Saturday, January 30, 2010

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fresh tomato and basil risotto with mozzarella

You already know that we love risotto.  I've got the basic instructions for making risotto here.  The directions below with my recipe are quite abbreviated, so you'll want to read the full instructions before starting. 

Fresh Tomato & Basil Risotto with Mozarella 

4 - 5 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c fresh basil, chopped
Olive oil
1/2 t salt
Garlic clove, crushed

40 oz (5 c) broth (chicken broth if you don't care about keeping the dish vegetarian)
Onion, chopped
1-1/2 c Arborio rice (or other short grained rice)
1/2 c white wine, room temperature

Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Parmesan cheese, shredded

Combine the tomatoes through the garlic in a small bowl and set aside.  Heat the broth in a separate pan.  In your large skillet or saucepan, saute the onion over medium high heat.  Add the rice, cook 1 minute, stirring.  Add the wine and cook 1 minute.  Add warm broth, 1/2 c at a time, stirring constantly.  Make sure each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next.  Add the tomato mixture and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in the mozzarella and pepper.  Serve topped with parmesan.     

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

White chili

We have a couple different versions of white chili that we love.  This is our slightly-more-involved-but-much-tastier recipe!  It takes awhile to make, but much of it can be done in a crock pot, which cuts down on the actually slaving away time.  In the picture above, I used a dutch oven instead of a crock pot.  It's your choice!

White Chili

4 pre-cooked boneless chicken breast halves, chopped

Olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped

40 oz liquid - chicken stock and water
3 - 4oz cans of green chilis, chopped
2 t cumin
2 t oregano
1-1/2 t ground cayenne pepper

5 cans white beans (we like great northern and pinto)
2 c monterey jack cheese, shredded
Chopped scallions for garnish

Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil.  Add the chopped chicken and stir together.   Add the 40 oz of liquid through the spices and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, along with the beans.  Serve topped with monterey jack cheese and chopped scallions.     

Monday, January 25, 2010

Beef stroganoff

I know there are lots of fancier ways of making beef stroganoff, but this is Mike's favorite version.  He likes it with wide egg noodles rather than rice, so that's the way I always fix it.  Besides, as long as the beef is pre-cooked, it only takes a few minutes to put the sauce together...just about as long as it takes to boil up the noodles!

Beef Stroganoff

1 lb stew beef, cooked on low in a slow cooker all day
Onion, chopped
6 - 8 oz mushrooms, sliced thick
2/3 c sour cream

Wide egg noodles

Start the water for the noodles.  In a large skillet, saute the onions until soft.  Add the mushrooms and cook until the liquid has been released and has mostly evaporated.  Add the pre-cooked beef and the spices and stir together, heating through.  Add the sour cream and remove from the heat.  Serve over noodles. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Corn fritters

Basic griddlecakes or pancakes can be dressed up in lots of different ways.  One of our favorites is to turn them into corn fritters.  We almost always serve these for dinner instead of breakfast!

Corn Fritters

2 c flour
1 T baking powder
2 T sugar
1/2 t salt

15 oz can of corn, drained with liquid saved
Enough milk to make 1 c liquid
2 T melted butter
2 eggs

Stir all the dry ingredients together well.  Set aside and corn and mix all the wet ingredients in a glass measuring cup.  Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well, adding corn.  Cook on a griddle over moderate heat, waiting until the top surface is covered with bubbles before flipping.  Serve with syrup if desired.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Caribbean chicken and rice

This is an unsophisticated all-in-one meal that just happens to be pretty darned tasty.  It's super fast to make if you've already got pre-cooked chicken and rice on hand.  Even if you don't, you can still make this in just over thirty minutes!  Vary the amounts depending upon how many you have to serve.

Caribbean Chicken & Rice

Pre-cooked chicken for four
Prepared rice for four

Olive oil
Onion, chopped
Green pepper, chopped 
2 - 3 carrots, chopped

14 oz can of pineapple chunks or crushed, with juice
1/3 c barbecue sauce
2 t fresh ginger, grated

If the rice and chicken are not already pre-cooked, start the rice now and stir fry the chicken in a skillet in some olive oil.  Remove the chicken from the pan.  Add vegetables to the olive oil and stir until softened.  Add the pineapple and juice, barbecue sauce, and ginger and heat to a boil.  Lower heat, add chicken and simmer until the rice is ready.  Serve hot over rice.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Creamed pumpkin potatoes

Any kind of squash can be cooked up and added to potatoes to make a fabulous side dish.  We are particularly fond of using pumpkin for the task, but don't hesitate to use something else if you've got it on hand.

Creamed Pumpkin Potatoes 

3 - 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 c fresh pumpkin, cubed, or 2-1/2 c canned

1/4 c (1 oz) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c sour cream
1/2 t salt

Precook the potatoes and pumkin until soft.  Drain well and add the remaining ingredients.  Mash or whip, and serve with additional sour cream if desired.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Top food trends for 2010

I waited with baited breath for the Epicurious Top 10 list to come out! However, I got even more curious to see what some others were predicting as well, so here is my post on Cooking Gadgets with three good sources for you to explore!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Taco soup (OAMC)

This is a great Once-A-Month-Cooking recipe that you can double, triple, or quadruple very easily. For extra speed in preparation, you can use one of those 1.25 oz packages of taco seasoning and a can of prepared chili. Usually, I would prefer that these things be homemade, but sometimes for OAMC recipes, we’ll make an exception!

Even if you don’t get into OAMC, this is a great recipe to make ahead, either early in the day or even a couple of days ahead.

Taco Soup

2 – 15 oz cans chicken broth
15 oz can diced tomatoes
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz can chili mix (or your own homemade)
15 oz can corn
5 – 6 green onions, sliced
1.25 oz package Taco seasoning (or a mixture of chili, cumin, oregano, cayenne, paprika, garlic, and salt)

Monterey jack cheese, shredded
Sour cream

Mix all the ingredients except for cheese and sour cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat a simmer for 10 minutes. Can be frozen for later. To serve, thaw and heat, and serve with cheese sprinkled on top and a dollop of sour cream if desired. You know you want them both!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Cranberry bread

With a touch of almond flavoring, this has become our new favorite of all the cranberry breads we've tried! It's a sweet holiday bread which goes well with afternoon tea.

Cranberry Bread

1-1/2 c dried cranberries
Boiling water to cover

1 c flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt

1/4 c canola oil
3/4 c apple juice concentrate, thawed
2 eggs
2 t almond extract
1 t vanilla extract

Cover the cranberries with hot water and let them soften for about 15 to 20 minutes. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and the wet ingredients in a glass measuring cup. Add the cranberries to the dry mix before adding the liquids. Mix thoroughly and scrape into a loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 50 to 55 minutes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pasta with scallops and wine sauce

I got this recipe a million years ago from my good friend Kathy. My children never liked it much when they were little, so Mike and I only had it occasionally until they got a bit older and their tastes changed a bit. Sometimes I forgot how much I loved this dish in between times!

It’s quick and easy, wonderful for scallop lovers (that was the sticking point for our kids!), and pretty healthy to boot!

Pasta with Scallops and Wine Sauce

12 oz cooked fettucine or penne

12 oz scallops
1/2 an onion, chopped
Clove of garlic, chopped fine
1 T butter
1/2 c dry white wine (cooking wine is fine)
1 t dried basil or 1 T fresh
1/2 t dried oregano or 1 T fresh
2 t cornstarch mixed with 1 T cold water
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c fresh parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper if desired

Thaw scallops if frozen, and halve any that are large. Start water boiling for the pasta and cook according to package directions while you make the scallop sauce.

In a large heavy sauce pan saute the onions and garlic in butter until tender but not browned. Stir in the wine and spices, and bring to a boil. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the boiling and cook for about two minutes, stirring. Lower the heat and add the tomatoes and scallops. Heat for a few minutes just to cook the scallops; don’t overcook them or they become tough.

Toss with the pasta and grated cheese and serve immediately. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Middle East lasagna

by Maria Bruscino Sanchez

Another fabulous lasagna from Maria Bruscino Sanchez's wonderful book: Middle East Lasagna, featuring phyllo dough.  You can read my book review here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Classic Margarita

For each drink:

Lime, cut in half
2 T fresh lime juice
1 1/2 oz (1 jigger) white Tequila
1-1/2 T Triple Sec
Ice cubes

Rub the rim of a chilled glass with the cut lime and dip the rim in salt to coat. Combine the Tequila, lime juice, Triple Sec, and 1 c ice cubes in a cocktail shaker, shake well, and strain into the glass. Alternately, pour the mixed liquids over shaved ice in the chilled glass.

Do you have a favorite variation? Some of my friends love Black Jack margaritas, some are purists. Leave me a comment with your personal favorite!

Image: WikimediaCommons

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sweet potato pie

We have a difference of opinion in our house over just how sweet sweet potato pie should be! I like to serve it for dinner, so I don't think it should be overly sweet. But Mike says that since it uses pumpkin pie spices, it ought to be almost as sweet as that.

I'll leave it up to you!

Unless you use a food processor, sweet potato pie is grainier than pumpkin. I don't bother with that...I just use a fork!

Sweet Potato Pie

Single pie crust for each pie

2 c leftover sweet potato, mashed
12 oz can of evaporated milk
1/4 to 1/2 c sugar
2 T molasses
2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1 t powdered ginger
1/2 t ground cloves or allspice
1/4 t nutmeg
2 eggs

Mix all the ingredients together. Add eggs last so that you can adjust the flavorings if necessary. More sugar may be needed. Pour into pie shell and bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350 and bake an additional 45 minutes.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Kitchens of the future

Have you ever wondered what the future holds for kitchen design? Now you can find out by checking out just a few of the available videos on YouTube

Kitchens of the Future, part one
Kitchens of the Future, part two

Image: WikimediaCommons

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Feta and spinach bread

This recipe is for use in a bread machine, but those who know how to bake bread can probably adapt it to hand making with no difficulty. Anyway, the recipe makes a 1-1/2 lb loaf of chewy deliciousness, and it makes the house smell fantastic while it’s rising and baking.

Feta and Spinach Bread

¾ c water

¾ c chopped spinach
2 T olive oil

3 c flour

4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1 T sugar

½ t salt

2 ¼ t yeast

Add ingredients in the order specified by your machine. Run the basic cycle, medium crust.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mustard-dill sauce for fish

This sauce is especially good with smoked fish, but any strong-tasting fish will do it! I don’t use it to smother the fish as it’s cooking, but instead serve it on the side.

Mustard-Dill Sauce for Fish

2 T dark whole-seed mustard
1/2 t ground mustard powder
2 t sugar
1 T white vinegar
3 T olive oil
4 t fresh dill, chopped

Mix mustards through vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk the oil in slowly until an emulsion forms. Use a hand-held wand beater if you’ve got one. Stir in the chopped dill. Serve with grilled or baked fish.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Edamame “hummus” by Ellie Krieger

From one of my favorite FoodNetwork shows, Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger, comes this tantalizing recipe for hummus. I love edamame, and this is just delicious!

Edamame “Hummus”
2 cups shelled edamame, cooked according to package directions
1 cup silken tofu, briefly drained of excess liquid
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice, plus more, to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, plus more, for garnish

Set 1 tablespoon of edamame aside for a garnish. Place the rest of the edamame, tofu, salt, garlic, oil, lemon juice, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin in the bowl of a food processor and process until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper, plus more lemon juice, if desired. Remove to a serving bowl and garnish with reserved edamame, and some cumin.
Image: Healthy Appetite

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mississippi Mud Cake

Ahhh, the Mud Cake!  Many different varities exist, mostly based upon what type of whiskey you add to the batter.  I've used Scotch and Jack Daniel's, but I've also made it with Amaretto.  That is really tasty!

Mississippi Mud Cake

1 c butter
1 T whiskey
3/4 c sugar
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1-1/2 c water

1-1/2 c self-rising flour (or 1-1/2 c flour with 1/2 t baking soda and 1-1/2 t baking powder)
1/4 c cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 t vanilla

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the whiskey through the water.  Stir and heat until chocolate is just melted.  Stir the flour and cocoa powder together, and beat in the liquid mixture.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.  Pour into a 9 inch cake pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes at 350.  Leave the cake in the pan for 15 minutes and then remove to cool on a plate.

Make a few cupcakes if you only have an 8 inch cake pan.  Bake them for about 18 minutes.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

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Friday, January 1, 2010