Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oven Smores

We were needing a little dose of summer and these did the trick!

Graham crackers
chocolate chips

Line a baking sheet with foil and lay out graham crackers squares. Place 6-10 chocolate chips on each cracker and top with a marshmallow. Set oven to broil and place baking sheet on top rack. Watch carefully and remove once marshmallows are golden brown on top. (If you are compulsive like me, you can flip them over at this point and brown both sides of the marshmallow, but it is not necessary!) Top with another cracker square and allow to cool briefly before eating.

Homemade Hamburgers

1 pound lean hamburger
1 egg
2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup crushed crackers (Ritz or Saltines work well)
1/4- 1/2 package onion soup mix
garlic salt

Combine all ingredients and form into patties. Grill on the barbeque and fix with all your favorite toppings.

* For a variation, omit the onion soup mix and substitute with about 1/4 cup chopped green onions and a can of sliced mushrooms. Yum!

Favorite Fruit Salad

1 large apple- diced
1 banana- peeled, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced
1 large orange (or about 3 clementines)- peeled and diced
lemon juice
cinnamon and sugar

Dice all your fruit and place in a serving bowl. Sprinkle liberally with lemon juice and cinnamon and sugar. Toss and serve.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Beef Stroganoff

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion- diced
1 small pkg. fresh mushrooms
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1 beef bouillon cube dissolved in about 1/3 c. hot water
salt and pepper to taste
egg noodles

In a large saute pan brown ground beef and drain. In the same pan, saute onion and mushrooms until tender. Add ground beef back to the pan and stir in soup, sour cream, and beef broth. Season to taste and simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes (About the time that it takes your egg noodles to cook.) Serve over hot noodles.

* You can make this recipe a little more healthy by using lite or fat-free sour cream and the Campbells "Healthy Request" soups.
* The sweet potato fries in the picture are from Costco and are one of our very favorite easy side dishes!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cowboy Spuds

This is an absolute favorite with my husband's family and is one of my most frequently requested meals at home. Also great for a crowd because everyone can fix their "spud" to their own liking.

Baked potatoes
Ground beef- seasoned, browned, and drained
grated cheese
Ranch dressing- we love the Hidden Valley Ranch kind that you buy in the packets and make at home. It is strangely better than the bottled kind!

Bake potatoes and cut open on a plate. Top with meat and cheese and then pile on the "fixins." So good and so very easy!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Best Breakfast Crepes

**We have tried many different crepe recipes, but this one from Alli is our very favorite!! So good in fact, that I did not get a picture of the finished product before they were all gone! Guess I'll make them again tomorrow!

3 cups milk
3 eggs
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 TBSP butter, melted
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 TBSP sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

Mix milk, eggs, vanilla and melted butter in blender. Add flour, sugar baking powder and salt and blend until smooth. Heat a 6-8" non-stick skillet over medium heat for about a minute, then grease pan with butter. Immediately pour 1/3 cup of the batter into skillet and rotate until spread over the bottom. Cook until edges just begin to brown, then run a spatula around the edge and flip to cook the other side. Serve warm with your favorite toppings. We love fresh fruit and Nutella or peanut butter, cinnamon & sugar, powdered sugar and jam. These crepes are so delicious that my kids often skip the fillings and gobble them up plain!

Glazed Turkey Meatloaf Minis

**A fun twist on meatloaf, with smaller portions for little ones and a glaze that we all love! Recipe from Nancy.

1 1/2 lb. ground turkey (or ground beef)
1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup bread crumbs (or 1 cup bread in bite-size pieces)
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped onion (or 1 TBSP dry minced onion)
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sage
1/4 tsp dry mustard

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a spoon until just blended. Spoon mixture into 12 greased muffin cups.

1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup Ketchup
3 TBSP brown sugar
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Spoon glaze on top of meat mixture, then bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. My younger kids (2-5 yrs) fill up with just one muffin-sized serving, older kids and I like two, and my husband often eats three! I also use a fabulous silicone pan which requires no greasing and the meatloaves just pop right out! Truly one of my favorite baking tools!

Zucchini Bread

This is a favorite that our Mom has made since we were little.....

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
3 eggs
1 cup sugar*
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed*
1 cup vegetable oil*
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups zucchini, grated
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease and flour 2 large loaf pans (or 8 mini loaf pans or 24 muffin tins). Set aside.
  2. Stir flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder together in a bowl. Set aside. 
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, sugars, vegetable oil and vanilla. 
  4. Stir in flour mixture. Blend in zucchini and nuts, if desired. 
  5. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 60 minutes for large loaves, about 20-25 minutes for small loaves or 15-20 minutes for muffins. Bread is done when centers are set and bread is slightly brown.*
  6. Let cool in pans for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pans. Turn bread out of pans and cool completely before wrapping in tin foil or placing in an airtight container.
*Less sugar, less fat recipe: Decrease white and brown sugars to 3/4 cup each. Substitute half of the oil for applesauce or non-fat vanilla yogurt.
*High altitude recipe (above 4000 feet): Add a 1/4 cup sour cream to the batter before baking and mix well. Decrease total sugar by about 1/3 cup. Decrease baking times by about 5 minutes.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sugar Cookies

2 cups Butter
2 cups Sugar
6 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp almond extract
7 cups flour
6 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and mix, stir in vanilla and almond extract. Then add dry ingredients. Roll out and cut into shapes. Bake at 375 for 7 minutes.

Frosting: I use the buttercream frosting found on the powdered sugar bag.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

PB Teriyaki Beef Skewers

When we lived in California, my friend Bonnie made these beef skewers that were to-die-for! When I asked her for the recipe, she said that the sauce was just teriyaki sauce and peanut butter. I hadn't eaten them in 7 years, but they were just as delicious as I remembered!
Recipe inspired by Bonnie Nakamoto...

     1 cup teriyaki sauce
     1/3 cup peanut butter     
     About 2 pounds thinly cut steak, such as Round Tip Steak (about 1/4")
     Bamboo skewers 
  1. In a small saucepan, heat teriyaki sauce and peanut butter, stirring often, until smooth and hot. 
  2. Heat barbecue grill to a medium heat and line rack with a sheet of tin foil.
  3. Cut the steak into long, thin strips (about and inch to 1 1/2" wide). Thread steak onto the skewers and brush both sides with teriyaki & peanut butter sauce. 
  4. Place steak skewers on the tin foil on a preheated barbecue grill. Grill for about 5 minutes per side, turning to cook both sides. 
Serves 4-5.

Coconut-Lime Shrimp Stir Fry

"You put the lime in the coconut and drink them both up..."
I couldn't stop singing that song when I was making this yummy dinner tonight! I have been craving Bajio's Pineapple Shrimp Salad lately, but alas... There are no Bajio restaurants in Colorado. This is only the second time I've cooked shrimp, but my family all liked it, so stay tuned for more shrimp recipes! This is a quick and easy meal that takes less than 15 minutes to make. Recipe & picture by me...

     Hot cooked orzo pasta or rice
     1 red pepper, diced
     1 medium zucchini, diced
     1 Tbs. ginger root, peeled and finely diced
     1 Tbs. garlic, finely diced
     1 cup fresh mushrooms, diced
     1 pound shrimp, cooked and deveined, tails removed*
     1/2 cup coconut milk
     2 tsp. cornstarch
     Salt & pepper, to taste
     Juice of 1 lime
     Chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Boil water and cook orzo or rice while you are making the stir fry.

Dice all vegetables and have them ready to add to the wok. Heat 1 Tbs. of oil in a wok or deep sauté pan. When the pan is very hot, add diced pepper, zucchini, ginger and garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add mushrooms and shrimp and cook another 3 minutes. Mix the cornstarch into the coconut milk until smooth and pour over stir fry. Stir and cook until the coconut milk thickens slightly. Squeeze lime juice over the top and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro and serve over hot orzo or rice.  Serves 4-5.

*I used a bag of frozen cocktail shrimp.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Frosted Sugar Cookies

Okay, it's confession time... I almost always have fresh homemade cookies in our home. We grew up that way, I really love baking, and my kids love a homemade cookie in their lunches. Luckily, once they are cooled, I usually don't eat them, but I cannot refuse a cookie hot out of the oven! The one cookie that I consider a little more labor-intensive (but are irresistible when cooled and frosted) is the sugar cookie. We made some for Valentine's Day this week and had some fun experimented with different cookie and frosting recipes. After trying 2 new versions, I still love my Mom's recipe and this sugar cookie recipe I have in my recipe box that's written in my 5th grade handwriting (recipe below)! I still need to try Brooke's recipe. She's an amazing cook, so I'm sure they're fabulous!
*Click HERE for Brooke's Sugar Cookie recipe.
*Click HERE for my Mom's Sugar Cookie recipe.
Soft & Easy Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup cream, sour cream or buttermilk
3 Tbs. cornstarch
2 3/4- 3 cups flour

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, almond and vanilla extracts, salt and baking powder and mix until well combined. With mixer on low, add the cream and mix well. Add the cornstarch and half of the flour. Add remaining flour a little at a time until you reach the right consistency, mixing until just combined. 

Divide dough into 2 balls. Place a sheet of parchment or waxed paper on a cookie sheet and flour a rolling pin. Roll dough out to desired thickness, then add another sheet of parchment or waxed paper on top. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Remove from fridge and remove top sheet of parchment or waxed paper and cut into shapes! This saves you from a flour-y mess! (You can also chill dough, then roll out and cut into shapes on a floured surface.)

Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350° F. for 7-10 minutes at , or until set but not browned. Cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

---------->What to frost them with???
  • Click HERE for our Mom's frosting recipe (I use almond in place of lemon for these cookies)
  • Click HERE for Frosting recipe from Keeping Up Cookbook
  • Click HERE for Vanilla or Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe

Chocolate-Dipped Fortune Cookies

Did you know that Valentine's Day is also Chinese New Year this year? We attended a fabulous Chinese New Year party last weekend with some friends and I made these easy and fun Chocolate-Dipped Fortune Cookies. My kids had fun helping me dip and decorate them. Happy Valentine's and Happy year of the Rabbit!
     Packaged fortune cookies (each box has about 12 cookies)
     Candy Melts chocolate discs in various colors
     Sprinkles, Non-pareils, colored sugar, etc... 
  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Melt the chocolate in small bowls in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth. Dip the rounded side of the fortune cookies and shake off excess. 
  3. Place on parchment paper and immediately decorate with sprinkles.
  4. Let sit at room temperature until chocolate is set.   

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lemon Drop Cookies

These cookies take a little extra effort, but they are SO worth it! The little crunch of crushed lemon drops makes them taste very special. Recipe from Andrea...
Mix in a large bowl:
     1 1/2 cups shortening (can sub. butter)
     2 cups sugar
     3 eggs
     1 tsp. lemon extract
     1 tsp. lemon zest
     2 tsp. vanilla
     1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
     1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
     1 tsp. salt
     4 cups flour
Stir in:
     1 (6 oz.) pkg. lemon drops, crushed with a hammer

Roll into balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350° F. Let cookies cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then brush with glaze. Remove immediately to cooling rack. Makes 6 dozen cookies.

     1 cup powdered sugar
     Juice of 1 lemon (or use Minute Maid frozen lemon juice, thawed)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sweet & Tangy Pork Ribs

My husband loves ribs, but I've never made them before, so when ribs were on sale this week, I was on the hunt for the best recipe I could find. In typical fashion, I couldn't decide on just one, so I combined a couple and ended up with a meal that my husband declared was "Mmmmmmmmmm!"  This technique and dry rub would also be delicious for pork chops, chicken or steak...
     Baby back ribs*
(*About 3/4 pound to 1 pound per person. Keep in mind that a lot of that weight is bone. Can also use St. Louis or country-style ribs)

CAJUN DRY RUB (Emeril Lagasse):
     2 1/2 Tbs. paprika
     2 Tbs. salt
     2 Tbs. garlic powder (I used 1 & 1/2 Tbs.)
     1 Tbs. black pepper
     1 Tbs. onion powder
     1 Tbs. cayenne pepper (I omit for my kids)
     1 Tbs. dried leaf oregano
     1 Tbs. dried thyme

     2 Tbs. white sugar
     1/2 bottle of Barbecue Sauce -or- Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Begin by removing the white fat membrane on the underside of the ribs, if needed. Slide a butter knife under the membrane and pull off as much as you can. Place 2 layers of tin foil (shiny side out) on a baking sheet. Lay ribs on tin foil and sprinkle ribs generously on both sides with Cajun Dry Rub mixed with 2 Tbs. white sugar.

Place another layer of tin foil on top of each rack of ribs. Roll up the long sides first, then roll up the ends to form an airtight packet around the ribs. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight, if you can. These can also just be put in the oven right after seasoning, if you don't have time.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 275° F. Place ribs, unopened, in their foil packets on a baking sheet with a 1" edge or in a 9 x 13" baking dish and bake for 4 hours.
(Above): All wrapped up and ready to bake!

(Above): Just out of the oven, after 4 hours. 
Remove from oven and cut ribs into smaller slabs. Place on a clean piece of tin foil on baking sheet and brush both sides generously with either barbecue sauce or sweet chili sauce. Move oven rack to the top 1/3 of the oven and set the oven to broil. Broil ribs for about 5 minutes, turning once, until sauce is caramelized. Do NOT walk away, check e-mail or turn on the TV... Resist! Keep an eye on them and don't let them burn! They cook fast!
Now get ready for those finger-licking, mouth-watering, fall-off-the-bone ribs! Grab some napkins, because you're going to need them!

Pasta Carbonara

My brother-in-law served his mission in Italy and brought home some divine (and authentic) pasta recipes. This one is my very favorite, but there are a few others that I will try to post as well. Until then, try switching this recipe in for your normal spaghetti night and I promise that you will have smiles around the dinner table.

1 Tbl. olive oil
1 onion- chopped
1/2 pound diced ham
1 cup water
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 Tbl. fresh parsley- chopped
1 pound spaghetti- cooked al dente and drained
2 eggs- beaten well with a fork
1/2 cup (or more) shredded parmesan and romano cheese
freshly ground pepper to taste

Pour olive oil into a large frying pan and saute onion and ham. Dissolve bouillon cubes in hot water and add to the pan once the onions are tender. Add parsley and simmer for 5-10 minutes (about the time that it takes to boil your spaghetti.) Drain pasta and immediately place it back in the pan over low heat. Add contents of the frying pan to the pasta, pour in the eggs, and stir until well mixed. Stir in the cheese and pepper and serve.

We've been featured!

Our recipe for No-Bake Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce is featured over at Sweet As Sugar Cookies. There are 250+ other sweet, sinful, yummy recipes to peek at, if you have a major sweet tooth!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

No-Bake Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce

This would be a perfect dessert to make for VALENTINE'S DAY! Our family has been making this No-Bake Cheesecake for years. It's much lighter and fluffier than other cheesecakes and this crust is divine! 

The recipe for the Raspberry Sauce is my creation. We've also used it on french toast, pancakes, crêpes, and angel food cake...

     9 full rectangular graham crackers, finely crushed (1 1/2 cups)
     6 Tbs. butter, melted
     1/3 cup sugar
     1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Spray an 8 or 9" pie plate with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. (I use a springform pan.) Mix all ingredients together and press firmly into pie plate. Chill until cheesecake filling is ready.*
* Can bake at 375° F. for 7 minutes for other recipes, but for this recipe, it's best chilled.
     8 oz. light cream cheese, softened
     1/3 cup sugar
     1/3 cup light sour cream
     1/2 tsp. vanilla
     1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping (such as Cool Whip), thawed in refrigerator

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, sour cream and vanilla together until smooth. Stir in Cool Whip until smooth. Carefully pour into unbaked graham cracker crust and chill at least 4 hours until serving. Top individual slices with chilled raspberry sauce.

     2 cups frozen raspberries (can also use fresh)
     2/3 cup sugar
     2 Tbs. cornstarch
     3/4 cup water
     1/2 tsp. vanilla
     1/4 tsp. almond extract

Place frozen raspberries in a saucepan with sugar and cornstarch. Pour water over raspberries and stir with a whisk until cornstarch is dissolved. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Chill until serving. Can heat to serve with pancakes or french toast. Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to a week.

Chocolate Fondue -or- Hot Fudge Sauce

This versatile recipe is perfect for Valentine's Day or for Christmas (who doesn't love chocolate fondue?) It makes great gifts for friends, neighbors or teachers and is also my very favorite hot fudge sauce for ice cream! 
Recipe from our sister Andrea...

1/2 cup butter
4 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate (4 oz. total)
3 cups sugar
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt

Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. Stir in sugar, evaporated milk and salt and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Let cool slightly, then pour into a blender and blend for 5 minutes. Chocolate will thicken as it cools. Pour into small jars as Hot Fudge Ice Cream Topping, or serve warm with fruit, pretzels, marshmallows and cake cubes as Chocolate Fondue. Stores in refrigerator for about 3 weeks. Do not freeze. Makes about 5 cups.

Mom's French Pear Pie

This pie gets my vote for being both elegant and unique! Recipe from Nancy Miller...
Picture (above) is before pie was baked. The finished pie should be golden brown. Yum!

Mom's Pie Crust (click here for recipe)

     4-5 (somewhat firm) pears, peeled sliced
     3 Tbs. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

Drizzle orange juice concentrate over sliced pears in a bowl.  Pile pears into a non-baked pie crust. Sprinkle with topping.

     1 1/2 cup sugar
     1/3 cup butter, softened 
     3/4 cup flour
     pinch salt

I use a crust shield or wrap a thin band of tin foil around the exposed edge of the crust to prevent burning. Bake at 400° F. for 38-40 minutes, or until crust and topping are slightly browned. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Pictured above: Pear Pie with orange juice drizzle. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Kneaders Chicken Ala Mondo Salad

This is my version of Kneaders "Chicken Ala Mondo Salad". It's pretty simple and always a crowd pleaser.

Combine the following in any amount you like:
Spring mix lettuce
Cooked & cubed chicken breasts (I sprinkle with minced onion before baking to add flavor)
Mozzarella cheese
Sliced almonds (I like Accent brand original roasted)
Crumbled bacon
Red onions (optional)

Poppy Seed Dressing: 
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1/4 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp. minced onion
1/4 tsp. ground mustard

Combine all ingredients except poppy seeds in blender and blend for 3 minutes. Stir in poppy seeds. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chicken (or Turkey) Tetrazzini

I had some leftover turkey that needed to be used and remembered this recipe that my Mom used to make. She often made this dish for dinner when we were little and it is not only divine, but it feels like comfort food to me. We couldn't find the recipe that she used to use, but this one is very close and super yummy. My kids all cleared their plates and requested more!

8 ounces spaghetti or linguine
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (you can use canned)
1/2 cup diced onion
2 Tbs. butter
1/4 cup flour

1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken or turkey
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan melt butter and saute mushrooms and onion until tender. Stir in flour, pepper, and nutmeg. Add chicken broth and milk and cook over medium heat until sauce is thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in meat and half of the cheese. Add cooked pasta and toss to coat.
3. Transfer chicken and pasta mixture to an 8x8 casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and almonds, if desired.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until heated through and slightly browned on top.
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