Monday, September 29, 2008

Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto
2 cups packed basil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Process first 4 ingredients in a blender to a rough paste. With the machine running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube. Add a little more oil if sauce seems too dry (it should be a thick paste). Add salt and pepper to taste.

SOURCE:  The Joy of Cooking

Crockpot Applesauce

3-4 lbs. apples, skinned, cored and cut into quarters
juice from 1 lemon
2 sticks cinnamon
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
brown sugar

Skin, core, and cut your apples into quarters and place in crockpot. Add the juice from the lemon, cinnamon sticks and the water. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally. When the apples are super tender, mash with a potato masher or large fork. If you want it super smooth, use a blender. Add vanilla and sugar to taste at the very end (I end up using about 1/4 cup brown sugar). Mix well to incorporate.

NOTES:This is the best applesauce recipe that I have found, I love it. You can freeze or bottle this if you wish. It only makes about 3-4 pints so you may want to do more since a water bath can hold up to 7 bottles.

Lemon Curd

This curd is about as good as it gets if you love lemon (which I do). I could (and have) just eat the stuff plain (by the spoonful) but you could also eat it with fresh berries or on strawberry shortcake, cheesecake or whatever. It's from my beloved Cooking Light cookbook. I have also made this with limes. It's a little more tart but still great. Oranges would work well also.

3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
2 large eggs
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
2 tablespoons butter

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk. Cook until sugar dissolves and mixture is light in color (about 3 minutes). Stir in lemon juice and butter; cook for 5 minutes or until mixture thinly coats the back of a spoon, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cool. Cover and chill (the mixture will thicken as it cools).

Lemon Curd can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can easily double the recipe and freeze half of it in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Thaw in the refrigerator, and use within 1 week of thawing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ham Beans

Crockpot Ham Beans
1 lb. red beans
1 meaty ham bone
1 onion, large diced
salt and pepper
water or chicken stock

Soak beans in crock pot over night. (NOTE: I buy my beans in the bulk section of my grocery store.  They tend to be more fresh, so I don't soak them overnight.  They also cook up faster than those prepackaged.)  Drain beans and rinse. 

Put beans back into crockpot; add ham bone, onion and enough water to come about 2 inches above beans (Don't worry if ham bone sticks above water a bit.)

Cook on high about 2-3 hours, then on low for another 3-4, or until tender.  Turn off crock pot and remove ham bone.  Pull off  any ham from bone and stick it back in with the beans.  Salt beans to taste and serve warm. I like to serve my beans with cornbread.

NOTES:I love these beans. We ate them a lot as kids and even though they are so simple, they taste so good, especially along with warm cornbread.

Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 butter, softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup oats
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

In mixing bowl, cream together sugars , butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and mix. Add flour baking powder and soda and mix well. Stir in oats and nuts last. Form dough into 1-inch balls and dip tops in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cilantro Lime Rice

Olive oil
Half an onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups rice
2 cans chicken broth
1/3 cup fresh cilantro chopped (you may add more or less if you desire)
½ cup fresh lime juice (you may add more or less if you desire)

Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan; add onion and garlic and sauté. Then add uncooked rice; continue sautéing until rice is well coated. Add broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Let simmer for about 18-20 minutes. Do not remove lid while cooking. Once rice is done, remove the lid and add the cilantro and lime juice. Mix well, while fluffing the rice.


This is such a delicious soup. It's perfect for cold days because it's warm and brothy. The lightness and brightness of the cilantro and lime also make it perfect for those in between days where it's not too cold but not too warm either. I usually make my Posole in a crockpot, because it's easy to just throw everything in and the wonderful aroma permeates throughout the whole house.

2 14-1/2-oz cans golden hominy, drained
1 4-oz can chopped green chilies, undrained
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts and/or or thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces (pork roast works well too, 1 lb)
1 14-1/2 ounce can tomatoes, undrained and cut up
2 14-1/2 ounces cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

crushed tortilla chips
snipped fresh cilantro
sour cream
lime wedges
avocado, diced

Crock pot method: Place everything in about a 5 quart crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Garnish each serving with sour cream, cilantro, freshly squeezed lime and avocado.

Stove top method. Drizzle a little canola oil in a Dutch oven and cook chicken (or pork) until no longer pink. Drain fat. Return meat to Dutch oven and add onion. Saute together until tender. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes. Garnish with toppings.

Linked to...
Recipe Swap Thursday @ Prairie Story
This Week's Cravings @ Mom's Crazy Cooking

Fiesta Grilled Chicken Salad

This picture doesn't do this salad justice. You can't see all the delicious layers of goodness! Our family loves this salad and we make it often for family gatherings because it's quick and easy as well as very tasty.  And hey, it's salad!!

lettuce (romaine or leaf lettuce is good), shredded
1-2 cans black beans, heated
Cilantro-Lime Rice
*Grilled chicken, cut into strips
Monterrey jack cheese
pico de gallo (or plain chopped tomatoes)
**Salsa-Ranch dressing
guacamole (optional)

On a large dinner plate, lay down a bed of lettuce. Next place the rice, beans and grilled chicken strips, then the pico de gallo and cheese. Top with the salsa-ranch dressing and guacamole, if desired.

*Grilled Chicken
You can really marinate your chicken in whatever you want, but I love the chipotle seasoning packet from McCormick. I just throw the chicken in a gallon ziploc bag with the seasoning, some olive oil and red or white wine vinegar, mix it around and let it sit for a while. Grill it, then let it rest about 5 minutes before cutting into strips.

**Salsa Ranch dressing
Use your favorite ranch dressing and either fresh or bottled salsa. First pour as much ranch as you want into a food processor or blender. Gradually add the salsa in, blending as you go. Add as much or little to your own taste. (This may also be done in a bowl if you have a hand-held processor.)

Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto
2 cups water, divided
2 (14 1/4-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
3 cups (3/4-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 pound)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Bring 1 1/2 cups water and broth to a simmer in a large saucepan. Keep warm over low heat.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; cook 8 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Add 1/2 cup water, squash, salt, and pepper; cook 10 minutes or until squash is tender and water has almost evaporated. Add rice; stir until combined. Stir in 1/2 cup broth mixture; cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add the remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 30 minutes total). Stir in cheese, butter, and parsley. Serve immediately.

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

*Sorry no picture, this is one of my first posts.

I love quick breads, I'm a sucker for them. That sometimes means I end up eating the whole loaf myself! This banana bread is my favorite, it always turns out wonderful. My little sister even said it was better than mom's, which is hard to top. Some banana bread I've eaten is too dry, others too oily while yet others lack in flavor. This is so moist and dense, laced with chocolate chips and a little cinnamon and nutmeg. Who wouldn't love it? I've made this many, many times over the years and it is definitely my standard for banana bread.

2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
2 eggs
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add banana, egg substitute, and yogurt; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

SOURCE: Adapted from Cooking Light

Creamy Parmesan Orzo

1 Tbsp. butter
1 cup orzo
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup grated, fresh Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
3-4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 tsp. pine nuts, toasted

Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add orzo and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until liquid is absorbed and orzo is done (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in cheese, basil, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with pine nuts.

NOTES:This is from Cooking Light; I love it and have made it tons!

Beef Stroganoff

1 ½ lbs. beef tenderloin, top loin, or sirloin tip, well-trimmed
Season with:
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Melt in a small saucepan over medium heat:
1 ½ tablespoons butter
Add and stir with a whisk until smooth:
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Add and whisk constantly to prevent lumps for 3 to 4 minutes:
1 cup beef stock, heated to a simmer
Simmer until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Set aside and keep warm. Heat in a large skillet over medium-high heat:
2 tablespoons butter
Add the beef along with:
1 onion, thinly sliced
Cook quickly, shaking the pan and stirring, until evenly browned, 1-2 minutes. The meat should remain pink in the center. Remove the meat to a warmed platter with a slotted spoon and discard the onion. Return the sauce to medium heat, stir in, and heat briefly without boiling:
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Add any accumulated juices from the cooked meat. Add the meat to the sauce and serve with hot cooked egg noodles and *sautéed mushrooms.

*Sautéed Mushrooms

Use a large skillet and give the mushrooms plenty of room so that they will brown instead of steam in their own juices.
Heat in a very large skillet over high heat:
2 ½ - 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil or a combination
1 pound any variety or combination of mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
*TIP: Alton Brown from “Good Eats” on the Food Network suggests the following: Add the mushrooms in batches. When the first batch starts to brown, push them to the outer edges (don’t take them out) of the pan and add the second and so on. This ensures that they are all cooked well.
Cook, tossing constantly, until the mushrooms begin to color, 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and ground black pepper to taste.

NOTES:I used to make this recipe, from The Joy of Cooking, a lot when we were first married. For me, it's almost just as easy as using the cream soup style stroganoff but a whole lot tastier. When everything's cooked, we just put it all in one serving dish and mix it together.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix thoroughly shortening, peanut butter, sugars and egg. Blend in flour, soda, baking powder and salt. Cover and chill.
Heat oven to 375°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. P,lace 3 inches apart on baking sheet. With fork , flatten in criss-cross pattern to 2 inches. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set but not hard.

NOTES:I grew up on these cookies, they were one of my favorites. This makes a large batch, you can always half it.

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
5 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and sour cream and mix. Add remaining dry ingredients. Chill dough 10-15 minutes. Roll out dough and cut into shapes. Bake at 375°F for 6-8 minutes or 350°F for 10-15 minutes. Cool and frost. Keep dough in the fridge in the mean time, it is a soft dough.

NOTES:Don't be afraid of the sour cream, they make the cookies so soft and wonderful.

Milk Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) milk chocolate chips
1 cup uncooked quick or old-fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 375° F. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture and milk. Stir in chocolate chips and oats. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until edges are crisp but centers are still soft. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

NOTES: This recipe is adapted from a Toll House recipe that didn't have peanut butter. If you just want the oatmeal chocolate chip version, eliminate the peanut butter and use 1 1/2 stick of butter instead. The rest is the same.

Chunky Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (12-oz pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and peanut butter in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and peanuts. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets. Press down slightly to flatten into 2-inch circles.

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until edges are set but centers are still soft. Cool on baking sheets for 4 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

NOTES:This recipe is thanks to Toll House. I have their "Best-Loved Cookies" book and use it any time I make cookies. For this recipe, I just use crunchy peanut butter instead of going through all the trouble of buying the peanuts and chopping them up.

Chicken Parmesan

4-6 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
2 eggs, beaten
Italian style bread crumbs
spaghetti sauce
Parmesan cheese
cooked spaghetti noodles

Spray a cooking pan and pour a thin layer of spaghetti sauce in the bottom. Dip chicken breasts, one at a time, in the egg, then roll in bread crumbs and place in baking dish. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts. Top with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes. Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles and sauce.

NOTES:I actually like to make this dish with chicken tenders. You'd probably need about 1-1 1/2 lbs. of tenders or however many to suit your family. The rest is the same.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Swiss cheese
Italian style bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten

Place the chicken breasts, one at a time, in a plastic bag and pound out to about 1/4-inch thickness. Dip chicken breast in egg then lay flat on a plate. Place a piece of ham in the center, followed by some Swiss cheese. Roll up and hold together with a toothpick. Roll in bread crumbs and place in sprayed baking dish. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts. Cover with foil and bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes. If you want it a little crunchy, take off foil near the end and continue baking.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dirty Risotto

5 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp. butter
2 oz. pancetta (or bacon)
1 link (about 6 oz) spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 oz button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice, or medium-grain rice
3/4 cup dry white wine (or additional broth)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped

In medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Cover the broth and keep warm over low heat.

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauce and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper and mushrooms and saute until tender, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 25-30 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Stir in 3/4 of the Parmesan. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the parsley and remaining Parmesan and serve immediately.

NOTES:I'm a risotto junkie, I love it any way but this is one of my favorites. Got it from Giada on the food network.

Spanish Rice

When I lived in Logan, I used to go to cooking classes at Kitchen Kneads. This particular class, they brought in a chef from Cafe Sabor, a local favorite, and they did a demo for this recipe. I loved this rice even though I'm not much of a rice eater. This goes perfect with any Mexican or Latino-style meal.

3 cups rice
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 diced green pepper
3/4 cup tomato juice
5 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp granulated garlic

Heat oil, and add rice and brown until caramel in color. Add tomato juice, pepper and onion and saute about 1 minute. Deglaze pan with a little chicken stock then add the rest. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 20 minutes.

Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

I think these are about the best pancakes I have ever had! I absolutely love them. They are great hot off the griddle with syrup, or even cold out of the fridge as a snack. I've even put chocolate chips in them once in a while when my sweet tooth kicks in. The title is deceiving though because you can make these pretty healthy, unlike a cookie, most times. I've made many substitutions on and off and these pancakes still come out great. You can try 2% or skim milk, low fat or non-fat sour cream, or yogurt in place of the sour cream. The original recipe called for 1/4 cup melted butter but I only use half of that. Any way you make these babies, they're bound to be de-lish!

1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup whole milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 ripe bananas
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

Mix dry ingredients, then whisk the wet into the dry until combined. Fold in mashed bananas and melted butter. Heat griddle over medium heat. Cook pancakes until bubbles form on the top; flip to finish.

SOURCE:Rachel Ray

Cherry Chocolate Cake

This is my most favorite chocolate cake EVER! I got the recipe from a roommate years ago and have made it so many times. I actually like it better the next day, after it has gotten moist from the frosting. You won't be able to stop eating it!

For the cake:
1 box chocolate fudge cake mix
1 21-oz can cherry pie filling
1 tsp. almond extract
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch pan and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk eggs and almond extract. In a large mixing bowl, add the cake mix, then mix in the eggs and almond. Add pie filling last, gently folding into the batter (by hand). Pour batter into sprayed cake pan and gently shake to level.

Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes. Cake will be spongy. Cool slightly and poke holes all over with fork.

For the frosting:
1 cup sugar
5 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla

In small saucepan combine sugar, butter and milk. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Add vanilla and stir. Pour immediately over cake, and spread evenly with a spatula. Cool completely.

Linked to...
Sweets For A Saturday @ Sweet As Sugar Cookies
This Week's Cravings @ Mom's Crazy Cooking

Apple Crisp

Fresh cut apples
or 2 cans apple pie filling
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2/3 cup butter, cold

Mix dry ingredients together. Add butter and cut with 2 knives or a pastry blender. Put apples in a 9x13 pan and crumble topping over the top. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes.

NOTES:I have started doing this in a smaller pan, like a brownie-size pan, without decreasing the topping. I just add a little more butter by dotting the top with pieces. Since I started canning pears, I have also used them instead of apples and it's really yummy. 1 quart jar fits a brownie-size pan.

Christmas Crunch

4 cups captain crunch
4 cups rice crispies
2 cups spanish peanuts
1 pkg almond bark
crushed mints

Pour first 3 ingredients into large bowl. Crush mints and add. Mix together. Melt almond bark according to package directions. Pour over mix and stir together until well-incorporated.

NOTES:I got this recipe from a lady I used to work with. She always brought it to the office at Christmas time. It's a great snack.

Mom's Caramels

Mom's Caramels
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
2 cups cream

Butter a square 8x8 pan and spread nuts on the bottom.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and 1/2 of the cream. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining cream. Bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until candy thermometer reads 245°F or caramel reaches hard ball stage. Caramel should have a reddish-brown color, like a paper bag. Take off heat and stir a minute to get the bubbles out. Immediately pour into pan.

NOTES:I absolutely die for these caramels at Christmas time, they are so good! I like mine a little softer than hard ball. Check your candy stages or when it gets to being near done, drop a little spoonful into cold water to check hardness. I also make mine without nuts most of the time.

Mom's Fudge

1 can evaporated milk (12-oz)
4 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
pinch salt

Put everything in a large pot. Melt and stir. Cook to soft ball candy stage (about 7 minutes). Take off heat and add 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 12-oz pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 7-0z Hershey's milk chocolate bar (or 2/3 cup milk chocolate chips). Stir to melt then add 1 jar marshmallow cream. Pour into buttered pan. Cool completely.

Spinach Salad

about 1 bag spinach (enough to fill a large salad bowl)
3 boiled eggs
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
red onion, sliced thinly

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. grated onion
sesame seeds

Boil sugar and vinegar and sed aside. Add the oil, salt, paprika, grated onion and sesame seeds. Chill.

When ready to serve, crumble bacon, slice eggs and onion rings and mix with spinach leaves. Pour dressing over salad.

NOTES:This recipe is from my mom, I don't know where she got it but we've made it a lot over the years and it's really good. It's a great main dinner salad since it has the eggs and bacon in it. The dressing will wilt the salad so eat whatever you put the dressing on.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

1 quart fresh strawberries
1 avocado
1/2 bag fresh spinach
1 head green leaf lettuce

Wash and slice strawberries. Mix with greens that have been washed and crisped. Add avocado after tossing with dressing.

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. minced onion
1/4 tsp. worchestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds

Mix onion, sugar, worchestershire sauce, paprika and vinegar in blender. With blender running slowly, add oil. Stir in sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Chill before using.

NOTES: I got this from my sister's roomate at BYU and we made it for her bridal shower. It's really light and yummy and great for get togethers. Eat what ever you put the dressing on though or it will wilt and be soggy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Grandma Noodles (Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup)

This recipe came from my Grandma Lloyd and my mom made it all the time growing up in our home. It is one of my most favorite comfort foods that just tastes like home. It's pretty versatile in that you can add or leave out whatever veggies you want. We usually just eat it with the carrots and celery, but sometimes I throw in some corn. My mom's sister also makes this but pours it over mashed potatoes. It's just delicious.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
For the Egg Noodles:
3 Eggs
4-5 T. milk
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 3/4 cup flour

Mix with fork then knead it on a well-floured surface.

Roll out thin, about 1/8 - 1/4-inch thick, and let sit, covered with a light towel, for 4-5 hours. Make sure you have enough flour underneath the dough when you roll it out because it will be pretty hard to get it off the table otherwise. My mom has even left hers out overnight and she says it works well too, but you don't want it so dry that it cracks when you cut it. (I sometimes flip the rolled out dough over after a few hours so that both sides can get dry. To do this just flour the top of the dough, fold it back on itself, then flip it over.)

Cut into 4 sections, then layer them, with straight edges together, generously sprinkling flour in between each layer.

Cut into thin strips. I find a pizza cutter to be helpful.

Once they are all cut, sprinkle them again with flour and separate any noodles stuck together. (All this flour will help them not stick to each other, as well as help thicken the broth when they are cooked.)

For the soup:
1 whole Fryer Chicken, Cut Up (or about 2 Cups Cooked Chicken)
olive oil
1/2 onion, diced (I sometimes leave this out-not a huge onion fan.)
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1/4 tsp. thyme
1-2 tsp. parsley
pinch of turmeric
salt and pepper, to taste
Egg Noodles
10-12 cups chicken broth

Cover chicken with about 3-4 quarts water and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until done. Remove chicken to a large platter or cookie sheet to cool. (If you do this step ahead, you can put the broth in the fridge then scrape off the fat that solidifies on top--IF you want.)

Once the chicken is cooled, remove it from the bones; shred. Set aside. Return bones to broth and simmer on low, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove bones from broth and any small bones that may have separated.

In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat olive oil and saute onions, carrots and celery for about 5-8 minutes. Add thyme, parsley and turmeric and saute another minute or so. Add broth and bring to a boil-this is also when I occasionally add fresh or frozen corn. (If you don't have enough broth from cooking the chicken and bones, you can add more water and then chicken soup base to it.)

Once water is boiling, add shredded chicken pieces and egg noodles. Bring to a boil again, stirring so the noodles don't get stuck together. Boil for about 8-10 minutes or until noodles are done. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

No-Bake Cookies

Everyone needs a good no-bake cookie recipe in their file. It doesn't matter if you're a fancy pantsy chef or baker or a home cook like me, these cookies need to be in your file! They are just a classic. If nothing else, make it for nostalgic purposes, to bring you back to your childhood, when these and chocolate chip cookies were just about the only cookies your mom ever made. I don't make these cookies often because they are so gosh darn rich, but when I have a chocolate craving and don't want to bake and spend a lot of time in the kitchen, these get the job done perfectly.

No-Bake Cookies
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)
3 cups quick-cooking oats

In large pot, mix and bring to boil sugar, cocoa, milk and butter, stirring occasionally. Boil 1-2 minutes (no longer). Remove from heat and add vanilla, peanut butter and oats. Mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfulls, or scoop, on waxed paper and cool.

Buttermilk Pancakes

1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp oil
1 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Beat egg. Add remaining ingredients in order listed and beat until smooth. Let sit while griddle warms up. Pour batter onto griddle. Turn as soon as they are puffed and full of bubbles but before bubbles break. Cook other side until golden brown.
10 4-inch pancakes

NOTES: I make these at least once a week now, I love them so much. I also ate them a lot growing up. Only Mrs. Butterworths syrup does them justice, but homemade freezer jam is pretty good too.

Mom's Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies
Cream together:
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
6 eggs

Add and mix together:
6 tsp. baking powder
7 cups flour
4 tsp. vanilla

Mix dough and roll out onto floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Cool and frost.

Butter cream Frosting:
2/3 cup butter, cold and firm
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2-3 Tbsp. milk or cream

Place butter in small bowl. Using electric beater, beat several minutes until creamy. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time and beat well after each addition. Add vanilla, then milk, a little at a time and beat well again. (May be refrigerated in an air-tight container. Whip before using again.)

NOTES:We made these for the different holidays and decorated them accordingly. We also passed them out on treat plates at Christmas time.

Quick Chicken Jambalaya

My mom got this recipe from a friend when she used to live in Georgia. We've made it a lot and love it. Even with the sausage in it my kids still eat it right up. It's so easy and one of the quickest meals you can throw together.

1 lb. chicken breasts, skinned, boned and cut into chunks
1/2 lb. smoked sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup rice, uncooked
1 can chicken broth
1 can french onion soup
1 4 oz. can mushrooms
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 dashes Tabasco
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. Tony Cachero's Creole seasoning (or any other creole seasoning works fine too)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl then pour into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Cover with foil and bake at 350°F for 60-75 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Bonnie's Trail Mix

1 small box Cheerios
2 lbs. peanuts
1 1/2-2 pgks butterscotch chips
2 cups brown sugar

Melt 1 cup butter and pour over top, stirring to mix completely.

NOTES:I got this a few years from a lady at work. It's good for a picnic or party.

Cinnamon Breakfast Cake (AKA: Coffee Cake)

1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
1 egg

Beat together and spread into a greased 8x8 pan.

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. firm butter

Mix until crubmly and crumble over batter. Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes.

NOTES:This is thanks to Betty Crocker. I discovered this recipe out of my mom's cook book years ago and used to make it for my family a lot on Saturday or Sunday mornings.

Two Hour Rolls

1 1/3 cup scalded milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup butter

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup water and 4 Tbsp sugar. Cool milk and add to eggs, salt and yeast mixture. Add flour and mix until all incorporated (do not knead). Cover and let rise in warm place for 2 hours. Liberally flour counter and scrape dough into center of the flour. Sprinkle 1-2 Tbsp. flour on top. Pat down with hands to 1/2-3/4 inches thick. Cut with round biscuit cutter. Melt 1/3 cup butter. Dip dough rounds, both sides, into butter and fold them over when you place them into a 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 400°F for 12-15 minutes.

NOTES:This is a recipe from my Grandma Lloyd. We grew up on these rolls and they are just delicious. They're the best, warm out of the oven with a little butter.

Taco Soup

1 lb. Ground beef, browned with 1 onion
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can red beans
1 can corn
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 can Ro-tell tomatoes and chilis
1 large can chicken broth
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing (abt. 3 Tbsp)

Rinse and drain beans. Pour everything into a stock pot or throw it into the crock pot and cook until well-heated.
Top with any of the following:
sour cream
fritos/corn chips

Another tasty soup and VERY easy!
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