Monday, March 30, 2009
Strawberry and Pomegranate Chilled Soup
1 c. pomegranate juice
2 c. half and half
1/4 c. orange juice
1 1/2 c. fresh strawberries, plus more for garnish
1/2 c. sour cream
2 T. sugar
Put all ingredients into blender and process until well blended. Pour into bowls and sprinkle with finely diced strawberries.
This is by far my new favorite chicken recipe! It's quick, easy, healthy, and so so good. I served this with roasted asparagus and baked sweet potatoes. Recipe from Martha Stewart, of course!
salt and pepper
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons water
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts ( cut in half lengthwise)
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, broken into pieces
2 T. unsalted butter
2 T. canola oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In medium bowl, season bread crumbs with salt and pepper. Place eggs in a small bowl with 2 teaspoons water and beat lightly. Dip chicken in egg, then bread crumb mixture. Dip in egg again and coat thoroughly with almonds.
Heat butter and oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Saute chicken until nicely browned, about 3 minutes, and turn over. Cook 1 minute more; then transfer pan to oven and bake until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. (I don't have an ovenproof skillet, so I just transferred mine to a foil-lined baking sheet to finish cooking in the oven.)
Sun- Cream cheese chicken, cole slaw, fruit salad, parmesan breadsticks, and crock pot chocolate cake with whipped cream
M- Hamburgers, roasted carrots and potatoes
T- Minestrone soup
W- Stuffed shells, Italian green salad, breadsticks, and green pickle Jell-o. (Don't tell the YW.)
Th- Almond chicken, zucchini and couscous
Sat- Waffles with all the fixins
Friday, March 27, 2009
Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
Makes 2 dozen
7 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups plus 1 T. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 t. ground ginger
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 T. cocoa powder
8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 T. freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1 t. baking soda
1/4 c. sugar
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4 inch chunks; set aside. In medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined. In small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of four mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap. Refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.
Heat oven to 325. Roll dough into 1 1/2 -inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Just making sure everyone saw the posts by Jora, the guest-blogger on Design Mom this week. Great ideas on kids and veggies, one-pot-wonders, and food/cooking/eating/recipes/meal planning in general. I loved all the posts. Please check them out if you haven't already.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
For the Twilight DVD release party you are going to throw, here are some drink labels to go 'round your bottles of blackberry IZZE, or whatever quenches your thirst. I had no plans for a Twilight party, but all of the sudden I am feeling the need to. So nice of people to make stuff like this and share it with everyone! Thanks, Hostess with the Mostess.
(I really hope our next child is a girl so we can name her Renesme ;)
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I've been wanting to try these ever since I saw them last fall on Bread & Honey, and when I was assigned dessert for our camping trip last weekend, I knew what I would make. They were so much fun to put together, and it was also fun waiting/watching as they baked in the fire embers. They smelled AWESOME while in the fire. The end result was good- I mean, it was very moist yellow cake, just not knock-your-socks-off good. I substituted orange juice for most of the water in the cake, but the orange flavor didn't really come through. Adding a Tablespoon of zest would've helped, I'm sure, but I didn't feel like bringing the whole kitchen (zester) with me. I will definitely make them again for the fun factor. The original recipe instructs to leave them in the fire somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes- I would add "depending on the size of the orange you use". These were fairly large oranges and they needed between 15 and 20 min. You just have to keep checking.
I'll give you more of a technique than a recipe...
1 yellow cake mix
eggs, oil or butter, and water/juice as box directs
lots of tin foil
Slice the tops of the oranges. With a fork and spoon, hollow out the juice and flesh (saving the juice if using), leaving the rind in tact, and set aside. Mix cake batter ingredients according to box directions. Fill each orange about 2/3 full with batter. Replace the top. Wrap well in tin foil. "Bake" in campfire embers until cake is set... anywhere between ten and twenty minutes. Keep checking one until batter has set up. Shoo the mosquitoes away, and enjoy your cake.
I made these for breakfast a few months ago and now we have them every week! My kids don't especially like plain oatmeal, so this is a great way to serve it to them- they never even noticed!
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oats
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk
1 cup water
In a mixing bowl, stir together dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, milk, and water. Add liquid to dry ingredients. Stir mixture until well blended.
Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto a hot, lightly greased griddle. Cook both sides of pancakes until golden brown. Makes 16-18 pancakes.
Monday, March 23, 2009
1 cantaloupe (about 3 pounds)
1/4 cup sugar
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T. water
Using a sharp knife, cut melon in half lengthwise. Remove seeds with a spoon and discard. Slice off and discard skin and pale-green flesh. Cut melon into large chunks.
Puree in blender or food processor. Transfer to bowl and set aside. Combine sugar, lemon juice, and water in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture has thickened slightly. Remove from heat; let cool completely. Stir sugar syrup into melon puree; place in freezer uncovered until mixture is chunky, about 1 1/2 hours. Whisk every 20 minutes to keep it from becoming too solid.
S- ribs and smoked pulled pork (prepared by the Smiths in their backyard smoker... OUT of this world good), baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, crudites and homemade strawberry ice cream
M- jerk chicken, pineapple rice, steamed carrots
W- TJ's mac n cheese, steamed yellow squash
Th- lettuce wraps
F- green pizza
Sunday, March 22, 2009
April 21: Ben & Jerry's- one free cone
April 29: Baskin Robbins- a scoop for 31 cents
July 11: 7-Eleven- a free 7-ounce Slurpee
September 24: Coldstone Creamery- a free ice cream treat (a donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation is encouraged.)
Thanks for the heads-up, "Real Simple".
Thursday, March 19, 2009
As Grandma Dorothy would say, "OH, for CUTE!!" I must try these at once. Recipe from Chocolate on my Cranium.
1 small box of red Jello
mini chocolate chips
Cut both limes in half lengthwise. Scoop out all the fruit with a spoon. Place the limes in a muffin tin to keep them from tipping over. Make the box of Jello according to the Jiggler directions. Carefully spoon Jello into the limes halves. Chill until almost firm. Using a skewer push the mini chocolate chips into the Jello for "watermelon seeds." Chill until until firm, then cut into slices.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Jealousy!! Mom and Amanda (and Dad, Mason and Jonah) went to Paula Deen's restaurant in Savannah, Georgia last week. Their report included a most delicious buffet dining experience at the Lady and Son's, and that Paula was just as jolly in person as she comes across on screen. ;) They have each decided to fast for a week to balance out the calories consumed during that one meal, but they said it was worth it. Maren, Kelli and I have decided we have to go before the year's up. See here for the dinner menu.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
It worked! Yes, it took about 8 hours, start to finish (not constant attention, of course) but once a year? I say worth it. Start the laundry, make a layer. Empty the dishwasher, make another layer. Blog, make another layer. Read to the kids, another layer. :) I'm making it a tradition for St. Pat.'s day from now on. Nevermind that after we enjoyed a few pieces from it during a leprachaun lunch, I left the remaining 2/3s in the car and it melted to a cloudy slop. At least I got the picture first, eh?
Here's the recipe one more time:
3 oz grape jello
3 oz berry blue jello
3 oz lime jello
3 oz lemon jello
3 oz orange jello
3 oz red jello (cherry, raspberry)
2 cups sour cream
Boil 1 cup water. Pour into a bowl and add 1 box of jello (starting with the grape). Mix until jello is dissolved. In another bowl place 1/3 cupsour cream. Add 1/2 cup of the jello water to the sour cream. Stir untilcombined. Pour sour cream mixture into 9x13 pan. Place in fridge for 20 minutes or until firm. Add 3 T cold water to the remaining 1/2 cup of jello water. Pour over sour cream mixture in the 9x13 pan. Continue with all the other jello ending with red. Serve with whipped cream on the side and rolos for the pot of gold (or any other candy wrapped in gold foil, such as almond kisses or gold coins).
Monday, March 16, 2009
Best Ever Chocolate Cake
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- Chocolate-Sour Cream Frosting (see recipe below)
1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease bottoms of three 8-inch round baking pans or two 8x8x2-inch square or 9x1-1/2-inch round cake pans. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. Grease and lightly flour waxed paper and sides of pans. Set pans aside.
2. In a mixing bowl stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder; and salt; set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium speed until well combined (3 to 4 minutes). Scrape sides of bowl; continue beating on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition (about 1 minute total). Beat in vanilla.
4. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to beaten mixture, beating on low speed just until combined after each addition. Beat on medium to high speed for 20 seconds more. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pans.
5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes for or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake layers in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Peel off waxed paper. Cool thoroughly on wire racks. Frost with desired frosting. Makes 12 to 16 servings.
Chocolate-Sour Cream Frosting: In a large saucepan melt 1 12-ounce package (2 cups) semisweet chocolate pieces and 1/2 cup butter over low heat, stirring frequently. Cool for 5 minutes. Stir in 1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream. Gradually add 4-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar (about 1 pound), beating with an electric mixer until smooth. This frosts tops and sides of two or three 8- or 9-inch cake layers. Cover and store frosted cake in the refrigerator.
I am in love with a cheese grater. From Ikea, naturally. It comes as a two-pack, one with larger holes, one fine. Non-slip rubber grip ring on the bottom. Lids to store grated cheese in that same container. Two graters, for $6. A single, 1-cup capacity grater of a similar style at Target is $8. I checked. Everyone I know that has one is in love as well.
Now for a menu for the real week of St. Patty's Day.
Sun- Curly pasta in lemon cream sauce, banana muffins, lemon bars, lime bars, and chocolate gingerbread cookies (Three desserts? Maren had a time of it trying to decide on just one, so all three it was. No one complained. :)
M- leftover lemon pasta
T- green stuff (Happy St. Pat.'s Day for reals)
W- trying Jerk Chicken and pineapple rice
Th- trying Best-ever Chinese Chicken Salad
F- first, a Hip-hip-hooray-Kelli-is-visiting!-breakfast-party, then tin-foil dinners 'round a campfire
Sat- a catered wedding dinner, hoorah!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
18 1/2-ounce package yellow cake mix
3 1/2-ounce package instant lemon pudding mix
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, zested
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray miniature muffin tins with vegetable oil cooking spray. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs and oil and blend well with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour a small amount of batter, filling each muffin tin half way. Bake for 12 minutes. Turn out onto a tea towel.
To make the glaze, sift the sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, zest, oil, and 3 tablespoons water. Mix with a spoon until smooth.
With a fork, dip the cupcakes into the glaze while they're still warm, covering as much of the cake as possible, or spoon the glaze over the warm cupcakes, turning them to completely coat. Place on wire racks with waxed paper underneath to catch any drips. Let the glaze set thoroughly, about 1 hour, before storing in containers with tight-fitting lids.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
I've wanted to try this Jell-o recipe for a while now, and this is the week. I pulled the pic off the internet many moons ago, and I will follow up and let you know if it works.
3 oz grape jello
3 oz berry blue jello
3 oz lime jello
3 oz lemon jello
3 oz orange jello
3 oz red jello (cherry, raspberry)
2 cups sour cream
Boil 1 cup water. Pour into a bowl and add 1 box of jello (starting withthe grape). Mix until jello is dissolved. In another bowl place 1/3 cupsour cream. Add 1/2 cup of the jello water to the sour cream. Stir untilcombined. Pour sour cream mixture into 9x13 pan. Place in fridge for 20 minutes or until firm. Add 3 T cold water to the remaining 1/2 cup of jello water. Pour over sour cream mixture in the 9x13 pan. Continue with all the other jello ending with red. Serve with whipped cream on the side and rolos for the pot of gold (or any other candy wrapped in gold foil, such as almond kisses or gold coins).
S- dinner at Chris' brother's house, I'm bringing layered salad and Lemon Blossoms (recipe coming)
M- Burgers and dogs at the park for Clarie's b-day celebration
T- balsamic glazed chicken
W- grilled cheese and tomato soup
Th- green noodles, green grapes, green salad and Rainbow Jell-o
F- Kalua pig and pineapple rice
Sat- another birthday BBQ- hoorah!
Happy St. Pat.'s day, one and all!
Friday, March 6, 2009
Amanda P., no need to worry that Girl Scout cookies are gone for another year.
Have a try at it by following the instructions from Baking Bites.
Or you could try the Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos, or Tagalongs.
(Kelli, you should definitely try the Do-Si-Dos. Just don't tell Mom n Dad.)
This is such a great recipe- I want to start making it often so I can master it- and be able to prepare it in my sleep. It has a white sauce, not tomato. It is so jam-packed with vegetables, I love serving it to my family who would otherwise turn their noses up at all the carrots, spinach and peas. Perfect springtime dinner. When I make this again, I will prep the veggies in the morning to save time during assembly, and I will divide the recipe in 1/2, baking one half for dinner that night and freezing the other half.
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for foil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups whole milk
2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas
1/2 pound carrots (4 to 5), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta (about 2 cups)
1 large egg
1 package (9 ounces) no-boil lasagna noodles (12 to 16 noodles)
1 pound part-skim mozzarella, shredded
1 cup grated Parmesan
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium; add flour and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes (do not let flour mixture darken); whisk in milk. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add spinach, peas, and carrots; season with salt and pepper. Set sauce aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and teaspoon pepper.
In the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, spread a thin layer of vegetable sauce. Layer noodles, half the remaining vegetable sauce, another noodles, half the ricotta mixture, half the mozzarella, and half the Parmesan; repeat.
3. Cover dish with lightly oiled aluminum foil, and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake 45 minutes, uncover, and bake until bubbling and browned, about 20 minutes more. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
To Freeze: Assemble lasagna but do not bake. Cover lasagna tightly with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil; freeze up to 3 months. To Bake From Frozen: Remove plastic wrap; cover baking dish with lightly oiled aluminum foil, and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Remove foil, and bake until bubbling and browned, about 30 minutes more. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Linguine with Spring Vegetables
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 3/4 pound linguine
- 1 pound asparagus (tough ends removed), cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise (quartered if large) and thinly sliced
- 4 ounces sugar snap peas (stem ends trimmed), halved
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
- 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 4 minutes short of al dente; add asparagus, zucchini, and snap peas. Cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta mixture, and set aside.
- In the same pot, bring cream and butter to a simmer. Toss in pasta mixture and enough pasta water to create a thin sauce (it will thicken as it stands). Season with salt and pepper, and top with tarragon.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Two of my good friends have birthdays just three days apart. I wanted to celebrate by making them dinner. I poured over recipes and finally assembled this menu:
Filet Mignon with Balsamic Syrup and Goat Cheese
(These are all links, and are also found below this post.)
Everyone loved dinner, especially me. :) And Chris is still talking about it- especially the steak (from Costco!). If you try one of these recipes, make sure it is the filet. But try all of them- you will be so glad.
You can't know how great this salad is 'til you try it. (Just stating the obvious.)
1 head romaine lettuce
3 Roma tomatoes
1 lb. bacon, fried crisp
1/2 a baguette, for croutons
olive oil, salt and pepper
4 T. bacon drippings
4 T. mayonnaise
1 T. sugar
1 T. red wine vinegar
1/4 C. chopped fresh basil
milk as needed to thin dressing
I like to cook the bacon on a cookie sheet in the oven, 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes (don't forget to save the drippings). In the meantime, wash and tear the lettuce, wash and chop tomatoes, slice and cube the baguette for croutons. Toss baguette pieces with 1/4 C. olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. After bacon is done, on another cookie sheet, spread baguette pieces and toast in oven for about 15 minutes. Cool. Crumble bacon, whisk together dressing ingredients, and toss all together. Serve immediately.
This was an easy choice- a winner every time.
Brown Sugar-Glazed Carrots
1 pound medium carrots, peeled
1 T. butter
1 T. brown sugar
Cut the carrots in half, crosswise and lengthwise. In a medium saucepan, cook the carrots, covered, in small amount of boiling salted water for 8-10 minutes, til crisp-tender. Drain and remove from pan. In same pan, combine butter, brown sugar, and dash of salt. Cook and stir over medium heat til combined. Add carrots and cook for two more minutes, stirring frequently. Season with a little black pepper.
When deciding upon this menu, I went back and forth between two steak recipes for a long time. Ultimately, Giada won out, and holy smokes am I glad she did. THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST RECIPES I'VE EVER TRIED. I can't say enough about the amazingness of this filet and the flavors of the cheese and balsamic syrup, so I'll just say- please try it. Please.
Filet Mignon with Balsamic Syrup and Goat Cheese
1 1/2 C. balsamic vinegar
3 T. sugar
2 T. butter
6 (5 to 6-ounce) filet mignon steaks (each about 1-inch thick)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces soft fresh goat cheese
Boil the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400. Melt the butter in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the steaks with salt and pepper. Sear the steaks for one minute per side- on top, bottom, and sides. Transfer whole skillet to the oven for about ten minutes. Remove from oven and preheat the broiler. Crumble the cheese over the steaks and return to oven to broil just until the cheese melts, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with pepper.
Transfer the steaks to plates. Drizzle the balsamic sauce around the steaks and serve.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
I'm kind of ashamed to admit this was my very first time making sugar cookies. Sad! But I found this recipe in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine and they turned out so great! Crisp around the edges, soft in the middle, and just a hint of salty- you'll like that Candice. I let the kids spend the afternoon decorating with frosting and sprinkles. They were in heaven!
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In mixing bowl, cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Mix flour, baking powder and salt; add to butter 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Do not chill dough. Divide dough into 2 balls. On a floured surface, roll each ball into a circle approximately 12 inches wide and 1/8 inch thick. Dip cookie cutter in flour before each use. Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheet 6-7 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Makes about 3 dozen.