Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tortilla Soup, take one

My friend Marci brought her yummy tortilla soup to our Relief Society Super Saturday. I found the recipe on her menu blog and gave it a whirl. I'm a big fan. I really like that she uses canned chicken so there's minimal cooking, but there are enough spices to mask that unmistakable canned chicken flavor.

1 T. olive oil
1 (12.5 oz.) can chicken (do NOT drain)
1/2 c. finely diced onion
2 garlic cloves
1 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. chili powder
1/4 t. ground pepper
(I use "heaping" teaspoons when measuring the spices)
1 (14 ½ oz.) can chicken broth
1 (15 ¼ oz.) can corn kernels (do NOT drain)
1 (15 oz.) can black beans (rinse and drain)
1 (14 ½ oz.) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes (cut up)
tortilla strips (see below)
fresh cilantro
diced avocado
sour cream

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-Heat oil in pan over medium heat and sautee onion and garlic.
-Add can of chicken and spices (cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper).
-Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
-Stir in broth, undrained corn, black beans and tomatoes.
(I like a little extra broth in my finished soup so I add some extra water, maybe 1/4-1/3 cup)
-Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
-Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 min.

While the soup simmers you can prepare the tortilla strips (or if you are pressed for time, just crush tortilla chips):
Using kitchen scissors (there is probably an actual name for them) cut tortillas into thin strips (I cut 3 at a time). Spread evenly in a lightly greased 9x13 dish.

Bake them in oven approx 4 minutes then stir them around and bake 3 more.

I often put them under the broiler for a couple minutes at the end to make them golden brown. Let them cool and harden, then serve on top of the soup with your other favorite toppings.

*tortilla strip photos from On My Menu

Friday, October 9, 2009

Autumn Sausage Casserole

I found a link to a blog of someone who used her slow cooker for one year. She had this recipe on there. We loved it. It's just what fall tastes like. I think it even looks like an autumn dish.

1 lb. sausage
1 large or 2 small apples, chopped (no need to peel)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped carrot
3 cups already cooked long grain rice
1/2 cup raisins
1 tbl. parsley
1 tbl. brown sugar
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup chicken broth or water (I used water)

Use a 4 quart crock pot. If using uncooked sausage, brown and drain before putting it into the crock pot. Put all the ingredients in the crock pot, stir well. Cover and cook on low 5-7 hours or on high 3-4.

We thought it would be good with potatoes added to it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Slow Cooker Zesty Barbeque Chicken

6 frozen, skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 (12 0z) barbeque sauce
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce

Place chicken in slow cooker. In a bowl, mix barbeque sauce, salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on high 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.

We added a bit of corn starch to the sauce after it was cooked. It was a bit running for our taste. The sauce is really good on baked potatoes also.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Layered Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Photo and recipe originally from The Sisters Cafe

I usually have another layered bean casserole I make, but I liked this one a lot more.

Layered Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

2 cups diced chicken breast meat
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
2 Tb chopped fresh cilantro
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (4.5 oz) can diced green chili peppers, drained
1 (10 oz) can red enchilada sauce – MILD
8 (6 inch) corn tortillas
2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 (8 oz) container sour cream

1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and spray with vegetable cooking spray.
3. Sauté chicken with cumin and coriander until chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a medium bowl.
4. Stir in the cilantro, black beans, and green chili peppers.
5. Spread half of the enchilada sauce over the bottom of an 11x7 inch baking dish. Place 4 tortillas over the sauce, overlapping if necessary. Spoon half of the chicken mixture over the tortillas, and sprinkle with half of the cheese and half of the sour cream.
6. Spoon the remaining enchilada sauce over the cheese, and make another layer of tortillas. (I put the tortillas down, spread on the sour cream and then added the rest of the enchilada sauce)
7. Layer the remaining chicken mixture over the tortillas.
8. Cover dish with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven.
9. Remove the cover, and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and dot with sour cream. (See step 6) Continue cooking, uncovered, for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese melts.
10. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Doug's baked apples

2 granny smith apples
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp coriander
2 cinnamon sticks

Core and cut the apples into slices. Sprinkle all the sugar and coriander over the apples. Put the cinnamon sticks in the bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes, until apples are soft but not liquified. Dribble the sauce that has formed at the bottom of the bowl over the slices and eat with a spoon.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bruschetta 'n Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1-1/4 cups KRAFT Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
8 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (2 lb.)
1/3 cup KRAFT Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan Dressing

HEAT oven to 350ºF.
MIX tomatoes, 1/2 cup cheese and basil in medium bowl. Add stuffing mix; stir just until moistened.
PLACE 2 chicken breasts in large freezer-weight resealable plastic bag. Pound with meat mallet or side of heavy can until chicken is 1/4 inch thick. Remove from bag; place, top-sides down, on cutting board. Repeat with remaining chicken. Spread chicken with stuffing mixture. Starting at 1 narrow end, tightly roll up each breast. Place, seam-sides down, in 13x9-inch baking dish. Drizzle with dressing.
BAKE 40 min. or until chicken is done (165°F). Sprinkle with remaining cheese; bake 5 min. or until melted.

I got this from Kraft. I used our toaster oven and just did four at a time. I only had really big chicken breasts so I cut them in half lengthwise and only had to use a total of 4 chicken breasts.

Farmer's Market Vegetarian Quesadillas

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup chopped yellow squash
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil cooking spray
6 (9 inch) whole wheat tortillas
1 1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

In a large nonstick pan, cook red pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, onion, and mushrooms in olive oil over medium to medium-high heat for about 7 minutes, or until just tender. Remove vegetables from pan.
Coat the same pan with cooking spray, and place one tortilla in pan. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheese evenly over tortilla, and layer 3/4 cup of the vegetable mixture over the cheese. Sprinkle another 1/8 cup of cheese on the vegetables, and top with a second tortilla. Cook until golden on both sides, for approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove quesadilla from pan, and repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut each quesadilla into 8 triangles with a pizza cutter. Serve hot.

We used my griddle for the whole thing and used regular tortillas in stead of whole wheat, and they turned out great. I'm sure you could add other kinds of veggies and it would be just as good.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Roasted Veggies

My new favorite way to eat vegetables is to roast them. I've used this method with sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, broccoli, zucchini, and asparagus. I really like it with broccoli and asparagus. It's like eating green french fries.

1) Preheat the oven to 400-425 (lower for green veggies, higher for starchy ones)
2)Chop up your veggies or trim the ends off the asparagus stalks
3) Drizzle with olive oil
4) Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and minced fresh garlic (1-4 cloves, depending on the volume of veggies you're working with)
5) Toss it all together till it's well coated
6) Place in oven for 10-20 minutes until veggies are browned and a little crispy, turning once or twice while cooking

Last night I made broiled steaks (see previous recipe) and just put the asparagus on the broiler pan with the steak. Even at the higher heat, they did just fine. Experiment with all your veggies! Make thin slices of sweet potato for home-made fries. Try sprinkling with some parmesan cheese or lemon rind/juice after cooking.

Steak with the broiler

Preheat the broiler. Season the steaks with salt and pepper, and place on a rack at least 2 to 3 inches below the heat source. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare, and about 7 minutes per side for medium, turning them once. About 1 minute before removing the steaks from the broiler, place a round or pat of butter on top of each steak and let melt.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Hazelnut Gelato--not for the faint of heart

(adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook, 2000)

Makes about 1 quart

2 cups shelled hazelnuts (8 ounces)

3 cups milk

5 large egg yolks

2/3 cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1 T. hazelnut liqueur, optional

Preheat oven to 350° F. Toast nuts in a single even layer on baking sheet until the skins are split, about 8-10 minutes. [don’t wait until you can smell them a lot, they’ll be burned about 3 seconds later.] Rub the warm nuts with a clean kitchen towel to remove the brown skins. [this is fairly laborious but you’ll remember how worth it all the work was when you take your first bite.] Return to pan; toast until fragrant and golden brown, about one minute more. Let cool completely, grind coarsely [in food processor] or chop finely [with a knife].

In a medium sauce pan, heat milk and chopped nuts. Bring to a gentle boil, cover, and remove from heat. Let steep at room temperature for 2 hours. Pass through a cheesecloth-lined strainer, pressing hard on solids and reserve milk. Discard solids [or if you can’t bear to, they can be used for a few ingenious things—call me, I’ll fill you in].

Combine egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat at medium-high speed until very thick and pale yellow, about five minutes. Meanwhile, return milk to a simmer.

Prepare an ice-water bath. Whisking constantly, add half the milk to the egg yolk mixture to temper it. Stir egg mixture into milk in sauce pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. [this can be a tricky thing to do—lots of good cookbooks will describe better what kinds of tests you can do to determine the doneness of a custard if the spoon test is not clear to you].

Remove from heat and immediately stir in cream and hazelnut liqueur, if using [I have tried the hazelnut syrup made for using in lattes—it’s pretty good but not strictly necessary]. Pass mixture through a fine sieve [to remove any possible scrambled egg bits] into a medium bowl set over the ice bath to chill. Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions [or follow David’s great instructions for liquid nitrogen ice cream]. Freeze in a plastic container up to one week [if it lasts that long].

Pistachio variation: cover and bring a sauce pan of water to boil. Add pistachios and cook 30 seconds. Remove from heat and drain. When cool enough to handle, remove outer skins and discard. Toast in 350° F oven until aromatic, about 5 minutes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Shrimp, Avocado, and Mango Salsa Quesadillas

I found this book at the Amherst Library while I was home in March. I scanned several pages of it and have tried two or three of the recipes. They have been unusual mixtures of textures and flavors and I've been enjoying it. This is a favorite that we've had a couple times now. If you like this, you should definitely find the book and try some of his others.

1 small, ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 lb large shrimp (about 12) peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 small ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4" dice [We use a whole small mango]
2 scallions (white and light green parts), finely chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 All-Purpose flatbreads (page 22 of his book) or 8-inch flour tortillas [We use 6 inch tortillas and with those this recipe makes 4-5 quesadillas]
2 oz Monterey Jack cheese, grated (about 3/4 C)

  • Heat a panini or sandwich press according to instructions [We only have a small George Foreman grill and that works fine for these or other paninis]
  • Place avocado in a small bowl and sprinkle with 1 tsp lime juice. Set aside.
  • Place shrimp in a bowl and add olive oil and salt. Toss to coat. Arrange them on the press and cook until pink and just cooked through (2-3 min)
  • Carefully remove them and set aside. When cool enough to handle, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Place mango, scallions, cilantro, pepper flakes, and remaining 1 Tbsp lime juice into a bowl and toss to combine.
  • Arrange the avocado in one half of each flatbread. Arrange the shrimp on top of the avocado. Spoon the mango salsa on top of the shrimp. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Fold the flatbreads over.
  • Put the sandwiches on the press, pull the top down and cook until browned and crisp, 3 to 6 min. Remove from press and serve immediately.

Pad Thai-- Gluten Free

I found this recipe at my friend Marci's dinner blog: On My Menu. She got it from Kill.The.Gluten blog and tweaked it. I like her additions (in italics) and have added my own (*starred*). The ease and deliciousness of this dinner have made it a regular at our house. The photo is from Marci who takes excellent pictures of all her dinners.

1 box Original Pad Thai
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin---season with 1/2 t. each pepper, garlic salt, onion salt and 1 t. curry---*We have used either 1 lb shrimp or a mixture of shrimp and chicken. The shrimp makes it oh so rich.*
3 Tbsp oil, divided---I use 1/2 sesame oil, 1/2 canola or veggie oil---*I used peanut oil*
1 egg, scrambled (we like 2)
2 green onions, sliced
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 lime...optional (I forgot tonight and it still tasted great)
2 Tbsp peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. shredded carrots

- Boil 4 cups water. Add the noodles and remove from heat. Let the noodles soak for about 5-8 minutes, then drain and run under cold water.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil. Add egg(s) and cook until done. Remove the egg, chop, and set aside.
- Add the other 2 Tbsp oil and heat. Add the chicken (and carrots) to the skillet, cooking until just done, about 3-5 minutes. *If you're using shrimp, stir fry it 2-3 min on each side until it's done, then remove until the end. If you over cook them, they'll be rubbery*
-Add the noodles and the sauce packet. Stir fry for a few minutes, or until the noodles are done, adding water if necessary to keep them from sticking to the skillet.
- Add the egg, green onions, cilantro, and squeeze the juice from the lime over the top. Stir for 1 minute and remove from heat.
- Garnish with peanuts. (and some soy sauce if desired)

Homemade Power Bars

I like to make these as a snack for that late afternoon slump when I'm tempted to eat chocolate or ice cream but should really have some protein.

1 C peanut butter
1 C honey
1 C protein powder (I use soy)

Add 4 C of other stuff like:
quick oats
chocolate chips
flax seed
pumpkin seeds
sunflower seeds
golden raisins
dried fruit
chopped nuts

(My favorite sweet/tart mix is at least 3/4 C oats, chocolate chips, craisins, flax seed, sunflower seeds, and chopped almonds)

Stir until combined. Add more honey if you need things to stick together better. You can then roll this out and cut it into bars and wrap it in saran wrap. Or, roll it into balls and place in cupcake liners. Keep them in the fridge if you want them to last longer than a couple days.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Orange Shrimp with Fettuccine

We got this from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. I imagine it might taste good cold, too, but we had it hot.

12 oz fresh or frozen peeled and deveined shrimp
6 oz dried fettuccine or linguine (this was far too little for the amount of sauce produced, we thought, so we'd double it to 12 oz. next time)
1 red or green sweet pepper, cut into 3/4 in. squares
1 T cooking oil
1/2 tsp finely shredded orange peel
2/3 c. orange juice
1 T cornstarch
1 tsp chicken bouillon granules
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil (we just used olive oil)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground red pepper (all we had were red pepper flakes)
6 oz. frozen pea pods, thawed
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned

1. Thaw shrimp and peapods. Cook fettuccine for 8 to 10 min. or till tender but still firm. Drain well; keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook sweet pepper in hot oil for 1 to 2 minutes or till crisp-tener. Remove from skillet. Add shrimp to skillet; cook and stir about 2 minutes or till shrimp turn pink. Remove shrimp.

3. Combine orange peel, orange juice, cornstarch, bouillon, sesame oil, salt, and ground red pepper; add to skillet. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Retrun shrimp and sweet pepper to skillet; stir to coat. Gently stir in pea pods and orange sections; heat through. Serve shrimp mixture over fettuccine.

Doug's Recommended Cold Oriental Noodle Salad

From cooks.com
Says Doug: "This is a good food for summer, where you want cold foods. You cut the scrambled eggs and cucumbers into very thin strips and eat them with chilled noodles. Delicious!"

8 oz. dried somen noodles
1 tbsp. sesame seed oil
1 lb. shrimp, shelled & deveined
1 tsp. oil
1 egg, beaten
1 Japanese cucumber, thinly sliced
Oriental Dressing (see below)

Cook noodles in boiling water 3 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally; drain. Place noodles in a large bowl and toss lightly with sesame oil; cover and refrigerate. Cook shrimp in boiling water for 2 minutes. Place in ice water, then pat dry and refrigerate.

In a small skillet heat oil, pour in egg and make a thin sheet of scrambled egg. Cut into strips. Arrange noodles, shrimp, egg and cucumber on serving platter. Accompany with Oriental Dressing.


1/4 c. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. shoyu
4 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp. minced ginger
1/2 tsp. minced garlic

Combine all ingredients; mix well. Makes 1/2 cup.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Chocolate Apple Juice

Get good apple juice, the kind that tastes like cider. Mix in Nesquik.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lone Star Steakhouse Black Bean Soup

2 15 ounce cans black beans
1/4 cup diced red onions
2 teaspoons chopped pickled jalapeno slices
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cider or wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder

4 teaspoons chopped red onion
6-8 jalapeno slices
1 tablespoon sour cream

Pour the canned beans along with the liquid into a medium saucepan. Add the remaining soup ingredients and mix. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 1 hour, adding water if necessary or until it's as thick as you like.

This makes enough for 2 generous servings, but we made a rice dish to go with it and it fed us for two days. It's also easy to double.

The soup itself isn't too spicy. So if you don't like things too hot, then don't garnish with jalapenos. The sour cream will calm down anything that's too hot for your liking. The recipe suggests adding fresh cilantro while simmering and/or as a garnish. You could also garnish with shredded cheese.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Basic Bread

BreadDoubleDinner RollsCinnamon Rolls
2 Cups lukewarm Water4""
1/2 Cup Sugar1"3/4
2 TB Yeast2"3 Tb when doubled
1/4 Cup Oil1/21/2"
2 t Salt4""
1 Egg222
3 Cups Flour6""

Add 4 more cups flour while kneading
Mix together 2 C water, 1/2 C sugar, 2 Tb Yeast, 3 C flour to make sponge.
Let it raise.
Next add butter, then eggs.
Add 2 C flour
Put 1 C flour on counter
Dump dough on flour
Put 1 C flour on wet dough

Pepperoni Rolls use Mozzerella Cheese and Pepperoni
Cinnamon Rolls use Butter, Cinnamon and Sugar

This doesn't have any info about how long to raise, how hot to bake and how long. Maybe Mom can put that in the comments.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Puffy Crusted Chicken Pot Pie

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 45 min
Serves 8

2.5 cups of cooked, shredded chicken. Canned works fine, but microwaving the chicken and putting it in the blender on a low speed a chunk at a time works great.
1 can of condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup of chicken broth
2 bags of frozen vegetables, 1 lb each (peas, carrots, corn, and green beans), thawed
Seasonings to taste (salt, pepper, whatever)

4 cups baking mix
1.5 cups milk
.5 cup shortening
Seasonings (it's fun to try different spice blends in different quadrants of the crust)

Put the filling straight into an ungreased 9x13 pan or casserole dish. Cut the crust ingredients together until lumpy and moist, then pour on top of the filling, doing as little actual spreading as possible, since messing with it could make what should be a thick, airy crust come out flat and hard.

Bake at 375F for 45 minutes.