Friday, February 27, 2009

The Best Pot Roast

I realize this isn't much to look at, but this is hands down the best pot roast ever. I'm not a big meat eater, but I could eat this all the time! You must try it. I shredded mine to put in tacos and it shreds so easily with one fork because it's so tender. You could also serve it as is with a side of mashed potatoes. Yum!

Pot Roast
  • 1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons House seasoning, recipe follows
  • 1/4 cup oil (vegetable or olive would do)
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 or 4 beef bouillon cubes, crushed
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

Sprinkle roast on all sides with house seasoning. Using a skillet over high heat, sear roast until brown in oil. Place roast in a slow cooker, and layer onions, bay leaves, crushed bouillon cubes, garlic, and cream of mushroom soup. Add enough water to cover all of the ingredients. Cook on the low setting for 8 hours.

House Seasoning:
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Alfredo Cheese Fondue

Saturday night we had a few dental school families over for a hulabaloo. Lots of kids and lots of mess- and so worth it. Dinner was fondue, and I was very happy with how it turned out. I have made Martha Stewie's Swiss cheese fondue before- and it is super thick and not really that well suited for dipping?! So I found this recipe that had alfredo sauce in it... and that was the answer. DElicious, and just the right consistency. The one thing I did learn about fondue is, unless you have multiple pots and a table large enough to seat all in attendance, it isn't really a large crowd kinda food. Because we weren't sitting and dipping right at the table, we ended up ladeling it on top of our skewered food and then sitting around on couches and chairs to eat. It got a little cold. Still tasty, just would have been better hot from the pot. :)

Alfredo Cheese Fondue

1/2 C. chicken stock
1 10-ounce tub refrigerated Alfredo sauce
2 C. shredded Swiss cheese
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

In a saucepan on the stovetop, heat chicken stock til boiling. Reduce heat to low and add the Alfredo sauce, Swiss cheese, and nutmeg. Stir constantly until the cheese is melted and very hot.
(I quadrupled the recipe. The more the better!)

Accoutrements included: roasted chicken, brown sugar ham, roasted potatoes, carrots, heirloom cherry tomatoes, olives, apples, pears, breadsticks, endive, asparagus, and cheese-filled tortellini. Dessert was chocolate fondue with strawberries, pound cake, little chocolate chip cookies, fresh pineapple, and giant marshmallows. It just doesn't get any better.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Derek, Maren, Kelli, J.D., Candice and Chris jumped at the chance to enjoy a Valentine's dinner at North. Our meal began in the early evening. It was a fun atmosphere, and we ate at the prettiest table- with a really beautiful linear chandelier above. Great company, rose petals, candles, a multi-nosed vase, a waiter that wished us multiple "Happy Valentimes Day"s, and a single rose gifted to each female at the end of the meal- all made for a memorable and enjoyable evening. Onto the food!

We each tried to order something a little different, then shared around. That is, until the main course, when all the guys got seafood (bleh).

Favorite starters? the mushroom, arugula and parmesan pizza and the bruschetta.
Favorite mains? the herb-crusted pork tenderloin, the chicken parmesan and the braised shortribs with marscapone polenta
Favorite sweets? the nutella/banana crepes and the sour cherry bread pudding.

We could have passed on the mozzarella/tomato/bread appetizer (chalk full of red onions- and also soggy), the calimari (just OK, not great), and of course the fish dishes.

All in all it was a really delicious meal and I would recommend it. But of all the Fox Restaurants tried so far, Olive and Ivy is still my fave. There are still, however, a couple I haven't been to and will have to before I can give a final report.
Posted by Picasa

Bowls of Chocolate

As previously documented on Maren and Kelli's blogs, our Sunday-after-Valentine's family dinner was extra fun. That is always the case when Kelli comes to town. We thought an attempt at chocolate bowls would be a fun way to celebrate the holiday of love. The process involved lots of laughing, and a good amount of frustration as well. Here's the how-to:

Chocolate Bowls

10 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate, divided
Small balloons, filled with air

Grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper.
Place 5 ounces of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until completely melted. Remove it from heat and stir in the remaining 5 ounces chocolate until thoroughly smooth. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon melted chocolate onto prepared pan to form a small disk. Dip the balloon into the bowl of chocolate, coating about a third of the balloon. Place the dipped end of the balloon on the chocolate disk. Repeat with remaining chocolate and balloons. Place in the refrigerator to set, about 30 minutes.
In order to release the air from the balloon, pinch the balloon just under the knot and cut a small hole in the surface between fingers and knot. Very gradually release air; if air is released too quickly, the bowls may break. Carefully peel the deflated balloons from the chocolate bowls.

And here's what we learned through the process:

*These are best suited to be made for a smaller group. Eight? Yes. Six? Even better. Thirty? We won't be doing that again.
*The chocolate canNOT be too hot- the balloons pop easily. It must be barely melty and barely warm. It will be thicker this way, too, which is good because the balloons will come out easier if the chocolate is thick and sturdy.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 23, 2009

Green Chile Burros

Filled our freezer with these last week (Marilee style) so on the days I don't make Chris a lunch he can grab one of these and still have something half-way decent. He comes home telling me how for lunch he had a giant slice of somebody's birthday cake, or a couple candy bars or something, and it makes me ill. Just trying to give you options, dear.
Recipe from friend/chef Tatum.

Green Chile Burros

1 large can refried beans
about 2 cups leftover shredded pork or roast beef
1/2 C. salsa
1 C. green chile sauce
1/2 C. grated cheddar or jack cheese

On stovetop or in crockpot, place beans, beef, salsa, sauce and cheese. Cook on med-low for a couple hours til warmed through. Place tortillas with some grated cheese under broiler for a few seconds. Fill with green chile mixture. If eating right away, add sour cream and guacamole before rolling tortilla up.

Really, I just wanted to make these so I could purchase a 7 pound can of beans from Costco. (Note, the flat of small cans of beans from Costco costs about $7, this 7 pounder cost $3.29. Great one!)

When making lots to freeze:

I didn't really do exact measurements when doing 24 burritos, just used lots more of everything. I used all 7 pounds of beans, 2 small pork roasts from Costco, 1 jar salsa, 1 large can green chile enchilada sauce, and 2 small blocks of cheese, shredded. It filled 24 large tortillas with some to spare. I just froze the extra (2 cups) in a separate ziploc for another time. Wrap finished tortillas in tin foil and freeze. When Chris leaves for work, he grabs one, leaves it out for the morning, and then by the time lunch comes around, it is defrosted enough to zap in the micro and eat. Hope you can follow the haphazard directions. :/
Posted by Picasa

Menus, Feb 22, 2009

But first, a tip. Binder clips make great bag clips. Maybe this is news to none, but it was a great realization for me. I use them constantly, and I have a hunch that 24 binder clips are a more economical route than 24 patented Chip Clips.

This week's menu... with a couple repeats as I followed last week's pretty loosely. :)

Sun- Lemony chicken over mixed greens, carrots, asparagus, blueberry muffins, Jell-o and warm chocolate chip cookies by Chris

M- Chicken pot pie

T- Breakfast for dinner

W- Spinach proscuitto lasagna

Th- leftovers

F- Steak, potatoes, BLT salad (recipe a comin'), and a yet-to-be-determined dessert

Sat- dunno yet
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake

I might as well add another strawberry recipe since we're on a strawberry kick. This is definitely one of my top 5 favorite desserts. I've had plenty of strawberry shortcakes with the cake, the strawberries, and the whipped cream, but this is SO much better!

Strawberry Shortcake

2 packages cream cheese, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
1 c. sour cream
1 tub cool whip
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. almond extract
1 pound cake, cut into cubes (angel food cake would work too, but we like pound cake)
2 packages strawberries, sliced

Mix first 6 ingredients in large bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Layer pound cake, cream cheese mixture, and strawberries in a large bowl or trifle dish and top with remaining cream cheese mixture.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Strawberry Freezer Jam

One of Chris' favorite things in the world is homemade bread. Unfortunately, I am rather bread-challenged and haven't practiced enough to master it. So the bread was just OK, but the freezer jam Maren and I made to go with it is super. We went with the low-sugar variety, not to say there isn't still PLENTY of sugar in there. The original recipe is 2 cups fruit, 4 cups sugar. Low-sugar calls for 4 cups fruit, 3 cups sugar. Still very tasty and a little more peace of mind when scarfing it down. We started the process at 10 am and were done by 11:05, when I had to go pick up Maya from preschool. I was even on time. I used the tiny ziploc containers this time (1 cup), because there are no preservatives or anything and when you pull it out of the freezer to refrigerate, you must use within a couple of weeks. Our first container lasted a day and a half. YUMMY. I really like freezer jam as opposed to cooked jam because it has a really fresh fruit taste.

Strawberry Freezer Jam

4 pts. strawberries
3 C. sugar
1 pkg. Sure-Jell low-sugar fruit pectin (the pink box- found by the Jell-O)

Wash and rinse plastic containers with tight fitting lids. Wash and de-stem strawberries, then crush, one cup at a time, using a food processor or potato masher. If using a food processor, pulse to chop, don't puree. Measure exact amount of stawberries into a large bowl. Measure exact amount of sugar into large saucepan. Mix Sure-Jell with the sugar. Stir in once cup water. Bring sugar/water/Sure-Jell mix to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute. Remove from heat. Quickly stir fruit into hot sugar-pectin mix. Stir for one minute. Pour into prepared containers, leaving 1/2 inch space at top for expansion during freezing; cover. Let stand at room temp 24 hours til set. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks, or freeze for up to 1 year. Thaw in refrigerator.

Friends: you can do this. If you are intimidated, don't be. The only problem is, once you've tried it, you will never want store-bought jam again. If that is going to be a problem, don't make this.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 16, 2009

2-15-09 Menus

Sunday- OH. We had a Valentines feast fit for royalty. Maren set the most beautiful table, Kelli made her unbeatable mashed potatoes and perfect rolls, Maren made Tatum's famous salad (recipe to come), I made chicken cordon bleu casserole, and we collaborated on dessert- chocolate bowls filled with Maren's chocolate cake, fresh whipped cream and strawberries. Completely and utterly delicioso- all of it. Wish I could turn back the clock and have it again tonight.

M- Chicken Caesar Sandwiches (recipe coming)
T- Green chile burritos (en mass... recipe to come)
W- crazy day... I'm thinking In-n-Out
Th- Chicken pot pie
F- leftovers
Sat- pizza

The others....?? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

And the winner is....

Katiiiiiiiiiiie Wilkiiiiiiiins!!! Using random number generator, it was determined that commenter #25, Katie, takes the cake, er, gift card. It is so fun to have a giveaway because most of the readers of this blog are friends we know in real life. SO, Katie, we can either drop it off at your mom's, or you can email us your address. :) ( Congratulations!! We know the card is in good hands.

Thanks to everyone for playing and for your kind words about Hold the Onions. Giveaways are great fun, so this won't be the last.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Chocolate-covered Strawberries

Happy Valentine's Day one and all!

We all know and love these, and there are 347 variations on the original, but I made these the other morning and thought that they were perfection. Recipe from Gourmet Magazine.

Chocolate-covered Strawberries

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 T. heavy cream
1 T. butter
10 large strawberries

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
In the top of a glass bowl set over a pan of hot water melt the chocolate, stirring. Add the 3 tablespoons of cream and the butter and stir until smooth. Holding each strawberry by the stem, dip into the chocolate mixture allowing the excess chocolate to drip back into the pan. If necessary, add additional cream to the chocolate to achieve desired coating consistency. Transfer the coated strawberry to the lined sheet and repeat process. Allow the chocolate to cool and then refrigerate the strawberries until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes, or overnight.
Posted by Picasa

Shredded Pork Taquitos

I linked to this recipe from For the Love of Cooking, but wanted to post it here as well because they were sooooo good and I want to be able to reference it again. I made the pork the day before, so all I had to do Wednesday was assemble and bake. We felt like we were at a yummy Mexican restaurant.

Shredded Pork Taquitos

Shredded Pork:
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 - 2 lb pork roast
1 7 oz can of green chiles
5 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 tsp. oregano
1 T. cumin powder
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
2 cups of chicken broth

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Season the entire pork roast to taste. Heat olive oil in a small Dutch oven over medium high heat. Once hot, add the seasoned pork roast and sear on all sides. Add the chicken broth, chopped garlic and green chiles. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 2 hours then turn roast over. Cook for an additional 2 hours or until the meat shreds easily with a fork. Shred the entire roast and mix meat with the juices then let simmer in the oven for 10-15 more minutes.

Additional ingredients:
10 corn tortillas
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Olive oil cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wrap 10 corn tortillas in damp paper towels for 1-2 minutes in the microwave to soften. Place a bit of cheese in the center of the tortilla then top with a bit of shredded pork and roll. Place, seam side down, on a baking sheet that's been coated with cooking spray. Finish rolling the rest of the taquitos, then spray each of them with cooking spray and bake for 8-10 minutes then turn over and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Pioneer Woman, you know we love you and all your butter and cream-laden recipes, but we'll have to sit this one out.

Thanks, but no thanks. We're allergic.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Valentine Give-Away

I don 't know who came up with the blog give-away, but it was great thinkin. For our first attempt, we have:
a $25 Amazon Gift Card, with an additional $25 voucher redeemable at a number of restaurants listed at 50 smackers in the form of cold, hard plastic. Thanks be to the generous donor of this card who wishes to remain anonymous, but is married to the guy partially responsible for the starting up of this ingenius company.

Leave a comment by Saturday, February 14, 2009. We'll randomly pick then announce the winner after that.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Posted by Picasa

Banana Blueberry Muffins

I love muffins, if you haven't been able to tell, and these are definitely at the top of my list! The batter is so creamy and the end result is a moist, fluffy, mouthwatering muffin. You must try them. Recipe from Everyday Food.

Banana Blueberry Muffins
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas (about 1 pound)
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat (2 percent) milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together flours, wheat germ, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl, mash bananas with a fork (you should have 3/4 cup); stir in milk and vanilla.
  3. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture and banana mixture to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined. Fold in frozen blueberries.
  4. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 28 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Let cool in pan 10 minutes; transfer muffins to a rack to cool 10 minutes more.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Chicken Salad Panini

These sandwiches would be great for lunch or dinner! They're also pretty healthy and you can add whatever veggies you want. I happened to have spinach and I definitely liked the addition of some greens!

Chicken Salad Panini

2-1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. real bacon bits
1 green onion, thinly sliced ( Of course I left these out)
2 Tbsp. ranch dressing
8 slices multi-grain bread
1 tomato, cut into 8 thin slices
4 slices cheddar cheese

MIX chicken, mayo, bacon, onions and dressing; spread onto 4 bread slices. Top with tomatoes, cheese and remaining bread.

COOK in preheated grill pan or skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium heat 3 min. on each side or until golden brown on both sides.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Molten Chocolate Cakes

Though impressive and seemingly difficult, this unbelieveably delicious dessert could NOT be easier.

Serves 6

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for muffin tins
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for muffin tins
3 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Whipped Cream , for serving

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter 6 cups of a standard muffin tin. Dust with granulated sugar, and tap out excess. Set aside.

Cream the butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, beat in flour and salt until just combined. Beat in chocolate until just combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.

Place muffin tin on a baking sheet; bake just until tops of the cakes no longer jiggle when the pan is lightly shaken, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.

To serve, turn out cakes, and place on serving plates, bottom sides up. Dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve with whipped cream.

Lastly, die and go to heaven.
Posted by Picasa

February 8, 2009 Menus

(I only made 1/2 of the things on my last week's menu, so I have some repeats this week.)

Sun- Broccoli soup in bread bowls, salad, layered strawberry pound cake dessert
M- Corn chowder
T- Shredded pork taquitos
W- Breakfast for dinner: hashbrowns, eggs, whatever else is laying around
Th- Chicken enchiladas blancas
F- leftovers
S- our Valentiney breakfast feast... Sparkling blackberry juice, Crunchy Oven French Toast with strawberries and pink whipped cream, strawberry yogurt with Valentine sprinkles, and lots of Ritter chocolate.

Saturday evening Chris and I will be taking advantage of this Valentine's special.

Happy Valentine's Day!!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Caprese Bites

Over the last couple/few years I have come to loooooove the combination of tomato, mozzarella, and basil. This is the appetizer version of my favorite starter or salad at a restaurant. The shells can be found at the happiest place on earth, IKEA.

To assemble, you'll need:

one pack of Hors D'oeuvres shells
one pkg. grape tomatoes
basil leaves
one package mini mozzarella balls (bocconcini- mine from Fresh and Easy)

Halve the tomatoes and mozzarella balls. Remove the basil leaves from their stems and halve if neccesary. Fill shells with a little of each ingredient. Yummy, pretty, bite-sized. Perfection.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 5, 2009


This is another family favorite! Growing up we had this for most birthdays at our house. I made this one for Emma's birthday dinner on Sunday. It's light and moist and so so good! You can make this in a 9x13 baking dish or two 9-inch round cake pans.


1 pkg. (2-layer size) white cake mix
1 cup boiling water
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed

Prepare cake batter and bake as directed on package for 13x9-inch baking pan. Cool cake in pan 15 min. Pierce cake with large fork at 1/2-inch intervals.

Stir boiling water into dry gelatin mix in small bowl 2 min. until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water; carefully pour over cake. Refrigerate 3 hours.

Frost cake with whipped topping. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bowl-ti-ful Chicken Ole

So, maybe it doesn't look like the most appetizing thing in the world, but don't let that fool you. In my experience, sometimes things that don't look that good turn out to taste delicious. And sometimes they taste exactly the way they look. In this case, it's the former. Delicious, easy, and I like it because it's a little bit more of a unique appetizer than your typical bean dip. If I'm not mistaken, I believe this recipe comes from Candice's mother-in-law; so thanks to Sis. Drew (unless I'm completely off base and I really have no clue where this recipe came from)!
Bowl-ti-ful Chicken Ole
Prep time: 15 minutes
Makes: 10 servings
3 cans (5 oz.) chunked chicken, drained (I used 1 (15 oz.) can. See the math I did there? Sweet.)
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 cans (15 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies, drained
1 can (2.5 oz.) chopped black olives, drained
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 envelope (1.25 oz.) taco seasoning
Mix chicken and cheese in a large mixing bowl. Add beans, chilies and olives. Combine yogurt, mayonnaise and taco seasoning and add to chicken mixture.

The original recipe says to serve it cold and in a bread bowl with fresh cut broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and bread for dipping. I like to serve it hot with chips for dipping. Tortilla chips work great, however Frito's are also very delicious with this dip. I'm sure veggies and bread would be great too if you are trying to be a little healthier.
[PS - I really hate when blogger won't let me control the flippin spacing between paragraphs]

Sunday, February 1, 2009

2-1-09 Menu

Is this not the CUTEST Valentine EVER?? (Answer: It is.) They were even a hit with the teenagers (girls AND boys) at mutual last week. Instructions here. I just can't get over how amazing it is. On the back you write, "Valentine, you ROCK my world!" :) Love it.

And the menus you've all been waiting for...

Sun- Chicken Spaghetti
M- Shredded Pork Taquitos
T- Skillet Mac-n-Cheese
W- Tomato Soup and Sourdough grilled cheese sammies
Th- Corn Chowder
F- Chicken Alfredo Pizza
Sat- out and about





(I try and I try. There's only so much a sister can do.)
Posted by Picasa