Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pecan Pie

This is my very favorite kind of pie. 

3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 C. corn syrup
1 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 C. pecan halves
1 unbaked pie shell (You can use your own recipe or see mine here)
In large bowl, stir together eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla until well blended. Pour into pie shell. Add pecans on top and bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Chicken Tacos

If I had time to go to the store before I made this, there would be lettuce, cilantro and some really yummy home made salsa.  They were still good without them.

Chicken Tacos

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup lemonade/limeade
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ teaspoons cumin
¼ tsp chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder

1 (12 ounce) package flour tortillas
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 (8 ounce) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 (8 ounce) jar salsa
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream

In a large skillet over medium heat, combine chicken, lemonade/limeade, olive oil, lime juice. Season with garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, onion powder. Simmer until chicken is no longer pink, and juices run clear, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, warm the tortillas in the oven or microwave until soft. When chicken is fully cooked, transfer to serving bowl. Place lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, salsa, and sour cream in serving dishes. Each person can create their own wrap, using their preferred ingredients.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cheese Enchiladas

Cheese Enchiladas

Corn tortillas
Monterey jack cheese or cheddar cheese
Green chiles
Shredded chicken (optional)
One recipe white sauce with added Monterey jack cheese and green chiles
Heat oil in small frying pan. Dip tortillas one by one in hot oil to soften. Roll ingredients inside tortillas and place sides touching in 9x13 baking dish. Pour white sauce over top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Basic White Sauce
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 C milk
Melt butter over medium low heat until melted.  Add flour and whisk together until blended.  Stir constantly until bubbly.  Very slowly, add milk while stirring constantly with a whisk.  Heat until thick, stirring constantly.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cooking Tips

Here are a few noteworthy tips I have picked up through my years of cooking.

- When measuring corn syrup or honey, spray your measuring cup with cooking spray before hand. 
- Beware of using foil to store anything with tomato sauce (or other highly acidic foods).  It creates a chemical reaction, causing aluminum salt to form, and sometimes it will leave pin-sized holes in the foil.
- When boiling pasta, to prevent boiling over, add a tsp or two of oil to the water.
- Peel your ginger then freeze it.  It will last a LOT longer than if you refrigerate it.
- Cottage cheese will remain fresher longer if you store it upside down in the refrigerator. This slows the effects of oxidation.
- Place a piece of bread in the container with your brown sugar if it hardens.  This will pull the moisture from the bread and add it to your brown sugar.  (But don't leave the bread in there for long!)
- To fix lumpy gravy, simply pour your gravy through a sieve or small strainer. 
- A little corn starch and water go a long way to instantly thicken a sauce. Just add 1 tbsp of corn starch to 2 tbsp of water and mix well. Stir it into simmering sauces for an instant thickener. Be careful to use just enough, and add the mixture SLOWLY while stirring constantly to prevent lumps!
- When baking pies, use a pie shield.  This will prevent the crust of the pie from browning too much.  You can also use aluminum foil around the edge. 

- Brush some beaten egg white over your pie crust or pastry before baking to yield a beautiful glossy finish.
- Leftover pie dough? Roll it out and spread it with butter, then cinnamon sugar.  Cut into bite size pieces and bake for 2-4 minutes.  Delicious pie crust cookies.
- When a chocolate recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of cocoa instead of flour so there is no white "mess" on the outside of your cake or bread.
- Be sure there are no drafts where dough is rising. Drafts cause the dough to rise slowly and unevenly.
- Is your baking powder fresh? Put one tsp in 1/3 cup of water. If it does not fizz toss the baking powder-it's too old.
- When boiling corn on the cob, add a tablespoon of sugar to help bring out the corn's natural sweetness.
- Vegetables and chicken absorb marinades more quickly than pork or red meat.  3-4 hours is generally sufficient for chicken or vegetables, while pork or red meat need 6 or more hours - overnight is best.

Emergency Substitutions


  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch - 2 Tbsp. flour OR 1 Tbsp. quick cooking tapioca

  • 1 c. cake flour - 1 c. less 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour

  • 1 c. all purpose flour - 1 c. plus 2 Tbsp. cake flour

  • 1 square baking chocolate - 3 Tbsp. cocoa and 1 Tbsp. shortening or butter

  • 1 c. melted shortening - 1 c. oil (not for solid shortening)

  • 1 c. milk - ½ c. evaporated milk and ½ c. water

  • 1 c. sour milk or buttermilk - 1 Tbsp. vinegar and enough milk to measure 1 c.

  • 1 c. heavy cream - 2/3 c. milk and 1/3 c. butter

  • 1 c. heavy cream, whipped - 2/3 c. well chilled evaporated milk, whipped

  • 1 tsp. baking powder - ¼ tsp. baking soda and 1 tsp. cream of tartar OR ¼ tsp. baking soda and ½ c. sour milk, buttermilk, or molasses; reduce other liquid to ½ c.

  • 1 c. sugar - 1 c. honey; reduce other liquid ¼ c.; reduce baking temperature 25 degrees

  • 1 c. miniature marshmallows - 10 large marshmallows, cut up

  • 1 medium onion -  2 Tbsp. dried minced onion OR 1 tsp. onion powder OR 2 tsp. onion salt; reduce salt 1 tsp.

  • 1 garlic clove - 1/8 tsp. garlic powder OR ¼ tsp. garlic salt reduce salt 1/8 tsp. OR ½ tsp. minced garlic

  • 1 Tbsp. fresh herbs - 1 tsp. dried herbs OR ¼ tsp. powdered herbs OR ½ tsp. herb salt; reduce salt ¼ tsp.

  • 1 c. corn syrup - 1 c. sugar and ¼ c. water (or other liquid used in recipe)

  • 1 c. honey - 1 ¼ c sugar and ¼ c. water (or other liquid used in recipe)

  • 1 tsp. vanilla - 1 tsp. grated lemon peel or orange rind (will have a different flavor)
Use these tips and tricks at your own risk!  There may be more in the future, so stay tuned.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookie Logs

These little cookies are so melt in your mouth delicious, that it is hard to resist them!  They are good without being dipped in chocolate as well, but let's be honest.  Where can you go wrong when you add extra chocolate to something?  The shortbread cookies are very easy to make, so it's really a win-win recipe!

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookie Logs

1 c. butter, softened
½ c. sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 c. miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. shortening
¾ c. finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Grease baking sheets. Cream together butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Mix in the flour and then one cup of the chocolate chips. Shape dough into 2x1/2 in. logs. Place logs 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10-13 minutes in preheated oven, or until firm. Let cookies cool completely before removing from pan (shortbread is very brittle). Melt the remaining 1 c. chocolate chips and shortening over a double boiler, stirring frequently until smooth. Dip one end of each cookie into the chocolate then into the nuts. Place onto wax paper until set. Makes approx. 4 dozen.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Italian Bread Bowls and Broccoli Cheese Soup

Italian Bread Bowls
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
7 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
In a large bowl (or bowl of an electric mixer), dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
Add salt, oil and 4 cups flour to the yeast mixture; beat well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well with an electric mixer at medium speed after each addition until a soft but not sticky dough is formed (you may not need to use all 7 cups).
When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes (or let knead in an electric mixer). Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Punch dough down, and divide into 6-8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a round ball. Place loaves on lightly greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal (or use silpat liners or parchment paper). Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 35 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, beat together egg white and 1 tablespoon water; lightly brush the loaves with half of this egg wash. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Brush with remaining egg mixture, and bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks.

Broccoli Cheese Soup
1 can chicken broth
1 small onion, diced
1/3 c. flour
1/4 c. butter
Pepper to taste
2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. shredded Swiss cheese
Steamed chopped broccoli
Simmer chicken broth and chopped onion for 15-20 minutes in a covered small saucepan, until onions are soft. Heat milk in microwave for 1-2 minutes. In a separate medium-sized stockpot, melt butter then add flour and pepper. Cook together for a couple of minutes, then whisk in warmed milk. Stir and heat together on medium-high heat until soup starts to thicken. Next add chicken broth and continue to stir until well blended. Add cheeses and steamed broccoli. Serve immediately.
Makes approximately 4 servings

Monday, November 16, 2009

English Muffin Loaves

My sister passed this recipe along to me. 

I love English Muffins.  They are so tasty, but they can get pricey, so we don't always have them on hand.  This bread tastes like English Muffins.  Just toast a few slices and yum!

2 pkg. yeast
6 C. flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 C. milk
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ C. water

Combine 3 C. flour, yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda. Heat liquids until very warm. Add to dry mixture; beat well. Stir in remaining flour to make a stiff batter. Spoon into 2 loaf pans that have been greased and sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover; let rise in a warm place 45 minutes. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool. Slice and toast. Makes 16 slices per loaf.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chicken Marinade

Chicken Marinade

1 cup soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 cup water

Marinate chicken strips all day. Broil for 10 minutes or so, depending on how thick you cut the strips. This also works great on chicken breasts on the grill.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dinner Nachos

This is my dinner in a pinch solution.  I need to go to the store.  Desperately.  I am out of nearly everything.  This is a meal that was thrown together with what I had on hand.  It turned out pretty good, and even the kids liked it.

1 pound ground beef
1 package Taco Seasoning Mix
1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
Thick & Chunky Salsa
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Shredded lettuce
Tortilla chips
Cook beef and taco seasoning in skillet until browned. Pour off fat. Add beans, and tomatoes. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 5 min. or until done. Pour into casserole dish and top with cheese.  Broil for a few minutes until  cheese is melted.  Top with salsa and lettuce. Serve with tortilla chips for dipping.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Spicy Italian Sausage and Black Bean Soup

As the cold weather hits us, soup season is here!  Here is a recipe we tried out the other day.  It was yummy!  My three year old loved it, even though the sausage I used was on the spicier side.  If you don't want it so spicy, just use a mild italian sausage.  I cook spicy things alot, so my kids are used to it.  Sometimes I won't feed them the same thing as us if what I am cooking is extra spicy. 

I am not a fan of using wine to cook with - I just don't like the flavor.  In place of the red wine in this recipe, I just used an extra cup of beef broth.  I also had run out of celery and didn't want to go to the store.  I used celery seed to give the flavor.  I don't like using spinach in soup, so it was really just a personal preference to leave that out.  I'm sure it would be just as good with it in it. 

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pound spicy Italian sausage
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 russet potato, cubed
5 stalks celery, diced
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 (32 fluid ounce) container beef broth
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup uncooked rotini pasta
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
salt and black pepper to taste

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook the Italian sausages in the hot oil, turning occasionally, until browned on the outside and no longer pink in the center, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool; remove all but 1 tablespoon of grease from the pot.

Stir the garlic, onion, carrot, potato, and celery into the hot fat. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the onion has turned translucent, about 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste until no lumps remain; pour in the red wine. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, stirring frequently to dissolve the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the beef broth, black beans, and diced tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 1 hour.

Cut the cooled sausage into 1/2-inch thick slices. Stir the sausage into the soup along with the rotini pasta, spinach, and dried oregano. Simmer until the pasta is tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped basil and season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Parmesan Chicken

My husband raves about this recipe. 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Flatten chicken to 1/4-in. thickness. I use a freezer zip lock bag, place in chicken, then use a rolling pin to beat the chicken down. In a shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and basil. In another bowl, beat the egg. Dip chicken into egg, then coat with crumb mixture. In a 13X9 baking dish place chicken breasts. Bake in preheated oven on 350 for 20-25 minutes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cherry Crunch Cake

This cake is such a weakness of mine... I love it.

1 can cherry pie filling
1 Tbsp. almond extract
1 cake mix (white or yellow)
1 stick butter, melted
Mix cherry pie filling and almond extract in bottom of 8x8 pan. In separate bowl mix dry cake mix, butter and pecans. Layer on top of cherry mixture. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until nicely golden and filling bubbles.

I normally use a yellow cake mix.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Curried Honey Mustard Chicken

We are big fans of curry at our house (even the kids love it).  Add some to a honey mustard sauce, and you have got some seriously yummy chicken on your hands. 

1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup Dijon-style prepared mustard
4 teaspoons curry powder
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

In a medium bowl combine the melted butter/margarine, honey, mustard, curry powder and cayenne powder. Mix well. Place chicken breasts in a 9x13 inch baking dish and pour honey/mustard mixture over chicken. Cover and place in refrigerator. Marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Remove dish from refrigerator and bake, covered, in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove cover and bake about 10 minutes more, or until done and juices run clear (baking time will depend a little on how thick your chicken breasts are - I use pretty thick chicken breasts, so I cooked it for 20 minutes covered and another ten or so uncovered).

So I didn't decide to make this until it was way too late to marinate it for that long.  I only was able to get about an hour of marinating in.  So I used my newest favorite kitchen gadget - the meat injector. 

Have you ever used one of these?  I mentioned it here, also. I just got some of the sauce in here and injected it right into the chicken.  Yum.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Onion Mushroom Meatloaf

Normally, I use Lawry's meatloaf seasoning to make meatloaf.  When our youngest was born, we had a neighbor bring us some meatloaf for dinner.  It was so tasty, and I just couldn't resist asking for the recipe.  I made it again the other night, and it was a hit.

Preheat oven to 350°

1 envelope Lipton Onion-Mushroom Soup Mix
1 1/2 lbs ground beef (as lean as possible)
1 c. soft bread crumbs
1 egg
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. catsup
In medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Shape into loaf in a shallow pan. Bake uncovered approximately 1 hour
1/4 c. catsup
3 T brown sugar
2 T Dijon-style mustard.
Spread topping on top of meatloaf halfway through baking time (1/2 hr) Return to oven.
Serves 6

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fish Cakes

Fish is not one of my favorite things.  I have always liked shellfish and canned tuna.  I have also always liked fish sticks....Anyway, I made these with Halibut, and they are now on my "regular dinners" list.  So good!

1 lemon
1 ¼ lbs. fresh flaky fish (cod, halibut, mahi-mahi, or canned tuna)
¼ c. vegetable oil
2 tsp. seafood seasoning blend
2 ribs celery (hearts) and their greens, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
2-3 T. chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 2 tsp. dried thyme)
3-4 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
salt & pepper to taste
1 egg
2 c. plain bread crumbs (or 4 slices toast processed to crumbs in food processor)
In a large, nonstick skillet, bring ½ inch water to a simmer. Zest a lemon and reserve. Cut lemon and season the fish with lemon juice and salt and add to simmering water. Cover pan and cook fish about 8 min. Remove and flake fish into a bowl. Discard water and wipe out pan, returning it to medium heat and add oil. To the fish, add reserved lemon zest, seafood seasoning, celery, onion, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. Add egg and 1 c. of the bread crumbs. Form 8 fish patties (I only made six, but I also only used about a pound of fish) and carefully toss in remaining bread crumbs to set the patties. Cook the patties in the oil for 4-5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Serve with a lemon on the table to squeeze over the patties.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mom’s Chili

This is a mild recipe for chili, but still oh so good. Don't worry, you will get a few more chili recipes throughout the winter.

1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
½ onion, chopped
1 can light kidney beans
2 cans dark kidney beans
1 20 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
½ tsp. - 1 tsp. salt (to taste)
2-3 tsp. chili powder
Dash pepper
Sautee ground beef and onion together. Add all ingredients into a pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Magic Cookie Bars

1 graham cracker crust
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 bag white chocolate chips
1 bag peanut butter chips
1 bag coconut
Line bottom of 9x13 baking dish with graham cracker crust. Then add ½ can of sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and coconut. Drizzle remaining milk over top. Bake 30 minutes at 350.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chicken Cannelloni

I was flipping through the pages of a magazine this afternoon and saw an advertisement for an italian frozen meal. It was not anything I had attempted to make before, or even seen a recipe for. So I went in search. I found a recipe that looked pretty good and changed a few things. My husband had requested teriyaki chicken for dinner, but this just looked too good to pass up. After we finished eating, he said he was very glad that I did not make the teriyaki chicken. Thanks, honey!

1/4 c. (1/2 stick) butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. instant chicken bouillon
1/8 tsp. white pepper
2 c. light cream or half and half
1/2 c. combined grated Parmesan and Romano cheese

8 manicotti shells
2 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. sliced green onion
8-10oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
2 c. finely chopped chicken
1/2 c. combined grated Parmesan and Romano cheese
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. pepper
Sauce: saute garlic in butter 3 minutes. Stir in flour and seasonings. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in cream. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cheese until melted (set aside).
Cannelloni, boil shells according to package directions. Rinse and drain. Meanwhile, saute onion in butter until tender (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in remaining ingredients.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill shells. Place in buttered 2 quart rectangular baking dish. Spoon sauce over filled cannelloni. Bake 20 minutes. Then broil several inches from source of heat about 5 minutes or until sauce becomes golden and bubbles (serve immediately).

Spiced Cider

I got this recipe from my neighbor. It was really good. Thanks Kayla!

1/3 c. brown sugar
2 quarts apple juice
1 t. whole allspice
1 1/2 t. whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 oranges sliced with the peels on

Combine the brown sugar and apple juice in the crockpot. Tie the spices in cheese cloth and add to crockpot. Cover and simmer on low for 2-8 hours.

Pumpkin Pie Bites

If you don't visit Bakerella's website, I highly recommend it for some baking fun. I got the recipe for these here.

Pumpkin Pie Bites
2 refrigerated ready-to roll pie crusts

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter

1/2 cup chocolate morsels
vegetable oil
re-sealable plastic bags
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Use cookie cutter to cut 12 pumpkin shapes from each pie crust. You will need to roll the dough thinner than it comes out of the box.Press dough shapes into a 24 cup mini muffin tray. (Make 12 at a time, alternating cups to make sure pie crusts don’t overlap each other.)Apply egg whites from one egg to the top edges of each pie.
Mix cream cheese, sugar, canned pumpkin, remaining 2 eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice together until thoroughly combined.Spoon mixture into each pumpkin-shaped pie crust.Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Remove pies to cool and repeat with second pie crust. Place the muffin tray in the freezer to cool it quickly for re-use.
Makes 24 pies. Keep refrigerated.

To decorate, melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave on medium. Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until melted. Add a little vegetable oil to make the chocolate more fluid. Transfer to a re-sealable plastic bag and cut the corner off. Drizzle or draw faces on pies.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Frozen pizza...or homemade pizza?

You can buy a frozen pizza at the grocery store for anywhere between $1 and $10. Some taste like cardboard, some taste pretty good. To me, however, homemade pizza is so much better. There are times when a frozen pizza is just too easy to pass up, though. I have found a solution! I made some pizza dough, flattened it out on a pan, then stuck it in the freezer. I also made some extra pizza sauce, put it in a baggie, and stuck it in the freezer, as well. I normally keep some grated mozzarella cheese in the freezer. So there you have it. Fresher ingredients than a frozen pizza, and better tasting, too! Plus it's there and easy for the husband to take out the freezer on nights when you want a break from cooking!

Pizza Dough
1 ½ c. flour
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. oil
1 pkg. active dry yeast
½ c. warm water
Mix yeast in water. Add flour, salt and oil. Knead well. Cover with cloth and let rise approximately 15-30 minutes. (Double for one large round pizza)

Fast Pizza Sauce
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano (or Italian seasoning)

Quiche Lorraine

There are many different types of quiche. There is the crab kind, the ham kind, the vegetable kind, and the bacon kind. This is one of my favorites.

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie (you can get the recipe here)
12 slices bacon
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/3 cup minced onion
4 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups light cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Place bacon in a large skillet, and fry over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels, then chop coarsely. Sprinkle bacon, cheese and onion into pastry shell.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, salt, sugar and cayenne pepper. Pour mixture into pastry shell.
Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce heat to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C), and bake an additional 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean. Allow quiche to sit 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Deluxe Sugar Cookies

This sugar cookie recipe is my all time favorite. If you don't cook them too long, and cut them thick enough, they are super soft, and oh so good.

Cream together:
2 c. butter, softened
3 c. powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon or almond extract
Blend in:
4 ½ c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tartar
Cover and chill dough for 2-3 hours. Roll dough to desired thickness, about ¼-3/8 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters, and then place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 6-8 minutes at 375, then cool and frost.

Decorators Icing
1 lb. Powdered sugar (3 ¾ c.)
1 tsp. cream of tartar
½ tsp. salt
¼ water
1/3 c. shortening
1 tsp. almond or lemon extract
Beat at least 5 minutes on medium high speed

Stuffed Peppers

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1 cup water
4 green bell peppers
3 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place the rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 20 minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the beef until evenly browned. Remove and discard the tops, seeds, and membranes of the bell peppers. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward. (Slice the bottoms of the peppers if necessary so that they will stand upright.) In a bowl, mix the browned beef, cooked rice, 2 cans tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper, and 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning. Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each hollowed pepper. Mix the remaining tomato sauce and Italian seasoning in a bowl, and pour over the stuffed peppers. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, basting with sauce every 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sesame Pork

Serves 3-4
3 whole boneless chicken breasts or Pork
2 Tbsp. light soy sauce
1 Tbsp. cooking wine or dry sherry
A few drops of sesame oil
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vegetable oil
Sauce for chicken:
½ c. water
1 c. chicken broth
1/8 – 3/4 c. vinegar (depending on how sweet you want the sauce – for a sweeter sauce, reduce the amount of vinegar)
¼ c. cornstarch
1 c. sugar
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. chili paste or more if desired
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
3 ½ - 4 c. peanut oil for deep-frying
Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. Mix the marinade ingredients and marinate the chicken for 20 minutes, Mix together all of the sauce ingredients. Pour them into a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Turn the heat to low and keep warm while deep-frying the chicken. Add the marinated pieces of chicken a few at a time and deep fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remainder of the chicken. Just before you are finished deep-frying, bring the sauce back to a boil. Place the chicken on a large platter and pour the sauce over. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with rice.

I have had a hard time getting to an asian market to get dark soy sauce, so the dish pictured used regular soy sauce in the sauce. Using dark soy sauce makes for a much better color.

Beef Stroganoff

1 lb. Ground beef, browned and drained
1 medium onion, chopped (about ½ c.)
¼ c. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder or 1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp. pepper
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 c. sour cream
hot cooked egg noodles
Cook hamburger and onion in butter until onion is see-through. Stir in everything but soup, sour cream and noodles. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in soup. Put back on heat and simmer on low, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir in sour cream; heat through. Serve over egg noodles.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chicken Crepes

Crepes and chicken are not something you would traditionally put together, but really, they are SO good, when combined with some mandarin oranges, powdered sugar, almonds and sour cream (among other things!).

1 recipe crepes
3 c. cubed cooked chicken
11 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
5 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
¼ c. mayonnaise
½ tsp. salt
½ c. sour cream
¼ c. mayonnaise
½ tsp. vanilla
¼ c. powdered sugar
¼ c. slivered almonds
Spoon filling into crepes and roll; place open side down in glass baking dish. Spoon topping over, then bake at 375 for 20-25 min.

4 eggs
1 1/3 c. milk
½ tsp. salt
1 c. flour
Combine eggs, milk and salt in a bowl and beat well. Add flour, and then beat until smooth. Heat a 7 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour batter, a scant ¼ c. at a time into skillet, immediately rotating pan to cover the bottom and spread evenly. When crepe is light brown and set, turn over to brown other side if desired.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pad Prik King

Thai food is one of my favorites. This is a red curry chicken with green beans. So good!

4 Tbsp. oil
6 Tbsp. minced garlic
6 kaffir lime leaves, sliced in half (optional)
1 lb. ground chicken
4 Tbsp. Roasted Red Chili Paste
4 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
4 Tbsp. Sugar
2 small Thai chili sliced (optional)
1 lb. green beans, sliced into 1-inch sections
In a wok or frying pan, heat oil over high heat. Stir-fry garlic, kaffir lime leaves and chicken until brown. Add roasted red chili paste, fish sauce, sugar, chili, green beans and water. Stir-fry until meat is cooked and beans are tender. Serve with cooked Jasmine Rice.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sugar Pecan Snowballs

1 C. unsalted butter, softened
1/3 C. honey, warmed
2 ½ C. all purpose flour
1 ½ C. finely chopped pecans
½ tsp. salt
Sifted powdered sugar

Beat honey and butter on medium speed. Combine next 3 ingredients, and then add to butter mixture. Beat well. Cover. Chill 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 300. Bake on parchment paper covered cookie sheet. 1” balls, 1” apart. Bake 30 minutes. Cool 5 minutes, then roll in powdered sugar. Cool completely, and then roll in powdered sugar again. Makes approximately 50 cookies.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Sometimes there are days when you just need something quick and easy. You don't want to loose the home-made quality, though. This meal of grilled chicken, loaded mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts took me 20 minutes from start to finish.

Loaded Mashed Potatoes
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
2 strips of bacon, cooked and cut into pieces
1 Tbsp. chives
1/2 C grated cheddar cheese
1/4 C butter
1/3 C milk
salt to taste
Boil water. Add potatoes. Boil for 14-16 minutes, or until soft. Drain and mash. Add butter and milk. Mix until butter is melted. Stir in bacon pieces, chives, cheese and salt. Garnish with chives.

A tip for quick cooking bacon:
You can cook bacon in the microwave. Put a paper towel down on a microwave safe plate to absorb the grease. Put strips of bacon in single layer on paper towel. Cover with another paper towel and cook in the microwave on high power - 1 minute for each piece of bacon.

I use a bunch of different seasonings when grilling chicken. A few of them were purchased at Cabela's. Just sprinkle on each side of the chicken before grilling. You can see the different varieties they have here.


Pot stickers
1 lb. ground turkey, chicken or pork, thawed (you can use less than 1 lb. if desired)
Wonton wrappers (preferably round)
1 or 2 eggs

Put carrots and cabbage in food processor and process until in very small pieces. Mix with ground meat. Add egg (s) to help mixture stick together. Add one spoonful of meat mixture to center of wonton wrapper. Moisten one side and fold over the wrapper and pinch the end, then overlap and pinch again until you have worked your way around. Place in skillet and fry until slightly golden brown. Make pot stickers and freeze on a cookie sheet and then place in a bag or container after they are frozen.

Dipping Sauce
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. vinegar
A few drops sesame oil
Fresh garlic (minced)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Beef Enchiladas

It took me a long time to bring myself to try making enchiladas with a red sauce. I had never had it growing up because it was just not something my mom made. I had tried it at a few different restaurants, but it wasn't my favorite. Then, I found a restaurant that had a delicious enchilada sauce that was pretty authentic. I was surprised at how much I liked it. So, I started a search to find a great red enchilada sauce recipe. I found one, that with a few additions and tweaks, is really good.

Red Enchilada Sauce
½ cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons self-rising flour
½ cup minus one tablespoon New Mexico or California chili powder
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
3 cups water
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion salt
salt to taste
2 oz. dark chocolate
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in flour and chili powder, reduce heat to medium, and cook until lightly brown, stirring constantly to prevent burning flour. Gradually stir in tomato sauce, water, cumin, garlic powder, onion salt, and dark chocolate into the oil, flour and chili powder until smooth, and continue cooking over medium heat approximately 10 minutes, or until thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt.

To prepare enchiladas:
Pour about ¼ c. of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan to prevent tortillas from getting crunchy. Fill flour tortillas with cooked ground beef and onions, cheese, and a few tablespoons of enchilada sauce. Pour remaining enchilada sauce on top once pan is filled. Top with grated cheese, and salsa (if desired). Bake for 25-30 minutes, covered.

Best Ever Zucchini Bread

I tend to have a lot of zucchini during the fall. I love being able to make a bunch of loaves of zucchini bread. This is my favorite recipe for zucchini bread.

3 eggs
1 c. oil
2 ½ c. sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 c. flour
2 c. grated raw zucchini
1 c. chopped pecans (optional)
Combine moist ingredients except zucchini; mix, then add dry ingredients. Mix well, and then add zucchini and nuts. Bake in 2 greased and floured loaf pans at 325 for 60-70 minutes.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Chicken Lasagna

Basic Chicken Alfredo Sauce:
1 stick of butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup flour
1 cup chicken broth
3 cups milk or cream
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken (or 2 cans drained)
Melt butter in pan; add garlic, sauté 2 minutes. Add flour to make rue. Blend until smooth. Stir in broth and milk, salt and pepper (it helps if you are constantly stirring quickly while pouring in the milk and broth). Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened to Alfredo consistency. Stir in chicken. Set aside.
1 10 oz. box frozen spinach thawed and drained well (squeeze it if necessary)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (reserve ½ cup)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups small curd cottage cheese (ricotta may be used for stronger flavor)
1 egg
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
Mix together, set aside.
To assemble: You’ll need a box of oven ready lasagna noodles, or the regular kind if you want to work that much. Spread about ½ cup sauce over the bottom of a greased 9X13 or Lasagna pan. Layer of noodles, then ½ the spinach and then ½ the remaining sauce and repeat reserving some sauce for the top. The top should end with a layer of noodles and some sauce and the reserved ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with a bit more Parmesan and spices for looks. Bake covered at 400 for 50 minutes, remove cover and bake to bubbling, about 10 more minutes or until top begins to brown. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chicken Cordon Bleu

This a non-breaded version of Chicken Cordon Bleu. I have made it with bacon, and without. Both ways are good, but I normally make it without since it bakes for 30 minutes less.
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 thin slices ham
Swiss cheese
3 slices bacon

1 c. sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Lay chicken breast on piece of saran wrap; cover with another piece of saran wrap. Pound to flatten with a glass jar bottom. Put slice of ham and then a piece of cheese about ½ inch square by width of cheese pkg. on breast, then roll. Fasten with toothpick, then arrange in a glass-baking dish so not touching. Put ½ slice of bacon over top, then bake, covered, at 350 for 30 minutes. Pour sauce over, then bake, covered, 1 hour.