Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Eggnog Bread Pudding with Cranberry Sauce

Christmas Day was the first time I have ever tried bread pudding. Can you believe that? It never sounded good to me. My two brothers love it. One of them blogs about it frequently here. Only one of them could attend my Christmas dinner and it is because of his love for bread pudding that I thought I would give this a go. I am now converted to bread pudding as well. THIS WAS TASTY! I love eggnog. The sweetness of the pudding combined with the sweet tart of the sauce was sort of a genius combination. I am sort of patting myself on the back for this one. Let me know if you try it!


Ingredients:
1 loaf stale French bread
1 quart eggnog (I used vanilla flavored eggnog)
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. Vanilla
1 C. raisins ( I omitted the raisins, but thought about using craisens)
1/2 C. sugar
Directions:
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan. In a large mixing bowl, crumble the bread and pour the eggnog over it, letting it sit until bread is soft, at least 2 hours. In a smaller bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla and stir into the bread and eggnog mixture. Add the raisins and mix well.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until knife comes out clean. Let cool before cutting.


Cranberry Butterscotch Sauce

Ingredients:
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 Jar of butterscotch sauce (found in the ice cream toppings section)

Directions:
Cook sugar in a dry 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork or flat whisk, until sugar is melted and turns a deep golden caramel. Tilt pan and carefully add cranberries and water (caramel will harden and vigorously steam). Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is completely dissolved, then pour syrup through a very fine sieve into a heatproof bowl, pressing hard on solids. Let cool. Add 1/2 Jar or more to taste of butterscotch sauce. Top bread pudding with whip cream and then sauce.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Story About a Ham




This is a story about a ham. I bought this ham at Costco as I had been eyeing it for several weeks after a tasty sample. Tis the season for sales on spiral sliced ham. I am trying to be a bit more economical about my meal selections as I realize that come March food prices are going to go up due to inflation. This ham made my week! Let me explain how.

First, it made a lovely Sunday meal with the delicious glaze provided, along with funeral potatoes and green beans as sides.







The next night it became a delicious Hawaiian pizza with fresh pineapple (also from Costco) and sliced up ham. I used the ready-made Boboli pizza crust. I highly recommend this brand for homemade pizza.





However, this was my favorite. Maybe it was because I had a cold, or because it was extra cold in Arizona this week, but this soup not only hit the spot, but became my new favorite.

White Bean Soup
(adapted from epicurious)

Ingredients:

2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 (14- to 15-ounce) can stewed tomatoes (with Italian seasonings)
2 cups cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 (19-ounce) cans white beans, rinsed and drained (3 cups)
1 (1/2-pound) piece baked ham (1/2 to 3/4 inch thick), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 baby arugula I used a small 5 oz container, but wish I had more. You can also use baby romaine if you prefer that taste.


Cook garlic in 1/4 cup oil in a 3 1/2- to 4 1/2-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Coarsely cut up tomatoes in can with kitchen shears, then add (with juice) to garlic in oil. Stir in broth, beans, ham, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Stir in greens and cook until wilted, 3 minutes for romaine or 1 minute for arugula.

So easy! So delicious! Let me know if this becomes your ham story! I know it will repeat itself for me next year! Serve and Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo


I keep saying I will eat lighter. If you saw me you would know why. I look like I am due tomorrow, but I am actually due in 4 months. I don't feel that sorry for myself. Getting fat is part of pregnancy and quite fun for a food lover like me. This recipe has been adapted to fit my craving. It was slightly healthier, but I increased the milk and the butter for just a bit more flavor. It is still healthier than most Alfredo recipes and really really tasty. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 lb uncooked fettuccine (whole wheat if you can find it)
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 Tbsp Gold Medal all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
Dash freshly ground black pepper
Dash ground red pepper (cayenne)
3 Tbsp butter
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
3 oz 1/3/less fat cream cheese
2/3 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 chicken breasts

Directions:
Cook fettuccine as directed on package, omitting
salt. Drain; return to saucepan. Cover to keep
warm; set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir milk, flour, salt,
black pepper and red pepper with wire whisk until
smooth. In a 2 quart saucepan, melt butter over
medium-low heat. Add garlic, cook 1 minute,
stirring constantly (do not burn). With wire whisk,
stir milk mixture into butter mixture in saucepan.
Cook over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until mixture
thickens and boils.

Stir in cream cheese until melted. Stir in Parmesan
cheese until melted. Pour over fettuccine; toss to
coat. Sprinkle with parsley.

Pound chicken until pretty flat. Drizzle with olive oil and rub into chicken. Sprinkle with garlic salt and grill until cooked.

Slice chicken into thin strips and top each serving of fettuccine with chicken.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Wreath 2010


Maybe it should be my tradition to make a new wreath every year. I find it to be a super fun craft and very rewarding thus far. Here's how:



I found a Styrofoam wreath at Michael's craft store and covered it in ribbon just to hide the ugly white.



This is my favorite. I gathered pecans from a local pecan tree grove that I take my daily walks to. It was great to get some exercise, find some free treasures, and save money on expensive pecans. I then painted them using acrylic paint and then coated them with glossy Mod Podge to give them a shine. Finally I glued them on with a hot--glue gun ,which seemed like an eternity, and then....




Add a ribbon and then hang. This old house has a little sass this year and I love it.
Grand total: $ 10 dollars (using 40% off coupon at craft store)

Happy Crafting!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tickled Pink!



Perhaps you will recall my new favorite thing to make is cupcake bouquets. The supplies are expensive, the construction is time consuming, but the result is fantastic.

This was my favorite bouquet. I made this for my sister's baby shower. She is having a girl. A baby girl who has been wanted for quite sometime. The theme of the shower was appropriately called "Tickled Pink" because we truly are. I am so excited to share the joys of motherhood with my sister.

The cupcakes were Pink Lemonade Flavored

Ingredients:
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Pinch salt
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 egg whites
1/3 c. thawed frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate
1/4 c. buttermilk
2 or more drops red food coloring
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin pan with liners.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, egg whites and lemonade concentrate. Alternately whisk in flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of buttermilk, beating until just smooth. Add just enough food coloring to turn the batter a light shade of pink.
Scoop batter into liners (fill about three-fourths full). Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting.

Lemonade Buttercream:
3 c. + 3 Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
2 Tbsp. pink lemonade concentrate
Red food coloring
Add the butter, confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice, and a few drops of food coloring and mix until combined. Turn the speed to med-high until the buttercream is fluffy and uniformly pink. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

I used extra large Smarties candy for the center of my flowers. I have no tips for frosting as that is a work in progress.

Can I tell you my favorite news of all?



I AM TICKLED PINK TOO! I cannot wait to have a little assistant in the kitchen come March. Stay tuned my lovely friends!

Monday, November 15, 2010

WInner of Apple Slicer!

Here are your random numbers:

6

Timestamp: 2010-11-14 00:50:56 UTC

Thanks to all for participating. Please come back for more tastiness and more prizes. If I could buy your friendship I truly would!

Congratulations to MaryBeth! I'm excited for you to enjoy more apple dishes this season with the help of this handy gadget.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review and Giveaway




Am I the last person to own an apple slicer? I hope not, because I want you to have one too! As I mentioned before CSN stores as everything your shopping heart desires. I can't wait to own some of these dining chairs.

I love their little gadgets that are so nicely priced. I am craving apples these days and this apple slicer is perfect. The name, Easy Grip Apple Divider, says it all. It is durable, easy to hold and use. I love mine! It is made by Calphalon and I liked this product so much I purchased the vegetable peeler also made by Calphalon.

The best part is how easy it is to purchase from CSN stores online. It couldn't of been easier.

If apples are my favorite this season, please tell me what you are craving this season by leaving a comment.

Leaving a comment enters you in my giveaway for this lovely apple slicer of your own. Ready, set, go!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Apple Season Earns You A Giveaway






I don't know about you, but the Fall season makes me crave apples. The best condiment for apples is caramel. Here is an easy way to make the most delicious and creamy caramel. Along with my caramel recipe comes a lovely giveaway. It was difficult to choose from all the amazing options CSN stores has to offer. CSN stores offers everything from kitchen gadgets, furniture, toys, and so much more!I am currently perusing their selection of dining chairs. They have every kind of chair you could think of. They would look great at my table as I enjoy this dip.

Take one can of condensed milk. and turn it into the most amazing caramel!

Creamy Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

-One can of condensed milk
-Favorite apples for dipping

Directions:

First, remove label on can. Place it on a mason jar ring lid in a large deep pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer for 3 hours. Keep adding water to ensure can is always covered in water. Explosions (which are messy) can occur. Don't worry, I was scared too, but it worked out just fine adding about a cup of water an hour. When 3 hours are up, it is done! Simply open can and pour out to serve. You can also let it cool and just pour it directly into your mouth. That's what I would like to do!

Warning: I don't know what happens for sure, but I hear that it is a sticky mess if the can isn't continuously covered in water.

Here is the best part:
Thanks to www.csnstores.com I will be giving an apple slicer away.


Isn't it pretty?

Stay tuned for my review and giveaway of this fantastic apple slicer. In the meantime, Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lasagna


La-zag-na has been around for quite sometime, but proves to be a tasty treat whenever it is consumed. I am sure it is delicious everywhere, but I confess that I have never ordered it at a restaurant because I compare all lasagna to this recipe. It is cheesy, gooey, and just darn yummy! You too might have a family recipe floating around that raises the bar for all others. Here is mine!

Ingredients:
lasagna noodles ( I used whole wheat, about 16 noodles cooked as directed)
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 can evaporated milk
1/4 cup whole milk
5 oz. can Parmesan cheese
4 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. flour
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 can tomato paste
1 large can diced tomatoes
4 bay leaf
1 pkg Lowery's spaghetti sauce (I know I cheated, you could always use your favorite spaghetti sauce)

Directions for Meat sauce:
Cook onions and garlic with ground beef. Add Italian seasonings to taste once hamburger is browned. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, Lowery's seasoning, bay leaf, and salt and pepper.

Cheese Sauce:
Melt butter, add flour and stir. Add evaporated milk and whole milk while stirring constantly. Sauce should thicken as it boils. This is to create a basic white sauce. Add Parmesan cheese. I use a lot for a really cheesy flavor.

Layer noodles first, then meat sauce, followed by cheese sauce. Continue for about 3 layers. Top with remaining meat sauce, and then cheese sauce. Bake at 350 degrees until heated through. I like my sauce to be boiling. Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Love and Heartache with Steak



My brother at rkadetokens usually does the restaurant reviews. He gets out much, I do not. However, I was able to go out on a hot date with my husband celebrating 5 years of marriage and I learned a few things I really wanted to share.

Since I don't get out much I really wanted to pick THE RESTAURANT. THE RESTAURANT had to be affordable for us poor folks, yet special. I spent a good part of the day going through all of the restaurant options on restaurant.com. It is a handy little site where, for example, you can purchase a 25 dollar gift certificate for the price of 3 dollars to their selection of local restaurants. It is a great way to save money on a nice restaurant. None of them grabbed me though. I wanted a really good steak.

Lo and behold it turns out it was restaurant week in Arizona. That means (check your city for the same thing) that once a year all of the high class restaurants offer a 3 course meal for 29 to 39 dollars a person. I was so excited to learn that our anniversary fell on such an event. There are about 140 restaurants offered. I researched their 3 course menus and locations. I found a steakhouse called Monti's. It is not a franchise. Their menu looked amazing: appetizer, steak, and then dessert. Then I came across The Keg restaurant. It seemed that they offered more sides and such with your main course than any other option. The frugal and hungry side of me thought that was the best option.

A quick glance at Yelp.com told me they had great reviews and were known for their prime rib. I ordered the Iceberg wedge for an appetizer. This is common for a steakhouse to offer, but funny since it probably costs about 50 cents to make. I always love me an iceberg lettuce wedge covered in bacon slices, tomatoes, and bleu cheese dressing (the good stuff). My husband ordered the garlic cheesy shrimp. I was grateful after 5 years of marriage we had learned to share.

The main course was much anticipated. I ordered the 12 oz new york strip steak. My husband who apparently grew up in a barn (the kind without cows) ordered the Prime Rib thinking it was just a fancy name for a steak. After laughing at his confusion when our plates arrived I dived into my steak. "Sigh"....it was just average. After all of my research I had landed us in an expensive Sizzlers. There was absolutely nothing special about my steak. In fact, my husband said I had made better at home which means it was REALLY not good to him. His prime rib was tender, pink, and offered with Au jus sauce just as it should. However, the poor thing was just average was well. They both came with twice baked potatoes which were good. Good was the word of the night. After 5 years of marriage I wanted to be blown away with this amazing expensive steak house. Sadly, I was not. We finished with our creme brulee dessert and contemplated where we went wrong.

Here is what I have decided you should get from my experience:

1. When given the choice between a local, native, "mom and pop" type restaurant vs a franchise, always always go with the local non-franchise choice. Therefore I should of picked Monti's.

2. I really need to stay away from medium- well, that will toughen up any steak, but the pink scares me a little.

3. I had my choice of a chipotle seasoned steak. If I thought my plain steak was boring I should stay away from plain steak! Duh right?

4. Expensive doesn't always mean tasty.

What tips do you have for avoiding the expensive "average" meal?



Sunday, September 12, 2010

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

In the words of my mother, "these are the best enchiladas I have ever had!" I wish I had thought of the lime and honey combination myself. You have probably seen this recipe floating around. I adapted mine from Double Batch. Everyone adds their own special touch. My change was to cook the chicken in chicken broth for extra flavor, add black beans to the filling, and omit cumin powder (no thanks on cumin ever!) The sweetness of the honey with the twist of lime was the perfect marriage of flavors. I can never get enough of any chicken enchiladas, but this might have to be the only recipe I use from now on. Thanks for stopping by. Have a bite when you can!

Ingredients:
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 large limes)
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
About 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cooked and shredded
1 cup chicken broth (for cooking chicken)
1 can black beans
12 corn tortillas
2-3 cups cheese, grated (the Mexican blend is best)
28 oz. can of green enchilada sauce (mild or medium, to your taste)
1/2 to 3/4 cup of heavy cream

Directions:
Simmer chicken with 1 cup chicken broth until cooked and easy to shred. Place the cooked and shredded chicken in a medium sized bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together the honey, lime juice, chili powder, and minced garlic.

Place chicken in bowl with mixture and stir together. Allow to marinate while you prepare the tortillas, about thirty minutes in the refrigerator.

Heat the oven to 350. Heat tortillas in oil for about 20 seconds on each side. Be careful not to burn them. For a healthier version simply place tortillas in microwave for 20 seconds covered in paper towel.


In a medium bowl combine the enchilada sauce and the heavy cream. Spread about 3/4 cup of the mixture in the bottom of the oiled baking dish.

Drain can of black beans. Add a large spoonful (about 2 tablespoons) of the chicken mixture to the center of each tortilla in a line. Add one spoonful of black beans on top of the line of chicken in each tortilla. Cover the chicken with a large tablespoon (or big pinch) of cheese, then roll the tortilla up from one side to make a rolled enchilada. Place the enchilada seam side down in the baking dish starting at one end with the long edge parallel to the longest side of the pan so that you end up with two columns of six enchiladas each.

Pour enchilada sauce mixture over the top of all the enchiladas. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake the enchiladas for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly and starting to brown on top. Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lazy Sunday Stew

Who are we kidding? Every day is lazy around here! Not for long though, I feel that given my last pregnancy I only have about a month left of the sickies. Don't be fooled by my plastic bowls and plates. This stew tasted like it deserved to be served on a golden platter.

The meat was so tender it melted in my mouth. The flavors of the carrots, potatoes, and peas with the tomato flavor in the sauce was the epitome of comfort food. It may seem like a strange meal for Arizona in the middle of August, but I do very little normal around here. Might I add the cornbread is the perfect touch to a dish like this.

Ingredients:
4 lbs bottom round, trimmed and cut into 2-in pieces or 4 lbs precut stew meat
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup olive oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 2-in pieces, peel if desired
8 oz baby-cut carrots
1 14.5 oz can beef broth
1 T kosher salt
1 T fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup frozen peas

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat the beef in the flour. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat (Dutch oven matters here--the lid has to be heavy enough to really trap moisture and heat). Add some of the beef to the pot, being careful not to crowd the pieces. Cook until browned, about 7 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; set aside. Repeat with remaining oil and beef. Reduce heat to medium, add the onions and cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir. Add the wine and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits, for 1 minute. Add the beef, potatoes, carrots, broth, salt, thyme, and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. Transfer to the oven. Cook until the beef is tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hrs. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Add the peas and cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes or so. Ladle into individual bowls.

TO FREEZE: Omit the peas. Let the stew cool, then ladle it into resealable freezer bags. Store for up to 3 months.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sweet and Sour Chicken




This recipe has been floating around our family for years. The funny thing is, it has been called barbecue chicken. I, however, feel it is more accurate to name it sweet and sour chicken. It is pretty easy to make and a real crowd pleaser. I served this with fresh pineapple on the side. I have to say lately I have been quite the fruit picker. If you can, try to take me along the next time you need a pineapple or cantaloupe. I am on a roll for picking some good ones.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Ingredients:

3 lbs chicken breasts skinned and boned. Season with garlic salt and seasoning salt.

1/2 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup chicken broth
3/4 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Accent

Directions:
Prepare chicken and place in casserole dish. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl. In separate bowl combine 2 Tbsp cornstarch and 1/2 cup of water. Mix well and add then add to the sauce mixture. Stir and mixture to the chicken. Cover and bake at 325 for 90 minutes. Serve and enjoy over rice!

NOTE: We all know that the more fat, the tastier it is. You can also make this a little tastier, but not as healthy by coating the chicken with cornstarch and then cooking in oil before adding the sauce and baking. If you do this, omit the cornstarch mixture above. The sauce will thicken from the coated chicken breasts.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

An Interview with a Foodie


Let me introduce you to my favorite foodie. His name is Kade from rkadetokens.

I am so grateful he agreed to this interview. If this goes over well, perhaps I can interview more Chefs and food connoisseurs from my favorite blogs in the future. Kade's sense of humor is killer which is why his blog is one of my favorites. He blogs about the many places and types of food he tries and does it so creatively you want to be invited to his next lunch break.


Me: So you are a an attorney by day for a very successful law firm. You have your pick of amazing steak houses, gourmet cuisine on the Strip, or pretty much anything. What compels you to go to places like Han Shik Taco, a random Taco truck in Las Vegas?Hhadfasdfasdfasfdlkjdfalskdf

Kade: While I technically have my pick of a million great restaurants, because I am not rich, I have been compelled to find my culinary joy at less expensive establishments. Also, since eating is a sensual experience, taco trucks stimulate my senses differently than a regular restaurant. If you eat at a taco truck or "hole in the wall" spot, you aren't eating at an organization, it is more like you are eating at someone's house. McDonalds is an impersonal corporation. People say things like "I want to sue McDonalds", but people don't often say, "I want to sue El Bocadillo Sabroso, that taco truck down the street." I think one reason for that is that you see the taco truck as personal, not corporate. If you eat out enough, I think you will want to start sharing your meals with people, not faceless corporations.

Me: Why do you have such a passion for food and a desire to try it all?

Kade: I have a passion for food because I am hungry. It makes sense, kind of, but we HAVE to eat, and we have to do it regularly. I guess it logically follows that we would make eating a ritual/diversion. However, we also HAVE to breathe, but no one is doing TV shows about those stupid oxygen bars at the airport. Humans are weird, I guess. It's also subjective. I am very competitive, but don't have a lot of real skills. If you want a guaranteed win, choose a game with no objective measure of success. If I want to be the world's fastest runner, someone has written down the fastest time for 100 meters. That is an objective measure of success. With food, it only has to be tasty. But no one has objectified taste, so even if a critic hates it, you can flip them off and call them stuck up and wrong. Thus, you can always win at the food game (unless someone dies of food poisoning).

Me: I know you have tried, alligator, kangaroo, and questionable cow parts. To this date, what has been the most random thing you have tried? Was it truly tasty?

Kade: Sweet breads. At an Argentinean restaurant (that I blogged about), I ordered a grilled platter. Included were "sweet breads." I thought it would be bread. It looked like chicken and it tasted like nothing. I thought I might have been eating brains, but my phone told me it was glands.

Me: Do you think the more food a person exposes himself too, the more flavors the palette grows to appreciate?

Kade: Sure. I thought I hated bleu cheese as a kid, until I tried it. However, I still haven't learned to appreciate dirt, though I have definitely tasted it.

Me: If you were a type of food or a certain dish, what would you be and why?

Kade: I would be sweet breads. I would have a misleading appearance and an unfamiliar taste paired with a shocking real identity. Or, I'd be a rutabaga because it sounds funny.

Me: Are you familiar with the Travel Channel series Man Vs Food featuring food enthusiast Adam Richman? He has taken on the biggest hamburgers, biggest breakfast burritos, gallons of ice cream at a time, and I just watched an episode where he had to complete a bowl of the spiciest Thai food made in the U.S. It was so hot that the preparer of the dish wore a gas mask. What challenge do you feel you would be up to if you were Adam Richman?

Kade: I am familiar with the guy and his show. I also am familiar with Andrew Z, and his exotic food show. I would be up to a challenge where I had to see how much delicious money I could "eat" by cramming it in my wallet. I would also be up to eating buttloads of Creme Bruelee'.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Morning Sickness Brownie Dessert




Thank you so much for your support in the joy of motherhood and pregnancy. I realize I am not the first or the last to suffer from the symptom of morning sickness and therefore should not be given any extra sympathy. However, it is such a peculiar problem. On one hand it gives me the joyful reminder that there is a baby growing and developing inside of me. On the other hand I have to ask why does this have to be a possible side effect to the greatest gift on earth? While I am on the subject, why the strong sense of smell? Isn't that just uncanny to have a terrific nose and a queasy stomach? Either way it is humbling and heaven knows I am always in need of that.

In a world of so many advances ie; "There's an APP for that!". Sadly there isn't an IPhone App for morning sickness. There doesn't seem to be a cure anywhere. That truly is OK. However, for someone who loves food so much it is hilarious to me and I am sure annoying to others ( spouse mostly) how much I do not like food now. My own little cure seems to be sweets and fried foods. Besides the obvious problems with that, the looming threat of gestational diabetes makes me hope this doesn't last. While I look forward to feeling good again, I will revel in my sweets and try to share them with you.

This is a new favorite at my house. While it is so easy even a lazy pregnant person can make it, it tastes as though your favorite sit down restaurant just made it and charged you an arm and a leg for it. You can make it and feed about 6-8 people for about 6 dollars total.

Sure you can find a recipe for Cheesecake brownies. Might I suggest just using this:

Make as directed and while the brownies are slightly cooling prepare your Cook and Serve chocolate pudding that looks like this:
You just follow the directions by mixing the contents with two cups of milk and stirring while it comes to a boil. It thickens as it boils. I like to keep it fairly thin in consistency so when it comes to a boil I take it off the burner quickly. Serve up one slice of brownie (generous if you are giving it to me), top with one scoop of vanilla ice cream (before my current state I made this with homemade vanilla ice cream), and top with the hot fudgy sauce.

Let me tell you how impressed my visitors have been with this treat. It looks simple because it is, but it tastes divine. The hot pudding sauce melts through the ice cream just enough to compliment the brownie with the perfect creaminess of flavor. Sounds too sweet? No way! With the cheescake topping to the brownie it is a perfectly well rounded dessert! It is my husband's new favorite dessert as well as for baby #2! Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Kitchen Is Closed.....



.....well not really. I hope to be back to cooking soon, but the thought of food does not appeal to me at the moment. We are blessed with baby #2 on the way and this pregnancy has served up some lovely morning sickness. By morning sickness I mean all day sickenss. I do eat, but I don't want to. Cooking and smelling anything does not appeal to me either. This too shall pass and is of course so worth it. Thanks for being my friends. I am so flattered that you stop by. However, dessert is always welcome. Perhaps I will have to make a lovely treat next week to celebrate. Come on by when I do!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Easy Burritos


How yummy do these canned pinto beans look? Pretty gross right?















How about this canned hamburger with some yummy fat floating on the top? They definitely don't look very pretty on my shelf aesthetically, but they are pretty tasty when I put them in these little burritos. I especially love them because they make for great food storage and make some meals super quick and easy like this one.

This is my first attempt at canning. It was easier than I thought. I did ground beef, beans, and chicken. I only have two jars left and can't wait for the fall when I can do more. Sometimes I like to do a fancy meal requiring a lot of work and ingredients. Sometimes I like to just heat and serve and feel good that I am saving us money. This is a great way to do it.

Easy Burritos

1 pound of hamburger
1 Mexican green onion diced
1 packet of ranch salad dressing mix
1 packet of Burrito seasoning
1 cup of cheddar cheese
1 cup of Monterrey Jack cheese
Burrito size flour tortillas
1 can of red enchilada sauce
3 cups of refried beans (or 1 jar of pinto beans mashed and heated)


Directions:
Brown hamburger with diced onion. While hamburger is cooking heat beans in a separate pan. When hamburger is cooked add both seasoning packets. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Warm tortillas and spread with beans first. Next add hamburger mixture and top with cheddar cheese. Roll into burritos. Pour enchilada sauce over the top and add remaining Monterrey Jack cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted. Serve with lettuce and sour cream. Enjoy!





It looks a lot better in a burrito and tastes yummy too!




Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Corn Soup


Sure you could use frozen corn, but why would you when there is fresh tasty corn to be had? This recipe was dreamed up by my favorite chef, Bob. It is 4th of July soon and a traditional item on the menu is corn on the cob. Make sure you get extra corn for this soup and make it the next day to help relieve the sadness that the holiday is over and you have to get back to work. I would hope that it would be really cold and rainy the next day providing the perfect setting for this dish, but the chances are slim in Arizona. It is similar to corn chowder, but in the words of Emeril Lagasse "let's kick it up a notch!"

Corn Soup
Ingredients:

3 fresh cobs of corn (remove corn from cob and blend uncooked)
2 cups of corn (cooked and removed from cob)
1/2 of a red pepper diced
1/2 green pepper diced
1/2 red onion diced
2 Tbs fresh sweet basil minced
1 Tbs fresh Thyme minced
1 Tbs minced garlic
5 slices of cooked bacon diced
2 cups water
1 cup chicken broth
1 C heavy cream added last

Optional: Sprinkle finely diced jalapeno pepper on top before serving.



Directions: In a large pot saute the ingredients except for the corn and cream in a little olive oil, salt and pepper to taste until clear. Then add liquids and boil for 10 min and add the corn and cream mix and heat through. (Blend fresh corn and cream in blender to make thickener for soup. Set aside.) Put remaining ingredients in soup pot and bring just to a boil. Add pureed mixture of corn and half and half to soup. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

You could also skip the blender and make a roux using flour and butter for a more thick and creamy soup. Either way it is delicious with the fresh summer ingredients. Serve and enjoy! Don't forget to check out your summer online picnic basket by Louise!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Picnic Worthy Baked Beans






I'm going to a picnic and I'm bringing.........

A- Almond Joy Pie








B- Baked Beans, but not just any Baked Beans. The kind of baked beans that have people going back for seconds and thirds. Thanks to Louise for hosting this fabulous Picnic.



I promise once you try them you will never go back to the "old beans." Perhaps the only weird thing about this recipe is the mental debate I had on Ketchup vs Catsup. Why the different spellings?





Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef
1 large onion chopped
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp dry mustard
2/3 cup Ketchup
1 can red kidney beans
1 16oz pork and beans
3 TBS brown sugar
Cooked and chopped bacon (optional)

Directions:
Cook meat and onion till browned. Mix with remaining ingredients and pour into casserole dish and bake one hour at 350 degrees.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Teriyaki Lettuce Wraps



This is my version of a lettuce wrap. It is very easy and such a refreshing meal in the summer. What do you eat when it is 105 degrees outside? Better yet where do you live that it is 105 or hotter? That genius would be me, and for the most part I love Arizona. However, sometimes it is so hot I have no idea what to eat. This is where cool crisp lettuce sounds like the perfect choice.

Ingredients:
1 head of Romaine Lettuce
1 Rotisserie Chicken or 1 fryer chicken baked and shredded
1/2 pkg of Chinese Rice sticks (follow cooking directions on package)
1 cup diced fresh mushrooms
2 green onions diced
1 can water chestnuts (diced)
1 bottle of Yoshida's teriyaki sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Remove chicken and shred from whole chicken. I cooked my own in a portable roaster I plugged in outside to avoid heating the house. Saute onions and mushrooms in olive oil and then add chicken and water chestnuts. Pour 1/4 cup of Yoshida's teriyaki sauce into mixture. Remove from heat and prepare lettuce by removing whole leaves, rinsing and drying. Prepare Chinese rice sticks. Add mixture to Romaine lettuce leaf and top with Chinese rice sticks. Serve and enjoy!



Sunday, June 13, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes and a Little Dirty Secret






The husband recently turned one year older and requested red velvet cupcakes. Should I be worried? I don't think so. I think he just likes the taste and the color red. I searched for what I thought would be a good recipe and found a great one. This recipe has been modified from Best Cupcake Recipes.

Are you ready for the little dirty secret? It isn't really dirty. Actually, it is quite tasty. Do you over pull gorgeous cupcakes out of the oven only to have them deflate and sink minutes later when cooling? Well, I read somewhere that if you simply do a heaping teaspoon, or a heaping of whatever measurement the recipe calls for, your cupcakes will stay plump and risen. I tried it with this recipe and it worked!

I also couldn't decide if I should do a butter cream frosting or cream cheese frosting. I love the sharp flavor of cream cheese frosting, but feel that red velvet cupcakes lack in sweetness and need butter cream frosting as well. So, I combined them and it was delicious!

These are just in time for the 4th of July if you add blue sprinkles on top!


Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (heaping)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz. red food coloring (two bottles)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins or silicone pans with cupcake liners.

2. Mix cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the cocoa powder, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Add red food coloring until mixture is a vibrant red.

4. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Be careful as it will fizz so don't do it in a shallow bowl. Add vinegar mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Fill cupcake cups with cake batter until they are a little under 3/4 full. I ended up with 24 cupcakes. Place muffin tins in your preheated oven. Bake for approximately 15-20, rotating pans halfway through. The cupcakes are done when you are able to pat the tops and the cake springs back up. If it sinks down they are not yet complete.

5. Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.

6.I made half a batch of cream cheese frosting and half a batch of butter cream frosting and combined them for one delicious frosting. Serve and enjoy!

(Notice how they are still plump after cooling?)

Monday, June 7, 2010

What about Bob? .....and his pasta......and where have I been?



Well hello! Thanks for coming back even though I have been gone. I had a little vacation with the husband to see in-laws and attend a wedding. Don't worry my in-laws are very cool. How have you been? I missed you.

Once upon a time my Dad invented this pasta recipe and I have hated all other sauces since. What makes it even cooler is the chef's name is Bob. Bob the chef/dentist! A good guy to have around I'd say.

This sauce really is pretty easy and tastes healthy and light. The best thing about this recipe is you could easily add-in whatever you love and it would be quite tasty.



Ingredients:
One chopped onion
3-4 cloves of garlic minced
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning (to taste)
1 teaspoon of capers (or black or green olives)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 jar of artichoke hearts sliced briefly with knife
2-3 cans of diced canned tomatoes with oregano, or basil or other seasonings
1 pound of cooked and shredded chicken (I used my canned chicken and it just shreds perfectly once it hits the pan)
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese

Saute the onion, garlic, capers, pine nuts, and seasonings in olive oil. Add the tomatoes,artichoke hearts and chicken. You can exchange the chicken for shrimp, sausage, or whatever protein you prefer and it will work perfectly. Let the sauce simmer for 20 minutes to let the flavors marry. While sauce is simmering, cook desired pasta. I use whole wheat pasta and can't tell the difference from white anymore. Serve over pasta, top with cheese, and enjoy!



I had lots of sauce left over and made a basic Alfredo sauce the next day to combine with the leftovers. It was creamy, and so flavorful with the tomatoes and pine nuts.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

French Bread is for Wimps Like Me

So easy, even a caveman can do it. I didn't think it would be easy until I tried it. There are a few steps involved, but the end result is worth it. When I pulled it out of the oven I was afraid it was ruined. It seemed extremely tough on the outside. So tough that I thought it was hard all the way through. As soon as I took my bread knife to it, it cracked open with steam oozing out as my knife slid down easily through the fluffy bread. I was pretty proud of myself, I think you will be too.

French Bread Directions

Ingredients:
2 Tbs active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
4 1/2-5 cups bread flour
1 tsp cornmeal







In large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the salt, sugar & 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface, knead until smooth & elastic about 6-8 min.



Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover & let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape into 12" long loaves.


Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Cover & let rise until doubled, about 30 min. Sprinkle with cornmeal. With a sharp knife, make 4 shallow slashes across the top. Bake at 450 for 15-20 min or until golden brown.



I used my french bread to make my favorite sandwich. Spread slice of french bread with pesto, add artichoke hearts from a can, and top with baked rotisserie chicken. I sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and broiled until crispy around the edges. Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Soup's Chicken Tetrazinni









Chicken Tetrazinni has been running through my mind and tummy ever since I saw this episode of The Soup. I had no idea what Chicken Tetrazinni was but after some research I put this delicious recipe together. It really is yummy! What I loved about this recipe is it is fully of chunky vegetables. I recently canned chicken by using my pressure cooker and I have been looking for recipes to use it in. This recipe was a great way to use my canned chicken.



Ingredients:
4 cups cooked chicken breasts (cubed)
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon (I use a brand with no MSG)
1 (12 ounce) package pasta (angel hair or spaghetti) cooked as directed
1 large onion (chopped)
3 large celery ribs
1 (4 ounce) can sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 cup green pepper (chopped)
1 cup carrot diced
1 (10 ounce) bag frozen peas
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can milk
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese (shredded)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup Italian Style bread crumbs



Directions
Prepare pasta as directed on package, set aside.
Saute onions, green peppers, celery, and mushrooms in a lightly oiled large pan (preferably a deep skillet, 12" or more).
Dissolve the bullion in the hot water to make broth.
Stir in soups, broth, peas and shredded carrots and cook until all is heated. Add in seasonings.
Transfer above into large casserole dish.
Mix in the chicken and cheddar cheese.
Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese followed by bread crumbs over the top(s).
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes.