Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Spinach-Fruit Smoothies

Here’s another invented recipe that we’ve been enjoying.  I wanted to make a smoothie that had spinach.  I had heard it was surprisingly good!  But I didn’t want to have to add any sugars… not even honey, or other less traditional sugar substitutes.  I think you’re going to like this one!

Preheat: --
Smoothie, Spinach, Fruit

2 cups Frozen, chopped fruit (you can buy some yummy fruit mixes, or you can pre-chop and freeze in batches—customizing is half the fun!)
2-4 cups Milk (we used skim milk)
1-2 Apples, chopped (we used a Gala apple, and NO, you don’t have to peel.  Heck, I didn’t even CORE the apple!!)
1 cup Yogurt (we used strawberry yogurt)
1 Orange, chopped, optional
2-3 cups Spinach leaves

1. In a blender, pour in 2 cups of milk to start, then add the chopped apple(s) and orange.  Blend until smooth.

2.  Add the frozen, chopped fruit.  Blend until smooth.  Add milk as needed for texture and blending purposes.  Obviously, your concoction is going to be thicker or thinner for your taste, based on how much milk you end up using.  We like the texture of a thicker shake, so I will push the frozen, difficult-to-blend fruit, guiding it to the blade.  Caution: The blade can rip through many things, including a wooden spoon!  Just ask my husband!!  :)

3. Add the cup of yogurt, and through the open lid, start adding the spinach.  Blend until smooth and green.  Mmmm, nom, nom, nom, this sounds so good.  The green color is off-putting, I’ll admit, but my kids LOVED it, and so did my very skeptical husband.  And for the record, there were no wooden spoon bits in my smoothie!!

4.  Serve cold.  And if you’re like us, all smoothies taste better when consumed through a straw.  And a chilled mug.  :)

Classic Pancakes–Revisited!

I have long had a favorite pancakes recipe.  But since we are changing up our eating lifestyle at our house I thought that if we were going to have pancakes, maybe I could do something to make them have more UMPH!  We’re kicking it up a notch!!  (And by the way, these tasted no different to my kids than regular pancakes, BOO-YAH.)

This is a double batch, but since I haven’t tested it with a halved batch, this is what you get!  Half at your own risk.  ;)

Preheat: --
Category: Breakfast, pancakes, oatmeal

12 Eggs
3 cup Milk
2 1/4 cup Oatmeal, finely ground
(I used my little food processor, but you can also use a blender)
4 cups All-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 Table. Oil
4 Table. Baking powder
1 Table. Salt
1 Table. Sugar

1.  In a large bowl, mix together the ground oatmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

2. In a second large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and oil.

3. Pour the whisked liquids into the mixed dry ingredients and whisk well.

4. Heat up the griddle until water sizzles.  Turn the heat down to about an 8, or the higher side of medium-high.  Prepare pan surface with non-stick spray.

5. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, measure out a serving of batter onto the hot griddle.  Cook until bubbles form, and the middle bubbles do not refill.  If your pancake is burnt at this point, turn the heat down!

6. Serve hot with your choice of syrups, jams, powdered sugar, or just plain.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pan-Seared Sirloin Steak

MMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, Yummy.  I know it’s simple, but it’s a delicious classic.

Category: Beef, steak

1 lb. Beef sirloin steak, 1” thick
1/4 teas. Lemon pepper seasoning
1 teas. Grated lemon peel
1 Tbsp. Soy sauce
2 Tbsp. Olive oil

1. Sprinkle beef with lemon pepper
2. Mix in other ingredients + 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
3. Brush on beef.
4. In a 10” skillet, heat up the other tablespoon of olive oil  at a hot medium heat.
5. Add beef for 10-12 minutes—browned on both sides.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Black Bean Soup

This is a recipe from Mrs. John W. Fox, who knew we’d want the recipe!

Category: Beans, Soup
Preheat: --

1 can of Black black beans (Or you can use my yummy, no-soak crockpot beans recipe)
1/2 cup Vegetable broth
2 Carrots, chopped
1/4 cup Onion, chopped
1-2 cloves Garlic
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup Corn (frozen or canned)

1. Cook carrots, onion, and garlic in the vegetable broth.
2. Add in black beans
3. Add corn, olive oil, salt and pepper
4. Cook until corn is tender or crisp, your preference.

Teriyaki Chicken

Over the last few months, I’ve had a family member, Phyllis, languishing from the effects of cancer.  She passed away last Sunday and I am putting a few recipes onto this blog in her honor. This recipe is from Phyllis’ niece, who sent the recipe up in Phyllis’ early days of convalescence.

Category: Chicken

Preheat: --

12 Chicken thighs, skins removed
1 Tbsp. Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tsp. Ground ginger
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 cup Water
1/4 tsp. Garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Sesame seeds

1.  In 1 Tbsp oil, Brown thighs in a large skillet on medium-high heat.  Season with Salt and Pepper.
2.  In a large pot, stir in ginger, sugar, soy sauce, water, garlic powder, and sesame seeds.
3.  Transfer the browned thighs into the pot and cover.  Simmer on a low heat for about two hours, rotating thighs every 30 minutes.  The meat should be tender and ready to fall off of the bone. 
4.  Serve hot with steamed rice, using the extra sauce over the rice.  You can use my yummy rice recipe to complete this recipe!  This sounds amazing with broccoli, mmmm!  And it sounds SOOOO EASY!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Artichoke Dip

My mom and I made this delicious (SINFUL!) recipe for a friend’s wedding reception.  It was soooo good!!  We found it on, recipe #18257.
artichoke dip
1 14-oz can Artichokes, drained and chopped
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup Mayonaisse
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
(The recipe indicated you can use 4 cloves if you like garlic)
1 dash Lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Jalapeno pepper, chopped finely
(We seeded the jalapeno, but it must have been an old jalapeno because our mouths were burning!!)
1.  Purée everything in a blender. Or, if you’re cooler than I am, you can use one of those cool puréeing thingies you can use right in the bowl!
2.  Cook on high in microwave for 2 minutes, or bake at 350*F in the oven for 20 minutes.  I think it’s better in the oven, but microwaving is so fast and easy!
3.  Serve hot with crackers, or with cut-up French bread.  Chewy French bread.  Hands down the best of the two options, though crackers are yummy too.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Italian Night Soup

This thick, hearty soup was served at a church function and we all BEGGED (on our KNEES) for the recipe.  It’s delicious hot, my husband thinks I’m nuts, but I think it’s delicious cold, too.  You can probably only reheat it once because of the noodles, but good luck having leftovers.  I have modified it just a bit (to make it my own, of course).

Preheat: --
Category: Soup, Italian, Partially Homemade

Meat, cooked (I have used ground turkey, cut-up pork chops and both were amazing)
6 c. Water
1 can Diced Italian-style tomatoes, undrained
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1 box Hamburger Helper – Lasagna
1-2 Tablespoons Olive oil
Zucchini, diced
Carrots, diced
Onion, diced

1.  Cook the meat in a small soup pot.  Or if you spill everything, like me, use a large soup pot.  Drain fat if necessary and set aside.  Also, I like to drain the juice from the can of tomatoes in to cook with the meat.  Yum!

2.  In the soup pot, add the olive oil and add diced vegetables.  Sauté until soft.

3.  Add the cooked meat, the water, the diced tomatoes, the Hamburger Helper seasoning packet, and the noodles.  Boil for 10 minutes, or until noodles are al dente.

4.  Turn the heat down to simmer and allow the soup to thicken for 5-15 minutes.  This is the perfect amount of time to throw together some AMAZING HOT BISCUITS (my mom’s recipe) and bake them!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Crockpot Beans (revisited!)


My friend Jolinn shared her recipe for crockpot beans with me about two years ago.  They were soooooo good!  But my kids wouldn’t eat them!!  So last night, as I was pouring beans and water and salt and pepper into the crockpot, I thought to myself, “What if we switch up the seasoning a little?”  So I did.  My kids CHOWED DOWN their lunches today!  First time in a week that they’ve really eaten their food!  My really picky eater said he loved it, so that tells you something.  :)

I have leftovers for another 2 meals for us, and two containers for my husband to take to lunch!


Preheat: --
Category: Crockpot, Beans, pictures

This recipe can be cut or multiplied easily.  Leftovers are AWESOME, AND you can make healthy, homemade refried beans by mashing them (not to mention far CHEAPER than the store!).

8 cups Water
4 cups Beans
(Pinto are my fave, but you can use Great Northern, Black beans with this recipe… also, for chili, you can do a mix of Pinto, Great Northern, Kidney beans and have your beans uncanned!)
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Pepper
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1/2 Tablespoon Garlic powder
(you could use fresh garlic, too)
1 Tablespoon Onion powder (fresh onions minced are yummy, too!)
1 Tablespoon Chili powder

1.  Throw everything into the crockpot.

2.  Give it a quick stir.  Be sure to break up those powders if you use them!

3.  Set the crockpot on high for 8-10 hours.  Nine hours is about the sweet time.

4.  To eat it like us, serve it hot with a scoop of hot, cooked rice, with a Tablespoon of Reduced fat sour cream, and 1/8 cup Grated Extra Sharp Cheese.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Whipped Honey

This whipped honey recipe is reminiscent of my grandparents.  When they lived in California, they would drive to Utah and buy commercial whipped honey.  It is such a treat!  I was shocked at how EASY it is to make it, and it stores in the pantry so well.


Preheat: --
Category: Honey, butter, egg yolks

2 Egg yolks
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Cups Honey
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

1.  Beat until honey until spreadable.  Store in a cool, dry place.

Baking Powder Biscuits

These are the baking powder biscuits my mom made while I was growing up.  I made them once several years ago and they were…  well, they were HOCKEY PUCKS.  We couldn’t even bite into them, no kidding!  After that disaster, it took me a few years and a bit of added confidence to try again, with SPECTACULAR results.  Just like mom’s, only better because I can have them ANY. TIME. I. WANT.

Preheat: 450*F
Categories: Bread, Mom’s recipes

2 cups – 4 cups Flour
1 Tablespoon – 2 Tablespoons Baking powder
1 teaspoon – 2 teaspoons Salt
1/4 cup – 1/2 cup Shortening
3/4 cup – 1 1/2 cup Milk

1.  Measure out flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.  Measure out shortening and then cut it in.  “Cutting” in shortening can be done with a fork… but my favorite is a pastry blender.
cutting tool
Just make sure that the shortening is evenly distributed.

2.  Add milk and stir until smooth.  With a doubled recipe, I had to add a handful of flour to get my dough smooth.

3.  Roll out dough to about 1/2 inch.  The dough will rise in the oven…

4.  Cut with a cookie cutter or cut the dough into approximated squares with a knife.  Of course, my favorite shape is a circle.  I have found that using my kids’ plastic drinking cups is the perfect size biscuit.

5.  Bake in a 450* preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.  I almost always have to go the full 12.  Of course all ovens are different!

Eat your biscuits hot, maybe with butter or whipped honey, yum!

p.s. The reason I had an epic fail the first time was.... OLD BAKING POWDER!  Yep, that'll getcha every time.

Meal Idea: Spinach salad, Sautéed chicken strips, Biscuits, Whipped honey, Mixed fruit

I have been giving it some thought and it is time to step up a little.  When I come to look at my blog, which I created for me, but am happy to share with everyone else, I made it to make menu planning easier.  What are we going to eat?  I have chicken... so I click on chicken and VOILÀ!  I have several chicken recipes.  I have potatoes... so I click on potatoes and... well, yeah.  But then, I have a recipe and no clue what to put with it.  On the days that the meal seems balanced, I am going to start sharing... then when I am fretting over a menu, I can click on meal ideas and fill in my chart!

Today's menu?
Spinach salad - baby spinach leaves raw, cherry tomatoes from our garden, a skiff of grated sharp cheese, a drizzle of ranch dressing.  I sautéed the chicken strips with a tablespoon of olive oil.  When chicken is cooked in strips, it goes so. quickly.  The olive oil is good for you, and the simple salt and pepper make the chicken so yummy.

Biscuits - I used my mom's recipe for Baking Powder Biscuits.  They. are. so. good.  Especially when topped with a spoonful of whipped honey

Mixed fruit - We bought a watermelon, I cut and chilled it.  I served a spoonful of watermelon pieces and a half spoonful of canned fruit salad.  That was the preferred item of the meal for the kids, with the biscuits coming in a very close second.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Carpet Cleaner for Steam Cleaning Machine

Look what my friend Susan found at this website!  I just cleaned my carpets three weeks ago, but yesterday, my lovely 4-year-old daughter got into my make-up foundation and there's a mess the size of a dinner plate in her room from where she tried to rub it out of the carpet.  Let's just say that I have high motivation to try out this recipe!

Preheat: --
Categories: Homemade cleaners, steam cleaning

1/4 cup lemon-scented ammonia  Susan used plain ammonia.
1/4 cup white vinegar
3 teaspoons non-moisturizing dish soap
Hot water

1.  Stir together ammonia, vinegar and dish soap in a gallon-plus size container.  Susan said that the ammonia stank when mixing up this part, but that the water diluted the ammonia amply.  Also, the ammonia did NOT smell after being used on the carpet.

2.  Add water; enough to equal a gallon.  One gal, in the comments, said that when she steam cleaned, she would turn her water heater on to the hottest setting.  Then she'd use the hottest water in her cleaning.  Makes sense to me!  Just be careful not to scald yourself!

3.  Use according to steam cleaner's manufacturer directions.  Except for the part of just using the brand-name, expensive cleaner, of course!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Best Toll House Cookies

I write "Best" on all of my favorite recipes so I know which of the five cookie recipes I like... well... BEST. :)  The 1/4-cup cookies are on the left and my "regular-size" cookies are on the right.

Preheat: 375*
Group: Desserts

2/3 Cup Shortening
2/3 Cup Softened Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla
3 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Nuts, chopped (optional)
12 oz. Chocolate Chips

1. Cream shortening, butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Lots of times, I'll skip the shortening and just use butter. If my pockets are running on empty, I'll use margarine for the whole thing. When the recipe says, "cream," in this case it means get that fat and sugar into the mixer and beat the holy heck out of it. As my mom would say, "You can't beat it enough!"

The other thing to consider, instead of using the microwave or letting the butter soften on the counter, you might consider putting the butter into a saucepan and melting it.  Remove the pan from the heat when the butter is all melted, and then (and make SURE the pan's off the heating element!!) add the two sugars.  There is something about the heat of the saucepan-melted butter that really makes the sugars dissolve that makes the cookies chewier and more... melded.  That's the word that comes to mind.  The cookies are truly a unit after baking.  After the mixture has cooled off (and it doesn't take all that long), THEN add it to the mixing bowl and beat the heck out of it.

Here is a super-model we hired to do our butter melting.

We added the sugars--our model was sure to stir carefully, so as not to splash and make a mess! 

 Meanwhile, our second (very goofy!) model was beating the eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl.
 Ahhh, the butter and sugars have done their magic.  Time to beat!
Now we add the eggs and vanilla to the cooled butter/sugars mixture.

 2. Add baking soda, salt and flour. I like to sprinkle in the baking soda and salt. The flour? Make sure all of the flour is in the dough after adding each cup.  Here are the kids adding the pre-measured dry ingredients. 

As it is with baked goods, just following the recipe doesn't always work.  Our first attempt didn't have enough flour.  Behold:

I had made a double batch, so I ended up having to add an extra four cups.  If this is your first time making cookie dough, add 1/2 cup of flour at a time and mix it in well.  If you live in a humid climate (like, we live in Snellville, Georgia, which is outside of Atlanta, so YES, humid!), then you're probably going to have this issue.

Here is what the cookie dough SHOULD look like.  Notice that I pinched the dough.  If your dough mostly keeps its shape (instead of flowing down like the above picture), then you're probably okay to go.  If you add too much flour, your cookies will be awful, so too little is better than too much.

Ahhh, that's more like it.

3. Spoon onto cookie sheet. I make smaller cookies, Scott makes them the size of his fist. Sometimes we never even make it to this step. (Although I should warn you that raw eggs... salmonella... and toilets... all go together. Never say I recommended eating raw stuff that should be cooked. Even if it is delicious.)

Notice the spacing.  I am picky about my cookies and don't like them touching when they've baked.  If you don't have this weird glitch to your central nervous system, please, go ahead and put your cookies closer to one another.

For larger cookies, you can level off a 1/4-cup measuring cup.  Bake for about 11-13 minutes.

4. Bake at 375* for 8-10 minutes. DO NOT overbake! The cookies should have lost the sheen of rawness at the top and should be barely tanned. They're cookies, so they're good no matter what, but they might be a little crunchier if you don't take them out early.  Also, let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet (that, if you have it, has been placed on a cooling rack).  When they're mostly cool, they'll scoop right off of the cookie sheet and YUM, they're ready to eat.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Best Ever Tacos

Our family LOVES, LOVES, LOVES these tacos.  We eat them AT LEAST once per week.  Get ready to have a very inexpensive meal, and a very happy, satisfied family!

Preheat: --
Categories: Mexican, tacos, ground beef

6" Corn tortillas (The adults eat 2-4, and the little kids eat 2-3; also I can buy a large pack of these, enough for three weeks, from Sam's Club for minimal prices and they make fantastic baked chips)

1 pound Ground beef
1 packet Taco seasoning
Water (see packet for quantity)

3/4 Cup Grated cheese (we strongly prefer extra-sharp)
1 to 1 1/2 Cup Finely sliced fresh Spinach leaves
3/4 cup Chopped tomatoes

Optional Toppings:
1/2 Cup Chopped olives (I buy the cheaper large olives in a can and chop them myself)
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Fresh salsa
Tobasco Sauce
Lime wedges

1.  Brown ground beef, add taco seasoning and water, then keep warm.  I use my covered baker for this.

2.  Set out cheese, ground beef, spinach, tomatoes, olives, sour cream, salsa, tobasco sauce, lime wedges... or whatever combination you like.  Usually we put out cheese, beef, spinach, tomatoes, olives, and sour cream.  But it's yummy whatever you have.

3.  Pull out large frying pan and wipe down a super-thin amount of oil.  We use olive oil, and really it's to condition the pan.

4.  Set heat to medium-high and place four tortillas on pan.  When tortillas have heated through, they will have shrunk a little.  I like my shells a little crunchier, but still flexible.  You're not going to get a hard taco shell without using frying oil, but you can do slightly crunchy. 

5.  Serve tortillas while hot, scooping in fresh ingredients, customized for each person

Chicken Tacos

This Food Nanny (BYU television) recipe was AMAZING.  We have since come up with a modified recipe that we eat at least once a week (beef tacos).

Preheat: 200*F
Categories: Mexican, Chicken, Tacos, Food Nanny

2 Tablespoons Butter
Canola oil - for frying
2 pounds Chicken breast, cut up into bite-size pieces
3 Tablespoons chopped Onion
2-3 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 Cup chopped fresh Cilantro
12 Corn tortillas
Salt, ground pepper, garlic salt

Shredded cheddar, pepper jack or combination
Sour cream
Fresh spinach, thinly sliced
Fresh salsa or Tobasco sauce
Lime wedges

1.  Put butter and oil into a skillet on medium-high heat. 

2.  Add chicken, onions.  Cook until onions are soft and chicken is tender and cooked.

3.  Add garlic and cook for one minute.  Decrease heat and add cilantro and tomato.  Add chicken broth and water if mixture is too dry.

4.  Season with salt, pepper, and garlic salt.  Cook for two minutes, cover, and turn off the heat.

5.  Heat oven to 200*F. 

6.  Use 3/4 Cup of Canola oil to fry tortilla on both sides.  Fold half-way to make a taco.  Place in oven on cookie sheet to keep warm.

7.  Serve mixture in shell, adding chosen toppings.

New York Steak Salad with Gorgonzola

This is a Food Nanny recipe.  She's on BYU television, and she is super-chipper, and dedicated to saving family mealtimes.  I did a review of her cookbook (super rocking awesome!!!) a while back and it seems that people are coming looking NOT for a cookbook review, but for her RECIPES.  Well, duh!  :)  Here is one of my favorites.

Preheat: low broil
Categories: Steak, salad, fancy cheese, Food Nanny BYUTV

10 Cups Romaine lettuce pieces
2 Cups Croutons
2 medium Tomatoes, in wedges
1/2 Cup Thinly sliced Red onion
1 Cup Unpeeled sliced Cucumbers
1 pound Boneless New York steak (We used KC Strip steak)
Olive oil
Seasoned salt, pepper
1/2 Cup Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
Honey mustard dressing

1.  Preheat oven to low broil.

2.  Mix lettuce, croutons, tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers.

3.  Lightly brush stake on both sides with olive oil.  Sprinkle with seasoned salt and pepper.

4.  Broil 6-11 minutes per side for medium doneness, depending on thickness.  At the last minute, sprinkle cheese and continue to broil.

5.  Transfer steak to cutting board and let sit for five minutes.  Slice into 1/4-inch strips.  It is VERY important to leave the steak sit.  If you didn't already know, the steak finishes cooking OUTSIDE of the oven.  If you cut the meat too soon, it will not finish cooking properly.

6.  Add honey mustard dressing to moisten and toss the salad.

7.  Place tossed salad onto plates and arrange steak on top of salad.  Drizzle dressing and serve.

I can't believe it, I can't believe it!!!

I'm recipe blog #5320 on!!!!!  I know that being five thousand, three hundred nineteen would be better, but I can't believe I'm even recognized on another site!  *doing a little happy dance*  The way they calculate your blog's popularity or rating is based on how many times your food blog is on somebody else's blog roll.  If YOU have a food blog, please add my blog to your list (if you like it, of course!)

Since I'm doing a non-food post, I'll give you some interesting statistics about this site.

I'm feeling pretty fantastic!  Keeping stopping in and picking up yummy recipes!

Rockin' Moroccan Chicken

We've been eating this dish for over a year, and we all love it.  It is served over rice (check out my favorite recipe for rice here).  I like spooning extra liquid over my rice, yum, and my not-very-saucy husband likes to eat it as dry as possible.   I love the simplicity of this recipe--it tastes like I worked a lot harder than I did! 

Preheat: 400*
Category: Chicken, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, raisins, main dish

2 Chicken breast halves, cut into 1" pieces
1 Sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1" pieces  (I LOVE sweet potato with this dish, but don't always have them on hand.  I like to add to and/or replace the sweet potato with regular potato chunks)
1/4 Cup Raisins (I HATE raisins in baked goods.  But raisins in this dish is surprisingly spectacular!)
1 Cup Vegetable stock (It's all about what you have and don't have.  The vegetable stock is good, flavorful and full of vitamins.  But today, I used chicken broth instead, and it's a delicious substitute.)
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Ginger
1 teaspoon Tumeric
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1 teaspoon Salt

1.  Place chicken pieces into baking dish.  I use my wonderful covered baker from Pampered Chef, but a 9x13 pan and foil will do just fine.

2.  Measure out and stir in all spices.  It is VERY important that you stir in spices before adding in the sweet potatoes or raisins.

3.  Measure out, then stir in the raisins, sweet potato chunks and vegetable stock.

4.  Cover dish and bake at 400* for one hour.  Stir at 20 and 40 minutes.  The second you put your baking dish into the oven is a great time to hurry and measure out and steam your rice!  Your rice will cook in about 15 minutes or so (depending on your method) and then the remaining time, it will cool very slightly, absorbing any remaining moisture, making it perfect and read at the same time as your chicken!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Best. Chili. Ever.

Just sayin'.  :)  We made chili last night, put it in a Pampered Chef deep covered baker in the oven at 200*F to have it perfectly warm when we got home from church.  Paired with a green salad and thickly-sliced homemade (breadmaker) bread, and it was HEAVEN.  :)  The perfect comfort food after the comfort of church.

Preheat: --
Categories: chili, comfort food, seasoning mixes
3 - 4 cups Assorted Beans   (I made my own beans using white, pinto and red kidney, and my yummy crockpot beans recipe!  Less sodium and oh-so delicious!)
3 cans Diced tomatoes (OR 2 cans whole tomatoes, all cut up, OR 3 cans stewed Mexican tomatoes, etc.)
1 Packet of regular chili seasoning (I bought mine at Kroger, and YUM)
1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
1 Packet of taco seasoning
(opt) Grated cheese
(opt) Sour cream

1.  Cook ground beef or ground turkey thoroughly.  Drain.  Follow directions on seasoning packet.  Set aside.  This step can be done ahead of time.  We made tacos Wednesday and made 2 lbs of meat... and just saved the extras for the chili on Sunday.  I made the (8-hr. crockpot time) beans the day before, but they could have been made even earlier, too.

2.  Choose your cookware: For stovetop, use a large pot.  For oven, use a covered baker or a foil-covered casserole.  For a crockpot, set on low for 3 hours.  I used my new Pampered Chef covered baker for the first time and LOVE IT!!!  I put it in the oven at 200* before church and it was ready when we got home!

3.  In your cookware, add the beans, diced tomatoes, chili seasoning and ground beef.  Stir well.  I used a combination of tomatos... I cut up a large can of whole tomatoes and threw in a medium can of diced tomatoes.

Stovetop: Cook on medium-high heat until the chili is bubbly.  Cook for another five minutes and serve.

Covered baker or foil-covered casserole: For three hours (church), set at 200*F and leave the dish in the oven.

Crockpot: Set for three hours on low.

5.  Serve hot, with the optional grated cheese and sour cream as toppings.  Enjoy compliments for the best chili ever!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I can't BELIEVE I haven't added this waffle recipe yet......  I make a HUGE batch and then freeze the extra cooked waffles.  When we're ready to have waffles, they're great toasted (or my husband microwaves them...).

Preheat: Wafflemaker
Category: Waffles, breakfast, freezeables, wall recipes

Regular              Doubled
3 Cups                 6 Cups              Flour
2 Tablespoons    4 Tablepoons    Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon       1 teaspoon        Salt
4                          8                        Egg yolks
3 Cups                6 Cups               Milk
1 Cup                  2 Cups              Vegetable or Canola Oil I use canola
4                          8                       Egg whites

1.  Separate egg yolks and whites.  If you have a mixer, start whipping the whites.  If not, set them aside.

2.  In a medium bowl, mix together egg yolks, milk, and the oil.

3.  In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

4.  Pour your wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until smooth.

5.  If you DON'T have a mixer, start whipping the egg whites until they're VERY fluffy. 

6.  Gently stir the egg white fluff into the waffle batter.  The cookbook I used says to leave some bits of fluff, but I just like to gently blend it all...  You should have a lovely, airy batter.

7.  Cook waffles in GREASED waffle maker. 

Whole Wheat Bread

*sigh*  I have to confess that I've not put on a few of these newest recipes because they've kind of become "signature" recipes.  I keep these handy, delicious recipes taped up to my kitchen wall (I'm not a great memorizer) and use them all of the time.  I have been stingy with this whole wheat bread recipe, but I'm trying on my generosity hat and posting it here today.  When you try this recipe, you will see why I have been selfish.  It's the best whole wheat bread recipe EVER.  I got it from a friend of mine from when we lived in Tampa.  YUM.

Preheat: 350*
Category: wheat, bread, honey, posted on my wall

These ingredients are posted in the order you would need to use your breadmaker.
1 1/2 cup Warm water
1/8 cup Honey
1/4 cup Olive oil
1 Egg
3 1/2 cups (Finely Ground) Whole wheat flour* Read up on the types of flour at the end of this post.  Also, if you double the recipe, you'll want to double it not to seven cups, but EIGHT cups.
1/2 Tablespoon Salt
1 1/2 Tablespoon Yeast

1 teaspoon Vitamin C (for bread preservation)
(ground) Flax seed (for additional nutrition) Don't try and be a nutritional hero and add flax seed unless you're already pretty good at making bread...  And then if you're pretty good, add the flax seed BEFORE adding the flour... You can add anywhere from 1/4 cup to a full 1 cup...  Be aware that flax seed has more fat than flour, so you may have to adjust the olive oil.

1.  If using a breadmaker, use the wheat bread or dough settings.  Remember that wheat bread absorbs water like CRAZY, so you can't just keep adding wheat flour to the dough like you would white flour.  Let it knead for a good long while before attempting to add more wheat flour and THEN only a quarter cup at a time.  This recipe is already well-balanced, so unless it's a really wet day or the barometer is high, you hopefully won't have to add extra flour at all.

2.  If NOT using a breadmaker...  Put your warm water, honey and yeast into a large bowl and mix together until the honey is basically dissolved.  Set the timer for 10 minutes and let the mixture sit.

3.  In Bowl #2, pour in the olive oil and the egg, then stir together.

4.  In Bowl #3, measure out the flour, salt and the optional vitamin c.

5.  At the end of the 10 minutes, check to see if there is a good head on the yeast mixture.  If yes, mix in the wet ingredients into the yeast, then the dry.

6.  Knead your dough!  Again, because this is important, knead for a while before deciding whether or not you want to add more flour.  I like to use a light brushing of olive oil on my hands if the dough is too sticky to work with easily while I'm waiting to add more wheat flour.  You want a smooth dough that's not too sticky before moving on.

7.  Let your dough rise to double its size.  My hint for white bread works for wheat bread too.  Cover your dough and preheat your oven to the lowest temperature, leaving the oven door OPEN.  My oven preheats to 170*F, which is standard.  Using a "warm" feature is good too, and 85*F is the PERFECT temperature for bread to rise just right.  Sometimes I'll use my (food) thermometer to measure the temperature and if I can get to about 100*F, I'll close the oven door, turning the oven OFF.  I check the dough in just 30 minutes using this trick, and usually it's risen enough.

8.  Punch down the dough, knead it for a good minute, then shape into rolls or loaves into GREASED pans. 

9.  Let your dough rise to double its size once again.  As long as your dough is covered, the oven trick can work great at this phase too.

10.  Preheat your oven to 350*F and bake the bread for... longer than 30 minutes.  If you're making a LOAF of bread, you can tell it's done by knocking on the bottom of the pan.  If it sounds HOLLOW, chances are good that the bread has cooked through.  If you want that golden-brown bread crust, I find that the crust looks darker while it's IN the oven, so if it LOOKS golden-brown, it's probably not done yet.  If you're making ROLLS, use the color check test (slightly darker than golden-brown), then if I'm still not sure, I quickly stick my (clean) finger in between a couple of rolls and see if it's still doughy. 

11.  Brush tops of loaves or rolls with butter.  Let the bread cool on a cooling rack for a crustier crust, or on a towel for a softer crust.

* Types of Wheat (this is not just a link for reference, but also a fantastic website for breadmaking)

In the United States, there are six predominate types of wheat.
Hard winter red wheat: This wheat is mostly grown in the Plains states as well as the northern states and Canada. It is a versatile wheat with excellent baking characteristics for pan bread. It is also used for Asian noodles, hard rolls, flat breads, general purpose flour and as an improver for blending. It is moderately high in protein (about 10.5%) which makes it good as an all-purpose or bread flour. About 40% of all of the wheat grown in the United States is hard winter red wheat.
Hard spring red wheat: This wheat is mostly grown in the northern states and Canada. It is considered the aristocrat of wheat when it comes to "designer" wheat foods like hearth breads, rolls, croissants, bagels and pizza crusts. It is also used as an improver in flour blends. It is one of the hardest wheats and therefore has one of the highest protein counts (13.5%). About 24% of the wheat grown in the United States is hard spring red wheat.
Soft winter red wheat: This wheat is mainly grown in the eastern states. It is a low protein wheat with excellent milling and baking characteristics for pan breads, general purpose flour and as an improver for blending. About 25% of the wheat grown in the United States is soft winter red wheat.
Hard winter white wheat: This is the newest class of U.S. wheat. It is sweeter and lighter in color that red wheat, with a protein profile similar to hard winter red wheat. It is great for making Asian noodles, whole wheat, pan breads and flat breads. Only about 1% of the wheat grown in the United States is hard winter white wheat, but it is gaining in popularity.

Soft spring white wheat: This type of wheat is generally grown in a few eastern states and in the Pacific Northwest and California. It is a low moisture wheat with high extraction rates that provides a whiter product for cakes and pastries. This variety is similar to soft winter red wheat with a slightly sweeter flavor. About 7% of the wheat grown in the United States is soft spring white wheat.


Yes, that's the whole title.  I had a rice maker for maybe a couple of months and the rice turned out AWFUL, and the pot was a terror to clean.  It didn't stay at our house for long, and I continued making yummy rice using a pot with a fitted lid.  Here's how we make our rice--works 100% of the time (unless I forget that I'm making rice and it burns, but we won't talk about that!)

The rice is shown here with one of our favorite chicken dishes, Rockin' Moroccan Chicken.

Preheat: --
Category: Rice

2 cups Water
1 cup Rice
1 teaspoon Butter
1 teaspoon Salt

Instead of plain water, use chicken broth instead for a flavorful rice.

1.  Throw water, rice, butter, and salt into a pot or saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid.  To cook the rice faster, I'll give the mixture a quick stir and turn the heat onto high.  When it starts boiling, I turn the heat down to about a seven, or a medium-high heat.  You know you have the right amount of heat based on how much steam is escaping from the lid...  If you are BILLOWING steam, turn your heat down.  If you can't see ANY steam, turn it up.  You should get a small and steady stream of steam.

2.  Cook until "pock marks" form in the rice.  I have a clear lid...  you DON'T want to remove the lid because it defeats the whole purpose of having steam built up.  To make sure all of the water has absorbed, I tilt the pot to its side. If any liquid is visible, I know the rice needs another couple of minutes and I let it rest.

3.  Serve hot.  Sometimes when the weather is wet (and I live in Snellville, which is in humid Atlanta, so of COURSE it's wet!), I'll just move the cooked rice off of the burner and let it set for 20 minutes while I finish other meal preparation.  The rice retains its heat, and it finishes absorbing any extra heat to make a really nice sticky rice.