Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cheesy Ham & Potato Soup

The valley still isn't quite ready to have your windows wide open and enjoying the sound of helicopters full of news crews filming the rising river.  And I had milk in my refrigerator that needed to be used up before it's expiration date so today it means soup.

Cheesy Ham & Potato Soup

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk, 2% works fine
4 medium potatoes, diced
2 cups ham, cubed
4 oz Pepper Jack cheese

4 oz Cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp paprika
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat broth and milk.  Add in potatoes and cook until almost tender.  Add in ham and cook for another 10 minutes.  Add in cheese and stir until melted.  Add in paprika, salt and pepper.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Calico Beans

My dreams of Spring were short lived.  Oh well, I should be used to it and the furnace running.  I have no doubts that I'll be running the furnace and air conditioning on the same day and it will hopefully happen soon.  Luckily these beans are able to be frozen and thawed back out on another grilling weather day.  I made them in the crock pot but they could easily be made in the oven too.

Calico Beans

1/2 # ground beef
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
1 tbsp mustard
1 - 16 oz can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 - 16 oz can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 - 16 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
4 slices apple smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled

Brown ground beef with the onions.  In your crock pot or baking dish, combine beans, dark brown sugar, ketchup, mustard.  Add in ground beef, onions and bacon.  Cook until heated all the way through.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hot Dog Chili

It finally warmed up somewhat in the valley and that means it's grilling time. Especially when it's just a one day window of warmth so I decided to grill hot dogs and make my own chili for them.  This is waaaaaay better than any canned chili without beans.

Hot Dog Chili

1/2# extra lean ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Brown ground beef with onions and garlic.  Add in ketchup, tomato paste, mustard and spices.  Pour in water and allow to simmer for 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Buttermilk n' Corn Flake Chicken

Tender.  That's the results of the buttermilk bath these chicken breasts took for 5 hours.  Of course every bath needs a little heat and the hot sauce provided that quite nicely.  The skin was crispy and full of flavor.  Yes, I'll be making these many times.

Buttermilk n' Corn Flake Chicken

Marinade ~ Place in a gallon zippered plastic bag

1 cup buttermilk
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp Frank's Red Hot Sauce
3 chicken breasts, bone-in

Coating ~

1 cup corn flake crumbs
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp parsley

Place the chicken breasts in the plastic bag and add the garlic, buttermilk and hot sauce.  Place into refrigerator and let sit at least 4 hours.

On a dinner plate, place the corn flake crumbs, salt, pepper, paprika and parsley and mix together.   Remove the chicken from the bag, shake off most of the buttermilk and roll on the corn flake crumb mixture.  Place on a foil lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until the chicken temperature reaches 165°.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Chunky Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Muffins

I usually don't make two batches of muffins so close together but this one is heading for the freezer (well there was a taste test and I may take one to work for breakfast) but the others are freezer bound.  I may have mentioned that there is a flood in our forecast.  Yes, we've been to this rodeo before and we have the big belt buckles to prove it.  I am preparing as best I can in case of power outages or bad water scenarios.  Luckily I'm in an area that is considered as high ground but everyone around me is not that fortunate.  Anyhow, back to the muffins.  I chose chunky peanut butter just for fun and luckily it works quite nicely.

Chunky Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Muffins

1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Cream together butter and brown sugar.  Stir in peanut butter.  Mix in eggs and milk and gradually add in the dry ingredients.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Grease muffin tins or use liners and fill 3/4 full.  Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cheesy Potato Casserole

I've been known to bring a hash brown casserole to office potlucks frequently. They are easy to make and can sit in a crock pot for half a day with no problems.  I changed up the recipe just a bit for this since I have an overabundance of Greek yogurt in my refrigerator at the moment that I need to use up.  The yogurt gave it a nice tang that works well with the green chilies adding a little bite.

Cheesy Potato Casserole

3 cups Southern Style hash browns
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tbsp green chilies
1/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese (I used Colby & Monterey)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

In a medium bowl, mix together the yogurt chilies, milk, cheese, salt and pepper.  Fold in hash browns and stir until they are all covered.  Place in a greased 9 x 9 baking dish and bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Breakfast Sausage Bake

Weekend breakfasts should always pamper the soul.  Weekday breakfasts are usually in a hurry and more focused on what needs to be done to head out the door on the way to work or school.  This is what I enjoyed this past weekend and it only took minutes to put together.

Breakfast Sausage Bake

1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 apple sausages, diced (mine were precooked)
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tbsp water
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.  Place diced potatoes on top and season.  Add in 1 tbsp of water and place another piece of foil on top.  Bake at 325° for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and take off top piece of foil and add in sausage.  Put foil back on top and return to oven for another 15 minutes.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Brie Hamburgers

The temperatures are finally starting to climb and the snowbanks are melting.  It's grilling season.  This recipe makes 3 - 1/3# hamburgers.  I had a very uncooperative model - the bun kept falling off as I was trying to take the picture.  Models can be so temperamental.

Brie Hamburgers

1 # extra lean ground beef
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 oz Brie, rind removed for each hamburger

In a medium sized bowl, mix together hamburger and spices.  Divide into 6 even balls.  Flatten one out into a patty and place the brie into the center.  Flatten a second patty out and place one top of the brie.  Pinch the sides together to seal the edges.  I cooked mine to medium which was on a hot grill and 3-4 minutes on each side.  Serve with your favorite condiments.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Chicken Tostadas

It's Monday and that means the adjustment of getting back into the work week and what to make for dinner.  Tonight I wanted to try something new and pre-made tostadas made it so simple to make a relaxing dinner.

Chicken Tostadas

Tostadas - crispy corn tortillas
1 cup refried beans ~ I used my recipe that I had previously made and froze
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 cup shredded colby and monterey jack cheese
1 diced tomato
fresh parsley
sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. Spread refried beans on tostadas and top with chicken breast and cheese on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake at 350° for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with tomatoes or salsa.  I also chose to put on fresh parsley and with a dap of sour cream.  Serve immediately.

Here is the recipe for my crock pot refried beans that freeze very well and it's nice to have in one cup servings ~

Crock pot refried beans

2 cups pinto beans
1/2 cup onion, peeled and chopped
2 dried chile chipotle
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp cumin
1 cup V8 Juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Rinse and clean pinto beans and soak overnight.  Put in crockpot on high with onions, garlic and chile chipotle on high.  Cook for 8 hours occasionally stirring and adding liquid as needed (the V8 juice and water).

When the beans are soft, mash and add cumin, salt and freshly ground pepper.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Buttermilk Bread

I've found a new favorite bread.  It's the right density and good both using for a sandwich or toast.  Plus I used my bread machine (just to dough setting) so it's not sitting downstairs collecting dust.

Buttermilk Bread

3 cups bread flour
2 1/2 tsp bread machine active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tbsp honey
2 1/2 tbsp butter, softened

Put all of the ingredients in your bread machine and put on dough setting.

When done, remove from machine and put in a greased bread pan.  Let rise for about a half hour in a warm area.

Bake until a golden brown 
for 30 minutes at 350°.  Remove from oven and brush with butter.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pizza Wontons

Pizza Wontons are a mix of two cultures.  Super easy to make especially if you cut up string cheese and use mini pepperoni like I did.  I did not use a premade pizza sauce for dipping as a shortcut because my recipe is a quick one, especially since I had some frozen from the last batch that I made.  I'll post the recipe again.

Pizza Wontons

25 wonton wrappers
5 string cheese 
mini pepperoni

Cut each piece of string cheese into 5 equal pieces.  Place one piece and 3 mini pepperoni in the center of the wonton wrapper.  Dip your finger in water (once for each of the 4 sides) and wet the edge of the wrapper.  Gently fold over into a triangle shape and press down on the edges.  Place on a greased baking sheet.  When all 35 are made, spray with cooking oil and bake for 10 minutes at 325°.  Serve warm.

Pizza sauce

1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 medium onion finely chopped
1 tbsp extra light virgin olive oil
1 6 oz tomato paste
1 15 oz tomatoes peeled, seeded and diced
4 oz water
1 tbsp Italian seasonings ~ crush between your hands and sprinkle into the sauce
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt to taste

Heat olive oil in sauce pan and add in garlic and onion and cook until tender.  Add in tomato paste and water.  Add in tomatoes and spices.  You can also mix in 1/4 cup of your favorite red wine.  Let cook for about a half hour for all the spices to blend into the sauce.

Servings: 2

Friday, April 19, 2013

Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies

These cookies are the perfect way to end the week.  Dark cocoa wrapped around melting marshmallows...like potato chips, it's hard to have just one.

Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
mini marshmallows, frozen
1/3 cup cocoa ~ I used King Arthur Flour Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda 
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream together butter and sugars.  Add in egg and vanilla.  Carefully add in cocoa (it likes to fly everywhere).  Gradually add in remainder of dry ingredients.  Fold in chocolate chips.  I used a .5 cookie scoop and filled it slightly over.  Press in two frozen marshmallows and wrap the chocolate dough around them.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 325° for about 12 minutes.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cranberry Chili Chicken

I'm obviously on a cranberry kick at the moment since this is the second recipe in a row using them.  My mom was telling me about this recipe she had made last week and I decided to try it with a little variation since I don't think I've ever had orange marmalade so finding it in my pantry or refrigerator is out of the question.  The sauce is almost the same as what I've been using   to make sweet & sour meatballs.

Cranberry Chili Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup cranberry sauce
1/4 cup peach preserves
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper

Brown both sides of seasoned chicken in an oven safe frying pan with olive oil.   Combine the sauces and preserves in a small bowl and pour it over the browned chicken and place in a 350° for 20 minutes.  I served it with rice.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cranberry Orange Muffins

I love the flavor combination of sweet oranges and tart cranberries.  These muffins are not overly sweet but have a enough to take away most of tartness from the cranberries.

Cranberry Orange Muffins

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice (that was all I got out of my orange)
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup milk
1 large egg
2 cups cranberries, chopped

Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Add in milk, juice, egg and yogurt.  Stir only until all ingredients are blended.  Gently fold in cranberries.  Bake at 325° for 18 minutes.  Makes 18 regular sized muffins.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

French Dip Sandwiches

Cross another recipe off my recipe bucket list.  And what could be easier than putting a roast in the crock pot with liquids and spices to make it.  My special variation is to toast the inside of my bun and adding pepperjack cheese on top.  

French Dip Sandwich with au jus

1 - 3# roast - I chose a sirloin tip 
2 cups water
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup onions, diced
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground pepper

Put roast in the crock pot and add in water and Worcestershire sauce.  Sprinkle spices on top of roast.  Cover and cook on low-medium for 4 hours.  Turn roast over and cook for another 4 hours.  Take meat out and shred or cut into small pieces.  Serve on a bun with the juice in a separate cup for dipping.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sour Cream & Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes

I had a birthday dinner in a blizzard.  Usually it's nice by this time of year but I've learned how to make a steak using the frying pan/oven method successfully so it wasn't all bad.  I decided to make twice baked potatoes which I haven't made in awhile and change it up a little bit just using sour cream instead of milk and adding cheese.

Sour Cream & Cheese twice Baked Potatoes

2 russet potatoes
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sour cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

Wash potatoes.  Poke holes into skin with a fork and bake for an hour at 325°.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  Cut the upper third of the potato off and scoop our the middle and put into a bowl.  

With a fork, stir in the butter and sour cream.  Add in seasonings and then the cheese.  Spoon mixture back into the shells and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

You may also add in bacon bits, green onions, chives or any of your favorite herbs and toppings.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fresh Fruit Bruschetta

This is what I had in mind when I made the cinnamon french bread yesterday.    It's good on it's own but lightly toasted with fresh fruit and a yogurt honey sauce takes it to a higher level of goodness.

Fresh Fruit Bruschetta

Cinnamon french bread, french bread of a baguette slice in 1/2" slices
1/4 c butter, softened

1 apple, peeled, cored and diced (I used a Granny Smith)
1/2 cup strawberries, diced (about 4 large)
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup blackberries

1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup honey

Butter slices of bread and toast in a 350° for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.

While toasting, cut up your fruit.  These are the fruits I chose.  I had grapes out too but the bowl was getting full and I opted to leave them for next time.

In a small bowl, combine the yogurt and honey.

Place cooled cinnamon toast on a plate.  Top with a couple tablespoons of fruit and drizzle the yogurt honey mixture over the fruit.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Cinnamon French Bread

Beautiful day but there are winter storm warnings up starting around 4 a.m.  This is truly the winter that doesn't want to quit.  I made this cinnamon french bread today, not just to smell the scents of bread baking and cinnamon although that is a major plus, but in advance for a recipe that I'm making tomorrow for breakfast.  The bread is good enough to stand on it's own, I've sampled it and since there's a 12" loaf so I may get another sample in yet before I start dinner.  

Cinnamon French Bread

4  cups bread flour
2 tsp sea salt
2 1/4 tsp quick rising active dry yeast
1 tsp  honey
1 tsp extra light virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cup warm water

2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

Put the top 6 ingredients together into your bread machine and put on dough setting.
When the cycle has completed,  roll out to at least 9 x 12 and place the 2 tbsp of softened butter on the dough.  Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon on top of the butter and roll up.  Please on a greased jelly roll pan.  Put knife cuts 1/4" deep every inch and let rest for a half hour.  Bake for 30 minutes at 325°F  Brush 1 tbsp butter on top when it's done baking.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tuscan Chicken Soup

This could also be called it's Thursday, there was a miserable, wet snowstorm, I had my picture taken at the DMV, there's snow boulders at the entrance to my driveway and what am I going to make for dinner soup.  OK, you'll have to trust me that my soup is a lot better than my post-work drama and simple to throw together with a lot of flavor.

Tuscan Chicken Soup

3 chicken breasts, braised and shredded into bite size pieces
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked orecchiette pasta
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 - 15oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp crushed Italian Seasonings
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Braise chicken.  While the chicken is cooking, heat broth and cannellini beans and cook the pasta.  Combine all together, with the tomatoes, into a large pot.  Add in Italian Seasonings, be sure to crush so all of the flavors come out, red pepper flakes, salt and freshly ground pepper.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cream Cheese Corn

Cream Cheese Corn

If you like creamed corn (or if you're like me and don't), there's a good chance you'll like this combination. Every bite has a different taste - salt form the pancetta, spice from the green chilies and the velvety smoothness from the cream cheese. I especially liked it because it gave me a tasty way to use up corn from my CSA last summer. But it did made me wonder though why they no longer carry 3 oz packages of cream cheese. I miss them.

Cream Cheese Corn

2 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 oz pancetta, fried until lightly crisp
2 tbsp green chilies
4 oz cream cheese, cubed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and pour into a greased baking pan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Stuffed Pork Chops

I seem to have gotten away from my Sunday chicken dinners.  Last night I made something that I haven't made in a very long time and it was just as delicious as I remembered it.

Stuffed Pork Chops

2 double thick pork chops
1 cup day old bread crumbs (or shredded pieces)
1/2 tsp celery flakes
1 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp onion, minced
1/2 tsp sage
salt to taste
1 cup chicken broth

In a medium sized bowl, combine the bread crumbs and spices. Add just enough of the chicken broth to it until it is all moistened. Reserve the remainder of the broth until later. Cut a 1 1/2" slit into the center of the pork chop and carefully cut out the rest of the inside without breaking through (this will mean less toothpicks that you have to use to hold it together). Stuff each chop and then secure with tooth picks. Brown in an oven proof frying pan on both sides, add remaining broth, cover with aluminum foil and put in at 350° oven and bake until the pork temperature reaches at least 145°. Remove toothpicks before serving.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

I love easy sides and especially ones you can mix together in a large plastic bag and dump out onto a pan that's foil lined.  No mess and easy clean up...win-win in my book.

Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

1 1/2# fingerling potatoes, quartered
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic olive oil
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt

In a gallon size plastic bag, combine the spices and Parmesan cheese.  Add in olive oils and mix.  Add in potatoes, seal bag and shake until potatoes are covered (make sure you keep a hand on the seal in case it decides to open and potatoes try to escape - trust me they are messy).  Place on a foil lined jelly roll pan and bake for 40 minutes at 350°.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Fish flour coating

I ate a lot of fish growing up in Minnesota.  I would ice fish and fish in the many lakes.  My favorites were walleye, crappies and sunnies.  I found some in the grocery store that looked good and it truly was worth it.  This recipe gives you a crispy outside crust while keeping the fish nice and tender.

Fish flour coating

1# fresh fish (I had walleye)
1 large egg
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper optional

Whisk the egg lightly in one bowl.  In a second bowl, mix together flour and salt.  Dip fish first in the egg and then coat both sides in flour.  Place in a hot skillet with 2 tsp olive oil.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ham Fried Rice

I'm sure I'm not the only person looking for ways to use up their Easter ham.  Tonight I made Ham Fried Rice for something new and it was delicious.

Ham Fried Rice

1 cup ham, diced
2 cups rice, preferably cooked the day before but 4 hours before works too
1 large egg, beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup carrots, diced
1 tbsp olive oil1/2 cup peas
1/4 cup onions, diced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Chili garlic sauce

In a large frying pan or wok,  put in carrots and olive oil and cook until tender.  Add in peas, onions and garlic and cook for a couple minutes.  Pour beaten egg on top and stir until cooked.  Add ham in, rice and sauces and mix together.  Serve when the ham and rice are heated.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Vanilla Fruit Salad

This is a fruit salad I made for Easter with a reduced amount of sugar for a family member with special dietary needs. You can easily use regular instant pudding and Sprite but I doubt you'd be able to tell the difference in taste.

Vanilla Fruit Salad

1 - 3 1/8 oz Instant Sugar-Free Vanilla Pudding Mix
1 cup Sprite Zero
1/2# green grapes
1/2# red seedless grapes
1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 apple, pared and diced
1 cup peaches (frozen), diced

In a small bowl, whisk together vanilla pudding and Sprite. In a large bowl, combine all the fruit together. Pour vanilla pudding mixture on top and stir. Refrigerate until ready to serve. If it thickens too much, stir in additional Sprite.