Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thai Chicken Soup with Rice

I like my chicken soup to be a little on the creamy side - usually I get this result by adding a can of cream of chicken soup to the pot, but yesterday I happened to be out so I had to get creative. The only creamy anything I had in my pantry was a can of coconut milk - this is what I came up with:

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
3-4 carrots, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
2 cups chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons red thai curry
3-4 cups cooked rice (great way to use leftovers!)

Heat olive oil in large saucepan. Add onion, celery, carrots and saute until softening (you could add other vegetables here as well - maybe snow peas or broccoli) Add garlic and ginger and saute a few more minutes until aromatic. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Garnish with cilantro or fresh mint.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Corndog Muffins

These are part of my "fast food" collection. When I have time, I make a batch and throw them in the freezer. Then I can pull them out on those days when life is crazy and it's suddenly lunch time but I haven't even started to make anything. A few seconds in the microwave... cut up some fruit... and VOILA - Lunch!

I make these using my favorite cornbread recipe - Feel free to substitute yours if you like.

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 egg, slightly beaten
4 hot dogs, quartered and chopped

Heat oven to 425. In medium bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix well. Stir in milk, oil, and egg until just combined. Fold in hot dog pieces. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Yummy with ketchup or mustard frosting!

Pizza Muffins

These are part of my "fast food" collection. When I have time, I make a batch and throw them in the freezer. Then I can pull them out on those days when life is crazy and it's suddenly lunch time but I haven't even started to make anything. A few seconds in the microwave... cut up some fruit... and VOILA - Lunch!

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup chopped pizza meat (pepperoni, sausage, etc.)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, basil, oregano, onion flakes, and sugar. Mix in cheese and pizza meat. If you use pepperoni, either buy the small diced variety or chop it pretty finely. If you use sausage, be sure to cook it thoroughly and break it up - I like to throw it in my food processor after cooking to break it up in to little pieces. In a smaller bowl, beat the egg, then whisk in buttermilk. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Spoon batter into muffin cups until 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 15 minutes. Yummy with ketchup frosting!

PB&J Muffins

These are part of my "fast food" collection. When I have time, I make a batch and throw them in the freezer. Then I can pull them out on those days when life is crazy and it's suddenly lunch time but I haven't even started to make anything. A few seconds in the microwave... cut up some fruit... and VOILA - Lunch!

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup finely grated carrot
1/2 cup finely grated zucchini
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup canola oil
All-fruit preserves - your favorite flavor

Preheat oven to 400. If you use muffin papers or cook right in the muffin tin, spray them with nonstick cooking spray. I like to use the silicon muffin cups and have found that they don't usually need to be greased at all. In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With two knives or a pastry blender, cut in peanut butter until coarse crumbs form. Add milk, honey, carrot, zucchini, eggs, and oil. Stir just until ingredients are combined and moistened.

Spoon about 2 tablespoons batter into each muffin cup (about 1/2 full). Top with about 1 teaspoon fruit preserves (Do Not Use Jelly - it will melt all over the place). Cover with another tablespoon of batter. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Carrot Soup

I actually found this recipe on the back of a cracker box - It looked simple and yummy so I set it aside to try at a later date. Last night, I didn't feel like cooking at all so this was perfect. I have to admit that I was surprised at how well it turned out. My kids probably would have liked it more if it was smoother in texture, but since my blender died I had to puree it with an immersion blender which leaves it with more chunks.

1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
1 lb. carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup sour cream

Cook and stir onion and salad dressing in a large saucepan over medium-high heat for 5 minutes until onion is tender. Add carrots, broth, and cumin; mix well. Cook 10 minutes or until carrots are tender, stirring frequently

Pour into blender container; cover. Blend until pureed. Add sour cream; cover. Blend until smooth. Pour into bowls and garnish with sour cream.

I should note that I used half chicken broth and half veggie broth when I made this. My veggie broth is the reserved liquid that I freeze after cooking beans. This particular batch of beans I made with jalepenos so the broth had a bit of a kick to it. The end result was a creamy, sweet soup with a bit of a zing! Delicious, but it might be hard to recreate!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Zucchini Corn Cakes

I needed to use up some fresh corn so I dug around online and found a recipe for corn fritters which I adapted to make these yummy corn cakes. My kids loved them dipped in ranch or ketchup, but Andrew and I preferred them with a little sour cream and peach chipotle salsa or Harry & David's Charred Pineapple Relish!

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter melted
2 cups grated zucchini
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels

In a large bowl, stir together flours, baking powder, cumin, sugar, salt, and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and butter. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir in zucchini and corn. Heat a large skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Pour batter in 1 tablespoon portions onto griddle and cook as you would pancakes.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Rosemary Cheese w/ Fig Preserves

I made this last year for our Jerusalem dinner and it was sooo yummy. I think it will be a permanent addition to our Christmas menu!

8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 oz goat cheese
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped finely
2 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp coarsely ground pepper

Mix all ingredients together until smooth, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 1 1/2 cup mold or souffle dish lined with plastic wrap. Cover and chill 2 hours.

Invert chilled cheese mixture onto a serving dish and discard plastic wrap. Spoon fig preserves over cheese. Garnish with rosemary sprigs. Serve with crackers, crostini, or pita bread.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fig Jam

Before we left my uncle's after the fish fry last weekend, he begged us to pick as many figs as we could carry from their very happy fig tree. We were happy to oblige and, while I really didn't think we had picked all that many figs, my mom and I ended up with enough to make 15 1/2 pints of fig jam! (Yes, those two flats of jars in the background are also filled with jam.) We used this recipe from Kraft, but you can also find great recipes on one of my favorite websites that gives information on how to can/freeze/preserve almost anything!

While some people aren't all that crazy about the flavor of figs, I love fig jam because it is so versatile... it's tasty in both sweet and savory dishes! In fact, I'll post my favorite way to use it as soon as I can find the recipe... it's the yummiest cracker spread you've ever tasted - especially if you have access to fresh rosemary!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Martian Cookies

In an attempt to use up a truckload of zucchini that we harvested during the five days that our friends were out of town, I've been trying just about every recipe I can find on Allrecipes that involves squash - and even adding it to some that don't. Some of the results have been better than others... this was one of the winners!

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick oats
1 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until soft. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. In a medium bowl, stir together flours, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture until well blended. With a spoon, stir in oats, zucchini, and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

The first time I made these, I forgot to add the oats and they were really good that way too!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Banana-Peanut Butter Cookies

I found this recipe on a bag of bananas and was intrigued... I've tried banana cookies before and they were always just kind of bland. These were a pleasant surprise - they really do taste like those sandwiches you ate as a kid ;) And they're even better if you add a few milk chocolate chips.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup mashed banana
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup shortening or margarine
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375. Spray baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray or use silicone mat. Combine flour and baking soda in a small bowl. In a medium mixing bowl, beat together banana, brown sugar, shortening, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture until a dough forms. Use a small cookie scoop to place dough on cookie sheets and flatten slightly using a fork or glass (greased and floured). Bake for about 10 minutes and remove to wire rack to cool completely.

*Note: These cookies are similar to pumpkin cookies in that they taste better when they are completely cool - the flavors are somewhat subtle and become stronger as the cookie cools.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Peanut Butter Pancakes

A lot of pancake recipes claim to cook up light and fluffy... only to fall far short of the mark. This is the first recipe I've found that actually lives up to expectations. And, as an added bonus, they taste marvelous! We're fans of peanut butter on pancakes around here - but that can get kind of messy with the kids, so these were a fabulous find... all the peanut butter taste without the mess! Try them. Tonight.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Deluxe Rice Krispie Treats

As a child, I always loved Rice Krispie Treats... but as an adult, they just began to taste kind of meh... you know, nothing to get too excited about - other than the fact that they are fast and easy to make. Then I found this recipe over on smitten kitchen. Mmmm... this is what rice krispie treats are meant to be when they grow up. I don't think I'll ever be able to make them the old-fashioned way again!

For those of you who might balk at the amount of butter used... I have tried it with just 1/2 stick of butter instead of a whole stick and they are still really good, if not quite as rich. In fact, here are the amounts I usually use - this makes thick treats in a 9x13 pan.
1 stick butter
6 cups mini marshmallows
9 cups rice krispies
1/4 tsp sea salt

You can see that I didn't quite double the recipe, this way, there's just a little extra butter and since it seems like everyone sells mini marshmallows in a 16 oz. bag these days, it just makes more sense to time and a half the recipe.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunrise Muffins

This recipe is the result of me trying to find a way to use up some orange marmalade. I ended up combining a couple of different recipes and making a few additions to come up with these - a great power muffin to get you started in the morning!

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup toasted wheat germ
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 beaten egg
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried apricot, chopped
1/2 cup orange marmalade

Lightly coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a medium bowl, combine the flours, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Make a well in the flour mixture.

In a small bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk, brown sugar, and oil. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture all at once. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Gently fold raisins, apricots, and carrots into batter.

Spoon one tablespoon batter into each muffin cup. Make a small well in the batter in each cup and place 1/2 teaspoon orange marmalade into each well. Cover marmalade with another tablespoon of batter (should fill muffin cups 3/4 full).

Bake muffins for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

I thought these were great, but next time I'll probably add a little ginger to give them some more zing - either 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spicy Pinto Beans

We had company over for dinner the other night and since I didn't have a lot of time to stand slaving over a hot stove, I put my appliances to work for me. The menu was Cafe Rio Salad so I set my crock pot to work on the pork, my rice cooker bubbled away with the rice, and my newest kitchen prize....

...this lovely pressure cooker produced a lovely pot of pinto beans. I can never remember to soak beans overnight, so this has become one of my favorite appliances! Here is the recipe we love:

2 cups dried pinto beans
5 cups water
2 teaspoons boullion
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos or 1 Tablespoon chopped jalapeno
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped

If you are using a pressure cooker, follow the directions for your cooker. Otherwise, soak your beans the night before. Then, combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until beans are tender (about 1 1/2 hours), adding more liquid if necessary.

Note: I like to add 1 tsp minced ginger to the pot while cooking as well. I find that it helps mitigate the gassiness of the beans and it doesn't affect the flavor at all.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

My sister shared this wonderful recipe with me for my birthday. It sounds kind of weird, but tastes delicious! For those of you who have given up chocolate mousse because it has too much fat or contains raw eggs and dairy... you need suffer no more! This was super creamy and very rich! Even my kids thought it was great! You'll be amazed by the secret ingredient...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Spanish Lentils

I have been searching for years for a lentil recipe that tastes like what we were served while missionaries in the Canary Islands. And I finally found this recipe over on smitten kitchen. Aaahhh... the lentils, the tomatoes, the carrots, the thyme - and to finish it off... a splash of good red wine vinegar. It tasted just as good as I remembered, although perhaps slightly healthier. If you want to make it really authentic, add sliced Spanish chorizo when you add the lentils.

(Note: Spanish chorizo is NOT the same as Mexican chorizo. Spanish chorizo is cured and sold like salami - you can usually find it at a gourmet grocery store like Whole Foods or Central Market.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sweet Potato Fries

The following recipe is highly addictive!

My kids won't touch mashed sweet potatoes (crazy), but they literally inhale these sweet potato fries. I'm pretty sure you will too... I may never make sweet potatoes any other way again.

2 sweet potatoes
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ginger
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Heat oven to 400F. Wash the sweet potatoes really well - you will not be peeling them so make sure you scrub all that dirt off. Slice the potatoes into sticks, wedges, slices, or however you like to eat your "french fried" potatoes. The side on the pan will caramelize somewhat so you may not want to much surface area. I recommend sticks about 1/4 wide. Mix all the spices and brown sugar together in a small bowl. Toss the potatoes with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the spice mix (I like to use a produce bag so I can shake them up really well and get them coated evenly). Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake 20-40 minutes depending on the thickness. The single layer is important if you want crispy fries as sweet potatoes will get soggy if they are piled on top of each other. Fries are done when soft all the way through - allow to cool and enjoy. (My kids like them with ketchup, but they taste great on their own.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Alice Waters' Cauliflower Soup

After years of wondering how anyone could like cauliflower, I now have several recipes in my repertoire the use the strange little vegetable - and two of them happen to be soups. I found this recipe by Alice Waters over on Jane Spice and tried it the other night - and liked it even better than the creamy Pioneer Woman version.

All the spices in this soup make it ideal for a cold winter night, alongside a salad and some nice crusty bread. I used an immersion blender to get the consistency where I wanted it - with just a few chunks of cauliflower here and there and the rest thickening the broth. I didn't have coriander seed so I just substituted 1/4 teaspoon coriander - I imagine you could do the same with the cumin. I also don't like the taste of cooked cilantro so I left that out... and if you decide to use it as a garnish, I recommend mincing it very finely otherwise the texture clashes with the creaminess of the cauliflower. Don't forget the splash of lime juice - it will make all those spices jump! Very yummy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

CranApple Acorn Squash

I first tried this recipe Christmas morning the first year I was married. We thoroughly enjoyed it and then I promptly forgot about it - until Andrew reminded me this year. So I dusted off the recipe and tried it again. This time it tasted even better!

2 medium acorn squash (about 1 lb. each)
2 cups finely chopped peeled apple
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw)
1/4 cup raisins
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cut each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds. Trim a small piece off the bottom of each squash half, if necessary, to allow the squash to sit upright. Combine the apples, cranberries, raisins, brown sugar, and pecans in a medium sized bowl and stir to mix well. Divide the mixture among the squash shells and sprinkle a pinch of nutmeg over each. Coat a shallow baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and arrange the stuffed shells in the dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes or until the squash are tender. Serve hot.

I think the first time I made this I used craisins instead of cranberries and I will say that it is MUCH better with the cranberries - not quite so sweet and the flavors pop a lot more. Also, this time I drizzled a little pure maple syrup over the squash just before serving which put it over the top!