Monday, December 31, 2007

Split Pea Soup

This started with the classic Joy of Cooking, but I think I've got almost more notes written on the sides of it than the length of the recipe itself, so it's rather highly adapted. As you can tell, it's a very adaptable, forgiving, non-exact recipe!

1 c. split peas
4-6 c. chicken broth (or water + chicken bouillon*)
1-2 c. chopped ham and/or a bone and/or whatever leftover ham you've got
2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
spices as desired - maybe some rosemary, a bay leaf, pepper...
a couple of carrots, sliced into coins
a couple of potatoes, diced into middlish small chunks
some oil/butter

1. Rinse the peas and make sure there are no stones or junk. Simmer them in a big pan with the chicken broth for like an hour, or until they're soft. Pour most of the soup in the blender and blend until smoothish. You could do it all, but I like a little texture. If you've got one of those immersion blender thingies, it'd work great. Stir in the Worchestershire (for the umami, you know) plus any spices you'd like. If it seems a little thick, just thin it down a bit with water or more stock.

2. In a separate pan, (at any time during this process), saute up the carrots until tender, set aside, and do the same with the potatoes. If you've got leftover roasted or baked potatoes (or carrots for that matter), just cut them up and use those instead with no need to cook 'em.

3. Once the peas are blended, add in the carrots, potatoes, and ham pieces, and put on low heat at least until heated through, but you can let it simmer for hours. If you've got a ham bone, I'd throw it in now and just let it all simmer for a long time, later taking it out and trying to cut off some of the meat.

I've also done this in the slow cooker, putting the peas and broth in on high for a few hours (4?) or until they were so mushy I didn't even have to blend them. Then I added in the pre-cooked carrots and potatoes and ham and turned it to low and let it simmer until supper.

*I now swear by "Better than Bouillon" after using it at my mom's because it actually tastes like soup not just salt.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Recipe Request

How about soup with a very large and meaty ham bone? Anyone?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Recipe Request

I hope recipe requests are kosher around here. Now that I'm exploring my newfound love of squash and Sunshine has loaned me her pasta crimper thingy, does anyone have a good recipe for butternut squash ravioli?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wednesday Fun #13 - Holiday Food

Ok, did you have some extra-yummy goodies for a Christmas meal? Or a great food or cooking gift in your stocking from Santa? I'm proud of myself for making a delish Christmas dinner last night of stuffed chicken breasts (from an Italian meat market), criss-cross potatoes, sausage-stuffed mushrooms, and orange-cranberry relish. Yum! Also, I finally got the lemon zester which I requested from Santa last year. Hey, better late than never.

So, what holiday food stories do you have to share?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wednesday Fun #12 - Holiday Food Gifts

When I was teaching, it wasn't uncommon for me to get one or two food gifts any given Christmas, oh, I mean "winter holiday time." Sometimes a gift certificate for a restaurant or kitchen store, but more often homemade caramels, fancy cookies, layered-in-a-jar cookie mix, or other homemade goodies. (Once I even got a bottle of wine, but it was from some English transplants who didn't get the "no alcohol in school" deal. I didn't mind at all!)

Have you ever gotten or given a homemade food gift? What was it? If you've gotten/given several, was there a standout one that you especially loved?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Peep Jousting

Wog feels that if this site is called "recipeeps" that it should have some kind of Peep recipe. Especially since they make Peeps all year round now. This is the closest I can get. Fun for adults and children alike! (My dad loves it.)

1. Place two peeps of any kind on a plate, "standing", and facing each other. (We find this works best with ducks as they have the larger base.)

2. Place toothpicks into peeps as if they were each holding a lance.

3. Choose sides.

4. Place peep plate in microwave and set for one minute.

5. Peeps will expand as microwave runs. First peep to "impale" (hit) the other one with it's "lance" wins! (this will take under 1 min)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Eggnog Cake

Made this for the first time recently and it was a hit. I used my new bunt pan! Next time I make it, I'm going to try drizzling some brandy over the cake before frosting. I'll let you know how it turns out. I didn't use all of the frosting, but you certainly could.

1/2 c butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 c. egg nog
1 1/2 c sugar
1 tsp rum, brandy or extract there of
3 c flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs water

Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and flavorings. Alternately add flour and egg nog and water. Beat until smooth. Pour into a greased 10 tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 min or until done. Cool in pan for 15 min then remove from pan to continue cooling.


2 Tbsp karo corn syrup
2 3/4 c powdered sugar
3 Tbs egg nog
1 tsp (or a bit more) rum, brandy, or extract

Wednesday Fun #11 - Cookie Question

Ok, right now, in the mood you're in, what kind of cookie would you most like? And what with it? Classic chocolate chip and cold milk? Crispy sugar cookie and hot tea? Girl Scout mint cookie and hot cocoa? What cookie and drink combo would make your day?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chocolate Crinkles

This is another childhood recipe. I always loved how the powdered sugar makes a crazy quilt sort of pattern over the chocolate once they're baked. Note: These have to chill for a while before baking, so allow time for that (or take advantage of it and mix them up ahead of time).

1/2 c. oil
4 oz. unsweetened bakers' chocolate (or you can sub in 3/4 c. cocoa + 1/4 c. butter)
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Powdered sugar for coating - around 1/2 c. or so

Mix together the oil, chocolate (or cocoa and butter) and sugar. Add the 4 eggs, one at a time, stirring well between each. Stir in the 2 tsp. vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt, then add to the sugar mixture and stir well.

Chill several hours. Shape into balls and roll in a bowl of powdered sugar to coat.

Place on Pam-sprayed cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes in a preheated 350F oven. Be careful not to overbake them - they're better a little underbaked and squishy than overbaked and hard.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Pretzels and Hugs

This is my favorite simple snack item -

Buy a bag of Hershey's Hugs and a bag of small pretzels - but not the stick kind. Put a layer of wax paper on a cookie sheet, lay out the pretzels, and place a hug on each one. Put them in the oven on some ridiculously low temperature (I use 300?) and just watch them for a few minutes until the Hugs are starting to melt into the pretzel.

Remove from oven and throw in the fridge. Remove from paper after about 30 minutes in the fridge.

I've experimented with other Kisses, but these were the original recipe and have turned out the best. I'm not the biggest fan of white chocolate, but it seems to work out on these.

Chocolate Frosting

This is a WONDERFUL all purpose chocolate frosting that is very easy to make. But, it does cool quickly, so it isn't the best choice for cupcakes. If making a 9x13, you can't go wrong. Put this on top of box mix cake, and everyone will think you did the entire thing from scratch.

In saucepan combine:
4 Tbs butter or marg
1 c. sugar
4 1/2 Tbs milk or half and half

Get to a strong boil over medium heat for one minute, not more.

Beat in 1/2 c. chocolate chips until fluffy - about double in size.
(I see no reason you couldn't substitute white chocolate or butterscotch chips)

Spread quickly.

Chocolate Joy Icing

This is a great frosting for angel food cake. It's very light and doesn't dry out.

2 2/3 c powdered sugar
1/3 c soft butter/marg/shortening
4 Tbs cocoa
1/3 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
@ 5 Tbs hot water

Mix until fluffy. Adjust water amount until proper consistency.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Oreo Balls

I made these for christmas one year and it was demanded that I make them again. I currently have to take holiday orders for my Dad and my MIL. It's not hard at all, you don't even have to bake them.

1 pkg Oreo cookies (regular old school style)
1 pkg (8oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg Semi-sweet chocolate chips (12oz) *

This recipe works best if you have a stand mixer, but you could probably do alright with a hand mixer or a food processor.

Break the Oreos up in to chunks and throw them in a bowl. (If you are using a food processor, go ahead and chop them up to fine pieces.) Add in the cream cheese. Mix on med. speed until everything is well mixed together and doughy. Refrigerate cookie mixture for 30 min or so, just to make it easier to work with. Scoop dough out into small rounded balls onto a wax-paper lined cookie sheet.

Melt chocolate chips in a small saucepan over low heat. Dip the balls into the chocolate, place back on the cookie sheet. (this gets a little futzy and messy). Once the chocolate has cooled and hardened you can stack them together. Store in the fridge. I think they are best cold, but they hold up well out on the table all day too.

* You can get fancier with the chocolate if you want to- Some people prefer white chocolate. Some do half and half. I've colored white chocolate to be festive. I've dipped in regular chocolate and then come back later and drizzled the white across the top (or vice versa). You could add crushed candy cane or toffee bits on the top. The possibilities are endless.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sister Mabel's Caramel Corn

From some religious mag Mama B. used to get. It's not cookies, but the holidays in our household were usually more about candy anyway. I mean, sure, we'd do the shaped sugar cookies and Russian teacakes, but it was also the time of year for cream caramels, peanut brittle, anise candy, and caramel corn. This one seemed the most kid-helper-friendly of the bunch, if only because it looks pretty cool when you add the baking soda.

Sister Mabel's Caramel Corn

Make 6 quarts of popcorn (finished measurement)

2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt

Put in heavy pan and boil until candy thermometer reads 260°. Remove from heat, stir in 1 teaspoon of baking soda. The mixture will foam up. Pour foamed mixture over popped corn and stir well.
Bake at 200° for 1 hour, pulling out every 20 minutes to stir. Adding nuts or whatever is optional. It gets less sticky as it bakes, so if you want to make popcorn balls, form them first.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wednesday Fun #10 - Cookie Challenge

All right, folks, we've been suffering a bit of a lag in recipe posting here (with the exception of Diplowhat this week. Yay, Diplowhat!). I know you're all busy, but the NaMo's are over and the holidays are coming, so this week's Wednesday Fun is actually a challenge.

Try to post a cookie/bar/candy/etc. recipe this week. (Pretty please.)

(Yeah, I'm totally looking for yummy stuff to bake with Pumpkin once I've got our kitchen in order, especially since the in-laws are coming to visit for Christmas. *grin*)

(I won't be posting my mom's favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe because I don't want it out on the internet for forever, but if any of you want it, just send me an email or leave a comment and I'll happily share it with any of you guys.)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

White Trash Margaritas

I know it's winter, but sometimes you need an escape. These rock. But, don't put them in the blender (at least not after you've added the beer)!!

1 can limeade
1 can cheap beer (do they still make Schlitz?)
1 can 7 Up

Fill limeade can with tequila and add to mix. Stir. ENJOY over ice.

Peanut Butter Bon Bons

This one is a X-mas favorite at the Wog home.

2 1/2 c peanut butter
1/2 c. butter or margarine
16oz (4 1/2 c) sifted powdered sugar
3 c rice cereal
12 oz package of chocolate chips OR 6 oz choc chips and 6 oz butterscotch chips OR almond bark

Melt peanut butter and butter in a sauce pan. In a large bowl combine powdered sugar and cereal. Pour peanut butter mixture over the cereal mixture. Blend together by hand. It will seem a bit crumbly but will hold together when you form it into balls. Don't worry. Form into 1/2 inch balls. Chill until firm.

Melt chocolate (or chocolate and butterscotch). Dip balls into chocolate. Place on waxed paper and chill. Enjoy!

Thumbprint Cookies

These cookies are a family tradition at X-mas time.

I suggest doubling or trippeling this recipe as it really doesn' t make much.
A double batch makes about 36, 1 1/2 inch cookies.

1/2 c. shortening/butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c. flour
1/4 tsp salt

On the side, have the egg white and around 3/4 chopped nuts (I recommend walnuts)

Roll into 1 inch balls. Dip in egg white. Roll in finely chopped nuts. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 5 min at 375 degrees. Remove from oven and quickly press thumb on top of each cookie to make a depression. Return to oven and bake 8 minutes longer. Cool.

Fill the depression with candied fruit, jelly, or tinted frosting. We always do the last one (powdered sugar, almond extract and a bit of cream until smooth but thick - add whatever color you want).

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday Fun #9 - Spaghetti Sauce

So, it may be 9 pm, but it's still Wednesday, so here's your belated Wednesday Fun.

(Which, you know, may have been inspired by our quick, easy-easy supper, along with my realization that "Oh gosh! It's Wednesday!"...)

The huge wall of choices is rather overwhelming after having only like 3 varieties from which to pick in Blarney and I want to hear from you all what's good. So...

What kind of canned/jarred spaghetti sauce do you prefer?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wednesday Fun #8 - Mmmm...Pie!

Just a quick post due to travelling all day today. Also, sorry it's late; I usually try to get this post and the new poll up in the morning, but 1) we were trying to finishi stuff up and get on the road and 2) while the phone and internet service were supposed to get switched over yesterday, the electric guys who were at the House of 42 Doors to trench in the upgraded power accidentally cut the phone line. So, anyway, I'm posting from Gramma Pet and Grampa Pharoah's place - better late than never. And I'm making it easy on myself - the poll and question basically match:

What sort of pie and/or desserts are you hoping to have for your Thanksgiving feast? Of course, if you are answering this AFTER your yummy meal, let us know what you had.

(And if you've got a really yummy pie or dessert or turkey recipe to share, this would be a great week to do it!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wednesday Fun #7 - Yummy Thanksgiving

Mmmmmm... Turkey Day is only a week and a day away.

Is the bird the star of your show? Are you drooling for stuffing? Does your mother-in-law make an incredible side dish? Is it all about some traditional recipe your family makes every year? Pie, baby, pie?

What dish are you most hungrily anticipating at your Thanksgiving feast?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Homemade Egg Noodles

Once again, here's a recipe I got from my mom, but I've adapted it a little bit here and there. Fall is just such a "soup" time for me, so I thought I'd share this one. Diplowhat, maybe these will work for you since you can't find your thick, frozen egg noodles out there. Mr. Kluges loves these noodles in homemade chicken noodle soup.

Note: These need to be made at least a day ahead of time to allow for drying time, but can easily be made weeks ahead and kept in the freezer until needed. 1 batch of noodles is usually enough for 2 batches of soup. This are not a recipe to do if you're in a hurry because the rolling out takes a fair amount of time, as does laying out the noodles to dry.

Homemade Egg Noodles

2 c. flour
2 tsp. salt
3 egg yolks
1 egg
1/2 - 1/4 c. water

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, then make a well in the center. Add the 3 yolks and 1 egg to the center and mix - first with spoon, then with hands to thoroughly mix in the egg. It will end up kind of crumbly.

Gradually add the water 1 Tbl. at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. (Once you've made it a few times, you can do a little more at once at the beginning, but too much water will wreck it beyond repair, so be careful.) Add only enough water to form dough into a rough ball.

Turn dough onto a well-floured (or well-floured, cloth-covered) board or table. Knead about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Cover, let rest 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 2-3 parts and roll out one part at a time until it's paper thin, keeping remaining dough covered. To make it easier to cut into strips, gently fold the rolled-out dough sheet over into thirds. Cut the dough the short way into narrow strips (1/4" or LESS). Shake out the strips and place on a towel or wire rack or floured cutting board to dry. Repeat with remaining dough. Mom says to let them dry about 2 hours; I say 4 hours to overnight.

When dry, break strips into smaller pieces if desired. Store in a baggie in the freezer until needed. No need to thaw before using.

To use: Add to boiling or nearly boiling soup and cook to desired doneness. This past week I made soup in the slow cooker and added them to that about an hour before it was supposed to be done and that worked fine. Mom's recipe says you can cook them in 3 quarts boiling salted water 12-15 minutes, then drain thoroughly if you don't want to cook them in soup, but I've never tried that. If you do, let us know how it goes in the comments, ok?

Note: These noodles swell up a LOT when cooked, so cut them thinner than you think you should at the beginning and they'll probably be nice and thick once cooked. If you have leftover soup, don't be surprised if the noodles soak up even more of the broth and it gets a little more casserole-y and the noodles get even bigger.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Blah blah blah fishcakes

Oops. I accidentally posted here instead of on my blog. I blame the tap Oktoberfest. To make this on-topic, if anyone has a good recipe for walleye fishcakes, post it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Wednesday Fun #6 - Favorite Soup

Brrr! It's getting cold out. Just the right kind of weather for soup! I made wild rice soup already this week and I think I'll be making chicken soup with homemade noodles very soon! (Because Pumpkin and I made the noodles yesterday and it's one of Mr. Kluges's favorites.)

What's your favorite kind of soup on a chilly fall or winter day?

(That is, if you like soup, 'cuz not everybody does, you know.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wednesday Fun #5 - Halloween Candy

Happy Halloween!

Let's pretend we're all kids again. What kind of candy would you be hoping to collect tonight?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

This simple, yummy, easy recipe is from the back of a Campbell's soup label. It's a good way to use up any leftover chicken you may have, because you're likely to have some or all of the other ingredients on hand. You can always throw in any other leftover veggies that might be in your frig, or extra cream soup or season it up a bit, but the basic is good, too. Yummy, easy, simple.

1 c. cubed cooked chicken
1 c. frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 can Campbell's Cream of Potato soup
1/8 tsp. pepper (ok, who measure 1/8 tsp.? A dash of pepper, people.)
3/4 c. milk (split into 1/4 and 1/2 cups)
1 egg
1 c. Bisquick Baking Mix

1. Preheat oven to 400F. In 9" pie plate, mix chicken, vegetables, soup, pepper and 1/4 c. milk.
2. Mix remaining milk (1/2 c.), egg and baking mix. Pour over chicken mixture. Bake 30 minutes or until golden.

Serves 4.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cream Cheese Mints

Another re-post from my own blog.

Cream cheese mints
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp. mint extract
3 drops food coloring
2-1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar

Mix cream cheese, mint and food coloring; gradually add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Pipe out mints (I used a large cake decorating tip — a cookie press would work too) onto a piece of wax paper or parchment paper sprinkled with granulated sugar. Sprinkle more sugar over the top, chill for at least 2 hours. Devour by the handful

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tomato Snack

This isn't really a recipe, I admit, but peeps told me I should put it on here anyway.

Buy a "log" of chevre goat cheese from Trader Joes. Cost is only about $4 for a large log shape of the cheese and it freezes well. Just cut off what you want at the time and freeze the rest. Yes, of course you can use a different chevre.

Cherry/Grape tomatoes

Paul Newman's Sesame Ginger dressing. (In PET-1 plastic bottles! - Check out the link for lots of yummy recipes.)

You can put the cheese directly on the tomatoes, and use the dressing as a dip, or just crumble some cheese in with the tomatoes and drizzle the dressing over (my prefrence). Also good with a salad underneath. This has become one of my very favorite snacks. And, I can claim it's healthy!

Tahra's Tabbouleh

Here's how I make tabouleah or however it's spelled. It's not really a Middle Eastern style because I don't chop the crap out of the parsley. It's a bit more chunky, with more couscous, so it's easier to eat with silver wear and I find more people like it this way. Also, I do this all by hand, I do not use my food processor because I don't want things to get too fine. I have to also put in a lot of notes here because this is just something I made up. It’s not a “real” recipe. Warning – it’s very yummy and filling, but does leave you with bad breath.

This lasts a week or a bit more in the fridge.

¼ c. olive oil
¼ c. lemon juice
1 clove garlic
A couple of twists of the pepper grinder and a dash or two of salt
1 medium bunch of parsley (just grab one of whatever they have at the store. If you are a huge parsley fan, add more).
1 medium cucumber
2-3 roma tomatoes
4 oz (half a regular block) of feta
1c cooked and cooled couscous (1 c water to a boil, add ¾ c couscous, cover, and let stand until done, then cool)
Optional: ½ (no more or it infuses way too much flavor!) shallot. You can easily skip this, or add a couple tsp of chives if you really want.

Parsley – cut off the big stems so you mostly just have leaves and their little stems. Chop.
Tomatoes – Remove the seeds and then dice. Roma (or Plum as they call them out here) are best for this – fewer seeds to flesh. Don’t leave the seeds in!!!
Feta – I dice this into small cubes. You can crumble it if you want, but make sure the pieces are small
Cucumber – peel and scoop out the seeds. Then dice.

Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper and (optional) ½ shallot in bowl. Add the rest as you chop it up. Stir, let sit for 15 min or more for the full flavor, and enjoy!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

No-Knead Bread

Last winter I came across this recipe for No-Knead Bread and I've been wanting to try it ever since. Let me just say right out that I am not a bread baker- I love to bake, but it's usually cookies/pie/cakes etc. Rarely will I bake bread. However, I love fresh homemade bread and I don't even mind the kneading/ rising/ kneading. It's kind of satisfying. A karmic way to earn the fresh baked yummy-ness.
But my curiosity got the better of me and I'd read that this bread was really quite good. The trade off for not kneading is that you have to wait about 24 hours between the urge to bake bread and the urge to eat the bread. The first rise is a 12-18 hour wait, another 2 hours for the second rise, 45 - 60 min. to bake, and then a little time to cool.

This is how the dough looked after the initial rise (18 hours or so). It looked more like pancake batter than bread dough and I was dubious. I was worried if I took it out of the bowl it was going to just run all over.

I managed to get it floured and set for the next rise- and it didn't quite double in size, but it did expand a bit and I got it into the pan. (sorry for the white on white here). It still did not look like a promising bread.

But THEN! Ta-dah! After baking for 45 min. the top was a nice golden brown and pretty crusty. When I put it on the wire rack, it was still cracking and popping. I cut into it a few minutes later and it looked great- nice crust, soft and chewy middle. It tastes really good too!

I used maybe a little too much flour in the second rise (but it was so sticky!) but I'm definitely going to try it again. This recipe is supposed to be very forgiving so you can add cheese, or herbs or dried fruit to make it savory or sweet.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday Fun #4 - Food Blogs

When I started these Wednesday Fun entries at the beginning of October, I said that sometimes there'd be a question... sometimes other stuff. So, I figured I should probably put an "other stuff" sort of Wednesday Fun. And since my favoritest holiday is coming up, here are a few links to some Halloween recipes! (Not that I've tried these out, they just look promising.) If you've got links to other sites or specific Halloween recipes, put 'em in the comments!

Epicurious's Halloween Recipes Halloween

Good Housekeeping's holiday section

The Food Network's Halloween section

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter

Our local grocery store had asparagus on sale yesterday, so I got some and made this recipe, which I'd done before, but not for quite a long time. It reminded me that THESE ARE THE BEST VEGETABLES EVER! You cannot believe the amount of self-control it took to take a picture before starting to snarf these beauties down. It's salty, savory, smoky, buttery... yum!

(P.S. From Cooking Light magazine, March 2002. They say 8 servings using 2 lbs. of asparagus. I used 1 lb. (but the full amount of sauce) and 2 adults and one toddler polished it all off quite handily.)

40 asparagus spears, trimmed (about 2 lbs.)
Cooking spray
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbl. butter
2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Arrange asparagus in a single layer on baking sheet [9x13 glass pan was fine for 1 lb.]; coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400F for 12 minutes or until tender. [Yesterday I was in a hurry, so I baked for a bit, then turned on the broiler for the last bit to finish them off and it worked great.]

3. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; cook for 3 minutes or until lightly browned, shaking pan occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in soy sauce and vinegar. [Be careful - spattery.] Drizzle over asparagus, tossing well to coat. Serve immediately.

Tips & Hints: I read this somewhere else, but an easy way to trim asparagus is to just take each one individually, hold it by both ends, and then just snap off the bottom. It should break just the woody part off. No need to guess how much to cut!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bloggy Potatoes

Originally posted in a comment at The Bus o' Love, reposted here because Ms. Huis Herself asked me to. I don't remember where I got this one.

Au Gratin Potatoes

Preheat oven to 400°

3 lbs. thinly sliced red potatoes
1 1/4 cups creme fraiche
1 1/4 cups shredded gruyere, shredded
Salt, pepper & paprika to taste
parsley or crushed rosemary

Generously butter a 9x13 cake pan. Add in layers: half of the potatoes, half the creme fraiche, and half of the cheese, add salt, pepper and paprika. Repeat. Bake 45 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle parsley or crushed rosemary over the top.

Pumpkin pie

I'm sitting here eating a piece of the second pumpkin pie I've made this fall, and it's much better than the first one (despite a little mishap with the lid on the cinnamon jar leading to a LOT of extra cinnamon...). It always is. Because it always takes me til the second one to remember that I adapt the recipe a little. So this is slightly adapted from The Joy of Cooking.

Advance prep:
Buy a pie pumpkin. Scrub it clean, stab it a few times and bake it on a pan with a lip at 350° for about 1.5 hours or until you can easily stab through it with a bamboo skewer. Do NOT undercook — it makes the puree process brutal. If it's cooked enough, it will pretty much fall apart once you take it from the oven. Pull the stem off (I usually get about 1/3 of the skin at the same time), slice it in half, let it cool a little and scoop out the string & seeds (reserve seeds for roasting if that's your thing). Peel the flesh out of the skin (again, only easy if it's cooked long enough) and puree it in a food processor or blender. Puree will keep in the refrigerator for a couple weeks. About an hour before you use it, measure out your amount, fudge a little on the high side, and put it in a cheesecloth-lined seive to drain out all the extra liquid. You get a much nicer pumpkin flavor that way.

Pumpkin Pie
Make or buy your favorite pie crust (I use Pappy's frozen pie crust dough — not as good as homemade but way easier, and tastier than the Pillsbury roll-out kind). Joy will tell you to brush crust with an egg yolk and partially pre-bake. I've found that to be a pain in the ass and the crust gets soggy anyway, so I skip it.

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 eggs.
Add and whisk together:
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup heavy cream + 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 t salt
2 t cinnamon
2 t ginger
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t cloves

Pour into crust and bake 1 hour or until center is mostly set but still a little jiggly. (It should wobble, but not ripple, when you jostle the pie pan.) Let cool completely. I like to serve it with whipped cream sweetened with honey & seasoned with a little cinnamon.

How to easily cut up a bell pepper

I learned how to do this in a cooking class long ago. I don't remember any more exactly how I used to cut up a bell pepper, but I know it wasn't this easy and uniform, so I figured I'd share. It helps to start with a squarish, or at least not bendy, pepper.

1. First, lop off the top. Don't worry if half the stem is left behind in the pepper.

2. Turn the pepper so it's sitting on that nice stable flat side you just made. Then you can cut straight down to slice off a side. (This is where the "squarish" part makes it easier.)

3. Continue cutting off the sides straight down. You'll end up with something sort of like this.

4. Turn what's left of the pepper over on to its side and cut off the top. If your sides of the "pepper cage" around the seeds are thin, it might break in half like mine did.

5. Then it's easy to slice and/or chop up the conveniently sized and shaped pieces of pepper for cooking or just plain eating. Yay!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wednesday Fun #3 - Most Treasured

What piece of your kitchen and/or kitchen equipment do you treasure the most? Your stove, knives, mixer, cookbook collection, cast iron pan, corn-on-the-cob holders, salt and pepper collection... what?

And why? It's the most used, useful, prettiest, has sentimental value, makes the best ___, always wanted one... what?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I was reading an article this weekend about Bison and how it's supposed to be better to eat because it's really lean. Also, I guess the trend towards local foods is helping boost the popularity of Bison. I know that we've had it, but it was always at a restaurant or a fair or something. Has anyone ever cooked Bison at home? Any ideas? Can you do more with it than just make burgers? Have you tried?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sichuan-Style Stir-Fried Chicken with Peanuts

This yummy recipe is from Cooking Light magazine, the March 2002 edition. I think it actually tastes like something you'd get at a Chinese restaurant. We like broccoli, so I often add some of that, too.

2 Tbl. low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbl. rice wine or sake
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. dark sesame oil
1 1/2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

Stir-frying oil:
2 Tbl. vegetable oil, divided

1/2 c. fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbl. sugar
2 1/2 Tbl. low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbl. rice wine or sake
1 Tbl. Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. dark sesame oil
2 Tbl. minced green onions
1 1/2 Tb. minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 Tbl. minced garlic (about 7 cloves)
1 tsp. chile paste with garlic

Remaining ingredients:
1 1/2 c. drained, sliced water chestnuts
1 c. (1/2 inch) sliced green onion tops
3/4 c. unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
6 c. hot cooked long-grain rice

1. To prepare marinade, combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, cover and chill 20 minutes.

2. Heat 1 Tbl. vegetable oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken mixture; stir-fry 4 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove pan; set aside.

3. To prepare sauce, combine broth and next 6 ingredients (broth through 1 tsp. sesame oil); stir well with a whisk. Heat 1 Tbl. vegetable oil in pan. Add 2 Tbl. green onions, ginger, garlic, and chile paste; stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add broth mixture; cook 1 minute or until thick; stirring constantly.

4. Stir in cooked chicken, water chestnuts, green onion tops, and peanuts; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Serve over rice.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 3/4 c. stir-fry and 1 c. rice).
CALORIES: 590 (25% from fat); FAT 16.7 g (sat 2.7 g, mono 6.8g, poly 6g); PROTEIN 36.9g; CARBS 71.4g; FIBER 3.3g; CHOL 66 mg; IRON 3.8mg; SODIUM 591 mg; CALC 75 mg.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Chocolate Carmel Bars

Any time there was a family event, I would force my mom to make and bring these bars. Eating the Sexy Blonde's brownies made me remember them.

1 c. margarine
2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. oatmeal

Pat 3/4 of this mixture on bottom of 9x13 pan.

In a double boiler (or microwave), melt:
14 oz Kraft caramels
2 Tbsp. water
15 oz. sweetened condensed milk

Pour this over the batter in the pan. Sprinkle 3/4 cup chocolate chips on top. Then sprinkle remaining batter on top. Bake 20-25 minutes at 325.

Dead Sister Dip

I spoke of this delicious dip last time we visited MN, so here's the recipe. Yes, it got this name because it was the recipe of a sister who died, but her sister, and then her friends, passed it on. Don't ask.

I recommend keeping this dip in one of those tiny crock pots, or an electric fondue pot.

3/4 to 1 jar salsa (your choice of brand)
8 oz cream cheese
1 can Hormel chili WITHOUT beans.

warm and serve.

Mom Cake

Told my mom about this blog and she insisted I post this recipe as it's easy and delicious - called "Higgins Cake" but I'll rename it Mom Cake.

2 c flour
2 c sugar
1, 20 oz can crushed pineapple in juice (don't drain)
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c chopped nuts (optional)

Mix all of the above. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes in a 9x13 greased pan.

1/2 stick margarine (4 Tbs)
1, 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 c. powdered sugar.

Mix well and spread over slightly warm cake.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Grew up with this one - it's yummy. I think of it as eating my veggies but getting cake at the same time. A good one to pull on the kids since you can't taste the zucchini but it makes the cake very moist.
Note - on this one you put the topping on BEFORE you bake. But, I have made this without the topping and it was just fine.

1/2 c. margarine
1/4 c. oil
1 3/4c. white sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 c flour
4 Tb. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. sour milk (which would be just short of 1/2 milk plus 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice)
2 c. zucchini, peeled and grated
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325. Cream marg, oil and sugar. Add eggs. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour milk (or, be like me and just dump everything in together). Add zucchini and vanilla. Beat well. Pour into greased 9x13 pan.

1 c chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. chocolate chips

Mix ingredients and spread evenly on cake before baking. Bake cake at 325 for 40-45 min or until done.

Wednesday Fun #2 - Spice Showdown!

(Ok, it's more like Spice Countdown, but that's got less alliteration.)

Quick! Name 3 spices you know are in your cupboard. Bonus points if they all start with the same letter!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Pouched Pears with Honey Sauce

From Into the Sauce! the Buca di Beppo cookbook. So rich and wonderful! It takes, like 2 hours to do because of all the zesting and peeling and poaching that's involved, but you can do all of it ahead of time (and should, because the pears should be cold when served) and just warm up the honey sauce, spoon it over the pears and serve it.

6 Bosc pears
3 cups cold water
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cup sugar
Juice of 1 large lemon
2 cups Honey Sauce (see below)

Peel and core the pears (a melon baller works well), leaving the stems intact. Place the cored pears in cold water and set aside. Mix 3 cups of water, the vanilla bean and the sugar in a saucepan large enough to hold all the pears. Heat the syrup over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the lemon juice. Drain the pears and add to the syrup. Cook over medium heat in covered pan, turning occasionally, until the pears are tender, about 30 minutes. Cool the pears in the syrup to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold. Remove the pears with slotted spoon and place each pear on an individual dessert plate. Spoon the Honey Sauce over the pears.

Honey Sauce

2 cups honey
Zest of 4 lemons
Zest of 4 oranges
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

In a saucepan, heat the honey to a simmer over low heat. Add the lemon and orange zest, ground cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes. Serve warm or refrigerate to use later. Prior to using the sauce, slowly reheat it to server warm. Makes 2 cups.

Salmon Ball

This one comes from The South Beach Diet Cookbook. Yummy! Serve with veggies for dipping, or really, whatever sounds good with smoked salmon.

2 cups canned salmon, drained, flaked, and skin and bones removed
8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 cup chopped almonds
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

In a large bowl, combine the salmon, cream cheese, onion, lemon juice, horseradish, salt, and liquid smoke; mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for 4 hours, or until firm enough to form into a ball.
In a small bowl, combine the almonds and parsley. Shape the salmon mixture into a ball. Roll in the almond mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until chilled.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Prosciutto-Wrapped Figs Stuffed with Blue Cheese

Got this one from Cooking Light. The original recipe can be found at this link:

I haven't had any luck actually finding fresh black mission figs, so I've used whatever dried figs I could find and rehydrated them a bit with near boiling water. I've also done this in the oven instead of on the grill. Just put them on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or so.

12 large fresh black Mission figs, trimmed
2 ounces blue cheese, cut into 12 cubes object
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 12 strips
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of salt
Cooking spray

Cut each fig in half, cutting to, but not through, base of fig. Place 1 cube of cheese inside each fig; gently close to seal. Wrap one prosciutto strip around each fig.
Combine vinegar and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until thick, about 10 minutes. Cool.
Place figs on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes, turning occasionally, until prosciutto is crisp. Drizzle each fig with balsamic syrup.

This should serve 6.

Stuffed Pork Chops

I got this recipe from my mom. It's classic Midwestern comfort food, cream of mushroom soup and all. It was originally for the oven, but I just did it this week in the slow cooker and it turned out well, so I'll include both cooking instructions.

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 c. milk
1 c. hot water
2 Tbl. butter or margarine
2 c. Stovetop stuffing
1/2 small red pepper, minced [opt, but adds nice color]
4 pork chops, 1-inch thick [I've done both bone-in and boneless, and 3 or 4.]

Mix soup and milk in 9"x13" pan (or slow cooker) and set aside. Put water and butter in a bowl; stir to partially melt butter. Add stuffing and red pepper; stir gently until water is absorbed. Cut a slit in each chop from outer edge to bone. [For boneless, cut almost all the way through.] Spoon stuffing into chops. Place in pan (or slow cooker). [I like to put them so the open ends all face together, and then glop all the extra stuffing that didn't fit into the cops in the middle.] Spoon soup mixture over chops. Bake at 375F for 1 hour. For the slow cooker, I did 4 1/2 hours on high, then it sat at "keep warm" for about an hour and that was done nicely.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Butternut Squash Soup with Curried Horseradish Cream

Pusher was talking about squash on her blog, and it made me remember that I'd previously posted a recipe for Butternut Squash Soup with Curried Horseradish Cream. It's such a fall food that I thought I'd repost it here. Enjoy!

It's sounds spicy, but it's really not (or not the way I make it - you could of course up the spices yourself). Don't skip the horseradish cream - it adds a lot in terms of richness and flavor.

Butternut Squash Soup with Curried Horseradish Cream
(serves 6)

1 butternut squash
1 cooking apple
2 Tbl. butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 tsp. curry powder
3 3/4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp. chopped fresh sage
2/3 c. apple juice
salt & pepper
curry powder, to garnish

Curried Horseradish Cream
4 Tbl. double cream [Regular cream is fine.]
2 tsp. horseradish sauce
1/2 tsp. curry powder

1. Peel the squash, remove the seeds, and chop the flesh. Peel, core and chop the apple.

2. Heat the butter in a large saucepan [or Dutch oven]. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in the curry powder. Cook to bring out the flavor, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

3. Add the stock, squash, apple, and sage. [I usually add the sage later with the apple juice since it's fresh, but I'd definitely add in ground/dried now if that's what you're using.] Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the squash and apple are soft.

4. Meanwhile, make the horseradish cream. Whip the cream in a bowl until stiff, then stir in the horseradish sauce and curry powder. Cover and chill until required.

5. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor. [Or just mash in the pan with a potato masher if soft enough - much less cleanup!] Return to the clean pan [I don't know if they expect you to wash it before putting the same stuff back in, but that' s just crazy.] and add the apple juice, with salt and pepper to taste. Reheat gently, without allowing the soup to boil.

[You could probably keep it warm on low in a slow cooker, but I've never tried. If you do, and it works, leave a comment and tag it, ok?]

6. Serve the soup in individual bowls, topping each portion with a spoonful of horseradish cream and a dusting of curry powder. Garnish with a few lime shreds, if you like.


Wednesday Fun #1 - Most Challenging

I was going to do this on Mondays since they're usually considered the "downest" days of the week But it looks like people find the time to post recipes on the weekend, so Monday's a good day to see what's new. So I figured to switch the fun to "Hump Day," Wednesday.

On Wednesdays, swing by to see what's up. Maybe it'll be a question, maybe a funny quote, maybe a cooking disaster story, maybe a link to a food website... whatever. I'll put up one for this first Wednesday, but if you want the next week, just say so in the comments & it's all yours. If nobody speaks up for any given week, I'll do my best to fill the space.


What's the most challenging thing you've ever made (or tried to)?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Cookbook Suggestion

I have a suggestion on a cookbook for those of you with only 2 in the house. It's Better Homes and Gardens "Great Cooking for Two". It's nice to have very nice, simple meals that are appropriately sized. Everything I've tried from it is yummy and easy.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Quick and Easy Moroccan Chicken

Got this from Real Simple Magazine:

1 box couscous
1/2 tbl olive oil
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tbl light brown sugar
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tbl red wine vinegar
1/2 c orange juice
1 can diced peaches or peach slices, drained (I use a bag of frozen instead)
1 rotisserie chicken, cut into pieces (or use leftover chicken)
1/4 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Cook the couscous according to the package directions. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Add the sugar, nutmeg, vinegar, and orange juice and bring to a simmer. Add the peaches and continue to simmer until the liquid has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Divide the couscous and chicken among individual bowls, top with the peach sauce, and sprinkle with parsley if using.


Crockpot Mac and Cheese

Stolen from the internet, but it has been a huge hit at the office:

8 oz elbow macaroni
4 c. shredded cheddar
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Cook macaroni and drain. Mix macaroni, 3 cups of the cheese, and all other ingredients in the crockpot. Sprinkle Remaining cheese on top. Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours, or until firm and golden around edges. Do not remove cover or stir while cooking.

Cucumber Sandwiches

My world famous cucumber sanwiches - that I stole off the internet:

Sweat the cucumbers: (otherwise, they will make your bread soggy)
1 medium cucumber
1 cup water
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1 tbl maple syrup (real, not Aunt Jemima)
With a fork, score cucumber lengthwise, peel, and cut into thin slices. Place in a bowl and add water, vinegar, and maple syrup. Let stand for 30 minutes, then rinse well.

The spread:
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. mayonnaise (real, preferred)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion salt
1/8 tsp Worcestershire
Mix together until blended well.

Put them together:
1 loaf bread (I make them open-faced, you may need more bread if you don't. I also cut the bread with a cutter made to seal sandwiches for kids - just for pretty.)
Take each slice of bread, spread with cream cheese mixture, and add cucumber.

If traveling or storing in refrigerator for any length of time:
Cover a cookie sheet with cool, barely damp paper towels. Place sandwiches on top and cover with more cool, barely damp paper towels. If using this method, it's almost preferable to use slightly stale bread - the damp towels will bring the bread back to life without making it too soggy.

Sweet Potato Spears

I got this tasty, healthy side dish out of the October 2002 Cooking Light magazine. I'll often substitute it for French fries if making burgers or meatloaf. It probably takes about 15 minutes of prep, and 25-35 minutes in the oven, so about 40-50 minutes total.

1 1/2 lbs. sweet potato [2 decent sized ones - this will be enough that your cookie sheet will be plenty crowded, so if you do more, plan on more than one cookie sheet]
1 Tbl. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Cooking spray

Peel sweet potato, and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch wedges [no bigger]. Combine potato wedges, olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg. [In Ms. Huis Herself Land, a good jot of olive oil, and various size sprinkles/pinches of the rest - no need to get anal on the measurements!] Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; place in oven on bottom rack. Bake at 450 F for 25 minutes [to 35, depending... like if you have your oven at a lower temp for something else] or until tender, turning once.

These heat up well in a skillet, but just get soggy in the microwave.

Footnote for the Cooking Impaired: Yeah, this may be obvious to the rest of you, but your average apple cutter is NOT strong enough to use on a sweet potato, so don't even think about cutting your sweet potato in half, putting the cut side down, then trying to "easily" cut it into wedges that way... not that I'm the voice of experience on that or anything...


This is one I grew up on and it seems to be well liked by others even today. It's "Minnesota Winter Food", but without the cream of something soup. It does take a while to bake - yet another reason to do it in winter.

2 lbs hamburger
2 medium onions -white or yellow - sliced
Potatoes - enough to cover a 9x13 pan with 2 loose layers
1/3 c. uncooked rice (not minute rice)
2 c. tomato juice
1 can tomato soup
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder

9x13 pan

1. Lightly brown hamburger. It doesn't have to be fully cooked.
2. Slice potatoes and place in loose layers on the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.
3. Place the 2 sliced onions on top of the potatoes.
4. Place rice on top of potatoes/onions
5. Place hamburger on top of above
6. Mix all liquids in a bowl along with the chili powder. Pour over the top.
You can also place cheese on top of all of this, but not everyone likes that for some odd reason.
7. Bake, covered (aluminum foil works fine), at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Check at one hour by poking with fork. If potatoes are soft, it's done.

Mexi-Cali Casserole

This is one I got from the mom of an ex, but the recipe stayed. =) Of course, my sister-in-law already published it in a cookbook - without my permission and under her name... I digress.

I have never tried to freeze this, but it keeps well in the fridge for a few days after cooking and reheats in the microwave easily.

1 lb. hamburger
1 can enchilada sauce
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 chopped medium onion
1 (14 oz?)can chili with beans (Regular sized can. I like to use the Hormel vegetarian chili - very few calories and yummy)
2 c. shredded cheese - (I prefer cheddar)
1 c. sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
@ 12 oz bag of Freetos (NOT tortilla chips. Freetos Scoops has less fat)

1 1/2-2 qt casserole dish

1. Brown hamburger with onion.
2. Mix cooked hamburger, onion, tomato and enchilada sauce and chili in the casserole dish.
3. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese and about 8-10 oz of the corn chips to the above and mix.
4. Bake, uncovered at 375 degrees for 25 min.
5. Remove from oven, put sour cream, a handful or two of the remaining corn chips and the 1/2 cup cheese on top.
6. Return to oven and bake, uncovered, for 10 more minutes.
7. Enjoy!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Baked Ziti

This is a recipe that has made the rounds on a message board I am a member of. It's gotten rave reviews over the years, but tonight was the first time that I'd ever tried it. I am happy to report that the rumors are true, it's super yummy. Three kinds of cheese, plus sour cream, what's not to love?! Definitely comfort food, but it's perfect for making ahead and freezing. My notes in brackets.

1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped [I added 2 cloves of garlic]
1 pound lean ground beef
2 26 ounce jars spaghetti sauce [I only used one jar of sauce since I didn't read carefully, it came out fine]
6 ounce provolone cheese sliced
1 ½ cup sour cream [reduced fat works just as well]
6 ounce mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain. 2. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes. 3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: Half of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, half of the sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted. Serves 6-8 regular people, 4-6 hungry people.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Chicken Chimichangas

Ok, this is a cheater recipe, because I've posted it before on my own blog when I was living in Ireland, but it makes an easy post to share here. Besides, then (eventually) all my posted recipes can be in the same place. So here it is, copy/pasted from the first time I posted it.

(Oh yeah, that reminds me... Pusher, did you want to include your Bloggy Potatoes? 'Cuz yummy!)

For supper tonight I made chicken chimichangas that were, if I can say so myself, absolutely yummerific. So, I thought I'd share the recipe with y'all. I can't tell you much about its origins, except that I'd cut it out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune... apparently from the ads on the back, near some Memorial Day that was on the 31st.

[Marks made in these square parentheses are my notes.]

1 1/2 c. shredded cooked turkey or chicken
1 c. grated Monterey Jack cheese [can't get here - used cheddar]
1 (4 oz.) can diced mild green chilies, drained and rinsed [again, can't get - used about 2 Tbl. of chopped jalepenos in white wine vinegar I'd found at a fancy grocery store]
2 med. tomatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch dice
2 Tbl. minced fresh cilantro [couldn't get today, so skipped]
1/2 tsp. ground cumin [cumin seed]
1/2 tsp. crumbled dried Mexican oregano [regular]
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbl. salsa
2 Tbl. olive or peanut oil
2 med. cloves garlic, minced
1 med. onion, minced (about 1 1/4 c.) [plus an extra shallot I had on hand]
6 (12 inch) or 8 (10 inch) flour tortillas [did 6 large]

Garnishes: [Really, whatever you like on your chimichangas, so I'm not going to bother to specify theirs with amounts and all, but salsa, avocados &/or guacamole [made some (since as some of you know, the guac I can get here has PEAS for the first ingredient)...and must confess it was so tasty I ate the last bit with a spoon while cleaning up the kitchen.], lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, sour cream, etc.]

In a large bowl, combine cooked turkey/chicken, cheese, chiles, tomatoes, cilantro, cumin, oregano, salt and 3 Tbl. salsa.

In small skillet, heat oil. Add garlic and onion and saute over medium heat until soft (about 5 min.), stirring occasionally. Stir into turkey mixture.

Lay a tortilla flat on work surface. Into the center of the tortilla, spoon some of the turkey mixture, shaping it into a rectangle about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch deep, leaving about 2 inches of the tortilla uncovered at either end of the rectangle. Fold the ends of the tortilla in toward the middle, then fold the sides down over the middle, securing well with toothpicks. [I skipped the toothpicks since not deep-frying.] Place seam side down on baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining filling and tortillas.

[Here they give directions for deep frying them, but they take like two paragraphs to do so and I don't want to type all that. We baked ours, so that's what I'm going to recommend. Tasty and healthier, too. I put them in a 180C (about 350F) oven for 15-20 minutes - or until they were heated through and a little brown on the top due to the huge old fan in our oven that I hate.]

Serve with garnishes and enjoy. Yummy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Suggestions for posting

Ok, then, here are some of my thoughts and sort-of guidelines about posting recipes. Since y'all are contributors, feel free to leave comments if you want me to change these (which are only recommendations, BTW) or just post it your own way.

  1. Include your thoughts and comments and hints about the recipes. That's one of the things that'll make this more useful and entertaining than a cookbook.
  2. If possible, include prep time, cooking time, marinating time, raising time, resting time, whatever... and also total time involved. So if you're giving us a recipe for sourdough bread with homemade starter, please let us know to start it days in advance so we don't try to make it the day we want it.
  3. Where applicable, include the source of the recipe. Tell us if you altered the heck of out it or stayed fairly true to the original. That way if we find that we're making and loving lots of recipes from a certain cookbook or author, we might go out and get it ourselves.
  4. TAG! That's one way this site will be searchable, especially if you're just like, "Hmmm... I've got some chicken... what should I do with it?" We can always use the "Search Blog" button at the top left of the page if we're ever like, "Oh, So-and-So posted that one recipe with the capers...," so don't over-tag, but go ahead and label as appropriate. Here are some suggested tags, but feel free to use something new if it's pertinent.
Tag by course/use like:
  • Breakfast
  • Main Dish
  • Vegetable Side Dish
  • Starchy Side Dish
  • Dessert
  • Soup
  • Sauces & Fillings & Dips
  • Beverage
  • Appetizers/Cocktail Food
  • Breads
  • Salad
Tag by what's in it (or not) (especially for main dishes)...
  • Poultry
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Seafood
  • Other Meat
  • Vegetarian
  • Cheese
  • Non-alcoholic (specifically meant for beverages)
Tag by cooking method...
  • Slow Cooker
  • Grill
  • Oven
  • Stove Top
  • No Cook
  • Microwave
Tag by style/ethnicity/occasion/et cetera...
  • Mexican/TexMex
  • Italian
  • Chinese
  • Indian
  • Quick and Easy (should take under 30 minutes start to finish)
  • Christmas (or Halloween or 4th of July if it's specific to something like that)
  • GAW

Ok, that's all I can think of at the moment, but speak up if you've got anything to add. Also, let the posting begin! I'll try to get something up this week... and remember, you can always post something, then add in details like cooking time the next time you make it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A beginning

Ok, folks,

I've started this little blog about recipes that I'd asked y'all about before. I'll try to send invitations to contribute to those who expressed an interest, but if I don't send one to you either a) I haven't gotten to it yet or b) I don't have your (in some cases, current or preferred) email. So if you want me to do so, either leave me a comment with your email or send me an email or something. (If you know me in real life, you can send it to myfirstname@myhusband'

Here's how I see this working. Whenever you've got a recipe or cooking tip to share, you post it. Simple, huh? And make sure to tag 'cuz that'll make it easier for us all when we go looking for a recipe. Here's some tags I'm thinking would be useful in terms of general organizing of recipes. (And this is the way my box of recipe cards is organized because it's how my brain works.) (Also, yes, thank you, I already know I'm a dork.)
  • Breakfast
  • Breads
  • Poultry
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Seafood
  • Other Meat (like lamb, um, goat? buffalo? etc. Since I don't like seafood, my recipe box actually is "Other Meat & Seafood," but I figure seafood should really get its own tag here.)
  • Vegetarian Main Dishes
  • Vegetable Side Dishes
  • Starchy Side Dishes (you know, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.)
  • Soups With Meat
  • Soups Without Meat
  • Sauces & Fillings & Dips
  • Desserts
  • Beverages
Will those work? Do you want to just have one "Soups" category? (The division was a carry-over from when we were trying to do two vegetarian and two meat recipes per week, in case you were curious.) Of course, Tips & Hints should have its own tag. Do you want to be more specific in tags or will that end up with too many? Are there others you'd like to suggest because you think we'd have enough of them - Appetizers maybe? In honor of Pusher, do we need a separate Cheese tag? (I vote yes.) Do we want some method tags like "Slow Cooker" or "No Cook" or "Grill" or "No Oven" ('cuz that'd be good in summer in a big old house that has no air conditioning... not that I'm thinking of myself or anything... really...). I mean, you can always do a search within the blog if you want, say, a recipe that uses capers, for example, but are these tags useful enough without being too broad/too narrow?


(Oh, also, if you have a suggestion as to a better name, I'm all ears. Since "Recipeeps" itself was taken, I tried to find something fairly close, but different enough that we'd keep it straight.)