Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Another one from my mom!

Preheat: --

1/2 c. Butter
1 whole large onion, chopped
2 c. Chicken broth
2 c. Milk or Cream
1 T. Garlic powder
1 lb. Processed cheese
2/3 c. Cornstarch
1 c. Water
2 c. Frozen broccoli, thawed, OR 3 broccoli crowns

Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree

From my mom!

Preheat:  400*
Category: Eggplant, rigatoni, Italian

1 med. Eggplant, cut into 1" cubes
1 pint Cherry tomatoes
3 cloves Garlic, whole
3 T. Olive oil
1 t. Salt
1 t. Black pepper
1 t. Red pepper flakes
1/4 c. Toasted pine nuts
1 lb. Rigatoni pasta
1/4 c. Torn, fresh mint leaves
1/2 c. Grated Parmesan cheese

1.  On sided cookie sheet, place parchment paper.  Spread out eggplant, tomatoes, garlic.  Drizzle olive oil and season with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.  Coat everything and roast for 35 minutes, or until eggplant is golden. 

2.  Roast pine nuts separately on next shelf down for 8 minutes

2.  While vegetables are roasting, boil pasta in salted water until al dente.  Drain.  Save 1 1/2 cups of pasta water.

4.  When vegetables are done, place in blender with EVOO and mint, then purée until smooth.  Transfer into bowl with pasta, add parmesan, stir to combine and get pasta saucy.  Sprinkle pine nuts to serve.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Lemon Glaze (for fish or chicken)

From the Mayo Clinic website for healthy recipes.  Sounds delicious--we're going to make it next week to accompany our tilapia.  :)  And what a good idea to microwave it!!

Preheat: --
Category: glaze, chicken, fish, lemon, lime

2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon or lime zest
1 cup unsalted chicken broth
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons sugar
4 Teaspoons cornstarch

1.  In a microwavable bowl, combine all ingredients, whisking to mix evenly.

2.  Microve on high until clear and thickened, about 1-2 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Austin's Chicken Soup II: Easy and Reasonably Quick

A friend of mine were talking today about the yummiest Chicken Noodle Soup she'd ever had (we're having a church thing tomorrow and we're all bringing soups) and she wanted the recipe BUT the woman who had made it just threw in pinches of this and that...  So I said I'd write down my chicken noodle soup recipe.  It's the same receipe for chicken, for beef and for turkey noodle soup. 

I love to make this soup and eat it all week for lunch.  It's quick, it's healthy, and oh wow, is it yummy.  :)

It looks like a lot of work, but IT'S NOT.  I just want to make it clear you can't dump all of these things into one pot and be done.  They need to be taken care of individually then added together for the grand finale.  If you're a fast chopper and your meat's thawed, you can be done in 30 minutes or less.

Category: chicken, soup, noodles, comfort food, beef, turkey
Preheat: --

Part One: Meat
1-2 chicken breast halves, seasoned, cooked and cubed (when I say halves, it's half of what the chicken originally had on her in life; also I like my chicken baked or stir-fried.)
1 small beef shoulder or butt, seasoned cooked and cubed(I use my crockpot.  I'll have to put that recipe on here later, too)
1/2 turkey breast, seasoned, cooked and cubed
(If you want to cheat, and don't we all!) Abt. 12 oz. Canned chicken meat / turkey meat

1.  Set meat aside.  You can do this step the night before.  It's perfectly fine to add cold meat to the final soup... it'll heat up fast!

Part Two: Noodles & Potatoes
12-16 ounces noodles:
  • spaghetti noodles, broken up
  • spiral noodles (these tend to suck up too much water--this is your fair warning!)
  • fettucine noodles
  • (etc.)
(opt, but recommended) 4-6 Potatoes, chopped
2 t. Salt

1.  Add salt to the water (enough to cover everything, plus an inch.  use your eyeballs to measure , or like I do, fill the water up to the handles) and start it boiling.

2.  Add potatoes.  Boil for two minutes.

3.  Add noodles.  Boil for package directions, until the noodles are al denteIn other words, don't cook them until they're soft!  They should not be crunchy, but not super-soft, either.  8 1/2 minutes should be good  for any noodle that says 10 minutes on the package.

4.  Drain.  All of the cooking shows say to retain a little pasta water.  It helps thicken things up a little later on  I say reserve if you can remember and if it's easy... and then only 2 cups.

5.  Set aside.  Again, you can do this earlier.  In fact, sometimes I cook double the pasta when I'm making it for dinner, putting the 2nd half in the fridge.  Of course you still have to do the potatoes if you're putting those in the soup.

Part Three:
1 whole medium or large onion (yellow or sweet), finely diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
(opt, but recommended) 4 Carrots, sliced
(opt, but recommended) 4 stalks of Celery, chopped
(opt, but recommended) 6 Mushrooms, diced
(opt) 4 Zucchini, finely diced
(opt) 1-3 Jalapeno, diced (this changes the flavor slightly and deepens it, AND gives a nice little je ne sais quoi)
1/2 Tablespoon Butter (Usually you add more, but I opted for a little butter fat for flavor and sub in the olive oil for a heart-healthy fat.)
1 Tablespoon Olive oil
(opt) 1/4 c. Flour

1.  Get the butter and olive oil combo hot in a large sauté pan

2.  Lower the heat to medium-high (between 7 and 8 on an electric range) and add all vegetables and stir them around to get them coated.

3.  Put the lid on the pan for about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to keep everything even.

4.  Test carrots for doneness.  You should be able to easily pierce them with a fork.

5.  If you want more than broth, turn off the heat and sprinkle the optional flour over the vegetables.  Stir it in.

Part Four: Broth and Throwing it All Together
16 cups Chicken broth (preferably made from chicken base), divided
1 T black pepper

1.  Whisk up 8 cups of broth and put it into the big pot.  You're ALMOST DONE.  :)

2.  If thickening with flour, stir in vegetables and stir everything up really well.  Bring to a boil.

3.  Simmer for a few minutes.

4.  Add noodles, potatoes, meat and another 8 cups of broth.

2.  Heat everything through for about 5 minutes.

CAUTION: If you leave noodles in the soup, they will continue to expand!!  Most reasonable adults will add the noodles right before eating, or what I do is reheat individual portions in the microwave.  Proceed at your own risk.

I'm making this for our get-together tomorrow, so I will reheat the broth/vegetables tomorrow... and after it's hot, add the noodles, potatoes and chicken.  I'll heat it through and then RUN over to the church.  :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fab Grilled Chicken

I went to my friend's house Saturday and she prepared the yummiest chicken!  She marinated it, then grilled it outside, then kept it warm in the oven, covered with aluminum foil.  I got her to send her recipe to me and I'm posting it for everyone who can find it. :)

1 fryer chicken
1 medium onion
1 head of garlic
1 bouquet of fresh parsley
1 bouquet of green onions
powdered red pepper
salt & pepper
1 cube Chicken bouillon

1.  Wash all ingredients (except chicken, vinegar, salt!) and then crush in a blender.

2.  Wash and cut up chicken pieces (leg, breasts, drumstick, etc.).  Rinse pieces with vinegar and then sprinkle with salt.

3.  Spread crushed marinade over chicken and let rest 15 minutes.

4.  Grill chicken on pre-heated grill.  What my friend did is braise the chicken on the grill (just get the OUTSIDE cooked and browned on a HOT grill) and then tuck the covered chicken into the oven on 200* until it was cooked thoroughly.  Either way, YUM!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

400 Best-Ever Recipes: Fat Free, Low Fat

I am on a fairly strict no-dairy, no-fat diet now that I've been having issues with my gall bladder.  I have had to take several old recipes and take out all of the good stuff and substitute fat-free or very low-fat wherever I can.  So when I saw the book, 400 Best-Ever Recipes: Fat Free, Low Fat, by Anne Sheasby, I was SO EXCITED.

There's a problem though.  And it seems to be a broken record from nearly ALL of my other cookbook reviews.  THE RECIPES ARE TOO FANCY!!!  I do NOT keep fennel, sunflower margarine, or ground lemon grass on hand!  I do not keep cooking wines around the house, just because I wouldn't use them often enough (and my husband doesn't like the idea of cooking wine... but then again, he doesn't like the idea of using curry, either!).  There was one recipe in the beginning of the book that called for THREE red peppers.  What kind of a budget would I have to have to make things like are in this book!

Okay, here are the good things.  PICTURES.  Beautiful PICTURES.  I am very visual, and love a good picture.  It looks to me like ALL of the dishes have at least one picture taken... and many of them have some in-between-step pictures included. 

If I had a larger food budget and a family who were interested in the more "fancy" foods, this book would be an AMAZING find.  Unfortunately, we're simple folk who need to reduce our fat intake and this book just isn't for us.  If YOU like fancier foods, you might want to take a more in-depth look.  I found a couple of soups that I copied down, but maybe you'll find much more. :)

Vicky Lansky's Kids Cooking

A cookbook review!  We had this one on our shelves.  My three-year-old was napping (on my bedroom floor!) and my five-year-old wanted to hang out.  So we pulled out some cookbooks that had the word "kids" in the title.  He settled on Vicky Lansky's Kids Cooking...  And we made some... cookies... that appear to be of the oatmeal variety.  I can't have any... because of health issues, I've had to swear off almost all fat, and almost all milk.  So when these cookies came out SWIMMING in butter (they were VERY easy to remove from the pan......), there was no way.

The book LOOKS like it would be fantastic.  There are a few pages up front with pictures of things kids could make, and it includes the page number.  Also, the words are easy-to-read.  Scotty did just fine reading through the instructions (except for the word, "margarine"), BUT.  And this is big.  It doesn't matter how good the book is for kids, or how many up front pictures there are if the one recipe we try comes out as greasy as this.  Gross.

So this cookbook is a NO-GO.  Especially since it's listed new on Amazon for some $36.  That must be somebody's idea of a joke. ;)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Best Ever Banana Cake

The last couple of times I baked this cake, I don't think it baked long enough!  So today is the last attempt at making this promising recipe, and what do you know, it turned out brilliantly!
Preheat: 275*
Category: Dessert, cake, bananas, PICTURES

1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed, ripe  (I had four bananas READY for use, so I used all four)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup butter, softened (I accidently left this out!  I found it in the microwave when I went to soften the frosting butter!!!!  Oops!)
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I substituted 1 1/2 cups skim milk + 2 t. vinegar, letting it sit for 10 min.)
2 1/8 cups sugar
3 cups flour

1.  Preheat the oven.

2.  Great and flour a 9x13 pan.  Or do like I did, Miss Fancypants herself, and use two 9" circle pans.  :)  I just sprayed it and it came out just fine.

3.  Mix banana with lemon juice; set aside.  I didn't bother reading directions.  I literally dumped everything in, flour last, and then poured the batter into the pans.  But I'll tell you what the recipe says to do just in case.

4.  Mix butter and sugar; beat until light and fluffy.

5.  Mix in baking soda, salt, flour, alternating with buttermilk.

6.  Beat eggs, then add one at a time.  Add vanilla.

7.  Stir in banana mixture.

8.  Bake for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Remember what I said about having problems with this recipe?  I didn't just use the toothpick test, I also tested it for LOOKING done.  I let it get a little more brown, taking probably 1 hour and 10 minutes.

9.  Put directly into freezer for 45 minutes.  Apparently this step makes the cake incredibly moist.  :)  I do it, but I don't guess you have to.  The nice thing is that when you pull it out of the freezer, it's all ready to frost AND the cake has separated from the sides of the cake pan so it's easy to remove.

10.  Frost on a cool cake.  I used a sour cream frosting.  I wanted to use, as you probably would want to use too, a cream cheese frosting.  But we're out of sour cream and are not going shopping until tomorrow.   :)  Here's the frosting recipe that comes with the cake, in case you're interested:  1/2 cup butter, softened, 8 oz. cream cheese, softened, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 1/2 cup powdered or icing sugar.

The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook

Title: The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook
Author: Mireille Guillano
Copyright: 2010
Publisher: Atria Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster
Pages: 298, including your obligatory italicized French words, and an index.

I've been lax in posting reviews; after finding the Food Nanny cookbook that had so many great recipes (that I'm STILL trying!!!), I haven't had motivation to find new cooking fodder.  I was poking around for French stuff for my kids (we homeschool) with French as the keyword, and LOOK at what I found.  Of COURSE I ordered it through the library.  I've been low-energy (ha ha, you can tell because I haven't posted hardly ANY recipes!!!) but the book is due this coming Thursday... I guess it's TIME.  :D.

Things I Like About This Book:
Well.  I like that there's an index.  I like that there are many recipes to choose from.  I like the idea that if I eat moderately what's in this cookbook that I could (finally!!!) lose weight.  The book is chic with modern illustrations. 

I liked the food she put into context.  She said that probably the two most unhealthy foods are doughnuts and bagels... and with bagels, we load them with cream cheese, sometimes jam.  We have cut doughnuts almost completely out of our diet (I have to say "almost" because my sister-in-law brought some homemade doughnuts over and we devoured them!!).  Bagels, we don't eat very often.  I like that she advocates eating breakfast, and that it be a balanced meal.  We don't just eat carbohydrates and call it good.  We need to have protein, maybe some fruit. 

This leads to the ONE recipe we might use, Magical Breakfast Cream.  It's healthy, it's complete, and it looks yummy, in spite of the flaxseed oil! :D

Things I Don't Like About This Book.
Man cannot live by modern illustrations alone.  I liked one recipe and the rest were too fancy for me.  Behold some recipe titles:

Fusilli with Spinach and Anchovies
Beet and Ginger Gazpacho
Carmelized Chicken with Vegetable "Pancake"
Prosciutto Wrapped Around Grissini
Mackeral with Curry and Leeks

I can't imagine my husband's face if I were to tell him we were eating "Prosciutto Wrapped Around Grissini!"  Maybe if we were fancier folk.  I am seeing a pattern to my cookbook reviews........  if it's too fancy, it's OUT.  :) 

Magical Breakfast Cream

This is borrowed from The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook.  :)  I like the idea of the recipe.  It's simple and so healthful!
Preheat: --
Category: Breakfast, yogurt

1 serving
4-6 Tablespoons Yogurt (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon flaxseed oil
1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
2 Tablespoons finely ground cereal with zero sugar
2 teaspoons finely ground walnuts

1.  Combine yogurt and oil, mixing well. 
2.  Add the lemon juice, mixing well.
3.  Add the honey and mix well.
4.  Finely ground the cereal and walnuts, then add and mix well.
5.  Serve immediately.

Arroz con Pollo

My mom and I thought this was fantastic!  It's flavorful and satisfying.  My HUSBAND, who doesn't like "saucy" rice, and my kids, who don't like... well, anything with vegetables and adult flavors... didn't eat hardly any of it.  I'm posting it here for the grown-ups who love flavor. :D

p.s.  This is a fantastic way to use leftover rice. :)

Arroz con Pollo

Preheat: --
Category: Mexican, comfort food, rice, chicken

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1/2" strips (I used the chicken breast I had in my freezer)
3 Tablespoon oil (I used olive oil--yum)
1/2 pound mushrooms, quartered (I bought mine pre-sliced and used what I had left in the package)
1 medium onion, diced (I used a whole large yellow onion--I subbed some things instead of using premade salsa)
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used four cloves, another sub for salsa)
2 cups salsa (In addition to the onion and garlic, I added a large can of diced tomatoes and minced some seeded jalapeno.  The seeds could have been left in, but I took out the heat for my kids.  If I made this again, I'd use TWO jalapenos, seeding one.  Oh!  I added some course-ground salt to this step, just shy of a teaspoon)
1 cup monterrey jack, shredded
1-2 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked rice
salt + pepper
parsley or cilantro, for color (I used some dried cilantro; perfect in a pinch)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 t. ground cayenne (unnecessary with the heat of the salsa/jalapenos)

1) Sauté the mushrooms, onion and garlic.  Oh, and I sautéed the jalapeno, too.

2) Add chicken, browning on all sides.  The recipe directions weren't very practical with the amount of sautéed vegetables in my skillet, so I settled for partially cooked.

3) Add salsa, rice.  Cook for about two minutes.  I went ahead and added in my spices at this stage.  Why not!  The cilantro needed time to freshen up.

4) Add broth.  I just used one cup of broth and it was still pretty soupy--I had to simmer down the liquid for a good 10 minutes.

5) Turn off heat and add cheese.  Mix in spices.

6)  Top with parsley and/or cilantro.  Serve hot.  We served this with broccoli, corn and peas.  :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'm Going to Buy a New Cookbook! (and so should you)

I have to say that this is NOT a paid advertisement.  :)  Just in case you were wondering.  I will tell you if someone is actually paying me to review their book.  If that is the case, there will be no mistaking, even if I DON'T tell you because I will write the entire! review! with! myriads! of! exclamation! points! lol 

Liz Edmunds,
The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner: Easy Family Meals for Every Day of the Week

Love her.  I saw her on BYU TV, and not only is she adorable, SHE CAN COOK.  We had some creamy chicken soup today that everyone raved about. 

Normally when I find new recipe books, I pick out some recipes it looks like my family will go for and then return the book to the library.  This book is going back to the library, but I'm going to BUY it off of Amazon ($15, whereas it's selling for $25 at Borders and they'd have to special order it for me) next week.  This is a can't-live-without book!

What I Like: I like that Liz does dinner by assigning theme foods to each night.  They don't change.  You pick two recipes from each section then go to the grocery store.  You have everything you need for two delicious weeks of food.  Recipes are creative, NORMAL (a common problem I have with cookbooks is that we are not fancy food people) and delicious!  I like that she has suggestions for what to serve with each main dish.  That's an area where I've been lacking.  This afternoon, we had a loaf of freshly-baked bread with our lunch at her suggestion. :)  Most recipes are money-conscious, too.

What I Don't Like: I'm not sure if this will be a problem yet, but we need leftovers!  Daddy needs to be able to take dinner with him, and we need some extra food for our lunches.  The fact is that I can prepare double, but that also means spending double the money in groceries, which we just don't have.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Twist on Yogurt

I have to say first, that I tried to make yogurt in a crockpot...  It was a dismal failure.  I think maybe my crockpot was too large?  The recipe called for a 1/2 cup of plain yogurt and I had purchased a whole thing of plain yogurt because that's what was available.  I didn't want to use an entire eight cups of milk again, so I wanted to think of a way to eat the plain yogurt. 

I could have made a yummy Greek dish, but I was missing too many ingredients to make the special sauce (I'll post the recipe sometime in the future, ha ha), and we're constantly broke, soooo... I used some frozen strawberries I had purchased for a different recipe.  And so it began....

Categories: Yogurt, Strawberries, Breakfast, snack
Preheat: --

1 large container plain yogurt (I'll have to post ounces later, but you know what size I'm talking about, right??)
1 cup sugar (You may find this edited next time you access this recipe to be less sugar...)
1-3 cups frozen strawberries, thawed and cut up

1.  In a sealable container, mix together the container of plain yogurt, the sugar and the strawberries.  I used my huge Pampered Chef batter bowl as the container.  It's 8 cups and perfect.  Also, I just threw in the frozen strawberries whole.  The next morning, I took my scissors and cut up the strawberries before we ate it.

2.  Refrigerate.  I can't rave enough about "making" our yogurt this way!  It's delightful, and the strawberries are not mushy, they're firm and delicious.  Also, there's no added coloring (although I guess you could add color if you really wanted to).  FINALLY, you control how much sugar goes in. 

Mexican Lasagne

THIS. IS. THE. BEST. NEW. RECIPE.  You have to try it.  If you use my yummy homemade refried beans-in-a-crockpot recipe, it's soooo easy and inexpensive!

Preheat: 375*
Categories: Mexican, Lasagne, Casserole, Freezeable

1 pound (16 oz.) Ground beef
1 teaspoon Cumin
2 teaspoons Chili powder (I skipped the cumin/chili powder combo and used taco seasoning.  In fact, I made two pounds of taco meat the day before and used one pound for burritos and one pound for this.  It's just a friendly, helpful tip from me, the not-fabulous chef, ha ha.)

2 cans Chopped green chilis (I used one of the larger cans they've come out with.  There's a little more than what you would get in two cans of chopped green chilis, but it's LESS EXPENSIVE to do the one larger can.)
2 cans Stewed tomatoes, drained

Refried beans
Mexican shredded cheese (Puh-leeze.  Do you think I did anything more than use my extra-sharp cheddar cheese from Sam's Club.  You're right.  I didn't. :))
Sour Cream
Corn Tortillas (I used corn tortilla chips, and it was sooooo good)
Lettuce, chopped (honestly, this...
Tomatoes, diced (and this... are optional.  We ate it without these toppings (on accident, ha ha), and it was still good)
(opt.) Salsa
(opt.) Sour Cream

1.  Cook ground beef.  Season it while cooking with the cumin and chili powder.  Drain.  I added the refried beans at this step.  I know, I know, it's cheating, but it was so much easier than trying to spread the darned beans later on.

2.  In a large bowl, stir together cooked ground beef, chilis and tomatoes.  Um, I'd like to say that the chilis make this dish spi-cy.  My husband is so happy and grateful and the rest of us are drinking lots of water.  I'd say that's a win-win dinner!  :)

3.  Layer the bottom of a glass pan (yes, the recipe said glass pan.  There's no reason you can't use something else)  with 6 corn tortillas.  Again, I just used tortilla corn chips.  I think it would be delicious either way, but I'm partial to the chips.

4.  Cover with half of the meat mixture, then sprinkle cheese to cover.  I know this is a little confusing not having amounts of shredded cheese to work with.  I think they're expecting you to purchase a large package of cheese.  Personally, I used about two cups of grated cheese.

5.  Layer refried beans, meat, and cheese once again.  
6.  Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375*.  It needs to be bubbly-hot.  I like to use the broiler to brown the cheese for a few minutes, mmm.

7.  Serve with fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream.

Basic Yellow Cake - Wilton

This is such a yummy, dense, moist cake.  Jonathan wasn't crazy about it, but I think it was soooo good.  We added strawberries (frozen, rinsed, cut up) into the mix and it turned out great!

Preheat: 350*
Categories: Cake, Dessert

3 cups Flour, sifted (I used all-purpose--do as you will)
2 1/2 teaspoons Baking powder
1/2 teaspoons Salt
1 3/4 cups Sugar
2/3 cup Butter (I melted mine)
2 Eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 1/4 cup Milk

1.  Grease a baking pan with butter.  I used a 9" circle pan.  Circle cake just tastes better than rectangle cake, don't you think so?

2.  Mix together dry ingredients into a large bowl.

3.  Whisk together the wet ingredients.  You don't want to move on until the lumps are whisked out!

4.  Combine the wet ingredients into the large dry ingredient bowl.  Stir together well.

5.  Pour batter into baking pan.

6.  Bake at 350* for 30-50 minutes.  I could have poured my batter into two 9" circle pans, but I really quite like putting it in just one pan... so much less work for a beautiful, circular cake.  I ALWAYS check my cake at about 30 minutes, even though I KNOW it's not going to be done yet.  I usually add on 7 minutes onto the timer after checking a still-jiggling cake. 
7.  Frost, if desired.  Also, if desired, use my favorite Better Homes and Gardens frosting recipe!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Camera's Charged!

 lost my camera charger and found it tonight!  (It had fallen behind our big freezer, of all places!)  So I'm a little camera happy--and since my kids, the primary camera targets) were in bed, I took pictures of what I'm making for dinner tomorrow--I'll post the step-by-step pictures on their individual recipes:

Homemade rolls:

And for breakfast tomorrow, I made some of our favorite Breakfast cake: