Friday, March 8, 2013

Spring Pea Soup

I got this recipe from my sister, who got it from.... I'm not sure. Maybe Food For Thought? Who knows. It doesn't matter. I love it and make it all the time, our whole family eats it up. I don't have a picture of the final, pureed product because I ended up rushing it over to a friend in need. But it's still green. GREAT for St. Patrick's Day..


Spring Pea Soup

2 Cans of chicken broth
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 package frozen peas
1 cup spinach leaves (I usually do two handfuls.)
1/2 cup heavy cream
White Pepper
Salt
Curry powder

In a pot, bring onions, broth and peas to a boil. Add spinach and cook till the spinach has wilted. Let cool for a minute then puree in a blender. Return to pot over medium heat and add cream, and seasonings to taste. If you want it thicker, you can add a small combination of water and flour- but it may slightly reduce flavor.

Aunt Linda's Mushroom Soup

I'm well aware that my aunt found this recipe somewhere and didn't invent it herself, but it will forever remind me of our cozy, Christmas party at her house where I fell in love with this soup.

I don't have an actual picture- it doesn't matter. It's not what it looks like that makes it appetizing. But here are some cutie mushrooms that will soon be soup:


Mushroom Soup

5 TB butter, divided
2 leeks, rinsed and chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
6 C chicken broth
2 tsp dill (dried is perfect)
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 lbs of potatoes, peeled, rinsed and cubed
1 lb fresh mushrooms rinsed and sliced
1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 C flour

Melt 3 TB of the butter in a large sauce pan over med heat. Mix in leeks and carrots, cook for 5 minutes or until softened. 
Pour in the broth and season with dill, salt and pepper. Add bay leaf and potatoes and cover, cook for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. 
While that is cooking, saute the mushrooms in the rest of the butter and season with a bit of salt. Add the mushrooms to the soup and cook for another 5 minutes. In a small bowl mix the cream and the flour till smooth, stir it into the soup and serve very warm. 
Garnish with dill.

Chicken Pot Pie

My affection for chicken pot pie really made an appearance when I had a bite of Josh's when he ordered it at "Good Thymes Bistro" in Park City. The top was super flakey and the mess inside was different than most pot pies. They are usually yellowy, soupy and seem like a can of condensed soup. Now, that being said, this recipe has condensed soup in it, but it is the WHITE, CREAMY consistency that I was looking for, and achieved. Like so:


Now I have NEVER made pot pie before. So this was a risk altogether. And what I learned is this: dough does not rise when it is sitting on top of a moist, dense mixture. So although this puff pastry had the potential of being tall and flakey, it did not make it there for whatever reason. So if I were to make a change, it would be to bake the puff pastry SEPARATELY and then place it on top of the pie when the pie has about 5 min left. I had to turn the broiler on to get it crispy and even then, it was kind of the consistency of dumplings. Still good- but not what I was looking for. If anyone has suggestions on this, I'd love to hear them.

Chicken Pot Pie

1 1/2 lbs of skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 pkg frozen peas
1 pkg frozen corn
2 carrots thinly chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Garlic salt*
1/2 tsp black pepper

1 package of puff pastry dough, (from the frozen section of the grocery store)**

Preheat oven to 400.

Unwrap the dough and let it defrost (about an hour will do.) While it is resting, put the sour cream, heavy cream, peas, corn and carrots into a bowl. Add the seasonings.

Spray a large skillet with non-stick spray or throw a pat of butter in. Stir in the chicken and the chopped onion, salt and pepper it a bit and cook through. Add the chicken mixture to the bowl of creamy vegetable mixture. Mix thoroughly. Spoon into a small casserole dish, 13X9 is fine..

*I added a clove of garlic to the chopped onions in replacement of the garlic salt.

OKAY- now this is what I did from this point, I cut stars out of the defrosted puff pastry and lined the dish with over-lapping layers and egg washed the pastry, and baked for 25-30 min. Again, it turned out fine, after broiling it a bit to get it cooked more, but here is what I would do instead...

**Follow the directions on the pastry box to cook the pastry BEFORE you cook the pot pie, cook it till it is ALMOST done, take it out and set aside. Put the pie in the oven and begin baking- when the pie is 5-10 mins before being done, take it out and add the pastry and finish baking.

I shouldn't give directions that I have not yet tried, but you better bet that this is the way I'll do it next time.


Friday, December 21, 2012

"Chocolate" Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

So I had my usual recipe for Pumpkin Bread lying around and gave it to a neighbor. Then, that neighbor posted on her facebook saying "Thank you Lisa for the Chocolate Pumpkin Bread recipe!"

Immediately following were many comments asking for the "Chocolate" pumpkin bread recipe, so I thought I should deliver.


"Chocolate" Pumpkin Bread

5 eggs
1 Big can of pumpkin
3 1/2 C. sugar
1 C. oil
1 C. applesauce
4 1/2 C. Flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. soda
4 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. cloves
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ginger
12 oz. chocolate chips

ADAPTATION to make it CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN BREAD:
12 MORE oz chocolate chips and 1/2 C. heavy cream.

Mix all wet ingredients, then in a saucepan over a warm heat, melt the chocolate chips* and cream together till smooth. SLOWLY pour into the pumpkin mixture and incorporate quickly as to temper the eggs... now your batter is chocolate pumpkin!

Then mix in all dry ingredients then the OTHER bag of chocolate chips and bake at 350. Small loaf pans call for 45-50min, and large loaf pans call for 60-70 min. Fill about 2/3 full. It's trial and error, as everyone's ovens are different and they fill the pans up different amounts. So use the "knife in the middle" method and when it comes out dry they should be done. DO NOT OVER BAKE!!

Good luck.


*you could use 3/4 of the the bag of the chips to melt and mix into the batter, and use the rest to sprinkle on top of a couple of loaves....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings


Oh man. There is no better time of year for this. I've made this a few times, I'm just so busy scarfing it down, I always forget to take pictures. So finally- here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

1 Rotisserie chicken (you can opt out of this and use cooked chicken breasts, but the roasted chicken flavor is SO MUCH BETTER.)
2 carrots
2 stalks of celery
3 small yukon gold potatoes
1/2 yellow onion
1 clove garlic
2 T olive oil
2 boxes of Chicken Broth
Salt & Pepper for seasoning
(optional) 1 Chicken boullion cube

For Dumplings:
2 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4c-1 cup of ice water

Chop your vegetables into bite sized cubes and chop the onion finely. In a large dutch oven pot or soup pot, heat the olive oil over med-high heat and saute the onion and garlic till fragrant. Add the carrots, celery and potatoes and stir around for a few minutes. Don't them burn..
Pour in the broth and bring to a subtle boil, then simmer for about 10-15 minutes, till the vegetables have softened. Then add the shredded chicken and simmer for another 5-7 minutes. Flavor with salt and pepper, and check to see if you want the boullion cube. I added because my family likes lots of flavor and though it was fine, I know Josh would have asked for the salt. So I added the cube, and it was fine. No requesting the salt shaker.

While that all simmers on LOW, make your dumplings. Mix the flour and salt and start adding the water while stirring with your fingers. As soon as it is wet enough to form a solid ball, you are done adding water. Flour a clean surface and roll out the dough to about 1/8" thick. Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut strips 1-1.5 inches thick, then again across to make little square dumplings. Once cut, turn the heat up to med-high to get it boiling again and add the dumplings. Shove them all down to the bottom with a wooden spoon, and once they are all floating again, they are cooked.

This makes great leftovers. And I hate leftovers.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Back to Business: Quinoa Burgers


I finally buckled down, well- I shouldn't say "buckled down" cause I've been wanting to jump on the quinoa bandwagon for awhile. I just finally did it. I'm not one for salads.. so I opted to make a main dish with my quinoa and found these burgers. It was SO SO good, Jack gobbled them up. Though rough at first, I got the hang of it and they ended up really good. They sound super healthy- but after the cheeses and the frying... who knows. But hey- all that fiber and iron can't be a bad thing, right?

Quinoa Burgers
(adapted from the website: www.eatingwelllivingthin.wordpress.com, just fattied it up a bit..)

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt*

To cook quinoa:

In a medium saucepan bring the 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil over high heat. Add quinoa and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 18-20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and the seeds are tender. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

*I'm a carnivore. I added half a teaspoon of chicken boullion. Yep.


3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or other variety, if you prefer)

1/2 cup cottage cheese

1/2 small zuchinni, finely grated and squeezed

3 eggs

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 green onions, including white parts

1 /2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Veggie oil (or olive oil) for frying


In a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, zuchinni, eggs, flour, green onions, sugar, pepper, cumin, salt, and garlic powder.

Heat a frying pan and a couple teaspoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Measure 1/4 cup and form into patties about 1/2 inch thick - mixture will be more like a batter. (I find it’s easiest to just drop the mixture from the measuring cup into the pan and slightly flatten it out.) Fry until golden-brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Makes approx. 10 burgers. (for real... I should have halved this recipe...)


I served them warm, with sour cream that had a little garlic salt and onion powder mixed in. It was mouth watering.


*follow up note: I made these again and it was a total disaster. They wouldn't stay together, they spread too much when put in the pan, the oil was FOAMING and it was a total mess. I'm not sure what was different; maybe I didn't squeeze the zucchini enough, maybe I didn't drain the quinoa, I forgot the sugar... I don't know. But it was rough. So my advice on avoiding this fiasco, is to not make them too big, or they'll be hard to turn. And DON'T turn them, till you are able to, and what I mean by that is only turn when they are stiff enough to handle it, which means they may need a good 4 minutes at med heat to cook through enough to stiffen them, without burning them.....


Tricky business. Don't be intimidated though, cause they are SO good..

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Muffin Day

These days when the light never seems to come, I wake up and it feels like it is 7am- ALL DAY LONG, the rain outside turns to a slushy snow and I can barely find any reason to get dressed....

I like to make these muffins.

What is YOUR "it's raining and gloomy outside, but warm and cozy inside" food?

(*No, it's not raining today. I copied this post from my other blog, and it was raining on THAT day. But- I did make these today. They are still just as good.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Buttons




The evil these bring. The sweet, sweet evil. They are small and cute and delicious. I was to bring 2/doz cookies to a funeral and thought this would be a good recipe to try. Boy was wrong. But if this is how these cookies are gonna taste, then baby I don't wanna be right.
I found these via a google search for PB cookies. Way to go 17 year old.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Granulated sugar for rolling
Chocolate chips (any type)

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the shortening and peanut butter till combined.

Add the two sugars and mix well. Add vanilla, milk

and egg. Combine. In another bowl, whisk together

the dry ingredients then add slowly to the PB mix.

Refrigerate for 10 min, then roll into 1/2" balls and

roll in the sugar. Place cookies a couple inches apart

so they'll cook evenly. Bake for 5-7 minutes (my happy place

was 6.5 minutes...) then let cool for a minute before putting the

chocolate on them. (Guittard is the best, cause their chips are

HUGE and creamy.) Let cool completely before storing.

Try not to eat them all. Sheesh.



Post note: Perspective- these are chocolate chips, not Hershey's Kisses. I realized after review, that you can't tell how small they are. And that is important, because when something is cuter, it's fun to eat, and when something is delicious and small- it makes it OK to eat a lot of them. So here's a picture of one in my hand:



Monday, August 8, 2011

Lemon Chicken Picatta



This was, as my husband put it, "the best meal I ever made." It was on our plates for less than 5 minutes. Jack's too- he loved it. I got this recipe from my cute neighbor, but only changed a couple of things.

Lemon Chicken Picatta

3 Large Boneless Chicken Breast Halves, cut into medallions
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 C. flour
2 T. vegetable oil, (more as needed)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 C. Chicken Broth
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
1/3 C. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T. capers, drained
3 T. butter
2 T. minced italian flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 200 degrees, and place a serving platter inside to keep warm.

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour. Shake off excess flour. Heat a skillet with the oil in it and pan-fry the chicken pieces till slightly golden. (A few minutes on each side.) Do not crowd skillet, work in batches if needed. Place the browned chicken into the warm platter and keep in oven to hold heat. Drain most of the oil in the skillet leaving a thin layer, you will be using this same skillet to make your sauce.

-Cut and stir in the minced garlic in the skillet, till fragrant.
-Carefully- pour in chicken broth and stir in lemon slices. Scrape down any brown bits that may be on the side of the pan.
-Let sauce come to a boil, then reduce heat slightly and cook till it reduces to about 2/3-1 Cup, then add the lemon juice and capers.
-Let it cook till it thickens slightly, about 5 min more. Then add the butter and swirl it in letting it melt slowly.
-Once incorporated, remove from heat then add parsley and stir it in completely.

Pull your chicken out of the oven, then pour all the sauce over* and slightly toss the chicken till the sauce is evenly distributed. Serve immediately.

*(if serving with noodles, after pouring sauce over chicken, leave the pan with a coating of the sauce, add a tablespoon more of butter, and toss the cooked noodles in the pan. Serve chicken over noodles.)

We were all left wanting more...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Beef it Up.


So this is the traditional beef stew... it is a husband pleaser. I'm not a stew fanatic, but it is a hearty meal. Not to mention- super easy (if you have a crock pot.)
I don't have a "result" photo, but I bet you guys can use your I M A G I N A T I ON to picture what it looks like.

Beef Stew

2 lbs Beef Round cut into 1" cubes (salt and pepper)
1 lb small round potatoes (the itty bitty ones, so you only have to halve them)
16 oz baby carrots
16 oz chopped celery
1 can of Condensed French Onion Soup (Campbell's)
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 T. Worcestershire sauce

2 T. of corn starch whisked in with 4 T. water (for LATER)

Mix all the meats and vegetables with the soup, 1/2 C. of water, and worcestershire sauce. Cook in crock pot on LOW for 5 hours, then add the cornstarch mixture and cook on high for another half hour.

Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Tasty, tasty.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Go Bananas.

I'm sure many of you have heard of the "One Ingredient Ice Cream." I can't even link that title because there are so many places to find it. But it is really a phenomena. Frozen bananas, blended up in whatever you have, be it a Magic Bullet or a GLORIOUS Vitamix...(Laura..) this treat will ALWAYS leave you wondering if ALL ice cream is made out of banana's. The texture is SO creamy and bananas melt in your mouth just as well as any other soft serve you've had.

Now, not to discredit my Magic Bullet, because I do love it- but it takes quite a bit of knocking around to get it to blend up frozen bananas so smoothly. So this morning, to spare my bullet a brutal beating, I whipped out my Horizon Chocolate Milk. I love this chocolate milk, it tastes rich yet not too sweet. I figured the cool temperature of the milk and the frozen banana's would find a happy place in the bullet and be able to blend smoothly. Not only was I right- but it tastes SO GOOD. Holy cow.

Please try this, and if you don't have the means, come here and we'll freeze some chopped up banana's together and have an exquisite summer treat..

Monday, May 30, 2011

Vaffle Waffles


My mom made us these waffles on Christmas morning, during the "Scandinavian Christmas Extravaganza." I'm not a big waffle person, but these ones were really good. I'm not sure if you HAVE to have a Vaffler Waffle Iron, but you can certainly try the recipe.

Vaffler Waffles

4 eggs
1/3 C. sugar
1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 C. sour cream
2 C. milk
1/2 C. melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
touch of cardamom or lemon rind
1 tsp salt

Mix the eggs and sugar till well blended. Then slowly stir in the flour and baking powder. Add sour cream then slowly add milk till it smoothes out. Whisk in the melted butter and then add last 3 ingredients. Let chill for an hour, then follow instructions on your waffle iron.

I served mine with 1:1 ratio of sour cream and whip cream, then topped them with fresh berries. I also had one with the Coconut Pineapple syrup my best friend sent me from Hawaii... it was luxurious. But really, anything works well on these yummy waffles. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Char's Garden Chowder

A friend of mine's Aunt entered this recipe into a contest at Zupas and won. They served this soup at Zupas for a little while so if you have had it there you'll know how delicious it is. It's pretty easy to make and is vegetarian if you want it to be.



Char's Garden Chowder


2 Medium Zucchinis
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
2 T Fresh Parsley, Minced
1 tsp Dried Basil
1/3 c Butter
1/3 c Flour
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
3 c Vegetable Broth
1 tsp lemon juice
2-3 Tomatoes, Diced
1 12oz can Evaporated Milk
1 can Corn
1/3 c Parmesan Cheese, grated
2 c Cheddar Cheese
1/2 lb cooked diced Chicken (optional, I originally added this thinking the soup would need more substance but I was wrong. It holds it's own without meat)



Over medium heat saute the onion, zucchini, parsley, and basil in butter until vegetables are tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Gradually stir in vegetable broth. Add lemon juice; mix well. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for two minutes. Add tomatoes, milk, and corn; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for five minutes or until corn is tender. Just before serving, stir in cheese just until melted. Serve.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Lemon Frozen Dessert



It seems like it should be called "Frozen Lemon Dessert".. but being that this dessert is one of my dad's favorites, he believes the word "lemon" should come first.

Lemon Frozen Dessert

Ingredients:

1 Lemon, juice and zest
3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cups of sugar
1/2 heavy whipping cream
Graham crackers (crushed)

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a double boiler at medium heat. Stir with a whisk for 8-10 minutes, until it thickens.. to the point where it coats a spoon. Pour into bowl and let cool (or refridgerate.) While it cools, whip the cream and once the lemon concoction is cooled, fold in the whipped cream. Line the bottom of an 8x8 pan with crushed graham crackers, pour in mixture and top with remaining graham crackers, freeze.

Try not to eat all of it.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken and Cream Cheese Bundles


This recipe made me feel like I was 12 years old, sitting on the couch in my parents family room, watching the Simpson's while mom cooked dinner. I loved it. This may not be your bag, but I sure liked it, Jack SCARFED it... which is always a plus because he needs those calories, and Josh seemed pleased.

Ingredients:

3 Chicken Breasts
Strips of bacon
1 block of cream cheese
Fresh chives, chopped (about 1/4 cup.)
toothpicks

What You Do:

Preheat oven to 400.

Pound out your chicken breasts between some parchment/wax paper, to thin the meat to about 1/2" thick. (The thinner, the more evenly it will cook.) If your chicken is wet- sprinkle some flour on it. Stir the chives in with your cream cheese and divide 3 ways. Spread it onto the chicken breasts and roll them up. Wrap with bacon- my mom suggested 1 strip, I did 2, it depends on what bacon you get. I just wanted it to be wrapped well, plus the grease from the bacon moistens the chicken and makes it nice and juicy. Fasten it with a toothpick, then place in a dish that will hold all the juices and cheese that will inevitably melt out. Bake for 45 min, or until the chicken is cooked through. If your bacon isn't crispy enough for you, you can broil it for a few minutes, but keep your eye on it.

Serve- and don't eat the toothpick. I served a side of yellow and green squash sauteed in butter, salt and pepper. Yum.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lemon Asparagus Bowtie Pasta

I found this on my new favorite food blog, found HERE. Honestly I should just quit now, 'cause this chick has it all figured out. But nevertheless, I'll pick and choose some fun things and make them. I've been pleased with everything so far. This is EASY and SO TASTY.


lemon asparagus pasta
1 large bunch of asparagus
250 g bow-tie pasta
1 t salt
3 T butter
3/4 c heavy cream
2 T freshly grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
1/4 t salt (optional)
1/3 c finely chopped parsley
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese

1. Prepare asparagus by snapping off the bottom tough ends & then snapping each stalk into 1 inch pieces.

2. In a large pot, boil water and add 1 heaping teaspoon of salt. Add pasta. When pot comes back to a boil again, put prepared asparagus into a large metal colander, place over the boiling pot and cover the asparagus with the pot lid. One and a half minutes into the steaming process, take tongs and gently toss asparagus, replacing lid for another one minute and a half. Remove colander and rinse asparagus under cold water until cool. The asparagus should be crisp-tender. Drain well and set aside.

3. In a smaller pot, combine lemon juice, butter and cream over moderately low heat. Stir in zest then remove pot from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of the pasta water into the cream sauce.

4. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add in the asparagus and parsley and combine well. Add the cream sauce and parmesan chees and cook over moderate heat, tossing until heated through. Taste and add remaining salt if necessary.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Boston Cream Pie Mini















what you need

1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1 cup cold milk
1-1/2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, divided
4 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1 tsp. rum extract (optional)


make it

HEAT oven to 350ºF.

PREPARE cake batter and bake as directed on package for 24 cupcakes. Cool completely.

BEAT pudding mix and milk with whisk 2 min. (i put in some rum extract- maybe 1 tsp.) Let stand 5 min. Meanwhile, use serrated knife to cut cupcakes horizontally in half. Whisk 1/2 cup COOL WHIP into pudding; spoon onto bottom halves of cupcakes, using about 1 Tbsp. for each. Cover with cupcake tops.

MICROWAVE remaining COOL WHIP and chocolate in small microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 min. or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 min. Stir until well blended. Let stand 15 min.; spread onto cupcakes. Refrigerate 15 min.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Portobello Mushroom Ravioli with Homemade Pesto (and snow pudding for dessert)

I was looking forward to last night's dinner all weekend. I absolutely LOVE hosting dinner guests and planning the meal. Normally I'll have people bring something, but this time I was in the mood to plan the whole menu myself (I did end up having someone bring bread because I realized I didn't have enough).

Tip #1, when you're hosting dinner guests and doing it all yourself, it takes a LOT of pressure off to have one of the dishes mostly pre-made whether it's dessert, a side or the main dish. In my case, it was the main dish. I bought portobello mushroom ravioli from Costco (SO good). However, I did make the pesto myself. Pesto is really easy. I made a ton last fall when I decided to just harvest all my basil once and for all. Fortunately, pesto freezes really well, and it's versatile. Here is the recipe I used:

Spinach Basil Pesto

1 cup spinach
1 cup basil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
3 garlic cloves
1 T lemon zest
1 T lemon juice
1/2 cup pine nuts
salt
pepper

There is no trick or method to this. Just throw it all in a food processor or blender. I actually ended up throwing some hazelnuts in there too because I needed to use them. So I saved the rest of the pine nuts to toss in a green salad.

The spinach doesn't really add flavor because it's so mild. But it makes the pesto a brighter, pretty green color you wouldn't get from using basil alone. Sorry I didn't get a picture of the finished product. I was really lazy with pics and just used the camera on my phone.

So I made the pesto the night before. I also made dessert the night before.

I actually made a dessert that wasn't chocolate. I know! It's hard to believe, but chocolate is pretty rich and because the main dish was so rich and heavy, I wanted something light, airy and...lemony. I decided on snow pudding.

Oh this dessert. It's so good. After everyone had one serving I just brought out the rest and let people gobble it all up. OK, not ALL of it. I actually just finished it off an hour ago. It's SO good. I actually have a lot of custard left and I might just put custard on everything for the next few days. I'm thinking of making blueberry muffins tonight. I bet custard would be good on those...

Sorry, before I make plans for other recipes let me give you the snow pudding recipe. This was definitely the most time consuming thing I could have made, but obviously, it was worth it.

Snow Pudding:

1 T unflavored gelatin
3 T cold water
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
3 egg whites, stiffly beaten (save the yolks for the custard)

Dissolve one packet of unflavored gelatin (I used Knox) in the cold water. After ten minutes, it should gel a bit. Dissolve that into 1 cup of boiling water. Add lemon juice and sugar. Put in fridge and let cool in the fridge for a few hours (wait until it's a jelly consistency).

Take the gelatin mixture out of the fridge and whisk until it's good and frothy. Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites and then whisk that on high until it's well combined. Chill for a couple hours.


You might want to make the custard while the gelatin mixture is gelling:

5 T sugar
1/2 t salt
3 egg yolks
2 cups scaled milk
1/2 t vanilla

Put the milk over medium heat until JUST before it boils. Don't burn it. While that's heating up mix the egg yolks with the sugar and salt (I've said it before and I'll say it again: never skip or skimp on the salt in a dessert recipe. It enhances the flavor and adds a nice contrast to the sugar). When the milk is good and scalded, whisk in the egg yolk mixture.

And then you sit and stir on low heat for what seems like the rest of your life. It should eventually thicken. You don't want the eggs to curdle so you need to keep the heat low. Mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture coats the back of the spoon. It won't be a pudding consistency, it will be a sauce consistency.


Stick it in the fridge.

You can store it in the fridge for a day or two. The frothy lemony, gelatin mixture will stiffen and hold it's shape so you can scoop it into bowls. Drizzle custard over the snow pudding and serve!

Anyone remember Jell-O 1-2-3? Remember the frothy top layer? That's what the "snow" part of the pudding basically is. But OH so much classier.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cracker Toffee

I got this off of my new favorite- THIS website, . I can't stop perusing this site for snacks, dinners sides and ideas. It's superb. I brought these tasty treats for game night and truly, I was surprised how easy it was. And they are very, very good... I substituted the fleur du sel with regular coarse salt, and sprinkled the almonds on after mixing them with the coarse salt. It helps bring out ALL the flavors. Get recipe HERE.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Peanutbutter-Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.



This is what happens when people don't eat banana's. I take a perfectly healthy snack, and turn it into something that isn't. But dang, it sure tastes good.

PB& Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1/2 C. Peanut butter
1/2 C. butter, softened
1/3 C. brown sugar
2/3 C. white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
4 ripe banana's, mashed
2 C. flour
1/3 C. cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C. milk
1. cup chocolate chips
Coarse raw sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix together the butter, pb, sugars and egg. Add vanilla and banana's, mix till fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients. Mix till well blended. Add the milk to make the batter a good, bread batter consistency. Add chips. Pour batter into pans, and top with some coarse sugar.

Grease bread pan. (or pans, I made mini loaves..)

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until knife comes out dry. (My mini loaves took 45 minutes.)

Serve warm with milk no less than 2% fat. :)



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In the case it happens to you..

I accidentally bought a bag of Hershey's "Hugs" instead of "Kisses."

I don't particularly like white chocolate, since I don't even consider it chocolate, however I think it is great on pretzels. So if you have a bag of these dang Hugs, and you don't know what to do with them, stick them on some mini pretzels and throw them in the oven at 250 degrees for about 5 minutes. Let set- and try to prevent yourself from eating all of them while watching the Biggest Loser.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fondue: 3 Courses

This year, due to lack of extra money to spend on love- we decided to stay in and have fondue. Jack was at a Valentine's Party (thank you, Elisha) so we had a few hours alone. To his own embarrassment, Josh watched The Bachelor with me and we leisure had three courses of fondue. It was really, really good, and less than half the cost of Melting Pot.

Beef Broth Fondue:

1 box of Swanson's Beef Broth
1-2 cloves of minced garlic
1 T olive oil
1/2 c. red wine
Sprigs of thyme

In a sauce pan, saute the garlic and the oil. Once the garlic is turning golden, add the broth, sprigs of thyme and the wine. Transfer to fondue pot and bring to a boil. We used a package of beef tips from Harmon's, the recipe ready kind for stroganoff. They were small so it only took a minute or two in the pot for them to cook. Yum. We also had broccoli, mushrooms and zucchini.

Cheese Fondue:

I cheated here, and bought a box of cheese fondue. They have them at Harmon's, Target and probably other places. This saves time and is totally delicious. We dipped all the veggies above and some french bread.


Chocolate Fondue:

This could be anything really, but I had a half bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, and a quarter bag of white chocolate chips, and some milk chocolate Valentine's candy. I threw it all in and added 2/3 cup of heavy whipping cream. It was so good- ALONE, but we dipped strawberries, banana's and mini Nilla Wafers.. mm.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Homemade" Pickles

I really like pickles. Especially garlic pickles...you know the refrigerated kind? They're a great snack when you need something salty. Instead of grabbing some crackers or chips, eating a pickle is a tasty way to eat a vegetable instead.

I think I was reading a Martha Stewart magazine when I found a recipe in there for homemade pickles. I was so excited because I had a bunch of cucumbers in my garden I didn't know what to do with. So I harvested some cucumbers and made them. They were OK. Here's a link to the recipe:

http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/fast-homemade-pickles

Then I had an idea for a faster and better way to make pickles.

Step 1: Buy a jar of refrigerated garlic pickles like this one:

Step 2: Eat all of them. Save the jar with the leftover brine in the fridge.

Step 3: Buy some cucumbers, cut them into spears.

Step 4: Put them in a bowl and sprinkle them with rock salt. Let sit for about 20 minutes (the salt draws out a lot of the water in the pickles).

Step 5: Rinse all the saltiness off with water, let the spears drain on a paper towel.

Step 6: Put cucumber spears in your jar of brine you had from before. Marinate in fridge for 24 hours.

Voila! Pickles. And you just cut your cost by more than half.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lemon Pepper Grilled Chicken with Cream Sauce and Asparagus



This was something I whipped up out of nowhere. But dang, it was a hit, and mega good.

Ingredients:

Two boneless chicken breasts, tenderized
2 cups of milk
Juice from one lemon
2 T. McCormick Lemon Pepper Seasoning (or just pepper and lemon rind)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Steamed Asparagus

Cream Sauce:

1/2 pint of heavy cream
4 T. Butter
2 T. flour
Lemon juice
Salt
CAPERS- (I forgot to put my capers in.. :( Sad.)

Tenderize your chicken breasts by placing them between two sheets of parchment and beating them gently. Place them in a marinade of the milk, lemon juice and lemon pepper seasoning. I left them in there for just over an hour.

Start steaming your asparagus, and warm up your grill. (I used a grill PAN, not an actual grill... but it goes either way.) Grill your chicken on a med-low heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, with a bit of olive oil in the pan.

While the chicken is cooking, melt the butter over low heat for the cream sauce in a sauce pan. While stirring with a whisk, add the flour. Then slowly add the cream while stirring quickly and the sauce should thicken. Then add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. If you have capers, add those. Keep the sauce on low heat and stir occasionally while your chicken finishes grilling. Place chicken and asparagus on plate and SMOTHER with delicious cream sauce.

Or, if you are one of those people "watching what you eat", you may omit the cream sauce and have an uber-healthy meal.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Eric's Soup


Eric's Soup

2 quarts of chicken stock
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
13 oz diced tomatoes & juice
2 jars of marinated artichoke hearts and SOME of their juice
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 large can sliced olives
1 T. minced garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 half lemon, squeezed
4 bay leaves

Saute the green onions and garlic in butter, add the sliced mushrooms then put everything in the stock and let it simmer for 30-60 minutes and serve. I like mine with a little monterey jack cheese on top....

SO good.
Who is Eric? I don't know. But his soup sure is tasty.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cheesy Gnocchi

I recently came into a lot of cheese. A few months ago I starred this recipe on my Google Reader because I wanted to make a mac and cheese dish that I actually liked, so I grated a bunch of cheese and threw this one together last night.

Don't get me wrong, I love Mac and Cheese, but my number one complaint is that homemade recipes usually have too much cream and I don't taste any cheese. So I rarely order it.

A friend took me to lunch for my birthday a couple weeks ago at Noodles & Co. where I ordered the Macaroni and Cheese for the first time. It was good -- not my favorite, but at least it tasted like cheese. He also introduced me to Parmesan chicken on top of my mac and cheese. That was good.

Anyway, back to this recipe. Obviously, it's not macaroni, it's gnocchi. I thought it was a nice twist. And it calls for fonitina and gruyere which adds a fancier twist as well.

It asks for a pound of gnocchi. We got 13 oz. Looking at it I was afraid it wouldn't feed me and my three dinner guests, but it is so rich and heavy it filled us up just fine.

This recipe is from the Noble Pig. I also took the photo from her website because, as usual, I get distracted with dinner guests and forget to photograph the food.

The only thing I did differently was use parmesan gnocchi (couldn't find plain) and then I cut down on the parmesan cheese (for obvious reasons).

I'm still full.

Gnocchi Mac n' Cheese
From Cuisine at Home

1 pound purchased or homemade gnocchi
2 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup shredded fontina cheese
Salt and white pepper to taste
1/3 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
Basil leaves for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 375o F. Prepare gnocchi according to package directions. Drain and place gnocchi in a single-layer in a 1-1/2 quart shallow baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Whisk in flour until it thickens and bubbles, then whisk in milk and Dijon. Continue to whisk mixture and cook until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes.

Combine Gruyere and fontina, then add by the handful to milk mixture, stirring until melted before adding the next handful. Once all cheese is melted, season sauce with salt and pepper.

Pour sauce over gnocchi and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano over top. Bake gnocchi until they puff and cheese is golden and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Let gnocchi rest for 5 minutes before serving.