Monday, January 28, 2008

Meat Loaf in Progress

Here's the hodge podge recipe, still to be perfected!!

2 lbs of ground meatloaf mix (usually beef, pork, veal)
1 small onion, diced
1 large carrot, finely diced or processed
2 tsp minced garlic
2 slices of fresh bread, processed to crumbs
2 egg whites
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
various shakes of onion powder, garlic powder, beef roast seasoning
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar

Sautee onion, carrot & garlic until softened about 5 minutes. Combine all ingredients in large bowl, taking care not to over knead the meat, as this will lead to a tougher loaf. Line a broiler pan or cooling rack with aluminum foil & poke drain holes in it. Set this in a larger pan.* Free form loaf & place atop foil. Combine ketchup and brown sugar (reserve half) and brush on top of loaf. Can re-baste half way thru cooking. Insert a meat thermometer in center. Start out baking at 425 for 15 minutes to sear, retain moisture & form crust, then switch to a 350 degree oven until thermometer reads 160 degrees (about 45 min to 1 hr+). Take meatloaf out to rest & tent with foil. Ideally an hour, but at least 20 minutes. Brush with more ketchup & serve. Makes good leftover sandwiches too.

*I've also heard of placing it on a few slices of bread to absorb the fat.

Broccoli Casserole

...or another way for Kristine to use up her 9 cans of Cream of Mushroom soup!

2 cups herb seasoned croutons or stuffing, slightly crushed
3 Tbl butter, melted
2 10 oz. packages of frozen chopped broccoli (could always sub fresh)
1 cup water
1 tsp salt
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese or Velveeta
1 10.5 oz can cream of mushroom soup

Toss croutons & butter and set aside. Place broccoli, water and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, separating pieces with a fork. Remove from heat, drain well and set aside.

Place cheese in saucepan with soup. Cook over medium heat until cheese melts, stirring frequently. Stir in broccoli. Pour into greased, shallow 1.5 quart baking dish. Sprinkle crouton mixture around edge of dish. Bake in 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until bubbly and hot.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pizza Quiche

I got this out of a Southern Living cookbook close to 20 years ago. I have modified it to make it a tad bit healthier. And I know it sounds like a weird combo of things, but honestly this is one of our favorite meals around here!

½ lb hot or mild Italian sausage (I use turkey Italian sausage)

Pastry for double crust 9” pie, divided (I use the Pillsbury refrigerated ones)

1 c ricotta or cream style cottage cheese (I part skim ricotta)

3 eggs (you could use egg substitute; I usually do 2 eggs and 1/4 c egg substitute)

1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

1 3oz pkg sliced pepperoni, chopped (you could do turkey pepperoni)

1/3 c grated parmesan cheese

2 T milk

Commercial pizza sauce

  • I have left out the pepperoni and used about 1/3 of a 10oz pkg of frozen chopped spinach, too. I know other people who have put in mushrooms or other veggies.
  • I have taken about 1/3 of a bag of fresh baby spinach and layered it on the bottom of the quiche, after I prebake the crust. This is my favorite modification.

Remove casings from sausage. Cook sausage in medium skillet until brown. Stir to crumble, drain, set aside.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with ½ of pastry. Bake at 450 for 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temp to 350.

Combine eggs and ricotta cheese and mix well. Add other cheeses, meats, and veggies if using. Spoon into partially baked pie shell. Roll out remaining pastry and cut into 6 or 8 wedges. Arrange on top of the filling. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Brush with milk. Cook an additional 20 minutes or until golden. Let cool 10 minutes. Serve with warmed pizza sauce

Monday, January 14, 2008

Chocolate Brownie Hearts from King Arthur Flour

(original recipe found here)

Let’s get to the heart of the matter here—the chocolate heart, that is! Use a cookie cutter to cut baked brownies into heart shapes, top with chocolate ganache, and you’ve got a Valentine’s or other special-occasion dessert worth swooning over!

1 cup (8 ounces, 2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups (15 3/4 ounces) sugar
1 1/4 cups (3 3/4 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips
1 teaspoon espresso powder

To drizzle with ganache:
2/3 cup (4 ounces) chocolate chips
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon light corn syrup

To coat with ganache:
1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) chocolate chips
3/4 cup (6 ounces) heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets. to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan. Line with parchment, and grease the parchment. While this step isn’t strictly necessary, it makes getting the brownies out of the pan a whole lot easier.

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth; then add the flour, chips, and espresso powder, again stirring until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the brownies in a preheated 350°F oven for 28 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges and in the center (barely). Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack for 20 minutes before turning them out of the pan. Loosen the edges; use a spatula or turner to loosen the bottom as much as possible; then flip the pan over onto another sheet of parchment or waxed paper. Peel the parchment off the bottom of the brownies. Let them cool completely.

Use a 2" heart cutter to cut 3 dozen hearts out of the brownies. (Or use a smaller or larger cutter to cut more or fewer hearts.) Place the hearts on a rack set over a piece of parchment or waxed paper.

Decide whether you want to drizzle the hearts with ganache, or coat them completely. You’ll make the lesser amount of ganache for drizzling, the greater amount for glazing.

Combine the chips, cream, and corn syrup in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat until the cream is very hot. Stir the mixture until the chips melt, then drizzle over the brownie hearts, or spread to cover completely.
Yield: 3 dozen 2" hearts.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Some Slow-cooker recipes

Here's a link to a month's worth of them...

Sesame Chicken

It's not gourmet, but it is very fast and easy and so yummy

Sesame Chicken Recipe #44321
This recipe really satisfies my craving for Chinese food. I serve it over rice and steamed vegetables on the side. I usually double the sauce to make it especially decadent.
by Jenny White
6 servings
21 min 5 min prep

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Cut chicken breast into 1 inch strips.
Heat a large non-stick skillet that has been sprayed with Pam, over medium-high heat.
Cook chicken strips for about 6 minutes until no longer pink.
Mix together honey, soy sauce, water, corn starch, ginger and red pepper flakes.
Whisk until no corn starch lumps appear.
Pour sauce mixture into skillet with chicken.
Cook until sauce thickens slightly.
You can add more water if sauce is too thick.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken starts to soak up the sauce.

Easy Meatballs

Easy Meatballs

From Linda Larsen,Your Guide to Busy Cooks.Stay up to date!
This simple recipe can be flavored any way you like, or just make it plain.
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 egg
2 Tbsp. water
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

PREPARATION:Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl combine egg, water, bread crumbs, onion, salt and pepper and combine. Add ground beef, broken into chunks, and mush with your hands to combine. Form into meatballs about 1" in diameter and place on a broiler pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until meatballs are no longer pink in center. Cool and freeze, or use in your favorite meatball recipe



Serves: 3

So yummy and sweet ... you don't even need syrup!

1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 banana, mashed
1-1/4 cups soy milk
1 tbsp sweetener
sliced fresh fruit (garnish)

1. In a large bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together.

2. In a small bowl, mash the banana with a fork and add 1/4 cup of
the milk, mixing together until there are no lumps. Add the banana,
sweetener, and remaining soy milk to the dry mix and stir together
until "just mixed."

3. Portion out about 3/4 to 1 cup of batter onto a hot non-stick pan
or a lightly oiled frying pan and cover with a lid. Let sit on medium
heat until the center starts to bubble and become sturdy. Flip
pancake over and cook other side until golden brown. Repeat process
until all the batter is gone.

4. Garnish with fresh fruit and maple syrup.

Reprinted with permission from HOW IT ALL VEGAN! by Tanya Barnard and
Sarah Kramer (, Arsenal Pulp Press.

Calories: 247
Fat: 2.6 g
Carbohydrates: 48.4 g
Protein: 9.3 g

Caramel popcorn

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 quarts popped popcorn

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place popcorn in a very large bowl
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
3. Place in 2 large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.

Inside Out Ravioli

Inside Out Ravioli

Very good. Moh took some leftovers to work once, and his coworkers wouldn't let him eat it in peace. Sometimes I add ground beef to the sauce, sometimes not.

Inside Out Ravioli

1 10 oz. pkg frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
1 lb. bowtie noodles, cooked and drained
3 T. oil
2 c. sharp shredded cheddar
1/2 c. breadcrumbs
2 eggs
garlic salt to taste
64 oz. red meat sauce

Combine all ingredients except red sauce in a large
bowl. Put 2 c. of red sauce in the bottom of two greased
deep baking dishes. Add half of the pasta mixture on
top. Pour another 2 c. of red sauce on the top of the
mixture. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and place in a
375 degree preheated oven for 45 minutes or until
bubbly. This dish also freezes well.

Pizza Crust

I love the garlic herb version, have yet to try the whole wheat one, but that's next

Pizza Crust

Master Pizza Dough
Makes 1 (14-inch) thick-crust pizza or 2 (12-inch) thin-crust pizzas.

3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope FLEISCHMANN'S RapidRise Yeast*
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup very warm water (120 to 130oF)
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

In large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, and salt. Stir very warm water and olive oil into flour mixture. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 to 6 minutes. Cover; let rest on floured surface 10 minutes.

Lightly oil 1 (14-inch) or 2 (12-inch) round pizza pan(s).** Sprinkle with cornmeal. Shape dough into smooth ball. Divide and roll dough to fit desired pan(s). Top pizza as desired. (see Pizza Toppings tip below)

Bake at 400oF for 20 to 30 minutes or until done. Baking time depends on size and thickness of crust and selected toppings.

*To use FLEISCHMANN'S Active Dry Yeast: Use 1 package Active Dry Yeast, 1 cup warm water (100 to 110oF), and flour, salt, and oil listed above. Place 1/4 cup of the warm water in large warm bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add remaining water, salt, oil, and 2 cups all-purpose flour; stir well. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough.

Knead as directed. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled, about 30 to 60 minutes. Punch dough down. Remove dough to lightly floured surface. Shape, top, and bake as desired.

**Master Pizza Dough fits the following pans:
- 1 (15 x 10-inch) baking pan
- 1 (13 x 9-inch) baking pan
- 1 (14-inch) or 2 (9-inch) deep-dish pan(s)
- For individual pizzas, shape dough into 6 or 8 (7-inch) rounds and place on 2 greased baking sheets.

GARLIC AND HERB PIZZA DOUGH: Add 2 teaspoons SPICE ISLANDS Sweet Basil, Oregano (leaves), or Rosemary and 1 clove finely minced garlic along with dry ingredients.

CORNMEAL PIZZA DOUGH: Replace 1/2 cup all-purpose flour with cornmeal.

WHOLE WHEAT PIZZA DOUGH: Replace 1 cup all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.

Nutrition Information
Per Serving for master pizza dough and garlic and herb pizza dough, without toppings (1/12 of recipe): calories 153; total fat 3 g; saturated fat 0 g; cholesterol 0 mg; sodium 148 mg; total carbohydrate 27 g; dietary fiber 1 g; protein 4 g.

For cornmeal pizza dough, without toppings (1/12 of recipe): calories 152; total fat 3 g; saturated fat 0 g; cholesterol 0 mg; sodium 150 mg; total carbohydrate 26 g; dietary fiber 1 g; protein 4 g.

Betty Crocker's Classic cookbook Lasagna

This is my signature dish. I always come back to this lasagna recipe. I scanned it out of my cookbook last night to post, so I thought I would share it on our blog.

I only use beef, though.

Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

(I've noted the modifications I've made)
**This is the cake we use for all birthdays! It is extremely easy, and so much better than a box mix! **

2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY®'S Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk (I use fat free half and half - don't use fat free milk!)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (plus, I add 1 t chocolate extract)
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. (Cake may be left in rectangular pan, if desired.)

**A big thing to know about baking chocolate cake (or brownies or cookies) is that you want to take it out of the oven *just* when its done. Usually, this is when you are able to smell the chocolate in the kitchen. I usually set the timer for a few minutes less than the recipe calls for, and check it at that point. This way, you don't run the risk of overcooking, and having it be dry. **

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Vegetable Rice Pilaf

I used whatever frozen vegetables were on hand....peas & carrots, mixed , corn, etc. I also put pine nuts instead of the cashews, because that is what I had.

Vegetable Rice Pilaf

1 cup basmati rice
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
4 green cardamom pods
4 cloves
1 onion finely chopped
1 cup thawed frozen vegetables
1/4 cup cashews lightly fried
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1. rinse and soak rice for 30 minutes
2. heat the oil in a large frying pan and saute the cumin seeds for 2 minutes. Add bay leaves, cardamom, and cloves, and saute for another 2 minutes.
3. Add onion and cook till softened and lightely browned
4. Drain rice and tothe pan together with the vegetables and cashews. Cook for 4-5 minutes.
5. Add 2 cups water, ground cumin, and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat, till all water is absorbed. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes before serving.

Piquant French Dip

(from Fix It and Forget It)

3lb chuck roast
2 c water
1/2 c soy sauce
1 t dried rosemary
1 t dried thyme
1 t garlic powder
1 bay leaf
3-4 whole peppercorns
French rolls

Place roast in slow cooker. Add water, soy sauce and seasonings. Cover and cook on high 5-6 hours or until beef is tender. Remove beef from broth and shred with fork (I cover it foil on a plate). Strain broth and skim the fat. Pour broth into small cups for dipping. Serve beef on rolls. The leftover broth is also good to freeze for a soup base later.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Barefoot Contessa's Mexican Chicken Soup

The corn tortillas melt into the soup. Yum.

(serves 6 to 8)

4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed
2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
6 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas

To serve
Sliced avocado
Sour cream
Cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until done. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cover and set aside. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the onions starts to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the chicken stock, tomatoes with their puree, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, 1 tablespoon salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), 1 teaspoon pepper, and the cilantro, if using.

Cut the tortillas in half, then cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch strips and add to the soup.

Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and season to taste. Serve the soup hot topped with sliced avocado, a dollop of sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and broken tortilla chips.