Saturday, September 15, 2012

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

It's been a while since I posted a recipe. Life seems to get busy at times and this year has been a busy year for me. However I'm hoping that I will be back to updating this blog at least weekly if not more often.
A neighbor told me that she loved the Chicken Gnocchi Soup from Olive Garden and since I make a pretty good knock off on their Zuppa Toscana soup could I try making the Gnocchi soup. I'm always up for a challenge so off I went in search of recipes. Now I have never had the Gnocchi soup so I just hoped the recipe I settled on really did taste like the Olive Garden recipe.
I ended up loving this soup. It reminds me of a chicken dumpling dish and I love dumplings. The flavors blended well together and it was really simple to make. I highly suggest you try this soup this fall.

Chicken Gnocchi Soup
recipe from Jamie Cooks It Up

1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
4 stalks celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2-3 T olive oil
1 Rotisserie Chicken + 1 C reserved broth from the bottom of the chicken container
7 C water
8 chicken bullion cubes
1 (16 ounce) package Potato Gnocchi
4 C half and half

1 1/2 C spinach, chopped
1 t thyme
1/8 t nutmeg
1 T sugar
1/4 C cold water
5 T cornstarch
salt and pepper 
2 T butter

 1. Get your onion and garlic peeled and chopped, your carrots peeled and grated and your celery chopped. 
2. Heat a large pot up over medium high heat. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of Olive Oil into it. 
3. When the oil is hot toss your chopped veggies into the pan. Cook them over medium high heat, stirring occasionally for about 5-8 minutes or until the onions are translucent. 
4. Take the lovely rotisserie chicken out of the package and set it on a plate. 
5. Pour the broth that is left in the bottom of the chicken package into a large measuring cup. You should have about 1 cup of broth from the pan.  
6. Pull the skin off of the chicken, and take the meat off of the bones. Chop it up with a sharp knife. 
7. When your veggies are done cooking pour the broth from the chicken and 7 cups of hot water into the pot. Add 8 chicken bullion cubes and give it a nice stir. 
8. Add the chopped chicken and bring the soup to a boil. 
9. Open up the package of Gnocchi and pour it into the pot. Let the soup come to a boil again and allow the gnocchi to cook for about 3-4 minutes. The gnocchi will be cooked  through when they float to the top of the broth. It should happen pretty fast.
10. Chop yourself about 1 1/2 cups of spinach and toss it into the pot. 

11. Pour in 4 cups of Half and Half, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir it around a bit and let it come to a boil. 
12. In a small bowl combine 1/4 C cold water and 5 tablespoons of cornstarch. Mix it well and pour it into the soup pot. 
13. Bring the soup to a boil, while you stir. It will thicken as the soup reaches a boil. 
14. Taste it and season it to your liking with salt and pepper.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Cooking Class on Vegetarian Cooking

Harmon's Station Park (Farmington location) is hosting a class on Vegetarian cooking with Chef Bob. He will be demonstrating a gourmet vegetarian meal. The menu consists of Curried Tomato Soup, Moroccan Lentil Ravioli, Spicy Tofu Lettuce Wraps, and Hailey's Berried Goodness. Cost is $29 a person. Here is the link to the class. I will be attending and hopefully I will see one or several of you.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Seriously don't read any further if you have no self control. These muffins, according to spark people recipe calculator, have over 400 calories a piece. If your like me and can keep your sweet tooth in check read on. These muffins took first place last night at our city's dessert baking contest. They are seriously that good. Personally this is all of my favorite sweet tastes rolled into one. They taste like pumpkin pie with a pumpkin cheesecake flavor added as a bonus. They are easy to make and each batch makes 24 muffins. Yes 24! Do NOT double this recipe like I did as I had to give them away to avoid the weight gain these will bring. I found this recipe via pinterest which is a favorite site of mine.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Lung Family Blog

Yield: 24 muffins


For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ cups vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
½ cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

For the filling, combine the cream cheese, vanilla  and confectioners’ sugar  in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth.  Once blended, cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator.

For the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F, and line muffin pans with cupcake  liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree ,, vanilla and oil.  Mix on low speed until blended.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

For the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend.  Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.  Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (2 tablespoons).  Spoon a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into the very center of each cup.  Divide the remaining batter among the cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely.  Sprinkle a tablespoon of the streusel mixture on top of each muffin.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving, the cream cheese filling will be very hot!

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pork Chops with Dijon Sauce

I randomly selected a recipe online the other night to use with the pork chops I had defrosted. I had been sick for almost a week at that point and just wanted a dish that could be made in less in 30 minutes and would allow me to rest for short periods of time. I just hoped the dish would taste decent. It turned out the dish was a huge hit with the kids and adults. I should have made more pork chops cause each child ate two pork chops each and I had doubled the recipe. They even liked the sauce which they rarely do.

Pork Chops with Dijon Sauce
Simply Recipes

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 center-cut rib or loin pork chops, boneless or bone-in (whatever you prefer), about 1 1/4 inch thick
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped shallots or green onions
1 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional, I did not add this)

Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over them. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Stir in the butter. As soon as the butter has melted, add the pork chops to the pan and sear them, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat slightly if the chops brown too quickly.

Remove the pork chops from the pan and pour off most of the fat. Add the green onions or shallots and cook them on med high heat until softened, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of the wine and bring to a boil, deglazing the pan by scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the stock and return chops to the pan. Bring sauce to a simmer, reduce heat, cover and cook until chops are cooked through (145°F internal temp), about 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the pork chops to a warm platter; cover with foil to keep warm. Add the remaining half cup of wine. Increase the heat to high to boil the pan juices. Reduce the juices by half, about 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream and boil 3 minutes more, until sauce reduces and thickens, and scraping the pan with a wooden spoon leaves a trail. Remove from the heat and whisk in the mustard and parsley. If you want, add more mustard to taste. Place chops on a bed of sauce and serve.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Who doesn't love this time of year? I know I do. My favorite thing about fall is all the pumpkin goodies that get shared around my block. Of course we all battle to outdo each other and there are some pretty amazing dishes shared. This one I made for the first time about three years ago. I made it almost directly as written but after making them and eating them I realized that they needed a cream cheese frosting to take them over the top. All the comments from neighbors was they were good but really needed a cream cheese frosting. Well this year I decided to make these again and make the requested cream cheese frosting. I haven't heard back from the neighbors yet but based on the reactions my kids had the cream cheese frosting did make these truly delicious.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour

1 cup canned pumpkin or squash
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup lukewarm water (adjust to your climate, wet needs less dry needs more)
1/4 cup soft butter
2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 3/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 tablespoons brown sugar, light or dark
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast

Combine all ingredients in bowl. Mix to combine. Knead till smooth, sticky is okay, your looking for it to hold its shape.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or other container. Cover, and let rise for 1 1/2 hours, until it’s puffy, though not necessarily doubled in bulk.

Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface. Roll the dough into a 14” x 22” rectangle. It’ll be very thin. Don’t stress if you can’t make it exactly 14” x 22”.

3 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Spread the melted butter over the rolled dough. Combine sugar and cinnamon and the sprinkle mixture over the buttered dough. Leave one edge clean. Starting with the end with filling, roll the dough into a log. Seal it closed. Next, you’re going to cut it into 9 rolls. It helps to use a ruler and measure the entire log, divide by 9, then actually make slight cuts, as a guide. A serrated knife is the easiest way to cut this dough. If things start getting too sticky, rinse the knife in hot water (don’t dry it), and continue. There you have it: 9 fat rolls.

Lay the rolls in a lightly greased 9” square pan; the pan needs to be at least 2” deep. Flatten them with your fingers, so they’re fairly tightly packed. Then cover, and let them rise for 1 hour, or until they look puffy – like this. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes, until they’re lightly browned and feel set.

Remove them from the oven, and set them on a rack. Turn them out of the pan, and allow them to cool for about 15 minutes. Towards the end of the cooling time, make the frosting.

Cream cheese frosting:
4 oz room temp cream cheese
1 c powdered sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter room temp
1/2 tsp vanilla
combine with mixer until smooth. spread over the top of warm rolls.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sizzler Cheese Toast

So I originally posted this recipe a few years back but way back then I really didn't or couldn't figure out how to get a decent picture. Now that I have a new computer (loving the Mac and so glad I went with it) and a new camera (still learning it but getting better) I thought I'd start replacing some old recipes with horrible pictures with new and better looking pictures. First up is the Sizzler Cheese Toast. I don't know about you but my favorite thing about Sizzler is the cheese toast. I could make a whole meal with just the cheese toast if they would let me. Now mine isn't exactly like Sizzler's cause I prefer more garlic flavor (warning cut back on the garlic powder if you don't like to have a real taste of garlic). This is a simple recipe that even a beginner cook could make and it really doesn't call for any stranger or obscure ingredients. If your like me and love Sizzler cheese toast give this knock off a try.

Sizzler Cheese Toast

6 slices Texas Toast bread
1/2 stick butter, softened at room temperature
1 tablespoon garlic powder (use less if you don't like the garlic flavor, probably about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Mix butter,salt, and garlic powder together. Preheat a griddle. Spread butter mixture on bread and sprinkle with cheese. Place buttered/cheese side down on the griddle and cook until brown. Remove and serve.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Meatless Mexican Salad

I'm back! Stunned? I am. First I've had all kinds of computer problems and then I had major issues with my camera. Anyway hopefully it's all finally cleared up.
Today's dish comes from a neighbor who had the meal at her parents house. I then adapted the recipe to fit my family's taste and trust me this picture does it no justice. The flavors blend together well and it's a salad that you'll crave often. My favorite thing about this recipe besides the taste is from start to finish it takes about 15 minutes to make, less if you don't make your own salsa and salad dressing. Another shocking thing about this recipe is my kids, yes the world's  pickiest kids, will eat this salad. So with that on to the recipe.

Lettuce (I use two salad bags or two washed heads of lettuce), I prefer romaine or green leaf but iceburg works
2 cans of Chili Beans, your choice I prefer S&W chili beans
1/2-3/4 bag of frozen corn, fresh works well too
fresh salsa, jarred works but it tastes great with freshly made
2 avocados, diced
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, play around almost any cheese is great in this salad
2 bunches of green onions, chopped (less if you want less or leave them out if your not an onion fan)
salad dressing, I prefer my homemade Creamy Tomatillo dressing but ranch works or even sour cream
crushed tortilla chips

Here is the only cooking part of this dish: Heat the chili beans and corn until heated thoroughly. Microwave or stove either way works.
Now assemble the salad, starting from the bottom:
lettuce, chili beans/corn mixture, cheese, green onions, avocado, salad dressing and tortilla chips.

Hopefully you like this salad as much as we do!

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chocolate Eclair Cake

Don't judge by the picture, this cake was extremely hard to get a decent picture of. However the taste of this cake was so good everyone (well except for my mom) was swiping a taste while waiting for dessert. Even my 6 year old twins and my 8 year old were coming for little sneak bites of this cake. This recipe calls for making your own pudding which I feel really makes this cake taste far better than any other version I have had of this cake. And the dish is pretty simple to make so even a beginner can make an amazing cake without resorting to a boxed dessert. The pudding was creamy and ever so tasty (hint: you can make this as a stand alone pudding too). Don't be scared off by the instructions it's all very simple to do.

Chocolate Eclair Cake
Cooks Country June/July 2011

1 1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
5 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons water
1 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 3/4 cups heavy cream, chilled
14 ounces graham crackers (I used about one and one quarter boxes)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
5 tablespoons light corn syrup

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large saucepan. Whisk milk into sugar mixture until smooth and bring to a boil, scraping bottom with rubber spatula, over medium high heat. Immediately reduce heat to medium low and cook, continuing to scrape bottom, until thickened and large bubbles appear on surface, 4 to 6 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla. Transfer pudding to large bowl and place plastic wrap directly on surface of pudding. Refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours.
Stir water and gelatin together in bowl and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Microwave until mixture is bubbling around the edges and gelatin dissolves, 15 to 30 seconds. Using stand mixture fitted with whisk, whip 2 cups cream on medium low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Add gelatin mixture and whip until soft peaks, about 1 minute.

Whisk one third whipped cream whipped cream into chilled pudding, then gently fold in remaining whipped cream, 1 scoop at a time, until combined. Cover bottom of 13 by 9 inch baking dish with layer of graham crackers, breaking crackers as necessary to line the bottom of the pan. Top with half of pudding whipped cream mixture and another layer of graham crackers. Repeat with remaining pudding-whipped cream mixture and remaining graham crackers.
Microwave chocolate chips, remaining 3/4 cup cream, and corn syrup in a bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Cool glaze to room temperature, about 10 minutes.  Cover graham crackers with glaze and refrigerate cake for 6 to 24 hours. Serve.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ms. Millie's Best Coleslaw

We love coleslaw in our house. I don't think I ever turn down a coleslaw recipe. I usually shred the cabbage myself as I find it tastes better but a bag of the coleslaw mix works well with a little doctoring. This recipe is a little sweeter of a coleslaw than others so if your not a fan of sweet coleslaw cut back on the sugar by adding a some sugar to the dressing and giving it a taste. This recipe calls for Dijon mustard which is different than the horseradish I usually add. I have to say it still had good flavor even without the horseradish flavor I love in a coleslaw.This recipe comes via a Mother's Day gift of Southern Plate by Christy Jordan.

Ms. Millie's Best Coleslaw
Southern Plate Christy Jordan

1 medium head green cabbage, cored and shredded (or you can use two bags of the coleslaw mix for all the veggies in this dish except the onion)
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons grated onion
2 cups mayonnaise (I prefer Best Foods or Helleman, Miracle Whip doesn't work for me)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons celery seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup Dijon mustard

Place the cabbage, carrots, green pepper, and onion in a large bowl. In another bowl, mix together all the remaining ingredients, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the vegetables and toss well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours before serving for flavors to blend.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Favorite Food Blogs

I'm back. I finally have time, an internet connection that seems to be working, no more computer problems (knock on wood), a new camera (broke my other), and the desire to actually cook again. I have a few recipes to share in the next week I just have to figure out how to get the pictures off my camera and onto the computer. I figure another day or two and I'll have that figured out. In the meantime here are some of my favorite blogs to read and borrow recipes from. They are in no particular order. Check them out if you haven't and feel free to introduce me to some new ones.

Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Cookin Canuck
Frieda Loves Bread
Kalyn's Kitchen
The Sisters Cafe
Pioneer Woman

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