Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Black and White Chocolate Bark

This is going to be a quick one because I'm afraid we haven't tried much that was new in the past 2 weeks--busy with the holidays.

Black and White Chocolate Bark

2 C white chocolate, chopped
1 C dark chocolate, chopped
3/4-1 cup of any kind of nut or dried fruit you'd like to top it with, I used slivered almonds

--Lay out a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet (or silpat).
--In a medium-sized microwave safe bowl, melt the white chocolate (heating in 30-60 second intervals and stirring frequently until smooth. Do NOT heat until it has melted in the microwave--either it will be too hot or burned). In a small-sized microwave safe bowl, melt the dark chocolate (same method as white chocolate).
--Pour the white chocolate onto the prepared parchment paper and spread out slightly. Drizzle the dark chocolate over the top and gently smooth the chocolate into an even layer. Chocolate will probably be somewhere around 8x8 inches.
--Sprinkle nuts and/or dried fruits on top of chocolate and place baking sheet in the refrigerator until chocolate is set.
--Break up into pieces before serving.

---My note: This was super easy to make and looks really pretty. I kind of swirled the white chocolate up into the dark chocolate, which made for a prettier look, rather than just one layer of chocolate on top of another. The almonds tasted really good with this, but the person whose recipe I used liked dried cranberries and pistachios, so go with whatever you like. Also, make sure you use good quality chocolate, stuff that tastes good. If you're going for chocolate chips, which I admit, in the quest for something really easy, I did, I would recommend Guittard chips--they taste good, and their white chips are pretty tasty, too. Make sure the white chocolate contains cocoa butter in it. Wrapped up in some pretty paper and ribbon, this also makes a tasty treat to give away.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Easy Sugar Cookies

OK guys, here it is. And sorry, no picture. This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite food blogs called Baking Bites. It was originally the Vampire Cookie recipe, but we just used it as a sugar cookie recipe. It's super easy, and even the dough tastes good. I think it's probably too sweet for frosting, but sprinkling some colored sugar or sprinkles on top is fun.

Easy Sugar Cookies

3/4 C butter, softened
1/2 C sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 C flour
1/4 tsp salt
Colored sugar or sprinkles, optional

-In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and extracts. Add flour and salt to the bowl and mix them into the butter-sugar mixture at low speed until dough is just combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
-Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
-Divide dough in half and keep the portion you are not using in the refrigerator.
-Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out fun shapes. Dust with sugar or sprinkles, if using, and lightly press into cookies.
-Place cookies on baking sheet, bake for about 10 minutes, until cookies are set.
-Cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

-My note: Not really sure exactly how much this is supposed to make. Maybe about 15-20 cookies. But the scraps re-roll easily to make more, and the cookies come out a little firm, but not hard and crunchy, which to me is what a cookie should be. And like I said, really easy to make.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Turkey Chili with White Beans

This week's recipe comes from my other favorite food magazine, Bon Appetit. And I promise, this one does have easy recipes, which is what this one is. If you're used to the kind that comes from a can, this one is a bit more soupy, but it tastes great, and is as easy as opening a few cans, really. You know it's good when Derk decides to take it to work the next day for lunch rather than eat out of the vending machine. ;)

1 T vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
1/4 C chili powder
2 bay leaves
1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes in juice
3 C beef broth
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
3 15-oz. cans of small white beans, rinsed, drained
Chopped red onion
Chopped fresh cilantro
Plain low-fat yogurt or light sour cream

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions; saute until light brown and tender, about 10 minutes. Add oregano and cumin; stir 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high. Add turkey; stir until no longer pink, breaking up with back of spoon. Stir in chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add tomatoes with juice, breaking up with back of spoon. Mix in broth and tomato sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add beans to chili and simmer until flavors blend, about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Before continuing, bring to simmer over medium-low heat.)

Ladle chili into bowls. Pass red onion, cilantro, and yogurt separately.
My note: We really liked this chili. I was reading some online reviews of the recipe and to cut down on the soupiness some people suggested using 2 C of broth, and some even liked it with vegetable rather than beef broth. Others also used tomato paste instead of tomato sauce.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Butternut Squash Soup

I'm trying an experiment, to post something new every Wednesday (like the newspapers). I almost didn't make it this week, but here it is.

Butternut Squash Soup

2 T butter
1 onion, chopped fine
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
5 C low-sodium chicken broth
2 sprigs of thyme
Pinch nutmeg
1/2 C heavy cream (milk might also work)
Salt and pepper

1. Melt the butter in large Dutch oven pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the squash, broth, thyme, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the squash is tender, 20-25 minutes.
2. Remove the thyme sprigs and puree the soup in batches in a blender (or food processor) until smooth.
3. Return the pureed soup to the pot. Stir in the cream. Bring to a brief simmer, then remove from the heat. If the soup seems too thick, thin it out with additional broth or water. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving. Sprinkle individual servings with more nutmeg if desired.

The soup can be prepared through step 2, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Reheat over low heat, adding additional water or broth to adjust the consistency, before proceeding with step 3.

My notes: This was a really pretty simple soup, easy to make and pretty tasty. Not quite what I'd call gourmet, but for a good butternut squash soup at home, this definitely hits the spot. It comes from one of my new favorite cookbooks for cooking just regular everyday, good food: The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. And peeling the squash with a vegetable peeler really does work.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing

This week's post, no surprise, is a Thanksgiving-themed recipe, and comes from Tyler Florence. This is our contribution to Thanksgiving dinner this year, and is a recipe we tried out last year. It's really tasty, easy to make, but doesn't make a whole lot, so consider at least doubling it.

Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing

2 T butter
2 onions, chopped
6 large cornmeal muffins, cubed
Handful fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 egg
1/4 C heavy cream
1/4 C chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes, or until soft and caramelized. Add sage and scrape into a large mixing bowl. Add the cornbread pieces, season well with salt and pepper, and give it a good toss until it's well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, cream, and stock, and pour that over the cornbread. Stir the stuffing together and stuff the cavity of the turkey. You could also spoon it into a buttered baking dish and put it in the oven along with the turkey. Bake until hot and crusty on top, about 30 minutes.

My note: When we last made this, it only took 20-25 minutes, so check on it. And you can add more chicken stock if it seems too dry.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Brown Sugar Brownies

This brownie recipe is one that has taunted me for about a year now. I kept wondering, what would the difference be between brown sugar and regular old sugar. Finally, I decided it was just time to try the recipe instead of letting it take up space, wondering if it would be good or not. That's the trouble, there are so many great recipes out there waiting to be tried, and for some reason or other I often find myself stuck in the mode of making the same old things over and over. So here's to a renewed commitment to try new things several times a month.

Brown Sugar Brownies

1 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C (1 stick) butter, softened
2 eggs
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 C flour
1 C coarsely chopped walnuts

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
-Grease an 8x8x2 pan.
-In large bowl beat sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at time. Beat in chocolate, then flour. Stir in nuts. Pour (scrape) into pan. Bake 25 minutes (I usually check to see if it's pulled away from the sides of the pan a bit and for the smell. Don't know why, but I can usually tell if something chocolate is done by the smell.) Cool in pan and cut into bars. Makes 24.

My note:

OK, so I followed the directions, but I think I've finally encountered my first recipe that needs to be adjusted for altitude. It came out of the oven with a nice size to it, but as it cooled it shrank and the brownies were about 1/2 inch tall. Maybe. So will I make these again? DEFINITELY! They taste amazing, more like a really good flourless chocolate cake than brownies. And the flavor is not too sweet, a nice dark chocolate flavor. I think they would taste great with chopped up hazelnuts, or maybe even almonds. But next time I'll try adjusting for altitude.

Oh, and my baking guru, Nick Malgieri, claims that if you want to double a recipe for an 8x8 pan, you can, just bake it in a 9x13 pan.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Strata, Seriously...Don't know why the previous post didn't work!

1/2 lb. sausage links 1/2 t. salt
8 slices white bread 1 T. fresh parsley or 1 t. dried parsley
3/4 lb. (3 cups) shredded Mozzarella cheese 8-10 large mushrooms (1/4 lb.)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten 3 T. butter, melted
1 1/2 cups milk

Cut sausage links into thirds; brown in small skillet; cook slowly until done then drain on paper towels. Butter 1-quart souffle dish or 9" X 9" baking dish. Cut the crusts from the bread; discard crusts. Cut bread into 1/2 inch cubes. Slice the mushrooms and saute' in 1 T. butter.

Arrange 1/3 bread cubes in bottom of baking dish. Sprinkle with a third of cheese; arrange sausage pieces over this. Add a layer of mushrooms. Top with 1/2 of remaining bread, sprinkle with 1/2 of remaining cheese. Top with rest of bread, pressing down slightly; add the rest of the cheese on top.

Combine eggs, milk, salt, and parsley; pour mixture slowly over the layers. Drizzle with 2 T. melted butter. Chill, covered, for several hours or overnight. Allow casserole to stand at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour before baking. Set casserole inside a 9" X 13" cake pan; pour water around the outside of the casserole to come up about half way up the sides. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until golden brown. Makes 9 servings.


My mom makes this every Christmas morning and it is crazy-good.  Not at ALL good for you (well, lots of protein!) but it tastes so yummy that Blair & I decided we would make it every General Conference Sunday.  By "we" I mean "me", so after calling my mom eight times (yes, that's true!) I dove in, and it was fun & easy!  I don't think I cooked it long enough, though because it was a tad soupy, but still yummy.  Here is the recipe:

Monday, September 1, 2008

Corn Salsa

The credit for this recipe really goes to Kati: she made it and brought it to a family party, then she gave a bunch of us her ward's cookbook which has the recipe in it. Derk and I made this (well, Derk did because we were running out of time) for a family thing this past weekend and I've had a few requests for the recipe. And so here it is, a really great and amazingly easy corn salsa recipe.

1 can of corn, drained
1 can of black beans rinsed and drained
1 can of pinto beans rinsed and drained
4 small tomatoes, diced
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
2 avocados, diced
1 packet Good Seasons Italian Season Mix

Mix Italian Season Mix as directed on package. In large bowl combine first 7 ingredients and mix together. Pour Italian Seasoning into the bowl and mix. Let sit for at least an hour then strain out the extra dressing so it's not so soupy. Serve with chips.

NOTES: Straining out the extra dressing isn't essential, but I'd recommend it. It does get really soupy. The other note is that this salsa is definitely best if eaten the day it's made. We had some left over, ate it the next day and it had lost a lot of what made it good--it mellowed out a little too much.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Grilled Fresh Corn

Grilled Fresh Corn in Spicy Lime Dressing, from Cuisine At Home, June 2008 issue.

Tonight Derk and I made this tasty little side dish to go with some honey-lime chicken we made. It comes from one of my very favorite food magazines called Cuisine At Home, and this was a real winner! It would be a nice side dish to any kind of Mexican or Southwestern kind of food. We decided that you could probably cook the corn on the stove if you don't have a grill, and we're not real big on super spicy flavor, so we omitted the jalapeno. We also used Cholula for the hot sauce/Tabasco, and that gave it just the right amount of kick. The flavors were really great, sweet corn with a nice spicy, kicky taste, with a hint of cilantro. We really liked it.

4 ears fresh sweet corn, shucked
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 T fresh lime juice
1 T hot sauce or Tabasco (or Cholula)
1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp. jalapeno, seeded, minced (we omitted this)
1/2 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Crumbled queso fresco (a Mexican cheese, could probably go with Pepper Jack or Monterrey Jack, but we also omitted this step too)

Preheat grill to medium.

Coat corn with oil and grill until lightly charred, turning frequently, 10-15 minutes.

Whisk lime juice, hot sauce, cilantro, jalapeno, sugar, salt, and pepper together in a bowl while corn grills. Allow corn to cool slightly, then slice kernels off cob and toss in dressing to coat. Garnish with cheese.

Makes 2 cups.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Buttermilk Pie

My aunt gave me this recipe and said she kind of combined 2 and got this one. So the directions aren't exactly specific but if I can make it and have it turn out, then I'm sure you all will do just fine with it.

2 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter softened at room temp.
1/3-1/2 cup flour depending on how eggy you like it. More flour, a little less eggy.
1/4 ts. salt
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 ts. vanilla (I put a little more because I love vanilla so much)
1 Tb. fresh lemon juice

This recipe is enough to fill one deep dish pie crust (frozen), but doesn't quite fill 2 regular pie crusts, so if doing 2, double the recipe.

In large bowl cream sugar and butter. Beat in flour and salt. Blend in eggs. Stir in buttermilk, vanilla, and lemon juice and pour into pie shells.

Put in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes
Then lower temp. to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 45 minutes or until set.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chicken Satay Stir-Fry with Orange Scented Jasmine Rice

So darn good! (Thanks Rachael Ray)

3 3/4 cups water
2 oranges, zested
2 cups jasmine rice, rinsed
2 tablespoons canola or safflower oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds chicken breast tenders, 2 packages, sliced on an angle into bite-size pieces
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium yellow skinned onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, quartered and sliced
1 cup shredded carrots, store bought, or 2 medium carrots cut into matchsticks
6 scallions, cut on an angle into 2 inch pieces
1 cup snow peas, a couple of handfuls
Satay sauce:
4 rounded tablespoonfuls chunky peanut butter
3 tablespoons dark soy, Tamari
3 tablespoons honey
1-inch ginger root, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 orange, juiced
2 ounces (1/4 cup) chopped peanuts or nut topping, available on the baking aisle
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves or flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
Heat water with orange zest to boiling. Add rice, return to boil, stir. Cover pot and reduce heat to simmer. Cook rice until tender, 18 minutes. Fluff with fork.
For stir-fry, heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add chicken, garlic and onion, stir-fry 3 minutes. Add remaining veggies and stir-fry 5 minutes more. Heat all ingredients for sauce together in a small pot over low heat, stirring the sauce until all ingredients are combined. Transfer stir-fry to a large platter and pour sauce evenly over the chicken and vegetables. Sprinkle the platter with chopped nuts, cilantro, and basil. Serve jasmine rice in a separate dish with an ice cream scoop to serve the rice with -- it makes perfect, pretty, round portions of rice on the dinner plates.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thai Shrimp Curry with Chopped Lettuce and Basil-Lime Couscous

I made this last night and if you like Bombay House, this was every bit as good as one of their dishes. Although Rachael Ray continually states that she had no formal cooking training, I'm beginning to think she is one of the better chefs on that network. I have loved everything I have made of hers. If you like Thai food, try this. It's excellent

Thai Shrimp Curry with Chopped Lettuce and Basil-Lime Couscous
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray, 2007
See this recipe on air Wednesday May. 21 at 6:00 PM ET/PT.
Show: 30 Minute Meals

Episode: Thai Thai Again

2 tablespoons vegetable or other light oil, eyeball it
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails removed
6 ounces, about 1/3 pound, shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1-inch ginger root, peeled and grated or finely chopped
4 scallions, chopped into 1-inch pieces, whites and greens
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons mild or hot red curry paste
2 roasted red peppers, sliced
1 cup "light" or unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
2 cups chopped iceberg lettuce, 1/2 small head
1/2 cup chopped peanuts, for garnish
Heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil over high heat. Add shrimp and toss 2 minutes then add the mushrooms, garlic, ginger, scallions, salt and pepper and cook 3 to 4 minutes more tossing constantly. Stir in curry paste, roasted red pepper and coconut milk and reduce heat to low. Simmer a few minutes then stir in peas to heat through.

In a sauce pot bring chicken stock, butter and the lime zest to a boil. Add couscous and stir. Turn off heat, cover pot and let stand. Add basil and the lime juice to the pot and fluff with a fork.
Serve couscous topped with a layer of chopped lettuce then a few ladles of red curry shrim.p. Garnish with chopped peanuts

Monday, April 21, 2008

Chocolate Waffle Stompers

In celebration of starting to feel closer to being done with school, I am taking some time to get back into recipe posts. This recipe is one that I promised to give Adair, but forgot about, and am now just getting back to. Basically it's really great chocolate waffles, that are really almost like eating brownies in waffle form. And yes, the batter is pretty thick. I got this recipe from a class at Ace Hardware, and someone said that they've made them with some mint or peppermint flavor in the frosting and that it was very good that way, too. Or have them with peppermint ice cream. They're not too hard to make, either. The teacher of the class used a Belgian waffle maker, but regular works, too, just make sure you spray or butter the waffle maker so they don't stick. Another note on the batter, because it is thick, you have to drop some batter in each square of the waffle iron and kind of spread it a bit. I'm labeling this as a dessert, though I suppose if you wanted it could be a really intense breakfast. And so without further ado:

Chocolate Waffle Stompers

3 squares unsweetened chocolate (3 oz.)
1 Cup butter
4 eggs
1 1/2 Cups sugar
2 Cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 Cup nuts (such as pecans), optional

Melt chocolate and butter together. In a bowl beat eggs and sugar. Add flour, salt, vanilla, and nuts if using. Blend well. Pour chocolate mixture into egg mixture and blend together. Drop batter in each waffle square heated to medium (not entirely sure what that means, I don't really pay attention to that part of the directions, I say 'til the waffle iron is ready) and bake/cook 1-2 minutes. Make one to test it first, see how it works with your waffle iron. Frost while warm.


1 square (1 oz) unsweetened chocolate
1 tsp butter
1/3 Cup milk
1/2 Cup sugar
1 1/2 to 2 Cups powdered sugar (to desired consistency)

Melt first 4 ingredients together. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Then drizzle or spread over waffles.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Emily's Baby Shower Salad

This is one of my favorite salads. The dressing is so good. This actually comes from my good friend Liz and it is one of their family favorites. Thanks for sharing. I can never find sweet hungarian paprika, so the regular is just fine and really hard to tell the difference.

Emily’s Baby Shower Salad

1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
¼ cup honey
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon celery seed
dash of salt and pepper
3/4 cup oil

mix in blender

16 oz bag of bow tie pasta (cook to package instructions)
1 package of summer salad mixture from Costco or 2 bags of mixed greens from your regular grocery store
1 cup grapes (cut in half)
1 bunch green onions (finely chopped)
1/2 cup toasted pinenuts
1/2cup grated asiago cheese

Mix salad ingredients together and pour dressing over it just before you are ready to eat

Add chicken if you want to use it as the main dish.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Red Cake

In honor of Derk's 40th birthday (yes, you read that correctly!) I am posting a recipe for red cake, which in other parts of the world is known as "Red Velvet Cake." When we were younger (MUCH younger!) for every birthday our mom would make us red cake. Our Grandma also would make this and it's a cherished family recipe. Derk has actually made it himself which is quite impressive! He says the frosting is more like a science experiment!

So, Happy Birthday, Derk and I hope everyone enjoys the recipe for Red Cake!

1 cube butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp cocoa
2 1-oz bottles red food coloring
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 1/2 tsp soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and beat until combined. Make paste of cocoa and food coloring, add to creamed mixture. Put vinegar with soda, fold in with vanilla, buttermilk and cake flour. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

1 cup milk
5 Tbsp flour
2 cubes butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Cook milk and flour together until thick. Cool. Beat 2 cubes butter and 1 cup sugar until fluffy. Add 1 tsp vanilla. Add cooled flour mixture. Continue beating until consistency of whipping cream.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Boil in Bag Omelets

OK, so this is not a very sophisticated recipe, but it is low fat and super easy and kinda fun! My mom's friend taught her how to do these and this is one of my go-to meals when we are in a hurry. Enjoy!

For each omelet:

2 eggs, whisked together
Pour into a quart freezer bag then add any of the following:

ham, diced
grated cheese (you pick your favorite)
green onions, chopped (this gives the omelet a nice flavor)
frozen hash browns
mushrooms, sliced

Squeeze air out of bag and seal tightly. Place bag in LARGE pot of boiling water. After water returns to boiling, cook for 13 minutes. Open bag, pour omelet onto plate and serve!

I usually write the kids names on the front of the bag with a Sharpie so that we know who's is who's. (since they like different things in their omelets)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Homemade Mac and Cheese

OK - Kristin called me last night and begged me to post my version of Homemade Mac and Cheese. I hope I can figure out a way to write it down! It's one of those that has just kind of evolved over time and experiment. Jeff won't eat it - so it's mostly a "kids and me" meal when he's flying. He doesn't know what he's missing! :)

1/2 to 1 pound of pasta - I usually use penne or the corkscrew curly kind (I know I'm so technical!)
1/4 cup butter (you can substitute margarine, but butter tastes better)
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper, to taste
1 to 2 cups of milk
1 to 1 & 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Boil pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in medium saucepan. Once completely melted, add flour (with salt and pepper added) all at once, stirring well. It will combine into almost a paste. Slowly add milk, whisking to incorporate. I usually add about one cup, let it get thick, and then add more depending on how much pasta I've used. Cook the sauce over medium high heat until thickened, being careful to whisk continually. Add shredded cheese and whisk in until completely melted, reserving some to sprinkle on top.
Drain pasta when fully cooked. Put pasta in large (about 2 quart) casserole dish and pour cheese sauce over the top. Mix in well. Sprinkle with reserved shredded cheese. My kids like to eat it like this - it's toasty enough to melt the cheese on top and very creamy, but my mom always cooked it in a 425 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes for a final step. It turns out a little more "solid" that way. Feel free to experiment with different kinds of cheddar - my kids like mild, but I've really enjoyed sharp and medium for a bit of "bite" to it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Recipe request

Hey fellow favs bloggers-

I have this hankering to find a recipe for good, homemade mac 'n cheese. I figured with all you great cooks, one of you is bound to have one that you've actually tried and know works. I've seen recipes before, but they seem a little too fussy. The blue box works in desperation, but I want to actually make the real thing. Thanks!! (And thanks for letting me post a request, and not just recipes all the time!)

Monday, March 3, 2008

California Chicken Casserole

This is one of my favorite things my mom makes - it's pretty easy if you use the canned chicken (and just as good)!

California Chicken Casserole

1 whole chicken, cooked & cut up or 2 10 oz cans of chicken
1 12 oz package of egg noodles, cooked
6 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 small can button mushrooms
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups grated cheese
Parsley flakes

In a 9x13 inch pan or two smaller pans, layer noodles, then chicken, then eggs, then cheese, then mushrooms. Blend milk and soup and pour over all. On top, put remaining cheese and sprinkle with parsley flakes. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. Makes a HUGE casserole or two medium-sized ones. Make only half the recipe for one casserole.

This is definition of "comfort food"!!!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Chicken Saltimbocca (no, not THAT Saltimbocca)

Hi, Derk here--posting the Chicken Saltimbocca recipe Christine found. We're all sad that the "real" Saltimbocca closed, and are busy trying to find the recipe for their amazing chocolate pudding. In the meantime, here's some good chicken to make and eat.

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

4-8 thin, boneless chicken breast cutlets (we only made four, but used two boneless chicken breasts and cut them in half (I'd say "lengthwise," but that's too imprecise--take your chef's or santoku knife and cut the breast in half with your knife parallel to the cutting board. You're trying to make the breast thinner, not skinnier.)

1 Tbsp minced fresh sage leaves, plus one large fresh sage leaf per cutlet

4-8 thin slices prosciutto (again, as many slices as you have cutlets)

4 Tbsps olive oil

1/4 cup dry vermouth or white wine (we use "Ariel," a wine that's been de-alcohol-ed--we buy it at Emigration Market)

2 tsps lemon juice

4 Tbsps unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled

1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley leaves (we used dry parsley flakes and it seemed okay)

Table salt

Fresh ground pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Combine flour and 1 tsp pepper in shallow dish or paper plate.

2. After cutting breasts into cutlets, pat cutlets dry with a paper towel. Dredge chicken in flour. Lay cutlets flat and sprinkle evenly with minced sage. Place one slice prosciutto on top of each cutlet, pressing lightly to adhere. Set aside.

3. Heat 2 Tbsps of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. If using whole sage leaves, add these to the oil and cook until the leaves begin to change color and are fragrant, about 15-20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sage to a paper towel-covered plate, set aside. Add cutlets to pan (as many as will fit--four at a time is usually okay), prosciutto side down, and cook until light golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until light golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to wire rack on a baking sheet (or a roasting pan, as we did), and keep warm in oven. If you have more cutlets, add the rest of the oil and repeat this step with the remaining cutlets. Place remaining cutlets in oven and prepare sauce.

4. Deglaze pan with vermouth or wine, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until reduced to about 1/3 cup, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Reduce heat to low. Whisk in butter one piece at a time. Remove from heat, stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper. At this point, I wasn't sure if the chicken was completely done, so I returned it to the pan, turned the heat back to medium, and let it cook for 5 more minutes. Plate chicken, place one cooked sage leaf on top of each cutlet, and pour a little of the sauce over the cutlet, and serve.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

York Brownies

I kept thinking, I'd better post a dessert because that's what I like to do best. And in thinking about which one to pick, I thought I'd stick with a really good but really easy one. These are really good brownies that have york peppermint patties in the middle and are REALLY good, and easy. Sorry, there's no picture to go with them. But you should still give 'em a try!


1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) of melted butter
3 cups sugar
1 T vanilla
5 eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
24 mini peppermint patties

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease 9 x 13 pan

Stir melted butter, sugar, vanilla together. Add eggs. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Blend well. Reserve 2 cups of batter. Pour remainder in pan. Place patties evenly over batter. Cover with remaining batter and bake for 45 minutes-I usually give them a look at 40 minutes. And don't cut them until they are completely cooled, otherwise you'll get a gooey mess. Plus, they really do taste better when they've cooled down.

The trick here is not to overbake or they'll get a bit too crunchy. It's hard to describe how to know exactly, though you can kind of smell it. But, if they are underbaked that's OK, I've taken them out a little early and they were still good. Sometimes with chocolate, especially brownies, they taste a bit better a little underdone. You should be OK with 40-45 minutes.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Orange Piccata Chicken

This is a different take on the traditional Chicken Piccata, and is extremely easy and SO tasty. We make it all the time. The recipe is from Cuisine At Home, one of my favorite food magazines. And one tip: good non-alcoholic wines are available at Emigration Market, they're called Arial, and work really well. Their non-alcoholic wines have even won awards. Here's a picture of the chicken the last time we made it:

Makes 4 cutlets, about 35 minutes


Cut and pound out:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves, (4-6 oz. each)

Dredge; saute in 2 T. olive oil:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Deglaze; reduce:

3/4 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

Whisk in; add:

4 T cold unsalted butter, cubed

4 thin orange slices, halved

Garnish with:

1/4 cup silvered almonds, toasted (we have these as optional and usually don't use them)

1 T minced fresh parsley (dried is OK too)


Cut each breast in half lengthwise. Cover with plastic wrap and pound to 1/4 inch thickness. Remove plastic and season with salt and pepper.

Dredge chicken in flour. Saute cutlets in oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip and saute for 2 more minutes. Remove cutlets from pan and keep warm.
Deglaze pan with juice, wine and mustard. Simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Whisk in butter until melted. Add orange slices and return cutlets to pan to heat through.

Garnish with almonds and parsley. Yummy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chicken Fajita Tortilla Soup

Rachel Ray
30 minute meals

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 packages chicken tenders, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
1 tablespoon coriander, a palm full
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, 5 to 6 sprigs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 large bell pepper, quartered and thinly sliced
1 jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced
1 (28-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 quart chicken stock
1 bag white corn tortilla chips
1 cup shredded pepper Jack or sharp white Cheddar
1 ripe avocado, diced
1 lime, juiced
4 scallions, chopped
Handful fresh cilantro leaves or fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Heat a large skillet with extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add chicken, begin to brown 4 minutes, add coriander, thyme, salt and pepper, to taste, onions, bell pepper and jalapeno, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes and stock, heat through.

While the soup is working, lightly crush some tortilla chips and divide among 4 bowls. You need a couple of handfuls per bowl. Top the chips with a little cheese. Toss the avocado with lime juice. Top the chips with ladles of soup. Garnish soup with avocado, scallions and cilantro or parsley.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Corned Beef With Vegetables

This was one of our favorite dishes growing up (and still is) and I was taught how to make it by my Grandma and my Mom. And, if anyone is impressed...I am typing this out straight from my head, no need to look at a recipe! :)

Corned Beef

2-5 lb corned beef round (do not buy a "brisket", buy a round, hopefully from Snider's, which has the best ones! Costco also has them, but they tend to have more fat)
1 head of cabbage, halved and cut into wedges (I usually only use half the cabbage)
small bag of baby carrots (I usually use half the bag)
2-3 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

Place corned beef round in crock pot and cover with water. Cook for 1 hour on high, then 6-7 hours on low (depending on when you need to eat it!) You can cook it on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours, but I think the way I do it usually makes the corned beef more juicy and tender.

During the last 1/2 hour the corned beef is cooking, place all vegetables in a pot of boiling water and let simmer on medium high for 20-25 minutes. During the last 10-15 minutes the vegetables are cooking, put 1-2 cups of the water the corned beef has been cooking in (this makes them taste AMAZING and is my Grandma's secret!) Take corned beef out of crock-pot, slice and place in the middle of a platter. Drain the vegetables and place around the corned beef, dot with butter and EAT!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Filet Minon over Lobster Boursin Mashed Potatoes with a merlot reduction

Show: Dinner: Impossible
Episode: Rush Dinner: Frat House Impossible
Woah, long title I know, but oh my goodness. I made this for Valentines night, and Billy said it was some of the best food he has ever tasted. I told him of course it is, it has about 2 sticks of buttery goodness tucked away! I now have a second favorite mashed potato recipe. If you need a romantic dinner idea for two, make this and you will be very happy.

For the Merlot reduction:
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon (1 to 2 cloves) chopped fresh garlic
2 finely diced shallots, or 1 white onion finely diced
Any meat trimmings you may have from the beef (see beef ingredient below)
1/2 (750-ml) bottle Merlot wine
1/2 pint (1 cup) strong beef stock or demi-glace
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary leaves
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

For the lobster mashed potatoes:
4 medium to large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 bay leaves
1 pound lobster meat
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (to saute lobster) plus 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), for the potatoes
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
3 ounces soft herbed cheese (recommended: Boursin)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

For the filet mignon:
6 (4-ounce) beef tenderloins (filet mignon)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/8 cup grapeseed oil

For the Merlot reduction:
Heat the 3 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan, and saute the garlic and shallots over a gentle heat until translucent. (If you have any trimmings of meat, you would add them at this time). Deglaze the pan with the wine, and add the beef stock and the thyme and rosemary. Allow this mixture to reduce. It could take 20 to 30 minutes (sometimes longer) at a rolling boil, uncovered. You want the liquid to evaporate to about 1/3 of what you started with (in order to intensify the flavor). Once you have reduced the liquid to the required volume, remove from the heat, strain through a chinois (a conical strainer) or some cheesecloth - so you can remove all the vegetables and herbs, and allow to rest in a warm place.

For the potatoes:
Boil the potatoes with the bay leaves until the potatoes are tender. While the potatoes are cooking, saute lobster meat in oil and butter until it is no longer translucent, and set aside. Drain the potatoes well and discard the bay leaves, then mash the potatoes. Using a beater, add in 1 stick of butter and salt and white pepper. Fold the lobster meat into the potatoes and set aside in a warm place.

For the filet mignon:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Season beef with salt and pepper. In a heavy bottomed, oven-safe saute pan, add just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan and heat on medium high heat on the stovetop. When the saute pan is hot, cook each side of the filets for approximately 2 to 3 minutes, leaving undisturbed for the first 2 minutes or so. Turn the filets and continue the searing process on the other side of the filets for another 2 to 3 minutes. Place the pan of steaks into the preheated oven. Allow the filets to cook a further 6 to 8 minutes in the oven (depending on the thickness of the steaks and the heat of your oven).

While the steaks are in the oven finish the potatoes by crumbling the Boursin cheese into the lobster mashed potatoes which you have been keeping warm and gently stirring it in to allow cheese to melt.

Remove the pan of steaks from oven and allow them to rest. (Remember to use an oven mitt; the handle of the pan will be hot!)

If necessary, briefly re-heat the Merlot sauce, then remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the whole stick of butter.

Plate a portion of mashed potatoes in the center of serving plate. Top with the filet mignon, spoon the Merlot sauce over and around and garnish with chopped chives.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Porcini-Crusted Steak

Normally, I'm not a meat kind of gal, but this recipe for Porcini-Crusted Steaks is amazing! (I'm having this tomorrow night!) And if you're afraid of mushrooms, don't be because you won't even notice that that's what they are. Promise. (I made it once when a few people who normally don't like mushrooms ate it and they really liked it.) And, if you don't have an herb or coffee grinder, just come talk to me and we'll arrange to grind some up for you. This recipe is not hard, and really good. It comes from Bon Appetit, May 2007 and 100% of their reviewers from their website would make it again. If that doesn't sell this, I don't know what would! :)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1 (1/2-ounce) package dried porcini mushrooms*
6 1-inch-thick filet mignon steaks
*Available in the produce section of many supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and Italian markets.

Mix first 4 ingredients in small bowl for herb butter. Season butter to taste with salt and pepper. Process dried porcini mushrooms in spice grinder to fine powder. Transfer powder to plate. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Press steaks into porcini powder to coat both sides well. Melt 2 tablespoons herb butter in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add steaks to skillet and cook to desired doneness, about 6 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to plates. Spoon rounded tablespoon of herb butter atop each steak and serve.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Chicken Chilaquiles

I have a subsciption to Cooking Light and this recipe is by far my very favorite. I have made this over and over and it just gets more yummy. It's been referred to as a mexican lasagna. Serve it with home made salsa and sour cream with lime juice and cilantro. Try it, you will love it.


2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers, divided
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (11-ounce) can tomatillos, drained
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine chicken, green onions, 1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, Parmesan, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Place milk and next 3 ingredients (through chiles) in a food processor or blender; process until smooth.

Heat tortillas according to package directions. Pour 1/3 cup tomatillo mixture into bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 corn tortillas in dish, and top with half of chicken mixture. Repeat layer with remaining tortillas and chicken mixture, ending with tortillas.

Pour remaining 1 1/2 cups tomatillo mixture over tortillas; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

Orzo Pasta Salad

Ok so I haven't made this one before I've only eaten it! I got the recipe from my aunt, Erin, who is a VERY good cook! This is so good I could eat all of this by myself! Thanks Erin!

1 box orzo pasta cooked according to package directions.
diced up bell peppers (I usually use one red, one orange and one yellow)
Diced up carrots
diced purple onion
crumbled feta cheese
toasted pine nuts
chopped fresh basil


Juice on one or two lemons
1/2 cup olive oil
garlic salt

Mix above ingredients together and toss with dressing

*all of the ingredients are estimates. You can add as little or as much of any ingredient. I just keep tasting until I think its right. Some lemons are not juicy so you need more. I usually add the feta, pine nuts, and basil very last.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Plug for the Turkey

I was actually going to also post the recipe for the citrus herb de provence Turkey that my sister posted. It is the best turkey and gravy I have ever tasted. It will become a tradition from here on out. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but it is so darn easy. Make will love it!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


I realize that it is winter and we don't have access to "real" tomatoes like the ones in the picture (those were from my dad's garden this past fall) but canned tomatoes work well in this recipe, too. I think I used 2 cans of chopped tomatoes for the fresh ones.

I keep thinking if I make a "spring/summer" dish like this, maybe spring will actually come!


1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded & coarsely chopped
1 medium green pepper, coarsely chopped

In a food processor, finely chop both, but do not puree. Remove to a large bowl.

1 small onion, coarsely chopped (red onion works best)

Finely chop this as well, but do not puree. Remove to the large bowl.

2 1/2 lbs ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded & coarsely chopped

Add to the food processor and finely chop. Remove to the bowl.

3 cups tomato juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Several dashes Tabasco sauce
2 tsp salt

Stir well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. I like to serve it with chilled salad shrimp and chopped avocados in chilled bowls (like at Big City Soup!)

Enjoy! And may spring come SOON!

French Onion Soup

This is a recipe form the show take home chef it's really good if you like French Onion Soup!

Serves 6


2 tablespoons/30 ml olive oil
6 onions (about 3 pounds/1.4 g total), thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
½ cup/110 ml dry red wine
½ cup/110 ml sherry
8 cups/2 liters good quality beef stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 3/4-inch-/2-cm-thick slices sourdough bread
6 ounces/175 g Gruyère cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons/about 5 g thinly sliced fresh flat leaf parsley


To prepare the soup and toast:

Place a heavy based large pot over a moderate heat. Drizzle the olive oil into the hot pot and add the onions.

Cook the onions for 1 hour or until they are golden, stirring often. Once the onions become very soft they will begin to stick to the bottom of the pot and turn a caramel brown color. As this occurs, scrape the browned onions from the bottom of the pot and stir them into the remaining onion mixture.

Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaf to the onions and cook for 5 minutes or until the garlic softens. Add the red wine and sherry and stir to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the liquids reduce by half.

Add the stock and bring the soup to a gentle simmer, skimming any foam that rises to the top, if necessary. Season the soup lightly with salt and pepper. Add just a bit of salt and pepper here, but not too much since the soup will reduce as it simmers and the flavors will become more concentrated.

Allow the soup to simmer uncovered for 25 minutes. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler on high. Arrange the sourdough bread slices on a baking sheet and broil for 2 minutes or until golden brown on top.

To serve:

Divide the soup among 6 high sided ovenproof serving bowls. Place the bowls of soup on a heavy baking sheet. Place one bread slice, toasted side down, on top of each bowl of soup.

Divide the cheese among the soup bowls and sprinkle with parsley. Place the soup bowls under the broiler for about 3 minutes or until the cheese melts and is golden brown. Remove from the broiler and serve.

Turkey with Herbes de Provence and Citrus

This turkey recipe, courtesy Giada De Laurentis, is awesome, but it is the gravy that is amazing! This is a great alternative to traditional turkey! I don't put the neck or giblets in it grosses me out, but if you'd like to go for it!

1 (14 to 15-pound) turkey, neck and giblets reserved
1 orange, cut into wedges
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 onion, cut into wedges
6 fresh rosemary sprigs
6 fresh sage sprigs
6 fresh oregano sprigs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth (approximate amount)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

To make the turkey: Position the rack in the lowest third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Rinse the turkey and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the turkey on a rack set inside a large roasting pan. Place the orange and lemon wedges, onion, and 2 sprigs of each fresh herb in the main turkey cavity. Tie the legs together to hold the shape of the turkey. Stir 2 tablespoons of butter, the herbes de Provence, oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of each the salt and pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat just until the butter melts. Rub the butter mixture all over the turkey and between the turkey breast meat and skin. Place the turkey neck and giblets in roasting pan. (Recipe can be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before roasting.)

Cover the turkey breast with foil. Roast for 20 minutes. Pour 3 cups of broth into the pan and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining sprigs of fresh herbs to the pan. Roast the turkey for 40 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Remove the foil from the turkey; pour 1 more cup of broth into the pan. Continue roasting the turkey until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F to 175 degrees F or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 1 hour and 30 minutes longer. Transfer the turkey to a platter and tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes while preparing the gravy.

To make the gravy: Strain the turkey pan juices from the roasting pan through a sieve and into a 4-cup glass measuring cup; discard the solids. Spoon off the fat from atop the pan juices. Add enough chicken broth, about 1 to 2 cups, to the pan juices to measure 4 cups total. Melt the remaining butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the broth. Simmer until the gravy thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the turkey with the gravy.

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

mashed potatoes are one of my very favorite foods and I have tried so many recipes. This one is so incredibly good every time I have made them. It is an Alton Brown recipe. Just a couple things. One you can't be afraid of garlic. Put the whole amount he says to, trust me. Two, I try to cook more healthy, so I use the fat free half and half, and it tastes just the same.

3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
16 fluid ounces (2 cups) half-and-half
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 ounces grated Parmesan

Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size. Place in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.

Heat the half-and-half and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water. Mash and add the garlic-cream mixture, salt, and Parmesan; stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve.

Creamy White Chili

I'm making this tonight for 40 teachers at the girls school! It's one of my favorites because you can easily adjust the heat according to what you can stand. It also doubles and triples well. Perfect for a snowy evening!

1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken, cubed
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder or 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. vegatable oil
2 cans Great Northern beans
1 can chicken broth
2 cans (4 oz.) chopped green chilies
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. whipping cream

Saute chicken, onion, and garlic in oil. Add beans (rinsed and drained), broth, chilies, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and whipping cream. Serve.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sticky Buns

Normally, I don't like the short-cut cooking thing, but these are just so yummy I decided to use them as my first post. This recipe came to me from a former co-worker of mine, Debbie. They're extremely easy, and yummy for breakfast in the morning. Nice and butterscotchy, with nuts, and just the right amount of gooey-ness, as in not soggy. I think I'll just type it out in order of creating them, rather than listing ingredients.

Sticky Buns

-Put 1 cup of nuts (walnuts or pecans) on bottom of sprayed/buttered pan (I have used a bundt pan).
-Put 12 still frozen Rhodes dinner rolls in a single layer in the pan. Don't defrost rolls.
-Sprinkle 3/4 cup packed brown sugar over top of rolls.
-Pour 1 package of butterscotch pudding (not instant) over the top of rolls (use dry powder, don't make the pudding).
-Melt 1 stick of butter, and pour over top of rolls.
-Let sit in cold oven overnight.
-In the morning, bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees; simply turn on oven and let them bake. After 30 minutes, take out of oven, let sit for a minute, then invert onto a plate. And enjoy!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Chicken Piccata

chicken piccata
Bon Appétit | March 1998
Servings: Makes 4 servings.

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Additional all purpose flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
1/4 cup drained capers
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Place chicken between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap. Using meat pounder or rolling pin, lightly pound chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Mix 1 tablespoon butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons flour in small bowl until smooth. Place additional flour in shallow baking dish. Dip chicken into flour to coat; shake off excess.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in each of 2 heavy large skillets. Add 2 chicken breasts to each skillet and cook until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to platter; tent with foil to keep warm.

Bring wine, lemon juice and broth to boil in 1 skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in butter-flour mixture and boil until sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in capers, parsley and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over