Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

It was time to make soup with temperatures dropping to -20 again last night.  And what better than to combine all your favorite comfort foods in a steamy bowl of soup that warms your body and soul.

Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

1 pound extra lean ground beef
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and small diced
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and small diced
1 tbsp celery flakes
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
8 oz Colby cheese, grated
4 slices of bacon, diced, cooked and drained
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Lightly brown ground beef with onion and garlic. Make sure as much grease as possible is drained off. In a large pot or crock pot, melt butter and stir in flour to make a paste. Gradually mix in chicken broth and milk. Add in ground beef, carrots, potatoes and celery flakes. Cook until the vegetables are soft and then add in the cream. bacon and shredded cheese. Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cheesy Chicken with Canadian Bacon

I always have chicken at least once a week so I try to keep on coming up with new ways to make it.  Combining chicken with cheese and Canadian bacon was a perfect flavor match.

Cheesy Chicken with Canadian Bacon

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, I use all natural chicken
1 tbsp garlic olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
3 Canadian bacon thick slices
6 slices of Fontina cheese

Heat the garlic olive oil in a large frying pan.  Add in chicken breasts and season.  Cook for 8 minutes over medium heat and flip and cook the 2nd side for the same amount of time.  Top with a piece of Canadian bacon and 2 slices of Fontina cheese.  Cover the pan and leave on a few minutes until the cheese has completely melted.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Au Gratin Potatoes

Potatoes are one of the greatest comfort foods, in my opinion at least.  And with this winter they are needed and what better than adding some cheese to a cream sauce to raise the comfort level.  After all, you'll burn off the extra calories by shivering when you leave the house.

Au Gratin Potatoes

6 medium sized potatoes, peeled and sliced in 1/4" slices
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups 2% milk
1/4 cup onions, minced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
8 oz mild cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 tsp paprika, divided

Place half of the sliced potatoes in a greased casserole dish.  Top with minced onions, Parmesan cheese, some salt, pepper and 1/4 tsp of paprika. Cover with the remainder of the potatoes.  
In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter.  When melted, stir in the flour and let cook for 1 minute.  Add in 1/2 cup of the milk, stir and let it thicken.  Repeat adding in 1/2 cup at a time.  Add in the cheddar cheese and stir until it melts.  Pour over the potatoes.  Sprinkle some salt, freshly ground pepper and the remaining 1/4 tsp of paprika on top.  Place in a 350° oven for 90 minutes.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Chicken Apple Sausages

My German pancake needed something to serve with it so I made this easy (and healthy) sausages.  You can control the size of the patty that you want to make.  I used a large cookie scoop and slightly flattened the patty with a fork.  

Chicken Apple Sausages

1 # ground chicken
1 apple, peeled and shredded
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp rubbed sage
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper

Mix all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Be sure to mix well so all of the spices are incorporated throughout the sausage.  Cook in a heated frying pan with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  

You can freeze any leftovers and reheat for later use.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

German Pancake

What better way to start off breakfast or brunch than with a light, puffed pancake hot from the oven with crispy edges?  I've attempted to make this before with my old cast iron pan but it failed.  I received a Christmas gift certificate to the local kitchen store and that turned into a beautiful Le Creuset skillet.  I love it and it worked perfectly to make this.  I topped it with sliced peaches in a light sugar syrup and a little dollop of whipped cream.  

Allow enough time to bring your eggs to room temperature.  You don't want to put a cold mixture into a hot pan.

German Pancake

2 tbsp butter, melted 
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk, I used 2%
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Melt the butter in your pan in the oven as it's preheating to 350°.  In a large bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs.  Gradually whisk in the remainder of the ingredients.  When the oven is ready, remove pan from the oven and pour in the pancake mixture.  Return to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Serve hot.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Taco Bites

These are fun little bite size treats that are great for dipping into your favorite salsa.

Taco Bites

25 wonton wrappers
1 cup taco meat
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Place one teaspoon of taco meat and a pinch of cheese in the center of a 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 25 are made, spray with cooking oil and bake for 10 minutes at 325°.  Serve warm.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Raspberry Peach Crisp

It might not look like summer outside but you can bake some summer goodness like this delightful combination of raspberries and peaches.

Raspberry Peach Crisp

1st layer ~

3 cups peaches, sliced (if frozen, thaw before using)
1 cup raspberries (if frozen, thaw and strain off juice)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Mix together and place in a greased 9 x 9 baking dish.

2nd layer ~

2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick of butter, cold and sliced thin

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Gradually add in butter slices and mix together using your fingers.  When all combined, spread out evenly over the fruit mixture.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350°.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Italian Beef Stew

Winter doesn't seem to want to leave and there's more snow in the forecast for tonight.  It's a good day to let the meal basically make itself in the crock pot and what a flavor difference a few herbs can make (for the better).  

Italian Beef Stew

1 1/2# beef stew meat
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup onions, minced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 cups beef stock
1 tbsp celery flakes
1 tsp sage
1 tsp oregano1 tsp parsley
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup peas

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  When hot, add in beef stew meat and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Lightly brown meat in small batches and place in the crock pot.  Add in onions and garlic and let soften in the last batch of meat.  Pour in beef stock and stir in herbs and tomato paste.  Add in carrot first.  After about a half hour, add in the potatoes.  Cook until vegetables are fork tender.  Add in peas.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Baked Honey Teriyaki Chicken

If you need an easy to make meal, this recipe is for you.  All you do is mixing the sauce together in a large liquid measuring cup (2 cup size) or a bowl, let it sit for a half hour and then pour it over chicken and put it in the oven.  What could be easier?  Plus it's really tasty and great served with rice ~ white or brown.

Baked Honey Teriyaki Chicken

3 chicken breasts
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small ginger root, peeled and thin sliced
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

Combine all the ingredients in a large measuring cup or bowl and allow to sit a half hour.  In the meantime, line a baking pan with no-stick aluminum foil.  This will make clean up a breeze.  Also, lightly toast the sesame seeds while you are waiting for the sauce.  Place the chicken breasts in the pan and pour the sauce over.  Put in a pre-heated oven of 350°.  Bake for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reads 165°.  Remove from the oven once or twice and spoon the sauce over the chicken while baking.  When done cooking, allow to sit for 5 minutes and sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on top before serving.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine's Blossom Cookies

These cookies aren't just for Christmas time.  Especially when Dove is nice enough to come out with heart shaped chocolates for Valentine's day.

Valentine's Blossom Cookies

1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar (for rolling)
Dove heart shaped chocolates ~ milk or dark chocolate

Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars.  Stir in egg and vanilla.  Gradually add in dry ingredients.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Scoop and shape dough into 1" balls and roll in sugar.  Bake at 325
° for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and place a Dove chocolate in the middle.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Chicken Hotdish with Stuffing

I had a similar hotdish years ago to this.  But that one was so rich.  So I decided to lighten it up and it worked out really well.  Perfect meal for a day that the temperature hovers at a high of 0 outside.

Chicken Hotdish with Stuffing

3 chicken breasts, seasoned and cooked
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 tbsp corn starch
1 cup peas
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp celery flakes
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup Pepperidge Farm herb stuffing
2 tbsp butter

Cut the cooked and seasoned chicken into bite size pieces.  Place them and the peas in a crock pot.  You can also make this in the oven in a 9 x 9 pan.  Add in chicken broth.  In a measuring cup, mix together evaporated milk and corn starch.  Pour into crock pot along with the parsley and crushed red pepper flakes.  Cook for an hour over medium heat.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the stuffing.  Sprinkle over the top of the chicken mixture and cook for another half hour.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Valentine's Snack Mix

This snack mix looks like it would be overly sweet but it's not.  There are a lot of non-sweet items mixed in so it creates a nice balance especially with the slightly tart freeze dried strawberries.

Valentine's Snack Mix

6 cups popped popcorn
3 cups Crispix
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 oz package of freeze dried strawberries
2 cups white chips
1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup Valentine's M&M's

In a large roaster, place the popcorn, Crispix, peanuts and strawberries.  In a small saucepan, melt together the white chips and canola oil, stirring until smooth.  Pour mixture over the popcorn mix and stir to coat evenly.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before stirring in M&M's.  Allow to cool completely before breaking gently into small pieces.  Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Valentine's Day Monster Cookies

This was an unusual way for me to clean off my kitchen counter.  It started by my mother telling me she cleaned off her counter this week because it was reminding her of my late grandmothers counter.  Let's just say cluttered counters is hereditary.  And what better way to use a couple opened packages of baking chips, natural peanut butter and an unopened bag of Valentine's M&M's (although these are going to be used again within the next few days so the opened bag is still there) than making monster cookies?  A dent has been successfully made in cleaning and these cookies are heading to work with me to give to my co-workers.

Valentine's Day Monster Cookies

1 stick of butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup natural peanut butter
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 cup white baking chips
1/4 cup dark chocolate baking chips
3/4 cup Valentine's M&M's

Cream together butter and sugars.  Add in egg, vanilla and peanut butter.  Gradually beat in the flour.  Add in the baking soda and quick oats.  Fold in chips and M&M's.  Using a large cookie scoop, place on parchment lined baking sheets.  Gently flatten slightly.  Bake for 9 minutes at 350°.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Raspberry Sauce for Pork Chops

And it would work well for a pork roast also.  Naturally I couldn't resist adding in a little heat.  I just pan fried the pork chops in extra virgin olive oil with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of Vegeta.

Raspberry Sauce for Pork Chops

1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp raspberry vinegar
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Put all the ingredients in a small sauce pan.  Cook over medium heat until it reduces and thickens.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Cinnamon Honey Cream Cheese Spread

I had bought some wonderful cinnamon bagels and wanted to make a special topping for them and my refrigerator held 4 oz of leftover cream cheese from the wontons the other day so this is what I made.  I hope you enjoy it.

Cinnamon Honey Cream Cheese Spread

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients together until completely incorporated.  Keep in refrigerator until ready to use.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Chicken Parmigiana Sliders

Here's the last recipe for the Super Bowl.  I hope that it's a good game or at least the commercials are good.

Chicken Parmigiana Sliders

1# chicken tenders, cut into 3 pieces
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/2 cup of your favorite red pasta sauce

Fresh Mozzarella sliced

Cocktail buns, cut in half and buttered

Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, Parmesan cheese and spices.  Dredge the chicken tenders in the flour and place in the heated skillet.  Slice the buns in half and butter.  Place in the oven set to 350° to lightly toast on a baking sheet.  Remove from oven, top with chicken pieces, a tablespoon of red sauce and a slice of fresh mozzarella.  Return to oven and leave in until mozzarella melts.  

Makes 12.