less than 2 hours. I did not have any to give to the sweet ladies who live behind us. This was really easy to make and as I say so often much better than the refrigerator dough or packaged dough you can buy. No these probably are not "healthy" but honestly everyone deserves a treat at times.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Melanie at My Kitchen Cafe

2 1/8 c bleached all-purpose flour (about 10.5 oz)
1/2 t table salt
1/2 t baking soda
12 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 c brown sugar (7 oz)
1/2 c sugar (3.5 oz)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 t vanilla
1-2 c chocolate chips (I use a full 12 oz. package of semisweet chips)

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; mix until just combined. Stir in chips.

Form dough into balls and place on parchment or silpat-lined cookie sheets. Smaller cookie sheets can be used, but fewer cookies can be baked at one time and baking time may need to be adjusted. (Dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month—shaped or not.)

Bake, reversing cookie sheets’ positions halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes (start checking at 13 minutes - these cookies really do need longer baking time than most average cookie dough recipes). Frozen dough requires an extra 1 to 2 minutes baking time. Cool cookies on cookie sheets. Serve or store in airtight container.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

November 2009 Crossroads Coop

$16.50 got me the following:
Harvest share
7 oranges
8 pears
6 Utah apples
1 bunch broccoli
3 red bell peppers
4 tomatoes
8oz mushrooms
5lb bag russet potatoes
1 bunch asparagus
Artisan wheat bread
1 lb brown rice

Farnsworth Apple cider

Recipes using the above items:
Holiday Lettuce Salad
Upside Down Pear Gingerbread

Lemon Cream Pasta with Broccoli
Broccoli Cheese Soup

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Bountiful Baskets Coop 11/21/09

Today's coop consisted of the following:

Regular basket $17.50
1 head green cauliflower
8oz mushrooms
6oz blackberries
10 Fuji Apples
2 red onions
8 bananas
2 spinach bundles
6 russet potatoes
2 lbs baby carrots
1 lb grapes

Hostess pack $10
1 bunch cilantro (suppose to be parsley but its cilantro)
12 oz cranberries
3 lbs Jonathan apples
2 yellow onions
English cucumber
8 yams
10 lb bag russet potatoes

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stuffing Bread

I make my own bread for stuffing. I just find it makes for a much tastier stuffing than using the dried bread at the store or Stove Top. It's not that hard to make and it's also good for making turkey sandwiches. I make my loaves and slice them. After letting them dry for about 4 hours I package them and freeze until I'm ready to make stuffing. You can use this bread just as you would the dry bread cubes at the store only you may want to leave out some of the liquid. I add liquid slowly to the stuffing since the amount needed varies each time when using this bread.

Stuffing Bread
King Arthur's Baking Companion Magazine Winter 2006

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup onions, cut in a small dice
1/4 cup celery, cut in a small dice
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 large egg
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat; add the onions and celery and cook slowly until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and cool the vegetables.

Place the remaining ingredients (not the cooked vegetables) in the order listed into your mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Once the dough begins to form, add the cooked vegetables and butter to the dough.

Knead for 6 to 8 minutes; the dough will seem dry at first, but will soften as the vegetables give up their liquid, and create a smooth, supple dough. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn over to coat, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about one hour).

After the first rise, deflat the dough, form it into a loaf, and place in a greased 8 1/2 x 4 inch loaf pan. Cover the dough with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let rise again until the dough domes an inch above the edge of the pan.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Slash the top of the dough down the center, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and the internal temperature of the bread when measured in the center reads 190 degrees.

Remove the bread from the oven, turn it out of the pan, and cool completely on a rack before serving.

If you are using the bread for stuffing make sure its completely cool, then slice the entire loaf. Place the slices in a zip top plastic bag, and freeze until you are ready to make the stuffing.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Pork Tacos

The past several posts have been a lead up to what I used all those recipes for which were these delicious tacos. Seriously this taco was the best tasting taco I have ever made. I'm never going back to ground beef tacos now that I have a great chicken taco recipe and now this pork taco. I prefer using the tortilla's you cook before using but any type of tortillas would work. Below is a link to all the recipes used in making this taco:

Shredded Spicy Pork
Pico de Gallo
Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Guacamole II

I love guacamole. I have another recipe posted on here that calls for all kinds of ingredients and takes a little bit of time. This is yet another recipe from the Pioneer Woman's cookbook. This is a really simple recipe if you are making her pico de gallo recipe on the same day. This is not as interesting tasting as my previous recipe but it makes a decent and very edible guacamole. My kids prefer this one to my traditional one so this will be seeing a regular appearance in our house.

2 avocados, mashed
1/2 to 3/4 cup pico de gallo
Mix together and serve.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Pico De Gallo

I love pico de gallo and I'm always on the lookout for a really great recipe. This one was quick and easy to make and for an added bonus had great flavor. This recipe comes from the Pioneer Woman's cookbook and I served it with the spicy pulled pork from yesterday's post.

Next week I'll be posting a few recipe for Thanksgiving.

Pico De Gallo
Pioneer Woman's cookbook

1 cup chopped roma tomatoes
1 cup diced yellow or red onions
big handful of cilantro or to your taste
1 jalapeno, seeded and membranes removed, chopped
juice from 1 lime
salt, to taste

Mix everything together. Should be served with in 24 hours or it will become soupy.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spicy Shredded Pork

I treated myself to the Pioneer Woman's new cookbook and I 'll admit almost all of the recipes are on my must try list. This one came from the cookbook and was used two different ways. One night I made tacos with the pork and it was delicious. The next night I served this pork with spicy bbq sauce for spicy bbq'd pork sandwiches. Even the kids were in love with the meat.

Spicy Shredded Pork
Pioneer Woman's website

  • 4 pounds (up To 7 Pounds) Pork Shoulder
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon (to 2 Tablespoons) Salt
  • Pepper To Taste
  • 3 cloves (to 4 Cloves) Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon (to 2 Tablespoons) Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons (to 3 Tablespoons) White Wine Vinegar
  • ¼ cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 whole Onion
  • Lime Wedges
Preparation Instructions

Rinse and pat dry the pork shoulder.

To begin, just throw the dried oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar and brown sugar into a food processor or blender. (I happen to love brown sugar in my cooking, but you can decrease or omit it if you like.) Cut one onion into quarters and put it in the food processor with the spices. Blend mixture until totally combined and then pour it over the pork shoulder.

Now rub it into every nook and cranny of the meat, tucking it under folds an in crevices. Let no stone go unturned. Then place the pork into a roasting pan or Dutch oven and add a couple of cups of water. Cover tightly and roast pork at 300ยบ for several hours, turning once every hour. When it is fork tender crank up the heat, remove the lid, and roast it, skin side up for another 15 to 20 minutes to get the skin crispy. When it’s done let it rest for 15 minutes before shredding.

Shred the pork shoulder (two forks work well). When it’s all shredded be sure to pour the juices all over the meat. Serve with warm tortillas, lime wedges, sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole, tomatillo salsa or whatever suits you.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

We love homemade spaghetti sauce in our house. I haven't bought bottled sauce in over 4 years. I have my own recipe that really good but it's usually done meatless since I have not figured out how to balance the flavors with meat yet. One of my favorite food bloggers, Melanie, posted her perfected sauce and I had to give it a try. I have to admit even with meat added this recipe tops mine. I cut her recipe in half, sorry Melanie, since I did not want oodles of a meaty sauce that I may not like and I regret doing so. Now I to make another batch so I can freeze it and have a quick meal any day of the week. Trust me you won't be disappointed with this recipe.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
My Kitchen Cafe

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onion, chopped and divided
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
2 pounds hamburger (at least 90% lean)
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 12 oz. can tomato paste
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoons dried oregano
3 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 14-oz. can Italian-style diced tomatoes
2 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 carton fresh mushrooms (optional)
1 1/2 cups beef stock or beef broth
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add 1/2 of the onions and saute until translucent and slightly browned. Add garlic and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add beef and cook until no red is showing. Drain beef slightly. Blend up the remaining onions and red pepper in a blender or food processor until mostly smooth. Add mixture to the garlic, onions and beef and stir to combine, cooking for another minute. Add tomato paste and spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring until combined. Add tomatoes, beef broth and sugar (and mushrooms, if using). Stir until combined and add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Fifteen minutes before serving, stir in the balsamic vinegar.

NOTE: The sauce will seem watery at first but will reduce to perfection after simmering for an hour. I've let it simmer on the stove for up to three hours before with no problems.

*Freezable Meal: The finished spaghetti sauce freezes very well. I store mine in a freezer-safe container. To serve, I thaw in the refrigerator (usually about one day) and reheat over medium-low heat in a saucepan on the stove.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

60 Minute Snowflake Rolls

My kids could not eat get enough of these rolls. Lucky for me these are a quick roll to make because the kids ate the first batch before we could use them for dinner. These rolls go together quickly and taste like rolls that take hours. These rolls are my new favorite quick roll recipe. Next time I make these I am going to try using half whole wheat and half white flour. For those on Weight Watchers one roll is 2 points.

60 Minute Snowflake Rolls
The Baking Sheet Holiday 2008

3 1/2 to 3 3/4 (14 3/4 to 15 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (1 3/8 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons (2 packets) instant yeast
1 cup (8 ounces) milk or rice milk
1/2 cup (4 ounces) water
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast. Combine the milk, water, and butter in a saucepan and heat until very warm. The butter doesn't need to melt.

Gradually add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix at medium speed for 2 minutes; the mixture will be quite wet. Add another 1/2 cup flour and beat at high speed for 2 minutes. The mixture will begin to get thicker.

Stir in enough of the remaining flour so that you have a soft dough. Knead on a lightly floured board for 5 minutes.

Put back into the mixing bowl after you've scraped it out, cover and let rise for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Turn the dough out onto your board and cut it into 24 equal pieces; each piece should weigh about 1 1/2 ounces. Shape into rolls by rolling them on the board with your cupped fingers.

Place the rolls into two greased 9 inch round cake pans. Let rise for 20 minutes, until they look puffy. For snowflake rolls, sprinkle the tops with flour just before baking.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Remove from pan.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Black Bean Soup II

This was a winner in this house. The flavors melded together great and it was simple to make. Adding avocado as a garnishment was a wonderful addition. You could leave the bacon out if you wanted a vegetarian soup. As far as the bacon in this soup, I cooked mine longer so it was a little more crisp than the recipe called for. Next time I think I'll try using dried beans that I cooked but the canned beans are great for making this dish quick and easy.

Black Bean Soup II
Food Network

10 slices bacon, finely chopped
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
6 garlic cloves, pressed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
4 (15 1/2-ounce) cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime
Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish
Grated cheddar, for garnish
diced avocado, for garnish

Put the bacon into a large heavy pot and place it over medium heat. Cook until it starts to give up its fat, about 4 minutes. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until you can smell it, about 1 minute. Add the broth, tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire, and chili powder. Stir in the beans, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the soup is bubbling gently and cook 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, pick off all the thick stems from the cilantro. Wash it and shake dry. Chop the cilantro coarsely and stir it into the soup when it has been simmering 10 minutes. cook until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice. Serve with the garnishes.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chicken Parmigiana

I'm not a big fan of this dish. My husband loves it and every once in awhile I make it to keep him happy. The other day I was looking at the Pioneer Woman's blog and noticed this recipe. It looked so good and I was dying to give it a try. The next day I made this dish and I'll admit I loved it. It was the best chicken parmigiana I have ever tried. There is no doubt the next time my husband begs me to make this dish I'll gladly make and enjoy the meal.

Chicken Parmigiana
Pioneer Woman

4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and pounded flat
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup wine—white or red is fine
Three 14.5-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 generous cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Thin linguine

Mix flour, salt, and pepper together on a large plate.
Dredge flattened chicken breasts in flour mixture. Set aside.
Heat olive oil and butter together in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted and oil/butter mixture is hot, fry chicken breasts until nice and golden brown on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Remove chicken breasts from the skillet and keep warm.
Without cleaning skillet, add onions and garlic and gently stir for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape the bottom of the pan, getting all the flavorful bits off the bottom. Allow wine to cook down until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
Pour in crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Add sugar and more salt and pepper to taste.
Allow to cook for 30 minutes.

*Cook linguine until al dente*

Toward the end of cooking time, add chopped parsley and give sauce a final stir.
Carefully lay chicken breasts on top of the sauce and completely cover them in grated Parmesan. Place lid on skillet and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer until cheese is melted and chicken is thoroughly heated. Add more cheese to taste.
Place cooked noodles on a plate and cover with sauce. Place chicken breast on top and sprinkle with more parsley.
Serve immediately.

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Monday, November 2, 2009


These were delicious and well worth the little time I put into these bagels. They were better than the ones you buy at the grocery store and rank up there with Einsteins bagels. Given the price of Einsteins bagels these days I think I'll make own. You can play with the recipe and add whatever flavorings you want but I did plain and onion/garlic topped. The kids and my husband ate these quickly so I'm not sure how long they would last.

King Arthur's Bakers Companion

1 tablespoon instant yeast
4 cups (17 ounces) unbleached bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder, brown sugar, or barley malt syrup
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) lukewarm water

Water Bath
2 quarts (64 ounces) water
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) non-diastatic malt powder, brown sugar, or barley malt syrup
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Combine all the dough ingredients in a mixing bowl and knead vigorously by machine on medium low speed for 10 minutes. The dough will be quite stiff; it will "thwap" the sides of the bowl and hold its shape (without spreading at all) when you stop the mixer. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and set it aside to rise until noticeably puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide it into eight pieces, I made by bagels smaller and did 16 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a smooth, round ball. Cover the balls with plastic wrap and let them rest for 30 minutes. They'll puff up very slightly.

While the dough is resting, prepare the water bath by heating the water, malt powder, and sugar to a very gentle boil in a large, wide diameter pan. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Use your index finger to poke a hole through the center of each ball, then twirl the dough on your finger to stretch the hole until it's about 2 inches in diameter (the entire bagel will be 4 inches across if using 8 pieces). Place each bagel on a lightly greased baking sheet and repeat with remaining pieces of dough.

Transfer the bagels, four at a time if possible, to the simmering water. Increase the heat under the pan to bring the water back up to a gently simmering boil, if necessary. Cook the bagels for two minutes, gently flip them over, and cook 1 minute more. Use skimmer or strainer, remove the bagels from the water and back on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining bagels.

Bake the bagels for 20 to 25 minutes, until they're as deep a brown as you like, turning them over after about 15 minutes, which will help them remain tall and round. Remove the bagels from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

If adding toppings to the bagels, bake bagels 20 to 22 minutes (or until they are almost as brown as you like) and remove the pan from the oven, keeping the oven turned on. Working with one bagel at a time, glaze (1 egg white beaten until frothy with 1 tablespoon water) and sprinkle with your desired toppings. Return the bagels to the oven for no more than 2 minutes.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Crispy Taco Wraps

My sister left a comment on Melanie's (My Kitchen Cafe) blog about switching the Crispy Chicken Wraps into a taco wrap. I finally decided to give it a try and it worked pretty well. As you can tell from my picture I really filled the wraps and in the future I think I'd not put quite as much stuff in the wraps. However these wraps were a hit and a nice change from the typical taco dinner. Mix it up and add your favorite taco fillings. I think the chicken from the easy chicken tacos would work well here too.

taco flavored ground beef (you could also use chicken or beef or pork or beans)
cheddar cheese
shredded lettuce
salsa or taco sauce
sour cream
and any other toppings you like on your tacos

Lay a tortilla on a cutting board or counter. Spread with guacamole, salsa, and sour cream. Nest sprinkle some lettuce and tomatoes. Add some cheese and spread your taco flavored protein item. Roll the tortilla up and seal at the seam, leaving ends open. Spray with cooking spray.
Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute. Arrange 2 wraps, seam-side down, in pan and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side.

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