Saturday, March 26, 2011

Eggless Cookie Dough

Some people are paranoid about eating cookie dough because of the raw egg in it.  This has never fazed me, but I stumbled across this delicious recipe and whipped it together for a tasty treat for a sisters day.  It keeps great and I just keep a batch in the fridge to snack on every once in a while when I'm having a sugar craving.

{What you need}

1 cup butter
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 small (~3.5oz) box instant vanilla pudding 
1/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips 

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light in color.  Add pudding and combine well. Stir in vanilla and milk.  Add in baking soda and flour, 1/2 cup at a time until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Keep refrigerated. 

(compliments of The Sisters Cafe)

Baked Mushroom Rice

A hearty side for roast or chicken from my new favorite cook book.  And you know how I love me mushrooms!  It bakes in the oven for a while so you have free hands to be preparing anything else you need to.

{What you need}
2 T butter
1/2 c onion, chopped
1 c sliced mushrooms
3 c beef broth
1/2 c apple juice
1 T white vinegar
3/4 t kosher salt
1 t pepper
2 c uncooked rice

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a 9 x 13 dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.  Melt butter over medium heat.  Add chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes.  Add mushrooms and continue cooking until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are tender.  Remove from heat and combine the remaining ingredients in the pan.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45-60 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork before serving.

Pumpkin Alfredo

I made this for a very special evening.  I had been to the doctor earlier that day for an ultrasound for our first baby, but since John couldn't come with me because of final presentations at school, I had the ultrasound tech not tell me what sex the baby was and she wrote it down on a card I provided and put it in an envelope.  We had this very delicious and elegant meal before we opened the envelope together to find out what our first baby would be.  So this is a very special meal to us, and it is pretty reasonable to make.  Not the easiest thing, but definitely doable.

It calls for half of this alfredo sauce, which is part of why it takes a little longer to make because it's like you're making two meals.  But if you find a delicious alfredo sauce that comes pre-made or something, you could probably use that too and cut down on some prep time.

{What you need}
1 (8 oz) package cheese ravioli 
(or pasta of choice--I think it would be great with spinach fettuccine too)
1/2 batch of this alfredo sauce (or about 1 1/2 cup of canned)
1/2 T real butter
1/4 c finely minced onion
2 T chicken broth
1/2 t dried thyme
1 t dried sage
1/2 cup canned pumpkin

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  In a separate saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat. When melted, add onion and saute until it is translucent and fragrant.  Add chicken broth and herbs.  Use   a spatula to deglaze the pan a bit and get any cooked bits of onion off the bottom.  Add pumpkin and whisk to combine.  Add alfredo sauce, stir to combine and cook until heated through.  Serve immediately over cooked pasta.  Another favorite from Best Bites.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Conrned Beef and Cabbage

Americans associate this dish with the Irish I think more than any other dish.  And I never even had it or heard of it in my year and a half living in Ireland!  But it is a classic and a must for this St. Paddy's Day!  Very easy, but from start to finish it takes a good 3 hours at least, so give yourself plenty o' time.  
Erin Go Bragh!!

{What you need}
3 lbs. corned beef brisket with spice packet
10 small red potatoes
5 carrots pealed, sliced into 3 inch pieces (or 2-3 cups mini carrots)
1 large head cabbage, cut into small wedges

Place corned beef in large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer approximately 50 minutes per pound or until tender.

Add whole potatoes and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Add cabbage and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove meat and let rest 15 minutes.

Place vegetables in a bowl and cover. Add as much broth (cooking liquid reserved in the Dutch oven or large pot) as you want. Slice meat across the grain.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Irish Soda Bread

It's St. Patrick's Day this week and if you know me, you can imagine how much I love this holiday.  I lived in Ireland for a year and a half serving a mission for my Church and absolutely fell in love with the people and the culture.  And even though the food wasn't as rich and flavorful as I was use to back at home, I loved it and embraced it all.  Except black pudding..... never did quite get used to that.  But this week I will be posting some of my favorite Irish-inspired recipes (Americanized a wee bit) for you to enjoy.  Let's get this party started!

{What you need}

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large
baking sheet.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, check at 30 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Alfredo Sauce

Another winner from Our Best Bites.  The original recipe calls for "light" everything, but I used full fat.  It was so delicious, but doesn't make a ton.  I would at least double it every time I make from now on.  Serves great with cheese ravioli, or any pasta of your choice.  It looks like a lot of steps to put it together, but don't be intimidated.  It's actually super easy.

{What you need}
2 cups milk
1/2 cup (3 oz) cream cheese
2 T flour
1 t kosher salt
1 T butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a blender, blend the milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt until smooth and set aside.  In a large, nonstick saucepan, melt butter on medium-high heat and add garlic.  Saute the garlic for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly to prevent the garlic from sticking and burning.  Add the milk mixture to the pan.  Stir constantly for 3-4 minutes or until it just comes to a simmer.  Keep stirring and let it cook for a few minutes more or until the sauce thickens, about 6-7 minutes.  Once the sauce has started to thicken, remove from heat.  Whisk the cheese into the sauce and immediately cover the pan.  Allow the sauce to stand for at least 10 minutes before using.  It will continue to thicken upon standing.  Serve immediately.

Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days.  The sauce will become very thick once refrigerated.  To use it, reheat the sauce and add a little milk until the desired consistency is reached.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


A family favorite since I can remember.  My dad served his mission in Japan and this was one of his favorites there, so my mom figured out how to make it for him and we had it at least once a month growing up.  Then my mom made it for my hub one day and he fell in love with it, too.  So we'll be having this one often around our house for years to come.

{What you need}

Four lean pork loins or chicken breasts- boneless
        I sometimes buy a pork roast
        and slice it into half inch pieces
        and freeze for next time
6 eggs  (dad likes 8)
        two will be used in
        breading the pork loin
1 Yellow or white onion sliced into thin rings
bread crumbs - non seasoned
oil for frying

 1/3 c. soy sauce
 1/3 c plus a little of sugar
 2 cups water

     Cut extra fat away from pork loin.  Mix two eggs in a bowl.  Coat pork in eggs and then breadcrumbs.  Fry in a one inch depth of oil til very brown.  Set pork aside on a paper towel-lined plate.  Pork doesn't need to completely cook through yet.
     Mix sauce ingredients thoroughly in a fry pan.  Place onion rings around pan.   Boil onions for about 5-7 minutes (7 was perfect for me), or until tender.  When pork loins are cooled a little, cut them into slices and place on top of onions.  Bring to a boil.  Whip the remaining 4 eggs and add to leftover egg mixture.  Pour over boiling mixture. Put lid on and let eggs cook for about two minutes.  Serve over rice immediately.  The longer eggs cook they will turn a gray color from mixing with the soy.  Serve when eggs are still yellow, with rice and pot stickers.  Itadakimasu!!

(Compliments of Jackie Durrant)

Chicken Noodle Soup

It's cold and flu season in the Beehive State right now and this soup is just the ticket to feeling some relief.  I gave some of this to a co-worker who was under the weather last week and she loved it!  It's not bursting with chickeny flavor, just has a clean, wholesome taste and weight to it.  I absolutely love this recipe.

{What you need}
4 chicken breasts
5 carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 quarts water
4 chicken bouillon cubes (or 4 teaspoons granules)
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 teaspoon basil
pepper to taste
1 cup frozen peas (optional)
noodles of choice, cooked, as much as you want (I load it with them)

Boil chicken in water for 20 minutes and cut into small pieces.  Boil veggies, bouillon and water together for 15-20 minutes.  Add chicken.  Add cream of chicken soup, basil, and pepper and bring to a boil again before adding noodles and peas.  cook for 5 more minutes. Enjoy!

(Compliments of Favorites)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Honey Butter

The best honey butter I have ever had!  And so easy.  Great on things like cornbread, scones, fresh baked white bread, whatever you like.

{What you need}
1/2 cup butter, room temp
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients together well.  Keep in the fridge.

Corn Bread

A great winner from the Our Best Bites cookbook.  Not just ordinary cornbread, but a cake-like muffin you won't have a hard time getting anyone to eat.

{What you need}
1 box yellow cake mix
2 boxes jiffy cornbread mix
eggs, milk and oil according to both packages (sub all water for milk)

Combine and mix well.  Bake according to cake packages.  Serve with honey butter.

Red Roasted Ranch Potatoes

Easy, delicious.  Great side.

{What you need}
1 1/2 lb. red potatoes, cleaned and cut into medium pieces
1/3 cup olive oil
1 package ranch dressing mix

In a large ziploc bag, combine all ingredients and shake well until potatoes are evenly coated.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, turn the potatoes and bake 15-20 minutes more.

Classic Hamburgers

I'm giving a weekly menu a go to see if it saves us money on groceries.  I'll be making a "Weekly Menu" tab up at the top of the page with each night's meal and recipes.  Maybe eventually I'll put how much money to budget for groceries each week.  This is a huge step for me, all these calculations and organizing and planning.  Usually when it comes to cooking I'm pretty impulsive.  So here we go--Monday night dinner:

{What you need}
1 lb. lean hamburger meat
1 egg
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 Tablespoon steak sauce
your choice of buns
ice burg lettuce
ketchup, mustard, mayo, ranch, whatever you like

Preheat an outside grill or some variation of a George Foreman grill.  Combine the meat, garlic, egg and steak sauce.  Mix thoroughly.  Divide the meat into 4-6 sections and form patties, with the edges of the patty being a tad thicker than the middle.  The middle will plump up and even out.  Grill until the center of the meat is cooked through.  Serve with your choice of toppings and condiments.

Serve with red roasted ranch potatoes and corn bread with honey butter.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Easy Spanish Rice

Super easy and delicious addition to a spanish or mexican meal.  I'm not typically a huge fan of red spanish rice (I prefer the green, lime-cilantro variety) but this was extremely surprising and I just loved it!

{What you need}
2 cups uncooked rice
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups favorite salsa
2 teaspoons minced garlic

In a large sauce pan combine rice and garlic.  Add chicken broth and salsa and mix thoroughly.  Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked through.  Let stand 5 minutes and fluff with a fork.
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