Dec 22, 2008
Dec 18, 2008
Fruit and Nut Topped Pound Cake
*I like this one because you could have other toppings for the sugar eaters - toffee, chopped chocolate, whipped cream, toasted coconut, Carmel sauce, etc.
14 servings (less if you are eating less controlled portions)
1 package (10.75 oz) frozen pound cake loaf, cut into fourteen 1/2" slices (well, for us sugar eaters, maybe a 1" piece is more like it :^)
2/3 cup soft cream cheese with strawberries, raspberries, OR pineapple
1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges, well drained
1 1/2 cups bite-sized pieces assorted fresh fruit (kiwifruit, strawberry, raspberry,pear, apple)
1/2 cups reduced fat (or regular if you ask me) chocolate syrup
1/2 cup sliced almonds or toasted coconut
1. Set oven control to broil. Place pound cake slices on rack in broiler pan. Broil with tops 4 to 5 inches from heat 3-5 minutes, turning once, until light golden brown.
2. Spread each slice with about 2 tsp cream cheese. Top with orange segments and desired fresh fruit. Drizzle with syrup and sprinkle with almonds or coconut.
Baked Custard with Fresh Raspberry Sauce
3 eggs, slightly beaten (room temperature - you don't want scrambled eggs)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
dash of salt
2 1/2 cups very warm milk (about 120 degrees)
Fresh Raspberry Sauce (below)
1. Heat oven to 350. Mix egg, sugar, vanilla and salt in medium bowl. Gradually stir in milk (be careful not to scramble your eggs). Pour into six 6oz custard cups. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
2. Place cups in rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches, on oven rack. Pour very hot water into pan to within 1/2 inch of tops of cups.
3. Bake about 45 minutes or until knife inserted halfway (or toothpick) between center and edge comes out clean. Remove cups from water. Cool about 30 minutes. Unmold and serve warm with Fresh Raspberry Sauce. Store covered in refrigerator.
Fresh Raspberry Sauce
1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) raspberries
Place all ingredients into a food processor. Cover and process until smooth. Press through sieve to remove seeds if desired.
1 skim milk
Key Lime Bars
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (20 squares) (put them in a sealed plastic bag and crush)
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup Key lime juice or regular lime juice
1 Tablespoon grated lime peel
Additional lime peel if desired
1. Heat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of square pan, 9X9X2 inches, with shortening. Mix cracker crumbs, butter and sugar thoroughly with fork. Press evenly in pan. Refrigerate while preparing cream cheese mixture.
2. Beat cream cheese in small bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in milk until smooth. Beat in lime juice and lime peel. Spread over layer in pan.
3. Bake about 35 minutes or until center is set. Cool 30 minutes. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 3 hours until chilled. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 6 rows. Garnish with additional lime peel. Store covered in refrigerator.
1/2 starch, 1/2 fruit, 1 fat
11-20 g carbs
Dec 15, 2008
Oatmeal Raisin (or Crazin) Cookies
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp milk
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups Oatmeal (whole rolled oats are best)
2 cups raisins (golden are best) or Crazins (dried cranberries)
Preheat oven to 350
Yield: about 3 dozen
Beat shortening and sugars until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla, and milk. Mix well. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to other mixture. Stir in oatmeal and raisins.
Bake on parchment lined cookie sheets for about 10 minutes. They should be starting to brown around the edges, but still be pale in over all color. Remove from oven and let them cool on the cookie tray for a few minutes. Then transfer them to a cooling rack. Wait until they are at least cool enough not to burn your mouth - and eat.
Dec 10, 2008
1 C real butter (no substitutions!)
1 C sugar
1 1/2 t almond extract (you could use vanilla too)
3 C flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes. Add in eggs and extract and mix to incorporate.
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.
Shape the dough into 2 flat disks and wrap in waxed paper and place in the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours. The longer the better, and don't you cheat. If you want your cookies to hold their shape well, the dough needs to be really chilled. If you're in a hurry, immediately roll dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper and place on a flat surface in the fridge. It will chill super fast and be ready to go in no time.
When you're ready to roll out dough lightly sprinkle flour onto your work surface and roll out dough with a rolling pin.
Alright now, cut out those cookies. Thick or thin, however you like it...
Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes. The baking time really depends on how you like them. I like them really soft so I really under-bake them. In my oven, about 8 minutes does it. However if you're making large cookies, or ones with small parts or heavy frosting, you might want to be careful because they might break when they're super soft.About 8 minutes will get you a really soft cookie, a few minutes longer (when they start to just brown around the edges) and you'll get just a little crispiness around the edges and then a soft center, bake even longer (and roll thinner) and you'll get a crispy cookie. Any way you do it, they'll taste good. Remove onto cooling racks when you're done and let cool completely. I honestly think these even taste better the second day.Frost any way you like. If I'm making sugar cookies merely for the purpose of eating them, then my preference is a big swirl of almond cream cheese butter cream, hands down.
Rae Note: I found for the thickness I like -about 3/8 an inch - 11 minutes was perfect for a soft, but slightly crisp cookie. yuuummm
Dec 4, 2008
3 cups rice chex mix
3 cups corn chex mix
3 cups cashews
3 cups pretzels
1 1LB bag M&Ms or Reeses Pieces
3 Packages white chocolate
1. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler. Think LOW heat.
2. Put all dry ingredients in a large bowl
3. Drizzle chocolate over dry mix
4. Mix until well coated
5. Spread out on waxed paper and let it harden
6. Break into pieces and store in bag... or eat it!
Dec 2, 2008
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cups orange juice or lemon juice
2 TBS shortening
1 TBS grated orange peel
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/2 cups cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 350. Grease loaf pan.
1. Mix together four, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl
2. Stir in OJ or lemon juice, shortening, orange peel, and egg. Mix until well blended.
3. Stir in cranberries and nuts
4. Spread into pan
5. Bake for 55 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean
6. Cool on a rack 15 minutes
7. Remove from pan and cool completely
8. Wrap and store overnight
Of course who can really wait until it's cooled over night? Chrissy and I always thought this was some sort of test - how much self restraint do you REALLY have? Chrissy, the kids, and I always ate the Zucchini Bread while the butter could still melt on the bread... Yummmmm
Nov 22, 2008
Carving your bird
Nov 17, 2008
Turkey (12-16 LBS)
Green bean casserole (13X9)
Sweet potato bake mallow and Grandma’s Harris'(13X9)
Strawberry Jell-o Pudding Salad
Mashed white potatoes
Cranberry sauce 1 can jelly 1 home made
Desert (I would die for a pecan pie... or a chocolate-pecan pie but Eric hates pecans and I don't want to eat the whole leftover pie myself)
Good Eats Roast Turkey
1 (14 to 16 pound) young turkey (make sure it isn't already brined; i.e. not already injected with saline solution)
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 TBS allspice berries (may omit)
1/2 TBS candied ginger (may omit)
1 gallon iced water
For the aromatics: (that is what goes in the cavity of the bird)
1 red apple sliced
1/2 onion sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket. Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a basement) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining.
A few minutes before roasting, heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.
Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Add steeped aromatics to cavity along with rosemary and sage (tongs). Tuck back wings under the bird and coat whole bird liberally with canola (or other neutral) oil. Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes (Put the legs in first). Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil (make a triangle and do a pre-fitting before you put it in the oven to avoid burning yourself), insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.
So you may ask, why brine? I will tell you. What happens when meat sits in a brine is that the cell walls begin to defuse their liquid in a desire to come to an equilibrium with the more dense, salted water. Well, as liquid is exchanged, salt is brought evenly into the meat of the turkey. This makes for a very moist and very tasty bird.
Green Bean Casserole
compliments of Campbell's
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup OR Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup 1/2 cup milk 1 tsp. soy sauce Dash ground black pepper 4 cups cooked cut green beans 1 1/3 cups French's® French Fried Onions
MIX soup, milk, soy, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in 1 1/2-qt. casserole.
BAKE at 350°F. for 25 min. or until hot.
STIR . Sprinkle with remaining onions. Bake 5 min.
TIP: Use 1 bag (16 to 20 oz.) frozen green beans, 2 pkg. (9 oz. each) frozen green beans, 2 cans (about 16 oz. each) green beans or about 1 1/2 lb. fresh green beans for this recipe.
Jello Pudding Salad (should double for a large party)
Compliments of Martin Davis and Jell-o Brand
1 (4oz) package jello strawberry
1 (4 oz) package jello tapioca pudding
1 (4 oz) package cook-n-serve vanilla pudding
1 – 2 cups strawberries, cut up
3 cups water
½ 8oz container of cool whip
Put water, jello, and puddings into medium sauce pan. Mix with sire whisk, stirring constantly over high heat until boiling. Continue boiling for 5+ minutes. Take off heat and pour into a bowl. Add fruit. Let chill over night. When ready to serve, fold in ½ 8oz container of cool whip.
Whipped Sweet Potato Bake (Eric's Favorite)
Compliments of Kraftfoods.com
3 cans (15 oz. each) sweet potatoes, drained
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
24 JET-PUFFED Marshmallows (about 3 cups)
PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Beat sweet potatoes, butter, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.
SPOON into lightly greased 1-1/2-qt. baking dish; top with the marshmallows.
BAKE 15 to 20 min. or until sweet potato mixture is heated through and marshmallows are lightly browned.
Grandma Harris' Sweet Potato Bake (Rachael's favorite)
3 cups (24oz) sweet potatoes, drained
1 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
2 lightly beaten eggs
1/3 stick butter, melted
½ cup sweet milk
1 tsp vanilla
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased baking dish.
Prepare topping by mixing:
1/3 stick bitter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans
Cover potato mixture in topping.
Bake 35 minutes at 350
I will leave the stuffing and mashed white potatoes up to you. Sarah Gagnon is bringing the stuffing this year and I hear it is going to be fantastic! If I can get her secret from her, I will post at a later date. For mashed potatoes, peel and cube your potatoes. Boil them until they are just tender, about 20 minutes. Then I like to throw mine in my mixer and mix butter, cream, salt and pepper in. Yum yum.
Oct 16, 2008
2 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup shortening
2 eggs, well beaten
1 large can (30oz I think) Libby's Pumpkin PIE mix (not just pumpkin)
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 cups flour
2 TBS baking powder
1 12oz bag chocolate chips
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
Heat oven to 375
Cream shortening and sugar together with a mixer. Add eggs; mix until combined. Mix pumpkin until combined. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, soda, powder, salt and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients slowly to wet mixture. Mix until incorporated. Add vanilla, mix. Add chocolate chips, and mix with a spoon or slowly in a mixer.
On an ungreased cookie sheet, drop 1-ish TBS size balls of dough, leaving space for expansion. Bake 10-12 minutes, checking to make sure they are done. You don't want to under cook these.
MUFFINS: Grease muffin tin. Fill 3/4 full with filling. Baking time will increase, but I am not sure how long exactly. Try 15-20 minutes, checking to make sure they are done. Go longer if necessary.
BREAD: Grease bread pan. Pour batter into pan and bake for about an hour (would be my guess). Check for doneness with toothpick.
You could also admit the chocolate chips and have a very yummy pumpkin mixture to which the possibilities are endless (think cream cheese frosting - YUM)
Oct 15, 2008
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14oz) can dice crushed tomatoes
1 (16oz) can refried beans
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 clove finely minced garlic
1 (4oz) can chopped green chilies
2 cup corn, canned or frozen
2 scallions, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
8 corn tortillas
1 1/2 - 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 - 1 cup cheddar cheese
sour cream, optional
options to mix it up - Enchilada Sauce and shredded chicken
In a large bowl, mix together beans, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, chilies, corn, scallions, cumin and oregano.
Spray with non-stick cooking spray a square 2 quart baking dish. Place two tortillas down (or however many will fit to cover the bottom). Spread with a thin layer of refried beans. Spread 1/3 of the bean mixture over tortillas. Sprinkle with 1/3 of Monterey Jack cheese. Repeat layering twice more - it helps to put the refried beans on the tortillas before you put them on the casserole. For the last layer, put tortillas to top, sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
Option to mix things up - add in shredded chicken to bean mixture and cover prepared casserole in enchilada sauce - probably only 1/2 a 15 oz can.
Bake 30-40 minutes until hot through-out.
Sep 23, 2008
What you need to can
jars that are clean and sanitary
lids, the rings can be used again, but the top part that actually seals the can must be new
High Acid foods use a method called hot water bath. The pot is large and there is a rack that fits inside to hold the cans.
funnel with a wide mouth
blender, food processor, or food mill
produce and ingredients
2 1/2 - 3 1/2 LBS apples per quart; a mix of types of apples is best but whatever you have works
Cinnamon stick (optional)
Scrub apples in soapy water. Peel, core, and chop your apples and put them in the stock pot (may I say an apple peeler, corer, slicer makes this so easy). If you want pink apple sauce, you can leave on the skins of clean, mildly blemished, red apples. But for me, my apples are pretty wild so I removed the skin to remove the blemishes. Turn on the heat to low. Add sugar to taste (2-4 TBS should be fine, but it depends on the apples too. I like brown sugar, but it doesn't matter). If making cinnamon applesauce, add 1-2 cinnamon sticks and some nutmeg (go easy on the nutmeg - it is strong and you can always add more but you can't take it away). Place the lid on and stir occasionally, making sure the apples don't burn on the bottom. It will eventually turn to mush. At this point, let it cool a little bit as to not burn yourself. Then place in a blender, food processor, or food mill and blend until smooth. Follow canning directions at the bottom of this post.
So the specific recipe for this uses 45 pounds of tomatoes! So I will tell you what I did since, well, if you have that many tomatoes you probably know how to can.
10 LBS tomatoes (this was 1.5 plastic shopping bags of tomatoes for me)
1 onion chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
seasoning - basil, oregano, bay leaves, whatever you like, to taste.
a little sugar - 1 tsp
Basically you are just making a yummy homemade spaghetti sauce. Don't get too caught up in what should go in - make it so you like it.
Wash tomatoes (hope this is a no brainer). Cut off both ends (stock and bloom) and cut into quarters. Saute onions and garlic in olive oil in a large stock pot on medium-high heat. Add tomatoes, and everything else. Cover and let simmer about 20-30minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool enough to put into a blender, food processor, or food mill. If the tomato seeds bother you, strain to remove. They don't bother me enough to bother with straining, but to each his own. Place back in the stock pot and simmer until it is reduced by half. Follow canning directions to follow EXCEPT place 1 Tbs for pints and 2 Tbs for quarts of lemon juice in the jars before you fill them.
Canning your product
You want your jars to be warm/hot. I usually dunk mine in hot water and let them dry next to my work station on a clean cloth. The lids (the part that seals) needs to be SIMMERED NOT BOILED (low heat) for 10 minutes - then keep them in the warm water until ready for use. This helps the seal do it's thing. The rings that hold on the top need to also be clean.
Fill your hot water bath half way and set on the stove as high as your heat can go (you want them to be at least 180 by the time you put your jars in, and 212 to process). For me with my low BTU stove, I used two burners.
Remember - hot liquid into hot jars. We don't want anything growing in there. So use your funnel to fill the jar to the 1 inch mark, which is right where the ring part of the lid ends when it is on (the jars usually have a ring around the neck) or you can just measure down from the top before you pour.
Put the two piece top on the jar, making sure the ring of the jar is clear of food particles.
When you have all your jars filled, place them in the hot water bath (they have a utensil that works great for this to keep you far from the hot water). The water needs to cover by 1-2 inches. If needed, pour more boiling water in to cover. The water needs to come to a boil (specifically 212 degrees) to process. Don't start counting until it hits this mark! When they are done, let them cook 5 minutes in the pot. Then take them out and let them rest for 12-14 hours. The lids should seal down so that they don't bubble on the top when pressed down.
Processing times: tomato sauce 35 minutes for pints, 40 minutes for quarts (don't forget your lemon juice!). Applesauce is 20 minutes for both size jars.
Now go take a nap, you deserve it.
Sep 18, 2008
BBQ Chicken Pizza on the Grill
1 breast chicken, cut into small strips
1/2 red onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove of garlic
1-2 cups shredded Colbt & Monterey Jack cheese
Bulls Eye (or your favorite) Hickory BBQ sauce
1 pre-made pizza dough ball (you can find these is the supper market - they are wonderful to have on hand!)
On your stove top (we'll get to the grill in a minute, be patient!) heat 1-2 TBS olive oil in a skillet. Add chicken strips. Cook until start to brown - 3-4 minutes depending on their size - and flip. Add in red onion and garlic. Cook until they begin to caramelize (that is, turn a little brown). This can take a little bit, maybe 10 minutes, depending on how much liquid came out of the onions and chicken. When the mixture is done, turn it out onto a plate and cover with plastic, or a lid of whatever (to keep the bug off when you are outside).
Take out your pizza dough. Dust it with flour on both sides. Take into account how big your grill is. You might want to shape the dough into more of a rectangle, or two small circles. Keep in mind you are going to have to flip the dough on the grill. A tip on shaping your dough - warm or room temp is better than cold. An easy way I have learned to stretch the dough is to put your fists together and in front of you (like put up your dukes!) with the dough resting on top (where your rings sit). Rock and pull your fists outward to stretch the dough, rotating as you go. The dough should not be sticky. Add more flour if it is. Place your dough on a cookie sheet to bring outside.
Take to the grill the dough, chicken/onion mixture, BBQ sauce, olive oil, tin foil, large spatula, and brushes or spoons to spread sauce & oil. Heat the grill to medium or medium high heat (depending on the SHEER POWER of your grill :^) Brush the dough with olive oil. Place that side down on the grill. Close the grill for a few minutes. Open, brush top with oil, and flip. Acting quickly, spread a layer of BBQ sauce, chicken/onion mixture, and cheese. FYI if your crust is thin it will cook VERY quickly.
Close grill for a few minutes. Open again and check on the bottom. For me and my little grill, the dough cooks very quickly, so I will often slip some foil under the dough to prevent burning while the cheese continues to melt. Grill marks are good, charred is bad.
Yum yum. You could do this with any kind of pizza you want really. Once you get the hang of it, you'll love it (I burned my first crust, don't get discouraged - it can scrape off ;^)
I will also post a link to my friend's blog where she did a Cooking 101 on Grilled Pizza with pictures that might help too.
Sep 13, 2008
Rachael's Chicken and Vegetable Soup
1 breast of chicken, cut into 3 large chunks
6 cups chicken broth (I use bullion cubes because they are inexpensive. my favorite bullion is the BJ's Whole Sale brand, which of course you buy at BJ's. you could also use canned broth)
1 can cream of chicken OR celery soup
1 10oz bag frozen veggies, your choice. mixed veggies are nice, or just peas and carrots
your choice of seasoning if you want - like a bay leaf (which you take out before you eat remember), dried parsley, pepper
In a 5QT stock pot (larger if you are doubling it), place your broth. Turn the heat to medium to medium high. You are looking for a low boil. Place your chicken chunks in the low-boiling broth. Let them cook until they are cooked through (about 7-8 minutes depending on the size of your chunks). Check to make sure there isn't any more pink, but try to not over cook them. Take them out and let them cool on a plate.
Add cream of chicken or celery soup. Whisk to incorporate.
Add in your frozen veggies. Your mixture of course will be cooled, and it will take a little bit for it to return to the low boil.
So in the mean time, shred the chicken chunks, being careful not to burn yourself if the chicken is still hot. Your hands are the best tool for this. You will notice that the chicken will pull apart along the grain of the meat. This is what you want. On a side note, I once asked Eric to shred my chicken for me while I was making the sauce for BBQ chicken sandwiches (which will come later). He used two forks and it ended up being the consistency of meat-sawdust. So again, make sure your pieces are decent sizes, not shredded to a pulp. If this seems to intimidating to some, you can always just use a knife and cut the meat into smaller chunks.
Add your chicken back to the pot. Add whatever seasoning you want. At this point you can do one of two things. You can put the top on the pot and let it simmer and blend for 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Or you can eat it if everyone is hungry NOW.
I personally like my soup with a nice buttered roll to dip. Or served over mashed potatoes which makes it creamy and delicious. Or you can cook your favorite noodles to add in for chicken-noodle soup.
I hope you will try to make your own soup if you never have. I promise it isn't hard, only hard to mess up! Soups are very forgiving. And even though I like canned soups when I'm in the mood 5 minutes before lunch, but really there is NOTHING like homemade soup. Did I mention this can take less than an hour to make? So really, this is an easy, healthy, and quick dinner everyone will enjoy on a cool fall or winter day.
Sep 9, 2008
1 LBS ground beef
1 package instant potato (Idaho Potatoes are good)(I sometimes use more - it depends on what you like)
1 10oz bag of frozen veggies, your choice (peas, carrots, corn, green beans, a mix)
OR 1-2 cans veggies (how thick you veggie layer is a personal preference. I personally like it just thick enough to cover the beef)
Preheat oven to 350. Brown beef in large skillet. While the meat is cooking, microwave veggies according to package directions. Make potatoes according to directions. Drain the beef when all the pink is gone and all the beef is cooked through. Place drained beef in a 8X8 pan. Top with veggies, then potatoes. Bake 20-30minutes until hot. Turn oven up to broil for a few minutes to slightly brown the top (if desired).
Sep 8, 2008
TIPS FOR BEGINERS:
1. Read the WHOLE recipe carefully before you start.
Sometimes I’ll even read it through a few times to get it in my mind what I need to be doing. You can make almost ANY recipe, I promise, if you trust the recipe.
2. Do your prep work before you fire the flame.
Before you start heating up your oil (if applicable), make sure your ingredients are chopped and or ready near by, and have your utensils ready. If you have cans that need to be opened, open them. What you want to avoid is: needing to do two things at once – i.e: your chicken is cooking quicker than you thought and you need to add the liquid but alas the can isn’t open yet! AHHH stress! You see?
3. If you have a question, ASK.
Ask me by leaving a post or an email (Racha_rae06@yahoo.com) or look online. Yahoo/Google are great resources. So are some great web site I have links to on the blog.
4. Don’t be intimidated by a long list of ingredients or instructions.
For example, the Lady’s and Son’s Lasagna post looks really hard. The list of ingredients is long, and it takes a long time to make. However, it really is simple. You don’t need any special skills to put it all together. It is a really fun dish to make with a friend, loved one, or significant other because you can do the work together (it is labor intensive – that means it take a long time to make, it doesn’t mean it is difficult :^).
5. Be confident.
Even really great cooks make things that taste awful sometimes. Or recipes don’t always taste as good as they look. Once you get comfortable with some basics, you’ll take off – trust me!
I have decided I will post a few more very simple recipes that will also teach techniques needed for basic cooking. I hope you all enjoy!
Quick Chicken Cacciatore
1 package (10.5 oz) frozen breaded chicken breast (Tyson is a good brand to try or even if you have chicken nuggets strips in the freezer)
1 medium green bell pepper
4 oz mushrooms, sliced (we leave these out because Eric doesn't like mushrooms)
1 small onion, shopped (about 3/4 cup but don't stress over exactness)
8 oz (1/2 1LB package) linguine
2 cans (14 1/2 oz each) Italian-seasoned diced tomatoes, undrained
1 garlic cloves, pressed (or chopped, or you can use pre-chopped garlic you get at the grocery store)
Grated Parmesan Cheese
1. To partially thaw chicken patties, follow package microwave heating directions (safety) except microwave on HIGH 1 minutes only. Cut chicken patties into 3/4 inch strips and bell peppers into thin strips. Slice mushrooms. Chop onion.
2. Cook linguine according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.
3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Lightly spray with olive oil. Add chicken patty strips; cook 5 minutes, turning frequently with spatula.
4. Add tomatoes, bell pepper, mushrooms, onion and garlic. Bring to a boil; cover. Reduce heat; simmer 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Serve over hot linguine. Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese, if desired.
Yield: 4 servings
Serve this one-dish meal with refrigerated garlic bread sticks.
How I make this recipe
Instead of bothering with breaded chicken, I cut up 1 large breast into strips. I place them in a hot pot with some olive oil (about 1-2 TBS over med-high heat) and let them get a little brown. I then add the onions, let them cook a minute, add the garlic, let it get slightly brown, and then add the rest of the ingredients (peppers, tomatoes). I will add a little bit of water (about 1/2 can that used to hold the tomatoes), and about 1/2 cup bread crumbs (seasoned bread crumbs are nice because you don't have to add any Italian Seasoning). Believe me, the bread crumb taste adds a wonderful flavor. I then let it simmer for an hour or more (I learned that because I prefer to cook it longer, my breadcrumbs fell off my chicken anyway, that is how I came up with this method). It becomes more sauce like, and less chunky, but I like it that way! I also add Italian spice blend - BUT ONLY - if I use plain bread crumbs and non-seasoned tomatoes. Stir it often to make sure nothing sticks and burns on the bottom. Enjoy over your linguine. Oh and by the way, your house will smell so delicious!
Sep 6, 2008
If you have never tasted a tomato that turned ripe on the vine, you are in for a treat. Store bought tomatoes have no taste really. They are picked green and ripen while shipping. DO NOT try to make a sandwich from those - you will be sorely disappointed. If you have the room, try planting a tomato plant or two next summer. You can really be low maintenance (like myself) and still enjoy red deliciousness come late summer.
There are so many different kinds. In 2007 I planted an heirloom variety that did not produce a lot of fruit, but when it did oh my! They were almost purple the red was so dark. Yum. This year we planted just regular Big Boys I believe. They are pretty good, but others are better. We were limited because of our late start. I do suggest when you plant your tomatoes, bury them until you see only a few inches left sticking out of the ground. This ensures VERY deep roots, which means you'll get fruit earlier in the season. I also suggest planting in early May, depending on your location. In the "Nor-East" we aren't usually free from frost until then, which is what you want to be careful of. If a late frost threatens your green beauties, cover them in plastic for the night. So I hope you were inspired to plant a tomato plant next year. And for the grand finally...
The Simple Summer Tomato Sandwich
Two pieces of toasted whole wheat bread (the real stuff - no colored white bread here)
1 tomato sliced thickly
MAYO a-plenty (or Miracle Whip I guess... If you like that sort of thing)
Generously spread Mayo on toast. Top with as much tomato as you think you can politely get into your mouth. Enjoy... Yum...
Oh yes, repeat every day at lunch until you can't look at a tomato until next year's crop.
Aug 21, 2008
1 large chicken breast, cut into chunks
1/4 cup Miracle Whip Dressing
2 cups frozen stir-fry vegetables
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups hot cooked instant white rice
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until lightly brown on both sides - don't over cook (about 2 minutes per side). Add garlic and let it cook for a minute or two. Add frozen vegetables (I personally like the California Mix). Cover and let simmer about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. The veggies should give off enough water to steam themselves, but you might need to add a few table spoons if it looks like it might burn - just don't over do it. Mix dressing and soy sauce, add to pot and stir until well combined. You might need to let it simmer to thicken the sauce a little bit. Serve over rice.
Aug 16, 2008
2 large or 4 small green or red bell peppers (I find it actually makes 5 small peppers)
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
15oz can diced tomatoes (or 1½ cups chopped tomatoes)
2 tsp dried parsley (or ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley)
2 cups cooked green lentils (about 1/2 LBS of lentils - follow cooking directions on the bag)
1 cup cooked brown rice (about 1/2 cup dried rice - follow cooking directions on the box)
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
2. If using large peppers, cut them in half through the stem, discard seeds and pith; or, if using small peppers, cut off the top with the stem, then remove seeds and pith. Blanch in boiling water 4 minutes; drain.
3. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic; cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and parsley. Cook, stirring until tomatoes are softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lentils, rice, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Spoon the mixture into each of the prepared pepper shells. Top with mozzarella cheese or serve with sour cream when they're done.
4. Bake 20 minutes or until filling is heated through.
The original recipe calls for ¼ cup snipped fresh dill along with the parsley and 3 cups cooked barley instead of the rice and lentils. So mix it up one day if you want to! I don't care for dill so that is why I leave it out. If you like it, add it in! Or leave out the rice and do 3 cups lentils - it is up to you.
Aug 15, 2008
Presented by Becky Low
on February 04, 2002
· 6 cups diced potatoes*(If you use fresh potatoes, you have to cook the dish for at least an hour)
· 1 can (10 ¾ oz.) cond. cream chicken soup
· 1/2 soup can milk
· 1 cup sour cream
· 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
· 1/4 cup grated onion (optional) **
· salt and pepper to taste
· 3 tablespoons butter, melted
· 3/4 cup corn flake crumbs (I personally like more flakes, but you don't need more butter)
Thaw frozen potatoes if using (see *note below). Place potatoes in a 2-3 quart casserole dish or a 9x13 pan.
Combine soup, milk, sour cream, cheese, and onion (see **note below) and salt and pepper to taste. If a saucier dish is desired or using raw potatoes, add 2-3 tablespoons additional milk. Mix well. Spread sauce over potatoes.
Melt butter and combine with corn flake crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs over casserole. Bake uncovered at 350 F for 30-45 minutes if you are using frozen or cooked fresh potatoes or until hot and bubbly throughout. Cook at least 1 hour if using uncooked, fresh potatoes; cover tightly with foil and remove for the last 20-30 minutes to crisp the top.
* Use approximately 6-8 peeled, and diced fresh potatoes; or approximately 2 pounds frozen, southern style, diced hash browns (not shredded). ** Use 1 tablespoon dried onion or saute 1/4 cup fresh chopped onion in 1 tablespoon butter until transparent.
Recipe serves approximately 8.
Aug 12, 2008
1 LB Ground Beef
1 pouch Taco Seasoning
1 can kidney beans
1 can of corn
1 can of diced tomatoes (pre-seasoned OK)
1 large jar of tomato sauce (I always use our left over spaghetti sauce)
1 cup of water or more as needed
Brown your ground beef and drain the fat. Add taco seasoning to meet according to package directions.
Add remaining ingredients (NOT cheese, sour cream, or tortillas). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let it cook, covered, a few hours, stirring occasionally, adding water if necessary. You can also do this in a crock pot. It will take longer to cook - 4-5 hours. For me, I just do it on the stove because I have to brown the beef anyway - why make more dishes for myself?
I have to get a final picture and I will. I was so hungry and it smelt so good, I forgot :^)
Top with cheddar cheese (or whatever cheese you like) and/or sour cream and eat with tortilla chips. Enjoy!
Jul 31, 2008
So to start....
Rachael's Favorite Lasagna (at least in 1st grade)
2 15 oz. part skim Ricotta cheese
1 12oz part skim mozzarella cheese
8oz provolone cheese
1 pkg. lasagna noodles
1 recipe for Italian tomato sauce (homemade or bottled)
Grate hard cheese and combine with Ricotta and egg. Boil water in a large pot, cook noodles and drain. Pour small amount of sauce into a 9X13 pan. Starting with noodles, layer with cheese. Pour remaining sauce over layers and back at 350 for 45 minutes.
For another version of this, see http://www.kraftfoods.com/kf/recipes/simply-lasagna-69196.aspx
And there you have it - simplicity at it's finest. As you get older you are more willing to try more adventurous food. I personally would call this next lasagna adventurous. It takes a while to prepare and it is definitely more difficult than the above. However, it is Eric's favorite. It is a recipe by PAULA DEEN, who I love. I can't find which cookbook it is from (I have them all), but I have it printed from 4 years ago when it aired on food network. So here it is, lasagna 2...
Eric's Favorite Lady and Son's Lasagna (Paula Deen original)
2 cups canned, diced tomatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup onions, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley leaves
1 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 1/2 tsp The Lady's House Seasoning, recipe follows
1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 bay leaves (never leave out bay leaves!)
1 1/2 Lbs ground beef
6 to 9 Long strip lasagna noodles
12 oz cottage cheese, mixed with 1 beaten egg and 1/2 cup Parmesan
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
1 cup Swiss cheese, grated
2 cups cheddar, grated
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
1 cup mozzarella, grated
To make the sauce, in a stockpot, combine the tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, onions, peppers, garlic, parsley, seasoning mixtures, sugar, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Crumble the ground beef in a saucepan. Cook until no pink remains, then drain off the fat. Add the ground beef to the stockpot. Simmer for another 20 minutes. While the sauce simmers, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Remove bay leave.
Preheat oven to 350
To assemble lasagna, place a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9X13X2 dish. Layer 1/3 of each, noodles, cottage cheese mixture, Gruyere, Swiss, and cheddar cheeses. Pinch off small pieces of cream cheese and dot over other cheeses. Add another layer of sauce. Repeat layering 2-3 times ending with sauce. This may be covered and refrigerated at this point. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with mozzarella and continue to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Note: If lasagna has been refrigerated, bake for 40 minutes total.
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Few! Did you get all that? Next and last is a lasagna that is a little off the beaten trail. It is my adult favorite. This is what is great about lasagna, there are so many combinations to choose from! This is a recipe from my mom. I remember having it growing up and I have always loved it. In fact, I plan to make it Monday night. It is one of the only ways I will eat a green olive.
White Sauce Chicken Lasagna
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1 small onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
green olives, chopped (to taste but do add them even if you don't think you like green olives - TRUST ME they add amazing favor)
1 cup of cottage cheese
1-2 breasts shredded chicken (a quick way is to chop the chicken into smaller pieces, boil the it for a few minutes, let it cool, and then shred it up)
Combine everything but chicken and noodles. Layer in a 9X13 pan sauce, chicken, noodles, ending with sauce on top.
So you might have found yourself wondering - cottage cheese or Ricotta? I personally love the creamy texture and flavor of Ricotta. Others simply hate the stuff (hard to believe I know). At the end of the day, it is a personal choice. But I can bet with a good lasagna, you can fool even an avid Ricotta cheese hater (I speak from experience). Enjoy!
Jul 26, 2008
Creamy Spinach and Chicken Puff
I loved this growing up. I have adapted it slightly to make it a little more delicious.
1 large chicken breast, filleted (sliced length wise to prevent it from being too thick)
1 10oz pkg frozen spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
1 pkg cream cheese
1 sheet of Puff Pastry
Prepare your pastry sheet according to the package directions (usually it has to thaw for a time). On a lightly floured surface, roll out your pastry dough to make it slightly larger and to smooth the bumps it has from being folded. Try to keep it in a rectangle shape. Next, mix well the drained spinach with the cream cheese. Set aside. Take your filleted chicken pieces and lay them down the center of your dough, the long way, so that they only slightly over lap in the middle. Then cover chicken with creamy spinach mixture. Fold up the sides of your dough over the mixture so that they over lap. Press to seal (can use a little water too). It should look like a long tube. Pinch down the short ends to prevent anything from spilling out. Carefully transfer (could do this before assembling too) onto a baking sheet. I usually use stoneware for this. I have heard to lay it seam side down, but if it isn't sealed well, you could have a mess on your hands. I just leave the seam up. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or more. What you are looking for is a good rise and puff from your pastry. If it hasn't puffed, give it more time.
Ham and Cheese Puff
This recipe was one I could have sworn I saw in Kraftfoods Magazine. But I looked all over their site and couldn't find it. So I put together what I thought the general idea was, and came up with a pretty good lunch or appetizer.
1 Puff Pastry sheet
Sliced ham from the deli
chive and onion cream cheese
Dijon mustard (optional)
Serves 2-3 for lunch or more for an appetizer
As above, prepare your pastry according to directions (usually has to thaw). On a slightly floured surface, roll out your dough to lengthen (keep rectangle shape) and work out most of the creases. Spread with a layer of cream cheese. Top with ham slices. Make sure to leave an edge all around your pastry. You then could spread a very thin layer of Dijon mustard over the ham, if you know everyone eating likes mustard. You could use regular mustard too if you prefer. I usually leave it plain and then put mustard on myself later in case someone doesn't like it. So now roll up the dough tightly, making it one long log. Cut the ends off. Then slice 1-2 inches wide down the whole roll. They should look like pin wheels. Place on a cookie sheet to bake. Bake 400 degrees for about 30 or more minutes. These won't puff as much as the above recipe, but they will puff a little. Look for the pastry to be cooked and crisp. Serve with a fruit salad and mustard to dip!
Jul 25, 2008
1 12oz jar of CHILI SAUCE (look in the salad dressing isle)
1 16oz of GRAPE JELLY
1 2lb bag of meatballs
Combine chili sauce and jelly in either a pot on the stove or a slow cooker. Melt the two together, stirring frequently (slow cooker on high). Add meatballs. If cooking in a slow cooker, let them simmer on LOW all day if you can. They are the best this way. But you don't have to do this. You can cook them on the stove (covered) on low to med-low until the meatballs are heated all the way through. I serve over rice for dinner, but I also just EAT THEM because they are so good. You choose.
This Chicken and Broccoli Bake is a Rachael Original, so please give credit where credit is due :^)
1 breast of chicken, cut into about 1-2 inch chunks
1/2 bag of broccoli (16oz bag) thawed and water drained. don't stress over this. Use as much broccoli as you want.
1 can cream of chicken condensed soup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 sleeve of butter crackers
1 stick of butter
In a 9x9 (For a 9x13 double the recipe) casserole dish place the chicken in the bottom. Cover with a layer of broccoli. In a separate bowl, mix soup and cheese. Spread over top of chicken and broccoli. Melt butter in a microwave safe dish. Crush crackers (in the sleeve is the easiest - kids like to have this job). Mix crackers and butter. Sprinkle on top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes until it bubbles and the chicken is cooked through. Yum! Serves 2-4.