Monday, December 27, 2010

Tortellini Salad

I had something like this at a ward potluck and recreated it at home

Romaine lettuce
Pepperoni or pepperocini
Black olives
Fresh mozzarella (chopped up or made in little balls)
cooked cheese tortellini
chopped red bell pepper
cherry tomatoes

Really good italian dressing

Toss it all and eat. I liked that the tortellinis were still warm.

Roasted Pork Chops with Butternut Squash and Kale

Another hugely satisfying dish with flavors we don't usually have. I loved the kale and didn't expect to.

Serves 4| Hands-On Time: 30m | Total Time: 55m
1 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds)—peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1⁄2-inch pieces
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves (I used dried sage)
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
4 bone-in pork chops (each 1 inch thick; about 2 pounds total)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large bunch kale, thick ribs removed and leaves roughly chopped (about 14 cups)

1.Heat oven to 400° F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with the sage, 1 tablespoon of the oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Roast, tossing once, until tender, 30 to 35 minutes.
2.When the squash has cooked for 20 minutes, heat 1 teaspoon of the remaining oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season the pork with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook until browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side.
3.Transfer the pork to the baking sheet with the squash and roast until the pork is cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes more.
4.Meanwhile, return the skillet to medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the kale, ¼ cup water, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, tossing the kale and scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the skillet, until the kale is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Serve with the pork and squash.

Seafood Paella

One of the best things we've eaten in weeks. Easy to prepare and different from our usual fare.

I would recommend this in the slow cooker. It was really flavorful that way and I don't think it would be as flavorful with a shorter cooking time.

Also, note that it is 5 TOTAL hours of cooking time, not 4.

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe 6 servings

Nonstick cooking spray
3/4 cup chopped assorted colored sweet peppers (I used about twice this much)
1/2 cup chopped onion
(I also added some diced carrots)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked regular brown rice
1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
12 oz. fresh or frozen shrimp in shells, thawed, peeled, deveined, and halved lengthwise
12 oz. tilapia fillets, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas

1. Coat a 3-1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray; add peppers, onion, and garlic and set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl combine the broth, rice, thyme, crushed red pepper, and turmeric. Microwave on 100% power (high) for 4 minutes or until just boiling. Pour over vegetables in cooker.

2. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 4 hours. Stir in shrimp, tilapia, and peas. Cover; cook 45 minutes more, stirring once. Remove cooker from liner; let stand, covered, for 10 minutes (fish should flake, shrimp should be opaque, and rice should be tender). Makes 6 servings.

Stovetop Method: In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add sweet peppers, onion, and garlic. Cook and stir for 4 minutes or until tender. Stir in crushed red pepper, turmeric and rice. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Add chicken broth and thyme; bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Add shrimp, tilapia, and peas. Cover and cook for 10 minutes more or until rice is tender, shrimp are opaque, and fish flakes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.

Curried Chicken Legs with Carrots, Rice, and Lime

Serves 4

4 whole chicken legs (drumsticks and thighs), about 3 pounds total
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 pounds carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths, halved lengthwise if thick
1 cup brown or white basmati rice
2 limes, zest slivered and juice squeezed
1.Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place chicken in the center of a large rimmed baking sheet; season with curry powder, salt, and pepper. Scatter carrots around chicken. Roast, occasionally brushing chicken and tossing carrots with pan drippings, until chicken is cooked through, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of thigh (avoiding bone) registers 165 degrees, 35 to 45 minutes.
2.Meanwhile, in a small saucepan with a lid, bring 2 cups water to a boil; season with salt and pepper. Add rice; return to a boil. Stir, and reduce heat to low. Cover, and simmer 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and scatter lime zest over rice. Cover pan, and let steam 5 to 10 minutes.
3.Transfer chicken to a plate. Sprinkle lime juice over carrots (still on hot baking sheet); toss, scraping up and incorporating any browned bits. Fluff rice gently with a fork; serve with chicken and carrots.

Read more at Curried Chicken Legs with Carrots, Rice, and Lime - Martha Stewart Recipes

Cheese Burgers

Adapted from Michael David, Comme Ça, Los Angeles

Time: 20 minutes, plus 1 to 2 hours’ chilling

2 pounds ground beef chuck, 80 percent lean

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/2 tablespoon ketchup

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Pinch of chili powder

1 cup finely shredded iceberg lettuce

4 light brioche buns (see recipe) or other large hamburger buns, split

1/4 pound thinly sliced medium-sharp Cheddar cheese

4 thin onion slices.

1. Lightly shape meat into 4 4-by-1-inch patties, and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.

2. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a hot fire on a grill, or heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle each burger all over with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and season generously with black pepper. Sear burgers on grill or in skillet for 2 minutes on each side. Transfer burgers to a broiler pan and bake for 4 minutes for medium-rare. Remove pan from oven. Position an oven rack closest to broiler element, and heat broiler to high.

3. In a bowl, whisk mayonnaise with ketchup, cayenne and chili powder, and season with salt and black pepper. Add lettuce and stir to coat. Toast buns. Top burgers with Cheddar and broil until cheese melts, about 30 seconds. Set burgers on bottom buns and top with lettuce and onion slices. Cover with top bun and serve, whole or cut in half.

Yield: 4 to 8 servings.


The basic cheesecake recipe I use. Nothin fancy.

A package of Oreos. Off-brand cheap Oreos will work just fine.
1/2 stick of margarine or butter.
2 tbs water.

24 oz. of cream cheese. It needs to be the kind in the cardboard
boxes, not the tub. I'm pretty sure that that's 3 of the little boxes.
It has to sit out for at least 30 minutes before it starts to bake.

break and beat briefly

2 eggs
8 oz. sour cream (half a normal-size package)
1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

The equivalent of a bag of fun-size Snickers. It can be whatever
flavor you want, really.

Glaze. This is optional. It's good, but you don't have to have it.
Totally your call.
1 cup of chocolate chips
2 tbsp. butter
5 oz. whipping cream.

350 degrees for 1 hour

Stuffed Pizza Bites

1 roll refrigerated pizza dough* (or make your own)
marinara/pizza sauce (click here to make your own)
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 T olive oil or melted butter
1/2 t garlic powder
1 t dried Italian seasoning
mozzerella cheese
Pizza toppings of your choice: ie, ham and pineapple, pepperoni slices, sausage, etc.

*You can use regular pizza dough, or thin crust. I used thin crust when taking these pictures.

Preheat oven to heat specified on pizza dough package. Usually it's 400 degrees. If you make your own dough, 400 is usually a good heat as well.

Unroll your pizza dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll the dough so it's about 12" by 8". You're going to want to cut it into 24 squares, so just eyeball it if you need to. Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 24 squares (bet ya didn't see that one comin' did ya?)

Place cheese and desired toppings on each square. (Note that you're not putting the marinara sauce on the dough- it's for dipping after) You guys are smart, right? Just eyeball how much. You just need to be able to enclose the toppings in the dough so keep that in mind. For these ones pictured I used a teaspoon each of cheese, canadian bacon, and pineapple.

When all of your dough squares have cheese and toppings on them, carefully lift up each square and wrap the dough around the toppings. Pinch to make sure each ball is sealed shut and then place them seam side down in a lightly sprayed pie pan (or similar sized dish).

Brush the tops of the dough balls with olive oil or melted butter (I've used both and there's not much difference in result) and then sprinkle with the garlic and Italian seasoning and top with Parmesan cheese. (In lieu of the Parmesan, garlic, and Italian seasoning you could substitute this garlic bread seasoning.)

Cook them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Keep an eye on them! Doughs vary, so I'd check them after even 10 minutes.

Serve warm with warmed marinara sauce on the side for dipping.

The outsides are like garlic bread and the insides are full of oozing cheese. This might just be a perfect food.

Chicken Enchiladas

What I use when someone in the ward needs a meal

Chicken Enchiladas

8-10 Flour Tortillas
2 (9oz) cans of Enchilada sauce
1/2 lb. Cheddar Cheese grated
1/2 lb. Monterey Jack grated
1/3 cup Green Onions chopped
1/3 cup Black Olives
1/4 cup Cilantro finely chopped
4 Chicken Breasts cooked and shredded
1 large spoonful of Sour cream

Mix cheeses, olives, green onions, cilantro, chicken, sour cream and some of enchilada sauce together in a large bowl. In a shallow dish (pie plate) pour the remaining enchilada sauce and dip tortillas in sauce and fill with filling; wrap up. Place enchiladas in 9x13 pan, top with any remaining sauce and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Spicy Molasses Cookies

My new favorite Christmas cookie exchange standby

•1 cup Sugar
•¾ cups Crisco (vegetable Shortening)
•¼ cups Molasses
•1 whole Egg
•2 cups Flour
•2-½ teaspoons Baking Soda
•1 teaspoon Cinnamon
•1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
•½ teaspoons Ground Cloves
•¼ teaspoons Ground Cardamom
•¼ teaspoons Salt
Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix sugar, shortening, molasses, and egg together until well combined. Dump in dry ingredients, stirring dry ingredients together lightly. Mix together until dough is combined.

In your hands roll dough into walnut-sized balls, then generously coat each ball with sugar. Place balls on a baking sheet and bake for 9 to 11 minutes, allowing to bake for about a minute after cookies begin to crack.

Remove cookies from baking sheet and allow to cool…though these are delicious while still warm.

Fun variation: drizzle melted white chocolate in decorative stripes over the top of each cookie. Allow to harden before serving. Or: dip half of each cookie in melted white chocolate. Yum.

Another fun variation: make sandwiches using two cookies and a scoop of cinnamon ice cream. Yikes.

Another really fun variation: eat all the cookies yourself, then hide all the evidence.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Belgian Waffle Cookies

This recipe is from Pat Rodgers. It's on the same page as the toffee in the yellow recipe book.

1 lb butter
2 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar
6 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
6 c flour

Plug in your waffle iron so it is pre-heating.

Cream the butter; add the sugars and cream some more. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat again. Sift the salt into the flour and add the flour to the creamed mixture. Only mix until the flour is all evenly distributed.

Drop spoonfuls of dough - about a tablespoon - onto the hot waffle iron far enough apart that they don't touch when you close the lid. I find that 4 or 5 fit on mine. Cook until lightly golden : this only takes a couple of minutes so stick around. It's OK to open and check. Flip finished cookies off the grill with a fork and place on a plate to cool.

When cool, put in airtight container. They'll keep for a month.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes

1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin (I add a few heaping spoonfuls more, maybe 1/4 cup)
1 egg
2 tbs oil
2 tbs vinegar
2 cups flour
3 tbs brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil, and vinegar. Combine in a separate bowl, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture and stir just enough to combine. Cook like normal pancakes.