Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Easy One Rise Rolls

These really are the easiest rolls ever and really good, but much better if eaten within the first day or two (fyi:) They can also be stuffed with the chicken crescent recipe yumminess instead of buying expensive refrigerator dough.

1 3/4 C warm water
1/2 C oil
1/2 C sugar
3 Tbs. yeast

2 eggs
5-5 1/2 C flour*
1 tsp salt

Knead until smooth, divide dough into 4 balls (3 if you're doing chicken crescents). Roll each into an 8" circle, cut into 8 wedges (6 for chikn crescents). Roll into crescents. Place on greased cookie sheet or one sprinkled with corn meal (but I didn't grease mine and they didn't stick:). Let rise for about 15 min. Bake at 375 for 10-12 min.

*Can also use part whole wheat flour.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

M&M Cookies

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Robbis-MM-Cookies/Detail.aspx with some alterations...namely more flour. I used more like 3 C. I hate flat cookies:) Picky Davy raved! Also, I used cute Valentine M&M's:)

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2-3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups candy-coated milk chocolate pieces

In a large bowl, mix sugar, eggs, shortening, and vanilla thoroughly. Add flour, salt, and baking soda to creamed mixture. Blend well. Add M&M candies.
Drop dough by teaspoonful onto cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 9 to 11 minutes, to your liking.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Lunch TOday - Tuna and Noodles

I know it's supposed to be what's for dinner, but I just had a yummy little simple lunch and it's nothing amazing or gourmet, but lately easy, quick, and healthy have been perfect. I'm not even sure if this counts as a recipe, but sometimes just the idea of combining everyday stuff helps me out. So here you go:

6-12 oz bag of pasta; however hungry you are (I used wide egg noodles)
1-2 cans tuna, drained
2-3 tbs butter
1+ cup shredded cheese (we used mozerella)
salt and pepper

Boil water and add noodles, cook to al dente, drain. Return noodles to hot pot, melt butter and cheese in with noodles. Add tuna (I have a 2 and 5 yr old, so I had to keep the tuna and noodles separate for them), salt and pepper and enjoy. I recommend serving with fresh veggies and/or apples. It's a lot like Tuna Casserole, but without the added sauce you save about 100 calories and my kids only eat regular Tuna Casserole every 3rd time if I'm lucky. BUT even my newly picky 5 yr old said this was good food.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Two Easy Meatball Recipes

I fell in love with Costco meatballs when I was three days overdue with my second son. After weeks with no appetite, there was a heavenly smell at my friends wedding reception and I followed the scent to some BBQ meatballs. They really hit the spot! But I was a tired pregnant mom and there was no way I could duplicate this delicious recipe. Or so I thought.

I asked the mother of the groom if I could please have the recipe. She said, "Ohhhhhhhh ... All right. Costco meatballs..."

"Uh huh ..."

"And Bullseye BBQ sauce."

"That's it?"

"That's it."

I felt like I had hit the recipe jackpot! A delicious and easy recipe! These are really more of an appetizer food, but no one in my family objects when I include them as a dinner food. Just follow the instructions on the package, pour on a good coating of sauce, and bake them in the oven. They are so good!

Looking through a cookbook my sister gave me, there is a recipe for Sweet and Sour Meatballs. There are detailed directions as to how to form your own meatballs, but who wants to do that? I just used the sauce portion with some Costco meatballs and cooked them in the same fashion, served them over rice, and we had a broccoli cauliflower mix on the side for dinner tonight.

So here is the sweet and sour sauce. I imagine it has many uses.

1/2 cup brown sugar (I used honey instead to taste)
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1/4 cup barbeque sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Stir it and pour it over some meatballs. Depending on your preference, you might want to double the sauce.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Easy Lasagna

One day I was commenting to the checker at the grocery store about how much easier it is to make lasagna with those no boil noodles and she said, "Do you want to know an easier way?" I said, "Yeeeeeeees ......"

She said, "Use cheese ravioli."

This cuts out the step where you spread on ricotta or cottage cheese. Also, I usually slice the mozzarella cheese to make it easier to spread the ricotta on and that's kind of a pain. When you make it with frozen ravioli, all you have to do is layer it like this:

thin layer of sauce to prevent sticking (or I think you can use a little olive oil too)
Layer of grated parmesan on top

Bake at 375 for about 50 minutes covered and then 10 minutes uncovered. It should be bubbling by then. Let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.

This is so easy, it's almost ridiculous. And it is sooooo good! I buy the frozen ravioli from Costco which gives me a large two layer lasagna and there is still enough ravioli leftover for a few servings. Then I buy a big bag of shredded mozzarella cheese from Costco and some Boboli pizza packs to have on another night to make sure I use the cheese up.

You can use any kind of sauce you want for the lasagna, but I would like to share my mom's recipe because it is really good.

1 lb. ground beef
1 large can stewed tomatoes (I used crushed tomatoes in thick puree instead)
1 can tomato sauce (your average soup can size)
1 packet Spagetti Sauce Mix (Last time I used McCormick's thick and zesty sauce, I believe)
1 tsp. garlic powder

Brown the beef, pour in the tomatoes and sauce (don't drain the tomatoes), then the seasonings. I recently had it over spaghetti and my friend who comes over every week for dinner was begging for more the next week. :)

Or you could make it really easy on yourself and use your favorite sauce in a jar. I love having such an easy lasagna recipe because I feel more motivated to make a decent salad since I'm not exhausted.

I hope you enjoy it! Another thing I wanted to mention: There was a place I went to called The Brick Oven that put pepperoni in their lasagna. It was really good. Just throw in a layer of that if you're a pepperoni fan.

Turkey Noodle Soup

I know turkey season is past us now, but there's always next year. This year I made a turkey for Thanksgiving, scraped off as much meat as I could and wasn't sure what to do with the carcass. I threw it in the garbage and felt wasteful, but afterwards, I learned I could have used it to make stock. You take the carcass, put it in a pot of water with a bunch of carrots, celery, and onions, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper and let it boil for a few hours. Discard all the veggies and bones and POOF you have a bunch of flavorful stock to help start soups, add to rice, mashed potatoes, gravies, crock pot stuff ... it freezes and it's useful.

Now back to the turkey soup.

3 cups of Turkey stock (or chicken or water)
1 large can of cream of chicken soup
1 large can (or so) of water

Add poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, salt, pepper (spices you like) until broth is yummy.
Add bite size turkey chunks, chopped carrots, chopped celery, chopped onion and cook until veggies are done. Add noodles, cook until they're done.

Now this made me SO much soup, like 3 meals worth. If you want to freeze the soup, first, I would recommend only adding noodles to the part you are eating that night and cool the rest in the fridge (this is important if you don't want to be cleaning frozen turkey soup mess out of your freezer when the name brand freezer bags rip open cuz the soup you put in was too hot). When the soup is cool, freezer bags work fine. Then when you are ready to cook it up again, put the frozen block of soup in a pot, bring to a boil, add noodles, cook and serve.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Catalan Tortilla

I was flipping through The Totally Garlic Cookbook that my friend Jessica gave me years ago and this recipe gave me the perfect opportunity to chip away at my 15 pound bag of yukon gold potatoes, my healthy supply of garlic, and the onions I needed to use before they go bad. It was so good and it was quite different from what we normally eat. So here's the recipe!

Catalan Tortilla (it has nothing to do with torillas - it's actually an omelette)

Olive Oil
3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
10 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
8 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Coat medium baking dish (I did a large baking dish) lightly with olive oil. Arrange alternating layers of potato slices, garlic, onion, and salt and pepper to taste, drizzling each layer lightly with olive oil. Bake 45 minutes, stirring several times (I timed it to go off every 15 minutes so I wouldn't forget to stir). Remove from oven and stir to separate.

In large heavy skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add potato mixture in even layer. Pour eggs over potatoes. Cook over medium-high heat, shaking skillet to prevent sticking. When eggs are set around edges, slide omelet out onto plate, loosening edges and bottom, if necessary, with spatula. Place another plate on top and invert. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to skillet. When hot, slide omelet back into pan and cook 1 minute longer. Cut into wedges to serve.

I don't have a good stove or pan for making omelettes, so I ended up scrambling it. Doesn't really matter because I don't think it changes the taste. Omelettes just look prettier. I decided this dish makes a good breakfast or dinner. The ingredients are pretty healthy too! I added a little fresh parmesan cheese and that made it extra yummy. I hope you try it and like it! :) Also, my yukon potatoes are pretty small so I ended up using 6 instead of 3 as the recipe calls for. I love it when I find a new dish to add to my favorites!

Caribbean Chicken Rice

This is a recipe from my friend Yvonne called "Caribbean Chicken Rice". It is soooooooo yummy!

1 package saffron rice
2 1/2 cups water
2 TBS butter or margarine
1 bunch of green onions chopped into small pieces (include the green stems)
1/4 cup of red and green peppers diced into small pieces
1/4 cup of chopped sweet onions
1 small can of chunky or tidbit pineapples - drained
1/4 c coconut shreds
Cayenne pepper (season to taste)
1 clove of garlic
1 lb of browned chicken strips
or 1 lb of medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Combine all of your ingredients in a 2 quart saucepan and bring to a boil stirring thoroughly. Reduce heat, cover and simmer over low heat for 25 - 30 minutes, or until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat, stir and let stand covered for 5 minutes. Stir and serve.

Citrus Mustard Pork Roast

Citrus Mustard Pork Roast

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tsp. finely shredded orange peel
1 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 3- to-4 pound boneless pork top loin roast (double loin, tied - sometimes I buy two roasts and tie them together when I can't find a double one or I have the butcher do it for me)
2 medium oranges
Orange juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar (I prefer honey)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup dry white wine or orange juice

1. In a bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of the mustard, citrus peels, pepper, and 1/4 tsp. salt.

2. Untie roast, trim fat. Spread mustard mixture on roast. Retie roast. Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer. Roast in a 325 oven for 1 3/4 to 2 hours or till thermometer registers recommended temp. for pork (the book says 155). Cover with foil and let stand 15 minutes. The meat's temp will rise 5 degrees during standing.

3. Meanwhile, for sauce, peel and section oranges over a bowl to catch juices. Add enough orange juice to equal 1 cup. In a saucepan, stir together remaining mustard, orange juice, cornstarch, honey, and lemon juice. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Gently stir in orange sections and wine (or 1/4 cup OJ). Heat through. Serve sauce with meat.

I like to serve it with garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed asparagus. I boil some yukon gold potatoes with about 4 cloves of garlic, drain them, add butter, gorgonzola cheese, fresh parmesan cheese, milk, a little cream, and use an electric mixer to get them nice and smooth. First I blend the butter in well before I add the other ingredients.

For the sauteed asparagus, I put some olive oil in a pan with two cloves of minced garlic on medium heat, just until I can barely smell the garlic, then I add the asparagus, keep it moving for a few minutes to avoid burning the garlic, then I turn it down to low and cook it for another few minutes. I put them on a plate, salt them, squeeze some lemon over them, and add a little fresh parmesan cheese. I think it tastes pretty good!

How to Make Roasted Garlic

How to Make Roasted Garlic

Years ago I fell in love with "focaccia con cambozola" - a flatbread at Cucina Cucina that is served with roasted garlic and cambozola cheese. For a long time, I would drive by and wonder what that Heavenly smell was. It was the garlic. It was love at first bite and though I had been skeptical of garlic's illness fighting abilities, that was the first winter I didn't get a single cold. Those were my college days, so I irresponsibly went there once a week with my friends to indulge myself. Mmmm ... Either it really does fight colds or no one would get close enough to me to get me sick.

Anyway, there came a time when money was scarce, but I really craved roasted garlic. I had no idea how to make it and when my husband and I were living in our first apartment in Puyallup (well, our first apartment we lived in without a roommate), we went to the fair and this one booth was selling various garlic products including a "garlic roaster" - a ceramic, garlic-shaped dish made especially for roasting or storing garlic. I was so excited and it came with instructions! If I could just get Cucina Cucina's focaccia bread recipe, I would have it made, so I had to improvise. It's really not a true focaccia bread - more like a lightly seasoned thin pizza crust.

This is how you roast a head of garlic:

1. Cut off the top (the pointy part) to expose the cloves
2. Spread butter on top
3. Drizzle with a little olive oil
4. Place in a cold oven in a covered dish (I tried covering a small dish with foil and poking a couple small holes in it and that worked great)
5. Turn oven to 300 degrees and set timer for 45 minutes
6. Uncover and baste with olive oil
7. Cook uncovered for 9 minutes (9 is what works in my oven - the directions said 10, but that gave me overdone, bitter garlic)
8. Baste again and cook another 9 minutes
9. Baste again and cook another 9 minutes.

At this point, some of the cloves will usually start to emerge out of the skin. Wait until it's cool enough and you can either scoop the soft cloves out with a butter knife or turn it upside down and squeeze it. That's fun, but it gets your hands all oily. It took me a while to perfect this process, but it has been awesome for putting in potatoes, sauces, even guacamole, hummus, and especially for spreading on a yummy bread of your choice. I like to put it on some warm french bread with some butter, sprinkle on a little fresh parmesan cheese, and dip it in a combination of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I just had some tonight and I will probably reek for the next few days. It's worth it! My brother roasts whole garlic cloves by sauteeing them in a pan, but I haven't mastered the art yet. I'll let you know when I do. I like the fact that you don't waste any of the head, but it involves peeling all of the cloves. It takes less time, but I am in my comfort zone with the oven roasting method and I like the aroma while it's cooking. You do have to plan ahead.

I hope these directions are helpful to someone! :) One more tip - for spreading on bread, mash the garlic with a fork while it's still warm.

Lemon Cookies

Mmmmmm ... What's for dessert? My friend brought me these cookies when I had the ear infection from heck and could hardly chew. They were moist, soft, and delicious! I could hardly believe that a cookie with no chocolate could be so good. I was grateful to have something so yummy that I could chew with almost no effort. Also, I was delighted to learn how easy they are!

Lemon Cookies

1 box moist deluxe lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
powdered sugar

Mix the first three ingredients, roll into about 1 inch balls, roll those in the powdered sugar, place on a cookie sheet, and bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes. Enjoy!

Company Chicken

I got this one from a church cookbook, tried it last week, and I fell in love!

Company Chicken

8 to 10 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper
Fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 lbs. sliced mushrooms
2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese

Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Pound flat between plastic wrap or in a large ziploc bag (this was fun because I took my aggressions out on it). Coat with flour, shaking off excess then season with salt and pepper. Saute in butter (I used about half a cube and ended up adding a little more for the mushrooms) in a skillet until golden brown and cooked through, drizzling each side with lemon juice. Remove to a baking dish. Saute the mushrooms in the drippings in the skillet then pour over the chicken. Pour cream over chicken and sprinkle on parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley.

It is so good. I think the lemon really makes the dish. 5 stars!