Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Unique Flavors I love because of my Dad

I believe this is called huevos rancheros. I didn't have anything in the house for dinner last night, or so I thought. I remembered my dad brought green chili he had made for his visit this weekend so I put this together. I never would of wanted it or thought of it had I not seen my dad put this dish together several times growing up. He served a mission for our church for two years in Mexico. I am not sure if I would love Mexican food as much as I do had I not had his influence. I put this together by placing two fried eggs in between corn tortillas smothered in black beans, cheese, and green chili. I put it in the microwave briefly to melt the cheese. I love the first bite when the fork allows for the egg yolk to mix with the cheese and green chili allowing for a delicious, hot, gooey bite. Yummy!

This is one of my favorite appetizers. I love sliced cheese, summer sausage, and crackers together. This is also because of my father's unique palate. This particular sausage is interesting as it is made from antelope. The preferred condiments for this treat is hot mustard and butter pickles.

Do you have any dishes like this that you consider to be different from the normal flavors you love?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Simple Sunday Part Two: Crock Pot Italian Chicken

My new favorite! It is so easy, yet so tasty!

2 1/2 pounds of chicken
1 Family size can of Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cups milk
1 block of cream cheese
1 packet of Italian Dressing Seasoning mix (Found in the salad dressing Aisle next to Hidden Vally Ranch Packets)
1 Box of your favorite pasta (I used Penne pasta)

Combine all ingredients except pasta into crock pot. Cook on High for 4 hours, or longer at a lower temperature depending on your schedule. Once cooked, boil pasta, drain, and serve mixture over pasta. It is creamy and so yummy. It tastes like an enhanced Alfredo sauce. Nobody will ever know it was that easy. I promise I won't tell.

Simple Sunday Part One : Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

I unintentionally had a theme today. The theme was to use very little ingredients, but have a lot of taste!
First I made dessert. It is a good idea to make dessert first. It gives you something to nibble on while you are waiting for dinner to be done.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Take the above ingredients and mix together that is it!
1 can of Pumpkin
1 box of Spice Cake Mix
2 cups (more if you are me!) of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Ignore directions on the box and simply add the pumpkin to the dry ingredients and stir together until thoroughly mixed. Add chocolate chips. Place ice cream scoop size dollops on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. It is really that easy and delicious! Serve and Enjoy!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fall Hamburger Soup

I love soup season! This is one of my favorites.


2 lbs hamburger
1 can tomatoes
2 Quarts water
3 cups diced potatoes
3 medium carrots diced
2 Tbs. parsley
3/4 cups celery
1 Tbs sugar
1 large onions
2 Tbs. green pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Worcestershire
6 whole allspice
2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper

Brown hamburger in large pot. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until vegetables are tender. Serve and enjoy!

Why the white pepper? According to Ochef.com A black peppercorn is picked when still green and dried in the sun until it turns black. A white peppercorn ripens fully on the vine before it is picked. Black pepper has a slightly hotter flavor and aroma. As with any spice, if you grind the pepper as you use it, it will have lots more flavor than if it was ground in a factory months ago and sat on the shelves in the grocery store before it sat on your shelf. So the question of how much to use is very much a matter of personal preference.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

I wish I could call this my own, but I owe it all to Smitten Kitchen. These are my new favorite cupcakes.

For the Cupcakes:
This recipe makes 28-32. It sounds like a lot, but once you have one you'll discover it is not nearly enough.

3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks or 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark or light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) buttermilk, sour cream or full-fat yogurt
3 large peaches, peeled, cored, and chopped smallish (I went for a 1/3-inch dice)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 28 muffin cups with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg and set aside. Cream the butter and sugars together, beating until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl between each addition, and then the vanilla. Gently mix in the buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the peach chunks.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of cupcakes comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes for five minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the scrumptious frosting:

1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch and powdered sugar. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the sugar-cornstarch mixture and vanilla, beat until frosting is smooth and light. Chill the bowl in the refrigerator until it thickens back up a bit, about 30 minutes, then spread or dollop on cooled cupcakes.

Serve and enjoy, or use them to make friends.

Friday, September 11, 2009

On September 11, 2001...

I forgot to set my alarm clock for work and was running around trying to get ready. I was 15 minutes late and was running out the door of my Aunt's house. I was staying with her for that year and I remember her just standing in the kitchen staring at the T.V. Her posture was so intense that even though I was preoccupied with hurrying it stopped me in my tracks. She turned around with tears in her eyes and said "do you know what just happened?". I will never forget. Where were you?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Savory Crockpot London Broil

It was just one of those meals that was just really satisfying for a Sunday afternoon. I love the crockpot. It is perfect for cooking in Arizona.

1 1/2 to 2 pounds round steak
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
1 package (about 1.5 ounces) dry stroganoff mix
1 package (about 2.75 ounces) country gravy mix (enough to make 2 cups)
1 can (10.5 ounces) condensed beef broth, undiluted
Dash pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
Salt, to taste
2 Tbs. corn starch mixed with cold milk

Cut beef into 1/2-inch pieces. Sear in pan until just cooked. Combine in the slow cooker with the onions and mushrooms. Toss with the stroganoff and gravy mixes. Stir in the beef broth and wine; sprinkle with pepper and the parsley flakes. Add well mixed corn starch for thickening. Cover and cook for 7 to 9 hours; taste and add salt, as desired.
Serve with hot cooked rice, noodles, or potatoes, and a green vegetable or tossed salad.
Serves 4 to 6.

I also made orange glazed rolls with grapefruit zest instead of the standard orange zest. It was refreshing and the perfect touch for this meal.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fire Station Friday.... What!!!!!!?

How many annoying weekday alliterations can I come up with? Not enough apparently. I am sorry for that, but now that I have your attention thanks for stopping by!
Straight from the Fire Station kitchen I bring you my new favorite spaghetti sauce.

3 Tbs. olive oil
1 whole head of garlic (minced)
1 lb of ground beef
1 package of hot sausage (Italian sausage )
1 package of mild sausage (Italian sausage)
2 large cans of whole peeled tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
4 Tbs. of oregano
4 Tbs. of basil
4 Tbs of sugar

First, brown ground burger. While that is cooking cook sausages separately by poking holes in each link and place in pan with just enough water to cover them. Simmer in water until sausage turns white. Slice and set aside.

For the sauce, add olive oil into deep pot with chopped garlic. Stir until the garlic turns just slightly brown on medium high. Pour in tomatoes and tomato paste. Add oregano,basil, and sugar. Add all of the meat into the pot and simmer for 4- 6 hours. Serve and enjoy with your favorite pasta! I sure did.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Summer Cucumber Salad

Summer is almost over, but this refreshing side dish is one to remember.

1 pint sour cream
2 Tbs. Lemon Juice
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tbs. Sugar
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup of sliced onion
5 peeled and sliced cucumbers

Mix sauce first and then add cucumbers. Delicious and a real crowd pleaser. Serve and Enjoy!

Raw Spice Bar

Raise your hand if you love to cook, but find yourself just finishing up your 8,987th meal and you are fresh out of ideas. Just me?  I h...